Introduction to the Edition
The text can be found on folio 24r in the Trinity College, Cambridge MS B. 14. 39. Inside this manuscript we find over 140 religious and didactic texts in English, Anglo-Norman, and Latin.  The first nine lines are divided into four stanzas—two in Anglo-Norman and two in English—each containing three to four different sentences. Each stanza begins in the left margin and then the other lines in that stanza are indented. The first and the third stanza are written in Anglo-Norman and the second and fourth are written in English.
The following ten lines are aligned to the left. The lines are divided into half lines by the punctus mark. The poem is also divided into two sets of two lines and two sets of three lines by the visual marker of capitalization; the first letter of the first half line in these sets is capitalized. The end of the text is indicated by the capitalized ‘Amen’, which is also coloured red—another visual marker.
COPYING IN THE FIRST NINE LINES
This piece of text can be found in Trinity, College Cambrige MS B.14.19, on fol. 24r. The text is trilingual; the languages used are ME, French and Latin. It seems as if the scribe may not have been very proficient in Middle English, since he conjoins articles and words such as ‘apiler’, which is most likely ‘a piler’ or PDE ‘a pillar’.
The punctuation in the text is rather straightforward. Only simple dots, or punctus marks, are used in this poem. Though some are low, like our modern full stop, there are also instances in which the punctus appears halfway up the line. This placement was not unusual, as Donald Scragg notes: ‘[the dot was] usually level with the middle of the letters but also sometimes on the writing line’. The difference in placement here likely does not imply a semantic difference; it may simply be incidental. Whereas nowadays a full stop indicates the end of a sentence, David Crystal argues that a punctus often ‘represented a pause, rather than a sentence ending.’ Given the differing placement of the punctus in this text, it is not evident whether each of these dots should be interpreted as a modern full-stop or as a comma, and it is therefore perhaps best to treat this punctuation more broadly as a pause. The only other punctuation is the hyphen, which was added with a pencil in line 14.
The scribe has capitalised only four letters in the first nine lines, and each of the capitals falls at the beginning of a new stanza. A close examination of the text reveals that the four capital letters in the text all have a touch of red. Since it only affects the capital letters, we suspect this red ink functions as decoration.
The capitalization in the last ten lines seems to follow a certain pattern. L.10-13 contain two capital letter lines, however only the first and third line are capitalized, the lines seem to alternate. Since the first line has a capital letter, but then the next line does not have a capital letter and the same applies to the third and the fourth. But with l.14-19, only l. 14 & 17 are capital letter lines and both are followed up by two non-capital letter lines of which the last one ends with a capital letter word ‘Amen’. This word also contains a very long stretched N.
A number of abbreviations can be found strewn throughout the text. Both the Anglo-Norman lines as well as the English ones have abbreviation marks. Simple diacritics above words indicate the absence of different letters; in order of first appearance, these are: (es), (ri), (er), (ur), (u), (n), (us), (m), (en). For instance, when looking at the first, third and eighth line of the text, we see the word ‘c(ri)st’, where the ‘ri’ is abbreviated above the ‘c’.
Another example can be seen in the word: , which appears four times in the first nine-line section of the poem. It can be transcribed as ‘a(n)t’. This abbreviation was possibly done to save space, since ‘and’ is a commonly used word. In both the Anglo-Norman and English stanzas, abbreviations are used for the letters ‘er’: in ‘m(er)ci’ in the second line, in ‘lou(er)d’ in the third and eighth line, in ‘oblig(er)’ in the seventh line and in ‘fað(er)’ in the eighth line.
Yet not all abbreviations are little lines or dots above another letter. In the fourth line of the text, a strange symbol appears: . The last four letters of the word can be transcribed as: ‘seil’, but what is that first symbol? After close examination of the symbol and its context, this symbol seems to be an abbreviation of ‘con’. The word then becomes: ‘(con)seil’: advice or counsel.
Between lines ten and the last line, this text contains at least one abbreviation per line. The most common abbreviation marker is the macron, which “usually indicates a missing m or n, or a missing syllable involving one of these nasals.”
