Old Hungarian Lament of Mary

Leuven codex 2
Leuven codex 1
Old Hungarian Lament of Mary 1
The earliest known Hungarian poem, the second Hungarian linguistic relic. It was discovered in 1922, as a "guest text" in a manuscript called the Leuven Codex, which contained Latin sermons. The 37 lines of Hungarian text is a 13th century copy full of mistakes, the original one comes from half a century before. The preliminaries of the Hungarian translation was a Parisian Augustine canon's, Godofredus de Sancto Victore's (+ 1194) sequence called "Planctus ante nescia". The two-beat line, 12-verse Hungarian version containing verses of free numbers of syllables is freer than the Latin version concerning the rhyme and rhythmic structure. It is not a word by word translation, but a free rewriting, in which several elements of medieval Latin poetry can be found. The author represents the crying Virgin Mary in front of Christ, who calls either the onlookers or her son in her helpless pain. Troops, addressings, alliterations and parallelisms free from Latin or translated in a creative way suggest that the author was a skilled and talented Hungarian poet. Hungarian translations of poetry from the 15th and beginning of the 16th centruries do not reach the high standards of this early work. The Leuven Codex is kept in Budapest in the Széchényi Library since 1982.