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St. Andrew and the Three Questions in the Scottish Legendary (c. 1400)


1 Lines 876-77: [The devil] resented that he lived so / acceptably to God and man

2 Lines 886-88: Saying she wished to confess her sins [to] / And be shriven by someone / With the power to absolve her

3 Lines 930-36: To me it would be preferable (lit., dearer) to be utterly banished far out of my land, than ever, to the last day of my life, to break my vow to Christ, which I have made and always kept. And because the fame of your holiness is spread far and wide everywhere

4 Lines 979-80: For we shall not converse by our selves, just the two of us, without more [people] knowing (i.e., being present)

5 Lines 1021-22: The bishop and the rest [of the company] thought / Her verdict appropriate

6 Lines 1081-82: Therefore ask him what distance [it] is even / From earth to Heaven

7 Lines 1116-17: And told them all in detail / How the fiend came to his palace

8 Lines 1131-34: And the bishop ever from that time forward / Was more devoted to Saint Andrew, night and day, and was glorifying Saint Andrew in every way

9 Lines 1147-48: And except for Saint Peter, his own brother, / He converted more people to Christianity than any other [apostle]

10 May He (Jesus) send us all to the same bliss [as Andrew]


864 Religeouse. Religious here may mean merely "holy," but the word also often refers to some sort of "regular" regime, i.e., life according to a set "rule" such as those of the Benedictine monks or Austin canons.

888 Priests and bishops were empowered by the Church to confer absolution (God's forgiveness of a person's sins after confession) and to assign a suitable penance.

901-02 The poet's emphasis on the bishop's ingenuousness replaces a less sympathetic word of explanation, victus (variant convictus, "convinced," "overcome," with a possible pun on the homophonic noun, "companionship/intercourse") in LA (ed. Maggioni, 1.33; convictus is not translated by Ryan).

905-14 In these lines the "she-devil" coyly prompts the bishop to pay close attention to her youthful appearance (As ye ma se, translates ut cernitis but and ye tak hed is the poet's addition - line 910), while her speech is laden with other innuendoes: e.g., haf mercy (line 908) which literally translates the Latin miserere mei but in the vernacular belongs as much to the diction of courtly love as to religion; the adjective delecatly (line 911, reproducing LA's delicata) suggests a kind of pampered softness conducive to the wantonness which is one of the word's other common meanings in ME. See also lines 935-46.

909 stabelaste in youthed. Literally, "established/situated in youth." The circumlocution echoes the phrasing of LA (ed. Maggioni, 1.33): in annis puellaribus . . . constituta. See textual note on this line.

925 This use of the third singular present of OE weorthan ("become/turn out") to mean "it behooves [someone]" is a Middle Scots peculiarity. See OED worth, vb., B5.

926 And. The manuscript reading (see Textual Notes) is Or. The syntax is not quite consistent here: othir . . . or should mean "either . . . or," but the text has two or clauses, the first of which (line 926) fits the context awkwardly. The line would make better sense if its conjunction were and, since by agreeing to marry (her first alternative), the "maiden" would lose her cherished virginity. In LA, the choice is simply either to obey her father or suffer punishment (trans. Ryan, 1.19). The Scots poet, in other words, sought to make clear why obeying her father was not an option, despite the alternative prospect of being punished severely for disobedience. It seems best therefore to emend and translate the three lines thus: "So that either I was obliged to do his will, and destroy my goal [of perpetual virginity], or suffer torment great and cruel." The prospect of being cruelly punished by her father for resisting marriage recalls the legendary predicament of virgin saints such as Juliana, whose angry father had her whipped before handing her over to her former suitor for further torture and eventual martyrdom (LA chapter 43; trans. Ryan, 1.160-61; also translated in ScL 2.424-31 and in DM 1.62-70. Juliana, however, chose to suffer for her ideals rather than run away. The situation here may have reminded some readers of the historical experience of Christina of Markyate (c. 1097-1161): see Talbot, ed. and trans., The Life of Christina of Markyate.

942 gaynand. The etymology is ON gegna ("to meet/encounter") rather than OF gagner ("to win"), as asserted by Metcalfe, ScL 3.60.

935-46 In the equivalent passage of LA the devil-woman's more consciously artful rhetoric makes the bishop's admiration for her "wyss spekyne" (line 955) more understandable: ". . . I have sought refuge under the wings of your protection, hoping to find a place with you where I might enjoy the secret silence of holy contemplation and avoid the pitfalls [presentisque uite uitare naufragia] of [the present] life, and escape from the disorders of the noisy world" (ed. Maggioni, 1.33; trans. Ryan, 1.19). In the Scots version these choice phrases are replaced by the diction of secular love lyrics, as the devil-woman appeals to the bishop's gentill will (line 938) and pitté (line 939) to rew on her in sik distrese (line 940).

957-62 Compare LA: "Be free from care, daughter, and fear not, because he for whose love you have despised, in manly fashion [uiriliter], yourself, your family, and your possessions, will in return bestow upon you abundance of grace in this present life and the fullness of glory in the life to come" (ed. Maggioni, 1.34; my translation). The Scots poet simplifies the Latin here, notably suppressing the adverb uiriliter, with which the conduct of holy women, especially early virgin martyrs and early ascetics, was dignified, but which would have clashed here with the poet's ongoing depiction of the relationship between bishop and devil-woman in courtly terms. See Bjerre-Aspegren, The Male Woman: A Feminine Ideal in the Early Church, pp. 115-43.

971 Coincidentally, Alison of Oxford uses the same expression to fend off the urgent advances of Nicholas the clerk in Chaucer's Miller's Tale (CT I[A]3285).

972-76 As if to suggest the development of a more-than-clerical relationship between the two, the she-devil affects no concern for the possible immorality of his invitation, but only, as befits a figure in a courtly romance, anxiety for their public, worldly reputations. Notice the flirtatious hint of litill cause (line 976), which is the Scots poet's addition.

987-88 The bishop would presumably be seated, like any medieval baron, at a table for himself and other dignitaries (in this case his new ward, facing him), usually on a slightly raised platform or dais, while the other clerics and retainers would be arranged according to their ranks at longer tables down the length of the hall. This arrangement, and the name "High Table," is still maintained in the dining halls of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Lawe or lave (line 987) was in common usage in OE (laf, lit., "leavings/what is left"), but largely confined to Scots in the ME period and later.

989 in a rane. "Continuously"; the phrase is a Northern expression of obscure origin; rane also can mean "a prolonged cry" or "a rigmarole." The poet follows the Latin (LA, ed. Maggioni, 1.20) in emphasizing the bishop's obsessive gazing at the devil-woman's beauty (Intendit in eam crebro episcopus eiusque faciem non desinit intueri et pulchritudinem admirari, "the bishop gave her continuous attention and did not cease gazing at her face and marveling at her beauty" - our translation). Metcalfe, however, posits a noun arane, "conversation," from OF aresne, ultimately from Latin adrationare (ScL 3.68) but this word in ME and Middle Scots is represented by areyne or arenyie, i.e., the legal term arraign, "indict/call to account."

990-91 The interruption in sense between fane (line 990) and Quhen (line 991) suggests that two lines are missing between them, as Metcalfe points out (ScL 1.91 and 3.69). They probably paraphrased part of a sentence in LA about how the bishop's heart was wounded through his eyes: Sicque dum oculus figitur, animus sauciatur (ed. Maggioni, 1.34, "And thus when the eye is fixed, the heart is wounded" [our translation], a variation on the medieval proverb, ubi amor, ibi oculus). The same topos, of course, is common in medieval romances of love (e.g., Chaucer's Knight's Tale, CT I[A]1077-79).

994 lykyne. Apparently a shortened form of the verbal noun, lykynge, since the rhyme word is persavynge (compare "spekyne" in line 955). Although the present participle suffix in Scots is -and, nouns formed from verbs preserve the OE gerund suffix, -ung/-ing, which in ME eventually replaced the present participle suffix -end.

1000 purchess oportunité. Compare the blander Latin equivalent (LA , ed. Maggioni, p. 34): quando possibilitas se offerret, "when the opportunity might arise" (our translation). The poet's technique of creative fidelity to his source is nicely illustrated in the subtle differences between the Latin and the vernacular, in that the Latin possibilitas is directly translated with oportunité, but the syntax is altered to make the bishop the active subject. The original meaning of purchess in OF and ME is to "seek after," "obtain," or "procure," often nefariously. The word seems carefully chosen here, not only because etymologically it is related to the "chase" (the practice of hunting), which is a common medieval metaphor for erotic desire, but also, perhaps, because one of the meanings of the noun purchess in Northern usage is "concubine" (see OED purchase, sb., 3b).

1009 hone. "Delay," a Northern dialect word of obscure origin.

1010-11 This pedestrian piece of enjambement is one of the poet's rare moments of lazy or unskillful writing.

1019-20 The devil-woman's insinuation, that the bishop should not deign to keep company with dull, ignorant people, adds the temptation of pride to that of lust.

1027-30 It is interesting that here the bishop abandons his habitual way of addressing the devil-woman, using Lady (line 1027) rather than "douchtyr" (line 957) and abandoning the fatherly singular pronoun, appropriate for a bishop addressing a young woman, in favor of the more gallant and courtly plural form (ye . . . yore) for the first time, as if acknowledging her as his peer and mistress at this crucial moment.

1036-44 The five "wits" or senses are those of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch; the organs of the first four are all part of the "face" in a way, but touch is more usually associated with the hands. The devil-woman's questions, as if she is under some sort of divine compulsion, revolve around the crisis at hand. Thus the answer to the first question is the miraculous nature of the very thing - a beautiful face - that is enticing the bishop to commit the sins of lust and pride. The answer also emphasizes that the face is the location of all the potentially dangerous bodily senses, which up to this point in his life the bishop has successfully disciplined and controlled in his devotion to God and St. Andrew. On the second question, see explanatory note to lines 1057-62.

1057-62 The Christocentric impulse in medieval thought is nicely illustrated in this answer. Not the highest mountain on earth but the human physique of Jesus in Heaven is "where the earth is highest." This second question points specifically away from the beautiful, enticing physicality of the devil-woman to the one body to which the bishop should be devoted, Christ's (corpus Christi, the phrase used in LA, ed. Maggioni, p. 35, at this point). The pilgrim's answer also invokes the doctrine of the Incarnation, by which Christ is both God and man, divine spirit and human flesh, and which lies at the center of the Christian faith that the devil is seeking to undermine. On the cult of Corpus Christi in the later Middle Ages, see Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture.

1058 hevyne empyre. The "empyrean" (lit.,"fiery") is the highest and outermost of the nine crystalline spheres that in Ptolemaic cosmology form the structure of the universe. In Christian thought this sphere of fire became identified with the abode of God and the angels. The word hevyne is often used to refer to a cosmic sphere.

1074 doucht. Third person singular, past tense (here with present meaning) of dow,"to be valid, worthy, profitable, useful"; from OE dugan, which became obsolete in the later Middle Ages except in Scotland. Compare Modern English doughty.

1081-82 The third question, admirably suited to the context in various ways, continues to thematize the relationship between earth and Heaven that has loomed large in the previous questions and underlies the basic tensions in the story. The question is also apparently much more common in such games of question and answer than the first two. For some of the different answers recorded (e.g., one step, into the grave and up to heaven; or one day, since Christ made the trip in a day), see Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, H682. Finally, the question allows the pilgrim to go on the offensive, for in affecting not to know the answer and deferring to his opponent's expertise, he is able to reveal the devil-woman's true identity with a sarcastic flourish (lines 1085-96). He is also performing a saintly ritual and hagiographic topos, in that he is not only proclaiming his opponent's identity but also reminding her that she is a damned spirit, defeated by God (compare the encounters of saints and demons in the Lives of Antony and Guthlac and the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross).

1096 umlape. See also textual note. The verb combines the ON prefix um- ("around/about"; compare OE ymb) and ME lap ("enfold/coil"). Lap has no known OE or other etymology.
Fanding, "temptation," is from a common OE word (fandian) that remained current mainly in the North in the later Middle Ages.

1099 rednes. An orthographic variant of radness; Northern dialect rad is from Old Norse hrddr, "frightened/alarmed."

1108 The poet betrays some anxiety as to how to handle this part of the story. In the Latin source there is a brusque statement to the effect that bishop "bitterly reproached himself, and with tears prayed for pardon for his fault" (trans. Ryan 2.20). The Scots poet softens this somewhat by invoking the late medieval distinction between committing a sin in fact (which would have "shamed" the bishop and destroyed his physical chastity) and, as here, consenting to it with the will. The implication seems to be that the bishop may have erred but Andrew has saved him from something much worse.

1135 ff. From this point the Scottish author leaves the Latin source (which recounts one more Andrew miracle) and concludes with his own tribute to the saint. His apology for breaking off, namely that he is alde and swere (line 1139,"old and slow"), recurs several times in ScL, as pointed out by Metcalfe in his note to line 1139 (ScL 3.71). The word swere, here meaning "reluctant/indolent," from OE swr (grievous/oppressive), survives in the ME period mainly in the North. See OED sweer.


Abbreviations: MS = Cambridge University Library MS Gg.2.6, fols. 29v-32v; M = Metcalfe's 1896 ed. of ScL (Legends of the Saints in the Scottish Dialect of the Fourteenth Century).

863 Ane. Space is left for an initial A two lines high.

865 affeccione. So MS. M: affecione.

868 Outane. MS: Outare. M's emendation. Outane, meaning "except," is the usual form elsewhere in the manuscript. It is the reduced form of outtane (out + tane, past participle of ta, the Northern variant of take), lit., "taken out."

870 he. Inserted above the line in MS.

872 to say. MS: to þe say.

873 almychtty. So MS. M: almychty.

879 fellounly. MS: fellouny.

909 stabelaste in youthed. A later hand has noted the Latin constituta in the margin, probably indicating that at least one reader was reading the text against LA. See the explanatory note to this line.

911 fosterit delecatly. MS: fosterit is delecatly. The verb is, "written between the lines . . . probably by a later hand," is adopted as the correct reading by M, ScL 1.89, but it seems redundant in the sentence and clashes grammatically with "am I" in line 912.

925 his. MS: is. M's emendation.

926 And. MS: Or. M's emendation. See explanatory note to this line.

928 Forethi. MS: Fore. M's emendation.

938 Opand. MS: offerand. The manuscript reading makes little sense and is probably an error for opand ("hoping"), as noted by M (ScL 3.67), following Horstmann. M leaves the manuscript reading offerand in his text, however.

947 And. Space is left in the manuscript for an initial A two lines high.

955 spekyne. So MS. M emends to spekynge.

958 He. MS: Hym. M's emendation.

964 servand. MS: v inserted by a later hand.

968 Will chese. MS: will ese chese.

978 thar thee. MS: ar þe. M does not emend, but suggests thar the as an alternative (ScL 3.68). The impersonal verb thar, "need" (from OE thurfan), takes a dative of respect. Schone is the verb "shun," used intransitively in some Northern texts to mean "be afraid."

999 Waittand. MS: wittand. M's emendation.

1001 Thane. Space is left in the manuscript for an initial thorn two lines high. In the right-hand margin, a later hand has written peregrinus.

1008 tharfor. So MS. M reads þarefor.

1030 the. So MS. M reads Ʒe.

1039 in sum. MS: is sum. M's emendation.

1042 Sene. MS: Send. M: Sen.

1054 at. MS: þat. M's emendation (the th- is marked for deletion by a later hand in MS).

1055 heyest. So MS. M reads hyest.

1071 Bot. Space is left in the manuscript for an initial B two lines high.

1080 at. MS: þat. M's emendation.

1084 and. M: quha. M's emendation seems unnecessary. Possibly the word he has dropped out at the beginning of line 1085.

1096 umlape. MS: vnlape. M's emendation.

1100 And tald. MS omits And. M's emendation.

1116 tham. M: þa. In MS there is a light stroke over the a.

1119 tham. MS: þare. M's emendation.

1120 walk. So MS. M reads wakk but the variant spelling walk for wake is widely attested in Middle Scots.

1150 mastir. So MS. M expands as master.



























































Ane bischope umquhile I herd say,
Religeouse lyf liffand ay,
Sancte Andrew in affeccione
Had ay, and in devocione,
Oure all hawlouys that evir ware,
Outane Goddis modir dere.
And als in custum he had ay,
Quhen he suld eythir do or say
Or spedful or helplyk thinge,
Ay to say in the begynninge:
"In worschipe of God almychty
And of Sancte Andro thus do I."
The fals fend thane, our felone fay,
Had invy he liffit sa
Thankfully to God and mane;1
Forethi enforcit he hym thane
And for to dissave hym fellounly,
And ger hym fal in lichery.
And that he mycht sa that man wyne,
And for to ger hym fal in syne,
He transformyt hym in hy
In forme of a fare lady,
And come to the bischope in,
Sayand schou wald schryf hir of syne,
And to sik man schryfyne be,
That till assolye hyr had pousté,2
That mycht na man, hyr thocht,
Sa wel do as he mowcht.
Thane answert he, and sad: "Pardé,
I haf ministeris undir me,
To quham I haff gevine powere
Al schriftis halely till here;
Tharefor tak thee ane of tha,
And til hym thi schrift thu ma!"
Thane sad schow, "Pardé,
To na man will I schriffyne be
Bot anerly to yow, ore nocht
Schaw that I haff in thocht."
The bischope than, as innocent,
That misknew al hyr entent
Sat done thar, and mad hym chifte
In gud lasere to here hyr schrift.
Thare schow one kneys devotly
Sat done and sad mekly,
"For Goddis sak I pray thee
That thu wil haf mercy of me!
Fore I, stabelaste in youthed,
As ye ma se, and ye tak hed,
And fosterit delecatly,
Of kingis kyne yet am I,
Thocht I this symple wed has tane,
And cumyne hiddir one allane.
Fore my faddir of mekil mycht
Wald me haf marryit with a knycht,
Bot I wald nocht consent thareto,
For nathynge he mycht evire do;
Fore manis falowschipe haf I
Refoysit evirmare halely,
And to the Kynge of Hevyne tan me
To lyf ay in virginité.
Bot he sa hale set his entent
To weddinge to ger me consent
That othir worthit me do his will,
And halely my purpos spill,
Or thole torment gret and fell.
Forethi I thowcht I wald nocht dwell,
Bot stal away this prevely,
Fore me ware levare utrely
Be banyste fare owt of myn land,
Thane fore to brak to Criste the band,
That I hafe mad and paid ay,
Of my lif to the last day.
And fore your word is spred wid
Of halynes one ilke syd,3
I chesit you to cum till,
Opand in youre gentill will,
That ye in youre gret pitté
In sik distrese wald rew one me;
For I can fynd place naquhare
That to me sa gaynand ware
As undir your proteccione
To luf in contemplacione
And warldly thingis to refuse,
And hevinly thing sine to use."
And quhen the bischope thus tale
To the hend had hard hale,
He beheld hyr increly
And wes forferlyt grettumly
That in hyre suld assemblit be
Sic nobillay, youthed, and bewté,
And that scho suld yet, nevirthelese,
With castité restrenye hyr flesche,
And oure all hyre wyss spekyne.
Thane mad he hyr answeringe:
"Be sikyr, douchtyr, and dred nocht!
For He in quham thu set thi thocht
Sall thi helpe and protectore be,
Sene thu til Hym has gevine thee,
And fore this joy falyeand, thu
Aylestand joy has chosine nou.
And I, thocht I symple be,
Goddis servand, hechtis thee
That thu sal hafe thi uphalding
With honesté in al thinge
In myn diocé, quhare thu
Will chese dwelling to mak nou.
Bot this day with me thu sall ete
Eftyr travel and the hete."
Thane sad scho, "Lord, lat be!
Of sic thinge requere nocht me
That mycht be hendringe to myn fame,
And lattinge als to yore gud name
For men will lichtly spek ye ill,
Thocht thai haf litill cause tharetill."
Thane sad the bischope til hyr sone
"Of sic thinge thar thee nocht schone,
For we sal nocht be us ane twa
Converse, forowtine witting ma;4
That sal al il presumpcione
Exclud, and all suspicione."
Quhen this wes sad, and mes done,
Samyn thai yed to met sone,
And the lord gert hyr be set
Evene before hym at the mete,
Syne the lawe in thar degré
War to met set, as thai suld be.
Bot ay the bischope in a rane
Beheld hyr bewté, and nocht fane
[ . . . . . . ]
Quhen his harte wes het within
Of fleschly luste with hyr to syne.
And as the fend had persavynge
That the biscope sic lykyne
Had in hyr farhed, than gerte he
In hyr appere the mare bewté,
Till that the bischope had gret will
His fellone lust to fulfil,
Waittand bot lasare quhen he
Mycht purchess oportunité.
Thane come a pylgrime sodanly
To the get, and fast cane cry,
"For Goddis sak, entré!" askand.
And fore he sped nocht, with his hand
He knokit faste apone the get,
Sayand, fayne he wald haf met
Before the bischope, ore ellis nocht,
Fore tharfor had he thiddir socht.
Thane come the portare in but hone
And to the bischope sad rycht sone
That. Quhen the bischope herd that he
Askit met in sic degré,
He askit the lady quhat hyr thocht,
Gyf he suld haf entré or nocht.
