University of Virginia Library


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The Library of George Tollet, Neglected Shakespearean
Arthur Sherbo

George Tollet (1725-1799) was admitted to Eton College in 1742, the register of admissions making a tentative identification of him as the son of George Tollet, commissioner of the navy by his wife Elizabeth Oakes, of the Isle of Man. From Eton he, like so many of his schoolmates, went on to King's College, Cambridge, matriculating as a Fellow Commoner in 1744. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 2 July 1745 and was called to the bar in 1751. At some time after the last date he retired to Betley Hall, Staffordshire, which had been purchased by his father, and there he seems to have settled down to the life of a bachelor country gentleman. William Cole, Tollet's contemporary at Cambridge, described him in his Athenœ Cantabrigienses as "a shy, reserved man, of no genteel appearance and behaviour." Cole went on to remark

He was much acquainted with the late Mr. Ewin, father of Dr. Ewin, whose sister told me, 1780, that the acquaintance began when she went to Stratford-le-Bow school, where Mr. Tollet's aunt (a little, crooked woman, but a sharp wit, and author of some poems in print) took notice of her. Mr. Tollet has many notes in Mr. Steevens's edition of Shakespeare; in the first volume of which he has an ingenious dissertation on the figures of some pantomimes in his house at Betley, in Staffordshire, a print of which morris-dancers is at the head of it, and sent to me by Mr. Steevens in September, 1780; who was also a Fellow Commoner of the same college, but came thither the year after I left it, viz., in 1753, as he told me at Dr. Lort's chambers in Trinity College. Mr. Tollet died Oct. 22, 1779." (Lit. Illustr. VIII. 584)
As some possible indication of Tollet's character one should know that the DNB describes Thomas Ewin, father of the usurious Dr. Ewin, as "formerly a grocer and latterly a brewer in partnership with one Sparks of St. Sepulchre's, Cambridge."

Perhaps it is a measure of Tollet's almost anonymous existence that the editors of Alumni Cantabrigienses were not sure he was "the Shakespearean critic." Tollet would almost surely have been forgotten except for two things: his aunt Elizabeth was a poet and a friend of Newton's and "he contributed some notes [I am quoting the DNB] to Johnson and Steevens's edition of Shakespeare." Actually, the modest "some" of the DNB account amounts to over four hundred notes in the 1778 edition added to the fifteen contributed to the 1773 edition, making Tollet the greatest single contributor to the commentary on Shakespeare, always excepting the editors of the various editions in the eighteenth century. His notes are on all the plays of


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the accepted canon except Julius Cœsar, Titus Andronicus (which many thought uncanonical), and Romeo and Juliet (hardly bachelor fare). There are three new notes and an addition to an earlier note posthumously printed in Malone's Supplement (1780). "Shortly before his death," the DNB continues, "he complained that many of his valuable suggestions were appropriated by the editors in the second issue [1778] of their work without acknowledgment." Since he is given credit by name for over 400 notes in the 1778 Shakespeare, one of them, ten pages long, describing the figures of morris-dancers on a painted glass window at Betley and reproducing them in a folded insert titled "Morris Dancers. From an Ancient Window in the House of George Tollet Esq. at Betley in Staffordshire," this statement may be discounted almost entirely.

What I wish to do is succumb to the temptation of a conjectural reconstruction of Tollet's library by reference to his notes on Shakespeare. Since in most of his notes Tollet gives date of edition and page number, and sometimes book size, for his citations or quotations, one must conclude either that he had the very books or that he had copied down the information elsewhere. Given his solitary bent, the former explanation is infinitely more plausible. Since he led the retired life of a country gentleman, he almost surely had little access to libraries other than his own. Although Betley was a market town and Tollet might have picked up bargains from itinerant booksellers, he must have accumulated the greatest part of his collection in the Cambridge and London years. From the corpus of over 400 notes one could very reasonably characterize Tollet not only as a bookish man, for he definitely was that, but also as a man who knew something about a good many subjects. His knowledge of law might be taken for granted, and so, too, possibly, his acquaintance with many aspects of country life—husbandry, botany, hunting, natural history, and local history. One would expect him to be familiar with the Bible, and he was. He evidently knew something about heraldry, and was much interested in antiquities. He was fairly wellread in poetry, largely English poetry of the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries.

Since primary interest focuses upon Tollet as a commentator on Shakespeare, it is almost mandatory to begin reconstructing his library by listing editions of Shakespeare and works on Shakespeare mentioned by him. Next in order would be dramatic literature, especially that contemporary with Shakespeare's plays. He had evidently steeped himself in Shakespeare's plays, for there are more than thirty cross-references to various of the plays in his notes. Of editions he had the First Folio, a quarto edition of The Merry Wives of Windsor, and probably Rowe's or Pope's Shakespeare, since he quotes from the Sonnets and from Lucrece, and there were five editions of the poems available to him in Rowe or Pope up to 1728. The next edition of the poems was in 1771. I do not believe he had a copy of Theobald's edition, for in at least two notes (II. 420.5 and 504.2)[1] Tollet offers, presumably


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as original, information already in Theobald. The number of times he quotes or cites Johnson makes it quite clear that he had one of the two 1765 editions or the third edition of 1768, the three editions being virtually the same. He had Richard Warner's Letter to David Garrick with its plan of a glossary (1768), Zachary Grey's Critical, Historical, and Explanatory Notes on Shakespeare (2 vols., 1754), Benjamin Heath's Revisal of Shakespeare's Text (1765), and Francis Peck's New Memoirs of Milton (1740) with its notes on Shakespeare.[2] He had Ben Jonson's Works in Peter Whalley's edition, but not very much else in Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic literature, although references to The Two Noble Kinsmen and to The Tamer Tam'd might be taken to mean that he had an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher. He had Philip Massinger's The Picture, George Chapman's Widow's Tears, and Frances Quarles's Virgin Widow. He had, knew, or had seen George Farquhar's The Beaux Stratagem. Not a very impressive body of dramatic literature.

Shakespeare's great contemporary in poetry is represented by eight quotations or references; these include The Shepherd's Calendar and Colin Clout's Come Home Again, as well, of course, as The Fairy Queen. Tollet quotes or cites Chaucer fairly often, in one note giving a reference to Urry's edition. Twice he quotes Sidney's Astrophel and Stella, and he knew the poetry of Hoccleve, Fairfax's Tasso, Daniel, Drayton (both the Polyolbion and Ideas), and Milton. He quotes only from Lycidas, but he had an edition of the prose works of 1738. He also owned a copy of George Pettie's Petite Palace of Pettie his Pleasure. What modern poets he possessed or favored it is difficult to say, as he quotes only Hudibras, in Zachary Grey's edition, and Pope—the second Epilogue to the Satires and the translation of the Iliad. Prose writers in Tollet's library roughly contemporary with Shakespeare were Bacon, Sidney (the Arcadia), Ascham (in the edition nominally by Bennet but actually by Samuel Johnson), and Sir William Cornwallis's Essays, 1601. Of continental writers he quotes Montaigne, a writer one would expect him to know, and Henri Estienne's (or Étienne's) semi-satirical work Apologie pour Hérodote, 1566, a work he might very easily not be expected to know. Both are quoted in English translation, the latter from an edition of 1607. Classical literature, other than certain works such as Pliny and Tacitus which fall into special categories, is confined to Ovid, both in a Latin edition and in George Sandys's translation of the Metamorphoses, and a reference to and a quotation from Plutarch, presumably in North's translation. Except, then, for James Howell's Epistolae HoElianae and Chesterfield's Letters, all the other books in Tollet's library can be pretty well classified under about nine general headings, always leaving a final category for miscellaneous, usually single, pieces.

A prospective editor of Shakespeare obviously needed dictionaries and glossaries, and more than just those in English. Whether Tollet had them, or, once dedicated to explicating Shakespeare, he bought them directly or


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ordered from his London bookseller, he had a fair collection. In alphabetical order, he quotes or cites from Robert Ainsworth's Thesaurus linguae Latinœ Compendiarus (1736), Nathan Bailey's Dictionarium Britanicum (1730, the most commonly used English dictionary before Dr. Johnson's, an edition of which Tollet also had), Abel Boyer's Dictionnaire François-Anglais (1699), Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English tongues (1611), John Cowell's The Interpreter, containing the general signification of such obscure words and terms as are used either in the common or statute laws of this kingdom (1607, expeditiously referred to as Cowell's Law Dictionary), the Dictionarium rusticum, urbanicum, and botanicum, or a dictionary of husbandry, gardening, trade, commerce, and all sorts of country affairs (1704, attributed to Nathan Bailey), Junius's Etymologicum Anglicanum (either in the 1677 edition or that edited by Edward Lye in 1743), John Minsheu's Guide into tongues (1617), William Somners's Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum (1659), Stephen Skinner's Etymologicon Lingua Anglicanae (1667), and Sir Henry Spelman's Glossarium archaiologicum (1664). He also had a copy of George Hickes's Grammatica anglo-saxonica (1711).

