Seccombe and Arber, comps. Elizabethan Sonnets. 1904.
VIII. Lodge, Barnes, and Fletcher
Until all the sonnet-literature that was produced in Italy and France, down to the end of the sixteenth century, has been read and re-read in conjunction with the Elizabethan sonnet-literature, none can state definitely the limits of the raids that the Elizabethan sonneteers made on their foreign neighbours. The efficient conduct of the investigation requires that one should enjoy access to the productions not merely of the greatest French and Italian masters, but of the whole swarm of Petrarchists whose writings are now very difficult to procure. How widely and into what remote recesses the Elizabethan poet flung his net, is curiously illustrated by the exploits of Thomas Lodge, not the least famous of Elizabethan sonneteers. Lodge possessed no small measure of poetic feeling and ability; yet when his achievement is closely examined, and compared with foreign poetry, it betrays a more startling indebtedness to his extraordinary width of reading than the work of any other Elizabethan.
Lodges reading was immense. His prose tracts abound in acknowledged quotations not merely from familiar classical authors, but from obscure Latinists of the Middle Ages, and from French and Italian writers of every degree of reputation.1
In his romances called The Life and Death of William Longbeard (1593), and Margarite of America (1596), he throws some light on his methods as a sonneteer. In the first of these works he entitles a poem of twenty lines an Imitation of a Sonnet in an ancient French poet, and he calls another lyric a briefe fancie after the manner of the Italian rimes. Two sonnets and one lyric, which appear in the Margarite, are described as written in imitation of Dolce, the Italian poet, and in the case of the third effort he quotes the first words of Dolces poem. Two other sonnets in the same romance are respectively assigned to the contemporary Italian poetasters, Lodovico Pascale and Vincenzo Martelli. Lodges translation of Martellis sonnet is worthy of study. The first four lines run in English and Italian thus:
MARTELLI (Rime, Lucca edition, 1730, p. 96).
O chiuse valli, o ricche piagge apriche,
O freschi colli, o campi, o selve sante,
O fior vaghi, o verdi erbe, o liete piànte,
Chavete or laure, a i parti vostri amiche:
LODGE (from Margarite of America).
O shadie vales, O faire inriched meades,
O sacred woodes, sweete fields, and rising mountaines,
O painted flowers, greene herbes where Flora treads,
Elsewhere Lodge is less plain-spoken. In William Longbeard he loosely adapts an Italian madrigal by Bianciardi (When I admire the rose) without any warning of the fact.2 In his Romance of Rosalynd, he places a song in the French language (beginning, Hélas! tirant plein de rigueur) in the mouth of his shepherd Montanus, and gives no hint that it is other than his own composition. It is a chanson literally transcribed from the first book of Desportes Amours de Diane.3
But it is in the collected sonnet-sequence called Phillis, which was published in 1593, that Lodge sinks deepest into the mire of deceit and mystification.4 In the dedication and the induction, both addressed to the Countess of Shrewsbury, he appeals to his patroness to like of Phillis in her country caroling, and to countenance her poore and affectionate sheepheard. Artless simplicity is all he claims for his verse. He modestly deprecates comparison between himself and learned Colin (i.e., Spenser), or Daniel, whom he hails as Delias sweet prophet. There is no word in the preface to indicate that in his sonnet-sequence he is anywhere wearing borrowed laurels. In his Margarite of America Lodge hints at a part of the truth when he wrote, Few men are able to second the sweet conceits of Philip Desportes, whose poetical writings [are] for the most part Englished, and ordinarily in everybodys hands. But this admission does not prepare the reader for the discovery that the majority of Lodges poetic addresses to the rustic Phillishis village maidens country carollingare ingeniously contrived literal translations of sonnets which are scattered through the collections of Ronsard, Desportes, Ariosto, and other French and Italian poets.
The source of the title of the collection is significant. Phillis, who owes her poetic fame originally to Ovids Heroides (ii.), was a conventional name in French lyric poetry long before it found a home in Elizabethan song.5 The French poet Vauquelin de la Fresnaie, in his Idillies et Pastoralles (1560), seems first to have conferred the designation on the heroine of a long series of pastoral poems.6 Thence it appears to have spread far and wide among English poets. Watson constantly introduced it into his Italian Madrigalls Englished (1590). In christening his pastoral heroine Phillis, Lodge fell an easy victim to a French fashion.
There is probably no French lyrist of his generation whose work Lodge did not assimilate in greater or less degree; but it was on the king of recent French poets, Ronsard, that he levied his heaviest loans. Most of his sonnets to Phillis were written with the first book of Ronsards Amours at his elbow. Ronsards volume had appeared in numerous editions since its first issue in 1552, and was one of the most accessible of French poetry-books. In order to realise the precise relations between Lodges sonnets and Ronsards Amours, the following six of Lodges addresses to Phillis may be profitably studied with Ronsards originals.7
LODGE, Phillis, XXXV.
I hope and fear, I pray and hold my peace,
Now freeze my thoughts and straight they fry again,
I now admire and straight my wonders cease,
I loose my bonds and yet myself restrain;
This likes me most that leaves me discontent,
My courage serves and yet my heart doth fail,
My will doth climb whereas my hopes are spent,
I laugh at love, yet when he comes I quail;
The more I strive, the duller bide I still,
I would be thralled, and yet I freedom love,
I would redress, yet hourly feed mine ill,
I would repine, and dare not once reprove;
And for my love I am bereft of power,
And strengthless strive my weakness to devour.
RONSARD, Amours, I. xii.
Jespere et crain, je me tais et supplie,
Or je suis glace, et ores un feu chaud,
Jadmire tout, et de rien ne me chaut,
Je me delace, et puis je me relie.
Rien ne me plaist sinon ce qui mennuie,
Je suis vaillant et le cur me defaut,
Jai lespoir bas, jay le courage haut,
Je donte Amour, et si je le desfie.
Plus je me pique, et plus je suis retif,
Jaime estre libre, et veux estre captif,
Cent fois je meurs, cent fois je prends naissance.
Un Promethée en passions je suis;
Et, pour aimer perdant tout puissance,
Ne pouvant rien, je fay ce que je puis.
LODGE, Phillis, IX.
The dewy roseate Morn had with her hairs
In sundry sorts the Indian clime adorned;
And now her eyes apparrelèd in tears,
The loss of lovely Memnon long had mourned,
When as she spied the nymph whom I admire,
Combing her locks, of which the yellow gold
Made blush the beauties of her curlèd wire,
Which heaven itself with wonder might behold;
Then red with shame, her reverend locks she rent,
And weeping hid the beauty of her face,
The flower of fancy wrought such discontent;
The sighs which midst the air she breathed a space,
A three-days stormy tempest did maintain,
Her shame a fire, her eyes a swelling rain.
RONSARD, Amours, I. xciv.
De ses cheveux la rousoyante Aurore
Esparsement les Indes remplissoit,
Et ja le ciel à long traits rougissoit,
De maint émail qui le matin decore,
Quand elle veid la nymphe que jadore
Tresser son chef, dont lor qui jaunissoit
Le crespe honneur du sien éblouissoit,
Voire elle-mesme et tout le ciel encore.
Lors ses cheveux vergongneuse arracha,
Si quen pleurant sa face elle cacha,
Tant la beauté des beautés luy ennuye;
Et ses souspirs, parmi lair se suivants,
Trois jours entiers enfanterent des vents,
Sa honte un feu ses yeux une pluye.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXI.
Devoid of reason, thrall to foolish ire,
I walk and chase a savage fairy still,
Now near the flood, straight on the mounting hill,
Now midst the woods of youth, and vain desire.
For leash I bear a cord of careful grief;
For brach I lead an over-forward mind;
My hounds are thoughts, and rage despairing blind,
Pain, cruelty, and care without relief.
But they perceiving that my swift pursuit
My flying fairy cannot overtake,
With open mouths their prey on me do make,
Like hungry hounds that lately lost their suit.
And full of fury on their master feed,
To hasten on my hapless death with speed.
RONSARD, Amours, I. cxix.
Franc de raison, esclave de fureur,
Je vay chassant une fere sauvage,
Or sur un mont, or le long dun rivage,
Or dans le bois de jeunesse et derreur.
Jay pour ma laisse un long trait de malheur,
Jay pour limier un trop ardent courage,
Jay pour mes chiens lardeur et le jeune âge,
Jay pour piqueurs iespoir et la douleur.
Mais eux, voyans que plus elle est chassée,
Loin, loin, devant plus senfuit élancée,
Tournant sur moi leur rigoureux effort,
Comme mastins affamés de repaistre,
A longs morceaux se paissent de leur maistre,
Et sans mercy me trainent à la mort.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXII.
A thousand times to think and think the same,
To two fair eyes to show a naked heart,
Great thirst with bitter liquor to restrain,
To take repast of care and crooked smart;
To sigh full oft without relent of ire,
To die for grief and yet conceal the tale,
To others will to fashion my desire,
To pine in looks disguised through pensive pale;
A short despite, a faith unfeignèd true,
To love my foe, and set my life at naught,
With heedless eyes mine endless harms to view,
A will to speak, a fear to tell the thought;
To hope for all, yet for despair to die,
Is of my life the certain destiny.
RONSARD, Amours, I. xxii.
Cent et cent fois penser un penser mesme,
A deux beaux yeux monstrer à nud son cur,
Boire tousjours dune amere liqueur,
Manger tousjours dune amertume extréme;
Avoir la face et triste, et morne, et blesme,
Plus souspirer, moins flechir la rigueur,
Mourir dennuy, receler sa langueur,
Du vueil dautruy des loix faire à soy-mesme.
Un court despit, une aimantine foy,
Aimer trop mieux son ennemy que soy,
Peindre en ses yeux mille vaines figures;
Vouloir parler et noser respirer,
Esperer tout et se desesperer,
Sont de ma mort les plus certains augures.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXIII.
When first sweet Phillis, whom I most adore,
Gan with her beauties bless our wondring sky,
The son of Rhea, from their fatal store
Made all the gods to grace her majesty.
Apollo first his golden rays among,
Did form the beauty of her bounteous eyes;
He graced her with his sweet melodious song,
And made her subject of his poesies.
The warrior Mars bequeathed her fierce disdain,
Venus her smile, and Phbe all her fair,
Python his voice, and Ceres all her grain,
The morn her locks and fingers did repair.
Young Love, his bow, and Thetis gave her feet;
Clio her praise, Pallas her science sweet.
RONSARD, Amours, I. xxxii.
Quand au premier la dame que jadore
De ses beautez vint embellir les cieux,
Le fils de Rhée appela tous les dieux
Pour faire encor delle une autre Pandore.
Lors Apollon richement la décore,
Or de ses rais luy façonnant les yeux,
Or luy donnant son chant melodieux,
Or son oracle et ses beaux vers encore.
Mars luy donna sa fiere cruauté,
Venus son ris, Diane sa beauté,
Pithon sa voix, Cerés son abondance,
LAube ses doigts et ses crins deliés,
Amour son arc, Thetis donna ses piés,
Clion sa gloire, et Pallas sa prudence.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXIV.
I would in rich and golden-coloured rain,
With tempting showers in pleasant sort descend
Into fair Phillis lap, my lovely friend,
When sleep her sense with slumber doth restrain.
I would be changèd to a milk-white bull,
When midst the gladsome fields she should appear,
By pleasant fineness to surprise my dear,
Whilst from their stalks, she pleasant flowers did pull.
A comparison of these six pairs of sonnets can lead to only one conclusion. Here at least Lodges servile dependence on Ronsard stands confessed. Not that he was invariably quite so docile. Occasionally he handles a conceit of Ronsard with greater freedom, and seeks with success to enhance its effect. His beautiful lines
Sweet bees have hived their honey on thy tongue,
And Hebe spiced her nectar with thy breath(Phillis, xxii.)
are obviously an improvement on Ronsards
Une mignarde abeilleDans vos lèvres forma son nectar savoureux.(Amours, II. ii.)But in spite of the embellishment, the loan remains undisguised.
Lodges indebtedness to Ronsard has been strangely ignored by modern critics, but it did not (as might be guessed) escape the attention of contemporaries. In an anonymous tract entitled Tarltons News out of Purgatory, (1590), the author of which has been doubtfully identified with Thomas Nashe, a company of poets of all nations is represented as meeting in Purgatory. Prominent in the assembly sits old Ronsard, with a scroll in his hand, wherein was written the description of Cassandra his mistress. There follows an English parody of Ronsards lyrics, which the satiric author slyly introduces with the words, because [Ronsards] style is not common, nor have I heard our English authors write in that vein, mark it, and I will rehearse it, for I have learnt it by heart. The quoted poem assigned to Ronsard, is an obvious skit on one of the lyrics which figures in Lodges Romance of Rosalynd.8 The whole passage ironically suggests that Lodges debt to Ronsard was known to be discreditably large.
Ronsard, however, was only one of Lodges many foreign masters. His indebtedness to Desportes is hardly less pronounced. Of the two examples of translations from that poet which I give below, it is worth noting that Lodge had already published a literal rendering of the first as an original poem in his early volume of verse, which he called Scillaes Metamorphosis (1589). He also turned the same sonnet of Desportes into a lyric, which appears in his Rosalynd. Neither in its original shape nor in its adaptations can this poem be commended. Lodge usually seems indeed to have been attracted by the worst examples of Desportes art. The second sonnet, cited below, is justly denounced by Desportes modern French editor as une merveille de recherche et de mauvais goût. It is worth noting that Lodge, in this second example,9 put himself, with clumsy effect, to the pains of following Desportes scheme of rhymes.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXVI.
If so I seek the shades, I presently do see
The god of love forsakes his bow and sits me by;
If that I think to write, his Muses pliant be;
If so I plain my grief, the wanton boy will cry.
If I lament his pride, he doth increase my pain;
If tears my cheek attaint, his cheeks are moist with moan;
If I disclose the wounds the which my heart hath slain,
He takes his fascia off, and wipes them dry anon.
If so I walk the woods, the woods are his delight;
If I myself torment, he bathes him in my blood;
He will my soldier be if once I wend to fight,
If seas delight, he steers my bark amidst the flood.
In brief, the cruel god doth never from me go,
But makes my lasting love eternal with my woe.
DESPORTES, Diane, II. iii.
Si je me siez à lombre, aussi soudainement
Amour, laissant son arc, sassied et se repose;
Si je pense à des vers, je le voy qui compose;
Si je plains mes douleurs, il se plaint hautement.
Si je me plais au mal, il accroist mon tourment;
Si je respan des pleurs, son visage il arrose;
Si je monstre ma playe, en ma poitrine enclose,
Il defait son bandeau, lessuyant doucement.
Si je vais par les bois, aux bois il maccompagne.
Si je me suis cruel, dans mon sang il se bagne.
Si je vais à la guerre, il devient mon soldart.
Si je passe la nuict, il conduit ma nacelle;
Bref, jamais limportun de moy ne se depart,
Pour rendre mon desir et ma peine eternelle.
LODGE, Phillis, XXXVII.
These fierce incessant waves that stream along my face,
Which show the certain proof of my neer-ceasing pains,
Fair Phillis, are no tears that trickle from my brains;
For why? Such streams of ruth within me find no place.
These floods that wet my cheeks are gathered from thy grace
And thy perfections, and from hundred thousand flowers
Which from thy beauties spring; whereto I medley showers
Of rose and lilies too, the colours of thy face.
My love doth serve for fire, my heart the furnace is,
The aperries of my sighs augment the burning flame,
The limbec is mine eye that doth distil the same.
And by how much my fire is violent and sly,
By so much doth it cause the waters mount on high,
That shower from out mine eyes, for to assuage my miss.
DESPORTES, Diane, I. xlix.
Ces eaux qui, sans cesser, coulent dessus ma face,
Les témoins découverts des couvertes douleurs,
Diane, helas! voyez, ce ne sont point des pleurs:
Tant de pleurs dedans moy ne sçauroient trouver place.
From many obscure Italians (Dolce, Pascale, and Martelli), Lodge also drew without any hint of acknowledgment several of his sonnets to Phillis. To illustrate his method in dealing with Italian poets of eminence, I print his Sonnet xxi., together with its original in Ariosto.10
LODGE, Phillis, XXI.
Ye heralds of my heart, mine ardent groans,
O tears which gladly would burst out to brooks!
Oh spent on fruitless sand my surging moans,
O thoughts enthralled unto care-boding looks!
Ah just laments of my unjust distress,
Ah fond desires whom reason could not guide!
O hopes of love that intimate redress,
Yet prove the loadstars unto bad betide!
When will you cease? or shall pain never-ceasing,
Seize on my heart? Oh mollify your rage,
Lest your assaults with over-swift increasing,
Procure my death, or call on timeless age.
What if they do? They shall but feed the fire,
Which I have kindled by my fond desire.
LODOVICO ARIOSTO, from Gobbi, Scelta di Sonetti (1729), i. 290.
