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Detailed record for Harley 978

Title Musical, medical and literary miscellany, 'Sumer is icumen in', Fables and Lays of Marie de France (ff. 40-67v, 118-160), poems by Walter Map (ff. 68v-74v), goliardic satires and songs (ff. 75-107), and the 'Song of Lewes' (ff. 107-114).
Origin England, Central (Oxford?)
Date 3rd quarter of the 13th century, possibly between 1261-1265
Language Latin, French, English
Script Gothic
Decoration Initials (stave-high) in blue or red (ff. 2-15). 'KL' letters in red or blue, some with penwork decoration, and small initials and numbers in red, green, or blue in the calendar, unfinished (ff. 15v-21). Initials in alternating blue and red with contrasting penwork decoration (ff. 22-25, 40-67, 118-160). Small initials in blue, red or black, some with marginal extensions (ff. 27v-33v, 75-100v, 104v-106). Sentence or verse initials touched in red (ff. 22-33v, 40-100v, 103, 104v-106, 118-160). Rubrics in red throughout.
Dimensions in mm 190 x 135 (150 x 110), mainly in 2 columns
Official foliation ff. 162 + 74* (f. 1 is an added early modern paper leaf; f. 162 is the original back flyleaf; f. 74* is a blank after f. 74; + 4 unfoliated modern leaves at the beginning and 4 at the end).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Possibly commissioned from Oxford booksellers by the author of the note on f. 160v, 'Ord.li. W. de. Wint', variously identified as W[illiam?] of Wycombe (fl. c.1275), music copyist and Benedictine monk, or William of Winchester, monk of Reading (see Taylor 2002, Losseff 2004).
William of Winchester, Benedictine monk of Reading abbey: assembled c. 1265 (see Taylor 2002).
The Benedictine abbey of Reading, co. Berk., in the diocese of Salisbury: references to the death of some of its abbots, in particular Abbot Simon (d. 1226) on 13 Feb., and Abbot John de Fornsett (d. 1261) on 19 Jan. (ff. 15v-16): the death of the latter probably sets a 'terminus post quem' for the manuscript (see Taylor and Coates 1998).
Clement Burdett (d. 1569) rector of Englefield, co. Berk., and official principal to the bishop of Salisbury: bought at the Dissolution.
Edward Lapworth (b. 1574, d. 1636), physician and poet, professor of medicine at Oxford: possibly acquired from Clement Burdett's son, Humphrey. Lapworth's foliation in pen '1-35, 58-182' (ff. 2-161, omitting f. 11), and note dated 5 March 1595, '5 martii 1595 sunt in hoc libro folia conscripta 182' (f. 162) (see Taylor 2002).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1635, d. 1699), bishop of Worcester and theologian: MS. 178 in his library inventory (Harley 7644) (see Wright 1972).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1661, d. 1708), physician and Church of England clergyman, son of the former: sold in 1707 to Robert Harley (see Wright 1972).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes Evidence of the loss of 22 leaves after f. 37 from Edward Lapworth's foliation (see Provenance).
Musical notation on staves (ff. 2-15).
Texts below top line.
Contents include:
Middle English lyric 'Sumer is icumen in' (f. 11v), the earliest known example of English polyphony;
Pseudo-Aristotle, Epistula ad Alexandrum Magnum (from the Secretum Secretorum; ff. 22-23 and 35v-36v);
A medical treatise referring to Avicenna (ff. 23-25v);
Verses on the signs of death (f. 25v);
A glossary of herbs in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Latin (ff. 26-27v);
Pseudo-Hippocrates, Letter, followed by recipes in Latin (ff. 27v-34v);
Verses on the plant scabiosa (f. 37);
Marie de France, Fables (ff. 40-67v);
Walter Map, Poems (ff. 68v-74v);
Goliardic satires and drinking songs in Latin (ff. 75-107);
Song of Lewes, Celebration of Simon de Montfort's victory over Henry III at Lewes in 1264 (ff. 107-114);
Marie de France, Lais (ff. 118-160).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 978.

The Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter Mapes, ed. by Thomas Wright (London: Camden Society, 1841), p. 21.

Léopold Hervieux, Les Fabulistes latins, depuis le sie`cle d'Auguste jusqu'a` la fin du moyen a^ge, 5 vols (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1884-96), I (1884), p. 635.

The Song of Lewes, ed. by Charles. L. Kingsford, Clarendon Press Series (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890), pp. vii-xviii.

