Art. 49, Marie, pur toun enfaunt: Introduction

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Art. 49, Marie, pur toun enfaunt: Introduction

ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

The Joys of Our Lady is an elegant Anglo-Norman prayer by the Five Joys for protection against the devil (named at start and finish). Its stanzas are symmetrically patterned: two open the petition, five enumerate the Joys, two close the petition. The Joys named here are identical to those cited in another French work in Harley, Prayer on the Five Joys of Our Lady (art. 104): Annunciation, Nativity, Resurrection, Assumption, and Coronation. Noting the lyric’s idiom of servitude, fidelity, and elegant compliment, Jeffrey and Levy characterize The Joys of Our Lady as a “courtly-feudal gesture of homage” (p. 48). A slightly different set of Joys is given in the English lyric Five Joys of the Virgin (art. 67), and the motif is mentioned without enumeration in An Autumn Song (art. 63), line 46. On the juxtaposition of this poem with Sweet Jesus, King of Bliss (art. 50), compare the similar placement of Mary, Mother of the Savior (art. 57) as prelude before Jesus, Sweet Is the Love of You (art. 58). For recent commentary on this item, see Durling, pp. 277–78, 286.

[Fol. 75ra–b. ANL 743. Långfors, p. 215. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 8. Meter: Nine 6-line stanzas in tail-rhyme, aabaab. With some irregularities, a-lines have seven or eight syllables, b-lines have five or six. Layout: Double columns. Editions: Wright 1842, pp. 54–56 (no. 17); Dove 1969, pp. 290–92; Jeffrey and Levy, pp. 44–48 (no. 4). Other MSS: None. Translation: Jeffrey and Levy, pp. 45–47.]

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