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An Apologie for Poetrie

An Apologie for Poetrie

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Published by Mayteé Agmeth

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Published by: Mayteé Agmeth on Jul 16, 2013
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When the right virtuous Edward Wotton {1} and I were at the Emperor's court together, we gave ourselves to learn horsemanship of Gio. Pietro Pugliano; one that, with great commendation, had the place of an esquire in his stable; and he, according to the fertileness of the Italian wit, did not only afford us the demonstration of his practice, but sought to enrich our minds with the contemplation therein, which he thought most precious. But with none, I remember, mine ears were at any time more laden, than when (either angered with slow payment, or moved with our learner-like admiration) he exercised his speech in the praise of his faculty. He said, soldiers were the noblest estate of mankind, and horsemen the noblest of soldiers. He said, they were the masters of war and ornaments of peace, speedy goers, and strong abiders, triumphers both in camps and courts; nay, to so unbelieved a point he proceeded, as that no earthly thing bred such wonder to a prince, as to be a good horseman; skill of government was but a "pedanteria" in comparison. Then would he add certain praises by telling what a peerless beast the horse was, the only serviceable courtier, without flattery, the beast of most beauty, faithfulness, courage, and such more, that if I had not been a piece of a logician before I came to him, I think he would have persuaded me to have wished myself a horse. But thus much, at least, with his no few words, he drove into me, that self love is better than any gilding, to make that seem gorgeous wherein ourselves be parties. Wherein, if Pugliano's strong affection and weak arguments will not satisfy you, I will give you a nearer example of myself, who, I know not by what mischance, in these my not old years and idlest times, having slipped into the title of a poet, am provoked to say something unto you in the defence of that my unelected vocation; which if I handle with more good will than good reasons, bear with me, since the scholar is to be pardoned that followeth the steps of his master. And yet I must say, that as I have more just cause to make a pitiful defence of poor poetry, which, from almost the highest estimation of learning, is fallen to be the laughing-stock of children; so have I need to bring some more available proofs, since the former is by no man barred of his deserved credit, whereas the silly latter hath had even the names of philosophers used to the defacing of it, with great danger of civil war among the Muses. {2}

At first, truly, to all them that, professing learning, inveigh against poetry, may justly be objected, that they go very near to ungratefulness to seek to deface that which, in the noblest nations and languages that are known, hath been the first light-giver to ignorance, and first nurse, whose milk by little and little enabled them to feed afterwards of tougher knowledges. And will you play the hedgehog, that being received into the den, drove out his host? {3} or rather the vipers, that with their birth kill their parents? {4} Let learned Greece, in any of her manifold sciences, be able to show me one book before Musaeus, Homer, and Hesiod, all three nothing else but poets. Nay, let any history he brought that can say any writers were there before them, if they were not men of the same skill, as Orpheus, Linus, and some others are named, who having been the first of that country that made pens deliverers of their knowledge to posterity, may justly challenge to be called their fathers in learning. For not only in time they had this priority (although in itself antiquity be venerable) but went before them as causes to draw with their charming sweetness the wild untamed wits to an admiration of knowledge. So as Amphion was said to move stones with his poetry to build Thebes, and Orpheus to be listened to by beasts, indeed, stony and beastly people, so among the Romans were Livius Andronicus, and Ennius; so in the Italian language, the first that made it to aspire to be a treasure-house of science, were the poets Dante, Boccace, and Petrarch; so in our English were Gower and Chaucer; after whom, encouraged and delighted with their excellent foregoing, others have followed to beautify our mother tongue, as well in the same kind as other arts. This {5} did so notably show itself that the philosophers of Greece durst not a long time appear to the world but under the mask of poets; so Thales, Empedocles, and Parmenides sang their natural philosophy in verses; so did Pythagoras and Phocylides their moral counsels; so did Tyrtaeus in war matters; and Solon in matters of policy; or rather they, being poets, did exercise their delightful vein in those points of highest knowledge, which before them lay hidden to the world; for that wise Solon was directly a poet it is manifest, having written in verse the notable fable of the Atlantic Island, which was continued by Plato. {6} And, truly, even Plato, whosoever well considereth shall find that in the body of his work, though the inside and strength were philosophy, the skin, as it were, and beauty depended most of poetry. For all stands upon dialogues; wherein he feigns many honest burgesses of Athens speaking of such matters that if they had been set on the rack they would never have confessed them; besides, his poetical describing the circumstances of their meetings, as the wellordering of a banquet, the delicacy of a walk, with interlacing mere tiles, as Gyges's Ring, {7} and others; which, who knows not to be flowers of poetry, did never walk into Apollo's garden.

And {8} even historiographers, although their lips sound of things done, and verity be written in their foreheads, have been glad to borrow both fashion and, perchance, weight of the poets; so Herodotus entitled the books of his history by the names of the Nine Muses; and both he, and all the rest that followed him, either stole or usurped, of poetry, their passionate describing of passions, the many particularities of battles which no man could affirm; or, if that be denied me, long orations, put in the months of great kings and captains, which it is certain they never pronounced. So that, truly, neither philosopher nor historiographer could, at the first, have entered into the gates of popular judgments, if they had not taken a great disport of poetry; which in all nations, at this day, where learning flourisheth not, is plain to be seen; in all which they have some feeling of poetry. In Turkey, besides their lawgiving divines they have no other writers but poets. In our neighbour-country Ireland, where, too, learning goes very bare, yet are their poets held in a devout reverence. Even among the most barbarous and simple Indians, where no writing is, yet have they their poets who make and sing songs, which they call "Arentos," both of their ancestor's deeds and praises of their gods. A sufficient probability, that if ever learning comes among them, it must be by having their hard dull wits softened and sharpened with the sweet delight of poetry; for until they find a pleasure in the exercise of the mind, great promises of much knowledge will little persuade them that know not the fruits of knowledge. In Wales, the true remnant of the ancient Britons, as there are good authorities to show the long time they had poets, which they called bards, so through all the conquests of Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, some of whom did seek to ruin all memory of learning from among them, yet do their poets, even to this day, last; so as it is not more notable in the soon beginning than in long-continuing. But since the authors of most of our sciences were the Romans, and before them the Greeks, let us, a little, stand upon their authorities; but even so far, as to see what names they have given unto this now scorned skill. {9} Among the Romans a poet was called "vates," which is as much as a diviner, foreseer, or prophet, as by his conjoined words "vaticinium," and "vaticinari," is manifest; so heavenly a title did that excellent people bestow upon this heart- ravishing knowledge! And so far were they carried into the admiration thereof, that they thought in the changeable hitting upon any such verses, great foretokens of their following fortunes were placed. Whereupon grew the word of sortes Virgilianae; when, by sudden opening Virgil's book, they lighted upon some verse, as it is reported by many, whereof the histories of the Emperors' lives are full. As of Albinus, the governor of our island, who, in his childhood, met with this verse Arma amens capio, nec sat rationis in armis

I shall not do it without the testimony of great learned men. The Greeks named him [Greek text]. Although it were a very vain and godless superstition. than by any partial allegation. I had rather were known by marking the scope of other sciences. But they that. his telling of the beasts' joyfulness. I know not whether by luck or wisdom. Lastly. since both the oracles of Delphi and the Sibyl's prophecies were wholly delivered in verses. There is no art delivered unto mankind that hath not the works of nature for his principal object. and follow nature. then. So doth the geometrician and arithmetician. being rightly applied. which not. so yet serveth it to show the great reverence those wits were held in. for that same exquisite observing of number and measure in the words. derived of "carmina. and thou shalt not err. with quiet judgments. The historian." and say. that the holy David's Psalms are a divine poem? If I do." which name. although the rules be not yet fully found. which is merely poetical. but a heavenly poesy. which name hath. But {11} now let us see how the Greeks have named it. gone through other languages. which is. as it were. that is fully written in metre. did seem to have some divine force in it. will look a little deeper into it. and on which they so depend as they become actors and players. having named him. when he maketh you. and the moral philosopher standeth upon the natural virtues. is nothing but Songs. or passions of man. wherein." cometh. whereupon this word charms. which is TO MAKE. So doth the musician. in times. as. and that high-flying liberty of conceit proper to the poet. his handling his prophecy. The grammarian speaketh only of the . as it were. and altogether not without ground. now. which. thrown down to so ridiculous an estimation. without which they could not consist. among us. how high and incomparable a title it is. what men have done. both ancient and modern. shall find the end and working of it such. applying it to poetry. tell you which by nature agree. the often and free changing of persons. deserveth not to be scourged out of the church of God. of what nature will have set forth. {12} So doth the astronomer look upon the stars. only cleared by faith? But truly. he sheweth himself a passionate lover of that unspeakable and everlasting beauty. vices. and how they deemed of it. his notable prosopopoeias. as the most excellent. see God coming in His majesty. But even the name of Psalms will speak for me. The lawyer saith what men have determined. as also it was. being interpreted. we Englishmen have met with the Greeks in calling him "a maker. and by that he seeth set down what order nature hath taken therein.and in his age performed it. to think spirits were commanded by such verses. as all learned Hebricians agree. I fear I seem to profane that holy name. to be seen by the eyes of the mind. saith he. The natural philosopher thereon hath his name. wherein. almost. in their diverse sorts of quantities. it cometh of this word [Greek text]. For what else is the awaking his musical instruments. and principally. and hills leaping. therein. And {10} may not I presume a little farther to show the reasonableness of this word "vates.

so as he goeth hand in hand with Nature. so valiant a man as Orlando. in making things either better than nature bringeth forth. the poets only deliver a golden. who having made man to His own likeness. is not wholly imaginative. forms such as never were in nature. which in nothing he showeth so much as in poetry. And that the poet hath that idea is manifest by delivering them forth in such excellency as he had imagined them. build upon the depth of nature. why. according to the proposed matter. sweet-smelling flowers. so it seemeth in him her uttermost cunning is employed. indeed. considering what in nature will soonest prove and persuade. disdaining to be tied to any such subjection. in effect. so constant a friend as Pylades. also. gave him the name above all names of learning. when. and so excellent a man every way as Virgil's AEneas? Neither let this be jestingly conceived.rules of speech. and go to man. not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts. as nature might have done. and the nature of things helpful and hurtful unto it. chimeras. set him beyond and over all the works of that second nature. and by fewer granted. thereon give artificial rules. thus much I hope will be given me. Neither let it be deemed too saucy a comparison to balance the highest point of man's wit with the efficacy of nature. that maker made him. he bringeth things forth surpassing her doings. the other in imitation or fiction. that the Greeks. since our erected wit maketh us know what perfection is. as we are wont to say by them that build castles in the air. though it be in the second and abstract notions. or quite anew. Cyclops. so right a prince as Xenophon's Cyrus. but freely ranging within the zodiac of his own wit. but so far substantially it worketh not only to make a Cyrus. if they will learn aright. demi-gods. and such like. nor whatsoever else may make the too. but to bestow a Cyrus upon the world to make many Cyruses. fruitful trees. and yet our infected will keepeth us from reaching unto it. whether she have brought forth so true a lover as Theagenes. because the works of the one be essential. which had been but a particular excellency. and the rhetorician and logician. doth grow. . {14} for whom as the other things are. with the force of a divine breath. The physician weigheth the nature of man's body. furies. and know. as the heroes. and how. and not in the work itself. lifted up with the vigour of his own invention. with some probability of reason. but rather give right honour to the heavenly Maker of that maker. her world is brazen. And the metaphysic. But let those things alone. yet doth he. which still are compassed within the circle of a question. and therefore be counted supernatural. into another nature. {13} Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapestry as divers poets have done.much-loved earth more lovely. neither with so pleasant rivers. Only the poet. for every understanding knoweth the skill of each artificer standeth in that idea. or fore-conceit of the work. which delivering forth. But these arguments will by few be understood. with no small arguments to the incredulous of that first accursed fall of Adam.

and takes not the free course of his own invention. the fault is in their judgment. and go to the THIRD. as the constant. and I know is used with the fruit of comfort by some. bestow that in colours upon you which is fittest for the eye to see. shall not justly be barred from a principal commendation. {16} therefore. These be they. that is to say. and the writer of Job. or shall be. they find the consolation of the never-leaving goodness. as Lucretius. Phocylides. in singing psalms when they are merry. Homer in his hymns. But because this second sort is wrapped within the fold of the proposed subject. a speaking picture. and Proverbs. as Lucan. but painteth the outward beauty of such a virtue. whom he never saw. though lamenting look of Lucretia. and many others. Of {17} this have been three general kinds: the CHIEF. and so. with the fore-described name of poets. in his Ecclesiastes. {20} indeed right poets. beside others. Solomon in the Song of Songs. and the more excellent. quite out of taste. in sorrowful pangs of their death-bringing sins. that the truth may be the more palpable. with this end. yet his very description. as the first and most noble sort. or figuring forth: to speak metaphorically. that. In this kind. let grammarians dispute. For these. Amphion. either moral. is an art of imitation. to teach and delight. Virgil's Georgics. Moses and Deborah in their hymns. Poesy." so these are waited on in the excellentest languages and best understandings. or historical. natural. both in antiquity and excellency. and should be. which they that did imitate the inconceivable excellencies of God. Cato. betwixt whom and these second is such a kind of difference. and not in the sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge. when.Now {15} let us go to a more ordinary opening of him. whether they properly be poets or no. who having no law but wit. And this poesy must be used by whosoever will follow St. though in a wrong divinity. were Orpheus. or astronomical. as Manilius {19} and Pontanus. of whom chiefly this question ariseth. which who mislike. which no man will deny. which. into the divine consideration of what may be. The {18} SECOND kind is of them that deal with matter philosophical. as Tyrtaeus. a representing. when she punished in herself another's fault. the learned Emanuel Tremellius and Fr. reined with learned discretion. such were David in the Psalms. though we get not so unmatched a praise as the etymology of his names will grant. as betwixt the meaner sort of painters. borrow nothing of what is. who counterfeit only such faces as are set before them. hath been. Paul's counsel. and to imitate. for so Aristotle termeth it in the word [Greek text]. I hope. but range only. may justly be termed "vates. For these three be they which most properly do imitate to teach and delight. or. both Greeks and Romans. do merely make to imitate. Junius do entitle the poetical part of the scripture. wherein he painteth not Lucretia. counterfeiting. and imitate both to . against these none will speak that hath the Holy Ghost in due holy reverence. indeed.

but piecing each syllable of each word by just proportion. Some an admirable delight drew to music. which. which commonly we call learning under what name soever it come forth. and certain others. persuading themselves to be demi-gods. and by knowledge to lift up the mind from the dungeon of the body to the enjoying his own divine essence. and teach to make them know that goodness whereunto they are moved. These {21} be subdivided into sundry more special denominations. satyric. elegiac. iambic. and yet both these wrote in prose. words as they changeably fall from the mouth. and then by his PARTS. which I speak to show. as Cicero saith of him. and if in neither of these anatomies he be commendable. or what else. as in matter they passed all in all. bred many formed impressions. indeed. and no knowledge to be so high or heavenly as to be acquainted with the stars. pastoral. having this scope to know. since there have been many most excellent poets that never versified. Indeed. the final end is. with that delightful teaching. it shall not be amiss. according to the dignity of the subject. for some that thought this felicity principally to be gotten by knowledge. which being the noblest scope to which ever any learning was directed. enabling of judgment. without delight they would fly as from a stranger. So did Heliodorus. who did imitate so excellently as to give us effigiem justi imperii. and some the certainty of demonstrations to the mathematics. so in manner to go beyond them. meaning. or like men in a dream. lyric. others. became natural and supernatural philosophers. to weight this latter sort of poetry by his WORKS. which must be the right describing note to know a poet by. the greatest part of poets have apparelled their poetical inventions in that numerous kind of writing which is called verse. their clay lodgings. but it is that feigning notable images of virtues. This purifying of wit. the senate of poets have chosen verse as their fittest raiment. and delight to move men to take that goodness in hand. for. the most notable be the heroic.delight and teach. one and other. tragic. This. yet want there not idle tongues to bark at them. but apparelied verse. comic. Now. {24} therefore. . made therein an absolute heroical poem. if they knew the causes of things. this enriching of memory. some by the sort of verse they like best to write in. I hope we shall receive a more favourable sentence. the portraiture of a just of Cyrus. made worse by. but all. not speaking table-talk fashion. who. gave themselves to astronomy. vices. {22} For Xenophon. and enlarging of conceit. Although. being but an ornament. according to the inclination of man. {23} in his sugared invention of Theagenes and Chariclea. to lead and draw us to as high a perfection as our degenerate souls. that it is not rhyming and versing that maketh a poet (no more than a long gown maketh an advocate. and now swarm many versifiers that need never answer to the name of poets. some of these being termed according to the matter they deal with. or to what immediate end soever it be directed. {25} can be capable of. first. though he pleaded in armour should be an advocate and no soldier). and no cause to poetry. indeed.

for to witness outwardly their contempt of outward things. upon other histories. So that the ending end of all earthly learning being virtuous action. and the soldier not only to have the skill. with a scornful interrogative do soberly ask: Whether it be possible to find any path so ready to lead a man to virtue. by the Greeks called [Greek text]. These men. I see coming toward me with a sullen gravity (as though they could not abide vice by daylight). and a tyrant in tabletalk) denieth. which must be destroyed. but mine . and inquisitive of novelties. of definitions. and teacheth it not only by delivering forth his very being. so the horseman's to soldiery. sophistically speaking against subtlety. but also by making known his enemy. and maintaining of public societies? The historian {28} scarcely gives leisure to the moralist to say so much. but to perform the practice of a soldier. {26} Among {27} whom principally to challenge it. which. and not of well knowing only. those skills that most serve to bring forth that have a most just title to be princes over all the rest. and the mathematician might draw forth a straight line with a crooked heart. looking to the stars.But when. with books in their hands against glory. authorizing {29} himself. whose greatest authorities are built upon the notable foundation of hearsay. for the most part. might fall in a ditch. the over-ruler of opinions. is comparable to him. a wonder to young folks. having much ado to accord differing writers. as they have a private end in themselves. magistra vitae. teacheth a disputative virtue. lastly. I am "Testis temporum. by the balance of experience. but that he (laden with old mouse-eaten records. and yet better knowing how this world goes than how his own wit runs. better acquainted with a thousand years ago than with the present age. casting largesses as they go. and the specialities that are derived from it. and his cumbersome servant. but I do an active. then lo! did proof. and distinctions. wherein. to the government of families. which stands. in a great chafe. curious for antiquities. by plain setting down how it extends itself out of the limits of a man's own little world. that any man for teaching of virtue and virtuous actions. that the enquiring philosopher might be blind in himself. vita memoriae. passion. whom. rudely clothed. lux veritatis. the poet is worthy to have it before any other competitors. which is horsemanship. as that which teacheth what virtue is. and to pick truth out of partiality. methinks. but his farther end to serve a nobler faculty. which must be mastered. with the end of well doing. by showing the generalities that contain it. whereto they set their names. in the knowledge of a man's self. make manifest that all these are but serving sciences. saith he." {30} The philosopher. even as the saddler's next end is to make a good saddle. so yet are they all directed to the highest end of the mistress knowledge. if we can show it rightly. vice. divisions. his causes and effects. as I think. in the ethic and politic consideration. nuncia vetustatis. step forth the moral philosophers. and angry with any man in whom they see the foul fault of anger. his virtue is excellent in the dangerless academy of Plato. it was found that the astronomer.

he giveth a perfect picture of it. the chief of virtues. and Agincourt: he teacheth virtue by certain abstract considerations. For the philosopher. by some one by whom he pre- . that happy is that man who may understand him. and if he be the guide. and so misty to be conceived. so is he not in the deepest truth to stand in rank with these. but both. Now {32} doth the peerless poet perform both. The philosopher. and with the moral philosopher. doth not endeavour to make men good. but I give the experience of many ages. the one by precept. having no care. Then would he allege you innumerable examples. who all endeavour to take naughtiness away. and for the lawyer. and the historian are they which would win the goal." or.showeth forth her honourable face in the battles of Marathon. the long line of their disputation makes a point in this. not having both. if he make the song book. how bad a man he be: therefore. and therefore a less fruitful doctrine. with all reverence. that his example draweth no necessary consequence. they that best breed it deserve the best commendation. but even for passing each of these in themselves. For his knowledge standeth so upon the abstract and general. that one that hath no other guide but him shall wade in him until he be old. and much more from all other serving sciences. And these four are all that any way deal in the consideration of men's manners. though "Jus" be the daughter of Justice. but to what is. wanting the precept. to say righter. but I only bid you follow the footing of them that have gone before you: old-aged experience goeth beyond the fine-witted philosopher. so he be a good citizen. for as for the Divine. to be moderator? Truly. since the question standeth for the highest form in the school of learning. is so hard of utterance. and the other the example. no other human skill can match him. Now {31} whom shall we find. do both halt. as Brutus. but that their evil hurt not others. to the particular truth of things. confirming story by stories. Poictiers. therefore. Therefore compare we the poet with the historian. setting down with thorny arguments the bare rule. as me seemeth. I put the learner's hand to the lute. before he shall find sufficient cause to be honest. yet because he seeks to make men good rather "formidine poenae" than "virtutis amore. the poet. not only for having his scope as far beyond any of these. which being the supreme knowledge. that the one giveth the precept. not to what should be. On the other side the historian. and if he go beyond them both. even the man that ought to carry the title from them both. Alphonsus of Aragon (and who not? if need be). is so tied. he is ever to be excepted. for whatsoever the philosopher saith should be done. At length. and not to the general reason of things. and if not a moderator. as eternity exceedeth a moment. and necessity maketh him honourable. Lastly. the other by example. and more happy that can apply what he doth understand. I am the light. Pharsalia. and plant goodness even in the secretest cabinet of our souls. as our wickedness maketh him necessary. how much the wisest senators and princes have been directed by the credit of history.

in the fulness of all Calypso's delights. and. Anger. as the way of Sir Thomas More's Utopia? I say the way. in outward things. or that house well in model. for he yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of that whereof the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description. whether the feigned image of poetry. For as. with their chieftains Agamemnon and Menelaus. and particular marks? or of a gorgeous palace. that we seem not to hear of them. killing or whipping sheep and oxen. who. all virtues. thinking them the army of Greeks. who should tell him most exquisitely all their shape. it was the fault of the man. vices. so expressed. or a rhinoceros. by rote. bewail his absence from barren and beggarly Ithaca. with his learned definitions. the self-devouring cruelty in his father Atreus. lie dark before the imaginative and judging power. no doubt. all he had heard. notwithstanding. speaking in the midst of Troy's flames. friendship in Nisus and Euryalus. to make us know the force love of our country hath in us. yet should never satisfy his inward conceit. pierce. and many times not without poetical help. for that way of patterning a commonwealth was most absolute. I say. and our Chaucer's Pandar. so much as that other doth. the soon-repenting pride in Agamemnon. For the question is. be it of virtue or vices. that we now use their names to signify their trades. to fall lower. or see Ulysses. so. so as he coupleth the general notion with the particular example. though he. to a man that had never seen an elephant. which doth neither strike. valour in Achilles. was a short madness. but the same man. which. the philosopher. the sour sweetness of revenge in Medea. because where Sir Thomas More erred. without need of any description. A perfect picture. contrarily. declaring the full beauties.supposeth it was done. and finally. but clearly to see through them? But even in the most excellent determination of goodness. hath not so absolutely performed it. should straightway grow. the Stoics said. colour. perchance. to a judicial comprehending of them. bigness. even to an ignorant man. an architect. the remorse of conscience in OEdipus. if you have not a more familiar insight into anger. carry not an apparent shining. with being witness to itself of a true living knowledge. or the regular instruction of . as AEneas in Virgil? Or a whole commonwealth. and. if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the speaking picture of poesy. matters of public policy or private government. Let us but hear old Anchises. replenisheth the memory with many infallible grounds of wisdom. than finding in the schoolmen his genus and difference? See whether wisdom and temperance in Ulysses and Diomedes. the Terentian Gnatho. might well make the hearer able to repeat. as soon as he might see those beasts well painted. and passions so in their own natural states laid to the view. what philosopher's counsel can so readily direct a prince as the feigned Cyrus in Xenophon? Or a virtuous man in all fortunes. nor possess the sight of the soul. the violence of ambition in the two Theban brothers. Tully taketh much pains. as it were. and not of the poet. let but Sophocles bring you Ajax on a stage. and tell me.

whose pretty allegories. saying. that if this managing of matters be so fit for the imagination. For conclusion. then must the historian needs surpass. I see before mine eyes the lost child's disdainful prodigality turned to envy a swine's dinner. I say again. for myself (me seems). that poetry is [Greek text]. "Mediocribus esse poetis Non Di. whether Alcibiades did. by the learned divines." {33}) it is. But the poet is the food for the tenderest stomachs. if the philosophers have more rightly showed themselves philosophers. plainly determineth this question. than the poets have attained to the high top of their profession. that is to say. and not such as fantastically or falsely may be suggested to have been done. so as the learned only can understand him. are thought not historical acts. this or that:" thus far Aristotle. But now may it be alleged. because poesy dealeth with [Greek text]. Truly. whether it were better to have a particular act truly or falsely set down? there is no doubt which is to be chosen. the right popular philosopher. indeed. even our Saviour Christ could as well have given the moral common-places {34} of uncharitableness and humbleness. but instructing parables. at the painter's pleasure. or. or of disobedience and mercy. which the poesy considereth in his imposed names. not the fault of the art. Certainly. make many. such as. "Now. For." saith he. that is to say. "the universal weighs what is fit to be said or done. is most full of reason. which. indeed. . for your own use and learning. Truly. (as in truth. inhabit both the memory and judgment. and of Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. that is to say. and the particular only marks. non concessere columnae. if the question were. His reason is. were done. begin to hear the sound of virtue from those dumb speakers. he teacheth them that are already taught. the poet is. either in likelihood or necessity. but he teacheth obscurely. indeed. with the universal consideration. or suffered.philosophy. and the history [Greek text]. as the heavenly discourse of the lost child and the gracious father. {35} Which reason of his. nothing resembling? But if the question be. it is more philosophical and more ingenious than history. but that by few men that art can be accomplished. I say the philosopher teacheth. no more than whether you had rather have Vespasian's picture right as he was. in his Discourse of Poesy. the particular. hath the more force in teaching. non homines. stealing under the formal tales of beasts. who brings you images of true matters. Whereof AEsop's tales give good proof. as all his. as it were. more beastly than beasts. Aristotle himself. as the divine narration of Dives and Lazarus. would more constantly. Wherein. but that his thorough searching wisdom knew the estate of Dives burning in hell.

Ulysses. the best of the historians is subject to the poet. King Darius's faithful servant. than the right AEneas in Dares Phrygius. where the historian. for Abradatus did not counterfeit so far. as it please him: having all. {36} and the feigned AEneas in Virgil. beautifying it both for farther teaching. to portrait a most sweet face. with his imitation. AEneas. Herodotus and Justin do both testify. from Dante's heaven to his hell. for verifying of which he caused his own nose and ears to be cut off. who. Atreus. or Scipio himself. {37} as to a lady that desired to fashion her countenance to the best grace. truly. if he list. under the authority of his pen. cannot be liberal. policy. without reading Q. nothing that is not to be shunned.whether it be better to have it set down as it should be. than the true Cyrus in Justin. because it rained yesterday therefore it should rain today. For. that a feigned example bath as much force to teach as a true example (for as for to move. then. that Zopyrus. indeed. but. though in universal consideration of doctrine. or if he do. show doings. doth warrant a man more in that he shall follow. so far credited. and so go by reason. But if he know an example only enforms a conjectured likelihood. a painter should more benefit her. and more delighting. the poet prevaileth. hath it some advantage to a gross conceit. and such like. politic. let us take one example wherein an historian and a poet did concur. he will show you in Tantalus. If the poet do his part aright. and then how will you discern what to follow. or as it was? then. each thing to be followed. so much the better. as if he should argue. the answer is manifest: that if he stand upon that WAS. for his known valour. then. Much-like matters doth Livy record of Tarquinius and his son. if occasion be presented unto you to serve your prince by such an honest dissimulation. Now would I fain know. yet that the history. without he will be poetical. that he did find means to deliver them over to Darius. whatsoever action or faction. or private matters. since the feigned may be tuned to the highest key of passion). whatsoever counsel. as in Alexander. Xenophon excellently feigned such another stratagem. is more doctrinable the feigned Cyrus in Xenophon. bound to tell things as things were. certainly. and so flying to the Babylonians. was received. some to be liked. than to paint Canidia as she was. make his own. the poet doth so far exceed him. and. or war stratagem the historian is bound to recite. where the historian in his bare WAS hath many times that which we call fortune to overrule the best wisdom. in Cyrus. Curtius? {38} And whereas. some to be misliked. but by your own discretion. in his saying such a thing was done. which you had. why do you not as well learn it of Xenophon's fiction as of the other's verity? and. Horace sweareth. it must be poetically. a man may say. writing Canidia upon it. Many times he must tell events whereof he can yield no cause. was full ill-favoured. of a perfect pattern. seeing his master long resisted by the rebellious Babylonians. feigned himself in extreme disgrace of his King. Which if I . as he is to frame his example to that which is most reasonable. So. as you shall save your nose by the bargain. for. it is clear. performed by Abradatus in Cyrus's behalf. be it in warlike. that may the poet.

and not of the artificer. and in other hard plights. For see we not valiant Miltiades rot in his fetters? the just Phocion and the accomplished Socrates put to death like traitors? the cruel Severus live prosperously? the excellent Severus miserably murdered? Sylla and Marius dying in their beds? Pompey and Cicero slain then when they would have thought exile a happiness? See we not virtuous Cato driven to kill himself. that no man is so much [Greek text]. after sixteen hundred years. that commendation is peculiar to poetry. not content with earthly plagues. in respect of his methodical proceeding. howsoever. making fortune her well-waiting handmaid. that the philosopher. Periander. but over the philosopher. for that. say I. that he excelleth history. by skill in history. and rebel Caesar so advanced. as they little animate folks to follow them. setteth the laurel crowns upon the poets as victorious.be asked. yet do I think. What poets have done so? as I might well name some. indeed. For suppose it be granted. that it is well nigh both the cause and effect of teaching. if he be not moved with desire to be taught? And what so much good doth that teaching bring forth (I speak still of moral doctrine) as that it moveth one to do that . therefore. indeed. for. which. that one must needs be enamoured of her. if evil men come to the stage. and vice punished: truly. Dionysius. "literas nescivit:" as if want of learning caused him to do well. I speak of the art. it may be questionable. not only in furnishing the mind with knowledge. and moving to well-doing. to put down his dishonest tyranny). poetry ever sets virtue so out in her best colours. they ever go out (as the tragedy writer answered to one that misliked the show of such persons) so manacled. to make them shine the more in the near following prosperity. no doubt. deviseth new punishment in hell for tyrants: nor yet by philosophy. and an encouragement to unbridled wickedness. that speed well enough in their abominable injustice of usurpation. But history being captive to the truth of a foolish world. that his name yet. on the contrary part. Now. but they are but exercises of patience and magnanimity. And that moving is of a higher degree than teaching. in teaching. not only of the historian. that which I suppose. He meant it not by poetry. and say again. as to compare the philosopher in moving with the poet. lasteth in the highest honour? And mark but even Caesar's own words of the forenamed Sylla. (who in that only did honestly. And. may be denied. in many times a terror from well. it may by this appear. Well may you see Ulysses in a storm. in respect of the notable learning which is got by marking the success. so yet. which teacheth "occidentes esse:" but. I conclude. and I know not how many more of the same kennel. to that which commonly is attributed to the praise of history.doing. Phalaris. and far off from history. indeed. teach more perfectly than the poet. can afford you Cypselus. for who will be taught. as though therein a man should see virtue exalted. but in setting it forward to that which deserves to be called and accounted good: which setting forward. with great reason.

and old men from the chimney-corner. valour. and read him with attentive. the well. those things which in themselves are horrible. that wisheth not it . hath already passed half the hardness of the way. insomuch that. as Aristotle saith. must needs hear the right description of wisdom. but to be moved to do that which we know. the inward light each mind hath in itself is as good as a philosopher's book: since in nature we know it is well to do well. as of the many by-turnings that may divert you from your way. and with a tale. or to be moved with desire to know. Achilles. philosophically) set out. The philosopher showeth you the way. which. unnatural monsters. and what is well and what is evil. I have known men. but this is to no man. "hoc opus. For. that full of that taste you may long to pass farther. and therefore is beholden to the philosopher but for the other half. without being moved to practise. he cometh unto you with a tale which holdeth children from play. God knoweth. as will entice any man to enter into it. AEneas. and hearing them. at the very first give you a cluster of grapes. even as the child is often brought to take most wholesome things. by hiding them in such other as have a pleasant taste. as cruel battles. studious painfulness. if one should begin to tell them the nature of the aloes or rhubarbarum they should receive. in poetical imitation. as Aristotle saith. He beginneth not with obscure definitions. of all sciences (I speak still of human and according to the human conceit). although not in the words of art which philosophers bestow upon us. for out of natural conceit the philosophers drew it. if they had been barely (that is to say. For he doth not only show the way. liberality.which it doth teach. which must blur the margin with interpretations. doth intend the winning of the mind from wickedness to virtue. so it is in men (most of them are childish in the best things. {40} therein. till they be cradled in their graves). are made. pretending no more. have found their hearts moved to the exercise of courtesy. {41} and. it is not [Greek text] but [Greek text] {39} must be the fruit: and how [Greek text] can be. That imitation whereof poetry is. forsooth. which constant desire whosoever hath in him. nay. that where once reason hath so much over-mastered passion. it is no hard matter to consider. Cyrus. but giveth so sweet a prospect into the way. wanteth much of a perfect poesy. which. Truly.enchanting skill of music. would sooner take their physic at their ears than at their mouth. learned men have learnedly thought. he informeth you of the particularities. hath the most conveniency to nature of all other. but he cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion. delightful. truly. either accompanied with. they would swear they be brought to school again. is our poet the monarch. that even with reading Amadis de Gaule. Nay. as that the mind hath a free desire to do well. and especially courage. and justice. he doth. hic labor est. and load the memory with doubtfulness." Now. or prepared for. which. glad they will be to hear the tales of Hercules. as well of the tediousness of the way and of the pleasant lodging you shall have when your journey is ended. Who readeth AEneas carrying old Anchises on his back. as if your journey should lie through a fair vineyard. but to him that will read him.

which. For even those hard-hearted evil men. ere themselves be aware. or cunning insinuations. that there was a time when all the parts of the body made a mutinous conspiracy against the belly. and therefore made mistress Philosophy very often borrow the masking raiment of poesy. how doth he it? but by telling of a man whose beloved lamb was ungratefully taken from his bosom. saving wrangling whether "virtus" be the chief or the only good. wrought such effect in the people as I never read that only words brought forth. especially if they were Platonic. This. which are so often remembered.were his fortune to perform so excellent an act? Whom doth not those words of Turnus move (the tale of Turnus having planted his image in the imagination) "—fugientem haec terra videbit? Usque adeone mori miserum est?" {42} Where the philosophers (as they think) scorn to delight. applied by him. but the discourse itself feigned. which made David (I speak of the second and instrumental . they cannot but love. forsooth. whether the contemplative or the active life do excel. when the whole people of Rome had resolutely divided themselves from the senate. for upon reasonable conditions a perfect reconcilement ensued. who think virtue a school. all men know them. which they thought devoured the fruits of each other's labour. in laying his own shame before his eyes. and so steal to see the form of goodness. and know no other good but "indulgere genio. only two shall serve. but then so sudden. as. who. The other is of Nathan the prophet. which Plato and Boetius well knew. so much they be content little to move. which seen. and as notorious that it was a tale). an excellent orator. and so good an alteration. either of figurative speeches. Infinite {43} proofs of the strange effects of this poetical invention might be alleged." and therefore despise the austere admonitions of the philosopher. The one of Menenius Agrippa. He telleth them a tale. but. as if they took a medicine of cherries. he behaveth himself like a homely and familiar poet. which is all the good-fellow poet seems to promise. they must have learned geometry before they could have conceived. though he were.name. with punishing the belly they plagued themselves. they concluded they would let so unprofitable a spender starve. as to confirm adultery with murder. In the end. and much less with far-fetched maxims of philosophy. and feel not the inward reason they stand upon. for that time. when the holy David had so far forsaken God. when he was to do the tenderest office of a friend. I think. came not among them upon trust. with apparent show of utter ruin. being sent by God to call again so chosen a servant. to be short (for the tale is notorious. who. The application most divinely true. yet will be content to be delighted.

Now. or species. what blessedness is derived to them that lie lowest from the goodness of them that sit highest? Sometimes under the pretty tales of wolves and sheep. Therefore. to cite the special kinds. the conjunction cannot be hurtful. where the hedge is lowest. therefore. that contentions for trifles can get but a trifling victory. some have mingled matters heroical and pastoral. the pastoral poem which is misliked? {46} For. the weakness of . as that heavenly psalm of mercy well testifieth. And so a conclusion not unfitly ensues. as you list to term them. who bewaileth. by Tityrus. would move rather pity than blame. Is the poor pipe disdained. that the after-livers may say. if severed they be good. have mingled prose and verse. so that (as in a man) though all together may carry a presence full of majesty and beauty perchance in some one defectious {44} piece we may find blemish. kinds. then. sometimes show. to see what faults may be found in the right use of them. {48} which. so poetry. forgetting some. with the great philosopher Heraclitus. in the manner. {45} in his parts. and most princely to move towards it. in a kind heart. and leaving some as needless to be remembered. perchance. for. where. Corydon est tempore nobis. out of Melibaeus's mouth. By these. in the most excellent work is the most excellent workman. being the most familiar to teach it. which sometimes. that as virtue is the most excellent resting-place for all worldly learning to make his end of. doth draw the mind more effectually than any other art doth. can include the whole considerations of wrong doing and patience. when they strove who should be cock of this world's dunghill. Is it.cause) as in a glass see his own filthiness. et victum frustra contendere Thyrsim. can show the misery of people under hard lords and ravening soldiers? And again." {47} Or is it the lamenting elegiac. perchance. it is to be noted that some poesies have coupled together two or three kinds. as Sannazaro and Boetius. whereupon is risen the tragi-comical. Ex illo Corydon. but more narrowly will examine his parts. as the tragical and comical. perchance. some. "Haec memini. in a word. they will soonest leap over. the benefit they got was. it shall not be amiss. But I am content not only to decipher him by his works (although works in commendation and dispraise must ever hold a high authority). examples and reasons. with that same hand of delight. but that cometh all to one in this question. I think it may be manifest that the poet. a man may see that even Alexander and Darius.

by the signifying badge given them by the comedian. there is no man living. the odd as well as the even. perchance. animus si nos non deficit aequus.mankind. so in the actions of our life. as in geometry. who. who. until he make a man laugh at folly. Now. This doth the comedy handle so. no sooner seeth these men play their parts. of a crafty Davus. and not only to know what effects are to be expected." giveth us to feel how many headaches a passionate life bringeth us to. who when all is done. And little reason hath any man to say. it is the comic. surely. "Omne vafer vitium ridenti tangit amico. is to be praised. who seeth not the filthiness of evil. of a flattering Gnatho. and the wretchedness of the world. I think. an experience of what is to be looked for. or for rightly pointing out how weak be the passions of wofulness? Is it the bitter." {51} No. which he representeth in the most ridiculous and scornful sort that may be. in our private and domestical matters. only thus much now is to be said. at length." {50} who sportingly never leaveth. To the arguments of abuse I will after answer. that he seeth not himself to dance in the same measure. perchance. of a niggardly Demea. ashamed to laugh at himself. as it were. the oblique must be known as well as the right. either for compassionately accompanying just causes of lamentations. which he cannot avoid without avoiding the folly. with bold and open crying out against naughtiness? Or the satiric? who. but to know who be such. of a vain-glorious Thraso." {53} although. we get. wanteth a great foil to perceive the beauty of virtue. as I said before. . but wisheth them in "pistrinum. but by the force truth hath in nature. "Est Ulubris. as. {52} whom naughty play-makers and stage-keepers have justly made odious. and in arithmetic. by nobody be blamed. the sack of his own faults lie so behind his back. while "circum praecordia ludit. since. with hearing it. that men learn the evil by seeing it so set out. but wholesome iambic. making shame the trumpet of villany. that the comedy is an imitation of the common errors of our life. {49} who rubs the galled mind. so as it is impossible that any beholder can be content to be such a one. whereto yet nothing can more open his eyes than to see his own actions contemptibly set forth. and. so that the right use of comedy will.

as it may be answered. which being so evil apparelled in the dust and cobweb of that uncivil age. which that right soldierlike nation think one of the chiefest kindlers of brave courage. "qui sceptra saevos duro imperio regit. the chief fault was in the time and custom of the Greeks. drew abundance of tears. with no rougher voice than rude style. and not of the poetry. {54} that openeth the greatest wounds. so as he that was not ashamed to make matters for tragedies. that maketh us know. from whose eyes a tragedy. to virtuous acts? who giveth moral precepts and natural problems? who sometimes raiseth up his voice to the height of the heavens. {56} whose very name. in singing the lauds of the immortal God? Certainly. There rests the heroical. but even at home. and upon how weak foundations gilded roofs are builded. Plutarch yielded a notable testimony of the abominable tyrant Alexander Pheraeus. rather matters of sport than virtue. withdrew himself from hearkening to that which might mollify his hardened heart. in despite of himself. so is that kind most capable. For by what conceit can a tongue be directed to speak evil of that which draweth with . who set those toys at so high a price. that maketh kings fear to be tyrants. I must confess mine own barbarousness. and all other such-like meetings. and showeth forth the ulcers that are covered with tissue. who with his tuned lyre and well-accorded voice. metus in authorem redit. to embrace honourable enterprises. it was the fault of the poet. and some of his own blood. Is it the lyric that most displeaseth. timet timentes. as such songs were made. The incomparable Lacedaemonians did not only carry that kind of music ever with them to the field. who without all pity had murdered infinite numbers. to have songs of their ancestors' valour. And where a man may say that Pindar many times praiseth highly victories of small moment. that Philip of Macedon reckoned a horse-race won at Olympus among three fearful felicities. teacheth the uncertainty of this world. giveth praise. I think. for it were too absurd to cast out so excellent a representation of whatsoever is most worthy to be learned. what would it work. it was that he. and most fit.And much less of the high and excellent tragedy. {55} and yet it is sung but by some blind crowder. well made and represented. to awake the thoughts from the sleep of idleness. the old men what they had done." But how much it can move. so. I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas. But it is not the tragedy they do dislike. the reward of virtue. But as the inimitable Pindar often did. And if it wrought no farther good in him. and the young what they would do. and tyrants to manifest their tyrannical humours. yet could not resist the sweet violence of a tragedy. when the lusty men were to tell what they did. indeed. that with stirring the effects of admiration and commiseration. so were they all content to be singers of them. that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet. should daunt all backbiters. trimmed in the gorgeous eloquence of Pindar? In Hungary I have seen it the manner at all feasts.

but in their severed . this man setteth her out to make her more lovely. but maketh matter for a conceit. but in faith they cannot tell where. and informs with counsel how to be worthy. how a fugitive. as the image of each action stirreth and instructeth the mind. how to allies. how in his inward self. and I think. nor the particularities descending from him. Only let AEneas be worn in the tablet of your memory. "Melius Chrysippo et Crantore:" {57} but. neither the sum that contains him. the thing described cannot be evil. the one of prophesying. is well nigh comparable to the philosopher. and of most fatherly antiquity. nor barbarous nation is without it. but teacheth and moveth to the most high and excellent truth: who maketh magnanimity and justice shine through all misty fearfulness and foggy desires? who. but the best and most accomplished kind. and delight the learners of it. in the preserving his old father. that who could see virtue. to leave Dido. and how in his outward government. Since. but.him no less champions than Achilles. their being from it. would have craved other of him. how to enemies. for instructing. then. since therein (namely. since neither his description nor end containeth any evil. in obeying God's commandments. the other of making. as Horace saith. how in storms. Yea. {58} poetry is of all human learnings the most ancient. give any fast handle to their carping dispraise. only bringeth his own stuff. truly. Cyrus. since the Holy Scripture (wherein there is no uncleanness) hath whole parts in it poetical. lastly. since all his kinds are not only in their united forms. how besieging. Rinaldo? who doth not only teach and move to truth. how he governeth himself in the ruin of his country. and doth not learn a conceit out of a matter. how besieged. how to his own. in moral doctrine. AEneas. considering. how in war. he will be found in excellency fruitful. all concurreth to the maintaining the heroical. would be wonderfully ravished with the love of her beauty. Tydeus. in her holiday apparel. so the lofty image of such worthies most inflameth the mind with desire to be worthy. and that indeed that name of making is fit for him. as from whence other learnings have taken their beginnings. Turus. So the name of poetry is odious to them. though not only passionate kindness. how in peace. how to strangers. how victorious. the poet only. since his effects be so good as to teach goodness. that where all other arts retain themselves within their subject. the chief of all knowledges) he doth not only far pass the historian. since both Roman and Greek gave such divine names unto it. For. which is not only a kind. I imagine it falleth out with these poet-whippers as with some good women who often are sick. but neither his cause nor effects. But if any thing be already said in the defence of sweet poetry. but even the human consideration of virtuous gratefulness. as it were. for moving. of poetry. leaveth him behind him. if the saying of Plato and Tully be true. in a mind most prejudiced with a prejudicating humour. since it is so universal that no learned nation doth despise it. and receive. to the eye of any that will deign not to disdain until they understand. and that even our Saviour Christ vouchsafed to use the flowers of it. how in sports. and carrying away his religious ceremonies.

it seemeth Scaliger judgeth truly. as they are full of a very idle uneasiness (since there is nothing of so sacred a majesty. instead of laughing at the jest.dissections fully commendable. the worthiness of the subject. which may be worthy either of yielding or answering." speech next to reason. as Erasmus was in the commending of Folly. one may be a poet without versing. but in all that kind of people who seek a praise by dispraising others. is to be called good fools. But {59} because we have ears as well as tongues. by stirring the spleen. to laugh at the jester. the comfortableness of being in debt. so. for so have our grave forefathers ever termed that humorous kind of jesters. will seem to weigh greatly. and a versifier without poetry." Agrippa will be as merry in the showing the Vanity of Science. it were an inseparable commendation. not only in these [Greek text]. Marry. let us hear. {60} neither shall any man or matter escape some touch of these smiling railers. as I think. not only as a man may say by his forcible quality. and that the lightest reasons that may be. which considereth each word. and the jolly commodities of being sick of the plague. But that which giveth greatest scope to their scorning humour. but that an itching tongue may rub itself upon it)." "That good lies hid in nearness of the evil. but. and. poet-haters. First. honour the poet's triumph. and confute others' knowledge before they confirm their own. truly. and think I think rightly. I would have them only remember. I note. Those kind of objections. it is not rhyming and versing that maketh poesy. may stay the brain from a thorough beholding. truly said. of the contrary side. the laurel crown appointed for triumphant captains. that cannot be praiseless which doth most polish that blessing of speech. as indeed. of all other learnings. who will correct the verb before they understand the noun. but by his best measured quantity. so as the best title in true English they get with their merriments. is rhyming and versing. We know a playing wit can praise the discretion of an ass. {61} It is already said. they had another foundation than the superficial part would promise. that they do prodigally spend a great many wandering words in quips and scoffs. for if "oratio" next to "ratio. which. carping and taunting at each thing. as well as we can. that scoffing cometh not of wisdom. if we will turn Ovid's verse. I think. so deserve they no other answer. these other pleasant fault-finders. But yet. doth worthily. ponder what objections be made against this art. presuppose it were inseparable. be the greatest gift bestowed upon mortality. But for Erasmus and Agrippa. and. "Ut lateat virtus proximitate mali. if nothing be put in the counterbalance. carrying even .

and so most strongly confirmeth it. drawing the mind to the serpent's tail of sinful fancies. measure. both in other . and being best for memory. order. without. how. memory being the only treasure of knowledge. Besides. "Percontatorem fugito: nam garrulus idem est. the rules chiefly necessary to be borne away are compiled in verses. being so set as one cannot be lost. and even to his old age serve him for hourly lessons? as. comedies give the largest field to ear. and herein. as Chaucer saith. Lastly. or Cato. wherein. Dum sibi quisque placet credula turba sumus. have showed nothing so apt for it as a certain room divided into many places. that it is the mother of lies.in themselves a harmony. Now. Horace. calleth the remembrance back to itself. Thirdly. I say. it must be in jest that any man can speak against it. which in his youth he learned. begetting another. one word so. a man might better spend his time in them than in this. for the most part. that there being many other more fruitful knowledges." {62} But the fitness it hath for memory is notably proved by all delivery of arts. as it were. Secondly. which seat must needs make the word remembered. First. mathematics. But what needs more in a thing so known to all men? Who is it that ever was a scholar that doth not carry away some verses of Virgil. even they that have taught the art of memory. perchance. be it in rhyme or measured verse. infecting us with many pestilent desires. with a syren sweetness. and the rest. that it is the nurse of abuse. especially. that if reading be foolish without remembering. proportion be in our time grown odious. Now {63} then go we to the most important imputations laid to the poor poets. for aught I can yet learn. as. number. but the whole work fails: which accusing itself. now that hath the verse in effect perfectly. the only handle of knowledge. But lay aside the just praise it hath. by the former a man shall have a near guess to the follower. are likewise most convenient for knowledge. from grammar to logic. besides their delight. those words which are fittest for memory. physic. the most divine striker of the senses. that verse far exceedeth prose in the knitting up of the memory. the reason is manifest: the words. every word having his natural seat. thus much is undoubtedly true. which hath a great affinity to memory. So that verse being in itself sweet and orderly. by being the only fit speech for music—music. well and thoroughly known. they are these.

the pillars of manlike liberty. though he recount things not true. The astronomer. How often. that a man might better spend his time. methinks. Truly this is much. with his cousin the geometrician. . do the physicians lie. very unwillingly. but allegorically and figuratively written. But I still and utterly deny that there is sprung out of earth a more fruitful knowledge. and seeing Thebes written in great letters upon an old door. that they should be the principal liars. as I take it. given to martial exercises. it should follow. think you. can hardly escape when they take upon them to measure the height of the stars. so think I none so simple would say. affirmeth many things. To {66} the second. as I said before. yet because he telleth them not for true he lieth not. but what should or should not be. before alleged. can scarcely be a liar. as if they had overshot Robin Hood. for. and therefore. as I affirm. and not stories what have been. in the cloudy knowledge of mankind. that ink and paper cannot be to a more profitable purpose employed. never affirmeth. that no learning is so good as that which teacheth and moveth to virtue. Now for the poet. and not lulled asleep in shady idleness with poets' pastimes. not labouring to tell you what is or is not. is a reason indeed. And no less of the rest which take upon them to affirm. {64} to the first. but "petere principium. to David. and especially the historian. looking for truth. but truly. First. as they say. therefore. And lastly and chiefly. to conjure you to believe for true what he writeth: he citeth not authorities of other histories. he nothing affirmeth. hardly escape from many lies: but the poet. doth believe that it is Thebes? If then a man can arrive to the child's age. and therefore never lieth. to know that the poet's persons and doings are but pictures what should be. though a man should grant their first assumption. but even for his entry calleth the sweet Muses to inspire into him a good invention." {65} For if it be. in troth. that good is not good because better is better. and though he would. for who thinketh that AEsop wrote it for actually true. we were full of courage. which. they cry out with open mouth. as a wicked man durst scarce say. which afterwards send Charon a great number of souls drowned in a potion before they come to his ferry. And. were well worthy to have his name chronicled among the beasts he writeth of. they will never give the lie to things not affirmatively. if there be much truth in it. What child is there that cometh to a play. that Plato banished them out of his commonwealth. that AEsop lied in the tales of his beasts. And certainly. therefore. before poets did soften us. the poet is the least liar. I think truly. the poet never maketh any circles about your imagination. that of all writers under the sun. and that none can both teach and move thereto so much as poesy.nations and ours. can. without we will say that Nathan lied in his speech. when they aver things good for sicknesses. but it doth. as a poet. to lie is to affirm that to be true which is false: so as the other artists. I answer paradoxically. as in history. then is the conclusion manifest.

