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TO THE MOSTE high, puissant, noble,vertuous, and righte Christian Princesse Elizabeth, by the grace of God Quene of Englande, Fraunce, and Ireland. &c.etc.
A FTER my departure oute of Brabante, Brabante (myne owne naturall Countrey)Countrey), into youre MaiestiesMajesties Realme of Englande (moste gracious Lady) as well for that I would not beholde the abhominations of the Romyshe Antechrist, as to escape the handes of the bloudthirsty: In the meane space for the auoydingavoyding of idlenesse (the very mother and nourice of all vices) I hauehave among other my trauaylestravayles bene occupied aboute thys little Treatyse, wherin is sette forth the vilenesse and basenesse of worldely things, whiche commonly withdrawe vsus from heauenlyheavenly and spirituall matters, tomatters. To the ende that vnderstandingunderstanding the vanitie and basenesse of the same, and therewithall consideryng the miserable calamities that ensue therupon, we might be mouedmoved the rather to forsake them, and gyuegyve oure seluesselves to the knowledge of HeauenlyHeavenly and eternall things, whence all true happinesse and felicitie doth procede. And for as much as the matter of it selfe is very good (deseruyngdeservyng in dede to be handeled by men of farre better skil thãthan I) I could not deuisedevise how any things whatsoeuerwhatsoever, of lykenesse and conueniencieconveniencie mighte more properly bee resembled one to the other, than this boke for the aptnesse &and conueniencieconveniencie of the argument might be dedicated to your MaiestieMajestie, a most blessed and happie prince. Happy I say, not so much for that youre grace is lineally descended by the most high, puissaunt, mightie &and victorious prince Henry the eight of famous memorie, from so many myghtie and puissant princes of this Realme, your MaiestiesMajesties moste noble progenitours: which hauehave long agone, most valiantly &and victoriously cõqueredconquered al France, and by dint of sword daunted their enimies, so that youre highnesse beareth in Armes as right inheritour thereunto, the royall scepter and Croune imperiall, most triũphantlytriumphantly, and the titles of Englande, Fraunce, and Irelande joyntely in youre maiestiesmajesties stile; neither[ſt]ile. Neither for, that your highnesse as a rare Phœnix of your time, are singular and peerelesse in honoure and renoune, in princely maiestiemajestie, wisedome, skil, beautie, fauourfavour, mildenesse, curtesie and gentlenesse: to be short, excellent in all kind of vertue; norvertue. Nor in respecte of youre learning, knowledge, counsell, judgement, and eloquence, as well in the Greeke, Latine, Italian, Frenche, Dutch, as in your owne natural English, and other languages, wherin your grace may be resembled not onely to Tullie, and Demosthenes, but to Mercurie, the God of eloquence, as is apparant by youre MaiestiesMajesties most apte and wise aunswers giuengiven in your own person to al Embassadours, and to eueryevery of them in their owne naturall language with a singular dexteritie and princely maiestiemajestie, &and with maruellousmarvellous swetenesse of tong; nortong. Nor bicause your grace is expert in song, &and in the arte of Musike, skilful in al kindes of musical instrumẽtsinstruments, and according to the exact proportiõsproportions of geometrie exquisite in the measures of the daunce: and besides al these, embraced of Apollo, and his nine sisters, by whome your grace is so instructed in the diuinedivine Arte of Poetrie, that you may woorthily be called the seconde Sappho; neitherSappho. Neither for your great skil &and judgement in painting and imagerie, bothe for the cunnyng of the workmanshyp and the deuisedevise and storie. In summe, perfecte in all good exercises of the wit, namely the artes and liberall sciences. Finally, not alonly for that nature of hir boũtiebountie and goodnesse hath shewed suche grace and speciall fauourfavour toward you, by enduing youre grace moste plentyfully with infinite graces and vertues more abundantly than any other Prince or Princesse in the worlde, so that it might serueserve me for a sufficient argument to fill large volumes, only to stande in commendation of your maiestiemajestie, not annexing therto any deuisedevise of myne owne, of fained Emblemes or Poetical fables, and that without vsingusing flatterie or glosing, as they do most comonly, that ambitiously seeking after prefermentes and honoure, disguise rather than describe noble and honorable personages, whome they sette oute many tymes beyonde al truth, yea sometime aboueabove measure, and with as great inconueniencieinconveniencie as yf they should paynt an Asse tuning of a harp. For I do not accompt your grace happy for these alonely (thoughe many and singular) giftes and graces, which your grace enioyethenjoyeth in great plentie and abundance, consideryng they bee transitorie, and can not make any man or woman happie (albeit they seme diuinedivine and supernaturall,)supernaturall), excepte they be accompanied wyth the louelove and feare of God, according to the saying of King Lamuell, in the thirde of the ProuerbesProverbes: FauourFavour is deceiuable,deceivable, and Beautie a mere vanitie, but the woman that feareth the Lorde, is to be belouedbeloved. But chiefly and principally when I consider that God intendyng to bestowe an excellent benefit peculiarly vponupon your MaiestieMajestie more than vponupon any other Prince or Princesse in the worlde, hath besides al the other forenamed his manifolde giftes and graces, lightened your vnderstandingunderstanding with his holy spirit, and hath vouchesafed (by enclinyng youre graces heart, spirite and minde to humilitie, peace, mildenesse, and all kinde of louablenesse)lovablenesse) to chose your maiestiemajestie, especially to be his champion to defend his belouedbeloved church. And in this respect,respect (like as all faithfull and true ChristiãChristian princes throughout all Europe do esteme and repute you)you), do I also, and that of good right call your grace a moste happie and blessed Prince. Consider I beseche you, how God hath blessed your maiestiemajestie in thys worlde more than he hath done any of your progenitours. For neuernever was it seene in any age or time heretofore, that this your realme of England hath flourished as it dothe at this present vnderunder your MaiestiesMajesties moste happie gouernementgovernement. Firste in all kinde of liberall Artes and sciences. Secondarily in the abundance of treasure, as well golde and siluersilver, as all sortes of riche and precious iewelsjewels and ornamentes. Thirdely, in the free passage and trafike of all kinde of marchandise: Besides this, in good and politike lawes and ordinances, namely in the due execution of iusticejustice, according to law and equitie. The worde of God is purely preached here in six or seuenseven languages. The Sacraments of Baptisme, and the holy Supper, sincerely ministred according to Christes institution. Christian discipline in due force in many places. Finally eueryevery countrey and nation that will liuelive here according to his holy worde, is receiuedreceived, and findeth good entertainement. O how happy and blessed is that King or kingdome, where these things are in force.force Contrarywise most vnhappieunhappie are those princes, that banishyng and reiectingrejecting Christ, receiuereceive that Antechrist, the sonne of the DiuellDivell, and forsakyng the truth, embrace errour: To be short, that do al things ouerthwartlyoverthwartly &and clean against the hair.hair For it is moste certaine and sure, that sodaine ruine and destruction shall fall vponupon all wicked and vngodlyungodly persons, as well nowe as in tyme paste, as experience hath well prouedproved heretofore: Namely vponupon Pharao, and hys kingdome of Egypt, vponupon IeroboamJeroboam, Achab, IezabellJezabell and infinite other mo. Wher on the other part, the good kings &and princes which feare the Lord, shal hauehave peace and comfort bothe in this worlde, and in the worlde to come: Like as had IosuaJosua, IudaJuda, Gedeon, DauidDavid and diuersdivers other in those days, and is also to be seene at this day most euidentlyevidently in the realmes and countreyes vnderunder youre MaiestiesMajesties dominion, whiche God hath blessed in suche sort, that it may truly be sayd, that the kingdome of Saturne, and the Golden worlde is come againe, and the Virgin Astrea is desscended from heauenheaven to builde hir a seate in this your moste happie countrey of EnglãdEngland. For here is peace and quietnesse, where aswhereas the moste parte of foraine countreyes are full of great tumultes, and that (more is the pitie) with the sheding of much christian bloude. And where as many myghtie kings and potentates of the earthe hauehave banded and conspired together, &and fight eueryevery where against God his anointed, and his holy churche, bendyng their force vtterlyutterly to deface hys name, his glorie, and his Churche: Almightie God of his diuinedivine prouidenceprovidence hath nowe also in these days (like as he hath in all ages heretofore) raised vpup diuersdivers good and godly princes and states, and prouidedprovided certaine places, wherto the elect and faithfull hauehave