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

MS. Tanner 346

Summary Catalogue no.: 10173

Anthology of courtly poetry in English


Language(s): Middle English

(fols. i–ii)

Modern endleaves, blank.

(fol. iii recto)

Modern endleaf with table of contents, headed ‘Some of Chaucer’s Works’, 17th century.

(fols. iii–iv)

Modern endleaves, blank.

1. (fols. 1r–40v)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women
Incipit: A thousand tymes I hau⟨e⟩ ⟨he⟩rde men tell |That the⟨r⟩ is ioy in h⟨euen⟩ ⁊ peyne in hell
Explicit: And til she was caughte and fetyrde in pryson |This tale is sey for this conclusion
IMEV 100
2. (fols. 41r–48v)
Thomas Hoccleve, Lespistre de Cupide
Rubric: Incipit littera Cupidinis dei Amoris directa |subditis suis Amatoribus
Incipit: Cupido vn to whos comaumdement[sic] |The gentil kinrede of goddis an hy
Explicit: The yere of grace ioyfull and iocunde |A thowsande and foure hundred and seconde
Final rubric: Explicit littera Cupidinis dei amoris |directa subditis suis amatoribus
IMEV 666
3. (fols. 48v–59r)
John Lydgate, A Complaynt of the Black Knight
Incipit: In May when flora the fressh lusty quene |The soyl hath clad in red grene and white
Explicit: Exiled be that I may noghte attayne |Recure to fynde of myn aduersite
Final rubric: Explicit
IMEV 1507
4. (fols. 59v–65r)
Geoffrey Chaucer, Anelida and Arcite
Incipit: Thou ferse god of armes Mars the rede |That in thi firsty contre called Trace
Explicit: With Iune the temple with a sorofull chere |That shapyn was as ye shall aftyr here
IMEV 3670
5. (fols. 65r–69v)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complaint of Mars
Incipit: Gladeth the [corr. ye] louers in the morrow gray |Lo venus risen amonge you rowes rede
Explicit: That neuyr dide but gentillnes |Kitheth ther fore in her somme kyndesse
IMEV 913
6. (fols. 69v–71r)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complaint of Venus
Incipit: Ther nys none so hieh comforte to my plesaunce |When that I am in eny heuynesse
Explicit: To folow worde by worde the curiosite |Of gransoun flor of hem that make in fraunse
IMEV 3542
7. (fols. 71r-73r)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complaint unto Pity
Incipit: Pitee that I haue soghte so yore Ago |with herte sore and full of bisy peyn
Explicit: Thus for youre deth I may well wepe and pleyn |With herte sore and full of bisye peyn
IMEV 2756
8. (fols. 73r-74v)
A Lover’s Plaint
Incipit: As ofte as syghes ben in herte trewe |And cristall teres on dolefull chekes trill
Explicit: Sith I am wounded with youre yen tweyn |lete me no lengur sighen for youre sake
IMEV 402
9. (fols. 74v-75v)
A Complaint for Lack of Sight
Incipit: For lak of sighte grete cause haue I to pleyne |longe absence so sore me werreyth
Explicit: Disdeyneth not but of godely hede |Haueth ther on mercy and pite
Final rubric: Explicit quod —
IMEV 828
10. (fols. 76r–97r)
John Lydgate, The Temple of Glass
Rubric: The tempil of Glas
Incipit: For thouȝt constrenit and greuous heuines |ffor pensifhede and for heiȝ distres
Explicit: I mene þat benygne & goodli of hir face |Nou go þi way & put þe in hir grace
Final rubric: Explicit
IMEV 851
11. (fols. 97r–101r)
John Clanvowe (?), The Cuckoo and the Nightingale or The Book of Cupid
Incipit: The god of loue a benedicite |Hov myȝti and hou gret a lord is he
Explicit: Terme of life love haþ withhold me |So loude þat I with þat song a woke
Final rubric: Explicit
IMEV 336
12. (fols. 101r–101v)
Envoy to Alison
Incipit: O lewde booke with þi foole rudnes |Siþ þou hast noþir beaute ne eloquence
Explicit: Of grace I biseke alegge be youre writyng |Non of al good siþ Ȝe be best lyving
IMEV 2479
13. (fols. 102r–119v)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess
Incipit: I haue gret wondir be þis liȝte |hou þat I lyve for day ne nyȝt
Explicit: best at a non |The my sweuyn now hit is don
Final rubric: Explicit
IMEV 1306
14. (fol. 120r–131r)
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parliament of Fowls
Rubric: The parlement of birdis(?)
Incipit: The lif so short the craft so long to lerne |The assay so hard so sharp the conqueryng
Explicit: That I shal meete som thyng for to fare |The bette and thus to rede I nyl not spare
Final rubric: ⟨E⟩xplicit tractatus de Congregacione |volucrum die Sancti valentini
IMEV 3412
(fols. 131–132)

Blank, 2 stubs remaining.

(fols. 133-135)

Modern endleaves, blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment. Endleaves in paper.
Extent: iv + 132 + iii leaves
Dimensions (leaf): c. 233 × 173 mm.
Foliation: i–iv, 1–135 in modern pencil; each recto also features a nineteenth-century pagination in ink (now crossed out).


