The Text and Stemma of 'To S(R) H: W: Going into Venice:' Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The text of Donnes verse letter to Sir Henry Wotton on his appointment as ambassador to Venice, beginning After those reverent papers, published in the Variorum edition of the verse letters (2018) is based on Trinity College, Dublin Ms. 877 (Variorum siglum DT1). While the Variorum text resembles most of the printed versions of the poem, I argue that it differs considerably from what Donne likely presented to Wotton as he left England for his embassy in 1604. I base my argument principally upon bibliographic evidence found in the Burley Ms. (Variorum siglum LR1), which was compiled mainly during Wottons first embassy (16041610). Below the copy of HWVenice (Variorum short form) in this manuscript, the scribe recorded a prose postscript that in all likelihood was taken from the now lost original holograph among Wottons personal papers in Venice. No other copy of HWVenice includes this postscript, a fact leaving little doubt that the LR1 text of the poem and its postscript stand closer to Donnes own hand than any other surviving witness. After analysing the stemma published in the Variorum, I propose a more likely stemma and a more authoritative text for HWVenice.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Dickson, D. R.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Dickson, Donald R

publication date

  • April 2021