How to Use.

Case numbers: Cases consist of three elements: a page number, an extract number, and a continuation marker. For the Source Index and Facet Search, page numbers are hyperlinked to surrogate images of their respective page from the Internet Archive facsimile, made from Thomas Fisher Rare Book B-12 00236 (PDF, here; OCR text, here). Cases are considered to be from a single ‘source’ if no more than ten lines separate their contents from their neighbours’. In one case, punctuation proves very deceptive (73.5, 74.1), and, in another, Cotgrave’s printer has failed to divide two passages from different plays by omitting a printer’s rule (47.5, 47.6), meaning that the intended total of passages was probably 1,700, not 1,701. In a single case, lines from the same passage are flipped (6.3). In the Source Index, but not in the Facet Search, page numbers inferred from context — to correct printers’ errors — are given in italics (6, 169, 199, 26, 292 — see Case, Bibliography, 70). In two cases, it is inferred that grammatically conjoined passages of unidentified plays originate together from the same ‘lost’ source (18.4–, 84.8–). All cases have been checked diligently, for sequential accuracy, with Microsoft Excel’s Data tools.

Titles: Titles follow the play-title Index of Annals’s 3rd edition, with author modifiers added to the Source Index for plays of similar or identical titles but different authorship (e.g., “Richard II [Shakespeare],” to distinguish the Shakespeare play from the anonymous Richard II). Strikethrough typography from the Source Index denotes titles supposed, in previous studies, to be included, but now known to be inaccurate or improbable — for example, several passages from Sir John Suckling’s Goblins (1646) that also appear in Thomas May’s Old Couple (1658). In the Source Index, the ‘tragedy’ of Bussy D’Ambois is differentiated from the entirely different ‘history’ of Bussy D’Ambois by the genre term (Bussy D’Ambois [Tragedy], Bussy D’Ambois [History]); whereas, in Facet Search, where alphabetical discovery is less important, the genre term is integrated into the title (Tragedy of Bussy D’Ambois, History of Bussy D’Ambois). ‘Lost Versions’ are similarly left undistinguished.

Dates: It is my hope that future versions of this site will permit querying sources by date of first publication and the date of Cotgrave’s edition. All dates of publication are copied from Alan Farmer and Zarchary Lesser’s DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks (2007).

Authorship: The Facet Search database provides early modern authorship only — authorship from early modern title-page evidence.

Transcription: Transcription of the passages regularizes out long-s, small-caps, swash letters, and tailed letters.


I want to express thanks to Terry Ross, co-admin of the Shakespeare Authorship page with David Kathman, who was of immense help in uploading countless versions of the site; Sean M. Winslow, who helped me with the sorting routine of the Facet Search; Anne Dondertman and David Fernandez, who were instrumental in getting the Thomas Fisher surrogate uploaded promptly to Internet Archive; and Ann Blair, Laura Estill, Eleanor Shevlin, Matthew Steggle, Ryan Whyte, and Stephen Wittek, for offering valuable suggestions and advice at various stages of the the project’s creation. I am very grateful to both the Shakespeare Association of America and SHARP: The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, for funding my travels to their annual conferences to discuss features of this research.

Citation Information

Joshua McEvilla, with contributions from Sean M. Winslow, An Online Reader of John Cotgrave’s The English Treasury of Wit and Language, published 24 August 2014,, accessed [today’s date].


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© Joshua McEvilla,