Elizabethan Critical Essays

By G. Gregory Smith | Go to book overview

FROM E. HOBY'S TRANSLATION OF
COIGNET'S POLITIQUE DISCOURSES
1586

[The following passage is the thirty-fifth chapter of Politique Discourses on trueth and lying. An instruction to Princes to keepe their faith and promise. . . . Translated out of French . . . by Sir ú. Hoby. R. Newberrie. London 1586. 4°. (B. M. 523• g. 13). The original, by Matthieu Coignet, appeared in Paris in 1584, with the title Instruction aux Princes pour garder la Foy promise: contenant un sommaire de la philosophie Chrestienne et morale . . . en plusieurs discours.]

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THAT LYING HATH MADE POETS AND PAINTERS TO BE BLAMED, AND OF THE GARNISHING OF HOUSES.

PLATO wrote that Poetrie consisted in the cunning inuention of fables, which are a false narration resembling a true, and that therein they did often manifest sundrie follies of the gods; for this cause he banished and excluded them out of his common wealth, as men that mingled poyson with honie. Besides thorough their lying and wanton discourses they cor- rupt the manners of youth, and diminish that reuerence which men ought to carrie towards their superiors and the lawes of God, whom they faine to be replenished with passions & vice. And the principall ornament of their verses are tales made at pleasure, & foolish & disorderly subiectes, cleane disguising the trueth & hystorie, to the end they might the more delight; and for this cause haue they bin thrust out of sundry cities. Among other, after that Archilocus came into Sparta, he was presently thrust out, as soon as they had vnderstood how he had written in his poemes, that it was better to lose a mans weopens than his life, &; forbad euer after al such deceitful

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