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"Documentum Roberti Grosehede": an unpublished early Lollard text.

Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.1.29, but for one of its texts, might be described as an almost boilerplate mid-fifteenth-century religious miscellany. More or less pocket-sized (about 195 mm x 140 mm overall), it provides a succession of standard prose tracts of instruction, with a strong Northern and Rollean emphasis. The volume begins and concludes with Rolle's epistles: at the head a relatively unusual isolated copy of "The Commandment" (fols. 1-8), at the end, the ubiquitous "Form of Living" (fols. 99v-117v). About forty percent of the book is devoted to the explicitly yet inauthentically ascribed "Pater noster of Richard Ermyte" (fols. 18-66v). The collection also includes the companion pieces "The Abbey of the Holy Ghost" and its "Charter" (fols. 77-99). (1) Given the placement of the scribal language in east central Lincolnshire by the Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, the book would appear in most respects to represent the familiar southward spread of Northern texts into Humberside and thence into the East Midlands more generally. (2)

There is, however, one exception, a single textual item, one of the volume's three unpublished texts, an omission this note will seek to rectify. (3) At fols. 73-74v, the compiler presents a text he identifies as "Documentum Roberti Grosehede episcopi Lincolniensis." This brief work, enjoining priests not to harass poor parishioners for their tithes, would appear to be of origins quite distinct from the remainder of the book. In its argument, it relies upon what is relatively easily identifiable as Wycliffite "cant," e.g., associations of post-apostolic "innovative" behaviors with Satan and Antichrist (lines 6-7, and following), use of the phrase "pore mennes godes" as a more relevant term than "tithes" (lines 15-16, etc.), and a passing reference to worldliness as a form of "mamentrie" (i.e., idolatry, the worship of a false god, line 99). (4)

Moreover, like a good many similar polemics, the text is presented as a series of excerpts from materials deemed authoritative. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the opening move that provides the slightly misleading title for the piece. Robert Grosseteste here stands for a local English tradition of clerical concern. The great bishop of Lincoln replaces the orthodox and conventional model, Thomas Becket, who is anathema in these contexts because of his steadfast vindication of clerical rights.

At the same time, one should probably insist that, within a range of Lollard invective at abuses perpetuated by the established church, the brief tract strikes a relatively conciliatory note. It is not addressed simply, or indeed primarily, to sectarians, as a muckraking revelation of abuse. Rather, the author directs his comments to the "villains," grasping priests themselves, and he imagines that he offers, through his citations, a case that his audience should recognize as compelling--and that should lead to self-reform. In the context of Trinity O.1.29, one might imagine this to be a priest's book that includes not just basic catechetical information, but an admonition about how its owner should behave.

Any doubts one might have about the sectarian origins of the "Documentum" will be vitiated by a second, and partial, record of the text. This occurs added at the end of a booklet, on a blank leaf (and on part of a supplied extra leaf), in Bodleian Library, Bodley MS 647. (5) This manuscript represents the collaborative work of four scribes, all of whom write English in comparable Derbyshire languages. (6) The Bodley manuscript has been recognized, ever since John Bale handled it in about 1550, as a central exhibit of early vernacular Wycliffism. Virtually all its contents (once again, the exception is this unpublished text) are well-known, for Bodley 647 provided materials for the two early anthologies, edited by Thomas Arnold and F. D. Matthew, through which vernacular Wycliffite interests have always been known. (7)

The Bodley manuscript shows many signs of having been derived from materials close to the origins of the vernacular Lollard movement, for example, its inclusion of the eucharistic confessions printed by Aston. The scribe who added his version of the "Documentum" to the ensemble (and who appears nowhere else in the volume) clearly responded to the thematic emphases of the whole. In the most general terms, the book provides a protracted discussion of proper priesthood (and the many perverse modern representations of that order). Among its other original texts, it includes a brief diatribe derived from and ascribed to Grosseteste. The topic of unnecessarily coerced tithes emerges elsewhere, in one of the book's Latin portions. There a different scribe gives an approving reference to a passage in Gratian, a discussion of unneedy priests taking tithes. (8) This citation, ascribed to Jerome, is probably alluded to in line 13 of the text appended here.

I present below the text, as it appears in Trinity O.1.29. The copy in Bodley 647 is only a fragment; it breaks off at midpage, with "to" (line 69). The scribe who offered this portion may have lost interest, once it became clear that the text actually did not reproduce an extensive Grosseteste commentary, but as with the other texts in Bodley 647, the scribe was transmitting an extremely good copy of the tract. In a number of local readings, the Trinity scribe clearly is misrepresenting materials satisfactorily communicated by his early fifteenth-century predecessor, perhaps most notably the eyeskip error I repair at lines 58 through 60 of the text below. A number of other examples litter the Trinity text and require correction, for example "fitrid" in line 37 (a rare word, but one also appearing in another early Lollard text).

However, in addition to providing only a fragment of the whole, the "Documentum" in Bodley 647 appears truncated in a second respect. This manuscript offers a considerably less lengthy account than does the Trinity copy, even of those portions where they run in parallel. Phrase by phrase and line by line, Trinity provides a fuller text, of great grammatical specificity, and often, local detail.

This situation does not, however, exemplify the editors' paradox recentiores, non deteriores. Rather, in every other text of the manuscript where comparison is possible, the scribe of Trinity O.1.29 reveals himself as a compulsive (and often irritating) rewriter of received materials. (9) This scribe seems unable to leave anything as he received it, and from the collations of texts he produced, one can assemble a rich array of evidence for his customary "prosaics." Certainly, his case might provide a salutary caution to editors. Typically concerned with the transmission of a single work, editors might well broaden their scope to consider the customary practices, displayed across a range of writings (and potentially, diverse manuscripts), that can be associated with those individuals providing evidence for their editions.

In this situation, where the Trinity scribe is most usually a unique witness to the text, one has to admit that an edition, as opposed to a transcription, of the "Documentum" is impossible. After Bodley 647 breaks off in line 69, one has no real check on the Trinity scribe's activities, other than his customary practices elsewhere. One must acknowledge this constraint, and I present below the text in its only full extant form. Where the two copies of the "Documentum" run in parallel, I make no effort to bring their readings into conformity, although I do correct what seem to me manifest errors in Trinity. For the first 42 lines of the version below, I provide a separate second set of collations, limited to presenting what I imagine to be the Trinity scribe's intrusions, generally readings of the type that have been noted by past editors of the manuscript's texts. This list follows a more conventional one, a full collation of other deviations between the two witnesses, including those dozen or more occasions where Trinity seems to me, for one reason or another, to have misrepresented a reading recorded in Bodley (and inferentially, in Trinity's exemplar as well). There are a number of further examples that, although I remain dubious about them, I have let stand.

[fol. 73r]

Hic incipit documentum Roberti Grosehede episcopi Lincolniensis.
          Pe worthi clerke Roberte Grosehede, beschope of Lincoln,
     says in a sermone bat he made vnto bo pope bat kepers or
     curatoures of mannez saulez, nought prechynge Cristes gospelle
     by worde and lyfynge like vnto be werkez of Ihesu Criste and
5    fore loofe of Cristenne saulez, wille for to be dedd in
     bemeseluen and [sleers of] saules taken vnto beire cure.
     Pei Antecriste and Sathanas transfigure into an aungell of lyght.
     And also Saynt  Bernard says in his epistille vnto be curatez of
     Holykirke, "Whatso
10   binge bat bou holdes of be auterage ouer a strayte and bare
     lyf[lode] and simple clethyng, it es nou3t bin bat, bot it es
     othere mennes and it es thefte and it es sacrilege."
          And also Saynt Bernarde and Seynt Ierome in baire Epistelle
     sayes on bis manere: "Whatsoeuer binge bat bies clerkes of
15   Holykirke haue in beire possessione, it es nou3t beirs, bot it
     es pore mennes godes of beire subditez. [fol. 73v] For to resayue
     pore  mennez [godes] and ban nought to gyffe beme vnto pore menne
     bot for to withdraugh beme fro beme, it passes alle maner of
     cruelte of thefte or of robrye."
20        And also Saynt Bernarde busgates saies in his epistele vnto
     bo prelatez of Holykirke, "A prelatez and mased folez in bo
     gouernale of Holykyrke, what doose golde or syluere in zoure
     sadellez, in zoure bridelles? And also zoure horsez are chargedd
     with gemmes and with iewells, and pore men hungire and thirste
25   and haue nakyde syddes."
          "We are Cristez heritage, bought with his preciouse blode,"
     sayes bies ilke pore men. "And it es cruelly withdraughen fro vs,
     bat binge be wilke ze so outragely wastez." And berfore sais bis
     pore men bus, bat two wikkidnes comez bereof. "ze prelatez
30   p[eres]chez in zoure doynge vanite, and wee hungire and thirste
     and also suffere mekille kare and mekille woo."
          "Thynke, ze prelatez," sai[s] Saynt Bernarde, "How orribull
     sall be crye of pore menne be at be daye of dome agayns all zow.
     Thynke also, ze curatourez of Holykirke, what it profites now to
35   waste tythyngez and offeryngez of Holykirke in gaye peloure or
     in grisse and in festes of ricche men and iaggedd sqwyers and
     [fitred] clothez, as it were be feende tormentourez. And zoure
     + pore paryschenez suffers mekile disease, in hungure, thriste,
     and colde. And fore schame and sclaundere of be warlde, bai
40   borough oftetyme be penees be wilke bat bei offere vnto zou
     into encresynge of zoure lyuynge, gretely hynnderand beire
     awne astate."
          And zee fynde written in zoure laughe bat all binge bat
     euer zee haue in zoure possessione is pore mennez gode, and
45   not zourez. And also zee are not lordes berof, bot ze be beire
     procuratores. Thynke, if bat ze be procuratores, to lyue so
     lustely bat be pore men, bat are lordez of zoure temperellez
     godez, farez oftetyme so harde bat vnneese bei may sustene
     beme in ber lyfynge?
50        Thynke also weel and haue it sadely in mynde bat Criste
     Ihesu and alle his holy aposteles for all beire holy lyfe and trew
     prechynge hade no more bot a poore and naked lyflode for to
     do beire office berby. And Gode ordende no more vnto a[ny]
     preste [in be laughe] of grace bot foode and hylynge and for
55   to [lyue of] be gosspell to bame bat it preches. Who has
     graunted vnto zou so many markes and poundes by noumbre
     of hundrethe, when zee preche nou3t be gosspell in worde
     and in dede, but gyues sclaundere to Cristen, bothe be pride
     and couetyse [and lecchorie sumtyme and glotonye and ydelnesse?
60        And to stoppe couetyse], of prestez say[s] God in his laughe
     bus, bat prestez and dekounes [fol. 74r] sulde nought take of be
     possessione of beire brothire, bot be fully weel appayede with
     offerynge of tythes comand vnto be chirche. Bot ze now vpon
     deyes brynge vp amonge zou many and diuersez new [custom]es,
65   of be wilke God nobinge spekes in Holy Write. And 3it ze do full
     eueil zoure office, bothe in techyng and in example of gode lyfe
     geuynge.
          Thynke also, zee prelates bat curses men bat offers nou3t at
     zoure liste and likynge, bot spendes mekile bettere baire almus to
     70 pore nedy men and counsels othere men to do be same. Pere ze
     may by noo laughe ne resoune compelle beme to offire as bat bei
     weere woont at do bot allonely be eueile techynge of couetous
     prestez.
          And thenkes bus in zoureseluen bat ze are be a thousand
75   partie for to gyfe trewe techynge of be gosspelle and ensaumple
     of holy lyfe vnto zoure subiettez, 3a, ban bei are bounden to paye
     to zow tithynge or offerynge. And berfore ze be a thousande
     partie more acursed ban are bei, for be withdraughynge of gostely
     dette, ban bat bei be for withdraughynge of any maner of tythez or
80   offerynge.
          If it so be bat ze couetis to do weel and treuly zoure office,
     thynkez it well in zoure boughtez bat Criste Ihesu in his epistele
     cursed neuer man ne woman for tithes? And busgatez bei didd
     weel ber office when wikked men wild nethire gyue beme mete ne
85   drynke. How and what manere made Sathanas zou so herdy and
     stoute and outrage for to curse trew men in Holykirke, for bat bei
     spend beire almusdede on baire brethire, beand in gret pouerte,
     and berto also bai counseile Cristene men to do be same, as Criste
     hymseluen comaunded in his gosspell? A, ze masede folez,
90   wantande fully alle be lyght of grace bat in zow suld be
     passandly,
     ze oftetymes cursez beme expressely fore bat bei do willfully be
     precepte of God.
          Bot were is now on bies dayes more schame, velany,
     heresy, and open tyrantrye of Antecriste ba[n] es regnand among
95   zou day be daye and 3here be 3here? And berfore I counseill zou
     to binke how bat be holy Tobie departed all his tithes vnto poore
     nedy men at be thride 3here. Fore prestez worchipped ban fals
     goddes, as be Bibille vs openly [telles]. [fol. 74v] Pan sethyne
     couetys and gloteny is mamentrie, as Saynte Paule, be holy apostole
100  of Criste, sais. Fore men maye not withdraughe laughfully and
     waste be offerynge, nowt to zou dewed of longe tyme fore zoure
     couetouse, pride, and wastynge, and also pore men beire godes.
          A, thynke bus in zoure hertez, I counseill, if it so be with
     zou bat zee seeke mekile more be temporell godez of zoure
105  subiettez, 3a, ban ze do in any tyme be heel of beire saule.
     Sothely, alle ze bat sogatez do are acursedd of God almyghty.
     Forewhi ze are fully oute of his preciouse vertu, bat es calledde
     Charite. And berfore all ze do, standande in bat case, es not bot
     dyme and darke and withouten be lyght of grace.
110       Also thenkez in zoure myndes, if bat ze haue ought comon
     to zoure kirkes or to zoure orders or to any maner benefice of
     Holykirke borough bis wharied synne, Symonye. Forewhi if so
     be bat zee so haue done, ze are acursedd be zoure aune laughe.
     za, ryght as cursede heretikes vnto be tyme bat ze be fully
115  amended of bat ilke fals symonye and recounseild of zoure
     prelate. Whethire bat ze may be saaue in bis maner of doynge
     withouten resynynge or naye? And berfore it es be moste
     [h]este for zou all fore dred of vengeaunce of God bat ze ceese
     now forward of zoure sclaundre and cursynge. Fore in
120  sothfastnes to saye, temporell godes are not dette to zow.
          And berefore preches treuly and frely Cristes gosspell
     vnto zoure subdites and schewes vnto beme in all binge mekenes,
     deuocioun, and resonable lyfe in mete and drynke, withouten
     any outrage. And lokes also bat ze haue competent howsynge
125  and honeste seruandes. And sellez nou3t Cristez bodie in messys
     fore offerynge or fore any othere vntrew wynnynge.
          Forwhi if ze sogatez do, ban do zee mekile more
     cursedlyere ben Iudas didd. Fore he sulde Criste Ihesu when bat
     he was dedely and nou3t knawen fore verray God. Bot if bat zee
130  sell his body sacried in be messe, ban zee sell hym glorifyede
     and knawen for God almyghty in trinite. And berfore be ze wyese
     and waare in zoure wyrkynge, and ze sall haue to zoure mede be
     blis bat nere sall haue endynge.


