The Catholic University of America

Beatus Ricardus Martyr atque Pontifex

 

This rhymed Latin office is found in a lavishly illustrated Book of Hours prepared in Westminster for an aristocratic patron, perhaps someone from York, by two of England's most prestigious illuminators, Herman Scheere and the Master of the Beaufort Saints. The text is preceded by a full-page illumination (fool. 146 verso) of the decapitation of the Archbishop. The book must date from between the time of the Archbishop's death in 1405 and the suspension of the liturgical Office for him at the death of Henry IV in 1413. The text below follows the Madan edition of 1888.


Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Latin. Liturg. F. 2, fol. 147 recto. [A small Book of Hours and other religious texts]


Editions:

Falconer Madan, ed., "Beatus Ricardus Martyr atque Pontifex," Athenaeum, No. 3171 (4 August 1888), 160-161.

Clemens Blume and Guido Maria Dreves , eds., "De s. Richardo Eboracensi," in Pia dictamina: Reimgebete und Leselieder des Mittelalters, Analecta hymnica medii aevi 46 (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1905), p. 310 (No. 285).

 

Beatus Ricardus Martyr atque Pontifex

Diues uirtutibus dura sustinuit
Pollens candoribus ut rosa rubuit
Pro sponse iuribus uincens occubuit *
Quinque uulneribus dum polum adiit.

Scrobem purificat a sorde criminum *
Et scopam ordinat sanguinem proprium
Sic ruens recipit rigoris gladium
Et procul propulit quodque piaculum.

Post donum Spiritus in luce zinzie *
Willemi presulis fulgente iubare
Est palam proditus sed nimis callide
Ligatus nexibus mortis dirissime.

In domo propria mitescens sistitur *
Ubi iusticia dire comprimitur
Iniusti iudicis sena depromitur *
Sine responso sic nece plectitur.

Uirgo sponsus & pastor populi
Martir uincens triumpho nobili
Nouus Abel succedens ueteri
Sic extra portam fit datus funeri.

Pelle piacula pastor pijssime
Iam sine macula regnans equissime
Dissolue uincula litis nequissime
Astringe federa pacis firmissime.*

V.: Pro nobis ora quesumus
Ricarde martir Christi
R.: Qui petens quinque uulnera
Mortem pertulisti.

Oremus.

Oratio: Deus cuius unigenitus mundum sanguine suo redempturus, ut populum suum proprio cruore sanctificaret, extra portas Ierusalem passus est, presta quesumus ut beati Ricardi martiris tui atque pontificis precibus & meritis adiuti a peccatis omnibus exuamur, Christi sanguine sanctificemur, atque portas mortis deuitantes portas Syon ingrediamur, et in celesti Ierusalem eternaliter gloriemur, per eundem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.

Notes:

Adapted from Madan's edition and commentary and from the apparatus provided by Blume and Dreves.

  • Stanza 1: Madan suggests that the sponsa is the Church; compare Stanza 5. Quinque vulnera refers to Scrope's final request to the executioner (see Maidstone's account).
  • Stanza 2: Scrobem and scopam are puns on the archbishop's name.
  • Stanza 3: Madan suggests the following translation: "After the gift of the Spirit, in lark-light, / When the day of Bishop William was bright." In 1405, Pentecost fell on 7 June. Scrope was martyred on 8 June, the day on which William Fitzherbert, Archbishop of York, died in 1154. According to Madan, Zinzia must be related to zinziare and zinzulare, and seems to refer to the lark first heard at dawn. On the other hand, Blume and Dreve solve the problem by simply amending zinzie to Cynthiae.
  • Stanza 4: "In domo propria," that is to say, at the archbishop's own manor at Bishopsthorpe. Madan suggests that "sena" appears to be "coena" rather than "scena." Blume and Dreves prefer to replace sena with sermo.
  • Stanza 5: Probably refers to the quarrels of Henry IV with France.
  • Stanza 6: Blume and Dreves read piissimae.