Russell, Josiah Cox and John Paul Heironimus/ The Shorter Latin Poems of Master Henry of Avranches Relating to England.
By J. C. RUSSELL and J. P. HEIRONIMUS. Medieval Academy Books, No. 21 (1935).

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No. 1

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assistant professor of history
university of north carolina

assistant professor of classics
university of wisconsin




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The publication of this book was made possible by a fund granted the Academy by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

Copyright 1935


The Mediaeval Academy of America

Printed in U.S.A.

Lithoprinted by Edwards Brothers, Inc., Lithoprinters and Publishers

Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1935

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R. W. R.

R. B. H.

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The editing of the Latin poetry of the Middle Ages has proceeded very slowly; it has fallen somewhere between the classicists and the modern philologists. So it has happened that the works of many of the abler mediaeval poets have not received much critical attention. The success of Master Henry of Avranches as a poet in his day and the abundance of the evidence about his life make him an instructive and interesting subject for study. This edition of the shorter poems relating to England is the continuation of the attention which one of us (Mr Russell) gave to the poet while a graduate student at Harvard studying with Professor Haskins.1. In 1927-28 we studied the poet’s grammatical works and found them unexpectedly interesting.2. In recent years a Bollandist, Father Grosjean, has transcribed the long saints’ lives of the poet and will edit them in the Analecta Bollandiana; the Life of St Francis has appeared already.3. He has also written an interesting article upon the poet.4. The long diatribe by Michael of Cornwall against Master Henry has been edited by Professor A. Hilka.5.

Our present object is twofold: (1) to present a general introduction to the study of Master Henry of
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Avranches, and (2) to edit the shorter Latin poems relating to England. The general introduction includes an account of the sources from which our knowledge of Master Henry’s poetry is derived, a short history of his reputation, and a sketch of his life, together with some observations upon the significance of his career. In the edition of his poems we have followed a chronological arrangement as far as possible. Such an arrangement is chosen in the hope that it will aid in following the career and development of the poet. The disadvantage of the arrangement is that chronological evidence in the poems is so uneven; some poems are clearly written within a few days or weeks of an event, others may have been written at any time in the poet’s life. Poems apparently belonging to a limited period in the author’s life are grouped by patrons or types of patronage: courtier poems in and about 1221-1222, for instance. This makes more evident the effect of patronage upon Master Henry’s poetry. In our collaboration Mr Heironimus has been primarily responsible for the Latin text and Mr Russell for the other part, but we have constantly shared our perplexities with each other.1.

For courtesies received in the preparation of this edition we are indebted to the Cambridge University Library, the British Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Harvard College Library, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Permission granted by President Mierow of Colorado College to republish material which appeared in the Colorado College Publication, December, 1927, is hereby gratefully acknowledged. The following individuals have given advice and helpful suggestions: Mr G. W. Robinson, Professor G. R. Coffman of the University of North Carolina, Father Paul Grosjean, S. J., Professor J. F. Willard of the University of Colorado, and Dean Elbert Russell of Duke University. We are under special obligation to Professor Charles Homer Haskins of Harvard University, under whose direction Mr Russell began his study of Master Henry, and whose advice and encouragement have been given generously at all stages of our work, and also to Mr W. B. Sedgwick of Leicester, England, who has read our work in manuscript and suggested many improvements in the Latin text. The text of the poems likewise owes much to the advice of the Mediaeval Academy’s reader, to whom are due in particular the emendations in Nos. 6, 1.94; 35, 1.30; 93, 1.4; 127, 11.63 and 90.


 [1. ] His unpublished doctoral dissertation, ‘Master Henry of Avranches’ (1926), is in the Harvard Library; an abstract is in the Summary of Theses, 1926, Harvard Graduate School, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1930), pp. 85-87. Some of the material appears in his ‘Master Henry of Avranches as an International Poet,’ Speculum, III (1928), 34-63. Studies of the patronage of King John and Abbot Henry Longchamp of Croyland, in which Master Henry shared, are in his ‘Three Short Studies in Mediaeval Intellectual History,’ Colorado College Publication (December, 1927), pp. 47-59; these are revised and included in the present edition.

 [2. ] The results of our work appear in ‘The Grammatical Works of Master Henry of Avranches,’ Philological Quarterly, VIII (1929), 21-38, and ‘Two Types of Thirteenth Century Grammatical Poems,’ Colorado College Publication (February, 1929), pp. 3-27.

 [3. ] XLIII (1925), 96 ff. The Franciscans of Quaracchi are preparing an edition of this poem based on all the known manuscripts.

 [4. ] ‘Magister Henricus de Abrincis,’ Dublin Studies, (1928), 295-308.

 [5. ] ‘Eine mittellateinische Dichterfehde: Versus magistri Michaelis Cornubiensis contra magistrum Henricum Abrincensem,’ Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstage von Hermann Degering (Leipzig, 1926), pp. 326 ff.

 [1. ] Since most of the important references to men and events appear in the rather detailed table of contents, it has not been thought necessary to provide an index.

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All emendations not specifically attributed to others, and those marked nos, are by the present editors.

The division of the longer poems into sections follows that of the MSS, as indicated by ornate capitals and ¶ marks. The titles, rubrics, and colophons are from A unless otherwise noted.

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Unlike our modern writers, the mediaeval authors were seldom fortunate enough to have their biographies written by their contemporaries. The exceptions were those who acquired a reputation for sanctity. Almost as fortunate were the writers who, as bishops or abbots, had their acts recorded in chronicles or in royal and diocesan records. By far the greater number of the writers of thirteenth-century England did not belong to either of these classes; they were secular or regular churchmen, canons, professors, or monks. Their activities have usually left few traces in contemporary records. Among these belonged Master Henry of Avranches. Although a clerk he was no saint, and he never received high ecclesiastical preferment in England. Yet a notable list of items from the Public Record Office is the chief source of the later years of his life.1.

Furthermore, the problem of the authorship of mediaeval writings is complicated by difficulties unknown today. While some authors gave their names in acrostics or even in definite statements, most of them failed to take even the most elementary precautions for making their authorship known to future readers. We have thus to rely upon colophons written by scribes or owners, or upon chance attributions by other and often later writers. Under these conditions a large part of mediaeval literature remains, if not anonymous, at least of uncertain authorship. Our poet has been somewhat more fortunate than many of his contemporary writers, yet the loss of a single volume, as we shall see, would have made the reconstruction of his bibliography very difficult.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries bibliographers of England became interested in mediaeval writers. To them we are deeply indebted for preserving information which otherwise might have disappeared. But this gratitude ought not to blind us to some faults in their methods. They conjectured easily without indicating that they did so, and later bibliographers copied them, creating an imposing but often unreliable
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tradition. In this tradition Master Henry of Avranches occupies an interesting if insignificant place: curious conjectures have assigned the authorship of many of his poems to other writers and very few to him.

Such is the background for the study of the sources of the poetry of Master Henry of Avranches and for the history of his reputation, which we shall take up in detail. The life of the poet presents somewhat different problems. His life was spent largely at the courts, although there is much evidence that he frequently enjoyed the hospitality of the monasteries. It was to his contact with the monasteries that we owe to a great extent the existing knowledge of his poetry.

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Our knowledge of the writings of Master Henry of Avranches comes largely from two English monasteries, St Albans and Peterborough, and probably from one monk in each house, Matthew Paris of St Albans and Simon the Sacristan of Peterborough. Other sources attribute to Master Henry by his full name only a group of four lines on beer and a lost controversy with an unidentified opponent.1.

The poet tells us that Simon the Sacristan praised his poems and bound them in volumes. Simon was probably responsible for the titles upon them which appear with some fullness in the early catalogue of Peterborough books. But Simon’s handwriting was also probably poor and led the cataloguer, who apparently did not know Henry of Avranches, into using some peculiar forms of the name of the Norman place.2. The following items seem to refer to poems by Master Henry:

Vita S. Hugonis Lincoln. Ep. versifice sec. Mag. H. de Hariench (p. 44 [102]). No. 95.

Certamen inter Regem I. et Barones versifice per Mag. H. de Hariench (p. 44 [102]). No. 98.

Tropi Mag. H. Abrincensis de B. Virgine (p. 63 [234]). Tropi Mag. P. (sic) Abrincensis de B. Virgine (p. 65 [243]). No. 102.

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Versus de Decretis sec. Henricum de Hamerincham (ham’inch). Versus ejusdem de Decretalibus. Versus de Decretis cum sentenciis eorumdem (p. 65 [239]) No. 164.

Altercatio inter Mag. Henr. de Hamrincham et Mag. Michaelem versifice (p. 65). No. 165.

Versus magistri Henrici de vita S. Oswaldi et aliorum in uno quaterno (p. 61 [218]). No. 48.

Another reference appears in a Peterborough chronicle:3.

1237 Obiit dominus Henricus de Longo Campo, abbas Croylandiae, ad cuius petitionem magister Petrus Blesensis, archidiaconus Bathoniensis tunc eloquentissimus, vitam sancti Guthlaci heroico stylo, et magister Henricus metrico stylo venustissime dictaverunt. No. 19.

With the break-up of the Peterborough library after the dissolution of the monasteries these writings disappeared; none of the extant manuscripts containing poems by Master Henry has been identified as a Peterborough volume.

No early catalogue of the library of the monastery of St Albans has survived, but many of their books have been preserved, especially the invaluable manuscripts for which Matthew Paris was responsible. In one of these a poem addressed to the abbot, William of Trumpington, is given with the author’s name, ‘Magister Henricus de Abrincis.’4. Upon the margin of one of the manuscripts of the Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris an early hand, probably of the thirteenth century, has written:5.

Plura habentur epitaphia scripta de eo (William Marshall) in libro M. Pariensis quem habet de versibus Henrici de Abrincis.

This early evidence tells us that Matthew Paris possessed a book of the poems of Henry of Avranches in which there were epitaphs of William Marshall.

The manuscript which we designate as A (Cambridge University Library, MS Dd 11 78) is probably the volume to which reference is made. On its last folio is a notation
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‘fr. M.’ and on the front flyleaf a notation stating that the book has been given by Friar Matthew to God and St Albans.6. The ‘Ma-’ of ‘Matheus’ has been partially cut off, but what remains fits the letters and the notation is the same as another about which Matthew’s ownership is not doubted.7. There are no epitaphs of William Marshall in the volume now, but an item in the ancient index on the flyleaf shows that epitaphs upon him were in it at one time.8. At the top of the first folio is the note ‘Versus magistri H.’ which presumably signifies authorship.

From the handwriting it is clear that the manuscript is a product of the St Albans scriptorium of the middle of the thirteenth century. Thus the contemporary attributions of authorship are probably to be received with respect.

Versus magistri H. Abrincensis de corona spinea, de cruce, et ferro lancee quibus rex Lodowicus Franciam insignivit (fol. 38r). Expliciunt versus magistri H. Abrincensis de nobilibus reliquiis a Deo datis Francie (fol. 44v). No. 14.

Incipit liber de generatione et corruptione metrice compositus a magistro H. Abrincensi poeta (fol. 156v, in margin). No. 35.

Magistri H. de Abrincis altercatio militis et clerici (fol. 167v, in margin). No. 41.

Super vita beati Francisci versus magistri Henrici Abrincensis ad Gregorium Papam Nonum (fol. 200r). No. 89.9.

The author of two poems, Nos. 11 and 33, gives in the verse itself his own name, Henry. Again we find the Life of St Guthlac (No. 19), the Life of St Oswald (No. 48), and the Life of St. Birin (No. 23), of which the well-known four lines on beer are a part.

Nine of the longer pieces in A, mostly saints’ lives, have remarkably similar endings. At first sight they might seem to be conventional endings. This hypothesis may be tested by examining the last lines of the mediaeval saints’
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lives as they are given in the Bibliographia Hagiographica Latina. Such a test turned up only one other ending of close similarity, that of a Life of St Hugh. Since such a title is credited to Master Henry by the Peterborough catalogue, there is strong evidence for including No. 95 among the poet’s works. In one source or another six of the ten poems with similar conclusions are thus specifically attributed to our poet; there is thus little doubt but that he wrote the other four. A long grammatical poem (No. 103) is also to be included since it has concluding lines of great similarity. The concluding lines may have some chronological significance; this is discussed in Appendix B.

The evidence then indicates that A is the volume designated as the book of the poems of Henry of Avranches which Matthew Paris possessed. What poems were in the volume during its possession by the chronicler? The ancient index on the flyleaf of A seems to offer an answer. The anathema on the flyleaf was probably written, if not during the lifetime of Matthew Paris, soon after his death in 1259; at its latest it is of the thirteenth century. The anathema, however, is later than the ancient index, as its position shows. Thus the original index probably gives the list of poems in the volume when Matthew Paris had it, and this group, we are told, was of the poems of Henry of Avranches. If we work from the index, four later stages in the history of the manuscript become clear: (1) additions noted at the bottom of the recto of the flyleaf; (2) additions noted at the top of both sides of the flyleaf; (3) a rebinding, or rebindings, in which one quire whose contents are not mentioned in the ancient index was added and some poems mentioned in the index were removed; (4) additions of poems not mentioned in the index upon blank pages of quires whose contents are mentioned.

The contents of the volume at the time of the original index can be identified with some certainty. They included the poems numbered 1 to 64 with a few exceptions. The fragments, Nos. 3 and 5, are not mentioned; either they were too insignificant, or they were not yet written in. In either case they are of small importance. The quire containing Nos. 14 and 15 was apparently not yet in the manuscript. The small pieces, 49-61 and 63, are naturally not mentioned. Four titles seem to represent Nos. 76-79 on foll. 194r-195v. After a blank in the index are references to the Lives of SS Birin, Edmund, and Francis. The first two, probably duplicates of
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Nos. 23 and 24, are no longer in the manuscript;10. the Life of St Francis begins on fol. 200r. The poems include two pieces which are rather interesting, although not by Master Henry: the first (No. 13) consists of two long excerpts from the Doctrinale of Alexander of Ville-Dieu and the second (No. 62), noted in the index as ‘De crure I. Mansel curando Mich.’, is probably by Michael of Cornwall. The poems cover events of the years 1215-35. There is little reason to doubt Master Henry’s authorship of the others included in the ancient index.

Even at this date the manuscript had had a history. It had not been planned apparently for a single volume and seems rather to have been made by binding together three books. Thus foll. 58-178 are numbered by quires from I to XI and foll. 200-238 from I to IV.11. The handwriting is instructive but difficult to distinguish because of the uniformity of the St Albans scriptorium. A single hand wrote the first 29 folios, followed by a smaller hand writing double columns from fol. 29 to fol. 34. Separate hands wrote the next three poems, stopping at foll. 37v, 44v, and 50v. The writer of foll. 51-57 may have been the same as the one who wrote the first 29 folios. Foll. 58-60 were written by an apparently unique hand, and then a very clear and even hand presents an almost monotonous regularity until fol. 149v. Two hands each write a poem. Beginning with fol. 156r a very straight and rigid hand crowds the letters together and dots the ends of the lines heavily until fol. 184v, where the handwriting changes and the dots cease in the middle of a page and poem. Another hand interrupts on foll. 175-176; the same hand relieves the rigid hand again and continues until fol. 195v, skipping two pages (187v and 188v), which are filled with odds and ends of poetry and prose in various hands. Nos. 90-93 are written in a different hand from that of the Life of St Francis.

The handwriting adds an interesting point. Nos. 65-75, which are not listed in the ancient index, are written by the same two hands which wrote several of the poems actually listed in the ancient index. Possibly the indexer missed
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them. These poems may be referred to in the first set of additions by the phrase, ‘Interpretationes nominum quorundam amicorum cum quibus (sic) aliis interpositis.’ The other addition, ‘Quedam rithmice composita de Sancto Georgio per Paulinum Piper,’ is no longer in the volume. Matthew Paris probably had these poems before him in the volume.

But when did he have the book? He never quotes from any poems in A, although they might have been used appropriately in connection with events of 1215-1235 in his chronicles. Since he frequently quotes poetry, the inference is that the book was not in his possession until after he completed the portion of his chronicle dealing with those years. Probably he had it only late in life. He does quote two lines on the building of Salisbury Cathedral (No. 20) but in another version; the lines of the version in his chronicle are written on the margin of A. The curious excerpts from the Doctrinale, which are about meter and the quantity of syllables, contain just the type of information that a poet might keep in his notebook; their inclusion suggests that the scribes were copying from the poet’s notebook.

The second set of additions to the ancient index, those at the top of both pages of the flyleaf, may be located with some certainty. ‘Quedam altercatio et de beata virgine’ evidently refers to the verse upon the last folio as it now exists; only part of the ‘altercatio’ remains (Nos. 90-93). The other items probably followed: ‘Quedam sequentia de beata Virgine,’ ‘De quodam loco ubi proposuit studere,’ and ‘De epitaphio comitis Marescalli.’ These additions must have been present at an early date, since the note on the margin of Paris’ chronicle mentioned above refers to the last item.

At least one rebinding and possibly more took place. A quire (foll. 38-46) was added which had evidently been intended to commence a volume, so elaborate is its initial letter. The poem by Paulin Piper and the duplicate Lives of St Birin and St Edmund were removed. Probably an effort was made to simplify the volume by removing duplicates and poems by other authors.

Lastly there are some apparently later additions. No. 15, a French poem, has been attributed to Rutebeuf.12. The very popular poem on the heart and the eye (No. 88) probably belongs to Philip de Grève.13. The various items on
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foll. 187v and 188v are in the same class.

The second great collection of the poems of Master Henry of Avranches forms the fourth part of the Cottonian manuscript Vespasian D. V, which we call D, of the thirteenth century. It is a miscellany of poems written for patrons in Germany, England, France, and Italy, between 1227 and 1251. A modern hand, probably that of Cotton himself, has written at the top of the first poem, ‘Michael of Cornwall,’ but the evidence points to his enemy as the author. In No. 123 the writer calls himself Henry, and in No. 112 he describes himself as dean of Maastricht in a poem of about 1238; one, and possibly two documents, confirm the existence of a Master Henry as dean of Maastricht in 1237.14. The author speaks in No. 155 of having presented a Life of St Birin to Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, which is certainly No. 23. Other patrons of poems in A appear again as patrons--Gregory IX, Milo de Nanteuil, and Robert Passelewe, while an entire poem, No. 20, appears in both manuscripts. There seems no reason to doubt Henry’s authorship of any of the poems in this collection.

The early catalogue of the Cottonian library has the following entry about MS Vitellius D. VIII, which perished in the great Cottonian fire:15.

Versus Gualteri Mapes de Clericis et Laicis, de S. Edmundo, de S. Maria Virgine, de festivitate Omnium Sanctorum: altercatio inter Magistrum Henricum de Albrincis et Leonium Teutonicum cum aliis ejusmodi.

The attribution to Walter Map is probably a late guess: his contemporaries wrote his name Map. The titles are very much like some of the titles of Master Henry’s poems. The ‘De Clericis et Laicis’ might be No. 41, ‘De S. Edmundo’ might be No. 25 or No. 26. ‘De festivitate Omnium Sanctorum’ is the title for No. 43. Master Henry wrote several which might be called ‘De S. Maria Virgine.’ The ‘altercatio’ might be a verbal contest between Henry and Germans in England such as we have in Nos. 90-93. Probably this was a group of the poet’s works; the rest of the manuscript’s contents seems to have little relationship to it.

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The sources of the knowledge of Master Henry’s poetry are singularly reassuring. A is very probably the book of the poems of Henry of Avranches which Matthew Paris had. Of its contents only Nos. 13, 15, 62, and 88 among the more important poems are apparently of other authorship. D is probably an unadulterated collection of Henry’s poems. A scattering of other poems is added: of these only No. 101, as we shall see, is by another writer.16.The result of the examination gives us a great body of poems whose authorship is quite certain; upon these a substantial study of the poet may be based.

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Of Henry of Avranches it might be said that his light was hidden not under one but under several bushels. His poems have been attributed to a supposititious ‘William of Ramsey,’ and to his enemy, Michael of Cornwall, as well as to various Master Henries. If this were not enough, much of the accurate information about him has been hidden in little known publications. To follow in detail the devious paths of each of the names under which Master Henry’s poems have gone would require a monograph in itself; only a sketch is given here.

Like most of his contemporaries, Master Henry probably made little effort to preserve evidence of his authorship. Only at Peterborough and at St Albans, apparently, were his works correctly labeled: at Peterborough the titles survived only in the library catalogue, while the St Albans volumes were scattered. Although in A his name occurs several times, it had severe competition here from ‘William of Ramsey.’

To John Leland (1506-1552) belongs the distinction of creating ‘William of Ramsey’ as a literary character. Leland was an industrious antiquarian who collected in his extensive tours of England a great body of miscellaneous information, subsequently published as his Itinerary and Collectanea.1. Largely from these he compiled his Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, which is almost the fountainhead of English bibliography.2. By comparing these sources for items about ‘William of Ramsey’ we find that Leland conjectured the following to have been identical:3. (1) a William who wrote a metrical epitaph of Waltheof, a saint of Croyland; (2) the anonymous author of the metrical Life of St Guthlac (No. 19), another saint of Croyland, and of the Lives of St Birin (No. 23) and St Edmund (No. 24) which regularly accompany it in the manuscripts; and (3) a ‘William of Ramsey’ said to have been a
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commentator upon some of Bede’s works on chronology.4. While the first two might be identified as a poet writing for the abbot of Croyland, Henry Longchamp, there is no demonstrable connection with the ‘William’ of Ramsey. However, this character maintained a place in the bibliographies in spite of his genesis.5.

In A the Lives of Guthlac, Birin, and Edmund are anonymous; these poems have been attributed to ‘William of Ramsey’ by a sixteenth-century hand in accordance with the bibliographical tradition. These notes obscured from the less critical readers the real unity of the authorship of the poetry in A.6. In 1877 F. Liebermann examined the manuscript, identified it as the book of the poems of Master Henry of Avranches which belonged to Matthew Paris, and stated that most of the poems were by Henry; this information was not widely circulated in England.7. Yet some years later, apparently forgetting or mistrusting his earlier article, he accepted the attribution to ‘William of Ramsey’ upon the advice of someone not so critical; this article was widely circulated.8. Recently Father Grosjean examined the manuscript and saw at once the flimsiness of the attributions to ‘William of Ramsey.’9.

The second of the large collections of Master Henry’s poems, D, was in Robert Cotton’s library, and the attribution of them to ‘Michael of Cornwall’ is probably in his
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own hand. This conjecture was a natural one to make after a superficial examination. The poet was evidently writing in England about the middle of the thirteenth century; of that period Michael was the best known poet. Cotton’s conjecture caused Michael to be called dean of Maastricht and author of the Life of St Birin.10. Here his reputation came into conflict with that of ‘William of Ramsey,’ whose authorship had, however, the stronger tradition.11.

The items in the ancient catalogue of Peterborough library fared little better, even though they were printed early by Gunton and were seen by Thomas Tanner;12. neither recognized the words for Avranches. In Tanner’s Bibliotheca there are notices of ‘Davench (Henry de)’, and ‘Hamrincham (Henry de)’, while the Master Henry who wrote the ‘Vita S. Oswaldi’ is conjectured to have been Henry of Huntingdon.13.

Such publicity as Henry of Avranches received from the early bibliographers was hardly preferable to anonymity. It was derived from four lines on beer culled from the Life of St Birin (No. 23), to which his name was attached early and correctly, and from the long and well-known poem of Michael of Cornwall of which Master Henry was the subject. The lines on beer were copied by Camden for his very popular Britannia, by Du Cange for his very learned Glossarium, and were finally incorporated by Burton, as Father Grosjean discovered, in his Anatomy of Melancholy.14. A curious history! In Michael’s very hostile poem a rather frightful caricature of Henry early attracted the eye, and apparently corroborated the unfavorable impression which association with Michael had produced. Nevertheless the Cornishman did his antagonist one favor by calling him ‘archipoeta.’

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This ‘archipoeta’ was interpreted to mean chief poet of the king as early as Fuller.15. He was, however, apparently out of the main current of bibliographical tradition. Warton also read of the archpoet: he noticed two items recording payments by Henry III to this poet in Madox’s History and Antiquities of the Exchequer.16. He saw in Henry of Avranches a forerunner of the poets laureate of England; in this even the latest historian of the laureateship has agreed.17. Shortly after the time of Madox and Warton a Norman antiquarian, Baron de Perche, examined some of the records at London for items about Master Henry and apparently found many of those relating to the payments in the later years of the poet. His dates are not very accurate but he had the essential facts. His account of the poet included information about several of the poet’s works; indeed it was by far the best account of the poet then extant, but it was practically buried in a local Norman publication.18.

Over the authorship of the most famous work of our poet, his Life of St Francis, a long and interesting controversy raged. The poet’s usual ill luck was probably responsible for there being any controversy at all: by an omission no reference to this Life in A (the only manuscript which gave the author’s complete name) appeared in the index of the Cambridge University Library catalogue. An anonymous copy had been in the library at Assisi for centuries; its publication in 1882 opened the question of authorship. Certain passages led to the belief that the author was English; ‘John of Kent’ was suggested. Some still held that its author might be Italian, possibly ‘Guiliano da Spira.’ In 1889 a second copy at Versailles was edited; its author was definitely a Master Henry. Various Henries were considered, the most acceptable being Henry of Pisa and Henry of Burford. Only Franciscans were considered. Finally A. G. Little gave the real author, but his information was in the addenda and corrigenda of a book, a rather obscure place. As late as 1925 the author was still regarded as a Franciscan.19.

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Liebermann sent transcripts of several of the poems in A to Winkelmann, who was interested in the Holy Roman Empire of the time of Henry of Avranches. The latter published two sets of them in 1878 in German periodicals.20. J. Wood Brown and C. H. Haskins quote from the latter to date the death of Michael Scot, the astrologer of Frederick II.21. The poet’s Knight and Clerk has been published in a recent study of the streitgedicht in the Middle Ages, which also discusses his Rome and Innocent III.22.

This includes most of the principal developments in the history of the reputation of Master Henry of Avranches, although the account is not exhaustive. Should the story appear ludicrous, if not actually absurd, it may be said in extenuation that few other instances of mix-ups upon so grand a scale are known.23.The account illustrates the hazards through which the reputations of mediaeval writers have passed, and, perhaps even more, the danger of accepting without careful criticism the attributions of bibliographers. But making all due allowances it does seem as if the reputation of Master Henry of Avranches has been subject to a very long run of ill luck.

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The career of Master Henry of Avranches is as interesting a subject as the critical study of the knowledge of his poetry or the history of his reputation. The sources for his life, as measured by those for other thirteenth-century writers, are abundant and good; they are his poetry, the verses of Michael of Cornwall, and a series of English exchequer items. From them emerges the life of a wandering poet during the first half of the thirteenth century. This career, if not typical, is illustrative of the literary environment created by mediaeval civilization. He and his poetry are, however, typical products of the patronage of mediaeval courts; in this his significance is greatest.

From the available sources it is impossible to write a day-by-day or even month-by-month account of the poet’s activities. Indeed, about all that many poems reveal is that within a fairly definite period of time the poet wrote for certain patrons upon particular topics. The English exchequer items are convincing evidence that the poet received real rewards, which eliminates the possibility that his verse was merely the poetical exercise of an imaginative mind. Even if we did not have these records the poetry is sufficiently realistic and too closely related to actuality for us to doubt his career. We can infer from the invectives of Michael of Cornwall that Master Henry of Avranches could be a very provocative person upon occasion.

The poet’s name tells us only that he or his family came from Avranches. Michael avers that Henry’s name was Troteman, which is not of much help. In the records he is sometimes called Master Henry the Versifier. Such variation is to be expected in mediaeval names. Only the Christian name was permanent; with it might go a family name, the name of his birthplace, the name of his profession, or his father’s name. It is not always easy to tell which the cognomen is intended to be.

The poet’s early associations seem to be German rather than English or Norman; they are possibly with Cologne.
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The marks of his education are stamped strongly upon his poetry, but of what school he was a ‘magister’ it is not known. Michael says that Henry tried to teach at both Paris and Oxford, but failed at both. If this is to be taken with caution, it is clear that he sought the courts rather than the schools as a constant source of livelihood.

He was probably at the court of King John of England in 1215; a year later he was writing for John’s nephew, the Emperor Otto IV. Within two or at most three years the poet had returned to England and its court. There he wrote for several courtiers, usually bishops. He may have been a tutor of the young princes, Henry and Richard; to them he seems to have dedicated a very long grammatical poem. This patronage at the court evoked a series of short poems enlarging upon the virtues of the patrons and the needs of the author.

Along with this rather ephemeral matter went many pieces of more permanent worth, such as the debate upon the knight and the clerk, some fables, and various religious pieces. These items, appearing for the most part in A, are probably of the early part of the poet’s life, to which nearly all of this collection apparently belongs. It is difficult to know whether they were written in Germany or England. He did try, probably about 1220 and later, to versify long saints’ lives for English abbots and bishops. These included the Life of St Guthlac for the abbot of Croyland, the Life of St Oswald for the monastery of Peterborough, and the Life of St Birin for Bishop Peter des Roches of Winchester, who was one of his greatest patrons. The poet complained to Archbishop Stephen Langton that he failed to receive anything from the prior of Canterbury for a week’s efforts upon the miracles of St Thomas.

In 1227 Bishop Peter fell from power in England and left for a crusade to Palestine. The poet also left England, appearing in Germany, Italy, and France during the next decade and a half. It is not easy to fix accurate dates for his activities upon the Continent; it seems certain that he was in Germany before 1232, in 1235, and again in 1238; that he was at the Papal Curia in 1232, in 1234, and after 1238; and that he was in France in 1241. Quite a wandering career!

It was also a career of some success, even though Michael did twit him upon his relations with king and emperor. For Pope Gregory IX he wrote the first metrical Life of St Francis. At the Curia also he wrote a series of arguments in legal cases concerning himself and his patrons, French, German, and English bishops. While in Italy he was also at the
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imperial court. About 1235 he wrote lines upon the death of the great astrologer, Michael Scot. In 1238 as dean of Maastricht he was caught in a violent struggle in the diocese of Liege; this he related later to Gregory IX. In another poem he tells of being despoiled of a castle in Germany. The deanship and the castle may have been gifts from the emperor. The cause of his trouble is fairly clear: he was caught between the partisans of the pope and the emperor in the unfortunate contest which weakened the power of both forces. To avoid the troubled zone, which included much of Germany, he naturally turned to France, writing for Louis IX upon the translation of the relics of the Crucifixion to Paris in 1241. A few years later he returned to England and his old patron, Henry III.

From about 1244 until 1262 he probably spent most of his time in England, although there are suspicious gaps in the evidence. Not much poetry of his later years has survived. It is unfortunate, because some of the little that is left is rather better than his earlier verse. Michael’s poem, written after 1250, has much to say of his opponent’s failing eyesight and other impairments of age, and also of the unfailing and constant vigor of his wanderlust.

Such is the remarkable career of Master Henry of Avranches. For its background one need only turn to Haskins’ Renaissance of the Twelfth Century. There we find described a vast Latin civilization, based primarily upon the church, which had absorbed much from classical tradition and culture. Haskins discusses the solid study of Latin which maintained a marked uniformity of language throughout Europe. However, the interest in the classics was declining before the newer (and more profitable) ‘ars dictaminis,’ business correspondence. There was great interest also in the revival of law, of science, and philosophy; the last two were to be seriously affected by translations from the Greek and Arabic. We learn of the great centers of learning: ‘monasteries, cathedrals, courts, towns, and universities.’

Master Henry of Avranches comes at the end of the period, but the book is almost an introduction to his life, as his life might be used as an illustration of the period.

How could he have wandered over much of western Europe, appealing for patronage with apparent success, if there had been any marked difficulties in language? His poetry, if not particularly inspiring, conforms fairly well to classical standards; such orthodox orthography and versification is obviously the product of a standardized and efficient education. Master Henry makes no marked distinction between
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the writers before and since Boethius; they all share in the same great tradition.

In spite of Master Henry’s classical allusions he had an eye for the practical; Michael alleges that he offered to teach the English the ‘ars dictaminis,’ and he frequently attempted to turn his knowledge of law to account. The new translations from the Arabic interested Master Henry; he tried to versify the De Generatione et Corruptione of Aristotle. His poems, especially the earlier ones, make frequent use of terms coming from the schools.

Of the thirteenth-century centers of learning three, the monastery, the school, and the court, left a particular impress upon their devotees. Matthew Paris is an illustrious example of the monk, and Stephen Langton of the professor. Of the courtier, or at least of one type of courtier, we find few better examples than our poet.

The court had a large amount of business, mostly of legal nature, to be transacted by literate officials. Thus the king, or the bishop and sometimes even the earl, had need of numbers of clerks. These persons were rewarded partly by support in the court and eventually by ecclesiastical preferment. The court thus opened attractive possibilities for young and ambitious clerks. These men, as far as their activities can be easily traced, do not seem to have had very permanent connections with their patrons.

We may doubt that Master Henry shared in the transcription of documents and other such clerical work, but it is not at all impossible. However, he tried to take part in legal business: he tells of speaking for Bishop Richard Marsh of Durham in one poem, and several others are addressed to Pope Gregory IX in favor of various patrons. He was obviously an unusual lawyer. Unfortunately we have little evidence which would show whether he was successful. Such legal poetry constituted only a small part of his work.

The poet’s constant problem was to arouse the interest of his patrons: his forte was pleasure rather than law. And in this he seems to have attained a certain amount of proficiency, which, if chronological hints do not deceive us, was gradually attained by pushing himself into the background and his patron into the foreground. This was a highly personal problem and varied from patron to patron. He did not write in the same strain to the famous theologian and archbishop, Stephen Langton, as to the strenuous, saint-loving abbot of Croyland, Henry Longchamp; or to Pope Gregory IX as to the pope’s enemy, Emperor Frederick II. So the subject matter varied from
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center to center, usually reflecting the interests of the patrons. Sometimes it was a great achievement, sometimes religious or hagiographical interests, and often an appeal to very human vanity.

By necessity the poet was drawn into court life and thus into sympathy with royalty and with the bishops who were frequently his patrons even at the royal courts. In England in the struggle between the king and other groups the poet was a royalist; this was unfortunate for him since modern interest has largely been concentrated upon the anti-royalists.

Dependence upon courts inevitably results in more shallow poetry than that produced in monastery or university. It reflects the interests and tastes of the patron as well as the thoughts and ideas of the poet. While we may deplore this situation, it has its advantages. It enables us to appraise the taste and ambitions of the patrons in admirable fashion.

Since the poetry is inspired quite as much by the generosity of the patron as by the genius of the poet, the poet’s style varies as widely as the subject matter. Each group of poems written for a particular patron or type of patron has characteristics of its own, often quite different from poems by the same poet influenced by another environment. In order to make this as clear as possible we have ventured to arrange our poems in groups rather than singly, and to give a general introduction to each group rather than a special one to each poem. We hope that this arrangement will illustrate better the peculiar significance of Master Henry of Avranches as a court poet.


 [1. ] Published in Speculum, III (1928), 55-58.

 [1. ] Cambridge University Library, MS Ll 1 15, fol. 23r, ‘Henricus Abrincensis tempore Henrici 3,’ for the verses on beer which are actually part of No. 23. London, British Museum, MS Cotton Vitellius D VIII, burned in the Cottonian fire of 1731, contained ‘Altercatio inter Magistrum Henricum de Albrincis et Leonium Teutonicum cum aliis eiusmodi’; see Thomas Smith, Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Cottonianae (Oxford, 1696), p. 92. This poem is listed as No. 97 in our Catalogue.

 [2. ] The catalogue has recently been edited by M. R. James, Lists of Manuscripts formerly in Peterborough Abbey Library (Oxford, 1926). For the poet’s relations with Peterborough see under the Life of St Oswald, p. 117.

 [3. ] J. A. Giles, Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense (London, 1845), p. 135.

 [4. ] No. 94.

 [5. ] Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS XVI. See H. R. Luard, Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris, III, 43: M. G. H. SS. XXVIII, 119.

 [6. ] It reads: ‘Hunc librum dedit fr Ma / theus Deo et ecclesie S. Albani. Quem qui/ei abstulerit anathema sit. Amen.’

 [7. ] For the notation referred to and others slightly different see T. D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, etc. (London, 1871, Rolls Series), III, lx.

 [8. ] ‘De epitaphio comitis Marescalli.’

 [9. ] The Versailles MS of this poem gives ‘Magister Henricus’ as the author; see E. d’Alençon, ‘Il più antico poema della vita di S. Francesco,’ Miscellanea Francescana, etc., IV (1889), 33.

 [10. ] The ancient index lists the Lives of St Birin and St Edmund twice; the first time the notation ‘Vita S. Edmundi’ evidently includes Nos. 24, 25, and 26, all referring to the saint. The second reference to St Edmund in the index may have done the same; Nos. 25 and 26 do appear a second time on fol. 193v and fol. 194r. Probably Nos. 23 and 24 originally appeared in the manuscript just ahead of these.

 [11. ] I at 69v, II at 81v, III at 91v, IIII at 101v, V at 109v, VI at 119v, VII at 129v, VIII at 139v, (number omitted at 150v), IX at 156v, X at 166v, XI at 178v. The second set has I at 209v, II at 219v, III at 229v, IV at 237v.

 [12. ] In all MSS it is anonymous; see Speculum III (1928), 47.

 [13. ] Attributed to him by MS Egerton 274 and by Salimbene, a very good source, M.G.H.SS. XXXII, 182, 183, 442. Cf. also Paul Meyer, Documents manuscrits de l’ancienne littérature de la France (Paris, 1871), p. 7 ff.

 [14. ] Compte-Rendu des Séances de la Commission Royale d’ Histoire, C, IX (1867), 43; Ch. Piot, Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint Trond (Brussels, 1870), I, 196; A. Wauters, Table chronologique des chartes et diplômes imprimés (Brussels, 1874), IV, 265.

 [15. ] Thomas Smith, Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Cottonianae (Oxford, 1696), p. 92.

 [16. ] Under patronage of Henry III, p. 140.

 [1. ] The Itinerary of John Leland or the Antiquary (Oxford, 1745); The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the Years 1535-43, ed. L. T. Smith (London, 1907 ff.); Antiquarii de Rebus Britannicis Collectanea, with notes of T. Hearne (London, 1770).

 [2. ] Published at Oxford, 1709, but seen in manuscript by early writers.

 [3. ] Commentarii, p. 215.

 [4. ] Itinerary (1907), II, 130-132; ibid., II, 125, where, however the author is said to be Felix; Itinerary (1745), IX, 62; Collectanea IV (Tome III), 23 (even this William may be a mistake for Bricht-ferth of Ramsey).

 [5. ] John Bale, Index Britanniae Scriptorum, ed. R. L. Poole and Mary Bateson (Oxford, 1902), p. 122 (this is Bale’s notebook, from which he compiled his Scriptorum Illustrium Maioris Brytanniae, quam nunc Angliam et Scotiam vocant, etc., Basel, 1557); John Pits, Relationum Historicarum de Rebus Anglicis (Paris, 1619), p. 241; C. Henriquez, Phoenix Reviviscans, etc., (Brussels, 1626), p. 216; G. J. Voss, De Historicis Latinis (Leyden, 1627), p. 423; P. Leyser, Historia Poetarum et Poematum Medii Aevi (Halle, 1721), p. 438; C. Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiae Antiquis (Leipzig, 1722), II, 1580; J. A. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Latina Mediae et Infimae Aetatis (Hamburg, 1735), VII, 482; Thomas Wright, Biographia Britannica Literaria, etc., (London, 1846), II, 424; T. D. Hardy, A Descriptive Catalogue, etc., (London, 1862), I, 236, 237, 408, 523, 528, 547: II, 25; Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (Brussels, 1898-1901), I, 203, 360, 472, 556: II, 882, 1267; Dictionary of National Biography article by Mary Bateson.

 [6. ] As, for instance, in A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, 1856), I, 469-476.

 [7. ] ‘Bericht ueber Arbeiten in England waehrend des Sommers 1877,’ Neues Archiv, IV (1879), 23 (we have never found any reference to this article and stumbled across it by chance).

 [8. ] ‘Ueber Ostenglische Geschichtsquellen, etc.,’ Neues Archiv, XVIII (1893), 227 (this has apparently been circulated as a reprint).

 [9. ] See the preface.

 [10. ] A Wood, Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxoniensis (1674), I, 87, also 27, 86; T. Warton, History of English Poetry (London, 1774), I, Dissertation II, 71.

 [11. ] As in Warton, English Poetry, I, Dissertation II, 71.

 [12. ] Simon Gunton, History of the Church of Peterborough (Peterborough, 1685); T. Tanner, Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica (London, 1748).

 [13. ] Tanner, Bibliotheca, pp. 219, 376, and 396 respectively.

 [14. ] Britannia sive Florentissimorum Regnorum, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, et Insularum adiacentium ex intima antiquitate Chronographica descriptio (London, 1587), p. 361; of this book editions appeared frequently; Du Cange, under ‘cerevisia’; quoted also by B. Hauréau, ‘Notice sur les Mélanges Poétiques d’Hildebert de Lavardin,’ Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits, XXVIII (1824), Section 2, 424.

 [15. ] Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England (London, 1662), p. 203.

 [16. ] Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry, etc., (London, 1774), p. 47; Madox, I, 391: II, 202.

 [17. ] E. K. Broadus, The Laureateship (Oxford, 1921), p. 9.

 [18. ] Bulletin annuel: Mémoires de la soc. d’Archéol. d’Avranches (1846), pp. 32-38; the Baron lists Nos. 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 20, 25, 26, 31, 33, 35, 41, 96, and 102.

 [19. ] A. Cristofani, Il più antico poema della vita de S. Francesco (Prato, 1882); F. Novati, in Archivio Storico per le Marche e per l’Umbria, I (1884), 102-8; R. Bonghi in Nuova Antologia, XXXV (1882), 659; E. D’Alençon in Miscellanea Francescana, IV (1889), 33; F. Novati in ibid., V (1890), 4; I. Della Giovanna in Giornale Storico della Letteratura Italiana, XXV (1895), 25; Analecta Bollandiana, XIII (1894), 67: XIV (1895), 228: XXI (1902), 150; Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, I (1908), 211; T. Domenichelli, La Leggenda di San Francesco (Roma, 1899), p. lvii; Sbaralea, Supplementum, etc., (Rome, 1908), p. 355; B. Bughetti in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, V (1912), 624; ibid., XV (1922), 180; P. V. Facchinetti, San Francesco D’Assisi (Milano, 1921), p. xix, n. 1; A. G. Little, De Adventu Fratrum Minorum in Angliam of Thomas of Eccleston (Paris, 1909), p. 227; R. P. Martin de Barcelona, La Orden Franciscana, etc., (Barcelona, 1921), pp. 62-5; Paul Grosjean, in Analecta Bollandiana, XLIII (1925), 96-114.

 [20. ] Nos. 10-12 in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, XVIII (1878), 484-492; Nos. 9, 71, 79, 90-93 in Monatsschrift fuer die Geschichte Westdeutschlands, IV (1878), 336-44.

 [21. ] Brown, The Life and Legend of Michael Scot (Edinburgh, 1897), p. 176; Haskins, Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science (Cambridge, Mass., 1924), pp. 276, 316.

 [22. ] H. Walther, Das Streitgedicht in der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (München, 1920), pp. 150, 248-253.

 [23. ] For another very interesting mix-up see F. M. Powicke, ‘Master Alexander of St Albans, a Literary Muddle,’ Essays in History Presented to Reginald Lane Poole (Oxford, 1927), pp. 246-260.

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At the very end of A there stands a group of curious poems distinguished by a highly polemical atmosphere and by several names markedly Teutonic, but probably connected with England. These five poems thus appear in an unusual milieu and offer certain attractive possibilities for conjecture. The attribution of these poems to Henry of Avranches is not beyond doubt, and the time and place of composition are open to question.

As we have stated, the personal names are distinctly German: Lambekin, Lambert, and Conradulus. The last named person was engaged in a debate with an Englishman. One poem is addressed to St Alban, the patron saint of a great English monastery and protomartyr of England. In this poem the author calls himself a ‘servus Pantaleonis,’ a phrase which will require explanation. Elsewhere he states that he was born in Germany. With German personal names and English background, we may well look for a German group in England.

English documents of the early part of the thirteenth century present interesting possibilities. A Lambekin of Cologne holds a fief in England in 1205, is granted certain liberties along with a seneschal of the emperor, Otto IV, in 1208, and as a messenger of the same emperor receives a payment from the English king in 1213.1. In 1224 a Lambekin appears in England as the messenger of Archbishop Engelbert of Cologne.2. As Lambekin is a rare name, the first three references to Lambekin of Cologne are probably to the same person,
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and the last items may refer to him also. In 1199 a ‘Lambertus Teutonicus’ holds a fief in England and makes a grant in the reign of Richard I.3. This latter document suggests a personal interest in the king, a fact easily explained if we assume that the king had given him the land originally. This seems to be probable, since the king granted it again to another in 1216, apparently upon Lambert’s death.4. Lambert was a fairly common name, but there are very few men of German associations upon the English rolls of the time.

A Conrad de Wilre, the seneschal of Otto IV who was associated with Lambekin of Cologne in the mission of 1213, holds fiefs of like tenure in Lincolnshire with a ‘Terri Teutonicus.’5. A Master Henry of Cologne appears as a messenger also of Otto IV in 1214.6.

As to the ‘servus Pantaleonis,’ one might expect that the author had some connection with a church dedicated to St Pantaleon. The outstanding church dedicated to him was a church in Cologne. But why should a reference to this saint appear in a poem to St Alban? It seems that the church of St Pantaleon of Cologne possessed relics of St Alban and even had a fraternity of that saint in the cathedral, although the latter may be of a later date than the poems.7. Pretty clearly the author had some connection with Cologne.

Who was the author? Winkelmann, noticing that a note, ‘fr M,’ appears at the top of a folio near the end of the volume above this verse, conjectured that Matthew Paris might be the author. However, that chronicler probably was not born in Germany, and his associations in England are not known to have been with Germans. Very probably that notation simply recorded his ownership of the volume. One might conjecture that since the poems in this manuscript are almost entirely by Master Henry of Avranches he might be the author of this verse also. Could he be that Master Henry of Cologne who appeared in England in November of 1214 as a representative of Otto IV?

What were the connections of Master Henry of Avranches with Germany? In No. 9 the poet expresses the wish
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that England might return him to Germany. Why Germany, if he had no close connections there? The only friend whom he mentions that was not clearly a patron is Conrad of Heimbach, a town near Cologne. The poet had two archbishops of Cologne as patrons and spent a part of his maturity in Germany. The fact that he probably wrote for King John in 1214-1215 and certainly for Otto IV in 1216 rather suggests such acquaintance with the two monarchs as envoys might have. There is little reason to believe that these poems could not have been written by Master Henry of Avranches.

But was the author the envoy Master Henry of Cologne? Such an identification would certainly explain the author’s writing for King John and Otto IV in successive years. It might explain another interesting coincidence. It would probably explain why a Master ‘Heinricus Coloniensis’ was transcribing a translation by Michael Scot from the exemplar of Emperor Frederick II, completing it at Melfi on 9 August 1232.8. At just this time Master Henry of Avranches, who had Frederick II as a patron and was interested in Michael Scot, was in Italy. As can be seen from No. 127, he was at the papal Curia only a few weeks later. The hypothesis that Henry was called ‘of Cologne’ early in life is attractive because it would explain so much. Other men of German connections became prominent in England at the time. One has only to examine the career of Arnald Fitzthedmar for an instance of a German who rose to high position in London in the thirteenth century.

One further conjecture fits in with the hypothesis that these poems were composed in England by Henry of Avranches late in the reign of King John. No. 91a, The Poet’s Reception in England, rather suggests that the poet had only recently arrived in England. He was evidently defending this reception against the aspersions of his fellow countrymen in that country. Now the earliest evidence of the poet’s presence in England comes from the reign of King John, and probably near the end of that reign. If these conjectures are correct, the poems tend to show that upon his arrival in England the poet, although naturally associating with Germans there, used his connection with St Pantaleon to approach the monastery of St Albans and probably used his position as envoy to invoke the patronage of the English nobility. A very interesting construction; would that the evidence were less shaky!

No. 97, the controversy between Henry and a ‘Leonius Teutonicus,’ has been described as probably a
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composition of Master Henry.9. It is included in this group because the atmosphere seems German, but not of Germany, since Henry’s opponent is called ‘Teutonicus,’ which would have no point in Germany itself. Leonius seems unknown. It is barely possible that ‘Leonius’ is a paleographical mistake for Ledulphus. A Ledulphus Teutonicus turns up in a document of 1245 in England.10.


No. 90

Cur, Lambekine,      longo tegis ulcera crine?

Non hec verba mine      vel probra; scies bene fine

non potes esse sine      pinguedine. Scito quoquine

te des arvine      nivis horis atque pruine

5tonderique sine      quasi vellus pellis ovine.

Ista Salernine      documenta tene medecine,

vel te festine      confundet pena ruine.

No. 91

Non tibi, Lamberte,      parcam. Si carmina per te

hec condi certe      dicas, male dicis aperte.

No. 91a

Me quem Theutonica regio produxit ad ortum

infestant Britones quibus est ignobile scortum

mater, preclari me sanguine sed venerantur

et blando sermone michi civilia fantur.

5Hiis argumentis igitur me iudice magnis

spurius a claris cognoscitur, hircus ab agnis.

No. 92

Do grates, Albane, tibi, qui Pantaleonis

me servum gratis aluisti, dux bone, donis.

Anglorum prothomartir, ave! Tu me tibi pronum

agnoscas! Fateor michi te, venerande, patronum.

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No. 93

Non valet audire      mala plus Conradulus ire

iurgia cum sannis      a servis dicta Britannis,

qui me quando vident      nec non mea carmina rident.

<Ira>consimili      vulgo do iurgia vili:[[4]]

5“Angli caudati,      qui sunt ad pocula nati,

cum sunt imbuti,      tunc sunt de semine Bruti;

prelia tunc tractant,      quod sunt gens inclita iactant,

dant omnes leto,      ructantes ventre repleto,

cum sint imbelles      textores vel paripelles.

10Credite, trutanni      non sunt tales Alemanni:

gens sunt regalis      non, sed gens imperialis,

et gens pomposa,      gens fortis et impetuosa,

flava pulchra coma,      famulans solum tibi, Roma;

omnes proceri,      non segnes iura tueri.

15Sed vos, O miseri      Britones, ad prelia seri,

est venter quorum      deus atque vorago ciborum,

vos fece cervisie      pleni vacuique sophie

precolitis Bacum      suberit cum tempus opacum;

tunc Venus obscena      subit apponendo vene<na>;[[19]]

20hic deus hecque dea      non sunt Anglis pharisea.

Vestrum vos aliqui      semper vexant ut iniqui;

militie clerus      est adversando severus;

plebs habet exosos      generaliter religiosos,

federe dissuto      plebs conculcata tributo

25crebris et bullis      privat quam papa medullis,

vel rex: ergo sile,      vulgus per secula vile.”

Anglus respondet,      probra probris reddere spondet:

“Tu nos vinosos      reprobas et desidiosos.

Non sumus ignari      dandis escis vel avari;

30advena partitur,      potans a paupere scitur,

Theuto cani similis,      mundi per climata v<ilis>.

Iurgia que multa      sunt non transibis inulta.

Nescius in caudis      recolis preconia laudis,

Scocia namque tegit,      regio quam nostra subegit,

35huius non lora      regni, sed posteriora.

Sic cauda tegitur      Britonum gens et redimitur,

Anglis Theutonice      nec non Francis inimice.”

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Probably 1214-1215
Probably before 19 October 1216

Two poems, at least, seem to have been written by Henry of Avranches for King John. Unfortunately one has not survived, and the evidence that the king was the patron of the other is not beyond doubt. An entry in a list of manuscripts formerly possessed by Peterborough Abbey reads, ‘Certamen inter regem I. et barones versifice per Mag. H. de Hariench.’1. This monastery possessed a number of manuscripts of the poet, and he seems to have been well received there.2. This poem was probably written during the conflict between King John and the barons in 1214-1215 and before the poet went to the court of Otto IV some time in 1216. To have had the story of Magna Carta from the royalist point of view would have been very valuable. While many of the poems of Master Henry are either short pieces of flattery intended to attract largess or wordy versifications of old prose, upon occasion he could produce literature of importance for the subject itself.3.

No. 37 is a short begging poem addressed to a patron named John. Since the poems following this one are about Eustace Falconberg and Ralph Neville, courtiers of King John, and since the poet is not known to have had another patron of that name, the immediate presumption is in favor of the king as the patron. The statement that John as a word means ‘by divine grace’ might simply refer to the meaning of the word itself. Or, if the patron were the king, it might refer to the current theory of divine sanction for kingship, as expressed on one side of the royal seal, ‘Johannes, Dei gratia, Rex
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Anglie, Dominus Hibernie.’4. The copyist evidently found an epigram, probably by Master Henry, upon the seal of John, and quoted it. Henry wrote one upon the seal of the abbot of Ramsey. Both the poem and the epigram, which perhaps should be considered as a separate poem, emphasize royal generosity. This does seem to have been one of John’s good points.5.

Of the centers of literary patronage in England the royal court might be expected to be among the greatest.6. The king usually had more means to reward favorites than any noble, lay or clerical. If he himself were not generous, at least there congregated at his court large numbers of the more important people of the realm. However, all the contemporary kings were patrons to some extent, and as such have received attention from scholars. For John and Henry III the instance of Henry of Avranches is the most conspicuous example of patronage. The most detailed study of the intellectual relations of the court of King John is in need of some revision and is published in a relatively inaccessible place.7.

Besides the two poems mentioned above, which were probably written for the king, the only other direct evidence of patronage is a dedication to John of the Conquest of Ireland by Gerald of Wales.8. Gerald even suggested that his treatise be translated into the vernacular, so that ‘I might reap the fruits of my toil, which hitherto, under illiterate princes, have been lost because there were few who could understand my works.’9. Evidently Gerald thought that this was a compliment. There is other evidence of the king’s interest in books. Bishop Stubbs observed that ‘he once borrowed a book from St Albans.’10. To this Miss Bateson added the following:11.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 32 ]] 

John has hardly had justice done to him as a book lender, and therefore possibly a book lover. The extracts from the close-rolls12. have long been in print which show him ordering Reginald of Cornhill to send him at once a copy of the ‘Romance of English History.’ To the Abbot of Reading he acknowledges the receipt of six books, the Old and New Testament, the works of Hugh of St Victor, the ‘Sentences’ of Peter Lombard, Augustine’s ‘De Civitate,’ and his letters, ‘Valerianus De Moribus,’ Origen on the Old Testament, no doubt the Latin homilies, ‘Candidus Arianus’ ‘De generatione divina ad Marium,’ and so acquits the abbot and sacrist of responsibility for the same. On another occasion the king discharged the same abbot from responsibility for the Pliny which had been lent to him. That such were not John’s daily reading we may well believe, but the records show the nature of the court library and the orderly arrangements for the loan and return of books.

The other evidence of the king’s patronage of letters is, at best, indirect. An anonymous writer or writers favored the king against the exiled bishops during the time of the interdict and even against Pope Innocent III.13. A portion of Geoffrey de Vinsauf’s Poetria Nova, Bishop Stubbs suggested was a petition to the pope to be reconciled to King John.14. The king was also defended by a Master Alexander ‘Cementarius’ of St Albans, more probably in oral fashion than in writing. He was also on friendly terms with a second Master Alexander of St Albans, Alexander Neckam, whom he may have helped make abbot of Cirencester.15. He had as chaplain early in his reign Abbot John of Ford, a theologian who has left some writings.16.

Many of the courtiers of the king appear as patrons of Master Henry, as we shall see. These include Geoffrey of Bocland, Eustace de Falkenberg, Richard Marsh, Ralph Neville, Stephen Langton, and Peter des Roches. While most of the poems for these people seem to be later than the end of
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 33 ]] 
John’s reign, No. 91a, which may be earlier than this, mentions the author’s favorable reception by Englishmen of high birth. The record of the reign of King John is not high with regard to patronage of letters. We should expect this both from the troublous character of the times and the none too promising character of the man. However, he did borrow and lend books, at least one book and probably several poems were addressed directly to him, and about him were men who either wrote or appreciated literature.


Nomen habes non inmerito divina, Iohannes,

gratia, voce sue conveniente rei.

Ergo vel gratus summo vel gratia summi

es: pro parte mea casus uterque facit.

5Si summo gratus, ergo pietatis alumnus;

ergo pauperibus ferre teneris opem:

ergo michi, cum sim pauper. Si gratia summi,

ergo dans quod habes omnibus—ergo michi.

Ergo seu proprie dicaris gratia, sive

10enfatice, gratis munus habebo tuum.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 34 ]] 


Probably before 1220
Probably before No. 9 (1221) and possibly before No. 7 (1220)
About 1 November, possibly of 1219
Possibly 1219-1220

Like many of the other poems of Master Henry of Avranches, the chronological indications for these four pieces are rather tenuous, but such as they are they point to the years before 1220. Nos. 27, 43, and 22 are the first three among the poems with similar conclusions. Thus they were probably composed before 1220, if we admit the chronological implications of the data.1. Their lack of either introduction or epilogue also suggests an early date. Neither of the poems upon St Thomas à Becket mentions the translation of that saint in 1220, which, as we shall see, was a ceremony of such splendor that we might have expected it to be mentioned, especially in No. 27. On the other hand, interest in St Thomas, probably eclipsed in large part by the civil wars of 1214-1217, was accelerated by the approach of the translation. The poet was apparently in Germany in 1215 and possibly for some time thereafter; it seems fairly safe to suggest the two years before 1220 as the most probable date of composition for these two poems, at least.

The story of St Thomas à Becket, the greatest saint of England, is too familiar to students of English civilization to need repetition here. In No. 27 the poet is already using phrases which were to become common in his hagiographical verse. The martyr fought successfully against his ever present enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil.2.
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 35 ]] 
Among the achievements of this mighty soul was the conquest of himself.3. Occasionally the poet offers items which may be valuable for information about contemporary life and thought. Did Master Henry really believe that Ceres was the mother of Diana?4. What kinds of tablecloths were used at that time?5. Were all of the musical instruments mentioned by the poet played then?6. No. 6 is possibly the Sancti scripta Thome miracula which according to No. 9 the poet wrote for the prior of Canterbury. If it is that poem, it was probably written shortly before No. 9, possibly in 1221. Its position in A rather suggests an earlier date.7. Of the several pieces about St Thomas No. 6 fits the title most aptly and is in the same MS group as No. 9. The poet states that he wrote the Sancti scripta Thome miracula in a week. But since the poet says also that he destroyed this piece in an outburst of disappointment, we have to assume that he later thought better of his work and rewrote it, all of which reduces the identification to a bare conjecture.

In the absence of definite information such a piece as No. 22 may be presumed to have been prepared for those to whom St Fremund was of most interest--those in whose monastic or cathedral church his relics lay. In the thirteenth century the body of St Fremund was at Dunstable; earlier than this it had been at Dorchester.8. Dunstable was a monastic dependency of St Albans. We have seen that the poet had some connections, probably even very close ones, with that great house.9. From the position of the conclusion of this poem in the list of similar conclusions, the years 1219-1220 are suggested as the probable period of composition.10. The poem is organized very simply, with neither prologue or epilogue. The saint’s feast was May 11.

The feast of All Saints was probably a popular festival in mediaeval England. An authority upon church dedications in that country has the following to say about dedications to ‘All Saints’:11.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 36 ]] 

The immense number of English churches dedicated to the honour of no one Apostle or Martyr by name, but to ‘All Saints,’ is some measure of the hold which this most catholic of festivals has taken upon the hearts of Englishmen. Dedications in this name mount up to more than twelve hundred, and in point of number rank second only to the churches dedicated in honour of the Blessed Virgin. The dedication is one which is borne by churches belonging to all periods of English ecclesiastical history; it is one which was as much in favor after the Reformation as before, and which has never incurred the danger of being condemned as superstitious.

For this reason it seems probable that No. 43 was written for English patronage. Two other facts add weight to this assumption. In A it appears between poems to English patrons. From the position of the concluding lines among poems with similar conclusions it would appear to have been written about 1219, when the poet is known to have been in England.12. This is, we should notice, three years earlier than the Synod of Oxford, which, as has been suggested, preserves the earliest known mention of All Saints’ Day.13.

The saints were not venerated, officially at least, in a haphazard fashion. The ordines were ranked as follows: the Blessed Virgin Mary, Seraphim, Cherubim, dominions, thrones, powers, principalities, virtues, archangels, and angels. The saints were the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, and virgins. From the poet’s description it is not clear whether widows were included. The supernatural world was peopled with an orderly host.

This emphasis upon order is interesting. A hierarchy of celestial beings, the citizens of Jerusalem on High, paralleled the hierarchy of the Church on earth. The idea of social order in mediaeval society went farther until every person might be presumed to have a definite place. It appeared in attention to dress, to precedence in seating arrangements, and in other human contacts. Even within the same rank, and not very high rank at that, individuals were placed.14. It is difficult to comprehend mediaeval social thought unless this pervading attention to orderliness and social status is understood.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 37 ]] 


Archilevita Thomas et cancellarius Anglis

regia divino iura tenore dabat.

Eius in arbitrio nil egit culpa vel error,

nil spes sive timor, nil odium vel amor.

5Flexilis et rigidi fuit indurata rigore

flexilitas, fractus flexilitate rigor.

Dispensativum ius, dispensatio iusta,

lege rigens pietas, lex pietate tepens.

Sic igitur satagens tractare negocia regni

10plebis in ore fuit dulcor, in aure stupor.

Hiis argumentis perpendens Cancia quantus

esset, eum petiit optinuitque patrem.

Fit presul plus propter onus quam propter honorem,

plus quia prodesse quam quia preesse volens.

15In grege commisso vigilans, in rebus agendis

strenuus, in cuncta religione sacer,

inque virum versus alium, quasi mente Maria

et quasi Martha manu carpit utramque viam.

Durus uterque tamen ascensus, quem tria monstra

20prepediunt, hostis, mundus, et ipsa caro.

Sed ratio, plus spiritui contermina, carnem

compedit et sensus unica quinque domat.

Ecce pugil validus vincit se, vincitur a se,

ipse sui domitor, ne domet hostis eum.

25Ipse suam carnem falerat foris, atterit intus,

murice formoso cilicioque rudi,

et pulchre mendax, monachum sub presule gestat,

exterius felix, interiusque miser.

O mirum genus ypocrisis! Ius poscere iudex

30ipsa cupit virtus iudiciumque timet.

Arida refloret sub eo, respirat hanelus

cleri libertas ecclesieque status.

Qui Domini pastor in caulis, cultor in agro,

custos in vite, queque decenter agit.

35Lac, vinum, fruges per eum profert saciatus

grex, custodita vinea, cultus ager.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 38 ]] 

Hiis tribus insidians studiis vigil <ut canis, acer>[[37]]

ut leo, continuus est quasi fluxus aque.

Contra ius cleri pro consuetudine regni

40rex agit Henricus ecclesiasque premit,

conciliumque vocans edicto precipit usus

regni conscriptos in generale legi,

apponique Thome subiectorumque sigilla;

imperat: ille vetat; postulat: ille negat.

45Proh scelus! ecclesie protector, dignus honore,

munere, blandiciis, fert probra, dampna, minas.

Nec satis est probra, dampna, minas inferre, sed ipsa

immerite mortis pena paratur ei.

Ut fornax aurum, temptat tribulatio sanctos,

50sed nichil huic vel eis deperit hic vel ibi.

Hoc probat ipse Thomas, quem nulla pericula terrent,

nullus turbo quatit, nulla flagella domant.

Exul Alexandro papa duce Senonis urbem

intrat, honorifico more receptus ibi;

55Inde petit Potiniacum, penamque resarcit

exilii fratrum norma locique decor.

Celeps conventus, celeber locus, hospite tanto

gaudet, et in titulis crescit uterque suis.

Ipsius exilii pacem rex invidet illi,

60vultque virum stabilem mente movere loco.

Cuius et hospitibus velud hostibus arma minatur,

dampnaque molitur insidiasque struit.

Abbates Grisei sinodo quos Anglia misit

accusant regem sollicitantque Thomam.

65Regis enim perhibent Potiniacensibus iram

inflatasque minas propositumque scelus.

Ergo vale dicto spontaneus inde recedit

dampni causa timens fratribus esse Thomas,

ostensoque sibi divinitus ante recessum

70signo, proventus providet ipse suos.

Prescit enim quod honorifice sit suscipiendus

presul in urbe sua, martir in urbe sua.

Hinc se Parisius transfert, ubi sedulitate

excipit humana rex Ludowicus eum.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 39 ]] 

75Rex tamen Henricus Ludowicum pulsat, asilum

ne velit ulterius exulis esse sui.

Instat ad hoc scelus, immo furor, patiturque repulsam

a pietate scelus, a ratione furor,

sevaque sedulitas in sicco plantat, in aura

80verberat, in sterili semina spargit humo.

Intumet hoc ipso violenta tyrannis, iniquus

livor, inhumanum crimen, avara lues,

absentisque Thome reditus confiscat, honores

deterit, usurpat predia, sorbet opes.

85Sic totum rapit ambitio, sic ambitione

deterior feritas deteriora patrat.

Ipsa Thome consanguineos proscribit, et uno

exilio dampnat quos nota nulla premit.

Non mulier pregnans, iuvenisve relinquitur eger,

90non lactans infans, decrepitusve senex.

In partu mulier, in cunis exulat infans,

in feretro languens, in gravitate senex,

et sine delectu fortune, conditionis,

sexus, etatis, exulat omne genus.

95Sic proscribuntur omnes, iurantque coacti

presentare Thome seque suumque statum,

ut quem <passio> non frangit, compassio stringat,

dampnaque contristent plus aliena suis.

Ipse manum mittens ad forcia, dampna parentum

100et sua non dampnis estimat, immo lucris.

Dissimulat gemitus et gaudia fingit honeste;

nubila mens intus fronsque serena foris,

exilaratque suos leti solamine vultus,

quos sperare iubet de meliore statu,

105et perhibens illis exempla preambula verbi,

omne solum patriam fortibus esse docet.

Acrior incumbit rabies transgressaque totum

fas odii multos in sua vota rapit.

Rex iubet edici, petit indici quasi legem

110et quasi decretum quod vetat hec et ea,

ecclesiamque ferox gladio compellit utroque

ne precibus pugilem roboret illa suum.

O speculum sceleris! et pro gentilibus et pro

Iudeis et pro sontibus illa rogat;

115cuius enim votis hominum genus omne iuvatur

pro tutore tamen nil vovet ipsa suo.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 40 ]] 

Continuis igitur sex annis exulat ille

ecclesie clipeus, ille rigoris apex.

Sic lapis ille Syon pulsatur verbere multo,

120pressuris multis efficiturque quadrus,

sed domus illa supra petram solidissima nullo

incursu, nullo turbine pulsa ruit.

Scilicet unde magis hostili ceditur ictu,

inde minus cedit hec domus, ille lapis.

Remensis Archiepiscopus pro decidenda lite Romam adit.

125Vult Deus hiis tandem penis imponere finem

athleteque suo ferre benignus opem.

Romam Remensis adit archiepiscopus, ipsi

indignans regi compaciensque Thome;

instinctu cuius dirimendi Papa furoris

130prefigit tempus constituitque locum.

Causa reformande pacis tractatur; ad unum

flectere se medium nescit uterque rigor.

Nam rex ecclesie ius usurpare, rigorem

emollire, statum debilitare studet;

135pacem vero Thomas non admittit nisi salvo

ipsius ecclesie iure, rigore, statu.

Discordes abeunt actor, reus ad peregrinos

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

De diligencia Pape ut pax reformetur adhibita.

Ecclesie tantos miseratur Papa labores,

140undantis fluxum vult cohibere mali.

Forcia premittit flectendo iussa tyranno

et faciles monitus dulcifluasque preces.

Precipit, ortatur, rogat ipsum cedere, sed nec

iussu nec monitu nec prece flectit eum.

145Pretendens in fine minas anathematis ensem

exerit, et validos incutit inde metus.

Sic igitur cogit cessare tyrannidis iram

plus pene terror quam pietatis amor,

proscriptusque Thomas gaudente repatriat orbe.

150Occurrit domino Cancia leta suo.

Eius in occursum proceres civesque profecti

certatim celeres experiuntur equos.

Disposita serie castigatoque tumultu

cominus admittit pompa choralis eum.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 41 ]] 

155Mensas accelerant mappis vestire clientes

et convivarum perstrepit aula sonis.

Mater Achillis ibi servit materque Diane,

cristalli Tethis, lactis ymago Ceres.

Exilarat mensas sapidus Bachi liquor, alba

160mensalis facies, regia pompa dapum.

Argumenta sonant animi felicia leti;

certatim capitur ore mel, aure melos.

Oblonge vidule, curvo simphonia tractu,

mobile psalterium, fistula dulce sonans,

165tibia fraxinea, tuba cuprea, timpana rauca,

cimbala clara sonant sompnifereque lire.

Quid loquor? omnis habet sua delectamina sensus,

totaque letatur presule terra suo.

O falsi versus fortune! quam male ponunt

170mesticiam longam leticiamque brevem!

O mundi mendax ingrataque gratia! quicquid

dextra brevis donat, longa sinistra rapit.

Qui modo sex annos sine pace peregerat, ecce

vix totidem peragit absque labore dies.

175Omni deterior est hoste domesticus hostis,

omni plus odio pax simulata nocet.

Seviciam regis vox detractoris acerbat,

fellis adhuc modicas suscitat ira faces.

Edictum generale Thomam specialiter artat

180ne claustri fines exeat ipse sui.

Unius edicti duplex iniuria: claustrum

fit carcer, presul exul in urbe sua.

Quisquis adheret ei censetur publicus hostis,

quisquis honorat eum prorsus honore caret.

185Non tamen hec animum possunt cohibere virilem

ut de proposito deviet ipse suo,

quin illi ius ecclesie defendere totum

sit studium, tota gloria, totus amor.

Incipit de passione Beati Thome.

Denique respirant mala tot conclusa sub uno,

190et varias mortes mors facit una mori.

Post Domini natale die nequissima quinto

incumbit feritas horribilisque furor.

Nobilitate quidem preclaros sed malefactis

infames inflat quattuor ira viros,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 42 ]] 

195qui sanctum sontes attemptant ledere verbis,

infestare probris, sollicitare minis.

Sed non est eius constancia concita verbis,

non offensa probris, non pavefacta minis.

Ipse satellitibus Sathane sine melle modestus

200et sine felle ferus sic mediocris ait:

“Quam ius ecclesie vestros minuatur in usus

nec volo nec possum dissimulare magis.”

Prudentis verbum stultorum verberat aures;

mentes Thesifone pulsat, Erinis agit.

205Egressi tectum sese simul egrediuntur,

armaque corripiunt in furiale nephas.

Quis furor, O stolidi, que vos amentia pulsat

patrius ut vestro profluat ense cruor?

Non pudet armari multos adversus inermem

210unum cui titulus cedere, vita mori?

Qui nullum perimit, non ius est ut perimatur;

qui nullum cedit, qua ratione cadat?

Sed non attendit quid iuris, quid rationis

intersit ferri copia, cedis amor.

215At pater interea mundana negocia tanquam

ocia detestans non nisi dia gerit.

Addit lampadibus oleum, calcaria cruris,

inveniatur ut hinc lucidus, inde vigil;

audit enim vocem pulsantis ad hostia Christi

220et prescit tempus finis adesse sui.

Sed vespertinis psalmis in vespere vite

vult matutinas anticipare necis.

Devotus petit ecclesiam. Galeata iuventus

cominus exertis ensibus instat ei.

225Portas precludunt monachi quas frangere certant

sacrilegi. Zelum concipit inde Thomas.

“Huius” ait “templi titulos tot abominor, ut iam

hic michi sit castrum, qua michi carcer erat?”

Hiis breviter dictis celer hostibus ostia pandit

230hostia qui per eos deinde futurus erat.

Irrumpunt igitur adapertaque templa prophani

insiliunt menti conveniente manu.

Mens furibunda, manus armata, cruore paterno

vult explere sitim, vult saciare famem.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 43 ]] 

235Querentes illos ubi proditor, hos ubi presul,

certificat presul proditor ipse sui.

“En” ait “en assum, presul non proditor, et pro

ecclesia Christi presto subire necem.

Sed vos adiuro per Eum, si seviat in me

240vestra manus, saltem parcat ut illa meis.”

Vix bene desierat cum sacri cesa corona

verticis et cerebri sparsa medulla iacet.

Sic a prole parens, materna cesus in alvo

Thoma malam mortem quo bene vivat habet.

245Vite farra metens de mortis semine, quamquam

dormiat et iaceat, stat vigilatque tamen.

Stat vigilans, dormitque iacens, nam Patris in arce

stat vigilans, dormit matris in ede iacens.

Dormit et exurget, vigilat nec dormiet umquam

250hospes qui iacet hic, incola qui stat ibi.

O mors vitalis, letus dolor, utile dampnum!

Virtutum culmen inde stat unde ruit.

Vincitur ut vincat, corrumpitur ut generetur;

vincit enim mundum gignitur atque Deo.

255O vere pastorque bonus presulque benignus,

cuius in ore fuit ultimus iste sonus:

“Occumbens commendo Deo sancteque Marie

et sancto Stephano meque meumque gregem.”

Malens ergo mori liber quam vivere servus

260ecclesie pacem merce cruoris emit.

Pastoris grex ipse sui venerabile corpus

devote tollit et reverenter humat.

Dat, petit, indicit languoribus inde medelam,

peccatis veniam, demoniisque fugam.

265Egros huic tumulo variis languoribus actos

provolvit flexo poplite certa fides.

Hunc surdi, claudi, ceci, mutique frequentant,

quos audire facit, ire, videre, loqui,

ad laudem Christi, Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque

270est laus, est virtus, est sine fine decus. Amen.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 44 ]] 


Ecclesie matris in planctum vertitur omnis

plausus, in opprobrium vertitur omnis honor.

Post risum lamenta subit, post summa ruina;

post sericum, saccum; post diadema, iugum.

5Fletibus assiduis noctemque diemque fatigat;

nulla quiescendi tempora meror habet.

Non assueta tenet lugubre silentia claustrum,

non lacrimis lectus mensa vel ipsa vacat.

Mensas mixta mero meroris inebriat unda

10squalentesque thoros lacrima densa lavat.

Patribus ecclesie casus diversus et idem:

languida cunctorum corda dolore premit;

flent sed in occulto, quos ad contraria cause

impellunt similes, hinc dolor, inde timor.

15Suadet flere dolor, prohibet timor: en, quid agatur?

Vapulat heu misere, cui neque flere licet.

Est eadem sensu natura doloris et ignis,

forcior in latebris est utriusque vigor.

Plus dolor intus agit quanto minus eminet extra,

20et foris intensus debilis intus erit.

Hinc est cum possint omnes simulare dolorem

quod soli fortes dissimulare queunt.

Sic contristat eos occasus presulis, et non

presulis, immo patris, non patris, immo suus.

25Vix tacito fletu mens egerit egra dolorem;

nam dolor elabi non nisi notus habet.

Nimirum casus illius casus eorum

est, quia stare status fecerat eius eos.

Cum nequeant igitur monachi diffundere fletu

30mesticiam, mentem debriat ille calix.

O vere Christi dulcis clemencia, clemens

dulcor, uterque levat casus utrumque statum.

Interea flentem monachum plus omnibus unum

aggravat irrepens mortis ymago, sopor.

35Comparensque Thomas habitu facieque venustus

“Ne tibi sim, fili, causa doloris,” ait.

In primis mundo dedit argumenta beatus

martir quam felix esset in arce poli.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 45 ]] 

Multa futurorum populus prenostica vidit;

40spem diversa dedit visio, spesque fidem.

Paulo post subeunt miracula: convenientes

egros languoris deserit omne genus,

ut pote pruritus lepre, succensio febris,

paralesisque tremor, ydropisisque tumor.

45Pontificum cessat timor et regis tumor: illos

non iuvisse Syon, hunc nocuisse piget.

Expirat iuxta tumulum quater, et quater ignis

celitus immissi luce lucerna micat.

Quin et inauditum per secula contigit: unus

50cecus et eunuchus martiris orat opem,

huicque novos oculos, nova dat genitalia martir

non generata prius, immo creata modo.

Questio de membris est istis. Cum generata

non sint, corrumpi qua ratione queant?

55Nam Deus eternus quod fecit non mediante

natura, stabit; quod mediante, cadet.

Sed predicta quidem fecit Deus haut mediante

natura, verum vix adhibente fidem.

Ergo nature non est dissolvere massas

60quas compegit ea non mediante Deus.

Questio rursus utrum consistant ex elementis:

nam si sic, non sunt ergo creata modo,

et si non, ergo non dissolventur in illa;

qualia sunt igitur talia semper erunt.

65Sic falsum casus concludit et unus et alter;

miratur ratio nil utrobique videns,

nec solum ratio sed et intellectus ad ista

deficit in neutro stans, in utroque fluens.

Nec solum post interitum sed tempore longo

70ante revelavit pluribus ista Deus.

Nam Ierosolimis rediens peregrinus ad Anglos

multa sibi monachum precinuisse refert;

seu situs astrorum seu spiritus ipse docebat,

illi fatorum nota mathesis erat;

75perque propheciam didicit peregrinus ab illis

quo sudore Thomas glorificandus erat.

“O mundi felix” ait “angulus Anglia, felix

Cancia, que culmen condet in astra suum;

post lacrimas ridens, post planctum Cancia cantans

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 46 ]] 

80sacra reservabit presulis arma sui.

Hinc erit ut peregre proficiscens vertice prono

et genibus flexis mundus adoret ibi.”

Ista peregrinus hic rettulit ordine nobis

annis pene decem martiris ante necem.

85Cuncta laborantum Deus acta remunerat eque;

res est mercedis exigitiva labor.

Et per multa Suos docet argumenta fideles

quam dilectus Ei sit Suus ille pugil,

quem multi vidisse ferunt in ymagine sompni

90cum sensus acies exterioris ebet.

Corporeis equidem sopitis sensibus, ipsa

mens oculo simplex liberiore videt.

Hac ratione Thomam sompno videre gravati,

quorum mens ipsum docta videre fuit.

95Sacrata sibi nocte Thomas e fratribus uni

comparet, cultu nobilis, ore decens,

et mitra mordente comas astare videtur

altari, tamquam si celebrare velit.

In monacho pugnat amor et reverencia, per quem

100multa libet, per quam querere pauca licet.

Usus et ausus idem est: qui sepe timet, semel audet;

omnia nota magis sunt metuenda minus.

Iam per tres iterata vices abit umbra timoris

et prius ille timens sic animatus ait:

105“Pace tua, pater alme, loquar tibi: nonne fuisti

occisus ferro?” Cui pater: “Immo fui:

ecce, resurrexi.” Monachus: “Si martir es” inquit

“cur non dilatas nomen in orbe tuum?”

Sanctus ait: “Lumen porto quod nubilus aer

110humanis oculis irrutilare vetat.”

Laternamque levans intus rutilante lucerna

ut monachus videat, precipit; ille videt.

Pene tamen laterna latet; lucere lucernam

ipsam caligo vix nebulosa sinit.

115Allegoria subest; nebulis subducitur atris

lumen, id est regni cismate signa Thome.

Deinde Thomas ab eo transire videtur ad aram

et celebraturi signa modumque gerit.

Introitum “Letare Syon” chorus inchoat, addens

120“auditam facite, qui celebratis eam.”

Dum chorus hec modulis psallit sollemnibus, illi

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 47 ]] 

innuit ut sileat voce manuque Thomas.

Ipse canit carmen meroris, voce repressa,

labris vix motis, nec canit, immo legit:

125“Surge Deus, quare dormis? exurge, nec usque

in finem populi vota repelle tui.

Cur non advertis, cur te tribulacio nostra

non movet, et venter noster adhesit humo?

Nos, Deus, et salves et solvas, quos inimici

130exposuere malis, supposuere iugo.”

Interea monachi sopor evanescit, at ipse

sub perpendiculo singula queque regit,

et sanctum dixisse stupet, quia mortuus, ecce

surrexit; nec enim pondere verba carent;

135constat enim quia mortuus est ex debilitate

carnis, sed vivit ex bonitate Dei.

Iuxta quod vidit et episcopus Exoniensis

Bartholomeus eum sic cecidisse gemens,

qui dum cepisset dormire, vir affuit illi

140querens, “Unde doles?” “De nece patris,” ait.

Cui vir subiunxit, “Est mortuus ille?” scienter.

at sua morte carent brachia, morte manus.

Vivit, et hic in eo vivit. Expressio quedam

brachia vindicte sunt, operumque manus.”

145Accidit et cuidam quod sic in ymagine sompni

vox ascendentis horrida dixit ei:

“Ad Dominum non sanguis Abel ab origine mundi

effusus clamat sicut et ecce meus?”

Postera lux oritur; memorat sua sompnia multis

150ille; quid insinuent dicere nemo potest.

Dum sic ambigerent, accurrens nuntiat unus

ensibus exertis occubuisse Thomam.

Inde notant de quo vox sanguine dixerat illa,

et constat quantum visio vera fuit.

155Petrus adhuc dignusque fide nec fallere doctus

se vidisse refert sompnia vera puer.

Vidit in ecclesia sexus utriusque fideles

multos; adventus causa videre Thomam.

Exanimisque super ingens altare videtur

160indutus serica veste iacere Thomas.

Pulvinar sericum caput eius vellere molli

sustinet, et monachus fulcit utraque manu.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 48 ]] 

Ecce, repente duas veluti de stipite solo

producit virgas eius utrumque latus,

165et motu perceptibili crescendo minantur

ecclesie culmen iam penetrare suo.

Omnes inde stupent; monachus predictus ad ipsos

conversus, “Fratres, unde stupetis?” ait.

“Laus et fama Thome virgis pretenditur istis;

170utraque de terris surgit ad astra poli.”

Cuidam Leucensi monacho comparuit unus

in sompnis frater mortuus ante diu,

a quo de multis quesitus deque Beati

sorte Thome, “Martir est venerandus” ait.

175“Nam cum martiribus et confessoribus alma

mater, apostolicus ordo recepit eum.

A quibus ante thronum cum presentatus adesset

assurgens Sponsus oscula iunxit ei:

quin et apostolice sortitur sedis honorem;

180cunctis martiribus maior habetur ibi.”

Hec et in extremis Anglorum finibus unus

longo predixit tempore visa sibi.

Scilicet eductus a corpore, deinde reductus

ad corpus, nobis abdita vidit ibi;

185summos intuitus sanctos sedemque vacantem

a duce perquirit cui locus ille vacet.

Dux suus “Ex sanctis tibi dico quod ordo supremus

est et apostolicus iste senatus,” ait.

“Unum scis, reliquum perpende: Britannia mittet

190flava sacerdotem cui locus ille vacat.”

Talibus in seclo dictis presente futuri

ille statum secli non rediturus ait.


Ecce dies toti mundo celeberrimus, ecce

festum milicie celestis, et omnia festa

complectens, sanctos omnes veneratur ut unum.

Quantum devote dulcedinis omnia nobis

5festa sigillatim, tantum semel attulit istud,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 49 ]] 

et quod defecit in eis suppletur in isto.

Digne sunt sancti venerandi: sancta Maria

precipue, mater pietatis, virgo beata,

sancta Dei genetrix, fons virginitatis, oliva

10pacis, stella maris, paradisi porta, salutis

portus, flos spine, pigmenti cellula, nardus

virtutum, vellus Gedeonis, virgula Iesse.

Arida rorifluum producit virgula florem,

distillat vellus rorem, dat nardus odorem,

15cellula pigmentum, flos fructum, portus honorem,

porta domum, stella mare placat, reddit oliva

pacem, diffundit mundo fons virginitatis

rivos leticie, genetrix enixa salutem,

virgo Deum; mireque modo, Quem claudere mundus

20non potuit, claudit uterus, clausoque meatu

egreditur factus in tempore Qui fuit ante

tempora, de stella sol, de nata Pater ortus,

de muliere Deus, de plasmate Factor; et ipsum

celestem panem tellus mortalibus edit.

25O mire genitus puer! O generacio mira,

quam non precessit carnis corruptio vane!

Mirari satis angelicus non sufficit ordo:

quomodo sufficiam? Mea parva scientia tante

materie non sufficeret superaddere formam.

30Et dum tantillus preco preconia tanta

attempto, lucem solis iuvo luce lucerne.

Post ipsam seraphin contemplant immediate

divinam faciem, que contemplacio summum est

eternumque bonum, status omnis honoris in uno.

35Mox sequitur cherubin ordo, qui primus ab isto

ardet et eterni solis fulgore coruscat.

Post cherubin sequitur dominacio, tertius ordo,

subiectis qui spiritibus preest et dominatur.

Quartus vero throni quibus insidet Ipse Creator

40iudiciumque Suum studio disponit eorum.

Suntque potestates quintus, quibus ampla potestas,

per quam spiritibus aliis preposse videntur.

Est ordo sextus princeps quia principis instar

subiectos alios disponit et imperat ipsis.

45Post hunc intitulat virtutes septimus ordo,

officio quarum Dominus miracula patrat.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 50 ]] 

Est archangelicus octavus in ordine cetus,

agminis angelici princeps. Communia tractat

ille, sed hic debet ad summa negocia mitti.

50Post hunc angelicus est nonus et ultimus ordo,

indicio quorum placido nutuque benigno

mens homini divina patet, ventura revelat,

mercedem iustis, penam pretendit iniquis.

Ecce, beatorum breviter describitur ordo.

55Spirituum primi post ipsos sunt patriarche,

gens sacra, gens cuius supplex devocio, simplex

religio, cuius large domus hospita largum

suscepisse Deum meruit. Nunc est Deus eius

hospes, et eterno splendore remunerat ipsam.

60Deinde prophetarum sacer innocuusque senatus,

qui populo mandata Dei Christumque futurum

dixit, et humane tractanda negocia cause.

Cetus apostolicus huius successor et heres

pura mente Deum coluit, mundumque relinquens

65et mundana, sequi studuit vestigia Christi.

Post ipsos, et pene pares, euvangeliorum

scriptores Christi purissima verba perenni

inscripsere libro. Nam celitus et velud uno

ore loquebantur, toto licet orbe remoti,

70diversisque fuit sententia vocibus una;

sed nil est intertextum de stamine falsi.

Post inscribuntur sancti quos palma coronat

martirii, qui nec cogente tirannide regum

nec mortis terrente metu coluere deorum

75ydola, sed Christum confessi voce suprema

ut sequerentur Eum proprium fudere cruorem.

Mox confessores, qui sponte subire parati

martirii penam si forte tirannidis ira[[78]]

exigeret, quamquam non sint in corpore cesi,

80non minus idcirco palme meruere coronam.

Sanctis virginibus finalis laurea cessit,

non equidem meriti sed sexus imparitate.

Cum iudex igitur summus non intueatur

sexum sed sensum, patet has non esse minores

85in celo sanctis aliis quos pretulit ordo.

Nam quod martirium gravius quam dura modeste

frena pudicicie viridi tolerare iuventa?

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 51 ]] 

Virginibus vero viduas postponit et ordo

et meritum; viduabus enim rupisse pudoris

90claustra licet liceat, melius tamen est cohibere

carnem, si fieri possit. Postponimus ergo

virginibus viduas, conubia non reprobantes,

sed pre conubio laudantes integritatem.

Hec tamen est virtus viduarum maxima, quod post

95fata maritorum, sociali federe rupto,

et nupsisse viris piget et violasse pudorem.

Turturis instar habent, viteque superstitis horrent

crimen et imponunt omnino silencia carni.

Hic est celestis exercitus, ecce superne

100cives Ierusalem, quibus et nos annumerare

dignetur Christus, Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque

sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 52 ]] 


NO. 44 TO STEPHEN LANGTON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY 1207-1228, possibly 1218-1220
NO. 42 TO GEOFFREY DE BOCLAND Before 14 September 1225, possibly about 1219

Before 1220 Master Henry seems to have been at the court of Henry III, but with the present data the length of his stay can hardly be determined accurately. Three poems were probably written there at this time. The lost epitaph upon William Marshall was almost certainly written at the time of his death on 14 May 1219, or immediately thereafter. For while it is possible that it was written later, that occasion would have been the most appropriate, and court poetry to be effective must be timely.

Both the other poems occur in a MS group the arrangement of which seems to have some chronological significance.1. No. 43, which lies between the two in the MS, also belongs to the group of poems with similar conclusions for which the evidence points to a date of composition before 1220.2. A reading of the two poems reveals a marked similarity between them and suggests that they were written at about the same time. Since Stephen Langton was out of England or at odds with the poet’s patron, King John, until about 1218, it hardly seems probable that the poem to him was written earlier. On the other hand the poet fails to mention the translation of St. Thomas, although he specifically stresses Langton’s position as his successor, even punning upon the point that ‘not an atom distinguishes you from Thomas (a Thoma).’ The translation of St Thomas, as we shall see, was probably the most brilliant event of Langton’s eventful life.

Archbishop Langton, like the regent William Marshall, was one of the outstanding men of the court. He had
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 53 ]] 
had a notable career as a professor at the University of Paris before he became archbishop of Canterbury and a cardinal. It is not surprising to find the poet emphasizing the renown of his patron as a philosopher, using the phraseology of the schools, and finally classing himself among the philosophers. Upon such grounds the poet might reasonably hope to appeal to the archbishop, whose vast resources of patronage must have been singularly attractive to the poet.

The poem to Geoffrey de Bocland was for a patron of a different type. Bocland was a courtier and judge whose career commenced at least as early as the reign of Richard (1189-1199) and ended in the autumn of 1225.3. He was a man of some wealth, a holder of several livings, and what was more important to a young clerk, the patron of at least one.4. In the poem to Geoffrey, Master Henry uses three English words, ‘bocland’ (bookland), ‘fri’ (free), and ‘friman’ (freeman). It would be interesting to know how much farther his knowledge of English extended.

No. 99, Epitaph of William Marshall, does not seem to be extant, but both an early note in the margin of a MS of the Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris and the old index of A refer to the presence at an early date of the epitaphs of William Marshall in that MS.5. They were probably lost in rebinding. The Marshall family was apparently an exception to the rule that English families were seldom patrons of letters. For this family the life of William Marshall was written in a famous Anglo-Norman poem by a certain John.6. Besides this lost epitaph by Henry of Avranches another was written by Master Gervase of Melcheley, according to Matthew Paris.7. Marshall had an amazing career which ended as regent of England and Earl of Pembroke.8.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 54 ]] 


Stephane, te sublimat honor sic sanctificans ut

te non a Thoma separet ulla athomos.

Nam quia sis ipsum subiectum philosophie

ipsa tibi per me philosophia probat.

5Hec tria, natura, ratio, mos, philosophiam

in se dividere sufficienter habent.

Effectus ratio nature, mos rationis,

et moris bonitas, et bonitatis honor.

Sic honor ultimus est effectus philosophie;

10effectu vero causa manente manet.

Sed tibi summus honor: ergo tibi philosophia.

Cur tamen hec tanquam non manifesta probem?

Est a natura ratio, mos a ratione,

virtus a more, cuius amore sapis.

15Sum quoque philosophus, mea portans omnia mecum,

si sine materia distribuisse sinar.

Sic tu sic et ego, sic philosophi sumus ambo,

maxima si parvis assimulare licet.

Sic nos interior habitus confederat, unde

20ut tibi conformer exteriore precor.


Liberat a viciis liber omnes, liber es ergo,

cum sis de “Bocland,” de regione libri.

A viciis igitur liber, gaudere teneris:

ex hoc Gaufridi nomen et omen habes.

5Precedat medium, coeant extrema: notamen

ordine diversum, materia fit idem.

O Gaufride, quasi “fri,” gaude, seu quasi liber

gaude: nam quid “fri man” nisi liber homo?

Gaufridus bene “fri” gaudes: tibi gaudia causat

10eloquium, causat copia, causat honor.

te siquidem dotat, te ditat, te levat aurum

eloquii, rerum fluxus, honoris apex.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 55 ]] 

Tu liber, gaudens, excellens sanguine, vultu,

moribus; et tripedis hec tria pondus habent.

15Liber es, ecce prior pes; gaudens, ecce secundus;

excellens, ecce tercius: ecce tripes.

Inde fit ut triplici sic sustentere columna

ut numquam labi sive labare queas.

Sic tuus ergo status michi condescendat, ut astem

20et merear preco nominis esse tui.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 56 ]] 



Probably October 1216-May 1220, possibly 1219

This long grammatical poem of approximately 2200 lines was first considered as possibly the work of Henry of Avranches because of its concluding lines.1. The clue was confirmed by an examination of rotographs of the piece,2. which occupies the whole of MS Rawlinson G 50 of the Bodleian Library. The poem has several lines in common with another grammatical poem whose opening lines name a Henry as the author.3. This is not conclusive evidence of Henry’s authorship, since No. 103 is a compilation embodying many lines verbatim from earlier works. The poem is organized somewhat like the Life of St Thomas à Becket, No. 1, and its conclusion has the same Virgilian expression of the difficulty of ascent and ease of descent that appears in No. 8. The poem is interesting not only for its information about grammar but also for the probable circumstances of its composition.

The preface of the poem states that it was written to spare some boys the difficulty of studying the multitude of contemporary books on grammar. In the conclusion the patron, rather than patrons, is described. He is of high birth, ‘apex generis,’ and of pleasing appearance. He is fortunate in his parents; death has separated them, but they will be reunited in Heaven. The badly mutilated preface contains an invocation of the Virgin, and ends with some statement about the name of the boys for whom the poem is written. This statement,
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 57 ]] 
which would doubtless establish their identity, unfortunately remains indecipherable. If the poem is by Henry of Avranches, and if the order of similar conclusions of his poems has chronological significance, this poem was probably written in 1220 or earlier.4.

The poet was in England in 1219 and 1220. The ‘apex generis,’ suggesting a king, would then be Henry III. Death had separated his parents in 1216; the hope that they would be reunited in Heaven must have been written before May 1220, when John’s widow made such a suggestion tactless by marrying again. The patrons of the preface, Henry and his brother Richard, were of proper age (9-13, 7-11) from 1216 to 1220 to learn their grammar, but their ages suggest the time toward the end of the four years.

Upon the history of England the advisers of Henry III had a remarkable influence, largely because he followed the advice of others so readily. Thus new evidence in regard to these advisers and especially in regard to the childhood of the king is welcome. The close relationship of the poet to Peter des Roches is evident in several poems.5. This bishop was in charge of the king from the death of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, in 1219 until the king came of age, In rather summary fashion Henry dismissed the bishop and his associates in 1227. Roger of Wendover wrote of it as follows:6.

Eodem tempore rex Anglorum, mense Februario apud Oxoniam concilio congregato, denuntiavit coram omnibus se legitime esse etatis, et de cetero solutus a custodia regia notitia ipse principaliter ordinaret; et sic qui prius tutorem habuit et rectorem Willelmum Mareschallem dum viveret, et postmodum Petrum Wintoniensem episcopum, excussit se per consilium Huberti de Burgo, Justiciarii regni, de concilio et gubernatione dicti episcopi et suorum qui regi fuerant prius quasi pedagogi, ita quod omnes illos a curia sua et cohabitatione removit.

In view of this long grammatical treatise and of the poet’s relationship to the bishop, it is not difficult to conjecture that Master Henry was one of the pedagogues of the king and taught him his grammar.

The poem itself, although it was probably dedicated to a king, never attained popularity. It was written
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 58 ]] 
much after the style of the Doctrinale of Alexander of Villedieu (of the year 1199) and the Grecismus (of 1212), from both of which Master Henry appropriated much. However, our poet’s work is arranged differently and probably better than those of his predecessors whose poems were to remain famous for centuries. The piece follows to a certain extent the order of Priscian’s Institutes, the great grammar of the time. It is not so easy to trace the indebtedness of the poet to other grammarians whose works have not yet been printed. The comprehensiveness of the long grammatical treatise by Master Henry makes it an excellent text for use in the study of Latin grammar about 1216-1220.

Master Henry also versified the short, elementary Ars Minor, a popular grammatical treatise of Donatus. It was probably an early effort of the poet.7.

No. 103 (Prologue)

Comoda gramatice propono....metro

que pueris.........................

et breviter, nam sunt confuse tradita libris

practica gramatice...................librorum

5O Christi mater sine qua nichil ordiar umquam

complosis manibus tibi supplico, poplite prono,

hec abstracta......................favore

hec ut precipue pueris collectio prosit

quorum cognomen.......tollat...............

(Speculative Grammar, fol. 32r)

Sed dicunt multi, duplex est dictio siquis,

sunt infinite quoque magno iudice dicte.

Alfa notatur et o de virgine matre Redemptor;

hic est principium sine principio, sine fine,

5hic est perfectum verbum cum nomine iunctum,

assumens servi formam de virgine sacra;

que consignificant quasi partes dicimur esse,

dum nexum fidei verbis factisque tenemus.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 59 ]] 

Martir, participans; pronomen virgo pudica;

10quelibet est sacre speculatio forma Marie.

Casti prelati preeunt quasi prepositive.

Coniugio Christo nexos adverbia dico.

Peccatum plangens est interiectio. Fertur

pars coniunctiva qui nectit et ordinat apte

15sacros de Christo sermones deque Maria.

Pars incarnato discordat, anomala verba,

quilibet hereticus Stigiali carcere dignus.

Sinthasis ex dictis procedit, ut exigit ordo,

que voces recte nectit sensumque maritat.


O sine patre, Patri de virgine nate, Redemptor,

qui truce morte tua mortale genus relevasti,

ad te conversos nos respice, dirige, salva.

Nam terris dolor est, facilis descensus Averni;[[4]]

5nos noxa premimur, gravis est ascensus ad astra.

Idcirco rogo te pro quo liber editur iste,

addiscas, dum tempus habes, quia funebre bellum

corporis ac anime parit ignorancia veri.

Nascitur hinc heresis. Impende libentior aures

10philosophis veris, nam fundamenta sophie

heu prope iam pereunt. Nec delectare magistri

nec prodesse volunt, sed lucrum lingere gaudent.

te sublimat apex generis, te gratia forme:

tu patre, tu matre felix es. Dissociavit

15hos fera mors, sed eos<rursus> Deus associabit.

Vivens et discens, ponas contraria, vivens

te non victurum, discens te non moriturum.

Non levitas animi, non te suggestio prava

abstrahat incepto nitido vel flama iuvente.

20Hoc opus abstractum quisquis legat, audiat, illi

prospera procedant; cum Christo sit sine fine,

hoc tribuente Ihesu, Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque

sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 60 ]] 


About 25 February, probably of 1220

Upon the leap day of a leap year Dean Hamo, according to the poem, passed away.1. Too good for an ordinary day, his departure had been reserved by the calendar for a special day. The poet seized the opportunity of describing with apt phrase each month of the year, producing a set of pictures which Camden used as an illustration of mediaeval verse.2. Such a piece would probably have been read to the chapter of which Hamo was dean and might have been read at the time of his funeral. This, of course, assumes that the person designated in the poem was a real person. Fortunately the poem gives sufficient information about Dean Hamo so that he may be identified in the documents of the time. According to the verse Dean Hamo had in the course of his long career served as canon, precentor, then archdeacon and ‘custos’ (that is treasurer)3. at the same time.

Le Neve’s Fasti offer only two choices of a ‘Dean Hamo’ in this period: a dean of Lincoln who died in 1195 and is thus ruled out, and a dean of York, the date of whose death is not given.4. The career of the latter, however, may be traced in some detail over a period of more than thirty years, since the affairs of the York chapter are relatively well known. Hamo was a canon of York before 1186.5. Already
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 61 ]] 
precentor in that year, he was one of five candidates presented by the York chapter for the vacant archbishopric.6. Henry II refused to accept any of them. His activity as precentor can be followed in the years 1189-90 and 1192-95 as a member of the rather boisterous York chapter.7.

In 1199 or earlier he was promoted to the office of treasurer and appears as such in 1206, 1213, and 1214.8. In this year Hamo probably became dean, although an enrolled letter patent of that year conferred the office upon a certain William Testard, archdeacon of Nottingham.9. The latter never appears as dean in the many documents of the period and was still archdeacon while Hamo was dean according to the witness lists of two charters.10. On the other hand, Hamo as dean attests many documents, mostly undated.11. However, he does appear in two documents of 1217 and in a third in the time of Walter, archbishop of York and Richard, bishop of Durham.12.

The Magnum Registrum Album of York Cathedral, fol. 34r, contains two charters, one of Archbishop Walter and the other of Dean Hamo and the Chapter of York, stating that the offices of treasurer and the archdeaconry of the East Riding of Yorkshire, which had been held by one person, were now to be separated. This confirms the statement of Master Henry (line 17) that no one after Hamo combined these offices.

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Roger of Insula, who attested three charters as dean in 1220, probably succeeded Hamo in that office. The earliest of the charters was executed on 24 June, and the other two in September.13.

Dean Hamo thus fulfils the conditions mentioned in the poem. He had been canon, precentor, and treasurer. Since he is said by the poet to have been archdeacon and treasurer at the same time, he would probably not be given the lesser title of archdeacon in the documents. A successor appears in the deanship within a few months of the leap day of the leap year, 1220. That the poet was in northern England at Durham at some time in this general period is clear from No. 34. It thus appears that this curious poem concerns Dean Hamo of York and may have been read before the York chapter sometime after the dean’s death in 1220.


Olim piscator hominum, quasi piscis ab hamo

mortis captus Hamo, celebrat convivia vite.

Est eius iam mortua mors, et conscia mortis

non tulit hoc impune dies, quia nullius anni

5vel mensis patrocinio permittitur uti,

et non est in cathalogo conscripta dierum,

exiliique ream suus exhereditat annus.

Annus enim solis in mortem non fuit ausus

conspirare sui, menses conscire verentur

10tanti fata patris, tam lamentabile dampnum.

Nec mirum, soli fuit illi philosophia

consors, natura coniunx, fortuna<que> constans.

Philosophia dedit mores, natura decorem,

et fortuna decus, ascendendoque gradatim

15ad summos apices meruit pertingere, primo

canonicus, deinde precentor, deinde statutus

archilevita simul et custos; nullus ibidem

post ipsum, quis enim vel sufficienter utrumque

ferret onus vel utroque foret condignus honore?[[19]]

20Quare vero dies tanti sibi conscia dampni

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sit dampnata, subest ratio: nec enim sine sole

annus vel mensis; sed mundi sol fuit iste;

non igitur mensis potuit conscire vel annus

ipsius occasum; conscire nequiverat annus,

25nam sine sole perit; menses conscire nequibant,

participabat enim dotes cuiuslibet Hamo.

Circumspectus erat, ut Ianus; crimina purgans,

ut Februus; veterana novans, ut Marcius; ipsa

semina producens, ut Aprilis; flore choruscans

30ut Maius; facie splendens, ut Iunius; intus

fervens, ut Iulius; frugis maturus adulte

messor, ut Augustus; fecundans horrea, more

Septembris; replens vino cellaria, more

Octobris; pastor pecudis, sed spiritualis,

35more Novembris erat; epulator dapsilis, instar

omne Decembris habens, hiemali peste quiescens.

Nulla dies igitur nisi bissextilis et anni

arbitrio dampnata sui, nec subdita mensi,

sed noctis lux instar habens, lux nescia lucis,

40et lux existens inter luces quasi bubo

inter aves, huius poterat concludere vitam

solis, et humanum genus hac privare lucerna.

Hamo decane, iaces; toto fugit exul ab anno

interitum solis ausa videre dies.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 64 ]] 



Written in an even and beautiful hand, the Life of St Thomas à Becket (followed by the Translation of St Thomas à Becket) occupies the first place and the position of honor in A. The choice was justified by the preëminence of that saint. The close relationship of the two poems, which might even be regarded as a single entity, indicates they were composed at the same time and probably for the occasion which is the subject of the Translation. The ceremony of translation took place on 7 July 1220.

The Life itself need not detain us long. It seems to be the versification of an older prose work, the earlier Quadrilogus. This collection of the biographies of the saint was compiled at Croyland Abbey in 1199, revised in 1213, and presented to Archbishop Stephen Langton by the abbot of Croyland, Henry Longchamp, in 1220.1. These poems may also have been presented to Langton by Master Henry, but for this there is no direct evidence. The poet had not as yet developed the habit of naming his patron in his prologue. The archbishop was the obvious patron for such a work.

A considerable number of accounts of the ceremony of translation in 1220 are extant, but for the most part they are short and lacking in much detail.2. That it was a magnificent occasion the almost unanimous use of superlatives indicates at once. From the chroniclers and other writers some conception of the event may be drawn. The translation was in the hands of Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, a very capable prelate. He had taken care of the matter from the initial act of securing the benediction of the pope to the conclusion of the ceremony, upon 7 July 1220. This date, as the
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 65 ]] 
chroniclers noted, was the anniversary of the death of the saint’s great antagonist, Henry II.

An early account gives the story of the interesting pretranslation ceremony.3. In the evening of 27 June a group of men gathered in the crypt of the cathedral of Canterbury. It included Archbishop Langton, Bishop Richard of Salisbury, and the prior and monks of Canterbury. After praying for a time they removed the cover from the sepulchre and gazed upon the remains of the saint. Some of the monks then removed the body from the marble coffin and placed it in a ‘capsa’ where Langton arranged it for entombment. Langton retained a few small bones to distribute to great men and churches for the honor of the saint. Then the coffin was nailed and placed in safekeeping until the day of the translation.

While this was taking place the pilgrims to the shrine were gathering from all sides. For such an occasion many indulgences had been announced. According to one chronicler:4.

The Lord Pope had granted an indulgence of forty days to all who on this day of the translation of the blessed Thomas the Martyr should come to Canterbury for reverence’s sake, or within fifteen days thereafter. Likewise the Legate granted forty days; each of the three archbishops granted forty days also and each of the bishops (17) granted twenty days. Counting up all of the days they were found to be 540.

At Canterbury a cordial reception was awaiting the pilgrims. The same chronicler adds:

However, concerning the liberality and sumptuous bounty with which the aforesaid Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, was eager to offer to all of those who were coming devoutly to the translation of the martyr both rich and poor, foreigners and citizens, it is superfluous to narrate in detail.

The chronicler of Waverley also comments upon the splendid arrangements made by the archbishop to care for the crowd.5. A third chronicler relates that Langton provided fodder and food for everyone in need of either all the way from London to
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 66 ]] 
Canterbury. On the date of the translation he provided wine in various parts of the city. The debt incurred for this occasion had hardly been paid off by the time of Archbishop Boniface, the fourth archbishop after Langton.6. Obviously this account had been written late enough for the glamor of the occasion to have given place to the hard facts of finance. But even then the chronicler knew of the lasting if probably exaggerated fame of the occasion when food and drink had been so plentiful.

The crowd which poured into Canterbury was innumerable, according to the testimony of several sources.7. The annalist of Waverley says that there had never been such a crowd in one place in England.8. If the tremendous numbers were impressive, so also were the numbers of great men who were present. King Henry III attended, as well as a large group of laymen. However, the chroniclers do not mention them by name. One does say the throng could hardly be held by Canterbury and the neighboring towns. The higher churchmen present can be identified somewhat more easily. The account in ‘Walter of Coventry’ (which was evidently written almost at the time, since it calls the king Henry IV) says that besides Pandulph, the papal legate, there were three archbishops there, of Reims, of Canterbury, and one from Hungary.9. Besides these there were seventeen bishops present and, of course, a vast throng of other churchmen.

The new shrine of Becket, behind the great altar, had been designed and made by two incomparable artists, Master Walter of Colchester, sacristan of St Albans, and Master Elias of Dereham, canon of Salisbury. The shrine and the other arrangements were ‘irreprehensibly prepared’ according to Matthew Paris.10. Of these two artists the first is not well known, but the latter in a long and rather amazing life was responsible for Salisbury Cathedral and probably many another architectural achievement of the time.11. Two representations
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 67 ]] 
of the shrine are extant, one in a thirteenth-century window on the north side of Trinity Chapel, and the other in a manuscript, which was partially destroyed by fire in 1731. These, in addition to the descriptions left by Erasmus and others, leave little doubt as to its appearance.12.

At the hour of Terce the bells pealed forth as the procession passed along the nave. It was headed by the young King Henry III, who, on account of his tender years, was not allowed to assist in carrying the feretory. Then followed Pandulf, the Legate, Archbishop Langton and the Primate of France; four of the highest nobles of the realm bore on their shoulders the reliquary containing the martyr’s bones, and on either side prelates carried tapers......During Mass the feretory rested beneath a canopy of cloth of gold, before an altar erected for the occasion in front of the choir screen, in sight of all the people; and it was afterwards deposited in the shrine prepared for it.13.

Behind the meager details preserved in the chronicles we can imagine the tremendous throng of pilgrims and the solemn ceremonies. In reading through the accounts it is obvious that the writers were impressed by different phases of the occasion. Even the one adverse criticism--too much expense--serves to heighten the picture of careful arrangement, of magnificence, and of splendor. Such an achievement was what might be expected of Archbishop Stephen Langton. He was doubtless proud of his translation of his predecessor. His discourse upon the occasion fortunately remains with us, but tells nothing of the details.14.

The poem of Master Henry, No. 2, adds another and apparently independent account of the ceremonies of translation. But the poet’s point of view is quite dissimilar from the others, emphasizing the social side very heavily. In fact, he is the only source for a knowledge of two banquets during the festivities; the second of these actually receives more attention than any other event. Only in the latter part of the poem, where the feast is described in fond detail, does Henry show his usual eloquence.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 68 ]] 

From two remarks in the poem it would seem that some time, probably a few weeks at least, had elapsed before Henry had composed his work. In the first he states that perhaps great men have already written of the event.15. Then he mentions the explanation which a divine vision had given to a pious countess for the secret raising of the body of St. Thomas from the old tomb.16. Neither remark seems to signify a long passage of time since the translation.

The ceremonies, according to Master Henry, began on the fourth day before the actual translation with a great banquet attended by 33000 persons. This is truly a mediaeval estimate, since they are all alleged to have been fed in one hall. This probably took place on Saturday, 4 July. Then on the evening of the next day took place the raising of the body of St Thomas from his tomb in the crypt and its placement in a secret and safe place until the actual translation. The date is considerably at variance with the other account, which gives 27 June as the day when this occurred. However, several factors make the account of Master Henry seem the more probable. 27 June is somewhat early for the event. The words, fifth Kalends of July, can be easily emended to the fifth of July.

On 7 July the great multitude assembled in and near the church. At daybreak many had congregated near the old tomb to see the removal of the remains of St Thomas from it and were very much disappointed.17. The poet’s account of the most important part of the ceremony is treated in relatively few lines. He does mention that the Archbishop of Reims officiated at the high altar, assisted by the other prelates present.

Although the poet gives the impression that all the visitors were well cared for, he actually focuses his attention upon two tables in the large hall. At one sat the king and his guests; at another the greater prelates according to rank. The description of the banquet thus is a description of the service and food given the highest ranks of guests. It can hardly be assumed that the other guests of lower classes were furnished the same fare. For, to say the least, the food was amazing. The menu below is arranged according to the order of serving suggested by the poet. It ran largely to meat, wine, and spices, with little to suggest attention to fruits,
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 69 ]] 
nuts, or vegetables, but perhaps they were there also. Master Henry’s conclusion is quite suggestive; the banquet passed without any untoward incident due either to wine or the devil.

White wine Red wine
Light red wine

Venison, boiled, baked, fricassee with peppers, and in pie Bear and other wild flesh

Cold Meats
Turbot Mullet Salmon
Other fish
Geese Duck



Virtutis sermo, sanctorum magnificentum

inclita fama cito cum tempore transit in auras,

ni quocumque modo sit vulgi sepius ore.

Omne loqui nimium nimiumque silere timendum,

5cum non impune transibit luce tremenda;

et iustus iudex. Ne dicam voce prophete

“Ve michi, quod tacui!” celeberrima gesta virorum

qui pro lege Dei servanda se posuerunt

Ierusalem murum contra Babilonis alumpnos,

10ut michi posse datur, in lucem promere conor.

Christicolas acies trepidus sub simplice lauro

qui cecini, tutus sub palma triplice, tristes

et letos Thome casus, probra, dampna, triumphos,

ecclesie Christi magnalia iure nocentis,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 70 ]] 

15antifrasis cuius dat nomen varia canta,

(desursum datus est Pandulpho pro pietate[[16]]

ecclesie ductus, tociens qui transiit Alpes

propicio quod ei Summo Dominante receptus

clavigeri celi rex est in pace Iohannes)

20egregii Stephani preconia Langtoniensis

et comitum fasces auro dignissima scribi,

scribere temptabo. Zacharie vocis in usum

os Qui solvisti, Quem vatum maximus alvo

matris adoravit, presentibus annue ceptis.

25Cui quercus Basan, Libani cui frangere cedros,

naves conterere Tharsis cui desuper esse

collatum perhibent miracula, surge triumphis

plena novis, felix Dorobernia! Cancia, canta,

nominis anthifrasim perpessa diucius, at nunc

30ad nomen regressa tuum (non sanguinis imbre,

sicut sperabat ventosa superbia mundi,

celorum sed rore pio, qui corda potentum

ut libet irrorat), post longa silentia, canta!

Ecce remissivi lux optima temporis, annus

35ecce preoptatus in quo se nulla rapine

lux dabit, inferni quo semina pauca patebunt;

nam tibi ros missus a Roma tot generabit

virtutum flores vicii radicibus omne

quod tollet remanere suum. Convincitur esse

40livor ob hoc donum mendax et perfidus augur.

Non est Roma manus quia rodit, sed quia roris

est mater, quo crisma sacrum documentaque sancte

quo fidei veniunt, oleum<que pios> quod in usus

mittitur. Affectum donantis res data pandit

45donandique modus, dans utile, gratus habunde.

Quid melius Stephano potuisti mittere, Roma,

Anglorum. . . ? Quid quod magis ambitionis[[47]]

sufficiat delere notas et crimen avare;

quid tibi commodius? Quod Petri clarius ede

50splendidiusque fuit, placuit tibi mittere nate,

cuius proventus, cuius magnalia, cuius

consortes, Christi causa, quam sepe Damasci

in faciem quasi porta Syon firmata fuerunt!

Predictos Thome casus celebremque triumphum

55ecclesie quocumque stilo properancius edam.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 71 ]] 


Surge, triumphatrix regum Dorobernia, surge;

indue leticie vestes, suppone coronas

mitrato capiti roseas; victoria Sancti

ad tumulum Thome lacrimas effundere fecit

1570inflexis genibus patriam, veniamque precari.

<I>ntitulata diu sponse sub nomine, sumptum

nomen habens tua sponsa tuo de nomine, Christe,

libera nunc roseis tribus est ditata coronis.

Dat ramus revirens primus, dant signa secundam

1575celica, nuda patet oculis mortalibus illa

quam presens donat victoria. Tempora quicquid

Elphegi, quicquid Thome cepere labores,

in Stephani totum consummat tempore Christus

confessore suo, qui quamvis sanguine martir

1580non sit adhuc, studium quod habet virtutis amore

continuum, mentis et corporis anxia pena

assidue veniens, maius diadema meretur

quam semel effusus hora sanguis breviore.

Sanguine quam studio martir minor est: cruciatur

1585hic semel, hic semper cruciatur mentis agone.


Sub modio lumen, census sub clave sepultus

non multum prodest; lumen dum lucet in alto

dat iubar utilius; morum lucere lucerna

a puero Stephani que cepit, sedis adulta

5martiris ad culmen virtutum semina factis

et verbis aperit, verum summumque secuta

pastorem, facere qui cepit postque docere;

mane dies qualis sit post ventura docetur;

ecclesie regni quam comoda cura futura

10sit Stephani primis in factis monstrat aperte,

in quibus est constans hunc hec patrare per Illum

per Quem propositum iusti procedit in actum.

Ne leta sub matre diu sit filia tristis

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 72 ]] 

et sine consilio, regis clerique favore

15ecclesiis patres properat prebere duabus.

Non super expectat expectat qui sapienter.

O felix Rofa, felix Cicestria, quantas

quaque die Domino debetis reddere laudes!

Non est metropolis mundo tam fausta, duorum

20ob quemvis que non esset sublimior horum

atque magis felix, regimen si forte daretur.

Pontificum Domini quicquid perfeccio poscit,

gratia celestis largitur utrique duorum.

Ecclesiis Domini tales preferre tenetur

25Anglis quem Roma providit propter id ipsum;

qui licet officio Marthe vigilancius instet,

non minus inde gerit celesti mente Mariam.

Quis plus mente polo, quis plus vitare caduca

et studet atque docet et plus bona vera mereri?

30Officio Marthe quis plus est pervigil isto?

Sedula pauperibus manus est, mens integra celo.

Maxima cum dandis discrecio debeat esse,

presertim cunctis que Christi nomine dantur,

quis tam discrete, tam sancte, tam sapienter

35providet ecclesie regimen, virtutibus ut det

calcar et opprobrium viciis? Cum sorde iacere

et quasi despectum videat se torpor inermis,

ne totum perdat, a se procul ocia pellit,

et virtus studio semper maiore calens fit.

40Nullos esse facit rectores ecclesiarum

regno qui non sint ardens lucensque lucerna

virtutum radiis dandique calore beato.

Ecclesie patet in domibus cuiusque quis illam

contulit, et qualem se rector debet habere.

45Non abit exclusus Domini qui poscit amore,

Qui pluit et manna deserto, cum pluit illis

tot bona, quod quanto plus dant et plus dare possunt.

Omnia gesta viri captarem perpetuare

si possem, sed nunc michi scribere sufficit istud

50quod Thome corpus in gemmas mittit et aurum.

Martiris egregii quamvis translatio Thome

magnorum sit forte metris tractata virorum,[[52]]

qualescumque tamen hos versus addere nitor.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 73 ]] 

Post celebres actus animum maiora patrandi

55et vim summa suis auget provisio semper.

Quem Deus exaltat magnalibus et manifestis

exaltare volens Stephani mens dedita Christo,

ut Thome corpus exaltet multa †tenetur.

Cuius devotis precibus bullata per orbem

60schedula fert Thome tempusque diemque levatus,

et pape veniam. Sexburge crastina festi

lux est, per lucem Martis, quia Martis erat lux

occubuit quando celebri discrimine Thomas

ecclesie Christi benedicti passus ad aram.

65Orthodoxorum mentes rumore secundo

tocius Europe per regna moventur, et ire

plures permittunt quam vix homo credere posset

post oculo manifesta fides nisi sepe probasset.

Tocius esse memor quod lux tam magna requirit

70mens hominis summo cum non queat absque magistro

dispensatoris Dominus pro velle ministrat

venturi festi quicquid debetur honori.

Nomine qui Domini rem vult bene primiciari

observet quod Ei detur Sua porcio primum.

75In Derobernensi mirabilis aula stat urbe

non habitura parem, veteri vicinior aule,

cuius primicias Stephani devocio Sancto

assignans Thome pre festo lumine quarto

fratrum triginta tria milia pascit eadem.

80Hinc constat Sancti Thome quod dicitur aula,

et multis aliis que sunt maiora futura.

Secreto, magnum cum sit dubitamen in actu,

tucius est semper populi vitare tumultum.

In dubiis Stephanus vir circumspectus agendis

85assumptis secum personis religiosis

cum facie plena lacrimis, cum corde tremente

nocte sequente iubet tumulus quod fiat apertus

Thome, quod tegimen barris sic surgat in altum

corpus ut inde foras sumatur; mox retromissum

90marmor cum tumulo tunc cementetur ut ante.

O circumstantes quantis sua fletibus ora

irrorant, quantos singultus anxia corda

emittunt, quanta suspiria corpora vexant,

Thome depositum cum se conspectibus offert

95et memorant eius penas causamque triumphi.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 74 ]] 

Pontificum manibus sumptum de marmore corpus

bisso multiplici sepelitur; serica tela

involvit bissum; post quercus vase coequo

mensure valde spisso solenniter albo

100clauditur, atque veru ferri quoque verbere multo

circumvallatur; post sursum fertur et alte

secreto tutoque loco deponitur, usque

quod primi Martis lux fiat proxima mundo.

Are vicina sculpto de marmore surgit

105machina, marmoreis sursum portata columpnis,

in cuius medio tumulus de marmore factus

est adeo fortis quod furti conficiendi

materies et opus spem tollent tempus in omne,

pre missis barris ferri, pre marmore lignum

110quod tegit; egregia velatur capside totum,

qua manus artificum gemmis precellit et auro.[[111]]

Dispersis noctis sub primo sole tenebris,

advena gens plausus sibi cum perpendit ademptos,

in lamenta ruit, lacrimosis plena querelis,

115gaudia peccatis metuens subtracta fuisse.

Sed Cui nuda patet humane mentis abissus,

corda nefanda videns, voluit rem tucius ire,

in quo grande nephas scelerum preclusit alumpnis,

ut post scire dedit Sua vox sancte mulieri,

120ancille Domini, precellenti comitisse,

que mavult iuxta protectum martiris esse

pauper, et includi modice sub paupere tecto,

extra diviciis quam mundi deliciari.

Nulli deest Dominus nisi desit primitus Illi.

125Servicio quicumque Deo servire libenter

affectant homines, Sua gratia presto fit illis.

Remensi mitre maiorem qui dat honorem

quam dat ei mitra, Willermus, vir venerandus,

are maiori missam cantare rogatus

130atque chori dominus ac summus presbiter esse

est ab eo, virtus quem celica magnificare

vult toto mundo festi presentis honore.

Quos cum presulibus et conventus ope sacri

vestibus angelicis Thome celebrare triumphum

135ad laudem Domini, nec poscere velle sepulchrum

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 75 ]] 

martiris aspiciens, gens advena candet in ira.

Planctu pars alia tantoque dolore movetur

carnifices Sathane veluti spectare daretur

in Thomam rursus nudatis ensibus ire

140eius et a cesa cerebrum removere corona

calcandum pedibus et spargere per loca sancta.

Cetera pars cantu tanta pietate laborat

ad celos ut si ducendus cantibus esset

martir et a superis iterum <foret> accipiendus.

145Ore manu colere Dominum superosque tenetur

quantumcumque potest hominis devocio tota.

Iustorum nullam paciuntur vota repulsam,

quod patet hiis Thomam qui vero corde precantur,

summa quibus pietas tantum demonstrat honorem

150quod tanto populo, tanto discrimine vocum,

tanta pressura, non est discordia mota,

sed lupus est mitis agno, sed paupere lana

calcari patitur se dives purpura, vultus

monstrat inoffensos, et mentis mella benigne,

155presertim resonante tuba quam spiritus implet

docmate celesti sic sanctus quod videatur

mortali non ore loqui; nam semine verbi

siccatur penitus vis seminis hostis iniqui.

Introrsum celos Stephanus quasi viderit alter,

160pandit iter, parat ingressum, docet intus et ire

hic urbem sanctam, sanctis cum civibus esse.

Pace loquar primi: celos si vidit apertos,

hic videt, hic aperit, quociens docet ire vocatos.

Sanctus cui Stephanus mirandus habetur, et ille

165in sanctis est, qui mirabilis hic et ubique.

Servicio tanti festi sollenniter acto

ut par est, mille recipit mirabilis aula

convivas Thome, Stephani quam propter id ipsum

regia mens fecit magno miroque labore.

170Ardua res nimis est describere divitis aule

mirandam speciem, qua non est clarior orbe

nec mirabilior. Precioso marmore quamvis

surgat, materia succumbit materiato.[[174-5]]

175Tam felix adeo cui cor dedit incipiendi

posseque complendi, cui tam mirabile Thome

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 76 ]] 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

egregium gemmis mittendi corpus et auro,

mundi magnates tot in unum velle vocare;

tot varias gentes tam large pascere posse

cor dedit, exsuperans cunctorum pene virorum

180corda, datum quibus est attollere nomen ad astra

doctrine titulis et largi cordis honore.

Hospitibus Thome non sufficit amplior aula,

nec domus ecclesie Christi quecumque tenetur

infra circuitum, nec claustrum nec locus aptus.

185In Dorobernensi tota non est domus urbe

conveniens, Sancti qua non sit copia Thome

hospitibus rerum cunctarum quas petit usus;

hospicium letum facit illis gratia Christi,

que Stephano pro velle suo prelarga ministrat.

190Regia stans aule capiti dominatur utrique

mensa; sedent cum rege viri quos invocat una;

mensa sunt alia cum summo presule regni

pontifices clerusque suus sicut iubet ordo;

officio fungens legati, notus honore

195oris oliviferi, Pandulphus presidet, ut res

postulat officii, sancte reverencia Rome,

ecclesie virtusque viri, preconia regi

que fuit et regno formande pacis amore.

Que vincunt candore nivem miranda labore

200artificum miro decorant mensalia mensas;

propter idem facti succedunt cum sale disci,

cum quibus adveniunt cultelli, copia quorum

raro tanta simul et tam preciosa videtur.

Apponunt panem mensis <quos> deputat isti

205servicio iuvenum species, prudencia maior.

De vino servire datur quos inclita vestis

prefert, quos hilaris vultus, quos sermo benignus.

Ingrediens aulam vitis generosa propago

argenti pateris gemmisque superbit et auro.

210Non dispar vultu, non dispar veste videtur

est licitum cuicumque dapes afferre culine.

Aprorum capita primo tot tanta feruntur

ut si quodque nemus assit regionis habundans.

Sic apris alia ne desit queque ferina,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 77 ]] 

215post vehitur pinguis venacio, sumpta recenter,

que fertur mensis cum tanta fertilitate

de variis terris quod ibi videatur aperte

Anglica terra quod est carnis regina ferine.

Messis Amazonie comes est cui copia tanta[[219]]

220sicut pro velle civili cresceret urbe.

Nunc elixa venit, nunc est assata ferina,

nunc est cum pipere croceo decisa minutim,

panis aromaticis nunc fertur cocta sepulchris.

Mens humana modos varios numerare ferine,

225diversos genera, cum magna laude paratos,

non plene memorare potest presentibus horis.

Cum soleant carnes ursorum rarius esse,

illic tanta patet illarum copia quanta

est ibi quo glacie stringit septentrio pontum.[[229]]

230Fertilitas preciosa dapum messisque Sabee

optate species quibus est sapor ingeminatus

invitant manuum motus ad pocula sepe.

Albior hiis vitis liquor est acceptior et qui

vix patet argento, nam blandior et citus intrat;

235plus placet hiis rubeus quia forcior, os magis implens,

evigilans cicius torpencia frigore membra;

permodicum rubeus et clarus gracior uve

hiis cruor est, sursum saliens radensque palatum,

vim digestivam recreans revocansque colorem;

240est potus nimius nisi sumitur et medicina.

Comodius calidis succedunt frigida; pisces

post carnes acuunt gustum renovantque saporem.

Nullus adest piscis penitus nisi sit salis expers.

Est prior hiis rumbus quia piscis regius; inde

245pretumidus capite mulus; pro ventre superbus

salmo; vix species est piscis nominis alti

in toto regno pro tempore congrua que sit

cuius sufficiens non fiat porcio mensis.

Non ultra vino dives Campania, pisce

250ingenuo nec Burdegalis se iactet opima,

Appulie nec terra dapum predivite fluxu;

Cancia cantatrix, nunc cantatissima, Sancti

dicior hiis tribus est in Thome facta levatu.

Quis tot tam pingues credat quod Iulius aucas

255una luce simul dederit, tot milia gentes

que numero stringi vix possunt, unde replentur

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 78 ]] 

deliciis mense, precio, bonitate saporis?[[258]]

Res miranda magis et digna laude canenda,

inter tot gentes, variis de partibus orbis,

260quod vis non fecit vini nec demonis astus

pravum quid facere rude nec producere verbum.

O presul dilecte Deo, quem magnificare

muneribus tantis dignatur, tempore nostro

quod prius Henricum quartum diademate ditas

265et sceptro, Thome quod tanto gentis honore

corpus in argentum cum gemmis mittis et auro.

Istius ut fieret iubileus nocior annus

invidiam faciens series iubilea dierum

divino nutu festum contingit utrumque.

270Corde ferens memori vir rectus Honorius ista,

papatus qui plus multo dat honoris honori

quam det honor, Stephano dat quod petit, ecclesiamque

pluribus atque novis optatis dotibus auget

qua corpus Thome requiescit, ob eius amorem;

275et successorem quod plus extollere quantum

possit sollicito conatur pectore, tandem

luce pedes Dominus qua lavit discipulorum

in medium vite predicere verba perorans,

imperii presente viro cui nuper honorem

280supremum dederat, coram magnatibus orbis

urbe sacra Rome, cum quiddam grande rogavit,

insinuavit eum tribus istis pretitulatum,

celesti vita, doctrina spirituali,

et circumcisa fructum faciente loquela.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 79 ]] 


Probably about 17 November 1220

St Hugh of Avalon, Bishop of Lincoln (1186-1200), was an extremely popular and vigorous character. Following his death, evidences of his sanctity accumulated rapidly and with them a growing demand for his canonization. A preliminary hearing was granted in 1219 and the inquisition was made by Archbishop Langton and the Abbot of Fountains.1. The bull of canonization, dated 17 February at Viterbo, ordered that his feast be celebrated upon the day of his death.2. This was on 17 November.3. The story of the canonization of St. Hugh at Rome incorporated in ‘Walter of Coventry’ states that the account of St Hugh’s sanctity was so astonishing that ‘idem papa omnibus in curia Romana existentibus inhibuit, ne quis eorum pro hoc negotio exsequendo aliquod munusculum presumeret accipere.’4.

The authoritative biography of St Hugh was written by Adam of Eynsham about 1212.5. Master Henry used this prose work as the basis for his versification, but he carried the account on through the first celebration of the canonization in the autumn of 1220. Although he probably wrote to take advantage of the enthusiasm engendered by the event, he gives a very meager account of it. Almost no details are given by the many chroniclers who mention the event; one states that the archbishop, Stephen Langton, was present.6. Of course the Bishop of Lincoln, Hugh II, of Welles, was also present and in charge of the ceremonies. The poet compares the bishop
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 80 ]] 
with his predecessor, St Hugh,7. as he had done earlier with Langton and Becket.

Si quorum vero perfectio restat, Hugonis

perficietur opus primi sub Hugone secundo.

We suspect that the poet hoped for and possibly secured the Bishop of Lincoln for a patron of this work.


Arma virumque cano, quo iudice nec caro cara

nec mundus mundus fuit; abscissisque duabus

alis, non potuit antiquus serpere serpens.

Audax tiro Dei, validus virtutis alumnus,

5omnibus haud metuens viciis indicere bellum,

carnis equo proprie frenum dedit: arma fuerunt

scutum iusticie, calcar crucis, ocrea legis,

hasta spei, cassis fidei, mucro religionis,

et quicquid potuit viciis opponere virtus.


10Hugo, tue vite seriem describere tentans

plus volo quam valeo: mea parva sciencia tante

materie vix sufficiet superaddere formam.

Suppleat ergo fides, ubi deficit ipsa facultas;

et tua, sancte, meos dignatio prosperet actus.

15O clarum cleri speculum, robusta columna,

egregium sidus, scio quod non congruit ut tu

iustus ab iniusto, locuples a paupere, purus

a fedo, sanctus a peccatore canaris.

In primis igitur me iustus iustificare,

20me locuples locuplare velis, contagia purus

a me proscribas, sanctus peccata remittas.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 81 ]] 


NO. 8 A DISPUTED ELECTION Between 26 January and 25 February 1221
NO. 38 TO EUSTACE FALCONBERG, BISHOP OF LONDON Probably soon after 25 February 1221
NO. 47 TO THE SAME Probably soon after 26 April 1221

In the early months of 1221 there occurred a series of events in the bishopric of London which are the subjects of a trilogy of Master Henry’s verse. At the beginning of the year the bishop was William de Sainte-Mere-Eglise, then growing old and feeble. On 26 January in the presence of the papal legate and of other prelates he resigned his bishopric.1. Ample provision was made for his life, which lasted only two more years.2. Several candidates seem to have been nominated for William’s place. The subsequent election by the canons of St Paul’s was hotly contested and lasted several weeks. No. 8 was written before the choice was finally made. In it the poet eulogizes one as the outstanding candidate. He may well have been Eustace Falconberg, the ultimate choice of the canons, but the description is so vague that it may have been appropriate to almost any of them.

Eustace, a canon of St Paul’s, was a royal clerk and archdeacon, and an important character at the court of King John and of the young Henry III. He was one of the men to whom faithful service to the king brought ecclesiastical promotion.

There is no ambiguity about the patron of No. 38, in which Eustace is addressed in the first line. This piece was probably written soon after the election of 25 February.3.
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 82 ]] 
The poet launches upon a fervent laudation of his patron, etymologizing a hybrid derivation of his name. The flattery is not very subtle. At the end the poet angles for patronage upon the curious ground that he is a reformed character, and so worthy of preferment.

The third poem, No. 47, written after the consecration of Eustace on the second Sunday after Easter, 26 April, at Westminster, throws some interesting light upon the feeling caused by the ceremony. The poet contrasts the loveliness of spring outside with the moroseness of the assembly in which his patron was consecrated. He justifies his mention of what was an unfortunate feature of the occasion by explaining that only the great arouse hostility.

A curious charter4. drawn up by the Bishop of Rochester explains the dispute which arose on the occasion of the consecration. The right to consecrate belonged to the senior bishop of the province of Canterbury, normally the Archbishop of Canterbury. After him ranked the Bishops of London and Winchester; but the former had resigned, and the latter was, like Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, away from England. The usual course would be for the first bishop in point of seniority to consecrate. Since the archbishop was away, the dean and chapter of St Paul’s had applied to the papal delegate Pandulf for permission to consecrate and it had been given. But when the group gathered in St. Katherine’s Chapel, Westminster, a dispute at once arose. The Bishop of Bath claimed the right to consecrate as the first in point of seniority of consecration. Then the Bishop of Salisbury claimed that as the Bishops of London and Winchester were regarded as dean and subdean, so he was regarded as a precentor in the province of Canterbury, and thus outranked the others. To complete the confusion the Bishop of Rochester insisted that he was really bishop-coadjutor, and thus entitled to act in place of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The dean and chapter of St Paul’s decided in favor of letting the Bishop of Rochester act, but without prejudicing the claims of the other two.5. The witness list of the charter gives us the names of the principal men. They were, besides the contending churchmen, the Bishops of Coventry, Chichester, Ely, and the former Bishop of London, the Archdeacons of Essex and Colchester, the Chancellor and Treasurer of London, and several of the bishops’
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 83 ]] 
clerks. The ‘et aliis’ at the end probably included our poet.

A number of ideas and expressions in these poems reappear in others. In No. 8 are ‘levis est descensus Averni,’6. ‘oneris-honoris,’7. and ‘clarum-clerum.’8. In both this poem and No. 38 occurs a series of metaphors in which the patron is contrasted with his rivals, a device which the poet liked well.9. Six lines in No. 47 are also in No. 9.10.


Labitur ex facili quicquid natura, sophia

aut fortuna dedit homini. Sis corpore fortis

et pulcher, mente prudens et cautus, honore

altus et elatus: ambo bona corporis una

5febre cadunt: forma tua marcet, vis tua languet.

Ambas virtutes mente temptacio sola

expirare facit; tua fit prudencia stulta

et tua fit cautela rudis. Sed cetera multo

forcius evacuat fortune prospera casus

10estque velut Protheus, quem nullo fune tenebis.

Mundus et humanas variat cum tempore sortes.

Attamen in rebus differt quod quando moventur

infima vix sursum, leviter movet alta deorsum

deterior fortuna. Color niger alterat album,

15non albus nigrum. Levis est descensus Averni,

sed gravis ascensus Paradisi. Quilibet ergo

hoc animadvertat prelatus, quod status eius

expectat casum. Qui stare perhenniter optat,

non centro terre, non rebus inhereat orbis,

20sed spere cuius centrum consistit ubique,

extremum nusquam, cuius mutare quietem

eternam nec motus habet nec tempus habebit.

Presul in exemplo Willermus, qui, licet esset

sufficiens oneri cuius possedit honorem,

25non cumulum veritus oneris sed culmen honoris,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 84 ]] 

ambo resignavit, ne deliraret in uno.

Queritur interea quis ei succedere dignus

possit et in tanto sit prestituendus honore,

qui verbo pollens, exemplo clarus, utrumque

30proferat in lucem, neutrum sine pondere; doctor

et ductor populi, sibi credita quinque talenta

multiplicet, solvens solvenda ligansque liganda,

discernatque greges, et ab hedo segreget agnum,

neutrius attendens lanas, utriusque salutem.

35Omnis ut unus ad hoc prelatus convenit, omnis

filius ecclesie tanto pastore vacantis,

et sua vix capiunt clarum capitolia clerum.

In dubio pendet electio, quam seniorum

turba diu nutare facit, multisque favendo[[38]]

40vix alicui perplexa favet, nunc approbat istum,

nunc illum, trutinaque sagax examinat omnes.

Illius arbitrium quadruplex discussio munit,

de studii fervore prior, de condicionis

libertate sequens, de morum nobilitate

45tercia, de mundi contemptu quarta. Quis istis

quatuor †attollat† titulis est questio. Multi

excellunt, unus precellit; hic est mel, hic est flos,

hic est fons, hic est far, illi sunt quasi cere,

gramina vel latices vel avene; dulce mel inter[[49]]

50ceras, formosus flos inter gramina, clarus

fons inter latices, sapidum far inter avenas.


Lustachii, nuper bene stabas, nunc bene stabis;

ille status valuit, prevalet iste tamen.

Stabas, ecce volas, capiebas, ecce ministras;

nuper eras membrum, Syon es ecce caput.

5Te decus irradiat, dotat, levat; irradiaris

lumen, dotaris gemma, levaris apex.

Nutavitque diu dubiis electio pennis

quem fratrum pocius hic honeraret honor.[[8]]

Omnes sunt digni, tu dignior omnibus. Omnes

10hic plene saperent; plenius ipse sapis.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 85 ]] 

Gramine, cristallo, vel aqua reliquos noto; tu flos,

tu iaspis, tu fons diceris inter eos.

Tu flos vernas inter gramina, gemma choruscas

inter cristallos, fons sapis inter aquas.

15Inde preelectus in eis quasi Phebus in astris

in populo rector, in grege pastor eris.

Te sibi preficiunt veluti divinitus, uno

ore, pari voto, consimilique fide.

Absque dolo sic elegeris, nec sorte sed arte,

20et quia prodesse, non quia preese cupis.

Si de diviciis agitur, tu desinis esse

dives, ut incipias utilis esse gregi.

Nullus opum cupidus hunc suscepisset honorem,

nam tibi crescit honor, sed minuuntur opes.

25Attamen es dives, sed dicior ante fuisti,

liberior mundo, commodiorque tibi.

Sed melior tibi diviciis est pontificatus,

libertate iugum, commoditate labor.

Te dotat, salvat et pascit pontificatu

30edita gemma, iugo vita, labore seges.

Me tua promoveat promocio, me tuus opto

immutet motus assimuletque tibi.

Ebriacum legi, nunc Ebraicum lego; copa

ebriacum didicit, Ebraicumque libri.


Eustachio bona sit stacio, qui firma columna

ecclesie, cleri speculum, rationis alumnus,

iustitie clipeus, morum via, pacis oliva,

virtutum laurus, doctrine gemma, bonorum

5summa, Petri consors, Christique vicarius. Amen.

Quid moror, attemptans preco preconia tanta

tantillus? lucem solis iuvo luce lucerne.

Forsan iperbolice tot ei dare nomina, more[[8, 9]]

credar adulantis, sed summum quis neget esse

10in quem conspirant morsus livoris edaces?

Summa petit livor, dedignatusque iacentes

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 86 ]] 

molitur pravis titulos, summisque ruinam.

Rebus in Eustachio patuit quod persono verbis.

Tertia lux aderat, paschalia festa revolvens,

15etas extrema violarum, prima rosarum,

lascivire iubens pecudes, cantare volucres,

desevire feras, vegetari semina, nasci

gramina, crispari silvas, revirescere prata,

mentes iocundas faciens, sensusque iocosos,

20cum sibi Londonie pastorem more moroso

sacravere sacrum cui cleri clara subesset

concio, cui populus serviret poplite flexo.

Indoluit livor Zabuli, nigrisque cucullis

nigras immisit furias, Allecto, Megeram,

25Thesiphonen. Allecto ferens oblivia Lethes

quod nequit auferre, temptat differre. Megera

ex Stige fert odii fermentum, per quod honoris

vult et honestatis indissociabile fedus

rumpere. Tesiphone liventem fert Acherontis

30tristiciam, causamque dolet non esse doloris.

Una tribus mens est, unus furor, una libido,

processum turbare boni, pretendere fraudes,

allegare dolos cur dilatoria dentur,

ne sponsus regat ecclesiam vel pastor ovile,

35ut suus in populo nitor occultetur, ut ignis

in petra, favus in cera, flos in saliunca.

Sed tria monstra triplex excludit gratia cleri,

desidiam fervor, odium dilectio, planctum

plausus, et electo datur infula pontificalis

40sacraturque sacer, dotatur gemma, levatur

culmen, habetque foris quicquid prius intus habebat.

Cuius cautela prudens, prudencia cauta,

pontificis studio pontes facit; ut mare mundi

migret, et humanas levat in celestia mentes.

45Hic tuus, Eustachii, status est, hoc robore fulcis

ecclesiam, nam si caderes, heu quomodo staret?

Ut paries non absque basi, sic nec status eius

absque tuo; perpes autem status eius habetur,

perpes et ergo tuus, quem nec Iovis ira nec ignis

50nec poterunt anni nec edax subvertere livor.

Impetrata fuit tua consecratio contra

dicto iudicio; tanto magis ergo tenebit.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 87 ]] 

Quid te deiceret, qui stas pede firmus utroque?

Pes tuus est dexter ratio sensusque sinister.

55Sic sensu ratio, sensus ratione iuvatur,

ut sensu referas Martham, ratione Mariam.

Celum strata pedis est dextri, terra sinistri;

rex igitur celi thesauros spirituales,

rex tibi terrenus commisit materiales,

60iuraque das divina Deo, regalia regi.

Salvo sanctorum titulo, que talia, tanta[[61-66]],

cui tali, tanto potuit prestare creator?

Et si tanta dedit tali, vel talia tanto,

donum mundanum seu donum spirituale

65maius vel melius maiori vel meliori,

largiri potuit semper sed noluit umquam.

<M>ateriam fert invidie quam non facit, immo

quam patitur, non unde premat, quin unde prematur;

invidiosus enim multis, non invidus ulli.


 [[ Print Edition Page No. 88 ]] 


Possibly about August 1221
1217-1226, possibly 1221
About 1 November 1222
Possibly about 1219-1224

Most of the patrons of letters at the English court were bishops. This group of poems written in and about 1221-1222 was addressed to five men, four of whom had attained to episcopal office by this time. The fifth, Robert Passelewe, although elected as the successor of Neville years later, saw his election quashed by bishops who proved him a not very learned clerk. Yet not erudition but association with the royal court was the distinguishing feature of the careers of these men. With them the poet was on various terms of intimacy and appealed to each in a different fashion. However, we find him using in No. 9 a block of six lines which he had previously employed in No. 47 and the curious phrase ‘inangulor apud Anglos’ turns up in both No. 9 and No. 34. Such repetition seems an indication of nearness in time of composition and thus helps in dating the poems. Aside from these repetitions the poems preserve individuality more than might have been expected.

The more formal pieces are the two written for Ralph Neville, No. 36 for Robert Passelewe, and the three lines to Pandulf. All play upon the name of the patron in a manner employed by contemporaries, who were constantly looking for signs and portents. No. 40 has an odd poetical device, repetition of the last sound in the line as the first in the next line.1. The two poems to Neville were written upon the occasion
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 89 ]] 
of his election as Bishop of Chichester on 1 November 1222. Neville was probably a member of one of the greater baronial families and had been a courtier and judge. He was to succeed Richard Marsh as chancellor of England and to remain popular with the mass of English people, well liked for both his episcopal and political activity.

Like Neville, Richard Marsh was among the churchmen who were rewarded for diligent service to King John by ecclesiastical promotion. He became Bishop of Durham in 1217, holding a majestic see which combined heavy episcopal responsibilities with the duties of a marcher lord in the county palatine of Durham. But Bishop Richard was apparently a better servant than master. He immediately fell into great difficulties with the dean and chapter at Durham and plunged the bishopric into heavy debt. The quarrel with his chapter at Durham took him to Rome in 1221.

In his poem to the bishop Master Henry recalls his services in the bishop’s behalf at Durham, where he says he spoke against the bishop’s enemies. The poem may have been written just before the bishop’s journey to Rome in 1221. As stated above, this piece has a phrase in common with No. 9, probably of the same year. The date of Master Henry’s speech at Durham is not known, but the poet was probably in the north of England at York soon after 25 February 1220.2. He may have been at that time in company with Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, who is described in the poem as the judge in the case between Bishop Marsh and the Durham chapter.

The poet’s problem was as usual to make a successful appeal to his patron’s interests. The bishop was a master, like the poet. Upon occasion he could appeal to the classics: in a complaint to Ralph Neville that the latter had neglected to call him chancellor of England, a title of which he was proud, he misquoted Cicero.3. To a renowned scholar, Adam Marsh, probably a relative, he left his biblioteca, Bible or library.4. The poet did not appeal to his patron’s erudition as he had done in the case of Stephen Langton. Nor for obvious reasons did the poet celebrate the capacities for which the age thought Marsh most remarkable: his eating and drinking. A contemporary epitaph celebrated his mighty drinking, and he died after a heavy meal.5. If these achievements were hardly the proper ones to elaborate upon, at least they offered signs
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 90 ]] 
of hope to a hungry and thirsty seeker of patronage. After adopting the stern attitude of an impartial observer, scorning to flatter, the poet proceeds with encomiums upon the virtues of the bishop--wealth and generosity.

The last ten lines are in different meter from the rest and might have been a part of any begging poem. The poet may have used them before in similar circumstances.

To one accustomed to enjoy the largess of monasteries the great house of Christchurch, Canterbury would hardly be overlooked as a source of patronage. No. 9 is, in part, the story of an attempt to secure such patronage. The poet had spent a week writing a piece to present to the prior of Canterbury, choosing to glorify the patron saint of the house, St Thomas à Becket. The story has not a happy ending. The prior had refused to reward the poet for his ‘miracula scripta sancti Thome,’ and the latter in rage seems to have destroyed his week’s work. For consolation apparently he addressed this piece (No. 9) to Archbishop Stephen Langton, the patron of other poems (Nos. 44 and possibly 1 and 2). Master Henry is in a very gloomy mood, a wandering poet, an exile, in debt, and a fameless and unappreciated author. The rebuff at Canterbury made bad matters worse. He desires to return, not to Normandy as we might expect, but to Germany!

Conjecture upon the date of composition depends largely upon the references to Langton’s career. The poet stresses Langton’s journeys to Rome to protect the liberty of the Church and speaks of the ‘avarum regnum’ of the Apostolic See. Do these refer to Langton’s trip of 1217-18 or of 1220-21? On first thought the former seems preferable; upon that occasion the archbishop had fought for the sake of English liberty against King John’s views and had even incurred the displeasure of the pope. Yet the poet himself was probably quite in harmony with that king, who had been his patron, and in 1218 Langton had returned from Italy with papal blessing and permission to translate St Thomas à Becket, neither of which is mentioned in the poem. In 1220-21 Langton had secured from Pope Honorius III the privilege of not having a papal legate in England. This may have been the achievement to which the poet refers. The ‘miracula scripta sancti Thome’ mentioned in the poem offer little help in dating the poem.6.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 91 ]] 

The career of Passelewe was that of a royal clerk, a follower first of the notorious Falkes de Breauté and later of Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester.7. His connection with these men was never forgotten, and the chroniclers, who were mostly hostile to them, had few good words for him. In his funeral eulogy Master Henry stated that he had sung of Passelewe many times.8. Of these pieces No. 36 with its etymologizing is hard to date. It appears in manuscript among early poems of Master Henry; upon such evidence it is included here rather than later. The other poem for Passelewe, No. 77, presents an interesting problem. The expression ‘ascending the height of honor and burden,’ a phrase used elsewhere to designate becoming a bishop, might seem to refer to the election of Passelewe as Bishop of Chichester in 1244.9. The acts of examination by the bishops, of their quashing of his election, and of later acquiescence by the king, may be considered as evidence of ingratitude, but the other items do not tally with the known facts of Passelewe’s life.

