SEARCH RECORDS
SEARCH MSS
PRINTED BOOKS
INSCRIPTIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
GLOSSARY
DIMEV HOME
The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
DIMEV 4226
IMEV 2662
NIMEV 2662
Of them that written us tofore
John Gower, Confessio Amantis, A Text — in eight Books and a Prologue: the longest version has about 34,000 lines
Note: See 4227 for the B Text, 4228 for the C Text, and 4229 for fragments.
Author(s): John Gower
Title(s): Confessio Amantis
Subjects: tales; love
Versification: — two-line — aa
Macaronic: Latin



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 11 (SC 3357), ff. 1-169
First Lines:
TO hem that written vs be fore
The bokes dwelle we therfore…
Last Lines:
…Where Resteth loue and alle pees
Our Ioye may been endeles
Attributed Author: Johannis Gower
Attributed Title: Confessio Amantis
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 35 (SC 6916), ff. 1ra-182vb
First Lines:
So stant þe pes un even partid
With hem þat lyuen nowe a daies
Bot forto loke at all asaies
To hym þat wold resoun seche
Last Lines:
…[ ]þe and in seyenges
[ ]st of his pleyenges
Note: Several leaves missing; begins Pro. 170, ends 8.3082. Outer half of f. 182 torn away, so only beginning of lines appear in col. a on f. 182 and ends of lines in col. b on 182v remain; thus only 32 lines of Version A would have remained on a leaf now lost.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 693 (SC 2875), ff. 1ra-196
First Lines:
Of hem þat writen us to fore
þe bokes dwelle & we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Where resteþ loue & all pes
Oure ioie may ben endeles
Attributed Author: Iohn Gower
Attributed Title: Nomenque presentis opusculi Confessio Amantis specialiter intitulatur
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 902 (SC 27573), ff. 1-184
First Lines:
And namely but þe power
Of hem þat ben þe worldes guydes…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and alle pees
Oure ioye mai been eendelees
Note: The first leaf is lost, its place is supplied by a sixteenth-century transcript of the missing prologue entitled: ‘Prologus. Hic imprimis declarat Iohannes Gower quam ob causam presentem libellum composuit et finaliter compleuit. Anno regni regis Ric Secundi: 16’. The transcript begins with: ‘Of them that writen vs to fore / bookes dwell and we therefore’; ends with Latin metrical explicit and Gower’s account of his works in Latin.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 609 (SC 754), ff. 1-170
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen us tofore
þe bookes dwelle & we þer fore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and all pes
Oure ioye may ben endeles Amen
Note: Ten leaves missing.
6.Source: Oxford, Corpus Christi College 67, ff. 2ra-207va
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookes dwelle and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and alle pees
Oure ioye may ben endeles
Note: Four leaves missing; text continues to 207vb in Latin (and rubric).
Attributed Author: Gower (f. 207va)
Attributed Title: Confessio Amantis specialiter intitulatur Deo Gracias (f. 207vb)
7.Source: Oxford, New College 326, ff. 1-194
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen ous tofore
The bokes duelle and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ sone and al pes
Oure ioie may ben endeles
Note: Four leaves missing.
Attributed Author: Exempla super huius opusculi sui complementum Iohanni Gower a quodam Philosopho transmissa (f. 194
Attributed Title: Exempla super huius opusculi sui complementum Iohanni Gower a quodam Philosopho transmissa (f. 194)
8.Source: Oxford, Magdalen College Lat. 213, pp. 1-377
First Lines:
Of hem that writen vs tofore
The bokes duelle and we therfore…
Last Lines:
…Where reste loue and all pees
Oure ioye may ben endeles
Note: Nine leaves missing.
9.Source: Oxford, Christ Church 148
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookes dwelle and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Do make his testament of loue
As þou hast do þy schrift aboue
Note: The MS is unfoliated.
Attributed Author: Hic declarat …[reve]rentiam sereniss[imi] Regis Anglie Ricardi [secundi] … Johannes Gower licet …multiplicibus fatigatus … suscipere non recusavit [et] variis floribus recollectis [ex] variis Cronicam historiis … (folio is damaged)
Attributed Title: Nomenque praesentis Opusculi Confessio Amantis specialiter intitulatur (at the end)
10.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.8.19, ff. 1-130v
First Lines:
of hem that writen vs to fore
The bokes dwelle and we therfore…
Last Lines:
…And þus þere lasten in that stede
With hym thre hundred & no mo…
Note: Many leaves missing; ends VII, 3683.
Attributed Author: Johannes Gower (f. ii, added by later hand)
11.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Mm.2.21, ff. Ira-CLXXXIIIvb
First Lines:
Of hem þat Writen vs to fore
The bokes duelle & kep þer fore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and alle pees
Oure Joye may been endelees
Attributed Author: Joh. Goweri (added by later hand, top f. 1)
Attributed Title: Confessio amantis (added by later hand, top f. 1); Torpor hebes sensus scola… (Latin prose intro., f. 1)
12.Source: Cambridge UK, Pembroke College 307, ff. 1-197
First Lines:
Of hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookes dwelle & we þerfor…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and all pees
Oure Ioie may ben endelees
Attributed Author: Johannem Gower (f. 197r)
Attributed Title: Explicit super huius operis opustli qui complementum Iohannem Gower a quodam Philosopho transmissa (f. 197ra)
13.Source: Cambridge UK, St Catherine’s College 7, ff. 1ra-188vb
First Lines:
Off hem þat were vs by fore
The bokes dwel and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Nowe haue y seid al þat þer is
Of bue as for þy final ende…
Note: Several leaves missing; ends imperfectly.
