St John's College S.31 (James 422)

Verses and letters on University matters. Latin, c. 1625

Unidentified member of Christ Church, Oxford: commonplace or note-book, before 1625. Includes: 'Epistola ad Decanum (fos 3r, 10v, 16r, 18r, 27v, 35v, 38r, 63v, 67v, 79r, 81r); 'Epistola: ad Fratrem' (fos 8r, 55v, 76v); 'Epistol: ad Censorem' (fos 19r, 24v, 53r, 57v); 'Epist: ad Tut:' (fo. 20r); 'Scribendo disces scribere' (fo. 21r); 'Epist: ad Subde:' (fo. 51r); 'Ad Dr Peirce' [William Peirs, or Pearce, d. 1670], perhaps congratulating him on his election as Vice-Chancellor, 1621 (fo. 52r); 'Epist: ad Amicu:' (fo. 62r); 'In Caroli Principis iter' (fo. 75v); 'In the dispraise of Tobacco' (English, fo. 76r); 'Virgilius non ero, Marcus ero' (fo. 77r); 'Epistola ad Sponsorem' (fo. 79v); 'In reditum Caroli ex Hispania' [1623] (fo. 80v); 'Sumum ius, summa iniuria' (fo. 82r). The letters accompany funerary verses and poems on other spiritual subjects, for example 'In resurrectionem Christi' (fo. 28v). The 'Carmen funebre' on fo. 56v, and that on fo. 72r are in English. The letters throw some light on conditions in College, poor sleeping accommodation, for example. A motto on fo. 1r, is written out twice in different hands: 'Morte carent animae, semperque priore relicta sede, novis domibus vivunt'.

Could the author be Richard Corbett (1582-1635), Dean of Christ Church 1620-4, or his Chaplain William Strode (1602-45)?

Manuscript extra information

190x155 mm. 84 fos, a fol. removed between 53 and 54. Fos 2, 83, 84 blank, except for minimal pen flourishes at 83v. Provenance same as S.32? '8' as well as S.31 on spine.

At least two distinct early to mid-century hands, possibly related. Paper. Limp vellum binding, slightly defective at foot of the spine.


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