1658
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To his ingenuous Friend, the Author, on his incomparable Poems. Carmen Jocoserium.

Naps upon Parnassus. A sleepy Muse nipt and pincht, though not awakened. [By Thomas Flatman.]

Rev. Samuel Woodford


In these prefatory verses to Thomas Flatman's Naps upon Parnassus Edmund Spenser appears in a comic catalogue of poets in a set of anonymous burlesque commendatory verses: "Non-sense the Faery Queen, and Michael Drayton.... | Herbert, and Cleeveland, and all the train noble | Are Saints-bells unto thee, and thou great Bow-bell."

Thomas Park: "From the mention of 'Gondibert's Mistress' in the title-page, these satirical poems have been thought to glance at Sir William Davenant, whose 'lapsus amoris' became the butt of all the wits. But we are informed by Wood, that the real object of ridicule was Samuel Austin, a Cornish man and a commoner of Wadham college, who being extremely conceited of his own worth, and over-valuing his poetical fancy more than that of Cleveland (who was then accounted the hectoring prince of poets) he was served up by the university-wags in a banquet of banter, as Coriat has been before. The discovered contributors to this volume appear to have been Flatman of New College, Sprat and Woodford of Wadham, the latter known by his paraphrastic version of the Psalms; Sylvanus Taylour and George Castle of All Souls, and Alexander Amidei, a teacher of Hebrew: but it is probable that several others joined in this person pasquinade, as initial signatures are annexed to most of the pieces, of which the titles may partly serve to display the humour. A prose advertisement, dated from the Apollo in Fleet Street, May 30, 1658, is ludicrously signed Adoniram Banstittle, alias Tinder Box. The remainder are penned in a variety of verse" Censura Literaria 6 (1808) 225-26.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "Samuel Woodford, D.D., born in London, 1636; became a commoner of Wadham College, 1653; retired to the Inner Temple, 1658; took holy orders, 1669, and became Rector of Hartley-Maudit, Hampshire; Preb. of Chichester, 1676; Preb. of Winchester, 1680; died 1700" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 3:2827.

Herbert E. Cory: "Woodford was no obscure eccentric outside the literary circles of his day. In his Epoda to the Legend of Love, moreover, he used the stanza of The Faerie Queene and borrowed from the allegorical lore of the epic. But in spite of the good divine's religiosity he could not refrain from expressing a boyish preference for the work of Spenser's dawn, and his devotion to the love of God did not keep him from sharing with Spenser a keen interest in Rosalind, the widow's scornful daughter of the glen" Critics of Edmund Spenser (1911) 89.

Samuel Woodford is better known as a religious poet who imitated Spenser and Phineas Fletcher. He is identified as the author of this poem by Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1721) 2:901n.

The complete title of the volume is "Naps upon Parnassus. A sleepy Muse nipt and pincht, though not awakened. Such voluntary and jovial Copies of Verses, as were lately receiv'd from some of the Wits of the Universities, in a Frolick, dedicated to Gondibert's Mistress by Captain Jones and others. Whereunto is added from Demonstration of the Authors Prosaick Excellency's, his Epistle to one of the Universities, with the Answer; together with two satyrical Characters of his own, of a Temporizer, and an Antiquary, with marginal Notes by a Friend to the Reader. Vide Jones his Legend, Drink Sack and Gunpowder, and so Fall To't."



Wer't not my friend, the world should know
How I could praise thy Works [I trow]
Sounding hence to Constantinople
Poetique strains, I'le wage a Noble;
But since 'tis so, (Oh! Oh, the pity!)
I must land thee in Obscurity;
Making thy Verses this the Better,
Because like thine in Word, and Letter.
Nor are they therefore to be blam'd,
They will be lighter if enflam'd:
Never till then, expect a Riddle
To be explain'd with faddle fiddle.
Such Lines as these were none before,
Since the cruel fight of Sir Eglamore.
And in a word; that I may end all,
Better were never made by Kendall.

Once again,
If I may guess at Poets in our Land,
Thou beat'st them all above, and under hand;
Nay, under leg too; for thy feet out-run 'um,
As far as is from Oxford to Lon'on:
Nay, give them half in half, thou creepest faster
Then Scotish Posts, that in the greatest haste are;
Nor in thy speed alone do lie thy Glories,
But thou'rt so sweet, that done, thou tastest Morish.
Who ere (I wiss) did see one, like thee, handy?
And Rhymes deliciouser than Sugar candy?
To thee compar'd, our English Poets all stop
And vail their Bonnets, even Shakespear's Falstop.
Chaucer the first of all was'nt worth a farthing,
Lidgate, and Huntingdon, with Gaffer Harding.
Non-sense the Faery Queen, and Michael Drayton,
Like Babel's Balm; or Rhymes of Edward Paiton,
Waller, and Turlingham, and brave George Sandys,
Beaumont, and Fletcher, Donne, Jeremy Candish,
Herbert, and Cleeveland, and all the train noble
Are Saints-bells unto thee, and thou great Bow-bell.
Ben Johnson 'tis true shew'd us how he could hit
Each humour now; and then be out of it;
Nor could he alwayes keep his Muse a gallop,
With curb, or whip, but sometimes had but small hope.
Cowly alack's too plain; his Davideis
But fit for boyes to read, like Virgil's Enaeis;
And for his Mistress, and his other Poems;
Anacreontique, and Pindarique Theams,
They have no Method in 'um, and are not worth
One pin to kindle fires and set on hot broth.
None like to Thee but the writer of URANIA,
Or Friar John the Poet of Normannia;
With Pagan Fisher, who erst made a speech
To shew that he could versifie, and preach;
And put in the News-books too, for all
To know, how he was jeer'd in Christs-Church Hall.
Thou bee'st a brave Boy, trust me if thou be'nt,
The best that ever eat salt fish in Lent;
Which makes thy Verses too be so witty,
Because Thou seasonest so well each Ditty.

[sigs B4v-B5]