St John's College S.32 (James 423)

Collection of poetry. English, c. 1630.

Poems by various authors, some unidentified, possibly compiled in the 1630s. Several poems by William Strode, including 'On the death of the duke of Buckingham' at fo. 1 (the Strode readings are very close to those in BL, Sloane MSS 1792, 1446 and Add. MS 30982). Unique early variants of Milton's Hobson poems are at fos 18v-19r (see John T. Shawcross, 'A note on Milton's Hobson poems', Review of English Studies NS 18 (1967), 433-7, who suggests a date of transcription between 1632 and 1640). A 'Dialogue betweene Orpheus and Charon' is at fo. 33r. The volume also contains works by John Donne, Sir Walter Ralegh, Henry King, Thomas Carey, Ben Jonson (fo. 19r a copy of the poem on Lord Treasurer Weston in its first drafting), Richard Corbet, Francis Bacon, William Bond and William Davenant.

Manuscript extra information

185x155 mm. 54 fos (24v-25v blank). Formerly at least five further folios, now excised. Small College bookplate (eighteenth century) inside front cover. The name 'John Pike' is inscribed at the head of fo. 1r - one of that name matr. Peterhouse, 1662, though this seems rather late. The hand is somewhat similar to the main hand of the MS. Mary Hobbs suggests in a typescript note held with the MS that the signature may be that of John Pike (d. 1677), fourth son of Richard Pike of St Benet's Lane, Cambridge (d. 1646). See Mary Hobbs, Early seventeenth-century verse miscellany manuscripts (Aldershot, 1992). At fo. 54v a domestic account dated 'October the 5' in an eighteenth-century hand. An arithmetical subtraction on the back cover.

Apparently a single early to mid-century hand, apart from the somewhat later additions at fos 53 and 54. Paper. Limp vellum binding.


A full description, images, and a bibliography are available on the Cambridge University Digital Library as part of the Scriptorium project.

Access to the digitised manuscript is available from the viewer below:



Mary Hobbs, 'Early seventeenth-century verse miscellanies and their value for textual editors', English Manuscript Studies 1 (1989), 192.
Living at this hour: John Milton 1608-2008; an exhibition in Cambridge University Library 15 January - 12 July 2008 (Cambridge, 2008) p. 8.