1622
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Susanna: or, the Arraignment of the two Unjust Elders.

Susanna: or, the Arraignment of the two Unjust Elders.

Robert Aylett


Robert Aylett, Puritan Spenserian, alludes to the Shepheardes Calender: "Yea Collin Clout doth break his Pipe for shame, | To hear the heav'nly ditties of his Dame." Susanna was originally published anonymously.

Thomas Corser: "The poem, written in rhyming heroic couplets, is divided into four books, each preceded by a brief metrical preface of six lines. It strictly follows the Scriptural account, and is not remarkable for any poetical taste or power. For what can be said of the author's taste who compares Susanna's teeth to ivory 'piles,' and her lips to 'scarlet ribbands'?" Collectanea Anglo-Poetica 1 (1860) 97.

F. M. Padelford: "Susanna is a sacred epic of 1,470 lines, written in iambic decasyllabic couplets, and divided into four books, each provided with a proem. It was obviously inspired by Du Bartas' Judith, published in 1574, and well known to English readers through the translations of Thomas Hodson and Joshua Sylvester" "Robert Aylett" (1936) 8.



So have I often heard in forrest fair,
When spring begins with calm and gentle air,
Grave Citizens, which thither do resort,
Oft sing by turns, oft joyn in one consort;
Till Philomel to welcome Phoebes light,
Having their musick heard with due delight,
Sends from her brest such Lute-like warbeling,
The other Birds are all asham'd to sing,
And listning, in one strain most sweet and clear,
Do all their changes in one Dittie hear.
And so have often seen the shepheard swains,
Wooing the shepheardesses on the plains,
Challenge their mates by single pipe and voice,
And joyn in consort with harmonious noise,
That all the shepheards dance to hear them sing,
And forrests all with joy aloud do ring,
Till Phillis with one stroke of warbling Lute,
The shepheards pipes, and voices all makes mute;
Yea Collin Clout doth break his Pipe for shame,
To hear the heav'nly ditties of his Dame.
Thus oft she solaced for recreation,
But most alone, for holy meditation,
She in her Orchard walketh every day,
To read the Scriptures, meditate and pray,
Where by sublime pure heavenly contemplation,
With God and Angels she hath conversation,
And by true faith, and her spiritual eye,
As present, doth the day of Christ descry.

[pp. 5-6]