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DIMEV 2748
IMEV 1637.6
NIMEV 1637.6
It is unknow / What man built this city now
A verse insert on Chester Castle in Trevisa’s translation of Higden’s Polychronicon (Bk I, Cap. 48) — thirteen doggerel couplets
Note: Cf. 3801.
Author(s): John Trevisa; Ranulf Higden
Title(s): Polychronicon
Subjects: Chester castle; chronicles, verse in
Versification: — two-line — aa
Bibliographic Ghosts: Glasgow, Glasgow University Library Hunterian 83 (T.3.21): this is Brut chronicle; New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M875 [olim Helmingham Hall]: Only Trevisa’s De Proprietatibus here, not Polychronicon.



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Cambridge UK, St John’s College H.1 (204), f. 69ra
First Lines:
Hit is unknowe
what man bulde þis citee nowe…
Last Lines:
…Of kyng Haralde
Poudre þere ȝit is halde
2.Source: London, British Library Cotton Tiberius D.VII, Part 1, f. 44
First Lines:
Chestre castel toun as a were
name takþ of a castel…
Last Lines:
…þar babilon loore
more nyȝt haþ truthe þe more
Note: Written as prose.
3.Source: London, British Library Harley 1900, f. 83
First Lines:
It is vnknowe
what man bulde þis Cite now
þo legecestria þes
het now toun of legiones…
Last Lines:
…Of kyng haralde
pouder þere ȝet is y halde
Note: Written as prose.
4.Source: London, British Library Stowe 65, f. 32rb
First Lines:
It is unknowe
what man bulde þis cite nowe…
Last Lines:
…Of kyng haralde
ponder þer ȝut is y halde
Note: Written as prose. Folio number reflects the most recent foliation.
5.Source: London, British Library Addit. 24194, ff. 70vb-71ra
First Lines:
Hit is vnknowe
what man bude þis cite nowe
Tho legecestrias þes
Hett now toun of legiones…
Last Lines:
…Of kyng haralde
Poudre þere ȝit is I halde
Note: Written as verse.
6.Source: Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Library 21, f. 45ra-45rb
First Lines:
Chestre Casteltoun as a were
name takeþ of a castel…
Last Lines:
…poudre þere ȝit is jhalde
Bacchus & Mercurius. Mars & venus also laverna
Note: 29 lines.
7.Source: Manchester, Chetham’s Library 11379 [Mun. A.6.90], f. 52v
First Lines:
Hyt ys onknowe
what man bulde þis cite nowe
þo legescestria pes
het now toun of legiones…
Last Lines:
…And furþe henry kyng
erþe ys þar riȝtene dwellyng
8.Source: Oslo and London, Schøyen Collection 194 [olim Penrose 12]
9.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 28561 [olim Burghley], ff. 79vb-80ra
First Lines:
It is vnknowe
what man bulde þis Cite nowe…
Last Lines:
…Of king heralde
ponder þere yet is y halde
Note: Written as prose.



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 13440a. Higden, Ranulphus (trans. John Trevisa), Discripcion of Britayne & also [of] Irlonde, Caxton, 1480
Editions:
Babington, Churchill, and Joseph Rawson Lumby, eds. Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis. 9 vols. Rolls Series 41 (1865-66; repr. Kraus, 1964): 2.81-3.
2.Source: STC 13440b. Higden, Ranulphus (trans. John Trevisa), Discripcion of Britayne & also [of] Irlonde, de Worde, 1498
3.Source: STC 13438. Higden, Ranulphus (trans. John Trevisa), Polychronicon, Caxton, [1482]