1652
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Cosmographie in Four Bookes.

Cosmographie in Four Bookes. Containing the Chorographie and Historie of the Whole World, and all the Principall Kingdomes, Provinces, Seas, and Isles, Thereof. By Peter Heylyn. [9th Edition of Microcosmus.]

Rev. Peter Heylyn


In the conclusion of his geographical textbook Peter Heylyn lists and describes those places in the world best known to poets. As in earlier editions, Spenser is mentioned in the list of poets given under "England," 1:268. This handsome folio is printed with a spectacular engraved title page.

Anthony Wood: "This Cosmography was the last book that its author wrote with his own hand, (1651) for after it was finished, his eyes failed him, that he could neither see to write nor read without the help of an amanuensis, whom he kept to his dying day" Athenae Oxonienses, ed. Bliss (1815) 3:557.

Biographia Dramatica: "On the 10th of April 1640, he was chosen clerk for Westminster; and, on the commencement of the troubles, soon began to experience all the hardships which those who adhered to the royal cause suffered. From this time to the Restoration he lived in a continued state of want, maintaining himself chiefly by writing books. Though so zealous an advocate for the church and crown, he never rose higher than to be sub-dean of Westminster, in which post he died May 8, 1662" (1764; 1782; 1812) 1:327.

Universal Magazine: "Camden had honoured his country with a topographical history, the most elaborate and satisfactory that had been seen in ancient or modern times. A taste for the knowledge of geography or cosmography had, especially since the era of the Portuguese and Spanish discoveries in the East and West Indies, become continually more general in England. Heylin had the merit of being the first to recommend it at Oxford to the dignity of a peculiar academical study. The undertaking, and its success, were sufficient to confer eminent distinction on so young a man. He was accordingly elected to a fellowship in his college, when he was only in the nineteenth year of his age.... The work was reprinted in many succeeding editions; and was gradually enlarged till it came to fill a bulky folio" 110 (May 1802) 313.

A. W. Ward: "Peter Heylyn loved learning from his youth; but his belief in the value of discipline can hardly have exceeded his craving for publicity. He began his career as a historical writer in 1621 with the publication of his Geography, a subject on which, as connected with history, he had lectured at Oxford in his eighteenth year, and which, with the aid of some experience in travel, he afterwards developed into that of his Cosmography. He had been king's chaplain for many years, as well as a prebendary of Westminster, when his personal troubles began with the downfall of Laud, whose ecclesiastical policy he had supported" Cambridge History of English Literature (1911) 7:236.




But being there is little certain of these last discoveries, and the greatest certainty we have of that little, is nothing but a List of names without any thing observable in the state and story of the same, they may still retain the old name of Terra Incognita. And therefore I will try my fortune, and without troubling the Vice-Royes of Peru, and Mexico, or raking out Commission for a new Discovery, will make a search into this Terra Australes for some other Regions, which must be found either here or nowhere. The names of which, 1. Mudus alter & idem. 2. Utopia. 3. New Atlantis. 4. Farie Land. 5. The Painter's Wives Iland. 6. The Lands of Chivalrie. And 7. The New World in the Moon....

FAERIE LAND, is another part of this Terra Incognita; the habitation of the Faeries, a pretty kind of little fiends, or Pigmey devils, but more inclined to sport then mischief; of which old Women, who remember the times of Popery, tell us many fine stories. A cleanlyer and more innocent cheat was never put upon poor ignorant people, by the Monks and Friers. Their habitation here or no where; though sent occasionally by Oberon and their other Kings, to our parts of the World. For not being reckoned amongst the good Angels, nor having malice enough to make them Devils (but such a kind of midling Sprites, as the Latines call Lemures Larvae) we must find out some place for them, neither Heaven or Hell, and most likely this. Their Country never more enobled, then by being made the Scene of that excellent Poem, called the Faerie Queen. Intended to the honour of Queen Elizabeth, and the greatest persons in her Court: but shadowed in such lively colours, framed so exactly by the Rules of Poesie, and representing such Idaeas of all moral goodness; that as there never was a Poem more Artificial; so can no Ethical discourse, more fashion and inflame the mind to a love of vertue. "Invisurum facilius aliquem quam imitaturam" shall be Spencers Motto; and so I leave him to his rest.


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