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A common place book
ca. 1622-
1625
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MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 355

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MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 355
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The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.  Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source.  For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Samuel Radcliffe?]
Title: A common place book
Date: ca. 1622-1625
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS. Eng. misc. d.28, pp. 355, 359 & 375

Item Creator
[Samuel Radcliffe?]
Item Title
A common place book
Item Date
ca. 1622-1625
Repository
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS. Eng. misc. d.28, p. 355

MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 359

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MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 359
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.  Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source.  For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Samuel Radcliffe?]
Title: A common place book
Date: ca. 1622-1625
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS. Eng. misc. d.28, pp. 355, 359 & 375

Item Creator
[Samuel Radcliffe?]
Item Title
A common place book
Item Date
ca. 1622-1625
Repository
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS. Eng. misc. d.28, p. 359

MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 375

View Image Assets
MS. Eng. misc. d.28, page 375
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.  Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source.  For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Samuel Radcliffe?]
Title: A common place book
Date: ca. 1622-1625
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS. Eng. misc. d.28, pp. 355, 359 & 375

Item Creator
[Samuel Radcliffe?]
Item Title
A common place book
Item Date
ca. 1622-1625
Repository
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS. Eng. misc. d.28, p. 375

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.  Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source.  For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Samuel Radcliffe?]
Title: A common place book
Date: ca. 1622-1625
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS. Eng. misc. d.28, pp. 355, 359 & 375

This circa 1620s manuscript commonplace book includes eleven Shakespearean extracts from four plays: three from Richard II, one from Romeo and Juliet, five from Hamlet and two from Othello. One of his plays, Richard III, was judged by the compiler “nought worthy the excerpting” (end of column 700).

The manuscript is a folio volume of 649 leaves, written in both Latin and English, and organized into columns. The first half is mostly dedicated to extracts from classical works, while the second half contains a mixture of extracts from works of theological interest and English literature, including sixty-two dramatic extracts from plays by Shakespeare, Chapman, Jonson, Fletcher, Beaumont and Dekker on pages 355 to 359, and page 375. The extracts are mostly arranged by author and play. However, the Shakespearean extracts are scattered throughout the range. The extracts from Richard II appear on page 355, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet appear on page 359, with extracts from Beaumont and Fletcher, and Chapman interposed between the two Shakespearean plays, and finally, Othello appears on page 375.

The compiler copied Shakespearean extracts from the 1598 quarto of Richard II in columns 697-698 (2.1.5-14; 2.1.163-66; 2.2.14-17), the 1605 edition of Hamlet in columns 705-706, (1.2.150; 1.3.124-129; 3.2.69-76; 3.4.49-54; 5.2.43-47) the 1609 quarto of Romeo and Juliet in column 705 (2.2.190-195), and the 1622 edition of Othello in column 738 (2.3.380-382; 5.2.246-249). 

Although the compiler states the author and source text for each classical extract, the dramatic extracts are not clearly attributed. Instead, the compiler attaches this information inconsistently to either the first extract or the second. The attributions are also sometimes encoded. Using “a variant of the so-called rotate-one Caesar cipher, named after Julius Caesar who used it in his correspondence” (Coatalen, 154) the compiler used the next letter of the alphabet while spelling the title or author’s name. Therefore, the first extract from Richard II is attributed as “UlF, Usbhfekz pg Skdibse Uif tfdpoe. cz Tiblftqf bsf” for “THE, Tragediy of Richard The second. By Shakespeare” (column 697). The attributions for Hamlet and Othello also include the title and playwright, using a mix of encoded and regular writing (columns 705 and 738 respectively). The compiler added only the title of the play for the extract from Romeo and Juliet (column 705), and did not use the code. The inconsistency of this attribution system suggests a degree of playfulness, but also perhaps an attempt at elusiveness. Perhaps the compiler was hoping to conceal this material, as the sources might have been deemed too frivolous to be found in a collection mainly dedicated to serious, theological topics. At the same time, the compiler very precisely indicates the page, format and year of publication of each play excerpted. For example, the compiler indicates “4o: pag: 84:” for Romeo and Juliet (column 705), although Guillaume Coatalen observed that “the pagination of the extract from Romeo and Juliet, as in other extracts from Shakespeare in the manuscript, does not belong to any early quarto” (155). Perhaps these paradoxically hidden but detailed entries refer to a personal collection of plays, where a new pagination was added, hence the difference from the printed pagination of the early quartos, or perhaps the pagination refers to another personal collection of extracts, as cross-referencing was often practised if compilers had several personal notebooks. 

The compiler also adds Latin commentaries at the end of some extracts. For instance, “the tongues of dying men,” extract from Richard II (column 697) is labelled as “morientis hominis loquela verissima” (or “a dying man’s true speech”), simply summarizing the content of this passage. Although some comments following dramatic extracts suggest the compiler might have read and interpreted these passages in a religious context, the comments attached to the Shakespearean excerpts suggest the compiler was more interested in Shakespeare’s use of language. Perhaps the compiler recognized that “tongues of dying men” echoed Erasmus’s Latin from Encomium Moriae, or perhaps he recognized it from Englands Parnassus, where the Shakespearean passage also appears.

In general, the choice of Shakespearean plays reflects the popularity of these plays in other collections. Romeo and Juliet and Richard II were among the most popular plays in Belvedere and Englands Parnassus (both published in 1600); Edward Pudsey also excerpted from the same Shakespearean plays in his manuscript collection (circa 1600-10), while Abraham Wright, who studied at St John’s college, Oxford, included extracts from Othello and Hamlet in his large miscellany (described in the Catalogue of Early Literary Manuscripts, BL Add MS 22608, circa 1640).

Furthermore, the compiler noted that an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet on page 359 (column 705) was used in a sermon preached in 1620 and 1621 by Nicholas Richardson, of Magdalen College, at the University Church, St Mary’s. This allusion, along with the moral topics discussed in the selections of plays, might indicate that the compiler intended to use this material in similar ways. Wright, a clergyman himself, seems to have collected dramatic material with a view to use it “as rhetorical primers for his own sermons” (Kirsch, 260). The amount of religious literature present in the manuscript could also mean that the compiler read theology, and the many references to Oxford (such as the list at the end of the collection of the most famous writers of the university), and the abundant presence of works by contemporary Oxford men support the hypothesis that the compiler was based at Oxford. Because the manuscript “was handed down at Brasenose from principal to principal,” as pointed out in the Summary catalogue entry (number 28 (32547), volume 6, page 163), it has long been suggested that Samuel Radcliffe (principal from 1614 to 1648) could have potentially been the compiler of this commonplace book. Coatalen, however, has shown by comparing the hand of this manuscript with documents known to be by Radcliffe that this attribution is only “a myth” (120).

C. B. Heberden, the principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, presented the manuscript to the Bodleian Library on April 30, 1898 (as noted in the Summary Catalogue entry number 28 (32547), volume 6, page 163). The original dating of this manuscript is uncertain, but as suggested by Coatalen, the reference to Robert Baker’s 1616 Bible serves to establish a date before which the collection could not have been written, while the latest work mentioned here was published in 1623. The fact that the dramatic extracts occurred on consecutive pages, and that Othello was the last play to be published in 1622, could suggest that these extracts were copied shortly after that year.

Guillaume Coatalen offers a fuller account of the manuscript in his article “Shakespeare and other “Tragicall Discourses” in an Early Seventeenth-Century Commonplace Book from Oriel College, Oxford,” where he also provides a transcription of all dramatic extracts found in the manuscript (which will also be available online on DEx: A Database of Dramatic Extracts).

