Art. 1, Vitas Patrum: Introduction

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Art. 1, Vitas Patrum: Introduction

ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); BnF: Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris); CUL: Cambridge University Library; MED: Middle English Dictionary; NLW: National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth); PL: Patrologiae cursus completus . . . series latina (Migne).

Before the Ludlow scribe initiated his project of trilingual compilation — a project that eventually tripled the length of MS Harley 2253 — he owned two booklets of Anglo-Norman religious narrative. Volume 1 presents for the first time an edition and translation of the contents of these booklets.

Booklets 1–2 may have already been joined when the Ludlow scribe acquired them, for both display the same neat textura script written by Scribe A and the same dimensions. The folios and rulings are larger here than in the more compact pages found in the Ludlow scribe’s other manuscripts (London, BL MS Harley 273 and MS Royal 12.C.12). Although the texts are complete, these booklets are technically unfinished, for Scribe A omitted decorative details: there are no paraphs, no large initials, no touches of red ink. When the Ludlow scribe acquired the booklets, he may have intended to rubricate them himself. To each text he attached a title in red ink. He also added just a few paraphs and enlarged initials, but mostly he left that job unfinished. Another hand, presumably a later one, filled in a large number of Scribe A’s blank spaces with crude, sometimes erroneous initials (as detailed in the textual notes).

BOOKLET 1

VITAS PATRUM / THE LIVES OF THE FATHERS [ART. 1]

The 4,165-line Lives of the Fathers occupies the whole of booklet 1 (fols. 1–22) aside from a short piece at the end that serves as a coda. This brief item (art. 1a) recounts the story of Thais, a redeemed courtesan. Both pieces are products of the same poet and are drawn from the same general source. The author translates the Latin Verba seniorum, which is a portion of the longer Vitae patrum, into alexandrine couplets. This broad source, the Vitae patrum, is an assemblage of sage sayings and exempla attributed to the ancient Desert Fathers, and associated with it are saints’ lives that include those of Thais and Marina (compare art. 32). The “Fathers” of the title are “those ascetics who, during the period 250–500 A.D., laid the foundations of Christian monachism in the deserts of Egypt” (O’Connor, p. xi).

The Lives of the Fathers found in Harley 2253 is allied with a second copy found in Paris, BnF MS français 24862. Taken together, these two redactions preserve 6,918 lines of a long work created by an important Anglo-Norman translator. Viewed individually, each manuscript relays a different selection from the original French whole. The two medieval compilers created two unique versions. Comparing them, one finds much overlap as well as much divergence. The Harley version has 4,165 lines; Paris has 4,863 lines. They share 2,110 lines. The basic structure and nature of each compilation have not been given much critical attention. The Paris version was edited in 1949 by Br. Basilides Andrew O’Connor. At the end of his edition, O’Connor prints the 2,055 lines unique to Harley (pp. 160–224). Because of this method, the Harley version was not printed in full or in sequence. Consequently, the present edition displays the Harley version for the first time.

Four works have been ascribed to the poet. Besides The Lives of the Fathers, they are The Story of Thais (art. 1a), Antichrist (ANL 584), and The Vision of Saint Paul. (ANL 554). Composed in the same meter, the four are all preserved in the Paris manuscript. O’Connor believed the poet to be Henri d’Arci, a twelfth-century Templar and likely descendent of a baronial Lincolnshire family. But recent scholarship has shown that the poet was not Henri. Instead, Henri was the poet’s patron. According to Keith Sinclair, the author was an anonymous London priest or Austin canon who undertook, c. 1170–1180, the vernacular translation-abridgment of the Latin Vitae patrum for the edification of Henri d’Arci’s “illiterate brethren of the Temple” (1997, p. 762), that is, Temple Bruer near Lincoln. On the authorship question and the three other works by this anonymous poet, see Perman, pp. 279–321. The Harley Lives of the Fathers consists of a 20-line introduction rhyming on one sound, followed by 131 sections of varying length. These sections contain 66 exempla, that is, illustrative stories or moral similes. Sections follow a typical pattern of imparting a saying or moral wisdom from an abbot father to an enquiring young monk. In this edition, sections are keyed by number in the right margin to the ten-volume edition by the Jesuit Heribert Rosweyde (1628), printed in PL, volumes 73, 74, and 21 (columns 387–426). The Anglo-Norman poet has drawn mainly from Books 5 and 6 of this source. For a convenient table of contents, along with substantial portions of the Latin version translated into English prose, see Baker (available online). In the text as a whole, there exists a sense of sequential order — derived from the source but also subject to some shaping by the compiler — which is particularly evident in how the work ends: an account of how souls are extracted postmortem from the wicked versus the virtuous (lines 4082–4165). The compiler’s choice of this passage delivers a suitable close in heavenly bliss, with dulcet angel song and harping by David. The table below presents an outline of the Harley version.

