Bonnie Duncan
English Department
Millersville University
Date last modified: 11/25/95>

Marguerite Porète:

The Mirror of Simple Souls

The Exerpted Text: Chapters 119 - 122

Chapter 119: How the Soul who has causes this book to be written excuses herself in having made this book so long in words , which seems small and brief to the Souls who remain in nothingness and who are fallen from love into such being.

[Soul]: Ah, Ladies in no way known, says the Soul who causes this book to be written, you who are in being and establ ished without separating yourselves from the Being [which] is not known, truly you are in no way known, but this is in the land where Reason has lordship. I excuse myself, says this Soul, to all those who remain in nothingness and who are fallen from lov e into such being. For I have made this book very large through words, [though] it seems to you very small, insofar as I am able to understand you. Now please pardon me by your courtesy, for necessity has no law. I did not know to whom to speak my inte ntion. Now I understand, on account of your peace and on account of the truth, that [this book] is of the lower life. Cowardice has guided [this book], which has given its perception over to Reason through the answers of Love to Reason's petitions. And so [this book] has been created by human knowledge and the human senses; and the human reason and the human senses know nothing about inner love, inner love from divine knowledge. My heart is drawn so high and fallen so low at the same time that I canno t complete [this book]. For everything one can say or write about God or thing about Him, God who is greater than what is ever said, [everything] is thus more like lying than speaking the truth.

I have said, says this Soul, that Love causes [the book] to be written through human knowledge and through willing it by the transformation of my intellect with which I was encumbered, as it appears in this book. For Love made the book in unencumbering my spirit by her three gifts, of which we have spo ken. And thus I say that [the book] is of the lower life and very small, even though it seemed to be large at the beginning of the demonstration of this being.

Chapter 120: How Truth praises such Souls.

Truth praises those w ho are such, and she says:

O emerald and precious gem,
True diamond, queen and empress,
You give everything from your fine nobility,
Without asking from love her riches,
Except the willing of her divine pleasure.
Thus is th is right by righteousness,
For it is the true path
of Fine Love [fin amours}, whoever wishes to remain on it.
O deepest spring and fountain sealed,
Where the sun is subtly hidden,
You send your rays, says Truth, through divine k nowledge;
We know it through true Wisdom [Note: Sophia and Shekina are both feminine forms}:
Her splendor makes us completely luminous.

Soul: O Truth, says this Soul, for god's sake, do not say
That of myself I might ever say something of Him,
save through Him;
And this is true, do not doubt it,
And if it pleases you to know whose I am,
I will say it through pure courtesy:
Love holds me so completely in her domain,
That I have neither sen se, nor will,
Nor reason to do anything,
Except through her, as you know.

Chapter 121: Holy Church praises this Soul:

[Holy Church]:

Courteous and well taught lady, says Holy Church, how this is wisely sai d.
You are the true star, who brings the dawn,
and the pure sun without spot,who receives no impurity,
and the fullest moon, who never wanes;
and so you are the banner, who goes before the King.
you live completely by the kernel, who n o longer has will,
and those live by straw and by chaff and gross silage,
who have retained the practice of human will.
Such folk are servants of the law, but this Soul is above the law,
not contrary to the law. by the witness of Truth,
she is satisfied and filled: God is in her will.


Ah sweetest Love Divine,
Who are within the Trinity,
The hour is such that I marvel
how those can continue,
Those who are governed by Reason and Fear,
Desire, Work, and Will,
And who know not the grand nobility
of being ordered by nothingness.

The Holy Trinity:

O heavenly rock,
says the Holy Trinity,
I pray you, dear daughter,
let this be.
There is n ot so great a cleric in the world
who knows how to speak to you about it;
You have been at my table,
and I have given you my feast,
And you are so very well taught,
and you have savored my feast so fully,
And my wines from the f ull barrel,
by which you are so filled,
That the bouquet alone makes you inebriated,
and you will never be other.

Now have you tasted my feast, and you have savored our wines,
says the Holy Trinity, no one but you knows how to sp eak of it,
in another practice for any price. I pray you, dear daughter,
my sister and my love, through Love, if you will,
that you no longer will to tell the secrets which you know:
the others will condemn themselves because of it, where you will be saved,
since Reason and Desire govern them, and Fear and Will.
Know, however, my chosen daughter, that paradise has been given to them.

The Chosen Soul:
Paradise? says this chosen one, would you not accord the m something else? Thus indeed murderers will have it, if they wish to cry for mercy! But in spite of this I will keep silence about it, since you wish it. And thus I will say a verse of song, with the leave of Fine Love.

Chapter 122: Her e the Soul begins her song.

[Soul]: [It is] in view of the ascent on high and the precious entry, and the worthy indwelling of human creation by the sweet humanity of the Son of God our savior [that] the deity seated such humanity in highest possession in paradise, there to be elevated to the right hand of God the Father, joined to the Son for our sake, richly producing in it these graces and mercy, by which you are amazed. Thus, since that day, Fine Love [fin amours] separated me th rough courtesy [courtesia]. From whom? From myself, from my neighbors, and from the whole world, from the spirit of affection, and from the Virtues to whom I had been a servant through effort in the domination of Reason. Here I will tell you the truth about it:

Such a beast I was,
in the time that I served them,
that I could not express it to you
from my heart.
and as long as I served them,
and the better I accommodated them,
Love caused me to hear tell of her
throu gh joy.
And in spite of all, as simple as I was,
as much as I would consider it,
so the will of Love held me in love.

And when Love saw me think about her on account of the Virtues, she did not refute me, but instead she freed me fr om the petty service and guided me to the divine school. There she retained me without my performing any service, there I was filled and satisfied by her.

Thought is no longer of worth to me,
nor work, nor speech.
Love draws me so high
(thought is no longer of worth to me)
with her divine gaze,
that I have no intent.
Thought is no longer of worth to me,
nor work nor speech.

Love has made me find by nobility
these verses of a song.
It is [of] the Deity pure,
about whom Reason knows not how to speak,
and of a Lover,
which I have without a mother,
who is the issue
of God the Father
and of God the Son also.
His name is Holy Spirit,
from whom I possess such joining in the he art,
that He causes joy to remain in me.
It is the peace of the nourishment
which the Lover gives in loving.
I wish to ask nothing of Him,
to do so would be too wretched of me.
Instead I owe Him total faith
in loving such a Lo ver.

O Lover of gentle nature,
you are to be much prized:
generous, courteous without measure,
sum of all goodness,
you do not will to do anything,
Lover, without my will.
and thus I must not hold silence
about your bea uty and goodness.
Powerful you are for my sake, and wise;
such I cannot hide.
Ah, but to whom will I say it?
Seraphim know not how to speak of it


Lover, you have grasped me in your love,
to give me your great treasure,
t hat is, the gift of your own self,
which is divine goodness.
heart cannot express this,
but willing pure nothingness purifies [the heart],
which makes me climb so high,
by union in concordance,
which I ought never to reveal.

< P>I used to be enclosed in the servitude of captivity,
When desire imprisoned me in the will of affection.
There the light of ardor from divine love found me,
Who quickly killed my desire, my will and affection,
which impeded in me the ent erprise of the fullness of divine love.

Now has Divine Light delivered me from captivity,
and joined me by gentility to the divine will of Love,
there where the Trinity gives me the delight of His love.
This gift no human understands, As long as he serves any Virtue whatever,
or any feeling from nature, through practice of reason.

O my Lover, what will Beguines say and religious types,
when they hear the excellence of your divine song?
Beguines say I err, priests, clerics, and Preachers,
Augustinians, Carmelites, and the Friars Minor,
bBecause I wrote about the being of the one purified by love.
I do not make Reason safe for them, who makes them say this to me.
Desire, Will, and Fear surely take fr om them the understanding,
the out-flowing, and the union of the highest Light
of the ardor of divine love.

Truth declares to my heart
that I am loved by One alone,
and she says that it is without return
that He has given me Hi s love.
This gift kills my thought
by the delight of His love,
which delight lifts me and transforms me throughout union
Into eternal joy of the being of divine Love.

And Divine Love tells me that she has entered within me,
a nd so she can do whatever she wills,
such strength she has given me,
from One Lover whom I possess in love
to whom I am betrothed,
who wills that He loves,
and for this I will love Him.

I have said that I will love Him.
I lie, for I am not.
it is He alone who loves me:
He is, and I am not;
and nothing more is necessary to me
than what he wills,
and that He is worthy.
He is fullness,
and by this am I impregnated.
This is the divine seed and Loyal Love.