1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joshua Sylvester

Joseph Ritson, Bibliographia Poetica (1802) 355-56 & n.



JOSHUA SYLVESTER, merchant-adventurer, translated from the French of "the noble, learned, and divine poet, William Salustius lord of Bartas," &c. 1. A canticle of the victorie obteined by the French king Henry the fourth, at Yvry: printed by Richard Yardley, 1590, 4to. 2. The triumph of faith. The sacrifice of Isaac. The ship-wracke of Jonas: printed by R. Yardley and P. Short, 1592, 4to. 3. The Eden, The deceipt, and The Babylon: printed by P. Short, 1598, 16mo. 4. The furies, The handy-crafts, and The ark: printed by him for W. Wood, 16mo. Lachrymae lachrymarum, or the spirit of tears distilled for the untimely death of Henrie prince of Wales, 1613, 4to. The parliament of vertues royal, Bethaliahs rescue, Little Bartas, and other poems [1614], 8vo. Hymn of alms. Memorials of mortalitie. A hymn of St. Louis. The trophies of Henry the great. Battle of Yvry. Tobacco battered, &c. 1615, 8vo. The maidens blush, 1620, 8vo. Recommendatory verses, by Sylvester, occur before Edmundes Caesars commentaries, 1609; Blaxtins English usurer, 1634; and Vicars Mischiefs mysterie, 1617. Du Bartas his divine weekes and workes, &c. by Sylvester, were printed in 4to. 1605, 1608, 1613, and in folio, 1621, 1633, 1641. To Sylvester is ascrib'd a MS. poem "In praise of the cocoa fruit of the West Indies," in the Museum. He dye'd, at Middleburgh in Zealand, in 1618, aged 55.

It was Ben Jonsons opinion, "The Silvesters translation of Du Bartas was not well done, and that he wrote his verses before he understood to confer." Drummond, however, thought his translation of Judith, and Battle of Yvory excellent; though he allows him not to be hapy in his inventions, as may be seen in his Tobacco batter'd, and Epitaphs.