Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library

EL 26 A 17 “Stafford Gower”

View all images for this manuscript

England, s. XIVex
ff. 1-169v: [John Gower, Confessio Amantis] Torpor hebes sensus scola parva labor minimusque/ Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam…Incipit prologus, Off hem þat writen ous tofore/ þe bokes dwelle and we þerfore…Bot wolde god þat now were on/ An oþer such as Arion// [missing text, Prologue, 1055-Book 1, 106; f. 5:] //As forto speke of any sped/ So wiste I me non oþer red…Wher restiþ loue and alle pes/ Oure ioie mai ben endeles. [space] Explicit iste liber qui transiat obsecro liber/ Ut sine livore vigeat lectoris in ore/ Qui sedet in scannis celi det ut ista Iohannis/ Perpetuis annis stet pagina grata Britannis/ Derbeie Comiti recolunt quem laude periti/ Vade liber purus sub eo que recumbe futurus. [space] Epistola super huius opusculi sui complementum Iohanni Gower a quodam philosopho transmissa. [space] Quam cinxere freta Gower tua carmina leta/ Per loca discreta canit Anglia laude repleta/ Carminis athleta Satirus tibi sive poeta/ Sit laus completa quo gloria stat sine meta. [ff. 170-172v, blank except for added notes; see below]
IMEV 2662; second recension with added passages in Books 5 and 7, the revised dedication to Henry, the revised conclusion on the state of England and the 6-line explicit dedicated to Henry; f. 50, a substitute, presents readings from the unrevised first recension. G. C. Macaulay, ed., The English Works of John Gower. EETS es 81-82 (London 1900-01), who prints from this manuscript passages designated by the letter S (for Stafford). See J. H. Fisher, John Gower, Moral Philosopher and Friend of Chaucer (New York 1964) 303-07 for a list and classification of the manuscripts, including EL 26 A 17. The following portions of the text are lost due to missing leaves:
Books and Lines No. of leaves Between folios
Prol., 147-320 1 1 and 2
Prol., 1055-1, 106 1 5 and 6
3, 573-1112 3 46 and 47
4, 2351-2530 1 68 and 69
4, 2711-3078 2 69 and 70
4, 3263-3442 1 70 and 71
4, 3626-5, 274 2 71 and 72
5, 6821-7000 1 107 and 108
6, 2357-7, 88 1 125 and 126
7, 2641-3004 2 139 and 140
7, 5417-8, 336 2 153 and 154

