Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"I plight thee my troth"

     Middle English pops up in the midst of the pre-Reformation Latin of the Salisbury rite at precisely the point at which groom and bride "plight" each other their "troth" (as well as say "With thys ryng I the wedde"):
I N. take the N. to my weddyd wyfe, to have & to holde, for better for wurs, for rycher for porer, in sykenesse & in helth, tyll deth vs departe, & thereto I plyght the my trouth. 
I N. take the N. to my weddyd husbonde, to have & to holde, for better for wurs, for rycher for porer, in sykenesse & in helth, to be bonoure & buxum, in bed & at borde, tyll deth vs depart, & thereto I plyght the my trouth.
Ed. Dickinson (cols. 831*-832*).  Or as trans. Pearson (but with a somewhat differently spelled Middle English intact).  Cf. Brightman.
     Legg (pp. 413 ff.) is based on the manuscripts (and especially John Rylands MS Latin 24, which, according to Legg, has to have been written between 1150 and 1319 (John Rylands itself narrows this down to "executed in the scriptorium of Salisbury Cathedral c.1240–60 and presented to Exeter Cathedral in or before 1277")) and does not reproduce the English.  So by how much, precisely, does unmistakable evidence for the use of English antedate the 1549 Book of common prayer?  According to Dickinson (col. 831* note e, above), the English is there in print in editions published as early as [14]97 (the English here is based on 4L, a [190]4 edition printed in L[ondon]), but inserted by hand into editions published in [14]92 and [14]94 and into H, an "editione antiqua Coloniae impressa" (an old [undated] edition [probably] printed in Cologne) that matches the printed edition of [14]94.  (Dickinson is thus an edition based on 14th- and 15th-century (including post-Reformation) printed editions, whereas Legg is an edition "edited from three early manuscripts".)
     See also the note about the source of the (somewhat differently spelled Middle) English in Pearson, above, who cites [vol. 1, pp. 50 ff. of] William Maskell, Monumenta ritualia ecclesiae Anglicanae (1846; 2nd ed., 1882), and the Manual of 1537 (Manuale ad vsum percelebris ecclesie Sarisburiensis:  from the edition printed at Rouen in 1543 compared with those of 1506 (London), 1516 (Rouen), 1523 (Antwerp), 1526 (Paris), ed. Collins, Henry Bradshaw Society 91 (1958)).

     Note, too, the rubric immediately preceding the "wilt thou have this woman/man?", which reads, in Latin, "After this let the priest say [(dicat)] to the man, in the mother tongue [(in lingua materna)], in the hearing of all:  'N., wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife [(vis habere hanc mulierem in sponsam)] . . . ?'"  Because this is accompanied by no note specifying which printed edition it comes from (it, too, being absent from Legg), it must come from Dickinson's default editions of class D ([15]13 especially, but also [15]26 (xvii)).  Note, however, that Dickinson believes that the fuller rubrics set down after 1500 were probably not innovations driven by Reformation-era concerns, but a committal of long-established practice to writing motivated by the new print technology (ix, xv, etc.).  In any case, [15]13 antedates the Reformation proper.


     A side note: in the pre-Reformation rite of Salisbury both groom and bride "plighted" their "troth". In the 1549 Book of common prayer, the groom "plighted" and the bride "gave".  See, for example, Brightman.  Hatchett notes the fact, but makes nothing of it.  Shepherd doesn't mention it.

     The wording as it appears in the 1928 BCP (for purposes of searchability):
I N. take thee N. to my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth. 
I N. take thee N. to my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

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