Medieval English Prose for Women: Selections from the Katherine Group and Ancrene Wisse

By Bella Millett; Jocelyn Wogan-Browne | Go to book overview

Saint Margaret

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, here begins the Life and Passion of St Margaret.

After the suffering and passion of our Lord, and his death on the cross and his resurrection from death, and after his ascension, when he rose to heaven, there were many martyrs, both men and women, cruelly put to death in the name of God; and, like seasoned fighters, they conquered and cast down their three kinds of foe, the Devil and this frail world and the lusts of the flesh, and departed from these pains with martyrs' crowns to Christ, to eternal joy and bliss.

There were still in those days many more infidels than there are now, who worshipped and honoured heathen idols, wretched things made out of stone and wood. But I, a servant of God, Teochimus by name, learned in God's law, have read and interpreted many kinds of writings, and could never find anywhere any who were worthy to be given the worship that we owe to God, except for one alone, the supreme Saviour who lives in heaven, who deigned to dwell for a time among earthly men, and who healed the blind, the dumb, and the deaf, and raised up the dead to life again; and gives crowns to his chosen ones, those who suffer death or any affliction for him; and has granted all Christians -- who take their name from Christ -- if they deserve the name, life everlasting. I, who was baptized in the almighty Father's name, and in the wise Son's name, and in the Holy Ghost's, was living at the time that that blessed maiden, Margaret by name, fought with the Devil and his agents on earth, and defeated and destroyed them; and obtained the documents written at the time describing all her passion and the painful death which she endured for God.

Listen, all those who have ears to hear, widows with the married, and maidens above all should attend most earnestly to how they should love the living Lord, and live in virginity, the virtue dearest to him, so that they may, through that holy maiden we commemorate today with the honour due to virgins, sing that blessed virgins' song together with this maiden and with the heavenly host eternally in heaven.

19 ant . . . nome] B2R, om. B 20 ilke] B2R, om. B 21 ant2] B2R, om. B 25 ʒeornliche] ʒeorliche B 28 singen] sinʒen B 29 Þet] B2, Þe T, om. B

-45-

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Medieval English Prose for Women: Selections from the Katherine Group and Ancrene Wisse
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Further Reading xxxix
  • A Note on the Texts and Translations xli
  • Texts 1
  • Hali Meiðhad - Epistel of Meidenhad Meidene Froure 2
  • A Letter on Virginity - A Letter on Virginity for the Encouragement of Virgins 3
  • Seinte Margarete 44
  • Saint Margaret 45
  • Sawles Warde I Þe Feaderes Ant I Þe Sunes Ant I Þe Hali Gastes Nome, | Her Biginneð 'sawles Warde'. 86
  • The Custody of the Soul 87
  • Ancrene Wisse, Part 7 110
  • Guide for Anchoresses, Part 7 111
  • Ancrene Wisse, Part 8 130
  • Guide for Anchoresses, Part 8 131
  • Textual Commentary 150
  • Glossary 166
  • List of Proper Names 217
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