Anonymous: Cursor Mundi

(1003 words)
  • Hugh Magennis (Queen's University Belfast)

Cursor Mundi is a compendious Middle English verse work of biblical and other religious teaching running to almost 30,000 lines in the seven-volume nineteenth-century Early English Text Society edition by Richard Morris (still the standard). It survives in nine manuscripts, among which three versions of the poem are distinguishable, as reflected in the multi-text layout of Morris’s edition. Written by an anonymous poet in a popular romance-like style, mostly in octosyllabic couplets, Cursor Mundi sets out to provide edifying but also entertaining Christian knowledge to an audience of ordinary laypeople. It begins with a prologue in which the poet refers to the matter of popular romance, listing the names and deeds o…

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Magennis, Hugh. "Cursor Mundi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 April 2005
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]