A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  LondonBritish Library MS Harley 2251
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For the verse contents, see also the Harley 2251 entry in the DIMEV.
1. “Iesu Crist kepe oure lyppes from pollucioun” (DIMEV 2814; Edwards 1973): fols. 1r-v
2. “All hayle Mary ful of grace” (DIMEV 332): fols. 1v-2r
3. “The Kings of England sithen William Conqueror” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 717-22; DIMEV 5731): fols. 2v-4r
4. “A Dietary” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 703-7; Voigts and Kurtz 1847.00; DIMEV 1356): fols. 4v-5v
5. “Letter to Gloucester” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 665-7; DIMEV 4500): fols. 6r-7r
6. Epitaphium eiusdam Ducis Glowcestrie (1447) (Lydgate[?]; DIMEV 5013): fols. 7r-8v
7. “On Kissing at Verbum caro factum est” (DIMEV 6819): fols. 9r-9v
8. “Stella celi extirpauit Que lactauit Dominum” (DIMEV 5826): fols. 9v-10r
9. “A Prayer for King, Queen, and People, 1429” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 212-16; DIMEV 3563): fols. 10v-11r
10. Consulo quisque eri (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 750-4; DIMEV 2156): fols. 11v-13r
11. “Horns Away” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 662-5; DIMEV 4169): fol. 13v
12. “A Ballade of Jak Hare” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 445-7; DIMEV 45): fols. 14r-v
13. “As a Midsummer Rose” (Lydgate: MacCracken 1934, pp. 780-5; DIMEV 3058): fols. 15r-16v
14. “Rex salamon summus of Sapience” (DIMEV 4474): fols. 17r-v
15. “Surge mea sponsa so swete in sighte” (Veni cornaberis; DIMEV 5059): fols. 18r-v
16. “Ryght as a Rammes Horne” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 461-4; DIMEV 6414): fol. 19r
17. “Everything draweþe to his semblable” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 801-2; DIMEV 6063): fols. 19v-22r
18. “The world so wyde the ayre so remeuable” (MacCracken 1934, pp. 734-8; DIMEV 5533): fols. 22v-25r
19. “Ryme without Accord” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 792-4; DIMEV 390): fols. 25r-26r
20. “Verses against Haste” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 759-64; DIMEV 335): fols. 26v-27r
21. “A song of Iust Mesure” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 772-5; DIMEV 951): fols. 27v-28v
22. “O man thow marrest in thy mynd” (MacCracken 1913, pp. 41-3; DIMEV 3983): fols. 29r-30r
23. “Ave Iesse Virgula” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 299-304; DIMEV 1698): fols. 30v-32v
24. “Regina celi qwene of thy sowth” (MacCracken 1913, pp. 50-1; DIMEV 4451): fols. 33r-34r
25. “Ave regina celorum” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 291-2; DIMEV 1725): fols. 34v-35r
26. “Regina celi letare” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 293-4; DIMEV 4074): fols. 35v-36r
27. “Birds’ matins” (Lydgate; DIMEV 611): fols. 36v-37v
28. “Tyed with a Line” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 832-4; DIMEV 5410): fols. 37v-38v
29. “So as the Crabbe Goth Forward” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 465-7; DIMEV 5792): fols. 39r-v
30. “The Testament of Dan John Lydgate” (Part 5 only: MacCracken 1911, pp. 329-62; DIMEV 3937): fols. 40r-42r
31. “On Worldly Worship” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, p. 709; DIMEV 6787): fol. 42r
32. “A lamentacioun of our lady Maria” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 324-9; DIMEV 6561): fols. 42v-44v
33. “Fortune” (Chaucer; Pace & David 1982, pp. 103-19; DIMEV 5803) with the envoy of “The Complaint of Venus” (DIMEV 6414): fols. 45r-46r
34. “Amor Vincit Omnia Mentiris Quod Pecunia” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 744-9; DIMEV 1160): fols. 46v-48v
35. “Gentilesse” (Chaucer; Pace & David 1982, pp. 67-76; NIMEV 3348/6): fol. 48v
36. “ABC to the Virgin” (Chaucer; DIMEV 414): fols. 49r-51v
37. “The Craft of Lovers” (DIMEV 5990): fols. 52r-54v
38. “Fabula duorum mercatorum” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 486-516; DIMEV 2490): fols. 55r-70r
39. “The Legend of Dan Joos” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 311-15; DIMEV 4089): fols. 70v-72r
40. Prioress’s Prologue and Prioress’ Tale (Chaucer; DIMEV 3970 and DIMEV 5601): fols. 72v-73r; fols. 73r-76v
