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St John's College I.7 (James 308)

Sir Philip Sidney, 'The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia'. English, before 1588


Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86): The 'Old Arcadia', before 1588. Jean Robertson in her edition of the Arcadia (OUP, 1973) uses the text of I.7, and describes the MS at pp. xliv-xlvi. The text ends at fo. 239v, and there are three subsequent folios of Sidney's Certain Sonnets 19, 6, 5, 3, and 30 in another contemporary hand. W. A. Ringler Jr (ed.), The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney (Oxford, 1962), p. 562 demonstrates that the quotes from Arcadia in Abraham Fraunce's The Arcadian Rhetoric (1588) were almost certainly taken from this MS.

Supplementary information 

c. 320x225 mm., 330x250 mm. as boxed; 250 fos. Inscribed on fo. 3r: 'Will: Walker [of St John's College, BA 1593/4, d. 1642] of Cheswick in Middlesex bought this Booke among other Manuscripts of the executor of Sir Edmonde Scorie Knight And now possesses it A D 1633'. In the same hand at fo. 239v: 'This Manuscripts with many others were bought of Mr Busbie Executor to Sir Edmonde Scorie Knight by Will: Walker Theol. Bac.' Scory's will was made on 4 May 1632, with two codicils dated 9 May and 23 June. Also inscribed by Thomas Baker on fo. 3r: 'Tho: Baker dedit Coll: Socius ejectus / Liber olim ornatiss[imi] viri Thomae Wagstaff'. College bookplate (twentieth century) inside front cover.

Paper. Clean MS copy in a single hand. Some pen exercises at fo. 249v, inside former back cover. Some letters have disappered on first leaves owing to the deterioration of paper. Fos 162r and 162v have been cancelled, the scribe having recognised a fault in his own transcription. Repaired, bound in vellum and boxed at the Public Record Office, 1930 (note on flyleaf).