W. G. Collingwood assigned roman numeral IV to this Red Book in his “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS. of the Poems” for Poems (1891) (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:262; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:263). Two decades earlier, Ruskin himself had set the precedent for numbering the Red Books, including this one: at bottom of the title page for “Eudosia,” he wrote “Red book No. 1. Sept 8th 1870” (see “Eudosia”: Title). On the same day, he docketed MS III as “Red book No. 2,” and MS I as “Red book No. 3.” For the meaning of this numbering, see Red Books. Apart from these numerical designations, Ruskinʼs title–intended originally, it appears, both for MS IV in its entirety as well as for its main work—is “EUDOSIA OR / A POEM / ON THE / UNIVERSE / BY JOHN RUSKIN / VOL I / These are thy glorious works parent of good / Almighty thine this universal frame / Thus wondros fair MILTON / BOTANY / HERN HILL / DULWICH.” See also System of Title Citation for Major Manuscripts.
Beinecke Library, Yale University, catalogued as . . . Formerly, the Beinecke kept the manuscript inside the slip case “ Harry & Lucy, Poems &c,” which contained it along with four other manuscripts when purchased. The slip case is now preserved separately.
See Provenance: Sothebyʼs 1930.
Red book; 9.7 × 14.6 cm. ?? leaves.
Inside front endboard + “Eudosia”: Title (1r) + pp. 1–33, with p. 1 started on 1v + ?? unnumbered leaves (or ??r/v–??r/v, with ??r/v–??r/v blank and ??r/v–??r/v containing text written reverso from back of book. Pasted to inside front endboard: clipping from Poems (1891) describing MS IV.
From front of book, the sequential order of contents:
- Item belonging to Group A.
- First item belonging to Group B.
- Second item belonging to Group B.
- Third item belonging to Group B.
- Item belonging to Group C.
From front of book, the sequential order of contents: a. “Eudosia,” including “The Yew” incorporated into the end of the poem (1r, containing the title page + pp. 1–17, with p. 1 on verso of title page [blank apart from page number], and p. 2 containing the beginning of the text). b. Blank, except for Ruskinʼs page numbering (pp. 18–19). c. List of Ruskinʼs Published Poems, 1830–46, Compiled by John James Ruskin (pp. 20–33 + the immediately following unnumbered leaf). d. 21 blank, unnumbered leaves. Reverso, from back of book, the sequential order of contents: e. Mineralogy Notes [ca. 1829] (1r–3r).
September 1828 to early 1830; 1836; ca. 1845–46 (by John James Ruskin).
MS IV is like some other Red Books (e.g., MS III and MS IIIA) in that it starts with a title page announcing a single work (see Title) but–Ruskin failing to realize the ambitious length and predominance of that work—the manuscript was left open to being filled by other kinds of writing. MS IV, however, was left with an unusually large blank section: from the page containing the final fair-copied lines of “Eudosia” (p. 17) to the Mineralogy Notes [ca. 1829] entered reverso from the other end, MS IV contained a section of 29 leaves, blank except for numbering on some pages, until two decades after its initial use, when John James Ruskin used some of those leaves for his catalog of his sonʼs published poems. Over time, Ruskin put space in other Red Books to various uses–the additional poetry anthologies in MS III, the mineralogy notes in MS IIIA (although that Red Book also retained blank sections extending to significant lengths), the sermon drafts in Juvenilia MS A. That Ruskin left so much of MS IV unused may suggest that he persisted longer in an intention to carry on with the manuscriptʼs main work, “Eudosia,” compared to ambitions for “Harry and Lucy,” which he relinquished more easily in MS III and MS IIIA. If so, his lingering ambitions for a long poem would be more expected than for Edgeworthian lessons, which he more quickly outgrew. If Ruskin had devoted additional Red Books to further “volumes” of “Eudosia”–beyond the first volume he planned for MS IV, which he gave over to the subject of “Botany”–he presumably would have continued to follow something like the plan found in his source, Lofft, Eudosia. Since Ruskin subdivides his first volume of his “Poem on the Universe” into “books” (of which he never got beyond the start of book 2), he is even more ambitious than Lofft, whose “Poem on the Universe” is divided only into books (not volumes containing books), of which the first is “The Earth,” corresponding to Ruskinʼs “Botany.” It is possible that one of the fair‐copy versions of “The Constellations: Northern, Some of the Zodiac, and Some of the Southern”–that in MS IA, or RF T70–represents a continuation of Ruskinʼs scheme beyond the first volume in MS IV, as a volume on the stars would correspond to Lofftʼs poem: see “Eudosia”: Discussion.
Composition & Sources