Tuesday, January 22, 2013

lande of mystery and wo

I can't show you the exquisite little 1538 prymer in Englysshe sette out alonge after the use of Sarum I found at the Morgan Library today, but you'll get to see it, as it's my final missing illustration for my book! 
Instead I offer you a picture of one of the apparently Assyrian lionesses which guard the (no longer used) original entrance to the library, quite an interesting complement to New York Public Library's signature lions.

Here's the translation of the Office of the Dead's final reading, Job 10:

Why from my mothers wombe / hast thou me out brought 
That wolde to god / that I had ben clene 
Consumed away evyn to ryght nought 
So that none eye / me euer myght haue sene 
For then shulde I be / as I had neuer bene 
Nowe brought in to thy worlde / and streyght agayne out sent 
Oh that my lyfe dayes full soone are gone and spent 
Wherefor good lorde spare me yet a whyle 
That I may bewayle my sorowe / or I go 
From whens is no retourne / I meane that wretched yle 
Whiche is the lande of mystery and wo 
Couered all with death / in darknes ouerthrow 
Where is no rule / nor ordre at all 
But horror euerlasting / and payne contynuall 

The Prymer's a pocket book, smaller than my own little book will be, so the image will be big enough that readers can read it, and wonder that these desperate words come just after Job's certainty that his redeemer lives, and on dying

... these same eyes shal se hym manyfest 
This conforte sure remayneth in my brest…

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