The Treatment of Natural Law in Richard the Redeless and Mum and the Sothsegger.
In both RR and Mum an understanding of natural law, probably derived directly from Giles of Rome’s De Regimine Principum, is contrasted with positive laws and behavior in order to demonstrate how much society has betrayed its fundamental principles; as such it provides both works with a coherent and social philosophy. Both poets comment on the need to follow reason rather than the promptings of the will; both show how men’s actions flout the natural order of the created world by drawing analogies between topical events and natural lore as found in bestiaries. The strong influence of PPl on Mum is seen in echoes of Langlandian collocations involving kynde and knowyng, the vision of Middle-earth, and the application of concepts of natural law to an extended examination of kingship and government.
LSE ns 23 (1992): 49-80.