University of Virginia Library

Folger MS. J.a.1

An early seventeenth-century manuscript collection of poems, plays, and prose tracts in different hands on different paper, originally separate items but bound in one volume in the eighteenth century. Paper, 200 ff. (20 x 15 cm.), xviii century calf. The volume contains the bookplate of a Marquess of Cholmondeley, presumably the second, George Horatio (1792-1870), and hence once formed a part of the library at Cholmondeley Castle, near Nantwich, Cheshire. This manuscript was not described by Seymour De Ricci when he catalogued the Folger holdings (Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada [1935], I,ii), since the volume in question


Page 118
was obtained by the Folger Library in 1933 from Maggs (Cat. 569, item 204).

    (fol. 1r-v blank: all folios unaccounted for below are blank)

  • (1) fol. 2r-5r
  • A fair copy of a Latin polemical poem entitled Pro Supplici Evangelicorum Ministrorum in Anglia . . . Authore A.M. (A bookdealer's or former owner's pencil notation identifies the author as Andrew McBille, and suggests a date of c 1604, without giving any evidence for the attribution).
  • (2) fol. 7r-17v
  • A fair copy of thirty-four Latin epigrams on theological and anti-papist topics e.g. No. 30: De Lupa Lustri Vaticam. Initial dedication to Iacobo, Fidei Defensori. The copy appears to be in the same hand as the previous item; and is probably by the same author.
  • (3) Boot and Spurre fol. 19r-23r
  • An anonymous prose dialogue or entertainment in English wherein characters such as Spurre, Slipper, Pumpe, Shoe, and Boote appear at an unspecified country inn. Boote and Shoe, claiming to be seasoned travellers, discourse of Mandeville, Ulysses, Coryat (whose Crudities first appeared in 1611 and hence set a terminus ab quo for the piece), Drake and Cavendish; see R. R. Cawley, The Voyagers and Elizabethan Drama (1938), for similar allusions. Interpolated are repartees of a scatological nature between Pumpe and Shootie, page to Shoe; as well as numerous word-plays on the shoemaker's trade. A useful discussion of the genre is contained in James H. Hanford, "The Debate Element in the Elizabethan Drama," in Kittredge Anniversary Papers (1913), pp. 445-456. This work has apparently not been printed.
  • (4) Risus Anglicanus fol. 24r-44v c 1616-1620
  • This anonymous Latin comedy (or "daemonopoiia," to borrow Samuel Harsnet's coinage for devils' doings in A Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures . . . of 1604 [STC 12881], sig. V3r) of a fictitious, semi-historical nature, relates the alleged tribulations and failures at Rome of the leading Jesuit publicists to counteract the, to them, dangerous implications of the Oath of Allegiance of 1606 (as a result of the Gunpowder Plot crisis of 1605), and the important theoretical justifications thereof put forth by James I. This controversy, addressed to the crowned heads of Europe, fomented a savage duel between the rival doctrines of the divine right of kings and the divine right of the papacy, raged from 1606 until 1620, produced scores of acrid pamphlets and weighty tomes on both sides, and engaged the talented pens of the leading Catholic controversalists of the day : Suárez, Coquaeus, Pacenius, Becan, Scioppius, Eudaemon, and the most talented of this whole group, Bellarmine, all of whom appear as characters in this play (Bellarmine as Matthaeus Tortus, the pseudonym he


    Page 119
    employed in a tract of 1608). There is a full account of this controversy in the introduction to Charles H. McIlwain's edition of The Political Works of James I (1918), written from the point of view of a political scientist; supplementing McIlwain regarding the editorial aid which James recruited is an important article by David H. Willson, "James I and his Literary Assistants," Huntington Library Quarterly, VIII (1944-45), 35-58. A general account may be found in Etheldred L. Taunton, The History of the Jesuits in England: 1580-1773 (1901). Because of the satirical and sarcastic tone of the play, and the representation of Pope Paul V as in league with Lucifer, we must assume that the anonymous author was a loyal Anglican or Puritan.

