The Devonshire Manuscript/to cowntarffete a mery mode

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The Devonshire Manuscript
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myght I as well within my song be lay Myght I as well within my songe
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 65v

f. [65v]

1    to cowntarffete a mery mode
2    yn mornyng mynd I thynk yt beste
3    ffor wens yn rayn I wor a nood
4    wel the war wet that bar hed shod stod
5    bot syns that clokes be good for dowt
6    the bagars prowarbe ffynd I good
7    betar a path than a halle owte

ryme dogrel how many
myle to meghelmes

Commentary edit

Written in Mary Shelton's hand, this poem remains unattributed and contributes to a larger group of poems in the manuscript that discuss the need to conceal one's true feelings. For other poems portraying the theme of concealment, see: “Sum summ say I love sum say I moke” (58v); “In places Wher that I company” (62v); “I ame not she be prowess off syt” (65r); “Myght I as Well within my Song be Lay” (65v); “Ceaser whan the traytor of egipte” (70r); and “Whan that I call vnto my mynde” (82v-83r).

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 ways” (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, as mentioned above, 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)).