Anonymous: The Land of Cockaygne (1108 words)


The Middle English poem generally known as The Land of Cockaygne (the title is editorial) survives in a single manuscript, London, British Library, MS Harley 913, produced in Ireland probably in the 1330s. The manuscript is very small (less than 6 × 4 inches), an unadorned and rather battered compilation of works in English, Latin, and French. Most of its contents are religious, including some Middle English lyrics and verse sermons, but it also contains some satirical and parodic works. The small format may indicate that it was a friar’s pocket-book (friars were expected to go on foot, so travelled light), and internal evidence points specifically to the Franciscans: the author of one lyric, “Swet Jesus hend and fre”, …

Citation: Millett, Bella. "The Land of Cockaygne". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 August 2010 [, accessed 25 October 2020.]

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