WESTERN wind, when will thou blow
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms
   And I in my bed again!

32   The Nut-Brown Maid

15th Cent.

He.     BE it right or wrong, these men among1
               On women do complain;
            Affirming this, how that it is
                A labour spent in vain
            To love them wele; for never a dele2
                They love a man again:
            For let a man do what he can
                Their favour to attain,
            Yet if a new to them pursue,
                Their first true lover than3
            Laboureth for naught; for from her thought
                He is a banished man.

She.      I say not nay, but that all day
               It is both written and said
            That woman’s faith is, as who saith,
                All utterly decayed:
            But nevertheless, right good witnàess
                In this case might be laid
            That they love true and continue:
                Record the Nut-brown Maid,
            Which, when her love came her to prove,
                To her to make his moan,
            Would not depart; for in her heart
                She loved but him alone.

He.      Then between us let us discuss
               What was all the manere
            Between them two: we will also
                Tell all the pain in fere4
            That she was in. Now I began,
                So that ye me answere:
            Wherefore all ye that present be,
                I pray you, give an ear.
            I am the Knight. I come by night,
                As secret as I can,
            Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case,
                I am a banished man.

She.      And I your will for to fulfil
               In this will not refuse
            Trusting to show, in wordes few,
                That men have an ill use
            To their own shame—women to blame,
                And causeless them accuse.
            Therefore to you I answer now,
                All women to excuse
            Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer?
                I pray you, tell anone;
            For, in my mind, of all mankind
                I love but you alone.

He.      It standeth so: a deed is do
               Whereof great harm shall grow:
            My destiny is for to die
                A shameful death, I trow;
            Or else to flee. The t’ one must be:
                None other way I know
            But to withdraw as an outlàaw,
                And take me to my bow.
            Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true!
                None other rede I can:5
            For I must to the green- wood go,
                Alone, a banished man.

She.      O Lord, what is this worldis bliss,
               That changeth as the moon!
            My summer’s day in lusty May
                Is darked before the noon.
            I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
                We dàepart not so soon.
            Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
                Alas! what have ye done?
            All my welfàare to sorrow and care
                Should change, if ye were gone:
            For, in my mind, of all mankind
                I love but you alone.

He.      I can believe it shall you grieve,
               And somewhat you distrain;
            But afterward, your paines hard
                Within a day or twain
            Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
                Comfort to you again.
            Why should ye nought? for, to take thought,
                Your labour were in vain.
            And thus I do; and pray you to,
                As hartely as I can:
            For I must to the green-wood go,
                Alone, a banished man.

She.      Now, sith that ye have showed to me
               The secret of your mind,
            I shall be plain to you again,
                Like as ye shall me find.
            Sith it is so that ye will go,
                I will not leve behind.
            Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid
                Was to her love unkind.
            Make you so am I,
                Although it were anone:
            For, in my mind, of all mankind
                I love but you alone.

He.      Yet I you rede to take good heed
               What men will think and say:
            Of young, of old, it shall be told
                That ye be gone away
            Your wanton will for to fulfil,
                In green-wood you to play;
            And that ye might for your delight
                No longer make delay
            Rather than ye should thus for me
                Be called an ill womàan
            Yet would I to the green- wood go,
                Alone, a banished man.

She.      Though it be sung of old and young
               That I should be to blame,
            Theirs be the charge that speak so large
                In hurting of my name:
            For I will prove that faithful love
                It is devoid of shame;
            In your distress and

  By PanEris using Melati.

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