Friday, December 27, 2013
This Night Is Long
Mirie it is while sumer ilast1 Mirie: Merry
With fugheles song,
Oc nu necheth windes blast
And weder strong.
Ej! Ej! what this nicht is long, 5
And ich wid wel michel wrong
Soregh and murne and fast.
2 fugheles: fowls', birds'
3 oc nu necheth: but now nigheth (i.e. neareth)
4 weder: weather
5 nicht: night
6 ich wid wel michel: I with very much
7 soregh and murne: sorrow and mourn
Translation by Brian Stone in Medieval English Verse (1964; rpt. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1986), p. 62:
Merry it is while summer lasts,Some (I am not among them) regard this as a religious, penitential lyric, and interpret "wrong" in line 6 not as an injustice done against the poet, but as a sin committed by him.
With birds in song;
But now there threaten windy blasts
And tempests strong.
Ah, but the night is long,
And I, being done such wrong,
Sorrow and mourn and fast.