Title
MS V
W. G. Collingwood assigned the roman numeral V to this notebook in his “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS. of the Poems” for Poems (1891) (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:263; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:264). Apart from the editorʼs numerical designation, Ruskinʼs title‐intended, it appears, for the manuscript in its entirety is 𒀜MISCELLANEOUS POETRY.” Unlike his full‐page titles for MS I, MS IB, MS III, MS IIIA, and MS IV, which Ruskin apparently intended to serve both for the manuscript in its entirety and for its single main work (despite the more or less miscellaneous contents that eventually filled out some of these manuscripts), his title for MS V does not take up an entire page in imitation of a published book. Rather, he wrote it in capitals on p. 1, above the first of the poems in the anthology, which starts on the same page (see “Helvellyn”: Title). A handmade pamphlet tipped in at the end of MS V (see Description) bears its own title by Ruskin : “BATTLE OF WATERLOO / A PLAY / IN TWO ACT’S / WITH OTHER SMALL / POEMS / DEDICATED TO HIS FATHER / BY JOHN RUSKIN / 1829 / HERNHILL / DULWICH.” See System of Title Citation for Major Manuscripts.
Location
Body paragraph.
Beinecke Library, Yale University. Cataloged as “Poems 1829–1832”, which is the title on the spine of the slip case containing the manuscript when purchased. The slip case is now preserved separately.
Provenance
Body paragraph.
See Provenance: Sotheby’s 1930.
Description
Body paragraph.
A 12 × 18.5 cm, pre‐ruled notebook, covered with greenish marbled boards, half‐bound in chocolate calf, and gilt (the same binding as that described by W. G. Collingwood [Poems (4o, 1891), 1:263; Poems (8o, 1891), 1:264]). The leaves measure 11 × 17.7 cm. Collation Following and not including the marbled front endpaper: three blank leaves + 167 pp. as numbered by Ruskin (with p. 1 starting on a recto, and with p. 37 given twice) + 3 blank leaves + back marbled endpaper. The three leaves at the beginning and end of the notebook are unruled and, unlike the ruled leaves that make up the main part of the notebook, bear the watermark “Smith & A[(?)] / 18[(?)]”. This difference in papers might suggest a rebinding of MS V, but the worn marbled boards appear original, as do the leather corners. Also, the edges of the paper were marbled in a color that may once have matched the boards. It seems likely, therefore, that MS V has come down to us in the same binding in which Ruskin first used it. Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts, with Other Small Poems A handmade pamphlet with this title, its pages disassembled, is tipped in at the back of MS V. Originally, the pamphlet formed no part of MS V, and it must not have been inserted when Collingwood described MS V, as he does not mention it. (See “Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts” for the likelihood that Collingwood was unaware of this pamphlet at all when compiling Poems [1891].) The pamphlet was probably inserted by Alexander Wedderburn, and no later than 1903, since Collingwood's “Notes on the Original MSS. of Poems”, as elaborated in the Library Edition, adds to the description of MS V: “In this book . . . are now inserted the leaves of a thin paper book” containing “Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts” and other works (Ruskin, Ruskin, Works, 2:531). The addition is mentioned also on a leaf tipped in between the marbled front endpapers of MS V; like similar leaves in some of the Red Books, these hold a clipping from Poems (1891) describing MS V, along with brief remarks penned probably by Wedderburn. It is perplexing why this pamphlet was not included in MS IA, a collection compiled after Collingwoodʼs editing of Poems (1891), just as it is perplexing, and intriguing, why the contents of MS IA were omitted from MS XI. The pamphlet requires a description of its own: Most of the booklet’s leaves have been cut at the fold and tipped separately onto successive pages of the notebook. If nothing is lacking—and only a front portion of cover, made of heavier paper, has likely disappeared—the booklet consists of 8 leaves that were folded once to form 16 pp., 10 x 16 cm. The innermost fold, leaves 4–5, remains intact, tending to confirm how the booklet was constructed. Ruskin numbered the pages 1–14, starting with 2r. In addition to this gathering, a back cover remains that is white on the inside, facing p. 16, and bright pink on the outer side, and that looks to be the same age as the other leaves. No matching front cover is extant. Nothing is written on the back cover, but it presumably formed part of the pamphlet when the editors discovered the little anthology; otherwise, they would have had no reason to include it. There is no assurance, however, that Ruskin himself was responsible for the pink cover, when he constructed the pamphlet in 1829, and there is no way of knowing what, if anything, might have been written or drawn on the front cover.
Collation
Body paragraph.
Contents
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.
Body paragraph.
