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THE AUTHOR OF “THE FAERY QUEEN."
MR. EDITOR, You will agree with me, I presume, in a belief that any relique from the pen of Spenser, cannot be otherwise than interesting to the amateurs of British song. Mr. Waldron, with a laudable enthusiasm, collected the dispersed poems of our admirable Colin Clout, and reprinted them with integrity in his “ Literary Museum " for 1792. The few prose compositions which have fortuitously descended to us from the same admired writer, have not as yet been treasured with equal care. They are known to consist of two confidential epistles to his college-associate Gabriel Harvey, the early copies of which are extremely scarce, and the modern impressions very worthless, from having been transmitted in a defective and mutilated state by Edwin and Hughes, in their editions of Spenser's works, dated 1679 and 1715. I propose, therefore, with your approving permission, to furnish an accurate transcript of those letters for insertion in your miscellany, which may hereafter be resorted to with confidence, when the originals shall no where be found. Mr. Waldron's repository will supply a sufficient account of the publication whence these curiosities of literature are extracted.
I am Sir, yours, &c.
" To the Worshipfull his very singular good friend, Maister G. H.*
Fellow of Trinitie Hall in Cambridge. “Good Maister G.-I perceive by your most curteous and frendly letters your good will to be no lesse in deed, than I alwayes esteemed. In recompence wherof, think I beseech you, that I wil spare neither speech nor wryting, nor aught else, whensoever and wheresoever occasion shal be offred me: yea, I will not stay till it be
* Gabriel Harvey, L. L. D. &c. See Wood's Fasti, Vol. I. and Brydges' Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum.
offred, but will seeke it in al that possibly I may. And that you may perceive how much your counsel in al things prevaileth with me, and how altogither I am ruled and over-ruled thereby: I am now determined to alter mine owne former purpose, and to subscribe to your advizement : being notwithstanding resolved stil to abide your farther resolution. My principal doubts are these. First, I was minded for a while to have intermitted the uttering of my writings, leaste by over-much cloying their noble eares, I should gather a contempt of my self, or else seeme rather for gaine and commoditie to doe it, for some sweetnesse that I have already tasted. Then also me seemeth the work too base for his excellent Lordship, * being made in honour of a private personage unknowne, which of some yl-willers might be upbraided, not to be so worthie, as you knowe she is; or the matter not so weightie, that it should be offred to so weightie a personage, or the like. The selfe former title still liketh me well ynough, and your fine addition no lesse. If these, and the like doubtes, maye be of importaunce in your seeming, to frustrate any parte of your advice, I beeseeche you, without the teaste selfe love of your own purpose, councell me for ihe beste : and the rather doe it faithfullye, and carefully, for that, in all things I attribute so muche to your iudgement, that I am evermore content to adnihilate mine owne determinations, in respecte thereof. And indeede for your selfe, to, it sitteth with you now, to call your
wits and senses togither (which are alwaies at call) when occasion is so fairely offered of estimation and preferment. For whiles the yron is hote, it is good striking, and minds of nobles varie as their estates, Verùm ne quid durius.
I pray you bethinke you well hereof, good Maister G. and forthwith write me those two or three special points and caveats for the nonce, De quibus in superioribus illis mellitissimis, longissimisq litteris tuis. Your desire to heare of my late beeing with hir Ma. iestie, must dye in it selfe. As for the twoo worthy gentlemen, Master Sidney, and Master Dyer, t they have me, I thanke them, in some use of familiarity: of whom, and to whome, what speache * This, probably, was the Earl of Leicester.
“ Nectar-tongued Sidney, Englana's Mars and Muse," as he was styled by Fitzgetirey in 1596, appears to have been the congenial associate of Dyer. In Davison's poetical rapsodie, 1602, and in England's Helicon, 1614, two pastoral odes occur, which were “ made by Sir Philip Sidney upon his meeting with his two worthy friends and fellow poets, Sir Edward Dier and M. Fulke Grevill," (Lord Brooke.) Puttenham gives praise to Dyer “ for elegie most sweete,
passeth for youre credite and estimation, I leave your selfe to conceive, having alwayes so well conceived of my unfained affection, and zeale towardes you. And nowe they have proclaimed in their åperwar wyü a general surceasing and silence of balde rymers, and also of the verie beste to : in steade whereof, they have by authoritie of their whole senate, prescribed certaine lawes and rules of quantities of English sillables, for English verse : having had thereof already greate practise, and drawen mee to their faction. Newe bookes I heare of none, but only of one, * that writing a certaine booke, called The Schoole of Abuse, and dedicating it to Maister Sidney, was for hys labor scorned ; if at leaste it be in the goodnesse of that nature to scorne. Such follie is it, not to regarde aforehande the inclination and qualitie of him, to whome wee dedicate oure bookes. Suche mighte I happily incurre, entituling My Slombert and the other pamphlets, unto his honor. I meant them rather to Maister Dyer. But I am, of late, more in love wyth my Englishe versifying, I than with ryming : whyche I should have
solemne, and of high conceit," and this praise has frequently been re-echoed : but, as Mr. Ellis remarks, his lot as a poet has been rather singular. His name is generally coupled with that of Sir P. Sidney, and of the most fashionable writers of the age; and yet Bolton, though almost a contemporary critic, professes “not to have seen much of his poetry." Drummond, it may be added, makes a similar complaint, in his report of a conversation held with Ben Jonson at Haw. thornden.
