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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Middle English Lyrics: I Pray You All

Priest Absolving a Penitent Man, kneeling. Manuscript illumination, late 14th century
Absolving the kneeling penitent, late 14th-c.

I Pray You All

[Note: The manuscript has suffered much damage from damp. I manipulated the digital manuscript image in Photoshop for size, contrast, etc., to attempt to decipher the ruined areas. In the following transcription, the probable contents of the damaged sections are set in brackets.]

I pray yow all wyth o thowght:
[Amende] me and peyre me nowght.

Holy wryt seyght, whech nothyng ys sother,
That [no man] schuld apeyre other;
Syth than in God y am thy [brother],
       Amende me and peyre me nought.

This [best] in the gospel eche man may se:
Yif [y shall], brothir, trespace to the,
Betwene us two up neme thow me;
       Amende me and peyre me nought.

Yif thou se y do gretly a-mys,
And no man wot but thou of this;
Make hit nought yit so evyl as yt is,
       Amende me and peyre me nought.

God wyl thou schalt no man defame,
Ne a-peyre [thu hem with ivel] neme;
Right even [as thou woldest] have the same.
       Amende me and peyre me nought.

Apeyr thu no man wyth thi word,
Nether in ernest nether in bord;
Let thi tong that is thi sword
       Amende me and peyre me nought.

Now to amend, god yive us grace,
[Yive] repentaunce & very space,
In heveyn to se his glorious face,
       Wher we schull a-mend & peyr nougth.


o thowght, one thought.
Amende me, make me better.
peyre, do injury to (either one's reputation or person).
nowght, nought; not.
Holy wryt, Holy writ, i.e. the Holy Scriptures; the Bible.
seyght, sayeth.
whech nothyng ys sother, and nothing is truer than it (Holy Scripture).
apeyre, do injury to (either one's reputation or person).
Syth than, since that.
y, I.
eche, each.
se, see.
trespace to the, trespass against you.
up neme thow me, upbraid thou me.
se, see.
a-mys, amiss.
wot, knows.
hit, it.
yit, yet.
Ne, nor.
hem, him.
ivel neme, "evil name", i.e. a bad reputation.
Right even as, just exactly as.
woldest, wouldst.
Nether, neither.
in bord, as "table talk"; casually.
Let thi tong, hold thy tongue.
yive, give.
heveyn, heaven.
schull, shall.

Manuscript Image of Bodleian MS. Arch. Selden B. 26, f. 5r.

Transcribed and glossed from the manuscript by Anniina Jokinen.


Jokinen, Anniina, ed. "I Pray You." Luminarium.
              6 Dec 2009. [Date you accessed this page].

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on May 22, 2011. Last updated November 21, 2018.


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