1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hugh Holland

Edmond Malone, in Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare (1790; 1821) 2:221n.



How far the mystery of anagram was carried, may appear from one by Hugh Holland, on the initials of the two names of Edmund Bolton, which is much more enigmatical than any of Spenser's:

Mr. Hugh Holland to his learned friend Mr. E. B. the author, upon his Elements of Armorie:

—Here no need is of my sorry charmes,
To boast it, though my braines Apollo warmes;
Where, like in Jove's, Minerva keeps a coile;
Yet I, a drone, shall but thy hony spoile,
That art the maister — BE of all the swarmes.
Commendatory Poem prefixed to Elements of Arm. 4to. 1610.

The writer's conceit here would, perhaps, never have been discovered, but for the following marginal note, on the words — "Maister BE," the last two letters being carefully distinguished by capitals:

"E. B. [i.e. Edmund Bolton] per anagrammatismum vel metathesin."