Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 58

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AGNUS CASTUS; MEDICAL RECIPES
England, s. XVex
1. ff. 1-40v: Agnus castus is an herbe that men clepyn Tutsayn other parkeleuys and this herbe hath leuys sumdele red yleke to the levys of Arage…Also if a man haue grete itchyng in his Bodi take the Ius//
G. Brodin, ed., Agnus Castus: a Middle English Herbal Reconstructed from Various Manuscripts. Essays and Studies on English Language and Literature 6 (Copenhagen and Cambridge, Mass., 1950) 119-201; HM 58 not recorded; the text shares characteristics with Brodin’s groups I and II, but many readings resemble the variants listed for London, Brit. Lib., Roy. 18.A.VI, the representative of group II. One leaf missing after f. 8 with loss of most of the entry for “Betonia”; between the entries for “Costus” and “Dragancia,” ff. 15v-16, fourteen herbs not copied (contemporary note, f. 16, lists seven missed herbs); on f. 18v, ten lines cancelled and f. 19, a singleton, inserted by the scribe to allow for otherwise missed entries; other herbs occasionally missed; breaks defectively in the entry for “Rosa marinus,” although the text may have been completed on the 4 leaves now missing after f. 40. See also A. Zettersten, “A Manuscript of ‘Agnus Castus’ in the Huntington Library,” Notes and Queries 216 (1971) 130-31.
2. ff. 8v, 11v, 19v, 23v, 31v, 33, 34, 38v, 39, 41-42v: Twenty-nine medical recipes added by several contemporary and later hands in the blank spaces left by the scribe of Agnus Castus in order to begin a new letter of the alphabet at the top of a page; ff. 41-42 were blank leaves completing the quire at the end of Agnus Castus; the recipe on f. 41 begins defectively. On f. 19v, a charm in verse against worms in children, Iob in a donghill laye/ Thre wormis did hem fray…(Hanna, “Addenda,” n. 27); on f. 41v, a charm “For to wynne at dyce.” A recipe on f. 31v ends “probatum est per Iohannem Denys,” referring to the surgeon John Denyse, whose name appears in records 1475-96/97; see C. H. Talbot and E. A. Hammond, Medical Practitioners in Medieval England (London 1965) 140-41. In a seventeenth century hand in the lower margin of f. 41v: “Master Whettons electuarie for the stone. It is to be sold at Master Spichforkes an apothicarie in chepeside nere the greate cundit there…it is also to be had att the golden morter next shopp to Master Spichforke in chepeside…” 3. ff. 43-93v: Forto make a water that is ycleped maidons melke that shal don awai sausefleme and the rede Goute in the visage, Take lytarge of Golde and stamp itt ynto poudre…[f. 93:] To make gode Aqua Vite, Take gode redde wyne…And then stille itt yn a lymbak with eesy fyre.
Approximately 253 recipes, including 2 for the ointment Gracia dei, “that the Ladi Beauchamp used the Erlis wiff of Warweke” (f. 52v) and another “that þe gode Erle of herforde used þat was yhold a noble and Gracyus Surgierer” (f. 53); the non-medical recipes are: f. 69, an incantation against thieves; f. 75v, an incantation to staunch blood; ff. 81v-82, indices to determine if a sick person will live or die; f. 82r-v, means of determining if a pregnant woman is carrying a boy or a girl; f. 84, an incantation for a speedy delivery in childbirth; f. 84r-v, an incantation to deliver a stillborn child; ff. 87v-88v, a passage on the virtues of “betayne.” In the margins next to the 4 incantations, in the hand of the scribe, “Prohibitum est exercicium ab Ecclesia catholica.” Nine recipes added in contemporary and later hands on ff. 76, 86, 88v, 93v.
4. ff. 94-95v: Part of a table of contents to art. 3 with reference to folio numbers, misbound, should be read: ff. 95v, 95r, 94r, 94v, with entries for the present ff. 64-81v. Rubrics within the table of contents (These ben medecyns of the iiide Queyr<?>, These beth medicyns of the iiiith C<?>stye<?>, These ben medicyns of the vus[?] C<?>ty<?>”) do not reflect divisions in this manuscript; the table may have been copied from another book as it includes an entry for a recipe not in the text, although a space was reserved for it in the correct position on f. 76, “A charme for woundes with wolle & oyle” (no folio reference given in the table).
Parchment, ff. 95; 200 × 145 (141-156 × 90-106) mm. 18 26(-1) 38(+6, f. 19) 4-58 68(-3 through 6 after f. 40) 78 8-910 10-118 128(-5) 132. Quire and leaf signatures in letters, [a]-m, and roman numerals, using red ink on f. 61 (i) and on f. 87 (m). 26-37 long lines in art. 1, 25-27 long lines in arts. 3 and 4, ruled in ink, the top and bottom 1 or 2 lines usually full across; pricking often remaining in the 3 outer margins. Written by one person in a mixed anglicana script, slightly more formal in art. 1; a textura used for the Latin herb names in art. 1. In art. 1, 3- and 2-line blue initials with red flourishing; in red are the 1-line initials, paragraph marks, simple line fillers and the English names of herbs written in the margins. In art. 3, 2-line initials (ff. 43, 53) in blue with red flourishing; alternating plain blue and red 1-line initials through f. 62v, thereafter in red only. Rubrics in red, occasionally repeated in the margin in very faded blue ink. Errors cancelled in red, omitted material added in the margins in red (e.g. ff. 1, 49), “probatum” or “prohibitum” notes in the margins in red, and the corrector’s (i.e. the scribe’s?) note “cor.” in red at the end of quires 2 (f. 13v), 6 (f. 42v) and 7 (f. 50v). In art. 3, ff. 43-62 only, initials added in the margin representing the main word of the rubric, as if in preparation for an alphabetical subject index, e.g. f. 43: “m” for “maidons melk,” “p” for “polus rubius,” “o” for “oynement”; f. 43v: “c” for “cancrum,” “w” for “webbe.” Foliation added in art. 3, beginning with 1 on f. 43. “Christo gloria” added in upper margins of arts. 1 and 3, but frequently cropped. Bound, s. XV, in untawed skin over wooden boards with cushion bevel; quires sewn onto 4 bands of leather drawn straight into the boards; the front board reused from an earlier binding, reversed, with traces of earlier bands still visible; the rear board split and repaired with cord; evidence of a fore edge strap closing to a pin in the center back cover. Written in England towards the end of the fifteenth century. Among the pentrials: s. XVI: f. 24, “…noverint universi per presentes nos Iohannes ashington in Comitatu Devon. yeoman teneri et firmeter obligari Iohan<cancelled> de <cancelled> ne in Comitatu predicto”; f. 28v, possibly in the same hand, “Iohannes de G.R.A.”; s. XVII: f. 68v, “John Penrose”; on the leather turn-ins of the front cover, “George Pyne” and “Frances Pyne”; f. 41v, the note on “Master Whettons electuarie” by an owner presumably living in London to judge from the reference to Cheapside and to the Great Conduit. Sold by Rodd, ca. 1842, possibly n. 295 in one of his catalogues (that number, Rodd’s name and the Phillipps shelfmark in pencil on the inside of the front cover) to Sir Thomas Phillipps; Phillipps MS 11077. Acquired by Henry E. Huntington privately through A. S. W. Rosenbach in 1923.
Secundo folio: with the fallyng euyl
Bibliography: De Ricci, 47.
Abbreviations
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)
Hanna, “Addenda”
R. Hanna, “The Index of Middle English Verse and Huntington Library Collections: a Checklist of Addenda,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74 (1980) 235-58

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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