Richard Barnfield (1574-1627), educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, was a friend of Thomas Watson, Francis Meres, and Michael Drayton, a group of which he is the least articulate enthusiast of Spenser. As a poet he is himself heavily indebted to Spenser: he commends his own Cynthia (1595) in a prefactory epistle (sig. A4V) 'if for no other cause, yet, for that it is the first imitation of the verse of that excellent Poet, Maister Spencer, in his Fayrie Queene'. The two fragments quoted below are of no specific interest, but serve to illustrate one dominant emphasis in contemporary criticism of Spenser.
(a) To his friend Maister R.L. In praise of Musique and Poetrie, in Poems: in diuers humors (1598), sig. E2; repr. Some Longer Elizabethan Poems, ed. A.H. Bullen (Westminster, 1903), p. 264:
Dowland to thee is deare; whose heauenly tuch
Vpon the Lute, doeth rauish humaine sense:
Spenser to mee; whose deepe Conceit is such,
As passing all Conceit, needs no defence.
(b) From A Remembrance of some English Poets, in Poems, sig. E2V; repr Bullen, p. 265:
Liue Spenser euer, in thy Fairy Queene:
Whose like (for deepe Conceit) was neuer seene.
Crownd mayst thou bee, vnto thy more renowne,
(As King of Poets) with a Lawrell crowne.