Navigating the WWP Text of Lanyer's Poem with "Ctrl+F" and by Signature-page Numbers
This site and the poem may prove challenging to some students who are unfamiliar with online text archives or who haven't read much Elizabethan poetry. The archive's version of the text is the only version I could find for the course, a shocking situation given that Lanyer's work is probably the first published work of literature in English by a woman. We can get into the politics of why that came to be, but for now we're using it by necessity.
If you want to find key sections of the poem I have outlined in the list below, use your browser's "Find" function to locate the text I've used as the key index to the start of each section. Press the "Ctrl" key (lower left corner of most keyboards) and the "F" key to pop up the "Find" command box. Enter the text you want to find, in this case the words in parentheses without the quotation marks, and hit the Enter key or press the "Find Next" button. Note that it can search down or up in a document, but once you hit the "end" of a document, you have to reverse the direction of the search to find anything. It's a dumb but docile assistant. Otherwise, read on to learn how to find the important sections by their "signature" and page number.
The archive text is presented as nearly to the original Elizabethan edition as possible, and this means there are no page or line numbers to guide us. Page numbers do not become common in printed books until later in the seventeenth century. Insead, the book is described in terms of its construction at the print shop in "signatures" or gatherings of pages sewn together with each other to make the finished book. Signatures are given letters (a through f for the prefatory poems, and A through I for "SDRJ") which give the order of the gatherings from the front of the book to the back. Thus, the dedicatory poems start with signature "a" after the title page etc., and they run to signature "f." The main text of "SDRJ" runs from "A" to "I." The pages within signatures are numbered and given an "r" or a "v" to indicate whether they are the "recto" (right side looking at the open book) or "verso" (reverse of that side, or left side, looking at the open book). So pages containing the prefatory poems run from "a3r" to "f4v." The main poem begins with signature "A" where pages are numbered 1r, 1v, 2r, 2v, 3r, 3v, etc. When we get to signature B, the page numbering starts again at 1r. (Don't you like modern print editions better now!)
The following are the most important portions of Lanyer's poem. I hope some of you will be able to read it all using the Brown Women Writers Project online text.
The Dedicatory Poems, from "a3r" to "f4v."
"Salve Deus Rex JudŠorum"
1) Invocation of the Patron (Margaret, Countess of Cumberland) and Lanyer's Muse: from the first stanza on "A1r" through the second stanza of "B2r" ("Yet if he please").
2) Eve's defense of Women, Christ going to Death, The Teares of the daughters of Jerusalem, and The Sorrow of the Virgin Marie: from the third stanza of C4v" ("Now Pontius Pilate") through the third stanza of "E2v."
3) "To Cooke-ham" and "To the Doubtfull Reader": from "H2r" ("Farewell") to "I1v."