Margaret Porete THE MIRROR OF SIMPLE SOULS Univ. Marlet J & Grant J (trans) 1999 Notre Dame Pr., ND, Indiana

Her life and History

Marguerite Porete was loosely regarded as a Beguine, living in community or a wandering holy soul, according to her wish to be devoted utterly to Christ. The Beguine movement arose early in the 13th century when one Jacques de Vitry obtained permission from the Pope for groups of pious women in the Lowlands region of France, and Germany to live together. The Papacy was then confronted with a strong movement of feminine piety which had been gathering ground since mid 12th century. These women followed no prescribed rule and were committed to an "outside cloister" form of living together in poverty, fasting, chastity and prayers. This movement, evident all over Northern Europe, represented significant challenge to the church hierarchy, which had no structures to maintain order for such communities, and further represented challenges to religious authorities who could not abide groups of religious men or women who were outside their control.

Marguerite entered this situation in 1310, when she had been imprisoned for a year and a half; Marguerite had contumaciously refrained from swearing the oath of the inquistor's office, and so was held in prison. In April 1310, some twenty one theologians had been gathered to pass judgement on 15 articles which had been excerpted from her book and regarded as heretical.

The book had already been condemned heretical in 1306 by the late Lord Guy, Bishop of Cambrai, who had it publicly burned in Marguerite's presence. Marguerite states she sent her book to three authorities, who had approved it. Two were virtually unknown, the third was a problem; he was a respected doctor of the University of Paris who had approved the book with qualifications, prior to the bishops' condemnation. This approval was qualified with concern that if weaker souls were to read it, they would be mislead in an attempt to gain perfection which would not be possible for them and thus they would be deceived.

Marguerite remained silent throughout her trial, with a plain refusal to elaborate, explain nor deny her teachings. Marguerite went to the stake in total silence and endured her firey end in silence. Those watching were moved to tears.

Written originally in Old French at a time when Latin was the prescribed language for religious literature it explores in poetry and prose the seven stages of 'annihilation' the Soul goes through on its path to Oneness with God through Love. Enormously popular when written it fell foul of the Church authorities, who, detecting elements of the antinomian Heresy of the Free Spirit in its vision, denounced it as 'full of errors and heresies', burnt existing copies, banned its circulation, tried and executed Porete herself. In spite of this the work was translated into several different languages around Europe, including English, albeit not with Porete's name attached.

Marguerite Porete has recently been rediscovered and her writings translated. Her works illumine the nature of the soul in language which is remarkably reminiscent of Vedic teaching on the Atma, the individual soul, though it is couched in the Aristotelian teleological rhetoric of its time. Hers is an profound contribution given her Christian antecedents, silence, and unknown origins. Such silence could only be founded upon the rock of experience of Divinity. Religion means experience, according to the stream of mercy divine in Vedic teaching.

The title of Porete's book refers to the simple soul which is united with God and has no will other than His. The book was originally written in Old French, but was translated into Latin and other languages and circulated widely. Some of the language, as well as the format of a dialogue between characters such as Love, Virtue and the Soul, reflects a familiarity with the style of courtly love which was popular at the time, and attests to Porete's high level of education and sophistication.

Excerpts from the Work

You who will read this book that I have writ,'
If you will please your heed to it to lend,
Consider well what you may say of it,
For it is very hard to understand
But let Humility lead you by the hand,
She, keeper of the key to Learning's treasure-chest,
She, the first virtue, mother to all the rest.

Men of theology and scholars such as they
Will never understand this writing properly.
True comprehension of it only may
Those have who progress in humility;
You must let Love and Faith together be
Your guides to climb where Reason cannot come,
They who this house as mistresses do own.

Reason herself to us will soon proclaim
And in the thirteenth chapter witness give;
She says it openly and without shame,
That it is Love and Faith who make her live,
And she will not against their bondage strive.
These ladies are her liege lords, and for this
Always she must herself to them abase.

So you too must abase your learning now,
Built only upon Reason, and your true
And perfect trust completely you must show
In the rich gifts which Love will make to you,
And Faith will car-rse to shine in brightest hue.
So understanding of this book they'll give
Which makes the Soul the life of Love to live.

The Prologue

The Soul, touched by God and stripped bare of sin, in the first state of grace has ascended through divine grace to the seventh state of grace, which state the Soul has the fullness of her perfection through her enjoyment of God in the land of life.

Here Love speaks: I pray you, both actives and contemplatives, and those who may be brought to nothing by true Love, who will hear some of the powers of that pure love, that noble love, that exalted love of the Soul set free, and of how the Holy Spirit has set his sail in her as if she were his ship-for love, I pray, says Love, that you listen with great attention of the subtle understanding within you, for otherwise all those who hear it will misunderstand it, if they are not so themselves.

Now listen humbly to a brief story of worldly love, and understand that it applies also to divine love.

The Story

Once there was a damsel, a king's daughter, great-hearted and noble and worthy of heart; and she lived in a distant land. It happened that this damsel heard tell of all the graciousness and nobility of King Alexander, and at once she wanted to love him for the great fame of his gentle breeding. But this damsel was so far off from this great lord, on whom of her own will she had set her love, that she could neither see him nor possess him; and because of this she was often sad at heart, for no other love than this sufficed her. And when she saw that this far-off love, which within her was so near to her, was without her so far away, she thought to herself that she would comfort her sorrowful heart by making some imagined likeness of her loved one, for love of whom her heart was many a time sorely wounded. So she had a picture painted to represent the likeness of the king whom she loved, as near as she could to the appearance under which she loved him, by the affection of the love with which she was overcome; and by means of this picture and of her other rites of love"'she could imagine that the king himself was present.

The Soul

Truly, says the Soul who had this book made, I speak to you of matters similar to this. I heard tell of a most mighty king, who through his graciousness and his most gracious nobility and generosity was a noble Alexander; but he was so far away from me and I from him that I could find no comfort for myself; and to remind me of him, he gave me this book, which in some rites represents the love of him. But even though I have his picture, still I am in a distant land, and far from the palace where the mostmnoble loved ones of this lord dwell, they who are all pure and made perfectmand free by the gifts of this king with whom they dwell'

The Writer

Therefore we shall tell you how our Lord is in no way freed ...

Chapter 4 Of the noble virtue of Charity, and how she obeys no-one but Love.


Charity is obedient to no created thing, but only to Love. Charity has nothing of her own, and even if she had anything, she does not say that it is hers at all. Charity abandons her own task and goes off and does that of others. Charity asks no return from any creature, whatever good or happiness she may give. Charity knows no shame or fear or anxiety: she is so upright and true that she cannot bend, whatever happens to her. Charity takes no notice or account of anything under the sun, for the whole world is no more than superfluity and excess. Charity gives to everyone everything that she possesses, and does not withhold even herself, and in addition, she often promises what she does not possess, in her great generosity hoping that the more one gives, the more one will have left. Charity is such a shrewd business woman that she makes a profit everywhere; when others lose, she escapes from the bonds in which others become caught, and so her store of those things that are pleasing to Love multiplies greatly. And notice that if anyone was to have perfect charity he would have his affections mortified in the life of the spirit by the work of Charity.

Chapter 5 Of that life which is called the peace of charity in a life brought to nothing.


Now there is another life, which we call the peace of charity in a life brought to nothing. Of this we wish to speak, says Love, asking:

i. whether there can be found a soul
ii. who saves itself without works,
iii. who lives alone in love,
iv. who does nothing for God,
v. who does not refrain from doing anything for God,
vi. to whom one can teach nothing,
vii. from whom one can take nothing away,
viii. to whom one can give nothing,
ix. and who has no will at all?

Alas, says Love, and who will give to this Soul what she lacks, for that was never given and never will be given?


This Soul, says Love, has six wings, just as the Seraphim. She no longer wishes for anything which comes by an intermediary, for that is the proper state of being of the Seraphim there is no intermediary between her love and God's love. ...

Chapter 8 How Reason is astounded that this Soul has abandoned the Virtues, and how Love praises them.


Ah, Love, says Reason, who understands only the obvious and fails to grasp what is subtle, what strange thing is this? This Soul experiences no grace, she feels no longings of the spirit, since she has taken leave of the Virtues, which give to every pious soul a form of good life, and without these Virtues no-one can be saved or attain to perfect living, and with them no-one can be deceived; and none the less this Soul takes leave of them. Is she not out of her mind, this Soul who talks like that?


No, not at all, says Love, for souls such as she possess the Virtues better than any other creature, but they do not make use of them, for they are not in their service as they once were; and, too, they have now served them long enough, so that henceforth they may become free.


And when, Love, says Reason, did they serve them?


When they remained bound in love and obedience to you, Lady Reason, and also to the other Virtues; and they have stayed in that service so long that now they have become free.


And when did such souls become free? says Reason.


Once Love dwells in them, and the Virtues serve them with no domur and with no effort from such souls.


