[Confessio amantis]

Gower, John, 1325?-1408 [Browse]
Manuscript, Book
  • Middle English (1100-1500)
  • Latin
[England], [between 1400 and 1425]
191 leaves : parchment ; 233 x 158 (184 x 130) mm bound to 245 x 174 mm.


Former owner
Library of Congress genre(s)
Rare books genre
Getty AAT genre
Summary note
Gower's poem using the confression of an ageing lover to a chaplain of Venus as a frame story for a collection of shorter narrative poems.
  • Incipit: “Torpior(!) obes(!) sensus scola parua labor minimusque Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam. Qua tamen engisti lingua canit insula bruti Anglica cauente(!) metra iuuante loquar. Ossibus ergo carens qua conterit ossa loquelis; Absit et interpres stet procul oro malus. Incipit Prologus. Of hem þat wryten vs tofore, þe bokes dwelle and we þerefore, be tau3t of þat wat writen þo…”
  • Explicit: [book 8]: “Where resteþ loue and al pes, Oure joy may be endeles. Amen Amen Amen. Explicit iste liber."
  • Ms. codex.
  • Title supplied by cataloger.
  • Collation: Parchment ; fol. ii (paper) + 191 + ii (paper) ; modern foliation in pencil.
  • Layout: 36-42 lines in two columns ; lightly frame-ruled in brown ink.
  • Decoration: The prologue and books 1-8 open with a 2- to 6-line blue initial with red penwork. Divisions within books marked with similar 1- to 2-line initials.
Binding note
Later binding. England, early 19th century. Diced Russia leather of tan color over pasteboard, rebacked. Blind-stamped and gold-tooled decorative edging on covers. Gold-stamped decoration on spine. Brown paper pastedowns and flyleaves. Gilt edges.
Language note
Middle English; prefatory matter in Latin;
Anglicana formata.
Unknown early provenance. Various unidentified dealer's markings appear on fols. [i]v and [ii]r. Owned by Rev. Henry Drury who may have acquired it from the bookseller Thomas Norton Longman. Purchased by bookseller Thomas Thorpe for Sir Thomas Phillips. Sold from his collection in 1899 by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge to Bernard Quaritch, who sold it to Robert Garrett on 1 October 1905. His gift to the Princeton University Library, 1942.
Source acquisition
Gift Robert Garrett, Princeton Class of 1897, 1942.
Medieval & Renaissance manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, volume 1, pages 313-315.
Other format(s)
Also available in an electronic version.
Place name(s)
Other title(s)
Gower's Confessio amantis
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