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Resituating romance: the dialectics of sanctity in MS Laud Misc. 108's Havelok the Dane and royal vitae.

Havelok the Dane has been edited and published as a single edition or as part of an anthology of romances numerous times since 1826, when Sir Frederic Madden discovered it collated with saints' lives in a manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library. (2) These well-ordered and carefully conceived editions, complete with scholarly apparatus (such as modern titles, tables of contents, introductions, glosses, indices, and footnotes), are, of course, vital to the dissemination and understanding of Middle English romance in general and of Havelok in particular. But they offer an aesthetic and interpretive experience of Havelok quite different from how a medieval audience would have read or heard it. When Havelok is considered within the context of its unique manuscript, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Miscellaneous 108, the secular nature of the romance gives way to elements that align it with the fundamental spirituality of the manuscript's overwhelming number of hagiographic texts, collectively referred to as the South English Legendary. (3) Especially when understood within the framework of the royal vitae of Oswald, Eadmund, Edward, and Kenelm, Havelok the Dane can more appropriately be understood as a hagiographic romance: King Apelwold of England functions as a holy ruler who prefigures the sanctity of the protagonist, while Havelok himself emerges as a Christ-like hero who shares more affinities with Christ and the saints than he does with other romance heroes. Havelok, in turn, exerts its own influence on the vitae by offering a more complete picture of royal sanctity. (4) Such hagiographic dimensions in the romance are brought to the foreground of the narrative when it is examined within its manuscript context; a return to the Laud manuscript allows us to gain a closer proximity to a medieval reading and listening experience of the poem.

I. The Manuscript

The physical make-up of the manuscript offers clues to understanding Havelok vis-a-vis the South English Legendary (SEL hereafter). (5) Little is known about the provenance of the Laud manuscript prior to 1633, when it was acquired by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-45) and Chancellor of Oxford University (1629-41), who donated it to the Bodleian Library in 1635, but hand and collation evidence reveals how the plan for the manuscript was probably conceived. (6) Comprising twenty-two gatherings of sixty-seven texts written in several hands, the manuscript contains what originally may have been five or six individual 'booklets'. (7) All but the last booklet contain a massive collection of temporale ('scriptural narratives') and sanctorale (saints' lives) collectively referred to as the SEL (fols 1-198[r]), (8) as well as two religious poems, 'herkinez me a luytel prowe' (the Sayings of St. Bernard, fols 198[r]-199[r]) and 'Seue dawes aren that men callez' (the Vision of St. Paul, fols 199 [r]-200[v]), all copied in one Textura hand, dating about 1280-1300. (9) This matter is followed by the poem 'als I lay in wintris nyt' (the Debate of the Soul and Body, fols 200[v]-203[v]), copied in a contemporary but different hand. The last booklet contains Havelok the Dane (fols 204[r]-219[v]) and another early romance, King Horn (fols 219[v]-228[r]), both in a hand also contemporary with those that transcribed the other booklets. It is likely that these texts in the Laud manuscript were originally collected into individual booklets, so that portions of the SEL would have been read or listened to within the context of the other lives and religious poems, and Havelok the Dane and King Horn would have been read or listened to alongside each other. (10)

Soon after they were copied, though, all of the booklets were collated, as evidenced by the consecutive numbering of the SEL texts, Sayings of St. Bernard, Vision of St. Paul, the Debate poem, and romances in red crayon in an early fourteenth-century hand. (11) Over the next century, more material was added to the manuscript that represents, for the most part, its present state. At some point after the booklets were bound, a rubricator added incipits and explicits to several of the saints' lives and Havelok in a Textura hand, using red ink. In the late fourteenth century, a scribe copied three more saints' lives and the only extant version of the Wheel of Fortune poem, 'Somer Soneday', in a cursive hand on the remaining blank leaves of the romance booklet and an added gathering (fols 228[v]-237[v]). (12) This last scribe also renumbered the texts in the entire manuscript, including the two romances, and was possibly responsible for erasing most of the numbers made in crayon (the evidence of erasure is seen on most of the folios in the manuscript). (13) This scribe's changes and additions resulted in a more orderly product, with consecutive numbering throughout, which both established the peculiar order of this version of the SEL and made his added saints' lives and 'Somer Soneday' poem an integral part of the manuscript collection. (14)

Collation By the End of the Fourteenth Century:

Fols 1-198 [r] South English Legendary (missing seven items at the beginning)

Fols 198[r]-203[v] Sayings of St. Bernard, Vision of St. Paul, Debate of the Soul and Body

Fols 204[r]-228[r] Havelok the Dane, King Horn

Fols 228[v]-237[r] Lives of Blaise, Cecilia, and Alex

Fols 237[rv] 'Somer Soneday' (incomplete at the end)

Significantly, the late fourteenth-century scribe's additions caused Havelok and Horn to be sandwiched between the hagiographic and religious texts, resulting in the reinforcement of a codicological sense of generic continuity between the manuscript's religious and secular matter. Of the sixty-seven poems currently bound in the Laud manuscript, sixty-one are explicitly hagiographic texts. (15) The collation of the manuscript thus establishes the thematic and generic dominance of the SEL over the other material bound with it, including Havelok. Indeed, the rubricator who added the incipits in the Textura hand also apparently viewed Havelok as another saint's life, for he titled it a vita. The manuscript evidence clearly suggests that Havelok the Dane in this only complete surviving copy was read or listened to (and, therefore, understood) in relation to texts that primarily focus on hagiographic concerns. As a result, the hagiographic texts collated with Havelok the Dane dictate the audience's horizon of expectations for understanding the romance.

II. The Hagiographic Context: The Royal Vitae

Reading Havelok within the specific context of the vitae of the four Anglo-Saxon kings Oswald, Eadmund, Kenelm, and Edward establishes the interpretive framework for understanding a royal romance like Havelok. (16) The royal lives follow conventional patterns of hagiography by recounting 'the exemplary life, the suffering and the miracles of a saint'. (17) The four saint-kings in the Laud manuscript's SEL are exemplary Christians in different ways. Oswald, King of Northumbria, is a well-established monarch who serves God, first by ushering Christianity into his kingdom and performing charitable deeds, and then by dying in defence of his Christian kingdom against pagan invaders. Eadmund, monarch of Suffolk, is also an experienced ruler who possesses superlative Christian virtues: he is 'meoke' and 'milde' and 'ful of milce' (44.6), and like Oswald, he dies trying to protect his kingdom from heathen armies. (18) The other two royal saints, Kenelm and Edward, are young kings who display Christ-like virtues and show great promise as leaders. Kenelm, ruler of the Welsh Marches (Mercia), is granted exemplary Christian status because of his youth and innocence that first single him out for God's protection (Christ shields him from being poisoned) and later allow him to divine God's will before his murder. Edward, King of England, is described (like Eadmund) as being 'meoke' and 'milde' (17.14), and he is also 'chaste, and wis of conseil' (17.16). Both young kings are murdered by treachery: Kenelm is slain by his guardian at the instigation of his sister, and Edward is stabbed to death by a member of his step-mother's retinue. With their emphasis on the exemplary characters, virtues, and actions of these figures, the royal vitae establish a clear concept of the Christian saint.

The SEL contains a wide variety of saintly types, including confessors, hermits, monks, ascetics, virgins, and martyrs, who each exhibit in different ways 'the perfect imitatio Christi'. (190 The four saint-kings belong to the last and most exclusive category of sainthood: they are martyrs. Slain 'for ore louerdes loue' and 'for [their] guodnesse', Oswald and Eadmund are martyred in their battles against the pagans (49.35, 38). Since their enemies are heathen, the sanctity of the two saint-kings is, in part, assured historically, through their willingness to sacrifice themselves to save their Christian kingdoms, and symbolically, in their defence of Christianity. (20) Kenelm and Edward attain the status of martyr because they are innocent victims slaughtered by their own overly ambitious (and irreligious) relatives and guardians. Not surprisingly, the royal martyrs die just as they lived, either in imitatio Christi or as Christian saintly warriors. Oswald, the Christian hero par excellence, 'stod a-[??]ein [the heathens] with al is mi[??]hte' and valiantly dies protecting his Christian kingdom (16.29). Edward, like the betrayed Christ, receives 'Iudases cos' as he is stabbed to death (17.76). Eadmund, '[r]i[??]t as men ladden ore louerd bi-fore pilatus', stands 'ri[??]t stille' as the Danes tie him to a tree and torture him (44.38, 48), and Kenelm, on perceiving that Askebert plans to kill him 'in one derne stude' (49.155), calmly accepts his fate, death by beheading, and informs his guardian that it is God's will that he murder him in 'ane oper stude' (44.162). Their martyrdom sets these saints (along with the non-royal martyrs in the SEL) above all others. They are paragons of sainthood because they show 'an extreme example of steadfast Christian faith'. (21) Collectively, these four royal vitae fulfil the purpose of hagiography by offering reading and listening audiences examples of exemplary virtue and behavior to be imitated; through the deaths of their protagonists, the vitae inspire their audience by providing models of perfect Christian behavior to be admired. (22)

The royal vitae also fulfil an agenda specific to the SEL. The SEL is the first collection of saints' lives composed in Middle English, and the Laud manuscript contains the earliest extant version of it. (23) The SEL treats insular, continental, and ancient lives, but it clearly shows, as many have pointed out, an overriding concern for England and its saints. (24) As Thorlac Turville-Petre maintains, the SEL is structured so that 'the nation of England takes its central place within a universal Christian family guarded by a community of saints'. (25) The Laud manuscript's version of the SEL is comprised of a total of fifty-nine lives; fifteen of those are of English saints, including the royal vitae, plus two more that address the conversion of England (the lives of St Augustine and St Gregory). (26) Klaus Jankofsky has effectively demonstrated that the SEL writers additionally worked into their translations and adaptations of Latin sources certain features that are distinctively English 'in contrast to the narrative treatment accorded the "Latin" (i.e., non-British) ... saints and martyrs'. (27) Jankofsky identifies these intentional changes as 'process[es] of acculturation', whereby the writers of the SEL 'Englished' their matter. (28) More so than the Latin vitae, the insular lives, for example, contain a high number of personal and place names, add details of topography, inheritance laws, local customs, and rights of the church, recount the plight of the poor, and offer accounts of English kingdoms and bishoprics. (29) The royal vitae exemplify this trend, including the names of insular countries and kingdoms--Scotland, England, Northumbria, Essex, Gloucester, Wessex, Kent, the March of Wales--as well as specific names of towns and shires (Corfe, Dorset, Wareham, Shaftesbury, Eglesdon, Maserfield, Eadmundsbury, Westminster, Winchcombe, Canterbury). Kenelm's life offers a lengthy description of the geography of England (49.7-74), listing fifteen shires in the March of Wales alone. Edward's life provides geographical details and even distances in miles between Dorset woods and Corfe castle and Wareham and Shaftesbury. (30) These lives are also grounded in particular historical moments (Kenelm ascends the throne in 819 [49.82]), and they reference other saintly kings: Kenelm's father Kenulf is a 'swipe holi and guod man' (49.76); St. Edward is buried at Shaftesbury Abbey, founded by his grandfather King Alfred for his daughter Ethelgiva (17.182-86), and, we are reminded, he is the namesake of his nephew Edward the Confessor (17.69-72); and the narrator of Kenelm's life makes references to the martyred Oswald and Eadmund, kings 'bi olde dawe[s]' (49.67, 72). The SEL's emphasis on English topics and England's geography, history, and past and present rulers in a collection concerned about English lives and written in English, sets it apart from Latin, Anglo-Norman, and Old French hagiographical collections: the SEL makes clear that it is intended for a reading or listening English audience, and the royal vitae enhance this picture through concrete facts, historical details, and geographical place-names. (31)

Indeed, the royal vitae develop the SEL's overall depiction of English sainthood by constructing a complex image of sanctity that is distinctively public. Their protagonists are the only saints in the entire Laud manuscript's SEL who are both 'holi martyr[s]' and 'holie king[es]' (49.1; 16.1). As holy kings, their personal virtues necessarily translate into saintly and justly governed kingdoms, emphasizing the sanctity of true kingship. The lives of Oswald and Edward each depict an ideal state, one that is ruled by a Christian English king who is in harmony with his people. Oswald holds 'up pe lawe of cristindom' through charity and conversion, and he makes St Aidan his personal counsellor: in fact, 'he ne dude noping with-outen him [i.e. St Aidan] : ake with him he heold him faste / And to-gadere al heore lijf huy weren ...' (16.15-16). As a result of his personal and public piety and actions, Oswald creates a 'puyrliche stable' kingdom (16.5). Such a harmonious balance between king and kingdom is also presented in Edward's life, where the narrator describes the happy state of England under his rule: 'Guod pais [??]are was ... and loue and murupe i-nov[??] / Richesse and al o[??]ur guod : elles it were [??]wov[??]--' (17.23-24). Such a balance is achieved, he explains, through Dei gratia: 'For [??]wanne [??]at heued hath[??] godes grace : and loueth alle guode, / Wonder it were bote alle his : [??]e betere heom onder-stode' (17.25-26).

In the vitae of Edward and Kenelm, a distinct relationship is established between the king and the common folk. (32) The nobility soon forget about Edward after his brother Apeldred is crowned ('pe hei[??]e men all of pe lond : with him [Apeldred] heolden echon / Ase with heore prince and heore louerd : and pene dede [ i.e. Edward] for-[??]ete a-non' [17.93-94]), but 'among lowe Men and simple : deol pere was i-nou[??]' as they contemplate their own fate and the fate of the nation: 'ho schal nou pais in londe holde? : ore ioye is al i-do!' (17.95, 99). In Kenelm's life, it is the 'contreie-men' from Cowbach, who 'onder-[??]eten pat cas' of Kenelm's missing body and know where to find it (49.283-85). These idealized relationships between kings and subjects, both high and low, reflect medieval European tenets of kingship. As Susan Ridyard maintains,
   The Lives of the royal [English] saints, it is clear, are wholly
   representative of early medieval thought on the nature of kingship:
   they are indeed one of the most important sources upon which analysis
   of that thought can and should be based. ... The qualities of their
   rulers are the conventional ones of private virtue and public
   utilitas, and these are expressed through the conventional channels
   of protection of the faith, patronage of the church, the exercise of
   iustitia, and the attainment of pax through military and political
   domination. (33)


Ultimately, Ridyard argues, these vitae offer a 'highly idealized view of the royal state'. (34) In the SEL, they represent the idealized view of an English state. (35)

The four royal vitae give the audience a clear concept of the saintly king, one whose exemplary Christian virtues are reflected in his public duty. It is a construct that is at once saintly, Christ-like, and English. This royal view of sanctity may be compared with and contemplated alongside the other types of saints found in the SEL. Since the saints' lives are the dominant genre in the Laud manuscript, the saint-kings' vitae also establish the context in which Havelok should be understood.

