The Life of Saint Katherine: Book 3
JOHN CAPGRAVE, THE LIFE OF SAINT KATHERINE, BOOK 3: FOOTNOTES1 Lines 14-15: Any labor or service done for this noble queen (Katherine) will not be wasted
2 Lines 70-71: it lies beyond my little spark / Of wit
3 For these words, monk and solitary, mean the same thing, as we read
4 Lines 148-49: I wish greatly to ask you / To take a message from me to a person
5 Lines 192-94: During which time many strategies / And methods were used, and much labor was spent, / To make her marry, but it could not succeed
6 Lines 303-04: Mark and display my Son's sign (i.e., the Cross) on your forehead
7 Lines 365-66: Thus God will work, when He pleases, / With what looks to the world like a very unlikely instrument
8 Lines 666-68: Since no one may explain the hidden origin of these earthly works, / It is no wonder that they (the earthly works) / Should reveal themselves through faith
9 Lines 703-04: His person, as you say, / Has resulted from the union of man and God
10 Lines 921-23: They tell what they saw when they were brought there, / But they cannot convey the feelings and thoughts / They had when they were experiencing that joy
11 Lines 1100-01: to confirm / That everything we perform here is authentic
12 Anyone who had been present would have experienced joy
JOHN CAPGRAVE, THE LIFE OF SAINT KATHERINE, BOOK 3: NOTES6 is. Not in MS.
36 onto. to not in MS.
45 was MS: wall.
52-53 Athanas, of whom . . . / We spoke befor. Prol,, lines 127-69, 1.260-73.
88 Were thei growen, were thei bare or balled. In other words, no distinction was made between the various orders of religious - those that required a tonsure, those that allowed members to be hairy or go bare-headed, etc.
114 ff. He saw a syght. To have a saint approached by a divine commission that directs him to go to an intimidating pagan to convert that person is not uncommon in medieval literature. Compare Ananias' fear of approaching Saul in The Conversion of Paul.
142 ff. Gramercy madame! The humor of this scene, in which one of God's chosen people is completely oblivious of whom he is speaking with, is strongly reminiscent of the humor of mystery plays. For example, in the Towneley Noah play, after God has descended from heaven, conveyed his displeasure with humanity, announced his intention of flooding the earth, and instructed Noah to build an ark, the patriarch burbles: "A benedicite! What art thou that thus / Tellys afore that shall be? Thou art full mervelus! / Tell me, for charite thi name so gracius." The Towneley Plays, ed. George England, EETS e.s. 71 (London: Oxford University Press, 1897), p. 28, lines 63-65.
175 Yet hath sche of me knowyng nevyr a deele. See below lines 470-78 for Capgrave's careful distinction between having God in one's heart and being aware of God.
178 Grete Babell. Compare 1.534-41, where Capgrave notes that Alexandria had been called"Babilon the lasse"! (line 540).
208-09 sche schall love bettyr the hayre / Than any reynes. Though reynes refers to a fine cloth made in Rennes, Brittany, the Virgin may be making an off-color pun, for reynes can also mean "the male generative organ" (MED, reine 2b). Such a pun would not be too surprising in this narrative, whose saints are hardly naives. Later in this book (lines 1104-05), the Virgin will make sure that Adrian is temporarily blinded before Katherine is stripped for her baptism. And Katherine herself insists that, though she may be a virgin, she knows a thing or two about sex (lines 637-44).
212 Sevyn Scyens. The Seven Liberal Arts (see note to Prol., line 143).
327 Lollard. An English heretic whose views derived from the teachings of the Oxford theologian John Wyclif.
369 Poule seyth this best. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. This is one of two instances in which Capgrave invites his readers to consult Scripture (the other is 4.2279-81) - a radical invitation for the 1440s in a work addressed to a popular audience. Fearing the spread of Lollardy, the Church had taken strict measures to curtail lay access to the Bible.
401-06 Sche lokyd on him and was astoyned sore . . . wondyr fast. Capgrave takes pains to detail Katherine's security measures in 1.337-64.
413 All heyll, madame! Adrian echoes the angel Gabriel's greeting to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation. Capgrave elaborates the analogy between Gabriel's visit to Mary and Adrian's visit to Katherine in lines 465-76.
470-76 Ryght as Gabriell . . . we wyll take hede. For a useful discussion of patristic and medieval views of the Annunciation, see Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 81-94.
524 ff. sche is modyr and also clene virgyne. Adrian is referring to a central tenet of Marian theology, namely, the perpetual virginity of Mary. Like many late medieval writers, Capgrave insists on Mary's singularity as a virgin mother, but he also does everything possible to humanize her by portraying her as a sensitive and affectionate mother-in-law. His emphasis on Mary in the legend is consistent with the intense devotion to the Virgin that marked late medieval piety. Also typical is his depiction of Christ as a fully humanized suitor.
553 Eleyn the fayre lady of Grees. Helen, famous beauty and wife of the Greek king Menelaus, whose abduction by Paris precipitated the Trojan War.
611 in pytte. A depression in the body, perhaps a dimple or the hollow of the neck.
635 And yet sche is a mayden at asay and sale. According to a popular tradition derived from the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James (c. 150), a midwife tested Mary's virginity after she had given birth to Christ. An East Anglian dramatization of the incident that is roughly contemporaneous with Capgrave's legend can be found in the Nativity play of the N-Town Cycle. See The N-Town Play, ed. Stephen Spector, EETS s.s. 11 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 152-63.
644 he. Not in MS.
694-707 How may ye couple . . . offendyth phylosophye! Katherine's objection to a Christ "coupled of contraries too" (line 702) anticipates a point one of the philosophers will raise with her in 4.1703-05.
724 That ye were bounden sumetyme with a bonde. Capgrave refers to the practice of swaddling infants, that is, binding their limbs with narrow strips of cloth so that they cannot move freely.
730 onto. on not in MS.
766 The Fyrst Mevere. See note to 2.1354.
799-804 Of the men of Sodom aboute Lothis hous . . . thei schull not see. The blinding of the Sodomites is recounted in Genesis 19:11.
826 That be the aungell led Abacuc to the lake. In verses 33-39 of Bel and the Dragon, an addition to the Book of Daniel composed in the second century BC (appearing among the Apocrypha in the Revised Standard Version and as Daniel 14 in the Vulgate Bible), an angel intercepts the prophet Habakkuk as he is bringing food to workers in the field, telling him to take the meal to Daniel, who has been cast into a lions' den in Babylon. When Habakkuk protests that he does not know any such place, the angel carries him there and back by the hair.
856 Ye hafe set your trost hyere than myselve. Katherine's surpassing of her spiritual teacher echoes her surpassing of her secular teachers in 1.414-19.
874-75 as David fro the schepe / . . . if we take kepe. See 1 Samuel 16:11-13. Samuel summoned Jesse's youngest son, David, from his job herding sheep and anointed him King of Israel.
887 dun. MS: downe.
919 We can not speke it. Capgrave is repeating a commonplace of mystical literature, namely, that people who have a direct experience of the godhead cannot describe their experiences (and hence Capgrave cannot relay them).
927-29 Seynt Poule hymselve . . . in that secree. For Paul's comments on his heavenly vision, see 2 Corinthians 12:1-7.
933 holy crisme. Sacramental liquid consisting of a mixture of oil and balsam.
949 Wolcome of clennesse very swete rose. On the odor of Christ that signifies purity,"an odor that leads to life," see 2 Corinthians 2:14-16. Compare Tiburce in Chaucer's Second Nun's Tale who, in the presence of St. Cecile, smells the scent of lilies and roses:"The sweete smel that in myn herte I finde / Hath chaunged me al in another kynde" (VIII [G] 251-52). The red rose is affiliated with martyrdom and here may anticipate the conclusion to Capgrave's saint's life. It is also traditionally associated withe Virgin Mary, the heavenly rose in eternal bloom, because her body is not destroyed by death.
967-68 certen tokenes thei bere . . . another bare. Martyrs were typically associated with emblems recalling their passions. For example, Agatha, who had her breasts torn off, usually bears a platter with a breast, while Lawrence, who was roasted, carries a grill. When Katherine joins the assembly of martyrs, she will be carrying a wheel. In some late medieval paintings, these emblems are embroidered on the saints' garments.
993-1001 Hir body . . . se His face. Katherine cannot approach Christ or see his face because she has not yet been cleansed from sin through baptism, as Christ reminds his mother in lines 1032-49. Mary forthwith translates Christ's theological explanation of the sacrament into language that Katherine would surely understand: "It is a goodely usage . . . / Who schal be weddyd onto duke or kynge / Befor hir weddyng to hafe a bathynge" (lines 1069-71).
1025 a. Not in MS.
1053 A prest hafe ye redy. Christ's insistence that Adrian perform both the baptism and marriage ceremonies affirms the clergy's prerogative to dispense sacraments and mediate between God and human beings - a role that was hotly contested by the Lollards.
1226-31 My modyr wyll here. . . . Consent ye Kateryne? Christ's emphasis on Katherine's free choice ratifies a position the Church had taken since the twelfth century, namely, that a valid marriage required the consent of the parties being married and not just their parents. Ideally, as in this case, the parents and children would agree. See James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987) and John T. Noonan, "Power to Choose," Viator 4 (1973), 419-34.
1232 wilt. Not in MS.
1251 schortly to ryme. See note to 2.476.
1258 Befor hem all schal ye go in the daunce. See note to Prol., line 8.
1272 Whan Thu commendyd Jon me untoo. John 19:26-27.
1286 calcedony. For a discussion of the properties of this stone, see English Medieval Lapidaries, ed. Joan Evans and Mary S. Serjeantson, EETS o.s. 190 (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), pp. 29-30, 49, 75.
1301 Sponsus amat sponsam. A chant sung at the liturgical office of Matins on the feast of Saint Katherine.
1307-08 This chyrch must folow . . . / The chyrch above in all that it may. Seen from a somewhat different angle, Capgrave's chyrch above is following - or at least endorsing - this [earthly] cherch . . . in all that it may. Witness the emphasis on individual consent in marriage and on the sacraments of baptism and marriage.
1316 fere. MS: dere.
1332 Eyt dayes. The eighth day is associated with the Resurrection, and hence with a new life and a new beginning, as Jacobus de Voragine explains in the Golden Legend 1: 216-17.
1343 think 'not longe.' The allusion is to John 16:16-22, the"little while" of pain before bliss in Christ. See also 5.1514 where Katherine reassures the queen that the torture will last but"a lytyll space."
1390-1421 Oure Lord Godd is of swech a kynde . . . ye wel, madame. Adrian is explaining the doctrine of the Trinity, that three distinct persons make up one God. For a discussion of this complex dogma, see Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), pp. 172-225.
1428 Swech langage in synfull tunge is but brok. Capgrave seems to be endorsing the orthodox view that the vernacular is a poor medium for expounding doctrine. For a discussion of the clergy's disparagement of the vernacular, particularly for religious exhortation, see Nicholas Watson,"Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval England: Vernacular Theology, the Oxford Translation Debate, and Arundel's Constitutions of 1409," Speculum 70 (1995), 822-64. See also Rita Copeland,"Why Women Can't Read: Medieval Hermeneutics, Statutory Law, and the Lollard Heresy Trials," in Representing Women: Law, Literature, and Feminism, ed. Susan Sage Heinzelman and Zipporah Batshaw Wiseman (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994), pp. 253-86. By Book 4, Capgrave's scruples about expounding theology in English seem to have vanished.
Sith no man may here in this lyffe present
Doo no good dede but he enspyred be
Of that Goste whech fro the omnipotent
Fader of hevyn and fro the Sune so fre
Is sent to us, ryght so beleve now we
That it is best that we oure laboure commende
Onto this Gost if we wyll have goode ende.
For I have tolde yow schortly as I can
The byrth, the kynrod, the nobyllhed of this mayde;
The gret disputyng of lordes, who it began;
And eke hir answere, what sche to hem sayde.
This have I pleynly now befor yow layde
In swech ryme as I coude best devyse.
Schall nevyr man lese no laboure ne no servyse
Whech that he doth onto this noble qween. 1
And now hens forwarde schall be my laboure
To tell of hir be ordre and bedeen,
How sche was wonne to Crist, oure savyoure,
How mervelously he entred to hir toure -
I mene daun Adryan, the munke whech oure feyth
Fyrst to hir tawte, as this cronycle seyth.
And if ye dowte, ye reders of this lyffe,
Wheyther it be soth, ye may well undyrstande
Mech thing hath be do whech hath be ful ryve
And is not wrotyn ne cam nevyr to oure hande,
Mech thing eke hyd in many dyverse lande.
Evene so was this lyffe, as I seyd in the prologe before,
Kept all in cage aboute, it was not bore.
Now schall it walk wydere than evyr it dede
In preysyng and honour of this martir Katerine.
Hir lyff, hir feyth, hir passyoun schall nevyr be dede
Whyll that I leve. I wold ful fayn enclyne
Hir holy prayere to be my medycyne
And eke my tryacle ageyns the venym foule
Whech that the devyll hath throwyn on my soule.
I dresse me now streyt onto this werk;
Thow blyssyd may, comfort thou me in this.
Because thou were so lerned and swech a clerk,
Clerkes must love thee - resoun forsoth it is.
Who wyll oute lerne, trost to me, iwys,
He dothe mech the bettyr if he trost in this may -
Thus I beleve and have do many a day.
There was an hermyth, as elde bokes telle,
A munke, a man of ful hye grace and fame.
Be the see thei sey sett was thoo his celle.
Adryane I rede that it was his name.
His knelyng had made his knes full ny lame.
A prest he was eke, sothely as I fynde.
He had a chapell in whech he song and dynde,
Slepe and welk, for other hous had he non.
This man knew the counsell of this mayde
Fyrst of alle, for Athanas, of whom long agon
We spoke befor, was not than arayde
Ne eke anoynted with baptym, ne assayde
With Godyis scorge, for he was turned be hir -
And sche convertyd be miracle, as ye schul here.
This man was ordeynd lych, I undyrstande,
To seynt Joseph, oure Lady to lede and gyde,
For evene as Joseph into Egypte lande
Went with oure Ladye, evermore be hir syde,
So was this ermyte than in that tyde
A bodyly leder to this gostly werke
Whech tyme that Cryst this noble mayd schulde merk
With His crosse to make hir strong and stabyll
Ageyns the flesch, ageyns the affluens
Of wordly delyte, and make hir to Him abyll
Bothe spouse and wyffe, whech feestly dylygens
Was wroght so wondyrly it paseth experiens
Of wordly men. Wherfore I am agast
To speke therof, knowyng it passeth the gnast
Of my cunnyng, 2 but that I leve in hope
That thorow the prayere of hir and Adryane
I schall have myght and strength eke to grope
This holy matere, to telle forth of this man,
How that he lyvyd and how he vytail wan,
For onto town wolde he nevyr aproche,
But tyllyd his londe heye upon a roche.
Sumetyme of schyppes that ryden there fastby
Had he comfort of mete and eke of drynke.
Sexty yere this lyffe he led sothely,
That nevyr went he awey fro that brynke.
Thus party with elmesse, party with his swynke,
Alle blyssydly in abstinens and prayere,
This lyffe led he, this ermyte or this frere -
For frere was name than to all Crysten men
Comoun, I rede, and ermytys were thei called
That dwelt fro town mylys sex or ten,
Were thei growen, were thei bare or balled.
Because thei were eke all soole i-walled,
Sume men called hem munkys, withowte drede,
For these wordes munke and soole are on, as we rede. 3
Whan this ermyte was fall stope in age
And myght not byd his bedys as he was wont,
Than wold he goo forthe a grete passage
Ryght be the see on stones scharp and blunte,
And evyr his body wold he chyde and runte:
"What eylyth thee now? Why art thu so sone oute
Of holy prayere, of werkes that be devoute?
"Now God," he seyd, "that sytthest hey in trone,
Forgeve it me that I do not so weele
As I was wone. My body is cause alone
And not my soule - ful sykyrly this I feele.
I may not wake ne fast nevyr a dele;
I can no more all this - defaute is myne.
If any goodenes have I, Lord, that is Thine.
"Demene not me, Lorde, aftyr my febyll myght
But aftyr my wylle, that evyr desyreth in-on
With blessed dedes to be alowed in the syght
Of Thi mercy. For thow my myght be gon,
Yet is my soule as stable as any ston,
And evyr schal be, as I can best devyse,
In Thi drede and eke in Thi servyse."
Unnethys had he ended his oryson,
He saw a syght, a mervelous tho he thowte,
For as he walkyd the strondes up and down,
He fond a thing whech he had long i-south,
A blessed syght onto his eye was browte:
A qween, he sey, of vysage and stature
Passyng full mech alle erdely creature.
All hir aray acordyng eke ther-too-
So bryght a corown, so bryte clothys eke,
He wot not what him is best to do.
He is not febyll, he is no lengere seke;
His blode is come ageyn onto his cheke,
His eyne have caute of new comfort a lyght,
His body is youthyd, he thinketh himself ful lygth.
Than gan this ermyte stalk ny and nye
To se this syght, this selcowth new thing.
"O benedicité!" he seyd, "mech merveyle have I
That this lady fresch and fayre and yyng
Is come so sodenly hydyr in this morownyng -
And schyppe ne boote ne can I now here see,
Neyther on lond ne fletyng on the see."
Thus merveylyng betwyx joye and drede,
A ful softe pase onto hir ward he went,
For as him thowt sche also to him yede.
But sche spake fyrst with full meke entent:
"Brothyr," sche sayde, "the Lord omnipotent
Whech made the hevyn, the watyr, and the londe,
He save yow evyr and blysse yow with His honde."
The ermyte than onto oure Lady sayde,
"Gramercy madame! And He kepe yow alsoo
Fro all myshap that ye be not afrayde
Of noo dysese but evyr withowten woo -
I pray to Godd ye mote be on of thoo
Whech that schall dwelle with Him in His blys,
Where may no joye ne no solace mys."
"Good syre," seyd sche, "I wolde yow pray full fayn
To do a message fro me unto a whyte 4
Whech that I love and trost. Ye may hir sayn
So doth my Sone, for werkys that be ryght
Whech that sche usyth, that mayde fayre and bryght.
And ye syre oure messangere I wold ye were,
Oure wyll and oure wordes to this lady for to bere."
"O, mercy Godd," seyd thoo this Adryan,
"What, wold ye now I schuld forsak my celle,
Forsake my servyse, and to be youre man?
I have made covenaunt evyre here to dwelle
Whyl that me lestys brethe, flesch, and felle,
Tyl Jesu wyll fecch me that was maydenys Sone.
Spek not ther-of, for it may not be done!"
Than sayd that mayde ageyn onto him,
"Art thu avysed what thu hast seyd to me?
Thu prayed full late, whyll the nyte was dyme,
That God Himself nothing wrothe schuld be
With thin age ne wyth thi febylté.
Thu prayed eke His modyr - I herd it loo -
Sche schuld be mene ryght betwyx yow too.
"I am sche to whom that thu so ofte
With pytous voys hast cryed bothe day and nyght
That I schuld help thi dulnes for to softe.
Therfor, I wyll thu force thee with thi myghte
To be my messangere and eke my gostly knyth
Onto that lady whom I love full wele -
Yet hath sche of me knowyng nevyr a deele.
"Therfore, busk thee to Alysaundyr for to goo,
Onto that cyté whech men called sumetyme
Grete Babell - there be swych no moo
In all this world, thus seyth every pylgryme.
What schuld I lengere tary in my ryme:
Thou schalt fynde there a qween full reall
And onto hir bodyly speke thu schall.
"Sey ryght thus: 'The Lady bothe modyr and mayde
Gretyth hir well, and that in goodely wyse,
Ryth be me, for sche both comaunde and prayde
That I schuld doo to hir this goode servyse.'
Thus schall thu sey, ryth as I devyse.
Sche schall make straunge and be astoyned sore;
Leve not this message for that cause nevyr the more.
"It is not goo now but a lytyl whyle
Syth that this lady was with hir counsayle,
In whech there was ordeynyd many a wyle,
And many a mene, and spent mych travayle,
To do hir wedde, but it myght not avayle, 5
For I myselve have ordeynd hir a lorde
To whom sche schall in clennesse well acorde.
"Eke that thu schuld the more deynté have
To do this message and all this grete laboure,
I wyll thee telle pleynly - I wyll not wave,
I wyll not varye - but the lynage, the honoure,
The vertu, the occupacioun, of this swete floure,
Thou schalt it knowe be informacyoun of me,
Bothe hir goodenes, hir cunnyng, and hir degré.
"Fyrst of alle, thu whyte sche is a qween -
A rych, a reall, a wys, and eke a fayre,
For in this worlde swech no moo there been.
Sche hath no chylde, ne sche hath non ayre,
For if sche leve, sche schall love bettyr the hayre
Than any reynes aftyr that sche be drawe
Onto my servyse and to my Sones lawe.
"Sche is also in sothenesse a ryth grete clerke,
And eke a sotyll in alle the Sevyn Scyens -
That schewyd sche welle bothe with word and werke,
In the parlement where was grete expens
Of wordly rychesse, and eke grete dylygens
Of wordly wytte, to make hir wedded be,
But thei sped not. A heyere lord of degré
"Schal be hir spouse, whom sche yet not knowyth.
Sche must forbere fyrst mech thing, certayn.
I mene, the rychesse in whech sche now flowyth,
For of povert schall sche be as fayn
As evyr sche was of rychesse, soth to sayn,
Or of ony welth or ony grete honour.
I schall be to hir a comfortour
"In all hir nede. Whan that sche schall fyght
Ageyns the heresye of philosophye,
Of all her resones sche schal rek but lyght.
Thow thei her sophymes sotyly multyplye,
Sche schall asoyle hem and ageyn replye
So myghtly that thei schul lese her art
And sche schall drawe hem to be in Goddis part,
"For aftyr me, I tell thee sykyrlye,
There was nevyr swech another lady lyvande
That withowte ensaumple cowde leve parfytely,
As sche hath now newly take on hande,
So holy a lyffe. Therfore, thu undyrstande
Sche schall have eke as gloryous a hende
As evyr had woman that lyved here in kende."
Whan that oure Lady had seyd all this thing,
This ermyte fell to grounde plat and pleyn.
He was aferd and ravesched in swownyng,
And sche full mekely lyft him up ageyn.
"Be not aferd," sche gan thoo to him seyn.
And he answerd, "Gramercy, now, madame!
Forgyfe me now in that I was to blame
"That I knew not Crystis modir dere,
But all wytles, rekles, and boystous
Was I, Lady, full late in myn answere.
Ye may well se my wytte is komerous!
Your comyng was to me so mervelous,
My wytt was goo than I sey yow veryly,
My Lordes moder, myn advocate, my Mary -
"And I hir servaunt and evyre hath be and cast!
Allas, allas! And it is wrete full pleyn,
A hard thing, of whech I am agast:
Who wyll not know schall be forgete certeyn.
This is my thowght, my Lady sovereyn:
Because that I so recles was full late,
That youre love schuld now turn to hate.
"Therfore, youre grace with pytous voys I pray,
To punch and snybe yourself as ye lest.
And I am redy evermore, nyght and day,
To be obedyent ryght at your request,
To do your message so as I can best -
But sewyrly this gret cyté large
Of whech ye spoke whan ye dyd me charge,
"I know it noght, ne eke the wey ther-to;
I have not herd but lytyll of it certayn.
But as ye wyll, ryght so mote I do:
To fulfyll youre byddyng myn hert is ful fayn;
Thow I for werynesse dey or elles be slayn,
I schall go thedyr. Yet hafe I full mech care
Of wylsom weyis or that I come thare.
"For, as I wene, many a wyldyrnesse
Is in that wey and many a wyked beest!
Yet schall I forward hastly now me dresse -
I trost on yow, that ye schull at the leest
Ordeyn for me that I be noght areest,
But undyr your wyng and your proteccyoun
May be this vyage and this progressyoun."
Than seyd the qween onto him ageyn,
"Well may thu blys that Lord that boute us alle,
That He be thee wold send or elles seyn
This reall matere and eke ther-to thee calle.
Go now thi wey: thu may not stumble ne falle
Whan swech a ledere is to thee a gyde.
But whan thu comst within thoo gatis wyde,
"Whomevyr thu mete, if he spek to thee,
Spek not ageyn in no manere wyse.
I tell thee why: the hye noble secre
To whych thu schall do laboure and servyse,
If unworthy herd it, thei myght it dyspyse.
Eke thiself, thi mouth must thu spere
And kepe thi wordys only for this matere.
"So schall thou goo thorow that grete cyté
Tyll that thu come onto the paleys reall
Whech that he made - Costus, the kyng so fre -
Both dych and hylle, doungon, toure, and wall.
Many a knyth and many a sqwyere thu schall
Fynd there and se the gates for to kepe.
Be not aferde; my Son schall thee kepe
"Fro all her manace and all her grete daungere.
Blesse thee well, and eke my Sones name
Ryght in thi forhed loke thu crouch and bere, 6
Than no man schall have powere thee to blame,
Ne eke to lett thee tyll thu come at that dame,
And where sche dwellyth now wyll I thee say:
Thu schall goo forthe and passe all that aray
"Tyll that thu see wallys fayre and newe,
And at a posterne smalle of forme and of schap
Onto that same, loke that thu fast sewe.
There nedyth thee noght neyther ryng ne rap -
The gate schall ope lyghtly at a swap.
Thu schalt entere and fynd that swet may,
Whech schall to hir be full grete afray,
"For sche schall wondyr how that ony man
Myght entere to hir into that pryvy place.
Hir booke, hir stody schall sche leve ryght than
And loke on thee with full sobyr face.
Have thu no fere in no manere cace
Of hir qwestyons ne of hir apposayle:
I schall enforce thee soo thu may not fayle
"To geve hir answere to every questyoun.
So sayd my Sone to His aposteles twelve,
'Whan ye stand,' He seyd, 'befor the dome
Of many tyrauntys, and ye alone youreselve,
Thow thei yow calle Lollard, whych, or elve,
Beth not dysmayd - I schall gyve yow answere.'
There can no man swech langage now yow lere -
"Ryght so schall thu have in thi langage
Swech wonder termes that sche schall stoyned be.
Cryst schall endewe thin eld rekeles age
With eloquens whech full mervelous - trost me -
Schall be to thee, and most specyaly sche
Schall lyste ful sore aftyr this new doctrine.
Alle hir wyttys therto wyll sche enclyne -
"No wondyr it is, for my Sone in sothenesse
Hath chose hir specyaly above all othir lyvande
For hir vertew and for hir grete clennesse.
He wyll wedd hir in schort tyme comande.
Thu schall be messangere and tak this werk on hande:
Thu schall brynge hir evene unto this place,
Thiselve alone, withowtyn othyr solace.
"Thys same tokne schall thu to hir bere,
For if sche enqwyre who thee thedyr sent,
The same lord, sey ageyn to hir,
Whom that sche chees syttyng in parlement,
For whech choys sche was full nye i-schent
Of hir lordes, so as thei than durst.
Sche toke the bettyr and forsok the wurst.
"Withinne hir stody thus schall thu hir fynde.
Be not aferd of hir sotell cunnyng -
Thu schall not fayle of answere to the kynde
Of all hir wytte and all hir stodying.
Go now forth fast and hedyr sone hir bryng:
Gyrde thee sore and tuk up well thi lappe;
Tak with thee thi staffe and eke thi cappe!"
Thus goth this ermyte forth ryght in his way,
Trostyng on gydes swech as long to hevene,
For thow he non aungellys thoo herd ne say,
Withoute dowte her ledyng browte him evene
Onto this cyté long or it was evyne -
Nowt that same day, but aftyr a full long whyle,
Whan he had go and rune full many a myle.
Thus wyll God with ful onlykly thing,
As to the world, werk whan that Him leest: 7
He chesyth sumetyme onto His hye werkyng
Full febyll and sekely and awey can kest
The strong and wyse - Poule seyth this best
In his epistoles, who that wyll hem rede -
Ryght thus dede he here, withouten drede.
Ful onlikly was this man to this message
But that God chese him of his goodenesse;
He is now goo forth in his vyage,
Be hyllys and pleyn, felde and wyldyrnesse.
He is now come where as this emperesse
Satte in hir gardeyn, stodying than ful sore.
Sodenly enterd set he is hir before.
Ful sore astoyned were thei than, both twoo,
The on for mervayle of hir hye beauté,
The other was marred, if we schuld sey soo,
That sche a man so sodeynly there gan se
Befor hir knele now ryght in hir secré.
As if ye wyll this conceyt here more pleyn
The ermyte in his wytte was astoyned certeyn,
For he fond hir than lenyng on a booke
In sad stodye, ful solitarye, all alone,
And often among to hevene gan sche look;
But swych beuté sey this man nevyr none
As now he sethe in this same persone -
Save oure Lady, blessed mot sche be -
So bryght and scynyng was thoo hir fayre ble.
"A mervelous Godd," thowth he in his mynde,
"Wend I nevyr a seyn swech creature lyvyng!
I trow in erde as in womannes kynde
Is non so bryght, so beuteuous in all thing!
Blessed be Jesu, that hye hevyn kyng,
That me sent hedyr to se this creature,
For aftyr oure Lady sche passeth withoute mesure
"Alle othir women." And with this thouth anon
Sche lokyd on him and was astoyned sore
How that he myght ovyr thoo wallys of ston,
This olde man, clyme - or ellys if he wore
Crope thorow the gate than mervelyth sche more
Syth that hirself had be there last,
For sche bare the key and sperd it wondyr fast.
With this same stoynyng hir bloode gan to renne
Mech more freschere than it was before:
In cheke and forhed newly doth it brenne;
And if sche fayre and bryght were before,
It is amendyd a hundred parte more,
As to his syght. This olde ermyte lame,
He knelyth down and seyth, "All heyll, madame!"
Sche ryght thus ageyn onto him sayde,
"Good syre, tell me how may this be,
For of youre persone be we sore dysmayde
That we so sodenly yow in oure presens see,
I-come thus alone withowte othir menee.
This ask we fyrst, for sekyr wete we must.
Wheythir this is truthe or apparens, it schall be wust
"What manere mane myght make yow so maisterlye
To clyme oure wallys whech are so hye.
I trow be enchauntment or be nygromancye
Are ye entyrd now here before oure yye!
We wyll wete this thing, be ye nevyr soo slye:
Who gave yow hardynesse for to be so bolde
Withowte oure leve to entre to owre holde?
"For of all the lordes and knytys that we have
Is non so hardy, but we gefe him leve -
But if he wyll reklesly his lyff lave -
Onys to entre neythir morow ne eve
Oure privy secré. Therfor is it repreve
Onto your age to tak swech thing on yow.
It wyll not fall happyly onto youre prow.
"Therfore, now, tell me schortly in a clause,
Who gave yow boldenesse to do this grete folye?
Sekyr may ye be, we wyll wete the cause
And every mene thorow whech ye were hardy.
Peraventure if treson be found in oure meny
This schall ye telle or ye fro us wende -
Ye gete of us elles no ryght fayre ende!"
Be this was the erymyte comforted ageyn,
For with bolde spech he gave this answere,
And with manly voys thus gan he seyn:
"Sche that me sent is grettere, if ye wyll lere,
Than ony lady in erde that dwellyth here,
And eke the lest that longyth to hir boure
Is more of astate than kyng or emperoure.
"Eke for ye ween that ye be so fayre,
So rych in welth, as it is seyd certeyn,
Yet may ye not to hir beauté repayre,
Ne nevyr ye schal, sothly dar I sayn -
Bothe hir and yow with eyne haf I seyn.
I may thee more boldely mak this commendyng:
Sche paseth yow, certeyn, in all maner thing,
"Eke hir grete powere that is spred so fere.
Sche may doo what that evyr sche lyst,
For be yon gate whech ye dyd spere,
Sche browte me in, sekyr, or I it wyst.
If sche be wrothe, no man skapyth hir fyst;
Therfore, avyse yow, lady, what ye wyll sey,
Lest that my Lady turne fro yow awey."
Than gan the qween merveyle of this word
More than sche dyd evyr hir lyve before
Of ony mater. Cryst had made His horde
Or this ermyte cam and leyd His grete tresoure
Ryght in hir hert, emprended full sore,
For thow He sent the ermyte as his messangere,
Or the ermyte cam, Crist Himself was there,
Ryght as Gabriell whan he fro hevene was sent
Onto oure Lady to do that hye message.
Into Nazareth in forme of o man he went,
Fayre and fresch and yong eke of age,
But ere that he cam onto this maydes cage,
Cryst was there, as we in bokes rede.
Ryth so dyd He here, if we wyll take hede.
But thow God were come as than to hir hert,
It was fer as yet fro hir knowlechyng.
Therfore, with wordes that were full smert,
Sche turneth ageyn onto the same thing
Whech we left ere, and thus in apposyng
Sche thus procedyth, seyng to this man,
"How may youre Lady be so worthy woman
"As ye commende now in your tale to me,
Of hir hye worchepe and also of hir wytte?
The worthyest of all women we wene that we be -
We herd nevyr of non worthyere yytte!
Where lyghte hir londe? We wold fayn know itte.
Who is hir lorde - or wheyther is sche lordelees?
Ye telle us thingys whech we holde but lees!
"Wheythyr is that dame lyvyng in spousayle
Or levyth sche sool as we do now?
If sche be weddyd, sykyrly sche may fayle
Mych of hir wyll, for sche mote nedys bowe
Onto hir lord, loke he nevyr so row;
And if sche lyve be hirself alone,
Than may sche make full oft mech mone,
"Ryght for vexacyoun of hir lordes aboute -
This know we well; we are used ther-to!
Therfor, goodeman, put us oute of doute:
Tell us the sothe, be it joye or woo,
Whech that this lady most is used too,
And we wyll thank and rewarde yow eke
With swech plenté that it schall yow leke!"
"Iwys, madame," seyd this ermyte thoo,
"The grete lordscheppe of my Lady sovereyn
Is spredd ovyr hevyn and ovyr erd ther-too
And ovyr the see eke, sothely to seyn.
There comyth noo sune, no dewys, ne no reyn
But be comaundment of hir Lord and hir desyre -
Swech is hir myght and allso hir powere.
"Hir ladyschepe eke therto is so strong
And evyr so stedfast that it may not fayle.
There may no man treuly do hir wrong,
For thow thei doo, thei lese her travayle.
There may no myght ageyn hir myght avayle.
Hir Lord and sche, thei lyve in full grete pees,
With many mylyons of men and mekyll prees.
"He is hir Lord and eke to Him sche is
Moder and noryse, yet is sche a mayde.
Lord and Sone bothe togedyr, iwys,
This longyth to Him, and yet eft, as I sayde,
Levyth my tale and beth nothing dysmayde,
For sche is modyr and also clene virgyne;
This schall ye know aftyr well and fyne."
"Sere," seyd the qween, "now merveyle I ful sore,
For ye preche of this hye degré
Of this same lady, for ye seyd this more,
Sche passyth all othir in very felycité
Whech that be here now or evyrmore schall be.
Than wondyr we sore that sche sent us here
So evyll arayd, so sympyll a messangere,
"For to hir astate it had be full convenient
To send moo men and not send on alone,
Where sche so many hath at hir comaundment!
Eke, as me thinkyth, to swech a grete persone
Schuld long all servauntis that are in hir wone
To clothe more clenly for worchyp of hir hous,
For, syre, your clothyng semeth not ryght precyous."
"Madame," seyd he, "if ye wold me leve,
I wold tell yow pleynly the cause and why
To mak me messangere dyd this Lady meve,
For thow that sche hafe many mylyons of meny,
Sche is in hert nevyr the hyere hardyly,
And swech as sche is are hir servauntes, lo,
For all that love hir thei must do ryght so.
"Ye wote well, madame, for mych thing ye know,
That gostly aray passeth in sovereyn wyse
Bodyly dysgysyng, in hye and in lowe;
The sete of verteu is sett in swych asyse,
Even as thei witnesse, clerkes that be wyse,
That treuth is fayrere be many degrees
Than evyr was Eleyn the fayre lady of Grees.
"Therfore, that Lady that me to yow now sent
Desyreth more gostly inwardly aray
Than golden clothys spred on bodyes gent.
And ferthermore - yet boldly dar I say -
Sche hath before hir in hir paleys ay
Many a thowsand wyth faces bryght and schene
Swech as in erde yet nevyr were sene.
"Sche sayde to me, that hye, noble qweene,
That my servyce plesyd hir so weele
That sche wold send me with this aray mene
To sey hir wyll onto yow every dele.
And be this processe may ye see and feel,
If ye wyll this ladyes frendchyp now wynne
Fro wordly delyte mote ye part and twynne,
"For erdely welthys sett my Lady at nowte,
Therfore hir servauntis schull not have.
Whoso hir love holy mote be her thowte,
With devoute lyvyng her sowles to save.
The more thei forsake here, the more may thei crave
Whan that thei come there her Lady is,
To hir regyoun where thei dwell in blys.
"But, lady, to the purpos now wyll we goo:
Thys blessed qween a tokne dyd me take
Whan sche me sent youre reverens onto.
Thus sayd sche than, 'My messangere I thee make
Onto yon maydyn. Sche may it not forsake
The tokne I take thee, so enprended it is
Onto hir hert sche can it not mys.'
"Thys is the tokne: that ye, syttyng in parlement
With princes, dukes, and erles in fere,
This was your answere and this your entent -
Ye wold no lorde ne kyng have but if he were
So strong, so myghty, that he had nevyr fere,
So fayre, so gentyll, that no man were him lych,
So endwyd with good that no man were so rych.
"Thys was at that tyme, lady, your desyre:
That this lorde whech that ye wold have
Schuld lyve evermore; nevyr with watyr ne fyre
Be dreynt ne brent, but evyr hymselfe save.
Ye wold be with him evyr and nevyr fro him wave -
This was your wyll and fullfyllyd schall it be.
My Lady sent yow bode, if ye wyll folow me,
"For this same Lord whech with my lady is,
He hathe alle these more pleynteuously, I telle,
Than ony man in this world may think, iwys,
For of alle vertues He is the very welle.
Come ye forth with me, hom to my celle,
And if ye fynde my wordes be unstable,
Anothir day arest me be youre constable!
"Ye schull have hir Lord and hir Sone eke -
A gracyous lynage that may noght mys,
A merveylous kynrode to lerne if ye leke:
He is hir Lorde, sche His modyr is;
He is hir Sone and sche mayde iwys;
He made hir, sche bare Him in hir wombe;
The synnes of the world He clensyth, this Lombe."
Than was this mayden sore marred in mynde,
Men myght se in hir coloure, in cheke and in pytte,
So ran hir bloode, so changed hir kynde,
For nevyr was sche or now put in this wytte.
Sche is in swech a trauns, wheyther sche stant or sytte
Sche wote not hirselve; sche is in swech cas,
For to sey a soth, sche wote not where sche was.
Betwyx too thingys so is sche newly falle,
Whech sche schall leve or whech sche schall take.
If sche leve hir lawe whych hir lordes alle
Hold at this tyme and now it forsake,
Falle to a newe for a straunge lordes sake,
Sche seeth not what perell in this matere is.
But for the ermyte spake of this Lordes blys,
His wordes have enclyned now ful sore hir thowte
That sche schall have a thing long desyred.
Alle hir goddys and hir goode set sche at nowte,
So sore is hir hert with this love i-fyred,
It schall no more, sche cast, with the world be myred.
Therfore to the ermyte eft sche gan thus sey,
"All your informacyoun I bere well awey,
"Save that of o thing grete merveyle I bere:
Ye seyd me ryght now whan ye told your talle
That this grete Lady, if I wolde lere,
Bare a noble chyld withouten any bale,
And yet sche is a mayden at asay and sale -
This same matere is ageyn kynde.
What, wene ye sere, that I were so blynde
"That I cowde not undyrstand of generacyoun
The prevy weyes? Thow I non exersye
Hafe had in my lyffe of swech occupacioun -
Ne nevyr wyll have, be that hye justyse
Whech ye to me now newly gan devyse -
Yet know I wele, and ilk man it knowyth,
Who wyll have a chylde, seed sumetyme he sowyth!"
"Wythouten seed, lady, or withoutyn synne
May God make a man, and so He dede or now:
For if we at Adam or at Eve begyne,
It is full pleyn for to schew onto yow.
For whan that same Adam slept in a swow,
Oure Lord owte of his syde than made Eve.
Than be this ensaumple pleynly may ye preve,
"Sith that He made a virgyne of a man,
He was of powere eke for to make
A man of a virgyne - thus He werk can,
This gracyous Lorde whech ye to make
Chosen in your parlement. Yet, for your sake,
Another demonstracyoun in this same matere
I wyll to yow schewe, if ye wyll it here:
"There may no man, if we take good hede,
Preve be any resoun how all thing began -
Speke we now of creatures and leve the Godhede.
The sune and the mone, the bryght and the wan,
Of her begynnyng there can nowe no man
Have no remembrauns ne tell in what plyght
That thei were made, eythere day or nyght.
"Than syth no man may of these erdely werkis
Tell the pryvy cause, no wondyr is certeyn
That thei of feyth schull tell ony merkys, 8
For feyth is not provable, as clerkys seyn.
Therfore oure wyttes must be ful beyn
To leve swech thingys that we can not prove:
Lete argumentys walk, thei are not to oure behove."
"What aylyd that Lord that all myght hadde,
In oure frele nature Him for to clothe,
To leve the bettyr and thus take the badde -
Or ellys at His lykyng to kepe styll bothe?
Was He with mankynde evyr or now wrothe?
Was He evyr offendyd? We wolde wete fayn
What ye to this matere now can us sayn."
"For myschef, madame, that man fell in
Whan Adam the appyll ete in paradys
Wold this Lord in erde lowly take His ine,
Not levyng that place full of delys,
But bothe here and there at His devys
He dwelt, as we leve, oure soules to leche.
This semyth to yow full wondyrfull speche.
"And that same Lord as nobyll marchaunt
His blood for oure synne on crosse wold spylle.
Of that same deth we may make avaunt:
It waschyth from us alle that we dede ille.
Of oure feyth, lady, this is the grettest bylle:
That Cryst His bloode payed for oure synnes alle.
Best of all marchauntis, therfore, we Him calle."
"How may ye couple now that ye have sayd?
He is Lord of all - eyre, watyr, and londe -
Lyvyng in pees with His modyr and mayde.
Her-too thus ye adde that He is so bonde
That He suffrede to be slayn with wykkyd honde -
How can ye acord that this gret possessyoun
Schuld long onto Him and eke this strong passyoun?
"How may that Lord lyvyn evyr and ay
Whan He is coupled of contraries too?
For of man and Godd His persone, as ye say,
Hath take resultauns. 9 And yet sey ye moo:
He is bothe eterne and temporall, loo.
Lok if youre spech be now no heresye -
This wote I weel, that it offendyth phylosophye!"
"To these questyouns thus I answere:
For it paseth Nature and all hir scole,
Nature fayleth whan we feyth lere;
For oure beleve standyth so sole
With these argumentis whech are full of dole
Wyll sche not medelle be no manere preve -
There were no mede than in oure beleve.
"Therfor, lady, if ye wyll, lerne this thing;
Ye schall mech bettyr whan ye your groundys have,
For of oo poynt I geve yow full warnyng:
Ye can nevyr grace of youre Lorde crave,
Ne youre soule eke schul ye nevyr save,
But if ye forsake forevyr your elde beleve,
And trow swech thing as ye can not preve.
"How knew ye that Costus, kyng of this londe,
Was fadyr onto yow? And what evydens have ye
That ye were bounden sumetyme with a bonde,
Armes, bodye, bak, legges, and kne,
Layde thus in cradyll, as chyldyr are, pardé?
Of all these thingys can we make no preve,
Wherfore full mekely we must hem beleve.
"So schall we beleve all manere thing
Whech that oure Lord comaundeth onto us,
For that same Lorde that all hath in weldyng -
Oure blessed God, oure savyoure Jesus -
Whan that He byddyth that we schall do thus,
Suffyseth us as than to be obedyent,
For but if we be, I holde us but schent!
"Yet, for ye argue be your demonstracyoun
That this same doctrine schuld be contrarius,
Because that I seyd in my declaracyoun
Who that blessed lord whech is full delicyous -
I mene Jesu, oure Savyoure, of all most vertuous -
That He schuld be God and man eke in fere,
Of this same doctryne example may ye lere.
"And for ye dowte eke of this coupelyng,
That we two natures in Cryst sey and preche,
I wyll preve this be your own felyng,
And ye yourselve your owne selve schall teche -
Myn arbytroure I make your owne tung and speche.
For withinne yourselve, if ye take heede,
Two natures haf ye, withouten any drede,
"Whech contrarye be. I preve it be this skyll,
For that the on desyreth, the other wyll nouth;
Contrarye than be thei, these too, in wyll,
In desyre, in werkyng, in appetyte, in thowth.
Ryght so in that Lorde that us alle hath bouth
Bethe too kyndes and wylles eke too,
Bothe in oo persone, oure feyth seyth ryght soo.
"Now wyll we declare onto youre reverens
How God is eterne and withouten ende.
For if ye loke wysely, that same sentens
Schul ye have in youre bokes that trete of kende.
Thei determyn thus, if ye have mende:
All thing that is made begynnyng must have.
And for thei fro that heresye schuld hem save
"Whech two begynnynges puttyth in kynde,
Therfor on hafe thei chose and thus thei Him calle
The Fyrst Mevere, if I have mynde,
Of whech mevere other causes alle
Her oryginall spryng both have and schall,
All that have ben and evermore schul be -
Of youre owyn bokes this is the decré."
Whan Adryan the ermyte these wordes had herde,
Assoyled alle these questyons and many moo,
Onto the lady thus he last answerde:
"Madame," he seyth, "if ye wyll now goo
And walk forth with me, non but we two,
This Lord schall ye see, this Lady schall ye speke,
Howses schall ye have there schull nevyr breke."
These wordes went so depe sche left bokes alle,
So astoyned sche was, sche wot not veryly
Wheyther sche schall this ermyte a man now calle
Or ellys an aungell come down fro hye,
For his clothys to his wordes are full onlykly:
An olde man and hore, clade in clothys bare,
A wyse man, a well avysed, and a ware;
A man lych a begger whan men him see,
A man lych a doctoure whan thei him here.
Few wordes and wyse and full of sentens had he,
He semyth not so wyse be aray ne chere
As this lady hath prevyd in dyvers manere.
Wherfore aftyr his counsele certeyn sche wyll do,
No man schall lett hir for sche wyll soo,
For anoon as the ermyte buskyd him to fare
Forth in his jornay, sche folowyth apace.
All lordes and knytes that in the castell ware,
Thei herd not, thei sey not, of all this solace,
Ne thorowoute the cyté as thei gun trace,
Was no man aspyed hem, but as invisible
Thei passed forby. Ryght so seyth oure byble
Of the men of Sodom aboute Lothis hous,
How thei neyther dores ne gates myght fynde.
Godd smet hem thoo with a sekenes mervelous -
It is called acrisia, it maketh men seme blynde
As for a tyme, for sykyr all her mynde
Schall be so astoyned that thei schull not see
Thing that in her hand up hap than bee.
So was all the cyté astoyned ryght than,
Be Goddes providens, fully as we wene.
Lete hem curse now, let hem chyde and banne:
No man knowyth now whedyr is the qweene.
Thus goo thei forth, walkyng bedeene,
Tyll thei come to the stronde where that his hous -
This ermyte, I mene, this man mervelous -
Was won for to stande, but all is agoo.
There is no home - all is wylldyrnesse.
He wayled, he loked, he went too and froo;
He cast the cuntré, but he coude not gesse -
Thus is he lefte in care and hevynesse.
"Good Lord," he seyth, "with me do what Thou lest,
But as Thou hyght me, comfort my gest."
In how long tyme or in how many dayes
That thei fro Alysaunder went to his celle,
It is full harde to telle, for sewyrly tho wayes
Were so mervelous we can not with hem melle.
Therfor of this matere no more wyll I telle.
But He made hem myghty this jornay to take
That be the aungell led Abacuc to the lake.
Thus mornyth this man, thus turneth he aboute;
He lokyth every coost sekyng his celle,
He is falle now sodeynly in full grete doute,
For all his sorow, sothely for to telle,
Was for this lady, where sche schall dwelle.
Thus seyd he to hymselve, "Sche schall ween I were
A fals deceyvoure, a ontrewe messangere."
The qween aspyed be the ermytes face
For very vexacyoun how he chaunged moode.
"Good syre," sche seyd, "I pray yow of youre grace,
Have we any tydynges othyr but goode?
That ye are turmentyd, I se be youre bloode.
Telle me what doute that ye stand now inne?
Councell ha ye non but me, more ne the myne."
"Madame," he seyd, "here left I myn hous
Whan I went for yow as I was sent,
And now the cuntré to me is mervelous.
Alle is agoo, i-drenchyd or i-brent!
I must seke a new hous, for myn elde is schent.
I had nevyr thowth myn herborow to chaunge;
Now mote I nedys, and that schall be straunge."
Tho sayd the qween to the man ageyn,
"That Lady that sent yow for to fech me,
Sche is so gentyll, so trew as ye sayn,
Sche wyll not suffyr us in this adversyté
To be lost or devoured in this straunge cuntré.
Trost we upon hir and hir gentylnesse,
For in good hope lyghte sumtyme sykyrnesse."
"Now evyr be ye wele," seyd the ermyte,
"Ye hafe set your trost hyere than myselve.
Thow ye be entered into the feyth but a lyte,
Ye wyll pace in schort tyme other ten or twelve!
Beth not aferde of best ne of elve,
For that same Lady whos Son ye choos,
Sche schall us save, I leve soo douteles.
"But all my thowth is now for my celle:
Schall I now grubbe and mak all newe ageyn?
Schall I now delve and make me a welle?
My myght is i-goo, sothely for to seyn;
To chaunge my dwellyng was I nevyr fayn.
This is my grucchyng, lady, this is my care.
But for your comfort well mote ye fare."
Godd suffered this man to falle thus in trauns,
That he schuld not hymselfe magnyfye
Of so grete sytys and of swech dalyauns
Whech that he had with oure Ladye.
It is the use of oure Lord to lede men hye
Fro full low degré, as David fro the schepe
Was led to the kyngdam, if we take kepe.
In all this feere whech the ermyte hadde,
Evyr was this qween comfortour to his age:
The more he hevy was, the more was sche gladde,
And evyr with full goodely, full trosty langage
Sche seyd on-to him, "Lete youre hevynesse swage,
Lete it be lost that lost now wyll be.
But trewly I telle, a solempne thing I se
"Evene yondyr above, sere. Se ye nowth?
The woundyrfull wallys schynnyng as sune,
Swech another thing was nevyr wrowte -
There was nevyr swech thing in erde begune!
The stones are bryght, the roves are not dun.
Loke up, man, meryly, se ye noght yon syght -
The castell yondyr whech schynyth so bryght?"
The ermyte behelde but he sey nowth,
Neyther wall ne gates, and tho sorow gan he make.
"Lady," he seyde, "in blessed tyme were ye browte
Onto this grounde youre spouse for to take.
He hath do now more for your sake
Than I hafe felt all my lyffe levande.
Ye be more worthy, as I undyrstande."
Tho wept he full sore, and sone than he say
That same vysyoun, but sore astoyned he was:
His chapell was turned all in other way,
For this whech he sethe is bryghtere than glas -
The othir was elde, all growyn with gras.
His elde hous was lytyll, this new is large.
Than gafe he the mayden a full grete charge.
Thus seyd he to hir, "Madame, now goo ye
Onto yon castell, on-to yon toure.
Trostyth no lengere of the ledyng of me,
For I am not worthy to prese to that boure.
God graunt that I may be youre successoure,
That I may sumetyme come to that place,
If ye may, I pray yow, aske me that grace."
Than went the mayden forth be hir one,
Desyryng sore to se this goodely place,
But Adryan folowyd whan sche was gone.
Oute of hir hardynesse he gan him purchace
Onto his comfort now a new solace.
But whan thei were come at the gatys wyde,
There where thei receyved on every syde
With swech manere persones of face and of clothyng
We can not speke it. I trow thei told it nowte,
For thei that are lyfte to swech mysty thing,
Thei telle what thei sey whan thei were thedyr broute,
But thei cannot expresse her wyll ne her thowte
In whech thei hade that manere solace 10 -
It is anothyr langage that longyth to that place.
But these too persones, as many other moo,
Were lyft up in soule swech sytes for to see.
Seynt Poule hymselve was on of thoo
That was thus i-raveched, yet dowted he
Wheythyr his body or nowte were in that secree.
But this doute I not, that the body of this mayde
Was in that temple where sche was arayde
With holy baptem and anoynted eke
With holy crisme, as oure Lord wolde.
No man may be baptyzed, if we treuly speke,
But thei have a body, be thei yong or olde -
Thus sey the elde bokes, therof are we bolde.
God may do whatevyr Him lyst
And dothe mech thing whech is not wyst.
Thus are thei receyvyd in the fyrst warde,
But aftyr mech bettyr and of worthyere men
Whan sche to the secunde cam, whech savoured as narde -
Nay mech swettyr. There met sche mo than ten -
Of hundredes, I mene - but non can sche ken.
Thei were other maner persones than sche had seyn,
But all these in fere onto hir gan seyn,
"Wolcom, syster, onto this holy place!
Wolcom to oure Lorde, whech hath yow chose
For to be His spouse ryght of His grace!
Wolcome of clennesse very swete rose;
For youre virginité, wythowte ony glose,
Schal we receyve yow." And thus forth thei hir lede,
These gostly folkys in wondyrfull wede,
Tyl thei to the temple cam. But there was a syght:
There came kynges, there cam emperoures,
There cam a meny with habytes so bryght,
It is not possible to erdely successoures
To expresse thoo fresch, thoo gay coloures!
Sche sey hem than in her goodely aray;
We leve in hope to se hem anothyr day.
Thei led hir thoo forthe a full softe pace
Onto the barres of the temple gate.
Hir wolcomyng at that tyme swech thoo it was:
"Wolcom oure syster, wolcom oure mate!
As ye be now were we full late,
For sumtyme had we bothe flesch, fell, and bonys,
As ye hafe now, had we all ones!"
Upon her habytes certen tokenes thei bere -
Sum man oo tokyn, sume man another bare
Aftyr the passyones whech thei suffred here.
So were thei merked with tokenes full bare;
Thoo toknes were sett there, ryght to declare
That men had thei be and with grete distresse
Oute of this herde com to that holynesse.
But whan this lady to the dore was browte,
Sche loked in, hir leders louted alle;
Sche herd there melodye, as to hir thowte,
Sche herd nevyr swych. Therfore is sche falle
Down all in trauns - there was nevyr man ne schalle
That may susteyn in body swech hevynly blysse,
For who schall it susteyn must dye fyrst iwys.
Oute of hir traunce whan sche was wakyd,
Sche folowyd forth than to that noble place.
Than sey sche oure Lord whech all thing makyd,
Whech had called hir to that noble grace,
Sittyng full reall - but upon His face
Durst sche not loke, for no manere thing,
So was sche aferde at hir fyrst comyng.
Than wyst sche wele it was more than man
That sche had sowte and now sche hath it founde,
For with all the wytt that sche gadyr can
Dare sche noght fixe hir eye in this stounde
But evyr sche in poynt is to falle onto the grounde -
Hir body is cause. It must be claryfyed,
And all the carnalyté fully puryfyed,
Or sche swech thinges eythere fele or grope.
Thus is this mayden all in hevynesse
Left and leyd in manere of wan hope,
For that same Lord whech of His goodenesse
Lyst for to chese hir as a specyal spousesse
Now is so straunge - sche may noght hafe that grace
To come sumewhat nyher and se His face.
Tho cam oure Ladye and left hir up sone.
Thus sayd sche to hir: "Be of good comforte.
Youre hevynes is pased, ye hafe youre bone;
All this grete hevynesse schall turn to dysporte.
I sent aftyr yow that ye schuld resorte
Onto this howsolde, for ye schall hafe this grace:
Next me aforn all women to be in this place.
"Therfore come forthe now, for I wyll yow lede
Ryght to my Sone, onto that magesté."
Both maydes in fere thus forthe thei yede.
But this noble Adriane, at that tyme where was he?
Myn auctour telleth noght, but sekyr may ye be,
He had blysse enowe assygned to his parte,
He had so mech he was lothe to departe!
Thus are these ladyes even onto the trone
Of oure Lord allmyghty walked forthe apace.
Withouten othyr company, thei went thoo aloone.
Peraventure other folk stood not in that grace;
So ny that magesté, so ny Goddys face,
To approche at that tyme it was a specyalté
Ordeyned of purpos at this solemnyté.
Oure Lady had the wordes whan sche cam there:
"Sone," sche seyth, "and makere of all maner thing,
I hafe browte a mayde here in full grete fere;
The spouse whech Thu lovyst, here I hir bryng.
Sche desyryth that Thu schalt now with a ryng
Despouse hir to Thiself for evyrmore -
This is hir desyre and hath be full yore."
Oure Lord spake ageyn mysty wordes too,
Whech that this mayde full hevy thoo made:
"Modyr," He seyth, "ye know yourself, loo,
The cause that this company in joyes thus wade
Is the look of Myselfe whech dothe hem glade;
For thei that hafe that, thei nede noo othyr thing.
But thei that schul hafe this gracyous syght lestyng
"Full clene must thei be in body and in gooste,
Wasched fro all synnes that be fowle and derk;
Of swech hafe I here - ye see a grete hoste
Clensyd with My blode and merkyd with My merk.
All this was My laboure and My bysy werk
Whan I in erde was to bye mankynde,
Whech that I fynde full oft to Me onkynde.
"Therfor, modyr, thus I answere onto yow:
This mayde may not hafe as now that grace
Whech that ye aske for hir sake now,
I mene the vysyon, the syght of My face.
Lete hir goo clense hir, lete hir goo purchase
The holy baptem, than hath sche My merke.
Bryng hir than to Me and I schall hir merke
"With swech a tokne that nevyr mayde but ye
Had it so specyaly. Lete this thing be doo.
A prest hafe ye redy, and a man, pardé,
Bothe in flesch and goost; lete him goo thertoo.
Performe he schall this werk with his handys too;
Myn aungellis wyll I noght occupye with this dede -
It longyth to mankynd, withouten drede.
"And yet thow We myght of Oure hye powere
Graunte onto aungellis this specialtee,
That thei schuld baptize men in erde here,
Yet wyll We noght that thei occupyed schuld bee
With swych manere offyce as to humanyté
Longyth and schal longe as for most ryght -
Go now and baptize that noble wyght!"
Than spake oure Ladye to swage hir hevynesse,
"Beth not discomfortyd in no manere weye
With my Sones wordes, for in sykyrnesse
Ye must to His byddyng ful buxumly obeye.
It is a goodely usage, sothely to seye,
Who schal be weddyd onto duke or kynge
Befor hir weddyng to hafe a bathynge
"For to mak hir swete, for to make hir clene,
Ellys myght sche renne in ful grete offens.
Be this example onto yow I mene
Do ye youre devere, do youre dylygens
For to plese youre Lorde. Anon goo we hens
Into yon chapell to your baptistery -
Aftyr your waschyng, ye schal be full mery!"
Thus are thei walked, the mayden and the qween,
Into this chapell on the mynstere syde.
There fond thei redy a funt, as I wene,
With watyr and with crisme in a vessell wyde.
Adriane is called fro the puple asyde,
For he must do all this holy servyse,
Lych as oure Lady the manere schall devyse.
Thus seyd sche to him, "Go do now this dede -
It longyth to thin ordre Cristen folk to make.
Aray thee anone in swech manere wede
Whech I myself here thee now take.
This mayde schal be bathyd for hir loves sake
In this cold watyr, and Crysten schal sche be.
My Lord, my Son, thus comaundyth He.
"I myselfe schal of hir clothes strepe
And make hir all naked, redy to this thing.
Hir name Kateryne styll schal thu clepe,
Ryght for this cause and for this tokenyng:
That thei whech knew hir ethir eld or yyng
Schul hafe an evydens sche is styll the same
Whech sche was befor. Therfor styll hir name
"Schal sche thus kepe, in confirmacyoun
That all thing is trewe whech we do here. 11
No wyles wrowte are, ne no collusyoun;
We wyll noght suffyr that in no manere."
Tho was Kateryn spoyled, but blynd was the frere,
Bothe in hir spoylyng and in hir bapteme.
Of that solempne fest this was the theme:
"I baptize thee here in the blessed name
Of the Fadyr and the Sone and the Holy Gost,
In presens and wytenes of oure reverent dame,
Modyr unto Cryst, of all women moste,
Godmodyr onto thee, and that may thu boost.
Lok thu beleve, dowtyr, as I seyd to thee:
That oo God there is and persones thre.
"Beleve eke in bapteme and in Holy Kyrk;
Beleve in the passyoun of oure Lord Jesu;
Beleve that the miracles whech He dede werk
Were withoute deceyte, stable and trewe;
Beleve that of a virgyne His manhode grew,
And sche undefouled. For sche is present,
Sche can bere wyttenesse of this testament."
Kateryne answeryd onto these articles alle:
"I beleve hem, sere, as ye rehers bedene.
Therfor on knes as I now down falle,
In this same funte, whech ye may not sene,
Baptize me, par charité, and make me clene,
For this is the wyll of the soveren Lorde above,
And my wyll is it eke ryght for His love."
Thus was sche baptized, and in this manere
Confermed eke, and renewed hir name.
Oure Lady hirselfe servaunte was here;
Sche dede of the clothes of this swete dame.
All this ilk tyme there was a hame
Of blyndenes before this ermytes yye,
For of all this werk nothing he syye.
But sone aftyr this sacrament is doo,
His lyght receyvyd he newly ageyn.
The myrth, the joye that the man made thoo
We can not esyly expresse now ne seyn.
Ful sekyrly wende he nevyr eft a seyn -
Now thanketh he Godd, of His hye grace,
That evyr he cam into that holy place.
Oure Lady comaunded to daun Adryan
That all this thing whech he herd and sey doo,
With all his besinesse, ryght so as he can,
To wryght it pleynly whan he may tend thertoo.
And as sche bad, full sekyrly he dyd soo,
This noble ermyte, for onto oure ere
How schuld it come ellys? How schuld we it lere?
Now is oure Lady forth with this mayde
Into the temple entred ageyn.
Yet in hir going thus swetly sche sayde,
"Dowtyr myn, Kateryne, loke ye be glad and feyn,
For youre desyre schul ye have, certeyn,
Ere ye goo hens - beleve this sykyrly."
Swech wordes talked thei, walkyng sobyrly.
Now be thei come evene before the trone
Of oure Lord God, the mayde and the qwene.
Oure lady had the wordes hirself alone -
Swech was the ordre of hir tale, I weene.
"O kyng of kynges, blyssed mote Thu beene!
I have browte here the doghtyr of clennesse,
Prayng Thee, Lorde, with alle humbylnesse
"That Thou schew now the blysse of Thi face
Onto Thi spouse, onto Thi creature.
Evene as Thu grauntyd that grete grace
To kepe hir virginité in clenly trappure,
So graunte hir now that hye portrature
Of Thi blyssyd ymage to se and beholde,
For than are sche and I mech to Thee beholde."
Oure Lorde answerde onto His modyr ful fayre:
"Whatsoevyr ye wyll, modyr, it must be doo;
All heven and herde to yow must repayre
For help whan hem nedyth to refresch her woo.
I graunte your petycyoun, I wyll it be soo."
Than fell that qween down plat to the grounde,
Hir corown sche toke of that was ful rownde,
Sche leyd it befor Him and thus sche spake:
"Lord of all creatures that be lyvande,
Nothing that I aske of Thi grace I lake,
Evyr be Thu honowred in hevyn and in lande.
I myselfe am werk of Thi hande;
Thow I Thi modyr be, Thi servaunt am I.
Thi grace I thank, for Thi mercy I crye!"
Oure Lord bad hir ryse and sche rose sone.
Sche was corowned ageyn or thei were ware.
Tho men myght see what is to done
Of ony creature whan thei come thare;
This same exaumple sat thoo full sare
On Kateryns hert; sche fell down anoone,
Plat on the grounde, styll as the stoone.
Thus seyd sche, in schort, for to tell pleyn:
"I se wele, Lorde, that of all maner thing
Thou art makere of erde, eyre, and the reyn -
All be obedyent to Thi comandyng.
Mercy I crave, Lord, at my begynnyng -
Have I Thi mercy, I desyre not ellys,
For I have lernyd of mercy here the welle is."
Sche was lyft up be oure Lorde Hymselfe.
Thus seyd He to hir: "Wolcom, doutyr, to Me."
Aboute hir stode vyrgynes ten or twelve,
Wondyrly arayed and full of bewté.
Oure Lady had called hem onto that deuté,
To comfort this mayde and do hir servyse.
Tho spak this Lorde, this hye justyse:
"Ask what ye wyll, Kateryne, ye schul it have
Of Me at this tyme to your wolcomyng.
Syth ye forsake bothe castell and cave
For love of Me and for My byddyng,
I will graunte yow youre hertis desyryng,
For I am that same whom ye in parlement
Ageyn all youre lordes and comouns consent
"Chosen onto spowse. Who leke ye now?
Wyll ye now have Me for evyrmore?"
With these swete wordes sche fel in swow
Plat onto the grounde, the good Lorde before.
But whan He hir wyttes ageyn gan restore,
Thus spake sche than onto that kyng:
"O Soveren, makere of all manere thing,
"Of angell, of man, of best, and of tre,
If I were worthy onto Your hye presence
For to be couplede with solemnyté,
Than wold I desyre of Your excellens,
That Ye forgefe me all manere offens -
Make me Your servaunt and not Youre wyffe;
I am not worthy to so hye a lyffe!"
"Yys," seyd oure Lorde, "My modyr wyll here
That I schall wed yow - so wyll I, saun fayle.
Therfor I ask yow, youre wyll for to lere.
If ye consent onto this spousayle,
With many joyes I wyl you newly rayle.
Consent ye Kateryne? What sey ye nowe?"
"Lord," sche seyd, "thoo I wyll as wilt thow.
"I forsake here, Lorde, for Thi love,
Crown and londe, castell and town,
Gold and sylvyr, bothe hows and rofe,
Brochys and ryngys, mantell and gown.
Suffyr me no more, Lord, for to fall down
In delectacyoun of wordly thingys.
Kepe me Thiselfe, Lorde, kyng of all kyngys.
"All that evyr I hafe, that wote I wele,
I hafe it of Thee, Lord - of whom hafe I elles?
My spech, my thowt, my mende - every dele -
My bones, my body, my flesch, and my felles!
Now as in Thee of plenté be the welles,
Suffyr me nevyr for to part Thee froo,
For fro Thi presens kepe I nevyr to goo."
Than spak oure Lorde ryght on this wyse:
"Long was it ordeynde befor this tyme
That ye schuld come onto Oure servyse.
Above all othir I wyll that ye clyme -
Save only My modyr, schortly to ryme,
Ye schal be next joyned to My presence,
Ryght for your chastyté and youre obediens.
"For thow all thoo maydenes that kepe hem clene
For My sake and for My plesaunce
Be wyves unto Me all bedene,
Yet is there to yow schape a hyere chaunce.
Befor hem all schal ye go in the daunce,
Next My modyr, ryght for this cause:
For ye forsoke, to say schortly in clause,
"Emperour, kyng, and duke, for My sake.
I receyve yow, therfore, be a specyalté.
My wyffe forevyr here I yow make
Because of your constans in virginité.
And a new conflycte in schort tyme schul ye
Begyne for My sake, but drede yow noght.
Whoso offend yow, ful dere it schal be bowte!"
Tho spak oure Lady ryght in this manere:
"Syth that this spousayle mote nedys be doo,
This same mayde, Lord, geve I Thee here.
A mayde geveth a mayde; Thu servyd me soo,
Whan Thu commendyd Jon me untoo
Where that Thu hyng on the blody tre.
Here is the ryng, Lord, and here is sche."
Oure Lord tok that ryng in His honde;
He put it on the fyngere of this clene virgyne.
"This is a tokne," He seyd, "of that bonde
Whech ye youreselfe, as on of Myne,
Lyst now youre wyll to My wyl enclyne.
This tokne eke beryth wytnesse full ryffe
That here I tak yow for My weddyd wyffe."
Certeyn men that had seyn this ryng,
As myn auctour seyth, thei told it pleyn.
Thei seyde that it is a fayre gravyn thing
Oute of a ston whech, as thei eke seyn,
It is clepyd a calcedony. Lych a clowde of reyn
Or ellys lych the watyr, swech his coloure is.
His vertues are touchyd many, iwys;
The auctoures sey that he is gracyous
To the berer of him if that he wyll trete
Of ony materes whech that be perlyous;
He schall have fortune down for to bete
All the bate and stryffe in toun or in strete;
He is vertuous eke to geve men a tast
For to kepe hir body bothe clene and chast.
Tho began a song in heven all abowte,
The wondyrfull notes that evyr man myght here,
Wordes sounded thei to the notes full devoute,
Full well acordyng to her song there.
The song that thei sungyn, if ye wyll lere,
Was this same Sponsus amat sponsam,
The overt thertoo, "Salvator visitat illam."
So semeth it well this song in heven began
Amonge aungellis and seyntes in blysse;
Well may it than be sunge of mane
Here in this vale of wrecchydenesse.
This chyrch must folow for sothe, I gesse,
The chyrch above in all that it may.
Thus endeth the weddyng of this may.
Tho lest oure Lorde His leve to take
Of His new spouse as for a space.
That same hand whech all thing dede make,
He lyfte on hye, and of His goode grace
He blessed this swete, bothe hede and face.
"Farwell," he seyth, "My wyffe ful dere;
Lete no dyscomfort yow noy ne fere.
"Thow that ye lese your londe, youre welth,
Thynk it is bettyr that I yow geve;
Thow sekenes come in stede of helth,
Kepe ye youre counstans in trewe beleve.
And thee, Adryane, make I My refe
As in this matere: thu schall hir teche
Of Myn incarnacyon the manere speche;
"Teche hir the feyth eke of the Trinité,
The Fadyr, the Sone, and the Holy Gost;
Teche hir of the Godhede the unyté;
Truly teche hir, withouten boste.
Of all this cuntré, I trost thee now moste.
Therfor, do truly my comaundment -
But if thu do, thu may sone be schent!
"Thys werk, this lessoun, truly to performe,
Eyt dayes wyll I sche dwell with thee.
My modyr schall I sende hir to enforme
Aftyr that tyme, with solemnyté,
Of many other thinges touchyng hir and Me.
But Kateryne, wyffe, this schall I yow geve,
Above all women that now erdely leve,
"Myn aungellis schul honour yow with a servyse,
In tokne that we be wedded in fere.
There was nevyr sey yet swech funeral offyse
Of no seynt that in erde deyed here.
This schal I do for youre love dere.
Farewel now, and think 'not longe.'"
Thus pased oure Lorde with myrthe and song,
And all thoo creatures fayre and bryght,
Alle are i-passed; the temple eke is goo,
So is that chapell, that funt, and that lyght,
Of all this thing thei se now no moo
But Adryanes celle, where that thei too
Are left alone among trees olde.
But than was it reuth for to beholde,
To se this swete, how sche than felle
Down in a swow, as ded thoo sche lay.
Adriane now is runne to his welle;
With watyr he comyth and grete afray.
"Awake, madame," he gan thoo to say,
"Allas that evyr ye come in this place!"
He rubbyd hir chekys, the nose, and the face;
He wept, he prayed, he cryed ful sore
To sche awoke, sat up and spake.
Adryane sayde to hir, "Lady dey no more -
For and ye do hens schal I me pak!
Alle manere comfort here we do lak
That schuld yow rere; therfore I charge yow
Fall no more in swech manere swow.
"Thynkyth thow your love as for a tyme
Hath left yow here, yet hath He nowth
Forsak yow, lady, but as a pylgryme
He wyl ye be in dede and in thouth.
I wote full wele ye nevyr mech rowth
Of no wordly ne erdely plesauns;
It may yow nothing so hyly avauns
"As may that Lorde to whom that ye be
Wedded now newly. For Goddys sake,
Comfort yourselve and think how that ye
This same blesse sumetyme schul i-take
In swech manere sewyrnesse that schal nevyr slake.
Therfore beth glade and loke on your ryng -
It wyll remembyr yow youre gloryous weddyng."