Scho sad, "Schere, me think resone
That ye ask hym sum harde questione,
The quhilk gyf he can nocht undo,
That the entré be warnyt hym to,
For gyf hym wantis sic prudence,
He suld nocht cum in your presence."
The bischope thocht, and all the lafe,
The sentence ganand that scho gafe.5
Thane speryt thai upe and done
Quha suld mak this questione,
Bot thar wald no man undertak
Sa sle a question for to mak.
The bischope sad, "Lady, sene ye
Of sle spekine has sutelté
With wisdome thareto at yore wil,
Sendis the questione hym til!"
Thane sad scho, "Sir, askis hym in hy
Of this warld the maste ferly
That God in lytil space has wrocht."
And to that man quhen this wes brocht,
He mad answere but abad,
That the maste mervale that God mad
"Is in the visage of the mane;
That all are lyk and yet, nocht than,
In ilke face in sum degré
Mene fyndis diversyté,
Of al mene that evir has bene
Sene the warld was, forout wene.
And in the face the wittis all
Of the cors are stedyt, gret and smal."
And quhen this ansuere wes mad
Till al that in the hall abade,
Cuth na man fynd till amend
The answer that wes to tham send.
Yet sad the lady, "Bot I wyll
Ane uthyre questione send hym till,
Quharein we ma assay his wit;
And gyf he will answere it,
He is worthy till haf entré.
Tharefore sperys at hym gyf he
Cane say, quhare the erd heyest is."
And quhen the pilgram had herd this,
He sad, "The corse of dere Jhesu
In hevyne empyre is heyest nou,
That sammyne is bath God and man
In a persone; sa mane we thane
Trew that the erde in His persone
Is in the hyeste regione."
Thane he that mediatoure had bene,
And hard this answere all bedene,
Recordyt it to the bischope, all
As he harde, bath gret and smal.
Thane all that in the hall were
Ilowit the pilgrame answere,
And sad worthy ware, that he
To the hall suld welcum be.
Bot the lady yet sad, "Nay,
Anis yet we wil assay -
And the thred tyme althirebeste -
And wit gyf he doucht to be geste.
Fore proponyt till hym sal beposed
A thinge of gret diffyculté,
And myrke, and hard fore to say,
Gyf his wit gud be til assay;
And gyve he cane undo that worde,
He may wele syt at youre awne burde.
Tharefore spere at hym, quhat space is evyne
Fra the yerde upe to the Hevyne?"6
The portare thane this demand mad
To the pilgrame, and but abade
Sad to hyme agane, "Thu ga
Til hyre that cane this demand ma
And spere at hyre grathly.
For schow wat it bettyr thane I;
Fore schow met it, quhen scho fell
Of the hey Hevine done to Hell.
And fore that I in Hell nevir wes,
I cane nocht grathly tel the space.
And say this bischope als, that schow
That sic demand has mad me to,
Is the fende in wemanis schape,
Hyme with fandinge til umlape."
The portare, that hard hym sa say,
Come till the hall but delay,
Haffand wondir with rednes,
And tald this til all that thare wes,
Quhareof thai had gret ferly.
Bot the fend wes away in hy,
Sonare na ony man cuth thynke,
And levit the place full of stinke.
The bischope thane hymself blamyt,
That wes in poynt to have ben schamyt
Quhene he consentit fore to syne,
And fore that cause the fend socht hym.
Thane he repentyt hym in hy
Of his trespace and his foly,
And gret with his ewyne rycht sare,
And bad the portare pase but mare
To bringe the pilgram. Bot he thane
Away wes went fra sicht of mane.
The bischope gert the puple call,
And word be wourd sad to tham all
How that the fend come till his in7
In wemanis schape to ger hym syne,
And commaundit tham fore to pray
Fore hyme, als walk and fast the day
Til God, of His debonare will,
One sum manere wald schau tham til
Quha evire wes the pylgram, that sa
Saffyt hym fra his felone fa.
Thane til hymself that nycht but bad
In visione wes warning mad
That Sancte Andro, to God rycht dere,
"As a pylgrame apperyt here,
To kepe thee fra the fend that, na he,
Had wikitly confundyt thee."
And the bischope fra that tym, ay
To Sancte Andrew, nycht and day,
Wes mare devote, in al thinge
Of Sancte Androw in the lowynge,8
To quham wyrschipe and honour be
Of alkyne men in al degré!
Yet men mycht say mekile thinge
Of Sancte Andrew in lowinge
Bot, fore I am alde and swere
I will say no mare of hym here,
Bot lowis hym gretly, for he wes
Our al the lave of maste meknes,
And wes the fyrste man of tham al
That we "appostil" now can call,
That chosyne ware with Criste to be,
All his derreste and mast privé.
And syne Sanct Petir, his awn brothir,
He broucht to Criste before al uthyre,9
And syne deit apone the tre,
As in it deit his mastir fre.
Tharfor he suld haf honowringe
That sa thankful til Hevynis Kinge
Was fyrste and laste, and traste is now
To bruk that blyse with dere Jhesu
That ay sal leste but ony end,
To the quhilk blyse He us al send!10
one time (once upon a time); (t-note)
living always; (see note)

Above all saints; were
Except for; (t-note)
When; should; (t-note)
Either useful or helpful

fiend then; cruel foe

Therefore he exerted himself then
both to deceive; maliciously; (t-note)
cause him to; lechery

himself in haste

bishop's inn (=palace)

(see note)
[so] it seemed to her
said: "By God["] (par dieu)

whom; given
wholly to hear
Therefore take to yourself (i.e., choose) one of them
only; or nothing
as [an] innocent (i.e., without suspecting anything); (see note)
was ignorant of
down; ready
on [her] knees devoutly; (see note)

still very young; (see note); (t-note)
may; if
brought up tenderly (daintily); (t-note)
Though I have put on simple clothing

Wished to have me

Refused (Kept free from); completely
taken (i.e., dedicated) myself

so wholly
To make me consent to marriage
That either it behooved me to; (see note); (t-note)
thwart; (see note); (t-note)
suffer; cruel
stay (hesitate); (t-note)
thus (so)

(see note)

Hoping (Trusting); (t-note)

such; take pity on
suitable; (see note)


afterwards to enjoy
this; (t-note)
end; heard wholly
greatly amazed

nobility [of birth]

chastity restrain (subdue)
above all; speaking (eloquence); (t-note)

secure (free from care); (see note)

Since; thyself
in place of this transitory joy
promise; (t-note)
maintenance (living allowance)
respectability (dignity)
Will choose to make your home now; (t-note)

(see note)
Do not ask me [to do] any such thing
harm my reputation
also a slur upon
easily slander you

to her at once
you need not fear; (t-note)

said, and [after] mass [was] finished
Together; went; dinner (lit., food)

the rest according to rank; (see note)

continuously; (see note)
hostile (averse); (see note)

such delight (lit., liking); (see note)
fairness; caused

Waiting only for a suitable time (lit., leisure); (t-note)
grasp; (see note)
gate; began to
entry (i.e., let me in)
And since he had no success

he very much wished to

gatekeeper; without delay; (see note)
(see note)


Sir, it seems reasonable to me

which; solve (answer)
refused him
lacks such intelligence; (see note)


subtle (ingenious)
since you; (see note)
sly speaking (eloquence); expertise

Send the question to him; (t-note)
in haste (quickly)
greatest marvel

without delay
(see note)
the human face
[In] that; nevertheless

Since; without a doubt; (t-note)
body; placed

Could; find [a way] to
Wherein; test

ask of; (t-note)
earth; (t-note)

corpse (body); (see note)
[the] empyrean sphere; (see note)
simultaneously; both
one; so must we then

heard; in turn

Accepted; pilgrim's
said it was fitting
Once more
third; best of all
find out; ought (is worthy); (see note)

To find out if his wit be good
if; solve that problem
board (i.e., table); (t-note)
(see note)

without delay; (t-note)
[He] said
did; make
carefully ask her [to answer]
From the high; down

to this bishop also

To ensnare him with temptation; (see note); (t-note)

Feeling amazement and fear; (see note)
gone in haste
Sooner than

about to

(see note)

wept; eyes; bitterly
go out without delay

caused the people to be summoned
them; (t-note)

also to wake (hold a vigil); (t-note)
who ever
malicious foe
without delay

if he [had] not

(see note)

slow (indolent)

Over all the rest


noble; (t-note)

so pleasing
from start to finish; trusted (certain)

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