    The action starts in Rome with a conclave between Ignatius Loyola, Lucifer, and Pope Paul V who complains that England is causing his domain the most trouble: "Omnem simul paraturum nobis excussit Anglia"; and a version of the Breve of September, 1608, against James I forbidding Catholics to take the Oath of Allegiance is given. This initial dramatic situation is reminiscent of the fictitious diabolic league entered into by Pope Alexander VI described in Barnabe Barnes' play The Devil's Charter of 1607 (ed. McKerrow, 1902), a play probably written to take advantage of the excitement in London about the Gunpowder Plot too. For a discussion of devils on the Elizabethan stage, see Robert H. West, The Invisible World (1939).

    The first three acts of Risus Anglicanus describe the resolves of the Jesuit publicists to counter the propaganda of James I, aided and abetted by their diabolic familiars, the daemunculi. In II, ii, Bellarmine (Tortus) announces that: "libellum scilicet ego hodie paro cum Torti nomine" [i.e., Responsio Matthaei Torti . . . ad librum inscriptum Triplici nodo triplex cuneus, Romae, 1608]. In III, i, Eudaemon chides Becanus and Scioppius for being drunk. In III, v, Coquaeus offers to out-do the work of the moderate French Dominican, Nicholas Coeffeteau, whose Responce à l'advertissement addressé par . . . Jacques Ier à tous les princes et potentats de la chrestienté had appeared at Rouen in 1610:

    De Episcopatu scilicet
    Breui vacaturo, quem frustra Coeffetoeus sperat sibi,
    Quemque Ego facilè mihi indipiscar praemio,
    Anglorum Regi si scripto obsistam obviam: id monuit.
    By act IV, the fortunes of the Jesuit writers have suddenly waned (there is no clear chronology in the play); hence Ignatius tells Lucifer that the main concern is sustaining the morale of the now dashed writers: "Nunc itaque scriptores isti ne animus despondeant,/ Frustrationem qui repere cum infortunio,/ Ea primum cura est" (IV,iv). The daemunculi are now dispirited because they are convinced that they have none left to inspire; one of their number, Delerium, announces that : "Hominem neminem habemus uterque quem ductemus" (IV,v). In V, iv, the historical fact of the burning of Suárez's De Defensione Fidei Catholicae adversus Anglicanae


    Page 120
    Sectae Errores (Coimbra, 1613) by the Parlement of Paris in 1614 because of its implied attack on regal supremacy, is stated. His efforts foiled, the fictitious Suárez contemplates returning to the academic calm of his teaching post at the University of Coimbra in Portugal.

    By now Ignatius is thoroughly depressed and concedes (with an echo of the proverbial: sero sapiunt Phryges): "Phryges sumus, sero sapimus magno tandem edocti malo" (V,v). Finally the English Jesuit, Thomas Fitzherbert, (for whose career, see DNB), is introduced speaking English, too ignorant to comprehend Latin, along with Robert Parsons (who is called manes parsoniani in the play since Parsons had died at Rome in 1610). The alleged failure of Fitzherbert's contribution to the controversy: An adioynder to the supplement of Father Robert Persons discussion of M. Doctor Barlowes Ansvvere (St. Omer, 1613: Folger, STC 11022) is mentioned and discussed; and the play ends with the apprehensive Fitzherbert being led off to a solemn examination by his superiors.

    The play lacks a secure sense of dramatic structure, and the dialogue is often wooden, but it surely deserves to be published because of its great historical interest. Despite "poetic license" and a somewhat fantastic introduction of devils, the text shows the author to be well versed in the great European logomachia of his day as he tries valiantly to produce satire of importance. A contemporary English audience would have relished the play's content: some anonymous doggerel verses of c 1620 reflect a general sentiment: "To play at bopeepe our Catholiques striue/ Who late with the deuill a Bargaine did driue . . ." (Folger MS.4760, fol. 1r).

  • (5) fol. 45r-46r
  • A fair copy of the Latin funeral eulogy of Sir Thomas White (d. 12 Feb., 1566/7), founder of St. John's College, Oxford, attributed by the DNB to Edmund Campion (1540-1581), the Jesuit martyr, who proceeded B. A. at St. John's in 1561. The title runs as follows: Funebris Oratio in Obitum Thomae White/ Militis Praetoris quondam Londinensis/ Fundatoris Collegii Di Ioannis/ Praecursoris Oxoniensi, habita per/ Edmundum Campianum in/ Artibus Magistrorum Eiusdem Collegii/ Alumnum.
  • (6) fol. 47r-63r dated in MS. 20 Nov., 1605
  • A fair copy of an English prose treatise on dreams, by the physician Richard Haydocke of New College, Oxford, who proceeded B. A. on 16 Jan., 1592. The title runs: Oneirologia: or A briefe discourse of the nature of Dreames . . .
  • (7) fol. 71r-81r dated in MS. 1617
  • A fair copy of an English prose tract, attributed in the MS. in a different hand to Dr. Willet (presumably Andrew Willett, the controversial divine, rector of Barley; see DNB). The title runs: Reasons and motiues to induce/ the Spiritualitye and Temporaltie of/ this Kingdome to graunt vnto/ the Kinges most excellent Ma:tie/ a large Subsidie and Contribution.

  • 121

    Page 121
  • (8) Iter Boreale fol. 84r-92r
  • A fair copy of the Latin travel poem, modeled on Horace's trip to Brundisism (Sat., I, v), written c 1584 by Richard Eedes (1555-1604), of Christ's Church, Oxford, B.A. 1574, later Dean of Worcester. Other copies exist in British Museum Add. MS. 30352; Rawlinson Ms. B 223.
  • (9) Secundum iter Boreale fol. 94r-100v
  • A fair copy of the English travel poem Iter Boreale, of the same genre as the previous item, by Richard Corbet (1582-1635). For modern edition, see The Poetical Works of Richard Corbet, ed. J. A. W. Bennett & H. R. Trevor-Roper (1955), pp. 31-49.
  • (10) A Christmas Messe fol. 105r-115v dated in MS 1619
  • An anonymous English verse entertainment of some 600 lines. The action concerns the insatiable hunger of Belly ("My gutts within my bulke doe rumble"), which is temporarily excruciating since King Beef and King Brawn, along with their respective cohorts, are struggling for precedence and have eluded the province (and cleaver) of Cook for the time being. Finally Cook puts an abrupt stop to their wrangling, takes them in charge, and proudly promises to prepare the best Christmas feast ever for Belly. Interspersed are dialogues between Trencher and Tablecloth; Bread and Salt; Vinegar, Pepper and Mustard. Cf. Thomas Flatman, "A Character of a Belly-God," in Poems & Songs (4th ed., London, 1686, pp. 152-156). This play, while slight, is amusing and hence could bear publication.
  • (11) Heteroclitanomalonomia fol. 119r-133r dated in MS 1613
  • An anonymous English verse adaptation of the Latin prose tract Bellum Grammaticale by the Italian humanist Andrea Guarna, which was first printed at Cremona in 1511 and went through some 103 editions between 1511 and 1739 in Europe. It was translated into English prose in 1569 by W. Hayward (rptd in Lord Somers' Tracts, 2nd ed., London 1809, I, 523-554; for references to the Bellum Grammaticale in England, see CHEL VI, 482-483); made into a Latin play by Leonard Hutton c 1583 that was not printed until 1635 (see W.W. Greg, A Bibliography of the English printed drama to the Restoration [1951], II, 945, No. L-13; synopsis in Shakespeare Jahrbuch, XXXIV [1898], 273-275; comment in F.S. Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age [1914], pp. 256-267).

