Sidney: The Critical Heritage

By Martin Garrett | Go to book overview

78.

The History of Argalus and Parthenia

c. 1760-85?

This work tells the basic story of Argalus and Parthenia in twenty-three duodecimo pages. It is bound with popular versions of Aesop’s Fables, Patient Grissel, Drake’s travels, ‘The History of Sir Richard Whittington’, ‘Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner’, and the like as The Ballad-Singers Basket. A Choice Collection of Pretty Pennyworths (1809), ‘collected by Mr. Haslewood.’ Chapter 1, reproduced here, is representative of the style and content of the whole. The main sources are Quarles’s poem (No. 49) and its prose derivatives.

This may be the version of the story which, according to Julius Lloyd (The Life of Sir Philip Sidney, London, 1862, p. 101), ‘is still sold in a cheap form by hawkers’.


The History of Argalus and Parthenia. Being a Choice Flower Gathered Out of Sir Phillip Sidney’s Rare Garden. London, n.d., pp. 2-3.

In the pleasant country of Arcadia, a place noted for rural delights and sweetness of air, reigned a prince named Basilius; a man possessed of all those amiable qualifications which rendered him beloved, honoured, and esteemed by all ranks of subjects. This good King married a young princess, named Cyrecia, daughter to the king of Cyprus, a lady of beauty, wit, virtue, and unspotted chastity; with whom there came to the court of Basilius a cousin German of her’s, called Argalus, led with her by the humour of youth to observe the manner and customs of strange countries; a gentleman both learned and valiant.—He had not long resided in that place, before the fame of a gallant lady’s virtues and beauty reached his ears, and so affected his heart, that he could not but take an opportunity to see her, and in seeing he could not avoid liking, and loving so matchless a piece of nature’s perfection. Her name was Parthenia, daughter to a great lady of the court; endowed with every accomplishment to render the man happy to whose lot she should fall.

Such rare perfections meeting with those of Argalus soon found out each other, and to be short, they kindled a fire in each others breast, which was attended with many trials and disappointments: as the sequel of this history will prove.

-287-

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Sidney: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor’s Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Note on the Text xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Edward Waterhouse 87
  • 2 - Philip Sidney 88
  • 4 - Edmund Spenser 93
  • Note 94
  • 6 - George Puttenham 96
  • 7 - William Temple 98
  • 8 - Geoffrey Whitney 102
  • 12 - George Whetstone 110
  • 15 - Sir John Harington 115
  • 16 - Thomas Newman 118
  • 18 - Edmund Spenser 127
  • 21 - Thomas Moffet 136
  • 22 - John King 139
  • 24 - Gervase Markham 141
  • 25 - Francis Meres 146
  • Note 147
  • 27 - Ben Jonson 152
  • 29 - Brian Twyne 157
  • 32 - Matthew Gwynne 169
  • 34 - Richard Carew 171
  • 36 - John Day 174
  • Notes 186
  • Note 200
  • 45 - John Donne 211
  • 47 - Upon Sydneis Arcadia 217
  • 48 - Michael Drayton 219
  • 52 - Edmund Waller 227
  • 54 - Richard Lovelace 232
  • 62 - Charles Cotton 259
  • 63 - John Aubrey 260
  • 65 - Edward Phillips 264
  • 66 - Life of Spenser 265
  • 67 - D. Tyndale 266
  • 69 - Anthony Wood 268
  • 70 - ‘j.N.’ 270
  • 71 - D. Stanley 272
  • 72 - Elizabeth Montagu 275
  • 75 - Samuel Johnson 281
  • 76 - ‘philisides’ 283
  • 78 - The History of Argalus and Parthenia 287
  • 79 - The Gentleman’s Magazine 288
  • 80 - Richard Brinsley Sheridan 290
  • 84 - Thomas Zouch 296
  • 85 - The Annual Review and History of Literature for 1808 299
  • 87 - Sir Egerton Brydges 304
  • 89 - William Hazlitt 317
  • 94 - Henry Hallam 335
  • 95 - Isaac D’israeli 337
  • Select Bibliography 350
  • Index 353
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