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[leaf 199]



How can I, so foul, sing of Mary?


Yet, sister, you bid me do so.


Al þyse maydenes, wyb-out bost,
Hy berep god in here goste,

In hare holy pouzt[e] ;
Ac hy wyb-oute mannes ymone
In body, and nauzt in gost a-lone,
To manne hyne broute.

Of hyre þat hys pos dygne of take,
Hou myzte ich of hyre songes make,

bat am so foul of lyue ?
And pou me bede, soster, synge,
And alle in-to one songe brynge
Here swete ioyen fyue.

To segge pat ich hyt maky can,
pat am so one-connende a man,

Dar ich me nauzt auanty;
Ac tryste ich wolle to oure leuedy,
And maky hyt ase hyt wyle by,
And ase hy hy[t] wole me granty.

As man ine hys by-leaue yse},
Ioyen of hyre so fele per bep,

Ne may hys no man telle,
Ase hy haþ of hyre leue sone :
Hyt passep al mankendes wone,

And out of mannes spelle.


And with her belp, I will.


Her joys are so many, that no man can tell them.



Four kinds of
them she had
here on

Four manere ioyen hy hedde here
Of hyre sone so lef an dere,

Wytnes opan pe godspelle;


29. alone, MS. aboue (Wr. corr.).

31. of take, read op-take, assumpta ? Mätzner writes of lake (O. E. lāc, gift, offering).

34. And, read Ac? (Kölbing's conjecture).

42. hy hy[t], MS. hy hy; Mätzner omits one hy.wole, distinctly so in MS.; Wr. wolde.

45. hys (not hyt) in MS.

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And alsle) comeþ of pe blysse
pat hye hep nou, wyb-oute mysse,
So stremes of be welle.

Þe wylle þat hys in paradys
Fol wel by-toknep þys auys,

Wyþ here stremes foure,
bet ornep out ouer al þat londe,
Nys neuer erblyche man þat fond
Hou fele come of pe stoure.

bys wulle hys god self man by-come,
Of hym þys ioyen bep alle y-nome,

And alle ine uour manere : be furste was wyþ concepcioun, bo þe angel gabryel come a-doun Ine stede of messager[e],

To brynge pe tyþynge by-fore
hat cryst of hyre wolde by bore,

Mannes trespas to zelde,
For to brynge ous out of helle :
Wo mytte penche oper telle
Wat ioye per y uelde !


In nazareth, pe ryche toun,
Aue maria was þat soun

Of gabrieles steuene;
bo was þat mayde wel ygret,
And wyþ a present wel ageet
Fram vader oure of heuene.

So he was ine hyre ycome,
For fleasch and blod of hyre to nome,

Ase pe angel hyre seyde;

brought her the tidings that Christ

should be 69 boru of her,


and greeted
her with
"Ave Maria.'




81 .

52. of þe, MS. ofte Þe (Mätzner corr.). 59. Nys, read Nes? 63. uour, MS. nout, Mätzner noue = new; but cp. 1. 49. 71. An o has been cancelled after mytte. 76. wel is the reading of the MS.; Wr. was. 77. wel agcet, Mätzner wcleget (for veleged), enriched; see note.

So she conceived Him without breaking her vow of clean maidenhood.


Saint John
the Baptist
leaped in
his mother's

(leaf 200]
wornb, when
she spoke
to her.




. 96

Ne hy of mannes mone neste,
Ne hy ne brek nauzt hyre by-heste,
Ac euere clene a mayde.

Seynt johan þe baptyst on-bore,
bo hy spek hys moder by-fore,

Ine ioye he gan to asprynge.
Elyzabet wel þat aspyde,
Hou a spylede onder hyre syde,
And made hys reioyynge.

More encheyson hadde oure leuedy
Ioyous and blype for to by,

Wyp-oute prede and boste;
For in hyre selue hy hyne fredde,
Fol wel hy wyste hou [hy] hyne hedde
pory self þe holy goste.

Ioseph kedde þat he was mylde,
bo þat he wyste hy was wyþ chylde,

A-wey he wolde alone;
Ha nolde nauzt he were a-slawe,
Ne forbe y-iuged by be lawe
To by stend wyþ stone.

Ac ioseph was wel blype, aplyzt,
po to hym cam pe angel bryzt,

To segge hym wat he scholde ;
Wel blyþþere myzte be þat may,
hat was y-conforted al day
Wyp aungeles wanne hy wolde.

In þyssere ioye we scholde by-louken
Al hyre ioyen of uourti woken

he wylest he zede wyþ chylde.

Joseph, knowing her with child,


would not
have her
stoned to
death, accord-
ing to the


and rejoiced
when the
to himn.




In this joy should be included all her other joys while going with child.

111 The second

84. Ac, read As? 89. hyre, MS. hys (Mätzner corr.). 92. by, MS. be. 95. [hy] inserted by Mätzner. 100. he · hy; so, too, l. 111. 104. þo, MS. So.

y bore

at the birth of Christ.

She had conceived Him without the taint of sin;

so He was

as the sun passes

Of hyre [barme] hyt was god game,
ber-inne þet vnicorn weks tame
þat er þan was so wylde.

(20. ii.).
et oper ioye of hyre ycore

joy she had Was of ihesus, of hyre ybore A crystemasse nyyte,

117 [leaf 200, bk.] Wyb-oute sorze, wyb-oute sore; And so ne schal þer neuer more Wymman wyp childe dyzte.

120 (21) For so hy hyne scholde ferst auonge, per nes no senne per amonge, Ne noe flesches lykynge ;

123 per-fore of hyre y-bore he was,

brought forth Ase pe sonne passezt þorz Þe glas Wyb-outen on openynge.

126 through

glass. (22) In suapebendes hy hyne dygte, Ase hyt hys be chyldes rygte, And zef hym melk to souke;

129 baz hyt were pustre of nyzt, ber nas wane of no lyzt, be heuene gan onlouke.

132 (23) Out com an aungel wyþ great leem (122)

announced by In-to pe feld of bedleem,

the shepherds Amonges Þe schepherden,

135 in the field of Te telle pat cryst was y bore; ber come singinde per-fore Of angeles manye verden.

138 (24) Hanne sede he swype wel

So it proved Gracia plena, gabryel,

Mary was And þat hys “fol of grace";

His birth was

the angel to


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true that

141 grace.' 112. See note.

114. þan, MS. þang. 120. dyzte, Mätzner proposes be dyzle. Perhaps we ought to read hyt dyzte.

122. nes (Mätener nas), MS. nys. 126. Omission of on proposed by Mätzner. 133. leem, second e, being written close to the m, looks like o in MS. 135. schep-, MS. schop?

full of

The ox and ass in the


and named

Wanne glorye of hyre hys fol a-boue,
And pays igrad for hyre loue
Of angeles in place.

144 (25)

oxe and asse in hare manyour, stable, seeing bo þat hy sezen hare creatour their Creator [leaf 201) Lyggynde in hare forage,

147 lying in the

Al one-knowynge paz hy were, manger, rejoiced in

Hy makede ioye in hare manere, their way. And eke in hare langage.


On the eighth · Ope þe heze eztynde day
day He was
circumcised, He onder-zede pe gywen lay,
And was ycircumcysed.

Iesus me clepede hyne þer-uore,
Ase aungeles, er he were y bore,
Hys eldren hadde y-wysed.


(27) Great was

Mochele ioye hy aspyde, Mary's joy when the

be kynges pre pat come ryde three Kings Fram be easte wel iverre;

159 gitts;

Gold, myrre, stor, were here offrynges, (123)
hat he was lord and kyng of kynges
Wel by-toknede pe sterre.


and Simeon, po þat he scholde y-offred by
was presented In þe templo domini,
in the temple,
Ase laze zef þe termes,

Symeon, þe olde man, gan crye,
And spek of hym fur prophecye,
And tok hym ine hys earmes.

168 (29) bo he was bote twelf wynter ald, years old, And hez ine pe temple he seat wel bald, And þaz he speke smale,

171 146. creatour, MS. creature. 159. Wr. 2-verre, MS. werre (distinctly). 163. by, MS. be.

164. templo, so MS. 167. fur = for (Mätzner); or ought we to read por3 (also spelt pour3) ? 169. he, MS. 3e. 170. And (= An) hez, MS. hez he, but the he has been cancelled.

from the East offered their

when He

of Him.

And when He was twelve

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