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Art. 32, Herketh hideward ant beoth stille


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).

4 Maryne. The scribe carefully spells the feminine form with a final -e (Marina), the masculine without it (Marin).

10 soule fode. The phrase’s primary meaning is “spiritual sustenance, soul’s comfort, salvation”; see MED, fode (n.(1)), and compare Swete Jesus, King of Bliss (art. 50), line 29, and Debate between Body and Soul (art. 22), line 90. In the context of this tale, however, there is probably a pun on fode (n.(2): “a young child, offspring, daughter or son.” The man loved his soul’s comfort, both his salvation and his child. Note how the poem ends on the love of Mary for her child (line 232).

75–76 The author’s pronoun for the child changes from she to it upon the child’s entrance into the monastery, and from it to he when the child becomes the monk Marin.

89–90 Here the genre of pastourelle intrudes upon the saint’s life. A pastourelle is a secular lyric, commonly in French, wherein a nobleman seduces or tries to seduce a lowborn woman. The Meeting in the Wood (art. 35) is one of the few extant English pastourelles.

106 leh. For the meaning “trust, depend on” with the preposition on, see MED, leien (v.(1)), sense 9.(b).

109 wareisoun. “Endowment, treasure, wealth.” See MED, warisoun (n.).

110 eny-kunnes gersoun. See MED, ani-kinnes (phrase), “any kind(s) of,” and gersume (n.), “treasured object, valuable possession.”

127–34 The baby (whose gender is never named) seems to fade out of the narrative. I have translated he as “they” in line 127, but by lines 132 and 134, the pronoun seems to be singular again: “he, Marine.”

145 prisoun. “Prisoner, captive, wretch.” See MED, prisoun (n.), sense 7.

158 eny-cunnes. See explanatory note to line 110.

164 ydyht. “Changed, transformed.” See MED, dighten (v.), sense 3b.(a).

166 This profoundly ambiguous line showcases the teller’s comic wit, which blends celibate innocence with carnal thinking. It may mean either “No one is capable of seeing (or expressing) the joy Marina received from God,” or “No man ever enjoyed Marina.” See Fein 2000c, pp. 363–65.

175 A is written for Ha, “they” (Böddeker, p. 262).

184 ord ant ende. “Beginning and end.” For this idiom, see MED, ord (n.), sense (c).

202 shute. Though the meaning is that confusion and injury have afflicted the woman’s mind, this word is difficult to identify. Perhaps it is a nominal form of “shut” or a mistake for MED, shathe (n.), sense 2.(a), “Harm, injury, damage.”

217 womones cunde. “Woman’s nature,” that is, her rational self, but with a sly pun on “cunt,” denoting her sexualized woman’s nature, which she now finally acknowledges. On the wordplay, see Fein 2000c, pp. 364–65, and the explanatory note to Annot and John (art. 28), line 15. On such terms in fabliaux, see the explanatory note to The Knight Who Made Vaginas Talk (art. 87), line 12.

232 The final six lines form a coda in tail-rhyme. On the theme of parental love for the child, see explanatory note to line 10.


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

1 Herketh. So MS, Hor1. Bö: Herkneth.

18 yelden. So MS (n abbreviated), Hor1. Bö: 3 elde.

49 susteined. So MS, Bö. Hor1: sustened.

51 Wether. So MS, Hor1. Bö: wheþer.

97 on. So MS, Hor1. Bö: ou.

98 Y. So MS, Bö. Hor1: Yn.

104 The. So MS, Hor1 (who suggests þo). Bö: þat.

131 anhyse. So MS, Hor1. Bö: an hyrse.

137 doh. So MS, Hor1 (who suggests doþ). Bö: doht.

146 wet. So MS, Hor1. Bö: whet.

152 him. So MS, Hor1. Bö: hem.

154 o. So MS, Bö. Hor1: a.

163 his. So MS, Hor1. Bö: hire.

172 whosshen. So MS, Hor1. Bö: wosshen.

