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¶ To the VVorshipfullWorshipfull his very singular good friend, Maister G. H. FellovvFellow of Trinitie Hall in Cambridge.
GOodGood Master G. I perceiueperceive by your most curteous and frendly Letters your good will to be no lesse in deed, than I alwayes esteemed. In recõpencerecompence wherof, think,think I beseech you, that I wil spare neither speech, nor wryting, nor aught else, whensoeuer,whensoever, and wheresoeuerwheresoever occasion shal be offred me: yea, I will not stay, till it be offred, but will seeke it, in al that possibly I may. And that you may perceiueperceive how much your Counsel in al things preuailethprevaileth with me, and how altogither I am ruled and ouerover-ruled thereby: I am now determined to alter mine owne former purpose, and to subscribe to your aduizemẽtadvizemẽtaduizementadvizement: being notwithstãdingnotwithstanding resoluedresolved stil, to abide your farther resolution. My principal doubts are these. First, I was minded for a while to hauehave intermitted the vtteringuttering of my writings: leaste by ouerover-much cloying their noble eares, I should gather a contempt of my self, or else seeme rather for gaine and commoditie to doe it, for some sweetnesse that I hauehave already tasted. Then also me seemeth the work too base for his excellent Lordship, being made in Honour of a priuateprivate Personage vnknowneunknowne, which of some yl-willers might be vpbraidedupbraided, not to be so worthie, as you knowe she is: or the matter not so weightie, that it should be offred to so weightie a Personage: or the like. The selfe former Title stil liketh me well ynough, and your fine Addition no lesse. If these, and the like doubtes, maye be of importaunce in your seeming, to frustrate any parte of your aduiceadvice, I beeseeche you, without the leaste selfe louelove of your own purpose, councell me for the beste: and the rather doe it faithfullye, and carefully, for that, in all things I attribute so muche to your iudgementjudgement, that I am euermoreevermore content to adnihilate mine owne determinations, in respecte thereof. And indeede for your selfe 4.28. to: toototoo, it sittethfitteth ſittethsitteth with you now, to call your wits, &and senses togither,togither (which are alwaies at call)call), when occasion is so fairely offered of Estimation and Preferment. For, whiles the yron is hote, it is good striking, and minds of Nobles varie, as their Estates. Verùm ne quid durius.
I pray you bethinke you well hereof, good Maister G. and forthwith write me those two or three special points and caueatscaveats for the nonce, De quibus in superioribus illis mellitissimis, longissimisquelongissimisque Litteris tuis. Your desire to heare of my late beeing with hir MaiestieMajestie, muste dye in it selfe. As for the twoo worthy Gentlemen, Master Sidney, and Master Dyer, they hauehave me, I thanke them, in some vseuse of familiarity: of whom, and to whome, what speache passeth for youre credite and estimation, I leaueleave your selfe to conceiueconceive, hauinghaving alwayes so well conceiuedconceived of my vnfainedunfained affection, and zeale towardes you. And nowe they hauehave proclaimed in their ἀρειωπαγῳ,ἀρειωπαγῷ, a generall surceasing and silence of balde Rymers, and also of the verie beste,be[ſt]e 4.44. to: toototoo: in steade whereof, they hauehave by authoritieauthotie of their whole Senate, prescribed certaine Lawes and rules of Quantities of English sillables, for English UerseVerse: hauinghaving had thereof already greate practise, and drawen mee to their faction. Newe Bookes I heare of none, but only of one, that writing a certaine Booke, called The Schoole of Abuse, and dedicating it to Maister Sidney, was for hys labor scorned: if at leaste it be in the goodnesse of that nature to scorne. Suche follie is it, not to regarde aforehande the inclination and qualitie of him, to whome wee dedicate oure Bookes. Suche mighte I happily incurre, entituling My Slomber, and the other Pamphlets, vntounto his honor. I meant them rather to Maister Dyer. But I am, of late, more in louelove wyth my Englishe UersifyingVersifying, than with Ryming: whyche I should hauehave done long since, if I would thẽthen hauehave followed your councell. Sed te solum iam tum suspicabar cum Aschamo sapere: nunc Aulam video egregios alere Poëtas Anglicos. Maister E. K. hartily desireth to be commended vntounto your Worshippe: of whome, what accompte he maketh, youre selfe shall hereafter perceiueperceive, by hys paynefull and dutifull UersesVerses of your selfe.
Thus muche was written at Westminster yesternight: but comming this morning, beeyng the sixteenth of October, to Mystresse Kerkes, to hauehave it deliuereddelivered to the Carrier, I receyuedreceyved youre letter, sente me the laste weeke: whereby I perceiueperceive you otherwhiles continue your old exercise of UersifyingVersifying in English: whych glorie I had now thought shoulde hauehave bene onely ours heere at London, and the Court.
Truste me, your UersesVerses I like passingly well, and enuyeenvye your hidden paines in this kinde, or rather maligne, and grudge at your selfe, that woulde not once imparte so muche to me. But once, or twice, you make a breache in Maister Drants Rules: quod tamen condonabimus tanto Poëtæ tuæquetuæque ipsius maximæ in his rebus autoritati. You shall see when we meete in London,London (whiche, when it shall be, certifye vs)vs),us)us), howe fast I hauehave followed after you, in that Course: beware, leaste in time I ouertakeovertake you. Veruntamen te solùm sequar,sequar (vtut sæpenumerò sum professus,)professus), nunquam sanè assequar, dum viuamvivam. And nowe requite I you with the like, not with the verye beste, but with the verye shortest, namely with a fewe Iambickes: I dare warrant, they be precisely perfect for the feete (as you can easily iudgejudge) and varie not one inch from the Rule. I will imparte yours to Maister Sidney, and Maister Dyer, at my nexte going to the Courte. I praye you, keepe mine close to your selfe, or your verie entire friendes, Maister Preston, Maister Still, and the reste.
Iambicum Trimetrum.
VNhappieUNhappieVnhappieUnhappie Verse, the witnesse of my vnhappieunhappie vnhappieunhappie state,
Make thy selfe fluttring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth vntounto my LoueLove, whersoeuerwhersoever she be:
Whether lying reastlesse in heauyheavy bedde, or else
Sitting so cheerelesse at the cheerfull boorde, or else
Playing alone carelesse on hir heauenlieheavenlie Virginals.
If in Bed, tell hir, that my eyes can take no reste:
If at Boorde, tell hir, that my mouth can eate no meate:
If at hir Virginals, tel hir, I can heare no mirth.
Asked why? say: Waking LoueLove suffereth no sleepe:
Say, that raging LoueLove dothe appall the weake stomacke:
Say, that lamenting LoueLove marreth the Musicall.
Tell hir, that hir pleasures were wonte to lull me asleepe:
Tell hir, that hir beautie was wonte to feede mine eyes:
Tell hir, that hir sweete Tongue was wonte to make me mirth.
Nowe doe I nightly waste, wanting my kindely reste:
Nowe doe I dayly staruestarve, wanting my liuelylivelys foode:
Nowe doe I alwayes dye, wanting thy timely mirth.
And if I waste, who will bewaile my heauyheavy chaunce?
And if I staruestarve, who will record my cursed end?
And ifIf I dye, who will saye: this was, Immerito?
I thought once agayne here to hauehave made an ende, with a heartie Vale, of the best fashion: but loe, an ylfauouredylfavoured myschaunce. My last farewell, whereof I made great accompt, and muche maruelledmarvelled you shoulde make no mention thereof, I am nowe tolde,tolde (in the DiuelsDivels name)name), was thorough one mans negligence quite forgotten, but shoulde nowe vndoubtedlyundoubtedly hauehave beene sent, whether I hadde come, or no. Seing it can now be no otherwise, I pray you take all togither, wyth all their faultes: and nowe I hope, you will vouchsafe mee an answeare of the largest size, or else I tell you true, you shall bee verye deepe in my debte: notwythstandyng, thys other sweete, but shorte letter, and fine, but fewe UersesVerses. But I woulde rather I might yet see youre owne good selfe, and receiuereceive a Reciprocall farewell from your owne sweete mouth.
Ad Ornatissimum virum, multis iamdiu nominibus clarissimum, G. H. Immerito sui, mox in Gallias nauigaturinavigaturi, εὐτυχεῖν.
SIcSic malus egregium, sic non inimicus Amicum:
SicqueSicque nouusnovus veterem iubet ipse Poëta Poëtam,
SaluereSalvere, ac cælo post secula multa secundo
Iam reducem, cælo mage, quàm nunc ipse, secundo
VtierUtier. Ecce Deus,Deus (modò sit Deus ille, renixum
Qui vocet in scelus, &et iuratos perdat amores)amores),
Ecce Deus mihi clara dedit modò signa Marinus,
Et sua veligero lenis parat Æquora Ligno,
Mox sulcanda, suas etiam pater Æolus Iras
Ponit, &et ingentes animos Aquilonis—
Cuncta vijsviis sic apta meis: ego solus ineptus.
Nam mihi nescio quo mens saucia vulnere, dudum
Fluctuat ancipiti Pelago, dum NauitaNavita proram
InualidamInvalidam validus rapit huc Amor, &et rapit illuc.
ConsilijsConsiliis Ratio melioribus vsausa, decusquedecusque
Immortale leuilevi diffissadi[ff]e[ſſ]a Cupidinis Arcu.
Angimur hoc dubio, &et portu vexamur in ipso.
Magne pharetrati nunc tu contemptor Amoris,Amoris
(Id tibi DijDii nomen precor haud impune remittant)remittant),
Hos nodos exsolueexsolve, &et eris mihi magnus Apollo.
Spiritus ad summos, scio, te generosus Honores
Exstimulat, maiusquemaiusque docet spirare Poëtam.Poëtam,
Quàm leuislevis est Amor, &et tamen haud leuislevis est Amor omnis.
Ergo nihil laudi reputas æquale perenni,
PræquePræque sacrosancta splendoris imagine tanti,
Cætera, quæ vecors, vtiuti Numina, vulgus adorat,
Prædia, Amicitias, vrbanaurbana peculia, Nummos,
QuæqueQuæque placent oculis, formas, spectacula, Amores
Conculcare soles, vtut humum, &et ludibria sensus.
Digna meo certè HaruejoHarvejo sententia, digna
Oratore amplo, &et generoso pectore, quam non
Stoica formidet veterum Sapientia vinclis
Sancire æternis: sapor haud tamen omnibus idem.
Dicitur effæti proles facunda Laërtæ,
Quamlibet ignoti iactata per æquora Cæli,
InqueInque procelloso longùm exsul gurgite ponto,
Præ tamen amplexu lachrymosæ Coniugis, Ortus
Cælestes DiuûmqueDivûmqueDiuûmqueDivûmque thoros spreuissesprevisse beatos.
Tantùm Amor, &et Mulier, vel Amore potentior. Illum
Tu tamen illudis: tua Magnificentia tanta est:
PræquePræque subumbrata Splendoris Imagine tanti,
PræquePræque illo Meritis famosis nomine parto,
Cætera, quæ Vecors, vtiuti Numina, vulgus adorat,
Prædia, Amicitias, armenta, peculia, nummos.
QuæqueQuæque placent oculis, formas, spectacula, Amores,
QuæqueQuæque placent ori, quæquequæque auribus, omnia temnis.
Næ tu grande sapis, Sapor at sapientia non est:
Omnis &et in paruisparvis benè qui scit desipuisse,
Sæpe supercilijssuperciliis palmam sapientibus aufert.
Ludit Aristippum modò tetrica Turba Sophorum.
Mitia purpureo moderantem verba Tyranno
Ludit Aristippus dictamina vana Sophorum,
Quos leuislevis emensi male torquet Culicis vmbraumbra:
Et quisquis placuisse Studet Heroibus altis,
Desipuisse studet, sic gratia crescit ineptis.
DeniqueDenique Laurigeris quisquis sua tempora vittis,
Insignire volet, PopuloquePopuloque placere fauentifaventi,
Desipere insanus discit, turpemqueturpemque pudendæ
Stultitiæ laudem quærit. PaterPæter Ennius vnusunus
Dictus in innumeris sapiens: laudatur at ipse
Carmina vesano fudisse liquentialiquentio vino.
Nec tu pace tua, nostri Cato Maxime sæcli,
Nomen honorati sacrum mereare Poëtæ,
QuantamuisQuantamvis illustre canas, &et nobile Carmen,
Ni stultire velis, sic StultorumSultorum omnia plena.
Tuta sed in medio superest via gurgite, nam Qui
Nec reliquis nimiùm vult desipuisse videri,
Nec sapuisse nimis, Sapientem dixeris vnumunum.
Hinc te merserit vndaunda, illinc combusserit Ignis.
Nec tu delicias nimis aspernare fluentes,
Nec sero Dominam, venientem in vota, nec Aurum
Si sapis, ablatumablatum, (CurijsCuriis ea, FabriciisqueFabriciisque
Linque viris miseris miseranda Sophismata: quondam
Grande sui decus ijii, nostri sed dedecus æuiævi:)):
Nec sectare nimis. Res vtraqueutraquevtraqueutraque crimine plena.
Hoc bene qui callet,callet (si quis tamen hoc bene callet)callet),
Scribe, vel invito sapientem hunc Socrate solum.
Vis facit vnauna pios: Iustos facit altera: &et altra
Egregiè cordata, ac fortia pectora: verùm
Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit vtileutile dulci.
DijDii mihi, dulce diu dederant: verùm vtileutile nunquamnunquam:
VtileUtile nunc etiam, ô vtinamutinam quoquequoque dulce dedissent.
DijDii mihi,mihi (quippe DijsDiis æqualiaæquiualia maxima paruis)paruis),parvis)parvis),
Ni nimis inuideantinvideant mortalibus esse beatis,
Dulce simul tribuisse queant, simul vtileutile: tanta
Sed Fortuna tua est: pariter quæquequæque vtileutile, quæquequæque
Dulce dat ad placitum: sæuosævo nos sydere nati
Quæsitum imus eam per inhospita Caucasa longè,
PerquePerque Pyrenæos montes, BabilonaqueBabilonaque turpem,
Quòd si quæsitum nec ibi invenerimus, ingens
Æquor inexhaustis permensi erroribus, vltrâultrâ
Fluctibus in medijsmediis socijsocii quæremus VlyssisUlyssis.
Passibus inde Deam fessis comitabimur ægram,
Nobile cui furtum quærenti defuit orbis.
NamqueNamque sinu pudet in patrio, tenebrisquetenebrisque pudendis
Non nimis ingenio IuuenemIuvenem infœlici,infœlice, virentes,
OfficijsOfficiis frustra deperdere vilibus Annos,
Frugibus &et vacuas speratis cernere spicas.
Ibimus ergo statim:statim (quis eunti fausta precetur?)precetur?):
Et pede ClivosasCliſosas fesso calcabimus Alpes.
Quis dabit interea conditas rore Britanno,
Quis tibi Litterulas? quis carmen amore petulcum?
Musa sub OebalijOebalii desueta cacumine montis,
Flebit inexhausto tam longa silentia planctu,
LugebitqueLugebitque sacrum lachrymis Helicona tacentem.
HarueiusqueHarveiusqueHarueiusqueHarveiusque bonus,bonus (charus licet omnibus idem,
IdqueIdque suo merito, prope suauiorsuavior omnibus vnus,)vnus),unus,)unus),
Angelus &et Gabriel,Gabriel (quamuisquamvis comitatus amicis
Innumeris, geniûmquegeniûmque choro stipatus amœno)amœno), amæno)
Immerito tamen vnumunum absentem sæpe requiret,
OptabitqueOptabitque VtinamUtinam meus hîc Edmundus adesset,
Qui nouanova scripsisset, nec Amores conticuisset,
Ipse suos, &et sæpe animo, verbisqueverbisque benignis
Fausta precaretur: Deus illum aliquando reducat.&c.etc.
Plura vellem per Charites, sed non licet per Musas.
Vale, Vale plurimùm, Mi amabilissime Harueie,Harveie, Harucie,Harvcie, meo cordi, meorum
omnium longè charissime.
I was minded also to hauehave sent you some English verses: or Rymes, for a farewell: but by my Troth, I hauehave no spare time in the worldworld, to thinke on such Toyes, that you knowe will demaund a freer head, than mine is presently. I beseeche you by all your Curtesies, and Graces, let me be answered, ere I goe: which will be,be (I hope, I feare, I thinke)thinke), the next weeke, if I can be dispatched of my Lorde. I goe thither, as sent by him, and maintained most what of him: and there am to employ my time, my body, my minde, to his Honours seruiceservice. Thus with many superhartie Commendations, and Recommendations to your selfe, and all my friendes with you, I ende my last Farewell, not thinking any more to write vntounto you, before I goe: and withall committing to your faithfull Credence the eternall Memorie of our euerlastingeverlasting friendship, the inuiolableinviolable Memorie of our vnspottedunspotted friendshippe, the sacred Memorie of our vowed friendship: which I beseech you Continue with vsuallusuall writings, as you may, and of all things let me heare some Newes from you. As gentle 4.255. M.: Master4.255. Mr: MasterM.Mr Sidney, I thanke his good Worship, hath required of me, and so promised to doe againe. Qui monet, vtut facias, quod iam facis, you knowe the rest. You may alwayes send them most safely to me by Mistresse Kerke, and by none other. So onceSoonce againe, and yet once more, Farewell most hartily, mine owne good Master H. and louelove me, as I louelove you, and thinke vponupon poore Immerito, as he thinketh vpponuppon you.
Leycester House. This. 5. of October.October. 1579.2579.
Per mare, per terras,
ViuusVivus, mortuusquemortuusque,
Tuus Immerito.
9. aduizement: advice
10. to abide . . . resolution: to comply with the results of your reconsiderations
12. intermitted the vttering: held up the circulation
13. gather . . . self: elicit their contempt
20. or the like: or some such objection
20. selfe: self-same
26. adnihilate: annihilate
34. for the nonce: for that express purpose
43. balde: meagre, unadorned
53. entituling: dedicating
53. entituling: Cf. the full title of SC and n.
59. of whome: referring to Harvey
60. paynefull: painstaking
66. glorie: distinction
68. passingly: extremely, surpassingly
68. enuye: begrudge you
68. hidden: solitary
74. certifye vs: make us certain
88-4. heauy: dolefull
92-8. meate: food
100-16. waste: waste away
100-16. kindely: natural
101-17. liuely: necessary for life
107. ylfauoured myschaunce: ugly or unlucky mishap
108. farewell: farewell poem
108. made great accompt: valued greatly
240. minded: disposed
240. verses: Or Rymes: that is rhymed, accentual-syllabic poems.
245. dispatched of: dismissed by
246. maintained most what of: supported for the most part by
253. vsuall: regular
256. againe: in return
3.think,] think 1580
28.sitteth] fitteth 1580 state 1; ſitteth 1580 state 2
42.ἀρειωπαγῳ,] ἀρειωπαγῷ, 1580
44.beste,] be[ſt]e 1580
44.authoritie] authotie 1580
85-1.vnhappie] vnhappie 1580
105-21.if] If 1580
138-16.diffissa] di[ff]e[ſſ]a 1580
144-22.Poëtam.] Poëtam, 1580
181-59.Pater] Pæter 1580
183-61.liquentia] liquentio 1580
187-65.Stultorum] Sultorum 1580
194-72.ablatum] ablatum, 1580
205-83.æqualia] æquiualia 1580
218-96.infœlici,] infœlice, 1580
222-100.Clivosas] Cliſosas 1580
231-109.amœno)] amæno) 1580
238-2.Harueie,] Harucie, 1580
258.So once] Soonce 1580
262.1579.] 2579. 1580
PROPER: correct. A secondary sense of the word can be ‘elegant’
familiar: Deriving primarily from its use as a rubric in Cicero’s collection of letters “ad familiares”, the term here signifies personal rather than official letters; see ‘Introduction’, XX).
touching: touching on, respecting.
Aprill last: The earthquake occurred on 6 April 1580.
Versifying: Poetry organized primarily by metrical quantity. Spenser uses the term to contrast with rhyming, just as Ascham does in the Scholemaster (1570): ‘The noble Lord Th. Earle of Surrey, first of all English men, in translating the fourth booke of Virgill: and Gonsalvo Periz that excellent learned man, and Secretarie to kyng Philip of Spaine, in translating the Ulisses of Homer out of Greke into Spanish, have both, by good judgement, avoyded the fault of Ryming, yet neither of them hath fullie hite perfite and trew versifiyng’ (1904: 291).
wellwiller: wellwisher
wellwiller: This intermediary figure has not been identified. The pseudonym might be understood as a translation of ‘Benevolo,’ the figure who was to have performed effectively the same function in bringing a different pseudo-unauthorized volume, a collection of Harvey’s letters and poems, to the press around the same time; see Introduction XX.
Bynneman: Bynneman had published van der Noot’s Theatre just a few years after he was made free of the stationers. One of London’s most productive stationers, Bynneman had moved his main shop to the Thames Street site in 1579.
Baynardes Castell: The castle, property of the Earl of Pembroke, was located on the north side of the Thames between Blackfriars to the west and Burley House to the east.
0.2 Welwiller: See [t.p. no.] n above.
Carper: critic
happe: fortune
nowe lately: quite recently
4 a faithfull friende: The friend has not been identified.
5 copying . . . handes: The Wellwiller here claims to have received the letters, which had passed from hand to hand four or five times, in a copy written out by Immerito himself at the behest of the ‘faithfull friende’. Spenser first adopts the pseudonym, Immerito, as the signature for his envoy to SC ‘To His Booke’.
am onely to craue: seek [in response] only
friendely: in a friendly way
10 In exiguo quandoque cespite latet lepus: ‘Sometimes a hare hides in the short grass’; i.e., one sometimes finds good things right under one’s nose. Not a common proverb, though adduced in Book I of Marsilio Ficino’s Epistl.
liketh: pleaseth
mettall: aptitude, mettle
partes: abilities, capacities
17 But shewe me . . . liues.: Implying that it will be difficult to come up with comparable letters, the Wellwiller alleges that if the reader can find only two such letters, then the reader may justly say that Immerito and the Wellwiller have effectively no experience of English epistolary achievement.
15 the other twoo: i.e., the two letters by Harvey in the first of the two collections of letters.
certified: assured, made certain
18 himselfe: i.e., Harvey.
stampe: character, type
20 matter . . . importance: Political matters, presumably, as opposed to the prosodic and geological concerns of Harvey’s letters here.
hable: capable
23 in Writing: i.e., in manuscript.
25 these two following: again, Harvey’s two letters in the first of the two collections.
rarest: most distinguished.
Treaties: treatises
deuising: conception
vttering: expression
in this Tongue: The Wellwiller maintains a focus on a central theme of the letters, as of the SC, the defense of the vernacular. While the letters assert that literary achievement in English can rival that in other European vernaculars and, indeed, in Latin, the Wellwiller argues that these letters instance the literary excellence of which English is capable.
30 Talente: Among the earliest uses of the term to mean ‘native skill’, as opposed to the sort of divine endowment, which latter, more reverent sense derives from the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30).
31 so little harme: Although Harvey would later develop a reputation for splenetic expression, his letters are here singled out for what is characterized as an unusually mild and non-polemic manner.
33 whych . . . writing: The clause is restrictive.
conceyted: clever, witty
34 If they . . . curious: i.e., if the correspondence had been composed especially for print publication the letters would have been more elaborately or beautifully wrought.
garnish: embellish, enhance
their displeasure: i.e., the displeasure of the two authors
made . . . faulte: done them a disservice.
priuy to: aware of
betake: commend
long approoued: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period
that . . . faulte: i.e. letter-writing
in hatching: under secret preparation
happly: by chance
7 dwell . . . Courte: Utterly devote yourself to legal studies. The Corpus Juris Civilis, Justinian’s compilation and codification of the various Roman laws and legal writings, was published in 529 and revised in 534. Harvey had been elected a fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, one of three important English centers for the study of Civil Law in Britain, on 18 December 1578, a year and a half before this letter was written.
deuoured of: devoured by
in a manner: very nearly
11 Little newes: The sentences on news interrupt the discussion of Harvey’s literary activities. This sort of self-distraction is hardly at odds with normal epistolary habits, but the sentence on ‘the Earthquake’ of 6 April, —as well as those on ‘that olde great matter’ and ‘His Honoure’—may well be a later interpolation meant to reconcile Harvey’s desire to make this a pamphlet on geology with Spenser’s desire to make it a pamphlet on prosody. For the date, see 75-6 and n. below; for the possibility of interpolation, see the headnote.
12 olde greate matter: Probably the controversy over Queen Elizabeth’s entertainment of a possible marriage to the French king’s brother, Francis, Duke d’Alençon, later Duke of Anjou. If so, ‘His Honoure’, to whom Spenser turns, would almost certainly be Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was deeply opposed to the union. That Leicester was ‘never better’ in April 1580 may derive from the fact of Anjou’s absence—he had left England in November 1579—but the remark may entail some cautious archness: certainly Leicester could not have felt that his relations with his sovereign had never been better, for although she remained attached to him, her anger at his opposition to the proposed match was undisguised.
depending: pending, hanging.
13 also there: The epicenter of the earthquake was somewhere in the English Channel, between Dover and Calais, but the earthquake was felt across northern France and the Low Countries and at least as far north as York.
15 ouerthrowing . . . Churches: According to Churchyard’s Warning for the Wise, an account written two days after the earthquake, chimneys fell across London, and Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s were both damaged; debris that fell from the ceiling of Christ’s Church in Newgate market injured an apprentice shoemaker named Thomas Gray together with ‘his fellow servaunt’ Mabel Everite (B1v-B2).
17 in their dayes.: This probably refers to the Midlands earthquake of 1575; the more violent, more widespread event of 1508 surely lay beyond living memory.
18 Sed quid vobis videtur magnis Philosophis?: ‘But how does it seem to you great philosophers?’
late: recent
19 Englishe Hexameters: Along with several other of their contemporaries, Spenser and Harvey were attempting to adapt for English verse the rules of the dactylic hexameter, the hexameter being perhaps the most prestigious of classical meters by virtue of its use as the medium of epic poetry. Harvey and Spenser are not the first English poets to attempt to naturalize the Latin hexameter. A generation earlier, Surrey had begun experimenting with how to adapt classical forms to vernacular poetry.
enure: employ, habituate
in worde: orally
20 whyche: i.e., the hexameter as a prosodic form.
23 oure Moother tongue: Cf. SC Epistle 70

For the onely . . . one legge: A crucial passage on the difficulty of adapting classical prosody to English verse. Greek and Latin prosody is a system that organizes syllable quantity, ‘length’, into patterns, the prosodic length of a word’s syllables—the measure of the Number being determined by a set of rules based on the spelling, derivation, grammatical inflection, and ancient pronunciation of the word as well as its position in a sequence of words. Whereas speech-stress and syllable length are only loosely related from the standpoint of classical prosody, several early English quantitative poets, Spenser included, seemed to regard stressed syllables in English as the likely candidates for treatment as metrically long. (This confusion of stress and quantity is still with us, leading us to speak of stressed syllables as ‘long’.)

