BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Marston MS 252 England, s. XIII 1/3, XV
Gautier de Chatillon, Gesta Alexandri Magni, etc.
Part I consists of short aphorisms, prayers, recipes, etc. added in the
15th century, including but not limited to the following texts.
I. l. f. i recto [a] Quidquid agat dominus regnet benedictus...[Walther,
Sprichwoerter 25246]; [b] Inconsulta temeritas nescit consilium
expectare...; [c] ffor the ffassion of an hors. Take a grete handfull of
Betayn and bray hit Well yn a morter...Quod hodys [?] bok; [d] Consilium
Iuuenum/ Latens [?] odium...[cf. Walther, Sprichwoerter 3166a]; [e] O rex. si
rex es. rege te. vel eris...[Walther, Sprichwoerter 19575]; f. i verso [Title:]
Gauterus gallicus de gestis Alexandri magni. [a] Virginis ecce pie
species nati que Marie/ hic si transire speras prosper que redire/...Aliter
in duobus rotulis. Ad Ihesum genitrix mea prospera sis
mediatrix/...; [b] Lux laus. Regina. Rethores Rote que ruina./ Lac
oleum Syna. te glorificant Katerina; [c] references to Phil. 2.9-10 and
Acts 4.12; f. ii recto [a] drawing of a heart with the words "Credo quod"
and extending upwards three quotes from Job 19.25-26: "Redemptor meus
viuit/ De terra surrecturus sum/ In carne mea videbo deum saluatorem meum";
[b] quotation from Ps.-Boethius, De disciplina scholarium; paraphrase of
Cicero, De officiis 2.64.
2. f. ii verso O fragilis nimiumque breuis terrena potestas/ Spes que
hominum fallax et vita simillima vento/...Si queres rectum, si te
prestabis honesto/ Quamque ego pugnando, tu tantum pace valebis.
Latin poem, 24 lines, in which a victorious king, now deceased, speaks
against the vanity of human ambition and glory.
3. f. iii recto [Heading:] Epistola Abgari Ad Ihesum. [text:] Abgarus
Euchamae filius toparcha. Ihesu saluatori bono qui apparuit in locis
hierosolimorum salutem. Auditum michi est et de te et de sanitatibus...Est
autem ciuitas michi parua quidem sed honesta. que sufficiat vtrisque.
[followed by statistics for English towns and churches, e.g., "Et sunt
45. mill. et .11. ecclesie parochiales"].
Apocryphal correspondence of Abgarus, king of Edessa, with Christ.
4. f. iii verso [a] Extract from John Chrystostom; [b] Aphorisms,
including: Mutua dando vice sunt filia, mater amice [Walther,
Sprichwoerter 15815]; Stulti mirantur, prudentes vnde regantur
[Walther, Sprichwoerter 30394]; Hic et in hispanis pigro deest copia
panis [Walther, Sprichwoerter 10841]; Nulla fames vrget, vbi panis
copia surget [Walther, Sprichwoerter 18906]; Parua necat morsu spaciosum
vipera taurum/...[Walther, Sprichwoerter 20767]; fforma pudicie rara, sed
5. f. iv recto [a] Extract from Ovid, Remedia amoris (807-08); [b]
Aphorisms, including: Vinum moderate sumptum acuit ingenium, immoderate
corrumpit; Nescit abesse deus in se sperantibus egros/...[Walther,
Sprichwoerter 16547]; Spiritus excludit vicium carnale, propinat/...[Walther,
Sprichwoerter 30233]; Venditur arbitrium dum viuitur ex alieno/...[Walther,
Sprichwoerter 32982]; Est sine melle fauus, sine messe seges, sine
fructu/...[Walther, Sprichwoerter 7913]; Dulcis amicorum redolet congressus,
amicos/...[Walther, Sprichwoerter 6390]; Pessimus in dubia sorte propheta
timor/...[Walther, Sprichwoerter 21442].
6. f. iv verso [Prologue to art. 7, added in the 15th century:] Moris est
vsitati cum in auribus multitudinis...Et ad hoc respectu discant//
Prologue to Gautier de Chatillon, Alexandreis, written as prose and
ending imperfectly (stub between ff. iv verso and f. 1r). A 13th-century leaf,
containing the complete text of the prologue and probably the original first
folio of this manuscript, now serves as front pastedown.
II. 7. ff. 1r-70v and III. ff. 71r-86v: [Capitula primi libri:] Primus
aristotilis [sic] inbutum nectare sacro/ Scribit alexandrum septrisque
[sic] insignit et armis/ cicropidas regi rursus consederat arces/...
Pergama miratur et sompnia uisa retractat. [text:] Gesta ducis macedum
totum digesta per orbem/ Quam large dispersit opes quo milite porum/
Vicerit et darium. quo principe grecia uictrix/...nullum moritura per
euum. Explicit. f. 87r blank
Gautier de Chatillon, Alexandreis, with Bks. I-VIII.307 (ff. 1-70)
written by a 13th-century scribe and the remainder of the text copied in
the 15th century. Loss of considerable text from f. 56 to end due to severe
rodent damage. M. L. Colker, ed., Galteri de Castellione
(Padua, 1978) pp. 3-274 (this manuscript not cited). For a detailed analysis
of the text of Marston MS 252 see T. Pritchard, "Notes on a Manuscript of
Walter of Chatillon's Alexandreis from an Illustrious Welsh Library,"
Scriptorium 41.1 (1987) pp. 107-13. Some contemporary marginal and
interlinear notes in pen and crayon, including a reference to Peter of Blois
on f. 19v.
8. ff. 87v-88v Short texts in Latin and Middle English similar to those in
arts. 1, 4-5; leaves mostly eaten by rodents.
f. i (modern paper) + iv (15th-century parchment additions that compose
Part I) + 70 (13th-century: Part II) + 18 (15th-century parchment
additions: Part III) + i (modern paper).
Part I: ff. i recto-iv verso do not have a consistent format and are
written by several cursive hands of a decidedly English character. At the
beginning of art. 6, text begins with blue 3-line initial with red
herringbone penwork designs and the additional letters R and
N, in blue,
whose significance is unclear.
Part II: ff. 1-70, 157 x 111 (101 x 51) mm. 31 lines of verse.
Double or triple vertical bounding lines ruled in hard point or crayon
(more common). Collation impossible due to tight binding. Written in
early gothic bookhand, above top line. Divided initial red and black with
simple penwork designs in one or both colors for major text divisions;
plain red initials elsewhere. First letter of each verse separated from
text between bounding lines and stroked with red; paragraph marks in
black. T-O map of the world, f. 7v.
Part III: ff. 71-88, precise measurement of leaves unknown due to
damage, written space 100 x 74 mm. 23 lines of verse. Leaves frame-ruled
in crayon. Remains of decorated catchwords, f. 84v, and quire and leaf
signatures (e.g. l iiii, l v, etc.) in lower right corner, recto. Written
in well-formed English cursive script. Texts in art. 8 in a variety of
cursive hands. Decorative initials similar to those in Part I.
Binding: England, s. xv. Covered first with thin, white tawed skin,
second with a tawed skin chemise, third with heavy tawed skin originally
sewn to the chemise. One fastening, the catch on the lower board, the
upper one cut in for the strap which is wanting. Sewn on three supports
attached to oak boards and pegged with wedges set at an angle. The spine
is back beveled. Later additions include title, in ink, near head of
upper board: "Gesta Alexandri Magni M.S." Repaired at head and tail of
spine; rebacked. Parchment leaf for front pastedown (cf. art. 6 and
Part II, the oldest part of the codex, was written in England in the
first third of the 13th century. In the 15th century the Prologue (art.
6) was rewritten as was the conclusion of the text (Part III); when the
manuscript was rebound, the old Prologue was presumably used as the front
pastedown. Miscellaneous texts in arts. 1-5 and 8 were added in the
15th century. Belonged to the Gwysaney Library of Wales, a collection of
manuscripts formed by the Welsh antiquary and naturalist Robert Davies of
Llannerch (1684-1728); cf. H. D. Emanuel, "The Gwysaney MSS," The
National Library of Wales Journal 7 (1951-52) pp. 326-43; J. C. Jeaffreson,
Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Part I
(1877-78) pp. 418-21. The codex remained in the Davies family until its
sale by Lt. Col. P. R. Davies-Cooke (Sotheby's, 15 June 1959, no. 207).
Unidentified shelf-marks include "No 39" written in ink on front cover and
"74" in ink on a square white paper label on spine. Purchased from
C.A. Stonehill in 1959 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
secundo folio: Cornibus
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 94, no. 252.
Barbara A. Shailor