1609
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Troia Britanica: or, Great Britaines Troy. A Poem.

Troia Britanica: or, Great Britaines Troy. A Poem devided into XVII. severall Cantons, intermixed with many pleasant Poeticall Tales. Concluding with an universall Chronicle from the Creation, untill these Present Times. Written by Tho: Heywood.

Thomas Heywood


Thomas Heywood offers "A brief memory of Epitome of Chronicle, even from the first man, unto us, this second time created Britons, with a faithfull Register, not onely of memorable things done in Troy and this Island, but of many, and the most famous accidents happening through the World."

Thomas Corser: "The Poem is composed in octave stanzas, each canto being proceeded by an Argument, and having a Scholium or Commentary attached at the end. It is a long, rambling, and desultory performance, including, as the author informs us, 'a brief Epitome or Chronicle, even from the first man unto us, this second time created Britons, with a faithful Register, not onely of memorable thinges done in Troy and this Island, but of many and the most famous accidents happening through the World, in whose raigne, and what yeare of the world they chanced to happen.' It is very unequally written, but contains some good and entertaining passages. Like most of his other works it was composed with great haste; but Heywood possessed a mind of the most fertile and unbounded resources, and being well versed in classical subjects, he was enabled to diversify his narrations with amusing stories and extracts from these. His poetry does not boast of much vigour, but it possesses ease and simplicity, and a natural grace and artlessness" Collectanea Anglo-Poetica 8 (1878) 241-42.

Edmund Gosse: "Heywood was also a fertile producer of non-dramatic works. His poems include Troia Britannica, 1609, an epic in nineteen cantos; The Life and Death of Hector, 1614; various elegies and epithalamia; and the Hierarchy of Angels, not printed until 1635, in a handsome folio with engraved plates. None of these have taken any place in literature, but Heywood occasionally wrote lyrics of great charm" The Jacobean Poets (1894) 121.

Arthur Melville Clark: "The reader is constantly meeting, not Spenserian archaisms, which are rare, but Spenserian turns of expression and modes of narration and description, modern instances, digressions, and long decorative similes. Of the Spenserians Heywood is not the least readable, for he was not enslaved by a tedious moral allegory" Thomas Heywood (1958) 56.



Inspire me in this taske (JHOVES seede I pray)
With Hippocrenes drops besprinke my head,
To comfort me upon this tedious way,
And quicken my cold braine nigh dull and dead;
Direct my wandring spirits, when they stray,
Least forren and forbidden paths they tread:
My journey's tedious, (blame not then my feares)
My voyage, aymes at many thousand yeares.

Oh give me leave, from the Worlds first Creation,
The ancient names of Britons, to derive
From Adam, to the Worlds first Inundation,
And so from Noah, to us that yet survive:
And having of Troyes Worthies made relation,
Your spurs the Chariot of my Muse must drive
Through all past Ages, and precedent times,
To fill this new World with my worthlesse rymes.

Oh, may these Artlesse numbers in your eares,
(Renowmed JAMES) seeme Musically strung,
Your fame (oh JOVES-star'd Prince) spread every where,
First gave my still and speech-lesse Muse a tung:
From your Majestike vertues (prised deare,)
The infant life of these harsh meeters sprung;
Oh, take not then their industrie in skorne,
Who, but to emblaze you, had beene yet unborne.

Not let your Princely Peeres hold in disdaine,
To have their Auncestry stild'e and inrolde
In this poore Register, a higher straine
Their merits aske, since brazen leaves unfold
Their never-dying Fame, yet thus much daine,
Not to despise to heare your vertues told
In a plaine stile, by one, whose wish and hart,
Supplies in zeale, want both of Skill and Art.

Times faithfully conferd, the first invention
Of most thinges now in use, heare you shall finde,
Annext with these, the use and comprehention
Of Poesie, once to the Goddes desceind,
Suffer our bluntnesse then, since our intention
Is to good use, sent from a zealous mind.
If Stones in Lead set, keepe their vertues: then,
Your worth's the same, though blazde by a rude Pen.

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