PETY JOB: FOOTNOTES
2 Quid est homo, quia magnificas eum? Job 7.17: What is a man that thou shouldst magnify him?
3 Aut quid apponis erga eum cor tuum? Visitas cum diluculo, et subito probas illum. Job 7.17B18: Or why dost thou set thy heart upon him? Thou visitest him early in the morning, and thou provest him suddenly.
4 Usquequo non parcis michi, nec dimittas me, ut glutiam salivam meam? Peccavi. Job 7.19B20: How long wilt thou not spare me, nor suffer me to swallow down my spittle? I have sinned.
5 Quid faciam tibi, o custos hominum? Quare posuisti me contrarium tibi, et factus sum michimet ipsi gravis? Job 7.20: What shall I do to thee, O keeper of men? why hast thou set me opposite to thee, and I am become burdensome to myself?
6 Cur non tollis peccatum meum, et quare non aufers iniquitatem meam? Job 7.21: Why dost thou not remove my sin, and why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?
7 Ecce nunc in pulvere dormio; et si mane me quesieris, non subsistam. Job 7.21: Behold now, I shall sleep in the dust: and if thou seek me in the morning, I shall not be.
8 Tedet animam meam vite mee; dimittam adversum me eloquium meum, loquar in amaritudine anime mee. Dicam Deo: Noli me condempnare; indica michi cur me ita judices. Job 10.1B2: My soul is weary of my life, I will let go my speech against myself, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God: Do not condemn me: tell me why thou judgest me so.
9 Nunquid tibi bonum videtur, si calumpnieris me, et oprimas me opus manuum tuarum, et consilium impiorum adives? Job 10.3: Doth it seem good to thee that thou shouldst calumniate me, and oppress me, the work of thy own hands, and help the counsel of the wicked?
10 Nunquid oculi carnei tibi sunt? aut sicut videt homo, et tu vides? Job 10.4: Hast thou eyes of flesh: or shalt thou see as man seeth?
11 Nunquid sicut dies hominis dies tui, et anni tui sicut humana sunt tempora? Job 10.5: Are thy days as the days of man, and are thy years as the times of men?
12 Ut queras iniquitatem meam, et peccatum meum scruteris, et scias quia nichil impium fecerim, cum sit nemo qui de manu tua possit eruere? Job 10.6B7: That thou shouldst enquire after my iniquity, and search after my sin? And shouldst know that I have done no wicked thing, whereas there is no man that can deliver out of thy hand.
13 Manus tue fecerunt me, et plasmaverunt me totum in circuitu: et sic repente precipitas me? Job 10.8: Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me wholly round about, and dost thou cast me down headlong on a sudden?
14 Memento, queso, quod sicut lutum feceris me, et in pulverem reduces me. Job 10.9: Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay, and thou wilt bring me into dust again.
15 Nonne sicut lac mulsisti me, et sicut caseum me coagulasti? Job 10.10: Hast thou not milked me as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
16 Pelle et carnibus vestisti me; ossibus et nervis compegisti me. Job 10.11: Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh: thou hast put me together with bones and sinews.
17 Vitam et misericordiam tribuisti michi. Job 10.12: Thou hast granted me life and mercy.
18 Et visitacio tua custodivit spiritum meum. Job 10.12: And thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
19 Quantas habeo iniquitates et peccata? Scelera mea atque delicta ostende michi. Job 13.23: How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my crimes and offenses.
20 Cur faciem tuam abscondis, et arbitraris me inimicum tuum? Job 13.24: Why hidest thou thy face, and thinkest me thy enemy?
21 Contra folium quod vento rapitur, ostendis potenciam tuam, et stipulam siccam persequeris. Job 13.25: Against a leaf, that is carried away with the wind, thou shewest thy power; and thou pursuest a dry straw.
22 Scribis enim contra me amaritudines, et consumere me vis peccatis adolescencie mee. Job 13.26: For thou writest bitter things against me, and wilt consume me for the sins of my youth.
23 Posuisti in nervo pedem meum, et observasti omnes semitas meas, et vestigia pedum meorum considerasti. Job 13.27: Thou hast put my feet in the stocks, and hast observed all my paths, and hast considered the steps of my feet.
24 Qui quasi putredo consumendus sum, et quasi vestimentum quod commeditur a tinea. Job 13.28: Who am to be consumed in rottenness, and as a garment that is moth-eaten.
25 Homo, natus de muliere, brevi vivens tempore, repletur multis miseriis. Job 14.1: Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.
26 Qui quasi flos egreditur et conteritur, et fugit velud umbra, et nunquam in eodem statu permanet. Job 14.2: Who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow, and never continueth in the same state.
27 Et dignam ducis super huiuscemodi aperire oculos tuos, et adducere eum tecum in judicium? Job 14.3: And dost thou think it meet to open thy eyes upon such a one, and to bring him into judgment with thee?
28 Quis potest [facere] mundum de immundo conceptum semine? Nonne tu qui solus es? Job 14.4: Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed? is it not thou who only art?
29 Breves dies hominis sunt; numerus mensium eius apud te est. Job 14.5: The days of man are short, and the number of his months is with thee.
30 Constituisti terminos eius, qui preteriri non poterunt. Job 14.5: Thou has appointed his bounds which cannot be passed.
31 That [amount of time] he may neither surpass nor fall short of
32 Recede ergo paululum ab eo, ut quiescat, donec optata veniat, et sicut mercenarii, dies eius. Job 14.6: Depart a little from him, that he may rest, until his wished for day come, as that of the hireling.
33 Quis michi hoc tribuat ut in inferno protegas me, [et abscondas me,] donec pertranseat furor tuus? Job 14.13: Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in hell, and hide me till thy wrath pass?
34 Et constituas michi [tempus] in quo recorderis mei? Job 14.13: And appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?
35 Putasne, mortuus homo rursum vivat? Job 14.14: Shall man that is dead, thinkest thou, live again?
36 Cunctis diebus quibus nunc milito, expecto, donec veniat immutacio mea. Job 14.14: All the days, in which I am now in warfare, I expect until my change come.
37 Vocabis me, et ego respondebo tibi; operi manuum tuarum porriges dexteram. Job 14.15: Thou shalt call me, and I will answer thee: to the work of thy hands thou shalt reach out thy right hand.
38 Tu quidem gressus meos dinumerasti, sed parce peccatis meis. Job 14.16: Thou indeed hast numbered my steps, but spare my sins.
39 Spiritus meus attenuabitur, dies mei breviabuntur, et solum michi superest sepulcrum. Job 17.1: My spirit shall be wasted: my days shall be shortened; and only the grave remaineth for me.
40 Non peccavi, et in amaritudinibus moratur oculus meus. Job 17.2: I have not sinned, and my eye abideth in bitterness. (Job 17.3 is omitted; see note.)
41 Dies mei transierunt; cogitaciones mee dissipate sunt, torquentes cor meum. Job 17.11: My days have passed away; my thoughts are dissipated, tormenting my heart.
42 Noctem verterunt in diem, et rursum post tenebras spero lucem. Job 17.12: They have turned night into day; and after darkness I hope for light again.
43 Si sustinuero, infernus domus mea est; in tenebris stravi lectulum meum. Job 17.13: If I wait, hell is my house; and I have made my bed in darkness.
44 Putredini dixi: Pater meus es; mater mea, et soror mea, vermibus. Job 17.14: I have said to rottenness: Thou art my father; to worms: my mother and my sister.
45 Ubi est ergo nunc prestolacio mea et paciencia mea? Tu es, Domine, Deus meus. Job 17.15: Where is now then my expectation, and who considereth my patience?
46 Pelli mee, consumptis carnibus, adhesit os meum; et derelicta sunt tantummodo labia circa dentes meos. Job 19.20: The flesh being consumed, my bone hath cleaved to my skin: and nothing but lips are left about my teeth.
47 Miseremini [mei], miseremini mei, saltem vos, amici mei, quia manus Domini tetigit me. Job 19.21: Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends; because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.
48 Quare persequimini me sicut Deus, et carnibus meis saturamini? Job 19.22: Why do you persecute me as God, and glut yourselves with my flesh?
49 Quis michi tribuat ut scribantur sermones mei? Job 19.23: Who will grant me that my words may be written?
50 Perhaps if instead (i.e., because of me) they will refrain / And not make so wondrous a disturbance, / But rather take me as an example (see note)
51 Quis michi det ut exarentur in libro, stilo ferreo, plumbi lamina, vel celte sculpantur in silice? Job 19.23B24: Who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book, with an iron pen, and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flint-stone?
52 Scio enim quod Redemptor meus vivit, et in novissimo die de terra surrecturus sum; et rursum circumdabor pelle mea, et in carne mea videbo Deum Salvatorem meum. Job 19.25B26: For I know that my Redeemer liveth; and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God.
53 Quem visurus sum ego ipse, et oculi mei conspecturi sunt, et non alius. Job 19.27: Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
54 Reposita est hec spes mea in sinu meo. Job 19.27: This my hope is laid up in my bosom.
55 Quare de vulva eduxisti me? Qui utinam consumptus essem, ne oculus me videret! Job 10.18: Why didst thou bring me forth out of the womb? O that I had been consumed, that eye might not see me!
56 For sin makes me C whom You made from nothing C separate from You
57 Fuissem quasi non essem, de utero translatus ad tumulum. Job 10.19: I should have been as if I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.
58 Nunquid non paucitas dierum meorum finietur brevi? Job 10.20: Shall not the fewness of my days be ended shortly?
59 Dimitte ergo me, Domine, ut plangam paululum dolorem meum; antequam vadam, et non revertar, ad terram tenebrosam, et opertam mortis caligine. Job 10.20B21: Suffer me, therefore, that I may lament my sorrow a little: Before I go and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death.
60 Terram miserie et tenebrarum, ubi umbra mortis et nullus ordo, sed sempiternus horror inhabitans. Job 10.22: A land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth.
PETY JOB: NOTES
D MS Douce 322. [Base text.]
T TCC MS R.3.21.
H MS Harley 1706.
C MS Camb. Univ. Lib. Ff.2.38.
P MS Pepys 1584.
D presents the best text in the DHT group of affiliated MSS. The other two MSS, C and P, are related to each other but are not from the same exemplar (McSparran and Robinson, p. xvi). Crawford's analysis persuasively shows that the DHT textual group is nearer to the original poem than the CP pair (pp. 43-55). The following notes list variants only where: (1) C and P agree (thereby providing the secondary tradition, for which the texts are unpublished); or (2) readings from H, T, C, or P shed light on a problematic reading in D. Inverted wordings and variant spellings or verbal endings are not listed.
Incipit C: Here endyth the Compleynte of God and begynneth the ix lessons of dyryge whych ys clepyd Pety Job; P: Here endith the Seale of Mercy or the vii Salmes and begynnyth the ix lessons of dyrige that is clepid Pety Jobe.
1-84 Stanzas 1-7 paraphrase Lesson 1 of the Dirige: Job 7.16-21. DHTP indicate the beginning of each lesson by means of large initials at stanzas 1, 8, 13, 19, 25, 32, 38, 45, and 53. The rubricator of C erroneously inserted only three large capitals, at stanzas 1, 32, and 45, but marginal indicators for initials appear at stanzas 8, 13, 19, and 25, and spaces (each containing a small guide letter) were left at stanzas 19, 38, and 53.
Parche michi, Domine! Line supplied by CP; omitted in DHT, where the stanza is headed (as is normal in these three MSS) with the Vulgate verse Parce michi domine nichil enim sunt dies mei.
8 be but. CP (adopted by Horstmann); DHT: be. Compare the similar phrase at line 575, where (conversely) CP omit the word but.
11 not. Kail and Crawford read the word in D as nat, but the vowel appears to be an o. Crawford emended her reading to not, as found in the other MSS. The usual form in D for the negative adverb is nat, but the verb for ne wot, "does not know," would be not (compare lines 461 and 591, where all MSS agree).
12 The refrain is the same in The Bird with Four Feathers, a companion poem in DHT. See note to line 12 of that poem. The word Domine appears in the liturgy — and in the commentaries of Gregory the Great, Odo of Cluny, Rupert of Deutz, and Peter Riga (Alford, p. 324 n. 6) — but not in the Vulgate text.
13 What. CP: But what.
13-16 The syntax of this question displays the poet's artfulness, as he asks, in effect, three differently modulated questions, each one building from the last: What is a man? What is a man who always magnifies himself? What is he other than a mere mark made from a clod of clay? In stating that man magnifies himself, the speaker alters the Latin sense (God as magnifier of man), emphasizes human pride, and starkly contrasts it to man's "nothingness." The imagery depicts God as artistic sculptor of man's form, with an emphasis upon the earthiness of the medium. The poet's overall stress upon man's base make-up from "dust" surpasses even the source verses in Job. As Crawford comments, "the synonyms clay, pouder, erth, and hume come up again and again" (p. 155).
21 good Lord. CP: Lord God.
What shall I say? The speaker establishes a tone of primal questioning that drives the poem: "I have a need to know what is man. It is evident he is nothing but as Thou, God, formed him. Knowing this and being a man, I need to know how to speak to Thee." In its spirit of questioning, the poem might be compared to the Vernon lyric This World Fares as a Fantasy (ed. Brown, pp. 160-64); see discussion by Douglas Gray, Themes and Images in the Medieval English Religious Lyric (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), pp. 212-16.
23 wote. CP: knowe.
helpe. CP: helpe me.
25 Crawford cites the opening Or of this line, they in line 481, and hem in line 578 as evidence for the continuity of the English poem from stanza to stanza. It would appear that the poet did not expect the Latin Office (used as stanza headings in DHT) to interrupt the flow of English verse.
ayene. DHTC: ayenst man; P: man agayn. Emendation (also adopted by Crawford) is indicated by the rhyme and meter. The form for the preposition "against" is generally ayenst (appearing eight times) but ayene is found at line 163 (in all MSS).
30-34 The voice here speaks for himself and the reader, hence, the plural first-person pronouns (and the mixed singular/plural oureself), culminating in the phrase the and me.
36 Crawford remarks that the refrain has a substantive force here and at stanzas 5, 8, 16, 19, 25, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 42, 45, 46, 51, 52, 53, 56, and 57. Here and at those points she hyphenates the Latin phrase and defines it "God's mercy towards me." Occurrences of the phrase elsewhere in Middle English suggest that it had currency as a common prayer; see Alford, pp. 323-35.
37 O. HCP (adopted by Crawford); DT: Or.
39 mare. TC; DHP: more. The northern spellings of T are adopted for the rhyme here and in lines 41 and 43. On northern forms in Pety Job, see note to line 512.
40 salyve. CP: spotull blyfe. Crawford notes that the reading of CP is influenced by the Prymer, which always used "some form of the word spotull" (p. 114). On the larger question of Prymer influence, see Crawford's careful analysis (pp. 107-17).
41 sare. T; DHCP: sore.
43 lare. T; DHCP: lore.
44 That. CP: That Y.
45 The poet introduces a christological reference to Jesus's five wounds into the paraphrase of verses from Job. The devotional theme is not, however, integral to the poem, as it is, for example, in The Valley of This Restless Mind.
47 of. CP: of thys (adopted by Horstmann).
53 O. Omitted in CP.
55-57 These lines set God's mercifulness toward man against man's willful ingratitude toward his own Creator. Because God gave man his being, this ingratitude is taken to be unnatural (unkynde). On the lyric tradition of God as mankind's friend, see Rosemary Woolf, The English Religious Lyric in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), pp. 214-18.
59 make me have. CP: that Y may.
69 pray The. TCP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: pray. The meter of the TCP reading is better; the word The probably dropped out by confusion with the next word thys.
79 pytte. The word means "hell" in line 33, but here it is the grave, whether actual (the voice is a soul who has died) or potential (the voice is a living soul for whom a grave is reserved). The voice typically speaks from a vaguely timeless perspective, for all souls, dead and living. There is eventually, however, a subtly timed sequence given to the speaker's state; see note to line 203.
80 Though men me seke. Crawford notes that this phrase appears to be a mistranslation of the Latin si mane me quesieris, the poet rendering mane ("in the morning") as "men."
81 Abraham. CP: fayre Abraham.
84 So. CP: Ever.
85-144 Stanzas 8-12 paraphrase Lesson 2: Job 10.1-7.
88 lyfe. C: selfe (adopted by Horstmann).
90 oune. Omitted in CP.
94 how. CP: whi, a reading that translates Latin cur. But, as Crawford notes, the reading of DHT fits the penitential stance: "The poet knows why he is judged . . . he is asking how the judgment will be carried out" (p. 248).
97-108 The Pety Job poet omits the last phrase of the verse in Job, et consilium impiorum adives ("and help the counsel of the wicked"), an accusation of God's injustice that goes beyond the sinner's personal plight.
98 accuse. CP: to accuse.
105 of. CP: on.
107 Thow. TCP: Lord Thow (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford, for better meter). The extra syllable is not necessary; stress falls upon Thys and the second syllable of prayer.
114 may se. CP: man may.
119 nat that. TCP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: nat. The variant reading is accepted for both sense and meter. The word that must have been omitted by confusion with either nat or Thow.
121 lyke. C: slyke ("such," adopted by Horstmann). The reading in C "could be an original Northern rime preserved or . . . a scribe's attempt to avoid the identical rime" (Crawford, p. 250). Kail erroneously prints syke.
125 That. TCP: This (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford, for sense). Emendation is unnecessary; that contrasts as well as this with tomorow in line 127.
126 gladsom. CP: gladly.
128 borne. Horstmann emends: is borne. Crawford notes, however, that borne can be read as parallel to syke, with both words serving as complements to the verb wexeth (line 127).
132 Lorde. CP: Ever.
133-44 The poet omits Job's protestation of innocence (scias quia nichil impium fecerim), in keeping with the poem's penitential emphasis. Compare stanza 39, where Job's "I have not sinned" is rendered by the poet "I have nat synned wylfully."
134 to serche thus. C (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); D: suche thus; H: suche ys; T: to seche thus; P: to serche. Crawford's analysis of this line is plausible: "The poet probably used seche in line 133 to translate Latin queras, and serche in line 134 to translate Latin scruteris" (p. 250). The errors of D and H support evidence elsewhere that H is a copy of D (p. 52).
135 hardnes. CP: hardynesse.
145-216 Stanzas 13-18 paraphrase Lesson 3: Job 10.8-12.
148 nobley. CP: noble lord.
150 The subject of Satan as deceiver and cause of man's fall is not found in the biblical verse. Compare note to line 246.
152 Hedlyng. C (adopted by Horstmann); DHT: Heldyng; Heledyng. It is likely that the poet used the word for "headlong" found in C; see MED hedlyng adv. (a), where in two citations the word is followed by the adverb doun. For Job 10.8 the Prymer has "thou castist me doun so sodeynli" (p. 60), and Douay (1609) has "thou cast me down headlong on a sudden." In DHT the image is curious — God holding down man by his skull — and does not correspond to the Latin.
155 ranne. CP: down ran.
156 So. CP: Evyr.
161 be. TCP: ben (adopted by Horstmann).
165 ys no. CP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: ys; T: nys. The reading of CP is accepted for better sense and meter.
168 Lorde. CP: Thus.
169 nat me, Lorde. C: not me; P: Thou not me.
169-78 Springing from the biblical simile of milk, the poet builds up a sequence of "liquid" images. The milk, his blood, is softer (that is, weaker) than silk, which is vulnerable to rain; consequently it leads him to sin, so that he, who is filled with such blood, wades deeply in sin and nearly drowns in it.
171 Thow madest that. CP (adopted by Horstmann); DH: that; T: of that; Crawford emends: thow cruddedest. The reading of DH has obviously lost at least one word, and T appears to be a rough attempt to correct the DH reading. Crawford supplies the verb crudden, which, she states, is used to translate Latin coagulare "in all manuscripts of the Middle English Prymer, in the Ten Lessons, and in the Wycliffite Bible" (p. 252). Her speculation may be correct, but it is not needed for the sense, since the phrase in CP, madest . . . ryght as the hardnesse, supplies the meaning of coagulare. Moreover, the CP phrase continues the emphasis upon what God has "made" (compare lines 159, 162, and 170) and leads to stanza 16.
172 chese ys. CP: flesche hyt.
175 thus. TCP: this.
183 As Crawford notes, this line anticipates and translates the next verse, Job 10.12; compare line 193.
192 For. CP: Of.
195 to me nat ones. C: not oones to me; P: oonis to me.
202 that. C: that that (adopted by Horstmann).
203 The lyric monologue subtly dramatizes a sequence of events, moving from a state of contrition in life to the uncertain state of the soul after death. Here the speaker is still one of the living, praying for something before he is "laid in the grave." The progression past the point of death is gradual, occurring at about stanza 42.
206 that ys. CP: that Y have; omitted in T.
208 Than. TC: Thyn (adopted by Horstmann); P: Thy.
grace. CP: goste.
211 wypt. P: whypt. The spelling in P helps to establish the meaning of this word, "whipped, driven with force." The rhymes in -ept(e) may indicate an original form w(h)ept, a northern variant spelling. Crawford follows the OED in defining wypt as "wiped" (wipe v., sense 4.). The phrase wipe from is, however, otherwise unattested, and parallel senses in the OED do not begin until 1535.
214 in. Omitted in CP.
216 Lord. Omitted in CP.
217-26 Ten lines form a long sentence jumbled in syntax by rapid mental associations and emotions. The poet seems to be reacting to the scriptural pile-up of Latin terms for his iniquity, iniquitates, peccata, scelera, and delicta. As the speaker acknowledges his heap of sins, he envisions the frightening pit of hell.
217-88 Stanzas 19-24 paraphrase Lesson 4: Job 13.23-28.
218 an. CP: a.
220 may. CP: may heere (adopted by Horstmann).
222 so. Omitted in TCP.
225 on. TCP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: of. The emendation is needed for sense. For a similar image of hell, see The Sinner's Lament, line 66.
227 may. CP: may me (adopted by Horstmann).
232 lesse. TCP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: lace. The rhyme shows that TCP preserve the correct reading. The shared error in DH was caused by attraction to the a-rhyme.
233 As Crawford notes, the poet here extends his biblical source, showing God to persecute the sinner as an enemy.
235 fayne. CP: Lorde.
236 me. The line would be better, metrically, without this word, but it is found in all MSS.
238 oo. CP: good.
240 Lorde. CP: Evyr.
241 to. CP: to be.
242 freel. CP: full frele (adopted by Horstmann).
244 Although. DHTCP: As though. Emendation is needed for sense.
beres bynde. DHTCP; Crawford emends: be berebynde. The phrase is apparently a common expression for boldness. Compare the Vernon lyric Think on Yesterday, where bynde rhymes with wynde, a word used for the forces of the world:
This wrecched world nis but a wynde,S.v. MED bere n.(1), sense 1.(d). Crawford's emendation to be berebynde (a plant-name) is overly speculative.
Ne non so stif to stunte ne stare,
Ne non so bold beores to bynde,
That he nath warnynges to beo ware.
(lines 52-55, ed. Brown, p. 144)
246 fondyng. See OED fanding vbl. sb., "a testing or putting to the proof."
of The. CP: of the fende (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); T: oft. The phrase fondyng of the fende is well attested; see MED fondinge and OED fanding, sense 2. The CP phrase may therefore be the original, especially since the poet does add the agency of Satan elsewhere (compare lines 117, 150, and 656). I have, however, retained the DH reading because the idea that God does the testing accords with the scriptural source.
249 grope. CP: graspe.
a. Omitted in CP.
250 though I stomble. Crawford emends: through the stobble, another editorial attempt to bring the poem closer to the Latin Job (see note to line 244). Her interpretation of the line is faulty: "if the poet stumbles God would not be following him but catching him." The point is that the speaker is blind to God's ways, even to God's tests, but God is nonetheless constantly watchful of him.
252 Yet. CP: Evyr.
258 hit. Omitted in CP.
259 thys. CP: thus (adopted by Horstmann).
yse. Horstmann emends: I see.
260 And distroy me for. C: Dyscrye me of; P: Discryve me of; Horstmann emends: Distroy me for. Horstmann's rendition of lines 259-60 (And thus thou wyllt, fulle welle I see, / distroy me ffor my wycked dede) removes the idea that God sees private sins.
262 Lorde. CP: welle.
263 drope. TCP: drowpe.
265 a synew. CP: stockes. For the sense "snare," see OED sinew sb. sense 1.b. Synew to translate Latin nervus also occurs in some copies of the Prymer; the word stockes occurs in other copies and has once been inserted as a correction of synew. According to Crawford, the variants suggest "that the poet or some of the scribes did have a verbal memory of at least parts of a Prymer or of some similar vernacular version of the Office of the Dead" (p. 112).
268 in wey or walle. The sense would seem to be "in open-ways and in walled enclosures." Crawford suggests a reference to "medieval wall-walks, such as those surviving in York today" (p. 257).
277-80 The syntactic conjoining of three images (the third one not found in the Vulgate) is magnificently evocative. Rotting shall consume the body, which fares just like moth-eaten cloth, or just like (the innovation) smoke departing from fire. The final image denotes the true transparency of the ephemeral body, and the burning life of the soul. The remarkable pile-up of images is then converted to a stark summation: "So body and soul asundre goth."
278 mowthe-eten. C: moght eton; P: mothis etyng; T: mothis that eten.
279 And. Omitted in CP.
281 hume. CP: slyme.
283 than. CP: Lorde.
287 leve. CP: beleve.
289 Human experience is gendered as male. "Woman" is the earth from which men spring, the material source to be abhorred and regretted. The androcentrism derives from Job (see Edwin M. Good, "Job," in Harper's Bible Commentary, gen. ed. James L. Mays [San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988], p. 432), but in Pety Job it is strongly colored by medieval penitential ideas of the male soul birthed into errant female flesh (see stanza 53). The Messengers of Death, a poem found in the Vernon MS, opens with a paraphrase of this verse:
The Mon that is of wommon i-bore,289-372 Stanzas 25-31 paraphrase Lesson 5: Job 14.1-6.
His lyf nis heere but a throwe [instant] —
So seith Job us heer bifore
Al in a Bok that I wel knowe. (lines 1-4)
(ed. F. J. Furnivall, The Minor Poems of the Vernon Manuscript, Part 2, EETS o.s. 117 [1901; rpt. New York: Greenwood, 1969], p. 443)
293 hote and colde, and hungor. CP: heete colde hungur and.
294 Turmented. CP: Turned he.
298 a. Omitted in CP.
and. TCP: that.
299 The. Omitted in CP.
lovely. CP: mylde.
300 For. CP: Of.
301 spryngeth oute. CP: owt spryngyth (adopted by Horstmann).
307 houre. CP (adopted by Horstmann); DHT: shoure. The reading of CP is better than the repeated rhyme of DHT. As soon as the Job text calls up the ancient flower simile — a figure for man in time — and the poet establishes an a-rhyme upon -oure, houre becomes the inevitable fourth rhyme word, after floure, shoure, and coloure. It suits also the theme of growth after birth, "from yere to yere," begun in stanza 25.
308 ryght. Omitted in C; P: like.
309 full. C: all full; P: all foule.
311 Of heven blysse. CP: Lord of hevene.
318 ys harder than. C: ys harde as; P: as hard as; T: harder than.
ston. TCP (adopted by Crawford); DH: a ston(e).
320 In expanding his paraphrase of the Job verses, the poet often alludes to the traditional three foes of mankind, the flesh, the world, and the devil. On the addition of Satan elsewhere, see note to line 246.
they. HTCP (adopted by Crawford); D: then. The error in D is caused by attraction to the following word ben.
321 Lord. Omitted in CP.
323 Passion literature often contained devotion to both Mary and John the Evangelist, derived from John 19.26-27. Compare The Four Leaves of the Truelove, lines 225-26, and the meditation addressed to St. John the Evangelist by the fourteenth-century monk John Whiterig (ed. Hugh Farmer, The Monk of Farne [Baltimore: Helicon, 1961], pp. 149-51).
325 But. C: A; P: O.
327 A. Omitted in CP.
undertake. CP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: understande; T: undirstake. Crawford explains the T reading as a scribal attempt to correct the faulty rhyme produced by the error in DH.
333 Ywys. CP: Forsothe.
335 Lorde. Omitted in CP.
336 And ever. CP: Wyth.
338 take. CP: take thou (adopted by Horstmann).
343-44 These lines summarize the speaker's attitude about the life of the soul before and after bodily death: it is only sorrow and care until God's Judgment, which may allow entry to heaven.
347 On the notion of actively rising up out of sin to repent, a move that requires willed energy, compare The Sinner's Lament, line 72.
348 Lorde. CP: Evyr.
350 now. Omitted in CP.
354-58 For the story of Ezechias, see 4 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38. The poet recasts the story into a penitential exemplum. The biblical Ezechias wept not for his sins, but for the fact that his life was being cut short. Rather than repent, he pleaded his righteousness. The reference to Ezechias at this verse in Job corresponds to Gregory's use of it in the Moralia in Job (Crawford, pp. 135-37; for Gregory, see J. P. Migne, ed., Patrilogia Latina 75.987). In general, there is little evidence that Gregory's work influenced the poet. The borrowing need not have been direct from Gregory but rather from a sermon or other reading. As usual, the English poet inserts a greater penitential emphasis.
359 Lord, yeve. CP: So graunt.
360 Have. CP: Wyth.
364 hys. CP: a.
365 lust. CP: lyste.
366-69 A rhetorical shift severs the complaint of the octave from the speaker's piety in the final quatrain. The speaker precariously balances two contrary perspectives: the plaintive "This holde I, Lorde, for the beste" and the repudiative "all thys worlde now ys myswrest."
369 all. Omitted in CP.
370 thys. TCP: thus (adopted by Horstmann).
372 For. CP: Thorow.
373-84 Crawford notes that in this stanza the poet departs from the primary sense of the Job verse: "The sense of hiding in the grave, expressed in the Latin in inferno protegas me, is turned by the poet into a stanza on the omnipresence of God" (p. 262).
373-444 Stanzas 32-37 paraphrase Lesson 6: Job 14.13-16.
375 Fro. T (adopted by Crawford); DHCP: For. Kail prints Fro without noting it as an emendation of D.
376 my. CP: any.
377 concurraunte. The rhymes in this stanza exhibit an aureate flair. This word would probably contain the earliest meaning in English for concur, "to run together violently, to collide," hence my definition, "prone to rebel." See OED concur v., which shows little currency for the word before the sixteenth century. The MED offers a tentative definition of the unusual usage in Pety Job, "? exist along with others," a definition adopted by Crawford.
378 in. CP: in thy (adopted by Horstmann).
379 haunte. C: daunt; P: daund. The word haunt means "frequent the company of, stay near" (MED haunten v., sense 3a), not "seek," as cited in the MED (sense 3b).
380 Yet. Omitted in CP.
382 now. Omitted in CP.
383 leccioun. CP; DHT: lessoun. The spelling of CP is adopted to accord with the aureate rhyme-words of the stanza. Although not found in the MED (compare lecoun n.), leccioun is an anglicized form of Latin lectio, "a reading, a lesson." The word leccio heads each lesson of the Dirige in the Prymer.
388 of Thy blysse am so. CP: am of blysse full.
391 bounde here. CP: bownden.
393 Thow. Omitted in CP.
393-94 On God's pyté, compare The Bird with Four Feathers, line 13.
395 lyght as lynde. A proverbial expression for carefree light-heartedness, derived from the linden tree's delicate leaves, which are easily set in rapid motion by the wind; see MED lind(e) n., sense 1b.
396 To have. CP: Of.
399 in. CP: on.
401-02 These two lines are omitted in T.
405 Thus. TCP (adopted by Horstmann); DH: Thys.
407 That I may. CP: Graunt me to. The variant helps to clarify that lines 407-08 are to be read as a petition.
the. CP: thy (adopted by Horstmann).
408 Of. CP: Wyth; Horstmann emends: Lord.
409 lyve. CP: leve.
410 wepyng. C: woopes; P: wopis.
412 fale. TCP; DH: fall(e). The reading of TCP is adopted for the rhyme; the variant is not cited by Crawford.
416 hale. CP: thou hale (adopted by Horstmann).
420 But. CP: Evyr.
424 myn. T (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); DH: my; CP: an. The emendation conforms to the D scribe's practice elsewhere of using -n on possessive pronouns preceding vowels. A similar emendation is adopted at line 589.
429 And my wittes though. P; DHT: And with my thought; C: And wyttes myne thogh; Crawford emends: My wittes though. The reading of P is adopted for better sense; compare similar phrasing at line 345.
432 Thorow. CP (adopted by Crawford); DH: But; T: With. The emendation complements the one at line 429 and is needed for logical sense.
436 hell. CP: alle.
438 welle. CP: walle.
441 bytterer. HTCP (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford); D: bytter. The D scribe neglected to add the hooked sign for -er to the end of the word. Crawford mistakenly reads bytter in H and takes this line as an instance of shared error in DH.
eysell or gall. Vinegar and gall, the two bitter drinks offered to Jesus on the Cross, to increase his torment (Matthew 27.34).
445-528 Stanzas 38-44 paraphrase Lesson 7: Job 17.1-2, 11-15. The Pety Job poet omits one verse found in the Office of the Dead: Libera me, Domine, et pone me iuxta te, et cuiusvis manus pugnet contra me. (Job 17.3: Deliver me, O Lord, and set me beside thee, and let any man's hand fight against me.) The missing verse would have come between stanzas 39 and 40.
446 I am fallen in any. CP: that Y am fall(en) yn (adopted by Crawford). Crawford's adoption of the CP reading is based on a belief that the poet is describing the weakness of old age. The context, however, suggests that his weakness remains a fact regardless of age and of how cautiously he might try to live.
447 never. Crawford emends: hit never, in order "to complete the phrase make hit queynt" (p. 265). For the idiom, see OED quaint a., sense 11, and MED queinte adj., sense 2(e). The emendation is not needed, however, because the subject dayes supplies the implied object for the idiom. Another example of the idiom without hit appears in the Vernon lyric Who Says the Sooth, He Shall Be Shent, line 14 (ed. Brown, p. 152).
455 cage. A figurative term for the grave. Compare the similar use of a cage image in The Sinner's Lament, line 56.
461 not. In D the o is written over an a.
465 This line is omitted in H.
466 Thow. The word is omitted in DHT, but supplied by comparison of the line with the two variants, that is, C: And Thou that yche God that madyst me, and P: And Thou God aloan that madist me. Both Horstmann and Crawford adopt the emendation, which is needed to supply an antecedent for that ylke God.
471 wandre. C: wandren (adopted by Horstmann); P: wanderith.
whare. The word has the generalized sense, "wherever, whither"; see OED where adv., sense 9.
472 Lorde. CP: ofte.
479 Thy. CP: thus.
480 Lorde. CP: Evyr.
481 they. Refers to the thoughts described in the preceding stanza. See note to line 25.
484 myn. CP: my.
plyght. CP: pyght (adopted by Horstmann and Crawford). Crawford states that "none of the OED definitions of plyght (DHT) fits the context of this line." (p. 267). The word is, however, the past participle of pleiten, meaning "fastened" (MED, sense [c]) or "turned over in one's mind" (sense [a]).
489 mekyl. CP: moche.
491 a. Omitted in CP.
492 Lorde. CP: Thorow; T: With.
493-94 The poet emphasizes disease and death, not hell as in the Latin source. Here the poet initiates a series of stanzas that meditate upon the experience of the soul after death. In the poem as a whole this series occurs within a larger sequence from life to death; see note to line 203.
496 Whether I be. CP: Be Y.
497 The imagery of a bed and sleeplessness, begun in the last stanza, evokes now multiple meanings: birth, individual consciousness, a deathbed, the grave.
501 that, of my. CP: owt of that.
503 Thow. CP: The Thou; HT: The.
504 With. CP: Thorow.
508 I am. CP (adopted by Kail, Horstmann, and Crawford, for the rhyme); DHT: am I, an error caused by attraction the a-rhyme.
509-12 Note how the poet plays with the sounds of for and I within these lines.
510 then. D; HTCP: than (adopted by Crawford). The form is merely a spelling variant; compare than at lines 318 and 441.
am. C: name; P: ne am; Horstmann emends: nam.
511 sustres. CP: systren.
512 ham. CP; DHT: hem. The spelling, either northern or Midland, is accepted for the rhyme. The D scribe's usual form is hem. The poet's dialect is difficult to ascertain because the evidence in the poem is mixed. On the frequent presence of northern forms, Crawford writes:
By the mid to late fifteenth century, when the Pety Job poet was working, many Northern forms had no doubt become part of the literary language at the command of any poet looking for appropriate rimes. Desire that their works be associated with the popular Northern devotional poems (especially those of Richard Rolle) may also have prompted authors whose dialect was non-Northern to use Northern forms. Although determination of dialect from mixed rime evidence is difficult, it may be conjectured that the Pety Job poet used a Southeast-Midlands dialect. (p. 57)
515 On Christ likened to a lamb, see John 1.29.
527 hoo. CP: sey hoo. The variant takes the word to be the exclamation, "hoo," used to attract someone's attention. But it is a verb; see OED ho v.2, "to cease, pause." The speaker is asking God for a brief respite from his oppressive human condition.
528 And. CP: Wyth.
529 skyn my mouth. C: mouthe me skynne; P: skyn my bone. Crawford points out that the poet has apparently mistranslated os meum (Douay "my bone") as my mouth. The result is a stanza entirely about the mouth, teeth, and lips (in a free rendering of the Latin), and then about senses (hearing and eyesight) also located in the head. The P scribe tried to correct the error of os meum, possibly from a memory of "my boon" in the Prymer.
lo. The meaning is possibly "lo!" (Crawford).
529-52 The persons addressed in these two stanzas are other men, a shift from the intimate address to God that characterizes most of the poem.
529-624 Stanzas 45-52 paraphrase Lesson 8: Job 19.20-27.
530 And cleved. C: Cleved (adopted by Crawford); P: Clevyng; T: And clevith. CP (and Crawford) read ys cleved as a single verb; DHT have a compound verb, ys (attached low) and (is) cleved.
533 they. Omitted in CP.
536 Gray eyes, often used to describe heroines in romance, were considered beautiful. Gray probably refers to the eye color one would now term light blue.
538 Full. Omitted in CP.
539 that. Omitted in CP.
540 For. CP: Wyth.
542 now. CP: ye.
helpeth. HTCP: helpe. See note to line 547.
545 And. CP: Now.
seeth. TCP: syth.
546 that. Omitted in CP.
547 helpe. This apparently plural imperative does not agree in form with reweth, helpeth, and seeth in the same stanza. Alternation of form was not uncommon in Middle English; see Tauno F. Mustanoja, A Middle English Syntax, Part I. Parts of Speech (Helsinki: Sociténéophilologique, 1960), p. 474.
that. Omitted in CP.
548 Refers to the three classes of pentiential deeds required in the satisfaction of the sacrament of penance. See Matthew 6.1-18; and Spitzig, p. 179.
550 Placebo and Dirige. The opening words, respectively, of Vespers and Matins of the Office of the Dead (see Breviarium Sarum, ed. Procter and Wordsworth). The phrase appears in the refrain of a political poem (ed. Robbins, Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries [New York: Columbia University Press, 1959], pp. 187-88).
551 Herewith my. CP: My hungery.
555 peyne. TCP: pyne (either a spelling variant, or the verb "pine").
pewe. Cited in the OED as the first usage of the word with the sense "station, situation, allotted place." See pew n., sense 3.b. The MED tentatively assigns this unusual usage to the noun (found in place-names) meaning "hill, knoll" (peue n.).
561 Crawford suggests that this line approximates a translation (otherwise absent) of the Latin et carnibus meis saturamini, noting that the poet "changes the verbal persecution of the biblical Job by his 'comforters' into robbery" (p. 270).
563 faytoures. C: false factowres; P: false faytours. In C the scribe has interlined the word false, which may indicate that it was added to fill out the line in an earlier exemplar. In meaning factowres (C) does not differ from faytours (DHTP).
564 Lorde. CP: Evyr.
569-74 Given that Pety Job is itself an extended complaint over the human condition, the thought expressed in this stanza becomes (perhaps unconsciously) paradoxical. The speaker states that he would like to be an example, after death, to others so that they might "spare" their own complaining. The idea that the speaker becomes a "mirror" by which others may learn and thereby contain their own grief is similar in point to The Sinner's Lament, but the Pety Job speaker has offered scarce comfort to the reader (other than what the refrain may suggest), and his own example might be said to be one of unrestrained lament (see note to lines 665-66). The poet seems to play, nonetheless, upon the idea that learning to "spare" one's lament is a worthy reflection of God's "sparing" mercy.