what! shall the abuse of a thing make the right use odious? Nay. since only man.they may go away full fraught with falsehood. And doth the lawyer lie then. when. Judith killing Holofernes. and no beast. which some learned have defined. they cannot leave men nameless. what they will have granted. it can do more hurt than any other army of words. But. David fighting with Goliath. and John of the Nokes. They say the comedies rather teach. figuring forth good things. I say. and estates should do. although even some of my masters the philosophers spent a good deal of their lamp-oil in setting forth the excellency of it. that the abuse shall give reproach to the abused. grant that lovely name of love to deserve all hateful reproaches. and please an ill-pleased eye with wanton shows of better-hidden matters. But hereto is replied. which doth contrariwise infect the fancy with unworthy objects. which argueth a conceit of an actual truth. Their {67} third is. training it to a wanton sinfulness and lustful love. proveth a falsehood. he were a very partial champion of truth that would say we lied for giving a piece of wood the reverend title of a bishop. they shall use the narration but as an imaginative ground-plot of a profitable invention. the elegiac weeps the want of his mistress. and not to build any history. The poet nameth Cyrus and AEneas no other way than to show what men of their fames. they will find their sentence may. or containing in it some notable example. with good manners. For. or some fine picture fit for building or fortification. as Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. if they list. looking but for fiction. and that even to the heroical Cupid hath ambitiously climbed. Alas! Love. . and so. that the poets give names to men they write of. to be [Greek text]. could either put thee away or yield good reason why they keep thee! But grant love of beauty to be a beastly fault. truly. yet. I would thou couldst as well defend thyself. under the names of John of the Stile. methinks. he putteth his case? But that is easily answered. so in poesy. For I will not deny but that man's wit may make poesy. but vanity. by the reason of his sweet charming force. and not say that poetry abuseth man's wit. that is the principal if not only abuse I can hear alleged. amorous conceits. but that being abused. grant. though I yield that poesy may not only be abused. but. as thou canst offend others! I would those on whom thou dost attend. although it be very hard. possess many leaves of the poets' books. but that man's wit abuseth poetry. their naming of men is but to make their picture the more lively. than reprehend. as the painter. that not only love. which should be [Greek text]. put the last words foremost. indeed. yet shall it be so far from concluding. when this is granted. scurrility. they say the lyric is larded with passionate sonnets. fortunes. think I. that. Painting men. not being true. who should give to the eye either some excellent perspective. hath that gift to discern beauty. may leave those. we see we cannot play at chess but that we must give names to our chess-men: and yet. how much it abuseth men's wit. but lust.

or rather all learning but poetry. I dare undertake. the best rampire {68} to our often-assaulted bodies. "take heed what you do. or honest King Arthur. it is the freest from this.. belike fit to execute the fruits of their wits. since no memory is so ancient that gives not the precedence to poetry. because it were too large a digression to handle it. And certain it is. very gravely. What that before time was. that whatsoever being abused. or at least too superfluous. our nation had set their heart's delight upon action. one hangman. being abused." said another. flourished before Greece flourished. that before poets began to be in price. since it is manifest that all government of action is to be gotten by knowledge. indeed. Do we not see skill of physic. they prove the commendation. doth most harm. as they commonly term it. than writing things fit to be done. grow the crooked fosterer of horrible injuries? Doth not (to go in the highest) God's word abused breed heresy. we shall with more leisure conquer their countries. Orlando Furioso. is the ordinary doctrine of ignorance. teach poison. so that. even Turks and Tartars are delighted with poets. for poetry is the companion of camps. this argument. Of such mind were certain Goths. a Greek. of whom it is written. With a sword thou mayest kill thy father. being abused. it is a good reason. rather doing things worthy to be written. in our plainest homeliness. therefore. and His name abused become blasphemy? Truly. but because this reason is generally against all learning as well as poetry. and as truly (with leave of ladies be it spoken) it cannot do much good. and knowledge best by gathering many knowledges. "Jubeo stultum esse libenter—" {69} for as for poetry itself. as in their calling poets fathers of lies. whose end is to even and right all things. Marry. to him that is of that opinion. they said nothing." This. yet never was the Albion nation without poetry. and not imagination. that having in the spoil of a famous city taken a fair library. And. will never displease a soldier: but the quiddity of "ens" and "prima materia" will hardly agree with a corslet. yet it is indeed a chain-shot against all learning or bookishness. the most violent destroyer? Doth not knowledge of law. and if to a slight conjecture a conjecture may be opposed. "No. that. truly it may seem. though it be levelled against poetry. that as by him their learned men took almost their first light of knowledge. a needle cannot do much hurt. Homer. would have set fire in it. for while they are busy about those toys. objection. and with a sword thou mayest defend thy prince and country. so their active men receive . They allege herewith.contrariwise. who had murdered a great number of bodies. I think scarcely Sphynx can tell. which is reading. I only say with Horace. being rightly used (and upon the right use each thing receives his title) doth most good. as I said in the beginning. and many words sometimes I have heard spent in it. so in this their argument of abuse.

though Cato misliked his unmustered person. but sought by all means to discredit their masters. Scipio Nasica (judged by common consent the best Roman) loved him: both the other Scipio brothers. and that answered with so far greater than himself. that Plato's name is laid upon me. where many cities banished philosophers as not fit members to live among them. since of all philosophers he is the most poetical. after the philosophers had picked out of the sweet mysteries of poetry the right discerning of true points of knowledge. so loved him that they caused his body to be buried in their sepulture. they found for Homer seven cities strove who should have him for their citizen. if Cato misliked Fulvius for carrying Ennius with him to the field. my burthen is great. or else he had not done it. He misliked. that of a tyrant . therefore. where the Athenians themselves thought many of the philosophers unworthy to live. who had by their virtues no less surnames than of Asia and Afric. behind him. And. they forthwith. Certain poets. And if he had. For only repeating certain of Euripides' verses many Athenians had their lives saved of the Syracusans. therefore. in truth a bitter punisher of faults. it may be answered that if Cato misliked it the noble Fulvius liked it. though Plutarch did not. being fourscore years old. I must confess. began to learn it. and cried out against. the phoenix of warlike princes. living Aristotle. and with good reason. whose acts speak for him. stubbornness. the Roman laws allowed no person to be carried to the wars but he that was in the soldiers' roll. but else a man that had never sacrificed to the Graces. For. indeed. the more they hated them. as Simonides and Pindar. And. by the force of delight being barred them. but it was the former. was a natural enemy of poets. like ungrateful apprentices. being a philosopher. as Cato's authority being but against his person.their first notions of courage. beginning to spurn at their guides. the less they could overthrow them. For. is herein of no validity. all Greek learning. and yet. of all philosophers I have ever esteemed most worthy of reverence. truly. let us boldly examine with what reason he did it. and making a school of art of that which the poets did only teach by a divine delightfulness. a man might maliciously object that Plato. had so prevailed with Hiero the First. First. indeed. whom. This Alexander left his schoolmaster. but took dead Homer with him. were not content to set up shop for themselves. for it was not the excellent Cato Uticensis whose authority I would much more have reverenced. than by hearing the definition of fortitude. but the chief thing he was ever heard to wish for was that Homer had been alive. which. indeed. belike fearing that Pluto understood not Latin. putting it in method. He well found he received more bravery of mind by the pattern of Achilles. for his seeming philosophical. Only Alexander's example may serve. indeed mutinous. But {70} now. yet if he will defile the fountain out of which his flowing streams have proceeded. So. who by Plutarch is accounted of such virtue that fortune was not his guide but his footstool. he misliked not his work. Indeed. indeed. He put the philosopher Callisthenes to death.

who. which is likewise stretched to poetry. divine commendation unto poetry. since they had not the light of Christ. whereof now. but did imitate those opinions already induced. perchance as he thought nourished by then esteemed poets. of the Divine providence. So doth Plato upon the abuse. So as Plato. as in the fore-named dialogue is apparent. let this suffice: the poets did not induce such opinions. or the discourse of Love in Plutarch. as likewise one should do that should bid one read Phaedrus or Symposium in Plato. But I honour philosophical instructions. Plato. in his dialogue called "Ion. not the thing. Herein may much be said. than go about to overthrow his authority. and bless the wits which bred them. indeed upon the abuse. "qua authoritate. thence where he himself alloweth community of women.they made him a just king. of was made a slave. banishing the abuse. so as they be not abused. whose authority I had much rather justly construe than unjustly resist. not taught so by poets. should requite the objections raised against poets with like cavillations against philosophers. and see whether any poet do authorise abominable filthiness as they do. And a man need go no farther than to Plato himself to know his meaning. since truly I may do it. out of what Commonwealth Plato doth banish them? In sooth. I confess. and rightly. in those words of which Julius Scaliger saith. therefore. as belike this banishment grew not for effeminate wantonness. So.like braying against poesy. but giving due honour to it. barbari quidam atque insipidi. to be a very inspiring of a divine force. Plato found fault that the poets of his time filled the world with wrong opinions of the gods. did much better in it than the philosophers." {72} giveth high. without farther law. namely. where Plato could do so little with Dionysius that he himself. indeed. especially since he attributeth unto poesy more than myself do. I had much rather. Christianity hath taken away all the hurtful belief. brought in atheism. not banishing it. not upon poetry. Saint Paul himself sets a watchword upon philosophy. For. abuti velint ad poetas e republica exigendos {71}:" but only meant to drive out those wrong opinions of the Deity. far above man's wit. the more just cause he shall find to have in admiration. but followed according to their nature of imitation. Again. shaking off superstition. For all the Greek stories can well testify that the very religion of that time stood upon many and many-fashioned gods. meant not in general of poets. of the cause why oracles ceased. a man might ask. shall be our patron. and see whether the theology of that nation stood not upon such dreams. which the poets indeed superstitiously observed. the wiser a man is. making light tales of that unspotted essence. Who list may read in Plutarch the discourses of Isis and Osiris. show their mistaking of Plato. and truly. and therefore would not have the youth depraved with such opinions. whom. since little should poetical sonnets be hurtful. under whose lion's skin they would make an ass. . when a man might have what woman he listed. who. and not our adversary. But who should do thus.

