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16 June 2009

Early South English Legendary Life of Mary Magdalen

From the TEAMS Middle English Texts at The Camelot Project comes the following early South English text based on the life of Mary Magdalen:

Sleighe men and egleche, and of redes wise and bolde,
Lustniez nouthe to mi speche, wise and unwise, yongue and olde.
Nothing ich eou nelle rede ne teche of none wichche ne of none scolde,
Bote of a lif that may beo leche to sunfule men of herte colde.
Ich nelle eou nother rede ne rime of kyng ne of eorl, of knyght ne of swein,
Ake of a womman ich chulle ou telle that was sunful and forlein;
A swythe fol wumman heo bicam, and thorugh Godes grace heo was ibrought ageyn,
And nouthe heo is to Crist icome, the fayre Marie Maudeleyn.
Of hire ichulle yeou telle nouthe al hou and hware heo was ibore,
Yif ye to me wullez iheore and habben of God thonk tharefore.
This word "Marie" so is brightnesse and bitokne the steorre of the se,
And soruwe also and biturnesse, ase the bok tellez me;
For hwane a man fielez in is heorte that he havez muche misdo,
And him tharefore biguynnez to smeorte, that is to him bitur and wo,
He mournez and he sikez ofte. This ilke Marie fierde also,
That thing that was hire leof and softe was seththe hire fulle fo.
In the Castel of Magdalé this faire wumman was ibore;
Heo was icleoped in propre name the Maudeleyne right tharefore.
To speken of hire ich am wel fous, and it likez me ful murie.
Ire fader was hoten Sire Titus, and hire moder Dame Euchirie,
Hire brothur was cleoped Lazarus, and Martha was hire soster.
Heo was debonere and pitiuous, and heo was a seli foster.
Heore fader and heore moder bothe comen of riche kunne,
Of bolde kyngus and of quienes, men of muchele wunne, [More]

SOURCE: Sherry L. Reames, ed., "Early South English Legendary Life of Mary Magdalen," TEAMS Middle English Texts. Retrieved 17 June 2009. Originally published in Middle English Legends of Women Saints (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2003).


See also:

John Mirk, Sermon on St. Mary Magdalen
Legend of Mary Magdalen, Penitent and Apostle, The
Mary Magdalen, from Speculum Sacerdotale

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