* This was Stephen Gosson, a poet and a preacher, a writer of plays himself, and a publisher of invectives against them. Besides the “School of Abuse," which was printed in 1579 and 1587, his works were entitled “The Ephemerides of Phialo ; with a shorte Apologie for the Schoole of Abuse, against Poets, Pipers, Players, and their Excusers.”--1579. “A second and third blast of retrait from Plaies and Theaters," 1580. Playes confuted in five actions ; proving that they are not to be suffred in a Christian Commonweale :” and “The Trumpet of Warre, a Sermon preached at Pauls Crosse, ” 1598.
f This was entitled “A Sennight's Slumber," as appears from Ponsonby's address to the reader, before Spenser's “Complaints; containing sundrie small Poemes, &c." 1591. A list of Spenser's writings, which are now lost, is given in Tanner's Bibliotheca, Brit. Hib.
# V'ersifying seems here to imply the composition of English verse in Latin measures, of which Gabriel Harvey was proud to be considered as the primus Artifex. Hence ihe following egotistic boast in one of his controversial struggles with Nash : “ If I never deserve anye better remembraunce, let me he epitaphed The Inventour of the English Hexameter, whome learned M. Stanie hurst imitated in his Virgill; and excellent Sir Philip Sidney disdained not to follow in his Arcacia, and elsewhere." To which Nash tauntingly replied, in his peculiar vein of caustic liumour, “ Gabriell Harvey hath been an old dog at done long since, if I would then have followed your councell. Sed te solum iam tum suspicabar cum Aschamo sapere ; nunc Aulam video egregios alere Poëtas Anglico.
Maister E. K.* hartily desireth to be commended unto your Worshippe, of whome, what accompte he maketh, your selfe shall hereafter perceive, by hys paynefull and dutifull verses of your selfe.
Thus much was written at Westminster yesternight ; but comming this morning, beeyng the sixteenth of O&tober (1579] to Mys. tresse Kerkes, to have it delivered to the carrier, I receyved youre. letter, sente me the laste weeke; whereby I perceive you other whiles, continue your old exercise of versifying in English ; whych glorie . I had now thought shoulde have bene onely ours heere at London, and the Court."
English Hexameters; at that drunken staggering kind of verse, which is all up-hill and down-hill, like the way betwixt Stamford and Beechfield, and goes like a horse plunging through the mire in the deep of winter, now soust up to the saddle, and straight aloft on his tiptoes. Indeed, in old King Harry sincesitie, a kind of verse it is, he hath been enfeoft in from his minority; for, as I have been faithfully informed, he hrst cried in that verse in the very moment of his birth, and when he was but yet a fresh man in Cambridge, he set up siquisses, and put his accounts to his father, in those joulting heroicks."
* E. K. wrote the prefatory epistle, and composed the early glossary to Spenser's “Shepheard's Calendar.” Mr. Warton calls him Edward Kerke. See the last edit. of Steevens's Shakspeare, IX. 553. His authority is likely to bave been derived from the paragraph, which speaks of Mistress Kerkes.
(To be continued.]
ANECDOTE OF MR. WILKES.
Mr. Wilkes, going to the King's-head chop-house in Paternoster-row, with a friend, in order to observe the humours of the place, accidentally seated himself near a rich and purse-proud citizen, who almost stunned him with roaring for his steak, as he called it : Mr. Wilkes in the mean time asking him some common question, receive ed a very brutal answer ; the steak coming at that instant, Mr. Wilkes turned to his friend, saying, see the difference between the city and the bear-garden, in the latter the bear is brought to the stake, but here the steak is brought to the bear.