1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Harington

Richard Ryan, "Sir John Harrington" Poetry and Poets: being a Collection of the choicest Anecdotes relative to the Poets of every Age and Nation (1826) 2:234-35.



This celebrated Epigrammatist, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was a man of great wit, but thoughtless in his conduct, and extremely careless in the management of his affairs; so that, in consequence of his extravagance, he was obliged to part with several of his estates. Among the rest, he sold a very fine one, called Nyland, in Somersetshire, concerning which, Dr. Fuller, in his account of Harrington, relates a whimsical anecdote.

Sir John, being riding over this manor, accompanied by an old and trusty servant, suddenly turned round, and, with his usual pleasantry, said,

John, John, this Nyland,
Alas! once was my land.

To whom John, as merrily and truly replied:

If you had had more wit, Sir,
It might have been your's yet, Sir.