Edward Fitzgerald: Bird-Parliament and Letters

Scope and Content

MS.Add.4504: Edward Fitzgerald, 'Bird-Parliament', 1859, 67 folios.

(Fo. ii) 'Professor Cowell, Bishop's Palace, Calcutta'; (fo. v) title; (fo. 10): text, on the rectos only, with occasional notes on the versos in the hand of E.B. Cowell, who has also touched up the illegible portions of the text.

Fo. i: 'This copy of the 'Bird Parliament' was sent to me by Fitzgerald, when I was in Calcutta. It was wrecked in the Steamer from Aden and was for some weeks under the sea; when it was recovered much of the MS was almost illegible. E.B.C.'

Fo. ii: 'N.B. This volume was sent out to me in 1859 or 1860, when we were staying in the Bishop of Calcutta's palace, during Bishop Cotton's absence on visitation. The steamer was wrecked in the Red Sea, but the letters etc., which were part of its cargo, were ultimately recovered from the sea. The writing was only occasionally illegible. The MS was originally intended for publication in the Bengal Asiatic's Society's Journal, and I corrected some of the obliterated portions and added some notes; but it was eventually published in London as 'the Bird-Parliament'. Cambridge Nov. 18 1897. E. B. Cowell.'

MS.Add.4505: Letters by Edward Fitzgerald, 1857-1870.

1. To E.B. Cowell, 22 January 1857; 2. To the same, 23 January 1857; 3. To the same, 29 March and 21 April [1857]; 4. To Mrs E. Cowell, 21 and 22 April [1857]; 5. To E.B. Cowell, 3 September 1858; 6. To Mrs E. Cowell, 21 August 1860; 7. Envelope addressed by E. Fitzgerald to Edward B. Cowell, 3 December 1870; 8. E. Fitzgerald, draft of a poem.

MS.Add.4507: Edward Fitzgerald, Bird-Parliament, c. 1860, 63 folios.

(Fo. i) Note by E.B. Cowell; (fo. 1) text, on the rectos only. There are occasional notes on the versos in the author's hand; (fo. 62v) notes. Inside the front cover: 'Edward Fitzgerald Gelderstone Hall, Beccles'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883), poet and translator, was born at Bredfield House, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, on 31 March 1809. He entered King Edward the Sixth's Grammar School at Bury St Edmunds in 1821, and joined Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1826 (B.A., 1830). Fitzgerald settled in Suffolk, and worked on the translation of classical texts, many of which were published anonymously. His best known work is an English translation from the Persian of the 'Rubiyt of Omar Khayym', published anonymously in 1859. Fitzgerald died at Merton Rectory in Norfolk on 14 June 1883.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

MSS.Add.4504 and 4505 were presented by the family of Professor E.B. Cowell, 1903; MS.Add.4507 was presented by W. Aldis Wright, 1905.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Fitzgerald in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. VII (London, 1908), pp. 111-113.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.


MSS.Add.4504 and 4507 are printed in W. Aldis Wright's edition of the Letters and literary remains of Edward Fitzgerald, Vol. VII (London, 1903), pp. 257-312.

The letters in MS.Add.4505 are printed in the Letters and literary remains of Edward Fitzgerald, Vol. II (London, 1903), as follows: no. 1, p. 51; 2, p. 54; 3, p. 62; 4, p. 68; 5, p. 91 (part only); 6, p. 113.