The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 5365
IMEV 3406
NIMEV 3406
The labors and the most marvelous works
The Court of Sapience with a Prologue of ten stanzas and with a concluding ‘Tractatus de Spe’ and Epilogue
Note: MSS which lack the Prologue formerly listed as 168.
Title(s): The Court of Sapience
Subjects: wisdom; debates

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.21 (601), ff. 51-83
First Lines:
All besy swymyng in the stormy flood
Of fruteles worldly meditacion
To purpose late nothyng semyng so good
As to lete youthe haue dominacion…
Last Lines:
…But whoso lyst of Musyk forto wyt
ffor verray ground to Boece I hym remyt
Note: Lacking Prologue, so formerly 168; 274 stanzas rhyme royal; Latin prose text interspersed.
Attributed Author: John Lydgate (added by Stow?, f. 83)
Attributed Title: Here begynneth A breue compilyd Tretyse callyd by the Auctor therof Curia sapiencie (f. 51); Explicit hic tractatus qui vocatur Curia Sapiencie (f. 83)
2.Source: London, British Library Addit. 29729, ff. 87-120
First Lines:
the laborous & þe most mervelus werkes
of sapience syn fyrste regned nature…
Last Lines:
…to them that wyll in hym beset theyr byleve
nd though they dye ywys yet shal they lyve
Note: On f. 120, after last lines of verse, is ‘Explicit tractatus de fide et cantus famulesne(?)’ followed by heading to prose lists, ‘Thes thynges folowyng is every cristen man & woman holde and bounde to lerne and to conne to theyr power in waye of theyr salvacion’, all in hand of scribe (John Stow); explicit naming title of text follows these prose lists, which are written in two columns.
Attributed Author: Iohn lydgate (ff. 87, 121vb)
Attributed Title: The court of sapyence compylyd by Iohn lydgate (f. 87, as heading, added later[?] by scribe, John Stow); here endyth the court of sapyence compylyd by dan Iohn lydgate monke of bury on whos sowll god have mercy amen / Iohn stowe (after prose lists which follow end of verse stanzas, f. 121vb)
Hammond, Eleanor Prescott. English Verse between Chaucer and Surrey. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1927: 258-67 (extracts).
Spindler, Robert, ed. The Court of Sapience. Beitrage zur englischen Philologie 6. Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1927; repr. NY: Johnson, 1967.
Cohen, Helen Louise. The Ballade. New York: Columbia UP, 1915: 280-8l (Envoy only).
3.Source: London, British Library Harley 2251, ff. 287v-293v
First Lines:
All busy swymmyng in the stormy floode
Of fruytles worldly meditacioun…
Last Lines:
…Mercy Triewth Dame Rightwisnes and peas
Mercy wold save hir man and benceaunce cease…
Note: Lacking Prologue, so formerly 168; ends imperfectly.
4.Source: Untraced, Present whereabouts unknown olim Castle Howard (Earl of Carlisle) [sold at Sotheby’s 9 December, 1974, lot 25], f. 35v
Note: A fragment: lines 3211-81.
Brunner, Karl. “Bisher unbekannte Schulfsstrophen des Court of Sapience.” Anglia 62 (1938): 258-62: 260-62 (‘Tractatus de Spe’ & Epilogue only).
5.Source: New York, Columbia University Library Plimpton 256, ff. 1-36
First Lines:
…I you honoure blesse lawde and glorifie
And to [ ] presence my boke shall atteyne…
Last Lines:
…The trespassure is remyt with outen drede
Whoo trowith in god mercy shalbe his mede
Note: Lacks stanzas 1-8.
Attributed Title: Explicit tractatus de spe et cantus familie sue (f. 36)
Bühler, Kurt. “Notes on the Plympton Manuscript of the ‘Court of Sapience,’” Modern Language Notes 59 (1944): 5-9: 6-7 (Two stanzas of Proheme only).

Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 17015. Lydgate, John, The courte of sapyence, [Imprynted in London: In ye fletestrete at the sygne of the sonne by Wynkyn de Worde, ye yere of our lorde a. M.CCCCC. & X (1510)]
2.Source: STC 17016. Lydgate, John. [Explicit liber primus de curia sapiencie], [Westminister: Printed by William Caxton, 1480]