Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/4, f. 8r: William of Waddington, ‘Le Manuel des Péchés’ (composed c.1220-1240, Anglo-Norman)


Q uatre diables tost ueneient.
E une roe ardante porteient.
S ur la teste la dame le mistrent.
E iesques a cendres le astrent
A ltre fee est uiue releuee$
S a dame . co lui ad semblee.
M ais les diables la roe ardant.
S ur lui mettent meintenant.
E en pudre lastrent altre fee.
L i hom ki fu la mene.
T ant aueit hudur e pite.
P lus grant nout puis ke fu nee.
T reis fee li astrent co lui sembla.
A llas la peine kele mena.
M ais ele tuz iurs releuait.
K ar en peine murir ne poait.
L a reisun apres lui ad cunte.
A lhome ki la fu mene.
P ur quoy ele esteit si pene.
D e la roe ardante enflame.
C este peine dist ele que luis ueez.
P ur co suffre io bien le sachez.
P ur geluse atiffement.
D e ma teste numeement.
Kar pur estre reguarde.
E de bealte plus prisee.
Q uant io ueneie entre gent.
M atiffai trop cointement.


Suddenly there in the field to which she had brought him [a grievously ill man mentioned in previous lines] from his sick bed, four devils appeared carrying a burning wheel. They placed this wheel upon the Lady's head and she was immediately burnt to the point where nothing remained of her but ashes. She was quickly resurrected, but once again they placed the wheel upon her head and yet again she was burnt to ashes. The man that she had brought there to watch the scene of her suffering was filled with horror and pity greater than since the day he was born. This act of burning was repeated three times.

[The author now places a stress on the woman's suffering and plight:] 'Alas, the suffering that it had brought'.

[The Lady then explains to the man why she had had to suffer:] 'The suffering you see is the result of my own actions. Namely, my wish to be looked upon and praised by others for my beauty, having adorned myself so skilfully'.

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