Nicholas Breton

(1545 ca.-1626)

Nicholas Breton, poet and satirist, was the son of a London merchant, though the family fortune was lost when his mother later married the spendthrift George Gascoigne. He may have attended Oriel College, Oxford, before settling in London. Unsuccessful in obtaining preferment at court, Breton attempted to earn a living as an author. He published satires under the pseudonym "Pasquil" and obtained some patronage from Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. His verse appears in many of the early anthologies and his volumes were avidly sought by nineteenth-century collectors.


1592The Pilgrimage to Paradise.
1600An Epitaph upon Poet Spencer.


A small handfull of fragrant flowers. 1575.
A floorish upon fancie. 1577.
The workes of a young wit. 1577.
The historie of the life and fortune of don Federigo di Terra Nuova. 1590.
Britton's bowre of delights. 1591.
Marie Magdalens love; A solemn passion. 1595.
Auspicante Jehova. 1597.
The wil of wit, wits wil or wils wit. 1597.
Wits trenchmour. 1597.
The passions of the spirit. 1599.
Pasquils mad-cap and mad-cappes message. 1600.
The second part of Pasquils mad-cap. 1600.
Pasquails mistress. 1600.
Pasquils passe, and passeth not. 1600.
Melancholike humours. 1600.
No whippinge nor trippinge. 1601.
The strange fortunes of two excellent princes. 1600.
A divine poeme. 1601.
An excellent poeme. 1601.
The soules heavenly exercise. 1601.
The mothers blessing. 1602.
Olde mad-cappes new gally-mawfrey. 1602.
The passion of a discontented minde. 1602.
The poste with a madde packet of letters. 1602.
The soules harmony. 1602.
Wonders worth the hearing. 1602.
A true description of unthankfulnesse. 1602.
A dialogue full of pithe and pleasure. 1603.
A merrie dialogue betwixt the taker and the mistaker. 1603.
Grimellos fortunes. 1604.
The passionate shepheard. 1604.
A piece of Friar Bacons brazen-heads prophesie. 1604.
An old mans lesson. 1605.
Honest counsaile. 1605.
The honour of valour. 1605.
I pray you be not angrie. 1605.
The soules immortal crowne. 1605.
Choice, chance and change. 1606.
A murmurer. 1607.
Wits private wealth. 1607.
Divine considerations of the soule. 1608.
The uncasing of Machivils instructions to his sonne. 1613.
I would and would not. 1614.
Characters upon essaies. 1615.
The good and the badde. 1616.
Crossing of proverbs. 1616.
Crossing of proverbs: the second part. 1616
The hate of treason. 1616.
Machivels dogge. 1617.
The Court and country. 1618.
Conceyted letters newly layde open. 1618.
Strange newes out of divers countries. 1622.
Soothing of proverbs. 1626.
Fantasticks. 1626.
The figure of foure. 1631.
The figure of foure: the second part. 1626.
Character of Queen Elizabeth. 1788.
Melancholike humours, ed. Egerton Brydges. 1815.
Works in verse and prose, ed. A. B. Grosart. 2 vols, 1879.
A mad world my masters and other prose works, ed. Ursula Kentish-Wright. 2 vols, 1929.
Poems not hitherto reprinted, ed. J. Robertson. 1952.