The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: May 2015

This month’s crocodile is more of a challenge than a mystery. We are looking for paleographer beginners and lifers to have a stab at these lines and tell us the truth about sugar. If you think you know whose handwriting this is, even better …

What does this say? (to view this is more detail, click the image; the lines in question are the three that the manicule points to)
What does this say? (To view in more detail, click the image; the lines in question are the three to which the manicule points.)

Please leave your answers in the comments below. You don’t need to worry about transcription conventions, but if you’d like, you can consult the transcription guidelines we follow on The Collation. And come back next week for the reveal!

13 Comments


  • The second and third words appear to be struck through; I can’t replicate that in this box, so I’ve omitted them. Here’s my attempt:

    Sugar hath a facultie to preserue all fruits that grow in the
    world from corruption, & putrefaction, so it hath a vertue long
    rightly applied to preserue men in their healthes

  • Sugar as it hath a facultie to preserue all fruits that grow in the
    world from corruption, & putrefaction, so it hath a vertue long
    rightly applyed to preserue men in their healthes.

  • And then below, more clearly in italic:

    If sugar can preserve both pear & plums,
    Why can it not as well preserve our lungs

  • Today at 5:30 PM

    Sugar as it hath a facultie to preserue all fruits that grow in the | world from corruption, & putrefaction, so it hath a vertue long | rightly applied to preserue men in their healthe.

  • H. Oxenden evidently copied these quotes from
    Ligon, Richard. A true & exact history of the island of Barbados : illustrated with a mapp of the island, as also the principall trees and plants there, set … London, 1657, p. 96

  • I think the last word in line 2 is ‘being’, not ‘long’. ‘It hath a vertue being rightly applyed to preserue men in their healthes.’

  • Sugar as it hath a facultie to preserve all fruits that grow in the world from corruption, & putrefaction, so it hath a virtue being rightly applied to preserve men in their healthes

    Cliff Webb


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