The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
Conceived man how may that by reason brought about
On the mystery of the Incarnation — five quatrains in long lines and
two-line burden: ‘Mervell nothyng joseph that mary be with child / She hath
conceyved vere god and man and yet she undefiled’
Subjects: carols, of the Virgin’s motherhood; Incarnation, mystery of
four-line, two-line —
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodl. Lat. liturg. b.14
, f. iv
Marvell not Joseph
thoogh mary be wythe chylde
she hath concevyde
a very mane
and yet she not defylde
Note: Burden only; on a slip of parchment bound between original flyleaf and
first folio of a fourteenth-century breviary; formerly part of a
2.Source: London, British Library Addit. 20059
, ff. 6v
Conceyved man how may that he be by reason broght abowte
reason aboue all reasons hit may be withouten dowte…
…Then serue the fyrst & save the thyrdde the forte let be
And mervell no more but fast beleve mary was maide with
Note: Burden at head of page: ‘Mervell nothyng Joseph thaȝ mary be
with child / She hath conceyved very god & man & yet she
vndefiled’ (f. 6v). Nineteenth-century transcript by Hunter is
London, British Library Addit. 24542, f. 178.
Greene, Richard Leighton.
The Early English Carols.
Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon,
1977: 185-6; 1977, 164.