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

MS. Rawl. B. 214

Summary Catalogue no.: 11566

Poetic anthology written by John Wylde after 1469

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment and paper. Watermarks: quires i–iii, vii, balance in circle (cf. Briquet Nos. 2445 ff., all mid-fifteenth century); quires iv–vi, viii–x, xii–xiv, xvii, stag’s head surmounted by star (Briquet Nos. 15498 ff., 1360–87; Mosin–Traljic Nos. 2219 ff., 1387–90); quire xi, flower on stalk (Briquet Nos. 6463, 6512, etc.; Mosin–Traljic No. 4035, 1398); none visible in quire xvi. Thus, the same paper (stag’s head) was used in all five parts of the manuscript, and different kinds of paper were used to make up Part I.
Extent: 228 leaves (formerly 234)
Dimensions (leaf): 286 × 202 mm.
(apart from quire xv)
Foliation: Modern foliation.


With some exceptions, each quire consisted (before loss of leaves) of paper leaves supported by inner and outer bifolia of parchment. Blanks at the end of gatherings, and some wear, indicate that the manuscript was compiled in booklets. There are no catchwords or quire numbers in the manuscript. Rigg (p. 311) interprets this as reflecting John Wylde’s activities: ‘The first seven quires consist of a 14 and six 16s to accommodate Walsingham’s treatise (No. 1); the remaining quires of Part I (viii–xi) are of varied sizes and may have been added piecemeal to accommodate the poems. Parts II, III, and IV each consist of single quires, probably made up separately. Part V consists of three quires of different sizes, to accommodate the diagrams and treatise. The same stocks of paper were used for the whole manuscript. Wylde seems to have compiled the manuscript as he went along, on an ad hoc basis. This is suggested by: the ruling of lines by leaf rather than by quire; the addition of singletons (perhaps accounting for the many lost leaves); the uneven quality of the parchment; the variety of stocks of paper; the absence of catchwords and quire numbering. On the other hand, the generous size of the pages and the lavish rubrication show that Wylde was very concerned about the appearance of his manuscript. He had definite plans for the order of the contents, though the plans were not always successful.’


Writing area 199 × 120 mm. framed and ruled in dry point: each leaf was ruled separately, as the variable number of lines (between 26 and 33 per page) shows. Long-line format, except for fols. 137–148, inserted in quire xi.


The whole manuscript, except fols. 137–148, was written in a fine Bastard Anglicana by a single scribe, John Wylde; the inserted leaves are written in a small neat script, perhaps also Wylde’s in a different style.


Red ink is used lavishly, for running heads, chapter headings (in the text or the margin), proper names, initials, and decoration, and initials are often touched in red. Wilde wrote continuously, using brown or red ink as necessary, for example, the ‘auctoritas’ for each stanza of Nos. 8 and 20 is written in red, at the same time as the rest of the text. Running heads are provided for the first few folios of each book of No. 1, and throughout Nos. 12 and 30. Proper names are frequently given capital initials.

Fine miniatures (coloured drawings) on fols. 195–201, illustrating the Ovidian text. Leaves inserted in a composite volume written by John Wylde of Waltham Abbey. They have been enlarged to match the rest of the MS. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 1024, pl. XCVI)

fol. 197v

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Saturn, devouring his son, castrated by Jupiter, surrounded by other gods and goddesses. Jupiter, seated on the throne, striking giants with lightning. Ganymede and eagle.

fol. 198r

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Mars in a carriage; wolf. Apollo and muses, standing around a laurel tree; raven; three-headed dragon. Python pierced with spear.

fol. 198v

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Venus, standing in water, surrounded by flowers and doves. Cupid with bow and arrow. Apollo. Vulcan with hammer. Mercury with goat’s head, winged feet and helmet, holding a wand with a snake twined around it, playing pipe. Cock. Argus asleep.

fol. 199r

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Diana, hunting with bow and arrow, surrounded by attendants. Minerva in armour, with spear and shield with Medusa’s head. Rainbow, cock, laurel tree, owl.

fol. 199v

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Juno, with head covered with clouds, supported by peacocks; rainbow. Cybele in a chariot pulled by lions; three cocks.

fol. 200r

  • Type miniatures (coloured drawings)
  • Subject Venus, embracing Mars, confronted by Vulcan with hammer and four ‘dij etherei’. Hercules with staff and lion’s head. Asclepius with serpent-entwined staff.


The original leather and wood binding has been repaired.

The manuscript has been rebound and single paper flyleaves added at the beginning and end.


Origin: c. 1469-1480 ; England, Augustinian Abbey of Holy Cross at Waltham, Essex The latest datable entry in the manuscript is No. 16, the Kalendare: interlinear rubric glosses signal specific historical events, the last of which reads: ‘Robin of ridesdale interfecit dominum herbert’. This refers to the Northern revolt of 1469 (see DNB s.v. Robin of Redesdale). Written at the Augustinian Abbey of Holy Cross at Waltham, Essex. Rigg (p. 312) observes: ‘At the end of No. 30 (fol. 233r) is a short verse, ending: ‘Perscripto libro reddatur gloria Christo, quod J. Wylde Nomen scriptoris est Jhon Wilde plenus amoris.’ This John Wylde is identical with the scribe and compiler of the musical collection British Library, Lansdowne MS. 763; his name or initials appear there on fols. 51v, 94v, 98v, and especially in the heading on fol. 2r: ‘Hunc librum vocitatum Musicam Gvidonis scripsit Johannes Wylde quondam exempti monasterii Sancte Crucis de Waltham precentor.’ Lansdowne 763 was written by one hand, unmistakably that of MS. Rawlinson B. 214, which it also resembles in decoration; one of its texts (No. 16) is ‘Regule Magistri Thome Walsingham de figuris compositis et non compositis et de cantu perfecto et imperfecto et de modis’ (cf. MS. Rawlinson B. 214 No. 1). The fullest account is by W. Winters, ‘Historical Notes on Some of the Ancient Manuscripts formerly Belonging to the Monastic Library of Waltham Holy Cross’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6 (1877) 203-66; see also N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, 2nd ed. (London, 1964), pp. 193, 312.’ ‘The soubriquet ‘plenus amoris’ is part of a common fifteenth-century scribal jingle: cf. MS. Bodley 643 (s. xv) fol. 255v ‘Nomen scriptoris Jon. semper plenus amoris / Esteby cognomen cui semper det Deus homen’ (i.e. John Esteby, vicar of Banbury, ?1436-?1470), and MS. Bodley 493 (S.C. 2097, s. xv) fol. 55v ‘Nomen scriptoris Robertus plenus amoris’. I owe these references to Dr. M. M. Parrott. See also Chaucer, Canterbury Tales 7. 900 for mention of romances ‘Of sir Lybeux and Pleyndamour’, and Robinson’s note ad toc. for references to Cambridge, University Library MS. Ff. 1.6 and MS. Bodley 264 (s. xv addition).’

Provenance and Acquisition

Marginal notes in a near-contemporary hand on the diagrams (No. 28) and the treatise on Ovid (No. 30).

The names ‘Johannes Laure’ (or ‘Lanre’) and ‘Joh. Lar.’ appear on fol. 233v in a sixteenth-century hand.

A few eighteenth-century notes.

Richard Rawlinson, 1690–1755

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1755.

MS. Rawl. B. 214, fols. 1–149 (quires i–xi) – part I


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r–106r)
Thomas Walsingham, Dites ditatus
Rubric: Excidium troianorum secundum ditem grecum
Incipit: Scriptor egregius obsidionis
Final rubric: Finitur historia troiana a dite greco aliter gnosio et cretensi edita sed a fratre thoma walsyngham monaco verolamensi .s. exempti monasterii sancti albani declarata et historiis et poematibus ampliata diversis ac ditata. unde placuit ditanti hunc tractatum vocare ditem ditatum

The work, in six books, rephrases the Ephemeris belli Troiani by Dictys Cretensis, but with much additional material, often signalled by a large T in the margin.

2. (fols. 107r–112v)
Simon Chevre d’Or, Ylias
Rubric: Descripcio et recapitulacio metrica de bello troiano secundum
Incipit: Diuiciis ortu specie virtute triumphis

WIC 4645. 28 lines are lacking, which would occupy about a page: either a singleton or a bifolium is missing at the centre of the gathering. The absence of a name after secundum probably shows that Wylde simply hoped to discover the author.

