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The Marian Lyrics of Jacopone da Todi and Friar William Herebert: The Life and the Letter

From: Franciscan Studies
Volume 55, 1998
pp. 221-238 | 10.1353/frc.1998.0050

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


  • 1.   An Orison to the Blessed Virgin

    _ou wommon boute uere
    _yn oune uader bere.
    Gret wonder _ys was
    _at on wommon was moder
    To uader and hyre bro_er —
    So neuer o_er nas.

    _ou my suster and moder
    And _y sone my bro_er —
    Who shulde _oenne drede?
    Who-so hauet _e kyng to broder
    And ek _e quene to moder
    Wel auhte uor to spede.

    Dame, suster and moder,
    Say _y sone my bro_er,
    _at ys domes-mon,
    _at uor _e _at hym bere,
    To me boe debonere —
    My robe he haueth opon.

    Soeth_e he my robe tok
    Also ich finde in bok
    He ys to me y-bounde;
    And helpe he wole ich wot,
    Vor loue _e chartre wrot,
    _e enke orn of hys wounde.

    Ich take to wytnessinge
    _e spere and _e crounynge,
    _e nayles and _e rode,
    _at he _at ys so cunde,
    _ys euer haueth in munde,
    _at bouhte ous wyth hys blode.

    When _ou zeue hym my wede,
    Dame, help at _e noede
    Ich wot _ou myth uol wel,
    _at uor no wreched gult
    Ich boe to helle y-pult —
    To _e ich make apel.

    Nou, dame, ich _e byseche
    At _ylke day of wreche
    Boe by _y sones trone,
    When sunne shal boen souht
    In werk, in word, in _ouht,
    And spek uor me _ou one.

    When ich mot nede apere
    Vor mine gultes here
    To-uore _e domes-mon,
    Suster, boe _er my uere
    And make hym debonere,
    _at mi robe haueth opon.

    Vor habbe ich _e and hym
    _at markes ber_ wy_ hym
    _at charite him tok —
    _e woundes al blody,
    _e toknes of mercy
    Ase teche_ holy bok —
    _arf me no_ing drede,
    Sathan shal nout spede
    Wy_ wrenches ne wy_ crok. Amen.

  • 2.   Ave Maris Stella

    Heyl, leuedy, se-stoerre bryht,
    Godes moder, edy wyht,
    Mayden euer vurst and late
    Of heueneriche sely zate,
    _ylk aue _at _ou vonge in spel
    Of _e aungeles mouh_ kald Gabriel.
    In gryht ous sette and shyld vrom shome,
    _at turnst abakward eues nome,
    Gulty monnes bond vnbynd,
    Bryng lyht tyl hoem _at boeth blynd,
    Put vrom ous oure sunne
    And ern ous alle wynne.
    Shou _at _ou art moder one,
    And he vor _e take oure bone
    _at vor ous _y chyld by-com
    And of _e oure kunde nom.
    Mayde one _ou were myd chylde
    Among alle so mylde.
    Of sinne ous quite on haste
    And make ous meoke and chaste,
    Lyf _ou zyf ous clene,
    Wey syker ous zarke and lene
    _at we iesus y-soe
    And euer bly_ boe.
    To uader, cryst and holy gost beo _onk and heryinge;
    To _reo persones and o god, o menske and worshypinge.

  • 3.   Alma redemptoris mater

    Holy moder, _at bere cryst
    buggere of monkunde,
    _ou art zat of heuene blisse
    _at prest wey zyfst and bunde.
    _ou sterre of se, rer op _e uolk
    _at rysing haueht in munde.
    In _e _ou bere _yn holy uader,
    _at mayden were after and ra_er,
    Whar-of so wondreth kunde.
    Of gabrieles mou_e/_ou uonge _ylke 'Aue';
    Lesne ous of sunne nou_è,/so woe bisecheth _e.


1. Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), 37.

2. See St. Ambrose's De Officiis 1.18.68-69, and St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles, 4.34.

3. "Numquam autem legitur quod verbum Domini factum sit vel Moyses, vel Ieremias, vel aliquis aliorem. Hoc autem modo singulariter unionem Dei Verbi ad carnem Christi designat Evangelista, dicens [Ioan. I, 14], Verbum caro factum est, ut supra [cap. praec] expositum est." The Latin text is taken from the Leonine edition, as reproduced in St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, trans. R. Bernier and F. Kerouanton (France: P. Lethielleux, 1957), 194, and the English translation from St. Thomas Aquinas, On the Truth of the Catholic Faith: Summa Contra Gentiles: Book Four: Salvation, trans. Charles J. O'Neil (Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1957), 165.

4. Think, for instance, of Robert Campin's fifteenth-century painting of the Annunciation, part of the Mérode Altarpiece.

5. From a feminist perspective, it is significant that, in promoting the Virgin's role as Mediatrix, the...

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