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  • “Adam Lay Ibounden”
  • Anonymous (15th Century)

Adam lay ibounden

Boudnen in a bond;

Foure thousand winter

Thowt he not too ­long.

And all wa for an appil,

An appil that he took,

As clerkes finden wreten

In here ­book.

Ne hadde the appil taken ben,

The appil taken ben,

Ne hadde never our Lady

A ben hevene ­quen.

Blissed be the time

That appil take ­was!

Therefore we moun singin

“Deo gracias!”


“Adam Lay Ibounden” is an anonymous Middle-English lay that can be traced back to a 15th Century English text — although its date of composition no doubt predates even that document. The British Library holds that the lyric was penned by a wandering minstrel. With some variations in local dialect, the language is essentially the same used by contemporary poet Geoffrey ­Chaucer.

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