The Tale of Peter Rabbit (with apologies to Beatrix Potter)

Herken, lordynges, and her tel

Of rabettes lyvynge in a del.

Rabettes four and moþir dere

Lyvede al in muchel fere

For þer was a gardyner bī

Hadde eten þer faþir in a pi.


Flopsen, Mopsen and Coton-taille

Went gaderyng buries wyþ ther paille

Wheras Peter, nawghty rabet

Went ynto þe gardyn undir wyket.

Latacan he ete, and muchel bene,

And rædic, mo þan þou hast sene

Þen sykeneth he and, felynge sore

Wante to fynde petrosilij flore.


Hwæt! Þe manne bi cucumer

Ys McGregore, fersome gardyner!

“Arrete, þeef!”, þe man did crie.

Peter herde and he did flie!

He forȝat his sho in cabochis,

Þe tothir in þe plantis,

Hys cote was token bi þe manne,

Þen hid he in a vatir-canne.

Þe water prouoked hym to snese;

Þe gardynyr fonde hym wyth ese.


Bot down þe gardyn Peter gaeth

And saȝe a Mous wiþ fode in moueth

And gaeth som mo and saȝe a Cat

And þenne, enfin, he saȝe þe gat!

Peter went home, wyþ joie and wo,

Had Camamille and noþynge mo.


Written on Beatrix Potter’s birthday, 28th July 2016




Detail from London, British Library, Royal MS 3 D vi, f. 234


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