I have not yet made a complete review of the literature on the topic, but it seems likely that the Cambridge Manuscript of Sidney’s New Arcadia, Cambridge University Library MS Kk 1.5, features a previously undocumented variant in one of Sidney’s greatest and goriest descriptions of battle. Sidney’s catalogue of soldiers’ bodies mutilated in Basilius’ siege of Amphialus’ castle in book three, on f. 165r, mentions “heads dispossessed of their natural seignories… [and] bodies to see to, but that their hearts, wont to be bound all over so close, were now with deadly violence opened” (The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, ed. Victor Skretkowicz [Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1987], 340-41). The Cambridge manuscript omits “bound over” and replaces it with the Arabic numerals 7, 9, 10, and 3. Below I include a transcription and a screenshot of the passage in question. I’d love to hear from anyone who has an idea about this oddity.
Som haueing lost theire commaundinge burthens rann scattered
about the fielde abashte with the madnes of mankinde. The
earthe it selfe was to be a buryall of men was nowe as it were
buryed with men so was the face thereof hidden with deade bodyes
to whom deathe had come masked in diuers manners; in one
place laye disinherited, heades dispossessed of theire naturalle
seignories in an other whole bodyes to see to; but that theire hartes
Wonte to be 7 9 10 3 So close were nowe with deadly violence
opened in others fowler deathes had ouglylye displayed theyre tray:
We’re proud to announce that we’re beginning to make available recordings of newly set Arcadia songs in connection with Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia: A Restoration in Contemporary English of the Complete 1593 Edition of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (The Parlor Press 2017). Edward Plough (SUNY Farmingdale) is composing and performing the new settings, and and Kevin Carney is producing them. Here’s a taste of what’s coming: in the middle of Book Two, the lovesick and sexually confused Princess Philoclea sings her lament “Over these brooks” (Parlor Press edition p. 214).
Restoring Sidney’s Arcadia has now completed transcribing all 210 images of the Cambridge Manuscript — the only extant manuscript of the New Arcadia. We’re now busy vetting the transcriptions and hope to make a complete semi-diplomatic transcript freely available before June 1, 2018. This will the first time a transcription of the Cambridge MS has ever been made available publicly, and, as far as I know, it’s in fact the only complete transcription of the Cambridge MS.
We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this achievement: Early Modern Manuscripts Online, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodbery Carlton Foundation, Clare Carroll and Mark Caball, Owen Williams, Heather Wolfe, Mike Poston, Paul Dingman, Charles S Ross, Jean Brink, Henry Woudhuysen, Arthur Kinney, Mary Ellen Lamb, Margaret Hannay, Aileen Liu, Beth Quitslund, Bryan Nakawaki, Lynn Walsh, Ingrid Pierce, Katie Howell, Olivia Nammack, Anika Reichwald, and Hannah Thurston.