The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark O.2.14
Manuscript Title

Aristotle, Secreta Secretorum; Maurice de Sully, Sermons; Bestiary

Alternative Title

Secreta Secretorum.sermones Mauritii etc Gallice.

James Number 1118
Century 13th15th
Physical Description

Two volumes: (1) 39 lines to a page, (2) double columns of 33 lines, in a clear good hand.


Part of the Gale collection, given to T.C.C. by Roger Gale in 1738. B. 60. No. 126.


At the top of the page is a mark (xvi) which I think shews that the volume once belonged to Dr John Dee; I cannot however trace it in the Catalogue of the MSS. (ed. Halliwell Camd. Soc. 1842) unless it be no. 39, Liber Physiologi de natura animalium et bestiarum pergameno. 8vo.The mark is in the form of two -rum abbreviations consisting of a 2-shaped R with cross-bar through leg.

Second Folio mult tost
Donor Gale, Roger (1672-1744), Antiquary
Size (cm) 23.5 x 16.5
Folio 107 ff.
Material Parchment
Language LatinMiddle French

I. 112: II. 18-38 46 58-128 13? (one left).

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I. In a current hand: the tops of the letters in the upper line are carried up into the border:
The Secreta Secretorum Aristotelis.
The first page much discoloured and hardly legible.
There are the usual four prologues.
f.3 Capitula
f.4 Text. Fili gloriose
Ends imperfectly in the chapter
De conseruacione sanitatis etc.

II. 1. f.13 Sermones Mauritii Parisiensis episcopi
In French verse.
Or escutez mult ducement
Gardez quil nait parlement
La passion deu entendez
Coment il fu pur nus penez.
Ends f.24b
Issi nus puisset il saluer
E nosz almes de peines deliurer,
Cum il pur nus suffri la mort
E fist a nus grant confort. Amen.
2. f.24b Roman des Romans (see Bull. Soc. Anc. Text. Franc. 1880, p.68)
Ici comence li romanz des romanz
Mult deit boens estre kar li nons est granz.
The first hand ends on f.32
Deus est si plains de grant piete
Queil lui eust sun pecchie pardone.
Then a rather later hand adds twenty lines
Ore le priuns dune ententinement
Qui descendi pur nostre saluement...
Cheualer est et aime sainte eglise
Deus li otreit finir en son seruise.
Si plus ia ioe nen puis mes
A ceste parole ioe metes.
3. f.32b Hic incipit prologus super bestiarium Willelmi normanni qui fecit hunc librum translatum a latino in romanum tempore regis Iohannis quando anglia erat interdicta (Hist. Litt. xvi.220)
Qe n totes oueraignes en deit
estre loez qui que il seit
Liure de bone comentaille
Ki aura bone definaille.
It ends on f.66(67)b: end of col.1
Guillame qui cest liure fist
En la definaille tant dist
De sire Raol sun seignor
Explicit Bestiarius.
But col.2 continues
Pur qui il fu en cest labor etc.
Poisse monter a eel ior
que li iuste e li peccheor
Deuant le iuge trembleront
E lor iugement atendront.
4. f.67(68) Sermons

1. §1. Donauit illi nomen quod est super omne nomen.
Seint pol li apostles parole de nostre saluur e dit.
§2. Venit inquit amalech etc. -conflige cum amalech in crastino. Ceo fait a entendre en romanz.
Ends f.85b: serruns en sa merci salue. ceo duinst il ki vit e regne od pere od filz od seint espirit un memes deus en trinite Dites tuz. Amen.
2. f.85b Dixit dominus ad ihesum filium naue -defunctus est.
Deu dist a ihesu filz naue etc.
3. f.90 Misit deus exploratores in inabscondito etc.
Ceo fet a entendre en romanz ke ihesu naue enuoiat ses espies.
4. f.97 Cum autem esset ihesus in agro urbis iericho etc.
Ceo nus cunte lestorie de la lei.
5. f.101b Tulit autem unus ex filiis israel aliquit de anathemate etc.
Ceo dit lestorie que uns home de la maigne Israel.
Ends with the Ave Maria and Benedicta a filio.
f.109(107) Kar par tei del fruit de uie sumes a communie.
Then follows a passage of verse written as prose
ki uolt oir e uolt aprendre
E de curage ben attendre
Le sacrament de seint eglise
(Cum) lescripture le diuise.
Prefacing an account of the dedication of a church in prose
Eglise sune tant cum conuocatio lasemble de cels
qui sunt el regne deu.
Ending imperfectly
E puis frat un ewe beneit. E si metra enz siel.

The Bestiary is illustrated with miniatures of fair execution.
1. f.33. Mailed man, with shield, pierces a lion in the neck. Green ground.
2. f.34. Man in tunic pierces neck of a two-horned aptalops. Blue ground.
3. f.35. A man and woman standing up to their middles in water, their upper parts surrounded by flames, holding each other's hands.
de dous peres que sunt cumme mathle et femele.
4. A four-winged fish (serre de la mer) standing vertically in water.
5. Two kaladres, one flying, one standing on the bed of a sick person. The one flying has its beak to the eye of the patient. Blue ground.
6. A Pelican vulning herself: two nestlings; red ground.
7. The Fresei. A bird standing on a red slope: green ground.
8. f.39. The Fenis. A horned and hoofed bird bending over a fire on R. Red ground.
9. The Hupe. Two young hoopoes pecking an old one.
10. f.40. Treis manere de formiz.
Corn (or other plants) growing: no ants visible.
11. f.41. The Sereine, with bird's feet and fish's tail, holds a serpent. Ship, with three men; one jumping out is held back by others.
12. f.42. The Hericun. One above, one below, the latter on its back. Green ground with foliage.
13. Ybix. A hoofed bird devouring something in the water.
14. f.43. Renard lo cvpil on his back pretending to be dead: three birds over him. Red ground.
15. f.44. Unicorn with head laid on a maid's lap, pierced by a hunter.
15. f.45. Bievre: large, biting off his glands. Two hunters with horn and hound.
16. f.46. Hiaine devours a corpse in a coffin.
17. f.46. Cocodrille, like a cow, with a band round its middle: a green snake's head (that of the ichneumon) emerges at its tail: the tail is seen in the crocodile's mouth.
18. f.47. Goats on each side of a tree.
19. f.48. Asne sauvage. Three of them attacking another.
20. f.49. Singe: a white monkey carrying two green ones.
21. Un oisel with webbed feet: two nestlings in a red nest.
22. f.50. Pantere as a winged dragon on a mound: all kinds of beasts round it, attracted by its perfume: this picture extends across both columns. Blue ground.
23. f.52. Balaine: a huge head and mouth: ship with two men above.
24. Perdiz: six partridges about a tree.
25. f.53. Belette. Like a dragon in form.
26. Ostrice. Looks up at the sun: two nestlings on L.
27. Turtle-doves: six, in a tree.
28. f.56. Cerf: opposite to it, a snake, upright.
29. f.57. Salemandre, with snake in mouth.
30. Colums. Doves fall from tree into mouth of dragon.
31. f.60. Across the page. Elephant, with castle on back and large eye, pursues a green winged dragon.
32. f.61. Mandragore: represented as a man and woman standing in earth or water, a tree between them.
33. Diamant. Christ with book in the midst of six Apostles.


Roberts, J., and A. G. Watson, ed., John Dee's Library Catalogue (London, 1990) DM3, cf M39.

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