Tag Archives: Anthony Woodville

Sumwhat musyng

For the last few weeks I’ve been exploring whether a particular French lyric form, the virelai, is used by English poets in the fifteenth century.  Several Middle English poems are labelled as virelais in DIMEV and in various anthologies, but in fact they are all versions in English of another French lyric genre, the complainte.  This week’s poem (scroll down for text and translation) is one of the most poignant of this small group of English complaints.  According to the fifteenth-century historian John Rous (writing in a work completed in 1486, so probably a reliable witness), Anthony Woodville, 2nd Lord Rivers composed this poem on the eve of his execution at Pontefract in 1483.

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