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

MS. Bodl. 603

Summary Catalogue no.: 2394


Summary of Contents: Poetic anthology, including lives of saints, poems on Thomas Becket, poems by Walter of Chatillon, the composite Templum Salomonis by the priors of Jerusalem, and a composite poem on the Mass

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 145 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 212 × 144 mm.
Foliation: Modern foliation.


i6 (formerly i8, lacks 1–2 after writing), ii8–viii8, ix6(formerly ix8, lacks 1 and 6 after writing), x8-xv8 xvi3/xvii8–xviii8, xix10. Quire xvi consists of two leaves (fols. 117-118) and an extra leaf (fol. 117B) discovered by Neil Ker. The original fly-leaves were removed in 1923 and now form part of Bodleian MS. Lat. misc. d. 48. There are no catchwords. Quires are numbered on the last verso leaf of each quire to the end of quire ix (fol. 68v).

The manuscript consists of three sections: I (a) fols. 1–46; I (b) fols. 47–118; II fols. 119–144. The division between Parts I (a) and I (b) is not certain, but poem No. 11 ends incomplete (two lines are left blank at the foot of fol. 46v), and the writing on fol. 47r appears to mark a new beginning. Part II, which lacks the red border, is clearly separate: fol. 118v was originally blank, until the scribe used it for the prologue to No. 30 (perhaps at the time the manuscript was finally assembled). Otherwise, entries seem to have been made consecutively, except that Nos. 3 (on fol. 7v) and 21 (fol. 6lr) were perhaps written together after the other entries. The gap on fols. 45v–46r may have been left for another poem on Becket.


Mainly written in long lines, or occasionally two columns; 32 lines per column or page. Squared and ruled, with an outer frame of double lines-, a red outline, encompassing the top line of writing, is provided throughout Part 1 but is absent in Part II: writing is above the top ruled line. Verse punctuation at the edge of the frame. Written area 163 × 107 mm.


Written about 1200 by a single scribe in two (possibly three) sections.


Red and green initials alternate.

Headings in red, initials touched in red.


Brown tanned calf over laminated pulpboard. Stations for cloth ties, removed.


Origin: 1190s ; English or French There is no evidence for the place of composition. The manuscript was certainly written after the canonization of Thomas Becket in 1173 (see no. 10). The text is closely related to the original contents of MS. Digby 166, Part VI. According to A.G. Rigg, ‘both manuscripts shared a common ancestor, probably immediately, which contained principally the satirical poems of Walter of Chatillon. Another manuscript closely related to Bodley 603 is Bodleian Library MS. Laud Misc. 406, written at about the same date: both manuscripts share Bodley 603 Nos. 26–28, in the same order (disturbed in Laud only by the intrusion of four later leaves, fols. 66–69, before ‘Nescit mens nostra’). Marginal paragraph marks in Laud (written on the prickmarks and presumably intended to be trimmed off) correspond to decorated initials in Bodley 603. If Bodley 603 was copied from Laud, which seems distinctly possible, it had access to another source as well: Bodley 603’s text of No. 26 is very corrupt, but at least once (fol. 73v) has a line not in Laud, and some of Bodley 603’s corrections do not correspond to Laud readings. Laud lacks three leaves (containing 132 lines) between fols. 26 and 27, but the loss could have occurred at any time. Bodley 603 clearly also had access to a manuscript of Hildebert and pseudo-Hildebert poems for the verse lives of saints, Nos. 4–7; Nos. 30–31, the composite poem on the Mass by Petrus Pictor, Hildebert, and others, and the hymn to St Stephen, are found together in three other manuscripts (see on No. 30 below). Bodley 603’s connection to other English manuscripts of the Goliardic type is only through the poems shared with Part VI of Digby 166 and through the ‘Hildebertian’ poems.’

Provenance and Acquisition

Neil Ker discovered an extra leaf (fol. 117b) in the binding of an All Souls College manuscript, later returned to this volume: see ‘Fragments of Medieval Manuscripts in Bindings’, Bodleian Library Record 3 (1950–51) 6.

Presented to the Bodleian Library by Cuthbert Ridley in 1601. The original endleaves were removed in 1923 and now form part of Bodleian MS. Lat. misc. d. 48.

MS. Bodl. 603, fols. 1–46 – part I (a)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r–5r)
Clement of Llanthony, De sex alis cherubim
Incipit: ||exacerbat diuinamque in se prouocat ultionem. In persona
Explicit: uera libertate ęternaque fruens beatitudine. Amen

PL 210.269–80 (the Bodley 603 fragment begins on col. 273). The first two leaves of the quire have been lost.

2. (fols. 5v–7v)
Lament of a sinful soul
Rubric: Commemoratio miserię negligentis anime uoluptuose uiuentis
Incipit: Admonet hominem scriptura memorare diei mortis ne peccet
Explicit: Risus ac iocus perniciem prebent magnam
3. (fol. 7v)
Mortality poem
Incipit: Fallit aristotilis illatio sepe sophistas
Explicit: Eius ad imperium si dixerit effuge pergo

8 lines

WIC 6238. Also in British Library, Cotton MS. Titus D. xxiv (see A.G. Rigg, ‘Medieval Latin Poetic Anthologies (I)’, Mediaeval Studies 39 (1977), 283), where it has 32 lines, of which Mozley (p. 40) prints the first six.

4. (fols. 8r–22r)
Hildebert of Lavardin, Life of St Mary of Egypt
Incipit: Sicut hiemps laurum non urit nec rogus aurum
Explicit: Sic ubi compleuit uiginti lustra quieuit

BHL 5419; WIC 18159. PL 171.1321–40.

5. (fols. 22r–27r)
Marbod, Life of St Lawrence
Incipit: A Decio tentus gladioque furente peremptus
Explicit: Gaudet in eternum gestans diadema supernum

BHL 4766; WIC 21. PL 171.1607–14.

6. (fols. 27r–31v)
Petrus Riga, Passio sanctae Agnetis
Incipit: Agnes sacra sui pennam scriptoris inauret
Explicit: Virtutis titulis uendicat agna sibi. Amen

BHL 164; WIC 696. Ed. J. Werner, Beiträge zur Kunde der lateinische Literatur des Mittelalters, 2nd edition (Aarau, 1905), pp. 67–74 (see Rigg, ‘Medieval Latin Poetic Anthologies’, I, 284)

7. (fols. 31v–35r)
Marbod, Life of St Mauritius
Incipit: Cum cohibere parat gallos quos conglomerarat
Explicit: Premia fert eadem palma decoratus eadem

BHL 5752; WIC 3571, 4843, 4969. PL 171.1625–30.

Poem on Thomas Becket
a. (fol. 35r)
Incipit: A et A karissimi patris pax et homo
Explicit: Veri uia uehite vi uitę ualete

16 lines

BHL 8221 (with the incipit ‘Anima carissimi patris’); WIC 28.

b. (fols. 35r–43v)
Incipit: Ante chaos iurgium indigestę molis
Explicit: Prestet id quod petimus regni rex cęlorum
BHL 8222; WIC 1284.

Ed. Giles (cf. MS. Digby 166 No. 39), pp. 114–33; E. du Méril, Poésies populaires latines du moyen âge (Paris, 1847), pp. 70–93, from an Evreux MS.

c. (fol. 43v)
Incipit: Anno milleno centeno septuageno
Explicit: Cuspide bis bino T. more litatur ouino

Cf. WIC 1165, 1267: there are three popular versions of the epilogue, a quatrain beginning ‘Annus’ and ending ‘esse poli’, a couplet beginning ‘Annus’ and ending ‘ense Thomas’, and a couplet ‘Anno … ense Thomas’.

9. (fol. 43v–45r)
Verse life of Thomas Becket
Incipit: Vox uatis uelata diu signata figuris
Explicit: Iamque resoluitur ac fore cernitur hoc per apertum

WIC 20857. Line 6 was left blank.

10. (fols. 45r–45v)
Canonization of Thomas Becket
Incipit: ⟨A⟩lexander episcopus seruus seruorum dei. Dilectis filiis Alberto
Explicit: Data signie sexto idus martii

Ed. J.C. Robinson, Materials for the History of Thomas Becket (RS 67.7; London, 1885), Epistola 783, pp. 544–45, from this manuscript. In the margin of fol. 45r is the date ‘Anno M C LXXIIIº Nono Kalendas Marcij, Anno pontificatus nostri xvº'. The remainder of fol. 45v (after line 3) and the first six lines of fol. 46r are blank.

11. (fol. 46r–v)
Walter of Châtillon
Incipit: Felix erat studium ilia sub etate
Explicit: Et magistri nomine plures abutuntur

WIC 6325. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 11: in Bodley 603 only.

MS. Bodl. 603, fols. 47–118 – part I (b)


Language(s): Latin

Walter of Châtillon, Carmina satirica
12. (fols. 47r–48v)
Rubric: Ad comitem Henricum
Incipit: Missus sum in uineam circa horam nonam
Explicit: Exagitata procul non intrat femina limen

WIC 18646 (inc. Stulti cum prudentibus). Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 4. The titles for this and succeeding poems are written vertically in the margin.

