1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Churchyard

Edmond Malone, in Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare (1790; 1821) 2:235-38.



The first poet alluded to [in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe], under the description of the "aged Harpalus," was doubtless Thomas Churchyard, at that time above seventy years old. He had been a writer of poetry, in the reign of Henry the Eighth; and for some years lived in the service of Henry Earl of Surrey; and he has himself told us, that among the Miscellaneous Verse, by various authors, appended in 1557, and in subsequent editions, to the poems of that accomplished and unfortunate nobleman, many of his productions are to be found. Here we meet with one, entitled "Harpalus' Complaint of Philladaes love bestowed on Corin," which was deservedly admired; and being, I suppose, well known in Spenser's time to be written by Churchyard, he denominates him from the hero of the piece. He had now been long in the service of Queen Elizabeth, here denominated "fair Cynthia," and recently (January 27, 1592-3), had obtained from her Majesty a pension of eighteen pence a day 8, or 27 7s. 6d. per annum; which, small as it was, was not punctually paid. In the patent granting this little annuity, which I discovered in the rolls, and have examined on the present occasion, he is expressly named the Queen's servant.