Nonfiction > G. Gregory Smith, ed. > Elizabethan Critical Essays
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G. Gregory Smith, ed.  Elizabethan Critical Essays.  1904.
 
Spenser-Harvey Correspondence: Letters on Reformed Versifying, &c. 1579–80
Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser [IV]
 
A Gallant Familiar Letter, Containing an Answere to That of M. Immerito, with Sundry Proper Examples and Some Precepts of Our English Reformed Versifying.

To my very friend M. Immerito.

Signor Immerito, to passe ouer youre needelesse complaint, wyth the residue of your preamble (for of your EARTHQUAKE I presuppose you haue ere this receyued my goodly discourse), and withall to let my late Englishe Hexametres goe as lightlye as they came, I cannot choose but thanke and honour the good Aungell (whether it were Gabriell or some other) that put so good a motion into the heads of those two excellent Gentlemen MR. SIDNEY and M. DYER, the two very Diamondes of hir Maiesties Courte for many speciall and rare qualities, as to helpe forwarde our new famous enterprise for the Exchanging of Barbarous and Balductum Rymes with Artificial Verses, the one being in manner of pure and fine Goulde, the other but counterfet and base ylfauoured Copper. I doubt not but their liuelie example and Practise wil preuaile a thousand times more in short space than the dead Aduertizement and persuasion of M. ASCHAM to the same Effecte, whose SCHOLEMAISTER, notwithstanding, I reuerence in respect of so learned a Motiue. I would gladly be acquainted with M. DRANTS Prosodye, and I beseeche you commende me to good M. SIDNEYS iudgement, and gentle M. IMMERITOS Obseruations. I hope your nexte Letters, which I daily expect, wil bring me in farther familiaritie and acquaintance with al three. Mine owne Rules and Precepts of Arte I beleeue wil fal out not greatly repugnant, though peraduenture somewhat different: and yet I am not so resolute but I can be content to reserue the Coppying out and publishing thereof vntil I haue a little better consulted with my pillowe, and taken some farther aduize of MADAME SPERIENZA. In the meane, take this for a general Caueat, and say I haue reuealed one great mysterie vnto you: I am of Opinion there is no one more regular and iustifiable direction, eyther for the assured and infallible Certaintie of our English Artificiall Prosodye particularly, or generally to bring our Language into Arte and to frame a Grammer or Rhetorike thereof, than first of all vniuersally to agree vpon ONE AND THE SAME ORTOGRAPHIE, in all pointes conformable and proportionate to our COMMON NATURAL PROSODYE. Whether SIR THOMAS SMITHES in that respect be the most perfit, as surely it must needes be very good; or else some other of profounder Learning and longer Experience than SIR THOMAS was, shewing by necessarie demonstration wherin he is defectiue, wil vndertake shortely to supplie his wantes and make him more absolute; my selfe dare not hope to hoppe after him, til I see something or other, too or fro, publickely and autentically established, as it were by a generall Counsel or acte of Parliament: and then peraduenture, standing vppon firmer grounde, for Companie sake, I may aduenture to do as other do. Interim, credit me, I dare geue no Preceptes, nor set downe any CERTAINE GENERAL ARTE; and yet see my boldenesse. I am not greatly squaimishe of my PARTICULAR EXAMPLES, whereas he that can but reasonably skil of the one wil giue easily a shreude gesse at the other, considering that the one fetcheth his original and offspring from the other. In which respecte, to say troth, WE BEGINNERS haue the start and aduantage of our Followers, who are to frame and conforme both their Examples and Precepts according to that President which they haue of vs: as no doubt Homer or some other in Greeke, and ENNIUS or I know not who else in Latine, did preiudice and ouerrule those that followeth them, as well for the quantities of syllables as number of feete, and the like: their onely Examples going for current payment, and standing in steade of Lawes and Rules with the posteritie. In so much that it seemed a sufficient warrant (as still it doth in our Common Grammer Schooles) to make [ti] in [time] and v in Vnus long, because the one hath [time d’ ek dios esti] and the other Vnus homo nobis, and so consequently in the rest. But to let this by-disputation passe, which is already so throughly discoursed and canuassed of the best Philosophers, and namely ARISTOTLE, that poynt vs, as it were with the forefinger, to the very FOUNTAINES AND HEAD SPRINGES of Artes and Artificiall preceptes, in the ANALITIQUES and METAPHYSIKES: most excellently set downe in these FOURE GOLDEN TERMES, the famoussest Termes to speake of in all LOGIQUE and PHILOSOPHIE, [empeiria, historia, aisthesis, epagoge].
  1
  Shall I nowe by the way sende you a IANUARIE GIFT in APRILL, and, as it were, shewe you a CHRISTMAS GAMBOWLDE after EASTER? Were the manner so very fine, as the matter is very good, I durst presume of an other kinde of Plaudite and GRAMERCIE than now I will: but, being as it is, I beseeche you set parcialitie aside, and tell me your maisterships fancie.

A NEW YEERES GIFT TO MY OLD FRIEND MAISTER GEORGE BILCHAUNGER: IN COMMENDATION OF THREE MOST PRECIOUS ACCIDENTES, VERTUE, FAME, AND WEALTH: AND FINALLY OF THE FOURTH, A GOOD TONGUE.
  
Vertue sendeth a man to Renowne; Fame lendeth Aboundaunce;
Fame with Aboundaunce maketh a man thrise blessed and happie;
So the Rewarde of Famous Vertue makes many wealthy,
And the Regard of Wealthie Vertue makes many blessed:
O blessed Vertue, blessed Fame, blessed Aboundaunce,
O that I had you three, with the losse of thirtie Comencementes.
Nowe farewell Mistresse, whom lately I loued aboue all.
These be my three bonny lasses, these be my three bonny Ladyes;
Not the like Trinitie againe, saue onely the Trinitie aboue all:
Worship and Honour first to the one and then to the other.
A thousand good leaues be for euer graunted Agrippa,
For squibbing and declayming against many fruitlesse
Artes and Craftes, deuisde by the Diuls and Sprites for a torment
And for a plague to the world: as both Pandora, Prometheus,
And that cursed good bad Tree can testifie at all times:
Meere Gewegawes and Bables, in comparison of these,
Toyes to mock Apes and Woodcockes, in comparison of these,
Iugling castes and knicknackes, in comparison of these.
Yet behinde there is one thing, worth a prayer at all tymes,
A good Tongue in a mans Head, A good Tongue in a woomans.
And what so precious matter and foode for a good Tongue
As blessed Vertue, blessed Fame, blessed Aboundaunce.
  
L’ENUOY.
Maruell not that I meane to send these Verses at Euensong,
On Neweyeeres Euen, and Oldyeeres End, as a Memento:
Trust me, I know not a richer Iewell, newish or oldish,
Than blessed Vertue, blessed Fame, blessed Abundaunce.
O blessed Vertue, blessed Fame, blessed Aboundaunce,
O that you had these three, with the losse of Fortie Valetes.
  
He that wisheth you may liue to see a hundreth Good Newe yeares, euery one happier and merrier than other.
  2
 
  Now to requite your BLINDFOLDED PRETIE GOD (wherin by the way I woulde gladly learne why Th in the first, Y in the first and thirde, H and My in the last, being shorte, M alone should be made longer in the very same). Imagin me to come into a goodly Kentishe Garden of your old Lords, or some other Noble man, and, spying a florishing Bay Tree there, to demaunde ex tempore as followeth. Thinke vppon Petrarches
Arbor vittoriosa, trionfale,
Onor d’Imperadori e di Poeti,
and perhappes it will aduance the wynges of your Imagination a degree higher: at the least if any thing can be added to the loftinesse of his conceite, who[m] gentle Mistresse Rosalinde once reported to haue all the Intelligences at commaundement, and an other time christened her Segnior Pegaso.

ENCOMIUM LAURI.
  
What might I call this Tree? A Laurell? O bonny Laurell:
Needes to thy bowes will I bow this knee, and vayle my bonetto.
Who, but thou, the renowne of Prince and Princely Poeta?
Th’one for Crowne, for Garland th’other thanketh Apollo.
Thrice happy Daphne, that turned was to the Bay Tree,
Whom such seruauntes serue, as challenge seruice of all men.
Who chiefe Lorde, and King of Kings, but th’ Emperour only?
And Poet of right stampe ouerawith th’ Emperour himselfe.
Who but knowes Aretyne, was he not halfe Prince to the Princes?
And many a one there liues, as nobly minded at all poyntes.
Now farewell Bay Tree, very Queene, and Goddesse of all trees,
Ritchest perle to the Crowne, and fayrest Floure to the Garland!
Faine wod I craue, might I so presume, some farther aquaintaunce;
O that I might? but I may not: woe to my destinie therefore.
Trust me, not one more loyall seruaunt longes to thy Personage.
But what says Daphne? Non omni dormio, worse lucke.
Yet Farewell, Farewell, the Reward of those that I honour:
Glory to Garden: Glory to Muses: Glory to Vertue.
                Partim Ioui et Palladi,
                Partim Apollini et Musis.
  3
 
  But seeing I must needes beuray my store, and set open my shoppe wyndowes, nowe I pray thee, and coniure thee by all thy amorous Regardes and Exorcismes of Loue, call a Parliament of thy Sensible and Intelligible powers together, and tell me, in Tom Trothes earnest, what Il fecondo & famoso Poeta MESTER IMMERITO sayth to this bolde Satyri[c]all Libell, lately deuised at the instaunce of a certayne worshipfull Hartefordshyre Gentleman of myne olde acquayntaunce in Gratiam quorundam Illustrium Anglofrancitalorum, hic et ubique apud nos volitantium. Agedum vero, nosti homines, tanquam tuam ipsius cutem.

SPECULUM TUSCANISMI.
  
Since Galateo came in and Tuscanisme gan vsurpe,
Vanitie aboue all, Villanie next her, Statelynes Empresse;
No man but Minion, Stowte Lowte, Plaine swayne, quoth a Lording:
No wordes but valorous, no workes but woomanish onely.
For life Magnificoes, not a beck but glorious in shew,
In deede most friuolous, not a looke but Tuscanish alwayes:
His cringing side necke, Eyes glauncing, Fisnamie smirking,
With forefinger kisse, and braue embrace to the footewarde:
Largebelled Kodpeas’d Dublet, vnkodpeased halfe hose,
Straite to the dock, like a shirte, and close to the britch, like a diueling,
A little Apish Hatte, cowched fast to the pate, like an Oyster,
French Camarick Ruffes, deepe with a witnesse, starched to the purpose;
Euery one A per se A; his termes and braueries in Print,
Delicate in speach, queynte in araye, conceited in all poyntes:
In Courtly guyles a passing singular odde man;
For Gallantes a braue Myrrour, a Primerose of Honour;
A Diamond for nonce, a fellowe perelesse in England.
Not the like Discourser for Tongue and head to be found out,
Not the like resolute Man for great and serious affayres,
Not the like Lynx to spie out secretes and priuities of States,
Eyed like to Argus, Earde like to Midas, Nosd like to Naso,
Winged like to Mercury, fittst of a Thousand for to be employde:
This, nay more than this, doth practise of Italy in one yeare.
None doe I name, but some doe I know, that a peece of a tweluemonth
Hath so perfited, outly and inly, both body, both soule,
That none for sense, and senses, halfe matchable with them.
A Vulturs smelling, Apes tasting, sight of an Eagle,
A spiders touching, Hartes hearing, might of a Lyon,
Compoundes of wisedome, witte, prowes, bountie, behauiour,
All gallant Vertues, all qualities of body and soule:
O thrice tenne hundreth times blessed and happy,
Blessed and happy Trauaile, Trauailer most blessed and happy.
            Penatibus Hetruscis laribusque nostris
            Inquilinis.
  4
 
  Tell me, in good sooth, doth it not too euidently appeare that this English Poet wanted but A GOOD PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. SIDNEY or M. DYERS (ouer very CASTOR and POLLUX for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some GENTLEWOOMEN I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too might as well haue brought forth all goodly faire children, as they haue now some ylfauored and deformed, had they, at the tyme of their CONCEPTION, had in sight the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, CUPIDO, GANYMEDES, or the like, which no doubt would haue wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies and imaginations, as their children, and perhappes their Childrens children too, myght haue thanked them for as long as they shall haue Tongues in their heades.  5
  But myne owne leysure fayleth me, and, to say troth, I am lately become a maruellous great straunger at myne olde MISTRESSE POETRIES, being newly entertayned and dayly employed in our Emperour IUSTINIANS SERUICE (sauing that I haue alreadie addressed a certaine pleasurable, and Morall, Politique, Narurall, mixte deuise to his most Honourable Lordshippe in the same kynde, wherevnto my next Letter, if you please mee well, may perchaunce make you priuie): marrie nowe, if it lyke you in the meane while, for varietie sake, to see howe I taske a young Brother of myne (whom of playne IOHN our ITALIAN Maister hath Cristened his Picciolo Giouannibattista), Lo here (and God will) a peece of hollydayes exercise. In the morning I gaue him this THEAME out of OUID to translate, and varie after his best fashion.
Dum fueris felix, multos numerabis amicos;
  Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.
Aspicis, vt veniant ad candida tecta columbae?
  Accipiat nullas sordida turris aues.
  6
  His translation, or rather Paraphrase, before dinner was first this:
1.
Whilst your Bearnes are fatte, whilst Cofers stuff’d with aboundaunce,
Freendes will abound: If bearne waxe bare, then adieu sir a Goddes name.
See ye the Dooues? they breede, and feede in gorgeous Houses:
Scarce one Dooue doth loue to remaine in ruinous Houses.
  7
  And then forsooth this, to make proofe of his facultie in Pentameters too, affecting a certain Rithmus withall:
2.
Whilst your Ritches abound, your friends will play the Placeboes;
If your wealth doe decay, friend, like a feend, will away.
Dooues light and delight in goodly fairetyled houses:
If your House be but olde, Dooue to remoue be ye bolde.
  8
  And the last and largest of all, this:
3.
If so be goods encrease, then dayly encreaseth a goods friend.
If so be goods decrease, then straite decreaseth a goods friend.
Then G[o]od night goods friend, who seldome prooueth a good friend.
Giue me the goods, and giue me the good friend; take ye the goods friend.
Douehouse and Louehouse in writing differ a letter;
In deede scarcely so much, so resembleth an other an other.
Tyle me the Doouehouse trimly, and gallant: where the like storehouse?
Tyle me the Doouehouse; leaue it vnhansome: where the like poorehouse?
Looke to the Louehouse; where the resort is, there is a gaye showe:
Gynne port and mony fayle, straight sports and Companie faileth.
  9
  Beleeue me I am not to be charged with aboue one or two of the Verses, and a foure or fiue wordes in the rest. His afternoones THEAME was borrowed out of him, whom one in your Coate, they say, is as much beholding vnto as any Planet or Starre in Heauen is vnto the Sunne, and is quoted, as your self best remember, in the Close of your October.
Giunto Alessandro a[l]la famosa tomba
Del fero Achille, sospirando disse,
O fortunate, che si chiara tromba
Trouasti.
  10
  Within an houre, or there aboutes, he brought me these foure lustie Hexameters, altered since not past in a worde or two.
Noble Alexander, when he came to the tombe of Achilles,
Sighing spake with a bigge voyce: O thrice blessed Achilles,
That such a Trump, so great, so loude, so glorious hast found,
As the renowned and surprizing Archpoet Homer.
  11
  Vppon the viewe whereof: Ah my Syrrha, quoth I, here is a gallant exercise for you in deede: we haue had a little prettie triall of you[r] LATIN and ITALIAN Translation: Let me see now, I pray, what you can doo in your owne TONGUE. And with that, reaching a certaine famous Booke, called the newe SHEPHARDES CALENDER, I turned to WILLYES and THOMALINS EMBLEMES, in MARCHE, and bad him make them eyther better or worse in English verse. I gaue him an other howres respite; but, before I looked for him, he suddainely rushed vpon me, and gaue me his deuise, thus formally set downe in a faire peece of Paper.

1. Thomalins Embleme.
Of Honny and of Gaule in Loue there is store:
The Honny is much, but the Gaule is more.
  
2. Willyes Embleme.
To be wize, and eke to Loue,
Is graunted scarce to God aboue.
  
3. Both combined in one.
Loue is a thing more fell, than full of Gaule, than of Honny.
And to be wize, and Loue, is a worke for a God, or a Goddes peere.

With a small voluntarie Supplement of his owne, on the other side, in commendation of hir most gratious and thrice excellent Maiestie:
Not the like Virgin againe, in Asia, or Afric, or Europe,
For Royall Vertues, for Maiestie, Bountie, Behauiour.
                        Raptim, vti vides.