a. Fair copies of poems, most of them originally drafted in MSS VI and VIII, but not necessarily fair-copied here in order of composition: “Helvellyn” (pp. 1–2), “The Moon” (pp. 2–3), “The Wood of Birches near Tunbridge” (pp. 3–4), “On Happiness” (p. 4), “The IX Psalm” (p. 5), “Sabbath Morning” (pp. 6–7), “Shagram’s Farewell to Shetland” (pp. 7–9), “Etna” (pp. 9–10), “Bosworth Field” (pp. 10–13), “Vesuvius” (pp. 13–16), “Trafalgar” (pp. 17–20), “Death” (pp. 20–23), “The Day of Judgement” (pp. 24–29), “Battle of Preston Pans” (pp. 29–35), “Revenge” (pp. 36–37[b] [i.e., the poem takes up a total of three pages, including the two pages that Ruskin mistakenly numbered redundantly as p. 37: p. 37[a] and p. 37[b]]), “Despair” (pp. 38–46), “Love” (pp. 46–51), “Haddon Hall” (pp. 52–53), “My Dog Dash” (pp. 53–54), “On the Death of My Cousin Jessy” (pp. 54–55), “My Fishing Rod” (pp. 55–59), “The Ascent of Skiddaw” [book ?, lines ??–?? of “Iteriad”] (pp. 59–78), “Going to Covent Garden Theatre To See the £100 Note & Harlequin Fat and Harlequin Bat” (pp. 78–83), “The Fairies” (pp. 84–86), “To My Heart” (pp. 86–88), “To Poesie” (pp. 88–90), “A Dirge for Nelson” (pp. 90–92), “To the Ocean Spirits” (pp. 92–94), “To the Fairies” (pp. 95–97), “To the Spirits of the Earth” (pp. 97–99), “To the Spirits of the Fire” (pp. 100–102), “To the Wind” (pp. 102–3), “Weep for the Dead” (pp. 103–4), “The Mariner’s Song” (pp. 105–6), “On the Want of a Subject” (pp. 106–8), “To the Spirit of Mount Pilate, Written on Reading the Description of That Mountain in Sir Walter Scott’s Novel of Anne of Gierstein” (pp. 109–11), “The Site of Babylon” (pp. 111–12), “The Repentance of Nineveh: A Fragment” (pp. 112–13), “Dash” (pp. 113–15), “Curtained in cloudy drapery” [“Moonlight on the Mountains”] (pp. 115–16), “Sonnet to a Cloud” (pp. 116–17), “Creation: A Fragment” (pp. 117–18), “??? first line” [book 1, lines 401–28 of “Iteriad”] (pp. 118–20), “Athens” [17 stanzas] (pp. 121–29), “Sonnet to the Morning” (pp. 129–30), “The Song of the Southern Breeze” (pp. 130–33). b. Pp. 134–67 blank; of these, pp. 136–48 used to tip in the handmade booklet, Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts, with Other Small Poems (see Description). Contents of the booklet: no. "Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts" (title page, 1r; list of characters, 1v; text, pp. 1–7 [2r–5r]), “Ballad on Waterloo” (pp. 7–8), “Description of an Afternoon” (pp. 8–9), “May” (pp. 9–10) “Skiddaw and Derwent Water” (pp. 10–13).
Date
Body paragraph.
Date of composition summer 1829 to early 1832. Beneath Ruskin's main title for the anthology, “Miscellaneous Poetry,” and above the title of the first poem, John James Ruskin wrote, “By J. Ruskin from 10 years to 11 to 12 to of age,” with a long space left perhaps to allow for adding Ruskin's ages as the years went by. As it turned out, the fair-copied poems in the notebook did not extend quite far enough into 1832 to justify John James entering age “13” into the space. W. G. Collingwood remarks: “The poems are nearly all dated, and range from June 28, 1829, to February 1832. The dates are probably those of production, for they are slightly inconsecutive; which would not be the case if they were dates of entry; and, when chronologically arranged, they tally with the order of the first drafts in No. VI” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:263; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:264). See Discussion for speculation about why the anthology was not carried beyond 1832. The handmade booklet tipped in the back of MS V, Battle of Waterloo: A Play in Two Acts, with Other Small Poems, dates from 18291829 in fair copy. See System of Date Citation.
Discussion
MS V is the earliest major manuscript that was originally neither a Red Book nor a homemade booklet. Another new development that Ruskin starts with MS V is the practice of keeping one notebook for carefully copied presentation of his poetry, while drafting his poems in other notebooks—MS VI and MS VIII, especially. Some evidence suggests that he took both sorts of notebooks along with him on journeys (see “The Day of Judgement”), entering the fair copies in MS V on Sundays or other days when the family paused from traveling. Just so, the Diary of 1830 was “written up” from notes during a lengthened stop. Ruskin did compile poetry anthologies prior to MS V, but they were comparatively brief and served to fill out Red Books whose main feature was the ongoing "Harry and Lucy" narrative: see MS I Poetry Anthology, Poetry Descriptive, MS III Second Poetry Anthology, and MS III Poetry Anthology. While no apparent logic governs completion of the anthology other than filling the notebook, it appears from John James Ruskin's open-ended record of his son’s age as the boy entered successive fair copies (see Description) that the father at least may have looked for completion on those terms. Ruskin, however, left over thirty pages blank at the end of the manuscript (see Contents); and the likeliest explanation for this neglect may be that he was drawn to a grander project—the fair copy in MS VII of “Iteriad” and “Athens.” Selections from these epic-length poems appear toward the end of MS V, suggesting that Ruskin grew dissatisfied with their constrained appearance in Miscellaneous Poetry and abandoned the anthology for grander presentation in MS VII. (Since Ruskin did not complete fair-copying “Athens” in MS VII, however, it is also possible that he returned to MS V to enter 17 stanzas of that poem on a less ambitious scale than that begun in MS VII.) On p. 167—a verso, facing the first of the three blank final leaves (see Description)—Ruskin wrote in ink, but then erased, MISCELLANEOUS POETRY / HELVELLYN. This is how the notebook begins on p. 1, so the reason for the erasure is not apparent. Since the erased material is upside down to the text coming from the other direction, perhaps it represents a false start. On the back inside endpaper, Ruskin scribbled some numbers.
Hand
Body paragraph.
Composition & Sources
Body paragraph.
Domestic Scene
Body paragraph.
Back to top