If Winnie-the-Pooh was after honey a long, long time ago (with apologies to A. A. Milne)

Gadere folke, sitte in fere,

Kynyȝtes and damen for to here

Off Wine þe Pooh, þat was a bere

Þat levede yn þe wode.

He was fayre bere and free

& gretlech gaff him to gle.

Vpon a dai seȝ hym a tre

Þat bussyd as hit stode.

So sat he doun upon a benke

Wyþ hede yn powes & gan to þenke.

Þoȝhte he, “tis been, bussynge & swenke,

Maken hony in the tre,

& what ys hony?”, þynketh Bere,

Bot mete so riche & so clere,

So swete & deliciouse & fere.

Hit most be made for me.”

Wine þe Pooh clymbe in to þe tre

& clymben he so tal & heȝe

Til rechyd he þe neste off bee

Whanne sodeinliche, crack!

Þe braunche at hys powes didde breke,

So tombled he, þe freli freke.

“O weilawei!”, he gan to speke,

Þen felle vpon hys backe.

 

Y schall karppe nou of a knyȝt

Þat was both hardy & wyȝt

Christophe Robyn þat hend hyȝt,

Þat dowghty was of dede.

“Sire Christophe”, þe bere didde saye,

“Remembre þou whanne þou didst plei

Wyþ Rabbyt & Pigge tothire dai,

Þou broght hom a balle?”

“Aye”, quoth Christophe, “a balle off aire.

Y broght hom twa: blu & grene fere.

Yf þou wilt, hauen þe þe spare.”

“Y þanke þe, þe skie-blu balle.”

Þe bere rollyd yn þe pludde

Till he was all ouere mudde

Þen fram þe been he þoȝte hym hudde,

Disguised lyke as an cloude.

Wyþ balle off aire blu as þe skien,

Toward þe tre he gan to flien

& as aprochet he þe been

Pooh gan to singe aloude.

 

“Y am an litel cloude of rayne,

Joli & swete hit is to seien

To be a cloude y am feyne,

A worthi cloude am Y!”

 

Þe been þoȝte hit passing strange

To se a cloude n fulle songe.

Þei saugh þat þer was sum thing wronge

& bussyd yn þe skie.

Cried þen Pooh “O weilawei!

Of mi guise suspecte þei.

Y am istunge, y most awai!”

Askyd Christophe, “hou?”

Wyþ arewes schet he þe balle

(& on þe Bere som arewes falle)

& doun cam Pooh, þe Stoicalle.

Þe hony he didde reu.

 

Hys powes stayed in þe aire

For fortenyȝt. Sylly old Bere.

 

Written 22nd November 2018

bear

Detail from London, British Library, Additional MS 26968

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