Selecciona una palabra y presiona la tecla d para obtener su definición.

The Date of Stanzas 553 and 1450 of the «Libro de buen amor» in Ms. 9589 of the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

Charles Faulhaber

Doña María Brey Mariño, reporting a discovery made by Prof. Jules Piccus, printed the texts of stanzas 553 and 1450 of the Libro de buen amor (= LBA), found as glosses in MS 9589 of Madrid's Biblioteca Nacional, in the Introduction to the 5th ed. of her modernized version of the work1. A close examination of the MS shows that it contains a second copy of the two stanzas as well as certain clues to the date of the glosses and the purpose of the glossator in citing them2.

MS 9589 offers convincing evidence of a broad knowledge of medieval Latin rhetoric in Aragón in the late 14th or early 15th century3. The principal texts contained in it are Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Poetria Nova (ff. 1r-55v); an anonymous work of Spanish origin devoted principally to the ars praedicandi but which also touches upon poetria and dictamen (ff. 60r-67v); the Breviloquium de Virtutibus Antiquorum Principum ac Philosophorum by Johannes Gallensis (2d foliation, ff. 1v-19v); and the Ars Dictaminis Abreviata by Laurentius de Aquilegia (ff. 99v-106r, unfoliated)4.

Sra. Brey does not specifically date the glosses5, but for her the MS as a whole is «contemporáneo de Juan Ruiz o poco posterior» (p. 30). For me it is somewhat later, and I think that the date can be fixed rather precisely. The text of the Poetria Nova, which begins on f. 8r (f. 1r of the contemporary foliation), is preceded by a series of shorter texts and fragments of texts on various aspects of rhetoric. In one of these the following phrase occurs as an example of the correct form of salutation: «excelentissimo principi martino dey gratia aragoni regi» (f. 7v. 70)6. This can refer only to King Martín el humano, who assumed the crown in 1395 and died in 1410. Since one of the preliminary texts is an accessus to the Poetria Nova, and since the scripts of these texts and of the Poetria Nova are very similar, if not identical, it seems likely that they are all roughly contemporary. Thus we can establish the terminus a quo of the LBA citations as 1395.

The terminus ante quem is established as 1508 by this gloss to v. 1487 of the Poetria Nova: «el mundo ha que se creo 6es mil. ccccccc.os vii»; and above this, «idest 6.7.07.». Two bases of reckoning are given by the glossator just below: «quia multis annis fuerunt captiui ante aduentum Christi scilicet secundum aliquos v.º mil. cc.os xxxx v.º annyos / alios vº mil cc.os minus vno. annyos» (f. 39v). Depending on which figure is used, 6707 years after the Fall would indicate either 1462 or 1508.

Narrowing this more-than-century-long period down is more difficult; the only other chronological indications point to the latter part of the 15th century. At the very end of Part I of the MS (f. 67v), following the anonymous treatise on ars praedicandi, there occurs a rather jumbled mass of short fragments, among which we find the second copy of stanzas 553 and 1450 of the LBA7, and a copy of stanza 10 of Fernán Pérez de Guzmán's Tratado de vicios y virtudes8, which is dated by J. Amador de los Ríos between 1449 and 14529. Finally, the left margin of f. 24v contains the folio wing gloss to the Poetria Nova, referring to the ornatus difficilis: «de omnibus istis vide bene / doctrinale / donatum / Anthonium mancinellum / et catoliconem». The Doctrinale by Eberhard de Bethune, Donatus, and the Catholicon by Johannes Januensis date from the 13th century or earlier; but the reference to Antonio Mancinelli (1452-1506) places us firmly within the last quarter of the 15th century. That all-but-forgotten Italian humanist wrote copiously on Latin grammar and rhetoric and annotated many classical texts. He was immensely popular during his lifetime; Hain-Copinger-Reichling list over 170 incunabulum eds. of his works.

Whether the LBA citations should be dated during this period depends, of course, on whether all of the Romance glosses came from the same pen or not. If they did, and the similarity of the hands -while not conclusive- makes this seem the strongest possibility, then the termini a quo et ante quem would be 1462 and 1508. The reference to Antonio Mancinelli would indicate the latter part of that period. It is possible that the Romance glosses are by different hands10, in which case all we can say is that they date from the 15th century.

As Sra. Brey remarks, the two stanzas she prints «apenas muestran alguna variante de escasa importancia para el poema» (loc. cit.). The same is true of the texts found on f. 67v11. The importance of these citations, however, resides not in their textual value, which is minimal, but rather in the light they throw upon late medieval literary interests and scholarship. The annotator of MS 9589 is acquainted with both Latin and vernacular literature, but his primary allegiance is obviously to the former. Furthermore, he looks upon the vernacular works as a repository for sententiae rather than as a source of illustrations of literary technique. Thus we find st. 553 used as an example of correct punctuation; st. 1450, as one of fear and courage. This suggests the possibility that the LBA citations and the one from the Tratado de vicios y virtudes do not come directly from MSS of those works but rather from a topically-arranged common-place book.

In any case, the use of citations from a vernacular work to explicate a Latin one is, in my experience, a novelty for the time and place. The glossator still does not regard the vernacular as a fit subject for study in its own right (as it has become for some of his near-contemporaries; cfr. the glosses to the Laberinto de fortuna, the Coplas of Jorge Manrique, and the Coplas de Mingo Revulgo), but its hermeneutic value is recognized -a small but significant step in the transition from Latin to vernacular culture.