In both not passing a worde or two corrected by mee. Something more I haue of his, partly that very day begun, and partly continued since: but yet not so perfitly finished that I dare committe the viewe and examination thereof to MESSER IMMERITOES Censure, whom after those same two incomparable and myraculous GEMINI, omni exceptione maiores, I recount and chaulk vppe in the Catalogue of our very principall Englishe ARISTARCHI. Howbeit, I am nigh halfe perswaded that in tyme (siquidem vltima primis respondeant) for length, bredth, and depth it will not come far behinde your Epithalamion Thamesis: the rather, hauing so fayre a president and patterne before his Eyes as I warrant him, and he presumeth, to haue of that: both MASTER COLLINSHEAD and M. HOLLI[N]SHEAD too being togither therein. But euer and euer, me thinkes, your great CATOES, Ecquid erit pretii, and our little CATOES, Res age quae prosunt, make suche a buzzing and ringing in my head, that I haue little ioy to animate and encourage either you or him to goe forward, vnlesse ye might make account of some certaine ordinarie wages, at the leastwise haue your meate and drinke for your dayes workes. As for my selfe, howsoeuer I haue toyed and trifled heretofore, I am nowe taught, and I trust I shall shortly learne (no remedie, I must of meere necessitie giue you ouer in the playne fielde) to employ my trauayle and tyme wholly, or chiefely, on those studies and practizes that carrie, as they saye, meate in their mouth, hauing euermore their eye vppon the TITLE De pane lucrando, and their hand vpon their halfpenny. For, I pray now, what saith M. CUDDIE, alias you know who, in the tenth ÆGLOGUE of the foresaid famous new Calender:

Piers, I haue piped erst so long with payne,
That all myne oten reedes been rent and wore,
And my poore Muse hath spent hir spared store,
Yet little good hath got, and much lesse gayne.
Such pleasaunce makes the Grashopper so poore,
And ligge so layde, when winter doth her strayne.
  
The Dapper Ditties, that I woont deuize
To feede youthes fancie, and the flocking fry,
Delighten much: what I the bett for-thy?
They han the pleasure, I a sclender prize.
I beate the bushe, the birdes to them doe flye.
What good thereof to Cuddy can arise?
  12
 
