The Digby Mary Magdalene Play
THE DIGBY MARY MAGDALENE PLAY: FOOTNOTES
1 Lines 36–39: If there be found among my people any inconstancy / [That is] Against me in any circumstance, / [Or anyone who] grouches or complains about my golden gods, / I will harm such scoundrels with murder and misfortune
2 Lines 63–65: I am in solace protected from all sorrowful sighs, / And so shall all my posterity / live thus royally in tranquility
3 Lines 75–78: Here is a group of qualities / knit together in modest behavior, as is openly shown; / To my knowledge there was never such another, / Except for my wife, who was their mother
4 Lines 90–92: Grant me grace to live according to your desires / And so to govern myself with respect to them / That we may have lasting joy
5 For releasing us from poverty’s pains
6 Lines 97–100: This [gift], we find, will preserve us from penury, / [And] from worldly labors, thus comforting me, / For this livelihood (Magdalene Castle) is fitting for a king’s daughter, / This pleasant place, truth be told
7 If there are any scoundrels who argue against me
8 Lines 175–76: And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings / in the brightness of thy rising (Isaias 60:3)
9 Lines 183–85: Of which the prophecy eloquently speaks: / The scepter shall not be taken from Judea, nor a ruler from / his thigh, until he comes that is to be sent (Genesis 49:10)
10 You dastards! You scoundrels! May the devil tear you apart
11 Lines 189-90: A sword! A sword! Would that these rascals were slain! / You longbones! Scoundrels! Retract that word (i.e., the prophecy of the coming of Christ)
12 Because of him many more shall be ruined by murder
13 Lines 197–200: Second Soldier: My lord, all such shall be brought before your presence, / And [they shall] live under your domination, / Or else [they shall be] condemned to death by mortal sentence, / If we get them under our control
14 Lines 205–08: [Should] some rumor [of him] spread in my lands, / privately or publically, around my jurisdiction / While I have such men, I need not fear / That he (Christ) shall be anything except under our control, without a doubt
15 Lines 238–39: Rebuking all renegade robbers, / For no pity do I spare to put them to pain
16 I will not back down from what I have just rehearsed (said)
17 Lines 281–82: This duress will permit me to live no longer, / Unless God in his grace restores me soon
18 Lines 294–95: Under clover now lie buried the cares of my father, / Who was once here, very merry and happy
19 Lines 300–02: By reason [you, Lazarus,] are our leader and governor; / Therefore we will remain with you. / We will never separate [from you], whatever should happen
20 And especially [because we are brother and sister], I entreat you [to enter the Castle]
21 Lines 328–29: And whoever will not [dwell under World’s domination] will soon be passed over [for advancement] / Wherever I, Covetousness, am in charge
22 Lines 330–33: I ask you please to make no mention of that (the prospect of refusal mentioned by Covetyse). / [Instead] make such as these to know my sovereignty, / And then they will be pleased to make supplication [to me], / If they find themselves in any need
23 Lines 338–43: For I have comforting cordials to restore me / compounds of galingale, amber, and pearls — / All this is for my pleasure, to combat all vexations. / All noxious things I shall set aside (remove from me). / Clary (a medicinal plant), long pepper, with grains of paradise / Ginger and cinnamon [I shall have] all the time
24 [Than] to embrace and kiss my fair spouse Lechery
25 [I am] Satan, your sovereign, endowed with every circumstance (advantage)
26 The boldest in bower (dwelling) are put at my mercy
27 Lines 366–67: For I despise them (mankind) for having the joy / That Lucifer with his legions lost because of pride
28 I will remove him (mankind) from grace wherever he lives
29 Lines 375–76: And you shall accept my counsel as a guide, / Oh, that we were quickly gone for my sake
30 Lines 383–84: You must dedicate yourself, and all those pledged to you / To make this worshipful woman (Mary Magdalene) our servant
31 Would that the King of Flesh were here with his assembly
32 You shall bring great mirth to their hearts [by appearing before them]
33 Lines 424–25: You shall ask to be in her service and attend upon her, / For you [rather than others] shall soonest enter [the Castle], you beautiful beryl
34 Lines 430–33: Now all of the six (remaining deadly sins) who are here, / To win her (Mary Magdalene’s) good will, work in this manner / To enter her person through Lady Lechery’s effort, / So that she (Mary Magdalene) may at last be condemned to hell
35 Lines 440–44: Hail, lady, most praiseworthy of family connection! / Hail, [oh one] brilliant as the shining sun! / Many people are comforted by your kind trust. / Brighter than burnished are your beams of beauty, / Most gracious [one] with your angelic delights
36 Who are you that have thus commended me?
37 Your gracious obedience transports me to tranquility
38 Your tongue (speech) is so amiable and rationally arranged
39 Why no happiness resorts to (remains with) you
40 Lines 458–59: Take pains to put aside such disappointments / Commit yourself to the pastimes that best please you
41 Lines 476–80: Here is wine from Malta and malmsey (a strong sweet wine), / Clary wine (sweet drink of wine, honey, and spice), claret, and many more, / (Dutch) Wine from Guelder and (Spanish wine) from Galicia, and [wine] made at Groine (Spain), / Wine from Guienne (France) and vernage (Italy), I say too, / There are no better, however far you travel
42 Beware of thirst; set down that [drink]
43 With some pretty barmaid I would gladly speak privately
44 I have a shirt of Rennes linen with wide, loose sleeves
45 I will advise sovereigns and disdain subjects
46 My doublet (jacket) and my hose always match perfectly
47 With hair against hair I love to play very much
48 Accept my love into your alliance (may I be among those closest to you)
49 No, princess, by God, you are my heart’s healer / I wish to God you would feel my love
50 Courtesy teaches you [to restrain yourself]
51 You know a lot about nurture (good breeding)
52 A, largess, largess (the gift of Mary’s fall) to all you lords at once
53 To her sight he is more attractive than any enthroned king
54 Farewell, [Satan, who is] best suited to bring all [our] sorrows to an end
55 For they are beneficial to a blossom of [amorous] bliss (i.e., herself)
56 To entertain my guests to the best of my ability
57 And my household servants are ready with the arrangements
58 Why do you not consider that God created you from nothing
59 Lines 602–03: Ah, how the spirit of goodness (good spirit) has prompted me this time / And tempted me with the title (name) of true perfection
60 Lines 606–07: Ah, how pensiveness (anxiety) overwhelms me / Because I have sinned everywhere
61 God reward you, Simon, that you wish to know me
62 But since you graciously offer (vouchsafe) me a dinner
63 Lines 631–32: Oh I, cursed wretch who has wrought great sorrow / Against my creator, greatest in might
64 Lines 637–38: Yet good Lord of Lords, my enduring (perennial) hope [is] / To stand with you in grace and see [your] favor
65 Lines 640, s.d.: Here Mary shall wash the feet of the prophet (Jesus) with the tears of her eyes, wiping them with her hair, and then anoint them with a precious ointment. Jesus says
66 Who were poor and could make no restitution
67 One owed him a hundred pence for sure
68 They asked him for forgiveness, and he essentially forgave them
69 He who owed him the most, by my reasoning
70 And may you thereby be made whole (healthy) in your soul
71 Lines 680–81: Blessed are you, contemplative repast (spiritual nourishment) / [May you be my] health and physician for my sickness
72 Lines 688–89: [You] who once were in the desert (spiritual wasteland), / And from the darkness have purchased (gained) the light
73 Lines 692–93: Oh thou, glorious Lord, [who] related this for my advantage / To recover my soul’s health at this time
74 I entrust to you those in the state of good [self-]governance
75 Lines 713–14: You are called redemption, the defender of souls / [The spiritual state of which] shall be obscured by your blessed mortality (your humanity)
76 Lines 719–21: Most humbly we attest our faith, / That we, safe from evil, may come glorified to your bliss, / And we desire to be fed by your spiritual food
77 King of Devils (Satan): Ah, out, out and harrow! I am made mad by hate
78 With these beetle-browed (shaggy-browed) bitches (scoundrels), I am ready to contend
79 Ya, these hard scourges on your buttocks will bite
80 Come up [from hell], you bastards, and whip the itch away
81 Lines 741, s.d.: Here shall the other devils set the house on fire and make soot (smoke), and Mary shall go to Lazarus and Martha
82 Lines 748–50: Oh brother (Lazarus), my heart’s consolation / The blessed prophet [Jesus who is] singular in his blessedness / And brings me comfort
83 [He is] the brilliance of light and the true light
84 My head is buzzing! Everything is becoming dark for me
85 Oh, Lord Jesus, Our soothing sweetness
86 Lines 796–97: Lord, [may you] comfort your humble lover (Lazarus), / Your creature who cries out to you
87 Lines 802–06: Of all infirmities, there is none to compare with death; / For of all afflictions, it is impossible / To understand rationally. To comprehend God’s creative work / [and] The joy in [his] heavenly Jerusalem / Can never be brought together [and articulated] by clerical knowledge (John 11:4)
88 Lines 824–25: May Jesus, my Lord, be your help / And may he be your spirit’s well-being
89 Since your (God’s) power is most honorable
90 Lines 841, s.d.: Here the one knight makes the [grave]stone ready, and another brings in the weepers, arrayed in black
91 The time of true knowledge (recognition) has come
92 To fulfill a petition that is within my power [to grant]
93 If he [only] sleeps, he may be saved by [your] knowledge
94 And so in my mother I was incarnated in purity
95 Lines 865–68: Therefore, quickly follow me now, / To demonstrate truly that Lazarus is dead; / Wherefore I am joyful, I tell you, / That I may acquaint you [with this circumstance], so that you may believe it
96 O, you righteous regent, reigning in justice
97 Line 910, s.d.: Here shall Lazarus arise, bound with linen clothes [and covered], in a sheet
98 Lines 915–17: I should have rotted, like the tinder (i.e., wood) / Flesh [should have been] eaten away from the bones. / Now is above ground that which (Lazarus’ body) lately was under [it]
99 Because of which you are made whole (healthy) in your souls
100 Go away, go away, you unworthy wretches
101 When I go eagerly and fiercely to the field [of battle]
102 Lines 934–35: When banners begin to wave and trumpets begin to blow / I am considered the head, the highest among all heathens
103 I have a pleasing young woman who is fresh as the falcon
104 Most to be honored for your conditions (circumstances)
105 No person gleams as you do, to my comfort and well-being
106 Lines 955–56: Your admirable deeds separate (protect) me from adversity / I am careful to keep my person from impurity
107 For of all prisons that were ever harmful, none [is as harmful] as hell
108 Lines 967–70: The King of Joy entered therein, as bright as a blazing fire! / Because of the terror of his frightening banner, our fellowship fled in every direction. / When he touched it [the gates] with his touch, they broke like glass, / And split asunder, as if [his touch] had been thunder
109 For with his (Christ’s) wild work (his death, harrowing of hell, and resurrection), he has redeemed all of them
110 Lines 990–91: And [it (Christ’s judgment) shall be] weighed by judicious balance / And [shall be] given by lawful judgment
111 Lines 992, s.d.: Here shall enter the three Marys, dressed as chaste women, with signs of the Passion printed (represented) on their breasts, thus saying Magdalene
112 Who (Christ) through your power humbly bowed down
113 That (man’s soul) otherwise had been forever in pain
114 Lord, incline (bow down) your heavens and descend (Psalms 143:5)
115 Who could suffer such altogether hideous pain
116 Lines 1039–41: Ah, distressed is my inward soul, / Which should guide my body, / Because of my Lord’s heaviness (suffering)
117 Whatever has become of him (where he has gone) cannot be explained
118 Gladly would I learn, if I knew how
119 Oh, thou precious Emperor, thou high divine [one]
120 Lines 1089–91: This knowledge of your deity (divinity) [is a joyful tiding] / To all people who shall possess [it] / And know it to be possible
121 Would that we might meet with that good Lord
122 All those are blessed who sorrowfully abstain
123 In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen (Matthew 28:19)
124 I have in mind a matter (business) to move (affect) you
125 See to it that my altar is arrayed (prepared)
126 What, master! Would you have your lover [brought] to your bed
127 For, by my faith, you bear (carry) Watt’s pack (a paunch)
128 Lines 1182–83: Now, boy, to my altar I will go / And put on my [liturgical] vestments and my array
129 May snakes and toads be your bells (or, in your bellies)
130 Let us sing our [religious] service musically (by note), I say
131 I hum and I hurry, I do what I can
132 Stop! May the devil frighten you
133 Lines 1243–45: [May] the holy Mahound and the dear Dragon, / [and] the good Golyas bring you to bliss / With Belial, [to remain] in everlasting bliss
134 Caesar, our sovereign, must know the truth
135 Joseph of Arimathea has taken him away
136 One message, of our writing, you must [carry]
137 As this writing does relate
138 Claim your reward, messenger, and be gone
139 Hail, goodly one, granter of all graces (favors)
140 Lines 1314–15: Pilate recommends himself to you; / His letter concerns a prophet
141 And afterward was buried, as seemed reasonable to them
142 By his disciples who loved him
143 Lines 1325–26: I marvel how they did [steal away with the body], considering the body’s corruption; / I bet they were fed an unsatisfactory food
144 Lines 1329–30: Also I will have chronicled the year and reign [of this event] / So that [it] shall never be forgotten, whosoever looks thereupon [the chronicle]
145 Ah, his great kindness may not [depart] from my memory
146 In the moon, unchanging in goodness, I rested (took my place)
147 For mankind, the defense against the fiend (devil)
148 Empress of hell, who makes resistance [against it]
149 Lines 1361–63: [She is] the precious cinnabar (a purgative), that makes its way through the body. / She is the musk, [medicinal] against the heart’s extreme reactions, / The gentle gillyflower against the heart’s sickness
150 Nor can any of her [his mother’s] clerks (learned men) write about her joys [fully and adequately]
151 With heavenly message I intend now to visit [her]
152 And you shall be accepted as a holy apostoless
153 He who caused seven devils to flee from my person (body)
154 Lower the sails! Let the anchor fall to the ground
155 Skillfully in [to the harbor]; be sure to measure the depth
156 I cannot because I’m too sleepy, I swear to God! / You shall endure it [the boy’s refusal], even if you were my sire (father)
157 What do you want this time?
158 Lines 1417–18: Now you shall learn [how to] wed a damsel / She [the whip] will not kiss you in jest
159 And you shall have [something] for your profit (i.e., I will pay you)
160 You shall not want for passage by ship
161 This design we would (wish to) understand
162 And labor constantly without growing weary
163 So that (i.e., as an example that) all should show reverence
164 I think they pertain to my gods
165 Sir, if I said [anything] amiss, I will go back (i.e., revisit what I said)
166 Hence to the temple let us go
167 Don’t you see how pleasantly they (the gods) stand
168 Lines 1552–53: The Lord [is] my light; whom shall I fear? / The Lord [is] protector of my life; of whom should I be afraid? (Psalms 26:1)
169 Subdue the pride of impure idols
170 Let not their pride lay claim to your power
171 Wherever the high name Jesus is spoken
172 Ah, out! How angry I am to be deluded thus
173 I have become so sick with that illness
174 Who (Daniel) was relieved with sustenance by Habakkuk, your messenger
175 Bid her to ask for some his goods (riches) in a peaceful manner
176 Line 1597, s.d.: Then the angel descends. The first says
177 Lines 1599–1600: He bids you to make your way to the king / to assay if he will condescend [to help you]
178 Command him to relieve you, to God’s satisfaction
179 Line 1609, s.d.: Here, with the angels bearing lights before her, Mary goes to the king’s bed
180 You have at your disposal all the world’s wealth
181 I counsel you to turn [from your current thinking] and amend your disposition
182 Line 1617, s.d.: Here Mary departs, and the angel and Mary change their clothing, and the king says
183 Line 1641, s.d.: Then the soldier goes over to Mary
184 Line 1645, s.d.: Then Mary goes over to the king
185 Line 1651, s.d.: It is my intention to refresh (provide support for) you
186 I am glad to be in your presence
187 I will ask of you neither land nor reckoning (payment) [in return for this endowment]
188 Line 1698–99: Let me go with you / And be made a Christian woman
189 And from that befalls many an unexpected circumstance
190 In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
191 Line 1715, s.d.: And then the ship comes into the platea (place), and the sailor says
192 Set [the ship’s course] there, if we may (are able)
193 Line 1724, s.d.: And then the king goes over to the ship, and the king says
194 We would [be] very glad to cross over [the sea]
195 Lines 1731–32: Yes, but so may I thrive, I suppose / your payment will be meager, given your hasty passage
196 You want to take her out of the country
197 Lines 1755–56: For truly it [my dire situation] will not be otherwise / It [the situation] makes my heart very sorrowful this day
198 Between us a sad parting comes at this time
199 So shall my child [be dead], I fear
200 A child, the offspring of the two of us
201 We should all have greater well being
202 Line 1790, s.d.: Then they row to the mountain, and the king says
203 Line 1796, s.d.: Then they row from the mountain, and the sailor says
204 [And they are obliged] never to oppose him
205 Of whom [Mary Magdalene] I suspect no guile
206 If you will maintain your belief after (according to) my teaching
207 Line 1842, s.d.: Then he sprinkles him with water
208 Lines 1843–44: Ah, holy father, how my heart will find instruction painful unless you explain the doctrine [of my new faith]
209 And edify (strengthen) your faith by seeing them (the holy places) for yourself
210 Grant us your pure blessing
211 Line 1863, s.d.: And then the king crosses to the ship and says
212 Quickly cast the sail around
213 Line 1878, s.d.: And then the ship goes around the platea. The king says
214 I think I begin to see the rock
215 Ah, good Lord, may your grace strengthen us
216 From grievous sleep she (the queen) begins to be revived
217 Lines 1899–1900: O worshipful virgin, for our salvation / O beautiful and chaste one, come from a noble lineage
218 You have wrapped (surrounded) us in well-being, protected from all change
219 For I have visited the holy places, one by one
220 Line 1914, s.d.: And then they row from the mountain, and the sailor says
221 And I [will] always [be] your friend [whether] far and near (i.e., wherever we may be)
222 Be not at all inconstant towards God
223 For they are blessed that are so true
224 They are blessed who give food to the hungry and the thirsty
225 Hail, thou chosen and chaste [one], alone among women
226 And has driven away all the deceptions of evil
227 To obtain for myself more spiritual strength
228 Oh blessed lady, do not impoverish us [with your absence]
229 And everyday I shall be your bede woman (i.e., one who prays for you)
230 May he who lives and reigns without end bless you
231 Lines 1976–77: It (Mary Magdalene’s leaving) alters my complexion, / That this sweet cyperus (an aromatic plant) would do so (depart)
232 From my love [for God] his (Mahond’s) pride shall be profaned
233 My conscience craves (requires) that I do thus
234 Of worldly foods I will abandon all partaking
235 Lines 2001–02: [And I will be nourished] by the food that comes from heaven on high, / By the contemplative food that God will send me
236 Line 2018, s.d.: Here shall two angels descend into the wilderness, and another two shall bring an oble (eucharistic wafer), openly appearing aloft in the clouds; the two beneath shall bring Mary [up to the clouds], and she shall receive the bread (the oble), and then go again into the wilderness
237 Mary, God greets you with heavenly inspiration
238 Honor and praise for that blessed birth (of Jesus)
239 Line 2030, s.d.: Here shall she be greeted by angels with reverent song: Mary has been assumed into the clouds. The heavens rejoice, the angels praising the son of God. And Mary says
240 [Who] with melody of angels showed me joy and pleasure
241 Lines 2049–50: The joy of [heavenly] Jerusalem has openly revealed you — / The which [joy] I never saw these thirty winters and more
242 I pray (beseech) you sincerely to reveal to me [something about] your Lord
243 And through that holy manna (the consecrated body of Christ), I live in truthfulness
244 Lines 2079–80: Bid him provide my body in the form of bread (the eucharist), / To housel (administer the sacrament to) her
245 Line 2100, s.d.: Here appear the angel and the priest with the body of the Lord (the eucharist)
246 Lines 2106–09: I thank you, Lord of ardent love, / For determining (deciding) that this celestial bread / I should receive at this time / [And] thereby illuminate my soul
247 Lines 2117–18: I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, Lord God of Truth (Psalms 30:6)
248 This body will I care for (protect) from all manner of harm
249 Sovereigns, thus ends the substance of this play
250 Line 2139, s.d.: Here ends the original of Saint Mary Magdalene
251 If there be anything amiss, [may the reader] amend it
THE DIGBY MARY MAGDALENE PLAY: EXPLANATORY NOTES
Abbreviations: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; B: Medieval Drama, ed. Bevington; BMH: Late Medieval Religious Plays, ed. Baker, Murphy, and Hall; C: Coletti, “‘Curtesy doth it yow lere’: The Sociology of Transgression in the Digby Mary Magdalene”; Chester: The Chester Mystery Cycle, ed. Lumiansky and Mills; CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, ed. Benson; EETS: Early English Text Society; F: Findon, Lady, Hero, Saint; GL: Critical Edition of the Legend of Mary Magdalena, ed. Mycoff; LA: Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda Aurea, ed. Ryan; M: Maltman, “Light In and On the Digby Mary Magdalene”; ME: Middle English; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MDS: Coletti,Mary Magdalene and the Drama of Saints; MP: Macro Plays, ed. Eccles; NT: N-Town Play, ed. Spector; PDD: Coletti, “‘Paupertas est donum Dei’”; s.d.: stage direction; Towneley: The Towneley Plays, ed. Stevens and Cawley; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.
1 forfetur. MED, forfeture (n.), sense 2c. In phrases with “in,” the phrase means “on pain of losing, under penalty of losing.”
9 Tyberyus Sesar. Roman emperor (42 BCE–37 CE) during the life and ministry of Jesus. No other ME life of Mary Magdalene depicts Caesar as ruler. Velz (“Sovereignty in the Digby”) argues that the appearance of Tiberius and his political functionaries Herod and Pilate establishes the play’s focus on forms of sovereignty and subjection, just and unjust rule. Mitchell-Buck (“Tyrants, Tudors”) notes an abundance of tyrants in the play.
20 Serybyl (speech heading). This unusual name appears to denote an official function. BMH (pp. 197–98) suggest possible echoes of the Sibyl and the similarity of Serybyl to the “skrybe” addressed in line 114. Serybyl is called “Syrybbe” at line 33.
21 Belyall. A biblical term, deriving from 2 Corinthians 6:15 and 3 Kings 21:10, and indicating the personification of evil, often used as a synonym of Satan.
24 provost. MED, provost (n.), sense a: “the representative of a king or emperor in a country or district; governor, administrator.”
44, s.d. all the pepul. This is the first of several scenes in the play indicating the presence of a group, implying even a small crowd, of non-speaking characters.
46 wyn and spycys. Wine sweetened and seasoned with spices was a regular feature of meals prepared for aristocrats and other prosperous medieval people. For recipes and commentary, see Freedman, Out of the East, pp. 22–23. Dugan (Ephemeral History of Perfume, p. 37) notes that the play’s “many calls for ‘wine and spices’ mimic structures of trade symbolism . . . [and provide] stage properties culled from medieval markets.”
49 Syrus (speech heading). Medieval versions of Mary Magdalene’s legendary life created a domestic backstory for her reputed career as a sinner by giving her a nuclear family. The Digby play amplifies her father Syrus’ brief role in that story. The Legenda Aurea, Jacobus de Voragine’s thirteenth-century collection of saints’ lives, provided the best known and most influential version of Mary Magdalene’s legendary acts and wanderings (GL, pp. 117–44). Textual commentary on the play in BMH include detailed extracts from Jacobus’ vita, thereby enabling comparison with the Digby play’s representation of these non-biblical elements.
51 bower. MED, bour (n.), sense 1a: “a dwelling, house, mansion, cottage.”
55 be cleffys so cold. BMH (p. 198) note the playwright’s use here of a common verse tag, citing an analogy in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, “be the clyffys cold” (line 100).
71 ful of femynyté. Cyrus is the first to speak this important word in the play (see lines 423, 516, 943, 1356). T. Williams (Inventing Womanhood, pp. 149, 4) argues that “femininity” emerges as a new gendered term in late medieval English writing, calling attention to the “evolution of gendered language” in a period when “what it meant to be a woman . . . was very much an open question.” Dixon (“‘Thys Body of Mary’”) discusses the bodily dimensions of femininity in the play and in late medieval women’s spirituality.
71–74 Here is Mary . . . . hart with consolacyon. C (p. 5) notes that Cyrus’ courtly language here anticipates the idiom employed by the King of Flesh (line 423) and the king of Marseilles (lines 942–49), as well as the entire verbal performance of Mary Magdalene’s tempter, Curiosity. Such language also affirms the “jentyll” status claimed by Cyrus and his family (lines 105, 112–13). Cyrus’ introduction of his children (see also lines 66–70) resembles the account of their many physical and social gifts in the thirteenth-century life of the saint sometimes attributed to Rabanus Maurus. See Life of Saint Mary Magdalene, ed. Mycoff, p. 29.
73 merrorys. MED, mirour (n.), sense 3a: “a model of good or virtuous conduct.”
81 thys castell. When Cyrus identifies his bequest to daughter Mary Magdalene as thys castell, he both draws upon Jacobus de Voragine’s idea that she derived her identity from the castle Magdalo, as Caxton’s translation puts it (GL, p. 118), and situates his family within the social and economic matrix of the feudal world. See PDD, pp. 347–49. At the same time, medieval literary castles are potent and multivalent symbols, pointing to spiritual and material allegorical meanings. For example, as Riggio has shown (“Allegory of Feudal Acquisition”), in the East Anglian morality play Castle of Perseverance, the trope of the individual Christian soul’s protective spiritual enclosure spills out onto the economic realities and pressures of feudal society. Mary Magdalene’s castle merits attention in light of the proliferation of allegorical castles in medieval English and continental literature. See Cornelius, “Figurative Castle.”
