1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dedication to Fowre Hymnes.

Fowre Hymnes, made by Edm. Spenser.

Edmund Spenser


The title is "To the right honorable and most vertuous Ladies, the Ladie Margaret Countess of Cumberland, and the Ladie Marie Countesse of Warwicke." Not seen.

Retrospective Review: "The four hymns in honour of love and beauty were published in 1596, and were dedicated to the Countesses of Cumberland and Warwick. The dedication is not a little curious, and manifests something very like insincerity" 12 (1825) 161.




Having in the greener times of my youth, composed these former two Hymnes in the praise of Love and beautie, and finding that the same too much pleased those of like age and disposition, which being too vehemently caried with that kind of affection, do rather sucke out poyson to their strong passion, then hony to their honest delight, I was moved by the one of you two most excellent Ladies, to call in the same. But being unable so to doe, by reason that many copies thereof were formerly scattered abroad, I resolved at least to amend, and by way of retractation to reforme them, making in stead of those two Hymnes of earthly or naturall love and beautie, two others of heavenly and celestiall. The which I doe dedicate joyntly unto you two honorable sisters, as to the most excellent and rare ornaments of all true love and beautie, both in the one and the other kinde, humbly beseesching you to vouchsafe the patronage of them, and to accept this my humble service, in lieu of the great graces and honourable favours which ye dayly shew unto me, untill such time as I may by better meanes yeeld you some more notable testimonie of my thankfull mind and dutifull devotion.

And even so I pray for your happinesse.

Greenwich this first of September.

1596.

Your Honors most bounden ever

in all humble service.

Ed. Sp.


[De Selincourt (1910) 436]