It is unnecessary to pursue Lodge further. The general opinion hitherto held of his sonnets is thus expressed by Professor Minto:There is a seeming artlessness in Lodges sonnets, a winning directness, that constitutes a great part of their charm. They seem to be uttered through a clear and pure medium straight from the heart; their tender fragrance and music come from the heart itself.11 Facts require the substitution in this passage for the word heart of the words French and Italian sonneteers. Lyric faculty need not be denied Lodge, even after his habits of plagiarism have been brought to light; but it is a misuse of terms to describe him as an original poet seeking to give voice to his individuality. He is a clever and spirited adapter of foreign texts, whose sense of rhythm and literary sensibility are not altogether obscured in his borrowed lines; but no trace of his own personality remains there when his methods of composition are rightly apprehended. Of the morality of those methods little that is agreeable can be said. The censure which was bestowed by a contemporary critic on Soothern, the clumsiest of English plagiarists from Ronsard, applies with small qualification to Lodge, despite his infinitely superior dexterity: This man deserues to be endited of pety larceny for pilfering other mens deuises from them and conuerting them to his owne use, for in deede as I would wish every inventour which is the very Poet to receaue the prayses of his inuention, so would I not haue a translatour to be ashamed to be acknowen of his translation.12
Barnabe Barnes, who made his reputation as a sonneteer in the same year as Lodge (1593), was more voluminous than any of his English contemporaries. The utmost differences of opinion have been expressed by modern critics as to the value of his work. One denounces him as a fool; another eulogises him as a born singer. He clearly had a native love of literature, and gave promise of lyric power which was never quite fulfilled. His Sonnet lxvi. on Content reaches a very high level of artistic beauty, and many single stanzas and lines ring with true harmony. But as a whole his work is crude, and lacks restraint. He frequently sinks to meaningless doggerel, and many of his grotesque conceits are offensive.13
To the historian of the Elizabethan sonnet his work is, however, of first-rate importance. No thorough investigator into the history of Shakespeares sonnet can afford to overlook it. Constantly he strikes a note which Shakespeare clearly echoed in fuller tones.14 There are circumstances, too, in his biography and in the estimation in which he was held, that make it probable that he was the poet whose rivalry in the pursuit of the favour of a common patron is one of Shakespeares themes.15
In May 1593 there appeared Barnes interminable series of love-poems. It bore the title, Parthenophil and Parthenophe: Sonnets, Madrigals, Elegies, and Odes. To the right noble and virtuous gentleman, M. William Percy, Esq., his dearest friend.16 Here a hundred and five sonnets are interspersed with twenty-six madrigals, five sestines, twenty-one elegies, three canzons, twenty odes (one in sonnet form), and what purports to be a translation of Moschus first Eidillion.
Barnes Muse has no greater claim than that of other Elizabethan sonneteers to English birth. Her paternity is indeed distributed with more than ordinary catholicity. Many of Barnes poems are echoes of Sidneys verse, both in the Arcadia as well as in Astrophel and Stella. His Canzon 2 is a spirited tribute to Sidney under his poetic name of Astrophel.17 Of his debt to Petrarch he openly boasted. The kindly contemporary critic, Thomas Churchyard, paid him the compliment of dubbing him Petrarchs scholar. In Sonnet xliv. he makes handsome, if ungraceful, acknowledgment to the Italian master:
That sweet Tuscan, Petrarch, which did pierce
His Laura with love sonnets.
But Petrarch was only one of many masters. Barnes knew much of the classics. With Petrarch he associates, in the sonnet just quoted, Ovid and Musaeus. He made curious experiments in adapting to his poetry not merely classical conceits but classical metres. One of his Odes (xvii.) is in unrhymed Anacreontics; another (xviii.) is in Sapphics; a third (xx.) he describes as an Asclepiad. His 21st Elegy is regularly written in elegiac hexameters and pentameters.
The name of Barnes heroine, Parthenophe, reflects his reading of the Latin verse of a very popular Neapolitan of the early sixteenth century, Hieronymus Angerianus, who entitled a brief section of his collected poetry De Parthenope, and included those two words in his title-page. The Neapolitan was paying court to his native city under her alternative Greek name, but he apostrophised Naples with the warmth that befitted an address to a mistress.
French influence at the same time largely affected the drift of Barnes literary efforts. It is indeed to be suspected that French example impelled Barnes to classical imitation, and that he was often content to follow the French adaptation of classical poetry rather than classical poetry in its original form. He wrote largely in an Anacreontic vein, and most of his knowledge of the Greek lyrists probably reached him through France.
The poem which Barnes introduces in the course of his miscellany, under the heading, The first Eidillion of Moschus describing Love, describes Venus hue and cry after her straying son Cupid. This Greek poem was extremely popular in French versions. Clément Marot had first adapted it about 1540, in a poem of over one hundred and fifty lines, called LAmour Fugitif.18 De Baif, having met the poem anew in Greek some thirty years later, composed a second poem on Moschus theme.19 The conceit had thus been completely Gallicised before Barnes worked on it, and he doubtless owed more to the French adaptations than to the Greek original.