83–84 Thes gyftes . . . . in good mynd. Cyrus repeats the idiom of late medieval testators who similarly pledged that their bequests were made under such conditions: John Baret (1463), “I, John Baret . . . of good mynde and memorye”; and John Wastell (1515), “I, John Wastell . . . beyng of good and hool mynde.” See Tymms, Wills and Inventories, pp. 15, 113.
87–88 Ye have grauntyd swych a lyfelod . . . . from all nessesyté. MED, lif-lod(e (n.), sense 2a; MED, necessité (n.), sense b. Lazarus invokes key terms from late medieval discourses on poverty and charity; Mary Magdalene explicitly refers to the “peynes of poverté” from which their father’s gift frees her and her siblings (line 96). These terms signal the play’s engagement with the relationship of economic discourses and social practices to construction of spiritual identities by the dominant classes in late medieval England. See PDD, pp. 347–49.
93–94 Thatt God . . . . hony be kynd. Mary Magdalene’s reference to the “sweet” name of God anticipates the preoccupation with the name of Jesus expressed later in the play; see lines 761, 1446, 1468, 1555–62, 2031–32, 2124. From the thirteenth century, the Name of Jesus was the subject of a devotional cult that attracted monastic and lay participants. The Holy Name was honored in the Jesus mass and eventually in the new liturgical Feast of the Name of Jesus. The cult of the Holy Name was particularly popular in England. Declared official by the province of York in 1489, the Feast of the Holy Name appears frequently in liturgical service books of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the period in which the Digby Magdalene was composed and copied in its single manuscript. See Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts, pp. 62–83, and Renevey, “Name above Names.” F (p. 58) suggests that Mary’s reference to sweetness “introduces the first of many allusions in the play to the Song of Songs.”
97 streytnes. MED, streitnes(se (n.), sense 6a: “trouble, difficulty . . . hardship (esp. financial hardship), straitened circumstances; a state of impoverishment.”
106 So mekly. MED, mek (adj.), sense 1b: “full of loving kindness, benevolent, kind, sweet”; and MED, meke (adv.): “humbly, submissively.”
107–09 Hey in heven . . . . shal hens passe. Mary Magdalene and her siblings appear to be proto-Christians, all making reference to a singular God in this scene.
110 mygthtys. MED, might (n.), sense 3a: “ability, capability, capacity.”
111 enhanse. MED, enhauncen (v.), sense 5: “to elevate or advance (someone to a high rank or station).”
112 wyn and spycys. Cyrus’ call for wine and spices caps a scene in which he and his children declare their interest in the comfort afforded by material assets. On land-grabbing and conspicuous consumption by East Anglian gentry whom the play seems implicitly to address, see PDD, pp. 347–49. As Coletti notes (“Design of the Digby Play”), this is the first of many scenes associating Mary Magdalene with corporeal, heavenly, and sacramental food. See also note to line 46 above.
117 Herowdys. Among the several generations of the Herodian dynasty, scripture and traditions of biblical commentary attend to three important rulers: Herod the Great (of Ascalon), his son Herod Antipas, and his grandson, Herod Agrippa. Writers of medieval English biblical drama follow traditions associated with Herod the Great, appointed by the Romans as King of the Jews in 37–34 BCE; but the sources they used sometimes conflated elements of the lives of these different Herods. For example, the Herod who was contemporary with the adult Jesus — and would be the historically accurate figure in the Digby play’s scriptural narrative — was Herod Antipas. Nonetheless, the play gives him attributes that other English biblical dramas ascribed to Herod the Great, who was responsible for the Massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2:13–18). See Coletti (“Story of Herod”) for discussion of and extensive bibliography on this figure in medieval drama.
118 Pylat. Luke’s gospel (3:1) names Pilate as governor of Judea in the reign of Tiberius Caesar. See note to lines 1255–56 below.
120–28 Take hed . . . . make with malynacyon. The syntax of the emperor’s speech is convoluted and unclear: he commands Herod and Pilate either to do harm to any people in their respective realms who speak against Caesar himself and his laws and gods; or he warns them that such will be the fate of those persons. The reference at line 126 to the regent who holds “his croun” from Caesar by right pertains only to Herod.
120 my precept wretyn be. On the importance of writing and its attestation to complex influences of late medieval documentary culture, see Lim, “Pilate’s Special Letter.”
121 owit wrech. Literally, “to owe (or incur) harm.” MED, ouen (v.), sense 2; and MED, wrech(e (n.), sense 2. See also the textual note on this line.
127 harlettys. MED, harlot (n.), sense 1b: “as term of abuse: scoundrel, knave, rogue, reprobate, base fellow, coward.”
133 So bere thes lettyrs. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 179) highlights the secular and spiritual importance of letters in the play. See also Lim, “Pilate’s Special Letter.” Northway (“It’s All in the Delivery”) discusses the relationship of letter-bearing to documentary practices and political culture in the early modern period, but with interesting implications for the Digby Magdalene.
136 Nuncyus (speech heading). Scherb (Staging Faith, pp. 172–73) notes the prevalence of messengers in large-scale East Anglian plays such as the Digby Magdalene, where they serve to link the occupants of various scaffolds. Messengers are also prominent in the Castle of Perseverance and the N-Town Plays.
140 In the wyld, wanyng world. MED, waning(e (ger.), sense 3c, notes that this phrase “in a direct address” means “a curse upon you.”
143 Mahond. Medieval English drama is replete with characters who profess devotion to Mohammed (Mahond, Mahowne, Mahowdys, etc.), the prophet of Islam whom they erroneously take for a god. Although dramatic invocations of Mohammed function differently from play to play, they generally denote a false god whose worship is contrasted to devotion to Christianity’s true God. Appeals to Mahond/Mahowne in biblical plays are always anachronistic, since the prophet of Islam was not born until the sixth century. The Digby Herod is not the only Jew in English biblical drama to pledge loyalty to Mahond; e.g., the Towneley manuscript’s “Herod” play associates its main character with Mahowne (Towneley, 1:183–204); and the Jews of the Croxton Play of the Sacrament also invoke Machomet (see lines 149, 209, 332, 453). The Digby Herod’s swearing by “Mahondys bonys” (line 142) echoes Christian oaths that anatomized the body of Christ, a practice that Chaucer’s Pardoner excoriates (CT VI[C] 629–60), and demonstrates the tendency, in ME dramatic texts, for worship of Mahond to mimic that of the Christian god. See Chemers, “Anti-Semitism” and Leshock, “Representation of Islam.”
156 in dowt. MED, dout(e (n.), sense 4: “a cause or reason for fear; something to be feared; danger, peril.”
158–59 Lord of Alapye . . . . Beryaby, and Bedlem. BMH (pp. 283–84) modernize these names: Aleppo, Asia, Tyre, Hebron, Beersheba, Bethlehem. Similar geographical catalogs appear in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament (lines 94–116); the Castle of Perseverance (MP, p. 8, lines 170–78); and the N-Town Play (NT, 1:218–19, lines 157–75).
163 provostycacyon. The word is a fine example of the playwright’s ingenious creation of neologisms. BMH (p. 199) provide the gloss: “whom I serve in the office of provost.”
167 Phylysofyr (speech heading). Herod’s consultation with philosophers who interpret biblical prophecy in the play (lines 175–76, 184–85) is reminiscent of his conversations with the Magi and other wisdom figures in the Magi and Innocents plays of the English biblical cycle plays. The most extensive such discussion appears in play 8, “The Three Kings,” of the Chester Cycle (Chester, 1:156–74).
171–76 skreptour gevytt informacyon . . . . splendore ortus tui. Lim notes that the reading practices of Herod and his philosophers rely on a mode of literal interpretation that “ignores the spiritual message of the Gospel” (“Pilate’s Special Letter,” p. 6).
172 rehersse. MED, rehersen (v.), sense 1a: “to narrate (a story, that something happened), report, tell; describe.”
188 fleyyng flappys. MED, fleing (ger.1), sense 2a: “loss of skin by burning, scalding, tearing, etc.; an abrasion; an excoriation”; MED, flappe (n.), sense 2: “a device for slapping or striking; a flapper; a scourge.”
190 Ye langbaynnes! Loselles! Herod’s angry response to the interpretation of scriptural prophecy also echoes the name-calling, boasting, and cries for vengeance that characterize his performance in the English biblical cycles. See Coletti, “Story of Herod” and references therein.
194 They ar but folys. Primus Miles here refers to the philosophers who have advised Herod but implicitly also to the books that the wise men invoke.
202 grettly rejoysyth to my sprytes indede. In a typical twisting of grammar and syntax, the playwright (or scribe) adds the gratuitous preposition “to,” which must take as its object “sprytes,” the word that also acts as direct object of the verb “rejoysyth.” The sense of lines 202–03 thus seems to be: “This [the soldier’s announcement] is to me a gracious exhortation, one that brings great joy to my spirits.”
204 I woll suffer non to spryng of that kenred. Herod declares his interest in halting the production of lineage by the genealogy (“kenred,” or kindred) whose triumph is asserted in biblical prophecies. Plays on the Massacre of the Innocents in medieval English biblical drama represent this subject with imagination and creativity. Foundational to Herod’s wrathful anxiety in these plays is the medieval account of his own tortured genealogical and familial crimes. In this account, Herod is motivated by political ambitions that sought to disavow his low birth as well as the derivative nature of power held not in his own right but by Roman sanction. Based on Josephus’ Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities and developed by Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica, the medieval English story of Herod took shape in Peter Comestor’s Historia Scholastica, Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon, and their translation and redaction in many historical and homiletic works. See Coletti, “Story of Herod,” pp. 40–47; and “Saint Anne Dedication,” pp. 34–36. In the Killing of the Children (BMH, p. 101, lines 125–26), a play on the Massacre preserved in the same manuscript as Mary Magdalene, for example, Herod’s dynastic ambitions are reinforced by a soldier who erroneously declares: “we hold you for chef regent, / By titelle of enheritaunce, as your auncetours beforn.”
209–12 Heyll . . . . in thi regensy. The first of many moments of greeting and salutation in the play, the scene points to the wide ranging signifying capacities of the behavior and gestures that accompany them. Palmer (“Gestures of Greeting”) provides a rich inventory of possibilities that invite application to such moments, e.g., Mary Magdalene’s many angelic greetings.
213–14 sofereyn . . . . soveren. The spelling of the same word within the space of two lines highlights the scribe’s inconsistencies, and possible haste.
217–24 Be he sekyr . . . . thorow the hartt. BMH (p. 200) note the strong resemblance to lines 97–104 in The Killing of the Children (also in BMH, pp. 98–115).
234 pregedyse. MED, prejudice (n.), sense 2c is a legal term meaning “detriment or damage caused to persons, organizations, or property by the disregarding or violation of a legal right.”
237 prommyssary and presedent. MED, procuratour (n.), sense 1c: “the governor of a province; a viceroy, regent, or deputy”; MED, president (n.), sense 1a: “a ruler or head of either sovereign or subordinate status; often, one invested with judicial powers.”
238 inperrowpent. See the textual note for this line.
253 lover. MED, lover(e (n.2), sense 1c: “one who loves his king, a loyal subject.”
257 Martes. Pilate’s invocation of Mars, the Roman god of war, affirms his aggressive persona even as it adds another detail to the play’s allusions to Western classical antiquity.
264, s.d. Syrus takyt his deth. Occurring without warning, Cyrus’ demise exemplifies the horror of the mors improvisa, the unanticipated death that could catch body and soul unaware and unprepared, as underscored by “sodenly” at line 276, s.d. On mors improvisa, see Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 310–13; for this scene, see Coletti, “Social Contexts,” pp. 294–95. Appleford’s Learning to Die provides important insights that can inform the Digby play’s representations of death and dying.
270 help me to my bede. Noting the proliferation of sleeping subjects and dead bodies in the play, M (p. 258) observes: “No medieval play makes such extensive use of beds as does the Digby Mary Magdalene.”
276, s.d. avoydyt. MED, avoiden (v.), sense 5a: “to depart from or abandon (a place, a position); vacate (a dwelling); go away, withdraw.” The Digby author uses this verb frequently in his stage directions.
285 inwyttissymus God. See MED, witen (v.1). The verb form, with its various meanings related to possession of knowledge, would seem to be the basis for one of the Digby playwright’s experiments with aureate diction, in this instance affirming Mary Magdalene’s elaboration of attributes of the deity. My reading departs from that of BMH (p. 200).
299 Thys castell is owerys with all the fee. See MED, fe (n.2). Lazarus’ term unambiguously situates possession of the castle within the economy of late medieval inheritance practices.
304, s.d. Her shal entyr . . . thus seyyng the World. The appearance of this evil cohort, presumably on separate scaffolds, marks the play’s shift from the biblical historical world to an allegorical one. No other ME life of Mary Magdalene makes her the victim of colluding immoral forces. The World, the Flesh, the Devil, and the Seven Deadly Sins are not only frequent subjects but also organizing principles of anonymous medieval homiletic and catechetical writing and works by well known ME writers; e.g., among their many literary identities, Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale and Gower’s Confessio Amantis are both penitential works structured by appeals to the Seven Deadly Sins. The Digby Magdalene’s cohort of tempters also appear together, though differently grouped, in the East Anglian Castle of Perseverance. BMH (pp. 200–01) compare the two plays’ arrangement of these evil alliances.
306 prymatt portature. MED, primate (adj.): “highest in rank, chief”; MED, portour (n.), sense a (“a bearer”) is probably used metaphorically here.
311 recure. MED, recuren (v.), sense 8a: “to acquire (something), obtain; achieve (peace, one’s purpose).”
312 whele of fortune. World’s alliance with the wheel of fortune is hardly surprising. The concept of Fortune and her wheel figures ubiquitously in medieval reflections on the instability of human circumstances and fates, i.e. human existence in the material world. Boethius’ adaptation of the Roman goddess Fortuna in The Consolation of Philosophy (523 CE) established the basic terms for representations of Fortune over the next millennium. For an overview, see Greene, “Fortune.”
313–22 In me restyt . . . . of so gret puernesse. BMH (p. 201) cite Morton Bloomfield’s classic study The Seven Deadly Sins (pp. 234 ff.) to affirm the traditional association of the seven sins with metals of the then seven planets, which here include the sun and moon (lines 315–16).
324 seven prynsys of hell. That is, the Seven Deadly Sins.
329 mynystracyon. MED, ministracioun (n.), sense 3: “governing service or management.”
333, s.d. Her shal entyr the Kyng of Flesch wyth Slowth, Gloteny, Lechery. Appropriately, the King of Flesh is accompanied by the sins associated with bodily transgressions, such as Sloth’s laziness, Gluttony’s overindulgence in food and drink, and Lechery’s overindulgence in sexual behaviors.
335 deyntys. MED, deinte (n.), sense 4: “a luxury; a precious thing.”
338–44 For I have comfortatywys . . . . delycyus use I. Flesh’s “deyntys delycyows” constitute a virtual catalog of the most popular medieval spices, including galingale, long pepper, and grains of paradise; their representation here introduces the aromatic balms that will become the penitent Magdalene’s iconic emblem. As Freedman (Out of the East, pp. 1–75) notes, these and other spices attained widespread use in medieval cookery, but they were also understood to have medicinal properties, as were certain gemstones (Flesh also possesses “margaretton” or pearls in line 339). Dugan (Ephemeral History of Perfume, pp. 38–41) traces the unfolding of the olfactory sense in the play, noting its power to trespass bodily and other boundaries. BMH (p. 201) note that similar catalogs appear in The Croxton Play of the Sacrament (lines 173–88) and John Heywood’s Play Called the Four PP (lines 604–43). Flesh’s claim to jurisdiction over these pharmaceutical products makes him a sort of diabolical apothecary and a carnal foil to the Christus medicus, Christ the physician, appearing elsewhere in the play; see Coletti, “Social Contexts,” pp. 292–93 and sources cited therein. The ubiquitous presence of spices in medieval food preparation and medicine suggests that Flesh’s “comfortatywys” would likely be familiar to the dramatic audience. F (pp. 83–88) discusses the overlapping properties of culinary and medicinal herbs in the play.
352–55 O ye prynse . . . . to your jentylnesse. Lechery’s appeal to the language of status echoes the interests of Cyrus and his family in the play’s earlier scene (lines 49–113).
354 aprowe. MED, ap(p)reven (v.), sense 4: “to approve of (something); of an authority: approve, sanction, endorse, confirm formally.”
356 byrd. MED, birde (n.1), sense 1: “a woman of noble birth; damsel, lady.” See also the note to line 565 below.
357 to halse. MED, halsen (v.2), sense 1a: “to embrace or caress (somebody) as a sign of affection; embrace or fondle (somebody) sexually.”
358–76 Now I . . . . for my sake. Devils play a decisive role in the Digby play. DiSalvo (“Unexpected Saints,” pp. 70–75) states that the play’s inclusion of “supernatural elements associated with . . . devils” enables the protagonist “to be” a “saint” (p. 70). DiSalvo compares the devils of Mary Magdalene with those of its companion play in Bodleian MS Digby 133, The Conversion of St. Paul. The play’s devils also provide occasions for its most spectacular scenes.
358 prykkyd in pryde. See MED, priken (v.), sense 8a. BMH (p. 202) cite the appearance of this common tag of being ‘pricked’ or ‘dressed up’ in pride in the East Anglian Castle of Perseverance (MP, p. 8, line 159 and p. 9, line 209).
360 atyred. MED, tiren (v.3), sense 2a: “to equip (a knight) for battle, arm; also, prepare (oneself) for combat or a military expedition.”
363 bryng to abaye. MED, abai (n.), sense 2 cites the phrase “at abai” to mean “in extreme difficulties, at the mercy of an enemy.”
366–67 For at hem . . . . for ther pryde. Here the Devil explains his reasoning for instigating the fall of humankind and his continuing interest in tempting humanity, now represented by the vulnerable Mary Magdalene: he is jealous of the joy that Lucifer lost when he fell from heaven to hell, a joy that humanity somehow proleptically still experiences, even though Christ’s death, and the redemption that accompanies it, have yet to occur in the world of the play. Nomenclature in this passage is confusing. The speaker self-identifies as Satan (line 359); whereas some accounts make Satan the fallen angel Lucifer, here Satan speaks as if Lucifer is a different being (lines 366–67).
368 The snarys that I shal set wher nevyr set at Troye. The devil’s allusion to the snares, or tricks, whereby the Greeks overcame the city of Troy bears witness to the deep knowledge of the Trojan story in late medieval England. Resources on this topic are vast; for a foundational study see Benson, History of Troy.
375 skowte. Possibly from MED, scouten (v.): “to search, scout.”
377 Wyth wrath or wyhyllys we shal hyrre wynne. A potentially confusing shift of pronouns occurs suddenly here. In the preceding speech Satan has spoken of his desire to besiege the human soul; accordingly he uses specifically masculine or gender-neutral plural pronouns (“he” in lines 366, 370; “hym” in line 372; “hem” in lines 366, 369, 370). The use of feminine singular pronouns by Wrath and Envy (“hyrre” in line 377; “hur” in line 378) signals an abrupt shift of focus to Mary Magdalene. See also BMH (p. 202) on variant readings of this line.
383 afyauns. The rhyme scheme here may have prompted the playwright to conflate MED, affiaunce (n.), sense 2; and MED, affinité (n.), sense 1c.
384 A woman of whorshep ower servant to make. Satan employs the feudal language of service to signify the relationship of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil to their minions. For example, Satan commands “knythtys” (line 373) and is the head of a “howshold” (line 403). Lechery tempts Mary Magdalene by offering her “servyse” and “atendauns” (line 424). See MED, servaunt (n.), sense 1a; service (n.), sense 3c; and worship(e (n.), sense 3b. The spelling of “whorshep” (worship) may involve a pun here, given Mary Magdalene’s traditional reputation for sexual profligacy.
387 asemlanus. MED, as(s)emble (n.), sense 2: “a group of people gathered for a purpose.”
407 arere. MED, areren (v.), sense 13a: “to arouse or stir up (somebody), stimulate or incite (to action).”
412 comprehend. MED, comprehenden (v.), sense 3a: “to put . . . into words, describe, explain.”
413 devyse. MED, devis (n.), sense 3c: “a device, scheme, stratagem, intrigue.”
414–17 Serys . . . . beryt the pryse. Mary Magdalene is also targeted by disguised allegorical tempters in Lewis Wager’s Life and Repentaunce of Mary Magdalene (White, Reformation Biblical Drama, pp. 11–28), where the evil crew includes Pride of Life, Cupiditie, and Carnall Concupiscence.
420 She shal byn abyll to dystroye helle. Mundus’ extraordinary claim about the unfallen Magdalene seems to conflate her powers with those of the Virgin Mary; as such, his is the first of many allusions aligning the play’s heroine with the mother of Jesus. In fearing that Mary Magdalene may be able to “destroy hell,” Mundus invokes scriptural commentary that identified the Virgin Mary as the woman of Genesis 3:14–15 who will “crush” the serpent’s head. Hence Mundus’ statement seems to associate the defeat of the serpent (Genesis 3:14–15 reports God’s warning to the successful tempter of Adam and Eve) with a more general destruction of hell, the serpent (Lucifer/Satan’s) home. Spector (NT, 2:421n2/259–66; 434n7/51–2) cites allusions to this attribute of the Virgin Mary in the N-Town plays of the “Fall of Man” (1:32, lines 259–66) and “Jesse Root,” or the Prophets’ Play (1:67, lines 49–56), noting that this symbolic understanding of Marian power also appears in the Anglo-Norman Jeu d’Adam and Philippe de Mézières’ play on the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. For the texts, see B, p. 101, lines 479–90; and Philippe de Mézières’ Campaign, ed. Coleman, p. 102, lines 19–21.
425 beral of bewte. F (pp. 59–60) notes the frequent appearance of the beryl in medieval English lyric poetry. Medieval lapidaries describe the beryl as a gemstone “that fostered love between man and woman” (p. 59), alluding also to the gem’s potentially erotic meanings. At the same time, lapidaries also speak to the beryl’s healing properties.
428 Spiritus malyngny. The designation of the Bad Angel as a “spiritus malyngny” (or “malyng” as in line 434) anticipates the play’s later interest in establishing the authenticity and moral probity of spiritual visitations. See notes to lines 601–02, 716, 1376, and 2010.
430 all the six. That is, the remaining six deadly sins, excluding Lechery, who is already engaged in the effort to bring Mary Magdalene to sin.
438 I trotte hyr to tene. MED, tenen (v.), sense 1: “to do somebody harm; harass, annoy, oppress.”
439, s.d. Her shal alle . . . . Lechery shall entyr the castell. Luxuria’s easy access to Mary Magdalene’s castle, which is also her namesake, suggests the architectural allegorization of the body as castle of the soul, capable of warding off malevolent moral intruders through the exercise of virtue but also vulnerable to succumbing to them. See note to line 81 above; Findon, “‘Now is aloft,’” p. 249; and Whitehead, Castles of the Mind, pp. 87–116.
440–44 Heyl, lady . . . . your aungelly delycyté. Luxuria’s address (“Heyl . . . Heyl”) ironically echoes Gabriel’s Annunciation to the Virgin Mary portrayed in other English biblical plays. In the Towneley Annunciation, Mary similarly inquires about her visitor’s identity: “What is thi name?” (Towneley, lines 77–107). D. Williams (French Fetish, pp. 114–17) notes how quickly Mary Magdalene picks up Lechery’s seductive language, an idiom, coded as French and feminine, that “removes Mary from the humdrum quotidian, and places her . . . within the rarified world of French romance” (p. 115). Williams suggests that Lechery, even though she is “Lady Lechery,” is intent on seducing Mary Magdalene, thereby creating opportunities for homoerotic play that would only be compounded if both parts were played by boys or young men. Lechery’s language becomes more obscure and convoluted as the scene unfolds, e.g., lines 456–59.
440 alyauuns. MED, allia(u)nce (n.), sense 3: “family connections established through marriage.”
441 oryent. MED, orient (adj.), sense c: “brilliant, shining, fair.”
447 ravyssyt. See MED, ravishen (v.), sense 4. The sense of ravishment carries a wide semantic range in ME, connoting both physical and spiritual senses of being emotionally and mentally moved or transported.
457 obusyons may brede myche dysese. MED, abusioun (n.), sense 1: “misuse, perversion, abuse”; dysese. MED, disese (n.), sense 1b: “that which inflicts hardship, misery, or misfortune; grievance, harm, injury, wrong.” The naming of Mary Magdalene’s “dysese” introduces here the notion of physical as well as spiritual illness that will eventually be healed by Christ, the “hartys leche” to which Magdalene’s speech ironically alludes in line 461.
459 Prynt. MED, emprenten (v.), sense 8: “to stimulate, arouse, or move (a person) to a state of mind or a course of action.”
462–69 Brother Lazarus . . . . place from wreche. Here Mary Magdalene entrusts the keeping of her castle to her brother Lazarus and sister Martha. The guardianship of property and household was a constant preoccupation of East Anglian landed families. See PDD, pp. 347–49.
463 in substawns. MED, substaunce, sense 6e. When used with “in,” the phrase means “for all intents and purposes, in the main, generally.”
469 wreche. MED, wrech(e (n.), sense 2: “destruction; misery; harm; also, calamity, misfortune.”
470 I am a taverner. The scene of Mary Magdalene’s seduction in the tavern is one of the playwright’s major additions to her traditional vita. Taverns appear frequently in medieval comic and homiletic writing, where they figure as sites of both amusement and sin. Scherb (Staging Faith, pp. 175–76) highlights the pleasures and dangers of some medieval literary taverns. As Coletti observes, the Digby play’s tavern is also implicated in, and evokes the values of, commercial exchange in the medieval mercantile economy. Mary Magdalene’s tavern repartee, first with Luxuria and then Curiosity, is inflected by status-consciousness; see C, pp. 6–7, and sources cited therein. According to Strohm (“Three London Itineraries,” p. 10), the medieval urban tavern was “a place where reconsideration . . . of social status might occur.” In the Dutch play Mary of Nemmegen, another unruly girl meets trouble in a tavern similarly situated at the intersection of economics and morality. See Sponsler, Drama and Resistance, pp. 95–102. Streitman (“Face of Janus”) discusses resemblances between the Digby saint play and the Dutch play.
474–80 Of wynys . . . . ye can goo. The international wine list of which the taverner boasts gives a worldly wise dimension to the site of Mary Magdalene’s assignation, especially from a commercial perspective. BMH (p. 203) gloss the taverner’s wine list primarily in terms of country of origin; however, “clary wynne,” “claret,” and “vernage” signify types of wine or medicinal drinks. See MED, clare (n.1); claret (n.1); vernage (n.). The list is reminiscent of the list of countries where Aristorius’ “merchaundyse renneth” in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament (lines 93–116).
481 thee comfort and thee sokower. MED, comforten (v.), sense 3a: “to refresh (somebody with food or drink); refresh oneself”; MED, socouren (v.), sense 1b: “to furnish sustenance; furnish (somebody) with the necessities of life.” The two reflexive verbs here show the dramatist employing two words when one would have done.
486 good restoratyff. The taverner’s recommendation of his wine as an effective cordial that provides relief from “stodyys and hevynes” (line 488) elides the wine’s intoxicating functions with quasi-medicinal purposes.
490 To me ye be courtes and kynde. Mary’s attention to the taverner’s courtesy prefigures her interactions with the gallant.
491 Hof, hof, hof! A frysch new galaunt. By the mid-fifteenth century, the gallant was recognized as a satiric and socioeconomic type, especially by moralists and homilists who condemned the gallant’s material excess, sartorial extravagance, and aspirations to high social status. The Digby play’s gallant thus aligns Mary Magdalene’s seduction with a well-developed discourse of social critique. See Davenport, “‘Lusty Fresche Galaunts’” and C, pp. 7–12, and sources cited therein. According to Davenport (p. 114), “hoff (or hof or huffa)” is a signature of the gallant’s speech. The gallant makes frequent appearances in medieval East Anglian drama. In Satan’s prologue to N-Town’s “Conspiracy” play and Wisdom, Lucifer dons the guise of the gallant. The eponymous protagonist of the Macro Mankind is lured into sin by a trio of gallants: Nought, New Guise, and Nowadays. Superbia, or Pride, in the Castle of Perseverance sports a gallant’s attire. Cox (The Devil and the Sacred, pp. 64–65) claims that the Digby play’s Curiosity, like the gallants in the N-Town “Conspiracy” and the Castle of Perseverance, is aristocratic; in support, he cites Curiosity’s affiliations with the “sevyn prynsys of hell” (line 324) and Satan’s rousing of his “knythtys” (line 373). The social affiliations of the evil characters, according to Cox, mirror Mary Magdalene’s identification as an aristocrat.
493–94 Wene ye . . . . com to town. The gallant’s anxiety about a mercantile identity picks up on the taverner’s commercial concerns. D. Smith (“‘To Passe the See’”) maintains that these issues point to the urban interests of the Digby play. See also C, pp. 8–9.
495 rownd. MED, rounen (v.), sense 1b: “to speak in private, speak in confidence, hold a private conversation.”
496–502 I have a shert . . . . evyr together abyde. The Digby play gallant’s inventory of his clothing is among the most detailed in medieval English drama. As C (pp. 9–10) observes, the gallant’s investment in attire encodes anxieties about social status that late medieval sumptuary laws and didactic discourses about clothing sought to regulate. N. Smith’s Sartorial Strategies analyzes the relationship between the gallant’s exhibitionism, sartorial display, and the performance of sin, as well as the figurative possibilities of aristocratic attire. A rare illustration of Mary Magdalene’s suitor appears in a late fourteenth-century Italian fresco cycle depicting the saint’s life in ten scenes. See Anderson, “Her Dear Sister,” pp. 49, 55–56.
500 awye. See MED, avaien (v.), sense a: “to inform, advise, or instruct (somebody).”
503 I woll . . . to seme yyng. On variable understandings of youth in the Middle Ages, see Dunlop (Late Medieval Interlude, pp. 9–21).
504 With here agen the her I love mych pleyyng. F (p. 64) notes the gallant’s shift to coarser language here. BMH (p. 204) comment on his allusion to “an intimate encounter of hair against hair.”
506 I do it for no pryde. The gallant’s protestation is an ironic double-entendre; the Bad Angel who soon rejoices in Mary’s seduction identifies her tempter as “Pryde, callyd Coriosté” (line 550).
511 Coryossyté. The gallant is given a name. The term curiosity bears a lot of semantic weight. See MED, curiousité (n.); all senses elaborated in the MED’s definitions seem to apply here. Zacher (Curiosity and Pilgrimage, p. 31) states that medieval curiositas was frequently associated with pride. The thirteenth-century play known as Courtois d’ Arras bears interesting similarities to the dramatic scenario and characterization of the much later Digby Magdalene, though the late medieval English play splits between the gallant Curiosity and Mary Magdalene the attributes of the French dramatic protagonist. See Symes, A Common Stage, pp. 71–80.
515 daysyys iee. MED, daies-ie (n.). Curiosity invokes the European daisy or marguerite. A common native flower, the daisy also carries complex meanings. Citing works by Chaucer, Machaut, Usk, Froissart and others, F (pp. 67–70) notes the daisy’s popularity as trope in medieval European courtly literature.
515–19 A, dere dewchesse . . . . peynnes of perplexité. Curiosity’s come-on to the emotionally vulnerable Mary Magdalene and his contributions to their ensuing dialogue echo the convoluted, aureate idiom and rhetorical situation of the late ME poem known as “The Craft of Lovers,” as do Lechery’s wooing of Mary Magdalene (lines 440–59) and the dialogue that introduces the king and queen of Marseilles (lines 942–60). “The Craft of Lovers” stages a conversation between a lover and a lady initially identified as a “curyous” argument (ed. Kooper, line 2); wildly metaphoric, its evocation of courtship calls attention to the manner and terms of courtly language (e.g., lines 78–79). The three extant manuscript versions of the poem are associated with John Shirley; John Stow included “The Craft of Lovers” in his 1561 edition of Chaucer’s Works. See Kooper, “Slack Water Poetry.” F (p. 64) notes the poem’s relevance to the play.
516–17 Splendaunt of colour . . . . Your sofreyn colourrys. MED, colour (n.), sense 3a: “color . . . of the face; complexion”; sense 5c: “manner.” Curiosity seems to pun here on various meanings of ME colour, including sense 4 (“a stylistic device, figure, or embellishment”), thereby commenting on the florid rhetoric with which he first addresses Mary Magdalene.
520 wene ye that I were a kelle. Without citing a source, BMH (p. 251) define “kelle” as “a fishnet or a woman’s cap,” which they extrapolate to mean “prostitute” or “loose woman.” AND variously defines kalle (n.) (also kele and kelle) as “net”; “hair-net”; “head-gear.” To gloss this line Karras (“Holy Harlots,” p. 23n69) cites MED, kelis (n. pl.): “ill-bred” or “low-class people.” Mary Magdalene, then, seems to respond to Curiosity’s sudden come-on, by asking “What do you think I am, a loose woman?
526 I can nat refreyn me. MED, refreinen (v.2), sense 2c: “to restrain, contain, or control oneself.”
swete lelly. Like the daisy, the lily makes frequent appearances in courtly literature. F (p. 70) suggests Curiosity invokes the more elegant flower in response to Mary Magdalene’s concern expressed in line 520. The lily is also a common symbol of the Virgin Mary chastity.
527 Syr, curtesy doth it yow lere. To Curiosity’s declaration that he cannot restrain himself, Mary Magdalene retorts, “Courtesy should teach you how to do that”; or “You should know better.” Her invocation of courtesy here, as C (pp. 12–16) argues, points to the larger drama of social identities that the playwright weaves into the saint’s vita.
529 ye conne. MED, connen (v.), sense 3a: “to have mastery of (a skill), be versed or competent in (a craft, occupation, activity).”
530 wol yow dawns. F (p. 74) places Mary Magdalene’s dance in a complex set of imaginative and epistolary intertexts. The gallant’s invitation implicitly signals the presence of instrumental music in this scene. Brokaw (Staging Harmony, pp. 12–49) considers how the play uses music to express “temptation, sin, and the entrapments of fleshly pleasures” (p. 17); she stresses the importance of musical sound in the sensory reception of medieval drama. Brokaw also compares the Digby Magdalene to Wisdom as examples of East Anglian drama that stage complex religious confessions through their musical appeals; as these notes indicate, the two plays bear other similarities to each other. On Mary Magdalene as a dancer, see Davidson, “Middle English Saint Play,” p. 83. Loewen (“Conversion of Mary Magdalene”) analyzes the German Passion Plays’ extensive use of music to dramatize Mary Magdalene’s conversion from sin to pious living. In these plays, musical performance integrates the homiletic rhetoric of Franciscan preachers and the spiritual possibilities expressed in musical notation. For a general discussion of musical performance in the play, see Rastall, Heaven Singing, pp. 173–74.
533 beryt. MED, beren (v.1), sense 7a: “to possess (a quality, capacity, power, virtue, etc.).”
534 ye be with other ten. I adapt this gloss from BMH, p. 204, based on MED, tene (n.2), sense 3a.
536 Soppes in wynne. Wine figures prominently in Mary Magdalene’s seduction. Birney (“‘Sop in Wyn’”) explains that the sop, a small amount of food, in wine was thought to have medicinal properties.
543–46 Evyn at your wyl . . . . for your sake. C (pp. 1–4) notes the congruence of Mary Magdalene’s moral demise with negative examples of medieval English conduct literature. Still, compared to English Reformation portrayals of Mary Magdalene’s transgressions and those in continental medieval dramas, the Digby play’s portrait of Mary Magdalene’s sinful behaviors in this scene and at lines 564–71 is relatively tame. For continental examples, see Loewen, “Conversion of Mary Magdalene.” Badir (Maudlin Impression, pp. 32–40) and Atkin (Drama of Reform, pp. 109–14) discuss the sexually explicit, salacious exchange between Mary and her tempters in Wager’s Life and Repentaunce of Mary Magdalene; see White, Reformation Biblical Drama (pp. 16–28). Citing The Old English Martyrology, The Northern Passion, The South English Legendary, and Bokenham’s Legendys of Hooly Wummen, Badir (p. 31) notes that medieval English accounts of the saint’s life tend not to draw out Mary’s profligate past, focusing instead on her roles as contemplative and preacher. See also MDS, pp. 100–50.
549 grogly gromys. D. Williams (French Fetish, p. 116) glosses this phrase as “unsavory chaps,” but as BMH note (p. 204), the phrase “fallyn in owr” does not allow this meaning. (See MED, grom (n.), sense 3a.) BMH suggest the dramatist “may well have been employing a traditional alliterative phrase with no clear idea of its sense.”
550 Pryde, callyd Coriosté. The gallant’s lavish clothing and smooth rhetoric also enable his disguise in Wisdom (MP, p. 125), where Lucifer masquerades as a gallant.
555 tremyl and trott. BMH (p. 204) call the phrase “a common tag” that means to “shake and jump for joy,” citing Mundus in the Castle of Perseverance (line 457).
559 of hure al helle shall make rejoysseyng. Allegorical tempters never explain why Mary Magdalene is considered such a welcome target by those who want to bring her down. Their approach to her, through courtliness and flattery of her social status, resonates in their celebration of her downfall: she is paradoxically a “soveryn,” or mighty, elevated, “servant” (line 556) who “hath hure fet in synne.”
560 to nobyl kyngys. Rex Diabolus here addresses the World and the King of Flesh.
564–71 A God be . . . . halse and kysse. This final image of Mary Magdalene before she responds to the Good Angel’s imprecations depicts her as a romance heroine, longing and waiting for her lover. F (pp. 75–79) notes the scene’s important intersection with the imagery and idiom of secular love poetry. Occurring in none of the sources for the play, this scene provides the play’s “only glimpse . . . of Mary’s sensual life” (F, p. 75). Within a few decades, English reformist drama would turn the fallen woman into a complicated icon of all that needed reform in traditional, medieval religious practice, especially the use and veneration of images and other material realizations of devotional expression. Badir (Maudlin Impression, p. 40) says that Wager turns Mary into a decorated idol; Atkin (Drama of Reform, p. 106) finds her standing in for all religious imagery that the reformed church would replace with the Word of God.
564 my valentynys. F (pp. 76–78) aligns Mary Magdalene’s plea on behalf of her putative lovers with the medieval Valentine poetry of courtly writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Clanvowe, John Gower, John Lydgate, Oton de Granson, and Charles d’Orléans.
565 byrd. MED, birde (n.1). The MED cites very contrary meanings: a “bird” (sense 1) is most often “a woman of noble birth, a damsel,” a fair lady, etc. But the word (sense 3a) can also denote “a man of noble birth, scion, lord.” The latter would seem to be what Mary Magdalene intends here; alternatively, she may be punning on ME brid (sense 1a), that is, the avian creatures whom Chaucer in The Parliament of Foules also associates with the “valentines” whose arrival Mary awaits in her arbor. F (pp. 76–77) discusses the connection between birds and lovers in medieval Valentine poetry.
566 bote. MED, bote (n.1), sense 1a: “advantage, help, profit, good, benefit.”
568 this erbyre. MED, herber (n.1). Mary Magdalene’s arbor taps the MED’s multiple meanings for this word; it is a “pleasure garden” (sense a); an “herb garden” (sense b); a “bower covered with flowers, vines, [and] shrubs” (sense e). F (pp. 98–100) surveys these multiple possibilities. For example, Mary’s arbor calls to mind both the medieval Garden of Love, frequently depicted in illustrated manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, and the Garden of Eden. The sensuous language of the female speaker in the garden also evokes the hortus conclusus, or enclosed garden of the Song of Songs, unleashing potential for her identification with the Song’s Bride. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 177) finds religious valences in Mary’s speech, including echoes of biblical imagery of the garden in Song of Songs 4:5–6; Ecclesiastes 24:42, and Isaias 58:11.
571, s.d. Her shal Mary lye doun and slepe in the erbyre. According to F (pp. 93–98), the arbor scene is part of a major romance “meme” in the play, the motif of “the sleeper in the garden.” In this framework, the arbor or garden is a liminal space where “life-changing intervention from a realm beyond the everyday world” can occur (p. 94). F surveys appearances of and variations on this important motif in a wide range of Middle English romances.
572 Symont Leprus (speech heading). The playwright seems to have confused Simon the Pharisee of Luke 7:36–50, with Simon the Leper in Matthew 26:6–16 and Mark 14:3–11. In all three passages Jesus is anointed by an unnamed woman, but only in the home of Simon the Pharisee does Jesus relate the parable of the two debtors, as he also does in the Digby play. Jesus’ parable of the two debtors does not appear in Jacobus’ life of Mary Magdalene.
573 solas. MED, solasen (v.), sense 1a: “to entertain (somebody), amuse; please (one’s heart or soul); cheer up (one’s life).”
576–79 Into the seté . . . . with this ordynowns. Simon’s concern for proper provisions for his dinner guests is consistent with other instances in the play that highlight the household and its management, perhaps addressing the values of the play’s target audience and/or its producers. Simon’s reference to officers performing “this ordynowns” situates his action squarely within the arena of rules and regulations, proper behavior and social custom. See MED, ordinaunce (n.).
577 porvyawns. MED, purveiaunce (n.), sense 3a: “the act of procuring or providing that which is necessary, especially food, equipment, etc.; provisioning.”
581 perfytnesse. See MED, parfitnes(se (n.), sense 1. In characterizing Jesus as the “prophet” of perfection, Simon invokes the ideal that will become the goal of Mary Magdalene’s spiritual life. Devotional works such as Walter Hilton’s Scale of Perfection promoted these ideals for religious and sometimes lay contemplatives. As MDS (pp. 100–101) elaborates, Hilton singles out Mary Magdalene for her achievement of contemplative perfection.
587, s.d. Her entyr Symont into the place, the Good Angyll thus seyyng to Mary. The simultaneity of these different actions, Simon entering the playing place to welcome Jesus in the next scene and Mary’s imminent conversion, furnish a clear instance of dramatic possibilities afforded by the play’s platea and loca staging. Like the evil allegorical beings who tempt Mary and the “spiritus malyngny” (line 428), the Good Angel is the playwright’s invention. No other version of the saint’s life makes her the subject of such spiritual visitations.
588 Woman, woman, why art thou so onstabyll. Compare Lady Lechery’s very different salutation at lines 440–44, a difference that marks the spiritual and psychological distance Mary Magdalene has traveled in the interval between the two greetings.
590 veryabyll. MED, variable (adj.), sense 2a: “of a person: inconstant, unsteadfast; treacherous, untrustworthy.”
594 Salve for thi sowle. MED, salve (n.1), sense 1c: “a spiritual or religious remedy.”
598–99 remembyr how sorowful . . . . angure and ir. The Good Angel reminds Mary Magdalene of the torment that will await her in hell if she remains unrepentant.
601 I am the gost of goodnesse. The angel’s self-identification as a “good” spirit (and Mary Magdalene’s confirmation of that attribute in the next line) is the first of the play’s several allusions to late medieval discourses on discretio spirituum, or the discernment of spirits: admonitions and guidelines intended to educate the devout soul on the truth or falsehood, sacred or demonic origins of spiritual visitations that took the form of visions, sensations, and/or voices. A frequent topic of works of spiritual direction such as Hilton’s Scale of Perfection, The Chastising of God’s Children, and The Cloud of Unknowing, proper discernment of the sources of spiritual visitation was of major concern to late medieval women mystics such as Margery Kempe and Bridget of Sweden. See MDS (pp. 117–21) and Voaden, God’s Words.
602–07 how the speryt . . . . on every syde. Mary Magdalene’s self-assessment and self-reproach echo themes of medieval confessional literature, as does her occupation by and release from seven devils (line 691, s.d.; see also lines 631–40; 748–57). More specifically, her delineation of her spiritual condition as the interplay of exterior forces and interior inclinations resembles what Raskolnikov (“Confessional Literature”) calls “vernacular psychology.”
603 temtyd me. Noting an Augustinian parallel between the three goals of rhetoric — to teach, delight, and persuade — and the three steps of temptation — suggestion, pleasure, and consent — Scoville (Saints and the Audience, pp. 38–39) explains Mary Magdalene’s unusual word choice here.
605 wonddyd. MED, wounden (v.), sense 5a: “to inflict emotional pain, distress.”
612 oyle of mercy. Mary Magdalene’s metaphor for the mercy she seeks from prophet Jesus is a fitting counterpoint to the “swete bawmys” (line 613) with which she will anoint him in Simon’s house and also seek out his dead body in his tomb. The conflation of several anointing women in scripture, including the unnamed one who approaches Jesus in the home of Simon the Pharisee, and the Mary Magdalene who bears witness to the resurrection in all four gospels, enabled Gregory the Great’s creation of the composite Magdalene, thereby joining the anointer to the sinner. The anointing scene of Luke 7 provides the core of Gregory’s influential Homily 33; see Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies, pp. 268–79. Dugan (Ephemeral History of Perfume, p. 39) calls Mary Magdalene’s exchange of her arbor’s precious balms (line 569) for the sweet balms of anointing an instance of contrapasso, “a structure of penitence demanding that any absolution match the nature of the sin.” Dugan also introduces the notion that the play’s staging itself may have employed its various scents.
615 mastyr most of magnyfycens. Note the play’s use of epithets for the deity.
639–40 Thow knowyst . . . . hart reward me. Mary makes an unusual claim about Jesus’ knowledge of her spiritual intentions, her “hart and thowt”; see also line 696. The focus on interior piety, in contrast to outward religious expression, was an important strain of late medieval devotion. As C (p. 17) explains, such pieties were especially congenial to the habits and preferences of the prosperous late medieval laity, whose interests are otherwise so frequently addressed in the Digby Magdalene.
642–44 For this grett repast . . . . seyn to thee. In the verses from Luke 7 from which this scene draws, Jesus reprimands Simon because he identifies the anointing woman as a sinner. In the play, Jesus admonishes Simon even though he has not expressed displeasure about the woman. See BMH, p. 204, and the note to line 674 below.
643 fectually. MED, effectualli (adv.), sense 2: “diligently, earnestly, zealously.”
649–77 Symond, ther was a man . . . . be thou made therby. Luke 7:41–49.
660 as my reson yef can. In this difficult phrase, the scribe has written ȝef, perhaps by mistake.
672 aplye. MED, applien (v.), sense 5a: “to strive or undertake (to do something).”
674 Wherfor, in thi conscyens, thou owttyst nat to replye. Jesus’ statement here may explain his rebuke of Simon even though the man says nothing about the anointing woman in the Digby play. (See note to lines 642–44 above.) Jesus suggests knowledge of Simon’s inward expression, “in . . . conscyens,” that is, of his disapproval. See MED, conscience (n.), sense 1.
678–85 blessyd be thou . . . . pacyens and charyté. Mary Magdalene’s words upon receiving Jesus’ forgiveness constellate important themes and metaphors elaborately developed elsewhere in the play. After addressing Jesus as “lord of evyrlastyng lyfe,” she immediately invokes his birth from his mother Mary, “that puer vergynne” who, though she makes no appearance in the play, nonetheless figures in it as an abiding reference point for Mary Magdalene. See MDS, pp. 151–54. As Coletti (“Design of the Digby Play”) points out, the newly converted woman employs metaphors of nourishment (“repast contemplatyf”) to describe Jesus’ effect upon her and represents her own transformation through a trope of clothing, as she resolves to “enabyte” herself with humility. The trope of “enhabiting,” as MDS (p. 263n28) notes, recalls the Pauline concept of ‘putting on’ the new man in Christ (Ephesians 4:23–24; Galatians 3:27–28; Romans 13:12–14; Colossians 3:9–10). It is tempting to speculate how these metaphoric changes of array might have been materially realized on stage. In Wager’s Life and Repentance (White, Reformation Biblical Drama, p. 55, line 1765, s.d.), Mary Magdalene marks her conversion with a literal change of clothing.
681 Agens my seknes, helth and medsyn. The Digby play’s saint also casts Mary’s sinful condition as a “seknes” from which she is healed by Christus medicus, her “helth and medsyn.” See also lines 594, 677, 693, 759, and 763, and Coletti, “Social Contexts,” pp. 291–92. Keyser (“Examining the Body Poetic,” pp. 145–58) discusses how the play’s use of this figurative language conforms to the medieval medical paradigm.
683 enabyte. MED, habiten (v.), sense 2: “to attire oneself, dress.”
687 inward mythe. See note to lines 639–40 above.
688 desert. MED, desert (n.2), sense 2. Negative connotations of the “desert” that Mary Magdalene’s soul occupies before her conversion anticipate the positive associations of the wilderness (line 1971, s.d.) that later furnishes her contemplative retreat (sense 2a).
689 And from therknesse hast porchasyd lyth. Jesus employs a metaphoric commonplace of medieval discourses of redemption, which rendered the theology of salvation in economic terms. The foundation of these discourses is the idea that God redeemed the world by ‘buying it back’ (from the Latin redimere). See PDD, pp. 341–42; Rosenthal, Purchase of Paradise; Georgianna, “Love So Dearly Bought,” p. 89.
691 Vade in pace. Luke 7:50.
691, s.d. Wyth this word . . . . hell with thondyr. This remarkable stage direction points up the Digby play’s fondness for vivid dramatic spectacle. The second part of the direction, complete with sound effects, demonstrates the playwright’s inventive depiction of Mary Magdalene’s life of sin, which the play develops in an elaborate allegory. The “dyllys” here are the Seven Deadly Sins. The first portion of the stage direction, though, draws upon the composite Magdalene’s biblical identity, specifically the Gregorian construction that conflated the woman named Magdalene, from whom Jesus cast seven devils (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2) with the sinful woman of Luke 7. Tamburr (Harrowing of Hell, p. 146) notes echoes here of the Harrowing of Hell, wherein Christ’s conquering of the devil within the soul of the individual believer parallels that greater redemptive action. Christ was, according to Tamburr, channeling Justin Martyr, the great exorcist. The exorcism of Mary Magdalene’s deadly sins or demons is one of three such scenes in East Anglian drama. In Wisdom (MP, pp. 143–46, lines 901–80), Anima emerges as a Magdalene figure by virtue of this and other similarities. As MDS notes (p. 98), Wisdom “reads and plays like an allegorical dress rehearsal for the more elaborate . . . treatment of related themes in the Digby Magdalene.” Sixteenth-century marginalia in the Macro manuscript (MP, p. xxix) include a ballad that mentions Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, and the Virgin Mary. N-Town’s “Last Supper” conflates Mary Magdalene’s scriptural exorcism in the gospels of Luke and Mark with the anointing episode from Luke 7, and relocates this conflation to the scene of the Last Supper. See NT, 1:269–71, lines 141–92; and for discussion of these episodes see MDS, pp. 84–94.
693 Sowle helth attys tyme for to recure. See MED, soule-hele (n.); MED, recuren (v.), sense 2a. Mary Magdalene’s recovery of “soul health” and Jesus’ promise to make her “hol in sowle” (line 677) invoke a specialized term from medieval devotional literature analyzed by Raskolnikov in Body Against Soul.
