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DIMEV 5537
IMEV 3507
NIMEV 3507
The worthiest thing most of goodness
The Lay Folks’ Mass Book, translated from the French original (c. 1150) — 629 lines in couplets
Note: For other MSS which lack the Introductory section see 2205
Title(s): The Lay Folks’ Mass Book
Subjects: liturgical texts; translations
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Corpus Christi College 155, ff. 250v-258
First Lines:
The worthyest thynge þe maste of gudnes
In all þe werlde þan is the mes…
Last Lines:
…ffor of all thinges in þis werlde is þe mes
The worthyest and maste of gudnes
Note: 374 lines
Editions:
Simmons, Thomas Frederick. The Lay Folks’ Mass Book. EETS o.s. 71 (1879); repr. 1968.
2.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Gg.5.31, ff. 1-4
First Lines:
Þe worthieste thyng mast of gudnes
In þis worlde þan es þe messe…
Last Lines:
…If þou make it here in letter
Þou may chaunce it fore bettere
Note: 364 lines
Editions:
Gerould, G. G. “The Lay-Folks Mass-Book from MS Gg.V.31, Cambridge University Library.” Englische Studien 33 (1904): 1-27: 17.
3.Source: Cambridge UK, Gonville & Caius College 84/166, pp. 173ra-179ra
First Lines:
A Worthy þyng moste of godnesse
In all þe world hit is þe messe…
Last Lines:
…Pater noster aue Mary & Crede
God send vs to owre mede
Note: 614 lines
Editions:
Simmons, Thomas Frederick. The Lay Folks’ Mass Book. EETS o.s. 71 (1879); repr. 1968.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Newnham College 4 [olim Yates-Thompson], ff. 104v-109v
First Lines:
man or woman þat wol lere
Amasse deuouly for to here…
Last Lines:
…And that hey holi god he queyte the thi mede
Of whom we spek of when we say oure crede
Note: 358 lines, with the substitution of a new Prologue
Editions:
Simmons, Thomas Frederick. The Lay Folks’ Mass Book. EETS o.s. 71 (1879); repr. 1968.
5.Source: London, British Library Addit. 36523, ff. 88-93
First Lines:
The best þing and moost of godenesse
In alle þe worlde it is þe messe…
Last Lines:
…And to reioye myn heritage
Bought with ȝoure bloode in tendre age
6.Source: London, British Library Royal 17 B.XVII, ff. 3-13
First Lines:
Þo worthyest þing most of godnesse
In al þis [w]orld is þo messe…
Last Lines:
…For of alle in þis world þen is þo messe
Þo worthiest þing most of gud nesse
Note: 629 lines. Damage to manuscript.
Editions:
Simmons, Thomas Frederick. The Lay Folks’ Mass Book. EETS o.s. 71 (1879); repr. 1968.
Horstmann, Carl, ed. Yorkshire Writers. 2 vols. London, Sonnenschein; New York: Macmillan, 1895-96: 2.1-8.
7.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 19.3.1, ff. 57-58v
First Lines:
The worthyest thyng most of gudnes
In all þo worde þat is þo masse…
Last Lines:
…þo holy goste þat is on hyght
Sende hus grace to leue ryght
Note: 136 lines
Attributed Title: þo masse (RT)
Facsimiles:
Hardman, Phillipa. The Heege Manuscript: A Facsimile of National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.3.1. Leeds Texts and Monographs, n.s. 16. Leeds: School of English, 2000.
Editions:
Turnbull, William Barclay David Donald, ed. The Visions of Tundale. Edinburgh: T.G. Stevenson, 1843: 147-51.
Bülbring, Karl Daniel. “Das Lay-Folks Mass Book in der Handschrift der Advocates Library in Edinburgh.” Englische Studien 35 (1905): 28-33: 29-33.
8.Source: Liverpool, Liverpool University Library F.4.9 [olim Harmsworth, olim Quaritch Sale Cat. 328, Item 577], f. 202v