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Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.II.13 Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; etc. s. xv med.

The uniformity of the paraphs and the red decoration of the explicits in sections (A) and (B) suggests that (B) was made as a supplement to (A), probably for a particular purchaser; (A) may have remained unbound until then.
[1] + 3 (medieval flyleaves, the second and third probably conjoint) + 111 + 2 (medieval flyleaves, the first less than half a full leaf) + [1]; foliated 1-115, with 20 repeated. Membrane ((A) 0.11 mm., (B) 0.125 mm., stiff; small natural flaws, ff. 44, 108; quires with fleshside outermost); 275 x 175 mm.; upper and outer edges cropped. Ink blots on ff. 56-57 and 78v-79.

Collation: (A: ff. 3-105) 16, 2-128, 1310 wants 10 after f. 105; (B: ff. 106-113) 148. Catchwords on quires 1-12, centred save on quires 7-8, elaborated on quire 11 (f. 88v). Signatures on quires 1-11: a-l; and 14: a; using 'prima' for the first leaf in quires 1-3 and 8-10.

Prickings survive in the outer margins of ff. 29-67, with a second row on ff. 43-46, starting 5-6 lines down from the first text-line.

(A) Written space 189 x 99 mm.; ruling in ink 38-39 long lines. No spaces between stanzas.

(B) Written space 192 x 103 mm, ruling in faint sharp gray, 39 long lines; or, ff. 108-11, 190 x 105 mm., ruling in soft brown, 37-39 lines, with a line of text written below the bottom line if necessary. A line left blank between the stanzas, which are five to a page.

(A) Written in a set secretary, expertly, with the simple w, or, f. 83v/1-4 and 34-38, by a second hand, in anglicana formata of similar slant and with secretary long s (see Root, Manuscripts, pl. vi); the first letter on each page engrossed and elaborated, often with strap-work and some banderoles, also many ascenders in the top lines and descenders in bottom lines (For similar ascenders, cf. CMD: Belg.II, pl.361-5, Bruges 1435; France I pl.xcv, Brussels 1437; II pl.ciii, Rouen? 1444-8; BL, pl.460, France 1443x45). The Latin Explicit/Incipit of each book is in enlarged bastard secretary, with elaborated initials and ascenders, or, Book I/II, textura quadrata; Book II proheme explicit and the beginning of the book itself also in textura quadrata. First lines of books in enlarged bastard secretary, or, Book I, textura.

The 9 lines (f. 83v) in the second hand could be explained either as very short spells of assistance to the main scribe or as not much later filling of gaps in the main exemplar from another source. The ink and the slant of the supplier are not unlike those of the main copyist, although having the generically different proportions of anglicana, and the change back (after 'And' or 'and' ?) in the penultimate line (?) seems to be deliberately phased in the secretary (with looped w and d), suggestive of collaboration.

Blackish ink, rubbed off or faded on some flesh sides, e.g. ff. 24v (38), 42v, 59v, 62, 71; also by damp at the top of e.g. ff. 66v-67.

(B) Written in set secretary, less fluently than (A), and somewhat variable in size, with first lines and explicits of both items in enlarged bastard secretary, the first initial of each page elaborated with strap-work etc. and a few exaggerated top-line ascenders.

Decoration: explicits underlined and touched in red. Paraphs to stanzas, in red or blue alternately, or, ff. 97v-105v, all in red; also to original side-notes, which are also underlined in blue or red. Initials: (i) to items 3 and 4, and to item 2 prohemes and books, 3- or 4-line or, Book IV proheme, 5-line, in blue, with red infilling and flourishing; (ii) to opening, 4-line, in blue decorated with red, with red infilling and flourishing, and a double line down left edge of text-block, the inner plain blue, the outer composed of alternately red and blue jagged sections 28-38 mm. high.

The red paraphs match the underlining and decoration of the explicit/incipits, but throughout are of a different shade from the flourishing, which in places is overlaid by paraphs.


1. f. 2 (added, s. xvi, in the one secretary hand)

(a) Whan euery woo hathe easse | ... ... May tourne my payne to sporte;

(b) Whan euery woo hathe ease | ... ... Be eased of his Smarte.