The exceptionally miscellaneous character of Barnes volume, with its elegies in addition to its odes and madrigals, though it can be nearly matched in Italian literature of the century, seems to bear a deeper impress of contemporary France.20 His reading in French was obviously far-reaching. In his 12th Madrigal (Like to the mountains are my high desires) he paraphrases Melin de St. Gelais popular sonnet:
In Sonnet xci. he develops Petrarchs conceit (Sonnet clvi.) that his love-stricken soul is a storm-tossed ship in imminent peril of destruction. But it is Desportes rendering of the Italian poem which seems to have directly inspired Barnes. His fancys ship tossed here and there by troubled seas, floating in danger, ranging to and fro, is a mere echo of Desportes story of his hearts vagaries:
In accordance with the practice of the most degenerate of his French and Italian contemporaries, Barnes repeatedly succumbs to the temptation of chaining the planets to his poetic car. In a sequence of twelve sonnets (xxxii.xliii.), he likens the progress of his passion to the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the Zodiac.21 The strained conceit is valueless from all literary points of view, but it is interesting to learn the immediate channel through which it gained entrance into English poetry, and the path which it subsequently followed there. Gilles Durant, the French versifier, published in 1588 an exceptionally ample development of the extravagant fancy in a poem entitled Stances du Zodiaque (in thirty-three six-line stanzas). Barnes wrote his twelve sonnets with his eye on Durants verses. But he contented himself with a general paraphrase. His acceptance of the theme, however, stirred contemporaries to further action. Barnes slender treatment of foreign notions about the Zodiac fired a more eminent Elizabethan poet, George Chapman, to give English readers a literal rendering of the standard account by the Frenchman Durant of the Zodiacs figurative relations with mundane love. Chapmans poem was called The Amorous Zodiac, and was published in his volume called Ovids Banquet of Sense in 1595, two years after the publication of Barnes sonnet collection. Chapman reproduced with almost miraculous exactness Durants stanzas; the metre is the same throughout, and at times Chapman contrives to employ the identical rhyming syllables.22 Barnes contributed no little to the circulation in England of the sentiments and phraseology of foreign poetry.
Barely four months passed after the publication of Barnes encyclopædic effort than there was offered to the Elizabethan reading public a somewhat smaller volume of very similar temper. The author, Giles Fletcher, a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge, was forty-four years old,23 and he made no secret of his method of work in his capacity of sonneteer. He bears, in fact, useful testimony to the procedure in vogue among his sonneteering contemporaries by announcing on his title-page that his poems of love were written to the imitation of the best Latin poets and others. In the address to his patroness, the wife of Sir Richard Molineux, he deprecates the notion that his book enshrines any episode in his own experience. He merely claims to follow the fashion, and to imitate the men of learning and great parts of Italy, France, and England, who have already written poems and sonnets of love. Most men, he explains, have some personal knowledge of the passion, but experience is not an essential preliminary to the penning of amorous verse. A man may write of love and not be in love, as well as of husbandry and not go to the plough, or of witches and be none, or of holiness and be flat profane. He regrets the English poets proclivities to borrow from Italy, Spain, and France their best and choice conceits, and expresses a pious preference for English homespun; but this is counsel of perfection, and he makes no pretence to personal independence of foreign models. He laughingly challenges his critics to identify his lady-love Licia with any living woman. If thou muse, What my Licia is? Take her to be some Diana, or some Minerva: no Venus, fairer far. It may be she is Learnings Image, or some heavenly wonder: which the Precisest may not mislike. Perhaps under that name I have shadowed Discipline [i.e., the ideal of puritanism]. It may be, I mean that kind courtesy which I found at the Patroness of these Poems, it may be some College. It may be my conceit, and pretend nothing. Whatsoever it be, if thou like it, take it. To his sonnets Fletcher appends an ode, three elegies, and a verse rendering of Lucians dialogue concerning Polyphemus.
Fletchers verse is quite passable, and shows a command of the sonnet form and metre which few of his contemporaries excelled. His ideas are mainly borrowed from minor Latin poetry by Italian or French writers, of recent or contemporary date. He does not, however, disdain levying loans on Watson and Sidney, as well as on French and Italian sonneteers writing in their own tongue. Though his phrases are very often plagiarised, his adaptations are felicitous; and, unlike Lodge and Daniel, he rarely descends to wholesale literal translation.
Fletcher very often betters his instruction. In Sonnet xxvii., where he represents his nymph heating, by force of her passion, the water of the fountain in which she bathes, he reproduces with effect an epigram from the Greek anthology which was familiar in a Latin version, and was utilised by Shakespeare, probably after reading Fletchers effort.24 Fletchers next sonnet (xxviii.)
