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DIMEV 177
IMEV 100
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A thousand times have I heard men tell
Chaucer, Legend of Good Women — 2723 lines in couplets (ends unfinished)
Note: See Sherbo (1982) for arguments for a lost MS; Ringler Jr. (1988), TP 50.5.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): Legend of Good Women
Subjects: women, praise of
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 24 (SC 3354), ff. 152v-191v
First Lines:
A thousand tymes haue I herd men telle
That there is Ioy In heuen and peyn In helle…
Last Lines:
…Till sche was take and fettred In prisoun
This tale is said to this conclusioun
Note: Lacks lines 2551-2616; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Author: And thus ended Chaucere the legendis of ladyis (f. 191v)
Attributed Title: Here begynnis the legendes of ladyes (f. 152v); Here endis the prolog of the ;egendis of good wommen (f. 161); And thus ended Chaucere the legendis of ladyis (f. 191v)
Facsimiles:
Boffey, Julia, and A. S. G. Edwards, eds. Chaucer, Works. Bodleian Library MS Arch Selden B.24: Facsimile Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1995.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 313.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 638 (SC 2078), ff. 48-95v
First Lines:
A Thowsand sithes I haue herd tell
Ther ys ioy in hevin & peyn in hell…
Last Lines:
…and then she was kaught & fetryd in prycoun
this tale ys seide for this conclusioun
Note: Beta group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: The Prologe of ix good women (f. 48)
Facsimiles:
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Bodley 638: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1982.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Fairfax 16 (SC 3896), ff. 83-119v
First Lines:
A thousande tymes I haue herd telle
ther ys Ioy in heuene and peyne in helle…
Last Lines:
…And til she was kaught and fetred in prison
This tale ys sayde for this conclusion
Note: Beta group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: The prologe of ix goode Wymmen (f. 83)
Facsimiles:
Norton-Smith, John. “Introduction.” Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16. London: Scolar Press, 1979.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 3.65-174.
Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933; 2nd ed. 1957: 567-611; 1957; 480-518.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 268-70.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 588-603 (Prologue only).
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson C.86 (SC 11951), ff. 113-119v
First Lines:
Glorie and honowre virgill mantuain
Bere thi name & I shall as I can…
Last Lines:
…But who will haue all this better in mynde
Rede ovide & In hym ye shall it fynde
Note: Complaint of Dido only; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: The complaynte of dido (added by later hand of the sixteenth century, f. 113); Explicit þe complaint of Dido (scribe, f. 119v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Tanner 346 (SC 10173), ff. 1-40v
First Lines:
A thousand tymes I hau [he]rd men tell
That ther is ioy in heuen & peyne in hell…
Last Lines:
…And til she was caughte and fetyrde in pryson
This tale is sey for this conclusion
Note: Beta group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: The complaynte of dido (added by later hand of the sixteenth century, f. 113); Explicit þe complaint of Dido (scribe, f. 119v)
Facsimiles:
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Tanner 346: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1980.
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ff.1.6 [Findern MS], ff. 64-67v
First Lines:
At babilone whilom fil it þus
the wych towne the quene Semiramus
let dychene all a boute & wallys make
ffull hey of arde tylys wele y bake…
Last Lines:
…Here may ȝe seen whate louere so he be
A woman dar & kan as wele as sche he
Note: ‘Thisbe’ only; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: Explicit Pyramus & tesbe
Nomen scriptoris nicholaus plenus amoris
(f. 67v)
Facsimiles:
Beadle, Richard, and Alfred E. B. Owen. The Findern Manuscript: Cambridge University Library MS. F.1.6. London: Scolar Press, 1977.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Gg.4.27 (Part 1a), ff. 445-480v
First Lines:
A Thousent sythis haue I herd men telle
That there is Ioye in heuene & peyne in helle…
Last Lines:
…Til she was caught & fetered In prysoun
This tale is seyd for this conclusioun
Note: Nineteenth-century transcript by Henry Bradshaw in Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Addit. 2793, pp. 1-49; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: Explicit Pyramus & tesbe (f. 67v)
Facsimiles:
Parkes, Malcolm B., and Richard Beadle. “Introduction.” Poetical Works. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27. 3 vols Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1979 (vol. 1); 1980 (vols. 2-3).
