St John's College U.26 (James 548)

Commonplace collection of verse and prose. English, early seventeenth century

'A Collection of curious fine poems, songs, elegies, epitaphs, epigrams etc.' (at p. 1, in an eighteenth-century hand). The name John Cruso appears in a brief colophon at p. 162. No date as such, but at p. 142 'May the 24th anno 1627' is written in the main hand. An epitaph to the third earl of Dorset, who died in Mar. 1624, is at p. 50. There is also 'An Elegy uppon the death of Sir John Burrows' (p. 120), who appears to have died at La Rochelle. A Cambridge connection to pieces at p. 12 ('Unto the Commedians of Cambridge, whoe in their acts, before the King abused the Lawyers ...'), p. 37 ('Uppon Mr [Edmund?] Prick, of Christ Colledge, whoe died in July 1618'), and p. 45 ('A Cambridg Madrigall Confutinge the Oxford ballad'), while some of the verses are attributed to R. G, and some (including p. 30, 'Of Impossibillities') to T. S. There are all sorts of scribbles, and some signatures, throughout the book, including 'Wm Richardson' and 'Jos. Nicholson' several times and 'Cuthbert Sewell' (p. 71). 'Uppon the death of Shacksper' (p. 25). The date '1724' appears in the margins at pp. 63 and 81.

This commonplace has been attributed to John Cruso, Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (d. 1681). It is more probable that the poem with which the name is associated at p. 162 was the work of his father, also John Cruso.

Manuscript extra information

188x155 mm. 162 pp. in a contemporary pagination, now wanting 27, 28, 33, 34, 153, 154, 157-60. Presented by Gordon Wordsworth (Library Committee minutes for 6 Feb. 1922). According to the donor this volume was once owned by William Wordsworth.

Single secretary hand. Paper, with a generous LH margin, ruled in red. Substantially repaired and rebound in limp vellum with two pairs of ties by George Bolton, Sept. 1990.

With two ALS from J.P. Gilson, Department of Manuscripts British Museum, to Gordon Wordsworth (21 Dec. 1921 and 23 Jan. 1922) regarding this MS, and an ALS from Gordon Wordsworth to C.W. Previté-Orton (31 Jan. 1922) donating the MS.