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Sawles Warde is a late 12th-century allegorical homily in alliterative prose.based on three chapters of Hugh of St. Victor's De Anima (Book IV, ch. 13-15). Sawles Warde belongs to the so-called 'Katherine-Group', a collection of five texts associated in three manuscripts of a West Midland provenance. Apart form Sawles Warde this group comprises three saints' lives, St Katherine, St Margaret, St Juliana, and a treatise on the virginity, Hali Mei­had. Linguistically, these texts are very closely related to Acrene Wisse.

In Sawles Warde, the body as the dwelling-place of the soul is attacked by the vices, a moral configuration which we later find in the Middle English morality plays, such as The Castle of Perseverance. Wit (judgment) is lord of a castle (the soul of man). His wife (Will) is capricious, and the servants (the five senses) are hard to govern. He therefore needs the assistance of his four daughters (the four cardinal virtues, prudence, strength, temperance and righteousness); but the good behaviour of his household is ultimately assured by the appearance of two messengers, Fear (messenger of death), who paints the terrors of hell, and Love of Life, who describes the joys of heaven.

Sawles Warde
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