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

MS. Add. A. 286

Summary Catalogue no.: 29403

Vita beate virginis Marie et Salvatoris rhythmica, etc.; Germany, 14th century, second half


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r–84v)
Vita beate virginis Marie et Salvatoris rhythmica (lacking most of Book I)
Incipit: ||Secretaque celestia uel contemplabatur. / Vel manuum laboribus hec operabatur
Explicit: Quod completum carmen est huius ymnodye. Amen.
Final rubric: Explicit uita dulcissime, piissime, venerande / Laudande, gloriose sponse, diligende metuende / Venerabilis, et amabilis, virginis Marie, que cum / Ihesu filio suo sit semper benedicta amen.

See Verfasserlexikon 10.436-443 (Kurt Gärtner). Ed. by A. Vögtlin, Bibliothek des Litterarischer vereins in Stuttgart, 180 (Tübingen, 1888); cf. Max Päpke, ‘Das Marienleben des Schweizers Wernher, mit Nachträgen zu Vögtlins Ausgabe der Vita Marie rhythmica’, Palaestra 81 (Berlin, 1913).

The text of the present MS. starting at line 1436 on p. 53 of the edition. At 41 lines per page, the 1435 missing lines text would have occupied exactly 35 pages, or one quire of eight and one of ten leaves if the text began on the first verso.

(fols. 84v–85v)
Hugo de Trimberg, Epilogus in Vita beatae virginis Mariae rhythmica
Incipit: Librum hunc illuminauit quidam dei verna / Qui et scribi procurauit editus de Werna / Villa cis Herbipolim nomen eius Hugo
Explicit: Et maiora scandala taliter vitemus.

Consisting of 61 lines of verse; ed. K. Langosch, Das 'Registrum multorum Auctorum' des Hugo von Trimberg, Germanische Studien 235 (1942, repr. 1969), 259-269. See Verfasserlexikon 4.268-82 (G. Schweikle), at 280-1, not listing this copy.

(fol. 86v)

Polyphonic music, added later fourteenth century. 4 lines of text (ending incomplete), each below music in score in Hufnagel notation on two five-line staves:

Marginal note:

"Hec dies plena glorie consodales canite … Ergo lector incipe dic iube benedicere"
Incipit: Iube domine silencium fieri in aures audiencium ut possim intellegere et nos benedicere. Primo tempore alleuiata est terra Zabulon … [Isaiah 9:1]
Explicit: … Et nouissima aggrauata est via

Part of the second lection at Matins on Monday after the third Sunday in Advent.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment, of generally good quality but with holes and uneven edges; the lower outer corner of fol. 49 attached with blue sewing thread
Extent: i (paper) + ii (old paper) + 85 + ii (old paper) + i (paper)
Dimensions (leaf): 205 × 145 mm.
Foliation: i–iii, 1–88 in 19th-century pencil


[Quires signed ‘i’–‘ii’ missing, probably one of 8 and one of 10 leaves], iii–iiii8, v10, vi12-3 (7-9 cancelled, presumably blank as no apparent loss of text), vii–xi10.


Ruled in ink for 41 lines of text. Ruled space 160-5 × 75-80 mm.


Gothic bookhand.

Musical Notation:

Hufnagel notation on two five-line staves, added on fol. 86v.


Initials in plain red, usually three lines high, some with minimal ornament.


Three-quarter dark blue leather and black cloth over pasteboards; the spine with title in gilt capitals ‘Vita Christi | rubricated by | Hugo de Werna’.

A 17th/18th(?)-century paper label, perhaps removed from the spine of the previous binding and now stuck to the front pastedown, is inscribed ‘Vita Chri | rhythmice | descripta’.

Inscribed ‘The whole of the parchment and paper which composed the binding of this volume is in a blue envelope among the printed fragments [dated:] 1885’; these pieces had been mislaid by the time the SC was published.


Origin: 14th century, second half ; Germany

Provenance and Acquisition

The Carthusian monastery of Buxheim: ‘Cartusiæ Buxiæ’ (fol. 1r); inscribed in a large bold hand in ink ‘N.201.’ (fol. ii verso). In 1803 the charterhouse was dissolved and its property, including the library, was given to:

The Counts of Ostein, and in 1810 inherited by:

The Counts of Waldbott-Bassenheim; with a purple ‘G.W.B.D.’ ink stamp (fol. 1r), probably ‘Gräflich von Waldbott-Bassenheim’sche Domanialverwaltung’ (see Volker Honemann, ‘The Buxheim collection and its dispersal’, Renaissance Studies, 9.2: Incunabula: Books, Texts and Owners (June 1995), pp. 166–88).

Hugo graf von Waldbott-Bassenheim (1820–1895); sold at his Buxheim sale by Carl Förster, Munich, Catalogue 30, 30 Sept. 1883 and following days, lot 2798.

Albert Cohn, Berlin, Catalogue 162, no. 1372; bought by the Bodleian for 60 marks on 27 Dec. 1884; inscribed in pencil ‘Cohn | 1884’ (fol. iiir).

Record Sources

Description by Peter Kidd (April 2021). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-04-21: Andrew Dunning New description by Peter Kidd.