Commentary.

This project includes provenance information for 1,686 of Cotgrave’s 1,701 extracts in his English Treasury, with passage commentaries for 49 extracts. I conclude that Cotgrave quoted 239 works by 58 dramatists, based on title-page attributions from the playbooks. Cotgrave quoted as many as 22 manuscript fragments, incorporating different versions of Richard Brome’s The City Wit (9), Thomas Middleton’s The Mayor of Quinborough (12), and Beaumont and Fletcher’s Coxcomb (2). The study adds the titles of eight plays to G. E. Bentley Sr.’s survey of the British Library’s ‘Oldys’ copy (Bartholomew Fair, Devil’s Charter, English Traveller, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Opportunity, Northward Ho, Sicelides, and Tempest), and a commendatory verse (William Strachey’s “Vpon SEIANVS,” prefixed to the 1605 edition of Jonson’s Sejanus). It adds the names of six authors (Barnabe Barnes, Jasper Fisher, Phineas Fletcher, Thomas Heywood, Strachey, and “J. W.”), while subtracting three titles (Sad One, Love and Honour, Old Couple). Forty-Four passages have more than one speaker. “Of Kings, Princes” is the subject heading with the most commonplaces (47); the longest commonplace, by line count, is 168.2, at 60 lines. From this research I am able to show that two later works relied very heavily on Cotgrave’s quotations, with one drawing formidably on his subject headings for topics of theatrical conversation (McEvilla, “Shakespeare and Jonson”; McEvilla, “John Cotgrave’s 1650s”). Four extracts that Martin Wiggins believed to be from lost plays (41.6, 45.2, and 154.4) are here, for the first time, given a source (two from Jasper Mayne’s City Match [1639]; one from Fulke Greville’s Mustapha [1633]; also see 56.2). I identify one hitherto unnoticed Shakespeare passage, 308.2 (cf. Munro, 2:47–53; Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 189n8; Isherwood, 307–34), and one overlooked passage by Thomas Heywood (discrediting a key argument of Bentley’s [“John Cotgrave’s,” 201–2]). See further McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.”

Abbreviations

ET: John Cotgrave, The English Treasury of Wit and Language (H. Moseley, 1655).

MayorQ: Thomas Middleton, The Mayor of Quinborough: A Tragedy (H. Herringman, 1661). [alternative title: The Mayor of Quinborough: A Comedy (H. Herringman, 1661).]

P20: Thomas Middleton, Hengist king of Kent or thee Mayor of Quinborough, University of Nottingham, Portland MS PwV 20.

F78: Thomas Middleton, Hengist King off Kent [sic, from colophon], Lambarde (Folger) MS 1478.2.

CityO: Richard Brome, The City Wit, or, the Woman Wears the Breeches, in Five New Playes ([H. Moseley], R. Marriot, and T. Dring, 1653).

CoxF: Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, The Coxcomb, in Comedies and Tragedies (H. Moseley and H. Robinson, 1647).


6.3. This passage transposes connected couplets of the same play.

18.4–. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” Lines 1 to 4 of this passage are on page 18, and 5 to 13 on page 19, so only from punctuation is it clear that this is a single passage and not two passages from two lost plays.

Thou art a singing, rayling, scoffing Rogue,
One that nere knew any Religion so far as
To read of it; one that will speak ill of any man
Behind his back, and forswear it to his face,
Where thou dost make thy praise the greater calumny,
Thou wilt abuse thy Father, though he were one
Of the States, but lest thou shouldst be so unnaturall,
Fate provided him a Broom-man, and made
Thy patrimony an old pair of shooes.
Thou art a small Vessell full of villany, pure
And strong, and laid up for the Devills own drinking.
Thy end will be blaspheming, a Tapster thy
Executioner, and a double Jugge the Instrument.

19.4. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

Covetousnesse,
Thou art the heart of every deadly sin,
There’s no Adulterer, but is covetous
Of other mens wives, and he puts them to use.
No drunkard, but is covetous of wine,
And covetous men are drunk adulterers,
They still commit Idolatry to their Chests.

41.5. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” The passage is later copied by John Milton’s nephew, Edward Phillips, in Mysteries of Love and Eloquence (1658). For discussion of Phillips’s copyings from Cotgrave, see McEvilla, “Shakespeare and Jonson.”

To say
A Waiting-woman is handsome, and yet chaste,
Is, to affirm all Pages gelt, or that
The Knight keeps to his Lady in the high Bed,
And never Truckles.

41.6. Erroneously unidentified in Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 267; actually from Jasper Mayne’s The City Match (1639): “She was a Chamber-maid. Ms Holl. And they by their place, | Doe wait upon the Lady, but belong | Unto the Lord” (Q2r–Q2v).

45.2. Erroneously unidentified in Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 271; actually from Jasper Mayne’s The City Match (1639), where the corresponding lines read “Aur. Well, Sir, I must then accept him | With all his imperfections, J have | Procur’d a Sir Iohn yonder. | Plotw. Who ist? | Aur. One | That preaches the next parish once a week | Asleep for thirty pounds a yeare,” conflating dialogue from two characters (M1r). The passage reappears in “A Dialogue Betwixt Eight Youths,” in the Orations volume, Canterbury Cathedral Archives CCA-LitMA/E/41, which I demonstrate to be a derivative piece comprising 28 of Cotgrave’s extracts from 24 pre-1642 plays (McEvilla, “John Cotgrave’s 1650s”).

47.5. No rule separates this extract from 47.6.

47.6. No rule separates this extract from 47.5.

48.4. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

City, was in our primitive language craft,
And that implies it is a Net to catch
The simple clown, he was born to be cozen’d.
And when you do want such, for exercise
You may cheat one another.

51.2. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. comes it] it comes P20, F78; for that] for some that’s Σ.

55.3. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. Soon] quickly CityO.

56.2. Arguably, this passage either combines six lines from Beaumont and Fletcher’s Coxcomb (1647) and eleven lines of a lost play (Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 267; Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 194n9), or, it is a passage from a lost version of Coxcomb. The second scenario is more probable. See McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.”

What true contented happiness dwels here,
More then in Cities? would to God my Father
Had been like one of theirs, and brought me up
To milk, and do as they doe: Methinks it is
A life that I would chuse: if I were now
To tell my time again, above a Princes.
What pleasure, joy, and infinite contentment,
Rises each morning with these blessed people,
And shuts their eyes at night with peace again?
They know no pinching griefe, nor weariness,
But of their travell, all their thoughts are free
And harmless as their state is, love to them
Is open-ey’d and innocent as truth,
They fear not, nor they wish not one day sooner
The fruits of love, because their faiths are certaine,
And stranger ’tis among these honest people,
To find a false friend, then a murtherer. (ET)
What true contented happinesse dwels here,
More than in Cities? wood to God my father
Had liv’d like one of these, and bred me up
To milke: and doe as they doe: me thinks
Tis a life that I wood choose, if I were now
To tell my time agen, above a princes; maids, for charity
Give a poor wench one draught of Milke
That wearinesse and hunger have nigh famisht. (Coxcomb, 108)

62.3. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” state] ’state CityO; others?] others! CityO.

62.4. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse.

64.4–. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. The extent of differences between Cotgrave’s version of this passage and Brome’s serve especially to reinforce Cotgrave’s possession of a lost manuscript copy of the play. speak, Crazy] Crasie, speak CityO; thou (1)] omit CityO; what if I be] what if I were CityO; but (1)] Crasie CityO; omit ET, after why] Sir! why prithee tell me, what would thy Divorce hurt her? CityO; would (3)] should CityO; hoyst her] hoist her tires CityO; her, she] her. And she CityO; would (5)] should CityO; Whilst thou, a poor protested Cuckold, shouldst | Be forc’d to seek out dirty common flesh, | Serv’d in beastly Linnen to thee, and pay for it.] omit CityO; purpose now] matter CityO; For] Nay Crasie CityO; yet] thou CityO; enforce] force CityO; omit ET after Whore] Say you so? Birlady, and I’le take your Counsell CityO; therefore i’le’n] troth Sir, Ile CityO.

73.5. Despite the punctuation, this extract is of a different play from 74.1.

74.1. Despite the punctuation, this extract is of a different play from 73.5.

82.3. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

Many of these smooth fac’d lives
Are led in policy, onely to cloak
Some one sound villany, growing seven yeares since,
And perhaps ripened now.

83.6. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. guilt] guile Σ; omit ET, after man (1)] Who could expect such treason from thy breast, | Such thunder from thy voice? Or takest thou pride | To imitate the fair uncertainty | Of a bright day, that teemes a sudden storm, | When the world least expects one? but of all; the] you P20, F78; in a man] in man P20, F78.

84.8–. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” Lines 1 to 2 of this passage are on page 84, and 3 to 5 on page 85, so only from punctuation is it clear that this is a single passage and not two passages from two different lost plays.

