Mrs. the Lord Jesus Christ, a.k.a. Mary, the Virgin Mother of the Lord

Because truth is always (and I do mean always) stranger than fiction...
The Apocrypha about the assumption is omitted for the sake of brevity

Art teaches us to summarize in an order opposite to the treatises
of the prophets: thus my pen narrates great things briefly:
when Christ ascended with a company of cloud, he alone
was the virgin lover and guardian of the Virgin.
When it pleased the bridegroom to assume the bride from the world,
as I believe, he raised his temple to the stars:
the temple of purity, the bedchamber of divinity, the court
of honor he enriches with the honor of the celestial home.
While it is foolish to define rashly and pious
to believe, that she reigns intact I however believe:
Enoch and Elijah were taken from Earth into the joys
of Paradise and the delights of God;
because heavy sin did not weigh them down, as it pleased
the author himself, holy life is lifted up into the air.
Who would deny therefore that the wholly pure mother
and bride of God not be assumed, whom the bridegroom loves as himself?
The Lord dies and living rises again: by his strength
the Virgin is able to die, then to live again.
If manna was made from the chaste body of John,
how much greater honor from the mother of God?
Shall I say that the holy company, the pious race, the chosen hand
placed her in a tomb at the voice of the master;
thence that with an angelic choir the bridegroom took her up
into heaven, so inexpertly shall I sing?

On the Star of the Sea who is assumed from our shadows

The Star of the Sea passes over the stars into the halls of light:
the light rises, the celestial gemstone approaches heaven.
The rose leaves behind the thorns of the world, the pearl
forsakes the sea-weed, the jasper the mud, the spice the bramble-bush.
The flower, although it expires, is not allowed to wither, when
the flowery winter of death buds into life:
the flower forsakes the valley of sorrow, it goes out into the height,
so as to be able to see the sunshine on the mountain of heaven;
it will see the sun more fully on the top of the mountain,
where smoke does not shade the low earth.
Shall I speak of the valley of Josaphat? Of the valley of grief
which the Virgin left behind my Muse wishes to speak.
Walled round with mourning she withdraws from the sorrowful valley,
so that the Nautical Star might look down from the highest heaven.

On the festivity and applause of the angels at the assumption

The bridegroom goes out to meet the bride, the phalanxes of the bridegroom
attend the queen and, sweetly singing, lift her up.
The order of Thrones strives to carry the bridal throne,
under whom this tearful valley lies.
Thus Solomon sings: “Like a column of smoke of myrrh
and of frankincense, fragrant the beloved of God rises up;
every aromatic powder is fragrant in her,
whom the bridegroom calls from the desert to the stars.
Come to the deserts of the heaven, you who are leaving the earth,
you, the way of the desert known to no men.
An enclosed garden, you are my sister and chaste spouse,
a fountain sealed and a paradise of riches;
you, a garden, come into this garden; you, delightful,
enjoy the delights; you, mine, applaud mine.”
Thus heaven goes away into the heavens, the sun rises to the court
of the sun and the dear day leaves this valley.

On this valley of misery and natural death and its cause

Here there is grief, here groaning, here disease and here the way of death,
and here the elements by which we are governed weigh us down;
where the Virgin tends is tranquil peace: the tempest
strikes us in the valley and draws us to shipwreck.

On the cause of wind

Alas, now the moving air, which we say to be
wind, lays us low and takes away our roofs.
It is therefore expedient that you, virgin Mother, who reigns
in the court of peace, should turn your eye from your citadel,
that you should look upon the earth with the gentle eye of piety
and that you should give aid to our multiple and serious wounds.
The spiritual union joins the bride with the bridegroom:
to him present the wife present cleaves.
Joined to her husband, the married woman goes forth from the valley
of sadness, the swamp of mourning, the abyss of misfortune;
she takes up the reward of the wrestling, the prizes of sweat, the palm
of purity, the reward of the way.
From the bridegroom she receives the dowry and the lady’s crown,
the throne of the queen and the virginal robe.
The ring of eternal life confirms the promises
of her husband, honor sanctifies the treaties of the marriage.
The celestial lamps burn like kindled torches,
the angelic lightning [splendor] and the radiance beyond description.
Happy at the arrival of the bride, the noble procession
calls out the citizens of heaven with its song,
Wisdom stands by the new daughter-in-law, the Virtues
who serve the mistress surround her.
There no actor plays: the celestial youths
rejoice, the happy palace resounds with choirs.
The door-leaves opened, the court rejoices with royal
noise, the court receives the bridal men [human beings].
There is no one here who is not adorned with bridal
honor, having bound his temples with a new flower.
The bride is placed at the right hand of the beloved bridegroom,
the mother sits clothed in gold-woven clothing.
She exults in various perfumes and excels all other
fragrances, a living odor breathes forth from her clothing:
this [odor] surpasses nard, myrrh, gutta, and honeycomb,
cassia, calamus, cinnamon, frankincense, and thyme,
balsam, narcissus, lilies, costmary,
spring roses and the delights of Rhea.

Description of the mystical crown of the Virgin

The bridegroom opens his treasury and brings forth a crown
red with gold, which glitters radiantly.
Precious stones arranged in order scatter lights,
but one gemstone displays more brilliance than the others:
this stone is the bridegroom shining with nuptial light,
by which souls, stars, the earth, heaven glow red.
The might of empire burns in the gold of the diadem,
the majesty, power, glory, fame, beauty [honor];
heaven, earth, hell, the abyss, the king, the nobles,
the people, glory, tribute, honor are made subject.
He adorns the brow of the bride with such a diadem,
makes her queen and perpetuates her honor [glory].
Imperial height of heaven, heavenly sunshine and earthly
sun, the Virgin holds the royal scepters.

On the glory of the blessed Virgin

The celestial court hangs on the face of the Virgin,
clings to her look, happy in her beauty;
it feeds in sight while each considers, if what
he has passed over he seeks again and does not think it enough.
Woman outshining the angelic assembly, woman savior
of the world, Virgin and mother, hail!
She whom the eternal sun, whom the sun flashing without cloud 
distinguishes, again I shout: “Mother, hail!”
O splendor whom no cloud coming eclipses,
I exclaim with all my breast: “Mother, hail!
You renew Eve and the mother is reborn from you:
you, virgin daughter, bear the mother to life.
O Phoebe, never waning from the light of Phoebus,
you stand by Phoebus filled with his light.
In the midst of the festive feasts, remember
your poet, o celestial bride, however undistinguished.

--John of Garland (d. after 1258), Epithalamium beate Marie virginis, bk. X, ll. 33-90, 113-78; ed. Antonio Saiani (Florence: Leo S. Olskchki, 1995), pp. 622-30; trans. Rachel Fulton Brown


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