Passelewe is not known to have made any successful trip to the Papal Curia at any date which might be referred to in such a manner by the poet in 1244. Moreover, if this poem were written then it is later than any of the other poems in MS A, most of which were written in England before 1230. It seems likely that this poem refers to earlier events in the life of Passelewe. A papal mandate of 15 May 1219 to Pandulf states that Passelewe had boldly opposed the king’s enemies.10. Speaking in 1225 of earlier events, the author of the collection incorporated in the Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria tells that Robert Passelewe and Robert de Cantia, sent by the Earl of Chester and others to the Papal Curia, had been severely questioned before leaving and forced to swear that they would do the kingdom no harm. Upon returning they were charged with treason and forced into exile.11. At the instance of the earl and of Archbishop Langton, Robert was allowed to return to England, but remained under royal displeasure until 1227. It seems probable that this poem was written upon the return of Passelewe from his successful trip to Rome
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 92 ]] 
at the time that he was being charged with treason, sometime between 1219 and 1225.12.


Sepe quiescentem iuvit meminisse laborum;

te quoque forte iuvat, tocius Stephane regni

primas, quo nullum maiorem vel meliorem

excepto Thoma flavi genuere Britanni.

5Scilicet ecclesie pro libertate tuenda,

que tam grande iugum tulerat tantumque tributum

solverat, exponens in mille pericula corpus

summos expendens sumptus summosque labores

sedis apostolice regnum moderaris avarum.

10At quoniam mediante scola te gratia summa

pretulit ecclesie, tua non modo sollicitudo

ecclesias iuvat, immo scolas; nam solvis eundo

ecclesias, redeundo scolas, recreasque manendo

ambas, quin eciam regni moderaris habenas.

15Salvo sanctorum titulo, que talia, tanta,

cui, tali, tanto, potuit prestare Creator?

Et si tanta dedit tali, vel talia tanto,

donum mundanum seu donum spirituale

maius vel melius maiori vel meliori,

20largiri potuit semper, sed noluit umquam.

At michi, ve misero! nec spiritualia dona

nec mundana dedit, exulque perambulo mundum

et per barbarias inglorius erro poeta

et pedes et nudus, nullo miserante potentum,

25nec via lata patet, sed inangulor hic apud Anglos

ingratosque meis prelatos sencio donis.

Quid michi profecit vestro donasse priori[[27]]

Sancti scripta Thome miracula? Dumque rogarem

ut dignaretur admittere, litus aravi.

30Ve donatori qui supplicat. Hoc ego de me

cum miser adverti, gravis indignacio mentem

movit, et ebdomade brevis abstulit hora laborem.

Sic facio versus quos nemo remunerat. O si

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 93 ]] 

Anglia Theutonie me saltem redderet album!

35Sed cum me teneant captivum debita, non est

qui redimat nec qui salvum faciat; tibi soli

hoc opus incumbit, ad te iam fessus hanelo,

Stephane, tocius iubar admirabile secli!


Omnis adulator michi displicet, at tamen ipse

non michi displiceo, nec enim magnatibus ipsis

dignor adulari; multos tamen arguo, multos

commendo, sed non nisi vere, non nisi coram

5pluribus, et sicut communis opinio ponit.

Ergo michi liceat non dicere sed recitare,

ut quosdam venerans, quosdam, Ricarde, perosus;

sic vexas hostes et sic veneraris amicos,

quod nec dissimulas odium nec fingis amorem.

10Unde michi restat studio maiore canendum.

Sed prius est perhibenda tue perfeccio mentis:

dives es et parcus et largus et altus, habesque

mite cor et rigidum, prudens simplexque; sed hec sunt

singula que miror: tu dives, non viciosus;

15parcus, non cupidus; largus, non prodigus; altus,

non elatus; habes cor inexpugnabile, sed non

cismaticum, mite sed non mutabile, prudens,

sed non versutum, simplex, sed non rude. Tantas

in te virtutes admirans gratulor. Olim

20tanti posse viri non promeruisse favorem!

Allegavit enim pro te mea musa Donelmi

coram iudicibus, inimiciciasque prioris

conventusque sui propter<te> sustinet, immo

propter iusticiam; quod coram Wintoniensi

25presule tractatum linguas armavit eorum

contra me, nocuitque michi nec profuit illis.

Inde queri teneor quod inangulor hic apud Anglos,

nec melior portus est michi terra mari.

Nam quod me ditat, hoc me depauperat. Isti

30pontifices michi dant omnia, nulla tamen.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 94 ]] 

Omnia dant in spe, nichil in re, nec michi prodest

spes aliter sine re quam domus absque basi.

Nam domus absque basi quos continet obruit; et sic

spes sine re quorum firmat inanit opem.

35Spem michi dent alii magnam, rem tu michi parvam;

res me parva iuvat, spes michi magna nocet.


Successu Nova Villa sui iuvenescit alumni,

Radulfi ratio docmate fulta viget.

Hec, Radulfe, tua ratio discernere verum

a falso, facinus a pietate solet.

5Theorici iuris facis instrumenta secundum

ipsam; carnifices cetera iura colunt.

Forsan iperbolice laudum preconia, more

credar adulantis attitulare tibi.

Sed ius, sed pietas peribet, sed cetera morum

10gratia, quod minor est laus mea dote tua.


O qui flos es Anglicorum,

quorum sicut sedas placita

ita tibi regis et illorum

lorum regendum subigitur.

5Igitur mea fer obsequia

quia nomen in perpetuum

tuum mea canent studia.

Tuis enim cum collegis

legis ut statuta commemores

10memor es; et ut fias pastor gregis

regis favor, prout competit,

petit; iam vocis egencium

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 95 ]] 

gencium ut fias episcopus

opus est et necessarium.

15Iuver ergo, vir beate,

a te liberaliter;

aliter paupertatis protelate

late nullum finem video.

Ideo cum spem falli timeam

20meam, nullum est remedium

medium quin iuves ante peream.


Unica tres titulos ne tollat littera. Sicut

sumitur ex ‘boo’ ‘vox’, sic ex hac voce ‘Robertus’

hec vox ‘Rovertus’; corruptaque sillaba prima

integretur in s: sic ros, ver, thusque vocaris.

5Tu bene ros, dulcore fluens; ver, flore choruscans;

thus, miro more redolens: ros suave fluendo,

ver pulchre florendo, thus sapide redolendo.

Robertus, titulo dotaris triplice: roris

temperie, veris dulcedine, thuris odore.

10Dicto de proprio Roberti nomine, restat

ut subiungamus quod ei cognacio nomen

cognicioque dedit, et qua ratione vocetur

Robertus transgressor aque. Nec enim quia transit

sed precellit aquam cognomine credo notari.

15Est aqua levis et est aqua dulcis et est aqua clara,

mulcens, albificans, emundans omnia, levis

tangenti, dulcis gustanti, clara videnti.

Tu precellis aquam, nam levi levior es tu,

dulci dulcior es tu, clara clarior es tu,

20mente quidem levis, re dulcis, sanguine clarus.

In tribus hiis excellis aquam, nam murmure levis

est aqua, tu mente, gustu dulciflua, tu re,

flegmate preclare, tu sanguine. Quodlibet horum

est magis intensum procul in te quam sit in ipsa.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 96 ]] 


Summum conscendens apicem

et honoris et oneris,

Robertus migrans laticem

ventis horrentem asperis

5in impetrandis litteris

apud summum pontificem

profectum egit triplicem

numquam indultum ceteris.

Opus in primis regium

10multo procurans munere,

cleri mox privilegium

quod expirabat misere

redintegravit libere,

tandem ius querens proprium

15triplex egit negocium

tam propere quam prospere.

Talem tantamque gratiam

fecit homo trans hominem,

qui nescientis etiam

20cleri promovit ordinem

preter consuetudinem;

ad hanc beneficientiam

regis et cleri nimiam

miror ingratitudinem.

25De Romanorum manibus

nemo dives regreditur.

Iste consumptis omnibus

pauper reverti cogitur.

Hoc est quod nimis igitur

30nobis obest pauperibus;

nam ex eius defectibus

noster defectus sequitur.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 97 ]] 


Te totum dulcor perfundit et inde vocaris

Pandulphus; quid pan nisi totum, dul nisi dulcor,

phus nisi fusus? Id est, totus dulcedine fusus.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 98 ]] 


NO. 24 LIFE OF ST EDMUND Probably about 1220-1227
NO. 94 TO WILLIAM OF TRUMPINGTON, ABBOT OF ST ALBANS 1214-1235, possibly 1220-1225

To a seeker of largess such as our wandering poet the wealthy monasteries of England had a natural attraction. For the three houses of Ramsey, St Albans, and St Edmundsbury the evidence of a desire for patronage or the receipt of it is not so clear as it is with Croyland and Peterborough. For Ramsey there is a line upon the seal of the abbey and a suggestion in an ancient library catalogue that the monastery once possessed some of the poet’s works.1. Ramsey, however, was hardly in the same class as an intellectual center with the other two, and it is not surprising to find such little evidence of patronage.

Bury St Edmunds probably was the greatest monastic center of learning at the time, although some might feel that St Albans, with its chroniclers Roger of Wendover and Matthew Paris, had that distinction. Against these St Edmundsbury could oppose the amazingly intimate chronicler, Joscelin of Brakelonde, and the more formal John of Taxster and John of Everisden. There also an astronomer and translator from the Arabic, Roger Infans of Hereford, compiled his Expositiones Vocabulorum que sunt in Biblia.2. Vernacular writers such as Simon of Walsingham, Everard of Gately, and Denis Piramus wrote there. Add to this array of writers the house’s magnificent library, and the splendid position of the monastery in the field of letters is clear. In spite of the fact that the poems about St Edmund name no patron, the monastery dedicated to this saint was the obvious patron. The date of composition of No. 24 is conjectured to be 1220-27 upon the position of the
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 99 ]] 
last lines among the poems with similar conclusions.3.

For our poet, St Albans seems to have been a hospitable place. To this house he addressed several lines, No. 92. The eminent chronicler, Matthew Paris, possessed the largest collection of his poems, A, and quoted occasionally from his verse. Indeed No. 94 itself was kept in one of the chronicler’s volumes, his Liber Additamentorum. If Master Henry had been a member of the fraternity of St Albans at St Pantaleons of Cologne there would be greater reason for the monastery to cherish the poet.4. Doubtless there were other connections between the poet and St Albans which we are unable to trace now. It seems strange, for instance, that there is no long poem known to have been written for this monastery, when several exist for other houses. The poem itself is rather disappointing. The etymologizing proceeds as in many another of the author’s pieces. Again he shows a knowledge of English, analyzing ‘Willermus’ into ‘will’ and ‘arms.’

No. 24 Incipit prologus in VITAM SANCTI EDMUNDI

Plus volo quam valeo regis memorando triumphos[[1]]

Edmundi, dignos nobiliore stilo.

Nam licet attolat me magna professio, non est

tanta facultatis scribere gesta mee.

5Spes hominum sanctus rex est; ego flebilis ipsum

et reus et cecus hec tria dona peto.

Flebilis hac peto spe reparer, reus hoc peto sancto

sanctificer, cecus hoc peto rege regar.


Cuius scripta tego      dux gregis est, et ego.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 100 ]] 

No. 94

Ostendam sermone brevi quis et unde sit abbas,

ut placeat metrum, non ut aduler ei.

Unde, quis, hic? Perhibent duo nomina, scilicet ista,

quod sit Willermus, deque tonante tuba;

5et ratio manifesta subest, primordia cur hic

non alius, cur hinc non aliunde, trahat.

Mos est, quando tuba tonat, arma parantur; inermes

velle facit galeam turbidus ille sonus.

Ergo tonante tuba, galeae datur inde voluntas,

10hic est Willermus, sic duo prima patent.

De re res ortum trahit, et de nomine nomen;

has eius causas ordinis ordo dedit.

Nominis eiusdem ratio diversa priori

consonat, et penitus astruit illud idem.

15Nec tamen est eadem, Willermus enim quasi ville

ermos, id est ville tutor, et ecce modus.

Spiritualis habet tres hostes villa; draconis

insidias, mundi frivola, carnis opus.

Hic superat tria monstra: fide prosternitur hostis,

20contemptu mundus, sobrietate caro.

Disserui de nominibus; modo disserat ipse

de rebus; voces cedere rebus habent.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 101 ]] 



The Latin translation of Aristotle’s treatise on generation and corruption came into circulation in western Europe at the end of the twelfth century along with translations of other Aristotelian and Arabic works dealing with natural science. Master Henry shows some interest in this general field. He mentions John Blund’s enthusiasm for the new Arabic knowledge,1. and the death of Michael Scot, astrologer and Arabic translator. If the poet was Henry of Cologne, he copied Michael Scot’s translation of a work on natural science in 1232.2. No. 35 is the strongest evidence of Master Henry’s interest in natural science. Against these indications of his interest is the denial by Michael of Cornwall that Henry was learned in ‘naturalia.’3.

The theme of No. 35 is obviously suitable only for a university audience. The prologue corroborates this assumption, but fails to name the institution. Paris is excluded, since that university is said to be stupefied at the brilliance of the group which the poet is addressing. Henry’s life suggests two places, Angers and Oxford. In one poem Henry speaks of intending to teach at Angers, and Michael says that Henry tried to teach at Oxford. If the poem was written for Angers it must be placed within the years 1229-34 when a temporary migration from Paris made Angers a distinguished center of learning.4. The structure of No. 35, however, suggests a date somewhat earlier than 1229. The well-developed prologue makes the poem seem as late as Nos. 1 and 95 of 1220, while the failure to be more explicit about the patrons would place it earlier than Nos. 19, 23 or 48. In this period the poet was apparently in England; in this country Oxford would be the only place at all comparable to Paris. This method of
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 102 ]] 
dating is very tentative, since the long poems written after 1232 by Master Henry were either few or mostly lost.

Henry’s poem was written in competition with an unnamed adversary. It must have been a curious kind of contest.



O clara cleri concio,

lux cuius lucet clarius

ipso solari radio,

quo nichil radiosius,

5cui se stupet Parisius

non esse parem studio,

parem non, sed inferius

in omni magisterio;

rogo supplex obnixius

10ut tua iurisdictio,

qua nichil iuridicius,

vel amore vel odio

partis flectetur neutrius

sed consistat in medio.

15Nichil <facit> iniquius

ulla mali suspicio

quam cum presumit ipsius

ausu quisquam nefario

presidere iudicio

20cum sit et adversarius.

Presencio proemii

De tam gravi materia

carmen istud tam subitum

nec florens arte varia

nec morsu lime domitum

25metris que patus divitum

sanctivit excellentia

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 103 ]] 

defert honorem debitum

quorum non equat meritum

sed adorat vestigia.

30Ergo si non <ut> placitum

michi venerunt omnia,

non offendant sollicitum

pauca lectorem vicia.

Siquid est male positum

35non redumpdet in alia.

Qui committit illicitum

semel ex ignorancia

non meretur interitum.

Voluntas et propositum

40distinguunt maleficia.

Excusacio politi operis pro difficultate materie

Nulla polit formositas

nostrarum opus manuum,

materieque ruditas

laborem facit vacuum,

45et iudicare fatuum

me potest universitas.

Non tamen est exiguum

quod presumit temeritas

opus istud tam arduum,

50cuius pretendit vanitas

male versorum versuum

formas tam incompositas;

sed olim quando sensuum

militabat subtilitas

55novas querebam semitas;

nunc sequor stratam curruum.

Non petit auctor premium aliud quam de adversario triumphare

Adversus adversarium

de meliori ludere

scirem, sed nil ingenuum

60habet, inquam, sic agere.

Tali recusat opere

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 104 ]] 

poliri marmor artium;

plus propere quam prospere

manavit istud studium;

65plus liture quam littere

ferre pudet in medium.

Quis enim posset facere

de petra pingue prandium?

Ergo si loto latere

70breve consumpsi spacium,

ne cogar erubescere

in conspectu prudencium,

quedam velit ignoscere

vestrum michi iudicium.

75Non erit necessarium

nodum in cirpo querere.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 105 ]] 


NO. 19 THE LIFE OF ST GUTHLAC 1191-1237, probably 1220-1227

For Abbot Henry Longchamp of Croyland, Master Henry wrote a longer saint’s life than for any other English patron. At the end of the piece in A the number of verses is said to be MDCLXVI, but the meaning of this curious number is not given. The monastery of Croyland was a wealthy house and one which seems to have been the center of considerable intellectual activity, especially in the time of Abbot Henry. Since much of the verse and prose composed there is dedicated to him, while little was produced at Croyland at other times, it seems fair to consider the abbot its source and inspiration. Two studies of this center have already been made, both of which are in need of some correction.1. The story of Croyland throws some light upon the motives of monastic patronage and presents more than its share of interesting critical problems.

At Croyland there were both local and cosmopolitan writers. Of the two the problems of the first are still somewhat uncertain and will be taken up first. The literary interests of both were largely hagiographical. This is apparently due to the abbot, whose devotion is attested by his translation of local saints: St Guthlac in 1195, St Neot in 1213, and St Waltheof in 1219.2. To Archbishop Langton in 1220 the abbot sent a compilation of the lives of Becket, now usually called the first Quadrilogus, probably as an earnest of his regret that he could not attend the translation exercises of Becket in that year3..

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 106 ]] 

The Quadrilogus preserves two prologues, both dedicated to the abbot and both by monks of Croyland. In 1199 Elias of Evesham completed a compilation of the four biographies of Becket written by John of Salisbury, Alan of Tewkesbury, William Fitzstephen, and Herbert Bosham. This compilation was revised by Roger of Croyland in 1213.4. The work was used by Master Henry apparently for the versification of the Life of St Thomas, written in 1220 (No. 1). The poet may thus have been in touch with the abbey by that time. In Leland’s Itinerary, among several pieces about St Waltheof, appears an epitaph about the same saint, which was written by another poet, a certain William. This William,5. otherwise unknown, seems to have been the starting point for Leland’s conjectures which produced a supposititious character, ‘William of Ramsey.’6. How much of the literature about Waltheof (or about St Neot) was produced at this time or by these monks is uncertain.7.

Another instance of local writing seems to appear in the alleged letter of the abbot to Peter of Blois.8. This raises the question of these letters, which have been unreservedly condemned by Liebermann as forgeries.9. However, Liebermann’s view was influenced by the fact that he accepted the attribution of the metrical Life of St Guthlac to ‘William of Ramsey,’ and knew that the continuation of the pseudo-Ingulph chronicle was not by Peter of Blois. He rejected the plain statement of a Peterborough chronicler that for Abbot Henry Longchamp both Peter and Henry had written biographies of St Guthlac.10. As we have seen, the evidence that Master Henry wrote No. 19 is very strong.11. That Peter of Blois wrote such a life is also probable. Bale saw it in manuscript (possibly that copy now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin) with a dedication by Peter of Blois to the abbot.12.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 107 ]] 

The exchange of letters between the abbot and Peter of Blois prefixed to the forged chronicle is left in a peculiar position. Both letters refer to the authentic Life of St Guthlac and to the forged chronicle. It will be readily granted that the parts of the letters in which Peter is requested to continue a fourteenth-century forgery are also forgeries. In both letters they form the latter part. The question is in regard to the first parts in which the abbot invites the writer to compose a Life of St Guthlac, and Peter accepts the invitation. In the first parts nothing but a biography is assumed; all the classical references are to biographers. This is in itself rather strange, if a chronicle had actually been the subject of correspondence. Then in Peter’s answer there is a definite break between the two parts; the continuation has a transition based clearly upon the mistaken presumption that a history had already been mentioned. The authenticity of the first paragraphs of both letters may be considered a separate problem from that of the latter parts.

Within the first parts of the two letters the evidence of authenticity is satisfactory. The milieu, Croyland as a literary center and the abbot as a patron, seems accurate, as we have seen. The one statement which Liebermann thought an anachronism is one of the best bits of evidence for its authenticity. The abbot calls Peter vice-chancellor and protonotary, a very peculiar combination.13. Professor Tout has shown that these two offices were separated by the reign of John.14. An easy conjecture is that Peter himself brought that curious title, protonotary, from Sicily to designate himself as chief clerk of his friend, William Longchamp, a brother of Abbot Henry Longchamp. The time of the correspondence was probably before January 1196, the date of William Longchamp’s death, when Peter probably lost his position. Another letter from Peter to the abbot remains in the collections of the former’s letters; a reference in it would seem to show that it had been written about 1198, as the archdeacon was preparing, somewhat fearfully it seems, to cross the channel with Archbishop Hubert Walter.15.

In the letter to Peter the abbot gives as the reason for asking him to write the Life of St Guthlac that it
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 108 ]] 
was the custom for great writers to give attention to the biographies of great men. Peter is included among the great authors, with men such as Suetonius, Valerius Maximus, Cicero, Sallust, Homer, Vergil, St Gregory, Sulpicius Severus, St Jerome, and St Bernard. Abbot Henry therefore paid Peter of Blois a high tribute by inviting him to write a biography of the patron saint of his house. We can assume also that it was a tribute to the reputation of Master Henry of Avranches that the abbot requested him to versify the biography of the same saint.

No. 19

Omnimodos quanta virtute subegerit hostes

Guthlaci robusta manus, quo Marte tirannos

expulerit, quorum fuerat Croylandia sedes,

Musa, refer, celebremque viri depinge vigorem.

Invocacio auctoris ad Sanctum Guthlacum

5Maxime monstrorum domitor, qui laude suprema

dignus Alexandri fuscas et Cesaris actus,

et licite potes Herculeos ridere triumphos,

te, Guthlace, meo precor aspirare labori.

Invocacio auctoris ad Henricum de Longo Campo, abbatem Croilandi

At tu, quem Longus ad celsos Campus honores

10protulit, abbatum rutilans, Henrice, lucerna,

dum me compellis presumere, dum michi stulto

imponis sapientis onus, presumpcio partim

est tua, presumptum partim dignare tueri.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 109 ]] 



Of the ancient and beautiful churches of England the cathedral of Salisbury is one of the most outstanding. About the great bishop who was responsible for its construction and the architect who built it, there is fortunately much information.1. Bishop Richard Poore (1217-1228) was a very able prelate and a very religious man, the best type of churchman. He was a constant attendant at the court, as is shown by the witness lists of the charters of Henry III from 1226 to 1234. His architect, Elias of Dereham, had a many-sided personality with interests of a very wide nature. This poem by Henry of Avranches enlarges upon the reasons why the church was translated from the height of Old Sarum to the new site of Salisbury. The building was not finished, and its completion must have been a long way off, since he says, ‘Happy the man who will live to see the cathedral completed.’2. The building was well started, however. The old structure had already fallen in.3.

It would be interesting to know upon what occasion this poem was recited. The pope had given permission to build the cathedral in 1219, and work had been begun in the following year.4. The cornerstones were laid on 28 April. The first convocation in the new cathedral was held on 28 September 1225. A great multitude of people was present; it included a papal legate, the Archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin and a great number of magnates.5. Three altars were dedicated. Was
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 110 ]] 
this the occasion for which the poem was written? There is little in the poem to suggest any particular occasion. Two hints exist. Services were evidently being held in the new building, since the fall of the old hall is mentioned. Moreover, the name of Bishop Richard is given but not the name of his successor.6. The date and even the occasion must remain uncertain for the present.

The purposes of the translation are clearly stated by the poet. Old Sarum had been a fort, possibly from a very ancient time.7. In 1075 the bishopric had been established there within the fort. From the first there seem to have been difficulties because of the overlapping of jurisdiction. On top of the hill was only the great castle and its fortifications. In the contemporary description of the situation much is made of the miserable conditions within the fort:8. the soldiers abused the hospitality of the cathedral and its chapter. Just as intolerable were the climatic conditions in Old Sarum. The hill was, according to the poet, bleak, windy, without water, difficult of ascent, and because of its chalkiness blinding to the eyes. To be contrasted with these hostile conditions were the very pleasant surroundings of the new site. Well wooded, well watered, and beautiful, the chosen situation was all that nature could give. The poet’s encomiums upon the beauties of nature and of freedom are perhaps more the product of his life as a wandering poet than of his education. They may, of course, reflect the interests of his patron rather than his own feelings.


Ecclesiam cur transtulerit Salisberiensem[[1, 2]]

presul Ricardus insinuare volo.

Mons Salisberie quasi Gelboe mons maledictus

est inter montes sicut et ille fuit.

5Non pluvia vel rore madet, non flore vel herba

vernat, non forma vel bonitate viget.

Nil equidem preter absinthia gignit amara,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 111 ]] 

quatinus ex fructu se probet ipse suo.

Prebet ibi castrum solis obstacula ventis,

10materiam nullam qua tueatur habens.

Est ibi defectus limphe sed copia crete;

ventus ibi clamat, sed philomena silet.

Candor obest crete, sed plus caristia limphe:

disgregat hic oculos, aggravat illa sitim.

15Pausando philomena nocet, plus aura furendo:

derogat hec ludis, obruit illa domos.

Hic locus et castro fuit insignitus et urbe,

nec castri dignus ferre nec urbis opes.

In castro stabat urbs, castrum stabat in urbe:

20sic erat utrumque maius, utrumque minus.

Nec respective dico maius, minus, immo[[21, 22]]

simpliciter maius simpliciterque minus.

Ulterius monstrum superest: hec stabat in illo,

illud in hac: igitur non duo prorsus erant;

25non duo prorsus erant, sed sicut non duo prorsus,

sic nec res prorsus una, sed una biceps.

Nam cum rex castri caput esset, episcopus urbis,

ius hic habebat ibi Cesaris, ille Dei.

Non ibi iura Deus temptavit Cesaris, immo

30iura Dei Cesar appropriare sibi,

ecclesiamque iugo voluit supponere iugi,

a spoliis cleri non inhibendo suos.

Non invitatis invitus prandia clerus

armigeris castri militibusque dabat,

35et, quod deterius, ne turpiter eiceretur,

hospicium profugus destituebat eis.

Quid Domini domus in castro nisi federis archa

in templo Baalim? Carcer uterque locus.

Sed Baalim nequiit retinere perhenniter archam

40federis; a simili dico nec illud eam.

In Ierico captiva Syon erat, in Babilone

Ierusalem--Ierico cum Babilone ruit.

Inde Syon, cum Ierusalem, mutata videtur:

utraque mesta prius, utraque leta modo.

45Presul enim zelo Domini meliore Ricardus

arsit, ut eximeret libera colla iugo.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 112 ]] 

A laicis equidem clerum dimovit, eorum

vincula disrumpens, proiciensque iugum.[[49]]

Quid faceret clerus ubi visum candida creta

50disgregat, auditum densa procella premit,

cor sitis atra cremat, gressum via longa fatigat,

collum libertas evacuata gravat?

Ardens pulmo sitim, levis auris iurgia, fessus[[53]]

pes iuga fastidit, libera colla iugum.

55Cur transferretur urbs causam sufficientem

tot iacturarum quelibet una dedit.

Nature studio componitur, arte politur

deliciis oculus cetera membra premens,

frontis honos, animantis apex, animeque fenestra,

60fax agilis, speculum mobile, spera capax.

Unus ibi tunica semptemplice clauditur ignis

visibilis virtus quo mediante viget.

Hoc instrumentum visus sibi deputat, illic

imperat, existens intus agensque foris.

65Pauca notant sensus alii, quos quatuor iste

unicus excellit, utpote plura notans.

Vim tamen ipsius moderata proporcio finit,

unde quod excellit nil tolerare potest.

Eius enim radios nimius consumit hiatus,

70cum color assidue disgregat albus eum.

Inde patet crete nocumentum, tam generali

evacuans dampno tam speciale bonum.

Marchio cervicis vultus et verticis, auris

prominet, et conche tortilis instar habet.

75Hic viget auditus, capiens momenta sonorum,

quem vox demulcet rara, gravatque frequens.

Longos fastidit cantus, quanto magis autem

perpes ei tonitrus tedia summa parit!

Inde patet quantum gravet aures impetus aure,

80a quibus et sensus cogit abesse suos.

Corpus precellit, anima precellitur, huius

immense cor opes, huius amena domus.

Inde quidem surgit vitalis hanelitus, inde

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 113 ]] 

compassiva fides, inde benignus amor.

85Unde cor humectet quasi quedam spongia pulmo;

mille poris claudit aera, claudit aquam.

Naturalis enim convertitur ignis in ipsum,

cum sitiens aliud non habet, in quod agat.

Igne sitim passo, cum pulmo crematur, oportet

90ut cor inardescens compaciatur ei.

Actio cordis ut est melior, sic passio peior;

humanum corpus hec alit, illa necat.

Inde patet quantum noceat defectus aquarum,

quo gravior nullus civibus esse potest.

95Scilicet unda sitim levat et succendia, cymbas

evehit et naves, marmora fert et opes;

unda lavat maculas et sordes, educat herbas

et flores, generat pisciculos et aves.

Albus aque clarusque liquor, mollis placidusque,

100contactus dulcis, nutribilisque sapor.

Unda senes vetulasque novat, culpam viciumque

evacuat, pestem demoniumque fugat.

Quod per se possit hominem nutrire nec unum

est elementorum sumere preter aquam.

105Si populis igitur elementum dans alimentum

urbi defuerit, quis status urbis erit?

Urbi nil gravius quam deficiens aqua: nam quod

plus prodest, ut adest, plus et obest, ut abest.

Optima pars hominis libertas: sola solutam

110reddit egestatem solaque dampnat opes;

nature munus generale, Dei generosum,

virtutum consors, nobilitate prior,

nec patitur nec agit nocumentum, sed rationem

dirigit, et mentes librat, et acta probat.[[114]]

115Inde patet quantum gravet amisisse prioris

ius libertatis, vique subisse iugum.

Clerus presertim, qui nullum ferre molestum

aut inferre solet, quam male ferret onus!

Est gravius quicquid desuetius, et famulantem

120cum iuga cuncta gravent, plus violenta gravant.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 114 ]] 

Mons ascendentis descendentisque per ipsum

limite declivi vexat utrumque gradum.

Lubricus et gravis est: descensu pronior, inde

lubricus; ascensu celsior, inde gravis.

125Pectus in ascensu vix respirando fatiscit,

pes in descensu sepe labando cadit.

Inde quidem labor, inde tisis, pes namque vacillat:

ecce labor; pulsus deficit: ecce tisis.

Inde patet quantum noceat situs ille locorum,

130exsiccans pectus deiciensque gradum.

Omnis apex requiemque negat casumque minatur;

sollicitat stantem precipitatque statum.

Tucior est vallis, nec enim timet ille ruinam

qui nichil inferius quo moveatur habet.

135Presul ob has causas Ricardus transtulit urbem

et providit ei de meliore loco.

Neve facultatem redeundi clerus haberet

posterus, ecclesie corruit aula vetus.

Sed periens, cum corruerit, sed deficiens, cum

140absit, salvatur, stat tamen, et fit, et est.

O rerum novitas: ut salvetur, perit; ut stet,

corruit; ut fiat, deficit; ut sit, abest.

Quis transponende locus esset idoneus urbi

querere cura fuit longa, laborque brevis.

145Est in valle locus, nemori venatibus apto

contiguus, celeber fructibus, uber aquis.

Silva frequenter eum iuvat arboribusque ferisque,

fertilis arboribus, fertiliorque feris.

Quelibet arbor ibi frondet, quevis fera gaudet;

150arbor multa ferax, sed fera nulla ferox.

Non ibi dama timet ursum cervusve leonem,[[151]]

non linx serpentem capreolusve lupum.

Illic et volucres videas contendere cantu

que frutices, silvas, flumina, prata colunt.

155Cantus interdum philomena, frequenter alauda

exiguo promit gutture grande melos.

Laudat alauda locum, philomenaque philos amenum

carmen, id est carmen promit amoris ibi.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 115 ]] 

Carior hoc solo, quod rarior est, philomene

160cantus; alauda frequens tedia voce parit.

Adversus modulos ormelle fletus oloris

disputat: illa diem prevenit, ille necem.

Dulcis uterque sonus: vivens ormella propinat

ore melos; moriens fert olor ore liram.

165Pompam precellit volucrum turbamque ferarum

et vulgus nemorum gleba feracis humi;

flavam terra crocum, candentia lilia profert,

liventes violas purpureasque rosas.

Fontes et fluvios dives producit abyssus;

170pisces et volucres candida nutrit aqua.

Flores et fructus genialis parturit arbos,

herbas et segetes humida gignit humus.

Est ibi copia roris et unde, floris et herbe;

ros tepet, unda madet, flos nitet, herba viret.

175Tale Creatoris matri natura creata

hospicium toto quesiit orbe diu.

Hic nova construitur operosi cella laboris

egregie forme precipuique status.

Summa sed ima prius, nunc altior inferiorque:

180altior imperiis, inferiorque loco.

Stat quasi pene iacens, quanto tamen inferiore

statura, tanto commodiore statu.

Hic opus extruitur de sub cuius pede vivus

fons emanat aque transgredientis aquas:

185scintilla levior, cristallo clarior, auro

purior, ambrosia dulcior ille liquor.

Sic nova cella sedet ubi fluminis impetus urbem

letificat, frugum copia vulgus alit.

Regis silva domos prebet, florum decor egros

190allevat, herbarum vis nocumenta premit.

Huc si venisset expulsus de Paradiso,

exilium patrie preposuisset Adam.

Nux utrobique gravat silvas, odor afficit auras,

carmine ludit avis, flore superbit humus.

195Par hec nux huius nucis, hic odor huius odoris,

hec avis huius avis, hec humus huius humi.

Esto quod ille decor exuberat amplius, iste

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 116 ]] 

sentitur melius: res habitudo probat.

Res habitudo probat; quanto vicinior ergo

200exilio, tanto gratior iste locus.

Delicias dulces facit experiencia pene,

conditurque bonum cognitione mali.

Felix qui vivet consummatamque videbit

ecclesiam, circa quam tot amena nitent.

205Rex igitur det opes, presul det opem, lapicide

dent operam: tribus hiis est opus ut stet opus.

Regis enim virtus facto spectabitur isto,

presulis affectus, artificumque fides.[[208]]

Explicit de ecclesia Saresberiensi.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 117 ]] 


1227-1233, probably 1227-1229, possibly 1227

The introduction of the Life of St Oswald allows us a partial view of the recitation of the poem. The poet addresses not only the abbot but also the other higher officers in person and the convent as a group. He praises the sacristan for the care with which that official had bound his poems. He includes that touch of personality which is lacking in his other works written for monastic audiences. Such bits are very valuable; they give detail to our general knowledge that the patronage of monasteries was important for thirteenth-century literature.1.

The picture is one which Father Grosjean has already used effectively.2. Probably the entire monastery is before the poet, possibly upon the saint’s day, 5 August. The poet addresses the head of the monastery first. Abbot Martin is, according to the poet, the flower of the clergy and the first of the abbots; compared with the other abbots he is a sun among the stars, a flower in the grass, a Phoenix among the birds, laurel in bramble, wine alongside beer, and topaz in sand. He repeats these flattering comparisons: let none miss them! Then addressing himself to Roger the Prior and Simon the Sacristan he puns upon the former’s name, ‘rosam geris,’ and upon the latter’s title, ‘sacris instans.’ Next he speaks of Walter, who is to Simon as Solomon to David, Elisha to Elijah, or Joshua to Moses. Evidently Simon had recently been promoted to be sacristan from another office to which Walter was then elected. Following three higher officers of the monastery, Walter would probably be a fourth, almoner or cellarer, both of great significance to a poet for their control of gifts. Finally the poet appeals to the whole monastic group and ends by asking them not to be restrained in their applause.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 118 ]] 

Of Simon the Sacristan we have already spoken in the introduction: the praise bestowed upon him was not unmerited. The early catalogue of the Peterborough library shows that that house had a considerable collection of the poet’s works.3. Of these a majority has survived. They included the Life of St Hugh, No. 95, and the Certamen inter regem I et barones in one volume; both were written before 1227. Tropi de B. Virgine appear in two manuscripts; they might be No. 102 or other pieces and, of course, the time of composition is hard to discover. Then there is the ‘altercatio’ between Henry and Michael, which has not survived, but was written long after 1227. Simon can hardly be blamed for the terrible form, ‘Hamrincham,’ attached to the author’s name of this poem, and of the verses on canon law. Another volume contained the ‘Versus magistri Henrici de vita S. Oswaldi et aliorum,’ No. 48, and others. Among the ‘others’ was probably the Life of St Guthlac, No. 19, which a later Peterborough chronicler attributes to ‘Master Henry.’ Altogether the monastery possessed a considerable collection of the poet’s works.

The names of the several officers of Peterborough enable one to fix the date of composition with some accuracy. Abbot Martin was elected at the end of 1226 (in the Octave of St Anthony) and died on 25 June 1233.4. Simon the Sacristan was succeeded by a certain William in 1229,5. which brings the date of composition within the years 1227-1229. The promotions of Simon to the sacristy and of Walter to the vacated office, if the poem really hints at such, may well have followed the election of Abbot Walter in 1227. The evidence of the similar conclusions, which would show that this poem was completed before No. 23, also points to the year 1227.6.

As in the preface to other long hagiographies, Master Henry likens his hero, Oswald, to ancient heroes, Hercules, Alexander, and Caesar. Rather a pagan group for a mediaeval saint to be compared with in the presence of a monastic audience! The deeds of these heroes were celebrated by great poets, Homer, Lucan, and Walter of Chatillon. Master
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 119 ]] 
Henry modestly calls himself a dwarf in comparison with these giants. The juxtaposition of the three is rather striking, although it seems more natural if we remember that there were not many more centuries between Walter and Lucan than between the latter and Homer. Obviously the classical world lived for Master Henry and probably for the Abbey of Peterborough. If, he asserts, the ancient bards excelled him, the ancient philosophers also excelled the contemporary philosophers. In fact, one of the cleverest phases of the poem is the way in which he begins. Like a famous classical writer he is retelling old tales and versifying older prose; so his initial lines commence as do the Metamorphoses of Ovid.


In nova fert animus antiquas vertere prosas

carmina, que numero, mensura, pondere firmet

immutabilibus librata proporcio causis.

Perpetuare volens mundum Deus in tribus istis

5a primo stabilivit eum, causamque manendi

contulit una trium cunctis precisio rebus.

Quantum divine permittitur artis honorem

ars humana sequi, tantum pro posse sequetur

hunc in presentis operis mea musa tenore.

10Que tamen istius nichil artis adinvenit; immo

sic apud antiquos erat assuetudo, virorum

scribere virtutes et perpetuare triumphos,

ut memorata magis virtus imitabilis esset.

Quoque superstitibus animos exempla priorum

15vivendi post fata darent, aliquando poete

intertexebant aliquid de stamine falsi,

augendo titulos et fictis facta iuvando.

Alciden yperbolice commendat Homerus,

Gualterus pingit torvo Philippida vultu,

20Cesareasque nimis laudes Lucanus adauget.

Tres illi famam meruerunt, tresque poetas

auctores habuere suos; multo magis autem

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 120 ]] 

Oswaldi regis debent insignia scribi.

Quis fuit Alcides? quis Cesar Iulius? aut quis

25magnus Alexander? Alcides se superasse

fertur, Alexander mundum, set Iulius hostem.[[26]]

Se simul Oswaldus et mundum vicit et hostem.[[38]]

Tres igitur reges quot de se magna poetis

divisere tribus magno dicenda paratu,

30suscepi subito dicenda tot unus ab uno,

nec minor est moles que nanum sarcinat unum

quam fuit hec sub qua tres sudavere gigantes.

Inde laborandum michi sollicitudine summa est,

ne nimia pressus oneris gravitate vacillem.

35Regis enim tanti merus historiographus, alto

hunc teneor memorare stilo, meteque petende

liber inoffenso spacium percurrere gressu.

Invocacio ad Sanctum Oswaldum, regem et martyrem

Neve sibi tantum mea mens usurpet honorem,

Regis ego victoris opem suus invoco vates.

40Ipse michi queso dignetur adesse, meisque

immarcessibilem ceptis apponere dextram.

Invocacio ad M., abbatem de Burgo

Tu quoque digneris, precor, aspirare labori,

flos cleri, Martine, meo, qui talis es inter

abbates, qualis est patronus tuus inter

45pontifices, hic est primas; tu primus eorum;

istorum tu concilio collatus haberis

sol, illud stelle; flos, illud gramina; Phenix,

illud aves; laurus, illud dumeta; lieum,

illud cervisie; topazius, illud harene.

50Talis enim viget inter eos tua gloria, qualis

sol inter stellas, flos inter gramina, Phenix

inter aves, laurus inter dumeta, lieum

inter cervisias, topazius inter harenas.

Sol igitur splendendo michi, flos fructificando,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 121 ]] 

55Phenix durando, laurus redolendo, lieum

exhilarando velis, topazius esse vigendo.

Utque facis, semper Oswaldi gesta gerende

exemplar virtutis habe, nam quid sit agendum

nullus sanctorum perhibet manifestius isto

60cuius dextra docet post fata quid egerit ante.

Nullo verme perit, nulla putredine tabet

dextra viri, nullo constringi frigore, nullo

dissolvi fervore potest, sed semper eodem

immutata statu, non ens est, mortua vivit.

65Hoc sua dos donum, sua munificentia munus

illi promeruit, seseque quibuslibet idem

redderet effectus, eadem si causa subesset;

in te causa subest, quo munificentior alter

non conversatur sub sole; sed hoc, quia multis

70iudicibus constat, precor ut me iudice constet.

Invocacio ad Priorem[[71]]

Virque benigne, prior primis et prime priorum,

qui cleri, Rogere, rosam geris, annue vati.

Forsitan hoc nomen usurpo, meque moderni

philosophi reputant indignum nomine vatis.

75Sed quantum veteres me precessere poete,

tantum philosophi veteres vicere modernos.

Sed tu, cui soli licet utrorumque facultas,[[77]]

da michi te placidum, dederisque in carmina vires.

Invocacio ad Sacristam[[78]]

Tuque sacrista, sacris instans, qui iure vocaris

80Simon, id est humilis, quo nemo benignius implet

abbatis precepta sui, velocius audit,

tardius obloquitur, qui tot mea carmina servas

scripta voluminibus, nec plura requirere cessas,

preteritos laudas, presentes dilige versus.

85O rerum mutabilitas subitanea! nuper

tu michi Typhis eras in humo, Palinurus in undis;

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 122 ]] 

nunc alter Typhis, alter Palinurus habetur,

hic est Gualterus. Quis tu? quis hic? ut tibi dicam,

tu David, hic Salomon, Helyas, hic Helyseus,

90Moyses, hic Iosue; tibi successisse videtur

qualiter aut Salomon David, aut Helyseus Helye,

aut Iosue Moysi, quia scilicet est quasi prudens

prudenti, sanctus sancto, fidusque fideli.

Ambo favete michi queso, quia si michi vester

95faverit applausus, Phebum dederitis in illo.

Invocacio ad conventum

Vos etiam, domini, quibus hunc ostendo libellum,

quorum conventus alios supereminet omnes,

deprecor ut vestro clemencia vestra poete

arridere velit, nec enim me posse putarem

100aversos tolerare michi vos unicus omnes.

Tanta meis humeris imponam pondera? Nullo

impellente labo, quanto magis ergo labarem,

si me vestra manus digito quocumque moveret!

Corruit impulsu facili quem propria moles

105stare vetat, sed dedecus est impellere tales,

quos proprium labefactat onus; prosternere nullus

dignatur victor victum, vel honestus onustum.

Ergo sonante metro sensus precludite vestros

plausibus alternis, livoris namque maligni

110detractiva lues, odiique venefica pestis

vult inferre nephas, vult inspirare venenum

ut suspensivos immurmuret egra susurros.

Hiis super articulis obstate viriliter hosti

antiquo, vatique novo prebete favorem.

Explicit prologus in vitam Sancti Oswaldi.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 123 ]] 


1204-1227, probably 1227
1227, before 10 August

In the life of Master Henry of Avranches, Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, seems to have been a very important factor. As regent for the young Henry III he was in possession of tremendous resources for patronage. How closely he was associated with the bishop is not entirely clear. In his poetry he mentions the patron several times. At one time he defended the Bishop of Durham, Richard Marsh, in the bishop’s presence.1. In 1232 he is found defending des Roches’ candidate for Archbishop of Canterbury. About the same time, in a poem to the emperor, Frederick II, he recalls a statement of the Bishop of Winchester, lauding the emperor. Bishop Peter fell from power in 1227 and left England on a crusade. The poet also seems to have left England about this time, not to return for many years. Thus it is possible to believe that the poet shared very largely in the fortunes of the bishop, even though an examination of the printed charters of the bishop reveals no Master Henry in his household.

2.These two poems are the best bits of direct evidence of patronage on the part of the bishop. The Life of St Birin, if we may believe the evidence of the similar conclusions, was the last of the long saints’ lives written for English patrons which are now extant.3. The choice of St Birin as the subject rather than the saints Swithun, Adelwold, and Martin, all mentioned by the poet, may have been caused by the agitation over his place of burial at the time. Both Dorchester and Winchester claimed his remains, and the question was carried to Pope Honorius III, who decided in favor of Winchester in 1224-1225. The poem was probably written after this affair, since the concluding lines of the poem give Winchester as the burial place. If the poem was written after No. 48,
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 124 ]] 
which at its earliest must have been written in 1227, No. 23 must have been composed in the first seven months of that year. For Bishop Peter had left on his crusade by the tenth of August.4. A few lines on beer from this poem have had a long and curious history. They appeared separately in another MS from the long poem but with the correct ascription of authorship.5.

No. 155 was written after No. 23, which it mentions. Evidently the bishop had not given the poet his reward for the writing of No. 23; Henry hints that he would appreciate receiving it. Among the compliments heaped upon the bishop is an unusual one: the walls of Jerusalem are said to rejoice in anticipation of Peter’s arrival. The poem then was written in the spring or early summer of 1227, before his departure on crusade.6.


Et pudet et fateor quia turgeo magna professus,

Wintoniensis enim prothopresulis inclita gesta

aggredior rudiore stilo, possumque videri

fortunam Priami cantans et nobile bellum.[[4]]

5Ethnicus est equidem vir quem presumo canendum,

dignior attolli quam sit Tyrintius heros

vel sit Alexander Macedo. Tyrintius hostem

vicit, Alexander mundum, Birinus utrumque,

nec solum domuit mundum Birinus et hostem[[9]]

10sed sese, bello vincens et victus eodem.

De Sancto Birino. Invocatio ad Birinum

Alte parens, humilem non aspernere poetam

sed potius dignere, precor, Birine, labori

aspirare meo, nec enim fiducia muse

certa mee movet istud opus, sed iussio Petri

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 125 ]] 

15me quasi compellens, causaque valentior omni

summa tue laudis totum cantanda per orbem.

Invocatio ad Petrum Wintoniensem episcopum

Tu quoque proposito faveas, Petre Wintoniensis

presul, Birini successor idonee, cima

ardua virtutum, iubar admirabile cleri.

20Grande patrocinium prebent tibi quatuor, unus

natalis patrie, tres pontificalis honoris.

Birinus, Suithinus, Adelwoldusque ducatum

pontifici dant Wintonie, Martinus alumpno

Turonie; quapropter ego de quatuor istis

25proposui cantare tibi, Birinida scribens.

Ut quasi preludat aliis tribus, aptior ordo

constituit leviora prius, nam pectora lente

occupat et lente solet evanescere torpor.

Martini vero de quo me scribere primum

30iussisti, quodam laus est adeunda volatu.

Ergo volare volens prius evacuabo gradatim

segniciem; gradiar, curram, saltabo, volabo,

ut librem gradiens, currens, saliens, gradiendo

cursum, currendo saltum, saliendo volatum.

35Birinus siquidem mare metitur pedes: ecce

gressus; Suithinus Benedictum preterit: ecce

cursus; Adelwoldus de terris emicat: ecce

saltus; Martinus celum petit; ecce volatus.

Hos ego ductores certo sequar ordine, motu

40unumquemque suo, quorum tibi carmina postquam

scripsero, plura libens scribam cum plura iubebis.

No. 155

<O> Petre de Saxis,      qui cleri summus es ac sis,[[1]]

cur petra dicare      cur et de rupibus, a re

non a fortuna      provenit. Plu<r>ibus una

sufficit istarum,      non dico duri<t>iar<um>;

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 126 ]] 

5hii sunt namque bases,      sed tu super ecclesias es.

Es basis esque tholus      et habes duo propria solus.

Res est firma basis,      decet hoc ut in ecclesia sis,

nomen enim, Petre,      tibi dat constancia petre.

nec tempestate      quatitur fundata supra te

10sacra domus Domini,      Petri domus et Suith<ini>.

Mundus vero mare      quo Petri cimba <n>at<a>re,

hoc est, ecclesia,      legitur dictante sophia;

et tu Petrus ita      bene Petrus, item petra trita.

Petra tenens puppes,      talis petra quid nisi rupes?

15Rupes multarum      radix et origo petrarum,

non lesura pedem,      tholus est petra que levat edem.

Petra nec ut petra,      nam petra recedit ab ethra

et centrum sequitur,      tholus autem non reperitur

contiguus terre,      nec eni<m> contagia ferre

20terrea dignatur,      <sed> summus ad a<str>a levatur.

Te pate<t> esse p<etram>, tam<en excels>am petis ethram.

D<u>m <sur>sum ten<di>s c<...............h>abendis,

dum celum sequeris,      q<uod> semper et usque sequeris,

ecclesie thol<us es      cum nec> basis esse <r>ecuses.

25Dupliciter de<co>ras,      <P>etre, <S>yon, eamque laboras

et suste<ntare>      rupes <et pe>tra levare.

M<u>r<i> Ierusalem      gra<ta>ntur quod sibi talem

f<ata par>ent <lapi>dem,      qui sit tholus et basis idem.

R<ebus sic e>que      respo<nd>ent nomina, de<que>

30r<upib>us O Petre,      petra nomine <dice>ris et re.

Hec duo complete      michi sis, precor, et quia de te

hoc omnes sapimus,      tibi supplico, lubricus, imus.

<L>ubrica firmari      per te decet, ima levari.

Cum petra sis cumque      de rupibus, et sit utrumque

35istorum penitus      rigidus, lapicida peritus

ad predicta forem,      removens ab utroque rigorem

quamlibet assuetum,      si non michi <dee>sset acetum

et cruor yrcinus,      sed supplet utrumque Birinus,

cuius ego scripsi      tibi gesta. Regratior ipsi

40pronus et ipse tibi,      quia contigit hec ita scribi;

premia magna feres      sua, si mea non retineres.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 127 ]] 



In this long poem Master Henry supports before Pope Gregory IX the attempt of John Blund to secure papal confirmation of his election as Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1232. Since only Christian names are given, identification is necessary, but fortunately a few references make the situation clear. Addressed to a pope (L. 1) the poet pleads for a candidate named John (L. 5). Mention of the prior of Dover (L. 65) fixes the see as that of Canterbury. The previous incumbent was named Richard (L. 4); he must be the Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1229. John Blund was elected on 26 August 12321. and received royal permission to go to Rome three days later.2. The recitation probably occurred within the next few weeks. The poem gives information upon the question at issue and upon the rather brilliant career of Master John.

The election of the Archbishop of Canterbury had fallen afoul of politics in England. The struggle for political domination was between the adherents of Peter des Roches and Hubert de Burgh. Peter had lost out in 1227 and had chosen the occasion for a crusade to Palestine. Upon his return in 1231 he had regained his influence over the king. The struggle centered upon the appointment of the household officers and has recently been described by the late Professor Tout.3. Des Roches seems to have supported or perhaps even sponsored the candidacy of John Blund for the archbishopric. It was feared by many that the confirmation of Blund would place the Church in England as well as the state under Peter’s control.4. The opposition at Rome was led by Simon Langton, whose
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 128 ]] 
career was marked by violent controversies. He was, at this time, Archdeacon of Canterbury. The poet, who had enjoyed the patronage of Bishop Peter des Roches, is found upon the side of his patron’s candidate, as is to be expected.

The charges laid against John Blund were two: first, that the election itself was irregular (Ll. 65-72). The opposition said that the prior of Dover had not been present. There had been a controversy over this matter and it was not yet settled, but the absence of the prior had never been allowed to invalidate previous elections.5. In this case, moreover, the poet says that Blund had a letter of approval of his election from the prior and convent of Dover. The second charge was that John Blund had held two benefices with cure of souls after the Lateran Council of 1215 (Ll. 118-122), a charge that the poet does not deny. He asserts that the invalidation of Blund’s election would not be the proper penalty in any case (Ll. 133-147). For such an offense he should have lost his right to the first church as soon as the second was secured. But (Ll. 145-151) this was not necessary, since John had papal permission to hold two churches, permission secured while he was a professor at Oxford.

The only plausible objection left was that the character of John Blund was unworthy of the great honor of the archbishopric. The poet then lauds Blund’s fine character, thorough training, and high reputation (Ll. 77 ff.). The archbishop-elect had devoted attention to the works of Aristotle when they first appeared in western Europe (Ll. 77-84), being among the first to read them both at Oxford and at Paris. Then he turned to theology and became master of it after twelve years (Ll. 85-86). Although his opponents alleged that he had committed unworthy acts at Oxford, every element there testified to his honorable life (Ll. 87-94).

Some of the references to contemporary conditions are rather interesting. The passage illustrating the cosmopolitanism of the University of Paris is striking (Ll. 95-105). The mention of ‘nations’ there is one of the earliest known.6. The poet makes one particularly adroit move against the opponents of Blund. He refers first to the old custom of the Roman populace of sacking the apartments of deceased popes
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 129 ]] 
and cardinals,7. a custom which must have been thoroughly distasteful to the pope. Then he compares it to the recent antiforeign outbreak in England, where, after the death of the late archbishop, the lands of various foreign holders of benefices were pillaged.8. This outburst in England was thought to have been instigated by Hubert de Burgh, the chief enemy of Peter des Roches in English politics.9. The inference is that those who were opposing Blund were also implicated in this anti-foreign movement.

This poem was one of a rather large number composed by Master Henry for various patrons at the Papal Curia, most of whom were involved in legal difficulties. They show a certain amount of interest in canon law on the part of the poet. Indeed, a fuller interest is indicated by his versification of considerable portions of it.10. The poem also illustrates well the international character of mediaeval civilization. A poet bearing a French surname, but probably born and reared in Germany, pleads in Latin at the Papal Curia in behalf of an Englishman who was a famous professor at Paris and Oxford, probably at the instigation of a Poitevin who was Bishop of Winchester.

No. 127

Sancte pater, cuius discretio cismata mundi

solvit et humani generis moderatur habenam,

que soli subiecta Deo supereminet omnes

in terris apices, nostreque cacumina stirpis

5quantalibet superans penetrat penetralia celi,

et quamvis simplex, operis intenta duabus

sudores vacuos Athlantis et Herculis implet,

immo, quod plus est, celum mundumque labantem

sustentat, celum dextra mundumque sinistra:

10multa diremisti magnarum iurgia rerum

que nulli potuere prius decidere patres;

lis nova nunc agitur, non est qui iudicet alter;

restat ut infixo rationis acumine cernas

utrius lancis gravitate statera trahatur.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 130 ]] 

15Neve perorator videar conductus, egestas

quam patior prohibere potest; mediocriter essem

pauper vel summe dives, si metra placerent.

Set cui sive quibus non intellecta placebunt?

Preter me sunt prosaici quicumque perorant

20continua serie. Si non intelligar ergo,

quomodo conducar? Non est mea tibia tanti;

nec color oblectat cecos, nec carmina surdos.

Inde satis constare potest quia si qua perorem

nullus ad hoc prece vel precio me compulit, immo

25insitus humane rationi iura tuendi

naturalis amor compescendique furorem

quo presumit homo divina retexere facta.

Ponere nec mirum sibi quisque silencia debet;

federa figmentis ne coniugialia solvat,

30nullus adinvento contendat crimine; credi

vix etiam veris casu deberet in isto.

Si sacra coniugii lex eminet in Paradiso,

cum Deus omnipotens inter primordia mundi

tale sacramentum celebraverit, est ratione

35Actoris, ratione loci, ratione tenendum

temporis, et gravibus vix extenuabile causis;

figmentis igitur quanto minus est violandum?

Quocirca, quia spiritus est plus quam caro, fedus

si nulli carnale licet dissolvere, quanto

40ergo probabilius nec spirituale licebit?

Res tibi nota satis quia decedente Ricardo

ecclesie titubavit apex, rectore carentis;

electo rectore novo, surgensne relabi

iudicio valeat an lapsa resurgere, litem

45coram te subeunt ex una parte Iohannes,

ex alia Symon; et ego pro parte Iohannis

fundo pios gemitus exaudibilesque querelas

ne quid te moveat preter ius et rationem

discuciasque super causa, que vertitur inter

50ipsos; sic ne pars succumbat dextra sinistre.

Nil equidem dubito quin sit persona Iohannis

digna favore tuo, cuius prudencia simplex,

simplicitas prudens, nullis infecta venenis

invidie, nullis stimulata furoribus ire,

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 131 ]] 

55sustinet immerito ficte convicia labis.

Excipiens adversus eum deformia, sicut

audisti, si pars adversa probaverit unum,

restat ut electum quasses; hoc ipse fatetur.

Quod si deficiat cuiusque probatio noxe,

60restat ut electus habeatur ydoneus; et sic

cum nichil omnino super electoribus obstet,

nil super electo, cessante negotia quicquid

extenuare potest, electio quam celebrarunt

canonice qui debuerant procedere debet.

65Quod Dovorensis ibi prior abfuit, hoc nichil obstat

aut obstare potest, quia nec debebat adesse.

Esto tamen quod debuerit: non obviat et non

appellat pro iure suo, summoque favore

approbat electum; quod si, quemcumque remotus

70non elegit, ei tamen est electio grata,

est rata. Neve secus tibi res videantur, id eius

conventusque sui testatur pagina presens.

Summa requiruntur tantis examina rebus;

sedis apostolice medio censura feratur.

75Electi tamen est maiori digna favore

causa, malignari quia pars adversa videtur.

Adde quod a puero studiis electus inhesit,

primus Aristotilis satagens perquirere libros,

quando recenter eos Arabes misere Latinis,

80quos numquam fertur legisse celebrius alter

aut prius, ut perhibent Oxonia Parisiusque.

Non tamen est contentus eo quasi fine, nec artis

illi mundane suffecit adeptio, donec

humanos regeret divina sciencia sensus,

85ad quam translatus lustrisque duobus et annis

insudans totidem, rexit dominanter in ipsa.

<E>lecti meruere tuum bona tanta favorem,[[87]]

de quo si dubitas an perpetraverit ullum

Oxonie crimen, ut pars adversa notavit,

90quos nisi conventus, nisi cives et nisi clerum

tocius Oxonie poterit producere testes?

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 132 ]] 

Nec modo conventus, cives clerusque, sed ipsi

abbates, ipse prefectus, et ipse decanus

attestantur ei quia vitam duxit honestam.

95Sunt etiam plures, Galli, Saxones, et Angli,

Romani, Siculi, Sclavi, Pannones, Achivi,

Yspani, Gothi, Britones, sed ut omnia verbis

concludam brevibus, quos omnis natio que sub

celo consistit, poterat transmittere Romam,

100sunt, inquam, qui de diversis partibus orbis

venerunt propter diversa negocia, qui sunt

presentes, qui Parisius novere Iohannem

et super electo rem testificantur eandem,

diversis ydiomatibus iurare parati

105quod semper fuerit ibi conversatus honeste.

Vis alios igitur pluresve requirere testes?

Si iubeas, silices silvasque movebimus, immo

ipsaque, si sit opus, super hoc elementa loquentur.

Ergo, cum semper sis pronior ad meliora,

110quod rex, quod proceres, quod cancellarius, et quod

tocius Oxonie testatur clerus, et omnes

regni pontifices, quod et ipsum vulgus et omnis

natio Parisius in qualibet arte studentum,

iudicione tuo reprehensor inaniet unus,

115cum vox unius vox sit nullius, et eius

presertim qui nulla potest obiecta probare?

Neve quid electo iuste videatur obesse,

obiectu partis adverse dicitur idem

ecclesias habuisse duas quibus est animarum

120annexum regimen, habuitque, sed ante statutum

concilii. Quid obest igitur? Non debet haberi

transgressor, nec enim prior est transgressio lege.

Nam quod Alexander super hoc decreverat, Angli

prorsus omittebant, nec omittere Roma vetabat,

125unde videbatur dispensavisse silendo,

quod satis exprimitur in Decretalibus istis

in quibus ecclesias nulli prohibentur habere

quas habuere prius. Prohibebitur ergo Iohannes?

Verum ponamus quod non intersit an ante

130an post concilium plures intendat habere

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 133 ]] 

ecclesias aliquis: sequiturne quod infula numquam

pontificalis eum vel mitra vel anulus ornet?

Ecclesias si quis plures contendat habere,

unica pena subest, et quam determinat actor,

135scilicet hec, ut prima vacet, subeunte secunda;

et si rixari presumpserit, ut sua perstet

utraque, perstanter doleat privatus utraque.

Quod si preterea non sublimabilis esset,

bis puniretur ob id ipsum; iudicis autem

140refert ut penas non amplicet, immo coartet.

Hoc igitur non iudicio contingeret equo.

Ergo quid obicitur electo? Non suus error,

immo communis, si consuetudo probata

et prescripta diu censeri debeat error.

145Hoc eius pro parte facit specialiter, immo

exemptum demonstrat eum, quod quando legebat

Parisius, tua cavit ei clemencia ne quis

infestaret eum, suscepistique tuendas

ipsius ecclesias, et adhuc protectio durat,

150nec dici ratione potest quod possit habere

contra ius ambas et tu de iure tueri.

O quam difficilis exceptio! quam violenta

actio Symonis sic intentata Iohanni!

Ecclesias habuisse duas ostenditur ante

155concilium; bene debet eum reprehendere qui sex

obtinuit post concilium. Sed supprimo vocem,

forsan plus nutu quam voce movebere, forsan

plura meis tua concipiet discretio verbis.

Deberentque tuum lamenta movere favorem

160pupille vidueque Syon. Pupilla requirit

tutorem, vidua sponsum. Potes unus utrumque

reddere quando voles: voluisse decencius esset

et rupisse moram, mora namque pericula traxit,

dumque vacat sedes, pertransit inutile tempus;

165usus deficiunt usuraque proficit illo.

Dampna duo tempus facit, ecclesieque vacantis

demolitur opes, hinc usurarius, inde

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 134 ]] 

falsi tutores: domus ardet et intus et extra,

ecclesieque statum duo detrimenta molestant,

170quam mundana premit et spiritualis egestas.

Pastor sancte, gregem miserare, paterque pusillos.

Insistit tibi causa duplex: grex pascua querit,

et non est qui pascat eum; panemque pusilli,

et non est qui frang <at e> is; hic et hii morientur[[174]]

175tempestate famis, nisi sis memor huius et horum.

Divinum non est qui verbum seminet, immo

spiritualis agri lolium tribulique fatigant

triticeas messes, multisque laboribus olim

extirpata serunt falsi zizania fratres.

180Interea leo servat oves, gelidoque timore

vita gregis trepidat commissa rapacibus ursis.

Custodit populum populator, predia predo,

et vastas vastator opes, operosus aperte

fallere depositum, nec enim nisi perdita credit

185inconsumpta suo quecumque reliquerit usu.

Inserpunt thalamis hedere, clausasque cicute

obsedere fores, albescunt tecta ligustris,

utque loquar breviter, tanto patrimonia Christi

tempore fiscus habens iam prescripsisse videtur.

190Ut pape morientis opes ubi Roma lacessit

vixque fit ut tantos tantilla pecunia motus

sedet, avaricie non sufficiente rapina,

itur in omne nefas, dilatatoque furore

res peregrinorum supplent quodcumque fatiscit,

195sic ubi pupille quibus est commissa facultas

ecclesie reditus cumularunt, dona tulerunt,

ligna ceciderunt, piscesque ferasque vorarunt,

ambitio nondum tantis contenta quiescit

quin locupletet eos misere substancia plebis.

200Ruricole nullis intendunt usibus, ex quo

amisere boves, nec habent semencia terre.

Non aratro renovatur humus, non semine pregnat

set tribulos spinasque parit, durisque rubetis

horret et esurie perit extenuatus arator.

205Quid miri super ecclesia, si subdita clamat

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 135 ]] 

ad Dominum, que presse solet? Sanctissime patrum,

absit ut ipsa super te clamet, sit procul a te

ut lacrimas eius deducas, quas manifeste

deducis, si dissimulas abstergere debens.

210Dicit namque super hoc Ecclesiasticus: “Omnem

pupillum non despiciet, gemitusque loquelam

fundentem viduam Deus exauditor. In eius

maxillas eius lacrime volvuntur; in illum

qui deducit eas clamor deducitur eius,

215meror ab ipsius maxillis tollitur usque

ad celum; Dominus <non> delectatur in illo.”[[216]]

Oppressi sunt indigne quia vim patiuntur,

pupilli, quia patre carent; viduamque sedere

quis neget ecclesiam? Fac ergo, sacerrime, sicut

220dicit Ysayas: “Oppressis ferto iuvamen,

pupillis da iudicium, viduamque tuere.”

In preiudicium vidue nil crede superbis,

sed pocius recolas inter Proverbia scriptum

esse, “Superborum tumor occidet, et viduarum[[224]]

225fines firmabit Dominus.” Sic scire doceris

quid Deus intendat. Sis ergo vicarius Eius,

ut fines vidue firmes, eiusque patronum

confirmes, qui presto sequi vestigia Thome

martyris: in nullo presit quin prosit, et altus[[229]]

230set non elatus, oneri postponat honorem.

Eius et ecclesie tua sollicitudo labores

prosperet et properet: iubet hoc Deus, obsecrat orbis.

O pater ecclesie,      scola iuris et archa sophie,

qui debes, qui vis,      qui scis ius reddere cuivis,

235electus te ius      petit, adversarius eius

nititur excipere;      partes a <ppe>nde statere,

neu, pater, ignores,      qu<i n>osti cetera, mores

quos multis annis      multi novere Iohannis;

iudicium plebis      de moribus eius habebis,

240indicio cleri      poterit manifestus haberi;

regia maiestas      et pontificalis honestas

et gravitas procerum      satagunt ostendere verum.

Hiis in communi      vocine fidelius uni

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 136 ]] 

sancte pater, credes?      non sic a iure recedes,

245testibus ut mille      preiudicet unicus ille

qui male, qui temere      presumpsit cisma movere;

immo repulsabis      ficte convicia labis.[[247]]

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 137 ]] 


NO. 166 BENEDICTION Before 22 November 1244
NOS. 162 AND 163 LIVES OF ST EDWARD AND ST GEORGE Before 7 March 1245

King Henry III, who reigned in England for over half a century (1216-1272), is known to have had superior artistic taste.1. His court is also said to have been a literary center, but of this little evidence has been offered.2. The king was interested in the chronicles of Matthew Paris and honored him upon several occasions, but he can hardly be regarded as Paris’ patron.3. This writer’s volume, our manuscript A, contains items in its ancient index which seem to suggest that two poets, Michael of Cornwall and Paulin Piper, may have been in the royal literary circle which is already known to have included John of Hoveden and Henry of Avranches.

One of these items is ‘De crure I. Mansel Curando Mich’.’ Of this phrase the meaning of all but the ‘Mich’’ is clear: it refers to a poem purporting to be versification of a speech by King Henry III to two physicians attending the broken leg of John Mansel.4. ‘Mich’’ is probably the abbreviation for Michael. The only poet of this time whose name was Michael was Henry’s enemy, Michael of Cornwall. The poem resembles the verse of that poet, which is rather crude, more than the more polished verse of Master Henry; there are also two quite distinctive phrases in common.5. The date of the poem, 1243, is many years later than any other
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 138 ]] 
piece in A. Taken together, the evidence points to the authorship of Michael of Cornwall rather than that of Master Henry. It would show that Michael was at court at the time of writing.

Mansel possessed great wealth and was even reputed by contemporaries the richest clerk in England, with the magnificent income of four thousand marks a year.6. Much of his wealth he owed to the king, with whom he was a great favorite. About Mansel’s intellectual interests little is known: he seems to have brought a book with him from Spain to England.7. He was apparently not a master, but he had a nephew of the same name who bore the title, and who was probably the D.D. of Paris lauded by John of Garland as a patron.8.

In the poem neither the time nor the place of the accident to Mansel is given. Fortunately we know from Matthew Paris that such an incident took place during the siege of Verines in the summer of 1243 in the course of Henry III’s campaign against Louis IX.9. The king is lecturing two surgeons, Cincius Romanus and Roger, upon their fate if they should fail to cure the patient.10. Cincius was probably a canon of St. Paul’s, and was among the Italians caught in the anti-foreign outbreak in England about 1231.11. Roger has not been identified. Although the records do not reveal the outcome of the efforts of these surgeons, they do show that large credit was given to another surgeon, Peter de Montibus, for Mansel’s recovery.12.

The other item in the index of A reads ‘Quedam rithmice composita de Sancto Georgio per Paulinum Piper,’ verse which has not yet been discovered. Paulin is described
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 139 ]] 
by Matthew Paris as a ‘miles literatus sive clericus militaris’ who died on 5 June 1251 after a rather interesting career at the royal court, where he rose from poverty to wealth through the favor of the king, who made him a steward and special counselor.13. A glance through the indexes of the printed collections of rolls confirms the statement about the king’s interest in Piper and enables us to place the first appearance of Piper at court probably in the summer of 1238.14. If this item in the index of A indicates Piper as a poet, he was evidently one of the few non-ecclesiastical writers of the thirteenth century; unlike most of them he was married and a crusader.15. The choice of a subject is also of interest. Since Henry III paid Henry of Avranches for a Life of this same St. George, it would seem this saint was a favorite of the king.

John of Hoveden is known to have written a pious poem entitled Philomena for Queen Eleanor, wife of Henry III.16. In the manuscripts of this poem and in royal documents he is called her clerk. At his instance in 1268 and again the following year several men received pardons from the king.17. On 3 September 1275 he was granted a prebend in the church of Bruges.18. He is called master so seldom that it seems probable the contemporary astrologer, Master John of Hoveden, is another person.19. The poet had a weakness for numbers and fancy names in his titles: Philomena, Cythara, Viola, Quindecim Gaudia Virginis, Quinquaginta Salutationes beate Virginis.

In a fourteenth-century manuscript containing among other odds and ends a fragment of Michael’s poem against
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 140 ]] 
Master Henry, and a poem by ‘Magister Henricus versificator magnus’ (probably Henry of Avranches), there is a group of proverbs which begins ‘Incipit inventum quod habet proverbia centum.’20. We should expect the king to be Henry III and the author to have been one of the poets at his court. Several of these might seem to have some claim as the author of the poems. In the manuscript mentioned above the Inventum followed the fragment of Michael’s poem; Henry of Avranches is known to have been well patronized by the king; the use of an unusual name and number suggests John of Hoveden. Actually the poem was written by a certain Wipo two centuries earlier for a future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire while he was still king. It has been published several times.21. This illustrates the hazards of assigning authorship by circumstantial evidence.

In contrast to these meager items about the relationship to the court of Michael of Cornwall, Paulin Piper, and John of Hoveden are the very full Exchequer records showing the extensive rewards which Henry of Avranches received.22. He was granted twenty shillings a month from 20 October 1243 to 5 April 1244. On 7 March 1245 he was given ten marks for the Lives of St. Edward and St. George. For some years after this his name disappears from the rolls, to reappear in the summer of 1251. He had permission to collect the arrears of his salary, one hundred shillings. Since he is not known to have had a salary since 1243-44 the arrears may go back to that time. He was paid another hundred shillings the following year and probably received two gifts of ten pounds each. In 1256 he received odd gifts of sixty, twenty-five, and eleven shillings. For these irregular gifts the king substituted in 1255 and 1256 two pensions of three pence a day. The Tellers’ Rolls show that the poet often collected his pension in small sums possibly at such short intervals as four and six days. He collected in full until Easter 1260. There are no payments in money after this, though rewards of other sorts continue until June 1262. Probably the triumph of the barons
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 141 ]] 
in 1260 was responsible for the cessation of Exchequer payments. They reduced the revenues of aliens in England in all directions; our Henry probably suffered along with the rest.

In the summer of 1251 the first evidence of royal wine grants is recorded; by a letter close of 2 August Henry was given two jars of wine (‘vini meri et optimi’) and on the thirtieth of the same month he received another of wine described as ‘peroptimum.’ On 5 March 1255 and on 23 June 1256 he received other gifts of wine, always of the best.23. In 1257 by a letter patent he was to receive yearly for life a tun of vintage and a tun of rack, ‘que rex concessit per annum ad sustentationem suam.’24. Apparently he might get them when he wished, since the writs show no regularity in time of collection.25. He received also special grants of good wine on 23 May 1259 and of the king’s best on 25 July 1261.26.

Another form of gift was that of robes, which Michael of Cornwall said his opponent received from the queen,27. and which the close rolls show were granted to him on 20 May 1260, 13 October 1260, 14 December 1260, 5 January 1262, and 8 June 1262.28. The final item is the last reference to him in the records, showing him still alive in the summer of 1262.

Master Henry was evidently a well-paid courtier of the king. He was rewarded specifically for the versification of the lives of two royal saints. What else, if anything, did he do to earn these rewards? Probably he wrote other verse which has not survived. Of one such piece we know only the theme (No. 166), but the king thought so highly of it that he caused it to be borne by the monks of Westminster in a ceremony in honor of St. Thomas the Apostle.29. Some poems to the courtiers also remain. All in all, there is enough to discount the disparaging statements of Michael that Henry was merely a ‘histrio regis’ who never read divine stories and
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 142 ]] 
kept his readings in the court upon a very low plane.30.

But if we are not to accept Michael’s low estimate of Master Henry, are we to rank him as an unofficial poet laureate? Like most of them Henry had his enemies; like them he also received pensions and wine grants, but these might have been the lot of any favored courtier. That he was ever crowned with the laurel is improbable, although it was occasionally done in that century. In the records he is designated as ‘versificator’ or ‘versifier,’ but not even as ‘versificator regis.’ And Michael’s designation of him as ‘archipoeta,’ upon which fond hopes have been raised, apparently has another meaning.31. If by poet laureate is meant the poet consistently honored and rewarded beyond other poets by the king, probably our poet may be considered at least a precursor of the poets laureate of later English history.

