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rerses prefixed in praise of the book, are some lines by R. Hat'way, whom Ir. Malone conjectures to have been the kinsman of Ann Hathaway, the wife of or immortal bard.
A small contribution of pieces by a few of the chief poets of the age, was in 61 annexed to a production by Robert Chester, entitled, “Love's Martyr, or Finalin's Complaint, allegorically shadowing the Truth of Love in the constant ite of the Phænix and Turtle. A poem, enterlaced with much varietie and intie; now first translated out of the venerable Italian Torquato Cæliano, obert Chester. With the true legend of famous King Arthur, the last of the ine worthies ; being the first Essay of a new British poet: collected out of uthenticall records. To these are added some new compositions of several mern writers; whose names are subscribed to their severall workes; upon pe first subject; viz. the Phænix and Turtle.” These new compositions have the following second title immediately preceding am: "Hereafter follow diverse poetical essaies on the former subject; viz. the urtle and Phenix. Done by the best and chiefest of our modern writers, with fpir names subscribed to their particular workes. Never before extant. And # first consecrated by them all generally to the love and merit of the truly he knight, Sir John Salisburie.” The only known copy of this collection was in Major Pierson's possession, and is solely from Mr. Malone, to whom we are indebted for the above titles, at we learn the names of the principal contributors; these are Shakspeare,
Jonson, Marston, and Chapman. Shakspeare's contribution forms the rotieth poem in “ The passionate Pilgrim," commencing
“ Let the bird of loudest lay," &c.
A miscellany upon a more extensive scale than the preceding, and of great fue for the taste exhibited in its selection, succeeded in 1602, under the appellan of A Poetical Rapsodie; containing diverse Sonnets, Odes, Elegies, Madrik. Epigrams, Pastorals, Eglogues, with other Poems, both in Rime and iasured Verse. For varietie and pleasure, the like never yet published. Pon. 12mo." The editor and principal contributor was Francis Davison, a poet of no mean lents, and son of that Secretary of State, who experienced in so remarkable a cree the duplicity of Elizabeth, in relation to Mary Queen of Scots. In an Hress to the Reader, he thus accounts for the form which the volume assumes:
Being induced by some private reasons, and by the instant entreaty of speciall friends, to Prs some of my worthlesse poems lo be published, I desired to make some wrillen by my deere uds Anonymoi, and my deerer Brother, lo beare them company: both, without their consent; e lailer being in the low-country warres, and the rest ulterly ignorantihereof. My friends mes I concealed; mine owne and my brother's I willed the printer lo suppresse, as well as I d mpcealed the other, which he having put in without my privily, we must now undergo a 3 per censure perhaps than our namelesse workes should have done ; and I especially. For if Pit poems be liked, the praise is due to their invention; if disliked, the blame both by them 4xl men will be derived upon me, for publishing that which they meant to suppresse." He Iben enlers upon a desence of poetry, experience proving, be remarks, “ by examples of 16. boib dead and living, that divers delighted and excelling herein, being princes or stales*n, bare gouerned and counselled as wisely; being souldiers, bave commanded armies as Tilaaieiy: being lawyers, have pleaded as judicially and eloquently; being divines, have
11&p and laught as profoundly; and being or any other profession, have discharged it as suslinoty, as any other men whatsoever;" and concludes by alleging, as an excuse" for thisc or in particular, that those under the name of Anonymos were written (as appearelh by divers
as to Sir l'hilip Sidney living, and of hin dead) almost twenty years since, when poetry was rape from that perfection 10 wbich it hath now altained : that my brother is by profession a
.. fier, and was not eighteen years old when he writ these toys : that mine owne were made Est of them sive or seven yeares since, at idle times as I journeyed up and downe during my srails."
The division of the “Rapsodie" more peculiarly occupied by these kindre bards, is that including “Sonnets, Odes, Elegies, Madrigals, and Epigrams, Francis and Walter Davison, brethren;" and they were assisted in that, an the residue of the work, by Spenser, Sidney, Sir John Davis, Mary Countess Pembroke, Thomas Campion, Thomas Watson, Charles Best, Thomas Spelmar and by others, whose initials are supposed to indicate Henry Constable, Walte Raleigh, Henry Wotton, Robert Greene, Andrew Willet, and Joshua Sylvester
The “Poetical Rapsodie” is dedicated by Davison in a sonnet, “ To the mos noble, honorable, and worthy Lord William Earl of Pembroke, Lord Herbert Cardifle, Marmion, and St. Quintine," and was successively republished wi augmentations in 1608, 16ll, and 1621. It may be said to present us, not on with a felicitous choice of topics, but it claims the merit of having preserve several valuable poeins not elsewhere to be discovered, and which, owing to t! rarity of the book, although four times subjected to the press, have not, until late: attracted the notice that is due to them.
Independent of the ten miscellanies which we have now enumerated, an im mense multitude of Airs, Madrigals, and Songs, set to music, and printeti Parts, were published during the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, and durie the reign of James the First. These Collections contain a variety of lyric pres not elsewhere to be met with, and which were either written expressly for a Composers, or selected by the latter from manuscripts, or rare and insult printed copies. Foremost among these Professors of Music, who thus indireta contributed to enrich the stores of English Poetry, stands William Byrd. Th celebrated composer's first printed work in English was licensed in 1587, and be the following title :-“ Tenor. Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of sadnes and puta made into musicke of five parts: whereof, some of them going a broad ang divers, in untrue coppies, are heere truely corrected, and the other being Sie very rare and newly composed, are heere published, for the recreation of all sin as delight in Musicke. By William Byrd, one of the Gent. of the Queene's Jak ties Royail Chappell.” 4to.
The volume is dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton; and he tells his reades, i an epistle subscribed the most assured friend to all that love or learne musica William Byrd,—“heere is offered unto thy courteous acceptation, musiche + sundrie sorts, and to content divers humors. If thou be disposed to pray, butus are psalmes. If to bee merrie, here are sonets. If to lament for thy sins, her i are songs of sadnesse and pietie. If thou delight in musicke of great compa:* here are divers songs, which being originally made for instruments to express t5 harmony, and one voice to pronounce the dittie, are now framed in all parts la voyces to sing the same. If thou desire songs of smal compasse and fit for the reach of most voyces, heere are most in number of that sort.
Next to Byrd, wbose publications of this kind are numerous, we may ment, Thomas Morley, no less remarkable for his skill in music, and for his fertility. the production of madrigals, ballets, and canzonets. How fashionable al universal had become the practice of singing these compositions at every party amusement, may be drawn from one of the elementary works of this writer :“Being at a banquet," he relates, “supper being ended, and music books bra. to table, the mistress of the house, according to custom, presented me witi a part, earnestly intrealing me to sing ; when, after many excuses, I protested ut feignedly that I could not, every one began to wonder, yea, some whispered 1 others demanding how I was brought up."
Of the various collections of lyric poetry adapted to music and published Morley, who died about the period of the accession of James the First, we stel notice two; one as indicatory of the manners of the age, and the other of the
See (ensura Literaria, rol. i. p 229. * Vile Morley's Paine and easie lutroduction to Practical Musick
estimation in which the science was held by our composer, who seems, on this occasion, to have partaken the enthusiasm of Shakspeare; for in a dedication
* To the Worshipfull Sir Gervis Clifton, Knight," prefixed to "Madrigals to five toyces. Selected out of the best approved Italian authors. By Thomas Morley, Gentleman of his Maiesties Royall Chapell, 1598," he tells his worthy patron, le lever held this sentence of tłe poet, as a canon of my creede; “ That whom "God loveth not, they love not Musique.' For as the art of Musique is one of
the most Heavenly gifts, so the very love of Musique (without art) is one of the "best engrasted testimonies of Heavens love towards us."
In 1601, Morley published in quarto, “Cantus Madrigales. The triumphes of Criana, to 5 and 6 voices: composed by divers severall aucthors,”—a collection remarkable for its object, as it consisted of twenty-five songs, composed by twenty-four several musicians, for the express purpose of commemorating the brauty and virginity of Elizabeth, under the appellation of Oriana, and who was now in the sixty-eighth year of her age, one among innumerable proofs of the extreme vanity of this singular woman.
