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Saint John was the best bairn the holy baptist
Life of St. John the Baptist in the South English Legendary — couplets
Title(s): South English Legendary
Subjects: saints’ lives; John the Baptist, saint, life of
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 43 (SC 6924), ff. 87-88v
First Lines:
SEyn Ion was þe beste bern þe holi baptist
þat of womman was ibore euere saue ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Nou seynt Ion þat in flum Iordan baptised godes sone
Let ous þoru our cristendom to þe Ioie of heuene come
Attributed Title: syn Ion Baptist (f. 87)
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 779 (SC 2567), ff. 212v-216
First Lines:
Good is to habbe in mende sein Ihon þe baptiste
ffor he was þe beste berne after Ihesu criste…
Last Lines:
…Seint Ihon þat in flom iordan cristenyd goddes sone
help vs to oure cristindom to þe ioy of heuen to come
Attributed Title: Seint ihon þe holy baptist (f. 212v)
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. a.1 (SC 3938) [Vernon MS], ff. 35vb-36rb
First Lines:
SEint Iohn was þe beste bern þe holy Baptyst
Þat of wommon was i bore wiþ oute Ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Now seint Ion þat in flum Iordan Baptizede Godus sone
Let vs þorwh vr cristendom to þe Ioye of heuene come Amen.
Facsimiles:
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.
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 108 (SC 1486), ff. 32v-34
First Lines:
SEint Iohan was þe beste bern þe holie baptist
Þat euere of womman was ibore with oute ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Nouþe seint Iohan þat in þe flym Iordan baptisede godes sone
Iieue us þoruȝ ore cristindom to þe Ioye of heouene come
Editions:
Horstmann, Carl, ed. The Early South-English Legendary. EETS o.s. 87 (1887; repr. 1987): 29-33.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 463 (SC 1596), ff. 57rb-58rb
First Lines:
SEint Iohn was þe beste bern þat holy baptist
þat of womman was y bore Wiþ outen Ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Nou seint Ion þat in flum Iordan baptised godes sone
Lete vs þorw oure cristendon to þe Ioye of heuene come
Note: Two columns per page, one full-line, the other half-line.
Editions:
Horstmann, Carl, ed. The Early South-English Legendary. EETS o.s. 87 (1887; repr. 1987): 29-33.
6.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 57, f. 56v
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Addit. 3039, ff. 130-130v
First Lines:
…þat angel þat was messagere to marie þe maiden fre
And broght bodworde þat goddeȝ sonne of hir sulde be
ffor Gabriel was messengere of þe birthe of criste
And selfe angel bodworde broght of þe birth of Jon baptyste…
Last Lines:
…Þis sterne houed still when it come ouer þat stede
Til marcel þis abbot had founden þis haly hede
Note: Begins and ends imperfectly due to loss of folios.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Corpus Christi College 145, ff. 90v-92v
First Lines:
Sein Iohan was þe beste bern þe holy baptist
þat of womman was euere ibore wiþ oute ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Nou sein Ion þat in flum Iordan baptisede godes sone
Lete us þoru oure cristendom to þe ioie of heuene come
Editions:
D’Evelyn, Charlotte, and A. J. Mill, eds. The South English Legendary: Corpus Christi College Cambridge MS. 145 and British Museum MS. Harley 2277, with variants from Bodley MS. Ashmole 43 and British Museum MS. Cotton Julius D.ix. EETS o.s. 235 (1959), 236 (1956); repr. 1967: 1.241-46.
9.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2344, pp. 312-315
First Lines:
Seint Ion was þe best born þe holy Baptist
Þat euere of womman was ybore wiþoute oure lord crist…
Last Lines:
…Now Seint Ion þat in fflom Iordan Baptizedest godes sone
Lete vs þorw cristendom to þe ioye of heuene come
Attributed Title: Johannes Baptista (RT)
10.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.25 (605), ff. 106-107v
First Lines:
SEint Ion was þe best berne þe holy baptiste þat of womman was ybore withoute ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…seint Ion þat in flom Iordan baptysid godis sonelate ous þorwe oure cristendom in to heuene come
Attributed Title: Ion baptiste (RT)
11.Source: London, British Library Addit. 10301, ff. 106-107v
First Lines:
SEin Ion was þe beste bern þe holy baptist
þat of womman was euere y bore wiþ oute ihesu crist
Last Lines:
…Nou sein Ion þat in flum Iordan baptisede godes sone
Let vs þoru oure cristendom to þe Ioye of heuene come
Attributed Title: De sancto Iohanne Baptista (f. 106, by scribe in margin beside first line); Iohannes Baptista (RT)
12.Source: London, British Library Cotton Julius D.IX, f. 90
13.Source: London, British Library Egerton 1993, f. 163v
14.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2810 [olim Allan of Darlington], f. 68
15.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2891, f. 98v
16.Source: London, British Library Harley 2250, ff. 75v-76v
First Lines:
Saynt Iohn þe beste barne þe holy baptyste
Þat euer wos borne of womon with oute Ihesu Crist…
Last Lines:
…Þai wenten god after & his apostels were
& after his dethe wide wenten cristendome to ler
Attributed Title: De Sancto Iohannem Baptista (RT)
17.Source: London, British Library Harley 2277, f. 65v
18.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 54 [olim Weld, sold Sotheby’s, lot 57, June 24, 1980], ff. 89v-91
First Lines:
Seint Iohn was þe best childe þe holy baptist
Þat of eny womman was bore outake Ihesu crist…
Last Lines:
…Nowe seint Iohn þat in flom Iordeyn baptisest goddis sone
Sende vs grace þat we mote to þe blis of heuene come
Attributed Title: Decollacio sancti Iohannis Baptiste (f. 90)