May, Steven W. and William A. Ringler, Jr., Eds. Elizabethan Poetry: A Bibliography and First-line Index of English Verse, 1559-1603. 3 vols. London and New York: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004. xx+2337pp. ISBN 0 8264 7278 8.

Douglas Bruster
The University of Texas at Austin

Bruster, Douglas. "Review of May, Steven W. and William A. Ringler, Jr., Eds. Elizabethan Poetry: A Bibliography and First-line Index of English Verse, 1559-1603." Early Modern Literary Studies 11.2 (September, 2005) 6.1-23 <URL:>.

1. May and Ringler’s Elizabethan Poetry: A Bibliography and First-line Index of English Verse, 1559-1603--hereafter EV, for “Elizabethan Verse,” as used in the volume under review--emerges as one of the most important resources for the study of literature in early modern England since the Short-Title Catalogue (STC; 1926; 2nd ed. 1976-91). As its title indicates, this work catalogues every available poem known to have been printed or transcribed between 1559 and 1603, going on to describe each poem’s location, length, rhyme scheme, stanzaic form, and topic. EV simultaneously indicates how much there is yet to learn about the shapes, quantity, and function of poetry during the Elizabethan era and provides scholars with the information they need to advance learning in these areas. This wonderful 3-volume reference work could prove more valuable still were it to be offered as a searchable database or cd-rom by its publisher, Thoemmes Continuum.

2. EV is the product of a collaboration between the late William Ringler, Jr. and his onetime student, Steven W. May. Ringler had earlier published a Bibliography and Index of English Verse Printed 1476-1558 (itself extending Brown and Robbins’ Index of Middle English Verse) and a Bibliography and Index of English Verse in Manuscript 1501-1558. Mapping out the terrain of English poetry up through the reign of Elizabeth, all these resources have in common not only a commitment to furthering our purchase on literary history by locating and accurately describing the period’s production in verse, but also the conviction that exhaustive and painstaking bibliographical labor--the fruits of which are almost certain to be enjoyed more by posterity than by those who perform it--is the very best we can offer the past, present, and future. May’s own contributions to the study of Elizabethan poetry are nowhere more apparent, of course, than in his invaluable Elizabethan Courtier Poets: The Poems and their Contexts (1991), which single-handedly established a canon of important poems and increased our knowledge of the poems’ authors and the rich contexts in and for which they wrote their verses. Spanning half century in its making, then, EV represents the impressive life’s work of two of the field’s most knowledgeable and talented scholars.

3. Because EV is such a large reference work and because an account of its sections and offerings could prove helpful to those who lack immediate access to it, the following paragraphs set out its contents in order, with some provisional guidance concerning the format of its entries. May provides what will remain the best such account in the work’s compact Introduction (I:xi-xviii).

4. Following its prefatory matter (which includes the Introduction and a useful list of Abbreviations and Short Citations [I:xx]), Volume I begins with a “Bibliography of Printed Documents Containing English Verse 1559-1603” (I:3-199). This section could be titled “STC Books with Verse” save for several miscellaneous items catalogued at its head: three engravings (each with a verse), eight playing cards (each with verse), and a book published in France upon the death of Henry II (with two English poems). Its catalogue of printed (STC) books containing poems commences with “STC 1 A. The passionate morrice [sic]. 1593” and ends, roughly 2000 entries later, with “STC 26124 ZEPHERIA. Zepheria. Ogni di viene la sera. 1594.” The following are somewhat typical successive entries:

STC 17124 M., A. [Anthony Munday]. The true reporte of the prosperous successe which God gaue unto our English Souldiours. 1581. English Experience facs. (1972)  UMI 1634. One: EV 31408.

STC 17124a_______________ [Anr. issue], 1581. UMI 1634.

Here EV catalogues a pamphlet of 1581 published under the initials “A. M.,” identifying the author as Anthony Munday. The “facs.” (facsimile) reference here testifies to EV’s attempt to identify any such reproduction where known (though it does not claim to be comprehensive in this); this entry and the one following also provide the UMI (University Microfilms International) reel number for each book. The word “One” here--written as such to avoid confusion with numerical citations--indicates simply that there is one poem in the text, a poem catalogued by first line in the largest section of this reference work, the “First-line Index.” As May points out in the Introduction, readers can assume that other issues and editions of these STC imprints contain the same poems as the preceding ones unless otherwise noted.

5. The second major section in Volume I offers a “Bibliography of Manuscripts Containing English Verse Transcribed 1559-1603.” Cataloguing materials from 96 different archives, libraries, museums, and galleries, this section is necessarily less regular than that devoted to STC books. Its entries include, for instance, not only orderly collections of verse in manuscript but also a range of such poetic survivals as verse written by hand on the flyleaves of printed books (PML [Pierpont Morgan Library]: ptd. bk. 17690), verse preserved in stained-glass windows (QUARN [Quarrendon Chapel, Buckinghamshire]), and verse inscriptions on tombs (LUD [St. Martin's Church, Ludgate]). Entries convey the vagaries of composition, the media in which the verses were preserved, and any relevant information concerning their provenance, disposition, and genre. Here is a sample record for an item in the British Library:

L: Sloane 2497. c.1592. 48ff. A student’s notebook,
perhaps compiled by the Richard Portman whose name
appears on several folios. Includes mathematical
problems, cures for the plague, drawings of cannon,
and notes on naval affairs and astrology. Sixty two: EV
263, 544, 676, 1239, 2180, 2924, 3342, 3446, 4251, 4999 [etc.]

Because scholarship devoted to manuscript items has been limited (and thus may be harder to trace), space in EV’s entries is often usefully given over to mention of articles, monographs, and dissertations that comment upon them.

6. As mentioned above, the great majority of EV’s pages are devoted to its “First-Line Index of English Verse 1559-1603.” This stretches from the end of Volume I across the whole of Volume II and takes up the first half of Volume III, indexing some 32,500 poems. If moving from the STC to the manuscript entries in the Bibliography sections of Volume I entailed the acceptance of a greater level of disorder, the entries here--though absolutely rigorous in their analysis--often pose even more complexity through their efficient compression of information about each poem.

7. How do these entries work?  An entry begins with its EV number followed immediately by the poem’s first line or couplet. The index progresses alphabetically by first line from “EV 1  A and B taking a prisoner in wars” to “EV 32588   Zoilus, thou laugh’st but only when I weep.” On the entry’s next line we are given the location of the poem (STC number or manuscript location and number) and its known or estimated date of printing or transcription, followed by its signature or folio location. Pagination references are sensibly standardized and regularized as to letters and numerals: thus “Bbiij,” for instance, becomes “2B3” in the entries. Next comes the author’s name (where known), with the title or other explanatory or contextual details. Any source documents--say, a line from Horace’s Ars Poetica--are then cited, followed by any subscriptions to the poems. “Subscriptions” are of course material written or printed below another text, and here include such things as, among others, initials (e.g. “C.C.” from EV 10942), pseudonyms (“R. Tamburlaine” EV 32163--the Dutch Church Libel), real names (“Richard Bingham” EV 10881), speech indicators (“Quod Elizabeth prisoner” EV 14956), mottos (“Amor vince ognicosa” EV 5809), dates (“Decembris Die” EV 5771) and locations (“Flodden Field” EV 16446).

8. The entries then list the total number of lines in each poem, the number of stanzas and the number of lines per stanza (where such is relevant). Thus “28:  7 x 4” indicates a poem of 28 lines with seven four-line stanzas. The entries next describe the rhyme scheme using the conventional lower-case letters (save for such well-known forms as poulter’s measure, Monk’s Tale stanza, etc.). The meter of each line is indicated by Arabic numerals following the lower-case letter or letters. Iambic meter is represented by the numerals alone (10), while trochaic, anapestic, and dactylic meters, for example, are cited in abbreviated form. Thus an entry reading “2: aa4anap.” indicates a couplet (“aa”) in anapestic (“anap.”) tetrameter (“4”). For their part, accentual meters are designated by numerals with an asterisk. Thus an entry such as “2: a6*a5*” describes a couplet in accentual meter with six (“6*”) stressed syllables in its first line and five (“5*”) in its second--here EV 1230, Francis Meres’s cheerful “After a man, a worm; after a worm, stench and feature  |  So from man to no man is turned this creature.” EV capitalizes various rhyme letters (for example, “abab14CC8”) to designate refrain lines, and uses the letter “i” to indicate internal rhymes. Burdens and refrains are cited in parentheses following the formal designations.

