The Scale of Perfection
edited by Thomas H. Bestul
This web edition of Hilton’s The Scale of Perfection is intended as a supplement to my edition of The Scale published by Medieval Institute Publications in the series Middle English Texts sponsored by TEAMS (The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages):
Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection, edited by Thomas H. Bestul (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000). ISBN 1-58044-068-01.
This edition, like that of the printed edition, is made from London, Lambeth Palace, MS 472 (early fifteenth century). The text presented here is the same, except for the differences in editorial procedures noted below. Any errors found in the printed edition will be corrected here and signaled for the benefit of the reader.
The editorial principles of the printed edition are followed here, with these important exceptions:
1. Manuscript yogh (3) is given as y or gh (and in one instance as z). Unlike the printed edition, the yogh is never rendered as g in words where modern spelling uses g. Thus MS 3yven is here rendered as yyven, not gyven, as in the printed edition. The justification for this less normalized approach is that MS spellings for these words with g instead of 3 occur occasionally, if rarely.
2. Manuscript spellings of the second-person singular pronoun are not normalized to thee as in the printed edition, but MS spellings the are retained beside thee. Likewise, MS spellings of the definite article are not normalized to the, but occasional MS spellings as thee are retained.
3. In reference to ecclesiastical entities and pronouns referring to divine personages, a more “down” style of capitalization has been followed here in contrast to the printed edition. Thus “hooly chirche,” instead of “Hooly Chirche,” or “his endelees beyinge, or his myght, or his wisdom,” instead of “His endelees beyinge, or His myght, or His wisdom.” This decision reflects my personal preference and my understanding of contemporary publishing practices.
Folio breaks in the Lambeth MS are given in the text and marked in orange.
Footnotes are hyperlinked, and refer to Textual Notes. In these notes MS indicates London, Lambeth Palace, MS 472; C indicates Cambridge, University Library, MS Additional 6686 (the comparison text for Book I); and B indicates Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 100 (the comparison text for Book II).
In Book I, where the Lambeth MS shows additions to the text that are not found in the comparison text, Cambridge, University Library, MS Additional 6686, these are indicated in dark red. Substantial alterations, usually involving an expansion, are indicated in green.
The glosses and explanatory notes of the printed edition are not reproduced here.