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Works.* Mr. Laing's recent edition of the Conversations of Jonson and Drummond throws still further doubts on the good faith of that Collection.t
Instances of the same nature might be multiplied to almost any extent;t but these are enough to shew, that the insertion of a poem among a writer's collected Works does not always prove him to be the author of it, unless (as in the case of Rel. Wotton.) we have good assurance of the editor's honesty and knowledge. Several subordinate circumstances might be also mentioned, which contribute to weaken our confidence in what we might have hoped to find the surest proof of authorship. Thus at times, a facile writer would help a less ready friend upon occasion, by inditing verses for him; and the borrower and lender would be easily confounded.ll A favourite poem, again, often called forth many imitations; and it is not always possible to distinguish between the original and the copy,—still less to distribute different variations on the same original among their respective owners. Indeed it cannot be doubted that a few altera
• Donne, p. 300, ed. 1633=p. 92, ed. 1669; Gifford's Jonson, viii. 406. Perhaps this is not the only instance.
+ See two cases mentioned on p. 11 of that vol. So on p. 36, “ Joseph Hall (wrote) the harbenger to Done's Anniversarie."
No one can doubt that a mistake of this kind was committed when « The Lie" was inserted among the posthumous poems of Sylvester, unless his editor thought that the vile additions made it his. Others in that Col. lection are open to dispute; for two of them are printed as Campion's in Exc. Tudor. (i. 36; Sylvester, pp. 633-4) on the authority of one of the Harleian MSS.-Cleveland was so much disturbed by the insertion of one of his poems among Randolph's, that he wrote a second piece on the occasion (Randolph, p. 108, ed. 1668; Cleveland, pp. 25-30, ed. 1677). He ought to have been much obliged to Randolph's brother for taking it away. || See Mr. Collier's Shakespeare, viii. 475; Nott's Snrrey, p. 262.
For one remarkable case of repeated imitation, I may refer to the collection of stanzas on the model of that beginning “ Like to the falling of a Starre” in Appendix D to Biogr. Not. of Bp. H. King.–A second instance is the series on the model of “ Come live with me and be my love." See this vol. p. 126, note.-A third is mentioned above, in the remarks on No. xxvi in the list of Raleigh's Poems.--A fourth is the set of variations on “My mind to me a Kingdom is"— which I will enumerate here, as I
tions (often for the worse) sometimes sufficed to satisfy the conscience of a writer, who was willing to enrich his own stores by borrowing from his neighbour's superfluity.* All these things cause great perplexity, even to those who have the original volumes at command : and when we add, that from their rarity, one compiler is often forced to trust to information which has been supplied by another, and that several titles, such as The Farewell, The Invective, A Valediction, The Legacy, &c. were the common stock in trade of editors, who prefixed each of them to distinct poems, we shall be at no loss to understand how so much confusion has arisen.
If we turn from printed books to those old MS. Collec
think it is not generally known that Sir Edward Dyer has some claim to the original poem. There are three copies of verses on that model; two of which, viz. one of four stanzas and another of six, were printed by Byrd in 1588. They have been reprinted from his text in Cens. Lit. ii. 108-10, and Exc. Tudor. i. 100-3. Percy inserted them in the Reliques with some alterations and additions; but he changed his mind more than once as to whether they were two distinct poems, or only the dissevered parts of one (see i. 292-4, 303, ed. 1767 ; and i. 307.10, ed. 1839). The third (containing four stanzas) is among Sylvester's posthumous poems, p. 651; and Ellis reprinted it ander his name. In Cens. Lit. ii. 102, another copy of it is given from a Music Book by Gibbons, 1612. Now the longest, and apparently the earliest, of these poems is signed “ E. Dier" in MS. Rawl. Poet. 85, fol. 17. Tbal copy contains eight stanzas, and one of the two wbich are not in Byrd corresponds with a stanza which Percy added. The following are the reasons which incline us to trust this MS. (1.) Because it is the very MS. to which reference is commonly made for several of Dyer's unprinted poems,-as by Dr. Bliss, A. 0. i. 743, and apparently by Mr. Dyce, ed. of Greene, i. p. xxxv, n. and by Park, nole on Warton, iii. 230. Park is the only person I can recollect who has mentioned this particular poem in the MS.; and he cannot bave read more than the first line, for he only says,
one of them bears the popalar burden of My mind to me a Kingdom is.'" (2.) Because it is quite possible that Dyer wrote many extant poems of which he is not kpown to be the anthor; for, as Mr. Dyce says, none of his (acknowledged) productions " have descended to our times that seem to jastify the contemporary applause which he received.” (3.) Because I cannot discover that there is any other claimant to this poem.--One of Greene's poems ends with the line,“ A mind content both crown and kingdom is." (Works, ii. 288, ed. Dyce.)
• Sometimes even this poor apology was dispensed with; as when Wastell inserted vne of Southwell's poems in his Microbiblion, 1629.
tions which it was the fashion for the admirers of Poetry to form for themselves, matters seem at first to grow worse instead of better; for transcribers would often make ingenuity supply the place of information, in their eagerness to adorn their scrap-books with distinguished namnes." In authorities of that kind, therefore, even such as might be thought most trust-worthy, we are met at once by the contradictory accounts which naturally followed from the different notions men would form of style. Thus among the poems which are printed from “ Authentic Remains" of the highest character in Nugæ Antiquæ, one is ascribed to Lord Rochford, which is contained in Sir Thomas Wyatt's own MS., and “is signed with his name in his own handwriting ;”+ and two are said to have been written by John Harington, the father of the Translator of Ariosto, when he was confined in the Tower in 1554, which were inserted with different signatures (and at greater length) in the Paradyse of Daynty Deuises, only twenty-two years after that date. Again, the authority
• This volume contains many instances of these conjectural accounts. In one case (p. 76, note), several erroneous ascriptions are enumerated, all of which were superseded on better information. If the transcribers had remained in ignorance (as they often would do) these would have been so many different claimants; and if Rel. Wotton, bad never reached a second edition, the first signature, Ignuto, would no doubt have added Raleigh to the number.