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[Image 1: p. 355]

[col. 697]
Ribald. This was at the first Rabod
as yet in the Nertherlands it is asea, where
hence both (we and the french) hauing taken
the name haue sence that varyed it both
in ortography and sence. It was the proper
name of Rabod a heathen King of ffreis
land, who being instructed in the faith
of christ by the godly Bishop vltran faithfully
promised to be baptized, and appointed
the time and place, where being come
and standing in the water, he asked of the
Bishop where all his forefathers were that in
former ages were deceased? the Bishop answer=
ed, that dying without the true know=
ledge of God &c they werein hell: then the
Rabod  I hold it better and more praise-
worthy to go with the greater multitude
to hell, then with your few Christians to
heauen; and therewithall he went out of
the water unchristned; and returned both
to his wonted idolatry and to his euill life
notwithstanding the good admonitions of the
Bishop and an euident miracle which (through
the power of god) the said Bishop wrought. He
was afterward surprised with a sodaine and
unprovided death anno 720 and his very
name became so odius through, his wicked
nesse, that it grew to be a tale of reproch
and shame and hath so continued euer since

so do the Papists perswade that our ancestors relli=
gion is the truest

D[?]rabb in the old Teutonic language is the
lees filth and dreges remaining in the bot-
tome of vesells.

the tongues of dying men Inforce attention
like deep harmony where words are scarce
they are seldome spent in vaine for they
breath truth that breath their words in
paine. He that no more must say, is listned more
Then they whom youth and ease hath taught
to gloze, more are mens ends markt then
their liues before. The setting sunne and musick
at the close. As the last tast of sweets is
sweetest last Writ in remembrance more
then things long past.  UlF, Usbhfekz
pg Skdibse Uif tfdpoe. cz Tiblftqf
bsf 4o. page 68
morientis hominis loquela verissima

supplant the Irish Rebells those roughheaded
kernes Which liue like venome where no
venome else But only they haue priuiledge
to liue.

[col. 698]
each substance of a greife hath twenty
shadowes, Which shew like greife it self, but
are not so: For sorrowes eyes glazed, with
blinding teares Deuide one thing entire to
many obiects.

great men imitate / unskillfull statuaries who
suppose In forging a Colos.. if they make him
stroddle enough, stroote, and look big and gape
their work is goodly, so our tympanous statists
(In their affected grauity of voice, sowerness of
countenace, manners cruelty, Authority, wealth,
and all the spawne of fortune) think they
beare all the kingdomes worth before them yet
differ not from their Colosick statues which
with heroique formes without orespread within
are nou[h]t but mortar flint and lead

man is a torch borne in the wind; a dreame
But of a shadow summ’d with all his substance

as great seamen using all their powers and
skills in the Neptunes deep invisible paths in tall
ships richly built and ribd with brasse. To put
a girdle round about the world, when they
haue done it, comming neere their Hauen Are
glad to give a warning peece, and call A poore
staid fisherman that neuer past  His countryes
sight to waft and guide them in: So when we
wander farthest through the waues of glassy
glory and the gulfes of state Topt with all
titles, spreading all our reaches As if each priuate
arme would spheare the world   We must to vertue
for her guide resort, Or we shall shipwrack in
our safest port  DWttz Eo BNCpRt CZ
H: DIB Gnbo: 4o page 70
god…... is that true guide

There is no second place in Numerous state
that hold more then a Cypher: In a King
All places are containd. his words and looks
Are like that flashes and the bolts of Ioue:
His deeds inimitable like the Sea
that shuts still as it opes, and leaves no tractes
Nor prints of president for poor mens factes

The French Court is a meere mirrour of confusion
the King and Subiect, Lord and euery slaue
Dance a continuall hay

that (like a Lawrell put in fire
sparkled, and spit, did much much more than scorne
that his wrong should incense him so like chaffe
To go so soone out; and like lighted paper
Approoue his spirit at once both fire and ashes

[Image 2: p. 359]

[col. 705]
Forget not mother what are children
Nor how you haue gron’d for them, to what loue
they are borne inheritours, with what care kept
And as they rise to ripeness, still remember
How they imp out your age, and when time calls you
That as an Autumne flower you fall, forget not
How round about the hearse they hang like penons:

Tis almost morning I would haue thee gone
And yet no father then a wantons bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poore prisoner, in his twisted gyues,
Then with a silken thread plucks it back againe
So iealous louing of his liberty. Tragedy of
Romeo and Iuliet .4o: pag: 84:

radius p(er)uenit proi(n) cadere

this Mr Richard^son College Magdalen inserted hence
into his Sermon, preached it twice at Saint Maries
1620.1621. applying it the to gods loue to
his Saints either hurt with sinne, or aduersity
neuer forsaking them.

