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Letter from Mary Sidgwick to Henry Sidgwick

States that she will be very glad to see any friend that he may bring to Rugby in Passion Week, and that she would very much like to see [J. R.] Seeley. Suggests that they stay a few days into Easter week, so that they could have a party on Easter Tuesday. Announces that his Uncle Robert will be there. States that she leaves Hillary Place [home of her brother John Crofts] the following Tuesday and goes for one night to Ryddlesden [John Benson Sidgwick], then to Stone Gappe [Francis John Lace], then the Raikes [Robert Hodgson Sidgwick] 'ending with poor Lucy Brown at Lytham', and will come home via Crewe.

Claims that she has heard nothing from William, and fears that he is still very unwell. Thanks Henry for his 'full explanation of Miss Tostal's difficulty', and undertakes to call upon her to tell her what he says before she leaves Leeds. Reports that Etty Crofts is reading all the material recommended by Mr Hales 'for the better understanding of his lectures....' Reports also that she has just heard from 'poor Mr. Horton who is suffering from congestion of one lung' and that he is to send his paper on Insanity so that Henry may judge whether it would be received by Macmillan. States that Henry's uncle [John?]'s health is better, and sometimes brave in his resolution to be cheerful, but that he often breaks down.

Letter from C. S. Mactaggart to R. B. McKerrow

A promontory near Norfolk Cottage (near Tintagel).—Describes her holiday activities at Tintagel.



Norfolk Cottage {1}
September 1st

At least not Norfolk Cottage but on a promontory of rock overlooking what a friend of ours with an alliterative turn used to call the wild weary windy wet ocean.

My dear Ronald,

From the bottom of my heart do I sympathise with you cooped up in the streets of London. This is the most superlatively glorious day of all the glorious days we have had. The sky is cloudless blue except towards the west where some foolish little white cloudlets are collecting to wait the setting sun. We thought it too warm to carry tea things out but I have come to write letters I could not stay in. Dora {2} was glad to see me go; she, I believe wants to weep over Jack on the sofa without an indiscrete onlooker to ask if she has a cold in her head. By the way I dont know whether she is guilty of weeping over books, she used to hold me in abhorrence when she was very tiny and I used to laugh over books. I remember her writing to tell me once that she had laughed over a book, she was very proud of it in those days looked upon it I think as a sort of getting up[s]ides with me in age. Wouldn’t she be riled if she knew I was writing all this rubbish.

Do you know the ocean is quite trippery today. There is the loveliest three masted thing just in front, under billows of snowy canvas and two commonplace steam-boats coming puffing along in her wake, these and many more. I haven’t been in the sea since I nearly took up my abode in her altogether but we must begin again tomorrow. I frightened Dora nearly out of her wits poor little soul. I had no idea there was any current in that bay and when I looked around and found myself already round the little promontory and fast drifting past the next absolutely unable to regain my original place I lost my head I think, otherwise I should not have called out for what good could anybody do me. In the end I turned on my back and ‘warstled through’ {3} but I landed at the Bossinny {4} side of the two mouthed cave, and I dont know how I managed to get breath enough having already wasted so much to stagger through the cave and relieve my poor little sister’s agony of mind. I felt the bones of my chest aching on my spine so flattened out did I feel. I was all right again however in a day or so, we only missed one day’s tea out then having come to the end of our spirit we walked over to Bosca[s]tle for another fill of the can we went there and back and did our commission in two hours and a half and besides that I blistered both my heels and had to come in finally with my shoes converted into sandles the upper heel covering turned under the sole of my foot. I am truly not proud of myself just now but I think we walked well that day. We are finding sad to say a good deal of time for writing reading sewing &c. Tintagel is lovely and enjoyable still but its halcyon days are over. If you will be good enough to lend us the ‘Ring and the Book’ {5} or some of it, we shall be muchly grateful. I like your Joan of Arc very much and am sorry to see that I have come out without it. I meant to read it still another time and analyse my sensations for your benefit. I am not sure whether if I had not known you it would have moved me as much as in one or two places it undoubtedly did. I like your avoidance of the usual trappings of poetry methinks for I think and that sort of thing. Go on and do great things and dont be hypercritical and call it lazy. If the weather keeps like this your father will have a glorious voyage. Do you think it is possible that there could be a regatta on Sunday somewhere? It positively looks like it, such lots of pretty boats with crowds and crowds of canvas. I must go in to tea. Dora will be swearing and small blame to her. We return to London on the 16th. Cant have rooms before at Knaresbro House Collingham Place. Remember us both to your Aunt please we shall certainly come to see her very soon if not sooner. And with very kind regards from us both

I am most sincerely yours
Christian S. Mactaggart

P.S. I forgot to say that the Leiths are charmed with Chagford {6}; air, scenery weather, quarters, everything perfection. Also I forgot to ask you to order for me some good evening paper. I dont myself know t’other from which nor even which name but I put myself in your hands. This idyllic ignorance is begining to become too much of a good thing and we can run to 1s per diem for sure.


Dated by the reference to McKerrow’s poem ‘Joan of Arc’ (cf. MCKW A1/1a). There are a few irregular spellings, e.g. ‘indiscrete’, ‘sandles’, ‘begining’, ‘cant’ (for ‘can’t’). Two casual omissions have been supplied in square brackets.

{1} A cottage on the coast, not far from Tintagel. McKerrow and W. W. Greg spent a vacation ‘reading at Tintagel’ about this time. See Proceedings of the British Academy, xxvi (1940). 491.

{2} Christian Mactaggart’s sister.

{3} See OED, ‘warsle’, v. 2.

{4} The usual spelling is now Bossiney.

{5} Browning's long poem, first published in four volumes in 1868 and 1869.

{6} A town in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor.

Letter from Joseph Wright to R. B. McKerrow

Langdale House, Park Town, Oxford.—Is sorry that McKerrow (an existing subscriber) was sent a copy of the new prospectus for the English Dialect Dictionary. Explains his plans for increasing the number of subscribers.

(With envelope.)



Langdale House, Park Town, Oxford
Dec. 16. 1901.

Dear Mr McKerrow,

Many thanks for your kind letter. I am sorry you should have been bothered with a copy of the new Prospectus. Since I began to prepare the Dictionary for Press in 1895 I have lost so many Subscribers by death that it is necessary to increase the existing number to enable me to finish the work upon the original plan. In order to induce people to become Subscribers I decided to offer them three volumes [NB. not four although 4 are printed except that the ‘list of words kept back’ is not yet printed for volume IV.], the second half of vol. III will be issued to you and the other Subscribers early this next year. There is no fear of my offering better terms and Conditions to any eventual new Subscribers. You will notice that any new Subscribers will have to bind themselves to Subscribe for the whole work! Whereas there is nothing whatever binding on the part of old Subscribers.

No, I am not receiving ‘advance Subscriptions’, this would throw my accounts into a muddle.

After this year I intend to issue 4 parts [= a whole volume] a year for 1902, 1903 and 1904 which will practically complete the work with the exception of the Supplement, bibliography and grammar which will not, I think amount to more than 2 parts altogether.

I have always made it a point to keep a good way ahead of the parts issued. Early next year you will receive a notice stating that unless I hear from Subscribers to the contrary, I shall send them for the next three years 4 parts a year in return for a double Subscription. What is also of great importance to the Subscribers is that I intend to give them more for their money than was promised in the original prospectus,

Yours sincerely
J. Wright

[Direction on envelope:] R. B. McKerrow, Esqe | 22, Friars Stile Rd | Richmond | Surrey.


Letter-head of the English Dialect Society. The envelope was postmarked at Oxford at 8 p.m. on 16 December 1901, and at Richmond, Surrey (most of the place-name is missing), at 6.15 a.m. on the 17th. The square brackets are original.

Letter from W. W. Greg to R. B. McKerrow

Park Lodge, (Wimbledon).—Sends the first volume of the Variorum edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and discusses The Elder Brother.



Park Lodge
Apr. 25. 02.

Dear McKerrow

Here is the first vol of the Beaumont & Fletcher. {1} Bullen has had my work ever since Tuesday week. {2} I saw him yesterday when he said he was just going to go through it.

