Monthly Archives: June 2009

“The Down-right Dick of the West”

I’ve been working on the UCSB English Broadside Ballad Archive on and off for two years now and I have to say that is my favorite ballad title yet.  The ballad itself is about a man from the west, Dick, who goes to London, gets into a bit of an argument with some gallant, and wins the day by proving that plowmen like him were more important than Londoners.  Unlike many of the ballads I have read, it does seem to have a more complex message, in that it does hint at the brutishness of “Down-right Dick.”  While I’ve read better ballads, this one wins my award for best title.  If I was writing about court/country or something along those lines, I think this would get a chapter named after it.

My work with Strafford’s correspondence goes forward.  I have about 5 of the reels, with a few dozen letters that I need to look at.  Most of the Raylton correspondence is in the reels I have not gotten yet.  I’m not sure how much farther I want to go down this road; it is taking a lot of time and I want to start writing.  However, I guess that I do need to put Mabbott as agent into a larger context, and Raylton is one of the best candidates I’ve seen to play foil for Mabbott.

Has anyone heard of a black clerk of the signet in the early 1630s?  One of George Garrard’s newsletters to Wentworth mentions one:

Amongs whom the most notorious was Winwood’s litle Moore, One of the Clerkes of the Signett, who was fined for his buildings about St Martines Church in the Fields . . .

Unless of course he means that the clerk was named Moore.  However, I don’t see a “Moore” in the index to Aylmer’s The King’s Servants.  Anyway, this hasn’t been my most brilliant update, but I guess I will leave it at that.

PS.  In non-academic news, I highly recommend checking out the “literal videos” on youtube, particularly “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  I’ve been laughing about it for days.  As well, I feel really bad for that kid with the flower that got snubbed by Megan Fox.  If you haven’t seen it, google it and prepare to feel pity.  My friend commented that he is the heir apparent for the Star Wars Kid.


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