Proverbs of Hendyng

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The Proverbs of Hendyng are a later thirteenth-century poem in which one Hendyng, son of Marcolf, utters a series of proverbial stanzas. They are in a tradition of Middle English proverbial poetry attested in the Proverbs of Alfred and the two texts include some proverbs in common.[1] The rhyme-scheme is aabccb.

Marcolf appears as an interlocutor with Solomon in some German poems in the Solomon and Saturn tradition,[2] while ' "Hendyng" seems to be a personification generated from the word hende ["skilled, clever"], and seems to mean something like "the clever one" '.[3] "Hending... is represented as the author of a collection of traditional proverbial wisdom in South-West Midland Middle English, each proverb ending with 'quoth Hending,'"[4], a wellerism construction.

The Proverbs are also noted for containing the earliest attestation of the word cunt in English outside place- and personal-names.[5]

Manuscripts[edit]

Ten manuscripts are known to attest to the poem in whole or in part (sometimes only one stanza or couplet).[6] The most complete include:[7]

  • Cambridge, University Library, Gg.I.1 (a MS in one hand, from the earlier fourteenth century, also including the Northern Passion, apparently produced in Ireland as the language shows influence from Middle Hiberno-English).[8]
  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86 (a verse miscellany in French and English from Gloucestershire in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, also including lyrics, the Middle English Harrowing of Hell, and The Vox and the Wolf).[9]
  • London, British Library, Harley 2253 (containing an exceptionally wide range of texts, from Herefordshire),[10] ff. 125r-126v.

The others are:

  • Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College 351/568
  • Cambridge, Pembroke College, 100
  • Cambridge, St. John’s College, 145
  • Cambridge, University Library, Additional 4407 (a manuscript probably from West Norfolk, also including Havelok the Dane).[11]
  • Durham Cathedral, Dean and Chapter Library, B.I.18
  • London, British Library, Harley 3823
  • London, British Library, Royal 8.E.xvii

Editions[edit]

  • Specimens of Early English, ed. by Richard Morris and Walter W. Skeat, 4th edn, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1872), II 35-42; https://archive.org/details/specimensofearly02fryeuoft.
  • 'Art. 89, Mon that wol of wysdam heren', ed. by Susanna Greer Fein, in The Complete Harley 2253 Manuscript, ed. by Susanna Fein with David Raybin and Jan Ziolkowski 3 vols (2014-), III http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/fein-harley2253-volume-3-article-89 (the Harley 2253 text)
  • Manuscript Harleian 2253: Facsimile of British Museum ms. Harley 2253, ed. by N. R. Ker, Early English Text Society, o. s., 255 (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), ff. 125r-126v.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Specimens of Early English, ed. by Richard Morris and Walter W. Skeat, 4th edn, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1872), II 35-42 (p. 295).
  2. ^ Specimens of Early English, ed. by Richard Morris and Walter W. Skeat, 4th edn, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1872), II 35-42 (p. 294).
  3. ^ Christopher Cannon, Middle English Literature (Cambridge: Polity, 2008).
  4. ^ 234. Anderson, D. A. (2005). JRR Tolkien and W. Rhys Roberts's "Gerald of Wales on the Survival of Welsh". Tolkien Studies 2(1), 230-234.
  5. ^ "cunt, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 5 March 2015.
  6. ^ Joanna Bellis and Venetia Bridges, '“What shalt thou do when thou hast an english to make into Latin?”: The Proverb Collection of Cambridge, St. John’s College, MS F.26', Studies in Philology 112 (2015), 68-89 (p. 85 n. 51).
  7. ^ Cf. Specimens of Early English, ed. by Richard Morris and Walter W. Skeat, 4th edn, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1872), II 35-42 (pp. 35, 294).
  8. ^ Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels, Michael Benskin, and others, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English ([Aberdeen]: Aberdeen University Press, 1986), I 67.
  9. ^ Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels, Michael Benskin, and others, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English ([Aberdeen]: Aberdeen University Press, 1986), I 147 [LP 7790].
  10. ^ Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels, Michael Benskin, and others, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English ([Aberdeen]: Aberdeen University Press, 1986), I 111 [LP 9260].
  11. ^ Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels, Michael Benskin, and others, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English ([Aberdeen]: Aberdeen University Press, 1986), I 66.