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CSM Number : 105
Short name: The Maid of Arras
Incipit: Gran piadad’ e mercee e nobreza
Refrain: Gran piadad’ e mercee e nobreza/ daquestas tres á  na Virgen assaz/ tan muit’ en, que maldade nen crueza/ nen descousimento nunca lle praz.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Arras, Auvergne; mention of Pisa Protagonist(s): a woman and her husband

When a young girl was playing in the garden of her father’s house, the Virgin Mary appeared to her. The girl was very frightened, but the Virgin spoke to her softly. She asked her to guard her virginity and told her that if she did so she would soon go to heaven.

The girl promised to remain a virgin. She vowed that she would never marry. One day, her father told her that he wished her to marry a rich gentleman from Auvergne.

The girl told him about her vow and refused to entertain the idea. Her parents, however, were adamant and promised her in marriage.

The wedding was held and the couple retired to a chamber. But the Virgin made it impossible for the bridegroom to possess the girl, and she maintained her virginity. For a year they lived like this; her husband could not have sex with her. Because of this he committed an unspeakable and shameful act; he cut her private parts with a knife. All the doctors of Pisa could not have closed her wound. The unfortunate woman complained to a bishop, named Boniface, who felt sorry for her. Although he made an inquiry, he did not want to cause trouble, so he sent her back to her husband.

Immediately, the scoundrel was stricken with wildfire, which also inflicted other people in the town. They had themselves carried to the church, which was jammed with the sick. All of them suffered because of the evil that man had done. The woman, who had been wounded by her husband, had an inflamed breast. They carried her to the church and she cried to the Virgin. She complained that the Virgin had not fulfilled her promise, but had made her suffer the fire instead.

The Virgin appeared to her and comforted her. She brought with her remedies to cure fire and leprosy. She told the girl to kiss the altar and promised her that she would be healed. She helped the girl rise and healed her of the fire and of the wound. The people gave the girl broth and green grape juice. When she kissed the sick, they too recovered.

Metrical data
Stanza: 10' 10 10' 10 10' 10 Refrain: 10' 10 10' 10
No. of Stanzas: 18
Rhyme scheme: ABAB | cdcdcb Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
T105, E105, To81
Poncelet reference
Erat igitur in suburbio civitatis Atrebatensis quaedam (420)
apparition, bishop, breast, chastity, garden, genitals, illness, kissing, marriage, Saint Martial’s fire, vow, wound
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Miracle Collection
Maid of Arras BL Mariale 3
(London, BL, Additional MS 35112, ff. 21-80; 90-94)
Maid of Arras John of Garland
Maid of Arras Gautier de Coinci
Maid of Arras Mariale Magnum
(Paris Bibliothèque Nationale lat 3177)
Maid of Arras Paris Mariale 1
(Paris Bibliothèque Nationale 14463)
La vida conventual feminina en la Edad Media castellana: poder, misticismo y prácticas devocionales en las Cantigas de Santa María
Álvarez Díaz, Cristina
Narrativa visual de la enfermedad en las Cantigas de Santa María
Corti, Francisco
Sources of the Cantigas of Alfonso el Sabio [AC]
Dexter, Elise Forsythe
Osservazioni sulle Cantigas di Alfonso X e sui Miracles di Gautier de Coincy
Marullo, Teresa
Las Cantigas de Don Alonso el Sabio.
Morayta de Sagrario, Miguel
Cantigas de Santa Maria de Afonso X, O Sábio: aspectos culturais e literários
Vaz Leão, Angela