The Assumption and Mary as Queen of Heaven
THE ASSUMPTION AND MARY AS QUEEN OF HEAVEN: FOOTNOTE1 My spirit was ravished and leapt in my body
THE ASSUMPTION AND MARY AS QUEEN OF HEAVEN: NOTES
Com, my swete, com, my flour. Not in Index. MS: Bodl. 17680 (Gough Eccl. Top. 4), fol. 128b (c. 1425). The verses occur in John Mirk's sermon De Assumpcione Beate Marie as dialogue in his narrative of the Assumption. Editions: T. Erbe, Mirk's Festial, EETS e.s. 96 (London: Kegan Paul, 1905), p. 224; Sisam, Oxford, no. 143 (first quatrain). Woolf quotes the verses in her discussion of Assumption lyrics (p. 299).
2 culver. The term of endearment suggests associations with the Immaculate Conception, for which the dove is a common symbol, and perhaps also of the Holy Ghost, by whom Mary conceived.
boure. See note to §56, line 15.
6 to thyn. See note to §55, line 4.
The infinite power essenciall. Index no. 3391. MS: BL Addit. 20059, fols. 99a-100a (this is a fifteenth-century addition to an older MS). Editions: B15, no. 38; Davies, no. 104.
8 Ecce virgo, radix Jesse. See Isaias 11:1 and §8, note to line 17. This phrase occurs in a Sarum antiphon for the None hour (text in Dreves and Blume, 10:107, no. 141, 31).
9 Tota pulcra. Canticles 4:7: "Thou art all fair, my love, and there is not a spot in thee."
to the lillé like. The lily symbolizes purity. See Canticles (RSV Song of Solomon) 2:2. The Fasciculus morum compares the lily to virginity. It smells sweet and pleasing when it is fresh and unbroken, but when it has been "crushed and broken by lust, it has a terrible stench" (pp. 704-05). See also Levi D'Ancona, p. 64.
10 saphures. The North Midland Lapidary describes several properties that make the sapphire's association with Mary appropriate: it is said to have powers to give physical and emotional comfort, to heal sickness and injury, and to free prisoners. The sapphire is the color of heaven; "He yt lokes appon a saphir, he most have in mynd ye joy of heven and most be in gret hope" (Joan Evans and Mary S. Serjeantson, English Mediaeval Lapidaries, EETS o.s. 190 [London: Oxford University Press, 1933], p. 43).
13 clerer . . . then the cristall. The London Lapidary provides a suggestive description of the crystal's property: "This stone conceiveth wele the fire atte the sonne-beem, and catcheth and brennyth" (Evans and Serjeantson, p. 37). Compare §86, line 8.
17 Oleum effusum. Canticles 1:2 (RSV Song of Solomon 1:3).
medsyne. Compare the hymn "Santa Maria, porta coeli," line 15: Medicina infirmorum (Mone, p. 505).
21 Phebus. The sun god of classical mythology, who here yields his glory to Mary.
abdominacioun. MS: abhominacioun, which clashes with the sense of line 23. Brown's emendation.
26-27 Trones and dominaciones . . . Angells, archangells. Four of the nine orders of angels (see note to §51, line 2) who honor Mary; note also seraphynnes at line 46.
27 dubbit. Two meanings are appropriate here and at line 51: I. "to invest with a dignity or title," or II.4: "to dress, clothe, array, adorn" (MED dub).
31 Columba mea. See §49, note to line 2.
38 the pellicane of perpetueté. The pelican is a common and fitting symbol for Christ because "according to legend, the pelican, which has the greatest love of all creatures for its offspring, pierces its breast to feed them with its own blood" (Ferguson, p. 23).
41 spectable. "worthy of regard, excellent, virtuous" (MED).
45 incontynent. The word is used here as an adverb meaning "straightway, forthwith, at once, immediately, without delay" (OED).
46 seraphynnes. See Isaias 6:2 and 6:6.
52 Trone of the Trinité. Compare §11, note to line 21.
Hayle, luminary and benigne lanterne. By John Lydgate. Index no. 1056. MS: Trinity College Cambridge 601 (R.3.21), fol. 162a-b and again at fol. 233a (mid-fifteenth century, Suffolk). Also in BL Harley 2251, fols. 34b-35a. Edition of Trinity: MacCracken, pp. 291-92.
2 holy ordres nyne. The orders of angels. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (c. 500) described nine orders in his Celestial Hierarchy: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, powers, authorities, principalities, archangels, and angels. The terms come from Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21, 3:10; Colossians 1:16; and from 1 Peter 3:22.
5 Eclypsyd. Harley: ay clypsed.
27 Tetragramaton. The four letters of the Hebrew name of God, a name believed too sacred to utter.
31 So lyst the Holygost in thee hys wynges wrappe. "So yearned the Holy Ghost to wrap you in his wings," or perhaps "So desired the Holy Ghost to wrap his wings in you."
Lefdy blisful, of muchel might. Index no. 1832. MS: Merton College Oxford 248, fol. 148b, col. 2 (fourteenth century). Editions: B14, no. 38; Silverstein, no. 36.
This is a translation of the second half of the hymn Quem terra pontus aethera (Daniel 1:144, and Connelly, no. 95), sometimes ascribed to Venantius Fortunatus, and often included in medieval breviaries for Marian feasts. The stanzas translated here often appear independently as O gloriosa domina excelsa (Mone, 2:129-30; Connelly, no. 95, lines 21-32).
5-6 Thet thet Eve us hadde bynome . . . thy sone. See note to §9, line 8.
8 Thorw . . . thorwgeth. As the prepositional system of modern English is taking shape during the Middle English period, pleonasm is not uncommon.
9 kynges gate. See note to §4, line 9.
Haill, quene of hevin and steren of blis. Index no. 1077. MS: BL Arundel 285, fols. 196b-97a. (late fifteenth century). The poem appears among a group of several Marian pieces. Editions: B15, no. 21; Bennett, STS third series 23, p. 298: Davies, no. 179.
2 thi sone thi Fader is. Compare §60, lines 1-6. The phrase Parens et puella in §83, line 4, likewise suggests "mother and daughter."
5 fontane. See Canticles 4:12-15 and Psalm 35:10 (RSV 36:9): "For with thee is the fountain of life; and in thy light we shall see light."