Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

By R. M.Cummings | Go to book overview

94.

Sir Aston Cockayne

1658

Sir Aston Cockayne (1608-84) was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and the Inns of Court. Of antiquarian leanings, he was a friend of Dugdale. The praise of Spenser in the pieces below can be only conventional: the appearance of Mr Humphrey C.'s Loves Hawking Bag moved Sir Aston to dismiss to oblivion all the luminaries of earlier English poetry, including Spenser.

(a) From A Remedy for Love in Small Poems of Divers Sorts (1658), p. 8 (reissued with the same pagination as A Chain of Golden Poems); repr. Sir Egerton Brydges, Restituta (1815), II. 138-9:

There thou upon the Sepulchre maist look
Of Chaucer, our true Ennius, whose old book
Hath taught our Nation so to Poetize,
That English rythmes now any equalize;
That we no more need envy at the straine
Of Tiber, Tagus, or our neighbor Seine.
There Spencers Tomb thou likewise maist behold,
Which he deserved, were it made of gold:
If honoured Colin, thou hadst liv'd so long,
As to have finished thy Faery Song,
Not onely mine, but all tongues would confess,
Thou hadst exceeded old Maeonides.

(b) Ibid., p. II; repr. Brydges, II. 139-40:

For Colins sake (who hath so well exprest
The vertues of our Faery Elves, and drest
Our Poesie in such a gallant guise)
On happy Pembroke-Hall employ thine eyes.

-194-

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