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THE FIRE OF LOVE—BOOK I

Chapter I

Note iii., p. 16—C. reads: ‘for thai vnmanerly wyth warldly mone has armyd tham self.’ But L. ‘quia terrenas pecunias immoderate amauerunt’; which is probably correct, and which I have therefore followed.

Note iv., p. 17—an omission in C. L., reads: ‘Erumpit enim in ostensione operis feruor amoris.’

Note v., p. 18—Another omission L. ‘et qui ad amandum deum semper sunt auidi.’

Chapter II

Note vi., p. 20 = The Bible references are to the Vulgate of Sixtus V and Clement VII, and where the A.V. differs the reference to the latter has been added. I have not been able to trace the source of Rolle’s quotations. They often differ slightly from the Vulgate, nor do they follow the Vetus Itala. Most probably Rolle quoted from the missal or breviary, or possibly he may have relied upon his memory which has sometimes played him false.

(Eccli. = Ecclesiasticus. Eccl. = Ecclesiastes.)

Note vii. p. 20—A difficult passage. I give both the Latin and Middle English in full. L. ‘Porro perfecti qui in hanc excellentem abundunciam eterne amicicie assumuntur in preclaro calice caritatis melliflue, dulcore indebibili iam imbuti viuunt atque in almiphono amenitatis archano in animum suum hauriunt felicem ardorem quo iocundati iugiter inestimabilem habent interni electuarii confortacionem.’ And C. ‘Parfyte forsoth that in to his passynge plente of endeles frenschyp ar takyn. taght with swetness that sall not waste. new lyffe in the clere chales of full swete charite. And in holy counsaill of myrth thai drawe into there saules happy hete. with the whilk thai gretely gladdyd has gretter comforth then may be trowyd of gostely letwary.’

Note viii., p. 21—This is the only passage in the Incendium where Rolle breaks into rhythm:

L. ‘O deus meus,

O amor meus

Illabere mihi,

Tua caritate perforato,

Tua pulcritudine vulnerato,

Illabere, inquam,

Et languentem’

and then he continues: ‘consolare medicina tu miseri; ostende te amanti; ecce in te est omne desiderium meum, omne quod querit cor meum,’ etc. Dr. Horstman takes this absence of rhythm as one of the proofs of the later date of the Incendium, since the Melum Contemplativorum, a much earlier work, is constantly broken up into verse.

Note ix., p. 21—L. reads: ‘nec me aliquando deseras quem tanto tui desiderio cernis flagrare,’ but C. has: ‘Forsake thou neuer hym that thou feles so swetely smel in thi desyre’; misreading flagrare for fragrare.

Chapter IV.

Note x., p. 27—There seems some corruption here. L. ‘et quasi in organo ascendit in altum concupitum clarificantem contemplari’; and C. ’& als wer goyng to heghe clere desyre in noys of organes to be contemplatyue.’ The difficulty here is ‘contemplari,’ which I have altered in the text to ‘contemplation.’

Chapter V.

Note xi., p. 30—Rolle seems here to have sacrificed clearness for the sake of alliteration. L. reads: ‘Quamobrem capaces gaudii amoris et concipientes calorem qui non potest consumi concurrunt in canticum clari concentus et armonie amorose, atque in amenitate amicabili obumbracionem habent celitus infusam, contra omnem estum lenocinii ac liuoris.’ And C. ‘ffor whilk thinge takars of lufly ioy & heete consauand that may not be consumyd in songe thai ryn of clene company & lufly armony. And in frendely myrth heuenly thai haue in yett a schadow agayne all hete of lychery & fylth.’

Note xii. p. 30—In this passage the sense seems subordinated to the alliteration. L. ‘Hinc est vtique quod sine memore moriuntur, immo cum gaudio gradientes, et tam grandem gradum eleuantur in eternis honoribus et consistunt coronati in copiosissima creatoris contemplacione continentes cum choris clarissimis, qui eciam ardencius anhelant in essenciam ipsam omnibus imperantem.’ And C. ‘Herefore treuly it is that thai withouten heuynes dy sothely with Ioy passand vnto so grete degre in endles worschip. thai are lyft. and ar crounyd in behaldynge moste plentevous of per makar. syngand with clerist wheris the whilk also more byrnyngly desiris in to that godhede that reulys all thinge.’