Thanks for note about “blanket”. {3}

The you-ye figures are not quite so striking in the Elder Brother but are still noteworthy. I have had to divide the ye’s into “pure” & “contracted” i.e. used in contractions such as y’are, t’ye, t’ee, ’ee etc. These latter are not unfrequent in the more colloquial parts of Massinger. My results are

[The first three numbers after each name below are arranged in columns headed you, ye, and y’. The numbers in brackets are the sums of the amounts in the last two columns.]


Massinger. 129 | 3 | 12 | (15)
Fletcher. 189 | 45 | 26 | (71)


Massinger 89·5 | 2·1 | 8·4 | (10·5)
Fletcher 72·7 | 17·3 | 10· | (27·3)

From this it would appear that the real distinction lies in the use of unelided ye. It is necessary of course to have a considerable basis of observation for the figures to be of any use. I have also got some noticeable figures regarding ’em & them.

[The first two numbers in the entries below are arranged in columns headed ’em and them.]


Massinger 5 | 25
Fletcher 25 | 9


Massinger 29·4 | 70·6 | = 100
Fletcher 73·5 | 26·5 | = 100

I have not got the figures for any other play of Massingers.

I enclose a photo {4} I came across the other day (I dont want [it] back) which seems to show that at that time there was no such wall in the chancel as you were speaking of at Melrose.

I was in the B.M. the Monday & Tuesday after we came home {5} & hoped to meet you but didnt. I was also in for a bit yesterday.

Hoping to see you some time soon

Yours ever
Walter W. Greg


Vertical lines have been supplied to separate the numbers in the tables.

{1} A preliminary version, perhaps a proof, of the first volume of the variorum edition of The Works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher published by G. Bell & Sons and A. H. Bullen in 1904. It contained The Maid’s Tragedy, Philaster, A King and No King, The Scornful Lady, and The Custom of the Country, the first two plays edited by P. A. Daniel, the rest by R. Warwick Bond. The second volume, published in 1905, contained Greg’s edition of The Elder Brother, together with The Spanish Curate and Wit Without Money edited by McKerrow, Beggars’ Bush edited by P. A. Daniel, and The Humorous Lieutenant edited by R. Warwick Bond. In his introduction to The Elder Brother Greg discussed and applied various tests that had been suggested to determine which parts of the play were written by Fletcher and which by Massinger. These included an examination of the relative frequency of the forms you and ye, suggested by McKerrow, and of the forms ’em and them, as proposed by A. H. Thorndike in The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakspere (1901). The first table in the present letter was reprinted in the introduction, and the totals in the second table were quoted.

{2} 15 April.

{3} Cf. Greg’s note on The Elder Brother, IV. iii. 194 (Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, ii. 76).

{4} There is a faint transfer of the image on the letter.

{5} The reference to Melrose in the previous sentence suggests that Greg and McKerrow had recently been to Scotland together.

Letter from R. J. Lloyd to R. B. McKerrow

49A Grove Street, Liverpool.—Comments on McKerrow’s book on English pronunciation for Japanese readers (Eigo Hatsuongaku).

(With envelope.)



49A Grove Street, Liverpool
12 Sep 1902

Dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for a gift of a copy of your new book on English pronunciation for Japanese readers. {1} I have read all that is English in it, and have been able to see that it covers the ground very thoroughly. Your English is based, I note, entirely on Southern authorities and examples, such as Dr Sweet, Miss Soames & our valued friend Prof. Rippmann. No doubt it is also the English habitual to yourself. But I think I should have attempted in such a case to avoid the most conspicuous localisms of the South,—the total loss of post-vocalic r, for example. Japan is visited by English speakers from many places besides the South of England, and, except perhaps the Australians, they would all repudiate the banishment of post-vocalic r. I sometimes fear our differences are widening. In any case some measure of standardisation would be a boon. Excuse this digression, which does not affect the substantial merit of your book. You have done a good work, I am convinced, both for England & Japan. With best thanks,

Yours faithfully
R. J. Lloyd

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.
22 Friars’ Stile Road

[Direction on envelope:] R. B. McKerrow Esq, | 22 Friars’ Stile Road, | Richmond, | Surrey.


Black-edged paper and envelope. The envelope was postmarked at Liverpool at 12.15 p.m. on 19 September 1902, and at Richmond, Surrey, at 9.45 p.m. the same day.

{1} Eigo Hatsuongaku (‘English Phonetics’), by R. B. McKerrow and H. Katayama (1902).

Letter from Maud Mark to R. B. McKerrow

Sunnyside, Prestonkirk.—Expresses condolences on the death of his father, and recalls some memories of him.



Sunnyside, Prestonkirk
East Lothian
8 Feb. 1920.

Dear Ronald.

Very many thanks for your letter about your father which I greatly appreciate. I sent off a note to you to the Reform Club when I saw the announcement in the Times, {1} but now I feel I want to thank you for all the particulars, and it was good of him to say you were to let me know. I am only dreadfully sorry that it is so long since I saw Mr McKerrow, for he was always such a kind friend to me and more my own contemporary than Uncle’s in so many ways, and I have thought so often of the many times he and Miss Brunlees came to the same holiday places with us which made it so much nicer for me at least. Uncle always had the greatest regard for him, and he was one of the old friends who was good in coming to see Uncle to the very end.

I can imagine that he would prefer to be buried in the quietest way & although one could not attend or shew one’s regard, believe me the regard is very real indeed.

I visit our own grave at Putney Vale as often as I can, and next time I am there I should like to walk down to the old cemetery. I don’t think he would mind me doing that?

It will be a sad miss in your life this loss, for your father was so fond & proud of you, and even although at his age you couldn’t have had him very long, that doesn’t make you miss him any the less now I know.

With kindest sympathy
Yours very sincerely
Maud Mark


Black-edged paper.

{1} McKerrow’s father died at Southend-on-Sea on 27 January and his death was announced in The Times on the 29th (p. 1).

Letter from Paulin Ladeuze to R. B. McKerrow

Louvain.—The University of Louvain wishes to confer on McKerrow an honorary doctorate.

(In French. With envelope.)



Louvain, le 12 mai 1927


A l’occasion du Cinquième Centenaire de sa fondation, l’Université de Louvain desire s’attacher plus intimement quelques savants qu’elle tient en particulière estime.

Le Conseil académique serait très honoré si vous vouliez bien accepter le diplôme de Docteur honoris causa de la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres

Je vous serais très reconnaissant de me faire savoir sans tarder si nous pouvons attendre cet honneur et, dans l’entretemps, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de ma consideration la plus distinguée,

P. Ladeuze,
Rect. Univ.

Monsieur Ronald. B. Mc. Kerrow
Great Missenden

[Direction on envelope:] Mr. Ronald B. Mc. Kerrow | Lecturer in English Literature and Bibliography | Enderley | Little Kingshill | Great Missenden | (Bucks) | Angleterre


Typed, except ‘Philosophie et Lettres’ and all the words after ‘distinguée’. The seal of the University is printed at the head of the sheet and on the envelope, which is postmarked ‘2 LEUVEN 2 | 21 | V | 17-18 | 1927 | LOUVAIN’ and marked ‘KEEP’ on the front and ‘P. Ladeuze. | Recteur.’ on the back.




On the occasion of the fifth centenary of its foundation the University of Louvain wishes to attach itself more closely to those scholars whom it holds in particular esteem.

The academic Council would be greatly honoured if you would kindly accept the diploma of Doctor, honoris causa, of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature.

I should be most obliged to you if you would let me know without delay whether we may expect this honour, and, in the mean time, believe me, dear sir,

Yours sincerely,
P. Ladeuze,
Rector of the University

Letter from R. E. Graves to R. B. McKerrow

6 Grange Park, Ealing.—Will consult the (unique) copy of Jane Anger at Britwell to see whether it has any connection with Nashe.



6 Grange Park | Ealing. W.
3 Sept 1907.

Dear Mr McKerrow

“Jane Anger” is at Britwell, but I do not remember that it has any connection with Nashe. However I shall be there some time this month & I will then look at it & report further to you.

Always yours truly
R. E. Graves


{1} The unique copy of Jane Anger her Protection for Women (STC (2nd ed.) 644), a pamphlet of 1589. It is now in the Huntington Library. McKerrow thought this work might have been a reply to Nashe’s Anatomy of Absurdity. Cf. MCKW A2/4 and Works of Nashe, iv, 2, note.

{2} Britwell Court in Buckinghamshire, now known as Grenville Court. It once contained a remarkable library, assembled mainly by William Henry Miller (1789–1848) but supplemented by other members of the family up to 1898. The collection was dispersed by sale between 1908 and 1970. See Miller’s entry in the ODNB. Graves was, among other things, librarian at Britwell.

Notes on McKerrow’s edition of the Works of Nashe, by G. C. Moore Smith


Nashe. {1}

III {2}

147. 20. too. I suppose this is ‘to’—and that you take it so.

154. 21. Nashe seems to understand istic as = hic, instead of being opposed to it. In his age hic and iste were thought to be synonymous.

162. 9. Is emendation needed? May not ‘Madam Amphitrite’ {3} simply mean ‘the sea’?

163. 5. Cp. Silius 5. 396 | latrantes undae

168. 15. I suppose ‘vernaculum’ is due to Plautus, Poenulus IV. 2. 105.

—. 32. Should it be ‘to them lurtched’? The sense is still not clear.

171. 27. ? Essæx-surprised? or last-surprised? Might not the attack on Gadiz be taken as a surprize?

173. 19. ? ‘Maiden-piece’—‘our maiden paragon’ = Elizabeth.

177. 20. ‘of an enflamed zeale to copper-smithes hal’?

178. 10. should not ‘shee’ be ‘hee’? (the country gentleman)

179. 32. laborathro. {3} The Spanish form seems to be laboradór—and a medial ‘d’ often in Spanish has the sound ‘th’. That would give ‘laborathór’.

180. 10. ‘it gives their handfuls to’—? it keeps their hands fully employed.

184. 2. Was the Lord Mayor that year a Fishmonger?

186. 21. arming forth, though it be but a catch . . . . . . . bowle, to impe-the-winges-of his convoy—‘to speed his convoy.’

186. 29. What had the bailies of the Cinque Ports to do in Yarmouth?

188. 31. 200 witches are however said to have been executed in Scotland in 1590 for causing a storm the year before.

191. 32. Is ‘clumme’ a variant of ‘glum’?

210 8. This seems to come from an etymology of ‘absurdus’—I suppose not in Isidorus Hispalensis?

217. 9. Query, a parody of a legal phrase such as in the ‘particular strict and usual’ meaning of the word.

[217.] {5} 20. Does this mean in Armado-language— ‘was no breathe-able (or acceptable) scent to the channel of her ear’

244. 358. Solstitium, come into the court without. I suppose the play was not acted in the Court-yard of the Archbishop’s Palace? I am rather surprized at yr statement that the usual supper time was 9—and that the play was presumably acted still later. In Ascham’s time at Cambridge dinner was at 10 & supper at 5 I think and Nashe says the feast at a Commence-ment was held about 3.

249. 491. I dont feel sure that these lines are corrupt—‘when he returns to the sea from which he rose, then he assumes the god’—Or do you think the word ‘dawns’ implies a description of his rising?

250. 530. I should think ‘woods’ must stand for ‘words.’ Is there some definition of Poetry to correspond to this? Or would you prefer ‘woods’ because the Phaethontidae were turned into poplars?

[250.] {5} 533–5. I dont see any corruption here. The rocks do not refuse to be the source of streams And a stony heart cannot object to a cry of woe from those whom it has oppressed.

252. 615-7. These lines seem to me corrupt.

253. 630. Is Vertumnus humorously made to say | Orĭon Vrĭon Arĭon

258. 799. ‘I print this as prose.’ In my copy it looks like verse.

[258.] {5} 804. I suppose the last line of Collier’s note contains an error. ‘Town’ in the song means ‘homestead’ I suppose.

267. 1049. Can it be ‘flye fiue meale in the Element’ = fly in five pieces

270. Is a line wanting before l. 1160? Or should 1160 and 1161 be inverted?

285. l. 1654. If ‘me’ can be the Ethic Dative, the text may stand.

272. 1215. something must be wanting. Perhaps the whole Latin quotation

Where on the contrary ‘servitutem servi
Risci jocisque ulciscuntur mali’

which is then (incorrectly) translated.

291. 1836 &c. Some emendation seems necessary. I can only suggest

My murmuring springs, musicians of sweete sleepe,
2) Channel’d in a sweete falling quaterzaine,
1) To murmuring male-contents, with their well-turn’de aires {6}
To lull their eares (or cares) {7} asleepe, listning themselves

292. 1884. ‘This lowe built house.’ I am rather doubtful if actors would have spoken of the Arch-bishop’s Palace in these terms. And if so, I dont know what the line means. May they not mean the grave to which they are carrying Summer? & the words be sung, as the procession has already passed out of sight of the company?

250. 545 etc. You dont say these lines are corrupt—but they surely are. It seems to me that a line is wanting before 547—such as

‘And this same stream that now lies waterless’

In 550 ‘ran’ should probably be ‘run.’ But even so, the whole passage is very clumsy.


{1} The succeeding notes relate to Nashes Lenten Stuffe and Summer’s Last Will and Testament.

{2} This volume number appears only before the first entry, but the rest are indented to show that it was intended to relate to all of them.

{3} ‘Madona Amphitrite’ in McKerrow’s edition.

{4} ‘laboratho’ in McKerrow’s edition. Cf. MCKW A2/15.

{5} The entry is indented to show that the page number of the preceding entry relates to this one as well.

{6} Numbers are braced to these two lines to indicate that their order should be reversed.

{7} ‘or cares’ added below ‘eares’. Brackets supplied.

Letter from G. C. Moore Smith to R. B. McKerrow

31 Endcliffe Rise Road, Sheffield.—Discusses a passage in Nashe’s Preface to Menaphon and the progress of his own editions of Tubbe and Harvey.



31 Endcliffe Rise Road | Sheffield
28 Sep 1912

Dear McKerrow,

With regard to that much-discussed passage in Nashe’s Preface to Menaphon—

p. 316. l. 9. as those who are neither &c. {1}

Can this means†,

like men who are neither born in Provence (to whom Latin or Italian might be supposed to come as a second nature) nor able to distinguish between articles (in the grammatical sense).
If so, there must be some particular allusion to a mistake in translation—probably in the title,—turning on some mistranslation of an article. I should have expected ‘as those that are’ to mean ‘considering that they are’—but if so, it is hard to get anything out of the latter part of the clause. However this is very stale to you, & one gets no further.

With regard to the phrase lower down however

‘have not learned the just measure of the Horizon without an Hexameter.’

I dont think it struck me before but I now think ‘without’ means ‘encompassing.’ [There follows a diagram of a circle divided in two by a horizontal line from which five very short vertical lines depend at regular intervals.] This clause might then be an attack on verse of 7 feet where there should be 6. I wonder if this sense of ‘without’ ever occurred to you in your wrestlings with this passage? I feel little doubt about it.

I suppose you have been back from Bonchurch for some time. I have not heard anything from Sidgwick about Tubbe, but I have no doubt he wd wish to have your opinion. His verse is very poor stuff—but it has its interest, I think, especially in his satirical pieces—and in those in which he introduces far-fetched comparisons & learning. So, I hope, that you will find that you are able to print 100 pp. of it to go with the Introduction presented you for nothing without the prospect of losing money over yr enterprise. I should be extremely sorry for you to lose over it. If you cannot undertake it—is it worth while to have the Introduction printed off by itself? Or would it be better first to submit the larger plan to the Cambridge Press?

I am at present a little disappointed in Secker—as he seems in one point not to have acted quite straightforwardly. He agreed that I should ask Mr Almack to lend us his (apparently) unique copy of Tubbe’s Meditations {2} (2nd titlepage) for the titlepage to be photographed. The book was sent to Secker for this purpose—& now he says he did not have a photograph taken—but he had a drawing made which he has mislaid. He never told me at the time that he was not having a photo. taken.

Bullen is sending in Harvey proofs almost faster than I want, as I am getting very busy. He was knocked down by a bicycle on Monday week {3}—but appears to have recovered.

Yours ever
G. C. Moore Smith

F. W. Clarke is hoping to get a lectureship at Bangor. {4} Till now, he has not got a berth.


{1} The phrase runs in full, ‘as those that are neither prouenzall men, nor are able to distin-guish of Articles’ (Works of Nashe, iii. 316).