694 whanhope. See MED, wanhope (n.), sense 1a. Wanhope, or despair (Latin tristitia), was a subject of extensive commentary on the part of the Church fathers and later medieval exegetes. Discussions focused on whether despair was itself a “deadly” sin and, if not, what its relationship to sin must be. In the later Middle Ages despair was considered a subset of the sin of sloth (Latin acedia). Wenzel (Sin of Sloth, pp. 68–96) provides a basic account. For a recent overview and analysis, see Huber, “‘Y am sorwe,’” pp. 1–22.
697 the techeyng of Isaye in scryptur. Revealing a precocious knowledge of the Old Testament, Mary Magdalene proclaims her trust in Isaiah’s prophecies of the coming savior. Possible allusions here include Isaias 9:6–7, which announces the birth of the child who will sit on David’s throne and whose “name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” The mention of the names to be ascribed to the deity (“et vocabitur nomen eius”) resonate with the play’s sustained interest in the name of Jesus. See the note to lines 93–94 above. Mary Magdalene may also have in mind here Isaias 11:1–2, which speaks of the flower and rod that will rise from the root of Jesse and upon whom the spirit of the Lord will rest.
699–700 Blyssyd be they . . . . in credens. John 20:29. BMH (p. 206) mistakenly cite John 10 but nonetheless correctly note the oddity of a comment that in John’s gospel Jesus makes to Thomas, not Mary Magdalene. The remark directly follows Mary Magdalene’s attestation of the scriptural, i.e., written, foundations of her renewed faith. Citing the unusual placement of this scriptural citation, MDS (pp. 192–93) suggests that its admonition regarding the relationship of sight to belief applies to both the Magdalene’s outrageous corporeal testimony of faith and the material resources of theater.
705–21 Holy God . . . . we desyern. M (p. 264) declares this speech “theologically speaking . . . very odd” and states it “could hardly have been written for an angel.” Citing the Play of Mary Magdalene, ed. Lewis, p. 132, BMH identify the speech as “a tripartite hymn to the Holy Trinity” that treats “each person of the Trinity in succession” (p. 206). Coming immediately after Jesus’ exit from the stage, the Good Angel’s metaphorically rich and conceptually challenging speech, or hymn, directs attention to the Digby play’s representation of the deity, and more specifically, to its Christology. In sharp contrast to important strands of medieval piety that emphasized Christ’s human nature, the Good Angel focuses on exceptional attributes that foreground his “devynyté” and “soverreyn sapyens.” The Good Angel even implies that Jesus’ humanity, his “blessyd mortalyté,” has “obscuryd” his divine nature. As MDS explains (pp. 114–17), this characterization recalls the Christology that Walter Hilton, in the Scale of Perfection, propounds in relation to a program of contemplation.
716 spryte of errour. The Good Angel once more refers to the discernment of spirits in its “rejoysyng of Mawdleyn” (line 704, s.d.). See note to line 601 above.
719 consyngne. MED, signen (v.1), sense 2c: “to sign (a document, letter, an act, etc.) with one’s name or signature; also, authenticate . . . with a signature or seal.”
720 malyngne. MED, maligne (n.), sense b: “wickedness, treachery.”
721 gostely bred. The Good Angel appears to allude to the eucharistic sacrament, but the various references to material and spiritual consumption in the play suggest that the term “gostely bred” involves more expansive forms of spiritual nourishment.
722–47 A, owt, owt . . . . ower felaws blake. Comedic antics of demons were a staple of medieval English dramatizations of the Harrowing of Hell and the Last Judgment. Cox (The Devil and the Sacred, p. 70) notes demonic infighting here.
722 hampord wyth hate. MED, hamperen (v.), sense c: “to attack; harass (the heart), vex, torment.” As Tamburr notes, (Harrowing of Hell, pp. 159–61), the disturbance of the devils registered here anticipates Christ’s Harrowing of Hell, reported later in lines 963–92.
724 betyll-browyd bycheys. The alliteration employed in the devils’ repartee calls attention to the play — and the playwright’s — awareness of distinct linguistic idioms.
725 Belfagour and Belzabub. BMH (p. 206) suggest that Belfagour is probably the Moabite deity mentioned in Numbers 25:3–5, to whom the Israelites are initiated. Belzabub, or Beelzebub, appears variously in the Old and New Testaments as a Philistine god, a demon, and as a synonym for Satan.
727–28 The jugment . . . . judycyal-lyke astate. The theme of judgment has recently surfaced in the scene of Mary Magdalene’s repentance and Jesus’ intuition of Simon’s opinion about her. The mock trial to which the devils submit Spiritus Maligni, or the Bad Angel, is reminiscent of the mock court that occurs in Mankind (MP, pp. 175–77, lines 662–725).
730 As flat as fox. Whiting F601 cites the Digby play as the sole instance of this phrase.
731 Primus Diabolus (speech heading). Mostly likely the scribe, rather than the playwright, changes the name of the character identified as Rex Diabolus at line 722. Similarly, Spiritus Maligni at line 730 becomes Malinus Spiritus at line 733. Inconsistency in speech headings, both in actual names and the spelling of names, is a regular feature of the manuscript; see Introduction, p. 19.
735–36 thys hard balys . . . . I wol be wreke. The punishment inflicted by the devils upon the Bad Angel and the Seven Deadly Sins corresponds to the iconography of the Last Judgement window at St. Mary’s Church in Fairford, Gloucestershire. See Ross’ webpage: http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=1564, window 15.
737 skore awey the yche. MED, scoren (v.), sense a: “to cut (something).”
738 wyth thys panne, ye do hym pycche. MED, pichen (v.) In blackening their failed minions with pitch, the devils transfer to them their own iconographic associations with blackness; some reference to festive customs may also be at work here. See Vaughn, Performing Blackness, pp. 18–22.
739, s.d. Here shall they serve all the sevyn as they do the frest. The stage direction indicates that “all the sevyn,” the Seven Deadly Sins, accompany Spiritus Maligni when he delivers the message about their collective, failed attempt to secure Mary Magdalene’s place in hell. Findon (“‘Now is aloft,’” p. 251) comments that “the expulsion of Deadly Sins is a positive development for Mary, but a disaster for the sins themselves.”
741 lordeynnys. MED, lording(e (n.). The term, which denotes persons occupying positions of mastery or lordship, may be used ironically here.
743, s.d. Here shall the tother deyllys sett the howse on afyere . . . and to Martha. The “howse” situates this spectacle of demonic punishment in physical terms, probably identifying a specific locus, or place, in the playing space. The fire and smoke produced here indicate medieval dramatists’ appreciation for pyrotechnic thrills, as well as the technical capacities of medieval drama’s sponsors and players to create burning spectacles. Dramatic records from Coventry report payments for “kepyng of hell mowthe & the fyer” and document many uses of gunpowder. See Schreyer, Shakespeare’s Medieval Craft, pp. 140–41, 228n33.
748–59 O brother . . . . helyd myn infyrmyté. This abrupt and unremarked shift of scene finds Mary Magdalene returned to her siblings in Castle Magdalene. Her speech of greeting to Martha and Lazarus rehearses metaphors and motifs appearing earlier in the play: a Christology that focuses on God as “kyng” and creator, and the representation of her sin as an “infyrmyté” to be healed.
751 delectary. This word seems to combine the idea of being “spiritually or intellectually delightful” and “a state or condition of happiness.” See MED, delectable (adj.), sense b, and MED, delectacioun (n.), sense 3b. Compare lines 337 and 791.
757 Revertere. Jeffrey (“English Saints’ Plays,” p. 87) links Magdalene’s account to the wordplay on vertere/revertere/convertere in Augustine’s Confessions.
760–61 Now worchepyd . . . . is callyd Savyower. Martha’s praise of the “hey name Jhesu”and its Latin rendering as Savyower signals the play’s attention to the late medieval cult of the Holy Name of Jesus. See note to lines 93–94 above.
762 evyn of dewe. MED, dever (n.), sense 3b: “whatever is due or proper.”
763 To alle synfull and seke, he is sokour. Martha too recognizes the motif of Jesus as physician, Christus medicus. See note to lines 678–85 above.
765 obessyawnse. MED, obeisaunce (n.), sense 3a: “respectful submission, homage; deference, reverence.”
768–75 Cryst, that is the lyth . . . . nyth and day. M (pp. 265–66) notes that Mary’s speech translates the opening lines of Christe qui lux es et dies, a Compline hymn from the Sarum rite used from the first Sunday of Lent to Passion Sunday. The hymn was frequently translated into ME. M (p. 279) cites Breviarium ad Usum Insignis Ecclesiae Sarum, 1:dlxxiii, 2:228–29.
773 ded slep. M (p. 266) notes that references to “grevos slepe” (line 852) or the gravis somnus of the hymn, throughout the play suggest that the playwright “worked from the Latin text rather than from the translation. Instances of dramatic gravis somnus apply not only to Mary Magdalene but to Lazarus (line 852) and the queen of Marseilles (line 1896).
777–80 deth is sett . . . . wax alle swertt. The play represents the death of Lazarus from John 11 in graphic detail. Apparently stumbling (“I faltyr and falle”), Lazarus first experiences distress as he becomes “onquarte”; see MED, unquert(e (adj.). He reports “a bome,” or buzzing in his head (MED, bomben (v.)) and appears to lose consciousness, as he waxes “swertt” (MED, swart (adj.), sense b). Keyser (“Examining the Body Poetic,” pp. 145–58) discusses the deaths of Lazarus and Cyrus in light of medieval medical knowledge. The Digby play’s interest in physical illness, considered alongside its awareness of medicinal herbs and its use of metaphors of health and healing in spiritual as well as material contexts, may suggest that at some point its auspices were connected to the culture of the medieval hospital. See Coletti, “Social Contexts.”
782 no lengar now I reverte. MED, reverten (v.), sense 3. See note for line 757 above.
783 I yeld up the gost. Like the death of Cyrus earlier in the play, the death of Lazarus depicts the late medieval awareness — and fear — of sudden death. In fact, Lazarus does not die when he here yields up the “gost,” but forty lines later at line 823, s.d.
787 shal gete yow leches. The Christus medicus trope returns here and when Lazarus and Mary Magdalene affirm poetically, in rhyme, the congruence of his “bodely helth” (line 823) and his “gostys welth” (line 825). On the trope, see Rawcliffe, Medicine for the Soul, pp. 103–08.
devyde. MED, dividen (v.), sense 1a(c): “to break (something) up; demolish, destroy.”
794 melleflueus swettness. See MED, swetenes(se (n.), sense 5, but overlapping with other senses. Carruthers (“Sweetness,” p. 1001) states that medieval “‘sweetness’ — dulcedo, suavitas — is among the most mixed and trickiest of concepts”; but Mary and Martha’s intended meaning here seems unambiguous. In light of the play’s representation of Mary Magdalene as a mystic and contemplative (see MDS, pp. 100–50), Richard Rolle’s account (in Fire of Love) of the contemplative’s experience of spiritual love as calor, dulcor, and canor (heat, sweetness, and song) also resonates with the sisters’ devout testimony.
796 Lover to thee, Lord. See MED, lover(e (n.2), sense 1b. The idea of the loving relationship between Jesus and Lazarus originates in the Gospel of John 11:3, where Mary and Martha seek Jesus’ help for their brother, “whom [he] loves” (“quem amas”). But the playwright’s term here (and at lines 798 and 800) to represent Lazarus’ relationship to Jesus is also a familiar trope of medieval devotional and mystical writing, used to describe the devout individual’s relationship to the deity in his humanity. Julian of Norwich’s A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman famously begins: “Methought I wolde have bene that time with Mary Maudeleyne and with othere that were Cristes loverse”; Writings of Julian, ed. Watson and Jenkins, p. 63. The notion of the believer as Christ’s beloved derives from allegorical interpretations of the Song of Songs.
802–10 Of all infyrmyté . . . . in heven gloryfyed. The opening of Jesus’ speech is inspired by John 11:4. Jesus “said to them: ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God’” (Infirmitas haec non est ad mortem, sed pro gloria Dei). The Digby playwright, however, departs from the biblical prompt to have Jesus proclaim the inscrutability of both death and the eternal joys of heaven, which can be understood neither by reason nor academic knowledge (“counnyng of clerke”); or such at least is the point that the speech develops, despite the difficulties of line 802, which might also be the result of scribal confusion. MDS (pp. 121–24) discusses the play’s critique of clerical learning and its portrayal of sacred cognition. Cockett (“Actor’s Carnal Eye,” p. 71) cites this passage as one of three addressing the limitation of words to express spiritual matters (the others occur at lines 1100–03 and 1364–65). The play’s interest in affective and somatic forms of religious knowledge, he contends, not only comports with practices of late medieval affective pieties (as exemplified by East Anglian women mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe), but also anticipates the work of the actor who might “operate as a medium for sacred truth.”
804 werke. Especially in opposition to “the joye . . . [of] Jherusallem hevenly” in the next line, the meaning of “werke” here is difficult to determine. For the many options, see MED, werk (n.1).
805 Jherusallem hevenly. To gloss this difficult passage, BMH (p. 207) cite 1 Corinthians 2:9, where Paul speaks of the inability of human knowledge to access God’s sacred mysteries and wisdom.
817 weyys. MED, wei (n.4), sense a: “misery, trouble, woe.”
822 sharp showyr. MED, shour (n.), sense 4a: “An attack of physical or emotional suffering.”
831 drewyn. MED, drauen (v.), sense 1e(d): “to tear down, fell, . . . kill.”
832–33 We must nedys . . . . hym wythowt delay. John’s gospel does not mention the necessity for Lazarus’ speedy burial.
834–37 As the use . . . . wythowtyn lesyng. The weepers gathered by Mary Magdalene are the late medieval stand-ins for the consoling Jews of John 11:19 and 31; Mary’s consciousness of how the act of mourning “must be donne” links the burial of Lazarus not only to Jewish and Middle Eastern funeral customs but also to those of late medieval England. Mourners “clad in blake” frequently appeared in late medieval funerals, especially those of the well-to-do (see also the stage direction after line 841).The 1519 will of Anne Sulyard of Suffolk provided for 24 poor men and women “to be clad in Blak with hoodes of the same.” Such mourners were often recipients of the deceased person’s charity. See PDD, p. 350 and the sources cited therein.
846 very. MED, verrei (adj.), sense 6b(a) lists the word as “an emphatic.”
849 Jude. John 11:7. The Digby play’s representation of the death and raising of Lazarus follows John’s gospel closely, but not slavishly; e.g., the play sharply differentiates Jesus’ separate encounters with Mary and Martha by showing Lazarus die in between them.
850 Lazar, my frynd. Although she focuses on a twelfth-century Lazarus play from Fleury, Ashley’s analysis (“Fleury Raising of Lazarus”) of that play’s complex Christology resonates here: she notes that the Fleury Jesus is both friend and intimate of Lazarus and a powerful victor. See the Digby Lazarus’ praise of Christ’s “werkys of wondyre” at lines 912–13.
852 grevos slepe. Jesus introduces the metaphor of death as sleep in John 11:11. See note to line 773 above.
854 be skyll. See MED, skil (n.), sense 7a. The disciple’s remark may collapse John 11:12, “Lord, if he sleep, he shall be well” (Domine, si dormit, salvus erit), and John 11:37, “Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind have caused that this man not die?” (Non poterat hic, qui aperuit oculos caeci nati, facere ut hic non moreretur?). The mention of Jesus’ “skyll” picks up on the latter, while the disciple’s anticipation that Lazarus might be “savyd” suggests a mistranslation of the Latin salvus.
855–64 That is trew . . . . of my deité. In another noteworthy addition to John’s account of the Lazarus episode, Jesus here both gives notice of his virgin birth and briefly summarizes his imminent Passion.
857 nemyows. BMH (p. 258) note the derivation from Latin nimium, meaning “beyond measure” or “excessive.”
865 folow me now. Fitzhenry (“Vernacularity and Theater,” p. 227) notes the coincidence of the Digby Christ’s “mobile, preaching” ministry and Wycliffite models of Christ.
866 For Lazar is ded, verely to preve. It is unclear why Jesus would want to openly “preve” Lazarus’ death. In an alternative parsing of this line, that which Jesus seeks to demonstrate openly might be the “deité” of line 864.
868, s.d. Here shal Jhesus . . . on Jew tellyt Martha. John’s gospel identifies the companions of Mary and Martha as Jews. See note to lines 834–37 above.
873–92 A, Lord . . . . doth this dyscus. See John 11:20–32.
886 son of sapyens. Scripture provides foundations for the association of Christ, as the second person of the Trinity, with Wisdom: Isaias 11:1–2; Luke 7:35; Luke 11:31 and 49; and 1 Corinthians 1:24. See Riggio, Play of “Wisdom,” p. 184. The Macro play known as Wisdom (MP, pp. 114–52) elaborates on late medieval understanding of Christ as Wisdom; a substantial fragment of that play is also preserved in the manuscript that contains the single extant version of the Digby Magdalene. Christ is addressed and appears as Wisdom in the N-Town “Assumption of Mary” play (NT, 1:390–91, lines 94–114).
889 regent. MED, regent (n.), sense b: “one who governs in place of a sovereign.” Here “regent” is an apt designation for Jesus as the second person of the Trinity, albeit not yet recognized.
892 dyscus. MED, discussen (v.), sense 1a: “to investigate (a matter, an opinion); examine (one’s conscience, a belief); weigh (deeds) for judgment.”
895 wys. MED, wisen (v.), sense 3a: “to guide (somebody along a route or toward a goal), direct.”
903–10 Now, Father . . . . hethyr to me. Jesus’ words once more depart from their gospel source (John 11:41–43), this time in his appeal as the human son of his divine father.
911–20 A, my makar . . . . here ded apere. Because the risen Lazarus of John’s gospel does not speak, medieval writers who wanted to represent this episode had enormous leeway in devising words for the man newly returned from death. The Digby play’s Lazarus perhaps alludes to a comment that John gives to Martha (11:39) when he refers to the rot that should have consumed his flesh and bones. Lazarus figures in medieval English drama display a range of responses to the miraculous testimony to Jesus’ divinity that they represent. Ashley (“Resurrection of Lazarus”) discusses Lazarus figures in medieval English and French dramas.
920, s.d. Here all the pepull . . . Jhesus, Jhesus, Jhesus. John’s gospel mentions no such spirited endorsement of faith. Like the stage directions at lines 44 and 841, this provision for dramatic action calls attention to the ‘extras’ that populate the stage of the Digby Magdalene even as it recalls Martha’s devotion to the “hey name Jhesu” called “Savyower” (lines 760–61).
921 advertacyounys. A noun form, “that which is made known,” derives from ME adverten (v.), “to observe, perceive” (MED, sense 1); but see also MED, advertisen (v.), sense 2c: “to make (something) known, make clear or manifest, declare, show.”
922 Wherethorow. See MED, wher-thurgh. (adv. & conj.), sense 3a(c).
924 Vade in pace. These are Jesus’ words to the woman who anoints him in the home of Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:50, the woman whom the Digby play, and a preceding millennium of scriptural and religious tradition, identified as Mary Magdalene.
924, s.d. Here devoydyt Jhesus. This stage direction marks the play’s turn to Mary Magdalene’s legendary, post-biblical life, developed in many of her medieval vitae but based fundamentally on Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda Aurea; see GL. Furnivall (Digby Plays, p. 98) divided the play here, indicating all that follows as “part two.” The king and queen of Marcylle, or Marseilles, introduced here, are central figures in the legendary life.
925 Avantt! Avant thee. MED, avaunt (interj.), sense c: “away, be off, avaunt.”
927 Ye brawlyng breellys and blabyr-lyppyd bycchys. MED, braulen (v.1), sense 1; MED, brali (adj.); and MED, brauler(e (n.); all these words denote noisy and quarrelsome people. See also MED, bicche (n.), sense 2. The redundant reprimand serves the alliterative poetic line, as the king’s ranting speech marks a notable shift in the tone and idiom of the play at this point, perhaps explaining why Furnivall perceived the need to divide it here.
929 I am a sofereyn. Velz (“Sovereignty in the Digby”) discusses this important motif in the plays.
934 bemmys. MED, beme (n.1), sense a: “a trumpet, especially one used in warfare or hunting.”
942 I have a favorows fode and fresse as the fakown. MED, fode (n.2), sense 3b. The king shifts abruptly from tyrannical to amorous, courtly speech. According to F (pp. 79–81), the imagery of flowers, animals, and gemstones that punctuates the king and queen’s exchange is common to medieval love lyrics. Of special interest, as F notes (p. 80), is the king’s identification of his wife with the “fakown,” an aristocratic bird of prey. The king associates himself with the lion (line 944), another aristocratic animal “common in . . . romance and courtly society as well as heraldry” (F, p. 81).
947 felecyows. This word derives from MED, felicité (n.), sense 2a: “happiness; delight, joy, pleasure.”
950–57 Regina (speech heading) . . . . is my prosperyté. The queen’s speech is difficult linguistically and syntactically. She continues the king’s courtly discourse but takes it to the next level of obscurity. F (p. 81) states that line 952’s “boldest ondyr baner bryth” echoes Song of Songs 2:4: “his banner over me is love.”
953 coroscant. The word derives from Latin coruscus (adj.), meaning “flashing, gleaming, glittering.”
956 I privyde. MED, providen (v.), sense 4a: “to take care . . . protect (somebody [or] oneself).”
958 berel brytest of bewté. In praising his wife as a bright, beautiful beryl, the king recalls Flesh’s address to Lady Lechery (see note to “beral of bewte” at line 425). F (p. 82) comments on this similarity, suggesting that the carry-over to the queen of romantic and erotic attributes is complicated by her aristocratic status.
961 Now, comly knygthys. The king’s call for his knights to follow their assumed duties turns his legendary kingdom into a medieval aristocratic household, very much like the one overseen by Mary Magdalene’s father Cyrus (see line 112 and its note).
962, s.d. spycys and wynne. See notes to lines 46 and 112 above.
963 Owt, owt, harrow. The devil who delivers news of Christ’s Crucifixion, Harrowing of Hell, and Resurrection is remarkably well-informed about basic Christian doctrine. With its notice of the “Kyng of Joy[’s] . . . . wondyrfull worke” (lines 967–76), his report of these events even gestures toward the Christology present elsewhere in the play. This counter-intuitive instruction in Christian theology by a character coded as evil also occurs in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament (lines 393–441), when Jonathas and the other Jews explain the eucharistic sacrament and rehearse the “substaunce of . . . [Christian] lawe.” The non-scriptural Harrowing of Hell is derived from the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. The episode, which provided for Christ’s release of righteous souls in hell during the interval between his crucifixion and resurrection, was very popular in medieval English literature, appearing in all of the biblical cycles. DiSalvo (“Unexpected Saints,” p. 74) notes that the devils who disappear from the play at this point are “replaced by the pagan priest of Marseilles.”
968 fray. MED, frai (n.), sense 2: “a fit of fright.”
989 deleverans. MED, deliverance (n.), sense 2c notes the term can refer to “Judgment Day.”
992, s.d. Here shall entyr . . . . thus seyyng Mawdlyn. This stage direction invokes a social identity (“chast women”) and a visual image (“sygnis of the passon”) extremely important in late medieval religious culture. The introduction of the three Marys as chaste women aligns them with the social role of the vowess, a lay woman who formally professed before ecclesiastical authority her intention to pursue a chaste life in world. The stage direction’s notice of the women’s array further signals the vowess’ symbolic apparel. See MDS, pp. 50–53. The symbols of the Passion “pryntyd” on this attire allude either to the arma Christi, a cluster of images representing the instruments of the Passion, or to a more focused image, sometimes called ‘arms of the Passion,’ that showed Christ’s wounds depicted against the background of the cross. See Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, p. 246; Cooper and Denny-Brown, eds., Arma Christi; and MDS, p. 248n3. The latter image was associated particularly with the late medieval Bridgettine orders, whose sisters wore white linen crowns on which were sewn, in cruciform pattern, pieces of red cloth in the shape of drops of blood and whose lay brothers wore mantles decorated with white crosses and red patches “‘for the reuerence of the fyve woundys of crist.’” See Jones and Walsham, “Syon Abbey,” p. 13. BMH (p. 209) compare this passage to Mankind, line 322 (MP, p. 164).
995–98 For here . . . . For here. See Luke 23:27–28. Scoville (Saints and the Audience, p. 49) connects the Marys’ rhetorical emphasis with the “memorial techniques of antiquity and of medieval rhetorical education,” here replacing the imaginary landscapes of memory theory with “the actual landscape of the playing space.”
998–99 For here . . . . ther kyng ryall. Mary Jacobe’s recollection of the mocking of Christ on his way to Calvary is as laconic as scriptural reports of it; BMH (p. 209) cite Matthew 27:30, Mark 15:19. “The Announcement to the Three Marys” in the N-Town Play fills in this picture with imaginative details drawn from scriptural exegesis and devotional writings.
1003 mervelows mell. Merveillous (adj.) has a wide semantic range, embracing the “wonderful” (sense 1a), the “miraculous” (sense 2a), and the “horrifying” (sense 4a). MED, mel (n.2), sense 1 (“occasion”) may gloss ME “mell” here. But the word also resonates with French mêlée or mellé, denoting “combat” and/or “struggle” (AND, mellé).
1005 Heylle, gloryows crosse. BMH (p. 209) note the resemblance of the three Marys’ speech to a hymn to the cross, citing the example of Salve crux sancta.
1016 anoytt. MED, enointen (v.), sense 2a: “to apply an aromatic unguent, to perfume” and sense 2b: “to embalm.”
1023–30 Ye women presentt . . . . natt be delayyd. All of the synoptic gospels report the angels’ announcement of the Resurrection to the three Marys: Matthew 28:1–6; Mark 16:1–6; Luke 24:1–10.
1027 wyre. MED, wer(e (n.5), sense 1a: “a feeling or personal condition of doubt or uncertainty; also, hesitancy, indecision.”