Tollet was well read in history, especially English history. Before cataloguing the works on English history in his library, it may be well to dispatch the others. He cites Herodotus in one note and quotes Sir Henry Savile's The ende of Nero and beginning of Galla, fower bookes of the histories of Tacitus. The life of Agricola (1591) in another. John Steevens's General History of Spain (1699), translated from Juan de Mariana, had a place on his bookshelves, as did John Bulteel's translation of François Eudes de Mézeray's history of France, Englished as A General Chronological History of France (3 vols., 1683). Close by Mézeray would be The Memoirs of Philippe de Comines (seigneur d'Argenton) translated by D. Godefroy (1674). English chronicles and histories in his possession were Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), which he quotes or cites twenty-nine times; John Stow's Summarie of Englyshe chronicles (1565), his Annales of England (1592), as well as his Survay of London (1598). He had John Speed's History of Great Britain (1611), Thomas Langley's translation of Polydore Vergil (1546), John Rous's (or Ross's), Historia Regum Angliae (a fifteenth-century work edited by Thomas Hearne in 1716), Joshua Barnes's History of . . . Edward III (1688), Fuller's History of the Worthies of England (1661), Robert Sheringham's De Anglorum gentis origine disceptatio (1670), Sir Richard Cox's Hibernia Anglicana; or the history of Ireland from the conquest there of by the English to this present time (1689-90), and Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes's, Annals of Scotland (1776). Thomas Hearne's Liber Niger Scaccarii, Wilhelmique etiam Worcestrii Annales Rerum Anglicanum (2 vols., 1728) would have been in close proximity to Francis Peck's Desiderata Curiosa (2 vols., 1732-5), a collection of tracts, letters, memoirs and other documents dealing with English history from 1558 to 1660. At some time or other when he was in London he must have visited the British Museum to consult Sir Symonds D'Ewes's "Journals of all the Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth," Harleian MSS. 481-484, for he quotes


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from them in a note in 1778 and they were not published until after 1780. Tollet's close familiarity with English history is exemplified in one note on 3 Henry VI where the Duke of York enters to his sons Edward and Richard and to the Marquess of Montague and addresses them as "sons and brother." Steevens proposed to read "cousin" for "brother," after the quarto, and pointed out that the expression "brother of the war" occurs in King Lear. Johnson inclined to "sons and brothers," i.e., as he put it, "my sons, and brothers to each other." But Tollet defended the old reading:
This is right. In the two succeeding pages York calls Montague brother. This may be in respect to their being brothers of the war, as Mr. Steevens observes, or of the same council as in K. Henry VIII who says to Cranmer, "You are a brother of us." Mountague [sic] was brother to Warwick; Warwick's daughter was married to a son of York: Therefore York and Montague were brothers. But as this alliance did not take place during the life of York, I embrace Mr. Steevens's interpretation rather than suppose that Shakespeare made a mistake about the time of the marriage (VI. 442.2).

