Summe Men Sayon that Y am Blac

Original Text: 
Caius College Cambridge MS. 383, fol. 190r; Rossell Hope Robbins, ed., Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952): no. 33, pp. 30-31. PR 1203 S4 1952 Trinity College Library. Carleton Brown and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds., The Index of Middle English Verse (New York, 1943): no. 3174. Z 2012 B86 General Reference Robarts Library.
6  So say Y and many mo.
7Blac ys my hat, blac ys my hod,
11And ther to also treu in dede
13Wynd and watur may steyne the wyte.
15Ther yse the blac ys al my delyte.
20  Thys Y sey by me and mo.
22  For they buth trew as any stel.
23God kepe hem bothe in feld and toune
24  And thanne schal Y be kept ful wel.


1] sayon: say. blac: black, dark-complexioned or tanned (exposure to the sun marked a person as an outdoors laborer and so of a lower social class) and black-haired. Back to Line
2] for my prow: to my credit. Back to Line
3] Ther: where. ther ys no lac: nothing's missing. Back to Line
4] wyte: white, fair in hair (blonde) as well in skin-colour. Back to Line
5] god: good. Back to Line
8] longet ther to: belongs to them. Back to Line
9] a: has. Back to Line
10] bord: table to eat at. Back to Line
12] ley my lyf to wedde: pledge or bet my life. Back to Line
14] Y wys: truly, assuredly. Back to Line
16] be schyle: "by skill," for that reason. ther to: to that, thereto. Back to Line
17] "Pepper outside ("without") is indeed black." Back to Line
18] wyt inne: within (punning on "white"). Back to Line
19] smac: taste. Back to Line
21] ale: all. buth: are, "be-ith." broune: brown, brunette. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: