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A piece of the same length, and signed by the same initials, but of immeasurably inferior value, was prefixed to Lithgow's “ Pilgrimes Farewell," (Edinburgh, 1618,) with the heading, “To his singular Friend, William Lithgow.” We are told, that “from the initials, this piece is usually attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh ;'* but it is impossible to suspect him of it.
Raleigh's name has been so often misapplied in old MS. Collections, that we are unwilling to ascribe any pieces to him on that kind of evidence, except where several accounts are found to coincide. It is moreover so exceedingly difficult to bear in mind the countless little pieces which were written and printed in the seventeenth century, that we are in constant danger of producing as a novelty some perfectly familiar fragment, whenever we trust to the table-books of old transcribers. It is therefore with great diffidence that I venture to add two other articles to the list, on the evidence of single MSS.f One of them is printed in this volume; the other is only a set of sprightly nonsense-verses (sprightly,
or Sir A. Gorges' Lucan. Compare some very manly verses, addressed by Sir Arıbur to King James, and printed in Restituta, iv. 509:
“ Of many now that sounde with hopes consort
Your wisdome, bountie, and peace-blessed raygne,
Because not school'd by favours, gyfis, or gaine:
To sweete my tunes 1 straine not Flattrye's stringe;
That longe I did before you weare my Kinge,
1° Ianua : 1609."
• Brit. Bibl. ii. 142, where there is an account of Lithgow's Book, of which Malone bad a copy (Bodl. Mal. 717). It was also mentioned in Ritson, p. 307, note.
+ There are several others which I might have mentioned; but I am not sufficiently acquainted with the great mass of old poetical MSS. preserved in our various Libraries to give anything like a complete list; and nothing
though “the hangman" plays a prominent part in them) written to amuse a child.
XLIII. “What is our Life ? the play of passion;" &c.SW:R:-See this vol. p. 81.
XLIV. “Sir Walter Rauleigh to his Sonne.”—MS. Malone 19, p. 130.
On looking back over this list of poems, it is mortifying to observe, that scarcely half of them can be attributed to Raleigh without fear of contradiction. That he wrote more poems than we now possess, is beyond dispute. We may well wonder, with Malone, that his “ Cynthia" has been allowed to perish; but many others of his compositions must have shared its fate; for there is little left to account for the quaint commendations of Puttenham, Meres, and Bolton, still less to justify the glorious praise of Spenser. It is some consolation, however, to remember, that the stores of Elizabethan poetry are not yet exhausted; and that those who are not debarred, by the confinement of a country residence, from free access to our Public Libraries, may yet many
relics of his poetry which I have neither seen nor heard of. Few discoveries of the kind would be more pleasing than one which should authorize us to conclude, that Raleigh himself was the anonymous friend of Francis Davison, who is now known only by the unexplained initials A. W.; but this is more than we can venture to anticipate. Yet Brydges was not merely guessing in the dark, when he thought that those
short of that would be permanently useful. I may refer to one piece, however, which is mentioned in the Catalogue of Mr. B. H. Bright's MSS., for the oddity of its title: " The despairinge complainte of wretched Rawleigbe for his treacheries wronght against the worthie Essex.” (No. 190. In the same number was “ Rawleigh's Caveat to secure Courtiers." See too the accounts of Nos. 189, 207.)-The poem ascribed to Raleigh in the Topo grapher (see this vol. p. 45) is only one instance ont of many of tbe risk we run by trusting MS. autborities when they stand alone.
poems bore strong internal evidence of Raleigh's genius. “A. W.,” he remarks, “ almost always begins his poems well, so as to make his initial lines striking and full of interest by their animation and harmony;" and this was surely one of Raleigh's chief characteristics. Indeed he often begins much better than he ends. Among other instances, Brydges mentions “Smooth are thy lookes; so is the deepest streame" -a line which at once reminds us of the commencement of a poem which we may safely regard as Raleigh's.* Another instance of resemblance is not a little singular. Puttenham, when giving examples of “ Anaphora, or the Figure of Report," quotes “this written by Sir Walter Raleigh of his greatest mistresse in most excellent verses :
• In vayne mine eyes, in vaine you wast your teares;
In vayne ye seeke; for fortune keeps my loue.'”+ Compare the following fragment, the first line of which occurs in the Catalogue of A. W.'s Poems :
See this vol. III, ix. p. 132. The same thought occurs in other poems by A. W.; as in the “ Inuectiue against Loue,” which has been already mentioned -" The deepest streames aboue doe calmest fow"-(Dav. p. 124, ed. 1621=ii. 31, Lee Pr. ed.). Again,-“ The deepest streames do flow full calme to sight"-(ib. p. 186=i. 100). Also in a poem which A, W. answered,-“Where riuers smoothest run, deepe are the fords”—(ib. p. 134 =ii.56. This last piece is in Mr. Collier's volume of Lyrical Poems, p. 71).
+ Arte of English Poesie, p. 165, repr. Another fragment quoted by Puttenbam has been identified. See above, p. xxxvi. The following is also preserved by him (p. 167);—" that of Sir Walter Raleighs very sweet :
• With wisdomes eyes had but blind fortune seene,
Than bad my looue, my looue for ever beene.'” A few other fragments of Raleigh's are still in existence; such as the line “ Pain would I climb, yet fear I to fall,” which, according to Fuller, he wrote on a window, where Qneen Elizabeth might see it; and which she was pleased to answer. (Worthies of Devon. p. 261.) – Mr. Tytler has called attention to the short metrical translations which occur in his History of the World. Life of Raleigh, pp. 298-300.—There are also some lines which he is said to bave addressed to Queen Anne shortly before his execution.—His poems were used in the Garden of the Muses, a compilation of single lines and couplets, 1600 and 1610; but his property cannot be distinguished from the rest,
“ In vaine I liue, such sorrow lines in me;
Thus each of vs would worke anothers woe,
And huris himselfe in vaine, and helpes bis foe." Another very similar stanza is printed in Cens. Lit. (ii. 101, ed. 1815) from Este's Madrigales, &c. 1604:
" In vaine, my tongue, thou begst to ease my care;
In vaine, mine eies, you gase or looke for aide ;
In vaine, my thoughts, you thinke what hath beene said;
In vaine my faith series where 'tis not regarded." As the poems of A. W. have been so much mixed up with those of Raleigh, I will annex a brief specimen of them, from Davison's Collection,—the only publication in which any of them are known to have been originally printed :
“ Eternall Time, that wastest without wast,
How can I iustly praise thee or dispraise ?
Darke are thy nights, but bright and cleare thy daies.
Constant, inconstant; mouing, standing still;
Was, is, shall be, doe thee both breede and kill.
All things by thee are measured, thou by none;
(p. 137, ed. 1621=ii. 62, L. P. ed.)
• In the later eds. of Davison (p. 148, ed. 1621) these lines were printed as if they formed the conclusion of the poein beginning “ Now what is lone, I pray thee tell"-(see above, on No. x); and as that was obviously a blonder, Sir H. Nicolas, who printed from the third ed., 1611, threw them into a pote (p. 297). But in ed. 1608, from which the Lee Priory reprint was taken, they appear to have been properly marked as a separate Poem (see that repr. i. 114, and Pref. p. 27, ii. 70). Brydges reads, in the first line, sith sorrow.'
It is now time to sum up the evidence which has been brought together, by making it the basis of a new classification of Raleigh's reputed poems. I have hitherto examined them in the order presented by his editors: and any attempt to make a better arrangement must necessarily be defective, as I cannot suppose that all the evidence bas been exhausted. But the enquiry has been already pursued to a much greater extent than I intended; and it would therefore be improper to stop short of its legitimate conclusion. Moreover, a revision of the subject will give me the opportunity of furnishing complete copies of several poems, which have been only alluded to elsewhere.
In the case of any man but Raleigh, this would be, in the main, a question of degrees of evidence,—whether it were more or less conclusive in each particular instance. But the Collection published by Sir Egerton Brydges was made in such a predatory spirit, that we must be content, in Raleigh's case, with a ruder mode of classification; and must ask only,—whether there be any positive evidence for him, or any positive evidence against him, or simply no evidence at all. The poems, then, will fall into three classes, answering to these, though in a slightly different order. In the first, we must place all those pieces which can be assigned to Raleigh with any kind of probability, even if it often falls far short of certainty. The second may include those which are altogether uncertain,-of which we know nothing at all, either one way or the other. To the third will belong those poems which we know for certain that Raleigh did not write, chiefly because we can shew that others have a better-founded claim to them.
Of the whole number of forty-four poems, we may perhaps arrange twenty-three in the first class, which will leave thirteen for the second, and right for the third. But each class may be a little enlarged by the addition of scattered poems and fragments, which have been mentioned without being included in the list.