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 content 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 and 47.6), meaning that the intended total of passages was probably 1,700, exactly. 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 Source Index for plays of similar titles but different authorship (e.g., “Richard II [Shakespeare],” to distinguish the Shakespeare play from the anonymous history). Strikethrough-titles from the Source Index denote 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 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; whereas, in Facet Search, where alphabetical discovery is secondary, the genre term is integrated into the title, for, respectively, Tragedy of Bussy D’Ambois and 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. This function would be significant, for instance, in the study of Shakespeare’s plays, where Cotgrave quotes from quarto editions of plays that he also owned in folio. All other dates of first publication in Table 1 come from Alan Farmer and Zarchary Lesser’s DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks (2007).

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

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

Please cite the following information where referring to the site:

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].

All contents are protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International Licence.

© Joshua McEvilla,