Pepys MS 2002' Medulla grammatice : an edition
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While England's dictionaries since 1500 have been examined in some detail, the lexicons of mediaeval England have not. In particular, the Latin-English and English-Latin dictionaries of the later Middle Ages remain largely unstudied; many of the most important still exist only in manuscript. Only two of the score of known MSS of the Medulla grammatice, the most popular Latin-Middle English lexicon, have been transcribed, both in dissertations that offer little in the way of notes or introduction. The present dissertation seeks to rectify earlier neglect in a very modest way by providing a precise transcription, with an introduction and textual and critical notes, of one of the latest and longest MSS of the Medulla so that the work may be used for further research into the history of English lexicography and the English language. The version of the Medulla grammatice which is now MS 2002' in the Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, is a volume of 136 paper folios containing some 17,000 entries in nearly 20,000 lines of text. Approximately 7000 lines are the work of a scribe who writes a conservative Anglicana bookhand, and the remainder are the work of a second scribe who uses a fluid Secretary hand of the late fifteenth century. Additional notes in a mid-sixteenth century hand provide further glosses, a laudatory head-note on the dictionary's inclusiveness, and an end-note referring to Henry VIII. Evidence of borrowings from datable sources, coupled with the paleographical evidence, suggests an approximate date of 1480 for the MS. Variations in dialect, form, and content of the Pepys Medulla suggest a curious division into five sections, for which no convincing explanation is available. While the bulk of the MS is in the Northeast Midlands dialect, apparently the native dialect of both scribes, one section contains a marked number of Northernisms while another seems even more clearly to have a large number of distinctive Southern forms. Verses designed to elucidate difficult Latin words appear in three sections but not at all in two others which represent some 40% of the total work. A bare majority of the dictionary's entries (56%) are glossed in English. The remainder are glossed in Latin, although many of the Latin glosses are simply labels like 'pertinens' or 'idem' which refer to earlier entries. About 4% of the entries are Greek lexical items glossed in Latin or in Latin and English, and an infrequent notation 'ebraice' alleges a Hebrew origin. While a number of the entries do meet the needs of schoolboys by defining relatively obscure Latin words in a more basic Latin vocabulary, and while some grammatical and phonological information is presented, the Medulla, as it appears in the Pepysian manuscript, must have frequently baffled its young users with its puzzling and even erroneous entries. The more obvious of such mistakes are pointed out in the notes, but the temptation to guess has been resisted. A companion volume to this dissertation contains the photostats of the manuscript, which the curious or doubtful reader may consult.