ENGL 203: Medieval Literature
Dr. Debora B. Schwartz
English Department, California Polytechnic State University

Supplemental Readings: Marian Lyrics

Angelus ad Virginem
Saint Godric (late 12th century): Sainte Marie viergene
     Angelus ad virginem
        suintrans in conclave,
     Virginis formidinem
        demulcens, inquit "Ave!
     Ave regina virginum!
     Caeli terraque dominum
        et paries
     salutem hominum,
        tu, porta caeli facta,
     medela criminum."
  The angel, stealing into the room to the maiden, said, assuaging her fear, "Hail! Hail, queen of maidens! Thou shalt conceive and bear, undefiled, the lord of heaven and earth, the salvation of men -- thou, [who art] made the gate of heaven, the remedy for sin."     Sainte Marie   viergene
  moder Jésu Cristes   Nazarene,
  onfóo, schild,    help þin Godrich,
  onfange, bring he3líche    wið þee in Godes riche.

5  Sainte Marie,    Cristes bur,
   maidenes clenhad,   moderes flur,
   dilie min sinne,   rix in min mood;
   bring me to winne   wið þe selfe God.

  St. Mary the Virgin, mother of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, receive, shield, help thy godrich; when received, bring [him] honourably with thee into God's kingdom.

  St. Mary, Christ's bed-chamber (virginal purity, flower of mothers), blot out my sin, rule in my spirit, bring me to bliss with the very God.

     In MS Arundel 248, a learned mansucript of the early 13th century, the Latin text is underlaid with the following song in Middle English:      
Gabriel fram heven-king
Ther is no rose of swych virtu (15th century)
1. Gabriel, fram heven-king
    sent to þe maide sweete,
    broute hir blisfúl tiding
    and fair he gan hir greete: 
"Heil be þu, ful of grace ari3t!
    For Godes son, þis heven-li3t,
    for mannes love
    wil man bicome
    and take
10  fles of þee, maide bri3t,
    mankén free for to make
    of sen and devles mi3t.
Gabriel, sent from the king of heaven to the sweet maiden, brought her happy news and greeted her courteously:  "Hail be thou, full of grace indeed!  For God's son, this light of heaven, for love of man will become man and take flesh from thee, fair maiden, to free mankind from sin and the devil's power."   Ther is no rose of swych virtu
As is the rose that bar Jhesu.
For in this rose conteyned was
Heven and erthe in lytle space.
  Res miranda.
Be that rose we may weel see
That he is God in personys thre.
  Pari forma.
Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth.
The aungelys sungyn the sheperdes to:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo."
There is no rose comparable in virtue to the rose that bore Jesus.  Hallelujah. // For heaven and earth were contained in this rose in a small space. Wondrous thing. //  Through that rose, we come to  understand the holy Trinity. Of the same/equal form.  // Let's leave the pleasures of this world behind and devote ourselves to the joy of this birth. Let us go over. // The angels sang to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the Highest."  Let us rejoice.
2. Mildëlich him gan andswere
    þe milde maide þanne:
15 "Wichëwise sold ich bere
    [a] child withute manne?"
    þangel [hir] seid, "Ne dred tee nout:
    þurw þoligast sal been iwrout
    þis ilch þing
20 warof tiding
    ich bringe:
    al mánken wurth ibout
    þurw þine sweet childínge
    and ut of pine ibrout."
The gentle maiden then gently answered him: "In what way should I bear a child without a husband?" The angel said to her, "Fear not; this very thing will be done by means of the Holy Spirit: all mankind will be redeemed by means of thy sweet child-bearing and brought out of torment."  

Lullay, Lullay

Lullay, lullay, lay, lay, lullay
Mi dere moder, sing lullay.

1. As I lay on Yolis nyght,
Alone in my longging,
Me thought I saw a wel fayre syght
A may hir child rokking.


Lullay, lullay, lay, lay, lullay
My dear mother, sing me a lullaby.

1. As I lay abed on Christmas eve,
Alone in my longing,
It seemed to me I saw a beautiful sight:  a maiden rocking her child.

3.25 Wan þe maiden understood
    and þangels wordes herde,
    mildëlich with milde mood
    to þangel hie andswerde:
    "Ure lords þewe maid iwis
30  ich am, þat heer aboven is.
    Anentis me
    fulfurthed be
    þi sawe
    þat ich, sith his wil is,
35 [a] maid, withute lawe,
    of moder have þe blis."
When the maiden understood and heard the angel's words, she answered the angel gently, with gentle spirit: "I am indeed the bond-maid of our Lord, who is above.  Concerning me may the saying be fulfilled, that I, since it is his will, may as a maiden, contrary to natural law, have the bliss of a mother."   2. "Sing now, moder," seide the child,
 "Wat schal to me befalle
Hereafter wan I cum til eld --
For so done modres alle."

3. "Swete sone," seyde sche,
"Weroffe shuld I singge?
Ne wist I nevere yet more of the
But Gabrieles gretingge.

2. "Sing now, mother," said the child,
"What will happen to me 
later, when I am grown up?
For that's what all mothers do."

3. "Sweet son," said she,
"What should I sing about?
I know nothing more of you
than what Gabriel said to me."

4. Þangel went awei mid þan
    al ut of hire si3te;
    hire womb arise gan
40  þurw þoligastes mi3te.
    In hir wes Crist bilok anon,
    sooth God, sooth man in fles and bon,
    and of hir fles 
     ibore wes
45  at time.
    Warþurw us kam good won;
    he bout us ut of pine
    and let him for us slon.
The angel went away with that, altogether out of her sight; he womb began to swell through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In her Christ was straightway enclosed, true God and true man in flesh and bone, and was born of her flesh in due time.  Whereby good hope came to us; he redeemed us from torment and let himself be slain for us.  
4. He grette me godli on his kne,
And seyde: "Hail Marie,
Hail ful of grace, God is with the.
Thou beren shalt Messye."

5. Ther as he syde, I the bar.
On midewynter nyght,
In maydenhed, withouten care,
Be grace of God Almyght."

4. He knelt and greeted me reverently, saying, "Hail, Marie,
Hail, full of grace; God is with thee.
Thou shalt give birth to the Messiah." 

5. Just as he foretold, I gave birth to you, 
on a midwinter night,
my virginity intact, without suffering,
by the grace of Almighty God."

5. Maiden-moder makëles,1
50 of moder ful ibunde,
    bid for us him þat tee ches,
    at wam þu grace funde,
    þat he forgive us sen and wrake
    and clene of evri gelt us make
55 and heven-blis
    wan ur time is
    to sterve,
    us give, for þine sake,
    him so heer for to serve
60 þat he us to him take.
Matchless maiden-mother, fully endowed with compassion, pray for us to him who chose thee, in whose sight thou didst find grace, that he forgive us sin and hostility and make us innocent of every offence, and, when it is our time to die, give us the bliss of heaven, and [grant us], for thy sake, so to serve him here that he may take us to himself.
     1makëles:  for the triple pun, see "I Sing of a Maiden," NA 353 n. 1.
  6. Serteynly this syght I saw,
This song I herde singg.
Als I me lay, this Yolis day,
Alone in my longing.

Lullay, lullay, lay, lay, lullay
Mi dere moder, sing lullay.

(Anonymous 14th-century carol)

6. Certainly, I saw this vision;
I heard this song being sung,
As I lay there, this Christmas day,
Alone in my longing.

Lullay, lullay, lay, lay, lullay
My dear mother, sing me a lullaby.

Approximate pronunciation of bizarre Middle English letters: 
i3t  = "ight" or "icht"
ð   =  th
þ   =  th (lower case)
Þ  =  th (upper case)

For educational use only.  Provided for students in medieval literature classes at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

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