Quotes from Medieval literature
(extracts from original source material)
Hildegard of Bingen: The book of the Rewards of Life
Translated by B.W. Hozeski
Garland Publishing, 1994
BV 5080/H53E3/1994/1994 ROBA
From headings of first part:
Slothfulness does not shine
Performing anger without hatred
His glory alone
The punishment of foolish joy
1.9 And he spit out of his mouth a froth of many impurities and blemishes upon the people
And he spewed forth a most disgusting mist from his mouth, which covered the earth like the blackest of smoke
1.11 You are surrounded by a black fog
You are like a worm that lives for just a short time.
I am the watch-tower of all the virtues.
1.13 I am the honorable offspring of the royal marriage of knowledge and justice
1.14 The third image was also like a man… it had black hair and wore a pale garment
People also play with their animals and have fun with them; all this is appropriate
1.15 You are like a loud noise made with a person’s hands
I hide like a cherubim
1.17 Since you have no mercy you are like black smoke
All creation shows its fullness
1.19 For those who speak the truth often let good things get away; those who fight are sometimes killed
1.21 The sixth image had a man’s face I am the watch-tower of all the virtues.
1.54 In the fiery cloud lives a fiery crowd who has one life in one will and in one union
1.58 The host of angels also praise the good works men do. Praising often, they never cease to praise these works for a moment or an hour
1.59 I heard words which cannot be uttered, words which no man may speak
1.76 And he spews forth a most disgusting mist from his mouth, which covers the earth like the blackest of smoke
1.75 But you hear the ancient serpent say to himself that he will prepare the powers of his strength as a fortification and will fight his enemies with all his strength
1.83 True mercy answers hard-heartedness and warns it to do good
From Causes and Curses:
Hail is like the thunder’s eye
And the whole human race was transformed and transmuted into monsters, so that some people even conducted themselves like beats, in both their behaviour and utterances – in running and howling and manner of life
Let he person who is greatly affected and struck by immoderate laughter grind up a nutmeg and add half as much sugar and put it in warmed wine and drink it when fasting or having eaten
For those who are thin and dry, a steam bath heated with hot rocks does no good, because they will be made more dry by it
From Abeizer Coppe: Selected Writings
p. 17: Upon this the life was taken out of the body (for a season) and it was thus resembled, as if a man with a great brush dipt in whiting, should with one stroke wipe our or sweep off a picture upon a wall, &c… after a while, breath and life was returned into the form again
p. 21: This is… an edg’d tool; and there’s no jesting with it, or laughing at it
p. 23 The ministers, fat parsons, vicars, lecturers, &c., who (for their owne base ends, to maintain their pride and pompe, and to fille their owne paunches, and purses) have been the chiefe instruments of all those horrid abominations, hellish, cruell, devilish persecutions in this nation which cry for vengeance
p. 27: To the pure all things are pure. God hath so cleared cursing, swearing, in some, that that which goes for swearing and cursing in them, is more glorious then praying and preaching in others
p. 28: Thou knowest not the strange appearances of the Lord now a daies. Take heed, know thou hast been warned
pg. 30: Neither do I forget the one hundred spent in superfluous dishes (at your late great London feast) for I know what—) when hundreds of poor wretches dyed with hunger
I have heard a sound in mine ears, that no lesse than a hundred died in one week, pined, and starved with hunger
Howle you great ones, for all the feast daies dole, &c., and hear your doome
p. 32: There is a strange one (now on foot) judge it not, least you be judged with a vengeance. Turn not away your eyes from it, least you (to your torment) heare this voice – I was a stranger, and yet took me not in
p. 40: Wholesome advice, with a terrible threat to the formalists
p. 42: Wholesome advice, with a terrible threat to the formalists
The beauty which makes all visible beauty seem meer deformity
p. 45: And then be plagued back again into thy mother’s womb, the womb of eternity: that thou maist become a little child, and let the mother eternity, almightiness, who is universall love, and whose service is perfect freedome, dress thee, and undresse thee, swaddle, unswadle, bind, loose, lay thee down, take thee up, 7c.
pg. 47: Kings, princes, lords, great ones, must bow to the poorest peasants; rich men must stoop to poor rogues, or else they’ll rue for it
p. 48: That is (in a word) a secret, yet sharp, terrible, unexpected, and insupportable plague, is rising up from under all
pg. 49: Once more, impropriators, appropriators! Go to, weep and howl, &c. The rust of your silver shall rise (is rising up) against you, burning your flesh as it were fire, &c.
From Medieval English Poetry
Ed. Stephanie Trigg
PR 313/M43/1993/1993 ROBA
Merveilles quis, mes nes trovai,
Fol m’en revine, fol I alai,
Fol I alai, fol m’en revinc.
Folie quis, por fol me tinc.
(I sought marvels, but I didn’t find any. A fool I returned from there, a fool I went there, a fool I went there, a fool I returned from there. I sought folly, I consider myself a fool.)
Ensi alai, ensi reving,
Au revenir por fol me ting.
Si vos ai conte com fos
Ce c’onques mes conter ne vos.
(This I went, thus I returned, and in returning I consider myself a fool. So I have told you, like a fool, that which I never before wished to tell.)
The Revelation of Revelations
by Jane Leade
Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks: Edinburgh, 1981
BV 5091/R4L4/1981/ ROBA
p. 9: I could hear and distinctly know the Voice of his Mouth, which came as a soft melting Firebreath
p. 11: all may come to know what the Love-Trumpet doth now stand for, is it not that both earth and sea may give up their long buried dead, and that his cursed ground may not longer shut up the dead
p. 19: the elect stones are at present lying amongst the rubbish of confusion, who in due time are to be linked together to make up a strong city of defense
p. 46: The word came to me, Run hard, there is a rich prey to be taken by treading down of the Beast, which may be taken, if pursued to the victory.
p. 48: The first (property) was a circling cloud of light, from whence incessant revelation would spring, and open what was never known before, concerning the invisible scenes of glory
p. 56: The first faculty set before me was that of seeing, seated in her eyes, which appeared like a fiery ray, and sparkled as a star, piercing all things in the heights and depths.
The second faculty is that of hearing, seated in the ear, which must be so chaste as to turn away from all corrupt and unsavoury language
p. 63: The seventh gate is the gate of projection, which will take off all veils that have been upon the most Holy place, where we may enter, as all knowing in wisdom’s mysteries and wonders
p. 64: This very gross earth on which we now tread shall be made crystalline.
p. 70: The physician must first give proof that he can heal himself, before he undertake others. So in this matter, the true Magus is taught to make a trial of his skill upon his own unbelieving inward and outward defects
Francesco Petrarch: Rime Disperse
Ed., translated by Joseph Barber
Garland Publishing, 1991
Donna mi vene ne la mente;
Altra donna v’e sempre:
Ondo io temo si stempre il core ardente.
A lady comes often to my mind: another
lady is always there. So I fear that my
burning heart will be destroyed.
Tutto pensoso un spirito gentile
Pien de lo sdegno ch’io giva cercando
Si stava ascoso si celamente,
Ch’i’ dicea fra me stesso: “Oime, quando
Avra mai fin questo aspro tempo e vile?
Son di vertu si le faville spente?”
A noble spirit full of that just wrath for
which I was searching was so hidden in
him that I said to myself, “Alas, when will
this cruel and evil time end? Are the
sparks of virtue all extinguished?”
From Marguerite Porete: The Mirror of Simple Souls
Tr. By Ellen L. Babinsky
Pualist Press: New York, 1993
p. 84: Virtues, I take my leave of you forever,
I will possess a heart most free and gay
p. 88: Her last name is: Oblivion, Forgotten
p. 165: How one can come to perfection by doing the contrary of one’s will
p. 167: She has crossed the Red Sea, her enemies have drowned in it
p. 172: No one can open the closure, nor break the seal, nor close it when it is open, if the gently Farnearness from very far and from very near does not close and open it, who alone has the keys to it, for no one else carries them, no one else could carry them.
p. 177: What it means that the just man falls seven times each day
p. 186: Reason is one-eyed, and this no one can deny, for no one can see high things unless he exist eternally
p. 192: Now this Soul is at rest in the bottomless depths, and the depths are the lowest