According to the rules of Latin prosody, a syllable preceding the juncture of ‘n’ and ‘t’ should be long, but Spenser’s ear tells him that the second syllable of Carpenter is unstressed, hence his reference to the unstressed syllable as used shorte in speache. (Unfortunately, Spenser, Harvey, and many of their contemporaries use the same terms, short and long, to describe differences of both quantity and stress, hence the description of an unstressed syllable as ‘shorte in speache.’) This clash—that a syllable ‘short in speach’ should be ‘long in Verse’—is roughly what Spenser refers to when he speaks of the Accente as comming shorte of that it should.

Spenser adduces Heauen as a problem similar to Carpenter. The entire word is used—i.e., usually pronounced—shorte as one sillable (hence its frequent spelling as ‘heav’n’ or ‘heau’n’). But Spenser apparently regards the spelling as dictating, in verse, a peculiarly lengthened monosyllabic scansion. (‘Diastole’ can have many meanings in classical prosody, but Spenser apparently adduces it here as the term for the irregular use of a short syllable as if it were metrically long.) He may be suggesting that the orthography dictates a disyllabic scansion—this is evidently how Harvey understands him (3.517-37)—although his own practice at 4.90 suggests that he regards ‘heauenlie’ as disyllabic. (Harvey objects at 5.64, insisting that, spelled thus, the word should be regarded as a trisyllable.) Spenser laments that, in the case of both Carpenter and Heaven, a reader attempting to adapt her pronunciation to the claims of prosodic rule must distort a word’s customary pronunciation—an unstressed second syllable in the case of Carpenter; a single, short syllable in the case of Heaven—by means of an unnatural stress or lengthening. Spenser registers the fact that the unnatural adjustment in each case is slightly different by adopting different similes to describe them—‘like a lame Gosling and like a lame Dogge’.

ilfauouredly: unattractively

But it . . . Use.: It seemed to Harvey, as it has to many subsequent interpreters of this letter, that Spenser was here arguing that the adjustment of accente to number was to be achieved by cultivating the habit (‘custome’) of pronouncing rough English words in such a way as to subdue normal accent and to bring out prosodic quantity, hence Harvey’s outraged response: you shal never have my subscription or consent (though you should charge me wyth the authoritie of five hundreth Maister Drants,) to make your Carpēnter, our Carpĕnter, an inche longer, or bigger, than God and his Englishe people have made him (3.448-452). (It is not clear whether Harvey supposed Spenser to be proposing that his countrymen and women should pronounce English verses in classical metres according to unnatural rules, that they should undertake a wholesale reform of English speech, or that they should simply accept a prosodic rule that clashed with ‘native’ quantity.) But Harvey may be partly misunderstanding Spenser. In his next sentence, Spenser proposes, in tones of national pride that match Harvey’s, that his countrymen and women measure our Accentes, by the sounde, reserving the Quantitie to the Verse: that is, Spenser seems to be proposing a custom of reading English verse—measuring accents—according to the patterns of standard English pronunciation of prose, with the patterning implicit in quantitative English prosody to be regarded as no more than implicit, and not to be pronounced.

This would not be strange: in Ludus Literarius (1612), the schoolmaster Richard Brinsley explains that Latin verse was properly to be recited according to normal prose accent, with no effort to ‘bring out’ prosodic quantity. Brinsley also attests to the utility of a form of recitation that he refers to as ‘scanning’, in which quantitative values are exaggerated, but he regards this chiefly as an aid to memorizing verse and as a means of demonstrating alertness to the underlying metrical structure. When Spenser says that Carpenter is read long in Verse or that Heaven is stretched out with a Diastole he may especially be referring both to the underlying metrical design and to the exceptional practice of scanning aloud, which was meant to render the metre artificially prominent.

Thus, although Harvey misunderstands him, when Spenser says that the accommodation of Accente and Number, pronunciation and prosody, is to be wonne with Custome, and rough words . . . subdued with Use, he means that customary pronunciation is to win out over number. In the previous sentences, used short means ‘pronounced as short (or unaccented)’; here use seems to mean customary pronunciation.

37 Rymes . . . Uerse: Spenser’s Rymes ally him with the dominant contemporary tradition of English poetry, the lines of which were organized by regularities of length and by patterns of alternating stress and the stanzas of which were organized by rhyme; Verse refers to the new quantitative poetry, the lines of which are organized by patterns of line length and syllable duration.
35 toying: Harvey denigrates a practice that in fact requires application and effort; the term had slightly more dismissive force in the 16th-c than in modern usage.
artificial: artful
straightnesse: constraint

Tetrasticon: quatrain. In this case, the quatrain is in elegiacs, alternating pairs of (quantitative) hexameters and pentameters. For the conventions governing the classical hexameter, see the Introduction. The classical pentameter is a bipartite line comprising two feet of either dactyls or spondees, a long syllable followed by a caesura, and then two dactylic feet, followed in turn by a long syllable—in effect, two half-lines containing two-and-a-half feet, and thus, in this particular sense, a pentameter. Here is a proposed scansion

See yee the  blindefould ed pretie  God,   that  feathered  Archer,
Of Lou ers Miser ies   which maketh  his bloodie  Game?
Wote ye why , his Mooth er   with a  Veale hath  coouered  his Face?
Trust me , least he my  Looue   happely  chaunce to be holde.

For Harvey’s effort in the same metre, ‘Encomium Lauri’, and for his metrical criticism of these lines, see, 3.109-142 below.

pretie: cunning, crafty
Wote: know
Veale: i.e., veil, blind-fold
least: i.e., lest
happely: by chance, by happenstance
43 those two: i.e., those two hexameters
43 ex tempore: extemporaneously. Spenser may also intend some word play, since quantitative prosody is especially concerned with verbal duration.

in bed . . . togither: The tone here is hardly salacious, though the riddling character of the distich following and its concern with indulgence and over-indulgence have an insinuating effect. It was not uncommon for people to share beds, especially for those in straitened circumstances, but the evocation of verse composition in what could be an erotically charged situation might be taken as suggesting that these two witty university men have revived not only the prosody, but also the rakish homoeroticism especially associated with Greco-Roman culture. For E.K.’s censorious approval of the implied ‘pæderastice’ attachment of Hobbinol (associated with Harvey at SC Sept gloss 69-70) and Colin (associated with Spenser in the same gloss), see SC Jan gloss 21-37.

44 Westminster: Spenser seems to have taken up residence in Westminster sometime early in 1579. Much less densely populated than the city of London to its northeast, Westminster was the center of the court, with two royal residences and the houses of Parliament. Spenser concludes the fourth letter in the collection with the specifying address, ‘Leycester House’, (254 and n.).

That which . . . for others: The apparent quantitative scansion of these hexameter lines is

That which I  eate, did I  ioy,   and  that which I  greedily  gorged,
As for  those many  goodly  matters  leaft I for  others.

At SC Maye gloss 49-56, E.K. quotes, without attribution, a slightly different, but no less opaque version of the distich; both versions awkwardly translate what Cicero describes (in Tusc. Disp. 5.35.101) as his own translation of the epitaph at the tomb of Sardanapalus, the sense of which is that the speaker has enjoyed his self-indulgence---before death, in the case of Sardanapalus.


I would . . . rest.: The sentence suggests that one of Spenser’s chief goals in bringing these letters into wider circulation is to standardize English quantitative practice. By adducing the authority of Sidney and Drant, he seems to be stacking the deck against Harvey’s ‘rules and precepts’, but the sentence implies that Spenser had adopted a pragmatic approach to quantitative prosody: instead of pursuing an ideal quantitative system, he seems to be seeking consensus on a set of practicable metrical conventions among the interested parties.

While it is impossible to reconstruct the precise principles that Sidney imparted to Spenser, Sidney did write out a list of rules for ‘English measurde verses’ that are preserved in a MS of the Old Arcadia at St John’s, Cambridge that was written in 1581; see Ringler 1962: 391.

Thomas Drant, the imputed source for Sidney’s rules, was a clergyman and poet educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He had published translations of Greek and Latin poetry in the 1560s and at the end of that decade had become a chaplain to Bishop Grindal, to whom he would dedicate a collection of Latin poems in the late 1570s. This letter offers the only evidence that Drant had developed a set of rules for quantitative versifying in English.

The evocation of a slightly competitive environment in which disagreeing proponents of quantitative practice might be ‘overthrown’ by its opponents is intriguing, especially since no evidence survives of opposition, formal or informal, to such versifying. Like E.K.’s commentary in SC, such remarks might be understood as meant to stimulate interest by conferring on literary practice the glamour of mystery and controversy.

estimation: esteem
55 Maister Dyer: After Drant’s death in 1578, Sir Edward Dyer became the eldest member of a group of poets including Spenser, Sidney, Harvey, and Fulke Greville who seemed to have been especially interested in the quantitative project. Dyer had been a member of Leicester’s retinue since at least 1567.
of my selfe: unprompted
minde: intend
59 in this kinde: Not, that is, in the genre of satire, but in English quantitative metres.
60 Epithalamion Thamesis: Thames’s epithalamium or wedding poem.
vndertake: affirm
rare: extraordinary
61 Inuention: Topic. Invention could also refer to the process of settling on a topic and developing approaches to that topic; the craft of such discovery and elaboration was one of the five basic skills imparted by classical and Renaissance education in rhetoric.
profitable . . . knowledge: instructive
66 For . . . passage, etc.: No Epithalamion Thamesis survives, although the description here corresponds precisely to the content of FQ IV.x, the account of the Marriage of Thames and Medway. If we regard the episode in FQ as genetically related to the poem mentioned here, adapting the earlier poem to the later one would have involved transforming a quantitative composition (‘in this kinde’) to the accentual-syllabic stanza of Spenser’s epic.
63 offspring: Although the term can also mean ancestry, the meaning here, source or well-head, need not be regarded as metaphorical.
67 Holinshed: An Historical Description of the Island of Britain, which constitutes the opening section of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), was the work of William Harrison. See below, 3.292.
dogging oute: pursuing
73 O . . . pretij?: ‘O Titus, if I [do this], what will be my reward’. The lines abridge and adapt the passage from Ennius’ Annales quoted at the beginning of Cicero’s De Senectute.
73 Dreames . . . Pellicane: The latter title must be presumed lost, as ‘my Dreames’ may be: no works attributed to Spenser or Immerito were ‘presentlye...imprinted’. Over a decade later, in the epistle preliminary to Complaints (1591), the printer attests to his intention to publish ‘The dying Pellican’ along with ‘some other Pamphlets looselie scattered abroad’, i.e., circulating in manuscript, as soon as he can acquire copies. We do not know precisely when Spenser began revising the poems first printed in Theatre, but Dreames may be the first name he gave to the revisions, which eventually appeared, in Complaints, as the Visions of Bellay and Visions of Petrarch. At Letters 3.326-328, Harvey praises ‘the extraordinarie veine and invention’ of the ‘Dreames’, obliquely comparing their ‘singularitie of . . . manner’ to that of ‘Saint Johns Revelation’ (3.337-339): the odd comparison would not seem far-fetched if the ‘Dreames’ concluded, as do Spenser’s translations for Theatre, with a sequence of visions based on the book of Revelation. But the work or works here referred to as Dreames may in fact be something different altogether; it or they may be known to us by other titles: Vanitie, Rome, or even Time or Proth. For the principal objection to identifying Dreames as a revision of the poems for the Theatre see the note to ‘My Slomber’ below at 4.53.
signified: suggested
in hande . . . with: immediately be concerned with.
76 Faery Queene: This is Spenser’s first recorded reference to the FQ. Harvey’s reply below suggests that Spenser had sent Harvey a substantial portion of the poem, perhaps even a complete poem, although we need not assume that the poem or portion that Spenser had sent much resembled the FQ as it would be printed a decade later. It may also be observed that the exchange may be puffery for a poem that Spenser was yet to compose.
expedition: speed
wythal: in addition
78 suche . . . vse: In the course of his later feud with Harvey, Thomas Nashe drew satiric attention to Harvey’s prolixity as a letter-writer; see Have With You to Saffron Walden (1596), F1-F1v. Harvey responds to this remark below at 5.194, ‘copiosius’.
79 Multum vale.: A hearty farewell.
80 Quarto Nonas Aprilis: 2 April. Since this date precedes the earthquake by 4 days, Child proposed that Spenser must have meant not ‘Quarto Nonas’, but ‘Quarto Idus’, 10 April.
80–84 Sed . . . sæpè: ‘But, as I love you, my sweetheart commends herself to you with all her heart, and wonders why you’ve sent no reply to her letters. Be careful, I beg you, lest this be mortal to you. To me it surely will be; nor do I think you will go unscathed. Once more—and as often as you like—farewell.’ The sweetheart (Corculum) mentioned here has not been securely identified, but most commentators suppose her to be Spenser’s wife, albeit on uncertain grounds; see 3.591-598 and n.
88 take best: Possibly an error for ‘take it best’.
88 alone: Presumably, without The Dying Pellicane accompanying.
94 growen . . . worst: While the reference to this work (and to The Dying Pellicane) may be facetious—for Spenser may never have seriously contemplated writing either of these works—it is worth observing that the publication described here, with illustrations and commentary by E.K., is plainly modeled on the SC. (And, if Dreames was indeed a revision of the translations for the Theatre, we might say that both the SC and Dreames are modeled on the Theatre, with its woodcuts and commentary.) By producing such volumes, or by proposing to produce them, Spenser was building a properly intellectual literary profile for himself and a properly intellectual literary culture for England.
91 E.K.: Referring to the otherwise unidentified author of the commentary for the SC. The reference to E.K. here neither bolsters nor weakens the case for regarding E.K. as a real person. If he is a fabrication, Spenser here sustains the fiction; if he is simply an unidentifiable person, this passage protects the secrecy of that identity. See the discussion of E.K. in the Introduction to SC and the headnote to SC, Epistle.
93 Michael Angelo: Although the printed commentary on Michelangelo’s achievement by such eminent Italian commentators as Dolce, Aretino, and Vasari was unavailable in English by the early 1580s, Castiglione’s praise was available by 1561 in Hoby’s translation of the Courtier. Michelangelo’s work was widely known in engraved renderings; by the 1540s engraved portraits of Michelangelo were in circulation, often conjoined with engravings of The Last Judgment from the Sistine Chapel.
nor amende: neither improve upon
95 Stemmata Dudleiana: The Lineage of the Dudleys. Like the Dying Pellicane, this work never appeared, but despite Spenser’s professed opinion that it was the best thing he'd written to date (‘I never dyd better’) it is less difficult to propose theories for the ‘advisement’ that may have inhibited him from publishing the Stemmata. In the ensuing Latin sentence, Spenser alleges that he is following (sequor) Harvey; Orwen suggested (N&Q, 1946) that Spenser’s Stemmata imitates the second book of Harvey’s Gratulationes (1578), a collection of poems in praise of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, several of which urge Leicester’s worthiness as a spouse for the queen. It was a gaffe, for unbeknownst to Harvey, Leicester had married Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex; see SC March 20n. So Spenser’s advisement may be traced to his having followed Harvey in promoting a match that was no longer possible, especially if the ‘Apostrophes’ were addressed to the queen. And even if Spenser had not followed Harvey quite so closely in the Stemmata as to propose a royal match, the publication of a volume of sustained praise for Leicester might have seemed ill-advised, since for years the queen remained nettled at Leicester over the clandestine marriage and Spenser seems already to have hoped for the queen’s patronage as well as Leicester’s. Finally, Orwen reminds us that the Dudleys had not long been numbered among the gentry and the heralds did not agree as to the foundations of Leicester’s aristocratic claims: Spenser may have decided to hold back the Stemmata until the genealogical dispute was settled.
99 Veruntamen te sequor solùm: nunquam verò assequar: ‘Nonetheless I am merely following you, although I will never catch you.’ Note that Spenser here picks up and reworks a line he had already used in his letter to Harvey of 16 October 1579; see below, 4.73-4.
3 sweete Harte: see Corculum above, l. 1.80.
4 dispense with: make allowances for. The phrase can have technical legal force involving the relaxation of a law or exemption from a penalty; here, by slight figurative extension, Harvey seeks relaxation of the rule of rhetorical decorum that dictates serious treatment of serious matters. But he may also be playing on Spenser’s name—Spenser the Dispenser—which would make this the first recorded instance of a pun that would be rehearsed with some frequency.
pleasurably: lightheartedly
sad: grave, serious
7 shrewde: clever. The word is sometimes used as a slightly disparaging intensifier, as it seems to be here: shrewde wittie is poised between meaning ‘especially clever’ and ‘too clever’ with perhaps a shading towards ‘shrewishly clever’.
prettie conceited: both words can mean clever
fourmes: benches
wrangling: arguing
woonderful: marvelously
it shoulde . . . deede: it really were an earthquake
remoouing: moving
onely in effect: is really all that
set at: committed to
taking on: i.e., making much ado.
presently: immediately
recomforted: reassured
misdoubting: worrying
behappened: had happened
goodlyer: more imposing
praying: i.e., preying
forsooth: indeed
48 in the House toppe: exasperated, quarrelsome. Cf. Gervase Babington’s advice in A Briefe Conference Betwixt Mans Frailtie and Faith (1584), that we should cultivate ‘a patient and meeke nature in our selues able to beare and tolerate something, without mounting into the house top immediatly, and flashing out all on fire by and by vppon the sight or hearing of it’ (H5).
By my truely: Truly (an oath)
52 All-in: The last tolling of church bells prior to the commencement of service.
52 our Ladyes Mattins: The early morning prayer service. The version of the service designated, since the Middle Ages, as ‘our Ladyes’ is simpler than that of the traditional divine office because it was invariant across most of the liturgical calendar; it was therefore included in the Primer, which was the anchor of lay piety. The broad, blunt force of the Gentleman’s remark is to protest what he characterizes as the women’s noisy gynocentric stir.
affectionate: willful
and you say it: with your permission
dispute: debate
cunningly: knowledgeably, cleverly
clearkly: in a scholarly fashion
mystresse: used as a verb here, by comic analogy with master
61 Philosophers: The term can denote ‘natural philosophers’, i.e., scientific thinkers.
to this: concerning this
62 sensible Naturall cause: The first adjective is somewhat swaggeringly chosen, since sensible usually denotes the obvious or perceptible, and is frequently contrasted with intelligible, whereas Harvey’s interlocutor imagines a cause beyond the reach of the senses; the force of the phrase here is ‘a hypothetical cause so plausible as to seem obviously correct’. Harvey’s response that the cause may be intelligible is simply corrective, although his use of Supernaturall, also corrective, seems at first to be a comic provocation. He takes up the question of Supernatural causation below (2.250 ff.).
63 Eruption of wynde: This is the standard theory within a meteorological tradition dominated by Aristotle; the most influential version of the theory available in English may be found in William Fuller’s A Goodly Gallery (1563) in both the chapters ‘Of earthquakes’ (C3v) and ‘How so great wyndes come to be vnder the earth’ (C6). By here insinuating that earthquakes are a kind of terrestrial flatulence, Harvey’s interlocutor may intend smugly to outrage the gentlewomen, but the analogy is also traceable to Aristotle, who elaborates it in Meteorologica II.8.366b.
75 the great aboundaunce . . . Originall place: Harvey here summarizes the theory propounded in Meteorologica, II.8.366b (and cf. Fuller, 1563, C6). The idea that water has a ‘Naturall’ place above the earth permeates Aristotles De Caelo, deriving from the more fundamental principle that earth seeks to occupy the cosmic center and, hence, a place beneath the other elements (see, in particular, De Caelo, IV.4.311b). Harvey’s description of the ‘Naturall Originall place’ of water may be more informal, a reference to the fact that the ‘windie Exhalations and Vapors’ seek ascent to the place from which the rainwater that generates them originally came, yet he seems to return to this notion below, when he speaks of ‘winde, or vapors, seeking . . . to get them home to their Naturall lodgings’ (2.239-41).
peraduenture: perhaps
67 Michaelmas: 29 September
73 windie Exhalations: Although Aristotle and Seneca gave currency to the idea that most meteorological and geological phenomena are traceable to the exhalations produced when water or earth are heated, the concept of exhalations is almost certainly pre-socratic, deriving both from Heraclitus and Anaximander. Aristotle’s treatment of earthquakes in the Meteorologica follows directly from a longer treatment of wind (II.4-6.359b-365a, and see also I.13.349a)
Termes of Arte: technical vocabulary (here, of meteorology)
to: adapted to
allgates: no matter what
with a good will: [I'll do so] willingly
doctorally: in a learned fashion
members: components, body-parts
absurditie: logical impossibility
store: quantity
91 substantiall matter . . . spirites: Harvey’s vocabulary has strong philosophical associations, although he appears to be using his terms loosely. In many popularizing discussions of natural philosophy, as here, the terms humours, fumes, and spirites are used interchangeably to represent exhalations of matter; when used in series, as here, they are never carefully distinguished. (Technically speaking, humours is a term usually, but not exclusively, associated with the medical tradition, fumes with the alchemical and meteorological traditions, and spirites with a range of scientific and philosophical traditions, but carrying distinct meanings in each.) Similarly, the strict distinction in Aristotelean metaphysics between substance and accident seems not to operate here; rather, Harvey seems to be using the contrastive terms substantiall and accidentall to distinguish the primary material state of the elements contained within the earth and the various, largely gaseous derivatives of those elements.
101 either good . . . or other.: Harvey rejects the idea that the accidental vapors are good, on the grounds that they generate bad effects; he rejects the idea that the vapors are uniformly bad, on the grounds that if they were so, they would simply be inert. He therefore concludes that they must manifest themselves in mixed compounds and that the mixtures are sometimes imbalanced, with bad vapors working against good ones and, overpowering them, bursting forth.
whereout: out of which
93 poysonfull: On the poisonous vapors of earthquakes, see Seneca, Nat Quaest, 27.1-28.3
infectiue: infectious
99 Temperature: compound (in this case, of good and evil). As in humoural medicine, in which health depends on the temperate balance of different humours, so geological stability would depend on the ‘proportionable’ balance of those ‘humours, and fumes, and spirites’ that are contained in the earth’s channels and cavities.
110 violent . . . Ague: Lucretius compares the earth racked by earthquake to a human body racked by fever (VI.591-95); Harvey’s language, from his description of the Earth as a ‘huge body’ to the evocation of the earth’s disproportionate ‘Temperature’ to this description of earthquakes as an ‘Ague’, that is, as a shivering fever, is resolutely non-figurative.
diuels: devil’s
100 interchaungeably: alternatively. Although in many places and times the earth’s mixture of the earth’s vapors is balanced, sometimes it is not.
vehemently: violently
malitiously: fiercely
fostred: nourished
105 putrified Humors: The process of humoral putrefaction is given its fullest description in Galenic medicine—for Galen, humoural putrefaction, which predisposes the body to disease, takes place when a stagnant humour is heated without the possibility of evaporation. Aristotle devotes the opening of the fourth book of the Meteorologica to an account of putrefaction, which he treats as the fundamental process of destruction.
ylfauoured: ugly
grosse: thick, indelicate
brust: burst
voyding: evacuation
flatuous: windy, flatulent
chill: chilly
grossely, and homely: plainly and in simple terms
113 Terræ metus: Harvey is not adopting language from the Vulgate—indeed, the phrase probably owes more to Virgil, Aen. 1.280, where Juno roils air, sea, and land with fear—but the idea of the earth cowering in terror owes a good deal to recurrent images in Psalms; see, for example, Ps 18.7 and 68.8.
115 terrified . . . scarcely mooued: The gnomic formulation seems to suggest that the gentlewomen are too shallow truly to be moved, that their terror is superficial, especially when compared to the graver intellectual motion of scholars. Yet, the speaker implicitly compares this male motion to the very motion of the earthquake, thus suggesting that male intellection is a kind of grave flatulence.
quidditie: essence
122 not wooman: Because Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib.
liker: more like
127 I am flatly . . . for feare.: Harvey’s larger argument against supernatural causation here begins to emerge more sharply: this is not the earth of the psalter, trembling before the Lord; it is Aristotle’s earth, suffering from natural distemper. Harvey’s argument is pitched against that of the likes of Arthur Golding, whose Discourse Upon the Late Earthquake urged that ‘this miracle proceeded not of the course of any naturall causes, but of Gods only determinate purpose, who maketh even the verye foundations and pillers of the earthe to shake, the mountaines to melte lyke wax, and the seas to dry vp and to becom as a drie field, when he listeth to shewe the greatenesse of his glorious power’ (B2v). Harvey’s naturalist argument echoes that of Seneca: suas ista causas habent nec ex imperio saeviunt sed quibusdam vitiis, ut corpora nastra turbantur, et tunc, cum facere videntur, iniuriam accipiunt (‘These phenomena have causes of their own; they do not range on command but are disturbed by certain defects, just as our bodies are’; Naturales Quaestiones, VI.3.1). See 218-9n below.
127 only . . . force: it moves only by virtue of the specific power
dastardly: craven
glistereth: glitters
little helpe: to no useful end. ‘Much ado and little help’ was proverbial; cf. 2.595-6 below
trim: neatly composed
135 Tale of Robinhood: (prov.) A fantastic tale, ‘moonshine’.
136 I knowe not what: I don’t know what, i.e., ‘some such nonsense’.
suer: sure
136 I dowte . . . beleefe: I fear I hold heterodox beliefs.
139 would . . . presume of: must you trust in, i.e., what compels you to trust in
141 per fidem implicitam: by implicit faith
nighe: nearly
presently: immediately
pottle: pot, tankard
Hyppocrase: a spiced wine drink
be layed: have gone to bed
as well in . . . as in: both in . . . and in
pleasurable: mirthful
maruellous . . . to: remarkably intimate with
in . . . earnest: to be a bit serious
euen: just
158 wherin . . . here.: Harvey refers the question of the breadth of consensus to the other men in attendance.
finest conceited: most intellectually subtle
in my fancie: to my way of thinking
160 too much drinke: According to Aristotle, Democritus also held that earthquakes resulted from super-saturation of the earth (Meteorologica, II.7.365b). For the idea of earthquakes as a kind of terrestrial drunkenness, see Isa 24.18-20.
sensibly: undeniably, as is easily apprehended
sort: manner
payneth: (painfully) exerts, takes pains
that: that ‘drinke’ that
neesing: sneezing
wherewithall: by which
Physicall, and Naturall: medical and scientific
lightly: readily
172 diet: pattern or habit of feeding. Harvey sustains the idea of the Earth as a body and of its absorption of precipitation as a kind of ingestion.
165 Alebench Rhetorick . . . Pottypôsis: Alebench Rhetorick would be Harvey’s joking name for the ‘art’ of drunken speech; Pottypôsis is a fabricated name for a figure of Alebench speech, a term built from both pot, an English word for ‘tankard’ and potare, ‘to drink’ in Latin, and poesis, Greek for ‘poetic composition’.
as namely: as namely at
deepest: most penetrating
176 Secretaries of Nature: Usually denotes those charged with managing secret information without disclosing the secrets; in this case, those who disclose secrets. Harvey may be translating Suidas’ description of Aristotle as γραμματεὺς τῆς ϕύσεως grammateus tēs physeōs (‘scribe of nature’).
178 maruellous reasonable: The oxymoron sustains Harvey’s facetious tone.
stately: domineering
eft soones: repeatedly
professed: explicit
set: resolute, pitched
furniture: equipment
vengibly: vengefully
frowardly bent: perversely, in ill temper
Cunnyes: rabbits
highminded: proud, arrogant
Bellona: the Roman goddess of war
debate: struggle
factions: factious quarrels
192 go me: go. (In this construction, me is an ethical dative.)
Peece: firearm
dub a dubbe: (a phrase used to imitate the sound of drums)
monstrous: monstrously
hoysed: raised up
euen Enoughe: quite enough
bowgets: pouches
occupie: make use of
205 aspect: The influential ‘gaze’ of a star or planet, particularized by its position, as it looks upon earth (astrol.).
206 our . . . Venus: Associating the god of eloquence with the male graduates of Cambridge and the goddess of Love with the ladies in the room. Perhaps cued by this, the ‘Gentleman of the House’ (2.216-7) will request a differently gendered account of the cause of earthquakes: ‘let us men learne some thing of you too’.
made: prepared herself
plausible: pleasant, worthy of applause
takes her selfe: regards herself as
happely: perhaps
counte of: regard

Naturall, or Supernaturall: Harvey’s interlocutor invites him to resume the central concern that animates Book VI of Seneca’s Nat Quaest: Illud quoque proderit praesumere animo, nihil horum deos facere, nec ira numinum aut caelum concuti aut terram: suas ista causas habent (‘It will help to keep in mind that gods cause none of these things and that neither heaven nor earth is overturned by the wrath of divinities. These phenomena have causes of their own’; 3.1).

vnder correction: unless I’m mistaken
fancie: estimation
225 Causes: These are the four causes that Aristotle enumerates in Metaphysics 1013a. For Aristotle, the material cause is that from which a thing is made: wood is the material cause of a table. Its formal cause is that which makes it what it is and not something else: in Aristotle’s formulation, the formal cause of the octave is a ratio of 2:1. The efficient cause is that which brings a thing into being, as parents do children, while the final cause is that towards which a thing moves as, or as if to, its fruition, so that a mature plant is the final cause of a seed. Harvey seems to use the term Materiall Cause slightly differently; see the next note.
232 Materiall Cause . . . wynde: Actually, Aristotle designates wind as the efficient cause of earthquakes and earth and water as their material causes (Meteor 368a). This is a momentary lapse: as Harvey refines his treatment of earthquakes here, his etiological account draws closer to Aristotle’s; cf. Meteor 366b.
233 grosse and drye vapors, and spirites: The formulation may represent Harvey’s attempt to render Aristotle’s difficult theory of the two exhalations, moist and dry: see Meteor 341b and 365b. It may be worth noting that in the Nat Quaest, Seneca persistently uses the term spiritus when he speaks of air as the efficient cause of earthquakes. See also the semantic analysis in the Aetna, a pseudo-Virgilian poem on seismic activity, probably indebted to Seneca: spiritus inflatis nomen, languentibus aer (‘it is called “spirit” when in a state of tension, and “air” when it is at ease’; 212, ed. trans.).
236 seeking . . . lodgings: cf. 2.65-75.
237 prison: The figure of subterranean air as imprisoned is ubiquitous in ancient writing on earthquakes; see Seneca, Nat Quaest, VI.18.4-5, Diogenes Laertius, Lives, III.vii.154 and IV.x.105, and the passage from Ovid, Met cited below.
246 Vis . . . solet: ‘The wild forces of the winds, shut up in dark regions underground, seeking an outlet for their flowing and striving vainly to obtain a freer space since there was no chink in all their prison through which their breath could go, puffed out and stretched the ground, just as when one inflates a bladder with his breath’; Met XV.299-304.
onely voyce: voice alone, unassisted voice.
reuerend: deserving reverence
text: Scriptural text
256–257 Locutus . . . Terra: ‘The Lord spake and the earth trembled’. But the text is improvised: Harvey splices together two phrases that appear in various places in the Vulgate, but never together.
howbeit: although
262 for . . . motions: Harvey’s syntax here is extremely artful: one might at first suppose that he is proposing that we take seriously—because ‘it is not to be gainesayd’ and because it is the opinion of ancient scientists—the assertion that stellar and solar heat and influence are the ‘principall and sole Efficient’ cause of earthquakes, and not ‘God himselfe’. But as the sentence proceeds, we are obliged to reconsider the force of ‘for’ in the phrase ‘for the principall, or rather sole Efficient’, understanding it to mean ‘on account of’ (OED 21b): the force of the sentence is thus ‘although God is the principal efficient cause, it is not to be gainsaid that solar, stellar, and planetary influence and heat are secondary, instrumental, efficient causes.’ Harvey tempts us to suspect him guilty of doubting that God is the efficient cause of earthquakes, and then dispels the suspicion.
261 superior Planets: In the Ptolemaic system, the inferior planets, Mercury and Venus, were distinguished from the three superior planets by two main features: unlike the superior planets, the centers of their epicycles were collinear with the earth and sun, and their paths never took them in opposition to the position of the sun.
which: i.e., which analysis of final causaility
264 naturall reasonable: both ‘simply reasonable’ and ‘satisfied with reasons involving natural processes’. The problem of the final causes of meteorological phenomena was hotly contested in the sixteenth century. In his Peripateticarum Quæstionum (1571) Andrea Cesalpino went so far as to imply that meteora did not have final causes, by excluding them from his causal account (H8v-I3).
denounce: proclaim
sensible: poignant
whereon you stande: about which you are especially concerned
purposed: has as the goal
neuerthelesse is: i.e., nevertheless, God’s work is
qualifying, and conforming: modification and adaptation
279 very Nature selfe: Nature iself. The Stoic idea that God and Nature were one and the same had been given renewed currency in the work of Francesco Patrizi and Giordano Bruno.
schoolemen: university scholars, in this case those specializing in theology
Natura Naturans: lit., ‘Nature naturing’; Nature in its creative or active aspect
sensible, and vnsensible: sensate and insensate
Natura naturata: lit., ‘Nature natured’; Nature as the product of Divine creation
288 in . . . dayes: Harvey here invokes the Protestant idea that miracles had ceased at some determinate historical moment. The moment of Cessation was variously assigned. Some thinkers associated the cessation with the moment at which the canonical books of the New Testament were completed; others held that miracles ceased with the death of John, the last of the Apostles; still others dated the cessation from the fourth-century establishment of Christendom.
sensibly: to the senses
Creatures: created things
in the same Number: of the same kind
manacing: menacing
great latter day: Apocalypse
out of controuersie: indisputably
Euentes, and sequeles: a pleonasm for ‘consequences’
collection: inference
discourse of . . . Reason: faculty of reasoning
such: such-and-such (OED 16a)
313 Roma . . . Euentus: ‘Rome never trembled, that it did not portend some notable future event’. Harvey seems to be quoting the Nat Hist from memory; his version does not match Pliny’s ‘numquam urbs roma tremuit, ut non futuri eventus alicuius id praenuntium esset’ (‘The city of Rome never experienced a shock which was not the forerunner of some great calamity’; 2.86). In the passage in question, from his chapter on earthquakes, Pliny refers to fifty-seven earthquakes in one year at the outset of the Second Punic War; at 2.85, Pliny refers to an earthquake of 90 B.C., the year before the Bellum Sociale or Social War that disrupted centuries-old peninsular alliances.
in Genere, or in specie: taken as a class or as individual instances
322 Cause . . . End: Harvey is here referring to the two ‘external’ causes, the efficient and final causes.
322 preternaturall, or supernaturall: The two terms were occasionally used interchangeably, and the distinctions implied when they were used contrastively were various. Supernatural causation is almost always understood to be divine, whereas preternatural causation could refer to the agency of angels (or demons), or simply to causation thought neither to be natural, on the one hand, nor immediately divine, on the other. See Daston 1999, 78-85.
for the nonce: for this purpose
328 his priuie Counsell: With light derision, Harvey mocks such natural philosophers as imagine that God is like an English king who might disclose His ‘secret and inscrutable purposes’ to an ingratiating mortal confidante or to such intimate and august advisors, members of His divine Privy Council, as might betray the details of His purposes.
resolute: certain
337 Eclipse . . . Nouilunio: Because solar eclipses can take place only during a new moon (L novilunium), whereas Passover begins with a full moon (L plenilunium), the three hours of darkness that covered the land on the occasion of the crucifixion (Matt 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44) were best explained as miraculous, although many chronographers, seeking to settle the date of the crucifixion, sought various means to resolve the apparent natural impossibility.
Metaphysically: supernaturally
340 Aut . . . destruetur: ‘Either the nature of things is suffering or the structure of the world is being destroyed’. The exclamation attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite (now better known as Pseudo-Dionysius) is variously reported, though it appears nowhere in the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius; perhaps its most familiar form was that given in the Roman Breviary as part of the first lesson for the second nocturn for 9 October: Aut Deus naturae patitur, aut mundi machina dissoluitur (‘Either the God of nature is suffering, or the frame of the universe is being dissolved’; Leiden, 1544, gg4v). In his ‘Letter to Polycarp’ (Epist. 7), Pseudo-Dionysius reports on his struggle to convince one Apollophanes of the existence of supernatural signs, reminding him that they together witnessed the crucifixion eclipse, which eclipse Apollophanes knows was a natural impossibility, given the lunar cycle (AA6v, Opera, 1555; PG, 1081A-B).
Patheticall: impassioned
my . . . me: it seems to me
vnskilfuller: less learned
goe . . . doe: nearly do
agony: painful writhing
Marry: Indeed
343 the Errour . . . tollerable: I grant that the error is the more tolerable
otherwhiles: in other circumstances, sometimes
348 if so be . . . reformation: ‘if it happen that it’—i.e., the error of unwarranted confidence that natural calamaties are divine admonitions would be more tolerable—‘secure our inward reformation (and not the merely hypocritical and pharisaical show of reformation)’.
349 Pænitentiam agite: ‘Do penance!’ Harvey here quotes Matt 4:17, but the phrase may have special significance here as having been the focus of attention in the first of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses: Dominus et magister noster Iesus Christus dicendo ‘Penitentiam agite &c.’ omnem vitam fidelium penitentiam esse voluit (‘By saying "Do penance, etc." our Lord and Master Jesus Christ willed that the entire life of the faithful should be repentance’; WA 1.233, ed. trans.).
354 especially . . . places.: In this slightly obscure passage, Harvey casts doubt on the idea that earthquakes that vary so widely in duration and spatial extent could all have the same general cautionary import.
prosecuted: investigated
Seigniories: domains
of Experience: from observation
hoyse: raise
withall: besides
allowed: approved
coursed ouer: passed over
ominous: conveying omens
flatly: decisively
verdit: verdict
namely: especially
391 auncient . . . Lawyer: An ‘ancient’ was one of the senior members of the governing body of the Inns of Court.
turne: search through
schoole: academic (and, by implication, fussily so)
poase: puzzle
ministered: provided
in manner: somewhat
tyhyhing: laughing, tee-hee-ing
runne of: occupy itself with
maruellous: marvelously
paulting: paltry
Balductum: trashy
Ballet: ballad
433 Eldertons: The ballad writer William Elderton was a frequent object of Harvey’s scorn; in his Foure Letters and Certaine Sonnets (1592), Harvey calls him a ‘drunken rimester’ (A4) and links him with Robert Greene, referring to the two of them as ‘the very ringleaders of the riming, and scribbling crew’ (A4v).
materiall: important
437 diuision: i.e., into categories or into noteworthy particular instances
Induction: the systematic consideration of a number of particular instances
sine omni exceptione: without any exception
significatiue: significant
vt supra: (L) as discussed above (2.299 ff.)
452 as wel . . . the other: i.e., concerning both material and formal causes.
Effectuall and substaunciall: conclusive and weighty
self: itself
460 dispositions: Several senses are relevant: temperaments (OED 6), attitudes (OED 7a), and situations (OED 1b).
Non causam pro causa: (L) not-cause for cause. The error of incorrectly inferring a cause is the sixth of the seven ‘extra-linguistic fallacies’ analyzed in Aristotle’s De Sophisticis Elenchis (‘On Sophistical Refutations’)
463 Elencho Finium: (L) By a refutation of ends. Harvey’s meaning here is obscure: he seems to be speaking of the fallacy of assigning ends or purposes without sufficient warrant, but he may be proposing something more radical, either that there is no intelligible purpose for earthquakes or that the final cause of earthquakes is beyond the limits of our knowledge. If the latter, Harvey’s treatise would take its place in that body of Early Modern scientific literature that resists reference to final causation in accounts of natural phenomena (Martin 2010).
466 Still . . . Byng: John Still (c.1544---1608), fellow of Christ’s Church Cambridge (1562), proceeded MA in 1565, the year before Harvey matriculated there. Awarded a Bachelor’s of Divinity degree in 1570 and made Doctor of Divinity in 1575, Still was highly reputed as a controversialist. By 1577, Still was Master of Trinity Hall and Harvey, having some hope of Still’s patronage, had therefore recommended his appointment to a bishopric in a letter written to Leicester in April of 1579. Thomas Byng was a bit senior to Still, having begun his Cambridge career in 1552; he became a fellow of Peterhouse in 1558 and earned the LLD in 1570. In 1565 he was made University Orator and in 1574 became Regius Professor of Civil Law.
contentation: satisfaction
safely: without risk of error (OED 2b)
473 Lord . . . Picus: Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, the distinguished philosophical skeptic, was the nephew and biographer of the famous Neoplatonist Giovanni Pico. The work to which Harvey now turns is much indebted to the uncle’s posthumously published attack on astrology, the Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem (‘Arguments Against Divinatory Astrology’), which Gianfrancesco edited for publication in 1496. There is, indeed, some reason to believe that Harvey confused uncle and nephew; see below (2.519-23n.).
Cogging: cheating
477 De . . . vanitates: ‘On Foreknowledge, on Behalf of True Religion, and Against Vain Superstitions’.
481–490 Naturæ . . . Aristoteles: ‘It cannot be that a natural phenomenon portends future events, whether by signs or portents nor can these events depend on some proximate cause that could also reveal future things. It seems possible that this happens by the deceit of demons. But a great many things not marvellous or strange in themselves can still be regarded as omens and portents by those who have not adequately grasped the nature of things—and usually are so regarded. For ignorance of the causes of an unusual event excites wonder on account of which, as Aristotle observes in the opening of his Metaphysics, people began to engage in philosophy.’
491 Impostura . . . causarum: ‘Deceptions of demons and the ignorance of causes’. Pico’s reflection on the latter paraphrases Cicero’s observation that ignorance of the causes of extraordinary events produces wonder (Causarum enim ignoratio in re nova mirationem facit; ‘On Divination’ 2.49).
presentlye: immediately
the white: the center of a target; the bull’s-eye
Pinne: the peg or nail at the very center of a target
507 Idem . . . deductum est: ‘Antiquity understood earthquakes just as it did lightning and thunder. An eloquent book on the subject of earthquakes in Greek recently fell into my hands, its author supposedly Orpheus. And while it often happens that people look to the diverse exhalations of the ground, to the violence of winds, to the turbulence of vapors—mark you that?—for signs indicating future events, it is absolutely absurd to do so, for those turbulences can be neither effects nor causes of future events—except perhaps by bringing death to those struck by lightning or undone by the gaping of the earth. But they cannot be derived from the same proximate cause on which future events also depend, as was discussed above.’
503 conductione: In his own copy Harvey hand-corrected the printed text to bring it into accord with the 1507 edition of Pico’s text (P1v), despite the fact that the reading in Pico’s text is probably a misprint.
moste agreeable to: in full accord with
511–517 Nec . . . Autoris: ‘Certainly the renowned Orpheus—if there really was an Orpheus—does not propose any cause at all why anyone would be able to predict from earthquakes the futures of cities, people, or regions. He merely says, on the basis of an insubstantial judgment, what is portended if an earthquake happens at night or in the summer or winter or during the day. These predictions can certainly be refuted by a more rational judgment and indeed, on the testimony of experience, I judge them worthy to be laughed at just as we have laughed at the Portents of Tages, the founder of Divination.’ Pico here continues to draw on Cicero whose mocking account of the legend of the Etruscan prophet Tages (‘On Divination’ 2.50-51) immediately follows his discussion of the effects of ignorance of causes.
523 Picus . . . Phœnix: Harvey has plainly confused Gianfrancesco Pico with his more eminent uncle, Giovanni Pico, who died in 1494 at age 31 and was widely known as the Phoenix of his age; see the brief life composed by the biographer, Paolo Giovio, for his Elogia veris clarorum virorum imaginibus apposita, Venice, 1546, G1v.
odde: unique
onely singular: most
525 tempering with: Addressing himself to, dealing with. Harvey’s use of ‘tempering’ is idiosyncratic, but he seems to have chosen the term to bring in the connotation of dealing temperately with the philosophical challenge of the earthquake, an ideal consistent with his professed resolution, in the next clause, to maintain himself ‘in the meane’. The philosophical disposition of temperate intellectual patience in the face of rational uncertainty approximates the Ἀταραξία Ataraxia (‘tranquility’) that was the psychological goal of skepticism.
527 this probable . . . his: The ‘Interim’ of suspended judgement in the face of uncertainty to which Harvey refers, is as much a philosophical state as a period.
Orphei: Orpheuses; (false) soothsayers
balde: paltry
531 beetleheaded: Dull-witted, thick-headed (A beetle was a heavy implement for driving wedges or setting paving stones (OED 1a); cf. Foxe’s rendering of Luther’s description of his Roman adversaries as ‘beetell headed asses’ (Acts and Monuments, 1570, +++5)
sturring: causing trouble (‘stir’ OED 14d)
taking on: raging, agitating oneself (‘take on’ OED 10)
534 sawe . . . Milstone: ‘To see far in a millstone’ is a proverb meaning ‘to have great insight’; the proverb was customarily used ironically, to impugn someone’s discernment.
536 Bayarde: Generally, a bay-colored horse, but bayard is frequently used to denote, or name, an old horse, often blind.
537 Scribimus . . . passim: ‘Unskilled or skilled, we all write poetry anyway’; Horace, Ep. 2.1.117. With odd abruptness, Harvey here returns to the subject of poetry and specifically addresses the details taken up in the last lines of the letter (1.73-74, 88 ff.) to which he is responding, where Spenser first reports having completed work on Dreames and The Dying Pellicane, proposes bringing out the Dreames, with illustrations and commentary, as an independent volume, and remarks on his uncertainty about whether the Stemmata Dudleiana is ready for publication.
538 the firste . . . the laste: i.e., the unskilled . . . the skilled.
539 O interim . . . miserabiles: ‘Meanwhile, O wretched and miserable Muses . . .’. In this pairing of miseras and miserabiles, Harvey may be recalling the curse from Ovid’s Ibis: sisque miser semper nec sis miserabilis ulli (‘may you always be pitiful, but pitied of none’; 117).
545 viderint . . . maximè: ‘let the eyes and head of the state see. To my mind, this thing of yours is neither fully sown nor fully harvested. At any rate, my library certainly does not need any new books; it’s quite content with the old ones. What else? Farewell, my Immerito, and assure yourself that it’s something quite different from the things our booksellers hold to be most marketable.’ Harvey’s phrasing is a bit mysterious, perhaps intentionally so: it is unclear whether the incomplete enterprise (isthic) to which Harvey refers here, so out-of-step with what he regards as the debased output of the contemporary press, are the books to which he refers in the next lines—The Dying Pellicane, Dreames, the Commoedies, and the Stemmata Dudleiana—or the quantitative poems under discussion in these letters, or, perhaps, the entire joint output of these two university men: the quantitative poems, the letters (and the scientific treatise interpolated there), The Dying Pellicane, etc. One might suppose that Harvey is commenting on the state of the Stemmata alone, since Spenser himself had expressed reservations about whether it was ready for publication, but Harvey’s protestations in the next sentence, that the Stemmata and the English comedies need, at most, only a week’s polishing, seem to suggest that he is thinking of something else as neither fully sown nor reaped.
546 thy dying . . . Dreames: See above, 1.73.
550 shal go: Will pass as acceptable (‘go’ OED 15). Harvey’s phrasing draws on the expression ‘he shall go [or ‘he goes’] for my money’, meaning ‘he has my enthusiastic support’ (OED 24b).
552 trimming: making ready, adorning. The use of ‘trim’ to mean ‘abridge’ is a later development.
554 Schollers . . . contraries: Harvey’s draft of this bumptious poem appears in BL Sloane MS 93, fols 58-67 (reproduced in Letter-Book 1884, 101-38). Harvey used this MS for drafts of a number of letters and poems composed between 1573 and 1580.
shrunke in the wetting: depreciated
554 shrunke in the wetting: Depreciated, often with the implication that the depreciated thing was shoddily made. The expression was frequently used of depreciated intellectual products, and, occasionally, the phrase affords the suggestion that the shrinkage is effected by a ‘wetting’ from too much drink. At fol. 58 of BL Sloane MS 93, Harvey considers foisting the authorship of this ‘amorous odious sonnet’ on Thomas More.
Experto crede: (L) ‘Believe the experienced’
560 Pluribus . . . sensus: ‘The understanding of particular things is diminished by attention to many’.
a tweluemonth since: a year ago
564 Anticosmopolita . . . Lorde there: Anticosmopolita is the title of Harvey’s unfinished epic poem, see SC Sept gloss 80. The poem had been entered in the Stationers’ Register in June of 1579, but Harvey here reports that the poem remains in its earlier unfinished state (‘in statu, quo’) and insinuates that his poetic labor has been especially frustrated by the failure of his suits for the patronage of the Earl of Leicester. In the same letter of April 1579 in which Harvey recommended Still for a bishopric, Harvey had written to ask Leicester’s support in an appeal to Elizabeth for a prebend at Litchfield (Stern, 1979, 49-50); the fiction of the poem’s attendance on ‘my Lorde’ at court may be evidence that Harvey had gotten so far as to follow Leicester to court in order to advance the appeal, albeit to no avail.
566 Sat citò . . . bene: ‘Soon enough, if good enough’.
570–574 Det mihi . . . esset: ‘May my Mother [i.e., Cambridge] grant that one of her most obedient sons be allowed to reveal some of her secrets and that the revelation be kept, thus, to just a few words. More, perhaps, later, but to do so now would be unpleasant, I don't have time, it would be a nuisance.’
574 Tully: i.e., Marcus Tullius Cicero. Because Cicero and Demosthenes were the most renowned orators of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, the pair often stand for ‘Rhetoric’, as here.
575 Liuie, and Salust: Livy and Sallust may stand in, generally, for ‘Roman History’, although their pairing might also be taken as comprehending a triumphalist account of the rise of Rome in Livy and an account of Roman decline in Sallust’s Catiline Conspiracy and Jugurthine War.
neuer so much: as much as possible
576 Lucian: The second-century Greek author of satirical prose essays, dialogues, and short stories had a reputation for irreverence.
577 Xenophon: This Greek historian and political philosopher was a contemporary of Plato. His Hiero, a dialogue between the poet Simonides and the tyrant Hieron, provided Early Modern thinkers with an idealized classical model for the proper relation between the prince and his more philosophical advisors; his fictional account of the education of Cyrus, the Cyropedia, was held in especially high regard in the Early Modern period. Comparing the author of the Cyropedia to the author of the Republic in the FQ Letter, Spenser alleges that ‘Xenophon [is] preferred before Plato’ both because of Xenophon’s greater practical orientation and because he seeks to teach by example rather than by rule.
reckned amongest: classified as
577 Discoursers: The term was sometimes used with pejorative connotations, suggesting obscurantism and misrepresentation; see, for example, ‘these discoursers that vse the word of God with as little conscience as they doe Machiauel’ (Stubbes, Gaping Gulf, 1579, A6v).
conceited: witty
578 verball: merely concerned with words (rather than with real things)
iangling: prating, squabbling
effectuall: consequential
581 noble . . . Angelles: The passage might be paraphrased thus: ‘the high style, the style associated with noblemen and rulers, is regarded as the best and the most persuasive form of eloquence’—and, Harvey seems thereby to imply, other stylistic practices are held in inappropriately low esteem—‘[but] Orators capable of such eloquence are as rare as red-headed angels.’
585 an exceeding . . . none at all: Harvey contrasts the influence of apparel on comportment with the influence of learning thereon: these days, he says, people carry themselves proudly if they are conspicuously well-dressed, but the well-educated do not carry themselves any better than the unlearned.
portes: forms of bearing or carriage
583 braue and gallaunt: Although both terms can refer (approvingly) to character, when they are used as here to describe apparel, they can be either approving—‘eye-catching and handsome’—or dismissive—‘flashy, showy’.
Tom Tooly: simpleton
585 Tom Tooly: Cf. Stanyhurst, ‘What Tom Towly is so simple, that wyl not attempt, too bee a rithmoure?’ (Virgil his Aeneis, 1582, A4).
589 Matchiauell . . . Vnico Aretino: Harvey here surveys the Italian authors who had the most obvious and, perhaps, unsettling effect on Harvey and Spenser’s generation of young intellectuals. Niccolò Machiavelli’s Prince (c. 1513, first printed in 1532) and Discourses on Livy (c. 1517, first printed in 1531) made him notorious for the bold amorality of his political thought. Baldassare’s Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier (1528) spawned a substantial output of books that described the proprieties of modern comportment and meditated on the relation of those proprieties to the exercise of social and political influence. (Among the most popular conduct-books indebted to Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier were Giovanni della Casa’s Galateo [1558], and Stefano Guazzo’s Civil Conversazione [1574], a book very different in temper from Castiglione’s.) The fourteenth-century poet Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch—and ‘Petrach’ seems also to have been an acceptable English spelling of the name—was most famous for the Italian amatory poems in his collection the Rime Sparse, although his Latin epic, the Africa, was fairly well-known and his published correspondence, the Familiares, distantly influenced Spenser’s and Harvey’s Letters. Petrarch’s friend Giovanni Boccaccio is now best known for his collection of novelle, the Decameron, and although Boccaccio’s notoriety at Cambridge may well have rested primarily on that work, several of Boccaccio’s other writings had considerable influence: Chaucer was indebted to both his Filocolo and Filostrato, and several encyclopedic works—a synthetic treatise on Greco-Roman mythology, the Genealogia Deorum; a compendium of tragic narratives, the De Casibus Virorum Illustrium; and a collection of lives of famous women, De Mulieribus Claris—were still widely consulted. Last in Harvey’s list here is the satirist Pietro Aretino (1492-1556), whom Harvey, like E.K., the commentator of the SC, confused with the Aretine poet Bernardo Accolti (1458-1535), known as Unico Aretino to such contemporaries as Castiglione (see SC Jan gloss 35). Pietro Aretino wrote in a variety of genres, but his reputation for scurrilousness rested on the Ragionamenti, a collection of whores’ dialogues he wrote in the mid 1530s, and on a series of obscene sonnets written to accompany a set of pornographic prints by Marcantonio Raimondi, the poems and prints published together in 1524 as I Modi (‘The Postures’).
in euery mans mouth: spoken of by everyone
589 The French and Italian: Although Harvey has named no French authors in the foregoing list of modern writers especially esteemed at Cambridge, the phrasing here makes it clear that Harvey is not simply thinking of a few influential modern figures. He is also reflecting on the sudden prestige of continental scholarship and literature, much of it written in the vernacular, texts that advance intellectual developments sharply distinguishable from the traditions of the Greek and Latin academic curriculum.
590 The Queene mother: Catherine de Medici (1519-89), who had wielded very great influence over her two eldest sons during their reigns as Francis II (1559-60) and Charles IX (1560-74). She was more of a partner to her third son, Henry III, assisting and advising him in a range of diplomatic maneuvers. When Sir Philip Sidney presumed to write to Elizabeth in 1579 to discourage her from entertaining a match with Catherine’s youngest son, the Duc d’Alençon, he referred to him as ‘the son of a Jezebel of our Age’ (Works 3:52).
conference: conversation
bargaines of: speculations concerning
591 Mounsieur: Perhaps the most common of the English sobriquets for Alençon during the period in which Elizabeth entertained him as a suitor. When he was finally sent away in February 1582, Elizabeth wrote a poem ‘On Monsieur’s Departure’.
591 Shymeirs: Jean de Simier, an advisor to Alençon who was instrumental in advancing the prospective match between Alençon and the queen. He is satirized in the character of the Ape in Mother Hubberd.
592 Newes: Whereas the term can denote what has come to be its primary modern sense, ‘information concerning recent public events’, that is not its primary sense here, for the collection and distribution of such information was not yet sufficiently developed to be recognizable as such. As is clear from the list that explicates the general term, Harvey refers to something vaguer and more encompassing: to information concerning affairs of moment; to gossip; to fashions in literature, speech, and apparel; to discoveries and imaginings—that is, to anything that might have the power to excite or unsettle.
Officers: holders of offices
594 newe Elementes . . . Helles to: Harvey here returns to the letter’s presiding concern with natural philosophy. The clause seems to refer to disruptions of Ptolemaic astronomy, with its limiting sphere of fixed stars, and its composition limited to sublunary bodies composed of four elements and celestial bodies composed primarily of a fifth, the ether. Harvey’s reference to ‘newe Heavens’, a phrase that echoes Isa 65:17, seems to refer to the idea of multiple celestial worlds, first proposed in the fifth century, B.C.E. by Leucippus and Democritus, and later taken up by Epicurus, whose ideas were transmitted to the Renaissance by means of both Diogenes Laertius’ biography and Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. (For Lucretius’ chief evocation of multiple heavens and multiple earths, see DRN 2.1094-1105.) The great sixteenth-century exponent of the idea of multiple worlds is Giordano Bruno, but Bruno did not arrive in England until 1583 and did not publish his treatise On the Infinite Universe and Worlds (De l'Infinito Universo et Mondi) until 1584. Although, as part of a consideration of the possibility of heliocentrism, Nicholas of Cusa had proposed that all stars might be considered like suns, Copernicus would not take this step: despite the revolutionary assertion of heliocentrism, he retained a single rigid firmament in his cosmological system. But Copernicus’ first important English exponent, Thomas Digges, imagined an infinite space, with the stars scattered throughout it, thus providing, before Bruno, a conceptual framework in which Cusanus’ idea of plural solar-systems could flourish.
594 Turkishe affaires: Since the Ottoman invasion of Cyprus and the Battle of Lepanto, there had been no major military engagements with Turkish forces either in Eastern Europe or in the Mediterranean. While the previous decade had been fairly quiet in this respect, Harvey here attributes to the young men of Cambridge a gossipy preoccupation with an exotic, and perhaps glamorous Ottoman ‘threat’ to Christendom.
Iacke: an undistinguished person
fauour: estimation
so good siluer: of such value
599 Numbers . . . Ciphars: This means much the same thing as ‘Something made of Nothing’, but Harvey is insisting on the symbolic or ‘artful’ character of numbers and ciphers (‘0’, ‘.’ and other symbols of nullity that could also serve as multipliers).
601 Geometricall . . . abused: The first half of Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics, the book in which Aristotle takes up the virtue of Justice, is devoted to the application of proportion to social relations. Aristotle carefully distinguishes arithmetic from geometric proportion, associating the former with rectification and simple market exchange and the latter with distributive justice and complex forms of economic valuation. The effect was to associate arithmetic proportion with crude political and moral thinking and geometrical proportion with more highly developed political and moral thought.
603 Oxen . . . Yoke: At 2 Cor 6:14, Paul compares this mismatch with attempts to bring believers and non-believers into cooperative relations. In the Aulularia, Plautus’ poor Euclio uses the same metaphoric yoking together to evoke the folly of allying himself with the wealthy Megadorus (by means of the marriage of Megadorus to Euclio’s daughter Phædra; Aulularia, 28-35).
603 Conclusio ferè sequitur deteriorem partem: ‘The conclusion usually follows the weaker premise’: that is, if one of the premises of a syllogism is negative or particular, then the conclusion must be negative or particular. This rule was Theophrastus’ famous contribution to Aristotelean logic. Harvey cites the logical rule metaphorically: the firmly limiting ‘deteriorem partem’ (weaker part) of the syllogism is like the asses that, when yoked to oxen, limit the ability of the oxen to draw.
604 key colde: proverbial
605 nothing . . . Imputation: Harvey seems to be observing the weakening of the idea of intrinsic, unconditional goodness, but his phrasing takes some colour from the theological use of imputation to denote moral transfer between Christ and mankind: righteousness comes to mankind by ‘imputation’ from Christ and Christ takes on human sinfulness by a similar ‘imputation.’
607 Ceremoniall . . . abandoned: The ‘Ceremonial Lawe’ is that collection of ordinances thought to have been abrogated by Christ’s sacrifice. Harvey’s ‘in worde’ seems to imply ‘only’, and so to suggest that, whereas his fellow university men flouted judicial and moral law, they had an unregenerate fondness for Romanist ceremony and works.
609 the Lighte . . . Egles: A difficult passage. Those who make verbal boast of spiritual illumination here seem to do so in the idiom of St. John the Evangelist, who refers to John the Baptist as sent ‘to beare witness of the light. That was the true light’ (John 1:7-8) even in the face of a mental ‘darkness [that] comprehended it not’ (1:5). St. John’s symbol was the eagle.
Howlets: owls
span: spun
Humanitie: the study of ancient Greek and Latin literature, history, and other non-philosophical or non-scientific texts
Doctors: advanced scholars; holders of the most advanced degrees; also, the early Church fathers
knowen of moste: most well-known
magnified: praised
controlled of: overmastered by
Will: desire; willfulness
mastered of: mastered by
Patient: a person acted upon; specifically, the recipient of pastoral care
617 Agent . . . Herring: Agent and patient can have their general sense as ‘actor’ and ‘object of action’, but the specific sense of the phrase seems to be that ‘Ministers are not much better than the recipients of their pastoral care or correction.’ The proverb ‘never a barrel the better herring’ means ‘there’s no difference between them’, ‘six of one, half a dozen of the other’; Harvey has adjusted the phrasing to suggest, perhaps, that the ministering agent may retain some slight superiority to his patient.
617 Cappes and Surplesses: One of the central goals of the English reformers was the reduction of superfluous Church ceremony and they had especially objected to the over-elaboration of ‘massing vestments’. There was general agreement that the so-called liturgical vestments, those ecclesiastical garments specifically associated with the Roman Catholic service of the mass, were to be rejected, but the question of exactly which non-liturgical vestments to proscribe was vigorously argued, with Puritans objecting strenuously to the non-liturgical cap and surplice. In 1565, the year before Harvey matriculated at Christ’s College, William Fulke had led a protest at St. John’s College against the wearing of the surplice and square ‘cater-cap’; during the year following, Archbishop Parker’s efforts to enforce vestiarian conformity precipitated a major confrontation with non-conforming clergy and may be regarded as a crucial moment in the propagation of Puritan separatism. If Harvey here attests to a diminution in the reforming clamor on this subject, at least in the environs of Cambridge, it was only a temporary lull.
618 Cartwright: Thomas Cartwright, who had been ousted by Whitgift in 1570 from his position as the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge (in which he was succeeded by John Still). Cartwright was balked in his candidacy for a chair in Hebrew because of his support of the Puritan Admonitions to Parliament of 1572, which strongly opposed vestments and the episcopal efforts to impose conformity in vestiarian matters. Cartwright spent most of the 1570s as a minister to the English Protestant community in Antwerp.
619 The man . . . at pleasure: Because Harvey is being cautious, ‘the man you wot of’ is difficult to identify: probably a member of the Cambridge faculty; conforming to the terms of the 1559 Act of Uniformity and the Thirty-Nine Articles; acquiescent to Elizabethan efforts to maintain episcopal authority; and quite content to wear surplice and square cap—but there were many such influential clergymen at Cambridge, and quite a few of them were non-resident holders of church benefices. Harvey may be referring to Andrew Perne, who also comes under oblique attack a few sentences later in this letter. Five times vice-chancellor of Cambridge, Perne held a range of very lucrative livings in addition to the deanery of Ely. Perne was a person of such flexible religious allegiances that his name became ‘a byword for a religious turncoat’ (Collinson, Elizabethans, 179). He was later much satirized in the Marprelate Tracts and Harvey would frequently speak of him as a fox; indeed, in 1592, when Harvey came to explain another obscure satiric moment in this letter (2.646), he would designate Perne, ‘the olde Fox’ as the object of attack. Perne is almost certainly shadowed in the character of Palinode in SC Maye.
conformable: conforming
Non resident: regularly absent from the place where one has official clerical duties
better bayted: more fiercely harassed
Acte . . . purpose: actuality . . . intention
623 sibbe . . . Women: full of bluster, like boastful men, but cowardly; ‘all talk and no action’.
pregnantest: most imaginative, fullest
624 of Hermogenes mettall: At bottom, vacuous. Hermogenes is one of Socrates’ two interlocutors in Plato’s Cratylus and he cuts an unimpressive intellectual figure there. That he espouses the merely conventional nature of verbal reference may have suggested to Harvey the linguistic equivalent of religious conformity; see the reference to ‘Iani’ and ‘Camelions’ immediately below.
626 Olde men . . . olde men: ‘reputed wise only when compared to children and reputed childish only when compared to the wise’.
630 Iani . . . Dormise: The central theme in this small exercise of Harvey’s considerable talent for slanging invective is lapsed integrity: many members of the clergy had found ways to adapt to the vicissitudes in English religious institutions across the reigns of Edward, Mary, and now Elizabeth and Harvey here insinuates that those now conforming did so not out of conviction, but out of a conspicuous lack thereof. Nashe will quote liberally from this passage in Strange Newes, in which Nashe takes Harvey to task for both misaimed attack and a lumbering satiric manner.
Iani: pl. of Janus, the two-faced god of the New Year
Clawbackes, and Pickethanks: sycophants and flatterers
Iackes . . . sides: trimmers
628 Aspen leaues: persons of craven flexibility (because the aspen leaf ‘shivers’ even in a light breeze)
629 painted . . . Sepulchres: Hypocrites. Both the painted sheath and painted (or whited) sepulcher (for the latter, see Matt. 23:27) were proverbial figures for those of gorgeous exterior and corrupt or unimpressive interiors.
629 Asses . . . skins: Erasmus discusses this proverb, which derives from Aesop, in the Adages, I.iii.66.
Dunglecockes: cowards
629 Dunglecockes: Unlike the belligerent game-cock, a dunglecock (or dunghill-cock) is a common barnyard fowl, with no fight in it.
Dormise: those who show no vigilance, drowsy people
fledge: fledged, mature
kallowe: unfledged, inexperienced
yonker: youth (from Ger Junker)
speake of: pronounce on, judge
politique: prudent, politically cunning
Commonwealths man: public figure
633 Bishoppe . . . Wutton: Stephen Gardiner (c. 1495-1555) and Nicholas Wotton (1497-1567) figure here as men of the previous generation who survived complex political and religious vicissitudes, all the while occupying positions of considerable influence and making themselves vulnerable to the charge of temporizing. Wotton, a doctor of both canon and civil law, long held the deanships of Canterbury and York, but seems to have evaded episcopal appointments, spending much of his time during the reigns of Henry, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth on a range of diplomatic missions. Like Wotton, Gardiner had doctorates in canon and civil law, but his career was more vexed. Shortly after graduation he became Wolsey’s secretary and, six year’s later, Henry VIII’s; he became Bishop of Winchester in 1532. He soon came into conflict with Henry over matters of Episcopal authority and, thenceforth, he became a powerful conservative force within the English Church, a defender of ceremony, advocated clerical celibacy, and dealt harshly, under Edward, with the most eager reformers. His conservatism earned him two imprisonments in 1548, and he was deprived of his see in 1551, though he was restored to his position in 1553, under Mary, whose religious agenda he served with energy until his death.
636 hauing . . . commaundement: ‘choosing his own horoscope at will (rather than having it determined by his location and time of birth), were born in the tenth astrological house (decimo cœli domicilio) and so endowed with all possible gifts of political discernment’. The astrological influences of planets in the tenth house determine the orientation of individuals to government, career, and public affairs. As William Lilly describes the tenth house, ‘Commonly it personateth Kings, Princes, Dukes, Earles, Judges, prime Officers . . . ; all sorts of Magistracy and Officers in Authority’ (Christian Astrology, 1647, G4).
638 Sed . . . Canopi: ‘But hark in your ear. Do you remember what Varro says? To ourselves we seem lovely and jolly, when we’re really a bunch of Egyptian sardines.’ Different versions of the fragment from Varro’s Menippean Satires appeared in a range of Renaissance compendia; although the meaning of saperdae was disputed, the general sense of the sentence as Harvey reports it is clear.
639 Dauid . . . madmen: For the feigned madness of David, see 1 Sam 21:13. That Ulysses feigned madness to avoid the Trojan expedition is reported in a number of sources; see especially Cicero, De officiis 3.26. Plutarch refers to Solon’s pretended madness briefly in his Solon 8.1-2; Diogenes Laertius is more expansive in his Solon, 2-3.
fayned themselues . . . faine themselues: pretended that they were . . . imagine themselves
goe nigh to: nearly
Metoposcopus: one who practices the art of determining character by the interpretation of facial lines
pity . . . hurt: proverbial
pickstrawes: persons who waste time on trivial things
Testimoniall: report
Controllers: steward’s
645 Controllers: Harvey quickly suffered for the incautiousness of this unspecific swipe. In Have With You to Saffron Walden (1596), Thomas Nashe reports that Sir James Croft, Controller of the Household, complained of this in the Privy Council as a personal insult, that Harvey was constrained to withdraw to the haven of Leicester’s house, and that Croft nonetheless had Harvey thrown into prison at the Fleet. In Foure Letters and Certaine Sonnets (1592), Harvey reports having insisted that the ‘Controller’ to whom he referred here was Andrew Perne, who had blocked Harvey’s appointment as University Orator. (Nashe accepts this as a reference to Perne in Strange Newes [1592].) For Perne, see above (2.618-9).
brazen: brass
646 brazen forehead: denoting stubbornness; see Isa 48.4.
646 copper face: probably denoting impudence (cf. ‘brazen’), but this may also be a disparaging physical description, since acne rosacea was sometimes referred to as copper-nose (cf. Theatre Commentary 579-580 and n).
stony: pitiless
eluish: crabbed, peevish
nouelties: unwarranted innovations
maltworm: drunkard
Iuggler: magician
fetches, casts: stratagems, tricks
651 toyes . . . withal: fantastic deceptive contrivances that could only deceive the credulous. The phrase was proverbial; cf. Reginald Scot’s use of the phrase to dismiss divination by sieve and shears (The Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, T3v).
thou lyest . . . throate: you lie egregiously
Iesu: Jesus
nigh hand: nearly
ywis: truly
Iackemates: overly familiar friends; ‘Mr. Pal’
656 Many . . . Tutors: Resuming his survey of the state of things at Cambridge, Harvey notes both that students are on terms too familiar with their tutors and that the wealthier students are going unsupervised (‘their very own Tutors’).
656 Tutors: Harvey elaborates the conclusion of the sentence in the marginalia of his own copy: ‘ . . . Tutors, Dimitutors, and as A Man woold saye, Quartremasters.’ ‘Quartremaster’, the term for a petty naval officer charged with keeping things ship-shape on board, is only loosely relevant; Harvey is straining after a comic serial diminution from tutors to half-tutors and quarter-masters.

Ah mala . . . Vesperi: ‘Ah, wicked License; it was not this way in the beginning. Youthful Learning without manly Discipline is foolish. As if sternness were fitting only for the poorer boys and not so much more fitting for fine and noble youths in that pristine Instruction and Education that is liberal, wise, learned, and eminently suited as much to the person of the Tutor as to the student. Wisdom in all things, that will be the keenest weapon. Other things are much as before: continuous War between the Head and limbs of the university. Doxosophia sustained in our public halls, ratified within private walls, and flaunted everywhere. (You know that you know nothing if you know not this.) Everywhere Wealth is the only thing of worth, Modesty dismissed as measly, Letters discounted as Nothing. Believe me, no one believes anyone, and friendship, my friend, means nothing. Where does that leave you, meanwhile? You ask how you should act? How, indeed? It is best to profit from others’ folly. I watch, I keep silent, I smile: I have spoken. And I’ll add what the famous Satirist says: There are many reasons why one should live properly now, and above all so that one may scorn the tongues of slaves.

‘From my lodgings, the day after the above conversation on the Earthquake, that is (if I’m not mistaken) on the evening of April seventh’

The ‘famous Satirist’ (Satyricus ille), is Juvenal: the lines are adapted from his ninth Satire, 118-20.

δοξοσοφία: ‘doxosophia’, the presumption of wisdom
667 δοξοσοφία: In Plato’s Sophist, the Stranger identifies δοξοσοφία as one of the many manifestations of ignorance and makes the removal of this presumption one of the nobler aspects of sophistical education (231b).
Nosti manum tanquam tuam: ‘You recognize the hand as if it were your own’
odde: special
682 the two odde Gentlemen: Probably Sidney and Dyer; see above (1.49-50).
684–687 Non multis . . . vnguem: ‘I am not asleep for many; I do not write for many; I do not desire to please everyone. Some praise, prefer, and admire some poems; others, other ones: of ours and of yours, I most prefer the “Trinity”. A word to the wise is sufficient; you know the rest—and you possess the three Graces to perfection.’ The first clause, adapted from Cicero, Familiares 7.24, means ‘I do not let all transgressions pass unremarked’; the second clause is attributed to Epicurus in Seneca, Epist. Morales 7.11. By nos . . . Trinitatem (‘our Trinity’), Harvey is referring to his own poem, ‘A New Yeeres Gift’, printed below (3.74-106), on the ‘three most precious Accidentes, Vertue, Fame, and Wealth’; by vos . . . Trinitatem (‘your Trinity’) he refers to Spenser’s ‘Iambicum Trimetrum’ (4.84-105), a poem organized around a set of triplicities.
proper: appropriate
2 complaint: See 1.2-4.
presuppose: assume
6 let my . . . came: Harvey’s affectation of lack of interest in the hexameters he has sent to Spenser works, in backhanded fashion, to solicit a more detailed reaction than the rather generalized approval Spenser offered at 1.18-19.
rare: valuable
forwarde: advance
late: recent
famous: capable of prompting fame
Exchanging: replacement
Balductum: trashy
Artificial: artful
ylfauoured: ugly
Aduertizement: precept
16 Ascham . . . Scholemaister: Ascham makes the case for quantitative versifying in English in Book 2 of The Scholemaster (R4-S2).
20 I would . . . Obseruations: Harvey here responds to Spenser’s reference to his own ‘Rules and Precepts of Arte’, which he has described as based on those ‘that M. Philip Sidney gave me, being the same which M. Drant devised, but enlarged with M. Sidneys own judgement, and augmented with my Observations’. Harvey is asking for copies of Drant’s, Sidney’s, and Spenser’s rules, although his playful use of the language of polite social intercourse—as if he were asking Spenser to introduce him to Drant’s Prosody, Sidney’s Judgement, and Immerito’s Observations—slightly obscures his sense. (Harvey makes a related joke in the prior letter (2.545-546) where he asks to be commended to Spenser’s own self and asks Spenser to convey a message to two of Spenser’s compositions.)
gladly: eagerly
peraduenture: perhaps
but I can: that I cannot
reserue: forego
consulted . . . pillowe: ‘slept on it’
Sperienza: (Ital) experience
meane: meantime
mysterie: trade secret
regular: orderly, pertaining to rules
direction: plan
31 into Arte: Since the fourteenth century many humanists had set themselves the goal of vernacular linguistic reform, meant to confer on language use a recognizably artifical elegance and richness. For a critical review of related programs of vernacular reform, see Burke 2004, 17-21 and 89-95; also Scaglione 1984.
Ortographie: orthography, system of spelling
proportionate: fitting
34 our Common Naturall Prosodye: ‘Naturall’ is used here in contrast with ‘Artificiall’ earlier in the sentence. Harvey seems to be referring to the relatively informal accentual-syllabic system of most then-contemporary English ‘rhyming’.
34–35 Sir Thomas Smithes: Born, like Harvey, in Saffron Walden, Smith was educated at Cambridge and held the first Regius Professorship of Civil Law. (At Januarye, Glosse 12, EK refers to Smith as one of Harvey’s kinsmen.) Under the influence of Sir John Cheke, Regius Professor of Greek, whose efforts at orthographic reform preceded his, Smith began a treatise on the subject in the 1540s, but that work was published only posthumously, as the De recta et emendata lingua anglicae scriptione (‘On correct and reformed English spelling’; 1568); see Scragg 1974.
perfit: perfect
36 some other: Other systems of orthographic reform had been proposed or were being formulated by Cheke, Richard Mulcaster, John Hart, and William Bullokar.
necessarie: unarguable
absolute: authoritative
hoppe: limp
for Companie sake: for company’s sake
Interim: in the meantime
credit: believe
Arte: a system of rules
squaimishe of: stingy with respect to
48 he that can . . . from the other: ‘Someone who can give good practical examples of versifying can easily sketch the general rules—the precepts and the ‘arte’—that govern such versifying, since the general art derives (‘fetcheth his original’) from the practice.’ (The next sentence makes it clear that Harvey regards precept as a derivation from practice, thus resolving the difficulty presented in this sentence—that the referent of ‘one’ in ‘skil of the one’ is ‘Examples’, whereas the referent of ‘one’ in ‘considering that the one’ is ‘Preceptes’ and ‘General Arte’.)
fetcheth . . . offspring: derives his origins and lineage
to say troth: to tell the truth
the start: a head start
are to frame: are obliged to frame
President: precedent
of vs: from us
52 Ennius: Although only fragments of his poetry survive, Quintus Ennius (c. 239-169 BCE) was long regarded as the first important Roman poet. The phrase quoted below is taken from his epic poem in dactylic hexameters, the Annales, which traced Roman history from the fall of Troy to the present.
quantities: lengths
onely: sole, unrivaled
going: serving

τῑ . . . nobis: Elizabethan grammarians recognized a number of rules by which orthography and position determined the quantity of a syllable, but these rules were not exhaustive: the length of many syllables could not be determined by rule. (For more on ‘length by position’, see the Introduction.) Harvey follows Lily (and others) in alleging that, in such cases, the practice of early poets determines the quantity on otherwise indeterminate syllables: Quarum verò syllabarum quantitas sub praedictas rationes non cadit, à poetarum, exemplo atque autoritate petenda est, certissima omnium regula (‘As for syllables whose quantity does not fall under the rules already mentioned, quantity is derived from the practice, example, and authority of poets, which are the most certain of rules’; Grammar, 1567, H1). According to Harvey, the first syllables of τιμὴ, timē (‘honor’) and unus (‘one’) were ‘naturally’ short, but Homer and Ennius made them long by the very act of beginning lines of their epics with those words. (Classical epic poems were usually composed in lines of dactylic hexameter, the first syllable of which must be long.)

The half line from Homer, ‘timē d’ ek dios esti’, may be rendered ‘Honour is from Zeus’ (Il 2.197); the complete line from Ennius’ Annales is unus homo nobis cunctando, restituit rem, ‘one man, by delaying, restored the state to us’.

this by-disputation: the tangentially-related debate on the relation of precept and example
64 Analitiques, and Metaphysikes: Aristotle’s fundamental work on scientific method is concentrated in the Prior Analytics, the Posterior Analytics, and the Metaphysics.
67 ἐμπειρία, ἱστορία, αἴσθησις, ἐπαγωγή: That empeiria (‘experience’), historia (‘inquiry, researches’), aisthēsis (‘perception’), and epagōgē (‘intuitive induction’) are, in effect, the main anchors of knowledge, both informal and scientific, explains why Harvey refers to these as ‘Golden termes’. According to Aristotle, empeiria is built up in memory out of multiple perceptions; empeiria produces universals in the soul by means of epagōgē (Post An. B19). Although historia is a term that appears most frequently in Aristotle’s biological works, it is used in the Prior Analytics to refer to the sort of systematic empirical investigation that supplies the first principles (mainly definitions) peculiar to each of the sciences (Pr An A30).
69 Ianuarie gift . . . Christmas Gambowlde: Alluding to the robust traditions of gift-giving on New Year’s Day and festive play on Christmas.
Gambowlde: gambol, festive game
69 after Easter: provides a terminus ab quo for the composition of the letter, since Easter 1580 took place on 13 April
Plaudite and Gramercie: applause and thanks
but . . . is: but it being as it is (i.e., not very fine)
fancie: critical opinion
73 fancie: Although the word can mean ‘whimsical preference’, it can also be used to denote critical assessment.

Harvey’s ‘A New Yeeres Gift’, to which he refers as nos Trinitatem (‘our Trinity’) at 2.687 above, may be scanned thus:

VErtue  sendeth a  man to Re nowne,   Fame  lendeth A boundaunce,
Fame with A boundaunce  maketh a  man   thrise  blessed and  happie.
So the Re warde of  Famous  Vertue  makes many  wealthy,
And the Re gard of  Wealthie  Vertue  makes many  blessed:
O' bless ed Ver tue   bless ed Fame,   blessed A boundaunce,
O that I  had you  three,   with the  losse of  thirtie Co mencementes.
Nowe fare well Mis tresse,   whom  lately I  loued a boue all,
These be my  three bony  lasses , these be my  three bony  Ladyes,
Not the like  Trinitie a gaine,   saue  onely the  Trinitie a boue all:
Worship and  Honour , first to the  one,   and  then to the  other.
A thou sand good  leau  es be  for euer  graunted A grippa
For squib bing and  declaym ing a gainst many  fruitlesse
Artes, and  Craftes, de uisde by the  Diuls and  Sprites, for a  torment,
And for a  plague to the  world:   as  both Pan dora, Pro metheus,
And that  cursed  good   bad  Tree, can  testifie at  all times.
Meere Gewe gawes and  Bables , in com parison  of these.
Toyes to mock  Apes, and  Woodcockes , in com parison  of these.
Iugling  castes, and  knicknackes , in com parison  of these.
Yet be hinde there  is one  thing, worth a  prayer at  all tymes,
A good  Tongue, in a  mans Head , A good  Tongue in a  woomans.
And what  so precious  matter , and foode  for a good  Tongue,
As bless ed Ver tue, bless ed Fame , blessed A boundaunce?

