Carew (1555-1620), Cornish antiquarian and topographer, had been ‘called to dispute ex tempore…with the matchless Sir Ph. Sidney’ when they were both studying at Oxford, probably in 1569 (Richard Carew, Survey of Cornwall, London, 1602, f. 102v; Katherine Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet, London, 1991, p. 42).
Carew was a friend of Camden, in whose Remaines his essay was published in 1614. It was probably written some time after 1605, when Camden’s first edition appeared without it (William Camden, Remains Concerning Britain, ed. R.D. Dunn, Toronto, 1984, p. 376).
Sidney had proclaimed the potential of the English language in A Defence of Poetry (MP, p. 119). A quarter of a century later Carew can second him with a confidence born in great measure of Sidney’s own influence and example, and cite the fulfilment of the potential in Sidney, Spenser, Daniel, Shakespeare and Marlowe, as well as the achievement of some earlier authors.
And in a word, to close up these proofs of our copiousnesse, looke into our Imitations of all sorts of verses affoorded by any other language, and you shall finde that Sir Philip Sidney, Maister Puttenham, Maister Stanihurst, and divers more have made use how farre wee are within compasse of a fore imagined impossibility in that behalfe.
Again, the long words that we borrow being intermingled with the short of our owne store, make up a perfect harmonie, by culling from out which mixture (with judgement) you may frame your speech according to the matter you must work on, majesticall, pleasant, delicate, or manly more or lesse, in what sort you please. Adde hereunto, that whatsoever grace any other language carrieth