Search over 450 titles and 1.2 million pages
THE < HENGWRT* MANUSCRIPT OF CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES [PENIARTH Ms. 392, formerly HENGWRT Ms. 154, and generally known as THE HENGWRT CHAUCER," is one of the most important Chaucer manuscripts extant. Furnival began to publish it seventy-one years ago for the Chaucer Society (1st Ser. 3, 9, 27, 39, 51, 71), whilst Skeat described it as follows The Hengwrt MS. of the Canterbury Tales is known to be one of the best. It stands second among the seven MSS. selected and printed by the Chaucer Society. An examination of its contents shows that it is unique, not only in the arrangement of the Tales, but in particulars relat- ing to the Tales themselves." More recently it has been studied intensively by Professor J. M. Manly, 'The Chaucer Workshop,' Department of English, University of Chicago, who, with his co-worker, the late Professor Edith Rickert, visited the National Library on several occasions, and for whom the Library made a photostat facsimile in 1926. Although their study of the Chaucer MSS. will soon be published (in eight volumes), Professor Manly has acceded to the request of the Editor of this Journal to allow the chief portions relating to the Hengwrt MS. to be printed here, as that MS. is of interest not only for the Chaucer text, but also because it is a notable example of a MS. disarranged by accidents, the story of which is pretty clearly recover- able by a careful study of its present condition. — Editor.'] SYMBOLS. The symbols designating the MS. cited and the Canterbury Tales need hardly be explained. ClPT, however, indicates the Clerk's Prologue and Tale; the con- necting links are designated by L or 1 the seven line stanza after the Envoy of the Clerk's Tale (commonly called the Host's Stanza) is designated by h. The Groups of Tales (sometimes called Sections to avoid confusion with groups of related MSS.) are designated in accordance with the usage of the Chaucer Society, although that usage seems erroneous in bringing together the groups designated as BI and Ba. The parts of an actual group are distinguished by adding to the group symbol the superior letter a or b. CONTENTS Canterbury Tales incomplete and mutilated lacks G 554-1481, and has lost I 551-end. Skeat's record of readings after I 550 was due to inadvertence. He was also mistaken in saying that this MS. contains Boethius (cf. Six Text ed., II, xliii and IV, xiv). FORM Vellum, substantial, rather rough surface, with a good many holes, some neatly patched. Ff. 250, including a guard leaf from a 13 C. 1 For example, Hg-the present MS. El-the Lord Ellesmere MS., now in the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California; Pro— General Prologue; CW— catch words; Q, Qq-Quire, Quires.