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The mid-sixteenth-century manuscript Cotton Vespasian A-25, in the British Library, contains a collection of early popular poetry of considerable importance to scholars. Forty-two of its fifty-three poems appear in no other manuscript. The collection has been accurately transcribed and admirably edited by Peter J. Seng, who has provided textual notes, glosses of difficult passages, and a detailed introduction.
His edition of these songs and ballads will be welcomed for the light it sheds on the language and popular literature of the Tudor age and on the sensibilities and day-to-day concerns of ordinary people of the time.