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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 4171
IMEV 2627
NIMEV 2627
Of herbs twenty-three
‘A tretys of diverse herbis’ especially Betony — in short couplets
Note: All texts, based on Macer, show variations. For comparable verse texts cf. 417.8, 2519, and 5877.
Title(s): ‘A tretys of diverse herbis’
Subjects: herbals
Versification: — two-line — aa
Bibliographic Ghosts: London, Society of Antiquaries 101: Latin text: ‘Virtutes betonice’.



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1477, Parts II, III (SC 7719), Part III, f. 3
First Lines:
To telle of beten I have great meynde
And sithen of herbis that I fynde…
Last Lines:
…Who so hath betayn & [a space is left blank here]
With his vryne it shall out goon
Note: ‘Betayne’ only: 12 lines.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1397 (SC 7760), ff. 117v-118v
First Lines:
To tellen of bytayne I have grete mynde
And sythen of othur herbys os I fynde…
Last Lines:
…ffor al maner of euyllys it is gode on grounde
ych stounde whyle it mai on erthe be founde
Note: ‘Betony’ only: 86 lines.
Attributed Title: Here be gynnyt a tretys of diuerse herbis & furst of Bytayne (f. 117v)
Editions:
Rohde, Eleanor Sinclair. The Old English Herbals. London, New York: Longman, Green, 1922: 43-4, 193-6 (extracts).
3.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.10.44, ff. 123v-128
First Lines:
Off herbys now I wyll yow telle by & by
As I fynde wrytyn in a boke…
Last Lines:
…It distroyeth the morfew
And dispoyling to þe lepyr
Note: Written as prose, but highlighted capital marks each verse line.
Editions:
Rohde, Eleanor Sinclair. The Old English Herbals. London, New York: Longman, Green, 1922: 43-4, 193-6 (extracts).
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 1661, pp. 288-309
First Lines:
Of herbis xxvi xxiiiiti [sic]
I wil ȝou tellyn by and bi…
Last Lines:
…And of posteis & of blood
As knowyn wel þese clerkys good
Note: Written as prose; first line written rubric immediately following rubric heading ‘Betonica’ (p. 288); no indication of new work at top p. 309 when changes to prose.
5.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.14.32 (905), ff. 134v-139v
First Lines:
Astrologye ther been of hem too
the longe & the round also…
Last Lines:
…Of Saryseynys of Iues of englysch bokes worthy
wele preuyd & Iugyd sothe & Iustly
Note: Extract formerly listed separately as 417.8 (see Keiser (1996), 51, n. 5); at end, Latin instruction: ‘fflores eius manduca per iii dies & illo Anno nolime tangere nec lepra nec alia Apostomata habebis’ (f. 148).
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.14.51 (921), ff. 34v-47
First Lines:
To telle of betoygne I haue gret mynde
And of other erbes as I fynde…
Last Lines:
…He castith wele to þe eyne sight
Thys medecyne ys prouede I the plight
Note: 600 lines.
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.2.13 (1117), ff. 179-181
First Lines:
To tell of beten I haue mynde
And sethyn of oþer herbes as I fynde…
Last Lines:
…there shall no drede hym wake
Tyll fro vnder ys hede it be take
Note: ‘Beton’, 86 lines; ‘Centory’, 18 lines; ‘Egremonye’, 8 lines.
8.Source: London, British Library Addit. 17866, ff. 5-16
First Lines:
Moder of gresse
qwo so hem sekes
Says Ipocrus ere vnset lekes
In lechecraft many & fele
Seke men with þem to hele…
Last Lines:
…He cast to þe eye wel þe syght
Thys medcyne is proued well a plyght
Note: Variant beginning; followed immediately by 2343 without break.
9.Source: London, British Library Addit. 60577 [Winchester Anthology], ff. 119-119v
First Lines:
…Mary golde ys an herbe full gracyouse
Who so knowethe all his vertuouse…
Last Lines:
…þu shalt bothe knowe & see
All the condycyoun whate they be…
Note: Equivalent to lines 148-88 of London, British Library Addit. 17866; treated here as separate work with initial and explicit.
