Title
BMS VII
Location
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Yale (cataloged as Iteriad &c ).
Provenance
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Sotheby’s 1930. This is one of the manuscripts, along with MSS IX and X, that Collingwood listed as in the possession of Mrs. Arthur Severn. On the inside front flyleaf, she inscribed: Joan R. Severn--given to me by Di Pa in 1887 at Brantwood.
Description
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Notebook, greenish marbled paper boards, three-quarter-bound in dark blue morocco; 25 × 21 cm; marbled endpapers, and edges; 144 original leaves (not including endpapers), of which Ruskin numbered only pp. 1-57 (with p. 47 given twice, but, in compensation, no p. 48). A later hand numbered the leaves but included in this numbering the leaves of a dismembered copybook that was later tipped in to the back of MS VII (see below), bringing the total to 162 leaves. The year 1830 is visible in the watermark.
Collation
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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.
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Content Forward from front of book: a) Iteriad, no. 91 (pp. 1r-58r; or, in other terms, 1r-v [title page and argument] + pp. 1-57 [as numbered by Ruskin, with inaccuracies already mentioned] + 30v-58r). b) Athens, no. 135 (59r-61v), with the poem itself (six stanzas only) appearing on 60r-61v; incomplete fair copy (see no. 135). c) Blank leaves, 62r-113r. Forward from end of book (see "Account" apparatus, draft of composite): d) Blank inside flyleaf and 162v-r. e) Poem, The Rhine (161v, dated 1833; Works, 2:368-69), and poem, Chamouni (161r-59v, dated 1833; Works, 2:382-84), both of them sections of no. 180. Copied by another hand, probably Margaret’s. Items e-h have the appearance of having all been fair-copied at around the same time, as if these pieces were being anthologized for some reason. f) No. 244, untitled, copied in the same hand (probably Margaret’s), and dated October 1st 1836 (159v-55r). g) No. B, Undatable, partial copy in the same hand, probably Margaret’s (154v-r). h) No. 204, copied in the same hand, probably Margaret’s (153v-50v). i) As noted above ( Description ) and in the Library Edition (Works 2:27 n. 1, 45 n. 2a; not mentioned, however, in the description of MS VII, Works, 2:532), a copybook was dismembered and tipped in to the back, starting between leaves 149 and 147 and continuing until between leaves 115 and 113. This booklet contains no. 251 (a copy probably by John James, with annotations attributed to W. H. Harrison), and no. 256 (also a copy probably by John James). There are a total of 18 leaves. It can no longer be positively confirmed that these leaves once formed a single thin copybook (see Description above)--as opposed, say, to two separate booklets, one for each poem. There is no reason to doubt the claim, however, since all leaves measure the same size, 19 x 22.8 cm. Title page: The Gipsies / a Poem / by / John Ruskin Aetat 18 / 1837 (1r, verso blank); 9 leaves, following the title-page leaf, which are numbered pp. 1-17 in the copyist’s hand, and written on both sides (except for the final page). Title page: The Exile of St. Helena / by John Ruskin / Aetat 19 / 1838 (11r, and 11v blank, if one counts these leaves continuously from The Gipsies ); 7 leaves, following the title-page leaf, written on both sides (except for the final page). These leaves were not numbered by the copyist, but the lines of poetry were numbered and, on that basis, nothing appears to be missing.
Date
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Date of composition probably 1831-32 for fair copy of Iteriad (draft begun in 1830); 1835 (?) 36 . Tipped-in manuscripts composed 1837 and 1838. On inside front flyleaf (beneath Joan Severn's inscription): Begun 28 Novr 1830 / Finished 11 Jany 1832 (written in ink over top of the same words in pencil). The earlier date refers to the start of composition and the latter to the final fair-copying (see note to no. 91).
Discussion
In its initial use, this was a fair-copy notebook used primarily for Iteriad, no. 91, and Athens, no. 135, which are fair-copied in a hand similar to, but larger than, that used for MSS IIA-E. Title page (1r): ITERIAD / or / THREE WEEKS / AMONG / the / LAKES / 1831. The title page, which Ruskin displayed in fancy lettering drawn from Butterworth’s Young Arithmetician’s Instructor: Containing Specimens of Writing with Directions (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters 259, 261 n. 17) is reproduced in Iteriad, or Three Weeks among the Lakes, ed. James S. Dearden(Newcastle upon Tyne: Frank Graham, 1969), among the illustrations between pp. 32 and 33. Similar lettering occurs in some of Ruskin's letters to his father in MS XI. On the verso of the title page, Ruskin drew another fancily lettered Iteriad, followed by Book First / The argument and a prose summary of the first book’s contents. Each of the three remaining books begins much the same way, without Iteriad repeated, but with a fancy ornament separating the text of the argument from the poem. Title page (59r): ATHE[NS / OR THE] and on the verso (59v) [Canto First], with the bracketed letters representing what Ruskin only sketched in pencil from his orthography primer, without finishing the letters in ink. At the top of the following page, halfway down on which begins the poem, Ruskin penciled [THE ARGUMENT] and left a space for a prose summary, like those that begin the books of Iteriad. Tipped in between the front marbled flyleaves, Wedderburn(?) added a page on which is pasted a description of MS VII clipped from PJR, as was done for other manuscripts that Collingwood had already described. On this sheet, Wedderburn(?) provides information about material tipped in at the back of MS VII: His father’s copy of ‘The Gipsies’ & ‘The Exile of St Helena,’ formerly in one thin copybook have now been inserted in this book.
Hand
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Composition & Sources
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Domestic Scene
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