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Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2016, Volume 37

Hugh of St Victor's De quinque septenis (On the Five Sevens) and its Versification in Samuel Presbiter's De oratione dominica (On the Lord's Prayer)

Edited by Andrew Dunningby Samuel Presbiter


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On the Lord’s Prayer


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On the Lord’s Prayer, that is to say the Our Father.

 The prayer which Christ, praying, has taught

 There are seven capital or principal vices, and from these rise all evils.
 These are the sources of the dark pit from which the waters of Babylon
flow and drops of iniquity pour, leading into every land.

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 The psalmist sings about these waters in the person of the faithful people,
 saying, By the waters of Babylon, and so forth; on the willows, and so forth.
Of these vices,
 three strip a person; the fourth whips the stripped; the fifth drives out the whipped; the sixth
 seduces the person driven out; the seventh subjects the seduced to slavery.
10 Pride takes God away from a person.
For pride is the love of one’s own status,
 when a soul loves the good that it has on its own, that is, without him from whom
 he accepted the good.
A small stream, cut off from its source, becomes dry; a ray of light, turned away from the enlightening sun,
 becomes dark.
For in the same way as every good is truly from God,
 just so can no good be had advantageously outside of God.
15 has not learned to love unless it is the good that he has in himself, while
 he observes in another a good that he does not have, it is necessary that his own imperfection
 torments him so bitterly that he does not love him in whom every good exists. And on that account, pride
 always follows envy, because he who does not fasten love in that place where
 every good exists is so wickedly elated with pride in himself that
20 he is painfully tormented by the good of another.
he does not even
 judge the good of another to be detached from himself, if he loves his own in that place where
 he might possess at the same time the good of both himself and of another. As much, therefore, as he praises himself through pride outside of the creator,
 so much does he fall under his neighbour through envy; and as much as
 he is deceptively raised there, so much does he here truly cause himself to fall.
Cum envy has been born from pride,
25 this breeds anger from itself – because the unhappy soul
 is now angered on account of its own imperfection, since it does not delight
 through charity in the good of another. And therefore it begins to be displeased even with what it has,
 because it recognizes in another that which it cannot have. He therefore who
 could have held the whole through charity, in God, loses even that which he attempts to have by pride outside of God
30 through envy and anger, because after he loses
 God through pride, he loses his neighbour through envy, and through anger himself.
 Because therefore, when everything is lost, nothing remains from which it can be glad,
 the unhappy conscience is crushed in itself through sadness,
 and since it has refused to delight in another’s good faithfully, it is rightly tormented by its own evil.
35 So after pride and envy and anger, which strip a person, sadness immediately
 follows, which whips the stripped person. Greed approaches him next,
 which drives out the whipped, because, when inward joy is lost, it drives him to seek consolation outside.
 Afterwards gluttony draws near, which seduces the person driven out,
 because it attracts the soul desiring this vice by outer things in the first place,
40 as if tempting to excess from a neighbour – through natural desire itself.
 Finally comes lust, which violently subjects the seduced
 to slavery, because after the flesh is set on fire through gluttony,
 the weakened and
 feebly determined soul cannot conquer the oncoming flame of passion. The mind has therefore been enslaved most savagely
45 to coercion, subdued in a disgraceful manner, and unless the requested goodness of the saviour

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 brings relief, it will not now exist: so, serving captivity,
 its lost freedom may not be restored.
There are, therefore, seven requests in the Lord’s Prayer against seven
Through pride therefore the heart is caused to swell; through envy it dries up; through anger it cracks;
 through sadness it is crushed, and reduced as if to dust. Through greed
50 it is scattered; through gluttony it is infected, as if it is moistened; through lust
 it is trampled and reduced to mud; so that the unhappy person
 can now say, I was stuck in the deep mire, and there is no substance.
He can be plucked out from this mud,
 shouting to God and devoutly asking his help.
 From which this comes: He heard my prayers and drew me out from a pit of wretchedness
55 and from the miry mud.

 Contains five and two; by these seven evils are driven out,

 The spirit of the fear of the Lord; the spirit of godliness; the spirit of knowledge; the spirit
 of strength; the spirit of counsel; the spirit of understanding; the spirit of wisdom.

 and seven good gifts are offered. From these arise

60 Poverty of spirit, that is humility; graciousness or kindness;
 remorse or sorrow; the hunger for righteousness or good desire;
 mercy; cleanness of heart; peace.
These seven virtues are noted
 in that Gospel: Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and so forth.
 In that Gospel seven beatitudes are also marked, namely these: The kingdom
65 of heaven; the possession of the land of the living; consolation; the satisfaction of righteousness;
 mercy; the vision of God; sonship of God.

 seven virtues; seven blessed gifts

 The evangelist: The one who endures to the end will be saved.

 are gained by them, if one is firm in them.