9. Some sample records may help to illustrate how the indexing works. An entry for one of the playing cards mentioned earlier looks like this:

EV 7129    From east to west, London is most in length.
STC 1072.5, 1590, sheet 1. Verses on uncut sheets of
playing cards by W. B., 1590. 8: 2 X 4  abab10. Playing
cards verse, geog., London; illus:  London and the
Thames, view of.
     BMUS: 1938-7-9-57, c. 1590, f.4. Department of
     Prints and Drawings, verse engraved on playing cards
     by W. B. 12: 1 X 4, 2 X 2, 1X 4, abab10, aa10.

As indicated by its subject line, this entry describes a poem on a playing card with a geographical theme--London, in particular. Recourse to the STC entry in the “Bibliography of Printed Documents” reveals it is one poem among ten to be found on “Three uncut sheets of playing cards with maps of English and Welsh shires” (I:11). This particular card is illustrated with a view of London and the Thames river. Written in iambic pentameter, it is comprised of two stanzas of four lines each, rhyming abab. The sub-entry draws attention to a more extensive text of the same poem located on one of sixty engraved playing cards in the archives of the British Museum.

10. The following record illustrates another out-of-the-way genre (that of the “play song”) well covered by EV:

EV 30046  When wanton love had walked astray.
HN: HM 500, 1596, f.6v. Anthony Munday, in ‘John a
Kent’ (play fragment). 10:  ababccdeed8. Play song.

The entry describes a love song located on the verso side of the sixth leaf of Anthony Munday’s drama, John a Kent and John a Cumber (probably better dated to 1589-1590 than as in the entry), with ten-lines of rhyming tetrameter verse. 

11. Perhaps more representative of the entries one encounters in EV (entries themselves, as I have pointed out, quite various in their makeup) is the following:

EV 28389  Well hath the powerful hand of majesty.
STC 6258-60, 1603, C1-4. Samuel Daniel, ‘To Sir Tho:
Egerton Knight, Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of
England.’ 208:  26 X 8  OR. Moral, justice, hist., Sir
Thomas Egerton.

This record describes a longer poem by Samuel Daniel dedicated to Sir Thomas Egerton, consisting of 26 Ottava Rima (“OR.”) stanzas which appear on pages C1 through C4 of its source text. The STC numbers here lead us to recognize that it appeared in two editions (and a further issue of the first edition) of Daniel’s Panegyricke Congratulatory (all printed 1603). The entry catalogues it as a moral poem dealing with justice through a historical subject. I call this a representative entry in part because it refers to an STC book: by my (rough) estimate based on a sample of 100 consecutive entries, some 83% of the entries record verse in STC books.

12. It seems likely that the cross-indexes to EV will be among the most frequently consulted of the work’s pages. Many readers will find these absolutely invaluable to their research, for the cross-indexes provide a wealth of avenues through which to approach Elizabethan poetry. Over 300 pages of the final volume (vol. III) are given over to various cross-indexes, including (in order): “English Poets”; “Fictional Names and Topics”; “Historical Persons and Events”; “Illustrations”; “Literary Kinds”; “Poems Set to Music” (with additional sections on “Composers” and “Tunes”); “Rhyme Schemes and Verse Forms” (with additional sections devoted to “Burdens” and “Refrains”); “Scribes and Owners”; “Subjects” (the largest of the sections, which will be itemized and discussed below); “Subscriptions”; “Titles”; and “Translations.” In the following paragraphs, I will describe these sections with an eye toward what they may disclose about the poetic landscape of early modern England.

13. The “English Poets” index covers poems published with initials, with last name and initials, and with full name. Most poems known to have been issued under pseudonyms are indexed here under the presumed author’s real name, as with EV 15236, Caltha Poetarum (1599; STC 6151), which is ascribed to Tailboys Dymoke. Reading this index carefully is instructive, for while one is not surprised to see the output of various canonical authors who populate our anthologies, there are various names one does not recognize as easily, or, if so, associate with prodigious poetic output. According to the index, one could teach Elizabethan verse for many years and not exhaust the poetry of such figures as Henry Chillester, William Forrest, Matthew Grove, Thomas Howell, Timothy Kendall, Henry Lok, John Maxwell, Thomas Palfreyman, Thomas Palmer, Robert Parry, Richard Robinson, Thomas Rogers, James Sanford, Andrew Willet, James Yates, and Bartholomew Young (Yong). To readers better steeped in the period than this reviewer, such poets (and the hundreds of poems indexed here) may seem old hat, but I am guessing that these and many other of the names and initials represented in the index of English poets may indeed be new to most of those who open this reference work. In his introduction to vol. I, in fact, May points out that, were we to rank these writers by output alone, serious attention would need to be paid to Philemon Holland, whose translations help swell his entries to well over a thousand poems.

