Art. 112, Eulotropia et celidonia


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); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); 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).

1–8 The corresponding early English translation reads: “The first herb is called with the men of Chaldea, Elios, with the Greeks, Matuchiol, with the Latins, Heliotropium, with the Englishmen, Marigold, whose interpretation is of helios, that is the Sun, and tropos, that is alteration, or change, because it is turned according to the Sun. The virtue of this herb is marvellous: for if it be gathered, the Sun being in the sign Leo, in August, and be wrapped in the leaf of a Laurel, or Bay tree, and a Wolf’s tooth be added thereto, no man shall be able to have a word to speak against the bearer thereof, but words of peace. And if any thing be stolen, if the bearer of the things before named lay them under his head in the night, he shall see the thief, and all his conditions. And moreover, if the aforesaid herb be put in any church where women be which have broken matrimony on their part, they shall never be able to go forth of the church, except it be put away. And this last point hath been proved, and is very true” (ed. Best and Brightman, pp. 4–5; text produced by collation of the three Copland editions and the Seres edition).

2 eulotropia. “Heliotrope,” an herbal name that figures in a rich rhetorical and metaphorical tradition, from Ovid to Machaut, Froissart, and Chaucer, where its reference point is the daisy (marguerite) rather than the marigold. See Travis, pp. 169–200.
solsequium. The flower solsecle in Middle English, that is, marigold. It is used as a simile in two Harley lyrics to describe a woman’s beauty and her health-bestowing sweetness. See Annot and John (art. 28), line 20, and Blow, Northern Wind (art. 46), line 67. Its open bloom is said to turn toward the sun as it makes its daily course across the sky.

4 dens lupi. Either the actual tooth of a wolf or the plant wolfsbane (Best and Brightman, p. 4). For comparison, the second herb, celandine, exhibits a virtue when combined with the heart of a mole.

9–12 The corresponding early English translation reads: “The fourth herb is named Aquilaris, of Chaldees, because it springeth in the time in which the Eagles build their nests. It is named of Greeks Valis, of Latins Chelidonium, and of Englishmen Celandine. This herb springeth in the time in which the Swallows, and also the Eagles, make their nests. If any man shall have this herb, with the heart of a Mole, he shall overcome all his enemies, and all matters in suit, and shall put away all debate. And if the before named herb be put upon the head of a sick man, if he should die, he shall sing anon with a loud voice, if not, he shall weep” (ed. Best and Brightman, pp. 6–7). See also Rohde, pp. 63–65, for quotations, including this one, from Copland’s early printed text.


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; : Böddeker; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1937; Dea: J. M. Dean; Do: Dove 1969; Fl: Flood; : Förster; Fu: Furnivall; HB: Hunt and Bliss; Kem: Kemble; Ken: Kennedy; Mi: Millett; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu1: H. J. R. Murray; Mu2: J. A. H. Murray; NB: Noomen and van den Boogard; Pa: Patterson; Rev: Revard 2005a; Ri: Ritson 1877; Ro: Robbins 1959; SP: Short and Pearcy; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

10 habuerit. MS: huerit (er abbreviated).

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Art. 112, Eulotropia et celidonia





¶ Est autem herba que vocatur apud Caldeos yryos, apud Grecos mauchiel, apud
Latinos eulotropia, id est, solsequium. Que si colligatur in estate sole existente in
Virgine (sicut dicitur in Augusto sol in Virgine) et voluatur in folio lauri, et addatur
dens lupi, sciatis quod nullus contra ipsum poterit habere colloquium nisi verba
pacifica. Et si quid furatur in nocte, subtus capud tuum ponatur, videbis furem et
omnes eius conditiones. Et si ponatur in templo ubi sunt mulieres, quarum
connubium per sui defectum frangatur nunquam poterit exire de templo antequam

¶ Est enim herba que vocatur a Caldeis aquibare, a Latinis celidonia. Hanc herbam
si quis cum corde talpe habuerit simuli, devinceret omnes hostes et omnes causas
et lites removebit. Et si ponatur sub capite infirmi, si debeat in illa infirmitate mori,     
statim cantabit alta voce; si non, mox incipiet lacrimari.
¶ There is an herb which is called yryos among the Chaldeans, mauchiel among the
Greeks, heliotrope among Latin speakers, which is to say, marigold. If collected in
summer when the sun is in Virgo (as in August the sun is said to be in Virgo) and
wrapped in a laurel leaf, and if the tooth of a wolf is added, know that no one will
be able to have speech against it except calm words. And if anything is stolen in the
night, let it be placed under your head, and you will see the thief and all his
circumstances. And if it is put in a church when there are women, those whose
marriage vows are being broken through a failing of theirs will never be able to
leave the church before it is put away.

¶ There is an herb that is called aquibare by the Chaldeans, celandine by Latin
speakers. If anyone should have this herb together with the heart of a mole, he
would overcome all enemies and remove all quarrels and contentions. And if it
should be put under the head of a sick man, if he is bound to die of that sickness,
he will at once sing in a loud voice; if not, he will begin to weep.

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