The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
A tale of this feast have I heard / How it once of a widow fared
The Widow’s Candle, in the Northern Homily Cycle (Purification) — in couplets
Note: Another version of this miracle occurs in the section on the Purification in 2908.
Title(s): Northern Homily Cycle
Subjects: Purification, feast of [Candlemas]; miracles
Versification: — two-line — aa

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Selden Supra 52 (SC 3440), ff. 191v-193
First Lines:
A lytyll merakyll I wyll yow say
þat be fell all þis heyȝt day…
Last Lines:
…þat tals of hyr qwen þei haue red
schewys þem all after in ded
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 42 (SC 6923), ff. 234-265v
First Lines:
A tale of þis feste haue i herde
How it ones of a widowe ferde…
Last Lines:
…þat bare of hir bodye þat birthe
þat boȝt man kinde to menske & myrthe
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. a.1 (SC 3938) [Vernon MS], f. 178ra-178rb
First Lines:
A Tale of þis feste I haue herd
Hou hit of a wydewe ferd…
Last Lines:
…And asken hire Merci riht Inwardly
He may beo syker of Merci
Attributed Title: Hou vr lady gaf a good wyf a sherge (f. 178ra)
Doyle, I. A., ed. The Vernon Manuscript. A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Eng. poet.a.1, with an introduction by A. I. Doyle. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1987.
Scase, Wendy, and Nick Kennedy, eds. A facsimile edition of the Vernon manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. Poet. A. 1. Oxford: The Bodleian Library, 2011.
Horstmann, Carl. “Die Evangelien-Geschichten der Homiliensammlung des Ms. Vernon.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 57 (1877): 241-316: 256.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Addit. 8335 [olim Bute], pp. 84-87
First Lines:
A litel myracle I wille ȝowe say
Þat bifelle als þis heih day
It was a widowe witerly
Þat mekil lufed oure swete lady…
Last Lines:
…Of one dede I wille forþi
Schewe ȝowe of hire grete mercy
5.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.1.1, ff. 76-77
First Lines:
A tale of þis feste I haue herd
how it of a widowe ferd…
Last Lines:
…and aske hire help inwardli
he may ben sekire of merci
Note: Break between preceding text (2516) and this (168) occurs two lines earlier in this MS.
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Gg.5.31, ff. 47v-48v
First Lines:
A talle of þis feste haue I harde
How gates it of a wydow farde…
Last Lines:
…And aske hyre helpe ryght inwardly
He may be sykyr of hyre mercy
Note: Break between this (169) and following text (5161) occurs two lines later in this MS, so last two lines according to this witness are ‘Þat may ȝe se by a leuedy / Þat was abbas of a Nunry’ (=first two lines of 5161).
7.Source: London, British Library Addit. 38010, ff. 46-47v
First Lines:
A tall of þis fest haue I harde
How gate it of a wydow ferde…
Last Lines:
…And aske hir helpe right inwardly
He may be sekyr of hir mercy
8.Source: London, British Library Harley 4196, f. 142va
9.Source: Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh MS Cursor Mundi, Northern Homily Cycle , ff. 35vb-36va
First Lines:
a tal of þis fest haf I herd
Hou gat it of a widu i ferd…
Last Lines:
…And ask hir holp riht in wardlye
He may be siker of mercye
Note: This MS continues two more lines (first two of 5161) before marking beginning of 5161.
Small, John, ed. English Metrical Homilies…. Edinburgh: W. Paterson, 1862: 160-4.
Thompson, Anne B., ed. The Northern Homily Cycle. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 2008.
10.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 260, f. 18rb
11.Source: Minneapolis MN, Minnesota University Library Z.822.N.81 [olim Phillipps 8122], ff. 21-22v
First Lines:
A tale of þis feste haue I harde
how gattes yt of a wydow farde…
Last Lines:
…and aske hyre helpe in wardly
he may be sykyre of mercy
12.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 129 [olim Phillipps 20420], ff. 40-41v
First Lines:
A tale of þis fest haue I herd
Who hyt of a wyddow ferd…
Last Lines:
…And esk hyr helpe ryght in wardly
He may be sykyr of mercy
Attributed Title: narracio (f. 40)