resorted &and bene preseruedpreserved, during the time of persecution,perſetion, to the ende that his holy name myght there be glorified, his worde purely and sincerely preached, and his Churche dispersed, in a manner restored. As it is also come to passe in these our most miserable days, in the whiche suche as syncerely louelove and esteeme more derely the honoure and glorie of God than they doe their owne commodities, ease, and welfare,welfare (after the counsel of Christ, saying in this wyse: yfifYfIf they persecute you in one citie, flie ye vntounto an other)other), hauehave bene cõtentcontent to depart their owne naturall countrey, wholly to forsake their landes, inheritances, possessions, and dwellyng places, yea and some also, to surrẽdersurrender their offices, dignities, &and worldly preferments. An other sort with their wiueswives children and parentes are departed into Germanie, namely into the territorie and dominion of Frederike prince Elector and coũtiecountie Palatine, the floure of all Christian Princes in these dayes (that I knowe) in the feruentfervent zeale and true feare of God, a man worthy to be compared with DauidDavid, or IosiasJosias. Others are fled into other places elsewhere, some to one cuntrey, some to an other, eueryevery one according to his abilitie, estate, condition, and facultie. But we a numbre of vsus are arriuedarrived in saftie in this your maiestiesmajesties realme of Englande, as into a moste safe and sure harborough, where we liuelive (God be thanked) vnderunder your MaiestiesMajesties protection and safegarde in greate libertie to serueserve God in eyther language, the French or the Dutche, without al feare of tyrantes, or daunger of the gapyng throates of greedie raueningravening wolueswolves. After the same maner hath God in time past pre seruedpreserved &and deliuereddelivered his elect out of the hãdshands of their enimies &and persecuters by the ministerie of dyuersdyvers vertuous women. As is to be sene in the .4. chapt. of the boke of IudgesJudges. How God deliuereddelivered his people of Israel out of the hãdshands of IabinJabin king of Chanaan, by Debora the prophetesse, by selling Sizara chiefe captain of his armie into the hãdhand of a womãwoman called IahelJahel. As he also preseruedpreserved DauidDavid frõfrom the furie of Saul, by Michol Sauls own daughter. As he deliuereddelivered the citizẽscitizens of Bethulia, frõfrom the tiranny of Holofernes, by the hand of that most vertuous Ladie IudithJudith. And as the childrẽ children of Israel, were sauedsaved by the counsel of Mardocheus, at the instãceinstance &and request of the most gratious &and humble Hester, where they were lately before in peril of death &and presẽtpresent destructiõdestruction by the conspiracie of wicked Haman. The like hath ben brought to passe by diuersdivers other renoumed Ladies, whose fame shal endure for euerever. And surely the graces &and mercies that God hath shewed to his afflicted church in these later days by your maiestiesmajesties means, ar no lesse thãthan those he hath shewed tofore by the late rehersed ladies: so that your grace deseruethdeserveth equal praise and cõmẽdatiõcommendation with them, cõsideringconsidering with what gẽtlenessegentlenesse &and with how louingloving &and charitable affection you hauehave receiuedreceived the poore scattered flock of Christ. Is not your MaiestieMajestie then to be estemed infinitely more happy &and blessed that are so specially elect of god to serueserve him for such an instrumẽtinstrument, &and in such a quarel, &and that maugre the beards of the enimies, being enraged through the malice and obstinacy of their hearts do persecute the church of God? Yes assuredly, most happy, christiãchristian, and vertuous princesse, eueneven in the highest degree. Howe shall I be able then to expresse with tong, or to endite with pen your praises sufficiently? verilyVerily I am confounded and put to silence, and do confesse my self to be altogether insufficient. Wherfore (moste gracious Ladie) I rest with my heartie and continuall prayer vntounto God for your maiestiemajestie, that he turne not his face from you, but that it wold please him to continue and daily to encrease his grace and fauorfavor towards you, and his holy spirite within you, as also in and towardes those that be of your MaiestiesMajesties counsel, and all other Magistrates and officers whatsoeuerwhatsoever hauinghaving authoritie vnderunder your highnesse within your maiestiesmajesties realms and dominions, dominions.dominiõs. that walking in the fear &and louelove of him they may do al their endeuourendevour through the preaching of his holy word to aduaunceadvaunce his holy name, and aboueabove al things especially to seke the safetie and weal of his church. And therfore for the great benefit &and good that God hath don vntounto his church by means of your maiestymajesty (most gracious prince) al tru faithful whatsoeuerwhatsoever they be, as wel strangers as your natural subiectssubjects seke to do vntounto your maiestiemajestie most faithful and honorable seruiceservice, according to their power. Besides, in al their assẽbliesassemblies &and in eueryevery congregation they make their hartie &and feruẽtferuentfervẽtfervent prayers vntounto almightie God for the helth of your soule, the safegard of your most royal person, &and the prosperous estate of your realm long to cõtinuecontinue. And I especially for mine own part, bicause I wold not be vnthãkfulvnthankfulunthãkfulunthankful for the great benefits I enioyenjoy by your grace, abiding vnderunder your maiestiesmajesties protectiõprotection (forasmuch as ingratitude is a mostis a a most horrible andaud detestable vice) in consideration thereof (moste gracious Lady) I present your highnesse with this smal Treatise of mine, as the best IewelJewel that I hauehave in store at this presente, in signification of my good wil, and for declaration of my duetie in this behalfe, beseeching youre highnesse moste humbly to accept it in good parte as (considering your maiestiesmajesties natural bountie and your accustomed goodnesse) my trust is you will vouchsafe to doe. For I am persuaded (albeit the stile be rude) that the matter shall be fitte for your MaiestieMajestie to reade, and that the same shall not be vnpleasantunpleasant vntounto you, but minister vntounto your grace great occasion of much ioyjoy, peace, and contentation of minde and conscience. And these be the causes and respects for the which I presume to present the same to your maiestiemajestie, in most humble maner beseching your highnesse to accepte the same, and praying to almightie God to graunt vntounto your MaiestieMajestie a moste happie reign in this world: and after this life to reigne with him for euerever, for his only son our Lorde IesusJesus Christes sake.
Your MaiestiesMajesties most humble seruantservant, IeanJean vander Noodt.
1. naturall: native
4. Romyshe: Roman
5. meane space: meantime
6. nourice: nurse
6. other my: my other
8. withdrawe: distract
11. the rather: instead
12. gyve: devote
14. for as much: insofar
17. conveniencie: aptness
17. resembled: likened
21. puissaunt: powerful
28. stile: full legal title
35. Tullie: Marcus Tullius Cicero
42. exquisite: highly accomplished
44. his nine sisters: the Muses
47. cunnyng: artfulness
47. devise: design
49. alonly: alone
49. of hir: out of her; as an exercise of her
51. enduing: endowing
53. argument: theme
56. glosing: specious praise
60. inconveniencie: unsuitableness
61. accompt: account
61. for these alonely: only for these
67. deceivable : deceitful
64. happie: fortunate
70. peculiarly: particularly, preferentially
71. al . . . his: all of his other forenamed
72. lightened: enlightened
75. lovablenesse: praiseworthiness
94. entertainement: welcome
99. overthwartly . . . hair: perversely and completely contrariwise
118. God of: God in exercise of
127. commodities: sources of sustenance and comfort
131. dignities: positions of elevated status
132. preferments: positions conferring social and financial advantage
141. harborough: harbor
147. dyvers: diverse
158. renoumed: renowned
161. tofore: earlier
164. affection: disposition, affect
171. endite: compose
174. heartie: heartfelt
183. weal: well-being
190. estate: state
192. wold not be: desire not to be
192. by your grace: by means of your liberality
196. in store: laid up
197. in signification: as a sign
200. vouchsafe: be willing, deign
201. the matter: the substance of the argument
202. the same: i.e., the matter of the book
204. contentation: contentment
78. and that of good right: and I do so for good reason
9. matters, to] matters. To 1569
28. stile; neither] [ſt]ile. Neither 1569
32. vertue; nor] vertue. Nor 1569
40. tong; nor] tong. Nor 1569
45. Sappho; neither] Sappho. Neither 1569
95. force.] force 1569
99. hair.] hair 1569
122. persecution,] perſetion, 1569
180. dominions,] dominions. 1569
194. is a most] is a a most 1569
194. and] aud 1569
Readers will note that we will print an abridgement of the Theatre, with the full text of the book available on line. The following notes provide glosses and commentary for the abridged version and also a sketchy, incomplete commentary on some passages that will be published only in the online Archive.
THEATRE: Not an uncommon title for a sixteenth-century book meant to provide a critical conspectus on a subject. Such books share with theatrical auditoria the function of offering an object of scrutiny rendered circumscribed and made available for serious reflection to a spectator whose situation allows him or her an objectifying, but not dispassionate vantage.
voluptuous: sensuous, sensual
worldlings: The term suggests not only creatures of this world, but those with allegiances to this world.
HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE: ‘Shame on he who think ill of this’. This is the motto of the Order of the Garter.
In commendationem . . . Brabant: ‘Poem in commendation of the work set forth by the most noble and virtuous Lord, John van der Noot, patrician of Antwerp, by “M. Rabilae”, poet of Brabant.’ ‘M. Rabilae’ is probably an anagram of the name of Melchior van Baerle (Barlaeus), Antwerp author of a number of Latin poems on mythological subjects.

Haec . . . serenam: ‘Let Babylon read these things and learn to rear its earth-bound head as far as heaven: here is the sure path to life, which the noble example of van der Noot gives to men to read. Scorning his homeland, certain victories, and official rewards, aware that virtue has no foundation in blood, he has raised his mind to greater things and, by this work, lets the world know of his uncommon suffering and of his life’s sad labors.

‘Let Babylon read these things; let it read and fill its ears with this work. And if anyone’s mind is shrouded in dark mists and, forgetful of the right path, wanders across trackless rocks, here, the mists removed, he may find out the Supreme Good. The teachings of the “Wise” disperse the truth and jumble it with empty falsehood. O senseless minds of men! Not that Church of the Gods but the alerted mind, lashing these Learned ones with a harsh rope, will lead the corrupted soul to better things.

‘O that the idols lay overthrown! May His honor, which moves all things, be restored. Yet sometimes a kinder fortune will drop from the stars and the piteous rulers of most high Olympus will behold our struggles, behold how the tyrants of all lands rage with furious mind. But whoever is inflamed to discover the star that points out the true path, read here these learned, late-night labors which learned van der Noot has wrought for you. Like the Ploughman who watches the clouds chased away by the sun and the fields renew their smiling, so will you see a tranquil light shine out, through the dense smoke, for you.’

GERARDUS GOOSSENIUS: Like van der Noot, the author of this commendatory poem was a member of the Dutch refugee community in England, having left the Netherlands in 1566. Shortly after the publication of A Theatre van Goosens fell foul of the authorities of the Dutch Church owing to a dispute with one of the elders, John Engelram, after which he moved to Canterbury.
Doctor . . . Zoilum: ‘Doctor Gerard Goosens, Physician, Scientist, and Poet, Governor of Brabant; an Octastich on Zoilus.’ Zoilus was a literary scholar of the fourth century B.C.E, notorious for the hashness of his criticism of Homer. An octastich is an eight-line poem.
Zoile . . . Goosseni: ‘Zoilus, why so pale? Why the perpetual long face, your brow furrowed and forehead always wrinkled? I see that you’re bothered by the publication of this book. But why, I wonder, should you find that troubling? Is it because it attacks the rites of the Papists and the worship of idols, and doesn’t lament despoiled Babylon? It doesn't mind some backbiting, Zoilus; it is content to have delighted the good and discomfited the wicked’. ‘Goossens, steadfast.’
Fraunce: From the reign of Edward III through to that of George III, all English monarchs asserted formal claim to the throne of France.
my departure oute of Brabante: Van der Noot fled Antwerp (in the duchy of Brabant) in the spring of 1567 after a failed Calvinist attempt to take control of the city government. Margaret of Parma had put down the revolt, yet she exercised what would seem, in hindsight, a comparatively moderate approach to this and prior Calvinist insurgencies in Antwerp and its environs; when the Duke of Alva replaced her later in the spring, a number of Antwerp’s Protestants sought refuge in England and Germany. More of the Dutch exiles ended up in London than in any other individual European locale.
naturall: native
as well . . . Antechrist: Van der Noot’s special emphasis on visual hygiene does more than prepare for the carefully disciplined visionary poems to come. The Antwerp Calvinists had a resolute interest in the purification of visual culture, having engaged in an aggressive program of iconoclasm in the years before the crackdown that forced van der Noot to flee to England. The identification of the Roman church or the pope with the Antichrist has a number of pre-Reformation antecedents, and figures in the first of the twenty-five articles of the Lollards (1388).
Romyshe: Roman
meane space: meantime
nourice: nurse
other my: my other
withdrawe: distract
the rather: instead
gyve: devote
for as much: insofar
conveniencie: aptness
prince: Although van der Noot refers to Elizabeth as a ‘Princesse’ in the dedicatory half-title, the sex-neutral use of the term ‘prince’ was in wide use.
resembled: likened
blessed and happie: A pleonasm: ‘happie’ here means ‘fortunate’ or ‘blessed’.
lineally descended: The assertion is polemical: after all, in 1536, her father, Henry VIII, had declared Elizabeth illegitimate; he reversed himself by the Act of Succession of 1543, which Act Edward VI had attempted to overrule in the Device for the Succession of 1553. There were several claimants at the time of the publication of Theatre. Henry Hastings still had a few supporters, and more important, the pretensions of Elizabeth’s second cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, had been explicit since the death of her half-sister, Mary Tudor, when Henry II of France declared his son, Francis II, and Mary, his wife, king and queen of England. Even though Mary Queen of Scots had fled to England from Scotland in 1568 and was very much under Elizabeth’s thumb when Theatre was published, her claims to the English throne had the abiding support of England’s Catholics: the publication precedes the Northern Rebellion by only a few months. Van der Noot’s affirmations of Elizabeth’s sovereignty here have a nervous truculence; they contribute to the general defense against Catholic claims to authority in Theatre.
puissaunt: powerful
stile: full legal title
28Neither for, that: Continuing a series initiated by ‘not so much for that’ above.
Phoenix . . . singular: Cf. Epigram 5. In his account of the mythical phoenix (Natural History 10.2) , Pliny mentions that only one of its kind exists at any time.
Tullie: Marcus Tullius Cicero
given in your own person: I.e., rather than through an interpreter.
exquisite: highly accomplished
measures: This term for dance ‘steps’ reminds us that just as ancient and Early Modern musical theory emphasized the relation between mathematical proportion and ideal musical intervals, so did theoretical writing on dancing describe its gestures and steps as governed by regularities and proportions; see Elyot 1531 and Nevile 2004. (Sir Thomas Elyot, The Boke Named the Governor [1531], 77v-78r, and Jennifer Nevile,The Eloquent Body: Dance and Humanist Culture in Fifteenth-Century Italy[Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004])
his nine sisters: the Muses
imagerie: Although the term can denote sculpture, van der Noot almost certainly means ‘embroidery’ here. Elizabeth was said to have been fond of embroidery and skilled at it from an early age. Two handsome embroidered bookbindings survive, customarily attributed to her.
cunnyng: artfulness
devise: design
alonly: alone
of hir: out of her; as an exercise of her
enduing: endowing
argument: theme
fained Emblemes: Invented images representing moral fables, pictorial allegories. For more on emblems see the Introduction.
glosing: specious praise
flatterie or glosing: The phrase is pleonastic. Glosing, cognate with glossing, has a special association with writing.
