Homily 32, First Sunday After the Ascension
HOMILY 32, FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE ASCENSION: FOOTNOTES1 The Sunday within the octave of the Ascension. In that time Jesus said to his disciples, according to John
2 Latin rubric (John 15:26–27; 16:1–4): But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you [from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you; because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.]
3 Lines 21–22: Will think that they are serving God in this way, / and satisfying him with such service.
HOMILY 32, FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE ASCENSION: EXPLANATORY NOTESAbbreviations: NEHC: Gerould, North English Homily Collection; NHC: Northern Homily Cycle; NIMEV: The New Index of Middle English Verse, ed. Boffey and Edwards; Tubach: Index Exemplorum, ed. Tubach. For manuscript abbreviations (ED, A, D, G, L, V), see the Introduction.
The Ascension marks the final historical departure of Jesus from his disciples as recorded in Luke 24:50–51: “And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven.” Although no time frame is mentioned here, in Acts 1:3, Luke adds the information that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God,” thus providing a basis for the medieval celebration of this feast as occurring forty days after Easter.
NIMEV 3741, 348. Manuscripts: A: fols. 128v–130v; G: fols. 87r–88v; D: fols. 131v–132v; L: fols. 39v–40r.
31 Gode gasteli lare als think me. Gregory’s homilies on the Gospels do not include one on this text, and Bede’s is unrelated.
45 Als I finde writen of a kinge. Tubach 4994: Trumpet of doom (Sword of Damocles). This exemplum belongs to a widespread and quite varied family of tales whose central theme is the familiar philosophical topos: count no man happy until he is dead. See Gower’s Confessio Amantis 1.2021–2257, which circulated widely. One central branch of the topos is an anecdote from Barlaam and Josaphat, a Christianized version of the story of the Buddha; the other is the Sword of Damocles, told by Cicero in Tusculan Disputations V, regarding Dionysius, the fourth-century BCE king of Syracuse, and his attendant Damocles. The source for this particular version, according to Gerould (NEHC, p. 69), is probably the thirteenth-century Summa Virtutum ac Vitiorum of Paraldus.
HOMILY 32, FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE ASCENSION: TEXTUAL NOTESFor manuscript abbreviations (ED, A, D, G, L, V), see the Introduction.
30 Als man . . . tell. Expanded according to previous occurrences.
73 I. MS: h i, with h canceled.
Dominica infra octavam Assencione. In illo tempore dixit Jhesus suis disciplis, secundum Johannem.1
Cum venerit paraclitus quem ego mittam vobis etc.2
Unto his dissipils saide Criste,
Als saise Saynte Johan the Evangeliste:
“When the Gaste es commen that I sal sende
Fro mi Fadir youre mode to mende,
That es the Gaste of rightwisnes,
Of me sall he bere wittnes;
And wittnes sall ye of me bere
For fro the begynnynge with me ye ere.”
He callis his forluke the begynnynge
Wharein he aghtild all thinge;
For than the apostlis aghtild he
To folow him and wittnes be;
And for he wist before that thai
Suld thole for him bothe tene and traie
And werldes wandrethe and uppebraide
Forthi he warnid thaim thus and saide:
“This saye I now that ye ne be
Schamid for the lufe of me;
For tyme sall come that all thase
That in the spyte of me yow slase
Sall wene to serve on all wyse
God, and paye him wth swilk servyse.3
This schendinge sall thai in yow schawe,
For nouther mi Fadir ne me thai knawe.
Of this wa I warne yow now,
To ger you mene and on me trow
That I you warnid of all this,
When thair tyme comes to do yow misse.”
Thir er the wordes of oure Gospell,
Als man with Ynglihsse tonge mai tell.
Gode gasteli lare als think me,
Maye we in this Gospell se,
Thare Criste gladdes his felawes,
And the come of the Hali Gaste thaim schawes;
And warnes thaim of thaire harde thrawes,
That thai suld suffir for his lawes.
He schewid thaim thare bothe wele and wo,
And till all gode men duse he so;
For werldes welthe aie mengid es
With wandrethe and with bittirnes;
For es none Empoure ne no kinge,
That he ne es whylome in murnynge —
For when he thinkis of his endinge,
The drede of dede slakis his likinge.
Als I finde writen of a kinge,
That never wald laghe for no gladdinge.
He had a brothir that had ferlye,
And askid him wharefore and whi,
He was aie sorowfull and sarie,
And noght might ger him luke gladli.
The kinge saide that he suld him saye
His answere on the tother daie.
Than in his lande was a custome,
That when a man suld have his dome,
Before his dure men suld stand,
Agaynes his dede fast blawand.
And tharebi suld he witte right sone
That to schames dede suld he be done.
Apon the morne the kinge gert blawe
With trompors a full lange thrawe.
Before his brothir maners gate.
And than his brothir began to grate,
For he wende have bene slayne in hye,
And he ne wist wharefore ne whye.
The kinge come to behald his chere,
And spake to him on this manere:
“Brothir,” he saide, “What ayles thee?
Thou ert unblithe als think me.
Thou was wonte be glad of chere —
Whi gretis thou now on this manere?”
His brothir answerd and saide than:
“Me burd wele be a sarye man,
For takenynge of my dede I here
Of thir trompors that standes me nere.
How maye I, lorde, blithe be
When I my dede before me se?”
Than spak the kinge and to him saide:
“So es mi dede before me laide;
For dede I wote wele sall me take;
Forthi may I no gude chere make.
Forthi thar thee think no ferlie,
Thof thou me se oftsithis sorye.
Yisterdaie thou askid me whi
I was aye murnand and drerye,
And whi I aie swilk sembland made,
That nonekin joye might my hert glade.
Now hase thou herd resoune whi —
And lyfe ande lymes thee give I.”
This litil tale I have you talde,
To ger yow in youre hertes halde,
That werldes welthe ay mengid es
With mornynge and with drerines,
When a man thinkes how sone he sall
Passe hethen fro his welthis all.
Forthi schewid Criste all bothe sammene
To his dissiples murnynge and gamene
In oure Gospell als I saide are;
For gladdinge schewid he thaim thare,
Thare he the Hali Gaste thaim hight
To comforte thaim in gasteli fight;
And murnynge als thaim schewid he,
Thare he saide thai suld pyned be
For his sake, and sithen be slayne —
In this worde made he thaim unfayne.
For kyndeli the dede men dredes,
Be thai never so sikir of medes;
For Criste was dredand dede to dreye,
When he for us on rode suld dye.
Forthi the Hali Gaste gon he sende
To his dissiples thaire chere to mende,
And ger thaim of him wittnes bere,
And to be stythe in wandrethe and were.
This es the gaste of rightwisnes
That geres us of Criste bere wittnes
When we before him thole werldes waas,
And prayes that he amende oure faas.
If the Hali Gaste give us that grase,
It geres us folowe Cristis trase;
For he prayed for thaim on rode
That him slewe and sched his blode.
Lorde, sende us thi Hali Gaste,
And make us in thi trouthe so stedfast,
That we drede noght wo ne wandrethe,
Bot give us tholemodenes and methe.
And bringe us to thi blisseful belde
That tholemode men with thee sall welde.
suffer; harm and suffering
for hatred; kill
harm; do to you
make you remember; trust
spiritual teaching; I think; (see note)
Where; makes glad
he does likewise
is always mingled
[there] is no emperor
at times; mourning
death diminishes; pleasure
was to have his judgment
In front of his door
Blowing [a trumpet] to announce his death
shameful death; put
Before the entrance of his brother’s manor
expected to be killed immediately
a sign; death; (t-note)
you should think it no marvel
no kind of
always is mingled
With this word; unhappy
patience and self-control
Go To Homily 33, Pentecost