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Chaucer and Deguileville: the 'ABC' in context.

Georgia Ronan Crampton's article |Chaucer's singular prayer' (MAE, LIX),(1) is a welcome study in detail of the relationships between Chaucer's ABC and its source, Deguileville's ABC prayer in the Pelerinage de la vie humaine.(2) There is, however, still a story to be told, for it is not enough to examine Chaucer's translation only in relation to Deguileville's lyric: the French ABC is part of the vast dramatic allegory of the Pelerinage, and Chaucer's translation incorporates important elements from that larger narrative.

That means that many features of Chaucer's ABC which critics have assumed to be original have an origin in his source. These include its tone of dramatic urgency, the sense of physical movement and flight, the greater emphasis on death and penitence, several areas of imagery, including the imagery of the hunter and his prey, and the Charter of Christ.(3) What Chaucer is doing as translator is to practise in a strikingly creative way what I have elsewhere called |redistribution':(4) there is not complete point-by-point correspondence between the content of each English stanza and the equivalent French stanza; but though some new elements in the English stanza are original, others will turn out to have been redistributed from elsewhere in the source-text, in the case of the ABC either from other stanzas of the French poem or from the surrounding narrative of the Pelerinage. As a result of this approach to translation, Chaucer's ABC gives a more accurate impression of the effect and significance of the French ABC when the latter is read in its actual context -- as Chaucer presumably read it -- as part of the Pelerinage, than we might suppose if we meet the French prayer only in an artificial state, as an extract, a |background' to Chaucer, in, for instance, Skeat's Minor Poems.(5)

In Deguileville's original there is a tension between the calm, comparatively static, presentation of images within the lyric prayer and the drama of the narrative in which it is an event: it is a prayer literally clutched at by a dying or a drowning man (his precise plight differs according to which version one reads), assailed by the Deadly Sins, menaced by enemies and fleeing from one peril to another. Chaucer's rendering of the lyric conveys something of that situation and other features of the quest-narrative, but without capsizing the firm delicacy of the prayer's lyric structure and diction. It is a highly original reconception of the translator's role.

This article examines the relationship between Deguileville's ABC, as part of the larger Pelerinage, and Chaucer's ABC. It also considers the general role of inset escrits, including the ABC, in the Pelerinage: an important and neglected topic its own right, as well as a prerequisite for understanding how Chaucer's translation relates to Deguileville.

Many escrits are embedded in the Pelerinage narrative: the Testament of Christ; the tenets of the Creed, inscribed on bells; Reason's commission from God; die letter from Grace Dieu to Reason; Tribulation's two commissions; as well as prayers to God and Mary.

By comparison with Chaucer's poem, the French ABC has seemed to lack drama and concreteness.(6) We have to avoid the patronizing dismissal of it found in some older Chaucer criticism,(7) but it clearly offers an island of order and calm, as a result of its intricate and tightly controlled stanza form, its avoidance of the colloquial and exclamatory style of the surrounding dialogues, and its sequence of traditional Marian symbols. In its narrative context the calm and order, far from being a weakness, have a powerful effect: as a contrast to the turmoil, peril and desperation of the pilgrim's plight. Furthermore, when we examine that calm and order within the lyric itself, we find its tone is far from simple: the images may be traditional and the style free of abrupt breaks or exclamations, but the diction and syntax are made intensely personal, and those traditional symbols and types of the Virgin in their jewel-like isolation have in situ a more complex and potentially dynamic quality, for they pick up allegories from the dramatic action of the narrative (obvious examples are the images of a guiding light, of help and refuge for travellers, of straight roads and crooked road, of escape from a tempest and a perilous sea, the nets of Satan, or attacks by the Seven Deadly Sins).

Deguileville tends to repeat with endlessly inventive variation the same themes, images and plot-patterns both in his narratives and in the lyrics embedded in them.(8) The lyrics often crystallize motifs which appear in dramatic form in the allegorical narrative. Chaucer, in drawing into his own translation of the ABC material from elsewhere in Deguileville's writing, and in rearranging details within it, is continuing Deguileville's own approach. We might look for analogues to these methods of working not in other translations but in an original work like The Book of the Duchess, which does not have a single source but seems to have been written out of a mind so well stocked with knowledge of a particular group of French dits amoureux that it constantly moves between these and its own composition. The result is not simply one of patchwork or montage; rather, the patterns of the originals have become part of a creative and continuing imaginative process.

Deguileville's ABC is both a complex lyric unit with its own internal coherence, and a crucial event in the narrative. Moreover, that contrast between lyric formal stasis and narrative drama becomes part of its meaning in the allegory and is related to other central elements in Deguileville's world-view.(9)

The role of the ABC as a |lyric insertion' is not simply a decorative or expressive one.(10) Crampton calls it a |small event' (p. 191), but it has an important narrative function. Deguileville composed two versions of the Pelerinage but kept the ABC in both.(11) Between the 1330-1 version ([Vie.sup.1]) and the 1355 version ([Vie.sup.2]) he altered the circumstances in which the ABC occurs in the plot -- in [Vie.sup.1] the pilgrim receives the escrit on which the ABC is written while lying, beaten up by his enemies, on land; in [Vie.sup.2] he is in the sea in danger of drowning -- but at a deeper level the role of the ABC |escrit' remains the same in both plots. It is a turning-point, in [Vie.sup.1] perhaps the turning-point, in the pilgrim's progress on earth. (Typically of Deguileville's priorities, it is a turning-point not just in improving his situation, but also because it marks a new acceptance of tribulation and penitence.) A summary will show its place in the events of [Vie.sup.2] Book III:

The pilgrim-narrator has backed off from going through the thorny hedge of

Penitence (Book I, fines 6993-7044) and been attacked by each of the Seven

Deadly Sins, plus some other vices; they have almost killed him and stolen his

staff of hope. He has lost his helper and guide, Grace Dieu, and is lying in pain,

despairing of ever now reaching the heavenly city, when out of a cloud Grace

Dieu speaks to him, comforts him, and holds out his staff. She advises him to

pray to God's |aumosniere', Mary, and hands him a folded escrit, which contains

the ABC prayer (lines 10,894-11, 192). Once he has said the prayer he finds he

can take hold of the staff of hope and get back on his feet again; the sins scurry

away, and he is now able to experience penitence, bathing in the healing well of

Penitence. Before turning to the context for the ABC in [Vie.sup.2], it is necessary to see what happens next in [Vie.sup.1], in Book IV:

The pilgrim has not bathed long enough in penitence, so still faces dangers. He

comes to a tempestuous sea, the sea of |le monde' (earlier he had seen the heavenly

city across |le grant mer ... ce monde', Book I, fines 426-7, which he would

have to cross to reach his goal, and also the Church, suspended between heaven

and earth and surrounded by water (line 410); Raison had described his body as

a ship with the soul as navigator to bring it to a |seur port' after death (Book II,

lines 6132-58): the Pelerinage narrative abounds in maritime images). Humans are

attempting to cross the sea: many struggle, some horribly entangled in seaweed.

