1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Whetstone

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Library Companion (1824; 1825) 601-02n.



Yet a word for master George Whetstone, chiefly because he was a contemporary, and because a few of his pieces are of excessive rarity.... Of these, five relate to "lives and deaths" of eminent men, — and are of such prodigious rarity, that the Life and death of Mr. G. Gascoyne — which had been obscurely mentioned by Tanner, but of which all traces were lost, and which had therefore been supposed to have perished — this trifling tract, dated 1577, 4to. and consisting of a very few leaves, happened to turn up at the sale of a library of an obscure individual (Mr. Voight, of the Excise) in 1807, and was purchased by the late Mr. Malone for 40. It is now among the treasures of the Malone Collection in the Bodleian Library. Another similar piece — the Lyfe and death and Vertues of Frauncis, Earle of Bedforde — belonging to the late Mr. Bindley, was sold at the sale of that gentleman's library for 40. Where lurk (as the remaining pieces of Whetstonian biography) the Lyfe and death, &c. of Sir Nicholas Bacon, late Lord Keeper — of the good L. Dyer — and the noble Earle of Sussexe? In palaces, in castles, in mansions, or in cottages? Peradventure, in public libraries — bound up with other slim quarto tracts, of which the sixteenth century teemed with an inconceivable fecundity. Mr. Haslewood still thinks he shall one day "pounce" upon the Panoplie of Devices, supposed to have been published by the same writer. Thus, Whetstone's tracts have their obvious and solid uses.