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A Maid with a DragonThe Cult of St Margaret of Antioch in Medieval England$

Juliana Dresvina

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265963

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265963.001.0001

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(p.207) Appendix 1 Medieval lives of St Margaret

(p.207) Appendix 1 Medieval lives of St Margaret

A Maid with a Dragon

Juliana Dresvina

British Academy

Manuscripts of the lives of St Margaret

  1. (1) The Usener version. Greek passio (BHG 1165). Copied in Rome by St Methodius at some point between 815 and 820 (St Methodius, future patriarch of Constantinople (843–7), went to Rome during the second outbreak of iconoclasm to report the matter to Pope Paschal I). Manuscripts: BNF Gr. 1470, s ix ex; also Bodleian Library, Barocci 148, fols 262–267v, s xv and BL Add. 25811, fols 243r–254v, s xvi. Printed in Usener, pp. 15–46.

  2. (2) Short derivatives of the above: an unedited Commentarius a Niceta Rhetore (before 873, BGH 1169a), an entry in the Menologium Basilianum (886), a version ascribed to Symeon Metaphrastes (c.950–1000), and a praise (laudatio) by monk Neophitus (BHG 1169d, eleventh century).1

  3. (3) The Palatine version. Greek ecphrasis (BHG 1167x). Ninth century or earlier. Manuscript: Vatican, Cod. Palat. gr. 317, fols 51v–65v, s xi.

  4. (4) The Marciana version. Greek passio (BHG 1168b). 1279 or earlier. Manuscript: Cod. Venet. Marc. gr. 362, fols 169r–180r.

  5. (5) The Barberini version. Greek passio (BHG 1168c). Thirteenth century or earlier. Manuscript: Cod. Vat. Barb. gr. 456. fols 145r–150v, s xiii.

  6. (6) The Mombritius version. Latin passio (BHL 5303). Beginning of the ninth century or earlier. The most important manuscripts: Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Augiensis perg. 32 (Aug), before 846, fols 55v–59v; Saint-Omer, BM 202 (O), fols 13r–20r, s ix; Saint-Omer, BM 257, fragmentary, fols 12v–14v, 165r–166v, s ix; Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 649 (incomplete, fols 228v–229v), s ix; Bruxelles MB 14 (fols 55v–58v), s ix 2; BNF Lat. 5574 (P), of Anglo-Saxon origin (fols 18r–32r), s x; BNF Lat. 17002 (N), (fols 7r–11r), s x, printed in Joly, pp. 131–41; Niedersächsische Landesbibliothek Hannover, MS I 189, fols 12r–32v, facsimile in Hahn, Passio Kiliani; BL Cotton Nero E.i., c.1000 (although the Margaret text is a later addition, Part II, fols 162v–165r); BL Harley 2801, c.1200 (fols 63r–65r), printed in Mack, pp. 127–42; BL Harley 5327, s xii–xiii, a pocket volume, printed in Assmann (ed.), Angelsächsische Homilien und Heiligenleben pp. 208–20; BL Add. 10050, s xii, fols 117r–123r; BL Add. 34633, c.1200, fols 225r, 228v; Bodleian Canon. Misc. 230, 1204, fols 112r–115v, English(?); ending published in Francis (ed.), Wace: La Vie de sainte Marguerite, pp. 47–56; Bodleian Canon. Bibl. Lat. 2, fols 157r–162v (an embellished version of the passio), s xiii ex, Italy(?); CUL Mm. IV. 6, s xiii (fols 31v–36v), English?; Balliol College Oxford MS 226, s xiii ex, (fols 64r–68v), English(?); The Mather MS, a pocket volume, English(?), s xiv ex, s xv, printed in Gerould, ‘A New Text of the Passio S. Margaritae with Some Account of Its Latin and English Relations’, 525–56; BL Harley 3863, s xv, fols 166r–170v. Printed in 1477 by Mombritius in Sanctuarium, seu Vitae Sanctorum—hence the name. (p.208) An attempt at a critical edition is in OELM, pp. 194–218. Manuscript sigla in numbers 6 and 7 are from OELM.

  7. (7) The Turin version. Latin passio (BHL 5303). Eighth century or earlier. Manuscripts: Turin, BN D. V. 3 (T) (fols 220r–229r), s viii ex (written in north-east France, Corbie?); Montpellier, Bibliothèque de l’Université (École de Médecine) H 55, (Metz?) (fols 118r–122v (Mp), 22r–v (H)), s ix in; Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare, 95 (Vr), c.844 (fols 162v–173v); Reims, BM 1395 (K. 784) (Rm), (79v–89r), s ix med; Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (W), 377 (fols 255r–260v), s xi.

  8. (8) The Casinensis version. Latin Passio Beate Marine (BHL 5304). Eleventh century or earlier. Manuscript: Monte Cassino 52, s xi, printed in OELM, app. 3 (pp. 224–34). The Bollandists’ website refers to another manuscript of apparently the same version, lacking prologue: Copenhagen, KB, Thott 133 folio, fols 171r–179r, s xiii.

  9. (9) The Paris version. Latin passio (BHL 5305). Tenth century or earlier. Manuscripts: Angers, BM 806, s xii, fols 53v–54v; Brussels, KBR, MSS 219–221 (1951), s xv, fols 136v–140r; Brussels, KBR 380-00382 (3137), s xv, fols 91r–95v; Charleville, BP, 254 II, s xii med, fols 29v–34v; Montpellier, FM 1 t.4, s xii ex, fols 19r–22v; BNF Lat. 17005, s xii, fols 8r–11r (fragments printed in Orywall, Die alt- und mittelfranzösischen Prosafassungen, pp. 182–7); BNF Lat. 11758 s xiii, fols 15vb–18vb; BNF Lat. 16734 s xii 16r–19r; Vatican, Reg. lat., 543, s xii, fols 4r–6v; Vatican, Vat. lat., 1190, s xii, fol. 5v.

  10. (10) The Caligula version. Latin passio (BHL 5306). Eleventh century or earlier. Manuscripts: Arras, BP 600 (512), s xiii, fols 81v–83r; Charleville, BP 196 f.2, s xiii, fols 39v, 39r–41v; Le Mans, BM227, s xii, fols 21v–23v; BNF Lat. 5565, s xi, fols 10r–17r; BNF Lat. 1207, s xiii, fols 131r–136r; BNF Lat. 5362, s xiii, fols 92v–99r; BNF Lat. 8995, s xiii, fols 1r–3v; BNF Lat. 11753, s xii, fols 44r–47r; BL, Cotton Caligula A.viii, s xii; Hereford, Cathedral Library, P. 2. V s xii; St John’s College Oxford 149, s xiii; Bodley 285, s xiii; CUL Kk. II, 22 s xv. Printed in Francis, ‘A Hitherto Unprinted Version of the Passio Sanctæ Margaritæ’, 87–105.

  11. (11) The Rebdorf version. Latin passio (BHL 5308). Eighth–eleventh century.2 Tentatively ascribed to Peter, subdeacon of Naples, a tenth-century hagiographer who translated several Greek lives into Latin.3

    Manuscripts: BL Arundel 169, s xii, fols 63v–67r (English); Augustinian monastery of Rebdorf, Bavaria; nine more manuscripts, all but one in Italian libraries, listed by the Bollandists and in D’Angelo (ed.), Pietro Suddiacono Napoletano, p. 242;4 one more ‘ancient manuscript’, once belonging to the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Rome, was used in the AASS edition of the life. Printed in AASS, July, vol. 5, pp. 33–9, and in D’Angelo, Pietro Suddiacono Napoletano, pp. 243–62. (12) Martyrologies and epitomes. Carolingian period onwards. Old English Martyrology (OEM) (s ix med-ex), printed in Rauer, The Old English Martyrology (2013), pp. 132–5, Kotzor (ed.), Das altenglische Martyrologium, vol. 2, pp. 141–4, and Herzfeld (ed.), An Old English Martyrology, pp. 114–17; Martyrologium of Hrabanus Maurus (c.850), of Wandalbert of Pruem (s ix med), of Notker Balbulus of Sankt Gallen (s ix ex -- s x in, printed PL, 131:1119).

  12. (13) Life of St Margaret. Old English. Early ninth century. Known only from incipit and explicit as manuscript BL Cotton Otho B.X (lives mostly by Ælfric), destroyed in the Cottonian fire.

  13. (14) Life of St Margaret. Siglum CT. Old English. Mid-ninth century or earlier. From the same prototype as Mombritius and Casinensis. Manuscript: BL Cotton Tiberius A.III, s xi med, revised and altered s xi ex; (p.209) miscellany, Christ Church, Canterbury(?), Margaret’s passio is on fols 73v–77v (the only saint’s life in the MS). Printed in OELM, app. 1, pp. 112–48.

  14. (15) Life of St Margaret. Siglum CC. Old English. Early to mid-twelfth century. Source close to Mombritius. Manuscript: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 303, s xii in, a collection of homilies and saints’ lives, mainly by Ælfric, Rochester(?), pp. 99–107.5 Printed in OELM, app. 2, pp. 152–80, and Assmann, Angelsächsische Homilien, pp. 170–80. Apart from Margaret’s passio the manuscript contains two more saints’ lives, those of St Nicholas and St Giles; all three items are unique. (16) La Vie de sainte Marguerite by Wace (1100–75). Old French, in verse. 1130–40. Number 571 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature, p. 315. Printed in Blacker, Burgess, and Ogden, Wace, the Hagiographical Works, pp. 188–221; Keller, Wace, Vie de sainte Marguerite, pp. 55–115; and Francis, Wace: La Vie de sainte Marguerite, pp. 1–56; Joly, La Vie de sainte Marguerite, pp. 64–82.

    Sources: Mombritius + Caligula(?). Three manuscripts (all from the thirteenth century): Tours, BM 927, fols 205r–216v (siglum M), probably written in the area of Tours itself, contains a collection of French verse (including Wace’s Conception Nostre Dame and the only extant copy of the twelfth-century Jeu d’Adam). The other two MSS are copies of a Picard recast of the poem: Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal 3516, fols 125ar–126av (siglum A), written in Flanders or northern Artois in 1267/8, a collection of saints’ legends (also contains two other hagiographical works of Wace—the Conception and the Vie de saint Nicolas), illuminated with eighty-one miniatures (none of which relates to the Margaret text); Troyes, BM 1905, fols 155v–175v (siglum T), a collection of religious works in French and Latin, copied in north-eastern France, probably at the court of Jeanne of Burgundy—its lavish illuminations are dated by Alison Stones to 1320–30 (Keller, Wace, Vie de sainte Marguerite, p. 185). M is closest to the original by Wace, but is damaged and preserves only about two-thirds of the text; T is the latest and arguably least reliable, but the only copy which is complete.

  15. (17) Seinte Marherete, the Meiden ant Martyr (from the Katherine Group, KG). Siglum SM. Middle English. 1200–20. Source close to Mombritius. Manuscripts: Bodley 34, 1220–40, fols 18r–36v; BL Royal 17 A XXVII, 1220–30, fols 37r–56r. Printed in MEPW, pp. 44–85; Mack, pp. 2–55; Cockayne, Seinte Marherete, pp. 1–23.

    The KG also includes: Hali Meiðhad (letter on virginity, HM) and Sawles Warde (based on a dialogue on the custody of the soul, ascribed to St Anselm, SW). The Ancrene Wisse (AW) Group consists of the above titles and Ancrene Wisse itself, as well as four meditations in verse; these meditations make up the so-called Wooing Group (WG). The KG and AW were apparently written in the early thirteenth century in west Midlands/Herefordshire dialect. Apart from Bodley 34, there are BL Royal 17 A XXVII, Cotton Titus D.XVIII, and other collections including two or more texts from AW Group.6 The exact localisation of the texts is disputable as well. Previous attempts to associate the AW Group and its author(s) with the Augustinian Wigmore Abbey have been questioned and Dominican influence suggested instead.7 The tradition of associating the immediate audience of AW with the ‘sisters’ of Le Derefaud (the Deerfold) was based on a misreading of fratres for sorores; there is not enough evidence to associate them with the community at Limebrook either, although it appears more likely.8

  16. (18) Version A. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Mid-thirteenth century or earlier. Number 572 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Sources: combination of Mombritius and Caligula traditions. Manuscript: BL Add. (p.210) 38664, fols 1r–3r, c.1260(?). Printed in Reichl, ‘An Anglo-Norman Legend of St Margaret’, pp. 53–66. Sigla for A–H versions are from Cazelles.

    The manuscript consists of two quires of eight leaves. The life of St Margaret, written in eighty-five monorhymed decasyllabicquatrains (340 lines in total), is followed by twenty-two miracles of the Virgin, in octosyllabic rhymed couplets, translated by Guilleaume Adar ‘from a Latin “essamplaire” in the library of St Paul’s Cathedral, and dedicated to Dame Mahaut’.9 The Add. 38664 manuscript is a part of a larger collection of texts in verse, the Edwardes MS, which could have served as both a model and one of the sources for the Auchinleck MS (however, no direct influence of the ‘Edwardes’ Margaret on the ‘Auchinleck’ one is found).10 The nature of the compilation points towards a possibility of both a London milieu and female patronage. The final stanza of the Margaret poem indicates that the life was composed in honour of a church dedicated to this saint, presumably St Margaret’s, Westminster, and urges the reader to support ‘cele glise’.

  17. (19) Version B. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Late thirteenth century or earlier. Number 573 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Source: Caligula. Composed in England. Manuscript: York, Chapter Library 16 K.13, s xiv in, fols 119–28. Printed in Spencer, ‘The Legend of St Margaret’, 107–11. The manuscript is a much-used Anglo-Norman verse compilation, also containing lives of St Eustace (by Guillaume de Ferrières) and St Mary Magdalene, as well as the Manuel des Péchés by William of Waddington.

  18. (20) Version C. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Late thirteenth century or earlier. Mentioned under number 574 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Source: Caligula(?). Manuscript: Olim in the collection of Emil Knoll (1 folio). Printed in Zingerle, ‘Zur Margareten-Legende’, pp. 414–16.

  19. (21) Version D. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Late twelfth–early thirteenth century. Number 571.1 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Source: Mombritius. Manuscript: CUL Ee. VI. 11, fols 1–8, s xiii ex. Printed in Spencer, ‘The Legend of St Margaret’, 71–5. Similar in style to Version B. The manuscript is an Anglo-Norman verse compilation which also contains a poem about St Patrick’s purgatory and a selection of fables.

  20. (22) Version E. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Mid-thirteenth century. Source: Mombritius. Manuscripts: BNF n.a. Fr. 13521, s xiii ex; BNF Moreau 1715, fols 19–22; s xviii. Printed in Tammi, pp. 115–28. The manuscript also contains an Anglo-Norman life of St Katherine in verse. The life of St Margaret consists of 498 octosyllabic lines in rhyming couplets. Like Version D, it is a first-person narrative by a certain Fouque (l. 490), who may or may not have been the same Fouque who wrote the Creed of the Usurer.

  21. (23) Version F. Anglo-Norman, in verse. Late thirteenth century or earlier. Number 574 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Source: Mombritius. Manuscript (contains other saints’ lives and religious works): BNF Fr. 19525, fols 141v–145r, s xiii ex (fol. 141v—historiated initial). Printed in Joly, pp. 83–98. Also in octosyllabic couplets, of 478 lines.

  22. (24) Version G. Norman and Picard dialects, in verse. Twelfth or thirteenth century. Source: Mombritius. Over 100 manuscripts extant, mostly from fourteenth–fifteenth centuries. The earliest are BNF Fr. 2162, fols 115r–119r, s xiii med-ex; Chartres, BM 620, s xiii (damaged in the Second World War); BNF Fr. 1555, s xv, printed in Joly, pp. 99–129. Fifteenth-century French MSS in Oxford and Cambridge libraries: Fizwilliam 112 (fols 113r–119r); Bodleian, Barlow 30, fols 67r–87r; Douce 268, fols 104v–122v; Rawl. liturg. e.12, fols 136v–163r, e.25, fols 153r–176r, e.33, fols 94r–99v, f.33, fols 202r–209v; Canon. liturg. 93, fols 144r–165v.

