fitt (noun), also fytte, fytt
Fitt is used in the Old English translation of Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae to mean ‘song, verse’. It re-emerges in Middle English as a term for a subdivision of a poem or romance. Fitt divisions are the subject of a very useful article by Phillipa Hardman, to which this glossary entry is indebted.
1. Fitt can refer to a subdivision of a long alliterative poem, an equivalent of Latin passus and used interchangeably with Middle English pas. These subdivisions often correspond to chapter or book divisions in these poems’ Latin or French sources. The term is used by the narrator to announce the end of such sections in the Wars of Alexander (1361 x circa 1450) and the Gest Hystoriale of the Destruction of Troy (?later 15thC), often in a single brief concluding line (e.g. ‘And now fynes here a fitt & folows anothire’, WA, 5752). Continue reading fitt