Parchment, ff. ii (paper with watermark dated 1794) + 172 + ii (paper); 353 × 248 (264-262 × 174-172) mm. 18(-2, 7) 2-68 78(-1, 2, 3; the 7th leaf, f. 50, a substitute) 8-98 108(-2, 4, 5, 7) 118(-1, 2) 12-148 158(-7) 16-178 188(-2) 198 208(-1, 2) 218 228(-1, 2) 238 244(+3; the last leaf formerly a pastedown). Catchwords in lower right margin; sixteenth century quire signatures on the first leaf of quires 2-10 in letters b-k. 2 columns of 46 lines ruled in brown lead with double rules at the 4 sides of the text space, with an additional double rule across upper margin for running headlines, and with an additional single rule in the outer and inner margins to help delineate the 18 mm. wide space for gloss. Written in a bastard anglicana script, sometimes using a green-tinged ink (e.g. ff. 119-125 and gloss, ff. 115-116v); f. 50, a substitute, in a different contemporary hand. On f. 1, an 18-line miniature, badly damaged, of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; on the leaf missing between ff. 5-6, there was presumably the usual second miniature of the Lover’s confession to Genius (since only 139 lines of text are lacking, instead of the normal 184 per folio). On f. 1, a full border of regularly intertwining pairs of leaves and vines in gold, blue and dark red (no green), a 6-line dark red initial on a gold ground, infilled with a coat of arms (see below) and 2 other coats of arms in the outer and lower borders (see below). Similar 6-line initials in dark red, pink or blue, and intercolumn or top-and-bottom spray borders for the surviving opening leaves of books: ff. 24 (Book 2), 43v (Book 3), 56 (Book 4), 113 (Book 6); in the inner margin of f. 56, a grotesque, half goat, half soldier in armor. 4- to 2-line gold initials on particolored blue/dark red grounds with white patterning; 1-line initials alternating blue with red flourishing, or gold with purple; on f. 50, one 2-line and several 1-line initials in blue with no penwork. Running headlines; subheadings in the margins; chapter numbers in side margins and usually in the upper right margin of the recto (occasionally of the verso) in early form arabic numerals, s. XV/XVI; some marginalia. Top outer corner of f. 61 torn off with some loss of text; tears in ff. 89, 90, 117, 124. Bound, ca. 1800, in English diced russia; rebacked, original spine laid down; f. 172v, once a pastedown, with markings of 6 bands of previous binding. Written in England, possibly for a member of the house of Lancaster, either John of Gaunt (1340-99) or Henry IV before his accession to the throne (1399), according to the coats of arms on f. 1: within the initial, per pale sable and gules, a swan argent (a Bohun device); in the outer margin, a crest of a lion, collared with label of three points, standing on a chapeau, and below, a shield, quarterly azure and gules (possibly representing England and France; however, although the page is badly rubbed, the shield does not appear to have had the charges of lions and fleurs-de-lis); in the lower margin, sable, three ostrich feathers argent set in 3 scrolls or; this page reproduced by A. I. Doyle, “English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII,” in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, ed. V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (London 1983) pl. 15. On f. 172, erased possession note, s. XV. On f. 170, possession notes, s. XVIin, of William Downes: “Iste liber pertinet And bear it wel in mynde/ Per me Gulielmum downes so gentelle and so kynde/ A vinculis doloris Iesue do hym brynge/ Ad vitam etername [sic] to lyfe everlastynge. Amen” (Hanna, “Addenda,” n. 25), and “William Downes mee tenet”; on f. 21, rough strapwork initials, “W[illiam] D[ownes]”; on f. 76, s. XVIex, possession note of Phillip Downes. Notes of an antipapist, s. XVImed, across the upper margins of ff. 30, 60, 66, 77, 91 and 102: “Vacantur nomina paparum, Thomas Bekett & no seynt.” Sixteenth century notes on f. 171 on the ownership of church lands: “The personage of Gwendrun & Stythians in ye county of Cornewall percell of ye possessions of ye late monastary of Rewley” and “The personage of Croppreadin in ye county of oxforde in the tenure of one mr chancye by leace for xxiti yeares grauntid unto hym by kinge Edward ye sixt in ye fyfte yeare of his raigne & paiethe by yeare lvili.” Possibly as many as 3 people copied medical recipes on otherwise blank leaves at the end of the book: f. 169v: Ayenst the newe Ague Anno domini D xxxix; A playster for the heedde & temples; A drynk for the same desese; A metsen for the Collec and the stone; ii, f. 171v, Ayenst the newe Ague; pleyster far [sic] the heedde & temples; iii, f. 172, A Speciall medecyn for the Sickenesse callid þe pestylens. A 6-line poem signed T. P. Goodwynn, s. XVII, on f. 170: “No fortunes frownes shall make me bend/ Wher Reason striketh nott the stroke…” The manuscript owes its appellation of “Stafford Gower” to the description of it by H. J. Todd, Illustration of the Lives and Writings of Gower and Chaucer (London 1810) 108-09, while in the possession of George Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquis of Stafford (aftw. 1st Duke of Sutherland), who had inherited the Bridgewater Library from his uncle, Francis Egerton, 3rd and last Duke of Bridgewater. The designation was used by Macaulay in his edition of the text (1900-01). Bridgewater bookplate on front pastedown and embossed Bridgewater library stamp on f. ii and f. 1. Acquired by Henry E. Huntington in 1917 with the Bridgewater Library (see pp. 5-7). Bibliography: De Ricci, 132.
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)
Early English Text Society extra series
Hanna, “Addenda”
R. Hanna, “The Index of Middle English Verse and Huntington Library Collections: a Checklist of Addenda,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74 (1980) 235-58
C. Brown and R. H. Robbins, Index of Middle English Verse (New York 1943) and Supplement by R. H. Robbins and J. L. Cutler (Lexington 1965)

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
All rights to the cataloguing and images in Digital Scriptorium reside with the contributing institutions.