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Art. 108, Cely que fra ces messes chaunter: 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).

A companion to the preceding article, this item lists seven masses, matching liturgical occasion to the sung introit. R. Dean (ANL 932) describes two other versions of this work (both unedited) that survive with an accompanying prayer (absent here). In the Boston manuscript, an incipit ties the singing of these masses to an indulgence obtained by Saint Giles from an angelic emissary. According to tradition, Saint Giles was celebrating a mass to gain pardon for Charlemagne (ca. 742–814), when an angel delivered on the altar a letter detailing one of the emperor’s sins that he had never dared confess. Despite the impossibility of this story, for Charlemagne lived later than Giles’s lifetime, the “Mass of Saint Giles” persisted as a legend, and it lends a divine aura to this list. Inscribing the item as prose, the scribe rubricates the initial of each itemized mass and the initial letter of each hymn title. That a church dedicated to Saint Giles stands in Ludford very near to Ludlow might be relevant to the scribe’s interest in this piece.

[Fol. 135v. ANL 932. FDT–1 4050. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 15. Layout: No columns, written as prose. Edition: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 248–49. Other MSS: Boston, Public Library MS 124, fol. 115v; Oxford, Bodl. MS Bodley 9, fols. 54v–55a. Translation: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 248–49.]

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