14. Attending to the “Fictional Names and Topics” index is equally informative. For here we have something like the full range of topical and name references for Elizabethan verse, from native and domestic (such as Elstred and the Wife of Bath, each with 1 entry, and King Arthur, with 17) to the Continental (Pope Joan [11]), and Classical. Of the Classical entries, I found noteworthy the dominance of Greek figures. One could witness the popularity of the following in verse of the period: Achilles (56); Ulysses (52); Venus (33); Agamemnon (31); Hector (29); Hercules (28); Apollo (26); Diana (20); Dido (17); Helen (15); Penelope (15). What struck me as significant about this list, once again, was its heavy emphasis on the Greek narratives. Dido is of course a prominent exception here: according to the index, she appears in verse more often than Helen or Penelope. But we could note that she appears in roughly half the poems that Venus does (there is no separate entry for Aphrodite), and likewise Aeneas, who appears in 14 poems, earned only a quarter of the poetic notice that Achilles did, with 56. I am quite willing to acknowledge the provisional nature of these numbers: not every poem here chronicled is of the same length as the others, nor does every poem treat each figure it mentions in a manner equal to what the same figure may draw in other poems. And the Greek figures admittedly have the advantage of having appeared in both Greek and Latin literature. Yet it does seem remarkable that the Latin tradition seems to have produced fewer protagonists compelling enough to the Elizabethans to earn their attention in verse. A quick check of some Ovidian figures, for instance, indicates seven Narcissus poems and five on Pyramus and Thisbe, while there are only four Romulus and Remus poems and one with Turnus.

15. Less surprising, in the “Historical Persons and Events” section, is the prevalence of poems on Elizabeth I. Her 259 entries outnumber those devoted to the next seven persons put together: James VI/I (85); Mary, Queen of Scots (35); Chaucer (32; including a poem on the Canterbury Tales); Alexander the Great (25) and Julius Caesar (25); Thomas Speght (24); and Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex (21). Poetry concerning events may well indicate the importance of various political crises to the national consciousness. Here we have, in order, the Spanish Armada (37), the Northern Rebellion of 1569 (18), and the Babington Plot (8). This index confronts our assumptions about the contemporary magnitude of various people and events when it notes that, surprisingly, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre appears to have generated only 1 surviving poem, as did the Magna Carta and William Shakespeare, respectively. Perhaps Shakespeareans will rest easier about the playwright’s apparent lack of interest in the Magna Carta (the signing of which is of course omitted from King John) when they discover here that this document was featured in only one poem during the Elizabethan era. For the record, this is EV 28393, tracing to Stowe 620 in the British Library; this genealogical anthology contains a 34-line poem on the theme of salvation that parodies the Magna Carta as the “great charter” by which Christ has cancelled men’s debts (see its rhyming title in EV 4639).

16. Because emblems have already been well catalogued (see, for example, The English Emblem Tradition, ed. Peter M. Daly et al.), the “Illustrations” index to EV does not include them. It does, however, record verses that accompany paintings, engravings, and woodcuts, and is subdivided into such topics as “Allegory”; “Animals”; “Occupations and Trades”; “Persons” (“Biblical/Apocryphal”; “Fictional”; and “Historical”); “Symbols”; and “Townscapes,” to name only these. Here one of the surprising details was the prevalence of “Dance of Death” illustrations, which, with approximately 121 entries, outnumbered all “Biblical/Apocryphal” illustrations put together (47). The latter figure includes: Devils (12); Virgin Mary (8); Angels (7); and Christ (5 or 6). Individual coats of arms (27) and illustrations of soldiers (12) also made up substantial subentries.

17. The next cross-index is that for “Literary Kinds.” EV’s map of early modern poetic genres is instructive in its breadth, for what becomes clear immediately is the enormous variety of poetic kinds during the era. We most often teach sonnets, odes, lyrics, and narrative poetry in our classrooms. These genres are not atypical of the era, of course, but as this cross-index testifies they were joined by a number of other forms, many of them shorter and utilitarian in nature. For example, the cross-index takes note of the following poetic kinds, among others: “Acrostic”; “Answering verse”; “Calendar verse”; “Commendatory verse”; “Dedicatory verse”; “Dialogue”; “Emblem verse”; “Epigram” (with four-and-a-half columns that index nearly 2,500 poems); “Epitaphs”; “Laments”; “Posy”; “Preface”; “Prophecy”; “Riddle”; “Satire” (with nearly six full columns of topical subentries, from “Albany, Duke of” to “Women”); “Title Verse”; and “Verse in prose fiction” (another unexpectedly large category, with over 1000 poems indexed). Perhaps the most surprising genre represented, though, is that of “Lots, poetic,” which catalogues approximately 780 different lots from the lottery of 1567-8. These tokens offered individualized rhymes as claim tickets, as in EV 92: “A chance it is whatever befall  |  But to get nothing ill luck we do call.”