{2} Meditations Divine and Morall (1659) (Wing 3208). Wing lists six copies, and there is another at St John’s College, Cambridge.

{3} 16 September.

{4} Clarke had previously been Assistant Lecturer in English at Victoria University, Manchester, a post he held till this year. His application to Bangor appears to have been successful, for he was said to be of the University College, Bangor, in 1934 (Alumni Cantabrigienses).

† Sic.

Postcard from G. C. Moore Smith to R. B. McKerrow

[Sheffield.]—Adds to his previous remarks on Nashe’s phrase ‘good mindes to Godward’.

(Dated by the postmark.)



Nashe II 225. 29. ‘pincht a number of good mindes to Godward of their prouant.’ {1}

You remember I suggested that ‘good mindes to Godward’ form one phrase. {2} There is something similar, I see, in Cowley’s Cutter of Coleman St Act I. Sc 2. ‘He was a very Rogue ‥ as to the business between man and man, but as to God-ward he was always counted an Upright man, and very devout.’


[Direction:] Dr McKerrow | 4 Phœnix Lodge Mansions | Brook Green | Hammersmith | London W


Postmarked at Sheffield W.D.S.O. at 11 a.m. on 5 November 1912.

{1} The reference is to a phrase in The Unfortunate Traveller.

{2} See MCKW A2/14.

Letter from G. C. Moore Smith to R. B. McKerrow

31 Endcliffe Rise Road, Sheffield.—Quotes from the play Caesar’s Revenge, in illustration of a phrase in Nashe, and praises Elinor Jenkins’s poems.

(With envelope.)



31 Endcliffe Rise Road, Sheffield
26 Jan. 1916

Dear McKerrow,

I have been reading through again Cæsar’s Revenge in the Malone ed.—a play very much of the Kyd or Spanish Tragedy type. At the end Discord says (after the battle of Pharsalia)

‘Hell and Elisium must be digd in ore
And both will be to litle to contayne
Numberless numbers of afflicted ghostes
That I myselfe have tumbling thither sent!’ {1}

May not Nashe be referring to this when he speaks of those that thrust Elisium into Hell? {2} If so, it would support the theory that he is aiming at Kyd—if Kyd is responsible for Cæsar’s revenge.

Perhaps however you have noted this line, though I dont think you discuss it in your note, & think it does not explain Nashe’s allusion.

I have received a paper on Cæsar’s Revenge from H. M. Ayres (Columbia University) {3} but I think there may be more to be found out in connexion with it.

G. C. Moore Smith

I thought E. Jenkins poems very good. {4} We are really producing poetry at present. The current number of the Poetry Review has so many good things that I am going to subscribe to it for our Library {5} in future & am buying the back volumes.

[Direction on envelope:] Dr McKerrow | 4 Phoenix Lodge Mansions | Brook Green | Hammersmith | London W


The envelope, which has been marked ‘Note re Nashe’, was postmarked at Sheffield at 8.30 p.m. on 26 January 1916.

{1} The Tragedy of Caesar’s Revenge (Malone Society Reprints, 1911), lines 2441–4.

{2} The expression occurs in Nashe’s Preface to Menaphon. See Works of Nashe, iii. 316, lines 14–15.

{3} ‘Cæsar’s Revenge’, PMLA, xxx (1915), 771–87.

{4} Elinor Jenkins’ first book of Poems had been published by Sidgwick & Jackson the previous year.

{5} i.e. the library of the University of Sheffield.

Letter from R. W. Chambers to R. B. McKerrow

67 Selborne Road, Southgate, N.—Is glad that the proposed periodical has the support of those involved with other journals, and will be glad to join the meeting on Friday.



67 Selborne Road, Southgate, N.
Dec. 1.

Dear Dr. McKerrow

Your letters (which I return) give very good news. The necessity for an ‘English Studies’ periodical is obvious; but I felt, as you know, a little uneasy with regard to those who have been keeping the flag flying with difficulties for so long a time. It is great to feel that there is no difficulty in the way.

3 p.m. on Friday {1} would suit me excellently, & I shall be very glad to form one of the conspirators

Yours sincerely
R W Chambers.


{1} 7th.

Carbon-copy of a letter (from R. W. Chapman) to E. K. Chambers

[The Clarendon Press, Oxford.]—Clarifies the Press’s policy towards the new journal, and agrees to join the panel, with certain provisos. Chambers’s ‘great work’ is already being referred to as if it were a familiar work of reference.



P 4509
28 December 1923

My dear Chambers,

Many thanks for your letter. My recollection (confirmed by my notes) is that we bade you God speed if you could secure the weight of Bradley’s name; but were afraid that if any less authoritative modernist were named as editor, the journal might look too like an unpaid duplicate of the Literary Supplement. Nor could we, though we had thought for ourselves, hit on anyone suitable who was likely to be able to give the necessary time, especially in view of the modest remuneration that we then (I think) contemplated.

I say this because I should be sorry that you or anyone should think that we would not have welcomed the enterprise with this editor and this ‘panel’. But of course I guess that this editor could not have been secured except on the terms indicated by the prospectus.

I am honoured by the invitation to join your panel, and very gladly accept it. My limitations will be understood. I could not sign any book review or survey; and it might be best that I shouldn’t review on any terms. I might, again, have to withold† interesting information, though in general I am in favour of as much publicity as possible about books in preparation. Perhaps I ought to add, ex abundante cautela, that if at any time it were desired to a[c]quaint the panel with facts which it was not desired that another publisher should know, I should of course expect to be excluded.

Subject to these limitations I shall be very glad indeed to give any help I can. Please put me down for two copies—one personal and one for the Secretary, Clarendon Press. I send you this in duplicate, that you may send McKerrow a copy if you like; and I have deposited a copy in the archives here.

I hope the reviews of the great work {1} have given you satisfaction. Not many books are referred to on publication as if they were already familiar works of reference.

Yours sincerely

E. K. Chambers Esq.,
Board of Education, London S.W.1.


Carbon-copy of a typed original. Chambers struck through the last paragraph before sending the letter on to McKerrow.

{1} The Elizabethan Stage.

† Sic.

Letter from W. W. Greg to R. B. McKerrow

Park Lodge, Wimbledon, S.W.—Rejects Nichol Smith’s criticism of the prospectus, and discusses the composition of the panel.



Park Lodge, Wimbledon, S.W.
14 Jan. 1924

Dear McKerrow

We got home this afternoon & your letter arrived an hour later. I found one from Grierson accepting & wishing success.

I dont think Nichol Smith is in any way essential & as he was declining I thought his criticism unnecessary. {1} I told him I agreed generally that the most fruitful work of the last gener-ation had been English & not German but that that did not seem to me any objection to the sentence in the circular. I also said that while I had no desire to minister to German swelled head still less did I wish to pander to smug English selfcomplacency. So I expect he felt his knuckles rapped but being a nice fellow I hope he wont bear a grudge.

I am glad the appeal has been a success. I am not sure what representation we have from Cambridge—except on that score Chadwick is not the least essential. A. C. Bradley—except as an advertisement—would be no use at all me judice. {2}

Ever yours
W. W. Greg

I hope to be lunching on Thursday. {3}


{1} See MCKW A3/11b.

{2} ‘In my judgement.’

{3} 17th.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Yesterday’s discussion and McKerrow’s letter have clarified the situation (the relationship between the Press and the Review of English Studies).



P 4509

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
15 January 1924

My dear McKerrow,

Yesterday’s discussion seemed to me to be perfectly clear, though no doubt more would have had to be said if the participants or any of them had been dull of understanding. But I am glad to have your letter of 14 January, {1} which puts it in a nutshell. You leave the door tantalisingly ajar; I shall not shove it, but if anyone else should want to, he would probably know what he would find on the other side.

Yours sincerely
R. W. Chapman

R. B. McKerrow Esq.,
Messrs Sidgwick and Jackson, Ltd.,
3 Adam Street, Adelphi, W.C.2.


Typed, except the signature.

{1} Mistyped ‘Jnauary’.

Printed prospectus of the Review of English Studies


The need for a quarterly review specially devoted to English literary scholarship has long been recognised in this country, and it has been felt as something of a disgrace that, while Germany can support two periodicals dealing solely with English studies, England itself has hitherto been without one. Apart from the publications of the English Association, which do not take the form of a quarterly, there is only The Modern Language Review. This, for the past eighteen years, has done admirable work in the field of English Language and Literature; but it is evidently impossible for a journal with so wide a scope to meet all the requirements of those to whom English is of paramount importance.

It is therefore proposed, if sufficient support can be obtained, to establish a new “Review of English Studies” which will, it is hoped, remove this reproach, will serve as a means of inter-communication for all students of the subject, and by bringing work already done to the knowledge of those who are interested will assist in the progress of further study.

It is intended that the chief attention of the Review shall be devoted to research in all departments of the subject, modern as well as mediaeval, and it is hoped that it may become the recognised medium for the announcement of discoveries and the publication of the results of investigation. From time to time, articles of a more general nature will give an account of recent progress in the various branches, or will discuss the relation of English to other studies and to the intellectual life of the country. It is also intended to print articles dealing with methods of research.

An attempt will be made to review, within a reasonable time of publication, all books of any importance which bear on the subject, and also, by means of brief notes or summaries, to direct attention to discoveries or investigations which may be published in other periodical literature, in America or on the Continent of Europe as well as here. All articles, notes, and reviews will be carefully and fully indexed, in such a way that a file of the Review may present as complete a view as possible of work done on the whole subject.

Accounts will be given of important Conferences, Exhibitions, etc., which may be of interest to English students; and important appointments will be recorded. It is intended also to give brief appreciations of the work of those scholars who may pass from among us.

Correspondence, especially information as to work in progress, will be welcomed, and the pages of the Review will be open to inquiries concerning points of difficulty which may arise in the course of research. It is thus hoped to make it not merely a passive record of work done, but a living force in the world of English letters and a real help to those from whom we are to expect work in the future.

Dr. R. B. McKerrow has undertaken the Editorship of the Review, which will be published by Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd. The annual subscription (four numbers) will be 10s. 6s.; single numbers 3s. net each.

It is proposed to form a panel of scholars whose advice and assistance will be at the disposal of the Editor. The following have already agreed to serve:

A. C. BRADLEY, LL.D., Litt.D., F.B.A.
Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford, 1901-1906. Author of “Shakespearean Trage-dy,” etc., etc.

E. K. CHAMBERS, C.B., D.Litt.
Author of “The Medieval Stage,” “The Elizabethan Stage,” etc., etc.

Quain Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of London.

Editor of “The Novels of Jane Austen,” 1923.

Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Manchester.

King Alfred Professor of English Literature in the University of Liverpool.

Merton Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford.

W. W. GREG, Litt.D.
General Editor Malone Society.

H. J. C. GRIERSON, LL.D., D.Litt.
Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh.

C. H. HERFORD, Litt.D.
Honorary Professor in the University of Manchester.

Baines Professor of English Language and Philology in the University of Liverpool.

Professor of English Language at University College, Reading.

Vice-President of the English Association.

Lecturer in English Language and Literature at King’s College, University of London.

A. W. POLLARD, C.B., F.B.A., D.Litt.
Professor of Bibliography in the University of London.

A. W. REED, M.A.
Reader in English in the University of London.

Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Birmingham.

Lecturer in English in the University of Oxford.

Professor of English Literature in the University of London.

Joint-Editor of “The New Shakespeare” (Cambridge University Press).

H. C. K. WYLD, B.Litt., M.A.
Merton Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Oxford.


Letter from E. K. Chambers to R. B. McKerrow

Board of Education.—Suggests sending copies of the prospectus to the English Association’s Publications Committee. Is concerned that the position of Bradley’s name may lead correspondents to write to him.



Board of Education
28. ii. 24

Dear McKerrow,

The Prospectus looks very imposing with its enlarged list of names, and I think your proposed procedure is quite sound.

Might you now send a batch to Houghton {1} for distribution to the Publications Committee of the E. Assn at their next meeting (2nd Thursday in March, I think), with a covering letter bespeaking the welcome and support of the Assn?

It is a little awkward that Bradley’s name comes first (although it looks well), because it may lead people who get copies, if anyone does, without a covering letter, to write to him.

I rather wish you had added on the print, even at this stage, “Communications to R.B.McK. and your address”. It might be well to tell B., if anything not clearly meant as personal does come to him, to send it to you for acknowledgment and reply.

Yrs sincerely
E. K. Chambers


{1} A. V. Houghton, secretary of the English Association from 1912 or 1913 to 1938.

Letter from H. F. B. Brett-Smith to R. B. McKerrow

7 Moreton Road, Oxford.—Is too busy to review the Nonesuch edition of Congreve for the Review, but suggests others who might be able to do it.

(Letter-head of Corpus Christi College.)



7 Moreton Road,
Corpus Christi College, Oxford

25 April 1924.

Dear McKerrow,

I have your letter of the 8th of March before me, and I have been reminded of it by Greg, and I am really ashamed of myself. For what they are worth, I had better give you the extenuating circumstances; after your letter arrived I was worried for a fortnight by an abscess in the eye, and read very little and wrote not at all. And I put off replying, as one does, until I could find the man for this job; and I haven’t found him. And I have just finally finished off the proofs of six various volumes for publication this spring, which has been a heavy task. None the less, I owe you a sincere apology.

You had not told me anything (before your letter) about the Review of English Studies, but I am delighted to hear of it, and wish it success: it is certainly wanted. It would be an excellent thing to have an article on the editing of the Nonesuch Congreve; {1} I would (as you guessed) have loved to do it myself if only I had time; but the only man I could think of was F. P. Wilson, who is competent enough, though Congreve is a little late for him. But he’s just got married and been on his honeymoon and is sure to be busy; {2} I’ll mention it to him when I can catch him (he has the book—I gave it him for a wedding present!) but I am not very hopeful. If he won’t, I think Isaacs (now a Lecturer in Wales—an old pupil of mine here) would do it well, if I could get him to. {3} But probably by now you may have got someone yourself; will you send me a card?

Put me down as a subscriber, of course; and I’ll try to get you others. And all good wishes for your editorship!

Yours very sincerely
H. F. B. Brett-Smith.

I was glad that your letter appeared in the Mercury. I haven’t managed to get up to London yet.


{1} Montague Summers’s edition of The Works of William Congreve had been published in four volumes by the Nonesuch Press the previous year. A letter about it by McKerrow (see the postscript) was printed in the March number of the London Mercury (ix. 526), but no review ever appeared in the Review of English Studies.

{2} Wilson had married Joanna Perry-Keene, one of his pupils, on 15 March. See ODNB.

{3} Jacob Isaacs was an undergraduate at Exeter College between 1919 and 1921, but was assigned Brett-Smith as his tutor because there was a shortage of Fellows at his own college. From 1921 to 1924 he was assistant lecturer in English at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. See ODNB.

Letter from G. G. Coulton to R. B. McKerrow

201 Chesterton Road, Cambridge.—Declines to contribute to the Review at present. Comments on McKerrow’s proposal to publish an aid to reading medieval Latin.



201 Chesterton Road, Cambridge
Nov. 27/24.

Dear Sir.

I am ashamed to have no better answer to your courteous letter than that I am overwhelmed with unavoidable work at present, & see no daylight. I have five volumes, the least advanced of them half-written, & the most advanced I am struggling to get into the Press before this term ends. That compels me to avoid all avoidable work until Easter next, at the very earliest, for I have promised two articles before Easter to two other publications. Otherwise I need hardly say that I would have done what I could for a Review which starts under the auspices you indicate. Believe me

Yours regretfully
G. G. Coulton

Dr R. B. McKerrow.

[Added at the head:] I strongly sympathise with the subject you suggest: but perhaps you have not noted that the S.P.C.K. published, about 5 years ago, a little handbook on Med. Latin in that cheap series of Aids to Students, or some such title.

Letter from George Thorn-Drury to R. B. McKerrow

42 Roland Gardens, South Kensington, S.W.—Congratulates him on the first number of the Review. Will send further notes on Dryden by mid-January. Suggests a contributor.

(With envelope.)



42 Roland Gardens, South Kensington, S.W.
21. xii. 24

Dear Dr McKerrow.

Many thanks for the first number of The Review of English Studies, upon which I offer you my congratulations, if, being one of the contributors, I may properly do so. I will send you before the middle of January some more notes on Dryden, which will probably exceed in bulk those which are in the first number, and also one or two detached ‘notes’, if you care for them. I would certainly prefer to have the Dryden notes together later. I venture to trouble you with my subscription form and 8/ remittance, thinking you will receive this at the Publishers’ Office.

The only man I can at the moment think of as one I should like to enlist for R.E.S is J. Paul de Castro. 1 Essex Court, Temple. he† is the authority on Fielding, and though 1600–1700 naturally interests me more than the period since, I recognise that it would be a great mistake to limit the scope of the Review.

Yours sincerely
G. Thorn-Drury

[Direction on envelope:] R. B. McKerrow Esqre Litt.D. | Care of Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd | 3 Adam St. | W.C.2.


The envelope was postmarked at South Kensington at 11.15 p.m. on 21 December 1924.

† Sic.

Letter from Alice Walker to R. B. McKerrow

2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.—Discusses her proposed application for a grant for her edition of Lodge, and asks for his views on the treatment of the text. Responds to his arguments about Malchus, observing that too little notice is taken of Elizabethan pronunciation in the textual criticism of Shakespeare.



2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.
2 March 1936.

Dear Dr. McKerrow,

Thank you very much for your letter of the 23rd and for your advice about the Reply to Gosson. {1} I am sorry I havn’t been able to write before now. My mother has been ill and I have had a busy week managing the house. When I write to the Publications Committee {2} I will do my best to put a case that will get round the maximum grant difficulty and will let you see what I have done before I send it in. I am rather worried by the business as I gather from the regulations that grants are made for completed work and although a fair amount of the annotation of the text is now, I think, adequate there are a lot of gaps still to be filled in. I am wondering, therefore, if my case would not be strengthened if the whole work was complete when I applied, especially as the sum I want is probably bigger than usual. I don’t want to spoil my chances by making a premature request and feel that perhaps the Committee will be readier to produce £400 for a work that is ready for press than to promise so large a sum for an as yet unfinished work at some vague future date. What do you think? I was hoping to be able to do a little stocktaking of the Lodge situation last week but I havn’t had the time to go through all my notes yet. As a guess, I should say that six or nine months should see the whole ground reasonably well covered. In the meantime I will do what I can to find out how rigidly the maximum grant is enforced (there is nothing about it in the general regulations, but I remember your telling me about it before). I don’t know Professor Sisson {3} sufficiently well to tackle him myself, but I can ask Miss Willcock to act as intermediary and to make a few unofficial enquiries. It should be possible to arrange the texts in such a way as to make each volume a unit (e.g. by putting the verse and plays with the Introduction in Vol. 1; the novels in Vol. 2, the prose pamphlets in Vol. 3 and notes, bibliography and Index in Vol. 4). {4} The only work that cuts across this arrangement is the Alarum, {5} which includes a prose tract, a novel and a verse piece, and I think it might be an advantage to have at any rate one work which can be used to even up the volumes to approximately the same length. I don’t think anything would be lost by abandoning a chronological arrangement; classification of Lodge’s works is, in fact, I think, better.

Will you let me know some time what your views are about the text? Has Miss Byrne done with Munday what you did with Nashe? {6} If so, I had better do the same. The only errors I should like to rectify are turned letters, but I am prepared to do exactly what you think best. It would, however, be a help to know what you would like doing as I want to finish the octavo and roman letter texts {7} this summer; it would be a waste of money getting photostats of these. If it is any saving of expense in setting up the text I can let you have a corrected copy of the black letter quartos as well. {8} I have corrected the Hunterian Club edition {9} of some of these and I imagine it is quicker for a compositor to work from these than from black letter photostats.

I am sorry to confess that your arguments about Malichus leave me quite unconvinced. I hope you won’t think I am being merely stubborn! It seems to me that the difficulty of assuming that an Elizabethan audience would recognise a pronunciation [maliko] (which is what the Quarto readings ‘Malico’ suggest) as intended for Sp. malhecho (malet∫o) and would, further, know what malhecho meant is even greater than assuming that it would know who Malico/Malichus was. I feel very strongly that there is something linguistically wrong with ‘miching mallecho’ (if you substitute for the Sp. derivative the Latin word and read ‘miching malefactum’, I think it is at once apparent) and feel absolutely certain that what ‘miching’ requires is an agent or proper noun (either ‘Malichus’ or such like). I lean towards the proper noun solution of the difficulty largely because the F., like the Qs, prints the word with a capital (though this, I know, isn’t conclusive) and to Malichus in particular because the reference would have some point.

I would like to convince you about this!

À propos of Shakespeare, why is it that no stock is ever taken of Elizabethan pronunciation in textual work? I can never see why it should not be legitimate to substitute ‘sewer’ for ‘sure’ (T. & C. v. i. 83) in a modernised text, {10} as these were homonyms in the sixteenth century, and why forms such as ‘deal’ for ‘devil’, ‘or’ for ‘are’, should necessarily be explained as due to misreading when they might equally well be due to a compositor’s having carried the sound of a word in his head and having set up the wrong one of a pair of homonyms. I have never found that a phonetic transcription of a crux conclusively solved it, but I think that in doubtful cases (such as the ‘sewer’ problem) it often brings the scale down fairly decisively on one side, that it often explains how errors such as ‘mistresse’ for ‘misteries’ (Lear I, i, 109) {11} arose and that it provides a very essential check on fanciful reconstructions of the stages through which an error was arrived at (such as Mr. Dover Wilson’s wanton assumption that changes affecting short vowels also affected long ones in his explanation of the Hamlet invite/invest problem). {12} Do you think any publisher would consider a book on Shakespearean grammar and punctuation? Abbott’s is so woefully out of date and I am convinced that something on the Elizabethan language, spoken and written, is needed. I was filled with horror when a well known authority on Shakespeare wrote to Miss Willcock a few months ago asking her to send him as soon as possible a list of works where he could find something about Elizabethan pronunciation as he had made a rash statement to the press and was in a panic lest he should be required to justify it. [I think, perhaps, I ought not to have told you this, but as it is one of the greatest shocks I have ever had it is perhaps worth recording. I hope you won’t guess who it was and that you will forget about it! It does, however, serve to show that something better than Abbott {13} and less for the expert than Jespersen and Wyld is needed].

I was going to send this to your office as it is mainly business, but in view of this last indiscretion I think I had better not. I am quite seriously considering this last project and should be very grateful for a word of warning if you know of anything similar being done.

Yours sincerely,
Alice Walker.

I am sorry this look† so smudged; & I expect it will be worse by the time you get it. If you havn’t fallen a victim to the machine, don’t. There is nothing more infuriating or more humiliating than putting in & using a new ribbon.


Typed, except the postscript, a few corrections, and the ‘∫’ in ‘malet∫o’. The square brackets are original.

{1} A pamphlet by Thomas Lodge (STC (2nd ed.) 16663), written in response to Stephen Gosson’s Schoole of Abuse. Only two examples survive, neither with title or imprint, though the identity of the author is apparent from later pamphlets by Gosson and Lodge. When it was edited for the Shakespeare Society in 1853—the first modern edition—the work was given the title ‘A Reply to Stephen Gosson’s Schoole of Abuse, in defence of Poetry, Musick, and Stage Plays’, and this title, with variations, has generally been adopted.

{2} Probably the Publication Fund Committee of the University of London. Professor Sisson, mentioned a few lines later, was a member of this Committee in 1935–6 (University of London Calendar; ex inf. Richard Temple, Archivist, Senate House Library).

{3} C. J. Sisson, Professor of Modern English Literature at University College, London. Walker had reviewed Thomas Lodge and other Elizabethans, edited by Sisson, in 1933 (RES, ix. 472–4).

{4} Lodge’s translations of Josephus and Seneca and his French ‘Summary’ of Du Bartas were probably excluded from Walker’s plan.

{5} An Alarum against Usurers (STC (2nd ed.) 16653).

{6} Muriel St Clare Byrne wrote four articles on Munday between 1918 and 1923 (The Library, 3rd ser., ix. 106–15; 4th ser., i. 225–56; 4th ser., iv. 9–24; and MLR, xv. 364–73). At the time of this letter she appears to have been engaged in editing all or some of his works, but this work was never published. Cf. MCKW A4/128.

{7} An Alarum against Usurers (sm. 8vo), Phillis, The Wounds of Civill War, A Fig for Momus, Prosopopeia (8vo), and A Treatise of the Plague, all in Roman type except the first. The translations are also Roman letter, but, as noted above, these were probably excluded from Walker’s plan.

{8} All the extant works of Lodge not mentioned in the previous note are black-letter quartos, with the exception of The Poore Mans Talentt, which is in manuscript, and possibly some miscellaneous pieces.

{9} The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Lodge (4 vols., printed for the Hunterian Club, 1883); still the only collected edition of Lodge’s works.

{10} ‘sure’ is the reading of Q and F. The emendation ‘sewer’ was first made by Rowe. It is odd that Walker should defend its legitimacy, since it appears to have been universally accepted.

{11} The reference is to the Cambridge edition (line 112 in the Globe edition).

{12} i.e. the discrepancy between F1 and Q2 readings at I. iii. 83. See The Manuscript of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, p. 137.

{13} E. A. Abbott, A Shakespearian Grammar (1870).

† Sic.

Letter from Alice Walker to R. B. McKerrow

The White House, Tite Hill, Englefield Green.—Sends what she has done with 1 Henry VI, Act I. The queries need revision, but give an idea of her difficulties.



at The White House, Tite Hill,
Englefield Green. Surrey.
1 May 1936.

Dear Dr. McKerrow,

Herewith what I have done with I Henry VI Act I. I am not really satisfied with the result and if I had not said I would put it in the post this evening I would have kept it as I am quite sure that my list of queries and questions would be the better for revision. I have put down all my first impressions and the wheat still needs sifting from the chaff, so if any suggestions I have made seem to you, at first glance, silly please don’t try to find some sense in them—there mayn’t be any! My notes and queries may, however, give you some idea of the kind of difficulties I have met and if I get those which are likely to recur straightened out I don’t think I shall need to bother you for some time. I should be very glad if I might have these papers back some time so that I can revise them when I have a better sense of perspective and wider knowledge of analogous cases.

Yours sincerely,
Alice Walker.


Typed, except the signature.

List of the contents of a parcel, by Alice Walker



1. Text, pp. 1–12 (blue pencil numbering)

2. Your MS. of collation notes, pp. 2–5 (p. 1 you already have).

3a. Typescript, clean copy, of collation notes, pp. 3–10 (1–2 you have)

b. Marked copy (pp. 1–10) of same.

4. Queries concerning collation notes.

5. Puzzle page.

6. Some general queries.

7. Notes to Act I (I still have your MS. of these)

8. Queries re Notes.

9. Addendum to Richard III.

10. A suggestion in reply to one of your queries.


Typed, except the entry marked ‘b’ and the ‘a’ of ‘3a’.

Notes on the classification of spelling variants, by Alice Walker



1 Spellings sufficiently common in printed works to be considered normal, due either to long-standing wavering between one spelling and another or to the existence of variant pronunciations, e.g.

etc etc

These, of course, require no comment and logically, therefore, when F1 has loose and Camb. lose an indication such as

loose] F1, Camb.

ought to be sufficient in a collation note such as that to I. Hen. VI, III. i. 146. {1}

2 A number of spellings not so common, perhaps, but none the less sufficiently usual in printed books to require no comment e.g.

solembe (solemn)
misbecomd (misbecom’d)
pashions (passions)
hie (high)


[1] {2} Sporadic spellings which are not usual in printed books but which may very well represent a spelling in the MS. the printer had before him

lancht/launcht (lanced)
shooter (suitor)
old (wold)
tell (till)
whipt (wiped)

In such cases would a collation note mentioning, without lemma, the first edition to normalise (but not modernise) the spelling be sufficient, e.g.

wip’t F2+

omitting the modernisation by later editors as in A1. If the reader takes modernisation in later editions for granted in the case of spellings in A1 then, logically, he ought to do so here.

[Digression on the above section B1

What will you do with curious spellings that occur in early texts but not the ‘copy’ text? There was the ‘keihts’ spelling in R. III, I. i. 134 which you recorded as

keihts Q1

and I noticed a spelling of ‘Ewghs’ (or some such) in Q2 of Titus. Logically I suppose that if you are not printing from a quarto in which such a spelling occurs it is because you have a text which can reasonably regarded as closer to Shakespeare’s MS. and, therefore, a spelling such as that in R. III has no Shakespearean significance but is merely of general linguistic interest. If you include it, therefore, in a collation note it must be on the latter ground and, therefore, any linguistically interesting spelling in any early quarto ought to be recorded too! And then of course if you are recording all curious spellings of general linguistic interest it might be argued that you ought to look forward as well as backward and record the first ap-pearance of all new spellings in the later Ff and Rowe!]


2. It might happen that a form occurs which admits of two interpretations—(a) as the Elizabethan spelling of a word spelt similarly today or (b) as an Elizabethan spelling of a word which we now write differently. I was thinking of the cost/cast Hamlet difficulty and the Troilus and Cressida sewer/sure {3} when I began this, but it occurs to me that the best example is the one that has been giving me a lot of trouble, the Elizabethan And used indiscriminately for And and An. Where there is no chance of misinterpretation are these best passed over in silence (as you always pass over I/Ay) but where a spelling such as this ad-mits of different interpretations in its context ought not different editorial readings to be recorded and separated by a colon? Ex. (hypothetical)

And F1–Johns., Hart: An Cap.–Camb. {4}

Query—is there any way of showing in such a case where the ambiguity of F1 ended and editorial interpretation began? I don’t know in which edition And and An were first differentiated (? Pope or Theobald?), but supposing it was Theobald could this be set out as

And F1–Pope; Theo.–Johns., Hart: An Cap.–Camb.


1 Spellings representing (in many cases) stressed and unstressed forms of the same word which had existed side by side in which either one form was obsolescent by c. 1600 or in which the different forms were in process of acquiring a difference in meaning or usage, e.g.


If the less usual forms of these (e.g. the for thee) cause no ambiguity, need they be recorded? If likely to cause the reader some momentary doubt concerning the meaning, could not an explanation be given in a footnote and the reader then be left to infer that they had probably been normalised in the later Ff and certainly normalised in later editions?

2 Spellings which in Elizabethan & Jacobean English covered two words of different meaning which were (much later for the most part) differentiated e.g.

antick (antique: antic)
gate (gait: gate)
waste (waist: waste)
male (mail: male)

You have collation notes on two of these in the part of Henry VI I am sending. Could these not be treated in the same way as B1 and instead of a lemma & full rigmarole would not

antick F3+ sufficiently cover IV. vii. 8 {5}
and waist Ste.’78 + [sufficiently cover] {6} IV. iii. 20

(i.e. in both cases give the first edition spelling which gives a clue to the interpretation). On the whole, however, I feel the general notes could sufficiently explain their meaning (and in both these cases you have a general note as well as a collation note). Could not a general note suffice for contexts where there is no ambiguity and a collation note be added in cases where there has been a real division of editorial opinion concerning the meaning—as in the And/An example of B2.


Spellings which suggest the substitution of one of a pair of homophones for another or one phrase for another—rife mainly in bad and suspected Qq

e.g. oft (ought—somewhere in Lear)
dogs so bade (dog’s obeyed) etc.

These, I take it, will certainly be recorded as of real textual significance—but with or without lemma?


Pairs of words similar, though not identical in spelling, indistinguishable in meaning and derived, ultimately, from the same root of which one only has survived in modern English, e.g.


In such cases would it not be as well to follow the N.E.D. and treat these as different words, separating them by colons and not by brackets?


Spellings which indicate an older form of the word which has been remodelled and has (sometimes) affected the pronunciation.

fift/fifth etc. etc.

As these are pretty numerous and their older forms give rise to no doubt concerning their meaning, there should be [no] {2} need to record the modernisations of later editors. Analogous I think to the examples in A.


Word division which differs in Jacobean and modern English

whoso/who so
my selfe/myself

Omit such? (as in [1] {2} Hen. VI, III. iv. 39)


Contracted forms such as I’ll etc. Is there any need to record these except where there is a metrical point at issue—such as that in I Hen. VI. I. ii. 127 where a later Folio has added a word to fill out the line and where later editorial opinion has veered to an expanded form of F1?


