1600
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Epigrammata: in Edouardum Spencerum, Britannicae poeseos facile principem.

Spenser: The Criticial Heritage. [R. M. Cummings, ed.]

Rev. William Alabaster


William Alabaster's Latin epigram on Spenser's death is preserved in Bodleian MS Rawlinson D. 293, fol. 19v. Though buried with honor in Westminster Abbey, Spenser would not receive a monument until about 1620. Alabaster was a poet admired by Spenser in Colin Clouts Come Home Again.

An imitation of Alabaster's epigram, Ovids Ghost (1657) by "Edward Fuscus," is reprinted in Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 244; it does not mention Spenser.

Anthony Wood: "A learned Divine, and an excellent Poet" Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 1:267.

John Payne Collier: "He is the man whom Spenser has so highly lauded by name in his Colin Clouts come home again, which was not published till 1595, although the dedication is dated 1591. Besides his Eliseis, which Spenser mentions, and which was a Latin poem upon Queen Elizabeth, Alabaster wrote in English some Divine Meditations, (existing only in manuscript of the time) consisting of seventeen Sonnets.... While he was at Cambridge, under Dr. Still, he wrote a Latin tragedy, called Roxana, which was acted in the hall of Trinity College, but not printed until 1632. After remaining some years in the Church of Rome, Alabaster reverted to his old faith, and died a Protestant, probably not long after he had printed his Lexicon Pentaglotton in 1637" Bibliographical and Critical Account (1866) 1:19-21.

W. Davenport Adams: "William Alabaster, prebedary of St. Paul's (b. 1567, d. 1640), wrote Roxana (1632), Apparatus in Revelationem Jesu Christi (1610), and Seven Motives for leaving the Church of England for the Church of Rome. He is styled by Anthony a Wood, 'the rarest poet and Grecian that any one age or nation ever produced'" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 11.



Hoc qui sepulchro conditur siquis fuit
Quaeris viator, dignus es qui rescias
SPENCERUS istic conditur, si quis fuit
Rogare pergis, dignus es qui nescias.

[If, passerby, you ask who it is buried here, then you deserve to find out. Spenser is buried here. If you persist and ask who he was, you are not worthy to know the answer. Trans. Cummings, Spenser: The Critical Heritage (1971) 101]