Page images










[blocks in formation]


The National Library (British Museum) recently acquired by purchase from Messrs. Bull & Auvache, Booksellers, 36 Hart Street, Bloomsbury, W.C., a small ms. volume. Mr. W. T. Brooke, their cataloguer (who has won himself & deserved name and authority in Hymnody), having noticed that it contained well-known poems of Richard Crashaw, persuaded his employers to offer it to the authorities of the manuscript department of the great library. It was at once acquired for ten gaineas. It had been picked up in a chance or miscellaneous lot at Sotheby's Pattick & Simpson's, where it had been utterly unrecognised as of any value or interest. So much for metropolitan bibliophiles' knowledge, or ignorance. There is nothing to show from whence it came, or who had been its possessor or possessors. From first to last no name whatever occurs. The writing is, for the period, exceptionally neat and careful. There cannot be shadow of a doubt that the entire manuscript is in the holograph of the author himBelf. There is thus supplied what has long been a desideratum: a full example of Richard Crashaw's handwriting. Accordingly I furnish in the present tractate a faithful facsimile of a page, selecting the one containing Epigram clvii., 'To our Lord upon the Water made Wine,' to show correction of a long-continued author's own misprint of 'acts' for 'arts' (vol. ii. p. 135). En passant, the wonder is that none of us (from the poet's own printed text onward) happened to think of the self-vindicating emendation. “Act' must now for ever displace 'art,' and so remove a blemish — as of a pit-mark on a peach's ruddied cheek-from one of the more brilliant of the Divine Epigrams.

I now proceed to describe the precious Find in detail. After four blank leaves, the ms. begins with six dedicatory

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

lines to some (presumably) ‘fair lady.' To this succeeds,& small space between-- a fécond semi-dedicatory poem of thirty lines, the last a huge Alexandrine, intended to reflect the long spong? desirul. Both of these are out - and - out Crashaweiau. Pelaps the opering allosion to the nightingele' was meant to remind of the Music's Duel' onward. Thereafter, a selection from the Divine Epigrams (in English only) is given successively, as follows, according to the numbering of the printed text and our edition, viz. : lxviii., lxiii., ix, viii., xi., xiv., xlix., lvii., cvii., lvi., liv. (2), xx., clxxxv., liv. (1st), li., xl., clx., xxix., i., ii., xxxvi., xlii., xxi. (of our Epigr. Sacra, never before published), xlvii., lxx. At this point comes in an epigram-poem of twenty-six lines—besides th“ test from St. Matthew, c. xxii.--hitherto unprinted and tinnorn. To this succeed other of the Divine Epigramsxliii.. clzii. liv. (again of our Epigr. Sacra, never before published), XXVI., clxiv., xi. Here once more there is interposed another bitherto diprinted and unknown epigrampoem, on a theme that must have had a peculiar fascination for (ra-haw, seeing that he has repeatedly verse-celebrated it-- Pontis Pilate) washing his bloud-stained Hands.' It consists of sixteen lines, besides heading. There follow sci., civ., exl., lxxxv., cvi., and other two of our before unpublished pir. Suerit, viz. xli. and xlv. The fact that this us. contains tire of the Sancroft us. Lpigrams, whilst it confiring its anthority, rulexly confirms its own. They proceed lxiv.--and next a fifth of our Epigr. Sacra, xxii.-ci., cxv., 18., xxvii. Following these are others, now giving references to edition : vol. i. p. 18, Our Lord in His Circumcision to His Father;' p. 50, . On the Woudes of our Crucified Lord ;' p. 91, ' Easter Day;' p. 51, 'On the bleeding Wounds of our Crucitieil Loril.' To there once more succeed Divine Epigrams, clxxxiv.; and thereafter these : vol. i. p. 65, Psalm xxiii.; p. 69, Psalm cxxxvii.; p. , The Weeper;' p. 25, “The Teare.' Then comes another hitherto unprinted and unknown poem of no fewer than eighty six lines, being a translation from Grotius's' Tragedy of (hrist's Sufferings. This is a rugged but peenliarly Crushaweian poem, after the style of his most noticeable lament for "Mr. Stanninough' (vol. i. pp. 232-3). Succeeding these lines are the following: vol. ii. p. 165, on Nanus; p. 166, on Venus (2) and out of Martiall; p. 286, from Petronius ; vol. i. p. 213, from Italian ; p. 2:16, ibid. ; vol. ii.


[ocr errors]

p. 165, Marriage ;' vol. i. p. 245, from Italian; p. 251, Catullus; p. 215, ‘Cupid;' p. 197, ‘Musick's Duel ;' p. 212, Heliodorus ; p. 207, Virgil; p. 218, Charles; pp. 220, 223, 225, on Herrys ; p. 234; on Brooke; p. 250, on Ashton. By the way, be it noted that Jolly, in that remarkable 'Life' of a remarkable man, •Jobn Duncan, Scotch Weaver and Botanist' (1883), sums it up with a quotation from the 'Epitaph on Mr. Ashton': 'Such are some of the elements of the rare happiness, self-helpfulness, and peace achieved by this lowly scientific weaver, with a keen temperament, amidst extraordinary disabilities, and under the most unlikely conditions; and his story will not have been written in vain, if it should help any of us to become what Crashaw celebrates, what every one sighs and seeks to be, however erroneously and blindly, and what John Duncan greatly was

"A man all his own wealth,
His own music, his own health;
A happy soul, that all the way

To heaven hath a summer's day.' (p. 506.) Besides all these, there follow vol. i. p. 209, on Lessius ; p. 217, Bp. Andrewes ; p. 218, Chambers ; p. 230, Epitaph ; p. 232, Stanninough; p. 235, 'Foale Morning ;' p. 237, “Morning ;' p. 240, · Love's Horoscope ;' p. 252, · Wishes'—these last nine being given according to their succession in our edition. The • Wishes' closes the whole, and twelve blank leaves complete the volume. Summarily, there are four blank leaves-one leaf blank after page 1, eleven leaves of Ms., two blank leaves, thirty-eight leaves of us. (verso of last blank), and twelve blank leaves. The edges are gilded. The present muslin binding is probably of the present century. One or two words are slightly cut through, suggesting that the us. was originally written on its paper, and then handed to the binder.

The whole of these hitherto unknown and unprinted porms, by Richard Crashaw, will be found in the present Supplement. I print in integrity of accuracy, only punctuating slightly.

With reference to the Divine Epigrams and poems tran. scribed into this ms. volume, they are substantially in agreement with the printed texts and the Sancroft mss., and our own. Capitals and varying punctuation, and no punctuation, it does not seem needful to reckon. But not infrequently I bave been arrested by a various reading. Having collated and re-collated the whole, the results must now be presented, adding as they

« PreviousContinue »