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Margery Kempe quotes

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The Book of Margery Kempe

Middle English quotations and chapter numbers are taken from the edition by Lynn Staley (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996); Modern English quotations and page numbers are taken from the translation by W. Butler-Bowdon (New York: Devin-Adair, 1944).

  • On a nygth, as this creatur lay in hir bedde wyth hir husbond, sche herd a sownd of melodye so swet and delectable, hir thowt, as sche had ben in paradyse. And therwyth sche styrt owt of hir bedde and seyd, “Alas, that evyr I dede synne, it is ful mery in hevyn.”
  • On a night, as this creature lay in her bed with her husband, she heard a sound of melody so sweet and delectable, that she thought she had been in Paradise, and therewith she started out of her bed and said: “Alas, that ever I did sin! It is full merry in Heaven.”
  • Ch. 3; p. 5

  • Pacyens is more worthy than myraclys werkyng.
  • Patience is more worthy than miracle-working.
  • Ch. 51; p. 108

  • Sche cam beforn the Erchebischop and fel down on hir kneys, the Erchebischop seying ful boystowsly unto hir, “Why wepist thu so, woman?” Sche, answeryng, seyde, “Syr, ye schal welyn sum day that ye had wept as sor as I.”
  • She came before the Archbishop and fell down on her knees, the Archbishop saying full boisterously unto her: “Why weepest thou, woman?” She, answering, said: “Sir, ye shall wish some day that ye had wept as sore as I.”
  • Ch. 52; p. 112

Criticism

  • As an intimate record of personal religious experience it has few equals. The marks of accuracy, sincerity, and reality are stamped on every page.
  • T. W. Coleman English Mystics of the Fourteenth Century (London: Epworth Press, 1938) p. 155.

  • Margery was more of a religious hysteric than a mystic. But she gives a vibrant account of her life as a woman to whom religion and weeping were as attractive as sex was to the Wife of Bath.
  • Derek Brewer, in Boris Ford (ed.) Medieval Literature: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982) p. 35.

Source: Wikiquote