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Poems in Celebration of Mary


1 Lines 73-74: As the sun passes through glass without breaking it

2 O mother most illuminate, we might not have done without you



Adam lay ibowndyn. Index no. 117. MS: BL Sloane 2593, fol. 11a (c. 1450). Editions: Wright, Songs (Warton Club), p. 32; Wülcker, 2:8; Fehr, Archiv 109, p. 51; CS, no. 50; B15, no. 83; Davies, no. 71; Stevick, no. 53; LH, no. 164; Rickert, p. 163; Manning, p. 6; Cecil, p. 18; Charles Williams, The New Book of English Verse (1936; rpt. Miami: Granger Books, 1978), p. 23; Auden and Pearson, 1:27; Chambers, p. 91; Kaiser, p. 290; Silverstein, no. 70; Burrow, p. 300. Selected criticism: Speirs, pp. 65-66; Manning, pp. 6-7; Woolf, pp. 290-91; Reiss, pp. 139-42.

1 Adam. The Hebrew name means "man"; Adam's bondage to sin symbolizes that of all humankind.

2 Fowre thowsand wynter. Gray: "A traditional estimate. In Paradiso xxvi Adam tells Dante that he spent 4,302 years in Limbo; in the York play of the Harrowing of Hell (lines 39-40) he says that he has been there for 4,600 years. According to F. Vigouroux, Dictionnaire de la Bible, s.v. 'Chronologie Biblique', there are some two hundred early attempts to date the creation of Adam from the chronological indications in the Hebrew and Septuagint versions of the Old Testament" (Selection, p. 98). See also C. A. Patrides, "Renaissance Estimates of the Year of Creation," Huntington Library Quarterly 26 (1963), 315-22.

3 Gray calls attention to the first stanza of a carol found in MS Sloane 2593:


Adam our fader was in blis
And for an appil of lytil prys
He loste the blysse of Paradys
   Pro sua superbia.                              For his pride
                   (EEC, no. 68)

5-8 The felix culpa ("happy Fall") idea expressed here echoes these lines from the Praeconium, a hymn for Easter Eve: O certe necessarium Adae peccatum: quod Christi morte deletum est. / O felix culpa: quae talem ac tantum meruit habere redemptorem. ["O truly necessary sin of Adam, which was blotted out by the death of Christ. / O happy guilt, which was meet to have such and so great a redeemer"] (Frederick Brittain, ed. The Penguin Book of Latin Verse [Baltimore: Penguin, 1962], p. 94). On the background of the concept, see Arthur O. Lovejoy, "Milton and the Paradox of the Fortunate Fall," ELH 4 (1937), 161-79. In this poem, the cause for celebration is not humankind's redemption, but Mary's queenship; the contrast is between Adam and Mary rather than Adam and Jesus.


Swete and benygne moder and may. By William Huchen. Index no. 3228. MS: New College Oxford 320, fol. 44b (c. 1460). Editions: Furnivall, EETS o.s. 15, pp. 291-92; Patterson, no. 69; Paul Sauerstein, Charles d'Orléans und die Englische Bersetzung seiner Dichtungen, (Halle: E. Karras, 1899), p. 47.

2 Turtill trew. Patterson writes, "This epithet is not found in the English liturgy, nor in English religious lyric poetry before Chaucer. The expression was extremely popular, however, in French poetry" (p. 196). The figure may originate in Canticles (Song of Solomon), where the bride is referred to through dove metaphors.

20 Empres of helle. See note to §56, line 10.

22-23 Stormys . . . do assayle. Patterson calls attention to St. Bernard's second homily on the Virgin Mary: "O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land, if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star [Mary, the 'sea star']. When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of tribulation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary" (Homilies, p. 30).


O hie emperice and quene celestiall. Possibly by William Dunbar, but ascribed to Chaucer in this MS. (It is written in an eight-line stanza form that resembles that of The Monk's Tale.) Index no. 2461. MS: Bodl. 3354 (Arch. Selden B.24), fols. 137b-38a (late fifteenth century). Also in National Library of Scotland 16500 (Asloan), fol. 292a (first five stanzas, c. 1515); transcript of Asloan, Edinburgh University 521. Edition of Arch. Selden: B15 no 13. Edition of Asloan: Craigie, pp. 245-46; Laing, Supplement, p. 305.

6 floure. Asloan: barne.

7 spue. Asloan: spyce.

8 clerare than cristall. See note to §50, line 13.

14 path. Asloan: pace.

17 fillit. Asloan: fulfillit.

28 Anournyt. Asloan: Adorned.

33 Leviathan. For a description of this creature, see Job 40:20-41:25 (RSV 41:1-34). See also Isaias 27:1: "In that day the Lord with his hard, and great, and strong sword shall visit leviathan the bar serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent, and shall slay the whale that is in the sea."

33 serpent. MS: spent. Brown's emendation.

34 parenes. Asloan: paran.

prothoplaust. OED protoplast1 cites another use of this form in Giles Du Wes' 1532 introduction to the French language: "Comyng from God to the firste father or prothoplauste . . . ."

36-37 The penalty for Adam and Eve's sin was death; see Genesis 3:19.


Glade us, maiden, moder milde. Index no. 912. MS: Trinity College Cambridge 323 (B.14.39) fols. 28b-29a (c. 1250). Edition: B13 no. 22.

This is a literal rendering of the Latin hymn Gaude virgo, mater Christi. In the MS the Middle English text alternates stanza by stanza with the Latin. The Latin hymn reads:

Gaude virgo, mater Christi,
quae per aurem concepisti
   Gabriele nuntio:
gaude, quia deo plena
peperisti sine poena
   cum pudoris lilio.
Gaude, quia tui nati,
quem dolebas mortem pati,
   fulget resurrectio:
gaude Christo ascendente
in coelum, qui te vidente
   motu fertur proprio.
      Gaude, quae post Christum scandis
      et est honor tibi grandis
         in coeli palatio,
      ubi fructus ventris tui
      per te detur nobis frui
         in perenni gaudio.

F. J. Mone, p. 162, provides a transcription of the Latin; he emends the order of detur nobis in line 17 to nobis detu, and notes that the second stanza in Trinity 323 is a conflation of the last three lines of the second stanza and the first three lines of the third stanza of what appears as the first four stanzas of the Latin hymn he transcribes. The Middle English translation follows the rhyme scheme of the Latin. The hymn in three stanzas appears as Prosa i in Die Martis: Ad Magnificat in Dreves and Blume, 24.57. Dreves and Blume's source reads: Gaude, quod post ipsum scandis in line 13, and, line 11, Et in soelum; otherwise the hymn is identical to that found in Trinity 323. The opening three lines of the hymn occur in about a dozen other Latin hymns, with some running to eleven or twelve stanzas (see the Index to Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume, Analecta hymnica medii aevi, ed. Max Lütolf et al [Bern: Francke, 1978]). Brown notes that another English lyric based on this Latin poem appears in Sloane MS 2593, fol. 10a. See §5, above, for comparisons.

1 Glade us. The poem enumerates the five joys of Mary, recalling her gladness at the Annunciation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Assumption.

2 herre. The Holy Spirit approaches in a beam of light as Gabriel speaks to the Virgin. That she receives the divine insemination through the ear suggests that she is meditating upon the Word, which is as painless as having a bright idea (see lines 5 and 15). For a discussion of Mary's conception through her ear, see DBT, p. 43. Warner mentions this specific poem as her example of the aural divine conception (p. 37).

3 Gabriel he seide it thee. See the first five poems in this volume and Chaucer's ABC, lines 114-15, for further instances in which the Holy Spirit works in conjunction with Gabriel as Mary conceives at the Annunciation.

4 ful of gode thine. The deo plena, like the gratia plena of the Ave, here becomes "full of you [Mary's] goodness/God" The trope of fullness implies that Mary is God's chosen vessel, like the vas electonis St. Paul describes of himself when God fills him with the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:15.

5 thu bere buten pine. See note to §15, line 3.

6 lilie of chasteté. On the lily as sign of chastity, see Ferguson, pp. 33-34.

9-10 up aros refers to the Resurrection; up stey alludes to the Ascension.

12 clos. MED cites this line for its gloss on clos n. 3 as a designation for a dwelling place or apartment; or, with regard to God, the mansion of heaven (Christ's abode).

15 in thi paleis. The poet imagines Mary watching, as Queen of Heaven, from her palace on high, over all who are under her aegis.

17 fonden. This word is rich with resonances germane to its context - the sense being "to encounter"; "to become acquainted with, or involved with"; "to discover or to learn through experience"; "to procure, support, or maintain"; "to ascertain" - all of which heighten the sense of Mary as mediatrix between mankind's ignorance and the endless joy in Christ.


Marye, mayde mylde and fre. Index no. 2107. MS: BL Addit. 17376, fols. 204b-05b (mid-fourteenth century). The poem appears among a group of poems ascribed to William of Shoreham, but a note following this poem suggests that it is a translation of a piece by Robert Grosseteste (see Konrath [below], p. xiii). Editions: Thomas Wright, Poems of William de Shoreham, Percy Society 28 (London: T. Richards, 1851), pp. 131-34; M. Konrath, The Poems of William of Shoreham, EETS e.s. 86 (London: Kegan Paul, 1902), pp. 127-29; B14, no. 32; Davies, no. 34; LH, no. 195.

2 Chambre. See Psalm 19:5 (the sun like a bridegroom leaving his chamber) and compare §56, line 2, and §57, line 5.

5 fet onclene. MS: fet un onclene, with un marked for deletion.

5-6 The Fasciculus morum relates one version of a relevant popular legend: "There is a story about a cleric who was lustful and yet very devout in the worship of God and the Blessed Virgin. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him, carrying a sweet drink in a dirty dish, and offered it to him to drink. As he said that he could not do so because of the stench of the dish, the Blessed Virgin replied: 'Just so do your prayers not please me nor my son as long as the vessel from which they come is tainted'" (p. 35). For other versions of this story, occurring in collections of Miracles of the Virgin, see H. L. D. Ward, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1893), 2:651, 665, 669, 672.

10 Wythoute . . . sore. See note to line 19.

13 colvere of Noe. See Genesis 8:11.

19 bosche of Synay. See Exodus 3:2 ff. Mary is often figured as the burning bush in which God appeared to Moses, e.g., Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale (CT VIII.467) and the Biblia Pauperum Nativity leaf (Plate A), which juxtaposes Moses and the burning bush (left) and Aaron's flowering rod (right), mentioned in lines 27-28. The Biblia Pauperum Nativity plate also cites Exodus 3:2 and Numbers 17:8, and adds a verse at the bottom of the plate which reads "Absque dolore paris Virgo Maria maris" (Labriola and Smeltz translate: "You gave birth, O Virgin, without pain"); compare line 10 of this poem.

20 rytte Sarray. Abraham's true wife; see Genesis 16 for the story of Sarai and her handmaid Agar, who gives birth to Abraham's son.

22 calenge. Konrath rejects the OED definition, "accusation, charge, reproach, objection," preferring "claim": "after the lapse of Adam, the Devil laid his claim upon sinful mankind, from which Mary released us by giving birth to our redeemer" (p. 236).

24 of Davyes kende. On Mary's presumed kinship with David, see note to §1, line 7, and compare §8, lines 41-42.

25 slinge . . . ston. See 1 Kings (RSV 1 Samuel) 17:49.

27-28 yerd . . . spryngynde. See Numbers 17:8.

28 Me dreye isegh spryngynde. I read Me as a dative of agency (as in "methinks"). Luria and Hoffman gloss the line "Which though dry was seen bringing forth a shoot."

31 temple Salomon. See 3 Kings (RSV 1 Kings) 5:1-6:38.

32 Mary is often compared to Gideon's fleece wet with dew; see note to §8, line 26.

33-36 See Luke 2:22-35.

41 lef. Konrath emends to luf.

42 wylle. Perhaps well. Konrath argues that come must rhyme with bynome in line 40, and must therefore be the verb. It follows that wylle is a noun, "well," or fountain (pp. 236-37). He connects this well to the story of Judith (compare line 37), in which Holofernes cuts off the water supply in Bethulia and prevents access to the wells, and Judith opens the wells and saves the city by beheading Holofernes.

43 Hester. Jeffrey writes: "St. Anthony had built on the story of Esther and Assuere a complex of prefiguration for the relationship between Christ and Mary (and between Christ and the Church) in which Esther's finding favor with Assuere (Esther 5:2) foreshadows the way in which God shows favor to Mary. Christ is the Assuere who crowns Esther in Esther 2:15-17, the Blessed Virgin" (DBT, p. 237).

45 Thee. MS: they. Brown's emendation.

46 he. Konrath: "read the?"

49-52 See Ezekiel 44:2. This passage is picked up as a sign of the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation plate of the Biblia Pauperum, where the scroll reads "This gate shall be shut, and it shall not be opened."

52 yschet fram manne. I.e., perpetually a virgin. The verse on the scroll at the bottom of the Biblia Pauperum Annunciation leaf reads "Virgo salutatur innupta manens gravidatur" (Labriola and Smeltz translate: "the Virgin is saluted; she is impregnated remaining a virgin").

55-56 See Daniel 2:34-35, 45.

57 Emaus. The road outside Jerusalem on which Jesus appeared to two of his followers after his Resurrection. See Luke 24:13-35.

60 wan yspeketh. MS: wany speketh. So emended by Konrath and Brown. See Isaias 7:14.

63-66 The unicorn is a symbol often affiliated with the Virgin Mary, interpreted as an allegory of the Annunciation and Christ's incarnation. According to legend, the unicorn could not be captured by force, but would come willingly to lay its head in the lap of a virgin.

65 ytamed. MS: ytamend, with n marked for deletion.

67-70 Ine the Apocalyps. . . . See Apocalypse 12:1. This image is often depicted in Books of Hours; see, for example, Plate B in this volume, "The Assumption of the Virgin - Compline" from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves.

69 mone. MS: mowe. Brown's emendation. Konrath emends to mow[n]e.

71 Swyl. Konrath emends to Swych.

nas nevere non. Compare §13, "I syng of a myden," line 18.

73 ff.On the metaphor of sunlight through glass, see note to §17, lines 18-20.


Ros Mary, most of vertewe virginall. Attributed to William Dunbar. Index no. 2831.8. MS: National Library of Scotland 16500 (Asloan), fol. 301a (c. 1515). Other MSS: Edinburgh University Library 205 (Laing III 149, the Makculloch MS), fol. 183b (early sixteenth century); BL Harley 1703, fol. 79b (late sixteenth century) with eight stanzas (printed by Mackenzie) and several additional stanzas by William Forrest. Lines 1-40 appear inside a bifolium of the binding of Advocates 18.5.14 (a late fifteenth-century MS of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy). Editions of Asloan: Laing, Supplement, pp. 283-84; John Small, The Poems of William Dunbar, STS 4 (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1884), pp. 272-73; Schipper, Poems, pp. 372-74; Schipper, Denkschriften, 69-72; H. B. Baildon, The Poems of William Dunbar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907), pp. 197-98; Craigie, pp. 271-72. Edition of Makculloch: George Stevenson, Pieces from the Makculloch and the Gray MSS. Together with The Chepman and Myllar Prints, STS 65 (1918), pp. 24-25. Editions of Harley: MacCracken, "New Stanzas by Dunbar," Modern Language Notes 24 (1909), 110-11; Mackenzie, pp. 175-77. Edition of Advocates: Ian C. Cunningham, "Two Poems on the Virgin (National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 18.5.14)," Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions 5 (1988), 36-38.

4 for. MS: wes. Emended from Makculloch.

5 refute. Harley: truyt.

of. Advocates: and.

of mercy spring and well. A common fifteenth-century image of Mary, the well symbolizes new life. See note to §53, line 5.

6 chois. Harley: cheeif.

7 of paradys. Of omitted in Advocates and Harley.

10 circulyne. Advocates: cristallyn. Harley and Makculloch: chrystallyne.

12 angell ordouris nyne. See note to §51, line 2.

13 Haile. Other MSS: O.

18 but curis criminale. If but is a conjunction, the meaning is "but heals criminals." But compare the syntax in §91, lines 22 and 31, where but means "without."

curis. Harley and Makculloch: crymes.

20 Tartar. The devil is here compared to Genghis Khan and his successors. Harley: terrour.

22 wicht. Omitted in Advocates.

Sampson. See Judges 13:2-16:31. Sampson prefigures Christ; he is shown on the Biblia Pauperum Resurrection leaf (·i·) "having unhinged the gates of Gaza, one of which he carries across his left shoulder; the other gate is under his right arm" (Labriola and Smeltz, p. 172).

22-23 In Harley, these lines read: "Illustrat lyllye, to thee Ladye I saye, / Withe infynyte Aveis, Hayle, floure of women all!"

23 Beliale. Another name for the devil.

25-31 An allusion to the harrowing of hell, a story found in the fourth-century apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus and based on suggestions in Matthew 27:52-53, Luke 23:43, and 1 Peter 3:18-20 that Jesus descended into hell between his death and his resurrection.

26 in to stowr. Advocates: schoir. Makculloch: stowr.

30 Syne. Advocates, Makculloch: he.

31 all. Omitted in Advocates.

34 moder myld. Advocates: myld moder.

37 bled his blude apon a tre. Advocates: lyis bludy bled on ye tre.


All haile, lady, mother, and virgyn immaculate. Index no. 181. MS: BL Addit. 20059, fol. 98b (this poem is a fifteenth-century addition to an earlier MS). Edition: B15, no. 12.

3 clarified cristall. See note to §50, line 13.

5 yssue. The word is difficult to gloss. It clearly refers to birth, or to giving birth, but according to Christian theology, Mary does not give birth to the Holy Spirit, nor does the Holy Spirit give birth to Jesus. This line is nevertheless an allusion to Matthew 1:18 ("she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit") and Luke 1:35 ("The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee").

9 hye. Added above line.

12 solempnysaunte. See MED solempnisen (v.) and solempnising (ger.); the word suggests an occasion of ceremonial dignity and celebration, and the sense here is that the nativity (Mary's rather than Christ's, here - the Feast of the Nativity of Mary is September 8 in the Sanctorale) is an important and joyful Church feast.

14 verum solem. Multiple readings are possible: "the true sun"; "the one truth"; or "the truth alone."

16 I.e., the Annunciation signaled and foretold our redemption.


Hale, sterne superne. By William Dunbar. Index no. 1082.5. MS: National Library of Scotland 16500 (Asloan), fols. 303a-04b (c. 1515). Editions: Laing, 1:239-42; John Small, The Poems of William Dunbar, STS 4, pp. 269-71; J. Schipper, The Poems of William Dunbar (Vienna: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1891), pp. 369-71; Schipper, Denkschriften, pp. 67-69; G. Gregory Smith, Specimens of Middle Scots (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1902), pp. 14-17; Baildon, The Poems of William Dunbar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907), pp. 195-97; Craigie, pp. 275-78; Mackenzie, pp. 160-62; James Kinsley, The Poems of William Dunbar (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), pp. 8-9 (three stanzas); Davies, no. 144 (three stanzas).

11 Yerne us guberne. The syntax is not clear here. Laing glosses "Move us, govern"; Schipper glosses "Earnestly govern us"; and Smith suggests the present reading.

14 Alphais. See Apocalypse 1:8: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.'"

15 dyng. A form of digne, "worthy."

31 plicht but sicht. Plicht suggests a pledge or guarantee; but sicht, "without sight" or "without visible evidence."

34 nychttingale. The Latin Bestiary identifies the nightingale as Lucina, suggesting that she "takes this name because she is accustomed to herald the dawn of a new day with her song, as a lamp does (Lucerna)." She is ever watchful, tempering the "sleepless labour of her long night's work by the sweetness of her song," cherishing her brood "not less by her sweet tones than by the heat of her body" (T. H. White, The Book of Beasts, Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century [London: Jonathan Cape, 1954], pp. 139-40). As a light in darkness and harbinger of day and as a hard-working mother careful of the spiritual and physical welfare of her brood, she is an apt emblem of Mary, who tirelessly sustains and guides weary mankind (lines 35-36).

41 Haile, clene bedene ay till conteyne. Schipper glosses: "Hail to thee quickly, thou pure one, and to continue forever." Or perhaps conteyne suggests a vessel, as in Acts 9:15, where Saul is described as God's vas electionis; this reading implies that Mary is God's chosen instrument, perpetually in service but perpetually clean, proclaimed (bedene) ever to enclose. See MED conteinen, v.1.a: "c 1390 Psalt. Mariae (1) 1210: Whos wombe is maad wiþ mylde steuene, Conteyning þat is content [L continens contentum]."

43 grene daseyne. Mackenzie writes: "'Green' probably represents a Latin adjective, such as florens. 'Daisy' as 'The emperice and floure of floures all' (Chaucer, Legend of Good Women, l. 184)" (p. 277).

50 swetar be sic sevyne. In biblical imagery, the number seven often suggests perfection or completion.

56 oddis eveyne. See note to line 58. If we are like odd numbers, seven and eleven, our lot is a gamble; but if Mary makes all even, then we are secure.

58 ellevyn. Schipper traces the word to élever, "extolled," but Mackenzie argues that the number eleven is arbitrary, "apparently to serve the rhyme" (p. 277). If it is "eleven," the resonance perhaps derives from the odd/even figure in line 56, and is idiomatic like "seven come eleven." The key to reading the passage is lowde. If it is disyllabic, then Schipper's interpretation pertains; if monosyllabic, then the numerological reading seems inevitable. If rhyme affects sense, the idea of resounding Mary's name forever (line 60) is perhaps best enhanced by ellevyn with Ave Maria loudly extolled.

72 grayne. I.e., Christ. See note to §8, lines 25 ff. Citing John Jamieson, Schipper notes that grayne may refer to "the branch of a tree, the stem of a plant"; such a reading would evoke the "rod of Jesse" image (see note to §8, line 17).

73 Imperiall wall. Mary is a bulwark, a palatial haven. Compare Canticles 8:9-10, where the bride is described as a wall, and Chaucer's The Second Nun's Tale, which describes Mary's "cloistre blisful of thy sydis" (CT VIII[G]43). The architecture here is in terms of the first estate rather than Chaucer's second.

80 Fulfillit of angell fude. According to the apocryphal legend recorded in the Book of James 8:1, the child Mary lives in the Temple and receives her food from angels (Schneemelcher, p. 429). The line might also imply that in pregnancy Mary is full of the food (Christ/the Eucharist) for Angels and humankind.

Adam lay ibowndyn, bowndyn in a bond,
Fowre thowsand wynter thowt he not to long;
And al was for an appil, an appil that he tok,
As clerkis fyndyn wretyn in here book.
Ne hadde the appil take ben, the appil taken ben,
Ne hadde never our lady a ben hevene qwen.
Blyssid be the tyme that appil take was,
Therfore we mown syngyn, "Deo Gracias!"
Swete and benygne moder and may,
Turtill trew, flowre of women alle,
Aurora bryght, clere as the day,
Noblest of hewe, thus we thee calle;
Lylé fragrant eke of the walle,
Ennewid with bemys of blys
In whom never was founden mys:
So fayre, so good, was never non;
Transcendyng is therfor thi place
Aungels alle and seyntis echone;
Next unto God, such is thi grace.
Lo, thi mekenes thee did purchace
Ever in joy so to endure
In thi grete lande, o princes pure.
Surmountyng is thin excellence,
Thou rose of prys, thou flowre of May,
And Phebus lyke in his ascence,
Natyff of blys where thou art ay,
Lady saunzpere, this is no nay,
Empres of helle also of righte,
In thee is eke owre anker pight
Stormys ageyne of cruell syn
That puyssauntlye us do assayle;
And hwile we this world be yn
Now, lady fayre, thou us not fayle.
Lat never vice on us prevayle;
Entrete thi babe so, quene on hie
In whom to thee is no denye.
Sith here is nought but myserie,
The fende, the fleish, the world also
Assaute us ay withoute mercy,
Not comfortles yit is owre wo:
Lady, to thee resorte we do,
Evyr tristying thi grace and ayde,
In whom fully owre trist is layde.
Sewte and service we owe, pardé,
To thi highnesse of very due,
As royall most by pedigré
None lyke of grace ne of vertu.
Lovely lady, thi servauntes trew,
Entrikid with passiouns wylde,
In tyme of nede socour and shilde;
Save hem fro syn and worldly shame
That thee worship with humble herte;
And to thi son, Jesus by name,
Not sete to pray that we not smert.
Lord, thi jugement we may not sterte
Evere therfor thi grace us hight
In worship of thi modere bright.
O hie emperice and quene celestiall,
Princes eterne and flour immaculate,
Oure soverane help quhen we unto thee call,
Haile, ros intact, virgyne inviolate,
That with the Fader was predestinate
To bere the floure and makar of us all,
And with no spue of crime coinquinate,
Bot virgyne pure, clerare than cristall.
O blissit ros, o gemme of chastitee,
O well of beautee, rute of all gudenace,
O way of bliss, flour of virginitee,
O hede of treuth, o sterr without dirknace,
Graunt me, synfull, lyving in unclennace,
To sew the path of parfyte cheritee
And to forsake my synnis more and less,
Ay serving him that sched his blud for me.
O blissit lady, fillit of all gudenace,
Sen all my hope and traist is in your grace,
Beseke your sone for your hie gentilnace
To grant me laisar or I dee, and space,
All vicious lyf out of my saule to race,
And ever to lyve in vertew and clenace.
Out of the fendis bandis and his brace
Now, glorious lady, help of your gudenace.
For rycht as Phebus with his bemys brycht
Illuminate all this erd in longitude,
Rycht so your grace, your beautee, and your mycht
Anournyt all this warld in latitude.
Tharfore to me now schaw your gratitude
Of your magnificence, that day and nycht
Your benigne grace be to me lyvis fud,
And me to save from every maligne wicht.
For though Leviathan, the ald serpent,
Dissavit had oure parenes prothoplaust,
That in this warld doune has indigent,
Maid him to be put till the last
Eternale deth, quhilk ever suld have last.
Knawing your pure and incorrupt entent
Incomparable, the Holy Gast als fast
Into your innocence doune has sent,
And you illumynit with that blisful lycht;
I mene the Sone of the hie Deitee,
That on a croce suspendit was on hicht
For the redemption of humanité.
Quharfor throu yow, my soverane lady free,
Mankynde redempt was; tharefore day and nycht
In every place blissit mote ye be
Eternaly, abufe all erdly wicht.
Glade us, maiden, moder milde,
Thurru thin herre thu were wid childe —
   Gabriel he seide it thee —
Glad us, ful of gode thine,
Tham thu bere buten pine
   With thee, lilie of chasteté.
Glade us of Jesu thi sone
That tholede deit for monis love;
   That dehit was, quiic up aros
Glade us maiden, Crist up stey
And in hevene thee isey
   He bar him selven into is clos.
Glade us Marie, to joye ibrought,
Muche wrchipe Crist hav thee iworut,
   In hevene brit in thi paleis;
Ther that frut of thire wombe
He igefin us forto fonden
   In joye that is endeless.
Marye, mayde mylde and fre,
Chambre of the Trynyté,
One wyle lest to me
Ase ich thee grete wyth songe;
Thagh my fet onclene be,
My mes thou onderfonge.
Thou art quene of paradys,
Of hevene, of erthe, of al that hys;
Thou bere thane kynge of blys
Wythoute senne and sore;
Thou hast yryght that was amys,
Ywonne that was ylore.
Thou ert the colvere of Noe
That broute the braunche of olyve tre,
In tokne that pays scholde be
Bytuexte God and manne.
Suete levedy, help thou me
Wanne ich schal wende hanne.
Thou art the bosche of Synay,
Thou art the rytte Sarray,
Thou hast ybrought ous out of cry
Of calenge of the fende.
Thou art Crystes oghene drury
And of Davyes kende.
Thou ert the slinge, thy sone the ston
That Davy slange Golye opon;
Thou ert the yerd al of Aaron,
Me dreye isegh spryngynde.
Wytnesse at ham everechon
That wyste of thyne chyldynge.
Thou ert the temple Salomon;
In thee wondrede Gedeon;
Thou hest ygladed Symeon
Wyth thyne swete offrynge
In the temple atte auter-ston
Wyth Jhesus hevene kynge.
Thou ert Judith, that fayre wyf,
Thou hast abated al that stryf;
Olofernes wyth hys knyf
Hys hevede thou hym bynome.
Thou hest ysaved here lef
That to thee wylle come.
Thou ert Hester, that swete thynge,
And Assever the ryche kynge
Thee heth ychose to hys weddynge
And quene he heth avonge;
For Mardocheus thy derlynge
Syre Aman was yhonge.
The prophete Ezechyel,
In hys boke hyt wytnesseth wel:
Thou ert the gate so stronge so stel
Ac evere yschet fram manne;
Thou erte the ryghte vayre Rachel,
Fayrest of alle wymman.
By ryghte toknynge thou ert the hel
Of wan spellede Danyel;
Thou ert Emaus, the ryche castel
Thar resteth alle werye;
In thee restede Emanuel,
Of wan yspeketh Ysaye.
Ine thee hys God bycome a chyld,
Ine thee hys wreche bycome myld;
That unicorn that was so wyld
Aleyd hys of a cheaste:
Thou hast ytamed and istyld
Wyth melke of thy breste.
Ine the Apocalyps Sent John
Isey ane wymman wyth sonne bygon,
Thane mone al onder hyre ton,
Icrouned wyth tuel sterre:
Swyl a levedy nas nevere non
Wyth thane fend to werre.
Ase the sonne taketh hyre pas
Wythoute breche thorghout that glas, 1
Thy maydenhod onwemmed hyt was
For bere of thyne chylde.
Nou, swete levedy of solas,
To ous senfolle be thou mylde.
Have, levedy, thys lytel songe
That out of senfol herte spronge;
Agens the feend thou make me stronge
And gyf me thy wyssinge,
And thagh ich habbe ydo thee wrange,
Thou graunte me amendynge.
Ros Mary, most of vertewe virginall,
Fresche floure in quhom the hevinlie dewe doun fell;
O gem joynit in joye angelicall,
In quhom Jhesu rejosit for to dwell,
Rute of refute, of mercy spring and well,
Of ladyis chois as is of letteris A,
Emprys of hevyne, of paradys, and hell,
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
O sterne that blyndis Phebus bemes bricht,
With cours abone the hevinis circulyne;
Abone the speir of Saturn hie on hicht,
Surmonting all the angell ordouris nyne;
Haile, lamp lemand befor the trone devyne,
Quhar cherubim sweit syngis osanna,
With organe, tympane, harpe, and symbalyne;
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
O cleir conclaif of clene virginité,
That closit Crist but curis criminale;
Tryumphand tempill of the Trinité,
That torned ws fra Tartar eternale;
Princes of pes and palme imperiale,
Our wicht, invinsable Sampson sprang thee fra,
That with ane buffat bure doune Beliale;
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
Thy blissit sydis bure the campioun,
Quhilk, with mony bludy woundis, in to stowr,
Victoriusly discomfit the dragoun
That redy wes his pepill to devoure;
At hellis gettis he gaf tham no succour,
Syne brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla,
Quhill all the feyndis trymblit for raddoure:
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
O madyn meike, most mediatrix for man,
O moder myld, full of humilité,
Pray thy sone Jhesu, with his woundis wan,
Quhilk denyeit him for oure trespas to de,
And as he bled his blude apon a tre,
Us to defend fra Lucifer oure fa,
In hevyne that we may syng apon our kne:
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
Hail, purifyet perle, Haile, port of paradys;
Haile, redolent ruby, riche and radyus;
Haile, clarifyet cristale, haile, qwene and emperys;
Haile, moder of God, haile, virgin glorius;
O gracia plena tecum Dominus,
With Gabriell that we may syng and say,
Benedicta tu in mulieribus:
O mater Jhesu, salve Maria!
All haile, lady, mother, and virgyn immaculate;
Haile, Mary, most precious that bare our savyour Jesu;
Haile, clarified cristall, haile, wife mundificate;
Haile, rote of grace, our joy thow did renewe,
For the Holy Gost did clerely in the yssue.
Our soles for lacke had ells perresshed sore
Nere throgh the helpe of our highe redemptour.
All haile, whose solempne glorious concepcioun
Full of glorie and hye joye tryumphaunte:
Bothe celestyall and terrestriall gif laude with Jubilacioun
Of new joy and gladnesse with solace incessaunte.
Alhaile, whose nativité to us is solempnysaunte
Ferens lucem ut Lucyfer, lux oriens,
Dyademe angelicall, verum solem preveniens.
Alhaile be thy mekenes, sine viro fecunditas
Whose amyable Annunciacioun to us was redempcion.
Joye therfore be to thee, tu summa suavitas,
And glorified be the houre of thy incarnacioun,
By whome we advoyde the infernall dampnacioun.
So dulcour was the ground in whom Crist hym planted
O mater most illuminate, we myght not the have wanted. 2
Haile, true chast virgyn and mother immaculate,
Whose pure purificacion to us was purgacion:
Haile, replete with all virtue angelicate,
Whose celestiall hye ascendaunte Assumpcion
Was oure gret joye and glorificacion.
Wherfore, dere lady, solistrice be for grace,
That we with thy son in heyven may have a place.
Hale, sterne superne; hale, in eterne
In Godis sicht to schyne;
Lucerne in derne, for to discerne
Be glory and grace devyne;
Hodiern, modern, sempitern,
Angelicall regyne:
Our tern inferne for to dispern
Helpe, rialest rosyne.
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Haile, fresche floure femynyne;
Yerne us guberne, virgin matern,
Of reuth baith rute and ryne.
Haile, yhyng, benyng, fresche flurising,
Haile, Alphais habitakle:
Thy dyng ofspring maid us to syng
Befor his tabernakle;
All thing maling we doune thring
Be sicht of his signakle,
Quhilk King us bring unto his ryng
Fro dethis dirk umbrakle.
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Haile moder and maide but makle,
Bricht syng gladying our languissing
Be micht of thi mirakle.
Haile, bricht be sicht in hevyn on hicht;
Haile, day sterne orientale;
Our licht most richt in clud of nycht,
Our dirknes for to scale;
Hale, wicht in ficht, puttar to flicht
Of fendis in battale,
Haile, plicht but sicht; hale, mekle of mycht;
Haile, glorius virgin, hale!
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Haile gentill nychttingale,
Way stricht, cler dicht, to wilsom wicht
That irke bene in travale.
Hale, qwene serene; hale, most amene;
Haile, hevinlie hie emprys;
Haile, schene unseyne with carnale eyne;
Haile, ros of paradys;
Haile, clene bedene ay till conteyne;
Haile, fair fresche floure delyce;
Haile, grene daseyne; haile fro the splene,
Of Jhesu genitrice!
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Thow baire the prince of prys;
Our teyne to meyne and ga betweyne
As humile oratrice.
Haile, more decore than of before,
And swetar be sic sevyne,
Our glore forlore for to restore
Sen thow art qwene of hevyn;
Memore of sore, stern in Auror,
Lovit with angellis stevyne;
Implore, adore, thow indeflore,
To mak our oddis eveyne.
Ave Maria, gracia plena,
With lovingis lowde ellevyn,
Quhill store and hore my youth devore
Thy name I sall ay nevyne.
Empryce of prys, imperatrice,
Bricht polist precious stane,
Victrice of vyce, hie genitrice
Of Jhesu, Lord soverayne;
Our wys pavys fro enemys
Agane the feyndis trayne;
Oratrice, mediatrice, salvatrice,
To God gret suffragane.
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Haile, sterne meridiane,
Spyce, flour delice of paradys
That baire the gloryus grayne.
Imperiall wall, place palestrall
Of peirles pulcritud;
Tryumphal hall, hie trone regall
Of Godis celsitud;
Hospitall riall, the Lord of all
Thy closet did include;
Bricht ball cristall, ros virginall,
Fulfillit of angell fude.
Ave Maria, gracia plena:
Thy birth has with his blude
Fra fall mortall origianall
Us raunsound on the rude.
(see note)
(see note)
too; (see note)
apple; took; (see note)
written; their
Had not; (see note)
have been heaven's queen
may; Thanks be to God
(see note)
Turtledove true; flower; (see note)
Renewed (Revived)
found sin
Your place therefore transcends
Angels all and saints each one
did purchase [for] you
great; princess
great value
like Phoebus in his rising
Inherent; always
without peer, undeniably
Empress; justice; (see note)
In you is also our anchor placed
Against storms of cruel sin; (see note)
while; are in
do not fail us
your son; high
Who will not deny you
Since; nothing
fiend; flesh
Assault; ever
yet; our woe
to you we resort
trusting; aid
Suit (Following); indeed (by God)
nor of virtue
strengthen and protect
them from sin
Who worship you
cease; suffer
we hope for
(see note)
high empress
Princess eternal; flower
bear; flower; maker; (see note)
spew; co-defiled; (see note)
clearer; (see note)
blessed rose; gem
root; goodness
head; star; darkness
pursue; perfect charity; (see note)
great and small
Ever; shed; blood
filled with; goodness; (see note)
Since; trust
Beseech; son; high gentleness
opportunity (leisure) before I die
soul erase
virtue; purity
fiend's bondage; embrace
just as Phoebus; beams bright
Just so; beauty; might
Adorns; (see note)
life's food
evil creature
old; (see note)
Deceived; first parents (Adam and Eve); (see note)
Who; world have done poorly
Made them; (see note)
death, which should have lasted forever
Knowing; intent
illuminated; light
mean; high Deity
cross suspended; high
Wherefore through
may you
above; earthly creatures
(see note)
Make us glad; (see note)
Through; ear; with; (see note)
(see note)
your goodness/God; (see note)
Whom; without pain (see note)
(see note)
Who suffered death; man's
Who [when he] was dead, living; (see note)
his heavenly mansion; (see note)
bright; (see note)
fruit; your
gave; learn; (see note)
(see note)
gracious; noble
(see note)
Listen for a moment
As I greet you
Though; vessel; (see note)
Receive my dish
bore the/that
sin; pain; (see note)
righted what was amiss
Won what was lost
You are; dove of Noah; (see note)
Sweet lady
go hence (i.e., die)
bush of Sinai; (see note)
true Sarah; (see note)
brought us; calling range
challenge ; devil; (see note)
own beloved
David's kin; (see note)
You are; son; stone; (see note)
David slung at Goliath
rod; (see note)
[That] I saw living, though dry (dead); (see note)
You bear witness to all
knew; childbearing
[of] Solomon; (see note)
you wondered Gideon; (see note)
have delighted; (see note)
You took his head from him
their life; (see note)
wish to; (see note)
Esther; (see note)
Has chosen to wed you; (see note)
taken; (see note)
Because of Mardochai; favorite
Haman; hanged
(see note)
as strong as steel
But ever shut from man; (see note)
sign; hill; (see note)
Of which Daniel told
(see note)
Where all the weary rest
whom Isaiah speaks; (see note)
In you has
vengeance; merciful
(see note)
Is appeased by one so chaste
tamed and pacified (calmed); (see note)
Saint John; (see note)
Saw; sun, clothed
The moon; toes; (see note)
Crowned; twelve stars
Such; was never any like her; (see note)
the devil; combat
(see note)
virginity unstained
By birth/bearing
lady; solace
us sinful; merciful
sinful heart
Against the devil
give; guidance
though I have done you wrong
Grant me amends
(see note)
on whom; heaven's
whom; rejoiced; (see note)
Root of refuge; (see note)
choice (best); (see note)
(see note)
O mother of Jesus, hail Mary
blind Phoebus' beams bright
course above; heavens circular; (see note)
Above; sphere; high; height
Surmounting; orders nine; (see note)
beloved; throne; (see note)
Where; sing sweet praises
pure conclave
enclosed; without harmful harborage; (see note)
turned us from the Devil; (see note)
Princess; peace
strong, invincible; from; (see note)
one blow beat down Belial; (see note)
sides bore; champion; (see note)
Who; many bloody; assault; (see note)
was ready to devour his people
hell's gates; gave
Then broke; rampart; angry thief (devil); (see note)
While; fiends; trembled; fear; (see note)
meek, best intermediary
(see note)
pale wounds
Who sacrificed himself; sins; die
bled; cross; (see note)
from; foe
upon; knee
purified pearl
O full of grace, God is with you
Blessed are you among women
(see note)
pure; (see note)
purely; issue; (see note)
souls; lack; otherwise perished
Without the help
solemn conception
high; (see note)
give praise
comfort everlasting
birth; festival; (see note)
Bearing light like Lucifer, light of the east
going before the true sun; (see note)
fruitfulness without man
(see note)
you, most sweetness
incarnation [of Christ]
avoid; damnation
sweet; planted himself
(see note)
Hail, high star; eternity
God's sight
Light in darkness to be discerned
By; divine
[Of] present, recent, everlasting time
infernal trouble; disperse
most royal rose
Hail Mary, full of grace
flower feminine
Desire to govern us, virgin mother; (see note)
pity both root and rind (fruit)
young; good; flourishing
Alpha's child; (see note)
worthy child made; (see note)
evil we do push [away]
By sight; sign
Which; reign
From death's dark shade
without spot
Bright sign gladdening
By might
bright by sight; high
star of the east
light; right; cloud; night
darkness; scatter
strong in fight, putter-to-flight
hidden security; great of might; (see note)
nightingale; (see note)
straight; clearly spoken; wandering person
Who is weary of travail
queen; pleasant
high empress
brightness unseen with fleshly eyes
(see note)
green daisy; from; heart; (see note)
You bore; worth
misery to pity; meditate
humble pleader
seven times sweeter; (see note)
Our lost glory to restore
Mindful of sorrow; star; Aurora
Praised; voices
make our odds even; (see note)
loud praises raised/eleven; (see note)
While trouble; old age; devour
shall ever name
Empress; excellence, royal intercessor
Bright polished; stone
Victoress over; high mother
Pave our ways from enemies
Against; fiend's trap
star [of the] meridian
bore; grain; (see note)
(see note)
peerless beauty
high throne
God's heavenly greatness
Royal inn
Bright; rose
Fed by angels; (see note)
son; blood
From the mortal first fall
ransomed; cross