II. – The Contents, pp.15-29.

[Notes on the Black Book Contents]

   The Black Book of Paisley is a heavy volume of twenty-nine quires of vellum, each composed of five sheets forming ten folios, but in a few cases one or two pages have been removed. The outer pages of some of the quires have originally been signed a, b, c, d, e, &c., to show their sequence; afterwards they have been marked 1, 2, 3, up to 29; while for easier reference, the folios have recently been numbered in pencil 1-271. 

   The manuscript is fairly written in a hand of the fifteenth century,1 and is generally in good preservation. The titles are rubricated, and the initial letters of the chapters of the volume are red and blue alternately. there are two blank leaves at the beginning, and a like number at the end seemingly of later date. The third folio from the commencement is of the same age as those of the second and following quires. It is almost entirely blank, but is ruled for writing, an expedient which is used throughout the book, and which was almost universally adopted by copyists. At the top of the recto of this folio on the right hand side is the inscription quoted at the beginning of the preceding chapter. Beneath the words, Quinque libros, &c., there is an erasure. At the right hand edge of the fourth line lower down, and in the same handwriting, is the date “1650.” On the left hand side of the page, opposite to the inscription already mentioned, is the following, in the same hand – 

Ex Scota Nata Pharonis Regis Egipti 

                                                                                       – Sibilla. 

Ut veteres tradunt Scotiae nomen habet 

Post Britones, Noricos, Pictos, Dacosque Romanos 

Nobiliter Scoti Jus tenuere suum. 

   These lines are a quotation from the Metrical Prophecy, which has been made from memory inaccurately, or if copied, it has been from a text differing from that which we now have.2 

   This folio is the first of the 271. Its verso side is blank. On folios 2-13, and on three-fourths of the first column of the recto of folio 14, is an alphabetical Index to the Scotichronicon. This Index is in the Edinburgh MS., but has not been printed by Goodall. it is likewise in the Brechin Castle and Schevez MSS., but in all of these it is placed at the end of the volume with a short note at the head, and another at the end. 

   Immediately after the Table, and at the foot of the same column, and in the same handwriting are the verses – 

Hic hopus hoc finit et scribers desinit Auctor 

Quod Scotichronicon jure vocare solet. 

Continet iste liber actus, gestus venerandos 

Regum, Pontificum sic Procerum propuli. 

Quinque libros Fordoun, undenos auctor* arabat, 

[BOWER] for marginal note 

Sic tibi clarescit sunt sedecim numero. 

Ergo pro precibus petimus te Lector eorum 

Ut sint Regnicole scriptor uterque Poli. 

   These lines are also in the Scheves, Brechin Castle, and Edinburgh MSS., but at the end of Book XVI., just before the Tabula, or Index Alphabeticus. In the Black Book the “h” of hopus is written on erasure, and the word “Bower” on the margin, is in the hand of 1650. 

   At the top of the right hand column of folio 14, commences:- Tabula Monasteriorum Scocie. This extends to nearly the middle of the first column on the verso side, when there succeeds:- Monasteria Prioratuum Scocie et de eorum fundatoribus, running on to the top of the next column. Then follow the Lists:- fratres Jacobite, &c.,:- Comitatus Scocie:- Ducatus Scocie:- On the left hand column of the recto of folio 15, is – Prefecturi sive Preposituri:- and Monasteria Monialium. 

   The same lists occur in the Edinburgh, Brechin Castle and Schevez MSS., and are printed from the first by Goodall, but not quite accurately. Hearne published them from the Black Book or the Schevez MS.3 In the latter they come immediately before the Prologue “Debitor sum fateor,” and after the Provincial to be mentioned presently, and as part of these lists. Goodall places them at the end of his second volume in the Scotichronicon Abbreviatio.4 His immediately preceding piece, Auctarium Scotichronici, he took from the Schevez MS., or rather copied it from Hearne.5 

   In the Edinburgh MS., the lists just mentioned set out with the word “Incipit,” which is awanting in the other two manuscripts. After the Nunneries, the Edinburgh MS. gives lists of the Vicecomitatus Scotiae, and Domini de Parliamento praeter duces et comites. These are not in the Black Book, but are given in the Scheves MS., with an addition by a later hand. The Edinburgh (folio 343 recto) and Brechin Castle MSS. then proceed with a note as to a statement by Barbour. This is awanting in the other two MSS., and seems more like the passing observation of a reader or of the copyist, than a record made by the compiler of the lists.6 

   The right hand column of the recto of folio 15 of our MS., and the verso side, as well as the next two folios, which are not counted in the 271, are blank, but are ruled, and were evidently intended to be filled up. There is a Memorandum in the hand of 1650, at the top of the right hand of column of the recto of folio 15, of which hereafter. 

   At the top of folio 16, which is the first of quire 3, on the upper margin, in a plain hand, but evidently from its position posterior to the text, is – 

Iste Liber est de Conventu Pasleti. 

   This, and the following folio, are occupied by a catalogue of Popes, Emperors, and Cadinakates, “usque presens.” These lists likewise occur in the Schevez and Edinburgh MSS., but without a title, as they have in the Black Book of Paisley. In the latter, the last Pope in the list is Nicholas V., and as the period of his reign is not stated, it may be inferred that he was living when it was engrossed. In the Schevez MS. have been added in the same hand, and at the time when the transcript was made, Calixtus, Pius, Paulus, and Sixtus, who were the succeeding Pontiffs. Sixtus IV. was elected, 9th August, 1471, and died, 13th August, 1484; while Nicholas V. held the chair from 6th March, 1447, till 24th March, 1455. In the Edinburgh MS. the list comes down to Sixtus IV. 

   On the recto of folio 17, and on part of the first column of the verso, is the list of the Roman Emperors. his is likewise in the other two MSS. In all, the latest in date is Sigismund, King of Hungary, who was Emperor, 1411-1437:- 

     “Sigismundus rex Ungarie frater Venszelli predicti; Regnavit fere xxx annos et coronatus fuit a Martino Vo.7 

   In the three MSS. follow a list of the titles of the Cardinals and Metropolitans, and a Provincial of the Bishops throughout the world. St. Andrews and Glasgow are entered as Bishoprics, but in the Black Book one of its annotators has marked them as Archbishoprics. Goodall did not print these lists. 

   On the last part of the second column of the verso of folio 19, and apparently in the same hand, is an explanation of the numerical value of the letters of the alphabet. This is not in the Edinburgh or Schevez MS. 

   The greater part of the recto of folio 20 is devoted to chronology. There is first a tract which has been printed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots.8 It commences with Neyele or Neolus rex Schithie in Grecie, and proceeds partly in prose and partly in verse to the sending of Palladius to the Scots, by pope Celestine in 430. This is what is printed by Mr. Skene. The MS., however, without any break in the writing, immediately leaps to the year 1296, and records the battle of Spot or Dunbar,9 and proceeds chronologically to the year 1402, in which the battle of Homildon Hill is recorded. This is the latest date. After the battles follow the dates of the institution of the various monastic orders, the last being that of the Carmelites in 1213. 

   Fordun mentions10 that a certain genealogy of the Scotch kings which he uses was given to him by Bishop Wardlaw of Glasgow, and Bower interpolates in the passage five lines from the above tract. It may be suggested, therefore, that the tract itself was known to the Bishop, and that Fordun had his knowledge of it from him. 

   On the right hand side of the verso of the same folio in red ink is a list of Historiographers; first, “De Nominibus veterum Historiographorum,” beginning with Pompeius Trogus, and ending with Africanus; and next, “De Nominibus Historiographorum hujus Libri Scoticronicon,” commencing with Alexander de Natura rerum, and concluding with Gildas and Johannes de Fordoun. The latter is similar to the Index Auctorum at the end of Hearne and of Goodall, but on a smaller scale, and without references. 

   Neither the Chronology nor the Historiography is in the Edinburgh or Schevez MS. 

   On folio 21 commences the Chronicon Rythmicum or Scotichronicon Compendium Metricum, as Goodall styles it. The version in the Black Book corresponds with Goodall’s text, concluding with the words “Quod sibi concedat Christus. Amen.”11 In the Edinburgh MS. it is at the end of the volume; while in the Schevez MS., in which it also occurs, it is the piece with which the book begins. Both the Black Book and the Schevez MS. read “sequens Cronicon” at the commencement, where the Edinburgh MS. and the MS. of the Scotch College of Paris have “præcedens Scotichronicon.” In the chapter commencing “Recapitulationem,”12 where the Edinburgh MS. has “suprascripto Scotichronicon,” the Black Book and Scheves read “infrascripto Scotichronicon.” 

   In the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots,13 Mr. Skene prints the version of the poem which is given in the Scotch College MS., which, following Father Innes, he considers the oldest extant version of it. In a few places where there is an evident blunder in transcription, the Black Book has the right word e.g. “posteritas” for “prosperitas,” “obsequias” for “exsequias.”14 

   On the verso of folio 24, and the recto of folio 25, are extracts “De Pestilentia,” from Isidore Hispalensis,15 and others, and a transcript of the smaller treatise16 of Joannes de Burdeus.17 

   On the second column of the recto of folio 25, is a letter to a certain Ranuldus, which occupies the greater part of the verso of the same folio. this letter has often been ascribed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but it is treated by Migne as spurious, and as not worth reprinting.18 It would seem to be the composition of Bernardus Sylvestris.19 None of these extracts are in the Schevez MS. Bernard’s letter is in the Edinburgh MS. just after the Tabula, and before the Brevis Recapitulacio. 

   The recto of folio 26 is blank, on the verso is a Genealogical Tree of the descent of James II., and his six sisters, children of James I., and Schevez MSS., at the end of the volumes. It was printed by Hearne20 from the latter, which, however, adds James III., and styes him “Rex modernus.” In the Paisley Book, this epithet is applied to James II., while James III. does not appear in it at all.21 The latter died in 1488, and the former in 1460. 

   On the opposite page, recto of folio 27, is a Genealogical Tree exhibiting the descent of Henry Vi. of England, and Charles VII. of France, from St. Louis of France. The marriage of the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XI., with Margaret, daughter of James I., is noted; and Henry V., it is said, married the daughter of Charles VI., by whom he had Henry, “nunc regnantem in Anglia Ao Mo ccco xlii. et etatis xx.” 

   Goodall has not reproduced the Tree, but he reprints some explanatory matter which is interwoven amongst the branches.22 Neither this Tree nor the explanatory matter is in the Schevez MS. 

   The verso of this folio is blank. It is stained with blue from the illuminated capital on the succeeding page, which indicates that the introduction had been transcribed at the same time as the text. 

   At the top of the recto of folio 28, (which is numbered at the foot, 4, as the fourth quire), and in an old hand, but after the writing of the work, as it is in the upper margin, is the inscription – 

Iste Liber est scti. Jacobi et scti. Mirini de Pasleto. 

   Below these words, at the original commencement of the page, in bold character, in red ink, is – 

     INCIPIT PROLOGUS IN LIBRUM SCOTICRONICON INCHOATUM PER BONE MEMORIE DOMINUM JOHANNEM DE FORDOUN CAPELLANUM ECCLESIE ABERDONENSIS NECNON CONTINUATUM, COMPILATUM ET COMLETUM PER ECIAM BONE MEMORIE VENERBILEMIN CHRISTO PATREM WALTERUM BOWER ABBATEM MONASTERII SCTI. COLUMBE, ET CTA. 

   This title is not in the Schevez or Edinburgh MSS., and Bower’s name does not occur in either of them. 

   After this, the Prologue proceeds “Debitor sum,” &c., as in the printed texts of Hearne23 and Goodall. 

   Across the upper margin of the verso of folio 50, and the recto of folio 51, being the end of Book II., and the beginning of Book III., is written – 

Monasterii de Pasleto Sanctorum Jacobi et Mirini de Paslay. 

the word “Liber,” which is part of the running title, being evidently intended to be read in before it. 

   At the top of folio 67, the commencement of Book IV., is – 

Liber Monasterie de Pasleto. 

   The word “Liber” being part of the running title, and the others made to read along with it. 

   Again, at the top of the recto of folio 215 in Book XII. is written – 

Iste Liber est Scti. Jacobi et Scti. Mirini de Pasleto. 

   The figures xiii. should have been in the middle of the margin as on the other pages, but are here placed at the left hand side, and the inscription takes their place. There is no erasure, which shows that it must have been written at the time when the MS. was being transcribed. It is similar to the notes which Magnus Maculloch made on his transcripts as he proceeded, and indicates that the black Book was specially copied for the Abbey of Paisley, as the Schevex MS. was made for the Archbishop of St. Andrews. It is possible that the running titles may have been inserted after the book came to Paisley, but this appears most unlikely. In the earlier part of the volume the headings of the pages are in red ink as well as in black, but the scribe seems to have changed his mind as he proceeded, and to have given up the red and re-executed in black what he had already done in red, and continued the black to the end. 

   From folio 28 recto to folio 267 recto is occupied by the text of the Scotichronicon. 

   Chapter 39 of Book XVI. ends on the recto of folio 265 with the words “ad posteros transmittamus,” as in Goodall’s text. The Edinburgh MS. then adds the verses, “Hic opus his finit,” &c., of which mention has been already made. The Black Book, however, proceeds on the verso of this folio with – 

TRACTATUS ET COMPOSITIO INTER REGES SOCIE ET NORWAGIE FACTA SUPER CLAMEO INSULARUM ET EORUM OCCASIONE. 

   This, however, is not given as a new chapter. It is not in the Schevez or Edinburgh MSS. The treaty is dated 29th July, 1426.24 

   From c. 46 of Book XIV. to the end of Book XVI., including this additional passage, was printed by Hearne from the Black Book,25 collated, so far as it goes, with the Schevez MS. 

   Following the treaty, and at the foot of the recto of folio 267, is an extract from the “Nova Chronica” as the writer terms them, of Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon. It is taken from Book VI., ad. init. of his Historia Anglorum.26 An abridged version of the passage occurs in the Scotichronicon, iv., c. 39, and in the Gesta Gentis Scotorum, iv., c. 36. 

   On folio 267 verso is a portion of the Prophecy of Merlin Silvestris, revealed to Edward the Confessor,27 beginning “Mortuo leone justitiae.” The Book of Cupar commences c. I. of Book IX., with the words “Mortuo leone justitiae magnifico,” referring to the death of William the Lion, so that Bower may have intended to apply the prophecy to him. In the Scotichronicon Book viii., c. 12, he styles him “Leo justitiae.” 

   On the recto of folio of 268, is an extract commencing “Seneca ad Lucilium, Attendite famuli et bene famulamini O,” which occupies about half of the first column. 

   Then follows DE FIDE CHRISTIANA, but without the name of any author. The tract is ascribed by Migne to Boethius, and is printed in his edition of his works.28 It had not been printed before. 

   On folio 269 recto, is inserted St. Bernard’s Tractatus de Formula honeste vite, which finishes at the top of folio 270, recto.29 

   The remainder of this folio, and the verso of 271, are taken up with Prester John’s Letter to the Greek Emperor. The text of this famous Epistle is given by Assemani,30 from a manuscript in the Vatican; but the version in the Black Book is fuller, containing several passages and the conclusion, which are omitted in it, or at least in Assemani’s transcript. It does not give the Emperor’s name, but Assemani suggests Alexius Comnenus, who died in 1180. In the Black Book, the title given to the letter is – 

“EPISTOLA PRESBITERI JOHANNIS MISSA AD IMPERATOREM REMEONEM IMPERATOREM GRECORUM,” 

while in the body of the letter it bears to be addressed “Manueli Remeoni Bubernatori.” In the corresponding passage, the Vatican MS. has “Constantinopolitano Gubernatori.” As there was no Emperor of the name of Manuel Romeo, the words in the Black Book may either be a misreading of the words given in the Vatican MS., or a mistake for “Manueli Comneno,” who died in 1143, and was the immediate predecessor of Alexius Comnenus. 

   The letter31 and the reputed writer were well known in Scotland,32 and the document is referred to in the Chronicle of Melrose33 as to the habitat of the Salamander. The Paisley Book gives the text of the passage: “In alia quadam provincia nostra juxta torridam zonam sunt vermes qui lingua nostra salamandræ dicuntur.” 

   There is a french translation of the letter in the British Museum.34 A German poetical one is given in Haupt and Hoffman’s Altdeutsche Blättern.35 An English translation was printed at an early date,36 and a Scotch version is annexed to a MS. of Wynton’s Chronicle in the British Museum, 17 D. xx. No. 3; a portion of which is quoted by Macpherson in his preface.37 

   The verso of folio 271 is the last which is written. It commences with a note on General Councils, then follow a number of moral or religious precepts, and, lastly, several quotations from the Revelations of St. Brigitta. They and the Black Book of Paisley conclude as follows:- 

     Lio. io. c. L. Rogat mater filium pro habitatoribus mundo et tribus et ut primo obtineat pro peccatis contricionem et confessionem, secundo satisfactionem, Tertio ad fortitudinem continendus,38 et ad bonum faciendum. 

    Respondit Filius. Omnis quicunque invocaverit nomen tuum et spem habet in te cum proposito emendandi commissa ista tria dabuntur ei, insuper et regnum. Haec ibi. 

     Item Lio. vjo. c.xxxiiij Scriptum est quod Christus locutus matri sue dicens, Tu enim plena es misericordia et ideo omnem misericordiam trahis a me peccartores. Benedictus sit ille quicunque servit tibi quia nec relinquetur in mostu nec in vita. Haec ibi. 

Iste Liber est Scti. Jacobi et Scti. Mirini Pasleto. 

   The Colophon, although old, is in a different hand from the writing which immediately precedes it. 

   There are five additional leaves in the volume which are blank, and complete the twenty-ninth quire. 

   St. Brigitta is St. Brigit of Sweden, a favourite authority with Bower, who quotes her Revelations repeatedly. Fordun mentions her death, 39 to which the Abbot adds some particulars of her life and her works.40 At the conclusion of the chapter on the subject in the Black Book of Paisley are the words, in red ink:- “Non tuus est Christus cui liber non placet iste sciz. Revelationum Brigitte.” With the exception of the last three words, the same sentence is found in the Schevez MS.,41 also in red ink. It is not in Fordun’s own work. 

   As St. Brigit died in 1373, and was canonized by Boniface IX. in 1391, it was not to be expected that Fordun could have much to say about her. Her Revelations, however, seem at once to have attained great popularity and a wide circulation. They were printed as early as 1470, and again at Lubeck and Rome in 1492, and there have been numerous subsequent editions both of them and of St. Brigitta’s other works. A Flemish translation of the Revelations was published at Antwerp in 1491,42 and they have also been rendered into French and several other Continental languages. In a small MS. volume of the fifteenth century in the Arundel collection, there is a short tract,43 “The Informacioun of contemplatife lyfe and actife; And a dialoygue out of ye revelaciouns of Saint Bryde.” A small part of an English translation has likewise been printed. “An Epistle of Saint Bernarde, called the Golden Epistle, which he sent to a young religyous man whom he moche loued: And after the sayd Epistle foloweth four reuelations of Saint Birget. Printed at London by Thomas Godfray.”44 

   St. Brigitta’s Life will be found in the Acta Sanctorum,45 under date 8th October, and in Alban Butler at the same day. She does not seem to have had any dedication in Scotland. 

   The Black Book, although generally in good preservation, has at some time met with rough usage. 

   In Book IV. there is a blank from about the end of c. 49 to nearly the end of c. 53; and at the foot of folio 79, verso in an old hand is noted with reference to this: Hic desiderantur folia excisa. Only one leaf, however, has been cut out, as may be seen from the fragment still remaining, and the matter awanting would only fill one folio. The numbering of the quires at the foot, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., has been made after this loss. Quire has the complete ten folios, but the older numbering, a, b, c, etc., shows that folio “c” is awanting. Curiously, the second half (i.e., folio 85) of the sheet of which the first is wanting, is different vellum from the rest of the quire, and is evidently an insertion. The copyist had made a mistake by stopping c. 13 of Book V. nearly in the middle and going on with c. 14, marking “Vacat,” and also the beginning of c. 15, which is at the top of a new folio, and he has then inserted a new sheet on which he writes the concluding part of c. 13 and what he had to delete. This, however, does not seem to explain the loss of folio “c.” 