    Although the G life ‘shows Norman and Picard linguistic traits’,11 it was predominantly copied in late fourteenth–fifteenth century mainland France, and its manuscripts, deposited in British libraries, are of French origin. Starting from the late fourteenth century this version is often found in books of (p.211) hours, copied in conjunction with the standard prayer to the saint—perhaps it was understood as a part of the wide and variable ‘hours corpus’, making the text less prone to changes. There are also French copies of the G life employed as amulets, presumably for pregnant women.

    The G life’s wide dissemination and prodigious number of copies made mouvance unavoidable. The copies deposited in Oxford and Cambridge libraries display overall consistency of the text with a number of important changes. Most of the typical changes are omissions or additions of two (seldom four or six) lines, which do not normally disturb the flow of the poem; minor dialectal amendments/replacements to improve the rhyme are also common. The three main points at which most significant variations appear are all found towards the end of the text: the black demon episode; the prayer of St Margaret in her cell immediately afterwards and the subsequent heavenly apparitions (these tend to be slightly abbreviated and some couplets substituted);12 and, finally, the ending of the poem, after the saint is executed and taken to paradise, is often recast through substitutions of approximately the same length as the original version.13 These adjustments, however, do not substantially change the content: apparently the aim was aesthetic embellishment rather than giving the poem a new thematic emphasis; they do not affect its overall length.

    The only drastic recasting of the G life is found in a mid-fifteenth-century French book of hours of Rheims Use, MS Rawl. liturg. e.33. Its initial sixty-four lines appear to be very much the same as in any other G version (apart from omission of three odd lines); the rest of the narrative is shrunk into 163 lines (instead of approximately 660 in the ‘complete’ G life), preserving at least hints of the events described in the original. Almost everything in this version is new—e 33 briefly picks up again the G life only towards the end. Although the meter is regular (traditionally octosyllabic) and the rhymes are usually exact, there are a number of odd lines, which have no rhyming pairs. However, it is difficult to say whether this is due to a corrupt exemplar, or whether the anonymous copyist simply aimed to make the text as brief as possible, without caring for the quality of the verse.

  23. (25) Version H. Anglo-Norman (Picard scribe), in verse. Mid-thirteenth century. Number 575 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Source: Mombritius. Manuscript: BL Sloane 1611, fols 147v–152r, s xiii 2. Printed in Meyer, ‘Notice du MS Sloane 1611’, 532–58.14

    The life is in 630 rhyming lines of irregular length (seven to thirteen syllables). The manuscript was either made in England or had English connections from early on, as there is a Latin addition in an early fourteenth-century English cursive hand immediately after the poem. The poem is copied into a French compilation and is preceded by a book of medicines for different diseases (including specifically female ones); thus the purpose must have been more therapeutic than solely devotional.

  24. (26) Legenda Aurea (also known as Legenda Sanctorum and Lombardica Historia) by Jacobus de Voragine (c.1229–98). Siglum LA. Latin. c.1260–70. Probably the most popular non-liturgical work of the late Middle Ages; a fact borne out by the 1000 or so surviving manuscripts and 150 printed editions published before 1550. Some important English manuscripts: Bodleian Lat. th. c. 30, s xiv in; Laud Misc. 489, s xiii ex (an abbreviated version of LA, with many legends left out, probably from Lindisfarne); Bodley 389, s xv in. Printed in Maggioni, Legenda Aurea, pp. 616–20.

  25. (27) Breviaries.15 The surviving English breviary lessons on Margaret (always nine in calendars, but occasionally six or eight in breviaries) can be divided into four major groups with further subgroups:

    1. (p.212) I. Lessons essentially identical with those in the Procter and Wordsworth edition of the Sarum breviary (siglum PW):16

      • Ia. Verbatim excerpts from a source like PW, with length of excerpts varying widely.17

      • Ib. Verbatim excerpts from PW with occasional rewriting (summaries, transitions); four of the six extant manuscripts have closely related lessons.18

      • Ic. Abridged versions of a source like PW with considerable rewriting; two of the three extant manuscripts have closely related lessons.19

    2. II. Breviaries, some Sarum, some not, with lessons based at least in part on sources other than PW:

      • IIa. Verbatim excerpts from a source like a version of the Mombritius; only the first six lessons deal with Margaret; all three versions are different;20 nine lessons based on the Mombritius text, dealing with the initial part of the story (up to the beginning of the second day).21

      • IIb. Verbatim excerpts from a source like Caligula; all different.22

      • IIc. Lessons with apparent borrowings from both Mombritius and Caligula, all different.23

    3. III. More elusive or more complicated textual situations; each grouping consists of manuscripts that look closely related to each other:

      • IIIa. Lessons apparently based on a combination of PW with both Mombritius and Caligula.24

      • IIIb. Lessons apparently using both PW and an abridged, rewritten version of Caligula.25

      • IIIc1. Unusually standardised lessons, apparently based on an abridged and rewritten PW with additions from both Mombritius and Caligula (all Sarum).26

      • (p.213) IIIc2. Almost identical to the preceding group, but more abbreviated (all Sarum).27

      • IIId. Excerpts from PW with ending from version IIIc1 (both Sarum).28

      • IIIe. Lessons apparently using IIIb, IIIc1, and Mombritius (all Sarum).29

      • IIIf. Lessons excerpted from the LA (unique).30

      • IIIg. Lessons apparently using both PW and the LA (unique).31

      • IIIh. Lessons based on Mombritius, combine perhaps with a fuller source (York).32

    4. IV. Lessons based on the Rebdorf version (unique).33

    5. V. Lessons whose sources are yet to be identified (all different).34

    Some manuscripts of English breviaries contain no lessons on Margaret;35 some have lost parts of their contents, or never covered the summer part of the calendar in the first instance.

  26. (28) Latin metrical life (Cleopatra version). Thirteenth century or earlier. English(?). Manuscript: Cotton Cleopatra A.XIV, s xiii ex, fols 32v–33v. Printed below, pp. 226–9.

  27. (29) Meidan Maregrete. Siglum MM (Group A). Middle English, in verse. Composed in the north-east of England. Mid-thirteenth century. Source close to Mombritius; probably influenced by LA. All printed in Reichl, pp. 163–249. Manuscripts:

    Subgroup A1

    • Trinity College Cambridge B 14.39, 1255–60, fols 20r–24r (also printed in Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, pp. 489–98, Cockayne, Seinte Marherete, pp. 34–43). Siglum Tr. A smallish ‘preacher’s book’ of odd quires, written by at least six scribes of the same period, containing a collection of prose and verse in Latin, English, and French. Worcestershire/Hereford dialect, which brings Tr close to the area where the SEL and the KG originated. Tr scribe abbreviated the original, but did not expand or rework it, unlike the copyist of the Auchinleck MS.

    • Auchinleck MS (Advocates’ MS 19.2.1, National Library of Scotland), c.1330s, fols 16rb–21ra (also published http://www.nls.uk/auchinleck/contents.html; Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, pp. 225–35). Siglum Ay. Middlesex dialect, although certain northern words are preserved, which sometimes spoil the rhyme. The Ay text contains twenty stanzas (one fifth of the text), which are unique for the A1 subgroup; it is unclear whether they were a result of the Ay scribe’s adjustment of the poem, or are copied from his exemplar. The former version is not impossible, as the dialect of the unique lines does not usually demonstrate any features different from the scribe’s dialect.

    • CUL Add. 4122, s xv 1, fols 6r–38v (also published in Reames et al., Middle English Legends of Women Saints, pp. 115–27). Siglum Ad. A mass-production pocket-sized book by a professional scribe for commercial purpose (apparently for a lay female customer), containing three poems in (p.214) Middle English: lives of St Margaret, Our Lady, and St Dorothy. The Ad version occasionally recasts lines to adjust them to the contemporary language, but usually it adheres to the old rhymes and hardly ever introduces stanzas which are not present in any other reductions.

    • Blackburn, Public Library, olim Petworth 3, s xv 1, fols 167r–183r. Siglum Bl. Another example of commercial mass-production. MM is bound to the back of a book of hours, both fragments written in gothic bookhand, perhaps by the same scribe. The treatment of text is similar to Ay—the Bl scribe appears to copy his sometimes-imperfect exemplar faithfully, without having to correct occasional defects such as failure of rhyme and stanzas consisting of three or five, not four lines.

    • Bodley 779, s xv med, fols 204v–208r. Siglum B. A compilation of saints’ legends in verse, mostly from the SEL, ‘a “collector’s copy”, compiled from various sources… [with] remnants of hierarchical or calendar order’.36 The compiler uses the A1 text rather than a standard SEL version of St Margaret. North Hampshire dialect suggests that the MM of B was recast by the scribe himself, especially in the middle of the legend, around Margaret’s tribulations in prison; the compiler also leaves out details of angelic appearances before and after the saint’s execution.

    • Bodleian, Rawl. Poet. 34, s xv 2, fols1r–4r. Siglum Ra. A paper manuscript of twenty folios in hasty anglicana, containing a collection of Middle English verse, apparently by three different scribes writing in the same period. The lines of the Ra redaction of MM are usually longer than in other versions; the Latinised ‘lumene’ is characteristically used for ‘light’ in at least two cases; rhymes usually fit together well and the stanzas are regular, including unique ones. Although the language of the manuscript is somewhat modernised compared to Tr and Ay, the innovations may not necessarily be to the credit of the Ra scribe, as the rhythm and rhymes fail occasionally, suggesting that he was copying from an already rewrought exemplar.

    Subgroup A2. Short couplet version derived from the stanzaic A1 text before 1450. Extant in two manuscripts and two early prints:

    • MS Ashmole 61, s xv 2, fols 145r–150v, printed in Shuffelton (ed.), Codex Ashmole 61, pp. 372–85, and Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, pp. 236–41. Siglum As. A collection for private/ family use, compiled in an informal-looking paper book with a strong piety-and-entertainment focus by a formally trained scribe who leaves distinctive drawings of fish and plants and calls himself ‘Rate’ (perhaps a pun on ME rathe—quick, efficient); he is believed to be William Rate of Leicester, active in 1480s–1520s.37 As is not the author’s autograph, but a copy, as indicated by a number of rhyme failures and the breaking of stanzas; despite all this, it appears to be reasonably accurate and presumably close to its exemplar. Most of the rhymes that do not quite work, do not work in the other manuscript either, which could have been due to the corrupt exemplar.

    • Yale University, Beinecke MS 365 (Brome Book), olim Hamilton MS, olim MS Brome Hall, fols 39r–44v, printed in Lucy Toulmin Smith (ed.), A Common-place Book of the Fifteenth Century (London: Trübner & Co, 1886), pp. 107–18. Siglum Bh. A paper ‘common-place book’; the poem of St Margaret appears in the final part of the first half of the manuscript and breaks off at line 364. It is impossible to say whether the break is due to the deficiency of the exemplar, or due to a loss of pages/quire without seeing the manuscript. The dialect is of the Norfolk–Suffolk border (i.e. of the area where it was produced), which sometimes spoils the rhymes; the scribe regularly makes (p.215) some insignificant verbal variations, leaves several lines out, but supplies two couplets otherwise absent from As. Apart from that both texts are fairly close.38

    • A2 version was printed with a new prologue of six lines by Pynson in London c.1493 (STC 17325, siglum Py). Only a fragment of five pages (nos 1, 2, 7, 8, 9; 125 lines altogether) survived. Pynson’s text was reprinted by Robert Redman in London in 1530 (STC 17326, siglum Re) with minor corrections (such as occasional spelling variations, removal of final ‘e’s, ‘Asye’ for Py’s ‘Arye’). Re (and Py) are slightly shorter than As, 604 (plus six lines of the new prologue) against 618 lines due to omission/substitution of forty lines and addition of twelve. Compared with As, Py–Re usually (although not always) coincide with Bh readings, but although Py–Re is closer to Bh, neither As nor Bh apparently served as Py’s exemplar, which suggests the existence of more copies of the poem in the late fifteenth century. Even regardless of the absence of several lines, the printed version of A2 is most consistent in rhymes, rhythm, and meaning.

    The survival of the A2 text in several copies without considerable recasting suggests that within the relatively short period of its circulation during the second half of the fifteenth century the poem enjoyed readers’ (or at least collectors’) interest and was valued not only for devotional, but also for artistic reasons; another reason may have been that both the form and the language of this most recent version were more appealing to a late medieval audience.

  28. (30) South English Legendary. Siglum SEL (Group B). Middle English, in verse Gloucestershire(?). Late thirteenth century. Sources: Latin passiones (Mombritius, perhaps Caligula). Twenty-five major manuscripts, nineteen fragments, eighteen miscellanies with single SEL item, four lost manuscripts. Printed in D’Evelyn and Mill, The South English Legendary, vol. 1, pp. 291–302, Cockayne, Seinte Marherete, pp. 24–33.

    Manuscripts, containing the life of St Margaret (sigla from Görlach, The Textual Tradition of the South English Legendary):

    Group B1. The standard version of Group B text, as it appears in the majority of the copies of the SEL; consists of 320 lines:

    • H—BL Harley 2277, c.1300 or first quarter of fourteenth century, west Somerset, one scribe in anglicana.

    • C—Corpus Christi College Cambridge 145, c.1310–20, one scribe, east Midlands–south Hampshire, except for last fifteen pages (fols 210v–218r, in two different hands of fourteenth and fifteenth centuries). Latin marginal glosses (‘Jube me domine Ihesu Xpe inuisibilem inimicum qui me tam inpugnat facie ad faciem uidere’; does not appear to be a verbatim quotation from LA or from any of the known passiones or breviaries).

    • N—BL Egerton 2891, c.1310–20, east Midlands, one scribe. Hand is ‘practically identical with that of MS C’—most probably the same scriptorium.39 Only one folio (107) of St Margaret survived; the text is identical in content to C, though dialect forms differ. Latin marginal glosses as in C.

    • M—BL Egerton 2810, third quarter of the fourteenth century, two main scribes, both from Gloucestershire. St Margaret is by scribe 1. Two lines added after line 192, hence total number of lines in M is 322.

    • P—Pepys 2344, third quarter of the fourteenth century, one scribe, east Midlands. Adjustments: the scribe re-arranges or changes words within the lines; replaces lines 13–16 with two different lines, does the same with lines 305–8; replaces lines 57–8, 298, 313–14 with new ones, and leaves out lines 180–1. Hence the number of lines in P is 310.

    • (p.216) Q—BL Add. 10301, late fourteenth century or c.1400, one professional scribe, north Wiltshire (the dialect of his main exemplar, which he faithfully copied) in clear anglicana. Spelling is modernised, but otherwise Q is following its B1 exemplar faithfully. Marginal Latin glosses as in C (though fewer).

    • O—Trinity College Oxford 57, 1380–1400, east Sussex (close to Kentish border), one scribe, perhaps amateur. There are changes introduced in lines 21–2, different lines 133–4, 207–8; in 209–10 half-lines have changed places.

    • D—Bodleian, Laud. Misc. 463, c.1400, central Worcestershire, one scribe. This version is close to O—perhaps copied from the same exemplar, but D is slightly abbreviated. Again, changes in lines 21–2; the scribe leaves out lines 25–6, 57–8, 77–8, 81–2, 123–4, 181–2, 217–18; also lines 119–20, 173–4, 209–10 have changed places; different lines 133–4, 207–8. Hence the number of lines is 306.

    The Group B1 text demonstrates remarkable stability—within a century of copying it changed very little. No minor changes introduced by the SEL revisers seemed to result in a separate tradition, except for minor variations, found in the manuscripts of the B1a subgroup:

    • A—Bodleian, MS Ashmole 43, first half of the fourteenth century, most probably before 1330, north-west Gloucestershire adjacent Herefordshire–Worcestershire border, one scribe. B1a version leaves out lines 119–22 and 127–8; lines 123 and 260 are recast. Hence the number of the lines is 314.

