A Study of the Northern Passion in the C.86 Rawlinson MS.
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTORY The Northern Passion, so named to distinguish it from a similar but earlier work of the Middle Ages, the Southern Passion, Is a poem of which two distinct versions, the Original and the Expanded, are known, and of which a total of sixteen manuscript copies and fragments of copies have been printed, either completely or in part, by Miss Frances Foster. The poem was translated by an unknown clerk from an Old French poem in the early part of the fourteenth century, its purpose was the instruction of the laity in the matters of sacred history — a function with which its form, similar to that of the popular romances, was very much in accord. The poem was copied and diffused over both the North and South of England, and sometime before 1350 was lengthened and revised for inclusion in the Northern Homily Collection as the regular discourse for wood Friday. Still later, at a time when the great cycles of pageant plays were coming into being, it gained a further importance as one of the vernacular sources from which the authors of the Passion plays drew the matter, often the very words, for their presentations. Thus, the influence of the poem on the spiritual life of Medieval England extended over a period of two centuries.
Marinelli, Peter V, "A Study of the Northern Passion in the C.86 Rawlinson MS." (1960). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28673348.