Dispersed Poems by Spenser; not in any Edition of his Works: and now first Collected.

The Literary Museum; or, Ancient and Modern Repository. Comprising scarce and curious Tracts, Poetry, Biography and Criticism. [F. G. Waldron, ed.]

Francis Godolphin Waldron

Francis Godolphin Waldron, actor and bookseller, reprints several items by Spenser and some pseudo-Spenserian poems, with commentary, in a collection of reprints of early literature. The Literary Museum was a pioneering project only slightly ahead of its time.

Gentleman's Magazine: "This work, which was originally published in numbers, is here given to the world in a collected form, and inscribed to Mr. Kemble, by Mr. Waldron. We seriously regret that the author did not meet with sufficient encouragement to prosecute his original purpose, which was, to publish periodically such pieces, relating to ancient literature and manners, as were really interesting, and had become scarce. At the same time, and in the same manner, it was his intention, it appears, to re-publish the works of Ben Jonson, for which he is certainly well qualified" 92 (June 1792) 552.

Dispersed Poems includes: "Spenser's verses in the Harvey-Spenser letters, in Nennio's Treatise of Nobility, in the Historie of George Castriot in Lewkenor's Venice, a couplet attributed to Spenser in a book belonging to the Earl of Cork, verses 'by Spencer' in Chorus Poetarum, and a sonnet signed 'E. S.' prefixed to Peacham's Minerva Britanna" Frederic Ives Carpenter, Reference Guide to Edmund Spenser (1923) 129.

The poems had been discovered by Edmond Malone, whose faulty transcription was used by Waldron. See also the editor's imitations of Milton (1801).

John Noorthhouck: "The editor's notes must be considered as forming not the least entertaining part of this volume" Monthly Review NS 8 (Appendix, 1792) 572.

"Loe here I let you see my olde use of toying in Rymes, turned into your artificial straightnesse of Verse, by this Tetrasticon. I beseech you tell me your fancie, without parcialitie.

See yee the blindefoulded pretie God, that feathered Archer,
Of Lovers Miseries which maketh his bloodie Game?
Wote ye why, his Moother with a Veale hath coovered his Face?
Trust me, least he my Loove happely chaunceto beholde.

Seeme they comparable to those two, which I translated you "ex tempore" in bed, the last time we lay togither in Westminster?

That which I eate, did I joy, and that which I greedily gorged,

As for those many goodly matters least I for others."

This subscribed, as customary with Spenser, IMMERITO, is in the first of Three Proper, and wittie familiar Letters: lately passed betwene two Universitie men: [i.e. Edmund Spenser and Gabriel Harvey] touching the Earthquake in Aprill last, and our English refourmed Versifying. With the Preface of a well willer to them both. Imprinted at London, by H. Bynneman, dwelling in Thames Streate, neere unto Baynardes Castell. Anno Domini. 1580. Cum gratia & priviligio Regiae Majestatis. 4to. B.L.

In Hughes's edition of Spenser, 1715, the letter this is extracted from is the second in Letters between Mr. Spenser and Mr. Gabriel Harvey. Vol. 6. P. 1751; but the entire passage, verse and prose, here printed, is omitted: indeed they are all abridged, falsified, and mangled, in that edition to a degree not to be conceived, but by those who shall compare them with edition 1580.

Unhappie Verse, the witnesse of my unhappie state,
Make thyselfe fluttring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth unto my Love, whersoever she be.

Whether living reastlesse in heavy bedde, or else
Sitting so cheerlesse at the cheerfull boorde, or else
Playing alone carelesse on hir heavenlie Virginals.

If in Bed, tell hir, that my eyes can take no reste:
If at Boorde, tell hir, that my mouth can eate no meate:
If at hir Virginals, tel hir, I can heare no mirth.

Asked why? say: Waking Love suffereth no sleepe:
Say, that raging Love dothe appall the weake stomacke:
Say, that lamenting Love marreth the Musicall.

Tell hir, that hir pleasures were wonte to lull me asleepe:
Tell hir, that hir beautie was wonte to feede mine eyes:
Tell hir, that hir sweete Tongue was wonte to make me mirth.

Nowe doe I nightly waste, wanting my kindely reste:
Nowe doe I dayly starve, wanting my lively foode:
Nowe doe I alwayes dye, wanting thy timely mirth.

And if I waste, who will bewaile my heavy chaunce?
And if I starve, who will record my cursed end?
And if I dye, who will saye: this was, Immerito?

