Staffordshire Record Office


A fragment (last part only) of an autograph letter by Burton to his brother William, 11 August 1605. Offering evidence of Burton's part-authorship of a lost play (probably in Latin), Alba, acted before James I in 1605. 1605.

*BuR 9: Robert Burton, Letter(s)

Among the papers of William Burton (1575-1645), Leicestershire antiquary.

Edited and discussed in Richard L. Nochimson, ‘Robert Burton's Authorship of Alba: A Lost Letter Recovered’, RES, NS 21 (1970), 325-31, where it is observed that one of three sheets at Stafford containing the outside addresses from letters to William Burton appears to be inscribed by Robert ‘To my very loving brother’, but that it is not clear whether it belongs to the letter of 11 August 1605 or to some other, lost letter. Facsimile in Nicolas K. Kiessling's exhibition catalogue The Legacy of Democritus Junior (Bodleian Library, 1990), Plate V, p. 15.

D 661/11/1/7

A notebook, probably compiled by Sir Richard Dyott (1590-1659), MP for Stafford and Lichfield. Early-mid-17th century.

p. 20

HrJ 270: Sir John Harington, Of Treason (‘Treason doth neuer prosper, what's the reason?’)

Copy, here beginning ‘Treason nere prospers, true, but what's the reason’.

First published in 1615. 1618, Book IV, No. 5. McClure No. 259, p. 255. This epigram also quoted in a letter to Prince Henry, 1609 (McClure, p. 136). Kilroy, Book III, No. 43, p. 185.

p. 84

HrJ 251.5: Sir John Harington, Of taking a Hare (‘Vnto a Lawyer rich, a Client poore’)

A paraphrase by Dyott from memory presumably of this poem: ‘Sir Jo: Harrington in his epigrammes brings in a country fellow who had taken advise of a lawyer and when his deeds 3 weekes had bin perused told the lawyer he had no mony to give him…’.

McClure No. 331, p. 278. Kilroy, Book IV, No. 45, p. 226, a version headed ‘Of a Lawier that would take a Hare for a fee’ and beginning ‘Late to a Lawier rich a Client poore’.

D 1287/19/6, [uncatalogued MS]

Copy, apparently in the hand of Sir John Bridgeman (1667-1747), headed ‘On nothing by the Earl of Rochester’, on three quarto pages. c.1700.

RoJ 599.5: John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester, Upon Nothing (‘Nothing! thou elder brother even to Shade’)

Among archives of the Bridgeman family, Earls of Bradford.

First published, as a broadside, [in London, 1679]. Poems on Several Occasions (‘Antwerp’, 1680). Vieth, pp. 118-20. Walker, pp. 62-4. Harold Love, ‘The Text of Rochester's “Upon Nothing”’, Centre for Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Monash University, Occasional Papers 1 (1985). Love, pp. 46-8.

D 1287/19/6, [uncatalogued volume]

A quarto volume of poems on affairs of state, in a single professional hand, 136 pages (lacking pp. 49-50), in paper wrappers. c.1680s.

Among the archives of the Bridgeman family, Earls of Bradford.

pp. 7-17

DrJ 99.5: John Dryden, Mac Flecknoe (‘All humane things are subject to decay’)

Copy, headed ‘Mack Fleckno’.

First published in London, 1682. Miscellany Poems (London, 1684). Kinsley, I, 265-71. California, II, 53-60. Hammond, I, 313-36.

The text also discussed extensively in G. Blakemore Evans, ‘The Text of Dryden's Mac Flecknoe: The Case for Authorial Revision’, Studies in Bibliography, 7 (1955), 85-102; in David M. Vieth, ‘Dryden's Mac Flecknoe’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 7 (1953), 32-54; and in Vinton A. Dearing, ‘Dryden's Mac Flecknoe: The Case Against Editorial Confusion’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 24 (1976), 204-45. See also David M. Vieth, ‘The Discovery of the Date of MacFlecknoe’ in Evidence in Literary Scholarship: Essays in Memory of James Marshall Osborn, ed. René Wellek and Alvaro Ribeiro (Oxford, 1979), pp. 71-86.

pp. 18-27

DrJ 43.99: John Dryden, An Essay upon Satire (‘How dull and how insensible a beast’)


A satire written in 1675 by John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, but it was widely believed by contemporaries (including later Alexander Pope, who had access to Mulgrave's papers) that Dryden had a hand in it, a belief which led to the notorious assault on him in Rose Alley on 18 December 1679, at the reputed instigation of the Earl of Rochester and/or the Duchess of Portsmouth.

First published in London, 1689. POAS, I (1963), pp. 396-413.

The authorship discussed in Macdonald, pp. 217-19, and see John Burrows, ‘Mulgrave, Dryden, and An Essay upon Satire’, in Superior in His Profession: Essays in Memory of Harold Love, ed. Meredith Sherlock, Brian McMullin and Wallace Kirsop, Script & Print, 33 (2009), pp. 76-91, where is it concluded, from stylistic analysis, that ‘Mulgrave had by far the major hand’. Recorded in Hammond, V, 684, in an ‘Index of Poems Excluded from this Edition’.

pp. 51-5

DoC 58.5: Charles Sackville, Sixth Earl of Dorset, Colon (‘As Colon drove his sheep along’)


First published in Poems on Affairs of State (London, 1697). POAS, II (1965), 167-75. Harris, pp. 124-35.

pp. 56-62

DoC 356.5: Charles Sackville, Sixth Earl of Dorset, Rochester's Farewell (‘Tir'd with the noisome follies of the age’)


First published in A Third Collection of the Newest and Most Ingenious Poems, Satyrs, Songs &c (London, 1689). POAS, II (1965), 217-27. Discussed and Dorset's authorship rejected in Harris, pp. 190-2. The poem is noted by Alexander Pope as being ‘probably by the Ld Dorset’ in Pope's exemplum of A New Collection of Poems Relating to State Affairs (London, 1705), British Library, C.28.e.15, p. 121.

p. 69

HrJ 238.5: Sir John Harington, Of certain puritan wenches (‘Six of the weakest sex and purest sect’)

Copy, headed ‘Upon Six holy Sisters that mett at a Conventicle to alter the popish word of Preaching’.

First published (anonymously) in Rump: or An Exact Collection of the Choycest Poems and Songs (London, 1662), II, 158-9. McClure No. 356, p. 292. Kilroy, Book II, No. 94, p. 164.

pp. 75-8

DoC 82.5: Charles Sackville, Sixth Earl of Dorset, The Duel of the Crabs (‘In Milford Lane near to St. Clement's steeple’)

Copy, headed ‘A Duell Betweene two Monsters upon my Lady Bets C--t with their Change of Government from Monarchicall to Democraticall’.

First published, ascribed to Henry Savile, in The Annual Miscellany: for the year 1694 (London, 1694). Harris, pp. 118-23.

D 1721/3/186 [item 1]

Copy. Early-mid-17th century.

RaW 806: Sir Walter Ralegh, Speech on the Scaffold (29 October 1618)

Among the papers of the Bagot family of Blithfield, Staffordshire.

Transcripts of Ralegh's speech have been printed in his Remains (London, 1657). Works (1829), I, 558-64, 691-6. VIII, 775-80, and elsewhere. Copies range from verbatim transcripts to summaries of the speech, they usually form part of an account of Ralegh's execution, they have various headings, and the texts differ considerably. For a relevant discussion, see Anna Beer, ‘Textual Politics: The Execution of Sir Walter Ralegh’, MP, 94/1 (August 1996), 19-38.

D 1721/3/186 [item 2]

Copy. Early-mid-17th century.

RaW 710.265: Sir Walter Ralegh, Short Apology for his last Actions at Guiana

Ralegh's letter of 1618 to his cousin George, Lord Carew of Clopton (beginning ‘Because I know not whether I shall live...’). First published in Judicious and Select Essays (London, 1650). Edwards, II, 375 et seq. Youings, No. 222, pp. 364-8.

D 1721/3/246

A collection of papers of Lord Bagot, of Blithfield Hall, and his family. Mid-17th century.

[unnumbered item]

DrJ 30: John Dryden, Epilogue To Oxford Spoken by Mrs. Marshal (‘Oft has our Poet wisht, this happy Seat’)

Copy, headed ‘The Epilogue’, on a folio leaf; late 17th century.

First published (in two versions) in Miscellany Poems (London, 1684). Kinsley, I, 373-4. California, I, 153-4. Hammond, I, 291-2.

[unnumbered item]

DrJ 163: John Dryden, Prologue to the University of Oxford, 1674. Spoken by Mr. Hart (‘Poets, your Subjects, have their Parts assign'd’)

Copy, headed ‘The Prologue spoaken at Oxon’, on a folio leaf. Late 17th century.

First published in Miscellany Poems (London, 1684). Kinsley, I, 372-3. California, I, 151-2. Hammond, I, 289-91.

[unnumbered item]

DrJ 261: John Dryden, An Evening's Love: or The Mock Astrologer, Act II, scene i, lines 499-514. Song (‘After the pangs of a desperate Lover’)

Copy, on a single leaf.

This MS collated in part in California.

First published in London, 1671. California, X (1970), pp. 195-314 (p. 245). Kinsley, I, 125. Hammond, I, 221-2. This song first published in Merry Drollery, Complete (London, 1670).

[unnumbered item]

RnT 397: Thomas Randolph, Upon the losse of his little finger (‘Arithmetique nine digits, and no more’)

Copy, headed ‘R: cutting off his own finger,’ on a single folio leaf.

First published in Poems (1638). Thorn-Drury, pp. 56-7.

[unnumbered item]

CwT 592.5: Thomas Carew, A prayer to the Wind (‘Goe thou gentle whispering wind’)

Copy of an untitled version, beginning ‘Goe gentle wisperinge winde’, with other verses, on a single quarto leaf.

First published in Poems (1640) and in Poems: written by Wil. Shake-speare, Gent. (London, 1640). Dunlap, pp. 11-12.

[unnumbered item]

StW 1334: William Strode, A Lover to his Mistress (‘Ile tell you how the Rose did first grow redde’)

Copy, in a mixed hand, headed ‘A Complement to a Young Lady’, with two other poems on a single quarto leaf.

First published, in Wits Recreations (London, 1640). Dobell, p. 48. Listed, without text, in Forey, p. 339.

[unnumbered item]

MaA 495: Andrew Marvell, Further Advice to a Painter (‘Painter once more thy Pencell reassume’)

Copy, on two pages, sent as a letter to ‘Mr Walter Bagott at Sr Edward Bagotts at Bliffields’.

First published in Poems on Affairs of State (London, 1697). Margoliouth, I, 176-7. POAS, I, 163-7. Recorded in Osborne, pp. 38-9. Rejected from the canon by Lord and the authorship considered doubtful by Chernaik, pp. 211-12.

[unnumbered item]

RnT 467: Thomas Randolph, The Combat of the Cocks (‘Go, you tame gallants, you that have the name’)


(Sometimes called A terible true Tragicall relacon of a duell fought at Wisbich June the 17th: 1637.) Published, and attributed to Randolph, in Hazlitt, I, xviii. II, 667-70. By Robert Wild.

[unnumbered item]

RnT 569: Thomas Randolph, Upon the Burning of a School (‘What heat of learning kindled your desire’)


Published in Wit and Drollery (London, 1661), ascribed to ‘T. R.’. Usually anonymous in MS copies and the school variously identified as being in Castlethorpe or in Batley, Yorkshire, or in Lewes, Sussex, or elsewhere.


Copy, untitled, on a single quarto leaf.

ClJ 208: John Cleveland, Epitaph on the Earl of Strafford (‘Here lies Wise and Valiant Dust’)

First published in Character (1647). Edited in CSPD, 1640-1641 (1882), p. 574. Berdan, p. 184, as ‘Internally unlike his manner’. Morris & Withington, p. 66, among ‘Poems probably by Cleveland’. The attribution to Cleveland is dubious. The epitaph is also attributed to Clement Paman: see Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse 1625-1660, ed. Peter Davidson (Oxford, 1998), notes to No. 275 (p. 363).

D 4038/I/33

A group of papers relating to Gilbert Talbot, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury (1553-1616).

Among the archives of the Bagot family, of Blithfield Hall.

[unnumbered item]

*HbT 174: Thomas Hobbes, Document(s)

Autograph signature of Hobbes as witness to a bond, for the sum of £350 out of a total sum of £600, owed to Edmond Skory, drawn up by the London scrivener Leonard Willworth, signed by Sir William Cavendish, 4 March 1617/18.

Possibly the earliest known example of Hobbes's hand. 1618.