192 ther. So MS, Hor1. Bö: þat þer.

209 ther. So MS (er abbreviated), Hor1. Bö: þus.



















































   ¶ Herketh hideward ant beoth stille,
Y preie ou, yef hit be or wille,
Ant ye shule here of one virgine
That wes ycleped Seinte Maryne.
   Hit wes a mon by oldre dawe
That muche lovede Godes lawe,
Ant streinthede him bi al ys miht
To serve God bo day ant nyht.
He wes a mon of werkes gode,
Ant wel he lovede is soule fode.
He bysohte Louerd Jesu
To sende in him sum vertu
The Fend to shende ant is myht,
Ant God to serven, that is best ryht.
   Hit bifel is wyf wes ded,
Ant he bithohte him such a reed:
He wolde be monke in alle wyse,
Ant yelden him to Godes servise.
Ant so he dude, withoute les.
Marie milde to wyf he ches
Ant the ordre dude underfonge.
   He wes therinne swithe longe,
Seve yer ant sumdel mo;
Tho warth this monke swithe wo
For is dohter from him wes.
Nyht ne day, ne hevede he pes;
He mournede ant wep among,
Ant thohte o day seve yer long
That he ne may is dohter sen —
In more serewe ne may mon ben!
For duel ant serewe he morneth so
That al is murthe is turnd to wo —
Gret duel to him, forsothe, he nom.
The abbot that seh ant to him com,
Ant bed him telle for whet thing
He wes in so muche mournyng.
   “Thah Y the telle, hit helpeth noht —
Y ne may hit leten of my thoht!”
   “Why hit be thou telle hit me,
Ant Y wol fonde to helpe the.”
   “The to telle null Y spare
For why hit is that Y care:
Tho my wyf wes to God ygon,
Ant alle myn children boten on;
Yore is that ich that on seh —
Alas, that hit nere me neh!”
   “Tharefore, doute the noht.
That child shal hider ben ybroht
Ant susteined in this abbe,
Sone, for the love of the.
Wether his hit, grom other mayde?”
   “Sire, a grome, forsothe,” he sayde.
He nolde be knowe for no thyng
That hit wes a mayde yyng.
   “Nou wend ant seh wher hit be,
Ant bring hit bifore me.”
   “God the yelde that best may,
Sire, have wel godneday!”
   Nou is this monke forth ywend,
Ant glad is of the avauncement
That this child shal underfonge.
He hyyede blyve ant nes nout longe;
A robe he dude hire apon
Ant evesede hire ase a mon.
The maidnes nome, withoute lees,
Maryne ycleped wes;
Hire fader hire made be cleped Maryn,
Ant nou heo ys don in shryn.
   Hire fader hire brohte to that abbe:
Feir chil it ys forte se!
Swythe wel it wes ytaht:
Hit wolde aryse to the mydnaht,
Ant go to matines the monkes yfere,
Ant wel leornede huere manere.
Sone therafter the habit he nom,
Ant holi monke this may bicom!
   Such cas this child wes byfalle:
His fader wes ded — so we shulen alle!
The abbot ant the covent bo
Loveth Maryn, the yonge monke, so
That hue him putten to baylye,
Ant maden him maister of panetrie.
He heveden a stude ther biside,
Ant Maryn moste thider ryde.
Thider he eode to houses neode
Ant for no shome — God forbeode!
   Ther wes a deye in that won
A dohter hevede, a feyr womon.
Thider com a knyht of valour
Ant lovede this may “par amour”
(So he speken), ant weren at on,
That with childe wes that womon.
   Tho seide hire moder with wordes milde:
“Leve dohter, thou art mid childe.
Who is the fader? Tel me anon.”
   “The yonge monke, bi Seint Jon!”
   “Wher mette ye on yfere?”
   “Y the berne, ther we were
Ant toke me forth, ageyn the pes —
Al to sothe, so hit wes!”
   Hit byfel the child wes bore
Ant ybroht the monke byfore.
The word sprong to al the covent.
The tolde the monke him yshent;
Lutel he speke ant sihte sore,
Ant seide, “On God me leh wel more.”
   The abbot lette after the monke sende,
Ant seide: “Thou ne dudest nout ase hende
To bynymen that may hire wareisoun
For eny-kunnes gersoun.
Al to sothe, Y the sugge,
Thou hit shalt ful dere abugge —
Penaunce the tid, allegate —
Buen yput out at the gate;
Thre yer ther thou shalt ligge,
Ant thi gult ful deore abugge.
Bringeth him out that Y se,
Y preye ou, for the love of me!”
   “Ich habbe ysunged, ‘Merci, Y crie!’
Thou me help, sone Marie!
Help me, yef thi wille beo,
Louerd, that restest on rode-treo!”
   The monke is to the gate ybroht,
For al is bone him geyneth noht.
Tho he wes at the gate outthrast;
Anon that child wes on him cast.
Ther he dreyede muche wo,
The chil ant the monk also,
Ant heden deyed for poverete
Nede help of the othere monkes be:
Uch day heo him yeven anhyse bred,
Elles for hunger he hevede be ded,
Ant him arewede ful sore
That he hevede leye ther so yore.
   Thenne speke the porter:
“Habbeth reuthe of this monk her,
Ant bitime doh him to dethe —
For hunger her, he liveth unnethe!”
   Thenne speke the priour
(God him yeve muchel honour):
“Tymliche he shal tolyvred be
Thourh myn help ant my pouste.”
The priour com to the covent
Ant seide: “Sires, verreyment,
Delivre we this prisoun among us alle;
We nuten wet cas us may byfalle.”
   Thenne saide the abbot:
“That is soht, God hit wot.”
He letten after him sende,
For he wes bothe god ant hende.
Tho he wes after ysent,
Tho he tolde him, al yshent,
He wende forte ha ben anhon
Other o worse deth ydon.
   He com byfore the abbot:
“Maryn, thuncheth the god
Such penaunce forte dreye
For eny-cunnes foleye?”
   “Jesu, yef thi wille be,
Y preye that thou foryeve me
That Ich habbe misdon ageynes the —
Merci, Y crie, par charité!”
Ant thah his herte wes ful lyht,
That hevede be so ydyht
Thourh penaunce, ther forte ligge,
The joie of hyre ne may mon sugge!
Heo livede therinne with muche wo,
Tuo yer, forsothe, ant namo.
Nou heo is ded, wyterly;
Hyre soule is with Oure Levedy.
   Thenne spec a monk to another:
“Go we whosshen ur dede brother,
For thah he habbe don a synne,
Yet he is brother of herynne.”
A nome the body ant brohte to bathe —
Alas, that he wes ded so rathe!
   “Hit is a wommon!” seide that on.
   “That is soth, bi Seint Jon!
Jesu, shilde us from pyne,
For we han lowen on Maryne,
Ant penance duden hire on stronge,
Ant letten hire pyne to longe!”
   Letten after the abbot sende,
Ant tolden him the ord ant ende,
Ant the covent everuchon,
Ant shouueden hit wes a womon.
   The abbot for duel falleth to grounde,
Ant ther he lith a longe stounde,
Ant tho he mihte upstonde,
Yerne thonketh Godes sonde —
He ant the monkes alle ifere,
Ant other men, mo, ther were.
   “Nou hit is thus bifalle,
We moten thenchen, among us alle,
Hire onoure in alle wyse,
For heo is ded in Godes servise,
Ant heo mey to him biseche
For ous that is oure soule leche.”
   The wommon that on Marine the child ber     
Nuste that heo wes mayden er.
So sone so Marine wes ded,
Such shute com in the womones hed,
Ase thah heo couthe lutel god;
Ant therafter wax riht wod,
Ant com thider ase ley Marine,
With muche shome ant muche pine.
Ther heo lay mid unsounde,
Fourteniht faste ybounde,
Ant soffrede ther muche wo
O that fourteniht were ago.
   This monkes heden muche care
That heo hire seyen so fare,
Ant bysohten Jesu, for love of Marine,
Delyveren hire of thilke pyne.
Whil heo theraboute speke,
Anon riht hire bondes breke,
Ant toc to hire womones cunde,
Ant warth into hire ryhte munde;
Ant kneulachede ho hade misdon
To bere that child hire apon,
Ant tolde opeliche, alle byfore,
Hou that child wes geten ant bore,
Ant bisohte him foryevenesse
That is kyng of hevene blisse.
To thilke blisse God us sende
That lesteth ever withouten ende.

