1757
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Prefixt to Antony and Cleopatra.

Laura: or an Anthology of Sonnets, (on the Petrarcan Model,) and Elegiac Quaruorzains. 5 vols. [Capel Lofft, ed.]

Edward Capell


Two irregular Spenserians by the Shakespeare-editor Edward Capell enjoin the fair sex to emulate the pious virtues of the Countess of Hertford (?). In a most unusual variation of the Spenserian pattern, Capell substitutes an "a" rhyme in the place of the final "b." The poem, dated "3 Oct. 1757" appears in Laura, the anthology of sonnets edited by Capell's nephew Capel Lofft. Capell's "Antony and Cleopatra fitted for the stage" was published in 1758.

Editor's note: "I know of no other poetical Remains of my Uncle than of this Sonnet and a Translation of part of the 1st Book of the third Iliad into blank Verse. It was inscrib'd to Lady Hertford, Daughter of the then Duke of Grafton."

Samuel Austin Allibone: "Edward Capell, 1713-1781, a native of Suffolk, distinguished himself by his critical labours upon the text of Shakspeare. He tells us that as early as 1745 he was shocked at the licentiousness (wildness) of Hanmer's plan, and determined to prepare an edition 'ex fide codicum.' He published in 1768, 10 vols. 8vo, an edition of his favourite author, for which he received £300 from the bookseller" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:396.



Why from the Throne where BEAUTY sits SUPREME,
And countless Emanations deals below,
Infus'd and fixt in Woman's shining frame
Doth so large portion of his Wonder flow?
Why, but to rule the tread of human Woe,
And point our erring feet where Joys abide?
But, ah the pity, to a traitor-flame
Weak, wavering, wild, the heaven-born ray is ty'd,
And Man, confiding Man, from bliss estranged wide.

Daughters of Britain, scorn the garish fire;
Exile the meteor to it's Pharian Grave:
Sincerer Flames from Virtue's heights aspire,
That brighten Beauty, and from Sorrow save:
High o'er the rest see what fair hand doth wave
A deathless Torch; and calls you to the Shrine
Where only Beauty, only Bliss entire!
Follow the branch of much lov'd **'s line;
And from those Altars mend, with her, the ray divine.

[Unpaginated; No. DCCLXI]