(a, b) short poem, in two versions, IMEV Suppl., no. 3941.5 with variants not distinguished. (a) 6 lines, rhyming ababcc; (b) 7 lines, rhyming ababbcc, and repeated in the same hand, with a few spelling variants as item 6 below.

2. ff. 3-2v (added, s. xvi med., by an untidy secretary hand, the second page upside-down) The bakarse boy is vere Craynke | ... ... My Good Boye.

IMEV Suppl., no. 3306.3 (only copy), unpublished, comprising 40 verses in an eccentrically spelled improvisatory style, mainly in octosyllabic quatrains rhyming aaab, the last line of each being a shorter tail. Westminster Hall is mentioned (as law-court ?) in this low-life (London ?) one-sided flyting, outspoken but hardly 'erotic' (Robbins & Cutler).

ff. 1r-v and 3v blank, save for later names, etc.


3. ff. 4-105v The double sorow of troilus to telle | ... ... For loue of maid and moder ine benigne. Explicit liber Troili et Criseid.

Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde. IMEV, no. 3327. See W. S. McCormick & R. K. Root, Specimen Extracts (Chaucer Soc. 89, 1914), pp. 31-58 from this copy; Root, The Textual Tradition of Chaucer's Troilus (Chaucer Soc. 94, 1916), pp. 9-11, 67-9: 'Dialectallly it has no very marked peculiarities. We find however awne for owne ... and ar for er. Shoulde is regularly written for sholde. The character pb is used interchangeably with th; but [yogh] is not employed'; Root, Manuscripts, pp. 11-12, pl. VI; id., ed., Troilus and Criseyde (Princeton; 1926), esp. pp. liii, lxxiv: 'consistently a [gamma] manuscript closely related to A[dd.12044]. Its text however is more corrupt than that of A'; 'A and D share a long series of errors which show that they are derived from a lost [gamma] manuscript whose text ... is less reliable than that of Cp, Cl or H1 ... In doubtful cases the testimony of AD is generally decisive'. Cf. B. Windeatt, ed. Troilus & Criseyde (1984).

Sidenote 'Prologus', f. 59v, where most manuscripts of the gamma group do not distinguish it from the end of book III, which (as Root, ed. p. xiii, does not make clear) is here duly marked with an Explicit on f. 60.

Top 4 lines at start left blank, f. 4, presumably for a heading.


4. ff. 106-112v Cupide vnto whos commaundment | ... ... A thowsand fowr hundreth e secund. Explicit littera Cupidinis | Directa subditis suis Amatoribus.

Thomas Hoccleve, Letter of Cupid, based on that by Cristine de Pisan; ed. F. J. Furnivall, EETS ES 61 (1892), pp. 72-91, from six other copies, and I. Gollancz, EETS ES 73( 1924), pp. 20-34 from the autograph copy Huntington Lib. HM 744. IMEV, no. 666 & Suppl. This copy (misplaced in IMEV at Durham Cathedral) has substantial dislocations of sequences of stanzas: lines 134-203 (10 stanzas, equivalent to one leaf with five per page) come after 413; 204-73 (another ten stanzas) come after 133; 344-413 (another ten) after 273; 274-343 after 203 (another ten); 414-76 (end) after 343; 421-34 (two stanzas only) after 448. According to Furnivall Digby 181 has large dislocations corresponding in part with these, suggestive of a common source where leaves or bifolia had been disturbed in order; with this copy it is lines 134-203, 274-343 and 421-34 that are really dislocated, and it is not possible to explain the relations of the first two by a simple reversal of bifolia in one quire in the exemplar. This copy agrees with Digby in a number of particular readings (119, 120, 129, 155, 187, 303, 307, 309, 385, 407, 417, 455, 469, 472, 476), some also, including the colophon, in Bodl.Tanner 346; collation with Camb.UL Ff.I.6, not used by Furnivall, shows that (except so far as it is defective towards the end) it has the same dislocations as this copy but does not have the peculiar readings the latter shares with Digby and Tanner; it does however have the same distinct variants, 'an' here for 'on' in l.2 and 'panne' in l.50 ('penne' in Fairfax 16) for 'pot', which suggest they are closely related and that the divergences in Digby could be derived from this copy (in view of the unreliability of its scribe) or from its source.

Collation with other texts reveals that this copy was the work of an uncomprehending, careless and perhaps hasty copyist, with various idiosyncrasies of spelling: in particular 'itt' for 'it', 'noyn' for 'none', 'wase' for 'was', and a tendency to misread or omit single letters.

5. ff. 112v-113 Not long a goo purposyd I and thought | ... ... That you wyll s[e]rue as [I ?] suffise and can. Explicit

Courtly love-poem, IMEV, no. 2297 (only copy known), unpublished; five 7-line stanzas, with no space between the second and third. The scribe exhibits the same deficiencies as in his copy of item 4.

6. f. 115 (added, s. xvi, in the same secretary hand as item 1 above) Whan euery woo hathe ease | ... ... Be easyd of hys smart.

As 1(b) above.

ff. 113v-115v blank save for later names, etc.

Correction and Annotation:


Gloss by the main copyist: 'somere' over 'Vere', f. 6; also a few side-notes, e.g. ff. 59v, 89v, 98, 102, 102v.

Corrections usually cancellations by through-lining followed by the preferred words, or some unobtrusive rewriting over erasures of errors detected after completion of the lines. Some lines and part-lines cancelled because of duplication; on f. 24 four are through-lined in blue (the only spelling variants here are 'mater''/'matere' and 'escheue'/'eschewe'). On f. 96v another pair of lines duplicated have been cancelled in another and possibly later ink ('loughe'/'lough' the sole variant). Omitted lines written into or in the adjacent margins by the main hand, except for one on f. 23v by a contemporaneous anglicana (with simple a), cropped in binding. There are a few contemporary additions by another set secretary hand near the beginning, in paler ink, e.g. two words at the top of f. 4 (Book I line 74, 'stroyde.Loo' over erasure, of 'fordo' ?) and the side-note 'Canticus Troylus' [sic] on f. 7 alongside a blank line left presumably for such an insertion; the same hand perhaps also inserted points, for sense, on ff. 5, 7-8v only.

Numbers of corrections and supplementations of the text, also side-notes, in the hand of William Browne, s. xvii in., some probably derived from one of the editions following that of William Thynne in 1532, e.g. ff. 28v (2 lines), 99 (2 lines) and individual words elsewhere.


Omissions of short words and syllables supplied interlineally by the main scribe; other probable instances uncorrected. Item 4 stanza 25 rewritten over erasure.


Written in England.

Secundo folio Through which

'angnes | Robert peppyrsmith', s. xv/xvi, f. 115; 'R(?) kinge his booke', f. 1; 'By me Robert Kinge', ff. 1v, 3v, 113v, 114v; 'Thes is master keynge is boke of the weres of key premes of troy', f. 113v; 'thes boke is Mr kynges boke', f. 114; 'thes is Robart keinge of wercer (?)', f. 114v; 'Paule keyne and Lewce thes Keyne', f. 1v; 'Pawle keyne of London Frutrer ...', f. 114v: the King and Keyne inscriptions by probably two hands, s. xvi med/ex.

'.s./.r.', a bookseller's cipher, s. xvi/xvii, f. 1v.

'WBrowne', f. 4, s.xvii in., is in the poet's italic hand, which also appears in side-notes on ff. 6, 6v, 27, 28v (lines supplied), 29, 54, 62v, 69, 85, 99 (lines supplied).

'G.Davenport. | 1664.' f. 3v and on piece of paper (from former flyleaf ?) stuck on front pastedown; his note of content, f. 4. Library inscription and shelf/item number in Thomas Rud's hand c.1720, f. 4; bookplate, s. xix med.

Binding: f. 105v rubbed and somewhat soiled, as if it had been an end-leaf, perhaps unbound, before section (B) was added. Now standard s. xix med., two clasps.


Root, Manuscripts: R. K. Root, The Manuscripts of Troilus and Criseyde, (Chaucer Soc. 1st series 98, 1914).