   In Book VIII., several pages have been lost, quire 15 containing only two instead of ten folios, and these two are in very bad order. In an old hand, on the last page of quire 14, is the note: “Hic desiderantur multa excisa furto, lacunam ex Sconensi codice supplebis.” And to this the Annotator of 1650 adds, “Modo apud St. Andream in Collegii Novi biliotheca.46 The portions of the text which are awanting are c. xxvii., from near the beginning to nearly the end of c. xxxiv., a small part of c. xxxviii., and all that intervenes to the last few lines of c. xlv., part of cc. xlix. and lxiv., and the whole of the intervening chapters. The two folios of the quire belong to different skins, and the second, numbered 137, is bound with its outer edge inwards, reversing the pages. The figures 15, marking the number of the quire, are upon the folio originally marked “c.” There are therefore awanting folios “a” and “b,” containing cc. 27 to 35, with the corresponding leaves in the second half of the quire; and also “d” and “e,” but apparently the now-existing second folio of the quire is the second half of the sheet of which the first would be marked “e.” 

   Throughout the manuscript there are many clerical errors, but not more than generally occur in a manuscript of the kind. In some cases passages have been omitted, and inserted on the margin, and in others wrong words have been written and then corrected. 

   In the Brechin Castle and Edinburgh MSS. there is a copy of the Ballad of the Nine Nobles, beginning 

Hector fo Troye throu hard fechtynge 

In half thirde yeris slew xix kyngis, 

which was printed by Mr. David Laing from the latter MS.47 

   This ballad also occurs amongst some miscellaneous matter at the end of the MS. in the Edinburgh University Library, Dr Cronicis Scotorum Brevia, by John Law, Canon of St. Andrews, 1521.48 It is not in the Schevez MS., or in the Black Book of Paisley. 

1  Casley (David), Catalogue of the MSS. in the King’s Library, p. 228, (Lond., 1734, 4to.) 

2  Chronicle of the Picts and Scots, p. 117; Pinkerton’s Enquiry into the History of Scotland, I., p. 501. 

3  Hearne’s Fordun, V., p. 1551. 

4  There is a MS. in the Edinburgh University Library containing similar lists, and they are also attached to some copies of the so-called Liber Pluscardensis, and are printed in the Appendix to the recent edition of that work. Although similar to the lists mentioned in the text, they are not identical, (Liber Pluscardensis, I., pp. xiii., xv., 403.) Such lists are part of the apparatus of the miscellaneous extracts, chronological matter, and catalogues of Popes, Emperors, and Kings. This may be seen by consulting the description of almost any of the Historical MSS. published in the Rolls Series. See, for example, Ralph de Diceto, Opera Historica, ed. Stubbs, vol. I., p. lxxxviii., et seq., (Lond., 1876); Roger de Houedene Chronica, ed. Stubbs, vol. I., p. lxxiv., et seq

5  No doubt Goodall merely reprinted from Hearne, who had given the piece, V., p. 1561. Mr. Skene by mistake says that it is from the Harleian MS., 4764, Skene’s Fordun, I., p. xlii. 

6  This note beginning “Notandum quod Barbarius” (printed by Goodall ii. pp. 542, 543,) refers to the Chronicles of the Abbey of Paisley and of other ancient writers. In the Brechin Castle copy the note is imperfect, breaking off at the words “duos Alanos,” (Goodall ii. p. 542, third line from the bottom). 

7  This was the coronation with the Iron Crown at Milan, 25th November, 1431. He subsequently received the Golden Crown from the hands of Eugenius IV., at Rome, 31st May, 1433. The “xxx” above may therefore be a mistake for “xxi.” He was elected 21st July, 1411, and only reigned 27 years as Emperor altogether (L’Art de Verifier les Dates, VII., p. 368, Paris, 1818), while it was in the 21st year of his reign that he was crowned at Milan. Bower does not refer to this fact in his narrative, but mentions the coronation by Eugenius, (xvi. 7.) 

8  Edr. 1867, pp. 330. 331, and see p. lxix. 

9  This conflict is mentioned in the Scotichronicon, xi., c. 24. 

10  Scotichronicon, v., c. 60; Chronica gentis Scot. v., c. 50, Edd. Skene and Hearne. 

11  Goodall, ii., p. 521, 537. 

12  Ib. ii., p. 533. 

13 p. 332, et seq., and see Pref., p. lxix. 

14  See also Pinkerton, Enquiry into the History of Scotland, i., p. 513. 

15  Etymologicæ Lib. iv., c. vi., §§ 17, 19. Migne, Patrologiæ Cursus Completus, vol. 82, p. 187. 

16  Hic incipit notabilis tractatus editus per bonum phisicum Johannem de Burdeus de Mediicina contra pestilenciam et dividitur in quatuor partes. Prima pars tractat qualiter tempore pestilencie homo ne cadat in ipsam infirmitatem se debet custodire. Secundum capitulum narrat qualiter ista infirmitas pervenit. Tercium capitulum docet medicinam curare istam infirmitatem. Et quartum capitulum informat modum per quem debet homo in illa infirmitate salubriter se servare. 

   After enlarging on these heads the writer concludes:- Propterea si quis timet de illa infirmitate, custodiat se ab illis quae specificantur in primo capitulo. Et si quis est in illa faciet in tempore sicut secundum docet capitulum. Et regat secundum documentum istius tractus. Et credat certissime quod mediante Gracia Divina salus erit qui si se servaverit moodo supradicto febrem scutam vel pestilenciam ulterius non timebit. Pro ista materia vide vij lio cae ixo

   The reference here is to the scotichronicon, Book vii., c. 9. 

17  As to Joannes de Burdeus or de Burgundia and his works, see Note B. 

18  Migne, Patrologiæ Cursus Completus, vol. 184, p. 1190, n. It is given in the Paris edition of St. Bernard’s Works, vol. ii., p. 893, Paris, 1690, and has often been printed separately, and is translated into several modern languages. 

   In the Anecdota Litteraria (Romæ 1773-83, 8vo.), iv., p. 229, et seq., the letter is given from a MS. of the fourteenth century in the Mediceo-Laurentian Library at Florence, and the editor, J. C. Amadutius, claims it as a genuine production of St. Bernard, but this cannot now be maintained. 

19  The letter must have been a favourite in Scotland, as a metrical version in the Scottish language has been preserved. It is one of several pieces in a MS. (Kk. i. 5), in the Cambridge University Library, and has been printed by the Early English Text Society, under the editorship of J. Rawson Lumley (Lond., 1870, No. 42.) 

   Bernardus Sylvestris lived in the beginning of the eleventh century, and is the same person as Bernardus Carnotensis, who is often mentioned by John of Salisbury in his Policraticum. He was the author of some poems. 

20  In the Schevez MS., folio 276, recto, there is this Memorandum with reference to the Genealogical scheme:- “Sequitur tabula regum Scotorum a Rege Malcolmo viro sanctissime Regine Margarite usque Regem Jacobum tercium modernum inclusive. Quem ad felex regimen regni custodiat Omnipotens Dominus. Amen.” 

21  V., p. 1560. 

22  II., p. 543. See Supra, p. 17. 

23  Hearne prints the Prologue from the Black Book, V., p. 1393, et seq

24  See Tytler’s Hist. of Scotland, iii., p. 94 (Ed. 1845.) 

25  Hearne’s Fordun, iv., p. 1063, et seq

26  Scriptores post Bedam ed Savile, p. 359 (Francof. 1601 fol.) Henrici Huntendunensis Historia Anglorum Ed. Thomas Arnold, p. 173, (Lond., 1879.) 

27  Curiously, this same prophecy is likewise found in the MS. (folio 27 recto), in the Royal collection, 13 E. ix., standing on the shelf immediately before the Black Book of Paisley. This MS. is described in the introduction to Chronicon Angliæ (Lond., 1874), Ed. E. M. Thompson, p. xxix.; Walsingham Hist. Angl. ii., p. xiv. The Prophecy is also in the Ripley MS. of Ralph de Diceto. See De Diceto, Opera Historica, vol. i., p. xcvii. (Lond., 1876, Ed. Stubbs.) 

   Merlin’s prophecies are repeatedly quoted by Fordun and Bower, and by other historians, both Scotch and English. In the old Scotch MS. (Cambridge University Library, Kk. i. 5), before referred to (p. 21 n.), there is a metrical version of certain prophecies ascribed to Merlin which has been printed along with the metrical version of Bernard’s letter by the Early English Text Society. These prophecies had been previously printed at Edinburgh by Waldegrave in 1603, and by Hart in 1615 and 1617, and were reprinted by the Bannatyne Club (No. 44), in 1833. 

28  Migne, Cursus Patrologiæ Completus, vol. 64, p. 1333-1338. 

29  The Tract will be found in Migne’s Cursus Patrologiæ, vol. 184, p. 1167, et seq

30  Bibliotheca Orientalia, vol. III., Pt. II., p. 490. It was printed at an early date. See Panzer, Annales Typographici, iv. p. 292; ix. p. 181. Both of these editions are in the Grenville Library, (British Museum,) as is also a third, s, l. et. a., to which is added an additional Tract, De situ et dispositione regionum et insularum tocius Indie nec nom de rerum mirabilium ac gentium diversitate. It was also printed along with the Itinerary of John of Hesse;- Johannis de Hese Itinerarius presbyteri a Jherusalem describens dispositiones terrarum insularum, montium et aquarum; Joannis Presbyteri Epistola ad Emmanuelem; Tractatus de situ regionum totius Indie. – Sm. 4to., 21 leaves, s. l. et a. (1495?). There are many Manuscripts of the Letter in the British Museum and other Libraries. The Royal MS. 13. A. xiv., of the fourteenth century, corresponds with the text in the Black Book. 

31  Illustrations of Scottish History by Joseph Stevenson, p. 80 (Maitland Club); Weber’s Metrical Romances, iii., p. 301.; Wynton’s Chronicle by Macpherson, i., p. xliii. (Reprint in the Historians of Scotland.) 

   As to Prester John himself, see Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, ii., p. 396 (Ed. Bohn): Gieseler Eccl. Hist., translated by Hull, iii., p. 480. Marco Polo’s Travels, p. 20, et seq. (Ed. Bohn); i., Nineveh and its Remains, i., p. 249 (5th Edn.) He gives an English translation of the letter. 

32  Sir David Lindsay in his Roll of Arms places the blazon of the Arms of Prester John, along with those of the three kings of Cologne, i.e., the three wise Men of the East, immediately after the Royal Arms. Then follow the Arms of the “nyne maist nobill; of the quhilkis thair wes thre Jowis, as David, Josue, and Judas Machabeus; three gentilis, as Julius Cesar, Alexander Conqueror, and Hector of troy; three chrissyned men, as Charles ye Magne, Empriour and King of France, Arthur, King of ye greit Brittanie, and Godefree, Duk of Bollonie, Conqueror of Jerusalem.” 

33  Chronica de Mailros in the Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores, Ed. Gale, i., p. 237, and by J. Stevenson for the Bannatyne Club, p. 210. 

34  Royal MS., 20 A. xi., No. 3. 

35  Vol. i., p. 308. 

36  The Legacye or Embassate of the Great Emperoure of Inde, Prester Johne, unto Emmanuell kynge of Portugale, Lond., John Rastel, 8vo., n. d. 

37  Wynton’s Chronicle Pref., p. xlii. (Reprint in the Historians of Scotland.) 

38  Apparently a mistake. The printed work reads, “Fortitudine ad faciendum bona” (Opera S. Brigittæ, p. 77. Monachii 1680 fol.); and the person who made the note has evidently had some doubt about the wording. 

39  Skene’s Fordun, i., p. 382. hearne, iv., p. 1060. 

40  Scotichronicon, xiv. c. 39. 

41  Magnus Macculloch seems to have been enamoured of the sentiment, as he drops it about in various places in his transcript of this MS., as well as of the one at Brechin Castle; but he applies it to the Scotichronicon and not to the revelations of St. Brigit. In this secondary application it is found in the Edinburgh MS. at the end of Book XVI. 

42  Lambinet, Recherches sur l’origine de l’imprimerie, p. 434. 

43  Arundel Collection, Brit. Mus., 197, p. 38-48. 

44  A small 12mo, printed about 1530. The last page is the “first boke of Scala Perfectionis.” The Revelations are Book VI., cc. 50, 65, 83, 41. 

45  Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. iv., p. 368-568. 

46  See supra, p. 11

47  David Laing, Select Remains of the Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland, 410, Edin., 1822. 

48  David Laing, “On Some Early Historical Writers of Scotland.” Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, xii, p. 77. 

2 thoughts on “II. – The Contents, pp.15-29.

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