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A One-Text Print of the Minor Poems. 2 pts. London: Trübner, 1871, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 3.65-174.
Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933; 2nd ed. 1957: 567-611; 1957; 480-518.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 588-630.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2006, pp. 53-87
First Lines:
A Thowsand tymes I have herd telle
That ther is ioye in heven and peyn in hell…
Last Lines:
…And wyt thy counterfeted peyn and woo
And thow wer not fals to oon but þow wer fals to twoo
Note: Lacks lines 706-76 and ends line 1377; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Title: Explicit Pyramus & tesbe (f. 67v)
Facsimiles:
Edwards, A. S. G. “Introduction.” Manuscript Pepys 2006: A Facsimile. Magdalen College, Cambridge. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and [Woodbridge, Suffolk]: Boydell and Brewer, 1985.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
9.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.19 (599), ff. 114-150v
First Lines:
A thousand tymes haue I herd men tell
That ther ys ioy in heuyn and peyne in hell
And I acorde me well that hyt ys so
But neuertheles yet woll I well also…
Last Lines:
…Tyll she was caught and fetered in peysoun
Thys tale ys sayde for thys conclusyon
Note: Alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Author: Chaucer (added, f. 114)
Attributed Title: Here begynneth the Boke called the legend of Ladyes (f. 114)
Facsimiles:
Fletcher, Bradford Y. “Introduction.” Manuscript Trinity R.3.19. A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, 1987.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
10.Source: London, British Library Addit. 9832, ff. 4-42v
First Lines:
A thousand tymes haue I herd men telle
That ther is Ioye in hevyn And payne in hell…
Last Lines:
…he shall be holpyn how so that we do
ffodera Aunswerd Iwisse me is ryght wo
Note: Lines 1-1985, interleaved with William Bonham’s ed. of Chaucer, 1542, which continues as ff. 43-47; alpha group of witnesses.
Attributed Author: compyled by M: Geffrey Chaucer (f. 2, in later hand)
Attributed Title: The legende of Goode Womenne (f. 2, in later hand)
Editions:
Pegge, Samuel. “Letter signed ‘Paul Gemsage’ [=anagram for Samuel Pegge; ‘Gemsage’ a misprint for ‘Gemsege’].” Gentleman’s Magazine (1758): 260-2: (but see Sherbo (1982)).
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
11.Source: London, British Library Addit. 12524, ff. 1-17v
First Lines:
…Ne shulde hyr neuer falsen nyght nor day
To been hyr hysbonde till he lyff may…
Last Lines:
…And till she wes fettred & put in presoune
Thys taile ys seide to this conclusioune
Note: Begins imperfectly, line 1640; alpha group of witnesses.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
12.Source: London, British Library Addit. 28617, ff. 1-38
First Lines:
She that for hire housbonde chees to dye
And she to goon to helle rather than he…
Last Lines:
…Tyl she was take and ffetred in prison
This tale ys seyde ffor this conclusion
Note: Fragments only: begins line 513; alpha group of witnesses.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: Geoffrey Chaucer, Workes, Thynne, 1532 , ff. 220ra-234rb
First Lines:
A Thousande tymes I haue herde tel
That there us ioy in heuen & payn in hel…
Last Lines:
…And tyl she was caught & fettred in prison
This tale is sayd for this conclusyon
Attributed Title: The legende of good women (f. 219dvb); Thus endeth the legendes of good women (f. 234rb)
Editions:
Stowe, John, ed. The Workes of Geffrey Chaucer…with diuers addicions, with the Siege of Thebes, compiled by J. Lidgate. London, J. Kyngston for J. Wight, 1561 (STC 5075).