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Libr. Baker 1-2-AI 41805
IT is now twelve or thirteen years since the textual peculiarities of the
Mass, at fol. 171 v., in honour of St Elfege first engaged my interest in the document here made public. I believe the 'De sancto Alfego archiepiscopo' to be a direct transcript from the very page on which Archbishop Lanfranc was plying his critical pen when it occurred to him that he might, after all, have been mistaken in questioning the claim of his heroic predecessor to the palm of martyrdom. But, evidently the Mass is supplementary to the Missal itself. Evidently the Missal itself is of more recent date than the pontificate of Lanfranc; and, as evidently, it is not a Christchurch book. These three facts suggest a very curious inference. I think that when, in the year 1105, the body of St Elfege was brought to light a relic was given to the monks of St Augustine's; but that the latter, on asking for a Mass to say in his honour, had to content themselves with the partially castigated leaf which Lanfranc had cut out of the Christchurch Missal a quarter of a century before, on the resolution of his doubts by Abbot Anselm of Le Bec.
When, therefore, at the instance of my friend, the Reverend S. S. Lewis, at that time and until his death the Librarian of Corpus Christi College, I spent part of the Long Vacation of 1886 at Cambridge, it was
I with unqualified pleasure that I availed myself of permission to transcribe and work on a book of which I already knew a little, but was anxious to know much more.
My study of the document began in the autumn of the following year, but, with the exception of a few weeks, was intermitted from the Christmas of 1889 to the summer of 1892, when some portions of the following Introduction first fell into their present form.
The order, however, in which the Missal yielded up its several items of evidence was not that now given to the successive divisions of the Introduction.
I first of all collated the verbal text with that of six printed editions. This was a wearisome task, for I had resolved to abstain as long as possible from forming any theory as to the history of the book. My hope was that the only tenable theory would in due course of time reveal itself.
The evidence yielded by the rubrics of the second Proprium' preceded in order of time the deductions suggested by those of the first?. My attention had been drawn to them by the capitulum 'De sancta Cecilia,' on fol. 132 v., and seriously engaged by the considerations it suggested?
Next in order of time came the discovery of the textual capacity of a page of the exemplar of the MissalAs I had a few years previously learnt from another Corpus MS. how happy might be the results of such a discovery", I could but hope that, in some as yet unsuspected way, the fact now ascertained might open out to me the history of the document.
Next came the very reassuring witness to the antiquity of the prototype which I discerned in the Mass 'In Veneratione sancti Michaelis archangeli' on fol. 122o. As yet, however-I am now referring to a brief interval of work in an otherwise idle year, the year 1890—I had not the remotest thought that prototype and exemplar could have been one and the same book; and, indeed, had the idea occurred to me, I should not as yet have felt justified in giving serious heed to it.
Reverting to my collation of the two Propria, I next endeavoured to form a just estimate of the peculiarities of the verbal text of the Corpus MS. To this subject no fewer than sixty-six pages of the Introduction have been devoted?; but the trouble was well bestowed. It issued in the certain conviction that the Corpus MS. embodied, as regards those of its Masses which must have come under the editorial cognizance of St Gregory, an authentic recension the very existence of which would seem never as yet to have been suspected.
Reassured by the discovery of what now claims to be the purus putus textus of the Gregorian Sacramentary, I next turned my attention to those Masses in the Corpus MS. which prove the Missal of St Augustine's to have embodied, as regards its constituent, no less than its verbal, text, the results of a comparatively late revision. The outcome of this exceedingly minute enquiry, an enquiry which would have been tedious in the extreme but for occasional presages of ultimate success, is in the following pages distributed over the chapters entitled “The Constituent Text of the two Propria,' 'Prototype and Exemplar,' 'The “Plena Hebdomada post Pentecosten") and 'St Gregory's Working Copy?' When studying these portions of the monograph, my readers will observe how very careful was St Gregory's readjustment of his own work. They will also be ready, I am sure, to participate with me the pleasure of seeing how three several lines of luminous evidence may be made to converge upon a few cubic feet of hallowed space deep hidden in the recesses of the catacombs?.
| See below, pp. xx– xxxviii.
5 I refer to a monograph on Eadmer's Elaboration of the first four books of the ‘Historia Nouorum,' published in the Transactions of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society for the year 1895-6 (pp. 195—304).
6 See below, pp. cv-cviii. ? Ib. pp. xxxviii-civ.
It was not till I had spent several months on the Antiphonary: that I found either courage or occasion for approaching the subject of the 'plena hebdomada post pentecosten.' Nor was it till the greater portion of the Introduction was already in type that, daring to snatch a photograph of the unseen, I finally allowed myself to own that St Gregory's working copy was the very book which had served as exemplar to the scribe of the Corpus MS.", and, further, that the Corpus MS. had after its completion been brought by careful revision into conformity with a final transcript of St Gregory's perfected recensiono.
The facsimiles which the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi have allowed me to introduce into the present volume will give a truer idea of the document than any description which I might succeed in elaborating. I have been careful to note its successive pages, to reproduce its peculiarities, however faulty, of punctuation and spelling, and, by the use of italics, to distinguish later work from the pristine text. The spelling of the antiphonarial excerpts may, possibly, be of service to some future student.
I desire to acknowledge, and to acknowledge in no perfunctory terms, the kindness of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi in giving me permission to transcribe this their inestimable treasure, as also their infinite patience with me during a period of now nearly ten years. To the Syndics of the University Press I owe and offer as sincere a recognition of the honour done me in associating my name with theirs.
See below, pp. cv-cxxx, clxviii-clxxxi.
Nor can I overlook my obligation to the staff of the University Press and their able compositors. No pains have been spared to alleviate the very trying task of passing a work like the present through the press with as near an approach to absolute accuracy as might be. Mr Alfred Rogers, of the University Library, will allow me to say how materially my labours have been lessened by his careful and conscientious collation of my proof-sheets with the MS.
Pleasure and pain are strangely mingled as I review the last ten years. I could wish that Henry Bradshaw were here to pronounce a just but kindly judgment on my endeavours. One of the last acts, perhaps the last completed act, of his life had been to give his imprimatur to an earlier monograph of mine in some respects similar to the present. I could wish that Giovanni Battista de Rossi were here to forgive my brief invasion of a domain which he has made for ever his own. He, too, has passed away; and so has his not unworthy disciple, Mariano Armellini. The news reaches me as I write these lines. But the grief that lies nearest to my heart is that I am bereaved of my friend Samuel Savage Lewis. I cannot say how much I owe to him ; but, if he be cognizant of what is passing here, he knows that I am not unmindful of his love.
37, WARWICK ROAD, EALING.
March 6th, 1896.
Proprium de Tempore (a die sancto Paschae usque ad Dom. ante
The frontispiece is a facsimile of fol. 70 r.; a facsimile of fol. 9 v. faces