18. A brief cross-index catalogues “Poems set to Music.” The headnote here directs the reader to also consult “Religion” in the subject index, where such forms as hymns, psalms, and the Gloria Patri join a larger category of “Music (religious poems set to music).” A large block entry of all poems set to music is followed by indexes of “Composers” and “Tunes.” In addition to such familiar figures as William Byrd, John Dowland, and Thomas Morley, readers encounter here prolific and potentially unfamiliar composers like William Damon, William Parsons, and Thomas Weelkes.

19. A tremendously detailed, 64-page section indexes “Rhyme Schemes and Verse Forms.” As May indicates, the index to rhyme schemes is organized by lines per stanza, order of rhymes, and line length. This index takes us from what are technically single-line forms such as the alliterative lines of Piers Plowman (see EV 11707, which indexes the mistranscribed first line of Langland’s approximately 7600-line masterpiece: “In a summer season when set was the sun”) to 111-line forms such as the triple sestina of EV 24884, Barnabe Barnes’s “Then first with locks disheveled and bare,” from his Parthenophil and Parthenophe (1593; STC 1469). Between these bookends, as it were, we have the panoply of Elizabethan stanzas, lines, meters, and rhyme schemes. Single couplets of course form a significant category, as do longer poems composed of rhyming pentameter couplets. There are a significant number of poems in poulter’s measure (1155 poems), fourteener couplets (5250), abab pentameter (989), ababcc pentameter (2445), and Rhyme Royal (i.e. ababbcc) (over 1000). No one will be surprised by the number of sonnets; EV records numerous English Sonnets (1212); Scottish Sonnets (415) and Petrarchan Sonnets (432).

20. Despite the popularity of these forms, however, Elizabethan poets clearly felt free to depart from any perceived standards. For in addition to these more typical forms one finds catalogued in EV an amazing variety of stanzaic forms, line lengths, meters, and rhyme schemes. Thus alongside an English Sonnet, for instance, EV indexes an Anacreontic poem in quantitative meter (EV 19509, also from Barnes’s Parthenophil: “Reveal, sweet muse, this secret”), various Skeltonics, and stanzaic forms of every length from two- through twenty-four lines, inclusive, with nearly every rhyme- and metrical scheme imaginable. There are also 11 stanzaic forms longer than 24 lines. Within these stanzaic forms one encounters, again, a tremendous variety of rhyme schemes. Reading a bit like computer code, the description of EV 28383, a 40-line unit from a love lament by Anthony Munday in his Banquet of Daintie Conceits (1588, STC 18260), conveys the willingness with which many Elizabethan poets embraced idiosyncrasy: “a10a14bbccddpoult.ee4dd2f6gg4hh2f6ijij2anap.kk1anap.12anap.m3anap.nn1anap.o2anap.m3anap.pp2anap.q3anap.rr2anap.q3anap.sstt6.” This poem is of course an exaggeration of the innovative tendency, but it is worth noting that it does not misrepresent the era’s readiness to experiment. By my count, EV indexes some 3630 separate forms within this section. This is truly a staggering figure, and suggests that, far from slaves to convention, Elizabethan poets earned Scaliger’s epithet of deus alter or “second god.” As this portion of the index reveals, such poets not only imitated poetic forms but also created new ones.

21. This section closes with an index of “Burdens” (by first line, with formal information in parentheses) and “Refrains” (by final rhyme word). While burdens are sometimes defined as “The refrain or chorus of a song; a set of words recurring at the end of each verse” (OED s.v. 10), musicians classify them as a line or stanza sung first (they are followed by what EV cites as the first line of the poem proper). The burden is then repeated prior to the subsequent stanza, and acts, therefore, as a refrain. (Because burdens may be mistaken for the first line of their poems, users of EV should be prepared to search the burden index for first lines that may otherwise seem elusive). A refrain is a repeated set of words in a poem not meant to be sung. A familiar burden would be “Greensleeves was all my joy  |  Greensleeves was my delight” (EV 1403), whereas a well-known refrain, indexed under its final word, “LIE,” comes from Walter Ralegh: “And if they once reply  |  Then give them all the lie” (EV 7534).

