We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.III.9 Thomas Hoccleve 1421 x 1426

These incomplete draft descriptions of medieval manuscripts in Durham University Library are copyright, and may not be quoted without the permission of the University of Durham Library.

Owing to inconsistencies with the source software, accented characters appear in varying compound forms. This has not yet been rationalized.

28/11/89 AJP revision of AID NB ITALICS REDONE 21/10/93

An autograph selection of his compositions, all ed. F. J. Furnivall, EETS 61 (1892); revised reprint, J. Mitchell & A. I. Doyle (1970), pp. 93-243, with a reduced facsimile of f. 95. For details of punctuation and annotation that could not be all corrected in the photo-offset reprint, see J.Mitchell, "Hoccleve's Minor Poems: addenda and corrigenda", Edinburgh Bibliographical Soc. Transactions, V,3 (1983), pp. 9-16.

The lay-out, three spaced stanzas per page, divided by a line starting with a 2-shape, is like that of two other autograph manuscripts, Huntington Library, HM 111 and 744, which are close in dimensions yet not identical in page- ruling.

Two quires (ff. 1-12) were presumably missing at the beginning by c. 1600, when John Stow supplied the lost matter, from another manuscript, it seems.

Many jottings of names and sayings unconnected with the original contents occur in the margins, some perhaps by school-boys, s. xvi med. - ex.; some among those quoted in Funrivall's footnotes without their date being stated are English verses, consequently mistakenly included in IMEV.

[1] + 2 (paper, s. xvii) + 10 (paper, s. xvi/xvii) + 83 + [1]; foliated, s. xviii ex. (?), 1-94, repeating 22; corrected, s. xix, and now 1-95. Membrane (0.1 mm.; quires with fleshside outermost), 232 x 170 mm.; edges and corners cut off some leaves (strip more than 2 mm. wide cut f. 13 top, and strips nearly 5 mm. from ff. 23-25 and 90 foot; lower outer corner cut off ff. 19, 34, 38-39, 45- 52, 62, 68; slit in f. 39 lower margin); badly soiled. Or, quire 1 (ff. 3-12), paper (folio by chainlines and watermarks, with watermark of a hand/glove with 'RB' in the cuff, Briquet and Heawood ?), very cropped, c. 225 x 165 mm.; f. 12 torn and mended.

Collation of ff. 3-95: 110 (paper), 2-118, 124 wants 4 (blank ?). Catchwords on quires 2-11. Leaves in the first half of quires 6, 7, 9 and 11 numbered in roman. Quires 2-12 signed, s. xix, perhaps by F. J. Furnivall, c - n.

Quires 2-12:

Pricking in outer margin only, almost all cropped away at the start. Written space c. 150 x 100 mm.; ruled in soft brown, 23-24 long lines, the first on or above the top ruled one.

Written in secretary, expertly, by Thomas Hoccleve, with headings in larger script.

Decoration: paraphs to mark changes of speaker and other emphases in text, and for Latin citations in margins, in gold or blue. Initials: to items 1(c-e), 2(ai and ii, b, c), 3(ai and ii, b) and 4, 2- or 3-line, in gold, on grounds of deep pink and, except to item 4, blue, decorated with white, and with marginal sprays in black touched with green and with gold-filled circles and trefoils.

Quire 1:

No evidence of pricking. Written space c. 175 x 110 mm.; framed in soft brownish grey, five 7-line stanzas per page.

Written in the distinctive hand of John Stowe, with catchwords on almost every page.

Decoration not executed: 3-line spaces for initials to item 1(a, b).


1. (a) ff. 3-8v Thomas Hocclive(s Complaint, added by George Davenport). After that hervest Inned had his sheves ... ... And vnto thy mercye and grace I call;

(b) ff. 9-26v Thomas Hoccleve (Dialogus cum Amico). And endyd my compaynt in this mano3e ... ... My gilt/ as cleene/ as keuerchiefs doath sope;

(c) ff. 26v-49 Fabula de quadam Imperatrice Romana. In the Romain actes writen is thus ... ... And whan god list/ also dye shul we. Explicit -;

(d) ff. 49r-v My freend aftir I trowe a wike or two ... ... which to at tale is good be knyt in feith;

(e) ff. 50-52v Hic incipit moralizacio. This Emperour at y spake of aboue is our lord Jesu Cryst ... ... to which he vs brynge at starf for our redempcion amen. @Explicit moralizacio.

Sometimes referred to as The Sequence; ed. EETS 61, pp. ???; IMEV, no. 124. Seven-line stanzas, rhyming ababbcc, or (e) prose. (c) and (e) are derived from the Gesta Romanorum IN PARTICULAR ??

2. (a) ff. 53v-74v (i) Et incipit ars vtilissima sciendi mori. Cum omnes homines naturaliter scire desiderant etc. Syn alle men naturelly desyre ... ... (f. 74) at it may han the lyf at haath noon eende Amen. Explicit illa pars per quam sciendum est mori; (ii, f. 74v) The othir .iij. partes which in this book ... ... Verraily/ no wit may ne tonge expresse;

(b) ff. 75-76v Lo this is seid of at Citee in a place ... ... boghte vs with his precious blood Amen Amen;

(c) ff. 76v-77 Now vndirstandith wel and considerith in our hertes ... ... of his infynyt goodnesse graunte vs alle to cheese. Amen.

(a) Lerne to Dye, a translated extract from the Horologium Sapientie by Heinrich Suso; ed. EETS 61, pp. ???; IMEV, no. 3121. Seven-line stanzas, rhyming as item 1;

(b) WHAT ed. EETS 61, pp. ???;

(c) WHAT ed. EETS 61, pp. ???.

3. (a) ff. 77-93 (i) @Hic additur alia fabula ad instanciam amici mei predilecti assiduam. This booke thus to han endid had y thoght ... (f. 79) And thus y wroot as yee may heer see. @Explicit prologus & incipit fabula de quadam muliere mala. (ii, f. 79v) Whilom an Emperour prudent & wys ... And so god vs graunte at we do may Amen;

(b) ff. 93v-95 Themperour at y spake of aboue is oure lord god ... ... of his grace brynge vs alle Amen.

(a) Tale of Jonathas, derived from the Gesta Romanorum; ed. EETS 61, pp. ???; IMEV, nos 3582 (prologue) and 4072. Seven- line stanzas, rhyming as item 1;

(b) WHAT EETS 61, pp. ???

4. f. 95 Go smal booke to the noble excellence ... To plese hir womanhede do thy might. Humble seruant to your gracious noblesse T.Hoccleue.

Envoy to the Countess of Westmorland; EETS 61, pp. ???; not registered in IMEV. A single stanza, rhyming ababbcbc. The only copy. It presumably refers to the whole of this manuscript in view of the subscription, which is in the same hand; the letters of Hoccleve's name were touched up in blacker ink, s. xvi or xvii (?), but are original rather than added, as can be seen under ultra-violet light.

Correction & Annotation:

A few corrections, by Hoccleve, by interlineation (e.g. ff. 31v, 80), or over erasure (e.g. ff. 50v/12, 92). Original side-notes in items 1 and 2(ai)


Written in England, by Thomas Hoccleve, presumably for presentation to Joan Beaufort, countess of Westmorland (1396-1440), see item 4.

Secundo folio [It was or But althowghe, i.e. item 1(a) stanza 7 or 8].

'Offord', f. 49 outer margin, in brown, probably in Hoccleve's hand, and so referring to his colleague in the Privy Seal office: see EETS 61 p. xxxv, for Hoccleve's reference to him in HM 111; A.L.Brown, `The Privy Seal clerks in the early 15th century' in D. A. Bullough & R. A. Storey eds, The Study of Medieval Records: Essays in Honour of K. Major (Oxford 1971) p. 262 n. 2, dates his service c.1408 - c.1422. The note could to the 'wrecche' of the stanza alongside (ed. 173/939), or may be an instruction of some sort, e.g. for the champ initial on the same page.

'Ann (??) Rechard', f. 29 (41) upper margin, s. xv1, scrawled in plummet, possibly an instruction.

'Thomas carter', f. 14; 'Of all thinges that I can fynde/ Hope dothe helpe the carefull mynd/ quod carter', f. 36v; other couplets so signed on ff. 54v, 55v, 56; cf. 'Thys ys John hancok ys boke ho so euer saye naye the deuyll of hell bere Thomas carter a waye', f. 37v; 'Thomas you be a good scriuener', f. 41, in the same hand, after an epistolary phrase. The date 1550 expressed in words, f. 67. Latin dicta, at various points, in an accomplished italic hand, resembling that of 'W [notary's knot] Barnabe', f. 66v, s. xv ex.; cf. also identification of sources, added to marginalia, ff. 64v-65.

Among less fragmentary inscriptions and scribbles, s. xvi med. - ex.: 'Johan Medwell, m[aster ?] my Lord Chamberlain per Prise', f. 14; 'Per me peter hardy of halyfax [Yorks. ?] ows this boke' [and more smeared], f. 16; 'Tomas Gardynnyr (?)', f. 18; 'Per me gabriell curtys', 'Thomas Kyngston hath Rede this goddly boke', both f. 26v; 'Thomas kaye the sonne of thomas kay', f. 28; 'Geffarye thurgood', ff. 68, 84; 'To Thomas Wylton of Kyrke Lande ...', f. 68v; 'William Wylton of Kyrke lande in the counte aforseide' f. 79, mentioning Bishop Bonner (c. 1540-69); 'Richard lyon', f. 69; 'John Jaclin & Elizabethe his wellebelouede wiffe', f. 74; 'robert ascue/askewe', ff. 75v, 82; 'John Bargains Ann 1551', f. 84; 'Radufus [sic] wilcockes', f. 94v; 'Thomas onslow', 'Edmound huncok'?), both f. 95v.

John Stow (1525 (?) - 1605) presumably owned the manuscript:

he supplied the text of ff. 3-12, and there is a marginal note in his hand, 'Epistle of Cupid', f. 24v.

'WBrowne', ff. 3, 14, are inscriptions by the poet (1591- 1643 ?), who published the Tale of Jonathas, presumably from this copy, in his Shepheardes Pipe (1614). A note possibly in his hand on f. 21. He acquired other manuscripts which had been Stow's, and owned Cosin MSS V.II.13, 14, 15, and perhaps 16.

'.s./.a.', f. 3, in ink, s.xvii med., a bookseller's (?) cipher, as found in other manuscripts of Browne's in the Cosin and other libraries.

'Geo. Davenport. 1664.', on a piece of paper, from a previous end-leaf, stuck on the present s. xix pastedown; his notes on the contents and the author, ff. 1, 2, from John Pits, De Scriptoribus Angliae; also 'Perlegi. 1666.', f. 95.

Binding: standard, s.xix med.; one clasp.