III. Another Saintly King

Havelok continues and develops the notion of the saintly ruler as articulated in the royal vitae with an extended description of another holy king. The romance opens not with Havelok in Denmark, as the modern title suggests, but with a lengthy description of the reign of the Anglo-Saxon King Apelwold of England. Like the saint-kings, Apelwold exhibits first and foremost exemplary Christian virtue. He 'louede god with al his micth / And holi kirke, and soth ant ricth' (35-36). (36) He surrounds himself with '[r]icth-wise men' (37) just as Edward draws 'wise Men' to him (17.18) and Oswald makes Saint Aidan 'is conseiler' (16.14), and he cannot be corrupted by power or wealth: 'Ricth he louede of alle pinge, / To wronge micht him no man bringe--/ Ne for siluer, ne for gold--/ So was he his soule hold' (71-74). In sum, 'Krist of heuene' is with him (62). Apelwold also duly displays his 'exemplary piety' at the end of his life. (37) After being shriven, he gives up all worldly possessions and engages in self-mortification, which the narrator takes pains to describe in graphic detail: Apelwold 'ofte dede him sore swinge, / And wit hondes smerte dinge; / So pat pe blod ran of his fleys /pat tendre was and swipe neys' (214-17). This detailed description of the punishment of his flesh in exchange for heavenly rewards is reminiscent of a martyrdom. When this self-persecution is coupled with his dying words, 'in manus tuas, lou[er]de', familiar last words that echo the words of Christ on the cross (228), Apelwold firmly aligns himself 'with the suffering Christ'. (38) Apelwold's renouncing of the physical and mundane in favor of his heavenly salvation casts him as an exemplary Christian ruler on par with the royal saints. His personal virtues resemble those of Saints Edward and Eadmund, while the grisly details of his death recall those of Oswald, Edward, and Eadmund. Through such close associations with the royal vitae--especially so early in Havelok--Apelwold's personal piety continues the hagiographic model of the exemplary Christian from the SEL, leaving undisturbed the horizon of expectations set up by the royal vitae.

Like the royal saints, Apelwold's Christ-like virtues are carried over into his saintly and just administration. Smithers recognizes this link between Apelwold's character and the nation 'because he is the apex of the [feudal] system of government, and hence the guardian of law and order' but overlooks the connection between Apelwold and the royal saints that is established by the manuscript context. (39) The king establishes peace and prosperity through 'gode lawes' (28) and 'gode werkes' (34): his laws are such that '[w]reieres and wrobberes made he falle / ... / Vtlawes and theues made he bynde, / Alle that he micthe fynde, / And heye hengen on galwe-tre' (39-43). He also protects his land from invasion, so that there '[w]as non so bold lond to [i.e. as far as] rome, / Pat durste upon his [menie] bringhe / Hunger, ne here wicke pinghe' (64-66). (40) As a result of Apelwold's saintly character and just government, 'eng[e]lond [was] at hayse', and he held it 'in grith' (59-61). As the narrator tells us, 'Michel was suich a king to preyse' (60). This ideal state of England 'bi are dawes' (27) resembles the Christian peace and prosperity of the English kingdoms in the 'olde dawe[s]' of Edward and Oswald's reigns (49.67). But Apelwold's portrait yields more than an 'exemplar of what the Church expected and required a king to be'. (41) Like the royal saints, he is 'the pious monarch', another saint-king. (42)

As with so many elements unique to the Middle English version of the Havelok legend, this portrait of a saintly English king is not found in the Anglo-Norman analogues, Geffrei Gaimar's mid-twelfth-century L'estoire des Engleis and the anonymous late twelfth-century Lai d'haveloc. (43) Among the 'changes and innovations' the Middle English poet made to the legend, (44) it appears that he intentionally creates a connection between Apelwold and specifically English saints and kings. In Gaimar's Estoire, the British king is named Edelsi, who rules the area of Lincoln to Lindsey and the land from the Humber to Rutland; (45) a Danish king named Adelbriht conquers Norfolk, marries Edelsi's sister Orwain, and fathers Argentille (Goldeboru). (46) While Scott Kleinman has aptly suggested how the name Apelwold could have come into the Havelok legend artistically (47)--by conflating Edelsi and Adelbriht into one character, hence Apelwold--the name inevitably suggests the names of several historical Anglo-Saxon kings and saints who would all have been familiar to an English audience: Kings Apelwold of East Anglia (d. 664), Deira (d. 655), and Northumbria (d. after 765) and Saints Apelwold, Bishop of Lindisfarne (721-40), hermit of Farne (d. 699), and Archbishop of Winchester (c. 909-84) (whose life is found in several later versions of the SEL). (48) Such connections become more apparent when the poem is read within the context of the royal vitae. In the Laud manuscript Havelok reinforces the English themes found in the SEL: England is idealized as a unified country justly governed by one saintly ruler.

This vision of England as a unified and peaceful nation enhances the Englishness of the Havelok romance. For although the protagonist is Danish, most of the narrative action takes place in Britain: beginning with a long description of England, the poet then treats Apelwold's death and Godrich of Cornwall's treachery before turning to a parallel (and much briefer) account of the death of King Birkabeyne and Godard's treason in Denmark; (49) Havelok spends his youth and formative years in Grimsby and Lincoln; the poem's only epic battle takes place in England; and the narrative closes with Havelok turning Denmark over to his vassal Ubbe and ruling over England with his wife, the English princess Goldeboru. As in the royal vitae, a clear connection is established between the story and its English audience by historical details of place in England--Winchester, Dover, Lincoln, Lindsey, Grimsby, Roxeburgh, Cornwall--while not a single concrete detail of place in Denmark is mentioned. Smithers notes also the references to 'formal acts of homage and fealty', legal facts, real-life settings, and official persons and acts, all of which lead him to conclude that '[t]he extent to which [the poet] has filled his story with facts, events, and institutions of the real life of his own time goes far beyond what is normally found in medieval romances'. (50) As W. W. Skeat once remarked, no matter how one looks at it, 'the story is wholly English'. (51) In the Laud manuscript, Havelok the Dane therefore continues the 'process of acculturation' or 'Englishing' that characterizes the SEL.

The manuscript itself provides a visual reinforcement of the poet's focus on England. The rubricator who titled Havelok as a vita places primacy on Havelok's rule over England, calling him first King of England and then of Denmark. Importantly, he added a medial punctus after Anglie (typically used to end a sentence) and capitalized the 'e' in Et. Between the two words, he drew a decorative braid and left a long space after Et, so that it reads:

[Incipit] Vita Hauelok quondam Rex Anglie. [??] Et Denmarchie

As a result, whether the rubricator intended it or not, Havelok's rule over Denmark appears only as an afterthought. It is possible that a medieval reader may have been influenced by the visual cue of the title, particularly since in the rubricator's other surviving incipits and explicits that include a braid-like decoration, the braid is drawn after the text to indicate the end of the line: Explicit / hic infantia Jh<es>u Xr<ist>i [??] (fol. 22r) and vita Sancti Ke / nelmi .Regis. / [??] (fol. 149 [r]). As the poem begins with Apelwold, his portrait as saintly king reinforces the generic categorization of the Havelok poem as a vita; the figure of Apelwold thereby acts as a bridge, connecting the saintly heroes of the royal vitae and the romance hero Havelok. Collectively, these saintly kings adumbrate the figure of Havelok as a saintly English monarch.

IV. Saint Havelok

It is possible that the Middle English poet (or, perhaps, a redactor) reworked certain elements of the Havelok legend to invoke, at key moments, the lives of the saints. Schmidt and Jacobs recognize that 'Havelok has a humility which links him more with the saint figures [than romance heroes]'. (52) At the very least, understanding the poem within the context of the Laud manuscript's royal vitae opens Havelok to more subtle religious and Christological dimensions, transforming Havelok's character from 'a secular Christian hero' into another exemplary royal saint, who exhibits the 'perfect imitatio Christi'. (53) Ultimately, the manuscript context transforms Havelok from a romance that is 'a kind of a saint's life' to hagiographic romance. (54)

Havelok the Dane, along with King Horn that follows it in the Laud manuscript, is typically categorized as part of the Matter of England. Both romances are built upon the foundation of the traditional exile-and-return motif, as they centre on the heroes' journeys from exile and obscurity to justice and restoration. Horn and his companions are cast adrift in a rudderless boat by Saracens who invade his father's kingdom of Sudenne. Through a series of adventures, in which he is taken in by the King of Westernesse, is knighted at the instigation of the king's daughter, and battles Saracens in Westernesse, Ireland, and Sudenne, Horn finally achieves the dual status of hero and king by avenging his father's death, regaining his patrimony, and marrying his beloved. But whereas Horn's transition from child to man, lover to husband, orphan to king is borne out of conventional military exploits and romantic intrigue, Havelok's rite of passage is based on atypical themes of pain and suffering. In fact, there is little in the way of chivalrous or courtly aventure to characterize Havelok as a romance. (55) Rather, the journey in Havelok is much more closely related to the saints' quests for heavenly perfection found only through torment, affliction, and humility. This saintly dimension to Havelok's romance is cast into sharp relief when considered with the royal vitae.

Like the two young royal martyrs who are betrayed by their guardians (St. Kenelm) or their own subjects (St. Edward), Havelok is betrayed by those who should be protecting him. While he is not martyred like the young kings, he nonetheless undergoes physical, psychological, and emotional trauma much like most of the saints. As the narrative unfolds, Havelok experiences great hardship, including near starvation and exposure to the harsh elements (he is barefoot and clad only in a bit of old sail when he goes to Lincoln in search of work and food [857-926]); threats of physical violence by Godrich (who promises to 'hangen [him] ful heye' or 'pristen vth [his] heie' if he does not marry Goldeboru [1151-52]); and an armed attack by robbers at the greave's house that nearly kills him (1766-1919). But it is his suffering as a child that is most emphasized. (56) Havelok first experiences physical and psychological torment at the hands of his guardian, Godard, who imprisons the young prince and his two sisters and deprives them of food and clothing, so much so that they are 'for hunger grene and bleike' (470). The narrator recounts, in great detail, the suffering of the children (408-21) then describes Godard's slaughter of Swanboro and Helfled: acting as though he is playing with the girls, the traitor suddenly draws a knife and 'karf on two here protes, / And sipen [karf] hem alto grotes [pieces]' (471-72). Havelok not only witnesses the carnage ('Hauelok it saw, and pe[r] bi stod' (476)), he stands helpless as Godard turns the bloody knife to his heart.

Although Godard spares Havelok, the boy's suffering continues when he is turned over to be murdered by Grim, one of his subjects. As with the passage depicting the horrors Havelok endures in the tower-prison, the narrator vividly describes Havelok's suffering at the hands of Grim: Grim 'tok pe child, and bond him faste / Hwil pe bondes micte laste; / Pat weren of ful strong line' (537-39). He then 'in an eld cloth wnden / A keuel of clutes [gag of rags], ful un-wraste / pat he [Havelok] mouthe [ne] speke, ne fnaste [breath]' (546-48), before stuffing him into 'a poke, ful and blac' (555) and carrying him home, where his wife seizes the bag and 'caste[s] pe knaue adoun so harde / Pat hise croune he per crakede / Ageyn a gret ston, per it lay' (567-69). Havelok is left to lie on the ground in the dirty bag, bound, gagged, wounded, bleeding, and waiting to be drowned until well past midnight. This emphasis on the suffering--even torture--of the protagonist is unusual in romance but commonplace in hagiography, and it might explain, in part, the rubricator's identifying Havelok with hagiography and also why the romances are collated with the SEL. (57)

The torments Havelok endures are underscored through the use of religiously charged language. The narrator and other characters often label the traitors Godrich and Godard in secular, conventional terms, such as 'wicke' (693), 'wicke pral[s]' and 'foule swike[s]' (1158)--as do the narrators of the vitae of Kenelm and Edward, where they call the villains 'schrewe[s]' (17.74, 82; 49.200), and 'luper' men and women (17.32, 35, 59, 83, 107; 49.191, 195, 207), but Havelok also invokes Biblical images and themes. As in Edward's vita, where the villains are referred to as 'Judas[es]' (17.76, 83), in Havelok, the traitors are 'Judas[es]' (319-20, 422-25, and 482), and, additionally, they are 'Sathanas' (2512), 'worse than Sathanas' (1101, 1134), 'fend[s]' (506), and 'deuel[s]' (496).58 Such language is expected in hagiography, and these specifically biblical terms reinforce Havelok's generic association with saints' lives. By setting the hero up against Judas-like enemies, Havelok is constructed as the betrayed Christ figure. In the Laud manuscript, Havelok emerges as a saintly figure who exhibits, through suffering torment and pain, the consummate imitatio Christi.

Havelok's association with the Christ-like saints of the royal vitae is unambiguously inscribed on the hero's body. Havelok possesses a singular quality unusual in a romance hero: a supernatural light, bright as 'a sunnebem', issues from his mouth as he sleeps (592). Marvels comprise an important component of romance, of course, for among other things, they contribute to the sense of fictionality the genre typically offers. As an element of romance, the light emitting from the hero's mouth operates the same way that giants, magical rings, disguises, and enchantments remind the audience that they are reading or listening to a fiction. (59) But the collation of the romance with saints' lives shifts the magical into the realm of the miraculous. Within the context of the Laud manuscript, the light functions like the miracles found elsewhere in Havelok's romance--Godard's moment of pity toward the young Havelok (an incident that the narrator calls 'a miracle' [500]), the angelic voice that reveals Havelok's true identity to Goldeboru (1264-74), the hushed wonder with which Ubbe and his men fall at Havelok's feet (2158-61)--and in the royal vitae. (60) Two similar shining lights appear in Edward's life: the bright pillar of light in the forest and the shaft of light beaming from his tomb 'ase pei it li3ht treov were' (17.190). The first light discloses the location of the saint's hidden body (17.107-08), and those who see it perceive it as 'godes grace' (17.109). The second light reveals the saint's desire (and, therefore, God's will) that the body be exhumed and enshrined at Shaftesbury. In both instances, the miraculous lights manifest God's will to identify Edward as a saint. In Havelok's case, the light emanating from his mouth also signifies God's divine plan that identifies him as the heir to the throne of Denmark. When compared with the lights in Edward's vita, it also has the potential to take on a greater significance: that Havelok is another saint.

The shining light as a sign of Havelok's sanctity also carries specific associations with Christ that are not present in the lights described in Edward's life. Twice, the narrator compares the light with candles. When the sign first appears before Grim and his wife Leue, the narrator says: that '[o]f hise mouth it stod a stem / Als it were a sunnebem; / Also lith was it per-inne / So per brenden cerges [candles] inne' (591-94; emphasis added); later, when Ubbe sees it, the narrator exclaims, 'Pat al-so lith wa[s] pare, bi heuene! / So per brenden serges [candles] seuene, / And an hundred serges ok' (2124-25; emphasis added). John Hirsh has remarked upon the narrator's comparison of the light issuing from Havelok's mouth to wax candles, noting that it creates 'a religious, even a liturgical association' between Havelok and Christ, (61) wax candles (lumina cerea) being used for Mass and other liturgical ceremonies and conventionally associated with the purity and divinity of Christ since at least the fourth century. (62) As such, the light shining from Havelok's mouth functions as an explicit Christological symbol, similar to the image found in the life of St. Kenelm, where the narrator also alludes to the liturgy in his description of Kenelm's dream-vision of the tree that is brilliantly lit with 'laumpes' and 'wex' candles (49.119). Through this specific association with the church and sacred objects (which would not have been lost on a medieval listener or reader), the audience is directed to interpret Havelok's character as a saint.

Havelok's body exhibits another Christian mark that underscores his sanctity. Like the light beaming from his mouth, he possesses an unusually bright somatic sign, a cross-shaped 'kynemerk' or birthmark (604). Ostensibly, the mark verifies the meaning of the light shining from his mouth. Although Goldeboru suspects that the light betokens Havelok's high social station, the other characters who view it do not understand its significance: as Ubbe declares, 'Deus! ... hwat may pis mene!' (2114). It is only when it is coupled with Havelok's birthmark that his identity as the heir to the throne of Denmark is understood. His 'kyne merk' on his right shoulder 'of gold red' is unique to the Middle English version of the Havelok legend (604). (63) The fact that it is in the shape of a 'noble croiz' lends it obvious Christian meaning (1262-63), but the vita of Eadmund enhances its Christological function. In the life of Saint Eadmund, a gold-red mark is found etched on the saint's body. Though the heathen Danish enemies 'al-to-rend' Eadmund's body with arrows and 'let is heued of smyte' (44.60, 58), once it is enshrined, the body 'hol be-cam anon' and 'pat heued al-so faste to pe bodi : ase it was euerer' (44.91, 93), the only sign of Eadmund's martyrdom being '[a] smal red line' on his neck that 'schininde as of golde' (44.96). In the Middle Ages, gold connoted, among other things, nobility, and 'red [often] signified royalty, divinity and the Passion of Christ'; (64) the combination of the two colours stood for 'moral perfection'. (65) The miraculously shining red-gold mark on Eadmund's neck is a concrete, visual marker of the saint's nobility (the colours) and his sanctity (its being a miracle, its representing his superlative virtues or perfection, and its connection with Christ through the colour red), and its presence in Eadmund's vita encourages the audience to interpret the sign on Havelok's body in the same way.

The 'swipe brith ... swipe fair' birthmark shines as brightly as the light from Havelok's mouth (605): in fact, it 'sparkede, and ful brith shon / So doth pe gode charbucle ston' (2144-45). In the Middle Ages, it was popularly held that the carbuncle had the ability to shine in dark places. (66) But the stone was recognized to possess other properties as well. In medieval lapidaries, the carbuncle is described as a red ruby that should only be set in gold. (67) Among its many properties, the carbuncle was said to be the 'lorde of stones' and '[h]it hath pe virtue of precious stones & aboue all other'. (68) It also 'signifieth Jhesu Xrist pat come in-to this worlde for to lighten oure derkenes'. (69) The reference to the carbuncle creates a type of analogy: as the red ruby, set in gold, is the lord of stones and signifies Christ himself, so Havelok, with his red-gold birthmark in the shape of a cross, is lord over men in both the secular and spiritual sense. Through the association of Havelok's cross-shaped birthmark with the carbuncle in a manuscript whose dominant genre concerns Christ-like heroes, the identity of Havelok's character as a saintly Christ figure is further developed.

The carbuncle was understood to be a source of inspiration, an object that has an ameliorative power to invoke what is best in human nature. For the one who wears it, 'He is of suche lordeshippe P<a>t when he pat bereth hym cometh amonge men, all thei shul bere hym honeur & grace & all shul bere hym joye of his presence'. (70) Such is the reaction of people who view Havelok, the bearer of the cross that shines like a carbuncle. More importantly, it also has the power to change those who behold it:
   Pe bokes seyn vs pat ... he pat is discomforted pat in gode beleue
   beholdeth pis stone, hit shal comforte & make hym to foryete his
   contrariousete be virtue pat god hath yeven perto. Hit fedeth pe
   man & comforteth pe hert & pe body. (71)


The birthmark has this transformative effect on two characters in particular, Ubbe and Grim.

Ubbe and Grim are both morally ambivalent figures. Although Ubbe admires Havelok's looks and noble bearing and even feels an intense love for him (1645-57, 1703-11), he nonetheless has what Stephen Shepherd calls a 'checkered' past. (72) Maldwyn Mills calls Ubbe a 'potentially dangerous figure'. (73) Shepherd rightly notes that a folio that might have provided more information about Ubbe's character is missing from the manuscript, 'but as things stand we first meet him accepting a bribe from Havelok [the ring], and he seems to enjoy a measure of authority and prosperity under Godard (1685, 1724)'; he also 'seems all too familiar with lawlessness and the ways of brigands' and 'possesses a ruthlessness comparable to that of Havelok's enemies'. (74) The poet even implies that the men handpicked by Ubbe to escort Havelok and Goldeboru to Bernard Brun's house are the very thieves who later attempt to rob the greave and murder Havelok. (75) Grim's 'mercurial character' is more obvious and, perhaps, more disturbing. (76) Although breaking a sworn oath to his lord could not be done lightly, Grim unnecessarily and viciously abuses young Havelok, and he clearly shows no remorse in murdering a little boy in exchange for monetary gain and upward social mobility. As he tells Leue when he arrives home with the bound and gagged Havelok, 'I shal dreinchen him in the se; / For him shole we ben maked fre, / Gold haven ynou and other fe- / That havet mi louerd [Godard] bihoten me!' (561-64).

Just as the carbuncle stone changes those who view it, ridding them of their opposition to virtue, the noble birthmark causes Ubbe and Grim to undergo a complete transformation of character. When Ubbe is drawn to Havelok's bedchamber by the light glowing from his mouth, he initially suspects the worst, thinking that they are 'wesseylen': 'Nou ne sitten [awake] none but wicke men, / Glotuns, reu[e]res, or wicke peues' (2098, 2103-04). When he calls '[m]o pan an hundred' men to view the light's source (2117), they see the cross '[b]rithter pan gold ageyn pe lith' (2141). In their realization (through the two signs) that Havelok is the heir to the Danish throne, they behave as if they are worshipping a statue or image of a saint. They prostrate themselves before Havelok and '[h]ise fet he kisten an hundred sypes, / the tos, pe nayles, and pe lithes [tips]' (2158-63), and the narrator likens their joy to the bliss felt at Christ's resurrection ('Was non of hem pat he ne gret-, / Of ioie he weren alle so fawen, / So he him haueden of erpe drawen' (2159-61). Their reaction is remarkably similar to a conversion.

Grim's conversion-like change is just as swift, as he immediately shifts his allegiance from Godard to Havelok on viewing the 'kyne mark'. He places his (and Leue's) life in the boy's hands ('Louerd we aren bope pine / Pine cherles pine hine' [620-21]) and solemnly pledges that '[p]oru oper man louerd pan poru pe / Sal I neuere freman be' (628-29). Grim's oaths to Havelok show an immediate comprehension of the true, spiritual meaning of freedom. Whereas he formerly only understood it in the worldly sense that Godard intends it, liberation from thralldom, he now understands it in a more profound, spiritual sense: the rescue of his soul from damnation. And he sees Havelok as his liberator, imbuing him with the intercessory function of a saint: '[p]ou shalt me louerd fre maken / For I shal yemen pe, and waken / Poru pe wile I fredom haue' (629-32). In fact, the sign so moves Grim that it allows him for a moment to divine God's plan for Havelok's destiny:
   He shal hauen in his hand
   A[l] denemark and engeland;
   He shal do godard ful wo,
   He shal him hangen, or quik flo;
   Or he shal him al quic graue,
   Of him shal he no merci haue.
   (609-14)


He becomes Havelok's guardian, sacrificing the life he led in Denmark for a new beginning in England. By pledging himself to Havelok, Grim not only commits himself to the rightful heir of Denmark (and thus embodies an idealized reciprocal relationship of mutual service between ruler and subject), he also experiences a form of conversion, freeing himself from evil (Godard, worldly gain) and aligning himself with the forces of good, gaining spiritual salvation.

The conversions of Ubbe and Grim are made complete within the course of the narrative, where both characters are reinvented. Ubbe becomes the champion of right through his promotion of Havelok to the throne of Denmark and his aid in regaining Goldeboru's birthright to the English throne, and Havelok rewards his actions by entrusting him with the kingdom of Denmark. The memory of Grim's evil actions is erased, to be replaced by a kind fatherly figure, a protector who raises Havelok, the chosen one, as his own son. Havelok himself, on recounting Godard's turning him over to Grim when he was a child, illustrates this revisionist history which the poem as a whole supports. As he states, 'But grim was wis, and swipe hende. / Wolde he nouth his soule shende; / Leuere was him to be forsworen / Pan drenchen me and ben for-lorn' (1421-24). (77) Havelok honours his memory '[f]or pe god he haueden him don / Hwil he was pouere and iuel o bon' (2524-25) by having a priory built at Grimsby in his honour. The transformation of these characters comes as a direct result of their beholding the cross-shaped mark on Havelok's body, and, therefore, the poem offers a firm Christian message of conversion that underlies many of the SEL saints' lives. That Havelok's birthmark carries Christological associations by virtue of its shape and its Laud manuscript context cements the link between Havelok, the saints, and Christ, enhancing the understanding of Ubbe and Grimm's character transformation as conversion.

Within the context of the Laud manuscript, the multivalent Christological signs inscribed on Havelok's body and the effect of his body on the characters who view it attest to 'God's active involvement in the affairs of men' just as the miracles associated with the saint-kings' bodies manifest God's will on earth. (78) When considered with the saints, Havelok is another figure to be admired and emulated, and he is promoted to the status of a Christ-like saint-king. As a result, the texts in the Laud manuscript reshape Havelok into hagiographical romance by highlighting the affinities the heroes of both genres share. At the same time, Havelok improves upon the image of sanctity developed in the SEL by enhancing notions of royal sanctity explored in the royal vitae.

Considering Havelok the Dane within the context of the Laud manuscript's royal vitae helps us to 'discover how the medieval reader or listener could have viewed and understood the work'. (79) This essay has, of course, only touched on one of the intertextual and trans-generic possibilities contained in the manuscript, and it has assumed a readerly or listening habit that would have read Havelok with texts from the SEL in mind, particularly the royal vitae. The early collation of Havelok and King Horn with the SEL and scribal evidence of the later integration of the romances with the saints' lives lend credence to this assumption. But reading Havelok collated with the other religious texts--the SEL's non-royal vitae, the Sayings of St. Bernard, The Vision of St. Paul, and the Debate of Soul and Body--and the two secular poems, King Horn and 'Somer Soneday', still highlights 'vita' Havelok as a primarily religious or spiritual text. As a result, the reception of Havelok within its Laud manuscript context would draw its audience away from the secular and mundane matters typically found in romance and toward the further contemplation of the spiritual matters such as those addressed in the SEL's royal vitae. (80)

Department of English

Sam Houston State University

(1) I wish to thank Julie Nelson Couch, Bradford Fletcher, A. Leslie Harris, Parergon's anonymous readers, and editor Andrew Lynch for helpful comments and suggestions for improvement on earlier drafts of this essay. I would also like to express appreciation to Martin Kauffmann at the Bodleian Library for permission to examine MS Laud Misc. 108 on several occasions and to the library staff for their generous assistance and advice. This research was funded by grants from the English Speaking Union and Sam Houston State University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs: I am grateful for this support.

(2) The Ancient English Romance of Havelock the Dane, ed. Frederic Madden (London: printed for the Roxeburghe Club, 1828); The Lay of Havelok the Dane, ed. W. W. Skeat, Early English Text Society (London: Trubner, 1868; 2nd edn rev. Kenneth Sisam, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915); Havelok the Dane, ed. Ferdinand Holthausen (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1901); Havelok the Dane, in Middle English Metrical Romances, eds Walter Hoyt French and Charles Brockway Hale (New York: Prentice Hall, 1930), pp. 71-176; Havelok the Dane, in Middle English Verse Romances, ed. Donald B. Sands (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1966), pp. 55-129; Havelok the Dane, in Medieval English Romances, Part One, eds A. V. C. Schmidt and Nicolas Jacobs, 2 vols (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1980), I, pp. 37-122; Havelok, ed. G. V. Smithers (Oxford, Clarendon, 1987); Havelok the Dane, in Medieval English Romances, ed. Diane Speed, 3rd edn, 2 vols (New Elvet, England: Durham Medieval Texts, 1993), I, pp. 25-121; Havelok, in Middle English Romances, ed. Stephen H. A. Shepherd (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995), pp. 3-74; Four Romances of England: King Horn, Havelok the Dane, Bevis of Hampton, Athelston, ed. Ronald Herzman, Graham Drake, and Eve Salisbury, TEAMS (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999), pp. 73-185.

(3) Fragments of Havelok also survive on four scraps of paper from the fifteenth century, designated Cambridge University Library, MS Addl. 4407 (19).

(4) In 'The Construction of the Nation in Medieval English Romance', Diane Speed comments on the possible influence of each genre on the other in the Laud manuscript, noting that the South English Legendary 'remind[s] us of the piety of [Havelok the Dane and King Horn]' while the two romances enhance the 'romance qualities of the [saints' lives]' (Readings in Medieval English Romance. ed. Carole M. Meale (Woodbridge, England: D. S. Brewer, 1994), pp. 135-58 (p. 143)).

(5) For complete paleographic and codicological descriptions of the manuscript, see Rosamund Allen, King Horn: An Edition Based on Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27 (2) (New York: Garland, 1984), pp. 6-12; Kimberly K. Bell, 'Generic Convention and Transformation in Middle English Romance: The Manuscript Evidence in King Horn and Havelok the Dane' (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, 2002, pp. 46-68; abstract in Dissertation Abstracts International 63 (2002), 2234); Manfred Gorlach, The Textual Tradition of the South English Legendary, Leeds Texts and Monographs, New Series 6 (Leeds, England: University of Leeds, 1974), pp. 88-90; Gisela Guddat-Figge, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Middle English Romances (Munich: Fink, 1976), pp. 282-84; Thomas R. Liszka, 'MS Laud Misc. 108 and the Early History of the South English Legendary', Manuscripta, 33 (1989), 75-91; Pamela Robinson, 'A Study of Some Aspects of the Transmission of English Verse Texts in Late Mediaeval Manuscripts' (unpublished doctoral thesis, Oxford University, St. Hugh's College, 1972), pp. 225-28; Smithers, Havelok, pp. xi-xiv.

(6) An inscription in the bottom margin of folio 1r reads 'Liber Guilielmi Laud Archiepi<scopi> Cantuar<iensis> / et Cancellaii Vniversitatis Oxon. / 1633.' Nothing in Laud's catalogue indicates from whom he received the manuscript. According to William Dunn Macray, superintendent of the Bodleian Library's new catalogue (1868) and chaplain (later fellow) of Magdalene College, Laud donated the manuscript, along with 461 other manuscripts and five rolls, to the Bodleian Library in the first of four installments on 22 May 1635 (Annals of the Bodleian Library Oxford with Notice of the Earlier Library of the University, 2nd edn (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1984), pp. 83-88). The only evidence of prior ownership is found in an inscription on folio 238v that reads '[I]ste liber constat Henrico Perneys Testantib<us> Joh<an>ni Rede presbit<ero> Will<ia>mo Rotheley et alijs'. The words following the declaration of ownership (Iste liber constat) are written in a second hand over an erasure, indicating, as others have noted, that someone else owned the manuscript before Perneys acquired it. Smithers has tentatively identified (with acknowledged assistance from Malcolm I. Doyle) the owner as one Henry Perveys, a fifteenth-century London draper (p. xiv).

(7) Pamela Robinson defines the booklet as a 'self-contained unit' that is a 'small but structurally independent production containing a single work or a number of short works' ('The "Booklet", a Self-Contained Unit in Composite Manuscripts', Codicologica, 3 (1980), 46-69 (p. 46)). On the number of extant booklets in the Laud manuscript, see Liszka, 'MS Laud Misc. 108', pp. 76-79 and 89-91; Robinson, 'A Study of Some Aspects', pp. 225-26; and Allen, King Horn, p. 8.

(8) Oliver S. Pickering defines the temporale as 'everything nonhagiological from the Creation to Doomsday' ('The Temporale Narratives of the South English Legendary', Anglia, 91 (1973), 425-55 (p. 427)). Although the temporale and sanctorale treat different types of religious matter, the medieval reader would nonetheless have 'recognized [them] as one continuous series of vitae of holy people' (Thomas R. Liszka, 'The South English Legendaries', in The North Sea World in the Middle Ages: Studies in the Cultural History of North-Western Europe, eds T. R. Liszka and L. E. M. Walker (Dublin: Four Courts, 2001), pp. 243-80 (p. 249)).

(9) Robinson identifies a different hand for the religious poems following the SEL ('A Study in Some Aspects', p. 225), and Allen tentatively agrees (King Horn, pp. 9-10). While the layout shifts from one to two columns on fol. 198r, where the Sayings begins, I see no discernible differences in the hand. Guddat-Figge, (Catalogue of Manuscripts, p. 82), and Liszka ('MS Laud Misc. 108', p. 76), also identify one hand for the SEL, Sayings of St. Bernard, and Vision of St. Paul.

(10) Liszka suggests that the five groups of quires (one, two, three through five, six through eighteen, and nineteen through twenty-two) 'could conceivably have circulated independently as booklets. These units, except for quire 1 [which is incomplete at the beginning], bear evidence of beginning and ending consistent with the quiring of the manuscript' ('MS Laud Misc. 108', p. 78).

(11) The scribe who used red crayon to number the texts also added incipits and explicits in a cursive hand to most of the texts in the SEL. If this scribe was indeed the one who collated the manuscript, then the Debate was already copied on the blank leaves of the SEL. Erasure marks (presumably made by the late fourteenth-century scribe, see below), are present on the upper-right corners of the recto sides of the leaves and are consistent with the other erasure marks throughout the MS.

(12) The titles in the Textura hand were most likely added to the manuscript by someone other than the fourteenth-century scribe who added the three lives and 'Somer Soneday' poem, for this second scribe wrote titles to his saints' lives in a cursive hand, using a watery red ink.

(13) That both sets of numbers begin on the current folio 2r with the number eight indicates that the first seven items were lost after the late fourteenth-century scribe's additions were included. Other single leaves have been lost, including one from Havelok (between fols 211 and 212).

(14) On the unusual ordering of the SEL in the Laud manuscript, see Liszka, 'MS Laud Misc. 108', pp. 79-84; Beverly Boyd, 'The Enigma of Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 108 (ca. 1300)', Manuscripta, 39 (1995), 131-36; and Carl Horstmann, ed. The Early South English Legendary or Lives of the Saints I. MS. Laud, 108, in the Bodleian Library, EETS. O. S. 87 (London: Trubner, 1887), pp. x-xi. Liszka proposes that the changes to the arrangement were intentional ('MS Laud Misc. 108', p. 79).

(15) In addition to the sixty-seven items, the manuscript also contains a few miscellaneous items on the flyleaves, including a sixteenth-century table of contents of vitae written on paper and pasted to parchment (the table does not correspond with the manuscript's contents) and a prayer to Mary. Three items in Middle English (see IMEV 496, 145, and 477) are found on the last folio (fol. 238), along with the inscription of ownership.

(16) Schmidt and Jacobs discuss the notion of royalty in Havelok, noting that it 'can be fairly regarded as the theme of the work' (Havelok the Dane, p. 11).

(17) Gorlach, 'Middle English Legends 1220-1530', Hagiographies: histoire internationale de la literature hagiographique latine et vernaculaire en Occident des origines a 1500, ed. G. Philippart, 4 vols (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1994-2006), IV, p. 437.

(18) All references to the South English Legendary are taken from Horstmann's edition (see n. 13 above), and the in-text citations follow Horstmann's item and line numbers.

(19) Thomas Heffernan, Sacred Biography: Saints and Their Biographers in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 20.

(20) On martyred warrior kings of England, see John Edward Damon, Soldier Saints and Holy Warriors: Warfare and Sanctity in the Literature of Early England (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003), especially Chapter 2, 'Holy Kingship: Sanctification of Warfare', pp. 27-57. See also W. M. Spellman, Monarchies 1000-2000 (London: Reaktion, 2001), especially Chapter 4, 'The European Anomaly, 1000-1500', pp. 147-87.

(21) Katherine G. McMahon, 'St. Scholastica--Not a Wife!', in The South English Legendary: A Critical Assessment, ed. Klaus Jankofsky (Tubingen: Francke, 1992), pp. 18-28 (p. 18).

(22) Gorlach, Hagiographies, IV, p. 437.

(23) The major Latin source for the South English Legendary is the Legenda aurea. See Gorlach, The Textual Tradition.

(24) See in particular Jankofsky (see n. 26 below), Jill Frederick, 'The South English Legendary: Anglo-Saxon Saints and National Identity', in Literary Appropriations of the Anglo-Saxons from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century, eds Donald Scragg and C. Weinberg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 57-73; Renee Hamelinck, 'St. Kenelm and the Legends of the English Saints in the South English Legendary', in Companion to Early Middle English Literature, eds N. H. G. E. Veldhoen and H. Aertsen, 2nd edn (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1995), pp. 19-28; and Anne B. Thompson, Everyday Saints and the Art of Narrative in the South English Legendary (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 46-57.

(25) England the Nation: Language, Literature, and National Identity, 1290-1340 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), p. 61.

(26) There are a total of sixty-one sanctorale texts in the Laud manuscript: fifty-nine saints' lives, one text on All Saints' Day, and one text on All Souls' Day.

(27) 'National Characteristics in the Portrayal of English Saints in the South English Legendary', in Images of Sainthood in Medieval Europe, eds Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Timea Szell (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 81-93 (p. 83). See also his 'Legenda Aurea Materials in The South English Legendary: Translation, Transformation, Acculturation', in Legenda Aurea, sept siecles de diffusion, ed. B. Dunn-Lardeau (Montreal: Bellarmin, 1986), pp. 317-29; and 'Entertainment, Edification, and Popular Education in the South English Legendary', Journal of Popular Culture, 11 (1977), 706-17.

(28) Jankofsky, 'National Characteristics', p. 83.

(29) Jankofsky, 'National Characteristics', pp. 84-85.

(30) For example, Edward goes hunting three miles away from Corfe castle in the woods of Dorset by Wareham (17.42, 48), and he is buried in Shaftesbury twenty miles from Wareham (17.178).

(31) The self-conscious use of the English language also appears in the royal vitae of Eadmund and Kenelm in particular. Eadmund's severed head miraculously shouts out its whereabouts 'with swete voyze' in English: 'here, here, here[!]' (44.81), and the narrator of Kenelm's life summarizes in English the Latin verse Quendrith is reading before her eyes fall out onto her Psalter (49.344-47); he also makes clear that the heaven-sent letter disclosing the whereabouts of Kenelm's body, 'on englis it was i-writ' (49.254), is intended for an English listener/reader.

(32) Thompson also notes and interprets the narrative emphasis on common folk (Everyday Saints, pp. 119-21).

(33) The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England: A Study of West Saxon and East Anglian Cults (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 81.

(34) Ridyard, The Royal Saints, p. 81.

(35) On the possible use of the SEL as commentary on the political and social crises of the latter half of the thirteenth century, see, for example, Turville-Petre, England the Nation, pp. 62-67, and Thompson, Everyday Saints, especially Chapter 2, 'Writing in English', pp. 21-57.

(36) All references to Havelok are taken from Skeat, The Lay of Havelok (see n. 1 above).

(37) Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, p. 175.

(38) Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, p. 175.

(39) Smithers, Havelok, p. lviii.