  But Master COLLIN CLOUTE is not euery body, and albeit his olde Companions, MASTER CUDDY and MASTER HOBBINOLL, be as little beholding to their MISTRESSE POETRIE as euer you wist; yet he, peraduenture, by the meanes of hir speciall fauour and some personall priuiledge, may happely liue by DYING PELLICANES, and purchase great landes and Lordshippes with the money which his CALENDAR and DREAMES haue, and will, affourde him. Extra iocum, I like your DREAMES passingly well: and the rather, bicause they sauour of that singular extraordinarie veine and inuention whiche I euer fancied moste, and in a manner admired onelye, in LUCIAN, PETRARCHE, ARETINE, PASQUILL, and all the most delicate and fine conceited Grecians and Italians (for the Romanes to speake of are but verye Ciphars in this kinde): whose chiefest endeuour and drifte was to haue nothing vulgare, but in some respecte or other, and especially in LIUELY HYPERBOLICALL AMPLIFICATIONS, rare, queint, and odde in euery pointe, and, as a man woulde saye, a degree or two at the leaste aboue the reach and compasse of a common Schollers capacitie. In which respecte notwithstanding, as well for the singularitie of the manner as the Diuinitie of the matter, I hearde once a Diuine preferre SAINT JOHNS REUELATION before al the veriest MÆTAPHYSICALL VISIONS and iollyest conceited DREAMES or EXTASIES that euer were deuised by one or other, howe admirable or superexcellent soeuer they seemed otherwise to the worlde. And truely I am so confirmed in this opinion, that when I bethinke me of the verie notablest and moste wonderful Propheticall or Poeticall Vision that euer I read or hearde, me seemeth the proportion is so vnequall, that there hardly appeareth anye semblaunce of Comparison: no more in a manner (specially for Poets) than doth betweene the incomprehensible Wisedome of God and the sensible Wit of Man. But what needeth this digression betweene you and me: I dare saye you wyll holde your selfe reasonably wel satisfied if youre DREAMES be but as well esteemed of in Englande as PETRARCHES VISIONS be in Italy: whiche I assure you is the very worst I wish you. But see how I haue the Arte MEMORATIUE at commaundement. In good faith I had once again nigh forgotten your FAERIE QUEENE: howbeit, by good chaunce, I haue nowe sent hir home at the laste, neither in better nor worse case than I founde hir. And must you of necessitie haue my Iudgement of hir in deede: To be plaine, I am voyde of all iudgement, if your NINE COMŒDIES, wherunto, in imitation of HERODOTUS, you giue the names of the Nine Muses (and in one mans fansie not vnworthily), come not neerer ARIOSTOES COMŒDIES, eyther for the finenesse of plausible Elocution or the rarenesse of Poetical Inuention, than that the ELUISH QUEENE doth to his ORLANDO FURIOSO, which, notwithstanding, you wil needes seeme to emulate, and hope to ouergo, as you flatly professed your self in one of your last Letters. Besides, that you know it hath bene the vsual practise of the most exquisite and odde wittes in all nations, and specially in Italie, rather to shewe and aduaunce themselues that way than any other: as, namely, those three notorious dyscoursing heads, BIBIENA, MACHIAUEL, and ARETINE did (to let BEMBO and ARIOSTO passe) with the great admiration and wonderment of the whole countrey: being in deede reputed matchable in all points, both for conceyt of Witte and eloquent decyphering of matters, either with ARISTOPHANES and MENANDER in Greek or with PLAUTUS and TERENCE in Latin, or with any other, in any other tong. But I wil not stand greatly with you in your owne matters. If so be the FAERYE QUEENE be fairer in your eie than the NINE MUSES, and HOBGOBLIN runne away with the Garland from APOLLO, Marke what I saye, and yet I will not say that I thought; but there an End for this once, and fare you well, till God or some good Aungell putte you in a better minde.  13
  And yet, bicause you charge me somewhat suspitiouslye with an olde promise to deliuer you of that iealousie, I am so farre from hyding mine owne matters from you, that loe I muste needes be reuealing my friendes secreates, now an honest Countrey Gentleman, sometimes a Scholler: At whose request I bestowed this pawlting bungrely Rime vpon him, to present his Maistresse withall. The parties shall bee namelesse, sauing that the Gentlewomans true, or counterfaite, Christen name must necessarily be bewrayed.  14
  [Here follow forty-two lines of burlesque verse, ‘To my good Mistresse Anne, the very lyfe of my lyfe, and onely beloued Mystresse.]  15
  God helpe vs, you and I are wisely employed (are wee not?) when our Pen and Inke, and Time and Wit, and all runneth away in this goodly yonkerly veine: as if the world had nothing else for vs to do, or we were borne to be the only NONPROFICIENTS and NIHILAGENTS of the world. Cuiusmodi tu nugis, alque nanis, nisi vna mecum (qui solemni quodam iureiurando atque voto obstringor, relicto isto amoris Poculo, iuris Poculum primo quoque tempore exhaurire) iam tandem aliquando valedicas, (quod tamen vnum tibi, credo, [ton adunaton] videbitur): nihil dicam amplius: Valeas. E meo municipio. Nono Calendas Maias.  16