Helpful background is also provided in The Lives of the Desert Fathers, trans. N. Russell, and The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, trans. Ward. The latter is a medieval arrangement of many Latin sayings according to the alphabet, keyed to the abbots’ names. Correspondent sections and abbots’ names in Ward are listed in the explanatory notes below.

[Fols. 1ra–21vb. ANL 583. Scribe: A, with title inserted by B (Ludlow scribe). Quires: 1–2. Initials: Scribe A left spaces for large initials throughout the text; Scribe B inserts a few on fol. 1ra (see textual notes). Meter: Alexandrine (i.e., twelve-syllable) lines in couplets. The prologue (lines 1–20) has one rhyme. The first section (lines 21–32) rhymes in quatrains. Layout: Two columns. Editions: Meyer 1895, pp. 160–67 (lines 1–194); O’Connor, pp. 160–224 (passages not in the Paris MS). Other MS: Paris, BnF MS français 24862, fols. 60rb–97va (ed. O’Connor, pp. 1–160; ed. Meyer 1895, pp. 140–46 [extract]). Latin Source: Vitae patrum, Books 5–7 (PL 73; trans. Baker). Middle English Analogues: See Rosenthal, passim. Translations : None.]



OUTLINE OF THE HARLEY 2253 VERSION OF THE LIVES OF THE FATHERS

1–20



21–32
33–44
45–52
53–74
75–80
81–96
97–126

127–34
135–52

153–80
181–94
195–200
201–12
213–21
222–29
230–43
244–63
264–95



296–305
306–21

322–45

346–55
356–99





400–05
406–23
424–76
477–86
487–508
509–24

525–84

585–604
605–16
617–28
629–46




647–62

663–778





779–96

797–806
807–28
829–44
845–75

876–95


896–909

910–17



918–33
934–53
954–63
964–87

988–1011

1012–31
1032–49

1050–81


1082–91
1092–1110


1111–13
1114–60

1161–76

1177–364





1365–418

1419–42



1443–62
1463–78
1479–80
1481–530

1531–56

1557–61
1562–785

1786–95
1796–823

1824–37
1838–55


1856–73

1874–937

1938–56
1957–2044

2045–79

2080–105

2106–39




2140–79


2180–218

2219–36
2237–46

2247–76

2277–94


2295–308
2309–26



2327–44
2345–64

2365–70
2371–78
2379–441



2442–55
2456–89


2490–531





2532–73


2574–605

2606–29


2630–37

2638–55
2656–72




2673–88
2689–726
2727–40




2741–68


2769–90


2791–830





2831–64

2865–86

2887–924

2925–78





2979–92

2993–3054


3055–92


3093–152

3153–68

3169–204

3205–24

3225–50


3251–374





3375–96

3397–418




3419–442





3443–72




3473–514






3515–56






3557–658





3659–865





3866–953




3954–77




3978–4082


4083–166


Introduction

5.1 RULES OF THE FATHERS

5.1.1. Three ways to please God
5.1.2. Three ways to act for God
5.1.3. Three things God requires
5.1.8. Virtues required for Christians
5.1.7. Abandon worldly property
5.1.9. Three actions honorable before God
5.1.11. Works most pleasing to God
(Exemplum: Abraham, Elijah, David)
5.1.12. Three works profitable to the body
5.1.14. Three things needful to the solitary life
(Exemplum: Noah, Job, Daniel)
5.1.15. Two things a monk must hate
5.1.16. Wise last words
5.1.18. Wise last words
5.1.10. Wise last words
5.1.19. Three ways to gain fear of God
5.1.20. Four things the soul requires
5.1.21. Four rules for salvation
5.1.22. Rules for monastic life
5.1.23. More rules for monks

5.2. INNER STILLNESS

5.2.8. On covetousness
5.2.13. Value of solitary life

5.2.12. On pride and fleeing carnal things
(Exemplum: The enemy and the well)
5.2.14. Value of life among people
5.2.16. Value of the solitary life
(Exemplum: Three men and the goblet
of water)

5.3. COMPUNCTION

5.3.1. Value of holy tears
5.3.2. Value of fear of Doomsday
5.3.3. Sermon on Doomsday
5.3.4. Three things to fear
5.3.14. Two things to weep for
5.3.16. Weeping and the work of monastic life
(Exemplum: Lighted coal)
5.3.20. Man chastened by vision of his mother
in hell
5.3.21. Value of fear of Doomsday
5.3.22. Value of fear of God
5.3.25. Value of weeping and fear of Doomsday
5.3.27. Value of weeping
(Exemplum: Tears are like the Promised Land)

