Title
MS II
On p. 1, Ruskin wrote “Vol 1” in a hand that appears contemporary with the manuscript.
Location
Beinecke Library, Yale University. Formerly, the Beinecke kept MS II inside a slipcase entitled “Harry & Lucy, Poems &c”, which contained this Red Book along with others similar to it—MS II, MS III, MS IIIA, and MS IV—when these manuscripts were first purchased (see Note on Provenance). In recent years, the contents have been separated from the slipcase and cataloged . . .
Provenance
See Note on Provenance: Sotheby’s 1930.
Description
Handmade book of plain paper, no cover; approx. 10 × 16.3 cm; 16 unnumbered leaves; paper watermarked 1825. The booklet was later enclosed in a paper cover that, like the inside covers of the red books, has pasted on it a clipping from Poems (1891) describing MS II, along with brief remarks, possibly in the hand of Alexander Wedderburn. As remarked by this annotator, the cover formed no part of the original booklet.
Script is pencil and ink longhand, varying in control from neat to a wild scrawl; nowhere doesRuskin use his fancy print or copperplate hands.
Collation
Body paragraph.
Contents
From front of book, the sequential order of contents:
  • Drafts of poems, “The Ship” (1828) (1r–1v), “Description of an Afternoon” (1v–p2r), “A Psalm” (“shall the dust praise thee o my lord”) (2r), “A Psalm 1st” (“O blessed is the man who walks”) (2r).
  • Draft for lines 122–62 of the first book of “Eudosia, or a Poem on the Universe” (2r–2v).
  • Draft for Harry and Lucy, no. 32 (3r–3v).
  • Draft for poems and sermon reports, nos. 36 (partial draft, 3v), 37 (4r), 36 (remainder of draft, 4r), 40 (4r), 41 (4r–5r), 42 (5r), 43 (5r–6r), 44 (partial draft, 6r–7v), 45 (7v), 44 (remainder of draft, 8r–9r).
  • Draft entitled a letter (9r–9v). This brief fragment of a conclusion to a letter—printed from this source in Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters (170)—has been misidentified and misdated as part of a presentation for John Jamesʼ May 1828 birthday. In fact, it is almost certainly draft for the conclusion to a presentation to John James one year later, a May 1829 birthday letter that has been printed from its fair copy (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters 200).
  • Poem fragments, nos. 58 (9v), 59 (9v–10r).
  • Draft for “Eudosia”, no. 27, book I, lines 100–104 (on lily of valley), lines 163 to end of book I (on white lily, peony, laurel, and oak), and variants of opening four lines of book II (on pine, not designated as book II here in MS II) (10r–14v).
  • Poem fragment no. 60, probably intended as continuing revision of no. 44 (14v–15r).
  • Undated letter to Mrs. Monro that refers to Mary Richardson and Ruskin noting down the Reverend Edward Andrewsʼ sermons in a book at home, i.e. MS II itself—an activity that can be identified with the first quarter of 1829 (15v–16v).
Date
Autumn 1828–spring and probably summer 1829.
Dated “(1828–1829)” on the manuscript in an unknown hand. Misdated first half of 1828 by Collingwood, Poems (4o, 1891), ?:???; Poems (8o, 1891), ?:???; and Ruskin, Ruskin, Works, 1:263.
Back to top