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by the way, has involved much dry, uninteresting labor) are now
aims to include the title of every ballad entered during the years
The clerks of the Stationers' Company were erratic in labelling
but no attempt has been made there at identification. H. B. Wheatley,
works in the Registers, the customary phrase for the entry being “a book or copy.” It has been necessary, then, to pick out titles that sound like those of ballads, though probably enough some of those I include were not ballads at all and some that I omit may have been ballads. Even in the large entry for March 1, 1675, a dozen or so pamphlets were named along with the ballads, no discrimination being made between them. I have on that date, as elsewhere, omitted the titles known to me to belong to books.
The entries in Index I are, with the exceptions named below, made in strict alphabetical order. This order is determined, except in the case of some unusual words, by the modern spelling, not that of the stationers' clerks. So yf and yt are entered under if and it; saylor comes before saint; no distinction is made between such spellings as batchelor and bachelor, praise and prayse, devil and divil. When the articles a, an, and the begin an entry in the Registers, they are ignored in my alphabetizing, but are placed at the end of the title. The word ballad and its common prefixes, pleasant, most excellent, and the like, are, with the exception of 1809, 1890, and 2699, indexed only when no further title is given. For example, only one entry occurs in Index I under “ Pleasant New Ballad, A” (2109); all others are indexed under the first word of the actual title following ballad. Thus "A New Ballad of the Life and Death of Three Witches,” “A Wofull Ballad Made by Master George Mannington,” and “ A Most Excellent Ballad of Joseph the Carpenter” are entered under the words life, made, and Joseph respectively. Such applications of this rule to ditty and song as sometimes occur will easily be followed by the searcher. The entries under ballads (128 ff.) include only ballads for which no other titles are given in the Registers and are, naturally enough, arranged chronologically; those under elegy (673 ff.) and epitaph (725 ff.), according to the names of the persons lamented (Edward VI; Garter, Arthur; Leicester, Earl of; and the like).
In Index I, I give the following details from the printed Transcripts: (1) the exact title; (2) the date of the entry, with the year, but not the day of the month, always in new style; (3) the reference to volume and page; (4) the name of the printer. In regard to (3) the large roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) refer to the four volumes of the Transcript compiled by Arber,” the small
? A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London; 1554-1640, edited by Edward Arber, 5 vols., London and Birmingham, 1875-94.
roman numerals (i, ii, iii) to the three volumes compiled by G. E. B. Eyre. In regard to (4) it should be noted that I have given no printers' names for titles dated December 14, 1624; June 1, 1629; March 13, 1656; and March 1, 1675: they have been omitted because the number of ballads registered on those dates was so large and the printers' names so long that space would be riotously wasted in repeating the names with each title. It should, then, be observed that all the ballads registered on these dates were licensed as is indicated below: 1624, December 14. By Thomas Pavier, John Wright, Cuthbert
Wright, John Grismond, Henry Gosson, Edward Wright. 1629, June 1. By John Wright, John Grismond, Cuthbert
Wright, Edward Wright, Henry Gosson, Francis Coles. 1656, March 13. By Francis Coles, John Wright, Thomas Vere,
William Gilbertson. 1675, March 1. By Francis Coles, Thomas Vere, John Wright,
John Clark. Furthermore, in a few cases I have given only the initials of the prolific printing company of F[rancis) C[oles], W[illiam] T[hackeray], J[ohn] W[right], T[homas] V[ere), W[illiam] G[ilbertson], and John] C[lark].
In addition to the details given from the Transcripts, an identification of the stationers' entry is made where possible. In these cases I have indicated where the ballad is preserved or reprinted, have quoted its first line, and have (when known) mentioned the author. When no statement of the title is given, it may be assumed that the title in the stationers' entry represents with reasonable accuracy that of the extant ballad. It is assumed, further, that the notes in Ebsworth's, Lilly's, Child's, Collmann's, or my own balladbooks will be consulted whenever reference is made to them; and no attempt has been made to enumerate every reprint of the ballads. The ideal method of treatment would, of course, be to give complete bibliographical information about each entry-to reproduce exactly the title and colophon of each ballad and to enumerate every extant copy and every reprint; but limitations of space have prevented any approach to this ideal.
• A Transcript of the Registers of the Worshipful Company of Stationers; From 1640-1708 A. D., 3 vols., London, 1913-14. The preface is signed by Eyre.
When the ballad indexed is not, to my own knowledge, extant, I have tried to find some other information about it. Accordingly, an occasional note is added on the probable historical connection of the lost ballad; more often, references to it are pointed out in the works of some poet or prose-writer; or again, especially when the title refers to prodigies or criminals, I have given brief summaries of books or pamphlets or official documents that show clearly what the subject of the lost ballad was. As illustrations of this type of identification the reader may be referred to 64, 180, 216, 220, 249, 482, 777, 1344, 1399, 1609, 1813, 2044, 2093, 2141, 2269, 2302, 2352, 2399, 2444, 2452, 2523, 2536, 2632, and so on. At least half of the more than 3000 titles in my index have in one way or another been identified. Many of the entries in the index are of considerable importance to historians and to students of English literature.
INDEX II comprises the first lines of the ballads mentioned in my notes to Index I, and perhaps furnishes the readiest means of finding in Index I any ballad that one may have in mind. If, for example, the searcher knows the first line, “It was a Scotchman," he can more readily find the ballad to which it belongs through Index II than by hunting for Jesper Coningham in Index I or Cunningham, Jasper in Index III. It must not be taken for granted, however, because a certain first line does not appear in this index that the ballad which it begins was not registered and is not included in Index I. On the contrary, when the stationers' entry gave only the first line (as 1265, 1988, 1993, 3052) the entry appears in Index I only, not in Index II. Furthermore, in a few cases (as 413, 522) I have not been able to find the first line of the ballad referred to in the notes.
covers the names and subjects mentioned in Index I-not only the names and subjects of the stationers' entries themselves but also those given in my notes on these entries—except the proper nouns that begin the titles in the stationers' entries and that, as a result, fall in their regular alphabetical position in Index I. For example, the entries under England (686-722) in Index I are not repeated in Index III; again, the stationers' title Jane Shore (1272) occurs under the letter J in Index I and is indexed under the name Shore in Index III. This third index, however, is in other respects full, and it ought to facilitate reference to Index I or to the printed Transcripts. If the searcher of Index I, to illustrate, is misled by the spelling of Fitzmorris (897), the entry of Fitzmaurice, James, in Index III will call his attention to the ballad he wishes to find. If he notices in the Transcript “ A Wofull Ballad Made by Master George Mannington” and desires to know where it is printed, a casual glance at Mannington in Index III will refer him to 1617 in Index I, where the necessary details are given. Or if he is hunting for ballads dealing with the hog-faced lady, Miss Tannakin Skinker, he has but to look in Index III for hog-faced or Skinker, Tannakin, to find a reference to them. Finally, such general headings as “actors," "Armada," “ Elderton, William,"
, “ “ James I,” “jigs,” “ murders,” “Northern Rebellion,” “Parker, Martin,” “plagues,” and “Shakespeare ” ought to make the index of considerable value to students. It will, in any case, do away with the necessity of looking through hundreds of pages of the Transcripts for a ballad that may, or may not, be entered there.
a In general, if these indexes are to be used successfully, at times all three must be consulted, and especial attention must be paid to the cross-references in Index I, for they are not always repeated in Indexes II and III.
In a work involving so many details I can hardly hope to have escaped from blundering. That blunders are not numerous is due largely to the intelligent care with which my friend Miss Addie Rowe assisted me in the proof-reading. Corrections and additions from any one who is interested enough to send them to me will be gratefully received and acknowledged.