22. Following a short index of “Scribes and Owners” comes what is likely to be the most frequently consulted portion of the work: a 34-page “Subjects” index with a full 24 subdivisions. I list them in alphabetical order: Agriculture; Alchemy; Animals; Astrology; Astronomy; Death; Education; Fortune; Geography; Hunting; Law; Love; Marriage; Medicine; Moral; Pastoral; Philosophy; Poetry; Political; Practical; Religion; Social Class and Status; Women; Miscellaneous Subjects. Each of the 24 subject headings represents a number of poems (and, in most cases, subcategories). Remarkable here is, first, the number of poems on Love: however familiar amatory lyrics from the era seem, it is surprising to encounter almost 11 full columns of EV cataloging perhaps as many as 4100 poems dealing with Love. For their part, “Moral” poems (including “subjects in a moral context”) draw a full 9 columns of entries, with records for poetry both admonitory (on such topics, for instance, as “Envy” and “Gossip”) and hortatory (“Charity,” “Gratitude”). Significantly, and as May points out in his Introduction, “Friendship” was an important topic for poets: this portion of the index records some 285 poems on the subject. As important as Love and Moral poems were to the Elizabethan poets, however, Religion was more crucial yet, with a full 21 columns in this part of the index devoted to it (and to “subjects treated in a religious context”). This includes, among other things, entries for poems on various biblical figures (“Susanna,” “Job”) and passages (“Revelation 19:17-18,” “Proverbs 16”), metrical versions of the Psalms, Hymns, Graces to be spoken at meals, other Prayers, and various invectives and satires on religious figures and practices.

23. I have already discussed the “Subscriptions” index. The remaining three sections of this work can be accounted for as follows. A glance at the “Titles” index suggests that convention had a greater force upon the titling of poems than on their verse forms. Here formula seems in full bloom, from the prepositional “Ad,” “Against,” “Contra,” “De,” “For,” “In,” “Of” (over 1000 poems), “On,” “To” (over 800), and “Upon” to such generic signifiers as “Amour,” “Argument,” “Ballad,” “Commendation,” “Complaint,” “Description of,” “Dialogue between,” “Elegy,” “Epitaph,” “History of,” “Lover,” “Ode,” “Praise of,” “Prologue,” “Riddle,” “Song,” “Sonnet,” “Tragedy of,” and “Warning.” The “Translations” section indexes not only translations but “adaptations, dialects, and paraphrase” (the headnote points out that Bible translations can be located under “Religion”). What seems worth stressing is the range of authors, texts, and languages the Elizabethans took up for their own verse. Languages of source texts include not only French and Italian, Latin and Greek, but Arabic, Dutch, Flemish, Hebrew, Portuguese, Slavonian, Spanish, Turkish, and Welsh. As May relates in his introduction, Vergil was the most frequently translated poet with 483 entries (this figure and the two following are May’s [I:xvi]), followed by Ovid with 470. I share May’s surprise, though, in discovering that St. Gregory of Naziansus is responsible for 188 entries for poems in the index. Interestingly, Elizabethan poets sometimes drew on foreign translations of classical works when rendering their own, English versions. Thus an Elizabethan “Homer” could well mean an English translation of an Italian redaction, or of a French or Latin version of the Greek original. Finally, EV closes with an Appendix of 467 STC books not seen. A spot check of ten of these STC entries selected at random revealed that, of the ten entries, most duplicated editions or issues already indexed; two were for STC books that could not be traced, one referred to a book that has been stolen and one was for a British Library book destroyed by bombs during World War II. As May notes in his introduction, along with memorial verse inscribed in churches and graveyards (etc.), some of these unseen books (if recovered) may contain verse that would add to the total number of poems indexed in this work.

23. I began this review by declaring that this 3-volume work strikes me as one of the most significant references for the study of early modern English literature since the STC. I hope that the description of its contents in the preceding paragraphs suggests that such is not an exaggeration. I believe that every serious student of the period will find EV indispensable. Many scholarly books wait to be generated--and even more will be enriched--from close acquaintance with its entries.

Works Cited

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© 2005-, Matthew Steggle (Editor, EMLS).