5.5. SEXUAL TEMPTATION

5.5.3. Seek counsel from wise old men

5.5.4. The old may lack wisdom
(Exemplum: Devil deceives old monk and
young monk)

5.4 SELF-CONTROL

5.4.15. Doing amends is greater than fasting

5.4.28. Chastise without anger
5.4.41. Preserve chastity
5.4.42. Observe fasting
5.4.43. Numerous sayings on chastity, fasting,
and virtuous speech
5.4.67. Observe fasting
(Exemplum: Old monk who abstained from
water)
5.4.68. Do not touch women
(Exemplum: Monk carries mother across river)
5.4.69. Retreat from others when fasting

5.5. SEXUAL TEMPTATION

5.5.2. Shield your heart from carnal temptation
5.5.1. Three tendencies for sin
5.5.5. Value of lustful thoughts for fighting sin
5.5.10. Fight lustful thoughts
(Exemplum: Abbress tempted to fornicate)
5.5.16. Fight lustful thoughts
(Exemplum: Odors of the tavern)
5.5.15. Fight temptation
5.5.30. Fight temptation and know God dwells in
the body
5.5.18. Struggles of monks versus novitiates
(Exemplum: Rebuilding a house that falls
down)
5.5.20. Value of temptation
5.5.21. Temptation by devil through women
(Exemplum: Boy who didn’t know about
women)
5.5.22. Temptation through women
5.5.26. Being scandalized by another’s sin
(Exemplum: Deacon sins with a woman)
5.5.30. Treat temptation with bitter thoughts
(Exemplum: Wet-nurse weans an infant)
5.5.41. Devil tempts one to sin, but God has mercy
(Exemplum: Monk prays for mercy; God lights
a lamp)

5.6. A MONK SHOULD NOT POSSESS ANYTHING

5.6.21. Devil tempts one to trust in money not God
(Exemplum: Gardener whose foot is healed)
5.6.22. Abandon wealth and trust in God

5.7. PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE

5.7.1. Avoid temptation by work and prayer
5.7.8. Value of troubled thoughts
5.7.11. Value of difficult work
5.7.12. Believe in the true God
(Exemplum: Pagan princes torture Milesius)
5.7.22. Tribulations increase for those assailed
by temptation
5.7.23. Virtues require effort
5.7.24. How to handle troubled thoughts
(Exemplum: Young hermit is tricked by the Devil)
5.7.25. Value of pain and torment in this world
5.7.27. How to handle troubled thoughts
(Exemplum: Monk stays in his cell and improves)
5.7.28. How to handle boredom
5.7.31. Virtue of hard effort
(Exemplum: Old monk makes water harder to
obtain)
5.7.34. How to handle sloth
(Exemplum: Be like Anthony)
5.7.40. How to handle tribulation of spirit
(Exemplum: Clear a field bit by bit)
5.7.42. Value of penance
5.7.43. Value of penance and humility
(Exemplum: Monk stays awake while abbot sleeps)
5.7.44. God does not forsake those who trust him
(Exemplum: Ill solitary monk cared for by angel)
5.7.46. A poor man’s humility
(Exemplum: Man on mat gives thanks to God)
5.7.47. How to handle confession in isolation
(Exemplum: Vision of virgin consoler)

5.8. DO NOTHING FOR SHOW

5.8.1. Value of penance
(Exemplum: Young monk is like a ship against
the wind)
5.8.9. Value of penance and humility
(Exemplum: Monk learns to hear chastisement)
5.8.11. Conceal your good works from others
5.8.12. Run from vainglory
(Exemplum: Dragon)
5.8.13. Bond to God is above family bond
(Exemplum: Pastor’s nephew arrested)
5.8.19–20. Conceal your good works
(Exemplum: Grass cannot simultaneously be a
seed)
5.8.21. Conceal your fasting
5.8.22. Conceal your abstinence

5.9. JUDGE NO ONE

5.9.3. Do not judge another
5.9.4. Do not judge another
(Exemplum: Moses carries basket on his back)
5.9.5. Do not judge another; examine yourself
5.9.6. Hide the sins of another
5.9.7. Do not judge another
(Exempla: (1) Culpable monk is judged and
expelled, then welcomed by Pastor;
(2) Monks pray over dead men)
5.9.8. How to gain peace: do not judge another
5.9.9. Do not judge another
(Exemplum: Prior carries baskets in front and
in back)
5.9.11. Do not judge another
(Exemplum: Communion by priest who may be
sinful)

5.11. LIVING SOBERLY

5.11.18. Strive to attend God’s service
(Exemplum: Monks sleep during sermon, wake
for idle talk)
5.11.26. Talk with sorrow and weeping; avoid idle
talk
5.11.28. Avoid worldly delight
(Exemplum: Silvanus averts eyes from garden’s
beauty)
5.11.44. Struggle against thoughts; confess today,
not tomorrow
5.11.46. Three powers of Satan that enter the heart
5.11.52. Three reasons the abbot laughed on his
deathbed

