1608 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Harington

Thomas Dekker, "To the very woorthy, learned, juditious, and noble Gentleman, Syr John Harrington Knight" Dekker, The dead Tearme, or Westminsters Complaint (1608) sig. A2.



Sir, the Love (which your immortall Ariosto tels to the world) that you really beare to Divine, (but now Poore and Contemned) Poesie, hath a long time made me an Honorer of those bright ascending Vertues in you, which those Holy and Pure Flames of Her have kindled in your bosome. Happy you are by Birth, Happy, by your bringing up, but most happy in that the Muses were your Nurses, to whome you have beene so tender, that they make you an Elder sonne and Heyre of their Goodliest Possessions. So that your Love to Them, hath drawne from Others, an Honourable Love and Regard of you. The Path which True Noblenesse had wont (and ought) to tread, lyes directly before you: you have been ever, and are now in the way, which emboldens me to presume, that as our Greatest Commanders will not disdaine to instruct even Fresh-water souldiers in the Schoole-poynts of war, so (out of your Noble disposition) you will vouchsafe to viewe the labours of so dull a Pen, as This that writes, unto you. Two Citties have I summoned to a Parley, and of their great Enter-view have I chosen you to be Arbiter. It is Boldnes in me, I confesse, but it is the Boldnes, of my Love, referring which (and my selfe) to your worthy Censure, Rest.

Devoted to you in all service,

Thomas Dekker.