The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 2541
IMEV 1507
NIMEV 1507
In May when Flora the fresh lusty queen
John Lydgate, The Complaint of the Black Knight — 665 lines in rhyme royal stanzas and Envoy of two 8-line stanzas
Note: For another Envoy cf. 4091; for extract occurring separately cf. 6245
Author(s): John Lydgate
Title(s): The Complaint of the Black Knight (Lydgate)
Subjects: May, poems of; complaints, lovers’; envoys; love, vicissitudes of
Versification: — seven-line, eight-line — ababbcc, ababbcbc

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Digby 181 (SC 1782), f. 31-39
First Lines:
IN May whanne fflora the lusty Quene
The soill hath cladde in grene rede and whight…
Last Lines:
…Exiled be that I may not atteyn
Resoun to ffynde of myn aduersite
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 638 (SC 2078), ff. 1-4v
First Lines:
…So doth this god with his sharp flone
The trew sleith & letith the fals gone…
Last Lines:
…Exiled be that I may not atteyne
Recure to fynde of myne aduersyte
Note: Begins imperfectly at line 468
Attributed Title: [The Complaynte] Of a louers lyfe (f. 1; RT); Explicit the Compleynt of a loveres life (f. 4v)
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Bodley 638: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1982.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden B. 24 (SC 3354), ff. 120v-129v
First Lines:
In Maye quhan fflora the fresche Lusty quene
The suyl hath cladde In rede quhite grene aricht…
Last Lines:
…Exiled ben þat I may nocht atteyne
Recouer to fynd of myn aduersitee
Attributed Author: here endith the maying and disport of Chaucere (f. 129v)
Attributed Title: here endith the maying and disport of Chaucere (f. 129v)
Boffey, Julia, and A. S. G. Edwards, eds. Chaucer, Works. Bodleian Library MS Arch Selden B.24: Facsimile Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1995.
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Fairfax 16 (SC 3896), ff. 20-30
First Lines:
In May when fflora the fressh lusty quene
the soyle hath clad in grene rede and white…
Last Lines:
…exiled be that I may not ateyne
recure to fynde of hym aduersite
Norton-Smith, John. “Introduction.” Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16. London: Scolar Press, 1979.
Krausser, Emil. Lydgate’s Complaint of the Black Knight: Text mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen. Heidelberg: Halle, 1896: 38-79.
MacCracken, Henry Noble, ed. John Lydgate: The Minor Poems, Vol. II: Secular Poems. EETS o.s. 192 (1934); repr. 1961: 382-410.
Norton-Smith, John. John Lydgate: Poems. Oxford: Clarendon, 1966: 47-66.
Symons, Dana M., ed. Chaucerian Dream Visions and Complaints. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 2004.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Tanner 346 (SC 10173), ff. 48v-59
First Lines:
In may when flora the fressh lusty quene
The soyl hath clad in red grene and white…
Last Lines:
…Exiled be that I may noghte attayne
Recure to fynde Of myn aduersite
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Tanner 346: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1980.
Urry, John, ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. London: B. Lintot, 1721: 451.
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2006, pp. 1-17
First Lines:
[I]n may quhen flora the fresche lusty quene
The soille hadde cladde in grene redde & whyt…
Last Lines:
…Exilet be þat I may not attayn
Recure to fynd of my aduersite
Edwards, A. S. G. “Introduction.” Manuscript Pepys 2006: A Facsimile. Magdalen College, Cambridge. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and [Woodbridge, Suffolk]: Boydell and Brewer, 1985.
Krausser, Emil. “The Complaint of the Black Knight.” Anglia 19 (1897): 211-90: 248-78.
7.Source: London, British Library Addit. 16165, ff. 190v-200v
First Lines:
Yn may whanne flourra þe freshe lusty qwene
þe soyle haþe cladde in grene whit and red…
Last Lines:
…Exyled beon þat I may not atteyne
Rekoner to fynde of myne aduersite
Attributed Author: …made by Lydegate (f. 190)
Attributed Title: And here filowyng begynneþe a Right lusty amoerous balade made in wyse of complaynt of a Right worshipfull knyght þat truly euer serued his lady enduryng grete disese by fals envye and malebouche made by Lydegate (f. 190)
8.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland 16500 [formerly Acc. 4233; Asloan MS], ff. 293-298v; 243-246v; 299-300v
First Lines:
IN May quhen flora þe fresche lusty qwene
The sule has clad in reid quhyte grene aricht…
Last Lines:
…Exild bene þat I may not atteyne
Recovir to fynd of myne aduirsite
Note: Transcript of Chepman and Myllar, 1508.
Attributed Title: Heir begynnis þe mayng and disport of Chauceir (f. 293); Heir endis þe mayng and disport of Chaucer per m. Jo. Asloan (f. 300v)
Craigie, William Alexander. The Asloan Manuscript. 2 vols. Scottish Text Society n.s. 14, 16. Edinburgh, London: Blackwood, 1923, 192: 2.247-70.

Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 17014.3. Lydgate, John, The Complaynt of the Black Knight, Chepman and Myllar, 1508 (STC 17014.3; formerly STC 5099)
First Lines:
IN may quhen flora the fresche lusty quene
the suyl hath cladde in redde quhyte grene aright…
Last Lines:
…Be thy meke mene that place in hevin to wyn
That ordanyt was for Abraham & his kyn
Note: A nineteenth-century transcript is Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Library La.III.450/1 [olim Laing 450].
Attributed Author: chaucer (sig. a.1)
Attributed Title: Here begynnys the mayng or disport of chaucer (sig. a.i); Heir endis the maying and disport of chaucer Imprentit in the south gait of Edinburgh be Walter chepman and Androw myllar the fourth day of aperyle the yhere of god M CCCCC and viii yheris (sig. b.6)
Beattie, William. “Introduction.” The Chepman and Myllar Prints: Nine Tracts from the First Scottish Press, Edinburgh, 1508 Followed by the Two other Tracts in the same Volume in the National Library of Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, 1950: 109-33.
Laing, David, ed. The Knightly Tale of Golagros and Gawane and other ancient poems. repr. of Chepman and Myllar 1508. Edinburgh, 1827.
Stevenson, George. Pieces from the Makculloch and the Gray MSS. together with The Chepman and Myllar Prints. Scottish Text Society 65. Edinburgh, 1918: 181-203.
2.Source: STC 17014.7. Lydgate, John, The Complaynt of a Louers Lyfe [= of the Black Knight], de Worde, [1531?]
Dibdin, Thomas Frognall, ed. Th Complaint of a lover’s life. Controyersy between a lover and a jay. Roxburghe Club 18. 1818.
3.Source: Geoffrey Chaucer, Workes, Thynne, 1532 , ff. 307va-311va
First Lines:
In May whan Flora þe fresshe lusty quene
The soyle hath clad in grene reed & whyght…
Last Lines:
…Exiled be that I may not attayne
Recure to fynde of myne aduersyte
Attributed Title: The complaynt of the blacke knyght (f. 307va)
Chalmers, Alexander, ed. The Works of the English Poets from Chaucer to Cowper. London, 1810; repr. New York: Greenwood, 1969: 1.338-44.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 7.245-65; 1-7.