Hadewijch : The Madness of Love

Although Hadewijch (13th c. ) was one of the most significant of the medieval Flemish and Dutch mystical writers, very little is known of her life. She was from Brabant, in what is now Belgium, and judging from her writing, was well educated. She was probably the head of a Beguine community; the Beguines took no vows but lived together seeking a life of simplicity and service. The writings of Hadewijch were collected and studied by the 14th c. mystic John Ruysbroeck, but then fell into obscurity.

The madness of love
Is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.

Translation Oliver Davies

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