Wednesday, 16 November 2016

On the significance of the Vorau prologue to the "Ezzolied" (c.1064/5; 1115)

The 11th century Old High German poem Cantilena de miraculis Christi (Song of the Miracles of Christ) that has come to be known as the Ezzolied exists in two recensions; the one from Strasbourg which dates from around 1065 (the Straßburger Handschrift) and the other from Vorau (the Vorauer Handschrift). The latter is both about fifty years younger and, at thirty-four strophes to the Straßburger’s seven, considerably longer and more developed (setting aside the introductory preamble, its 33 strophes reflect Christ’s 33 years of life on Earth). Though there are numerous differences between the two which could be, and have been, examined, one of the most intriguing is the prologue stanza or Prologstrophe (also sometimes called an Einleitungsstrophe) which appears in the Vorauer Handschrift but is absent in the earlier manuscript.