    The Folger play differs considerably from Hutton's while retaining the central theme of explaining linguistic irregularities as stemming from the faction and rivalry of the two powerful kings in the realm of Syntax: Noun (Poeta) and Verb (Amo) with their respective followers, both of whom are attempting to control Oratio (rhetoric). It should not be amiss to note that while Guarna was primarily concerned, as a good humanist schoolmaster, with devising a fable or "talking picture" as a pedagogical means of teaching students Latin, he was also involved in accounting for the influence of the dynamic or spoken aspect of language on the static or written:


    Page 122
    the current quarrel in American university circles between the descriptive linguist and the prescriptive grammarian continues another aspect of the age-old problem of what and how to teach the young. The structure of the Folger play derives ultimately from the Psychomachia and hence is similar to other English allegorical plays of the period such as Lingua, Pathomachia, Technogamia, and Microcosmus: see H. K. Russell, "Tudor and Stuart Dramatizations of Natural and Moral Philosophy," Studies in Philology, XXXI (1934), 1-15. Some differences between Hutton's play and the Folger play run as follows: the Folger play starts with Priscian holding his traditionally battered head and bewailing the riot in the kingdom: Hutton's play starts with a long speech by Poeta's parasite Ille; the arbiters who terminate the broil and dole out justice are Lily, Priscian, and Thomas Robinson (the Dean of Durham, fl. 1520-1561, who added the section on heteroclites to Lily's Latin Grammar): while Hutton's arbiters are Linacre, Lily, Priscian, and Despanterius (the Belgian grammarian).

    The title of the Folger play may be construed as "the baneful effects of the irregular parts of speech." A useful check-list of the early editions of Lily's Grammar may be found in the introduction to Vincent J. Flynn's edition for the Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints series (1945). Heteroclitanomalonomia strikes me as a poorly written play which would hardly repay the effort of transcription and editing; but it is certainly a typical academic product, and schoolmasters' shop-talk.

  • (12) Periander fol. 134r-157v
  • A later fair copy of the verse tragedy in English by John Sansbury (or Sandsbury; see DNB) which was acted at St. John's College, Oxford, at a Christmas entertainment in 1607. This play was edited in 1923 for The Malone Society by F. S. Boas as a section of The Christmas Prince volume; on pp. xvi-xviii, Boas provided a synopsis of this tragedy of a tyrant of Corinth who rashly slew his innocent wife Melissa on false accusations. Alfred Harbage's comparison of the Folger copy to Boas's edition appeared in Modern Language Notes, L (1935), 501-505, and may be supplemented as follows: the Folger copy may be based on St. John's MS a.52 (the basis of the Boas text) since it silently incorporates the marginal emendation (in another hand) of discourse for this course (Boas l. 8635); also it contains numerous substantive variants such as dare not for cannot (Boas, l. 8911), locks his gates for lost his gates (Boas, l. 8908), which may be regarded as justifiable textual "improvements."
  • (13) fol. 161r-165v
  • A fair copy of an unsigned English prose tract entitled on fol. 162r: Especiall Notes concerning her Ma:ties Nauie and Sea-seruice . . . (which suggests a composition date prior to 1603). An alternate and misleading title, inserted in another hand on fol. 161r, runs as follows: A Tract Concerninge the shippinge of England. For similar tracts urging reform in the administration


