1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Fraunce

Thomas Warton, in History of English Poetry (1774-81; 1840) 3:327-29.



Abraham Fraunce, in 1591, translated Virgil's ALEXIS into English hexameters, verse for verse, which he calls The lamentation of Corydon for the love of Alexis. It must be owned, that the selection of this particular Eclogue from all the ten for an English version, is somewhat extraordinary. But in the reign of queen Elizabeth, I could point out whole sets of sonnets written with this sort of attachment, for which perhaps it will be but an inadequate apology, that they are free from direct impurity of expression and open immodesty of sentiment. Such at least is our observance of external propriety, and so strong the principles of a general decorum, that a writer of the present age who was to print love-verses in this style, would be severely reproached, and universally proscribed....

Fraunce is also the writer of a book, with the affected and unmeaning title of the ARCADIAN RHETORICKE, or the precepts of Rhetoricke made plaine by examples, Greeke, Latyne, Englisshe, Italyan, Frenche, and Spanishe. It was printed in 1588, and is valuable for its English examples.