That a great portion of these musical miscellanies consisted of translations from the Italian, is evident from the publications of Byrd and Morley, and from the "Musica Transalpina" of Nicholas Yonge, printed in two parts, in the year 1388 and 1597, where, however, equal industry appears to have been exerted in collecting English songs; the dedication, indeed, points out very distinctly the sources whence these popular works were derived. “I endeavoured,” says Ponge, “ to get into my hands all such English songes as were praise worthie, and amongst others I had the hap to find in the hands of some of my good friends certain Italian Madrigales translated most of them five years ago by a gentleman for his private delight.” The two parts of Musica Transalpina contain eighty-one songs.
It seems probable, indeed, from Orlando Gibbons's dedication of his “First set of Madrigals and Motiets” to Sir Christopher Hatton, dated 1612, that the courtiers of that period sometimes employed themselves in writing lyrics for their domestic Lutenisis; for Orlando tells his lord,—“They were most of them composed in your own house, and do therefore properly belong unto you as lord of the soil; the language they speak you provided them; I only furnished them with tongues to utter the same." It may be, however, that Sir Christopher was only a selector of poetry for the lyre of Gibbons.
To enumerate ihe multitude of music-stricken individuals, who, during this period, were occupied in procuring and collecting lyric poetry for professional purposes, would fill a volume. Among the most indefatigable, may be mentioned John Wilbye, Thomas Weelkes, John Dowland and Robert Jones; “The Musicall Dream,” 1609, and “ The Muse's Gardin of Delights," 1610, by the last of these gentlemen, were held in great esteem.
We cannot close this subject, indeed, without acknowledging our obligations to this numerous class for the preservation of many most beautiful specimens of lyric poetry, which, it is highly probable, without their care and accompanithients, would either not have existed, or would have perished prematurely.*
As a further elucidation of the Poetical Literature of this period, and with the view of condensing its retrospect, by an arrangement under general heads, it may prove satisfactory, if we briely throw into classes the names of those poets who may be considered as having given ornament or extension to their art. The following divisions, it is expected, will include all that, in this place, it can now be teressary to notice.
• For specimens of these interestiag collections. I refer my reader to Censura Literaria, vol. ix. p: 1. ** *7.; vol. x. p. 179, 294; and to the British Bibliographer, No. IV. p. 343 ; No. V. p. 563 ; No.'vi. i 59, No. IX p. 427 ; No. XI p. 652 ; No. XII. p 48 ; and No. XV. p. 386.
We have thus, in as short a compass as the nature of the subject would admit given, we trust, a more accurate view of the Shakspearean era, as it existed iodependent of the Drama, than has hitherto been attempted.
That Shakspeare was an assiduous reader of English Poetry ; that he studie with peculiar interest and attention his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, there is abundant reason to conclude from a careful perusal of his volum of miscellaneous poetry, which is modelled on a strict adherence to the tasto which prevailed at the opening of his career. The collection, indeed, may, with no impropriety, be classed under the two divisions of Historic and Lyric poetry; the former concluding “Venus and Adonis," and the “Rape of Lucrece," and the latter the “Sonets," the “ Passionate Pilgrim," and the “Lover's Corplaint."
The great models of Historic poetry, during the prior portion of Shakspeare's lise, were the “ Mirrour for Magistrates” and “Warner's Albion's England;" bort for the mythological story of Venus and Adonis, though deviating in several important circumstances from its prototype, we are probably indebted to Golding' Ovid ; and for the Rape of Lucrece and the structure of the stanza in which it is composed, to the reputation and the metre of the "Rosamond" of Daniel, printed in 1592. For the Sonnets, he had numerous examples in the productions of Spenser, Sidney, Watson, and Constable; and, through the wide field of amatory lyric composition, excellence of almost every kind, in the form of ode, madrigal, and song, might be traced in the varied effusions of Gascoigne, Greene and Raleigh, Breton and Lodge.
How far our great bard exceeded, or sell beneath, the models which he possessed; in what degree he was independent of their influence, and to wluat portion of estimation his miscellaneous poetry is justly entitled, will be the subjects of the next chapter, in which we shall venture to assign to these efforts of his early days a higher rank in the scale of excellence than it has hitherto been their sate to obtain.
Dedications of Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis, and Rape of Lucrece, to the Earl of Southampton
- Biographical Sketch of the Earl-Critique on the Poems of Shakspeare.
SHAKSPEARE's dedication of his “Venus and Adonis" to the Earl of Southampton in 1593; the accomplishments, the liberality, and the virtues of this amiable nobleman, and the substantial patronage which, according to tradition, he bestowed upon our poet, together claim for him, in this place, a more than cursory notice as to life and character.
Thomas Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield, was born on the sixth of October, 1573. His grandfather had been created an Earl in the reign of Henry the Eighth; and his father, who married Mary, the daughter of Anthony, first Viscount of Montague, was a strenuous supporter of the rights of Mary Queen of Scots. Just previous to the completion of his eighth year, he sullered an irreparable loss by the death of his father, on the 4th of October, 1531. lis mother, however, appears to have been by no means negligent of his education; for he was early sent to Cambridge, being matriculated there when only twelve years old, on the 11th of December, 1585. He was admitted of St. Jolin's College, where, on the 6th of June, 1589, he took his degree of Master of Arts, and, after a residence of nearly five years in the University, he tinally left it for Town, to complete his course of studies at Gray's Inn, of which place, in June, 1590, he had entered himself a member.
The circumstances which, so shortly after Lord Southampton's arrival in London, induced Shakspeare to select him as his patron, may, with an assurance almost amounting to certainty, be ascribed to the following event. Not long after the death of her husband, Lady Southampton married Sir Thomas Hleneage, treasurer of the chamber, an office which necessarily led him into connection with actors and dramatic writers. Of this intercourse Lord Southampton, at the age of seventeen, was very willing to avail himself, and his subsequent history evinces, that, throughout life, he retained a passionate attachment to dramatic exhibitions. No stronger proof, indeed, can be given of his dose for the theatre, than what an anecdote related by Rowland Whyte aflords 12, who, in a letter to Sir Robert Sydney, dated October 11th, 1599, tells his morrespondent, that “my Lord Southampton and Lord Rutland come not to the court at Nonesuch). The one doth but very seldome. They pass away the pmne in London merely in going to plaies every day."
To a young nobleman thus inclined, imbued with a keen relish for dramatic pwetry, who was ardent in his thirst for fame, and liberal in the encouragement of genius, it was natural for our poet to look not only with hope and expectation, but with enthusiastic regard. To Lord Southampton, therefore, though inly nineteen years old, Shakspeare, in his twenty-ninth year, ' dedicated his Venus and Adonis, “ the first heire of his invention.”
The language of his dedication, however, indicates some degree of apprehension as to the nature of its reception, and consequently proves that our author was not at this period assured of His Lordship's support; for it commences thus: - Right Honorable, I know not how I shall oflend in dedicating my unpolisht Des to your Lordship;" and he adds in the opening of the next clause, - onely s your Honor seeme but pleased, I account myselle highly praised." These timidities appear to have vanished in a very short period: for our author's dedi ation to the same nobleman of his Rape of Lucrece, which was entered on the Stationers' Books on May 9th, 1594, and published almost immediately afterwards, speaks a very dillerent language, and indicates very plainly that Shakpeare had already experienced the beneficial effects of His Lordship's patronage. Gratitude and confidence, indeed, cannot express themselves in clearer terms than may be found in the diction of this address : “ The love I dedicate to Jour Lordship,” says the bard, “ is without end.—The warrant I have of your Il nourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to doe is yours, being part in all I have devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duety would
few greater; meane time, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship.” Words nore botlaratory of obligation it would not be easy to select, and we shall be justified, therefore, in inferring, that Lord Southampton had conferred upon Shakspeare,
Veus and Adonis was entered on the Stationers' Books, loy Richard Field, April 18, 1593, six days' efte its autbror completed the twenty-uintli ylar of his age.