1037 defend. MED, defenden (v.), sense 3b: “to protect, save (somebody).”
1045–46 And also . . . . techeyng and exortacyon. Peter alludes here to his denial of knowing Jesus, attested in all the canonical gospels: Matthew 26:73–75; Mark 14:68–72; Luke 22:56–62; John 18:15–27.
1049 sudare cloth. MED, sudari(e (n.), sense 2: “the piece of linen used to wrap Christ's head before his burial.”
1052 Where he is becum. MED, bicumen (v.), sense 5a: “to happen.” My gloss here follows modern usage of the word. A literal ME version might be “What has happened to him?”
1060, s.d. Hic aparuit Jhesus. The stage direction does not specify how Jesus looks when he appears, but Mary Magdalene’s notice at line 1079 that she supposes he “had byn Symoud the gardenyr” suggests that the figure playing Jesus wears the clothing or, more likely, bears the implements of a gardener.
1061–95 Woman, woman . . . . me byn meke. Occurring only in John’s gospel (20:11–17), Mary Magdalene’s meeting with Christ as a gardener, the most famous of her few appearances in scripture, provided the foundation for influential exegetical traditions, as well as inspiration for popular iconographic motifs.
1068 And I hys lover and cause wyll phy. The final part of the sentence beginning at line 1065 is difficult to parse. BMH (p. 209) note the derivation of “phy” from the French fier, to trust. See Godefroy, Lexique de l’ancien Français, fier (v.), p. 270. The word “cause” is more problematic, perhaps denoting MED, cause (n.) sense 5: “aim, intent; purpose, end.” Accordingly, Mary Magdalene would be saying “I am his lover and [I] trust his intent or purpose.” But given the scribe’s many errors, it is possible that here “cause” mistakenly stands in for another word.
1074–75 Towche me natt . . . . and onto yowers. Jesus’ scriptural admonition to Mary Magdalene (John 20:17) has a long and productive presence in medieval English drama. In addition to the Digby saint play, all of the English biblical cycles stage the risen Christ’s conversation with Mary Magdalene in John 20, as do the meditative texts preserved in Bodleian Library MS e Museo 160 (BMH edit these as “Christ’s Burial” and “Christ’s Resurrection”). MDS (pp. 205–09) analyzes the various interpretations that ME dramatists conferred on this biblical scene. Beyond these dramatic witnesses to John 20:17, the most infamous late medieval English account of Christ’s noli me tangere has to be that of Margery Kempe (Book, p. 197), who reports her determined resistance to Christ’s prohibition of physical contact. See MDS, pp. 82–84. For recent scholarly encounters with noli me tangere, see Bieringer, Demasure, and Baert, To Touch or Not.
1079 Symoud the gardenyr. On the motif of Christ as gardener, see BMH, p. 210.
1081 Mannys hartt is my gardyn here. The metaphor of the heart or soul as garden also appears in Wisdom (MP, p. 117, lines 89–92). A large fragment of Wisdom (about two-thirds of the play) is preserved with the other plays in Bodleian Library MS Digby 133; like Mary Magdalene, it too bears the initials of its one-time owner, Miles Blomefyld.
1085 smelle full sote. MED, swet(e (adj.), conflating senses 2 (“sweet-smelling, fragrant, aromatic”) and 4 (“agreeable, delightful, pleasing”).
1086 Emperowere. As MDS argues (pp. 112–14, 116–17), Mary Magdalene’s attribution of imperial glory to the risen Christ contributes to a dramatic Christology that consistently focuses on his divine power, rule, and authority. At the same time, her imperial epithet is an unusual response to Christ’s noli me tangere, the scriptural episode par excellence that medieval exegetes — and dramatists — understood as focusing on her longing for a human, accessible savior.
1090 obteyne. MED, obteinen (v.), sense b: “to gain (something spiritual or intangible).”
1093 vervens. MED, fervence (n.), sense 2: “the ardor or excitement (of love).”
1097 Jhesus, Jhesus, Jhesus. Mary’s exclamation here points once again to the play’s interest in and promotion of the late medieval cult of the Holy Name. See note to lines 93–94 above.
1099 moryd. MED, moren (v.2), sense a: “to increase; improve; augment . . . enhance; intensify.”
1100–03 Itt is innumerabyll . . . . itt doth excelle. MED, innumerable (adj.), sense a. Mary Magdalene employs the inexpressibility topos, which appears elsewhere in the play (see note to lines 802–10 above). BMH (p. 210) query the possible significance of her numerical figure.
1104 Now less us go to the setté, to ower lady dere. Mary Salome’s exhortation that the three women report their news about Christ’s Resurrection to his mother (“ower lady dere”) is not supported in scripture. In the N-Town Play (NT, 1:352–54, lines 73–136), Christ appears to his mother to provide irrefutable evidence of his resurrection. In his commentary on the scene, N-Town editor Spector (2:519–20) notes sources in Pseudo-Bonaventure’s Meditationes vitae Christi and its English translation, Nicholas Love’s Mirrour of the Blessed Lyf of Jesu Christ.
1111 Awete. The playwright employs the Greek word from Matthew 28:9, “Hail.”
1112 nymyos. See line 857 and its note.
1115–16 for to sosteynne . . . . sore refreynne. See MED, refreinen (v.2), sense 2d. Jesus’ opening line echoes Mary Salome’s petition, picking up on the “–eynne” rhyme that concludes it. The change of speakers here calls attention to the way the Digby playwright’s verse aspires to stanzaic form, in this case splitting the stanza between the two speakers.
1121–22 Goo ye . . . . go into Gallelye. Matthew 28:10.
1124 Bodyly, wyth here carnall yye. Jesus’ reference to the “carnall yye” transforms the simple announcement of Matthew’s gospel into commentary on forms of spiritual knowledge. As MDS (pp. 126–27) explains, at various moments the Digby Magdalene suggests investments in late medieval discourses dedicated to forms of spiritual knowledge, particularly those with a personal, experiential dimension.
1133 aprise. MED, pris(e (adj.), sense a: “of men or women: worthy, noble, excellent; also, most noteworthy, outstanding.”
1140 Mahond. Although the king at line 1136 mentions plural “goddys” to be honored by a “sacryfyce,” his queen here identifies the principal object of their devotion as “Mahond.” See note to line 143 above.
1143–50 Now, my clerke Hawkyn . . . . servyse is sayd. The first exchange between the pagan priest and his clerk, named Hawkyn, is potentially confusing. The priest commands the clerk to prepare his altar for the sacrifice that the king of Marseilles has just proposed; Hawkyn responds with a non sequitur, alluding to the priest’s illicit sexual relationships with women. Despite the priest’s denials, the clerk’s allusions turn preparations for the pagan rite into a competitive, salacious moment. The scene anticipates a similar conflict between the shipmaster and his boy later in the play. Weimann (Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition, pp. 138–42) associates the priest’s boy with the Garcio type, named for the unruly servant in the Towneley “Mactacio Abel” play, whose role it is to challenge the master, employing verbal inversion and word play to unsettle the master’s rule. Weimann identifies other Garcio figures in the Towneley and Chester Shepherds’ plays, and the Towneley “Coliphizacio,” or Play of the Buffeting. The Digby priest and boy are also reminiscent of the master-servant rivalry between the quack doctor Brundyche and his boy Colle in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament (lines 525–96). In this and subsequent comedic episodes at lines 1395–1422 and 1716–44, F (p. 124) suggests a resemblance to fabliaux and ventures a comparison to the interludes of masters and servants in the plays of Terence.
1148 brayd. MED, breid (n.1), sense 4a notes that the phrase “in a breid” means “in a moment, presently, instantly, forthwith; suddenly.”
1151 Sentt Coppyn. The priest swears by an imaginary saint. BMH (p. 210) suggest several possibilities for the name’s significance; for example, St. James/Jacob, with Cobbin as a diminutive, and a Jew named Copin, hanged for the murder of St. Hugh of Lincoln. The name also appears in “The Buffeting of Christ” in Towneley, where “King Copyn” seems to mean “impostor” (1:258, line 241). Stevens and Cawley observe that “Copyn” may derive from ME cop, “a crest on the head of a bird . . . [or figuratively a] coxcomb” (2:558n241).
1153 jorny. See MED, journei (n.). Several senses of the word are relevant here: a day’s sport (sense 2a) or an undertaking or service (sense 3). With obvious sexual connotations, the clerk seems to say that he will have the first go at the imaginary “lemman” (line 1149) over whom he and the priest suddenly are competing.
1154 Wattys pakke. BMH (pp. 210–11) cite Whiting W56 and state the term means “that one is fat, or that one is deceived in love.” In light of the clerk’s insulting remarks about how the priest’s great size affects his comeliness to women, both meanings seem possible here.
1155 grett Morell. BMH (p. 211) observe that “Morell” is “a common name for a black horse, especially a draught horse.”
1157 grett as the dywll of hell. In late medieval iconography, devils are often represented with huge bellies, like the one apparently possessed by the priest.
1159–63 Whan women comme . . . . I dare sey. In the late Middle Ages, women were frequently singled out as the largest and most likely audience for sermons.
1160 houkkyn. See MED, hoken (n.) and hokinge (ger.), with a figurative sense, “to fish with hooks,” especially with the sense of allurement and temptation. The priest’s clerk thus boasts of his sexual prowess.
1161 Kyrchon and fayer Maryon. BMH (p. 284) identify these as girls’ names.
1163 ryde. The clerk’s boy comments on how his master’s large size would trouble any horse that carries him; but in light of their exchange, the sexual connotation seems inescapable. See MED, riden (v.), sense 9.
1168 quell. MED, quellen (v.1), sense 1a: “to kill, slay.”
1169 belle. MED, bellen (v.1): “to swell up”; and belen (v.): “to inflame.”
1171 grenne. MED, grein (n.), sense b: “a fork of the body, crotch.”
1173–74 Loo, mastyrs . . . . is asprongyn late. MDS (pp. 158–59) discusses the sexual innuendo and homoerotic potential in this display of unruly masculine desire.
1179 Yower servyse. The king’s remark signals that the action to follow both resembles and parodies services conducted by more familiar “prystys and clerkys” (line 1178). The preparation of the altar, the donning of vestments, and the recitation of a “lesson” or reading (lines 1182–84) are elements of late medieval Christian religious practice, as is the reference to “offyse” at line 1225. Weimann (Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition, pp. 5–6) locates this episode in a long tradition that parodied ecclesiastical and liturgical forms, rites, and teachings.
1186 Leccyo mahowndys viri fortissimi sarasenorum. That is, the lectio (lesson) of Mahound, mightiest of Saracens.
1187–97 Glabriosum ad glumandum . . . . Castratum raty rybaldorum. The clerk’s garbled, incomprehensible lesson employs dog-Latin, identified by the adding of the genitive plural (–orum) to a series of nouns. Scherb (“Blasphemy and the Grotesque,” p. 236) notes that the mock lectio “consists of a series of gnomic utterances rather than a linear argument or narrative”; its “phrases fail to form coherent sentences, but they do invoke motifs that . . . associate the pagan temple with blasphemy and grotesque.” According to Scherb, these motifs focus on food and bodily consumption (“Gormoerdorum alocorum” and “fartum cardiculorum”); sex (“Castratum”); and the “perversion or inversion of ideal Christian religious values.” BMH (p. 211) state that the mock reading’s “Snyguer snagoer werwolfforum / Standgardum lamba beffettorum” is a “common figure for the careless priest.” The playwright here seems also to be taking delight in the comic possibilities of sound: “Snyguer snagoer” and “Rygour dagour.” Brokaw (Staging Harmony, p. 34) suggests a musical dimension, noting the “mock plainsong” of the boy’s chant. Such play with ecclesiastical and liturgical Latin idioms occurs elsewhere in medieval English drama. See Rastall, “Sounds of Hell,” pp. 106–08, 123; The Play of the Dice or “Processus Talorum” inTowneley, 1:309–10, lines 1–46. As Goldie (“Audiences for Language-Play,” pp. 199–202) demonstrates, linguistic play with differences between Latin and English was a regular feature of medieval English drama. He notes its appearance in the Macro plays Mankind and Wisdom as well as biblical dramas. Goldie locates this dramatic language play in larger contexts of audience reception, using evidence from medieval grammatical and preaching texts to suggest possible horizons of audience expectation and complex possibilities for the apprehension of linguistic play.
1198 Howndys and hoggys, in heggys and hellys. BMH (p. 211) usefully deem this a “roundabout way of saying hell-hounds and hedgehogs.”
1200 Ragnell and Roffyn. BMH (p. 211) identify these as common names for demons, appearing in Chester’s “Fall of Lucifer” (line 260) and “Antichrist” (line 647).
in the wavys. BMH (p. 211) note that the scribe here may have misconstrued the word as wayys, meaning “ways or paths.”
1213 Wyth thi wesdom and thi wytt. Ashley (“‘Wyt’ and ‘Wysdam’”) discusses this theological commonplace in the N-Town Plays.
1218 besawnt. MED, besaunt (n.). In medieval usage, the word signifies various coins, some of them biblical; a besaunt was also a gold coin originating in Byzantium, an exotic locale that is consistent with the play’s evocation of the geographical world.
1227 the trebyll to syng. MED, treble (n.), sense b. The priest’s clerk indicates that their singing will be done in parts, with the clerk taking the “trebyll,” or high part, suggesting the boy is truly a youth whose voice has yet to change. Whatever the two perform (“Syng both”), the priest reprimands the clerk’s poor performance at line 1229. Rastall (“Sounds of Hell,” p. 106) comments on the failure of this moment as musical performance.
1232–37 For here may . . . . Mahowndys own yeelyd. Like the Pardoner in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the priest invites (line 1236) his audience to “kisse the relikes” (CT VI[C] 944). The priest’s appeal invokes the medieval cult of relics, which ascribed spiritual power to fragments of the physical remains of holy people, i.e. Christ and his saints, as well material objects associated with them. Extending the play’s representation of a conflated Muslin/pagan religion in terms of the practices of late medieval Christianity, the priest touts the benefit of contact with Mahound’s “nekke bon” and “yeelyd,” just as the Pardoner impresses upon the Canterbury pilgrims the virtues of the Virgin Mary’s veil and Saint Peter’s sail (CT I[A] 694–97). But the Digby priest also undercuts his promise by inverting the usual benefit believed to follow from contact with holy relics; his relics will make their devotees “blynd forevyr more” (line 1240). Akbari (Idols in the East, pp. 217–20) aligns the Digby play with other late medieval representations of Islam that make relics central to Muslim worship, comparing the king of Marseilles to Muslim rulers in the Sowdone of Babylone and other ME romances. Unlike literary versions in which the disavowal of a caricatured Muslim worship results in the convert’s destruction of the idols, the Digby play makes the demise of the “maments” (lines 1553, s.d.; 1561, s.d.) the direct result of Mary Magdalene’s prayer (lines 1552–61). On the medieval cult of relics, see Geary, Furta Sacra.
1241 bede. MED, bed(e (n.), senses 1a and b: “prayer” or “a supplication.” The priest’s language is difficult here because the “ytt” of line 1240 seems to have several referents, “cause” in line 1239 and “bede” in line 1240.
1243 Mahownd the holy. See the textual note for this line.
Dragon. BMH (p. 212) suggest that the scribe intends “Dagon,” a Philistine deity. This reading comports with the priest’s inclusion of “Golyas” (line 1244) in his prayer, probably signifying Goliath, the Philistine giant killed by David in 1 Samuel 17. Both names contribute to the exoticism of the pagan religion of Marseilles. The collocation of Mahownd, Dragon, and Golyas may reflect a tendency in medieval representations of Islam (Akbari, Idols in the East, p. 203) to make proponents of the religion worshipers of a three-fold pantheon of false gods, usually Muhammad, Apollo, and Tervagant.
1245 Belyall. See note to line 21 above.
1255–56 He was put . . . . in my thowth. Self-identifying earlier in the play as “juge of Jherusalem” (line 231), Pilate expresses misgivings about the legal proceedings that led to Jesus’ death. Late medieval English drama variously characterizes Pilate as a morally complex figure, ranging from an actively evil person to someone who finds himself in difficult circumstances and tries to make the best of a bad deal, the latter with foundations in scripture. See A. Williams, Characterization of Pilate. Like ME biblical plays from Chester and York and in the Towneley and N-Town compilations, the Digby saint play fashions far more elaborate plotting amongst the Holy Land officials than is provided for by scriptural accounts.
1260 Joseph of Baramathye. All the canonical gospels identify Joseph of Arimathea as a follower of Jesus; he is best known for retrieving Jesus’ body after his crucifixion and, with Nicodemus, burying it in a rocky tomb.
1262 sotylté. See MED, sotilté (n.), senses 1 and 2, especially “a clever device, an apt contrivance.”
1267 a pystyll of specyallté. The Second Sergeant calls attention to the role of letters as a mode of political communication, adding to the play’s interest in the power of writing. Lim (“‘Take Writing,’” pp. 134–78) discusses this aspect of the play in relation to late medieval documentary culture.
1280, s.d. Her goth the masengyr to Herodys. As in the play’s early scenes, the platea and loca staging effectively represents the sharing of documentary communication across distances.
1302–03 In every place . . . . be hys ofyce. Pilate’s acknowledged obedience to imperial authority as well as the hierarchy of secular power that the play illustrates may conjure more local images of political control and the service expected of particular appointments and political positions in the late medieval East Anglian environment from which the Digby Magdalene emerged. For illustrative examples, see Moreton, Townshends and Their World and Richmond, The Paston Family.
1308 deversyté. MED, diversité (n.), sense 4a: “an adverse circumstance; an unkind or hostile act.” Compare line 955.
1322–24 The therd nyght . . . . away they yode. This notion — that Christ did not rise from the dead but rather was simply stolen away through a conspiracy of his disciples — resonates with skepticism about or attempts to suppress news of the resurrection in other ME biblical dramas. See, for example, the Towneley “Resurrection,” 1:335–55.
1323 dyleccyon. MED, dileccioun (n.), sense a: “divine or spiritual love,” and sense b: “mundane love.”
1326 froward fode. See MED, froward (adj.), sense 1. BMH (p. 212) question whether this line refers to the Last Supper. But the playwright here puns on both senses of “fode” as nourishment and as person. See MED, fode (n.1 and n.2). The Provost’s notice of the “froward fode” fed to those who stole Christ’s dead body, with its “corupcyon” (line 1325), would then indicate the unfortunate circumstance of their having to make off with a smelly corpse. The Middle English eucharistic pun on Christ as creature and as food seems inescapable too.
1335, s.d. dysypyll. The disciple who enters with Mary Magdalene here is otherwise unremarked in the play. With respect to the disposition of space in the play, Mary’s location at this direction is unclear.
1336–48 A . . . . brothyrn departyd asondyr. The speech condenses a significant period of time, since Mary last spoke at the scene of Resurrection. Since then, Christ has ascended to heaven, and his disciples have begun their evangelical work in “dyvers contreys her and yondyr” (line 1346). See Acts 2:1–12.
1342 mencyon. MED, mencioun (n.), sense 2a: “recollection, remembrance.”
1348, s.d. Her shall hevyn opyn, and Jhesus shall shew. The appearance of Jesus in heaven, from which he praises his mother and commands Mary Magdalene to “converte the land of Marcyll” (line 1371), has no precedent in textual and iconographic traditions of the medieval Magdalene. The scene underscores the complexity of the play’s staging, including its dependence on multi-level loci that provided for up and down movement. This disposition is essential for the activity of the angels from this moment to the end of the play, as well as for Mary Magdalene’s own ascent into the heavens. Davis (“As Above, So Below”) constructs a stage plan for the play based in part on its requirement for elevated playing stations. Davidson (Technology, pp. 81–100, 119–22) discusses the ingenuity and technological know-how that enabled such dramatic raising and lowerings, for example at line 1375, s.d.: Tunc decendet angelus. Meredith and Tailby (Staging of Religious Drama, pp. 94–96) cite uses of such stage machinery in French, Italian, and Spanish plays.
1349–71 O . . . . land of Marcyll. Containing some of the play’s most densely metaphoric language, Jesus’ encomium to the Virgin Mary is a compendium of familiar and unusual Marian tropes, drawing upon both scriptural exegesis and medical horticulture. The temple of Solomon (3 Kings 10:18–20) and fleece of Gideon (Judges 6:36–40) are common Marian figures, as are images of her illuminating capacities, represented here by the “paleys of Phebus bryghtnesse.” Noting this passage’s dependence on ME Marian lyrics and liturgy, F (p. 60) comments on Mary’s association with heavenly bodies and light. The paratactic structure of this passage accumulates metaphoric attributes of the Virgin without providing an overarching narrative or statement. The speech extends the play’s Christological interests by underscoring the Virgin Mary’s crucial role in the production of Jesus’ manhood, and therefore, his godhead, as MDS (pp. 163–68) explains. Bennett (“Meaning of the Digby”) notes the Marian allusions in these and other scenes. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 200) suggests that Jesus may be addressing an actual representation of the Virgin Mary located somewhere in the playing space.
1352–55 She was my tapyrnakyll . . . . my manhod myth. Jesus employs three different metaphors of architectural or other material enclosure — “tapyrnakyll,” “paleys,” “vessell” — to signify the incarnation of Christ in the Virgin Mary’s womb. As Gibson observes (“‘Porta Haec Clausa Erit’”) scriptural exegesis frequently figured Mary’s inviolate womb through images of enclosure, such as the tabernacle.
1356–59 My blyssyd mother . . . . to make resystens. The idea of the Virgin Mary as protector against the devil was common in medieval spiritual lore; her triumph over hell was established in scriptural exegesis. See note to line 420 above.
1359 resystens. MED, resistence (n.), sense 2a: “nonphysical opposition, e.g., moral, political, etc.”
1360–63 She is . . . . the cardyakyllys wrech. Jesus shifts metaphoric registers in order to praise the Virgin Mary’s identification with medicinal plans and herbs. Unable to describe Mary’s virtue in language (lines 1364–65), Jesus “describes her instead through an epistemology of scent” that displaces, according to Dugan (Ephemeral History of Perfume, p. 40), the King of Flesh’s “worldly amalgamation of ambergris, galingale, and clary with powerful musk, precious incense, cinnamon, and English gillyflower.” As Keyser (“Examining the Body Poetic,” pp. 161–218) shows, John Lydgate’s Life of Our Lady similarly explores the Virgin as an agent of health and healing.
1361 seche. MED, sechen (v.), sense 10b: “to visit,” or “of a medicinal herb, [to] make its way to . . . a wound.”
1362 vyolens. MED, violence (n.), sense 1c: “drastic or excessive efficacy, potency.”
1363 cardyakyllys. MED, cardiacle (n.), sense a: “a malady characterized by pain in the heart and palpitation; also, a disease characterized by feebleness and profuse sweating” or sense b: “a similar condition caused by excessive emotion.”
1364–65 The goodnesse . . . . joyys can wryth. The playwright again invokes the inexpressibility topos, See note to lines 802–10 above.
1367 cast. MED, casten (v.), sense 19c: “to give or devote (oneself) to.”
1368 Raphaell. The angel Raphael is named only in the Book of Tobias 12:15.
1370–71 Byd here passe . . . . land of Marcyll. In no other ME version of the life of Mary Magdalene does the saint’s journey to Marseilles issue from Jesus’ direct command. Most lives of the saint follow LA’s master narrative, which provided for Mary Magdalene to leave the Holy Land, with companions Lazarus, Martha, and Maximin, on a rudderless ship. According to F (pp. 104–11), this crucial departure from the traditional vita makes Mary Magdalene’s dramatic story into an instance of another medieval romance meme, that of the “woman cast adrift.” F surveys illustrations of this important motif in Chaucer, Gower, and ME romance. The Digby play’s significant departures from the influential account in LA are worthy of detailed comparison with other versions of the saint’s vita.
1372–75 O gloryus Lord . . . . them to porchasse. Unique to the play’s life of the saint are the angelic messengers who fulfill such a crucial role here and elsewhere. See Scherb, “Worldly and Sacred Messengers.”
1376 Abasse. See MED, abaishen (v.), sense 1a. The angel’s reassurance echoes Gabriel’s words to the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:30; see also the angelic reprise of the Annunciation in the N-Town “Assumption”; NT, 1:393, line 151. In Mary Magdalene’s case, Voaden (God’s Words, p. 62) notes that angel Gabriel’s identical words to Zacharias (Luke 1:13) were invoked by a fifteenth-century preacher to emphasize the importance of correct discernment of spirits. See note to line 601 above. A different form of the word (“abaffe”) occurs at line 1438.
1381 holy apostylesse. MED, apostlesse (n.): “female disciple.” By designating Mary Magdalene’s mission to Marseilles as that of a holy apostle, the play draws upon and affirms the long tradition of scriptural commentary that accorded spiritual authority to Mary Magdalene deriving from her role as witness to and messenger of Christ’s resurrection. In the later Middle Ages, this tradition was invoked to authorize women’s sacred speech and their role as teachers and preachers. See MDS, pp. 134–47; Jansen, “Apostolorum Apostola”; and Davis, “Apostolesse’s Social Network.”
1386 He that from my person seven dewllys mad to fle. Mary Magdalene here confirms Gregory the Great’s conflation of the witness to Christ’s resurrection in John 20 with the woman from whom he exorcized seven devils in Luke 7.
1391–92 Now to the see . . . . sheppyng to asspy. When Mary acts on the angel’s command to convert the land of Marseilles, she inaugurates a series of sea voyages that give geographical credibility to the many real-world locations — Jerusalem, Rome, Marseilles — that the play depicts. D. Smith (“‘To Passe the See’”) observes that the play demonstrates a new awareness of the physical and geographical world ushered in by extensive maritime travel, an awareness that departs from spiritualized spaces depicted in medieval mappa mundi. On the play’s geographical awareness see also Scherb, “Worldly and Sacred Messengers.”
