D'après les pp. 19-22 de ma thèse de doctorat (avec des modifications):
François Villon's Lais: A Best Manuscript Edition (1977)


B: MS. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fonds français 1661 (ancien 7652)

1. "B" was for Bibliothèque Nationale

2. Copied in the fifteenth century, sometime after 1464. This is the dte of the most recent work contained in B, which is "Le Martir d'Amour", by Franci (Jeanroy et Droz, p. x)

3. Watermarks:

a) A hand giving the sign of the benediction, with the thrid nd fourth fingers pointing straight down., and a seven-tailed sleeve. Dimensions: 80 X 30 mm., between chain lines 44-45 mm. apart.  Similar to Briquet 11494 (1463), which is slightly smaller with a slight curvature of the third and fourth fingers.

b) Same as in type a, but with a slight curvature of the third and fourth fingers, and a plain wrist band added to the sleeve. Dimensions: 70 X 35 mm., between chain lines 43 mm. apart.

c) Same as in type a, but with a slight curvature of the third and fourth fingers, and a fiv-tailed sleeve with a heart at the wrist line. Dimensions: 67 X 30 mm., between chain lines 43 mm. apart. Similar to Briquet 11525 (1467).

d. Same as in type a, but measures 88 X 30 mm., between chain lines 43 mm. apart.

4. 242 leaves, paper. Two sets of Arabic numerals designate foliation, both beginning and ending on velum guard leaves. The older foliation, almost entirely faded from view, runs from 1 to 211, skips to 214, then runs to 246. It is located a few mm. above and to the right of the newer foliation, which runs from the guard leaf, without skipping a number for 244 fols.  Fols. 241-43 are blank.

5. Page format: 290 X 200 mm.

6. Binding: relatively recent, of sturdy black textured leather with gold trip. Title on the spine reads Poesies Diverses.

7. An anthology of seventeen poetical works and one prose work, from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. These vary greatly in kind, with two doctrinal works , A Vie de Saint Alexis, epitaphs of King Charles VII and lighter  pieces.

8. L. (no. 18, fol. 236r-240v) is the only one of Villon's works contained in B.

9. L (= Lais)., entitled "Le testament  de maistre/ Francois Villon" (incipit: "Mil quaqtre cens cinquante et six", explicit: "Cy fine le testament Villon"), is preceded by Achille Caulier's "L'Hospital d'amours", no. 17, fols. 217r-235v.

10. The text in B appears to be the work of a single littera bastarda scribal hand, though there are rubricator initial letters.

11. The large initial "M" in "Mil" (L.1) contains a lower-case "m" within a looped embellishment projecting into the left margin. This is undoubtedly a signal to the rubricator. Initial letters in the first lines of other stanzas are noticeably larger than the rest of the letters. The other lines begin with lower-case letters.

12. L. contains thirty-nine out of forty texte intégral sttanzas in the following order: 1-11, 13-15, 12, 16-18, 22, 24-40. Stanza 23 is missing. Line reversal: vv. 110 and 111.

13. The scribe corrected himself in vv. 140, 220, 261 and 306.

14. No marginalia in L.

15. The eighteen works contained in B are listed on a vellum front guard leaf. They are recorded in a late gothic hand.

16. There is no clear evidence that B was trimmed before binding.

17. Near the upper left-hand corner of fol. 2r is the seal of the Bibliothèque Royale, with an Arabic numeral "1941" slightly above and to the left, and the device "Outre mon [coeur]" to the right. The ancien fonds number "7652" is in the upper right-hand corner., under the folio number. To the left of this is the number "989". Slightly to the left of the folio number is a faded Roman numeral "MCCCXCIII", with a slash in black ink through the third "C". There is a reference to two of these numbers in an inventory of the Bibliothèque Royale's holdings made at the beginning of the 17th century. On fol. 167r of MS Paris, Bibliothèque National de France, fonds français 5685 (ancien 10293), to the right of Roman numeral "MMMMMMMDCIII" is the following entry: "Recueil de diverses poesies entre lesquelles sontles epitaphes du roy Charles, & le Resrament de Francois Villon"; then an Arabic numeral "1393". Much of the rest of B's history can be readily traced inH[enri Auguste] Omont's, Anciens Inventaires et Catalogues de la Bibliothèque Nationale... (Paris : Ernest Leroux, 1911).

18. B was first pointed out and used by J.-H-.R. Prompsault in 1832.