Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2014
“Este lyvro, per graça do muym alto senhor deus, screveo, per mandado de dom Fernando de Castro o Moço, na çidade de Çepta, em xxxxta dias no ano de 1430, Joham Barroso” [this book, by grace of the highest lord God, I have copied, at the command of Dom Fernando de Castro o Moço, in the city of Ceuta, in forty days in the year 1430. João Barroso]. This inscription in Portuguese appears on the final leaf of Madrid, Real Biblioteca MS II-3088, a fifteenth-century manuscript bound and cataloged among books in the Royal Private Library under the title Livro do Amante. Together with Madrid, El Escorial Library MS g-II-19, also copied in the fifteenth century but rather in Castilian Spanish and titled Confysion del Amante, these two manuscripts present a tantalizing glimpse of the how disparate was the readership of John Gower's major Middle English poem, the Confessio Amantis, mere decades after the poet's death in 1408. Likely transported among the effects of Philippa and Catherine of Lancaster, daughters of John of Gaunt and future queens, respectively, of Portugal and Castile, when they accompanied their father's invasion of Iberia in 1386, Gower's Confessio thus stands as the first poem translated out of English into any Continental language – initially into Portuguese, and thence into Castilian. Not until the early seventeenth century did the Confessio have a competitor.
- John Gower in England and IberiaManuscripts, Influences, Reception, pp. 1 - 14Publisher: Boydell & BrewerPrint publication year: 2014