1614
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Epigram 22.

The Furies with Vertues Encomium. Or the Image of Honour. In Two Bookes of Epigrammes, Satyricall and Encomiasticke. By R. N.

Richard Niccols


Richard Niccols's bitter epigram plays on ll. 41-42 of Spenser's Ruines of Time: "Verlame I was; what boots it that I was, | Sith now I am but Weeds and wasteful Grass?" The reference is to the British Verolamians, as mentioned by Holinshed; see the Hopkins Variorum (1933-57) 8:286. Niccols's social criticism can be explored at length in his two Spenserian beast fables, The Cuckow (1607) and The Beggars Ape (1627).



In tunefull accents of a dolefull straine
Old Verlams fall thus Colin did complaine:
Verlam I was: what boots it what I was
Sith now I am but weeds and wastefull grass?
But liv'd he now to see our townes each day
Made coats for sheep: of them he thus might say,
Townes once we were: what boots it what we were
Since nothing now but sheepes dung doth appeare?
Here's neyther greene of wastfull weeds or grasse,
Our wretched case is worse than Verlams was.

[Sig. C2]