I am particularly interested — like a few of my classmates, it seems — in the lyric “The Nun’s Lament.“ The poem sounds like it’s meant to be humorous, like a limerick or other low-brow, bawdy entertainment that you might find in a pub or a tavern. However, at least in this translation, it’s actually fairly sad; the narrative voice, the nun, is complaining of how lonely she is and expressing a want to find romantic (and/or sexual) love, which she’s not permitted to do because of her station.
I think the compelling thing about this poem is the question of authorship; it seems like most takes are that the poem would've been written by a man, not in fact by a nun. This theory gives it more of a mocking tone, of course, since it would entail the man in question writing as this off-the-cuff persona of a nun. It’s also worth noting that humor involving nuns behaving sexually is pretty common fare in the modern era (Monty Python and the Holy Grail comes to mind), so it’s by no means a far-fetched assumption that said humor has probably existed as long as nuns themselves.
On the other hand, I do appreciate the idea that the writer may in fact have been a nun, or at least a woman, writing this lament in a genuine way to use the position of a nun, someone who can’t find love or familial contentment, to evoke sympathy or pity. It’s impossible to say one way or the other, but the lonely, yearning nun is probably a bit rarer a trope than the randy one, so maybe I’m a little biased towards this take.