    • E—BL Egerton 1993, third quarter of the fourteenth century, north Gloucestershire, one professional scribe, writing a very formal anglicana. Lines as in A (which is, however, not E’s exemplar) and J (which is not copied from E), but the text itself is apparently earlier (judging by linguistic evidence).

    • J—BL Cotton Julius D.IX, c.1400 or first quarter of fifteenth century, the south-west dialect of the source is mixed with the south-east of the scribe, who is non-professional, with very distinctive handwriting. J is a smallish volume, apparently copied for personal use; lines as in A and E, one missing.

    As seen from the list above, all the redactions originate from the south-west, south, south-east, or east Midlands.

    The life of St Margaret from the only known northern recast of SEL forms the B1b subgroup:40

    • U—CUL, Add. 3039, mid-fifteenth century, north-west Lincolnshire, by three scribes; scribe 1 is responsible for most of the manuscripts (fols 18v–121r, 122v–154r). The life of St Margaret is based on a B1 text but drastically rewrought—ninety-four of 276 lines (one third of the whole text) are new, especially in the second half.

    One more late text of the SEL Margaret, copied approximately in the same period, can be viewed as a recast, although much less considerable than U. It is found on fols 12v–16v of Ox—Corpus Christi College Oxford 237, a mid-fifteenth century compilation of primarily religious poetry, immediately after a prose life of St Katherine from the Gilte Legende, see below (the two lives are by the same hand and made as one gathering). The compilation, on paper and by several hands written with various degree of accuracy, is a typical vernacular miscellany: pious verse (some of which by Lydgate) and some household information (such as a medicine recipe). The legend of St Margaret in Ox is the only item from the SEL in it, which is unusual. The text is essentially B1 in its rhymes and layout, but with a lot of adjustments inside the lines. The reviser does not simply modernise spelling or replace old-fashioned (p.217) words, but occasionally rewrites lines with new meaning. The Ox contains fifteen new lines as replacements, leaves four lines out and adds a short final prayer: ‘lorde gode in trynyte graunte so þat yt may be/ And þat we may at doomys day/ Come to þat blysse þat lastys ay/ Amen amen ffor charyte’. At the same time the changes, made in Ox, are not considerable enough to classify this version as a separate subgroup, unlike U.

    Redaction Group B2. Extant in the late fourteenth–early fifteenth-century manuscripts, apparently only came into existence due to the loss of the final part of the life (after line 192; note also that in M two new lines added after this line) at some point in the fourteenth century, and a scribe had to provide the legend with an ending of approximately the same length, as he could not get it from his corrupted exemplar. Printed below, pp. 230–2.

    This B2 tradition evolved into two subgroups; the first, subgroup B2a, is represented by the Margaret legend found in the Vernon manuscript:

    • V—Bodleian Eng. Poet. a.1 (Vernon MS), last decade of the fourteenth century, north Worcestershire or south Staffordshire/Shropshire, by one professional scribe (Doyle’s scribe B), except for quire 1 (scribe A). The text of the life of St Margaret (fols 39v–40v) faithfully follows the main SEL version (B1) with slight variations, but the encounter of the black demon episode after ‘Ich bidde for þine kunnes loue . þat beoþ mi frend echone/And serueþ me wel as þou wost . alle bote þou one’ (ll. 191–2 of B1) is rewritten in a new fashion. Number of lines is 304.

    Subgroup B2b is represented by the following two copies:

    • R—Trinity College Cambridge R 3.25 (605), fols 125v–127v (fol. 126 is duplicated—126 and 126a), c.1400, central-south Wiltshire, one professional scribe. The text is based on the main SEL version (B1) with occasional changes, but the encounter of the black demon episode after lines 191–2 in B1 and 189–190 in R is rewritten in a new fashion, very similar to that of V, but in a less regular way—odd lines rhyme occasionally (three instead of two or four), line length varies. It does not appear very likely that R is a recasting of V (nor is V an ‘improvement’ of R). They are likely to have derived from an imperfect manuscript of the B2 version, which could have served as an exemplar for R. Their provenance and the closeness in date make immediate connection between the two manuscripts unlikely. Number of lines in R is 297.

    • G—MS Lambeth Palace 223, first quarter of the fifteenth century, fols 133v–137v, one professional scribe, R. P., from south-east Derbyshire, written in fast but clear bastarda for ‘a gode mon of þe same [toun] is cleped thomas wotton’ (fol. 136r). The text is very close to R, but R is not the exemplar for G, as G contains lines omitted by R but present in V. Number of lines in G is 301.

    The number of extant manuscripts, greater than that of Group A, and the period during which it was copied, suggest that the Group B text (as a part of the general collection) was in considerable demand. Predictably, it did not undergo a great deal of revision and seldom appears outside the corpus to which it belongs. The evidence of manuscript ownership points towards a shift from institutional to private, but this is true for almost any kind of religious literature in the later Middle Ages.

  29. (31) Life of St Margaret. Middle English, in verse (Ely). Mid-fifteenth century. Manuscript (holograph): Bodleian Rawl. Poet. 225, fols 117v–120v. Siglum Br. Printed below, pp. 233–4.

    A unique poem of St Margaret, classified here as Group B3 text. Like B, Br is a collector’s copy of the SEL lives or their recasts, made by a scribe from the Ely region, perhaps for his personal use. Since no linguistic inconsistency appears in the scribe’s dialect, Br could be a holograph. The text is incomplete: about half is lost, including the beginning and end. 217 lines are extant, but originally it would have consisted of approximately 450–80 lines. The rhyme scheme is free and no stanza division is apparent.

  30. (32) La Vie seinte Margarete by Nicholas Bozon. Anglo-Norman, in verse. 1300–20. Part of number 582 in Dean, Anglo-Norman Literature. Sources: LA and a passio (breviary?). Manuscript: BL Cotton Domitian XI, fols 97r–99r. Printed in Klenke, Three Saints’ Lives by Nicholas Bozon, pp. 27–42.

    (p.218) The manuscript is a compilation of religious verse in Anglo-Norman, all of which (apart from a short translation of the Gospel on fols 87–91) are hagiography items. The list of these saints—St Edmund, St Thomas Becket, the Virgin Mary (by various authors), and then Saints Mary Magdalene, Martha, Elizabeth of Hungary, and the standard virgin martyrs—by Bozon must have been relevant for an audience within a convent; it once belonged to Steventon Priory (near Abingdon, Oxfordshire).41 The Cotton manuscript could have been intended for refectory reading, like the other extant collection containing Bozon’s works, MS Welbeck 1 C 1 (along with St Elizabeth of Hungary there are the lives of St Paul and Paphnutius), which belonged to a convent of Augustinian nuns at Campsey (near Woodbridge, Suffolk): an inscription of its last folio reads, ‘Ce livre [est] deviseie a la priorie de Kampseie de lire a mengier’.42

  31. (33) Life of St Margaret. Siglum ScL. Middle English (Scottish), in verse. Late fourteenth–early fifteenth century. Paraphrase of LA and Sarum breviary. Manuscript: CUL Gg. II. 6, s xv ex, fols 209r–217r, on paper. Printed in Horstmann, Barbour’s des Schottischen Nationaldichters Legendensammlung, vol. 2, pp. 3–12.

    Stylistically and linguistically it is possible that the whole ScL corpus (which even in its imperfect state totals well over 33,000 lines) was composed by one author. The hypothesis of authorship by one poet, an elderly ecclesiastic, is supported by the information scattered in the text, where the author complains about his feebleness and old age (occurring only in the first group of legends), due to which he ‘ma nocht wirk/ as mynistere of haly kirke’.43 Both Henry Bradshaw (who discovered the sole manuscript of the collection in 1866) and Carl Horstmann, its editor, identified its author as John Barbour,44 on the basis of close linguistic correspondence, but since then his authorship has been regularly questioned and is no longer accepted.45 Horstmann argued in favour of the Aberdeen dialect, as it supported his hypothesis of Barbour’s authorship, but south Scottish features were also pointed out.46 The collection has recently been ascribed to one of Barbour’s colleagues, William of Spyny, canon and dean at Aberdeen and bishop of Elgin, who died in 1406.47 The main purpose of his writing is apparently to keep himself and the others from idleness, as the general prologue indicates; there the author also mentions that he ‘translatit symply’ the complete story of Mary and Jesus, which would have been a lengthy work. He is therefore someone with long experience as a poet, who could have been responsible for the composition of all fifty lives.

    The Margaret version of the ScL is written in short tetrameter couplets, rhymed aabb, etc., totalling 729 lines (originally 730—l. 497 is missed by the copyist). Despite a certain degree of repetitiveness, the composition is skilful, lively, and somewhat elegant, especially when the author uses run-on lines and couplets.

    (p.219) The legendary manuscript is mainly by one scribe, with lives of forty-eight universal and two Scottish saints (St Ninian and St Machor (Maurutius)); no English saints are included. The material is not organised according to the calendar, but is loosely connected and roughly grouped into New Testament saints, martyrs, confessors, those saints who fought against Satan (of which Margaret is the first), and virgins. It is compact (long and narrow), modest-looking, and written with reasonable accuracy, but hastily, and is therefore difficult to read; plain red capitals are inserted only for the first dozen pages. The final page (fol. 396v) bears a sixteenth-century ownership mark: ‘Ketherine Grehame with my hand’. The manuscript is also consistently annotated in a seventeenth-century hand with the vernacular and Latin marginal glosses—either translations of unclear words, or indications of New Testament quotations, which indicates its remaining in use for at least two centuries after its production. The uniqueness of the copy of the ScL is regrettable, since it leaves us pondering upon the popularity of the legendary in fifteenth-century Scotland, but is hardly surprising, given that even Barbour’s Bruce survived in only two manuscripts.

  32. (34) Festial by John Myrk. Sermons, Middle English. c.1380.48 Source: Caligula(?). Manuscripts, containing the sermon on St Margaret: Bodleian, Gough Eccl. top.4, s xv 1, fols 114r–116v; Bodleian, Douce 60; Bodleian, Douce 108; BL Cotton Claudius A.II, fols 90v–91v; BL Harley 2403, fols 127v–130r; BL Lansdowne 394; BL Harley 2391, fols 149r–150r; BL Harley 2417, fols 52r–53v; Durham UL Cosin V.III.5, fols 116v–118a; BL Harley 2371 (fols 105r–v). Printed in Erbe (ed.), Mirk’s Festial, pp. 199–202, Reames et al., Middle English Legends of Women Saints, pp. 139–43, and Powell, (ed.), John Mirk’s Festial, pp. 181–4.

    The Festial was written in the late 1380s and subsequently underwent a complicated textual transmission. Twenty more-or-less complete manuscripts of the work (copied between the 1420s and early sixteenth century) fall into two groups: Group A (seventy-four items), in which all the material is arranged chronologically, and Group B (sixty-one items), a later re-ordering of A, where de tempore are separated from de sanctis.49 Twenty-two more manuscripts contain various Festial items (often abridged and rewritten), of which four comprise texts of a substantial mid-fifteenth-century revision of the collection.50 Finally, in 1483, Caxton printed his first edition of the Festial, using a B—text; and, in 1486, Rood and Hunte printed another edition based on a different redaction of the same group, which then formed the basis of Caxton’s second edition (1491) and all subsequent editions (eighteen altogether, by eight different printers) up to 1532. This all indicates a great demand for this particular collection—its later rival, the anonymous Speculum Sacerdotale, survives in just one manuscript.

    The sermon on St Margaret appears in the Group A text of the Festial usually, but not exclusively: for instance, it is found in a Group B manuscript BL Harley 2371 and in Caxton’s edition of 1483.

  33. (35) Bodleian MS Hatton 96, s xv med, on paper. Assorted sermons. An independent sermon for St Margaret’s feast in Middle English is found among short homilies in English on folios 46r–48r. Sources: MM (similar to Ra); probably also influenced by LA and SEL. Printed below, pp. 237–8.

    Hatton 96 contains a copy of Mirk’s Festial (Group A, incomplete) and a collection of Latin and Middle English homilies.51 Although the manuscript appears to be a purpose-made compilation rather than a gathering of odd quires, it also demonstrates an extreme diversity in its contents (several scribes (p.220) and nineteen dialects, all of west or Midlands character).52 This evidence points towards the composite nature of the collection, with the sermons borrowed from different sources, rather than to its being copied from a pre-existing compilation, put together in the Worcester diocese.53 One of the sermon’s main sources, MM, also comes from that area, judging by the dialect of its earlier extant MS (Tr, see above, 1.29). The Margaret entry in the Festial part of Hatton 96 is missing (presumably not included in the compilation in the first instance and replaced by the independent homily).

  34. (36) Lyfe of Seynt Margarete, by John Lydgate. Middle English, in verse. 1429(?). Sources: LgD and LA. Manuscripts: Durham UL MS Cosin V.II.14, fols 97v–106v; Bodley 686, fols 193v–200v; BL Harley 367, fols 80r–83v; CUL Ll. V. 18, fols 29v–41v; BL Harley, 2255, fol. 115; Manchester, Chetham’s Library 6709; Trinity College Cambridge R. 3.20. Printed in Reames et al., Middle English Legends of Women Saints, pp. 147–62, and MacCracken (ed.), The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 446–53.

    Lydgate’s poem consists of 539 lines in seventy-seven rhyme royal stanzas, three of which are reserved for the envoy. The rubric in three of the copies reads that the life of St Margaret was ‘compiled in balade by Lidgate dan Johan, Monk of Bury, Ao VIIIo h VI i’, that is 1429/30. The poem was commissioned by ‘Lady March’ (l. 69), that is by Anne Mortimer, countess of March. Writing for the countess, Lydgate could have had in mind his other patroness, potentially interested in having a copy of the Lyfe—Margaret, Lady Talbot and countess of Shrewsbury, for whom he wrote Guy of Warwick between 1423 and 1426.54

    Given the laureate reputation of Lydgate, it is predictable that in those manuscripts that preserved the reference to his authorship (such as Bodley 686, a Chaucer/Lydgate anthology) changes to the text are minimal. However, it is not the case with late fifteenth-century MS CUL Ll. V. 18, which is not an anthology of verse, like the rest of the extant manuscripts, but a more humble compilation of devotional texts in the vernacular, where the Lyfe of St Margaret is preceded by a prose life of St Dorothy. The authorship of Lydgate is not stated, and the text by several scribes (presumably copied directly from their exemplar) reveals a number of changes. The Cambridge version tends to cut lines short by leaving out not only auxiliary words, but also verbs and adjectives, sometimes with no apparent logic, without attempting to change the rhythm and the length of the lines throughout:

Cosin V.II.14/ Bodl. 686

CUL Ll. V. 18

  • Ful ofte falleth, in this chestys blake
  • Golde and perlys and stones of grete prys
  • Ben ylooke and into warde ytake;
  • And by sentence and the prudent avys
  • Of philosoffres, that holden were so wys,
  • A royal ruby in whiche ther is no lak
  • May closed ben in a ful pore sak.

  • Full oft yt happythe in Chestes blake
  • Gold & perlys of greate price
  • Been Ilooke and in to warde take
  • And by sentence and þe prudent Avice
  • Of philosophers þat were so wisse,
  • A roiall Rubie in whiche is no lak
  • May closed ben in a ful poore sak.

  • The comparison of first lines of the examples indicates that the CUL copy also substitutes single words (falleth for happythe) and sometimes even whole lines.55 For instance, note the difference in lines 50–4 (underlined is the text different from the ‘majority’ version, especially the new rhymes): (p.221)

Cosin V.II.14/ Bodl. 686

CUL Ll. V. 18

  • Unto the Lorde, that starf upon the Rode,
  • Whan He liste deye for oure redempcyoun;
  • So this virgine, t’aquyte Him, shad hir blode
  • Ful benygnely in her passyoun.

  • Vnto þat lord þat sterffe vppon A crosse
  • Whan him list to dye for oure redempcioun
  • And for hym shad hyr blode Rede as Roos
  • Full pacienly in hyr passioun.

  • The uniqueness of the CUL manuscript’s readings points towards later revision, which often (but not always) produces better lines, better rhythm, and better sense. The envoy was not copied into this version, perhaps because it was lost in the exemplar. Corruption of the exemplar might explain the changes made in the CUL version, especially those that do not improve the original; however, if the poem was copied for private devotional use, then the possibility of the scribe adjusting the text to his taste, as well as correction of the exemplar, must be taken into account.

  1. (37) Legend of St Margaret, until recently known as a part of Legendys of Hooly Wummen (siglum LHW) by Osbern Bokenham. Middle English, in verse. 1443. Manuscripts: BL Arundel 327, fols 5r–26r, 1447; Abbotsford Legenda Aurea MS (National Library of Scotland Advocates), fols 129v–134v, s xv 3/4 (after 1451).56 Printed in Serjeantson, Osbern Bokenham: Legendys of Hooly Wummen, pp. 7–38 (from the Arundel MS); below, pp. 238–60 (from Abbotsford MS).

    The life exists in two manuscripts, contemporary to Osbern: one is Arundel, an all-female legendary, the other is the recently rediscovered Abbotsford manuscript, a Middle English translation of the LA accompanied by number of other saints’ lives, in both prose and verse, all by Bokenham.57

    Bokenham must have originated from East Anglia, possibly from Old Buckenham in south Norfolk.58 Although educated at Cambridge, he was afraid of his peers’ criticism (Serjeantson, Osbern Bokenham: Legendys of Hooly Wummen, ll. 32–6), trying to conceal his name as the author of the LHW and asking the addressees not to give out his name ‘in no wyse’, ‘and pryncypally/ At hoom at Caunbrygge’ (ll. 205–7). Bokenham had good reasons to anticipate criticism, not only since his meter is sometimes imperfect, and the content often allows more personal informal details and homely words and references than is expected from hagiography, but also due to occasional veiled expressions of Yorkist sympathies (Clare being a Yorkist constituency).59

    Bokenham, like Lydgate, wrote under noble female patronage. Although this life was not written at the direct request of a female patron, it is known that Bokenham was close to the household of Lady Isabella Bourchier, countess of Eu and sister of Richard of York, resident in Clare castle, for whom he wrote the life of St Mary Magdalene; the Abbotsford manuscript was probably produced for Cecily Neville, York’s wife, still in Bokenham’s lifetime; other lives in the legendary were commissioned by female members of the gentry and aristocracy.60 Female patronage is also reflected in that eventually the Arundel manuscript was given, most probably in Bokenham’s lifetime, to a nunnery (perhaps Denny Abbey) in memory of the commissioner, Friar Thomas Burgh, and his sister Dame Beatrice Burgh.

    The life of St Margaret, although opening the Arundel MS legendary and being consistent with it in its form, style, and ideology, was nevertheless viewed as a separate booklet, and the possibility of its independent circulation is not excluded.61 This is confirmed by the fact that the Margaret section of the (p.222) Arundel manuscript is a separate gathering (three quires in eight signed c-e and one in four) by a scribe, different from the rest of the manuscript, with a number of minor slips and corrections, which cannot have been an autograph by Bokenham himself, as had been previously suggested, once Simon Horobin demonstrated that the Arundel 327 is influenced by Cambridge dialect while Abbotsford and BL Add. 11814 (Bokenham’s translation of De Consulatu Stilichonis) are both in Suffolk dialect and by the same scribe (Abbotsford scribe 1).62 The appearance of the beginning of St Dorothy on the last leaf of BL Add. 36983 also points towards independent circulation of the separate legends.

  2. (38) Gilte Legende, a Middle English translation of LA. c.1438. Siglum GiL. Manuscripts (mid- to late fifteenth century, sigla from Hamer, Gilte Legende, p. x): BL Add, 11565 (A1), Add. 35298 (A2), Bodleian Douce 372 (D), BL Egerton 876 (E), Gloucester Cathedral MS XII (G), BL Harley 630 (H1), and Harley 4775 (H2), plus eight fragments of the same period, found in compilations.63 Printed in Hamer, Gilte Legende, vol. 1, pp. 461–4.

    The title, date, and authorship of the GiL are established on the basis of a colophon to D, which reads: ‘And also here endeth the lives of Seintis that is callid in latynne Legenda Aurea, And in Englisshe the gilte legende, the which is drawen out of Frensshe into Englisshe The yere of oure lorde, a Ml CCCC and xxxviij bi a synfulle wercche.’ The name of the ‘synfulle wrecche’ is not identified, but analysis of the text confirms the date, one-person authorship, and the source of the translation.64 This conclusion contradicts the ending of H1: ‘Here endeth the Boke of the life of Seintes called in latyn legenda aurea compiled and drawen into englissh bi worthi clerkes and doctours of Diuinite suengly aftre þe tenure of þe Latin.’ However, there is evidence that the translator made some (although little) use of LA, which makes the statement partially true.65 The GiL also contains a number of peculiarities, which distinguish it from both LA and LgD: it omits prologues and etymologies, as well as adding, omitting, or substituting some items.66 All the manuscripts are professionally made, often with coloured and flourished initials, but with no miniatures.

  3. (39) BL Harley 4012, Middle English (East Anglia). 1460s. Life of St Margaret is on fols 124r–130r. Source: Sarum breviary. Printed below, pp. 261–6.

    Harley 4012 is a devotional compilation in Middle English dated to about 1460 (the spray borders are likely to be coeval).67 This attractive volume, now containing nineteen quires in eights, with gilded and flourished initials, titles in red ink, and alternating blue and red paragraph signs, is produced by a single professional scribe, writing in a distinctive bastard secretary hand. In his 1977 article Edward Wilson, citing the authority of Malcolm Parkes, ascribes the hand of Harley 4012 to Ricardus Franciscus (also known as Richard Franceys), a French-trained upmarket scribe working in London between c.1447 and 1475.68 This identification remained unchallenged for over three decades,69 but is now increasingly (p.223) questioned.70 One of the reasons why many scholars believed Harley 4012 to be written by Ricardus was his connections with the household of Sir John Fastolf, who may have brought Richard from France when the old knight retired from service in 1439.71 Richard apparently continued being associated with the Fastolf household even after he became firmly established as an upmarket scribe in London, sharing enthusiasm for books with Fastolf’s secretary, antiquarian William Worcester, and Sir John’s stepson Stephen Scrope.72

    The Fastolf connection is important because Harley 4012 was apparently designed for a wealthy gentlewoman, Dame Anne Wingfield, née Harling (c.1426–98) of East Harling, Norfolk, who was Sir John’s ward between 1437 and 1438 and whose ownership mark (‘Thys ys the boke of dame anne wyngefelf of ha[r]lyng’) is still partly visible on folio 153r.73 In addition to being the heiress to vast East Anglian estates, she married in succession three high officials of the realm, each time increasing her wealth and status.74 The manuscript apparently retained its Norfolk, even Harling, connections, as can be inferred from the early sixteenth-century deed copied on its flyleaf.75 Of the seventeen items76 of the compilation, the first eight appear in slightly different order in at least one extant manuscript, Lambeth Palace MS 3597, olim Coughton Court, which suggests a ‘standard’ exemplar or even ‘mass-production’.77 Other items in the volume exist separately in contemporary manuscripts and are traceable in the Index of Printed Middle English Prose or the Index of Middle English Verse.78 Three texts appear (p.224) only in Harley 4012: a devotional poem Ihesu the sonne of Mary mylde (fols 106v–108v), the Prohemium to the life of St Katherine (fol. 115r),79 and a life of St Margaret (fols 124r–130r).

  4. (40) Bodleian Eng. th. e.18, s xv ex, Middle English (London area by a scribe from Northamptonshire). Sources: Rebdorf and Mombritius. Printed below, pp. 267–75.

    The manuscript (olim Phillipps 9227), is a late fifteenth-century manuscript, previously mentioned as containing a life of St Margaret only in the Index of Middle English Prose volume by Ralph Hanna.80 Collation is a8 (-1), b8, and c4, regular catchwords, quires signed a–c. The life was originally produced as a separate booklet but then it was once bound up in a larger manuscript, another part of the same being MS Eng. th. e. 17 (olim Phillips 10106). This latter booklet contains a prose life of St Dorothy, also imperfect at the beginning, of the same size and copied by the same scribe. It consists of one quire in eight, wanting the first two folios; folios 1 and 2 (formerly 3 and 4) are both signed ‘+m’. Its version of the St Dorothy legend is also found in another late fifteenth-century copy, Trinity College, Dublin MS 319 (fols 2v–4v), and is known as ‘Dorothy 3’ of the supplementary lives to the Gilte Legende.81 The text of ‘Dorothy 3’ in Eng. th. e. 17 finishes at the top of what is now folio 6v, and the rest of the page is blank, thus suggesting that it also was originally produced as a booklet.82

    Although written by one scribe using spellings indicative of the London area, the two lives vary slightly in their language and therefore were most likely copied from different exemplars.83 The dialect of MS Eng. th. e. 18 is similar (but not identical) to that of LALME Lp 4273 (Northamptonshire, Daventry area), identified as that of scribe D of the second part of BL MS Harley 1706.84 The hand of Eng. th. e. 17 and 18 is that of a prolific metropolitan scribe who copied parts of MS Douce 322, its part derivative BL Harley 1706, and also Trinity College Cambridge, MSS R.3.19 and R.3.21.85 Douce 322, Harley 1706, and R.3.21 all contain two penitential Middle English poems, The Birds of Four Feathers and Pety Job.86 It has been noticed elsewhere that both Douce 322 and Harley 1706 were in the possession of (predominantly female) members of noble families, who were closely associated with Dartford Priory and Barking Abbey, two metropolitan nunneries.87 Although nothing in Eng. th. e. 17–18 (p.225) points directly towards a monastic owner, the inclusion of lives of female saints, especially such popular ones as Margaret and Dorothy, may suggest a female audience, either nuns or pious laity. For instance, lives of Saints Margaret and Dorothy appear together (along with a life of the Virgin Mary), in verse form, in CUL MS Add. 4122 (Ad version of MM), a fifteenth-century mass-produced, pocket-sized book, copied by a professional scribe for commercial purposes, apparently for a lay female customer.88

    Like the Pety Job, the life of St Margaret in Eng. th. e. 18 was originally divided into nine (unnumbered) chapters, preceded by short descriptive titles in red; the beginning of the first chapter is now missing. The division could have been used to provide the nine meal readings, as Crawford has suggested for Pety Job,89 but is more likely to reflect the liturgical nature of its source(s): in most uses of England and Scotland, as well as in some Continental ones, the feast of St Margaret was assigned nine lessons—although none of the breviaries listed above seems to fit the bill. Such correlation with liturgical sources is not at all unusual for late medieval hagiography: another contemporary prose life of St Margaret, also extant in a sole copy (Harley 4012, discussed above), is a somewhat peculiar translation of an entry for the feast of St Margaret from the Sarum breviary.

  5. (41) Golden Legend, a Middle English translation of LA by Caxton. 1483. Siglum GoL. Life of St Margaret—chapter 128, fols 214v–215v. STC (2nd edn) 24873 (further editions 24874–80).

    Despite the productiveness of the first English printer, GoL was his opus magnum, the work, which ‘was grete & ouer chargeable to me taccomplisshe’, but very appropriately ‘moost noble aboue al other werkys’. Lavishly decorated with numerous woodcuts, it was finished ‘at westmestre the twenty day of nouembre/ the yere of our lord M/ CCCC/ lxxxiij/ & the fyrst yere of the reygne of Kyng Rychard the thyrd By me Wyllyam Caxton’ (fol. 444r). In his introduction Caxton acknowledges the existence of an earlier English translation and circumscribes his sources and methods: ‘ageynst me here myght somme persones saye that thys legende hath be translated tofore and trouthe it is/ but for as moche as I had by me a legende in frensshe/ another in latyn/ & the thyrd in englysshe whiche varyed in many and dyuers places/ and also many hystoryes were comprysed in the two other bookes/ whiche were not in the englysshe book and therfore I haue wryten one oute of the sayd thre bookes/ which I haue ordryd otherwyse than the sayd englysshe legende is/ whiche was so tofore made/’ (fol. 1v).

    The ‘englysshe book’ is apparently a copy of the GiL, which is often taken as a base text:90 in many sentences of the entry for St Margaret the GoL’s text coincides with that of the GiL. The ‘legende in frensshe’ is the LgD,91 whose influence is less pronounced, as the Romance vocabulary of Caxton’s translation is mainly due to the Latin text, but certain choices of words (such as lygnage instead of kyn) derived from de Vignay’s translation, which might have been familiar to Caxton through his activities at the Burgundy court and, more precisely, via his patroness, Margaret, duchess of Burgundy.

The texts

The texts are presented as close to the diplomatic transcription as possible, with editorial punctuation added in texts I, IV, V, and VI to aid the reader.

(p.226) I. The Cleopatra Latin metrical life of St Margaret

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(p.230) II. The texts of the B2 Group of the SEL life of St Margaret

From line 191 of the B1 version, the black demon’s speech

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(p.233) III. The text of the B3 Group of the SEL life of St Margaret

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IV. The prose sermon on St Margaret from Bodleian MS Hatton 96

fol. 46r

In die Sancte Margarete Virginis

[S]uch a day ƺ‎‎e schall haue þe fest of Seynt Margaryte. Þis holy maydyns fader vas called Theodosie þat vas a prest on of þe I\e/wes lawe. Þis mayd vas takon in Asie to a noryce þat vas a cristen voman. Sche harde radde in holy vrytt how Seynt Stewen, Laurence, and oþer marters sufferd deth for Cristes loue.105 Vherefor sche bycom a cristen voman and bytoke hur maydenhode to God to heuen. Þan hur fader herd þat sche vas /fol. 46v/ cristened and hated hur as sche had ben an hounde. And vhan þis mayde vas xv ƺ‎‎ere age sche se hur noryce slepe withur maydens in þe felde. And þer vas a tyraunt þat vas called Olybryus þat vered strongly on holy chirch and he toke ys vay from Antiochie to Asie for to dystrye cristen men and vomen. And as he com by þe way he se þis mayde and anone ys herte gane to hur and [he] said to ys men: Goo fetch me ƺ‎‎one ƺ‎‎onge mayde, and if sche be free I vil ved hut to my vif, and ƺ‎‎iff sche be bounde I may take hur to my leymman.

Þan ys men vent to þis mayd and brouƺ‎‎th hur afore him. Þan Olybryus said to þe mayde: What kynne art þou come of, and vhat law art þou, and vhat ys þi name. And sche said: I am of a fre kynne. Theodosie þe maister of the law ys my fader, and Margarete ys my name. A cristen voman I am and beleueþ on Ihc Crist þat died for me and for all mankynde apon a cros. Olibrius said: Leueþ þou on a man þat died on a tree? Þan said Margarete: How votys þou þat he died on a rode tree \but/ by cristen mens bokes? Vhen þou redest of þe /fol. 47r/ string payn þat he suffered for vs, vhy volte not þoubyleue? Þan byganne þe mayde to schow þe artycles of þe feyƺ‎‎th to him. Þan vas Olybrius vrouƺ‎‎th and lete out hur in prisone.

On þe morow after Olibrius sende for hur and said to hur: Dowe \þou/ now sacrifice to oure goddes. Andþe mayde sayd: \Nay/, I worschip Ihc Crist þat ƺ‎‎afe ys body for me. I am not aferde to ƺ‎‎eue my body for him. Þan \he/ let he [sic] strype hur maked and schorched hur vith schorches. Afterward he lete hyng hur vp and vith scharpe nayles all to tered hur flesch, so þat hur blode ranne out fast. Þan Olybrius said: Margarete, (p.238) haue mercy on þi selfe, þat þou may\st/ schape þis peyn. Þan þe mayde said: O þou vreched tyraunt! As swere ys þis to me as mylke or kreym ys to a ƺ‎‎ong chide!106

Þan he let put hur to prisone agayn. And þe fende com to hur in a dragons lykenes, and opeyned ys mouƺ‎‎th and volde a-swoled hur. And anone þe mayd marked hur vithþe cros, and þe dragone al to burst. Afterat/ þer com anoþer fende in a ƺ‎‎ong mans lykenes and bad hur fulfyll þe vill of þe prynce and fle payn. Þe mayde vndirstode /fol. 47v/ þat ir vas an euell gost and chasched him by þe ers, and pulde him downe, and bounde himþer, and bad him tell vhy he com þyder. And þe fend said: Alas, now I am ouercome! My name ys Beelzebub, Hidir I vas sende to begyle þe. Veylawvay! All my myƺ‎‎th ys lorne. And he said þat he and all ys felowys vere gret enmes to all cristen folke and glad þei vere to begyle hem. Þan said þe mayde: I coniure þe, foule fende, in þe name of oure Lorde Ihc Crist, þat þou synnke downe in to hell and neuer greue cristen man more.

Afterþis þe mayde vas brouƺ‎‎th forth afore Olibrius and he bad hur do sacrifice to hure goddes. Þan sche said: Vikked tyraunt and þou sonne of þe deuell! Do all þat þou volte, for I am redy. Þanvas þis tyraunte vod, and let schald hur vith brennyng oyll, and it greued hur not. Þan he let bynde hur honde and fote, and cast hur in to a watt vith vatere to drowne hur.107 And anone þer com a grett þonder and a lyƺ‎‎tenynge, þat all þe folke þat vereþer fell down to þe erth. Þan an angell com downe fro heuen ant toke hur out of þe fatt vith vater, all sownde as sche vas byfore. Þanþe folke þat se þis myracle /fol. 48r/ turned to þe byleue, so þat þer vas cristened anone forthvith mo þan v hondreþ. Þan he bad lede hut vithout Þe towne and smyte f hur hede. And whan sche com to þe stede, sche kneled downe and prayedþus to God heye kynge: Iesus Crist, kyng ouer all kynges and lorde ouer all lordes, I besech þe þat all þat haue mynde of my passion, or itt redeþ, or vrytyþ, or þat byldeþ anny chirch in my name, or þei þat fynde anny lyƺ‎‎th to do me worschyp or pese, or voman bounde vith childe þat calles apon me -- Lorde, þat þou geue hem graceand delyuer hem, and ƺ‎‎eue hem good lyfe and good endyng.

Þan sodenly þer com a voys fro heuen and said: Þou art blessed mayde þat þenkeþon all þat ar to com. Commou to þe blis of heuen, for þi bone ys graunt to þe, to þe wor\l/des endes. Þan Malcus smot of hur hede, and þe sowle vent to þe blis in a culuer lykenes. Theodorus, a clerke, vrot hur life; hur noryce buryed hur body.108

V. Seynt Margaretys Lyf by Osbern Bokenham

(Words printed in bold are decorated or in colour in the manuscript; words in [ ] are added from Arundel 327. Line numbers correspond with those in Serjeantson, Osbern Bokenham: Legendys of Hooly Wummen. Variants to the right are from Arundel 327.)

Appendix 1 Medieval lives of St Margaret


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(p.261) VI. The Middle English prose life of St Margaret from BL MS Harley 4012 and its source

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(p.267) VII. The Middle English prose life of St Margaret from Bodleian Library MS Eng. th. e.18

(Bold indicates red text in the manuscript.)

fol. 1r

persecucione and tirauntry shall come and take me. and torment my lytell body with diuerse tormentryes. suffre nat lorde me thy seruaunt for to defayle from the. that for no feere of any payne. I forsake neuer thy feythe. ne for no drede. thyne holy name. thow art Ihesu a lorde former bothe of sowles and bodies. thow knowest the freelte of mankynde. haue therfore lorde. I. beseche the mercy of me. for. I am bothe erthe and duste. ¶ My fader and my moder whyche shulde haue teught me and exorted me for to obey to thy commaundmentys. lo nowe they be aboute for to deceue me because. I. woll nat do reuerence to false goddys. ¶ But lorde Ihesu whyche art my trusty sauyour. I beleue veryly that thow wolt take me to the. And therfore I. drede hit nat. what man do to me.

This mayde was the doughter of a man whyche was called Edyse. a man of grete power and myght. and was the hygh preste of the temple. ¶ Thys man loued hys dougher Mergarete. so well that he toke her to be no fol. 1v/rysshed ferre oute of the cyte of Antioche almoste xv. forlongys that ys. ij. myle from Antioche. Thys ys the same Antioche in the whyche seynt powle and seynt Barnabas preched in.147 hit ys nat that antyoche whereyn seynt Petre toke the state of Bysshophode.148 for that ys in the contrey of syrye. as seynt luke seyth. And the other ys in Asye. When the moder of seynt Mergerete was dede. and when her fader knewe by experience that hys doughter was a crysten mayde. and wolde in nowyse be turned oute of her crystyn purpose. he was crewelly wrothe with her. in so moch that for yre and wrechednes whyche he had to hyr. he wolde nat loke apon hyr. but he had suche grete abhominacion of hyr. that he put her frome hym despituosly. ¶ But god almighty whyche neuer forsaketh none that hopeth in hym. with his grete pyte comforted hyr. and in somoche made hyr to beloued of hyr norse. that she loued hyr. as she loued her oune doughtre. ¶ ffor she was a crysten woman as seynt Mergerete was. and yaue hyr to crystyn /fol. 2r/ occupacion. amonge all other holy vertewes that oure lorde yaue to thys blessed mayde. she put herself so undre the hooly yocke of mekenesse. that she bosted neuer. ne had no pryde of her kynrede. and put her from hym. she was so lowly and obedyent to her norse and her mastres. that she was nat ashamed for to kepe lowly her shepe in the felde with other of her maydens. bothe in the ledyng owte and bryngyng home. and that was done with all maner of mekenes and lownesse as somtyme dyd Rachell that semely and good mayde. whyche kepte her faderes shepe laban.149 In the meane whyle when thys mayde Mergarete was in the felde amonge other maydenes in kepyng of shepe. came rydyng by the wey from Asye in to Antioche. a prowde iustyce full of crewelte and wykkedness for to sewe by presecucione cristen peple. hys name was cleped Olibrius. And as he rode with hys meyny [sic] by the wey. hit happed hym for to see in a felde thys blessed mayde Mergarete walkyng aboute her /fol. 2v/ shepe with other maydones her felawes. but amonge all her felawes. she was moste feyrest. and then for because thys cruell iustice was ouercome with grete flesshly luste in the seyng of her. he bade hys men go ryde to hyr. and wete veryly whether she were a free woman. for yef she be free. I woll gladly haue her to my wyfe. And yef she be bounde. I. shall by her oute of bondage. and make her my paramour. ¶ Anone they wente and fulfilled the byddyng of her lorde. and in grete haste toke her and brought her forthe to hym.

¶When thys blessed mayde Mergarete was thus lad of these wykked folke she tremeled and was ryght sore aferde. hauyng mynde of her oune freelte. howe tender the flesshe was for to suffre peyne. and namely for the tormentes of peynes and brennynges whyche was done that tyme to crysten men of wykked folke. ¶ Our endles enemy the fende distroyer of crysten name. made for to be sought suche crewel peynes and turmentes by hys wyked lymes a fol. 3r yenst crystes seruauntes. that the body the whyche was lyght for to (p.268) sle. they wolde nat sle but rather ouercome the myght of the sowle. by feere of peynes. so to turne /þem\ to theyre falce lay. in forsakyng of god. as seynt Ierome /sayth\ pleynly in the lyfe of seynt powle the furst heremyte.150 And therfore many there were that tyme rather chosen a strayte lyuyng with bestes by hydyng of hemselfe in caues and hylles. then so for to betake to the handes of tyrauntes. dredyng that by suche crewell tormentys they shulde forsake theyre holy feythe. and theyre beleue. ¶ Suche maner of peynes thys holy mayde Mergarete dred sore. And therfore whan she was ledde betwene the handys of these wyked mynystres. she lyfte up her eyen to god kyng of all the worlde praying in thys wyse.

oracio Lorde haue reuthe and mercy opon me thy seruaunt and helpe me in thys tribulacion. yeue me streyngth. and yeue me sufferaunce for to ouercome all the crewel tormentes of these peynes. that /fol. 3v/ tho whyche be aboute forto take me fro thy mercy and pyte mow see thy gracious werkes in me and so to be ashamed. suffre me lorde nat to be departed from thy religion. but lorde to withstande so myne aduersary. that my soule by thyne helpe and grace may be delyuered from these crewel bestys withoute synne. And the clennes of my virginite whyche I haue auowed and halowed to the. mowe euer be kepte vndefowled. therefore lorde god sende now thyne holy angell to me whyche may kepe me and defende bothe my soule. and my body. that I may euer prayse the and gloryfye the withouten ende. Amen.

[2] Howe wysely thys holy mayde answered the Iuge. and howe flateryngly the iuge spake ayene to her. for to wynne her to hys luste.

Be that tyme that thys holy mayde had made an ende of these prayers and suche other. she was presented to the iuge by the mynystres that led her. whyche sayde to theyre lorde thus. ¶ lorde the magnificence of youre worthy dignite we may nat dystryue. ne for /fol. 4r/ to do the reuerence whyche shuld be done to our goddes and also ordinaunces and decrees of worthy emperoures. whyche nat only ys kepte in the worthy Cyte of rome. but also thorought all the worlde. Thys mayde therfore whom ye bade we shulde fette to yow. and wete whether she be bonnde or free. she knowlecheth herself a crysten woman. and vtterly ryght straunge fro the worthy worthyp of oure holy goddes. And she worshyppeth Ihesu whom the iewes crucified. And when we stered hyr what we couthe bothe esyly and sharpely for to forsake that feythe. but in nowyse she wolde bowe. to oure entente. neyther for youre dignyte ne for feere of peynes. and therfore we presente hyr nowe to youre wysdome. ye to examyne hyr after youre discrecion.

¶ When thys crewel iuge herde thys. he was sory. but yet to fulfyll the entent of theyre rehersyng. and commaundment of the Emperour. he commaunded hyr to be presented afore hym syttyng in iugement. And when she come and stode afore hym. he seyde /fol. 4v/ to hyr thus. O. mayde be nat aferde to telle me of what kynne thow commest of. and whether thow be bonnde or free. ¶ To whom thys holy mayde answered and seyde. My kynrede ys opynly knowe in thys cyte. for I come of suche that be worthy persones as the worlde asketh. And there thow asketh me whether I be free or bonnde. wete ryght well. I. am nat bonnde to the bondage of any man. for I. am bothe in herte and in mouthe. the seruaunt of my lorde Ihesu Cryste whome I haue euer honoured and worshypped in my lyues ende.

¶ The iuge axed her than. what was her name. ¶ Crystes seruaunt aunswered and seyde. I. am cleped amonge the peple. Mergarete. But the moste worthy name that .I. have in the syght of my lorde god Ihesu Criste whyche I toke in my crystendome ys called crysten woman. ¶ After all these wordes the iuge wexed wode and commaunded crystes seruaunt Mergarete to be shut up in a derke prysone. and therto he forbade all maner of men that none comforte her neyther with mete ne drynke. so by /fol. 5r/ destitucion of all maner comforte. and also by grete peynes of prysonyng. she myght the sonner bowe to hys wyll. yet she abode stedfast in the crysten feythe. natwithstanding her grete peynes whom oure lorde by illustracion and shynyng (p.269) of hys heuenly lyght claryfyed and made the feythe clere in her. so that afterwarde. what that euer was profered to her of any peyne she sette hem at nought.

¶ Then the crewel iuge sawe well that she wolde neyther be turned by glosyng ne by dides fro her entent of crystes feythe. he rode forthe in hys wey to the cyte of Antioche. and there he cleped afore hym all the worthy persones and wyse of the cyte askyng of hem counsell in what wyse. he myght withoute sleyng onely with feare ouercome thys mayde Mergarete. hereopon they caste her hedes togeder and comened longe tyme. ¶ At the last the counsell was thus. that she shulde be brought for the standyng afore the iuge in presence of all peple so to be examyned. for haply. then she wol be enclyned to youre entent. eyther for shame of rebukyng /fol. 5v/ of all the peple or elles for drede of peynes that shulde be profered to her in the presence of hem all. And so that scarsete of lyuelode and sharpnes of peynes in pryson may nat ouercome. parauenture the peple myght by crying opon ouercome her. ¶ vppon thys hit was ordeyned that she shulde be presented afore the iuge the secunde day ¶ after

[3] Howe the iuge entretyd thys holy mayde more sharply for to make her to enclyne to hys foule wylle.

On the whyche day the iuge ordeyned a syttyng place ryght ryally. and made to clepe. all maner of peple ayenst the same day. so that there were come a passyng grete company bothe of men and of women. And then he syttyng an hygh in hys sete of iugement commaunded to be brought forthe afore hym thys holy mayde crystes spouse seynt Mergerete. when she was come. furst he beganne to speke to her feyre. and seyde. ¶ Mayde we see nowe that thow art goyng to the wey of lesyng of thyselfe. we see also the so emplyed in heresyes. and so wyked in answeres in withstandyng /fol. 6r/ of oure monicions that thow yeuest noforce to dye. as vs semeth. And be cause we woll nat lese the. but rather with all oure myght saue the. we pray the and exorte the. put awey all maner of excusacion and all maner of errour. and sewe after vs by the wey of helthe. and we shull shewe the so for to eschewe and ascape bothe tormentes and peynes and at the laste to wynne oure worthy grace. Certeyne for because. we be somwhat heuy to put the to dethe. whyche thow hast well deserued. therfore we haue yeue the respyte for to saue thy selfe. And take nat opon the vnavysed suche greuous peynes as shalbe ordeyned for the. but yef thow turne. ¶ lo hyt ys put afore the bothe lyfe and dethe. ioye and turment. Chese whyche thow wolt haue. loke whyche ys better for the. Then thys blessed mayde answered thus. The counsyle of ioye and helthe. now by the helpe of god. I. haue trewly founde. and in the huche of my breste. I haue stedfastly enclosyd hit. that ys for to gloryfye my lorde Ihesu cryste with syker truste for to worshyp and magnifye. whome I. shall neuer /fol. 6v/ by hys grace sease. but euer .I. shall worshyp hym. And therfore labore nomore in thys manyere ne wexe nomore wery theraboute. for there ys no power ne no turment that shall by hys grace benymme me and robbe oute of myne herte thys tresoure. ¶ Thys crewel iuge Olibrius seyde then. ffro the begynnyng that I spake to the vnto thys tyme. euer thow hast spoke to me with proude answeres. and the more sharper we fynde the ayenst oure mekenes. wherby we mowe well knowe. that thow hast nat thys of thyselfe. but by some counseyle of other. And elles we suppose thow durst nat sey so boldly. we wote nat who hit ys. that thys hathe suaded the with wyked counseyle. we wote well that sombody hathe thus counseyled the. and therfore with avysement brynge for the thyne answeres. thy age telleth well that thow myghtest neuer sey thus of thyselfe. And therfore we charge the telle vs in all haste of whom thow hast thys counseyle. ¶ Herto answered thys blessed mayde Mergarete. there thow seyest /fol. 7r/ that I am disseued with vnwyse counseyl. yef thow wylt here. so that thow wolt beleue on cryste. thow mayst sone wete. ¶ The Iuge seyde. I. wolde gladly here. and what hit is. I. wolde pacyently desyre. Seynt Mergarete sayde. Merueyle nat Iustice that my yonge age can thus make reasons to the. for hit ys nat mannes wytte. that I speke of here. And consyder wysely. And I shall telle the. he that serueth feythfully and trewly oure lorde Ihesu criste nedeth no wordely master to teche hym for to speke or to answere. for he hymselfe behoteth thus. to all suche that trustyn in hys myght and vertew. and seyth. when that ye shull stande afore worldely Iustyses there to be arayned for my name. thenketh nat. what ye shull speke and howe ye shull answere. for the holygost shall worthyly answere for yow.151 Therefore yef thys be sothe. then. (p.270) I. am taught nat by thynkyng afore. but by beleue. ¶ By my beleue I haue founde a maystre. and be byleue all crysten man can make reasons. so to withstonde all youre wyked counseylles. /fol. 7v/

