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Art. 111, Seint Hillere archevesque de Peyters ordina ces salmes: 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).

In this text ascribed to Saint Hilary, fourth-century Bishop of Poitiers and Church Doctor, the author lists the prayerful uses of twenty-three psalms and one hymn (the Te Deum laudamus). The writer of many Latin patristic treatises, Saint Hilary composed Tractatus super Psalmos, which may bear an influence on this document or on its ascription. It represents the third of three articles in MS Harley 2253 that signal the best psalms to use in supplication to God on certain occasions. This list in French follows directly after its Latin counterpart (art. 110), also written as prose with paraphs to mark each item. As in the other French list (art. 101), one is told to recite these psalms, at times repetitively and with other prayers. The instructions never ask one to write out the psalms, as does the author of the preceding Latin list.

The psalms are not given in sequential order. Psalm 89 is listed twice. The several psalms repeated in the lists of arts. 101 and 110 are mentioned in the explanatory notes. The scribe’s Latin titles for individual psalms are filled out as necessary (with words in brackets) to reflect their English translations. For helpful commentary on the uses of the Book of Psalms in the Middle Ages, see Kuczynski 1995 and the essays edited by van Deusen.

[Fols. 136v–137r. ANL 456, 986. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 15. Layout: No columns, written as prose. Edition: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 250–55. Other MSS: None. Translation: Hunt and Bliss, pp. 250–55.]

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