1810
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the right honourable, the Earl of Granard.

The Defense of Poesy. [Philip Sidney, ed. Edward Thurlow.]

Edward Thurlow


One of seven Spenserian sonnets. General George William Forbes, sixth earl of Granard (1760-1837) was an Irish peer, and, as Thurlow notes, a descendent of Sir Philip Sidney: "The Earl of Granard being descended from the Sidneys, through the great houses of Rawdon, Hastings, and Spencer."

The practice of appending commendatory poems, much less commendatory sonnets, had long since passed. as Thurlow was well aware.

Thomas Frognall Dibdin: "The Life and Writings of Sir Philip Sidney appeared in a slim quarto volume, in 1808, from the pen of the late Dr. Zouch, prebendary of Durham. This work — which intended to embalm the memory of the most illustrious man of his age, and of which the author had established high claims to reputation — if it did not fall still-born from the press, at least disappointed the well-founded expectations of the curious and learned. The very portrait prefixed, so different from the received one at Penshurst, (and which shines with so much splendour in Mr. Harding's Illustrious Portraits) threw a chill upon the volume. It was almost a scarecrow to frighten away purchasers" Library Companion (1824; 1825) 2:549-50.



Yet may I not my thankful labour cease,
'Till this sweet work in part I dedicate
To you, heroick Lord, in war and peace,
The equal grace, and glory of the state;
So well the rugged virtues you abate
With the soft charm of affability,
And wisely in your lofty thoughts amate
Dread warfare with divine civility:
Then let this golden book for tribute be,
Which you, my Lord, may worthily accept;
Made by that man, that held the world in fee,
Yet early in heroick laurels slept;
Who slept, yet sits aloft, and smiles on you,
His kinsman in great birth, and glory too.

[(1812) p. 8]