Title Background

The Abbess’s ABC

The Abbess’s ABC

Suggests a polysemous gloss of abc in B.7.137-39, combining the elements of the various definitions of MED abece, “a primer or textbook” “the generalized rudiments or fundamentals of a subject” (here in the context of the promotion of self-discipline), and a related meaning, not cited in MED, from the Festis and the Passioun of Oure Lord 1hesus Christ, of “an exemplar for study or imitation.” Glosses the lines as “Abstinence first taught me the rudiments of Christianity – the Pater, Ave, and Credo – as a model for my life, and showed me how to conduct myself with mesure. Then the faculty of moral judgment gave me more advanced instruction about the implications of the superior penitential life I’ve now taken up.”


YLS 2 (1988): 137-41.


Tarvers, Josephine Koster.