41. “A Praise of St. Anne” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, p. 130; DIMEV 1869): fol. 76v
42. “A Tretise for Lauandres” (third stanza only; Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, p. 723; Voigts and Kurtz 3929.00; DIMEV 4240): fol. 76v
43. “Remembryd by scriptures we fynde and Rede” (DIMEV 4465): fol. 77r
44. “Legend of Wulfryk the priest” (DIMEV 2667): fols. 77v-78r
45. “The Child Jesus to Mary, the Rose” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, p. 235; DIMEV 3595): fol. 78r
46. “On the folly of heaping up riches” (DIMEV 3168): fol. 78v
47. “The world so wide the air so remevable” (Stanzas 11-13 only (on the complexions); DIMEV 5533): fosl. 78v-79r
48. “Of the Four Complexions” (Voigts and Kurtz 3874.00 & 3875.00; DIMEV 4168): fols. 79r-79v
49. “The high Astrapotent auctor of all” (DIMEV 5324): fols. 79v-80v
50. “Devoute & vertuos wordes” (DIMEV 5584): fol. 80v
51. Fall of Princes (Lydgate; extracts: see Dixon 1995, pp. 392-6 for a detailed listing of lines; DIMEV 1904): fols. 81r-125v
52. Fall of Princes (Lydgate; extracts: see Dixon 1995, pp. 392-6 for a detailed listing of lines; DIMEV 1904): fols. 126r-143r
53. Fall of Princes (Lydgate; extracts: see Dixon 1995, pp. 392-6 for a detailed listing of lines; DIMEV 1904): fols. 143r-145v
54. “A Song of Vertu” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 835-8; DIMEV 663): fol. 146r-147v
55. “Stans Puer ad Mensam” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 739-44; DIMEV 3588): fols. 148r-149r
56. “Looke well about ye that louers be” (Skeat 1897, 7:295-6; DIMEV 3184): fols. 149v-150r
57. “The Pain and Sorrow of Evil Marriage” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 456-60; DIMEV 1525): fols. 150r-v
58. “Another Version of the Four Things” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, p. 709; DIMEV 6798): fol. 150v
59. “A Wicked Tunge Wille Sey Amys” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 839-44; DIMEV 1070): fols. 151r-152v
60. “On the Evils of Prosperity” (John Walton [extract from his translation of Boethius: De Consolatione Philosophiae]; Skeat 1897, 7:449; ed. Science 1927; DIMEV 4490): fol. 152v
61. “The Abuses of the Age” (DIMEV 1506): fol. 153r
62. “Moral Balade” (Henry Scogan; DIMEV 3645): fols. 153v-156r
63. “The Sayings of Old Philosophers” (DIMEV 5502): fols. 156v-168v
44. “Seven Wise Counsels” (DIMEV 939): fols. 168r-168v
65. “Cato Minor” (Benedict Burgh; “Parvus Cato”; DIMEV 6321): fols. 169r-v
66. “Cato Major” (Benedict Burgh; DIMEV 1418): fols. 170r-178v
67. “Moral Balade” (stanzas 2-3, conflated with “Cato Major”; Henry Scogan; Skeat 1897, 7:237-44; DIMEV 3645): fol. 178v
68. “Interpretacio Misse” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 87-115; DIMEV 6820): fols. 179r-188r
69. Secrees of old Philisoffres (Lydgate and Benedict Burgh; ed. Steele 1894; Voigts and Kurtz 2037.00 & 7935.00; DIMEV 1544): fols. 188v-224r
70. “Procession of Corpus Christi” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 35-43; DIMEV 5967): fols. 224v-227v
71. “Of the Sodein Fal of Princes in oure Dayes” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 660-1; DIMEV 813): fols. 228r-v
72. “A Saying of the Nightingale” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 221-34; DIMEV 2525): fols. 229r-234v
73. “Gaude Virgo Mater Christi” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 288-9; DIMEV 757): fols. 234v-235r
74. “Criste qui lux es et dies” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 235-7; DIMEV 1005): fols. 235v-236r
75. “Benedic Anima Mea Domino” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 1-7; DIMEV 4078): fols. 236r-238v
76. “Gloriosa Dicta sunt de Te” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 315-23; DIMEV 4271): fols. 239r-242v
77. “A Valentine to Her That Excelleth All” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1911, pp. 304-10; DIMEV 4769): fols. 242v-244v
78. “Bycorne and Chychevache, þe deuise of a peynted clothe” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 433-8; DIMEV 4032): fols. 244v-246v
79. “Thoroughfare of Woe” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 822-8; DIMEV 5502): fols. 246v-249v
80. “Ballade on a New Year’s Gift of an Eagle, Presented to King Henry VI” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 649-51; DIMEV 5693): fols. 249v-250v
