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

St John's College MS. 142

Petrarch, De vita solitaria


Language(s): Latin

Incipit: Paucos homines noui quibus opusculorum meorum tanta dignacio tantusque amor quantum tibi fidentissime non videtur esse […] [fol. 2, the text] Capitulum primum Quid vero nunc prius ex me speres quamquod et in ore et in corde
Explicit: humilitatem non est aditus hec tibi autem sic affecto animo dictaui ||
FRANCESCO PETRARCA, De vita solitaria,

ed. Antonietta Bufano et al., Opere latine, 2 vols (Twin, 1975), 1:262–564 (even pages), breaking off just short of the end. Our MS is described by Nicholas Mann, ‘Petrarch Manuscripts in the British Isles’, Italia medioevale e umanistico 18 (1975), 130–527, no. 248 (484–5).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ipse metum
Form: codex
Support: Vellum and paper (HSOS/HFFH). From fol. 25, entirely vellum. The first three quires are mixed: the first two, a vellum sheet around a single paper sheet, both folded in quarto; the third, a vellum sheet folded in quarto around a paper half-sheet (fols. 18 + 23) and a vellum half-sheet. All the paper appears to be of a single stock with watermark Waage/ Balance (on fols. 2 + 7 and 10 + 15); in quire 3, the half-sheet is unmarked.
Extent: iii + 69 + iii (numbered iv–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 220 × 142 mm.
Dimensions (written): 147–152 × 98 mm.


1–88 98 (–6, a fragmentary stub; –7, –8). Catchwords in half-boxes near the gutter. All leaves in the first half of each quire are signed, with a letter in red ink and a roman numeral in the text ink (in quires 1–2, double signatures, both red ink and text ink numerals); quires 1–9 = +, a–h.


In long lines, 36 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in lead and black ink, no rules.


Written in secretary, perhaps more than one hand (above top line, as in many other MSS of s. xv). Punctuation by medial point and occasional punctus elevatus.


At text divisions, 2-line blue lombards on red flourishing and sprays.

Headings and frequent marginal notations of subjects in text ink with red boxes.

The text broken with red-slashed capitals.


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf, one modern paper flyleaf and one medieval vellum one (probably a former pastedown); at the rear, one medieval vellum flyleaf, one modern paper flyleaf, and another marbled paper leaf (iv–vi).


Origin: s. xv3/4 ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

'Liber Magistri Iohanni Kermerdyn Rectoris generalis sancti Martini inf.. Ludgate London''; below it an erased cautio: ‘istum librum ⟨ ⟩ Kermerdyn ⟨ ⟩ posuit in ⟨ ⟩ libro ⟨ ⟩ anno CCCC ⟨ ⟩’ (fol. iv, s. xv). For Kermerdyn, see BRUO 1040.

‘nota omnes autem stulti miscentur contumelijs prouerbiorum 20.’ (fol. 67, upper margin; s. xv ex.); another pen-trial (fol. 64v, upper margin; s. xvi in.).

Iohn morysson williham denys gentylman of myddylsex’ (fol. 65, upper margin; s. xvi in.).

‘liber Henrici dotyn 1562’ (fol. iiiv). He was a Fellow of Exeter 1554–60 and in 1558 owned BodL, MS Auct. D.4.9.

‘Liber Coll’ Divi Ioannis Baptistae Oxon’ Ex dono Martini Okins sacrae Theologiae Bacchalaurei eiusdemque Collegii Socij Anno Domini 1610’ (fol. 1, upper margin).

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact St John's College Library.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust.

Last Substantive Revision

2020-11: First online publication

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