Christ Church MS. 151
John Walton, verse translation of Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae; England, s. xvex
IMEV 1597; DIMEV 2677; ed. Mark Science, EETS 170 (1927); he describes our manuscript at xiii-iv. The manuscript is one of only two -- the other being Oxford: Balliol College, MS 316A -- that now contain a full and accurate authorial ascription; see Science, xlii (the fragmentary Copenhagen: Kongelike Bibliothek, MS Thott 304 2o, which formed compositor’s copy for the 1525 print, presumably once included a yet fuller identification of the author and his patron, Elizabeth Berkeley, countess of Warwick). This manuscript is a twin of Balliol MS. 316A, with the same contents, but the two lyrics here added are in the original hand there. Although Balliol MS. 316A has a flashier opening page, it is much plainer in its overall decorative scheme. Mynors notices (333) that our manuscript has been corrected against that at Balliol (which arrived in their collection in 1656).
Fol. 127v was originally blank, now with added texts:
In double columns, about 35 lines; single line red lombards at the opening of each stanza, line brackets in red, two- and three-line red lombards, unflourished, to introduce each of two lyrics; in secretary, s. xvex.
In long lines, 28-31 lines to the page.
No signs of pricking; bounded in stylus but unruled.
Written in secretary.
Unpunctuated, rare point.
Headings in red for textual divisions (the Latin incipits are in text ink) and in the marginal ‘B[oethius]’ and ‘P[hilosophia]’ which designate the speakers. The opening leaf, much faded, has a five-line painted red lombard as part of a demivinet of leaves and flowers. At the openings of the books, three-line champes; at the openings of smaller textual divisions, two-line champes (one on fol. 72v cut out), all in gold leaf with red and blue, with green and gold floral sprays. The quality of the decoration deteriorates through the volume; e.g., after quire 6 (fol. 48), there is no green paint or leafy design in the sprays. Stanzas introduced by alternate one-line red and blue lombards. See AT no. 535 (53), dating s. xv med.
A limp vellum wrapper, s. xv. Sewn on four thongs. On the upper cover at the leading edge, a pair of triangular sets of holes from the seats for metal clips to hold ribbon ties; two holes at the centre of the lower cover where they would have been secured. A ChCh bookplate inside the upper cover. No pastedowns.
Provenance and Acquisition
There is no very useful information and no indication of the donor. There are a few names, ‘William Bryante William hustence [? Iustence] Henery Sloper ye 28 of may’ and pentrials (fol. 128, s. xvi/xvii). At the inside of the upper cover, the New Library shelfmark, now rather indistinct, in Edward Smallwell’s hand: ‘B.3’ (see Appendix IV). There is, at bottom centre of fol. 127, another pre-ChCh shelfmark: ‘283’ (s. xvii?). The absence of this manuscript from the 1676 catalogue and that of the Old Archives (Appendices I and II) may suggest a mid-eighteenth century date of arrival.