Note xiii., p. 31—This idea often occurs; compare Prol., p.13; and Bk. II. ch iii, p. 142. It iscommon in most mystical writers, and many illustrations might be quoted from the Fioretti of S. Francis. For example brother Giles once praised Bonaventura’s learning, and the latter replied that a poor old woman could love God better than a learned theologian. Thereupon Giles cried out to an old woman who was pasing, that she loved God better than Bonaventura.

Chapter VII

Note xiv., p. 35—The Latin brings out the meaning more clearly. L. ‘quia et vna est maiestas trium personarum, plena et perfecta et quelibet persona in se plenam continet maiestatem, equalitatem quidem et ydemptitatem habens secundum deitatis substantiam et diuersitatis distinccione non carens secundum vocabuli proprietatem.’

Property is here used in the scientific sense. Compare the Prayer of Humble Access: ’ Whose property is always to have mercy.’

Note xv., p. 36—An omission in C. L. reads: ‘et filius non minor est in patre quam in se.’

Note xvi., p 36—In the shorter versions of the Incendium this chapter begins here, with the words: ‘Nichil enim tam suaue est sicut diligere christum.’

Chapter IX

Note xvii., p. 43—There is some corruption here. C. reads: ‘And noudyr pai will be ouycumyne, with auctorite ne resun pat pai sult not be sene hawstande haue sayd pat wer vnacordyng.’ And L. ‘et nec auctoritate nec racione possunt vinci ne videantur victi et incongruum protulisse.’ Some word is wanted to translate victi, but hawsande seems to be a mistaken writing ofr baue said which follows it; nor is it found in A. It would be interesting if anyone could throw light on this passage.

Note xviii., p. 46—C. reads: ‘Also pai pat name berys of lyfe more cunnyng.’ But L. ‘eciam illi qui sanccioris vite nomen gestant’; which seems borne out by the context, and which I have therefore followed in the text.

Chapter X

Note xix., p. 48—L. ‘fortis est ut mors dileccio, dura sicut infernus emulacio’; which is the Vulgate reading. Compare the Vetus Itala: ‘durus sicut inferi zelus.’ The A. V. and R. V. read: ‘For love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave.’ Rolle however gives the reading in the text in several of his English works. See The Form of Living: ‘For luf es stalwart als pe dede. pat slaes al lyuand thyng in erth; and hard als hell. pat spares noght till pam pat er dede’; and in The Commandment of Love: ‘In his degre es lufe stalworth as dede. and hard as hell’ (Horst., vol. i., p.39, and p. 63; and also cf. The Fire of Love, Bk. xi, p. 156.)

Note xx., p. 50—L.: ‘Valde autem difficile est habere diuicias et eas non amare, et non minus difficile est artem vel officium habere lucrosum, et auarum non esse;’

Note xxi., p. 50—‘ffor god his seruandis pat delyuers in per sight before pai see nott.’ And L. ‘quia deum qui seruos suos liberat in conspectu suo non preuident’; from which I have emended the passage.

Chapter XI

Note xxii., p. 54—C. ‘withoutyn comparison treuly more mede sall he be worthy with songfull joy prayand behaldand redeand & pinkand well. bot discretely etand. pen if he withouten his euermore suld fast. breede allone or herbys if he suld ete. & besily suld pray & rede.’ L. ‘Incomparabiliter enim magis merebitur cum canoro gaudio orando contemplando legendo meditando, bene set discrete comendendo, quam si sine illo semper ieiunaret, panemque tantummode aut herbas comederet, iugiterque oraret et legeret.’ Rolle evidently means that it is better to eat moderately and be cheerful over one’s prayers, meditation, etc., than to fast vigorously and to pray with a heavy heart.

Note xxiii., p. 54—Compare The Mending of Life (ch. xi., p. 232) where there is the same phrase: ‘All my hert truly festynd in desire of Ihesu is turnyd in to heet of lufe & it is swaloyd into a noper Joy and a nodir form.’

Chapter XIII

Note xxiv., p. 61—Blessed Maglorius . . . and his former father Saint Sampson.

Sampson or Samson was a native of South Wales, and of high birth. From the age of five he was brought up in the monastery of Saint Iltut. After his ordination as deacon and priest he lived a still more austere life than before, and was so struck by the piety and learning of some Irish monks who visited the monastery on their way from Rome that he went with them to Ireland. He stayed there for some time and wrought several miraculous cures which caused him to be so sought after that his modesty could not support it. He therefore returned to Wales, and was consecrated bishop but, until by divine revelation he was called to Dolin Brittany, he had no see. There he established a monastery, and having occasion to visit King Childebert at Paris the latter nominated him to be the first bishop of Dol. He died at the age of eighty-five in 565 A.D. His festival is kept in Brittany on July 28th.

Maglorius or Magloire was a cousin of Sampson, and his disciple and immediate successor in the bishopric of Dol. They were fellow-students in the monastery of Saint Iltut, but when the education of Maglorius was thought to be completed he returned to his own family. Some time later Sampson, being on a visit to them, ‘spoke so movingly of the things of God’ that Maglorius resolved to leave the world and to live a dedicated life. From henceforth these two were inseparable companions and after his cousin’s death Maglorius, although quite an old man, held the bishopric of Dol for several years. But God made known to him that he might, as he wished, retire and give his life to prayer and contemplation. First he withdrew to a quiet spot in the neighbourhood of Dol, but afterwards he went to Jersey. There having healed a nobleman of leprosy the latter as a thank offering gave him the wherewithal to found an abbey. Maglorius ministered among the people on the island, and in the pestilence which broke out in 585 A.D. he is said to have performed many miracles of healing. In the latter years of his life he seems hardly ever to have left the church, being absorbed in prayer. This, and his death very shortly after the outbreak of the sickness, recalls Richard Rolle to our mind; for it is not unlikely that the death of the latter was due to the plague of 1349, which he probably caught while ministering to the sick. Maglorius is commemorated in Brittany on October 24th. (See the Menology of England and Wales, by the Rev. R. Stanton, pp. 364 and 512.)

The following interesting reference to Sampson and Maglorius is found in the Lives of the English Saints, which were begun by Newman.

’About the very time when St. Marculfus died, St Sampson came to Jersey with his cousin Judael, a prince of British blood. Shortly after came St Maglorius, who healed the Frankish count Loyseco of the leprosy, and to him was given half the island, rich in woodlands and in fisheries. Here he build a fair Abbey, where dwelt sixty monks; in his day the faith of Christ sank deep into the minds of the islanders, for the poor fishermen, who in their frail barks had to wrestle with that stormy sea, loved him well, and willingly brought their fish to the Abbey, whose vassals they were. Long afterwards they told how St Maglorius was kind to them, so that when one of them was drowned, the Saint wept sore, and vowed a vow never to eat fish again; and when evening came, he with all the monks went down to the shore chanting litanies; then he threw himself upon the sandy beach, and God heard his prayer and was pleased to restore the dead man to life. In Guernsey too the Saint healed the daughter of the native chieftain; and a field there, where once stood a chapel of which he was the patron, is still called after his name.’ (From the life of St Helier, written by Rev. J.B. Dalgairns, vol. vi., pl 40, edit. by A.W. Hutton, 1901.)

Chapter XIV

Note xxv., p. 64—L. ‘non dico girouagi qui sunt scandalum heremirtarum.’ S. Benedict in his Rule speaks thus of these monks: ‘The fourth kind of monks are those called “Giravagi,” who spend all their lives long wandering about divers provinces, staying in different cenns for three or four days at a time, ever roaming, with no stability, given up to their own pleasures and to the snares of gluttonly, and worse in all things than the Sarabites. Of the most wretched life of these latter it is better to say nothing than to speak.’ (Transl. by Fr. Hunter Blair. Sands, London P.15).

The Sarabites, or Sarabaitae, are described by Du Cange as ‘monks who, approved by no Rule, are recognized as keeping faith with the world, and by the tonsure lying to God. By twos and threes they stray about the towns and villages, living as pleases themselves, as appears in the Rule of S. Benedict.’ He also gives references to Cassian (Collat. 18, Cap. vii), St Jerome and other writers.

Note xxvi., p. 65—Rolle has here played freely with alliteration, which Misyn translates literally. L. ‘En amans ardeo anhelans auide.’

Note xxvi., pl 67—L. ‘et mens in mellifluum melos immoratur,’ i.e., tarries in full sweet song; but I have thought it better to follow C. in the text, not knowing from what manuscript Misyn was translating.

Chapter XV

Note xxxviii., pl 69—This chapter, which begins ‘Cum infeliciter florerem et in inventus vigilantis adolescencie iam adusenisset,’ etc., is found in the printed versions of Rolle’s Latin works, and in some of the MSS, under the title of Incendium Amoris. It is slightly longer in its separate form, and in La Bigne continues thus: ‘Intelligendo etiam quod ex magno amoris in cendio tantus virtutis decor in animo crescit, quod iustus potius eligeret omnem poenam incurrere, quam semel Deum offendere. Et quanquam sciret quod posset per poenitentiam resurgere & postea Deo magis placere et sanctior esse; quia hoc quilibet perfectus intelligit quod nihil est Deus charius innocentia, aut acceptabilius voluntate bona.