"But now must ye, myn own lady dere,
Youre beleve undyrstand, ful sykyr and pleyn.
Youre swete spouse bad I schuld it yow lere,
Whom ye in flesch now full late seyn,
In whech He soked and also was slayn,
But of His Goddehed, whech is grownd of all,
Feythfully the treuth tell now I schall.
"Thys must ye beleve, as I told yow ere,
Whan ye were baptized, if ye hafe mynde -
Sette your hert therto and bysyly it lere:
Oure Lord Godd is of swech a kynde
That sykyrly, as I of Him wretyn fynde,
He is on in substauns and in nature,
Thre eke in persones I yow ensure.
"O God, o Lorde, o maker, o magesté:
The Fadyr and the Sone and the Holy Goost,
Thre persones in o Godhede, thus beleve ye,
Of whech non is smallere, ne non is most.
All are of evene powere in every cost,
For the pluralyté of persones is no prejudyse
Onto the unyté of Godhed, in no manere wyse.
"And yet He that is the Fadyr is not the Sone,
Ne the Sone the Gost, withouten fayle;
O wyll hafe Thei in all that is done,
O myght, o powere, o lyght, o counsayle:
This lessoun must ye hyde in your entrayle
Ful sadly, madame, for it is oure grounde,
On whech to beleve ful sore are we bounde.
"Dystynctyoun in persones, in nature unité,
This is oure scole - it must be oure besynesse.
The Fadere geveth to the Sone, thus beleve we,
All substauns of deité and He hath nevyr the lesse.
The Fadyr begetyth the holy Sone, in blesse
The Sone is begotyn, the Goost fro Hem too
Procedyth, the thryd persone, thus belefe we loo.
"To the Fadyr longyth myght, to the Sone cunnyng,
Godeness to the Goost: thus couplede be Thei, I gesse,
And yet must we sey for ony manere thing
O myght, o cunnyng, and eke o goodenesse,
That the Fadyr is allmyghty, the Sone hath nevyr the lesse.
Thow the Sone have cunnyng the Goost hath the same,
Goodenesse have Thei alle, wete ye wel, madame."
Swech manere dalyauns had these folk than
All thoo eyte dayes in hye communicacyoun.
Mech more thing was seyd than - more than I can
Reherse at this tyme. Suffyseth yow this lessoun,
For all thoo holy wordes of swech exhortacyoun
May bettyr be thowth than thei may be spoke -
Swech langage in synfull tunge is but brok.
At the eyte dayes ende, as was promission,
Comth oure Lady with lyght down fro hevene;
Chaunged sodenly is thoo that mansyon,
For it semyth now brytere than the levene.
Aungellys were there mo than sex or sevyne -
It longeth onto hem to do her dew servyse
To the emperesse of hevyn, modyr to the hye justyse.
Many other ladyes come thoo with the qwene -
With Mary, I mene - so ded Jon Baptyst.
There were eke vyrgines full fele, as I wene.
He was there eke, Jon the evangelyst;
Who had be there of joye he myght a wyst. 12
Oure Lady hirselfe onto this blyssed mayde
Swech manere wordes at that tyme sayde:
"Dowtyr to me, wyffe onto my Sone,
My Sone gretyth yow with His good blessyng.
As He behestyd yow, now am I come
To tell yow the manere of youre endyng.
A tyraunt - a wers was nevyr levyng -
Schal distroye youre regne and your body sle.
We wyll not ye repent yow, we wyll not ye fle.
"Abydyth styll, ryght in youre owyn place.
Boldly stryve ageyn his tyrannye.
My Sone wyll endew yow with swech grace
Was nevyr no woman honoured so hye.
But fyrst mote ye sufyr schame and vylonye,
Losse of your godys, in your body passyoun,
Deth at the last - this is the conclusyoun.
"I must goo now onto my Sone ageyn,
Ye to your owne courte schall repaire.
All this tyme thei mysse yow not, dare I seyn.
Farewele my dowtyr, farewel ye fayre!
Whyl ye with my Sone were in the ayre
A qween leche to yow all that tyme kept
Youre grete astate: sche ete and slept,
"Spake and comaunded, bothe dempt and wrote -
All this dyde sche ryght in your stede.
There was no man withinne that mote
That cowde aspye in hir womanhede
Ony manere differens, sat sche or yede.
My Sone ordeyned this for youre sake.
Whan ye are ded and your corown take,
"Than schall ye know swech pryvy thingys -
How thei ar doo and in what manere.
Yet of another matere I geve yow warnyngys:
The qween your modyr, the whych dyd yow bere,
Is i-pasyd and ded, leyd low on bere.
But beth not dyscomfortyd - now wyll I be
Modyr onto yow, my Sones wyffe, pardé.
"Too yere in your place and sumwhat more
Schull ye dwell or this Maxencius
Come for to spoyle your tresore -
Of that same rychesse be ye not desyrous.
Kepyth your chambyr with levyng vertuous,
With prayre, fastyng, and almes dede;
Geve to the pore folk bothe mete and wede.
"Aftyr this tyme be pased and i-goo
Than schall this tyraunt mak sone a hende
Of yow, doutyr, and of many moo.
This lesson I wyll that ye emprende,
Now and evyr set it in youre mende.
Farewel, now fyrst I wyll yow kysse,
I go to my Sone, to evyrlestyng blysse."
Thus is oure Lady sodenly i-goo
As now fro this qween. Sche is home, eke,
Unto Alysaundyr - myn auctour seyth soo.
Thei that wyll rede him, thei may it seke.
Wheyther sche cam thedyr in day or in weke
I wote noght now, but there now sche is.
Was non all that tyme that dede hir mys
For that tyme whech sche was oute;
Thus was it ordeynyd be oure sovereyn Lorde.
This same book whech we hafe be long aboute
We wyll now ende, if ye therto acorde.
God send us alle of unité acorde
To plese Him oonly above all mene.
Therto sey we alle with oo voys, Amen.
i.e., lost to the world
apply myself directly; (see note)
it stands to reason
anything; trust me
located; (see note)
converted by [Katherine]
capable of being
partly with alms; work
hairy; bare-headed; bald; (see note)
hermit; stooped with
say his prayers
hold vigil or fast at all
Judge; according to
In awe of you
then; (see note)
queen [Mary]; saw; appearance; height
Surpassing by far
appropriate to [her state]
closer and closer
Blessed be God!
Very slowly toward her
My Son does too; because of
While I still have; skin
i.e., Mary; in response
Do you realize
night was dark
relieve your sluggishness
messenger; spiritual knight
Though she knows nothing of me; (see note)
there is no greater; (see note)
just a little while ago
chosen a husband for her
information I provide
you [shall] know
none like her
believes; hair shirt; (see note)
suble one; Seven Liberal Arts; (see note)
succeeded; higher ranking
count as nothing
on God's side
as a human
stupid, thoughtless, and blustering
gone when I saw
always; intended to be
reckless; just now
punish; rebuke; as you yourself
move right along
But rather that
through you; say
Do not make any reply
guarding the gates
gate; size and shape
you need not
[your entrance] will alarm her
in any case
Lollard, witch, or elf; (see note)
listen closely to
on a par with
Prepare assiduously; tuck in your robe
on his way
long before evening
for his lofty missions
Paul; (see note)
He suddenly found himself
at frequent intervals
I never expected to have seen
no earthly woman
Sneaked through the gate
She was a hundred times more so
In his eyes
forfeit his life
private quarters; discredit
turn out well for you
You may be sure
If, by chance; household
before you; depart
least of her personal servants
of higher rank
though you believe
truly, before; realized
had by then come
From which we digressed before; arguing
lies (i.e., give little credit to)
On account of
if they try, they waste their effort
a great crowd
understand very well later
Such a badly clothed
give me permission
chose to make
i.e., follow her example
clothing; in the highest way
Helen; (see note)
convey all her will to you
Those who love her must by their
Lamb [of God]
such a state
to tell the truth; knew
upon inspection; (see note)
as your mate
Forget arguments; profit
possessed the almighty Lord
before now angry
reconcile; (see note)
allowed himself to be
is not heretical
Then believing would have no merit
have grasped the basics
at the same time
two natures and two wills
in order to avoid heresy
First Mover; understand; (see note)
she will take his advice
prepared to depart
Lot's; (see note)
happens to be
Used to stand; gone
searched; figure it out
It took them to go
concern ourselves with
Habakkuk; lions' den (see note)
to tell the truth
think I am
have; neither more or less
I must do so
If she is as noble
Sometimes our security resides in faith
You should be cared for
become self magnified
Do you not see it?
made on earth
buildings (roofs); dim; (see note)
looked; saw nothing
experienced in my lifetime
Rely no longer on my guidance
press on; dwelling
request that favor for me
express; revealed; (see note)
lifted up; mysterious
Paul; (see note)
partook in that mystery
we have confidence
smelled like nard
rose sweet in purity; (see note)
live; i.e., after our death
at a leisurely pace
emblems; (see note)
According to; i.e., on earth
they had been humans
in her opinion
on no account
at this time
made morally pure; (see note)
lifted her up at once
your request is granted
make your way
was happy enough
reluctant to leave
As it happens
especially for this ceremony
reverence; (see note)
for a long time
in response mysterious
the sight of Me; gladden
i.e., their redemption
as of now
baptism; will have
no maiden but you
on hand; (see note)
take a bath
incur his displeasure
I mean to say
duty; make every effort
attached to the temple
As our Lady instructs
i.e., the priesthood
present to you
Continue to call her Katherine
just as you say them
on account of
he thought he would never see again
have the chance
This is what she said, I think
in a pure state
greatly indebted to You
relieve their sorrow
I am grateful for
Thus; must be done
to start with
the well of mercy is here
the will of lords and commons
What do you think?
to her senses
everything I have done wrong
wishes; (see note)
in that case; (see note)
On account of my love for
Now, as the wells of plenty are in You
rhyme; (see note)
prepared for you; higher fortune
dance; (see note)
to put it bluntly
in a special way
will pay dearly
did the same for me
described it clearly
Its many virtues; discussed
bearer; be involved in
i.e., this earthly life
i.e., the church on earth; (see note)
wished to take leave
for a while
disturb; frighten; (see note)
what I give you is better
how to speak of
Eight; (see note)
live on earth
a pity to see
swoon; as if she were dead
unless you do
can never promote you as highly
remind you of
seen just now
does not contradict
keep in your heart
doctrine; we must accept it
broken; (see note)
a great many
a worse one never lived
worthy one; fair one
who looked just like you
whether she sat or walked
Keep to your chamber
Go To The Life of Saint Katherine, Book 4