The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 1180
IMEV 717
Eight is my love if nine go before
Riddle on the word ‘HIESUS’, Jesus — three or four monorhyming or irregular lines
Note: Ringler Jr. (1992), TM 379; cf. 2576.
Subjects: riddles; Christ, name of
Versification: — four-line — aaaa

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 257 (SC 21831), ff. 77-77v
First Lines:
Viij ys my loue ȝif ix go bifore
wer viij y gert a boue iij wer wel þer fore…
Last Lines:
…Water yf rorer and taymys broþer
So hat my lemman in non oþer
Douce, Francis. Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts bequeathed by Francis Douce, Esq., to the Bodleian Library Oxford: UP, 1840: 41.
Wright, Thomas, and James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, eds. Reliquiae Antiquae. 2 vols. London: Smith, 1845: 2.112.
Silverstein, Theodore, ed. Medieval English Lyrics. York Medieval Texts. London: Edw. Arnold, 1971: 109.
2.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, p. 4592
8 is my trew love do beffore 9 put ynto 5 so wel it will beseme
8 twyse told 20 betwen he þat redith this a right wottith what I mene
this goth by þe letters of the [?] as [?]
Note: Four monorhyming lines. Last line partly illegible.
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIV and XV Centuries. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1955: 253.
Robbins, Rossell Hope. “Isabel: A Riddling Mistress.” English Language Notes 1 (1963-64): 1-4: 3.
3.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 1236, f. 128
In 8 is all my loue
& 9 be ysette by fore
so 8 be yclosyd aboue
than 3 is good therfore
Note: One quatrain, abab, in this MS; solution, ‘Ihesu’, written to right.
James, Montague Rhodes. Bibliotheca Pepysiana: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Library of Samuel Pepys. Pt. III: Medieval Manuscripts. London, 1923: 3.11.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIV and XV Centuries. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1955: 80.
Luria, Maxwell Sidney, and Richard L. Hoffman, eds. Middle English Lyrics. New York: Norton, 1974: 121.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College B.16.31 (394), f. ivv
viii is my trewloff do be fore ix
pot v thar to well will it reyme
xviii twysse told xx be tweyne
he that herith thys wot what I meyne
Note: Variant, added to flyleaf by a hand of early sixteenth century; followed by similar six lines in Latin on the wounds of Christ; ‘Ihessu’ written to right of text, and letters ‘h, I, e, ss, u’ written above the numbers.
James, Montague Rhodes. Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. 4 vols. Cambridge: at the UP, 1900-1904: 1.530.
5.Source: York, York Minster Library XVI.O.10, f. 36v
On viii is all my lofe qwen ix goys before
qware viii is gyrd abofe iii is gude þerfore
A thowsand & on made mekyll moyne
qwen ten on a hundreth hanges hym all one
Note: Variant spelling ‘IHC’ and M[ary] and J[ohn] weeping when X[Crist] hangs on the C[ross].