’Si enim recte amaremus Deum, debemus magis velle magnum praemium in coelo amittere, quam saltem venialitur peccare; quia iustissimum est, iustitiae mercedem non requirere: sed amicitiam Die, quae est ipse Deus. Melius est ergo semper tormentum pati, quam semel a iustitia ad iniquitatem sponte tormentum pati, quam semel a iustitia ad iniquitatem sponte deduci & scienter: cum etiam constet manifeste, quod quidam Christum tam ardentur diligust, quod nullo modo peccare volunt, non solum talse a poena liberi erunt, sed etiam cum angelis aeternaliter gaudebunt.’

Note xxix., pl 70—The expression right there is still in common use in America, as is also gotten and the use of gutss, meaning (as in ME.) ‘think’; and lovely, meaning ‘lovable.’ These examples could easily be multiplied.

Note xxx., p. 71—A. and C. have only ‘won’ and a blank following. C. ‘bot when fyrst I won dowtand of whome it suld be’; which the E.E.T.S. translates: ‘Bot when first I wonderyd,’ etc. L. reads: ‘set cum prius flactuarem dubitando a quo esset,’ etc. which I have followed in the text.

Note xxxi., p. 71—This use of ‘beheld’ is not uncommon in ME. Cf. also REv. i. 12, ‘I turned to see the voice that spake with me.’

Chapter XIX

Note xxxii., p. 88—An omission in C. L. ‘nisi prius cor cius eterni amoris facibus funditus inflammetur, vt videlicet cor suum igne amoris ardere senciat.’

Note xxxiii., p. 89—C. ‘And after be inward mane to godis lufe I am glad, bot yet I can not so mykyll lufe pat flechly desire I myet barely slokin’; but L. ‘et condelector legi deum secundum interiorem hominem, set nescio adhuc tantum amare quod possum concupiscenciam penitus extinguere.’

Chapter XX

Note xxxiv., p. 91—Another omission. L. ‘Quesiuit te pocius quam tua, et accepit a te et te et tua, alii famulantur tibi vt habeant tua et parum curant de te,’ etc.

Chapter XXI

Note xxxv., p. 94—L. ‘vnde in ferculo veri salomonis, columpne sunt argentes et reclinatorium aureum,’ and cf. Vul.,‘Ferrculum fecit sibi rex Salomon de lignis Libani.’ Meatboard is a curious translation of ferculum. The A.V. translates it ‘chariot’ and R.V. ‘palanquin.’ Ferrculum was generally used of a bier or litter on which to carry the spoils of war, or images of the gods, in a solemn procession.

Note xxxvi., p. 96—Rolle has surely forgotten Piertr de Murrone, who was forced from his hermit’s cell in the Abruzzi to become Pope Clestine V (A.D. 1294), but was advised to abdicate a few months later by Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani, who was elected to succeed him as Boniface VIII. Because of his abdiction Dante places him in the Inferno, and thus speaks of him: ‘Poscia ch’io v’ebbi alcun riconosciuto, Vidi e conobbi l’ombra di colui Che fece per viltate il gran rifuto.’ But he was more kindly judged by Petrarch. Pietro’s life is beautifully told in a novel by John Ayscough, called San Celestino.

Chapter XXII

Note xxxvii., pl 97—A difficult passage. L. ‘et sic vt de priuilegiatis loquar, pre gaudio diuine dileccionis in cantum spiritualem vel in sonum celicum contemplando suscipi, et in interna quiete se motis perturbacionibus suauiter immorari; quatinus dum viro dei exterius nil libet agere, eterni amoris delicias in carmine canoro et ineffabili iubilo interius repiatur personare.’ And cf. C. ’& so pat I of men priuelegid speek for Ioy of godis lufe in to gostly songis or heuenly sound ehaldandly for to te takyn. And in warldly rest all sturbelans put bak swetely to byde. In so mykill pat whilst to godis mane no pinge is lefull vtward to wyrk. sweetnes of endles lyfe in likyng songe in myrth vn mesured with in is takyn to sownd.’ I have emended the passage as I best could.

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