1621
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the right reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of London.

The Song of Songs, which was Salomons, metaphrased in English Heroiks by way of Dialogue. With certayne of the Brides Ornaments, viz. Poeticall Essayes upon a Divine Subject. Whereunto is added a Funerall Elegie, consecrate to the Memorie of that ever honoured Lord, John, Late Bishop of London. By R. A.

Robert Aylett


A dedication in four Spenserian stanzas signed "R. A." John King, bishop of London (1559?-1621) died before Robert Aylett's book was published, as acknowledged in a new prose dedication to his son, Henry King (1592-1669), then archdeacon of Colchester.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "Wood states that it was the common report that Robt. Aylett was the author of Britannia Antiqua Illustrata, published under the name of his nephew, Aylett Sammes. When speaking of this unlucky gentleman, old Anthony 'remembers his swashing blow,' and disposes of him in the following trenchant style: 'The common report then was, that not he, but his quondam Uncle, was the author; and to confirm it, I was several times in his company when he spent some weeks this Year in Oxon., and found him to be an impertinent, girning [grinning], and pedantical coxcomb; and so ignorant of Authors, that he hever heard, before I mentioned it to him, of the great Antiquary, John Leland, or of his printed or manuscript Works, nor any thing of Baleus; nor could he give any account of Authors that are quoted in the said Britannia Antiqua Illustrata, &c.'" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:84.



Accept (my Lord) into your Treasurie
Of Wisedome, Learning, this devoted Mite;
In Widdowes offering out of penurie;
Thy Lord did more than richest gifts delight.
Your Lordships worthy favours did invite
Mee to this boldnesse, when you first did raise
My lot which in obscuritie was light,
In better Fortunes for to spend my dayes,
For which I blesse your bountie, and my Maker praise.

As little Brookes which from the Ocean wide
Receive their Source, thence watering hollow vaines
Of fruitfull Earth, back to the Sea do slide,
Yeelding some Drops of Tribute for their gaines:
Even so a thankfull heart my Muse constraines,
This Tribute to your Bountie to repay,
And consecrate my labour and my paines
Unto your Service, which I humbly pray,
Like Mite, to Treasure; Drop, to Ocean, answer may.

My Muse once rashly sought to enterprise,
To ranke thine Honour in the Court of Fame;
But knowing Thou such Glorie didst despise,
In white stone seeking a new written Name,
Which he knowes onely that receives the same:
I chose this Song of Christ and's Church to sing,
Where if mine ignorance commerit blame,
I doe submit it to thy censuring,
Who art in pardoning, and giving like a King.

With Spirit of Moses, Josuahs fortitude,
The Faith of Abram, Isaacks happy peace,
With Davids heart, Jobs patience be indu'd;
With Salomon's wealth, and wisdomes good increase,
From Samuels dealing Justice, never cease
Be blest like Job in his last happy broode,
With Pauls content, be it in paine or ease,
Let Churches hidden Manna be thy food,
Thy daies and strength, like Calebs, happy, long, and good.

[Sig. A4-A4v]