Accession number: 
PML 691
Uniform title: 
Catonis disticha.
[Westminster] : [William Caxton], [after 23 December 1483]
[80] leaves ; 28 cm (fol.)
Credit Line: 
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1906.

Title from incipit (leaf [1]/2r): Here begynneth the prologue or prohemye of the book callid Caton / whiche booke hath ben trnaslated in to Englysshe by Mayster Benet Burgh / late Archedeken of Colchestre and hye chanon of saint stephens at westmestre...
Colophon (leaf i9r): Here fynyssheth this persent book whiche is sayd or called Cathon translated oute of Frensshe in to Englysshe by William Caxton in thabbay of westmynstre the yere of oure lord M CCCC lxxxiii/ And the fyrst yere of the regne of kynge Rychard the thyrd the xxiii day of decembre.
Printed in Caxton's types 2*:135B and 4*:95(100)B.
Printing date based on date of translation and paper stocks.
Signatures: [1]⁶; a-h⁸ i¹⁰: 80 leaves, leaves [1]/1.6, a1, and i10 blank. Leaves [1]/2-3 signed ii and iii. Variant collation--first quire as [*]⁴ (with no blanks)--in BMC.
Paper format: Chancery folio
PML copy with inked impression of fallen type, leaf g4r; see Claire Bolton, "Fallen Type: A Catalogue," Journal of the Printing Historical Society, third series, no. 2 (2021): 29-68, no. FT24.
PML copy leaf dimensions: 27.6 x 19 cm
PML copy missing 3 leaves: [1]/1.6 and a1 (blanks). Heavy worm damage at top gutter, text unaffected. Fallen type (20 x 5 mm) impressed at bottom of leaf g4r and misprint in the last line of g8r (see Bühler, "Caxton variants," 1936).

16th-century English (Oxford?) blind-stamped brown calf over paper boards (28.5 x 20 cm), sewn on 5 supports. Plain paper (16th century) pastedowns and endleaves; plain endbands. 14th-/15th-century manuscript guards around fly leaves/pastedowns. Two ties, missing.
Variant Title: 

Disticha de moribus


Hand decoration: Rubrication unrealized. Annotations: No notations in text. Several inscriptions/quotations, including: "Multa diuque tuli" (Ovid, Amores III: 1), "multa diuque feram," "si ulla esset spes," "Ho Ho who lies here / I the good erle of Devonshire..." (a variation of the Good Earl of Courtenay's epitaph), "Te socium lecti te corporis esse licebit" (Propetius, Elegies, II: xxxiv), "Ingratitudo morte gravior. ExL" (front endleaf 1 recto).

Nicholas Clarke (d. 1551), signature (front endleaf 1 recto), inherited by his widow Elizabeth Ramsay Clarke Alford (d. 1598), of Hitcham Manor (Buckinghamshire); Hercules Clarke (d. 1630, grandson of Nicholas and Elizabeth), inscription: "This is Elisabeth Allfordes Booke writen by mey Hercules Clarke" (front endleaf 1 recto) (on Clarke and Alford, see "Parishes: Hitcham," in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. London, 1925, pp. 231-235); John Alford (of High Wycombe?), inscription: "Ex dono amici Johannis Alford, Armigeri, 7th Decbr. 1722" (front endleaf 1 verso); Henry Willet (d. 1905); his sale, Christie's, 5 June 1905, lot 23, to Quaritch; Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), purchased from Quaritch, 30 June 1906.