81. “A Gentlewoman’s Lament” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 418-20; DIMEV 283): fols. 250v-251v
82. “Ballade to King Henry VI upon His Coronation” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 624-30; DIMEV 5502): fols. 251v-253v
83. “On Gloucester’s Approaching Marriage” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 601-8; DIMEV 5913): fols. 253v-256v
84. “Isopes Fabules” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 566-99; DIMEV 6701): fols. 257r-270v
85. “The Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse” (Chaucer; Pace & David 1982, pp. 121-32; DIMEV 6044): fol. 271r
86. “Complaint of a Prisoner against Fortune” (DIMEV 1432): fols. 271r-273r (fol. 273v is blank)
87. “The Order of Fools” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 449-55; DIMEV 5428): fols. 274r-276v
88. “The Horse, Sheep, and Goose” (Lydgate; MacCracken 1934, pp. 539-66; DIMEV 1075): fols. 277r-287r
89. The Court of Sapience, lines 71-516 (ed. Harvey 1982; DIMEV 5365): fols. 287v-293v
Progress of Copying: 
The scribe leaves generous blank space after Items 3 (fol. 4r), 4 (fol. 5v), 8 (fol. 10r), 10 (fol. 13r), 21 (fol. 28v), 24 (fol. 34r), 25 (fol. 35r), 26 (fol. 36r), 29 (fol. 39v).
Line 20 of “Horns Away” is added in the gutter by a second fifteenth-century hand. The final stanza on fol. 80v is added in a darker ink. The final twenty-nine lines of “Surge mea sponsa so swete in sighte” and the first thirty-two lines of “Ryght as a Rammes Horne” are taken away by the loss of fol. [1].19. On fol. 123v (124 old foliation) the Fall of Princes extract ends at 1.2338. Fol. 124r (128 old foliation) begins with Fall of Princes 8.3137 (the second stanza of “An Envoy on Arthur”). A penciled note at the bottom of fol. 123v reads “Three leaves wanting | here.” In Q [8], there is a missing folio in the second half of the gathering (the bifolium 149-150 is sewn through, indicating that the first half of the quire is intact). “On the Evils of Prosperity” ends at the bottom of fol. 152v and “The Abuses of the Age” occupies about half of fol. 153r (with the remainder left blank). Although the original foliation is missing from fol. 152 (the upper fore-edge being damaged), there is no skip in the foliation at this point. However, both fols. 146 and 153 lack watermarks, so they cannot be conjugate; it is probable, then, that a folio between the present fols. 152-153 was lost or removed by the scribe.
Between fols. 178v-179r is a blank, modern, paper folio; the original foliation skips at this point from “183” to “204.” The catchword at the bottom of fol. 178v is “Emprynte,” indicating that the text continued and that a quire has been lost. The original foliation again skips from “208” to “210” between fols. 183-184; however, there is no loss in the text of “Interpretacio Misse” at this point–fol. 183v ends with stanza 43 and fol. 184r begins with stanza 44–and no break in the physical structure. On fol. 227v, at the end of the text, in the gutter, is “Shirley kowde fynde | nomore for this copye.” The writing on fol. 239 (on a different paperstock from the rest of the gathering) is smaller (ca. 1.5 mm) and in a lighter ink than that which follows, though of the same size as the immediately preceding folios. The writing on fol. 260 is of the same size and shade as that on fol. 239. The first folio of Q [14] is missing, taking lines 262-323 of “Isopes Fabules” with it. The original foliation here confirms this loss, skipping from “286” to “288.” “Complaint of a Prisoner against Fortune” ends on fol. 273r; the verso is blank and the final two leaves of the gathering–presumably also blank–are missing (the original foliation here skips from “300” to “303”). When the final two leaves were cut away, the resulting weakened structure eventually doomed the gathering’s first leaf. The original foliation skips again from “320” to “322” between fols. 291-292, but there is no loss of text and no break in the physical structure. That the manuscript had at least one more quire, now lost, is evidenced by the catchword on fol. 293v (“Triewth wold,” the first words of l. 517). Approximately twenty-five folios would have been required to contain the remainder of a complete text of The Court of Sapience.

Paper, 2°, gilt edges.
Paper stock(s):
For illustrations and analyses of the paper stocks in the manuscripts of the “Hammond Scribe” see Mosser 2007.
1. A pair of Arms of Valencia (“Armoiries Deux Pals”), near Briquet 2064 (1464). One of the twins is centered between chainlines 3.8 cm apart, the other between chainlines 3.5 cm apart. The one on, e.g., fol. 10 is very close to Valls i Subirà 2:206, no. 115 (1470): fols. 1-238; 260? (an unmarked leaf with chainlines 3.8 cm apart)
2. Bull’s head (“Tête de Boeuf”), bisected by a chainline, with attendant chains 2.7 cm apart : fols. 239, 274-293
3. Scissors (“Ciseaux”), with a post horn element, near Briquet 3700 (1469); cf. Papiers Briquet 6622 (SCISSORS.066.1 [Catano 1463]). Bisected by a chainline with attendant chainlines 2.8 cm apart: fols. 240-256; 261-273
Page Size:  
26.5 x 20.8 cm.
There are two foliations: an older, fifteenth-century ink foliation (the scribe’s), and a modern (“June 1881”), pencil foliation. The first divergence is on the present fol. 19, where the old foliation reads “.20.” (fol. 19 is missing). The following collation employs the modern foliation, except where noted. Signatures: “cj” on fol. 81r (with traces visible on the rectos of fols. 84-85); “Ivij-Ix” on fols. 185-188; “k[j]-kx” on 199-208; “Aij-Axj” on 261-270; “bj-bx” on fols. 274-283:
[1]20 (–19) fols. 1-19
[2-6]20 fols. 20-119
[7]22+2 fols. 120-139 (5+χ2; –5.18, χ2) [Between fols. 123-4, three leaves appear to be missing as the scribe’s foliation skips from “124” to “128.” Later in the same gathering, the scribe’s foliation skips from 139 to 141. Plausibly, two singletons or a doubleton were tipped in following [7].5, though the motivation for this is not at present clear (in this section the scribe is extracting from Fall of Princes, so it is difficult to determine how much text might have been lost); subsequently, these were lost along with the bifolium [7] 5.18.]
[8]18+1 (2+χ1) fols. 140-158 [fol. 142 tipped in; stub glued to fol. 156v]
[9]20 fols. 159-178
[10]20 [This gathering is lost: the scribal foliation skips from “183” to “204.”]
[11-13]20 fols. 179-238 [Although the scribal foliation skips from “208” to “210” (fols. 183-184), the gathering appears to be an intact quire of 20, with sewing between fols. 188-189, and a signature (“Ix”) on 188r indicating ten bifolia.]
[14]22 fols. 239-260note
[15]16 (–1.16, 15) fols. 261-273
[16]20 fols. 274-294
Single columns, margined in drypoint, unruled. Catchwords on the final verso of gatherings of twenty. Red paraphs, blue initials with red penwork, red underscoring.
See the Hammond Scribe. Body height approximately 2 mm.
Manly-Rickert refer to the arabic numerals that occur at 70-line intervals and suggest that these are left “by the scribe to determine his payment” (1:243). They appear to be by the same hand that leaves an ink foliation and quire numeration, probably the scribe.
Brown morocco with gilt (Harley) arms on front and back consisting of two angels on either side of a shield, surmounted by a crown with the motto beneath: “Virtute et Fide.” Tooling around borders and spine. Sewn on five double bands.

1460s (watermark evidence; after 1461 as Item 4 refers to Edward IV.
See the Hammond Scribe article. Representative forms include thurgh THROUGH; chield CHILD; yield YIELD; diere DEAR; wield WILD; lierned LEARNED; theyr, theyre THEIR; theym THEM; hield HELD; evil EVIL; litel, luytel LITTLE; busy BUSY; peple PEOPLE; high, hye, hygh, hie HIGH; sithens, sith, syth (conj.) SINCE; wymmen WOMEN; fruyt, fruyte FRUIT; betwene BETWEEN; -ith 3rd pl. pres.; beryed, buryed BURIED; doughter DAUGHTER; yove GIVE, past participle; poore, pore POOR; neyghburghs NEIGHBORS; fuyre FIRE; nother…nor NEITHER…NOR; outher OR; suche SUCH; owne OWN; werk WORK; thynk THINK; wield WILD; lyneng LINING; thyder THITHER; eche EACH; flessh FLESH; wirkyng, werkyng WORKING; shuld SHOULD; length LENGTH; dide DID; ynough ENOUGH; suster SISTER; eyen, yen, yeen EYES; trieu, triew TRUE.
At the top of fol. 9r is “Nycolas Skyn[er].” In the lower left corner of fol. 26v is “Amoz[?] Adams.” On fol. 63v is a reader’s observation: “3 Negatives used in our Language, even by this Author” (“ffriend nor foo ne takyth of hym non hede”). In the upper margin of fol. 76v is “Iohn.” On fol. 170r is a monogram: the blue “VAL” in a circle is faded or erased, as is the original red penwork; a fresher red “I” and “d” is painted over the monogram.note On fol. 76v: “Jo: Bra:” and “Iohn”; on fol. 155v is “Read it ageyne and ageyn[e] | J. B.,” and on fol. 186v is “J. B.” On fol. 87v, Manly-Rickert (1:243) see “Q[?]uod Do an [De an?],” but I cannot make this out. The MS once belonged to John Stow, who also owned Trinity College Cambridge MS R.3.21, one of the other three MSS containing The Court of Sapience (one of which, British Library MS 29729, was made by Stow and is a copy of Caxton’s edition [STC 17015]; Harvey 1982, pp. ix-xiii).

Connolly, Margaret. John Shirley: Book Production and the Noble Household in Fifteenth-Century England. Aldershot, England and Brookfield, Vermont: Ashgate, 1998. 
Dixon, Lori J. “The Canterbury Tales Miscellanies: A Contextual Study of Manuscripts Anthologizing Individual Canterbury Tales.” Diss. University of Delaware, 1995. 201-57; 390-607.
Doyle, A. I. “An Unrecognized Piece of Piers the Ploughman’s Creed and Other Work by Its Scribe.” Speculum 34 (1959): 428-36. 
Doyle, A. I. “English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII.” In V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherbourne, eds. English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages. London: Duckworth, 1983. 163-81. 
Edwards, A. S. G. “John Lydgate, Medieval Antifeminism, and Harley 2251.” Annuale Mediaevale 13 (1972): 32-44. 
Edwards, A. S. G. “John Stow and Middle English Literature.” In John Stow (1525-1605) and the Making of the English Past. Ian Gadd and Alexandra Gillespie, eds. London: British Library, 2004. 109-18. 
Hammond, Eleanor P. “Two British Museum Manuscripts (Harley 2251 and Add. 34360): A Contribution to the Biography of John Lydgate.” Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie 28 (1905): 1-28. 
Hammond, Eleanor P. Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual. 1908; rpt. New York: Peter Smith, 1933.  175.
Hammond, Eleanor P. “A Scribe of Chaucer.” Modern Philology 27 (1929): 27-33. [facsimiles]
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Manly, John M., and Edith Rickert, eds. The Text of the Canterbury Tales: Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts. 8 vols. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1940. 1:241-4.
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 540.
Mooney, Linne R. “Lydgate’s ‘Kings of England’ and Another Verse Chronicle of the Kings.” Viator 20 (1989): 255-89. 
Mooney, Linne R. “John Shirley’s Heirs.” Yearbook of English Studies 33 (2003): 182-98. 
Mosser, Daniel W. “Dating the Manuscripts of the ‘Hammond Scribe’: What the Paper Evidence Tells Us.” The Journal of the Early Book Society 10 (2007): 31-70. 
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 109-10.
Science, M. Boethius: De Consolatione Philosophiae Translated by John Walton. EETS o.s. 170. London, 1927. 
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume I, Works before The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1995. 140-3.
Steele, Robert. Lydgate’s and Burgh’s Secrees of Philisoffres. EETS e.s. 66. London:Oxford University Press, 1894. 
Sutton, Anne F., and Livia Visser-Fuchs. “Richard III’s Books: A Collections of Romances and Old Testament Stories: 4 Palamon and Arcite and Griselda by Geoffrey Chaucer/5 The Collection and Its Purpose.” Ricardian 7 (June 1987): 421-32.