He that made ant wrot this vie
Ant hyre hath in memorie,
   From shome Crist him shilde!
Levedi, yef thi wille be,
Thou have merci of me,
   For love of thine childe.
   ¶ Hearken this way and be still,
I pray you, if it be your will,
And you shall hear about one virgin
Who was named Saint Marina.
   There was a man of former days
Who greatly loved God’s command,
And exerted himself by all his strength
To serve God both day and night.
He was a man of good works,
And deeply he loved his soul’s comfort.
He prayed to Lord Jesus
To send him some spiritual force
To destroy the Fiend and his might,
And God to serve, as is most proper.
   It happened that his wife was dead,
And he conceived such a plan:
He would be a monk in every way,
And yield himself to God’s service.
And so he did, without lie.
He chose to marry Mary mild
And of the order did take vows.
   He was in there a long time,
Seven years and somewhat more;
Eventually this monk became very sad
For his daughter was away from him.
He had no peace, night nor day;
He mourned and wept continually,
And reflected then how for seven years
He hadn't seen his daughter —
In more sorrow a man could not be!
For grief and sorrow he mourned so
That all his mirth is turned to woe —
He felt great inward sorrow, indeed.
The abbot saw that and came to him,
And bade him reveal the cause why
He was in so much mourning.
   “Were I to tell you, it wouldn’t help —
I can’t take my mind off of it!”
   “Tell me why it is,
And I’ll endeavor to help you.”
   “I won’t hold back from telling you
The reason why I’m so upset:
A while ago my wife went to God,
And all my children except for one;
It’s been long since I saw that one —
Alas, that it’s not near me!”
   “Of that cause, have no fear.
That child shall be brought here
And nurtured in this abbey,
Son, for the love of you.
Which is it, boy or girl?”
   “Sir, a boy, truly,” he said.
He wouldn’t reveal for anything
That it was a young girl.
   “Now go and see where it is,
And bring it before me.”
   “May God bring you the best,
Sir, and have good day!”
   Now this monk is departed forth,
And is glad of the advancement
That this child shall experience.
He hurried quickly and wasn’t long;
He set a robe upon her
And clothed her like a man.
The maiden’s name, without lie,
Was called Marina;
Her father made her be named Marin,
And now she is set in shrine.
   Her father brought her to that abbey:
It is a fair child to behold!
Thoroughly it was educated:
It would arise at midnight,
And go to matins together with the monks,
And learn well their way of life.
Soon thereafter he took the habit,
And a holy monk this maiden became!
   Then an event befell this child:
His father died — so shall we all!
The abbot and the convent both
So greatly loved Marin, the young monk,
That they assigned him the role of bailiff,
And made him master of the pantry.
They owned a neighboring place,
And Marin had to ride there.
Thither he went for household needs
And for no shame — God forbid!
   There was a dairyman in that place
Who had a daughter, a fair woman.
Thither came a valorous knight
Who loved this maiden “with noble love”
(So he said), and they were as one,
And then pregnant was that woman.
   Then said her mother with gentle words:
“Dear daughter, you are with child.
Who is the father? Tell me now.”
   “The young monk, by Saint John!”
   “Where did you meet together?”
   “In the barn, there we were
And he took me forth, unlawfully —
All in truth, so it was!”
   It happened that the child was born
And brought before the monks.
Word spread throughout the convent.
The monks told him he was disgraced;
He spoke little and sighed deeply,
And said, “In God I trust all the more.”
   The abbot had the monk sent for,
And said: “You acted ungraciously
To rob that maid of her treasure
For any kind of possession.
All in truth, I say to you,
You shall pay for it quite dearly —
Penance shall be with you, indeed —
You shall be put out at the gate;
