Last modified on 3 July 2012, at 17:09

The Devonshire Manuscript/I ame not she be prowess off syt

Introduction  |  Contributors  |  Textual Introduction
The Devonshire Manuscript
Bibliography A-M  |  Bibliography N-Z  |  Encoded Materials

my hart ys set nat to remowe myght I as well within my song be lay
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 65r

f. [65r]

1    [My]I ame not she be prowess off syt
2    kan make a yogy joy  off al my woo
3    nor yn swche thyngs I do delyt
4    bot as the be so most the show
5    my nowen meshape hath hapt [] so ryt
   that than I wold yt lake I myt1
6    thys off my ffrynd to make my ffo
7    that than I wold yt laken I myt
8    to cloke my greffe wer yt doth grow

Notes & GlossesEdit

     1. Apparently, the scribe realized that one line had been omitted.

CommentaryEdit

Written in Mary Shelton's hand, this poem remains unattributed. This poem is one of a several entries in the manuscript that speaks of counterfeiting feelings in public (see, for instance, “Sum summ say I love sum say I moke” (58v); “In places Wher that I company” (62r); “Myght I as well within my song be lay” (65v); “To cowntarffete a mery mode” (65v); “Ceaser whan the traytor of egipte” (70r); and “Whan that I call vnto my mynde” (82v-83r)).

The poem may be related to “My hart ys set not remove” (64v) entered above since both poems have a similar rhyme scheme, metre, and sentiment. This poem sequence could present another instance of Margaret Douglas and Mary Shelton playing at one another’s texts. For other examples of this textual play, see: the lyrics lamenting former happier times (e.g. “When I bethink my wontet days” (58r-59r)); professing steadfast love in the face of adversity (e.g. “My hart is set not to remove” (58v) and “Lo in thy hat thow hast be gone” (59r)); and the need and/or difficulty to conceal actual feelings (e.g. “I am not she be prowess off syt” (65r) and "Myght I as well within my song be lay" (65v)).