Joshua Sylvester (1563-1618) emerges from unpromising beginnings as the English Bartas and in that capacity exercises such literary influence on the English seventeenth century as can hardly be exaggerated. Sylvester's name is often cited alongside Spenser's, and Dryden (No. 100) confesses to having preferred the former poet in his youth.
(a) From The Epistle Dedicatorie To…M.Anthonie Bacon, in The First Day of The Worldes Creation: Or of the first weeke of that most Christian Poet, W. Salustius, Lord of Bartas (1595), sig. A2:
…this most Christian Poet, and noble Frenchman Lord of Bartas, might haue been naturalized among vs, either by a generall act of a Poeticall Parliament: or haue obtained a kingly translator for his weeke (as he did for his Furies:) or rather a diuine Sidney, a stately Spencer, or a sweet Daniell for an interpreter thereof.
(b) From Bartas. His Deuine Weekes & Workes Translated (1605), Eden, pp. 272-3 ; repr. Complete Works, ed. A.B. Grosart (1880), p. 99:
Let This [work] prouoke our modern wits to sacre
Their wondrous gifts to honour thee their Maker:
That our mysterious ELFINE oracle,
Deepe, Morall, graue, inuentions miracle:
My deere sweet Daniel, sharpe-conceipted briefe,
Ciuill, sententious, for pure accents chiefe:
And our new Naso, that so passionates
Th'heroicke sighes of loue-sick Potentates:
May change their subiect, and aduance their wings
Vp to these higher and more holy things.
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Publication information: Book title: Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage. Contributors: R. M.Cummings - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 88.
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