Sophocles. so grave councillors . whom Apollo confirmed to be the only wise man. being. it shall be but a little more lost time to inquire. and of our nearer times can present for her patrons. shall find he trimmeth both their garments with guards {73} of poesy. but of notable stirring of courage. not of effeminateness. David. quo numine laeso?" {76} Sweet poesy! that hath anciently had kings. full evil should it become his scholar Plato to put such words in his master's mouth against poets. How can I but exclaim. but of strengthening man's wit.Of the other side. senators. the great King Francis of France. and what dispraise may be set upon it is either easily overcome. in Terence. but to be poets. "Musa. if it should not be written? Plutarch teacheth the use to be gathered of them. and the low creeping objections so soon trodden down {74}. King of Sicily. was supposed to be made by him. And even the Greek Socrates. called the Roman Socrates. So that since the excellences of it may be so easily and so justly confirmed. besides a thousand others. Scipios." and why. as besides them only triumphant captains were. but of true doctrine. methinks. a Robert. so as part of Heautontimeroumenos. emperors. it not being an art of lies. not banished. great captains. is a sufficient authority to show the price they ought to be held in) than suffer the ill-favoured breath of such wrong speakers once to blow upon the clear springs of poesy. such cardinals as Bembus and Bibiena. who certainly in wit ought to pass all others. a whole sea of examples would present themselves. so learned philosophers as Fracastorius and Scaliger. so great orators as Pontanus and Muretus. indeed. mihi causas memora. But what needs more? Aristotle writes the "Art of Poesy. why England. all favourers of poets. and. the mother of excellent minds. Caesars. not of abusing man's wit. King James of Scotland. Alexanders. should be grown so hard a step-mother to poets. let us rather plant more laurels for to ingarland the poets' heads (which honour of being laureate. such famous preachers and teachers as Beza and Melancthon. is said to have spent part of his old time in putting AEsop's Fables into verse. not only to favour poets. not takers of others. himself a poet. Adrian. Germanicus. Let it suffice to have showed it is a fit soil for praise to dwell upon. and how. but honoured by Plato. Laelius. if they should not be read? And who reads Plutarch's either history or philosophy. who would show the honours have been by the best sort of judgments granted them. makers of themselves. or transformed into just commendation. But {75} since I have run so long a career in this matter. such as. since all only proceeds from their wit. so piercing wits as George Buchanan. therefore. But I list not to defend poesy with the help of his underling historiographer. before I give my pen a full stop.

only." {78} are better content to suppress the outflowings of their wit. But if I knew. which before was contemptible. do find the very true cause of our wanting estimation is want of desert. they that delight in poesy itself. taking upon us to be poets in despite of Pallas. But I that. wherein we want desert. "Queis meliore luto finxit praecordia Titan. and so as Epaminondas is said. but to poetise for others' reading: that poesy. not only to read others' poesies. with the honour of his virtue. if they be inclinable unto it. that Hospital {77} of France. so serveth it for a piece of a reason why they are less grateful to idle England. to bring forth bastard poets. to have made an office by his exercising it. I yielded an inky tribute unto them. while. And now that an over-faint quietness should seem to strew the house for poets. and. than whom. For poesy must not be drawn by the ears. even in those times when the trumpet of Mars did sound loudest. who think it enough if they can be rewarded of the printer. as of the one side it giveth great praise to poesy.as. than by publishing them to be accounted knights of the same order. And therefore is . as if all the Muses were got with child. by their own disgracefulness. besides many. but as I never desired the title so have I neglected the means to come by it. if his own genius be not carried into it. with numbers of others. since all other knowledges lie ready for any that have strength of wit. am admitted into the company of the paper-blurrers. which. Truly. Upon this necessarily followeth that base men with servile wits undertake it. and how they do. to become highly respected. especially look themselves in an unflattering glass of reason. I say these. like Venus (but to better purpose). they are almost in as good reputation as the mountebanks at Venice. without any commission. a poet no industry can make. it must be gently led. disgrace the most graceful poesy. until they make their readers more weary than post-horses. Marry. should only find in our time a hard welcome in England. they do post over the banks of Helicon. and no human skill. which now can scarce endure the pain of a pen. were a thankworthy labour to express. Now. For heretofore poets have in England also flourished. than enjoy the homely quiet of Vulcan. so these men. in the meantime. or rather it must lead. which was partly the cause that made the ancient learned affirm it was a divine. even that. I think the very earth laments it. overmastered by some thoughts. should seek to know what they do. they. For now. before ever I durst aspire unto the dignity. that realm never brought forth a more accomplished judgment more firmly builded upon virtue. thus embraced in all other places. but before all. which is to be noted. I think. had rather be troubled in the net with Mars. and therefore decks our soil with fewer laurels than it was accustomed. no more but setting their names to it. I should have mended myself.

But these. "Orator fit. without ordering at the first what should be at the last. nor imitative patterns. and exercise. we exercise as having known. it is very defectuous in the circumstances. fit to be forgiven in so reverend antiquity. Virgil in Latin. or that we in this clear age go so stumblingly after him. which becomes a confused mass of words. Yet had he great wants. and words to express the matter. did excellently in his Troilus and Cressida. of whom. in neither we use art or imitation rightly. both in this and in other. we much cumber ourselves withal. and as full of notable morality." {81} never marshalling it into any assured rank. which grieves me. not without cause. Chaucer." {80} indeed. let but most of the verses be put in prose. and it will be found that one verse did but beget another. poeta nascitur. nor Sannazaro in Italian. and so is our brain delivered of much matter which never was begotten by knowledge. The "Shepherds' Kalendar" hath much poesy in his eclogues. are cried out against. hath three wings to bear itself up into the air of due commendation. And in the Earl of Surrey's Lyrics.an old proverb. but that very forebackwardly. that is art. neither artificial rules. and then ask the meaning. in truth. Exercise. "Quicquid conabor dicere. although wrongly. observing rules neither of honest civility nor skilful poetry. and so obtain the very end of poesy. For it is faulty both in . performing Ovid's verse. which it does most delightfully teach. versus erit. yet. indeed. for where we should exercise to know. indeed. and well. and worthy of a noble mind. Besides these. Our {83} tragedies and comedies. I do not remember to have seen but few (to speak boldly) printed that have poetical sinews in them. we do. they say. That Daedalus. For there being two principal parts. as it is full of stately speeches. I account the Mirror of Magistrates meetly furnished of beautiful parts. so must the highest flying wit have a Daedalus to guide him. worthy the reading. I know not whether to marvel more. I dare not allow. that almost the readers cannot tell where to find themselves." {79} Yet confess I always. either that he in that misty time could see so clearly. barely accompanied with reason. Excepting Gorboduc (again I say of those that I have seen). climbing to the height of Seneca his style. undoubtedly. matter to be expressed by words. because it might not remain as an exact model of all tragedies. since neither Theocritus in Greek. that as the fertilest ground must be manured. did affect it. if I be not deceived. imitation. Our matter is "quodlibet.sounding phrases. truly. many things tasting of a noble birth. For proof whereof. That same framing of his {82} style to an old rustic language. which notwithstanding. with a tinkling sound of rhyme.

begin "ab ovo. with great riches. after many traverses she is got with child. True it is. And so was the manner the ancients took by some "Nuntius. Lastly. or to frame the history to the most tragical convenience? Again. they must not. For where the stage should always represent but one place. I may speak. in the meantime. the same day. and so was it to be played in two days." {85} to recount things done in former time. or other place. and then we must believe the stage to be a garden. but one day. that two young princes fall in love. and so many other under kingdoms. How then shall we set forth a story which contains both many places and many times? And do they not know. But if it be so in Gorboduc. after some years. then we are to blame if we accept it not for a rock. which cannot be showed: if they know the difference betwixt reporting and representing. and the uttermost time presupposed in it should be. and in speech digress from that to the description of Calicut. which. delivered of a fair boy. yet far short of twenty years. and all this in two hours' space. that a tragedy is tied to the laws of poesy. how much more in all the rest? where you shall have Asia of the one side. But they will say. represented with four swords and bucklers. that the player. delivered. and art hath taught and all ancient examples justified. the two necessary companions of all corporal actions. there is both many days and many places inartificially imagined. while. groweth a man. murdereth the child. as Horace saith. for ordinary it is. but having liberty either to feign a quite new matter. but in action I cannot represent it without Pacolet's horse. even sense may imagine. and Afric of the other. and not of history. As for example.place and time. findeth a sleight to be . Yet will some bring in an example of the Eunuch in Terence. for to make the treasure his own. not bound to follow the story. By and by. and at this day the ordinary players in Italy will not err in. and then the miserable beholders are bound to take it for a cave. Now shall you have three ladies walk to gather flowers. must ever begin with telling where he is. and so fitted to the time it set forth. how absurd it is in sense. two armies fly in. if they will represent an history. and not miss with him. By example this will be best expressed. I have a story of young Polydorus. the body of the child is taken up. And though Plautus have in one place done amiss. she. many things may be told. {84} or else the tale will not be conceived. He. both by Aristotle's precept. hearing of the overthrow of Priamus." {86} but they must come to the principal point of that one action which they will represent. and is ready to get another child. that containeth matter of two days. for safety's sake. and then. by his father Priamus to Polymnestor. of Peru. King of Thrace. in the Trojan war time. falleth in love. let us hit it with him. though I am here. when he comes in. Hecuba. he is lost. and common reason. Upon the back of that comes out a hideous monster with fire and smoke. we hear news of shipwreck in the same place. what hard heart will not receive it for a pitched field? Now of time they are much more liberal.

spinning at Omphale's commandment. painted with his great beard and furious countenance. For delight we scarcely do. but that they may go well together. This needs no farther to be enlarged. besides these gross absurdities. Nay. it breeds both delight and laughter. where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight. we have nothing but scurrility. we delight in good chances. leaving the rest to be told by the spirit of Polydorus. but that is a thing recounted with space of time. or to the general nature. laughter hath only a scornful tickling. and the scornfulness of the action stirreth laughter. with neither decency nor discretion. in a woman's attire. one shall be heartily sorrow he cannot choose but laugh. that they never. wherein certainly we cannot delight. For example: we are ravished with delight to see a fair woman. a kind of contrariety. how all their plays be neither right tragedies nor right comedies. we laugh at mischances. so as neither the admiration and commiseration. as it were. in themselves. I know Apuleius did somewhat so. we laugh at deformed creatures. as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admiration. but with the delivery of the child? Then should he sail over into Thrace. mingling kings and clowns. which is very wrong. the dullest wit may conceive it. nor the right sportfulness. Where. but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves. that having indeed no right comedy in that comical part of our tragedy. contrarily. and nothing else. and yet are far from being moved to laughter. is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. but well may one thing breed both together. But where doth Euripides? Even with the finding of the body. at which he were worthy to be laughed at that would laugh: we shall. But. they have. and in twenty mad antics we laugh without delight: so in Hercules. But our comedians think there is no delight without laughter. sometimes laugh to find a matter quite mistaken. or some extreme show of doltishness.revenged most cruelly of the tyrant. would one of our tragedy-writers begin. indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter. as for the respect of them. as in Alexander's picture well set out. and so is rather pained than delighted with laughter. and so spend I know not how many years. Yet deny I not. for. or very daintily. and go down the hill against the bias. . and travel numbers of places. not represented in one moment: and I know the ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comedies as Plautus hath Amphytrio. So falleth it out. we delight to hear the happiness of our friends and country. for though laughter may come with delight. if we mark them well. not because the matter so carrieth it. we delight without laughter. now. But. Laughter almost ever cometh of things most disproportioned to ourselves and nature: delight hath a joy in it either permanent or present. unworthy of any chaste ears. yet cometh it not of delight. match horn-pipes and funerals. as though delight should be the cause of laughter. but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters. {87} in the mouth of some such men. we shall find. for the representing of so strange a power in love procures delight.

because they speak not English so well as we do? what do we learn. which easily. But. as they are excelling parts of poesy. that they stir laughter in sinful things. I do it. And the great fault. which are rather execrable than ridiculous. For what is it to make folks gape at a wretched beggar. Quam qnod ridiculos. and so caught up certain swelling phrases. but mix with it that delightful teaching which is the end of poesy. and wits to conceive. have we none. Other {90} sorts of poetry. a self-wise seeming school-master. which are rather to be pitied than scorned. or "energia" (as the Greeks call it). in singing the praises of the immortal beauty. and teaching delightfulness: as in the other. so is that honey-flowing matron eloquence. Now {91} for the outside of it. may be bewrayed by the same forcibleness. or against the law of hospitality. as men that had rather read lover's writings. both private and public. and forbidden plainly by Aristotle. like an unmannerly daughter. but that lyrical kind of songs and sonnets. or (as I may term it) diction." because he would be sure to name winds enough. that all the end of the comical part be not upon such scornful matters as stir laughter only. therein were delightful laughter. which. would never persuade me they were in love. and a beggarly clown. who giveth us hands to write. of which we could turn our eyes to nothing. than that. almost. the tragedies of Buchanan {89} do justly bring forth a divine admiration. though short note. so is there none so much used in England. But let this be a sufficient. homines facit. but we should ever have new budding occasions. a wry-transformed traveller: these. if I were a mistress. that we miss the right use of the material point of poesy. and with how heavenly fruits. or in miserable. the immortal goodness of that God. to jest at strangers. and none can be more pitifully abused. many of such writings as come under the banner of unresistible love. But I have lavished out too many words of this play matter. but never matter. even in that point of laughter. in truth. truly. "Nil habet infelix pauperatas durius in se. is. how well it might be employed. it is even well worse. and a heartless threatening Thraso. causeth her mother Poesy's honesty to be called in question. of the writer. which is words. showing a bad education. as I think. if we saw walk in stage names. or rather .But I speak to this purpose. so coldly they apply fiery speeches. they feel those passions. which we play naturally. since it is certain. which. "the wind was at north-west and by south. because. which hang together like a man that once told me." {88} But rather a busy loving courtier. if the Lord gave us so good minds. apparelled. of which we might well want words.

disguised. the rest is a most tedious prattling. as by attentive translation. which is to be pitied. imo in senatum venit. as it were. the one (as Cicero testifieth of them) pretended not to know art. store of "similiter cadences" doth sound with the gravity of the pulpit. I would but invoke Demosthenes' soul to tell. Tully. And we. How well. double out of his mouth. inflamed with a well-grounded rage. For the force of a similitude not being to prove anything to a contrary disputer. already either satisfied. But I would this fault were only peculiar to versifiers. rather overswaying the memory from the purpose whereto they were applied. hale them in sometimes to a familiar epistle. as "vivit et vincit. but they will thrust jewels through their nose and lips. as it were. For now they cast sugar and spice upon every dish that is served at the table: like those Indians. devour them whole. imo in senatum venit. that many seem monsters. I do not doubt. For my part. often useth the figure of repetition. among many scholars. and so do that artificially which we see men in choler do naturally. because they will be sure to be fine. Now for similitudes in certain printed discourses. which certainly is as absurd a surfeit to the ears as is possible." &c. and though he may be counted a sophister. and make them wholly theirs. but persuade few. not content to wear earrings at the fit and natural place of the ears. did not so much keep Nizolian paper-books {92} of their figures and phrases. I think all herbalists. when Antonius and Crassus. well may they obtain an opinion of a seeming fineness. fowls. he would have his words. all stories of beasts. having noted the grace of those words. than any whit informing the judgment. that they may come in multitudes to wait upon any of our conceits. which is to be marvelled. but most seem strangers to any poor Englishman: another time with coursing of a letter. and fishes are rifled up. but only to explain to a willing hearer: when that is done. Truly. as it were with a thunderbolt of eloquence. among some preachers. Truly. who with a rare daintiness useth them. and had not as large possession among prose printers: and. when he was to drive out Catiline. most worthy to be imitated. had none for his labour. when it were too much choler to be choleric. So these men bringing in such a kind of eloquence. and. they have made me think of the sophister. the great forefathers of Cicero in eloquence. extremely winter-starved. or by similitudes not to be satisfied. in a courtesan-like painted affectation. . One time with so far-fetched words. which should be the end of their fineness. {93} Indeed. I could wish (if at least I might be so bold to wish. as if they were bound to follow the method of a dictionary: another time with figures and flowers. in a thing beyond the reach of my capacity) the diligent imitators of Tully and Demosthenes. that with too much subtlety would prove two eggs three.

therein (though he know it not) doth according to art. but only finding myself sick among the rest. and indeed abuseth art. acknowledging ourselves somewhat awry. in fine. the other modern. we may bend to the right use both of matter and manner: whereto our language giveth us great occasion. and. far beyond the Latin. But for the uttering sweetly and properly the conceit of the mind. near the Greek. but that the courtier following that which by practice he findeth fittest to nature. But what! methinks I deserve to be pounded {94} for straying from poetry to oratory: but both have such an affinity in the wordish considerations. and tenses. that I think this digression will make my meaning receive the fuller understanding: which is not to take upon me to teach poets how they should do. and more fit lively to express divers passions. more careful to speak curiously than truly. {96} of versifying there are two sorts. {95} I know some will say. would bear many speeches. which. using art to show art. no doubt more fit for music. observing only number. of which I can guess no other cause. it wanteth grammar. but that they used these knacks very sparingly. the chief life of it standeth in that like sounding of the words. I think. which we call rhyme. Undoubtedly (at least to my opinion undoubtedly) I have found in divers smalllearned courtiers a more sound style than in some professors of learning. and according to that framed his verse. likewise. because with a plain sensibleness they might win credit of popular ears. any man may see. both words and time observing quantity. though by another way. Now. Nay. and so void of those cumbersome differences of cases. with his rhyme striketh a certain music to the ear. it is a mingled language: and why not so much the better. though not by art: where the other. it obtaineth the same purpose. and wanting in neither. the ancient marked the quantity of each syllable. which is the end of speech. truly. and is particularly happy in compositions of two or three words together. and not hide art (as in these cases he should do). which is one of the greatest beauties can be in a language. majesty. I say. I do not doubt. the modern. to allow sonic one or two spots of the common infection grown among the most part of writers. there being in either. that. which credit is the nearest step to persuasion (which persuasion is the chief mark of oratory). and so to he noted by the audience. for grammar it might have. by the low or lofty sound of the well-weighed syllable.the other not to set by it. flieth from nature. but needs it not. being. it hath that praise. which who doth generally use. that hath it equally with any other tongue in the world. indeed. doth dance to his own music. genders. the ancient. Truly the English. The latter. since it doth delight. sweetness. that a man should be put to school to learn his mother tongue. the one ancient. with some regard of the accent. capable of any excellent exercising of it. moods. was a piece of the tower of Babylon's curse. Whether of these be the more excellent. before any vulgar . that it wants not grammar. being so easy in itself. taking the best of both the other? Another will say.

even the very rhyme itself the Italian cannot put in the last syllable. is fit for both sorts. you shall be most fair. with Aristotle. with Scaliger. for the ancient. of the other side. to believe themselves. logic. in the midst of the verse." The French." but the "sdrucciola" he hath not." "son. breeding delightfulness. no more to jest at the reverend title of "a rhymer. in his whole language. to believe. The Dutch so. that no philosopher's precepts can sooner make you an honest man." "motion. with Clauserus." "potion. with Landin. for. with consonants. that it must ever be cumbered with elisions. lastly. of the other side. which other languages either cannot do. no more to laugh at the name of poets. to believe. I conjure you all that have had the evil luck to read this ink-wasting toy of mine." of the sdrucciola is. So {97} that since the ever praiseworthy poesy is full of virtue. to give us all knowledge. or will not do so absolutely. where the English hath all three. as "plaise. than the reading of Virgil. that they were the ancient treasurers of the Grecian's divinity. Now for rhyme. and "quid non?" to believe. The French. lest by profane wits it should be abused. since the blames laid against it are either false or feeble. as "bon. Lastly. that there are many mysteries contained in poetry. as "due. though we do not observe quantity. when they tell you they will make you immortal by their verses. which the French call the female. which of purpose were written darkly. by the French named the masculine rhyme." "father." but to believe. to believe. which the Italian calls "sdrucciola:" the example of the former is. The English is subject to none of these defects. most . our tongue is most fit to honour poesy. even in the name of the Nine Muses. under the veil of fables. the Italian is so full of vowels. with Bembus. that they are so beloved of the gods that whatsoever they write proceeds of a divine fury. or the next before that. as though they were next inheritors to fools. and to be honoured by poesy. the translator of Cornutus.language I know. but still in the next to the last. hath not one word that hath his accent in the last syllable. and therefore very gracelessly may they use dactiles." "semina. called antepenultima. "buono." "rather." or breathing-place." "true. that it pleased the heavenly deity by Hesiod and Homer. saving two. your names shall flourish in the printers' shops: thus doing. not poets. with me. no more to scorn the sacred mysteries of poesy. philosophy natural and moral. Thus doing. you shall be of kin to many a poetical preface: thus doing." "taise. that they cannot yield the sweet sliding fit for a verse. and void of no gift that ought to be in the noble name of learning. That "caesura. that they were the first bringers in of all civility. to believe." "suono. but that already I find the trifling of this discourse is much too much enlarged. since the cause why it is not esteemed in England is the fault of poet-apes. neither Italian nor Spanish have." with much more which might be said. since. and little more. the French and we never almost fail of. rhetoric. hath both the male. most rich. hath the Spanish. Lastly. "femina. we observe the accent very precisely." and the female.

your soul shall be placed with Dante's Beatrix. though you be "Libertino patre natus. will become such a Mome. nor to be rhymed to death. for lacking skill of a sonnet.wise. yet thus much curse I must send you in the behalf of all poets. as is said to be done in Ireland. But if (fie of such a but!) you be born so near the dull-making cataract of Nilus." you shall suddenly grow "Herculea proles. as Bubonax was. . though I will not wish unto you the ass's ears of Midas. most all: you shall dwell upon superlatives: thus doing. that you cannot hear the planet-like music of poetry. your memory die from the earth for want of an epitaph. to hang himself. that it cannot lift itself up to look to the sky of poetry. and never get favour. and when you die. you live in love. as to be a Momus of poetry. nor to be driven by a poet's verses." "Si quid mea Carmina possunt:" thus doing. or rather. by a certain rustical disdain. if you have so earth-creeping a mind. then. that while you live. or Virgil's Anchisis.

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