Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

By R. M.Cummings | Go to book overview
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Henry More


Henry More (1614-87) was educated at Christ's College (too late to have known Milton) and remained there as a Fellow. He is best known for his association with the group known as Cambridge Platonists. His Platonism may have predisposed him to an appreciation of Spenser, in whom at any rate he took great interest and to whom as a poet he is both generally and locally indebted. Thomas Vaughan in The Man Mouse Taken in a Trap (1650) calls him 'a Poet in the Loll & Trot of Spencer' (sig. A2v) and seems to enjoy making other insulting reference to More's particular predilection for the poet.

(a) From

Platonica or a Platonicall Song of the Soul (1642) in Philosophical Poems (1647), sig. A2v(Psychzoia, To his dear Father…) repr. Philosophical Poems, ed. G. Bullough (Manchester, 1931), p. I:

You deserve the Patronage of better Poems then these, though you may lay a more proper claim to these then any. You having from my childhood tuned mine ears to Spencers rhymes, entertaining us on winter nights, with that incomparable Peice of his, The Fairy Queen, a Poem richly fraught with divine Morality as Phansy.

Ibid., sig. B7V(To the Reader…); repr. Bullough, p. 8:

…Why may it not be free for me to break out into an higher strain, and under it to touch upon some points of Christianity; as well as all-approved Spencer, sings of Christ under the name of Pan?

(b) From Conjectura Cabbalistica (1653), p. 226:

It is much that Philo should take no notice of that which is so particularly set down in the Text, the subtilty of the Serpent, which methinks is


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