1635 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Encomium Poetarum ad Fratrem Galiel Scot.

Poems, Divine and Humane. By Thomas Beedome.

Thomas Beedome


In this verse epistle Edmund Spenser appears in a select catalogue of ancient and modern poets: "Nor Spencer to whose verse the world doth owe | Millions of thankes can unremembered goe." The Encomium Poetarum is the work of Thomas Beedome, a London lawyer-wit. The volume was posthumously published in 1641, containing poems addressed to George Wither, Sir Henry Wootten, and one "To the memory of his honoured friend Master John Donne." I have not identified Galiel Scot.

Thomas Corser: "Henry Bold in his Wit a Sporting, 8vo. 1657, noticed hereafter, has made free use of Beedome's volume, and has stolen from it many of the shorter pieces, forming the whole of the first portion of that work, including the address of the Author to the Reader. Beedome has commendatory verses before Farley's Lights Morall Emblems, 8vo. 1638" Collectanea Anglo-Poetica II (1861) 249-50.

Henry Neele: "The poets who flourished in [Charles's] reign, in addition to those who survived the reigns of his predecessors, although they possessed not the commanding genius, and the wonderful creative powers of the bards of the Elizabethan age, — 'for there were giants on the earth in those days,' — were yet among the most polished and elegant writers which the nation has produced. The sweetness of their versification was not of that tame and cloying nature, which the imitators of Pope afterward introduced into our literature; smooth to the exclusion of every bold and original thought" Russell Institution Lectures on English Poetry, 1827; in Remains (1829) 25.



Twice I began, and twice my trembling hand
Startled from what my Genius did command,
Lest harmlesse it should hazzard all my fame,
And my attempt win nothing but selfe shame.
It deem'd the praise of Poets worth the pen,
Rather of Angels, than of mortall men.
My bolder heart bid on: for blind men may,
Although not see, yet know there is a day,
And said (perhaps) my credit I might save,
The proverbe sayes, nought venter nothing have.
Then come, yea Muses were you nine times nine,
I could imploy you in this worke of mine.
Fill my wide sailes, that while you stand my friend,
I may swimme safe unto my jouney's end.
Since the first Mistique Chaos did entombe
The earths faire fabricke in confusions wombe,
There is no art can plead antiquity
Before the heavenly birth of Poesie:
I speake of those arts which this day we call,
As witnesse to their nature: Liberall.
Next by th' ffect the worth of things is knowne,
They in respect of this seeme to have none.
The end of verse is to preserve from death
What ever from a Poet tooke its breath:
Witnesse that golden age, whose fame lives still
By some few drops, from Naso's golden quill:
He rescued Saturnes Godhead from the ground,
And by his lines his aged temples crown'd.
He in a brasse-outlasting paper page,
Created thee, Great Jove, a silver age:
Apollo for his Daphne, to his Layes
Owes a rich wreath of thunder-scorning bayes.
One petty blast from his immortall breath,
Preserv'd Diana's chastity from death.
Nor need Acteon take it much in scorne,
That Ovid did cornute him with a horne.
Homer yet lives, whose pen for want of eyes,
Did point his name the way to kisse the skies.
Young schollers in the darke might grope like fooles,
Were not he plac't the lanthorne of the Schooles.
The world had lost among it's Worthies, one
Who had not Homer sung, had neere beene knowne.
Ulysses act had perish'd like a toy,
Had this blind guide not led him out of Troy,
And rapt his memory up so safe in rime,
That it shall equall, if not out-live time.
Maro, thy lines great Caesar hath extold,
That paid each severall verse a piece of gold,
Yet thought his purchase easie, and did more
Esteeme thy wit, than all his wealth and store,
And justly too, since what thy labours spent
On him, lasts longer than his monument.
This (Rome being fired) is ashes, but his name
Lives Salamander-like, spight of the flame.
Didst thou not snatch Aeneas from that fire,
That up to Illions Turrets did aspire,
And bor'st his feeble father by thy pen
On his sons shoulders, through an hoast of men?
For which, thy selfe, great Virgill shalt remaine
To endlesse times, even till thou rise againe.
No envious fire thy able skill shall burne,
Till fire and earth into one substance turne,
Till when (that I may come to speake our dayes)
Daniel thou livest circled with breath for bayes.
Nor Spencer to whose verse the world doth owe
Millions of thankes can unremembered goe:
Nor thou great Johnson, who knowst how to write
Such lines as equall profit with delight,
Whil'st thy untired readers wish each sheet
Had beene a volume, 'tis so neate, so sweete.
Next, fame seemes charily to spread her wings,
O're what the never dying Drayton sings.
Still lives the Muse's Appollinean son,
The Phoenix of his age, rare Harrington,
Whose Epigrams when time shall be no more,
May die (perhaps) but never can before.
This cloud can witnesse that a Poet may
Bring darknesse out of light, make night seeme day.
These can make lawes, and Kingdomes, alter States,
Make Princes Gods, and poore men Potentates.
An amorous verse (faire Ladies) winnes your loves,
Sooner than busk points, farthingalls, or gloves:
A Poets quill doth stand in greater stead,
Than all such toyes to gaine a maiden head.
A line well write, and by a Potent skill,
Charmes the rapt soule with musique of a quill
Whilst the by-standers deem't a blisse to die,
Tickled to death by such sweet harmony.
Againe, if thou deserve the Muses frowne
(Wretch that thou art) a quill can hurle thee downe,
To that abisse of ignomy, that fate,
Cannot condemne thee to a baser state,
I will make each finger point at thy disgrace,
And like a Monster each man shun thy face:
While thou thus branded, finding no reliefe,
With a strong halter choakest thy stronger griefe,
Thus Poets like fates factors here do hold
All power underneath their pens controld.
Lastly dear brother, thinke not I forgot,
Amongst this learned file to ranke my Scot:
Thy early Muse sings in so sweete a straine,
As if Apollo had compos'd thy vaine;
Superlatively taking, while each letter
Disdaines our Moderne Poets should sing better.
Now faints my pen, and fainting feares that I
My selfe may perish, if with clemencie,
My reader censure not, yet hopes to raise
A memory to it selfe, though not of praise;
That I being earth, something may live of mee
Perhaps this paper if approv'd by thee.

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