1883 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Geoffrey Whitney the Younger

Thomas Corser, in Collectanea Anglo-Poetica 11 (1883) 394.



The author was a native of Nantwich in Cheshire, and descended from a family of the same name residing in Acton parish near there. He was educated at Audlem School in the same county (still a school of some reputation), as appears from one of his emblems, p. 172, addressed "Ad inventutem Scholae Aldelemensis in Anglia," in which he says,

For, what I woulde unto my selfe shoulde chaunce

To you I wishe, wheare I my prime did spende.

He probably removed afterwards to Northwich School, at least one of his emblems, p. 173, is dedicated, "Doctissimo viro D. Stephano Limberto Nordouicensis Scholae Magistro." He afterwards became a member of the University of Oxford (Ormerod's Cheshire, vol. iii, p. 230), and removed from thence to that of Leyden in Holland, where, according to Ant. Wood, he was living in 1586 in great esteem among his countrymen for his ingenuity, and where, in the same year, he published his collection of emblems, printed in the house of Christopher Plantin, by his son-in-law, Francis Raphelengius. Wood says, that about this same time, whilst at Leyden, he published also a collection of fables or epigrammes, illustrated like the former work, with a woodcut on each leaf, some of them having considerable merit. Of this work I possess a copy, but unfortunately imperfect, wanting several leaves. Of the later period of his life, we have not been able to trace any particulars, nor of the period when he died. Whitney will be known to posterity by this work, which will always hold an important rank among this amusing class of books, and which is also interesting as being probably, according to Dibdin, with his other work, "the only English books which owe their existence to the matrices and puncheons of the immortal Plantin."