- a man I knew but in his euening
- the storme in which sad parting blow
- leuell him a way to repentance
- shame blast your black memory. Scornfull
Lady: Comedia by Francis Beaumont: 4o
page 70: 1616

M[omford]. He in all things rich, in his mind
E[ugenia]: Why seeks he me then?
M[omford]. To make you ioynt partner with him in all
things; and there is but a little partiall difference
betwixt you that hinders that universall ioy where
the bignesse of this circle held too neere our
eye keepes it from the whole spheare of the
sunne but could we sustaine it indifferently be-
twixt us and it, it would then without check
of one beame appeare in his fullnesse.
TRP HGMFT HppTDBgg Comedia 4o:
page 80: 1606

- nor in her tender cheeks
the standing lake of impudence corrupts

shee thus to change? frailty thy name is wo-
man. USBHFEK pg IBNMFU: 4o:
pag: 100. by Shakes TIBLftqfBRE.
1605

[col. 706]
             I do know
When the blood burnes, how the prodigall soule
Lends the tongue vowes; these blazes daughter
Giuing more light then heate extinct in both
Euen in their promise, as it is a making
you must not take for fire--

           - thou hast been
One in suffring all, all as that suffers nothing
A man that fortunes buffets and rewards
Hast tane with equall thanks; and blest are those
whose bloud and iudgement are so well comedled,
That they are not a pipe for fortunes finger
To sound what stop she please —

— incest — such an act — forgetting of former husband
That blurs the grace, and blush of modesty,
Calls vertue hypocrite, takes of the rose
From the faire forehead of an innocent loue
And sets a blister there, makes mariage vowes
As false as dicers othes --

—an earnest coniuration fro’ the King to th’King,
As loue betwixt them like the palme might flourish,
As peace should still her wheaten garland winne
And stand a Comma’ tweene their amities—

a quiet conscience is a iewell of iewells
the price of it is far aboue the pearle
neither can it be valued with the wedge
of fine gold. But this is a flower which
groweth not in the gardens of Rome, no
not in Beluedere the Popes paradise: for
there is no religion in the world which can
pacify the troubled conscience, but that only
which teacheth the penitent spirit the remis-
sion of his sinnes, and an infallible certainty
of his saluation by the merits of Ies Christ
apprehended by a true and liuely faith and
sealed to the sanctified soule by the spirit of
grace. But the present Religion of the Church
of Rome teacheth only a morall, coniecturall
and fallible. Bell de iusti... : l.3.(.2.243.) That
it is uncertaine certainty which must needs
plunge the poor soule in a 1000 perplexities
The consecration of the Bishops of the
Church of England with their succesion &c.
By Francis Mason. folio: page 278 . 1613

[Image 3: p. 375]

[col. 375]
I will with iealousy blind him—So will I
turne her vertue into pitch And out of her
owne goodnesse make the net That shall
enmesh them all. URBHfEX:pg:PUff
mmp:&t by w. shakespeare. pag: 100. 4°. 1622.
=eta typia

—did he liue now
This sight would make him do a desperate turne,
Yea curse his better Angell fro’ his side
And fall to reprobation.
desperatio ab afflictionis

 

Written by Beatrice Montedoro

Sources
Guillaum Coatalen"Shakespeare and other 'Tragicall Discourses' in an Early Seventeenth-Century Commonplace Book from Oriel College, Oxford," English Manuscript Studies 1100–1700, 13 (2007): 120–64

Arthur C. Kirsch “A Caroline Commentary on the Drama,” Modern Philology, 66 (1968): 256–61

The Shakspere Allusion-Book: A Collection of Allusions to Shakespeare from 1591 to 1700, ed. by John Munro, rev. edn., 2 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus, 1909)

A Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford Which Have Not Hitherto Been Catalogued in the Quarto Series, ed. by Richard W. Hunt and Francis F. Madan, 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895–1953)

Last updated April 30, 2018