Trinity College Dublin, MS 419

Trinity College Dublin, MS 419 is unlike any of the other manuscripts published on this website. Rather than full Donne sermons, the two items are sermon notes most probably taken from reading. The manuscript belonged to a certain John Burley (BA 1625, MA 1628, Oriel College, Oxford), who used it as a commonplace book. The manuscript contains notes on logic, rhetoric, theology and other sciences, as befits a university undergraduate. It seems that Burley retained and added to the manuscript for several decades, since the last date in it is 29 August 1650. The sermon notes taken from Donne are further interspersed with notes taken from other preachers, 'Mr Purchas' (perhaps Samuel Purchas), and 'Mr Dauies'. The two sermons from which these notes were taken are an undated but probably early Lincoln's Inn sermon (on Colos. 1.24, OESJD Vol IV.2; cf. P&S III.16), and another on Psalm 6.4-5 (still unassigned for OESJD; cf. P&S V.18-19).  

The presence of notes pertaining to Donne's sermons was first noticed by P.G. Stanwood (see his 'John Donne's Sermon Notes', The Review of English Studies, n.s., 29-115 (1978), pp. 313-320). Stanwood suggests how 'Burley could have taken down these notes from hearing Donne preach; but he might also have seen the notes and written them out as he found them' (p. 315). The latter is the more likely scenario, since Burley was certainly not at Lincoln's Inn when Donne delivered his sermon. Burley's notes have only a loose relation to the much more elaborate wording of the sermons as they were finally published.  

Burley's handwriting is, at times, extremely rushed and so very difficult to read. Where some words are nearly unreadable our transcription is necessarily conjectural. In such instances, words have been surrounded by curly brackets.