About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Friday, March 02, 2007

DaH ll. 855-1048: Then went she where did sleep her lord.

Her parents, though yet distressed, are nevertheless won over by the child's wondrous pleas, and she runs early in the morning to greet Sir Heinrich with the news--which, as you can guess, he takes with his own distress. But soon he, too, is won over to the cause, and he prepares the girl for the journey to Salerno. If you are interested, the full Middle High German text can be found here, and an online knowledge database can also be found here.

Once again, any and all feedback is requested and welcomed.

Introduction & lines 1-132
Lines 133-162
Lines 163-232
Lines 233-348
Lines 349-458
Lines 459-542
Lines 543-662
Lines 663-854
855 And when they saw their daughter’s pace
So rushing on to death’s embrace,
And that she with such wisdom spoke
And human bounds of conduct broke,
Together they began to see
860 That wisdom and this reasoned plea
Could ne’er the tongue of children’s speech
Produce or demonstrate or preach.
They did confess that th’ Holy Ghost
Was of her speech the author most,
865 Who also helped Saint Nicholas,
When in the cradle laid he was,
And to him holy wisdom taught
So that he turned to God and brought
His child-like goodness innocent.
870 Their hearts bethought and minds hath kenned,
That they would ne’er nor should they her
From that discourage or deter,
Which burden on herself she’d laid:
From God was come her reason’s aid.
875 With grief their body frigid grew,
When farmer and his wife, the two,
Sat on the bed together, so
That they forgetful were in woe
From of their child love’s charity
880 Of speech and reason’s clarity.
And in that very hour’s spell
Could neither of them speak or tell
A single word, their tongues gone slack.
The spasms then began to rack
885 The mother from her sorrow’s care.
Thus sat the two together there,
Of joy denied, by pain aggrieved,
Until they then by thought perceived,
What use to them was sorrow’s ache:
890 If one could not yet from her take
Her will and her intent away,
Then for them would no goodness pay
As that they not it her refuse,
For surely they could never lose,
895 In better way their daughter leave.
Should they it with ill will receive,
It would bring them with their master
A great amount of displeasure,
And nothing else thereby would find.
900 In willing manner well-inclined
They both then gave assent by voice
That at her plan they did rejoice.

Then joy the maiden pure did take.
When scarcely come was morning’s break,
905 Then went she where did sleep her lord.
Calléd to him his bride adored,
She spoke: “My lord, asleep are ye?”
“Not I, my bride, now tell to me,
How art thou early so this day?”
910 “My lord, beset me doth dismay
And sorrow at your malady.”
He spoke: “My bride, it paineth thee:
This dost thou well me witness cite,
And God shall for it thee requite.
915 But for it can no aid appear.”
“But verily, o lord my dear,
There shall quite well for you be aid.
Since such are matters with you laid,
That help to you can one convey,
920 I’ll let you wait not e’en a day.
My lord, this have ye yet us told,
If ye should have a maiden bold,
Who gladly would death undergo,
She would to you good health bestow.
925 I will by God that virgin be:
Your life hath greater use than me.”
Then did her lord her very much
Give thanks for her intention’s touch,
And filled his eyes around their lid
930 From sorrow’s pain in secret hid.
He spoke: “My bride, indeed is death
Yet not a soft distressing breath,
As hast thou thought in mind unmoved.
Thou hast quite well to me this proved,
935 That if thou couldst, thou wouldst help me.
That is for me enough from thee.
I recognize thy purpose sweet:
Thy will is pure, thy mettle meet.
I ought from thee no more exact.
940 Thou canst for me this not enact,
Of which thou hast here spoken late.
The faith, with which thou dost me rate,
Shall God to thee reward provide.
This would my countrymen deride,
945 Whate’er from this time forth of cure
I should upon myself secure
And which for me should nothing gain,
But as it yet hath been in vain.
My bride, thou doest as children
950 Who are of hasty mind and ken:
Whate’er should come into their mind,
Be't evil or a goodness kind,
They are all quickly to it spurred,
And then regret it afterward.
955 My bride, so also doest thou.
This plan hath thine intention now:
But if one would ‘t from thee collect
So that one should then it perfect,
Then thou wilt yet regret of it.”
960 That she should still bethink a bit
And better yet, beseeched he her.
He spoke: “Thy mother and father,
They cannot well without thee go.
I, too, should not demand their woe,
965 Who have their grace e’er giv’n to me.
Whate’er the two have counseled thee,
So do, my bride belov'd and mild.”
And thereupon at this he smiled,
For little then could he infer,
970 What yet was later to occur.

So spoke the noble man to her.
Her father then and her mother
Did speak: “O lord, our master dear,
Ye have us greatly and sincere
975 Shown friendship and with honour graced:
This would not well be used—a waste—
If we with good you not repay.
Our daughter’s of intention’s way
That she will death for you endure.
980 This we allow her well and sure,
980a So hath she our approval earned.
980b She hath her thought not shortly turned:
This day today, it is the third,
That ceaselessly her plea was spurred,
So that for it we gave her leave.
Now she hath it from us received.
985 Now let through her God health bestow:
We for your sake will her forego.”
Then as his bride did offer him
Her death against his sickness grim,
And one did see her earnestness,
990 There was there suff’ring’s sad distress
And aspect sorrowed and in pain.
And then diverse depression’s strain
Arose among them, grief’s degree,
Between the child and them, the three.
995 Her father and her mother dear
Here hoisted many weeping tear:
Them weeping caused great many woes
For their dear daughter’s death's repose.
Now, too, her lord began to weigh
1000 And further think in such a way
On this, the child’s devotion true,
And misery besieged him, too,
That he began to weep severe,
And doubted much, of this unclear,
1005 Whether it better were begun
Or if it should be left undone.
From fear the maid, too, wept her plaint:
She though his courage lost and faint.
So were they all of joy denied.
1010 The plan of none could none abide.

At last their lord then fixèd firm
His mind, poor Heinrich the infirm,
And then began he to express
To them, the three, his thankfulness
1015 For loyalty and good bestowed,
(The maid—her spirits overflowed,
That gladly in the plan he shared),
And for Salerno he prepared
As fast as he could see to it.
1020 Whate’er, too, did the maid befit
Made ready was at quickened pitch:
A pretty mare and clothing rich,
With which she ne’er before had dressed.
‘Twas ermine, samite, sable best,
1025 Indeed the best that one could find,
The raiment of the maiden kind.

Now who could tell in full extent
The heartache and the cruel lament,
The mother’s shocking, sharp duress,
1030 And, too, the father’s deep distress?
It would indeed for them have been
A wretched, woeful parting keen,
When they had let their dear child go
Away to death, yet healthy so,
1035 And then to see her nevermore,
Except that softened was their sore
Distress by God’s pure goodness kind,
From which indeed the heart and mind
Came to the child so young to know,
1040 That gladly would she death’s way go.
And it had come without their say:
Therefore from them was put away
Ev’ry distress and sorrow’s plea,
For otherwise would wondrous be,
1045 That broken not were they in heart.
To joy was turned their troubled part,
So that they suffered no distress
Then at their daughter’s death’s oppress.