BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
THE JAMES MARSHALL AND MARIE-LOUISE OSBORN
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
The Pricke of Conscience (Middle English Poem). Southern England;
ca. 1450. Parchment. vii + 138 ff. (ff. 1 and 55 are blank and modern).
240 x 155 mm. 1 column, 32 lines.
I-XVIII (8), XIX (4). Lacks XIX 4; ff. 1 and 55 are missing and
have been replaced with blank modern leaves. Catchwords for every
quire. Quire marks and signatures are preserved in about half of the
Anglicana formata. Initials with gold, blue and red at the
beginning of each of the seven chapters. Other capitals in blue or red.
The lines at the beginnings of chapters and other sections are
rubricated. Bound in leather over boards in the seventeeth century.
Tobias Beauclerk bought the manuscript at John Ives' sale, March
6, 1777; sold June 6, 1781 to E. Burton, Fellow of Trinity Coll.
Cambridge. Bought at James Webb's sale July, 1804 by Richard Heber.
Bought at Heber's sale, 1836 by Sir Thomas Phillipps (MS 8343). Sold
June 12, 1896 (lot 596) to Quaritch; sold at Sotheby's, March 17, 1911
(lot 594) to Bertram Dobell; Sir Walter Greg; sold at Hodgson's (March,
1954). Bought from Francis Edwards, 1954. Bequest of James M. Osborn,
Comments: The Prick of Conscience, also called the Stimulus
Conscientiae, was written in the 14th century and was one of the most
popular poems of its time. The poem is often attributed to Richard
Rolle of Hampole (d. 1349), but his authorship is doubtful (see Hope
Emily Allen, "Writings Ascribed to Richard Rolle Hermit of Hampole,"
New York, 1928). On f. 1 is the signature of Walter Greg, who has
written a history of the MS. on ff. ii-iii. F. iv has several notices
of where and by whom the book was sold and bought. The text begins at
line 32, "And no quyk creature bot thay." Lines 3672-3742 are missing
at blank f. 55. Lines 9479-9614 are missing between ff. 138 and 139.
This manuscript is listed in the "Index of Middle English Verse" no.
To request this material for use in the Beinecke reading room, please go to Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog.