1602
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Elegie in Trimeter Iambickes.

A Poetical Rapsody containing, Diverse Sonnets, Odes, Elegies, Madrigalls, and other Poesies, both in Rime, and Measured Verse. Never yet published. The Bee and Spider by a diverse Power, Sucke Hony & Poyson from the selfe same Flower.

Edmund Spenser


A lyric reprinted from the Spenser-Hervey correspondence.

Francis Godolphin Waldron: "The "Iambicum Trimetrum" was reprinted with this title, "An Elegie in Trimeter Iambicks." in "A Poetical Rapsodie," by Fra. Davison, the first edition of which was, I believe in 1602; see Bibl. Pearsoniana, No. 1868. The copy I shall quote from is in the edition dated 1608; Mr. Warton has also reprinted it in his Observations on the Fairy Queen of Spenser, 1762, Vol. 2. P. 245, under the title of "Loves Embassie, in an Iambicke Elegie," from the 4th. edition of Davison, printed in 1621" Dispersed Poems, in Literary Museum (1792) 2.

Douglas Bush: "Apart from their varying intrinsic worth, the more general anthologies provide an index of changing taste. Davison's Poetical Rhapsody (1602), which reached a final edition in 1621, was the last predominantly Petrarchan and pastoral collection; it has many lyrics from the song-books, and a number of poems reveal a crystallizing conception of the ode" Oxford History of English Literature (1945) 102.



Unhappy Verse! the witnes of my unhappy state,
Make thy self fluttring wings of thy fast flying thoght
And fly forth unto my Love, wheresoever she be.

Whether lying restlesse in heavy bed, or else
Sitting so cheerelesse at the cheerefull boord, or else Playing alone carelesse on hir heav'nly Virginalls.

If in Bed, tel her that mine eies can take no rest:
If at Board, tel her that my mouth can taste no food:
If at her Virginalls, tell her I can heare no mirth.

Asked why, say waking love suffreth no sleepe:
Say that raging love doth appall the weake stomak:
Say that lamenting love marreth the musicall.

Tel hir, that hir plesures were wont to lul me asleep
Tel hir, that hir beautie was wont to feed mine eies:
Tel hir, that her sweet tongue was wont to make me mirth

Now do I nightly waste, wanting my kindely rest:
Now do I daily starve, wanting my lively foode:
Now do I alwayes die, wanting my timely mirth.

And if I waste, who will bewaile my heavy chance?
And if I starve, who will record my cursed end?
And if I die, who will say, this was Immerito?

[Sig. L6]