1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Rowlands

Octavius Graham Gilchrist, "Samuel Rowlands" Censura Literaria 2 (1806) 150-51.



Samuel Rowlands, a prolific poetical pamphleteer during the reigns of Elizabeth and her successors; in addition to the list of his writings in Ritson's Bibliographia, was author of 'Tis merrie when gossips meet, newly enlarged, with divers songs, sung by a fidler's boy, 4to. printed by W. H. It is "dialogue-wise," a poem between a widow, a wife, and a mayd; prefixed is a wood cut representing the three characters, and the "fidler's boy" in waiting, with a gittern in his hand. In continuation, also, of his design expressed at the conclusion of The Knave of Clubbs, he published The Knave of Hearts, andMore Knaves yet; The Knaves of Spades and Diamonds, &c. printed by John Bache, and are to be sold at his shop at the entering in of the Royal Exchange, 4to. 1613. From the last of which the following lines may be worth extracting.

ON VAINE AND CURIOUS MONUMENTS.
What trust of future praise in senseless stones,
Containing rotten and worm-eaten bones!
What do the gazers on report but this?
"Fair monument, wherein foul carcase is!"
Virtue dies not — her fame herself will raise;
Let them trust tombs that have outlived their praise.

I may just observe that, The Knave of Clubbs, or tis merrie when Knaves meete, must have been printed earlier than 1613, for in the Register of the Stationer's Company, dated 1600, is an order for burning 'Tis merrie when Knaves meet. See Ames, Vol. II. p. 1266.

"Not Roscius nor Aesop (says Nash) those tragedians admyred before Christ was borne, could ever perform more in action than famous Ned Allen. If ever I write any thing in Latine (as I hope one day I shall) not a man of any desert among us but I will have up. Tarlton, Ned Allen, Knell, Bentley, shall be knowen to France, Spayne and Italie, and not a part that they surmounted in, more than any other, but I will there note and set downe with the manner of theyre habites and attyre." Pierce Penilesse P. 27. Ed. 1592.

In the following passage from "the Knave of Clubbs," is this picture of Ned Allen in Faustus:

The Gull gets on a surplice,
With a crosse upon his breast,
Like Allen playing Faustus,
In that manner was he drest. Sig. D. 2.

The play was "Dr. Faustus's Tragical Historie, by Christopher Marlowe, 4to. 1604. O. G.