I first encountered Ms. Codex 1552, Vade mecum, at a meeting of the English Paleography Workshop. A group of Penn librarians, graduate students, and faculty; scholars and graduate students from other institutions; area librarians, book-dealers, and other interested parties joined Amey Hutchins in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the sixth floor of Van Pelt for a special after-hours session.

This manuscript is a small, compact, portable volume that contains medicinal recipes. The volume also includes some Biblical verses and other miscellaneous material. One of the most interesting features of this manuscript is a pair of seventeenth-century poems that appear across a single opening near the end of the volume. Our Paleography Workshop persevered in reading the first poem on the verso by carefully deciphering the difficult script (a rushed secretary hand), decoding the topical references to Parliament and John Pym, MP and erstwhile head of the majority in Parliament, and discussing the place of that poem within a recipe book. Since then I’ve returned to the manuscript and completed my own transcription of both poems (included below). In my current research I’m interested in the ways topical or occasional poems rub shoulders with other kinds of texts in seventeenth-century manuscript and print culture. And in fact, I’ve discovered that this manuscript has had far more contact with the world of print than one would realize from first glance: both poems appeared in print during the seventeenth-century.

We fasted first, then praid that warr might cease

The poem on the verso, “We fasted first, then praid that warr might cease,” (f.115v) is firmly anti-Parliament.

 We fasted first,then praid that warr might cease
 when prer woold not serue wee p[ai]d for peace
 And glad we had it so, and gaue god thanks.
 which makes thy Irish play the Scottish pranks
 is there no god lett it put that to uote
 is there no church some fools say so by rote
 is there no Kinge but pimm for to assent
 for what is done by act of Parliament
 no god-no Church, no king, then all were well
 that could but enact tyrannous hell

UPenn Ms. Codex 1552 (f.115v)

A full-text search on Early English Books Online revealed that the first line of this poem closely matches a poem included in a Restoration-era collection of seventeenth-century Royalist verse edited by Alexander Brome, Rump Songs (1662)[1]. In Rump Songs the poem is called “The Rump’s Hypocrisy” and the text includes some variations. While I would still agree with the Penn cataloger that this poem was likely composed in the early 1640s, it does also have an afterlife in a Royalist verse collection as well as in Ms. Codex 1552.


Rump Songs (1663) UPenn Rare Book & Manuscript library [EC6 B7917.660R 1662]– title page, sig E8v

Once had I money and a friend

In contrast poem on the recto, “Once had I money and a friend,” (f.116r) is neither topical nor political and its textual history is rather different.

Once had I money and a friend
I did them both preserve
I lent my money to my friend
his needful use to serue
I spared my money and my friend
so long as well I could
I sawe no money nor my friend
returne as reason would
I askt my money of my friend
mee thought his stay was strange
I lost my money and my friend
And found a foe in change,
Hee that hath money and a friend
bee warned at my Cost
Lest money, friend, and warnings:
bee altogether lost,
If God send money and a friend,
As I have had before.
Ile keepe my money and my friend
And haue them both in store

UPenn Ms. Codex 1552 ( f.116r)

This poem is linked to other manuscripts as well as printed books. According to the Union First Line Index  it appears in multiple manuscripts at the Bodleian Library and the British Library as well as other research libraries. The records for these manuscripts suggest that further examination would reveal a range of variation in the poem: alternate lines, substitutions, longer and shorter versions. Moreover, the Union First Line Index and Early English Books Online concur that “Once had I money and a friend” was first included in a collection of philosophical excerpts, The Philosopher’s Banquet (1633) [2]. The poem is based on an aphorism of Plautus and bears some similarity to the other contents of this volume [3].  Unlike the first poem in the manuscript, “Once had I money and a friend” was almost certainly printed before it was copied into Ms. Codex 1552.

The Philosophers Banquet (1633) Newberry Library copy, images from Early English Books Online) – title page, sigs. R6v-R7r

With such different content, it is only reasonable that these two poems were printed in very different books: the first, in a Royalist verse miscellany and the second, in a collection of abridged philosophical material. What is most unique, then, about these two poems is that they appear side-by-side in this particular manuscript. While Ms. Codex 1552 is not likely the origin of either poem, the original compiler did bring this material together. And the pairing points both back to the educated culture of the early seventeenth century and to the poetic and political culture of the Restoration era.


[1] Rump: or An exact collection of the choycest poems and songs relating to the late times. By the most eminent wits, from anno 1639. to anno 1661. London : printed for Henry Brome at the Gun in Ivy-lane, and Henry Marsh at the Princes Armes in Chancery-lane, 1662. WING: B4851. It may also be included in other collections that are not yet rendered in full text on EEBO or in manuscripts that might not yet be fully indexed. It might also be included in the 1659 or 1660 editions of the same collection.

[2] The philosophers banquet. Newly furnished and decked forth with much variety of many severall dishes, that in the former service were neglected. Where now not only meats and drinks of all natures and kinds are serued in, but the natures and kinds of all disputed of. As further, dilated by table-conference, alteration and changes of states, diminution of the stature of man, barrennesse of the earth, with the effects and causes thereof, phisically and philosophically. Newly corrected and inlarged, to almost as much more. By W.B. Esquire. The third edition. London : Printed [by John Beale] for Nicholas Vavasour, and are to bee sold at his shop in the Temple, neere the Church, 1633. ESTC: 22063. This poem does not appear to be included in the 1609 or 1614 printing of the same volume of abridged philosophical material.

[3] Plautus, Trinummus, 4.43-7