Another part of Tollet's collection was devoted to local histories, travel, and antiquities. Robert Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire (1686) was cited or quoted four times in Tollet's notes; in two others he remarks on Staffordshire customs and dialect, explaining in the first how the Staffordshire poor go from parish to parish on All-Saints-Day "a souling, as they call it, i.e. begging and puling (or singing small . . .) for soul-cakes" and quoting Staffordshire dialect to exemplify the meaning of "sag" as "to sink down by its own weight, or by an overload" (I. 142.6 and IV. 592.7). Tollet also had Plot's Natural History of Oxfordshire (1677), Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire Illustrated (1656), Charles Smith's Antient and present state of the county and city of Waterford in the edition of 1774, and John Wallis's Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland (2 vols., 1769). To these one must add Martin Martin's Description of the Western Islands of Scotland (1703), Richard Carew's History of Cornwall (1602, referred to in three notes), and John Norden's Speculi Britanniae pars; a topographicall and chorographicall description of Cornwall (1610). Tollet used Carew's Survey to adduce parallels to "corporals of the field" in Love's Labour's Lost (1773, II. 382.4) and "potch" in Coriolanus (VII. 368.2) and to explain "to cry hold" in Macbeth (IV. 608.7). Norden's History of Cornwall, as Tollet refers to it, affords him a quotation in explication of the "third borough" in the Introduction to The Taming of the Shrew: "A third borough seems originally to have signified him who had the principal government within his own tything, or trithing. Norden's Hist. of Cornwall, decides for the former word tithing. See p. 29, 30. 'The shirife has his bayliwickes; the hundreds have constables, tythings have therdbarows, in some places hed-burows, in some borrowshed, and in the west partes, a tythngman'" (III. 397.8).

Five times in a long note in 1778 on the Morris dancers in 1 Henry IV and twice elsewhere in the same edition Tollet quotes or cites Olaus Magnus's well-known work, the Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalius (1555),


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translated as A Compendious History of the Goths, Swedes, and Vandals, and other Northern Nations in 1658. He had Magellan's Voyages, Columbus's Voyages, and George Sandys's Travels, as that work came to be titled from 1658 on. What I have rather loosely described as antiquities was represented by such works as John Weever's Ancient Funeral Monuments (1631) and John Leland's De rebus Britannicis collectanea, originally published in 1552, but edited by Thomas Hearne in six volumes in 1715, with a new edition, also in six volumes, in 1770. Tollet, who cites or quotes the Collectanea seven times in his notes, was sufficiently fond of the book as to have both modern editions. He also had Leland's Itinerary, edited by Thomas Hearne in nine volumes (1710-12, 1744, and 1770). Still another work of Thomas Hearne's in Tollet's library was A Letter containing an account of some antiquities between Windsor and Oxford published in the Monthly Miscellany, Nov. 1708-Jan. 1709, and reprinted in 1725. In a note in the 1773 Appendix Tollet explained the "shealed peascods" in King Lear but gave no authority for his explanation; in 1778 he added in evidence page numbers to two editions of William Camden's Remains of a greater work concerning Britain (1657 and 1674). Camden's Britannia (1586) was invoked once in the notes. Tollet also owned a copy of a book which was the subject of correspondence between such scholars as Bishop Percy and Thomas Warton; this was Robert Laneham's Letter, whose long full title has to do with some entertainment offered Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle in 1575 during her summer's progress. Three other works round out the antiquities: Richard Verstegan's Restitution of decay'd Intelligence: in Antiquities (1605); Bernard de Mountfaucon's Antiquity explained and represented in sculpture, thus the title in the English translation by D. Humphreys (five volumes with a supplement of another five volumes, 1721-5); and Johan Gregor Keysler's Antiquitates Selectae Septentrionales et Celticae (1720), Englished as Northern and Celtic Antiquities and a companion volume to Olaus Magnus's work mentioned shortly above.

The number of works of husbandry Tollet possessed invites conjecture as to the extent to which he may have put them to practical use himself. He had as nucleus for this part of his library several works of that remarkable literary Jack-of-all-trades Gervase Markham, one of the earliest and most prolific of English professional writers and compilers. These were Markham's Farewell to Husbandry (1620), The English Husbandman (1635), A Discourse of Horsemanship (1593, 1595), Country Contentments (1615), The Pleasures of Princes . . . containing a Discourse on the Art of Fishing with an Angle (1614), and The Whole Art of Husbandry (1634), this last being a revised and enlarged edition of Barnaby Googe's English translation (1577) of Conrad Heresbach's Rei Rusticae libri quator (Cologne, 1570). Tollet quoted Markham's edition of the Maison Rustique (1616), a translation of an earlier work by Charles Estienne, in one note and a work he calls simply Husbandry and dates as 1631 in two others. This is almost surely Markham's Cheap and Good Husbandry, first published in 1614, in its reprinting in A Way to Get


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Health (1631), a compilation of some of his earlier pieces.[3] Markham's volumes were buttressed by Thomas Tusser's Five hundred points of husbandry (1557), either John Fitzherbert's New Tract or treatise . . . for all husband men (1523) or his Book of Husbandry (1534), Samuel Harlib's Legacy: or an enlargement of the Discourse of Husbandry (1651), Leonard Mascall's The first (second, third) book of cattle (1587), and either Walter Blithe's The English Improver, or a New Survey of Husbandry (1649) or the same author's The English Improver Improved, or the Survey of Husbandry Surveyed (1652). Tollet brought to Steevens's attention Thomas Powell's Human Industry, or a History of Most Manual Arts (1661) and thus enabled the latter to correct an error he had made in the 1773 edition. At another juncture he was able to explain Duke Orsino's exclamation upon seeing Viola-Cesario and her brother Sebastian together, "a natural perspective, that is, and is not!," by reference to that same work (V. 173.1). Because they are allied to this group of works, Aristotle's De generatione animalium, Bacon's Natural History, Henry Lyte's New herbal, or history of plants (1578, invoked four times), and Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny (1601), quoted or cited eleven times, making it one of Tollet's favorite reference books, should be given adjacent shelf space.

There are four notes dealing with falconry, hunting, and dogs. Hamlet's reference to "French falconers" in his welcome to the players prompted Tollet to call Steevens's attention to "Sir Tho. Browne's Tracts, p. 116" for the information that "the French seem to have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of Europe" and that the French king sent his own falconers over "to shew that sport to King James the first" (1778, X. 261.8). Twice Tollet turned to Turberville's Book of Hunting, once to cite him on bear hunting (1778, III. 96.2) and once to quote the 1575 edition in explication of Gads-hill's reference to "great oneyers; such as can hold in; such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak sooner than drink." The note reads: "Turbervile's Book on Hunting, 1575, p. 37, mentions huntsmen on horseback to make young hounds 'hold in and close' to the old ones: so Gads-hill may mean, that he is joined with such companions as will hold in, or keep and stick close to one another, and such as are men of deeds, and not of words; and yet they love to talk and speak their mind freely better than to drink" (V. 298.5). When Prince Hal, in the same play, says of the presumptively dead Falstaff, "Death hath not struck so fat a deer today," Tollet quoted Turberville's Terms of the Ages of all Beasts of Venery and Chase in defence of "fat" as opposed to the quartos' "fair" (V. 420.1). Tollet's knowledge of hunting is further exemplified in a note on Rosencrantz's use of the verb "to cote," for he quoted the "laws of coursing" to the effect that "a cote is when a greyhound goes endways by the side of his fellows, and gives the hare a turn" (X. 252.8). And in the following note, on "Brach Merriman" in


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The Taming of the Shrew, quoted in full, we learn of two more books in Tollet's library:
It feems from the commentary of Ulitius upon Gratius, from Caius de Canibus Britannicis, from bracco, in Spelman's Gloſſary, and from Markham's Country Contentments, that brache originally meant a bitch. Ulitius, p. 163, obferves, that bitches have a ſuperior fagacity of noſe, "fœminis [canibus] ſagacitatis plurimum ineſſe, uſus docuit;" and hence, perhaps, any hound with eminent quickneſs of ſcent, whether dog or bitch, was called brache, for the term brache is fometimes applied to males. Our anceſtors hunted much with the large ſouthern hounds, and had in every pack a couple of dogs peculiarly good and cunning to find game, or recover the ſcent, as Markham informs us. To this cuſtom Shakeſpeare ſeems here to allude, by naming two braches, which, in my opinion, are beagles; and this diſcriminates brache from the lym, a blood-hound mentioned together with it, in the tragedy of King Lear. In the following quotation offered by Mr. Steevens on another occaſion, the brache hunts truely by the ſcent, behind the doe, while the hounds are on every ſide: "For as the dogs purſue the ſilly doe,
"The brache behind, the hounds on every ſide;
"So trac'd they me among the mountains wide."
Phaer's Legend of Owen Glendower (pp. 400-01)
Caius is Dr. John Caius; Ulitius upon Gratius is Jan Van Vliet's Autores rei venaticœ antiqui. Cum commentariis Jani Vlitii (1653), the section on Grattius "Faliscus's" poem Cynegetica on hunting, especially with dogs.

