1765
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Stanzas in the Manner of our Ancient Poets.]

Lloyd's Evening Post (24 May 1765) 489.

Dr. Henry Harington


An allegorical fragment signed "Antineosyllectos" in four sonnet-Spenserians. The Dreamer beholds Queen Philippa (d. 1369, patroness of Queen's College Oxford) attended by a sober-looking man with a scroll, "yclad in priestly Vest"; they appear to be engaged in the distribution of church livings. There follows a seemly parade of clerks learned in the arts and sciences ("Nor poesy, most lewd, once wanton'd in the way"). But the Dreamer is taken aback at what next meets his view: "suddenly, they saw the same pursu'd | By motley crew of Clerkes seeming-craz'd: | Their Leader wore fantastic cap of fool, | Bedight each side with ear of braying beast." The specific object of the satire is concealed behind asterisks, leaving the occasion of the poem obscure — an election of some sort?

Headnote: "Insert, good Sir, the following Stanzas, in the manner of our antient Poets, or take no notice of them; and you will either way (but most by the first) oblige ANTINEOSYLLECTOS, Oxford" p. 489.

Queens College had more than its share of Spenserian poets, among them William Collins, William Thompson, and Thomas Denton. The most likely perpetrator of this poem would be Dr. Henry Harington of Bath (B.A. 1749, M.A. 1752, M.D. 1762). Since Harington's poems have never been collected, or a proper biography written, this attribution is speculative.



What time late sate upon my closed eyes,
Endued by Jove with magic influence, Slumber;
Things strange my nimble Fancy did devise,
Whiles nought of earthly sense did it encumber;
Methought, that Queen of ever-honour'd name,
Philippa, 'fore mine eyes did pass confest;
Anon at modest-seeming distance came
An aged Form, yclad in priestly Vest;
His praying looks oftimes to Heav'n up-rear'd,
As oft upon a certain Scroll cast down,
Where goodly draught of sacred houses appear'd,
Eftsoons for grace and lore to win renown:
These follow'd were by num'rous gowned tribe,
Which, heav'nly Muse, me help most fittingly describe.

First, holy Dame Divinity did lead
A rev'rend band of Elders sable-clad;
All, as they walk'd, did ghostly bookes read
With greedy eyes and looks beseemly-sad;
(Aside stood Satan, and him Envy burn'd,
Sight hateful, sight tormenting did him gall;
His eyes with jealous leer askance he turn'd,
Whiles useless vengeance flash'd from either ball;)
Twain heav'nly Forms did hand in hand attend;
Zeal hight the one, the other Charity,
Of Truth the one, the other Mankind's friend;
The first did seem in holy Cause full bold
The last Good-will to all did in meek count'ance hold.

Next them a train of younger Clerkes came,
With num'rous Ladies, different in attire
But sisters all, and by one common name
Hight Sciences, ere while an ethnic choir;
But now did Guardian Angel them deduce
After that serious Dame Divinity,
Bringing unholy lore to holy use,
And Arts, else vainest, thus did sanctify:
(Then Satan's soul was suddenly replete
With Disappointment's anguish; having Creed
'Fore-entertain'd, that with vain deceit
Those ethnic Nymphs wou'd Christian Clerks mislead;)
All pass'd in decent rank and grave array,
Nor Poesy, most lewd, once wanton'd by the way.

Now had mine eyes with wond'ring Pleasance view'd
So fair a train, and cou'd for aye have gaz'd;
When, suddenly, they saw the same pursu'd
By motley crew of Clerkes seeming-craz'd:
Their Leader wore fantastic cap of fool,
Bedight each side with ear of braying beast,
******* yclept: (him Satan found fit tool
To work despight unto that holy Priest)
Onward he led his prick-ear'd crew, and gall'd
The heels of sober Clerkes gone before:
At so unworthy sight I stood appall'd,
And all indignant this last Vision bore:—
Thus, after courtly process of the Great,
The looker's grieved eye doth Mob unsightly meet.

[p. 489]