The Book of Margery Kempe is a medieval text attributed to Margery Kempe, an English Christian mystic and pilgrim who lived at the turn of the fifteenth century. It details Kempe's life, her travels, her alleged experiences of divine revelation (including her visions of interacting with Jesus as well as other biblical figures), and her presence at key biblical events such as the Nativity and the Crucifixion.Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion over at Rose City Reader and Freda from Freda's Voice, respectively! Hop over there to join in on the meme fun!
'Here begynnyth a schort tretys and a comfortabyl for synful wrecchys, wherin thei may have gret solas and comfort to hem and undyrstondyn the hy and unspecabyl mercy of ower sovereyn Savyowr Chryst Jhesu, whos name be worschepd and magnyfyed wythwoten ende, that now in ower days to us unworthy deyneth to exercysen hys nobeley and hys goodnesse. Alle the werkys of ower Saviowr ben for ower exampyl and instruccyon, and what grace that he werkyth in any creatur is ower profyth, yf lak of charyte be not ower hynderawnce.' p.41 (previous 40 are Introduction)If this is your first introduction to Middle English then I apologize. Key to understanding it if it doesn't make a lot of sense is read it out loud because most of the words simply have a strange spelling but are still used nowadays. This is basically Kempe introducing her work, saying it will give comforting to sinners and show them all of God's work for their instruction. I can just feel that this will be a hoot of a read...
'And anoon, as he had seyd thes wordys, she saw veryly how the eyr openyd as bryght as ony levyn, and he stey up into the eyr, not ryght hastyli and qwykly, but fayr and esly, that sche myght wel beholdyn hym in the eyr til it was closyd ageyn.' p.56Kempe here describes a wife that has abandoned the "right path" but then Jesus comes to her and calls her back to his side. As he returns to heaven, the 'eyr', her eyes are opened again and become bright once more.
So, do you think you would give The Book of Margery Kempe a try? It's one of the first books we know was written by a woman in the Middle Ages, so I'm quite interested to see how it develops although I can feel I'll struggle with it.