13. (fols. 48v–49v)
Rubric: Treueris in capitulo
Incipit: Multiformis hominum fraus et iniusticia
Explicit: Ambitus et luxus et opum metuenda facultas

WIC 11390. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 5.

14. (fols. 50r–51ra)
Rubric: Apud bissontium
Incipit: Ecce nectar roseum poculis irrorat
Explicit: Calculos et aspera / Viciorum planat

WIC 5115. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 14.

15. (fol. 51ra–52vb)
Incipit: Coram domino papa in consistorio Tanto uiro locuturi / Studeamus esse puri
Explicit: Saltern michi detur unde/Studeam de proprio

WIC 19018. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 1.

16. (fol. 52v–54r)
Rubric: Controuersia habita coram imperatore de scismate
Incipit: Quis furor o dues quę tanta licencia litis
Explicit: Diffusa est gracia in labiis tuis

WIC 16068. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 15. Title precedes ‘Totus huius temporis'.

17. (fol. 54r–58r)
Incipit: Sermo recitatus bononię coram episcopo et scolaribus in Dominica ‘letare ierusalem’
Incipit: In domino confido quomodo dicitis animę meę
Explicit: per penitenciam reuersis largiri dignetur. Amen

WIC 8902. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 3.

18. (fols. 58ra–58vb)
Incipit: Propter syon non tacebo
Explicit: Pellitur a ianuis

WIC 14838. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 2; Hilka-Schumann, Carmina Burana No. 41 (1/1.65–76). Bodley 603 has only stanzas 1–11 and 25: see No. 20 below.

19. (fols. 58v–59v)
Rubric: De scismate
Incipit: Eliconis riuulo modice respersus
Explicit: Sic ait et longo consumit gaudia uoto

WIC 7693. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 7.

20. (fols. 59va–61ra)
Incipit: Baculare sacramentum / Non recenter est inuentum
Explicit: Nisi latus helisei Giezi corrumperet

WIC 2047. Ed. Strecker, Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 12. After stanza 22, Bodley 603 continues with Moralisch-Satirische Gedichte No. 2, stanzas 28–29, omitted in No. 18.

21. (fol. 61r)
Poem on numbers
Incipit: A caput est numeri quingentum iungere cogit
Explicit: Z canit hunc finem bis mille tenendo laboret

WIC 8. Each line describes the numerical equivalent of the letters of the alphabet, concurring with the list in A. Cappelli, Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane, 6th edn (Milan, 1973), pp. 413–21, except for K, S, and T (which are respectively 150, 7, and 150 in Bodley 603, but 151,70, and 160 in Cappelli). At the foot of fol. 61 r a contemporary hand has written ‘se protrahat uno’ (referring to K?).

22. (fols. 61va–66vb)
Rhythmical series
Incipit: Quid sit deus queritur / Nescit res mortalis
Explicit: Vxor cepit et dampnatrix||

WIC 15903. This is a continuous series of ten interconnected rhythmical poems on various religious and moral themes; although each poem begins with a 2-space initial, the sense is more or less continuous. The rhythms are: (i) 3 (7pp 6p) rhyming ababab; (ii)–(vii) various combinations of 8p and 6p: e.g., 4 (8p) 1 (6p) 3 (8p) 1 (6p) – 4p4p is often substituted for 8p; (viii)–(ix) 2 (8p) 1 (7p) 2 (8p) 1 (7p), rhyming aabaab or aabccb, with the substitution of 4p4p as in the preceding poems; (x) 2 or 4 (8p), rhyming in couplets or quatrains.

The first and sixth leaves are missing from quire ix: the last three lines of poem (ii) are squeezed into two lines of text, and the next leaf is missing; poem (iii) begins in the middle of a stanza; poem (x) ends in the middle of a stanza.

Bernard of Clairvaux, pseudo, Parvus Contemptus mundi
a. (fols. 67r–68v)
Incipit: Cur cito non spernis quę pretereuntia cernis
Explicit: Sponte subit penas infemalesque catenas
b. (fol. 68v–69v)
Incipit: Huius amor mundi putei parat ima profundi
Explicit: Hęc ideo tolérât quia cęli gaudia sperat
c. (fols. 69v–72r)
Incipit: Pauper amabilis est uenerabilis et benedictus
Explicit: Hoc tibi det munus qui regnat trinus et unus

