Separating the sacred from the secular among Middle English lyricsand sometimes even within a single lyric-can be a diffi cult task.2 “Wiþ longyng y am lad,” the poem from which I have drawn several crucial lines in the epigraph for this chapter, is one of the best-known and admired lyrics in Harley MS 2253.3 The poem illustrates the interpretative problem that is central to this chapter (and equally pertinent to the analysis of ‘secular’ works in other chapters) in a striking fashion. Though considered a ‘secular’ lyric, and assigned by its editor the title “The Lover’s Complaint,” throughout the poem the speaker’s putative worldly love relationship-in the selected lines quoted above, and in several others that could be cited-is imbricated with unmistakably religious terms that evoke loving devotion to Mary and Christ (but especially to Mary).