The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark O.5.2
Manuscript Title

Generydes; John Lydgate, Troy Book

Alternative Title

Romance of Generydes. Lydgate's Troy Book etc

James Number 1283
Date 15th century
Century 15th
Physical Description

Double columns of 50 and 48 lines. In several good clear hands. Fine decorations of characteristic English style.


Part of the Gale collection, given to T.C.C. by Roger Gale in 1738. Marked A. 2.

On f.190b in a hand of cent. xvi early is: Antonius Thwaites me possidet: very carefully written. The name of Henry Thwaites is scribbled on f.159v, 211b.

On the margins of the leaves in many places shields are carefully emblazoned, and the fore-edges have also been painted with shields. This latter ornamentation (as Mr W. Aldis Wright points out in his Preface to Generydes, edited by him from this MS.) does not extend over the edges of the portion of the which contains Generydes, though it has shields painted on the margins of its leaves. It is probable therefore that Generydes once formed a separate volume. M.R. James was unable to distinguish the writing of Generydes from that of the rest of the book.

As to the owners of these shields, Mr Wright says (after mentioning: the occurrence of the name of Thwaites): "Anthony Thwaites may have been the son or descendant of John Thwaites of Hardingham, Norfolk, who married Anne, daughter of Sir William Knevet, and died 22 Hen. VII, leaving a son Anthony (Blomefield's Norfolk, V.1198, folio ed.). The book has evidently been in the Thwaites and Knevet families, for their arms are found in various combinations on the margins; and as the Thwaites arms do not appear in the first part, which contains the story of Generydes, whereas the Knevet arms are of frequent occurrence, it is possible that this may have belonged originally to the Knevet family, and may have been bound up with the Lidgate portion after the above-mentioned marriage of John Thwaites with Anne Knevet. The other coats of arms I have been unable to trace with any certainty."

Donor Gale, Roger (1672-1744), Antiquary
Folio 211 ff.
Binding In the original binding of white skin over boards
Material Parchment
Language EnglishMiddle English

Collation : 18-38 48 (wants l) 58 (wants 7, 8 blank) | 68 (a)-98 (d) (wants 3) 108-228 (wants 8) 238 (wants l) 248 258 (wants l) 268 278 (wants 3) 288 (wants 1-3, and 7, 8 blank).

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Online Since 11/11/2015


1. The Romance of Generydes (in stanzas of seven lines) f.1
In olde Romans and storys as I rede
Of Inde somtyme ther was a nobyll kyng.
Ends f.37b:
He graunt vs a place perpetuall
In paradise where all his seyntes dwell.
Explicit the boke of Generides and of his faire lady Clarionas.
This is the only known manuscript of the version in seven-line stanzas. There are fragments of a printed edition. This copy was discovered and edited by W. Aldis Wright, M.A., Vice-Master, for the Early English Text Society
in 1878.

2. Lydgate's Book of Troy f.38
O myghty mars that with thy sterne light
In armys hast ye power and the myght.
Ends f.190:
This litill booke lowly I betake
It to support and thus an ende I make.
f.190 (Ending in 15 stanzas of 7 lines)
Most worthy prince of knighthood sourω̑e and well
Requering hem all that is amis to mend.

3. Lydgate's Siege of Thebes f.191
Whoso euer on this story list to behold
Of a sege shall he heren don be dayes old.
f.196b Pars Secunda
f.204 Pars Tercia
beginning imperfectly.
Ends f.211b
And ioy eternall whanne we hens wend
And of my tale thus I make an end. Deo gratias.
In red:
In this wise endyth the sege of Thebes
Ensample shewing for to leuen in pes
To all men that wiln it distinctly rede
And clerly se what they gete yr to her mede.
As seith this story to Grekes was it gret confusioun
And to that strongi Cite vtter ruyn and distruction.
Scriptoris anime te christe precor miserere.

The following paintings remain:
1. f.38. King on throne on L. Lydgate as monk kneels and presents a book. Three courtiers on R. Red ground with gold flourishing. Full border with 8 shields, and another in the initial.
2. f.40. King Pelleus kneels on R., the Divine hand in cloud above. On L. 3 corpses of Myrmidons. A red angel with sword in air. On R. two small figures, one falling.
The Myrmidons were destroyed by lightning and pestilence.
Full border.
3. f.107b. In front on L. a man in plate armour (Achiles?) and blue mantle seated in a tent. Before him a man in gold armour kneels: two squires in white armour stand. In the background Hector in gold armour leads a troop. City on R.
Full border with parrots and shields.
4. f.137b. Achilles in tent in armour and blue mantle, between two men on R. under a roof. Hector dead in bed, covered with wounds. Behind a warrior at a city gate: two people address him.
Full border.
5. f.172. Liber V. King throned on L. Page with cap in hand kneels to him. In the background two men, agitated. The masts of two ships seen over a hill.
Full border.


Babcock, R. G., ed., Beinecke studies in early manuscripts (New Haven, CT, 1991)

Aldis Wright, W., ed., Generydes: a romance in seven-line stanzas, edited from the unique paper MS. in Trinity College, Cambridge (about 1440 A. D.) (London, 1878)

Mooney, L. R., The Index of Middle English Prose Handlist 11: Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (Cambridge, 1995), p. 115.

Pearsall, D. A., 'Notes on the Manuscript of "Generydes"', The Library 5th ser. 16 (1961), 205-10.

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