BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
THE JAMES MARSHALL AND MARIE-LOUISE OSBORN
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
John Gower, Confessio Amantis (Middle English poem), Minor Latin
and French poems. England; ca. 1400. Parchment; i + 199 + i ff.; 350 x
270 mm.; 2 columns, 42 lines.
I (8, -1), II (8), III (8, -7), IV (8), V (8, -5), VI-XXV (8),
XXVI (2, single leaves). Catchwords at the end of quires I-X, XII, XV-
XVI, XX Quire marks in quires II-IX (d-l, omitting j), XI-XII (n-o), XV
(s), traces in quires XIV-XV, XVIII, XXI, XXIII; Quires II-IV in red,
others in text ink.
Anglicana Script (Scribes 1 and 2); Secretary script (Scribe 3).
There are red and blue 1-3 line initials at small and large paragraphs
breaks. Books II (f. 13r), V (76r), VI (125r), VII (140r), and VIII
(175v) contain initials with full page demi-vignette borders in gold,
red, blue, green, orange, and brown. Rubrications at running titles,
initials, Latin commentary. Bound in yellow morocco on wooden boards by
Douglas Cockerell and Son, 1962.
Sir George Meyrick, Bart., sold at Christie's, 19 July 1961, lot
167. Bought by Maggs Bros. Appeared in Laurence Witten's Cat. 5 (1961),
item 24. Bought by James M. Osborn. Bequest of Mr. Osborn in 1976.
Comments: The manuscript is missing the first and third quires,
the third becoming separated at least by 1945 when it was sold by
Sotheby's (27 March 1945, lot 455). The manuscript is stained by mildew
throughout. Sir George Meyrick, Bart., who sold the manuscript after
his father's death in 1960, said that the manuscript had been in his
family's possession for over 100 years and that in 1775 the house was
almost destroyed by fire. Many family papers were lost and perhaps it
was then that the manuscript became damp and mildewed. The text of the
manuscript is the third recension of the Confessio Amantis, written in
1392-93. Also contained are the Latin and French poems "Explicit iste
liber," "Epistola super huius," "Quam cinxere," "Traitie," "Carmen de
variis in amore passionibus," and "Carmen super multiplici viciorum
pestilencia." The manuscript was produced around 1400 or the beginning
of the fifteenth century in the same manner as the other surviving
manuscripts from this time, presumably under the author's supervision.
Macauley, G. C. The English Works of John Gower, EETS 1900-01.
To request this material for use in the Beinecke reading room, please go to Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog.