Printer Friendly

The Dublin 'Visitatio Sepulcri' Play.

Maire Egan-Buffet and Alan J. Fletcher, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 90, C, 7 (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1990). 83 pp.; 13 plates. ISSN 0035-8991. Irish 9.95[pounds].

Of the many hundreds of versions of the Quem queritis dialogue, the fully formed Visitatio play, dating from c. 1400 and known in two manuscript processionals formerly owned by the church of St John the Evangelist in Dublin, is the only one associated with the Use of Salisbury to have survived complete with music and text. At a more parochial level, it is the earliest surviving play of Irish provenance. The 124 lines of text, chant and rubrics receive detailed study in this monograph; there is a transcription (critical but visually rather ungainly) based primarily on the text of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson liturg. D.4; facsimiles (small and rather grey) of this text and of E-Dm MS Z-4-2.20, together with examples of other hands in the latter source; and transcriptions of the respond Dum transisset sabbatum and of Te deum laudamus (based on the facsimiles in Frere's Antiphonale Sarisburiense) which framed its performance.

As well as containing the antiphons subsumed into the Quem queritis dialogue, the Dublin play is one of a small group to include the Easter sequence Victime paschali laudes, emphasizing more strongly than some other late mediaeval Easter dramas its liturgical roots and the basic characteristic of compilation from existing textual and liturgical resources. The inclusion of the ritual raising of the Cross and the Host in both sources (and the deposition in Rawlinson) is a reminder of the mimetic quality of the whole liturgy between Palm Sunday and Easter Day. And contrary to John Caldwell's recent claim for the didactic purpose of the liturgical plays for a lay congregation (The Oxford History of English Music, I, II), they must be seen rather as part of the ritual acting-out of the Easter narrative by, within and for a clerical community.

For those who contended with such practical performing editions as Smoldon's Visitatio sepulchri this new edition is particularly welcome, supplemented as it is by careful suggestions for performance. The demolition of St John's and the absence of a plan make these suggestions more speculative than a reconstruction related to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (another possible provenance), though interestingly the dimensions and layout proposed for the church correspond remarkably closely to the main part of the late fifteenth-century chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, an institution that fostered drama a century later.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Harper, John
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
Previous Article:The Welsh Laws.
Next Article:St. Patrick's Purgatory: Two Versions of 'Owayne Miles' and 'The Vision of William of Stranton' Together with the Long Text of the 'Tractatus de...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters