This mid fourteenth-century poem, a discussion of the 'contempt of the world' and the 'Four Last Things', was one of the most popular Middle English texts in its time, as indicated by the large number of extant copies, and illustrations of it in the windows of All Saints, North Street, in York. It was a widely influential compendium of religious instruction, originating in Yorkshire, but more widely disseminated, and thus representing this important regional culture, as well as its absorption into a nationwide religious culture. The only edition, by Richard Morris (1863), is now generally unavailable outside research libraries. The present edition revises Morris's text extensively and offers full modern annotation, including extensive discussion of the poem's sources. Morris's text, although based on an exceptionally good manuscript copy, has been fully collated with the principal early manuscripts; this information is presented in a separate textual commentary. There is an introduction presenting the poem in its context and a Glossary.
About the Author
Professor Ralph Hanna is Emeritus Fellow of Keble College, Oxford.
Dr Sarah Wood is affiliated with the Middle English Bibliography Group, The Oxford English Dictionary.
Table of Contents
i. The poem and Morris's edition ii. The manuscripts used here iii. Authorship and the poet's dialect iv. The poet's verse v. The aims and presentation of this edition vi. Bibliography
Richard Morris's Prick of Conscience
Appendix 1. Unsupported variants of W, lines 501-1873
Appendix 2: The general tradition, a full substantive collation of lines 1-5000 in the b tradition
Appendix 3: A revised list of manuscripts of The Prick of Conscience.