Fifteen Stars in Gower’s Confessio Amantis VII

Gower’s fifteen stars, stones, and herbs are illustrated in a fifteenth-century copy (Pierpont Morgan MS M.126). Here’s a leaf containing passages we took note of in seminar. It’s as good as any for underscoring the vibrancy and interanimation of elements (from the micro to the macro, the nearby and faraway)!

Here is a magnified view of the illustration of Sirius, beryl, and savin:

To learn more, take a look at Tamara O’Callaghan’s chapter in John Gower, Trilingual Poet: Language, Translation, and Tradition, ed. Dutton. She locates the source of such lore (astronomical, lapidary, herbal) in Hermetic and Arabic sources as well as in Dante, and she goes through the illustrations in the Pierpont Morgan MS. A great model of scholarship on vernacular sciences and literary culture.

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