The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.14.39-40
Manuscript Title B.14.39: English Poetry etc; B.14.40: Femina etc
Alternative Title English Poetry, etc Femina.
James Number 323-324
Date B.14.39: Cent. xiii.; B.14.40: Cent. xv.
Century 13th15th
Physical Description

B.14.39 and B.14.40 are bound together as one volume.

Provenance Given by ? At the bottom of f.1 is an erased inscription of ownership or provenance (xv). The occurence of verses on Robert Grosseteste (f.83) may be construed as bearing on the provenance of the MS.
Second Folio B.14.39: quorum gradus; B.14.40: A sondre
Size (cm) 20 x 15
Folio B.14.39: ff. 87; B.14.40: ff. 93
Material Parchment
Language LatinMiddle EnglishMiddle French
Collation 18 216 312 wants 12 (? blank), 412 | 510 | 68-88 94 (+2*) ǁ a12-e12 (12 canc.) f12 g12 h10.

This book was missing from the Library for 33 years, from 1863 to 1896. It had been accidentally removed from Cambridge among the books belonging to a former Fellow who was ceasing to reside in College, and the box in which it had been packed remained unopened until his death. Sir Frederick Madden in the year 1843 made a transcript of almost the whole volume. This transcript has now been given to the Library by W. Aldis Wright, M.A., Vice-Master. It is classed as B.14.40a. Hickes, who used the volume rather copiously in his Thesaurus, generally calls it the 'codex consutus Coll. Trin. Cantabr.'

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 29/05/2019


Professor Skeat is of the opinion that the scribe was a Norman.

I: B.14.39

1. f.1 De ordine Creaturarum. 28 lines to a page
Uniuersalis dispositio bifaria ratione debet intelligi in domino uidelicet et rebus . hoc est in creaturis et creatore.
The last (16th) chapter is De futura uita.
Ending f.19:
curabo deum placere curantes animas hominum penitus non timemus.
Explicit De ordine Creaturarum.

2. f.19 In another hand only slightly later
Otide te munio (=moneo) . verbo . scripto tibi monstro
transis ab hoc seclo largus . pauperibus esto.
Debita solue tua peccati pondere pensa
Tune absolueris et habebis gaudia lucis
Vid word . ⁊ wrid ic Warne þe sire ode:
Dele al þi goid . pouere þad hawit neode;
Quite dettes . ⁊ scrive (or -þe) of sinful deede.
þu salt ben idemet in þuse þridede nicste;
þi goid . þin evel . idemit sul ben riste
Wun so wel . þat þu þenne come to liste.
Mane techel phares . vigili cum mente vorares
Rapta resignabis . et meliora dabis.
De marmien(?) . þu deþis ezechiell} serif þe wat itide
Biþeue þe nu suiþe wel}
þeil agein . þat þu hauis mis nomen} þe bere maist
god þe hat . þat is us bouen} þu glide (?).

3. f.19b In another hand
a. Quando sacerdos uelit se reuestiri amictam ponendo primo dicit etc.
Prayers at the vesting with amice, tunic, cingulum,
maniple, stole, chasuble.
b. A story.
Quidam miles habuit filiam et eam carnaliter cognouit
-et predicator ille moriebatur pre gaudio.

4. f.20 In another hand: 37 lines on a page
The Life of St Margaret.
Printed in Hickes, Thesaurus, i. 224-231, and from Hickes's edition by Cockayne E. E. T. S. 1866.
Olde ant yonge ipreit ou . oure folies for to lete.
xvith cent. scribbles on f.21. Noli altum sapere.
Ends f.24. Amen amen . checun die amen.

5. f.24 In the same hand: Poem in French and English
Ihesu crist le fi ’ marie cil ke tut le munde fist.
Ends: Ihesu þi blisse us bi see for þi swete moder loue.
Facsimile in Hickes Thes. i. 144, of 19 lines.

6. f.24b The same hand. Poem in English and Latin, the Latin words in red at first
Seinte mari moder milde mater saluatoris,
Ends: þe foule put inferni.

7. f.25 In another hand: two columns
V. gaudia.
Seinte marie leuedi brist
yov let me neuer be fur lorn.
Printed in Reliq. Antiq. 1840, i. 48.

8. In cruce sum pro te si peccas desine pro me
sic homo diligo te sic victima pendeo pro te
vt viuas morior: non est dileccio maior.
In pale ink:
bisete thine poueþis sire eode
þeng on poremonnis neode
betere þe were of god mede
þenne in helle mid veinde breden.
f.25b semel periurus semper periurius exstat
Wose is ene firsuorent he is ever firt
bote he come to amendement.
lif ⁊ soule he Wrt iscent.
Cum defunctus eris quid copia proderit eris
Si viuens dederis tunc dator aptus eris
Dum potes esto dator . alius veniet dominator rerum . resque tuas arguet esse suas.

9. f.25b In a larger hand: two columns
Ful feir flour is þe lilie
þer is blisse buten ende
Ihesu crist us þider sende.

10. f.26 In a better hand, two columns
Latin texts followed by English verse equivalents.
Justum deduxit dominus per uias rectas
et ostendit illi regnum dei
yc ou rede ye sitten stille.
Ends: quod nobis et vobis prestare dignetur qui viuit et regnat deus per omnia sec. sec.
Respice mentem . discite morem . acta reuolue.
semper in hiis et ab his poteris cognoscere quid sis.

11. f.27 Col. 2: hand like that of no.9, 22 lines
Nou is mon holi and seint
⁊ of alle ben lot . þat her þe ve lewe.

12. f.27b Subjects of self-examination, attached to the thumb and four fingers: in another hand
Pollex. meditandum quod mortaliter peccaueris, etc.

13. f.27b Short notes in the hand of no 4
Ki deit . eseit. efeit . epeit. sel. seriaunt blamer neestuit
si acun seit cil ne voile . dreit est que sel seriaunt doile.
b. Bi þench þe Wat þe wole bitiden yf þou so dest.
ar þou biginne þat þou habbe god endinge.
c. Ic chule bere to wasscen doun iþe toun
(Þ)at was blac ant þat was broun.
d. Penaunce is in herte reusinge etc. (six lines).
e. Nulla certa cleri debet in uertice geri
Nisi sit roseum tunc bene decet eum.
f. In another hand: nine lines.
Parce mero cenare caue non sit tibi uanum.
g. f.28 At top of page
Non similis vento dum vir bonus esse memento.
h. Saþ me viit in þe brom
teche me wou i sule don
þat min hosebonde
me louien wolde.
Hold þine tunke stille . ⁊ hawe al þine wille.
i. Queritur egestus (aegisthus) quare sit confectus adulter.
In promptu causa est desidiosus erat.
k. Godefrey þe guede . he deode asse vnhede
he made gille prut fort . a secutor of al is goid
Al þat heuere so doit . crist of heuene wrþe hem wroit.
l. hic am michel of airas
Wl sone ic am virþeten alas.
m. A þeif of is treunesse [treuuesse?] to widnesse [widuesse?] drou
crist ⁊ seinte marie þat dude muche wou
Onfreis children beid heo strupte for soit;
At euesonc a morewen wel lutel her heo loit.
n. longe scleparis ouer leparis ⁊ ouer kipparis (3 lines).
o. A vidue pouere was ⁊ freo (10 lines).
p. Oculi cum occultentur
atque aures obturentur, 6 lines.
q. Wenne þin eþen beit ihut: ⁊ þin heren beoit idut, 4 lines.
r. f.28b Non humilis paruus, 2 lines
English equivalent. Wen þ e rede is god, 2 lines.
s. Ysay (=Ysidorus) de summo bono, note of 5 short lines.
t. Note from Gregory.
u. Dole et dic etc.
Sorue ⁊ sai etc.
Other short Latin notes.
v. Gaude uirgo mater christi que per aurem concepisti, etc.
Glade us maiden moder milde
þurru þin herre þu were wid childe etc.
w. f.29 In tabulis binis lex est subscripta petrinis, 7 lines
Hawe on god in Wrchipe etc., 8 lines.
x. Epitaphs. Mag. Petrus Lombard. Aspice quid prodest transacti temporis etas, 4 lines.
y. f.29b Mag. Guy. Esse fuisse fore tria florida sunt sine flore, 2 lines
z. M. Michael. Esto sator morum mors est in fine laborum
Sis parratus ei ne labat ordo rei.

14. f.29b Poem in long lines
In an þestrei stude ic stod a lutel strif to iheren.
Debate between Soul and Body, see Wright, Appendix to Poems of Walter Mapes, Camd. Soc. 346 sqq.
Ends f.32:
⁊ þe blisse of hevene mid engles into wenden.
Followed by six lines in the same hand:
M. petrus de bristoldia.
Arta nimis domus est. omnes (?) fastigia tangunt
Pectora frons nasum brachia crura pedes.
The others from Ovid and Boethius.

15. f.32b In double columns: twelve stanzas of ten lines
On leome is in þis world ilist
Þer of is muchel pris
A risen is god ⁊ þat is rist
From deþe to lif
Ends: þat lesten sal eueir more.

16. f.33b Another page of miscellaneous notes in Latin and English, in one hand
Eight lines beginning:
Nullum peccatum pro paruo sit reputatum.
Three more Latin lines:
Res uilis simplex sed fructum vim tibi reddens.
Latin note:
Querendus est deus unde in prouerb. xxviii. Viri mali requirunt dominum etc.
English equivalent:
Yuele men goid þe siechen etc.
Two Latin lines on the deadly sins, and two other notes.

17. f.34 In the hand of no.4
Hit wes upon a scereþoresday þat vre louerd aros.
One page:
Þou woll fur sake me þrien . ar þe coc him crowe.
Reliq. Antiq. i. 144.

18. f.34b A sermon (attributed sometimes to Stephen Langton) in the hand of no.9?
Bele alis matyn se leua etc.
Legimus quod de omni verbo ocioso.
See MS. [London, British Library] Arundel 292.

19. f.35 In a larger hand
Wolle ye iheren of twelte day . Wou þe present was i-broust.
Þenc þou mon þat tou ne bee lorn: for alle dedis þat tou doest.

20. f.36 In the hand of no.15
Louerd asse þu ard on god ever buten hende
Þou þat lesedest adam • ut of helle bende.
On the lower margin of ff.36-38, 41b, 42a; are contemporary English lines (? supplements to the text) in pencil.
ff.37-39 (? 40) 43-46 are palimpsest. The older writing is French, early xiiith cent.? in long lines.
The poem treats of the Fall of the Angels, Adam and Eve, the O.T. history, all shortly; then the life of Christ. At the end it mentions the Apostles and some other saints, Vincent, Blase, Nigase, Gregori, Cuthbert.
Ends f.42:
Louerd seint cucbrit wið þewes wite me þes niet.
Ate feste of seint benedist
Þenne is þe dai euene wid þe nist
nim þenne mone of foirtennist
Þe necste sunedai þer hestes paske rist.

21. f.42b Two short pieces of verse, probably the same hand
a. Liuis firist and licames hele, 7 or 8 lines.
b. Leuedie ic þenke þe wid herte suiþe milde, 8 lines.

22. f.43 In the hand of no.20?
Wenne hi þenche on domes dei ful sore ime adrede.
Ends f.45b.
and bring us at hure endesid in to houene liste. Amen.

