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"Gorgious Gallery," and who has been noticed in the preceding table by on account of his Pretie Pamphlets," which commence at p. 125 of Mr. Park's Reprint. His verses following this title are numerous, and in various metres, and indicate him to have been no mean observer of life and manners. If he display little of the fancy of the poet, he is not often deficient in moral weight of sentiment, and though not remarkable for either the melody or correctness of his versification, he may be considered as having passed the limits of mediocrity.
Of the other contributors our information is so scanty, that we can only mention Anthony Munday and Owen Royden, and this in consequence of the first having prefixed a copy of verses " In commendation of this Gallery," and the second a more elaborate poem, "To the curious company of Sycophants." It is probable that they were both coadjutors in the body of the work.
The Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions" consists of seventy-four poems, and some, especially the "History of Pyramus and Thisbie," of considerable length. Too many of them are written in drawling couplets of fourteen syllables in a line, and with too flagrant a partiality for the meretricious garb of alliteration.* There appears to be also too little variety in the selection of topics, and some of the pieces are reprinted from "Tottel's Miscellany" and the "Paradise of Dayntie Devises." It must be pronounced, indeed, inferior to these its predecessors in the essential points of invention, harmony of metre, and versatility of style, though it seems to have shared with them no small portion of popular favour; for Nashe, in his life of Jacke Wilton, 1594, alluding to the Gardens of Rome, says, that " to tell you of their rare pleasures, their baths, their vineyards, their galleries, were to write a second part of the " Gorgious Galleries of Gallant Devices.'"+
In 1584 was published, in 16mo, "A Handeful of Pleasant Delites containing Sundrie new Sonets and delectable Histories in divers kindes of meeter. Newly devised to the newest tunes, that are now in use to be sung: everie sonet orderly pointed to his proper tune. With new additions of certain songs, to verie late devised notes, not commonly knowen, nor used heretofore. By Clement Robinson, and divers others. At London, printed by Richard Jhones: dwelling at the signe of the Rose and Crowne, neare Holdburne Bridge."
Only one copy of the printed original of this Miscellany, which is in the Marquis of Blandford's library, is supposed to be in existence. The editor, Clement Robinson, if all the pieces unappropriated to others, be of his composition, must be deemed worthy of high praise for numerous productions of great lyric sweetness in point of versification, and composed in a vein of much perspicuity with regard to diction. His associates, as far as we have any authority from the work itself, amount only to five; and these, with the exception of Leonard Gibson, who claims only one piece, consist of names unknown elsewhere in the annals of poetry. Two effusions are attributed to J. Tomson; two to Peter Picks; one to Thomas Richardson, and one to George Mannington. This last production, denominated “A sorrow full Sonet," if we make allowance for a commencement too alliterative, possesses a large share of moral pathos, and unaffected simplicity. ‡
Thirty-two poems occupy the pages of this pleasing little volume, among which, at p. 23, is "A New Courtly Sonet of the Lady Greensleeves, to the new tune of Greensleeves," alluded to by Shakspeare in the Merry Wives of Windsor, (act ii. sc. 1), and which throws some curious light on the female dress of the period.
In point of interest, vivacity, and metrical harmony, this compilation has a decided superiority over the "Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions." It is, in a great measure, formed of ballads and songs adapted to well-known popular tunes, and, though its poets have been arbitrarily confined in the structure of their
* For a notable instance of this figure, we refer the reader to "The Lover in Bondage,” at p. 50 of r. Park's reprint. Not Holofernes himself could more "affect the letter."
+ Quoted by Mr. Park in the Advertisement to his reprint.
Heliconia, Part II. p. 95.,
erse by the pre-composed music, yet many of their lyrics have a smoothness and weetness in the composition of their stanzas, which may even arrest the atten-n of a modern ear.
To the publication of Clement Robinson succeeded, in 1593, "The Phoenix est. Built up with the most rare and refined workes of Noblemen, worthy nights, gallant Gentlemen, Masters of Arts, and brave Scholers. Full of variety cellent invention, and singular delight. Never before published. Set foorth y R. S. of the Inner Temple, Gentleman. Imprinted at London, by John ackson, 4to."
The opening of Mr. Park's "Advertisement" to his Reprint of this Collection cludes so much just, and elegantly expressed, criticism on our elder poetry, nd on Shakspeare, that we seize with pleasure the opportunity of transferring it → our pages.