5.12. PRAYER WITHOUT CEASING

5.12.2. Private prayer is the hardest virtue
5.12.9. How to pray continuously
5.12.32. Close off your body from outside forces
(Exemplum: Smoke outside a house)

5.13. HOSPITALITY

5.13.12. On charity
(Exemplum: Women seeking alms judged by
appearance)
5.13.14. On charity
(Exemplum: Woman seeking alms chided for
size of vessel)
5.13.15. On charity
(Exemplum: Miracle of bread distributed by
old monk)

5.14. OBEDIENCE

5.14.4. On obedience
(Exemplum: Monk who captured lioness for Paul)
5.14.8. On obedience
(Exemplum: Monk willing to drown his son)
5.14.18. On obedience
(Exemplum: Monk willing to burn son in oven)
5.14.17. On obedience
(Exemplum: Continent brother and obedient
brother)

5.15. HUMILITY

5.15.1. Do not question God’s distribution of goods
and fortunes
5.15.11. On obedience as necessary for communal
peace
(Exemplum: Anoub stones the stone images)
5.15.14. On virtuous restraint
(Exemplum: Monk defeats Devil by turning other
cheek)
5.15.25. On lies exposed by God
(Exemplum: Pregnant girl falsely accuses Macarius)
5.15.26. Humility defeats the Devil
(Exemplum: Devil meets Macarius on the road)
5.15.52. On humility
(Exemplum: Hermit who tended the pigs)
5.15.64. On humility
(Exemplum: Monk expelled like a dog)
5.15.67. Humility defeats the Devil
(Exemplum: Monk thinks “angel” comes for
someone else)
5.15.88. Humility of admitting one own’s guilt
(Exempla: (1) Two monks will not accept blame;
(2) Two monks castrate themselves)

5.16. PATIENCE

5.16.13. On repudiation of worldly goods
(Exemplum: Monk helps thieves who rob him)
5.16.19. On repudiation of worldly goods
(Exemplum: Monk who thanked his robbers)

5.17. CHARITY

5.17.25 On disciplined thoughts
(Exemplum: Monk rewarded for drinking waste
water)

6.4. SAYINGS OF MOSES

6.4.37. On vigilance against the Devil’s wiles
(Exemplum: Monk who kills father with an ax)

6.1. SECOND SIGHT

6.1.13. On false appearances and God’s true
judgments
(Exemplum: Death of hermit versus death of
wealthy man)

6.3. SUPERLATIVE OBSERVANCES BY SOME HOLY PEOPLE

6.3.16. On rewards and punishments of the
other world
(Exemplum: Macarius’s discourse with dead
pagan’s head)

5.18. SECOND SIGHT

5.18.9. Discipline defeats the Devil
(Exemplum: Macarius teaches monk assailed by
Devil posing as a medicine man)

6.1. SECOND SIGHT

6.1.15. Value of the fear of God
(Exemplum: Girl witnesses parents’ fates in
other world)

7.24. PENANCE IS ACCEPTED BY GOD

7.24.1–2. Do penance and seek mercy
(Exemplum: Monk rescues sister from a brothel)

6.2. OLD MEN WHO DID SIGNS

6.2.13. Miracle performed unwittingly by Sisois
(Exemplum: Dead boy revives)

6.3. SUPERLATIVE OBSERVANCES BY SOME HOLY PEOPLE

6.3.2. The heremitic ideal
(Exemplum: Two brothers become more
perfect through abstinence and prayer)
6.3.13. Good works are better than a good
reputation
(Exemplum: How a soul is extracted from a
hypocrite versus a pious pilgrim)




Anthony
Anthony
Gregory
John
Theodore
Joseph


Pastor
Pastor

Pastor
Pambo
Chame
John (told by Cassian)








Evagrius
Sisois and
Abraham
Pastor

Marone






Arsenius
Ammon
Evagrius
Elias
Pambo and Athanasius
Syncletica











Moses (told by
Cassian)
Apollo





Epiphanius and
Hilarion
Hilarion
Syncletica
Syncletica
Hyperechius










Secunde
Anthony
Cyrus of Alexandria
Sarah






























Anthony
John (told by Cassian)
Matoes
Milesius







Arsenius





















Anthony


Serapion (told by
Cassian)
Matoes
Ischyrion

Pastor

Syncletica







Isaac of Thebes
Moses

Joseph and Pastor
Pastor
Pastor



Anthony
Prior








Cassian


Lot (told by Peter)

Silvanus










Agatho
Lucius

















Paul

Sisois









Anthony

Anoub and Pastor
(told by John)

Daniel


Macarius

Macarius







































Macarius






Macarius











Pimenius




Sisois (living with
Anthony)



Macarius (told by
Vindemius)






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