Then thys Iuge seyde. we wende thow woldest haue tolde vs at thys tyme som trewe tale. but thow tellest vs a false leasyng. And we haue herde afore thys tyme. that the deceuyng of cryste ys suche. for who so euer ys entryked with hys doctryne. hit ys euer vnlycly afterwarde. that sucke one wol be remoued theyre frome neyther by counseyle ne by turment. ne by nomaner of bodyly vyolence. And therfore nowe we wete well by experience that thow arte one of tho. that art so deceyued. I pray my worshipfull goddes that neuer suche a master teche my soule. suche doctryne be euer ferre fro me. whyche maketh folke for to despyse the power of emperoures and forto lese the moste meryest myrth that ys. and therto forto fynde euerlastyng trybulacion. But now mayde for because thow knowest nat. what the grete indignacion ys oure worthy emperoures ayenst crystes feythe. therfore we counseyle the for to leue thyne opinion. whyche thow holdest holy and good. and folowe oure counseyle by the whyche thow shalt scape deth and fynde lyue. lete no veyne /fol. 8r/ hope deceyue the. ne no false conceytes. wete ryght well that all oure worthy emperoures haue ordeyned me a iuge here. that all tho crysten peple whyche do nat dew sacryfice to oure holy goddys. I shulde with crewell and diuerse peynes destroy hem withoute any mercy. and so turmented putte hem to dethe. lo therfore. for because thys ys so ordeyned. that hit may neuer fayle for hit ys vnchaungeable. yet take counseyl to he. and be avysed whyle thow hast tyme and leyser. whych we wol graunte to the of oure owne myldenes. lest afterwarde thow woldest haue counseyle. and mayst nat haue. when that oure indignacion shalbe rygorous and harde ayenst the. Take no comforte of no worldly power therby wenyng for to be delyuered oute of my power. yef thow hast thought thus foryete hit. and turne to thyne oune hert. and bethenke the other wyse. for now we woll set a day. that with vs thow shalt do reuerence to the mageste of oure goddys. elles truste ryght well by diuerse turmentys thow shalt dye.

/fol. 8v/

[4] Howe thys holy mayde aunswered ayene to that crewel iuge. that wolde haue her to forsake her crysten feythe for drede of torment.

TO thys answered seynt Mergarete and seyde. O. thow wyked iuge why thretenest thow me with peynes. why despysest thow me with suche ferefull wordes and bostest of thy selfe. that here ys none that may delyuer me oute of thyne handes. Yef my lorde Ihesu cryste were onely a man as thow folyly wenest. and nat verrey god and man bothe kynge and heuen and of erthe. then myght I be well aferde of thy thretenyngys so for to obey to thy commaundmentys and do sacryfice to false goddys. but for asinmoche as I knowe well and beleue. that hys verrey dwellyng place ys in heuene. and beholdeth all meke in herte as the prophete seyth. he ys of so grete myght and power. that yef he wolde. he myght commaunde helle for to opene and resceue the in alyue. both the and all thy felyshyp. And therfore hit ys the most foly that may be /fol. 9r/ forto forsake suche a lorde. and to do worshyp and reuerence to suche false ydolles. Iustyce therfore be neuermore in doute herof. but take hit as I sey. for. I drede neyther thy thretenynges. ne I. shall neuer kepe the ordenauncys of the emperours. ne also. I. shall neuer do sacryfice to thy false goddes. sle me. sawe me. cutte me. brenne me. and though thow put me for to be deuoured of bestys .I. shall neuer forsake my lorde. thow mayst well sle me. but thow mayst neuer departe me from the charyte of cryste.152 ¶ Then thys crewell iuge was woode and so commaunded her forto be hangyd vp by the here of the hede. and to be beten with roddys crewelly. ¶ The turmentoures anone fulfylled hys commaundement and bete so her tendre body dispituosly that the blood ran oute fro her apon the grounde as hit had bene the course of a spryng welle. Then the peple that stode bothe men and wemen seyng suche a grete crewelte done to her. wepte and made grete sorowe and with wordes of comforte seyde to thys holy martyr thus. O. /fol. 9v/ good mayde we haue grete sorowe for the. we be gretely anguyshed for the peynes that we see in thy body. we wolde fayne delyuer the. but we mowe nat. yef thow may in eny wyse escape hit. we counseyle the. that thow yeue hit vp. for thow knowest well. (p.271) thys tyraunt ys so wode that he ys sette fully forto dystroye the yef he may. ¶ Good mayde we pray the somwhat after thy wysdome spare thyselfe. and haue mercy on thyne oune body. and yeue stede alytell to hys wordes namely for a tyme. for haply after thys he may yef he wyll haue suche rewthe opon the. that he woll nat sle the. ¶ To whom thys holy mayde seyde thus. O. ye worthy pepyll seaseth of suche wordes. I. pray yow. goth hens ye worthy wemen and stonyeth nat my wyt with youre wepyng.153 for as the Apostle seyth. Euell speches corrupteth and defouleth good vertues.154 I spare yow. for in youre maner that ye sey. ye sey full kyndely. but yet ye goo in derknesse. because ye se nat. the clere lyght. for yef ye had verrey knowledge of the clere lyght /fol. 10r/ of trewthe. ye wolde nat only be aferde forto withdrawe me oute of thys ryght wey. but also ye wolde youre selfe frely offer yow with me to the peynes for crystes name.

[5] Of the grete turmentry that was ordeyned for thys holy mayde. and howe hit avayled nat. god hathe the maystry.

UUyth these wordes the Iuge was more wode and wrothe. and commaunded thys crystys martir to be lyfte vp an hygh on a gybet and so to teere all her holy lymes with sharpe yron hookes. ¶ The turmentoures anone fulfilled hys byddyng. and so all for tore her holy body. that almoste. they come to the bowelles of her wombe. ¶ And when they dyd so. hyt semed to all that stode aboute ryght crewelly done. so that bothe the same cursed iuge. and also all tho whyche were with hym turned awey theyre faces. because they abhorred for to see suche turment in her. ¶ But thys holy martyr was so strengthed with the comforte of oure lorde. that she sette ryght nought by these /fol. 10v/ peynes. whos stedfastnes meny other peple had grete wonder that sye hyt. and seyde. lo howe thys moste tendre mayde suffreth pacyently suche grete tormentes. whyche. ryght myghtly folke be aferde for to see. ¶ But these cursed paynemes that be ferre fro god. where that they shulde be bowed to mercy. there they be moste crewell to slawter. for there they sye that thys mayde set nought by rentyng of her body of yron hookes. and neyther also of dyspituous betyng. yet they haue bethought hem of more greuous peynes. by the whych eyther they myght ouercome her or elles put her to thys crewel dethe. ¶ Then thys false iuge sye that the noyse of the peple was suche. yaue dome on the morowe for to brenn her. And so commaundyd her to derke prysoun ayene. ¶ When thys holy mayde came ayene to prysone. she lyfte vp her yen and her handys to god makyng her prayer in thys wyse ¶ and seyde.

Oracio. LOrde god. kyng of heuene and of erthe former /fol. 11r/ and maker of all vysybles and inuisible thynges graunter also of lyfe euerlastyng. and comfortoure of all sory make me myghtyly for to continew in holy knowledge of thy gracious helpe haue the victory of all tho thyngys. that. I haue begoun in thys batayle. lest they scorne me that be ayenst me. and seyen where ys her lord god in whome she trusteth.155 the lyght also that ys derke prysone. hathe withdrawe fro me. I pray the lorde Ihesu that thyne holy aungell mowe come and restore hit. And that thyne holy hande mowe put awey fro me all fantasyes of the fende. we knowe well thy grete pyte. whyche ys redy euer to all in what temptacion that they bene. ¶ Whyles thys blessed mayde Mergarete. thus prayed and preysed oure sauyour sodenly appered afore her an heede of the fendes lykenes for to make her aferde with diuerse angynes and fantastyk werkes. ¶ At the laste he appered in lykenes of a foule dragon. and oute of hys mouthe. and hys nose thrylles he caste /fol. 11v/ oute fyre. and then he opened hys mouthe for to swolowe thys mayde. ¶ When thys holy mayde sye thus her enemy the fende so besy aboute hyre for to swolowe her with hys fantastyk wyles. she ranne anone to the armoure of prayere as she was wonte to do in euery nede. And when she had made a token of the crosse ayenst the fende anone she felte heuenly helpe. and so she prayed to oure lorde in thys wyse and seyde. Oracio.

LOrde Ihesu cryste that art a myghty defender of all thy knyghtes. and by victory of thy holy crosse ouercomest the foule pryde of the fende be myne helpe now and sey to my soule. I am thyne helpe. (p.272) thow seydest sometyme by the mouthe of the prophete dauid. ye that be my knyghtes in erthe shal haue power for to trede vnder fote and ouercome the adder. and the coketryce and also the lyon. and the dragone.156

After thys prayer anone thys olde enemy the fende vanysshed awey and dyd her none harme. ¶ Then thys blessed mayde Mergaret /fol. 12r/ was hyghly comforted of thys heuynly helpe and thanked oure lorde euer after.

[6] Howe the fende appered to thys holy mayde eftsones. and how she by gracious comforte of god ouercame hym.

Of thys ouercommyng the fende was sory that he shulde so be ouercome of a woman. he seased nat. but eftesones he appered afore her in lyknesse of a longe man clothed doune to the heeles all full of heare with an horryble face lokyng opon her. so to make her aferde. To whome thys blessed mayde seyde. O. wycked fende. trowest thow that I know nat thy wyles. why art thow so aboute to make me aferde? though I be lytell and tendre in age. I haue my lorde Ihesu that ys a myghty lorde to my helper. he ys my lorde that hathe destroyed the power of all the fendes and throw doune all theyre proude bostynges by victory of hys passion. And when the last day of iugement shall come. then shall he throwe doune the. and all thy felawes in to euerlastyng /fol. 12v/ fyre. where ye shul brenne endlesly and neuer more after shall youre wreched and curesed wyles then be shewed to mankynde. And therfore in hys holy name. I. byd the thow wyked fende that thow go hens. and neuer after thow presume more for to come to me. Anone the fende seyde to her thus. I am so constreyned by the power of god. that I most nedes do as thow byddest me. In thys thow art verrey proned goddys mayde and hys seruaunt. for assone as thow praydest. Anone the mageste of god hathe broke all oure wyles. so that we mowe in no wyse do the no disease ne harme. when the fende had seyde all thyse wordes and suche other he vanysshed oute of her syght.

¶ And then anone she was comforted with heuynly vysytacioun. for a grete lyght as hit had be a bryght sonne shyned afore her in derke prysone. and put awey the foule stynke that the fende lefte there by hys wycked presence. And in that shynyng lyght apered a feyre crosse. And aboue the same crosse sate a culuer whytter /fol. 13r/ then eny snowe. with that a noyse sayde to her.

BE glad and ioyfull ryght trewe mayde and glorious martir for the wykked ceremonyes of false goddys thow hast ouercome. and boldle thow hast magnyfyed and taught to all the blessed name of cryste. Lo therfore by thy martirdome thow shalt come to euerlastyng ioye where with aungeles and glorious seyntes. thow shalt haue ioye withouten ende.

Of thys holy syght and confortable wordes thys mayde Mergarete was more strenger then she was afore. so that her soule was more wylly to martyrdome. then euer hit was. and so myghtly that she sette ryght nought by nomaner of turment. were they neuer so hydous.

[7] Howe the cruel iuge rebuked thys holy mayde. and she aunswered ayene to hym.

On the morow the wyked iuge Olibrius had mynde of hys cruelte. that he thought for to do. to thys holy mayde Mergarete. toke her oute of that stynkyng pryson and made her stande afore hym in syght of /fol. 13v/ of all the peple and seyde to her thus.

O. thow moste vnshamefast woman of all wymmen. and moste wycked enemy to thyne oune soule. and also to thy body! why hast thow so harde an herte? there ys no beste that hathe so harde an herte as thow hast! for thow arte harder than eny Iron myghtyer then any adamande stone. all tormentes thow settest at nought. the ordenaunces and the decrees of emperoures and princes thow despysest. to oure holy goddys thow wold do no dewe reuerence. yet yef thow woldest turne. hit ys in oure power for to hele all thy woundes and make thy /body\ as hoole as euer hit was. Neuerthelese we woll nat longe tary the by the helpe of oure worthy emperoures. but yef thow wolt anone bowe thy proude necke and do sacryfice to oure vndedely (p.273) goddes. thy soule shalbe pulled oute of thy body by hoote brennyng Iron. And yef thy loue be somoche to thy cryste. for to worshyp hym. that thow yeuest no charge of suche brennyng. therby shul we proue hit. therfore hye the faste thow /fol. 14r/ vnhappy woman. and socoure thy soule er than thow be thus brene. ¶ Vppon thys. thys holy martir answered to thys proude tiraunte and seyde. why art thow so anguysshed iuge and thretenest me so for to be brente? Of thy thretenynges I am nothyng aferde. ne of thy tormentes I set by. for when I thynke opon the grete rewarde. that I shall haue in heuen for these peynes. I. despyse and set ryght nought by no maner of all thys worlde owen nothyng to be sette by. yef we thought veryly of the grete ioye whyche shalbe youen to vs in heuene. wherfore there ys neyther fyre ne swerde ne dethe. that may in any wyse departe me from my lorde Ihesu cryste.157 And therfore that thow wolt do to me. do hit and tary nat.158 for bothe the and al thy false goddys I despyse. and worshyp onely my lorde Ihesu cryste. whom I shall euer worshyp and gloryfy to my lyues ende. and in heuen withoute ende.

[8]Howe thys mayde was put in to a fyre for to /fol. 14v/ be brente. and howe she prayed oure lorde Ihesu of remedy. and also afterwarde howe she was caste in to a grete water for to be drenched. and yet oure lorde halpe her.

Then moche more then euer he was. thys false iuge waxed wode. And commaunded anone. that she shulde be stryped naked. and so hangyd vp by the heare and for to be putte to her holy body hoote brennyng brondes. and a grete fyre rounde aboute her. And so hit was done. ¶ Then thys cruel iuge Olibrius began forto storue her and seyde. Mergarete now be glad and ioyfull in Cryste whom thow seyest that thow wolt neuer forsake for nothyng. lo thys reste. and thys ioye he haste ordeyned for the. therfore yef he may helpe the. lete hym helpe the. and delyuer the oute of thys fyre. Yet yef thow obey to oure byddyngys. and so to helpe thyselfe oute of thys fyre. We shuld ordeyne so suche delyces and suche ioyes after thys. that thow shalt foryete all these sorowes. for the grete ioyes that thow shalt haue. /fol. 15r/ Seynt Mergarete. hereto answered in thys wyse. Thow art glad now thow cruell iuge of my lytell fyre here. but thow art nat sory of thy grete endles fyre. that thow shalt haue in helle withouten ende. ¶ These paynes that I suffre nowe ys ioye to all crystyn men. by the whyche peynes we shul come to ioye that neuer shall haue ende. ¶ Thys peyne haue I ofte desyred. and blessed be my good lorde Ihesu cryste. now I haue my desyre. ¶ Thys fyre whyche ys nowe aboute me brenneth but lytell my body. but the fyre. that neuer shal haue ende. shal brenne the perpetuelly as the moste wreched payneme that lyueth. That lorde Ihesu cryste whyche ys lorde of heuene and of erthe. that somtyme in danyell dayes delyuered the chyldren oute of the brennyng ouen.159 he hit ys that yeueth me suche refresshyng in my soule. that thys materyall fyre may haue no mastry of my body. and so for to ouercome thy frowardnes. he may yeue me grace to pray and to prayse hym in thys /fol. 15v/ fyre. as he yaue to the thre chyldren for to preyse hym and thanke hym in theyre fyre.160 when she had seyde thus. then she lyfte vp her eyen to god in heuene. and prayed in thys wyse.

Oracio LOrde god maker and former of all thyngys. to whom all elementes obeye. here me nowe .I. beseche the good Ihesu crying to the. and graunte me that thys fyre may in nowyse ouercome me. Anone oure lorde shewed there hys meruelous grace. and made that fyre be to hyr body as a refresshyng dewe. Then she seyde to the iuge. yet nowe thow cruell iuge vnderstande and knowe my lorde Ihesu cryste whom I worshyp whyche ys of so grete myght and power. that he maketh thys fyre. nat for to brenne the lytel body of hys seruaunt. but onely he maketh hit as a refresshyng dewe. then were all tho mynystres of wyckednes more besy for to brenne her vp. so besy. that they were very wery. And yet hit auayled nat. ¶ At (p.274) the last they were so wery and ouercome that they lest her hange /fol. 16r/ so styll vnbrennyd of the fyre and seyde eche to other. Oure lorde the iustyce must ordeyne som other maner of peyne that thys cursed enemy of oure goddys mowe be punysshed by. for all oure besynes ys come to nought. Then thys crewel iuge commaunded for to be ordeyned a grete vessel ful of water. and for to bynde her hande and fote. and thereyn for to throwe her hedelyng. And so hit was. ¶ But when thys holy mayde Mergarete was so throwe yn. for to be dreynt she prayed vnder the water thus. Oracio.

LOrde Ihesu I beseche the. breke all my bondes that I may offer to the a sacrifice of preysyng. And that thys peple may se and beleue that thow art onely that glorious god. whyche art vnknowe to wreches of thys worlde. Anone at thys prayer her bondes vnlosed. and she arose vp withoute eny greuaunce oute of the vessell. then all the peple that stode aboute sey suche meruelous thyngys wrought in thys mayden. with grete /fol. 16v/ wondre they seyde yche to other. Trewly that god whyche thys mayde serueth and worshippeth ys a verrey god, by whos prayeres he dothe so meny wondre thyngys. by occasyon of these wordes sayde of the peple. whyche thys mayde seynt Mergarete herde. she brake oute and seyde to hem all. thus. O. ye wyse men and wemen. taketh hede and knoweth veryly that oure lorde Ihesu cryste ys the maker of all creatures. to whom euery creature dothe seruice as ye mowe wel knowe and se by these creatures bothe fyre and water howe they /obey\ to hym in me. therfore forsake the worshyp of youre false goddes. and turneth to youre maker and sauour of your soules. whyche clepeth yow vnto hys meruelous lyght of grace. to whom yef ye be turnyd with all the soule and resceue the sacrament of holy bapteme. And also yef ye kepe fro thys tyme forthewande the holy relygyon of cristen feythe bothe in speche and in dede. nat onely youre soules shulbe in heuen with hym. /fol. 17r/ but also. when the generall dome shall come. youre bodyes shall endlesly be gloryfyed with the soule. ¶ After these wordes seyde of thys holy mayde Mergarete the peple anone forsoke theyre ydolatry and were fully turned to the feythe of cryste. ¶ Then when thys wyked iuge and crewel payneme Olibrius aspyes thus. that hys pepel was so turned. he began to wex heuy and sorowful. And left that the peple wolde haue rysen ayenst hym. and bothe put hym oute of hys dignyte and sle hym. he commaunded anone withoute any examynacion that all tho whyche were thus turnyd by the techyng of thys holy mayde Mergarete shulde beheded. and so they were. whyche were then veryly crystened in theyre holy blode. And anone they wente to blysse.

[9] Howe at the laste thys holy mayde was demed for to beheded. And of an holy prayer that she made afore her ende.

After that thys was done. thys cruell Iuge Olibrius sye thys mayde so stedfast /fol. 17v/ in her feythe. and wolde in nowyse be turnyd to hym. he commaunded hyr in the same wyse to beheded. ¶ Than the turmentoures toke her and lad her oute of the cite to a place that was ordeyned for to smyte of mennys hedes in. and betoke her to one whyche was called Malchus forto smyte of her hede. ¶ Of whome seynt Mergarete ask asked of the cachepol whyche was assigned to smyte of her hede. for to yeue her leyser that she myght praye a lytell whyle. then he yaue her leue. And she began thus.161 O. good lorde Ihesu that hast couched and closed in thyne hande of heuynly wysedome all the worlde. and hast mesured and set the see at hys stynte I beseche the here my sympyl Prayer. and graunte me that I aske. that whosoeuer rede my lyfe or here my passion rad at that oure hys synnes mowe beforyeue hym and also whosoeuer offre lyght candyl or tapre of thys oune coste for to brenne in my churche halowed in worshyp of me. I. beseche the lorde that hys synnes or theyres be foryeue /fol. 18r/ at that oure. that they be neuer entwytwd with hem of here euer after. ¶ Also what that euer he be or she that ys accused for to stonde to be demed afore eny iustyce temporall for hys trespas. and then hathe mynde of my passione I beseche the lorde delyuer hym from turment. And yet lorde. I. beseche the. what that euer he be that redeth my passioune or bere hit in hys hande or here hit rad. I. beseche the that theyre synnes be neuer after entwyted hem. for what be we but flesshe and blood. and euer we synne. and neuer cease. ¶ Also lorde whosoeuer byldeth or repayreth any churche halowed in my name or wryte eny (p.275) passione or of hys oune coste byeth eny boke of my lyfe I beseche the good lorde. that he may be fulfilled with the holy goste. that ys the spiryte of treuthe. ¶ And in house /where my lyfe ys\ be nat borne no lame chylde. ne blynde chylde. ne deef ne dome. ne be tempted of any wycked spirite. And yef eny man or woman aske the foryeuenes of her synnes I beseche the lorde foryeue /fol. 18v/ hem. ¶ Then there was suche a thondryng herde that in the same thondryng came doune from heuen an aungell with a crosse whyche was seyen of al folke aboute howe he spake with seynt Mergarete. that all that sye that syght felle doune to the grounde grouelyng. And in the same wyse felle seynt Mergarete. afore the face of god. And then a coluer touched her and seyde. Blessed be thow mayde that hast mynde of all folke in thy prayeres. and therfore I sey by all holy seyntes. that all that euer thow hast asked shalbe fulfylled and be herde of the holy trinite. And yet moreouer of all other thyngys that thow hast nomynde to pray fore. hit ys graunted to the. ¶ Blessed be thow therfore. for in all thy peynes. thow hast mynde of synners. ¶ After thys prayer she arose vp and seyde to the cachepoll. Nowe brother take thy swerde. and smyte of myne hede. Then he seyde ayene. I. woll nat sle the goddys mayde. for oure lorde god hath spoke with the. and therfore I dar nat sle the. ¶ Blessed Mergarete then seyde /fol. 19r/ ayene to hym. yef thow do hit nat thow shalt haue no parte with me in paradyse of my lorde god. ¶ Then the cachepol with grete drede and tremelyng smote of her hede at oo stroke. And anone forthwith he fyll doune and worshypped oure lorde god and seyde. lorde foryeue me thys trespas. and entwyte me neuer thys synne. and there he lay stylle on her ryght syde. ¶ Then came aungeles and sate by the body of seynt Mergarete and blessed hit. ¶ Thys holy mayde had ouercome her martirdome in pease the xxti day of the moneth of Jule. therfore I pray yow all hereth thys lyfe. and vndrestande hit in herte. and worshyppeth almyghty god and haueth ofte in mynde of seynt Mergarete that she may pray for yow and helpe yow by her prayers in the syght of god. to whome be ioye and glory in worlde withouten ende. Amen.

Thus endeth the lyfe of seynt Mergarete virgyne and martir.


(1) The first is by Nicetas (David) the Paphlagonian (d. 873), a Byzantine hymnographer, hagiographer, and eventually a bishop of Paphlagonia. The second is printed in PL, 117:10. Metaphrastes is the principal compiler of the legends of saints in the Menologia of the Byzantine church. The life of St Marina/Margarita is not found in the most recent edition of complete works of Symeon (PG, 114–16), only in the two mid-sixteenth-century editions of Lipomanus (1551–60) and Surius (1570–7). The laudatio is found in BNF Gr. suppl. 1317, fols 93a–98a, printed in Κυπριακαι σπουδαι‎‎, 30 (1966), 160–1.

(2) Terminus a quo is not possible to establish without seeing the original manuscript, formerly in the library of the Augustinian monastery at Rebdorf, Bavaria, dispersed after the monastery’s secularisation in 1802; terminus ad quem is deduced from the date of the two second-earliest manuscripts, in the Vatican (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 1195, fols 25r–31r, dated to 1075–1100) and Naples (Biblioteca Neapolitana, Codex VIII. B. 3, fols 291r–298v, eleventh century).

(4) The only other manuscript outside Italy is a twelfth-century copy in Cape Town, National Library of South Africa, Grey Collection 48b4. See Bollandists’ online index to BHL at http://bhlms.fltr.ucl.ac.be.

(5) N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), p. 105.

(6) The review of the AW Group manuscripts is in Bella Millett, drawing on the uncompleted edition by E. J. Dobson, with a glossary and additional notes by Richard Dance, Ancrene Wisse: A Corrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402, with Variants from Other Manuscripts, EETS, os 325 (2005), pp. 49–61.

(7) Ibid., pp. xv–xviii.

(8) Sally Thompson, Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries after the Norman Conquest (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), pp. 33–4.

(10) Reichl, ‘An Anglo-Norman Legend of St Margaret’, 54–5; Judith Weiss, ‘The Auchinleck Manuscript and the Edwardes Manuscript’, Notes and Queries, 214 (1969), 444–6.

(12) Especially in MSS Barlow 30 and Canon. liturg. 93, compared with the ‘standard’ text of BNF 1555.

(13) Forty lines in BNF 1555; thirty-four lines (of which twenty-three are different) in Rawl. liturg. e.12; fifty lines (thirty-eight new) in Barlow 30.

(14) Corrected edition, along with many versions listed above, in David Clanfield, ‘Edition critique des veriones anglo-normandes de la Vie de Sainte Marguerite d’Antioche’, unpublished PhD thesis (Paris IV, 1976).

(15) The Breviaries section is based on data collected by Sherry L. Reames, for whose help and generosity I am much indebted. I use Professor Reames’s classification and the list of manuscripts, identifying some of those she did not see as belonging to one of the groups set by her.

(16) Printed Sarum folio breviaries of 1516 and 1531; printed Sarum lectionary of 1518; Cambridge, Trinity College O.5.3; Cambridge, St John’s College F.24; Lambeth Palace 86; Norwich Castle Museum, Helmingham Breviary; BNF Lat. 17294.

(17) Aberystwyth, NLW 22253A, 22423A; Cambridge, King’s College 30; Claremont [CA], Crispin 15; Downside Abbey 48244; Douai, BM 167; Edinburgh, University 26 and 27; BL Harley 1513, Harley 7398B, Add. 52359, Add. 59862; PML M329; Stonyhurst College 40, 44; Worcester Cathedral Q.10.

(18) CUL Add. 3475; Bodleian Auct. E.1.1; (the next four MSS have closely related lessons) Cambridge, St John’s College F.9 and H.13; BL Harley 587, Royal 2.A.14.

(19) Bodleian Rawlinson C.73; (the next 2 MSS have closely related lessons) Aberystwyth, NLW 21604A; Bodleian Can. lit. 215.

(20) CUL Add. 3208 (possibly non-Sarum and not English, perhaps defective, closer to W); Hereford Breviary—early printed edition and its MS W (for Worcester Cathedral), W. H. Frere and L. G. Brown (eds), The Hereford Breviary, HBS, 40 (London, 1911), vol. 2, pp. 249–52.

(21) Oxford, University College E.9 (English Carmelite).

(22) Bodley 976 (apparently Sarum); Bodleian Lat. lit. c.36 (Augustinian); Hyde Abbey Breviary (Benedictine, MSS Bodleian Rawl. liturg. e.1 and Gough liturg. 8, contains only eight lessons on Margaret, covering only the first-day events, like IIa), fols 297r–298r.

(23) Hereford Breviary, MS H; Bodleian Lat. lit. e.39 (Benedictine, from Chertsey Abbey); Bodleian Rawl. D.894 (twelfth-century fragment, apparently Benedictine).

(24) Bodleian Laud Misc. 299 (Sarum); the printed Aberdeen Breviary (essentially Sarum); printed quarto editions of the Sarum Breviary from at least 1494 on.

(25) William Dunn Macray (ed.), Breviarium Bothanum; sive, Portiforium secundum usum ecclesiae cujusdam in Scotia (London: Longman, 1900), p. 542—Scottish Sarum; Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, 394/614 (Sarum); CUL Ii. IV. 20 (Benedictine, from Ely); Dublin, Trinity College 80 (all the following MSS in this section are Sarum); Edinburgh, Advocates 18.2.13B; Southwark, Roman Catholic See 1; BL Add. 32427; Salisbury Cathedral 152; Liverpool Cathedral 37; Longleat House 10; BL Stowe 12.

(26) CUL Add. 4500 and Dd. X. 66; Cambridge, Emmanuel 64 and Peterhouse 270; Colchester and Essex Museum 213.32; Durham Cathedral A.iv.20; Lambeth Palace 69; BL Harley 2946, Harley 3335, and Sloane 2466; Bodleian Hatton 63; Oxford, St John’s College 179; Stonyhurst College 52.

(27) Cambridge, Clare College G.3.34; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam McClean 65; Bodleian Lat. lit. f.29.

(28) BL Sloane 1909; Salisbury Cathedral 224.

(29) BL Royal 2AXII; Dublin, Trinity College 88.

(30) Cambridge, Trinity College O.7.31 (Benedictine, from Battle Abbey).

(31) Exeter Cathedral Lectionary (Exeter Chapter MSS 3504 and 3505, Sarum).

(32) York breviaries, which all look related but often have additions to the lessons printed in S. W. Lawley (ed.), Breviarium ad Usum Insignis Ecclesiae Eboracensis, Surtees Society, 75 (Durham: published for the Society by Andrews & Co. 1883), vol. 2, cols 392–5.

(33) BL Add. 35285 (Augustinian, from Guisborough, fol. 325v)—contains verbatim quotations from Arundel 169, fol. 64r–v.

(34) Dublin, Trinity College 84 (Arrouasian, branch of Augustinians); Dublin, Trinity College 86 (Irish Carmelite).

(35) Cambridge, Fitzwilliam 369 (Cluniac, from Lewes Priory); BL Add. 43406 (Benedictine, from Muchelny); Add. 49363 (Cluniac, from Wenlock Priory); Burney 335 (Cistercian); Valenciennes, BM 116 (Benedictine, from Winchcombe).

(37) Blanchfield, ‘The Romances in MS 61’, p. 85. The complete list of the As items is given on p. 87. See also Julia Boffey and John Thompson, ‘Anthologies and Miscellanies: Production and Choice of Texts’, in Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (eds), Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375–1475 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 298–9.

(40) The manuscript and its content are discussed and partially transcribed in Manfred Görlach, East Midland Revision of the South English Legendary (Heidelberg: Winter, 1976), but the legend of St Margaret is not printed.

(41) Sister M. Amelia Klenke, ‘Steventon Priory and a Bozon Manuscript’, Speculum, 30 (1955), 218–21.

(42) Ibid., 218.

