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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 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 6 Helicon” is the following by “ Ignoto :"
Another of the same nature made since.
There shall you have the beauteous pine,
Ten thousand glow-worms shall attend,
If these may serve for to entice
Ignoto. Who will say that this is not equal to the first song ascribed to Marlowe? What couplet in that surpasses this one?
“ 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:
66 Silver stream." Much Ado, iii, 1.
“ The murmuring surge
Ibid, iv, 6. 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
is a song
author not only of xxi, but of xx 66 Come live with me and be my love ”—and says that Raleigh's author-ship 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, alack a day". taken from “Love's Labor Lost."
But the confusion about " Ignoto ” is still more confounded. On page 112 of the “ Helicon 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
mous in the edition of 1614, and the editor appends to the last one the following remark:
“ These three (or four ?] ditties were taken out of Maister John Dowland's Book of Tableture for the Lute. The authors' names not there set down, and therefore left to their owners.
But it happens that the four ditties are all credited to “Ignoto " in the Table of Contents, prepared by the other editor, so that in the edition of 1614 “Ignoto” has twenty pieces, besides the one assigned to Marlowe.
With all this confusion what are we to believe in regard to “Ignoto"? Was he sometimes Raleigh, sometimes Barnfield, sometimes Dyer, sometimes Greville, and sometimes Shakspere, or someone else? Or was he a single person who “ loved better to be a poet than to be counted so;" and who affected to hoodwink the above-named Greville by writing to him in 1596: “For poets I can commend none, being resolved to be ever a stranger to them”?
And here let us note a bit of internal evidence that Bacon wrote the little poem in praise of the “ Faery Queen” signed “Ignoto.” One couplet of it is as follows:
“ For when men know the goodness of the wine,
'Tis needless for the host to have a sign.” No. 517 of Bacon's “ Promus of Formularies and Elegancies" is this:
Good wine needs no bush." The word “bush” as applied to wine is thus defined by Webster:
"A branch of ivy (as sacred to Bacchus) hung out at vintners' doors, or as a tavern sign; hence a tavern sign, or the tavern itself.”