Some observations on the scansions may be useful here, especially since Harvey’s procedure often seems less than systematic. There are some odd irregularities: he usually treats ‘and’ as long, save when followed by ‘h’. His ear for accentual patterning may similarly dictate scanning ‘Not the like’ (9) as a dactyl, despite the fact that ‘like’ should be long by position, according to Latin rules of scansion.

Harvey elides‘-ie’ followed by a vowel three times (at 9 and 15), treating each compounded syllable as a short syllable. Inconsistently, having treated the first syllable of ‘againe’ elided with the last syllable of ‘Trinitie’ as short in 9, he treats the first syllable of ‘against’ as long in 12.

It is unclear whether ‘Gewe-’ of ‘Gewegawes’ comprises one long syllable or two short ones. The scansion of 19 seems especially uncertain.

Regard of: reputation for
85 / 8 bony . . . bony: The compositor had set ‘bonny . . . bonny’ which would have dictated that the first syllable of each word be scanned as long. Harvey corrects the spelling in the marginalia to his own copy and we have adopted his corrected readings, assuming that the compositor had resisted his copy in order to normalize the spelling; but see Introduction [ref]. For a comparable emendation, see below 3.123.
leaues: permissions
88 / 11–90 / 13 Agrippa . . . Craftes: Alluding to the satirically extravagant declamation against learning, De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum et artium (‘On the uncertainty and vanity of the sciences and arts’; composed 1526, published 1530) by Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535).
squibbing: making sarcastic, incendiary utterances
Diuls: devils
91 / 14–92 / 15 Pandora . . . Tree: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9), the ‘good bad Tree’, is yoked with Prometheus and Pandora because all three bring woe to mankind by transmitting that which is divine in origin. In both Theogony (507-616) and Works and Days (42-105) Hesiod tells the story of Prometheus’s theft of fire from Zeus. Although he glances at the Pandora story in the Theogony, he does not name her there; he offers a fuller account of Pandora in Works and Days (60-105), where he tells of how the gods avenge the theft by creating the dangerously alluring Pandora, their revenge is completed when she opens a jar filled with the divine ‘gifts’ of disease, toil, and other ills. For Pandora in Spenser, see Rome 260, Am. 24.8, and, unusually, Teares 578, where Elizabeth is compared to Pandora without implied pejorative force.
Gewegawes and Bables: geegaws and baubles
94 / 17 Toyes . . . Woodcockes: see above (2.652).
Woodcockes: dupes, fools
Iugling castes: tricks involving sleight-of-hand
knicknackes: trifling deceits
behinde: in reserve
L’Enuoy: The envoy

L’Enuoy: For the envoy as genre, see SC, ‘To His Booke’, headnote.

Maruell  not, that I  meane to send   these Vers es at E uensong:
On Newe yeeres Euen , and Old yeeres End , as a Me mento:
Trust me, I  know not a  ritcher  Iewell , newish or  oldish,
Than bless ed Ver tue, bless ed Fame , blessed A bundaunce,
O bless ed Ver tue, bless ed Fame , blessed A boundaunce,
O that you  had these  three, with the  losse of  Fortie Val etes,

The scansion of the first line here is uncertain, but it appears to witness an instance in which, for Harvey, stress-patterning expresses quantity more decisively than orthography does.

Euensong: sunset
101 / 1 Euensong: Vespers, the evening prayer service, is celebrated just before sunset.
Valetes: farewells
106 / 6 Valetes: Harvey seems to be referring specifically to the Valete, the formal farewell that concludes academic commencement exercises.
requite: answer to
109 requite: Harvey offers the following poem as a response to Spenser’s See yee the blindefoulded pretie God? (1.39-42).
113 Garden . . . Lords: Harvey presumably refers specifically here to one of John Young’s gardens in the bishop’s palace at Bromley in Kent, a county generally celebrated for its horticulture. Master of Pembroke College and vice-chancellor of Cambridge, Young was consecrated bishop of Rochester in March 1578 and Spenser served as his secretary around this time. Spenser attests obliquely to his ties to Bishop Young at SC Sept 171.
demaunde ex tempore: inquire on that occasion
114 demaunde . . . followeth: The inquiry following being ‘What might I call this Tree?’
114–116 / 2 Petrarches . . . Poete: Alluding to Petrarch’s Rime sparse 263. The lines may be rendered ‘Victorious tree, triumphal, honor of emperors and poets.’ Also quoted in SC Apr gloss 111-12.

perhappes . . . higher: Because of the ambiguity of ‘conceite’ Harvey’s exhortation does double duty, encouraging Spenser both to imaginative reading and to imaginative writing: he exhorts Spenser to let Petrarch’s poem inspire him to higher imaginative conception (conceit) than that of his quatrain on Cupid, higher than that of Harvey’s poem as well or, perhaps, higher than that of Petrarch’s own poem—but he also seeks to shape Spenser’s understanding (conceit) of Harvey’s own poem by suggesting that it was written under the influence of Petrarch’s poem and should therefore be esteemed the more highly for its emulous complexity.

Rosalinde: unidentified; see 3.596-598 and n., and SC Jan 60 and n.
120 Intelligences: In the tradition of Aristotelean metaphysics, the term denotes those spiritual entities, subordinate to the Prime Mover, that guide the motion of particular celestial spheres; sometimes the Intelligences were understood as a species of angel. Harvey may be using the term more casually here, as denoting intellectual faculties of an especially spiritual or heavenly orientation.
Pegaso: (Ital) Pegasus
122 Pegaso: The winged horse that serves as a traditional figure for the poetic imagination.

Encomium Lauri: ‘In Praise of the Laurel’. This poem, in quantitative hexameters, may be scanned as follows:

What might I  call this  Tree?   A  Laurell ? O bonny  Laurell:
Needes to thy  bowes will I  bow this  knee,   and  vayle my bon etto:
Who, but  thou,   the re nowne of  Prince,   and  Princely Po eta?
Th'one for  Crowne,   for  Garland  th'other  thanketh A pollo.
Thrice hap py Daph ne:   that  turned  was to the  Bay Tree,
Whom such  seruauntes  serue,   as  challenge  seruice of  all men.
Who chiefe  Lorde, and  King of  Kings, but  th' Emperour  only?
And Poet  of right  stampe , ouer aweth  th' Emperour  himselfe.
Who, but  knowes Are tyne?   was he  not halfe  Prince to the  Princes?
And many a  one there   liues,   as  nobly mind ed at all  poyntes.
Now Fare well Bay   Tree, very  Queene, and   Goddesse of  all trees,
Ritchest  perle to the  Crowne,   and  fayrest  Floure to the  Garland.
Faine wod I  craue,   might  I so pre sume,   some  farther a quaintaunce,
O that I  might?   but I  may not : woe to my  destinie  therefore.
Trust me, not  one more  loyall  seruaunt  longes to thy  Persnage,
But what  sayes Daph ne?   Non  omni  dormio , worse lucke:
Yet Fare well, Fare well, the Re ward of  those, that I  honour:
Glory to  Garden:  Glory to  Muses:  Glory to  Vertue.
124 / 1 bonny: In his own copy, Harvey corrected ‘bonny’ to ‘bony’ at 3.85 in the previous poem. In a similar metrical position, which calls for a short first syllable, the compositorial spelling seems to stipulate a first syllable that is long ‘by position’ (see Introduction); we assume that Harvey would have made the same correction as he made in the previous poem, had he noticed the same compositorial lapse.
vayle: remove out of respect
bonetto: i.e., bonnet, a man’s brimless cap
125 / 2 bonetto: Harvey here uses an Italian form for ‘bonnet’, a form not current in England, although it is difficult to decide whether he chooses it for the slightly comic effect or because it fits the metrical scheme.
Poeta: (L) poet
128 / 5 Daphne: Ovid relates the tale of the enamoured Apollo’s pursuit of Daphne and her transformation into a laurel at Met 1.452-567.
132 / 9 Aretyne?: For Harvey’s confounding of Unico Aretino (Bernardo Accolti) and Pietro Aretino, the former a more prolific poet and the latter a more notorious literary figure, see above 2.588-589. The disapproving tone of Harvey’s earlier reference leaves little doubt that Harvey was aware of Pietro Aretino’s reputation for literary mischief: his claim that many living poets are ‘as nobly minded’ as Aretino must be taken as deftly satiric. Indeed, to describe Aretino as ‘halfe Prince to the Princes’ is to suggest the political power of poetic satire.
136 / 13 I craue . . . aquaintaunce: ‘I seek . . . acquaintance’: sometimes used idiomatically as a formula for introducing oneself.
longes to: belongs to, is affiliated with
Persnage: self
Non omni dormio: ‘I am not asleep for all’
139 / 16 Non omni dormio: As he did in concluding his previous letter (2.685), Harvey again adapts a phrase from Cicero’s Familiares. In effect, Harvey’s Daphne denies her petitioner the leniency she allows some others.
144 Partim . . . Musis: ‘Some for Jove and Pallas, / Some for Apollo and the Muses’
bewray: reveal
store: inventory, stock
145 coniure thee by: Can mean either ‘entreat you by appeal to’ or ‘magically constrain you by the occult agency of’.
Intelligible: intelligent
in Tom Trothes earnest: honestly, in a forthright manner
147 Tom Troth: Conventional personification of honesty.
148 Il fecondo . . . Immerito: ‘The fertile and famous Poet, Messer Immerito’. ‘Messer’ is an Italian honorific, slightly less formal than ‘Signore’.
instaunce: instigation
150 a certayne . . . Gentleman,: The identity of this gentleman remains obscure. That Harvey wrote at another’s instigation may be a fiction, a weak attempt to distribute blame for the poem’s insults, the little community of blame itself intriguingly mysterious.
152 in Gratiam . . . cutem: ‘to please certain Anglifrancitalians flitting here and everywhere among us. Come now: you know these fellows as you know yourselves, inside and out.’

Speculum Tuscanismi: ‘The Mirror of Tuscanism’ or perhaps ‘Tuscanismo’s Mirror’. Although Harvey and John Lyly had been friends, Lyly (among others) apparently brought the poem to the attention of his patron, the Earl of Oxford, suggesting that the poem was meant as a personal satire on the Earl, which it surely was, although Harvey denied it (Foure Letters, 1592, C4). For troubles that the various provocations of the Letters brought on Harvey, see the Introduction, p. [cross-ref].

Since Gala teo came  in,   and  Tuscan ismo gan  vsurpe,
Vanitie a boue all:  Villanie  next her , Statelynes  Empresse.
No man , but Min ion,   Stowte  Lowte, Plaine  swayne, quoth a  Lording:
No wordes  but valor ous,   no  workes but  woomanish  onely.
For like  Magnifi coes, not a  beck but  glorious  in shew,
In deede  most friuo lous, not a  looke but  Tuscanish  alwayes.
His cring ing side  necke, Eyes  glauncing , Fisnamie  smirking,
With fore finger  kisse, and  braue em brace to the  footewarde.
Largebell yed Kod peasd Dub let, vn kodpeased  halfe hose,
Straite to the  dock, like a  shirte, and  close to the  britch, like a  diueling.
A little  Apish  Hatte, cowchd  fast to the  pate, like an  Oyster,
French Camar ick Ruffes , deepe with a  witnesse , starchd to the  purpose.
Euery one  A per  se A,   his  termes, and  braueries  in Print,
Delicate  in speach , queynte in a raye: con ceited in  all poyntes:
In Court ly guys es, a  passing  singular  odde man,
For Gal lantes a  braue Myr rour, a  Primerose of  Honour,
A Dia mond for  nonce, a  fellowe  perelesse in  England.
Not the like  Discours er for  Tongue, and  head to be  found out:
Not the like  resolute  Man, for  great and  serious  affayres,
Not the like  Lynx, to spie  out sec retes, and  priuities  of States.
Eyed, like to  Argus , Earde, like to  Midas , Nosd, like to  Naso,
Wingd, like to  Mercury , fittst of a  Thousand  for to be  employde,
This, na  more than  this doth  practise of  Italy in   one yeare.
None doe I  name, but  some doe I  know, that a  peece of a  tweluemonth:
Hath so  perfited  outly , and inly , both body , both soule,
That none  for sense , and sens es, halfe  matchable  with them.
A Vul turs smell ing, Apes  tasting , sight of an  Eagle,
A spid ers touch ing, Hartes  hearing , might of a  Lyon.
Compoundes  of wise dome, witte , prowes , bountie, be hauiour,
All gal lant Ver tues, all  qualities  of body  and soule:
O thrice  tenne hun dreth thou sand times  blessed and  happy,
Blessed and  happy Tra uaile,   Trauail er most  blessed and  happy.

Harvey’s grip on the regularities of dactylic hexameter is especially loose here. 15, indeed, seems to require so much latitude—‘ly’ treated as a long syllable, ‘guyses’ treated as bisyllabic, with a long second syllable—that one might suspect a transmissional problem. The final lines suggest that he continues to treat ‘and’ before ‘h’ as short and, if he means to respect this rule throughout, then ‘Tongue, and’ in 18 must be regarded as a dactyl.

The last line deserves special notice, given Harvey’s special attention to the proper scansion of ‘Travailer’ at 471-480 below (and the thematic focus on travel in Letter 5). As Harvey makes clear in that later discussion, he expects a high degree of coincidence between stress and length and if we take the pattern of quantity as an orchestration of stress, the line has droll force. The constraints of the hexameter would promote the second syllable of ‘Travaile’ and thence an awareness of both the French origins of the word and of the etymological sense of the laboriousness of travel, rendered an oxymoron by the epithets ‘Blessed and happy’. As for ‘Travailer’, which Harvey will later insist should not be scanned with its second syllable as long, despite the Latin rules of orthographic quantity, the regularities of the hexameter require that its second syllable be treated in the present line as short. Yet, while Harvey’s line effectively rejects any lengthening (by orthography) of the second syllable, the requisite lengthening (by position) of the final syllable effectively gallicizes the ‘Travailer’, capitulating to the estrangement of the Englishman that the poem deplores throughout.

154 / 1 Galateo: Giovanni della Casa’s treatise on etiquette of that name, first printed in Italian in 1558 and first printed in an English translation in 1576. But the arrival of ‘Galateo’ may refer to more than the influence of a book and its concerns. ‘Galateo’ may also personify Italianate mannerism and artificiality: ‘Galateo’ might be taken as a male version of Galatea, the too-attractive product of Pygmalion’s craft. ‘Tuscanismo’ might be taken as a specifically Tuscan companion to ‘Galateo’.
155 / 2 Vanitie . . . Empresse: Since an empress ostensibly has absolute power, Statelinesse would seem fated to come squarely into conflict with Vanitie.
156 / 3 No man . . . swayne: A difficult line. The punctuation suggests that it means ‘No real man can be found anywhere, only a minion; no stout person, only a lout; no straightforward person, only a swain’. But because the punctuation of the copy text is unreliable, and because both ‘stout’ and ‘plain’ are ambiguous, it may be that the line should be construed ‘No real man can be found anywhere, only a minion, an arrogant lout, and a mere swain’. Minion is often used to indicate the effeminate male lover of a man in a position of authority.
Minion: favourite, hanger-on, lover
Stowte: valiant, arrogant
swayne: servant, male rustic
Lording: petty lord
beck: gesture, nod
Fisnamie: physiognomy, face
cringing: fawning
braue: grandiose
161 / 8 braue . . . footewarde: With its self-embrace, this vivid description of a particularly deep bow suggests both sycophantry and self-love.
162 / 9 Largebellyed . . . hose: The continental fashion for the so-called peascod doublet, which swells like a peapod at its bottom-most point just at the belly, was quite new in England. Harvey is playing with the descriptive epithet, hinting that the peascod distention is a debased version of the related form of the codpiece. The ‘half-hose’ are breeches, as distinct from whole-hose, an integrated combination of either trunk-hose and stockings or trunk-hose, canions (close-fitting ornamental rolls), and stockings. The more traditional silhouette of trunk-hose is relatively full at the upper thighs, whereas breeches drop the apparent center of gravity farther down the leg. Breeches obviate the need for a codpiece.
163 / 10 Straite . . . diueling: Harvey turns his satiric attention to the rear of the new-fangled doublet. Whereas the Elizabethan undergarment (‘shirt’) was usually cut full, the comparison of the rear of the doublet to a shirt suggests some failure of decent concealment as the doublet descends to the buttocks, probably from being cut too tight. The doublet described here is certainly cut close at the breech, perhaps lacking any panels or skirts to mask the attachments of doublet and breeches, and thus suggesting the comic self-exposure of a diving duck.
dock: rump
diueling: a diving bird, usually a duck
cowchd fast: fitted close
Camarick: cambric, a fine white linen
with a witnesse: especially, ‘with a vengeance’
165 / 12 Ruffes . . . witnesse: Especially deeply folded ruffs. The plural ‘Ruffes’ suggests that this refers to a ‘suit of ruffs’, matching ruffs for neck and hands.
165 / 12 starchd: Although the fashion for starched ruffs had come in from the Low Countries in the 1560s, starching of large ruffs was an abiding object of mockery. See Phillip Stubbes, Anatomie of Abuses, Pt. 1 (1583).
A per se A: singularly excellent
166 / 13 A per se A: A formula for spelling the single-lettered word aloud: ‘A per se, A’, i.e. ‘A itself, A’, the phrase came to designate pre-eminence. Thus Henryson’s description of Cresseide as ‘floure and A per se of Troie and Grece’.
termes: words and phrases, terminology
braueries: boasts
in Print: precisely crafted
queynte: elegant, cunning
conceited: clever
167 / 14 in all poyntes: In all details, but with a (fairly dull) pun on ‘points’, ribbons or cords for lacing together the parts of a garment, often quite decorative.
guyses: costumes
passing: surpassingly
odde: remarkable, unique
168 / 15 odde: The older sense of the term—‘unique, singular—’was only beginning to find competition from a newer one—peculiar, eccentric.
Myrrour: model, example
Primerose: primrose, primula
169 / 16 Primerose: The spelling emphasizes a common figurative use of the term to mean ‘the best’.
for nonce: indeed
170 / 17 fellowe perelesse: The phrase is slightly paradoxical, since one sense of fellow is ‘an equal’, whereas Harvey’s ‘perelesse’ implies singularity.
for Tongue, and head: with respect to expression or conception
resolute: highly-qualified, decisive
priuities: private matters
187 Eyed . . . employde: In his Metamorphoses, Ovid recounts tales of the hundred-eyed Argus (1.625) and of Midas, to whom Apollo gave ass’s ears when Midas judged his poems inferior to Pan’s (11.729). Ovid, whose cognomen, Naso, means ‘nose’, first introduces Mercury, whose wings give him a speed that make him an especially useful servant of Jove, in the tale of Argus (1.671).
na: nay
176 / 23 na: Harvey’s odd adjustment of the spelling seems contrived to bar a bisyllabic reading of ‘nay.’
doth . . . yeare: ‘is accomplished by a year’s training in Italy.’
177 / 24–179 / 26 None . . . them: ‘I know of some—though I do not name them—whom only a portion of a year has so perfected, outwardly and inwardly, in body and soul, that no one can half match them, either in what they say and mean [‘for sense’] or in the impression they make [‘for . . . senses’].’
187 Vulturs . . . Lyon: The animal-lore in these lines is quite conventional, if not always accurate. The vulture’s keen sense of smell was proverbial, although Old-World vultures are not in fact remarkable in this regard.
prowes: prowess
behauiour: good manners
Trauaile, Trauailer: travel, traveler
186 / 33 Penatibus Hetruscis laribusque nostris Inquilinis: ‘At [the dwelling where preside] our immigrant Tuscan household gods and protectors’. Harvey’s joke here is to suggest that all nativism is collapsing in the face of Tuscanization: like the manners and dress of the gallant the poet describes, the penates, the very household gods who protect the poet’s house, are arriviste imports.
wanted: lacked
as . . . be: possibly
190 Castor, and Pollux: The twin sons of Leda. Harvey here recalls that, by a law of Lycurgus, Spartan women were required to contemplate images of these two, the Dioscuri or Gemini, so that their unborn children might take the impression of the twins’ bravery and beauty.
Phisick and Physiognomie: medical science and the science of human physical appearance
ylfauored: ugly
196 Adonis, Cupido, Ganymedes: Each famous exemplars of male beauty.
fayleth me: is inadequate for me
204 in . . . seruice: ‘in legal study and practice’. Justinian the Great, Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565, was famous for having presided over the systematizing revision of Roman law in the Corpus Juris Civilis, hence Harvey’s use of Justinian as a general personification of the law. The competition between loyalty to ‘Mistresse Poetries’ and ‘Emperour Justinians service’ recurs to the theme of the opening of Spenser’s first letter.
206 a certaine . . . kynde: The ‘devise’, a poem (or collection of poems) combining moral, political, and scientific thought, to which Harvey here alludes has not been identified. (Harvey is probably not alluding here to the unfinished Anticosmopolita. He intended to dedicate this epic to Leicester, but Spenser was surely already ‘privie’ to its existence and contents, since Harvey has mentioned the poem, without mystifying rhetoric, in his previous letter and E.K. has referred to it in SC Sept.) Stern 1979: 52-3 surveys Harvey’s poetic works-in progress from the period.
209 a young Brother: John Harvey was over a decade younger than Gabriel.
Piccolo Giouannibattista: ‘Little John-baptist’
210 Giouannibattista: Not an uncommon first name for Italian men of the period.
217 Dum fueris . . . Aues?: ‘So long as you are secure you will count many friends; if your life becomes clouded you will be alone. You see how the doves come to a white dwelling, how an unclean tower harbours no birds.’ The first half-line of this passage from Ovid’s Tristia 1.9.5-8 is quoted inexactly, although it reproduces the form it takes in Gower’s paraphrase at 7.331 of Vox Clamantis. For an argument that Spenser was especially interested in these lines, see Tuve 1964: 3-25.

John Harvey’s hexameter lines may be scanned

Whilst your  Bearnes are  fatte,   whilst  Cofers  stuffd with a boundaunce,
Freendes will a bound:   If  bearne waxe  bare, then a dieu sir a  Goddes name
See ye the  Dooues ? they breede , and feede  in gorgeous  Houses:
Scarce one  Dooue doth  loue to re maine in  ruinous  Houses,
Bearnes: barns
219 / 1 Bearnes: Harvey seems to have adopted the spelling to set up an assonantal relationship with ‘bare’ in 220.
223 Pentameters: Elegiac couplets, consisting of lines of dactylic hexameters alternating with paired hemiepe.
Rithmus: metre
224 Rithmus: ‘This rithmus of theirs [i.e. ‘the Greeks and Latins’] is not therefore our rhyme, but a certain musical numerosity in utterance’ (Puttenham 2007: 159).

Harvey’s elegiacs may be scanned thus:

Whilst your  Ritches a bound,   your  friends will  play the Pla ceboes,
If your  wealth doe de cay,   friend, like a  feend, will a way,
Dooues light , and de light in  goodly  fairetyled  houses:
If your  House be but  olde,   Dooue to re moue be ye  bolde.
Placeboes: Sycophants
226 / 1 play the Placeboes: The ‘Placebo’ is the vesper service of the Office of the Dead. To ‘play the Placebo’ was to flatter insincerely, like a paid mourner.
fairetyled: well-roofed
If so be  goods en crease, then  dayly en creaseth a  goods friend.
If so be  goods de crease, then  straite de creaseth a  goods friend.
Then God  night goods  friend,   who  seldome  prooueth a  good friend,
Giue me the  goods, and  giue me the  good friend , take ye the  goods friend.
Douehouse , and Loue house,   in  writing  differ a  letter:
In deede  scarcely so  much,   so re sembleth  an other an  other.
Tyle me the  Doouehouse  trimly, and  gallant , where the like  storehouse?
Fyle me the  Doouehouse : leaue it vn hansome , where the like  poorehouse?
Looke to the  Louehouse : where the re sort is , there is a  gaye showe:
Gynne port , and mony  fayle,   straight  sports, and  Companie  faileth.

The poem is marked by a heavier use of elision than in the other quantitative verses in Letters.

If so be: If
236 / 5 Louehouse: John Harvey’s coinage suggests ‘a dwelling in which the residents are united by affection’, but the poem’s theme suggests a secondary meaning, ‘brothel’.
an other an other: each other
Tyle . . . Doouehouse . . . where: if the dovehouse be roofed . . . where may one find
Fyle . . . Doouehouse: if the dovehouse be sullied (or ‘defiled’)
244 him: i.e., Petrarch
in your Coate: of your profession
244 in your Coate: cf. SC July 162
246 as much . . . Sunne: Although it had been contested, the ancient belief that all the planets and stars derived their light from the Sun continued to hold sway among many astronomers, even some as intellectually bold as Kepler.
247 in . . . October: (SC Oct gloss 97-99) The lines are Petrarch, Rime sparse, 187.1-4.

The translation may be scanned thus:

Noble Al exand er,   when he  came to the  tombe of A chilles,
Sighing  spake with a  bigge voyce : O thrice  blessed A chilles.
That such a  Trump,   so  great, so  loude, so  glorious  hast found,
As the re nowned , and sur passing  Archpoet  Homer.
my Syrrha: ‘my little man’
looked for: expected

Harvey’s hexameter condensation of the March emblems may be scanned:

Loue is a  thing more  fell,   and  full of  Gaule, than of  Honny,
And to be  wize, and  Loue,   is a  worke for a  God, or a  Goddes peere.
fell: ruthless
274 / 1 fell: The adjectival use here takes some color from the Latin noun, fel, meaning ‘gall’; see the rare use of fell as a noun at FQ III.xi.2.5, ‘Vntroubled of vile feare, or bitter fell’.
276 on the other side: I.e., on the other side of the piece of paper.

John Harvey’s hexameter may be scanned thus:

Not the like  Virgin a gaine, in  Asia, or  Afric, or  Europe,
For Roy all Ver tues, for  Maiestie,  Bountie, Be hauiour.

It is worth noting that because of orthographic rules and the rule of length by position, Spenser would probably have regarded ‘like’ and the second syllable of ‘Majestie’ as long in these lines. But John Harvey seems to be disregarding such rules here and instead organizes his hexameters according to accentual patterns.