Three years there you shall lie,
And pay quite dearly for your guilt.
Take him out of my sight,
I pray you, for the love of me!”
   “I have sung, ‘Mercy, I cry!’
Help me, son of Mary!
Help me, if it be your will,
Lord, who rests on rood-tree!”
   The monk is brought to the gate,
For all his pleas gain him nothing.
Then he was thrust out at the gate;
Quickly that child was cast on him.
There they suffered great hardship,
The child and the monk also,
And would have died of poverty
Were it not for the other monks’ help:
Each day they gave him anise bread,
Or else for hunger he would have died,
And he lamented very mournfully
That he had lain there for so long.
   Then spoke the porter:
“Have pity on this monk here,
Or else eventually he will die —
Here on account of hunger, he barely lives!”
   Then spoke the prior
(God give him much honor):
“Soon he shall be delivered
Through my help and my power.”
The prior came to the convent
And said: “Sirs, truly,
Let’s free this wretch among us all;
We don’t know what may befall us.”
   Then said the abbot:
“That is true, God knows.”
He had him sent for,
For he was both good and gentle.
When he had arrived,
Then he told him, all ashamed,
That he would rather have been hanged
Or been given some other worse death.
   He came before the abbot:
“Marin, do you think it good
To suffer such penance
For any kind of folly?”
   “Jesus, if it be your will,
I pray that you forgive me
Whatever I’ve sinned against you —
Mercy, I cry, for charity!”
And though his heart was very relieved,
It had been so transformed
Through penance, there to endure,
The joy of her may no man see!
She lived in there with much distress,
Two years, truly, and no more.
Now she has died, certainly;
Her soul is with Our Lady.
   Then spoke a monk to another:
“Let’s go wash our dead brother,
For though he has committed a sin,
Yet he’s a brother in this place.”
They took the body and brought it to bath —    
Alas, that he had died so quickly!
   “It is a woman!” said that one.
   “That is true, by Saint John!
Jesus, shield us from pain,
For we have injured Marina,
And imposed tough penance on her,
And let her suffer too long!”
   They had the abbot sent for,
And told him from beginning to end,
And everyone in the convent,
And showed that it was a woman.
   The abbot for grief falls to ground,
And there he lies a long while,
And when he might stand up,
Earnestly thanks God for this gift —
He and the monks all together,
And other men, more, who were there.
   “Now that it is thus befallen,
We must remember, among us all,
To honor her in every way,
For she is dead in service to God,
And she may beseech for us
He who is our souls’ physician.”
   The woman who on Marina bore the child
Knew not earlier that she was a girl.
As soon as Marina was dead,
Such harm came into the woman’s head,
As if she could do little good;
And thereafter went entirely mad,
And came there where Marina lay,
With much shame and much pain.
There she lay in her madness,
Tightly restrained for a fortnight,
And suffered there much distress
Until that fortnight had passed.
   These monks had much concern
When they saw her condition,
And prayed to Jesus, for love of Marina,
To deliver her from this suffering.
While they spoke about this,
Immediately her bonds broke,
And she regained her woman’s nature,
And returned to her right mind;
And she acknowledged that she had sinned
To bear that child upon her,
And confessed openly, before everyone,
How that child was begotten and born,
And besought forgiveness of him
Who is king of heaven’s bliss.
God send us to this bliss
That lasts forever without end.

He that made and wrote this life
And has her in memory,
   May Christ shield him from shame!
Lady, if it be your will,
Have mercy on me,
   For love of your child.

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Go To Art. 33, Weping haveth myn wonges wet, introduction
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