Ancrene Wisse: Part Six


1 strong, severe; dreheth, endure.

2-3 Al thet ye eaver doth . . . derf ordre, All good things that you ever do (lit., all of good), all that you suffer is a martyrdom for you in so difficult (or, cruel) an order.

4 Si compatimur, conregnabimus, "If we suffer with [Him], we shall reign with [Him]" (2 Timothy 2:12, Romans 8:17).

4-5 As ye scottith with him of his pine on eorthe, As you share with Him in His pain on earth.

6-7 Michi absit gloriari . . . Christi, "Far be it from me to boast (or, glory), except in the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).

7-8 Nos opportet gloriari . . . Christi, "It is necessary for us to glory in the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ" (the Introit for the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross).

8 mot beon, must be.

8-9 This word nomeliche . . . rode, This word (i.e., statement) applies especially to recluses, whose joy ought to be completely in God's Cross.

10-11 Ich chulle biginnin herre . . . sentence, I will begin higher (see explanatory note) and descend thus [back] to this point (lit., here to). Now pay good attention, for most all [of the following] is St. Bernard's opinion.

12-14 the ane mahe beon . . . Jesuse rode, the first may be compared to good pilgrims; the second, to the dead; the third, to those hanged with their good will (i.e., willingly) on Jesus' Cross.

14 forme, first; othre, second.

16 gredeth, cries out.

16-18 Obsecro vos . . . adversus animam, "I implore you, as foreigners and pilgrims, that you hold yourselves back from carnal desires which war against the spirit" (1 Peter 2:11).

18 "Ich halsi ow," "I implore you"; el-theodie, foreign ones, foreigners.

19 weorrith, make war, attack.

20 halt, holds, keeps to (halt = reduced form of haldeth).

20-22 Thah he seo other here . . . his giste, Though he [may] see or hear idle games (or, entertainments) and marvels (i.e., amazing things) by the way, he does not stand still (edstont = reduced form of edstondeth) as fools do, but holds his route (or, course) forward and hurries toward his lodgings.

22-23 He ne bereth na gersum . . . neodeth, He does not carry any possessions (or, treasure) but barely money [enough] for his expenses, nor [does he carry any] clothes except only those that are necessary to him.

23 hali men the, holy men who.

24-25 with god lif-lade . . . of heovene, with a good way of life toward the kingdom of heaven.

25-26 Non habemus . . . inquirimus, "We do not have here (i.e., in this life) an enduring city, but we seek [a city which is] to come" (Hebrews 13:14).

26 wununge, dwelling.

27-28 Beoth bi the leaste thet ha mahen . . . of pilegrim, [Holy men] exist (lit., are) on the least that they can, nor do they hold worldly comfort of any value, though they be on the worldly path - as I said - of the pilgrim.

29-30 Ant ahen wel to habben . . . Giles, And ought well to have, for other pilgrims go (or, proceed) in great difficulty (or, toil) to seek out one [single] saint's bones, such as St. James or St. Giles.

30-31 Ah theo pilegrimes the gath, But those pilgrims who go.

31 i-sontet, sainted, made saints.

32 hali halhen, holy saints.

32-33 i wunne buten ende, in joy without end.

33-34 Ha i-findeth i-wis . . . bisecheth, They [will] certainly find St. Julian's inn, which wayfaring men eagerly seek out.

35 Nu beoth theose gode, Now these are good.

35-39 for allegate pilegrimes . . . sum neaver mare, for pilgrims nevertheless, as I said before, even though they all go continually forward, and do not become citizens (lit., town-men) in the world's city, [some] of [the things] that they see by the way seem good to them sometimes, and [they] linger a bit, though they do not do [so] completely, and many a thing happens to them whereby they are delayed (or, hindered), so that - more is the harm! - some come home late, some nevermore.

40 skerre, freer, purer (see glossary).

41-42 then theo men . . . toward heovene? than those men who have worldly property (lit., things) and do not love it, but give it as it comes to them, and go unburdened, light (or, easily) as pilgrims do toward heaven?

43 Hwa, Who.

43-44 Godd wat . . . ant seith, God knows, those [people] are better to whom the Apostle speaks and declares.

44-46 Mortui estis . . . cum ipso in gloria, "You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When, however, your life (i.e., Christ) will have appeared, then you too will appear with Him (lit., the same) in glory" (Colossians 3:3-4).

46 i-hud mid Criste, hidden with Christ.

47-48 eadeaweth ant springeth . . . blisse, appears and springs (or, rises) like the dawning after night's darkness, and you will rise with Him more beautiful (or, brighter) than the sun into eternal joy.

48-49 The nu beoth thus deade . . . moni-hwet, Whoever are now dead in this way, their way of life is higher, for many a thing afflicts (or, annoys) the pilgrim.

49-50 The deade nis noht of . . . buven eorthe, To the dead it is of little importance (lit., it is of nothing), though he lie unburied and [though he] rot above ground.

50-51 Preise him . . . i-liche leof, Praise him, blame him, do him shame, slander him (lit., say him shame) - all is equally pleasing to him.

51-52 This is a seli death . . . worlde, This is a blessed death which thus puts a living man, or living woman, out of the world.

52 sikerliche hwa-se, certainly whosoever.

53 this is thet, this is what.

54 Vivo ego . . . Christus, "I live, [but] indeed not I. On the contrary - Christ lives in me" (adapted from Galatians 2:20).

55 thurh his in-wuniende grace, through His indwelling grace.

56 sihthe, sight.

56-57 Ah thet te limpeth to Crist . . . cwicnesse, But that which relates to Christ - that I see and hear, and do in vitality (lit., aliveness).

57-58 Thus riht . . . dead, Thus, [quite] rightly, is each religious [person] (i.e., person who has taken religious vows) dead.

58-59 This is an heh steire . . . the seide, This is a high stair, but [there] is still, nevertheless, a higher [one]. And who ever stood on it (lit., there-in)? God knows, he (i.e., the person) who said.

59-61 Michi absit gloriari . . . ego mundo, "Far be it from me to glory unless in the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ, through which the world is crucified to me and I [am crucified] to the world" (Galatians 6:14).

61 thet ich seide th'ruppe, what I said above (lit., up there).

61-63 "Crist me schilde . . . the is ahonget," "Christ shield me from having (lit., to have) any joy in this world except in the Cross of Jesus Christ, my Lord, through whom the world is worthless to me and I am worthless to her, as an criminal who is hanged."

64 hehe stod he the, high stood he who; ancre steire, an anchoress' stair.

65 Michi autem absit . . . et cetera, see gloss to 6.6-7; ne blissi ich me, not take joy (reflex.).

66 thet ich tholie . . . o rode, that I now suffer woe and am reckoned worthless as God was on the Cross.

67 herre, higher.

68-70 ham of heovene . . . of his jurnee, home of heaven, he sees and hears vanity, and speaks [it] for a time, becomes angry (lit., enrages himself) because of wrongs, and many a thing may hinder him from his journey.

70-72 The deade nis na mare . . . ne wunne, To the dead there is no more of shame than of honor, of harsh things than of soft, for he feels neither, and therefore he does not deserve (or, earn) either woe or joy.

72-73 Ah the the is o rode . . . over hure, But he who is on the Cross and has joy in it (lit., thereof), he turns shame to honor and woe to joy, and earns reward over reward.

73-76 This beoth theo . . . ant teone, These (lit., This) are those who are never glad-hearted except when they suffer (i.e., are suffering) some woe or some shame with Jesus on His Cross. For this is happiness on earth, whoever (i.e., when a person) may have shame and hardship for God's love.

76-77 Thus, lo, rihte ancres . . . theos thridde, Thus, look, rightful anchoresses are not only pilgrims, nor yet only dead, but are of this third [group].

78 sariliche, sorrowfully (or, painfully).

78-79 Theos mahe blithe . . . singen, These may joyfully sing with Holy Church.

79 Nos opportet gloriari, (see gloss to 6.7-8).

80 ear, before.

80-82 Hwet-se beo of othre . . . droh o rode, Whatever may be the case with (lit., is of) the others who have their joy, some in the pleasure of the flesh, some in the world's trickery (or, error), some in others' harm, we must needs rejoice (reflex.) in Jesus Christ's Cross - that is, in the shame and in the woe which He suffered on the Cross.