- The macron occurs eleven times: four times on u (ll. 11, 12, and 16), four times on a (ll. 12, 17, and 18), twice on e (ll. 10 and 14), and once on I (l. 14).
- In lines 10 and 11 a small mark shaped like the number 9 occurs above the n, indicating missing -us in n(us). 
- In lines 10, 12, and 15 a lightning-bolt like symbol can be found above the m to indicate missing er in the word m(er)ci.
- In lines 13 and 16 a line crosses the descender of p, indicating missing -ar. 
- In line 10 the scribe also uses the superscript to abbreviate p(ur), p(ec)cheurs and t(ur)mēte.
CONTENTS AND GENRE
This text is a religious lyric. The first part describes how God is ‘the Father of earth and of Heaven’ and how ‘Lord Christ’ protects and loves us so ‘we may all come to [Christ’s] bliss’. It is didactic in that it teaches the audience members that they should listen to God and follow his path to go to heaven.
The second part of the text is mainly about Jesus’ crucifixion. It explains that Jesus saved mankind by suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. The text also mentions the two thieves that were crucified along with Jesus. One of them ‘received pardon’ (l. 15-16) because he cried out ‘Mercy’, while the other suffered more because he did not. The text also praises Mary, referring to her as ‘sweet dear Mary’ (l. 13) and ‘your sweet mother’ (l. 19).
The religious nature of the text fits with its manuscript context, since the manuscript is filled with many other religious texts.
The text has an Anglo-Norman part, followed by the same general idea but translated into the vernacular; lines 1 and 2 are Anglo-Norman, and 3-5 repeat
roughly the same thing but in Middle English. This same pattern then repeats, starting with the Anglo-Norman lines 6 and 7, which are followed by the Middle English lines 8 and 9. This alternation of the two languages suggests a didactic function; the translation of the Anglo-Norman lines into English may suggest the text was rather made to appeal to the broadest possible audience.
As Elaine Treharne suggests, ‘it may have been intended for private devotion and, perhaps, for religious instruction’. This conforms with the lyrics’ content which is highly devotional: ‘Dear God, you are the Father of earth and of Heaven, sweeter than honey when it is warm’. The text is focused on the fact that Jesus suffered for mankind “to save those that are his and came here” (l. 18). It addresses Jesus directly at ll. 18-19, saying that he blesses “us for to take into consideration your sweet mother’s love”. These words powerfully suggest appreciation.
In addition to these religious contents, the text was possibly produced in ‘a religious house in the West Midlands’. The poem’s medieval context, its explicitly religious themes, as well as its placement in a manuscript with many other religious texts suggests that it could have been designed for use by members of the clergy, for themselves or for educating others.
As Hirsch states, the Middle English lyrics were meant to be used for both educational and entertainment purposes.  There is a clear presence of end rhyme throughout the text (for instance ‘red’ l.4 with ‘qued’ l.5, and ‘chaud’ l.7 with ‘haut’ l.7) which may suggest the text was sung. We of course cannot say with certainty who made use of this text and for which reasons, but based on analysis of the text and the manuscript we can hypothesise.
SOURCES AND TRADITION
Many Middle English lyrics are intense, religiously oriented texts. Among these, the crucifixion of Christ was a common theme. The text considered here has the tone of prayer and features the recurring motif of praising Christ, alongside a call for absolution. Some lines after the beginning of the text, the crucifixion of Christ is described: ‘Ibou(n)den e was to a piler . a(n)t al-to torn was is her’ (line 12). This scene is described with almost the same words in another text also about the crucifixion, entitled ‘Wose seye on rode’. In this latter poem, the episode is represented like this: ‘Is hewid [him] al abutim wið þornis ip[ri]kic’. ‘Wose seye on rode’. This text, like that examined here, notes the presence of Mary and John at the Crucifixion; the text edited here notes ‘marie e sei(n)t ion le ui ‘(line 13), while the same same scene is reported, in ‘Wose seye’ as ‘Sori stoð him bi wepinde sent marie [and] sent jon.’ (line 2).
Another example of a text concerning the theme of crucifixion is the religious lyric ‘Stond Wel, Moder, Ounder Rode’, included in the Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86 manuscript and edited by Elaine Treharne . Here the text is presented as a dialogue between Mary and Christ on the cross. Apart from the subject of Crucifixion, these texts also share several dialect features, which will be discussed below.
More broadly, this text is focused on the importance of showing love for Christ and praising Him. Such themes were common in medieval lyrics; religion was a powerful motivation for writing such verses. Other devotional lyrics can be found in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86, which is an early Middle English manuscript just like Cambridge, Trinity College MS B. 14. 39. The former contains many religious texts like prayers, psalms and lyrics and these are written in French, Latin and English.  There are many texts concerning the same topic of the verse in Cambridge, Trinity College MS B.14.39 fol. 24r. Comparable is the devotional lyric ‘I Syke when Y Singe’ that is included in London, British Library, Harley 2253.  This is also a religious lyric in which Christ is addressed directly and praised.
VERSIFICATION AND LANGUAGE
According to the Digital Index of Middle English Verse, the versification of the text is ‘five-line’ ‘aaabc’. As already noted, Treharne suggests that many texts in Cambridge, Trinity College B.14.39 may have been intended for private devotion and religious instruction.  Indeed, the language used is simple, almost completely deprived of poetic embellishment. The language that is used in the Middle English section is not of the sort that was restricted to a poetic register; this verse employs everyday Middle English, like ‘qued’ (‘evil’) in line 5 and ‘blisse’ (‘happiness’) in line 9, which are also found in Middle English prose.
Nevertheless, is it worth to mentioning that the lines edited here are rich in expressions of the religious and devotional lexicon. In addition, the tenderness and mercy of Christ, expressed through adjectives like ‘sweet’ (lines 13, 19) and ‘merciful’ (line 13), is juxtaposed to the atrocities he had to suffer for the sinners.
From the linguistic features of the text, it is possible to identify the traces of a specific regional variety of language, which is the West Midland dialect. As Treharne points out, ‘it seems that the language of the manuscript may point to an origin in West Worcestershire’.
The evidence of the dialect can be detected, for example, in the use of the form þo at line 18. As a matter of fact, according to Robert J. Menner, ‘while the form þo was used over a comparatively large area of the Midlands, it was rather Central or Western than Easter’ . Another clue that traces back the language to West Midlands variant is the use of the verb ‘ben’ at line 18, which, according to Mary S. Serjeantson, occurs in the West Midlands dialect as a plural form of the verb ‘to be’ .
SPELLING AND MORPHOLOGY FIRST NINE LINES
The distinction between the thorn and the letter ‘y’ the scribe makes is hard to identify. It took us a while to see that in line 8 the first letter of the verb ‘yef’ (‘to give’) was a ‘y’ instead of a ‘þ’:. The spelling of the word ‘endeng’ (ending) in line 9 is peculiar, because the standard form for this word is ‘ending’ or ‘endinge’. The scribe may have made a mistake by writing an ‘e’ instead of an ‘i’.
Another particularity in the spelling of this text is the ending of the verb ‘biddet’ (‘to bid’) in line 4. Normally, the first-person plural of Middle English verbs end in an -n instead of a -t. The morphology of the rest of the verse does not contain distinct word endings; for example the normal form -est is used for second person singular verbs in present tense, like ‘hauest’ (‘to have’) and madest (‘to make’), both of which appear in line 3.
SPELLING AND MORPHOLOGY SECOND TEN LINES
The influences of a specific variety of language are often reflected in the spelling of words. This is the reason why some of the previous mentioned words have an unusual spelling.
Also, the word ‘her’ at line 12 seems to have an uncommon spelling, possibly derived from Old French ‘haire’, according to the Middle English Dictionary.  In a period of such linguistic influences, it is not rare to encounter loanwords, hybrids or errors in spelling.
It is worth mentioning that the majority of abbreviations are in the French portions of the text analysed. In the first line, for example, there is a mixture of abbreviation marks used.
Simone, Marijn, Renee, Leontine, Maria, and Rob
Middle English Literature Seminar
1 Diane Speed, “A Ballad of Twelfth Day: Texts and Contexts,” in Text and Transmission in Medieval Europe, ed. Chris Bishop (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), 199–227. [Back]
2 Donald Scragg, “Old English Manuscripts, Their Scribes, and Their Punctuation.” In The Genesis of Books, p 252. [Back]
3 David Crystal, “Printing and Its Consequences” in The Stories of English. (London: Penguin, 2004), 254-279, at 261. [Back]
4 Stephen Reimer. https://sites.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/abbrevtn.htm [Back]
5 “a curled line extending from a final letter, or an apostrophe-shaped mark (it can be a small ‘9’ shaped mark in a raised position after a letter), most frequently indicates a missing terminal us: ‘ver9’ = ‘versus’; ‘ven9’ = ‘Venus.’ It also is used medially and finally to denote e or er: p’iodic = periodic. This medieval suspension mark is the origin of the modern apostrophe to indicate missing letters in contractions, as in ‘don’t.’” https://sites.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/abbrevtn.htm [Back]
6 “p a straight line bisecting the descender = ‘per,’ ‘par,’ or ‘por.’”https://sites.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/abbrevtn.htm
7 Elaine Treharne, “Lyrics from Cambridge, Trinity College B. 14. 39” in Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1450: An Anthology, ed. by Elaine Treharne, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 506 .[Back]
8 K. Murchison, “The Effects of the Seven Sins”: A Critical Edition”. Scholarly Editing. http://scholarlyediting.org/2017/editions/sevensins/intro.html#inline30 . [Back]
9 John Hirsch, “Religious Lyrics.” Oxford University Press, 13 January 2014, DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0112 [Back]
10 “Brouwer, F. Romano, and C. Koppelaar, “Wose seye on rode”, Dr. Krista A. Murchison, accessed March, 2, 2019, https://kristamurchison.com/melyrics2018/wose-seye-on-rode/. [Back]
11 Elaine Treharne, Old and Middle English c.890-c.1450: an Anthology. (Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) 415-416.[Back]
12 Elaine Treharne. “Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86.” Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1400: An Anthology. Ed. Elaine Treharne. 3rd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 412. [Back]
13 Elaine Treharne. “London, British Library, Harley 2253.” Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1400: An Anthology. Ed. Elaine Treharne. 3rd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pp. 578-579. [Back]
14 Treharne, Old and Middle English, 506. [Back]
15 Treharne, Old and Middle English, 506.[Back]
16 Robert J. Menner, “Four Notes on the West Midland Dialect.” Modern Language Notes 41, no. 7 (1926), 457. doi:10.2307/2913959. [Back]
17 Mary S. Serjeantson, “The Dialects of the West Midlands in Middle English”, The Review of English Studies, Volume os-III, Issue 9, 1 January 1927, 54–67, https://doi-org.ezproxy.leidenuniv.nl:2443/10.1093/res/os-III.9.54[Back]
18 Entry from: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/middle-english-dictionary/dictionary/MED20492/track?counter=1&search_id=402296 [Back]
Brouwer, J., Romano, F. & Koppelaar, C., “Wose seye on rode”, Dr. Krista A. Murchison, accessed March, 2, 2019, https://kristamurchison.com/melyrics2018/wose-seye-on-rode/
Crystal, David, “Printing and Its Consequences” in The Stories of English. (London: Penguin, 2004), 254-279, at 261.
Hirsh, John C. Religious Lyrics, Oxford University Press, 13 January 2014, DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0112
Horobin, Simon. 2007, Chaucer’s Language. P.40-42
Menner, Robert J., “Four Notes on the West Midland Dialect.” Modern Language Notes 41, no. 7 (1926), 457. doi:10.2307/2913959.
Murchison, K.A. ‘‘The Effects of the Seven Sins’: A Critical Edition.’ The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing, no. 38 (2017).
Reimer, Stephen. “Manuscript Studies.” University of Alberta. https://sites.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/abbrevtn.htm (Retrieved March 4, 2019).
Scragg, Donald, Hussey, Matthew T., and Niles, John D. “Old English Manuscripts, Their Scribes, and Their Punctuation.” In The Genesis of Books, 245-60. Brepols Publishers, 2011.
Serjeantson, Mary S., “The Dialects of the West Midlands in Middle English”, The Review of English Studies, Volume os-III, Issue 9, 1 January 1927, 54–67, https://doi-org.ezproxy.leidenuniv.nl:2443/10.1093/res/os-III.9.54
Speed, Diane. “A Ballad of Twelfth Day: Texts and Contexts,” in Text and Transmission in Medieval Europe, ed. Chris Bishop (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), 199–227, at 165.
Treharne, Elaine, “Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86.” Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1400: An Anthology. Ed. Elaine Treharne. 3rd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 412.
Treharne, Elaine, Old and Middle English c.890-c.1450: An Anthology. (Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) 415-416.
Treharne, Elaine, “Lyrics from Cambridge, Trinity College B. 14. 39” in Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1450: An Anthology, edited by Elaine Treharne, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 506.
Treharne, Elaine, “London, British Library, Harley 2253” in Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1400: An Anthology. Ed. Elaine Treharne. 3rd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pp. 578-579.
Le fiz marie, cil ke tut le munde fist
Jh(es)u c(ri)st le fiz marie cil ke tut le munde fist . de nus eit pite
e m(er)ci si li pleit . ke nos almes ne seint dampnes p(ar) n(u)l maufet .
Lou(er)d c(ri)st þou hauest us boust. þou madest al þis world of noust.
we biddet þe wið word a(n)t þoust (con)seil a(n)t red. þat oure sole(n)
ne be furlore for no qued.
Sire Deu u(us) eistes tel . pere de tere e de cel . plus douz ke mel
Kau(n)t il est chaud . a u(u)s n(us) deuu(m) oblig(er) sire an haut .
Lou(er)d c(ri)st as þou art ki(n)g. fað(er) a(n)t sone of alle þi(n)g. þou yef us
alle god endeng a(n)t ti(n) loue. þat we mote(n) to þi blisse alle com(en).
par am(ur) . ke n(us) ne seu(m) acumbre nuyt ne iour .
Ibou(n)den e was to a piler . a(n)t al-to torn was is her . sire m(er)ci
p(ar) charite fur godes loue . milde bet þi swete cheres marie sone.
Mort desour la crois suffri marie e sei(n)t ion le ui . e se ke pe(n)-
derent en couste de li le du laron . le un li cria m(er)ci il out
p(er)dou(n) . li autre aual cheit en pu par fu(n)d .
Deet he þolede up on þe tre a(n)t wuden boþen two a(n)t þre .
to saue þo þat hise ben a(n)t hider ben comen . ih(es)u(s) þi
blisse us bi see for þi swete moder loue . Amen .A un piler fu lie . e p(ur) n(us) p(ec)cheurs t(ur)me(n)te . sire m(er)ci par charite
Simone, Marijn, Renee, Leontine, Maria, and Rob
Middle English Literature Seminar
The Son of Mary, He who made all the world
Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, He who made all the world, please have pity
on us and mercy, so that our souls will not be damned by any misdeed.
Lord Christ You have us bought. You made all of this world of nought.
We bid You with word and thought for counsel and advice, such that our souls
 be not lost to evil.
Dear God, you are the Father of earth and of Heaven, sweeter than honey
when it is warm. To You we are indebted, Lord on high.
Lord Christ as You are king. Father and Son of all things. Give us
all a good ending and your love, such that we may all come to your happiness.
for love. So that we are not encumbered, night or day.
He was bound to a pillar and his hair was completely torn.
Lord, mercy for charity for God’s love. Merciful is sweet dear Mary’s son.
He suffered death on the cross. Mary and Saint John saw him, and those who hung
 alongside him–the thieves. One of them cried out ‘Mercy’; he received
pardon. The other sunk down even more deeply.
He suffered death upon the tree and wounds both two and three
to save those that are His and that have come hither. Jesus, may your bliss provide us
with your sweet mother’s love. He was tied to a beam and tormented for us sinners. Lord, mercy—for charity,
Simone, Marijn, Renee, Leontine, Maria, and Rob
Middle English Literature Seminar