A Selection of Religious Lyrics
One of England's most remarkable contributions to medieval literature is a large body of religious lyric verse, the product of a living native tradition of piety and devotional writing which was at the same time part of a common Western European Christian tradition. These poems sometimes use the sophisticated literary techniques of their day, but more often are anonymous, simple and unaffected. The best of them achieve an impressive dignity, moderation and clarity, and (in the words of a contemporary mystic) a 'marvellous homeliness'. This selection represents a large number of the more attractive and interesting lyrics, and illustrates not only their own excellence but also the variety and the potentialities of the traditional types to which they belong. The poems are edited from the manuscripts -- a number have not previously been published -- and are accompanied by full notes and a glossary.
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