TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Miscellany of sermons, devotional, and monastic texts

In Latin (a few words in Dutch), manuscript on paper
[Low Countries or Flanders, c. 1500]

TM 130

160 ff., mostly in quires of 8 (collation i-viii8, ix4, x-xii8, xiii5 [4+1), xiv8, xv7 [6+1], xv1-xxi8 [with ff. 145-160 misbound, to be replaced after fol. 120]), on paper [watermark close to Briquet no. 11461, “Main”: Maastricht, 1509, variant of “Armoiries de Troyes,” no exact match in Briquet (see no. 1048-1051), but this watermark is found in paper that circulated extensively in the Lower Countries; “Lettre P,” although not a perfect match see no. 8538, Troyes, 1503 or Utrecht, 1508], written in a tight cursive bookhand by different hands, in dark brown ink, on up to 26 long lines (justification 80 x 120 mm), quire signatures with some in red ink, initials or capitals stroked in red, some underlining in red, paragraph marks in red, contemporary marginal annotations. Bound in a modern imitation binding of dark brown calf over wooden boards, spine sewn on four raised thongs, boards paneled in triple blind fillets with saltire design in central compartment and blind ornamental stamps in intermediary frame, leather and brass catch on upper board (Good sound condition; some leaves frayed with some small loss of text on first folio; some waterstains). Dimensions 110 x 160 mm.

Diverse collection of sermons and other devotional and monastic writings, many of which are unrecorded, that include sermons from a rare fourteenth-century anonymous collection identified by Schneyer as the “Collectio Parati sermones” and excerpts from a devotional work by Jan Mombaer, one of the important reformers of the later “Devotio Moderna.” Written for a female congregation probably in the milieu of the Windesheim Congregation, the manuscript also includes instructions for the investiture of nuns and a rare Latin and vernacular poem on the pleasures of drinking wine.


1.Watermarks and script suggest a later fifteenth or early sixteenth century Belgian or Dutch origin for this manuscript. A note in French pasted before the first flyleaf points out the three words in Dutch at the end of a poem on wine (see f. 77). Also cited are two female saints, particularly honored in the Low Countries: Saint Walpurga, “Legitur in legenda sancta Walburgis virginis…” (f. 113) and Saint Margaret of Ypres, “Legitur de sancta Margareta de Ypris…” (f. 113v). Also mentioned is Saint Dominic: “Legitur qudo sanctus Dominicus …” (f. 114). The presence of a work by Jan Mombaer or Iohannes Mauburnus (f. 68), one of the propagators of the Devotio moderna movement, who entered the the Canons Regular of the Windesheim Congregation at St. Agnietenberg near Zwolle, could suggest that the present manuscript was composed in the milieu of the reformed monasteries of the Windesheim Congregation. It also seems tenable that the manuscript was designed for members of a female monastic environment, as suggested by the presence of two female saints quoted above, as well as the texts relating to the ritual of investiture for nuns (ff. 127-128), with the priest interrogating the young female novice: “Dicat prelatus: ‘Quid queris filia’… Tunc prelatus querat an sit coniugata […] Tunc depositis secularibus vestibus et religiosis indutis recipiatur in societatem sororum" (f. 127-127v).

2.Private Collection, Europe.


ff. 1-4v, Sermon: heading: Feria quarta cinerum. Sermo; incipit, ˝Convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro jejunio et fletu et planctu… Dominus anime devote in Christo…˝ [not recorded in Schneyer];

ff. 5-8v, Sermon: heading: Sermo quomodo merito debemus deo servire; incipit, ˝Nemo potest duobus dominis servire… Primo propter creationem…˝ [not recorded in Schneyer];

ff. 9-16v, Sermon: heading: Sermo quod inpedimenta perfectus sunt septem; incipit, ˝Puer autem crescebat…Sicut puer Jesus crevit…˝ [Schneyer, VIII, p. 572, no. 16, T 7: Munich, Stadtbibl., Clm 2702, anonymous collection datable fourteenth century];

ff. 17-23v, Sermon: heading: Sermo exquisitissimus atque notabilissimus de dilectione proximi; incipit, ˝Hec mando vobis ut diligatis…In verbis premissis… ˝ [not recorded in Schneyer];

ff. 24-24v, blank;

ff. 25-31, Sermon: heading: Sermo notabilis; incipit, "Qui est ex deo verba dei audit… Queritur quid magis sit…" [Schneyer, V, p. 530, no. 71, T 23: “Thesaurus novus” (Sermons for the Temporal), 5 manuscripts recorded and an incunable edition, Strasbourg, 1491 (see Schneyer, V, p. 525)];

ff. 31v-32v, blank;

ff. 33-40v, Sermon: heading: Sermo notabilissimus atque saluberrimus de locutione; incipit, "De omni verbo otioso… Sciendum quod quatuor sunt…˝[not recorded in Schneyer];

ff. 41-51, De vicio murmuris contra prelatos; incipit, ˝Ad huius detestationem. Sciendum est… ˝;

ff. 51-56v, Sermon: heading: Sermo devotus de nativitate domini nostri Jesu Christi; incipit, ˝Evangeliso vobis gaudium magnum…Unde notandum quod omnes…˝ [anonymous sermon, perhaps the same as in Paris, BnF, MS lat. 15005, ff. 154v-155];

ff. 57-61v, Sermon, Collectio Parati sermones (anonymous), fourteenth century: heading: In cena domini vel in die festo corporis Christi Sermo de expositione missem; incipit, ˝Accepit Jesus panem et benedixit fregit et dedit… Hodie, fratres charissimi summus…˝ [Schneyer, IV, p. 529, no 89, T 25];

ff. 61v-64, Sermon and exemplum: heading: Sequitur unum notabile de dulcissimo ac amantissimo nomine Jesu atque piissimo; incipit, ˝Notandum. Sciendum autem quod hoc nomen benedictum…˝; exemplum (f. 63v):˝In Britannia erat quedam monialis que in consuetudine habebat nomen …˝;

f. 64v-67v, De ingratitudine hominis; incipit,˝Recordare O homo quam grave peccatum sit… ˝;

f. 68, Excerpts from Iohannes Mauburnus, Directorium horarum solvendarum: heading: Notate diligenter; incipit, ˝Fili mi noli negligere disciplinam domini… ˝ [see Morvay and Grube (1974), p. 243; see also study by Debongnie (1927)];

f. 68v, blank;

ff. 69-72, Sermon: heading: Sermo; incipit, ˝Fili prebe ( ?) michi cor tuum…Notandum quod deus petit cor...” [not recorded in Schneyer];

f. 72v, blank;

ff. 73-75v, Sermon, Eckardus: Sermo brevis pro cenobitis; incipit, ˝Si quis vult post me venire…Abnegat semetipsum…˝ [Schneyer, II, p. 21, no. 94, C 4; published in Decker (1957)];

ff. 76-76v, blank;

f. 77, Short poem on wine: incipit, “Vino quando bibo / Tristari non bene quibo…”; explicit, “Sed si plus quod bibam – kan – glas – kruyck omnia frangam” [on this poem see Wattenbach,˝Die Anfänge latein. profaner Rythmen des Mittel Alters,˝ in Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum, 15 (1872), p. 501 (quoted in the In principio database)]. The three words in Dutch all designate containers for liquids, here wine: “kan” (jug, pitcher, pot), “glas” (glass), and “kruyck” (pitcher). The sense of the poem is that wine makes all sadness disappear.

f. 77v, blank;

ff. 78-83, Sermon: heading: Sermo notabilis et salubris; incipit,˝Simile est regnum celorum decem virginibus… In verbis praemissis tria...˝ [see Schneyer, I, p. 122, no. 411, S 83, although not a perfect match];

ff. 83-94, Sermon: heading: Sequitur sermo notabilis et fructuosus ex diversis collectus de festivitate ac solennitate omnium sanctorum; incipit, ˝Gaudete et exultate quoniam […] vestra copiosa … Si charissime diligenter…˝ [not recorded in Schneyer];

ff. 95-95v, blank;

ff. 96-106v, Sermon, Collectio Parati sermones (anonymous), fourteenth century: heading: Sermo de sancto spiritu; incipit, ˝O quam bonus et suavis est domine spiritus tuus in nobis…˝ [Schneyer, IV, p. 532, no. 113, T 39];

ff. 106v-107v, Sermon, Collectio Parati sermones (anonymous), fourteenth century: Sermo notabilis; incipit, ˝Omnis qui irascitur…In verbis propositis prohibet…˝ [Schneyer, IV, p. 534, no. 135, T 46];

ff. 108-110v, blank;

ff. 111-112v, Excerpts from Pseudo-Augustinus, De virtute psalmorum: heading: Augustinus de virtute psalmorum ait; incipit, ˝Si intentus consideres in psalmis invenies ibi…˝;

ff. 113-114v, Nota de repetitione horarum Johannes Crisostomus; incipit, ˝Non sunt iteranda semper a religiosis que fuerint…˝; followed by exempla and readings on the canonical hours;

ff. 114v-120v [145-149], Sermon: heading: Incipit sermo de adventu domini nostri salvatoris; incipit, ˝Prepara te in occursum…In verbis propositis hortatur nos propheta…˝ [see attribution to Lucas de Bitonto in Schneyer, IV, p. 50, no. 12, T 4, with a slightly different beginning: ˝In his verbis nos hortatur propheta…˝]; followed by considerations on the 15 signs preceding the Last Judgment: “Item sciendum quod beatus Jheonius [Jheronimus](?) in annalibus iudeorum invenit signa quindecim precedentia extremum iudicium sed utrum continue future sint…”, with first six signs copied on ff. 119-120v and signs 7-15 copied on ff. 145-149 (the latter folios misbound);

ff. 121-126v, Sermon, Collectio Parati sermones (anonymous), fourteenth century: heading: Sermo brevis in festo penthecostes; incipit, ˝Si quis diligit me sermonem meum servabit…In verbis istis propositis dominus duo facit…˝ [Schneyer, IV, p. 531, no. 112, T 39];

ff. 127-128, [Investiture Ceremony for Nuns], heading: Modum recipiendi ad investitionem et qualiter sit peragendum; incipit, “Vestienda ducatur sicut moris est ante gradus altaris…”;

f. 128v, blank;

ff. 129-136, Sermon: heading: Sermo quomodo debemus refrenare linguas nostras; incipit, ˝Si quis putat se religiosum esse…˝ [not recorded in Schneyer; also found in another manuscript kept in Kassel, Landesbibliothek, 155, f. 82; see K. Wiedemann(1994)];

f. 136v, blank;

ff. 137-142v, De vita et moribus bonorum religiosorum ad laudem et gloriam nostri salvatoris; incipit, ˝Astricti sint religiosi / Noto castitatis / Ac obediencie atque pauperatatis…˝; explicit, ˝Expliciunt rhythmi de vita monastica et moribus bonorum religiosorum Jesus Christus nos perducat ad regna celorum. Amen˝;

ff. 142v-143, Six Temptations of the devil, heading: Notandum quod dyabolus temptat sex modis; followed by four other deceitful manners: “Et quamvis multis modis temptet quatuor tantum modis specialiter decipit et fallit…”;

ff. 143-144v, Various “Nota”: Nota ex secunda parte vite Jesu; Nota Ezechielis…etc.;

ff. 145-160, Misbound folios that should be placed after f. 120v., with further “Nota” on the Last Judgment.

This is an idiosyncratic and highly individualized collection of texts in the manner of the reform movement, the “Devotio Moderna,” of which Johannes Mauburnus or Jan Mombaer (born 1460, Brussels, died 1501, Paris) was one of the most significant protagonists during its later flowering. It includes a selection from the rare, unedited fourteenth-century collection of sermons that Schneyer calls the “Collectio Parati sermones,” named after the opening sermon “Paratus est judicare,” which exists in only seven manuscripts and a small number of early editions. Chosen at random or to fit the purpose of the miscellany, and incomplete, the collection Parati sermones is here joined by various mostly-unrecorded sermons, along with short devotional works popular in the milieu of the Windesheim Congregation or the Devotio Moderna, Meister Eckhart, Pseudo-Augustine, John Chrysostomus, etc. The inclusion of extracts of Jan Mombaer’s Directorium horarum solvendarum (like most of his works, it is unedited) places the present manuscript more squarely in this reform context.

Mombaer’s interest in “rapiaria”—individualized collections of devotional texts written out for personal use, such as his well-received “Rosary of Spiritual Exercises”—is reflected in the present manuscript, which mixes, seemingly randomly, diverse sermons with other short texts on the signs of the Last Judgment, the temptations of the devil, exempla and readings for the canonical hours, and the virtues and obligations of monastic life following the model of Jesus Christ. Evidently composed for use in a female congregation, which would have appreciated the legends of Saints Walpurga and Margaret of Ypres, the manuscript contains a text on the investiture of nuns. Its origin in the Low Countries is confirmed by the inclusion of a rare and interesting poem on wine-drinking in Latin and Dutch.


Decker, B., ed. Meister Eckhart, die deutschen und Lateinischen Werke, IV, Stuttgart, W. Kohlhammer, 1957.

Debongnie, P. Jean Mombaer, de Bruxelles, abbé de Livry: ses écrits et ses réformes, Louvain, Uystpruyst, 1927.

Morvay, K. and D. Grube. Bibliographie der deutschen Predigt des Mittelalters: Veröffentlichte Predigten, Munich, C.H. Beck, 1974.

Schneyer, J.B. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters, Münster, Aschendorff, 1969-1990.

Wiedemann, K. Die Handschriften der Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek Kassel Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kassel, Bd. 1,1. Manuscripta theologica. Die Handschriften…, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 1997.

Online resources

Jan Mombaer with further literature