Concept

Speculum Vitae

Summary
Speculum Vitae ('Mirror of Life') is an anonymous Middle English poem, written in the third quarter of the fourteenth century. The poem consists of a commentary on the Lord's Prayer primarily derived from a prose Old French work, the Somme le roi of Laurent d'Orléans, dated 1279. Date and authorship Ralph Hanna, the modern editor of Speculum Vitae, dates it to "broadly the third quarter of the fourteenth century", on the basis that it contains a versification of material from Richard Rolle's Form of Living (lines 5595–834) and so must postdate that work's initial circulation in 1348 or 1349 at the earliest, and that the poem must pre-date its earliest surviving manuscript copy, that in British Library, MS Additional 33995, which was produced around 1375. The poem's original text says nothing about its author in its brief first-person passages (lines 19–34, 16077–84). The poem is attributed in three manuscripts to Richard Rolle, and in an interpolated passage in two other ma
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