Emendations and other variants from Bodley 647 (B)

3 curatoures] curatis B mannez] mennus B 4 lyfynge] lyf B like vnto] licly to B *6 sleers of] B, sorye es for MS vnto] to B 6 Pei] And B Antecriste] Antecristes B 7 transfigure ] transfigurid B 8 epistille] pistels B -so] -euere B 10 be auterage] outrage B *11 lyflode] B, lyfynge MS 13 Bernarde ... Ierome] trs. names B Epistelle] pistils B 16 For] And for B *17 godes] B; binge MS vnto] to B 18-19 alle ... robrye] bo cruelte of alle robbers (thus an extra doublet in MS) B 20 saies] after epistele B epistele] pistils B vnto] to B 21 bo prelatez] prelates bus B A] Say B 23 in (1) ... bridelles] in bo bridel and bo sadel B 24 with2] precious stones and B 25 and haue] with B 26 his] Cristis B 28 be wilke] bat B wastez] adds bus B 28-29 And ... bat] seyn pore men after bereof B *30 pereschez] B, prechez MS *32 sais] B, said MS 33 be] bis B at ... zow] trs. phrs. B daye of dome] domusday B 34 Thynke] And now thynke B curatourez] curatis B 35 in] adds gret B *37 fitred] B, taterynge of MS (cf. MED fit(e)red pp.) *38 pore] B, propure MS hungure] adds and B 39 fore ... bai] om., but for wordly schame appears after borough (thus another added doublet in MS) B 40 bei] for to B vnto] to B 43 And ... written] Sith ze write B zoure] adds owne B 44 gode] godis B 45 ze be beire] om., but of pore men appears after procuratores1 B 46 if] wheber B procuratores2] trew p. of pore men B bat] and B *53 vnto any] B, vnto a MS *54 in be laughe] B, om. MS *55 lyue of] B, trowe on MS (having confused the form with leve 'believe') 56 vnto] to B 43 Cristen] adds men B * 58-60 couetyse ... couetyse] B, om. MS (an eyeskip) *60 says] B, sayde MS 61 nought] nobing B 62 brothire] breber B appayede] payed B *64 customes] B, laughes MS 65 nobinge spekes] spekes not B 68 also] wil B prelates] prestes B 69 liste and likynge] wille B to] B ends *94 ban] bat MS *98 telles] om. MS (along, probably, with more, at the page-boundary) *118 heste] beste MS

