Haue Mercy of Me (Psalm 51): An Unedited Alliterative Poem from the London Thornton Manuscript.
The editio princeps of a fragmentary alliterative paraphrase of Psalm 51, in Northern dialect and dated by the editor c. 1400. The poem is written in twelve-line stanzas generally rhyming ababababcdcd, with concatenatio linking the eighth and ninth lines of each stanza where the rhyme changes, and with each stanza ending on the refrain, “God, Þou haue mercy on me.” The poem partakes of the tradition of biblical paraphrase exemplified by the northern Metrical Old Testament (also in twelve-line stanzas) and the Pety Job which, like this poem, prefaces each stanza with a scriptural verse, translates the verse loosely in the first two quatrains, and concludes the stanza with a refrain. The main influence on the poet was the Vulgate text, though he may have known Rolle’s English Psalter.
MP 86 (1989): 223-41.
Fein, Susanna Greer.