Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/90

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Ixxxvi INTRODUCTION ���the published title-pages. The book contains numerous slight alterations in pencil, and since some of these notes are in the first person, it is probable that this manuscript was corrected by Ardelia herself. �The history of this folio is also of interest. During the last years of the life of Heneage, fourth Earl of Winchilsea, one of his constant companions was Mr. John Creyk, vicar of Eastwell and the earl's private chaplain. In the letters of the earl to Dr. Stukeley Mr. Creyk is described as "my friend, a learned gentleman and a lover of antiquities." On September 30, 1726, Mr. Creyk wrote to Dr. Stukeley: �This morning at five minutes before six I performed the dole- ful office of closing the eyes of my dear Lord Winchilsea who died of the Iliac passion. �Lord Hertford, in writing to Dr. Stukeley in April, 1727, says of Lord Winchilsea: �By his will he left me his Medals and his Sark Antiquities ; what he wrote upon them is in possession of Mr. Creyk ; whether he will publish them or not I do not know ; he has the disposal of everything. �In this fashion did the folio volume of poems come into the possession of the Creyk family, a second one of whom, also a Mr. John Creyk, held the vicarage of Eastwell from 1742 to 1745. Birch in his General Dictionary (1734-1741) said that a great number of Lady Winchilsea's poems still continued unpublished "in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Creake." And there they apparently remained. For a hun- dred and forty years the manuscript quietly outlived its successive owners in the Creake family, till some turn of the wheel of fortune brought their effects to public sale. Mr. Gosse, in Gossip in a Library, thus describes the manner in which the precious volume came into his possession: �In 1884 I saw advertised, in an obscure book-list, a folio vol- ume of old manuscript poetry. Something excited my curiosity, ��� �