BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 401 England, s. IX^^in
Aldhelm, De laude virginitatis
Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
Published by R. Ehwald, Aldhelmi Opera, MGH, A.A.. 15 (Berlin, 1919; 2nd
ed. 1961); MS 401 described on p. 214 (MS P). The Old English glosses, added s.
X^^2, are printed and discussed by A. S. Napier, Old English Glosses (Oxford,
1900) pp. 175-78 (no. 11); H. D. Meritt, "Old English Aldhelm Glosses,"
Modern Language Notes 67 (1952) pp. 553-54; idem, "Old English Glosses,
Mostly Dry Point," Journal of English and Germanic Philology 60 (1961)
p. 441; L. Goossens, The Old English Glosses of MS. Brussels, Royal Library
1650 ...(Brussels, 1974) p. 19, no. 9. The 26 leaves of this manuscript are
probably fragments of eight quires that can be arranged as follows (with ff. 9
and 22 out of order):
1. ff. 1-5 Leaves 2, 3, 5-7 of a quire of 8. ff. 1r-2v: //unus tamen
accipit...Cecinisse cum diceret//; ff. 3r-5v: //rite rimando. Nunc...Antidotum
Portions of chs. 2-7; Ehwald, 230/15 - 232/4 and 232/23 - 235/5.
2. ff. 6-7 Outermost bifolium of a quire of 8. f. 6r-v: //Ut est illud non
suferetur...limpidissimi solis splendor//; f. 7r-v: //suppraema strage
truciter...uero si uestrae sagacitatis. [text continues in art. 3, f. 9r]
Portions of chs. 8-9 and 12-13; Ehwald, 236/5 - 237/6 and 241/1 - 17.
3.ff. 9, 8 in this order, the outermost bifolium of a quire of 8 (lower and
outer margins trimmed, with much loss of text). f. 9r-v: peruigil
sollicitudo solerter...affectu lugubriter conponat//; f. 8r-v: //uccibus quod
sola...altera se maritalis lasci//
Portions of chs. 13, 16-17, with text continuing on f. 9r from 7v; Ehwald,
241/17 - 242/9 and 245/21 and 246/9.
4. ff. 10-16 A quire of 8, lacking the seventh leaf. ff. 10r-15v: //Illa
pulcherrimo fulgentis pudicitiae...catholicae fidei sectatoribus//; f. 16r-v:
//Conplanans anfractus praeco regis...confectio humanae//
Portions of chs. 17-22, 23; Ehwald, 246/10 - 253/1 and 253/26 - 255/6.
5. ff. 17-19 The first, fifth, and sixth leaves of a quire of 6. f. 17r-v:
//naturae nocitura habebatur...Atque quinquies quadra//; ff. 18r-19v //muros.
Et hanc ueteranam...disputationis sophisma pollebat [followed by erasure]//
Portions of chs. 23-24, 25-27; with text continuing on f. 17r from 16v;
Ehwald, 255/6 - 256/6 and 259/14 - 262/10.
6. f. 20 A single leaf of a quire. //Ac demum quinquies bilustris...sacella
et dissipatas fanaticae//
Portions of chs. 29-30; Ehwald, 267/16 - 269/6.
7. f. 22 A single leaf of a quire. //sera penitentia cunctis...qui orientis
Portion of ch. 32; Ehwald, 272/9 - 273/11.
8. ff. 21, 23-26 The first, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth leaves of a
quire of 8. f. 21r-v: //exsoluit. Sed rursus...rumigerula [?] uirginitatis//;
ff. 23r-24v: //ad eundem theophilum destinasse...mutarit. Et post pauca//;
ff. 25r-26v: //quarum formosam uultus...flagrorum uibice cruentata//
Portions of chs. 45-46, 47-49, 50-51; Ehwald, 299/9 - 300/12; 302/7
- 304/13; 305/14 - 307/15.
Parchment, ff. i (paper) + 26 + i (paper), 198 x 145 (138 x 110) mm.
ff. 1-9 written in 19 long lines; ff. 10-26 in 22 long lines. Ruled in hard
point generally on hair side before folding; double vertical bounding lines.