1394, s.d. Here shall entyre a shyp with a mery song. Among the many demanding requirements of the Digby Magdalene’s staging, none is more ambitious than the ship that must cross the playing place for three different journeys. Godfrey (“Machinery of Spectacle,” pp. 155–56n6) discusses practical requirements for the ship in performance, identifying visual analogues in late medieval manuscripts and paintings. Pierre Gringore’s illustrations for pageants designed to welcome Mary Tudor to Paris in 1514, in BL MS Cotton Vespasian B.II, include one for a fully-rigged ship, complete with sailors in a festive mood. See Baskerville, Pierre Gringore’s Pageants. The Digby play’s association of the shipmen with merriment may pick up on the appearance of ship pageants in public entertainments (Baskerville, p. xxi). Meredith and Tailby (Staging of Religious Drama, pp. 98–99) cite dramatic records reporting the appearance of boats in European medieval drama.
1395 Stryke! Stryke! Lett fall an ankyr to grownd. From this dramatic moment until Mary Magdalene concludes her spiritual mission to Marseilles, the play represents the mariner and seafaring in general with notable historical accuracy and material specificity. Despite the comedic encounters that introduce the shipmaster, the play’s portrait of the personnel and economics of seafaring provides a window on medieval maritime practices. See Ward, World of the Medieval Shipmaster.
1397 sownd. MED, sounden (v.1), sense b: “to measure the depth of (water), sound.”
1400–01 I may natt . . . . were my syere. The exchange between the shipmaster and his boy that begins here is challenging to unpack, full of cryptic allusions to sexual themes and rivalry. Citing lack of evidence about indentured apprenticeships to train shipmasters, Ward (World of the Medieval Shipmaster, p. 103) notes the adolescent boys could be committed by their families to learn seafaring. As MDS (pp. 160–61, 183) notes, the shipmaster and his boy reprise the conflict between the pagan priest and Hawkyn.
1408 poynt. MED, pointe (n.1), sense 5b notes that the phrase to “ben a pointe” means “to be about (to do something).”
1411 seyll. MED, seilen (v.), sense 3a; and seil(e (n). The term “seyll” functions as a metonymy for the occasion of the journey itself.
1412 fayer damsell. The shipman’s boy alludes to the feminine presence of a “damsell” whom the master reinterprets in violent terms, as the “damsell” is implicated in the master’s whip.
1414 rue. MED, reuen (v.1), sense 1a: “to regret (something).”
1415 sped. MED, speden (v.), sense 4a: “to give assistance; assist; help (somebody) to attain success.” To “ben sped” means to “be successful.”
1418–19 skorn. MED, scorn (n.), sense 2a: “mockery.” The phrase “on scorn” means “mockingly, derisively.”
1421 corage. MED, corage (n.), sense 3a: “valor, courage”; sense 3b: “fortitude.” Following so closely upon the boy’s expressed desire for a “damsel,” his diminished “corage” here cannot help but invoke the sexual connotations of the term as in sense 2b. Such is the situation of aged January in Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale (CT IV[E] 1808).
1432 avayle. MED, availle (n.), sense 4a: “monetary gain, income, profit; reward, remuneration.”
1446 O Jhesu, thi mellyfluos name. The idiom of the play shifts abruptly here, as Mary Magdalene assumes her role as apostle. On her address to the name of Jesus, see notes to lines 93–94, 697, 760–61, 1097, and 1554–61. Scoville (Saints and the Audience, pp. 30–54, 113–16) discusses the saint’s rhetorical profile as a preacher, for example, her successful ethos and her use of the high style.
1450 resortt. MED, resorten (v.), sense 2a: “to advance, go; come, proceed.”
be grett convenyens. MED, convenientli (adv.), sense 2a: “fittingly, properly, rightly.” The text captures the adverbial sense with the use of the preposition “be.”
1453 of hys Godhed and of hys powere. Mary Magdalene’s claim on behalf of Jesus’ Godhead and power points to a dramatic Christology that was invested in the divinity of the savior, which Mary Magdalene elaborates in the remainder of this speech; e.g., her reference at line 1454 to “kyng Crist.” MDS (pp. 110–17) observes that the play’s Christology parallels that of Walter Hilton’s Scale of Perfection, a popular late medieval spiritual and theological text.
1459 mannys sowle the reformacyon. Reforming the soul was a central goal of the spiritual program set forth in Hilton’s Scale of Perfection. Although Mary Magdalene here identifies that goal for the king of Marseilles, her own spiritual development in the play corresponds to the stages of spiritual progress that Hilton describes. See MDS, pp. 103–10.
1465 rebon. MED, rebound (n.). BMH (p. 264) cite Old French rebondir. Compare MED’s definition of “rejoinder, reply.”
1467 compassyd. MED, compassen (v.), sense 5b: “to go or travel around in (an area).”
1469 losyd. MED, losen (v.2), sense 4a: “to bring (somebody or something) to destruction, destroy, ruin, mar, break.”
1483 In principio erat verbum. The saint invokes the gospel of John 1:1 and responds to the king’s question with an account of the creation that follows Genesis 1, which also begins “in principio.” This specificity marks a major departure from the play’s major source in Jacobus’ LA, which thus describes Mary Magdalene’s preaching in Marseilles (GL, p. 123): “And when the blessyd Marie Magdalene sawe the peple assembled at this temple for to doo sacrefyse to th[e] ydollis, she aroos up peasibly with a glad visage, a dyscrete tongue and wel spekyng, and began to preche the faythe & lawe of Ihesu Cryst.” Among all the medieval English vitae of the saint, the Digby playwright uniquely identifies Mary Magdalene as a public preacher of vernacular scripture. In so doing, the play draws upon a long tradition of exegetical and homiletic traditions that examined, and often asserted, Mary Magdalene’s spiritual authority and her right to preach. MDS (pp. 134–47) traces this conversation from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, arguing that it directly informs the play’s portrait of the saint as preacher.
1493–94 The sonne to . . . . labor wythowtyn werynesse. The sun’s difficult “labor” recalls the work of illuminating the earth in which Apollo attempted, and failed, to instruct Phaeton. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Miller, book 2, pp. 62–77.
1500 holy wrytt. Mary Magdalene understands sacred scripture as a form of writing. On the importance of writing in the play, see Lim, “‘Take Writing,’” pp. 134–78; and “Pilate’s Special Letter.”
1506 Fysche in flod and fowle in flyth. The account of creation evokes a common medieval topos, represented in the famous ME lyric, “Foweles in the frith.” See Moser, “‘And I Mon Wax Wod.’”
1526 resonnys. MED, resoun (n.2), sense 8a: “speech, talk, discourse; pl. words, remarks.”
1529 And cut the tong owt of thi hed. The king’s threat departs from the punishments promised by tyrants to other female saints revered in the Middle Ages. Virgin martyrs suffered other kinds of torture; but one, Saint Christine, did have her tongue cut out. According to Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies (trans. Richards, pp. 234–40), Saint Christine made the best of a bad situation by spitting out that tongue, which struck her torturer in the eye, blinding him. The association of women with transgressive speech is ubiquitous in western misogyny, particularly in its prohibitions of women’s teaching and preaching.
1530 return. MED, returnen (v.), sense 1c: “to reverse the direction of (something) . . . also, change (wrong to right).”
1534 ware. MED, waren (v.1), sense 1b: “to be mindful of . . . heed.” The sense of this line is “Let us go to the temple, of which we should take note.”
1536–39 Come on all . . . . se thow how. The play exhibits an important tendency of the medieval West to represent followers of Islam as idol worshipers. As Akbari (Idols in the East, p. 216) notes, these representations mirror medieval Christian religious practice even as they invert Islam’s monotheism and Christianity’s worship of a triune god. Ironically, Islamic rejection of the use of images in religious worship is similarly inverted to identify a common Christian practice — using sacred images to approach the divine — with a transgressive idolatry. Akbari (pp. 210–16, 219) notes similar dramatic strategies of representation in the Jeu de Saint Nicolas.
1537, s.d. all hys atendaunt. The stage direction suggests the king moves with an entourage, even though none of its members, except for his queen, speak in the play.
1542–45 Speke, god lord . . . . of all blysse. The king’s attempt to demonstrate the power of his false gods or idols and all the trappings of the vaguely pagan religion that the play associates with Mahound ironically anticipate English reformers’ identification of Mary Magdalene with the very material and imaginative excess of religious expression that they sought to suppress. Badir (Maudlin Impression, pp. 36–41) states that Wager’s Life and Repentaunce makes the fallen Magdalene into a decorated idol who in effect represents the unreformed church. The Digby play’s treatment of the deluded religious practices of Marseilles has complex historical and confessional resonances.
1554–61 Now Lord of lordys . . . . rythwysnesse here dyscus. Mary Magdalene’s prayer offers the most elaborate instance of devotion to the Name of Jesus expressed in the play. As Renevey (“Name above Names”) points out, worship of the holy Name was an important theme in late medieval English mystical and spiritual writings and was widely promoted by Richard Rolle and Walter Hilton. Devotion to the Name of Jesus is attested elsewhere in late medieval East Anglia. John Lydgate makes it a notable theme of “The Testament”; see Minor Poems, ed. MacCracken, 1:329–62. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, pp. 49, 187–88n91) notes that fifteenth-century Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, was home to a large and popular lay confraternity dedicated to “The Holy Name of Jesus.” The Croxton Play of the Sacrament, widely associated with Bury, concludes with a blessing offered “in wyrshyppe of thys name gloryows” (lines 1004–07). See also the note to lines 93–94 above.
1556 violatt. MED, violaten (v.), sense 1a: “to defile something, render impure or unholy, desecrate.” Here, the past participle is used.
1561 dyscus. MED, discussen (v.), sense 1c: “to make something known, reveal.”
1561, s.d. Here shall come . . . . thus seyyng. This stage direction signals one of the most elaborate and complex instances of stage business in medieval English drama. For shock value it is on a par with the Croxton Play of the Sacrament’s provision for a boiling, bursting cauldron from which the voice of Jesus speaks (lines 713–40). Records of medieval performances in continental Europe show the frequent use of fireworks and gunpowder as well as of the cloud and possible trapdoor required for this scene (Meredith and Tailby, Staging of Religious Drama, pp. 107, 94–97). On the theatrical production of fire and other burning effects, see Butterworth, “Hellfire.” A similar instance of female prayer enlisting divine power to overcome pagan worship appears in John Capgrave’s East Anglian Life of Saint Katherine (ed. Winstead, book 5, lines 1321–58).
1564 concludytt. MED, concluden (v.), sense 6a. After the conflagration of his gods and the literal fall of his priest, the king experiences a moment of illumination. He acknowledges the deception that has hitherto controlled his beliefs and resolves to revenge, or “bewreke,” its source (line 1562), which has caused him suffering and adversity. He is ready to strike a deal with Mary Magdalene, if her god can provide a son and heir for him and his wife.
1574–77 I wax all seke . . . . me dyth. The king’s sudden illness is difficult to interpret, as is his invocation of the “yen suek” that afflicts him. BMH (p. 214) note the conundrum but do not venture a gloss. F (pp. 153–55) argues the comedic potential of this episode, noting the king’s sudden illness cannot help but recall the quick onslaught of sickness — and death — experienced by Cyrus and Lazarus earlier in the play. But the king does not die. See also L. King, “Sacred Eroticism,” pp. 196–97.
1577, s.d. Here the kyng . . . thus seyyng. The stage direction’s mention of an old lodge “wythowt the gate” points to a specific and evocative arrangement of stations on the platea, one able to accommodate the distinction between those inside (the king of Marseilles) and those outside (Mary Magdalene).
1579 reddure. MED, reddour (n.1), sense b: “severe treatment”; and possibly reddoure: “fear, fright.”
1581 demene me wyth mesuer. MED, demeinen (v.), sense 2c: “to treat (somebody in a certain way)”; see MED, mesure (n.), sense 8a. It is worth noting that the phrase “withouten mesure” means “mercilessly, ruthlessly” (sense e).
1582–83 As thou savydyst . . . . Abacuk thi masengyre. Mary Magdalene compares her plight to that of Daniel, who was miraculously fed by Habakkuk while expecting to be devoured in the lions’ den (Daniel 14:30–42).
1587 Mary my lover. See note to line 796 above.
1590 Now, awngelys, dyssend. The Digby playwright invents the angels’ role in this scene, making Jesus a kind of stage manager for the illuminated spectacle of Mary Magdalene’s appearance to the king and queen of Marseilles.
1592 weyys pacyfycal. Jesus’ instruction to the messenger angels — that they tell Mary Magdalene to speak to the king in a “peaceful” manner — seems a deliberate counter to, and rebuke of, the nature of her appeal to the king in GL (p. 124). There she appears to the king only after having made two visionary appearances to the queen, without result. Mary Magdalene approaches the king “with a frownyng & angri visage lyke fire, lyke as al the hous had brennyd, and sayd: ‘Thou tyraunt & membre of thy fader the deuyl, with that serpent thy wife.’”
1597 aplye. MED, ap(p)lien (v.), sense 6: “to comply (with an agreement or request), submit (to certain conditions); obey.”
1600–01 Hym to asay . . . . hem to asaye. The playwright, or possibly the scribe, lapses here with this circular sentence.
1604 mentyll of whyte. The notice of the “araye” that Mary Magdalene appears to share with the angels contributes to the play’s awareness of clothing as a sign of spiritual states. Compare Mary at lines 1606–07; see Coletti, “Design of the Digby Play.” MDS (pp. 181–82) discusses Mary Magdalene’s white clothes as a token of her spiritual virginity.
1608 wond. MED, wonden (v.), sense 1a: “To hold back because of doubt or indecision, hesitate” and/or sense b: “to hold back because of fear, be afraid; shrink back.”
1610–17 Thow froward kyng . . . . from thi good. Mary Magdalene’s appeal to the king for sustenance resonates with medieval discourses that addressed the necessity of charity toward the poor. Anticipating the saint’s preaching about poverty at lines 1923–30, her interaction with the king here calls attention to her own involuntary poverty (when she later retreats to the wilderness, she will exercise voluntary poverty). Both of these were recognized in the complex social practices and discourses that accompanied medieval understandings of poverty and charity. For example, Mary’s mention of “hongor, threst, and cold” specifies the three basic ‘needs’ identified in those discourses, just as the king’s promise of “mete and mony, and clothys for the nyth” (line 1652) offers charity to assuage them. As Coletti argues (PDD, pp. 358–68), the Digby play represents Mary Magdalene’s entire life, and especially her encounters in Marseilles, as an elaborate staging of these discourses’ central terms and principles.
1610 trobelows. MED, troublous (adj.), sense 3: “mentally or emotionally agitated, distressed.”
1613 cold. See the textual note for this line.
1617, s.d. Here Mari voydyt . . . seyyng the kyng. The change of clothing for Mary Magdalene signaled by the stage direction suggests that she here removes the “mentyll of whyte” that she donned, unremarked, at the bidding of Secundus Angelus (line 1604). The king confirms that he received a “shewyng” from a woman clad “[a]ll in whyte” (line 1623).
1626 good. BMH capitalize: Good. Although the manuscript clearly reads “good” here, the sense of the queen’s exclamation suggests that “God” would be a more appropriate word to designate the source of the visions she and the king have just experienced. BMH’s capitalization make the word a metonymy.
1630–33 To us she spake . . . . wythowtyn dowthe. The play’s queen expands upon the advice given by her counterpart in GL by asserting that she and her husband must act charitably to those in “nede.” Her response models the behavior of well-to-do, late-medieval East Anglian matrons, who promoted and engaged in the performance of the “comfortable works,” including the provision of “almesse” mentioned at line 1641. See Hill, Women and Religion, pp. 118–66.
1646–48 The mythe . . . . wyth yow be. Mary Magdalene’s Trinitarian focus anticipates her Latin blessing at line 1715 and enables her provocative assertion (lines 1662–64) that the conversion of the king and queen results from “the Holy Gost into thi brest sentt down,” almost as if they have been subject to an incarnational visitation as in Luke 1:35.
1649 sythe. MED, sith (n.), sense 4a: “a specified point in time.”
1654 Goddys cummaundement. Assisting the poor is a major theme of the New Testament; see e.g., Matthew 25:34–36; Mark 10:21; Luke 3:11, 14:12–14.
1660 pryme. BMH (p. 215) suggest that “the canonical hour is probably a metaphor of a new beginning.”
1670 O blyssyd woman, rote of ower savacyon. The queen’s apostrophe initiates the play’s association of Mary Magdalene with divine attributes and links the queen’s profession of faith with her new-found fecundity. The conflation of the saint’s intercessory power vis-à-vis conception and aristocratic pursuit of an heir occurs in the Vie de la Magdalene that Louise of Savoy commissioned from François Demoulins de Rochefort in 1516. See Johnston, “The Magdalene and ‘Madame,’” pp. 281–83.
1680 Petyr, my mastyr. The sequence of dramatic events whereby the king and queen conceive a child and profess faith in Mary Magdalene’s Christian God differs from those of the GL, where the king remains skeptical, resolving to seek out Peter “to wyte yf it were trewe that Marie Magdalene had prechyd of Ihesu Cryste” (p. 126).
1687 I sese yow this day. MED, seisen (v.), sense 2a. The king’s terminology identifies his turning over his kingdom to Mary as an act of feudal enfeoffment, a more legalistic gesture than the notice in GL (p. 127) that the king and queen “left alle theyr thynges in the kepyng of Marie Magdalene.”
1691 neythyr lond nore rekynyng. MED, rekening(e (ger.), senses 2a (“a record of use of money or property; a statement of accounts”) and b (“money owed, a debt”). The king employs the official idiom of property and commerce as he delivers “powere pleyn” (line 1692) to Mary.
1693–1711 Now, worshepfull lord . . . . Mary Maugleyn. The idiom of the king and queen’s interaction departs markedly from the aureate language with which they first addressed each other, as if Mary Magdalene’s intervention has clarified their speech as well as converted their souls.
1697–99 worshepfull sovereyn . . . . made to be. The queen’s address to her husband associates their relationship with the hierarchical structures of late medieval royal families. Her desire to accompany him on pilgrimage, as Morrison observes (Women Pilgrims, pp. 3, 18), comports with the experience of medieval women who themselves frequented or sent proxies to pilgrimage sites associated with fertility and childbirth.
1701 the wyttys of wommen, how they byn wylld. The king’s assessment of his wife echoes familiar associations of femininity and irrationality in misogynist discourse. MDS (pp. 162–63) discusses the play’s multifaceted critique of femininity. See also F, pp. 58–61.
1702 fallytt many a chanse. MED, fallen (v.), sense 34a: “to come by luck or chance (to a person) . . . to happen (to a person), befall (a person)”; MED, chaunce (n.), sense 1a: “something that happens or takes place; an occurrence or event, especially one that is unexpected, unforeseen, beyond human control, or attributed to providence or destiny.”
1708–09 Wyff, syn that . . . . no more seyn. The king’s consent to the queen’s request to accompany him marks the beginning of their story’s resemblance to that of Pericles, most notably in Shakespeare’s version. These similarities depend upon romantic elements of both plays’ depictions of travel and pilgrimage. See Rochester, “Space and Staging”; Womack, “Sea of Stories.”
1715 In nomine Patrys, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Mary Magdalene’s blessing of the departing king and queen renders her almost clerical, by virtue of the Latin idiom and the authority that assumes the spiritual power to bless in the first place.
1734–35 Thou hast stollyn . . . . owt of lond. The shipmaster’s allegations of impropriety, signaled by the king’s haste to depart, add another dimension to the play’s attention to illicit and transgressive sexualities. Offering Chaucer’s Shipman’s Tale as an example, F (p. 152) cites “the discourse about sex, money, and exchange that often circulates through tales of merchants and mercantile exchange.”
1739 Ten marke I wyll thee gyff. The king’s financial negotiation with the shipmaster recalls Mary Magdalene’s similar awareness of the cost of the sea journey (lines 1431–32). The MED identifies the marke (n.2), sense 2a as a “monetary unit equivalent to 160 pennies or 2/3 of a pound sterling.” Morrison (Women Pilgrims, p. 54) notes that medieval shipmasters could improve upon a voyage’s profitability by transporting pilgrims. F (pp. 148–52) also discusses the play’s portrayal of the mariner and his crew and its relation to late medieval seafaring practices.
1745–65 A, lady, hellp . . . . Domine. At some point in these lines the queen gives birth, her distress causing her to appeal to “Mary, Mary.” She laments the “defawte of wommen” (line 1762), i.e. midwives, who might have assisted in the birth that now brings about her death. Guillaume le Clerc’s Anglo-Norman life of the saint (“Romance of Mary Magdalene,” p. 192) depicts the queen’s plight, and that of childbearing women generally with heightened emotional detail. The misfortune of the woman who endures an ordinary human birth without “wommannys help” (line 1759) recalls the very different situation of the Virgin Mary, who effortlessly gives birth to the baby Jesus with no midwives in attendance and retains her radiant virginity in the process.
1747 flower of wommanned. The queen’s apostrophe, presumably to Mary Magdalene, as the “flower of womanhood” introduces an epithet more commonly applied to the Virgin Mary and signals the confusion between and identification of the reformed saint and the mother of Jesus that, as MDS notes (pp. 169–79, 185–89) figures prominently in the latter portions of the play. T. Williams’ discussion of evolving gendered terminology in late medieval English writing observes that “womanhood” here signals the exercise of feminine power (Inventing Womanhood, p. 151).
1765 In manus tuas. An abbreviated echo of Luke 23:46: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum (“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”).
1776 What wethyr may this be. Apart from the queen’s mention of the “flod” in which she hopes not to “drench” (line 1746), this is the play’s main notice of the storm at sea, described in greater length in GL (p. 127) and with notable meteorological detail in Guillaume le Clerc’s Anglo-Norman life of the saint; see “Romance of Mary Magdalene,” pp. 191–93.
1783 Gyntyll serys. The king sweetens his request to the mariner and his men by applying to them an attribute — gentility — that would seem not to pertain to persons of their social class. On the play’s attention to the idiom of social class, see C; and for its application to the shipmaster and crew particularly, see PDD, pp. 353–57). Ward (World of the Medieval Shipmaster, p. 103) notes that the medieval shipping trade provided opportunities for class mobility and social advancement through the overlapping roles of owner, shipmaster, and merchant.
1784 Yender is a roch. In light of the king’s journey in search of baptism by Saint Peter, Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 178) notes the possibility of the biblical pun, petrus, or rock.
1798 Zaf. This word has confused the play’s previous annotators because, spelled with the ME yogh (ȝ), ȝaf bears resemblance to other ME words. BMH (p. 215) confirm Jaffa, the port city adjacent to Tel Aviv in ancient Palestine, as the correct referent. Whereas Mary Magdalene in GL tells the king that Peter resides in Rome, the Digby saint gives no indication of his whereabouts when she tells the king to seek him. The Digby playwright may have had the mariner call out “the portt Jaf” because Jaffa is the site of important miracles enacted by Peter in Acts 9:36–42 and 10:5–23.
1802–07 here is all . . . . for yower wage. The king confirms that he has met the terms of the economic agreement he made at lines 1739–41, employing vocabulary that suggests a charter-party, the name given to such agreements involving transport by ship. See Ward, World of the Medieval Shipmaster, pp. 229–34.
1802 connownt. MED, covenaunt (n.) sense 1a: “an agreement between parties binding them to certain provisions” and sense 2a: “Law. A formal contract; a contract under seal; the indentured contract of a servant or apprentice.”
1804 graunt. MED, graunt (n.), sense 1d: “promise, assurance, guarantee.”
1806 styntt. MED, stent(e (n.), sense b: “an allotted portion of income; a share.”
1824 this pylgramage. In calling his journey a pilgrimage, the king aligns his voyage with spiritual practices familiar to the play’s late medieval audiences.
1835–42 Syr, than what . . . . fynd to stond. In GL (p. 133) the king and queen, upon returning to Marseilles, are baptized together by Maximin, a companion of Mary Magdalene who drops out of the Digby play’s version of the saint’s life.
1843–44 my hart wyll be sor . . . . nat the sentens. I have modified BMH’s literal rendering: “If you don’t declare the meaning of God’s commandments” (p. 216). See MED, sor(e (adj. 2), sense 5a and/or c; MED, commaundement (n.), sense 1; MED, sentence (n.), sense 2a.
1845–50 Syr, dayly ye . . . . feyth to edyfy. Peter insists that the king seek true “experyens” through his own direct “inspeccyon” of holy places. In late medieval religious and epistemological discourses, the term “experience” connotes knowledge acquired through sense perceptions, attributes, and behaviors of the perceiving subject in contrast to knowledge obtained from official culture as codified in written texts and institutional discourses. When Peter directs the king to seek “very experyens,” he invokes an emergent value in late medieval spirituality that emphasized private, affective experiences as legitimate modes of knowing apart from traditional conceptions of authority. Increasing attention to knowledge acquired in this manner coincides with developments in lay, vernacular religious culture. See Watson, Richard Rolle, pp. 22–23; “Conceptions of the Word,” pp. 102–03; and “Middle English Mystics,” pp. 551–54.
1847 eloquens. MED definitions for this word do not readily explain its usage here. Perhaps Peter is suggesting that the king’s proximity to him (“Wyth me shall ye dwall”) will result in the king’s acquisition (after MED, eloquence (n.), sense 1a) of greater fluency or powers of persuasion related to his newly found faith. Or, perhaps “eloquens” serves mainly to complete the rhyme with “experyens” (line 1846) and “delygens” (line 1849).
