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Star-Shaped Diagram Of Poetic Metre, In James Nicholas of Denmark's Poems

Star-Shaped Diagram Of Poetic Metre, In James Nicholas of Denmark's Poems

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1450

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius A XIV

Item number: f.23r

Length: 24.5

Width: 17.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This manuscript contains a set of poems by James Nicholas of Denmark (he flourished c.1360-73) written in 1363 in honour of Aymer of Valence, Earl of Pembroke (d.1324), whose widow Marie was Nicholas's patron, and founder of Pembroke College, Cambridge. On a flyleaf it has a late medieval ownership inscription (partly erased) of the College. This diagram, headed '29th Metre', contains a poem laid out in a star shape to emphasise the poetic structure. The first four lines are read outwards from the centre, starting with that at the top; the next four lines are also read from the centre, between the first four lines; the next four are read from the mid-points of the first four; and so on. This makes clear that every line begins and ends with a letter 'M', and the word in the middle of every line also begins with an 'M'.

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