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Art. 104, Gloriouse Dame: Introduction

Abbreviations: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

This frequently copied prayer has three parts: a long incipit that explains how it is an indulgence, a verse prayer on the Five Joys of Mary, and a prose prayer on the Five Joys. In other manuscripts, the first two parts appear together, alone, or in combination with different items. The third part is unique to MS Harley 2253 (ANL 742). With paraphs the scribe divides Prayer on the Five Joys into two sections (the incipit and the prayers), so that the article visually looks like two separate items. He copies it all as prose, punctuating the line endings of the verse prayer.

The incipit explains the item’s authority as an indulgence, which rests on its imputed transmittal from the Virgin directly to Maurice de Sully, Bishop of Paris (1160–1196), who was Peter Lombard’s successor in that post. The user is told to pray upon the Virgin’s Five Joys, a theme found elsewhere in MS Harley 2253 in an Anglo-Norman lyric (art. 49) and two English ones (arts. 63, 67). Appearing in at least six other manuscripts and a roll, the incipit in its various versions offers differing terms for the indulgence. Usually it is in prose, as here, but one is set in verse (ANL 751, 747). The subsequent verse invocation to Mary is found with the incipit or alone in twelve manuscripts (ANL 772). It appears in the Ludlow scribe’s MS Harley 273, fol. 110, and both items are copied on fol. 27 of MS Digby 86 (Tschann and Parkes, p. xv [no. 9]).

A version of this prayer is printed by Meyer (pp. 118–19). Jeffrey and Levy print four different texts of the verse prayer and one of the incipit (pp. 64–67). They suggest that the Salve Regina inspires the verse prayer, but R. Dean believes the source to be O gloriosa Dei genitrix (ANL 772).

[Fols. 134v–135r. ANL 751, 747, 772, 742. FDT 2490, 2971, 3221. Vising §90, §94. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 15. Meter of Verse Portion: Six alexandrine lines, aaaabb. Layout: No columns, written as prose, two red paraphs. Editions: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 244–47; partially transcribed in Parkes, Plate 1(ii). Other MSS: Many, as listed in ANL. Translation: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 244–47.

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