Ah, truly, Reason, says Love,'such souls who have become so free have known for long the bondage which Lordship is wont to exact. If anyone were to ask them what is the greatest torment which any creature can suffer, they would say that it is to dwell in Love, and yet to be subject to the Virtues. For one must yield everything they ask to the Virtues, at whatever cost to nature. And so it is that the Virtues ask honor and possessions, heart and body and life. That is that such souls should give up everything, and still the Virtues say to this Soul, which has given all this to them and has held back nothing with which to comfort Nature, that only with great suffering as the just man saved. And therefore this wretched Soul, still subject to the virtues, says that she would be willing to be hounded by Dread and suffer torment in Hell until the day of judgment, if after that she was to be saved.

And it is true, says Love, that the Soul over whom the Virtues have power lives in such subjection. But the souls of whom we speak have brought the virtues to heel, for such souls do nothing for them: but rather the Virtues do all that such souls wish, humbly and with no demur, for such souls are their mistresses.

Chapter 9 How such Souls have no will at all.


If anyone were to ask such free souls, untroubled and at peace, if they would want to be in Purgatory, they would answer No: if they would want here in this life to be assured of their salvation, they would answer No: if they would want to be in Paradise, they would answer No. Why would they wish for such things? They have no will at all; and if they wished for anything, they would separate themselves from Love; for he who has their will knows what is good for them, without their knowing or being assured of it. such souls live by knowing and loving and praising; that is the settled practice of such Souls, without any impulse of their own, for Knowledge and Love and Praise dwell within them. Such Souls cannot assess whether they are good or bad, and they have no knowledge of themselves, and would be unable to judge whether they are converted or perverted.


Or, to speak more briefly, let us take one Soul to represent them all, says Love. This Soul neither longs for nor despises poverty or tribulation, Mass or sermon, fasting or prayer; and gives to Nature all that it requires, with no qualm of conscience; but this Nature is so well ordered through having been transformed in the union with Love, to whom this Soul's will is joined, that it never asks anything which is forbidden. Such a Soul is not concerned about what it lacks, except at the needful time; and none but the innocent can be without this concern.


For God's sake, what does this mean?


I tell you in reply, Reason, says Love, as I have told you before, and yet again I tell you that every teacher of natural wisdom, every teacher of book-learning, everyone who persists in loving his obedience to the Virtues does not and will not understand this as it should be understood. Be sure of this, Reason, says Love, for only those understand it who should seek after Perfect Love. But if by chance one found such Souls, they would tell the truth if they wanted to; yet I do not think that anyone could understand them except only him who seeks after Perfect Love and Charity. …

Chapter 27. How Meditation of pure Love has only one intention.


Meditation of pure Love has only one intention, that she might always love faithfully without wishing for any reward, and the soul cannot do this unless she is deprived of herself, for Faithful Love would not deign to have any consolation which came by the soul's seeking. Truly not. Meditation of Love knows well that it is for the best that she must not exert herself except in what is her task, and that is to will perfectly the will of God.

And she leaves God to work and to order his will as he pleases; for whoever wills that God might fulfill his wish to experience his comforts does nor place his trust solely in God's goodness, but trusts rather in those gifts which he has to give out of his riches.

The soul

And without doubt, says this Soul, whoever was to love well would have no thought of receiving or asking, but would rather always wish to give, not withholding anything, so as to love faithfully; for if anyone were to have two intentions in the one, single work, the one would lose its urgency for the sake of the other. And therefore Faithful Love has only one single intention, and that is that she may always love faithfully, for she has no doubt that her beloved in his love will do that which is best, so long as she does what she must do; and so she wishes for nothing but that the will of God be done in her beloved.


She is right, says Love, for that is everything, as she too has no power to wish for anything, for her will is not her own nor in herself, but it is rather in him who loves her, and this is not his work, but it is rather the work of the whole Trinity, who work in this soul according to their will.

Chapter 28 How this Soul swims in the sea of joy.


Such a Soul, says Love, swims in the sea of joy, that is in the sea of delights flowing and streaming from the Divinity, and she feels no joy, for she herself is joy, and so she swims and flows in joy without feeling any joy, for she dwells in joy and joy dwells in her; for through the power of joy she is herself joy, which has changed her into itself. Now they have one common will, like fire and flame, the will of the lover and that of the beloved, for love has changed this soul into itself.

The Soul

Ah, sweetest, pure, divine Love, says this Soul, how sweet is this changing by which I am changed into the thing that I love better than - love myself! And I am so changed that I have therein lost my name for the sake of loving, I who can love so little; and I am changed into that which I love more? than myself, that is, into Love, for I love nothing but Love.

Chapter 29 Reason asks Love when this Soul is in the pure freedom of Love.


Now, Lady Love, says Reason, I pray you to tell me what it means when you say that the Soul is then in the true freedom of pure Love when she does nothing which is opposed to the demands of the peace of her inward being.


