In a 2013 essay in the Journal of the Early Book Society (JEBS), Ralph Hanna announced the discovery of two new manuscript fragments of the Middle English poem Speculum Vitae. These fragments supplement the handlist of Speculum Vitae witnesses in Hanna’s 2008 edition of the poem. I have discovered a third unrecorded fragment of the poem in Yale’s Beinecke Library, and my short essay announcing the discovery (“Another New Fragment of Speculum Vitae“) now appears in the 2014 issue of JEBS. Here’s the opening description:
In the Beinecke Library, the printed book with the shelfmark 2008 2479 is a copy of the De regulis iuris of Dinus de Mugello (b. 1254) printed at Lyons in 1562. Two strips of vellum cut to about 25x165mm were used as endpaper guards in this copy. The front endpaper guard contains fragments of a Vulgate Bible in a fifteenth-century Gothic book hand. The back endpaper guard contains fragments of a hitherto unrecorded copy of the fourteenth-century Middle English poem Speculum vitae. The text is copied in a workmanlike late fifteenth-century anglicana script, in prose format rather than in verse lineation. A somewhat inelegant two-line blue initial Þ with red flourishing appears at the beginning of the fragmentary text. The first line of each couplet is closed with a red virgule, and, after the opening initial, each couplet is headed by a red paraph and a red slashed-line initial.
Here are my photos of the strip of vellum containing the Speculum Vitae fragment (not included in my publication):
I have also forwarded these photos to my Yale colleague Liz Hebbard, who is curating the exciting Beinecke Library Medieval Binding Fragments in Books digital project via Flickr.