IM-8181:(210 x 150mm) Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Breviary. 33 lines written in Latin in double columns with dark brown and red ink. One exceptional ten-line illuminated initial and ten two-line or three-line illuminated initials alternating in dark blue with delicate red penwork and red with delicate blue penwork - extending into the margins. France, c. 1300-25.
The illuminated “P” begins a hymn by St. Gregory: “Primo dierum…” (Hail day! whereon the One in Three first formed the earth by sure decree, the day its Maker rose again, and vanquished death, and burst our chain. Away with sleep and slothful ease! We raise our hearts and bend our knees, and early seek the Lord of all, obedient to the Prophet's call: That He may hearken to our prayer, stretch forth His strong right arm to spare, and every past offense forgiven, restore us to our homes in heaven. Assembled here this holy day, this holiest hour we raise the lay; and O that He to whom we sing, may now reward our offering! O Father of unclouded light, keep us this day as in Thy sight, in word and deed that we may be from every touch of evil free. That this our body's mortal frame may know no sins, and fear no shame, nor fire hereafter be the end of passions which our bosoms rend. Redeemer of the world, we pray that Thou wouldst was our sins away, and give us, of Thy boundless grace, the blessings of the heavenly place. That we, thence exiled by our sin, hereafter may be welcomed in: that blessed time awaiting now, with hymns of glory here we bow. Most holy Father, hear our cry, through Jesus Christ our Lord most High who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee doth live and reign eternally. …).
A Breviary is composed of many books (prayers, hymns, psalms...) painstakingly but carefully written by hand, and used by monks and priests to conduct their daily services.