"Between the Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions," he remarks, "printed in 1578, and e present miscellany in 1593, an interval of only fifteen years, there will be traced no inconderable advance towards poetical elegance and sentimental refinement. Watson, Breton, Peele, ni Lodge, contributed very materially to the grace, and melody, and strength, of our amatory, rie, and satiric verse; while Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton enlarged the sphere of the allegoric, ad historic, and descriptive Muse. But the magnitude of the works of the two latter poets, sing to the subjects they unhappily selected, has conduced to deaden that reputation which veral of their minor effusions were calculated to keep alive. The very labours which might herwise have extended their fame, have fatally contracted it. Their ponderous productions are corporated indeed with the late general collections of British Poets, but where is the poetic nateur who peruses them? They resemble certain drugs in a family-dispensary, which, though dom, if ever taken, still eke out the assemblage. From reading the fair specimens put forth by r. Ellis, many may be allured to covet the entire performances of our elder bards: but should ese be obtained, they will probably be found (as Mr. Steevens said by the Shakspearian quartos) ittle more worth than a squeezed orange. The flowers will appear to have been culled and stilled by the hand of judgment; and the essence of early poetry, like most other essences, will discovered to lie in a narrow compass. 'Old poets in general,' says Mr. Southey, are only luable because they are old.' It must be allowed that few poems of the Elizabethan æra are vely to afford complete satisfaction to a mere modern reader, from the fastidious delicacy of odern taste. Some antiquated alloy, either from incongruous metaphor or infelicitous expreson, will commonly jar upon his mind or ear. The backward footstep of Time will be audible, it at visible. Yet the songs of our unrivalled Shakspeare combine an almost uniform exception to is remark. They are exquisite in thought, feeling, language, and modulation. They blend mplicity with beauty, sentiment with passion, picture with poesy. They unite symmetry of rm with consistency of ornament, truth of nature with perfection of art, and must ever furnish odels for lyric composition. As a sonnet-writer Shakspeare was not superior to some of his temporaries: he was certainly inferior to himself. In lighter numbers and in blank verse, uliar and transcendent was his excellence. His songs never have been surpassed, his dramas wer are likely to be." *
Of the editor of the Phoenix Nest, intended by the initials R. S., no certain formation has been obtained. The work has been attributed to Richard tanyhurst, Richard Stapleton, and to Robert Southwell, by Coxeter, by Warn, and by Waldron; but their claims, founded merely on conjecture, are enled to little confidence. It is perhaps more interesting to know, that the hief contributors to this miscellany were among the Lest lyric poets of their e, that Thomas Watson, Nicholas Breton, and, above all, Thomas Lodge, sisted the unknown editor. Not less than sixteen pieces have the initials this last bard, and many of them are among the most beautiful productions his genius. Beside these, George Peele, William Smith, Matthew Roydon, William Herbert, the Earl of Oxford, and several others, aided in comting this elegant volume.
The "Phoenix Nest," which comprehends not less than seventy-nine poems, certainly one of the most attractive of the Elizabethan miscellanies, whether
*Heliconia, Part III. Advertisement.
we regard its style, its versification, or its choice of subject, and will probably be deemed inferior only to "England's Helicon," which, indeed, owes a few of its beauties to this work.
Of the valuable Collection thus mentioned, the first edition made its ap pearance in 1600, with the following title-page: "England's Helicon. At London. Printed by J. R. for John Flasket, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard, at the sign of the Beare." 4to.
The second edition was published in 1614, and entitled, "England's Helicon, or the Muses Harmony. London: Printed for Richard More; and are to be sould at his shop in S. Dunstanes Church-yard." 8vo.
"England's Helicon," which, in its first impression, contained one hundred and fifty poems, and in its second one hundred and fifty-nine, has the felicity of enrolling among its contributors all the principal poets of its era. These enumerated alphabetically, are as follow:-Richard Barnefield has two pieces Thomas Bastard, one; Edmund Bolton, five; Nicholas Breton, eight; Christopher Brooke, one; William Browne, one; Henry Constable, four; John Davis, one Michael Drayton, five; Sir Edward Dyer, six; John Ford, one; Robert Greene seven; Fulke Grevile, two; John Gough, one; Howard, Earle of Surrie, two Howell, one; William Hunnis, two; Thomas Lodge, ten; Jervis Markham, two Christopher Marlowe, one; Earle of Oxenford, one; George Peele, three; Sir Wal ter Raleigh, fourteen; William Shakspeare, two; S.r Philip Sidney, fourteen William Smith, one; Edmund Spenser, three; Shepherd Tonie, seven; Thoma Watson, five; John Wootton, two, and Bartholomew Yong, twenty-five. 0 anonymous contributions there are sixteen.
Amid this galaxy of bards we cannot fail to distinguish for their decided supe riority, the productions of Breton, Greene, Lodge, Marlowe, and Raleigh, whe might confer celebrity on any selection. The principal feature, indeed, of Eng land's Helicon is its pastoral beauty, and in this department how few have sur passed, or even equalled, the exquisite strains of Lodge or Marlowe!
"It cannot be idle or useless," remarks Str Egerton Brydges, "to study this early Collection4 Pastoral compositions. Here is the fountain of that diction, which has since been employed as expanded in the description of rural scenery. Here are the openings of those reflections on th imagery of nature, in which subsequent poets have so much dealt. They show us to what or sional excellence, both in turn of thought and polish of language, the literature of Queen Elizabe had arrived; and how little the artificial and incumbered prose of mere scholars of that time hibits a just specimen of either the sentiment or phrase of the court or people! In the besk these productions, even the accentuation and rhythm scarce differs from that of our days. Loda and Breton in particular, who are characterised by their simplicity, are striking proofs of this "To such as could enjoy the rough and far-fetched subtlety of metaphysical verses, this Colle tion must have appeared inexpressibly insipid and contemptible. To those whose business it wa to draw similitudes from the most remote recesses of abstruse learning, how chuldish most seem the delineation of flowers that were open to every eye, and images which found a mirror in ever bosom !!
"But, O, how dull is the intricate path of the philosopher, how uninteresting is all the labeare ingenuity of the artist, compared with the simple and touching pleasures which are alike open the peasant, as to the scholar, the noble, or the monarch! It is in the gift of exquisite senses, and not in the adventitious circumstances of birth and fortune, that one human being excel another!
"The common air, the sun, the skies,
To him are opening Paradise."
"We are delighted to see reflected the same feelings, the same pleasures from the breasts af our ancestors. We hear the voices of those bearded chiefs, whose portraits adorn the panne's our halls and galleries, still bearing witness to the same natural and eternal truths: still inveigh against the pomp, the fickleness, and the treachery of courts; and uttering the songs of the shep herd and the woodman, in language that defies the changes of time, and speaks to all ages the touching effusions of the heart.
"If some little additional prejudice in favour of these compositions be given by the associat-sa in our ideas of their antiquity, if we connect some reverence, and some increased force,
pressions which were in favourite ase with those who for two centuries have slept in the grave, be profound moral philosopher will neither blame nor regret this effect. It is among the most generous and most ornamental, if not among the most useful habits of the mind!
"Such are among the claims of this collection to notice. But the seal that has been hitherto upon this treasure; the deep oblivion in which the major parts of its contents have for ages een buried, ought to excite curiosity, and impart a generous delight at its reviva!. Who is there a cold as to be moved with no enthusiasm at drawing the mantle from the figure of Time? For by part, I confess how often I have watched the gradual development with eager and breathless xpectation; and gazed upon the reviving features till my warm fancy gave them a glow and a eauty, which perhaps the reality never in its happiest moments possessed.”*
That very nearly two hundred years should have elapsed between the second nd third editions of this miscellany is a striking proof of the neglect to which ven the best of our ancient poetry has been hitherto subjected. The rapidly acreasing taste of the present age, however, for the reliques of long-departed enius, cannot fail of precluding in future any return of such undeserved obcurity.
In 1600 the industry of Robert Allot presented the public with a large collection fextracts from the most popular poets of his time, under the title of England's arnassus: or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets, with their poeticall comarisons. Descriptions of Bewties, Personages, Castles, Pallaces, Mountaines, roves, Seas, Springs, Rivers, etc. Whereunto are annexed other various disourses, both pleasant and profitable." Small 8vo. pp. 510.
Had the editor of this curious volume, beside citing the names of his authors, ided the titles of the works from which he culled his specimens, an infinity of ouble would have been saved to subsequent research; yet the deficiency has rved in a peculiar manner, to mark the successful progress of modern biblioraphy. When Oldys wrote his Preface to Hayward's British Muse, which was rst published in 1738, he complains grievously of this omission, observing that ost of Allot's poets" were now so obsolete, that not knowing what they wrote, e can have no recourse to their works, if still extant." Since this sentence was ritten, such has been the industry of our literary antiquaries, that almost every em which Allot laid under contribution in forming his volume, has been asceritted, and rendered accessible to the curious enquirer; and so far from the riters being obsolete, after nearly eighty years have been added to their antiaity, we may venture to affirm that, excepting about half-a-dozen, they are as miliar to us as the poets of the present reign. It is but just, however, to acnowledge that a considerable portion of this intimacy may be ascribed to Allot's ok, which, by its numerous passages from bards rendered scarce by neglect, has timulated the bibliographical enthusiasm of the last twenty years to achieve their tection. An enumeration of the contributors to England's Parnassus, will serve illustrate and confirm these remarks:-Thomas Achelly, Thomas Bastard, rge Chapman, Thomas Churchyard, Henry Constable, Samuel Daniel, John Davies, Thomas Dekkar, Michael Drayton, Edmund Fairfax, Charles Fitzgeffrey, braham Fraunce, George Gascoigne, Edward Gilpin, Robert Greene, Sir John larrington, John Higgins, Thomas Hudson, James King of Scots, Benjamin nson, Thomas Kyd, Thomas Lodge, Gervase Markham, Christopher Marlowe, hn Marston, Christopher Middleton, Thomas Nash, Earl of Oxford, George ele, Matthew Roydon Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, William Shakspeare, Edmund penser, Thomas Storer, Earl of Surrey, Sir Philip Sidney, Joshua Sylvester, orge Turberville, William Warner, Thomas Watson, John Weever, William rever, and Sir Thomas Wyatt.
