Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

By R. M.Cummings | Go to book overview

29.

Francis Meres

1598

Francis Meres (1565-1647), educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, was by the late 1590s mixing in London literary circles where he enjoyed some reputation as a poet. Palladis Tamia. Wits Treasury. Being the Second part of Wits Common wealth was published in 1598 and, as the title indicates, was a continuation of Politeuphuia: Wits Commonwealth, published in 1597 and largely the work of Nicholas Ling. Palladis Tamia was reissued twice in the seventeenth century, first (confusingly) as Wits Commonwealth (1634), and then as Wits Academy (1636).

From Palladis Tamia (1598), fol. 278V:

And our famous English Poet Spenser, who in his Sheepeheards Calendar samenting the decay of Poetry at these dayes, saith most sweetly to the lame.

Then make thee wings of thine aspiring wit

And whence thou camest fly backe to heauen apace, &c.

[October ll. 83-4]

Ibid., fol. 280:

As the Greeke tongue is made famous and eloquent by Homer, Hesiod, Euripedes, Aeschilus, Sophocles, Pindarus, Phocylides, and Aristophanes; and the Latine tongue by Virgill, Ouid, Horace, Silius Italicus, Lucanus, Lucretius, Ausonius and Claudianus: so the English tongue is mightily enriched and georgeouslie inuested in rare ornaments and resplendent abiliments by sir Philip Sidney, Spencer, Daniel, Drayton, Warner, Shakespeare, Marlow and Chapman.

Ibid., fol. 280v:

As Sextus Propertius saide; Nescio quid magis nascitur Iliade [Elegies II.

-96-

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