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John of Hoveden

JOHN OF HOVEDEN

John of Hoveden (present-day Howden in York-shire) is the name of several illustrious men in the 13th century. The most famous was an English religious poet, d. after 1275. It is difficult to determine the facts of his life. He may be the astrologer of that name, who is known to have been born in London. The poet reputedly studied at the University of oxford, and although the official records of the school do not report his attendance, his scientific outlook as reflected in his poetical works tends to corroborate an Oxford education. It is certain that by 1268 he was a clerk of Queen Eleanor of Provence, wife of King henry iii of England and mother of King edward i. It seems that he was one of the first prebendaries of the collegiate church of Howden, where he undertook to rebuild the choir and was eventually buried. It is known that he was made canon and prebendary of the king's free chapel in Bridgnorth Castle, Salop; some aver that he had vacated this position by 1275; others claim that he still held it in 1284 but not in 1291. The mystical poetry of Hoveden was of an uncommonly high order, original and wide-ranging. His masterpiece was undoubtedly the Philomena, a work of 4,000 lines on the birth, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ. His eight other Latin poems include the Canticum amoris, which is a kind of preliminary sketch of the Philomena, and the 723-stanza Quinquaginta cantica salvatoris. The Quindecim gaudia BMV dwells on the 15 joys of Mary; the very similar Cythara treats of the love and Passion of Christ. The Quinquaginta salutationes is on the sorrows of Mary. The Viola praises the Virgin in 250 verses, while the short work Lyra is especially interesting because in its musical setting it is a conductus duplex in the manner of the Notre-Dame school. Hoveden's only surviving poem in Anglo-Norman is the Rossignol (see L. W. Stone), addressed to Queen Eleanor and on the same theme as the Philomena. He is also credited with a scientific treatise, Practica chilindri (ed. E. Brock, Essays on Chaucer, Chaucer Society 1868).

As a religious poet of 13th-century England, Hove-den belongs in the front rank beside john peckham. An inheritor of the Bernardine and Franciscan tradition of spirituality (see franciscan spirituality), he was a precursor of the great 14th-century mystics, and Richard rolle de hampole especially shows Hoveden's influence (see hymnology).

Bibliography: Works. c. blume, ed., "Johannis de Hove-dene Philomena," Hymnologische Beiträge 4 (Leipzig 1930). The Poems of John of Hoveden, ed. f. j. e. raby (Surtees Society 154; London 1939). l. w. stone, "Jean de Howden, poète anglo-normand du XIIIe siècle," Romania 69 (194647) 496519. Literature. f. j. e. raby, "John of Hoveden," Laudate 12 (1935) 87. f. j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (2d ed. Oxford 1953) 389395. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 2:974975. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung. Ein Handbuch, 2 v. (Berlin 196465) 2:82, 259262.

[m. j. hamilton]

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