14.Source: Cambridge UK, St John’s College B.12 (34), ff. 1ra-188vb
First Lines:
Of hem þat writen ous to fore
The bokes duelle and we þer fore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteþ loue and alle pes
Oure ioie may ben endeles
Attributed Author: Johannes Gower (f. 214rb)
15.Source: London, British Library Addit. 22139, ff. 1rb-137va
First Lines:
… þat luste apiere…
Last Lines:
…Where resteth loue and all pees
Oure Ioy may ben endelees
Note: Begins imperfectly because most of folio 1 cut away, leaving only lower border with coat of arms on 1r and bottoms of last lines, with three words discernable in col. b (see above), identifying it as line Prol. 85*; and last line of each column on f. 1va (‘…Nought vpon oon but vpon [al]…’; f. 1vb ‘…In which non woot who hathe þe werre…’ = lines 125 and 176 of the Prologue), beginning again on f. 2ra with Prol. 177-180 (‘…ffor euery lond himself deceyueþ / And of desese his part receyueþ / And ȝit take men no keepeBut þilke lord which al may keepe…’), and thereafter damage to most leaves in first quire, and many leaves missing throughout the volume; followed by the usual Latin endings, written in black rather than the usual rubric.
16.Source: London, British Library Egerton 913, f. 1-47v
First Lines:
Of hem that writen vs tofore
The bokes dwelle and we therefore…
Last Lines:
Him þenkeþ wel nyȝ his hert brekeþ
[…] sorwe þat he may not flee
[…]lde vntrewe be
[…]an for his heele
[…]h Canele
[…] sucre
[…]ere lucre
[…]
[…]ete
[…]e
Note: Prologue and Book 1.1-1709. Preceded by the usual Latin lines, beginning ‘Torpor hebes sensus scola…’, followed by large red initial ‘O’ to left of Incipit prologus.
17.Source: London, British Library Egerton 1991, ff. 1ra-214ra
First Lines:
Wh[ic]h [a]l þe [wor]ld haþ ouertak
Ther is no regne of all outake…
Last Lines:
Wher resteþ loue and alle pes
Our ioye […] ben endeles
Note: Acephalus due to loss of a single folio at beginning, so begins Prol. 135; folio 1r much damaged, very dark from wear(?); English ending followed by the usual rubric Latin endings, fols 214rb-214va.
18.Source: London, British Library Harley 3490, ff. 8-215va
First Lines:
Of hem that wryten vs to fore
The bookes dwelle and we ther fore…
Last Lines:
…And eke somdele for luste and game
I haue it made for thilke same
Note: Ends at VIII.3062*, but with bottom of column and all column b left blank.
19.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 C.XXII, ff. 1-205v
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookes duelle & we þerfore
Ben taught of þat was writen þo
ffor þi good is þat we also…
Last Lines:
…where resteþ loue and all pees
Oure ioye may been endeles
Attributed Author: Gower (in usual rubric Latin ending, ‘Quia conxere…’, f. 206ra)
Attributed Title: Confessio Amantis (in usual rubric Latin ending, f. 206rb)
20.Source: London, British Library Stowe 950, f. 1-176v
First Lines:
…Ne hyde it nought for yif thou feynest
I can do the no medicyne
Ma dame I am a man of thyne
That in thy Courte haue longe serued…
Last Lines:
…I sih with many an other moo
Which hadden bee fortuned sore…
Note: Begins 1.166; many leaves missing; ends 3.361.
21.Source: Glasgow, Glasgow University Library Hunterian 7 (S.1.7), ff. 1ra-179vb
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookes dwelle and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Hem þought it sowneþ in here Ere
As þough þat it an Aungel were…
Note: Last sixteen leaves and eight others are missing.
22.Source: London, College of Arms, Arundel 45, f. 1ra-167vb
First Lines:
Of hem þat writen vs to fore
Þe bokes dwelle & we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…With pitous herte and thus to say
It is al reson that ȝe pray
Qualiter suadentibus nautis corpus vxoris…
Note: Ends incomplete at 8.1102 and missing one quire; two leaves foliated 107; last line written over with brown and red ink as if scribe noticed it was misplaced here. Note that MS number is corrected from Brown and Robbins (1943), ‘LXV.’
23.Source: London, Society of Antiquaries 134, ff. 30va-249rb
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs tofore
The bookis dwelle & we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Where resteþ loue and all pees
Oure ioye may ben endeles
A M E N
Note: Followed by usual Confessio Amantis envoys on f. 249va-249vb, all in rubric.
