A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

Merton College MS. 53

Former shelfmark: B. 3. 6



Language(s): Latin

fol. i blank.

1. (fols. 1–96)
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica
Rubric: Incipit tractatus beati Bernardi abbatis super Cantica Canticorum sermo primus.
Incipit: Vobis f. alia quoniam aliis de secundo aut certe aliter dicenda sunt
Explicit: ut filii inquid lucis ambulate

SBO 1–2. On fol. 96v, formerly blank, is a list of the sermons in two cursive hands, perhaps Italian, of s. xiv. The second of these annotates throughout.

2. (fols. 97–105)
Geoffrey of Auxerre, De Colloquio Simonis et Ihesu
Rubric: Incipit liber Bernardi de colloquio Simonis et Iesu
Incipit: Dixit Symon Petrus ad Iesum Ecce nos reliquimus omnia ...; Fidelis sermo et dignum Dei accepcione colloquium
Explicit: his lapidatur stercoribus PIGER

SChr 364 (1990).

3. (fols. 105–12)
Bernard of Clairvaux, De Diligendo Deo
Rubric: Incipit liber Bernardi de diligendo Deo
Incipit: Viro illustri domino A. ecclesie romane dyacono
Incipit: Orationes a me non questiones poscere solebatis
Explicit: miseracionis affectus

SBO 3. 119–54.

4. (fols. 112–22)
William of St Thierry, ‘De Amore Dei’
Rubric: Incipit liber Bernardi de amore Dei
Incipit: Venite ascendamus ad montem Domini
Explicit: (f. 115) reconciliamur adoramus et benedicimus tibi gloria in secula
Incipit: Ars est artium ars artium ars amoris
Explicit: et nouissimum primum

(a) De Contemplando Deo, SChr 61 (1968); (b) De Natura et Dignitate Amoris, ed. R. Thomas, Pain de Cîteaux 24 (Chambarand, 1965).

5. (fols. 122–4)
HUGH OF ST VICTOR, De Laude Caritatis
Rubric: Incipit liber de caritate
Incipit: Seruo Christi Petro Hugo
Incipit: Cogitanti mihi f. k. quomodo dilectionem nostram
Incipit: Tam multos iam laudatores caritas habuisse cognoscitur
Explicit: quod nimirum quicumque in s. erit

PL 176. 969–76; Goy, p. 262.

6. (fols. 124–32; 132v blank)
Bernard of Clairvaux, De XII Gradibus Humilitatis
Rubric: Incipit liber beati Bernardi Clareuallensis abbatis de gradibus ascendendi et descendendi
(Followed by a list of gradus.)
Incipit: Rogasti me frater G
Incipit: In hoc opusculo cum Dominus illud de euangelio
Explicit: in nostro codice leges
Final rubric: . Explicit

SBO 3. 15–59.

7. (fols. 133–264v)
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones
Rubric: Sermones beati Bernardi abbatis de aduentu Domini et septem circumstanciis eius
Incipit: Hodie f. celebramus aduentus inicium
Incipit: Audistis f. ewangelican lectionem aduersus eos qui pusillos scandalizant
Explicit: (ends impf.) se ipsos et futuram

SBO 3. 9–406, 4. 161–492, 5–6, de tempore , de sanctis , uarii , intermixed in the order Schneyer 1–3, In celebratione aduentus domini sanctorum patrum desideria legendo ( Sermones uarii , In aduentu , not in Schneyer), 7, 6, 2 again, 4–5, 13, 15, 17, 18, 16, Duo rerum genera f. in Domini natiuitatem considero, 20, 22, 19, 23–5, 27, 26, 28–9, 186, 31–3, 30, 34, 36–7, 42, 38–9, 156, 144, 40–1, 157, Scio f. scio in quanta afflictione sitis ( Sermones in Qui habitat , praef., alia recensio ), 44–5, 47–8, 50–8, 60, 68, 62, 61, 64–5, Hec est dies ; Ista dies est mundi que transitoria est, 66–7, 241, 69–70, Conuersus sum ; Non est ista uox transitoria, 71–2, 75, 191–2, 76, 175, 77, 218, 154–5, 176, 81–7, 126–8, 122–4, 89, 93, 91–2, Ecce nos reliquimus omnia ; Verba lectionis huius f. ea arbitror esse (Ps.-Bernard, In natal. S. Benedicti; ed. G. Raciti in Coll. Cist. 60 [1998], 72–84), 96–100, 160, 103–8, Volumus scire ut sciamus, 111–12. fol. 265rv blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sed preterit
Form: codex
Support: Parchment; fols. i and 265 are of thick, stiff parchment.
Extent: 267 leaves (i + 265, incl. 193A)
Dimensions (leaf): 355 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (written): 275 × 160 mm.
The edges retrimmed with loss of early marginalia. fols. i and 265 are of thick, stiff parchment.


a singleton at each end, 1–2212, a singleton (the first leaf of a quire otherwise lost); catchwords.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 57 lines.


French gothic rotunda bookhands, that which writes fols. 1–96 of Italian appearance.


Red and blue flourished initials with long bar borders; red initials flourished in violet, blue initials flourished in red; running heads in blue and red capitals.


Late medieval, heavily restored and resewn by Maltby. Cushion-bevelled oak boards, now bare, with projecting foredges, rebacked with modern vellum; sewn on four bands. Formerly two straps from recesses in the front board to catches in the back. Formerly chained from the middle of the foot of the rear board, and from the foredge of the front board, near the foot. A mark from this staple is on the former pastedown fol. i, which also has, near the head, the mark of the large brass chain-staple (two pairs of holes in a row); there is no corresponding mark on either board. This leaf was clearly at the rear and the other way up in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIV ; France, Paris (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made in Paris.

The large chain-staple mark indicates that the book was at the College before c.1500. At the head of fol. 1 is the James no. ‘232’ (recte236), s. xvii in. On fol. iv: a table of contents, s. xvii, ‘N. 4. 14. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced by ‘B. 3. 6 (LIII)’ in red; the College bookplate. ‘14’ is inked on the foredge.

Record Sources

R. M. Thomson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Merton College, Oxford (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer), 2009.


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Merton College Library.


    Coxe, p. 36; Powicke, no. 1222.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College .

Last Substantive Revision

2018-08-01: First online publication

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