Ne shulde no bourde on bedde be · but if þei bothe were clene
Ne shulde no bourde on bedde be but ȝif þei bothe were clene
Ne shold no bourd on bed be , but if they bothe were cleane
Ne sholde no bourde on bedde be . but if þei boþe were clene
Ne shulde no bourde on bedde be · but if þey were clene
Ne schulde no bourde on bedde be but if þei boþe werenO.9.199: O alone has weren in place of were. clene
Ne schulde no berde a-beddeR.9.186:
Bx itself may be marginally corrupt here: F has lyggyn In
bedde, while beta reads bourde on bedde. Both Kane-Donaldson and
Schmidt emend this beta phrase to the reading of Cx, which is bedbourde. However, a key component of the larger textual conundrum is the
meaning of R's berde. It seems completely implausible as a spelling of
beta's bourde. Far likelier is a bland meaning such as "a youth." Cf.
MED, s. v.
bird(e) (n. 1): "A man of noble birth; scion, lord . . . also, any
young person." The omission and garbling here in R and F suggest an intention, on alpha's
part, to bowdlerize the entire passage, as at R3.52, by omitting most of the offensive sexual
material (here the lines are KD9.182-88, with their hypothetical reference to the reader's
youthful, "keen weapon" and the untimely engendering of Cain) and patching together what
remains. be but if þei bothe were clene .
Ne sholde not lyggyn In bedde / but þeiF.6.309: The <i> has an extra stroke and looks to some degree like an <r>. boþe were clene.