70 The first request is against pride, by which we say to God, Hallowed be your name.
 For we ask this so that he might allow us to fear his name
 and treat it as holy, so that we might be obedient to him through humility – we who have stepped forth through pride,
 rebellious and insubordinate.

 Pride is deadly – driven out by the first petition –

75 Pride takes God away from a person.

 by which God is taken away from a person. And by the first request

 For the first request the spirit of the fear of the Lord is given, so that he, coming to the heart,
 might create in it the virtue of humility, which may heal the sickness of pride –
 so that the humble person can come to the kingdom of heaven, which the arrogant angel
80 lost through pride.


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 the fear of the Lord is given. This makes us humble, and by these

 The evangelist: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The poor
 in spirit
, that is the humble.

 the kingdom of heaven is granted, and the blessed rejoice.

85 The second request is against envy, by which it is said, your kingdom come.
 In fact, the kingdom of God is the salvation of mankind, because
 God is said to reign in people at that moment when people themselves are subject to God,
 at first devoting themselves to him through faith, and after clinging to him through sight. Who therefore
 asks that the kingdom of God might come undoubtedly seeks the salvation of human beings.
90 And through this, while he asks for the common salvation of all,
 he shows that he rejects the vice of envy.

 If the second request is made worthily, envy

 Or driven away.
Envy takes his neighbour from him.
 is then put to flight; this is said to take away one’s neighbour.

95 For the second request the spirit of godliness is given, so that he, coming to the heart,
 might kindle it to kindness, so that that person himself might reach the same possession of the eternal
 inheritance to which he desires others
 to reach.

 By this prayer devoutness is given, through which mildness is produced,

100 The evangelist: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 by which the land of the living may be given.

 The third request is against anger, by which it is said, Your will be done,
 on earth as in heaven.
For he does not wish to dispute who says, Your will be done,
 but he proclaims that whatever the will of God should arrange pleases him, whether in himself
105 or in others, according to the judgement of his graciousness.

 The third worthy request removes anger.

 Anger takes a person from himself.

 This takes a person from himself; he is stripped from himself

 Since pride takes God away from a person, envy his neighbour, and anger himself,
110 he is stripped.

 when God is taken away, and his neighbour, and at the same time himself.

 For the third request, the spirit of knowledge is given, that he, coming to the heart,
 might instruct and prick it in a manner beneficial to the soul, that the person might know the evil
 which is allowed to come into being from his fault; and if he has had some good, that it comes from
115 the mercy of God. Through this, the spirit teaches him not to become angry against the creator, whatever he might endure in evil
 or lack in goods, but

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 to show his ability to tolerate adversity through everything.
anger kills the foolish, when in adversities,
 vexed and blinded through the intolerance of the vices, he either does not recognize that he has deserved the evil or
 that he accepted the good that he has through grace. The reward of consolation follows this virtue, that is
120 the prick of remorse or sorrow, so that whoever
 voluntarily humbles himself here on earth before God through laments may deserve to find true joy
 and happiness.

 Healthy knowledge is given by this prayer, though which

 A prick of remorse comes forth in weeping, pleasing to salvation;

125 That is by a prick of remorse.
The evangelist: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
 by this great heavenly consolation is bestowed.

 The fourth request is against sadness, by which it is said, Give us today our daily bread.
 For sadness is weariness of the soul with grief, when the mind
 does not desire inward goods, caused to become dispirited in a certain way, and made bitter by its vice;
130 and with all its liveliness dead, it does not become happy at any desire of spiritual restoration.

 Sadness whips the stripped person.

 The fourth petition puts sadness to flight; this whips

 For the fourth request the spirit of strength is given, that it may lift up the weary spirit,
 in order that, when it has recovered that virtue of its former strength, it might recover from
135 the weakness of its weariness to the desire of inward taste. The spirit of strength accordingly creates
 in the heart a hunger for righteousness, so that who is here on earth intensely kindled through the desire
 for devoutness may pursue full abundance to that place in heaven
 for the reward of blessedness.

 the stripped person. The spirit of strength is received by this prayer;

140 the good hunger for righteousness is brought out from that source,

 The evangelist: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
 shall be satisfied.

 through which the righteous are sated with full joy.