Though Oldys has severely blamed the judgment of the editor in his selection authors and extracts, yet a much more consummate critic, the highly-gifted
• Eagland's Helicon, reprint of 1812, Introduction, p. xx, xxi, xxii.
Preface, p. 8, 9. This Collection of Hayward's bad three different titles; the last dated 1741. The d edition is called "The Qintissence of English Poetry "
Warton, considers him as having exhibited taste in his choice, and it must b acknowledged that the volume has preserved many exquisite passages from poet who, but for this selection, had probably been irrecoverably merged in oblivion.
In the same year with England's Parnassus came forth another compilation, t which its editor, John Bodenham, gave the following title: "Bel-vedere, or th Garden of the Muses. Imprinted at London, by F. K. for Hugh Astley, dwelling a Saint Magnus Corner. 1600. Small 8vo. p. 236.
This collection, which underwent a second impression in 1510, with the onis sion of its first appellative, "Belvedere," though it contain a vast number of que tations, is, on two accounts, inferior to the "Parnassus." In the first place, a author's names are annexed to the extracts, and, in the second, a much greate defect has arisen from the editor's determination to confine his specimens to on or two lines at most, a brevity which almost annihilates the interest of the work To obviate, however, in some degree, the inconveniences arising from the first these plans, he has recourse, in his premium, to the following detail, which, a it gives a very curious narrative of the construction of the book, will have its du value with the reader:
"Now that every one may be fully satisfied concerning this Garden, that no man doth assum to him-selfe the praise thereof, or can arrogate to his owne deserving those things, which have be derived from so many rare and ingenious spirits; I have set down both how, whence, and when these flowres had their first springing, till thus they were drawne together into the Muses Garden that every ground may challenge his owne, each plant his particular, and no one be injured in justice of his merit.
"First, out of many excellent speeches, spoken to her Majestie, at tiltings, triumple maskes, and shewes, and devises perfourmed in prograce: as also out of divers choise ditties su so her; and some especially, proceeding from her owne most sacred selfe! Here are great stat of them digested into their meete places, according as the method of the worke plainly deliverell Likewise out of private poems, sonnets, ditties, and other wittie conceits, given to her honourab Ladies and vertuous Maids of Honour; according as they could be obtained by sight, or favour copying, a number of most wittie and singular sentences. Secondly, looke what workes of poc have been put to the world's eye, by that learned and right royall king and poet, James Kinzi Scotland; no one sentence of worth hath escaped, but are likewise here reduced into their ri roome and place. Next, out of sundrie things extant, and many in private, done by these righ honourable persons following: Thomas (Henry), Earl of Surrey, The Lorde Marquesse of W chester, Mary Countess of Pembrooke, and Sir Philip Sidney.
"From poems and workes of these noble personages extant: Edward, Earle of Oxenford Ferdinando, Earle of Derby; Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Edward Dyer, Fulke Grevile, Esq, an Sir John Harrington.
"From divers essayes of their poetrie; some extant among other honourable personages w**-ings, some from private labours and translations: Edmund Spenser, Henry Constable, Es Samuel Daniel, Thomas Lodge, Doctor of Physicke; Thomas Watson, Michaell Dray! John Davies, Thomas Hudson, Henrie Locke, Esq., John Marstone, Chr. Marlowe, Bes Johnson, William Shakspeare, Thomas Churchyard, Esq., Tho. Nash, Tho. Kidde, Geo. Pr Robert Greene, Josuah Sylvester, Nicolas Breton, Gervase Markham, Thomas Storer, R Wilmot, Chr. Middelton, and Richard Barnefield.
"These being moderne and extant poets, that have lived together, from many of their exa workes, and some kept in private: Thomas Norton, Esq., George Gascoigne, Esq., Fraunce Hindlemarsh, Esq., Thomas Atchelow, and George Whetstones.
"These being deceased, have left divers extant labours, and many more held back fre publishing, which for the most part have been perused, and their due right here given them the Muses Garden.
Besides, what excellent sentences have been in any presented Tragedie, Historie, Pastoral. or Comedie, they have been likewise gathered, and are here inserted in their proper places.” It will be perceived that eleven poets are here enumerated, who had no share in England's Parnassus; and it may be worth while to remark, that among the
The curious Preface, from which we have given this long extract, is only to be found in the firm edition of the Belvedere; its omission in the second is a singular defect, as it certainly forms the movi interesting part of the impression of 1600.