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Psalm 1 with English Verse Translation, in a Psalter

Psalm 1 with English Verse Translation, in a Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1350

Shelfmark: Harley MS 1770

Item number: f.158r

Length: 28

Width: 19

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

For medieval clergy, monks and nuns, the psalter had a daily familiarity. Throughout each day, they recited a certain number of psalms in the divine office ('hours' or daily prayers) as well as hymns and prayers based on them. The psalter provided hymns and verses sung at mass. Devout lay people, too, relied on the psalter as a personal prayerbook, and it had always been central to Jewish services and personal devotion. The psalms, well-known and loved, were among the first parts of the Bible to be written down in languages in current use. This one belonged to the Augustinian monks at the Priory of the Holy Trinity. Most of its pages are divided into three parts, with on the left St Jerome's Latin translation of a Greek one from the Hebrew ('Gallican' translation) with notes, on the right, a French or English verse translation of the Latin and at the bottom of the page, prayers. After the psalms in Latin with French translation, an English verse translation of each psalm is marked with red lines, which often indicates reading aloud by two or more people. In this psalter, the lines point to the first words of the Latin verse, written to the left. This page has Psalm 1 ("Beatus vir", "Blessed the man"), with the prayer 'Glory to the Father' added ad the end, and the beginning of Psalm 2. In the lower margin, prayers or hymns in Latin are for the Virgin Mary.

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