THat slender vice,
Reputed but good fellowship, drink, in us,
I alwaies have avoided, since I knew
It took us from our selves, and made us do
Things that were its, not ours.

92.3. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. but] omit CityO; has] hath CityO; and I Shall] And I hope I shall CityO; to my glory and his comfort] his Worship CityO.

92.9–. If 56.2 is derived from a lost version of Beaumont and Fletcher’s Coxcomb—see above—the same may be true of this similar passage. In Coxcomb, the passage reads as below, with the following differences: nothings else] nothing else CoxF; base] a base CoxF; his] the CoxF.

Now what am I the better for enjoying
This woman that I lov’d? so all I finde,
That I before imagin’d to be happy:
Now I have done, it turns to nothing else
But a poore pittied, and a base repentance,
Udsfoot, I am monstrous angry with my selfe:
Why should a man that has discourse and reason,
And knows how neere he looses all in these things,
Covet to have his wishes satisfied;
Which when they are, are nothing but the shame. (Coxcomb, 111)

101.3. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. in the warmth] in warmth P20, F78.

114.5. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” As Laura Estill notes in her 28 July 2015 update to Lost Plays Database, “in the Northwestern University Deering Library Copy (808.8 C843) of Cotgrave’s English Treasury, an unknown annotator has attributed the above extract to ‘Beaumont + Fletcher’s Honest Man’s Fortune.’ This extract, however, does not appear to be from that play.”

He is wise enough
To keep his state, and give me such an Ass,
Let others purchase wisdome by expence.
And prate and do brave things a single saving
Will out-reach all, that they shall reach unto.

115.3. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. between thee and I] omit CityO; made of] made up of CityO; he keeps] that serve him CityO.

118.3. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” A similar passage, with “importuned,” “business,” and “otherwise” corresponding to “other,” is printed in Beaumont and Fletcher’s Queen of Corinth (1647).

Great men (you know)
Must be importun’d to do any good,
For they have other bussiness, [sic] (ET)
Here you must challenge him: Durst he ever shun
To drink two pots of Ale wi’ ye? or to wench,
Though weighty businesse otherwise importun’d? (Queen of Corinth, 15)

129.2. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse—all but the final couplet, in verse to begin with. always defect] always a defect CityO; omit ET after wit] but will: What my willing honesty hath seem’d to loose, my affected deceits shall recover CityO; all my abusers] ’em CityO; onely] only CityO.

134.4. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. him (1)] you Σ; him (2)] you Σ; which] and P20, F78; Many] Hengist Σ.

147.5. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. Shame] It Σ.

147.6. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play.

148.6. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. ’Tis] There’s MayorQ, theirs P20, F78; a] the honours P20, F78.

150.6. This is not a passage from a manuscript version of Thomas May’s The Old Couple (1658), as implied by Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 270, 278n32. Instead, it is adapted from John Suckling’s Goblins (1646), where the corresponding passage reads: “Gently my Joyes distill, | Least you should breake the Vessell you should fill” (D8r). The only reason for preferring Old Couple, the change from “do” to “should,” is insufficient to support such a large conjecture.

154.4. Erroneously unidentified in Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 268; actually from Fulke Greville, Mustapha (1633), where the corresponding couplet reads: “Kings must looke vpwards still, | And from these Powers they know not, choose a will” (129).

163.5. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. onely] only Σ; affliction] afflictor Σ.

186.6. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. some women] women CityO; Man onlely] Only man CityO.

192.3. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. Is] ’tis P20, F78; most pleasing] pleasingst P20, F78; spring] rises P20, F78; forget whence] forget from whence P20, F78.

199.2. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

Blame me not
To shake, this murtherous work has weight in it,
Whole nature groans at it, a man must dye,
The great Creators Image, from whose loyns
Yet might come fifteen Children, and all those
Praysers of heaven, some fruitfull Common-wealths men,
Some divine soul-savers, and from their seed
Ten times as many more shall we do’t yet?

203.4. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

THe boldest villain yet that ever liv’d,
Durst not commit his bloody deeds by day,
To see what he did do he ever stay’d
Till night, whose face (kin to his conscience)
Would hide it best, for their allyance sake.

210.2. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” This is the only unidentified extract with more than one speaker.

1. He looks on her picture, and sayes, she is faire;
She must needs be fair there, for I am sure
She is abominably painted.
2. She may be more her self, I have seen a Lady
And her Picture set together,
And (by this hand) you could not distinguish them.
1. He was an admirable workman, that painted so like her.
2. Or she was a rare work-woman, that painted her self so like it.

223.8–. Almost certainly from a lost manuscript of CityO, as discussed in McEvilla, “Lost Plays, Lost Versions.” Changed from prose to verse. The extent of differences between Cotgrave’s version of this passage and Brome’s serve especially to reinforce Cotgrave’s possession of a lost manuscript copy of the play. does wear] wears CityO; Hat] Cap CityO; before-hand] afore-hand CityO; simple] as meanly CityO; beyond sea] Seas CityO; Thirty five pounds of Butter] five and thirty pound of salt Butter CityO; Clarifie your blood, surfle your cheeks] omit CityO; And (5)] omit CityO; Italia] Italian CityO; superfices] Superficies of your face CityO.

234.4. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” A similar passage, with “never honest” and “fortunes” corresponding to “fortunate,” is printed in Beaumont and Fletcher’s Beggars Bush (1647).

Those men that have desires above their state,
Are never honest, seldome fortunate. (ET)
How soone my light’s put out: hard harted Bruges;
Within thy walls, may never honest Merchant
Venture his fortunes more: O my poore wench too; (Beggars Bush, 84)

251.8. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” A passage with some similar words—“murmurers” for “murmur,” “dolefull song”—and a similar rhyme—“song” and “wrong”—is printed in Thomas Goffe’s The Raging Turk (1631), which Cotgrave quotes elsewhere in ET.

Let fools murmur,
The much they suffer in some dolefull song,
While, like a wise man, I revenge my wrong. (ET)
The pleasing murmurers of the ayre,
that gently fanne each mouing thing,
I being heard, straight doe repayre,
and beare a burden whilst I sing,
An heauy burden dolefull song,
The fathers griefe the subiects wrong,
O let me sigh, and sighing weepe,
Till night beguiles my woes with sleepe.
(Raging Turk, M3r)

252.7. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.”

Where the faults of wretched folks
Are Catalogu’d, as causes of their sufferings,
The pitty of the pious is denyed,
The holy sighes of the religious Beadesman that invokes
The angry power for the distressed wights,
Are turn’d to rough disdaines, and hard contempts,
Th’ unusuall effects of his soft life and practice:
But where, for some conceal’d purpose to heaven,
The innocent and good one is oppress’d,
With all the violence of need and wrong:
There every holy teare will wash the filth,
By the polluter that is thrown on us.
And whilst our vertue, and our honour stand
Unblotted with the dash of destiny,
The ruines that can happen else are mean,
And fate must leave its triumph unto us,
That have (in spight of injury) been just.

254.2. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. Those] That Σ; are] is Σ; they] it Σ; Are] That’s Σ; by the ruine] with the spoyle P20, F78; another] any man P20, F78.

272.3. In this extract Cotgrave quotes from a commendatory verse by William Strachey prefixed to the 1605 edition of Ben Jonson’s Sejanus his Fall, for the only quotation of ET not taken from a play-proper, “If men will shun swolne Fortunes ruinous blastes, | Let them vse Temperance. Nothing violent lasts” (A3r).

287.7–. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. omit ET, after Virgin] Cast. Never yet, my Lord, | Known to the will of man. | Con. MayorQ, P20, F78; in (4)] omit P20, F78; hath] has P20, F78.

291.4. Unidentified. See for further discussion Wiggins, “Where to Find,” 266–71, and Lost Plays Database, “Cotgrave’s Extracts.” This passage, similar to 41.5, is reprinted by John Milton’s nephew, Edward Phillips, in Mysteries of Love and Eloquence (1658). For discussion of Phillips’s copyings from Cotgrave, see McEvilla, “Shakespeare and Jonson.”

She is as modest
As one can be, that left to blush at twelve,
Felt motions at eleven, hath been hard’ned
Before three Congregations, and done pennance.

294.5. From a lost manuscript of Mayor of Quinborough that resembles MayorQ. See Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 192–93. One of twelve manuscript extracts from that play. Mistresse? ’tis] So beyond MayorQ, F78, So ill beyond P20; shames] shame MayorQ; is (3)] that MayorQ, thats F78; onely] only MayorQ; hours] ours F78.

308.2. This is a previously unreported extract of a Shakespeare play. See Isherwood, 307–34, Bentley, “John Cotgrave’s,” 189n8, and Munro, 2:47–53. It is from Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Two Noble Kinsmen (1634), where the passage reads: “This world’s a Citty full of straying Streetes, | And Death’s the market place, where each one meets” (D1r).


© Joshua McEvilla, jmcevilla@gmail.com