« PreviousContinue »
His worke he shortly to good purpose brought,
An heape of earth he hoorded up on hie,
And round about he taught sweete flowres to growe; 84 The Rose engrained in pure scarlet die;
The Lilly fresh; and Violet belowe ;
The Marigolde; and cherefull Rosemarie;
The Spartan Mirtle, whence sweet gumb does flowe;
And Saffron, sought for in Cilician soyle;
Fresh Rhododaphne; and the Sabine flowre,
And whatsoever other flowre of worth,
To thee, small Gnat, in lieu of his life saved,
CONTEINING TWELVE AEG LOGUES, PROPORTIONABLE TO
THE TWELVE MONETHES.
ENTITLED TO THE NOBLE AND VERTUOUS GENTLEMAN,
MOST WORTHIE OF ALL TITLES BOTH OF
LEARNING AND CHIVALRY,
MAISTER PHILIP SIDNEY.
TO HIS BOOKE.
Goe, little Booke! thy selfe present, As childe whose parent is unkent, To him that is the President Of Noblenesse and Chevalree: And if that Envie barke at thee, As sure it will, for succour flee Under the shadow of his wing. And, asked who thee forth did bring, A shepheards swaine, say, did thee sing, All as his straying flocke he fedde : And, when his Honour has thee redde, Crave pardon for thy hardy-hedde. But, if that any aske thy name, Say, thou wert base-begot with blame; Forthy thereof thou takest shame. And, when thou art past jeopardee, Come tell me what was said of mee, And I will send more after thee.
TO THE MOST EXCELLENT AND LEARNED,
BOTH ORATOR AND POET,
MAISTER GABRIEL HARVEY,
HIS VERIE SPECIALL AND SINGULAR GOOD FRIEND E. K. COMMENDETH THE GOOD LYKING OF THIS HIS GOOD LABOUR,
AND THE PATRONAGE OF THE NEW POET.
unkist, said the old famous Poet Chaucer:
whom for his excellencie and wonderfull skill in making, his scholler Lidgate, a worthie scholler of so excellent a master, calleth the loadstarre of our language: and whom our Colin Clout in his Eglogue calleth Tityrus the God of Shepheards, comparing him to the worthinesse of the Roman Tityrus, Virgil. Which proverb, mine owne good friend M. Harvey, as in that good old poet it served well Pandares purpose for the bolstering of his bawdie brocage, so very well taketh place in this our new Poet, who for that hee is uncouth (as sayde Chaucer)is unkist, and unknowne to most men, is regarded but of a fewe. But I doubt not, so soone as his name shall come into the knowledge of men, and his woorthinesse bee sounded in the trumpe of Fame, but that hee shall bee not onely kist, but also beloved of all, imbraced of the most, and wondred at of the best. No lesse, I thinke, deserveth his wittinesse in devising, his pithinesse in uttering, his complaints of love so lovely, his discourses of pleasure so pleasantly, his pastoral rudenes, his morall wisenesse, his due observing of Decorum everie where, in personages, in seasons, in matter, in speech; and generallie, in all seemely simplicitie of handling his matters, and framing his wordes: the which of many things which in him be straunge, I know will
seeme the strangest, and wordes themselves being so auncient, the knitting of them so short and intricate, and the whole period and compasse of speech so delightsom for the roundnesse, and so grave for the strangenesse. And first of the wordes to speake, I graunt they bee something hard, and of most men unused, yet both English, and also used of most excellent Authours, and most famous poets. In whom, when as this our Poet hath bin much travailed and throughly read, how could it be, (as that worthie Oratour sayde) but that walking in the Sunne, althouth for other cause he walked, yet needes he mought be sunburnt; and, having the sound of those auncient poets still ringing in his eares, he mought needes, in singing, hit out some of their tunes. But whether he useth them by such casualtie and custome, or of set purpose and choise, as thinking them fittest for such rustical rudenesse of Shepheards, either for that their rough sound would make his rimes more ragged and rusticall; or else because such old and obselete wordes are most used of Country folke, sure I thinke, and thinke I think not amisse, that they bring great grace, and, as one would say, authoritie to the verse. For albe, amongst many other faults, it specially be objected of Valla against Livie, and of other against Salust, that with over much studie they affect antiquitie, as covering thereby credence and honour of elder yeares; yet I am of opinion, and eke the best learned are of the like, that those auncient solemne words, are a great ornament, both in the one, and in the other: the one labouring to set forth in his worke an eternall image of antiquitie, and the other carefully discoursing matters of gravity and importance. For, if my memorie faile not, Tully in that booke, wherein he endevoureth to set forth the patterne of a perfect Orator, saith that oft times an ancient worde maketh the stile seeme grave, and as it were reverend, no other wise then we honor and reverence gray haires for a certaine religious regard, which we have of old age. Yet neither every where must old wordes be stuffed in, nor the common Dialect and maner of speaking so corrupted thereby, that, as in olde