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Middle English Lyrics: Man, Assay

The Crucifixion, Medieval French Manuscript, c1440
The Crucifixion. c1440.

Man, Assay

:: A man asay, asay, asay
And axe mercy while thou maye. ::

Man have in mynde how here by-fore
For thy mysdede thou wheren for lore;
But mercy to geve now Christe ys bore.
:: A man asay, &c. ::

In synne thy lyfe yf thou have ledde,
Amende hit nowe, be not a-dradde,
Ffor he his mercy forth hath spradde.
:: A man asay, &c. ::

And they thy synne be never so ylle,
Ffor thy synne shalt thou not spylle,
Nowe mercy to aske yf thou wylle.
:: A man asay, &c. ::

God that deyde uppon the rode,
Ffor thi mysdede he shadde hys blode,
Ffor his mercy ys ful and gode.
:: A man asay, &c. ::

He that the so dere hath bought,
Mercy he wolde that thou sought
Yif thou seke, he nyeth hit nought.
:: A man asay, &c. ::

Mercy is spredde on the grounde,
Therto left for a stounde;
Therfore thou hit seke til hit be founde.
:: A man asay, &c. ::


asay, assay; attempt.
axe, ask.
have in mynde, remember.
here by-fore, herebefore; before now.
mysdede, misdeeds; sins.
wheren, were.
for lore, forsaken.
geve, give.
bore, born.
hit, it.
a-dradde, adread, i.e. afraid.
spradde, spread.
they, though.
And.. ylle, no matter how bad your sin.
Ffor.. spylle, for your sin you shall not be damned.
deyde, died.
rode, rood; the Cross.
shadde hys blode, shed his blood.
ful and gode, good and complete.
the so dere, thee so dear.
Yif, if.
he nyeth hit nought, he negates it (your sin) to nothing.
Therto, there.
a stounde, a while.

Manuscript Image of Bodleian MS. Arch. Selden B. 26, f. 7v.

Transcribed and glossed from the manuscript by Anniina Jokinen.


Jokinen, Anniina, ed. "Man, Assay." Luminarium.
          30 Nov 2009. [Date you accessed this page].

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