Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) Genealogia deorum

Venice: [Vindelinus de Spira], 1472
Bound with:
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), De montibus, sylvis, fontibus, lacubus, fluminibis, stagnis seu paludibus, et de nominibus maris Venice: [Vindelinus de Spira, 13 January 1473

In the mid-sixteenth century a prolific annotator identifying himself as Mathew Morland filled the blank spaces of his copy of two of Boccaccio’s works with large interlaced labyrinths, mirror writing, and this seemingly unpublished poem telling the story of the Creation, Fall and Flood. The tune he used is copied from the Cambridgeshire composer Christopher Tye’s versified Acts of the Apostles, published in 1553; in 1592 the tune was adapted to the text of Psalm 84 in Thomas Este’s Psalter, and since the mid-nineteenth century it has been associated with the carol ‘While shepherds watched’. For a transcription of the full poem, click “Extended captions”.

Inc.2.B.3.1b[1336], fols. [n12] verso – [o1] recto

For a film of the song included by Morland, click here.

Transcription of the verse written by Mathew Morland into his book:

O lord the heavens hayth thy ryght hande
placed full well a Bove,
And eke [also] the yearth be neathe to stande
whyche at no tyme dothe move

The fyre, water, and the eyere
thy power o lorde haythe made
whyche all in order placed ware
when thow the word had saide

The fyshe allso even for the flowde
the byrde so for the eyere
the wylde beaste lykewyse in the woode
full well thow dydste prepare

All whyche thynges yet dothe kepe ther course
the order and ther place
wher in at fyrste thow placed them
eche one to ronne hys race

Amonge thes thynges thow dydste appoynte
man for to rule theym all
And gave him chardge that he shouldenott
taste of the frute and fall

But shortly thy commandement
oute of his harte was gone
so that throught the subtyle serpent
frome the he went a none

Then thow in hayste thy angell sent
to dryve him frome paredyse
and cursed him upon the yearthe
wyth the serpent lyke wyse

And when thow sawest that wyckednes
amonge theym styll dyd reygne
thow lefte not off frome punyshment
byt punyshed theym aygayne

Drownyng all thynges that ware in yearthe
wyth wateres woundersrous
exceptynge only eyght parsonnes
whyche thow founde ryghtous

So that then thow had made wellnye
of all thinges here an ende
levynge therby an ensample
theyre lyves for to amende

Never the lesse they went a waye
frome the off whorynge styll
every man where he had luste
contrarye to thy wyll.

Transcription by Jacqueline Cox, Deputy Keeper of the University Archives

Extended captions