23. f.46 Notes and verses in Latin, English and French
a. Lento pede procedit diuinitas etc.
Godis wreche late arecheit
An wonne he smit • ful sore he hit.
b. Quanto longiorem pacienciam ante iudicium dominus erogauit etc.
Eueir asse mon liuit lengore
so is dom iwrt strengore.
c. Arta erit nimis uia reprobis etc.
Quant vus verret la terre ardant autour vus.
Alas cheitif dolerus • penet vus tus iurus (7 lines).
d. Augustine on the church militant.
e. Lingua latina potens • ebreaque religiosa.
f.46b Greca fuit sapiens • tribus hiis crux intitulatur
f. On the wood of the cross, cedar, palm, cypress, olive, followed by Latin verses.
g. Couplet on bad government. Latin.
h. f.47 Longum constantem latum designat amorem
Et pax alta quidem denotat ima fidem vnde dicit S. Edmundus in predicacione sua. Ceo deit auer li precheor long dolur et le amur • et haute peis et fei adeis.
i. Dixerunt impii iudei si filius dei es descende de cruce et dixit petrus et Johannes si fi. dei est non descendat d. c. quia non decet dei filium opus patris relinquere imperfectum.
k. Novit deus mutare sententiam etc. 4 lines.
l. Verses in Latin and English on the beasts produced by various parts of the dead body.
Ex cerebro bufo • de spina scorpio • venter Asscaridum etc.
Wose wartt wid pritte abeit amadde
Of heore brein wl waccen a cadde (or tadde) etc. (10 lines).
m. f.47b On caritas and dileccio
n. Cum sit gleba tibi turris etc.
Wen þe turuf is þi tuur etc.
o. Ber(nardus) clamat si rex es ubi est aula regia etc.
Of one stable was is halle etc.
p. On obedience, virtues, riches, and a note of Augustine, 9 lines in all. Latin.

24. f.48 In double columns of 38 lines: in a fresh hand
Legend of St Nicholas in French verse, attributed to Robert Wace.
De sein nicholas ai pense
Vn seint de grant autorite.
Ends f.56b
Ke oud li regner pusum
In secula seculorum amen.
Collect for St Nicholas in Latin.
Hickes Thes. i. 144, facsimile of 20 lines: quotes it on p.149, 154 etc.

25. f.56b In another hand
Veni sancte spiritus: a French version follows each stanza, beginning:
Seint espiritz Vous venez.

26. f.57 In another hand: ten lines of a French poem on Ezekiel
En tere de labour et de promissiun
Esteyt vn prophete ia ezechiel out nun.
Tant oyt et aprist de totus escriptures
Kil saueyt de le temps tote les ouentures
Two lines in a hand of cent. xiv, xv.
pastorum / pas / ture / prime / tas
Judice / lorum / petrus / ma / lorum
[These lines should be read:
Pastorum rumpas pasture reprime metas
Judice celorum rumpeter (l. petur for Petrus) turma malorum.]
Three-quarters of a column cut out here.
f.57b is blank.

27. f.58 In another set hand: double columns of 33 lines
Tales upon the Gospels in French verse.
In illo tempore dixit Ihesus discipulis suis Erunt signa
Vns curtilers prudume esteit
Ki deu amout e deu cremeist.
In sixteen sections, ending f.72:
Ke pussum lesser coueitise
E venir a celestre eglise.
Part of the l0th was printed from this MS. in 1844, by T. Wright, S. Patrick's Purgatory, p.11.

28. f.72 Perhaps in the same hand
Senur ensample aiez de ben.
Ne seet coueitus de ren.
Ends: car il le quide tut dis aueir.
Then in later hand:
louerd sau me bout'(?) wit blod opon
þe tre þe he ’e ioie in heuene. .

29. f.73 In a smaller hand
Sermo communis.
Ki ke faus souent en diz
tut iurs irat de mal en piz.
Murir quant deu plera
Saches ke ceo ws sauuera. .

30. f.73 In the same hand
Sermo de die pasce
Offeras deo angnum immaculatum per Ihesum christum
[Offeras deo glossed 'o fili patri'; agnum immaculatum glossed '.i. animam mundam'; Ihesum christum glossed 'spcm̅ scm̅'.] .

31. f.74 In a similar hand to 20: 35 lines to a column
On the Passion of Christ.
Seignurs plaist uus escuter
Cum deus uuint entere pour nus sauuer.
Ends f.80b:
Issi uus pussil sauuer
E sa glorie amener. Amen. .

32. f.80b Hic incipiunt proverbia Marie Magdalene
Sachet ke souent mustre le mere
Si li home est fel ou debonere.
Twelve lines, ending:
Fol semblant fet fol reduter
E bel semblant prodoume amer. .

33. f.80b In the hand of 29, 30
Hic incipit oratio Salomonis.
Domine Ihesu Christe non possum corporaliter celum ascendere et te deum sabbaoth in maiestate sedentem attingere.
Ends: quantum in tua bonitate confido. .

34. f.81 In the hand of 31.
Effects of the seven deadly sins: in tabular form.
Orgul fet home. A uanter sei de benes kul nat pas ensei etc.
A few lines are added: one is a proverb, Ky le pendu dependera sur sun col le fet cheyra.

35. f.81b Exemplum de b. Virgine et gaudiis eius
Nu þis fules singet . hand maket . hure blisse.

36. Hand of 30.
Aliud exemplum de eodem.
On hire is al mi lif ylong.

37. Exemplum de auaris et diuitibus. Ille qui de summa sede maiestatis • descendit in uterum plenum sanctitatis. Short Latin notes in two hands follow: they are not interesting. .

38. f.82b Hand of 29,30. Sermo communis plì m.
Deu uus dura grant honur
E grant ioþ (sic) E grant vigur (þ written throughout for y). Ends.
Ke nul hume ne pet pencer
En le cel ke tant est cler.
A quatrain in the same hand
Si ws seiz meseger Suncte sage8 eleger
Mensunges ia ne trouet
Ke mal facit ws teuet.

39. f.83 In another hand, paler ink
Epitaph on Robert (? Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln).
Lucifer ecclesie cecidit fons ille sophie.
25 lines ending:
In petra solium jam soli citante meretur.
Five more lines in another metre
Alme pater doctor morum forma factus subditorum vita verbo opere
Informator tui gregis verbo doces acta regis vita das proficere.
Carne purus carni durus carnem domas aspere
Jam solutus carne tutus celo gaudens viuere
Quo Roberte pater per te possimus pertingere.
Hickes Thes. i. 144, facsimiled.

40. f. 83b In another hand. Four piece of Latin (prayers and verses) with equivalents in English verse.
a Aspice mitissime conditor (6 lines).
Þu þad madist alle þinc (8 lines).
b Respice in faciem christi tui (4 lines).
Wole seþe on rode Ihesus is lef mon (7 lines).
c purpura cum bisso dignum te fecit abysso (4 lines).
Nu þu vnseli bodi upon bere list (9 lines).
Jam innocenciam abel audiui • obedienciam habrahe etc.
Abel wes looset in treunesse
Habraham in bousumness etc.

41. the same hand. Seven proverbs in Latin verse. Sunt tria vu que me mestificant nocte dieque etc.

42. f.85 In double columns of 35 lines: hand like that of ff. 36 spp.
Proverbs of Alfred.
At siforde setin kinhis monie.
See Rel. Ant.i.170, Kemble, Salomon & Saturn, 226.
Skeat, Cambridge Philological Society, 1897.

43. f.87b Definitions of love etc. in Latin.
Est amor vt species • timor vt genus vnde timore.
Couplet in another hand.
Sunt mea si qua dedi fuerant mea si qua comedi
Si qua remanserunt ea non mea set perierunt.

II, B.14.40

Cent. xv (1420) in rather greenish ink: 24 lines to a page. 2 fo. A sondre.

1. Liber iste vocatur femina quia sicut femina docet infrantem loqui maternam sic docet iste liber juuenes rethorice loqui gallicum prout infra patebit.
Capm primum docet rethorice loqui de assimilitudine bestiarum.
Beaua enfantb pour apprendre
En franceisc deuez biend entendre
Fayre chyld for to lerne
In frensh ȝe schal wel vnderstande. The italic letters over the French words refer to the lower margin where there are explanatory notes.
Beaua debet legi beva.
Hickes, Thes. i. p. 154 etc., quotes the 'Foemina' at some length. An index follows ending 146b. Qui scripsit carmen sit benedictus amen. Expl. Femina noua.

2. f. 147 The two following leaves have lists of French numerals, days of the week, pronouns; and also conjugations of the verbs amo, sum, volo.

3. f.149 Dialogues in French. "The date of this work is fixed by one of the speakers alluding to the siege set before Harfleur in 1415 by Henry V, and his having captured the town and afterwards fought the battle of Agincourt, and the arrival of the prisoners in London". (F. Madden).
Sire boun iour • iour a vous. ends 154
iij douszeyns plateaux iij doszeins esquiles et iij dos. saucers.

4. f.155 Notes on French grammar, in Latin.
Primo sciendum est quod literarum alie sunt vocales.
These seem unfinished. 158a is blank.

5. f.158b The arabic figures from 1 to 40, and then by tens, hundreds and thousands up to 20, 000.
Sequitur de significacione figurarum in serie positarum, 8 lines.

6. Versus de sancta Cera.
Balsamus et vnda cera cum crismate munda.
Conficiunt agnum hoc munus do tibi magnum. 9 lines.

7. f.159 Le manere de Salutacion et escriture as diuers degrees
Nous vous mandoms et chargeoms.
Sunza autre comencement sil plest a lest.
Ends 162 qils fuessent plus pres al sanc roail.
Hic finitur ortographia gallica.

8. f.162 Jam inc. modus composicionis literarum tam in latinis quam in gallicis.
Nota quod pro dictamine missiuarum cognoscendo primo sciendum est quod oportet habere respectum ad gradum partium.
The first model-letter is
De patre filii ad eius magistrum causa informacionis.
The letter are in Latin and in French. For the latter a different and more regular and set hand is often employed.
The last is
De Rege as archiepiscopum in French. Edward to Simon (Sudbury) hearing that the latter does great grievance to our dear cousin T.S.
Facta componendi secundum nouum vsum curie et primo de carta Feodi simplicis (8 lines).
Then a story in french (four pages).
Ma mie ie vous emprie quil ne vous displest point de la compte qui ie vous compteray...
Iadys y auoit en Burgayne vne dame bien gentyl et sage. - Dount ie prie a dieu quil vous vuille bien garder de eux. Amen.


Brantley, J., Reading in the Wilderness: Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England (Chicago, London, 2007)

Hirsch, J. C., The Earliest Known English Ballad : a New Reading of 'Judas', Modern Language Review 103, no.4 (Leeds, 2008) p. 931-939

Laing, M., Confusion WRS Confounded : Litteral Substitution Sets in Early Middle English Writing Systems, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 3. C (Helsinki, 1999) p. 251-70

Maddern, F., Transcript of B.14.39-40 (1843). See B.14.40*

Morgan, N., and R. M. Thomson, The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain. Vol.2, 1100-1400 (Cambridge, 2008)

Purdie, R., Anglicising Romance : Tail-Rhyme and Genre in Medieval English Literature, Studies in Medieval Romance (Cambridge, 2008)

Speed, D. P., 'The presentation of the poem beginning louerd asse þu ard on god in Cambridge, Trinity College MS. B.14.39', Parergon, New Series, 31 (2), January 1996, pp. 166-178

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