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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 5451
IMEV 3453
NIMEV 3453
The right pit of hell is amid the earth within
A collection of pseudo-scientific material incorporated as Part III in the legend of St. Michael
Note: For Part I, see 4732; for Part II, see 4731.
Subjects: didactic verse
Versification: — two-line — aa
Bibliographic Ghosts: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ff.5.48, f. 79: not in this MS; London, Lambeth Palace Library 223: not in this MS.



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Digby 75 (SC 1676), ff. 207-208
First Lines:
And les yf it be a knaffe chylde for it had mare hete
Bot when þe lymmes are fryste made þai are noȝt full grete…
Last Lines:
…Now god tat gaffe vs saule len vs so it to rede
þat saint mychaell may it resawe & to blysse it lede
Note: Missing lines 1-312; occurs separately.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. a.1 (SC 3938) [Vernon MS], ff. 291vb-293rc
First Lines:
ÞE riȝte put of helle
A midde eorþe is with Inne
Vr lord þat al made I wis
Qweynte is of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Now God þat vs soule gaf
Vs lete hire so lede
Þat seint Michel hire mote a vonge
And bi fore him lede. AMEN.
Note: Written in half-lines.
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.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 108 (SC 1486), ff. 136v-141
First Lines:
ÞE riȝte put of helle is a midde þe eorþe with Inne
Þat ore louerd it made iwis þat quoynte was of ginne…
Last Lines:
…Nov Iesu crist þat us soule ȝaf graunte us þat we hire moten so here rede
Þat Seint MIȝhel hire mote a fongue and bi fore to Ioye lede
Note: With I and II.
Editions:
Horstmann, Carl. “Die Legende des heilige Michael nach MS Laud 108.” Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache und Literatur 13 (1874): 150-80: 154-80.
Horstmann, Carl, ed. The Early South-English Legendary. EETS o.s. 87 (1887; repr. 1987): 299-322.
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 463 (SC 1596), ff. 89vb-92va
First Lines:
ÞE riht pit of helle is a midde þe eorþe with inne
Oure lord þat all þing makede Queint he is of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Nou god þat vs soule ȝaf vs lete it here so rede
þat seint Michel mot it afonge & toforne him lede
Note: Two columns per page, one full-line, the other half-line.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 685 (SC 817), ff. 86v-90v
First Lines:
The ryȝt pytt of hell ys amyd erth with yn
Our lord that all mad quaynt he ys of gyn…
Last Lines:
…drowd wemyd & gret drynker in wrath all most wood
hardy & lyȝt stabull a waker full good
Note: Occurs separately.
6.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 57, f. 104
Note: With I and II.
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Addit. 3039, ff. 1-4v
First Lines:
Sayn myghell þe archangell & hiis felaws also
Are be twene god & vs to chew what we sall do…
Last Lines:
A day þei hafe in þe ȝere thuþh all cristindam
Be a meracle of sayn myghell þat holy day vs cam
Note: With I and II.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Corpus Christi College 145, ff. 153v-158v
First Lines:
Þe riȝte put of helle is amidde eorþe wiþ Inne
Oure louerd ere al made iwis queintise of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Nou god þat us soule ȝaf us lete hure here so rede
þat sein Michel is mot anonge & biuore him lede
Note: With I and II.
Attributed Title: De Inferno (f. 153v, right margin)
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: 2.402-28.
9.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2344, pp. 421-430
First Lines:
Þe riȝte pitt of helle is amydde þe eorþe wiþ ynne
Oure lord þat alle þing made wiþ queyntyse of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Now god þat ȝaf vs soule vs here so wisse and rede
Þat Seint Michel hit mote affonge and to ioye lede
Note: With I and II.
Attributed Title: De Puteo inferni (RT); De planetis (RT); De disposiciones hominis (RT)
10.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.25 (605), ff. 83-86v
First Lines:
þe ryȝt pute of helle is amydde þe erþe with Inne
oure lord þat al mad ywys queynte is of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Now god þat ous saule ȝaf & sende ous lete oure [sic] so rede
þat seint mychel hem mote fange & byfor god of heuene lede
Note: With I and II; no rubricated initial to indicate division between this and II.
Attributed Title: De Puteo inferni (RT); De planetis (RT); De disposiciones hominis (RT)
11.Source: London, British Library Addit. 10301, f. 175v
First Lines:
ÞE riȝte put of helle is a midde erþe wiþ Inne
Oure lorde þat al made y wis queintis of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Eues geþ heuene aboute þoru þe day & þoru þe niȝte
& þe mone & þe sterren wiþ hym bereþ & þe sonne so briȝte…
Note: Ends imperfectly after 12 lines, rest of MS missing.
12.Source: London, British Library Addit. 22283 [Simeon], ff. 83rb-84vb
First Lines:
ÞE riht put of helle
A midde eorþe is withInne
Vr lord þat al made I wis
Qweynte is of ginne…
Last Lines:
…Nou God þat vs soule ȝaf
Vs lete hire so lede
Þat seint Mihel hire mote a vonge
And bi foren him lede A M E N
Note: Occurs separately. Two lines of verse for each line of text.
Facsimiles:
Digital Facsimile of British Library MS Add. 22283 (‘Simeon’). 2014; http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_22283.
13.Source: London, British Library Addit. 24542, ff. 152-158v
First Lines:
…pit of helle is a midden erthe
…of heuene…was of gynne
Last Lines:
…and iwel in my…as eft I do
in þis maner þe here mowe of reyn & of snow
Note: Occurs separately. Nineteenth-century copy. Parts of the text are omitted throughout, with spaces left mid-line on many occasions. Text is incomplete.
Editions:
Horstmann, Carl, ed. The Early South-English Legendary. EETS o.s. 87 (1887; repr. 1987): 311-17, ll. 391-626.
14.Source: London, British Library Addit. 36983 [olim Bedford Public Library], ff. 255ra-261vb
First Lines:
Bothe for clerkys & for lewed men
Þys englysch tale ys y founde…
Last Lines:
…Þat seint myȝhell yt Reseyve mote
And py fore hym lede. Amen
Note: Preceded by a unique Prologue of 24 lines; occurs separately.
15.Source: London, British Library Egerton 1993, f. 224v
Note: With I and II.
16.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2810 [olim Allan of Darlington], f. 88
Note: Missing lines 1-206; occurs separately.
17.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2891, f. 136
Note: With I and II; lines 1-4 missing.
18.Source: London, British Library Harley 874, f. 31v
First Lines:
[L]istneþ now lordynges and I wil ȝou telle
Hou þe werlde ymade was & whider out is helle
Þe pure pytt of helle is amyd þe erþe wiþinne…
Last Lines:
…And also men þat ben yborne vnder herpower Iwys
Shullen haue here diuers lijf after þat her vertu ys
Note: Formerly 1907.5; occurs separately.
Editions:
Horrall, Sarah M. “A Fragment of ‘St. Michael, Part III’ from the South English Legendary.” Notes and Queries n.s. 30 [228] (1983): 302-3: 302-3.
19.Source: London, British Library Harley 2277, f. 122
Editions:
Wright, Thomas. Popular Treatises on Science. London: Taylor, for the Historical Society of Science, 1841: 132-40.
Mätzner, Edouard Adolf Ferdinand. Altenglische Sprachproben, I: Poesie. Berlin: Wiedmann, 1867: 137-47.
20.Source: London, British Library Stowe 949, ff. 10-15v
First Lines:
þe ryȝt put of helle is amidde erþe wiþ inne
pure lord þat al made iwis quoynte he was & is of ginne…
Last Lines:
…Nou god þat vs soul ȝaf us lets hire her so rede
þat sent Michael here mote avenge & to þe ioyȝe of ihesu lede
Note: Brown and Robbins (1943) records this as beginning on f. 3.
21.Source: London, College of Arms, Arundel 8, ff. 74v-80v
First Lines:
The riȝte pytt of helle is a mydde the erthe with ynne
Oure lord it made there I wis that is so quente of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Now god that to vs soule ȝaf so lete vs here so rede
that seint Michel hem mote affonges and bifore hym lede
Note: With I and II.
22.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 223, f. 171
First Lines:
SAynt Mighel þe archaungel & his felawes also
Þai ben bitwene oure lord & vs to shewe what we shul do…
Last Lines:
Note: With I and II.
Attributed Title: Saynte Mighel (RT)
23.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 23.7.11, Part G, ff. 89-90v
First Lines:
The sede of man & woman clere as cristal it is
owre lorde hym selfe it made for man i wis…
Last Lines:
…Al bowyd is þe rygge so þat nyȝe rounde it is
man where of is pryde ther is none i wys
Sperma hominis
Note: 34 lines; same as lines 691-724 Cambridge UK, Corpus Christi College 145 copy of 4732; occurs separately.
Editions:
Holthausen, Ferdinand. “De spermate hominys.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 98 (1897): 401-3: 401.
24.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 64 [olim Phillipps 6883], ff. 72v-79
First Lines:
THe right Pitte of helle is amydys the erthe withein
Owre lorde that all made I wisse quenyte was of Gyn…
Last Lines:
…Now godde that vs sowle gave vs lete hire here so rede
That saynte mychall hit mote amonge & byfore hym leede
Note: Occurs separately.
25.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 54 [olim Weld, sold Sotheby’s, lot 57, June 24, 1980], ff. 141-142v
First Lines:
The riȝt putte of helle is amydde erþe wiþInne
Our lord þat it maad queynt was of gynne…
Last Lines:
…Now god þat vs saule ȝaf wel vs here rede
Þat seint Michael mote hem avonge and bifore hym lede. Amen.
Note: With I and II.