1664
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Lady, on her Booke of Poems.

Poems and Phancies, written by the Thrice Noble, Illustrious, and Excellent Princess the Lady Marchioness of Newcastle.... The Second Impression, Much Altered and Corrected.

Sir William Cavendish


In William Cavendish's salute to his famous duchess, Edmund Spenser is named in a catalogue of poets (Spenser, Jonson, Fletcher, Beaumont, Shakespeare, Chaucer). The poem does not appear in the edition of Margaret Cavendish's poems published in 1653.

James Granger: "William, marquis of Newcastle, who amused himself at this period with poetry and horsemanship, was, as a natural consequence of his rank, much extolled as a poet. His poetical works, which consist of plays and poems, are very little regarded; but his fine book of horsemanship is still in esteem" Biographical History (1769; 1824) 2:39.

William Godwin: "The age which, next after that of queen Elizabeth, has obtained the suffrage of the critics, is that of Charles the second. This was a period adorned with the writings of Milton, Dryden, Butler, and Otway; and perhaps deserves above all others to be styled the golden age of English poetry. Fanciful observers found a certain resemblance between it and the age of Augustus, the literary glory of which has sometimes been represented as owing to this circumstance, that its wits were bred up in their youth in the lap of republican freedom, and afterwards in their riper age received that polish which is to be derived from the splendour and refinement of a court. Just so, the scene amidst which the wits of King Charles's days passed their boyish years, was that of civil war, of regicide, or of unrestrained republican speculation; which was succeeded by the manners of a gay and licentious court, grafting the shoots of French refinement, upon the more vigorous and luxuriant plant of English growth" "Of English Style" The Enquirer (1797) 402.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, 1592-1676, husband of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, was a zealous champion of Charles I, and fought valiantly on his side" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:357.



I saw your Poems, and then Wish'd them mine,
Reading the Richer Dressings of each Line;
Your New-born, Sublime Fancies, and such store,
May make our Poets blush, and Write no more:
Nay Spencers Ghost will haunt you in the Night,
And Johnson rise, full fraught with Venom's Spight;
Fletcher, and Beaumont, troubl'd in their Graves,
Looke out some Deeper, and forgotten Caves;
And Gentle Shakespear weeping, since he must
At best, be Buried, now, in Chaucers Dust:
Thus dark Oblivion covers their each Name,
Since you have Robb'd them of their Glorious Fame.
Such Metaphors, such Allegories fit,
Your Judgment weighting out to your fresher Wit,
By Similizing to the Life so like,
Your Fancies Pencil's far beyond Vandike;
Drawing all things to all things, at your Pleasure,
Which shews, your Store-house is the Muses Treasure;
Your Head the Limbeck, where the Muses fit,
Distilling there the Quintessence of Wit;
Spirits of Fancy, Essences so Sweet,
In your just Numbers walk on Velvet Feet.
I thought to Praise you, but alas, my Way
To yours, is Night unto a Glorious Day.

[Sig A]