Honestis Efenwalto et Aenorae me addixi (Olivieres prayer)
Honestis Efenwalto et Aenorae me addixi,
Amicos et velut familiam sunt patroni,
Et nunc esse famulum dominae et domino donor
Servire fideliter et laudare eos exspector.
Doctrina sancti Christi id imitabor.
Precor viri. Me custodito, Domine Deus!
Pedicatorem licentium est Efenwaltus.
Exoro, celeris doloris mortem me tribuite
Aut me libera ex lascivo malo, Iesu bone,
Caeli creationi transportato me.
Curram mamillae Aenorae, feminarum gemma.
Ornatur ejus caput angelica corona.
Velut sol, fulget ubique orbi lucem et calorem,
Inspirat mundo precem divinum et pulchrem amorem.
Efficebet omnes venere salutem.
Me adjiuvato fugere terra crudella!
Me parceto pathico et caelesta angela
Sum indignum eos scire vel te veneror, Domine.
Beata Trinitas, mihi peccatori, miserere,
Te amo, eos adoro. Paenitet me.
I have given myself to the honorable Efenwealt and Aenor,
Patrons who are friends and like family.
And now I am given to be a servant for this lord and lady
I am expected to serve them faithfully and to praise them.
To do so, I must adhere to the teachings of Holy Christ.
I pray for strength. Guard me, O lord God!
Efenwealt is a licentious pedophile (or, “bugger,” if you will).
I beseech you, grant me a swift and painless death
Or at least free me from his lascivious evil, good Jesus.
Transport me to your most heavenly kingdom.
I will run to the bosom of Aenor, that jewel of womanhood,
Whose head is adorned with an angelic halo.
Like the sun, she shines light and warmth across the universe,
Inspiring divine prayer and beautiful love in the world.
She will bring salvation to all with her love.
Grant me escape from this cruel earth!
Spare me from both this sodomite and this heavenly angel
I am unworthy to know them or to worship you, Lord.
Blessed Trinity, have mercy on this sinner,
For I love You, but I adore them. I am sorry.
“Angelus ad virginem” (from which I stole the language and meter of this prayer-song) was a popular medieval English carol of the mid-14 th century. It was made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer when, in his Canterbury Tales’ “Miller’s Tale,” Nicholas the adulterous handyman is noted as often singing it to woo the ladies.
I say that I “am given” off of the idea that the future of my medieval life wouldn’t be dictated by me, but probably by my parents – and so throughout the poem I try subtly (and not-so-subtly) to express my lack of appreciation of my new ‘career’ as a servant/apprentice.
Begging God for aid and help was extremely popular in prayers. I took the ‘guard me from Efenwealt’ routine from the infamous (though undocumented) “save us from the fury of the northmen, o lord” prayer of the Irish monks against invading Viking raiders.
Of course, to offset the hilarious inappropriateness of my description of Efenwealt, I utilized another popular medieval theme to describe Aenor – that of unrequited courtly love. Where Efenwealt is insulted, Aenor is praised, to just as great extremes. In “The Romance of the Rose,” the object of the narrator’s affections is often described as a rose in the garden of love. Here, Aenor (and her angelic halo) becomes the sun.
The usage of the phrase “velut sol” is a nod to the Carmina Buran’s “O fortuna” and its second line, “velut luna.” Maybe it’s not that great a nod, but I wanted to point out the constancy of Aenor’s effects on the world versus the ever-changing effects of the moon (and fortune).
“Miserere” (have mercy) is present as a plea in a number of medieval prayers and psalms.
The final lines are based on the prayer “In te credo” :
In te credo, in te spero, te amo, te adoro, beata Trinitas unus Deus, miserere mei nunc et in hora mortis meae et salva me. Amen.
I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You, I adore You, blessed Trinity, one God, have mercy on me now and at the hour of my death and save me. Amen.