The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark R.3.2
Manuscript Title

John Gower, Confessio amantis etc

Alternative Title


James Number 581
Century 15th
Physical Description

Double columns of 46 lines. In four hands, of which the first wrote quires 1, 7, 10, 11 partly, 13, 14: the second, quires 2, 3, 4: the third, 5, 6, 8, 11 partly, 12: the fourth, 9, 15-19.


Given by Nevile.

Donor Neville [Nevile], Thomas (c. 1548–1615), College Head and Dean of Canterbury
Size (cm) 38.5 x 27
Folio 154 ff.
Material Parchment
Language LatinMiddle EnglishMiddle French

five quires lost: a8-d8 (+ 8*) e8-t8 (+ 8*).

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 02/10/2013


1. Confessio Amantis.
f.1 Begins imperfectly
To whom the lordes doon homage
And after that of mariage.
(ii. 2686.)
On f.84, a column is left blank, and lines 7499-7544 are omitted.

2. ... 148
The French Traitié pour essampler les amantz marietz, with the short Latin pieces Quis sit vel qualis, Est amor in glosa, Lex docet auctorum.

3. f.152 Gower's account of his three Poems
Quia vnusquisque prout a deo accepit aliis impertiri tenetur
-Confessio Amantis specialiter sortitus est.

4. f.152b Nota consequentes carmen super multiplici viciorum pestilencia vnde tempore Ricardi secundi partes nostre specialiter inficiebantur
Non excusatur qui verum non fateatur.
(twelve lines) ending
Ecce malignatur que modo causa datur.
In prose
Putruerunt et corrupte sunt cicatrices etc.
... declarare propono. Anno Regni Regis Ric. secundi vicesimo.
Contra Demonis astuciam in causa lollardie.
Quod patet ad limen instanti tempore crimen
Describam primo quo pallent alta sub ymo.
Ends f.154a
Vir qui vult ideo pacem componere mundo
Pacificet primo iura tenenda deo.
f.154b is blank.

Mr G. C. Macaulay, who has kindly furnished me with some notes on this MS., tells me that it is "of the so-called second recension, and closely akin to MS. Bodley 294. In correctness of text and spelling it is fairly good."


Robinson, P., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts in Cambridge Libraries, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1988), no. 343, pll. 198a-b [datable between 1408 and 1426, written at London or Westminster, England]

Doyle, A. I., and M. B. Parkes, 'The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century', in Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker, ed. M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson (London, 1978), 163-210.

Smith, J., An historical study of English: function, form and change (London, 1996)

Mooney, L. R., Chaucer's Scribe, Speculum: a journal of medieval studies. Vol.81, no.1 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006) p. 97-138.

Echard, S., Printing the Middle Ages, Material Texts (Philadelphia, Pa., 2008)

Hennessy, M. (ed),Tributes to Kathleen L. Scott: Essays on English Medieval Manuscripts (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2009)

Pearsall, D. and Mooney, L. R., A descriptive catalogue of the English manuscripts of John Gower's Confessio Amantis (Cambridge, 2021)

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