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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.


Quia Amore Langueo

IN a valley of this restless mind
I sought in mountain and in mead,
Trusting a true love for to find.
Upon an hill then took I heed;
A voice I heard (and near I yede 1)        5
In great dolour complaining tho: 2
See, dear soul, how my sides bleed:
Quia amore langueo.
Upon this hill I found a tree,
Under the tree a man sitting;        10
From head to foot wounded was he,
His heartë blood I saw bleeding.
A seemly man to be a king,
A gracious face to look unto.
I asked why he had paining:        15
He said, Quia amore langueo.
I am true love that false was never;
My sister, man’s soul, I loved her thus.
Because we would in no wise dissever,
I left my kingdom glorious.        20
I purveyed her a palace full precious;
She fled, I followed, I loved her so,
That I suffered this pain piteous,
Quia amore langueo.
My fair love and my spousë bright!        25
I saved her fro beating, and she hath me bet;
I clothed her in grace and heavenly light,
This bloody shirt she hath on me set:
For longing of love yet would I not let;
Sweetë strokës are these: lo!        30
I have loved her ever as I her het, 3
Quia amore langueo.
I crowned her with bliss, and she me with thorn;
I led her to chamber, and she me to die;
I brought her to worship, and she me to scorn;        35
I did her reverence, and she me villainy.
To love that loveth is no maistry: 4
Her hate made never my love her foe—
Ask me then no question why—
Quia amore langueo.        40
Look unto mine handes, man!
These gloves were given me when I her sought;
They be not white, but red and wan;
Embroidered with blood my spouse them brought;
They will not off, I loose them nought,        45
I woo her with them wherever she go.
These hands for her so friendly fought,
Quia amore langueo.
Marvel not, man, though I sit still:
See, love hath shod me wonder strait,        50
Buckled my feet, as was her will,
With sharpë nails (well thou mayest wait!).
In my love was never desait,
All my members I have opened her to;
My body I made her heartes bait, 5        55
Quia amore langueo.
In my side I have made her nest;
Look in; how wide a wound is here!
This is her chamber, here shall she rest,
That she and I may sleep in fere. 6        60
Here may she wash if any filth were,
Here is succour for all her woe;
Come when she will she shall have cheer,
Quia amore langueo.
I will abide till she be ready;        65
I will her sue or she say nay;
If she be retchless I will be greedy,
If she be dangerous I will her pray;
If she do weep, then bide I ne may:
Mine arms been spread to clip her me to.        70
Cry once, I come: now soul, assay
Quia amore langueo.
Fairë love, let us go play,
Apples been ripe in my gardine;
I shall thee clothe in a new array,        75
Thy meat shall be milk, honey and wine.
Fairë love, let us go dine;
Thy sustenance is in my scrip, lo!
Tarry not now, my fair spouse mine,
Quia amore langueo.        80
If thou be foul, I shall thee make clean,
If thou be sick, I shall thee heal;
If thou mourn aught, I shall thee mene. 7
Spouse, why wilt thou not with me deal?
Foundest thou ever love so leal?        85
What wilt thou, soul, that I shall do?
I may not unkindly thee appeal,
Quia amore langueo.
What shall I do now with my spouse
But abide her of my gentleness,        90
Till that she look out of her house
Of fleshly affection? love mine she is;
Her bed is made, her bolster is bliss,
Her chamber is chosen; is there none mo.
Look out at the window of kindëness,        95
Quia amore langueo.
My love’s in her chamber, hold your peace!
Make no noise, but let her sleep;
My babe shall suffer no disease,
I may not hear my dear child weep.        100
With my pap I shall her keep,
Ne marvel ye not though I tend her to;
This hole in my side had ne’er been so deep,
But quia amore langueo.
Long and love thou never so high,        105
My love is more than thine may be;
Thou gladdest, thou weepest, I sit thee by;
Yet wouldst thou once, love, look at me!
Should I alway feedë thee
With children’s meat? nay, love, not so!        110
I will prove thy love with adversity,
Quia amore langueo.
Wax not weary, mine ownë wife!
What meed is aye to live in comfórt?
In tribulation I reign more rife        115
Ofter timës than in disport.
In weal and in woe I am aye to support,
Mine ownë wife, go not me fro!
Thy meed is marked, when thou are mort,
Quia amore langueo.        120
Note 1. Went. [back]
Note 2. Then. [back]
Note 3. Promised. [back]
Note 4. Need. [back]
Note 5. Resting-place. [back]
Note 6. Together. [back]
Note 7. Care for. [back]