1599 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Bodenham

Robert Allott, "To my most esteemed and approved loving Friend, Maister John Bodenham" Wits Theater of the little World (1599) sig. A2-A2v.



Sir, for many causes best knowne unto your selfe, and ever of me to bee acknowledged, it might be thought I were no longer worthy of your love, if I shoulde not in some sort shew my selfe thankeful. Besides, this history or Theater of the little World, SUOIVRE, first challengeth your friendly patronage, by whose motion I undertooke it, and for whose love I am willing to undergoe the heavy burden of censure. I must confesse that it might have beene written with more maturitie, and deliberation, but in respect of my promise I have made this hast, how happy I know not, yet good enough I hope, if you vouchsafe your kinde approbation: which with your judgement I holde ominous, and as under which, Politeuphuia was so gracious. Very fitly is man compared to a tree, whose rootes are his thoughts, whose branches and leaves his wordes (which are sufficiently set forth in choicest Sentences and Similitudes) the fruite whereof are his workes, now shewed in Examples. In these, as in a glasse, is to be seene the two-fold course of mans life, and such presidents, as eyther may be followed for vertuous, or eschewed as vicious. In many of them, I have been briefe, the better to assure and confirme memory, in others, somewhat prolixe, because I would avoyde obscuritie. These all, how soever they want the high charactered stile and smooth phrase (which is the body of eloquence) together with my best endevours, I offer to your love, that hath begot in me this labor, whose after studies shall bee imployed to nourish it, and continue my ever thankefull mind for the same, resting alwayes

Yours most assured to command.

Robert Allott.