Title Background

A Mirror to See God In: An Edition of “Þe Wordes of Poule”

A Mirror to See God In: An Edition of “Þe Wordes of Poule”

This edition of ‘Þe Wordes of Poule’ is part of the ‘Forms of Faith’ cluster, curated by Mary Raschko and Elizabeth Schirmer. ‘Þe Wordes of Poule’ is a short work of spiritual advice extant in three manuscripts, but as yet unpublished. The writer’s advice takes the form of an extended meditation on Hebrews chapter 12, Paul’s exhortation toward patience in tribulation, in the course of which he promises justice and a new inheritance that supersedes the promises of the Old Testament. This stylistically ambitious work seeks to redispose the emotions so as to re-form the soul, proceeding through a painstaking exegetical reformation of Paul’s words. Although neglected until now, it should be of interest to all students of spiritually ambitious writing that displays reformist impulses, as well as to scholars of the history of emotions, of biblical exegesis, and of vernacular prose style. The interest of this text’s distinctive emotional style is not dependent upon its affiliation with lollardy, yet the work’s intensive concern with the patient suffering of tribulation alligns it with typical lollard interests, as does its exegetical method.


Yearbook of Langland Studies, 31 (2017), 257–86.


Somerset, Fiona