Tollet, it will be recalled, was called to the bar in 1751. Hence, he would be expected to know some law. One of his dictionaries, already mentioned, was John Cowell's The Interpreter, loosely referred to as Cowell's Law Dictionary. There are nine references that I would term legal references, exclusive of those which refer to Cowell, in Tollet's notes. Most of these are to statutes. Thus, Pistol's "faitors" in 2 Henry IV is, according to Tollet, a word "used in the statute 7 Rich. II. c.5, for evil doers, or rather for idle livers" (V. 500.7). Similar references to a specific statute occur in one other note and a general reference to "several old statutes" in still another. He knew that there was "a penalty of ten shillings in one of king Alfred's ecclesiastical laws, if one opprobriously shave a common man like a fool," thus explaining somebody's being nicked with scissors "like a fool" in The Comedy of Errors, an allusion whose "force" Steevens was "unable to explain" (II. 237.5). He agreed with Johnson that "extend," as used in Antony and Cleopatra ("extended Asia"), was a term for "to seize," but he went further and said it was "a law term used for to seize lands and tenements," quoted "Savile's Translation of Tacitus" in support, and concluded by quoting a parallel usage in As You Like It as evidence that Shakespeare "knew the legal signification of the term" (VIII. 133.5). Iago's reference to the magnifico's having "a voice potential / As double as the duke's" elicited a long note by Johnson, a lawyer manqué, who wrote, in part, that "in our courts, the chief justice and one of the inferior judges prevail over the other two, because the chief justice has a double voice." Tollet wrote, "I believe here is a mistake. The chief justice and one of the inferior judges do not prevail over the other two. The lord mayor in the court of alderman has a double voice" (X. 442.9). Tollet was declared correct by one who could be considered the final authority, for in


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Malone's Supplement (1780) Sir William Blackstone declared that "the chief justice has no double voice. If the court is equally divided, nothing is done" (I. 364). Sir John Hawkins would naturally know much more law than Johnson, but when he cited "a statute of the 21st of James I to reform prophane cursing and swearing" Tollet reminded him that he "should have referred to the statute of the 3d of James I. c. 21 which lays a penalty for the profane use of the name of God, etc. in stage-plays, enterludes, May-games, etc." (X. 606.2). Tollet, surely because of the Morris dancers and the May pole depicted in his stained glass window, had made himself quite an expert on the subject of May games and in his dissertation on those figures on his window he could therefore refer to "an ordinance of the Rump Parliament in April 1644" which caused all May-poles to be taken down and removed by the proper authorities (V. 431). Finally, insofar as his knowledge of legal matters is concerned, and here it was tied in with his knowledge of English history, when the Duke of Buckingham in Henry VIII refers to himself as "poor Edward Bohun" after his trial, he was again able to correct Steevens who stated that "the duke of Buckingham's name was Stafford, Shakespeare was led into the mistake by Holinshed." Tollet's note reads, in part: "This is not an expression thrown out at random, or by mistake, but one strongly marked with historical propriety. The name of the duke of Buckingham most generally known, was Stafford; but the Hist. of Remarkable Trials, 8vo. 1715, p. 170, says: 'it seems he affected that surname [of Bohun] before that of Stafford, he being descended from the Bohuns, earls of Hereford" (VII. 221.7). The work quoted is The History of Remarkable Trials. Faithfully extracted from records and other authentick authorities as well MS as printed. Shakespeare is thus acquitted of having made a mistake, whether he was aware of it or not.

The Queen in Cymbeline describes England as "Neptune's park, ribbed and paled / With rocks unscaleable," Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation of "oaks unscaleable." Tollet supported the emendation with an apposite quotation "from Chapter 109 of Bariffe's Military Discipline, 1639, seemingly from Tooke's Legend of Britomart" (IX. 239.2), thus betraying another of his areas of interest. The full titles of the books are Military Discipline, or the Young Artillery Man (1638), by William Bariffe, and The Legend of Brita-mart: otherwise Britaines Mars; or A paraphrase upon our provisionall martiall discipline, by George Tooke (1635). Why Tollet had these works and four or five more that deal with military matters will probably always remain a mystery, but he may simply have inherited them as part of his father's library, the elder Tollet having been a Commissioner of the Navy. In any event, he also had W. G.'s quarto translation of a work by Count Ernst von Mansfield titled, in the English version, Count Mansfield's Directions of War (1624), a book he cited in his dissertation on the Morris dancers (V. 431n.). Lewis Theobald had explained an heraldic allusion in Love's Labour's Lost by recourse to Gerard Leigh's Accidence of Armourie (1597); Tollet, probably ignorant of Theobald's note, had recourse to the same work, quoting the pertinent words and giving a page reference (II. 504.2), having