In time the strong and stately turrets fall,
In time the rose and silver lilies die,
shows a poetic feeling that is superior to the Latin poem which suggested it
In Fletchers Sonnet xlv., There shone a comet, and it was full west, he had in mind the Latin hexameters of Jean Bonnefons, the far-famed contemporary writer of France, whose Latin verses were turned into French, just before Fletcher wrote, by his poetic friend, Gilles Durant.26
Fletcher in his penultimate Sonnet li. renders anew the sonnet of Ronsard (Amours, I. xxxii.) which Lodge had already translated in Phillis, xxxiii. The subject is the familiar conceit, how the mistresss beauty was the gift of the gods and goddesses, who endowed her with their most characteristic features. Fletchers rendering is somewhat freer than Lodges literal translation, although at times the phraseology is almost identical:
Note 1. Cf. Wits Miserie (London, 1596), where quotations are given usually with translations from (among numerous other authors) Demosthenes, Aristotle, Seneca, Horace, Martial, Ovid, Plautus, Juvenal, Lucan, Cicero, St. Augustine, Ausonius, Pausanias, Claudianus, and Manilius, as well as from Mantuanus, Du Bartas, Rabelais, and that divine Petrarch. [back]
Note 2. Another translation of the same Italian madrigal figures in John Wilbyes Madrigals (1598), No. xi. It begins: Lady, when I behold the roses sprouting. [back]
Note 4. The volume is arranged on the foreign model of sonnet-sequences. Not all its forty sonnets are of the regular length, and interspersed among them are three elegies and an ode. The sonnets alone are printed in this collection. [back]
Note 5. It was commonly employed quite early in the sixteenth century. Wyatt, imitating a French version of Petrarchs Sonnet clxxxviii., heads his version, The lover confesseth him in love with Phillis.Tottel, p. 36. [back]
Note 6. Many of Vauquelins lyrics or madrigals begin with such lines as these, all of which will sound familiar to students of Elizabethan song:
Entre les fleurs, entre les lis
Doucement dormoit ma Philis(Id. lx.);
Au beau visage de Philis,
Comme en un lict, Amour se couche
Entre les roses et les lis
Et sur les illets de sa bouche:(Id. vi.);
Philis, ton jeune cur
Me traite à la rigueur.(Id. xiv.).
Philliss name figures with equal frequency in Vauquelins sonnets and elegies. [back]
Note 7. Ronsard was not himself the inventor of the language or the theme in each case. One of these cited sonnets (Lodge, xxxv.) he adapted from Petrarch, and another (Lodge, xxxii.) from Bembo. By way of illustrating graphically the inveterate principle of transference, I print with my first example of Lodges plagiaristic habits (Sonnet xxxv.), its Petrarchan prototype. The familiar sonnet in Petrarch (No. civ.) runs thus:
Note 8. Mr. A. H. Bullen, in his valuable volume of Lyrics from Elizabethan Romances (1890), calls attention to this satiric reference to Lodge, and also quotes some very interesting illustrations of Lodges indebtedness to Desportes.(Introduction, pp. vii.xv.) [back]
Note 9. Desportes seems to have himself adapted his poem from Pontus de Tyard, Les Erreurs Amoureuses (1548), Livre I., No. xxiii. (Leau sur ma face en ce point distillante). [back]
Note 10. This sonnet of Ariosto was popular with French sonneteers; the following rendering is in Claude de Pontouxs sonnet-sequence entitled LIdée (Sonnet clxxxvi.). But Lodge followed the Italian and not the French version.
O herauz de mon cur, mes souspirs trop hastifs!
O mes pleurs quen veillant je ne cele qua peine!
Note 12. Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, 1589. Ed. Arber, 1869, p. 260. [back]
Note 13. Cf. Sonnet lxiii., where, not content with wishing himself to be his mistresss gloves, her pearl-necklace, and her belt of gold, the poet prays to be also metamorphosed into That sweet wine which down her throat doth trickle. [back]
Note 14. Cf. Barnes Sonnet lvi., The dial! love, which shows how my days spend; or lxiv., If all the loves were lost, and should be found; or xv.,
Where or to whom, then, shall I make complaint?
When I shall resign
Thy loves large charter and thy bonds again.
Shakespeare followed Barnes in his free use of law terms, by which the latter illustrates what he calls the tenure of loves service (xx.); (cf. Barnes Sonnet iv., suborners, Sonnet viii., mortgage, Sonnet xx., rents). The parallels between Shakespeares and Barnes sonnets are far more numerous than my present space permits me to indicate. [back]
Note 15. Barnes dedicatory sonnet to Shakespeares patron, the Earl of Southampton, is printed at p. 314. Cf. my Life of Shakespeare, pp. 1324. [back]
Note 16. Only one copy is known to be extant, and thatwith a defaced title-pagebelongs to the Duke of Devonshire. The book was licensed to John Wolf by the Stationers Company, on 10th May 1593. [back]
Note 18. Marot called the Greek author of the poem Lucian, apparently in error. Cf. Les uvres, Part II. 1415b. [back]
Note 19. Cf. De Baif, Poèmes, Livre V. à Mademoiselle Victoire (ed. Marty-Laveaux, ii. pp. 276 sq.). [back]
Note 20. The introduction of elegies into collections of love poetry is very common among sixteenth-century French poetse.g., Théodore de Bèze, Desportes, and Vauquelin. [back]
Note 21. Astrology was pressed into their service by Renaissance poets of all countriesnotably in France; cf. Pontus de Tyards Mantice, 1558 (see his uvres, ed. Marty-Laveaux, 233, 2546), and Milles de Norrys LUnivers, 1583. In Le second Curieux, ou second discours de la nature du monde et de ses parties, a chapter of the poets Discours Philosophiques, De Tyard writes: Le Zodiac a lieu icy; car entre luy et lhomme il y a un merveilleux consentement par sympathie. Cf. Chaucers Treatise of the Astrolabe, i. § 21: Everich of thise 12 signes [of the Zodiac] hath respecte to a certein parcelle of the body of a man and hath it in governance; as Aries hath thyn heved [i.e., head], and Taurus thy nekke and thy throte, Gemini thyn armholes and thyn armes, and so forth. [back]
Note 22. The first stanzas in French and English run thus:
Jamais vers le soleil ie ne tourne la veuë
Que soudain, de dépit, ie naye lame émeuë
En moy mesme jaloux de sa felicité:
Et porte à cõtre-coeur, quãd ie uoy taut de signes
Luyre dedans le Ciel, ores quils soient indignes
De iouyr dun honneur quils nont point merité.
(Durants Amours et Meslanges, etc., 1588 ed., p. 44a.)
I never see the sun, but suddenly
My soul is moved with spite and jealousy
Of his high bliss, in his sweet course discernd;
And am displeased to see so many signs,
As the bright sky unworthily divines,
Enjoy an honour they have never earnd.
The rest of Chapmans poem is equally plagiaristic, but he omits five of the Frenchmans stanzas towards the end. Chapman gives no hint of his plagiarism. Mr. Arthur Acheson in a recent volume, Shakespeare and the Rival Poet, finds most inconclusively in Chapmans Amorous Zodiac evidence that Shakespeare had Chapman and that poem in mind when he attacked, in Sonnet xxi., the practice in sonnets of making a couplement of proud compare with sun and moon, etc. Every sonneteer of France, Italy, and England offers equally notable examples of such figurative extravagance. Mr. Acheson cites Chapmans poem on the Zodiac in ignorance of Barnes previous treatment of the theme, or of Chapmans indebtedness to Durants French poem. [back]
Note 23. He was father of the poets Phineas and Giles Fletcher, and uncle of John Fletcher, the great dramatist. [back]
Note 24. Cf. Shakespeares Sonnetscliii., cliv.; Palatine anthology, ix. 627; Mackails Selections, p. 191, and my Life of Shakespeare, p. 113, note 2. [back]
Note 25. Hieronymi Angeriani Neapolitani [Greek] (Paris, 1582), p. 28. The general idea is often met with. Cf. Watsons Hecatompathia, xlvii.:
In time the bull is brought to hear the yoke
In time the marble wears with weakest showers;
Time wasteth years and months and hours
Time kills the greenest herbs and sweetest flowers.
In both cases Watson adapted Italian sonnets by Serafino, who himself was rendering a passage from Ovids Tristia, IV. vi. 116. [back]
Note 26. Bonnefons Latin poem begins: Qualiter exoriens ferali crine cometes; Durants French rendering begins: Comme un comète naissant va parmi lair amassant. See La Pancharis, Avec les imitations françoises de Gilles Durant, ed. Blanchemain (Paris, 1878), p. 48. Ben Jonson, who expressed, in conversation with Drummond, great admiration for Bonnefons poetic capacity as illustrated by his Pervigilium Veneris, is stated by Gifford and all succeeding editors to have literally translated in his well-known song, Still to be neat, still to be dressed, verses by Bonnefons beginning, Semper munditias, semper, Basilissa, decores. But these Latin verses, although commonly assigned to Bonnefons by English editors, are not to be met with in that poets works. The alternative attribution of them to Petronius Arbiter by Upton, an early editor of Ben Jonson, proves equally misleading. They are quoted as a well-known composition without any authors name in Nicolaus Heinsiuss edition of Ovid, 1652, ii. 394, and in Colomesii Opuscula, 1668, p. 220. [back]
Note 27. Cf. Ronsards sonnet and Lodges translation at pp. lxix, lxx, supra. In de Pontoux LIdée the conceit was worked out in much the same way (Sonnet ccxviii.):
lui donna Junon
Sa grâce, and Apollon sa perruque dorée;
Venus les yeux riants, Iuppin sa gravité,
Pallas son beau parler, bref toute sa beauté
Fut ouvrage des Dieux.
Ronsard lightly touches again on the fancy in Amours, II. No. ii: