1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Peele

Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello, 1827; in Letters, ed. Lucas (1935) 3:79.



I conjure you, in the name of all the Sylvan Deities, and of the Muses, whom you honour, and they reciprocally love and honour you, rescue this old and passionate Ditty — the very flower of an old, forgotten Pastoral [Arraignment of Paris], which, had it been in all parts equal, the Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher had been but a second name in this sort of Writing — rescue it from the profane hands of every common Composer; and in one of your tranquillest moods, when you have most leisure from those sad thoughts which sometimes unworthily beset you; yet a mood, in itself not unallied to the better sort of melancholy; laying by, for once, the lofty Organ, with which you shake the Temples; attune, as to the Pipe of Paris himself, to some milder and love-according instrument, this pretty Courtship between Paris and his (then-not-as-yet-forsaken) Oenone. Oblige me; and all the more knowing Judges of Music and of Poesy; by the adaptation of fit musical numbers, which it only wants to be the rarest Love Dialogue in our language.