Raptim, vti vides: Hastily, as you see
282 Something more: Of this composition, presumably in verse, nothing more is known. All of John Harvey’s printed publications focus on astronomical prognostication, but since most of these publications, in prose, concern themselves with how to interpret the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 1583, Gabriel Harvey is unlikely to be heralding them here.
285 Gemini: Dyer and Sidney; see above (3.188-189).
Omni exceptione maiores: above all challenge
recount: account
Aristarchi: critics
290 Epithalamion Thamesis: See 1.60.
288 siquidem vltima primis respondeant: ‘if last things correspond to first ones’. Harvey is both imitating and responding to Cicero’s De finibus, ‘Respondent extrema primis’ (‘the conclusions accord with the premises’; 5.83).
president: precedent
presumeth: professes
of that: in that
292 Collinshead: Playfully paired with ‘Hollinshead’ the term refers to Colin Clout, the central figure of SC.
292 Hollinshead: See above 1.59-70, where Spenser earlier suggested a link between the chorography presumably undertaken in the Epithalamion Thamesis and the ‘Historical Description of the Land of Britaine’ (by William Harrison) which served as prelude to Holinshed’s chronicle. Indeed the phrasing here suggests that Harvey regards the unpublished Epithalamion, the Shepheardes Calender, and Holinshed’s great chronicle as part of a national-cultural campaign, one which might properly cohere with the development of a rule-governed movement of English quantitative versifying and to which his brother might hope to contribute.
294 Ecquid erit pretij: Harvey repeats the sentence on the uncertain rewards of poesy that Spenser quotes above (1.72) from the De senectute, a work that Cicero puts in the mouth of Cato the elder.
295 Res age quæ prosunt: ‘Do those things which are profitable’. The maxim is the first half-line of distich 4.7, from the Distichs of Cato, a collection of short moralizing verses that had served for centuries as an important Latin textbook. It is unclear whether Harvey knew that Julius Caesar Scaliger had attributed the work, not to Cato the Younger, the ‘little’ Cato, but to an otherwise unidentified author of the 3rd or 4th century BCE.
animate: bestir
make account of: expect
ordinarie: fixed, customary
300 I am nowe taught: The idiom would normally mean ‘I have learned by now’, but Harvey uses the phrase with joking literalism.
302 (no remedie . . . fielde): Setting aside that I must inevitably lose to you [as a poet].
carrie . . . meate in their mouth: confer profit
De pane lucrando: ‘On Breadwinning’
304 De pane lucrando: The opposition of literature and breadwinning was a topos of sixteenth-century intellectual life, as witnessed by Johannes Sinapius’ oration Adversus . . . eorum, qui literas humaniores negligunt, aut contemnunt, eo quod non sint de Pane lucrando (Against . . . those who neglect or condemn humane letters because they contribute nothing to bread-winning; Haguenau, 1530).
305 hand . . . halfpenny: The proverbial phrase ‘to have one’s hand upon one’s halfpenny’ usually means ‘to have some particular object in view’. Harvey uses the phrase with witty eccentricity, making it mean ‘to have the particular object of making money in view’.
306 you know who: Whereas it is rather easy to think of the Cuddie of the SC as a type, and not as the pastoral guise of a real person, the present context suggests that Cuddie is a pseudonym for an historical individual. (A few lines later, the name ‘Cuddie’ seems to have deictic force comparable to ‘Master Collin Cloute’ and ‘Master Hobbinoll’.) That said, speculation on Cuddie’s identity has somewhat languished; McLane made a respectable case for identifying Cuddie with Edward Dyer (1969, 262-79).
320 [1-12]: Quoting SC Oct 7-18.
322 be . . .Poetrie: I.e., because she has favoured them with so little (in the way of talent).
323 and some personall priuiledge: The mysterious phrase suggests that Spenser (‘Collin Cloute’) has the advantage of benefits of a different order from those bestowed by Mistress Poetry, which latter may be thought of either as semi-occult endowment, like the patronage of a Muse, or as the gift of some specific practical skill.
happely: perchance
325 dying Pellicanes . . . Dreames: See above (1.73).
Extra iocum: all kidding aside
passingly: surpassingly, extremely
the rather: especially
onelye: uniquely, especially
329–330 Lucian . . . Pasquill: A somewhat heterogeneous list, although the modern satirist Aretino shared with his Greek forebear Lucian a commitment to satiric expression at once colloquial and ingeniously wrought. One can only guess to whom ‘Pasquill’ refers, since the brief satiric epigrams pinned to ‘Pasquino’, the name by which a battered Hellenistic statue in Rome was known, usually went unattributed. Harvey may refer here to Sir Thomas Elyot, whose Pasquyl the Playne, a dialogue on the art of counsel, had appeared in 1533.
349 In whiche respecte . . . of Man.: Harvey takes care that his praise of the startling rhetorical features of the Book of Revelation not be construed as trivializing the text, as if it were no more than a triumph of stylistic ingenuity. Yet he does say that the superiority of John’s Revelation to the visions of poets is comparable—and not reducible—to the superiority of divine wisdom to human wit.

I dare . . . wish you.: The ‘Dreames’ thus described might plausibly be taken as early versions of Ruins, Visions, or both. It might also be taken as referring to those revisions of the poems translated for Theatre that were eventually published as Bellay and Petrarch, although the phrasing seems not to refer to translations.

at commaundement: at one’s service
355 Faerie Queene: The passage suggests that Harvey has returned a copy of some portion of FQ without suggestions or comment, despite Spenser’s admonition that he return the poem along with his ‘long expected Judgement wythal’ (1.77). His gently wheedling inquiry as to whether such commentary is indeed necessary and his swift turn to praise of Spenser’s comedies seem to betray Harvey's lack of enthusiasm for Spenser’s epic, as does his suggestion that the comedies are closer in manner to those of Ariosto than is FQ to OF.
359 in imitation of Herodotus: Herodotus’ Alexandrian editors had divided his Histories into nine parts, each named after one of the Muses, although Lucian attributes the division and naming of the work to Herodotus himself (Herodotus 1). Harvey may be remembering that in Lucian’s account, Herodotus first recited his Histories at the Olympiad, the work offered as a competitive literary effort as Harvey supposes Spenser’s Comedies to be.
361 Ariostoes Comœdies: 358-364 your Nine Comœdies . . . ouergo: Harvey’s judgment that Spenser’s achievements in drama surpass his promise as an author of epic, suggest Spenser’s early, competitive engagement with the work of Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1553). Ariosto is known to have written five plays: Cassaria (1508), Suppositi (1509) – translated into English as Supposes (1566) by Spenser’s older contemporary, George Gascoigne – Negromante (1528), Lena (1528), and the unfinished Studenti. No plays of Spenser’s survive and it may be that Harvey is only joking when he suggests Spenser’s competition with Ariosto in this form, but Spenser’s debt to Ariosto in The Faerie Queene is deep, since Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso models the fusion of Arthurian chivalric romance and classical epic that Spenser would also undertake in his own epic.
plausible Elocution: pleasing expression
362 Eluish Queene: This title strongly links the central plot of Spenser’s epic, Arthur’s enamouring dream of Gloriana and his quest to find her, to its source in Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Sir Thopas’: ‘Me dremed al this nyght, pardee, / An elf-queene shal my lemman be’ (CT VII.787-8).
365 one of . . . Letters: No letter survives professing Spenser’s attempted paragone with Ariosto’s epic.
odde: remarkable
368 that way: In the composition of comedy.
370 Bibiena . . . Ariosto: While four of these five had composed comedies—Bembo had not, but Harvey may have imagined that Bembo’s dialogues, Gli Asolani, were dramatic works—the three authors first named developed a distinctly modern satiric vein in comedy. Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena’s Calandra (1507, but substantially revised in 1513), is the breakthrough achievement; Bibbiena draws on the plot of Plautus’ Menaechmi, although he bases the title character on the simpleton, Calandrino, of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Machiavelli contributed two plays to the development of Italian comedy, Mandragola (1518) and Clizia (1527). Pietro Aretino is a more prolific playwright than Bibbiena or Machiavelli, and the most boldly satiric; of the five plays collected for publication in 1553 (and placed on the Roman Index of prohibited books five years later), the Cortigiana (1534) is an especially mordant parody of the ethos of Castiglione’s Courtier. (It is possible, if unlikely, that Harvey has again confused Pietro Aretino with Bernardo Accolto, ‘Unico Aretino’, who had himself written one comedy, Verginia, first printed in 1513.) For the earlier confusion, see above, 2.588 and 3.131.
conceyt of Witte: conception, intellectual contrivance
decyphering: representation, explanation
stand: contend
378 If so . . . I thought: This concludes Harvey’s elaborately insinuating evasion of direct comment on Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Having both denigrated epic and disapproved, implicitly, of Spenser’s efforts in the form, Harvey reframes Spenser’s dual commitment to comedy and to epic as a competition—or, rather, as a pair of competitions: between the Nine Muses, after whom Spenser had named his comedies, and the titular ‘Faerye Queene’ of his epic; and between Apollo, the Muses’ leader and patron, and Hobgoblin, whom Harvey suggests is an appropriately trivial daemon of Spenser’s nativist, fairy epic. This latter competition between the genre-gods, Apollo and Hobgoblin, adapts legends of artistic competition between the refined Apollo and such rustic challengers as Pan and Marsyas (for Apollo’s competition with Pan, see Ovid Met 11.146-71; for that with Marsyas, see Met 6.382-91 and Pseudo-Hyginus Fabulae 165). Harvey’s conception has a jocular eccentricity: it specifies Apollo quite untraditionally as the god of comedy, and whereas Apollo traditionally punishes his challengers after he triumphs over them, Harvey imagines Hobgoblin as fleeing, unpunished, with the stolen garland of victory.
381 you charge me: Referring to Spenser’s insistence that Harvey ‘imparte some your . . . Poesies to us, from whose eyes, you saye, you keepe in a manner nothing hidden’ (1.9-11).
sometimes: at an earlier time
pawlting: paltry
385 bongrely: pleasant. We adopt the reading from the earliest of the two printed states of the forme on the theory that the forme was ‘corrected’ without recourse to copy. The second state reads ‘bnngrely’, plainly a botched attempt to correct ‘bongrely’, an unfamiliar elaboration of bongre (agreeable, pleasant) to ‘bungrely’ (bungling). (The determination that ‘bnngrely’ appears on a second state derives from variants elsewhere on this state of the forme; see the ‘Textual Introduction’.)
his Maistresse withall: to his mistress
gloze: flatter
397 / 6 Saint Anne: The mother of the Virgin, patron saint of housewives.
speede: success
at commaundement: at the ready
without controlement: unchecked
422 vnworthy . . . Curtesie: Unworthy of the happiness of loving and being loved save by Anne’s courteous transfer of her worthiness to him. The lines adapt to this amatory context the theological doctrine of imputation, whereby attributes are transferred between Christ and his followers: the faithful are ‘imputed’ worthy of salvation because Christ transfers his worthiness to them, while Christ is ‘imputed’ guilty by a reciprocal transfer of human guilts to him. See 2.604n.
leaue: cease
409 / 18 one bodyes call: At the command of one person in particular. In this usage, one-body may be contrasted with some-body.
411 / 20 hartroote: On the hypothesis that the forme was corrected without recourse to copy, we here adopt the reading from the earliest state of the forme; see the ‘Textual Introduction’.
413 / 22–422 Soule, take thy reste . . . Saint Anne: Having referred to Anne as a body (at l. 320), the speaker abruptly shifts to addressing her as a spiritual being. The ensuing lines are comically excited by competing evocations of Anne’s spirituality and of her material interests. The speaker will invite her to consider love as a form of spiritual ‘Usurie’ that will enable her to ‘take thy reste’, profiting without effort; he will also promise that his own spiritual patron (‘your servaunts Dæmonium’) will provide for her ‘odde [material or erotic] necessaries’. The jostle of the spiritual and the material receives steadied restatement when the speaker describes himself as the servant of two masters, Saint Penny and Saint Anne.
415 / 24 Vsurie: advantage, profit
this . . . that: Anne . . . Penny
420 / 29 hartily: The use of rime riche here seems to insist that we imagine at least two different senses of the word pertain; the available meanings are ‘zealously’, ‘sincerely’, ‘in a manner pertaining to the heart’.
Requite: repay
423 / 1–437 I but once . . . or Pewter: The interlinguistic puns of L. 333-334 may be worked out thus: not only is Susanne’s heart not worth the hair of the newly beloved Anne, it is not worth the hair of an ass (Fr âne); for those who know Latin (or tavern slang), it will be understood that Susanne is a pig (L sus, Gk συς) in comparison to Anne. Because of an ancillary pun on Latinlatten is brass or similar alloys—the pairing of ‘Latine, or Pewter’ sets up an obscure slur on Susanne’s adulterated nature in the next line, which seems to play on the fact that L sus can denote not only a pig, but also a fish (as it does in the pseudo-Ovidian Halieutica at l. 132) and that sus is of common grammatical gender, either masculine or feminine.
Pewter: tavern slang; argot
426 / 4 hir Mother Fish: The reading in the first state of the forme being clearly incorrect, we adopt the reading from the second state of the forme, although we believe the correction to have been made without recourse to copy. It may be that the MS copy here reads ‘hir Mother, Fish’, which Bynneman’s compositor originally reproduced inaccurately.
verye: true
spedde: succeeded, sought to succeed
coye it: behave coyly
428 / 6 coye: Although the primary sense is ‘to behave coyly,’ the verb can, in rare instances, mean ‘disdain’; see Shakespeare, Cor 5.1.6.
none of: in no way

my Dame: woman in authority over me

Looke for: Expect
yonkerly: fashionable, gallant
Nonproficients: inept persons
440 Nonproficients: This seems to have been Harvey’s coinage, derived perhaps from Paul’s description of those whose opposition to the truth in the end of days will have no consequence (sed ultra non proficient insipientia enim eorum manifesta erit omnibus sicut et illorum fuit; 2 Tim 3:9).
Nihilagents: do-nothings
446 Cuiusmodi . . . Maias: ‘And even though I suspect this will probably seem to you to be one of the Impossibles, may you now finally say farewell to such trifles and ditties, unless [you compose them] with me (who, having set aside the Chalice of Love, am bound by a certain solemn vow and oath to drain the Chalice of the Law as soon as possible). I will say no more. Farewell. From my lodgings, the ninth day before the calends of May.’
sirra: fellow
subscription: signature, especially on a legally binding document
453 correcte Magnificat: ‘To correct Magnificat’ was proverbial, meaning ‘presumptuously to challenge or dispute an accepted principle’.
458 companye . . . controlement: The phrase ‘Priviledges and Liberties’ extends the metaphor in which the words of a language are represented as a company or craft guild, with a set of traditional prerogatives not to be encroached upon at will. The phrase, ‘without . . . controlement’ participates in the same lexical register.
459 Remembrancer: Here, primarily, a chronicler or one charged with the task of reminding. The Queen’s Remembrancer was, specifically, an officer of the Court of the Exchequer charged with debts to the Crown and this particular sense of the term has resonance in Harvey’s phrasing, suggesting particular native ‘prerogatives’ of the language.
461 Penes . . . loquendi: ‘Usage, in whose power [resides] the judgement, right, and regulation of speech’. Harvey here extends Horace’s rule of customary usage. In the Ars Poetica, Horace specifically describes usage as a kind of gatekeeper that ushers coined and imported words and phrases into acceptable use, licenses metaphoric extensions, and outlaws once acceptable terms: si uolet usus, quem penes arbitrium est et ius et norma loquendi (‘if Usage permits, in whose power is the judgement, the right, and the regulation of speech’; Ars Poet 71-2).
462 who . . . Valānger: Harvey refrains from naming the wag who pronounced the second syllable of Valanger’s name as if it were long (or stressed), according to the Latin prosodic rule that dictates that syllables that conclude with paired consonants be treated in verse as long ‘by position’, regardless of their length or stress in normal speech. Harvey’s seems to be a mock reticence, designed to insinuate that it was Spenser himself who had made the joke (‘braverie’) and to imply that the fact that this pronunciation was regarded as risible, casts the lengthening of the second syllable of ‘carpenter’ as a practice equally absurd.
Clarke: scholar
475 bargaīneth . . . Trauaīlers: Again Harvey mocks Spenser for adopting rules that lengthen the second syllable of certain trisyllabic words despite the weak stress accorded those syllables in common usage.
may happe: perhaps
478 fat-bellyed Archedeacon: Drant was installed as archdeacon of Lewes in 1570. For another slur on Drant’s weight, see 5.111 below.
controll: reprove
479 Maister Doctor Watson: Thomas Watson was Master of St. Johns, Cambridge from 1553 to 1554 and Bishop of Lincoln from 1556 until he was deprived of the bishopric in 1559. Watson was in the custody of Thomas Young, shortly after the latter became bishop of Rochester, during the time at which Spenser was Young’s secretary.
480 All . . . Ascham: The verse in question is part of Watson’s distich translation of the third line of the Odyssey: ‘All trauellers do gladly report great prayse of Vlysses, / For that he knew many mens maners, and saw many Cities’. Ascham quotes the lines approvingly in the Scholemaster as instancing ‘how our English tong, in auoidyng barbarous ryming, may as well receiue, right quantitie of sillables, and trewe order of versifiyng . . . as either Greke or Latin’ (1904: 224). Harvey’s point is that, according to orthographic rules, the second syllable of ‘Travailers’ should be long, since ai is a diphthong, but that to lengthen or stress it would violate normal pronunciation.
482 Quite . . . head?: Harvey quotes, with minor adjustments in spelling, from Ascham’s rendering of Od. 21 420-2 in Toxophilus (1904: 146).
489 Nay, haue . . . or in Uerse?: Harvey refers to his ‘firste’ list, ‘Maiestie, Royaltie, etc.’ as examples of words in which unstressed second syllables would seem speciously to require treatment as long, because their vowels precede double consonants, and to his ‘seconde’ list, ‘bargaineth, following, etc.’ as examples of words in which paired vowels in unstressed second syllables would also seem to require similarly specious treatment as long, by orthographic rule.
Premisses: foregoing
to: too
493–494 Premisses . . . to): Harvey notes in passing that according to Latin prosodic rule, the double-s would dictate treating the second syllable as long by position, yet the syllable is unstressed.
great Purchaser: wealthy person
497 succĕssour: Harvey suggests that, in his day, the second syllable has a stress relatively lighter than the first.
in a maner: very nearly
a resolute pointe: certainly
501 Execūtores . . . other: Each of the Latin terms listed here is distinguished by a long syllable (‘being long in the one’) where its English derivative has an unstressed syllable (‘shorte in the other’). The breve over the second syllable of ‘succĕssour’ at 497 indicates the standard pronunciation in Harvey’s day.
hundreth: hundred
stande with: contend with, argue against
506 indifferent . . . waye: So that the penultimate syllable might acceptably serve as either long or short; see ‘common’ (L. 418-419) below.
506 stande with: The idiom is ambiguous and can mean ‘to side with’ or to ‘argue against’. Context suggests the latter meaning here, as does Harvey’s unambiguous use of the idiom at 3.374-375.
510 Cur . . . violē̄ntly?: Harvey quotes loosely from a distich ‘Ad amicam’ by Nicolas Borbonius (Nugae, 1533, D7v): ‘Cur violas mittis? nempe ut violentius urar: / Heu violor violis ô violenta tuis.’ The English translator has not been identified.
510 common: Anceps, able to serve as either long or short.
512 Volucres: The emendation here renders homologous the series of words, each of which includes a syllable that may be scanned as either short or long, owing to the fact that a short vowel precedes a double consonant the first of which is mute and the second of which is the liquid ‘r’. Emending corrects a certain error, for the final syllable of ‘volucres’ is long. It may be that the correct reading should be ‘Volŭcres’, although it remains unclear why Harvey would feel it necessary to indicate the standard quantity of the second syllable.
521 Diastole: See the discussion above (1.23-30).
Idiome: specific linguistic character
524 Maiestie . . . Rules: See ‘the kingdome of oure owne Language’ in Spenser’s letter above (1.33-34). Harvey’s rhetoric here may well be what provoked Mulcaster to make an argument against phonetic orthographic reform in The Elementarie (1582) in similar terms, describing an original state in which ‘sound alone’ ‘was soverain and judge’ and ‘gave sentence of pen, ink and paper’ (I1v) and a later, more highly evolved cultural polity in which sound is conjoined to reason and custome in a ‘wise triumvirate’ (I4v). Mulcaster deplores modern orthographic reform as abetting a reactionary cultural turn in which ‘sound like a restrained not banished Tarquinius desiring to be restored to his first and sole monarchie, and finding som, but no more sounding favorers, did seke to make a tumult in the scriveners province’ (H4v).
525 Petty Treason: While the Treason Act of 1351 limited petty treason to murder of a husband by a wife, a master by a servant, or a prelate by a clergyman, the term was used generally to refer to inferiors’ criminal rebellion against superiors other than the sovereign.
527 or . . . Orthography either: Extending his effort to regulate prosody by customary pronunciation (by taking speech stress as the proper sign of quantitative length), Harvey here proposes that pronunciation should also regulate spelling. This was by no means an idiosyncratic proposal; Harvey joins Thomas Smith, John Cheke, William Bullokar, and John Hart in promoting strictly phonetic spelling.
531 yrne: None of the three printed 16th-century editions exhibit the spelling that Harvey quotes. The line is quoted from Homer, Il 4.123.
534 whyche leaven: Referring to the second of the two, ‘a leaven of dowe’.
540 Pseudography . . . corrupte Orthography: The spellings that Harvey prefers may reflect contemporary pronunciation, but his charge that the denigrated spellings reflect both innovation and corruption is odd, since some of them---‘sithens’ and ‘phantasie’---are traditional ones.
yl-fauoured: ugly
535 yl-fauoured: We adopt the reading of the first state of the forme; press-correction here seems to have been intended to reduce the crowd of hyphens at the line break (‘yl-fa=|uoured’).
in the moste: in most writers of English
551 fayer . . . myre: In each of the pairings in this paragraph, Harvey’s first spelling indicates what he regards as a bisyllabic pronunciation; his second, a monosyllabic one. It should be noted that the possible double reference of both fayer and ayer is a distraction from Harvey’s general point, which is that the two words, like the others listed below, can admit of both monosyllabic and bisyllabic pronunciation.
544 bothe pro . . . hærede,: For both ‘air’ and ‘heir’.
544 hærede (for: For the emendation here, see the ‘Textual Introduction’.
to: too
545 Scoggins Aier: Although no sixteenth-century edition of Scoggin’s Jests survives, a seventeenth-century edition preserves a version of the story to which Harvey refers. It hinges on Scoggins’ willful misunderstanding of a lawyer’s advice that he and his wife ‘make an heire’, which they do by retiring to their bed and farting (Andrew Boord, The First and Best Parte of Scoggins Jests, 1626, C3v-4v).
of the very same: by the very same
otherwhiles: sometimes
if: even if
561 common . . . Prosodye: The phrase here means ‘customary pronunciation’. Harvey uses prosody to mean ‘pronunciation’ throughout the ensuing discussion.
571 Wherein . . . Qualitie: Harvey here concedes that when the rules of Latin prosody are applied to (properly) written English sentences, they yield prosodic analyses that generally accord with customary English pronunciation of those sentences, even though the rules sometimes seem to flout the ‘innate’ character of the syllable, i.e., its length according to etymology and morphology. (Harvey doesn’t here press the question of whether it is actual duration of sound or stress in English that accords with Latin quantity.) But he insists that the rules themselves don’t determine the length of English syllables.
aduise: consideration
in processe of time: in the course of things
regularly: according to rule
572 Mother Prosodye: This common allegorical device (for which cf. ‘Mother Earth’ and see OED ‘Mother’ 4a) transforms customary pronunciation into a ‘supreame Foundresse’.
573 worketh the feate: Constitutes the particular quantity of syllables.
574 whose: Referring to ‘Position, Dipthong, etc.’
577 secundæ intentiones . . . primæ: Harvey here draws on the philosophical distinction between first intentions (L primae intentiones) or concepts of things, and second intentions (L secundae intentiones) or concepts of concepts: the quantity of a syllable he here describes as a first intention, and the quantity as inferred from metrical rule he describes as a second intention.
in shorte: to be brief (with a pun on the topic at hand)
suruewe: survey
Canonically: authoritatively
586 so like itselfe: So ‘sensible’ [that customary pronunciation be reducible to rule].
equipollent: equivalent, of equal force
counteruaileable: equivalent
conformitie: regularity

Sed . . . vale: ‘Beseech you. I will respond soon to your little darling’s delightful letters as meticulously as possible, while in the meantime sharing with her as many exquisite greetings and healths as she has hairs—half-golden, half-silver, and half-bejeweled—on her head. What [more] do you seek? By your Venus, she is another little Rosalind, and your very own little Hobbinol, and no other, loves her lavishly (with your permission, as before). O my Lady Immerito, my most beautiful Madam Colin Clout, much more than abundant salutations to you, and fare well.’

Harvey is responding to Spenser’s request at 1.76-7 that he write to Spenser’s sweetheart (Corculum). Most commentators suppose the sweetheart to be Spenser’s new wife, on the dual evidence of the reference to her as a ‘Domina Immerito’—which may be translated ‘Madam’ or ‘Lady Immerito’—and the record of Spenser’s marriage to a Maccabaeus Chylde on 27 October 1579. But the logic of the passage suggests that the ‘Domina Immerito’, the ‘bellissima Collina Clouta’ here addressed is not a Mrs. Spenser, but the same addressee as that of the preceding three sentences, Spenser himself, albeit affectionately feminized. (It may be observed that in classical elegy, the domina is always a commanding mistress and never a wife.) While Harvey’s queer joke may indeed be motivated by Spenser’s having married—the joke being that marriage feminizes the besotted groom—Harvey’s joke may as easily reflect his sense that there is something perverse in Spenser’s having encouraged him to adopt an elaborately affectionate posture towards Spenser’s sweetheart—in which case the joke will involve Harvey’s demonstration of a now polymorphous and ambidirectional warmth. Difficult as it may be to specify the force of the passage, it cannot securely corroborate the theory that Harvey’s correspondent had married Maccabeus Chylde.

communicate: share
601 the two Gentlemen: Sidney and Dyer, to whom Harvey had referred, at the beginning of the letter, as crucial sponsors and fellow-practitioners in Spenser and Harvey’s ‘new famous enterprise’ of quantitative versifying.
there a straw: stop there
and: if
603 M. Daniel Rogers: Antiquarian and Latin poet, Rogers had a considerable diplomatic career in France and the Low Countries. He had lived in Paris during most of the 1560s and had established warm relations with Ramus and several members of the Pléiade, but his literary connections were international: he was on warm terms with Douza, Sturm, Languet, Buchanan, Schede, and Lipsius. Rogers became acquainted with Sidney sometime before 1575 and accompanied him on diplomatic missions in the late 1570s. In suggesting that Spenser show Rogers Harvey’s reflections on quantitative practice, he is perhaps seeking to affiliate their efforts with such continental quantitative experiments as those of Rogers’ friends Ronsard and Baïf.
604 Marble booke: Possibly referring to the durability of grateful memory; cf. Lewes Lewkenor’s dedication to Anne, Countess of Warwicke, of his translation of Contarini’s Commonwealth and Government of Venice (1599): ‘for I will neuer forget, but still retaine engraued in the marble table of a thankefull memory . . . the many fauours you haue done me in particular’ (*2v).
606 Nosti . . . stylum: ‘The hand and style you know’.
5 stay, . . . offred: Hesitate till the occasion be offered.
aduizement: advice
to abide . . . resolution: to comply with the results of your reconsiderations
intermitted the vttering: held up the circulation
gather . . . self: elicit their contempt
15 for . . . tasted: The gist of this is that Spenser fears being thought to have been motivated by the hope of securing a sweetness that he has, in fact, already received from Sidney.
20 Then . . . like.: Although Spenser disavows the idea that celebration of a social inferior might render a work inappropriate for a reader like Sidney, attributing this scruple to others, he would express the same concern that a noble or royal reader might be offended by praise of inferiors in Am 33 and FQ VI.x.28.
16 his excellent Lordship: The phrasing leaves it unclear whether the work will be ‘offred’ to Sidney or to Leicester. On the traces of an original intention to dedicate the SC to Leicester rather than to Sidney, see Hadfield 2012:128-30 and SC ‘To His Booke’ 11.
17 a priuate Personage: the ‘Rosalind’ of SC.
or the like: or some such objection
selfe: self-same
21 your fine Addition: No convincing interpretation of what Harvey’s ‘Addition’ to the SC was has yet been offered; Spenser seems to indicate that Harvey supplied some additional or alternate title. The present passage confirms that Spenser and Harvey spent some time discussing both the proper title of the work and the proprieties of dedicating the work to an eminent patron, whether Leicester or Sidney: those discussions seem to receive playful reminiscence on the title page of the SC, where the work is ‘Entitled | TO THE NOBLE AND VERTV-|ous Gentleman most worthy of all titles | both of learning and chevalrie M. |Philip Sidney’.
adnihilate: annihilate
30 occasion . . . Preferment: The particular occasion may be presumed to be the resignation of Richard Bridgewater from the position of Public Orator at Cambridge in late October of 1579.
32 Verùm ne quid durius: ‘Truly, “nothing more severely”’. Spenser here alludes to the principle espoused in De poenis (‘On penalties’) in Justinian’s Digest: Respiciendum est judicanti ne quid aut durius aut remissius constituatur quam causa deposcit; nec enim aut severitatis aut clementiae gloria affectanda est (‘It should matter to a judge that nothing be either more leniently or more severely construed than the cause itself demands, for the glory neither of severity nor clemency should be affected’; Dig. Iust. 48.19.11). In the present context, Spenser seems to be enjoining Harvey not to judge his own accomplishments so harshly that he fails to press the case for his own preferment; certainly this is how Harvey seems to have construed Spenser’s advice (see 5.42-45).
for the nonce: for that express purpose
34–36 De quibus . . . tuis: ‘Concerning these things in one of those surpassingly sweet, long letters of yours.’
37 Your . . . selfe: If we suppose that Spenser would not risk appearing rude in denying Harvey a report (by no means a necessary supposition), we might infer that the expected meeting with the queen never took place; but Spenser may indeed be risking the slight offensiveness, for the sake of insinuating that a glamorous meeting had indeed taken place—even if it hadn’t. Grosart and Buck construe the sentence as a taciturn report on an actual meeting (see Var 10.250).
39 they . . . familiarity: I am grateful that they habitually treat me somewhat as a familiar.
40 of whom . . . estimation: What appreciative things they say of you and what they are told on your behalf.
42 ἀρειωπαγῳ: Areiō pagō (Gk dat. for ‘Areopagos’). The name for this collective of literary arbiters is borrowed from that of the ancient tribunal that met on the ‘Hill of Ares’ in ancient Athens. Sidney, Dyer, and their literary ‘Senate’ may or may not have referred to themselves by this name. At 5.50-53 below, Harvey responds to Spenser as if the coterie thus named were ‘new-founded’ and, perhaps, comprised only Sidney and Dyer, yet a Latin elegy of Daniel Rogers from January of 1579 (reproduced in van Dorsten, Poets, Patrons, and Professors, 1962: 175-9) describes a small fellowship of writers that already comprises Sidney, Dyer, and Fulke Greville, and Spenser speaks of Sidney and Dyer as ‘having had . . . already great practise’ of quantitative versifying (4.46-47). Spenser’s turn to quantitative metrics involves taking up an activity that Harvey had advocated earlier and that seems to be especially worthwhile now that Sidney’s ‘Areopagus’ had interested itself in the enterprise.
balde: meagre, unadorned
49 one . . . Abuse: Stephen Gosson recognized that his attack on contemporary English drama in The School of Abuse (1579), especially coming from someone who was a playwright himself, might seem a perverse undertaking, but his decision to dedicate the work to Sidney was an almost unaccountable gaffe. The critical social history of poetry with which The School of Abuse opens seems to have provoked Sidney to write the Defense of Poesy. Sidney’s scorn for Gosson’s effort increased Spenser’s nervousness about the tactics and proprieties of publication in general and of dedication in particular, yet Sidney seems not to have broadcast his disdain for Gosson’s dedication, for Gosson dedicated yet another book to Sidney, The Ephemerides of Phialo, before the end of the year.
entituling: dedicating
entituling: Cf. the full title of SC and n.
53 My Slomber: An earlier title, presumably, of the work to which Spenser and Harvey will later refer as Dreames. It should be noted that, if this work were some sort of reworking of the poems translated for the Theatre, Spenser’s scruple at dedicating it to Sidney is difficult to explain, since those poems have the double virtue of a close relation to the work of eminent modern poets (Petrarch, Marot, and DuBellay) and of firm affiliation to militant anti-Catholic understandings of Revelation, both of which should have appealed to Sidney. The scruple would be easier to explain if the poems had a different lineage, and were somehow improperly erotic in character. Todd proposed that Spenser is referring to the same work to which Ponsonby refers, in the prefatory epistle to Complaints, as ‘A senights slumber’ (13-14).
54 meant them: Intended that they be ‘entituled’.
57–58 Sed te . . . Anglicos: ‘Although at that time, I believed you alone—and Ascham—to know [about these matters]; I now see that the court nourishes remarkable English poets’.
58 Maister E.K.: Presumably the same person or persona responsible for the commentary to the SC.
of whome: referring to Harvey
paynefull: painstaking
64 Mystresse Kerkes . . . Carrier: Spenser relies on Mrs. Kerke, who has not been identified, for discreet delivery of his correspondence with Harvey; see below (4.258). It has been surmised, on weak evidence, that she was the innkeeper at the Bull Inn in Bishopsgate, which was later, and may already have been, one of the London termini for carriers transporting goods and letters between London and Cambridge. (The Bell in Coleman Street was another such terminus.) It has also been imagined that she is some relative to E.K., the glossator of SC, perhaps his mother.
glorie: distinction
passingly: extremely, surpassingly
enuye: begrudge you
hidden: solitary
70 imparte . . . to me: Make a comparable effort in tandem with me.
71–72 quod . . . autoritati: ‘Which we will nonetheless forgive in the case of such a Poet, by virtue of your great authority in these matters’.
certifye vs: make us certain
75–76 Veruntamen . . . viuam: ‘Although I will follow only you (as I so frequently acknowledge), I surely won’t overtake you as long as I live’. Spenser rings changes on the compliment at 1.98-9.
78 shortest . . . Iambickes: Spenser slightly overstates here: the trimeter line is not very short. While the iambic foot (‿-) is indeed shorter than the dactylic one (-‿‿), Greek and Latin lyric verse is composed in metra, or metres. Greek iambic metres and many Latin ones are composed of pairs of feet (iambic dipodies: x-‿-), whereas dactylic metres are composed of single feet and therefore, because a single line of iambic trimeter and a single line of dactylic hexameter each contain 6 feet, a line of dactylic hexameter will not appear conspicuously longer than a line of iambic trimeter. In terms of total allowable duration of the line, the normal Latin dactylic hexameter comprise 23 to 24 morae (that is, the equivalent of 23-24 short syllables); the normal Latin iambic trimeter comprises 18 to 21 morae.
78 I dare . . . perfect: Harvey will take exception to the terms of Spenser’s claim here in his response; see 5.52ff.
82 Maister Preston, Maister Still: Thomas Preston (1537---1598) was a reasonably skilled Latin poet, though he is remembered more as the probable author of Cambises. He had been a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge since 1556 and received his doctorate in Civil Law c.1576. Preston had received notice from Elizabeth I during her visit to Cambridge in 1564, and she interceded on his behalf two decades later, insisting on his election as master of Trinity Hall in 1586. As the Cambridge Oratorship came open, Preston became one of Harvey’s rivals for the position. For John Still see 2.466n. above.

Iambicum Trimetrum: Spenser is adapting the rules of classical iambic trimeter, the most widely used meter in spoken passages of classical drama. Greek iambic trimeter consists of three dipodies, or pairs of feet, each pair composed of either two iambs or a spondee and an iamb (thus, x-‿-); substitutions of paired short syllables for a single long one are allowed in all but the final syllable of the line. The Latin adaptation of the iambic trimeter, often called the senarius, was widely used in Roman comedy and tragedy (with slightly different rules for each genre). The senarius is organized in feet rather than in metra and while the sixth foot is always an iamb, the preceding five feet often feature even greater freedom of substitution than was allowed in Greek trimeter. Spenser has chosen a form that allows considerable metrical latitude for his earliest surviving effort in quantitative versifying.

Although he claims that his practice here is ‘precisely perfecte for the feete’ and in other ways strictly regular, it has not seemed so to those readers who have attempted to scan his lines. Davison, presumably regarding the second line as defective and the third as hypermetrical, transposed ‘Thought’ in his reprinting of the poem in A Poetical Rhapsody; Attridge solved the same problem by treating ‘fluttring’ as a misprint for ‘fluttering’ and by scanning the fifth foot of the third line as a dactyl, a substitution allowable in the senarius. Harvey is the most explicitly critical: at 5.59-76 below, he notes the inconsistent quantities of l. 2 (though not its defective character) and the hypermetrical character of l. 3, and chides Spenser for spelling that carelessly obscures what Harvey imagines to be his intended scansions, for the overuse of spondees, and for a reliance on initial trochaic substitutions that undermines the iambic character of the verse.

In Davison’s edition of 1602, the poem is arranged into three line strophes, which gives visual prominence to its triple rhetorical structures.

Harvey and Spenser argue below about the metrics of this poem, so the following scansion must be regarded as especially uncertain:

Vnhap pie Verse , the wit nesse of my  vnha ppie state,
Make thy  selfe flut tring wings  of thy fast  flying
Thought, and  fly forth  vnto my  Loue, wher soeuer  she be:
Whether  lying  reastlesse  in heau y bedde , or else
Sitting  so cheere lesse at  the cheer full boorde , or else
Playing  alone  carelesse  on hir heauen lie Vir ginals.
If in  Bed, tell  hir, that  my eyes  can take  no reste:
If at  Boorde, tell  hir, that  my mouth  can eate  no meate:
If at  hir Vir ginals , tel hir , I can heare  no mirth .
Asked  why? say:  Waking  Loue suf fereth  no sleepe:
Say, that  raging  Loue dothe  appall  the weake  stomacke:
Say, that  lamen ting Loue  marreth  the Mus icall.
Tell hir , that hir  pleasures  were wonte  to lull  me asleepe:
Tell hir , that hir  beautie  was wonte  to feede  mine eyes:
Tell hir , that hir  sweete Tongue  was wonte  to make  me mirth.
Nowe doe  I night ly waste , wanting  my kinde ly reste:
Nowe doe  I day ly starue , wanting  my liue ly foode:
Nowe doe  I al wayes dye , wanting  thy time ly mirth.
And if  I waste , who will  bewaile  my heau y chaunce?
And if  I starue , who will  record  my curs ed end?
And if  I dye , who will  saye: this  was, Im merito?

Harvey seems to have scanned lines 87/3 and 90/6 differently. His discussion at 5.59-65 suggests that he regards their scansion, with some disappointment, as

Thought, and  fly forth  vnto  my Loue , wherso euer  she be:


Playing  alone  carelesse  on hir  heauen lie Vir ginals.

At 5.65-9 Harvey considers whether the last foot of the last line—‘merito’—should be scanned as an anapaest or a spondee, but he is disapprovingly confident that it cannot be iambic. For Harvey’s solution to the problem of the hypermetricality he attributes to 90/6, see 5.61-63 and 5.63n.

heauy: dolefull
88 / 4–106 reastlesse . . .Virginals: That the beloved is as restless and cheerless as the lover violates the conventions of Elizabethan amatory verse; the third alternative, that she makes music alone, restores her to a more conventional carelessness.
90 / 6 Virginals: A musical instrument of the harpsichord family, but smaller than a standard harpsichord, with a more sonorous tone.
meate: food
waste: waste away
kindely: natural
liuely: necessary for life
ylfauoured myschaunce: ugly or unlucky mishap
farewell: farewell poem
made great accompt: valued greatly
110 one mans negligence: Presumably the negligence of one of the carriers.

Ad Ornatissimum . . . reducat. etc.: ‘To that most accomplished man and, for a long time, the most eminently renowned, G.H., the Farewell [eutychein] of his Immerito, soon to make his voyage into Gaul.

‘Thus the bad poet salutes the great one; thus the not unfriendly one, his friend; thus the novice, the veteran, and wishes him, now returned after many years, favorable skies, more favorable than those he himself now enjoys. Behold, the god—if indeed he really be a god who tempts the unyielding to wickedness and brings sworn love to ruin—behold, the sea god has now given me clear signs and, gentle, smooths his seas, soon to be furrowed by a sail-bearing bow; Father Aeolus also puts by his furies and the huge gusts of the North Wind: thus all things suit my passage.

‘Only I am unsuited. For just now my mind, wounded by I know not what injury, is tossed by an uncertain sea, while Love, a powerful sailor, hauls here and there the powerless prow. Reason, that makes use of better counsel, and immortal honor have been split by Cupid’s fickle bow. We are anguished by this doubt, and shaken even while still at port. Oh, you who are now The Great Scorner of quiver-wearing Love (I pray that the gods not allow you that title unpunished) loosen these fetters and you will be, to me, The Great Apollo. A generous spirit, I know, drives you to the highest honors, and teaches the Poet to aspire more greatly.

‘How fickle is Love (and yet not all love is fickle). You therefore judge nothing equal to endless fame and, because of your sacred vision of such glory, you trample beneath you those other things that the senseless mob worships as gods—estates, friendships, city property, money, and whatever pleases the eyes, beauties, spectacles, lovers—all like dirt and the trumperies of sense. Surely this is a judgement worthy of my Harvey, worthy of the grand speaker and the noble heart; nor would the Stoic wisdom of the Ancients hesitate to sanctify this judgement with eternal bonds. Yet for all that, tastes differ.

‘It is said that the eloquent son of feeble Laertes, however much driven across the seas beneath unknown skies, and however long an exile in an ocean stormy with whirlpools, refused those born of heaven and the blessed couch of the gods in favor of the embrace of a tearful spouse: so mighty was his love, and his wife, in fact, even mightier than Love himself. And yet you mock it; such is your boast. Compared with an enshadowed vision of such great splendor and a reputation born of famous merits, you despise all those other things that the senseless mob worships as gods—estates, friendships, herds, property, money, and whatever pleases the eyes—beauties, spectacles, lovers—whatever is pleasing to the tongue and to the ears.

‘Indeed, fine as is your palate, taste is not wisdom: he who knows well how to be unwise, often bears the palm away from arrogant wisemen. The harsh crowd of the Wise now mocks Aristippus for tempering mild words to the purple-robed tyrant; Aristippus mocks the empty precepts of the Wise, whom the merest shadow of a passing gnat could cruelly torment. And whoever strives to please great heroes, strives to be unwise, for rewards flood the foolish. All told, whoever hopes to glorify his brow with plaited laurel and to please a favorable crowd, strives, crazed, for unwisdom and seeks the degraded praise of shameful folly. Father Ennius was said to have been the only wise man in a numberless crowd, yet he is praised for having poured out songs drenched in lunatic wine. Nor, if one may say so, would you, the greatest Cato of our age, really deserve the sacred name of reverend Poet, no matter how gloriously you sing or how noble the song, unless you would wish to make a fool of yourself, for the world is full of fools.

‘Yet a safe path remains in the midst of the whirlpool, for you should call wise only he who wishes to seem to the rest neither too foolish, nor too wise: here by a wave you would have drowned, and there been consumed by a fire. If you are wise, do not reject gushing delights outright, nor a mistress sluggish in responding to your vows, nor stolen gold: leave such pitiful scruples to the Curiuses and Fabriciuses, those pitiful men, once the grand honor of their age, but now the dishonor of our own. Don’t try too hard. Either extreme is worthy of reproach. The man who is thus prepared, if anyone is really prepared thus, call him alone wise, even if Socrates would resist doing so.

One power makes men pious, another makes them just, and still another makes their hearts both most prudent and most bold, but ‘he who mixes the useful and the pleasant wins on every count’. Long ago, the gods gave me the gift of the Pleasant, but they’ve never given me the Useful. Oh, if only they had made me, then, or even now, both Useful and Pleasant. If the gods didn’t so begrudge happiness to mortals, they could have granted me, at once, (since to the gods great things and small ones weigh equally) both the Pleasant and the Useful. But your good Fortune is so great, that it gives you, equally, whatever pleases and, freely, whatever is useful. Meanwhile, we, born under a harsh star, go off to seek at length our fortune -- through the inhospitable Caucasus, the rocky Pyrenees, and polluted Babylon. But if we shall not find there what we seek, having crossed a huge sea in endless wandering, we will seek it more remotely, in the midst of the flood, in the company of Ulysses. Thenceforth with weary steps we will attend the grieving Goddess, for whom, seeking for that noble thing which was stolen, leaving the world bereft. For it shames the not too unluckily gifted youth, languishing in shameful darkness and in the paternal lap, vainly to waste his flourishing years on worthless tasks and to pick out only empty stalks, when fruits were hoped for.

‘We will therefore set out at once (would anyone wish me good luck at the outset?); we will trudge with weary foot up the steep Alps. Who, meanwhile, who will send you little notes, spiced with British dews? and who will write the song goatish with love? Beneath the peak of the Oebalian mountain the unpracticed Muse in inexhaustible laments will bemoan her silence so protracted, and weeping will mourn sacred, silenced Helicon. Good Harvey -- who can be dear to all, and deservedly so, since he is sweeter than almost anyone else -- my Angel and my Gabriel, however much he is thronged by countless friends and pressed by delightful choirs of guardian spirits, will nevertheless often pine for an absent one, for Immerito, and will wish, “if only my Edmund were here, he who has written news and who has not kept silent about his own love affairs, and often prays, from his heart and with kind words, for my good fortune. May God eventually return him, etc.”’

121 in Gallias: ‘Gaul’ means ‘France’ here, but might perhaps be understood as including northern Italy as well.
125 / 3–126 / 4 post . . .reducem: Spenser implies that Harvey has returned after many years’ absence, but there is no evidence of his actual absence from England. It may be that Spenser is simply referring here to Harvey’s absence from London.
127 / 5 Ecce Deus: ‘Behold, the god’: the invocation to Poseidon/Neptune, the god of the sea, implies a link between the voyaging Spenser and Odysseus/Ulysses. In the Odyssey, Poseidon is Odysseus’ chief divine opponent. The Odyssean allusion is loose: Poseidon is not involved in the epic’s instances of temptation or erotic betrayal.
131 / 9 Æolus: Ruler of the winds. There are many traditions about a god or a ruler of this name. According to one, Æolus is the son of Poseidon; in the Odyssey, he is said to be the son of Hippotes (Od 10.1-22). This second Æolus hosts Odysseus for a month at the end of which he provides the hero with a favourable west wind and a sealed bag containing all the other winds, which Odysseus’ crew later open, with disastrous consequences.
135 / 13–139 / 17 dum . . . in ipso.: Although the figure of Love as a domineering sailor is traditional (for which see Petrarch, Rime sparse, 189), it has been argued that these lines express a particular reluctance to leave England because of the claims of affection, powerfully determining the latter interpretation.
135 / 13–136 / 14 Nauita . . . Amor: ‘A Sailor . . . Love’; for Love as a domineering sailor, see Petrarch, Rime sparse, 189.
140 / 18 pharetrati: ‘quiver-wearing’; in Ovid’s poetry, a favorite attribute of Cupid: see Met 10.252, Amores 2.5.11, Rem Am 379, and Trist 5.1.22.
144 / 22 spirare: ‘To aspire,’ but also ‘to be inspired poetically’.

Quàm . . .temnis: The poem as printed seems to preserve vestiges of competing drafts: the similarity of 147-51 and 163-8 suggests that they represent two different versions of the poem, one of which was to have been supplanted by the other. Another sign of lack of finish here is the poor continuity between the unusually short period at 145 (originally printed as part of the sentence beginning at 143, despite its syntactic independence) and the lines immediately following. We therefore surmise that the two versions of the poem here printed as one are


Spiritus ad summos, scio, te generosus Honores [143]
Exstimulat, maiusque docet spirare Poëtam. [144]
Ergo nihil laudi reputas æquale perenni, etc. . . . [146 continuing until]
. . . sapor haud tamen omnibus idem. [-155]
Nae tu grande sapis, Sapor at sapientia non est:, etc. [169-]

[A generous spirit, I know, drives you to the highest honors, and teaches the Poet to aspire more greatly. You therefore judge nothing equal to endless fame and, because of your sacred vision of such glory, you trample beneath you those other things that the senseless mob worships as gods—estates, friendships, city property, money, and whatever pleases the eyes, beauties, spectacles, lovers—all like dirt and the trumperies of sense. Surely this is a judgement worthy of my Harvey, worthy of the grand speaker and the noble heart; nor would the Stoic wisdom of the Ancients hesitate to sanctify this judgement with eternal bonds. Yet for all that, tastes differ. Indeed, fine as is your palate, taste is not wisdom:, etc.]

and B:

Spiritus ad summos, scio, te generosus Honores [143]
Exstimulat, maiusque docet spirare Poëtam. [144]
Quàm levis est Amor, et tamen haud levis est Amor omnis. [145]
Dicitur effæti proles facunda Laërtæ, etc. . . . [156 continuing through]
Nae tu grande sapis, Sapor at sapientia non est:, etc. [169-]

[A generous spirit, I know, drives you to the highest honors, and teaches the Poet to aspire more greatly. How fickle is Love (and yet not all love is fickle). It is said that the eloquent son of feeble Laertes, however much driven across the seas beneath unknown skies, and however long an exile in an ocean stormy with whirlpools, refused those born of heaven and the blessed couch of the gods in favor of the embrace of a tearful spouse: so mighty was his love, and his wife, in fact, even mightier than Love himself. And yet you mock it; such is your boast. Compared with an enshadowed vision of such great splendor and a reputation born of famous merits, you despise all those other things that the senseless mob worships as gods—estates, friendships, herds, property, money, and whatever pleases the eyes—beauties, spectacles, lovers—whatever is pleasing to the tongue and to the ears. Indeed, fine as is your palate, taste is not wisdom:, etc.]

156 / 34 effæti . .. Laërtæ: ‘The eloquent son of feeble Laertes’, i.e., Odysseus. Ovid’s Ajax describes Ulysses as facundus (‘eloquent’) in his dismissive account of the latter’s cowardice during the Trojan War (Met 13.92).
240 Præ . . . beatos: ‘Refused those born of heaven and the blessed couch of the gods in favor of the embrace of a tearful spouse’, referring unspecifically to Ulysses’ loyalty to Penelope and his scorn for the divine temptations of Calypso (with which the Odyssey opens) and Circe (Od 10-12).
163 / 41 subumbrata: ‘Enshadowed’; not a classical word, and possibly Spenser’s coinage, the term has an erudite and slightly mystifying quality.
240 Tu tamen . . . faventi: These lines, both in their argument for the social and political utility of Folly (stultitia) and in their vocabulary, rely heavily on Erasmus’ arguments in The Praise of Folly.
174 / 52 Aristippus: A student of Socrates, Aristippus espoused a philosophy of hedonistic adaptability. In his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laertius transmits a rich body of anecdotes about Aristippus, many of which concern Aristippus’ bold and witty interactions with the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse. See also Horace’s account of Aristippus in Epist. 1.17.13-32.
213 / 91 inexhaustis: ‘Unexhausted’ if strictly rendered, but Spenser may well be remembering the inexhaustis . . . metallis (‘inexhaustible mines’) of Virgil, Aen 10.174. Spenser’s odd phrase suggests that his wanderings are a kind of resource.
181 / 59 Ennius: Born c. 239, Ennius was one of the earliest poets writing in Latin and the first to adapt Greek dactylic hexameters to Latin. Horace alleges the importance of wine to Ennius’ achievement: Ennius ipse pater numquam nisi potus ad arma / prosiluit dicenda (‘Even Father Ennius never sprang forth to tell of arms save after much drinking’, Epist. 1.19.7-8).
184 / 62 Cato: Either a reference to the soldier and statesman, Cato the Elder (234 BCE - 149 BCE), also known as Cato Censorius for his rigorous regulation of Roman morals, or to his grandson, Cato the Younger (95 BCE - 46 BCE), also a statesman and, like his grandfather, also noted for his rigor. A comparison to the the younger Cato, famous for his powers as an orator, would have been especially flattering to Harvey; but reference to the elder Cato would also be pertinent here, for Cato Censorius was much praised by Ennius, whom, according to Cicero, this Cato regarded as his familiar friend (De Sen, 10).
187 / 65 Stultorum omnia plena: Although the sentiment is deeply indebted to Erasmus’ Praise of Folly, Spenser is quoting from Cicero (Familiar Epistles, 9.22.4), a maxim familiar to most English readers, since it is quoted in Lily’s Grammar (1542:G3v).
194 / 72 Curijs . . . Fabriciisque: Manius Curius Dentatus was tribune of the Roman plebs early in the 3rd C BCE and thereafter thrice elected consul; Gaius Fabricius Luscinus, of the same generation, was consul in 282 BCE. Both men had a reputation for frugality and incorruptible probity; Plutarch records an anecdote of Fabricius’ refusal of a bribe, despite his poverty (Pyrrhus, 18).
196 / 74

nostri sed dedecus æui: ‘But now the dishonor of our own age’: insinuating that a reputation for virtue no longer weighs more heavily than the ‘dishonor’ of frugality and poverty.

