Academic journal article Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies

Rolle's Ego Dormio in Manuscript Trinity College Dublin 155 (1). (Linguistics)

Academic journal article Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies

Rolle's Ego Dormio in Manuscript Trinity College Dublin 155 (1). (Linguistics)

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Richard Rolle of Hampole, a hermit in Yorkshire, was born about 1300 (perhaps a year or two earlier) at Thornton Dale, near Pickering. He lived between circa 1300-1349 and is particularly known because of his various religious writings. No extant copy of his writings can be dated before the last quarter of the fourteenth century. One of his texts is Ego dormio, allegedly written to encourage a lady to lead a more spiritual life. In some of the manuscripts the text is addressed to a friend or a nun, but in others there is no addressee. Although we do not know who the recipient of this treatise could be, it has been suggested that it was written for a secular lady, possibly Margaret of Kirby (Ogilvie-Thomson 1988: lxvii and Watson 1991: 330). This must have been the first of the four epistles that he wrote, since the concept of the degrees of love seems not to be so elaborate as in other writings.

There are several extant manuscripts of Ego dormio of which the most relevant ones are kept in:

London, The British Library:
     Arundel 507
     Additional 22283 (Simeon MS.)
     Additional 37790
    Cambridge University Library Dd V 64
    Magdalene College, Pepysian 2125
Oxford, The Bodleian Library:
    Rawlinson A 389, which contains two different versions of the same
      text, usually known as Rawlinson 1 and Rawlinson 2
    English Poet a 1 (Vernon MS.)
There are some others in:
    The Library of the Marquess of Bath: Longleat 29
    London, Westminster School: MS. 3
    Paris, Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve: MS. 3390
    Dublin, Trinity College: MS. 155
    Tokyo: Takamiya 66. This manuscript was named Gurney by Allen
      (1931 [1988]), because it was owned by Hudson Gurney of Keswick
      Hall in the 19th century. Later, it was on extended loan to the
      Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and was then known as
      Bradfer-Lawrence 10 (e.g., Amassian 1979; Amassian -- Lynch
      1981). However, it is now in the possession of Professor Takamia
      from Keio University, so it will be referred to as Takamiya 66.

All these texts are written in English. There is just one Latin translation of Ego dormio which is extant in the following manuscript: Gonville and Caius College 140/180. Many of the English texts have much in common, as some of the most important works by Rolle can be found in the same manuscript. The text in CUL Dd V 64 has always been considered the most authoritative. In fact, it has been the most widely used one in the different editions that have been published: Indeed, Allen (1931 [1988]: 61-72) edited the text in CUL Dd V 64 emended with reference to Rawlinson 1; while Horstmann (1895: 50-61) used the same manuscripts as Allen did, but emended with Rawlinson 2, Bodleian English Poet a 1 and BL Arundel 507. On the contrary, Ogilvie-Thomson did not transcribe the text from CUL Dd V 64, but from Longleat 29 (1988: 26-33).

For the Latin text Amassian and Lynch (1981) used the only extant manuscript in Latin and compared it with the edition made by Allen based on CUL Dd V 64. Among others, Colledge (1962: 143-154) produced a modernized version of the English text.

The other manuscripts (BL Additional 22283, BL Additional 37790, Pepysian 2125, Westminster School 3, Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve 3390, Takamiya 66 and TCD 155) have never been edited and little information is available about the language or the manuscripts themselves. Regarding the Trinity College Dublin 155, Professor Scattergood is currently working on a catalogue in which he deals with the following topics: 1) Contents; 2) Illustrations and decoration; 3) Technical description; 4) History; 5) Discussion. The only part of the text which has been published so far is two lyrics included in Ogilvie-Thomson (1988: 220-222), because they differ considerably from the other lyrics of Ego dormio reproduced in the different manuscripts.

The Ego dormio text shown here varies from the others in a very significant way. …

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