(25) Though the specific attribution is today questioned, Forrest himself identifying only that the poem was penned by "a devoute Scotte" who "longe time sithen
: dyd yt edyfye," the lyric may still help shed some light on the oftentimes shadowy subject of early Anglo-Scottish literary exchange.
He clothed him and fedde him evell and eke wroth, And lete his londes forfare and his houses bothe, His parkes and his wodes and did no thing welle; And sithen
he it abought on his owne felle.
He speaks of "[...] that fresh bleeding wound, which day and night / Whilholme doth rankle in my riven brest," which he discloses, "[...] sithen
silence lesseneth not my fire, / But told it flames, and hidden it does glow" (FQ 1.9.7-8).
If indeed over does mean "in addition" again in this instance, sithon must be a separate word, and in that event it is rather unlikely that it should derive from OE si[thorn]um, since neither OE si[thorn]um nor ME sithen
is ever used precisely with such a meaning as will make good sense of the Chronicle passage.
It was used with such a temporal meaning until in the ME period after, originally a locative conjunction and preposition in OE, was reanalyzed as temporal and replaced ME sithen
. Instead of disappearing, sithen
began to be used to introduce causal subordinate clauses, confirming Traugott's theory of subjectification and Kortmann's hypothesis of decrease in semantic polyfunctionality.
The secunde is the inwarde lerning that I have understonde therein sithen
| And sithen
th' ende is every tales strengthe, | [...] | What sholde I peynte or drawen it on lengthe | To yow, that ben my frend so feythfully?' (TC, 11.
1380-1425), for example, clearly felt that the mystery plays were little better than games: "sithen
thes miraclis pleyeris taken in bourde the ernestful werkis of God, no doute that ne they scornen God as diden the Jewis that bobbiden Crist, for they Iowen at his passioun as these Iowyn and japen of the miraclis of God." (23) The metaphor resurfaces over two hundred years later in the writings of another denigrator of biblical theater, William Prynne, who excoriates the blasphemy of those who "turne the most serious Oracles of Gods sacred word into a Play, a lest, a Fable, a Sport, a May-game." (24)
Fifteen texts found in Ashmole 59 and Harley 2251 (but not in Trinity R.3.20) are Lydgate's 'Kings of England Sithen
William Conquerour', fol.
Some words, like stig path, and sedan then will still be used in Middle English, as stigh and sithen
, but then disappear.
The language of the Gawain poem comes and goes, baffling and comprehensible in turns: Queme quyssewes then that coyutlych closed, His thick thrawen thyghes with thwonges to tachched; And sithen
the brawden bryne of bright stel rynges Umbeweved that wyy, upon wlonk stuffe, And wel bornyst brace upon his both armes, With gode cowters abd gay, and gloves of plate.
To illustrate the dangerous nature of 'miraclis pleyinge', both writers of the Tretise invoke various analogies, but the most visceral portrayal of the threat of 'miraclis pleyinge' comes when the writer of Part I compares those who engage in 'miraclis pleyinge' to the Jewish soldiers who tortured Christ in the Passion: 'sithen
thes miraclis pleyeris taken in bourde the ernestful werkis of God, no doute that ne they scornen God as diden the Jewis that bobbiden Crist, for they lowen at his passioun as these lowyn and japen of the miraclis of God' (133-7).