On the shore he meets Heresy and Satan, who are intent on catching their human

prey. The pilgrim tries to cross the sea. He is capriciously flown over it and then

dropped in it by Youth. Then Tribulation knocks him down. Unable to swim, all

he can do is clutch on to his satchel of faith, for that floats though he cannot.

His staff of hope sinks and in despair he prays to God. After the prayer Tribulation's

attitude changes: she now offers to guide him, says that she leads many to pray

to God, the saints or |l'estoile tresmontaine' (Mary).(12) Suddenly he sees the shore

and is able to enter the ship of religion. In the final episode he meets death, but

is given comfort by Misericorde: she offers him her breast, whose milk is the

blood of the Atonement. As these two summaries show, the same plot-pattern is repeated in the two books: each perilous adventure, one on land and one at sea, is interrupted by the text of a prayer which turns out to be a turning-point, miraculously changing the hero's fortunes. (There are several other smaller turning-points through prayer.)

One of the new features of [Vie.sup.2] is a white dove who comes at crucial points in the narrative to comfort and aid the pilgrim. The ABC is moved to the later sea adventure. In its place in the land adventure appears a new prayer to Mary, O Royne de misericorde.

Sins attack the pilgrim. Tribulation (moved forward to this earlier point) attacks

him. The pilgrim remembers some words of St Bernard's about Mary and makes

a prayer based on them, to her (O Royne de misericorde). After this Tribulation's

attitude softens, she explains her benign purpose in God's plan, and sends him

on his way with advice. He enters a fearsome valley, meets Avarice and various

enchantments and idolatries, and then Heresy and Satan the hunter on the shore

of a sea. Fleeing them, he plunges in. He is raised up and then dropped from

Fortune's Wheel. He fears to drown, but the Dove brings the escrit with the ABC

on it. The storm abates. He swims on, meeting and debating with a further series

of enemies of faith. Only after a prayer to Jesus does he find shelter in the ship

of religion.

[Vie.sup.2] contains more prayers, three of them to Mary and all indebted to the imagery of Ave maris stella. More specifically, as Deguileviue tells us, O Royne de misericorde is based on words by St Bernard: it is from a passage in a set of homilies on Luke 1.26-7 which meditates on Mary's name, and her role as maris stella (from which Bernard weaves a mini-allegory of a desperate traveller threatened by tempests and the sins, looking to the bright star of Mary) and which is clearly inspired by certain lines in the hymn: |Ave maris stella, felix caeli porta .. profer lumen caecis ... iter para tutum'.

Et nomen, inquit, Virginis Maria. Loquamur pauca et super hoc nomine, quod

interpretatum maris stella dicitur, et matri Virgini valde convenienter aptatur. Ipsa

namque aptissime sideri comparatur; quia, sicut sine sui corruptione sidus suum

emittet radium, sic absque sui laesione virgo parturit filium ... Ipsa, inquam, est

praeclara et eximia stella, super hoc mare magnum et spatiosum necessario

sublevata, micans meritis, illustrans exemplis. O quisquis te intelligis in hujus

saeculi profluvio magis inter procellas et tempestates fluctuare, quam per terram

ambulare; ne avertas oculos a fulgore hujus sideris, si non vis obrui procellis. Si

insurgant venti tentationum, si incurras scopulos tribulationum, respice stellam,

voca Mariam. Si jactaris superbiae undis, si ambitionis, si detractionis, si

aemulationis; respice stellam, voca Mariam. Si iracundia, aut avaritia, aut carnis

illecebra naviculum concusserit mentis, respice ad Mariam. Si criminum immanitate

turbatus, conscientiae foeditate confusus, judicii horrore perterritus, barathro

incipias absorberi tristitiae, desperationis abysso; cogita Mariam. In periculis, in

angustiis, in rebus dubiis, Mariam cogita, Mariam invoca. Non recedat ab ore, non

recedat a corde; et ut impetres ejus orationis suffragium, non deseras conversationis

exemplum. Ipsam sequens non devias: ipsam rogans non desperas; ipsam cogitans

non erras. Ipsa tenente non corruis; ipsa protegente non metuis; ipsa duce non

fatigaris; ipsa propitia pervenis: et sic in temetipso experiris quam merito dictum

sit, Et nomen Virginis Maria. Sed jam modice pausandum est, ne et nos in transitu

claritatem tanti luminis intueamur.(13)

This is clearly a source of imagery and diction in O Royne de misericorde, and also in the ABC and other prayers added to [Vie.sup.2] (Verard's 1499 printed text of [Vie.sup.2] has a Latin prose meditation based on the above instead of O Royne, and an English version of this appears in one manuscript of Lydgate's translation).

Bernard's allegory was surely also a major influence on the whole Pelerinage narrative -- as important a source as the Roman de la rose itself (Deguileville's avowed purpose was to recast the Roman as a spiritual quest). If we paraphrase Bernard, the result summarizes much of the Pelerinage plot: when the pilgrim is on |la grant mer' (|mare magnum) of this world, blown by tempests and winds (|Procellas et tempestates ... venti'), as well as when he walks across land (|per terram ambulare'); when he is battered by Tribulation (cf. |scopulos tribulationis'), is attacked by Pride, Ambition, Detraction, Envy, Ire, Avarice and the lures of the Flesh (|undae superbiae', |ambitionis', |detractionis', |aemulationis', |iracundia', |avaritia', |carnis illecebra'), when he is frightened and desperate (|judicii horrore perterritus', |desperationis abysso'), the narrator looks to Mary, the guiding light. His prayers to Mary in [Vie.sup.2] dwell on her name and her role as maris stella. Like Bernard, Deguileville includes Detraction among the Seven Deadly Sins, and links together the sins of the flesh, Gluttony and Lechery. The fear of judgement (|iudicii horrore') emerges in lyrics in the Pelerinage, but it is left for the Pelerinage de l'ame to make it central to the plot. Deguileville uses other parts of these homilies by Bernard in the Pilerinage too.(14) He often transmutes Bernard's image of a star and light into a jewel and escharboucle, but this jewel functions as a guiding light or pole star. This shift between jewel and star or guiding light is facilitated by the fact that escharboucles were believed to shine in the dark. The interchangeable images of star and jewel as a guiding light occur repeatedly in his narrative: at the beginning Grace Dieu appears dressed in gold decorated with escharboucles, with a bright star on her breast and a gold crown, and wreathed in light from "estoilles luisans'; she gives light to pilgrims;(15) Mary is the beaming jewel on the staff of hope, |l'escharboucle estincerant / Qui tout le pais enlumine' and |La nuyt du monde enluminant',(16) and on this light the pilgrim calls in crisis; one of his five powerful stones is memory of Mary, a pearl |de grant clarte' to illuminate the heart;(17) Tribulation says she causes men to pray to |l'estoine tresmontaine';(18) after a prayer to Jesus and the |Sainte escharboucle reluisant', the despairing pilgrim sees the Ship of Religion and can move towards the hedge of penitence." All the inset prayers in [Vie.sup.2] employ the St Bernard imagery, particularly |O Royne', |Beau doulx sire dieux' and the ABC.

At a more abstract level, Bernard's contrast between an unchanging divine presence, which can achieve all, and a desperate human soul, which unaided can achieve nothing, is at the core of both plot and style in the Pelerinage. In [Vie.sup.1] 9009-26 the pilgrim prays |Or me gart Diex ... Quar en moi n'ai mais nul pouir'. The recurrent appearance, especially in [Vie.sup.2] of celestial helpers (Grace Dieu, the white dove, etc.), gifts and documents which rescue or advance him expresses the same contrast. They act like magic: objects or miraculous saviours suddenly entering the situation, rather than companions on the journey or assistants in moral battle. This is an allegory of faith rather than works.

Some lines in Chaucer's ABC may have been inspired by O Royne de misericorde, including his first line, |Almighty and al merciable queene', so unlike Deguileville's |A toi du monde le refui, / Vierge glorieuse'. Chaucer's ABC repeatedly calls Mary |queene', and |mercy' becomes the key word in his structure: he makes his last lines echo his first lines, repeating the word |merciable'.(20) This might have been influenced by Deguileville's favourite word-play on |misericorde': there is a recurrent (one might say almost structural) word-play throughout the Pelerinage on misericorde / -corde, which culminates in a bravura display in the last scene, where Miscricorde, a Mary figure, suckles the dreamer and aids him in the hour of his death (Mary's milk was, increasingly, in the Middle Ages, a symbol of her intercession).(21) Misericorde is also a recurrent term in O Royne:

O Royne de misericorde,

De paix, de doulceur et concorde ...

Cele et nye ta misericorde.

Disoit il [Bernard], dame de concorde,

Cil qui du cueur t'invoquera

Et toutes affaire qu'aura,

Se tu ne lui es gracieuse

Doulce et misericordicuse,

Pource ce, mere du souurain iuge. The last three lines above, and the phrase |Royne de misericorde' may also be reflected in Chaucer's stanza D:

Dowte is ther noon, thou queen of misericorde,

That thou n'art cause of grace and merci heere,

God vouched sauf thurgh thee with us to accorde.

For certes, Crystes blisful mooder deere. Here Deguileville's ABC had

Dames es tu de misericorde,

Et par qui bien Dieu se recorde

A son peuple estre racorde

Par toy nous vint paix et concorde. (lines 37-40)

It looks as if, faced with Deguileville's favourite rhyme on misericorde / corde in this stanza, Chaucer's mind went back to lines that used it in O Royne de misericorde and that therefore echoes of that lyric entered his ABC at this point. (Is the second line of O Royne, with the triplet |De paix, de doulceur et concorde', also reflected in Chaucer's |Haven of refut, of quiete and of reste', line 14?) The maritime images Chaucer adds to stanza B (|haven ... ship tobreste') may be inspired by O Royne too, for after referring to the pursuit of the Deadly Sins, O Royne has a shipwreck (|appelle Marie la belle / Se d'orgucil ou ... enuie ... detraction ... paresce, ire, ou avarice, / Luxure ... Hurte la nef de ta pensee'), as does Chaucer (|theeves sevene chasen mee. / Help lady bright, er that my ship tobreste'), whereas the ABC lines he is translating have a completely land-based imagery: |Se je me suis mal tresportez / Par .vii. larrons, pechiez mortez, / Et erre par voie torte' (16-18). His appeal |Help ladi bright' may reflect the |appelle Marie la belle' in the O Royne lines. It has no equivalent in the Deguileville ABC stanza.

Chaucer's added reference to Gabriel in lines 115-16 (|Whan Gabrielles vois cam to thin ere, / He not to werre us swich a wonder wroughte') looks like an echo of Deguileville's constant inspiration, Ave maris stella: "Sumens illud Ave, / Gabrielis ore, / Funda nos in pace / Mutans Evae nomen'. Deguileville's ABC here had a reference to war (|Ne cuit pas que fust pour guerre') and this may have sparked off, through memory of |Funda nos in pace', the further allusion to Ave maris stella. Stanza I shows Chaucer in another way assimilating and continuing Deguileville's own methods. It is one of several places where Deguileville picks up Bernard's images of Mary saving those who might err and take wrong turnings (|non erras ... devias'), but makes Mary's role more active. Chaucer enters into the spirit of this:
Quar, quant aucun se desvoie, For whan a soule falleth in errour
A ce que tost se ravoie, Thi pitee goth and haleth him ayein.
De ta pitie li fais convoi. Thanne makest diou his pees nith his
Tu li fes laissier son desroi sovereyn
 Et li refais sa pais au roy, And bringest him out of the crooked
Et remes en droite voie. (100-8) strete. (67-70)

His |haleth' and |bringest' are if anything more active than their French equivalents. His crooked street is a metaphor redistributed from Deguileville's stanza B, where the pilgrim is chased by the seven thieves and |erre par (la) voie torte'. Chaucer had not used it there (the more one examines Chaucer's translation of Deguileville the more one feels he hated to waste a good metaphor). His image in line 67 of the |fall' into error is so traditional a metaphor for sin (the Fall of man, the man who fell among thieves, etc.), that perhaps it is foolish to look for redistribution within the ABC for this detail, but it might have been encouraged by Deguileville's metaphor in the (rejected) stanza Et, where the pilgrim fears to fall into the snares and nets of his adversary.

It is illuminating to examine the ABC in conjunction with other inset lyrics, and particularly three Latin prayers in [Vie.sup.2] Book I, in the same twelve-line stanza as the ABC. One, an acrostic lyric on the Creed,(22) accompanies the gift of the satchel of faith. Two others are folded documents accompanying the two jewels (Jesus and Mary) on his staff of hope. One is an acrostic poem on the Lord's Prayer and the other an acrostic on Ave Maria, which uses the St Bernard maris stella imagery lavishly (|Polo mundi sis media / Ut gens per mare devia / Ad te sua vestigia / Dirigat viso lumine'; |Stellarum splenclissima ... Semper astans pro miseris', etc.).(23) Thus [Vie.sup.2] Contains four twelve-line stanza lyrics structured respectively on Creed, Pater Noster, Ave Maria and ABC, representing four of the first things a medieval reader learned. Reading was taught from a hornbook or primer, whose first items usually included the alphabet (prayer-like with its Christ's Cross at the beginning and |Amen' at the end), Creed, Lord's Prayer and Ave Matia.(24) Deguileville embedded lyrics on these primary texts in his narrative, associated with gifts that help the pilgrim, perhaps to remind readers that the forms of knowledge that will prove to be of supreme value, turning-points in the quest for salvation, are the most simple ones. The Pater Noster and Ave are also the basis of the rosary, and apt to be prescribed, in multiples, to a penitent. The ABC is both a beacon of calm amidst danger, and also a document of power couched in terms of the primary textual experience, the alphabet. Chaucer increased verbal echoes of Ave Maria, Ave maris stella and other Marian hymns in his ABC,(25) and this development is itself entirely in keeping with the devout and Church-centred ethos of [Vie.sup.2]. At several points in Deguileville's narrative a childlike faith is presented as the most able to progress in the spiritual life, and the lucidly simple elements in Chaucer's style, characterized by Alfred David as in |the style of the Prioress', capture something of that conviction.(26) We see this cultivation of the simple and apparently naive in Chaucer's little joke that Mary is the only advocate who will help us |for litel hire as ... an Aue-Marie or tweye' (102-3). It would be a twentieth-century misreading to assume Chaucer is here attacking mere repetition of Marian prayers. That is certainly not Deguileville's attitude.

It has not been recognized that Chaucer's addition of this image of Mary as the only advocate willing to plead for man for a small fee draws on the Pelerinage de l'ame, Deguileville's sequel to the Pelerinage de la vie humaine.(27) There is no better example of how much we miss if we compare Chaucer's ABC only with Deguileville's ABC. Here are the two ABC passages:
De toi vient, de toi redunde We han noon oother melodye or glee
Tout le bien qui nous habonde. Us to rejoyse in oure adversitee,
N'avons autre tirelire. Ne advocat noon that wole and dar so pre
En toi tout povre homme espire For us, and that for litel hire as yee
Et de toi son salu tire, That helpen for an Ave-Marie or tweye.

Et en toi seule se fonde.

(stanza N, 148-53) (stanza N, 100-4)

Critics have assumed that Chaucer (a) misunderstood tirelire |money box' to mean |warble' or |melody', and (b) invented the reference to lawyers' fees and Ave Maria.(28) What really seems to have happened is that tirelire and povre homme reminded Chaucer of the Judgement scene in the Pelerinage de l'ame. Here the pilgrim's soul says ruefully:

Se n'avoie aucun advocat

En la court qui pour moi parlast

Qu'advocat n'est pas si nice

Que point plaide sens service.

Pour povre homme nul ne plaide; (713-17) but he realizes that he may find such an advocate in heaven, and in a long (twelve-line stanza) prayer, asking for assistance (739-1074), he says Mary is |advocate et plaideresse' for men (874), and the martyrs provide |tresor en tirelire' for him in his poverty (995). Later Misericorde, pleading for him in debate with justice, says that Gabriel through |aue gratia plena' gave Mary power as an advocate to save sinners from condemnation (2021-30). We see clearly here how, when translating one passage in the ABC, Chaucer's mind is likely to range over the whole of Deguileville's narrative;(29) such a process is all the more likely because Deguileville's allegory (far from being the miscellaneous hotchpotch critics often assume) is unified by certain themes, words and images which are repeated in different forms in one episode (and lyric) after another. It is inconceivable Chaucer misunderstood tirelire: the ideas of the Treasury of Grace and of Mary as aumosniere and tresoriere run through the Pelerinage, and he could not have drawn on the Peletinage de l'ame scene above without correctly understanding tirelire in both passages. It may well be, however, that a deliberate |homonym' mistranslation of tirelire as |melodye' was one ingredient in Chaucer's creative recasting of these lines, even though he interpreted tirelire accurately. He seems to have remembered Deguileville's later use in the Peletinage de l'ame of tirelire in association with the needs of the |povre homme' at judgement, and then designed his own version of the reference there to advocates' fees so that he produced for ABC stanza N a jokey little financial metaphor analogous to Deguileville's poor man's tirelire. (His |melodye' itself might also reflect the long and memorable descriptions of songs of angels and saved souls in the Peletinage de l'ame, 2633-2804.)

Stanza E offers a straightforward case of redistribution from another stanza: |So litel fruit shal thanne in me be founde' obviously comes from |S'a nul bien je ne m'afruite' in stanza Q. A more complex modification of Deguileville's apple imagery appears in stanza Z; where Deguileville talks of the pilgrim's sins and the first eater of the apple --

Et m'offense n'est pas mendre

De cil qui menga la Pomme -- (272-3) Chaucer talks of Mary's mercy to the |seed of Adam':

Now, ladi bryghte, sith thou canst and wilt

Ben to the seed of Adam merciable (181-2) -- a more hopeful statement for his final stanza, with a larger sense of Mary's merciful role in the whole span of human history (perhaps influenced by the extensive allegories in the Pelerinage de l'ame based on the legend of the Tree of the Cross and the seed of the Eden apple, and by the recurrent references to mankind as Adam's lineage throughout the Peletinage and its sequel).

A different kind of complex response to Deguileville's imagery appears in stanza M. Here Deguileville has a chain of metaphors based on feus and arsure. Chaucer does not reproduce this, but instead represents its presence by creating an analogous image-chain. Deguileville (following Bernard, for whom Mary is maris stella partly because of her purity, which burns up vices)(30) makes a chain of associations from Mary's purity, of which the burning bush is a figure, to the impurity of sinners, whose burning ardure she tempers like a buisson (pun on Bysson |bush), removing the ordure of sin. Chaucer's equivalent is to link the fire of the Bush to the fear of eternity in the fire of hell, from which Mary will defend us.

Similarly Chaucer deflects Deguileville's image chain in stanza F. Deguileville's penitent has been a beste, and implores Mary to clothe him in his nakedness with her pity, and to invest him with her pity since he has no other source of revenue. Chaucer's sinner, too, has been |a beste in wil and deede' and begs Mary to clothe him with grace; but then Chaucer recalls a scene in the Pelerinage where Satan the hunter pursues men as animals, and asks Mary to protect him from being chased to the death by their foe. In the same sort of way in stanza K both poets begin from the image of Mary as healer. Then Deguileville begs her not to suffer the sword of divine justice to be unsheathed, for it would exterminate him. Chaucer asks her instead to shield him from wounding by |my foo' (Satan).

Chaucer has been credited with adding the images of Satan as hunter (45-8, 64, 79),(31) but a reference to man falling into Satan's |rois et ... nasse' occurs in Deguileville's ABC stanza Et, lines 281-2, and one of the most spectacular adventures in the Pelerinage narrative is e pilgrim's encounter with Satan setting snares to catch his human prey. Chaucer's addition of hunting metaphors to stanzas F, H and K is therefore not in itself creative invention: the metaphors are derivative. What is creative in Chaucer's translation is his weaving of a new leitmotiv of hunting and conflict right through his ABC

Which version of the Pelerinage did Chaucer know? like the possible echoes of |O Royne' (only in [Vie.sup.2]) this use of imagery of the hunter and his prey suggests Chaucer was familiar with [Vie.sup.2]: in [Vie.sup.1] Satan is first seen as a fisherman, later described as fisher, fowler and hunter of men according to their differing natures, but in [Vie.sup.2] he is a hunter from the beginning, poaching the king's beasts in the king's forests. When Chaucer adds to stanza Q too the image of the soul sinking, he may be thinking of the immediate context of the ABC in [Vie.sup.2], where the pilgrim is in danger of drowning because he cannot swim.

Revelations of the power of prayer and of devout dependence on grace are central to the whole Pelerinage. The escrits and other helpful objects, handed by external powers to the pilgrim, convey the message that the important truths -- calm, fixed and unchanging -- are always there, ever accessible in the midst of the turmoil of temporal experience (note how often repos, paix and abri are used for the goal the pilgrim seeks, and for Mary). A central theme of the Pelerinage, particularly in Book 1, is the supremacy of faith over unaided human reasoning.(32) Deguileville's liking for episodes where gifts or prayers, rather than virtuous actions or psychomachia-like fights against vice, act as turning-points in his plot, expresses the same preoccupation. So does the stylistic contrast between the relative calm of inset stanzaic prayers and the turbulence of the surrounding narrative, with its vivid sense of frustration and defeat as the stubbornly self-willed pilgrim tries to make his way on his own, spiritually lazy, terms.

Deguileville's allegorical imagination is a violent one: many of his personifications have a Bosch-like ingenuity and grotesqueness; most -- whether friend or foe -- approach the dreamer holding or using an offensive weapon, and the dialogue is full of robust disrespect. The dreamer rarely fights back (his few feeble attempts immediately fail and he is saved by a miraculous appearance of the dove), and only occasionally -- as a result of the ABC prayer in [Vie.sup.2], for instance -- is he emboldened to answer back. The plot's emotional frissons come from the dreamer feeling frightened, being attacked, or being made to do something he does not choose to do, as he is buffeted from one uncomfortable or near-fatal encounter to the next.

Yet the message behind all this is a quietist and pietistic one. (Was this emphasis on passivity and pacience one of the factors that attracted Chaucer?) Though Reason at the beginning uses the metaphor of the soul navigating the ship of the body to a safe haven, in practice the pilgrim does not succeed in guiding a ship, or making advances, or vanquishing enemies: he does not succeed by achieving. His advances occur after he has been knocked down and experienced penitence or prayer -- or both. This is, after all, the quest story in which the hero takes off his armour after the grand arming scene! What replaces those discarded arms representing the virtues are five stones representing beneficial doctrinal memories -- remembrance of Christ's blood, of the pains of hell, etc., to be kept in the heart. These are theological mental aids, not weapons for moral action. Whereas he had the staff of Hope and satchel of Faith already on setting out, Charity appears only intermittendy, and as a theological rather than a moral power. It is true she preaches almsgiving, but her allegorical actions in the plot are in relation to the doctrinal scheme of atonement and grace rather than to charitable acts in the human world: she accompanies Penance, displays the Charter of Christ, makes the Eucharistic bread of fife, and is clearly present in the figure of Misericorde offering the milk which is Christ's blood of the Atonement. Charity, like Mary star of travellers, operates as a theological rescuer rather than an impetus for moral action. For all the plot's violence, its message is a fugitive and cloistered virtue. Typically, the [Vie.sup.2] pilgrim says that as a monk he cannot practise almsgiving so will rely on prayer to be his message to request shelter in heaven.(33) Grace Dieu in [Vie.sup.2] advises the hero to run away, as wise beasts do from hunters,(34) and he often follows her advice; she tells him that he cannot reach port without her help. Safety, protection and guidance into the safe haven are aU there for the asking, accessible through prayer and penance. Several figures represent this safety: Grace Dieu, the white dove in [Vie.sup.2], Mary and Misericorde (they are virtually interchangeable: for example, Grace Dieu bears the stella maris on her breast, and carries the white dove; Grace Dieu crowned with stars and Misericorde offering her breast resemble Mary, the |Royne de misericorde'). The operations of prayers and Charity in the plot show that it is faith the doctrines of the Atonement -- that secures man's safety. This fideistic preoccupation is clear when [Vie.sup.2] presents many vices specifically as enemies of faith and promoters of false religions. After O Royne de misericorde he meets Avarice urging him to worship her idol and abandon his staff, he debates with various practitioners of superstition and magic; and then encounters Heresy and her father Satan (in this faith-centred world-view it is heresy that is the next step to Satan, rather than pride or some other sin), escaping by making the sign of the Cross and leaping into the sea; but after ABC prayer the tempests calm and he then encounters another set of sins presented as false religions: Astrology, Geomancy, Sorcery, Idolatry, Conspiracy, etc., and the enchantment of Worldly Amusement. (Note the continuing sea imagery: these false faiths are the |perilz de la mer', Scylla, Charybdis, etc., and the white dove recalls the saving of Noah in the ark, a type of the Church(35)). He answers and eludes them all, but is thrown into the sea as a result. In despair he prays to Jesus, one of the jewels on his staff of hope --

Tu es le pommel ou tout i'ay

Mon port, ma seurte, ma fiance,

Et tousiours i'ay eu des m'enfance,

A toy me rends, a toy m'appuy, and recalls his reliance on Mary, the escharboucle reluisant, which is the other jewel. Men towards him sails the ship of Religion with Grace Dieu and the white dove.

At many points Deguileville's plot is constructed to express the doctrines that there is no salvation outside the Church and that penitence is the crucial gate giving access to salvation. For anyone who knows the Pelerinage, its theme of the Faith is clearly present in the ABC: in, for example, the insistent wordplay on herite |heretics', hesite, desherite, herite |inherit' and merite in stanza T, or the reference to Aristotle (stanza Et) and the statement that Moses' Burning Bush was |contre nature', in stanza M -- for Aristotle and Nature are two of the figures, representing unaided human reason in Book i, who protest against miracles of the faith, including the Burning Bush and the virginity of which it was a type (Moses is a central figure in Book 1, symbolizing the power of a bishop in relation to the Church's sacraments). Chaucer adds details which are in harmony with Deguileville's Church-centred approach to salvation: in stanza H he says the Atonement is available |To every penitent in ful creaunce' (perhaps a redistribution from stanza O), and his last line says Mary will bring paradise |To penitentes that ben to merci able' (he refers to penitence within the ABC more often than Deguileville does, but in so doing reflects something of its importance in the narrative of the Pelerinage). Deguileville's ecclesiastical perspective explains why he makes his pilgrim swim. Why not provide a boat, with all the allegorical advantages of rudderless boats, rocks or shipwrecks? Clearly because he wants to hold back the image of the ship for the religious life: as Apostasy says, |s'en la nef ne demourez, / Estre sauuez vous ne pouez'.(36)

