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Female characterisation in Old English poetry Klinck, Anne Lingard 1976

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FEMALE CHARACTERISATION IN OLD ENGLISH POETRY by ANNE LINGARD KLINCK M.A., Oxon., 1969 M.A., B r i t i s h Columbia, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES/ (Department of English) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA © A n n e L i n g a r d K l i n c k , 1976 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Depar tment o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Depar tment o f E n g l i s h  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V5T 1WS 9 7 .g^pmhPr 1976 ABSTRACT A survey of Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y suggests that g r e a t e r o r i g i n a l i t y i s t o be found i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n of s i t u a t i o n s i n v o l v i n g female, r a t h e r than e x c l u s i v e l y male, c h a r a c t e r s . T h i s phenomenon can be r e l a t e d to a double background o f s o c i a l and l i t e r a r y c o n d i t i o n s . An i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the s o c i a l p o s i t i o n of Anglo-Saxon women on the b a s i s o f con-temporary h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d s r e v e a l s t h a t , c o n t r a r y t o the r e c e i v e d o p i n i o n , the s t a t u s of Anglo-Saxon women was mainly a subordinate and p a s s i v e one. However, there are c e r t a i n e x c e p t i o n s t o the g e n e r a l r u l e , and the p o s i t i o n of women improved i n the course of the e r a . An examination of the techniques of c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i n Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y shows t h a t they are based on a s e r i e s of c o n t r a s t i n g and i n t e r -l o c k i n g s t e r e o t y p e s , which, a l l o w i n g f o r a degree o f archaism and s e l e c t i v i t y , f o r the most p a r t correspond t o the t y p i c a l c o n d i t i o n s o f a c t u a l l i f e . Almost a l l the examples of s i g n i f i c a n t departures from the st e r e o t y p e s occur i n a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h women c h a r a c t e r s . The p r o v e r b i a l p o e t r y and the poems t r e a t i n g t r a d i t i o n a l Germanic s u b j e c t s p r e s e n t some r a t h e r sketchy p o r t r a i t s of women based on the st e r e o t y p e of the good queen. However, the h i g h l y s k i l l e d Beowulf poet takes t h i s standard type and uses i t f o r h i s own ends: as a v e h i c l e o f pathos and t r a g i c i r o n y i n the poem. The poems b e l o n g i n g t o the " s a i n t ' s i i i l i f e " genre u t i l i s e the other main female s t e r e o t y p e : the s a i n t . Because the o u t l i n e s of t h i s type are r i g i d and unnat u r a l , l i t t l e i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i s to be found w i t h i n t h i s category. The two Old E n g l i s h l o v e l y r i c s , The  Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer, take the t r a d i t i o n a l s u b j e c t of e x i l e , and, with c o n s i d e r a b l e p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t , apply i t to a new s i t u a t i o n : the s e p a r a t i o n , not of a w a r r i o r from l o r d and comrades, but of a woman from husband o r l o v e r . The most s t r i k i n g examples o f o r i g i n a l i t y are to be found i n the temptation scene of Genesis B and i n D i v i s i o n V I I of C h r i s t I. Here, the encounters between Adam and Eve, and Joseph and Mary, r e s p e c t i v e l y , are t r e a t e d with freedom, and a r e a l i s m most unusual i n Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y . The e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the g r e a t e r o r i g i n a l i t y present i n the treatment of female c h a r a c t e r s , and s i t u a t i o n s i n v o l v i n g them, l i e s i n the p a s s i v e r o l e s t o which women were normally c o n f i n e d , both i n Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y and i n Anglo-Saxon s o c i e t y . T h i s p a s s i v i t y l e d the poets i n t o a deeper e x p l o r a t i o n of thought and f e e l i n g , and i n t o a p o r t r a y a l o f i n t i m a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s not p r o v i d e d f o r by the ready-made t r a d i t i o n s of the poe t r y . P a r a d o x i c a l l y , the very category of female c h a r a c t e r s which i s not r e s t r i c t e d to a p a s s i v e r o l e , i . e . , t h a t c o n t a i n i n g the s a i n t s , i s the most r i g i d and l e a s t l i f e l i k e . I f we leave out the s a i n t s ' poems, i t i s p o s s i b l e to show a c h r o n o l o g i c a l development i n the p a t t e r n o f female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n . The p r o v e r b i a l p o e t r y and the p o e t r y on i v t r a d i t i o n a l Germanic themes c o n s t i t u t e an e a r l y stratum, the two l o v e poems are somewhat l a t e r , and Genesis B and C h r i s t I l a t e s t of a l l . A corresponding i n c r e a s e i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t can be t r a c e d i n these t h r e e groups. A growing humanism i n the Anglo-Saxon e r a i s , thus, r e f l e c t e d i n the po e t r y i n an i n c r e a s i n g i n t e r e s t i n the s i t u a t i o n of p a s s i v e , female c h a r a c t e r s . T h i s development foreshadows wider movements i n medieval Europe, notably, the r i s e of the l y r i c , and the growth of the l i t e r a t u r e of c o u r t l y l o v e . V TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. THE SOCIAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND 19 I I . CHARACTER-TYPES IN THE POETRY 67 I I I . FROM THE PROVERBIAL POETRY TO BEOWULF: THE TRADITIONAL FIGURE OF THE IDEALISED WOMAN AND ITS EXTENSION 93 IV. THE POEMS IN THE SAINT'S LIFE TRADITION . . . . 129 V. LYRICAL POEMS FEATURING WOMEN: WULF AND EADWACER AND THE WIFE'S LAMENT 169 VI. DRAMATIC SCENES 'INVOLVING WOMEN: GENESIS B AND CHRIST I 203 CONCLUSION 234 BIBLIOGRAPHY . 250 1 INTRODUCTION P r o b a b l y the f i r s t o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t s p r i n g s t o mind i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the female c h a r a c t e r s o f O l d E n g l i s h p o e t r y i s t h a t t h e y a r e few. I n the corpus o f O l d E n g l i s h p o e t r y as a whole, women c h a r a c t e r s p l a y a d i s t i n c t l y minor p a r t . However, i t has s t r u c k me t h a t some o f t h e more i n t e r e s t i n g e f f e c t s c r e a t e d i n t h a t p o e t r y i n f a c t i n v o l v e female f i g u r e s : t h e Beowulf p o e t makes an e v o c a t i v e use o f h i s female c h a r a c t e r s , e s p e c i a l l y Wealhtheow and H i l d e b u r h , i n showing t h e t r a g i c e f f e c t s o f f e u d ; t h e t e m p t a t i o n o f Adam by Eve i n G e n e s i s B i s a h i g h l y d r a m a t i c and s t r i k i n g l y h e t e r o d o x p r e s e n t a t i o n o f the F a l l o f Man; t h e d i a l o g u e between J o s e p h and Mary i n D i v i s i o n V I I o f C h r i s t I i s a m i n i a t u r e drama p r e s e n t e d w i t h a g r e a t d e a l o f human sympathy; t h e two l o v e l y r i c s w i t h female n a r r a t o r s , Wulf  and Eadwacer and The W i f e ' s Lament a r e unique i n O l d E n g l i s h p o e t r y i n d e a l i n g s e r i o u s l y w i t h s e x u a l love.-*- I t l o o k s as i f , i n t h e s e c a s e s , t h e t r e a t m e n t o f female c h a r a c t e r s has i n s p i r e d t h e p o e t s t o g r e a t e r i n v e n t i v e n e s s . One i s l e d t o ask how and why t h i s may be so. I s t h e r e i n d e e d a g r e a t e r o r i g i n a l i t y i n t h e c r e a t i o n o f female f i g u r e s ? What g e n e r a l t e n d e n c i e s l i e b e h i n d t h i s t r e n d ? I s t h e r e l a t i v e l y minor r o l e o f women c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e p o e t r y a c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r ? What h i s t o r i c a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s might be r e l e v a n t ? 2 And' how can the p a t t e r n of female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i n O l d E n g l i s h p o e t r y be r e l a t e d to the broader trends of European l i t e r a t u r e i n the Middle Ages? The f o l l o w i n g t h e s i s aims t o answer these q u e s t i o n s . Since the p a t t e r n emerging from female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i n the p o e t r y i s to be r e l a t e d t o broader i n f l u e n c e s , i t i s important t o e s t a b l i s h the immediate h i s t o r i c a l and l i t e r a r y background. T h i s study, then, begins i n Chapter I with a thoroughgoing a n a l y s i s o f the s o c i a l p o s i t i o n of women i n . Anglo-Saxon England. The c o n c l u s i o n s which emerge i n t h i s p r e l i m i n a r y i n v e s t i g a t i o n form the b a s i s of my f i n a l i n f e r e n c e s about the nature and s i g n i f i c a n c e of tren d s i n the p o e t i c treatment of women. The broad o u t l i n e s of the l i t e r a r y background are subsequently presented, i n Chapter I I . That i s , the c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n of women i m p l i e s a comparison w i t h the c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n of men, and, t h e r e f o r e , the g e n e r a l techniques of character-drawing, mainly seen i n the c r e a t i o n of male c h a r a c t e r s , are summarised i n t h i s chapter. The remaining c h a p t e r s focus d i r e c t l y on the poems and passages which make s i g n i f i c a n t use of women c h a r a c t e r s . Chapter I I I d e a l s w i t h what we may c a l l the t r a d i t i o n a l poetry, i . e . , the po e t r y r o o t e d i n n a t i v e , Germanic m a t e r i a l . The s u b j e c t of Chapter IV i s the C h r i s t i a n poems which d e p i c t the c a r e e r of a s a i n t or h o l y woman. Chapter V i s devoted t o the two lov e l y r i c s , and Chapter VI t o the passages from Genesis B and C h r i s t I. In a r r a n g i n g the chapters i n t h i s way, I f o l l o w a development from a sketchy 3 p r e s e n t a t i o n of women, ve r y much indebted t o t r a d i t i o n a l Germanic conventions, to a more extended p r e s e n t a t i o n , as evinced i n the succeeding c h a p t e r s . A l s o , t h e r e i s a movement towards g r e a t e r i n d i v i d u a l i t y , n o t i c e a b l e e x p e c i a l l y i n Chapters V and VI. The Co n c l u s i o n d e f i n e s the p a t t e r n e s t a b l i s h e d and suggests i t s i m p l i c a t i o n s . The reasons f o r o r i g i n a l i t y i n female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n are here set f o r t h , and the q u e s t i o n of a c h r o n o l o g i c a l development i n female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i s d i s c u s s e d . F i n a l l y , t h i s development i n Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y i s r e l a t e d t o wider tren d s d e v e l o p i n g i n European l i t e r a t u r e . But, to begin with, the scope o f t h i s study should be d e f i n e d a l i t t l e more p r e c i s e l y , both w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o p r e v i o u s s c h o l a r s h i p , and to the connections t h a t might be made beyond the l i m i t s of O ld E n g l i s h poetry. The volume of c r i t i c i s m devoted t o female c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i n Old E n g l i s h p o e t r y i s very s m a l l , and, as f a r as I have been a b l e t o d i s c o v e r , no work has focussed s p e c i f i c a l l y on the s u b j e c t of my own i n v e s t i g a t i o n : an e x p l a n a t i o n o f the g r e a t e r o r i g i n a l i t y to be found i n the c r e a t i o n of female, as opposed t o male, c h a r a c t e r s . The works t h a t have been w r i t t e n on women i n an Anglo-Saxon context have more f r e q u e n t l y been h i s t o r i c a l than l i t e r a r y i n approach. Thus, i n the f i r s t chapter of her book, The  E n g l i s h Woman i n H i s t o r y , 2 D o r i s Mary Stenton s t r e s s e s the independence of the Anglo-Saxon woman, which she l a t e r c o n t r a s t s w i t h the subordinate p o s i t i o n of the woman i n 4 post-Conquest England. George Forrest Browne, in "The 3 Importance of Women i n Anglo-Saxon Times," describes the prominent women associated with the C h r i s t i a n i s a t i o n of England, and with the double monasteries i n the seventh and eighth centuries. Other studies, such as F. T. 4 Wainwright 1 s ".ZEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians," and Miles W. Campbell's "Queen Emma and J E l f g i f u of Northhampton: Canute the Great's Women,have been devoted to in d i v i d u a l women who influenced the secular course of Anglo-Saxon history. A recent study which combines the s p e c i f i c and the general approach i s Carole Elizabeth Moore's "Queen 6 Emma and the Role of Women i n Anglo-Saxon Society." Moore regards Emma as epitomising the i n f l u e n t i a l p o s i t i o n of women in Anglo-Saxon society, a pos i t i o n which she finds d i s t i n c t i v e l y Germanic and non-Christian in o r i g i n . The vindication of the Anglo-Saxon woman's independence which appears i n a l l these works i s a point of view which I s h a l l find occasion to question i n Chapter I. Several studies have been concerned with s o c i a l attitudes to women, rather than with h i s t o r i c a l women i n themselves. Betty Bandel, in "The English Chroniclers' 7 Attitude toward Women," argues that i n Anglo-Saxon times i t was regarded as normal for women to take an active part in the organisation of society. A s i m i l a r position i s adopted by J. A. Crawford in "The Position of Women i n Q Anglo-Saxon England." Crawford treats Old English poetry, along with the prose, as a d i r e c t record of s o c i a l custom, 5 a procedure which I regard as very dangerous, in view of the highly s t y l i s e d world of the poetry. However, t h i s i s an issue with which I s h a l l deal more f u l l y i n Chapter I. The assumption that Old English poetry i s a d i r e c t indicator of s o c i a l attitudes i s even more pronounced i n a Q recent a r t i c l e by Janet Buck, "Pre-Feudal Women." Buck, however, adopts a d i f f e r e n t stance from the previous writers in that she stresses the "s o c i a l i n s u f f i c i e n c y " of pre-feudal women. Taking a feminist approach, Buck sees i n Beowulf a record of male warrior "bonding," which excludes women. She argues that society should eliminate t h i s kind of "bonding," which she believes i s s t i l l prevalent. In a much e a r l i e r work, the monograph Die Familie  bei den Anqelsachsen. Erster Hauptteil: Mann und F r a u , ^ F r i t z Roeder also takes a d i f f e r e n t tack from most writers on Anglo-Saxon s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , and stresses the dependency of Anglo-Saxon women. Although Roeder 1s study i s e n t i t l e d "Mann und Frau," h i s focus i s upon women: i n th e i r r e l a t i o n to t h e i r husbands, and i n t h e i r s o c i a l p o sition more generally. He proposed to extend his study of the Anglo-Saxon family by the addition of a second "Hauptteil" on the c h i l d r e n , 1 1 but t h i s part appears never to have been written. In the range and d e t a i l of the evidence considered (legal, h i s t o r i c a l , p h i l o l o g i c a l , etc.), Roeder's investigation i s by fa r the most impressive of the works currently under discussion. However, Roeder 1s elaborate reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon custom builds too 6 confidently on fragmentary and doubtful evidence, and h i s assumption that the poetry of the Anglo-Saxon period can be used as a straightforward s o c i a l record i s highly 12 que stionable. A work sim i l a r i n scope to the larger study proposed, but not completed, by Roeder, i s Anton Serota's "The 13 Family i n Old English L i t e r a t u r e . " Serota i s interested i n the contribution of C h r i s t i a n i t y to the development of family l i f e , and argues that the e f f e c t of C h r i s t i a n i t y was to ennoble the family bonds which had become weakened before the Conversion. However, as I s h a l l demonstrate in Chapter I, the Chr i s t i a n influence was not e n t i r e l y a po s i t i v e one in t h i s regard, e s p e c i a l l y with reference to the po s i t i o n of women i n family r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Moreover, Serota's study i s s u p e r f i c i a l i n i t s analysis and tendentious i n i t s inferences, and involves some rather sweeping assumptions about what Anglo-Saxon England was ac t u a l l y l i k e i n the (largely undocumented) period before the Conversion. While the number of works devoted to the h i s t o r i c a l p o s i t i o n of Anglo-Saxon women has been few, the range of works s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned with the l i t e r a r y treatment of women i s even smaller. The reader w i l l have noticed that three of the studies already mentioned were unpublished theses. In the area of female characterisation, not merely a proportion, but the entire body of material I have been able to f i n d (apart from scattered references i n works on other topics) has been contained i n theses, mainly 7 unpublished. At worst, these studies have done no more than present a catalogue of the d i f f e r e n t kinds of women who appear here and there: B. M. Walker's "The Portrayal of 14 Woman i n Anglo-Saxon Li t e r a t u r e " i s a survey of t h i s type. Somewhat more d e f i n i t e i n i t s conclusions (though heavily indebted—and much i n f e r i o r — t o Roeder) i s Ada Broch's 15 "Die Stellung der Frau i n der angelsachsischen Poesie." Broch laments the fact that so much of the poetry has to do with a r i s t o c r a t i c women, and finds the portrayal of such women i n the t r a d i t i o n a l Germanic poetry disappointingly id e a l i z e d and unconvincing. She finds more convincing and l i v e l y the women i n the Old Testament poems (Genesis and Judith), and the humbler women i n the Riddles and Gnomes. However, no r e a l thesis emerges from her analysis. Also, as we s h a l l see, the categories defined by her are rather d i f f e r e n t from those which I discern among the female characters of Old English poetry. One or two studies have been directed, not towards female characterisation i n the poetry as a whole, but towards more lim i t e d aspects of the subject. Harriet Seaton, i n a di s s e r t a t i o n on "Marian Images i n the Old 16 English Writings," catalogues the images for Mary—some typolo g i c a l and some n o t — t o be found i n Old English prose and verse. She uses the r e l a t i o n of Mary's f a i t h to her virgin-motherhood and of the l a t t e r to the Church and the Christian, as 'keys' i n interpreting these images. Seaton's work contains copious quotations from Old English and from 8 the Latin p a r a l l e l s , but the actual analysis of the imagery i s minimal, and no clear thesis emerges from the whole. A much shorter, but much more decisive, study i s Nancy Gortz Rose's d i s s e r t a t i o n on "The Old English Judith: The Problem 17 of Leadership." Rose sees the poem as a study i n leadership pointing the contrast between the good leader, Judith, and the bad leader, Holofernes. Thus, works on the treatment of women i n Old English poetry have been few, and have tended to treat the poetry as a s o c i o l o g i c a l record. Of the very s l i g h t number concerned with s p e c i f i c a l l y l i t e r a r y , rather than h i s t o r i c a l , evaluation, a l l have been eith e r s u p e r f i c i a l and indecisive or s t r i c t l y l i mited i n scope. No study has isolat e d any p a r t i c u l a r tendency d i s c e r n i b l e from female characterisation i n Old English poetry as a whole, as the present thesis aims to do. The reader may be tempted to ask why t h i s investigation r e s t r i c t s i t s e l f s p e c i f i c a l l y to Old English poetry, rather than treating Old English l i t e r a t u r e as a whole, as several of the studies mentioned above have done. However, Old English poetry i s a very sharply defined area, with conventions of i t s own, quite d i f f e r e n t from those obtaining i n the prose. Whereas the poetry of the Anglo rSaxons i s a conscious art form, a vast body of Old English prose has no pretensions to a r t i s t r y : the laws, w i l l s , and charters are s t r i c t l y u t i l i t a r i a n . This i s true to a large extent even of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 9 . There i s a large amount of hdmiletic prose, some of which, notably the works of Wulfstan and, especially, 521fric, i s indeed a r t i s t i c , but s t i l l the functional purpose of Old English prose, i t s aim at i n s t r u c t i o n rather than delight, i s d e f i n i t e l y to the fore. Much of the poetry i s devotional too, but i t i s convenient to draw a l i n e between the rather precious atmosphere of the verse, associated with a t r a d i t i o n of courtly entertainment, and the more p r a c t i c a l prose. Further, a very great deal of Old English narrative prose r e l i e s on t r a n s l a t i n g Latin o r i g i n a l s . Use of foreign sources, mainly Latin, i s also common i n the poetry, but less so, and the influence of the native art form i s conspicuous even in translated works. In fact, an e s s e n t i a l part of my method i n t h i s study i s to make a sharp d i s t i n c t i o n between Old English prose and verse. The former, because of i t s p r a c t i c a l nature, I regard as a much better guide to the actual customs of the Anglo-Saxon period. Hence, i n Chapter I, Old English prose, along with Anglo-Latin writings, i s used as a 'control,' i n an attempt to e s t a b l i s h a h i s t o r i c a l background against which the poetry can be judged. Nevertheless i n considering female characterisation in the poetry, i t w i l l be natural to make comparisons with the treatment of women i n Old English prose. Here a d i s t i n c t i o n w i l l be made between h i s t o r i c a l women, mentioned, for instance, i n the Chronicle and i n Bede's E c c l e s i a s t i c a l History, and ' l i t e r a r y women,' such as the 10 women i n i E l f r i c ' s homilies and the heroine of the (unique) Old English prose romance, Apollonius of Tyre. The former w i l l belong to the 'control' established i n Chapter I. With regard to the l a t t e r category, i t w i l l be seen that the kind of development posited for the poetry, i . e . , the treatment of female characters with a greater degree of o r i g i n a l i t y , i s less i n evidence. The prose works are less free; they show a closer dependence on t h e i r Latin sources. In addition to i t s l i n k s with Old English prose, the poetry suggests occasional more far-reaching comparisons, with foreign l i t e r a t u r e s . Bearing t h i s circumstance i n mind, I believe i t w i l l be h e l p f u l at t h i s point to es t a b l i s h certain broad categories within which comparisons can be made. The o v e r a l l s i g n i f i c a n c e of these comparisons w i l l be discussed i n the Conclusion. The most obvious category for comparison i s the l i t e r a t u r e of the other Germanic peoples, but reservations have to be made, for most other Germanic l i t e r a t u r e i s two hundred years l a t e r , or more. It has been a common tendency to draw conclusions about things Germanic i n Old English l i t e r a t u r e on the basis of features to be found in l a t e r Germanic l i t e r a t u r e , e s p e c i a l l y Old Icelandic. Statements made in the present thesis about Germanic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s in Old English poetry are not necessarily intended to imply that these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are shared by Old Icelandic and Middle High German, merely that they stem from a native, as d i s t i n c t from a Latin, C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n . Nevertheless, comparisons w i l l be made with the l a t e r Germanic l i t e r a t u r e , e s p e c i a l l y that of medieval Iceland. In the Icelandic sagas, especially, women characters are highly developed and play a prominent part, although, as we s h a l l see, they are s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from the female characters i n Old English poetry. Contemporary Germanic l i t e r a t u r e offers one important comparison: the Old Saxon Genesis, on which the Old English Genesis B i s based. The remaining Old Saxon and Old High German poetry, notably the Heliand and the Hildebrandslied, respectively, contains l i t t l e that bears on female characterisation. The main area from which close comparisons can be drawn i s not Germanic, but Latin l i t e r a t u r e , and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , the r e l i g i o u s L a t i n works upon which much of the poetry under consideration i s based, either d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y . Latin sources l i e behind a l l of the works dealt with i n Chapter IV: Elene, Juliana, and Judith, the f i r s t two, saints' l i v e s , and the t h i r d , a work in the same t r a d i t i o n . Elene and Juliana are adapted from Latin prose vitae, and Judith from the Book of Judith i n the Vulgate Bible. The Latin antiphons of the l i t u r g y provide the framework of Christ I, and the scene between Joseph and Mary in that poem i s indebted to a t r a d i t i o n of Latin homiletic dialogues. In assessing the degree of o r i g i n a l i t y to be found i n the Old English characterisation, i t w i l l be e s s e n t i a l to e s t a b l i s h the differences between the poems 12 and the Latin works which have inspired or influenced them. A further area of comparison l i e s i n the treatment of women i n early Middle English l i t e r a t u r e . The closest resemblance i s i n the homiletic prose, which continues the t r a d i t i o n to be found i n the Old English prose homilies: most conspicuously, the a l l i t e r a t i v e , rhythmic style, growing from the same roots of o r a l t r a d i t i o n as Old English poetry. However, the treatment of character i n the Middle English homilies i s markedly d i f f e r e n t from that in the Old English poems on similar subjects. The chief comparison to be made here i s between the 'saint's l i f e 1 poems and the l a t e twelfth-century homiletic works known as the "Katherine Group" (named a f t e r the L i f e of St. Katherine of Alexandria included i n t h e i r number) . In p a r t i c u l a r , Juliana i n v i t e s comparison with the L i f l a d e ant te Passiun of Seinte  Juliene i n t h i s group. The categories mentioned so far have been l i n g u i s t i c and c u l t u r a l . Although these provide convenient groupings, a more fundamental c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , as regards concepts of characterisation, i s that provided by genre. The points of resemblance to or departure from other medieval l i t e r a t u r e s can be made with reference to the major contemporary genres: homiletic works, including sermons and saints' l i v e s , heroic poetry, proverbial or gnomic poetry, romance, drama, l y r i c . The f i r s t two cate g o r i e s — h o m i l i e s and v i t a e — a r e of Latin, Christian o r i g i n . The t h i r d and fourth are more widespread, but i n 13 t h i s thesis w i l l c h i e f l y involve comparisons with Germanic works, such as the Eddie poetry of Iceland and the Middle High German Nibelungenlied. Beowulf can be compared with the Aeneid, although t h i s takes us beyond the range of 18 medieval l i t e r a t u r e and d i r e c t relationships, and an incidental, though illuminating comparison can be made 19 between Genesis B and Paradise Lost. The Old English heroic fragment, Waldere suggests comparison with the tenth-century Latin poem on the same subject, Waltharius. The l a t t e r i s rather an unusual work, being an epic i n the V i r g i l i a n manner using material drawn from Germanic legend. Waltharius and the Nibelungenlied, though probably to be c l a s s i f i e d as epic, also partake of the qu a l i t y of romance. Here we come to a very p r o l i f i c medieval genre, embracing works of widely varying kinds. On the one hand, the treatment of women in Old English poetry occasionally suggests a resemblance with the romance of H e l l e n i s t i c o r i g i n . The v i o l e n t fluctuations of fortune and savage persecutions undergone by Juliana have something in common with the career of the protagonist i n the H e l l e n i s t i c romance, who, t y p i c a l l y , suffers a long series of wild v i c i s s i t u d e s of fortune b e f o r e " f i n a l l y emerging triumphant (although not, of course, i n martyrdom). The t a l e of Apollonius, of which there i s a version i n Old English prose, belongs to t h i s type of romance. At the other extreme, l i e the courtly romances of the high Middle Ages. In the works of Chretien de Troyes, for instance, character relationships are presented with considerable subtlety. Although the drama i s a major medieval genre, i t s flowering did not take place u n t i l well a f t e r the Old English period. However, there are d i s t i n c t l y dramatic elements i n D i v i s i o n VII of Christ I and i n Genesis B. These can be compared with the r e l i g i o u s drama of the Middle Ages: the Latin miracle play, and, to a l e s s e r extent, with the l a t e r vernacular drama. Rosemary Woolf has compared v 20 Genesis B with the Anglo-Norman Mystere d'Adam. Another point of comparison with the Old English works, s t r i k i n g because i t too i s markedly e a r l i e r than the general development of medieval drama, i s the set of saints' plays produced by the tenth-century German nun, Hrotsvitha. The f i n a l category of comparison to be mentioned here i s the l y r i c . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two Old English love poems and the widespread genre of the 21 Frauenlied has been discussed by Kemp Malone, while a narrower r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two Old English works and the Frauenlieder among the Cambridge Songs, a c o l l e c t i o n of tenth- and early eleventh-century Latin l y r i c s , has been suggested by C l i f f o r d Davidson. Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament can be related to love-laments uttered by women which appear i n a va r i e t y of l i t e r a t u r e s , including 2 3 Arabic and Indian. The type i s probably universal, but i t w i l l be s u f f i c i e n t for my purposes to draw comparisons with other medieval European treatments. The r e l a t i o n s h i p of the Old English 'women's songs' to works of the same genre i n Medieval Latin and early C e l t i c l i t e r a t u r e w i l l be mentioned i n Chapter V, and also a comparison made between the two Old English l y r i c s and medieval love poems more generally, from bawdy songs to l y r i c s and lays of courtly love. As we s h a l l see, the Old English poems, though just as intense, are less obviously e r o t i c and less sensual than t h e i r better known counterparts of continental o r i g i n , both i n Latin and i n the vernacular tongues. In the course of the following thesis, i t w i l l be seen that the classes into which I have divided the Old English poems correspond to wider categories i n European l i t e r a t u r e , whether the r e l a t i o n s h i p i s due to borrowing or to p a r a l l e l development of cultures at a sim i l a r stage of evolution. The poems treated i n Chapter I I I — t h e Riddles, gnomic poems, Waldere, and Beowulf, a l l belong to an ancient, Germanic, ultimately pagan t r a d i t i o n of o r a l poetry. The 'saints' poems' i n Chapter IV are derived from L a t i n vitae, and also have a f f i n i t i e s with the romance, a genre of Mediterranean o r i g i n . The l y r i c s of Chapter V represent a genre l i t t l e evidenced i n Old English, but with analogues i n Medieval Latin, and l a t e r , in the vernaculars. F i n a l l y , the passages from Genesis B and Christ I are dramatic in nature, and to be related to the emergent r e l i g i o u s drama of the Middle Ages, seen f i r s t in Latin and subsequently i n other languages. Although t h i s study i s focussed on Old English poetry, and indeed, on that rather small body of poetry i n which women characters play a s i g n i f i c a n t part, i n order to assess the o r i g i n a l i t y present i n the creation of women characters, I s h a l l take into account the broader factors to which the treatment i n Old English poetry i s related. The s o c i o l o g i c a l basis for the l i t e r a r y development w i l l emerge from Chapter I, and I s h a l l show l a t e r i n the thesis that there i s an intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p between the l i t e r a r y portrayal of women and t h e i r actual s o c i a l p o s i t i o n i n Anglo-Saxon England, although the former i s not simply the mirror image of the l a t t e r . The wider l i t e r a r y implications of the pattern seen i n Old English poetry cannot be dealt with extensively within the rather l i m i t e d scope of t h i s study. However, I hope to give some ind i c a t i o n that the development traced in Old English poetry i s not an isolated phenomenon, but has dis c e r n i b l e l i n k s with other European l i t e r a t u r e , and, hence, has ramifications that go far beyond the s p a t i a l and temporal boundaries of Anglo-Saxon England. 17 Footnotes "''In Chapter V, which focusses on these two poems, I , s h a l l deal f u l l y with the doubts raised as to whether these are, as most commonly accepted, love poems with female speakers. 2 London and New York, 1957. 3 In The Importance of Women in Anglo-Saxon Times;  The Cultus of St. Peter and St. Paul; and Other Addresses, SPCK Studies i n Church History (London, 1919), pp. 11-39. 4 In The Anglo-Saxons: Studies presented to Bruce  Dickins, ed. Peter Clemoes (London, 1959), pp. 53-69. 5Mediaeval Scandinavia, 4 (1971), 66-79. Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n . University of C a l i f o r n i a , Santa Barbara, 1973. 7Journal of the History of Ideas, 16 (1955), 113-18. Q M. L i t t . thesis. T r i n i t y College, Dublin, 1959. 9 Journal of the Rutgers University Library, 34 (1971), 46-51. ^ S t u d i e n zur enqlischen Philologie, ed. Lorenz Morsbach, 4 (Halle, 1899) . '''"'"See Vorwort, pp. v i i - i x . 12 Roeder notes that the picture presented in the poetry i s d i f f e r e n t , for instance, from that which emerges from the laws, but s t i l l believes that the poetry can be used as 'evidence' in the same way as the laws. See pp. 5-6. 13 Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n . Fordham University, New York, 1942. 14M.A. thesis. Leeds, 1954. 15 Zurich, 1902 (published dissertation) . 16 Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n . Toronto, 1962. 17 Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n . University of C a l i f o r n i a , Berkeley, 1968. 18 A d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p i s posited by T. B. Haber, A Comparative Study of Beowulf and the Aeneid (Princeton, 18 1931), but most scholars would go no further than to suggest a rather general influence, i f any. 19 It i s very u n l i k e l y that Milton was a c t u a l l y influenced by Genesis B. This issue w i l l be dealt with i n Chapter VI. "The F a l l of Man i n Genesis B and the Mystere  d'Adam," Studies i n Old English L i t e r a t u r e i n Honor of  Arthur G. Brodeur, ed. Stanley B. Greenfield (Eugene, 1963) , pp. 189-99. 21 "Two English Frauenlieder," CL, 14 (1962), 106-17. 22 "Erotic 'Women's Songs' i n Anglo-Saxon England," Neophil, 59 (1975), 451-62. 23 See Davidson, p. 453. 19 CHAPTER I THE SOCIAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND Since the presentation of women characters i n Anglo-Saxon poetry must bear a r e l a t i o n to the s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s of the period, the object of the present chapter w i l l be to es t a b l i s h those r e a l i t i e s i n order that the precise nature of the poetic presentation, i n i t s r e l a t i o n to the h i s t o r i c a l background, can subsequently be defined. In t h i s chapter, I s h a l l examine contemporary evidence i n order to demonstrate what the s o c i a l p o s i t i o n of Anglo-Saxon women was. 'Evidence' here means mainly l i t e r a r y , but non-poetic, material: l e g a l , h i s t o r i c a l , and hagiographic works. The exact r e l a t i o n of h i s t o r i c a l fact to poetic creation w i l l only appear l a t e r on, f o r poetry does not simply reproduce h i s t o r i c a l fact, but responds to i t i n some way. As Dorothy Whitelock has pointed out, the two spheres of hi s t o r y and poetry cannot simply be used as mutual sources of information, on the assumption that what holds good for one also holds good for the other."*" The long span of the Anglo-Saxon period and the uncertainty in dating Old English poems make i t d i f f i c u l t to rel a t e s p e c i f i c works to p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c a l events. Also, Old 20 English poetry, which mainly depicts the heroic world of the comitatus, tends to be limi t e d and retrospective i n i t s r e f l e c t i o n of society. A l l these factors must be borne i n mind when considering the re l a t i o n s h i p between the poetry and the h i s t o r i c a l conditions of the period from which i t stems. Anglo-Saxon custom and opinion with regard to women 2 must be reconstructed from sources of various kinds. Some of these are in Old English, some i n Latin; but, for the purposes of the present chapter, the language of the source i s immaterial. A valuable fund of information i s provided by the laws of various kings, i n which contemporary custom can be inferred from the regulations and r e s t r i c t i o n s imposed on conduct. There are also e v i d e n t i a l , as opposed to pre s c r i p t i v e , l e g a l documents: records of various l e g a l trans-actions, which frequently shed l i g h t on the pos i t i o n of women. Some evidence of the contemporary climate of opinion i s provided by the p e n i t e n t i a l l i t e r a t u r e . The pe n i t e n t i a l s , manuals to guide p r i e s t s i n the administration of penances, occupy an u n o f f i c i a l p o s i t i o n i n the l i t e r a t u r e of the 3 Church, but were widely used, and r e f l e c t attitudes held in certain e c c l e s i a s t i c a l quarters. The annals of the period, notably the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, from time to time make mention of prominent women. Biography i n the Anglo-Saxon period, even when i t r e l a t e s to secular persons, i s very much influenced by the hagiographic t r a d i t i o n . The v i t a i s , by and large, the medium which comes closest to connected history, but since the aim of hagiography i s the promotion of the f a i t h , rather than the preservation of fact, biography at t h i s period tends to miracle and eulogy rather than objective d e t a i l . Nevertheless, the Latin prose l i v e s of Anglo-Saxons are r e l a t i v e l y sober, often very 4 circumstantial, and can be most illuminating. Bede 1s H i s t o r i a E c c l e s i a s t i c a , which incorporates material from both annals and saints' l i v e s , i s unique i n giving us something close to the modern notion of 'h i s t o r y ' — b u t even Bede does not, by modern standards, provide objective accuracy. F i n a l l y , there are a number of Latin l e t t e r s which give some incid e n t a l l i g h t on the po s i t i o n of women. Apart from these written sources, of various sorts, we have only scattered data, such as that provided by place-names and archaeological finds. In discussing the information to be gleaned from the various sources, I aim to show what general conclusions can be drawn for the Anglo-Saxon period as a whole, what evidence there i s of s i g n i f i c a n t change i n the pos i t i o n of women during t h i s period, and what difference exists between Anglo-Saxon and Norman times. It i s the pr e v a i l i n g opinion that women i n the Anglo-Saxon period had a much more advantageous p o s i t i o n i n society than they held i n the l a t e r Middle Ages. 5 In par t i c u l a r , scholars have ci t e d the po s i t i o n of women with regard to l i t i g a t i o n , property-holding, and inheritance, and have argued that the Anglo-Saxon woman could appear i n court and t e s t i f y or conduct a suit, could hold property i n her own right, and could i n h e r i t or bequeath i t , i n contrast to the women of Norman times and l a t e r , for whom these p r i v i l e g e s were c u r t a i l e d . The evidence on which these statements are based, c h i e f l y w i l l s and lawsuits, i s a l l l a t e i n the period, which makes i t s v a l i d i t y f o r the 7 Anglo-Saxon period as a whole somewhat suspect. Moreover, there i s no agreement as to when the supposed post-Conquest change in women's status took place or how i t manifested i t s e l f . Florence Buckstaff i s of the opinion that the change a f t e r the Conquest was a gradual one, and stresses that the queens of William I and Henry I had considerable authority and independence. On the other hand, Betty Bandel points a sharp contrast between the matter-of-fact presentation of iEthelflaed ' s m i l i t a r y campaigns i n the Abingdon Chronicle and the c r i t i c i s m of the aggressive g Matilda i n the chronicles of the twelfth century. Doris Stenton also sees a sharp drop i n women's status after the Conquest, and believes that Magna Carta marked the beginning of a returning upward t r e n d . ^ A l l of these writers are influenced by t h e i r desire to stress the depressed po s i t i o n of women i n feudal times, a position which appears more s t r i k i n g i f i t can be contrasted with the s i t u a t i o n of women i n the Anglo-Saxon era. In assessing the h i s t o r i c a l evidence, i t w i l l be convenient to consider the various kinds of texts i n turn. I begin with the 'prescriptive' l e g a l documents, i . e . , the laws. The character of the Anglo-Saxon law-codes suggests 23 that they were not intended to constitute a complete statement of the law, but to regulate and modify a pre-existing body of custom. In h i s History of English Law, William Holdsworth observes: These codes, l i k e the Leges Barbarorum of the continent, enacted the customary law of the t r i b e . . . . They take for granted a mass of unwritten custom, the contents of which can only be guessed at from in c i d e n t a l hints, from foreign analogies and from l a t e r s u r v i v a l s . H The Anglo-Saxon laws consist of terse and often mystifying regulations, l a r g e l y stating the compensations payable for various kinds of theft and injury. The circumstances to which each regulation applies are not described f u l l y , but merely alluded to, as i f they were already known. Much remains unstated, and much has to be inferred. The laws i n general are concerned with the bulk of the population, which means that they apply with most frequency to members of the c e o r l i s c class. However, they r e f l e c t very c l e a r l y the d i v i s i o n of Anglo-Saxon society into well marked layers. The major d i v i s i o n i s between the a r i s t o c r a t (the eorlcund or gesiocund man) and the c e o r l . Beneath these two classes i s the further class of 12 slaves. In the Anglo-Saxon laws, a man's worth i s reckoned according to his class. Thus, the nobleman has a wergild of 1200 s h i l l i n g s , the ceorl of 200 s h i l l i n g s (in Kent, where the s h i l l i n g had a higher value, the amounts are 300 and 100 r e s p e c t i v e l y ) . Sometimes an intermediate class of men with a wergild of 600 s h i l l i n g s i s referred 24 to. Just as the nobleman's wergild i s six times the value of the ceorl's, the former's oath has six times the authority of the l a t t e r i s . S t i l l higher values are placed on the wergild or oath of the higher clergy and state 13 o f f i c i a l s , with the king ranking highest of a l l . The laws pertaining s p e c i f i c a l l y to women are conceived i n the l i g h t of t h i s s t r a t i f i c a t i o n . Most of these laws have to do with the sexual v i o l a t i o n of women. The gravity of the offence i s reckoned i n proportion to the rank of the woman's guardian: her master, husband, or father. Thus, in the Laws of Ethelbert of Kent (c. 600) 50 s h i l l i n g s compensation i s payable for v i o l a t i o n of a female slave belonging to the king, 12 s h i l l i n g s for v i o l a t i o n of the slave of an e o r l , and 6 s h i l l i n g s f o r for commission of the same offence with the slave of a c e o r l . 1 4 In the Laws of A l f r e d (871-99), there i s a sim i l a r gradation of penalties payable f o r sexual i n t e r -ference with the wife of a twelfhynd man, a syxhynd man, 15 and a c e o r l i s c man, respectively. Sexual r e l a t i o n s with a betrothed woman are punishable by fines determined by 16 her father's rank. Abduction of a nun from a monastery i s punishable by the same fine, 120 s h i l l i n g s , payable for i l l i c i t sexual r e l a t i o n s with a twelfhynd woman either 17 married or betrothed. And molestation of a nun, i . e . , seizing her by her clothing or her breast, i s to be I Q compensated at double the rate for a lay person. A l f r e d here seems to refe r to a c e o r l i s c woman, since the penalties for various kinds of molestation of a woman of t h i s class 19 are set out a l i t t l e e a r l i e r i n the law code. A l l these fines are payable to the injured party, who i n a l l cases i s the woman's guardian:.her master i f she i s a slave, her husband i f she i s married, and her father or male 20 r e l a t i v e i f she i s betrothed. If the woman i s a nun, her guardianship i s shared. The fin e to be exacted for abduction of a nun i s to be paid "healf cyninge, healf biscepe 7 pa^re c i r i c a n hlaforde, <3e Sone munuc [more 21 probably, 'mynecynne' or 'nunnan'] age." It i s noteworthy that i n a l l these examples the offence and the g u i l t do not attach primarily to the woman. She i s the vehicle, 22 rather than either the offending or the injured party. The statements of the law codes regarding the position of women i n marriage do not make d i s t i n c t i o n s between the classes, but seem to be directed c h i e f l y towards the c e o r l i s c class. The word ceorl appears frequently, sometimes merely meaning 'husband,' but often meaning a man of the lower free class. A law of Ine regulating the administration of a fatherless c h i l d ' s property r e f e r s to the frumstol, which suggests a piece of land, but the mention of providing a cow for i t i n summer and an ox in winter indicates the kind of small 23 property that would support a single family. In Cnut's Laws, the question of the degree of a woman's independence from her husband i s raised with reference to a ceorl's cot and the objects over which hi s wife has charge.^ 4 These 26 d e t a i l s , again, suggest a small, self-supporting household. Since the laws make no statement of a d i f f e r e n t kind of re l a t i o n s h i p between wives and husbands of higher or lower class, we may take i t that t h e i r application i s general; but, nevertheless, t h e i r preoccupation with the c e o r l i s c 25 class should be borne i n mind. As we have seen, there i s , underlying the s o c i a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n evident i n these laws, a general assumption that the woman i s only the vehicle i n these offences, and not one of the main parties concerned. The view of woman as object implied here i s p a r t i c u l a r l y marked i n the e a r l i e s t (written) code of laws, those of Ethelbert. The Laws of Ethelbert regard a woman merely as a rather valuable piece of property. They speak, for instance, of buying a wife: Gif mon maegp gebiged, ceapi geceapod sy, g i f h i t unfacne i s . G i f h i t ponne facne i s , e f [ t ] paer aet ham gebrenge,7 him man his scaet agefe.26 Another clause speaks of taking a maiden away by force ? 7 from her 'owner' (aqende). An e a r l i e r section i n the same laws shows that a wife was thought of as a replaceable item: Gif friman wi<3 f r i e s mannes wif geligep, h is wergelde abicge 7 ooer wif his agenum scaette begete 7 6aem oSrum aet pam [ham?] gebrenge.28 The Laws of Ine of Wessex, which date from between 688 and 694, speak of buying a wife as a bargain of much the same kind: Gif raon wif gebycge, 7 sio gyft forS ne cume, agife baet feoh 7 forgielde 7 gebete pam byrgean, swa h i s borgbryce sie.29 The early Anglo-Saxon view of marriage as a bargain between the bridegroom and the bride's r e l a t i v e s , notably her guardian, was stressed by F r i t z Roeder i n h i s monograph Die Familie bei den Anqelsachsen: . . . sie [the bride] kann ihre Sache nicht selbst fiihren, da s i e nicht befugt i s t , i n eigener Person Rechtsgeschafte abzuschliessen, sondern Fursprecher bedarf, . . . An ih r e r Spitze steht das Familienoberhaupt, das jedesmal der rec h t l i c h e Verlober des Madchens i s t , weil i n seiner Hand die Geschlechtsmundschaft runt; daher h e i s s t er auch JEcfelb's Ges. 82 . . . 'se aqende . . . und zwar "der Vormundschaft iiber die Jungfrau, " dessen ' Einwilligung zur Ehe man durch den Brautschatz erkaufen muss.30 The l a t e r laws do not speak s p e c i f i c a l l y of buying a wife, but there i s s t i l l no sense of marriage as an equal partnership. In the matter of marital f i d e l i t y , there i s a marked discrimination against women. The Laws of Cnut (1020-23) assign a brutal punishment for a wife's i n f i d e l i t y : G if be cwicum ceorle wif h i be oSrum were f o r l i c g e , 7 h i t open weor<5e, geweorSe heo to woruldsceame sydSan hyre s y l f r e , 7 haebbe se rihtwer e a l l pet heo ahte; 7 heo polige nasa 7 earena.31 In contrast, a husband's i n f i d e l i t y i s punishable by f i n e i n serious cases (incest can be punished by f o r f e i t of property), and merely by r e l i g i o u s penance in minor cases 3 2 ( i . e . , adultery with a slave or a concubine). Thus, male adultery i s c e r t a i n l y regarded as morally reprehensible, 3 3 but i s treated much less harshly. 28 The degree to which a wife i s regarded as an independent being or merely an appendage of her husband i s indicated i n the laws which deal with a wife's complicity i n her husband's offences. The Laws of Ine and Cnut deal with the problem of bringing home stolen goods (meat) . The relevant section of Ine 1s Laws states: Gif ceorl ceap f o r s t i l d ' 7 bireS into h i s aerne, 7 befehS paerinne mon, ponne biS se h i s dael synnig butan bam wife anum, forSon hio sceal h i r e ealdore hieran: g i f hio dear mid aoe gecySan, past hio baes forstolenan ne onbite, nime hir e Sriddan sceat.34 Cnut's Laws make the following provisions: And gyf hwylc man forstolen pinge ham to his cotan bringe 7 he arasod wurSe, r i h t i s , past he haebbe paet he aeftereode. 7 butan h i t under paes wifes caeglocan gebroht waere, s i heo claene. Ac paere caegean heo sceal weardian, paet i s hyre hordern 7 hyre cyste 7 hyre tege: gyf h i t under pyssa aenigum gebroht byc5, ponne byS heo scyldig. .7 ne maeg nan wif hyre bondan forbeodan, past he ne mote into h i s coton gelogian past paet he w y l l e . ^ 5 The l a t e r laws proceed from the same premise as the e a r l i e r ones: that a wife i s subordinate to her husband. This means that she has no power to gainsay him, even when he i s committing a crime. But i n Cnut's Laws there i s an emphasis on the wife's authority over at least a part of the house. Roeder points out that there i s a strong resemblance between the p o s i t i o n of a wife i n r e l a t i o n to her husband and that of a thane in r e l a t i o n to h i s l o r d : In beiden Lebensverhaltnissen i s t die eine P a r t e i .zum Schutz und Unterhalt der anderen, diese dagegen zu v o l l i g e r , personlicher Hingabe, ohne dass fur sie etwas Driickendes oder gar Herabsetzendes i n ihrer Unterordnung lage, v e r p f l i c h t e t . 3 6 29 Roeder supports t h i s statement by an i n t e r e s t i n g comparison between the late Old English (c. 1000) document known as Be Wifmannes Beweddunge and the thane's oath of allegiance to his l o r d . Roeder notes that just as i n the former the wife's acceptance of her su i t o r i s expressed by the term "willan geceosan," the same formal term i s used i n the thane's oath. Similarly, the thane pledges allegiance to h i s lord on condition that "he me healde, swa i c earnian w i l l e , " whereas i n Be Wifmannes Beweddunge, the bridegroom must pledge "Set he hy aefter Godes r i h t healdan w i l l e , swa wer h i s wif sceal." I quote the thane's oath as reproduced by Roeder: £>us man sceal swerigean hyld-a5as. On bone Drihten pe pes haligdom i s fore h a l i g , i c w i l l e beon N. hold and getriwe, and eal l u f i a n past he lufa<5, and eal ascunian baet he ascunaS, aefter Godes r i h t e and aefter worold gerysnum, and naefre w i l l e s ne gewealdes, wordes ne weorces, owiht don, baes him laSre bi5, wi5 bam, be he me healde, swa i c earnian w i l l e , and e a l l paet laeste, paet uncer formael waes, pa i c to him gebe"ah and h i s willan geceas.37 Thus, the husband's status with regard to h i s wife i s one of guardianship, but her position i s not one of servitude. To a certain extent, too, the wife remains i n the guardianship of her blood kin, who re t a i n r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her i n s p e c i f i c cases, notably of crimes committed either by her or against her. This issue i s raised i n Be Wifmannes Beweddunge: Gif hy man bonne ut of lande laedan w i l l e on oSres pegnes land, bonne biS h i r e raed, paet frynd ba forword habban, baet hi r e man nan woh to ne do, and g i f heo g y l t gewyrce, baet hy moton beon bote nyst, g i f heo naefo of hwam heo b e t e . 