Double horizontal rulings, many extend full width of bifolium. Prickings on
innermost and outermost vertical bounding lines; occasional double prickings
(e.g., f. 17) at corners of written space.
See above for collation.
Written by two scribes, Scribe 1, ff. 1r-9v: a vigorous and well spaced
Anglo-Saxon minuscule; preference for minuscule d; strokes of letters
often extend well into margin at end of line. Scribe 2, ff. 10r-26v: slightly
cramped hand; preference for uncial d. See E. A. Lowe, "Membra
disiecta," Revue Benedictine 39 (1927) p. 191. Anglo-Saxon glosses
added by several hands either in small upward-leaning Caroline minuscule or in
a somewhat larger script that uses insular letter-forms.
Decorative initials, 5- to 2-line, in black surrounded by red dots; smaller
initials, 2- to 1-line, in red, often with traces of yellow. Letters, stroked
with red, many now oxidized; occasional punctuation in red.
Folios 8, 9, and 22 have been used as wrappers; mutilated with loss of text.
Significant water damage on ff. 19r-20v, 26r; rewritten by later scribe.
Binding: s. xix^^med. Olive paper case with "Middle Hill boards," bound
by George Bretherton of Gloucester who worked for Sir Thomas Phillipps,
Written at the beginning of the 9th century, probably in Canterbury or Worcester
to judge by the script (see E. A. Lowe, op. cit., pp. 191-92; A. von
Euw, Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig [Cologne, 1982] v. 3,
pp. 66-69). The Old English glosses were apparently added in the second half
of the 10th century (N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing
Anglo-Saxon [Oxford, 1957] no. 12; idem, "A Supplement to Catalogue of
Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon," Anglo-Saxon England 5  pp.
121-31, no. 12) and may be of Kentish origin (Napier, op. cit., p. xxxii).
There are at present 38 leaves surviving from the original manuscript: 28
folios in the Beinecke Library (MSS 401 and 401A; see also following catalogue
entry), 2 leaves in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lat. th. d. 24 (see F. Madan, et
al., Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library 
v. 5, p. 842), portions of 2 leaves in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Don. f. 458
(see Ker, "A Supplement to Catalogue," op. cit., p. 122), 2 leaves in
Cambridge, University Library Add. MS 3330 (we thank J. S. Ringrose for her
assistance with these fragments), 1 leaf in London, B.L. Add. MS 50483K, 1 leaf
in the J. F. Lewis Collection in the Free Library (MS ET 121) of Philadelphia
(Faye and Bond, p. 454), 2 leaves in Malibu, California, J. Paul Getty Museum
MS Ludwig XI.5 (see von Euw, op. cit., pp. 66-69). The fragments
comprising Beinecke MS 401 were discovered by Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858),
Librarian of the Royal Institution, in a Brighton bookshop where the codex had
been dismembered to provide wrappers for books. He presented one fragment (f.
22) to Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1827; inscription on f. 22v, in upper margin:
"Preserved from the cover of a book by...Singer, Librarian to the Royal
Institution, and by him presented to Sir Thos. Phillipps, Bart. 1827." The
remaining leaves of MS 401 were either given or sold by Singer to Richard Heber
(1773-1833); his sale (10 Feb. 1836, no. 32; label on spine) to Payne who
acquired them for Phillipps (no. 8071; tag on spine; inscription inside front
cover). In the Phillipps sale of 25 Nov. 1969 (Sotheby's, New Series,
Medieval Manuscripts, Part V) these leaves were joined together with two
additional leaves from the same manuscript (Phillipps MS 20688, ff. 9, 10;
presently Beinecke MS 401A) and sold as lot 442. Acquired from H. P. Kraus in
1970 as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke.
Bibliography: Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 178-79, no. 3.
T. E. Marston, "The Earliest Manuscript of St. Aldhelm's De laude
virginitatis," Gazette 44 (1970) pp. 204-06.
R. L. Collins, Anglo-Saxon Vernacular Manuscripts in America, exh. cat.
(New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1976) pp. 29-31.
H. Gneuss, "Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1100,"
Anglo-Saxon England 9 (1981) p. 54, no. 857.
Barbara A. Shailor