Whereas in Pelerinage [Vie.sup.1] there were two parallel adventures, on land and sea, where prayer created a miraculous righting of the dreamer's plight, bringing safety, hope, Grace Dieu's help and a major spiritual step forwards (Penitence, the religious vocation), [Vie.sup.2] contains more turning-points, and the gains after each are smaller and less permanent; the pilgrim continues to suffer and stumble. [Vie.sup.2] expresses a sense of progressive revelation and a vision of the human protagonist as one who keeps failing to take advantage of what is given of to consolidate successes, messing things up, blindly going his own way. It could all have been so much easier. As Grace Dieu says in [Vie.sup.1]:

Or voiz tu bien qu'ausi mal gist

Hons com chievre par mal trop grater;

Tu t'es de tant voulu mcsler

C'onques repos tu n'i eus. (12,384-7) (The pilgrim says this of himself in [Vie.sup.2].) Man can get himself into a bad state like a goat that scratches around too much: |you would insist in meddling in things yourself too much, with the result that there was never rest for you'. The ABC calls Mary |vrai repos des recreans': a similar view of the relationship of this world to God. The truth, the goal of salvation, was always there: as Tribulation teaches the pilgrim after his ABC prayer:

Et pour ce que Grace Dieu est

L'abri qu'as touz jours trouve prest

A (tous) tes besoings, je t'i maine

(Point) ne te chaiuc, s'en as paine. (12,341-4) The most poignant expression of this vision of the winning of salvation is Tribulation's [Vie.sup.1] explanation that she is the wind that blows fallen leaves into corners (12,315-344). It is an image of simultaneous defeat, passivity and safety. The source is, appropriately, Job: |Contra folium, quod vento rapitur, ostendis potenciam tuam et stipulam siccam prosequeris' (Job xiii.25).

This vision of the human traveller, confusedly, blindly, stumbling along, menaced by enemies, but intermittently aware of a refuge which is there all the time for the penitent, is crystallized in the polarities in Deguileville's ABC Its speaker is tout confus, abatu, desconfortes, tresportes, fiuant, etc., whereas Mary is refi, de salu (la).porte, tente, temple, etc. Chaucer sharpens this polarity: in stanza B, for example, he adds the phrases |haven of refut, of quiete, and of reste', and the star image |lady bright' (added also to stanza H) for Mary, while for the speaker he adds the image of a ship breaking up. Characteristically, Chaucer also recasts Deguileville's recurrent image of Mary as repos and refut into quasi-philosophical terms: |pleyn felicitee' (13), |ground of oure substaunce' (87).(37)

As many critics have observed, Chaucer's ABC increases the drama; yet his more exclamatory style imports into the lyric something of the style of the surrounding Pelerinage dialogues, full of exclamations like |(He) Penitence, Penitence!', |Ha las! dis je, que feras tu?', |Chetis, dolens, que diras tu?', |He Grace Dieu, (ma) douce dame!', |Redrece moi et me relieve!', etc. Though Deguileville eschewed this heavily marked style for his ABC, its language is intensely personal: if we count first person singular grammatical forms and constructions, the French ABC has roughly twice as many as Chaucer's (an exact comparison is misleading since, on the one hand, the French poem has more words, and Old French uses more reflexive verbs but, on the other hand, French often omits je). Deguileville tends to couch his poem consistently in terms of toi and moi; stanza A is typical: |A toi ... m'en fui ... A toi me tien, a toi m'apui ... moi . . sui . . m'a mon ... en toi ... me ... vers toi ... j'aie ... A moi, se tu ... me'. Critics who see Deguileville's poem as abstract or impersonal disregard these elements within the texture of his diction. We need to pay attention as much to the effect of dominant diction or syntax as to the effect of images. For instance, though Chaucer has more metaphors of legal processes, Deguileville's diction is saturated with words that have a legal or financial meaning or are legal double entendrers: words which can carry a legal sense.

Chaucer introduced the Charter of Christ into stanza H. Though it was a common topos, he may have been recalling specifically the Testament of Christ in Pelerinage Book 1 (the immediate impetus was perhaps |cruel fer de la lance' in stanza H). This illustrates how it is not enough to look at a detail of Chaucer's in isolation: here, as in other cases, Chaucer's image forms part of a recurrent theme. His ABC dwells generally more than Deguileville's on the Crucifixion and on death and wounds: he adds, for example, a clear echo of the Stabat mater to stanza L, and a reference to Longius' spear to stanza X. This is typical of the way Chaucer builds up themes that are absent or only briefly present in Deguileville's lyric, and suppresses or reduces some of Deguileville's recurrent themes. Among Chaucer's recurrent themes are death, Mary's queenship and motherhood, and more echoes of the Ave Matia. Some are original to Chaucer, others perhaps inspired by Deguileville's narratives: Chaucer's repeated references to the Holy Ghost, for instance, may recall its important role in the Pelerinag e de l'ame. A study like the present one, which tries to suggest sources for individual details in Chaucer's ABC, will itself be misleading unless it is treated as a basis for critical reading which includes consideration of larger patterns and juxtapositions in the work. The theme of Mary's queenship is a case in point: Chaucer may, I suggest, have been influenced by O Rqyne de misericorde for his first line's |al merciable queen', but queenship is also a leitmodv running throughout his ABC and is linked to other recurrent themes in it, like the heavenly court. Though critics have characterized Deguileville's style in the ABC as abstract and Chaucer's as more concrete,(38) there is no such simple contrast, and it is interesting to note that in the Pelerinage plot the ABC functions no less as an object than as a text: one of many objects handed to the hero -- his staff and satchel, his five pebbles, or those other documents, folded escrits, given to him at different times. Deguileville's imagination -- perhaps it is natural in an inventor of allegories -- tends towards things which are texts and texts which are things: his Charter of Christ bequeaths PAX, which is a carpenter's square, as well as |peace' and an acronym for the triple love of proximus, anima and Xristos, the bells on the satchel have the Creed inscribed on them, and so on.

His narrative emphasizes the physicality and externality of the escritas: documents are put into hands, unfolded, read, perhaps transcribed (as if to explain how they got into the physical book the reader is reading), handed back, and so on. This helps to establish the texts as instruments of salvation but it is also a narratological game, playing with shifts between narrative levels: disrupting the reader's suspension of disbelief and reminding us that we are reading a physical book (something mediaeval dream poems increasingly tend to do). The inset escrit texts are marked off from the surrounding narrative by prefaces and codas (suitable to a letter, testament or commission) or by contrasting metre, as well as by this emphasis on the actions of handing them over, unfolding them, giving them back, etc. The first-person narrator (always a figure which hovers between being an alter ego of the reader and an alter ego of the writer) thus momentarily becomes a reader himself, and then at other times becomes, writer-like, a transcriber for the benefit of readers. This, of course, gives the escrit prayers a direct devotional significance, reaching out beyond fiction into the needs of readers in their real-life devotion.

Like many late mediaeval dream poems, the Pelerinage, particularly [Vie.sup.2], is a sophisticated lyrico-narrative hybrid, with the potentiality for raising provocative questions about relations between texts and life. In extracting one lyric from this hybrid, Chaucer was, of course, also typical of a late mediaeval trend. Chaucer did not merely isolate the prayer from its narrative context: he gave it a peculiarly unifying circular design by linking the first and last lines with wordplay on merciable. Mercy for penitent sinners thus becomes the keynote, the alpha and omega of his design. Chaucer appears also to be playing on an inversion of the letters AM and MA, linking the beginning and the end:

Almighty and al merciable queene ... (A 1)

Ben to the seed of Adam merciable,

Bring us to that palais that is bilt

To penitentes that ben to merci able. (Z 182-4) Perhaps these represent a kind of monogram, interchanging letters that stand for |Ave Maria' and |Maria'. |Ave Maria' would be particularly appropriate for such wordplay inversion because of the long tradition of wordplay on Ave/Eva which we find, for example, in Ave maris stella: |Sumans illud Ave / Gabrielis ore / Funda nos in pace / Mutans Evae nomen'. Deguileville's own fascination with acrostics and wordplay on names and letters might have inspired Chaucer. Deguileville's whole Pelerinage allegory of life as a perilous journey with Mary as guiding light was, after all, influenced by Bernard's allegorical meditation on the name of Mary; he included traditional puns on the name |Maria' in his ABC (amere, mer, 74-5), and the acrostic poems in [Vie.sup.2] include one on Deguileville's own name; and -- perhaps the most relevant to Chaucer's circular design for the ABC -- there is a stanza in the Pater noster prayer on the word |nomen':

Nomen tuum a et o

Significans in secreto

Finem atque principium;

Tali decet alphabeto

Nos studere corde leto,

Lectio est credentium,

Theologos hoc studium

Nos facit et ad solium

De mundi arundineto

Transfert, mutans in gaudium

Miserrimum naufragium

Quod patimur in hoc freto.(39) We have noted the celebration of simple faith in the Pelerinage, generally and in Deguileville's use of the alphabet, but it is also clear (and the two are not incompatible) that he saw profound mystery in contemplation of divine names. Here he is associating a sacred name with both the alphabet and a ring structure which involves inversion, |a et o': it is an alphabet which is also the mystic alpha and omega, a union of fines and principio. Did this stanza, occuring earlier in the French Pelerinage, inspire Chaucer to elaborate the straightforward, linear alphabetic design of the ABC prayer into a ring structure, an alpha and omega, based on the theme of Mary as Mater misericordiae, the figure who transforms damnation into gaudium? Though the Pater noster stanza above refers to God's name, it includes two echoes of wordplay inversions from prayers to Mary: |mutans in gaudium' recalls Ave maris stella (Ave ... Mutans nomen Evae), and the image of the nomen which |transfert ... naufragium' is an allusion to the puns on Maria/ maris.(40) (Deguileville also alluded to these traditional wordplay inversions in the first two stanzas of his Ave Maria acrostic prayer). What Chaucer seems to have done is to design a beginning and an end for his poem which function like a clasp with a monogram of Maria and Ave Maria, and which also make mercy the unifying motif of the circular design: the quality which can transmute man's end into his beginning.

There is a kind of irony in the fact that Chaucer may have been inspired by Deguileville's play on misericorde throughout the whole Pelerinage narrative, and on the role of Mary and Misericorde later in the plot of the Pelerinage and the Pelerinage de l'ame which gives it an autonomy, a unity and internal coherence -- which marks it as an independent lyric. Chaucer's approach to translating the ABC is not a simple one: what he gives us is not simply the translation of an extract. The relationship of Deguileville's inset lyrics to the narrative that surrounds them is complex, and Chaucer responds creatively to that complexity. The almost fluid interchange of images between Deguileville's plot and its lyrics is reflected in his own lyric, and continued further; his ABC bears witness to some of the preoccupations of Deguileville's whole oeuvre. By incorporating extra elements from the dramatic action into his stanzas he paradoxically makes his ABCA more self-sufficient text. In its relationship to Deguileville's narrative from which it was extracted, Chaucer's ABC is Janus-like, both |singular' and |multiple' (to pick up Georgia Crampton's phrase): cut loose from it and independent, but also provided with new links back to its original context. By a final pleasant twist, when Lydgate translated Deguileville he decided when he came to the ABC to reinsert Chaucer's ABC into the text rather than producing his own translation.


(1) Georgia Ronan Crampton, |Chaucer's singular prayer', MAE, LIX (1990), 191-213 (2) (1330-1) Le Pelerinage de vie humaine, ed. by J. J. Sturzinger, Roxburghe Club (London, 1893); (1355) Le Romant des trois Pelerinaiges, printed by Barthole and Jehan Petit (Paris, c. 1510). Quotations from Petit have modern punctuation. Quotations from [Vie.sup.1] are from Sturzinger, of [Vie.sup.2] from Petit. For convenience, references to the French ABC follow Skeat's practice of counting its first line as line 1. Quotations from Chaucer are from The Riverside Chaucer, ed. by Larry D. Benson (Boston, Mass., 1987). (3) Wolfgang Clemen, Chaucer's Early Poetry, trans. by C. A. M. Sym (London, 1963), pp. 173, 175-9; Edmund Reiss, |Dusting off the cobwebs: a look at Chaucer's lyrics', Chaucer Review, I (1966/7), 55-65; William E. Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC", ca. 1369', in Image and Abstraction: Six Middle English Religious Lyrics, Anglistica, 18 (Copenhagen, 1972), pp. 82-106; Crampton, |Chaucer's singular prayer', passim. (4) Helen Phillips, |Chaucer's French translations', forthcoming in Nottingham Medieval studies, XXXVII (1993). (5) Geoffrey Chaucer, The Minor Poems, ed. by Walter W. Skeat (Oxford, 1896), pp. xlviii-lv. Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC'", also prints Deguileville's text, but only twenty-three stanzas, omitting the last two. (6) E.g., Reiss, |Dusting off the cobwebs', pp. 58-61; Clemen, Chaucer's Early Poetry, p. 175. (7) E.g., Marchette Chute, Geoffrey Chaucer of England (London, 1958), p. 278 (a |devotional exercise'); Chaucer's Poetry: an Anthology for the Modem Reader, ed. by E. Talbot Donaldson (New York, 1958), p. 960; R. H. Robbins, |The lyrics', in Companion to Chaucer Studies, ed. by Beryl Rowland (Oxford, 1968), pp. 327-8). Critics of Deguileville have also disparaged him: e.g. M. Lofthouse, |Le Pelerinage de Vie Humaine by Guillaume de Deguileville with special reference to the French MS. 2 of the John Rylands Library', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, XIX (1935), 170-215 (p. 175). (8) Avril Henry, "|The Pilgrymage of the Lyfe of the Manhode": the large design with special reference to Books 2-4', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, LXXXVII (1986), 229-36 (p. 233 n. 10), comments on this. (9) Avril Henry, |The structure of Book 1 of "The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode"', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, LXXXVII (1986(), 128-41, rather similarly sees the |remarkable intricacy' of the form of Book 1 as a carefully designed embodiment of Deguileville's meaning. (10) On the development of lyric insertions and lyrico-narrative hybrid genres, see Jacqueline Cerquiglini, |Pour une typologie de l'insertion', Perspectives medievales, III (1977), 9-14; Jane H. M. Taylor, |The lyric insertion: towards a functional model', in Courtly Literature: Culture and Continuity. Selected Papers from the 5th Triennial Conference of the International Courtly Liter Society, Dalfsen, the Netherlands, 9-16 August, 1986 (Amsterdam; Philadelphia, 1990), 540-8; Sylvia Huot, From Song to Book: the Poetics of Writing in Old French Lyric and Narrative Poetry (Ithaca, NY; London, 1987), passim. (11) The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode ed. by Avril Henry, 2 vols., EETS, os, 288, 292, (London, 1985-8), I, xxvii-xxxi, provides a clear account of recensions, editions, etc. (12) See Pilgrimage, ed. Henry, II, 500 (note on lines 6641-2), on the probable significance of this image. (13) Super |Missus est' Homiliae Quattuor (PL, CLXXXIII, cols. 55-88, esp. cols. 70-1). Adam of Saint-Victor's sequence Ave, virgo singularis develops a similar allegory from the title maris stella, including the sirenes voluptatis, who appear in the Pelerinage. (14) E.g., Bernard twice cites together the traditional Marian types of Moses' Burning Bush and Aaron's Rod (cols. 63, 66): perhaps the inspiration for Deguileville's Nature's protest about these two miracles. (15) [Vie.sup.2], f. [iii.sup.r-v]. On the carbuncle as a light shining in darkness, see Anglo-Norma ed. by P. Studer and Joan Evans (Paris, 1924), pp. 48, 89, 139, 175. (16) Petit, ff. [xxi.sup.r] and [xxiiii.sup.v.] (17) Ibid., f. [lxii.sup.v]. (18) Ibid., f. [lvv.sup.r]. (19) Ibid., f. [lxxvii.sup.r]. (20) Alfred David, |An ABC to the style of the Prioress, in Acts of Interpretation: the Text in its Contexts, 700-1600. Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Literature in Honor of E. Talbot Donaldso ed. by Mary J. Carruthers and Elizabeth D. Kirk (Norman, Okla., 1982), pp. 147-57. On Chaucer's addition of the theme of queenship to the ABC lyric, see Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC"', p. 97, who points to the possible influence of titles like regina coelorwm in the liturgy. Surely it is also likely that the references to Mary's queenship both in O Royne and in the lines that run up to the ABC in the Pelerinage provided the immediate impetus, and Chaucer was also thinking forward to her role as queen in the Pelerinage de l'ame. (21) [Vie.sup.2] f. [xc.sup.r-v]; Marina Warner, Alone of All her Sex. the Myth and Cult of the Virg (London, 1976), pp. 198-201. (22) [Vie.sup.2], f. [xxi.sup.v]-[xxiii.sup.v]. (22) Ibid, ff. [xxv.sup.r]-[xxviii.sup.r]. (24) Nicholas Orme, English Schools in the Middle Ages (London, 1973), pp. 60-2; Marie Denley, |Elementary teaching techniques and Middle English religious didactic writing', in Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition: Essays in Honour of S. S. Hussey, ed. by Helen Phillips (Woodbridge, 1990), pp. 223-41. (25) Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC"', passim. (26) Deguileville's Penitence describes penitents as |enfans' ([Vie.sup.2], f. [xiiii.sup.v]), and G children enter the Church more easily than adults (f. [iiii.sup.r]). The ABC is introduced with the assurance that anyone who knows his ABC will be able to say it. (27) Pelerinage de l'ame, ed. by J. J. Sturzinger, Roxburghe Club (London, 1895), pp. 29-41 ([ ff. [xcvi.sup.v]-[xcix.sub.r]. (28) E.g. The Minor Poems, ed. Skeat, pp. 226-7 (n-100); Piero Boitani, "|His desir wol fle withouten wynges": Mary and love in fourteenth-century poetry', in Chaucer's Frame Tales: the Physical and the Metaphysical, ed. Joerg O. Fichte (Tubingen and Cambridge, 1987), pp. 83-129 (pp. 101-2). (29) I am grateful to Alfred David for pointing out another case where Chaucer's translation clearly shows he was influenced by material from elsewhere in the Pelerinage. In stanza D both poets recall Genesis ix.12-14. Deguileville refers to the unstringing of God's bow of justice (die rainbow, symbolizing peace between God and man). Chaucer, however, speaks of the direction in which the bow points: if it were still bent (towards sinful humanity) as it was at first, there would be no hope that God would listen to pleas of mercy. He seems to be recalling Pelerinage lines 13,300-18, where Misericorde looks back to the period before the Flood when God judged the human race to death for their sins, but Misericorde persuaded him to alter the direction in which the bow pointed and to be merciful to humanity, taking his punishment upon himself Chaucer's references to the Incarnation (|Crystes blisful mooder'), to the direction of the bow at an earlier period (|bowe bent in swich maneere / As it was first'), and to a request for mercy (|God ... mercy heere'), all show that he is recalling the later, longer passage. The theme also appears in the Pelerinage de l'ame. (30) PL, CLXIII, col. 70. (31) E.g., Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC"', pp. 100-1; Crampton, |Chaucer's singular prayer', p. 194. (32) In Books I-II Grace Dieu and Reason debate these issues with Moses, Nature, Aristotle and Rude Entendement. (33) [Vie.sup.2], f. [xci.sup.r-v]. (34) Ibid., f. [xxxi.sup.r]. The advice is with special reference to Venus, but the pilgrim follows response to many of the temptations that assail him. (35) Apostasy, the black raven from Noah's ark -- the counterpart to the white dove -- makes explicit this use of the interpretation of Noah's ark as the Church: Petit, f. [lxxxviii.sup.r]. (36) Ibid., ff. [lxxxviii.sup.v]-[lxxxvix.sup.r] (37) See J. D. Burnley, Chaucer's Language and the Philosophers' Tradition (Woodbridge, 1979), pp. 72-98; Boitani, "|His desir wol fle'". (38) Clemen, Chaucer's Early Poetry, p. 177; Reiss, |Dusting off the cobwebs', p. 58; Rogers, |Geoffrey Chaucer, "An ABC"', p. 95. (39) [Vie.sup.2], f. [xxii.sup.r]. (40) Warner, Alone of All her Sex, p. 262.
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Author:Phillips, Helen
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Date:Mar 22, 1993
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