Words and phrases unique to Trinity, lines 1-42 only

5 wille for to 7 an, And 9 vnto...Holykirke, bat 10 and bare 11 bat bot, and (1, 2) 13 And (1) 14 on bis manere -so-, binge bat bies, of Holykirke 15 in beire ... bot 16 of beire subditz 17 ban, to (1), for to 18 fro beme it (and cf. the variant cited above) 20 And, busgates 21 of Holykirke 21-22 and ... Holykyrke 22 or syluere, And also 27 bies ilke And, with-, so outragely 30 zoure, also 31 and mekille woo 32 Saynt 33-34 all, also, of Holykirke 34 now, of Holykirke 35-36 or in grisse, in 37 it ... feende 38 cf. the variant cited above 40 oftetyme ... bei 41-42 into ... astate

NOTES

(1.) For descriptions, see Montague R. James, The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge: A Descriptive Catalogue, 4 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1900-1904), 3:33-34; Linne R. Mooney, Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, Index of Middle English Prose, Handlist 11 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1995), 74-75; Florent G. A. M. Aarts, ed., The Pater Noster of Richard Ermyte: A Late Middle English Exposition of the Lord's Prayer (Nijmegen: University Press, 1967), xiv-xv.

(2.) The book appears in Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, 4 vols. (Aberdeen: University Press, 1986), as LP 180 (coordinates 514/344); see 3.261-62.

(3.) The unique texts include an Annunciation sermon (fols. 66v-73) and a discussion of prayer, identified in its colophon as being derived from a "liber qui vocatur pupilla oculi interioris hominis" (fols. 8-17v). For this item, not related to the lengthy discussion in the Rollean Holy Boke Gratia Dei, see P. S. Jolliffe, A Check-List of Middle English Prose Writings of Spiritual Guidance (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1974), item M.13.

(4.) The phrase, "pore men's goods," is the English shorthand answering two of Wycliffe's "errors" condemned at Blackfriars in May 1382, the fifth ("Quod decimae sunt purae eleemosynae ...") and ninth ("est contra sacram scripturam, quod viri ecclesiastici habent possessiones temporales"). See further G. H. Martin, ed., Knighton's Chronicle 1337-1396 (Oxford: University Press, 1995), 254-57 passim. For "maumetry," see the first three texts edited Edward P. Wilson, "A Critical Text, with Commentary, of MS. English Theology f.39 ...," 2 vols. (unpub. Oxford B.Litt. thesis, 1968 [Bodleian, MS B.Litt. c.177-78]); and the comments and description at Ralph Hanna III, Smaller Bodleian Collections, Index of Middle English Prose, Handlist 12 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997), xxii-iii, 14-15.

(5.) Anne Hudson mentioned the two copies, The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History (Oxford: University Press, 1988), 342, note 142, amid a customarily concise summary of Lollard views on tithing, pp. 341-45.

(6.) See Linguistic Atlas LP 61, described 3:68-69.

(7.) For Bale, see Index Britanniae Scriptorum ..., ed. Reginald L. Poole and Mary Bateson, 2nd ed., with a new introduction by Caroline Brett and James P. Carley (1902; Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1990), 270-71. For the seminal editions, see Thomas Arnold, ed., Select English Works of John Wyclif, 3 vols. (Oxford: University Press, 1869-71), esp. volume 3 passim; Frederic David Matthew, ed., The English Works of Wyclif Hitherto Unprinted, EETS o.s. 74 (London: Trubner, 1880, 1902; repr. 1998), 40-51. For further materials overlooked in these volumes, see Margaret Aston, "Wyclif and the Vernacular," Studies in Church History, Subsidia 5 (1987), 281-330, at 328-30 (cf. the discussion at 297-300). A protracted discussion of MS Bodley 647 and its reception will appear in Essays and Studies for 2010.

(8.) For the first of these, "Lincolniensis" (fols. 62v-63v), see Arnold, 3.230-32. The Jerome citation appears at fol. 83, and refers to Decretum C.1, q.2, c.6 ("Qui sumptibus propriis sustentari possunt, ab ecclesia stipendia non accipiant"), ed. Emil Friedberg, from the original edition of Aemilius Luduvicus Richter, Corpus Juris Canonici, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1879-1881; repr. 1959), 1.409.

(9.) See Aarts, Pater Noster, xx-xxii (mentioning a similar report on the "Abbey" texts of this manuscript); and, for Rolle's epistles, S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson, ed., Richard Rolle Prose and Verse, EETS o.s. 293 (1988), xxxix and xlvi.
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Title Annotation:Nota Bene: Brief Notes on Manuscripts and Early Printed Books: Highlighting Little-Known or Recently Uncovered Items or Related Issues
Author:Hanna, Ralph
Publication:The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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