Caxton's Book of Curtesye eBook

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Printed at Westminster about 1477-8 A.D. and Now Reprinted, with Two Ms. Copies of the Same Treatise, from the Oriel Ms. 79, and the Balliol Ms. 354

Edited by

Frederick J. Furnivall, M.A.

Editor of ‘The Babees Book, Etc.’ (’Manners and Meals in Olden Time’),

Published for the Early English Text Society
by Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press,
Amen House, E.C. 4

1868 (reprinted 1882, 1898, 1932)


Though no excuse can be needed for including in our Extra Series a reprint of a unique Caxton on a most interesting subject, yet this Book of Curtesye from Hill’s Ms. was at first intended for our original series, I having forgotten lately that Caxton had written to ’lytyl Iohn,’ though some months back I had entered the old printer’s book for my second collection of Manners and Meals tracts for the Society.  After the copy of Hill—­which Mr W.W.  King kindly made for his fellow-members—­had gone to press, Mr Hazlitt reminded me of the Caxton, and its first and last lines in Mr Blades’s admirable book showed that Hill’s text was the same as the printed one.  I accordingly went to Cambridge to copy it, and there, before tea, Mr Skeat showed me the copy of The Vision of Piers Plowman which the Provost and Fellows of Oriel had been good enough to lend him for his edition of ‘Text B.’  Having enjoyed the vellum Vision, I turned to the paper leaves at its end, and what should they contain but an earlier and better version of the Caxton that I had just copied part of?[1] I drank seven cups of tea, and eat five or six large slices of bread and butter, in honour of the event;[2] and Mr Skeat, with his never-failing kindness, undertook to copy and edit the Oriel text for the Society.  With three

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