1591
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Kings Majestie of Scotland.

His Majesties Poeticall Exercises at vacant Houres.

Henry Lok


Henry Lok writes a fulsome prefatory sonnet to a collection of verse by James I. The Spenserian pattern of rhyme was used in Scotland prior to Spenser's first published use of the form in the dedicatory sonnets appended to the Faerie Queene (1591). Lok himself was English. Many more of his Spenserian sonnets appear in Ecclesiasticus; sundry Psalms of David (1597).

This sonnet is the earliest record of Lok; his devotional volume published in 1593 is no longer extant. Lok was a London merchant and one of Lord Burghley's secret agents.



If ALEXANDER sighed when he came
Unto the Tomb where fierce ACHILLES lay:
If he had cause, that blessed age to blame
Since HOMER lacks his merites to display.
If he with teares his sorrowes did bewray,
To see his father PHILIP conquer all,
And that more Worlds behinde there did not stay,
Which for reward of his deserts might fall:
Then may I mone, our times, our judgement small,
Unworthy records of your sacred skill:
Then must our Poets on new Muses call,
To graunt them guifts to imitate your quill.
I like the flie, that burneth in the flame,
Should shew my blindnes to attempt the same.

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