202 / 80 Omne . . . dulci: ‘He who mixes the useful and the pleasant wins on every count’. Offered as a general guide to conduct, the famous line is quoted verbatim from Horace, ‘The Art of Poetry’, 343, where it serves as part of a series of injunctions intended particularly for poets.
205 / 83 æqualia: We adopt Grosart’s proposed emendation, believing ‘æquivalia’ to be an uncorrected printing error for ‘æqualia’. The post-classical word, out of keeping with the diction of the rest of the poem, violates the prosody of the hexameter, a violation on which we might expect Harvey to have commented, had it appeared in the copy he reviewed.
211 / 89 Babilonaque turpem: ‘And polluted Babylon’; whereas in Revelation, ‘Babylon’ represents Rome as the seat of the Roman Empire, in Protestant anti-Catholic polemic, ‘Babylon’ usually represents Rome as the seat of the papacy and the Catholic Church. Cf. Van der Noot’s commentary on Revelation 18.10: ‘Alas, alas, that greate citie Babylon, that myghtie Citie. Alas, our mother the holy Churche of Rome, so many holy fathers, Popes, Cardinalles, and Byshops’ (Theatre Commentary 1807-9).
213 / 91 vltrâ: ‘beyond’. With the suggestion that, having sought his fortune in a quest that takes in all of Europe from the Caucasus to the Pyrenees, he will join Ulysses in a quest ‘beyond’ those boundaries, Spenser evokes a tradition most famously witnessed in Dante (Inf 26.90-142). According to this tradition, Odysseus/Ulysses made a final voyage that took him beyond the pillars of Hercules until he caught sight of Purgatory before drowning; in Dante the hero’s last voyage stands as both a culpable quest for knowledge and a betrayal of his avowed love for Penelope.
215 / 93 Deam . . . ægram: ‘The grieving Goddess’. In an abrupt shift, Spenser now imagines himself accompanying not Ulysses, but Demeter/Ceres, frustrated in her search for her stolen daughter.
224 / 102 petulcum: lit. ‘butting’. The use of this odd adjective to describe Spenser’s love poems both indicates their pastoral modality and emphasizes the animal urgency of the desire they evoke.
225 / 103 Oebalij . . . montis: The mountain might be understood as Spartan (because named after the Spartan king Oebalus) or as Vesuvian (named for the mother of Oebalus, the nymph of a stream near Naples).
227 / 105 Helicona: For Helicon as dedicated to the Muses, see SC Apr gloss 51-58; at Teares 5 it serves as a setting for the Muses’ voluble lamentations.
240 Plura . . . charissime: ‘I would write more by the Graces, but the Muses won’t permit it. Farewell, and more farewells, my most amiable Harvey, by far the dearest to my heart of all my friends.’
minded: disposed
verses: Or Rymes: that is rhymed, accentual-syllabic poems.
dispatched of: dismissed by
245 my Lorde: presumably, the Earl of Leicester.
maintained most what of: supported for the most part by
vsuall: regular
againe: in return
256–257 Qui monet, vt facias, quod iam facis: ‘he who advises that you do what you are already doing’. This is the penultimate line of book 5 of Ovid’s Tristia, the last line of which is ‘ille monendo laudat et hortatu comprobat acta suo’ (‘. . . praises by advising and approves of the deeds by his own encouragement’; Trist 5.14.45-6).
262 This. . . . 1579.: The date, as printed—‘This. 5. of October. 2579.’—is plainly in error. While it is easy to correct the year, correcting the day is not. At 60-62, Spenser reports that he completed the bulk of the letter on 15 October and that, going to post it on the 16th, he received a letter from Harvey that provoked his decision to include ‘Iambicum Trimetrum’. At 103-9, Spenser writes of having learned—possibly on 16 October, but more plausibly later—of the carrier’s failure to deliver to Harvey a copy of Spenser’s latin verse epistle and of Spenser’s decision to include the Latin poem along with the letter and ‘Iambicum Trimetrum’.
262 Leycester House: Around 1575 the Earl of Leicester had built a grand new home at the very east end of the Strand. That Spenser here claims to have written from Leicester’s town residence reasserts an affiliation with the family claimed throughout the correspondence as well as in SC.
1 Per . . . Immerito: ‘Through sea and land / Alive and dead / Your Immerito.’
Liberalissimo: Most courteous
in good soothe: very truly
5 Laxatiue: While the term might be construed as ‘relaxing’, normal 16th-c usage, like normal modern usage, is always medical in focus. In a dialogue by Harvey’s contemporary, Austin Saker, one of the interlocutors speaks of another’s travel as ‘laxative to your pursse’ (Laberynth of Libertie, 1580, F2), but, like Harvey, Saker is making a Rabelaisian joke.
hunt the Letter: Practice alliteration.
7 hunt the Letter: Cf. SC Epistle 103. Harvey seems to be mocking the slightly mannered schematic word play of Spenser’s letter (e.g., that at 239-45) and especially the alliterative schemes of 111-12: ‘you shall bee verye deepe in my debte: notwythstandyng, thys other sweete, but shorte letter, and fine, but fewe Verses’. But above all, he is responding to Spenser’s request that Harvey respond with one of his ‘mellitissimis, longissimisque Litteris’ (‘sweetest, longest letters’; 34).
belike: probably
extra iocum: ‘joking aside’
odde: singular
allowed: commended
hardly: with difficulty
16 πορφύρα περὶ πορφύραν διακριτέα: porphyra peri porphyran diakritea, ‘purple distinguished from purple’. Harvey is probably misremembering the proverb as cited from Phoebammon in Erasmus’s Adages, ‘πορφύρα παρὰ τὴν πορφύραν διακριτέα’ porphyra para tōn porphyran diakritea (2.1.74), which Erasmus renders purpura ad purpuram dijudicanda est, ‘purple should be compared to purple’. Harvey explains the proverb clearly enough, that one porphyra (purple or scarlet) may appear impressive in isolation, but may seem far less so when compared to another.
in a manner: in some sense
dashed . . . Countenaunce: utterly disconcerted
like: likely
27 these Presentes: The contents of this document. As Harvey makes clear, the phrase is a legal formula: scriveners specialized in the production of legal documents.
Godbewyes: God-be-with-you’s
30 Counsaylour: The term can specify one who gives legal counsel, but Harvey’s mocking attempt to live up to Spenser’s description of him, as Nostri Cato maxime sæcli (‘the greatest Cato of our age’, quoting 4.184 above) entails moral and not legal counsel. Spenser has already remarked on the force of Harvey’s counsel at 4.6-10.
32 Uerses . . . enclosed: See 189-221 below.
36 Uertue . . . Substaunces: Harvey’s academic joke draws on the Aristotelian distinction, most fully worked out in his treatise on Categories, between accidents, the qualities or attributes of things, and substances, those entities in which accidents inhere. Harvey is probing a kind of irony in Aristotelean thought: while ‘redness’ is an accident of roses and ‘virtue’ an accident of individual humans, and therefore, in a sense, dependent on them, the substances in which redness and virtue inhere, roses and humans, are mortal; on the other hand, even though redness and virtue are only manifest in substances like roses and humans, they are not themselves subject to mortality. So the substance is mortal and the accident is immortal.
40 so clearkly . . . Paraphrase: Harvey appends these poems of Norton, Gouldingham, and the elder Withipoll to the end of his letter; see 188-211.
so clearkly: in so scholarly a fashion
Doctours: learned men
38 olde Maister Wythipole: Edmund Withipoll (c. 1514-82) was an Ipswich landowner who had been the student of Thomas Lupset and the dedicatee of Lupset’s Exhortation to Young Men (1529). His son, Peter, two of whose poems are also appended at the end of Harvey’s letter, was a university acquaintance of Harvey’s.
tush: scoff, react by saying ‘tush!’
Paraphrase: translation
to: in response to
44 Of my credit . . . large.: By ‘youre doubtes’ Harvey may be referring to those doubts which Spenser expressed at 4.10-21 concerning the publication of SC (in which case Harvey somewhat mysteriously reasserts his earlier ‘credite’ or beliefs, promising to explain more later). Yet it seems more likely that he is here taking up the topic of his own reputation (‘my credite’), to the cultivation of which Spenser has advised him to be more attentive (4.26-9); indeed, Spenser twice mentions that he has himself taken pains to enhance Harvey’s reputation (4.2-6, 38-40) and also indicates that E.K. is also hard at work promoting Harvey (4.57-9). Harvey seems to feel that Spenser doubts his commitment to his own self-promotion and he reassures him that these ‘doubtes’ are unfounded. At 47-8, Harvey insists that he is biding his time and that he is content to have others exert themselves on his behalf.
redoubted: estimable, deserving of fear
44 Your hotte yron: See 4.29.
fayne: more than content
48 bee . . . Caruers: Cf. Ham 1.3.19-20.
50 ἄρειονπαγον: Areion pagon (Gk acc. for ‘Areopagos’); see 4.41 and n.
51 the . . . Gentlemenne: Dyer and Sidney; see 4.36-7.
52 Dionisij Areopagitæ: ‘Dionysius-the-Areopagites’. Dionysius, the second Bishop of Athens, had been a judge in the court of the Areopagus before he converted to Christianity under the influence of the preaching of the Apostle Paul. A body of important late-antique Christian Neoplatonic writings was later attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite, but Valla, Grocyn, and Erasmus all advanced arguments discrediting the attribution.
59 Marry . . . auouche: Harvey’s response to Spenser’s assessment of his own trimeters—‘I dare warrant, they be precisely perfect for the feete (as you can easily judge)’ (4.76-7)—plays on the legal sense of ‘warrant’.
59 the thirde: 4.87/3. On the metrics of these lines, see 4.82n.
Lowce: louse
wonderous: shocking, provoking wonder
Senarie: senarius
61 Senarie: Because the senarius is the chief Latin descendant of the Greek iambic trimeter the terms trimeter and senarius are often used interchangeably. The senarius can be understood as having six feet, like a louse.
61 the sixte: 4.90/6.

Syncopes: Syncope is the metrical suppression of a short vowel between two consonants within a word, as in the treatment of Virginals as Virg’nals in the alternate scansion of 4.90.6 that Harvey here facetiously proposes:

Playing  alone  carelesse  on hir  heauenlie  Virgnals.

Etymologically derived from κόπτειν koptein (Gk ‘to cut off, to strike’), syncope is here imagined as surgically correcting the deformity of the hypermetric sixth line of Spenser’s senarius.

66 Curtoll: A curtal is a horse with its tail cut short and, sometimes, with its ears cropped. Since cropping of ears is also one of the punishments for criminal activity, the term is sometimes used for criminals, so there is a rough humor in the suggestion that Spenser ‘should have made a Curtoll of Immĕrĭtō’ in order to regulate his metrics. See 4.82 and n.
67 licentious: An appropriate description of the senarius, which admits of a variety of metrical substitutions and shortenings, many of which were regarded as impermissible in other metrical forms. So free was the form that Plautus, among others, took pains strictly to guard the iambic character of the final foot against substitution; as Harvey scans the lines, Spenser’s handling of Virginals (4.87) and Immerito (4.102) push the limits of the licentious iambic, since his procedures violate even the special privilege of the final foot.
69 and of . . . Spondee: Harvey here changes tack and concedes the ‘licentious’ hypermetricality of ‘Virginals’ and ‘Immerito’ is preferable to imposing a spondaic conclusion—Vīrg’nāls and Immēr’tō—on the words.
70 too many Spondees: Most lines contain three, but the 5th, 11th, 14th, and 15th contain four. In the Arcadian Rhetoricke (1588), Fraunce cites the poem, without detraction, as an example of the mixed form of iambic verse, ‘which admitteth also Spondaeus’ (Fraunce, 1950, 32).
73 thy . . . shorte: Harvey here infers Spenser’s position on particular quantities from the manifest evidence of ‘Iambicum Trimetrum’. (The sustained discussion of the rules governing syllable quantity unfolds in Letters 1-3, composed after Letters 4 and 5). While the relaxed rules of iambic trimeter make it difficult to ascertain what quantity Spenser assigns to almost any syllable in the poem, there is some reason to believe that he regards ‘thy’—along with the first syllables of ‘lying’ and ‘flying’ as short: although substitutions are allowed, the expected second foot of most iambic metres, especially the second foot of the final metre in any given line, would be an iamb, and we find ‘flying’, ‘fly forth’, and ‘lying’ in such positions in 4.83, 4.84, and 4.85, which suggests that Spenser regards ‘fly’, ‘ly-’ and, by analogy, ‘thy’, as short. (The second foot of the poem’s final line ‘I dye’ might therefore seem to be an unallowable trochee, but the spelling of ‘dye’ may be meant to distinguish it from ‘fly’ and ‘thy’, so that we may regard this as a spondee.)
74 Arte Memoratiue: While Harvey’s sentence figures the faculty of memory as a kind of vocation, this particular phrase is technical. The Art of Memory was a body of techniques to facilitate verbal memory; training in these techniques had a place in formal rhetorical education.
75 Abstemio: Lorenzo Astemio (or Bevilaqua), otherwise known as Laurentius Abstemius. Harvey’s tale is adapted from the 68th fable of Astemio’s second Hecatomythia, ‘De claudo primum accubitum occupante’ (‘Of the lame man occupying the first place at table’), widely available in various EM editions of the Fables of Aesop and others.
sate . . . downe: sat himself right down
hansomely: handily
placed me: placed
83 Sedes . . . Trochæo: ‘To the trochee is given none but the sixth place’. The formulation derives from the Doctrinale puerorum (3.10), the widely used thirteenth-century versified grammar of Alexander of Villedieu; Villedieu is here discussing the prosodic rules governing the Latin hexameter.
87 quite thrust . . . Senarie: For all the prosodic license allowable in the senarius, the trochee is impermissible in all positions—perhaps especially impermissble in the first place in which Spenser has placed ‘Make thy’ (4.83), where, according to Harvey, it sits as improperly as the lame man at the nuptial feast.
autentique: legally authorized
92 In eo . . . peccat: ‘Whose only sin is that he does not sin’. Harvey here adapts, with negligible change in meaning, a line from Pliny the Younger, ‘Nihil peccat, nisi quod nihil pecat’ (Epistles 9.26.1).
95 89-92 Ascham offers this report on Thomas Watson’s prosodic fastidiousness in the course of his discussion of imitation in The Scholemaster (Works, 284), in which Ascham singles out Watson’s Absolon and Buchanan’s Jepthe as the only worthy modern imitations of Euripides’ tragedies. Harvey may have more of this portion of The Schoolmaster in mind, since a few lines earlier Ascham discusses the sole instance in which trochaic meters are allowable in tragedy.
97 in Locis paribus: ‘in the same places’, i.e., as if anapaests were prosodically allowable substitutes for iambs.
ywisse: certainly
98 in . . . opinion: Expressed in the same passage in The Scholemaster (Works, 284).
curious: meticulous
102 Lo . . . worlde: Building an argument in favor of such minor forms of license as the irregular anapaest, Harvey twits Spenser for having failed to achieve the same fastidiously precise adherence to rule as inhibited Watson.
102 A good . . stumbleth: The Bishop of Winchester’s Vindication (1683) makes the meaning of the proverb clear: ‘aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus, Sometimes honest Homer is caught napping; or as we say, It is a good horse that never stumbles’ (T3).
doth: doth stumble
Iambici: writers of iambic verse
spared: spared us
of my selfe . . . marked: by me . . . observed
109 M. Drantes Rule: See 4.69.
111 Pauca . . . Virtutibus: ‘A few vices should be forgiven for the sake of many virtues’.
Vitia: vices, defects
115 Verum . . . ratiocinandi: ‘Indeed, entrust those [vices] to me, by the way, not, as in the spirit of opposition or even of contradiction; but rather in our earlier, Academic manner of deliberation’.
119 And . . . presence: The sentence is difficult and may have suffered transmissional distortion. As printed, it might be construed in one of two ways: 1) ‘And to speak truly—and also, partly, to requite your gentle courtesy in pledging yourself to me and [in] noting my inadvertent breach of Drant’s rules—I discern which rules can pass as good ones and comport themselves in an orderly fashion [‘keepe a Rule’] even when they are not in the presence of better rules’ or 2) ‘And to speak truly—and also, partly, to requite your gentle courtesy in pledging yourself to me and [in] noting my inadvertent breach of Drant’s rules, which rules you accept as good ones—I perceive and keep a [different] Rule, whenever there’s no better rule already in place.’ According to the second construction, Harvey’s rule would be implied in the next sentence: never to pass judgement on something about which one is inadequately informed, like Drant’s rules.
beginning to: pledging (yourself) to
gorbellyed: fat-bellied
go for: pass for
in presence: at hand, on public display, in public
suruiewe: review
preiudice of: favourable predisposition towards
124 some . . . man.: Drant’s relatively recent death in 1578 motivates Harvey’s slightly elegiac tone.
charge me with: indict me by adducing
nighe hande: readily
134 Reliqua . . . magis: ‘All the other things that remain concerning this plan for English versifying, we will set aside for another, more leisured occasion’.
Goddilge yee: may God reward you, ‘God yield ye’
136 your bountifull Titles: Harvey’s slightly mocking thanks may have a dual focus, on both the extravagant terms of the title of Spenser’s verse epistle—‘ornatissimum’, ‘clarissimum’—and on the grandiose titles he lavishes on Harvey in the course of the poem—‘Magne pharetrati . . . contemptor Amoris’, ‘magnus Apollo’, ‘nostri Cato Maxime sæcli’, ‘Nomen honorati sacrum . . . Poëtæ’, ‘Angelus’.
137 Italy: Here understood to be a vast schoolroom in the art of insincere flattery.
Tittles: minute details
140 Tittles . . . pointe: Since a tittle is a small stroke or a dot in writing or printing, often serving as some sort of diacritical mark, Harvey’s contrast between ‘Tittles’ and ‘the very pointe in deede’ amounts to a witty, strongly evaluative comparison of kinds of point. The conceit is sustained in Harvey’s suggestion that the latter point, like that of the surgeon’s knife, will touch Spenser ‘to the quicke’ (134).
humors: dispositions, passions
141 one . . . humors: While Harvey’s phrasing alludes to the formal humoral system of Galenic psychology and medicine, his meaning is casual: that disorderly erotic interests ‘raigne’ over youthful male behavior.
144 Heus . . . finem: ‘Ay me, good suitor, you great womanizer, distinguished philanderer, Consider the consequences that remain at long last for you and for all skirt-chasers, for the entire woman-crazed throng’.
159 quod . . . Credite me: ‘As I have so often said, and as you, too, have occasionally said, and as the experienced daily say: Love is a bitter thing. Love is not a god, as some maintain, but bitterness and error and whatever else the Experienced can accumulate in the same vein. And Agrippa seems to me to have cleverly corrected that Ovidean work, entitled [‘epigraphēn’] The Art of Love, rightly retitling it the Art of Whoring. Nor did someone inaptly compare lovers to alchemists, pleasantly dreaming of golden mountains and silver fountains, all the while nearly blinded and even wretchedly suffocated by vast coal smoke. He declared that, in addition to that famous Paradise of Adam, there was another Paradise, of Fools, the wonderful Paradise of Lovers—Adam’s the one of the truly blessed, theirs of the fantastically and fanatically so. But of these things, more, perhaps, elsewhere. Believe me’.
149–151 Agrippa . . . Meretricandi: Cornelius Agrippa makes this ‘correction’ in chapter 63 of his treatise De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum (1530, trans. by James Sanford in 1569 as On the Vanity and Uncertaintie of Artes and Sciences).
linne: leave off
Sophister: Sophist
165 you shall not: Harvey seems to have been correct; no evidence survives of Spenser ever having made the trip to France anticipated at 4.236-9. What follows may therefore be construed as a kind of boast: whereas Harvey wagers that Spenser will make no journey, he flaunts his own authority as an advisor to Leicester on the art and craft of travel.
167 your request: 4.112-4.
Il Pellegrino: pilgrim
170 Il Pellegrino: Harvey seems to be referring to the title of Girolamo Parabosco’s comedy from 1552.
173 162-70: Whereas Spenser anticipated traveling as his Lord’s representative (‘as sent by him’, 4.238), Harvey here describes Leicester’s own preparations for travel. The transformative ‘Lecture’ that Harvey is preparing will be in the art of apodemica, which included the construction of itineraries, methods of observation while traveling, systems for questioning native informants, and for taking notes. Harvey refers here to two of the earliest contributions to what would become a large body of literature on the science of travel. The first is Hieronymo Turler’s De peregrinatione (1574), which was translated into English as The Traveiler in 1575: Spenser himself gave Harvey a copy of the translation in 1578. The second is Theodor Zwinger’s Methodus apodemica (1577), a much more systematic treatise heavily influenced by Peter Ramus, one of Harvey’s intellectual heroes. For a useful introduction to the form, see Howard 1914: ch. 2.
liuelye and absolute: lifelike and consummate
185 Wherof I . . . other: Harvey’s praise of Leicester, that chief among the many goddesses and graces who guide him are the wise Minerva and the ingratiating Venus, contains an implicit apodemical theory, that the ideal traveler must combine the judiciousness, discipline, and prudence of the Minervan head and the amiable grace and courtesy of the Venereal body. It is worth noting that Harvey returns, quite self-consciously, to the technical philosophical vocabulary adopted earlier in the letter, at 32-3, signalling the return by means of the parenthesis, ‘(I speake to a Logician)’. Harvey’s reference to Leicester as an ‘apt subjecte’ [my emphasis] introduces one of the key terms in Aristotle’s Categories: Aristotle devotes a section, Z.3, to the discussion of what a ‘subject’ (hypokeimenon) is and he defines it as ‘that of which everything else is predicated’ (1028b36), which makes it rather like what Aristotle refers to as a ‘primary substance’. At the end of the sentence, when Harvey speaks of ‘the inseparable and indivisible accidents’—Harvey seems to regard the two adjectives as synonyms—‘of the foresaide Subiect’ he alludes to a ‘subtile’ logical distinction, introduced by Porphyry, in the understanding of accidents. In chapt. 3 of his Isagoge, Porphyry distinguishes between separable and inseparable accidents, the latter being those accidents or features of individual subjects—like ‘the prudence of Leicester’s mind’ or ‘the grace of Leicester’s body’—that seem to inhere in it at all times—in Leicester’s case, abroad or at home—yet seem not to be essential to those subjects. The ‘inseparable accident’ is something of a boundary case, for one might challenge whether it is indeed accidental, asking, ‘If Leicester’s mind is always prudent and his body always graceful are grace and prudence not more than accidental? Are they not substantial, constitutive of his mind and body?’ Harvey’s philosophic usage is not very fastidious, although it allows him an alternative to a sociable mythographic register in which Leicester is accompanied by goddesses; in Harvey’s flattering philosophical register Leicester’s remarkable characteristics are evoked mysteriously, as both intellectually separable and also intrinsic.
the foresaide Subiect: i.e., My Lord’s body and mind
196 De quibus . . . valebis: ‘Concerning these things and all the other equipment of the skilled traveller, of which the foremost is that divine Homeric herb, “Moly, the gods call it”, by means of which Mercury fortified his Ulysses against the potions, spells, and drugs of Circe and against all diseases, I hope soon [to discourse] personally, both copiously at length, as is my wont, and also, perhaps, somewhat more plainly than is my wont, and, especially, more practically and politically. Meanwhile, you will content yourself with three syllables: “and fare-well”’.
191 μῶλυ . . . θεοί: ‘mōly de min kaleousi theoi’; Homer, Od 10.305.
197 stil in my Gallerie: Since gallery denotes an unusually narrow apartment, Harvey may be emphasizing the continued modesty of his circumstances, despite his having been awarded a fellowship in the preceding year.
201 M. Doctor Norton: This Doctor Norton has not been securely identified. It is tempting to identify him as Thomas Norton (c. 1531--1584), co-author of Gorboduc, for he has a few other Latin poems to his credit and had considerable experience as a translator. But if Harvey were using the title ‘Doctor’ in a strict sense, he would be referring to someone other than Thomas Norton, for this Norton did not hold the doctorate, having been admitted to the M.A. in 1570 by a grace passed by the Cambridge university senate.
203 M. Thomas . . . Requestes: Thomas Sackford or Seckford (1515/6-1587) may have been an alumnus of Cambridge; he was certainly a lawyer, like Thomas Norton, and was sworn Master in ordinary in the Court of Requests in 1558.
ἀκρόστιχα: ‘akrosticha’, acrostic.
205 / 1–213 Tempora . . . manent: ‘Our pleasant times are ravaged by a secret bite; / what slowly flourishes shortly will lie dead; / what buds in the spring of the year is soon consumed by age. / Effort and care enrich; do not the same things oppress? / Falsehood, or wisdom begotten by wakeful study, / oh, and the pride of the great are often cast down. / We stream away among wavering things and tumble down by degrees; / Only the sweet rewards of virtue still remain.’
paraphrastically varied: adapted by means of paraphrase
214 M. . . . Gouldingam: Probably the William Goldingham who wrote Herodes, a Senecan play in Latin composed sometime in the early 1570s. William Goldingham became a Fellow of Trinity Hall in 1571 and proceeded Doctor of Laws in 1579.
214–215 olde . . . Ipswiche: See above, 35 and n.
216 / 1–223 / 8 Tempora . . . manent: ‘The sweet times slip away in an unseen rush, / And those things that long had flourished collapse in an instant. / Whatever the new year brings forth is snatched away by autumn. / The Fates cut off the stinted joys of youth. / Ambition is false and the care of ownership distressing; / Glory is dim, and the renown of the wise man hollow. / Fortune churns all human affairs with its unsteady wheel: / Only the sweet rewards of virtue still remain.’
bit: bite
noy: annoy
for to: worthy of
state: status
235 Master . . . Wythipolles: Peter Withipoll was a Cambridge acquaintance, also a Fellow at Trinity Hall, whom Harvey held in considerable esteem.
rage: fervour, wantonness
247 222-3: The envoy may be admired for its frank assessment of the preceding poems, which share a formulaic and, arguably, shallow facility in their handling of the theme, and capture the difficulty of giving force to the theme, while at the same moment managing to muster the necessary force.
Virtuti . . vsum: ‘For virtue, not for you, I made this, / [signed] Peter Withipoll. / Both for virtue, and for me: / I made it in praise of virtue, / And for my own benefit.’
hughist: i.e. most huge
83 / 6 Comencementes: 83-4. with the . . . Mistresse,: alluding to Harvey’s loss of preferment to the office of University Orator, the principal duty and honor of which was to speak at commencement ceremonies. Frustrated ambition leads Harvey to forswear his mistress – oratory, presumably – and the remark transformed his sense of the academic place where he finds himself – ‘Not the like Trinitie againe’ (86). On Harvey’s failed campaign for that Oratorship see the notes at 618-9 and 2.644.
solempne: solemn
Building display . . .
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Off: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, (blest. And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely (FQ I.ii.18.8-9) On: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.

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Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine (FQ I.i.14.9) 14.9. Most lothsom] this edn.; Mostlothsom 1590

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And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place, (FQ I.i.31.5) 5. thee] 1590; you 15961609

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To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G.H. (Letters I.1) 1. long aprooved: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period