(44) Henry Bradshaw, ‘On Two Hitherto Unknown Poems by John Barbour, Author of the Brus’, Cambridge Antiquarian Society Communications, 3 (1866), 119; Horstmann, Barbour’s des Schottischen Nationaldichters Legendensammlung, p. lxxxix.

(45) See bibliography in Jonathan Burke Severs (ed.), A Manual of the Writings in Middle English (New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1970), vol. 2, pp. 557–8; also M. P. McDiarmid, ‘Barbour’s othir werk’, in M. P. McDiarmid and J. A. C. Stevenson (eds), Barbour’s Bruce (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1985).

(46) H. F. Fiby, ‘Zur Laut- und Flexionslehre in Barbours(?) schottischen Legenden’, Jahresbericht der deutchen Landes-Oberrealschule in Brunn (Brunn, 1889), p. 1. No later discussions of the dialect exist, nor does a more circumstantial review of the ScL as a corpus. The most recent survey which discusses the collection in some detail is M. P. McDiarmid, ‘The Northern Initiative: John of Fordun, John Barbour and the Author of the “Saints’ Legends’”, in D. Hewitt and M. Spiller (eds), Literature of the North (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1983).

(47) M. P. McDiarmid, ‘The Metrical Chronicles and Non-alliterative Romances’, in R. D. S. Jack (ed.), The History of Scottish Literature, 2 vols (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988), vol. 1, p. 30.

(48) 1380s is a recently suggested date instead of previously accepted ‘before 1415’: Sue Powell, ‘Prolegomena to a New Edition of the Festial’, in A. Horner and J. Wigmore (eds), Working Papers in Literary and Cultural Studies, (Salford: University of Salford, April 1995), p. 21.

(49) Martyn F. Wakelin, ‘The Manuscripts of John Mirk’s Festial’, Leeds Studies in English, ns 1 (1967), 93–4.

(50) Sue Powell, The Advent and Nativity Sermons from a Fifteenth-century Revision of John Mirk’s Festial, Middle English Texts, 13 (Heidelberg: Winter, 1981), pp. 7–43.

(51) Described in details in Wakelin ‘The Manuscripts of John Mirk’s Festial’, 106, and in Veronica O’Mara and Suzanne Paul, A Repertorium of Middle English Prose Sermons (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), vol. 3, pp. 1975–6, 2009–10.

(52) A. McIntosh and M. Wakelin, ‘John Mirk’s Festial and Bodleian MS Hatton 96’, Neophilologische Mitteilungen, 83 (1982), 443–50.

(55) Several such alternative readings of separate words are also found in the Trinity College Cambridge manuscript.

(56) Available as a digital copy at http://lib1.advocates.org.uk/legenda/#/1/.

(57) Horobin, ‘A Manuscript Found in the Library of Abbotsford House’. See also Alice Spencer, Language, Lineage and Location in the Works of Osbern Bokenham (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 9–13.

(59) For discussion of Bokenham’s political innuendoes and sympathies, see Delany, Impolitic Bodies, esp. ch. 7.

(60) A. S. G. Edwards, ‘The Transmission and Audience of Osbern Bokenham’s Legendys of Hooly Wummen’, in A. J. Minnis (ed.), Late-Medieval Religious Texts and Their Transmission (Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 1994), p. 165; Horobin, ‘Politics, Patronage and Piety’, p. 942.

(62) Edwards, ‘The Transmission and Audience’, 159; Simon Horobin, ‘“Speaking and Writing in Suffolk Speech”: The Language and Dialect of Osbern Bokenham’, in Marcin Krygier and Liliana Sikorska (eds), Þe Laurer of Oure Englische Tonge (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009), esp. pp. 13 and 17; idem, ‘A Mauscript Found in the Library of Abbotsford House’, 150.

(63) CCCC 142 (K)—the only fragment, which contains the life of St Margaret. The other MS fragments are Durham, University Library Cosin V.III.14 (Du), Lambeth Palace 72 (L), Rennes BM 266 (S), Trinity College Dublin 319 (T1), Trinity College Cambridge O. 9.1 (T2); Tokio, Takamiya 45.17 (M), and BNF n.a. Lat. 3075 (P2).

(64) Richard Hamer, Three Lives from the Gilte Legende (Heidelberg: Winter, 1978), pp. 16–19.

(67) Edward Wilson, ‘A Middle English Manuscript at Coughton Court, Warwickshire, and British Library MS. Harley 4012’, Notes and Queries, 22 (1977), 299.

(69) Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390–1490, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), vol. 2, p. 319; Lisa Jefferson, ‘Two Fifteenth-century Manuscripts of the Statutes of the Order of the Garter’, English Manuscript Studies 1100–1700 (1995), vol. 5, pp. 18–35; Richard Hamer, ‘Spellings of the Fifteenth-century Scribe Ricardus Franciscus’, in E. G. Stanley and Douglas Gray (eds), Five Hundred Years of Words and Sounds: A Festschrift for Eric Dobson (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 63–73; Catherine Nall, ‘Ricardus Franciscus Writes for William Worcester’, Journal of the Early Book Society, 11 (2008), 207–12; eadem, Reading and War in Fifteenth-century England: From Lydgate to Malory (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012), p. 41; Martha Driver, ‘“Me fault faire”: French Makers of Manuscripts for English Patrons’, in Jocelyn Wogan-Browne et al. (eds), Language and Culture in Medieval Britain: The French of England, c.1100–c.1500 (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, 2009), pp. 420–43; Dresvina, ‘A Heron for a Dame’, 101–37.

(70) See Dresvina, ‘Thys ys the boke of dame anne’, and Sarah Peverley’s forthcoming work on BL MS Arundel 249.

(71) Nall, ‘Ricardus Franciscus Writes’, 210; Malcolm Parkes, Their Hands Before Our Eyes: A Closer Look at Scribes (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2008), p. 117.

(72) On the literary activities of the members of Sir John Fastolf’s household, see Jonathan Hughes, ‘Stephen Scrope and the Circle of Sir John Fastolf: Moral and Intellectual Outlooks’, in Christopher Harper-Bill and Ruth Harvey (eds), Medieval Knighthood (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1992), vol. 4, pp. 109–46, K. B. McFarlane, ‘William Worcester: A Preliminary Survey’, in England in the Fifteenth Century: Collected Essays (London: Hambledon, 1981), 199–224, and Daniel Wakelin, ‘William Worcester Writes a History of His Reading’, New Medieval Literatures, 7 (2005), 53–71. On Fastolf’s French books, see Richard Beadle, ‘Sir John Fastolf’s French Books’, in Graham D. Caie and Denis Renevey (eds), Medieval Texts in Context (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 96–112.

(73) Wilson, ‘A Middle English Manuscript’, 302; Dutton, ‘Piety, Politics and Persona’, p. 134; Jenkins, ‘St Katherine and Laywomen’s Piety’, pp. 156, 158. Martha Driver has suggested that ‘the inscription “ane” in the hand of the scribe written in an ascender on folio 51 [recte 51v] [is] a direct reference by Ricardus to the name of the book’s owner, Anne Harling’ (Driver, ‘Me fault faire’, p. 433). This is a misreading for Richard’s most favoured Latin ‘banderole’ phrase ‘aue maria’ (since the banderole is very small and contains only two tiers, he only had space for the first three letters). If Richard wanted to refer to Anne, there would have been a contraction sign for the second ‘n’ to indicate a closed syllable: from the philological point of view, Middle English ane is very unlikely to stand for Anne.

(74) The most complete biography of Anne Harling is King, ‘Anne Harling Reconsidered’.

(75) BL, Harley MS 4012, fol. 152v. The deed is a quitclaim dated 10 July 1504 and issued by Thomas Curleys of Wilby, yeoman, to Peter Payn of Banham, whose names derive from the places within 8 km of East Harling. Both surnames appear in a number of medieval Norfolk documents (e.g. Norfolk RO, NCR Case 1/19 F m. 4, 1/20 m. 27d; NCC, will registers, Spyltymber, 123; Surflete, 45; DUN 173, 108X2).

(76) I follow the more recent evaluation by Jenkins; Dutton names eighteen items.

(77) A term used for a contemporary volume, also connected with Sir John Fasolf, by Carl Bühler, in ‘Sir John Paston’s Grete Booke, a Fifteenth-century “Best-seller”’, Modern Language Notes, 56 (1941), 351; Wilson, ‘A Middle English Manuscript’, 302. It looks like these manuscripts were not copied from each other and the Lambeth volume is probably later than Harley 4012.

(80) Ralph Hanna, Smaller Bodleian Collections : English Miscellaneous, English Poetry, English Theology, Finch, Latin Theology, Lyell, Radcliffe Trust. The Index of Middle English Prose, Handlist XII (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997), p. 12.

(81) Hamer and Russel, Supplementary Lives, pp. xxiv, 243–9. This version is derived from a very similar life, extant in several manuscripts. See Hanna, The Index of Middle English Prose, p. 12.

(82) There is, however, a later pencil sketch of a bust of a man in distinctively Renaissance attire, enigmatically signed ‘Michael Angelo’.

(83) Ralph Hanna, ‘Middle English Books and Middle English Literary History’, Modern Philology, 102:2 (2004), 176–8. More details can be found in Dresvina, ‘A Note on a Hitherto Unpublished Life of St. Margaret of Antioch from MS Eng. th. e.18’, 217–31.

(85) See summary in Ralph Hanna, The English Manuscripts of Richard Rolle: A Descriptive Catalogue (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2010), pp. 98–9, 154–5.

(86) See Susanna Greer Fein, ‘“The Birds with Four Feathers” and “Pety Job”’, in Susanna Greer Fein (ed.), Moral Love Songs and Laments (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1998), pp. 255–307. These are the only two texts in Trinity R.3.21 that are not copied by the main scribe of the manuscript, but by the so-called ‘Hammond Scribe’; see Linne R. Mooney, ‘Scribes and Booklets of Trinity College, Cambridge, MSS R.3.19 and R.3.21’, in Alistair Minnis (ed.), Middle English Poetry: Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of Derek Pearsall (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2001), pp. 241–66, at 241.

(87) A. I. Doyle, ‘Books Connected with the Vere Family and Barking Abbey’, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, 25 (1958), 228, 232; Karis Ann Crawford, ‘The Middle English Pety Job: A Critical Edition with a Study of Its Place in Late Medieval Religious Literature’ unpublished PhD thesis (University of Toronto, 1977), cited in Fein, ‘“The Birds with Four Feathers” and Petty Job”’, p. 296.

(90) The manuscript of the GiL, used by Caxton, is thought to be a now-lost copy close to BL Add. 35298 (Görlach, Studies in Middle English Saints’ Legends, p. 72).

(91) Thought to be the printed edition from the Low Countries(?) c.1480, the closely related fifteenth-century MS BL Stowe 50/51, or the common ancestor of both (Görlach, Studies in Middle English Saints’ Legends, p. 139).

(92) Cf. Romans 8:38–9.

(93) Paraphrase of Terence’s phrase ‘contra stimulum calces’ (you kick against the goad, i.e. your opposition is in vain); see Jon R. Ston, Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005), p. 145.

(94) That is from hell.

(95) Cf. Matthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 8:16, 11:33.

(96) The lines also found in B.

(97) G instead: ‘Ne have þou no myƺ‎‎t ; cristes men to quelle/ Into helle þou synke . 7 euerþereþou dwelle’.

(98) G: ‘vyle ded’.

(99) These two lines are also found in B, Ad, and Bl.

(100) G makes these two lines into one; V instead has four different lines.

(101) G makes two lines instead of the above three: ‘How shuld he þen in any wise ; bringe men to blis/ þou lyest of all þou saist ; 7 þou shalt soone se …’

(102) Not in R.

(103) Also found in B1.

(104) G instead: ‘And saide to his þese wordes ; þai herden þat were negh’.

(107) Ibid., pp. 230–1.

(108) Ibid., p. 247.

(109) The scribes often use ‘ff” to denote capital ‘F’.

(110) ‘in’ is erased before ‘grace’.

(111) Amended from Arundel; Advocates has ‘mannys’ instead.

(112) Geoffrey of Vinsauf, author of Poetria Nova, rather than Chaucer (as in Serjeantson, Osbern Bokenham: Legendys of Hooly Wummen, p. 3n).

(113) After this line a new hand starts.

(114) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘Iolace’.

(115) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘thys’.

(116) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘anguyte’.

(117) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘wych’. Here and in a number of other places this second scribe tends to use -ich instead of -ith, in words such as ‘wyth’ or ‘teeth’; these are usually not indicated in this edition but silently replaced with -yth or -ith.

(118) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘which’.

(119) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘bassynge’.

(120) Not in Arundel.

(121) Not in Arundel.

(122) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘fro’.

(123) The manuscript has ‘preys’, clearly a mistake; amended from Arundel.

(124) Horstmann adds [vs].

(125) Arundel (here and elsewhere): ‘peple’.

(126) Not in Arundel.

(127) Running title in red in the header.

(128) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘to presoun’.

(129) Not in Arundel.

(130) Not in Arundel.

(131) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘ha’.

(132) Arundel: ‘Sire’. St Syrus, patron saint of Pavia, was a first-century bishop.

(133) Abbotsford: ‘virgine pure’; the correct word order is indicated by red inverted commas around ‘virgine’.

(134) Abbotsford: ‘Op’.

(135) Matthew of Vendôme (MatheusVindocinensis), abbot of St Denis and adviser to Louis IX of France, author of Ars Versificatoria. He wrote that ‘For ancient authors, it was essential to expand their subject-matter with minor digressions and epigrams tangenially related to their topic, in order that the poverty of their material might be padded out with poetic fantasies and swell into an artificial luxuriance. But for the modern writers, this is prohibited. Overtaken by modernity, old practices have fallen by the wayside’; see Peter Godman, The Silent Masters: Latin Literature and Its Censors in the High Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 316.

(136) Added in the margin.

(137) Urban II’s pontificate lasted 1088–99, and Henry III’s reign 1046–56 (although the source would have had Henry IV, who ruled 1084–1105); hence Abbotsford’s date (1105) is more accurate.

(138) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘Vaplys’ and ‘Teranice’.

(139) Not in Arundel.

(140) Abbotsford repeats ‘he wyl’ twice.

(141) Amended from Arundel; Abbotsford has ‘thre’.

(142) Not in Arundel.

(143) Serjeantson transcribed the name as Beucase but I disagree.

(144) Arundel has ‘wyt’; amended by Serjeantson as ‘wyl’ and Horstmann as ‘wylt’.

(145) St Hugh of Lincoln (c.1135–1200).

(146) ‘and blysse’—not in Arundel.

(147) Acts 11:26, 13:1–2, 14:43, 15:35.

(148) That is, not ‘Antiochia Syriae’ (‘De Cathedra S. Petri Antiochena’, AASS, February, vol. 3, col. 0282C).

(149) Genesis 29:9.

(150) St Jerome, The Life of Paulus the First Hermit, ch. 2: ‘But the desire of the crafty foe was to slay the soul, not the body; and this he did by searching diligently for slow but deadly tortures’. See Philip Schaff and Henry Wallace (eds), St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, in Necene and Post-Nicene Fathers ser. 2nd (New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007), vol. 6, p. 299.

(151) Matthew 10:19–20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11–12.

(152) Romans 8:35–9.

(153) Acts 21:13.

(154) 1 Corinthians 15:33.

(155) Psalms 3:2–3, 22:7–8.

(156) Psalms 90 (91):13.

(157) Romans 8:35–9.

(158) Cf. John 13:27.

(159) Daniel 3:19–97. The same episode is referred to in the life of another virgin martyr, St Paraskaeva (‘Friday’), popular in medieval Greece and Russia. One of her miracles is close to that of St Margaret: at one point St Paraskaeva is thrown into a pit with a poisonous serpent in the hope that the beast will kill her. Paraskaeva makes the sign of the cross over the serpent and it stiffens and splits in two, as if slain by a sword.

(160) Daniel 3:26–45, 52–90.

(161) The rest of the Eng. th. e. 18 does not follow Rebdorf, but selections from Mombritius.