82-85 Moni walde summes weis . . . ham bathe, Many [a person might] want to experience in some way the hardship of the flesh, but to be counted worthless or shameful he could not bear. But he is not but (i.e., is only) halfway upon God's Cross if he is not prepared to experience (or, suffer) them both.

86-89 Vilitas et asperitas . . . blisse of heovene, "Debasement and severity," these two, shame and pain, as St. Bernard says, are the uprights of the ladder which is directed to (i.e., leads to) heaven. And between these uprights the rungs of all good virtues are fastened, by which one climbs to the joy of heaven.

89 For-thi thet, Because.

90 baldeliche, boldly.

91 Vide humilitatem meam . . . delicta mea, "See my humility and my toil and dismiss all my faults" (Psalm 24:18).

92 eadmodnesse ant mi swinc, humility and my toil.

93-95 Notith wel . . . i-tald unwurth, Note well (imper.) these two words which David joins together: "toil" and "humility" - toil in pain and woe, in sorrow, and in sadness; humility in response to the injury of shame which a person (lit., one) suffers who is counted worthless.

95 Ba theos, Both these.

96-97 Dimitte universa . . . mea, see gloss to 6.91.

97-99 "Leaf . . . bi theos leaddre," "Put (lit., Leave)," he said, "behind me and cast away from me all my faults [so] that I, lightened of their heaviness, may lightly climb up to heaven by this ladder."

100-02 i-feiet togederes . . . yetten, joined together - are Elijah's wheels which were burning, it says, and bore him up to paradise, where he lives still (see 2 Kings 2:1-18).

102 is understonden, is to be understood; eileth, afflicts, troubles.

103 Ah wel mei duhen . . . ase hweoles, But it is very fitting (lit., may well be appropriate) [that] they here are rotating like wheels, [and] revolve (lit., turn over) quickly, [and do] not pause any while.

104-05 This ilke is ec bitacnet . . . abuten, This same [thing] is also symbolized by the cherubim's sword before the gates of paradise (see Genesis 3:24), which was [made] of flame and wheeling, turning about.

105-08 Ne kimeth nan . . . agath sone, None (i.e., no one) comes into paradise except through this blazing sword, which was hot and red, and on Elijah's fiery wheels - that is, through sorrow (or, pain) and through shame, which turns over (or, revolves) quickly, and goes away soon.

108-10 Ant nes Godes rode . . . i-heowet? And is God's Cross not ruddied and reddened with His precious blood in order to show in Himself that pain, and care, and sorrow should be colored (or, stained) with shame?

110 Nis hit i-writen bi him, Is it not written concerning Him.

110-11 Factus est obediens . . . crucis, "He was obedient (lit., made obedient) to the father to death, even death on a Cross" (based on Phillipians 2:8).

111 buhsum his feader, obedient (ModE buxom - see glossary) to His father.

112-14 Thurh thet he seide . . . alle othre, By the fact that He first said "death" is pain to be understood. By the fact that afterwards He says "death on the Cross," shame is symbolized, for thus God's death on the dear Cross was painful and shameful over all other [deaths].

115 theos twa ha mot tholien, she must suffer these two things.

116-19 Scheome ich cleopie eaver her . . . ower threal, I always call shame here (i.e., in this section) to be counted worthless, and to beg like a vagabond, if there is need, for her food, and to be given charity to pray for others (lit., to be others' beadsman - see beodes-mon in glossary) - as you are, dear sisters - and to endure often the dominion (or, arrogance) of such [a person] sometimes who might be your thrall.

119-20 thet eadi scheome . . . ow nawt, that blessed (or, fortunate) shame which I tell of. Pain [will] not deceive you.

120-22 I theos ilke twa thing . . . buten ende, In these same two things, in which all penitence is (or, consists), rejoice and be glad (reflex.), for in compensation for these, two-fold (i.e., double) blessings are prepared for you: in compensation for shame, there is honor; in compensation for pain, delight and rest without end.

122-23 Ysa[ias]: In terra . . . possidebunt, Isaiah: "'In their land,' he says, 'they will possess double'" (Isaiah 61:7).

123-24 hare ahne lond . . . her dreheth, their own land possess a two-fold (or, double) joy, in compensation for the double woe which they suffer here.

125-26 for alswa as the uvele . . . eorthe, for just as the evil have no part in heaven, neither do the good have any part in earth.

126-27 Super epistolam