Thomas Newman published the unauthorized and swiftly suppressed ‘bad quarto’ of Astrophil and Stella in the summer of 1591 and the subsequent partly corrected version which omitted his own preface, that by Thomas Nashe (No. 17), and the additional poems by Campion, Daniel and Greville. Newman is at least partly aware of the literary importance, and certainly of the sales potential, of publishing a ‘famous device’ of ‘so rare [a] man’. But his fear that ‘the Argument may perhaps seeme too light’ for Flower’s ‘grave viewe’ sounds a more cautious (or disingenuous) note.
Francis Flower of Gray’s Inn was ‘a Gentleman Pensioner to the queen, a follower of Sir Christopher Hatton, and in 1587 had collaborated in writing The Misfortunes of Arthur’ (Ringler, p. 543).
It was my fortune (right worshipfull) not many daies since, to light upon the famous device of Astrophel and Stella, which carrying the generall commendation of all men of judgement, and being reported to be one of the rarest things that ever any Englishman set abroach, I have thought good to publish it under your name, both for I know the excellencie of your worships conceipt, above all other to be such, as is onely fit to discerne of all matters of wit, as also for the credite and countenaunce your patronage may give to such a worke. Accept of it I beseech you, as the first fruites of my affection, which desires to aproove it selfe in all dutie unto you: and though the Argument perhaps may seeme too light for your grave viewe, yet considering the worthines of the Author, I hope you will entertaine it accordingly. For my part, I have beene very carefull in the Printing of it, and where as being spred abroade in written Coppies, it had gathered much corruption by ill Writers: I have