C = le manuscrit de M. de Coislin

MS. Paris BNF fonds français 20041 (formerly Saint-Germain 1662). Paper Fifteenth Century, sometime after 1463. Contains the following works by François Villon:








location, title, incipit, etc.

No. 2, fol. 107v
No title
incipit: "Freres humains qui apres nous vivez"

No. 3, fols. 108r-12r
title: "Le petit testament villon"
incipit: " n lan mil quatre cent cinquante six"
omissions: vv. 25-72, 281-312

No. 4, fol. 112v
title: "Sensuit lappel dudit villon"
incipit: "Que dicted vous de mon appel"

No. 5, fols. 113r-52r
title: "Le grant testament villon"
incipit: " n lan de mon trentiesme aage"
omissions: vv. 305-12

No. 6, fol. 152r and v
title: "Epistre"
incipit: "Aiez pictie ayez pictie de moy"

No. 7, 152v-53v
title: "Probleme"
incipit: "Fortune fuz par clercs jadiz nommee"

Fols. [1v]-106r contain the manuscript's first piece: Coudrette's Roman de Mélusine

C is for the Duke de Coislin, Henri du Cambout, second known owner of the manuscript. The following words are printed on a rectangular strip of paper and glued to fol. [1r] "Ex Bibliotheca MSS. COISLINANA, olim Segueriana,/ quam Illust. HENRICUS DU CAMBUT, Dux DE/ COISLIN. Par franciae, Episcopus Metentis. &c. Mo/nasterio S. Germani a Pratis legavit An M.DCC.XXXII". Before he died in 1732, Henri Charles du Cambout willed C, which he had inherited from his grandfather, Chancelor Séguier, in 1672, to the abbey of Saint-Germain-des Près. Earlier, Henri du Cambout had commissioned Bernardo de Mautfaucon to make an inventory of his manuscripts to update his grandfather's inventory. In Mautfaucon's Bibliotheca bibliothecarum manuscriptorum vovum (Paris: Briasson, 1739), Vol. 2, p. 11109b, entry 843 reads: "pesies de M. François Villon, XVe siecle." C, like so many other manuscripts, was probably brought to the Bibliothèque Royale during the French Revolution for safekeeping.

Dating criteria is from a statement of Lucien Foulet concerning the "Ballade de l'appel" (Lognon-Foulet edition, 1970, xi), but paper chain lines and watermarks, examined according to Briquet's Les Filigranes..., indicate that the earliest date for the paper may be 1468.

C contains 155 leaves of paper (format: 250 X 178 mm.) All but three bear Arabic numerals: with one blank and unnumbered leaf between fols. 8 and 9, another between 112 and 113 (added perhaps during a 1942 restoration), and fol. [1]. Fol. 107 is numbered and blank on one side.

Binding: brown leather with gold trim. The gold-lettered title on the spine reads "Manuscrit de Villon".

C appears to be the work of three scribes, whose hands can be classified as littera bastarda. The first copied fols. [1]-106v and 130, The second copied fol. 107v. The third copied fols. 114r-129v and 131r to the end (153v).

There is evidence that C was trimmed before binding. The tops of letters in some of the title words are missing (e. g. fol. 108r). This explains why the "Ballade des Pendus" (fol. 107v) is untitled. The top of "F" is missing, and the lower extremities of several letters can be seen directly above this line. There is water damage from fol. [1]-46 and 131-53, and evidence of a twentieth-century restoration in the words "Atelier reliure 1943", appearing in the upper left-hand corner of the first guard leaf. This guard leaf, the one at the end of the manuscript and the leaf between fols. 112 and 113 are of the same paper, without watermarks, and with chain lines 27 mm. apart. In addition, there are numerous repaired outer edges where one might expect to find discolored water-damaged paper.

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TennesseeBob Peckham
Director, The Globe-Gate Project
University of Tennessee-Martin