3 8 30 Another piece of evidence c i t e d by Roeder i n t h i s context i s found i n the Laws of Henry I. This compilation i s la r g e l y based on pre-Conquest material, but, obviously, i t s date makes i t unreliable as an in d i c a t i o n of Anglo-Saxon custom. Roeder quotes the Leges Henrici, 70, sec. 12, which states that i f a woman commits homicide the respon-s i b i l i t y l i e s with herself, her offspring, and her kin, 39 but not with her husband. Taken i n conjunction with the passage from Be Wifmannes Beweddunge, t h i s clause i s ... .40 s i g n i f i c a n t . The fact that the wife remains to a certain extent a member of her own kin group does not i n i t s e l f indicate any degree of autonomy on her part, but i t does suggest that her husband's guardianship over her i s q u a l i f i e d i n certain ways. An area in which some authority i s accorded to her i n r e l a t i o n to her husband and t h e i r respective k i n i s that of charge of the children. The woman's rights i n t h i s respect were recognised from the e a r l i e s t period. The Laws of Ethelbert make provision for the event of a separation between husband and wife (there i s no mention of what the circumstances might be, but the separation appears to be an honourable one), and the wife has some choice i n deciding whether the children s h a l l accompany her: Gif mid bearnum bugan w i l l e , healfne scaet age. Gif ceorl agan wile: swa an bearn [ i . e . , i f the husband desires to have the children].41 The passage does not state whether the husband has the 31 f i n a l decision. Both the Laws of Hlothhere and Eadric of Kent (673-85?) and those of Ine sti p u l a t e that the c h i l d s h a l l accompany i t s mother i f the father dies. But evidently the mother i s not considered capable of managing a f f a i r s herself, for i t i s stated that the paternal kin are to act as protectors and to be responsible for 42 managing the property. In connection with the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of the k i n group, i t i s in t e r e s t i n g to note that the paternal k i n has a more important place than the maternal. This emerges from the above laws governing the protection of fatherless children. It i s also r e f l e c t e d in the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the kin to pay the wergild for one of t h e i r members, and to support him as oath-helpers. A clause i n Alfred's Laws suggests that i n normal circumstances the paternal kin 4 paid two-thirds of the wergild and the maternal one-third. The same proportion occurs i n a law of iEhelstan providing for two compurgators from the father's k i n and one from 44 the mother's. The r e l a t i v e s on the male side are preferred over r e l a t i v e s on the female side, but the l a t t e r have a d e f i n i t e place. This attitude undoubtedly has some c o r r e l a t i o n with society's view of the r e l a t i v e status of men and women generally, although i n these cases the actual persons involved, whether maternal or paternal r e l a t i v e s , would a l l be male. As regards property-holding and inheritance, the Anglo-Saxon laws do not give women a p a r t i c u l a r l y advantageous position. Most of the statements i n the laws suggest a j o i n t property of husband and wife, i n which the wife has certain r i g h t s i f she loses her husband by death or separation. The law of Cnut which sets the punishment for adultery re f e r s to the wife's f o r f e i t u r e of a l l her property to her husband, which suggests that she had some property of her own. 4 5 Also, there are frequent references i n Anglo-Saxon w i l l s and other l e g a l documents to settlement of property on women. But the indications are that during the husband's l i f e t i m e such property, aside from personal possessions, was administered by him. 4^ It appears from the Laws of Ethelbert that a man's wife has ri g h t s i n the j o i n t property only by virtue of being the mother of his children. She i s e n t i t l e d to half the property i f she i s holding i t on behalf of the children; having borne a c h i l d i t s e l f e n t i t l e s her to some ri g h t s ; i f she has borne no children, she gets nothing: G i f heo cwic bearn gebyrep, healfne scaet age, g i f ; ceorl aer swyltep. .Gif mid bearnum bugan w i l l e , healf ne scaet age. Gif ceorl agan wile: swa an bearn. Gi f heo bearn ne gebyrep, f aederingmagas f i o h agan 7 morgengyfe.47 That she should lose her morning-gift i s e s p e c i a l l y s t r i k i n g . This i s the g i f t given by the husband to his wife on the morning a f t e r the wedding and intended for her especial use rather than as part of the j o i n t property. In the case of wealthy women of the l a t e r period, the morning-gift was 48 l i k e l y to take the form of a landed estate. 33 Cnut's Laws state, somewhat vaguely, that i f a man dies intestate . . . beo be h i s [the man's lord's] dihte seo aeht gescyft swy5e r i h t e wife 7 cildum 7 nehmagum, aelcum be paere pe him to gebyrige.49 Direct statements of the widow's portion are absent from the other laws, but the provision in the clause of Ine quoted above that the wife of a t h i e f s h a l l , i f not implicated, r e t a i n her "chriddan s c e a t " ^ suggests that under West Saxon, as d i s t i n c t from Kentish, law the widow was e n t i t l e d to one-third of the j o i n t property. None of the Anglo-Saxon codes gives any ind i c a t i o n that the widow's rig h t to i n h e r i t under the law was any stronger than that of the widow of feudal times, who was e n t i t l e d to one-third of her husband's property, whether he made a w i l l or not.5"1" The early laws make no mention of a woman's choice i n marriage, although i t i s not s p e c i f i c a l l y stated that no choice i s available to her. By the time of Cnut's Laws the woman's right of choice has become a well-established concept, and there i s a sense of the impropriety of 'buying' a'wife, which was taken for granted i n E t h e l b e r t 1 s code: 7 na nyde man naSer ne wif ne maeden to pam, pe hyre s y l f r e m i s l i c i e , ne wi3 sceatte ne s y l l e , butan he hwaet agenes Sances gyfan wylle.52 On the whole, the l a t e r codes show an appreciation of female autonomy absent from the early laws, but there i s s t i l l no indicati o n of female equality. One of Ethelred's codes (that issued i n 1008) makes certain provisions for widows which suggest that they are 34 under the general guardianship of the state, rather than the immediate guardianship of t h e i r kin, and therefore i n a much freer, i f p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous, p o s i t i o n : 7 sy aelc wydewe, pe hy s y l f e mid r i h t e gehealde, on Godes gricfe 7 on pass cynges.53 The next clause imposes a certain r e s t r i c t i o n : 7 s i t t e aelc [wydewe] XII mona$ werleas; ceose syScTan paet heo s y l f w i l l e . 54 This mixture of l i b e r a l i s m tempered with severity i s also apparent i n Cnut 1s Laws. The b r u t a l i t y of the clause which punishes a wife's i n f i d e l i t y with mutilation i s probably to be attributed to the influence of 55 Scandinavian laws and a ruder system of j u s t i c e . This harshness contrasts sharply with the humanity of the clause stressing a woman's ri g h t s i n choosing a marriage partner. Again, there i s a rather q u a l i f i e d l i b e r a l i s m i n Cnut's version of Ethelred 1s law on the remarriage of widows. The penalties for infringement of the twelve-month waiting period are quite severe: 7 g i f heo binnan geares faece wer geceose, bonne polige heo paere morgengyfe 7 ealra paera aehta, pe heo burn asrran wer haefde; 7 fon pa nehstan frynd to Sam lande 7 to pam aehtan, pe heo aer haefde.56 However, there i s one text, Be Wifmannes Beweddunge, which, i n comparison to the Anglo-Saxon laws as a whole, gives a markedly favourable po s i t i o n to women. This work i s here grouped with the law-codes because, although i t i s not s t r i c t l y a set of laws, i t i s , l i k e them, a p r e s c r i p t i v e l e g a l document. Exactly what i t s le g a l authority was i s not 35 clear, but i t s tenor suggests a statement of what i s desirable rather than obligatory. The text outlines the 57 formal procedure to be followed i n the betrothal. Liebermann, i n his e d i t i o n of the Anglo-Saxon laws, i s incl i n e d to regard t h i s work as late, between 970 and 1030, but t h i s i s mainly because i t shows a l i b e r a l i s m towards women more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the l a t e r period. The negotiations described i n Be Wifmannes  Beweddunge are much more advantageous to the woman than the s t i p u l a t i o n s set out i n the law-codes, e s p e c i a l l y the early ones. The prospective husband i s to make his s u i t only i f i t pleases the woman, as well as her kinsmen, and he i s to pledge "paet he on c^ a wisan h i r e geornige, d'et he 58 hy aefter Godes r i h t healdan w i l l e , swa wer his wif sceal." The bald ceap of Ethelbert\s Laws has become a giving of •K 59 recompense for rearing the bride ("oaet fosterlean") , and there i s an additional payment made to her personally by the bridegroom for accepting him ("wi(5 pam &et heo his 60 willan geceose"). If she outlives him, "ponne i s r i h t , 5aet heo sy healfes yrfes wyrcfe—7 e a l l e s , g i f hy c i l d fi 1 gemaene habban—, bute heo e f t waer ceose. " The Anglo-Saxon laws involving women are confined to the area of marriage and sexual offences. The bulk of . the laws, dealing with the penalties for various crimes and the organisation of trade and commerce, suggest an e n t i r e l y male world of a f f a i r s . The early laws make i t clear that a woman passes from the guardianship of one man 36 to that of another. A woman's choice in determining the manner of her l i f e i s lim i t e d to the option, not, apparently, allowed her i n the e a r l i e s t period, of refusing the husband chosen for her. By the l a t e s t period, i . e . , a f t e r about 1000, there i s some suggestion that the widow may remain independent: she can choose "past heo s y l f w y l l e . " 6 2 But there i s an ind i c a t i o n that the usual a l t e r n a t i v e to marriage i s the r e l i g i o u s l i f e , rather than an independent position i n the world. One of Cnut's laws 6 3 states: "7 na hadige man aefre wuduwan to hraedlice" ( i . e . , "do not too quickly make a widow a nun"), which suggests considerable pressure i n that d i r e c t i o n , from the family, or the Church, or both. Apart from the laws, certain other l e g a l documents shed l i g h t on the s o c i a l p o s i t i o n of women. These documents comprise charters, writs, marriage contracts, lawsuits, and w i l l s . The f i r s t two categories are of such a nature that the only information they o f f e r to the present purpose i s i n the form of names. Thus, charters add to the evidence of chronicles and other records by mentioning royal women as abbesses i n charge of monasteries in the 64 seventh, eighth, and early ninth centuries. Also, kings' wives, and more ra r e l y other members of the royal family, occasionally appear among the eminent men of the kingdom 65 as witnesses to charters. This i s contributing evidence that women of the highest rank took some part i n public « . 66 a f f a i r s . The other kind's of le g a l records are more f r u i t f u l . Two late Anglo-Saxon marriage contracts are p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g . Both date from the f i r s t quarter of the eleventh century, both are short, consisting of only two or three paragraphs, and both are c h i e f l y noteworthy for t h e i r record of land settlements. Clearly, the persons involved are of high rank. The women endowed by these settlements receive much better provision than that stipulated i n the laws, and somewhat better even than that indicated i n Be Wifmannes Beweddunqe. In one of these marriage contracts, that between Wulfric and Archbishop Wulfstan's s i s t e r , the lady i s given an estate to dispose of as she pleases, in addition to other land and substantial 67 g i f t s . In the other contract, the Kentish marriage agreement, the lady fares even better. She receives immediate endowments of a very p l e n t i f u l kind, and also the agreement i s made that whichever of the couple l i v e s the 68 longer s h a l l succeed to the whole property. There are two lawsuits i n which women play a prominent part: one records a dispute between a certain 69 Wynflaed and Leofwine, the other a dispute between a 70 mother and son. In her edi t i o n of these documents, Agnes Robertson suggests a date between 990 and 992 for the f i r s t , between 1016 and 1035 f o r the second. Both disputes concern the ownership of land. In the case of Wynflaed, a woman appears on her own behalf i n court and produces witnesses to support her. These include persons of very high rank, 38 both men and women. Wynflaad was attempting to recover an estate seized from her by Leofwine. She fought her own case—and apparently won i t . In the other case, a woman vindicates her rig h t to d i s i n h e r i t her own son when bequeathing her land. These documents indicate that, in these two lawsuits at least, women were able to secure t h e i r r i g h t s with vigour and independence. The fact that there i s no mention of a husband i n either case makes i t l i k e l y that these women were widows, and thus freer to act for themselves. It should be noted that the unnamed woman who cut her son out of her w i l l did not act u a l l y go to court h e r s e l f ; the o f f i c i a l s came to v i s i t her. More-over, the prominence of T h u r k i l l the White i n the account, and the fac t that his wife was the beneficiary i n the contested w i l l , make i t l i k e l y that T h u r k i l l was a powerful man in the d i s t r i c t , and t h i s may have had something to do with the outcome of the case. The case of Wynflaed i s the major piece of evidence for the Anglo-Saxon woman's rig h t to plead her own lawsuit. In the other case described, the woman made her defence out of court. There are other lawsuits in which women are prominently involved. An example i s the dispute between Eadgifu, the wife (later the widow) of Edward the Elder, 71 and a certain Goda, over the ownership of land. The record describes a dispute l a s t i n g many years and involving several appeals to the king and the witan. The dispute was f i n a l l y s e t t l e d i n Eadgifu's favour i n the reign of Edgar, her grandson. The account does not specify whether or not Eadgifu a c t u a l l y appeared in court, but does r e f e r to the intercession of Byrhsige Dyrincg and Eadgifu's friends. The case shows that Eadgifu held or claimed land i n her own right, even during the l i f e t i m e of her husband, and that she pursued her claim with vigour and tenacity; but i t looks as i f , to some extent at least, she stood i n the background, and needed the assistance of male friends and r e l a t i v e s to make her claim e f f e c t i v e . Although she eventually won her case, she gave the land to the Church, which hints that pressure from e c c l e s i a s t i c a l quarters had something to do with her f i n a l success. There i s the same implication i n the case of the widow of JEtheric of 7 2 Boccing. She appealed to King Ethelred and the witan to l e t her husband's w i l l stand; i . e . , she wished that her husband, who had died i n bad favour, should be r e h a b i l i t a t e d . Her appeal was made through her forespeca, Archbishop i E l f r i c , and her s u i t was granted in consideration of her donating her morning-gift to the Church. The above lawsuits a l l concern wealthy women who are also widows (Eadgifu was a widow through most of the duration of the dispute and at the f i n a l settlement)-. These women took an active part i n conducting t h e i r a f f a i r s , and were not barred from appearing on t h e i r own behalf i n court; but i t seems to have been more l i k e l y that an i n f l u e n t i a l male f r i e n d or r e l a t i v e would present the case to the j u d i c i a l body: i n these instances, the witan. 40 The Anglo-Saxon w i l l s record the disposal of property, c h i e f l y land, but also money and valuables, to various b e n e f i c i a r i e s . These documents are the records of o r a l agreements, rather than w i l l s i n the s t r i c t modern 73 sense, but t h i s does not a f f e c t t h e i r value as evidence. Whitelock p r i n t s t h i r t y - n i n e w i l l s i n her c o l l e c t i o n . Of these, ten are made by women, and four by husbands and wives j o i n t l y . By and large, the best provision i s made for the eldest son, but younger sons and daughters are also provided with estates as well as valuables. The fact that no mention i s made of a husband in the women1s w i l l s , unless i n connection with hi s 'soul, 1 suggests that the t e s t a t r i c e s are widows. Michael Sheehan, in h i s study of medieval w i l l s , observes that women may occasionally have made w i l l s i n the l i f e t i m e of t h e i r husbands, but 74 only with the consent of the l a t t e r . When husbands w i l l estates to t h e i r wives, r e s t r i c t i o n s are usually placed on the widow's ri g h t to dispose of them, although 75 occasionally she i s allowed free disposal. One w i l l which i s of especial i n t e r e s t i s that of 76 King A l f r e d . It i s e a r l i e r than the w i l l s described i n the previous paragraph, and i n a d i f f e r e n t s t y l e ; i t s instructions are f i l l e d out with personal explanations and r e f l e c t i o n s i n the A l f r e d i a n manner. Like the w i l l s of lesser persons, the w i l l of A l f r e d d i s t r i b u t e s estates and money among his sons, daughters, and other kin and friends. The' more noteworthy section of the w i l l i n the present connection i s that i n which A l f r e d asks the rec i p i e n t s of hi s bocland to pass i t on to t h e i r sons and keep i t "on pa waepnedhealf e" and not "on pa spinlhealf e. " He states that such has been the practice of his grandfather. This passage indicates a preference for male h e i r s . The words have the a i r of a special, but not a remarkable, request. It looks as i f A l f r e d i s tr y i n g to consolidate resources in male hands, very l i k e l y as a m i l i t a r y precaution. The w i l l s and lawsuits, then, indicate that the p r i n c i p l e of male primogeniture, which dominates the transmission of property i n l a t e r times, has no overriding force in Anglo-Saxon inheritance. This freedom benefits not only wives and daughters, but also younger sons, and other interested persons. The evidence of the w i l l s and lawsuits suggests that women from the wealthiest families had some independent property r i g h t s . This i s es p e c i a l l y true of widows. As the evidence i s late, i t may well be that i n e a r l i e r times even widows of high rank did not have t h i s freedom. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the la t e Anglo-Saxon laws also suggest a stronger p o s i t i o n for widows than other women, whereas i n the e a r l i e s t laws widows continued to be subject to the guardianship (mund) 7 7 of another person. The status of women i n post-Conquest l e g i s l a t i o n resembles that in the late Anglo-Saxon law-codes, e s p e c i a l l y in the stronger p o s i t i o n of widows r e l a t i v e to other women. ° Although the marriage contracts show that some wealthy Anglo-Saxon women were more generously endowed by t h e i r husbands than feudal women were able to be, the Anglo-Saxon woman's degree of independence i n her husband's l i f e t i m e was probably no greater than that of the woman of feudal times, who was subject to her husband's decisions, was represented by him i n court, and 79 could not dispose of her property without h i s consent. I s h a l l now turn to a d i f f e r e n t type of record, the p e n i t e n t i a l s . These documents have some a f f i n i t i e s with the laws, i n that both consist of regulations governing conduct and setting punishments. In certain cases, the p e n i t e n t i a l s , l i k e the laws, grade offences according to 80 the rank of the persons concerned. However, the status of the p e n i t e n t i a l s i s quite d i f f e r e n t from that of the laws. The p e n i t e n t i a l s , which constitute guidelines f o r the use of p r i e s t s , do not necessarily represent o f f i c i a l opinion or widespread custom. The various sets of p e n i t e n t i a l codes are associated with certain e c c l e s i a s t i c s : Finnian, Cummean, Theodore, etc., and are e s p e c i a l l y directed to the monastic l i f e . Many of the offences described are those that would involve monks. For the Anglo-Saxon period, the most important p e n i t e n t i a l i s that linked with the name of Theodore of Tarsus, who was sent to England as Archbishop of Canterbury i n 669. This document purports to be the work of a certain "Discipulus Umbrensis" who compiled the pronouncements made by 81 Theodore. The P e n i t e n t i a l of Theodore i s p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant to t h i s study because i t contains two sections s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned with marriage. In general, the P e n i t e n t i a l shows the same p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment of the husband i n the marital r e l a t i o n s h i p as appeared i n the laws. This emerges very c l e a r l y i n those regulations which treat husband and wife quite d i f f e r e n t l y in the same si t u a t i o n . Thus, Theodore's P e n i t e n t i a l t e l l s us, "Si cuius uxor forn i c a t a f u e r i t l i c e t dimittere earn et aliam accipere . . . " but "Mulieri non l i c e t virum dimittere l i c e t s i t fornicator n i s i pro monasterio" ( i . e . , she can only divorce her husband for 82 adultery i f she wishes to enter a monastery) . Again: "Muliere mortua l i c e t v i r o post mensem alteram accipere mortuo v i r o post annum l i c e t mulieri alterum t o l l e r e [accipere?] virum." In these cases, the moral standard applied to the wife i s much s t r i c t e r . It i s s i g n i f i c a n t , however, that a woman i s considered e n t i t l e d to more generous treatment i f she decides to enter a monastery. This bias also appears i n a clause which allows a woman divorced for adultery to r e t a i n a quarter of her inheritance 84 i f she enters a monastery, but " s i non v u l t n i h i l habeat." The aus t e r i t y associated with the Church, and esp e c i a l l y with monasticism, makes i t s e l f apparent in regulations which imply something unclean i n the male-female r e l a t i o n s h i p and i n the physical nature of women. Thus, the P e n i t e n t i a l imposes considerable r e s t r i c t i o n s on 85 marital intercourse, and stipulates that a f t e r having intercourse with h i s wife a husband should wash before he 44 enters a church, and that a husband should not see his DC wife naked. Women are prohibited from entering a church 87 "menstruo tempore" and after c h i l d b i r t h . Regulations l i k e these represent an aus t e r i t y of outlook which finds no counterpart i n the secular sources. However, in contrast to the anti-female bias of the previously mentioned clauses, certain passages i n the Pe n i t e n t i a l show that i n some respects the influence of the Church was a pos i t i v e one. In p a r t i c u l a r , the tendency of the early laws to regard women as marriageable objects i s countered by clauses i n the P e n i t e n t i a l which safeguard a woman's po s i t i o n in t h i s regard. A g i r l of fourteen i s to have "sui corporis potestatem"; at the age of sixteen or seventeen she may choose to enter a monastery i f she wishes; and a f t e r t h i s age, she i s not to be married against 88 her w i l l . The P e n i t e n t i a l 1 s emphasis upon a woman's freedom of choice i s e a r l i e r than anything comparable i n the laws, and indicates that the Church had a l i b e r a l i s i n g influence i n t h i s respect, i f only because of i t s i n t e r e s t QQ i n allowing women to become nuns. On the other hand, the sexual aus t e r i t y and dista s t e for women which characterise the P e n i t e n t i a l are not carried over into the secular writings, are uncharacteristic of Anglo-Saxon society as a whole, and are nowhere to be found in the poetry. The other h i s t o r i c a l evidence f o r the period comes from narrative sources of various kinds. The chief contemporary record of Anglo-Saxon h i s t o r y i s the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Mention of women i n the Chronicle i s for the most part confined to members of royal f a m i l i e s and women connected with the Church ( i t i s known from other sources that these women were themselves usually r o y a l ) . Thus, the Chronicle records the foundation of the monastery of Qf) Ely by St. iEthelthryth (Etheldreda) i n 673, and her death i n 679, and also the death of Hi l d , abbess of Whitby, i n 680. There i s an entry recording that Queen Seaxburh reigned f o r one year a f t e r the death of her husband, 92 Cenwalh, i n 672; under the year 697 i t i s noted that the 93 Mercians slew Osthryth, Ethelred 1s queen; under 722 i t i s stated that Queen iEthelburh destroyed Taunton, which 94 Ine (her husband) had b u i l t . These laconic entries suggest that royal women could sometimes be a power i n th e i r own ri g h t . However, mention of women as the moving forces behind important p o l i t i c a l events i s rare. Very occasionally, women take a leading r o l e i n power p o l i t i c s , but there i s never any mention of women of less than royal rank doing so. Female members of royal families evidently had a po s i t i o n of considerable formal prominence. The appearance of the names of queens on royal charters was mentioned e a r l i e r . The Peterborough version of the Chronicle describes i n some d e t a i l the foundation of the abbey at Medeshamstede (Peterborough), and states that the s i s t e r s of King Wulfhere, along with h i s brother, were present at the ceremony of consecration and witnessed the 95 foundation charter. The fact that royal women commonly 46 played a formal and o f f i c i a l part in public a f f a i r s must have made i t possible for them to turn t h e i r merely formal r o l e into a more active one in certain circumstances. Such occasions, however, are mentioned very infrequently, except where women are involved i n the founding and administration of monasteries. There are three women i n the Anglo-Saxon period whose part i n secular p o l i t i c a l a f f a i r s i s s u f f i c i e n t l y conspicuous and well-documented to merit further attention. King Alfred's daughter JEthelflaed, who was married to Ethelred, Ealdorman of Mercia, ruled Mercia independently for several years aft e r her husband's death. The Abingdon version of the Chronicle incorporates a set of Mercian annals (the Mercian Register) which gives an account of iEthelf laed' s contribution to the campaign against the Danes. Evidently, iEthelflaed conducted a m i l i t a r y campaign with as much authority and decision as her brother Edward (the Elder), King of the West Saxons, or her father A l f r e d . She b u i l t a series of fo r t s , stormed certain towns, and secured the submission of others by the mere threat of her presence. No other woman i n the Chronicle i s described conducting a f f a i r s on equal terms with men i n t h i s way. iEthelflaed must have been a remarkable woman. However, she owed her position of power to the accidents of h i s t o r y : there seems to have been no male at the time who could command Mercian l o y a l t y . A f t e r her death, her daughter iElfwynn, who was obviously not made of the same stuff, only survived for a few months as leader of the Mercians before Edward assumed complete Q7 control. ' The other two notable women, known to us from the Chronicle, the Encomium Emmae Reginae, and other sources, are i E l f g i f u of Northampton and Emma of Normandy, the mistress and wife respectively of King Cnut. Emma, although not herself an Anglo-Saxon, comes within the scope of t h i s enquiry by being a queen of Anglo-Saxon England. She was f i r s t married to Ethelred the Unready, by whom she had two sons: Edward (the Confessor) and Alfred. They were sent to Normandy during the troubled reign of Ethelred, and were thereafter brought up at the Norman court. Cnut 1s r e l a t i o n s h i p with i E l f g i f u , which preceded h i s marriage, was a respectable l i a i s o n , "more Danico." He acknowledged his two sons by her, Swein and Harold Harefoot, and made Swein King of Norway under the regency of AClfgifu. She ruled with such severity that her reign, "^Elfgifu's time," became a proverbial expression for a time of hardship. We gather, reading between the l i n e s in the Chronicle, that when Cnut died i n 1035, there was a struggle between i E l f g i f u and Emma as to whether Harold Harefoot or n o Harthacnut, Emma's son should become king. ° Harold was at f i r s t successful. He deprived Emma of the royal treasure and drove her into e x i l e , but not before she had put up considerable resistance. The Chronicle states that Harold took "ealle pa betstan gaersuma c5e heo ofhealdan ne 48 mihte, " but she "saet peh forS baer binnan [ i . e . , in the town of Winchester] 5a hwile pe heo m o s t e . B e f o r e she l e f t , her son Al f r e d made his i l l - f a t e d v i s i t to England which resulted i n his murder by the followers of Ea r l Godwine. The Chronicle says A l f r e d came to v i s i t h i s mother, but probably he was sounding out his brother Edward's chances in the p o l i t i c a l scene, a piece of manoeuvering i n which Emma may well have had foreknowledge. Harold only reigned a short time before he died and was succeeded by Harthacnut, who himself died i n 1042, whereupon Edward the Confessor succeeded. The Chronicle describes how after h i s accession Edward deprived h i s mother of a l l her wealth "forSam heo h i t heold aer to fasste wiS hine. It i s clear that both i E l f g i f u and Emma were i n f l u e n t i a l women. .asifgifu imposed a severe regime on Norway, and Emma exercised herself i n the struggle over the succession a f t e r Cnut's death. The Chronicle's descriptions of her behaviour suggest that she too was a hard and tenacious woman. Also, the references to the treasure that she t r i e d so hard to keep indicate that she li v e d with considerable independent state. Nevertheless, neither i E l f g i f u nor Emma sought power i n her own ri g h t . They aimed at wielding power through t h e i r sons, unlike iEthelf laed, who ruled the Mercians on her own behalf. Although iEthelflaed i s exceptional, she has counterparts in other periods. Matilda i s the obvious comparison from 49 the Norman era. She, along with Eleanor of Aquitaine, and other great ladies, i s ci t e d by Doris Stenton as evidence that women continued to take part i n m i l i t a r y 102 struggles f o r power afte r the Conquest. One of our most important narrative sources of information about women i s Bede's E c c l e s i a s t i c a l History of the English People, completed about 731. Bede 1s presentation of e c c l e s i a s t i c a l women tends to the hagiographic st y l e , and miracles and visions are frequent; but the existence of these women and the main events associated with them need not be doubted. The most important contribution of the History to t h i s study i s i t s p l e n t i f u l evidence that in the early Anglo-Saxon period women played a prominent part in organised r e l i g i o n . After the Conversion, i t became the practice f o r female members of royal families to found monasteries which housed both men and women. The double monastery i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Anglo-Saxon age preceding the Danish invasions. Single establishments existed f o r men, but a l l the houses for women seem to have been of the double type, presided over by an abbess. Whitelock states i n her survey of Anglo-Saxon society that the double monastery was 103 "primarily for nuns." The double monastery with an abbess at i t s head offered a unique opportunity f o r women to exercise authority. The monasteries f e l l into decay during the Danish invasions; and, when they were founded again l a t e r , a l l of them were single houses. The abbesses 50 of the nunneries that grew up from the time of Alf r e d on never had the same status as the women who headed the double monasteries of the early period. The most famous of these royal abbesses i s H i l d of Whitby, of whom Bede speaks at length."^ 4 Through the usual examples of r e l i g i o u s devotion and special grace emerges a woman of very unusual a b i l i t y , whom kings looked up to and applied to for advice: "Tantae autem erat prudentiae, ut non solum mediocres quique i n necessitatibus suis sed etiam reges et principes nonnumquam ab ea consilium quaererent et i n v e n i r e n t . F i v e men trained under her became b i s h o p s . H i l d was abbess at the time of the Synod of Whitby i n 664, when i t was decided to follow the practices of the Roman rather than the C e l t i c Church. She thus p a r t i c i p a t e d i n a h i s t o r i c decision, although Bede does not record that she took part i n any of the discussion 107 at the synod. Among other women who appear i n the pages of Bede should be mentioned JEthelthryth, wife of King E c g f r i t h and foundress of Ely. For Bede, iEthelthryth 1 s major achievement was her preservation of her v i r g i n i t y through twelve years of marriage. After t h i s her husband re l u c t a n t l y gave h i s consent to her taking the v e i l . Bede includes a poem comparing her with the v i r g i n martyrs, and describing how af t e r her death her body remained uncorrupted 1 OP. because she had preserved her chastity. Elsewhere i n the History, Bede describes how the body of iEthelburh was 51 109 miraculously preserved f o r the same reason. The r e l i g i o u s zeal of these women and t h e i r preservation of t h e i r v i r g i n i t y are the features stressed by Bede, but i t i s evident that r e l i g i o u s dedication could go hand in hand with a strong organising a b i l i t y , thereby enabling a r i s t o c r a t i c women l i k e H i l d and iEthelthryth to exercise powers of leadership and administration. The kind of presentation found i n the more r e a l i s t i c saints' l i v e s i s very l i k e that in Bede's accounts of holy women. Two vitae in p a r t i c u l a r are i l l u s t r a t i v e of the i n f l u e n t i a l p o s ition held by abbesses i n the early Anglo-Saxon Church. One i s the L i f e of Bishop W i l f r i d , by Eddius Stephanus, which i s int e r e s t i n g i n that one of the incidents associated with W i l f r i d ' s career involved the a l t e r a t i o n of the decision of a synod because of the intervention of Abbess ASlfflaed . 1 1 ® W i l f r i d had been out of favour with King A l d f r i t h of Northumbria, and had been dispossessed of his sees of Ripon and Hexham. The synod i n question was c a l l e d to consider W i l f r i d ' s reinstatement, a f t e r many years. The others present were unwilling to reinstate W i l f r i d , but AClfflaad, the s i s t e r of A l d f r i t h , turned the decision by reporting her brother's dying speech, in which he expressed his desire to make peace with W i l f r i d . On t h i s occasion, ASlfflaed was a respected member of the synod, along with the king (Osred, A l d f r i t h ' s son), and various prominent members of the Church and state. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t , however, that iElfflaed's words carried weight because she reported the wish of a king. The other saint's l i f e to be mentioned here i s the L i f e of Leofqyth (Vita Leobae) by Rudolf of F u l d a . 1 1 1 The subject of t h i s work i s an English nun of the eighth century who went out to a s s i s t Boniface i n his mission to the heathen Germans and was made by him abbess of a monastery at Tauberbischofsheim. Rudolf's L i f e gives a p o r t r a i t of Leofgyth very much i n the tenor of Bede's descriptions of H i l d and iEthelthryth, stressing Leofgyth's r e l i g i o u s devotion and the a f f e c t i o n with which she was regarded by her subordinates. Also, Rudolf's account i s a further i l l u s t r a t i o n of the prominent part played by Anglo-Saxon women i n the expansion of the Church. We know of Leofgyth not only from Rudolf's account but also from a surviving l e t t e r written by her to 11? Boniface. She requests Boniface to think of her and remember her in his prayers, sends a small g i f t and some verses, to which she refers deprecatingly, and asks him to correct her Latin. Other women also corresponded with 113 Boniface: Bucge, Ecgburh, Eangyth, Eadburh, and Cena. A l l these women were nuns, and most of them became abbesses. Their l e t t e r s provide a valuable s i d e l i g h t on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the English abbesses and a prominent e c c l e s i a s t i c l i k e Boniface. The st y l e in which these women write shows a mixture of rather passionate a f f e c t i o n with exaggerated deference. Ecgburh says that when she f e e l s the bond of his love "quasi quiddam mellitae 53 dulcedinis meis visceribus hie sapor i n s i d e t . " Eangyth begins a l e t t e r with a most elaborate sa l u t a t i o n : Benedicto i n Deo in fi d e ac d i l e c t i o n e v e n e r a b i l i Uuynfrido cognomento Bonifatio presbiteratus p r i v i l e g i o predito et v i r g i n a l i s castimoniae f l o r i b u s velud l i l i a r u m s e r t i s coronato nec non doctrine s c i e n t i a erudito Eangyth indigna a n c i l l a ancillarum Dei et nomine abbatissae sine merito functa . . . .115 Boniface and his successor, Lul, who usually r e f e r to themselves by the b r i e f designation "exiguus servus," or similar term, i n the salutations which head t h e i r own l e t t e r s , are much less e f f u s i v e . The st y l e of the abbesses' l e t t e r s suggests that the re l a t i o n s h i p of these women to Boniface, though intimate, was one of i n f e r i o r s to a superior. The l e t t e r s of Boniface himself give indications of contemporary attitudes to women. In h i s l e t t e r to iEthelbald of Mercia, Boniface upbraids the king for l l 6 f o r n i c a t i o n with nuns. Boniface regards defilement of nuns as the worst sin of t h i s type: Nam hoc peccatum duplex esse non dubium est. Ut verbi g r a t i a dicamus, cuius vindicte reus s i t puer apud dominum suum, qui uxorem domini sui adulte r i s v i o l a v e r i t : quanto magis i l l e , qui sponsam C h r i s t i c r eatoris c a e l i et terrae putredine suae l i b i d i n i s conmaculaverit . . .117 These words reveal the sense of hierarchy deeply engrained i n the Anglo-Saxon way of thinking. Women were part of t h i s hierarchy by being attached to men of various ranks, 118 but the nun was the bride of Christ. Later i n the same l e t t e r , Boniface speaks with approval of the customs of the heathen Germans. When a 54 wife i s g u i l t y of adultery, she i s whipped half-naked through the streets by the other matrons of the town. Boniface's approval i s an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the Church's severity towards female unchastity, and his fulminations against f o r n i c a t i o n are in a way the counterpart to Bede's celebration of v i r g i n i t y . The same concern also appears i n Boniface's l e t t e r to Archbishop Cuthbert, i n which he complains of the dangers which beset women on the pilgrimage to Rome: they usually end up as pros t i t u t e s i n one of the towns en route. The conclusions drawn from a l l the various kinds 119 of sources can now be brought together. A clear picture emerges, although the circumstantial d e t a i l s are missing. It i s evident that the usual p o s i t i o n for Anglo-Saxon women was not one of independence. Their subordination to fathers, husbands, or male r e l a t i v e s appears c l e a r l y in the laws. The other s o u r c e s — p e n i t e n t i a l s , writs, charters, marriage contracts, lawsuits, w i l l s , h i s t o r i e s , vitae, l e t t e r s — s u p p o r t the evidence of the laws with some q u a l i f i c a t i o n . The p e n i t e n t i a l s show a rather severe attitude to women, but at the same time emphasise that they should be treated as persons with certain r i g h t s . The remaining sources indicate that i n most circumstances men dominate a f f a i r s , but that there are spec i a l cases in which certain categories of women have the power of independent action. The c o l l e c t i v e impression created by the evidence of various kinds i s that women's position, 55 though not debased, was markedly r e s t r i c t e d . The generally dependent position of Anglo-Saxon women i s q u a l i f i e d by two fac t o r s : f i r s t , the pos i t i o n of women improved i n the course of the period; second, throughout the period, the r e l a t i v e dependence of women varied according to t h e i r c l a s s . The laws indicate that there was an o v e r a l l improvement i n the status of women in the course of the Anglo-Saxon era. Whereas the Laws of Ethelbert indicate that i n 600 A.D. Anglo-Saxon women were regarded as chattels, the Laws of Cnut show that i n the eleventh century women, though s t i l l f a r from equal, were regarded as persons with an i d e n t i t y of t h e i r own. It i s widows who pr o f i t e d most from t h i s improvement i n status. Whereas unmarried g i r l s and married women continued subject, though less so, to the decisions of fathers and husbands, respectively, widows achieved a limited degree of independence. This o v e r a l l improvement applied to the population as a whole. In fact, the r i s e i n the status of women during the f i v e hundred years of the recorded Anglo-Saxon era makes the difference between the early and lat e Anglo-Saxon period i n t h i s respect much greater than that between the late Anglo-Saxon and the post-Conquest era. Wealthy women benefited e s p e c i a l l y from the general improvement i n women's condition. This fact emerges from the more advantageous p o s i t i o n accorded women i n the large land settlements mentioned by w i l l s , marriage contracts, and lawsuits, i n contrast to the less favourable p o s i t i o n 56 assigned to the generality of women i n the laws. Thus, wealthy widows of the l a t e period are the Anglo-Saxon women who came closest to achieving independence. Female members of royal families belong to a special category. Annals and h i s t o r i e s show that i t was not normal for them to manage a f f a i r s , but that, occasionally, doubtless because of the special mystique attached to royalty, they were allowed to assume control. Mostly, they acted as figureheads, witnessing documents and appearing on public occasions, but, i n rare cases, they ac t u a l l y took up the reins of power: they led armies and ruled kingdoms. Thus, royal women were prominent, though mainly inactive, i n secular a f f a i r s . However, t h e i r special prestige did re g u l a r l y lead them to positions of authority connected with the Church. Such positions, though formally cut o f f from the world, i n fact, i n the early period, enabled them to wield very great influence as the abbesses of double monasteries. Prominent male c l e r i c s , as well as nuns, were associated with these i n s t i t u t i o n s , and, hence, the abbesses i n charge occupied positions of great importance. When, l a t e r , nuns were housed i n exclusively female convents, the abbesses l o s t the larger influence enjoyed by t h e i r predecessors. However, even the great abbesses of the early period were not of equal status with the senior (male) functionaries of Church and state. The generally i n f e r i o r status of Anglo-Saxon women i s q u a l i f i e d , then, by an o v e r a l l improvement i n t h e i r status, by the more independent position of wealthy widows i n the l a t e period, and by the special p o s i t i o n of royal women. Nevertheless, for the most part women i n Anglo-Saxon times were subject to men's governance and were not able to take an active role outside the home. Harshness to women i s seen e s p e c i a l l y in the area of offences against the sexual code, and thi s severity i s reinforced by the attitude of the Church. The only women who attained public authority at any time i n the period were either of royal blood or 120 cl o s e l y linked with royalty. In spite of the tendency of scholars to stress the independence of the Anglo-Saxon woman, the t y p i c a l woman of that era was anything but independent. The arguments for the independence of Anglo-Saxon women have been c h i e f l y based on the evidence of the w i l l s and lawsuits, evidence pertaining to wealthy widows i n the tenth and eleventh centuries, who, as I have demonstrated, are decidedly a t y p i c a l . For the most part, Anglo-Saxon women were not allowed to make for themselves the major decisions a f f e c t i n g the course of t h e i r l i v e s . The ways in which t h i s state of a f f a i r s influences t h e i r characterisation in the poetry w i l l emerge i n the succeeding chapters. 58 Footnotes 1"Anglo-Saxon Poetry and the H i s t o r i a n , " TRHS, 4th series, 31 (1949), 75-94. This tendency i s the weakness of Roeder 1s study. See Introduction, p. 5. 2 In t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , the Anglo-Saxon period i s taken to mean the time from the settlement to the Norman Conquest, but most of the discussion w i l l necessarily apply to the period a f t e r 600, when writing begins as a result of the Conversion. 3 The system of private penance associated with the pen i t e n t i a l s sometimes received o f f i c i a l censure, p a r t l y because of the v a r i a t i o n between the d i f f e r e n t p e n i t e n t i a l s , and p a r t l y because a need was f e l t for the old system of public penance for public offences. The pe n i t e n t i a l s were condemned by synods at Chalon i n 813 and at Paris i n 829. See Medieval Handbooks of Penance, eds. J. T. McNeill and H. M. Gamer (New York: Columbia University Press, 1938; rep. Octagon Books, 1965), p. 27. 4 In contrast with the highly f i c t i t i o u s , " e p i c a l " saints' l i v e s , discussed i n Chapter IV. 5 See Bandel, "The English Chroniclers' Attitude toward Women," p. 114; Florence Griswold Buckstaff, "Married Women's Property i n Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman Law and the Origin of the Common Law Dower," Annals of the American  Academy of P o l i t i c a l and Social Sciences, 4 (1893-94), 264; D. M. Stenton, The English Woman in History, p. 348. See also Introduction, pp. 3-5, above. See Buckstaff, p. 251. 7 One p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g piece of evidence, c i t e d by both Doris Stenton and her husband, F. M. Stenton, i s s l i g h t l y post-Conquest, and appears i n Domesday Book. This i s the reference to a cer t a i n Asa in Yorkshire, who "held her land separate and free from the lordship of Bernulf her husband." See D. M. Stenton, pp. 27-28, and, for a f u l l e r account, F. M. Stenton, "The H i s t o r i c a l Bearing of Place-Name Studies: The Place of Women in Anglo-Saxon Society," TRHS, 4th series, 24 (1943), 11-12. The value of t h i s piece of evidence i s limited not only by i t s lateness, but also by i t s o r i g i n i n the Danelaw, which raises the question of possibly greater freedom for women in the area of Scandinavian influence. Buckstaff, p. 256. Bandel, pp. 115-18. 59 1 0D. M. Stenton, p. 51. i : LVolume II, 4th ed. (London, 1936) , 19. 12 For a convenient summary of the d i v i s i o n s of Anglo-Saxon society, see Whitelock, The Beginnings of  English Society, The Pelican History of England, 2 (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1952; rev. 1965), pp. 83-84. A more thoroughgoing investigation of the issues involved i s undertaken by H. M. Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon  In s t i t u t i o n s (Cambridge, 1905; reissued New York, 1963). See e s p e c i a l l y Chapters III, IV, and X. 13 Only the b r i e f e s t description i s given here, and no account i s taken of the various complications. These problems are discussed f u l l y by Chadwick. 14 See the Laws of Ethelbert, sections 10, 14, and 16, in Die Gesetze der Anqelsachsen, ed. F. Liebermann (Halle, 1903-16; rep. 1960), v o l . I. In sec. 10, the general term maeqdenman i s used for the slave, in sees. 14 and 16 the more s p e c i f i c term b i r e l e (server of drink). Sees. 11 and 16 also make provision for lower fines payable for v i o l a t i o n of more menial slaves. A l l subsequent c i t a t i o n s of the Anglo-Saxon laws are taken from Liebermann 1s e d i t i o n . 15 A l f r e d , sec. 10. l fi Ibid., ;secs. 18.1, 2, and 3. 17 Ibid., sec. 8. •^Ibid. , sec. 18. 19 Ibid., sees. 11-11.5. 20 The law states that the fine i s payable to "pam byrgean" (18.1), meaning the person responsible for the contract of betrothal. This suggests the woman's l e g a l guardian. The Laws of Ethelbert also enumerate fines for breach of guardianship over ( i . e . , sexual interference with) widows according to t h e i r rank. A d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between breach of mund (this offence i s , presumably, simply sexual violation) and actual taking of a woman who does not belong to one (presumably, forced marriage) . The l a t t e r offence i s subject to twice as high a f i n e as the former. See Ethelbert, sees. 75, 75.1, and 76. 21 Alfr e d , sec. 8. 22 This does not necessarily mean that the woman does not suffer by law. The abducted nun mentioned i n Alfred's 60 Laws i s to have none of her husband's inheritance, and neither i s her c h i l d (sees. 8.1 and 8.2). And, as we s h a l l see l a t e r , there are le g a l penalties for u n f a i t h f u l wives. But the emphasis in the laws cited above i s on the g u i l t or injury involving the male pa r t i e s . The abducted nun i s deprived of her husband's inheritance because her marriage i s regarded as dubious, i f not exactly i n v a l i d . 23 24 Ine, sec. 38. Cnut, II, sees. 76, 76.1, 76.1a, and 76.1b: 25 Cf. Roeder's statement that the laws and the poetry complement one another, i n that they deal with d i f f e r e n t sections of society. See p. 6 and pp. 89-90. 26 27 Ethelbert, sees. 77 and 77.1 Ibid., sec. 82. 28 29 Ibid., sec. 31, Ine, sec. 31. 30 Roeder, p. 23. See also p. 31. Roeder stresses that the ceremony i s a c i v i l contract. I do not propose to discuss here the d i s t i n c t i o n between the betrothal and the wedding, since a decision on t h i s subject does not affec t any conclusion drawn about the pos i t i o n of women. It i s , in fact, very d i f f i c u l t to d i s t i n g u i s h between the two, and the sharp l i n e drawn by Roeder i s not convincing. The passage quoted i s taken from h i s discussion of betrothal, His d i s t i n c t i o n between the e n t i r e l y c i v i l nature of the betrothal contract and the church blessing attached to the wedding i t s e l f i s acceptable—and s i g n i f i c a n t . Roeder notes that even i n the l a t t e r case the r e l i g i o u s element i s not es s e n t i a l , and states "dass die Ehe i n der That . . . j u r i s t i s c h geschlossen i s t , der Prie s t e r aber hieran keinen T e i l hat, sondern der vollzogenen . Eheschliessing nur den k i r c h l i c h e n segen e r t e i l t " (p." 58) . 31 Cnut, II, sec. 53. This law has a Scandinavian p a r a l l e l . See Roeder, p. 136. 51.1, 52, 52.1, 3 2See Cnut, II, sees. 50, 50.1, 51, 54, and 54.1. 33 Roeder points out a similar inequity i n the attitude to unfaithfulness on the part of betrothed persons. He ci t e s sec. 18 of Alfred's Laws (mentioned above), which assigns f i n e s payable for sexual misconduct with a betrothed woman. Roeder notes that the laws contain no clause about a betrothed man, and believes that t h i s i s to 61 be explained by a s o c i a l attitude "die ursprunglich dem Mann erlaubte, in Konkubinat und Vielweiberei zu leben" (p. 38) . Again, Roeder believes the fact that only the wife i s severely punished for i n f i d e l i t y stems from the e a r l y concept of the married woman as her husband 1s property (p. 133, see also p. 136) . ^ 4Ine, sec. 57. 35 Cnut, II, sees. 76, 76.1, 76.1a, and 76.1b. 36 Roeder, p. 84. 37 Ibid., pp. 83-84. Roeder i s here quoting from Schmid, Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, 2nd ed. (Leipzig, 1858), p. 404 (Anhang X, Kap. 1). 38 BWW, sec. 7. Printed i n Liebermann, I, 442. BWW i s discussed more f u l l y l a t e r in the chapter. See Roeder, p. 89. The passage runs: " S i m i l i t e r s i mulier homicidium f a c i a t , in earn v e l progeniem v e l parentes ejus vindicetur, v e l inde componat; non in virum suum, seu clientelam innocentem . . . ." 40 The fact that the wife belongs to a d i f f e r e n t k i n from her husband i s pointed out by Lorraine Lancaster, who stresses the b i l a t e r a l (rather than p a t r i l i n e a l ) nature of the Anglo-Saxon kin group, "Kinship i n Anglo-Saxon Society," B r i t i s h Journal of Sociology, 9 (1958), 230-50, and 359-77. 41 Ethelbert, sees. 79 and 80. 42 Hlothhere and Eadric, sec. 6; Ine, sec. 38. 43 A l f r e d , sec. 27. Also cf. A l f r e d , sec. 8.3, which implies that part of the wergild was paid to the maternal, part to the paternal k i n . Presumably the proportions would be the same. 44 iEthelstan, II, sec. 11. 45 Cnut, II, sec. 53. 46 Cf. n. 7. The reference to Asa's holding her land separate from the lordship of her husband suggests that such a degree of independence was unusual. 