John Mirk, Sermon on St. Margaret

JOHN MIRK, SERMON ON ST. MARGARET: FOOTNOTES

1 suche a day [N], on such and such a day [to be inserted by the speaker].

2 thagh . . . hur name, although it is just a minor holiday, except where the church is dedicated to her.

3-4 that he wyl fasten hur evon, that he wishes (or, they wish) to fast on the evening before her feast day.

4-5 ye quyte yow not . . . a masse of hure, you do not behave to her as you should unless you [also] come to church the next day and hear a mass in her honor.

6 cun yow more thank to makyn a masse isayde, offer you more thanks for having a mass said.

8 joyeth, gladdens.

9 sokoreth, helps (succors); scharité, charity.

10 and no forthur, and no one else.

11 I wil schewen in party of hyr lyfe, I will tell a little of her life story.

14 leved on falce goddys and mawmentrye, believed in false gods and idolatry.

16 harde spekon, heard [people] speak.

17-18 thraldam of the fende, slavery to the devil (fiend).

19 harde, heard.

21 have parte of, have anything to do with; lyven in hur maydonhedde, would live in virginity.

23 forsoke hur, disowned her; despysid hur to the utmaste, scorned her entirely.

24 fyftene yere holde, fifteen years old.

26 os scheo satte be the way, as she sat beside the road.

29 gentyl of kynde, of gentle birth.

30 to lemman, as his mistress.

32-33 he made to henggyn hyr up, he ordered [his men] to hang her up.

33-34 rason hyr fayre body wyth euelys, tear her lovely body with hooks (awls).

35 til on the morowgh, until the next day.

37-38 that scheo moste sene . . . enemys ageynus hur, that she might see in bodily form the devil (fiend) that aroused such strong enemies against her.

38 herne, corner.

39 yonyd, opened his mouth wide (yawned).

40 laste doun to hur hele, reached down to her heel(s).

43 standyn in a hurne, alle matyd, standing in a corner, all defeated.

44 styrte, moved quickly.

45 alle hyr mythe, all her power (might).

46 lorne, now, lost, now [that].

48 nogh suche a noghtyng, now such an insignificant person.

49 Herefore where that Margrete is peyntyd oythur corvon, For this reason, wherever Margaret is painted or sculpted (carved).

50-51 be the vertu of the Cros scheo gate the victory of the fende, by the power of the Cross she vanquished the devil.

52 Holde thi janglyng, Stop your noisy chatter.

53 lynage, ancestry.

56 slowen, killed (slew).

57 made to do to deth, caused to be put to death.

58 made many on to slee othyr, caused many a person to kill another; avowtry, adultery.

59 leson here soules, to lose their souls; most levest me is, what pleases me best is.

60 whan he toke hys cristondam, when he received baptism.

60-61 say he was on of, said he was one of.

61 closyd, enclosed; hud, hid.

62 for men sen smok, since people saw smoke.

62-63 thei wendon for to a fowndon, they supposed they had found.

63 dyggon, dug down.

64 brekyn, broke.

65-66 don Cristen men the gref that we connyn and mowne, cause Christian people as much trouble (grief) as we know how and are permitted.

67-68 most synkon, might sink.

68 bodyus, people (bodies).

69 oponyd, opened; swellowod, swallowed.

70 the morowen, the next day.

70-71 for he myght be no way ovrecome hur, since he could not defeat her by any means.

71 made to fyllyn a grete fatte, had a great vessel filled.

73 that fatte moste ben hyr fonte, that vessel might be her baptismal font; lavyr and wassyng, [spiritual] cleansing and washing.

74 fowlowod in the noumbur, baptized into the company.

77 mylk-qwyte colvyr, milk-white dove.

78 brygh, bright; lygh, alighted.

80 turnent, torment.

83 wythoute wommen and chyldren, not counting women and children.

84 made anone to be hedon, caused to be beheaded immediately; fulwode in hur owne blode, baptized in their own blood.

85 yodon, went; commaunded to leden Margrete, ordered that Margaret be led.

87 made a chyrch, built a church.

88 fond any lyght, provided a lamp or set of candles.

89-90 don hem sokur radly, give them help quickly.

91 in travayle of chylde, in the pains of childbirth; muste, might.

92 come to cristyndom, live long enough to be baptized.

93 bone, request (boon).

94 turmentoures smotte hur hed of, executioner(s) struck off her head.

95 thei that stodon abowton seyne, they who stood nearby saw.

96 mylke-qwyte colvyr, milk-white dove; beron, carried.

JOHN MIRK, SERMON ON ST. MARGARET: EXPLANATORY NOTES

Abbreviations: C = British Library MS Cotton Claudius A.ii, fols. 90v-91v [base text]; E = Theodor Erbe [EETS edition]; H 2391 = British Library MS Harley 2391, fols. 149r-150r; H 2403 = British Library MS Harley 2403, fols. 127v-130r; H 2417 = British Library MS Harley 2417, fols. 52r-53v.

60-66 For this tradition about Solomon, see explanatory note to the stanzaic life of Margaret, lines 223-32.

97 etc. Some MSS specify the call to prayer with which the sermon is to end: Now schal ye knele adowne and pray Saynt Margret to kepe you from al myschevys and from the fyndys comburment [enticement to sin] so that ye may lyve and ende that ye may have the blysse that Jhesu boght you to. Amen (quoted from E; H 2403 and H 2417 have comburance in place of comburment, and end there). H 2391 has a different closing formula: Now trewly, frendes, sen it es so that this blessyd saynt, Saynt Margaret, askyd slyke a boon of God, me thynke that everylke Cristyn man and woman sulde have gret devocion to worschyp Saynt Margaret, that thurgh the wylke worschypyng we myght come to that blyse that never schall have end. Amen.

JOHN MIRK, SERMON ON ST. MARGARET: TEXTUAL NOTES

Abbreviations: see explanatory notes.

1 Gode men. Some MSS have Good men and women, or no salutation at all.

2 edyfyed. Other MSS have dedicated or deynt instead.

5 schulde. C has the form schuldo, presumably an error for either schulde or schulde do.

30 wolde. C: omits.

31 he wyst. C and most other MSS omit he.

33 Some MSS specify that he hung her up by the hair.

54 and. C: an.

60 he say. C: omits he. A few MSS have the fuller reading yeet he sayd more, which also appears in E's EETS edition.

64 leton. The reading is found in E's EETS edition and most of the MSS. C: beton.

71 C: bydon, which I have emended to byndon on the basis of other MSS' bynd or bonde.

77 pepul. C has the peculiar form pepully, perhaps by contamination from one of the nearby adverbs.

81 cryedon. C: cryened, which is presumably just an error for cryed or cryeden.

84 thei. C: the, an obvious slip.

86 to be beheded. C: to be heded hyre, which looks like a mixture of the idioms "to be beheaded" and "to behead her."

90 graunte. C: graunted, but the syntax obviously demands either an infinitive or present subjunctive.

96 and1. C: an.
 
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John Mirk, Sermon on St. Margaret

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    Gode men, suche a day [N] ye schal have the fest of Seynt Margrete. And
thagh it be a lyght halyday, save theras the schyrch is edyfyed in hur name, yitte
I warne yow, for as I suppose ther ben somme that have suche love to hure, that
he wyl fasten hur evon. Bot than ye that faste hur evyn, ye quyte yow not to hyr
os ye schulde bot if ye comon to chyrch on morowun and heren a masse of hure;
for scheo wyl cun yow more thank to makyn a masse isayde in worchep of hur
than to faston many evenes brede and watur wythoute masse. For the masse
joyeth alle the angellys of Heven, it fedeth and comfordeth the soules in purcatorie,
and sokoreth alle that leveth in erthe in scharité. And he that fasteth the evyn, he
helpyth hymselfe, and no forthur. Than to styrron youre devocion the more to this
holy maydon, I wil schewen in party of hyr lyfe, and whate scheo suffred for
Goddys love.
    [Narracio] I rede in hir lyf that scheo hadde a grete man to hir fadur, and he
was a paynym and leved on falce goddys and mawmentrye. Bot whan that Margarete
was borne, the fadur sente hyr into the cuntré to a norys. So whyl scheo was
longe there among othyr maydenys, sche harde spekon of God and of oure Lorde
Jhesu Criste, how He boght mankynde wyth Hys deth oute of thraldam of the
fende, and how He lovid specialy alle that woldon leven in chastité and servon
Hym in sympulnesse and poverté. Than, whan that Margarete harde this, scheo
toke suche a love to Jhesu Cryste, that scheo made a vow in hir herte, that scheo
wolde nevre have parte of mannus body, but lyven in hur maydonhedde alle hur
lyve-dayes aftur. But whan hyr fadur harde how Margarete, hys doghtyr, was
levyng in Criste, he forsoke hur for hys doghtyr and despysid hur to the utmaste.
Than dwellyd scheo wyth hyr noryce til scheo was fyftene yere holde, and than
scheo sette hyr to kepe hyr scheppe wyth other maydonys of hyr age.
    Than os scheo satte be the way, com the justyce of the cuntré rydyng that way
that was callyd Olybryus, and sagh Margrete that scheo was fayre passyng alle
othyr. Anone he caght suche a love to hyre for hur bewté that he badde hys men
bryngon hyr to hym, and if scheo were gentyl of kynde, he wolde weddon hyr,
and if scheo were a servaunde, he wolde han hyr to lemman. Bot whan scheo was
broght beforyn hym, and he wyst that scheo was of Criston fayth, than was he
neygh wode for wrothe. And for scheo wolde not assent to hym, he made to
henggyn hyr up, and so beton hyr wyth scorges, and to rason hyr fayre body
wyth euelys, that it was wondur to sene the grete plenté of blode that com oute of
hyr body, and aftyr made to caston hyr in prison til on the morowgh, that he
myght bethenkyn hym what were best to don wyth hyr.
    Than preyed Margrete to God that scheo moste sene the fende bodyly that so
reysyd so strong enemys ageynus hur. Than anone com there oute of a herne of
the prison a grete horrybul dragon and yonyd on hur, so that hys mowth was on
hyr heved, and wolde han swalowod hyr, and hys tong laste doun to hur hele. And
whan he hadde hyr alle in hys mowth, Margrete made a syne of the cros, and
anone the dragon braste on-sondyr. Than Margrete lokyd abowte hur and seygh
the fende standyn in a hurne, alle matyd, wyth hys handys boundyn behynd hym.
Scheo styrte to hym, and pullyd hym downe undyr hyr fete, and sette hyr fette on
hys nek, and thrust hym doun to the grounde wyth alle hyr mythe. Than cryed the
fende and sayde, "Allas, I am undone for ever, and alle my myght is lorne, now
suche a yong wenche hath ovrecome me! Many a byggar man and stronger I have
ovrecomen, and nogh suche a noghtyng hath geton the maystry over me and put
me undur hur fotte!" Herefore where that Margrete is peyntyd oythur corvon,
scheo hath a dragon undyr hur fette and a cros in hur hande, schewing how be the
vertu of the Cros scheo gate the victory of the fende.
    Than seyde Margrete, "Holde thi janglyng, fende, and telle me anone whate ys
thine lynage, and what ben thin werkys?"
    Than answerid he and sayde: "My fadur is Lucifer that was furste the fayrest
angel in Hevne, and now he is the fowlest fende in helle. And of my werkys I telle
thee that be my techyng the Jewes slowen Cryste on the crosse and hys apostelys
and alle hys dysciplus aftur, and many a martyr I have made to do to deth. I have
made many on to slee othyr, and to synnon in letchery and in avowtry, and so
leson here soules; and most levest me is to makon a Criston man to brekon that
vow that he made at the fonte whan he toke hys cristondam." And he say he was
on of the fendys that Salomon closyd in a vessel and hud in the erthe. "But aftyr
Salomons deth, for men sen smok comen oute of the erthe ther we weron, thei
wendon for to a fowndon grete plenté of tresour, and dyggon to oure vessel that
we weron inne wythoute noumbur, and so brekyn the vesel, and leton us oute.
And so we fylleth the eyre and don Cristen men the gref that we connyn and
mowne."
    Than, whan Margrete herde this, scheo prayed to God that thilke fende most
synkon into helle, and nevre greve more Criston bodyus. Than anone the erthe
oponyd and swellowod hym into helle.
    Than, on the morowen, Olybrius sende aftyr Margrete; bot for he myght be no
way ovrecome hur, he made to fyllyn a grete fatte ful of watur, and byndon hyr
hand and fette, and castyn hir therinne, to have drownyd hyr ther. Than scheo
besoght God that fatte moste ben hyr fonte, and the watur the lavyr and wassyng
of alle hur synnes, and so ben fowlowod in the noumbur of Cristen men. And
whan scheo was in the watyr and prayed thus, anone the bondus brekon, and
scheo com oute saf and sounde. And the erthe quakyd so grysly, that alle the
pepul was grevesly aferde. And therwyth com a mylk-qwyte colvyr from Hevne,
bering a crowne of brygh golde in hyr bylle, and lygh on Margretes hed. And
therwyth a voys spake fro Hevne and seyde, "Margrete, myn owen derling, be
studfaste in thine turnent, for alle the cumpany of Heven abydyth thi commyng."
    Then, whan the pepul seygh and herde this, anone thei cryedon and seydon,
"Ther is no God bot He that Margrete belevyth on!" And so fyve thousand of the
pepul, wythoute wommen and chyldren, turnyd to Cristes fayth. The wyche
Olibrius made anone to be hedon, and so thei weryn fulwode in hur owne blode
and yodon to Heven holy martyres. Than Olibrius commaunded to leden Margrete
to a certeyne place, and ther to be beheded. Bot whan scheo com to the place,
scheo knelud doun, and prayde to God that evry man that made a chyrch in hur
name or fond any lyght therinne in worchep of hur, and alle that wryteth hure
passyon or reduth hyt or callyth to hur in grete distresse, that God schulde don
hem sokur radly, and graunte hem the joy that evre schal laston, and uche womman
that calleth to hyre in travayle of chylde, that scheo muste be delivered sounde
and the chylde come to cristyndom. Than com ther a voyse from Heven and
sayde, "Margrete, thi bone is graunted, and schal lastyn for evremore." Than
scheo putte forthe hur nekke, and the turmentoures smotte hur hed of at one
stroke. So that thei that stodon abowton seyne here soule comyn oute of hure
body as a mylke-qwyte colvyr; and angelys comen and toke it, and beron itte into
Hevne. Than, in the nyghte aftur, a Criston man stel the body and beryed itte, etc.