Editions:
Wilson, Edward. “Introduction.” The Winchester Anthology. A Facsimile of British Library Additional Manuscript 60577. With an account of the music by Iain Fenlon. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1981.
10.Source: London, British Library Sloane 140, ff. 52-56v
First Lines:
Macer of erbe who so hem sekis
Seth ypocras on sett lekis…
Last Lines:
…Þe flowre ys red þe smell ys sote
To euery sore hit may do bote
Note: ‘Macer on the virtues of herbs’ (former 2026.5); ‘Betony’, 86 lines; ‘Centory’, 18 lines. Folio number reflects the most recent foliation.
Attributed Title: Here begynnyth the boke of the doctor Macer of þe vertue (f. 52)
11.Source: London, British Library Sloane 147, ff. 94-112
Note: 600 lines.
Editions:
Rohde, Eleanor Sinclair. The Old English Herbals. London, New York: Longman, Green, 1922: 43-4, 193-6 (extracts).
12.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1571, ff. 14v-36v
Note: 666 lines.
13.Source: London, British Library Sloane 2457, f. 2
Note: 300 lines.
14.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 91 [Robert Thornton MS], ff. 317-321v
First Lines:
To drynk & [ ]
His vertus [ ]…
Last Lines:
…And a [ ]
He lo[ ]
Note: Most of pages torn away.
Editions:
Keiser, George R. “Reconstructing Robert Thornton’s Herbal.” Medium Ævum 65 (1996): 35-53: 37-8.
15.Source: Uppington, Uppington School archives (currently missing), f.
Note: Currently (2000) missing.
16.Source: York, York Minster Library XVI.E.32, ff. 120-121
First Lines:
…To telle of beteyn I haue gret mynde
An sithen of oþer herbes als I fynde…
Last Lines:
…For al maner of euil he is god ilk stounde
Whilk þat may on erth be founde…
Note: ‘Betonia’ only, 73 lines.
Editions:
Powell, Susan. “Another Manuscript of Index of Middle English Verse No. 2627.” Notes and Queries n.s.34 [232] (1987): 154-6: 155-6.
17.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library B.21 [olim Phillipps 7008; Katherine Fenwick; Thomas FitzRoy Fenwick; Alan George Fenwick; William H. Robinson Ltd., London; their sale, London, Sotheby’s, July 17, 1950, lot 27; purchased for Curt F. Bühler at Sotheby’s (London, Feb. 28, 1955, lot 169) by E.P. Goldschmidt, London], ff. 26v-45v
First Lines:
These lechys for seke mannys sake
Diuers medicynys sum tyme gun make
Of all þe gressys þat growyn on Rote
þat mown man & woman helpyn to bote…
Last Lines:
…Of his stalke it beryth a blak seed
þat is good for þe swynesy at ned
Note: 918 lines.
Attributed Title: Explicit de herbis (f. 45v)
Editions:
Bühler, Kurt. “A Middle English Medical Manuscript from Norwich.” Studies in Medieval Literature in Honor of Professor Albert Cross Baugh. MacEdward Leach, ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961: 285-98: 289-93 (extracts).
18.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HU 1051, f. 85
Note: Former 2026.5 and/or 417.8, extract only.
Editions:
Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of… Ashby de la Zouche. 4 vols. (1928-47): 422.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIV and XV Centuries. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1955: 77.
Luria, Maxwell Sidney, and Richard L. Hoffman, eds. Middle English Lyrics. New York: Norton, 1974: 112.
19.Source: Stockholm, Royal Library, Stockholm X.90, p. 49
Note: 965 lines.
Editions:
Stephens, George. “Extracts in Prose and Verse from an Old English Medical Manuscript preserved in the Royal Library at Stockholm.” Archaeologia 30 (1844): 349-418; repr. London, 1844: 394-5.
Holthausen, Ferdinand. “Medicinische gedichte aus einer Stockholmer handscrift.” Anglia 18 (1896): 293-331: 307-30.