I shall tell you, says Love, what it means. It means that she should do nothing which is opposed to the perfect peace of her spirit. This is how the truly innocent do, says Love, and the state of being of which we speak is true innocence.

Reason, says Love, I will give you an example. See an infant which is purely innocent: does it do anything, does it refrain from doing anything, for the sake of the great or the small, if it does not please?


Indeed, Love, no, that I can see well; and so now I know the answer to my question.

Chapter 51 How this Soul is like the Deity.


It is fitting, says Love, that this Soul be like the Deity, for she has been changed into God, says Love, through which she has preserved his true form; and this was granted and given to her from all time by one alone, who has in his goodness always loved her.

The Soul

Ah, Love, says this Soul, the meaning of what has now been said has made me nothing, and the nothingness of this alone has placed me in an abyss, below what is immeasurably less than nothing. And the knowledge of my nothingness, says this Soul, has given me everything, and the nothingness of this everything, says this Soul, has deprived me of orison and prayer, and I do not pray at all.

Holy Church the Less

And what then do you do, sweetest lady and mistress over us? says Holy Church the Less.

The Soul

I rest wholly in peace, says the Soul, alone and nothing and altogether in the graciousness of the single goodness of God, without stirring myself, not with one single wish, whatever the riches that he has in him.

This is the end of my work, says this Soul, always to wish for nothing. For so long as I wish for nothing, says this Soul, I am alone in him, without myself and wholly set free, and when I wish for something, she says, I am with myself, and so I have lost my freedom. But when I wish for nothing, and have lost everything beyond my will, then I have need of nothing; being free is my support; and I want nothing from no-one.


O most precious being, says love, who have lost all your former customs, and having lost them, now have the custom of doing nothing, now are you truly most precious; for in truth this custom and this loss have been accomplished in the nothingness of your beloved, and you dwell in this nothingness says Love, in all things in his will; it is his chamber, and it pleases him to remain there.

Chapter 52 How Love praises this soul, and how she dwells in the abundance and affluence of divine Love.


O most highly born, says Love to this precious pearl, you have indeed entered into that one free dwelling place where no-one enters if he is not of your kind and of no base birth.

This soul, says Love, has entered into the abundance and affluence of divine Love, not at all, says Love, through attaining to divine knowledge, for it can never be that any understanding, however illumined, can attain to any of the affluence of divine Love; but the love of such a Soul is of the affluence of the more of this utterly divine Love (not by attaining the

understanding of Love, but by attaining to its Love which is utterly divine) that she is adorned with the ornaments of this complete peace, in which she lives and remains, and is, and was, and will be without any being. For, says Love, just as the iron is clothed in the fire, and has lost its own appearance because the fire, which has changed it into itself is the stronger, so this Soul is clothed in this more, is fed by and is changed into this more, because of its love of this more, without paying heed to the less, but dwells and is changed into this more of a peace that is ultimate and everlasting, where no-one can find her. This Soul loves in the sweet land of complete peace, and so there is nothing which can help or hurt those who love there, no created being, no given thing, not anything which God promises.


And what is there, then? says Reason.


That which never was nor will be given, that which has striped her naked and has brought her to nothing, without her caring for anything that is, without her wishing to be helped or spared by its power or its wisdom or its goodness.

The Soul speaks of her beloved and says:

He is, says this Soul, and does not lack this; and I am not, and so I know no lack. And he has given me peace, and I do not live except by peace, which is born in my soul of his gifts, without any thought; and so I can do nothing if this be not given to me. This is my all and my better. Such a state of being makes one love and one will and one work to be in two natures. This is the power possessed by the bringing to nothing in union with divine justice. This Soul lets the dead bury the dead, and the forlorn exercise the virtues, and she rests from the less in the more, but she makes use of all things. This more shows her that she is nothing, naked, without covering, and her nakedness shows her the Almighty, through the goodness of divine justice. What she sees makes her deep, wide, sublime and towering, for they make her always naked, and all and nothing, so long as they have her in their keeping.

Chapter 117 How this Soul shows that she is the example of the salvation of every creature.

And now, says the superexalted Spirit, who no longer is under Reason's domination, there is nowhere for God to put his goodness, the Spirit unless he put it in me:' he has no other resting place which would be fit for him, nor can he find anywhere where he can put all he is, except in me; and so in this I am the example of salvation; but what is yet more, the truer salvation of every creature, and the glory of God; and I shall tell you how, why and in what. It is because I am the sum of all evils. For of my own nature contain what evil is, and so I am all evil. And he who is the sum of all good contains in himself of his own nature all goodness; and so he is all goodness and one must give alms to the very poorest, or else one deprives him of what is rightfully his; and God can do no wrong, for so he would unmake himself.