 The fifth request is against greed, by which it is said, Forgive us our debts,
145 as we also have forgiven our debtors.
For it is right that when a debt is to be paid back,
 he should not be anxious who refused to be bitter in demanding its payment.
 And for that reason, when the vice of greed is taken from us through the grace of God, it is given in such a manner that
 we should be absolved from our debt, by the terms of salvation set in place.

 Greed drives out the stripped and whipped person.

150 The fifth request pushes out greed;

 For the fifth request, the spirit of counsel is given, who teaches us in this world

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 to pay attention to our sins willingly, so that in the future,
 when we deliver an account for our sins, we will deserve
 to find mercy.

155 this drives out the despoiled person. Then the spirit of counsel is given:

 this makes people pity their brothers.

 That is to the merciful.
The evangelist: Blessed are
 the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

 A great reward, heavenly mercy, is entrusted to them.

160 The sixth request is against gluttony, by which it is said, Lead us not, that is, do not allow us to be led,
 into temptation. This is the temptation by which the pleasures of the flesh
 often strive to pull us to excess through natural desire, and secretly
 put pleasure under their control, while openly speaking smoothly about their necessity to us.
 Assuredly, we will then by no means be led into this temptation if we strive
165 to pay attention to the assistance of nature, following the limit of necessity, so that
 we will always remember to restrain the appetite from the pleasures of delight.

 The sixth request is said to attack gluttony; this

 Gluttony seduces the person driven out.

 wickedly seduces the person driven out. For this worthy prayer

170 For the sixth request the spirit of understanding is given to us who ask for it, so that the inward restoration
 of the word of God might restrain outward desire, and that bodily need might neither have the strength to crush the mind strengthened by spiritual food,
 nor to overcome the desire of the flesh.
 For this reason indeed the Lord himself responded to his tempter, while
 he was making a false hint about the refreshment of outward bread, saying, One does not live by bread alone,
175 but by every word that comes from the mouth of God
, so that he might openly show that when the mind is restored with that bread inwardly,
 it does not particularly care if the flesh should
 outwardly undergo hunger for a time.

 From the spirit of understanding, cleanness of the heart is born.

 the spiritus of understanding is given; it creates cleanness.

180 For cleanness of heart, the vision of God is promised. As it is written, Blessed are the clean
 in heart, for they will see God.

 By this virtue, the blessed vision of God is granted.

 The seventh petition is against lust, by which it is said, Deliver us from evil.

 The seventh worthy request is said to remove lust;

185 Lust subjects the seduced to slavery.

 this subjects the seduced person, that he may be

 For the seventh request the spirit of wisdom is given, which restores the lost freedom to the prisoner,

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 and through grace he escapes the yoke of sinful coercion, which he did not
 have the strength to accomplish by his own means. Wisdom (sapientia), indeed, is so called from taste (sapor). The mind,
190 touched by the flavour of inward sweetness, gathers its whole self within through desire,
 and it is never weakly loosened externally in the pleasure of the flesh,
 because it holds everything within in which it delights. Sweetness within, therefore, is fittingly placed against external
 pleasure, so that however much more it may have begun to taste
 and be pleased, so much more freely and willingly may this be despised;
195 the mind, finally made peaceful in itself as long as there is nothing it may desire externally,
 rests within, complete, through love.

 a slave. Spiritual wisdom is given

 The spirit of wisdom, touching the heart with its sweetness,
 both regulates the flame of external desire,
200 and creates inward peace when it numbs lust, so that while the mind is entirely gathered to inward joy,
 a person may fully and completely be restored to the image of God, as it is written, Blessed are the peacemakers,
 for they shall be called sons of God.

 for this prayer: wisdom quells passion for the external

 and creates peace within, when the wicked movements are put to sleep,

205 and thus the person is restored. Peace makes him so that he may be

 a true son of God, when heavenly peace is gathered.

 Understand vices themselves as if are were certain sicknesses of the soul, or wounds of the inner
 person. The very person, indeed, is like a patient; God, the physician; the gifts
 of the Holy Spirit, the remedy; the virtues, healings; the beatitudes, the joy
210 of happiness.

 The Lord puts to flight the sicknesses of the inner person;

 by remedies of this kind he makes him strong in virtue.

 And when he speaks well, he gathers the blessed joys.