Richard Zimmermann

Blog Post

25 Jun

Poem “Saint Juliana” Added to PCMEP

Juliana Cockayne edition
Edition of the new PCMEP text

Juliana Cockayne edition
Edition of the new PCMEP text

The rhymed saint’s life “Saint Juliana” was probably composed in the mid to late thirteenth century and is preserved in manuscripts from c. 1330 on. It’s not very long, c. 2,500 words, but entertaining, narrative and idiomatic – an ideal addition to my project to build an annotated corpus of verse texts from 1250-1350, when English prose texts are rare.
Here is a short excerpt from when Juliana exposes the devil that came to here disguised as an angel.

Þo þe maide þis ihurde.̉ þen deuel heo nom wel uaste.
Heo made þe signe of þe crois.̉ and to hire fet him caste.
Tel me heo sede wat þou art.̉ oþer icholle þe quelle.
Leuedi he sede let me go.̉ and icholle þe sone telle.
Nay þou schalt abide her.̉ þis maide sede þo.
Vorte þou me telle wat þou art.̉ and þanne þou schalt go.
Þo sede he icham a deuel.̉ ich hote belial.
Aȝen ech mannes good dede.̉ ich can do luþer gal.        (lines 77-84)

(When the maiden heard this, she took the devil well fast / She made the sign of the cross and cast him to her feet / “Tell me”, she said, “what you are or I’ll kill you!” / “Lady”, he said, “Let me go, and I’ll tell you right away.” / “No, you shall abide here”, this maiden said then / “until you tell me what you are, and the you may go.” / Then said he, “I’m a devil. I’m called Belial. / Against each mans’ good deed, I can do a wicked speech.”)

The text is a part of the “South English Legendary”, a complex composite of rhymed sermons for the festivals of the year. I did a lot of background reading on this compilation, and even though this has very little to do with my actual work, I enjoyed it a lot.
If you want to find out more about the text, check out my corpus documentation for the text file here!

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