sanctity time in balade form
‘literature’, which generally take as axiomatic its difference from
instrumental texts. The use of verse in a premodern text such as
this one does not complicate this classification, since verse often
had a clear functional role in aiding memory in this period. Indeed,
Bokenham’s stanza is a mnemonic on the order of a much better
known MiddleEnglish kalende, ‘Thirty days hath November’,
though it is clumsier, and surely less effective than this lyric, which
is, of course, still in use in only slightly
In confirmation of the which purpose and vow with my own hand I have put
to [added] the sign of the cross.
The Rule of St Linus
Linus succeeded St Peter to be the second pope. We can be
certain, however, that he had nothing to do with the MiddleEnglish
‘rule’ for hermits that bears his name. (Compare the
attribution of the Rule of Celestine [ 46 ].) In fact, this short text is
learning of skills that can immediately
be used for a purpose identified as important by the learner’.15 The majority
of women in early modern England, including Bess, achieved the level of
literacy that they needed in order for their daily lives to function effectively.
Previous studies on the middleEnglish and early modern English periods and
suggest that although the evidence is relatively fragmentary, differences in
the way that women and men use language can be traced back to pre-Standard
Bess of Hardwick: new perspectives
relating to the
particularities of those findings.
The focus of my study of reading is on vernacular reading matter,
in English in this instance, even though many of the texts had Latin
precursors or versions in circulation at the same time, and although there
was also macaronic and bilingual writing readily available. A MiddleEnglish Miscellany forms the focus of Chapter 5 and it is the English
texts which are explored although there are also some macaronic items in
here. The English translation of the treatise on husbandry, attributed to
Robert Grosseteste, alongside
information about Old English homiletic materials where Anglo-Saxon records are incomplete or missing altogether, as is the case with the treatment of the Ascension discussed in this chapter.
Twelfth-century England clearly saw an abiding interest in the vernacular preaching tradition. Old English homilies continued to be copied and recopied (for example, Ælfric’s sermon cycles); Old English homilies were updated into MiddleEnglish (as is the case, for instance, with several items in the Lambeth Homilies); 35 and new vernacular homilies were
Harley Lyrics, according to Brook, is ‘largely due to the fitness of MiddleEnglish to be a lyrical language’; it has a sound landscape ‘more sonorous than modern English’. 10 This is why I began this chapter with a poetic invocation rather than a theoretical or literary-historical proposition. The historicist portion of this chapter will argue that the textual phenomenon of the Harley Lyrics—their unique currency ‘ by west ’ [ # 30.37]—may be regarded as a consequence of the geographical mobility that marks the careers of certain West Midlands secular clerks c. 1275
-Century Continuations and Additions,
TEAMS MiddleEnglish Text Series (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan
University, 1992), p. 57.
10 See the list from Daniel W. Mosser and Linne R. Mooney, who also
identify fragments and other manuscripts associated with the Berynscribe in ‘More manuscripts by the Beryn scribe and his cohort’,
Chaucer Review, 49 (2014), 39–76.
11 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland MS 455 [Nl], fol. 116r.
12 Northumberland MS 455, fol. 240r.
13 The geographical reference to Harbledown (two miles outside
Canterbury) in the Manciple’s Prologue, which seems to confirm the
means ‘a place or medium in
which something is originated ... a point of origin and growth’
and is derived from Latin mater for ‘breeding female’
and the late MiddleEnglish word for ‘womb’. As a unit of
thought a cliché is the fons et origo for all that is shaped into
existence thereafter by using it. We live by clichés, and often we die
by them, in the sense that they can reconcile us to the
London, British Library MS Harley 2253 and the traffic of texts
French text of this poem illuminates the possible uses of French
to address an insular audience. In the MiddleEnglish ‘Flemish
Insurection’, by contrast, the use of French words and French-
derived lexis may be seen to evoke a continental French identity that
is at odds with English attitudes and interests. After a run down of the
international connections promoted by the Harley scribe’s compilation choices and the vibrant Hereford milieu to which he belonged,
I then return to f. 76r of Harley 2253 in order to elaborate a fresh
reading of the page’s final poem, ‘Dum
’s Narrators, p. 2.
11 Lawton, Chaucer’s Narrators, p. 4.
12 See the Appendix for more detail of the editorial history of the
The Scottish Legendary
13 See Joceyln Wogan-Browne et al. (eds), The Idea of the Vernacular: An
Anthology of MiddleEnglish Literary Theory 1280–1520
(Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999), pp. 3–105.
14 On the basis of these references, we can classify the Prologue as a
redactor’s prologue because the poet is largely concerned with his
role as translator and editor of the legends; see Andrew Galloway,