This is in the first of Two other very commendable Letters, of the same mens writing: both touching the fore said Artificiall Versifying, and certain other Particulars: More lately delivered unto the Printer. Imprinted at London, by H. Bynneman, dwelling in Thames streate, neere unto Baynardes Castell. Anno Domini. 1580. Cum gratia & privilegio Regiae Majestatis. 4to. B.L. annexed to the other Three. It is the first letter in Hughes's collection, but the verses here printed are there omitted. In the original typography the "U" and "V" are used indifferently for each other.

The following also, omittedby Hughes, occurs after —Deus illum aliquando, reducat, &c.

Plura vellem per Charites, sed non licet per Musas.
Vale, Vale plurimum, Mi amabilissime Harveie,
meo cordi, meorum omnium longe charissime.

And the letter concludes thus.

Per mare per terras,
Vivus, mortuusq;

The "Iambicum Trimetrum" was reprinted with this title, "An Elegie in Trimeter Iambicks." in "A Poetical Rapsodie," by Fra. Davison, the first edition of which was, I believe in 1602; see Bibl. Pearsoniana, No. 1868. The copy I shall quote from is in the edition dated 1608; Mr. Warton has also reprinted it in his Observations on the Fairy Queen of Spenser, 1762, Vol. 2. P. 245, under the title of "Loves Embassie, in an Iambicke Elegie," from the 4th. edition of Davison, printed in 1621; the date of the 3d. edition, unless it be one of the abovementioned, I am unacquainted with.

In Davison the second and third lines are thus, properly, divided.

Make thy selfe fluttring wing's of thy fast flying thought,
And fly forth, &c.

In line 8, for

—my mouth can eate no meate:

Davison reads,

—my mouth can taste no foode:

and in line 18, for

—wanting thy timely mirth.

he reads.

—wanting my timely mirth.

In the first line of Mr. Warton's copy the pronoun "my" is wanting. The rest is correct, according to Davison.

Harvey, the happy above happiest men
I read: that sitting like a Looker-on
Of this worldes Stage, doest note with critique pen
The sharpe dislikes of each condition:
And as one careless of suspition,
Ne fawnest for the favour of the great:
Ne fearest foolish reprehension
Of faulty men, which danger to thee threat.
But freely doest, of what thee list, entreat,
Like a great Lord of peerelesse liberty:
Lifting the Good up to high Honours seat,
And the Evill damning evermore to dy.
For Life, and Death is in thy doomefull writing:
So thy renowme lives ever by endighting.
Dublin: this xviij. of July: 1586.
Your devoted frend, during life,
Edmund Spencer.

This is at the end of Foure Letters, and certaine Sonnets, especially touching Robert Greene, and other parties, by him abused: &c. impr. by I. Wolfe. 1592. 4to.

Whoso will seek by right deserts to 'attaine
Unto the type of true nobility
And not by painted shews and titles vaine
Derived far from [buried] ancestrie.
Behold them both in their true visnomy
Here truly pourtray'd as they ought to be
And striving both for terms of dignity
To be advanced highest in degree;
And when thou dost with equal insight see
The odds 'twixt both, of both then deem aright
And chuse the better of them both to thee,
But thanks to him that [well] deserves behight
To Nenna first that first this work created
And next to Jones that truly it translated.
Edm. Spencer.

These Verses were printed from a Manuscript copy of them; the editor having never met with the Book they are, he imagines, prefixed to: the words "buried" in the fourth line, and "well" in the antepenult, are not in the MS. but have been supplied to complete the measure, in which Spenser is rarely defective.

Wherefore doth vaine antiquitie so vaunt,
Her ancient monuments of mightie peeres,
And old Heroes, which their world did daunt
With their great deedes and fild their childrens eares?
Who rapt with wonder of their famous praise,
Admire their statues, their Colossoes great;
Their rich triumphal Arcks, which they did raise,
Their huge Pyramids, which do heaven threat.
Lo one, whom later age hath brought to light,
Matchable to the greatest of those great:
Great both by name, and great in power and might,
And meriting a meere triumphant seate.
The scourge of Turkes, and plague of infidels,
Thy acts, O Scanderbeg, this volume tels.
Ed. Spenser.

This is prefixed to The Historie of George Castriot, surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albanie, Containing his famous actes, his noble deedes of Armes, and memorable victories against the Turkes, for the Faith of Christ. Comprised in twelve Bookes: By Jaques de Lavardin, Lord of Plessis Bourrot, a Nobleman of France. Newly translated out of French into English by Z. J. Gentleman. London, imprinted for William Ponsonby, 1596. folio.

These verses on Scanderbeg were reprinted in the Appendix to The Sad Shepherd, 8vo. 1783, P. 144; and in Mr. Neve's Cursory Remarks on some of the ancient English Poets, 8vo. 1789, p. 24 seq. in which latter work the following illustrations of the word "meere" are inserted.

* a "meere" triumphant seate.] i.e. absolute.

I am a "meere" gentlewoman. Dekker's Satriomastix.

—things rank and gross in nature
Possess it "meerly." Hamlet.

The antique Babel, Empresse of the East,
Upreard her buildinges to the threatned skie:
And Second Babell tyrant of the West,
Her ayry Towers upraised much more high.
But with the weight of their own surquedry,
They both are fallen, that all the earth did feare,
And buried now in their own ashes ly,
Yet shewing by their heapes how great they were.
But in their place doth now a third appeare,
Fayre Venice, flower of the last worlds delight,
And next to them in beauty draweth neare,
But farre exceedes in policie of right.
Yet not so fayre her buildinges to behold
As Lewkenors stile that hath her beautie told.
Edw. Spencer.

This is prefixed to The Commonwealth and Government of Venice, Written by the Cardinall Gaspar Contareno, and translated out of Italian into English,by Lewes Lewkenor Esquire, London, imprinted by John Windet for Edmund Mattes, and are to be sold at his shop, at the signe of the Hand and Plow in Fleetstreet. 1599. 4to.

These verses to Lewkenor have been reprinted in Warton's Observations on the Fairy Queen, Vol. 2. P. 246. and in the Appendix to The Sad Shepherd, 1783, P. 143.


A translation made ex tempore by Mr. Edm. Spenser upon this distich, written on a Booke belonging to the right honorable Richard Earle of Corke, &c.

Nulla dies pereat, pereat pars nulla dici,
Ne tu sic pereas, ut periere ere dies.
Let no day passe, passe no pan of the day,
Lest thou doe passe, as dayes do passe away.

Verses upon the said Earl's Lute.
Whilst vitall sapp did make me spring,
And leafe and bough did flourish brave,
I then was dumb and could not sing,
Ne had the voice which now I have:
But when the axe my life did end,
The Muses nine this voice did send.
E. S.

The fore-going are annexed to A View of the State of Ireland, Written dialogue-wise betweene Eudoxus and Irenaeus, By Edmund Spenser Esq. in the yeare 1596. Dublin, Printed by the Society of Stationers. — M.DC.XXXIII. Folio.

Phillis is both blithe and young;
Of Phillis is my Silver Song:
I love thilk Lass, and in my Heart
She breeds full many a baleful Smart.
Kids, cracknels, with my earliest Fruit,
I give to make her bear my Suit;
When Colin does approach o'erjoy'd,
My Hopes, alas! are all accoy'd.
Were I not born to love the Maid,
Yet she calls Miracles to her Aid.
When stormy Stou'rs had dress'd the year,
In shivering winters wrathful Chear:
Phillis, that lovely cruel wight,
Found me in a dreerie Plight;
And Snow-balls gently flung at me,
To wake me from my Lethargie.
Fire I ween there was ypent
In all those frozen Balls she sent:
For, Ah! woe's me, I felt them burn,
And all my Soul to Flames I turn.
Ah! Phillis, if you'd quench my Fire,
Burn your self with as fierce Desire.

This is in CHORUS POETARUM: or, Poems on Several Occasions. By the Duke of Buckingham, the late Lord Rochester, Sir John Denham, Sir Geo. Etheridge, Andrew Marvel, Esq. The famous Spencer, Madam Behn, And several other Eminent Poets of this Age. Never before Printed. London: Printed for Benjamin Bragg, at the White-Hart, over against Water-Lane in Fleet-street. MDCLXIXIV. 8vo. Dedicated to Sir Fleetwood Sheppard, by Charles Gildon.

I do not believe these lines to be Spenser's; but, finding them in print under his name, I thought it improper to omit them: the date of the Miscellany they are in is evidently erroneous; but, from an annexed advertisement of Miscellaneous Letters, & Essays, &c. said to be lately Publish'd, which Letters &c. are dated 1694, we may conclude it to be the same, or the following year.

The following is extracted, with corrections, from the Appendix to "THE SAD SHEPHERD: &c. 8vo. 1783, p. 144 seq.

To Peacham's MINERVA BRITANNA are prefixed the following Stanzas, thus addressed.

Methought I saw in dead of silent night
A goodly Citie all to cinders turned,
Upon whose ruines sate a Nymphe in white,
Rending her haire of wiery gold, who mourned
Or for the fall of that faire Citie burned,
Or some deare Love, whose death so made her sad:
That since no joye in worldly thing she had.

This was that Genius of that auntient Troy,
In her owne ashes buried long agoe:
So griev'd to see that Britaine should enjoy
Her Pallas, whom fit held and honour'd so:
And now no litle memorie could show
To eternize her, since she did infuse,
Her Enthean soule, into this English Muse.
E. S.

Whether or not these initials mean Edmund Spenser, remains to be enquired into.

I have seen no other edition of this work of Peacham's but the one I transcribed these Stanzas from; which is dated 1612: yet is there is in it (p. 44.) this expression, and marginal note;

Then pardon *Soveraigne. *Regina Elizabetha.

and Queen Elizabeth died March 24, 1603. If the verses be Spenser's, the edition they are prefixed to must either have been a good deal delayed in its publication, or it is a second one, with additions, since he read the work; for Peacham's first verses therein are addressed, "To my dread Soveraigne James, King of Great Britaine, &c." There are others to the Queen (Anne), Princess Elizabeth, Henrie Prince of Wales, and Charles, Duke of York (afterwards King Charles I.), who was not so created till about the year 1605, or 1606; and Spenser died, if we can depend on tradition, in 1598, or, at latest, 1599. See his Life by Hughes, Birch, Church, and Upton.

It may be thought that these initials E. S. stand for Edward Sharpham, whose Comedy of The Fleire was entered on the Books of the Stationers' Company, May 9, 1606; that they may signify Edmond Scory; there being verses prefixed to Drayton's Heroical Epistles, 1605, signed E. St. Gent. which, in the folio edition, 1619, are subscribed Edmond Scory, Knight. Peacham, in his Compleat Gentleman, 1622, p. 95, 6. speaking of celebrated poets, particularizes M. Edmund Spenser; but mentions no other to whom the initials E. S. could belong.

The insertion of this "Vision," merely on account of the signature, may be thought an act of Supererogation; but, in one who has that veneration for Spenser which I profess to have, and who would rescue the smallest fragment of his writing from oblivion, it is no more than duty: and that the Stanzas in question were written by him, I think there is both external, and, which is infinitely more satisfactory, internal evidence. In the first place the very title of the verses is similar to those of three of Spenser's small poems; viz.

Visions of the World's Vanitie.
The Visions of Bellay. and,
The Visions of Petrarch.

which were published in a collection of some of his "disperst" Pieces, called COMPLAINTS, in 4to, 1591. Secondly, one of the entries mentioned by Mr. Steevens, is "a booke, called, The Second Book of Songes or Ayres, of twoo, foure, and five Partes, with Tribletures for the Line or Orpherion. with the Viol-de-gambo. Composed by John Dowland, Batchelor of Musick, and Lutanist unto, the most famous Christian the IVth. by the Grace of God, king of Denmark, Norway, &c. The entry is dated July 16, 1600.

The verses in Peacham's Minerva, P. 74, (reprinted in the Appendix to The Sad Shepherd) on the neglect into which Dowland had fallen, must have preceded his being raised above it, by his appointment to the king of Denmark's service, with whom he went to Denmark, and there died: which brings the matter in question so near to Spenser's time, that, allowing for those who complimented the Author of the Minerva with verses on it, to have read it in MS. The preparing of above two hundred cuts; and other necessary or accidental delays before the publication; (during which time the verses on the Stuart family might have been prudently added) it certainly must be granted that it is possible for the VISION to have been Spenser's.

Thirdly, as to the probability, I conceive, must depend on the internal evidence, i.e. the verses themselves; and I think whoever shall be pleased to compare this Vision with Spenser's RUINES OF TIME (the first poem in the Collection called COMPLAINTS), and with his FOWRE HYMNES, 4to. 1596, for the construction of the stanza in each, and the similarity of thought and expression in the first six stanzas of the former, will also grant that I have no slight reasons for my supposition. To prevent, the trouble of referring the following parallels are brought into one point of view.

—sate a Nymphe in white,
Rending her haire of wiery gold, who mourned.

A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing,
Rending her yeolow locks, like wyrie gold.

—who mourned,
Or for the fall of, &c.
Or some deare Love

Which did the losse of some dere love lament.

That since no joye in worldly thing she had.

Ah! what delight (quoth she) in earthlie thing,
Or comfort can I wretched creature have?

This was that Genius of that auncient Troy.

Or th' auncient Genius of that Citie brent.

In her owne ashes buried long agoe.

And have in mine owne bowels made my grave.
And lye in mine owne ashes.

Troy, that art now nought but an idle name,
And in thine ashes buried low dost lie.
Faerie Queene. 3.9.33.

To there may be added a line from the verses on Lewkenor.

And buried now in their own ashes lie.

I believe there needs no more on the subject unless it be to beg the reader's pardon for having said so much about fourteen lines only; but, admitting that they are Spenser's (to apply an expression of Garrick's, in a prologue on Shakspeare, to our great dramatist's beloved poet), I would "lose no drop of that mortal man!"

F. G. W.

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