Page images
PDF
EPUB

I here pronounce this workmanship is such
As that no pen can set it forth too much.

"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 Sliakspere's Sonnet lxxx we read: "O how I faint when I of you do write,

Knowing a better apirit 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? Was he not a concealed poet? Was he not "Corydon "? Was he not "Ignoto"?

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 Cyn. thia," 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, And we will revel all the year, In plains and groves, on hills and dales, Where fragrant air breeds sweetest gales.

There shall yon have the beauteous pine,
The aedar, and the spreading vine;
And all the woods to be a screen,
Lest Phoebus kiss my summer queen.

The seat for your disport shall be
Over some river in a tree;
Where silver sands and pebbles sing
Eternal ditties with the Spring.

There shall you see the nymphs at play,
And how the Satyrs spend the day;
The fishes gliding on the sands,
Offering their bellies to your hands.

The birds, with heavenly tuned throats,
Possess woods' echoes with sweet notes;
Which to your senses will impart
A music to inflame the heart.

Upon the bare and leafless oak
The ring-dove's wooings will provoke
A colder blood than you possess,
To play with me and do no less.

In bowers of laurel trimly dight,
We will outwear the silent night,
While Flora busy is to spread
Her richest treasure on our bed.

Ten thousand glow-worms shall attend,
And all their sparkling lights shall spend,
All to adorn and beautify
Your lodging with most majesty.

Then in mine arms will I enclose
Lily's fair mixture with the rose;
Whose nice perfections in love's play,
Shall tune to me the highest key.

Thus as we pass the welcome night
In sportful pleasures and delight,
The nimble fairies on the grounds
Shall dance and sing melodious sounds.
If these may serve for to entice
Your presence to Love's paradise,
Then come with me and be my dear,
And we will straight begin the year.
Finis. Ignoto.

Who will say that this is not equal to the first song ascribed to Marlowe? What couplet in that surpasses this onel

"Where silver sands and pebbles sing
Eternal ditties with the Spring."

Or this?

"Ten thousand glow-worms shall attend,
And all their sparkling lights shall spend."

For parallels with the first of these couplets take the following:

"Silver stream." Much Ado, Hi, 1.
"Sing no more ditties." Ibid, ii, t.
"Silver currents." K. John, ii, 1.
"The murmuring surge
That on the unnumbered idle pebbles chafes."

Ibid, iv, G.

For a single parallel with the second couplet take this:

"Twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be."

M. W. Windsor, v, 5.

Similar parallels may be found with other lines of the song. Now are we to believe that Marlowe wrote the first song, and Raleigh the other two signed "Ignoto"? Is it not far more rational and consistent to believe that all three were written by the same pen?

Again, Barnfield has two pieces in the " Helicon," and the editor ascribes to him another signed "Ignoto "—-No. xxi, "As it fell upon a day "—while Allibone, in his Dictionary of Authors, makes him the author not only of xxi, but of xx—" Come live with me and be my love "—and says that Ealeigh's authorship of "The Nymph's Reply " is questioned.

Thus Marlowe is robbed of the only piece ascribed to him in the " Helicon," and Raleigh is left out of it entirely, unless he wrote some other poem signed "Ignoto."

And by the way, poor neglected Shakspere has but a single specimen there—" On a day, alackf&«day "— taken from "Love's Labor Lost."

But the confusion about Ignoto " is still more confounded. On page 112 of the "Helicon" is a song entitled "The Shepherd's Dump," subscribed "S. E. D.," supposed to mean Sir Edward Dyer, and on page 224 the same identical song reappears entitled "Thirsis, the Shepherd, to his pipe," and signed "Ignoto." The editor of 1812 supposes it was reprinted to make a few corrections in the last stanza; but as the verbal variations in that stanza make it positively worse, it is more likely that the compiler did not notice the repetition, but inadvertently put both in as he found them.

But even this is not all. In Ellis's "Specimens of the early English Poets," 5th edition, 1845, among the pieces credited to Fulke Greville (Lord Brooke) is a "Song," with these words in brackets:

"To be found in 'England's Helicon,' where it is signed Ignoto."

On turning to the edition of 1614 we find that song entitled "Another, of his Cynthia." It is preceded by two, evidently by the same pen, entitled, "To his Flocks," and " To his Love;" and is followed by still "Another to his Cynthia." But all these are anony

« PreviousContinue »