A Love Letter

Manuscript R.4.20 comprises two texts bound together: The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and John Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes. Hidden between these two texts, someone has made use of the blank folios for handwriting practice and there are pen trials (testing newly trimmed pen nibs) in the margins.

R.4.20, ff. 87v-88r

The lines chosen appear to be from a love letter:

Alas swet hart I am yowre pore

servant wherfore I beseche yow

yf that yt pleasith yow to gyve

awdyens vnto my wordes of a

thynge whych I shall tell you

alas swete hart knowe the bew

ty of yor person and the pleasant

fygure formyde and composyd

above natures operacyon

hath ravyshyde my sprytes and

enbrasyd my hert in such wise

that nyght and daye I thinke

on none other thyng save onlye

on yor love and that wors is I lose rest meat and

drinke maners and cowntenans what I think

upon your grey eyen and resplendishing

visage so I requyre of god that he will gyve

me you volent and corage for to receve

me for yor trew lover for if so be ye refuse me

for yor trew lover ther is nothing so nere me

as to envoke the deth alas alas swete

hart yow that are amyable and cortays

be not cavse to dymynyshe my

lyfe but gyve me holy yor love by

such a covenant that I shall in love

ye more then ever it was

B.11.3, f. 277r: Initial O with Bride and Bridegroom








Happy Valentine’s Day!