3. (fols. 113r–114r)
Thomas Elmham, Verse History of Britain
a. (fol. 113r–v)
Rubric: Quoto anno ab origine mundi brutus venit in albion. et quot annis ante romam. quot annis etiam ante christi incarnacionem. et quo anno britones fidem christi acceperunt. et quo anno hengistus venit et fides britonum corruit. et angli regnaverunt et fidem christi acceperunt. secundum magistrum thomam elmham priorem de lenton
Incipit: Bis bis mille quidem decies senis tribus annis
b. (fol. 113v)
Rubric: De regibus christianis post sancti augustini adventum secundum magistrum t. elmham
Incipit: Rex Ethelbertus Christo stat erismate certus
c. (fol. 114r)
Rubric: De regibus anglie post conquestum secundum magistrum thomam elmham monachum et priorem de lenton
Incipit: Anglis conquestor Willelmus hic est tibi testor
Final rubric: Expliciunt reges

The last poem ends with the death of Henry V.

4. (fol. 114v)
John Whethamstede
Rubric: De regibus anglie et eorum condiciones a conquestu secundum magistrum johannem whethamstede abbatem verolamensem .s. sancti albani
Incipit: Natu dux primo conquestu rexque secundo
Final rubric: Explicit descripcio regum anglie a conquestu secundum magistrum j. w. ut supra

Ends in the reign of Henry VI.

5. (fols. 115r–121v)
Wars of Edward III
a. (fols. 115r–121r)
Battle of Crécy
Rubric: Gesta bellicosa excellentissimi principis domini edwardi wyndeshore regis anglorum iii, et primo de bello crescy et nevylecrosse
Incipit: Francia feminea pharizea vigoris ydea

WIC 6833.

b. (fol. 121r)
Rubric: Numerus annorum christi et interfectorum in bello de crescy
Incipit: Annis bis sex C quater X bis ter simul et C

WIC 1091.

c. (fol. 121r)
Rubric: Prophecia de mutacione armorum regis anglie .s. leopardi
Incipit: Anglia transmutet leopardum lilia galli
Final rubric: Explicit prophecia

WIC 1026.

d. (fol. 121r–121v)
Rubric: Armorum mutacio et domini regis edwardi de titulo regni francie iusta peticio per matrimonium et belli victoriam
Incipit: Rex sum regnorum bina racione duorum

5 lines.

Rubric: Inveccio gallici contra dominum regem anglie pro mutacione armorum
Incipit: |Lilia Francorum Rex Karole septime regum |Sunt tua cum regno si qua est reuerencia legum
Rubric: Iusta responcio anglici pro mutacione armorum
Incipit: |Lilia Francorum decensu progenitorum lam sunt |Anglorum si lex valet ulla priorum

Wylde has combined two poems. The first (WIC 16784, ed. Wright, Political Poems 1. 26 from MS. Rawlinson B. 214) refers to Edward III’s new quartering of his arms, to include the fleur de lys, in 1339; the pair of couplets (WIC 10324, ed. Wright, Political Poems 2. 230) must have been written after the coronation of Charles VII of France, in July 1429. In British Library, Harley MS. 200, fol. 143v, the first verse is found, as here, followed by two couplets appropriate to Edward III and 1339. The group of verses is a miniature counterpart to the huge collections made by Thomas Bekynton (British Library, Harley MSS. Harley 861 and 4763) in support of Henry VI’s claims to the throne of France. Cf. the next item.

6. (fol. 121v)
Note on Queen Emma
Rubric: Cronica de parentibus sanctorum edwardi m artiris et sancti edwardi confessoris et de haroldo
Incipit: Emma regina filia fuit

This note, added later by Wylde, appears to support descent through the female line and thus Henry VI’s claims on the French throne (see No. 5).

7. (fols. 122r–125v)
Edward III’s Wars in Scotland
a. (fols. 122r–125v)
Battle of Neville's Cross
Rubric: Bellum scocie apud wiram’ ubi david rex scotorum per excellentissimum principem dominum edwardum 3urn regem anglie fuit captus cum aliis
Incipit: Dux Waleys hinnit Francia grunnit territa tinnit
Final rubric: Amen

WIC 5041.

b. (fol. 125v)
Rubric: Numerus interfectorum in bello et dies belli et conclusio finis
Incipit: Fastu commotos percussit et Anglia scotos
Final rubric: Explicit bellum

WIC 6273.

c. (fol. 125v)
Incipit: Est omnis scotus Sampson Salamon leo totus |Sampson se necuit. Salamon post ydolatrauit |Est leo famelicus, sic omnis scotus iniquus

WIC 5786.

8. (fols. 126r–130r)
Edward I’s Scottish Wars
a. (fols. 126r–130r)
(gap left for heading)
Incipit: Ludere volentibus ludens paro liram
Final rubric: Amen

WIC 10450.

b. (fol. 130r)
Rubric: Conclusio et finis belli
Incipit: Reges dux et comites

4 stanzas

Not in Walther.

9. (fols. 130r–133r)
Death of Edward III
a. (fol. 130r)
Rubric: Prohemium in epitaphium domini edwardi regis anglorum 3ii
Incipit: Regis in Edwardi bene debeo funere flere
Final rubric: Explicit prohemium
b. (fols. 130v–133r)
Rubric: Epitaphium domini edwardi regis anglorum 3ii
Incipit: Qui quinquaginta felices fecerat annos
Final rubric: Explicit epitaphium excellentissimi principis et floris milicie domini edwardi regis anglie 3ii

WIC 16527, 15621. Ed. Wright, Political Poems 1. 219–24; unique to MS. Rawlinson B. 214.

10. (fols. 133r–134r)
Black Prince in Spain
Rubric: Bellum hispanie per primogenitum dicti domini edwardi regis edwardum
Incipit: Gloria cunctorum detur domino dominorum
Final rubric: Explicit bellum hispanie sub principe edwardo primogenito regis edwardi 3ii

WIC 7224.

11. (fol. 134r–136v)
Thomas Elmham, To Henry V
a. (fol. 134r–134v)
Rubric: Epistola sacre theologie professoris magistri thome elmham monachi de lenton prope notyngham. ad regem henricum 5um pro opere sequenti
Incipit: O ‘Rex mi’ domine sape que tibi scribere duxi
Final rubric: Explicit epistola magistri thome elmham ad regem henricum 5um
b. (fols. 134v–136v)
Rubric: Epistola regis henrici 4ti ad filium suum henricum 5um in extremis languentis pro sui et regni anglie gubernacione. vna cum benediccione paternali cunctis suis filiis ex composito predicti magistri t. e.
Incipit: Dilige mente deum fili virtuteque tota
Final rubric: Finitur finis regis henrici 4ti
c. (fol. 136v)
Incipit: Rex Es Xpicolis Ale Ne Graue Ledat Id Effer

6 lines

WIC 12957, 4491, 16721. Ed. Wright, Political Poems 2. 118–23; unique to MS. Rawlinson B. 214. The third poem spells out in acrostich ‘Rex Anglie Henricus Quintus, Caterina Regina Anglie’.

12. (fols. 137ra–148vb)
Thomas Elmham, Liber metricus
Rubric: Cronica regis henrici quinti
Incipit: Ad honorem beatissime trinitatis et ad presencium
Explicit: |et pro succursu rengni anglie dotis sue quo cunctas hereses |cum heresiarcha Johannis Oldcastel suis precibus interemit

Continues with No. 13.

Ed. C. A. Cole, Memorials of Henry V (RS 11; London, 1858), pp. 77–165. For corrections and additions to Cole, see J. S. Roskell and F. Taylor, ‘The Authorship and Purpose of the Gesta Henrici Quinti’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 53 (1970–71) 428–64 and 54 (1971–72) 223–40; see also Kingsford, English Historical Literature, pp. 45–50. The Liber metricus describes the first quinquennium of Henry V’s reign: the MS. Rawlinson B. 214 text, like that of Cotton Julius E. iv, is amply supplied with’ chronogrammatic’ glosses (see Cole, pp. xlviii–xlix). There are two versions of the Liber metricus (extant in 9 MSS.), a longer and a shorter; MS. Rawlinson B. 214, described by Roskell and Taylor as ‘confused’, shares some features with the shorter version represented by Cotton MS. Vespasian D. xiii (e.g. the hymn in No. 13 (b), and the description ‘extractum breue de Cronica Thome Elmham prioris lenton’). The Liber metricus is based on the Gesta Henrici Quinti, ed. Roskell and Taylor (Oxford, 1975), which the editors have shown is not Elmham’s work, as earlier scholars had supposed. Elmham began as a monk of St. Augustine’s, Canterbury (of which he wrote a history, published in the Rolls Series, 1858), but in 1414 entered the Cluniae order and became Prior of Lenton; he died c. 1428. On his Cronica, see on No. 3. The Liber metricus proper, fols. 137–148, is by a hand unlike Wylde’s other writing: it is in a paper booklet, written in two columns, with a watermark different from those in other parts of the manuscript. Wylde evidently inserted this paper booklet and completed it with the collect and hymn to the Virgin (No. 13 below). Interestingly, the Liber metricus (complete with No. 13) is in a separate paper booklet in Cotton Vespasian D. xiii.

13. (fols. 148vb–149r)
Thomas Elmham, Collect and Hymn to the Virgin
Rubric: De ympno a gente anglorum cantando ad ad[sic] laudem dei genitricis marie propter graciosam expedicionem regis henrici quinti
a. (fol. 149r)
Incipit: Te Matrem laudamus Te dominam confitemur
b. (fol. 149r)
Incipit: Te Matrem Christi prece laudamus iubilantes

Not in Walther. Ed. Cole (see No. 12). Signed in acrostich ‘THOMAS ELMHAM MONACHUS’. In all texts of the Liber metricus the collect (a) is integral and follows directly on the colophon; despite Wylde’s curious procedure (see on No. 12), one cannot separate the prayer from the text of the Liber. The hymn (b), however, is found only in MS. Rawlinson B. 214 and Cotton Vespasian D. xiii. For another acrostich signature by Elmham, see the prologue to the Cronica (see on No. 3), printed by T. Heame, (pseudo-Elmham) Vita et gesta Henrici Quinti (Oxford, 1727).

14. (fol. 149v)
Hymn to the Virgin, in Praise of England
Rubric: Laudes anglicane sequntur

Anglia primarie Dos fertur adesse Marie Not in Walther. One is tempted to assign this to Elmham, as it forms a pair with No. 13.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment and paper


i7 (fols. 1–7, formerly 1–13): fols. 8–13 lost since writing and foliation; original first leaf (matching fol. *13) lost. Fol. 1 is clean and must once have been protected. Original quire therefore i14, standard (parchment-paper-parchment) pattern.

ii16 (fols. 14–29): outer leaves remounted. Standard pattern. iii15 (fols. 30–44): leaf lost after fol. 43 after writing. Outer leaves remounted; standard pattern.

iv16–vii16 (fols. 45–108): outer leaves remounted in vi; standard pattern. viii8 (fols. 109–116): no inner parchment. Text shows loss of 28 lines after fol. 112v, indicating missing singleton (with verso blank). ix7 (fols. 117–123): six paper leaves with added parchment singleton (fol. 123). x12 (fols. 124–135): ten leaves, with outer parchment bifolium (remounted); singleton (parchment, fol. 129) inserted in centre; single paper leaf (fol. 134) inserted.

xi14 (fols. 136–149): gathering of twelve paper leaves (in a different hand) inserted in a parchment sleeve.

MS. Rawl. B. 214, fols. 150–166 (quire xii) – part II


Language(s): Latin

15. (fols. 150r–152r)
Edward III’s Wars: Truce of 1347
Incipit: Cantica leticie mundi flos Anglia promat
Final rubric: Finis epilogi bellorum edwardi 3ii

WIC 2388.

Fol. 152v blank.

16. (fols. 153r–158r)
Chronogrammatic Calendar
a. (fol. 153r–153v)
Rubric: Rubrica sive canon in kalendare sequens
Incipit: Cum in plerisque dubiis que in nostro Kalendario tanquam incerta
Final rubric: Explicit canon sive rubrica in kalendare sequens. et incipit kalendare
b. (fols. 153v–158r)
Incipit: Fistulat hec duplici celer aptat glos feriendi

WIC 6561 (the reference in the Appendix is an error and should read 6569). Ample space (about two lines) has been left for interlinear glosses, which Wylde has supplied up to fol. 156r (and only two thereafter): the latest dates given are for the coronation of Edward IV (28 June 1461) and the rising of Robin of Redesdale (see DNB) in 1469: ‘Robin of ridesdale interfecit dominum herbert’. There is another copy, without glosses, in Oxford, St John’s College, MS. 195, in blank leaves left after Rolle’s commentary on the Psalms. On chronograms, see Cole (cited in No. 12), pp. xlviii–xlix.

Fol. 158v blank.

17. (fols. 159r–165v)
Apocalypsis Goliae
Rubric: Apocalipsis anglorum
Incipit: A tauro torrida lampade Cinthii
Final rubric: Explicit apocalipsis anglie secundum magistrum walterum mape

WIC 91.

18. (fol. 166r–v)
Response to Verses on a Cannon
a. (fol. 166r)
Rubric: Philippus dux burgundie ad jacobum regem scottorum
Incipit: Illustri Jacobo Scottorum principe magno

2 lines

b. (fol. 166r–v)
Rubric: Responcio ad hec per quendam anglicum
Incipit: Burgundus Scoto. Dux regi falsus iniquo

44 lines

Final rubric: Explicit

WIC 8745. Ed. Wright, Political Poems 2. 150–51; unique to MS. Rawlinson B. 214. Wright did not know the context of the poems: according to the Scotichronicon, ed. W. Goodall, 2 (Edinburgh, 1759), p. 490, in 1430 the king of Flanders (i.e. Philip, duke of Burgundy) sent to James I of Scotland a cannon with an inscription worded almost exactly as No. 18 (a). The long poem in MS. Rawlinson B. 214, therefore, is a reply to the implied threat and insult: relations between England and Burgundy worsened considerably after 1430.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


xii17 (fols. 150–166): fol. 157 singleton insert; standard pattern. The quire has been reversed by turning inside out (see diagram in Rigg, fig. 2, p. 290).

MS. Rawl. B. 214, fols. 167–181 (quire xiii) – part III


Language(s): Latin

19. (fols. 167r–168v)
Satire against Monks
Rubric: Apocalipsis claustralium
Incipit: Noctis crepusculo brumali tempore
Final rubric: Explicit apocalipsis claustralium

WIC 11891. Wylde has glossed the word monachi by canonici in red throughout.

20. (fols. 168v–170r)
Quid dant artes nisi luctum (gap left for title)
Incipit: Meum est propositum gentis imperite

WIC 10988.

21. (fols. 170r–173r)
De coniuge non ducenda
Rubric: Naufragium nubencium secundum goliam
Incipit: Sit deo gloria laus benediccio
Final rubric: Explicit apocalipsis golye de naufragio nubendi

WIC 18302.

22. (fols. 173v–177r)
Satire on the Estates
Rubric: Epilogus apocalipsium precedencium
Incipit: Totum regit seculum papa potestate
Final rubric: Explicit epilogus precedencium apocalipsium

WIC 19338. The word papa has been ineffectively erased in several stanzas.

23. (fols. 177v–180r)
Debate between Wine and Water
Rubric: Apocalipsis bachi inter lyeum et thetidem
Incipit: Cum tenerent omnia medium tumultum
Final rubric: Explicit apocalipsis bachi

WIC 3834.

24. (fols. 180r–181v)
Satire against Norfolk (gap left for title)
Incipit: Exiit edictum ab Augusto Cesare

Ends abruptly at foot of fol. 181v (see Rigg, pp. 325–26).

WIC 6074. A later hand (s. xvi?) has noted at the beginning ‘The declaration against Norfolke answered vnto with moer zeale then Truthe’.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


xiii15 (fols. 167–181): last parchment leaf lost, probably after writing but perhaps blank (see Rigg, pp. 325–26); originally standard pattern. Fols. 168 and 181 remounted.

MS. Rawl. B. 214, fols. 182–194 (quire xiv) – part IV


Language(s): Latin

25. (fols. 182r–187r)
John of St. Omer, Reply to the Satire on Norfolk
Rubric: Responcio contra edictum norfolchie
Incipit: Edictum fingitur factum a cesare

WIC 5239. At the beginning the later hand (as in No. 24) has written: ‘Responsio pro norfolciensibus iure damnatis in a matter of trvthe ex maxima parte’.

26. (fol. 187r)
Die Bettelmonche
Rubric: Inveccio cuiusdam sathane satellitis contra dei milites monachos et canonicos per sacre scripture blasphemiam
Incipit: Qui nescit quam sit monachorum nobile vulgus Ends fol. 187r

WIC 16086.

27. (fols. 188r–194r)
Walter of Peterborough, Battle of Najara
a. (fols. 188r–189v)
Rubric: Prohemium panagericum in opus sequens. de victoria belli in hyspania per principem edwardum et johannem confratrem eius ducem lancastrie pro petro rege hispanie
Incipit: Mi Martonensis pater amplexande Johannes
Final rubric: Explicit prohemium panagericum
b. (fol. 189v–194r)
Rubric: Victoria belli in hispania per 3es confratres .s. dominos principem edw ardum et johannem ducem lancastrie et petrum regem hispanie contra 3es nothos filios aldefonsi regis .s. henricum, thilonem, et senchium
Incipit: Bella referre paro fratrum de germine claro

Ends incomplete (Wright p. 114) at foot of fol. 194r.

WIC 10994, 2121. Ed. Wright, Political Poems 1. 97–122, from MS. Rawlinson B. 214 and Digby 166 (which lacks the prologue but is otherwise complete). The author gives his name as Walter de Burgo (Peterborough), monk of Revesby in Lincolnshire; he was a friend of John Marton, treasurer of John of Gaunt. In Digby 166 the poem is called ‘bellum nasoreum gestum et sic digestum a.d. 1366, habens versus quingentos sexaginta per W. Burgensem’; the preceding poem, ‘Vix nodosum valeo’ (WIC 20763), is described as ‘epilogium fratris Waited de Burgo super Alanum in opere suo de planctu nature contra prelatum sodomitam’. Walter also wrote a Mariale (Theotecon), to which he refers in the present poem, and also an exegesis of the Metamorphoses (see on No. 30, which was once attributed to him). Wylde has written rhetorical notes in red throughout the poem.

(fol. 194v)

Blank, except for the later addition of the couplet on Virgil, ‘Pastor arator eques’ (WIC 13779).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


xiv13 (fols. 182–194): gathering of twelve paper leaves, singleton parchment insert (fol. 188) in the centre; the quire has been reversed by turning inside out (see Rigg, fig. 2, p. 290) – the singleton would once have been the front outer leaf.

MS. Rawl. B. 214, fols. 195–233 (quires xv–xvii) – part V


Language(s): Latin

(fol. 195r)


28. (fols. 195v–200r)
Diagrams and Pictures
(Short note)
Rubric: Eurus. hic ostendit auctor de origine ventorum
Incipit: Primo videndum est quod nichil aliud est ventus quam aer perturbatus
a. (fol. 196r)
Diagram: Zinzugia 4 elementorum
b. (fol. 196v)
Diagram: earth’s five zones and principal winds
c. (fol. 197r)
Diagram: map of the world
d. (fol. 197v)
Picture: Saturn, Jupiter
e. (fol. 198r)
Picture: Mars, Apollo
f. (fol. 198v)
Picture: Venus, Mercury
g. (fol. 199r)
Picture: Diana, Minerva
h. (fol. 199v)
Picture: Juno, Cybele
i. (fol. 200r)
Picture: Vulcan, Hercules, Aesculapius

For a description of the pictures (fols. 197v–202v), see F. Saxl and H. Meier, Catalogue of Astrological and Mythological Illuminated Manuscripts of the Latin Middle Ages, vol. 3.1: Manuscripts in English Libraries (London, 1953), pp. 395–98; pictures (d) and (f) are reproduced in Part 2, pis. VI–VII, figs. 19–20. Pictures (e) and (f) are reproduced by Saxl and R. Wittkower, British Art and the Mediterranean (London, 1948), pi. 35. 1–2; picture (f) is also in J. Seznec, Survival of the Pagan Gods, trans. B. Sessions (New York, 1953), fig. 70, p. 181. The pictures are drawn on small parchment sheets, to which have been attached (fols. 197–199) parchment slips to contain notes: (d)–(h) are given references to the appropriate passage in the ‘Dites ditatus’ (No. 1 above). Saxl and Wittkower concluded that the pictures were intended as illustrations of Walsingham’s treatise (which they call a ’ translation of the History of Troy’). The fact that the whole group of diagrams and pictures begins with the Four Elements and ends with Aesculapius, however, indicates that the pictures form a prologue to the following exposition of the Metamorphoses (No. 30): this follows the practice of Petrus Berchorius and Thomas Walsingham who prefixed their commentaries on the Metamorphoses with an account of the pagan gods. The references to the ‘Dites ditatus’ simply demonstrate the care with which Wylde planned and utilized his manuscript. There are some notes to the diagrams (s. xvi).

29. (fols. 200v–201v)
Prologue to Ovid, Metamorphoses
Rubric: Prologus super opus ovidii methamorphesios
Incipit: Maius opus Ovidii pre manibus habemus
Final rubric: Explicit prologus
(fol. 202r)
Diagram: mountains in Thessaly

There is no note, but Wylde could have referred to the ‘Dites ditatus’ prologue.

(fol. 202v)
Diagram: Poets and Muses

This is accompanied by very brief notes (i.e. a few words only) on the works of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Statius, Petronius, Persius, Juvenal, and Lucan. It could be described as a schematization of the accessus, but the selection of authors is remarkably classical, even for the fifteenth century.

30. (fols. 203r–233r)
Exposition of the Metamorphoses
Rubric: Expositio fabularum 15 librorum ovidii methamorphoseos et primo de libro primo
Incipit: Ovidii intencio in hoc libro est omnes fabulas in ceteris libris dispersas colligere
Colophon: |Vatis Pelini traduntur carmina fini |Qui studio nituit dum sibi vita fuit; |In vite meta da tempora Christe quieta |Scriptori qui te petit alme premia vite; |Perscripto libro reddatur gloria Christo. quod J. Wylde |Nomen scriptoris est Jhon Wilde plenus amoris.

The Quarto Catalogue ascribes the treatise to Walter of Peterborough (see on No. 27), citing T. Tanner, Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica (London, 1748), p. 352. Tanner mentions first the poems in Digby 166 (see on No. 27) and then quotes the Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense for 1366; in the edition by J. A. Giles (London, 1845), p. 173 – Tanner used J. Sparke’s edition (London, 1723) – the passage reads: ‘inv(enta) est primo grossa historia totius sacrae paginae in fabulis Ovidii Metamorphosis, a fratre Waltero de Burgo, quondam monacho de Revesby’. The treatise in MS. Rawlinson B. 214, however, gives no hint at all of a Biblical interpretation, and the ascription must be rejected.

A later hand (s. xvi) in MS. Rawlinson B. 214 has marginally made the obvious identifications (Gigantomachia = ‘turris babillon’, Lycaon = ‘Cain’, Deucalion = ‘Noe’), but there is no reason to connect these with Walter of Peterborough; in any case, the remaining marginalia (which extend only for a few pages) are simply chapter headings. Wylde’s interest in Thomas Walsingham (Nos. 1, 28, and the musical treatise in Wylde’s MS. Lansdowne 763) might suggest a connection with the Archana deorum, but the analysis of each book into its component fables does not match Walsingham’s, no use is made of the other mythographers (of whom Walsingham showed a good knowledge in the Archana deorum), and, above all, one would have expected Wylde to ascribe the treatise to Walsingham if he had had any reason to suspect his authorship.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


xv7 (fols. 195–201): small parchment leaves for diagrams; outer edgings added for commentary; fol. 197 an insert. xvi15 (fols. 202–216): outer parchment sleeve, singleton parchment leaf inserted in centre of gathering (fol. 209). xvii17 (fols. 217–233): standard pattern; singleton (parchment, fol. 232) inserted. Fol. 234 is an old parchment pastedown.

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description adapted (November 2021) from A.G. Rigg, ‘Medieval Latin Poetic Anthologies (I)’, Mediaeval Studies, 39 (1977), 281–330. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (W. D. Macray, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecæ Bodleianæ...viri munificentissimi Ricardi Rawlinson, J.C.D., codicum...complectens, Quarto Catalogues V, 5 fascicles, 1862–1900). Decoration, localization and date follow Pächt and Alexander (1973). Additional description of decoration by Elizabeth Solopova, c. 2000.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (18 images from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2021-11-01: Andrew Dunning Revised with consultation of original.