Grammatical forms. Here I think a distinction has to be made between the relation of Ff to Qq on the one hand and the relation of F1 to the later Ff and Rowe etc. on the other. In the latter case, is there any need to record what are mere modernisations in spelling (such as the regular substitution of ed in the p.p. and pret. of weak verbs for F1 t) which really come under A. And is there any need to record the passion of F2 for tidying up the cases of pronouns (by substituting, for example, whom for who) or mere modern pernicketiness in substituting unrip’dst for unrip’st? The case of such variants between Qq and F1 is more difficult, especially in cases where F1 wasn’t printed from a Quarto and where you can’t be certain that ei-ther the principal Q or F1 was set up from Shakespeare’s MS. In cases where a Quarto has some authority as representing at any rate a report of some kind could a distinction be drawn between genuine grammatical variants which could be heard (such as who/whom) and ortho-graphical variants (such as pact/pac’d). I can’t see any real significance in the latter (from Richard III) as, if the Quarto was a report of some kind, it wasn’t set up from Shakespeare’s MS. (unless Shakespeare reported it himself—this did occur to me as an explanation of its length!) and therefore pact has no Shakespearean interest; but I think that who/whom variants are in a different category. I don’t know whether it is possible to make any real distinc-tions of this kind, but it might be worth trying. When I come to a text with Qq I will see if it will work. In the meantime, sufficient unto the day …


Typed, with handwritten additions and corrections. In the original the letters printed in bold type are in the margin before the succeeding line and are circled in red pencil. The square brackets are original, except where indicated below.

{1} The reference is in fact to line 199. F. ‘And Henry borne at Windsor, loose all:’.

{2} Omitted by mistake.

{3} V. i. 83. Cf. MCKW A4/2.

{4} In the margin is written, ‘right/rite | high/hie | Ye/yea | I/Ay’.

{5} The line number should be ‘18’.

{6} The words in square brackets are represented by ditto marks in the original.

List of the contents of a parcel, by Alice Walker (two copies)


2 Henry VI
Act II (i–iii)


Your MS. of Collation notes pp. 6–9
Typed copy of [Collation notes] (clean)
[Typed copy of Collation notes] (marked)

Text pp. 13–20

Typed copy of notes (clean)
[Typed copy of notes] (marked)

Your queries with answers (partly on slips)
Packet of slips re notes & collation notes.


Typed. The words in square brackets are represented by ditto marks in the original.

Letter from Alice Walker to R. B. McKerrow

2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.—Sends more of 2 Henry VI, and discusses the glossing of common obsolete words.



2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.
9 June 1936

Dear Dr. McKerrow,

Herewith another bit of 2 Henry VI {1} (you did say you preferred it in instalments, didn’t you?). My query slips seem really to be decreasing in number! I havn’t done much to the notes, except to suggest a few additions and I have only made a few small alterations in copying them. I don’t know whether you would like me to tidy up the details a little more as I type them. Occasionally, when it seems necessary, I insert inverted commas or a verbal reference to the text, but I don’t like to meddle with what you have written unless it seems essential. Will you let me know whether you would prefer me to leave them as I find them, or do the bit of tidying I am doing, or to show a little more courage and insert more inverted commas etc.? There are a number of small points that want attending to (such as punctuation) but I havn’t bothered to insert slips about these as you told me you intended to go over the notes again.

I think there is just one general point that has arisen. In III. i. 261 you have a note on Quillet which you glossed in I Hen. VI, II. iv. 18, but when Colour (glossed in I Hen. VI, II. iv. 34) crops up again in III. i. 236 you don’t explain its meaning. What are you going to do about common obsolete words like this?—(1) gloss them every time they occur? (2) ditto with cross reference? (3) cross-reference only? or (4) ignore them after they have once been dealt with? It is difficult, I suppose, to know what to do. What you really want is a glossary! If you do (4) then the reader may not have read or may have forgotten your earlier note; if (3) it is irritating and wastes as much space as repeating your note and if (1) or (2) the repetition will become very boring. Perhaps the O.U.P. could give a copy of Onions’ Glossary with your Shakespeare! In any case, anyone who needs a Glossary can get Onions’ book which is both cheap and pleasant to handle. Does the O.U.P. insist on having the meaning of words explained? Couldn’t you argue that if you don’t explain them the sales of the Shakespeare Glossary will go up? It seems to me really rather a waste of your space to cover the ground Onions has covered unless you want to add something or to disagree with his explanations—and the problem of how often and in what manner a gloss should be repeated is difficult to solve. Once you have given a gloss in one context on the assumption that the reader won’t understand the word you ought logically to repeat it, as you can’t assume that a reader will read through steadily from Vol. I to the end but you must assume that if he doesn’t know what a word means in one context he won’t understand it in another.

I hope you are not finding that I am getting along far too slowly. Now that I am at home and can make as much mess as I like without being required to tidy it up perhaps I shall get along a little faster—but what takes the time is not the mechanical process of hand and eye (copying and reading) but thinking, and unfortunately I can’t resist the challenge of a problem! I have spent far more time than I should care to confess wrestling with maps, dictionaries and guide books over that baffling Charnico. {2} It looks as if it would be easily identified but it still teases me. Would you like me to try to get along a little faster? I don’t like to hustle over this kind of thing but if you don’t like my pace I will see if I can mend it.

Yours sincerely,
Alice Walker.

PS. I forgot to say that I have numbered the text pages in green pencil. Your numbering went wrong at pp. 19–20 & later petered out. I hope you don’t mind. I have also similarly numbered the pages of your collation notes as these come back in ones and twos.


Typed, except signature and postscript. Sent with A4/30.

{1} II. iv–III. i.

{2} See OED, s.v. ‘charneco’.

List of the contents of a parcel, by Alice Walker (two copies)


2 Henry VI
II. iv–III. i


Your MS. of collation notes pp. 10–12
Clean copy of [collation notes]
Marked [copy of collation notes]

Clean copy of notes to III. i.
Marked [copy of notes to III. i.]

Text pp. 21–8 (my green pencil numbering)

Query slips.


Typed. The words in square brackets are represented by ditto marks in the original.

Note from Alice Walker to R. B. McKerrow

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Relates an amusing anecdote of Oscar Asche ‘to illustrate the uselessness of trying to explain everything to the general reader’.



An anecdote to illustrate the uselessness of trying to explain everything to the general reader.

[I hesitate to pass this on—but the story has a moral. I can’t vouch for its veracity but it comes (at one remove) from a convalescent home in which a friend of mine was recently staying and was told there by Henry Ainley, also convalescing—I should add, in case you leap to the conclusion that I have very intemperate friends, that it was a gland operation my friend was recovering from.]

Scene: a theatre during rehearsals.

S.D. enter Oscar Asche {1} waving a copy of a play of Shakespeare’s.

Asche (in a loud voice)—I say Benson, there are a lot of words in this play I don’t understand. There’s this word ‘cuckold’ that keeps cropping up—what does it mean?

Benson (with memories of the precincts) If you will come to my room later I will explain it.

This sounds too good to be true, but it should warn you that you may not be able to explain evrything! Would you have foreseen and provided for this?

[Added on the back:] Something to read in the train which should show you that although I am not getting on very fast with 2 Henry VI, I am in excellent spirits!


Typed, except the note on the back. The square brackets are original.

{1} Asche had died just a few weeks previously, on 23 March.

Letter from Alice Walker to R. B. McKerrow

2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.—Sends 2 Henry VI, Act V. Is ready to begin Part 3.



2 Bankfield Lane, Southport.
17 June 1936.

Dear Dr. McKerrow,

Herewith Act V of 2 Henry VI. I don’t think there is anything I have to say about it in general as most of my difficulties have been with the details which I have noted on the slips, but I must apologise for the nasty-looking paper I finished it on. I typed it at the week-end {1} and had to use what I had—and my taste in paper (which I know is poor) must appear lamentable to the expert in this commodity. I hope it won’t offend you too much!

I havn’t found much to say about the notes. There are one or two things that rather trouble me (such as the ‘hempen caudle’ {2}) but as I havn’t found any solution to them I havn’t bothered to put them down. If anything occurs to me about them I can put some slips in with the next batch.

If you would like me to carry on with Part 3, I can face it any time you care to send it.

Yours sincerely,
Alice Walker.


Typed, except the signature. Sent with MCKW A4/36.

{1} 13th and 14th.
{2} This expression occurs, in fact, in Act IV (vii. 95).

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