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[John Donne] 'Meditation upon a Good Friday, ryding from London towards Exceter, westward' n.d. Manuscript copy of the poem in the hand of Nathaniel Rich, probably written c.1613-c.1617, with letter, draft letter, and antiquarian note in Rich's hand, all undated [c.1613-c.1625]

 Single Item
MS. Don. c. 231

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Papers in the hand of Sir Nathaniel Rich, comprising:
  1. (fols. 1-2) 'Meditation upon a Good friday, ryding from London towards Exceter, westward', a version of the longer published work 'Goodfriday, 1613. Riding Westward'. 38 lines, corrections to two lines, endorsed in a different hand 'Good Friday', n.d. c1613-c1617. The manuscript was discovered in the 1970s and has attracted academic interest ever since. The text is substantially different from other manuscripts of the poem, and may be an early version (rather than a corrupt version) - see Margaret Maurer and Dennis Flynn, 'The Text of Good Friday and John Donne's Itinerary in April 1613', Textual Cultures, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2013), pp.50-94 . Nathaniel Rich was associated with Donne at the time of the poem's composition in 1613. This manuscript is one of two transcribed by Rich (the other is now at Princeton). Manuscript DnJ 1430 in Peter Beal, Index to English Literary Manuscripts (London, 1980), vol. 1, pt 1. The online version of the index, CELM ( Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts 1450–1700) has incorrectly ascribed some of the features of this manscript to DnJ 1431 so that the Sotheby's catalogue, Property From The Collection of Robert S Pirie wrongly cites it as DnJ 1431.
  2. (fol. 3) autograph letter signed by Nathaniel Rich, to 'Mr Pheasant', seeking the advice of the recipient and one Sir Thomas Crue on a bargain and sale involving Sir Thomas Wyseman, n.d.
  3. (fols. 4-5) draft letter to 'Sweet Madam', possibly Isabel Smythe (nee Rich), daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, beg: 'Sweet Madam, Even your chidinge deserves thankes ...'. Endorsed with a partly illegible note which may include the words, '... to my L[ady?] Is. Smyth sent 30 July', n.y. In a postscript, the author asks the recipient to pay his respects to 'that noblest of lords my L. Southampton'. he adds 'ill [...] comes slower to us then to you in England...'. This suggests that the letter might have been drafted on one of Rich's Irish commissions between 1622 and 1625 (see ODNB). Isabel Rich married Sir John Smythe in 1619.
  4. (fols. 6-7) a brief extract from Matthew Paris Flores Historiarum (London, 1570), to illustrate 'that the charters of 29 [Edward I] were granted in p[ar]l[iamen]t'

Dates

  • c.1613-c.1625

Extent

6 Leaves

Language of Materials

English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Don. c. 231, fols. 1-2].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Shelfmark:

MS. Don. c. 231

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11887

Overview

[John Donne] 'Meditation upon a Good Friday, ryding from London towards Exceter, westward' n.d. Manuscript copy of the poem in the hand of Nathaniel Rich, probably written c.1613-c.1617, with letter, draft letter, and antiquarian note in Rich's hand, all undated.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Nathaniel Rich (c1585-1636) was a colonial investor and politician. John Donne (1573-1631) was Dean of St. Paul's and a poet. For details of both, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Isabel Smythe was the wife of Sir John Smythe of Sutton-at-Hone, Kent. She was the daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, and was a cousin of Nathaniel Rich. Sir John Smythe (Smith) is mentioned in the will of Nathaniel Rich (National Archives, PROB 11/172/295). Further details about the political and business connections of the Rich and Smythe families can be found on the History of Parliament website - see the entries for RICH, Nathaniel (1585-1636), of Warwick House, Holborn, London and Stondon Massey, Essex; SMYTHE, Sir John III (c.1599-1640), of Sutton-at-Hone, Kent; SMYTHE, Sir Thomas (c.1558-1625), of Philpott Lane, London and Bounds Place, Bidborough, Kent.

Custodial History

Probably came into the hands of Nathaniel Rich's executor, Edward Montagu, Viscount Mandeville and later 2nd Earl of Manchester (1602-1671), thence by descent within the Montagu family, Earls and later Dukes of Manchester. Purchased by Robert S. Pirie from Bernard Quaritch, 1985.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from the Sotheby's auction Property From The Collection of Robert S Pirie Volumes I & II: Books and Manuscripts 2-4 December 2015, Lot 311

Bibliography

The poem at fols. 1-2 is listed as DnJ 1430 in Peter Beal, Index to English Literary Manuscripts (London, 1980), vol. 1, pt 1. The online version of the index, CELM ( Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts 1450–1700) has incorrectly ascribed some of the features of this manscript to DnJ 1431 so that the Sotheby's catalogue, Property From The Collection of Robert S Pirie wrongly cites it as DnJ 1431.
Title
Catalogue of Sir Nathaniel Rich's transcript of John Donne's poem, 'Meditation upon a Good Friday, ryding from London towards Exceter, westward' n.d. [c.1613-c.1617], with other papers, n.d. [c.1613-c.1625]
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Mike Webb
Date
2016
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom