The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 5428
IMEV 3444
NIMEV 3444
The order of fools full yore agone begun
John Lydgate, The Order of Fools — twenty-two 8-line stanzas
Author(s): John Lydgate
Title(s): The Order of Fools
Subjects: fools, order of
Versification: — eight-line — ababbcbc

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 638 (SC 2078), ff. 219-219v
First Lines:
The ordre of ffolys well yare age bigonne
Newly provessid encrecyth the Couente…
Last Lines:
…Or when that sperado louyth pa[ramours]
On [of] the noumbre that will neure the
Note: Six stanzas only, omits lines 41-48 and 57-176.
Attributed Title: The ordre of ffolys (219); The Ordre (RT)
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Bodley 638: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1982.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 648 (SC 2291), ff. 19-21
First Lines:
[T]he order of fooles fele yere a goo begunne
Newly professyd encresyd the couent…
Last Lines:
…With hores hasardores to hold her resydens
Honge þem vp for þey shall neuer thee
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 683 (SC 798), ff. 56-60
First Lines:
The ordre of foolis ful yore agoon be gonne
neuly professed encreseth the kovent…
Last Lines:
…ther bulle [ ]sselyd concludyng in sentence
noon of th[ ] ordre is neuer lyk to the
Attributed Title: Here begynneth a tale of thre skore ffoolys and thre wich ar lyk neuer ffor to the (f. 56)
MacCracken, Henry Noble, ed. John Lydgate: The Minor Poems, Vol. II: Secular Poems. EETS o.s. 192 (1934); repr. 1961: 2.449-55.
4.Source: London, British Library Addit. 34360 [olim Phillipps 9053], ff. 24-26v
First Lines:
[T]He order of folis ful yore ago bigonne
Newly professid encresith the covent…
Last Lines:
…Swiche false Erwygges suche covert losengeours
Asseale vp theyr patent for they shal neuer the
5.Source: London, British Library Cotton Nero A.VI, ff. 194v-195
First Lines:
The ordre of folys ful yore be gonne
Nwly professyd encresith the couente…
Last Lines:
…[H]er bul enselyd concludyng in sentence
[Th]at none of al þys ordyr ys neuer like to the
Note: 24 stanzas. Folio number reflects the most recent foliation. Some text runs down left margin and line beginnings have been lost through trimming.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Queene Elizabethes Achademy, etc. EETS e.s. 8 (1869); repr. 1973: 79-84.
6.Source: London, British Library Harley 374, f. 22
Note: Stanzas 6, 10, 12, 13, and 14 only.
Bowers, Robert Hood. “Lydgate’s The Order of Fools in Harley MS 374.” Modern Language Notes 67 (1952): 534-6.
7.Source: London, British Library Harley 2251, ff. 274-276v
First Lines:
THe order of foles ful yore ago bigonne
Newly professed encresith the covent…
Last Lines:
…Suche false Erwygges suche covert losengeours
Enseale vp theyr patent for they shul neuer the
Note: 24 stanzas.
Halliwell-Phillipps, James Orchard, ed. A Selection from the Minor Poems of Don John Lydgate. Percy Society 2. London: T. Richard, 1840: 164.