1–38, 48+1 (singleton leaf added as fol. 33), 5–98, 102, 11–138, 142, 15–168, 172, 188, 194–1 (3rd leaf cancelled), 204–2 (3rd and 4th leaves cancelled). The manuscript is comprised of 4 booklets: fols. 1r–75v, 76r–101v, 102r–119v, and 120r–132v (with a break in production between fols. 33 and 34). The last quire of each booklet is shorter than the preceding ones to align with the end of the texts. Catchwords only appear at the end of quires 5–9 (fols. 41v, 49v, 57v, 65v, 73v), and 16 (fol. 117v), in the bottom right corner of the page and underlined in ink, in the hand of Scribe B.


Mould damage throughout, first and last first and last folios present more worn than other pages.


Each page is fully ruled for one column of 34–38 lines, ruled space 177–182 × 110 mm. , the height of the ruling space varies slightly between booklets, but the width remains consistent across the codex. Pricking trimmed.

Ruled variously in hard-point (fols. 100r–101v), pencil (fols. 76r–99v, 120r–131v), crayon (110r–119v), and ink (fols. 1r–75v, 102r–109v)


Three hands (following Ramela Robinson, 1980) identified as A, B, and C from the order in which they appear. Scribe A, fols. 1r–33v and 120r–131v: mixed hand of principally Anglicana Formata with Secretary graphs

Scribe B, fols. 34r–75v and 110r–119v, a typical mid-fifteenth-century Secretary hand.

Scribe C fols. 76r–109v: mixed hand of principally Anglicana Formata with Secretary graphs


Decorated initial, four lines high and decorated with acanthus leaves on a gold ground (fol. 1r).

Border in the left margin, consisting of a narrow double band of gold, blue, and pink with acanthus leaves and spray work (fol. 1r).

The beginning of each text is marked with blue Lombardic capitols with red infillings and flourishes (fol. 28v incomplete, missing red flourish).

Item 1 (fol. 1r–40v) features red and blue flourished initials that introduce each legend. Divisions in Items 4 (fol. 59v–65r), 5 (fol. 65r–69v), and 10 (fol. 76r–97r) also display such initials.

Additions: A seventeenth century hand (identified as Archbishop William Sancroft by Robinson, 1980) added headings to Items 3–7, 11, 13, and 14 (fols. 48v, 59v, 62v, 65r, 67v, 69v, 71r, 97r, 102r, and 120r). The same hand added a table of contents (fol. iii) titled ‘Some of Chaucer’s Works’. A sixteenth-century hand(s) has added five irregular lines of verse after the end of Item 14.


Origin: 15th century, middle ; England MS. Tanner 346 belongs to E.P. Hammond’s ‘Oxford Group’ (1908), a collection of three manuscripts now in the Bodleian Library: MS. Tanner 346, MS. Fairfax 16, and MS. Bodley 638. These manuscripts are strikingly similar in content and are thought to derive from a singular lost exemplar. M.C. Seymour (1993) classifies Tanner as a ‘closely linked sub-group’ in the context of Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women. From the lack of coordination between the scribes, Robinson (1980) suggests MS. Tanner 346 is not the product of a commercial bookshop. There is no evidence to suggest for whom the manuscript was produced.

Provenance and Acquisition

Late fifteenth or early sixteenth century names: ‘Anne’ (margin, fol. 70r), ‘Only ʒovrss AN’ (margin, fol. 81r), ‘AH’ (margin, fol. 80v), ‘Philip Joisilyn’ (fol. 131r), ‘JGraystock’ (fol. 131r), ‘John Greystoke’ (fol. 132v), ‘Richard Justice’ (margin, fol. 131r). Greystoke is perhaps identifiable as Sir John Greystoke (who died in 1501), the second son of Ralph, Lord Greystoke.

Pen trial, fol. 132v reads ‘Swanimotum tentum apud lufeld xij die octobris anno regni regis henrici octaui xxxij’, alluding to a swanimote – a local court responsible for the judicial and administrative regulation of a forest (Robinson 1980) – apparently at the (former) Benedictine priory of Luffield, in the Forest of Whittlebury. Another sixteenth-century hand has written below ‘sanguis rana pulex’ (the beginning of a mnemonic on the ten plagues)

‘Walker’, seventeenth century (fol. 132v), unidentified.

William Sancroft, 1617–1693: ‘W. Sancroft’ (fol. 1r). Robinson suggests it is his hand that supplies the table of contents and headings (1980). His books were sold on his death to:

Christopher Bateman (1698–1730), bookseller; sold to:

Thomas Tanner (1674–1735).

Bequeathed by him to the Bodleian in 1735.

Record Sources

Description by Charlotte Ross, December 2021. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (A. Hackman, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecæ Bodleianæ pars quarta codices viri admodum reverendi Thomæ Tanneri, S.T.P., episcopi Asaphensis, complectens, Quarto Catalogues IV, repr. 1966, with corrections, from the ed. of 1860).


This item is on display in the exhibition "Chaucer Here and Now", Bodleian Libraries, Weston Library, 8 December 2023 – 28 April 2024. It will not be orderable between those dates or for a short period before or afterwards.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (4 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-12-16: Charlotte Ross New description.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.