The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 2332
IMEV 1399
NIMEV 1399
I would fain be a clerk / But yet it is a strange work
The Schoolboy’s Lament — six 5-line stanzas (aaaab) with refrain, ‘What avaylith it me thowgh I say nay’, and burden: ‘Hay hay by this day / What avayleth it me thowgh I say nay’
Title(s): The Schoolboy’s Lament
Subjects: carols; laments; schoolboys
Versification: — five-line, two-line — aaaab, aa

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 601 (SC 1491), f. 115v
munday in þe morning y vp rise
at sene aclock at my deuise
to scole y must in eny wyse
Note: Fragment.
Greene, Richard Leighton. The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977 (see also Greene (1935)): 246.
2.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, p. 5111
First Lines:
I wold ffayn be a clarke
but yet his is a strange werke…
Last Lines:
…ffor if he were dede I wold not care
What vaylith me thowgh I say nay
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (
Flügel, Ewald. “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts….” Anglia 26 (1903): 94-285: 283.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Babees Book, etc. EETS o.s. 32 (1868); rev. ed. Early English Meals and Manners London: Trübner, 1876; repr. 1973: 385.
White, B., ed. John Stanbridge: The Vulgaria and Robert Whittinton: The Vulgaria. EETS o.s. 187 (1932); repr. 1971: xii-xiii.
Bennett, Henry Stanley. England from Chaucer to Caxton. London: Methuen, 1928: 45.
Greene, Richard Leighton. The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977: 277-8; 1977, 245-6.
Kaiser, Rolf, ed. Alt- und mittelenglische Anthologie. Berlin, 1954; 3rd ed.; trans. as Medieval English: a Old English and Middle English Anthology Berlin West, 1958: 559.
Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. A Selection of English Carols. Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series. Oxford: Clarendon, 1962: 145.
Davies, Reginald Thorne. Medieval English Lyrics: a critical anthology. London, 1963; Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1964: 289-90.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 544-5.
Gray, Douglas. The Oxford Book of Late Medieval Verse and Prose. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985: 172-3.
Pearsall, Derek, ed. Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology of Writings in English 1375-1575. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999: 398-9.