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Manuscript Description
London, British Library MS Harley 4866
Title:Regiment of Princes
Contents:Regiment of Princes
Date Range:1411-1412
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

No of Folios:Black false leather to match pastedown + 1 heavy paper flyleaf of same date + 2 parchment leaves numbered 1* and 1, on first of which is a series of shelfmarks on recto and notes on the MS (modern) on verso, on the second, numbered 1, an early modern hand has added missing text + 2-95 original text + 1 parchment flyleaf, blank except for 1885 note of number of folios + 1 heavy paper flyleaf + black fake leather to match pastedown.
Pagination:Older early modern in ink in upper outer corners recto, 1* plus 1-98, which made some mistakes (skipped number 37). Another foliation in modern pencil has been added below to correct, beginning f37, where '38' of the older foliation is crossed through, though thereafter the older foliation is not crossed through.
Signatures:Signatures survive on many quires, beginning 'a ij and a iij on ff2 and 3.
Catchwords:Occasional but not every quire, eg f69v has 'But be a knyght' just above lower edge of page, running into gutter. Much less formal than the text but may be the scribe's less formal hand. Others on ff16v, 32v, 93v, all same script and running into gutter.
Page Size:265 x 185
Frame:4 x vertical around text column and around gloss column, only a single horizontal line across top above top line, not ruled, fine grey lines.
Writing Space:Text column c. 185 x 88, further glosses column so total c. 185 x 130.
Marginal Headings:Rubric headings by scribe in spaces between stanzas left for them. This sometimes means that stanzas not exactly 4 per page, and so partial stanzas at top and bottom even though 28 lines of text.
Table of Contents:f1 by the early modern hand, in a mauve-purply ink, writes at top of folio 'Heere begynnyth the Book how / Pryncys sholden be governyd' and writes a plain 2-line 'M' to start the poem in same colour ink. Note that the text is also atelous, the original script ending with 5 lines to go. See Comments below.
Borders:Bar borders down left margins and sprays along top and bottom margins, the bar borders in blue and rose with white highlighting, and sprays both into left margin and along top and bottom.
Illuminated Initials:Every 4-5 folios are 2-3 line blue and rose initials, incised, with white highlighting, on gold grounds with foliage patterns within.
Miniatures:Probably originally had presentation on f1; now still has the famous portrait of Chaucer on f88, and the man lassoing added text to pull it back into the text column on f62.
Paragraph Marks:Each stanza preceded by alternating red paraphs with blue penwork flourishing and gold paraphs with darker blue flourishing, with same flourished paraphs preceding glosses.
Other Names (not owners):On f1 below and to right of the rubric title added by early modern scribe, in another hand of ??17th c? is 'Oxford' in cursive and 'BH' in same ink as 'Oxford'.
Miscellaneous Info:The manuscript is atelous, the last lines being supplied in lower margin by the early modern scribe followed by 'Explicit' in the same purplish ink. Last quire is only 2 leaves (N.i and N.ii)'this is the usual end of the poem, without the 'Verba compilatoris ad librum' of 3 8-line stanzas which should come here. In this MS the last stanza reads, 'vppon ?e mescreant3 to make were And hem vnto the feith of crist to brynge [ends original scribe, 28th line on page] Good were ther ynne may ye no thyng erre That were a meritorye werryng That is the wey vn to the conqueryng Of hevenes blysse that is endeles To which you brynge thauctour of pees Amen Explicit' f95v.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP