1750
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Works of Spenser.

The Works of Spenser. In Six Volumes. With a Glossary the Works of Spenser. In Six Volumes. With a Glossary Explaining the Old and Obscure Words. To Which Is Prefix'd the Life of the Author, and an Essay on Allegorical Poetry, by Mr. Hughes.

Edmund Spenser


The text and essays of this Tonson edition are reprinted from John Hughes's edition of Spenser's Works (1715). The illustrations are not retained. Given the number of Spenser imitations published in the 1740s, it is almost surprising that the Tonsons waited so long to reprint Spenser. In the event, the 1750s would prove to be the decade of decades for editions of Spenser, whose literary reputation suddenly and unpredictably reached its zenith.

Ralph Church: "Mr. Hughes's Edition, with some few alterations, made it's appearance again, in a lesser size, in 1750, and is distinguished, in our Notes, by H. 2. Those Alterations consist of some few Amendments taken from the Editions printed in Spenser's Life time" Faerie Queene (1758) 1:viii.

Jewel Wurtsbaugh: "Some sixteen years passed before Jortin's injunction to collate the texts was heeded. Meanwhile interest in epic origins and a growing antiquarian enthusiasm favored an increasing popularity of Spenser's poetry, the Faerie Queene in particular. The reprint of Hughes edition (1750) was indicative of this new interest but by no means the only expression.... The general appearance of Hughes's reprint is inferior to that of the original issue. Additional is a copy of an engraving of the poet by Gerard Van der Gucht from one by George Vertue. The reprint, like its original, marks a departure. The editor repeatedly consulted the first Quarto of the Faerie Queene (1590) and preferred its lections to those of Hughes, who seems to have relied chiefly upon the first folio of the Works (1611) bound with a copy of the first three books according to a 1609 text. This is evidently why he omitted the hemistich at III. VI. xlv. 5, and printed the first ending to the third book instead of Spenser's second ending to connect III with IV" Two Centuries of Spenserian Scholarship (1936) 61.

William Proctor Williams: "So thorough is his use of the 1590 quarto that it caused the editor, almost certainly because of the considerable haste with which we know was involved in preparing and printing the second edition of Hughes, to print the original ending of Book III rather than the 1596 ending" Spenser Encyclopedia (1990) 91.



A Gentle Knight was pricking on the Plain,
Yclad in mightie Arms and silver Shield,
Wherein old dints of deep Wounds did remain,
The cruel Marks of many a bloodie Field;
Yet Arms till that time did he never wield:
His angry Steed did chide his foming Bit;
As, much disdaining to the Curb to yield:
Full jolly Knight he seem'd, and fair did fit,
As one for Knightly Giusts and fierce Encounters fit.

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