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Books for nuns: Cambridge University Library MS additional 3042.

The number of surviving manuscripts that can be shown to have belonged to houses of religious women in medieval England is pitifully small.(1) Apart from the double house of Syon Abbey, whose relative wealth of surviving books has recently been so comprehensively documented by Christopher De Hamel,(2) only the Benedictine abbey of Barking, currently known to have possessed fifteen surviving books, reaches double figures.(3) Many houses are represented by a single manuscript, so any suggestion that a manuscript was at one stage owned by, produced for or even by, a house of religious women deserves to attract the attention of those who wish to establish more clearly the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of the religious life for women in medieval England.

One such manuscript which has not previously been noted but seems to have belonged to a house of women religious, probably Augustinian canonesses, is Cambridge University Library MS Additional 3042. The manuscript is small, measuring 75 cm by 110 cm, with the remains of a clasp on its front cover. It is still in its original medieval binding, the wooden boards covered with leather (probably calf-skin), the back wooden board gone and the front board worm-eaten and detaching. Its modest size and binding suggest that it was meant for private rather than public or communal use. A number of hands have contributed to the manuscript: at least twelve separate hands have each written out one or more complete text, and there are further minor and later (sixteenth-century) hands that make brief appearances. The quires contain widely varying numbers of leaves and the collation is as follows:

[[i.sup.2]]; [[ii.sup.4]]; [a.sup.12] (5, 12 cancelled; added leaves are one singleton plus one bifolium after 8 and one singleton added after 9, 10, 11; sixteen leaves surviving); [b.sup.8] (one singleton added after 1, 2, 3, 6, twelve leaves surviving); [c.sup.1] (one leaf only); [d.sup.10] (one leaf missing, probably blank, 10 cancelled, 8 leaves surviving), e-[h.sup.8]; [i.sup.6] (lacks 6, stub remaining), k-[l.sup.8]; [m.sup.8] (lacks 2, stub remaining); [n.sup.2]; o-[p.sup.4]; [q.sup.2]; r-[s.sup.10]; [iii.sup.2].(4)

The eccentricities of the quiring are perhaps best explained by hypothesizing that the volume was not planned as a whole but grew by a process of accretion, perhaps as texts and/ or parchment came to hand, and as a result of collaboration, possibly over some years.

The manuscript contains prayers in Middle English and Latin and several pieces of devotional prose in Middle English. The principal contents are as follows:

1. fos 3-[6.sup.v] [acephalous] In the vigil of ascension of oure lorde.

Instructions for the correct observance of Ascension and Pentecost: Latin text, Middle English rubrics.

2. fos 7-32 Domine labia mea aperies. Hours of the Holy Spirit. Intercalated on singletons are the complete versions of various liturgical texts indicated in the Hours only by their incipits.

3. fos 33-[35.sup.v] Hymn, versicle, and response of St Etheldreda; antiphons of Sts John the Baptist, Peter and Paul; prayers to the Holy Trinity.

4. fos 36-[78.sup.v] Here bigynneth deuoute meditaciouns of the passioun of crist whiche weren compilid of Ri=chard rolle heremyte of ham=pol. . . . Lord that maclist me of nought.

Text II of Rolle's Meditations of the Passion; printed from this manuscript by C. Horstmann; variants cited from it (as B) by H. E. Allen, English Writings of Richard Rolle (Oxford, 1931), 19-36. See also Richard Rolle; Prose and Verse ed. by S. Ogilvie-Thomson, EETS, o.s. 293 (1988), pp. xlix and xciii. She comments that this is 'a very poor text' and also queries the authenticity of the Meditations.

5. fos 79-[80.sup.v] [O] Good lorde that knowest alle thyng. A form of confession for a religious; Jolliffe O. 12.(5) Printed below.

6. fo. [81.sup.r-v] Deus deus meus respice.

Three Latin psalms (Deus deus meus respice, Iudice me domine, and Deus in adiutorium) with a prayer, Deus pro redempcione humani generis.

7. fo. [82.sup.r-v] Diagrams of spiritual ladders of virtues and vices, labelled in Latin.

From the Eighth Tabula of the Speculum Christiani; see Speculum Christiani, ed. by G. Holmstedt, EETS, o.s. 182 (1933), pp. cxciii-cxciv.

8. fos 83-[97.sup.v] Thre thynes ma=ken a man fowle.

A treatise on the sins of the heart, word, and deed, and on their remedies. Jolliffe Item I. 27 (b); Fifth Tabula of the Speculum Christiani; ed. cit., 74-123.

9. fos [97.sup.v]-98 [S]ancta trinitas et indiuisa unitas. Prayer to the Trinity, commending soul, body, thoughts, words and deeds.

10. fos. [98.sup.v]-99 Here is a prayer of howre lady that qwo so seyse it here=ly and latte dewoutly he schal see hyr wyth owtwn dour in the hende of is lyffe. Sancta maria regina celorum.

The Latin prayer contains feminine forms such as 'me miseram'.

11. fos [99.sup.v]-[105.sup.v] Saith ij Pater noster to the wounds in cristes feet.

A series of devotions in English and Latin to Christ's wounds; the Latin contains feminine forms such as 'famulam tuam'.

12. fos 106-109 Cor marie uirginis tri=na totum triuit/Quando suum filium notre captum sciuit.

?Hours of the Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

13. fos 109-113 It is wrytun in the x booke of Saynt Brigirt the iiij chapitle.

Extract from the Revelations of Saint Bridget, on three remedies for temptation.

14. fo. [113.sup.v] Ave regina celorum . . . [R]egina celi letare alleluya.

15. fos 114-[115.sup.v] O Gabriel sancre archangele. Prayers to Sts Gabriel, Raphael, one's Guardian Angel and St Anne.

16. fos 116-125 Deus a quo bona cuncta procedunt . . . These ben the preisinges to our lord god. A treatise on the purgative, illuminative and unitive ways with associated devotions, derived from St Bonaventure, De Triplici Via. Jolliffe Items H.32 and 0.47. Printed below.

17. fo. [125.sup.v] Nota. Saynt Gregorie sais.

18. fo. 126 Veni sancte spiritus.

19. fos 127-[131.sup.v] Si vous semble que voz enemys . . . Ave alma crux.

French and Latin prayers and psalms, containing feminine forms e.g. 'famulam tuam'.

20. fos 132-134 I fynde and rede by holy mennys wrytyngis.

Treatise on the Five Sorrows of Our Lady and the rewards for devotion to them. The last page is badly discoloured and barely legible. fo. [134.sup.v] is blank and on fo. 135 there are some barely legible fragments of Latin prayers.

As far as I can determine, Item 1 is written by Hand A; Items 2-3 by Hands B and C; Item 4 by Hand D; Item 5 by Hand E; Items 6-8 and Item 10 by Hand F; Items 9, 11, and 13 by Hand G; Item 12 by Hand B or C; Items 14, 15, and 17 by Hand H; Item 16 by Hand I, which is that of the Carthusian scribe Stephen Doddesham(6) who died in 1481 or 1482 but whose working life extended over at least fifty years; Item 18 by Hand J; Item 19 by Hands K and L. One would like to suggest that at least some of these numerous scribes might themselves have been nuns or canonesses. It is true that there is 'little known evidence for female scribal activity in late medieval England', but Veronica O'Mara has found at least one late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century manuscript, most of which seems to have been written by a woman religious, probably a Syon sister.(7) There is also reason to think that some of Cambridge University Library MS Hh.1.11 was written by nuns, possibly the Minoresses of Bruisyard.(8)

If we assume that the manuscript was consciously put together with a single owner, or class of owner, in mind, we can hypothesize that it was designed for a women to use (hence the feminine forms in some of the Latin prayers), specifically a woman religious as Item 5, the form of confession, contains the words 'ne I haue take hede so hertely to the obseruaunces of religioun as I shulde'. In particular she seems to have been an Augustinian, or at least a religious whose order followed the Rule of St Augustine, as in this text the penitent ends: 'I crye godde mercy with all myn hert and oure lady seynt marie, seint Augustyn, and all the seyntes in heven.'

It is tempting to assign the manuscript to the house of Augustinian canonesses at Canonsleigh, dedicated to St Etheldreda, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist, as it contains devotions to St Etheldreda which include the hymn 'Ave gemrna pretiosa/virgo decens et formosa'. Canonsleigh was refounded for women in 1284 and is famous for having owned British Library MS Cotton Cleopatra C. vi, a very important manuscript of Ancrene Wisse. But the linguistic evidence is not consonant with a Devonshire origin. Of the Middle English items, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English identifies Items 8, 10, and 17 (fos [83.sup.r]-[97.sup.r], [98.sup.v], and [125.sup.v]) as written by a scribe from mid/east Lincolnshire. In a private communication Dr A. Ian Doyle informed me that the spelling of three of the hands pointed to eastern Lincolnshire or Norfolk, and that in Professor Angus McIntosh's opinion the language and hand of the Rolle Meditation on the Passion were 'identical with those of Bod. 288 of Rolle's Psalter which he placed in Leicestershire or Northamptonshire'. The significance of the hymn to St Etheldreda, then, is perhaps to be interpreted somewhat differently: she was, after all, the most prominent native female saint, whose cult was developed in Winchester and southern England as well as in East Anglia (she was born in Suffolk).

Knowles and Hadcock list twenty-nine houses of Augustinian canonesses that existed in England at one time or another during the Middle Ages.(9) From only six of those are manuscripts known to survive: Campsey Ash in Suffolk, Canonsleigh in Devonshire, Flixton in Suffolk, Harrold in Bedfordshire, Lacock in Wiltshire, and London Holywell (Shoreditch). Of course, the manuscript did not necessarily belong to one of these houses, but of them the most likely candidates on linguistic and geographical grounds seem to be Campsey Ash, currently known to have possessed five surviving manuscripts, and Flixton (with only one). The only house of Augustinian canonesses in Norfolk itself was Crabtree, from which no manuscripts survive.

However, it is possible that the religious for whom the confession was written was not in fact an Augustinian canoness but belonged to some other order that followed the Augustinian Rule, in many ways the most flexible and adaptable of all monastic rules. For instance, it has been argued by Dobson that the anchoresses for whom Ancrene Wisse was written followed the Augustinian Rule, while Dominicans and Bridgettines both followed the Augustinian Rule supplemented by their own customs and additions. There was only one house of each order in England during the Middle Ages: the Dominican house at Dartford, in Kent, and the Bridgettine house of Syon in Middlesex. But some of the larger hospitals also followed the Augustinian rule(10) and it is finally just possible that the woman was an Augustinian tertiary.

There is no one decorative scheme consistently applied throughout the manuscript, which again suggests unplanned growth by a process of accretion. Item 1 (quire ii) has English rubrics in red, the Latin text in black with red capitals; Items 2 and 3 (quires a-c) have one surviving historical initial in blue, gold, red, and white; alternating red and blue capitals, some two-line initials with red penwork, some red and blue line-fillers and some two-line blue capitals without pen-work. Items 4 and 5 (quires d-i) have a red incipit; red oneline and two-line capitals; red barrettes and paraphs; black catch-words; Item 6 has red and blue capitals and 'Psalmus' and 'Oracio' in red; and a two-line blue capital with red penwork; Item 7 has red frames for the ladders, the words celum and infernus in red; Item 8 has the word ihesus written in gold, a gold two-line capital on what may have been a blue ground (now smudged), some black capitals touched with red, English and Latin subheadings in red and red one- and two-line capitals; Item 9 is undecorated but space has been left for a twoline capital s; Item l0 has a two-line blue capital with red penwork, as does Item 11, which also has Latin prayers and English instructions in red and blue one-line capitals. Item 13 has red rubrics and marginal numbers, a six-line capital I, blue with red penwork; blue two-line capitals with and without red penwork; blue and red one-line capitals; blue paraphs. Item 14 has a two-line black capital and space has been left for a two-line capital R. Item 15 has two-line blue capitals and spaces for two more. Item 16 has black capitals touched with red and red paraphs. Items 1720 are undecorated. Item 5 and also possibly Items 14 and 15 seem to have been added later to fill up spare space at the end of quires.

To a certain extent this little volume evidences the type of piety one would expect of a women's religious house in the fifteenth century. There is a mix of liturgically related texts such as the hymn to St Etheldreda and instructions for the proper observance of Ascension and Whitsuntide, semi-liturgical devotions (the Hours of the Holy Spirit, the Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin), and a variety of private prayers in Latin and English. Two of the texts might be regarded as mystical or visionary: Rolle's Meditations on the Passion and the extract from the Revelations of St Bridget, but both primarily function to provide a narrative framework or validation for particular devotional practices. There are also some more strictly didactic texts: the extract from the Speculum Christiani in English, the Latin diagrams of vices and virtues, and a form of confession composed for - maybe even by - a woman religious, which opens with two (admittedly rather rough-and-ready) stanzas of verse, a feature that has not been previously noted. The content of the texts indicates particular devotion to the Virgin, to the Passion, and to the Trinity, none of which is surprising for such an audience in the fifteenth century. There is also a preoccupation with sin and its remedies. The texts are eclectic in origin: if this is indeed an Augustinian manuscript it is interesting that it includes texts by Rolle, who had a close association with the Cistercians; by St Bridget, who had founded her own Order of the Most Holy Saviour (which followed the Augustinian Rule) for men and women; and by the Franciscan saint Bonaventure.

The mix of languages is also indicative. There is a fair amount of Latin, none of it too difficult, largely devotional in content and formulaic in language. The use of feminine forms where appropriate suggests that these texts were used by women who did so with some understanding of what they were reading or reciting. The presence of one text in French, even as late as this, is also what one would expect of a women's religious house.

The most surprising text is Item 16, which derives from Bonaventure's De Triplici Via,(11) the classic exposition of the threefold mystical way of purgation, illumination, and union.(12) The Francisean's most recent translator has remarked that this text 'contains one of the most significant studies of the three stages of spiritual development . . . which were in the Middle Ages derived from the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius and which have become accepted in Western spirituality as the classical way of formulating the dynamics of spiritual growth'.(13) In this Middle English version, of which only the first section on purgation is at all closely linked to the words of Bonaventure's text, the rigidly schematic framework has been kept, but emptied of its strictly mystical content. Essentially the text is reworked as a devotional exercise, accessible to any pious Christian. This is in line with the medieval tendency, at least in England, strongly to discourage visionary and mystical aspirations among female religious.

The author begins with an assertion that there are two types of 'praisings': 'swete', and 'synguler to God'. His intention is to write about the first, initially of the ways in which the soul may prepare for them by purification, illumination, and union. Purgation is achieved by repentance for the Seven Deadly Sins; attention to one's ignorance (which includes negligence); and attention to concupiscence, which involves meditation on one's own death, Christ's passion, and the Last Judgement. (According to Bonaventure, original sin results in ignorance infecting the mind and concupiscence the flesh - Itinerarium 1, 7.)

In this meditation are to be exercised the four faculties of the soul, that is, reason, synderesis, conscience, and will. Purgation is further achieved by three kinds of prayer: 'deploracion of wretchedness', 'imploracion of mercy', and 'exhibition of service'. Illumination is achieved by meditation on the benefits conferred by God, with thanksgiving and penitence, and union by the exercise of 'the eye of reason', which must be fixed on God. The soul must ascend by the eight steps of humility, faith, temperance, righteousness, strength, wisdom, hope, and charity and then begin its 'sweet praisings'. God is to be praised in his eternity with the seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; in his might with powers, principalities, and dominions; in his wisdom with angels, archangels, and virtues; in his mercy with all the angels. (This idea of the ninefold hierarchy of angels is important to Bonaventure elsewhere: in his Itinerarium Men ris in Deum he describes the soul as ordered in a hierarchical pattern (4, 4).) The soul is then to pray for grace to praise God with the first hierarchy of angels, who praise God in his eternal goodness with love; with the second hierarchy, who praise him in his eternal might; and with the third hierarchy, who praise him in his eternal wisdom. Finally, the soul repeats the Te deum with all the angels and with all creation.

Form of Confession for a Female Augustinian

fo. 791 [O] good lorde that knowest all thyng. whom I oftende fro day to day thy swete mercy jette on me spryng and my defautes to knowe all way.

5 To thi mercy be I meke ay [and] in full hope to haue it; with all my mend thus I the praye: to thyn owne love make thu me knyt.

In all thise that I have doun, in thoghte,

10 worde and dede, slepyng and wakyng, sittyng or stondyng, walkyng or talkyng, in chirche or oute of chirche, holy day ore [fo. [79.sup.v]] werk day, mys-spendyng my tyme and mys-spendyng my body and soule,

15 noght settyng my love and my affeccioun vp-on Godde almyghty, ne kepyng his commaundementes so louly and so truly as I shulde, but have ben vnkynde to my lord in synnyng of the seven dedly synnes,

20 in mys-spendyng of my fyve witres, noght full-fyllyng the seven werkes of mercy, neythere bodely ne gostly, with suche pite and compassioun of myn euen-cristen as I [fo. 80] shuld do, ne had so ful beleue ne

25 suche reuerence in the seven sacramentes with so full love in werkyng as I shulde, ne I haue take hede so hertely to the obseruaunces of religioun as I shulde, to kepe syght, sylence, ne myn enclynes so

30 deuoutly ne so gostly as I shulde, for [Goddes](14) loue, but if I dede, I dede more for preysyng, vaynglofie, or ypocrisie, so that alle thyng that I haue spoke or doun, for the most partie I haue doun [fo. [80.sup.v]]

35 for the worlde, feynyng holinesse full often in speche and in countenaunce, shewyng on outward as I were trewe, beyng full [of] fals inward vnnumbered wykked thoghtes, wordes, and dedes, rathere to synne

40 thenne vertue; I crye Godde mercy with all myn hert, and oure lady Seynt Marie, Seint Augustyn, and all the seyntes in heven, and the, my gostly fadere, mca culpa nowe and euere. Jesu, blessed be

45 thi name. Amen.

English Version of De Triplici Via [fo. 116] Deus a quo bona cuncta procedunt, largire supplicibus tuis vt cogitemus, te inspirante, que recta sunt et, te gubernante, eadem faciamus. Per dominum nostrum.

5 These ben the preisinges to oure lord God. First there ben preisynges swete, and comen to man that gostly felith. Than there ben preisinges synguler to God with mannys soule, with contemplatyf

10 sylence. Of the first I shal write, and the dysposicioun therto. And of the secounde I shal counsaile, where I se oportunyte, by leeue and grace of oure lord God. Now I begynne atte first preysing. And

15 first [fo. [116.sup.v]] atte disposicion therto, and the preparacioun of a desiryng soule to Greyse God.

First thou most purge the soulie, and after lighte thi soule, and thanne oone him

20 to gostly grace. First purge thi soule, bringyng to mynde the vii dedly synnes. First begynne atte pryde, and hou thou has a-gilte ther-yn, with purpose forto amende, and seie Miserere mei deus, the

25 first verse to God, and for that he had taken no vengeance of the, therfore seie Gracias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. And that saam do atte euery of the dedly synnes.

30 Than se to thi ignoraunce, and to the cause [fo. 117] therof, and se hou ye be negligent in kepyng of youre herte, in spendyng of youre tyme, and in direccyoun of youre werkes to God, negligent

35 in praier, and in the werkes of mercy with gostly besynesse not occupieng. Also ye haue be negligent in temptacions withstondyng, in penaunce doyng, and fro oo vertu to a-nother encressyng.

40 Than seeth to youre concupiscence, yf ye desire youre wille to haue in eny thyng withoute examynacion of Goddis wille. Also se to youre concupiscens, that it be not sette in vanyte, desiryng fauour, pre-

45 isyng [or](15) honour, for alle these maken [fo. [117.sup.v]] the soule veyn; and voydith all wronge domes, suspeciouse euel thoughtes, blasphemyes, and detraccions. And seeth to the sodeyn comyng of your

50 deeth, to the preciouse blood that was shedde for your lyf, and to the [ineuitable](16) doom that ys comyng by the rightful domys-man that sentence yeuyng.

In this meditacioun ye most sette the

55 thought of your soule ententifly, and after lette these mightes of your soule, resoun, synderesym, conscience and wil, brynge forthe thys conclusyon. First lat resoun aske, 'What shal be of hym that defoulith

60 the temple of God?' [fo. 118] Synderesym may aunsuere and seie, 'Or ellis suche one shal be destroled or ellis he most ayen clense it, and with penaunce ayen bye it.' Than conscience may seye, 'Man, thou art

65 thilke that hast defouled thy soule, the temple of God. Wherfore thou most be dampned, or with penaunce bye it.' Than most wille yelde hym rather to do penaunce by contricion, confessyon, and

70 satisfaccion, that he wolde leese the blisse of oure lord God, the possessioner of hys temple. Than ye most drawe the soule to thre manere of preiers, that ys deploracion of his wrecchidnesse, ymploracion of

75 mercy, and in [fol. [118.sup.v]] exhibicion of seruice.

First deploracion of his wrecchidnesse, for the synnes that ye haue do, and for the grace that ye haue lost also, and for the

80 swetnesse of God that ye haue so longe forgo. For the first ye most shame, for the secoride ye most sorwe, and for the thridde ye most drede. Ye most shame for the first, that for synnes haue loste the comaunde-

85 ment of rightfulnesse, and fulfilled the birden of synnes, and loste manyfold grace. And there ye were ny God by hem, nowe ye be made ferre, and that fayr ymage that was maad the liknesse of

90 God and fre, now is maad foule and seruaunt. [fo. 119] Wherfore ye most, by deploracion for synnes, and ymploracion of mercy, and exhibicion of reuerence to God, louly enclyne you, and after knele

95 and thanne falle doun prostraat. By the first ye submitte you, by the seconde ye doun-caste you, and by the thridde ye yelde you, seieng with Poule: Domine, quid me vis facere? and than seieth thys

100 psalme, Vsquequo domine obliuisceris etc., with thys orysoun, Da quaesimus, domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia, et te solum deum pura mente sectari, and than Cor mundum crea in me, deus, with two

105 verses foluyng. And than ye most lighte your [fo. [119.sup.v]] soule, bringyng to your mynde the benefetes that oure Lord hath do to you. For whan ye were nought, he made you a

110 gloriouse creature and to a gloriouse ende. Whan ye were loste, he boughte you. When ye were vnkonnyng, he taughte you, and yaaf you knouleche of hym, and wille to serue hym, and when ye were in dis-

115 peyre of comfort, he comforted you. Whan ye wente, he ladde you. Whan ye stode, he helde you. Whan ye felle, he arered you, and whan ye voyded grace, he clepid yow. The Fadir yeuith you himself

120 to gouerne you, the Holy Gost to ioye you, the Sone in forme of breed to strengthe you, and the [fo. 120] blisse of heuene hath ordeyned for you. And atte euery of these benefetes, say to our blessed

125 Lord, Gracias agirnus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. And for ye haue not folued the grace of these benefetes, as ofte seieth this verse, Miserere mei deus, secundum magnam misericordiata tuam, then Bene-

130 dic, anima mea, domino, et omnia que intra me sunt nomini sancto eius. Benedic, anima mea, domino, et noll obliuisci omnes retribuciones eius. Qui propiciatur omnibus iniquitatibus tuis, qui sanat omnes

135 infirmitates tuas. Qui redemit de interitu vitam tuam, qui coronat te in misericordia et miseracionibus. Qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum: re[fo. [120.sup.v]]nouabitur vt aquila iuuentus tua, and than seieth this

140 orysoun, Omnipotens sempiterne deus, da nobis fidel, spei, et caritatis augmentum et, vt mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod precipis. Per dominum. Now ye haue hou that ye shul clense

145 your soule and lighte your soule, for the thrid ye moste haue hou that ye shul one your soule to God. For as myche as your soule shal be euerelasting, lette the eye of reson se what is moost spedful to that

150 endeles lyf and there stable your desire, that most be on hym that hath alle good of hymself. For there ys noon othir creature that may you euere profyte; though it for a tyme [fo. 121] profite

155 you, it suffisith not you. For th'apostle seieth, 'Oure sufficience is of God'; herfor beholde in hym and passe not sodenly, preie hym, preise him, loue hym and thonke him louly, loke vp, steppe vpon

160 the gree of mekenesse, lat feithe be next, than temperaunce with rightwesnesse, with stronge spirit, and wisdom, verrey hope and charite perseuerant, with alle these most laste or endure with you. And

165 than seye this ympne: Veni creator spiritus etc. Qui paraclitus diceris, et sic dicatur torus ympnus. And than be-gynnith these swete preisynges thus: O altitudo diuiciarum sapientie et sciencie

170 del quam incomprehen[fo. [121.sup.v]]sibilia sunt iudicia eius, et inuestigabiles vie eius, quo- niam per ipsum et in ipso sunt omnia, ipsi gloria in secula seculorum amen. Te decet ympnus, te decet laus, tibi gloria,

175 tibi graciarum acciones in secula seculorum amen.

Venite exultemus domino.

Te decet ympnus. Quoniam deus magnus, tibi graciarum acciones in secula seculorum

180 amen. Quoniam ipsius est mare. Te decet ympnus. Gloria patri et filio, tibi graciarum acciones in secula seculorum.

Ympnus: O lux beata trinitas

185 et principalis vnitas, iam sol recedit igneus, infunde lumen cordibus. Te mane laudam carmine, te deprecemur vesperi,

190 te nostra simplex gloria, per cuncta laudet secula.

Deo patri sit gloria, eiusque [fo. 122] soli filio, sancto simul paraclito

195 et nunc et imperpetuum. Amen.

Tua nos quesimus, domine, gratia preueniat et sequatur ac bonis operibus iugiter prestat esse intentos. Per dominam.

For as myche, lord, as thou art endeles

200 God, the gloriouse ierarchie of seraphyn, cherubyn, and thrones preisen the, and alle thoo that ben in heuene and erthe that louen the; with this hombre, lord, I wolde be. And for as myche as thou art

205 endeles mighty, the ierarchie of potestates, principatus, and dominaciones, thei preisen the and alle thoo that ben in heuene and erthe that mightely haue [fo. [122.sup.v]] withstonde vices and foluyd vertues that pre-

210 isen the, lorde, with that nombre accepte thou [me]. And for as miche, lord, as thou art endeles wyse, the ierarchie of aungels, archangels, and virtutes preisen the, in that hombre, lord, ordeyne me.

215 And blisful lord, for as myche as thou art endeles merciable to al mankynde that ben in grace and from synne come to grace, lord, in this synne I accounte me. Wherfore, lord, with hem alle I preise the,

220 to be the more able. Cot mundum crea in me deus, cum duobus versibus sequentibus. Gloria in excelsis deo stando, tunc genu[fo. 123]flectando. Laudamus te in thy endeles mercy, benedicamus te in thi

225 endeles mercy, adoramus te in thi endeles mercy, glorificamus te in thi endeles mercy, gracias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam in thi endeles mercy.


230 Jesu nostra redempcio, amor et desiderium, Deus creator omnium, Homo in fine temporum.

Que te vicit clemencia

235 vt ferres nostra crimina, crudelem mortem paciens, vt nos a morte tolleres,

Inferni claustra penetrans, tuos capitiuos redimens,

240 victor triumpho nobili ad dexteram patris residens.

Ipsa te cogat pietas vt mala nostra superes parcendo et voti compotes

245 nos [fo. [123.sup.v]] tuo vultu sacies. Tu esto nostrum gaudium, qui es futurus premium, sit nostra in te gloria per cuncta semper secula.

250 And thanne Salue regina, vsque ad Iesum benedictum fructum ventris tui. Or[o](17) vt digne merear laudare ipsum with the first ierarchie that with loue preysen. O blessed lord, that I may louely with hem preysen

255 the, Cor mundum crea in me deus, with two verses foluyng. Gloria in excelsis deo et in terra pax hominibus bone voluntatis, genuflectando. Laudamus te in thi endeles goodnesse,

260 benedicimus te in thi endeles goodnesse, adoramus te in thy endeles goodnesse, glorificamus [fo. 124] te in thy endeles goodnesse. Gracias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam in thin endeles goodhesse.

265 Deus cui omne cor patet, et omnis voluntas loquitur, et quem nullum latet secretum, purifica per infusionem sancti spiritus cogitaciones cordis nostri vt te perfecte diligere et digne laudare mereamur. Qui viuis et

270 regnas.

Now, blessed lord, by the mene of thy loue, grace me with the seconde ierarchie to preyse the in thy endeles might. Than seie Gloria in excelsis deo. Laudamus te in

275 thin endeles might, benedicimus te in thin endeles might. Adoramus te in thy [fo. [124.sup.v]] endeles might, glorificamus te in thyn endeles might. Gracias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam in thy

280 endeles myght. Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione vere fidei etc. And so, lord, by the mene of thi might grace me to preise the with the thrid ierarchie in thyn endeles wisdom,

285 with gloria in excelsis deo. Laudamus te in thin endeles wisdom, benedicamus te in thin endeles wysdom. Adoramus te in thin endeles wisdom, glorificamus te in thy endeles wisdom. Gracias agimus tibi

290 propter magnam gloriam tuam in thy endeles wisdom.

[fo. 125] Now, blessed lord, with alle aungels and alle creatures that ben in heuene and in erthe, I seie Te deum lauda

295 mus etc.

Laudet factura dominum. imponit laudi terminum inopia sermonum in te fit finis terminum.

300 per natam pater luminam per vtriusque dominum.

Compilator istius libelIe, exercitando ista, plura bona inuenit quam scribit vel fari potuit a deo; consulit quod anima

305 deuota ad augmentacionem sue deuocionis crebre frequentat ista.


1-4 Deus . . . faciamus: Collect for the fifth Sunday after Easter (Rogation Sunday)

7 that gostly felith: 'who is spiritually perceptive'.

24 Miserere mei deus: Ps. 50, traditionally the fourth penitential psalm.

27-7 Gracias . . . tuam: From the Gloria in excelsis Deo.

57 synderesym: The usual form of this word in ME is 'synderesis'; however the corresponding Latin at this point reads 'secundum . . . synderesim'. The translator may have not recognized this as a Greek accusative but understood it as a neuter noun which would have the same form in the nominative as in the accusative. In ME 'synderesis' usually means 'conscience applied to behaviour'. Bonaventure uses synderesis to mean 'the highest point of the soul, from which mystical union proceeds. . . . it is conscience as the natural tendency of the soul towards goodness' (Bonaventure, 62).

73 deploracion: 'lamentation': not in MED; OED's earliest example is dated 1533 though it records Caxton's use of the word in 1490 to mean 'deplorable condition'

74 ymploracion: not in MED; OED's earliest example is dated as 1577.

75 exhibicion: 'display'.

98-9 Domine . . . facere? Act. 9:6.

100 Vsquequo . . . obliuisceris: Ps. 12:1.

101-3 Da . . . sectari: Collect for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity in the Sarurn Rite. 104 Cor . . . dens: Ps. 50:12.

128-9 Miserere . . . tuam: Ps. 50:3. 129-39 Benedic . . . tua: Ps. 102:1-5.

140-3 Omnipotens . . . precipis: Collect for the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity in the Sarum Rite.

156 Oure . . . God: 'sufficientia nostra ex Deo est', 2 Cor. 3:5.

165 Veni creator: The famous Pentecost hymn, probably ninth century, sung regularly at Mattins.

169-73 O . . . amen: Rom. 11:33 and 36.

174 Te . . . ympnus: Ps. 64:1.

177 Venite . . . domino: Ps. 94:1. 178 Quoniam . . . magnus: Ps. 94:3.

180 Quoniam . . . mare: Ps. 94:5.

184-95 O . . . imperpetuum: Hymn, c. sixth century, for Saturday Vespers. The received text has supplex for simplex in the last line of the second stanza.

196-8 Tua . . . intentos: Collect for the seventeenth Sunday after Trinity in the Sarurn Rite.

205 ierarchie: 'each of the three divisions of angels, everyone comprising three orders, in the system of Dionysius the Aereopagite' according to OED.

potestates: This word could be either Latin or English: 'power' as the name for this order of angels is not found in English until the late seventeenth century. MED quotes Ipotis: 'the thridde [order of angels] is cleped Trones, the feorre Dominaciones, the fyfthe is Principatus, the sixte is Potestates'.

206 principatus: Undoubtedly Latin; the ME equivalent is 'principate' ('principality' is not found in this sense until the early seventeenth century).

dominaciones: Again, this could be either Latin or English as ME 'domination' is found in the late fourteenth century. The more familiar 'dominion' is not found until the early seventeenth century.

213 virtutes: Undoubtedly Latin. 'Virtue' would have been available to the translator.

230 Jesu nostra redempcio: Hymn for Compline, c. sixth century.

250 Salue regina: Antiphon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ascribed to Aimar, Bishop of Le Puy, c. 1097.

250-1 Iesum . . . tui: Fourth line from the end of the Salve Regina.

265-9 Deus . . . mereamur: One of the preparatory prayers at Mass. 280-2 Omnipotens . . . etc. Collect for Trinity Sunday.

294-5 Te . . . laudamus: Canticle attributed to St Nicetas (d. c. 414).

296-301 Laudet . . . dominum: Unidentified.

1 The major resource is of course N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, 2nd edn (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964) and Andrew G. Watson, Supplement to the Second Edition (London: Royal Historical Society, 1987). A very useful recent addition, however, is David N. Bell, What Nuns Read: Books and Libraries in Medieval English Nunneries (Kalamazoo, Cis- tercian Publications, 1995).

2 Syon Abbey.' The Library of the Bridgettine Nuns and Their Peregrinations after the Reformation: An Essay by Christopher De Hamel, Roxburghe Club (1991).

3 See Bell, 107-116; also A. I. Doyle, 'Books Connected with the Vere Family and Barking Abbey', Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, xxv (1958), 222-43.

4 I should like to thank Jayne Ringrose of the Cambridge University Library for giving me access to her unpublished description of this manuscript and in particular for providing information on its extremely complex quiring.

5 P. S. Jolliffe, A Check-list of Middle English Prose Writings of Spiritual Guidance (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1974)

6 I am indebted to Dr A. I. Doyle for pointing this out to me. On Doddesham see Aeired of Rievaulx's De Institutione lnclusarum: Two English Versions, ed. J. Ayto and A. Barratt, EETS, o.s. 287 (1984), pp. xxix-xxxii, and A. S. G. Edwards, 'Beinecke MS 661 and Early Fifteenth-Century English Manuscript Production', Beinecke Studies in Early Manuscripts, 66, Supplement (1990), 184-9.

7 V. O'Mara, 'A Middle English Text Written by a Female Scribe', Notes & Queries, ccxxxv (1990), 396-8.

8 See my Women's Writing in Middle English (London: Longman, 1992), 72, and Sarah McNamer (ed.). The Two Middle English Translations of the Revelations of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Middle English Texts 28 (Heidelberg, 1996), 16, 21, and 26.

9 D. Knowles and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (London: Longman, 1971, repr. 1984).

10 See C. Rawcliffe, Medicine and Society in Later Medieval England (Stroud: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995), 207.

11 Latin text in Quarrichi, 8, 3-18; modern English translation in The Works of Bonaventure, I, trans. J. de Vinck (Paterson, NJ, 1960), 61-94.

12 'The "three ways" themselves are not as distinct as it may seem. Dionysius does not use this triad to mean a moral purification and a unitive perfection, as distinguished from the middle power of cognitive illumination. The fundamental concern of all three is spiritual knowledge, in various degrees. . . . Thus the entire trio of purification, illumination, and perfection concerns progress on the same path of spiritual understanding, especially regarding liturgical contemplation' (Paul Rorem in Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century, ed. B. McGinn and J. Meyendorff (New York, 1987), 139).

13 Bonaventure: The Soul's Journey into God. The Tree of Life. The Life of St Francis, trans. and intro. E. Cousins (New York and London, 1978), 16.

14 Goddes] godde a

15 or] of

16 ineuitable] inuitable (Lat. infugibilis)

17 Oro] ora

ALEXANDRA BARRATT The University of Waikato
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Date:Sep 1, 1997
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