By some inexplicable accident of literary history, The Orchard of Syon, in the nearly five hundred years of its existence, has not found its critical editor, nor is there any study of it available to readers. The first to rescue it from oblivion was Sir Richard Sutton, steward of Syon Monastery in the early sixteenth century, who, as Wynkyn de Worde informs us, found it ‘in a corner by it selfe’ and deemed it worthy of costly publication. Although it belongs to a body of medieval literature which has been in recent years the object of much critical research by medievalists, the work has, so far as modern readers are concerned, continued for over four centuries to lie ‘in a corner by it selfe.’ The energetic surge of vernacular devotional prose in the fourteenth century, not only in England, but in Italy, Germany, and Flanders — countries whose spiritual climate must have been especially favorable to mysticism — did not recede in the fifteenth century. Following upon the age of Chaucer, this century may seem to some present-day scholars literarily poor and unproductive, but it was a great age of English prose; an age, that is, when translations and experiments with original prose in the vernacular were building on the past, borrowing from other languages to meet the needs of the present, and shaping the prose of the future. The Orchard of Syon is an important specimen of this emerging prose, as well as of current devotional literature. Its connection with Syon Monastery, renowned in the history of England and of the Church, gives it added prestige.