The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark R.4.20
Manuscript Title

Sir John Mandeville, Travels; John Lydgate, The Destruction of Thebes

Alternative Title

Mandeville. Lydgate's Thebes.

James Number 652
Century 15th
Physical Description

28 lines to a page. Well written.


Given in 1663 by Dr Crane, Fellow. On f.87a this is William Kelyng bocke. This boke is John hydes boke Sire Thomas pott' preste ys the honere of meand many scribbles on the following pages, e.g. Francis Morys(?) Nuncke liberum (xvi) and Parnell . Wilford / Rowland Kenston / dan Edward Stevynson etc.

Second Folio children
Donor Crane, Robert (c.1612-1672), Fellow Of Trinity (1637)
Size (cm) 26.5 x 20
Folio 172 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Middle English

18-118 || 128 138 (wants 4, 5) 148 (wants 4, 5)-228 (8 mut).

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 04/07/2015


On f.1 is a good border of English work, a shield in the lower margin erased: apparently party per fess arg. and sa. with a lion rampant counterchanged (upper half sa. lower arg.). Also an initial: a man in plate armour and red cap(?), red mantle lined with ermine, stands holding a sword: red nourished ground.
I. f.1 The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
For as mych as the londe over the see.
Ends f.87a. Colophon in large red letters.
Heere eendith the book of John Maundevyle Knyght of weies to Jerusalem: and of merueilis of Inde and of othere Cuntreis.

On ff.87b, 88, in a large hand (possibly a set copy) is a love letter, parts of which are repeated in worse hands more than once.
Alas swet hart I am yowre pore servant wherfore I beseche yow yf that yt pleasith yow to gyve awdyens vnto my wordes of a thynge whych I shall tell yov,alas swete hart knowe the bewty of yor person and the pleasant fygure formyde and composyd above natures operacyon hath ravyshyde my sprytes and enbrasyd my hert in such wise that nyght and daye I thinke on none other thyng save onlye on yor love and that wors is I lose rest meat and drinke maners and corousenanc' what I think vpon yor grey eyen and resplendishing visage so I requyre of god that he will gyve me you volent and corage for to receve me for yor trew lover for if so be ye refuse me for yor trew lover ther is nothing so nere me as to envoke the deth alas alas swete hart yow that are amyable and cortays be not cavse to dymynyshe my lyfe but gyve me holy yor love by such a covenant that I shall in love ye more then ever it was.
Other scribbles follow.

II. 1. f.89 Lydgate's Destruction of Thebes
Border as on f.1 and initial of a walled and towered town surrounded by water. Blue nourished ground.
Phebus in Ariete.
Whanne Phebus passid was the ram.
Four leaves containing ll. 615-726 and 1065-1172 are missing.
Ends f.169a
Heere eendith the distruccion of Thebes.
Here is now eendid the fynal distruccioun
Of myghty Thebes that strong and royal toun.
2. On ff.169b-172a; are bits of several hymns in a later hand. Some are printed in E. E. T. S. Hymns to the Virgin and Christ, p.128.
1. f.169b Honour be ewer wt outen ende
To hym that fro the hevyn discende.
2. f.170 O gentyll fortune I thonke yowe I wys (7 ll.)
3. In a bad hand.
God is onely good and full of the same
And in the goodnes was our vnderstonding etc.
4. f.170b I haue nowe sett myn herte so hye
5. f.171 Dere sonnes let not ydelnes yowe enslombre
(4 lines, advice from a father.)
Dere doghterne and yhe wyll be vertuus.
(4 lines, advice from a mother.)
6. Hay hay hay hay thynke on Whitsonmonday.
The bysshop scrope that was so wyse }
Nowe is he dede and lowe he lyse, }
To hevyns blys yhit may he ryse } hay
Thrughe helpe of marie that mylde may. }
7. f.171b O fals tonge so often here byfore
has yu made many oon bryghte of hewe
say walaway the day that I was bore.
3 stanzas of 7 lines. [From Chaucer's Troilus and Crisseyde]
At end (perhaps in the same hand) 'by one ffraunce.'
8. Hayll mary the mod(er)...
7 lines half torn off.


This work is copyright the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License