(40) Thank you to the anonymous reader for pointing out the proverbial expression of 'to rome' as meaning 'as far as Rome'. Smithers (who notes the proverbial expression) follows Craigie and amends 'lond' to 'louerd', to read 'louerd as far as rome' (pp. 2 and 85), but Shepherd reads 'rome' as a verb, glossing it as 'to possess' (p. 5, n. 7). Skeat supplies 'menie' [subjects] on line 65.

(41) Smithers, Havelok, p. lviii.

(42) Andre Vauchez, 'Lay People's Sanctity in Western Europe: Evolution of a Pattern', in Images of Sainthood, (see n. 26 above), pp. 21-32 (p. 24).

(43) See Smithers's excellent analysis of the alterations the Middle English poet made to the Havelok legend in his introduction to his edition of Havelok, especially section three, 'The Relation of Hauelok to the Other Main Versions', pp. xxxii-lvi.

(44) Smithers, Havelok, p. liii.

(45) Alexander Bell suggests that the name Edelsi is a variant of the Old English AEthelsige (ed. Geffrei Gaimar, L'Estoire des Engleis, Anglo-Norman Text Society, 14-16 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1960), pp. 262-63); but as Kleinman notes, 'no figure of note with that name has survived. See his 'The Legend of Havelok the Dane and the Historiography of East Anglia', Studies in Philology, 100.3 (2003), 245-77 (p. 262).

(46) In the Anglo-Norman lai, Edelsi is also a British king but the nationality of King Achebrit (i.e., Adelbriht) is not mentioned.

(47) Kleinman, 'The Legend of Havelok the Dane', pp. 256-57. He concludes, 'if the appearance of the name Apelwold in the Havelok story relates in any way to the presence of the name in historical literature, it must be because writers of the late thirteenth century turned back to earlier written documents and dug it up' (p. 256).

(48) Speed notes that '[a] number of early English kings, as well as noblemen and churchmen, were so named, but the bearer of the name who seems to contribute most to the depiction of the king in the poem is the man who was bishop of Winchester 963-84' (Medieval, p. 268, line 106 note).

(49) Through analogy, parallel structure, and language, the poet makes Birkabeyne of Denmark a mirror image of Apelwold, though he places special emphasis on Apelwold, devoting 200 lines to his reign (27-247) as opposed to 68 lines to Birkabeyne's (339-407). For a discussion of such parallel structures in Havelok, see Smithers, Havelok, pp. xxxvi-xxxviii and Speed, Medieval, p. 30.

(50) Smithers, Havelok, pp. lxii-xiii.

(51) Skeat, The Lay of Havelok, p. iv.

(52) Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, p. 8. They go on to say that it is 'a fact which would explain why the poem might appeal to a clerical collector of saints' legends' (p. 8). For other discussions of the generic overlap between Havelok and hagiography, see Henk Aertsen, 'Havelok the Dane: A Non-Courtly Romance', in Companion to Early Middle English Literature, (see n. 23 above), pp. 29-50; Dieter Mehl, The Middle English Romances of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968), pp. 161-72; Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, p. 8.

(53) Smithers, Havelok, p. lxii; Heffernan, Sacred Biography, p. 20.

(54) Allen, King Horn, p. 12.

(55) See Aertsen, Havelok the Dane, pp. 29-50; Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, pp. 7-15.

(56) See Julie Nelson Couch, 'The Vulnerable Hero: Havelok and the Revision of Romance', Chaucer Review, 42 (2008), 330-52.

(57) King Horn starts immediately after Havelok in column one on the verso side of fol. 219, so naturally it would be bound with Havelok. While it does not fall within the scope of the present essay, it should be noted that a generic overlap between King Horn and the SEL also exists in the Laud manuscript but in ways different from how it is manifested in Havelok. See Kimberly K. Bell, 'King Horn and the Crisis of Genre in Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 108', in Text and Context in Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 108, eds Kimberly K. Bell and Julie Nelson Couch (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).

(58) On the cursing, see Julie Nelson Couch's essay in this issue.

(59) See, for example, Jeff Rider, 'The Other Worlds of Romance', in Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. Roberta Kruger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 115-31.

(60) Such as the cow that sits over Kenelm's hidden grave and gives milk (49.215-38), the wolf that protects rather than devours Eadmund's severed head (44.69-72), the sweet-smelling mist emanating from Edward's tomb (17.212-18), and the wells springing where Edward and Kenelm's bodies are discovered (17.119-22; 49.286-91).

(61) John C. Hirsh, 'Religious Attitudes and Mystical Language in Medieval Literary Texts, an Essay in Methodology: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Havelok, Lay le Freine', in Vox Mystica: Essays on Medieval Mysticism in Honour of Valerie Lagorio, eds Anne Clark Bartlett and T. H. Bestul (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1995), pp. 15-25 (pp. 18-19).

(62) The laus cerei ('praise of the candle') is mentioned by St. Jerome about the year 378, in his letter to Presidius, the deacon of Piacenza, and Saint Augustine states in de Civitas Dei that he composed a laus cerei in verse (XV, 22). See The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles Herbermann and others, 15 vols (New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1913), XI, p. 515.

(63) In Gaimar's Estoire and the anonymous Lai, Havelok must blow a magical horn (a traditional romance motif) that once belonged to his father to verify his identity as the heir to the Danish throne.

(64) See Jessica Cooke, 'The Lady's "Blushing" Ring in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', Review of English Studies, n.s. 49.193 (1998), 1-8 (p. 4).

(65) Cooke, 'The Lady's "Blushing" Ring', p. 4.

(66) For instance, in the Middle English lay 'Sir Launfal', the eagle adorning the top of Dame Tryamour's tent has eyes that 'wer carbonkeles bryght / As the mone they schon anyght' (in The Middle English Breton Lays, eds. Anna Laskaya and Eve Salisbury (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Instutite Publications), lines 281-82). For other references to the carbuncle in Middle English texts, see Floris and Blauncheflur and Geoffrey Chaucer's House of Fame.

(67) According to the lapidary found in British Library Sloane 2628 (in English Medieval Lapidaries, eds. Joan Evans and Mary S. Serjeantson, Early English Text Society, O.S. 190 (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), pp. 123-24).

(68) British Library MS Douce 291, in English Medieval Lapidaries, p. 21.

(69) BL MS Douce 291, in English Medieval Lapidaries, pp. 21-22.

(70) BL MS Douce 291, in English Medieval Lapidaries, p. 21.

(71) BL MS Douce 291, in English Medieval Lapidaries, pp. 21-22.

(72) Shepherd, 'Sources and Backgrounds', appendix to Havelok, p. 317.

(73) Maldwyn Mills, 'Havelok's Return', Medium Aevum, 45 (1976), 20-35 (p. 32).

(74) Shepherd, 'Sources and Backgrounds', appendix to Havelok, pp. 317-18.

(75) As Schmidt and Jacobs assert, '[lines] 1933-4 show with ironic force that the "sergaunz" are Ubbe's own retainers!' (Havelok the Dane, pp. 181-82).

(76) Nancy Mason Bradbury, 'The Traditional Origins of Havelok the Dane', Studies in Philology, 90.2 (1993), 115-42 (p. 137).

(77) See also Ubbe's version of Grim's actions that he recounts to the Danish people (2234-39). On the verbal reconstitution of the past that occurs in these scenes, see Nelson Couch, 'The Vulnerable Hero', pp. 342-46.

(78) Schmidt and Jacobs, Havelok the Dane, p. 8.

(79) Hans R. Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. trans. T. Bahti, introd. Paul de Man (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), p. 28.

(80) On the crossing of generic boundaries between romance and hagiography in King Horn, see n. 56 above. 'Somer Soneday' adds another layer of meaning to Havelok, Horn, and the royal vitae, for it concerns the rise and fall of four kings bound to the Wheel of Fortune and carries an explicit message to renounce the mundane vanities of fortune; it, therefore, enhances the hagiographic plane of reading established by the manuscript as a whole.
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Date:Jan 1, 2008
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