570 Eyther. CP: Or.
with hert. CP: ofte wyth hertys.
572 Because yef. Horstmann emends: Percase yet; Crawford emends: Percase then. But the agreement of all MSS on this reading and on Fore yef at line 569 suggests a grammatical construction of hypothesis that the scribes could understand: "for if something is liable to occur, (yet) by (another) cause perhaps something else will come about." Yef can encompass the meaning "perhaps" (see MED if conj., sense 5).
573 nat so. CP: no soche.
575 but. Omitted in CP. Compare line 8.
578 hem. Refers to the words mentioned in line 566 in the preceding stanza. See note to line 25.
579 My. DHTCP; Horstmann and Crawford emend: In. The editors' emendation is based on the Latin in libro and the plausibility of such an error on paleographical grounds. But In is not necessary for sense (it is understood in context), it has no basis in any MS, and the phrase My booke becomes a figure for "my life made into a tangible example for others," something that is quite significant and personal to the speaker.
580 gumme. The MED does not cite this use of the word in the art of bookmaking. Besserman notes the presence in this stanza of "the anachronistic vocabulary of the medieval scribe" (p. 81).
581 yet. Omitted in CP.
583 whereever. CP: where.
588 Now. CP: So.
589 my. HTCP (adopted by Crawford); D: myn. Compare line 424.
592 on Domysdaye. These words represent the poet's translation of in novissimo die and are part of the general addition of judgment to the ideas found in the Latin verse. The Last Judgment is a recurring theme; compare stanzas 22 and 34.
594 In. CP: And.
601 Whan. DHTCP; Horstmann emends: Whame; Crawford emends: Whom. The emendation derives from Latin Quem, but it is not necessary, nor does it help the sense or syntax of the complex Middle English sentence that runs for eight lines.
602 hert. Kail emends: herte, for meter.
604 disparitable. Horstmann suggests despitable, but does not emend. Another example of aureate rhyme, the word is perhaps a coinage by the poet. No other examples are cited in the MED.
607 bryght. The word connotes the speaker's visual capacity and also the brightness of the sight of God's majesty, as envisioned at line 610.
609 charyté that ys. CP: arte (adopted by Crawford). This hypermetric line suggests the speaker's imagined rapture at the sight of the Godhead.
622 In any thyng. C: Wyth oghe; P: With oute.
624 Thorough. CP: Wyth.
625-56 In William Lichfield's The Complaint of God to Sinful Man (preserved with Pety Job in TCP) man answers God:
I wolde my motheris wombe had be my grave.625-84 Stanzas 53-57 paraphrase Lesson 9: Job 10.18-22.
For what profityth my lyvyng here,
But if I do so that Thou wylt me save? (lines 164-66)
(ed. E. Borgstr'm, p. 513; see note to line 289)
628 Within. CP: In.
629-30 The poet changes the sense of the Latin, perhaps in mistranslation, and greatly expands the penitential sense of regret at having seen the temptations of the world. While the verse in Job is a plea that God might never have seen the unfortunate Job, the Pety Job version has the eye belonging to the speaker and its sight is focused upon the world.
630 no more. CP: me more; Crawford emends: ne more. Crawford derives her emendation from a blend of the two readings "to make the negatives parallel" (p. 274). The change is not needed. The CP reading appears to be a partial attempt to correct the mistranslation of lines 629-30.
ne. C: or; P: of.
633 from. CP: Lorde fro.
634 CP: Ye from the Lorde that madyste me. Crawford points out that the word That in DHT could refer to either me or The in line 633, and that the sense is the same either way. CP represents a scribal rewording.
635 make me to. CP: graunt that Y may.
636 With. CP: Thorow.
637-48 The poet omits the second half of the verse from Job (in Douay, "carried from womb to the grave"). Job expresses the wish to have never been, that is, to be as if conveyed immediately from womb to grave; the clause negates not birth but the experience that comes with life. In Pety Job the wish is stronger: never to have been born.
644 Nere. CP: Ne were; T: Nor.
647 of plenté. CP: Lorde all.
652 oute of. CP: fro.
653-56 On the poet's insertion of the theme of the world, the flesh, and the devil, see notes to line 246 and 320.
660 So. CP: Evyr; omitted in T.
661 Thow. CP: now.
661-84 Chaucer's Parson draws upon this passage (Job 10.20-22) to exemplify the third cause of contrition, the fear of judgment and dread of hell, "the derke lond, covered with the derknesse of deeth" (CT X(1) 175). See especially CT X(1) 180-85 (Riverside Chaucer, p. 291).
662 whyle that wepe. C; DHT: what that whyl(l); P: what that whaile and wepe; Crawford emends: whyle that whaile. The reading of C is adopted for sense, and for its translation of the Latin phrase ut plangam paululum.
663 greved. CP: gyltyd.
665-66 The petition is for an allowance of time to lament and for permission to use one's earthly life in lament. In retrospect, these lines are expressive of the speaker's mode of poetic utterance, which figures profitable living as a verbal song of perpetual complaint and appeal, sorrow and repentance. On the problematic psychological balance required of the penitent (acknowledgment of sin without despair), see Lee Patterson, pp. 374-84.
667 never. C: ne; P: not.
669 good. Omitted in CP.
678 may. CP: may there.
679 of 2. Omitted in CP.
680 sorow. CP: orrour. The reading in CP seems to derive from the Latin word horror, but it should also be noted that the poet's rendition of Job is rather free in this stanza.
681 cleped. CP: named.
682 Worthy. CP: Worschypfull.
now Thow. Omitted in CP.
Colophon CP: Here endyth Pety Joob and begynnyth the Proverbis of Salamon.