UChicago Library Codex Ms. 549

Title Untitled
Archive University of Chicago Special Collections and Research Center
Call Number UChicago Library Codex Ms. 549
Complete Yes

Revd. William Heath Marsh, ca. 1810.

~100 + ~85 = ~185 poems.

Volume 1 consists primarily of copied poetry, especially pastoral and morality poems or poems with classical themes; volume 2 contains much more original poetry, poems related to public affairs, and references to a Norfolk social network centred around Marsh and Thomas and Mary Blofeld.

Format Quarto
Book Size 25cm x 20cm
Filled Page Count 574 pages
Item Count 185
Poem Count 185
First Line Index No
Digitized No
Additional Genres
Print Sources
Major Themes

Major themes prominent among the manuscript contents in alphabetical order.

Minor Themes

Other themes of interest among the manuscript contents in alphabetical order.


UChicago Library Codex Ms. 549. Manuscript Verse Miscellanies, 1700-1820, 2021, ed. Betty A. Schellenberg, Simon Fraser University, https://dhil.lib.sfu.ca/mvm/manuscript/403.

Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.
Created 2022-09-17 12:20:34 PM
Updated 2023-09-07 11:30:05 AM
First Line Context
'Tis Friendship's pledge, my Young, fair friend

vol. 2, pp. 97–99

Local title: Presented to a Lady With a Book of Poems.

Attributed author: n/a

Adaptation: n/a

Other variants: n/a

Other: Potentially original to this manuscript.

Hard is the task my friend to me has giv’n

vol. 2, pp. 75–76

Local title: To Mrs: Blofeld who requested me to Write some lines but refused to give me a subject.

Attributed author: William Heath Marsh.

Adaptation: n/a

Other variants: n/a

Other: Original to this manuscript.

Thy steady Pen what matchless Genius guides

vol. 1, p. xxix

Local title: To Mrs: Blofeld on her Selection of Poetry.

Attributed author: By The Revd William Marsh.

Adaptation: n/a

Other variants: n/a

Other: Original to this manuscript.


Unspoilt by flattery, and Untaught by art

vol. 2, pp. 50–52

Local title: To a Lady who had expressed her approbation of some of the Authors productions, and solicited the sight of some further effusions of his Muse.

Attributed author: William Heath Marsh.

Adaptation: n/a

Other variants: n/a

Other: Original to this manuscript.

Feature Note
Author attributions

Regular; also includes regular source attributions. Attributions typically appear at the end of an item in the bottom right-hand corner of the last page.


Green Morocco with a striped texture; gold tooling; marbled endpapers.

Created from pre-bound paperbooks (40 and 100 blank pages at the ends of volumes 1 and 2, respectively).


Single, excluding the manuscript inserts and last four pages of volume 2. 

Indications of use

Appears to reflect a local coterie including Mrs and Mr Blofeld, Revd. William Heath Marsh, Diana Lathom, Revd James Willins, and possibly others around the turn of the nineteenth century. The book seems like Marsh's presentation record of the exchanges and there's no indication that he exchanged/shared the book with his local network.

Multiple metapoems about the compilation process or the exchange of poetry, most notably: “To Mrs: Blofeld on her Selection of Poetry By The Revd William Marsh” (i, v1), “To Mrs: Blofeld who requested me to Write some lines but refused to give me a subject” (v2, 75–76), and “Presented to a Lady, With a Book of Poems” (v2, 97–99).

Scrap of print, potentially used as a bookmark in volume 1 between pages 127 and 128.

Multiple manuscript inserts in volume 2, mainly original poetry by members of the same circle.

Demonstrated interest in the Seaton Prize (Cambridge) (v. 1, p. 195; v. 1, p. 201; and v. 2 p. 70).

Rare footnotes in volume 1.

Interesting series v. 2 pp. 26–31 which are a poem, an imitation by Marsh, and a note about that imitation from Marsh to Mrs. Blofeld.

The last four pages of the second volume are copied in a different, potentially later hand; these pages are also unpaginated so probably not a part of the compiler's vision for the collection.

Item formatting

No lines under titles.

Frequent dashes between items.

Occasional use of numbered stanzas.


Poems addressed to or intended for the Blofelds begin each volume so the Marsh/Blofeld connection sort of frames the collection.

Items aren't necessarily organised by theme but they do follow certain interests: volume 1 begins with pastoral and morality poetry largely from the 16th and 17th centuries, then turns towards classical themes, and, finally, the poems are grouped by author. Volume 2 begins with original poetry and poetry about public affairs, then falls into a larger section of original poetry (primarily by Marsh); around p. 115 the volume turns back towards copied classical themes and religious poems until around p. 197 where there’s more original and public affairs poetry.

Original poetry

Yes, plenty, mostly in the second volume. 

The first poem of each volume is original; then in volume 1 there are three other original poems on pp. 159–166, 174–175, and 296. Volume 2 has a lot more original poetry, primarily by Marsh but also by Diana Lathom (pp. 43–45, 77–81, and 120–123); also a couple poems by a Revd James Willins (around p. 115) and “the late Miss Caroline Symmons” (pp. 250–254).

Ownership mark

Only the attributions to original poems.

Page layout

Generous use of space.

No margins or header/footer rules.

Paginated (though the last four pages of volume two are unpaginated, likely because they were a later addition by another hand).

Table of Contents


The alphabet is written out one letter at a time across the first 26 pages of volume 1, but no contents are listed (i.e., only the intention of an index).