Free Library of Philadelphia


Despair visits Newlywed

This manuscript, which has been dated to ca. 1430-1440, was previously attributed to a follower of the Bedford Master.

This miniature introduces the fifth chapter of the allegorical poem La Voie de Povreté ou de Richesse (The Way of Poverty or of Wealth), composed by the French poet Jacques Bruyant in ca. 1342. The poem, which in this manuscript is called Le Livre de Chastel de Labour (The Book of the Castle of Labor), is an allegory of the profits of hard work. The poem concerns Newlywed, as the hero is called, who is visited one night in a dream by Want, Necessity, Suffering, and Hunger. They scold him for not having found work. He is eventually saved by Reason who shows him the paths to a virtuous life. In this miniature, Newlywed is attacked by the hideous hag Despair, the wife of Discomfort.

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Rare Book Department