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Publisher's Summary

Patience is the third of the four poems of the Pearl manuscript, a 14th century work contemporaneous with Chaucer, Langland and Gower, and acknowledged as a minor masterpiece in its own right. The poet's usage of the word patience reflects two broad senses: that of accepting misfortune and submitting to physical or mental suffering, and that of waiting, holding back, and exercising moderation and self-control. 

In the opening section of the poem the poet offers a lengthy discussion of the nature of patience, which serves to introduce the central Old Testament story of Jonah, told as a negative exemplum of patience. It concludes with a brief passage summarizing its essential message. The recounting of the story of Jonah is lively, vigorous, by turns serious, terrifying and comic, in which human emotions are not only specified but explored. The relationship between Jonah and God is described throughout, contrasting the justice and mercy which inform God's actions with the unstable, and often selfish and irrational, conduct of Jonah.  

The near-literal prose translation is designed to facilitate understanding, and is faithfully based on Andrew and Waldron's fifth edition of The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript. This audio edition, expertly read by Professor Sarah Peverley, includes the unaltered introduction to Poems of the Pearl Manuscript in Modern English Prose Translation, and Patience itself.

©2019 Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron (P)2019 Liverpool University Press

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