    Page 123
    of the British navy, see Conyers Read, Bibliography of British History, Tudor Period, 1485-1603 (1933), No. 2517.
  • (14) Christmas his Showe fol. 169r-174r dated 1615 in MS.
  • A fair copy of a masque by Ben Jonson, which is considerably earlier than the version which first appeared in the 1640 Folio under the title of Christmas his Masque. See Ben Jonson, ed. Herford & Simpson (1925-1952), VII, 433-434, for full discussion.
  • (15) fol. 175r-182v dated in MS. 1611
  • A fair copy in mixed secretary and Italian script of Sir Walter Raleigh's English prose tract: A Discourse touching a Marriage betweene Prince Henry of England and a Daughter of Savoye. See The Works of Sir Walter Raleigh (1829), VIII, 236-252. For discussion, see E. C. Wilson, Prince Henry & English Literature (1946), pp. 55, 97 ff.
  • (16 a) Conviviam Philosophicum fol. 183r-v
  • A Latin text of the well-known "Mitre" poem proposing a festive London gathering of court wits of John Donne's circle, c September, 1611; and celebrating in particular Thomas Coryate (1564?-1615), the privileged buffoon of the court of James I. The title runs as follows: Conviviam Philosophicum tentum in clauso terminj Michaelis in crastino festi S. Egidij in campis authore— Doctore Rodolpho Colfabio Enaeacensi. As in a roman á clef, celebrities such as Christopher Brooke appear under thinly veiled pseudonyms as "torrens"; all of these names except that of the author (whose pseudonym is still unkeyed: see F. B. Williams Jr., "Renaissance Names in Masquerade," PMLA, LXIX [1954], 318) were unkeyed by Andrew Clark in his edition of this poem in his standard edition of John Aubrey's Brief Lives (1898), II, 50-53. The Folger copy has some substantive variants from Clark's text: e.g., on l.35, F reads pererrabit; Clark reads peragrabit. Clark's text was reprinted in 1937 as part of the Hoskyns canon by Miss Louise B. Osborn in her dissertation John Hoskyns, 1566-1638 (Yale Studies in English, LXXXVII, 1937, pp. 196-199; 288-291), on the slender basis of one manuscript ascription. For a careful study of the poem, see I. A. Shapiro, "The 'Mermaid Club'," MLR, XLV (1950), 6-17.
  • (16 b) fol. 184r-v
  • A somewhat expanded English version of the preceding poem, attributed to John Reynolds, Fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1600, by Andrew Clark (ed. cit.) II, 53, but unsigned in the Folger copy.
  • (17) fol. 185r-v
  • A short Latin gazetteer of Italian cities entitled: Vrbium Italicarum Descriptio Thomas Edwardi Angli (e.g.,: Padua. Extollit Paduam Iuris studium et medicina). There were several Oxford men named Thomas Edwards in the opening decades of the 17th century who might have compiled this listing, such as the one who obtained his B. A. at Exeter in 1616.

  • 124

    Page 124
  • (18) Gigantomachia, or Work for Jupiter fol. 186r-200r
  • An anonymous English verse play of some 600 lines wherein Bounce-bigge, leader of the giants, challenges Jupiter and the gods who have dethroned Saturn on the charge of alleged cannibalism, and have disposed power in a triumvirate of Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. The giants, whose ranks include such fantastic personages as Huge-high, Rumble, the giantess Rouncival, Thunderthwart, Bumcracke, and their allies, the Hills, after rejecting with noisy indignation an offer of peace and amity, are dispersed with fatality by Thunder the terrible agent of Jupiter. The giant Thumpapace alludes to Lily's Latin Grammar on fol. 198r: "Come Rounciuall, we're lag, but weel' not hammer / Wee'le chuse those hills, that lie besides the Grammer / Heteroclits that are in mappe of Lillie." A cancellans pasted on fol. 199r in what appears to be the same hand, provides a dozen lines or so in which the giants are killed outright by Thunder.

The theme of a battle between the giants and the gods was a Renaissance favorite: see De Witt T. Starnes and E. W. Talbert, Classical Myth and Legend in Renaissance Dictionaries (1955), pp. 74-75; for a fused Christian-pagan interpretation of gigantes, see Alexander Ross, Mel Heliconium, 1642, s.v. The term gigantomachia was used in 1659 to describe the late struggle between Charles I and the Scots: Gigantomachia hvivs saecvli, sive, De rebellione scotia contra regem carolum . . . Londini, 1659 (Library of Congress, 942.06 / P 42 n); see also Wing G-698. A genuine mock-heroic, Scarron's Typhon, ou la Gigantomachia (1644), was translated anonymously into English in 1665; see Albert H. West, L'influence Française dans la poésie burlesque en Angleterre entre 1600 et 1700 (Paris, 1931, pp. 45-52). There is but slight resemblance between the Folger play and Thomas Heywood's The Golden Age (c 1610), which is mainly concerned with the philandering of Jupiter.