WIC 3912, 8535, 13854. Ed. E. Schröder, ‘Ein niederrheinischer “Contemptus Mundi" und seine Quelle’, Nachrichten von der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Philologisch-historische Klasse (Berlin, 1910), pp. 335–74, text on pp. 346–54. The poem is usually preceded by a prologue ‘Cartula nostra tibi portat Rainalde salutem’ (WIC 2521), which was probably on the lost leaf preceding fol. 67. See also: Manitius, 3.782–83; A. Wilmart, Revue bénédictine 45 (1933) 249–54; M. Dulong, ‘Etienne Langton versificateur', Bibliothèque thomiste 14 (1930) 183–90; E. Ph. Goldschmidt, Medieval Texts and Their First Appearance in Print (Bibliographical Soc. Suppl. 16; London, 1943), pp. 29- 30. Also printed in PL 184.1308–14.

24. (fol. 72r)
Punctuation poem
Incipit: Bis sex sunt uersus tantum sex esse uidentur
Explicit: Subdita non iustus ęcclesię pater es

Not in Walther; unedited. Each couplet (after 1–2) may be read ‘retrograde’, and the punctuation (otherwise used in this manuscript only to indicate the caesura) shows where the couplet should stop. The double sense is also achieved by the placing of the negative particle.

Two couplets
a. (fol. 72r)
Incipit: Mira iunctura defuncto languida xura
Explicit: Mortua pro cura datur egro turn ualitura

WIC 11069 (Sprichwörter 14900)

b. (fol. 72r)
Incipit: Quisquis amat dictis absentum rodere uitam
Explicit: Hac mensa indignam nouerit esse suam

WIC 16148 (Sprichwörter 25526)

Templum Salomonis
a. (fols. 72v–85r)
Achardus de Arroasia, De templo salomonis
Incipit: Bella quidam poetarum descripserunt hominum
Explicit: Per te Christus hostes suos conterat uelociter
b. (fols. 85r–103v)
Gaufridus de Templo, De templo salomonis
Incipit: Rex Alexander macedo percusso rege Dario
Explicit: Qui si nossent preterita hec dicerent felicia
c. (fols. 103v–117br)
Gaufridus de Templo
Incipit: Contaminare [sic for Continuare] uolumus quędam quę dicit iosephus
Explicit: Iam finis est huic operi legenti ne sit oneri
d. (fol. 117br–v)
Gaufridus de Templo
Incipit: Annus erat millesimus et centesimus atque
Explicit: Princeps zorobabel Esdras quoque scriba redirent

WIC 2120, 16701, 1261. Ed. P. Lehmann, ‘Die mittellateinischen Dichtungen der Prioren des Tempels von Jerusalem Acardus und Gaufridus’, Corona quernea: Festgabe Karl Strecker zum 80. Geburtstage (Leipzig, 1941) = Schriften der Reichsinstituts für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde 6.296–330. Lehmann’s edition (which subsumes all Walther’s references) is of book 1 only, but describes the whole work in full. Books 2 and 3 (b–d above) are continuations by Gaufridus, Acardus’ successor as prior of the Temple, and have not been edited. The Bodley 603 text may have been copied directly from MS. Laud Misc. 406 (see Rigg, p. 489).

27. (fol. 117bv)
Incipit: Psallere qui docuit dulci modulamine sanctos
Explicit: Offerat ut domino saluat quos gracia uocis

10 lines

Incipit: Nunc Damasi monitis aures prebete benignas
Explicit: Cor quoque cum reuocant Christo seruire parati

5 lines

Incipit: Prophetam Christi sanctum cognoscere debes
Explicit: Hęc Damasus scit sancte tuos monstrare triumphos

12 lines

WIC 14885. Ed. J. B. De Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae Vrbis Romae 2.1 (Rome, 1888), Nos. 219–220, p. 449; M. Ihm, Anthologiae latinae supplementa: Damasi epigrammata (Leipzig, 1895), Appendix: Carmina Pseudodamasiana et alia, No. 63, pp. 66–67, and No. 1, pp. 1–3. The order in Bodley 603, which differs from that printed by De Rossi and Ihm (where ‘Psallere qui docuit’ is treated as a separate poem) follows a very old recension.

28. (fol. 118r)
Eugenius of Toledo
Incipit: Nescit mens nostra fixum seruare tenorem
Explicit: Tot faciem nostram mutat sentencia formis

WIC 11749. PL 87.360.

29. (fol. 118r)
Incipit: Tempora cum uariis rerum decursibus ipse
Explicit: Plus iusto quod abit dulcis amica decet

WIC 19115; unique, unedited.

Fol. 118v originally blank: see Part II.

MS. Bodl. 603, fols. 119–144 – part II


Language(s): Latin

Composite poem on the Sacraments

This composite poem consists of three ‘books’: 1, by Petrus Pictor; 2, by Hildebert; 3, fifteen short poems, some of which are by Hildebert. The same composite poem (which includes No. 31 below) is also found in Part II (s. xiii) of Vatican ms. Reg. lat. 270, described by A. Wilmart, Codices latini reginenses 2 (Vatican City, 1945), pp. 61–63: on the Vatican order for book 3, see below. According to Wilmart, the composite poem is also in Paris, BnF lat. 15149 and Valenciennes, Bibl. Mun. 249. The first two books have been supplied with glosses and marginal commentary, up to fol. 140r.

A. (fol. 118v)
Two short introductory prose passages
Incipit: Corpus ihesu euangelium puto
Explicit: si peccator tormenta
Incipit: In principio huius libri hęc possunt inquiri
Explicit: Materia promittens se breuiter tractaturum
B. (fols. 119r–129r)
Petrus Pictor
Rubric: Prologus in libro de sacramentis altaris
Incipit: Quisquis nostri redemptoris uestiris ymagine

12 lines

Rubric: Liber primus dom⟨ini⟩ ildeberti episcopi de corpo⟨re et⟩ sanguine domini
Incipit: Panis in altari uerbi uirtute sacratus
Explicit: Sicque redemptus abit homo quo suus auctor abiuit

WIC 16200, 13623; PL 171.1198–1212 (cf. 1193); Scott, MARS, pp. 76–77.

C. (fols. 129r–138v)
Hildebert of Lavardin, De mysterio missae
Rubric: Prologus in libro secundo
Incipit: Scribere proposui quo mystica sacra priorum

12 lines

Rubric: Liber secundus in expositione super missam
Incipit: Turba prophetarum uenturi nuncia Christi
Explicit: Cum pater ad dextram cedit et explet opus

WIC 17396, 19559; PL 171.1177–92; Scott, MARS, p. 77.

3. (fol. 138v–143v)
Hildebert of Lavardin, Carmina minora
Rubric: Liber tercius de ⟨q⟩uibusdam quasi omissis in ⟨pre⟩cedentibus libris
Incipit: Ante legem pro peccato

WIC 1299; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora, ed. A. B. Scott (Leipzig, 1969), 39 I 7–8.

Incipit: Melchisedech domino

WIC 10865; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 39 IV.

Incipit: In partes fracta tres hostia iam caro facta

WIC 8793.

Incipit: Impia Judea

WIC 5180

Incipit: Ecclesię circa

WIC 5831; PL 171.1192.

Incipit: Est ratio quod pars

WIC 2061; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 39 I (omitting 7–8 = a).

Incipit: Baptismalis quędam forma

WIC 8479; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 3911.

Incipit: Hostia coniugium

WIC 672; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 39 III.

Incipit: Affines consanguineos

WIC 482; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 39 V.

Incipit: Adę peccatum

WIC 5197; PL 171.1192.

Incipit: Ecclesię partes

Not in Walther: a 4-line introductory stanza in Goliardic metre.

Incipit: Dum diuine bonitatis

Not in Walther.

Incipit: Tollimur e medio

WIC 19311; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 45; M. Hammond, ‘Notes on Some Poems of Hildebert in a Harvard Manuscript (MS Riant 36)’, Speculum 7 (1932), 533–34.

Incipit: Statio quid dextra

Not in Walther.

Incipit: In natale sacro

WIC 9015; Hildeberti Cenomannensis episcopi carmina minora 21; Hammond, ‘Poems’, 533–34.

The order in Vat. Reg. lat. 270 is: a–i, o, No. 31, j.

31. (fol. 143v)
Hymn to St Stephen
Incipit: Salue festa dies toto uenerabilis euo / Qua mundum Stephanus
Explicit: De se tutus agat pro famulante preces

WIC 17100a; see Vat. Reg. lat. 270 (No. 30 above).

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description adapted (October 2021) from A.G. Rigg, ‘Medieval Latin Poetic Anthologies (III)’, Mediaeval Studies, 41 (1979), 468–505. His work is partially derived from K. Strecker, ‘Walther von Chatillon und seine Schule’, Zeitschrift fur deutsches Altertum 64 (1927), 97–125 and 161–89, especially 109; and A. B. Scott, ‘The Poems of Hildebert of Le Mans: A New Examination of the Canon’, Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 6 (1968), 42–83. Previously described in the the Summary Catalogue (1922):

Last Substantive Revision

2021-10-21: Andrew Dunning Revised description with consultation of original.