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earlier in the same play quoted Leigh's Accidence for the spelling of "several" (II. 407.3). Bellay's Instructions for the War, so Englished by Paul Ive in 1589, was quoted in explication of Lady Macbeth's "To cry, hold, hold," and from Thomas Birch's edition of Sir Walter Raleigh's Works (2 vols., 1751) Tollet remembered two references to "corporals of the field."[4] Akin to these works more than to any other definable category of books in his library is John Selden's The Duello, or Single Combat (1610).

Tollet quotes or cites the Bible five times in the 1778 Shakespeare, three of the five being from St. Matthew and one from Acts, in "the old version of the New Testament." In the fifth note, on the "shard-borne beetle" in Macbeth, part of a long defence of the interpretation "the shard-born [sic] beetle is born in dung," in which Aristotle, Pliny, Drayton, Jonson, A petite Palace of Pettie his Pleasure, Bacon's Natural History, and Much Ado About Nothing are all quoted or cited, Tollet also cited "his [Shakespeare's] Bible, or the old translation of the Bible" as authority for the spelling "borne" to mean "brought forth" (IV. 532.5). The only other religious works he had occasion to refer to were Juan Luis Vives's De instructione feminœ christianœ (1523), translated by Richard Hyde as The Instruction of a Christian Woman (1540), of which he had an edition of 1592, and Thomas Adams's Spiritual Navigator (1615). Constance's reference to the devil's appearing "in likeness of a new untrimmed bride" in King John brought an emendation from Theobald, an absurd explanation from Warburton, a distortion of Johnson's risible muscles, four parallels for the meaning "undrest" from Steevens, and a quotation from Vives's work from Tollet in support of the meaning "not finely dressed or attired" or indicating "a deshabille or a frugal vesture" (V. 61.4). Tollet also remembered encountering "Hirens" in Adams's Spiritual Navigator and offered this bit of knowledge to Steevens in evidence that "Hirens" were, in Adams's words, "in plain English, harlots" (V. 500.8).

Everybody in the eighteenth century with any pretensions to learning seems to have had some knowledge of heraldry. Tollet was no exception. The king in Love's Labour's Lost speaks of "beauty's crest" which "becomes the heavens well." Warburton, as usual, saw the need to emend, being dissatisfied with "crest"; Johnson attempted explication; Tollet stated that "crest" meant "the very top, the height of beauty" and adduced a convincing parallel from King John. He further remarked that "in heraldry, a crest is a device placed above a coat of arms" (II. 458.2). The use of the word "cognizance" in 1 Henry VI gave Tollet opportunity to call upon his knowledge of heraldry again, as he explained that "the cognisance is seated upon the most eminent part of the helmet; and by a designed blunder in Ben Jonson's works, 1750, Vol. I, p. 160 and Vol. VII, p. 356 is called a cullisen, which Mr. Whalley's Dictionaries or the heralds he consulted, could not explain" (VI. 219.7). Whalley's note on the word in its appearance in Every Man Out of His Humour reads, "No dictionary I can find will help us to the meaning of


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this word, nor does the context lead us to discover it." Tollet's library contained John Selden's Titles of Honour for the raised points of Coronets (1614); John Walker's The History of the Order of the Garter (1715), a continuation of Elias Ashmole The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Order of the Garter (1672); and John Anstis's Observations Introductory to an Historical Essay upon the Knighthood of the Bath (1725). All three works were referred to in Tollet's long note on the Morris dancers.

The miscellaneous works in Tollet's library are a curiously mixed lot. Had he not written the long note on the Morris dancers, we would not have known that he had a number of the works already discussed, the last three above, for example. Nor would we have known that he had Richard Haydocke's 1598 translation of an Italian work by G. P. Lomazzo, Tracte containing the artes of curious paintinge or a work entitled Sports or lawful Recreations upon Sunday after Evening-prayers, and upon Holy-days, published by king James in 1618, with its reference to "May-games, Morris dances, and the setting up of May-poles." Even more curious is a quotation from "the appendix to Bulwer's Artificial Changeling, for the book in question is John Bulwer's

Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transformed: Or, the Artificial Changeling; hiſtorically prefented, in the mad and cruel Gallantry, foolifh Bravery, ridiculous Beauty, filthy Finenefs, and loathſome Lovelineſs of moſt Nations, faſhioning and altering their Bodies from the Mould intended by Nature; with Figures of thoſe Transfigurations. To which artificial and affected Deformations are added, all the native and national Monſtroſities that have appeared to disfigure the Human Fabrick. With a Vindication of the regular Beauty and Honeſty of Nature. And an Appendix of the Pedigree of the English Gallant. Scripſit, F. B. Cognomento Chiroſophus, M. D. Quarto, London 1653. Pages 559, beſides the Introduction, Table of Contents, &c. (p. 364)
Nothing but a full title could do justice to the contents of the book.[5]

One of the passages in Shakespeare's plays that had exercised the critics was Hubert's description in King John of the tailor "standing on slippers (which his nimble hast / Had falsely thrust upon contrary Feet." Johnson asserted that "either shoe will equally admit either foot"; Farmer mustered three passages to show that Johnson was almost surely wrong; Steevens, never one to be outdone, added three more to Farmer's parallels; Tollet quoted Martin's Description of the Western Islands of Scotland and "the Philosophical Transactions abridged, vol. III. p. 432 and VII. p. 23, where are exhibited shoes and sandals shaped to the feet, spreading more to the outside than the inside" (V. 95.4). In another note he cited Dr. Lister's demonstration in the Philosophical Transactions "that what were vulgarly thought animated horse-hairs, are real insects," a handy recollection for the explication of Antony's reference to "the courser's hair" having life, and further evidence of Tollet's interest in scientific matters (VII. 138.6). A reference to


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"Pitt's Atlas, in Sweden, p. 20" (VII. 14.7) reveals that Tollet owned Moses Pitt's four-volume folio English Atlas (1680-83), which William Lowndes in his Bibliographer's Manual described as "formerly in great estimation, and still a curious book of reference."

Finally, his library boasted copies of Henry Peacham's Compleat Gentleman (1622), Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), Sir Thomas Wotton's Elements of Architecture (1624) and Reliquiœ Wottonianae (1639). Rarer than any of these, and they were not especially rare at that time, was a work by José Teixeira entitled The Spanish Pilgrim, or an admirable discovery of a Romish Catholike in its English version by W. P. (1625). Richard Farmer had cited the title of a pamphlet, a "Treatise Parœnitical, wherein is shewed the right way to resist the Castilian king" in a note on the Host's calling Dr. Caius a "Castilian king" in the Merry Wives of Windsor; Tollet seconded Farmer's belief that the term was "a popular slur upon the Spaniards, who were held in great contempt by the business of the Armada," by extracting corroborating evidence "from an old pamphlet, called The Spanish Pilgrime, which I have reason to suppose is the same discourse with the Treatise Parœnetical, mentioned by Dr. Farmer" (I. 289.8). He was right, they were the same pamphlet.

There are approximately 135 titles of books, plays, and pamphlets in Tollet's notes. Since he had the collected works of Jonson, Chaucer, Shakespeare, probably Beaumont and Fletcher, Bacon, Raleigh, Milton's prose, Pope's Iliad, and certain other works in multi-volumes, the actual number of volumes represented in the approximately 135 titles is quite a good deal greater. Whatever that number, however, it should surely be regarded as only part of his entire library, a library he put to effective use.



The 1778 edition here and in what follows unless otherwise indicated.


For these last, see, respectively, VIII. 278.7; V. 541.6; II. 465.5; and V. 425.


See F. N. L. Poynter, A Bibliography of Gervase Markham, 1568?-1637 in Oxford Bibliographical Society Publications, New Series, vol. XI (1962).


1773, IV. 423.8 and II. 382.4, respectively.


It is described in William Oldys's British Librarian, No. VI., for June, 1737. Some of the works quoted or cited in the note on the morris dancers were lent by Steevens. See [James Boaden], ed. The Private Correspondence of David Garrick (1831-2), I. 650. Steevens does not specify any work by name.