47 Ethelbert, sees. 78-81. See Anglo-Saxon W i l l s , ed. Whitelock (Cambridge, 1930), passim. 62 4 9Cnut, II, sec. 70.1. 50 T Ine, sec. 57. 5 1See Buckstaff, pp. 251 and 260. 5 2Cnut, II, sec. 74. 5 3 V Ethelred, sec. 21. 54 Ibid., sec. 21.1. Roeder suggests that the reason for a twelve-month waiting period before a widow can remarry i s the p o s s i b i l i t y of a posthumous c h i l d (pp. 139-40). 5 5See n. 31. 56 Cnut, II, sees. 73 and 73a. 57 Be Wifmannes Beweddunge, l i k e the marriage contracts, deals mainly with preliminaries, and hence pertains to the betrothal more than the marriage ceremony i t s e l f , but no sharp d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between the two. Cf. n. 30. Sec. 8 of BWW evidently refers to the actual wedding, for which the word used i s g i f t — t h e "givingV of the bride. C O BWW, sec. 1. 59 Ibid., sec. 2. ^ I b i d . , sec. 3. 6 l I b i d . , sec. 4. 62 V Ethelred, sec. 21.1, and Cnut, II, sec. 73. ^ 3 I b i d . , sec. 73.3. 64 Cf. English H i s t o r i c a l Documents, I, c. 500-1042 (London, 1955), trans. Whitelock, 446. Here Whitelock translates a charter i n which Nothhelm, King of the South Saxons, grants land to h i s s i s t e r Notgyth for the founding of a monastery (c. 692) . 6 5See EHD, I, 440-56, passim. ^The special p o s i t i o n accorded to queens was not peculiar to the Anglo-Saxons. The wives of the post-Conquest kings, down to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Henry II, acted as chancellors for t h e i r husbands and issued writs during t h e i r absence on m i l i t a r y campaigns. I am indebted fo r t h i s and other information pertaining to the post-Conquest period to Donna Gordon and her paper "The Social Status of Women in Post-Conquest England, 1066-1216," 63 presented to the Guild f o r Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Alberta, November 21, 1974. ft n This marriage contract i s printed i n Anglo-Saxon  Charters, ed. and trans. Agnes Robertson (Cambridge, 1956), p. 148. 6 8 I b i d . , p. 150. 6 9 I b i d . , pp. 136-38. 7 0 I b i d . , pp. 150-52. 71 Printed i n Essays i n Anglo-Saxon Law, by Adams, Lodge, Young, and Laughlin (Boston, 1876), pp. 342-47. Among the cases found i n t h i s volume are several which involve women primarily or i n c i d e n t a l l y , including the disputes described above. The date 961 i s assigned to the record of the dispute between Eadgifu and Goda. 72 Ibid., pp. 362-63. The case i s dated "after 1000. " 73 Whitelock, Anglo-Saxon W i l l s . See General Preface, by H. D. Hazeltine, pp. v i i - x i . 74 In support of t h i s statement, he c i t e s the mention in the Ramsey Chronicon of the death-bed w i l l of Thurgunt, made "permittente v i r o suo T h u r k i l l o . " Sheehan comments on the w i l l s made j o i n t l y by husband and wife: "However, the manner i n which the text of the w i l l s l i p s from the f i r s t person p l u r a l to the t h i r d person singular masculine, or from the t h i r d person p l u r a l to the d i r e c t words of the husband, indicates the prominent part the l a t t e r played i n the transaction." The W i l l i n Medieval England (Toronto, 1963), pp. 70-71. 75 Cf. Lancaster, p. 363. 76 Printed i n Select English H i s t o r i c a l Documents of  the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, ed. F. E. Harmer (Cambridge, 1914), pp. 15-19. 77 See E t h e l b e r t 1 s Laws, sees. 75, 75.1, and 76, and cf. n. 20. Cf. also Roeder, pp. 141-42, and 146. See Roeder, pp. 159-61 on the change i n the status of women in the course of the Anglo-Saxon period. 78 Buckstaff refers to the Charter of L i b e r t i e s of Henry I, which guarantees the inheritance r i g h t s of widows, including c h i l d l e s s widows, and protects them against forced marriage (pp. 256-57), although she regards t h i s as 64 a promise u n f u l f i l l e d . D. M. Stenton observes that Magna Carta confirms the widow's r i g h t to the land she brought to the marriage and her ri g h t not to be constrained to remarry (pp. 50-51). 7 9 C f . Buckstaff, p. 253. 80 See the Pen i t e n t i a l of Theodore, I: XIV, sees. 9-12. Here, the v i o l a t i o n of a slave incurs a much l i g h t e r penance than v i o l a t i o n of a free woman, while i n the l a t t e r case the penance i s graded in ascending stages, according to whether the woman i s married, a v i r g i n , or a nun. A l l references to the Pe n i t e n t i a l of Theodore are made to the U text as printed by P. W. Finsterwalder, Die  Canones Theodori Cantuariensis und ihre Uberlieferunqsformen (Weimar, 1929). Finsterwalder compares the various groups of manuscripts, and pr i n t s four texts, of which the U i s by far the f u l l e s t . It i s the U group of manuscripts on which McNeill bases h i s t r a n s l a t i o n i n h i s Medieval  Handbooks of Penance. 8 1 S e e McNeill, p. 180. 8 2Theodore, I I : XII, sees. 5-6. 8 3 I b i d . , sec 10. Cf. n. 54, above. 84 Ibid., sec. 11. 85 Ibid., I: XIV, sees. 19-23. Similar attempts to l i m i t marital intercourse can be seen in the homilies. Cf. Roeder, p. 132. 8 6 I b i d . , I I : XII, sees. 30-31. 8 7 Ibid., I: XIV, sees. 17-18. Roeder quotes corresponding r e s t r i c t i o n s from the Canons of Gregory on marital intercourse during menstruation or a f t e r conception, but regards these as "rein sanitare" regulations (pp. 132-33) This s t r a i n i n the pe n i t e n t i a l s i s to be attributed to the influence of the Mosaic Law. Cf. Roeder, pp. 150 and 174-75. 88 Theodore, I I : XII, sees. 36-37. The ages vary within a few years in the d i f f e r e n t manuscripts. 89 Roeder believes that i n some respects the Church refined Anglo-Saxon mores and introduced a higher c u l t u r a l i d e a l (p. 161). Several of Ethelred's codes, including the code of 1008, which stresses the rights of widows, show marked e c c l e s i a s t i c a l influence. See pp. 33-34, above, and cf. Whitelock's remarks, EHD, I, p. 405. 90 Two Saxon Chronicles P a r a l l e l , eds. C. Plummer and 65 J. Earle (Oxford, 1892-99; rep. 1952), I, 34 and 35. JEthelthryth was the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia and the wife of E c g f r i t h of Northumbria. 91 Ibid., pp. 38-39. H i l d was a member of the Northumbrian royal family. 92 Ibid., pp. 34-35. Cenwalh was King of Wessex. 9 3 Ibid., p. 41. Ethelred was King of Mercia; thus, Osthryth was k i l l e d by her own subjects. 94 Ibid., p. 43. A reference to events i n Wessex. 95 Ibid., pp. 30-32. 9 6 I b i d . , pp. 93-95, 98-101, and 105. 9 7 I b i d . , p. 105. 9 8 I b i d . , pp. 158-61. " i b i d . , pp. 158-59. 1 0 0 I b i d . , pp. 162-63. ^•*"In connection with Eleanor's independence, i t may be noted here that she continued to hold Aquitaine, inherited from her father, i n her own r i g h t . Cf. n. 66, above. 102 D. M. Stenton, pp. 37-38. 103 Beginnings of English Society, p. 171. ^^Bede's E c c l e s i a s t i c a l History, eds. B. Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1969), pp. 404-14. This e d i t i o n gives the Latin text with facing English t r a n s l a t i o n . H i l d was the patroness of the poet Caedmon. The account of the angelic i n s p i r a t i o n of Caedmon, the cowherd, to sing the Creation, i s one of the most famous passages in Bede. 1 0 5 I b i d . , p. 408. Ibid. 1 0 7 I b i d . , pp. 296-308. 1 0 8 I b i d . , pp. 396-400. 1 0 9 I b i d . , p. 240. 66 See Clinton Albertson, S.J., Anglo-Saxon Saints  and Heroes (Fordham University Press, 1967), pp. 155-56. Albertson translates extracts from a number of Anglo-Latin saints' l i v e s . See also h i s note 121, p. 156, where he c i t e s the numerous royal women who exercised t h e i r influence i n W i l f r i d ' s career. '^"''Edited by G. Waitz i n Mon. Germ. Hist. , Scriptores, 15, pt. 1 (1887; rep. 1963), 118-31. 112 Die Briefe des Hei l i g e n : Bonifatius und Lullus, ed. M. Tangl (Mon. Germ. Hist., Epistolae Selectae, 1, 1916; rep. 1955), pp. 52-53. 1 1 3 I b i d . , pp. 7-15, 18-28, 47-49, 52-60, 137-38, and 214-18. 1 1 4 I b i d . , pp. 18-19. l l 5 I b i d . , p. 21. l l 6 I b i d . , pp. 146-55. 1 1 7 I b i d . , p. 148. 118 Cf. Alfred's laws on the forced marriage of nuns and on i n s u l t to nuns, Alf r e d , sees. 8 and 18. 119 The non-literary sources of information about the position of women are scanty i n the extreme. Archaeological confirmation of the prominence of kings' wives and the fact that they occasionally assumed r e a l power i s to be found in the appearance of the head of Cynethryth, wife of Offa of Mercia, on two s i l v e r pennies from h i s reign. See D. M. Stenton, pp. 2-3. It has been argued by S i r Frank Stenton that the place-names of England provide evidence for female ownership of land i n the Anglo-Saxon period, TRHS, 4th series, 24 (1943), 1-13. But we are not r e a l l y j u s t i f i e d i n drawing such a conclusion. A l l that place-name evidence proves i s that the person whose name i s preserved was considered worthy of commemoration. 120 It i s possible that t h i s statement does not apply to a l l of the abbesses; c e r t a i n l y , a l l of them were a r i s t o c r a t i c . 67 CHAPTER II CHARACTER-TYPES IN THE POETRY Although the subjects of Anglo-Saxon poetry are mainly heroic and mi l i t a r y , and thus constitute a somewhat r e s t r i c t e d , conservative, and id e a l i s e d view of the upper echelons of society, the attitudes to be found i n the poetry run p a r a l l e l to those i n the h i s t o r i c a l sources. Just as the h i s t o r i c a l documents show Anglo-Saxon society to be male dominated and r i g i d l y s t r a t i f i e d , the atmosphere of the poetry i s almost exclusively male, and the characters are mainly defined by the standard roles which they f u l f i l . As f a r as the women characters are concerned, the poetry gives a r i s t o c r a t i c women the same s i g n i f i c a n t but r e s t r i c t e d ceremonious r o l e that they played in the h i s t o r i c a l world. The exception to t h i s state of a f f a i r s i s to be found i n * the r e l i g i o u s f i e l d , where i n the poetry, as i n the early h i s t o r y of the period, an active part i s given to certain leading women. What we do not find in the poetry are the independent a r i s t o c r a t i c women who play an active part i n secular l i f e . The r u l i n g queens who crop up occasionally i n the Chronicle and other h i s t o r i c a l accounts have no counterpart i n the poetry. Neither do we fi n d the wealthy widows of the l a t e period, who, as evinced by w i l l s and 68 lawsuits, were able to manage and dispose of t h e i r own property. The poetry, conservative in character, and stemming mainly from the early and middle centuries of the Anglo-Saxon era, r e f l e c t s , with s t y l i s a t i o n , the t y p i c a l s o c i a l situations of the e a r l i e r period. The female characters of Old English poetry f a l l into several sharply defined categories, to be related to other equally well defined male types. The l a t t e r are more numerous and prominent: the ide a l king (Scyld, Beowulf I) ; the hero (Beowulf, Finn, Waldere) ; the aged leader (Hrothgar, Byrhtnoth); the wicked king (Heremod, Nebuchadnezzar); the man of God (Guthlac, Andrew, Daniel); the e x i l e , a type to be subdivided into the wicked outcast (Satan, Grendel), and the wise s o l i t a r y (the Wanderer, the Seafarer). Only two female types occur with any frequency: the ide a l queen (Ealhhild, Wealhtheow), and the holy woman (Judith, J u l i a n a , Helena). 1 These two types share some of t h e i r major q u a l i t i e s with t h e i r male counterparts, but also possess certain markedly d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . There are hints of a stereotype for the good c e o r l i s c woman which merges into that of the ide a l queen, and also of a contrasting stereotype for the female slave. Thryth i n Beowulf may be an isola t e d example of the type of the bad queen. In contr a d i s t i n c t i o n to these v e s t i g i a l types, the female e x i l e s i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer seem to represent a conscious attempt to adapt the standardised figure of the male e x i l e to a female 69 s i t u a t i o n . The vast majority of the characters i n Old English peetry are derived from one of the f a m i l i a r stereotypes. Their actions are predictable, and they hardly ever do anything to surprise us. This i s true even of some of the most powerful and sophisticated poetic creations. Some of the more memorable characters, such as Beowulf and Byrhtnoth, combine more than one of the stereotypes, but they are i n no sense i n d i v i d u a l i s e d . With very few exceptions, the characters of Old English poetry embody a certain r e s t r i c t e d range of human q u a l i t i e s , and can be described f a i r l y completely by l i s t i n g the prescribed q u a l i t i e s applied to them. A b r i e f description of the various character-types w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the, usually rather simple, p r i n c i p l e s on which characters are formed i n Old English poetry. I s h a l l begin with the male types, and then proceed to the female. The type of the i d e a l king, to which the ideal queen i s a counterpart, i s not expanded much per se i n Old English, although the q u a l i t i e s associated with t h i s type play a part i n the delineation of various major figures, such as Hrothgar. The obvious example of the good king i s Scyld Scefing, the eponymous ancestor of the Danish Scylding dynasty. Scyld's glorious l i f e i s described b r i e f l y but evocatively at the beginning of Beowulf. His c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features as king are h i s m i l i t a r y dominance (he repeatedly deprives his enemies of t h e i r mead-benches 70 o [11. 4-6a]; and he forces the surrounding t r i b e s to pay him tribute [11. 9 - l l a ] ) , h is splendid state (indicated by the magnificence of h i s funeral), and the a f f e c t i o n with which he i s regarded by h i s men (11. 29 and 49b-50a). An es s e n t i a l feature of the id e a l king which i s not s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned i n the ease of Scyld, but i s the sa l i e n t q u a l i t y of h i s son (the f i r s t Beowulf of the poem) , i s generosity to his followers. Beowulf I ensures his men's future l o y a l t y i n b a t t l e by dispensing g i f t s "on faeder [bea]rme" (1. 21) . The same requirement i s made of an ideal king as of a good prince l i k e the f i r s t Beowulf. His more famous namesake i s presented i n the f i r s t h a l f of the poem as the embodiment of the i d e a l hero. The characters who conform to t h i s type are endowed not merely with courage and daring, but with a s p e c i f i c assertiveness. Their self-confidence i s exuberant and outspoken; i t amounts to boastfulness without the negative connotations of that q u a l i t y . Beowulf's proud bearing on h i s f i r s t introduction to Hrothgar's court i s the exemplification of t h i s confidence. He makes his beot to defeat Grendel or die (11. 435-55 and 601b-06). 3 Wiglaf 1s l a t e r declaration of l o y a l t y to Beowulf (11. 2633-60 and 2663-68) i s characterised by the same heroic determination. There i s no female equivalent to t h i s type. The c l a s s i c portrayal of the hero i s to be found i n the b a t t l e l a y s : Waldere, The Fight at Finnsburh, The  Battle of Maldon, and The Battle of Brunanburh. The various aspects of the hero 1s code are found collected together i n Wigla f 1 s speeches and scattered through the various speeches of Byrhtnoth's retainers i n Maldon: the reminder of the beot spoken i n the h a l l (Beowulf, 11. 2633-38a; Maldon, 11. 212-14); the a f f e c t i o n for the lord (Beowulf, 1. 2663; Maldon, 11. 224b-25 and 317b-19); the disgrace of returning home without avenging him (Beowulf, 11. 2353-56a; Maldon, 11. 220-23a and 249-52a). The strength of the kinship bond, which makes i t s e l f f e l t i n the closing l i n e s of iElfwine's speech (Maldon, 1. 225) , appears more i n d i r e c t l y i n the Beowulf poet's introduction of Wiglaf: "sibb aefre ne maeg / wiht onwendan bam pe wel penceS" (11. 2600b-01). Wiglaf, Byrhtnoth's companions, Finn and h i s warriors, Waldere, and the triumphant English at Brunanburh are a l l characterised with strong, simple strokes, and without in t e r n a l c o n f l i c t or complexity. Their moral position i s clear and assured: absolute and unflinching l o y a l t y to leader or cause, and the aim of the poets i s evidently to rouse a corresponding martial s p i r i t i n t h e i r audience. Contrasting with the type of the (normally young) hero i s that of the aged leader. Again, the type has no female equivalent. The most conspicuous representatives of t h i s category are Hrothgar, Beowulf i n old age, and Byrhtnoth. These characters are surrounded with an aura of melancholy; they are faced with death or defeat, and respond not with defiance, but with resignation. Swift action i s replaced by r e f l e c t i v e n e s s : Hrothgar moralises, and Beowulf muses on h i s past l i f e . There are no extended r e f l e c t i o n s i n Maldon, but Byrhtnoth 1s dying prayer (11. 173-80) has the same pensive quality. Though courageous, these figures are characterised by a mildness and s e n s i b i l i t y that contrast sharply with the s e l f - a s s e r t i o n of the previous type. Hrothgar i s repeatedly seen grieving for his thanes, and he sheds tears at Beowulf's departure (11. 1876b-77). Beowulf i s eulogised i n the f i n a l l i n e s of the poem as "manna mildust ond mon (5w) aerust, / leodum l i o o s t ond lofgeornost" (11. 3181-82). "Mildust ond moncSwaerust" scarcely applies to him as a young man. The aged Beowulf prepared to die. with a quiet dignity s i m i l a r to Byrhtnoth's, and both utter speeches which begin by thanking God for h i s favour (Beowulf, 1. 2794; Maldon, 1. 173) . More complex e f f e c t s are sometimes achieved not by a departure from, but by a combination of the stereotypes In The Battle of Maldon, Byrhtnoth s h i f t s from the defiant warrior hurling i n s u l t s at the Danes to the old man facing death with quiet resignation. The ef f e c t i s to give an added t r a g i c dimension to his character. The same i s true of Beowulf, a character presented expansively and with depth, but with almost no i n d i v i d u a l i s a t i o n . 4 In Beowulf, the t o t a l character emerges from the juxtaposition of the young hero i n the f i r s t h a l f of the poem with the old man in the second. There i s absolutely no t r a n s i t i o n between • the two, and the discrepant halves are bound together not 73 by unifying q u a l i t i e s peculiar to the hero, but by a piety and courtesy which inform the whole poem, and characterise the .utterances of the poet as well as those of h i s main actor. The melancholy re f l e c t i v e n e s s of the aged leader i s a feature shared by another standardised type: the e x i l e . Here we have a character-type o r i g i n a l l y male, which has also been extended to female characters. The state of e x i l e i s the epitome of misery i n Old English poetry, for the way of l i f e r e f l e c t e d i n the poetry centres on the close-knit group of the t r i b e or the comitatus, and an outsider from the group i s i n a p o s i t i o n of especial d i s t r e s s . The "locus c l a s s i c u s " for the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of e x i l e i s The Wanderer. Here we f i n d numerous motifs that occur i n e x i l i c situations i n other poems: the loss of one's lord, the wandering through a h o s t i l e natural environment, the thought of the joys of comradeship i n the h a l l , etc. The speaker describes himself as hean (1. 23), earm (1. 40), and wineleas (1. 45) , an anhaga (11. 1 and 40) . He must "tread the tracks of e x i l e " ("wadan wraeclastas'> " 1. 5). These expressions, and others l i k e them, are the t y p i c a l terms associated with e x i l e , and they recur whenever the s i t u a t i o n of an e x i l e i s evoked. Stanley B. Greenfield has c l a s s i f i e d the formulaic expression of the e x i l e theme into four aspects: status, i l l u s t r a t e d by such expressions as "wineleas guma" (e.g., Wanderer, 1. 45); deprivation, i l l u s t r a t e d by formulas involving verbs of 74 bereavement (e.g., "edle bidaeled," Wanderer, 1. 20); state of mind, expressed by combinations of the adjectives for wretchedness; and movement in or into e x i l e , e s p e c i a l l y associated with the image of the "tracks of e x i l e . " 5 The o r i g i n a l l y purely s o c i a l concept of e x i l e i s extended to the C h r i s t i a n concept of e x i l e i n the world ( i . e . , from heaven or paradise) or from God's favour. The former applies to the wise s o l i t a r i e s l i k e the Wanderer, and the l a t t e r to the s i n f u l e x i l e s l i k e Satan and Grendel. The s i n f u l e x i l e has a f f i n i t i e s with the wicked king, a type l a r g e l y constituted by negating or perverting the good q u a l i t i e s of the i d e a l king and the hero. There i s some s l i g h t evidence for a female version of t h i s type. The figures corresponding to t h i s category are characterised by cruelty and the pride that goes before a f a l l , as evidenced by Heremod in Beowulf, Eormanric i n Deor and Widsith, Holofernes i n Judith, and Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in Daniel. These characters have perverted the heroic q u a l i t i e s of strength, authority, and self-esteem into violence, oppression, and s i n f u l pride. Also, the good king's e s s e n t i a l a t t r i b u t e of generosity has been reversed to meanness. Heremod shows a l l these features. Although God has advanced him i n strength beyond a l l other men (11. 1716-18a), he has misdirected h i s g i f t s , has become bloodthirsty (1. 1719), slays h i s retainers i n f i t s of rage (11. 1713-14a), and refuses to d i s t r i b u t e rings (11. 1719-20a). He becomes so i n t o l e r a b l e that he i s f i n a l l y expelled from his kingdom. ' The Deor poet speaks of Eormanric as "grim cyning" (1. 23) and refers to his "wylfenne gepoht" (1. 22a) . In Widsith he i s termed "wrapes wasrlogan" (1. 9) . The perversion of good q u a l i t i e s which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h i s type i s demonstrated i n the depiction of Holofernes storming and y e l l i n g at his feast (Judith, 11. 23-25). This raucous occasion i s a corruption of the f e s t i v i t i e s i n the meadhall which the Anglo-Saxon poets usually celebrate i n the warmest terms. Holofernes' feast i s the an t i t h e s i s of the j o y f u l and courteous feasts in Beowulf. Holofernes was, of course, punished f o r his arrogance, and so were the other two b i b l i c a l tyrants of Old English Poetry: Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Their s i n f u l pride i n th e i r own earthly magnificence was f i n a l l y humbled by the God of Israel whom they had despised. The arrogant presumption of these tyrants i n the b i b l i c a l poetry forms a contrast with the steadfast humility of the champions^ of God. These figures can be divided into two categories according to t h e i r sex. The female saints or holy women share some of the q u a l i t i e s of t h e i r male counterparts, but are also t y p i f i e d by additional, quite separate c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Chief among the patriarchs and male saints of Old English poetry are Moses i n Exodus, Andrew i n Andreas, and Guthlac and Daniel in the poems which bear t h e i r respective names. A l l these persons combine q u a l i t i e s of leadership with a certain 76 i s o l a t i o n , physical, s p i r i t u a l , or both. They are granted special wisdom, and spe c i a l grace to know the future or perform miracles. Andrew i s favoured with some rather spectacular miracles and personal conversations with God, who appears to him i n human form. Moses stretches out hi.s hand to part the Red Sea. Daniel does not perform miracles, but he i s set apart by the wisdom which enables him to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dreams, and the writing on the wall. Guthlac i s v i s i t e d morning and evening by an angel who teaches him to read men's secret thoughts. As he l i e s dying, a l i g h t from heaven shines around him, and a sweet vapour r i s e s from h i s mouth. A l l these men are leaders and teachers; even Guthlac, the hermit, gives i n s t r u c t i o n and moral leadership to the d i s c i p l e who v i s i t s him. Almost a l l characterisation i n Old English poetry can be related to an underlying pattern of l i n k i n g and contrasting stereotypes. The female characters, which are the especial concern of t h i s study, must be set against t h i s background, and understood i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n to the o v e r a l l pattern of, mainly male, stereotypes. Few s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e s for women are to be found in the c u l t u r a l milieu of the poetry: the a r i s t o c r a t i c , male world of the comitatus, whose l i f e centres on the meadhall and the b a t t l e f i e l d . The character q u a l i t i e s to be found i n the major stereotypes are chosen for the sake of t h e i r a p p l i c a b i l i t y to retainer or l o r d . Such q u a l i t i e s , as we have seen, are leadership (good or bad), strength (whether i t be dedicated courage or wanton violence), generosity (and i t s converse, meanness), and pride i n achievement (whether heroic self-confidence or s i n f u l arrogance). The same attitude of mind to be found behind the Anglo-Saxon laws, with t h e i r sharp d i v i s i o n s between the classes of society and t h e i r s p e c i f i c a t i o n of the rules for each class, l i e s behind the characterisation i n the poetry, where a fixed range of q u a l i t i e s i s considered appropriate to a certain character-type. The l i t e r a r y characters are v i s u a l i s e d i n terms of t h e i r roles as either members of or leaders of a band of warriors, or, i n the case of the e x i l e , they are defined by the very fact of being excluded from that group. There are only one or two female stereotypes which can have a place i n such a milieu. The parts that remain available to women characters are either rather s l i g h t parts accessory to the comitatus group, or a feminisation of male r o l e s . In the former category comes the type of the good queen, that i s , the leader's wife who has a ceremonial part to play i n the f e s t i v i t i e s of the h a l l . She corresponds to the h i s t o r i c a l queens i n the Anglo-Saxon period, who, as we know from the Chronicle and from charters, regularly played a formal part i n public a f f a i r s . This character-type includes by extension any virtuous noblewoman regarded as a formal appurtenance of the meadhall l i f e . There i s also some scanty evidence of a "bad queen" type, "the antithesis 78 of the good queen, as Heremod i s a n t i t h e t i c a l to Scyld. And there are minimal traces of a servant type, also contrasting with the type of the noblewoman. There are no Amazons in Old English poetry: no female counterpart of the male roles i n which physical strength i s an important constituent. The moral strength of the s p i r i t u a l leader has i t s female counterpart i n the woman saint. The f a i r l y lengthy treatment of t h i s type ( i t i s the subject of three long poems) i n a poetry which scarcely abounds i n female characters, i s , of course., to be attributed to the influence of the Church rather than the native heroic t r a d i t i o n . F i n a l l y , there i s , i n two short poems, a s t r i k i n g adaptation of the e x i l e theme to the sit u a t i o n of women characters. Examples of the id e a l queen are Wealhtheow and Hygd i n Beowulf, Ealhhild i n Widsith, and the nameless sinchroden lady i n The Husband's Message. This type i s defined as much by the royal p o s i t i o n and the formal functions that go with i t as by personal q u a l i t i e s . One of the two Old English gnomic poems, c o l l e c t i o n s of aphorisms which l a r g e l y consist i n defining the ch a r a c t e r i s t i c q u a l i t i e s of things, contains a description, much longer than the usual gnomic d e f i n i t i o n , of the nature of a queen. She i s bought by her husband; she joins with him i n being generous with g i f t s to the retainers, and giving them counsel; she i s cheerful, wise, and well loved; at banquets she offers the cup f i r s t to her husband 79 (Maxims I, 11. 81-92). As set out i n t h i s d e f i n i t i o n , the essence of the queen i s constituted by her being the lady of the comitatus, the complement of i t s lo r d . She shares her husband's prescribed q u a l i t i e s of generosity, kindliness, and popularity, but h i s more aggressive q u a l i t i e s are replaced i n her by wisdom and good counsel. The various good queens in Old English poetry can a l l be related to the archetype i n Maxims I. Hygelac's wife Hygd i s w i s e — i n spite of her young years, and generous (Beowulf, 11. 1926b-31a). The speaker i n The  Husband's Message assures the lady that she w i l l be reunited with her husband and they w i l l ". . . aetsomne . . . secgum ond gesibum s[inc brytnian], / naeglede beagas" (11. o 33-35a). In Beowulf i t i s Wealhtheow with whom ceremony and courtesy are e s p e c i a l l y associated i n the banqueting scenes. On two occasions, the poet describes how she comes forward, o f f e r s the cup to Hrothgar f i r s t (i.e., presumably, before she c a r r i e s i t to the others i n the h a l l ) , and bids him be i n good s p i r i t s (11. 612b-18a and H62b-71a) . She i s c l e a r l y performing a fixed ceremony. Again, i t i s she who formally presents Beowulf with the g i f t s given him aft e r the defeat of Grendel. However, Wealhtheow, though d i r e c t l y based on the simple stereotype of the i d e a l queen, i s the vehicle for one of the Beowulf poet's subtlest e f f e c t s . The poet brings her courtesy and d i s c r e t i o n into play with hints of the future disaster that awaits her family, as she 80 expresses her confidence that her nephew Hrothulf w i l l be good to her sons. Thus, the conventional figure of the courteous queen i s used i n rather a special way. Two other, more b r i e f l y presented, royal ladies i n Beowulf are also caught up in d i s a s t e r : Wealhtheow 1s daughter Freawaru, and Hildeburh i n the Finnsburh episode. Indeed, the three women are p a r a l l e l figures, used with cumulative eff e c t i n the development of one of the t r a g i c themes i n Beowulf, and very f a r removed from the s t a t i c presentation of queenliness found i n Hygd, i n The Husband's Message, 9 i n Widsith, and i n Maxims I. The character of Thryth or Mod thryth"'"^ i n Beowulf i s s p e c i f i c a l l y contrasted with the i d e a l i s e d Hygd. Thryth i s everything that a good queen should not be: vi o l e n t and disruptive, instead of gentle and r e c o n c i l i n g . If any man so much as dares to look at her, he must die. Fortunately, Thryth i s f i n a l l y married and reformed by the heroic Offa. Thryth i s the only character of her kind i n Old English poetry, but her resemblance to the arrogant princess of f o l k t a l e , and to such figures as Atalanta, and Brunhild of the Nibelunqenlied, in heroic legend suggests that she i s probably the only surviving representative of an established type."'""'" Also, her d i r e c t opposition to Hygd corresponds to the regular patterns of Old English poetry, i n which the character-types are created l a r g e l y on the basis of contrast. Thryth bears resemblance, i n name as well as character, to the wicked 81 Drida or Quendrida in the (later) Latin account of the 1 o l i f e of Offa of Mercia. The only other wicked woman in Old English poetry i s Grendel 1s mother, who i s a special case. Characterised in part as demon-exile, i n part as l o y a l avenger, she i s a s t r i k i n g example of the v i v i d e f f e c t s which can be created by combining d i f f e r e n t stereotypes, but there i s nothing d i s t i n c t i v e l y feminine about her. The type of the se r v a n t - g i r l was probably only used for in c i d e n t a l reference and never regarded as of central i n t e r e s t . That such a type existed i s to be inferred from two cursory references i n the Riddles to 13 dark-haired (female) Welsh slaves. The references are contemptuous, and obviously a contrast i s intended between the dark-haired (and hence ugly) menials and the fa i r - h a i r e d noblewomen who represent ideals of beauty and grace. The strong background of Latin t r a d i t i o n which l i e s behind i t explains the fact that the woman saint i s the most highly developed of the female character-roles. Representatives of t h i s type constitute the main figures i n three long Old English poems: Juliana, Elene, and Judith. S t r i c t l y speaking, Judith i s not a saint at a l l , but the treatment of her i n the poem i s obviously indebted to hagiographic t r a d i t i o n . Just as the same q u a l i t i e s are attributed to Old-Testament patriarchs and Christian (male) saints, Judith i s presented along the same l i n e s as 82 Helena and Juliana. Like the male saints, t h e i r female counterparts are both set apart by especial holiness and endowed with an authority that expresses i t s e l f i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with others. The miraculous element conventionally associated with the saint i s the most strongly marked in Juliana, where the heroine i s d i v i n e l y preserved from her torments (although she does f i n a l l y suffer martyrdom) . In Juliana, as i n Daniel, the f i r e prepared for the virtuous (the saint i n Juliana, the Three Holy Children i n Daniel) turns upon the wicked. In Elene, the miraculous element i s more cl o s e l y connected with Judas-Cyriacus than with Helena herself, but i t i s at her bidding that Judas prays for a miracle to reveal the buried cross, and l a t e r the n a i l s . Judith's single-handed triumph over Holofernes i s not p r e c i s e l y a miracle, but i t i s presented as due to the d i r e c t intervention of God. As for the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c q u a l i t y of leadership, Helena i s treated as the leader of her people i n the account of the Greeks' expedition to f i n d the cross. Judith i s a martial heroine who inspires the f e a r f u l I s r a e l i t e s with confidence and leads them to v i c t o r y i n a way s i m i l a r to Moses in Exodus. Juliana i s not a representative of her people, but her natural authority over others i s stressed. She responds boldly to the threat of her father and suitor, and reduces to helpless complaining the fiend sent from h e l l to tempt her. Judith' 83 slaying of Holofernes i s not i n i t s e l f a great feat, since he i s i n a stupor at the time, but i t i s presented as an act of f i e r c e determination with an emphasis on the gory d e t a i l s . Helena rebukes the Jews i n a series of vehement speeches, f i n a l l y threatening them with v i o l e n t death i f they continue to obstruct her enquiries. In a l l these respects, the female saints embody the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s as t h e i r male counterparts. In t h e i r q u a l i t i e s of leadership and courage, the saints, both male and female, are conceived along the same l i n e s as the figures i n the native t r a d i t i o n of warrior poetry. But at the same time as the poets stress the mil i t a n t nature of the female saints, they emphasise t h e i r i d e a l i s e d feminine beauty and charm. Reference i s made to Judith's c u r l i n g h a i r when she i s i n the very act of k i l l i n g Holofernes (11. 1036-04). Helena in the midst of the Greek army i s described as sincgim (1. 264). Juliana's beauty rouses wonder i n the crowd (11. 162b-63a). Her prospective bridegroom c a l l s her "sunnan scima" (1. 166) and speaks of her radiance (glaem, 1. 167) . This emphasis on the heroine's beauty suggests a l i n k with the i d e a l queen., and, of course, i s also indebted to the Chri s t i a n t r a d i t i o n of v i r g i n saints stemming in part from veneration of the V i r g i n Mary herself. However, in Judith, Juliana, and Helena, the combination of two prescribed sets of q u a l i t i e s , the manly heroic and the del i c a t e feminine, i s inconsistent. It involves a departure from r e a l i t y , and the re s u l t s are 84 rather s t i l t e d . Although the same veneration of the V i r g i n and of women saints (usually v i r g i n s ) , which l i e s behind the three saint-poems i s also connected with the veneration accorded to the r e a l - l i f e abbesses of the Anglo-Saxon period, the poetic saints are not the d i r e c t r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r r e a l - l i f e counterparts in the same way as the queens of Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry r e f l e c t the pos i t i o n of r e a l queens. There i s something inherently unreal and unworldly about Helena, Juliana, and Judith. The character-type of the female saint does not allow for the more p r a c t i c a l q u a l i t i e s (e.g., H i l d 1 s "prudentia") which shine through the, admittedly s t y l i s e d , presentation of Anglo-Saxon abbesses i n the prose, for the poetic presentation i s based, not on a s t y l i s a t i o n of r e a l i t y , but on a hypothetical i d e a l . The two poems about women ex i l e s show a much more remarkable adaptation of a male role to a female s i t u a t i o n . Here the plots are not following Latin sources and prescribed t r a d i t i o n s . Their adaptation i s freer, more independent, and more true to l i f e . The only poems i n Old English which employ a female narrator are these two 'elegies': The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer. These poems describe the misery of separation from loved ones in terms derived from the same formulaic t r a d i t i o n as the elegies with male speakers, notably The Wanderer and The Seafarer. But i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer 85 the reason for the speaker's g r i e f i s separation, not from lo r d and comrades, but from husband or lover. The very fa c t that a love-relationship presented from the feminine point of view appears only in these two poems has meant that many scholars have not acknowledged them as love l y r i c s spoken by women. The Wife's Lament was o r i g i n a l l y considered the lament of a male e x i l e , and t h i s i n t e r -pretation i s s t i l l defended by some. Wulf and Eadwacer was at f i r s t regarded as a r i d d l e , though nearly a l l scholars now accept i t as a love l y r i c . However, there i s a v i t a l difference between these two poems and the other elegies, i n that a more intimate and personal atmosphere pervades i n the love l y r i c s . The emphasis here i s on a r e l a t i o n s h i p with one other person rather than with a group, and the i n t e n s i t y of passion i s not subdued by generalised r e f l e c t i o n , as i t i s i n the elegies with male speakers. Thus, the tone of the love poems i s quite d i f f e r e n t : both more poignant and more passionate. Very few of the characters in Old English poetry f a i l to conform to one stereotype or another. Some of the more s t r i k i n g characters are created by putting together 1 4 two d i f f e r e n t stereotypes. But the characters who stand out as i n d i v i d u a l s are rare. Even Beowulf i s a highly s t y l i s e d f igure. If we look f o r exceptions, we f i n d the occasional case of a character momentarily brought to v i v i d l i f e by a touch of humour or human weakness, or, on a more sustained l e v e l , deepened by the suggestion of inner 86 c o n f l i c t and struggle. It i s not remarkable that Beowulf, the longest, and perhaps the most sophisticated Old English poem, provides an instance of each. Beowulf descends from h i s pedestal for a moment when he administers a t a r t rebuke to Unferth: "'Hwaet, pu worn f e l a , wine min Unfer<3, / beore druncen ymb Brecan spraece 1 " (11. 530-31) ^  A l i v e l y passage of a very d i f f e r e n t kind i s the description of Hengest in the Finnsburh episode, forced to follow h i s lord's slayer, and brooding a l l the winter, torn by h i s frustrated longing for vengeance. These are v i v i d passages, but they are exceptional. However, a consideration of the examples of female characterisation in p a r t i c u l a r reveals a surprising proportion of figures who depart from the norms in some s i g n i f i c a n t way. The three hapless queens i n Beowulf have a t r a g i c dimension which transcends t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s as graceful helpmeets. The two female e x i l e s show a kind of personal passion not to be found i n t h e i r male counterparts. In t,hese cases, the poets seem to be turning to female characters f o r special e f f e c t s , and using them to go beyond the r i g i d l i n e s of convention. Two further instances of female characterisation merit special attention: Eve i n Genesis B and Mary ,in Christ I. Here we have examples of characterisation which does not merely transcend the stereotypes, but v i r t u a l l y ignores them altogether. In the temptation scene of Genesis B and in D i v i s i o n 87 VII of Christ I, we have a conversation between husband and wife presented i n human, domestic terms. The former scene i s a representation of the struggle between Adam and Eve, when Eve, having sinned herself, i s tempting her husband to eat the f a t a l apple. The l a t t e r scene contains the motif of the "doubting of Mary," i n which Joseph, aware that h i s betrothed i s with c h i l d , accuses her of unchastity. In each case, the s i t u a t i o n i s one in which the large-scale heroic antitheses have no place, for the poet i s rendering a personal conversation between two ordinary people. Much of the formality of the Old English poetic s t y l e remains, but nevertheless these scenes have an intimacy and immediacy unusual i n Old English verse. Moreover, both passages have a strong dramatic quality, and there i s considerable psychological realism i n the way i n which the tensions of the s i t u a t i o n are conveyed. The Christ I scene ac t u a l l y uses the dramatic form: the narrative connections are omitted i n order to make the confrontation between the two speakers more v i v i d . The Genesis B scene makes a bold departure of a d i f f e r e n t kind, i n making Eve sin with good intentions. In both passages, the male character's state of mind i s of greater complexity, because he i s torn by c o n f l i c t i n g impulses, but i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the occasion for t h i s c o n f l i c t i s a domestic confrontation. Though the mental s i t u a t i o n of the male character i s more complex, the personality of the female character i s more powerful. In both scenes, the more 88 persuasive argument i s given to the women: to Mary i n Christ I and to Eve i n Genesis B. The ef f e c t i s extremely l i v e l y , and the use of female figures t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from that established by convention, i . e . , from the rather f l a t presentation of the good queen or the more vigorous, but ultimately unconvincing presentation of the female saints. With regard to the female as well as the male characters of Old English poetry, there are certain well-marked types to which most of the persons i n the poetry conform. The use of stereotypes does not in i t s e l f make characters cold and l i f e l e s s , but can give them the force of f a m i l i a r associations and emotions strongly f e l t . Beowulf and Byrhtnoth are compelling characters i n t h e i r way, but they have a certain r i g i d i t y and l i m i t a t i o n . The female stereotypes, however, have l i t t l e inherent appeal to the imagination: the conventional queens are passive, and the women saints j a r r i n g and inconsistent. Nevertheless, i t i s among the female characters, or i n close association with them, that the most searching and subtle treatment of character takes place. May t h i s not be simply because the female characters are free of the weight of convention? With the exception of the saints, the one subst a n t i a l l y developed female type, the female characters belong to the incidentals and the byways of.the poetry. There are no prominent and active roles for them to f u l f i l , and for t h i s very reason they are available for a d i f f e r e n t kind of exploration: in the area of suffering and thought rather 89 than action, and of private rather than public experience. In the following chapters, I s h a l l examine the various kinds of female characterisation in turn, i n order to develop the implications of t h i s hypothesis i n more d e t a i l . 90 Footnotes "'"A c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the various male types i s i n c i d e n t a l l y suggested by G. N. Garmonsway, at the beginning of his essay "Anglo-Saxon Heroic Attitudes," Franciplegius:  Medieval and L i n g u i s t i c Studies i n Honor of Francis  Peabody Maqoun, J r . , eds. J. B., Bessinger and R. P. Creed (New York, 1965), p. 139. However, Garmonsway i s thinking of aspects of the hero, rather than of a general c l a s s i f i c a t i o n : "Many d i f f e r e n t attitudes and types of valor and heroic s e l f - a s s e r t i o n are graded before our eyes, exhibited as pe r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of the ideal hero, the aged wise king, the young reckless warrior, the f a i t h f u l councilor, the f a i t h f u l retainer, and others that are r e a d i l y apparent." In "The Main L i t e r a r y Types of Men i n the Germanic Hero-Sagas," JEGP, 14 (1915), 212-25, Grace von Sweringen attempted a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n based on the versions of Germanic legends preserved i n various languages. Her categories are: the lover, the h o s t i l e kinsman, the avenger (comprising the subtypes of the kinsman, the son, the brother, and the vassal), the tutor, victims of fate, the t r a i t o r , the king. Von Sweringen does not evaluate the e s s e n t i a l features of each type, but merely l i s t s the persons who belong to i t , giving a summary of the s i t u a t i o n in which they are involved. She l i s t s female characters in the same way i n her e a r l i e r a r t i c l e "Women in the Germanic Hero-Sagas," JEGP, 8 (1909), 501-12. 2 Except where otherwise stated, a l l c i t a t i o n s of Old English poetry are taken from the col l e c t e d edition of G. P. Krapp and E. V. K. Dobbie, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic  Records, 6 vols. (New York, 1931-53). Hereafter referred to as ASPR. 3 The concept of pride as a necessary ingredient i n the heroic character i s discussed by Levin Schucking i n his monograph Heldenstolz und Wlirde im Angelsachsischen,  Abhandlunq der P h i l . - h i s t . Klasse der sachs. Akademie der  Wissenschaften, 42, no. 5 (Leipzig, 193 3). Schucking enumerates the q u a l i t i e s of the hero and the method of presenting them, most frequently in speeches. He distinguishes between two kinds of pride: the heroic (associated with the j u s t i f i a b l e boast or beot), and the s i n f u l (associated with the vainglorious boast or qylp), pp. 6-9. 4j. R. R. Tolkien a t t r i b u t e s the t r a g i c q u a l i t y to a f a t a l flaw i n both Byrhtnoth and Beowulf: heroic "excess," "Ofermod," Essays and Studies, n.s., 6 (1953), 13-18. Sim i l a r l y , E. G. Stanley regards Beowulf as a virtuous pagan g u i l t y of avarice and vainglory, "Haethenra Hyht i n 91 Beowulf," Studies in Old English Literature i n Honor of  Arthur G. Brodeur, ed. S. B. Greenfield (Eugene, Oregon, 1963), p. 147. Another c r i t i c who at t r i b u t e s the t r a g i c q u a l i t y of Beowulf's si t u a t i o n to a f a t a l flaw i s Margaret Goldsmith; she regards both Beowulf and Hrothgar as victims of pride, "The Christian Perspective i n Beowulf," CL, 14 (1962) , 71-80. 5 "The Formulaic Expression of the Theme of 'Exile' i n Anglo-Saxon Poetry," Speculum, 30 (1955), 200-06. The type of the wise s o l i t a r y i s to be found not only in The Wanderer and The Seafarer, but also in the narrators of other elegiac poems: Deor, Resignation, and The Rhyming Poem. Hrothgar intersperses the above description of Heremod with e x i l i c touches: "'. . .he ana hwearf, / maere peoden, mondreamum from'" (11. 1714b-15); "'dreamleas gebad'" (1. 1720). The close connection of the wicked tyrant with the e x i l e that he subsequently becomes i n h i s punishment i s also to be seen i n Nebuchadnezzar, who in hi s b e s t i a l state i n the wilderness i s described as "wundorlic wrecca" (Daniel, 1. 633). 8 I quote R. F. L e s l i e ' s Three Old English Elegies (Manchester, 1961) at t h i s point instead of Krapp's and Dobbie's co l l e c t e d edition, since L e s l i e supplies the words necessary to complete the sentence. The manuscript i s damaged here, but c l e a r l y the reference i s to persons giving out treasure together, whether or not we accept the words "sine brytnian" suggested by L e s l i e . 9 A figure somewhat resembling the unfortunate queens i n Beowulf i s Beaduhild in Deor. Like them, she i s forced to suffer misery because of a feud. Weland wreaks vengeance on her father, Nithhad, by k i l l i n g h i s sons, and raping Beaduhild, who bears him a son. Unlike the Beowulf poet, the author of Deor does not exploit the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of t h i s s i t u a t i o n , but merely alludes to i t very b r i e f l y as one of h i s examples of misfortune. "^The reading i s uncertain. See Klaeber, Beowulf  and the Fight at Finnsburg, 3rd ed. (Boston, 1950), pp. 198-99. "'"•'"Cf. Klaeber, who sees i n the Thryth digression the "Taming of the Shrew" motif, edition, p. 195. Thryth may also be compared with the unregenerately wicked Queen Semiramis, in Alfred's t r a n s l a t i o n of Orosius. 12 The V i t a Duorum Offarum, written c. 1200. In t h i s work, the name of the woman associated with Offa II seems 92 to derive from a confusion between the legendary Thryth and the h i s t o r i c a l wife of Offa of Mercia (Offa II), Cynethryth. See Klaeber, edition, pp. 196-98, and Edith Rickert, "The Old English Offa Saga," MP, 2 (1904-05), 29-76 and 321-76. 13 See Riddle 12, 1. 8, "wonfeax Wale"; Riddle 52, 1. 6, "wonfah Wale." 1 4Beowulf and Byrhtnoth have already been mentioned as characters who combine stereotypes associated with youth and age respectively. In Ongentheow, the Beowulf poet creates a character who does not merely pass from the defiance of youth to the resignation of age, but i s s t r i k i n g because he i s aged and aggressive at the same time: "eald and e g e s f u l l " (1. 2929). Grendel's mother, as noted above, also presents an unusual and e f f e c t i v e combination of stereotypes. l^Cf. the l i n e s in Andreas where the hero shows a l i t t l e cowardice and suggests that God send an angel, rather than himself, to rescue Matthew from the cannibals of Mermedonia (11. 190-201). 