This manuscript comprises nine quires from a more extensive volume, containing parts 1, 2 and 8 of The Pore Caitif, together with the Mirrour of Sinners and six other theological pieces. The Pore Caitif (Poor Wretch) was a popular fourteenth-century compilation of fourteen treatises intended for the religious instruction of the laity, and has variously been attributed to John Wycliffe and Richard Rolle. It survives in more than fifty manuscripts.
Contents: (1) ff. 1-34v, Parts 1, 2, 8 of The Pore Caitif. Jolliffe, A check-list of Middle English prose writings of spiritual guidance, B. Begins imperfectly in part 1 (Creed), 'þe þridde is sorowe'. Part 2 (Commandments) begins on f. 6v, and part 8 (Horse) on f. 30.
(2) ff. 34v-39r, Mirrour of Sinners. '[F]or þt we ben in þe wey... wt his herte blood. Amen.' Jolliffe, F.8.
(3) ff. 39v-42r, De officio militis. '[S]eþ no man mai come to blisse... to þe blisse euerlastinge Amen.'
(4) ff. 42r-43r, '[I]ohannes eat nomen eius. Manie men han þis name... makinge redi his wey.'
(5) ff. 43r-48r, '[S]eint Austyn þe holi doctour techeþ... haue mercy on me. Amen.' Jolliffe, I.32.
(6) ff. 48r-49v, '[T]his lore þat folewt techeþ crist... stinkynge bifore god. and so knowen to god.' Jolliffe, K.12: this copy only.
(7) ff. 50r-72r, '[M]emorare nouissima. ecclesiastici 7. þe help and þe grace... þe siȝt of þi face. Amen.' Also in Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C.751.
(8) f. 72r-v, '[T]hou shalt loue þi lord god... for to deceyue men wiþ' (ends imperfectly: catchword 'whanne he'). Jolliffe, G.27.
Script: Gothic cursive anglicana formata with secretary influence (a, w) by one hand throughout. Written space: 145 x 90 mm. 31-2 long lines.
Secundo folio: not now; he is denied.
Decoration: None; spaces for 2-line initials are not filled in.
Other features: According to Ker, 'The process of correction can be seen in this manuscript. A corrector supplied longer omissions in the lower margin and shorter omissions in the side margin. These were then copied by the scribe of the text in the margins near the point where they were to be taken into the text.'
Inserted among the preliminary leaves are, among other items, two letters from Charles Webb Le Bas (1779-1861), dated 1822 and 1826, apparently unrelated to the manuscript; two letters from Walter Skeat to Joseph Joshua Green, 22 and 24 July 1884; a receipt from the bookseller H.T. Wake; and newscuttings relating to the manuscript. Le Bas was mathematical professor and dean and later principal of the East India College, Haileybury. He contributed lives of Wyclif (1831), Cranmer (1833), Jewel (1835), and Laud to the Theological Library series, edited by Rose and W.R. Lyall.
Description derived from N.R. Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 425-6. By permission of Oxford University Press.