Medieval English lyrical texts have come down to us as parts of manuscripts collecting a variety of topics, like The Harley Lyrics, or as marginal notes, when a medieval scribe thought a poem interesting enough to be jotted down. All in all we know about 450 manuscripts containing poems and lyrics between 1150 and 1500, for which we sometimes even have the music.
The range of themes in medieval English lyrics is great and can be divided into religious and secular.
A special form of song is the carol that has survived up to nowadays as the famous English Christmas carol, but was used in medieval times for nearly any topic. An especially charming form of medieval poetry is the macaronic verse that reflects humour and a great love for playing with words and languages.