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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
DIMEV 6654
IMEV 4155
NIMEV 4155
Whoso wilneth to be wise and worship desireth
‘The ABC of Aristotle’ with a Prologue in unrhyming alliterative verse
Note: For texts which lack the Prologue see 471 and 6054.
Title(s): ‘The ABC of Aristotle’
Subjects: alphabetic poems; precepts
Versification: — alliteration



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 384 (SC 21959), f. 3
Note: A single leaf detached from London, British Library Harley 1304: last 11 lines only.
2.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ff.5.48, ff. 8v-9
First Lines:
Who so wil to be wyce
and worship desireth
Lette hym lorne oo letter
And loke on a noþer…
Last Lines:
…To wylde to wrathfull and wade not to depe
ffor a mesurable meyne is best for vs alle
Editions:
Downing, Janay Young A., ed. “A Critical Edition of Cambridge University MS Ff.5.48.” 2 vols. Diss. University of Washington, 1969: 17-18.
3.Source: London, British Library Harley 541, f. 213
Editions:
Förster, Max. “Das stabreimende ABC des Aristotles.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 105 (1900): 296-310: 30 (with variants from other MSS).
4.Source: London, British Library Harley 541, f. 228
5.Source: London, British Library Harley 1304, ff. 103-103v
First Lines:
Wo so wil be wise and worshippe desireth
lett hym lerne on letter and loke on a noþer…
Last Lines:
…Be not to venemous to vengeable ne wast not to moche
for a mesurable mene is best for vs alle
Note: Added to originally blank leaves at end of volume by a hand of late fifteenth or sixteenth century; 59 alliterative lines including a 10-line introduction, 21-line advice alliterating letters of the alphabet in order, 7-line introduction regarding measure and 21-line advice reagrding measure, with 20 short sentences of advice beginning ‘Be not to’ and following letters of the alphabet (i.e., 6054), as ‘Be not to Amerows to auenturous ne anger not to ofte / Be not to bolde to besu ne bowrde not to brode / Be not to cursed…’); the last 11 lines added by a later hand of sixteenth century.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Queene Elizabethes Achademy, etc. EETS e.s. 8 (1869); repr. 1973: 65-7.
6.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 853, pp. 30-32
First Lines:
WHo so wilneþ to be wijs & worschip desiriþ
Leerne he oo lettir & looke on anothir
Of þe a. b. c. of aristotil argue not aȝen þat
It is councel for riȝt manye clerkis & knyȝtis a þousand…
Last Lines:
…W to wielde ne to wraþful neiþer waaste ne waade not to depe
ffor a mesurable meene is euere þe beste of alle
Note: Written as prose.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Babees Book, etc. EETS o.s. 32 (1868); rev. ed. Early English Meals and Manners London: Trübner, 1876; repr. 1973: orig. ed. 11-12; rev. ed. 260-61.