  But hoe I pray you, gentle sirra, a word with you more. In good sooth, and by the faith I beare to the Muses, you shal neuer haue my subscription or consent (though you should charge me wyth the authoritie of fiue hundreth Maister DRANTS) to make your Carpnter, our Carpnter, an inche longer or bigger than God and his Englishe people haue made him. Is there no other Pollicie to pull downe Ryming and set vppe Versifying but you must needes correcte Magnificat: and againste all order of Lawe, and in despite of Custome, forcibly vsurpe and tyrannize vppon a quiet companye of wordes that so farre beyonde the memorie of man haue so peaceably enioyed their seueral Priuiledges and Liberties, without any disturbance or the leaste controlement? What? Is HORACES Ars Poetica so quite out of our Englishe Poets head that he muste haue his Remembrancer to pull hym by the sleeue, and put him in mind of Penes vsum, and ius, and norma loquendi? Indeed I remember who was wont in a certaine brauerie to call our M. VALANGER Noble M. VALANGER. Else neuer heard I any that durst presume so much ouer the Englishe (excepting a fewe suche stammerers as haue not the masterie of their owne Tongues) as to alter the Quantitie of any one sillable, otherwise than oure common speache and generall receyued Custome woulde beare them oute. Woulde not I laughe, thinke you, to heare MESTER IMMERITO come in baldely with his Maistie, Royltie, Honstie, Scinces, Faclties, Excllent, Taurnour, Manflly, Faithflly, and a thousande the like, in steade of Maistie, Royltie, Honstie, and so forth: And trowe you anye coulde forbeare the byting of his lippe or smyling in his Sleeue, if a iolly fellowe and greate Clarke (as it mighte be youre selfe) reading a fewe Verses vnto him, for his owne credit and commendation, should nowe and then tell him of barganeth, follwing, harrwing, thoroghly, or the like, in steade of barganeth, follwing, harrwing, and the reste: Or will SEGNIOR IMMERITO, bycause, may happe, he hathe a fat-bellyed Archdeacon on his side, take vppon him to controll Maister Doctor WATSON for his All Traualers, in a Verse so highly extolled of Master ASCHAM? or Maister ASCHAM himselfe, for abusing HOMER and corrupting our Tongue, in that he saith,
Quite throghe a Doore flwe a shafte with a brasse head?
  17
  Nay, haue we not somtime, by your leaue, both the Position of the firste and Dipthong of the seconde concurring in one and the same sillable, which neuerthelesse is commonly and ought necessarily to be pronounced short? I haue nowe small time to bethink me of many examples. But what say you to the second in Merchandise? to the third in Couenanteth? and to the fourth in Appurtenances? Durst you aduenture to make any of them long, either in Prose or in Verse? I assure you I knowe who dareth not, and suddanly feareth the displeasure of all true Englishemen if he should. Say you suddanly, if you like; by my certanly and certanty I wil not. You may perceiue by the Premisses (which very worde I woulde haue you note by the waye to) the Latine is no rule for vs: or imagine aforehande (bycause you are like to proue a great Purchaser, and leaue suche store of money and possessions behinde you) your Exectors wil deale fraudulently or violently with your succssour (whiche in a maner is euery mans case), and it will fall oute a resolute pointe: the third in Exectores, fraudulenter, violenter, and the seconde in Succssor, being long in the one and shorte in the other, as in seauen hundreth more, suche as discple, rected, excted: tenment, ortour, laudble, and a number of their fellowes are long in English, short in Latine, long in Latine, short in English. Howbeit, in my fancy such words as violently, diligently, magnificently, indifferently seeme in a manner reasonably indifferent, and tollerable either waye; neither woulde I greately stande with him that translated the Verse
Cur mittis violas? vt me violentius vras?
WHY SEND YOU VIOLETS? TO BURNE MY POORE HART VIOLNTLY.
  18
  Marry so, that being left common for verse, they are to be pronounced shorte in Prose, after the maner of the Latines, in suche wordes as these, Cathedra, Volucres, mediocres, Celebres.  19
  And thus farre of your Carpnter and his fellowes, wherin we are to be moderated and ouerruled by the vsuall and common receiued sounde, and not to deuise any counterfaite fantasticall Accent of oure owne, as manye, otherwise not vnlearned, haue corruptely and ridiculouslye done in the Greeke.  20
  Nowe for your Heauen, Seauen, Eleauen, or the like, I am likewise of the same opinion, as generally in all words else: we are not to goe a little farther, either for the PROSODY or the ORTHOGRAPHY (and therefore your Imaginarie DIASTOLE nothing worthe) then we are licenced and authorized by the ordinarie vse, and custome, and proprietie, and Idiome, and, as it were, Maiestie of our speach: which I accounte the only infallible and soueraigne Rule of all Rules. And therefore, hauing respecte there unto, and reputing it Petty Treason to reuolt therefro, dare hardly eyther in the PROSODIE, or in the ORTHOGRAPHY either, allowe them two sillables in steade of one, but woulde as well in Writing as in Speaking haue them vsed as Monosyllaba, thus: heavn, seavn, a leavn, as Maister ASCHAM in his TOXOPHILUS doth YRNE, commonly written Yron:
Vp to the pap his string did he pull, his shafte to the harde yrne:
especially the difference so manifestly appearing by the Pronunciation betweene these two, a leavn a clocke and a leaven of Dowe, whyche lea-ven admitteth the DIASTOLE you speake of. But see what absurdities thys yl fauoured ORTHOGRAPHYE, or rather PSEUDOGRAPHY, hathe ingendred, and howe one errour still breedeth and begetteth an other. Haue wee not Mooneth for Moonthe, sithence for since, whilest for whilste, phantasie for phansie, euen for evn, Diuel for Divl, God hys wrath for Goddes wrath, and a thousande of the same stampe, wherein the corrupte ORTHOGRAPHY in the moste hathe beene the sole, or principall, cause of corrupte PROSODYE in ouer many?
  21
  Marry, I confesse some wordes we haue indeede, as for example fayer, either for beautifull or for a Marte, ayer, bothe pro aere and pro haerede, for we say not Heire but plaine Aire for him to (or else SCOGGINS AIER were a poore iest), whiche are commonly and maye indifferently be vsed eyther wayes. For you shal as well and as ordinarily heare fayer as faire, and Aier as Aire, and bothe alike, not onely of diuers and sundrye persons but often of the very same, otherwhiles vsing the one, otherwhiles the other: and so died or dyde, spied or spide, tryed or tride, fyer or fyre, myer or myre, wyth an infinyte companye of the same sorte, sometime Monosyllaba, sometime Polysyllaba.  22
  To conclude both pointes in one, I dare sweare priuately to your selfe, and will defende publiquely againste any, it is neither Heresie nor Paradox to sette downe and stande vppon this assertion (notwithstanding all the Preiudices and Presumptions to the contrarie, if they were tenne times as manye moe) that it is not either Position, or Dipthong, or Diastole, or anye like Grammer Schoole Deuice that doeth or can indeede either make long or short, or encrease, or diminish the number of Sillables, but onely the common allowed and receiued PROSODYE, taken vp by an vniuersall consent of all, and continued by a generall vse and Custome of all. Wherein neuerthelesse I grant, after long aduise and diligent obseruation of particulars, a certain Vniform Analogie and Concordance being in processe of time espyed out, sometime this, sometime that, hath been noted by good wits in their ANALYSES to fall out generally alyke, and, as a man woulde saye, regularly, in all or moste wordes: as Position, Dipthong, and the like: not as firste and essentiall causes of this or that effecte (here lyeth the point), but as Secundarie and Accidentall Signes of this or that Qualitie.  23
  It is the vulgare and naturall Mother PROSODYE that alone worketh the feate, as the onely supreame Foundresse and Reformer of Position, Dipthong, Orthographie, or whatsoeuer else: whose Affirmatiues are nothing worth, if she once conclude the Negatiue: and whose secundae intentiones muste haue their whole allowance and warrante from hir primae. And therefore, in shorte, this is the verie shorte and the long: Position neither maketh shorte nor long in oure Tongue, but so farre as we can get hir good leaue. Peraduenture, vppon the diligent suruewe and examination of Particulars, some the like Analogie and Vniformity might be founde oute in some other respecte, that shoulde as vniuersally and Canonically holde amongst vs as Position doeth with the Latines and Greekes. I saye peraduenture, bycause, hauing not yet made anye speciall obseruation, I dare not precisely affirme any generall certaintie: albeit I presume, so good and sensible a Tongue as our is, beeyng wythall so like itselfe as it is, cannot but haue something equipollent and counteruaileable to the beste Tongues in some one such kinde of conformitie or other. And this forsooth is all the Artificial Rules and Precepts you are like to borrowe of one man at this time.  24
  Sed amabo te, ad Corculi tui delicatissimas Literas, propediem, qua potero, accuratissime: tot interim illam exquisitissimis salutibus, atque salutationibus impertiens, quot habet in Capitulo, capillos semiaureos, semiargenteos, semigemmeos. Quid quaeris? Per tuam Venerem altera Rosalindula est: eamque non alter, sed idem ille, (tua, vt ante, bona cum gratia) copiose amat Hobbinolus. O mea Domina Immerito, mea bellissima Collina Clouta, multo plus plurimum salue, atque vale.  25
  You knowe my ordinarie Postscripte: you may communicate as much or as little as you list of these Patcheries and fragments with the two Gentlemen: but there a straw, and you loue me: not with any else, friend or foe, or other: vnlesse haply you haue a special desire to imparte some parte hereof to my good friend M. Daniel Rogers, whose curtesies are also registred in my Marble booke. You know my meaning.
Nosti manum et stylum.        
G.            
  26
 
 
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