And so his goodness is mine because of my need, and through the just nature of his pure goodness. Now I am all evil and he is all good, whereby I must have all his goodness, before the evil that is in me can be stifled; nor can my destitution be relieved by anything less. And his goodness could not endure, because it is mighty and valiant, that I should beg; and a beggar I must needs be if he does not give me all his goodness, because I am all evil, for anything less than the whole of the abundance of all his goodness cannot fill up the abyss of the depths of my own evil. And through this means I have, from his pure goodness, in me, through goodness, all his divine goodness, and I have had it from all time, and shall have it evermore; for he always knew of this need, and so I have always had it in the knowledge of his divine wisdom, by the will of his pure divine goodness, by the work of his divine power. For otherwise I should have perished, if he had not always used me so. And therefore I say that I am the salvation of every creature and the glory of God. Just as Christ by his death is the redemption of his people and the praise of God the Father, so I, because of my evilness, am the salvation of the human race and the glory of God the Father.

The Soul

Just so I tell you, says this Soul, has God the Father poured forth within me all his goodness, and he has given it to me. Which goodness of God it is given to the human race to know through the means of evil and so it is clearly the case that I am the everlasting praise of God, and the salvation of the human creature, for the salvation of every creature is nothing else than the knowledge of the goodness of God, which goodness of God does me such goodness, this goodness will be known by them through me, nor would it ever be known, were it not for my evil. And therefore, since it is through my evil that the divine goodness is known by them, and since their salvation is nothing else than to know the divine goodness, I then am the cause of the salvation of every creature, for the goodness of God is known by them through me. And since the goodness of God is known through me, I am his only glory and his only praise. For his glory and his praise are nothing else than the knowledge of his goodness. For our salvation rests in nothing else, nor does his whole will, than in knowing his divine goodness and I am the cause of this. For the goodness of his pure nature is known through my cruel nature. I have no other claim to have received his goodness other than because of my evil.

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.


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 cannot 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 spoken. 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 knowledge;
We know it through true Wisdom
[Note: Sophia and Shekina are both feminine forms}:
Her splendor makes us completely luminous.


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 said.
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 not 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 full 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 speak 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: Here the Soul begins her song.


[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 thorough 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 through 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 from 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 beauty 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.

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 enterprise 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 from 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.

Chapter 138 How the Soul returns to her first state.

Now this Soul has her being in this first state of being which is her true state of being, and so she has forsaken three, and out of two she has made one. But when does this one come into being? This simple state performed through Charity in the Soul whatever the Soul performs, for the will has become simple; and this simple will has no work to perform since it has conquered the necessity of two natures, where will was given for the simple state of being. And this simple will, which is divine will, places the Soul in the divine state of being; no-one can rise higher, can descend deeper can any longer be a human being. Let whoever wishes to understand this be on his guard against the wiles of Nature, for as imperceptibly as the sun draws out the moisture from a drying cloth, which no-one can see even if he watches for it, so can Nature be deceived without one's realising it, if the Soul after her many experiences is not on her guard.

Chapter 139 How wily Nature is in several matters.

Ah, God! how wily Nature is in several matters, asking as if for a kindness and as though she were in need of that to which she has no claim. Truly what she asks for is often dangerous; for through using such stratagems shc often obtains what is not her own, and strips herself of her power and vigor and of her own natural excellence. I have experienced this to my great misfortune, but yet this has been to my great good fortune, far surpassing all that I had to do through my own evil, in the divine knowledge, without my knowing. But this divine knowledge and rest were what blocked the way to my own country, hiding from me what had to be done, when I ought to have followed Humility to find my way. And so by this I have lost that which was my own, which never was mine when I had it sometimes indeed it does happen that in the whole of a kingdom one could not find two creatures who were of one spirit, but when by chance it happens that two such creatures find one another, they declare themselves one the other, unable to disguise themselves, for even if they wished to they could not, such is their state of spirit, their constitution their way of life to which they are called, if they have not attained the peak or the perfection of freedom.

And therefore, to conclude, I tell you that if God has given you his sublime creation, his excelling light, his incomparable love confirm and multiply that creation without failing; for God's two eyes are always considering you and if you ponder and consider this well, such consideration makes the Soul simple.

Deo gratias Explicit'
For him who has copied this book
I pray to you in your goodness of heart
To Pray to the Father and the Son,
The Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
That after this Present life
in the company of the angels
He may give thanks and praise to God'