The article examines the crucial social conditions, political crises, and royal statutes that underlie verse found in London, British Library MS Harley 2253. Special attention is given to seven political poems: three composed under Henry III around the Montfortian 1260s (the English Song of Lewes, the French Lament for Simon de Montfort, and the Latin All the World's a Chess Board); two composed in the 1330s that, like Chess Board, oppose royal taxation (the French-Latin Against the King's Taxes and the English Song of the Husbandman); a poem of outlaw protest (the French Trailbaston); and a comic dialogue (the French Jongleur of Ely and the King of England). These poems participated in the sociopolitical history of England—local, regional, and national—from 1300 to 1350. Three appendices present the political verse copied by the Harley Scribe into Harley 2253 and Royal 12. C. xii, the relationship of Husbandman to contemporary statutes, and a ribald analogue to Jongleur.

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