1790 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Basse

William Cole, Collectanea for Athenae Cantabrigienses, 1780 ca.; Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 3 (1815) 68-69.



Isaac Walton's Compleat Angler, p. 84, edit. 4. Lond. 8vo. 1668. Ath. Ox. vol. ii. p. 812.

Mr. Knight, jun. shewed me a MS. written by Wm. Basse, and corrected by him, in 4to. called Polihymnia. Dedication — To the Right noble and vertuous Lady the Lady Bridget, Countess of Lindsey, and Barness of Eresbie and Ricot, in verse, with verses to the Right hon. Francis Lord Norreys, Earl of Berkshire (in his days). To the Right hon. the Lady Aungier (then wife of Sir Tho. Wenman) upon her coming out of Ireland, and return thither. To the Right hon. the Lady Viscountess Falkland, upon her going into Ireland, two sonnets. The Youth in the Boat. Acrostics of the truly noble, vertuous, and learned Lady Agnes Wenman; of the Lady Penelope Dynham; of Mrs. Jane Wenman. Verses on the Chapel of Wadham College consecration, St. Peter's day, 1613; on Caversham, or Causham House; of Witham House, Oxfordshire, the house of a noble Knight and favourer of my Muse, and Elegy on a Bullfinch, 1648; of the four wide course of Bagarde's Green six times over, by two famous Irish footmen, Patrick Dorning and Wm. O'Farrell. It contains about 40 leaves, much corrected, and at the end is L'Envoy.

Go, sweet Polymnia, thanks for all your cost
And love to me; wherein no love is lost.
As you have taught me various verse to use,
I have to right you to be a Christian Muse.

The poetry seems to be below mediocrity: so no wonder he has escaped the list of poets, and that we know so little of him.

He took his degree of A.M. in Eman. Coll. 1636, at least one of both his names. V. my vol. 50, p. 22.

Wm. Basse admitted sizar in Eman. Coll. 1629, of Suffolk, A.B. 1632, A.M. 1636. id. p. 55.

In Warton's Life of Dr. Bathurst, p. 288. is a copy of English verses by Dr. Bathurst.

"To Mr. W. Basse upon the intended publication of his poems, January 13, 1654.

Mr. Warton has added this note at the bottom: "I find no account of this writer or his poems." But from the beginning and end of the short poem of about 40 verses, it should seem that he Emanuelian was too modern for the poet, who might be his father. They begin thus:—

Basse, whose rich mine of wit we here behold
As porcelain earth, more precious, 'cause more old;
Who, like an aged oak, so long hath stood,
And art religion now as well as food:
Though thy grey Muse grew up with elder times,
And our deceased grandsires lisp'd thy rhymes;
Yet we can sing thee too, and make the bays,
Which deck thy brow, look fresher with thy praise.

Though these, your happy births, have silent past
More years than some abortive wits shall last;
He still writes new, who once so well hath sung:
That Muse can ne'er be old, which ne'er was young.