Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

By R. M.Cummings | Go to book overview
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103.

Samuel Woodford

1679

Samuel Woodford (1636-1700) was educated at Wadham College, Oxford and the Inner Temple. For an account of his use of Spenser, see A.C. Judson, 'Samuel Woodford and Edmund Spenser', N&Q, CLXXXIX (1945), 191-2.

(a) From The Preface to A Paraphrase Upon the Canticles…(1679), sig. b2:

Among the several other Papers that we have lost of the Excellent and Divine Spenser, one of the happiest Poets that this Nation ever bred, (and out of it the World, it may be (all things considered) had not his Fellow, excepting only such as were immediately Inspired) I bewail nothing me-thinks so much, as his Version of the Canticles. For doubtless, in my poor Judgement, never was Man better made for such a Work, and the Song it self so directly suited, with his Genius, and manner of Poetry (that I mean, wherein he best shews and even excels himself, His Shepherds Kalendar, and other occasional Poems, for I cannot yet say the same directly for his Faery Queen design'd for an Heroic Poem) that it could not but from him receive the last Perfection, whereof it was capable out of its Original.

(b) Ibid., sig. c2v:

If therefore Our selves, or the French will use Blank Verse, either in an Heroick Poem, where they should be I think Couplets, as in Mr Cowley's Davideis (for the Quadrains of Sir William Davenant, and the Stanza of Nine in Spensers Faery Queen, which are but an Improvement of the Ottava Rima, to instance in no more, seem not to me so proper) or in an Ode or Sonnet, (which remains yet to be attempted)…. let us give it the Character, as to its Form, which it anciently had.

-208-

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