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Minor works of Chaucer, Hoccleve, and Lydgate, etc., in versions closely related to MSS. Bodley 638 and Tanner 146, Written in the mid-15th century in England

MS. Fairfax 16

  • Request
Minor works of Chaucer, Hoccleve, and Lydgate, etc., in versions closely related to MSS. Bodley 638 and Tanner 146 (see Skeat, Chaucer's Minor Poems, Introduction, p. 51), as follows:
  1. Fol. 15. Chaucer's 'Complaint of Mars and Venus': beg. 'Gladeth ye lovers on the morowe gray'
  2. Fol. 20v. Lydgate's 'Compleynte of a lover's life', i.e. of the Black Knight: beg. 'In May when Flora the fresshe lusty quene'
  3. Fol. 30. 'The compleynt of Analida the quene upon fals Arcite': beg. 'So thirled with the poynt of remembraunce'
  4. Fol. 32. Chaucer's 'Compleynt of feire Anelida and fals Arcite': beg. 'Thou ferse god of armes, Mars the rede'
  5. Fol. 35v. Hoccleve's 'The boke of Cupid God of love, a benedicite'
  6. Fol. 40. 'Le bon counsaill de G. Chaucer': beg. 'Fie fro the pres, and duelle with soth fastnesse', of which another copy is on fol. 201, and Hoccleve's Letter of Cupid to Lovers: beg. 'Cupido unto whos comaundement', hence printed in Hoccleve's works (Early English Text Society, 1892), vol. i, pp. 72-91 (cf. Introd., p. xliv)
  7. Fol. 47. 'Ragman Roll', printed from this MS. in Wright's Anecdota Literaria (1844) and Hazlitt's Early Popular Poetry (1864), i, p. 68: another copy is in no. 2078, fol. 214v: beg. 'My ladyes and my maistresses echone'
  8. Fol. 50v. 'Balade de la belle dame sanz mercy': beg. 'Halffe in a dreeme, not fully wel awakyd'
  9. Fol. 63. Lydgate's 'Temple of Glas [MS. Bras]': beg. 'For thoght constraynt and grevous hevynesse'
  10. Fol. 83. 'The prologe of ix goode wymmen' by Chaucer: beg. 'A thousand tymes have I herd men telle'
  11. Fol. 120. 'The Parlement of Briddes' or 'Parliament of Foules': beg. 'The lif so short, the crafte so longe to lerne'
  12. Fol. 130. Chaucer's 'Booke of the Duchesse': beg. 'I have gret wonder, by this lighte' in which lines 31-96 have been added later
  13. Fol. 147v. four seven-line stanzas: beg. 'O lewde boke, with thy foole rudenesse'
  14. Fol. 148. 'Balade upon the chaunce of the Dyse': beg. 'Ferst myn unkinninge and my rudenesse', in fifty-nine seven-line stanzas, edited by Miss Hammond in Englische Studien, vol. lix (1925), pp. 1 ff.
  15. Fol. 154v. 'The House of Fame' by Chaucer: beg. 'God turne us every dreme to goode', of which the last 12 lines have been added later
  16. Fol. 184. 'The X commaundements of love', in fourteen seven-line stanzas, written in the late 16th cent.: beg. 'Certes ferre extendeth yet my reason'
  17. Fol. 187. Chaucer's 'Compleynte unto Pite': beg. 'Pite that I have sought so yore ago', followed by (fol. 188v) his 'A.B.C.': beg. 'Almyghty and alle mercyable queene', and (fol. 191) his ballad on Fortune: beg. 'This wretchched [sic] worldes transmutacioun'
  18. Fol. 192v. seven short pieces by Chaucer, printed in Skeat's edition of the Minor Poems as 'Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan', no. 16 (fol. 192v), 'Complaynt of Chaucer to his purse', no. 19 (fol. 193), 'Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton', no. 17 (fol. 193v), 'Balade', no. 15 (fol. 194), 'Balade', no. 21 (fol. 194v), 'Proverbe of Chaucer', no. 20 (fol. 195v), and 'Compleynt damours', no. 22 (fol. 197), of which the 'Proverbe' is preceded by two Lydgate fragments printed as parts of longer poems in Halliwell's edition of the Minor Poems (Percy Soc.), pp. 74, 193 (fol. 195)
  19. Fol. 198v. Hoccleve's ballad, beg. 'Victorious kyng'
  20. Fol. 199. Lydgate's 'Doublenesse of Wymmen': beg. 'This worlde is ful of variaunce'
  21. Fol. 199v. Lydgate's Prayer, beg. 'Most sovereigne lord, o blessed Crist Jhesu'
  22. Fol. 202. Lydgate's 'Reson and Sensuallyte', with the title, in the hand of John Stowe the antiquary, differing from that given in the table of contents (fol. 2v), which runs 'The booke of ϸe autoure how he plaid at ϸe chesse and was mated of a Feerse'. Missing lines have been supplied, perhaps by Shirley, from another MS.: beg. 'To alle folkys vertuouse': printed from this MS. for the Early English Text Society by Dr. Ernst Sieper (1901) who notes that foll. 300-5 are blank 'perhaps for the remainder of this unfinished work' (p. xi)
  23. Fol. 306. 'How a lover prayseth hys lady': beg. 'When the sonne the laumpe of Heven ful lyght'
  24. Fol. 314. a poem on love, the first part of which is arranged by the divisions of the Mass, beginning with 'Introibo' and the second by 'Balades' and 'Compleynts'. The original was written by a professed imitator of Chaucer (fol. 326) before Lydgate's death (1461)
  25. Fol. 329v. 'A remembraunce off ϸe articles perteyning to ϸe ordyr off Rodys [altered in a 17th-cent. hand to Hercules]': beg. 'First ye schal sqwere to owre souereyn lord the kynge', written in a 16th-cent. hand in seven articles
  26. Fol. 330v. 'The regnynge of kynges after the conquest, by the monke of Bury' i.e. Lydgate: beg. 'The myghty William duke of Normandye' and continued to the time of Henry vi
Fols. 3-8v, 9v-14, 337-end are blank except for some erased 15th-16th-cent. inscriptions. On fol. 9 is an Elizabethan portrait of a lady, with an orrery beneath bearing the motto 'cor mundanum'. At fol. 82 is the note 'Here lacketh 6 leves that are in Joseph Hollands boke'. There is a contemporary table of contents at fols. 2v-3.


  • Written in the mid-15th century in England


340 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • English, Middle (1100-1500)


MS. Fairfax 16

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, no. 3896

Custodial History

Fol. 1 has 'Anno 1450', and the following notes by Charles Fairfax: 'I bought this att Gloucester 8 Sept. 1650 intendinge to exchange it for a better booke. Note that Joseph Holland hath another of this manuscript.'

Physical Facet

On parchment, with one full-page miniature (fol. 14v), below which is a shield of arms, quarterly 1 and 4 argent, on a bend azure, three stags' heads caboshed or (Stanley), 2 and 3 argent, on a bend azure, three mullets or


9 3/5 × 6 7/10 in.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom