contains several phrases which seem to glimmer with crusading meanings. Note especially the reference to Mary doing combat (‘Mary, while you do battle …’). This is not unparalleled, for milito is the verb often used in Christian Latin to denote the life of the devout in this present world and the good works which accompany it, but the phrase is intriguing nonetheless. Most of the military religious orders chose Mary as one of their patrons, and she is the titular patron of the Teutonic Knights (whose full name is ‘The Brothers of the Hospital of St Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem’). This poem might therefore have some connection with one of the crusading orders, and it may even be that the ‘temporal hall’ mentioned in the third verse refers not only to the Church Militant but to some specific religious foundation, for many of the chapels and churches of the Templars, for example, were dedicated to the Virgin. The last verse refers to the usual position of Jerusalem in medieval maps, placed in the centre of the earth in accordance with Psalm 74:12 (Authorized Version numbering): ‘For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth’. Following a long tradition, the poet explores the fourfold interpretation of Jerusalem, both as a place (on earth and in heaven) and as a name, meaning ‘vision of peace’. With a show of learning not rare in conductus texts, he uses the conventional scheme of the four senses of Scripture (also employed in exactly this context by John Cassian): the historical sense (the plain sense of the words); the tropological sense (referring to the state and progress of the soul); the allegorical sense (relating to the deeds of Christ); and the anagogical sense (referring to the last things). Each of the four interpretations of Jerusalem is related to Mary, again in a systematic way: Mary as city; as a faithful soul; as initiator of the Church Militant, that is to say the Church on earth until the Last Judgement; and as queen of the Church Triumphant, namely the Church in Heaven.
from notes by Christopher Page © 1998