1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Raleigh

Joseph Ritson, Bibliographia Poetica (1802) 307-08.



SIR WALTER RALEIGH, born in 1552, convicted of treason in 1603, and, after being employ'd under the kings commission, beheaded, upon that obsolete sentence, in 1618, wrote commendatory verses prefix'd to Gasgoines Steele-glasse and Spensers Faerie queene; allso The silent lover, The nimphs reply to the shepheard (in answer to Marlow), and other pieces, mostly printed in Englands Helicon, 1600. Some of these being (like others, certainly not by him) subscribe'd "Ignoto" (or "Anonymous"), it has been erroneously asserted, by Warton, to be "Raleighs constant signature." It is likewise observable that this word is, in two instances, passed over the initials "S. W. R." either because he was not the author, or wish'd to conceal himself. The "Answer to the lye," usually ascrib'd to Raleigh, and pretended to have been written the night before his execution, was, in fact, by Francis Davison. See IGNOTO. The answer to, or parody upon, Withers song, "Shall i, wasting in despair," begining, "Shall i, like an hermit, dwell," is likewise attributed to Raleigh; of whom, says Puttenham, "For dittie and amourous ode i finde sir Walter Rawleyghs vayne most loftie, insolent, and passionate." This poem, by some od blunder, may have been confounded with his "Epitaph," which appear'd in Brathwaites Remains after death, 1618, and professes to be "writ the night before his execution." "The English poems of sir Walter Raleigh," in Boltons opinion, "are not easily to be mended."