When the Nightingale Sings

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When the Nightingale Sings 
by unknown

When The Nightingale Sings is a Middle English poem, author unknown, recorded in the British Library's Harley 2253 manuscript, verse 25. It is a love poem, extolling the beauty and lost love of an unknown maiden.


When þe nyhtegale singes þe wodes waxen grene.
Lef ant gras ant blosme springes in aueryl y wene,
Ant love is to myn herte gon wiþ one spere so kene
Nyht ant day my blod hit drynkes myn herte deþ me tene.

Ich have loved al þis er þat y may love namore,
Ich have siked moni syk lemmon for þin ore.
Me nis love never þe ner ant þat me reweþ sore.
Suete lemmon þench on me—ich have loved þe ore.

Suete lemmon y preye þe of love one speche,
Whil y lyve in world so wyde oþer nulle y seche.
Wiþ þy love my suete leof mi blis þou mihtes eche,
A suete cos of þy mouþ mihte be my leche.

Suete lemmon y preȝe þe of a love bene
ȝef þou me lovest ase men says lemmon as y wene,
Ant ȝef hit þi wille be þou loke þat hit be sene,
So muchel y þenke upon þe þat al y waxe grene.

Bituene Lyncolne ant Lyndeseye, Norhamptoun ant Lounde,
Ne wot y non so fayr a may as y go fore ybounde.
Suete lemmon ypreȝe þe þou lovie me a stounde!
Y wole mone my song
On wham þat hit ys on ylong.