1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Tofte

John Payne Collier, in Poetical Decameron (1820) 1:59.



MORTON. I see here, however, a passage that I have marked, referring to a contemporary, one of the greatest, if not the very greatest bookmaker of his day, Gervase or Jervis Markham. I think [Charles] Fitzgeoffry much over-lauds Markham's poem, printed the year before, called "the most honorable Tragedie of Sir Richard Grinuile."

MORTON. He is, I suppose, the same Markham who translated Ariosto's Satires.

BOURNE. Who pretended to have translated them, but in fact they were done by Robert Tofte. Markham was a sort of bookseller's hack, and was up to all the tricks of trade: it seems that he, or somebody else, stole Tofte's version, and printed it boldly with his name on the title-page. He was guilty of nearly the same offence with a prose pamphlet by Barnabe Rich; only he had the prudence to wait until the real author was dead, and then republished it as his own original performance.