1848 stacyons. MED, stacioun (n.), sense 2a. Peter is clearly directing the king to visit famous Christian landmarks in the Holy Land, but some medieval pilgrims would have understood “visiting the stations” to mean a journey to the many churches of Rome associated with the dispensing of pardon. Appearing in the Vernon (Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. a. 1) and other important manuscripts, “The Stacions of Rome,” provided pilgrims with an itinerary for such a visit and a catalog of available pardons (The Stacions of Rome, ed. Furnivall, pp. 1–24).
1853 Itt is gon full to yere. The king confirms the passage of the two years that, according to the GL, he spends in the Holy Land. The text contains nothing to indicate how the passing of that time might have been represented on stage.
1864 callyd aftyr cold. Neither BMH, who suggest the phrase is a formula (p. 216), nor B, who suggests the Boy is deliberately confusing “hold” with “cold” (p. 744, line 1865n), is satisfying. Perhaps Boy refers here to the abrupt manner in which the king calls out the shipman in the previous line. MED, colde (adv.): “unfeelingly,” “distressingly,” “cruelly.”
1873 Wythowtyn ony connownt. Compare lines 1802–07.
1875–78 Grobbe, boy . . . . as thou can. The playwright’s attention to nautical practices (e.g., reading the direction of the winds and casting sails) particularizes sea voyaging in the play far more than does GL and other narrative versions of Mary Magdalene’s legendary life.
1893 indure. MED, enduren (v.), sense 1a: “to strengthen (the body), fortify (the spirit).”
1895 that puer vergyn. The king’s apostrophe to “that puer vergyn” appears to refer to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, whom the queen elusively invokes at lines 1747–48. But the king’s exclamation also initiates a series of encomia to the Virgin and Mary Magdalene (lines 1899–1902) that elide the two women. MDS (pp. 151–54; 169–75) discusses the play’s emphasis on this identification. Morrison’s notice (Women Pilgrims, p. 74) that the Virgin Mary was an important symbol “for childbearing women in their pilgrimage activities” applies to the queen’s situation here.
1905 be Maryus gyddauns. In GL (p. 132), the queen reports her sojourn in the Holy Land under Mary Magdalene’s guidance.
1910 For I have gon the stacyonnys. MED, stacioun (n.), sense 2a. The queen’s claim to have “gon the stacyonnys,” i.e. to have made a pilgrimage to the holy places, resonates with recorded experiences of medieval women pilgrims. Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII who died in childbirth in 1503, paid proxy pilgrims to visit Marian and other shrines associated with healing influences for pregnant women; see Morrison, Women Pilgrims, p. 74. In April 1502, Elizabeth paid William Crowmer, gentleman usher, for delivering money to her for “hire offring to the high aultier at Richmond upon Estre day after high masse in going hire stacions.” See Nicolas, Privy Purse Expenses, p. 6. Richmond’s high altar refers to the Carthusian monastery at Sheen, a royal foundation from the time of Henry V.
1920 nobyllys. MED, noble (n.2), sense a: “an English gold coin usually equivalent to 6 shillings and 8 pence.”
1923–38 O dere fryndys . . . . Amen. The king and queen disembark from their voyage to find Mary Magdalene preaching a sermon loosely based on the Beatitudes of Matthew’s gospel (5:1–12). Although ME versions of the saint’s life frequently report that she preached, the Digby play once more presents Mary Magdalene as a preacher of vernacular scripture. See PDD, pp. 357–59.
1927–28 Thow yow in poverté . . . . nyth and day. Mary Magdalene’s endorsement of poverty and charity is of a piece with the Digby play’s framing of her entire vita in terms of material and economic transactions. See note to lines 1610–17 above.
1929 sowth. MED, soth (adj.), sense 3: “of a person, the heart, etc.: honest, sincere; faithful.”
1930 paupertas est donum dei. See 2 Corinthians 8:2, 9; and Ecclesiastes 11:14. BMH (p. 217) cite the response of Patience to Haukyn in Piers Plowman (B text, 14.275). Poverty as a donum dei derives from the opening of Augustine’s De Patientia. See Schmidt’s notes on passus 14.275 (Langland, Piers Plowman, p. 343).
1939–47 Heyll be thou . . . . and prynsses bothe. The king and queen resume their apostrophes to a Mary who bears attributes of the virgin mother of Jesus (“tabernakyll of the blyssyd Trenité”); yet these “hail Marys” also address the woman who sustained the abandoned queen and her child, identified as Mary Magdalene at line 1902. See note to line 1895 above.
1950 alle yower pepyll. Mary Magdalene’s “alle yower pepyll present” implies supernumeraries on stage.
1952 sowle helth. In the most basic sense, soul health or ME sowlehele (from the Latin salus anima) denotes “healing of the soul, salvation” (MED, soule-hele (n.), sense b). But, as Raskolnikov (Body Against Soul, p. 10) notes, the term was also associated with medieval modes of didactic writing, addressed to lay people and the clerics who ministered to them, that anatomized the soul/self.
1953 the Holy Gost hath take resedens. Mary Magdalene provocatively describes the king and queen as imbued by the Holy Spirit in a manner that resembles the divine act whereby the Son of God was incarnated in the Virgin Mary. See note to lines 1646–48 above.
1954 desepcyon of wrech. This phrase is difficult to parse, but it seems to suggest that the Holy Spirit has driven out the errors of the couple’s prior religious experience (and its vengefulness). See MED, wrech(e (n.), sense 1c; and decepcioun (n.), sense b.
1957–58 But now . . . . yower hertys ese. Mitchell-Buck (“Tyrants, Tudors”) discusses Mary Magdalene’s role as “governor” in light of the Digby play’s possible mid-sixteenth century performance, suggesting its resonance with Tudor audiences thinking of the rule of Henry VIII’s daughters. The argument about the play’s 1562 performance in Essex is Coldeway’s (“Chelmsford Records”).
1960 More gostly strenkth me to purchase. Economic metaphors of redemption recur as Mary Magdalene prepares for her eremetic life. See note to line 689 above.
1961 comprehend. MED, comprehenden (v.), sense 5d: “to attain to, achieve, accomplish (something).”
1966 bede woman. MED, bede-woman (n.), sense b. In declaring her intention to be “bede woman” for the king and queen, Mary Magdalene locates their relationship in the context of late medieval almsgiving, which sought redeeming prayers for benefactors in exchange for their gifts. MDS (pp. 66–67) describes how late medieval women’s religious communities offered prayers for their benefactors.
1971, s.d. Her goth Mary into the wyldyrnesse. Wilderness is a figure for the eremitic desert, of which Mary Magdalene speaks at line 1989.
1977 swete sypresse. F (pp. 84–88) elaborates the complex significance of “sypresse,” the plant known as galingale and bearing culinary and medicinal properties. Citing imaginative literature, herbals, and encyclopedia lore, F notes the potential for confusion between the cypress plant and the tree known by the same name. This verbal confusion parallels other overlapping meanings that bear upon allusions to cypress in the Digby play. All of these meanings are operative at line 2046, when the hermit priest describes Mary Magdalene as “swetter than . . . cypresse.”
1981–82 But my londdys . . . . Peter me badde. The king’s post-conversion zeal to build churches and destroy false gods follows GL, but neither that work nor earlier scenes of the play make these actions the result of Saint Peter’s mandate.
1985 perplyxcyon. The playwright works changes on ME perplextif (n.) or perplexité (n.), sense c, to express the “perilous situation” that the king intends to inflict upon those who challenge his new faith.
1989–2002 In this deserte . . . . be contemplatyff. Mary Magdalene’s allusive speech invokes gestures and attributes that align her declared intentions with late medieval pursuit of the contemplative life. See MDS, pp. 105–08; 124–27. F (pp. 26–32) also discusses the saint as contemplative.
1989 deserte. Mary Magdalene’s withdrawal to the desert signals her pursuit of the contemplative life, attraction to which she anticipates earlier in the play. From its formation in the eleventh century, the saint’s legendary vita eremetica incorporated elements of the life of Mary of Egypt, another penitent female saint associated with sexual sins. See Karras, “Holy Harlots” and GL, pp. 227–29. The iconography of Mary Magdalene as desert hermit called for her to be dressed only in the cloak of her flowing hair; see Friesen, “Saints as Helpers in Dying.”
1991 abyte. Compare line 683.
1995 concyens. MED, conscience (n.), sense 2: “the faculty of knowing what is right, especially with reference to Christian ethics; the moral sense, one’s conscience; awareness of right and wrong.”
2003 swettnesse of prayors. Mary’s vow, notes Dugan (Ephemeral History of Perfume, p. 40), reaches Jesus in heaven as “a sweetly scented prayer.”
2006 into the clowdys ye do hyr hauns. MED, enhauncen (v.), sense 1a: “to raise (something) physically, make higher.” Jesus’ appearance and his command to the angels who will elevate Mary Magdalene so that she can partake of “the fode that commyt from heven” (line 2001) initiate complicated stage business, as the saint and the angels who guide and protect her move back and forth between heavenly and earthly locales.
2007 Ther fede wyth manna. The “refection celestial and no bodily metes” that Mary Magdalene receives through her ecstatic elevation in GL (p. 134) here becomes manna, the miraculous food mentioned in the Hebrew bible. Mary Magdalene’s manna is identified with the eucharistic at line 2018, s.d. where the angels feed Mary an oble, or Eucharistic wafer.
2009 afyawns. MED, affiaunce (n.): “assurance, confidence, trust.”
2010 fynddys frawd. In another invocation of the discretio spirituum, Jesus assures Mary Magdalene that her ecstatic elevation and the visionary experience accompanying it will not be an instance of fiendish deception; she confirms as much at line 2034. See note to line 601 above.
2011–14 O thou redulent rose . . . . of ower Lady. Primus Angelus’ praise of Jesus incorporates tropes — rose, palm, gem — appearing elsewhere in the play, tropes notably associated with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.
2018, s.d. oble. MED, oblé (n.). According to the MED, this ME term for the sacramental wafer derives from the participial form (oblatum) of Latin offerre, “to offer.” The Last Supper scene of N-Town (NT 1:277, line 372, s.d.) states: “Here shal Jesus take an oblé in his hand.”
2019 influens. MED, influence (n.), sense 3a: “an inherent power or quality” and sense b: “inspiration.”
2022 Inhansyd in heven above vergynnys. See MED, enhauncen (v.), sense 5a and c. Although Mary Magdalene’s elevation to a heavenly state outranking virgins may seem an unlikely outcome for a woman known for her sexual transgressions, medieval scriptural exegetes and homilists, as MDS (pp. 176–79) explains, did signify her spiritual condition in those terms.
2023 byggyd. MED, biggen (v.), sense 2a: “to dwell or live (in a place, among people), reside; inhabit (the Earth).”
2027 Fiat voluntas tua. The phrase appears in Matthew 6:10, but the usage here also echoes the Virgin Mary’s words at the moment of the Incarnation in Luke 1:38: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum (“be it done to me according to thy word”).
2030 as hys blyssyd wyll isse. BMH (p. 234) gloss the oddly spelled “isse” as the third person singular form of MED, ben (v.): “to be.”
2030, s.d. Her shall she be halsyd. MED, halsen (v.2), sense 1 and/or 3. Several overlapping meanings of the ME verb halsen — to embrace, physically and spiritually; to encircle — point to the visual possibilities of this spectacular dramatic scene. The indications for song here and in the next part of the stage direction remind us of the importance of music and singing in the Digby saint play’s final moments. See Brokaw, Staging Harmony, pp. 43–49.
Asumpta est Maria in nubibus. As M (p. 273) notes, the stage direction signals the singing of the Lauds antiphon for the liturgical celebration of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption; the hymn further reinforces the identification of Mary Magdalene with the mother of Jesus that appears elsewhere in the play. Cox (The Devil and the Sacred, p. 50) notes connections between this scene and the “Assumption of Mary” in N-Town, where the antiphon is also sung. See NT, 1:409, line 522. These intriguing prompts underscore the heightened potential for spectacular stage action and imagery called up by Mary Magdalene’s legendary life.
2031–32 O, thou Lord . . . . be thi name. Despite Mary Magdalene’s customary association with the human Christ whose body she seeks at his resurrection, the Digby playwright also appeals to the saint’s connection with Christ as a figure of power and dominion.
2038, s.d. an holy prest. Provided by the saint’s legendary life, the appearance of the curious priest, primed to perform his clerical role, furthers the association of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Egypt.
2043 namys sevynne. As BMH (p. 217) note, this term probably refers to traditions of biblical commentary that identified seven names for the Hebrew God. In the Towneley “Second Shepherds’ Play,” Mak makes his entrance calling upon “Lord, for thy naymes vii.” See Towneley, 1:134, line 274; 2:500n274.
2045–52 Heyl, creature . . . . of yower Lord. Casting Mary Magdalene in the role of Christ’s beloved, the priest’s first address to her invokes the scriptural commonplace of the heavenly Jerusalem. Walter Hilton makes Jerusalem the goal of the contemplative’s spiritual pilgrimage, the perfection or “perfythnesse” that the priest attributes to Mary: “Jerusalem . . . bitokeneth contemplacion in perfighte love of God” (Scale of Perfection, ed. Bestul, book 2, ch. 21, lines 1129–30).
2046 cypresse. Once again, the word probably refers not to the tree, but to a species of the cyperus genus, many of which possess aromatic properties. BMH provide “galingale” as a gloss (p. 237). See note to line 1977 above.
2049 expresse. MED, expres(se (adv.), sense a: “(to state or show) clearly, plainly, explicitly, specifically.”
2054 selle. Mary Magdalene identifies her hermit’s desert abode with a term that also signified an individual’s dwelling place within institutional monasticism.
2065 Prest (speech heading). The unnamed priest stands in for Maximin, companion of Mary Magdalene who, in the saint’s legendary life, travels with her to Marseilles, where he eventually becomes bishop of Aix. As MDS (pp. 131–33) notes, the Digby play’s omission of Maximin, an important figure in the GL’s vita, enables the dramatic Magdalene to exhibit a different relationship to clerical authority and institutions.
2070 But tyme is comme that I shall asende. See MED, ascenden (v.), sense 1a. Mary Magdalene ambiguously speaks of her anticipated death in terms that call to mind the literal, bodily ascension to heaven of Christ and the bodily assumption of his mother. Although the saint’s death finds her enduringly connected to the earth, which she kisses at the moment of her passing (line 2114), the play’s final scenes repeatedly elide her fundamental differences from the Virgin Mary, echoing the relationship between Christ and his mother made familiar through the account of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption in GL. The N-Town “Assumption of Mary,” based largely on Jacobus’ version of that event, provides a useful lens on these similarities. Like the Digby play, the “Assumption” adapts for the stage a narrative account of female bodily exaltation: the Virgin Mary takes up eternal, bodily residence in heaven beside her son, and Mary Magdalene is raised up by angels to receive daily feedings of manna. In addition to specific verbal resemblances between the two works identified in these explanatory notes, N-Town’s “Assumption” play occasionally departs from GL in the same ways as does the Digby Magdalene. For example, both plays show Jesus explaining from on high the special privileges he grants to the Virgin and Mary Magdalene. See NT, 1:387–409.
2074 a crown to bere. Jesus’ promise to Mary Magdalene of a crown as her rightful reward looks back to the moment when he called for her to be “inhansyd” above virgins (line 2022). The crown was a material, visible sign of the virgin’s spiritual state. As Hotchin (“Nun’s Crown”) explains, in late medieval monastic practice, the wearing of the crown symbolized the professed virgin’s privileged spiritual status. M (p. 273) suggests a parallel with the coronation of the Virgin Mary.
2090 In a vestment I wyll me aray. Compare the pagan priest at lines 1182–83.
2094 palme of grett vytory. The palm is an emblem of martyrdom and virginity; for Mary Magdalene it must signify the latter, though she is herself victorious over worldly temptation and material travails. This symbol appears frequently in medieval iconography of the saints. In LA’s (2:78) account of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption, an angel presents Mary with a “palm branch from paradise,” to be carried before the bier upon her death. N-Town’s “Assumption” play includes a similar line: “A braunce of a palme — owth of paradis com this” (NT, 1:392, line 134). The Magdalene’s reception of the palm here probably draws upon all of these associations.
2097 veryawns. MED, variaunce (n.), sense 3b notes that the phrase “withouten variaunce” means “without wavering, steadfastly.”
2101 inure. MED, inure (adj): “in accordance with established practice, customary.”
2106 to determyn. MED, determinen (v.), sense 2a: “to decide upon something; resolve to do something.”
2106–08 This celestyall bred . . . . to illumyn. Mary receives the sacrament in herimo; but, as Morris (“German Iconography,” pp. 90–91) states, illustrations of this moment in various genres of continental art often depicted her last communion occurring in a church or before an altar.
2110 opprese. MED, oppressen (v.), sense 2a: “to overcome, put down, or subdue (somebody) in battle; fig. overcome (a vice, virtue, etc.).” Here, the term is used in a passive construction.
2115–18 In manus tuas . . . . Dominus Deus veritatis. Along side other motifs in this final scene (the saint’s receipt of the eucharist properly cared for and presented by an appropriately garbed priest, complete with acolytes), Mary Magdalene’s words echo the liturgical rite for the dying. See M, p. 274.
2116 wysse. MED, wissen (v.), sense 1: “to instruct (somebody, oneself, a person’s thoughts), enlighten, advise, admonish; also, guide the actions of somebody, direct.”
2129–30 Thys body . . . . reverens and solemnyté. Mary Magdalene is peacefully interred in the play, but the site of her burial — and claims to possess her relics — were contested subjects from the thirteenth century, as her established cult at Vézelay in Burgundy gave way to powerful claims advanced by political and religious forces in Provence. See Jansen, “Mary Magdalen.”
2131–39 Sufferens . . . . lett us syng. The text shifts abruptly as it moves from representing the saint’s life to addressing a dramatic audience. The designation of that audience as “sufferens,” or sovereigns, comports with other instances of audience address in East Anglian drama and also suggests frameworks for thinking about the important — and lost — social and institutional contexts for medieval East Anglian dramatic performances. For an inventory of examples across dramatic genres, see MDS, pp. 244–45n56.The reference in line 2138 to “clerkys” is tantalizing, especially in view of the grand ambitions of the Digby Magdalene text and the virtually invisible footprint, on the ground, of possible circumstances for the performance of this play.
2131 sentens. MED, sentence (n.), sense 5, especially sense c: “a passage of prose or verse in a written work; the text of such a passage.”
2139 Te Deum laudamus. The play provides for the singing of a popular hymn that was put to many different religious and social uses in the Middle Ages, suggesting that the “clerkys” to whom the command to sing is addressed (line 2138) would have no difficulty responding; see Brokaw, Staging Harmony, pp. 45–47. The Croxton Play of the Sacrament (line 1007) and the Castle of Perseverance (line 3649) also conclude with the singing of Te Deum.
2139, s.d. Explicit oreginale de Sancta Maria Magdalena. BMH (p. 218) determine the reference to an “oreginale” as evidence that the scribe was “working from an ‘official’ copy, the play-book,” an object that is clearly not the play’s single extant manuscript. In the copious records of the Chester Cycle, the term “Regenall,” or “orygenall,” suggests a master text, like the York register, to which individual guilds regularly had recourse for the copying of their plays. See Clopper, “History and Development,” pp. 241–42.
2140–43 Yff ony thyng . . . . that to amend. These lines may communicate the interests of the playwright or the scribe; presumably these are not the same person. In light of the obviously dramatic nature of the text whose transcription has just concluded, the reference to “redars” suggests a complex relationship between the performative and readerly dimensions of the Digby Magdalene as a textual artifact.
THE DIGBY MARY MAGDALEN PLAY: TEXTUAL NOTES
Abbreviations: B: Bevington, Medieval Drama, pp. 687–753; BMH: Baker, Murphy, and Hall, Late Medieval Religious Plays, pp. 24–95; MS: Bodleian Library MS Digby 133.
1 Inperator. MS: the speaker’s name is written at the top center of the page. Appearing directly to the right of it are the initials M. B., the signature by which Myles Blomefield registered his ownership of the manuscripts of medieval drama in his possession (see Introduction, p. 8).
2 audyens. So MS. BMH: audyeans.
4 be. MS: inserted above the line.
world. MS: word. So also at lines 304, s.d., 305, 380, s.d., 381, 408, s.d., hereafter silently emended.
12 regeons. So MS. BMH: regeouns.
22 porchase. MS has indeterminate letter or blotted error between c and h.
23 am. MS: written above the line.
25 pesabyl. MS: s cancelled after this word.
possessyon. So BMH. MS: possesson.
26 disobedyent. So BMH. MS: obedyent.
28 shall. MS: xal. The scribe commonly used x rather than the digraph sh for [ʃ]. I emend silently hereafter.
32 nat. MS: inserted above the line.
36 weryons. So MS. BMH: weryouns.
38 or2. MS: altered from on.
grocth. So MS, BMH. B: grocch.
40 swyche. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled before this word; BMH identify cancelled letter as w.
45 am I plesyd. So BMH. MS lacks the personal pronoun.
49 kyngges. So BMH. MS: kyggys.
52 commaund. So BMH. MS: commaud.
58 knett. MS: Superscript n. BMH mistakenly identify superscript n in knottys in this line.
caytyfys. So BMH. MS: cayftyys.
63 al. MS: written above the line.
66 to me ful trew. So MS. BMH emend as ful trew to me for the sake of rhyme.
71 is. MS: written above the line.
72 of beuté. So BMH. MS lacks preposition.
78 Save. Written in margin where MS has cancelled of.
86 kyndnes. MS: d written above the line.
90 plesowns. So MS. BMH: plesowans.
93 Thatt. So MS. BMH: Thou.
96 Owt. MS: superscript t here and throughout, silently emended hereafter.
99 dowttyr. MS: scribe has written abbreviation -ys instead of -yr.
109 Whan ye shal hens passe. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 107 and 108.
110 all. MS: h cancelled before this word.
113 Onto thes ladys of jentylnes. MS: line written to the right of line 112.
121 owit. MS: ow with superscript t; thus emended by B. BMH: wythowt. I have adopted Bevington’s emendation because owit wrech (owed harm) makes grammatical sense in light of the series of “if” clauses that follow this line. Nonetheless, the line may involve some scribal error.
125 in. MS: written above the line.
133 Herowdys. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled between w and d.
145 faytours. MS: s written above the line.
148 shal. MS: written above make.
160 governons. So MS. BMH: governouns.
162 me. MS: inserted above the line.
166 ondyrstond. MS: written as two words, with indeterminate letter cancelled between.
175 in lumine tuo. So BMH. MS: in lumine.
176 splendore. So BMH. MS: spelndore.
179 me. MS: written above the line.
184 sceptrum de Juda. So BMH. MS: septrum Juda.
185 qui mitendus. So BMH. MS: imitendus.
186 I. So BMH. MS: omitted.
187 dastardys. MS: dastardus.
190 that. MS: written above the line.
192 marryd. So BMH. MS: marry.
194 ar. MS: written above the line.
200 ondyr. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled before this word.
203 replycacyon. So BMH. MS: replycayon.
205 voys. MS, BMH: woys. B emends as woth.
208, s.d. masengyr. So BMH. MS: omitted.
213 Tyberyus. The scribe frequently writes the -us abbreviation after the letter u, thus rendering the word Tyberyuus. Hereafter I silently omit the redundant u.
218 Forto. So BMH. MS: for.
219 them. So BMH. MS: the.
220 wythin. MS: in inserted over caret.
222 swych. Repeated in MS.
224 perce. So MS. BMH: perce them.
225 wyth. The scribe probably intended wyght (quickly), a word that appears at line 227 and whose meaning is also apt here.
227 wygth. MS:
229 rychesse. So BMH. MS: rychsse.
232 Tyberius. MS: i added above.
234 pregedyse. MS: predy cancelled before.
235 yow. MS: written above the line.
236 ye. So BMH. MS: he.
to. MS: written above the line.
237 prommyssary. So BMH. MS: prmmyssary.
and. MS: ss cancelled after this word. B: ser.
presedent. So BMH. MS: presdent.
238 inperrowpent. So BMH. MS: inper rowpent. This word exemplifies an obscurity that editors have struggled to explain. My gloss follows BMH, p. 200.
240 what. MS: qwat. I silently emend hereafter.
seye. So BMH. MS: sye.
248, s.d. Her. MS: y cancelled after. Stage directions are written in red from this point to the end of the play.
280 this. So BMH. MS: is.
282 God. MS: me cancelled after.
288 bryng. So BMH. MS: bryg.
292 lyf I. MS: lyf y. B omits personal pronoun.
298 exprese. MS: written in right margin; fulfylle cancelled before.
303 systyr. So BMH. MS: systyrs.
305 evyr. MS: b cancelled after this word.
315 perteynyng. So BMH. MS: altered from perteynyt.
316 mone. MS: sonne cancelled before.
327 dwellyn. So BMH, silently emended. MS: dwellyng. B: be dwellyng.
333, s.d. Kyng. So MS. BMH: Kynge.
Lechery. MS: written above the line at the right margin.
358 pyrles, prykkyd. So MS. B: pirked, prikkyd.
359 yower. So BMH. MS: ower.
362 and. So BMH. MS: omitted.
365 wyth. So BMH, B. Omitted in MS.
may. MS: d cancelled before this word.
387 asemlanus. So MS. BMH: asemlaunvs.
389 Thys tyde. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of line 387.
393 Com as fast as he may ryde. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 390 and 391.
395 masege. MS: ge written above the line.
402 yow. MS: written above line.
404 counseyl. BMH observe that the scribe used the incorrect abbreviation yr for the elided nasal. Similar substitutions occur in the spelling of counsell at lines 412, 421, and 436.
for. So BMH. MS: fo.
405 where. So BMH. MS: whre.
410 ye. MS: send cancelled after.
417 Of that castel beryt the pryse. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 415 and 416.
421 But yf your counseyll may othyrwyse devyse. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 418–20.
422 ye. MS: superscript e.
431 Speaker’s rubric (Satan) repeated at the top of fol. 104v.
436 Syrrys. So BMH. MS: Syrrus. r1 is a superscript.
439, s.d. Mary. So BMH. MS: omitted.
447 debonarius. MS: debonariuus. Letters iu written above the line, not ius noted by BMH.
449 receyve. MS: ve written above the line.
459 yow. MS: yow
sportys. MS: d cancelled before this word.
465 betake. So MS, B. BMH: beteche.
469, s.d. seyyng. So BMH. MS: seyyg.
475 is. So BMH. MS: omitted.
478 Grome. So MS, B. BMH: Groine.
480 bettyr. So BMH. MS: berttyr.
490, s.d. galaunt. MS: of cancelled after this word.
493 What. MS: written above cancelled w.
Wene. MS: possibly mene. BMH: mene.
marchant. MS: galaunt cancelled before.
495 sum. MS: written above the line.
501 somyr. MS: wyn cancelled before.
508 in. MS: i.
514 drynk. So BMH. MS: dryng.
515 Coryosté. MS: repeated at top of fol. 107v as Coriosté.
525 womanly. MS: m written over l, but cancellation noted by BMH may be the nasal abbreviation.
531 Mary Maudleyn. MS: Coriosté cancelled before speech marker.
535 sen. MS: seyn cancelled before.
536 love ye. So MS, B. BMH: love ye thos.
538 am. MS: written above the line.
539 My love in yow gynnyt to close. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 537 and 538.
546 To dye for your sake. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 544 and 545.
563 semlyest. So BMH. MS: semyest.
585 nere. MS: nye cancelled before.
589 wol. MS: inserted above the line.
590 veryabyll. MS: a added above.
593 lust. So BMH. MS: lost.
597 in. MS: inserted above the line.
600 mercy. MS: ye cancelled before.
614, s.d. Leprus. MS: written below the line in the right margin.
622 wythinne. MS: ne inserted above the line.
630 syt. MS: altered from set.
637 hope is perhenuall. So BMH. MS: hope perhenuall.
640, s.d. Jhesus dicit. MS: repeated at top of fol. 109v.
642 repast. So BMH. MS: rpast.
650 well. So BMH. MS: woll.
658 man. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
659 Symond. MS: Jhesus cancelled before.
662 quesson. So MS. BMH: quessyon.
665 al. So MS. BMH: all.
670 entent. MS: in before this word.
674 conscyens. MS: e added above.
676 wrecchednesse. So MS. BMH note alteration of e to ss.
684 wyl. So MS. BMH: wyll.
686 contrysson. So MS. BMH: contryssyon.
689 porchasyd. MS: l cancelled before this word.
693 tyme. MS: my cancelled before.
694 dred. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
695 thi. MS: I was cancelled before.
701 contrysson. So MS. BMH: contryssyon.
705 omnipotency. So BMH. MS: omipotency.
706 governons. So MS. BMH: governouns.
708 devyn. MS: dey cancelled before.
709 And. MS: ad cancelled before this word.
723 to. MS: inserted above line.
725, s.d. dyvllys. MS: v written above.
727 Tercius. So MS. BMH silently emend: Rex.
728 judycyal-lyke. MS: d cancelled before this word.
731 Primus. So MS. BMH silently emend: Rex. Also at lines 735, 740, and 744.
736 wreke. So BMH. MS: wroke.
738 hym. MS: y altered from e.
739, s.d. serve. MS and BMH: serva.
741 lordeynnys. MS: the cancelled before.
744 fals. So BMH. MS: ffals written below the line.
754 deversarye. MS: de added above the line.
768 Mary Maudleyn. MS: Mary M
787 gete. MS: written above the line.
791 prophet. So BMH. MS: prophe.
hatt. MS: inserted above the line.
793 yower. So BMH. MS: yow.
803 impossyble. So BMH. MS: inpossible.
815 Lord. MS: c cancelled before this word.
817 weyys. MS: e inserted above.
823, s.d. Mortuus. So BMH. MS: mortuis. This is one of a few stage directions written in the right margin.
831 drewyn. It is unclear if this w is orthographically the same as v, the option B chooses. In either case there is little difference between being drewyn (drawn) and drevyn (driven) down by death.
836 be. MS: inserted above the line.
845, s.d. Lay him in. MS: written in right margin.
846 cogynysson. So MS. BMH: cognyssyon.
851 chyldyurn. So BMH. B: childyrne. MS: chyldynre.
853 Dissipulus. So MS. BMH: Dissipulys.
volunté. MS: w cancelled before this word.
865 I. So MS, BMH. B: omits.
867 Wherfor. So BMH. MS: whefor.
868, s.d. The scribe has squeezed the stage direction between lines 868 and 869.
876 thysse. MS: written below the line at right margin.
888 from. MS: fro cancelled before.
889 rythewys. MS: thow cancelled before.
equité. MS: written below the line at right margin.
891 be. MS: written below the line at right margin.
892 Good. MS: o inserted above word.
894 monument. So BMH. MS: moment.
895 that. MS: that and another indeterminate letter cancelled before; BMH identify cancelled letter as o.
ye. MS: the cancelled before.
900 remeve. MS: remembyr cancelled before.
902, s.d. The scribe has again squeezed the stage direction between two lines of the spoken text.
904 glory. MS: written below the line.
909 me. MS: inserted over caret. Ink is badly smudged at the beginning of this line.
912 wondyre. MS: b cancelled between n and d.
913 nothyng. So BMH. MS: nothyg.
916 away. MS: was cancelled between a and w.
921 yower. MS: ower cancelled before.
928 Obedyenly. MS: Why lowt ye natt lo cancelled before.
937 the. MS: y cancelled before this word.
so bold. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
944 losty. So MS. BMH indicate here possibility of lofty.
lyon. MS: written below line at the right margin.
949 O, my blysse, in beuteus bryght. MS: line written to the right of lines 946–48.
957 plesant. MS: pleant. Here and elsewhere for the s the scribe has written the yogh for intervocalic s (/z/) . See also lines 1304, 1490, 1503, 1505, 1513, 1519, 1539, 1547, 1585, 1689.
959 ruby. So BMH. MS: rubu.
960 plesaunt. So BMH. MS: pleaunt.
my. MS: l before, incorrectly cited by BMH as cancelled.
962, s.d. a dylle. MS: inserted above the line.
963 yelle. MS: e cancelled before this word.
966 brasse. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
967 blase. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
968 asondyr. MS: letter y altered from e or vice versa.
972 passon. So MS. BMH silently emend: passyon.
973 On. So BMH. MS: O.
979 wrowth. MS: written above cancelled wethe.
983 atrey. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled between a and t.
985 Yet. So BMH. MS: ye.
eye. MS: ye cancelled before.
986 everychon. MS: written below the line at the right margin.
992 in fine. So MS. BMH note that the abbreviation employed here could also mean in sum, the option they and B choose. But in fine better comports with the idiom and meaning of the devil’s speech.
992, s.d. passon. So MS. BMH: passyon.
upon. So MS. BMH: ypon.
Mawdlyn. So MS. BMH: Mawdleyn. My examination of the manuscript concurs with BMH’s observation that the “red line drawn through [the] first line of directions” was “apparently” not intended to cancel it. This line resembles other red lines drawn at the tops of pages to mark the upper margin (e.g., see folios 119r and 121v). The scribe appears, however, to have written the first line of the stage direction over the red line, not the reverse as suggested by BMH.
997 Mary Jacobe. So BMH, expanding silently here and elsewhere. MS: M Jacobe.
998 Jewys. MS, BMH: jevys. Inserted above the line.
1001 Mary Salome. So BMH, expanding silently here and elsewhere. MS: M Salome.
intollerabyll. So BMH. MS: s cancelled after this word.
1003 haddyst. MS: hast cancelled before.
1004 is. MS: inserted above the line.
1004, s.d. folowyng. MS: yng inserted above the line.
The speech marker M Maudleyn is cancelled in the right margin. I adopt at line 1005 the emended speech marker of BMH, which calls for all three Marys to speak.
1007 Mannys sowle to bye from all thraldam. So MS. BMH emend for consistency of rhyme: Mannys sowle from all thraldam to bye.
1008 in. MS: shold a be cancelled after. BMH: in peyne shold a be boun.
1011 Mary Maudleyn. MS: M Magdleyn. BMH expand silently here and at lines 1031, 1055, 1059, 1063, 1070, 1078, s.d. 1095, etc.
1015 Mary Jacobe. MS: Speaker’s rubric omitted here. I concur with the logic of BMH’s emendation, which is based on the three Marys sequenced responses at this moment in the play. The red lines that precede and follow the speech at lines 1015–18 appear regularly in the manuscript to divide speeches by different speakers. B does not note a change of speaker here.
1017 mynd. So BMH. MS: myd.
1019 boundys. MS: v cancelled before this word.
1022, s.d. angelys. MS: angelus. BMH observe the scribe’s erroneous abbreviation. The scribe has clearly employed the same -us abbreviation that we see in the speakers’ rubrics at lines 1023 and 1027 and in gracyus at line 1016 and precyus at line 1018. A comparison with the final words in these lines (wound[ys] and stoundd[ys], respectively) illustrates the scribe’s distinction between -us and -ys. The correct form in the stage direction would produce the plural angel[ys]. Elsewhere the scribe confuses angelus and angelys; for example, see line 2066 and 2077.
1023 Angelus. So MS. BMH: Primus Angelus.
1026 Go. MS: written above cancelled go.
1039 inward. MS, BMH: invard.
1046, s.d. Here. So BMH. MS: how.
1047 [Petyr]. The MS identifies no speaker here. BMH and B emend.
1053 seyd. MS: d written above word.
resurrexon. So MS. BMH: resurrexyon.
1054 MS: speaker’s rubric Jhon repeated here at top of fol. 119v.
1056 and. MS: inserted above the line.
1058 Wom sekest. MS: indeterminate letters inserted above the line, and cancelled, between these words; BMH identify cancelled letters as st.
1060, s.d. Hic aparuit Jhesus. MS: written in right margin.
1068 I. MS: inserted above the line.
1077 hevnly. So BMH. MS: hevly.
1078 fyrst. MS: fr cancelled before this word.
1079 Symoud. So MS. BMH: Symound.
gardenyr. MS: first letter blotted; g added above.
1083 fowle. So BMH. MS: flowle. Scribe may have cancelled the superfluous letter l.
1086 Mary Maudleyn. MS: J cancelled before unnormalized manuscript speech marker, M Magdleyn.
1091 posybylyté. So BMH. MS: posybyle.
1096 systyrs. So BMH. MS: systyr.
1100 expresse. MS: a cancelled before this word.
1111 I. MS: inserted over the line.
1120 In nomine Patrys, ett Felii ett Spiritus Sancti, amen. MS: line written in red.
1125 O. MS: added in margin.
1127 thow. MS: stroke of letter cancelled before.
1133 aprise. MS: ri added above.
1134 meve. MS: ve added above.
1139 curteys. MS: r added above.
1149 syde. MS: written below the line in the right margin.
1153 ded. MS: inserted above caret.
1158 Onshapli thou art to see. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1155 and 1156.
1159 women. So MS. BMH: woman.
1162 They love me bettyr than thee. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1160 and 1161.
me. So BMH. MS: partial letter cancelled after.
1170 On thi ars com mych wondyre. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1168 and 1169.
1174 This kenred is asprongyn late. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1171 and 1172.
1177, s.d. Bete hym. Rex diciit. MS: written to the right of the line.
1178 this. MS: added above.
1181 bryng. So BMH. MS: bryg.
1186 sarasenorum. MS: sarasensore. BMH silently emend, probably for consistency of final orum in all lines of this doggerel Latin. This line is written in red.
1188 Gormoerdorum. So MS. BMH: Gormondorum.
1193 Snyguer. MS: Sy cancelled before this word.
1194 lamba. So BMH. MS: la cancelled before this word.
1209, s.d. Rex dicitt. MS: written in right margin.
1213 Wyth thi wesdom and thi wytt. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1210 and 1211.
1217 Here in thi presens as I sett. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1214–16.
1220 be. MS: o cancelled before this word.
1227, s.d. Syng both. MS: written in right margin.
1228 dyvll. MS: indeterminate letter blotted before this word.
1230 Butt now, syr, kyng, quene, and knyth. MS: a red line separates lines 1229 and 1230, but there is no change of speaker.
1234 er. MS, BMH: or.
ever. MS: A faint line through this word suggests its possible cancellation. In that case er ye gon (before you go) would make sense in the context of the speech.
1236 this. MS: five or six letters cancelled before; word(s) not discernable; BMH identify cancelled letters as mewyer ye.
1239 And. MS: ȝ cancelled before this word.
1241 This same holy bede. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1238 and 1239.
bede. MS: final letter obscured by binding. BMH posit the letter e, hence their bede, which they gloss as “prayer.” The scribe usually distinguishes the letters e and o and here clearly has written be; nonetheless, “this same holy body” offers a better fit with Presbiter’s praise of the virtues of Mahownd’s relics.
1243 holy. So BMH. MS, B: body. BMH reverse lines 1243 and 1244 based on the verse form. See BMH, pp. 211–12.
1246 That. MS: t altered from e.
1248 That is ower god in fere. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1245 and 1246.
1249 serjauntys. MS: xall cancelled before.
1260 Baramathye. MS: m cancelled before this word.
1261 Serjantt. So MS. BMH add Primus before.
1277 Pylatti. MS: final letter obscured by binding, but a second t can be discerned. BMH: Pylatus.
1278 that. So MS. BMH: tho lordys.
ryall. MS: l cancelled before this word.
1283 passon. So MS. BMH: passyon.
1287 am. MS: inserted above.
1292 nere. MS: before this word the scribe appears to have cancelled a mistaken stroke of the pen.
1298 aprise. So BMH, emending silently. MS: apise.
1299 Wych. So MS. BMH emend silently: Wyche.
1303 be. MS: inserted above.
1309 natt. MS: it cancelled before.
1311 sentens. So BMH. MS: sentellys. BMH emend here and at line 1315.
1318 to. MS: inserted above.
1323 desypyllys. MS: py inserted above this word.
1329 the2. MS: inserted above.
1333 for. So BMH. This line is bracketed and written in the margin to the right of lines 1331 and 1332; binding partly obscures the word after Mery.
to. MS: fo cancelled before.
1334 renown. MS: of cancelled before.
1336 ded. MS: written below the line at the right.
1343 alle. So BMH. MS: l cancelled before this word.
1345 dysyllpyllys. So MS. BMH: dysypyllys.
1348 ferr. MS: inserted above.
1348, s.d. Jhesus. This word is repeated at the end of the line. This stage direction is divided from the preceding line with a horizontal line drawn in red ink.
shew. So MS. BMH emend: shew [hymself].
1351 the. MS: I cancelled before this word. In added in margin.
1353 Phebus. MS: scribe has written character yogh instead of abbreviation for us.
1358 hevnly. So MS. BMH: heuenly.
1368 myn. MS: scribe has written my with superscript abbreviation for er.
1375, s.d. Tunc decendet angelus. MS: written in right margin.
1376 Abasse. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled between A and b; BMH identify cancelled letter as b.
1385 commaunddement. So BMH. MS: commauddement.
1388 thoys. MS: y cancelled before this word.
1389 be browth. MS: written below the line.
1395 Stryke! Stryke! So BMH. MS: stryke skryke.
1404 good. MS: o inserted above.
1405 forhongord. So MS, BMH. B: sor hongord.
1409 I1. So BMH. MS: Cy cancelled before this word.
1410 forlorn. MS: lonr cancelled between for and lorn.
1418, s.d. Bete hym. MS: written in right margin.
1427 same. MS: m written over another letter.
1428 to. MS: inserted above.
1429 I. MS: inserted above.
1430 Is of the lond of Marcyll. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1428 and 1429.
1435 Yondyr. So MS. BMH: Yond ther.
Torke. So MS. BMH: Torkye.
1437–38 Yendyr is the lond of Satyllye / Of this cors we thar nat abaffe. I follow the emendation of BMH, reversing lines 1437 and 1438. This order preserves the verse form employed by the playwright here and accords with the sequence of events. The stage direction at line 1438 is written to the right of lines 1436 and 1437. B retains the manuscript order of lines 1437 and 1438 and places the direction for singing between lines 1436 and 1437.
1439 BMH silently emend here, adding the speaker’s rubric Shepmen.
1444 Sett off! Sett off from lond. So B. BMH give this line to the Boy. MS: The speech marker, The Boy, appears next to line 1445.
1448 vyctoré. MS: written above a cancelled vytory.
1452 shew. So BMH. MS: she.
1456 yow. MS: written twice.
way. So BMH. MS: omitted.
1469 mysbelef. So BMH. MS: mysbele.
1476 And. MS: preceded by ampersand.
1480 That wold I lerne; itt is my plesyng. This is the last line on folio 129r. At the bottom right appears the speaker’s rubric (Mary) for the speech beginning at the top of folio 129v. At the bottom of folio 129r the scribe has written Jhesu mercy. Furnivall believed these words to be part of Mary’s speech. BMH (p. 213) suggest that they indicate the scribe’s “pious outburst.”
1492 sterrys. MS: and cancelled after; ampersand written above.
1503 it. MS: inserted above a cancelled is.
1526 hast. MS: a cancelled before this word.
1530 return. So BMH. MS: retur.
1541 sestt. MS: s2 changed from y.
1542 lord. MS: added above the line.
1549 Onto. MS: to inserted above.
1551 knees. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled before this word.
1553 mee. MS: q cancelled after this word.
1560 Good. MS: one o added above.
1561, s.d. clerk. So BMH. MS: cler.
1574 I. MS: a cancelled before this word.
1576 suek. So MS. BMH: sueke.
1577 hath. So MS. BMH: heth.
1588 asstat t. So BMH. MS: assatt.
1590 awngelys. So BMH. MS: awngelus.
1609, s.d. angelys. So BMH. MS: angelus.
1613 cold. So MS. BMH emend as chelle for the sake of the rhyme scheme.
1617, s.d. chongg. MS: voyd cancelled before. Final letter of chongg partially obscured by the margin.
1620 shewyng. MS: is cancelled before.
1622 saw. MS: w altered from x or y.
1626 good. So MS. BMH: Good. See the explanatory note for this line.
1627 may. MS: indeterminate letter cancelled before this word.
1633 I tell yow, wythowtyn dowthe. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of line 1632.
1638 My. MS: I cancelled before.
1639 yower. So BMH. MS: ower.
1641, s.d. transit. So BMH. MS: transiunt.
1643 the. MS: w cancelled before this word.
1648 wyth. MS: inserted above.
1649 yowre. MS: inserted above cancelled ow.
1653 wyth. MS: s cancelled before this word.
1655 myschef. So BMH. MS: mysch.
1661 malycyows. So BMH. MS: l cancelled before this word.
1684 God. MS: inserted above.
1695 onto. MS: to added above.
1707 me. MS: inserted above.
1714 save. MS: fe cancelled before.
1715, s.d. tunc. MS: tt cancelled before this word.
1718 And yf thou aspye ony lond. MS: line written to the right of lines 1716 and 1717.
1721 ondyrstond. So BMH. MS: line is written to the right of lines 1719 and 1720; last three letters obscured by binding.
1724 That stondyt upon a strond. MS: line written to the right of lines 1722 and 1723.
1735 Thou woldyst ledd hyr owt of lond. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1733 and 1734.
1736 God. MS: a letter, probably o, has been cancelled before d.
1737 shall. MS: repeated and not cancelled.
1738 Or ellys I woll nat wend. MS: line written to the right of line 1737.
1740 up. MS: I cancelled before.
1741 In the Holy Lond. MS: line written to the right of line 1740.
1744 Hens that we were. MS: line written to the right of line 1743.
1749 A. MS: inserted above in red.
1766 wyff. MS: f cancelled before. BMH mistakenly note this change at line 1749.
1773 me. MS: inserted above.
1774 Yf thi wyl it be. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1771–73.
1777 Ower mast woll all asondyr. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1775–76.
1778 ley. MS: inserted above.
1780 Cast hyr owt, or ellys we synke ondyr. MS: line written to the right of lines 1778 and 1779; final two letters of ondyr not visible because of trimming. BMH emend.
1786 And my chyld hyr by. MS: line written to the right of lines 1784–85.
1790 I sey yow, verely. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1788 and 1789.
1790, s.d. Tunc remigant ad montem, et dicit rex. MS: This stage direction appears as cancelled after line 1796, suggesting that the scribe realized he had written it in the wrong place but neglected to put the direction before the speech of the king that it clearly introduces. I follow the emendation of BMH. B omits.
remigant. So BMH. MS: remigat.
1796 To be ther gyde here. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1794–95.
1796, s.d. remigant. So BMH. MS: remigat.
a monte. So BMH. MS: a montem.
1800 And belyve go me fro. MS: Line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1797–99.
1819 shall. MS: thee sey n cancelled after this word.
1822 Mercyll. So MS. BMH: Marcyll.
1825 tell. MS: inserted above.
1827 the. MS: inserted above.
1829 Satyrnas. So MS. BMH: Saternas.
1830 commaundmenttys. So BMH. MS: commaundmettys.
1838 From the fyndys bond. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1836–37.
1840 baptysse. MS: bast cancelled before. BMH do not note this cancellation.
1842 Agens the fynd to stond. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1839–41.
1844 cummaunddementt. So BMH. MS: cummauddementt.
1847 dwall. So B. MS: wall.
1848 and 2. MS: inserted above.
1850 feyth. MS: e inserted above.
1856 lawe. So B. MS, BMH: lave.
1859 That feythfully I crave. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1856 and 1857.
1862 kepe. MS: ȝ cancelled after this word. Line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1860–61.
1866 Be1. MS: b cancelled after.
1870 Help me over the se. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1868–69.
1873 ony. MS: two letters, difficult to distinguish, cancelled before.
1874 Comme in, in Goddys name. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1871–73.
1878 As well as thou can. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1875–77.
1882 I shall qwyt yower mede. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1879–81.
1883 In. So BMH. MS: I.
1886 Verely, indeed. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1883–85.
1890 thee. MS: ȝ cancelled before this word.
1897 shynne. MS: y written over e.
1903 wrappyd. So BMH. MS: wrppyd.
varyawns. MS: final two letters difficult to discern because of binding.
1904 into. So BMH. MS: i to.
1907 precyus. MS: inserted above.
1909 Wherfor. So BMH. MS: Whefor.
1914, s.d. nauta. MS: partial letter cancelled before. BMH do not note this cancellation.
1916 Mercylle. So MS. BMH: Marcylle.
1918 I prye yow for my sake. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1915 and 1916.
1921 thi. So MS. BMH: þe.
1922 Cryst save thee from wo and wrake. MS: line bracketed and written to the right of lines 1919–21.
1924 think. So BMH, B. MS: omitted.
yow. MS: both cancelled after.
1926 he. MS: inserted above.
1928 Yitte. So BMH. MS: itte.
1930 donum. So BMH. MS: domum.
1934 men. MS: written below the line at the right.
1935 dysstroccyon. MS: ss written over another letter.
1938 Amen. MS: written in red.
1938, s.d. qwuene. So MS. BMH: quvene.
1939 Lord. MS: inserted above.
1944 nobyllnesse. MS: l cancelled between second l and nesse. So BMH.
1946 thi. MS: inserted above.
1949 wythowt. MS: b cancelled before this word.
1955 knowlege. So BMH. MS: knowle.
1958 have. MS: inserted above.
1966 yower. So BMH. MS: ower.
1971, s.d. thus. MS: x cancelled before this word. BMH do not note this cancellation.
1985 swych. So BMH. MS: wych.
1992 me. MS: inserted above.
1996 stryffe. So BMH. MS: styffe.
2011 sprong. So BMH. MS: sporng.
2014 born. MS: written above cancelled bornd.
2015 commaunddement. So BMH. MS: commauddement.
2021 Thou shall byn onoryd wyth joye and reverens. This is the last line on fol. 141r. The scribe skipped fol. 141v and 142r, writing turne on the othyr syde in red at the top of 141v.
2030, s.d. Her shall she . . . . Et dicit Mari. Only the first part of the stage direction is written is red, as is the scribe’s practice for much of the manuscript. The use of black ink for the Latin verses of the hymn thus mark them as spoken text rather than stage direction.
2034 no1. MS: inserted above, not no2 as cited by BMH.
2038, s.d. prest2. MS: final word obscured by binding.
2044 graunt. MS: gruant. BMH: gravnt.
2051 perfytnesse. So BMH. MS: perfynesse.
2052 shew. So BMH. MS: she.
2066 angelys. So BMH. MS: angelus.
2073 possesson. So MS. BMH: possessyon.
2074 enirytawns. So BMH. MS: Probable letter i inserted above.
2075 savacyon. MS: In an interesting slip, the scribe has cancelled damnacyon and written the more appropriate savacyon above.
2076 fere. MS: e cancelled before this word.
2077 angelys. So BMH. MS: angelus.
2085 cummaundytt. So BMH. MS: cummaudytt.
2092 Straytt. MS: a written above.
2097 thee. MS: inserted above.
2101 inure. I follow the reading of BMH. MS: indeterminate word.
2107 tyme. MS: tym cancelled before.
reseyve. MS: ve added above.
2108, s.d. Her she reseyvyt it. MS: written directly to right of line 2108.
2112 recummend. So BMH. MS: recumdmend.
2118 veritatis. MS: final letters obscured by binding. Line written to the right of lines 2115–17.
2119 reseyve. MS: s altered from r.
2122, s.d. Gaudent in celis. MS: written to the right of lines 2120 and 2121.
2126 game. So BMH. MS: name.
2131 sentens. MS: final letter missing with corner of this page.
their journeys; (t-note)
injury (the Passion)
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