1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Wilkinson

Thomas Park, "E. W. His Thameseidos" Censura Literaria 5 (1807) 349-51.



E. W. his Thameseidos. Devided into three bookes, or cantos. "Nuquam stigias ibit ad umbras inclita virtus." At London: Printed by W. W. for Simon Waterson. 1600. 4to. Signat. F. 4.

The author of this scarce poem is undecyphered by any dedicatory prefix of his own, or by any commendatory tribute from others; though he seems not to have been undeserving of a patron, nor his work of contemporary praise. Its chief defect appears to be, that the fables it contains too nearly resemble Ovidian Metamorphoses; and its obvious merit is, that it afforded a model for Drayton to enlarge upon in his Polyolbion. The following personification of Thames, as a female, occurs in the first page.

And now, from new-spows'd wife, the fierie Sunne
Was risen, and from ocean-seas begunne
To drive his golden chariot, that he might
To all the world declare his glorious light;
When Thamesis, the fairest queene on earth,
To solemnise her annuall day of birth,
Appareled in robe of purest white,
All thicke of golden shimiring spangles dight,
Which gainst the Sunne reflecting beames did cast,
As do the starres that in the heavens are plast;
Her haire bound up in knots, like golden wier,
And crown'd with garlands of sweete smelling brier
Unto a meddow by, his flowing streames
Did goe, where she, from heat of Phoebus' beames,
Under the coole shade of the spreading trees
Did meane to sport, and sing sweete virolees,
With her faire Nymphes, each having in her hand,
To fill with precious flowers, a little maund."

It probably occurred to the author that such a title as "fairest queen on earth," though figuratively given to a river, might excite a thrill of displeasure in the breast of his jealous Sovereign, and he therefore made an "amende honorable" in the second canto, by a courtly apostrophe to Elizabeth herself.

Thou most bright Sunne of this our northern clime,
Live thou for ever! or live Nestor's time,
To maintaine artes, as hitherto th' ast done,
For wayle the Muses must, when thou art gone:
And if it fortune, that at any time
(Luckely) this ragged and unpolisht rithme
Into those faire hands fall, that holds the bridle
With which thou justly rulest many people:
Behold it with a favourable eie,
And thinke that none can praise thee worthelie.

T. P.