The Bele Alis Sermon: Homiletic Song and Dance

  • Robert A. Taylor
  • Wendy Pfeffer
  • Randall A. Rosenfeld
  • Lys Ann [Shore] Weiss


This article provides a study and edition of a unique text, a Latin sermon based on the text of a popular Old French dance-song. The attribution of the text in Mss. A and C to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been challenged but has not yet been convincingly disproved. Analysis of the sermon reveals a complex inner structure that interlinks the popular song with its Marian interpretation by a series of subtle echoes and suggestive images. The study of the sermon's architecture sheds new light on the intertextuality and interpretation of the concurrent voices in polytextual motets. A new critical edition of the text is furnished, utilizing all seven manuscripts, based on Ms. A, translated into English for the first time.
How to Cite
Taylor, R. A., Pfeffer, W., Rosenfeld, R. A., & Weiss, L. A. [Shore]. (2007). The Bele Alis Sermon: Homiletic Song and Dance. Florilegium, 24, 173 - 191. Retrieved from
Language, Linguistics, and Lexicography / Langue, linguistique et lexicographie