1595
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "Ah! Colin, whether on the lowly Plain."]

Amoretti and Epithalamion. Written not long since by Edmunde Spenser.

Geoffrey Whitney


Whether writing pastorals, or heroic poetry, or love verses, Edmund Spenser pleases — "O therefore let that happy muse proceede | To clime the height of vertues sacred hill." The sonnet is signed "G. W. I." for Geoffrey Whitney the younger. Might the reference to "malice" refer obliquely to the calling-in of Mother Hubberds Tale?

R. M. Cummings: "Whitney Junior, author of a Choice of Emblemes (1586) was a personal friend of Sir Robert Needham, to whom Spenser dedicated the Amoretti" Spenser: the Critical Heritage (1971) 342.

Henry Greene: "We are not so rash indeed as to attempt to place Whitney on a level with Spenser, — they can scarcely even be compared together; yet where a comparison is allowable, as in subject which they both treat of, the Cheshire poet is no unworthy competitor. Spenser is diffuse, Whitney more compressed; the one most elaborate, the other strong by his very simplicity" introduction to Whitney, Choice of Emblemes (1866) lxxvi-vii.



Ah Colin, whether on the lowly plaine,
Pyping to shepherds thy sweete roundelaies;
Or whether singing in some lofty vaine
Heroick deedes, of past or present daies.
Or whether in thy lovely mistres praise,
Thou list to exercise thy learned quill,
Thy muse hath got such grace, and power to please,
With rare invention bewtified by skill.
As who therein can ever joy their fill.
O therefore let that happy muse proceede
To clime the height of vertues sacred hill,
Where endles honor shall be made thy meede,
Because no malice of succeeding daies,
Can rase those records of thy lasting praise.

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