It is well known that Adolphus William Ward (1837-1924, Master of Peterhouse from 1900 to 1924) left the bulk of his library to Peterhouse, indeed that his name adorns it, [Fig. 1] and the library also contains eleven boxes of his papers, many of them lecture notes from his days at Manchester. Some of the papers clearly arrived long after Ward’s death. A letter of 2 July 1968 to R. W. K. Hinton from Herbert Butterfield records that he had received about twenty years earlier from Minnie Pate, of the University Typewriting Office, previously Ward’s secretary, Ward’s correspondence as editor of the Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy [A.W.WARD 107], and, among other things, his notes on Sir Henry Wotton [A.W.WARD 108] and ‘transcriptions of Latin Poems by Joseph Beaumont’ [perhaps BEAUMONT 52, but these are Beaumont’s English poems]. These, and other items seem to have lost their association with Ward over the years. His notes on Henry Wotton, for example, were recently identified among the papers of T. A. Walker, and other items are still coming to light.
In the account of Ward by Philip Pattenden, Brendan Simms and John Beer, with the assistance of William Barnes (Ward’s grandson) and William Barnes’s nephew Simon Barnes in the Peterhouse Annual Record for 2001/2 (pp. 31-55) is a statement (p. 33) by William Barnes, that ‘on family occasions, he had a felicitous talent for light verses, many of which have been preserved’. The statement carries a footnote to the effect that none such were found in 2002 amongst the family papers of Ward’s descendants.
Among other unattributed items, some since attributed to Ward, is a manuscript of hudibrastic verses entitled ‘Parson Dash by Fudge’ with the sub-title ‘Metamorphosing not after Ovid’ replacing an earlier one reading ‘a fly-leaf from the Ecclesiad’ [Fig. 2] conceivably with reference to Matthias Sheeleigh’s An Ecclesiad: a jubilee poem, delivered before the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication House, 1871) of which, however, no copy seems to be recorded in the UK . The manuscript is almost certainly in Ward’s hand and carries what are clearly authorial, rather than merely scribal, corrections; for example, the line ‘Neither a Solon nor a dunce’ is altered to ‘Somewhere between first-class and dunce’ [Fig. 3]. The verses describe the metamorphosis of a typical country parson, Dionysius Dash, of Turniptop in Turnipshire, into a Puseyite.
It is written on a blue writing paper not otherwise found among Ward’s papers but between his retirement from Manchester in 1897 and his election as Master of Peterhouse in 1900 Ward was living in London and his literary output consisted largely of contributions to The Dictionary of National Biography and periodical articles. With the partial exception of his 3-volume History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne (1899) books published in these years (his edition of Heywood’s Woman killed with kindness (1897) and biographical sketch of Sir Henry Wotton (1898)) were based on work of many years earlier. It is not hard, therefore, to imagine Ward during this period working through old papers from his Manchester days. Surviving manuscripts of his from these three years are extremely scarce. [Fig. 4] Ward’s hand varied over the years and according to occasion. Most of his papers in Peterhouse were intended to be read only by himself — drafts, lecture notes, and so on — and there seems no sure way the date the manuscript.In 1899 there appeared from the press of George Redway in London, Parson Dash, or a rap at ritualism in Hudibrastic verse, over the pseudonym ‘Erasmus Holiday’ (a character in Kenilworth). [Fig. 5] George Redway set up as a publisher in Bloomsbury in about 1882; his firm was absorbed by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. in 1889, but when Kegan Paul’s business faltered in 1895, Redway was replaced as a manager and he resumed publishing on his own account. Most of his output was esoteric, embracing theosophy, Satanism and the occult, but in 1899 he also produced, for example, Frederic Kitton’s book on Dickens and his Illustrators, which might well have appealed to the avid Dickensian Ward.
The poem as published, however, is very different from the MS. Quite apart from anything else it is some 2,400 lines long against the 1580-odd of the manuscript. Much of it has been completely re-written, some lines are unchanged, others ‘tweaked’. The line cited above, for example, now reads ‘Nor scholar quite, yet far from dunce’, closer to the second version than the first, but a comparison of the first pages of the MS and the printed version suffice to show the degree of rewriting. [Figs 6 and 7]
A copy of the printed text survives in the Cecil H. Green Library at Stanford bearing the inscription ‘From the Author’. This also appears to be in Ward’s hand. [Fig. 8]