93 CHAPTER III FROM THE PROVERBIAL POETRY TO BEOWULF: THE TRADITIONAL FIGURE OF THE IDEALISED WOMAN AND ITS EXTENSION We have seen that there i s one highly developed female stereotype i n Old English poetry: the saint. The prescribed l i n e s of characterisation f o r t h i s type are very r i g i d , and have to do with moral e d i f i c a t i o n rather than f a i t h f u l n e s s to human nature. The other main female stereotype, the elements of which are equally standard, but more sketchy, i s the id e a l i s e d queen. The good queen i s the female stereotype most commonly found i n the secular poetry, but, as noted in the previous chapter, there are hints of other types: the bad queen, and the s e r v a n t - g i r l . Further, these types are based on proverbial q u a l i t i e s , good and bad, associated with women. The figure of the good queen merges into that of the good woman, or the desirable woman, and the id e a l woman i s defined, both p o s i t i v e l y and negatively, by the ways in which she f u l f i l s her s o c i a l function. The d e f i n i t i o n i s found at i t s simplest i n the proverbial poetry of the Anglo-Saxons: the Riddles and the Maxims (the two gnomic poems) . There i s another group of proverbial poems, the 94 Charms—incantations to cure sickness or avert misfortune, but these contain no r e a l female characterisation. What we do f i n d i n the Charms are h i n t s at the existence of powerful supernatural women. The "hags" i n "For a Sudden S t i t c h " r i d e loudly over a h i l l , to shoot spears at the person a f f l i c t e d with the s t i t c h . In "For U n f r u i t f u l Land, " "there i s an invocation to Erce, "eorpan modor, " who may be the equivalent of the Germanic f e r t i l i t y goddess Nerthus mentioned by Tacitus. These are s l i g h t indications that, i n contrast to the poetic presentation of human women, who, i n a secular context, are normally inactive, i n the framework of pre-Christian r e l i g i o n , supernatural women could be regarded as aggressive beings. There i s , perhaps, a l i n k here with the mi l i t a n t saints of the Christ i a n poetry, although, of course the supernatural women of pagan o r i g i n can be malevolent as well as beneficent. Unlike the Charms, the Riddles and Maxims do contain a sp r i n k l i n g of human, and s p e c i f i c a l l y , female, characterisation. These kinds of poetry do not lend themselves to extended treatment of character, but the l a t t e r two groups of poems are of intere s t i n the present enquiry because they give evidence of a background of thought which i s elsewhere u t i l i s e d i n a much more substantial piece of characterisation. I re f e r to the poem Beowulf,1 i n which the figures of Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru are based on the type of the virtuous queen, 95 but go fa r beyond i t . To begin, I s h a l l examine the Riddles and Maxims. Both of these genres have t h e i r roots i n f o l k wisdom, and the proverbial element i n them i s strong. The Riddles are found i n two groups i n the Exeter Book, with a couple of isolat e d r i d d l e s occurring among the poems separating the 2 two series. Passages of gnomic poetry are common i n Old English but here I s h a l l be concerned only with the two exclusively gnomic poems: Maxims I, i n the Exeter Book, and Maxims II, sometimes referred to (because of i t s o r i g i n in MS Cotton Tiberius B.i) as the Cotton Gnomes. The Old English Riddles are to be associated with the groups of Lati n r i d d l e s composed by Anglo-Saxon scholars i n the late 4 seventh and early eighth centuries. Some of the Riddles, such as 40 ("Creation") , 60 ("Reed") , and 85 ("Fish and River") are based on Latin o r i g i n a l s . Other Riddles, e.g., 26 ("Book"), 47 ("Bookworm"), 48 and 59 ("Chalice"), have subjects with learned, e c c l e s i a s t i c a l connotations. In spite of t h i s learned influence, there i s a prominent native element, and the atmosphere of some of the Riddles i s more homely than that of most Old English poetry. The subjects are often objects f a m i l i a r to Anglo-Saxon d a i l y l i f e : horn, bow, plough, sun, water, etc. The Maxims consist of proverbial statements defining the universal and e s s e n t i a l properties of things: "Frost s h a l l freeze, f i r e melt wood," etc. Both genres are concerned with grasping i s o l a t a b l e and recurrent features of l i f e . They 96 break experience down into i t s elements, rather than synthesising i t into an imaginative recreation of l i f e . Hence, a sustained p o r t r a i t of character—stereotyped or n o t — i s foreign to t h e i r aim, and they present ch a r a c t e r - t r a i t s only i n flashes. Nevertheless, they show us the elements of female characterisation which go to make up a proverbial type. In the Riddles, men and women figure much less prominently than objects and natural phenomena. This i s true of both the more elaborate and a r t i s t i c poems, such as the Storm ri d d l e s , and the b r i e f e r and simpler ones. What characterisation there i s i n the Riddles i s mainly the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of inanimate objects. Only ra r e l y are the subjects of the r i d d l e s human, and then they are dehumanised. Riddles 36 ("Homo, Mulier, Equus"), 46 ("Lot and His Daughters") , 64 ("Man on Horseback with a Hawk"), and 86 ("One-Eyed G a r l i c S e l l e r " ) , the only r i d d l e s f o r which persons are generally proposed as solutions, are a l l l i t t l e more than problems of ingenuity. Riddle 36 plays with l e t t e r s , 46 and 86 with numbers, and 64 with runes. Sometimes the non-human subjects of the rid d l e s are defined by means of family relationships, for instance in Riddle 72 ("Ox"): "sweostor min, / fedde mec [. . .] oft i c feower teah / swaese bro£>or . . . " (11. 5b-7a) . Such f a m i l i a l r e lationships are used f a i r l y mechanically. However, there are quite a number of rid d l e s i n which the personified object i s endowed with thoughts 97 and feelings of surprising vigour. A p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g example i s the shield of Riddle 5: "Ic eom anhaga iserne wund, / b i l l e gebennad, beadoweorca saed" (11. 1-2) . This lonely warrior, suffering through b a t t l e af t e r battle, reminds us of the Wanderer, the Last Survivor (in Beowulf) , and the aged Beowulf himself. The reed of Riddle 60 and the inkhorn of Riddle 93 are also v i v i d l y presented. The use of the f i r s t person c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Riddles i s in such poems much more than a grammatical p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n . The objects speak of the v i c i s s i t u d e s of t h e i r l i v e s i n a way that suggests r e a l f e e l i n g , and a genuine empathy on the part of the poet. The human background against which the subjects of the Riddles are presented i s not one i n which women play a large part; i t i s the male world of warriors and mead h a l l . The words " Ic seah i n healle" and paer haelecS 7 druncon" are recurrent. Even when another setting i s referred to, the terminology employed i s s t i l l that of the h a l l . This i s true of Riddle 59, "Chalice," where the object i s described as a golden ri n g seen i n the h a l l . Again, the bible of Riddle 67 i s found gold-adorned where men drink. The ubiquitous h a l l - s e t t i n g i s the focus of that r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and lord which pervades the Riddles. It i s a r e l a t i o n s h i p underlying the whole of Old English poetry, and here i t provides the l i n k between the various s o c i a l strata described i n the Riddles, each layer 98 having i t s servants and masters; i t i s also the l i n k between the inanimate and the human realm. The re l a t i o n s h i p between men and women i s but another aspect of t h i s underlying background of thought. The sun i s the servant of God and a f f l i c t s men with i t s heat "ponne mec min f r e a feohtan hateb" (Riddle 6, 1. 5) . The sword of Riddle 20 and the horn of Riddle 80 are "frean minum l e o f " (1. 2 i n both poems) . The plough serves the ploughman (Riddle 21, 11. 3 and 15) . In exactly the same way, the wife i s the l o y a l servant of her husband. Riddle 61 ("Helmet") describes a noblewoman formally attending her husband and g giving him his armour—in t h i s case, the helmet. The attitude of d i g n i f i e d service bears out the p a r a l l e l between wifely duty and thanely duty noticed i n Chapter I, where we found that the marriage pledge and the thane's oath of allegiance employed the same terminology. The rel a t i o n s h i p of wife to husband i s only a part of a world of e s s e n t i a l l y male l o y a l t i e s . The appearances of women i n the Riddles are b r i e f and i n c i d e n t a l . Occasionally they are mentioned, serving mead, as one of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of the scene i n the h a l l — a l o n g with the cups, the benches, and the drinking thanes. These female figures are accompanied by stock epithets which r e f e r to s o c i a l class and external appearance. Noblewomen, c e o r l i s c women, and slaves appear. The two former classes to some extent merge into one another i n an idealised type defined by such epithets as 99 wlonc and hwitloccedu. Riddle 80 ("Horn") i s a good example of the presentation of t h i s type: Cwen mec hwilum hwitloccedu hond on legeS, eorles dohtor, peah hio aepelu sy. (11. 3b-5) The queen i n these l i n e s i s introduced so that the subject of the r i d d l e , the horn, may partake of her dignity and aristocracy. Riddle 14, which has the same solution, likewise r e f e r s to a beaghroden maiden f i l l i n g the horn (11. 9-10a). Riddle 25 ("Onion") speaks of a " f u l cyrtenu ceorles dohtor, / modwlonc meowle" (11. 6-7a), and Riddle 45 ("Dough") describes a woman as hygewlonc and "beodnes dohtor" (1. 5 ) . 9 The hen of Riddle 42 ("Cock and Hen") i s personified as hwitloc and wlanc (11. 3-4). As mentioned i n the previous chapter, the existence of a contrasting type, a dark-haired menial, contemptuously described, i s suggested by a couple of references to a "wonfeax Wale" (Riddle 12, 1. 8; Riddle 52, 1. 6 ) . 1 0 A number of the r i d d l e s i n which women appear contain an obscene double-entendre: Riddles 25 ("Onion"), 44 ("Key"), 45 ("Dough"), 54 ("Churn"), 61 ("Helmet"), 62 ("Boring Tool"), and 63 ("Cup"). These r i d d l e s are inte r e s t i n g i n that they are the only places i n Old English poetry which deal d i r e c t l y with sexual r e l a t i o n s . However, there i s no more r e a l characterisation here than i n any other of the Riddles. The obscene r i d d l e s give a f a i r l y mechanical account of sexual union, and t h e i r point l i e s 100 i n the humorous contrast between t h e i r respectable solutions and t h e i r (usually much more obvious) obscene implications. A l l i n a l l , the Riddles give us glimpses of the role assigned to women. They are seen to be an i n t e g r a l part, but a d i s t i n c t l y minor part, of the s o c i a l milieu presented i n the Riddles. Often they are l i t t l e more than part of the furniture. The descriptions of women are not only i n c i d e n t a l , but are completely external, and are reduced to a very few, standard features. The figures of a r i s t o c r a t i c women lend grace to the l i f e of the h a l l . On a coarser l e v e l , women described by^similar epithets are found as sexual objects i n the obscene r i d d l e s . And there are two scanty references to female slaves, again, serving as props i n the scenery, rather than playing a central r o l e . In a l l these categories, the female figure i s presented i n a very functional way, and her function i s that of an accessory to the male world. Like the Riddles, the Maxims present women b r i e f l y , externally, and in terms of t h e i r s o c i a l functions. Both Maxims I and Maxims II. are very loose s t r u c t u r a l l y . They present a series of vignettes linked together by the associations a r i s i n g from a l l i t e r a t i o n • a n d word connotation rather than by l o g i c a l sequence. 1 1 In Maxims II the successive images are very b r i e f , often confined to a single h a l f - l i n e . A laconic comment on woman's s o c i a l r ole i s introduced quite casually, v i a the free association which i s the poet's method of working. He refer s to the 101 rain-storm, s t i r r e d up with wind, which descends on the world (one of the t y p i c a l natural phenomena of which the poem i s f u l l ) , speaks of the th i e f , whose nature i t i s to go about " i n dark weathers," a concept which rel a t e s to the storm, mentions the giant that dwells i n solitude i n the fen, and then states: Ides sceal dyrne craefte, faemne^ hi r e freond gesecean, g i f heo n e l l e on folce gepeon paet h i man beagum gebicge. (11. 43b-45a) Evidently, the woman who does not desire the normal arranged marriage, who does not wish "to be bought with rings," i s a s o c i a l outcast. She seeks her lover s e c r e t l y l i k e the t h i e f who goes i n darkness; she i s wretched, monstrous, and set apart l i k e the giant who l i v e s i n the f e n . 1 2 S t r u c t u r a l l y , Maxims I i s even weaker than Maxims  II. It i s awkward and jerky, and ends abruptly and inconsequentially. However, i t does give greater expansion to i t s gnomic themes. The extended d e f i n i t i o n of the virtuous queen c i t e d in the previous chapter occurs i n Maxims I. Here, the t r a d i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s found scattered elsewhere are brought together as the poet delineates the queen's r e l a t i o n s h i p to husband and retainers. The passage presents more elaborately the kind of gnomic d e f i n i t i o n of the f i t t i n g which i s found more t e r s e l y expressed elsewhere. In another part of the poem, the poet includes "sine on cwene" (1. 126) and "sceal bryde 102 beag" (1. 130) i n a l i s t of various sets of things which belong together. The gnomic.poetry sets down i n the form of a statement the kinds of features presented appositively in the R i d d l e s . 1 3 The most elemental role of both man and woman appears i n l i n e s 23b-25a: Tu beo<$ gemaeccan; sceal wif ond wer i n woruld cennan bearn mid gebyrdum. Marriage and c h i l d b i r t h are juxtaposed with loss and death as the poet describes how the tree must lose i t s leaves and mourn i t s branches (11. 25b-26), and the fated man must die (1. 27). Here the gnomes are concerned with the 14 natural order at i t s most rudimentary. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the poet, l i k e the author of Maxims II, touches on the contrast between the chaste and the unchaste woman: widgongel wif word gespringeS, o f t hy mon wommum b i l i h S , haeleo* hy hospe maenaS, o f t hyre hleor abreopeS. (11. 64-65) The aura of disgrace that surrounds the "widgongel wif" i s captured quite v i v i d l y here. Further on, the poet returns, more feebly, to the same theme: "Wif sceal wip wer waere gehealdan, o ft h i mon wommum b e l i h 5 " ( l . 100). The picture of women which emerges from Maxims I and Maxims II has a f f i n i t i e s with that to be found i n the Old Icelandic Havamal, "The Sayings of Har" ("Har" being Odin) . Havamal, a c o l l e c t i o n of proverbial sayings much l i k e the Old English gnomes, i s the second poem i n the 103 c o l l e c t i o n which constitutes the Poetic Edda, a group of poems of which the f i r s t h a l f are on mythological and the second on heroic subjects. The poems as a whole are of 15 pagan o r i g i n . Like the Old English gnomic poems, Havamal i s loose and composite i n structure. Further, the rather mundane and p r a c t i c a l attitude to women found in Maxims I and 11 i s p a r a l l e l l e d in Havamal, with the difference that in the l a t t e r poem the presentation of women becomes humorous and cy n i c a l . The rel a t i o n s h i p between men and women i s here an ongoing b a t t l e of the sexes, i n which men often get the worst of the encounter: Many a good maid, i f you mark i t well, i s f i c k l e , though f a i r her word; that I quickly found when the cunning maid I lured to lecherous love; every taunt and gibe she t r i e d on me, and naught I had of her. (stanza 102) and: A man I saw sorely bestead through a wicked woman's words; her b a l e f u l tongue did work hi s bane, though good and unguilty he was. (stanza 118). This rather harsh picture i s somewhat mitigated l a t e r : i f thee l i s t to gain a good woman's love and a l l the b l i s s there be, thy troth shalt pledge, and t r u l y keep: no one t i r e s of the good he gets. (stanza 130) Although Havamal presents a world-view i n many ways very akin to that of Old English poetry, as apparent, for instance i n the well known stanzas on the tr a n s i t o r i n e s s of worldly things and the need to win fame, the 104 proverbial treatment of women i n thi s poem makes them much more formidable and s p i r i t e d creatures than the female figures i n the Old English Maxims and Riddles. The note of cynicism which characterises Havamal i s absent from Old English poetry; the references to unchaste women i n the Maxims are the closest approximation to i t . There i s one rather s t r i k i n g passage i n Maxims I which i s the reverse of c y n i c a l : the l i t t l e anecdote about the F r i s i a n wife. This passage provides a v i v i d c r y s t a l l i s a t i o n of the theme of wifely duty expressed i n 17 general terms i n other parts of the poem. The li n e s describe how the F r i s i a n wife receives "the welcome one" (1. 94)—her s a i l o r husband—and leads him in , washes hi s clothes and gives him clean ones to wear. The language i s fresh and precise, and the words suggest a touching a f f e c t i o n on both sides: "bib h i s ceol cumen ond hyre ceorl to ham, / agen aetgeofa" (11. 96-97a) , and " l i p him on londe paes h i s l u f u baedeS" (1. 99) . Maxims I i s on the whole an i n f e r i o r poem: badly organised, and often t r i t e . But many of i t s vignettes are v i v i d , and the F r i s i a n wife passage i s es p e c i a l l y so. The marital r e l a t i o n s h i p i s only one of many themes i n the poem, but i t p a r t i c u l a r l y captures the poet's in t e r e s t . Aspects of t h i s theme appear and disappear, interspersed with other material. The poet refers to the elemental r e l a t i o n s h i p of man, wife, and children, speaks of the king's buying the queen with rings and goes on to describe 105 t h e i r married l i f e i n id e a l terms, and touches on situations in which the rules have been broken and the ide a l v i t i a t e d . The F r i s i a n wife passage i s the high point in the treatment of t h i s theme. The poet's development of his subject i s sporadic and disorganised, but i t contains moments of r e a l imagination and s e n s i t i v i t y . The Riddles and Maxims show a t r a d i t i o n a l view of women which i s also present i n Beowulf. But, before we turn to the more substantial characterisation to be found i n that poem, i t i s worth looking at another piece of Old English poetry which appears to draw on the t r a d i t i o n a l l i t e r a r y view of woman's ro l e . This work i s Waldere, a 18 poem which i s extant only in two small fragments. Hence, statements about i t s intentions are necessarily speculative. However, the poem i s evidently based on material known to us from other sources, c h i e f l y , the Icelandic Thidrik Saga, various Middle High German poems, and, most important, the Latin epic Waltharius, usually ascribed to 19 the tenth-century Ekkehard I of St. G a l l . In i t s basic form, the t a l e describes the escape of Walther and hi s beloved, Hildegund, from the court of A t t i l a , where they were held as hostages. On t h e i r way they are ambushed i n a d e f i l e i n the Vosges, and Walther i s involved i n a b i t t e r f i g h t with King Gunther and twelve companions, of whom a l l except Gunther and his fr i e n d Hagen (also a frie n d and fellow hostage of Walther), are k i l l e d by Walther, the three survivors a l l being severely injured before they 106 f i n a l l y make peace. The Waldere fragments belong to the occasion of the f i n a l struggle between Walther and h i s two opponents. ^Fragment I, a speech encouraging Waldere before the f i g h t , i s generally assigned to Hildegund. The speaker i s unnamed, but, from our external knowledge of 20 the tale , Hildegund seems the l i k e l y candidate. Hildegund i n t h i s passage has been regarded as a martial heroine, whetting Waldere 1s possibly flagging resolve. However, as Levin Schucking pointed out, her words constitute not so much a "whetting" as a piece of good advice. Her urging Waldere to perform "good deeds" (1. 23) and win glory (11- 10-11) i s a standard piece of good counsel. Her function i n the passage, Schucking notes, i s to be linked with that of the trusty retainer (he c i t e s Wiglaf's urging Beowulf to f i g h t well against the dragon), and with that of the d u t i f u l wife (he compares the queen i n Maxims I and Wealhtheow i n Beowulf): both are 22 expected to give sound advice. Hildegund, then, exercises the same supportive function that we found attached to women in the Old English proverbial poems. However, i t cannot be denied that the poet gives her, i f she i s indeed the speaker, the same kind of powerful eloquence that we f i n d i n Wiglaf, and i n the retainers i n Maldon: [ j . ] i s se daeg cumen paet Su scealt aninga oSer twega, l i f forleosan o66e l[..]gne dom agan mid eldum, , iElfheres sunu. (Waldere, I, 11. 8-11) 107 The portrayal of Hildegund i n Waldere may be contrasted with her characterisation in Waltharius, where she i s excessively d e f e r e n t i a l and timid: Tandem virgo v i r i genibus curvata profatur: 'Ad quaecumque vocas, mi domne, sequar studiose Nec quicquam p l a c i t i s malim praeponere i u s s i s . ' (11. 248-50) and: In tantumque timor muliebra pectora pulsat, Horreat ut cunctos aurae ventique susurros, Formidans volucres c o l l i s o s sive racemos. (11. 351-53) Ekkehard 1s poem i s influenced by c l a s s i c a l L a t i n poetry, and by V i r g i l i n p a r t i c u l a r . In comparing Waldere with i t s Latin analogue, i t i s tempting to make a neat antithesis between northern and southern European t r a d i t i o n s , arguing that the Old English version o f f e r s us a f i e r c e , V a l k y r i e - l i k e character, and the Latin a much gentler figure. But the difference i s rather between a vigorously p r a c t i c a l and an e f f u s i v e l y sentimental presentation, and i s much influenced by the difference i n poetic q u a l i t y between the two works: Waldere i s f u l l of spontaneity; Waltharius reads l i k e a school exercise i n pastiche. The Old English Hildegund, then, does not depart from the role of d u t i f u l accessory which t y p i c a l l y characterised wives and queens i n the Riddles and Maxims. However, she does invest t h i s r o l e with considerably more vigour. More than t h i s cannot be said, since the Waldere fragments are too b r i e f f o r us to come to any conclusions about the larger a r t i s t i c purpose the poet may have had 108 and a question mark must be attached to the very a s c r i p t i o n of Fragment I to Hildegund. Both the Riddles and the Maxims present female figures c u r s o r i l y , and i n the conventional terms defined by the t r a d i t i o n a l roles of women in society. The female figures i n Beowulf are evidently indebted to the same t r a d i t i o n . With the exception of the arrogant Thryth and the monstrous mother of Grendel, a l l the women i n the poem who are characterised at a l l extensively are beau t i f u l and virtuous queens based on the ide a l described in Maxims JE. There are a couple of references to older women (the 23 word used i s qeomeowle) : the wife of the f i e r c e old Ongentheow, and the woman who laments beside the pyre of Beowulf. However, these figures are given no distinguishing features s p e c i f i c a l l y connected with t h e i r age. Their function i s the standard, accessory one: here, to convey helplessness or g r i e f when t h e i r protecting warrior i s dead. Ongentheow's wife i s "golde berofene" (1. 2931); the woman at Beowulf's pyre sings a giomorgvd (1. 3150), and anticipates wretchedness and c a p t i v i t y for herself and her p e o p l e . 2 4 These two old women are i n exactly the same position as the (typical and hypothetical) "maeg5 scyne" (1. 3016) i n the speech of the messenger who announces Beowulf's death. The young women of the tr i b e , says the messenger, w i l l have to go sadly, "golde bereafod" (1. 3018) into e x i l e . Yet, the Beowulf poet very s k i l f u l l y manages to use 109 the female figures of the poem as the chief vehicle of i t s tr a g i c e f f e c t . In Maxims I, an interest i n the marital r e l a t i o n s h i p as the expression of an elemental propriety c r y s t a l l i s e s in a p a r t i c u l a r instance of t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p : the F r i s i a n wife scene. The e f f e c t i s v i v i d , but isolat e d . The Beowulf poet also brings the conventions to l i f e . In him the ef f e c t i s les s p a r t i c u l a r i s e d , but more sustained. The pathetic figure of the female vi c t i m of feud becomes a leitmotiv i n the poem. The women mentioned i n the previous paragraph are nameless and t y p i c a l , but th e i r case i s repeated i n the three central, p a r a l l e l women characters of the poem: Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru. These three figures are presented quite b r i e f l y , and i n a manner which suggests that they are s t i l l t i e d to the limi t e d number of features associated with i d e a l i s e d women i n the Riddles and Maxims. It i s a considerable achievement of the Beowulf poet that he i s able to subordinate these conventional figures to the s p e c i f i c ends of h i s poem, and to draw upon the type of the proud and b e a u t i f u l queen, which we saw as merely a part of the background i n the Riddles, for a major source of the poem's tra g i c impact. Both the proverbial poems and Beowulf u t i l i s e the t y p i c a l roles assigned to women by society. The Maxims speak of buying a wife and r e f e r to her domestic duties. This suggests the same view of women as the early laws. Beowulf gives a picture of the ceremonious functions of 110 the a r i s t o c r a t i c woman which corresponds to the indications of other h i s t o r i c a l sources that queens i n secular l i f e were prominent but, as a rule, e s s e n t i a l l y inactive. But the s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the Riddles and Maxims on one hand and Beowulf on the other i s that the l a t t e r poem does much more than simply r e f l e c t , in a rather conservative way, certain recurrent features of r e a l l i f e . The Beowulf poet uses the recurrent and t y p i c a l , but he shapes i t to serve a d i s t i n c t i v e end. In Beowulf, Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru are each the centre of a t r a g i c feud. In each case, the story i s presented a l l u s i v e l y , as something with which the Anglo-Saxon audience would have been f a m i l i a r . For the modern reader, the facts of the case have to be pieced together with the aid of external evidence and some guesswork. Hrothgar 1s queen, Wealhtheow, and t h e i r daughter, Freawaru, are semi-historical figures and the events associated with them are treated by Scandinavian sources, notably the Gesta Danorum of the twelfth-century L Danish h i s t o r i a n , Saxo Grammaticus, and the fourteenth-century Hrolfssaga Kraka. Hildeburh i s a more shadowy figure, but the Finnsburh episode i n which she plays a part i s substantiated by The Fight at Finnsburh, a fragmentary Old English lay which describes the same events. We know from Saxo that Hrothgar 1s nephew, Hrothulf, k i l l e d Hrethric, Hrothgar 1s son. Hrothulf's subsequent splendid reign i s remembered i n Danish t r a d i t i o n , and 25 celebrated i n the Hrolfssaga. The Beowulf poet makes no e x p l i c i t statement about these l a t e r events, but, i n the l i g h t of the information provided by Scandinavian sources, we can t e l l that Wealhtheow1s expression of her f a i t h i n Hrothulf (11. 1180b-87) i s a piece of i r o n i c foreshadowing. An a l l u s i o n to H r o t h u l f 1 s subsequent re v o l t and usurpation i s also present i n the poet's e a r l i e r statement about uncle and nephew: "pa gyt waes hiera s i b aetgaedere, / aeghwylc oSrum trywe" (11. 1164b-65a) . As for Freawaru, the poet makes Beowulf predict that her marriage to Ingeld of the Heathobards w i l l not prevent disaster, when feud breaks out between the Danes and the 2 6 Heathobards again. Saxo includes an account of t h i s episode which preserves i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d e t a i l s and gives names corresponding to those of Ingeld and his father, Froda, although the i d e n t i t y of the t r i b e s i s d i f f e r e n t . The outlines of a l l three stories can be deduced s u f f i c i e n t l y for us to grasp the poet's t r a g i c intentions, although many problems remain unsolved. Evidently, the author of Beowulf intended to point a p a r a l l e l between the fates of the three women. Freawaru i s given i n marriage 27 as a "peaceweaver," and i t seems highly l i k e l y , from the t r a g i c b a t t l e between Hildeburh's brother and husband, that she too had been sent as a peaceweaver, to s e t t l e the feud between two t r i b e s . It may be that Wealhtheow 112 herself was given i n marriage for the same purpose. The l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n of her name i s "foreign servant," which suggests that the poet may have given her t h i s name to indicate her foreign o r i g i n s and hint that her own marriage was arranged to cement a precarious friendship 28 between races. Certainly, a l l these women, Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru, have strong i n t e r e s t i n preserving a peace which i s f i n a l l y broken i n spite of them, although i n Wealhtheow's case the c o n f l i c t i s f a m i l i a l , not i n t e r - t r i b a l . The Beowulf poet describes the si t u a t i o n of each of these women i n such a way as to suggest t h e i r i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p . References to t h e i r t r a g i c destiny a l l have a s t a r t i n g point in a scene of feasting in Hrothgar's h a l l , Heorot. Hildeburh and Freawaru are both linked to Wealhtheow by t h i s device. And there i s a natural association between the l a s t two women because Freawaru i s Wealhtheow's daughter. 3 After Beowulf's v i c t o r y over Grendel, there i s celebration i n Heorot, and the scop sings the tale of Finnsburh. He t e l l s of the battl e between Hnasf, leader of the Half-Danes (or simply 'Danes') and Finn, king of the F r i s i a n s and Hildeburh's husband, the death of Hnaef and compact between the survivors on both sides, the uneasy truce, and the f i n a l vengeance of Hengest, Hnaef' s second-in-command, who leads h i s men to defeat the F r i s i a n s , k i l l Finn, and carry Hildeburh back to Denmark. When the t a l e i s ended, 113 Wealhtheow comes forth, greets her husband i n a formal speech, and then turns to Beowulf with g i f t s and gracious words. In her speech to Hrothgar, she mentions her confidence that Hrothulf w i l l be l o y a l to her sons, and when speaking to Beowulf requests that he w i l l be kind to them. As W. W. Lawrence noted, the story of Queen Hildeburh . . . [ i s ] designedly brought into connection with the tragedy i n store for Queen Wealhpeow, which must have been well-known to the people for whom the Beowulf poet wrote.30 Later i n the poem, when, for the benefit of Hygelac, Beowulf i s re c a p i t u l a t i n g his adventures i n Denmark, mention i s made of Wealhtheow's daughter, Freawaru. Beowulf i s speaking of h i s i n i t i a l reception at Heorot, an occasion of f e s t i v i t y very l i k e the great banquet a f t e r Grendel's defeat. Beowulf notes Wealhtheow's prominence i n the scene, and t h i s e s p e c i a l l y suggests to us a p a r a l l e l with the other occasion. He comments that Wealhtheow's daughter was also present, serving drink to the warriors i n the h a l l ; he goes on to mention the g i r l ' s name and her betrothal to Ingeld, and predicts a sad end to the peace-making match (11. 2020 f f . ) . Thus, the three queens are p a r a l l e l figures, each doomed to a t r a g i c fate. Mention of Hildeburh i n close proximity to Wealhtheow suggests the connection between the two. Also, both the Finnsburh and the Heathobard episodes are c l o s e l y associated with scenes of feasting: the former i s narrated at a feast; the l a t t e r arises out 114 of r e c o l l e c t i o n of a feast and describes the outbreak of h o s t i l i t y at a (subsequent) feast. The a l l u s i o n to Wealhtheow's future fate likewise takes place at a scene of feasting. In a l l these cases, there i s a pointed contrast between the c o n v i v i a l i t y of feasting and the horror of war. The juxtaposition of the two casts a dark shadow on the joy over Beowulf's defeat of Grendel. Throughout the optimism of t h i s part of the poem, there i s the implication that the mirth of the h a l l i s to be destroyed by the v i o l e n t passions of men, just as the "peaceweaving" queens are to become helpless victims of war. The Beowulf poet's a l l u s i v e method means that the d e t a i l s of the s t o r i e s to which he refers are unclear. He shows a greater interest i n character and s i t u a t i o n than i n event. Indeed, i t may well be that the legends themselves were variable and i n d i s t i n c t . But the poet gives s u f f i c i e n t material to make his e f f e c t . Whatever the exact circumstances associated with the f i g h t at Finnsburh, the usurpation of Hrothulf, and the f l a r i n g up of the Heathobard feud, the situations of the three queens 31 are unmistakably t r a g i c . These three figures underline a major theme in the poem: that security i s a temporary thing. The main character i s doomed, he i s surrounded by t r a g i c episodes, Heorot i t s e l f i s to perish i n flames (11. 82 f f . ) , and the feast at which Wealhtheow speaks and Hildeburh's tale i s t o l d i s i t s e l f an occasion of f a l s e 115 security, for Grendel 1s mother i s about to s t r i k e . The poet's a l l u s i v e technique i s designed to highlight the feelings of the actors i n his drama, and also to bring out the irony of t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . His method of i n d i r e c t i o n i s e s p e c i a l l y suited to the l a t t e r aim, and the three p a r a l l e l women figures are the main vehicle for i t . Of the three women, Wealhtheow i s the most f u l l y treated. She i s endowed with the conventional attributes of grace and courtesy; she i s an ornament to the h a l l . But, although the Beowulf poet presents her i n the conventional way, he suggests deeper q u a l i t i e s i n her. Wealhtheow, who cannot act to change events, uses eloquence and courtesy i n an attempt to make the r e a l i t i e s of her s i t u a t i o n coincide with her wishes. She, the peaceweaver, i s the embodiment of a l l that i s best i n the l i f e of Heorot: gentleness, refinement, the arts of c i v i l i s a t i o n . But behind a l l t h i s i s the ever-present pressure of violence, baseness, and greed. In her speeches she t r i e s to blot out these threatening forces with her own charm and goodwill. " Ic minne can / glaedne Hropulf, " she says (11. 1180b-81a), and "Her i s aeghwylc eor l oprum getrywe" (1. 1228). She stresses that she i s sure Hrothulf w i l l be l o y a l to her two young sons (Hrethric and Hrothmund) i f Hrothgar dies before him (which, i n view of Hrothgar's old age, i s only to be expected). And yet, she finds i t necessary to appeal to Beowulf for protection and to promise him reward: Wes benden pu l i f i g e , aepeling, eadig. Ic pe an t e l a sincgestreona. Beo pu suna minum dasdum gedefe, dreamhealdende. (11. 1224b-27) In her speeches to Hrothgar (11. 1169-87) and Beowulf (11. 1216-31), her anxiety for her sons, her appeal to Beowulf on t h e i r behalf, and her disguised appeal to Hrothulf f i n d expression in wishful statements that present 32 what should be as what i s . Even Wealhtheow1s t r a d i t i o n a l functions i n the h a l l take on an added sig n i f i c a n c e i n the Beowulf poet's treatment. Her f i r s t appearance gives us l i t t l e more than a lengthier version of the standard queen-in-hall motif. 33 She comes forward formally, presents the cup to Hrothgar and bids him be b l i t h e (1. 617), and then takes i t to the retainers i n turn. When she comes to Beowulf, she addresses him courteously, he assures her that he w i l l be v i c t o r i o u s i n his encounter with Grendel or die in the attempt, and she returns to her seat, well-pleased. At the great banquet celebrating Grendel's defeat, Wealhtheow goes through the same r i t u a l gestures, but now the whole scene i s charged with the t r a g i c reminder of Hildeburh and with the foreshadowing of Wealhtheow's own domestic tragedy. Once again, Wealhtheow makes her formal entry, hands Hrothgar the cup and wishes him happiness, and proceeds to make courteous speeches in the presence of the company. A profound irony and pathos underlies i t a l l . The poet has brought to l i f e the s t a t i c figure of the gracious queen, who comes forward i n the h a l l , o f f ers the cup to her lord, and utters wise and courteous words. He has given Wealhtheow fears and s t r i v i n g s , and at the same time underlined the esse n t i a l hopelessness of her pos i t i o n . Wealhtheow i s the adornment of the h a l l , but she i s powerless to af f e c t the course of events. A l l she can do i s make the same formal movements. Like the queen i n Maxims I who has wise counsel for her husband and h i s retainers, she utters f i t t i n g statements, but r e a l l y they are only pious hopes which w i l l come to nothing. The audience knows that fate and human nature w i l l see to that. Whereas Wealhtheow 1s tragedy i s implied only, that of Hildeburh i s quite e x p l i c i t . The poet's account of the Finnsburh feud begins and ends with her, and she i s seen as the main sufferer. The peculiar tragedy of her posi t i o n i s that she i s g u i l t l e s s (1. 1072), and yet she must suffer doubly because she has l o y a l t i e s to both sides and f e e l s for the deaths on both sides, e s p e c i a l l y those of her son and brother. We do not know exactly how the Heorot scop presented the tale, but the Beowulf poet skips 34 over events i n order to concentrate on certain moments. I n i t i a l l y , he presents Hildeburh grieving on the morning af t e r the b a t t l e . G u i l t l e s s (unsynnum) , she was deprived of son and b r o t h e r 3 5 (11. 10 72b-74a). She finds slaughter where once she held her greatest joy (11. 1079-80a). The i r o n i c opening, saying she had no need to praise the f a i t h 118 of the Jutes (Eotena, 1. 1072) , 3 6 suggests a concentrated bitterness against those who are responsible for her misery. A l l Hildeburh can do i s f e e l and give utterance to her fee l i n g s . She can change nothing. Nor, l i k e Hengest, can she take vengeance. "J)aet waes geomuru ides!" says the poet (1. 1075), as he says "j>aet waes god cyning!" (11. 11 and 863) as i f geomoru defined the very sum and essence of Hildeburh. Innocent, helpless, doubly deprived, swept overnight from happiness to misery, she i s the exemplification of the cruelty and wastefulness of feud. The poet dwells on the agonising f r u s t r a t i o n of Hengest as a l l the winter he broods on revenge; but Hildeburh i s a more poignant figure, and we see her again at the end of the episode, s t i l l helpless and hapless, f i n a l l y c a r r i e d back to Denmark by her people. Freawaru i s the most b r i e f l y mentioned of the three p a r a l l e l female figures. Like Wealhtheow, she i s f i r s t presented to us as the conventional noblewoman who c a r r i e s the cup to the retainers i n the h a l l (11. 2020-23a). After Beowulf has casually mentioned her i n t h i s context, he goes on to explain that she i s betrothed to the son of Froda, and that Hrothgar hopes "paet he mid 6y wife waelfaeh5a dael, / saecca gesette" (11. 2028b-29a) , but that there i s every p o s s i b i l i t y of feud breaking out again, as i t usually does "peah seo bryd duge" (1. 2031). Beowulf then predicts the way i n which war w i l l break out again: an old Heathobard warrior, incensed by seeing the weapons of his s l a i n kinsmen p u b l i c l y worn by Freawaru's followers, w i l l egg on his young companion time and again, u n t i l , 37 inevitably, f i g h t i n g breaks out. Here the focus s h i f t s from Freawaru; but, l e s t we should forget her, she i s alluded to again at the end of the episode, as Hildeburh was: [sy6]oan Ingelde weallaS waelniSas, ond him wiflufan aefter cearwaelmum colran weorcSaS. (11. 2064a-66) The love inspired by Freawaru i s a s l i g h t thing i n comparison with the claims of t r i b a l f e e l i n g and t r i b a l enmity. In p i t t i n g her beneficent but f r a g i l e influence i n the arena of male violence and faction, she i s a p a r a l l e l to Wealhtheow and to Hildeburh. Her connection with them allows her to share the same t r a g i c aura although she i s mentioned so cu r s o r i l y , and Beowulf's laconic "peah seo bryd duge" i s enough to bring a ready-made complex of feelings into play. Freawaru, l i k e the queens who have been described before her, i s a mere object swept up in the course of men's intrigues, as helpless as Hildeburh, who, when the Danes have f i n a l l y avenged themselves, i s carried back to Denmark along with the 38 captured treasure and gems (11. 1154-59a). The Beowulf poet uses the figures of these three women to b u i l d up an atmosphere of tragedy i n the f i r s t 39 u h a l f of the poem. It i s through them i n p a r t i c u l a r that he conveys the t e r r i b l e e f f e c t s of feud. These women are 120 not ind i v i d u a l i s e d , but the suffering of Hildeburh and the anxiety of Wealhtheow are poignantly suggested. Freawaru i s scarcely developed as a character, but she too i s f u l l of pathos. The poet has been able to exploit the conventional, s t a t i c figure, and use i t s very p a s s i v i t y and formality as a vehicle of t r a g i c irony. The treatment of women in Beowulf i s very d i f f e r e n t from that i n what might be thought c u l t u r a l l y comparable works: the heroic poems of the Poetic Edda. Although both Beowulf and the Icelandic poems draw on the fund of Germanic legend and myth, the atmosphere of the Edda i s far more v i o l e n t and passionate. Whereas Beowulf e s s e n t i a l l y repudiates feud, the Eddie poems, though i n s t i n c t with the tragedy of i t , suggest no c r i t i c i s m : i t i s inevitable, even noble. Thus, while the Beowulf queens are peaceweavers, t h e i r Norse counterparts are i n s t i g a t o r s of and p a r t i c i p a n t s in acts of violence. Brynhild s t i r s up 40 Gunnar and Hogni to k i l l Sigurth, her beloved, and enjoys a b i t t e r triumph when she hears the lamentation of Guthrun, Sigurth 1s wife: Laughed then Brynhild, Buthli's daughter, one time only, out of inmost heart, on her couch when came to her ears the grievous wailing of Gjuki's daughter. (The Short Lay of Sigurth, stanza 30)41 Later, Guthrun too wins a b i t t e r revenge. Her second husband, A t l i , has k i l l e d her two brothers, Gunnar and Hogni; Guthrun serves A t l i a dish made of the hearts of t h e i r sons, whom she has k i l l e d , and, aft e r t e l l i n g him 121 what she has done, burns him and his men—and h e r s e l f — t o death i n t h e i r h a l l . Her dreadful triumph i s presented with a stark power: Rose uproar on benches, men's angry shouts, wept Hunnish warriors, there was wailing 'neath hangings but one wept not—Guthrun, who wept not ever her bearhearted brothers, nor her boys so dear, so young and so g u i l e l e s s , begot with A t l i . ^ ( A t l a k v i 5 a , stanza 41) The tragedy associated with these t e r r i b l e women i s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t i n qu a l i t y from that created by the gentle peaceweavers i n Beowulf. In the sagas, too, women appear as inst i g a t o r s , rather than victims of feud. In fact, Guthrun i n Laxdaela Saga, who loves Kjartan, and, thinking he has deserted her, marries another man and then, when Kjartan himself marries, ins t i g a t e s h i s slaying i s probably based on the figure of Brynhild i n the Eddie 43 poems. Although Beowulf i s a Germanic poem, i t i s closer in s p i r i t to V i r g i l than to the Edda. There i s no substantial evidence that the author of Beowulf was d i r e c t l y influenced by the Aeneid, but both poems show the same kind of humanity. The resemblance i s one of poetic temper, rather than s u p e r f i c i a l form, l i k e that between Ekkehard's Waltharius and V i r g i l . In Beowulf, i t i s not the zeal of batt l e that inspires the poet's most moving e f f e c t s , but i t s ultimate f u t i l i t y , i t s irony i n punishing most those who have least part i n i t . One i s reminded of the spear of the s l a i n T r o i l u s s c r i b b l i n g i n the dust,'*'* or the t e r r i f i e d R utuli forcing t h e i r gates 45 shut against t h e i r f l e e i n g comrades. Both poets have a profound sense of the irony and pathos of war. The author of Beowulf has found in the type of the noblewoman, the i d e a l i s e d figure who embodies the most peaceful and c i v i l i s e d aspects of heroic l i f e , the most e f f e c t i v e means by which to convey the threats to that l i f e . Through the t r a g i c f a t e s — s t a t e d or i m p l i e d — o f Hildeburh, Wealtheow, and Freawaru, he builds up a sense of doom in the f i r s t h a l f of the poem which provides a counter-poise to the successes of Beowulf and foreshadows the tragedy at the poem's end. 123 Footnotes ^Beowulf i s generally dated around 700, or shortly after. See Klaeber, edition, pp. c v i i - c x i i i . However, Whitelock, in her book The Audience of Beowulf (Oxford, 1951) , argues for a l a t e r date. It i s very u n l i k e l y that the poem, which shows such a sympathetic i n t e r e s t in Danish history, was composed a f t e r the onset of the Danish invasions, which began at the end of the eighth century. 2 The Exeter Book Riddles, o r i g i n a l l y attributed to Cynewulf, are now usually regarded as of multiple author-ship and various dates. Cf. Agop Hacikyan, A L i n g u i s t i c  and L i t e r a r y Analysis of Old English Riddles (Montreal, 1966) , pp. 9-25; Krapp and Dobbie, The Exeter Book, ASPR, 3 (New York, 1936) , Introduction, p. l x v i i . 3 The dating of the Maxims i s uncertain. Blanche Colton Williams vaguely suggests an eighth- or ninth-century date for Maxims I and appears to indicate the same for Maxims II, Gnomic Poetry i n Anglo-Saxon (New York, 1914) , pp. 101-02 and 112-13 respectively. Krapp and Dobbie more t e n t a t i v e l y suggest the tenth century, or possibly e a r l i e r , Exeter Book, p. x l v i i (Maxims I) , and The  Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems, ed. Dobbie, ASPR, 6 (New York, 1942) , p. l x v i i (Maxims II) . However, Krapp and Dobbie allow that the gnomic poems may incorporate e a r l i e r elements, Exeter Book, pp. x l v - x l v i i , and Minor Poems, pp. l x v i - l x v i i . Maxims I contains what looks l i k e a reference to cremation, i . e . , to a funeral in the pagan s t y l e : "holen sceal inaeled, yrfe gedaeled deades monnes. " (11. 79-80a) Such a reference i s an argument for the antiquity of the t r a d i t i o n a l gnomes in these poems. 4 Some, at least, of the Old English Riddles date back to t h i s period. Riddle 35 ("Coat of Mail") i s extant i n an early Northumbrian version, the Leiden Riddle. Three series of Anglo-Latin r i d d l e s are preserved, those of Aldhelm, Tatwine, and Eusebius. See Exeter Book, p. l x v i . A much more extended survey of the c o l l e c t i o n s of early medieval Latin r i d d l e s from Symphosius on i s contained i n F. Tupper's edition, The Riddles of the Exeter Book (Boston, 1910), Introduction, pp. x x v i i i - l i . 5 Maxims I, 1. 71. I avoid going into the question of variant solutions. A l l the poems spec i f i e d by now have solutions which are well-established, i f not u n i v e r s a l l y accepted. Many of the Riddles are f a r from transparent. 124 7 C f . Riddle 55, 1. 1; Riddle 56, 1. 11; Riddle 59, 1. 1; Riddle 63, 1. 3; Riddle 67, 1. 14. Q This r i d d l e has an obscene si g n i f i c a n c e . Q Both of these r i d d l e s have obscene implications. "*"°In Riddle 52 the form i s wonfah. ^Cf. R. MacGregor Dawson, who attempts a, rather modest, vin d i c a t i o n of the poems' structure, likening i t , rather inconsistently on the one hand to "stream-of-consciousness" novels, and on the other hand to casual conversation. In the l a t t e r regard, Dawson comments, "The r e s u l t i s the same—a rambling s t y l e which covers a great deal of ground, yet never reaches any p a r t i c u l a r goal. This i s not, perhaps, a good pattern for a poem, but i t i s an adequate one . . . ." In my own opinion, such a pattern i s d e f i n i t e l y an inadequate one. See Dawson, "The Structure of the Old English Gnomic Poems," JEGP, 61 (1962), 14-22. 12 The interpretation of 11. 43b-45a i s disputed. See Minor Poems, p. 176. In addition to the overt meaning, as I understand i t , there i s the implication that the woman who takes a lover has no hope of getting married. One i s reminded of the references to buying a wife in the early laws, which make i t clear that the bride's chastity i s an important part of the bargain. However, Blanche Colton Williams believes that t h i s passage i n Maxims I refers to women's use of magical charms ("dyrne craefte") to secure a husband, Gnomic Poetry, p. 150. Williams' inte r p r e t a t i o n involves reading w i l l e for n e l l e (1. 44). 13 Cf. P. B. Taylor, who argues that the Maxims state e x p l i c i t l y the r i t u a l precepts which l i e behind the rest of Old English poetry, "Heroic R i t u a l i n the Old English Maxims," Neophil, 70 (1969), 387-407. 14 Taylor, quoting from Stanley B. Greenfield, comments on t h i s passage from Maxims I as a mingling of the human and the natural worlds. 15 The poems are preserved in the MS Codex Regius No. 2365, dating from the thirteenth century. See The  Poetic Edda, trans. Lee M. Hollander, 2nd ed. (Austin, 1962), Introduction, p. x i v . Quotations from the Edda are taken from Hollander's t r a n s l a t i o n . The i n d i v i d u a l poems are older than the extant manuscript, and of various dates. Havamal may go back to the tenth century. See Hollander, p. 14. 16 Havamal, stanzas 76-77. This i s a t y p i c a l l y 125 Germanic attitude which frequently appears in Old English poetry. 17 It may well be that t h i s passage, which i s not gnomic and general, but i n d i v i d u a l and p a r t i c u l a r , o r i g i n a l l y derives from another source. Also, the movement of the verse here i s more varied and free-flowing than elsewhere i n Maxims I. The passage may well be l a t e r i n o r i g i n than the t r a d i t i o n a l gnomes, but i t i s quite consonant with them, and the poet makes s i g n i f i c a n t use of i t as the central expression of a recurrent theme in the poem. 18 Editors have been most tentative about dating Waldere, but i t i s usually assigned to the early period. Dobbie suggests the eighth century, Minor Poems, p. xxvi, and F. Norman, the middle of the eighth century at the e a r l i e s t , Waldere (London, 1933), Introduction, p. 23. 19 Waltharius i s printed i n Mon. Germ. Hist., Poetae  L a t i n i , 6:1, ed. Karl Strecker (Weimar, 1951), 1-85. Strecker challenges the usual a s c r i p t i o n to Ekkehard I of St. G a l l , and assigns the poem to the Carolingian era. See edition, pp. 1-2. 20 It has been suggested that the speaker i s Hagen, but t h i s view has received very l i t t l e support. See Norman, p. 13. 2 1 , lWaldere und Waltharius," ESt, 60 (1926-26), 24. 22 Schucking's arguments are designed to counter the view of Hildegund i n Waldere as a "Schildjungfrau" i n contrast to the timid woman presented i n Waltharius. He suggests that Waldere i s a tenth-century poem based on the Latin epic, but can bring forward no r e a l evidence i n support of t h i s theory, which has been rejected by most scholars. However, his observations about the re l a t i o n s h i p of Hildegund to the t y p i c a l retainer or the t y p i c a l wife are convincing. 23 The manuscript i s damaged in the second case. Klaeber reads "g((eo) meowle"; Dobbie "[Ge]at[isc] meowle" (1. 3150), Beowulf and Judith, ASPR, 4. 24 It has been suggested that t h i s woman i s Beowulf's widow, but, as no wife has been mentioned before, t h i s i s neither e s p e c i a l l y l i k e l y nor necessary. See Klaeber, p. 230. 25 The relevant passages from the analogues to Beowulf, mainly Scandinavian, are quoted i n Part II of R. W. Chambers' Beowulf: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, 126 1959), pp. 129-244. 26 These episodes from Danish h i s t o r y are alluded to among the catalogues of kings and t r i b e s i n Widsith. This , poem contains a reference to the good r e l a t i o n s h i p between Hrothgar and Hrothulf, and the very emphasis on t h e i r amity may contain a hint at future treachery. The Widsith passage also mentions t h e i r j o i n t defeat of the Heathobards. This seems to r e f e r to the outbreak of h o s t i l i t i e s which the marriage of Freawaru to Ingeld was designed to prevent: "Hropwulf ond Hro&gar heoldon lengest sibbe aetsomne suhtorfaedran, sippan hy forwraecon wicinga cynn ond Ingeldes ord forbigdan, forheowan aet Heorote HeaSobeardna prym." (11. 45-49) 27 This i s a term applied by scholars to women married i n order to s e t t l e feuds. The Beowulf poet uses the Old English equivalent as an epithet defining the role of noble l a d i e s . Cf. freocSuwebbe, 1. 1942 (used i r o n i c a l l y i n the Thryth episode) and "fricSusibb f o l c a , " 1. 2017 applied to Wealhtheow) . Evidently, peace-making i s regarded as part of t h e i r d e f i n i t i v e function. 28 Cf. Klaeber, edition, p. x x x i i i . E. V. Gordon thinks that the f i r s t element has been misunderstood, and o r i g i n a l l y meant "chosen," "Wealhpeow and Related Names," MM, 4 (1935) , 169-75. Both Klaeber and Gordon note that the "servant" element should not be taken here as a designation of a member of the lower cl a s s . 29 W i l l y Meyer argues for a s i m i l a r l y close connection between Wealhtheow and Hildeburh, and believes that the former i s the daughter of the l a t t e r , but the evidence does not j u s t i f y such a conclusion. See "Wealhpeow," Beiblatt zur Anglia, 33 (1922), 94-101. 30 Beowulf and Epic Tradition (Cambridge, Mass., 1930), p. 126. 31 The a r t i s t i c usage of the Finnsburh and Heathobard episodes, t h e i r r e l a t i o n to Wealhtheow, and to the more central concerns of the poem i s well presented by Adrien Bonjour, The Digressions i n Beowulf, Medium iEvum Monographs, 5 (Oxford, 1950). The postulated outlines of the legends involved and the discrepant interpretations are discussed by Chambers i n h i s Introduction and Klaeber i n h i s e d i t i o n . Although most scholars accept that the Beowulf poet i s making heavy a l l u s i o n s to a t r a g i c future, Kenneth Sisam i s s c e p t i c a l . He suggests that there i s no r e a l basis on which to construct a t r a g i c fate for Wealhtheow, and that Beowulf scholars may have created t h e i r own legend on the 127 basis of very l i t t l e evidence i n the poem or elsewhere, The Structure of Beowulf (Oxford, 1965), pp. 33-39. 3 0 Cf. E. B. Irving, "The only way that Wealhtheow knows to prevent the explosion which seems imminent . . . i s to resort to what one must c a l l incantation," A Reading of  Beowulf (New Haven and London, 1968) , p. 139. 33 This i s one of the formal duties of a queen. Cf. Maxims I, 11. 89-91a. 3 4The contrast between the s t y l e of the Finnsburh episode i n Beowulf and the Finnsburh fragment has often been pointed out. Cf. Chambers, "Whereas the Fragment i s inspired by the l u s t and joy of b a t t l e , the theme of the Episode, as t o l d in Beowulf, i s rather the p i t y of i t a l l " (p. 248) ; also Bonjour, "The treatment i s . . . more heroic in the Fragment, more 'sentimental' in the episode" (p. 58). Klaeber makes sim i l a r observations (edition, p. 236) . 