Attributed Title: Incipit prologue libri qui vocatur Gower (f. 30va)
24.Source: Manchester, Chetham’s Library 6696 [Mun. A.7.48], ff. 1-126v
First Lines:
…To thinke Apon the daies olde
The lyf of Clerkes to eholde
Men sayn how þat in thei wern tho
Ensample & rule of all tho…
Last Lines:
…Where Resteth loue & all pes
Oure Ioye may ben endles
Note: Begins Prologue 193; many omissions; at end in a scroll, ‘Notehurste’.
25.Source: Chicago, IL, Newberry Library +33.5 [olim Louis H. Silver 3; prior Castle Howard], ff. 1ra-110rb
First Lines:
…In middlerth I sey al so
Pryde is þe cause of al woo…
Last Lines:
…Where resteþ loue and al pees
Oure Ioie may be endles
Note: Begins imperfectly at book 1, line 3305; Latin verse and prose continues after English concludes, ending ‘Confessio amantis specialiter intitulatur’.
Attributed Author: Johannes Gower De Confessio Amantis (s. xviii), folio i
Attributed Title: Johannes Gower De Confessio Amantis (s. xviii), folio i
26.Source: New York, Columbia University Library Plimpton 265 [olim Claverly], ff. 1-171v
First Lines:
…a tonne whan his lye ariste
Tobrekeþ & renneþ al aboute
Which elles scholde nought gon oute…
Last Lines:
…uppon þe ground tofore his yhen
and þey þat my disese syhen
Supposen not I scholde lyve…
Note: Begins at Prologue 504, ends Bk. 8, v. 2791.
27.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M125 [olim Hastings, Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Quaritch], ff. 1ra-180ra
First Lines:
But ofte is [seen] þat mo[chel slouth]
[ ]ma[ ]…
Last Lines:
…[ ] resteþ loue [ ] alle p [ ]
[ ]ioie may been endele[s ]
Note: Begins at Prologue 342; pages at beginning and end damaged by damp, so part of text lost.
Attributed Author: Explicit liber qui vocatur Gower (180ra)
Attributed Title: Explicit liber qui vocatur Gower (180ra)
28.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M126 [olim Narford; Fontaine], ff. 1ra-204rb
First Lines:
Of hem that wryten us before
The bokes dwelle and we ther fore…
Last Lines:
…Wher resteth loue and alle pees
Oure Ioye may been endelees
Note: Usual prose colophons, to 204v; lacks two leaves in Bk. 4.
Attributed Author: Johannem Gower (204rb)
Attributed Title: Confessio amantis specialiter intitulatur (f. 204v)
29.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M690 [olim Ravensworth], ff. 2ra-204vb
First Lines:
…ffor euery climat haþ his del
After þe turnyng of þe whel…
Last Lines:
…I fel on kneus vpon þe greene
And toke my leeue forto wende…
Note: Begins Prologue 162; ends imperfectly.
30.Source: Philadelphia, Rosenbach Museum and Library 1083/29 [olim Earl of Aberdeen], ff. 1ra-161vb
First Lines:
Off hem þat writen vs before
The bookes dwelle and we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…And eke somdel for lust and game
I haue it made for þilke same…
Note: In 1924 added last 56 lines of text on folio 162, copying letter forms; verse on 162rb ends (added 1924): …Wher resteþ loue and alle pes / Oure ioye mai ben endeles.
31.Source: Princeton, Princeton University Library Garrett 136 [olim Phillipps 2298], ff. 1ra-191rb
First Lines:
Of hem þat writen vs to fore
þe bokes dwelle & we þerfore…
Last Lines:
…Where resteþ loue & al pes
Oure Ioy may be endeles
Note: After last line, ‘Amen Amen Amen / Explicit iste liber’ (f. 191rb).
32.Source: Madrid, Escorial Castellanos G.II.19



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 121342. tHis book is intituled confessio amantis, that is to saye in englysshe the confessyon of the louer maad and compyled by Iohan Gower squyer…, [Enprynted at westmestre: By me willyam Caxton, and fynysshed the ij day of Septembre the fyrst yere of the regne of Kyng Richard the thyrd, the yere of our lord a thousand, CCCC, lxxxxiij]
2.Source: STC 12143. Io. Gower de confessione amantis, Imprinted at London: In Fletestrete by Thomas Berthelette printer to the kingis grace, an. M.D.XXXII. [1532] Cum priuilegio
3.Source: STC 12144. Io. Gower de confessione amantis, Imprinted at London: In Fletestrete by Thomas Berthelette, the. XII. daie of Marche. An. M.D.LIIII. [1554]
Editions:
Chalmers, Alexander, ed. The Works of the English Poets from Chaucer to Cowper. London, 1810; repr. New York: Greenwood, 1969: 11.
Pauli, Reinhold, ed. Confessio Amantis of John Gower. 3 vols. London: Bell and Daldy, 1857; repr. Cambridge: at the UP, 1927.
Morley, Henry, ed. Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins: being the Confessio Amantis of John Gower. London, NY: Routledge, 1889.