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And if these pleasures may thee move,
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delights each May-morning ; If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love. Finis. Chr. Marlowe. Here we have Marlowe credited with this song in 1600, seven years after his death. Is there any other evidence that he wrote it? A single line at the close of a ditty in his “Jew of Malta” parallels with the first line of this, except the first word: “Shall live with me and be my love.” The song, with many verbal amendments, and omitting the last stanza, is inserted in his “Works,” 1826. In the “Merry Wives of Windsor” act iii, scene 1, Sir Hugh Evans sings the following four lines: “To shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals; There we will make our peds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies.” This play was written in the latter part of 1599. In the earliest form of it Sir Hugh transposes and varies the lines thus: “And then she made him beds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies.” Then after three lines of incoherent speech: “To shallow rivers, and to falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.” It would seem as if the song was familiar to the public in 1599. We now add from the “Helicon" the rest of No. xx of “The Passionate Pilgrim,” enlarged from one stanza to six:
The Nymph's reply to the Shepherd.
If all the world and love were young,
The editor of the third edition of the “Helicon" 1812, says in regard to “Ignoto:”
“This signature appears to have been generally, though not exclusively, subscribed to the pieces of Sir Walter Raleigh. It is also subscribed to one piece since appropriated to Shakspere, [No. xviii,) and to one which, according to Ellis, belongs to Richard Barnfield [No. xxi.) The celebrated answer to Marlowe's, ‘Come live with me,’ here subscribed Ignoto, is given expressly to Raleigh by Isaac Walton in his ‘Complete Angler,’ first published in 1653.”
What could Walton know about it fifty years after the publication of the song and answer as above 3 On such worthless testimony the Nymph's Answer is credited to Raleigh. And we have in the “Encyclopedia of Poetry,” 1873, first the song by Marlowe, “about 1590,” and then the Nymph's Reply by Raleigh “about 1610.” Strange that the Nymph should wait about twenty years to reply, and should then repeat the lines credited to Shakspere in 1599 and to “Ignoto” in 1600 ! The song perhaps existed before the death of Marlowe in 1593, but was probably composed by “Ignoto,” who also wrote “The Nymph's Reply" and numerous other poetical pieces that were published in the “Helicon '' in 1600.
“Ignoto” was undoubtedly a concealed poet. Marlowe, Raleigh and Barnfield were not. As early as January 1590, if not a little sooner, “Ignoto” contributed to Spenser's first publication of the “Faery Queen’’ the following lines:
“To look upon a work of rare devise
Doth either prove the judgment to be naught,
“To labor to commend a piece of work
“Thus then, to show my judgment to be such
I here pronounce this workmanship is such
“And thus I hang a garland at the door; (Not for to show the goodness of the ware ; But such hath been the custom heretofore, And customs very hardly broken are ;) And when your taste shall tell you this is true, Then look you give your host his utmost due.” In No. viii of “The Passionate Pilgrim" the writer says: “Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch Upon the lute doth ravish human sense; Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such As, passing all conceit, needs no defense.” Is not this praise of Spenser a substantial repetition of the sentiments expressed by “Ignoto”? Again, in Shakspere's Sonnet lxxx we read: “O how I faint when I of you do write, Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, And in the praise thereof spends all his might, To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame !” Spenser praises Essex in one of the Sonnets prefixed to his “Faery Queen,” which antedates the Sonnets of Shakspere. Once more. In No. xviii of “The Passionate Pilgrim” we read: “Poor Corydon must live alone, Other help for him I see that there is none.” Compare this with the following lines from Spenser's “Colin Clout,” dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh, December 27, 1591, and published in 1595: “And there is Corydon, though meanly waged, Yet ablest wit of most I know this day.”
Was not Bacon the ablest wit of that time 3 Was.
he not a concealed poet? Was he not “Corydon " ? Was he not “Ignoto” 2 But what evidence is there that Raleigh used that signature ? The “Faery Queen" was publicly dedicated to him, and in the Sonnet addressed to him as one of Spenser's patrons, a forthcoming poem by Raleigh is announced thus: “Yet, till that thou thy poem wilt make known, Let thy fair Cynthia's praises be thus rudely shown.” That poem was known to Spenser, who in the Dedication said he had fashioned his Queen “according to your [Raleigh's] own excellent conceit of Cynthia,” i. e., Queen Elizabeth. Furthermore, Raleigh contributed two Sonnets in praise of Spenser's “Faery Queen;” these he subscribed with his own initials. Did he at the same time write another encomium and sign it “Ignoto”? There are sixteen pieces in the “Helicon” subscribed “Ignoto.” One of these, “The Nymph's Reply" is ascribed to Raleigh on the testimony of Walton in 1653; and two others are believed by the editor of the third edition, 1812, to belong to Raleigh, because in an early copy of the same “Ignoto” was found pasted over “W. R.” Upon such flimsy evidence the modern editor infers that the signature “Ignoto” was “generally, though not exclusively, (his own italics,) subscribed to the pieces of Sir Walter Raleigh.” The next piece after “The Nymph's Reply” in the “Helicon" is the following by “Ignoto:” Another of the same nature made since.
Come live with me and be my dear,