Harry L. D. Ward and John A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), I: Harry L. D. Ward (1883), p. 407; II (1893), p. 344 n.

Augustus Hughes-Hughes, Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1906-1965), II (1908), pp. 25, 460.

Neil Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, 2nd edition, (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 156.

Manuscripts of Polyphonic Music: 11th - Early 14th Century, ed. by Gilbert Reaney, Répertoire international des sources musicales, BIV 1 (Munich: Henle, 1966), pp. 505-08.

Cyril E. Wright and Ruth C. Wright, The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I, pp. xix, xxviii.

Cyril E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 283, 316, 388.

Betty Hill, 'British Library Ms. Egerton 613-I', Notes and Queries, New Series, 25 (1978), 394-409 (p. 408).

Christopher Hohler, 'Reflections on Some Manuscripts Containing 13th-century Polyphony', Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society, 1 (1978), 2-38 (pp. 2-19).

Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in The Department of Manuscripts: The British Library, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1979), I, p. 120 no. 640, II, pl. 137.

Carter Revard, ‘Gilote et Johane: an Interlude in B. L. Harley 2253’, Studies in Philology, 79, 2 (1982), 122-46 (pp.127-28, n. 11).

Popular Medicine in thirteenth-century England, compiled by Tony Hunt (Cambridge: Brewer, 1990), pp. 101-04.

The Theory of Music, vol. IV: Manuscripts from the Carolingian Era up to c. 1500 in Great Britain and in the United States of America. Descriptive Catalogue, ed. by Christian Meyer, Michael Huglo and Nancy C. Phillips, Répertoire international des sources musicales, BIII 4 (Munich: Henle, 1992), p. 80 [with further bibliography].

Margaret Laing, Catalogue of sources for a linguistic atlas of early medieval English (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1993), p. 91.

Nicky Losseff, The Best Concords: Polyphonic Music in Thirteenth-Century Britain (New York and London: Garland, 1994), p. 84.

Charles Burnett, The Introduction of Arabic Learning into England, The Panizzi Lectures, 1996 (London: British Library, 1997), n. 4.

Andrew Taylor and Alan E. Coates, 'The dates of the Reading Calendar and the Summer Canon', Notes and Queries, 45.1 (1998), pp. 22-24.

Alan Coates, English Medieval Books: The Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999), p. 75.

Nicolas Bell Music in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2001), pp. 27, 39-40, pl. on p. 27.

Richard Trachsler, 'Les fables de Marie de France', Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 44 (2001), p. 63 (as 'A').

Andrew Taylor Textual Situations: Three Medieval Manuscripts and their Readers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), esp. pp.76-136, figs. 8, 11-14.

Andrew Taylor, 'Manual to Miscellany: Stages in the Commercial Copying of Vernacular Literature in England', The Yearbook of English Studies, 33 (2003), 1-17 (pp. 11-12).

Steven J. Williams, The Secret of Secrets: The Scholarly Career of a Pseudo-Aristotelian Text in the Latin Middle Ages (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), pp. 376-77. [ff. 22-23; 35v-36]

Nicky Losseff, ‘Wycombe, W. of (fl. c.1275)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/60119, accessed 11 Dec 2008].

Treasures of the British Library, ed. by Nicolas Barker and others (London: British Library, 2005), p. 978.

Rupert T. Pickens, 'Reading Harlye 978: Marie de France in Context', in Courtly Arts and the Art of Courtliness, ed. by Keith Busby and Christopher Kleinhenz (Cambridge: Brewer, 2006), pp. 527-42.

Helen Deeming, 'Observations on the Habits of Twelfth- and Thirteenth-century Music Scribes', Scriptorium, 60 (2006), 38-59 (p. 45), pl. 10.

Bryan Gillingham, Music in the Cluniac Ecclesia: A Pilot Project (Ottawa: Institute of Medieval Music, 2006), passim.

Laurent Brun, 'London, British Library Harley ms. 978', Arlima: Archives de littérature du Moyen-Âge (2007) [http://www.arlima.net/index.html] and < http://www.arlima.net/mss/united_kingdom/london/british_library/harley/00978.html> [accessed 05 November 2007].

Catalogued for the Harley Medical Manuscripts Project
[http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/manuscripts/INDEX.asp], accessed 29 May 2008.

Philip Howard, The British Library: A Treasure House of Knowledge (London: Scala Publishers, 2008), no. 84.


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Musical notation

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Initial and music staves

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Musical notation

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Original flyleaf

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