Where to start

Once you click on “EMPOP” at transcribe.folger.edu, you need to select an image before you can begin transcribing. If you can read the words in the image below, you should feel free to select virtually any image that hasn’t already been started by 3 people.

V.a.339, 2v || 3r

This reads:

De Abrogatione legalis Sabbathi.

movent nonnulli quæstionē de observantia legalis Sabbathi

That’s Latin, isn’t it? It appears to be a copy, in the hand of the manuscript’s primary compiler, of Wolfgang Musculus’ 1553 In decalogum praeceptorum. If you find this daunting, you’re not alone. In that case, why not try skipping ahead to some English prose?

V.a.339, 9v || 10r
mor: pray:

O most mercifull & eternall god who art the creato, Guidor, governor &

This looks like the start of a morning prayer in English. If you can make out those words, you should be able to handle any of the images in between folios 9v and 18r and indeed most of the manuscript. You could choose an image within the range of fols. 33v and 39r (for the primary compiler’s copies from Nathaniel Carpenter’s Achitophel). If you’re an EMROC star, you could start on the recipes on fols. 100v-107r, and 179v-184v. If you fish, go for fol. 185r-v. If you make ink, learn about color on fol. 186r. If the prose written in the primary hand gets too dense, though, it might be more productive to begin with poetry.

V.a.339, 18v || 19r
The ffather:   Alpha, and omega, God alone

Eloi my God, the​ holy one

For more English verse in this hand, choose fols. 26v-31r (John Taylor the water poet’s poem on the books of the Bible), 98v-99r, 186v-197r, 198v-200r, 201v-204r, 205v-210r, 210v, 222v-224v, 212r-214r (the folio numbers are out of order due to a mistake in rebinding the book in 1960) . Now that’s what I call EMPOP.

But if all of this is still difficult to read, you should try the forgeries that John Payne Collier added to blank pages of the manuscript in the 19th century.

V.a.339, 107v || 108r
The Pinnace

A pinnace riggd with silken saile

What is more louely then to see

Now isn’t that easier to read? You can find more of the same in between fols. 107v and 179r (and elsewhere in the manuscript). Why not start there? If that becomes easy, you can graduate on to the manuscript’s genuine 17th-century handwriting.

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