+ It is the piece beginning “ My lute awake" &c. Nug. Ant. ii. 400, ed. Park; Noti's Wyalt, p. 21). (This was one of the iwo poems moralized by John Hall, Noti's Appendis to Wyati, Nos. xxviii-ix; and there are two modern versions of it.) In Park's notes on Walpole (R. and N. Auth, i. 275) and Warton (H. E. P. iii. 43, 53, ed. 18-10) he seems to be thinking only of Noti's incidental remark in bis Life of Surrey (p. XX, note), not of the decisive passage in his Notes to Wyatt (p.545). Wyalt's MS., like the other, came froin the Harington Collection,
1 The first begins" The lyfe is longe that lothsomely dothe last"- Nng. Ant. ii. 332; Parad. of D. D. p. 43, repr. (Signature," D. S.” It has four additional stanzas.) The second begins " When I looke back, and in my. self behold"-Nug. Ant. ii. 333; Parad. of D. D. p. 11. (Signature," L. Vans." It has two additional stanzas). Bnt the copies in N. A. appear to be rather compressed than imperfect. Of course I do not pretend to decide between these conflicting statements. Some far finer verses in Nog. Apt., viz. those beginning “Whence comes iny love? O hearte, disclose".
of the same John Harington and his father is adduced by his son, to prove that two metrical fragments which he sent to Prince Henry were written respectively by Henry VI and Henry VIII; yet both are found in the Mirror for Magistrates, where they seem perfectly at home.* In another publication of great respectability, Bishop Corbet, on the authority of an Ashmolean MS., is made to address Prince Charles (afterwards Charles I) in the famous Epigram wbich Sir John Harington presented to Queen Elizabeth in the character of her “saucy godson.”+
As the conjectures of transcribers would naturally keep pace with the frequency of transcripts, the number of persons to whom a poem is ascribed is generally in proportion to the popularity of the poem itself. The most remarkable of those reprinted in this volume has been assigned to no fewer than sir different writers, of the most diversified ranks and characters; and two others have been each attributed to four. It is true that some of these claimants are due to
324), have excited great suspicion. “ If there are genuine," says Mr. Hallam, “and I know not how to dispute it, they are as polished as any written at the close of the queen's reign.” (Introd. to Lit. &c. ii. 120, ed. 1943. See also Ellis, ii. 165, ed. 1811; Campbell, pp. 39, 40, second ed.; Nott's Surrey, p. cclxxix.) Bat it is confessed that there is already one mistake in the date (1564); and Park's proposal to substitute an earlier date, as the legend prefixed requires, would only make the marvel greater.
• Nug. Ant. i. 386-8; Mirror for Mag. ii. 220, 465, repr.
+ Gilchrist's Corbet, p. 82; Nng. Ant, i. 172.--Another of Mr. Gilchrist's additions to Corbet's poems (in which he followed Waldron) is almost as unfortunate. See p. 222, where he confesses that the piece “ bears no resemblance to" Corbet's " acknowledged productions," and adds, that it is ascribed to Herrick in one of the Ashmolean MSS. He should have told ns, that Herrick's title rests on far better evidence; for the poem is in bis Hesperides, p. 35, with the heading, “A Country life: To his Brother, M. Tho: Herrick.” The copy ascribed to Corbet is confessedly imperfect; tbat printed by Herrick is complete.-- For a third very doubtful case in the same volume, see p. 239; and MS. Malone 21, p. 1.-One of the poems inserted in the old eds. of Corbet belongs to Bp. H. King. See King's Poems, 1843, p. 61.
They are, The Lie,—The Farewell to the Vanities of the World, and the piece known as The Silent Lover. Another guess has produced a fijih claimant to the second of these. See p. 136.
recent conjectures; but this only shews the tendency of such mistakes to multiply in course of time.
These old MS. Collections, however, should not be undervalued; for they must be used, although with caution, as preserving in many cases a truer tradition than has found its way into print. The rage for conjecture would have no influence where an author's name was known ; and an obscurer writer would often be revealed to his friends, when a publisher was compelled to affix a name by guess.
Traditions setting forth when and why a poem was composed, of which many examples are cited in this volume, must of course be received with equal caution; as they would often spring from the same spirit of conjecture which has given rise to so many contradictory claims. Our willingness to believe them, when they are well authenticated, should make us all the more careful, when no evidence is given. We need not doubt, for instance, that Raleigh, like Tychbourne, * wrote a few brief lines the night before bis execution (p. 75); but when four poems of much greater length are ascribed to the saine period (p. 97), we reject the account at once, as arising from confusion and mistake. That a man may have recourse to verse, as the medium of expressing his feelings even in the immediate prospect of a violent death, is no more impossible, than that he should seek the same relief when he is suffering from a disorder which seems likely to prove fatal; and of this we have numerous examples. Thus Sir Henry Wotton, after an attack of fever, sent his friends “a few poor Lines which [his] pains did beget” (p. 50):-Dr. Donne, in addition to some other verses written during illness, composed one piece “ in (his]
• The evidence in support of the tradition is in Tychbourne's case unusually ample (see pp. 68-70, and Ritson, Bibl. Poet. p. 361); yet besides the misappropriation of the lines to Raleigh, which is mentioned by Mr. D’Israeli, I think there is a MS. in existence (to which I cannot now refer) where they are assigned to Francis Throckmorton, who was exe cated in 1584.