The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Seinte Mari moder milde

A Song for the Virgin

Words: English Traditional from Trinity College Library, Ms. B. 14. 39. (James, no. 323), Cambridge

Compare: Saint Mary, Mother Mild (Rickert)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #XLV, pp. 89-91

Seinte Mari moder milde
Mater salutaris;

Seinte Mari moder milde,
    Mater salutaris ;
Feirest flour of eni felde
    Vere nuncuparis.
Thorou ihesu crist thou were wid childe ; 5
Thou bring me of my thouhtes wilde
    Potente,
That maket me to dethe tee
    Repente.

Mi thounc is wilde as is the ro 10
    Luto gratulante.
Ho werchet me ful muchel wo
    Illaque favente.
Bote yef he wole wende me fro,
Ic wene myn herte breket a two 15
    Fervore.
Ic am ifaiht bo day ant naiht
    Dolore.

Jhesu, thorou thi muchele miht
    Omnia fecisti ; 20
The holi gost in Marie liht
    Sicut voluisti.
Forthi he is icleped ur driht,
Ihesu, bring my thouht to Crist
    Constanter, 25
That it be stable ant nout chaungable
    Fraudanter.

Jhesu Crist, thou art on loft
    Digno tu scandente ;
Hevene ant erthe thou havest iwrouht 30
    Victore triumphante ;
Monkun wid thi bodi abouht,
Thou noldest lesen hym for nouht,
    Nec dare
Ant yeve the blod that was so god 35
    Tarn gnare.

Suete levedi, flour of alle,
    Vere consolatrix,
Thou be myn help that I ne fall,
    Cunctis reparatrix ! 40
Mildest quene ant best icorn,
Niht ant day thou be me forn
    Precantis !
Yef me grace to see thi face
    Infantis ! 45

That I thorou thi suete bene,
    Tutrix orphanorum,
Mot leven al this worldes tene,
    Solamen miserorum;
Ant to the levedi mot I take, 50
And myn sunnes al fursake
    Volente,
That I ne misse of thine blisse
    Poscente.

Notes:

8. tee, go.

17. ifaiht, tamed.

23 driht, lord.

41 icorn, chosen.

46 bene, prayer.

Note to #XLV, p. 345.

T.C.C., B. 14. 39. We have not found this poem or any variant of it in print elsewhere. See notes on the following poem [Of On That Is So Fayr and Bright]. The Latin words are written in red.

The dialect is Southern.

2. James, i, 440, in giving the opening of the poem, prints ‘mater saluaturis’, perhaps misled by a hole in the vellum at this point.

Editor's Note:

"Saint Mary, Mother Mild" is found in Rickert, p. 3.

The reference to T.C.C. is to a manuscript at Trinity College, Cambridge. Chambers and Sidgwick have this note concerning this manuscript:

T.C.C., B. 14. 39, Notes. pp. 308-309.
Trinity College Library, Ms. B. 14. 39. (James, no. 323). Parchment, 7 1/8 x 5 3/8. XIII cent.; Skeat says ‘a Norman scribe.’ (Bound with B. 14. 40, James, no. 324, of the XIV and XV centuries.) Poems in English, Latin, and French.
Some items appear also in the contemporary MSS., Jesus College, Oxford, I. xxix, and Cottonian Calig. A. ix ; see Morris, O.E.M., 158-163. The whole MS., including B. 14. 40, was transcribed in 1843 by Sir Frederick Madden, which transcript is now B. 14. 40a. The MS. was missing from the library 1863-1896. It was used by Hickes for his Thesaurus. Extracts in Rel. Ant. On the French pieces in it, see MSS. Fran
çais de Cambridge by Paul Meyer in Romania (1903). Described, with list of contents, in James, i. 438. [Nos. XLV, XLVII, and note on XLVI.]

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