Wessex Parallel WebTexts


introductionthe manuscripttext/translationnotesglossary

about the project
Harley lyrics
list of lyrics
index of first lines


I syke when Y singe: introduction
London, British Library, Harley MS 2253, f. 80ra

Crucifixion, Gorleston PsalterA meditative poem on the Crucifixion, taking as its starting-point the standard visual image of  Christ on the Cross, with the Virgin Mary on one side and St John on the other, found in medieval sculpture, murals, altarpieces and MS illuminations (particularly in missals).

The image here is from the fourteenth-century Gorleston Psalter, London, British Library,  Additional MS 49622, f. 7r (the figure embracing the foot of the Cross is Mary Magdalen).

The poem is also recorded in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 2, f. 6r, where the order of the fourth and fifth stanzas is reversed, and there are some significant textual differences; see the edition in Brown (1932), no. 64, pp. 122-4. Brown supplies a list of MS variants in his notes (pp. 216-7).

In the Digby version, the speaker draws attention explicitly to the link between meditation and image; see note on line 22.

Set up by Bella Millett, enm@soton.ac.uk. Last updated 28 July 2003 . Image from the Gorleston Psalter reproduced by permission of the British Library; no further reproduction permitted.