Our knowledge of the patronage of King Henry is still very meager. We know of nothing dedicated specifically to him, and there may have been none. The writers whom we have identified as having some connection with the court were all poets and much of their writing was devotional or hagiographical. This is quite in keeping with the interests of king and queen. The poetry of John and Henry is fair poetry, that of Michael, poor. Probably many of the anonymous epigrams which appear in contemporary chronicles came from these and other poets of the court circle, but this is largely conjecture. To say the least, the study of the intellectual interests of Henry III and his court is an elusive one.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 143 ]] 


NO. 146 TO FULK BASSET, BISHOP OF LONDON 16 December 1243-20 May 1259

Of the poetical activity of Master Henry of Avranches during the years after he rejoined Henry III about 1243 little has survived except a series of courtier poems. In content and expression these do not differ greatly from his earlier ones. He still cannot resist the temptation to beg, although his income from the king alone was not a small sum. As before, he resorts frequently to etymologizing; for the names Fulk Basset and Robert Passelewe he uses French as well as Latin.1. His patrons are still bishops.

Fulk Basset, Bishop of London, was held in high esteem by another poet, John of Garland, and was possibly his patron.2. The circumstances of composition of the piece to Basset cannot be determined from the poem. No. 154, to William of York, Bishop of Salisbury, tells us that the patron was entertaining the king and his friends in a castle. Evidently this was not the first of such hospitable occasions, since the poet mentions entertainment of the king as a frequent occupation of the bishop (L. 23). Probably the poet was in the royal party at the time. The wandering poet’s ideal of plenty of food and wine is clearly the basis for the assertion that the patron was ‘ab omni parte beatus’; they were still as attractive to him as they were in the days of the translation of St Thomas à Becket. A somewhat sadder strain appears in the other poems; the events mentioned in them enable us to fix the dates of composition with some accuracy. For the rest the time of
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 144 ]] 
the episcopate of the patron is the only chronological indication.

The Bishop of Winchester, William of Raleigh, had such difficulty with the king that he went into exile and did not return until 5 April 1244.3. The poem was written after that day, since the opening lines refer to the dispute. It was probably composed before the poet’s apparent absence from England about 1244 or 1245 to 1250.4. The bishop’s benediction solicited by the poet upon his departure may have been for a journey either from England or merely from the bishop’s presence.

The death of Robert Passelewe on 6 June 1252 at Waltham removed from the court of Henry III not only a royal favorite and judge but a friend of the poet. One poem and probably both were written upon the day of the death or funeral of Passelewe.5. For the last time the poet played upon name of a friend for whom, he says, he had sung many times. Passelewe had been a friend of probably thirty years’ standing; his passing must have awakened sad thoughts in the mind of the poet. The figure of a ‘harbor of safety’ was written with some feeling by Master Henry. He too was old and had spent his life traveling about the earth; probably by this time he was ready to make England his harbor for the remainder of his life. He wrote of Robert that he had been the strength of judgment, of law, and of warfare, and had become through his death the incense of sacrifice, of grace, and of holiness.

No. 146

Quod michi Fulconis de nobilitate videtur

supprimo; nugatur qui manifesta docet.

Procedo melius, nec enim communia pando

sed mea nominibus scripta sigillo suis.

5Nomina pontificis hodierni vocibus inter

se distant, actu conveniunt in idem.

Fulcit enim fulco, fulcit basis, officiique

pontificalis onus nomen utrumque notat.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 145 ]] 

Que supra petram non est sita, quomodo stabit

10fabrica, si vehemens impetus instet aque?

Queritur idcirco petra “bas” sita, sive “deorsum,”

cum stabilem volumus edificare domum.

Ergo petra fabricam qui fulcit, “bas” situs, hoc est

“inferior,” debet illius esse situs.

15Sed fulco nomen trahit a “fulcimine”; nullus

ergo fulco nisi “bas” situs esse potest.

Inde domum Domini cum Fulco labare videret,

ut fulciret eam, “bas” situs esse solet.

O numquam virtutis opus vel gesta virorum

20inclita preteriens irretributa Deus,

“bas” situs ut fulco nunc “haut” situs est quasi falco,

tunc ut fulco iacens, nunc quasi falco volans.

Utque notet seriem rerum metafora vocum,

nox erat, et ruppes, pes erat atque basis;

25tunc nox, ecce dies; tunc ruppes, ecce metallum;

tunc pes, ecce capud; tunc basis, ecce tholus.

Est etenim splendore dies, gravitate metallum,

maiestate capud, arduitate tholus.

Ergo patrocinio tanti Londonia debet

30presulis ingenuum subdere prona capud.

Et Deus et mundus hunc tante preficit urbi,

assensu mundus iudicioque Deus.

Ergo dignus ibi preest, ergo qualis ad urbes

urbis, et ad patres est habitudo patris.

35Haut sibi competerent alioquin; maxima vero

est hec urbs, ergo maximus iste pater.

No. 153

Presul Wintonie,      cleri Wi<ll>e<rme> lucerna,[[1]]

te probitas hodie      gaudet superasse veterna.

Hanc in te si quis      querat, reperire valebit;

querens in reliquis,      procul abfugisse stupebit.

5Hoc nimis experior,      michi nemine rem tribuente,

et sum pauperior      Codro nil prorsus habente.[[6]]

Non ars, non ratio,      non me iuvat ipsa poesis,

et quod deficio      mea dicitur esse frenesis.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 146 ]] 

Tu vero veterum      specialis et unicus heres

10non cumulis rerum      sed Petri laudibus heres.

Hinc michi prosperius      successit, it<us>que paranti[[11]]

percipienda prius      patris est benedictio tanti.

No. 154

Te, Willerme, quidem,      qui flos et fructus es idem,

flos Ebora<censis>      fructusque Sarisbiriensis,

flos fructusque, bene      flos vernans, fructus amene,

qui regem reficis      venientem cum tot amicis

5c<astra>que replentem,      castum notat et sapientem

p<ro>prietas eboris,      eboris si propria <no>ris.

Est os ebur mundum,      prius album, mox rubicundum;

indeque pontificum      duo fers epytheta. Pudicum

te notat albedo,      sapientem vero rubedo.

10Hiis gaudere potes,      sed magnificencia dotes

dotibus adiecit,      quarum te gratia fecit

tantum pontificem.      Quia vis thoraca trilicem,

vis galeam, more      Willermi, cuncta labore

magnifico superas,      calcaturusque chimeras

15cum quasi campio stes,      cedunt tibi quilibet hostes,

spiritus immundus,      caro lubrica, pseudoque mundus.

Magnifice pugnas,      nec tam tamen approbo pugnas

quam que magna facis      studiumque decencia pacis,

cum belli curas      abigis nec parcere curas

20sumptibus innumeris,      affectu quin venereris

regem quo debes,      cui te simul et tua prebes.

Sicut aquas Histri      vinum fudere ministri,

quo Deus emundat      animos, om<nisque red>undat

deliciis venter.      Et non semel, immo frequenter

25fronte soles hylari      cum principe sic e<pulari>.

Est tuus iste status,      es ab omni parte beatus;[[26]]

sed michi stat misere,      qui semper cogor egere.

No. 148

<C>antatus michi tociens[[1]]

nunc quoque carmen exigit;

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 147 ]] 

nam thema dat sufficiens

qui terrena dum ambigit,

dum cor in Deum dirigit,

discretus vir et sapiens

Robertus aq<uas> transiens

portum salutis attigit.

<R>obertus partes proprie[[9, 17]]

10nominis decet proprii;

robur ol<im, thus> hodie,

robur enim iudicii,

thus vero sacrificii;

robu<r legis>, thus gracie;[[14, 16]]

15robur erat milicie,

nunc est thus sa<nctimonii>.

<U>troque privilegio

statum transcendens hominis,

ex <peccati> diluvio[[19]]

20transit ad ripam fluminis,

Summi profess<or Numinis>,

novo Cuius officio

patet expressa ratio

nominis et cogn<ominis>.

No. 149

<N>ullus aque, nullus peccati terminus in se est;[[1]]

nam peccata fluunt lubrica sicut aque.

Hiis aliisque modis fit conveniencia per quam

peccatum tropice significatur aquis.

5Harum Robertus semper transgressor aquarum

dictus, eas numquam transiit usque modo.

Nunc transivit aquas, quia nunc peccata reliquit,

se Christo, †ipsum sacrificando Patri.

Nunc, inquam, transivit aquas portumque salutis

10carbasa iam ventis non sinuanda tenent.

Prosperitate freti nunc primum freta quiescit

proponitque ratum non remeare ratis.

Inde patet ratio cognominis, et rationem

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 148 ]] 

nominis acta satis hec hodierna docent.

15Robertus--robur, thus--robur desinit esse

nunc mundo, sed thus incipit esse Deo.

Et bene Robertus quasi robur thusque vocatur;

robur legis erat, thus pietatis erit.

Robur firmabat stata, thus spirabit odorem;

20<r>obur iura dabat, thus holocausta dabit.

<Sic> subsunt res nominibus, mysteria rebus,

<carm>ina quas hodie multisonora canunt.

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 149 ]] 



The ancient catalogue of Peterborough Abbey contained the title of an ‘altercatio’ between Master Henry and Master Michael which has probably not survived.1. At first thought this might seem to refer to a very long poem or series of poems, Michael’s side of the controversy, which is extant.2. This assumes that the cataloguer had the title wrong. But since in another place he has given the title of the extant work correctly, this assumption does not seem probable.3. It is no matter for surprise that Peterborough, which had a good collection of Master Henry’s work, should have possessed this poem. Nor should we be surprised that he participated in a controversy on such a distinctly low plane. Some of his other poems abound in vituperation.4.

Very probably Master Henry’s share in the controversy would have revealed much about the life of Michael of Cornwall. The loss is the greater, since so little of this poet’s life is known. He has been called Michael Blaunpayn, but the evidence for it is not very impressive.5. There is a possibility that ‘blaunpayn’ was a nickname occasioned by the name, Michael, as it appears that the loaf of white bread given each day as a part of a corrody was called a ‘mich.’6. Michael’s
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 150 ]] 
surname may have been ‘le Poter.’ The Versus magistri Michaelis le Poter de Corn. in a Bodleian manuscript has the same curious form of verse as lines 1206 ff. of Michael’s long tirade.7. It is possible but not probable that there were two Master Michaels, both of Cornwall and both writing such verse. Michael was a very uncommon name among contemporary writers.

A third piece possibly by Michael is the Lament upon the Death of Montfort,8. of about 1265. Written within fifteen years of the time of his long tirade against Henry of Avranches, the poem has some striking similarities to the other piece.9. Both include a curious use of single letters, of the names of towns,10. the use of dates at some length,11. the identical expression ‘non sit tibi cura,’12. and the frequent use of O and cur. If this poem is by Michael, it shows that he was an anti-royalist and was still alive in 1265. If No. 62 is by him rather than by Henry his career began at least as early as 1243.

Michael’s poem gives but little information about himself in comparison with the hints about his opponent. He was younger than Henry,13. and had probably studied rhetoric under him.14. He considered himself a philosopher with a better knowledge of logic than Henry,15. although he admits his adversary’s superiority in verse.16. His vision was somewhat
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 151 ]] 
defective also, although he was still young at the time of the controversy.17. He had evidently been accused of plagiarism by Henry.18. His attitude of respect toward his opponent, apparent in the first hundred lines, changes suddenly to one of extreme disparagement.

What sort of a controversy was this in which Michael and Henry were engaged? It does not seem to have been based upon the versification of a particular topic, like Henry’s Upon Generation and Corruption. Michael’s verse is written for definite audiences, as was Master Henry’s. This contest was apparently a test of poetic skill in several forms of verse.19. Lacking a central theme, the contest quickly turned to personalities and thus to savage comments upon each other. Between the necessities of meter and rhyme and the vigor of personal invectives the poetry becomes ‘schwierig und dunkel,’ to use Professor Hilka’s apt expression. Thomas Fuller describes the verse as follows:20.

Henry....had traduced Cornwall as an inconsiderable country, cast out by nature in contempt into a corner of the land. Our Michael could not endure this affront, but full of Poeticall fury falls upon the Libeller; take a tast (little thereof will go far) of his strains.

From the rubrics it is clear that Michael’s poem was composed in three parts, ending at lines 368, 626, and 1276, respectively. Master Henry was present, ready to read his verse.21. The judges of the first part were the Abbot of Westminster and the Dean of St Paul’s, and the contest was held in the church of St Mary of the Arches in London, on Wednesday after Purification.22. Apparently it was recited
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 152 ]] 
again before Hugh, bishop of Ely, and the chancellor and university of Cambridge.23. Hugh Mortimer, official of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was the presiding officer of the contest for the second part, which was apparently held before Easter.24. Of the third part the Bishop-Elect of Winchester and the Bishop of Rochester were the judges.25. The year or years are unknown, but it was between 1250, when Aymer de Valence became Bishop-Elect of Winchester, and 1254, when Hugh, Bishop of Ely, died. Michael is quite proud of his efforts, asserting that Henry desired a truce after the first bout, which he won,26. and later claims three victories over his opponent, apparently for two recitations of the first part and one of the second.27. From the quality of the judges it would seem that these poetical contests were rather important in the eyes of contemporaries.

Michael alleges a great deal about Henry, most of which is probably exaggerated. According to him, Henry’s father was a thief and his mother a prostitute; the poet himself has tended swine, hanged thieves, and cleaned cesspools.28.
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 153 ]] 
The family was Norman,29. and the father’s name was Troteman.30. It would be interesting if he were related to the distinguished Troteman family of Wells. King John promoted one member, Hugh, to be Bishop of Lincoln, and another, Joscelin, to be Bishop of Bath and Wells.31. To judge from Michael’s lines, such a relationship was improbable. Henry was alleged to have married a cobbler’s daughter: possibly the red-haired prostitute to whom he gave a garment presented to him by the queen.32. Henry was doubtless old by this time, almost blind, and with a poor memory.33. Michael’s description of his opponent reaches a climax in the following lines (350-4); they have been widely quoted.

Est tibi gamba capri,      crus passeris et latus apri,

os leporis, catuli      nasus, dens et gena muli,

frons vetule, tauri      caput et color undique Mauri.

Hiis argumentis,      quibus est argucia mentis,

quod non a monstro      differs, satis hoc tibi monstro.

While Michael charges his opponent with plagiarism,34. he adds the more serious charge that Henry with a low fellow named Nicholas or Colinus Suihud broke into his chest
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 154 ]] 
and stole both poems and money.35. If Michael’s statement that Henry stole his savings of thirty years be true Michael can hardly be called a boy. This incident, which looks like a rather rough practical joke, possibly occurred between the readings of the first and second parts and may explain the change in attitude toward Master Henry by Michael. There are other things with which Michael taunts Henry: the latter’s restless disposition, his association with the excommunicate emperor, Frederick II, his failure to find Louis IX a patron, his finding favor in England alone, his heavy drinking, and his interminable versifying of old prose.36. On the score of reciting only frivolous and obscene verse at court our edition acquits him,37. and in the light of this mistake we may seriously discount many other charges perhaps as ill founded.

In one respect the poetry of Michael gives valuable evidence about Henry. The title of Master borne by him evidently came from some university, but there is, in Henry’s poetry, little evidence of specific academic connections. Michael states that his opponent tried to teach at both Oxford
 [[ Print Edition Page No. 155 ]] 
and Paris.38. In another passage he mentions his teaching, in another, his school, and in a third his attempt to teach the English the ars dictandi.39. The ars dictaminis, business correspondence, was a very popular subject, regarded as highly practical, before which the study of the classics had been steadily declining. It was closely associated with rhetoric, in which, as we have seen, Michael had probably been a student of Henry.40.

Finally, a number of Michael’s allusions to Henry help to explain each other and to clear up what is at first a rather perplexing situation. He calls Henry ‘histrio regis’ reciting ‘gulias,’ a mime, ‘primas primus,’ ‘primatum primas,’ and ‘archipoeta.’41. Taken alone ‘primas’ and ‘archipoeta’ might be adduced as evidence that Henry occupied an especially distinguished position at court. ‘Gulias’ suggests that Michael had in mind the goliards, wandering scholars and poets reciting lively and often scandalous verse, of whom the most famous had been called Primas and Archipoeta. Or it may possibly be that among contemporary goliards Henry was honored by such names.42. More probably Michael is just being humorous at Henry’s expense, using archpoet in a different and derogatory sense from that which his position as pensioner of the king might suggest. In any case ‘primas’ and ‘archipoeta’ are not to be considered lightly as synonyms for poet laureate.



 [1. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 25b; Rot. Litt. Pat., p. 85; H. Cole, Documents Illustrative of English History in the Thirteenth Century (London, 1844), p. 243.

 [2. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 627, 652b.

 [3. ] Francis Palgrave, Rotuli Curiae Regis (London, 1835), I, 391; Brit. Mus. MS Cotton, Faustina C. I., fol. 16v.

 [4. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 277. The index of this volume gives a reference to Lambert of Cologne on p. 246b which is apparently a mistake.

 [5. ] Hubert Hall, The Red Book of the Exchequer (London, 1896, Rolls Series), II, 523.

 [6. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 176 for 4 November and 177b for 28 November.

 [7. ] Associated Arch. Soc. Reports, I, 198.

 [8. ] A. M. Bandini, Catalogus Codicum Latinorum Bibliothecae Mediceae Laurentianae, etc., IV, 109.

 [9. ] See above, p. 11.

 [10. ] P. R. O., Liberate Roll 21, m 1.

 [90 ] MS A

 [91 ] MS A

 [91a ] MS A

 [92 ] MS A

 [93 ] MS A

 [1. ] M. R. James, Lists of Manuscripts formerly in the Peterborough Abbey Library (Oxford, 1926), p. 44.

 [2. ] See pp. 117 f.

 [3. ] It is barely possible that No. 98 is the anonymous poem called the ‘Taking of Lincoln,’ published by T. Wright, The Political Songs of England from the Reign of John to That of Edward II (London, 1839), p. 19, called in MS ‘Versus de guerra regis Johannis.’

 [4. ] W. de G. Birch, Catalogue of Seals in the Department of Manuscripts of the British Museum (London, 1887), I, 15.

 [5. ] For this see Hilda Johnstone, ‘Poor-Relief in the Royal Households of Thirteenth-Century England,’ Speculum, IV (1929), 153.

 [6. ] K. J. Holzknecht, Literary Patronage in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, 1923), devotes a chapter to English literary patrons of the Middle Ages, in which royal patronage bulks large.

 [7. ] J. C. Russell, ‘Three Short Studies in Mediaeval Intellectual History,’ Colorado College Publication (December, 1927), pp. 60-69. Other references are Holzknecht, Literary Patronage, p. 221; W. Stubbs, Seventeen Lectures, etc., (Oxford, 1887), p. 123; Mary Bateson, Mediaeval England (New York, 1904), pp. 156-157.

 [8. ] Holzknecht, Literary Patronage, p. 221.

 [9. ] T. Wright, ed., The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis (London, 1881), p. 177.

 [10. ] Seventeen Lectures, p. 123.

 [11. ] Mediaeval England, p. 156.

 [12. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 108.

 [13. ] T. Wright, The Political Songs of England, etc., (London, 1839), pp. 14, 27.

 [14. ] Memorials of Richard I (London, 1864), I, xlix.

 [15. ] These two have been sometimes confused with each other (as in Russell’s ‘Three Short Studies,’ Colorado College Publication (December, 1927), pp. 62-66) and even with other men, as Powicke shows in his ‘Master Alexander of St Albans, a Literary Muddle,’ Essays in History Presented to Reginald Lane Poole (Oxford, 1927), pp. 246-260. Russell’s ‘Alexander Neckam in England,’ English Historical Review, XLVII (1932), pp. 260-268, the most recent biography of Neckam, also adds items about the other Alexander.

 [16. ] Tanner, p. 433; Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 3, 8, 18, 25, 81b, 82; Rot. Chart. p. 134.

 [37 ] MS A

 [1. ] See Appendix B.

 [2. ] L. 20.

 [3. ] Ll. 23-24.

 [4. ] Ll. 155-156.

 [5. ] Ll. 153-154.

 [6. ] Ll. 161-164.

 [7. ] See Appendix B.

 [8. ] Acta Sanctorum, May, II, 652; VII, 673.

 [9. ] See pp. 26, 99.

 [10. ] See Appendix B.

 [11. ] F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints (London, 1899), II, 502.

 [12. ] See p. 52.

 [13. ] H. Bradshaw and C. Wordsworth, Statutes of Lincoln Cathedral (Cambridge, 1897), II, 833.

 [14. ] See Mr Russell’s ‘The Significance of Charter Witness Lists in Thirteenth Century England,’ New Mexico Normal University Bulletin (August, 1930, Supplement).

 [27 ] MS A

 [6 ] MS A

 [1. ] See Appendix B.

 [2. ] Ibid.

 [3. ] Dictionary of National Biography (1st ed.), V, 289. He was alive until 21 July, 1225 and possibly until 31 August (Calendar of Close Rolls, 1224-1227, p. 80), but dead by 14 September (Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1216-1225, p. 550).

 [4. ] F. N. Davis, Rotuli Hugonis de Welles (Lincoln, 1912), I, 66.

 [5. ] See pp. 6 and 7.

 [6. ] Paul Meyer, ed., Histoire de Guillaume de Maréchal (Paris, 1891-1901).

 [7. ] Historia Anglorum (Rolls Series), II, 232; Chronica Majora (Rolls Series), III, 43.

 [8. ] We have not seen the doctoral dissertation of Sidney Painter upon the life of Marshall (Yale, 1930).

 [44 ] MS A

 [42 ] MS A

 [1. ] See p. 7. The last line was given in F. Madan and H. H. E. Craster, A Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (Oxford, 1895), III, 352.

 [2. ] Much of this introduction has appeared in our ‘The Grammatical Works of Master Henry of Avranches,’ Philological Quarterly, VIII (1929), 23-33, but the article discusses the grammar in more detail. The rotographs of this manuscript are deposited in the Harvard University Library.

 [3. ] British Museum, Additional MS 23892, foll. 84r-87v. For a description of the poem see Philological Quarterly, VIII, 33-34.

 [4. ] That is, before No. 95, which is clearly of that year.

 [5. ] See especially p. 123.

 [6. ] H. G. Hewlett, ed., Flores Historiarum (London, 1887), II, 318.

 [7. ] Described in Philological Quarterly, VIII (1929), 22-23; edited by us in Colorado College Publication (February, 1929), pp. 10-15.

 [103 ] MS G

 [1. ] We are indebted to Paul Grosjean, S. J., for pointing out that the mediaeval leap day was ‘bissextilis’ of the Calends of March or 25 February.

 [2. ] Camden, Remaines of a Greater Worke, etc., (London, 1605), Poetry, p. 41. These pictures of the months are parallel to pictures of the characteristic features of each month in mediaeval books of hours. See Professor Willard’s article upon some of these in the Bodleian Quarterly Record, VII (1932), 33-39.

 [3. ] Ll. 14-17. For the identification of ‘custos’ with treasurer see Du Cange under ‘thesaurarius.

 [4. ] J. Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, ed., T. Hardy (London, 1854); see index under Hamo.

 [5. ] The Priory of Hexham, etc., (Durham, 1865, Surtees Soc.), II, 86: Hamo appears as a charter witness along with Prior John (elected about 1160, see ibid., p. cliii) and Dean Robert, who died in 1186; W. Stubbs, Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi Benedicti Abbatis (London, 1867, R. S.), I, 360.

 [6. ] Ibid., p. 352.

 [7. ] 1189; W. Stubbs, Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Hovedene (London, 1870), III, 17, 18: ‘Benedicti Abbatis,’ II, 88: 1190; Hoveden, III, 31: 1192; ‘Benedicti Abbatis,’ II, 248: 1193; Hoveden, III, 221: 1194; W. Stubbs, Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria (London, 1873, R. S.), II, 77: 1195; Hoveden, III, 294, quoted by Spelman, Concilia, etc., (London, 1664), II, 121.

 [8. ] 1199; Hoveden, IV, 98: 1206; Cartularium Abbathiae de Rievalle (Durham, 1889, Surtees Soc.), p. 255: 1213; Rot. Litt. Claus., I, 137 (7 June): 1214; ibid., p. 175 (23 October).

 [9. ] Pat. 16 Joh. p. 123. This led Raine, The Register of Rolls of Walter Gray (Durham, 1872, Surtees Soc.), p. 2, to say that William was dean from 1214 to 1220.

 [10. ] Ibid., pp. 128, 133.

 [11. ] Ibid., pp. 128, 133, 141, 186, 278, 279: John Brownbill, The Coucher Book of Furness Abbey (Manchester, 1915, Chetham Soc.), pp. 92-3: British Museum, MS Cotton, Claud. B. III, foll. 15r, 35v, 36r, 82v, 88r, 124v-125r (Cartulary of St Peter’s, York).

 [12. ] The Register, etc., p. 132: British Museum MS Cotton, Vesp. E XIX, fol. 46v; Hamo appointed papal delegate 16 Dec. 2 Hon. III: MS Cotton, Vesp. A IV, fol. 5v. In one document, The Register, etc., p. 133 is mentioned the ‘area juxta domum nostram in qua Hamo decanus habitavit antequam esset thesaurarius.’ See also Historians of York (London, 1857, R. S.), III, 77, 92, 103.

 [13. ] The Register, etc., p. 256, circa festum S. Johannis Baptistae; p. 137, acta tertio nonas Septembris, etc.; p. 139, on the nones of the same month.

 [7 ] MS A

 [1. ] See below under No. 19 for the poet’s relations with Abbot Henry Longchamp, pp. 105-108.

 [2. ] A short modern account is given in J. C. Wall, Shrines of British Saints (London, 1905), p. 158.

 [3. ] J. C. Robertson, ed., Materials,....for the History of Thomas Becket (London, 1879, R. S.), IV, 426-8.

 [4. ] W. Stubbs, Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Conventria (London, 1873), II, 246.

 [5. ] Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), II, 293.

 [6. ] E. A. Bond, Chronica Monasterii de Melsa (London, 1866, Rolls Series), I, 406; J. R. Lumby, Polychronicon Ranulphi de Higden Monachi Cestrensis (London, 1882, Rolls Series), VIII, 200.

 [7. ] Memoriale, etc., II, 245, ‘cum plebe innumerabile’; Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes (London, 1859, R. S.), p. 131; Robertson, op. cit.

 [8. ] Annales Monastici, II, 293.

 [9. ] II, 145; Robertson, op. cit., also mentions Reims. It might be added that Henry III was called Henry IV for a number of years after his coronation by those who considered the son of Henry II as Henry III.

 [10. ] Historia Anglorum, II, 241-2.

 [11. ] For Elias see J. C. Russell, ‘The Many-Sided Career of Master Elias of Dereham,’ Speculum, V (1930), 378-387. Upon the architectural work of this man see articles of H. L. Honeyman, of which one is ‘Trefoil reararches,’ Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th Series, VIII, 119-148.

 [12. ] J. C. Wall, Shrines of British Saints, p. 159; the MS is Cotton, Tib. E VIII, fol. 269, given by Wall on p. 163; the window is reproduced on p. 157.

 [13. ] Wall, op. cit., p. 159. The source of some of this is unknown to us.

 [14. ] Migne, Patrologia Latina, CXC, 407 ff.

 [15. ] Ll. 51-54.

 [16. ] Ll. 116-123.

 [17. ] Ll. 112-123.

 [1 ] MS A

 [2 ] MS A

 [1. ] H. G. Hewlett, ed., Rogeri de Wendover....Flores Historiarum (London, 1887, R. S.), II, 253.

 [2. ] Ibid. The bull is published here and again in Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora (R. S.), III, 58.

 [3. ] J. F. Dimock, ed., Magna Vita S. Hugonis Episcopi Lincolniensis (London, 1864, R. S.), p. 355; Annales Monastici, III, 57.

 [4. ] W. Stubbs, ed., Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria (London, 1873, R. S.), II, 243.

 [5. ] Dimock, Magna Vita, pp. xl, 221, 274.

 [6. ] Ranulphi de Coggeshall Chronicon, p. 188.

 [7. ] J. F. Dimock, Metrical Life of St Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln (Lincoln, 1860), p. 37. Dimock did not know the author of this poem. The poem has a half-line in common with No. 24 and one and a half with No. 43; cf. No. 95, Ll. 11-12, with No. 24, L. 1, and No. 43, Ll. 28-29. 95 MSS B R 1 cf. Verg. A. 1, 1 4 audax] R fortis B

 [1. ] Annals of Waverley, Annales Monastici (R. S.), II, 294.

 [2. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1216-1225, 279, of 22 January, calls William ‘quondam episcopus Londoniensis,’ but this is probably an error of the copyist enrolling the writ later. Other writs are of 27 January, ibid., p. 280, and of 1 February, Rot. Litt. Claus. I, 447b.

 [3. ] Annals of London, W. Stubbs, ed., Chronicles, . . . . of Edward I and Edward II (Rolls Series), I, 23; Ralph of Coggeshall (Rolls Series), p. 188; Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora (Rolls Series), III, 66; Walter of Coventry (Rolls Series), II, 249; Annals of Worcester, Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), IV, 414.

 [4. ] British Museum Add. Ch. 36449.

 [5. ] Walter of Coventry (Rolls Series), II, 249, gives the Bishops of Bath, Salisbury, and Rochester as those who consecrated Eustace.

 [6. ] Ll. 15-16; cf. No. 103, conclusion, L. 4, p. 59.

 [7. ] L. 25; cf. No. 77 for the same expression, p. 96.

 [8. ] This expression occurs in Nos. 35, 41, 46, 47, 95, 118, and 126.

 [9. ] Also in Nos. 11, 34, 43, 48, 49, 94, 120, and 123.

 [10. ] Ll. 61-66.

 [8 ] MS A

 [38 ] MS A

 [8 ] fcmmacr A frmmacr a

 [47 ] MS A

 [1. ] Master Henry used it in another poem, No. 76, while Michael of Cornwall used it in his long poem. See pp. 149 f.

 [2. ] See introduction to No. 7, pp. 60-62.

 [3. ] W. W. Shirley, ed., Royal and Other Historical Letters Illustrative of the Reign of Henry III (London, 1862, R. S.), I, 181.

 [4. ] Rot. Litt. Claus., II, 136.

 [5. ] Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, III, 112.

 [6. ] It has been suggested that this work was No. 1 by Winkelmann, Monatschrift fuer die Geschichte Westdeutschlands, IV (1878), 339, but No. 6 would be more accurately described by the expression. Even this is hardly possible, since the poet says that he destroyed his writing. See under No. 6, p. 35.

 [7. ] For a brief sketch of his life see T. F. Tout, Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England (Manchester, 1920), I, 220-231.

 [8. ] No. 148, L. 1, pp. 146-147.

 [9. ] Annals of Waverley, Annales Monastici (London, 1865, Rolls Series), II, 333; Matthew Paris in the Chronica Majora, IV, 401; Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1232-1247, p. 423, granting royal assent to his election.

 [10. ] W. H. Bliss, ed., Calendar of....Papal Registers, etc., (London, 1893), I, 65. The letter admits Passelewe to the church of Badingburne.

 [11. ] Rolls Series, II, 262.

 [12. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1216-1225, p. 446; 1225-1232, p. 137.

 [9 ] MS A

 [34 ] MS A

 [39 ] MS A

 [40 ] MS A

 [36 ] MS A

 [77 ] MS A

 [49 ] MS A

 [1. ] W. D. Macray, ed., Chronicon Abbatiae Rameseiensis, etc., (London, 1886, Rolls Series), p. 365, ‘Prosae magistri Henrici versificatoris’; as such he appears in the rolls of Henry III; see p. 142.

 [2. ] For him see Russell’s ‘Hereford and Arabic Science in England about 1175-1200,’ Isis, XVIII (1932), 14-18.

 [3. ] See Appendix B.

 [4. ] See p. 26.

 [24 ] MS A

 [53 ] MS A

 [1. ] No. 127, Ll. 77-84, p. 131.

 [2. ] See p. 27.

 [3. ] Line 155 of his poem. See p. 149 f. for editions of it and other information about Michael of Cornwall.

 [4. ] See Russell’s ‘Three Short Studies in Mediaeval Intellectual History,’ Colorado College Publication (December, 1927), pp. 47-49.

 [35 ] MS A

 [1. ] F. Liebermann, ‘Ueber Ostenglische Geschichtsquellen,’ Neues Archiv, XVIII, 251 ff.; J. C. Russell, ‘Three Short Studies in Mediaeval Intellectual History,’ Colorado College Publication (December, 1927), pp. 49-59.

 [2. ] L. T. Smith, The Itinerary of John Leland in and about the years 1533-1543 (London, 1907), II, 130-132; Analecta Bollandiana, XX (1901), 464; Francisque Michel, Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, II, 103; Giles, Lives of the Anglo-Saxons (London, 1854, Caxton Society), p. 3.

 [3. ] H. T. Riley, Ingulph’s Chronicle (London, 1854), p. 317.

 [4. ] J. J. Brial, ‘Notice d’un Manuscrit latin de la Bibliothèque imperiale, No. 5372,’ Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits, etc., IX (1813), 2, 87; Migne, Pat. Lat. CXC, 253-257. For Elias’ letter see also J. C. Robertson, Materials for the History of Thomas Becket (London, 1879), IV, 425.

 [5. ] Leland, loc. cit.

 [6. ] See p. 13.

 [7. ] For St Neot see John Whitaker, The Life of St Neot, etc., (London, 1809), and G. C. Gorham, The History and Antiquities of Eynesbury and St. Neot’s (London, 1820); Neues Archiv, XVIII (1893), 252.

 [8. ] Ingulph’s Chronicle, p. 225: ‘having ourselves contracted the lengthy and involved periods of Saint Felix and having laboured to reduce it to a style more concise and better suited to weak understandings.’

 [9. ] Neues Archiv, XVIII (1893), 263 f.

 [10. ] See p. 6; Neues Archiv, XVIII, 251.

 [11. ] See pp. 6, 8.

 [12. ] R. L. Poole and Mary Bateson, Index Britanniae Scriptorum of John Bale (Oxford, 1902), pp. 319-20; Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, under MS 172.

 [13. ] Neues Archiv, XVIII (1893), 262; Liebermann quotes Gneist to the effect that this title only appears after 1272.

 [14. ] Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England (Manchester, 1920), I, 134, quoting Foedera, I, 76.

 [15. ] J. A. Giles, Opera Omnia Petri Blesensis (Oxford, 1847), II, 182; the journey is mentioned by Roger Hoveden, IV, 61.

 [19 ] MS A

 [1. ] A contemporary account, possibly by the dean, William of Wanda, is in The Register of St Osmund, ed. W. H. Rich Jones (London, 1884, Rolls Series), Vol. II. For the architect see J. C. Russell, ‘The Many-Sided Career of Master Elias of Dereham,’ Speculum, V (1930), 378-387, and the articles of H. L. Honeyman in Archeologia Aeliana, VIII (1931), 119-148, and English Historical Review, XLVIII (1933), 542-545.

 [2. ] Ll. 203-204; cf. 1. 177.

 [3. ] Ll. 137-138.

 [4. ] Register of St Osmund, II, 7-12.

 [5. ] Ibid., pp. 37-40.

 [6. ] Ll. 135-138.

 [7. ] English Historical Review, XXX (1915), 1.

 [8. ] The Register of St. Osmund, II, 1-2.

 [20 ] MSS A D Titulum et vv.

 [1. ] Ezio Levi, ‘Troveri ed Abbazie,’ Archivio Storico Italiano, Serie VII, IV, (1925), 45 ff., gives information about the influence of English monasteries upon Romance hagiography.

 [2. ] Dublin Studies, (1928), 295.

 [3. ] See p. 5.

 [4. ] T. Stapleton, Chronicon Petriburgense (London, 1849), pp. 9, 13.

 [5. ] Grosjean, op. cit., p. 509, ‘It may well be that Simon (the sacristan) is the monk of that name who became Prior of Spalding in 1229. At any rate, William succeeded him at this date as sacristan of Peterborough.’

 [6. ] See Appendix B.

 [48 ] MSS A B Titulum om. B

 [1. ] No. 34, see p. 89.

 [2. ] No. 127, see p. 127.

 [3. ] See Appendix B.

 [4. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1225-1232, pp. 135, 192; Calendar of Close Rolls, 1224-1227, pp. 196, 199.

 [5. ] See p. 5.

 [6. ] Ll. 27-30.

 [23 ] MSS A B

 [155 ] MS D Aliquot voces aqua dilutae legi nequeunt

 [1. ] H. L. Luard, ed., Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris (Rolls Series), III, 223, 243, 244, V, 41; William Stubbs, ed., The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury (London, 1880, Rolls Series, II, 129.

 [2. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1225-1232, p. 498.

 [3. ] Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England (Manchester, 1920), I, 214 f.

 [4. ] Luard, Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris, III, 243, 244; Annals of Oseney, Annales Monastici (London, 1869), IV, 74.

 [5. ] The story of the claim of the prior of Dover is given in the Annals of St Martin’s of Dover, Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, IV, 536.

 [6. ] For other early references see G. C. Boyce, The English-German Nation in the University of Paris during the Middle Ages (Bruges, 1927), p. 26.

 [7. ] Ll. 190-194; cf. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages (English trans.), III, 208-209.

 [8. ] Cf. Hugh McKenzie, ‘The Anti-Foreign Movement in England 1231-1232,’ Haskins Anniversary Essays (Boston, 1930), pp. 183-204.

 [9. ] Ibid., p. 186.

 [10. ] No. 164.

 [127 ] MS D

 [1. ] Mary Bateson, Mediaeval England (New York, 1904), p. 157.

 [2. ] K. J. Holzknecht, Literary Patronage in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, 1923), p. 221.

 [3. ] Chronica Majora (London, 1877-80), IV, 644-5, V, 670.

 [4. ] Edited in Appendix A. Formerly listed as No. 62 in the catalogue of the poems of Master Henry, Speculum, III (1928), 60.

 [5. ] Compare ‘Sit tibi cure’ (L. 12) and ‘fures similes tibi fers, quia fur es’ (L. 14) with ‘quod non sit tibi cura’ (L. 1 of Michael’s poem against Henry), ‘quos reputas fures scriptorum, non quia fur es’ (ibid., L. 22), and ‘Cur etenim fures non dicis? Cur? Quia fur es’ (ibid., L. 331). For Michael and his poetry see below under No. 165, p. 149.

 [6. ] Chronica Majora, V, 355.

 [7. ] Ussher, Works, V, 191.

 [8. ] T. D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, etc., (London, 1871, Rolls Series), III, lxvi; Chartulary of New Minster, p. 278 (both men appear in the statement); L. J. Paetow, The Morale Scolarium of John of Garland, (Berkeley, 1927), p. 127.

 [9. ] Chronica Majora, IV, 236; F. B. Marsh, English Rule in Gascony, (Ann Arbor, 1912), pp. 86-89.

 [10. ] William Dugdale, The History of St. Paul’s Cathedral, (London, 1658), p. 272.

 [11. ] Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, III, 210; for the outbreak see Hugh McKenzie, ‘The Anti-Foreign Movement in England, 1231-1232,’ Haskins Anniversary Essays, (Boston, 1929), pp. 183-204.

 [12. ] F. Michel, Rôles Gascons, (Paris, 1885), I, 139, No. 1054. The king requested the Archbishop of York to reserve for Peter the first vacant benefice of his province. Peter was the physician of Peter of Savoy.

 [13. ] Chronica Majora, V, 242, where several epitaphs are given.

 [14. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1232-1247, p. 224; Calendar of Close Rolls, 1237-1242, p. 62, of 11 and 17 June; his name is given as Paulinus (a very rare name), Peivre or Peyvre.

 [15. ] Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, V, 101, 242.

 [16. ] ‘Incipit meditatio Johannis de Hovedene clerici regine Anglie matris regis Edwardi. . . .et voluit editor quod liber meditationis istius philomena vocaretur,’ British Museum, MS Cotton Nero C. IX, foll. 223v-224r; Lambeth Palace, MS 410, fol. 97r.

 [17. ] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1266-1272, p. 189 (8 February 1268), p. 258 (15 September 1268), and p. 338 (3 May 1269).

 [18. ] Ibid., 1272-1281, p. 103.

 [19. ] Only in MS Cotton Nero C. IX, foll. 209v and 226r is his name given as Master John of Hoveden. The astrologer is described by the chronicle of Lanercost as an honorable man given to hospitality, who had helped to build the collegiate church of Hoveden of which he was an original canon and in which he was buried; cf Stephenson, Chronicon de Lanercost, (Edinburgh, 1839, Bannatyne Club), p. 93. He was witness to one charter probably, F. M. Stenton, Transcript of Charters of Gilbertine Houses, p. 61. His Practica Chilindri is in the British Museum, MS Sloan 1620, foll. 2r-4v.

 [20. ] Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 172, fol. 84r (by Michael), fol. 84v (Inventum), fol. 122v (by Henry). The Inventum was included by Mr. Russell as No. 101.

 [21. ] By G. H. Pertz, M. G. H. SS. XI, 245; Migne, Pat. Lat., 142, col. 1259; Martene, Ampl. Collect. IX, col. 1095. Judging from the manuscripts the poem circulated in Germany; its presence in the Digby MS still leaves as questions to be solved, ‘How did the proverbs get to England?’ and ‘Were they not read to Henry III?’

 [22. ] Rewritten from Speculum, III (1928), 50-51; the items are published on pp. 55-58 of the same volume.

 [23. ] Cal. Cl. Rolls 1247-1251, p. 483 (2 Aug. 1251), p. 496 (30 Aug. 1251); ibid., 1254-1256, p. 49 (5 March 1255), p. 323 (23 June 1256).

 [24. ] Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1247-1255, p. 555.

 [25. ] Cal. Cl. Rolls 1256-1259, p. 347 (29 Nov. 1258), p. 360 (7 Feb. 1259), p. 458 (27 Oct. 1259); Sharpe’s Index, P.R.O. London records orders for 44 Henry III (1259-60), 15 April 1260; 45 Henry III (1260-61), 28 Dec. 1260, 23 May 1261; 46 Henry III (1261-62) 26 Jan. 1262. We owe several of these items to the courtesy of A. E. Stamp, Deputy Keeper of the Rolls, who is editing the close rolls of the period.

 [26. ] Cal. Cl. Rolls, 1256-1259, p. 386, ‘boni vini;’ Sharpe’s Index, 45 Henry III (1260-61), 25 July 1261.

 [27. ] Ll. 571-6.

 [28. ] Sharpe’s Index, P.R.O. 45, 46 Henry III.

 [29. ] Calendar of Close Rolls, 1242-1247, p. 270.

 [30. ] Ll. 275-6 and 1149.

 [31. ] See under No. 165, p. 155.

 [1. ] ‘Haut’ ‘bas,’ No. 146, L. 21; ‘transgressor aque’ for Passelewe in No. 149, Ll. 5-6.

 [2. ] Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits, XXVII, 2, 4, 76.

 [3. ] H. L. Luard, Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris (London, 1878, Rolls Series), IV, 360, 590.

 [4. ] Speculum, III (1928), 35.

 [5. ] For the date of death, Luard, Chronica Majora of Matthew Paris (London, 1870, Rolls Series), V, 229; Madden, ed., Historia Anglorum of Matthew Paris (London, 1869), III, 120. For Passelewe also see D.N.B.

 [146 ] MS D

 [153 ] MS D

 [154 ] MS D Litt. complures aqua dilutae legi nequeunt

 [148 ] MS D Litt. complures aqua dilutae legi nequeunt

 [149 ] MS D

 [1. ] M. R. James, Lists of Manuscripts formerly in Peterborough Abbey Library (Oxford, 1926), p. 65. See p. 5.

 [2. ] Published by A. Hilka, ‘Eine mittellateinische Dichterfehde: Versus magistri Michaelis Cornubiensis contra magistrum Henricum Abrincensem,Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstage von Hermann Degering (Leipzig, 1926), VII, 320 ff.

 [3. ] James, op. cit., p. 65.

 [4. ] Especially Nos. 129-140, with the exception of No. 131.

 [5. ] Hilka, op. cit., p. 123, found no early evidence for it.

 [6. ] ‘Une corrodie, ceste a dire, apprendre chescun jour un blankpay(n), que home apele Mich,’ un galon de cervayse conventuel, et un mees de potage,’ W. Brown, ed., Cartularium Prioratus de Gyseburne (Durham, 1894, Surtees Soc.), p. xvii.

 [7. ] MS Bodley 233 (S.C. 2188), fol. 107r, inc. ‘Cur homo delinquis /linquis que domini tibi dira,’ etc. It is also like Henry’s No. 40.

 [8. ] Edited by J. O. Halliwell in The Chronicle of William de Rishanger (London, 1840, Camden Soc.), pp. 139-146, from MS Cotton, Otho D viii, fol. 219r, of the British Museum.

 [9. ] Cf. Ll. 50, 347, 420, 821 with the Lament, Ll. 9 and 201.

 [10. ] Cf. L. 935 with Lament, Ll. 49 and 60.

 [11. ] Cf. Ll. 433 and 489 with Lament, Ll. 113 and 119.

 [12. ] Cf. L. 1 with Lament, L. 224.

 [13. ] Sum puer, ipse vir es.....      34

 [14. ] 

Artem rethoricam      dicis te me docuisse,

sed recte dicam      tantum michi te nocuisse.      724

 [15. ] 

....non es      adeo tamen ad raciones

promptus Aristotilis      ut ego.....     39


Excellens metricos,      superas bonitate metri quos,

Cur culpare soles,      me, sidus, qui quasi sol es

artibus in metricis      et solus cuncta metri scis?>

tam magnum non memini me

vatem vidisse      nec tot iactasse metris se.

Si maior me sis      quia sit magis ipsa poesis

nota tibi,.....     38

nam quamvis te sim      minor et non forte poesim

noscam, quam noscis,      tamen artis non methodos scis.


Virtutibus undique pensis,

virtus visiva      tibi deficit amodo, nec non

vis memorativa:      michi debilis illa, sed hec non.

Pauca licet videam      foris, intus multa videns sum.


Improperas nobis      et non semel, immo modo bis

quod vatum versus      furamur.     97


Cum dicimur ambo poete,

experiamur nos,      versus faciendo diurnos.

 [20. ] The History of the Worthies of England (London, 1662), p. 203.

 [21. ] 

Stans, precor, adversus      recita mihi corde quieto

viginti versus,      et’Fillida solus habeto,’     252

Nunc sua scripta legat      candela non mediance

 [22. ] ‘Incipiunt versus magistri Michaelis Cornubiensis contra magistrum Henricum Abrincensem coram domino abbate Westmonasterii et domino decano Pauli Londoniarum primis iudicibus et postea coram domino Elyensi episcopo et cancellario Grantebrigie una cum universitate magistrorum.’

Acta die veneris      domine post purificaci-

onem da phaleris      calamo confecta loquaci,

nuper in ecclesia, quam mos appellat ‘ad arcus,’

coram iudice, qui iuris non est michi parcus,

inter abrincensem causis et cornubiensem

versis versutis de versibus,.....


Clero presente,      Grantibrigie residente,

sese prebente      michi testes et perhibente,

Hugo presul Hely,      librans metra lance fideli,

preposito celi,      michi mitram dans Michaeli,     932


Quando quadragesime      viget observabilis hora,

has lites perime,      iudex et pervigil ora

tempus enim sacrum,>

Qui de Mortemari, vir vivax, Hugo vocaris,

tu michi fons,.....     584

Ergo serenasce      michi, iudex Hugo, latronem

ante diem pasche      suspendens hunc Pharaonem.

 [25. ] Colophon before line 627, ‘Disputacio versuum sequencium coram domino electo Winthoniensi et episcopo Rofensi.’

 [26. ] 

Nuper tractasti      de pacis federe mecum

quod non servasti.

Nonne fuit pridem pro me sentencia lata?     559


Teque tuumque chorum vici semel et modo bis ter.


Contra me cur es,      latebras qui queris opacas,

suspendens fures      ville purgansque cloacas

qui nutrire sues      et porcos sepe solebas.

Parisius metues      me tu plus quam metuebas,

cuius latro pater,      latrones suntque parentes

et meretrix mater.     316


e quibus est norman      .r. dempto te voco no. man.     53

Cum sis Normannus      seu mannus sive tyrannus     1049


troteman sis dictus et a re

nomen patris habe,     347

 [31. ] J. Armitage Robinson, Somerset Historical Essays, p. 157; Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), I, 28; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Wells, p. 12.


Filia sutoris      tibi nupsit fetidioris,

Est tamen apta toris,      si desit spes melioris.     892

Rustice stulte, sine      sensu quid proposuisti

robam regine      meretrici quando dedisti?     572

Bufo, tuam bufam      regine vestibus uti

an deceat rufam,      sunt multi multa locuti:

sepe solet dici:      non suppetit Henrioloto

posse meretrici      dare robam de cameloto.

 [33. ] See note 17, and

Vix tua scripta legis, nisi sunt loca lumine plena.     402

si scribat ‘carmen: leget hic pro carmine ‘cramen,’

et si sit ‘stamen,’ dicet pro stamine ‘stramen.’     516

 [34. ] Ll. 331-4.


Stigis intres, latro, cavernam,

furta ferens ibi, que      furatus es ut furibundus

fur multis michique,      quod totus scit bene mundus,

Neve loqui videar      istud sub enigmate, plures,

ut verum fatear,      consortes sunt tibi fures:

e quibus est unus      Nicholaus Suihud vocitatus,

qui tecum funus      est funis ferre paratus,

cistam namque meam      fregistis vos duo, petris

qui replestis eam,      raptis cum codice metris,

et non hec sola,      sed totas res rapuistis,

triplice teste scola,      res has ubi sepe tulistis     397

furtim vendendas.

Repeated in lines 745-53 and 1181-5.


Immo per terras      vagus erras, sic quod oberras.     1080

Artibus in metricis      nil metri scis, meretricis

filius, aut modicum;      reliquum voco te Fredericum.     1156

Concerning Louis IX, Ll. 982 ff.

Nil tua propria dat tibi patria dulce, Chymera,

Sola sed Anglia pocula, prandia, dona et era.     974

Fortia vina bibit, cuius stirps flumen adibat.     512

Quis tua fert opera      per fines sive per horas,

in nova tam vetera metra dum transferre laboras?     696

 [37. ] 

In domini regis      tua frivola cur legis aula,

cui rudis ipsa gregis      satis esset ydonea caula?     276

 [38. ] 

Et procul et propius      iam Francus et Anglicus eque

norunt, Parisius      quid feceris Oxonieque.

Nec proprie fateor,      quid feceris, immo fatendum

verius esse reor,      quid finxeris ad faciendum.

Pactus eras multa      te multos posse docere,

multimoda multa      multari dignus, et e re

tot promisisti,      quot numquam promere quibis.     267


Ignorans artes,      pueros elementa docebis

declinans partes.     192

Ll. 645 ff.

Artem dictandi      vis Anglos discere de te,

et plus dictant hii      quam tales mille poete,

et melius noscunt,      que dicunt, arte probare.     271

 [40. ] On the ars dictaminis see C. H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, 1927), pp. 139 ff.

 [41. ] Ll. 1150; 145; 11; 59, 1115; and 1627 respectively.

 [42. ] For an account of goliardic poetry see Haskins, op. cit., pp. 177 ff., and bibliography at the end of the chapter.


 4  ni vis A

 5  ovine] nos atque pruine A

 2  s’vis A suis transcr. Liebermann apud Winkelmann, vid. p. 17 supra

 4  prima vox ex phototypis legi nequit in Liebermann contra metrum

 19  ultimas litt. venena in MS abscisas suppl. Liebermann

 21  vexant semper A transp. a

 23  relligiosos A corr. a

 31  Theutocani similes Liebermannlitteras vilis abscisas suppl. Liebermann

 33  pcōia A per communia Liebermann

 37  Angl’ A Anglia Liebermann

 4  utrique A

 7  sim] nos fui A

 9  seu....sive] nos siu....sūi A sūmi a (marg. sinist.)

 10  enfatice A fateor (i.e., en, fateor) a In marg. dext. (vv. 8-10) A: In sigillo Iohannis: Summe Deus, da n<e> tua gratia dicar inane.

 3  Eius] nos Senis A 1

 14  preesse] a prodesse A ∥ nolens A

 23  ac se A

 29  ius poscere] Sedg. iucosa A + a

 37  lac. in A suppl. Sedg.

 42  in generale] Sedg. ingenerasse A

 46  blandicus A

 49  tribul’ato scd’s A

 62  mollitur A

 65  prohibent A

 67  male A

 71  sit] a scit A

 74  exhibet A

 76  exulit A

 79  aura] Sedg. arva A

 81  intimet A ∥ inique A

 85  sic (1)] Sedg. sicque A ∥ sic (2)] nos sed A

 97  passio] nos om. A ∥ strangat A

 108  nota A

 119  pusatur A

 138  versus unus aut plures exciderunt

 140  choibere A

 146  exierit A

 156  persterpit A

 159  menses A corr. a

 162  carpitur A corr. a

 163  vidule] a fide A

 166  sopnifereque A

 194  infames] nos et fames A

 197  conscita A

 206  infuriare A

 208  patruus A corr. Sedg.

 213  attendat A corr. a

 216  oscia detostans A

 217  curis a

 219  addit A

 224  enstat A corr. a

 225  fundere A corr. a

 227  tot] a ut A

 229  hostis A

 231  profhani A ph a

 239  scinat A corr. a

 241  sum A corr. a

 248  dormit] nos vigilat A

 250  inchola A corr. a

 254  gingnitur A

 260  mente A corr. a

 265  Hunc A

 15  ecquid A corr. Sedg.

 19  iminet A

 33  nam a (marg. sinist.)

 46  iuvisse] nos vidisse A Inisse a

 48  celicus A corr. Sedg.

 54  quant A

 75  ill’ A fort. illo

 92  lib’ore A

 94  docma A

 100  per quam multa libet A

 106  sero A

 107  resurexi A

 132  regit] Sedg. metit A

 140  inde A

 142  at] Sedg. et A

 179  sortitur] nos sortis A

 180  martiris A 192 statim A corr. a 43 MS A 1 celeberimus A

 9, 18  genitrix A

 10  maris] a om. A

 24  moralibus editi A corr. a

 26  carnis] a om. A ∥ vade A

 31  vivo A corr. a

 32  sentemplans A contemplans a

 36  soli A corr. a

 39  troni A corr. a

 43  princeps sextus A transp. a

 48  principis A corr. a

 54  discribitur A

 55  ipsas A corr. a

 59  eternos A

 60  propherarum A

 72  inscribitur A corr. a

 78  sed A

 81  laure A corr. a

 94  vurtus A

 98  imponent A corr. a

 1  te. . .sic] te sublimat sic honor te A sic om. a

 2  thomos A

 14  virtus amore A tui inser. a post amore

 2  Boqlant A corr. a

 4  omne A corr. a

 5  choeant a

 6  sit A

 7  O] nos Ergo A

 13  planges G corr. Sedg.

 17  quolibet G corr. Sedg. ∥ strigiali G corr. Sedg.

 2  relevasti] nos rex alti G

 4  cf. 8, v. 15

 5  premitur G ∥ astros G

 9  auris G

 15  rursus] Sedg. om. G

 9  videntur a

 12  -que] nos om. A

 19  tam dignus A corr. a

 26  participat mensis Camden

 30  plaudens A Camden

 35  erat om. Camden

 36  habet Camden

 37  igitur] A; anni Camden ∥ bisextilis A Camden

 38  arbitrio] A iudicio Camden

 39  habens] A erat Camden

 4  tremendus A corr. Sedg.

 15 varia] nos gratia A

 16  data sit A

 20  Londoniensis A

 43  -que pios] Sedg. om. A

 47  desunt syll. duae aut tres

 51  proventum A

 54  postdictos A

 1570  patrem A corr. Sedg.

 1571  vacat spatium maiusculi

 1572  de] Sedg. sub A

 1574  remus A corr. Sedg.

 1578  consumat A

 1583  simul A corr. a

 1585  cruatur A

 27  celestis A corr. Sedg.

 39  sit A corr. a

 52  si A

 60  cedula A

 64  ecclesia A corr. Sedg.

 65  ut more A corr. Sedg.

 68  proasset A

 77  sancta A corr. a

 98  coevo A corr. Sedg.

 100  quoque] Sedg. quod A ∥ verbere multo] nos inubere multi A

 107  furtim A corr. Sedg.

 108  spem] Sedg. quod A

 110  casside A corr. a

 111  quam A corr. Sedg.

 118  preclusus A

 122  modico A corr. Sedg.

 125  quocumque A

 143  ducturus A corr. Sedg.

 144  iterum] nos cum A ∥ foret] Sedg. om. A

 154  in offensis sed A corr. Sedg.

 159  quasi] Sedg. si A

 161  cum] Sedg. et A

 164  Sanctus cui Stephanus] nos isto qui Stephano A ∥ illo A corr. Sedg.

 167  ut] Sedg. cui A ∥ mille] nos nulla A

 174-5  qui A corr. Sedg.

 175  versus aliquot excidisse videntur

 188  faciendi A corr. Sedg.

 198  honore A corr. a

 204  quos] nos om. A

 211  est] Sedg. et A

 214  ne] Sedg. quod A

 217  videatur] nos dt A

 219  i.e., piperis gl. A

 223  nunc fertur] A defertur a

 225  diversis A ∥ paratus A corr. Sedg.

 229  i.e., Norwegia gl. A

 238  palato A

 240  nimium A

 255  gentis A Vid. Du Cange s.v. ganta et gantes

 258  notad’ a (marg. sinist.)

 261  quid pravum A transp. Sedg. ∥ facile A

 265  ceptro A

 267  Istis A corr. a

 270  Item de Sancto Thoma, quare post creetur numquam archilevita a (marg. dext., quasi rubrica)

 275  quo A corr. Sedg.

 276  culpatur A

 278  perorat A corr. Sedg.

 281  quid tam A

 20  sullimior A

 15  of. Verg. A.6, 126

 37  vox A

 38  dubium A corr. a

 38  odiit A corr. a

 49  cf. Ovid. Met. 15, 871

 1  Eustachi a

 2  voluit A

 4  nuper] Sedg. lumen A ∥ es] a eris A

 7  pemus A corr. a

 15  in eis] a mens A

 19  forte A corr. Sedg.

 21  si] nos sed A

 24  tibi] a ter A

 25  es] a ei A

 32  assimulerque a

 33  capa A

 34  ebriacum] nos ebraicum A

 1  scit A

 5  Amen] nos omnem A

 6  Quod A corr. a ∥ canta A

 7  vivo A

 8, 9 cf. 39, vv. 7-8

 9  quid A

 17  deservire A corr. a

 25  Thesiphonem A corr. Sedg.

 26  nequid A

 27  ex Stige] nos instige A

 35  ocultetur A

 36  saliunta A

 45  Eustachi A ∥ fulsis A corr. a

 46  eu A corr. a

 48  autem] Sedg. ante A

 52  canto A

 54  dextera A

 56  sensus A

 61  tanto A

 61-66  = 3, vv. 15-20

 67  vacat spatium maiusculi ∥ immo] Sedg. uno A

 6  grave A corr. Sedg. ∥ tolerat A

 15-20  = 47, vv. 61-66

 16  prare A

 27  cf. 9, v. 25

 4  comendo A

 5  oppinio A

 9  amorem] nos amicum A

 13  hic A

 23  te] nos om. A

 28  nec] nos nam A

 2  domate A corr. Sedg. ∥ falca A

 3  tui A

 1  O qui] a Iam tu A

 9  stata A corr. Sedg.

 21  medium] a om. A

 4  integretetur A

 5  fruens A corr. Sedg.

 6  rodolens A

 13  transsit A

 16  albiciens A corr. Sedg.

 23  flemate A ∥ quelibet A

 5  literis A

 1  cf. 95, v. 11.

 7  sed] a si A

 8  non in A

 10  iuriscicio A

 11  iuris dicius A

 15  facit] Sedg. om. A enim a

 16  nulla A

 30  ut placitum] pl’m A

 47  tantum A

 60  inquit A corr. a

 63  prope A

 65  liture] Sedg. lite A

 75  est A

 9  celsus A corr. a

 1, 2  om D

 3  Saltisberie D Sarisberied

 6  vernat] sple <ndet> d

 7  nil et enim d

 8  quatenus D corr. d

 9  ibi] illi D corr. d

 10  nullam] nos culmen A D ∥ cieatur A d

 11  set A

 12  phylomena A

 13  certe D corr. d ∥ sed plus] plus non D ∥ karistia A corr. a

 14  diggerat D corr. d

 15  phylomena A

 21, 22  om. D

 25  non (2)] nec A

 26  biseps D corr. d

 27  capud A D corr. a

 35  eicerentur A eiiceretur D

 36  profigus D corr. d ∥ desituebat D corr. d Instar ei D (post v. 36 in ima pagina)

 37  maiusc. ornatus D ∥ nisi] nunc D corr. d

 39  set D 40 non D

 43  imitata D corr. d

 44  leta] mesta D corr. d

 45  zedo D

 47  equidem] et enim d ∥ dimonuit D divisit d

 48  dirumpens D

 49  maiusc. ornat. D

 51  arta D corr. d ∥ celsa d

 53  maiusc. ornat. D

 56  unda A

 59  honor D corr. d

 62  virtus] uncus D corr. d

 66  exellit A

 65  necant D corr. d

 68  excellat A

 69  nimius] tumius D corr. d

 70  degregat D corr. d

 73  Mathio D Marthio d

 76  rata D corr. d ∥ granatque D corr. d

 78  perpes ei] perpeti D perpetui d

 84  inde] sive D corr. d

 86  aera] arta D corr. d

 87  ignis] usus D corr. d

 88  aliud] aliquid D corr. d

 95  cumbas D

 96  fert] sunt D corr. d

 100  vittribilis D corr. d

 105  igitur] om. D suppl. d

 106  verbi A corr. a ∥ verbis A corr. a

 114  merces A D corr. d

 115  admisisse D

 118  honus A

 119  defunctus D desuescius d

 124  inde lubricus A ∥ cessior D

 127, 128  tysis D

 131  cassum D gressum d

 139  cum (1)] con D corr. d

 143  ydoneus D

 145  maiusc. ornat. D

 147  vivat A

 151  dampna D corr. d ∥ cervave D corr. d

 152  linx] litis D corr. d

 155  cantans D ∥ alanda D corr. d

 157  philos] melos D

 160  alanda D corr. d

 162  illa....illa A ille....ille D

 163  cormella D corr. d

 167  crochum A

 169  abissus D

 170  pisces] pudes D corr. d

 172  gumit D

 173  ubi A corr. a

 175  -ale D (vacat spatium maiusculi)

 183  Hoc D

 193  inficit D corr. d

 200  gravior D corr. d

 202  condicione D

 203  consummatumque A corr. a

 205  -ex D (vacat spatium maiusculi)

 208  Amen add. d. Colophon. om. D Rex largitur opes, fert presu<l opem> lapicide dant operam: tribus <hiis> est opus ut stet opus a (marg. dext.)

 3  immutabilitas Grosjean

 6  tribus B ∥ prescisio B

 13  mutabilis A B

 18  Alcidem A

 19  Galterus B ∥ Philipdida A

 20  nimis] nos minus A minas B

 22  autores B

 26  seu B

 38  ante invocationem A, siglumhic B ∥ tantam A

 29  divisere] Sedg. deseruere A desuerere B magna B

 31  miror A corr. a ∥ nanum] nam B

 33  solicitudine B

 35  hystoriographus B

 44  i.e., Petrus gl. A

 49  topacius A ∥ arene B

 53  topacius A ∥ arenas B

 56  exhilerando A ∥ topacius A

 58  quod B

 62  confringi B

 65  sua dos donum] Sedg. per didanum A B

 66  sese B

 67  affectus A

 71  primis] primas B

 73  nomine B corr. b

 75-6  om. B

 77  patet B

 78  cf. Ovid. Fast. 1, 17 ∥ placitum B

 80  Symon B ∥ benignior alter B ∥ i.e., obediens gl. A

 84  dilige presentes B transp. b

 86  in humo] terris a

 88  est] om. B ∥ Galterus B

 89  Elyseus A Heliseus B

 90  successore A

 92  quod B ∥ est] ut A

 96  etiam] et B

 97  superemnet A

 98  vestro] vestra B ∥ vestra] om. A suppl. a

 101  imponere A

 103  me] mea B

 105  stare vetat] ferre nequit A

 106  labefecit B

 107  honestus] onustus B

 108  metro] metus A ∥ recludite Sedg.

 109  nutibus B

 110  venifica B ∥ Explicit....Oswaldi] B Explicit prologus, incipit principiale opus A

 4  cf. Horat. A. P. 137

 5  Ethus B

 6, 7  Tyrentius B

 9  non B

 12  pocius B

 15  valencior B

 16  orbem] evum B

 17  Vintoniensis A

 20  grade B corr. b

 22  Suthwinus B

 32  segnicem A

 36  om. B suppl. b ∥ Suthwinus b

 37  bis B ∥ cursus] saltus B vers. priore

 1  vacat spatium maiusculi

 6  dno D

 10  Suthu<ini> D

 12  ditante D corr. Sedg.

 13  idem D

 14  puppes] pubes D pupes d

 15  radix] bis D, alter. del. d

 31  complente D corr. d

 34  ruppibus D

 7  aflantis D corr. d

 8  labentem D corr. d

 11  partes D corr. d

 16  perhibere d

 21  conducar] nos cum ducar Dcf. Ovid. Met. 6, 386

 22  cecos] d tectis D

 29  coniugalia D corr. d

 32  sic D corr. Sedg.

 37  violandus D

 63  quem D

 69  quod] nos quem D

 71  est] Sedg. et D

 75  tamen] d non D

 80  quos] d quod vos D

 84  urgeret D corr. d

 87  vacat spatium maiusculi

 88  illum D corr. d

 90  quis D

 106  pluresne D

 107  scilices D corr. d

 117  abesse D corr. Sedg.

 124  comittebant D corr. d ∥ vocabat D corr. d

 130  intendit D corr. d

 135  vocet D

 137  utraque (1)] d utrisque D

 139  punietur D corr. d ∥ ob] Sedg. in D

 140  coarcet D corr. Sedg.

 142  obiicitur d

 144  conseri D corr. d

 146  exemplum D corr. d

 147  Parisius] d per illius D

 160  pupille] d puelle D ∥ Symon D corr. d

 161  utraque D

 162  reddere] nos federe Dd

 164  pertransit] Sedg. prtusit (ut videtur) D

 166  ecclesie quia D corr. d

 174  litterae legi nequeunt

 186  edere D corr. d ∥ cicute] d cicisse D

 190  pape] d pop D

 194  fatissit D corr. d

 210  cf. Eccles. 35, 17

 214  dedicitur D

 216  vox legi nequit

 218  pupillique D corr. d

 219  sacerime D

 220  cf. Isa. l, 17

 224  cf. Proverb. 15, 25 ∥ tumor] d om. D

 229  cf. 34, v. 15

 236-7  litt. legi nequeunt

 239  iudicio D ∥ h’ebis D

 247  cf. v. 55

 7  basit D corr. d

 9  es D

 17  videtur D corr. d

 19  popus D corr. d

 30  ingemium D corr. D

 1  litt. legi nequeunt

 3  valebat D corr. d

 4  stupebat D corr. d

 6  cf. Juv. 3, 208

 8  freresis D corr. d

 10  Petro D corr. d

 11  litt. legi nequeunt

 1  Willelme D et

 9  patientem D sed cf. v. 5

 13  Willelmi sed cf. 94 vv. 9-10

 26  cf. Hor. C. 2. 16, 27

 1  vacat spatium maiusculi, suppl. d

 9, 17 vacant spatia maiusculorum, suppl. d

 14, 16 cf. 149 v. 18

 19  cf. 149 v. 1

 1  vacat spatium maiusculi, suppl. d

 2  nam] d hic D

 8  ipmmacr D fort. Christum (xpmmacr)

 17  quasi] Sedg. qui D

 20-22   litt. aqua dilutae legi nequeunt

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 156 ]] 

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 157 ]] 

No. 62

Cum sis Romanus,      Cincy, tuus est michi vanus

sermo, nisi sanus      sit hic eger et in pede planus.

O doctor Cincy,      medicorum qui quasi sol es,

te solo vinci      morbi solet anxia moles,

5morbi cuiusque;      non si cui tibia turget,

sufficit hucusque      nisi per te se bene purget;

et non purgetur      per purgamenta nociva,

sed sic curetur      quod sit cruris caro viva,

hoc est, quod vene      vel nervi non moriantur

10sed per utrosque bene      virtus et vis oriantur.

Et ne frangatur      crus ipsum, neve trahatur

tibia cum crure      violenter sit tibi cure,

quod si non cures,      rex dicet: “Dic, latro, cur es

tam fallax? Fures      similes tibi fers, quia fur es.”

15Et super hoc, sua lis      si queras que, quota, qualis,

credo quod talis      sentencia sit capitalis,

hoc est, in capite      faciet sic forte capi te

quod suspensus eris      immunis honoris et eris.

Quocirca caveas      ne quicquam sic operere

20perdere quod paveas      caput huius in hac opere re.

Istud idem dico,      doctor Rogere, tibi, quo

quamvis sis humilis,      fies tocius humi lis,

ni facias recte,      per regem lex ligat hec te.



 [62 ] MS A


 5  si] nos sed A

 6  nisi] Sedg. si A

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 158 ]] 

 [[ Print Edition Page No. 159 ]] 


The data which bear upon the chronology of the poems of Henry of Avranches are of two kinds: (a) items peculiar to each poem, and (b) evidence of some significance for groups of poems. The first are taken up conveniently in the several introductions to poems or groups of poems; the second may more properly be discussed in one place. This evidence consists of certain similarities of expression, amounting to mannerisms, and of certain manuscript groupings which seem to have some chronological significance. Since the evidence is somewhat tenuous we have felt it best to place it in an appendix.

The most promising evidence seems to be offered by the arrangement (given below) of the eleven very similar conclusions. These have already been used as confirmatory evidence of the poet’s authorship of these poems which are mostly long saints’ lives. Only two conclusions are identical. As arranged below they present a continuous development of phraseology. It would seem that the poet had formed the habit of changing his concluding lines slightly each time. Since he did not attach such conclusions to all of his longer poems, he was probably not making any conscious effort to follow a definite plan. The conclusions are as follows:

No. 27 Ad laudem Christi Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque
Est laus, est virtus, est sine fine decus. Amen.
No. 43 Dignetur Christus Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque
Sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.
No. 22 Indulgente Jhesu Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque
Sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.
No. 103 Hoc tribuente Ihesu Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque
Sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.
No. 95 Regum
Rex Jesus Christus Cui cum Patre Paraclitoque
Sit laus et virtus et honor per secula cuncta. Amen.
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No. 24 Rex regum; cum Eo sit Patri Spirituique
Sancto nunc et per secula laus et honor. Amen.
No. 19 Rex regum cum Quo sit Patri Spirituique
No. 48 Sancto sicut erat in principio decus et laus
Et virtus et nunc et semper et omne per evum. Amen.
No. 23 Rex regum cum Quo sit Patri Spirituique
Sancto maiestas et gloria nunc et in evum. Amen.
No. 89 Cum Quo sit Patri Spirituique
Sancto maiestas et gloria nunc et in evum. Amen.
No. 14 Pater, Cum Quo sit Nato Spirituique
Sancto maiestas et gloria nunc et in evum. Amen.

The test of the value of the arrangement as chronological evidence must be based upon the corroboration of other evidence for individual poems. The indications about them are as follows:

No. 27 No other evidence.
No. 43 No other evidence.
No. 103 Probably October 1216-May 1220.
No. 22 No other evidence.
No. 95 About 17 November, 1220.
No. 24 No other evidence.
{ No. 19 1191-1237.
{ No. 48 1227-1233, probably 1227-1229.
No. 23 1204-1227, probably 1227.
No. 89 1228-1241.
No. 14 1241.

Of the group five are in proper order, Nos. 103, 95, 48 or 23, 89, and 14. If Nos. 48 and 23 are in proper order, both must have been written in the first eight months of 1227, a not impossible achievement. It will be noticed that the poems for which there is no other chronological evidence are the earlier ones. Three of these are poems which have no introductions (Nos. 27, 43, and 22); it is generally in the introductions that specific information about the making of the poems appears. Nos. 103, 95, and 24 have very simple prologues, while four (Nos. 19, 48, 23, and 89) have threefold introductions of some
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length and very marked similarity.1.

Closely related to the similar conclusions are other cases of identical expressions in pairs of poems. It will be noticed that in this group of eleven No. 95 has peculiar expressions in common with both No. 43 and No. 24. Of other such pairs Nos. 43 and 9 seem to have been written in 1221, and Nos. 8 and 103 within a few years of that date, while the evidence for the other pairs, Nos. 4 and 46 and Nos. 9 and 34, does not fix their date so closely. The ‘oneris-honoris’ and ‘clarus-clerus’ combinations turn up so frequently that they seem to have no bearing upon date of composition.

Such evidence as exists seems to show poems with identical expressions were written near the same time. While the similar conclusions fall into the same class we have the additional fact that the arrangement also corresponds to structural changes in the introductions and conclusions of the poems.

Another chronological hint may be offered by the appearance of the terminology derived probably from study in the schools. Such terms appears in the following pieces.

No. 18 No other chronological evidence.
No. 37 Probably before 19 October 1216.
No. 93 Possibly about 1214-1215.
No. 21 1216.
No. 46 1216-1225, probably early.
No. 45 Same.
No. 44 1207-1228, possibly 1218-1220.
No. 43 About 1 November, possibly of 1219.
No. 42 Before 14 September 1225.
No. 41 No other evidence.

These poems with few exceptions lack absolute indications of date. Such as they are, they indicate an origin prior to 1220. This tendency toward logical terminology does not seem to occur in later poems. We should expect the poet to be under the influence of the study of logic earlier rather than later in life.

Quite a different type of evidence is that of manuscript grouping. This might have chronological significance if the poems had been copied from an archtype arranged
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chronologically, as they might have been in a personal notebook. Two such groups in A may be arranged thus.

The three poems, Nos. 7, 8, and 9, occur apparently in such order. Since No. 6 seems to belong to the same manuscript group, its manuscript position might indicate that it was written before No. 7.

The other group consists of Nos. 46-39. The data for Nos. 46-41 have been given above; Nos. 40 and 39 were written about 1 November 1221. The evidence is very tentative but suggests that they might have been written in reverse order of time from their manuscript position. These indications fit well into the pattern provided by other chronological indications.


 [1. ] Compare the prologues of Nos. 19, 48, and 23 with these lines of No. 89:

Nam quid respectu Francisci Iulius? Aut quid

gessit Alexander Memorabile? Iulius hostem

vicit, Alexander mundum, Franciscus utrumque.

Nec solum vicit mundum Franciscus et hostem

Sed sese bello vincens et victus eodem.