Anonymous: Patience

(406 words)
  • Ad Putter (University of Bristol)

This alliterative poem, numbering 531 lines in the manuscript copy, was in all likelihood composed in the second half of the fourteenth century by the same anonymous poet who also wrote Pearl (q.v.), Cleanness (q.v.) and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Patience is the third work in the only surviving manuscript of the Gawain-poet’s works, British Library, Cotton Nero A.x., and opens with the line “Pacience is a poynt, thagh hit displese ofte”. This opening line sums up the poet’s theme and his worldy-wise attitude to patience (the word means both “suffering” and “patience” in Middle English): being patient is wise but not usually pleasant.

In a prologue the poet gives …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Putter, Ad. "Patience". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2001
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]