35 L i t e r a l l y , "sons and brothers": "bearnum ond broorum," 1. 1074. The i d e n t i t y of the treacherous Jutes i s uncertain. They may be the Danes, the F r i s i a n s , or a group having members on both sides. The problem i s discussed by Chambers, pp. 272-76, and 333-45. Klaeber simply equates the Jutes with the F r i s i a n s i n the episode (pp. 233-34) , while Chambers regards the Jutes as a d i s t i n c t group in the service of Finn (p. 276). However, C. L. Wrenn, influenced by h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the Beowulf Hengest with the q u a s i - h i s t o r i c a l Anglo-Saxon Hengest, equates the Jutes with the Half-Danes, bel i e v i n g the l a t t e r to be not Danes proper, but Jutes serving under the Danes, Beowulf, 3rd ed., revised by W. F. Bolton (London, 1973) , Introduction, p. 44. 37 Most c r i t i c s accept that t h i s i s a prophetic description of an event which a c t u a l l y occurred, but there i s dispute as to whether the scene i s i n Heorot or in Heathobardic t e r r i t o r y . Axel O l r i k believed that Beowulf's speech referred to an event which had already taken place, Danmarks Heltedigtning, II (Copenhagen, 1910), pp. 37 f f . See W. W. Lawrence, "Beowulf and the Tragedy of Finnsburg," PMLA, 30 (1915), 380-81, n. 11. A. G. Brodeur argues that the poet d e l i b e r a t e l y makes Beowulf give a s l i g h t l y inaccurate account, to indicate that t h i s i s prediction only, The Art of Beowulf (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959), pp. 157-81. 38 Here, as elsewhere, the Beowulf poet i s using a conventional idea more pointedly. In Genesis A, the juxtaposition of bryd and beaqas i s formulaic (cf. "sceal 128 bryde beag," Maxims I, 1. 130), and the association of wife with property, t r a d i t i o n a l : "Da Abraham aehte laedde of Egypta e6elmearce; hie elle n r o f e idese feredon, bryd and begas, . . . " (11. 1873-76a) 39 Cf. Bonjour, pp. 62-63, where he speaks of the leitmotiv of the precarious peace i n the Finnsburh and Heathobard episodes. He sees these episodes as preparing for the background of feud i n the second part of the poem, and paving the way for the t r a g i c atmosphere that becomes in s i s t e n t there. 4^The same Gucfhere and Hagena (Gunther and Hagen) who, in d i f f e r e n t characters and circumstances, appear i n Waldere. 41 Hollander assigns t h i s poem to the eleventh or twelfth century (p. 252) . The enormously t e l l i n g d e t a i l of Brynhild 1s v i o l e n t laugh i s preserved i n the l a t e r version of the Volsung legend found in the Nibelungenlied. 42 Hollander suggests a date i n the l a t t e r part of the ninth century (p. 285). The h o r r i b l e meal served i s , of course, an archetypal motif, f a m i l i a r also from Greek mythology. In the Nibelungenlied, Kriemhild (= Guthrun) i s a c t u a l l y responsible for the deaths of Gunther (Gunnar) and Hagen (Hogni); t h i s i s her vengeance for t h e i r murder of S i e g f r i e d (Sigurth). 43 Cf. Richard Harris, "Women i n the Icelandic Family Sagas: Stereotypes and Individuals," a paper presented to the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Medieval Conference, November, 1975, pp. 6-7. 44 Aeneas describes the picture of the "unhappy boy" being whirled along by h i s horses, ". . . cervixque comaeque trahuntur / per terram, et versa p u l v i s i n s c r i b i t u r hasta, " "Aeneidos," I, 477-78, P. V e r q i l i  Maronis Opera, ed. F. A. H i r t z e l (Oxford, 1900). 4 R -"'qui cursu portas primi inrupere patentis, hos inimica super mixto premit agmine turba, nec miseram effugiunt mortem, sed limine i n ipso, moenibus in p a t r i i s atque i n t e r tuta domorum c o n f i x i exspirant animas. pars claudere portas, nec s o c i i s aperire viam nec moenibus audent accipere orantis, oriturque miserrima caedes defendentum armis aditus inque arma ruentum." (XI, 879-86) 129 CHAPTER IV THE POEMS IN THE SAINT'S LIFE TRADITION In the l a s t chapter, I examined the development of one of the major female character-types: the good queen. Here, I s h a l l be concerned with the other main female stereotype: the saint. Whereas the poetic presentation of the queen u t i l i s e s the prominent but passive position she t y p i c a l l y held i n actual l i f e , the saint, as noted i n Chapter II, i s a type based not so much on the r e a l - l i f e p o s i t i o n of Anglo-Saxon saints, such as Hild. and iEthelthryth, as on a hypothetical i d e a l . In the present chapter, the discussion w i l l centre on three Old English poems: Elene, Juliana, and Judith. The f i r s t two works are among the signed poems of Cynewulf, and are dated around the turn of the ninth century; Judith i s a l a t e r work.-*- Since they both deal with Christian saints and were both composed by the same author, Juliana and Elene have more i n common with one another than with Judith, which treats an Old-Testament subject. Nonetheless, the l a t t e r poem has considerable a f f i n i t i e s with them, by virt u e of i t s concentration on the figure of a heroic woman. B. J. Timmer observes that "Judith belongs to the type of poetry to which Juliana and Elene belong, the 130 2 r e l i g i o u s epic describing the deeds of a f i g h t i n g s a i n t . " Rosemary Woolf has also pointed out the connection between Judith and the saints' l i v e s , observing that t h i s poem "shows unmistakably the influence of the l i f e of the 3 v i r g i n martyr." There are, of course, marked differences between the three poems i n source and treatment, but i n characterisation the s i m i l a r i t y of t r a d i t i o n i s more important than the differences. The fact that two of the poems belong to one period and author and the t h i r d to another i s not of great significance i n the present connection. Juliana and Elene do l i e closer together i n being more f i r m l y within the hagiographic genre, but t h i s has l i t t l e to do with t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r Anglo-Saxon provenance. As f a r as scholars have been able to e s t a b l i s h d i s t i n c t i v e features in the poems attri b u t a b l e to Cynewulf, these have been features of d i c t i o n and syntax rather than of matter. 4 The attitude of mind which' l i n k s Judith with Juliana and Elene i s not only present i n the Old English poem on the Judith legend, but goes r i g h t back to the Hebrew version of the t a l e . Like the l a t e r authors of the saints' l i v e s , the composer of the Old-Testament story aimed to edify and to confirm the f a i t h . The editors of the Jerusalem Bible draw attention to t h i s i n t h e i r introduction to the apocryphal books: The author [of the Book of Judith] seems 131 d e l i b e r a t e l y to have defied h i s t o r y to d i s t r a c t the reader's attention from the h i s t o r i c a l context and focus i t exclusively on the r e l i g i o u s c o n f l i c t and outcome. . . . Holofernes, the henchman of Nebuchadnezzar, i s the incarnation of the powers of e v i l . Judith (her name means "the Jewess") represents the cause of God, that i s to say, of Jewry. 5 Clinton Albertson makes rather a s i m i l a r comment on the frame of mind of the men who wrote the (Latin) l i v e s of Anglo-Saxon saints: "The hagiographers f r e e l y manipulate facts and use them only as an excuse to praise God and to i n s t r u c t and edify men." Evidently, there i s an inherent s i m i l a r i t y between the tale of Judith and those of St. Helena (Elene) and St. Juliana. The attitude behind these tales need not necessarily have involved the conscious f a l s i f i c a t i o n of fact imputed in the above comment on the Book of Judith, and not a l l modern scholars would regard the kind of manipulation referred to by Albertson as an e s s e n t i a l 7 ingredient of hagiography. Perhaps the state of mind which informs both the story of Judith and the tales of the C h r i s t i a n saints can be defined as a willingness to accept and promulgate the revelations of the power of God. 8 The poems about Helena, Juliana, and Judith are to be set against a background of hagiographic composition, and seen as part of a genre whose features reappear i n works written i n many d i f f e r e n t languages and styles, f o r the saint's l i f e i s the product of the universal C h r i s t i a n culture of Europe i n the Middle Ages. The t r a d i t i o n transcends national boundaries, and poems and prose l i v e s are to be found from the Anglo-Saxon period i n Latin and Old English, describing the careers of both native and foreign saints. The e a r l i e s t works, those from the f i r s t h a l f of the eighth century, are i n Latin. There follows the "Cynewulfian group" of poems. Then, in the;, late tenth century, at the time of the Benedictine Revival, there i s a period of homiletic a c t i v i t y i n prose which includes many l i v e s of saints, e s p e c i a l l y those written by i E l f r i c . The t r a d i t i o n s of characterisation i n the saints' l i v e s are so f i r m l y fixed that some f a i r l y simple generalisations can be made about the genre. These generalisations apply to the three heroines presently under consideration, and also, i n a broad sense, to the poetic type of the man of God discussed i n Chapter II. The saint i s portrayed as a person of pre-eminent virt u e which impresses his friends and confounds h i s enemies. So absolute i s his f a i t h that there i s l i t t l e room for fear, doubt, or anxiety. Just as the goodness of the saint i s t o t a l , so i s the malice of the e v i l persons with whom he must contend. He i s confronted with f i e r c e and persistent t r i a l s and torments which he scarcely seems to suffer, so complete i s h i s assurance. Proof of h i s s a i n t l i n e s s i s given in miracles, which either confirm and a s s i s t his followers or fr u s t r a t e the cruel designs of h i s persecutors 133 Such miracles take place both during h i s l i f e t i m e and, through the power of his r e l i c s , after h i s death. The situations presented by hagiography are painted with sweeping strokes. The contrasts are vio l e n t , and the moralising tends to be crude. In h i s study of hagiography, R. Aigran distinguishes between the f a i r l y r e a l i s t i c l i v e s based on h i s t o r i c a l accounts and the 'epic' passions and l i v e s , which are picturesque and r h e t o r i c a l , and have l i t t l e or nothing to do with h i s t o r i c a l fact. Elene and Juliana both belong to t h i s 'epical' category, in contrast, for instance, with the more restrained Anglo-Latin accounts of native saints, such as Cuthbert and W i l f r i d . Juliana i s a figure of whom only the name and the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Nicomedia are l i k e l y to be h i s t o r i c a l . On the basis of these data, preserved i n early martyrologies, a suitable legend was developed. Numerous other e p i c a l saints' legends, such as that of Katherine of Alexandria, another v i r g i n martyr, grew up in the same way. St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, i s only s l i g h t l y more h i s t o r i c a l . The legend of her discovery of the cross i s a heroic t r a d i t i o n which has the h i s t o r i c a l basis of a v i s i t by her to the Holy Land, where she founded two churches.1''' Again, the t a l e of Judith i s , to some extent, a Jewish equivalent of e p i c a l hagiography. The contrast between the e p i c a l and the more r e a l i s t i c saints' l i v e s can be observed i n other Old English 134 works, both prose and verse, and t h e i r Latin sources. The element of crude violence and sensationalism present i n many of the Mediterranean legends i s absent from the more homely l i v e s of the Anglo-Saxon saints, partly, doubtless, just because they are closer to l i f e than those t a l e s 12 based on Greek and Latin t r a d i t i o n s . ASlfric's l i v e s of Edmund and Oswald, for instance, are more human and less garish than h i s l i v e s of the Graeco-Roman v i r g i n martyrs: Eugenia, B a s i l l i a , Agnes, Agatha, Lucy, and Eufrasia. The L i f e of Eugenia, however, may have had a p a r t i c u l a r appeal to the Anglo-Saxons, remembering t h e i r own s a i n t l y abbesses of e a r l i e r times: Eugenia l i v e s as a v i r g i n , disguised as a man, i n a community of monks, i s chosen by them as t h e i r abbot, and rules them i n exemplary fashion. There i s no point at which a l i n e 1 3 can be drawn between e p i c a l and r e a l i s t i c hagiography. The legend of Guthlac, i n the Anglo-Latin l i f e by F e l i x , in the Old English prose, and in the poetic version, contains some sensational elements, although i t i s to be grouped with the comparatively r e a l i s t i c accounts of native Anglo-Saxon saints. Thus, the rather picturesque torments to which Guthlac i s subjected by bands of d e v i l s constitute a motif deriving from the L i f e of St. Antony, the hermit saint of the desert. Perhaps the most extreme example of the e p i c a l t r a d i t i o n i n the poetry i s the adventures, of the saint i n Andreas, referred to in Chapter 135 The type of characterisation to be found i n the three poems with which I am concerned can be established more p r e c i s e l y by a comparison of the Old English works with t h e i r Latin sources. In recent years, there have been several studies of the Old English 'saints' poems' designed to show how these works have shaped t h e i r Latin sources i n accordance with t h e i r own d i d a c t i c aim. Scholars have pointed out that the Old English poets have sharpened and heightened the moral contrasts i n t h e i r o r i g i n a l s and s t y l i s e d the characters, to make them c l e a r l y representative, not of in d i v i d u a l s , but of the Church i n 15 i t s c o n f l i c t with e v i l . The s t y l i s e d presentation has been j u s t i f i e d as a deliberate device aimed at a s p e c i f i c end. The overriding d i d a c t i c aim of the authors of these poems i s unquestionable, and t h e i r treatment of character r e f l e c t s t h i s aim. However, the fact that the s t y l i s a t i o n i s deliberate does not necessarily make i t a r t i s t i c a l l y e f f e c t i v e . As we s h a l l see, i n t h e i r adaptation of t h e i r sources, the poets make t h e i r characters less, not more convincing. I s h a l l now examine these adaptations one by one, beginning with Judith. The author of t h i s poem has condensed and s i m p l i f i e d the Vulgate account i n order to bring the contrasting figures of Judith and Holofernes into 16 greater prominence. The beginning of the poem i s missing, and there i s some dispute as to how much of i t i s l o s t . The extant section i s trimmed and telescoped i n order to 136 focus upon Judith's venture to the camp of Holofernes, certain characters are omitted, and the poem as we have i t gives a balanced and complete narrative. These facts make i t l i k e l y that very l i t t l e of the text has been i 7 l o s t . Only two major characters appear i n the Old English poet's version of the t a l e . Nebuchadnezzar has disappeared, and the role of supreme leader of the Assyrians i s subsumed i n Holofernes. Likewise, Ozias, the leader of the I s r a e l i t e s , i s unmentioned, and the poet allows Judith herself to appear as the leader of her people by l e t t i n g the I s r a e l i t e commanders and elders drop into the background. Achior, the man who gives Holofernes good but unwelcome advice, i s unmentioned, and the l i t t l e sub-plot describing h i s transference of l o y a l t i e s to the I s r a e l i t e s i s omitted. Judith's maid i s retained, but i s not emphasised, and the Assyrian who ventures i n to wake the supposedly sleeping Holofernes i s a very minor figure. The e f f e c t of the Judith poet's a l t e r a t i o n s i s to place the central emphasis on the figure of the heroine as 1R the emblem of v i r t u e and the i n s p i r a t i o n of her people. ° It i s illuminating to compare the poetic treatment of Judith with the treatment of s i m i l a r subjects in the homilies of i E l f r i c , e s p e c i a l l y his Homily on the Book of 19 Judith. There are marked s i m i l a r i t i e s between i E l f r i c ' s homily and the poetic Judith, but the restructuring of the o r i g i n a l which i s so conspicuous i n the poem i s much less r a d i c a l in the prose work. i E l f r i c ' s narrative i s longer 137 and more l e i s u r e l y , and also much more f a i t h f u l to the d e t a i l s of the o r i g i n a l . In keeping with the nature of the work he i s writing, i E l f r i c ' s rendering i s also much more e x p l i c i t l y and circumstantially m o r a l i s t i c . The heroine's virt u e and piety are stressed, e s p e c i a l l y in the moralising passage which forms an epilogue to the t a l e of Judith. Her maintenance of chastity i n widowhood i s emphasised, and, in her heroic feat, she i s likened to 20 the Church s t r i k i n g o f f the head of the D e v i l . However, by and large she i s a less martial figure than the Judith of the poem, and her actual decapitation of Holofernes i s passed over quite b r i e f l y . Both the homily and the poem are d i d a c t i c i n intention, but whereas in the former d i r e c t moralising takes precedence over narrative and character-i s a t i o n , in the l a t t e r the poet recreates action and character, along t r a d i t i o n a l poetic l i n e s , as the embodiment of a moral theme. Hence, the poetic treatment takes f a r greater l i b e r t i e s i n i t s handling of i t s source. The exact source of Juliana i s unknown, but the version of the Juliana legend found in the Bollandist Acta 21 Sanctorum provides a form of the legend very close to that on which the Old English poem must have been based. The Latin account describes the torments and temptations to which Juliana i s subjected on her r e f u s a l to marry a pagan. Her father, Africanus, hands her over to her suitor, Eleusius, who, a f t e r f a i l i n g to break her resolve by i n i t i a l c r u e l t i e s , throws her into prison, where she 138 i s v i s i t e d by a d e v i l . She i s subsequently submitted to further tortures, from a l l of which she emerges unscathed, to e f f e c t the discomfiture of Eleusius and the conversion of the multitude. She i s f i n a l l y decapitated. Later her body i s conveyed to Campania by a certain Semphonia. Eleusius comes to an ignominious end by shipwreck. Cynewulf 1s poem seems to have preserved most of t h i s , although there are two gaps in the manuscript. The f i r s t would have contained part of the d e v i l ' s confession of his crimes, and the second, the account of Eleusius' attempt to break Juliana on the wheel. The legend of Juliana belongs to a well-defined branch of hagiography: the l i f e of the v i r g i n martyr. It i s a category i n which the more extravagant features of the genre are very much to the fore. William Strunk, i n the Introduction to h i s edition, gives examples of the recurrent elements: The t y p i c a l v i r g i n martyr i s a g i r l of noble rank . . . , devout and learned . . . , sought in marriage by some heathen proconsul or prefect or prefect's son . . . . She rej e c t s her suitor, and refuses to s a c r i f i c e to Apollo . . . . Brought before the prefect for t r i a l , she adheres to her f a i t h , whereupon she i s subjected to atrocious torture and humiliation.22 Strunk goes on to enumerate the t y p i c a l tortures from which the saint i s miraculously preserved, and the f i n a l beheading. There are some s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the Cynewulf version of the legend and that found i n the 139 Acta Sanctorum. In the l a t t e r , Juliana makes the s t i p u l a t i o n that Eleusius gain the prefecture before she w i l l consent to marry him. When he overcomes t h i s obstacle, she f a l l s back upon her r e a l reason: her determination not to marry a pagan. The omission of t h i s o r i g i n a l s t i p u l a t i o n from Cynewulf 1s poem achieves a greater emphasis on Juliana's piety and makes her seem less dissembling. The same i s true of another omission, which has the e f f e c t of making the character of Eleusius more absolutely wicked and a greater contrast to Juliana. This i s the omission of Eleusius' declaration that he dare not accede to Juliana's demand that he become a Christian, "quia s i fecero, audiet imperator, et 24 successorem mihi dans, caput meum gladio amputabit." In Cynewulf's version, Eleusius' attitude i s one of complete h o s t i l i t y towards C h r i s t i a n i t y . Cynewulf also omits the reference to the removal of Juliana's body by Semphonia, a d e t a i l which makes no r e a l contribution to the impact of the martyr's passion. The o v e r a l l e f f e c t of these changes i s to sharpen and simplify the main l i n e s of the plot and characterisation. In the case of Elene, as well as Juliana, the Acta  Sanctorum provides a version of the legend s i m i l a r to that which must have been Cynewulf's source. This version i s the Acta S. Judae-Quiriaci, which centres on the finding of the cross by the converted Jew, Judas C y r i a c u s . 2 6 The narrative comprises three o r i g i n a l l y separate legends, 140 27 going back to the fourth and f i f t h centuries, and describing respectively Constantine's v i c t o r y i n b a t t l e 28 through the sign of the cross, the mission of h i s mother, Helena, to find the true cross, and the conversion of Judas, subsequently Cyriacus. Thus, the Latin work i s quite loose i n structure. Its t i t l e suggests that Judas Cyriacus i s the hero, but he does not enter t i l l the middle of the narrative, and i t i s r e a l l y the cross i t s e l f 29 which i s the unifying element. As regards the Old English poem, the t i t l e Elene has been in general use since Jacob Grimm used i t i n h i s 1840 edition, but perhaps "The Invention of the Cross" would be more appropriate. 3^ Clearly, St. Helena i s not the central character of Elene i n the same way that Juliana and Judith are the heroines of the poems which bear t h e i r names. Other figures, i . e . , Constantine and Cyriacus, at times occupy the central r o l e . Thus, Constantine ca r r i e s out the m i l i t a r y campaign in the f i r s t episode, and i t i s he, rather than Helena, who f u l f i l s the 31 saint's function of martial leader at t h i s point. Helena i s the war-leader i n the central section; but the presentation of her in 'this capacity i s weakened by the f a c t that she i s never c a l l e d upon to take part i n any 3 2 b a t t l e s . Again, i t i s Judas Cyriacus who a c t u a l l y finds the cross and the n a i l s ; and at the time when he i s being interrogated by Helena he occupies a role rather l i k e that 33 of the martyr before the t r i b u n a l . Nevertheless, Helena, 141 the person who ca r r i e s out the mission to Jerusalem to fi n d the cross, i s a p i v o t a l figure. Cynewulf seems to have heightened her role i n order to make her, at least to some extent, the same kind of f o c a l figure as Juliana (or Judith). In his adaptation of his source, he es p e c i a l l y emphasises the sections presenting Helena as an emissary to the Holy Land. Thus, her expedition becomes an extended 'sea-piece.' 3'* and her interrogation of Judas i s expanded. Also, there i s no mention i n the Latin of Helena's report back to Constantine on the finding of the cross, but Cynewulf makes p a r t i c u l a r mention of t h i s , as i f to give a more active part to Helena, who in t h i s portion of the 35 narrative i s overshadowed by Cyriacus. Further, bringing in Constantine at thi s point has a unifying e f f e c t , and anticipates the f i n a l drawing together of the various strands i n the plot, when the holy n a i l s , found by Cyriacus, are sent by Helena to Constantine, to be set i n his b r i d l e . However, though Helena i s the central actor, i t i s the cross which i s used by Cynewulf to give the poem thematic unity: the cross inspires the conversions of Constantine and Judas, and, in the epilogue, Cynewulf's own s p i r i t u a l regeneration. 3^ In a l l three poems, then, there i s an attempt to tighten the structure and increase the dramatic e f f e c t of the story. Whereas the o r i g i n a l s are characterised by t h e i r b r i e f and unadorned n a r r a t i v e — t h e two vitae are p a r t i c u l a r l y bald, the Old English poems dwell on the persons and 142 situations involved. While c e r t a i n f e a t u r e s present i n the o r i g i n a l s are omitted, the f i g u r e s of the h e r o i n e s and the moral c o n f l i c t s f o c u s s i n g on tHem are emphasised, and added weight i s g i v e n to them by extended d e s c r i p t i o n s and speeches. We s h a l l see t h a t the t r a d i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s a p p r o p r i a t e to the s a i n t l y h e r o i n e are s t r e s s e d : her beauty, p u r i t y , a u t h o r i t y , and, above a l l , her d e v o t i o n to the cause of God. This l a s t f e a t u r e emerges not j u s t from the h e r o i n e ' s words but from the a c t i o n as a whole, and i s v i r t u a l l y the sum of her other q u a l i t i e s . The standard q u a l i t i e s t o be a t t r i b u t e d t o the h e r o i n e — b e a u t y , n o b i l i t y , wisdom, ascendancy over her e n e m i e s — a r e simply conveyed by stock e p i t h e t s such as t o r h t ( J u d i t h , 1. 43) , aecSele ( J u d i t h , 1. 256; Elene, 1. 275; J u l i a n a , 1. 175) , gleaw ( J u d i t h , 1. 13; J u l i a n a , 1. 131), t i r e a d i g (Elene, 1. 604). In J u l i a n a , the youth and beauty of the h e r o i n e are s t r e s s e d ; i n Elene, the v i c t o r i o u s q u a l i t i e s more commonly a s s o c i a t e d with the w a r r i o r are combined wi t h Helena's d i g n i t y as queen ( " g e a t o l i c guScwen golde g e h y r s t e d , " 1. 331). J u d i t h i s d e s c r i b e d i n terms both of beauty ("ides a e l f s c i n u , " 1. 14) and s a i n t l i n e s s ("pa eadigan maeg6, " 1. 35) , and of 37 v i c t o r i o u s n e s s . She and her companion, r e t u r n i n g to Bethulia, are c a l l e d c o l l e n f e r h 5 e and eadhreoige (11. 134-35). The e p i t h e t s chosen are symbolic r a t h e r than r e a l i s t i c . Thus, sigecwen (Elene, 1. 260) and gu6cwen (Elene, 1. 331) a p p l i e d to Helena cannot r e f e r to an a c t u a l m i l i t a r y v i c t o r y , but suggest Helena's impressive authority as commander of her force of men, and also imply her moral v i c t o r y over the Jews. Similarly, the youthful, radiant beauty of Juliana i s the counterpart of her inner purity. Eleusius addresses her: "Min se swetesta sunnan scima, Juliana! Hwaet, pu glasm hafast, ginfaeste giefe, geoguShades blaed 1 " (11. 166-68) The words torht and aelfscinu applied to Judith suggest 38 radiance and more than human beauty. The characterisation of the three heroines i s p a r t l y achieved by i n d i r e c t means. The introduction of the set pieces f a m i l i a r l y found in Old English poetry has the side e f f e c t of emphasising certain of the q u a l i t i e s appropriate to the female saint. Thus, the use of the bat t l e theme, taken up i n Judith's s t i r r i n g speech to her people (1. 191b) and continued i n the action of the I s r a e l i t e s afterwards, has the e f f e c t of demonstrating her f o r c e f u l m i l i t a r y leadership and associating her with the t y p i c a l male warrior leader. In Elene, there i s a vigorous description of Helena's army embarking, s a i l i n g over the sea, and marching to Jerusalem (11. 232b-63). This description suggests that Helena too i s a vigorous m i l i t a r y leader, but the ef f e c t cannot be as t e l l i n g as i n Judith, 39 since t h i s i s a peaceful expedition. Again, the extended presentation of Holofernes and Eleusius has the re s u l t of emphasising by contrast the characters and 144 situations of Judith and Juliana, respectively. The Judith poet dwells on the grossness of Holofernes i n h i s cups (11. 21b-27), and Cynewulf makes Eleusius address Juliana i n words f u l l of h o s t i l i t y (11. 190-208). Both men exult i n t h e i r might; the poets speak of how Holofernes hioh (Judith, 1. 23) and Eleusius ahloq (Juliana, 1. 189). This arrogance forms an i r o n i c contrast with the saints' calm confidence i n the support of God. The piety of the saint i s not so much an i s o l a t a b l e feature as a function of others. It i s present i n the most basic elements of the poems: the p l o t and the poet's attitude. The heroine's dedication i s demonstrated by the incidents of the narrative i t s e l f : Judith boldly undertakes her mission to Holofernes' camp and decapitates him to further the cause of the I s r a e l i t e s , which i s also the cause of God; Juliana remains firm i n her f a i t h i n the face of the utmost pressure to deny i t ; Helena leads her army to Jerusalem, compels the Jews to accede to her wishes, i n i t i a t e s the finding of the cross and the sacred n a i l s , and founds a church. At a l l moments, the poets are conscious of the Christian significance of t h e i r works. The saint's Christian devotion i s as much a part of the character of the Old-Testament Judith as i t i s of the characters of Juliana and Helena. Judith prays to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (11. 83-84) , the "<5rynesse 6'rym" (1. 86) . Much of the emphasis on the heroine's s a i n t l i n e s s 145 and much of the poets' d i d a c t i c purpose i s conveyed through the speeches. In Judith, the main character's speeches have r e a l energy because they a r i s e out of her immediate sit u a t i o n and are d i r e c t l y linked with action. In l i n e s 83-94a she prays to the Lord for strength to defeat the Assyrians i n the person of Holofernes. In l i n e s 177-98 she addresses the I s r a e l i t e s , urging them to f a l l upon the Assyrians. However, i n Elene and Juliana the confrontation between the devout saint and her i r r e l i g i o u s opponents takes the form of long speeches designed to demonstrate the authority of the heroine and the l o g i c a l rightness of her position. The utterances of Juliana (11. 46-57, 108-16, 132-39, 149-57, 176-83, 210-24, etc.) are repeated statements of her moral standpoint, and are counterbalanced by Eleusius' attempt to persuade her to accept h i s own gods (11. 190-208) and by the d e v i l ' s lengthy account of his crimes (11. 289-315a, 321-44, 352-417, 430b-53, 461-530a). The human intere s t in a l l t h i s i s minimal. The speeches i n Elene are less mechanical, but the d i d a c t i c element i s s t i l l strong. When Helena addresses the Jews, she begins with an account of the prophets' sayings concerning Christ (11. 333-76), and proceeds to a condemnation of the Jewish people (11. 386-95). Her subsequent interrogation of the Jews c o l l e c t i v e l y and Judas in p a r t i c u l a r consists of repeatedly threatening them with death, and stressing her int e r e s t i n the cross (11. 574-84a, 605b-08, 621-26, 643-54, 663-66, 670-82a, 146 686-90). Judas' r e p l i e s (11. 611-18, 632-41, and 656-61) are intended to present a series of spurious j u s t i f i c a t i o n s , but in fact there i s a tendency for him to become a 40 sympathetic figure at t h i s point. His extremely long speech to the Jews (11. 419b-535) i s an i n d i r e c t indictment of them, since i t contains an account of the c r u c i f i x i o n and the part played i n i t by the Jews. The l a r g e l y d o c t r i n a l character of the speeches i n both poems can scarcely make them l i f e l i k e , and the e f f e c t i s rather monotonous. The piety of the t y p i c a l female saint i s e s p e c i a l l y associated with her chastity. The veneration accorded to v i r g i n i t y i s met with everywhere. We f i n d i t i n Bede's celebration of iEthelthryth, mentioned i n Chapter I. 41 i E l f r i c ' s Homily on the B i r t h of the V i r g i n i s an extended paean to v i r g i n i t y , expressed with poetic eloquence, and r i s i n g to a high p i t c h of i n t e n s i t y i n the rapturous passage describing the song of the v i r g i n host surrounding the Lamb. But the presentation of v i r g i n i t y in the poems under consideration i s completely matter-of-fact, and quite lacking in t h i s i n s p i r a t i o n a l quality. V i r g i n i t y cannot play a part i n the character of Helena, since she i s the mother of Constantine, but i t does play a prominent part i n the characterisation of Judith and Juliana. In both cases i t i s worthy of comment, since i t i s not e n t i r e l y i n keeping with the given 147 narrative. Judith i n the Bible i s a widow. It i s true that her virtuous and r e t i r i n g behaviour since the death of her husband i s stressed, but there i s no question of her being a maid, as she i s i n the Old English poem. This decisive change may well be the work of the poet rather than of an intermediary source. i E l f r i c ' s Homily on the Book of Judith emphasises her purity, but follows the Vulgate i n making her a widow. The e f f e c t of t h i s change i s to make Judith even more l i k e the t y p i c a l female 42 saint. Also, the poet makes Judith stand out i n sharper r e l i e f against Holofernes by presenting her as the epitome of maidenly purity, in contrast with Holofernes' licentiousness and debauchery, which he also stresses. In Juliana, there i s a certain inconsistency i n the presentation of the heroine's dedication to v i r g i n i t y , for at one point the poet states that she has dedicated her maidenhood to God (11. 29b-31), while a l i t t l e l a t e r she declares her willingness to marry Eleusius i f he w i l l f i r s t become a Christian (11. 47b-50). Because of Cynewulf's eagerness to stress the vi r t u e of choosing the celibate l i f e , Juliana i s credited with two d i s t i n c t moral positions, both acceptable from a Christian point of view, but not compatible. In t h e i r adaptations of t h e i r o r i g i n a l s , the Old English poets allow nothing which might detract from the dignity and pur i t y of t h e i r heroines. Thus, in addition to the changes of plot or character-function pointed out 148 e a r l i e r , there are s i g n i f i c a n t omissions of d e t a i l designed to remove the cruder features of the o r i g i n a l s . These omissions are e s p e c i a l l y noticeable i n Juliana and Judith, where the Old English poems show a d i s t i n c t difference i n tone from t h e i r Latin sources. When Juliana i s thrown into prison, i n the Latin version she utters a prayer to God which ends with a vengeful reference to Eleusius: ". . . fac ipsum praefectum, participem daemoniorum, a me deridere, et ipsum consumptum a vermibus 43 magno dolore torquere . . . ." The entire passage i s omitted i n Cynewulf 1s version. Indeed, the o v e r a l l impression created by Cynewulf 1s poem i s a less garish one. This i s es p e c i a l l y noticeable in Juliana's confrontation with B e l i a l , the d e v i l . Cynewulf retains the basic features of the episode: B e l i a l comes to her disguised as an angel and tempts her; she c a l l s to God for assistance, i s instructed to seize the d e v i l and force him to reveal h i s ident i t y , which she does; he then confesses a l l h i s crimes. When she i s summoned from prison, she drags him ignominiously a f t e r her.- He makes a f i n a l appearance at Juliana's execution, but she confounds him with a mere backward glance. A d e f i n i t e l y humorous note i s introduced with B e l i a l , reminiscent of the treatment of de v i l s i n (later) medieval drama. The humorous touch i s present i n Cynewulf's poem, but i s restrained i n comparison with the roughness of the Latin version. The l a t t e r describes how, after Juliana has 149 p h y s i c a l l y overpowered the d e v i l , she beats him savagely with a chain, and how, afte r dragging B e l i a l with her on her way from the prison, she throws him into a place f u l l of f i l t h . 4 4 In the Old English poem, the beating of the d e v i l i s omitted, and the "locum stercore plenum" i s , rendered i n much vaguer language, the g i s t of which i s that Juliana banished B e l i a l back to h e l l : Ba hine seo faemne f o r l e t aefter praechwile pystra neosan in sweartne grund, sawla gewinnan, on wita forwyrd. (11. 553b-56a) In i t s more restrained tone, the Old English poem contrasts not only with i t s Latin source, but with i t s early Middle English analogue, the late twelfth-century L i f l a d e ant te Passiun of Seinte Juliene of the Katherine 45 Group. T. Shippey notes that the Middle English prose version, unlike Cynewulf 1s poem, picks up "a c o l l o q u i a l sensationalism" present i n the Latin. The essential material of the Juliana legend i s sensational, but t h i s aspect i s c e r t a i n l y muted i n the Old English. In contrast, the l i f e i n the Katherine Group i s f u l l of rough but l i v e l y d e t a i l s of action and characterisation. Juliana binds B e l i a l ' s hands so t i g h t l y that "him wrong euch n e i l 7 blakede of pe blode," and then beats him "se luSerliche 47 pet wa wes him o l i v e . " Again, she speaks i n language much too acerbic and down-to-earth for Old English poetry. 48 She addresses her persecutors as " b e l i a l e s budeles," and Eleusius as "head'ene hund, " 4 9 and declares, " l u t e l me i s 150 of ower luve • leasse of ower 1 a£fe • 7 of pes preates r i c h t noht. 1 , 5 0 Less l i v e l y , but more spectacular, i s the early 51 Middle English L i f e of St. Katherine, which gives i t s name to the Katherine Group. Indeed, a summary of the events i n the L i f e of St. Katherine provides an excellent example of the h o r r i f i c and garish elements which characterise the saint's legend, e s p e c i a l l y that of the v i r g i n martyr, and from which the Old English works are comparatively free. In fact, the early Middle English l i f e i s a c t u a l l y toned down from i t s Latin o r i g i n a l , and d i f f e r s from the other members of the Katherine Group 52 in t h i s respect. Katherine i s a learned g i r l of noble family i n Alexandria who rebukes the Emperor Maxentius when he i s s a c r i f i c i n g animals to heathen gods in a temple. Maxentius summons f i f t y scholars to dispute with her, and she defeats and converts them a l l , whereupon Maxentius has them burned to death. She also converts Maxentius' queen, Augusta, and Porphirius, the chief of h i s knights, who converts his men i n turn. There i s a g r i s l y description of the instrument designed for Katherine's execution, a spiked wheel—the wheel i s miraculously shattered by an angel, and an even more g r i s l y description of the martyrdom of Augusta, whose breasts are torn o f f by n a i l s attached to the nipples, a f t e r which she i s beheaded. A l l t h i s takes place at the command of the bloodthirsty Maxentius, who has Porphirius and his knights executed, 151 and f i n a l l y has Katherine beheaded. Cynewulf 1s Juliana i s mildness i t s e l f i n comparison. The Book of Judith i s not crudely sensational, but l i k e the Latin source of Juliana, i t too contains features which make i t s heroine a less than ideal figure. In the Judith poem too there are noteworthy omissions designed to remove the heroine's less ennobling c h a r a c t e r - t r a i t s . The strong element of g u i l e in the b i b l i c a l Judith finds no place i n the Old English poem. As the beginning of the poem i s l o s t , we cannot t e l l how the poet introduced Judith's stratagem, but the tenor of what remains suggests that he would have underplayed i t s inherent deception. There i s no indicati o n i n the poem that she enticed Holofernes to attempt her seduction. The poet says, "past waes by feor<3an dogore / paes 6e Iudith hyne, . . . / . . . aerest gesohte" (11. 12b-14) , but does not explain her motivation. There i s no mention of Judith's making i t her custom to go outside the camp to pray—and thereby s k i l f u l l y preparing for the occasion 53 when she w i l l need to escape. She i s not present at the feast, whereas i n the Bible she takes pains to make a gracious appearance there. The poet makes Holofernes' feast uproarious and disgusting, but her absence from i t prevents any s l u r upon h e r . 5 4 When she finds herself alone with the unconscious Holofernes, she prays to God for strength before she k i l l s him. In the Bible, Judith f i r s t of a l l makes a formal and somewhat extended prayer asking God's support so that she may overthrow the Assyrians through Holofernes. Then there i s a pause, and she simply asks to be made strong, before s t r i k i n g the blow. The e f f e c t i s to suggest a certain natural repugnance and ti m i d i t y , which she makes an e f f o r t to overcome. In the Old English poem, Judith utters a prayer expressing her need for God's aid (11. 83-94b), but she only prays once, and there i s no indica t i o n of any h e s i t a t i o n on her part. The elimination of the less noble aspects of the heroine's character i s also to be seen in i E l f r i c ' s Homily 55 on the Book of Esther. Like his paraphrase of the Book of Judith, i E l f r i c ' s treatment of the story of Esther i s a condensation of the b i b l i c a l text, emphasising i t s moral significance, and keeping most of the major features of the o r i g i n a l . However, the character of Esther i s softened. There i s no mention of her r i s k i n g death by going before the king unbidden, the most s t r i k i n g action of Esther's in the b i b l i c a l account. Nor does i E l f r i c mention her demand that Haman1s two sons be hanged l i k e t h e i r father. i E l f r i c merely has Ahasuerus state h i s intention to have "Manes magas" k i l l e d . Further, Esther's piety i s emphasised by making her the vehicle for Ahasuerus' conversion to b e l i e f i n the One True God; there i s no mention of such a conversion in the Bible. And i E l f r i c i n s e r t s a passage expanding on Esther's beauty and v i r t u e . " " Altogether, the e f f e c t i s to make Esther a more amiable, but much more 'wishy-washy' character than the fearsome Esther of the Old Testament. In fact, i E l f r i c ' s treatment of Esther involves a greater transformation of the o r i g i n a l character than does h i s handling of Judith, although even i E l f r i c ' s Esther i s by no means as s t r i k i n g l y adapted from the o r i g i n a l as the heroine of the poetic Judith. Altogether, the tendency of Cynewulf and the Judith poet i s to use the simple and symbolic presentation of character associated with the hagiographic genre. The r figures of Juliana and Helena are already very stereotyped, and Cynewulf brings out the t r a d i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s even more strongly. Although the t a l e of Judith has inherent a f f i n i t i e s with the saint's l i f e , the character of Judith as found i n the Bible has far more realism. The Old English poet moves away from t h i s , and brings Judith more into l i n e with the s t y l i s e d figures of the saints. Judith i n the Bible i s a woman of wary i n t e l l i g e n c e as well as beauty and i n s p i r a t i o n a l courage. She i s remarkable, but not super-human. In the Old English poem, a l l the features of the ta l e which do not tend to a thoroughly heroic 58 presentation of the main figure are deleted or changed. Nevertheless, Judith remains a much more vigorous character than Helena or Juliana. Only Judith i s r e a l l y involved i n action Which demands energy and decision. By contrast, the courage and determination of the other two 154 women i s presented i n a very mechanical and s u p e r f i c i a l way. There i s no resourcefulness i n Helena's interrogation, only persistent r e p e t i t i o n of threat and goal, while the torments which Juliana goes through might as well be a series of spectacles at which she i s merely an observer, because she never seems to suffer. In neither case i s there any sense of making a choice or taking part i n a struggle. 1 Unfortunately, some of the l i v e l i e r aspects of other versions of the legends are the very ones which the poets choose to tone down. One i s gra t e f u l for the r e l a t i v e absence of crude sensationalism, but the rather rough treatment of character which accompanies i t can sometimes be quite l i f e l i f e . It i s at the moments when the saints are not simply noble and d i g n i f i e d that they appear most convincing. When the Latin Juliana looks forward to seeing Eleusius consumed by worms, she seems less high-minded but more pl a u s i b l e . The ruthless and acid-tongued Juliana of the Middle English i s quite a vigorous character. Again, the Judith of the Bible i s a more i n t e r e s t i n g figure than her counterpart i n Old English poetry simply because she has mundane as well as heroic q u a l i t i e s . None of the characters in Elene, Juliana, and Judith i s presented n a t u r a l i s t i c a l l y , but the non-heroic figures, i n which the poets are not obliged to maintain an unwavering dignity, are the most l i v e l y . The excessive noisiness of 155 Holofernes at h i s feast i s described i n c o l o u r f u l terms by the Judith poet: Da wearo Holofernus, goldwine gumena, on gytesalum, hloh ond hlydde, hlynede ond dynede, past mihten f i r a bearn feorran gehyran hu se sti6moda styrmde ond gylede. (11. 21b-25) The spectacle of B e l i a l reduced to abject appeals for mercy retains i t s v i t a l i t y : "Ic pec halsige, hlaefdige min, Juliana, fore godes sibbum, past pu furbur me fracepu ne wyrce." (11. 539-41) That the d e v i l should be the v i c t i m rather than the i n f l i c t o r of torments i s a nice reversal, and the appeal "fore godes sibbum" i s a fetching piece of irony. There i s a s i m i l a r l y pleasing absurdity i n the abrupt trans-formation of B e l i a l from a blustering threatener to a g r o v e l l i n g wretch simply by a glance from Juliana (11. 619-34). The figures of Holofernes and B e l i a l are caricatures, but they are executed with l i v e l y strokes. The character of Judas before h i s conversion i s treated on a more serious l e v e l and with a f a i r degree of human f e e l i n g . However, the humanisation of Judas only makes the figure of Helena more cold and unappealing. Judas i s faced with a genuine dilemma: the problem of whether to reveal his knowledge of the true facts of the c r u c i f i x i o n and thus condemn hi s people to perpetual disgrace, or to conceal the truth and lose h i s own l i f e . Cynewulf presents with considerable sympathy hi s i n a b i l i t y 156 to make the harder choice when faced with l i f e and death: "Hu maeg paem geweor6an pe on westenne med'e ond meteleas morland tryded, hungre gehaefted, ond him h l a f ond stan on gesihSe bu samod geweorciacS, streac ond hnesce, paet he pone stan nime wi<3 hungres hleo, hlafes ne gime, gewende to waedle, bnd pa wiste wiSsaece, beteran wi6hyccge, ponne he bega beneah?" (11. 611-18)59 The reader can scarcely help i d e n t i f y i n g with Judas rather than with Helena at t h i s moment. Like the idealised saints, he i s sorely t r i e d , but unlike them he has the ordinary man's weaknesses and goes through processes of doubt and struggle. Again, the reader i s l i k e l y to f e e l a good deal of sympathy for Judas when he i s thrown into a p i t and starved for seven days, before he f i n a l l y submits. The Anglo-Saxon audience may have been less sentimental, but t h e i r sympathies—like Cynewulf's own—must have been engaged to some extent. In t h e i r presentation of character, Judith, Juliana, and Elene are strongly influenced by the demands of the saint's l i f e genre. It i s not a genre which i s conducive to the creation of l i v e l y characters, p a r t l y because i t i s highly stereotyped, but more importantly because i t s aim i s Christian i n s t r u c t i o n rather than psychological truth. The r e a l - l i f e Anglo-Saxon saints mentioned i n Chapter I were endowed with q u a l i t i e s which f a i l to appear i n t h e i r e p i c a l counterparts. From the accounts of iElfflaad's intervention at the synod and Hild's administration of her monastery, we can see that 157 these women were blessed with d i s c r e t i o n , good sense, and tact. Again, Rudolf's account of Leofgyth brings out her kindliness and the a f f e c t i o n she inspired i n the nuns under her charge. Miracles occur in these more sober and r e l i a b l e h i s t o r i e s too, but much of the d e t a i l rings true, and produces a picture very d i f f e r e n t from that of the abrasively uncompromising heroines i n e p i c a l hagiography. Although secular rather than r e l i g i o u s , some types of medieval romance bear a resemblance to the ep i c a l saint's l i f e . In the H e l l e n i s t i c romance, especially, we are presented with a series of extravagant situations, i l l u s t r a t i v e of the c o n f l i c t between good and e v i l , in which good f i n a l l y triumphs; while the re l a t i o n s h i p of the protagonists to the action tends to be external and mechanical. The Old English Apollonius of Tyre i s a romance of t h i s kind. The adventures of the virtuous Apollonius are a sort of secular counterpart to the t r i a l s of the saint, and f u l f i l the same demand for the epic and sensational. Apollonius proceeds from riches to rags and back again, wins a wife and loses her, and f i n a l l y has his supposedly dead wife and long absent daughter restored to him. However, the treatment of character i n the Old English Apollonius, though s t i l t e d , i s s t i l l superior to that i n the e p i c a l saints' l i v e s . In p a r t i c u l a r , the rel a t i o n s h i p between Apollonius and Arcestrate, the king's daughter whom he afterwards marries, i s presented i n quite a l i v e l y manner, and shows us a heroine more aggressive 158 than the secular ladies of Old English poetry and less austere and r i g i d than the female saints. A romance of si m i l a r type which affords a closer comparison with the Old English saints' poems i s to be found much l a t e r i n the medieval period: Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale of the maligned and long-suffering wife, Constance. Like Apollonius, Constance goes through an extraordinary series of adventures; indeed, some of the same motifs are present as i n the Apollonius story. She resembles the female saints of the ep i c a l l i v e s i n representing an ideal of vi r t u e which remains uncompromised throughout a l l the t r i a l s and t r i b u l a t i o n s which b e f a l l i t . However, Constance, though ultimately an u n r e a l i s t i c character, i s a much gentler, and hence much more a t t r a c t i v e , figure than the heroines of the three Old English saints' poems. Also, Chaucer's Tale i s more subtle and sophisticated i n poetic technique than the Old English poems. The three saints' poems can be related to a development in l i t e r a t u r e which extends from the homily on one hand to the picturesque romance on the other. But the characterising aim of the saint's l i f e , to provide a mirror of perfection, i s less i n evidence in the romance genre, and absent from many romances. The saint's l i f e aims to present an, ultimately unrealisable, i d e a l of human virtue, and thi s i s the reason why, the greater i t s e f f o r t to approximate to i t s i d e a l , the less s a t i s f a c t o r y i s i t s characterisation. The l i t e r a r y saint, e s p e c i a l l y the 'epical' saint, i s conceived i n terms of a set of absolutes which as a whole do not correspond to the human condition. The combination of perfect f a i t h , perfect v i r t u e , perfect serenity cannot move because i t appeals to no shared experience. There i s no suffering, d i f f i c u l t y , or f a i l u r e . The Old English poems tone down some of the harsher aspects of t h e i r o r i g i n a l s , but the r e s u l t i s a movement away from, rather than towards, a convincing presentation. The same movement can be discerned i n the homilies on Esther and Judith, but i s les s noticeable there. In our three poems, the unheroic elements which lent some v i t a l i t y to t h e i r sources and analogues, are pared away, or, when they are l e f t , attached to characters other than the heroines. The o f f i c i a l character of the saint i s often at variance with her actions. This i s seen i n the lack of any demonstration of Helena's capacities as a m i l i t a r y leader, and i n the inconsistency between Juliana's dedicated v i r g i n i t y and her willingness to marry on certain conditions. Even when the heroines become assertive, instead of merely r i g i d and mechanical, the ef f e c t tends to be j a r r i n g , since t h e i r sternness and severity are out of keeping with the gracious dignity appropriate to t h e i r r o l e . Cases i n point are Juliana's degredation of B e l i a l (more marked i n the Latin) and Helena's wearing-down of Judas. Judith avoids these 160 awkward discrepancies, and, thanks to the power of the inherited story, the heroine has an organic involvement in the action, instead of appearing to be grafted onto i t . Judith i s a much more vigorous character than Helena or Juliana, but even she, due to the influence of the hagiographic t r a d i t i o n , i s stripped of the e f f o r t s and fears that would make her r e a l l y convincing. The heroes of secular t r a d i t i o n i n Old English Poetry are stereotyped too, but t h e i r l i v e s are fraught with struggle and anxiety, and they appeal to the human predicament in a way that these s a i n t l y heroines never do. As Rosemary Woolf observes: . . . i t i s one of the disadvantages of the hagiographic convention that complexities of f e e l i n g are impermissible, and therefore the subtlety achieved i n Beowulf i s quite beyond i t s range. . . . the epic exaltation of bravery unmodulated by the epic awareness of mortality can appear crudely bright.62 161 Footnotes ^E. Sievers noted the significance of the s p e l l i n g Cynewulf, i n the poet's runic signature, rather than the e a r l i e r "Cyniwulf," Anqlia, 13 (1891), 11-15. See also the remarks of Rosemary Woolf (Juliana, 2nd ed.; London, 1966; Introduction, pp. 6-7) and Pamela Gradon (Cynewulf's  Elene; London, 1958; rep. 1966; Introduction, pp. 13-15). A pre-tenth-century date for the two Cynewulf poems i s also suggested by t h e i r comparative r e g u l a r i t y of metre and the occasional appearance of E.W.S. forms. See Woolf, pp. 3-5, and Gradon, pp. 10-11. In h i s edition of Judith, B. J. Timmer assigns the poem to the tenth century on the grounds of i r r e g u l a r i t y of metre, absence of E.W.S. forms, and the regular use of the d e f i n i t e a r t i c l e i n the construction involving weak adjective plus noun, Judith, 2nd ed. (London, 1961; rep. 1966), pp. 9-10. Whereas the language of Juliana and Elene gives evidence of Anglian provenance, Judith does not appear to to be of Anglian o r i g i n . Cf. Woolf, pp. 3-4; Gradon, pp. 12-13; Timmer, p. 5. 2 Timmer, p. 7. 3 In her essay, "Saints' Lives," Continuations and  Beginnings; Studies i n Old English Literature, ed. E. G. Stanley (London, 1966), p. 64. 4 Cf. Claes Schaar, C r i t i c a l Studies i n the Cynewulf  Group (Lund and Copenhagen, 1949). Schaar picks out certain features, mainly syntactic, which he believes d i s t i n g u i s h the Cynewulf canon (Elene, Juliana, Christ II, The Fates of the Apostles) from the other poems i n the Cynewulf group (Andreas, Christ I and III, Guthlac A and B, The Phoenix, The Dream of the Rood). Marguerite-Marie Dubois' study of Cynewulf aims at showing how he has acclimatised Mediterranean legends to Anglo-Saxon ideas and tastes, but the features on which she comments are ch a r a c t e r i s t i c of Old English poetry i n general rather than of Cynewulf e s p e c i a l l y : amplification by the technique of variat i o n , the introduction of set passages on ba t t l e and the sea, etc., Les Elements l a t i n s dans l a Poesie  r e l i q i e u s e de Cynewulf (Paris, 1943). R. E. Diamond's a r t i c l e , "The Diction of the Signed Poems of Cynewulf," PQ, 57 (1959), 228-41, attempts to demonstrate the t r a d i t i o n a l and formulaic nature of Old English poetry with reference to a p a r t i c u l a r group of poems, and i s concerned with the t y p i c a l , rather than any possibly peculiar, features of Cynewulf's poetry. 5 New York, 1966, p. 603. This e d i t i o n i s a tran s l a t i o n , with minor revisions, of La Bible de Jerusalem (Paris, 1961). 162 Anglo-Saxon Saints and Heroes, Introduction, p. 25. 7 R. Aigran sees hagiography as a science continuing down to the present day, a science which has a duty to be exact, although i t has sometimes f a i l e d i n t h i s duty. Aigran 1s attitude i s apparent throughout h i s book on hagiography, L'Hagioqraphie, ses sources, ses methodes,  son h i s t o i r e (Paris, 1953). g i E l f r i c introduces h i s c o l l e c t i o n of saints'- l i v e s with the idea that forms t h e i r j u s t i f i c a t i o n : God reveals himself to men through the miracles of h i s saints, ASlf r i c ' s  Lives of Saints, ed. W. W. Skeat; EETS, O.S., 76 and 82 (London, 1881), pp. 4-6. See also the close of i E l f r i c ' s L i f e of St. Edmund: " C r i s t geswutelap mannum purh h i s maeran halgan paet he i s aelmihtig god pe macaS swilc wundra . . . ," Medieval English Saints' Legends, ed. Klaus Sperk (Tubingen, 1970), p. 98. q See n. 4. "^See Woolf, Juliana, Introduction, pp. 11-12. "^Mentioned i n a contemporary record, Eusebius' V i t a Constantini. See Robert Wolff, "The Elene: A Study i n the Development of a Saint's Legend on the Cross i n Anglo-Saxon Poetry" (Western Reserve d i s s e r t a t i o n , 1962) , pp. 101-02. 12 Some of the Anglo-Latin l i v e s of native saints contain much circumstantial d e t a i l that can be very informative. Cf. Eddius Stephanus' account i n his L i f e of  W i l f r i d , of the part played by the abbess iElflaed i n a synod, described i n Chapter I. 13 Rosemary Woolf distinguishes between hagiography and history, rather than between more and less f a n c i f u l kinds of hagiography, and believes that Bede quite self-consciously passed to and fro between the st y l e of hi s t o r i a n and that of hagiographer ("Saints' Lives," p 41). 14 Commenting on Andreas, Rosemary Woolf observes, "It i s the world of the f a n t a s t i c and marvellous, now best known from the much l a t e r examples of t h i s genre [ i . e . , t a l e s of the marvels of the East], the Travels of S i r John  Mandeville" (,'J.Saints' Lives," p. 51). 1 5Jackson J. Campbell regards both Judith and Helena i n the Old English poems as f i g u r a l representatives of Ecc l e s i a . See, respectively, "Schematique Technique i n Judith," ELH, 38 (1971), 155-72, and "Cynewulf's Multiple Revelations," Medievalia et Humanistica, N.S., 3 (1972), 257-77. Several other recent c r i t i c s have stressed that 163 the saints' poems should be interpreted along f i g u r a l rather than l i t e r a l l i n e s . Cf. Daniel G. Calder, "The Art of Cynewulf's Juliana," MLQ, 34 (1973), 355-71; Varda Fish, "Theme and Pattern i n Cynewulf's Elene," NM, 76 (1975), 1-25; John P. Hermann, "The Theme of S p i r i t u a l Warfare i n the Old English Elene," PLL, 11 (1975), 115-25. 1 f\ Cf. Campbell: "In h i s [the Old English poet's] poem, only two massive, opposing characters remain, archetypal in t h e i r s i m p l i c i t y and i n t h e i r incompatibility," "Schematic Technique," p. 156. 17 Cf. Rosemary Woolf, "The Lost Opening to the Judith," MLR, 50 (1955), 168-72. The same view i s taken by Rose i n her d i s s e r t a t i o n on the poem (pp. 10-11). However, Timmer, in the Introduction to h i s edition, states that since the section numbering indicates the poem contains the l a s t part of Section IX, followed by Sections X, XI, and XII, three-quarters of the poem must have been l o s t . See edition, p. 2. 18 Rose of f e r s an int e r e s t i n g explanation for the poet's motivation i n focussing exclusively upon Judith and Holofernes; she argues that the poet's aim i s a study i n leadership, pointing the contrast between the good leader, Judith, and the bad leader, Holofernes (see Introduction, p. 7 above) . Rose believes that the poet presents Judith as a m i l i t a r y leader rather than as the t y p i c a l female saint. See e s p e c i a l l y d i s s e r t a t i o n , pp. 5-9. This view of Judith as a study of good and bad leaders i s c e r t a i n l y a v a l i d way of looking at the poem; however, i t need not debar us from l i n k i n g i t with the genre of the saints' l i v e s . 1 9 See " i E l f r i c ' s Homilie liber das Buch Judith," Angelsachsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, ed Bruno Assmann; Bib, der anqls. Prosa, 3 (Kassel, 1889; rep. Darmstadt, 1964), 102-16. Assmann suggests that the homily was written between 997 and 1012 (p. 259) . 20 Campbell uses t h i s feature of i E l f r i c ' s homily as evidence i n support of h i s contention that Judith i n the poem represents the Church, "Schematic Technique," p. 164. 21 For February 16th; Tom. II, 873-77. The Latin text i s edited from eleven manuscripts. See Woolf, Juliana, Introduction, p. 11. She suggests that the date of t h i s version must be p r i o r to the second h a l f of the si x t h century. 22 The Juliana of Cynewulf (Boston, 1904), Introduction, pp. xxx-xxxi. 164 23 Cf. Strunk, I n t r o d u c t i o n , pp. x x x i i i - x x x i v . I t may be t h a t t h i s a l t e r a t i o n i s to be a t t r i b u t e d t o Cynewulf's d i r e c t source r a t h e r than to Cynewulf h i m s e l f . Cf. Woolf, e d i t i o n , pp. 13-15. 24 See the A c t a S. J u l i a n a e , r e p r i n t e d i n S t r u n k 1 s e d i t i o n , pp. 35-36. 2 5 T h i s i s p o i n t e d out by Calder, who, however, f i n d s the s i m p l i f i e d and even s t u l t i f i e d treatment a r t i s t i c a l l y j u s t i f i a b l e . See pp. 357-371. 2 6 A S f o r 4th May; Tom. I, 445-48. 27 Gradon b e l i e v e s t h a t the t e x t which most c l o s e l y resembles Cynewulf 1s poem i s an e i g h t h - c e n t u r y St. G a l l manuscript ( e d i t i o n , p. 19) . However, Campbell favo u r s the seventh-century MS on which A l f r e d Holder based h i s e d i t i o n , I n v e n t i o Sanctae C r u c i s ( L e i p z i g , 1889), "Cynewulf's M u l t i p l e R e v e l a t i o n s , " p. 258. In her essay, " S a i n t s ' L i v e s , " Woolf s t a t e s t h a t "Elene . . . i s . . . probably to be connected w i t h the f e a s t of the Invention of the Cross, a f e a s t of e i g h t h - c e n t u r y G a l l i c a n provenance . . . " (p. 46) . 28 The words " i n hoc signo v i n c e s , " which appeared t o Constantine i n h i s v i s i o n a c t u a l l y r e f e r r e d to the Chi-Rho monogram, which Constantine beheld i n the sky and a c c o r d i n g l y i n s t r u c t e d t o be p a i n t e d on h i s men's s h i e l d s . As the legend developed, t h i s 'sign' came to be regarded as the c r o s s i t s e l f , c a r r i e d i n t o b a t t l e b e f o r e the army. S i m i l a r l y , the b a t t l e , a c t u a l l y p a r t of the campaign a g a i n s t Maxentius i n I t a l y , became a c o n f l i c t w i t h the b a r b a r i a n s , i n t h i s v e r s i o n on the Danube. See Wolff, d i s s e r t a t i o n , pp. 92-99. Cynewulf i n h e r i t e d these f e a t u r e s from h i s source; they appear i n the A c t a S.  J u d a e - Q u i r i a c i (AS, I, 445) . 2 9 In the account of the Invention of the Cross contained i n the t h i r t e e n t h - c e n t u r y Legenda Aurea by Jacobus de Voragine, a whole s e r i e s of s t o r i e s i s s t r u n g along t h i s u n i f y i n g thread. In the f i r s t p a r t of the account, c e r t a i n Old-Testament f i g u r e s come i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h the t r e e d e s t i n e d to form the wood of the c r o s s . The s e c t i o n s f o c u s s i n g r e s p e c t i v e l y on Constantine, Helena, and Judas C y r i a c u s f o l l o w . Then the n a r r a t i v e continues w i t h the martyrdom of C y r i a c u s , and f i n a l l y c l o s e s w i t h f u r t h e r m i r a c l e s performed by the c r o s s , wonders which have n o t h i n g to do with any of the persons p r e v i o u s l y mentioned. Cf. Campbell, "Cynewulf's M u l t i p l e R e v e l a t i o n s , " p. 257, and Woolf, " S a i n t s ' L i v e s , " p. 46. 165 31 A part also played by Judith. 32 Hermann j u s t i f i e s t h i s inconsistency by the argument that "Elene 1s plans are not warlike l i t e r a l l y , but s p i r i t u a l l y " (p. 123) , and that "the m i l i t a r y imagery of t h i s section of the poem i s meant to r e c a l l the m i l i t a r y imagery of Ephesians 6.11-17" (p. 124). 33 Cf. Juliana. Woolf notes the unfortunate e f f e c t of t h i s "inverted passion" of Cyriacus, in which i t i s easy to sympathise with the wrong side, "Saint's Lives," p. 47. Campbell rather unsuccessfully t r i e s to j u s t i f y t h i s passage by arguing that Helena i s to be taken as the Church—rather than an unpleasant i n d i v i d u a l , and that Judas t e l l s l i e s , denying knowledge of the c r u c i f i x i o n , "Cynewulf's Multiple Revelations," pp. 265-67. 3 4The e a r l i e r , highly formulaic account of Constantine's b a t t l e i s another set piece introduced by Cynewulf. 35 Gradon believes i t u n l i k e l y that Cynewulf invented t h i s passage, and assumes that i t must have been present i n h i s immediate source (edition, p. 19, n. 3). Hermann, however, c r e d i t s Cynewulf with i t s insertion, and finds i t part of a deliberate plan, along with h i s other changes of the L a t i n source (p. 115) . 36 This thematic unity has been pointed out by Wolff i n his d i s s e r t a t i o n , Campbell i n his a r t i c l e on Elene, and Fish, who a l l show how the poem i s u n i f i e d i n i t s d i f f e r e n t sections (they disagree as to the number of sections into which the poem should be divided) by the theme of conversion through the cross. Whereas Cynewulf's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c signed epilogue i s integrated into the poem in Elene, i t i s not integrated i n Juliana. Calder, however, argues that the Juliana epilogue i s thematically relevant, since i t i s the poet's fear of Judgement, expressed i n the epilogue, which has inspired him to write the poem. 37 Cf. Campbell: "The range of adjectives i s extremely narrow; she i s b e a u t i f u l , gold-adorned, blessed, holy and above a l l , wise," "Schematic Technique," p. 156. 38 Rose regards the association of brightness with the divine and with v i r t u e as more important than i t s v i s u a l sense i n these descriptions of Judith. She c i t e s as a p a r a l l e l the description of Juliana as sunsciene (1. 229), arguing that a person who has been suspended by the h a i r f o r six days [actually, six hours] can hardly be b e a u t i f u l i n a l i t e r a l sense. See d i s s e r t a t i o n , pp. 22-24. 166 However, the moral element need not exclude the v i s u a l . There are plenty of departures from naturalism i n the saints' l i v e s . 39 Cf. n. 32, above. 4 ^ C f . n. 33, above. 41 Printed i n Assmann, Homilien und Heiligenleben, pp. 24-48. Peter Clemoes, i n h i s Introduction to the reprint of Assmann's edition, suggests that the homily was written i n 1005-06. See p. xx. 42 Cf. Woolf, "The Lost Opening to the Judith," p. 171. Rose, who believes that Judith i s not to be associated with the v i r g i n saints, argues that the presentation of her as a maegcS i s not s i g n i f i c a n t . Rose suggests that " t r a d i t i o n a l vocabulary has influenced the change i n Judith's status," notes a Jewish manuscript of the tenth or eleventh century which presents Judith as a young g i r l , and states, "Comparison with 3 S l f r i c ' s homily and with the Vulgate source, as well as with some of the Jewish medieval accounts, shows that the OE poem places considerably less stress on Judith's chastity" (p. 7) . It i s true that both the Bible and i E l f r i c emphasise Judith's sexual decorum, and that Judith's chastity i n the poem i s conveyed not di s c u r s i v e l y , but by appositive epithets and by the contrast provided i n Holofernes. But the poet c e r t a i n l y stresses her v i r g i n i t y and makes i t a s i g n i f i c a n t element i n a complex of 'saintly' v irtues. 43 See Strunk, p. 37, and Introduction, pp. xx x i i i - x x x i v . 44 See Strunk, p. 43. 45 See Introduction, p. 12. This work i s edited by S. R. T. O. D'Ardenne, EETS, 248 (London, 1961). The works i n the Katherine Group mainly have a common subject, the praise of v i r g i n i t y . This subject, t h e i r date, and t h e i r common d i a l e c t of o r i g i n l i n k them with the well known Ancren Riwle, the s p i r i t u a l guide written for three noble s i s t e r s who became anchoresses. However, the homely wisdom and vigorous imagery of the l a t t e r work are very d i f f e r e n t from the e s s e n t i a l l y crude material of Seinte Juliene and the other saints' l i v e s i n the group. Nevertheless, the Katherine Group and the Ancren Riwle may well be related, though not necessarily a l l by the same author. See D'Ardenne, Introduction, pp. x l - x l v i i . Among other works, the Katherine group contains l i v e s of saints Katherine, Juliana, and Margaret, Sawles Warde and H a l i MeiShad. 167 4 601d English Verse (London, 1972), p. 171. 4 7D'Ardenne, p. 43. 4 8 I b i d . , p. 15. 49 ^Ibid., p. 47. 50 Ibid., p. 23. 5 1 E d i t e d by Eugen Einenkel, EETS, 80 (London, 1884). 52 Cf. Einenkel, Introduction, p. xx. Einenkel observes that "the character of Saint Katherine i s depicted in the o r i g i n a l as impetuous and v i n d i c t i v e ; i n one word, anything but s a i n t l y . " The works i n the Katherine Group that he i s comparing Katherine to at t h i s point are the Juliana and Margaret l i v e s . 5 3 C f . Rose, pp. 19-20. 54 Cf. Timmer, p. 14: "Perhaps the poet wanted to stress the sinfulness of excessive drinking . . . So . . . [he] gave a glowing description of the feast and then went on to say how, aft e r h i s excessive drinking, Holofernes' thoughts turned to the s i n f u l desire for Judith." 55 Printed i n Assmann, Homilien und Heiligenleben, pp. 92-101. Clemoes dates the work around 100 2. 5 6 I b i d . , p. 101 (11. 310-11). 5 7 I b i d . , p. 95 (11. 97-99). 58 It i s t h i s heroic presentation which e s s e n t i a l l y distinguishes the heroines of the three poems from Judith and Esther as described by i E l f r i c . 59 Woolf comments upon Cynewulf's evocative presentation of t h i s image, inherited from his source, and deriving ultimately from the temptation of Christ, who was able to make the harder choice, "Saints' Lives," pp. 47-48. 60 The Old English Apollonius dates from the eleventh century and i s a f a i r l y close rendering of a Latin o r i g i n a l . See The Old English Apollonius of Tyre, ed. Peter Goolden (Oxford, 1958), Introduction, pp. xx-xxxiv. 61 This subject w i l l be dealt with i n the f u l l e r discussion of Apollonius included in Chapter V, on the Old English love l y r i c s . "Saints' Lives," p. 49. 169 CHAPTER V LYRICAL POEMS FEATURING WOMEN: WULF AND  EADWACER AND THE WIFE'S LAMENT In the poems of the saint's l i f e genre, discussed i n the |p:re:ce"di>n"gj chapter, there i s a heavy emphasis upon female characters; but, due to the l i m i t a t i o n s of the genre, no genuine characterisation i s achieved. However, there are two Old English poems which are exclusively devoted to the presentation of a woman's state of mind and in which a genuine psychological insight i s found. These poems are the two elegiac love l y r i c s : Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament. Both of these works are highly obscure and d i f f i c u l t . Most scholars read them as elegiac laments uttered by female speakers. As such, the poems are to be associated with the other Old English 'elegies,' the group of poems and passages handling t r a d i t i o n a l themes of loss and transience, and presenting the t r a d i t i o n a l e x i l e figure, one of the standard character-types discussed i n Chapter I I . 1 Most of the elegies are monologues, and they share the same themes and motifs, which also appear i n Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's  Lament. However, in the other poems and passages the 170 p r i n c i p a l elegiac s i t u a t i o n i s seen in male terms. This s i t u a t i o n i s most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y one of separation from lord and comrades, a separation which r e s u l t s from death or e x i l e . Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament, l i k e a l l the other elegies which do not form part of longer works, are found in the poetic miscellany which 2 constitutes the Exeter Book. Whereas the f i r s t half of the manuscript consists of long r e l i g i o u s poems, mostly having to do with the l i v e s of holy personages, the second h a l f consists of short pieces which can be termed philosophical i n the broadest sense: r e f l e c t i v e and d i d a c t i c poems, elegiac l y r i c s , gnomes, and r i d d l e s . Thus, Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament can be related to a general background of 'wise saws' collected by the Exeter Book compiler, and to a narrower background of elegiac themes and motifs as seen i n the other Exeter Book elegies. The precise nature of these two poems was not r e a l i s e d by the e a r l i e s t scholars. Since there i s so l i t t l e treatment of sexual love i n the l i t e r a t u r e of the Anglo-Saxons, i t i s not surprising that these poems, whose setting i s the same warrior society which underlies most Old English poetry, were not at f i r s t recognised as love l y r i c s . The Wife's Lament speaks of separation from a 'lord,' and i t i s only the feminine i n f l e x i o n s of the f i r s t two l i n e s that e s t a b l i s h the female i d e n t i t y of the speaker and the fact that her 'lord' i s a husband rather than the head of a comitatus. Wulf and Eadwacer i s a short poem which stands at the head of the f i r s t group of Exeter Book r i d d l e s and was long considered one of them. Its c r y p t i c utterances are indeed r i d d l e - l i k e : "It i s to my people as i f one gave them a g i f t " (1. 1) and "That i s e a s i l y sundered which was never joined" (1. 18) . Thus, The Wife's Lament has sometimes been considered the utterance of a man, and Wulf and Eadwacer a r i d d l e , or, more recently, a charm, or a private, c r y p t i c communication. The e a r l i e s t editors of The Wife's Lament assumed that the poem had a male n a r r a t o r . 4 This view has been revived from time to time, and continues to be the 5 subject of debate. However, there are l i t e r a r y as well as grammatical arguments for regarding the poem as the speech of a woman. In th e i r respective a r t i c l e s on the 6 7 poem, Jane Curry and Angela Lucas have pointed out that the reference to "friends" keeping t h e i r beds together i n contrast with the speaker's loneliness (11. 33b f f . ) Q suggests envy of a s p e c i f i c a l l y sexual kind. Lucas further notes that, although the wife uses terms which a retainer might use to r e f e r to h i s lord (hlaford, 11. 6 and 15; leodfruma, 1. 8; frean, 1. 33) , these terms "only convey the notion of an intensely personal r e l a t i o n s h i p based on love and respect" (p. 292). She points out that there i s no mention of the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between retainer and lord, no words l i k e beahqifa i n The Battle  of Maldon (1. 290) and goldwine i n The Wanderer, (11. 22 and 35), which embody the concept of the lord as the giver of treasure. The alternative interpretation of The Wife's  Lament as the speech of a lor d l e s s thane i s based on the a p r i o r i assumption of the inherent improbability of a love l y r i c i n Old English rather than on the actual evidence of the text. A detailed examination of the poem i t s e l f supports the usual interpretation that i t i s the lament of a woman f o r c i b l y separated from her husband. The fact that The Wife's Lament has so p e r s i s t e n t l y been regarded by some of i t s modern readers as the speech of a man i s the re s u l t of the correspondence between the two relationships of thane-lord and wife-husband. This correspondence i s foreign to the modern way of thinking, but, as we saw i n Chapter I, central to the Anglo-Saxon attitude towards women. It i s not surprising that i n an Old English poem a woman should use terms l i k e folgaS ("retinue" 1. 9) and frean (1. 33) i n connection with her rel a t i o n s h i p to a man, when in the Anglo-Saxon l e g a l documents exactly the same phrase, "willan geceosan," i s used for accepting a husband (and master) and taking service with a l i e g e - l o r d . The correspondence was also noticed i n Chapter III, where, i n the Riddles, the wife i s presented as performing the same kind of s e r v i c e s — s u c h as putting on armour—for her husband as a retainer might perform. Also i n Chapter III, we found that Hildegund i n Waldere performs the same kind of supportive role for her betrothed as he might receive from a retainer. Thus, having a wife speak of her husband in terms belonging to 173 the vocabulary of comitatus l o y a l t y has nothing inconsistent about i t . But, as pointed out by Lucas, these terms are used i n The Wife's Lament i n connection with a r e l a t i o n -ship between two persons only, and without reference to the comitatus as a group. Although sexual relationships are not normally the subject of Old English poems, there are places which suggest that they could be used as poetic themes. In the second stanza of Deor, Beaduhild i s presented as most wretched, p a r t l y because of the death of her brothers, p a r t l y because of her pregnancy by Weland. To be sure, Beaduhild was probably not in love with Weland, since he assaulted her v i o l e n t l y and murdered her brothers, but, nevertheless, the focussing on the woman's suffering i n a sexual context i s s i g n i f i c a n t . The t h i r d stanza of the poem provides a stronger, although even more t a n t a l i s i n g l y cryptic, example. Here, there i s a reference to the Geat' s love for Maethhild, which was so great "paet h i [him?] seo sorglufu slaep e a l l e binom" (1. 16) . The theme of 'love—longing' i s barely touched on, but i t i s c e r t a i n l y alluded to. With regard to Wulf and Eadwacer, i t i s not the sex of the speaker, but the whole character and purpose of the poem that i s disputed. The nineteenth-century g theory that the poem was a r i d d l e was exploded by Henry Bradley, in 1888, who argued very cogently that the " F i r s t Riddle" was in fact the dramatic soliloquy of a 174 woman. Bradley's has long been the received interpretation of Wulf and Eadwacer. He summarises the content of the poem as follows: "The speaker . . . i s shown by the grammar to be a woman. . . . Wulf i s her lover and an outlaw, and Eadwacer . . . i s her tyrant husband""1'"1" The r i d d l e theory persisted well into the 12 present century, but l i t t l e has been heard of i t for several decades. Wulf and Eadwacer i s now generally regarded as a love poem, although there have been some 1 3 rather wide deviations from Bradley's reading. However, recently the received interpretation of the poem as a love lament has been challenged." 1" 4 But the alternatives to Bradley's 'standard' interpretation are strained, and d i f f e r enormously among themselves. !Tn both poems, the problems of interpretation a r i s e from the a l l u s i v e method used by t h e i r authors. ' The narrative background l y i n g behind the poems cannot be established with any certainty, since the poets are concerned with the emotions of the speakers rather than the events which gave r i s e to them. However, certain facts about the poems can be established beyond any reasonable doubt. Each i s spoken by a woman in an ' e x i l i c ' s i t u a t i o n , although the narrator of Wulf and Eadwacer may not a c t u a l l y be in e x i l e . We have already seen i n Chapter I how important the kin group was i n Anglo-Saxon society, and i n Chapter II how the loneliness of exi l e , i . e . , i s o l a t i o n from the group of kin or comrades (themselves mainly kin) , was a p a r t i c u l a r l y poignant theme to the Anglo-Saxons. Women not under the protection of members of t h e i r k i n — l i k e the banished wife, or subject to tyrannical g u a r d i a n s h i p — l i k e the narrator of Wulf and 15 Eadwacer, would suffer e s p e c i a l l y . It i s t h i s mood of suffering, heightened to intense anguish by the longing for an absent loved one, that the authors of these two poems attempt to recreate. The banished wife describes how her husband departed over the waves (11. 6-7) , and how in her loneliness and anxiety she went to seek protection ("folgao" secan, " 1. 9). The word f olgao\ r e f e r r i n g to service i n a retinue, suggests that the wife wished to be taken under the i f% protection of a powerful person, as a retainer would be by h i s l o r d . The subsequent l i n e s suggest that her husband's kinsmen placed an unfavourable interpretation on t h i s action, and represented i t to him as d i s l o y a l t y : "Ongunnon paet baes monnes magas hycgan / purh dyrne gepoht, paet hy todaelden unc" (11. 11-12) . Line 15, "Het mec hlaford min herheard niman, •" i s highly problematic. From the thought-sequence, the l i n e i s l i k e l y to represent a response to the action of the kinsmen described i n the preceding l i n e s , and a cause of, or connection with, the wife's friendlessness described i n the following l i n e s ("ahte i c l e o f r a l y t on pissum londstede, / holdra freonda" (11. 16-17a). 1 7 It i s probable, then, that the l i n e r e f e r s to the husband's 176 18 command that his wife be banished. The poem continues: Forbon i s min hyge geomor, 5a i c me f u l gemaecne monnan funde, heardsaeligne, hygegeomorne, mod mibendne, morpor hycgendne. Blipe gebaero . . . (11. 17b-21a) 19 This i s the punctuation of Krapp and Dobbie, but the period should f a l l after, not before "Blipe gebaero, " because these l i n e s are obviously a p a r a l l e l to a l a t e r passage: A scyle geong mon wesan geomormod, heard heortan gepoht, swylce habban sceal blijpe gebaero, eac pon breostceare, sinsorgna gedreag, . . . (11. 42-45a) In the f i r s t passage, the wife i s lamenting her husband's tendency to conceal dark and gloomy thoughts under a cheerful demeanour. Although i n other ways a f u l l y congenial man ("ful gemaecne monnan"), he has a suspicious nature. Presumably as a r e s u l t of the kinsmen's accusations of d i s l o y a l t y or actual i n f i d e l i t y on the part of h i s wife during his absence, the husband harbours murderous thoughts ("morpor hycgendne") against her 20 before f i n a l l y banishing her. In the l a t e r passage, the wife once more r e f l e c t s on her husband's brooding temperament. In the nature of things, he w i l l be gloomy-minded, although he w i l l attempt to conceal i t , whether a l l h i s pleasure i n the world i s at h i s disposal, or whether (l i k e her) he suffers the hardship of e x i l e . x The l a t t e r p o s s i b i l i t y i s the one which the wife dwells 177 on, because i t r e f l e c t s her own experience, and she ends with an exclamation of despair that could apply to both of them: "Wa bi<$ bam pe sceal / of langope leofes abidan." The other parts of the poem, which describe the speaker's present miseries, are less d i f f i c u l t . She speaks of the inescapable and ever-present sense of her husband's a l i e n a t i o n : "Sceal i c feor ge neah / mines felaleofan faehcSu dreogan" (11. 25b-26). 2 2 Again and again, she f e e l s the pain of her husband's departure, the beginning of her troubles: "Ful o f t mec her wrape begeat / fromsip frean" (11. 32b-33a). She describes the lonely and forbidding nature of the place i n which she i s forced to l i v e , and contrasts her own wretchedness with the happy companionship of those who are able to ' "keep t h e i r beds" together (1. 34). Wulf and Eadwacer, though shorter, i s f u l l of problems of int e r p r e t a t i o n . The mysterious opening, "Leodum i s minum swylce him mon l a c g i f e ; / willao hy hine apecgan, g i f he on preat cymeS," has led some scholars to believe that a passage i s missing h e r e . 2 3 The f i r s t 24 l i n e i s c e r t a i n l y opaque, but, in view of the enigmatical s t y l e of the poem as a whole, i t i s unwise to assume that part of the beginning has been l o s t . Line 2 i s open to a va r i e t y of interpretations, since apecgan i s otherwise unrecorded, and breat can mean either "troop" or " p e r i l . " Lines 2 and 3, a very 178 long l i n e followed by a short one, form an embryonic r e f r a i n , which i s repeated i n l i n e s 7 and 8: willa< 3 hy hine apecgan, g i f he on p'reat cyme<5. Ungelic i s us.25 In l i n e s 4 to 6 the speaker mentions Wulf, who i s on an island (while she i s on another) on which there are "waelreowe weras" (1. 6) . Evidently, then, the hine of l i n e s 2 and 7 i s Wulf, and the hy_ are the "waelreowe weras." The order of the words i n l i n e 2 (repeated i n l i n e 7) suggests a question, and the tone of the l i n e , taken i n conjunction with the urgency of the poem as a whole, conveys anxiety and trouble. The speaker fears for Wulf at the hands of the "waelreowe weras." Abe eg an seems to be connected with picgan, "to take" (food), so a viable t r a n s l a t i o n i s "Will they receive him i f he comes into t h e i r company." The speaker fears that the bloodthirsty men w i l l not take i n Wulf, but w i l l k i l l him. The f i e r c e men on Wulf 1s island are best taken as the woman's own people, the "leodum . . . minum" of l i n e 1, to whom Wulf's capture w i l l be a s p o i l . Wulf, who i s bound to f a l l into t h e i r hands, i s the " g i f t " (lac) of l i n e 1. The speaker wonders anxiously about the fate of Wulf, and r e f l e c t s "Ungelic i s us." Line 4, "Wulf i s on iege, i c on operre," would come na t u r a l l y as an explanation of these words. "It i s unalike with us" i s a way of expressing the separation of the speaker and Wulf. 2 7 179 She goes on to describe how she has followed her Wulf with far-wandering hopes: "Wulfes i c mines widlastum 28 wenum dogode" (1. 9). She speaks of the rainy weather, her sadness, and the embraces of "se beaducafa," which give her mingled pleasure and pain: "Waes me wyn to p ° n ' waes me hwaepre eac la5" (1. 12) . The word beaducafa ("the battle-bold one") i s sometimes taken to re f e r to Wulf, but since the absence of Wulf i s stressed throughout, and since the speaker's reactions to the "bold warrior's" embraces are mixed, i t i s more probable that the beaducafa i s another, s t e a d i l y present person, i . e . , the woman's husband, the Eadwacer who i s addressed with scorn in l i n e 16. The poem reaches a climax of anguish in l i n e s 13 to 15: Wulf, min Wulf, wena me pine seoce gedydon, pine seldcymas, murnende mod, nales meteliste. These l i n e s , which simply express the speaker's acute unhappiness, caused by her separation from her lover rather 29 than her physical d i s t r e s s , are clear enough. There are then two abrupt changes of tone, from anguish to anger, as the woman turns to her despised husband, and, now that the emotion has been released, the poem ends i n melancholy r e f l e c t i v e n e s s : "paet mon eape t o s l i t e S paette naefre gesomnad waes, / uncer giedd geador" (11. 18-19) . 3 0 Addressing Eadwacer, the speaker says that Wulf (or a wolf) i s bearing "our wretched cub" to the f o r e s t . 3 ± The c h i l d , 180 contemptuously referred to as a hwelp, which i s being carried o f f to i t s death could be either Eadwacer's or Wulf's, but the b i t t e r tone i s more appropriate to the c h i l d of the unhappy l o v e - a f f a i r . The pun in hwelp 32 also suggests t h i s . Lines 16 and 17 can thus be taken as a defiant acceptance of the end, expressed with resignation i n the closing l i n e s . Uncer then has the same reference i n l i n e s 16 and 19, and the giedd i s the unhappy story of the speaker and her lover. Attempts have been made to re l a t e both The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer to heroic sagas or fol k t a l e s . The issue need not delay us here, since the question remains unresolved, and i s r e a l l y immaterial to the emotional impact of the poems. The Wife's Lament has been linked with various s t o r i e s of maligned wives, the general outlines of which resemble Chaucer's Tale of Constance. 3 3 More attention has been devoted to Wulf and Eadwacer, since actual names occur i n i t . Some have related the 34 poem to Norse legends, and others to a possible saga of 35 Odoacer. Probably just because they are found in the same manuscript and both deal with marital a f f e c t i o n , The Wife's Lament and The Husband's Message have sometimes been connected, although they are t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t i n styl e and treatment. Another external connection more recently suggested for The Wife's Lament i s a possible r e l i g i o u s , d i d a c t i c , even s p e c i f i c a l l y a l l e g o r i c a l back-ground. A l l these suggestions must remain hypothetical. 181 For the purpose of my own investigation, an analysis of the thoughts and feelings presented i n the poems, the issue of a possible connection with t r a d i t i o n a l material, whether secular or Christian, can be l e f t an open question. The elegiac q u a l i t y of the two poems, and t h e i r use of the common Old English 'exile' trope, makes i t s e l f f e l t i n a number of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d e t a i l s . Each poem i s uttered by a person i n physical and mental d i s t r e s s . Lonely, and i n bleak natural surroundings, she laments her fate. The narrator of The Wife's Lament i s banished to a cave i n the forest. In Wulf and Eadwacer, the speaker and her lover are on separate islands surrounded by fen. The opening of The Wife's Lament, " Ic p>is giedd wrece b i me f u l geomorre, / minre s y l f r e s i 6 " resembles the beginning of The Seafarer, "Maeg i c be me sylfum so6gied wrecan, / sipias secgan. " The scenery of The Wife' s Lament and Wulf  and Eadwacer, with i t s vague but evocative descriptions of places i n the wilds, by water, i n forbidding weather, c a l l s up the same syndrome as the gloomy landscapes and seascapes of The Wanderer and The Seafarer. The banished wife seems to be dwelling in some abandoned f o r t i f i c a t i o n s , overgrown with b r i a r s ("bitre burgtunas, brerum beweaxne," 1. 31). The dismal associations of habitations now given over to decay are also present i n the descriptions of ruined fortresses i n The Wanderer and The Ruin. The wife imagines her husband s i t t i n g under a rocky slope and frosted with the storm, the place being a "dreary h a l l " surrounded 182 by water. The picture i s very l i k e that of the Wanderer awakening by the seashore to see the d u l l waves, the seabirds, and rime and snow f a l l i n g mingled with h a i l . Again, the speaker i n Wulf and Eadwacer s i t s weeping on her island while the r a i n f a l l s . In a l l these respects, the two love l y r i c s are obviously drawing on the standard 37 exile-theme u t i l i s e d i n the other elegies. Nevertheless, the mood created i n the love poems i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t . If we compare the o v e r a l l impression made by Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament with that made by the other elegies, these two poems are more t r u l y l y r i c a l in the modern sense. Here the Old English poets come closest to that recreation of a personal and spontaneous emotion, the sense of an i n d i v i d u a l '-moment in time, which we regard as l y r i c i s m . Most of the elegies have broader, more philosophical implications.. Thus, the l a t t e r parts of The Wanderer and The Seafarer move into general r e f l e c t i o n s on the transience of the world, and a generalised idea of transience i s implied i n The Ruin's objective d e s c r i p t i o n of a f o r t r e s s f a l l e n into decay. The subject of The Husband's Message—the delivery of a l o v e - l e t t e r from a distant husband to h i s wife, summoning her to j o i n him, could have ca l l e d f o r t h the more l y r i c a l note, but the presentation i s formal and s t i l t e d : the message i s narrated, with due decorum, by a servant or retainer of the husband, and no r e a l empathy with the 183 emotions of the lovers i s evoked. In Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament, the choice of a female figure as the focus of an e x i l i c s i t u a t i o n has enabled the poets to draw on a l l the f a m i l i a r poignancy of the e x i l e trope, and has prompted them to go a step further, into the recreation of feelings more personal and more intense. The elegiac genre i s already that which lends i t s e l f most to introspection and evocation of mood. There i s a suggestive power in the figures of the Wanderer and the Seafarer which i s absent from Beowulf and Byrhtnoth. But the love l y r i c s narrated by women have an added edge; t h e i r presentation of mood i s both f r e e r i n i t s use of association and more concentrated i n i t s e f f e c t . The elegies with male speakers also represent private experience insofar as the speaker i s iso l a t e d and introspective. The e f f e c t of t h i s i s , indeed, to heighten emotion. Some of the most af f e c t i n g passages of Old English poetry are those elegiac pieces expressing loneliness and longing. But the person-to-person relationships which form the basis of the 'women's' elegies have a precision and narrow focus which gives them an added delicacy and sharpness. Thus, The Wife's  Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer show a use of images focussing oh a narrow scene i n which small but s i g n i f i c a n t gestures are enacted: the figure walking i n the earth-cave i n contrast to the lovers l y i n g i n t h e i r beds; the woman 184 seated weeping, and then oppressively encircled by the warrior's embrace. The moment in which the Wanderer dreams that he embraces and kisses h i s l o r d and places head and hands on his knee i s one of the few places of p a r a l l e l i n t e n s i t y in Old English poetry. And i n The  Wanderer the sharpness of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r remembrance i s T O softened by general r e f l e c t i o n . Even the famous "' Hwaer cwom mearg? Hwaer cwom mago? Hwaer cwom 39 mappumgyfa?'" (Wanderer, 1. 92) i s more dissipated i n e f f e c t . The keenest moment i n The Wanderer i s the moment of closeness to one i n d i v i d u a l , a closeness expressed i n physical terms not very d i f f e r e n t from the images i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer. Corporate f e e l i n g can never be presented with t h i s fineness of edge, and t h i s i s why the elegies with women subjects achieve a greater i n t e n s i t y . The two love poems are more obscure than the other elegies because here the poets develop further the a l l u s i v e technique associated with the l y r i c a l (as opposed to the narrative) form. They focus on the present moment, re f e r r i n g only i n d i r e c t l y to the events which have led up to the speaker's situation, and i n the way that the speaker herself would r e c a l l them, fragmentarily, and as they r e l a t e to the various aspects of the present. Thus, the narrator of Wulf and Eadwacer says, "wena me pine / seoce gedydon, pine seldcymas" 4 <^ (11. 13b-14) , and the banished wife, "Ful oft mec her wrape begeat / fromsip 185 frean" (11. 32b-33a). The absence of the loved one i s presented as an active agent of torment, causing ever-renewed di s t r e s s , but the circumstances of that absence must be pieced together from the speaker's hints here and there. The e f f e c t i s one of greater immediacy and v e r i s i m i l i t u d e as f a r as the presentation of f e e l i n g i s concerned. As Alain Renoir says of Wulf and Eadwacer, 41 "to a point the poem stands apart from i t s meaning," a remark which i s equally true of The Wife's Lament. Much of the impact of the poems i s conveyed by r e p e t i t i o n and v a r i a t i o n of key themes. In Wulf and  Eadwacer, as well as the r e f r a i n , there i s the r e p e t i t i o n of Wulf (11. 4, 9, 13, 17) and the a l l i t e r a t i n g wen (11. 9 and 13). The linked themes of absence of the loved one and longing for him are s i m i l a r l y stressed i n The Wife's  Lament. On the one hand, words and phrases suggesting journeying and distance are repeated: "min hlaford gewat," 1. 6, and " i c me feran gewat," 1. 9 (the idea of the lord's departure i s returned to again i n "fromsip frean," 1. 33); gewidost, 1. 13, and wide, 1. 46. On the other hand, the theme of sadness and longing i s played on i n the r e p e t i t i o n of geomor and longad*, and etymologically related words: qeomorre, 1. 1; geomor, 1. 17; hygegeomorne, 1. 19; geomormod, 1. 42; longade, 1. 14; oflongad, 1. 29; longapes, 1. 41; langobe, 1. 53. The imagery of the poems i s among the most suggestive to be found i n Old English. Here, i n the 186 love l y r i c s , the t r a d i t i o n a l concomitants of e x i l e are refined and extended. The wife i s not merely i n a wild place by water, but i n a cave which i s old and tomblike, enclosing her i n a l i v i n g death, which she contrasts with the v i t a l l i f e and closeness of the lovers she envies. She sighs, "Eald i s pes eor5sele, eal i c eom oflongad" (1. 29). The repeated, a l l i t e r a t i n g vowels draw out the weariness of the l i n e . Eald and eal hold an echo of eala! ("oh!" or "alas!"). The burgtunas (1. 31) among.which the wife dwells suggest imprisonment; the dark woods and high mountains (1. 30), the oppressive confinement of a dungeon; the b r i a r s (1. 31) are l i k e f e t t e r s . In Wulf and Eadwacer, the islands are symbols of separation, and the rain, of tears. L i t e r a l and " symbolic l e v e l s are most subtly fused, but the images are presented quite a r t l e s s l y , and the e f f e c t i s one of t o t a l spontaneity: "Wulf i s on iege, i c on operre" (1. 4); "ponne h i t waes renig weder ond i c reotugu saet" (1. 10) . 4 Frank Bessai has commented on the d i f f e r e n t q u a l i t y of f e e l i n g in The Wife's Lament as compared to the male elegies, and has seen i n the poem a problem of "nascent s u b j e c t i v i t y , " which the poet attempts to solve 43 by the use of the dual. This i s an illuminating observation on the intimacy of The Wife's Lament, and also 44 applies to Wulf and Eadwacer. The dual appears i n The  Wife's Lament i n wit, 11. 13 and 21; unc, 11. 12 and 22; uncer, 1. 25. In Wulf and Eadwacer, the form occurs 187 in "Uncerne earne hwelpy" 1. 16, and i n "uncer giedd geador," 1. 19. The poets are obviously s t r i v i n g for an e f f e c t d i f f e r e n t from that produced by the usual elegiac laments with t h e i r male subjects. But the use of the dual i s only one of the ways in which t h i s e f f e c t i s achieved. The l y r i c i s m of the two poems i s i n part to be attributed to t h e i r freedom from the extended moralising which characterises the other elegies. Again, the s h i f t s i n f e e l i n g and focus are more sudden and impulsive i n the love poems: witness the confusing alternations between past and present i n The Wife's Lament, and the sharp changes i n tone in Wulf and Eadwacer. Also, the use of imagery, suggestive and symbolic i n the other Old English elegies too, i s here at i t s freest and most subtle i n technique and i t s most far-reaching i n connotation. The treatment of a love r e l a t i o n s h i p i n these two poems makes them highly unusual in Old English poetry. Indeed, they are the only poems which treat the theme i n a serious and expanded way. In Old English prose, too, t h i s theme i s highly unusual. However, there i s one work in which i t occupies a prominent place: the Old English 45 Apollonius of Tyre. This work i s unlike any other f i c t i o n a l narrative i n Old English, and i n many ways has more i n common with the Middle English romances (the e a r l i e s t of which i t precedes by two hundred years), composed f i r s t i n verse, and, i n the late Middle English period, also in prose. The Old English Apollonius 188 i s a t r a n s l a t i o n of a Latin version of the t a l e , and i t s Graeco-Roman atmosphere i s quite a l i e n to the Anglo-Saxon world. Unlike the Old English poems which adapt Latin material to t h e i r own t r a d i t i o n s , the Apollonius story remains unassimilated. Its sentimental presentation of a courtship i s most uncharacteristic of Old English l i t e r a t u r e . In p a r t i c u l a r , i t s presentation of a court-ship i n which the lady i s the aggressor, a l b e i t i n the most modest and decorous way, i s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the p a s s i v i t y of the female figures i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer, and i s remarkable, even incongruous, i n Old English l i t e r a t u r e . Apollonius i s a pleasant, but pedestrian romance. In fact, the l i v e l i e s t section of i t i s that describing Arcestrate's pursuit of Apollonius. She singles him out for her attentions, and f i n a l l y indicates that she desires him for a husband. However, there i s a sameness in the presentation of her actions: at each stage she appeals to her father for permission, and, encouraged by him, approaches Apollonius. Her behaviour i s energetic, but s t i l t e d , and her attitude of unvaried eagerness allows no subtlety or depth i n characterisation. The only touch of subtlety i n the whole romance i s the blushing of Apollonius on finding that he i s desired. The love story i n Apollonius of Tyre i s i n t e r e s t i n g and unusual i n an Old English context, but incomparably cruder than the treatment of love i n the two l y r i c s , and e s s e n t i a l l y quite unrelated to i t . 189 Altogether, the two love poems represent a movement towards a more personal and l y r i c a l form, an in-depth study of the feelings of an i n d i v i d u a l , in a narrow focus, which achieves a greater i n t e n s i t y because of the r e s t r i c t i o n s upon i t . The especial helplessness of women, subject to male guardianship, and male decisions over which they have no control, i s an important element in the poems. The anguish of the speakers i s p a r t i c u l a r l y acute because they long f o r the presence of one e s s e n t i a l person, and because they are p i e r c i n g l y aware of t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to change the s i t u a t i o n . Like the queens i n Beowulf, they are condemned to p a s s i v i t y . It i s the combination of the i n t e n s i t y of the speakers' f r u s t r a t i o n with the singleness of i t s object that gives these l y r i c s t h e i r peculiar power. Although the two Old English love poems are rooted in a native genre of elegiac laments, they have a broader a f f i n i t y with the development of l y r i c i s m i n European l i t e r a t u r e at large. The concentration upon personal emotion, without philosophical r e f l e c t i o n , which, as we have seen, distinguishes the two love laments from the other elegies, i s very rare i n English l i t e r a t u r e before the Conquest; and i s normally regarded as a development which only begins to appear l a t e r , for instance, in the l a t e twelfth-century St. Godric Songs—simple r e l i g i o u s l y r i c s , and i n the thirteenth-century 'spring-song' Sumer  i s Icumen In. However, l y r i c a l poetry i s to be found i n 190 Medieval Latin much e a r l i e r than t h i s , at f i r s t i n the form of hymns and r e l i g i o u s l y r i c s , and from the ninth century or so i n secular l y r i c s of various kinds. From the ninth century onwards, there are also l y r i c s in the vernacular languages, and 'women's songs,' l i k e The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer, seem to have been among the 46 e a r l i e s t of these. C e l t i c 'women's songs' survive from the ninth century: the I r i s h Lament of the Old  Woman of Beare (c. 800) and the Welsh laments of Heledd (c. 850). These are not love poems, but elegiac laments with a strong r e f l e c t i v e s t r a i n , rather s i m i l a r to the general features of Old English elegy. On the continent, the vernacular l y r i c f i r s t flowers i n Provencal towards 1100. Love poems and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , love poems narrated by women, have, of course, appeared i n widely separated ages and cultures, but i t appears that the Old English love l y r i c s , rather than being an iso l a t e d phenomenon, are, i n fact, i n the forefront of a movement towards l y r i c i s m i n medieval Europe. The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer constitute the only e r o t i c poetry i n Old E n g l i s h — i f we discount the Riddles, which, as shown in Chapter III, show no interest i n the portrayal of f e e l i n g . In comparison with t h e i r , s l i g h t l y l a t e r , continental analogues, the e r o t i c element i n the two Old English love l y r i c s i s subdued. Evocative rather than e x p l i c i t , the Old English l y r i c s are concerned with the mood i t s e l f , and, as we saw, the 191 events associated with i t are obscure. Further, the two love poems are characterised by the understatement t y p i c a l of Old English verse. In an early Provencal 'woman's song,' the alba In an Orchard under Leaves of 47 Hawthorn, the speaker laments that her lover must leave her at dawn, and r e i t e r a t e s the r e f r a i n , "Oh God, the dawnl How soon i t comes!" This poem i s both more effusive and more d i r e c t than the Old English love l y r i c s . Equally 48 di r e c t , but c y n i c a l , i s the Latin Hue usque, i n which a pregnant unmarried g i r l describes her humiliation: Gum vident hunc uterum, a l t e r pulsat alterum; s i l e n t , dum transierim. C l i f f o r d Davidson has made a connection between Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament on the one hand 49 and the L a t i n Cambridge Songs on the other. The l a t t e r c o l l e c t i o n , consisting mainly of tenth- and early eleventh-century material, r e l i g i o u s and secular, of German o r i g i n , was copied i n the monastery of St. Augustine at Canterbury i n the eleventh century. Davidson i s correct i n pointing out that both the Old English l y r i c s and some of the Cambridge Songs belong to the genre of 50 Frauenlieder, but wrong in thinking that they belong to exactly the same phase of i t , either chronologically or 51 a r t i s t i c a l l y . Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament are perhaps two hundred years e a r l i e r , and quite d i f f e r e n t i n mood. The songs picked out by Davidson for comparison are three short pieces: Veni d i l e c t i s s i m e , Nam languens, 192 5 2 and Levis exsurqit zephirus. These three works, along with the two Old English poems, are linked by Davidson to a genre (women's songs) whose c h a r a c t e r i s t i c mythos i s 53 defined by the two elements of desire and separation. But the three Latin poems, l i k e the continental poems mentioned e a r l i e r , are more sensual i n qu a l i t y than t h e i r Old English counterparts. In Veni d i l e c t i s s i m e , a very b r i e f poem l a r g e l y obscured by erasure (presumably to censure i t s e r o t i c content), the speaker t e l l s the beloved, " s i cum clave veneris . . . intrare p o t e r i s . " Levis exsurgit zephirus expresses the theme so f a m i l i a r i n l a t e r medieval poetry: the awakening of love i n the spring. Here, there i s a contrast between the speaker's loneliness and the procreation of the earth: Levis exsurgit zephirus, et sol procedit tepidus, iam t e r r a sinus aperit, dulcore suo d i f f l u i t . (stanza 1) and: Cum mihi sola sedeo et hec revolvens palleo, s i f o r t e capud sublevo, nec audio nec video. (stanza 5) In Nam languens, a stanza interpolated i n a longer poem, the woman r i s e s at dawn and goes out barefoot into the snow to watch for her lover's ship. The three Latin poems are, i n fact, quite d i f f e r e n t i n tone from the Old English poems with which Davidson compares them. The Latin poems also describe a mood of longing, but the note of anguish which marks the Old English poems i s absent. Indeed, only Levis exsurgit zephirus can be said to ?be a lament. Further, 193 the imagery of the Old English poems i s gloomy and oppressive, in contrast to the milder atmosphere of the Cambridge women's songs, and of the other continental l y r i c s . Although The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer have features i n common with the 'women's songs' mentioned above, the two Old English poems show a greater subtlety and delicacy than t h e i r continental analogues. In t h i s respect, they are more akin to the courtly love poetry of the twelfth century and l a t e r than to the e a r l i e r continental love l y r i c s . Indeed, in t h e i r presentation of feeling, the Old English poems have something in common with the lays of Marie de France, even though there are d i s t i n c t differences, for the l a t t e r are not women's songs, and, in contrast to the gloomy settings of the Old English poems, they share the more genial landscape c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the continental works—and of Middle English l y r i c s . Nevertheless, in the l a t e twelfth-century lays of Marie de France, as i n the Old English love l y r i c s , the feelings of lovers are presented i n evocative and symbolic, rather than d i r e c t , terms. Thus, i n The  Nightingale (Laiistic) , the cruel destruction of an innocent love i s expressed when the brutish husband k i l l s the nightingale (symbolising the lover) and i t s blood spatters h i s wife's dress; and in Chevrefoil, Tristan and Iseult are compared to the honeysuckle entwining the hazel bough. The highly developed, but at the same time subtle 194 and under-stated, use of symbolism i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer i s si m i l a r i n i t s e f f e c t , although the ov e r a l l atmosphere of the poems i s widely d i f f e r e n t , and the elaborate r i t u a l of courtly love, with i t s secret meetings, messages, exchanges of presents, etc., i s quite foreign to the Old English poems. The two Old English love l y r i c s , then, spring from the roots of Old English elegy, and i t i s thi s which gives them t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c vocabulary and imagery. However, the love poems present the elegiac s i t u a t i o n i n a more intense and intimate way. In so doing, they r e f l e c t , and, indeed, foreshadow, an emerging l y r i c i s m of which they are among the e a r l i e s t examples. Moreover, the evocative and introspective nature of the Old English elegy, coupled with the passive situations of the two women narrators i n the poems, gives The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer a subtle poignancy which finds i t s counterpart elsewhere, not i n the more nearly contemporary 'women's songs' described above, but i n the courtly poetry of the high Middle Ages. 195 Footnotes "'"The better known elegies (apart from the two poems under consideration) are The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The  Ruin, The Husband's Message, Deor, and the Beowulf elegies, 11. 2231-70 and 2444-62. The Husband's Message i s rather d i f f e r e n t from the other pieces because i t lacks the melancholy inherent i n elegy, but i t i s usually grouped with these poems because i t r e f e r s to the t r a d i t i o n a l concomitants of Old English elegiac poetry: feud, and ex i l e across the sea. 2 The dating of the poems i s speculative, but i t i s f a i r l y c e r t a i n that they belong neither to a decidedly early nor to a l a t e period. R. F. L e s l i e , i n h i s e d i t i o n Three Old English Elegies (Manchester, 1961), which contains The Wife's Lament, The Husband's Message, and The  Ruin, suggests an eighth-century date for a l l three poems (Introduction, pp. 34-35). Scholars have tended to be s i l e n t as to the possible date of Wulf and Eadwacer. Its highly i r r e g u l a r metre, with very long alternating with short l i n e s , and with occasional departures from formal scansion (1. 12 lacks correct a l l i t e r a t i o n ; 1. 13a i s minus a syllable) makes i t u n l i k e l y that the poem belongs to the early period. However, the word forms do not suggest a l a t e date. E.W.S. ie alternates with ±_, also common i n E.W.S., i n ieqe (1. 4), iqe (1. 5), and i n g i f e (1. 1) and giedd (1. 19). The i form also appears i n meteliste (1. 15) . The more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y E.W.S. y_ form appears i n hy_ (11. 2 and 7) and Gehyrest (1. 16) . See A. Campbell, Old English Grammar (Oxford, 1959), sec. 300. Hence, the poem i s probably to be assigned to the middle period of Old English verse, i . e . , to the eighth or ninth century. 3 See, respectively, Donald Fry, "Wulf and Eadwacer: A Wen Charm," Chaucer Review, 5 (1971), 247-63; and Norman E. Eliason, "On Wulf and Eadwacer," Old English Studies  in Honour of John C. Pope, eds. R. B. Bu r l i n and E. B. Irving, J r . (Toronto and Buffalo, 1974), pp. 225-34. 4 The poem was f i r s t edited by J. J. Conybeare i n his I l l u s t r a t i o n s of Anglo-Saxon Poetry (London, 1826), and subsequently by Benjamin Thorpe i n his e d i t i o n of the Exeter book, Codex Exoniensis (London, 1842). The f i r s t person to recognise the poem as the lament of a woman was L. Ettmiiller, who printed i t under the t i t l e "Vreccan v i f e s ged" i n h i s Engla and Seaxna Scopas and Boceras (Quedlinburg and Leipzig, 1850; rep. Amsterdam, 1966), pp. 214-15. Ettmiiller notes the significance of the feminine forms geomorre (1. 1) and "minre s y l f r e " (1. 2), both of which re f e r to the speaker (p. 214, notes). The l a t t e r q u a l i f i e s the word sieS i n 1. 2, but takes i t s agreement 196 not from si5, a masculine noun, but from the feminine possessor. Thorpe had emended to "minne s y l f e s . " 5 L e v i n Schucking argued that the f i r s t two l i n e s must be a l a t e r addition, and that the poem should be taken as the speech of a man. the "geong mon" of 1. 42, "Das angelsachsische Gedicht von der Klage der Frau," ZfdA, 48 (1906), 436-49. F a i r l y recently, Rudolph Bambas revived the male-narrator theory, arguing that a poem about sexual love would be an anachronism i n Anglo-Saxon England and that the passionate words "suit the f i e r c e l o y a l t y that existed between a chief and h i s follower," "Another View of the Old English Wife 1s Lament," JEGP, 62 (1963), 303-09. Bambas suggests that the feminine forms of the f i r s t two l i n e s are either an addition or due to s c r i b a l error. Martin Stevens has attempted to explain away the c r u c i a l feminine forms, proposing to emend s i c S to side and take i t as a rare feminine noun i n agreement with "minre s y l f r e , " and to read geomorre as an adverb, a variant s p e l l i n g of geomore, "The Narrator of The Wife 1s Lament," NM, 69 (1968), 72-90. A l l the points martialled by Stevens are met i n a thoroughgoing rebuttal by Bruce Mi t c h e l l , who shows that b a s i c a l l y a grammatical argument against a female speaker w i l l not hold water, and that Stevens " r e l i e s on too great a combination of improbabilities," "The Narrator of The  Wife's Lament: Some Syntactical Problems Reconsidered," NM, 73 (1972) , 222-34. "Approaches to a Translation of the Anglo-Saxon The Wife's Lament," Mffi, 70 (1966), 187-98. 7 "The Narrator of The Wife's Lament Reconsidered," NM,_ 70 (1969) , 282-92. 8 See e s p e c i a l l y Curry, p. 189. Matti Rissanen, who argues somewhat t e n t a t i v e l y for the p o s s i b i l i t y of a male narrator, proposes an emendation of 11. 33b-34 ("Frynd sind on eorpan, / leofe lifgende, leger weardiad") which w i l l bring them into l i n e with the usual elegiac situation, as seen i n The Wanderer and The Seafarer. Emending lifgende to licgende, he reads, "The friends are i n the ground, the loved ones l y i n g dead, they dwell i n the tomb," "The Theme of 'Exile' i n The Wife's Lament," NM, 70 (1969), ''In h i s 1842 e d i t i o n of the Exeter Book, Thorpe printed the poem as a r i d d l e , but offered no solution. Heinrich Leo interpreted Wulf and Eadwacer as a charade on the name "Cynewulf," which he managed to f i n d hidden i n the text by manipulating i t very freely, Quae de se ipso  Cynevulfus . . . t r a d i d e r i t (Halle,' 1857) . The a t t r i b u t i o n of the " F i r s t Riddle" to Cynewulf led to the acceptance of 197 the entire Exeter Book c o l l e c t i o n of r i d d l e s as the work of that poet, a theory which has long been discarded. Cf. Chapter III, n. 2. ^Academy, 33: 197-98 (in a review of Henry Morley's English Writers, II; London, 1888). 1 ; L I b i d . , p. 198. 12 In 1923, H. Patzig proposed the solution "millstone," "Zum ersten Ratsel des Exeterbuchs," Archiv, 145: 204-07. The solutions suggested f o r the supposed r i d d l e were numerous, a fact which was i t s e l f an argument against the ri d d l e theory. 13 Cf. W. J . Sedgefield, who suggests that the poem i s about a female dog and a wolf with whom she has had a l o v e - a f f a i r , "Wulf and Eadwacer," MLR, 26 (1931), 74-75; and J. F. Adams, who argues that "Eadwacer" i s not a character but an i r o n i c epithet for Wulf, meaning "property-watcher," "Wulf and Eadwacer: An Interpretation," MLN, 73 (1958) , 1-5. 14 See Fry, "A Wen Charm," suggesting that the poem i s a charm to r i d the speaker of wens; and Eliason, "On Wulf and Eadwacer," arguing the "the poem i s a private communication addressed to a colleague, r u e f u l l y but p l a y f u l l y protesting" that a piece of poetry [composed by the writer and the c o l l e a g u e — h i s scribe] belonging to them has been s p l i t up i n a manuscript (p. 228; also see pp. 230-31). 15 Cf. the recommendation i n Be Wifmannes Beweddunge that a woman who i s to go abroad on her marriage should have a guarantee from her "friends" ( i . e . , her kin) that they w i l l continue to accept l e g a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her, BWW, sec. 7. See Chapter I, p. 29. The speaker i n The  Wife's Lament i s i n desperate s t r a i t s because she has no one to assume r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her. She declares that she has " l y t . . . freonda" (11. 16-17), the conventional Old English poetic understatement for "no friends at a l l . " 16 This i s how Kemp Malone interprets these words, "Two English Frauenlieder," p. 113. R. F. L e s l i e , i n h i s edition, Three Old Elegies, and Jane Curry, i n her a r t i c l e on the poem, suggest that 1. 9 refers to the wife's departure i n search of her husband. See L e s l i e , p. 7; Curry, p. 191. 1 7See n. 15. 18 The main source of d i f f i c u l t y i n 1. 15 i s herheard, which i s a hapax legomenon. It could be a noun derived 198 from hearg, "temple," "sanctuary," and r e f e r r i n g to the cave beneath the oak-tree, i n which the wife says e l s e -where she i s forced to dwell. Taken i n t h i s way, the noun would be a "grove-dwelling" with heathen associations. See Krapp and Dobbie, Exeter Book, p. 352 (notes). It i s also possible to divide the word and read "her heard," heard r e f e r r i n g to the cruel husband, or to emend to "her eard" (see Exeter Book, p. 352). The l a s t reading, which forces a l l i t e r a t i o n upon the adverb, i s le s s satisfactory, although i t i s used by L e s l i e i n his text. 1 9 E x e t e r Book, p. 210. on W. W. Lawrence attempted to mitigate the picture of the husband presented i n 11. 17b-20, and translated "morpor hycgend[n]e" (the n i s an emendation) as "mindful of death," "The Banished Wife's Lament," MP, 5 (1907-08), 388-89. But there i s a strong element of violence i n the word mojrbojr; i t does not mean "death" i n a general sense. The use of the word could be taken as an exaggeration springing from the speaker's heightened emotional state. Stanley B. Greenfield read "morpor hycgend[n]e" as "plotting a c r i m e " — i . e . , the wife's imprisonment, and stressed the husband's cruelty, "The Wife's Lament Reconsidered," PMLA, 68 (1953), 907-12. Greenfield's essay "The Old Ele g i e s , " Continuations and Beginnings: Studies  i n Old English Literature, ed. E. G. Stanley (London, 1966), pp. 165-69, modifies the p o s i t i o n adopted i n h i s e a r l i e r a r t i c l e . 21 This i s more or le s s the reading suggested by Greenfield, "The O.E. Elegies," p. 168, and by Kemp Malone, "Two English Frauenlieder, p. 113. The three subjunctives i n the passage beginning at 1. 42 ("scyle . . . sy . . . sy") have led these l i n e s to be taken as a curse. The older view held that t h i s was a curse directed against a t h i r d person, a "geong mon" (1. 42) responsible for the al i e n a t i o n of the speaker and her loved one. Among more recent scholars, J. A. Ward has adhered to t h i s opinion, "The Wife's Lament: An Interpretation," JEGP, 59 (1960), 26-33. In h i s a r t i c l e "The Wife's Lament Reconsidered," Greenfield had argued that the passage represented a mild curse directed against the husband (pp. 90 7-08). The introduction of a t h i r d person adds an unnecessary complication to the poem and weakens i t s t o t a l e f f e c t . Most scholars now regard t h i s passage as an utterance i n gnomic style, though there i s disagreement as to whether the "geong mon" who i s obliged to be hard of heart and gloomy i s the husband—which I believe i s the most natural interpretation, the wife, or a "young person" i n general. In his edition, L e s l i e argues that "mines 199 fe l a l e o f a n faeh6u" means "the feud i n which my dear one i s involved" rather than "the h o s t i l i t y of my dear one" (pp. 6-7) . Faeh6u does indeed mean "feud, " but the objective genitive i s awkward, and a contrast between the wife's love for her husband and h i s enmity towards her i s more pointed here. "See Bradley, who thought the poem was a fragment. Lawrence suggested a lacuna between the f i r s t and second l i n e s , "The F i r s t Riddle of Cynewulf," PMLA, 17 (1902), 251. A more recent c r i t i c , Ruth Lehmann, thinks i t l i k e l y that two l i n e s have been l o s t before the opening, "The Metrics and Structure of Wulf and Eadwacer," PQ, 48 (1969) , 164-65. 2 4 " G i f t " i s the only t r a n s l a t i o n of l a c that makes sense. However, since there are references to violence and h o s t i l i t y l a t e r i n the poem ("waelreowe weras," 1. 6), i t may well be that the word carr i e s undertones of another meaning, "battle," although "give b a t t l e " (rendering "lac gife") i s not an Old English idiom. 25 Ungelice i n 1.. 8. 26 This i s one of the alternatives considered by Lehmann (except that she assumes the sentence i s a statement, not a question) , but she prefers her other alternative, "They w i l l oppress him i f he comes at l a s t " (p. 158). Like Lawrence, she detects Norse influence i n the poem, and suggests a connection between O.N. abja and abecgan, and between O.N. " i braut" and "on breat," Lawrence sees Norse influence also i n the unusual metre (pp. 251-54). He relates "on preat cuman" to " i praut koma" i n the sense of "come into heavy s t r a i t s , " which i s more appropriate i n the context than "come at l a s t . " Lawrence points out other examples of unusual idiom, which he believes are derived from Norse, and suggests that the poem i s a t r a n s l a t i o n of a Norse o r i g i n a l . The d i f f i c u l t l i n e 2 and 7 has been rendered i n several quite d i f f e r e n t ways: from Bradley's "Will they feed him i f he should come to want?" (assuming apeegan i s a causative from bicqan), to L. Whitbread's "They w i l l k i l l him i f he comes into t h e i r company" (ape eg an = "devour") , 'AA Note on Wulf and  Eadwacer," Mffi, 10 (1961), 151. "'Lehmann finds a systematic d i s t i n c t i o n between the p l u r a l and the dual (used i n Uncerne, 1. 16, and uncer, 1. 19) i n the poem, and believes that the poet reserves the l a t t e r for the speaker and Wulf: "we two. against the world" (pp. 159 and 163) . Lehmann therefore regards us i n l i n e 3 and 8 as a reference to the speaker and her husband. This i s ingenious, but a p l a i n t i v e r e p e t i t i o n of the d i f f e r e n t l o t s assigned to the speaker 200 anc! her lover makes a more e f f e c t i v e reading of the l i n e than does a contrast between Wulf on the one hand, and the speaker and her husband on the other. 2 8 The al t e r n a t i v e translation, "I followed the : wanderings of my Wulf with (my) hopes," has the same basic meaning. The unrecorded dogode which appears to mean something l i k e the modern English "dog," i s sometimes emended to hoqode, "thought about." 29 The passionate d i s t r e s s of these l i n e s , dramatically introduced by the exclamation "Wulf min Wulf," must surely preclude acceptance of any theory which does not read the poem as a poignant lament. The vehemence of the l i n e s i s scarcely appropriate to a complaint about wens (Fry's version) or a passage misplaced i n the manuscript (Eliason's theory), or a semi-humorous appeal to a wandering husband to s e t t l e down to his role of "property watcher" (Adams' reading) , or an (entirely humorous?) canine love-story (Sedgefield 1s suggestion). 30 A l a i n Renoir notes the s h i f t from p a s s i v i t y to bruta l a c t i v i t y i n the address to Eadwacer, "Wulf and Eadwacer: A Non-Interpretation," Franciplegius: Medieval  and L i n g u i s t i c Studies i n Honor of Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr . , eds. J. B. Bessinger, J r . and R. P. Creed (New York, 1965) , p. 157. However, Renoir sees t h i s aggressiveness extending to the end of the poem and making i t s e l f f e l t i n verbs of action l i k e beran and t o s l i t a n . But the wording of the l a s t sentence as a whole suggests resignation rather than aggression. The closing l i n e s represent one of those gnomic statements which attempt to come to terms with sorrow by generalising i t . 31 Earne probably comes from earg, "cowardly," but could also be an error for earmne. 32 See Whitbread, pp. 152-53; Lehmann, p. 161. 3 3See, for instance, Edith Rickert, "The Old English Offa Saga," MP, 2 (1904-05), 29-76 and 321-76. 3 4 C f . W. H. Schofield, "Signy's Lament," PMLA, 17 (1902) , 262-95. Also P. J. Frankis, who l i n k s Wulf and  Eadwacer and Deor, "Deor and Wulf and Eadwacer: Some Conjectures," M2E, 31 (1962), 161-75. 35 E s p e c i a l l y Rudolf Imelmann, who incorporated most of the Old English elegies into a hypothetical saga of a f i f t h - c e n t u r y Saxon Odoacer mentioned by Gregory of Tours: Die altenglische Odoaker-Dichtung (Berlin, 1907); Forschungen zur altenglischen Poesie (Berlin, 1920) ; Wanderer und Seefahrer im Rahm der altenglischen 201 Odoaker-Dichtung (Berlin, 1908). The Odoacer s l a i n by Theodoric i s a more popular contender, proposed, for instance, by Lehmann. 36 The most persuasive of these theories i s that put forward by M . J . Swanton, who l i n k s The Wife's Lament and The Husband's Message i n an interpretation suggesting that the former poem i s "an exploration of the r e l a t i o n -ship between Christ and the Church, which yearns for the re-establishment of a previous union, while the world i n i t s Last Age, aft e r the death and departure of the Man, presents images only of desolation and decay," "The Wife's  Lament and The Husband's Message: A Reconsideration," Anglia, 82 (1964), 289-90. 37 The formulaic elements of the exile-theme have been c l a s s i f i e d by Greenfield. See Chapter II, pp. 73-74 and n. 5. A summary of the most t y p i c a l features of the e x i l e syndrome i s given by Herbert P i l c h i n his a r t i c l e "The Elegiac Genre in Old English and Early Welsh Poetry," ZfcP, 29 (1964), 211-12. 38 In The Wanderer and The Seafarer, the second h a l f of the poem i s devoted to extended moralising (Wanderer, 11. 58-115; Seafarer, 11. 64b-124). It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the touches of generalised r e f l e c t i o n i n The Wife's Lament (11. 42-45a, and 52b-53—final lines) and Wulf and Eadwacer (11. 1 8 - 1 9 — f i n a l lines) are in the terser, gnomic manner, rather than in the lengthier, parenetic style, with s p e c i f i c C h r i s t i a n content, as i n the two other poems. 39 This i s the beginning of an "ubi-sunt" passage (Wanderer, 11. 92-96) which has often been commented upon. There are numerous analogues of d i s t i n c t l y Christian, moralising content. 40 Understatement: Wulf never came. Cf. h. 15 on " l y t . . . freonda" (= "no fr i e n d s " ) , Wife's Lament, 11. 16-17. Cf. Also " l y t . . . geholena" (= "no protectors") , Wanderer, 1. 31. The l i t e r a l meaning of seldcymas, "rare comings," which i s the t r a n s l a t i o n accepted by some scholars, gives a much weaker reading. The Old English poetic device of understatement i s discussed i n an a r t i c l e by F. Bracher, "Understatement in Old English Poetry," PMLA, 52 (1937) , 915-34. 41 Renoir, "Wulf and Eadwacer: A Non-Interpretation," p. 160. 42 Compare the way i n which these images are rather d e l i b e r a t e l y spelled out by two nineteenth-century poets. Arnold uses the island imagery in the f i r s t stanza of "To Marguerite": 202 "Yes: i n the sea of l i f e enisled, With echoing s t r a i t s between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild, We mortal m i l l i o n s l i v e alone." (The resemblance between Wulf and Eadwacer and "To Marguerite" i s also noted by Greenfield, "Old English Elegies," p. 164.) The conceit of "nature's tears" i s used i n the opening of a poem by Verlaine: "II pleure dans mon coeur / Comme i l pleut sur l a v i l l e . " 43 "Comitatus and E x i l e i n Old English Poetry," Culture, 25 (1964), 143-44. 44 Cf. Lehmann's comment on the dual i n Wulf and  Eadwacer. See n. 27, above. 45 •Previously mentioned i n Chapter IV, pp. 157-58. 46 A Carolingian capitulary of 789 forbids nuns to write wlnileodas—songs for a lover, thus in d i c a t i n g that such poems were being composed at t h i s time, although they are no longer extant. See Peter Dronke, Medieval L a t i n  and the Rise of European Love-Lyric, 2nd ed., I (Oxford, 1968), 7-8. Of course, we have no way of knowing j u s t how " l y r i c a l " these winileodas would have been. 47 The poem i s translated from En un verqier sotz  folha d'albespi i n An Anthology of Medieval L y r i c s , ed. Angel Flores (New York, 1962), p. 5. 48 Printed i n Medieval Latin L y r i c s (a c o l l e c t i o n of poems from the ninth to the twelfth centuries), ed. Brian Stock (Boston, 1971), pp. 58-60. 49 See Introduction, p. 14 and n. 22. 50 Cf. Kemp Malone. See Introduction, p. 14 and n. 21. 51 Davidson, arguing for a background of e r o t i c poetry i n l a t e Anglo-Saxon England, refers to W.L. and W. and E. as tenth-century poems (p. 451), and l i n k s them with the copying of the Cambridge Songs i n England i n the eleventh century. But the two love l y r i c s are much e a r l i e r . See n. 2, above. 52 Printed i n Die Cambridger Lieder, ed. Karl Strecker, Mon. Germ. Hist., Scriptores, 3rd ed. (Berlin, 1966), pp. 107-08, 42 (interpolated i n Modus Liebinc), and 95, respectively. 53 Davidson, p. 456. 203 CHAPTER VI DRAMATIC SCENES INVOLVING WOMEN: GENESIS B AND CHRIST I A l l the female characters discussed so f a r have been based on the standard stereotypes of Old English poetry. This i s true even where the characters go f a r beyond the t r a d i t i o n a l stereotype, as do the three queens i n Beowulf, and, much more so, the female subjects of The  Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer. In the two passages which w i l l form the subject of the present chapter there i s a s i g n i f i c a n t difference, i n that a new naturalism i s present, which has no basis at a l l in the stock types on which Old English poets t r a d i t i o n a l l y draw. Both passages have attracted c r i t i c a l attention because of t h e i r unusual features, and these features are c l o s e l y associated with the poets' p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t i n character and emotional s i t u a t i o n . One of these passages i s the temptation scene in Genesis B; the other i s D i v i s i o n VII (sometimes referred to as L y r i c VII 1) i n the series of expanded Advent antiphons which constitutes Christ I. Discussion of Genesis B and Christ I as a whole can be dispensed with, since I am concerned here with the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of p a r t i c u l a r passages, rather than, 204 as i n the previous chapter, with the o v e r a l l features of the works. As i s well known, Genesis B i s a l a t e r interpolation, based on an Old Saxon o r i g i n a l , in the Genesis poem, the rest of which i s referred to as Genesis A. Genesis B, which i s usually discussed by c r i t i c s as a separate poem, i s distinguished from Genesis A by much greater vividness,and dramatic i n t e n s i t y i n the presentation of i t s characters. 2 The l i v e l y rendering of the temptation scene p a r a l l e l s an equally l i v e l y , though markedly d i f f e r e n t , depiction of Satan and the f a l l e n angels i n h e l l . Evidently we are dealing with a poet of considerable power. The Anglo-Saxon redactor may be credited with Genesis B as we have i t i n Old English, since, although he i s highly indebted to h i s Old Saxon predecessor, he has created a vigorous poem i n i t s own right , rather than 3 merely producing a watered-down version of h i s o r i g i n a l . Further, only a short passage of the temptation scene exists i n Old Saxon, so we cannot know just what changes were made by the Old English poet. The Old Saxon Genesis consists of three fragments: a passage from the story of Cain and Abel; another, describing the destruction of Sodom; and a t h i r d fragment of twenty-five or twenty-six l i n e s corresponding to part of the Old English Genesis B. 4 The l a t t e r work shows throughout, by i t s unusual vocabulary and i t s longer-than-normal l i n e s , the influence of the Old Saxon poem. Nevertheless, the rendering i s f u l l of 205 spontaneity and vigour. The Old Saxon fragment corresponds to a speech by Adam to Eve, immediately aft e r the F a l l , i n which he laments on the miseries that are now i n store for them (Genesis B, 11. 790-816). The language of the Old Saxon i s very si m i l a r to that of the Old English redaction, but the Anglo-Saxon poet has heightened i t and made i t more f l e x i b l e . One t e l l i n g change i n d e t a i l i s the change to the question form i n "Gesyhst pu nu pa sweartan h e l l e graadige and g i f r e , " based on "Nu maht thu sean t h i a suarton h e l l ginon gradaga." Again, i n t r a n s l a t i o n the lengthy Old Saxon verse-line i s sometimes shortened and 5 sometimes rendered by two l i n e s . Thus, the Old English version has c e r t a i n l y gone through the "shaping s p i r i t " of the poet's imagination, although the material i s not h i s own. In Christ I, D i v i s i o n VII, referred to as the "Passus" by Edward Burgert i n h i s discussion of the poem, i s the centre of a series of twelve hymnic invocations 7 celebrating the mystery of Christ's Incarnation. The elevated tone appropriate to hymnic utterance i s maintained through the Passus, which, l i k e the other d i v i s i o n s , commences with the word Eala, but the distancing and s t y l i s a t i o n which mark the other sections are temporarily absent here, and the Passus takes the form of a domestic conversation between Mary and Joseph. As regards characterisation, i n the Genesis B scene the more int e r e s t i n g figure i s Eve, and her s i t u a t i o n 206 with i t s c o n f l i c t between good intention and e v i l action springing from feebler i n t e l l e c t , i s more complex than Adamis. In the Christ I passage the presentation of Joseph (rather than of Mary) i s the more complex. It i s Joseph who represents human f r a i l t y and i n a b i l i t y to understand the mysteries of God, and the poet presents t h i s both with c r i t i c i s m and with great sympathy. But, in both passages, the woman plays the dominant ro l e . Eve works upon Adam1s feelings u n t i l he f i n a l l y gives way. Mary gently leads Joseph to a proper acceptance of God 1s acts. The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c q u a l i t y of both scenes i s a function of t h i s subtle dominance of the female figure. One of the most s t r i k i n g features of Genesis B i s the poet's heterodox treatment of the F a l l of Man. Neither the Old English poet nor hi s Old Saxon predecessor i s to be credited with a c t u a l l y inventing the departures o from the usual narrative. However, we should give the Old English poet credit for h i s imaginative handling of them. The following are the ways i n which the Genesis B presentation departs from the regular account: the Q temptation i s undertaken by a subordinate d e v i l ; the Tempter masquerades as an a n g e l h e tempts Adam f i r s t — u n s u c c e s s f u l l y ; the Tree of Knowledge of Good and E v i l i s dark and ugly; Eve eats the f r u i t i n good f a i t h , thinking she i s carrying out God's w i l l ; she has a v i s i o n of heaven; Adam also eats i n good f a i t h ; Eve's v i s i o n of heaven disappears and she and Adam see instead a v i s i o n 207 of h e l l . Although there are l i t e r a r y precedents for these 11 unusual features, the presentation of the F a l l i s c h i e f l y to be explained by the poet's desire to bring out the dramatic p o t e n t i a l of the si t u a t i o n . He treats the F a l l as the tragedy of Adam, a tragedy which i s seen i n e s s e n t i a l l y i r o n i c terms, and manipulates the scene so as 12 to stress the elements of irony and contrast. The use of a subordinate d e v i l allows the poet to give an i r o n i c inversion of the bond of l o y a l t y between man and God i n the hyldo (1. 726) between the Tempter and his master, Satan. The ugliness of the Tree of Knowledge makes a pointed contrast with the beauty of the Tree of L i f e (11. 467-89a) . The deceptive beauty of Eve's f a l s e v i s i o n of heaven (11. 600b-0 9a) with i t s angel song (described by Eve to Adam, 11. 675b-76a) i s i n i r o n i c contrast to the l a t e r v i s i o n of h e l l (11. 791-94a) with i t s sounds of rage. Both spectacles are s t r i k i n g l y palpable, to the ear as well as the eye. But most p a r t i c u l a r l y , the treatment of Adam , and Eve i s handled so as to bring out to the f u l l the dramatic p o s s i b i l i t i e s of a tragedy i n which Adam i s the vi c t i m and Eve the vehicle of the catastrophe. The poet i s concerned with the transgression of Adam, rather than that of Eve. He dwells on the temptation,-' of Adam by Eve and the serpent, while the temptation of Eve i s passed over f a i r l y b r i e f l y . However, what e s p e c i a l l y interests him i s the potency of Eve as a temptress. This i s made a l l 208 the more powerful by her complete acceptance of the Tempter's credentials, by her radiant v i s i o n of heaven, and by her frank and affectionate attitude to Adam. The presentation of Eve i n the poem i s p a r t i c u l a r l y compelling because she sins from ignorance and not from p r i d e . ± 4 The poet's treatment of Eve shows hi s inte r e s t i 5 i n the psychological p r o b a b i l i t i e s of the s i t u a t i o n . J The Tempter e n l i s t s Eve's support i n h i s assault upon Adam by convincing her that her e f f o r t s at persuasion are sanctioned by God and i n her husband's best i n t e r e s t . She makes an energetic and at the same time humble plea which springs from genuine concern.^ The author of Genesis B expands upon the temptation scene with great freedom and an especial emphasis upon the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Adam and Eve. Although Adam i s the central figure, i t i s the role of Eve, with i t s c o n f l i c t between e v i l actions and good intentions, that brings out the poet's s k i l l and subtlety. He presents a b a t t l e of w i l l s between Adam and Eve, with Eve taking the leading part. This confrontation becomes the high point of tension in the Genesis B poet's version of the F a l l , and he focusses upon Eve's prolonged attempt to persuade her husband to eat the f a t a l apple. The poet conveys a v i v i d sense of the tremendous pressure brought to bear on Adam by Eve's persuasion, which derives i t s power from the underlying love between them. Her long speech to him (11. 655-83) i s informed with a f f e c t i o n , and 209 the poet stresses her beauty, her eloquence and her good intentions. There i s a powerful irony i n the contrast between Eve's lo y a l t y , her beauty, and the radiance of her (false) v i s i o n on the one hand, and the dark deed to which she i s persuading Adam on the other. Eve i s associated at every stage with images of i d e a l l i g h t and purity. She i s "idesa scenost, / wifa wlitegost" (11. 626-27a), words which are repeated in l i n e s 700b to 701a, and, when she r e a l i s e s the d i r e consequences of what she has done, in l i n e s 821b to 822a. On the same occasions, the poet r e f e r s to her as "God's handiwork" (11. 628, 702, 822), which she i s i n the most l i t e r a l sense. The same ideas of shining radiance and of the perfection associated with God's handiwork appear i n the f a l s e v i s i o n as seen through her eyes. The v i s i o n i s of such a nature: paet h i r e puhte hwitre heofon and eorcSe, and e a l l peos woruld w l i t i g r e , and geweorc godes micel and mihtig, . . . (11. 603-05a) Eve addresses Adam with a f f e c t i o n and goodwill: "Adam, frea min, pis ofet i s swa swete, blicSe on breostum, and pes boda sciene, godes engel god, His [(God's] hyldo i s unc betere to gewinnanne ponne hi s wiSermedo. (11. 655-60) The a r t l e s s s i m p l i c i t y of Eve's words makes them a l l the more persuasive from Adam's point of view, and a l l the more i r o n i c from the point of view of the audience or reader. 210 Eve's subsequent description to Adam of her v i s i o n (11. 673b-76a) i s p a r t i c u l a r l y f o r c e f u l because the poet has already made us f e e l i t s genuine power over her. The poet v i v i d l y suggests Adam's sit u a t i o n as the vict i m of incessant and mounting pressure: Hio spraec him piece to and speon hine ealne daeg on pa. dimman daed paet hie drihtnes heora willan braecon. Stod se wrada boda, legde him lustas on and mid listum speon, fylgde him frecne. (11. 684-88a) The impression of unremitting verbal assaults prolonged for a whole day i s compressed into a single l i n e (684) . Eve's persuasive words come " t h i c k l y , " an adverb which i s repeated i n l i n e 705 (piclice) and suggests the energy and v o l u b i l i t y of her appeals. By the time the poet says that Adam i s beginning to capitulate (11. 705-06a) we share with him the sense of being i r r e s i s t i b l y driven to i t . The tension between Adam and Eve, always overshadowed by the presence of the Tempter, i s conveyed with great s k i l l . And the irony which creates t h i s tension i s pointed to i n the contrast between the brightness of Eve, repeatedly described as "idesa scienost," and the "dim" deed to which she urges Adam. This contrast i s as sharp, though not as extended and e x p l i c i t , as that between Eve's "holdne hyge" and the "helle and h i n n s i S " which Adam received at her hands (11. 708-23a) . The presentation of the two af t e r the F a l l i s a gentle one, and the poet shows a special sympathy for Eve. 211 The mutual a f f e c t i o n which has been the couple's undoing becomes a vehicle of pathos. The bond of love which was a source of tension when Eve used her influence to sway-Adam i s now the source of a new unanimity. The poet r e i t e r a t e s the idea of t h e i r closeness i n the words 17 "sinhiwan somed" (11. 778 and 789) and "bu tu aetsomme" (1. 847) , as Adam and Eve pray to God together (11. 777b-78a, and 1. 847) and discuss t h e i r p l i g h t together (11. 788b-89). The implication i s that t h e i r a lienation from God and sense of i s o l a t i o n in the world have made them r e l y more upon one another. The poet's sympathetic insight also appears i n Adam's understandable outburst that he wishes he had never set eyes on Eve (11. 819-20), and i n Eve's meek reply. She speaks with the same af f e c t i o n and l o y a l t y that she showed before, addressing her husband as "wine min Adam" (1. 824) and saying that his remorse cannot be greater than her own. There i s now a strong element of pathos i n the contrast between her perfection and her s i n : "hie waes geweorc godes, / peah heo pa on deofles craeft bedroren wurde" (11. 822b-23) . Genesis B has frequently been compared with Paradise Lost, and i t has been suggested that Milton was indebted to the Old English poem, although most would 18 now regard the s i m i l a r i t y as coincidental. The obvious resemblance l i e s i n the impressive presentation of Satan, but i t i s in t e r e s t i n g to note that there are p a r a l l e l s i n the treatment of Adam and Eve aft e r the F a l l , 1 9 e s p e c i a l l y 212 i n the pathetic presentation of Eve. Milton, l i k e the Genesis B poet, presents Eve's humble repentance with great gentleness and sympathy: "Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness Heav'n What love sincere, and reverence i n my heart ( I beare thee, and unweeting have offended."20 (X, 914-16) In Paradise Lost, too, the poet focusses on the couple's a f f e c t i o n i n the face of adversity, and i t i s t h i s note of muted pathos that informs the closing l i n e s of the poem: "They hand i n hand with wandring steps and slow, / Through Eden took t h e i r s o l i t a r y way" (XII, 648-49). Again, in both poems the new closeness of Adam and Eve i s associated with repentance. The resemblances between the two poems are quite s t r i k i n g , although they are probably to be attributed, not to actual borrowing, but to a s i m i l a r imaginative insight into the human s i t u a t i o n involved here. Indeed, the Genesis B poet shows the greater psychological consistency, i n that the pathos of his Eve a f t e r the F a l l i s a natural extension of her simple good-nature before-hand . In his account of the human F a l l , the Genesis B poet has imaginatively entered into the psychology and motivation which would activate i t . There i s a remarkable intimacy i n h i s handling of the temptation scene which contrasts with h i s equally vigorous but more grandiose and archetypal presentation of the 'exile' figure of Satan i n h e l l . 2 1 The poet has attempted to recreate the s i t u a t i o n i n which the temptation of Adam would be most potent and most t r a g i c . The r e s u l t i s h i s characterisation of Eve, the more powerful a temptress simply because she i s loved and innocent. In speaking of the t r a g i c q u a l i t y of Genesis B, J. M. Evans has compared the F a l l of Man i n the Old English poem with 22 the tragedy of Oedipus. A comparison could also be made with another famous tragedy: that of Othello. The p a r a l l e l l i e s , not between Adam and Othello, but between Eve and Desdemona. Like the Genesis B poet's Eve, Shakespeare's Desdemona i s the loved and loving, and also the innocent vehicle of her husband's tragedy. Thus, the sense of t r a g i c waste created i n Genesis B i s si m i l a r to that i n Shakespeare's play. In the Passus section of,Christ I, there i s an equally imaginative, although shorter, presentation of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between two people at a moment of c r i s i s : Mary and Joseph aft e r the conception of Christ. Again, i t i s the woman who plays the active part i n the scene, although the man i s the centre of i n t e r e s t . Whereas the Genesis B poet develops the dramatic p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the temptation scene, i n D i v i s i o n VII of Christ I the poet a c t u a l l y enters the dramatic form, by allowing his characters to speak for themselves without intervening commentary. The e a r l i e r scholars made much of t h i s , and saw the passage as a precursor of the miracle play, but 2 3 modern c r i t i c s are more cautious. However, the dialogue between Mary and Joseph i s c e r t a i n l y conceived i n dramatic terms, and in t h i s respect i s unique in extant Old English. The Advent antiphons on which Christ I i s based have inherent dramatic properties, but these are not r e a l i s e d i n the remainder of the poem. Indeed, D i v i s i o n VII i s not based on any s p e c i f i c antiphon, a fact which may well have a bearing on the difference between t h i s and the 24 other sections, and the greater naturalism present here. The vigorous dramatic dialogue of the Passus i s evidently the same kind of spontaneous response to a confrontation both intimate and vehement as we saw i n the temptation scene of Genesis B. D i v i s i o n VII of Christ I treats "the iconological 25 motif known to art his t o r i a n s as 'the doubting of Mary. 1" Joseph becomes aware that Mary i s pregnant, and concludes that she has been g u i l t y of i n c h a s t i t y . He i s troubled i n h i s mind, since he loves her and had thought her pure. Now he i s faced with the p a i n f u l choice of either giving her up to be stoned, or condoning what he regards as a crime. In response to his outburst, Mary expresses g r i e f at h i s d i s t r e s s , and goes on to describe the mystery of the V i r g i n B i r t h . The analogues brought forward by Albert Cook show that the Passus has i t s basis i n early p a t r i s t i c expansions of the s c r i p t u r a l account found at the beginning of the Gospel of St. Matthew (1:18-21). Cook translates extracts from f i v e homilies which present a si m i l a r scene in dialogue form: (Pseudo-) Athanasius, (Pseudo-) Chrysostom, 27 (Pseudo-) Proclus, Germanus, and (Pseudo-) Augustine. However, there i s a great difference between the Old English passage and the homiletic dialogues quoted by Cook. The edifying purpose of the l a t t e r works i s very prominent. They are sprinkled with references to the Old Testament—the Mosaic law, which Mary appears to have violated, and the Prophets, whose predictions are now being f u l f i l l e d . With the exception, to a certain extent, of the Germanus, these dialogues are a l l s t i l t e d , and not at a l l n a t u r a l i s t i c . The (Pseudo-)Proclus i s an exchange of b r i e f sententious utterances, while the other three consist of very long and very s t i f f speeches. The f i n a l , e x p l i c i t l y d i d a c t i c speech of Mary i s somewhat i n the manner of the L a t i n dialogues, but the remainder of the exchange between Mary and Joseph i s f u l l of personal feelings and reactions. In t h i s respect, the Passus i s quite d i f f e r e n t i n q u a l i t y from the homiletic dialogues, and from the re s t of Christ I. D i v i s i o n IV, "Eala wifa wynn," regarded by Jackson Campbell as possibly a rudimentary example of the same genre as the Passus, 28 lacks t h i s personal note. The two speeches (that of the sons and daughters of Salem and that of Mary) are formal and s t y l i s e d i n the extreme. It i s clear that the si t u a t i o n involving Mary and Joseph has inspired the poet to a n a t u r a l i s t i c scene d i f f e r e n t from the usual analogues and from the remainder of the Advent seri e s . 216 The Passus i s obviously a dialogue between Mary and Joseph, but there i s no complete agreement as to which l i n e s should be assigned to the respective speakers. The standard arrangement, following Cook's edition, i s the most s a t i s f a c t o r y : l i n e s 164 to 167a are given to Mary, and l i n e s 167b to 176a to Joseph, l i n e s 176b to 181a to Mary, and l i n e s 197 to 213 to Mary again, aft e r the poet's intervention. It i s the section of the dialogue between l i n e s 167b and 195a which causes the d i f f i c u l t y . Cook's arrangement i s the most convincing, because i t assigns to Joseph a l l those passages expressing anxiety and emotional disturbance. It i s appropriate that Mary should be concerned about Joseph's agitation, but any kind of mental turmoil i s out of keeping with her especial p u r i t y 29 and grace. The mystery of the V i r g i n B i r t h i s a theme which runs through the Advent sequence of Christ I, and forms the subject of D i v i s i o n VII. In t h i s d i v i s i o n , the poet i s concerned not with the ultimate e f f e c t upon mankind i n general of Christ's miraculous conception, but with i t s immediate e f f e c t upon the two individuals most cl o s e l y connected with i t . The sequence as a whole, l i k e the antiphons upon which i t i s based, expresses a typological view of the Incarnation, and many of the sections focus on images from the Old Testament, which are interpreted i n terms of Christ's coming to man. Thus, D i v i s i o n I i s 30 based on the Cornerstone image from the Psalms, D i v i s i o n 217 31 II on the Key of David from Isaiah, D i v i s i o n III on Jerusalem, the City of God, etc. Both Robert Burlin and Roger Lass, who have studied the sequence i n terms of i t s t ypological imagery, note that the poem operates on d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s , and that D i v i s i o n VII represents the 32 most intimate and immediate of these. Although the main themes of the poem have a transcendental significance, the Passus represents a sharp close-up which contrasts with the surrounding sections. Unity i s preserved by the ov e r a l l hymnic style, conveyed e s p e c i a l l y through the use of repeated apostrophes. But the r i t u a l chant and apostrophe which form the stu f f of the antiphons are 3 3 developed i n quite a d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n i n D i v i s i o n VII. The personal q u a l i t y of the Passus i s i t s s t r i k i n g feature. the transcendental implication i s subdued here, and the immediate e f f e c t s are to the fore. The great typological images which suggest the existence of eternal truths are la r g e l y absent in t h i s d i v i s i o n . Only i n Mary's closing 34 speech, which r i s e s again to the transcendental plane, do they make an appearance. Taking up Joseph's statement that he received a pure maiden from the temple (11. 186-87), Mary says that now she has become God's temple, for the Holy Ghost has taken up i t s dwelling i n her (11. 206b-08a). This image has two typological referents, for Mary i s the habitation of the Holy Ghost i n being the bearer of Christ, and also she i s the type of the good Christian, who ca r r i e s the Holy S p i r i t within him. 3 5 218 The action of the Passus takes place within a very-short space of time: the c r u c i a l moment when Joseph voices his suspicions and Mary sets them to rest. As i n Genesis B, the major action, i n t h i s case the enlightenment of Joseph, i s i n i t i a t e d by the woman. In the figure of Mary, the poet achieves a nice balance between the modest s i m p l i c i t y of a young g i r l and the divine wisdom of one chosen- and inspired by God. Tension builds up through the scene, becomes acute i n the long second speech of Joseph, and i s resolved i n Mary's f i n a l speech. In t h i s the mood changes from emotional c r i s i s to t r a n q u i l l i t y , in preparation for the next d i v i s i o n , "Eala pu so5a ond pu sibsuma [cyning]." The poet omits any explanation of the circumstances leading up to the scene, and Mary's opening words make i t clear that Joseph has already declared his intention to put her away. In her f i r s t speech she says, "nu pu . . . scealt . . . alaetan lufan mine," i . e . , "Must you give up my love?" Her words convey her respect for Joseph, which stems from her sense of h i s great p o s i t i o n i n history, and she addresses him as "Iacobes bearn, / maeg Dauides" (11. 164b-65a) . Joseph's reply, which i s confused and disjointed, r e f l e c t s the troubled state of his mind: he i s , he says, "suddenly distressed" because he has heard words of accusation against her (11. 167b-72a). The implication i s that the blunt words of others have forced him to accept a pai n f u l r e a l i t y that can no longer be passed over. He goes on to say that he cannot help shedding tears (11. 172b-73a), and then, abruptly, adds: "God eape maeg gehaelan hygesorge heortan minre, afrefran feasceaftne, . . ."37 and ends with a cry of g r i e f , "Eala faemne geong, / maegcS Maria!" He laments the disgrace of the ','maiden young, Mary the v i r g i n . " Mary's innocence asks only for further explanation. She has not grasped the significance of his words, and thinks h i s a g i t a t i o n suggests that he himself has done something shameful. She encourages him by saying that she has never found any f a u l t i n him. It seems that she thinks he has been blaming himself, because of unkind words from outsiders, for betrothing a young g i r l (Joseph himself being an aged man). J O Joseph now comes out d i r e c t l y with the reason for his a g i t a t i o n . He i s tormented not only by the p a i n f u l fact of Mary's unchastity, but by the s i t u a t i o n of agonising helplessness and indecision i n which t h i s places him. He has no answer to those who v i l i f y her (11. 183-85a). In f e e l i n g words he describes his dilemma: "Me nawper deag, / secge ne swige" (11. 189b-90a). If he speaks, she w i l l be stoned, but i f he keeps s i l e n t i t w i l l be even worse ("Gen strengre," 1. 192b), because a v i l e act w i l l have been condoned. He uses words applicable to the accesory, manswara, in a crime, morbor (1. 193) . Covering up Mary's g u i l t w i l l make him "fracoS in folcum" (1. 195) . 220 As Campbell says, "His struggle i s between his deepest personal desires [to love and protect Mary] and his 39 strongest convictions of a moral nature." Mary's subsequent speech i s d i f f e r e n t in tone. Whereas Joseph's speeches were a r e f l e c t i o n of c o n f l i c t i n g feelings, here we have a speech which r e f l e c t s simple assurance and higher knowledge. Mary describes the Annunciation and V i r g i n Birth, and then urges Joseph to put aside his g r i e f and give thanks for the honour of being the worldly father of Christ, i n whom prophecy has been f u l f i l l e d . The speech combines the intimacy appropriate to a d i r e c t address to Joesph with the formality demanded by the.subject, a mystery which Mary reveals to us as well as him. In only f i f t y l i n e s , the poet has s k i l f u l l y presented a s i t u a t i o n involving a whole range of i n t e r -related thoughts and fe e l i n g s . He has described an emotional c r i s i s and i t s resolution, and his portrayal of the c o n f l i c t i n g feelings experienced by Joseph i s p a r t i c u l a r l y v i v i d . In comparison with the account of the F a l l i n Genesis B, the c r i s i s of f e e l i n g described by the Christ I poet i s more complex and more concentrated-Both passages are s i g n i f i c a n t i n that they show two poets responding i n a fresh way to the demands of a si t u a t i o n not provided for by the standard character-types of Old English poetry. The two b i b l i c a l scenes, l i k e the situations i n the secular love l y r i c s , involve a presentation of love between the sexes, a theme hardly ever given expanded treatment i n Old English. In Genesis B and Christ I, of course, the emphasis i s not upon the love r e l a t i o n s h i p i t s e l f , but i t i s t h i s factor which colours the whole situation, and gives a strong undercurrent to the argument which forms the subject of the scenes. The confrontation between husband and wife i s the more intense because of t h e i r deep a f f e c t i o n for one another. Again, i n both scenes there i s a tension between the respectful humility of the female f i g u r e — a p p r o p r i a t e to her wifely r o l e — a n d the energy of her w i l l , voiced i n eloquent persuasion. The attitude of Eve and Mary to t h e i r respective husbands r e f l e c t s the p o s i t i o n of the wife i n the Anglo-Saxon laws, and the v a s s a l - l i k e r e l a t i o n s h i p of wife to husband commented on i n Chapters I and III, and seen i n the language used by the banished wife i n Chapter V. The humility of Eve and Mary may also be compared with the p a s s i v i t y of the Beowulf queens and the women speakers i n the love l y r i c s . In both the temptation episode of Genesis B and D i v i s i o n VII of Christ I, the key p o s i t i o n of a female figure i n an intimate sit u a t i o n leads to a rendering of the scene which i s both s t r i k i n g l y dramatic and s t r i k i n g l y n a t u r a l i s t i c . There i s the same psychological insight which we saw i n the love l y r i c s , but whereas the portrayal of mood in the l a t t e r was s t y l i s e d and symbolic, and s t i l l very much influenced by the conventions of the e x i l e theme, 222 here the presentation i s f u l l of realism, and even fr e e r and more f l e x i b l e i n i t s handling of i t s material. The poets 1 departure from the usual sources encourages an imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the thoughts and feelings of t h e i r characters. This freedom of response i s most marked i n the f u l l y dramatic—and very v i v i d — p r e s e n t a t i o n of the dialogue i n the Passus scene. In one or two other passages of Old English poetry, there i s a dramatic pot e n t i a l i n the i n t e r -r e l a t i o n s h i p between a man and a woman, but t h i s p o t e n t i a l remains unrealised. The Waldere fragments present such a situation, but, as remarked i n Chapter III, i t i s impossible to t e l l just how the poet intended to handle the Walther story. In Fragment I, as we have i t , the speech of Hildegund i s powerfully eloquent, but contains nothing to make i t d i f f e r e n t from the sort of utterance we might expect of any l o y a l retainer. In Deor, there i s a reference to the feelings of Beaduhild about Weland, but the poet i s interested only in Beaduhild 1s present d i s t r e s s , and not i n any c o n f l i c t of p e r s o n a l i t i e s that may have taken place b e f o r e . ^ It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the passages where t h i s kind of r e l a t i o n s h i p i s treated in a personal and n a t u r a l i s t i c way are i n the b i b l i c a l poetry, and not i n the male-oriented world of the secular verse. In Christ  and Satan, Eve makes a b r i e f but touching appeal to Christ when he harrows h e l l . She stretches out her hands to him, 223 and begs for mercy "purh Marian had" (1. 436) . Eve's plea i s that Christ was himself born of her daughter (11. 437-38). The v i v i d introduction of Eve at t h i s point momentarily brings a warmer, more human note into the poem, but the scene i s not developed. F i n a l l y , i n Genesis A, the extended account of Abraham necessarily involves Sarah and her jealousy of Hagar. The strong feelings involved r e t a i n some of t h e i r v i t a l i t y , as the poet describes Sarah's b i t t e r words to Abraham, and her ill-treatment of the maidservant, Hagar: "Ne fremest pu gerysnu and r i h t wi5 me. pafodest pu gena paet me peowmennen, drehte dogora gehwam daedum and wordum. " (11. 2247-51) and: •Da wear5 unblic&e Abrahames cwen, hire worcpeowe wrac? on mode, heard and hreSe. (11. 2261-63a) Although at least one c r i t i c has found the presentation of Sarah most l i v e l y , and on a par with that of Eve in Genesis 41 B, i t seems to me that while the l a t t e r i s a most fe e l i n g adaptation of i t s sources—Old Saxon and Old Testament—the characterisation i n Genesis A i s l i t t l e more than a mechanical paraphrase, which only weakens the vigor of the b i b l i c a l account. The interaction between in d i v i d u a l men and women on a private l e v e l i s not a subject that has found much place in Old English heroic poetry. The t r a d i t i o n a l , 224 secular poetry draws almost exclusively on a world of c o l l e c t i v e , male rel a t i o n s h i p s . And when the Old English poets draw on the Bible, which does contain many more domestic situations, they tend to pick out those episodes which can be treated i n heroic terms. But Eve and Mary are absolutely central to the Christian mythology, and the poets treating man's F a l l and Redemption at times focussed, perhaps by accident, on these female figures. A poet imaginatively recreating the s i t u a t i o n of either could not do so i n the t r a d i t i o n a l heroic stereotypes, because these were not applicable, and so he was forced to f a l l back on h i s own invention and i n t u i t i o n . In the case of the respective authors of Christ I and Genesis B, we f i n d poets g i f t e d with human insight and a sense of drama. These factors lead to the unusually i n d i v i d u a l i s e d treatment of Mary and Joseph, and of Adam and Eve. Although the narrative framework may have been provided by sources, the sympathetic creation of characters and t h e i r i n t e r a c t i o n i s the Anglo-Saxon poets' own. In these scenes, both the male and female characters are executed with great vigour and realism, but i t i s the woman who takes the lead and sets the tone. It i s because of her central significance that the poets are led into a new exploitation of relationships as highly charged as those of the t r a d i t i o n a l heroic poetry, but more intimate and more complex. The q u a l i t y of the temptation scene i n Genesis B and of D i v i s i o n VII i n Christ I i s indeed dramatic. The Anglo-Saxon authors of these poems were not the f i r s t persons to be aware of the dramatic p o t e n t i a l i n such material, as i s indicated by the existence of the dramatic dialogues on which the "Passus" scene i s based. However, the Old English poets show an interest i n character and i n domestic realism which makes t h e i r works quite d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r e a r l i e r and near-contemporary analogues. Other early medieval writers conceived the idea of using a dramatic form to present b i b l i c a l and hagiographical narratives. In tenth-century Germany, Hrotsvitha wrote saints' plays i n conscious imitation of the manner of 4 2 Terence. But the v i r g i n heroines i n her plays are, l i k e those i n the saints' l i v e s discussed i n Chapter IV, very much the vehicle for d i d a c t i c p r i n c i p l e s . In fact, her drama i s quite crude, and wooden i n i t s characterisation, although sometimes enlivened by a cumbrous humour, most conspicuously i n D u l c i t i u s , where the hero of that name embraces sooty pots and pans i n mistake for the v i r g i n s who 43 are the objects of h i s l u s t . It i s to the vernacular drama that we must turn for comparable l i v e l i n e s s and realism. The fact that the temptation scene i n Genesis B and that i n the Anglo-Norman Mystere d'Adam show s i m i l a r i t i e s i s s i g n i f i c a n t , not only in shedding l i g h t on the o r i g i n of the former,, 4 4 but also with regard to i t s dramatic properties, for, l i k e the author of the l a t e r play, the Anglo-Saxon poet has r e a l i s e d the dramatic p o t e n t i a l of h i s material, although he has 226 not rendered i t i n actual dramatic form. Again, the dialogue between Joseph and Mary constitutes a scene that reappears, often poignantly treated, i n the l a t e r mystery plays. Indeed, the presentation of human inte r a c t i o n i n the temptation scene and the Passus scene has, i n i t s insight into domestic c o n f l i c t , something i n common with the homely realism of the Wakefield M a s t e r — f o r instance, 45 i n h is treatment of Noah and h i s wife. The naturalism of these scenes i n Genesis B and Christ I points forward to a s i m i l a r naturalism i n the Middle English mystery cycles, where, too, the archetypal events of b i b l i c a l h i s t o r y are recreated i n simple human terms. 227 Footnotes ''"Jackson J. Campbell edited Christ I under the t i t l e of The Advent L y r i c s of the Exeter Book (Princeton, 1959). The three parts of Christ, now generally regarded as quite separate works, open the series of long r e l i g i o u s poems which constitutes the f i r s t h a l f of the Exeter Book. As Campbell's t i t l e implies, he regards the various d i v i s i o n s of Christ I as d i s t i n c t poems. However, most scholars see s u f f i c i e n t unity in the sequence to regard i t as a single work. Cf. Robert Burlin, The Old English Advent: A  Typological Commentary (New Haven and London, 1968). Bu r l i n regards Campbell's fragmentation of the series as "regrettable" (p. ix; see also p. 39) . 2 C f . B. J. Timmer, The Later Genesis (Oxford, 1948), Introduction, pp. 55-60. 3 Timmer suggests that Genesis B was rendered from the o r i g i n a l around the year 900 by one of the Old Saxon clergymen whom Alf r e d drew from abroad (Introduction, p. 43). 4 The O.S. fragment i s included i n Klaeber's e d i t i o n : The Later Genesis and Other Old English and Old Saxon Texts  r e l a t i n g to the F a l l of Man, 2nd ed. (Heidelberg, 1931). 5 Cf. Timmer, Introduction, pp. 48-50. The Dependence of Part I of Cynewulf's Christ upon  the Antiphonary (Washington, 1921). 7 Most of the twelve d i v i s i o n s of Christ I are based on antiphons sung i n the Advent season, the Advent O's. No s p e c i f i c source has been found for D i v i s i o n VII, and Dom Edward Burgert suggested that i n D i v i s i o n X the poet had compiled h i s own "O," The Dependence of Part I of Cynewulf's  Christ upon the Antiphonary (pp. 37-43). D i v i s i o n XI may be may be based on two T r i n i t y antiphons, see A. S. Cook, The  Christ of Cynewulf (Boston, 1900), p. 108. D i v i s i o n XII i s based on a text sung at Vespers in the V i g i l of the Octave of Christmas (see Samuel Moore, "The Source of Christ 416 f f . , " MLN, 29 [1914], 226-27). Cook dated Christ I from the Cynewulfian signature i n Christ II, believing the three parts of Christ to form a single poem. Campbell i s very cautious i n dating, but favours the l a t e ninth century (p. 42) . The beginning of Christ I i s missing. Campbell i s unwilling to draw any conclusions as to what may have been l o s t (see pp. 9-11), but other scholars have thought i t l i k e l y that expansions of one or more of the other Advent antiphons may have formed the missing section (see Cook, p. 73; Burgert, p. 49) . 228 w T h i s subject has been discussed by J. M. Evans, "Genesis B and Its Background," RES, N.S., 14 (1963), 1-16, and 113-23. Evans includes s u b s t a n t i a l l y the same analysis of Genesis B i n his book, Paradise Lost and the Genesis  Tradition (Oxford, 1968), Chapter V, pp. 143-67. The question of sources i s also dealt with by Rosemary Woolf, "The F a l l of Man i n Genesis B and the Mystere d'Adam," Studies i n Old English L i t e r a t u r e i n Honor of Arthur G. Brodeur, ed. Stanley B. Greenfield (Eugene, 1963), pp. 189-99. Both Evans and Woolf regard the Old Saxon poet as the author of Genesis B, but t h i s does not af f e c t the relevance of t h e i r comments. Evans believes that the poet has been pr i m a r i l y influenced by the narrative technique of Germanic epic ("Genesis B and Its Background," pp. 113-23), although he also allows for the influence of theological precedents: Jewish apocrypha, the e a r l i e s t fathers, and—he thinks the most l i k e l y i n f l u e n c e — t h e Chr i s t i a n L a t i n poets, Avitus, Cyprian, and V i c t o r ("Genesis B and Its Background," pp. 1-16). Woolf comments on the resemblances between Genesis B and the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman Mystere d'Adam, and suggests that these works must have a common source stemming from "the apocryphal imagination of the East" (p. 188). q Evidently t h i s notion was not uncommon among the Anglo-Saxons. A homily of / E l f r i c speaks of the d e v i l sending "another d e v i l " i n the form of a serpent. See B. Thorpe, The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church, I (London, 1844) , 13:194. "^The poet does at times refer to the Tempter as a serpent (11. 491 and 590), but at other times i t i s clea r that he i s in the likeness of an angel. Eve refers to him as "pes boda sciene, / godes engel god" (11. 656b-57a). Woolf notes t h i s v a r i a t i o n and believes that the poet him-s e l f imagines the d e v i l i n an orthodox way but that the source used presents the Tempter disguised as an angel. She points out that the i l l u s t r a t o r of the manuscript f i r s t depicts the Tempter as a serpent and subsequently as an angel (p. 190). 11 See Evans and Woolf. 12 Evans emphasises the way in which the poet has made a point of stressing the good intentions of the g u i l t y pair (pp. 113-15) and the contrast between intent and action. He notes that the res u l t i n g e f f e c t resembles that " i n certain kinds of tragedy," and compares Adam and Eve i n Genesis B with Oedipus. With regard to the kind of tragedy found i n Genesis B, Evans states, "The deed, i t i n s i s t s , was e v i l , and the deed i s a l l that matters; the motives, the moral g u i l t or innocence of the agents, are t o t a l l y i rrelevant, for the law i s implacable and a certain action w i l l be 229 followed by certain consequences . . ." (p. 15). 13 A l a i n Renoir sees the Tempter's l o y a l t y to h i s master as part of a self-deception i n which the Tempter refuses to admit to himself that he i s no longer an angel of l i g h t , "The Self-Deception of Temptation: Boethian Psychology i n Genesis B," Old English Poetry: Fifteen  Essays, ed. Robert P. Creed (Brown University Press, 1967), pp. 47-67. The i r o n i c use of the concept of hyldo i n Genesis B i s also pointed out i n an a r t i c l e by J. R. H a l l , "Geongordom and Hyldo in Genesis B: Serving the Lord for the Lord's Favpr," PLL, 11 (1975), 302-07. 14 In the Introduction to h i s edition, Timmer states that "the poet does not use the motive of vainglory and gluttony, but he makes Eve the v i c t i m of the demon's l i e s " (p. 58) . See also S. H. Gurteen, The Epic of the F a l l of Man (New York and London, 1896), p. 216; W. P. Ker, The  Dark Ages (London, 1904; rep. 1955), p. 259; E. Sievers, Der Heliand und die angelsachsische Genesis (Halle, 1875), p. 22. Woolf believes that the poet's treatment, though unusual, i s not a c t u a l l y heterodox. She argues that the Tempter appeals to Eve.' s pride by suggesting that she i s in a p o s i t i o n to influence Adam (gestyran, 1. 568). Woolf suggests that Eve i s thus tempted towards envy and emulation of Adam, rather than of God, as i n the Bible. She concludes that "the d e v i l ' s disguise was not impenetrable, and that Eve l i s t e n e d with a w i l f u l c r e d u l i t y springing from nascent vanity" (p. 196). However, Eve's desire to influence her husband for h i s own good i s a manifestation of affectionate concern rather than of pride. 15 Although Woolf disagrees with most c r i t i c s i n her int e r p r e t a t i o n of Eve's motives, she acknowledges that the poet has approached hi s subject i n a s t r i k i n g way, "from the psychological rather than from the dogmatic point of view" (p. 188). Cf. Evans: "His [the poet's] departure from orthodox p a t r i s t i c views on the F a l l reveals him to have been a man less interested i n d o c t r i n a l n i c e t i e s than i n t e l l i n g a v i v i d and moving story . . ." (p. 16) . 16 Eve's pleading does not show a desire for an unnatural mastery over her husband, as Woolf thinks (see pp. 195-96). Cf. n. 14, above. 17 There i s a s l i g h t v a r i a t i o n in 1. 789, where the poet says that the two spoke many "sorhworda somed, sinhiwan twa." 18 Timmer discusses the p o s s i b i l i t y of a connection between Genesis B and Paradise Lost i n the Introduction to his e d i t i o n (pp. 60-65), and comes to the conclusion that i t i s highly u n l i k e l y Milton had read or would have been 230 able to read the contents of the Junius manuscript, which contains Genesis. 19 Milton's treatment of the temptation i s , of course, rather d i f f e r e n t . 20 The Poetical Works of John Milton, ed. Helen Darbishire (Oxford, 1958) , p. 236. 21 There i s a great contrast between the comparatively homely speeches of Adam and Eve and the grand rhetoric of Satan: "Wa l a , ahte i c minra handa geweald and moste ane t i d ute weoroan, wesan ane winterstunde, bonne i c mid pys werode— Ac licgacS me ymbe irenbenda, rideS racentan s a l . Ic eom r i c e s leas; . . . " (11. 368b-72) 2 ? ^See n. 12, above. 23 At the beginning of his a r t i c l e , "A Remote Analogue to the Miracle Play," JEGP, 4 (1902), 421, Cook c i t e s Conybeare (1826), Wiilker (1885), Gollancz [1892], and Stopford Brooke [1892] as holders of t h i s opinion. Cook notes that Brooke r e t r a c t s i n a footnote. Campbell, the most recent editor of Christ I, comments on the poet's intervention to introduce the l a s t of the speeches, and observes: "It i s merely the absence of these speech introductions [ i n the remainder of the Passus] that has led people to entangle themselves i n dramatic theories about the poem. If the other speeches were thus introduced, t h i s would be a fragment of conversation not greatly d i f f e r e n t from many we have i n the Old English narrative poems" (p. 25, n. 7) . 24 Burgert thought i t l i k e l y that D i v i s i o n VII was an int e r p o l a t i o n . See his summary of the sources of Christ I, p. 47. However, D i v i s i o n VII i s well integrated into the rest of Christ I by being couched in the same "hymnic" tone. It i s therefore not necessary to explain i t s rather s t r i k i n g differences as the r e s u l t of in t e r p o l a t i o n . 2 5 B u r l i n , p. 116. 2 6 "A Remote Analogue to the Miracle Play," pp. 421-51. Burl i n mentions the apocryphal Protoevangelium or Book of  James i n which the "doubting of Mary" begins to take on "something of the appearance of the Old English dialogue" (p. 116). The Protoevangelium l i e s behind the homiletic dialogues c i t e d by Cook (see Burlin, p. 117). 231 2 7 Cook i s incl i n e d to accept the putative authorship of these homilies, since the only reason for t h e i r exclusion from.the authorial canon i s t h e i r unusual feature of containing these dialogues (see p. 424). 28 See Campbell, edition, p. 22. In t h i s "0," the sons and daughters of Salem ask Mary to expound the mystery of the V i r g i n Birth, and she r e p l i e s . 29 B u r l i n follows the arrangement of P. J. Cosijn, who divides the material between 11. 164 and 195 into two speeches, beginning "Eala Joseph min" (1. 164) and "Eala faemne geong" (1. 175b) respectively, "Anglosaxonica IV," PBB, 23 (1898), 109-30. See Burlin, pp. 119-21; also Campbell, p. 92. The argument behind t h i s arrangement i s that the exclamation Eala i s regularly used at the opening rather than at the close of a speech. Burlin argues further that the rapid interchange effected by the standard arrangement i s uncharacteristic of Germanic poetry (p. 119) . S t i l l other arrangements have been proposed by S. B. Hemingway, "Cynewulf's Christ, 173-176," MLN, 22 (1907), 66-73; and by N e i l Isaacs, "Who Says What i n Advent L y r i c  VII?" Structural P r i n c i p l e s i n Old English Poetry (University of Tennessee Press, 1968), pp. 93-99. The t r a d i t i o n a l arrangement, following Cook, has recently been defended by J. M. Foley, "Christ 164-213: A Structural Approach to the Speech Boundaries i n 'Advent L y r i c VII,'" Neophil, 59 (1975) , 114-18. 30 Psalm 117:22 (Vulgate). 3 1 I s a i a h 22:22. 32 Burlin, who uses musical terminology to describe the structure of the poem, finds three modes of expression: theological, f i g u r a t i v e , and dramatic, the middle of these mediating between the d o c t r i n a l abstraction of the f i r s t and the concrete immediacy of the t h i r d . He regards both D i v i s i o n IV, "Eala wifa wynn," and D i v i s i o n VII as examples of the dramatic mode (pp. 174-75), but, as I observed e a r l i e r , D i v i s i o n IV i s ac t u a l l y f a r more s t i l t e d than D i v i s i o n VII. Lass's interpretation of the poem's structure captures the sig n i f i c a n c e of D i v i s i o n VII very accurately. He sees the poem as operating on two l e v e l s of time, the eternal and the h i s t o r i c a l , and D i v i s i o n VII as "Es s e n t i a l l y an imaginative recreation i n an h i s t o r i c a l mode of the dialogue between Joseph and Mary, as human beings." He continues: "This [the dialogue] occupies almost the center of the sequence as we now have i t , and i s important because of i t s focus on the purely human aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation," "Poem as Sacrament: Transcendence of Time in the Advent Sequence from the Exeter Book," Annuale Medievale, 7 (1966) , 12. 232 33 Something of dramatic quality, which I designate by the word 'hymnic,' i s present throughout the poem. Cf. Campbell: "His [the poet's] i s most often a singing mode, and he often presents a state of exalted emotion" (Campbell himself terms t h i s q u a l i t y l y r i c ) , "Structural Patterns in the Old English Advent L y r i c s , " KLH, 23 (1956), 255. There i s , of course, more than a germ of drama in the l i t u r g y , of which the Advent sequence of Christ I i s an outgrowth. 34 Cf. E a r l R. Anderson, "In the course of the l y r i c [ D ivision VII], Mary changes from a doubtful woman to a magisterial authority . . . " "Mary's Role as Eiron i n Christ I," JEGP, 70 (1971), 234. 35 Cf. Lass, p. 12. Harriet Seaton finds that two types underlie much of the imagery for Mary i n Old English: Mary as a type of the Church, and of the Christian, "Marian Imagery i n the Old English Writings," p. 63. Cf. Introduction, pp. 5-6, above. 36 Cf. Campbell, edition, p. 22. As E a r l Anderson says i n h i s a r t i c l e on "Mary's Role as Eiron," the dialogue begins " i n media res" (sic) . See pp. 234-37, passim. 37 The sentiment expressed i n these l i n e s (173b-75a) i s thought more appropriate to Mary by some scholars (Cosijn, Hemingway, B u r l i n ) , but giving the l i n e s to Mary involves either emending "heortan minre" to "heortan binre" or feasceaftne to feasceafte. However, Joseph i s presented throughout t h i s scene as an inherently good man, and i t i s quite convincing that i n h i s d i s t r e s s he should remind himself of h i s t r u s t i n God. 38 Campbell thinks that Mary f a i l s to r e a l i s e Joseph i s accusing her because she has not registered the words "for be" (1. 169) in Joseph's speech (see edition, p. 23), but i t i s not necessary to introduce t h i s complication i f we interpret her reaction i n the way I describe. 39 Advent Ly r i c s , p. 24. 40 Cf. Chapter II, n. 9, and Chapter V, p. 173. Cf. also the love between the Geat and Masthild i n Deor, also mentioned i n Chapter V (p. 173) . 41 Broch, "Die Stellung der Frau i n der angelsachsischen Poesie." See Introduction, p. 7, above. ^She states t h i s e x p l i c i t l y i n one of her prefaces. See Hrotsvithae Opera, ed. H. Homeyer (Munich, Paderborn, and Vienna) , 1970, p. 233. 233 4 3 " D u l c i t i u s , " IV, Hrotsvithae Opera, pp. 271-72. 44 See n. 8, above. 45 See "Processus Noe cum F i l i i s , " i n The Wakefield  Pageants i n the Towneley Cycle, ed. A. C. Cawley (Manchester, 1958), pp. 14-28. 234 CONCLUSION We have now surveyed the d i f f e r e n t kinds of female characterisation to be found i n Old English poetry. It can be seen that the major tendency i n the presentation of character (both male and female) i s towards conformity to a stereotype. The character-types which occur i n the poetry f a l l f a i r l y r e a d i l y into certain well defined groups. Some of the more impressive figures f a i l to conform to any of the c l a s s i c a l stereotypes, but, on closer examination, we nearly always f i n d that they either present an unusual combination of stereotypes, or that t h e i r d i s t i n c t and s t y l i s e d features suggest that they belong to a type not elsewhere recorded i n the extant corpus of Old English poetry. Such figures are e s p e c i a l l y prevalent i n Beowulf, a fact which may be attributed p a r t l y to the superior s k i l l of the poet, and p a r t l y to the circumstance that t h i s i s the only preserved Old English poem of any length based on t r a d i t i o n a l Germanic legend. Only occasionally does a poet present an unusual d e t a i l , or a p a r t i c u l a r l y i n d i v i d u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between character and action. It i s a s t r i k i n g fact that most of the passages in which the poets have attempted to enter into the mind of a character i n a certain situation, and to reach the well-springs of that character's thoughts and actions, are 235 passages involving female figures. In the preceding chapters, I have examined these passages i n d e t a i l . I s h a l l now attempt to formulate an explanation for the unusual insight which was t h e i r common feature. As we have seen, the roles played by women i n the poetry correspond to t h e i r roles i n re a l l i f e : the formal but passive part played by the queen; the va s s a l - l i k e r e l a t i o n s h i p of wife to husband; and—an exception to the general t r e n d — t h e active r o l e played by the saint, comparable to the po s i t i o n f i l l e d by the Anglo-Saxon abbesses. The h i s t o r i c a l evidence, by and large, indicates a d e f i n i t e l y subordinate p o s i t i o n for women. Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, the a c t i v i t i e s of women tended to be limited to the domestic sphere. Only at the very highest l e v e l of society, that i s , among royal ladies, was there any s i g n i f i c a n t exception to t h i s . Royal women played a d i s t i n c t formal r o l e i n the secular a f f a i r s of Anglo-Saxon society, and, i n the early period, regularly took an active part i n the a f f a i r s of the Church, as the abbesses of the double monasteries. But, i n the main, the position accorded to women was r e s t r i c t e d and passive, though not degraded or oppressed. In poetry, as in the h i s t o r i c a l sources, the rel a t i o n s h i p of woman to man i s presented as p a r a l l e l l i n g that of thane to lor d . This i s es p e c i a l l y apparent in The Wife's Lament. The minor significance attached to 236 the husband-wife r e l a t i o n s h i p i s r e f l e c t e d in the fact that there i s no vocabulary exclusively designating i t , and that i t has to be described i n the terminology of male employment. This state of a f f a i r s i s i l l u s t r a t e d by some of the Anglo-Saxon l e g a l documents, as well as by the poetry. f Accordingly, the place of women i n Old English poetry i s small. The Germanic s t r a i n has only one ro l e ear-marked for female characters: that of graceful accessories to the communal l i f e of warriors i n the h a l l . This role i s well enough established, but so limited that the figures who occupy i t are mostly dismissed i n a phrase or a few sentences. The Ch r i s t i a n s t r a i n introduces one prominent part for female characters: that of the saint or holy woman. This i s the only role i n which women can take a major place in the action of Old English poetry. It i s int e r e s t i n g that the Anglo-Saxon poets have f a i l e d to exploit the occasional h i s t o r i c a l instances of women i n positions of vigorous leadership in the secular world. The poets seem to have found no s i g n i f i c a n t r e f l e c t i o n of the human condition i n these exceptional cases. Because poetry aims at un i v e r s a l i t y , the Anglo-Saxon poets have found t h e i r t e l l i n g themes i n the recurrent, and n o t — a s far as we can t e l l from the extant remains—the exceptional. The q u a l i t i e s and situations which must have marked the career of iEthelflaed do not become the stu f f of Old English poetry. However, the very fact that the function of women i n the poetry i s limited can be an asset. Those characters in Old English poetry which are the most s k i l f u l l y drawn are the ones which move farthest away from the r i g i d l i n e s of the t r a d i t i o n a l stereotypes. The areas of experience to which the stereotypes correspond are mostly public and corporate. Thus, the feelings experienced by one in d i v i d u a l in his r e l a t i o n s h i p to another, apart from the larger s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p i n which they might be contained, are scarcely treated by the poets. Domestic relationships are ra r e l y the subject of Old English poetry. Hence, when the poets wish to treat these uncharted areas of experience, they are forced back upon observation, rather than l i t e r a r y precedent. It i s i n the region of personal, rather than public, experience that female characters come into t h e i r own, for, with the exception of the 'saint's l i f e ' genre, the poetry allows them no active part i n the public arena with which i t deals. The only d i s t i n c t r o l e a l l o t t e d to women by the native t r a d i t i o n i s a passive one: that of the beautiful woman in the h a l l , who symbolises the warrior's more peaceful pleasures. Paradoxically, the female characters who are r e s t r i c t e d to a passive role are the ones that appear the most vigorous and l i f e l i k e i n the poetry. The type of the female saint provides a character-part of leadership and action; but the figures who occupy t h i s part are lacking i n v i t a l i t y . Not only are the l i n e s of the stereotype r i g i d ; they f a i l to conform to the fears and struggles of 238 r e a l l i f e . Thus, there i s only a s u p e r f i c i a l correspondence between the poetic saints and the actual abbesses of Anglo-Saxon England. In contrast, a greater p o t e n t i a l exists i n the si t u a t i o n of the other women characters of the poetry. There i s a natural poignancy i n the sit u a t i o n of a person who thinks, f e e l s , and struggles, but whose urge to action i s frustrated. Such i s the condition of many women characters in the poetry. Poets dealing with female characters a c t u a l l y have more scope for a study of psychological motivation, simply because these characters do not t r a d i t i o n a l l y express themselves i n public action. The treatment of female figures encouraged the poets to depart from the public sphere, and enter a realm of 'private experience more conducive to the portrayal of intimate thoughts and feelings, and to the introduction of n a t u r a l i s t i c d e t a i l . Moreover, the fact that women were t y p i c a l l y barred from action would lend a p a r t i c u l a r urgency to t h e i r hopes and desires. Thus, i t i s no coincidence that female characters are often e s p e c i a l l y eloquent and persuasive. We see t h i s i n Wealhtheow's highly charged speech expressing her hope that Hrothulf w i l l be good to her sons. We see i t too i n Hildegund's encouragement of her lover i n Waldere, although in the fragment as we have i t there i s no ind i c a t i o n that she speaks from a position of enforced p a s s i v i t y . In Christ I and Genesis B, Mary and Eve, respectively, speak with s i m i l a r persuasive eloquence, which gains i t s peculiar resonance from our awareness of the strength of the speaker's personality i n contrast with her physical weakness and dependence on her husband. In The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer, the speaker's eloquence i s of a somewhat di f f e r e n t kind, since i t demands no response from p a r t i c u l a r persons. But there i s a special tension created by the c o n f l i c t between a struggling w i l l and the sit u a t i o n of inaction f o r c i b l y imposed upon i t . Again, the narrow focus used by the poets i n dwelling on female figures gives an unusual sharpness of delineation. This can be seen i n the intimate exchanges between Mary and Joseph i n Christ I, and Adam and Eve i n Genesis B. Here the dialogue—whether quoted or described—and the interactions accompanying i t are presented with s t r i k i n g vividness and accuracy. The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer are less r e a l i s t i c , but show the same technique of close-up, r e s u l t i n g i n a finely-drawn p o r t r a i t of f e e l i n g . Altogether, the p a s s i v i t y and confinement associated with women lends i t s e l f to a penetrating study of mood and reaction extremely unusual i n Old English. Thus, the treatment of women i n Old English poetry does indeed r e f l e c t the s o c i a l norms of Anglo-Saxon England, p a r t i c u l a r l y the e a r l i e r period, and i t i s t h i s r e f l e c t i o n which provides the key to the greater o r i g i n a l i t y to be found i n association with female, rather than male, characters. Female characters o f f e r an opportunity for an 240 exploration of in d i v i d u a l f e e l i n g exceptional i n Old English poetry. The opportunity arises because women characters are less provided for i n the stereotyped t r a d i t i o n s of the poetry than t h e i r male counterparts, because the p a s s i v i t y associated with the si t u a t i o n of women lends i t s e l f to a more i n t e r i o r i s e d study of thought and fee l i n g , and because the arena i n which women play a part i s extremely circumscribed, demanding a close-up study of personal in t e r a c t i o n . However, as we saw i n Chapter I, the s o c i a l p o s i t i o n of women i n Anglo-Saxon England was not s t a t i c , but improved noticeably i n the course of the period, although t h e i r status at a l l times remained, i n most cases, a d e f i n i t e l y subordinate and dependent one. Is t h i s improvement r e f l e c t e d i n the poetry? The previous chapters follow a progression i n the treatment of women characters, from a f l a t presentation that f a i l s to go beyond the r i g i d outlines of the established roles, to a portrayal that shows a considerable amount of realism. On the one hand we have the c u r s o r i l y type-cast women of the Riddles and Maxims, and on the other the sensi t i v e perception of Wulf and j Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament and the v i v i d naturalism of the intimate scenes i n Christ I and Genesis B. The poems in the 'saint's l i f e ' genre, remain f l a t and r i g i d i n th e i r handling of character; although they contain a much more extended treatment of women than the Riddles and Maxims, t h e i r presentation i s not more convincing or 241 perceptive. In the 'saint's l i f e ' poems, the power of the convention i s too strong f o r any of the characters to escape from i t . The genre issues, f u l l y fledged, from i t s Lat i n origins, and no further growth takes place i n Old English poetry. Thus, we must look elsewhere for a development i n the d i r e c t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . In the other poems, there i s ac t u a l l y a chronological development i n the presentation of women characters, r e f l e c t i n g a change i n s o c i e t a l attitudes, from the view of women as objects i n the e a r l i e s t Anglo-Saxon period to a certain recognition of t h e i r status as independent human beings. However, none of the poems which i l l u s t r a t e t h i s development belongs to the l a t e s t p e r i o d — t h e tenth and eleventh centuries, when the h i s t o r i c a l sources show the most l i b e r a l attitude towards women.x In fact, l i t t l e Old English poetry dates from t h i s late period, probably because of the s o c i a l upheavals of the times. If we leave out the 'saint's l i f e ' genre, we f i n d that the development traced in Chapters III to VI i s d i r e c t l y related to the chronology of the material involved. Those poems i n which women characters are regarded primarily i n terms of the s o c i a l function which they f u l f i l are e a r l i e r than the poems which show an interest i n women as individuals, aside from t h e i r s o c i a l r o l e . The Riddles, the Maxims, and Beowulf are a l l poems which draw heavily upon the s o c i a l stereotype i n t h e i r presentation 242 of female characters. Further, they are a l l poems 2 or i g i n a t i n g f a i r l y early i n the Anglo-Saxon period. 3 Beowulf i s generally dated not long a f t e r 700. Although the Riddles are of d i f f e r e n t dates, the c o l l e c t i o n was most l i k e l y o r i g i n a l l y formed under the influence of the c o l l e c t i o n s of Latin r i d d l e s composed i n the l a t e seventh and early eighth centuries. The Maxims are highly t r a d i t i o n a l , and the kind of proverbial wisdom they contain i s very early, although the present arrangement may have 4 been made l a t e r i n the Anglo-Saxon period. The treatment of character i n a l l these poems evidently represents an e a r l i e r stratum than that found i n the works which show a more penetrating study of women figures. The change i s not p e r f e c t l y clear-cut, p a r t l y because of the problem of multiple authorship, 5 and p a r t l y because one of the e a r l i e r poems, Beowulf, i s also one of the most sophisticated. Nevertheless, i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the Beowulf poet did not i n d i v i d u a l i s e his characters, and that h i s more subtle study of female figures involved a special use of the stereotype rather than a departure from i t . As for the remaining poems, The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer stem from the middle period of Old English poetic composition, the eighth to the ninth century, the l a t t e r poem perhaps being l a t e r than the former. Genesis B and Christ I, probably dated close to 900, are a l i t t l e l a t e r 7 s t i l l . These are the poems in which the most i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and n a t u r a l i s t i c treatment of character i s 243 found. The innovations to be found i n the presentation of female characters i n Old English poetry are thus intimately bound up with the s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s of the period. The evidence shows that the e a r l i e s t stratum of poetry r e f l e c t s the s o c i a l outlook of the early Anglo-Saxon period, i . e . , that embodied i n the Laws of Ethelbert, and that the more in d i v i d u a l i s e d treatment of female figures i n the subsequent poetry i s connected with an a l t e r a t i o n i n the outlook of society as a whole. This development i n both i s undoubtedly to be attributed to a c i v i l i s i n g movement and the growth of a more humane awareness. The poets' r e a l i s a t i o n of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of characterisation inherent i n passive female figures i s the product of a change i n mentality and an increased interest i n persons as in d i v i d u a l s rather than representatives of a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l stereotype. The change can be traced in the development from the proverbial poetry, ancient i n o r i g i n , to Christ I and Genesis B, which date from the l a t e r part of the Anglo-Saxon era. In the Riddles and Maxims, women are scarcely regarded as people at a l l . The Beowulf poet takes up t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l presentation of them, but, with great s e n s i t i v i t y , uses i t for h i s own stra t e g i c purposes, showing how his three 'peaceweaving' queens are mere pawns in the power struggles of men. The 'saints' poems,' crippled as far as characterisation goes by the demands of t h e i r genre, l i e outside t h i s development. However, we see 244 a further progress i n the presentation of the female speakers i n The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer. Here, the t r a d i t i o n a l e x i l e figure i s treated i n a new way, and women subjects are used to explore intimate feelings not normally dealt with i n the poetry. F i n a l l y , i n Christ I and Genesis B, we see two women characters as the p i v o t a l figures i n dramatic scenes presenting a sharply r e a l i s t i c i n t e r a c t i o n between i n d i v i d u a l s . The intimacy and realism found here are unique i n extant Old English poetry. The development of int e r e s t i n character, i n which female figures play a c r u c i a l part, i s the l i t e r a r y expression of an increasing humanism i n the Anglo-Saxon era. It i s not an isola t e d trend, but part of a more widespread tendency, as can be seen i f we compare the characterisation i n the Old English poems to that i n contemporary, or near-contemporary, l i t e r a t u r e . Indeed, the phenomena to be found i n association with the female characters of Old English poetry actually foreshadow l a t e r movements, i n English and continental l i t e r a t u r e , and suggest that the culture of the Anglo-Saxons contained within i t s e l f the seeds of those l i t e r a r y developments which apparently were imported'from the continent a f t e r the Conquest. The a f f i n i t i e s traced between Old English and other medieval l i t e r a t u r e s do not l i e mainly with other l i t e r a t u r e s i n the Germanic t r a d i t i o n . Thus, although Old English poems have genre a f f i n i t i e s with the gnomic and 245 heroic poems of the Icelandic Edda, the presentation of character i n the l a t t e r works i s markedly d i f f e r e n t . The l i t e r a t u r e of medieval Iceland originates i n an environment i n some ways rougher and more primitive, in other ways freer and more advanced than Anglo-Saxon England. Whereas the presentation of women i n Old English poetry i n the native t r a d i t i o n i n v a r i a b l y treats women as passive figures, the treatment of women i n the Edda i s quite the reverse: they are active and formidable. The same i s true of the l a t e r Icelandic l i t e r a t u r e . The women i n the family sagas, though they do not actually f i g h t , are very capable of changing the course of events. Rather than being the victims of male intrigue, as i n the Old English poems, they are themselves the in s t i g a t o r s of feud and violence, and men become the victims of th e i r f i e r c e jealousy and passion. Thus, Hallgerth i n Ni a l ' s Saga, remembering the slap that her husband once gave her, refuses' to come to his aid by giving him a strand of her hai r for h i s bowstring. Because of t h i s , he i s over-o whelmed by his enemies and k i l l e d . Guthrun of Laxdaela Saga i s a t r a g i c figure. Four times married, but never to Kjartan, whom she loved, and k i l l e d out of jealousy, when asked at the end of her l i f e which man she loved best, Guthrun r e p l i e s , "I was worst to the one I loved the 9 most." In fact, the women of the sagas are much more highly developed as characters than the women of Old English l i t e r a t u r e , and are often most impressive and memorable 246 figures. But the techniques of characterisation to be found in them are quite d i f f e r e n t from the tendencies present i n Old English verse. The e f f e c t i v e handling of women characters i n Old English poetry i s to be linked, not with the Old Icelandic material, but with the developments to be observed in more southerly Europe. As was shown e a r l i e r , the 'saint's poem,' the l y r i c , and the 'dramatic' poetry of Old English have t h e i r counterparts in medieval l i t e r a t u r e more generally, f i r s t i n Latin, and l a t e r i n the various vernacular languages of the continent. The v i t a and the homily, because of t h e i r strongly d i d a c t i c aims, are not genres i n which much i n d i v i d u a l i s a t i o n of character takes place. This i s even more true of the Old English poems than of t h e i r Latin and Middle English counterparts. In i t s heavily moralising tendency, and T • i n i t s sensationalism, the saint's l i f e also resembles certain kinds of romance, which, likewise, are unconvincing in t h e i r portrayal of character. However, there are v a r i e t i e s of romance in which the presentation of character i s f a r more subtle. The Old English love l y r i c s and the 'dramatic' passages i n Christ I and Genesis B have something in common with such romances, as well as with the l y r i c and the drama, respectively. In Chapter V, The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer were compared with 'women's songs' i n other l i t e r a t u r e s of medieval Europe, but i t was found that the Old English love 247 poems had i n some ways a deeper a f f i n i t y with l a t e r medieval works, s p e c i f i c a l l y , with the courtly lays of Marie de France. In t h i s respect, the Old English love poems can be related to the whole l a t e r t r a d i t i o n of courtly love, which finds i t s most impressive expression not i n the shorter and more l y r i c a l lay, but i n the longer narrative poem, i . e . , the romance. The l i t e r a t u r e of courtly love r e f l e c t s the same humanising movement which i s r e f l e c t e d i n the Old English poets' interest in women characters. This development i s manifested, i n the 'courtly' l i t e r a t u r e , i n an idealised treatment of women characters and of sexual love, and i n a correspondingly high value attached to delicacy of s e n s i b i l i t y . The combination of these factors leads to the same kind of exploration of intimate feelings which we saw i n the Old English love poems and the 'dramatic' passages from Christ I and Genesis B. Although the Old English works are in no sense 'courtly,' they show a new exploration of psychology rather l i k e that to be found i n the best of the courtly romances for instance, i n those of Chretien de Troyes. One of the most s t r i k i n g features of Chretien's romances i s the inter n a l debate that goes on i n the minds of the characters. In Erec, Enid i s repeatedly torn between her fear of breaking her husband's command of silence and her fear for h i s l i f e , which she i s compelled to save by uttering a warning."*"^ In Yvain, the hero, 248 smitten by Laudine's beauty, i s tormented by the moral complexities of a si t u a t i o n i n which he finds himself i n 11 love with a woman whose husband he has just k i l l e d . Chretien loves to dwell upon these moments of mental c o n f l i c t . Although they present the situations much more b r i e f l y and simply, the authors of the above-mentioned Old English poems, es p e c i a l l y the poets of Christ I and Genesis B, also show an interest i n these emotional tensions and c o n f l i c t s . The process seen at work i n the characterisation of female figures i n Old English poetry thus has broad c u l t u r a l implications. It goes hand i n hand with a c i v i l i s i n g movement di s c e r n i b l e i n Anglo-Saxon society, and i s linked with new growths i n l i t e r a t u r e , which come to flower only l a t e r , on the continent and, subsequently, i n post-Conquest England. The psychological insight present in the treatment of certain women characters i n Old English poetry resembles that to be found l a t e r , in courtly l y r i c and romance, and even occasionally goes beyond i t . The development i n Old English poetry culminates i n the si m p l i c i t y and naturalism of the scenes between Adam and Eve i n Genesis B, and between Joseph and Mary i n Christ I. At moments--in Christ I and Genesis B — O l d English poetry touches a kind of domestic realism which we associate, not with the elaborate r i t u a l of the s t y l i s e d l y r i c s and romances of courtly love, but with a much l a t e r l i t e r a r y development: the novel. 249 Footnotes "*"The l a t e s t poem discussed i n t h i s thesis i s the tenth-century Judith, which, being one of the 'saint's l i f e group, l i e s outside the development traced i n female characterisation. 2 Waldere, which I have grouped with the above poems, may be a l i t t l e l a t e r (for the dating, see Chapter III, n. 18) and may have been rather freer i n the handling of i t s heroine, but the poem's fragmentary nature makes i t impossible to draw any firm conclusions. 3 See Chapter III, n. 1. 4 See Chapter III, n. 3. 5 An example i s the sharpness of d e t a i l i n the F r i s i a n wife passage, which i s unlike anything else i n Maxims I. See Chapter III, n. 17. See Chapter V, n. 2. 7 See Chapter VI, n. 3 (Genesis B), and n. 7 (Christ I) • g Njal's Saga, trans. Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1960), p. 171. The saga i s dated c. 1280. (See Introduction, p. 9.) 9 Laxdaela Saga, trans. Magnusson and Palsson (Harmond sworth, Middlesex, 1969), p. 238. The saga was written c. 1245. (See Introduction, p. 9.) 1^Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes, trans. W. W. Comfort (London, 1914), pp. 37, 39, and 49. 1 : L I b i d . , pp. 198-99. 250 BIBLIOGRAPHY The works i n the following bibliography are divided into " l i t e r a r y " and " h i s t o r i c a l " sources, primary and secondary, translations being l i s t e d separately. Works of a hagiographic nature are i n most, but not a l l , cases, included i n the " l i t e r a r y " category. The works which are included i n the " h i s t o r i c a l " category are those which have been used as references i n Chapter I — o n the h i s t o r i c a l p o s ition of Anglo-Saxon women. Works i n the f i r s t two sections of the bibliography (those containing primary sources i n the o r i g i n a l language) are s u b - c l a s s i f i e d by subject, author, or t i t l e , as appropriate. Primary Sources: L i t e r a r y Collected Editions Angelsachsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, ed. Bruno Assmann. Kassel, 1889. Rep. with Introd. by Peter Clemoes. Darmstadt, 1964. Anglo-Saxon and Norse Poems, ed. N. Kershaw. Cambridge, 1922. The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, ed. G. P. Krapp and E. V. K. Dobbie. 6 vols. New York, 1931-53. Die Cambridger Lieder, ed. K a r l Strecker. Mon. Germ.  Hist., Scriptores. 3rd ed. Ber l i n , 1966. Codex Exoniensis, ed. Benjamin Thorpe. London, 1842. Early I r i s h L y r i c s , ed. and trans. Gerard Murphy. Oxford, 1956. Early Middle English Verse and Prose, ed. J. A. W. Bennett and G. V. Smithers. 2nd ed. Oxford, 1968. Engla and Seaxna Scopas and Boceras, ed. L. Ettmuller. Quedlinburg and Leipzig, 1850. Rep. Amsterdam, 1966. The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed. Benjamin Thorpe. 2 vols. London, 1844-46. I l l u s t r a t i o n s of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, ed. J. J. and W. D. Conybeare. London, 1826. Kleines angelsachsisches Dichterbuch,, ed. Levin L. Schucking. Cdthen, 1919. Mediaeval Latin Lyrics, ed. and trans. Helen Waddell. Harmondsworth, Middlesex. 4th ed., rev., 1933. Medieval English Love-Lyrics, ed. Theo Stemmler. Tubingen, 1970. Medieval English Saints' Legends, ed. Klaus Sperk. Tubingen, 1970. Medieval L a t i n L y r i c s , ed. and trans. Brian Stock. Boston, 1971. The Riddles of the Exeter Book, ed. Frederick Tupper. Boston, 1910. Selections from Early Middle English, 1130-1250, ed. Joseph H a l l . 2 vols. Oxford, 1920. Three Old English Elegies, ed. R. F. L e s l i e . Manchester, 1961. The V e r c e l l i Book: Poems, ed. F. P. Magoun, J r . Cambridge, Mass., 1967. Individual Texts and Works by the Same Author JElf r i c i E l f r i c ' s Lives of Saints, ed. W. W. Skeat. EETS, O.S., 76 and 82. London, 1881. J E l f r i c ' s Lives of Three English Saints, ed. G. I. Needham. London, 1966. 252 Ancren Riwle Ancrene Wisse, ed. J. R. R. Tolkien. EETS, O.S., 249. London, 1962. Andreas Andreas and the Fates of the Apostles, ed. K. R. Brooks. London, 1961. Apollonius The Old English Apollonius of Tyre, ed. Peter Goolden. Oxford, 1958. The Battle of Maldon The Battle of Maldon, ed. E. V. Gordon. 2nd ed. London, 1965. Beowulf Beowulf and Judith, ed. F. P. Magoun, J r . 2nd ed., rev. J. B. Bessinger. Cambridge, Mass., 1967. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. 3rd ed. Boston, 1950. Beowulf and the Finnesburg Fragment, ed. C. L. Wrenn. 3rd ed., rev. W. F. Bolton. London, 1973. Bible The Vulgate Bible Christ The Advent L y r i c s of the Exeter Book, ed. Jackson J. Campbell. Princeton, 1959. The Christ of Cynewulf, ed. A. S. Cook. Boston, 1900. Christ and Satan Christ and Satan, ed. Merrel D. Clubb. New Haven and London, 1925. 253 Cynewulf: Elene Cynewulf's Elene, ed. P. 0. E. Gradon. London, 1958. Cynewulf 1s Elene, ed. F. Holthausen. 4th ed. Heidelberg, 1936. The Old English Elene, Phoenix and Physiologus, ed. A. S. Cook. New Haven, 1919. Cynewulf: Juliana Juliana, ed. W. Strunk. Boston, 1904. Juliana, ed. R. Woolf. 2nd ed. London, 1966. Deor Deor, ed. Kemp Malone. 4th ed. London, 1966. Exodus The Old English Exodus, ed. Edward B. Irving, J r . New Haven, 1953. F e l i x F e l i x ' s L i f e of St. Guthlac, ed. and trans. Bertram Colgrave. Cambridge, 1956. Genesis The Later Genesis, ed. B. J. Timmer. Oxford, 1948. The Later Genesis and Other Old English and Old Saxon Texts Relating to the F a l l of Man, ed. Fr. Klaeber. New ed. with supp. Heidelberg, 1931. Judith Judith, ed. B. J. Timmer. 2nd ed. London, 1961. Judith, an Old English Epic Fragment, ed. and trans. A. S. Cook. Boston, 1904. 254 L i f e of St. Cyriacus "Acta S. Judae-Quiriaci. " Acta Sanctorum, ed. J. Bollandus, G. Henschenius, D. van Papenbroek, et a l . Antwerp, Brussels and Paris, 1643-1925. L i f e of St. Juliana "Acta S. Julianae." Acta Sanctorum, ed. J. Bollandus, G. Henschenius, D. van Papenbroek, et a l . Antwerp, Brussels and Paris, 1643-1925. "he L i f l a d e ant te Passiun of Seinte Juliene, ed. S. R. T. 0. J D • Ardenne. EETS, 248~! London, 1961. L i f e of St. Katherine The L i f e of Saint Katherine, ed. Eugen Einenkel. EETS, 80. London, 1884. Milton: Paradise Lost Milton, John. "Paradise Lost." The Poetic a l Works of John Milton, ed. Helen Darbishire. Oxford, 1958, pp. 1-181. The Seafarer The Seafarer, ed. I. L. Gordon. London, 1960. V i r g i l : Aeneid P. V e r g i l i u s Maro. "Aeneidos." P. V e r g i l i Maronis Opera, ed. F. A. H i r t z e l . Oxford, 1900. Wakefield Mystery Plays The Wakefield Pageants i n the Towneley Cycle, ed. A. Cawley. Manchester, 1958. Waldere Waldere, ed. F. 0. Norman. 2nd ed. London, 1949. 255 Waltharius "Waltharius." Mon. Germ. Hist., Poetae L a t i n i , 6:1, ed. K a r l Strecker. Weimar, 1951, 1-85. The Wanderer The Wanderer, ed. T. P. 1969. Dunning and A. J. B l i s s . The Wanderer, ed. R. F. L e s l i e . Manchester, 1966 Widsith Widsith, ed. Kemp Malone. 2nd ed. Copenhagen, 1962. Primary Sources: H i s t o r i c a l  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Two of the Saxon Chronicles P a r a l l e l , with supplementary  extracts from the others, ed. C. Plummer and J. Earle. 2 vols. London, 1892-1900. Rep. 1952. Bede Bede's E c c l e s i a s t i c a l History of the English People, ed. and trans. Bertram Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors. Oxford, 1969. Venerabilis Baedae Opera H i s t o r i c a , ed. C. Plummer. 2 vols. Oxford, 1896. 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