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II Folger MS. J.a.2
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Folger MS. J.a.2

An early seventeenth-century miscellany of manuscript poems, plays, and prose tracts on the same paper throughout in several hands. Paper, 88 ff. (20 x 15 cm.), bound in original calf. Five leaves at the end, on the stubs of which writing is visible, have been cut out; likewise an initial flyleaf (conjugate with fol. A4) has been cut out. The name Fra: Corbet is inscribed on the extant flyleaf, perhaps indicating the original compiler, or a later owner. A Fra: Corbet matriculated as pensioner at St. John's College, Cambridge, in the Easter term of 1619 (John Venn & J. A. Venn, The Book of Matriculations and Degrees [1913], p. 176). This manuscript was not catalogued by De Ricci (loc. cit.), since the volume in question was obtained by the Folger Library in 1933 from Maggs (Cat. 572, item 266).

  • (1) fol. 1r-2r
  • A fair copy of an anonymous English contemptus mundi poem of 102 ll., entitled: A Conflicte between death & youth. The poem, which has an


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    abrupt or imperfect ending, is cast in debate form; the incipit, spoken as a complaint by Youth, reads: "O spightfull death presumtious in thy wage/"
  • (2) fol. 2v
  • An astrological figure on the lower half of the page indicating the influence of the planets on the different hours of the day, with an anonymous short comment in English, beginning: The Planet of wch the day is named always ruleth the first howre . . .
  • (3) Melanthe fol. 3r-24v MS. copy after 1615
  • This Latin pastoral play was written by Samuel Brooke of Trinity College, Cambridge, and acted before James I on 10 March 16 14/5. It was printed the following year (Greg, No. L-7). The play was carefully edited by J. S. G. Bolton for the Yale Studies in English, LXXIX (1928), from an exemplar of the 1615 edition then in possession of Professor Tucker Brooke. Bolton was in error in stating on p. 10 that "There are no manuscript copies of this play, the single printed edition having sufficiently supplanted them"; but the Folger MS. copy appears to have no independent textual value since it follows the same tradition as the Folger exemplar of the 1615 (STC 17800) text, with numerous accidental variants such as the spelling and placing of the vernacular interjections in I,iii (Bolton's ll. 49-72). On fol. 3r, the Folger MS. has a dramatis personae and cast of Trinity actors which tallies with the actors listed by Bolton (pp. 202-205, from British Museum Add. MS. 6211, p. 33, and the list in G. C. Moore Smith, College Plays, p. 78, from an insertion in the Bodleian copy of the 1615 printed text). The Folger MS. (fol. 3v) also confirms Bolton's dating of the play (p.10), as 10 March 1614/5.
  • (4) Ruff, Band, and Cuff fol. 25r-25v
  • This fair copy of the well known Jacobean dramatic dialogue follows more closely the second printed edition of 1615 (Folger exemplar of STC 1356) than the text printed by Park for the Harleian Miscellany X (1813), 200-203, from an unidentified copy (Park's text was rptd by C. Hindley in The Old Book Collector's Miscellany [1871], II). For instance, Cuff's last speech in Park starts: Then go before me to the next town] Folger Q: Then goe before to the next Tauern] Folger MS.: Then goe before me to the next Tauerne. Ruff, Band, and Cuff is a companion piece to the academic Work for Cutlers (1615), likewise printed by Park and Hindley in their anthologies cited above; and to the anonymous dialogue Wine, Beere, Ale, and Tobacco, printed in 1629 and 1630 (STC 11541-11542), and reprinted by J.O. Halliwell in The Literature of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Century (1851), pp. 175-204.
  • (5) Cancer fol. 26r-47r
  • An anonymous Latin comedy adapted from the Italian comedy Il Granchio by Leonardo Salviati (Florence, 1566; 2nd ed. 1606; M. de Soleinne, Bibliothèque


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    , Paris, 1844, No. 4276; brief comment in Ireno Sanesi, La Commedia, Milan, 1954, I, 352-353. The Italian comedy, laid in Florence, tells how one Fortunio, who is ardently in love with Clarice (who never appears!), is denied her hand by her wealthy bourgeois step-father Vanni, in whose house the complicated action takes place. Fortunio consequently enlists the aid of his counsellor Granchio, her nurse Balia, and others, to join his beloved, at night, by forcing an entry into Vanni's house. Meanwhile a cowardly thief called Carpigna, aware of the stratagem, tries to take advantage of the situation and ply his trade, but he is apprehended almost immediately. Eventually, prodded by his steward Tofano, Vanni forgives the young lovers (Fortunio has turned out to be his long-lost son), and agrees to their union. They had inadvertently locked themselves in a vestibule, which necessitated the summoning of a locksmith called Magnano. (As Balia proclaimed [III, v]: "La Clarice s' è chiusa con Fortunio / Disauedamente nella camera / Della saracinesca, della quale / Solamente il padrone tien la chiaue.") This slight story provides occasion for a good deal of humor, especially in the saucy street-talk of the page-boy Fanticchio in his exchanges with the timid, sentimental nurse Balia: e.g. "Moccicone! Boccellone! Maccherone! Mestolone! che cose stempiate!"

    The Latin play Cancer was printed in 1648 along with the anonymous Cambridge academic Latin plays Paria, Loiola, and Stoicus Vapulans (see G.C. Moore Smith, College Plays performed in the University of Cambridge [1923], p. 99; Greg No. L-21). The printed text has a variant epilogue; and numerous minor differences. The play itself augments the text of the Italian original considerably, adding new characters such as the widow Ursilia and the monk Albertus that clutter the scene and retard the action. Also the anonymous author has little sense of colloquial speech, so needed in comedy: the easy Italian speech, natural, concrete, and evocative, say, of the cowardly thief Carpigna: "S'io veggo vn'ombra, io tremo / Com' vna foglia . . ." becomes in adaptation the abstract or "eloquent": "Mirum aedipol nos sumus genus hominum, quibus / Timor et audacia, suspitia et confidentia, semper comites" (III,iv). The author of Cancer evidently knew his Plautus: characteristic plautine terms of abuse such as furcifer, crux, verbero, appear; but he has not gone to the plautine school of colloquial speech with profit as did many renaissance writers (see Carl von Reinhardstoettner, Plautus: Spätere Bearbeitungen plautinisher Lustspiele, Leipzig, 1886), who understood that the vitality of comedy resides in immediate appeal to local and topical responses, which is one reason, no doubt, why it has always been so difficult to translate comedy with any degree of success.

    An interesting feature of the Folger MS. is the actor-list, written in darker ink by a contemporary hand after the dramatis personae, of the Trinity College, Cambridge, men who gave a performance of this play, the date of which, unfortunately, was not recorded. As indicated below a number of these men also acted in the plays of Samuel Brooke, whose Adelphe was produced in 1612, and whose Scyros in 1613 (see item No. 3


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    above). I subjoin tentative identifications of the Trinity men who acted in Cancer after the cast: asterisks are placed before the actors who also took part in one of Brooke's plays (see Bolton's ed. of Melanthe, op. cit., pp. 202-205). Identifications are based on J. & J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses (1922):-
    • (1) Rodericus. senex. Sr Faulcon.
    • (2) Lucilius. Adolescens. Mr Coote.
    • (3) Corbus. seruus. Sr Goolfinch
    • (4) Fortunius. adolescens. Mr Chappell
    • (5) Granchio. Mr Blaxston.
    • (6) Sempronius. senex. Sr Dorington.
    • (7) Fannius. servus. Mr Thopham.
    • (8) Fantichus. puer. Greeke.
    • (9) Balia. nutrix Clariciae. Mr Sleepe.
    • (10) Vrsilia. vidua. Pears.
    • (11) Erminia. virgo. Mr Walpole.
    • (12) Gallus. puer. Mr Rimmington.
    • (13) Albertus. monachus. Mr Coote
    • (14) Carpimus. fur. Mr Hickes.
    • (15) Pyrachmus. faber-fer Sr Wilson.
    • (16) Bargello Sr Filmore.
    • (cum 4 lictoribus)
    • De his fit mentio: Constantia./ Lysa./ Claricia./ Mantianus
    (Both the Sir and Mr. prefixed to the surname in the MS. can indicate dominus or magister, the holder of a M.A. degree, or a fellow-commoner honored for his social status.)

    • (1) * Faucon, Robert. m 1607; Fellow of Trinity, 1612-1621.
    • (2) * Coote, Thomas m 1602, MA 1609; or William Coote m 1608, MA 1612 (this actor probably doubled as Albertus the monk; see No. 13 below).
    • (3) * Goldfinch, Thomas, BA 1610, MA 1614.
    • (4) * Chappell, John. Trinity scholar 1605, BA 1607, MA 1611. See Donald L. Clark, "John Milton and William Chappell," Huntington Library Quarterly, XVIII (1955), 333.
    • (5) Blaxton, Henry. Trinity scholar in 1616.
    • (6) Dorington, Richard. m 1606, MA 1613.
    • (7) Thopham, Anthony. m 1601, MA 1609; Fellow of Trinity, 1609.
    • (8) * Greek, Thomas. m 1609, MA 1616.
    • (9) * Sleepe, Anthony. m 1601, MA 1609; Fellow of Trinity, 1608-1630.
    • (10) * Pearse, Stephen. Trinity scholar, 1611, MA 1616.
    • (11) * Walpole, Robert. m.f.c. 1610. (A John Walpole also m in 1610).
    • (12) * Remington, Robert Barne. m 1610
    • (13) see No. 2 above.
    • (14) Hickes, William. AB 1605; Librarian of Trinity, 1609-1612.

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    • (15) * Wilson. A John Wilson, a George Wilson, a Timothy Wilson, m in 1609, 1608, and 1607 respectively.
    • (16) Filmore. A Robert Filmore m 1604; an Edward Filmore m 1606. (A possible performance date of c 1610-1612 seems likely, negated only by the tentative identification of No. 5 above).
  • (6) Preist the Barber fol. 47v-48r
  • An anonymous (Cambridge?) dialogue or entertainment, between Preist, a barber and quack doctor, and his "little shaueling" apprentice appropriately named Sweetball (i.e., a pomander worn to ward off infection). N.b., Margaret G. Davies, The Enforcement of English Apprenticeship : 1563-1642 (1956). The barber, who stridently claims to have studied at the Sorbonne "in France," boasts at length of his rare skill in such matters as setting the broken bones of frolicsome undergraduates, curing a woman distended with the "collick" with "neatsfoot oyle," while giving his apprentice careful instructions as to how to provide therapy for future patients. This skit exploits the durable comic figure of the quack doctor, and, by obvious implication, the gulls who patronize him. Sweetball speaks the following epilogue to the audience:
    Yee had a Bason, yett there's no man washt,
    Wee gaue no water least wee should bee dasht:
    Yett water for yor hands wee'le nott denie
    They beeing wett, wee hope you'le clapp them drye.
    This piece is reasonably amusing, and could bear publication.
  • (7) Gowne, Hood, and Capp fol. 43v-49r
  • An anonmous English dialogue or entertainment wherein Capp, who has been off playing football, agrees, with mixed feelings, to serve as moderator in an ensuing debate for precedence between Hood and Gowne. For Cambridge regulations as to proper academic attire, see J. B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge from the Royal Injunctions of 1535 to the Accession of Charles the First (1884), esp., pp. 389-390. See also John Cleveland, "The Ballad of the Caps," in F. W. Fairholt, Satirical Songs & Poems on Costume, Percy Society Publications, XXVII (1849), 115-121. Capp speaks the following epilogue:
    Our Author bids mee say for's Gowne, and Hood,
    It is the Taylours fault, they are not good
    But howso'ere for feare of wors mishapp
    Hee lowly craues a Pardon wth his Capp.
    This piece is of the same genre as Ruff, Band, and Cuff, mentioned previously; and is considerably duller. It is not worth publishing.
  • (8) fol. 50v-79v
  • A Latin version of Spenser's Shepherdes Calendar entitled: Kalendarium Pastorale, seu Spenceri Pastor, Romano indutus centenculo. Authorship


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    attributed in the MS. to Magister Batters (i.e., Theodore Bathurst, Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, 1608; see DNB). This Folger copy was apparently not known to Leicester Bradner when he wrote, "The Latin Translations of Spenser's Shepherdes Calendar," MP, XXXIII (1935), 21-26. Bathurst's translation was published posthumously in 1653: for an analysis of this text, see F. R. Johnson, A Critical Bibliography of the Works of Edmund Spenser (1933), pp. 8-10. Sir Egerton Brydges in 1815 reprinted short extracts from the 1653 text in his Censura Literaria, III, 179-193.
  • (9) fol. 80r-v
  • Latin comments on the quodlibets: Vnum peccatum potest remittj sine altero; Quae fuerunt voluntatis in Christo (Humana an Diuina). MS. marginal attribution of authors (or speakers): Dr. Dauenett, Mr. Brittaine, Bac. Theol.; possibly John Davenaunt, B.D. 1606, and President of Queens' College, Cambridge, from 1614-1621; and Lawrence Bretton, also of Queens', B.D. 1615.
  • (10) The Parliament Fart fol. 81r-82r
  • The Folger fair copy of this popular anonymous anti-puritan doggerel poem of 68 ll., differs considerably from the text printed in Musarum Deliciae (1655: Wing M-1710), and in the 1662 edition of Rump (see A. R. Case, A Bibliography of English Poetical Miscellanies [1935], No. 128 [c]), a collection of largely anonymous pro-royalist political verse written between 1620-1650. The last 14 lines in the Folger copy are written in a different hand after an excised page (conjugate with fol. 79).
  • (11) fol. 82r
  • An unsigned anti-French political couplet, with a probable jibe at Pierre Cotton (1564-1626), Jesuit confessor to Henri IV:
    Voulez vou scauoir qui a trouble la France[?]
    La Plume, & la cere, La Cotton, & L'Amore.
  • (12) fol. 82v-84r
  • An anonymous Latin topical outline of a Christian scheme of creation and ordering of the physical and moral universe, entitled Synopsis Physicae Christianae, with such subdivisions as: III, iii,i,2: De øιλανθραiια diuina erga nos.
  • (13) fol. 84v-85r dated 1617 in MS.
  • A fair copy of fifty charges made against Roger Brierly (1586-1637), presumably when he was curate of Grindleton Chapel, in the parish of Mitton in Craven (see DNB), which served as the basis for his condemnation for lack of orthodoxy by the Bishop of York in 1628 (hence the MS. dating must be in error). E.g., No. 26: That a sanctified minister can preach no errour. The title runs: Certayne erronjous proceedings, gathered from ye mouth of Mr. Brierly, & some of his hearers.

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  • (14) fol. 85v
  • Latin comments on the quodlibet: Ignorantia non excusat peccatum, attributed in the MS. to Dr. Dauenett (see No. 9 above).
  • (15) fol. 86r
  • A short Latin theological treatise entitled De Meritis, attributed likewise in the MS. to Dr. Dauenett. There was considerable interest in the various and competing doctrines of divine grace in the seventeenth century; see L. Billot, De Gratia Christi, (Rome, 1928), pp. 224 ff.; J. Schwane, Dogmengeschichte der Neueren Zeit (Freiburg i. B., 1890), pp. 230 ff.
  • (16 a) fol. 86v-87r
  • A fair copy of Sir Walter Raleigh's last letter to his wife; see The Works of Sir Walter Raleigh (1829), VIII, 648-650.
  • (16 b) fol. 87r
  • A fair copy of Raleigh's poem: "Euen such is Time wch takes in trust/," which has the following substantive variants from the version printed as No. 40 by Miss Agnes M.C. Latham in her new edition of Raleigh's poems (1951), p. 72: 1.2, L reads our Ioyes; F reads & life; 1.3, L reads And payes vs butt with age and dust:/ F reads And payes vs nought butt, age and dust,/ 1.6, L reads the storye; F reads ye Period. In her discussion of this poem, Miss Latham (p. 154) does not refer to this particular Folger text, although she does mention other Folger texts which she has consulted.
  • (17) fol. 87r
  • An unsigned Latin epigram which reads as follows:
    Conde iura coquus, quid ni ? condire peritus
    Jura coquus, sed non condere iura coquus.
    Construe: "Draw up laws, cook, why not ? A cook is skilled
    In seasoning sauces, not in drawing up laws."
    (Properly, the first instance of coquus should be in the vocative case. Since I hesitate to call this epigram anonymous, I have made a cursory examination of at least a dozen collections of epigrams, such as Wits Recreations of 1640 which contains 902 items, but to date I have failed to establish authorship.)
  • (18) fol. 87v dated 1626 in MS.
  • An order of Pennance enioyned to Mathew Hodson of Hitchin: & by him to bee perfourmed as followeth . . . Signed by one "Ja. Rolfe," and dated at Whethamsted, 3 August, 1626.
  • (19) fol. 88r-v
  • Anonymous Latin theological comments and scribblings.