inconveniencie: unsuitableness
Asse tuning of a harp: The ancient proverb ‘The ass with the lyre’ could be used to evoke the incomprehension of the crude and ignorant, and the folly of offering higher things to the debased, as well as a range of simple incongruities. Because Erasmus discusses the provenance and the meanings of the proverb at some length in his Adages, it had special currency among humanists.
accompt: account
for these alonely: only for these
Lamuell . . . Proverbes: Van der Noot here quotes Proverbs 31:30. Proverbs was frequently understood to consist of three books, since it collects sayings attributed, first, to Solomon, then, to Agur son of Jakeh, and, in the final chapter, to Lemuel.
deceivable : deceitful
happie: fortunate
peculiarly: particularly, preferentially
al . . . his: all of his other forenamed
lightened: enlightened
lovablenesse: praiseworthiness
Prince: Van der Noot here insists on the fact that the term could be used indifferently of a male or female ruler.
jewels: Not gemstones per se, but articles of adornment made of precious materials.
law and equitie: Van der Noot follows Aristotle (Nic Eth 5) in the conventional distinction between legal justice, administered in England on the authority of custom, maxim, and statute and equity, an extralegal power to bring legal justice, in specific cases, into line with the general principles from which it springs. Van der Noot’s readers would have associated equitable justice with particular (conciliar) courts, and above all the Chancery and the Court of Requests.
in six or seven languages: Important as was vernacular translation of the Bible to those committed to church reform, concerned as they were with lay access to scripture, van der Noot’s emphasis here falls on a different matter of linguistic access. He praises ways in which the religious needs of its various ethnic communities were accommodated in cosmopolitan London.
The Sacraments . . . Supper: Baptism and the Eucharist are the only two rites recognized as sacraments by the leading theologians of the Reformation.
Christian discipline: The Protestant reformers were concerned not only with the correction of doctrine and the reform of church polity, but with a reform of discipline, that is, of the methods of doctrinal and moral correction in pastoral practice, especially at the parish level.
countrey and nation: While country denotes a group of people originating in a particular place, nation can refer both to an ethnic group and to a confessional sect.
entertainement: welcome
banishyng . . . Divell: At 1 John 2:22 the distinguishing feature of the Antichrist is his denial of the divinity of Jesus. The identification of the Antichrist as a son or descendant of Satan derives from the convergence of two other interpretive traditions: that the Antichrist is to be identified with the ‘sonne of perdition’ of 2 Thess 2:3 and that this sonship, an infernal mirror-image of Christ’s divine sonship, is disclosed at Gen 3:15, where God refers to the abiding hostility of the descendants of the serpent to the descendants of Eve.
overthwartly . . . hair: perversely and completely contrariwise
Pharao . . . Jezabell: Jeroboam, first king of the breakaway Northern kingdom of Israel, is remembered in 1 Kings for his revival of idolatry (12:28); his successors, of whom Ahab (here ‘Achab’) is said to be the worst (1 Kings 16:30), are regularly condemned for committing the idolatry: ‘and it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he [i.e., Ahab] took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.’ In their iconoclasm, then, the Reformers tax Catholics with committing the sins of Jeroboam; see Luther (Table-Talk: 175). The gloss to ‘Jezebel’ at this juncture in the Geneva Bible – ‘By whose influence he fell into wicked and strange idolatry and cruel persecution’ − is relevant as are John Knox’s references to Mary Tudor as ‘that cursed Jesabell’ (Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women 1558: D6) and his yoking together of Pharoah and Jezebel in his Faythfull Admonition of 1554 : ‘Remembre brethren, that Goddes vengeaunce plaged not Pharao the fyrst yeare of his tyranny. Neyther dyd the dogges devoure and consume bothe the fleshe and bones of wicked Jezabel when she first erected and set up her Idolatrie’ (F1v-F2r).
Josua . . . David : A slightly heterogeneous list, although Joshua, Gideon, and David all figure in the Old Testament as great military leaders. An outlier not only in this respect, ‘Judah’ also disrupts the chronology of the list. This suggests a possible transmissional lapse in the French Theatre, which the English translation faithfully reproduces at this juncture.
kingdome . . . worlde: In Works and Days 109-120, Hesiod identifies the reign of Cronos with the Golden Age. In Roman culture, Cronos was conflated with Saturn, and the pleasures of the Cronian Golden Age with the indulgence and social leveling of Saturnalia; Ovid offers classic rendering of the Saturnian Golden Age in Met 1.89-112. In his fourth eclogue, Virgil hails the return of Saturn and Astraea, and with them the return of the Golden Age (Ecl 4.6).
Astrea: According to Ovid (Met 1.149-50), this virgin goddess forsook the earth during the last of the Four Ages, when injustice and impiety asserted themselves. Camden reports that Virgil’s celebration of the return of Astraea in the fourth eclogue, ‘Iam redit virgo’, was applied to Elizabeth ‘in the beginning of her . . . reign’ (Remains 1605: Z2r-Z2v). For more on this mythologization of Elizabeth, see Yates (1947).
God of: God in exercise of
these our most miserable days: The clash between the description, a few lines earlier, of the English present as a Golden Age and, here, of the European present as ‘miserable’ suggests the peculiar psychological situation of the asylum-seeker; it also evokes a paradox in the self-understanding of the Protestant, who sees himself as a member of both a persecuted minority and a triumphant imperial Church.
commodities: sources of sustenance and comfort
128-129If they . . . other : Matt 10:23.
dignities: positions of elevated status
preferments: positions conferring social and financial advantage
Frederike: Under the Elector, Frederick III, most of the Palatinate, which had been hospitable to a range of Protestant groups, became a strictly Calvinist enclave within the Holy Roman Empire, though his efforts to suppress Lutheran practices in the Upper Palatinate were only partly successful.
Josias: Josiah, the king of Judah who ‘put down the idolatrous priests’ (2 Kings 23:5), is similarly instanced as a model ruler in the epistle prefatory to the 1570 edition of the Geneva Bible. The comparison of Frederick to Josiah may be especially pointed, since Josiah effected a major reformation not only in his own realm of Judah, but in the kingdom of Israel to the north as well. His fervent iconoclasm would have been an inspiration to the Antwerp reformers: at 2 Kings 23:4, Josiah burns the vessels used in the worship of Baal and carries the ashes to Bethel, the site where Jeroboam had erected his golden calves; at 23:5, he destroys the altar at Bethel.
harborough: harbor
French . . . Dutche: Edward VI granted charters for the founding in London of both Dutch and French churches in 1550.
dyvers: diverse
How . . . Jahel: Alluding both to the account of Deborah’s advice to Barak on how to defeat the army of Sisera (Judg 4:6-16) and to the story of Jael’s subsequent murder of Sisera (Judg 4:17-21).
he also . . . daughter: See 1 Sam 19:11-16.
he delivered . . . Judith: As narrated in the apocryphal book of Judith, ch. 8-16.
the children . . . Haman : See Esther.
renoumed: renowned
tofore: earlier
affection: disposition, affect
and that maugre . . . being: ‘And all this despite the provocations of your enemies, who, being, etc.’ The phrase ‘maugre the beard of’ was proverbial, but van der Noot may be playing with ‘beard’ here, suggesting that Elizabeth is undeterred by the virility of the Catholic princes - the Pope and Philip II of Spain - who opposed her.
endite: compose
heartie: heartfelt
your Majesties counsel: Van der Noot is probably referring quite specifically to Elizabeth’s Privy Council.
weal: well-being
estate: state
wold not be: desire not to be
by your grace: by means of your liberality
in store: laid up
in signification: as a sign
vouchsafe: be willing, deign
the matter: the substance of the argument
the same: i.e., the matter of the book
contentation: contentment
conscience: The term can have its modern, specifically moral sense, as well as the less specific senses of ‘consciousness’ and ‘inward thought’.
1.1 Spenser is translating Marot’s translation of Petrarch’s canzone 323, the so-called ‘Canzone of Visions’. The source canzone is constructed in twelve-line stanzas with a regular, if complex rhyme scheme, with a three-line tornata at the conclusion; Marot’s translation preserves the organization of the poem in twelve-line units, but changes the rhyme scheme. As to format, all of van der Noot’s editions follow the layout of illustrated manuscript editions of Marot’s translation from the 1560s, which display only one twelve-line unit per opening.
1.1 One of two of the epigrams that Spenser has translated in sonnet form, expanding Marot's twelve lines to fourteen.
1.1-3 Spenser’s syntax in these opening lines supports the general theme of the vain and transitory character of the world. No visionary ‘I’ organizes the lines; the first person leaves only traces − on ‘my window’ and in the two indirect objects (‘me’) of ‘hapned’ and ‘grieveth’. Instead, Spenser gives us an absolute construction in the first line, the participle in which (‘being’) can be attached only to an ‘I’ that appears nowhere in the sentence, and is followed by two impersonal constructions, [‘it’] ‘hapned’ and ‘it grieveth’. Indeed, these opening lines are remarkable for a dreamlike ellipsis of specific subjects: if the visionary ‘I’ does not securely manifest its presence, the things seen are not much more syntactically assertive, at least within this three-line introduction to the sequence. (‘Things’ appears at first to be the subject of ‘hapned’, but is, in fact, the object of to ‘see’.)
Hinde: a female deer
1.4-8 Van der Noot glosses this vision as an allegory for the death of Petrarch’s Laura, pursued by the dogs of destiny or appointed time (‘by the houndes white and black he understode the daye and nyght’; 000-00).
mought: might, could
the greatest God: The adjective can function as a superlative (‘the greatest of the Gods’) or as an absolute superlative; the phrase in the French source, souverain des Dieux (B1v), cannot be understood as absolute.
With deadly force so: ‘So’ can modify either ‘deadly force’ (i.e. ‘with such deadly force’) or ‘pinchte’ in 9. Spenser’s sources - mordean sì forte (Petrarch) and mordoint si fort (Marot) - would authorize either construction.
untimely dide: Possibly influenced by van der Noot’s interpretation of the sonnet as an allegory of the depredations of time, and certainly responding to his own formulation two lines earlier, ‘in shorte time, I spied’, Spenser has introduced this characterization of the death of the hind, which is not to be found in Petrarch’s original or Marot’s translation.
1.13-14 Spenser here introduces a temporal idea not present in his sources. Marot follows Petrarch closely, using a past tense to describe how the cruelty of death vanquished (vanquit, B1v) beauty and how destiny makes the speaker sigh (souspirer me feit); Spenser’s absolute construction (‘death vanquishing’) and his ‘Oft makes me waile’ suggests that the experience of the vision takes place in a grievous, perpetually renewed present.
Heben: ebony
2.1-6 Again van der Noot will construe the vulnerable thing at the center of the vision as a figure for Laura: the ebony of the ship as her black brows, its ivory, her skin; the ship's gold sails and silk tackle are said to stand both for her clothing and for her precious virtues; see (F3v-F4).
2.7 turmoyle: The verb is often used to describe the effect of storms on the sea. The slightly unusual transfer to the air evokes an abnormal turbulence.
riches: Probably to be construed as ‘wealth, richesse’ rather than as ‘valuable things’: with metrical stress falling on the second syllable, it is closely allied to the abstract term, richesse, in Marot’s version.
ep. 3 Of the Epigrams, only the first and this third poem are sonnets. Making this formal shift, Spenser may simply be succumbing to the difficulty of rendering Marot’s douzaine in twelve English lines; he may also have adopted the sonnet form as an homage to Petrarch, widely felt to be the master of the form, for this particular poem takes up one of the central images of Petrarch’s Rime sparse, the laurel tree. In this poem and elsewhere in Petrarch’s collection, the image of the flourishing laurel effects a congruence between the apparently divergent objects of Petrarch’s longing, the beloved Laura and the fame that might accrue to poetic achievement, an achievement that might be recognized by the award of a laurel crown.
fresh and lusty: Since the phrasing here is closer to Petrarch’s giovenetto e schietto than to Marot’s simple jeune (E2v), one might conclude that Spenser had consulted Petrarch’s original. But the lines immediately following follow Marot in a firm departure from his Petrarchan source.
3.3-6 The full stop after ‘melodie’ clarifies the syntax of a sentence left uncertain in Le Theatre. Marot’s translation had departed from the logic of the Petrarchan original in which the speaker’s sense of the paradisiacal nature of the tree derives from its freshness and lustiness; in Spenser’s poem, this sense of the tree’s paradisiacal nature is traced to the plenitude of birds in its branches. (When Spenser revised the translation for VP, he worked to recover the fundamental logic of Petrarch’s lines.)
noble: Spenser departs from his sources here, as he will at line 12 below, where he describes the tree as ‘royall’. He may have been inspired to this diction by Roest’s translation of van der Noot’s commentary on the previous poem, where Laura’s virtues are described as ‘noble and excellent’ (000-00).
melodie: Van der Noot comments that the birds’ song represents Laura’s conversation and song (F4v).
sprites: spirits
welkin: sky
outbrast: burst forth
shadow: The word manages to refer at once to the tree, its shadow, and the visionary experience at the moment of their combined passing-away.
cloune: peasant
homely . . . ruder : The adjectives insist on a rusticity not emphasized in Petrarch or Marot. For a similar non-comparative use of ‘ruder’, see the ‘ruder clowne’ of FQ VI.x.7.4 , and cf. the ‘viler clowne’ of Oct 97 .
4.6-4.7That sweetely . . . fall : Spenser’s subsequent poetry recurs frequently to this accord of song and the sound of falling water, which he came to treat as the sign of a poetry that, while rural, could also claim, perhaps by virtue of its harmony with the natural order, the right to speak of higher things. In April, Colin is said to have made his song in praise of Elisa, Queene of shepheardes while lying beside a spring and to have ‘tuned it unto the Waters fall’ (35-6); and see also the lament in June (155-6). The laments of The Teares of the Muses are similarly ‘powred forth . . . Beside the silver Springs of Helicone’ (4-5) and there the Muses teach ‘the trembling streames. . . to beare . . . A Bases part’ (25-8). Again, in FQ, the Nymphes and Faeries at the base of Mt. Acidale are found sitting by the banks of ‘a gentle flud . . . And to the waters fall tuning their accents fit’ (VI.x.7.1 and 9). Noting the shift in this line, possibly inadvertent, from the pentameter norm of the rest of the Epigrams to an alexandrine, John Hollander remarks (1988: 173-6) on the important congruence of this ‘scene’ of acoustic concord with Spenser’s first use of that metrical attenuation which would be one of the distinguishing features of the Faerie Queene stanza. For more on this attunement, see Cheney (1997: 72-3).
chiefe: As in Marot, no lesser delights are explicitly named, although Spenser’s line suggests that the pleasure of ‘the sight’ may exceed the pleasure of the ‘accorde’ of voice and waters. In Petrarch there is no competition between sight and sound, instead, they collaborate to produce a sweetness that by its very increase seems to trigger the onset of loss – quando / più dolcezza prendea . . . / . . . aprir vidi uno speco (‘when / I took more sweetness . . . / . . . I saw a chasm open’).
Phoenix: In Epigrams 5.7, Martial compares the longevity and resilience of Rome to that of the phoenix. Petrarch emphasizes the self-destruction of the phoenix, suppressing its capacity for self-renewal. On the singularity of the Phoenix, see above [cross-ref] and n.
anone: immediately
wight: creature
Untill: The speaker relinquishes the thought that the bird is ‘some heavenly wight’ upon witnessing its arrival at the scenes of prior desolation described in the previous two Epigrams. This changing-of-mind is somewhat more explicit in Marot (don pensay . . . jusque à tant / Qu'il vint à; ‘wherefore I thought . . . until / it arrivated at’) and Petrarch (prima pensai, fin ch' . . . giunse'; ‘at first I thought, until . . . it reached’).
we see: The characterization of the transitory things as transitory visibilia is Spenser’s own invention, and it throws emphasis on the importance of viewing to the sensation of loss. The detail is especially fitting since, in this poem, the Phoenix is at once the object of the speaker’s gaze and, itself, a gazer, looking on the same ‘broken tree’ and ‘spring late devoured’ that the speaker earlier viewed. Whereas the speaker of the prior poems responds to the vision of loss with grief, the Phoenix responds with ‘disdaine’.
dide: In Spenser’s sources, the Phoenix disappears.
pitie and love: The Phoenix’s death excites emotions not evinced by the prior visions.
At last: Perhaps suggesting that the appearance of a Lady in this sixth and final vision has been elicited by the new depth and generosity of the speaker’s response to the death of the Phoenix in the fifth vision, his ‘pitie and love’. In both poems, the speaker is said to respond with burning.
thinking: Whereas Marot’s songeant suggests some continuity between the vision of the Lady and the ruminative experience that makes the speaker ‘burne and quake’, Spenser's ‘thinking’ recurs to Petrarch’s phrasing − che mai nol penso ch'i'non arda et treme − which marks a sharper rift between the vision and the emotional reflection on that vision. The phrasing here and the choice of ‘proudely’ at line 4, which recovers the force of Petrarch’s superba (which Marot has nearly lost in his contre amour rebelle), suggest that Spenser has here consulted Marot’s Petrarchan source.
White seemed hir robes: Whereas in Petrarch, the weaving creates the effect of snow and gold combined, in Spenser’s version snow and gold seem to be the very constituents of the fabric. Spenser’s slight invention here is perhaps inspired by the dense verbal texture in the French version, for Marot describes the fabric as made with such art that gold and snow ensemble / sembloient meslez (‘seem commingled together’; B6v).
waste: waist
6.8 Recalling the death of Eurydice, stung by a snake on the occasion of her marriage (Virgil, Georg 4.457-9; Ovid, Met 3.10).
in earth: Although the Lady of this douzaine mounts up to joy, ‘in’ sustains the idea of Eurydicean entombment, an idea reinforced by the phrasing of Marot’s envoy, which concludes with a longing for a conspicuously subterranean death (soubz la terre gesir).
anoy: vex
yelde . . . a sweete request: Spenser seems to be straining to secure a rhyme for ‘rest’; the phrase very imperfectly renders Marot’s donne ung doulx plaisir (‘gives a sweet pleasure’) and Petrarch’s àn fatto un dolce . . . desio (‘has produced a sweet desire’). The substantial revision of the envoy for Bellay may well stem from Spenser’s dissatisfaction with this particular line.
within the earth: See note to 6.11.
The sequence of sonnets translates Du Bellay’s Songe, itself heavily indebted to Petrarch’s Canzone of Visions.
1: Du Bellay’s sequence begins with the apparition of a spirit who propounds the general lesson of the visions that will follow, that since all things beneath heaven are transitory, those who hope for permanence must vest that hope in the divine. The spirit’s admonition occupies the entire sestet of Du Bellay’s poem, whereas, in Spenser’s rendering, the apparition speaks of the world’s inconstancy and, in the final three lines, the original speaker formulates the compensatory principle of confidence in God. The summary prologue and the demonstration of the speaker’s wisdom give the sequence a somewhat greater spiritual security than is offered in the preceding sequence. That said, this second sequence is also more sepulchral than the prior one: Spenser’s speaker is addressed by a ‘ghost’ (un Demon for Du Bellay) and the ensuing poems are haunted by the pathetic or monstrous vestiges of antiquity.
1.1-5 Recalling the occasion of the appearance of Hector’s ghost in Aen 2.268-97; the ghost rouses the sleeping Aeneas, warning him to flee the burning city of Troy.
that great rivers: The Tiber’s.
Temple: The idea that God dwells in a heavenly temple is a frequent biblical topos (see, e.g., Isa 6:1, Heb 8:1-6, and Rev 11:19). The heavens themselves are not directly compared to a temple in the canonical bible and no detailed speculation as to the architecture (and angelic personnel) of the heavenly temple was made until the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (among the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the hekhalot literature of early Judaism.
nought . . . vanitie: Eccles 1:2 and 12:8.
Sith: since
stay: to hold fixed
The second, third, and fourth sonnets focus on the destruction of monumental Roman culture. Van der Noot speaks of Rome as ‘stuffed . . . wyth . . . all maner of riches, wherupon didde ensue all kinde of superfluitie and worldely pompousnesse’ (F5v-F6r). His description suggests an abiding fascination with Roman sumptuousness: ‘They adorned their Citie with all maner of sumptuous and costely buyldings, wyth all kindes of curious and cunning workes, as Theaters, Triumphall Arkes, Pyramedes, Columnes, Spires, and a greate number of graven Images, Statues, Medalles and Figures, made of divers and sundry kindes of stuffe, as Marble, Alablaster, Golde, Sylver, Copper, Pourphere, Emplaster, Brasse and other like mettall, some graven, and other some cast’ (F6r).
frame: structure, building
cubites: A cubit is a measure of the distance from the elbow to the tip of the fingers. With the exception of the revised translation for Bellay, Spenser employs the term on only one other occasion, to measure the depth of the fountain in the Bower of Bliss (FQ II.xii.62); see comments on line 11.
Dorike wise: Doric manner. Vitruvius associates the Doric order in architecture with masculine valour (De Architectura 1.2.5). The inscription, SPQR, in the tympanum of the temple in the facing illustration specifies this as a Roman building: this abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus (‘The Roman Senate and the Roman People’) was inscribed on Roman public buildings from the time of the Republic forward.
Of bricke, ne yet: neither of brick nor
Christall: crystal
deepe vaute: A crypt. Whereas Spenser is translating ventre, a term inapplicable to lofty spaces, ‘vault’ (Fr voûte) can be used for any enclosed space surmounted with an arched ceiling, so Spenser is somewhat lightening his source.
parget: ornamental work (usually in plaster) on walls
sielyng: ceiling
golden plates: Cf. golden lamminae that cover the interior of the ‘house’ within the Holy of Holies (1 Kings 6:21), an ornamental feature not fully captured in the Geneva rendering.
Jaspis: Jasper. With the exception of the revised translation of this poem in Bellay, Spenser’s only other references to jasper and emerald are found in his descriptions of the Bower of Bliss: some of the grapes that hang over the second gate in the Bower appear like emeralds (FQ II.xii.54) and the fountain in the Bower is paved with jasper (FQ II.xii.62). Crystal (line 6), jasper, and emerald are all part of the array of precious materials mentioned in the descriptions of heaven in Revelation 4 and 21.
sodein: sudden
earthquake: Cf. the destruction of the Temple alluded to in Matt 24:2 and the less specifically located earthquakes of 24:7.
sharped: Pointed. Spenser will use this again in an analogous architectural description in Rome 2.2, but the term is also used of Cupid’s arrow in Tottel’s Miscellany (1557) .
3.3-4 Spenser has some difficulties rendering Du Bellay here. The obelisk in Du Bellay’s poem is precisely as high as (justement mesuré, / Tant que) an archer - keen-eyed, as a professional necessity - can aim (prendre visee), whereas Spenser’s translation suggests both that the height of obelisk is somehow proportioned to its square base and that it is as tall as an archer can see.
couched: In Du Bellay’s original, the ashes repose (reposoit) in the urn. Spenser has displaced the verb used of the lions, couchez, in line 9, and thereby has relinquished phrasing that suggests the heraldic character of the resting lions.
grief: Cf. Du Bellay’s torment.
flashe: The reading ‘flushe’ in our copy text may be either an instance of foul case or of a misreading of manuscript copy, since ‘a’ and ‘u’ are easily confused in secretary hand, especially in Spenser’s.
chapters: capitals, the top portion of a column
frises: friezes
arke: arch
victorie: Triumphal arches are customarily ornamented with images of Victory personified, carved in relief in the roughly triangular spaces above the curved portion of the archway, as in the woodcut illustration facing the poem.
habite: clothing
chaire: chariot
auncient: ancient
his sire: Vulcan’s father. Son of Jove and Juno, Vulcan is blacksmith and armorer to the gods.
Sith: Since
Unrhymed like the other Sonets, the fifth of the Sonets offers especially good examples of Spenser’s effort to capture the character of rhyme in French, which is relatively unemphatic when compared to that of rhyme in English. The final syllables of lines 1, 3, and 4 are bound together by assonance, thus helping to mark the first quatrain as an independent unit. Spenser achieves an effect of mild closure by means of the internal rhyme of ‘disdain’ and ‘again’ in lines 13 and 14; he would later strengthen this effect in the revision for Complaints, where the two words are in terminal position, giving the Complaints version its final couplet.
Dodonian tree: An oak (and not the palms of van der Noot’s woodcut). Dodona was a city in northwest Greece, famous for its sacred oak and its oracle of Zeus. The reference initiates a pattern in the poem that represents the eminence of Rome as deriving from transplants of Eastern − Greek and Trojan − culture.
gladsome: pleasant
seven hilles: ‘Namely upon the hill of Palatine, the hill Capitoli[n]e, the mounte Vimiall, the mount Cely, Esquilin, Vimiel, and Quirinel’ ( Noot: F4v-F5r ).
bedecked with his leaves: A garland of oak leaves was the traditional symbolic reward of those who had saved a Roman citizen in battle.
Italian streame: The Tiber. Spenser does not here translate Du Bellay’s Ausonien, though he will restore the term in Complaints. (‘Ausonia’ was an archaic name for central and southern Italy.)
many goodly signes: For Du Bellay’s maint beau tesmoignage. ‘Signes’ fails to capture the retrospective character of tesmoignage, which might be rendered ‘trace’, but which carries a strong juridical cast, as in ‘witness’ or ‘evidence’.
race: From L radix, root; often used to describe plant and animal species as well as human lineages. The vegetative sense is activated here by the fact that the Dodonian tree is a metaphor for the Trojan people, transplanted and flourishing as Romans.
erst: originally
Trojan: As with Italian (line 4), Spenser adopts a more familiar designator of place than that in his source. Du Bellay’s Dardanien identifies Troy with Dardanus, mythical founder of Troy and son of Zeus and Elektra.
villaines: The term, originally meaning a person of low birth, had already begun to take on its modern moral connotations. Du Bellay’s paisans had no such connotations.
heape: For Du Bellay’s somewhat more orderly troppe (‘troupe’).
wedge: A possible translation of Du Bellay’s congnee (cognee in Noot’s Le theatre), but an odd one, since the plain sense of congnee is ‘axe’. Spenser seems to be trying to capture the slow, persistent force of the wedge, possibly influenced by the connotations of gemir, accurately rendered as ‘grone’; indeed, the entire sonnet might be said to recall Virgil’s comparison of the final collapse of Troy to the groan and tumble of a mountain ash felled by rivalrous woodsmen (Aen 2.626-31).
since: thereafter
twinne . . . trees: Alluding either to the split between the Eastern and Western Churches or the split within the western residue of the Roman Empire between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. But there is some reason to associate the twin trees with the twin palms threatened by the ax of which the Vestal Silvia dreams when she is pregnant with Romulus and Remus – see Ovid Fasti 3.31-9 – for it may be noted that the trees depicted in the woodcut to this sonnet are palms, not oaks.
birde . . . Sunne: The eagle, as at FQ I.x.47.6; and see Isidore, Etymologies 12.7:10-11. The Eagle imperial, as van der Noot describes the bird of this sonnet (F5), seems to symbolize Rome in its ancient glory. Psalms 103 attributes a capacity for self-renewal to the eagle, thus eliciting a potential link to the phoenix. (In the Natural History 10.2-3, Pliny the Elder turns to a discussion of the varieties of eagle immediately after his discussion of the phoenix, which he dismisses as a merely legendary creature.) The link to the phoenix is rendered more complex at the conclusion of the sonnet, when an owl rises from the ashes of the dead eagle.
th’example . . . damme: Whereas the ancient naturalists from Aristotle forward emphasize how ruthlessly eagles test their young, Spenser and Du Bellay shift attention to the fledgling and to the rigorous imitation by which she rises to heroic, if fatal, achievement.
tombling: Aside from its associations with tomb, Spenser’s rendering of Du Bellay’s rouant (‘coiling’) establishes a link between the eagle and the ship of Epigram 2, which crashes on hidden rocks when the sea is ‘tombled up’.
lompe: The strange translation of Du Bellay’s tourbillon is possibly traceable to both Spenser's interest in an echoic relation to ‘tombling’ and to the traditional English rendering of Romans 9:21, where God’s providential creativity likened to that of a potter who can ‘make of the same lompe one vessel to honour, and another unto dishonour’. In his effort to find a term for the whirlwind of fire, Spenser may have been influenced by the term for the whirling mass of clay on the potter’s wheel.
foule . . . light: The owl emerging from the eagle’s ashes probably stands either for the Holy Roman Empire or the modern papacy.
as a worme: This literal translation (of Comme un vermet) would seem to have the force preserved in the modern French idiom, nu comme un ver, naked as a worm; for the same idiom in Chaucer, see Rom, 454 .
astonned: stunned, amazed
this nightly ghost: All versions of van der Noot’s Theatre omit the eighth sonnet of Songe, in which a monstrous seven-headed beast emerges from the foundations of an ancient ruin; after changing its shape a hundred times, the monster evaporates in the blast of a Scythian wind. In the ninth sonnet, Du Bellay again refers to the apparition as a monstre; that Spenser translates the term as ghost, and so captures the ghostly evanescence attributed to the monster in the omitted sonnet, suggests that he may have had recourse to a complete edition of Songe. For the omission of the eighth sonnet, see the Introduction.
7.2-8 This description of the spirit of the Tiber differs strikingly from Virgil’s far more benign description of the river god at Aeneid 8.26-30. Van der Noot refers to the central figure as the great Statue, though the image as described and as depicted in the woodcut matches neither the celebrated Roman statue of the Tiber unearthed near Santa Maria sopra Minerva in 1512-3 nor the statue of the Tigris from the Quirinal that Michelangelo had refashioned as an image of the Tiber in the 1560s (after the composition of Du Bellay’s Songe).
side: The word can mean both ‘at length’ and ‘low-hanging’; Spenser is rendering flottans, ‘flowing’.
Saturnelike: Aged, because Saturn, as the father of Jove, was traditionally associated with an ancient divine regime. Saturn is also associated with melancholy temperament.
a water: Following his French original, une eau, quite closely.
creekie: Replete with creeks. Spenser’s use of this word to translate Du Bellay’s, sinueux, ‘sinuous’ is the first recorded in OED. This may be the first manifestation of Spenser’s distinctive interest in tributary flows.
shoare: The battle between Aeneas (the Troyan Duke) and Turnus, narrated in Aeneid 12, takes place in fields along the Tiber west of Rome, near Laurentum.
7.9-10 In Livy’s version of the late 4th-c legend, Romulus and Remus, having been cast into the Tiber on orders of the tyrant Amulius, are left floating in a trough; when the overflowing river ebbs they are rescued and nursed by a thirsty she-wolf (Ab Urbe Condita, 1.4). Van der Noot argues that from the breasts of the wolf the twin founders of Rome sucked all manner of crueltie and beastlynesse[cross ref.] A statue of the Roman wolf nursing Romulus and Remus, famous in Spenser’s day and long thought to have been cast in the fifth century, was housed on the Capitoline Hill overlooking the Tiber.
7.11-12 Wreaths of olive, palm, and laurel were awarded to Greek athletes and military commanders as tokens of victory, but the olive had special associations with peace, the palm, with victory, and the laurel, with poetic achievement. The fates of the three trees may together signify the transitory nature of achievement, yet insofar as the poem seems slightly to differentiate the fate of olive and palm from that of the laurel, the poem perhaps implies that a collapse of a regime of post-bellum peace leads to a withering of the arts.
bow: Bough; hence wreath, garland. ‘Bow’ is an acceptable 16th-c spelling for bough; although bough usually indicates a more substantial limb than that which would be used for a garland, Spenser’s usage is comparable to Henryson’s ‘The bewis braid blomit abone my heid’ (‘The Lion and the Mouse’, The moral fabilis of Esope 1570: 1330).
tune: Translating Du Bellay’s accordoit. Cf. the rendering of Marot’s accordoient in Epigrams 4 as ‘in accorde did tune’.
Renting: rending
whilome: erstwhile, once upon a time
this . . . face: By thus rendering Du Bellay’s ceste face (‘this aspect’ or ‘this face’), Spenser suggests that the lost visage is the nymph’s own, as if the removal of ‘this whilome honored face’ were not an especially lamentable product of some larger historical decay but were, instead the effect of the nymph’s own grief. This quickened disfigurement is refracted and further heightened in lines 10-12, where the nymph imagines modern Rome as a hydra each of whose seven heads should be cut off.
praise: In the 16th-c, praise can mean ‘the activity of praising’, ‘the products of that activity’, and ‘praiseworthiness’; Spenser frequently uses the word in circumstances in which the latter sense is primary (cf. Am 5.9 and FQ II.v.26.2 ). But all three senses are relevant here: the Roman culture of praising, the store of Roman self-congratulation, and the achievements and virtues that were the objects of that praise have all disappeared. A similar, if not identical set of meanings attaches to the word the Spenser is translating here, los, which can mean both ‘the activity of praising’ and ‘fame, renown’; in Du Bellay’s poem, the latter sense seems to be primary.
hap: chance
bate: discord
8.10-12 The new Hydra recalls the seven-headed Beast from the Sea of Rev 13, yet whereas the Beast in Revelation is identifiable as the seven-hilled Rome (and is so identified in the glosses to the Geneva Bible of 1560), the new Hydra, presumably associated with the papacy or the Roman church, seems paradoxically a threat to the imperial Roman nymph herself. The paradox, that one figure of Rome should threaten another, is central to Du Bellay’s Roman poems.
mete: deserving
Hercules: To slaughter the hydra, said to grow multiple new heads with each decapitation, was the second of Hercules’ twelve labours.
Neroes and Caligulaes: The two first-century Roman emperors serving here as types of criminally violent monarchy. The glosses to Rev 13:3 of the 1560 Geneva Bible refer to Nero as the emperor ‘who moved the first persecution againste the churche’.
bring forth: In Spenser’s source, the new Hydra is said to sire the ‘Neroes and Caligulaes’ on the nymph; Spenser has muted the insinuation of rape.
croked shore?: Recalling the creekie shoare (10) of the previous sonnet. The emended punctuation consolidates the unambiguously interrogative force of Du Bellay’s construction − N'estoit-ce pas (‘was it not?’) − which is slightly effaced by the mispunctuation in the French version of Theatre, which is reproduced in the English edition.
9.1-9.2 flame. . . with triple point: Perhaps alluding to the triple structure of the papal tiara − an allusion that would be enhanced by the reference to ‘incense’ in 9.3 − and meant to imply the grandiose aspirations of the Roman church.
9.3-4 Confusingly, the lines preserve Du Bellay’s word-order.
leames: flashes
golden shoure: The story of Jove’s impregnation, in the form of a shower of gold, of the imprisoned Danae was allegorized as an account of the corrupting power of gold at least as early as the first century C.E.; see Horace, Odes 3.16.
glystering: glittering
The tone and tactics of the opening of the poem and woodcut are conspicuously at odds. The illustration, which captures the ‘rout’ of the poem’s final lines, is populous and busy, whereas the sonnet unfolds quietly, at a steady pace. The first quatrain simply describes the welling spring, the second the harmony that supplements the shining pleasantness of the spring. The mention of mermaids in 8 is the first hint of animation, and they obtrude only figuratively on the scene; line 9 introduces ‘seates and benches’, the first mark that the spring is meant to accommodate human or humanoid presence. Only at line 10 does the setting accommodate something of the woodcut’s crowd, and even then the ‘hundred Nymphes’ are presented in orderly array – ‘side by side about’.
10.3-4 The river Pactolus was famously rich in electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Ovid transmits an etiological myth: when Midas, on Bacchus’ instructions, washed himself in the Pactolus to rid himself of the curse of the golden touch, the riverbed turned hard and yellow (Met 11.137-45).
10.5-6 The evaluative comparison of Art (i.e., the exercise or products of human education, design, or craft) and Nature (i.e. the wild, the given, the non-human, the unwilled) is traditional; the two principles are usually understood to be in competition. Spenser makes characteristically distinctive − albeit not unique − contributions to the tradition, both instanced here: he especially interests himself in (often competitive) collaborations between Nature and Art and he often imagines their encounter as especially productive of pleasure.
accordes: Harmony. Like ‘harmony’ or ‘concord’, accord can have both musical and socio-political senses.
Mermaids: Spenser is translating d’une Serene [sic , a misprint for Sirene]. The conflation of mermaid and siren is ancient and, because the terms could be used interchangeably, the use of mermaid here probably should not be taken as a suppression of the threat associated with the allure of the siren’s song; cf. FQ II.xii.17.9.
assembled: A direct translation of the French s’assembla, the usual connotations of which, like those of its English cognate, entail no hint of disorder.
11.1-2 Omitting two poems from Du Bellay’s sequence, van der Noot proceeds to the last of Du Bellay’s visions, set at dawn. The belief invoked here, that dreams at dawn are true, was sufficiently commonplace in antiquity that Artemidorus goes out of his way to debunk it in chapter 7 of Book 1 of his Oneirocritica, the first systematic treatise on dream interpretation.
Morpheus: Morpheus was more specifically a god of dreams (son of Somnus, god of sleep) who specialized in assuming human shape (Ovid 11.633ff.).

Typhæus sister: Although Hesiod distinguishes Typhœus and Typhaon, making Typhœus the latter’s father, they were frequently conflated in antiquity -- as Typhoeus, Typhos, Typhaon, or Typhon: all are monstrous and belligerent. Hesiod’s Typhœus is one of the Giants who revolted against the Olympians (Theog 820-38). Neither Typhaon nor Typhœus had a famous sister, but the poem and the woodcut seem to identify the sister as a personification of Rome as both imperial conqueror (ll. 9-10) and warlike foe of heaven (l. 6).

In a confusion possibly related to the conflation of Typhœus and Typhaon the commentary on this poem refers to the central figure as ‘Typheus daughter’. For Spenser, the figure of Typhœus will continue to invite bizarre genealogical imaginings: in FQ III.vii he will describe how Typhœus raped his own mother Earth and so sired Argante and Ollyphant, twins whose incestuous relations begin in utero: The belligerent and lecherous Argante is both Typhœus’ sister and his daughter.

bravely: splendidly
morian: Morion; type of visorless brimmed helmet.
harde by: very close at hand
gronde: groaned
with . . . afrayde: frightened by
tho: then, thereupon
striken . . . thunder: Fall, struck by a clap of thunder.
start: In Spenser’s source, the shift in tense is less jarring: unlike the other poems in the sequence, Du Bellay’s final sonnet is cast in the present tense, whereas Spenser postpones the shift to the present until the moment of waking.
12.1-8 The octave of the twelfth sonnet is based on the first two-and-a-half verses of Revelation 13.
12.2-5 The beast combines attributes of the four creatures from the sea that appear to Daniel in Dan 7.2-7. In his discussion of the sonnet, van der Noot will follow the 1560 Geneva glosses to Rev 2, which associates the leopard, bear, and lion with the Macedonians, the Persians, and the Chaldeans; see below [van der Noot G5-6v]. Van der Noot variously describes as ‘signifying the congregation of the wicked and proude hypocrites’ and as ‘meaning the odible, fals, & damnable errors & pestiferous inspirations of the divel’ (F5v). (In his ensuing discussion, he takes pains to distinguish the beast of Rev 13, which he associates with the priestly hierarchy of the Roman Church, from the dragon of Rev 12, which he associates with Satan himself.)
the vile blaspheming name: ‘What is it I pray you else, than a great abhomination & blasphemy that the Pope claimeth to him selfe to be the most holy father, to be the Vicare of Christ, God on earth, supreame head of the Church, the only steward of the gifts, graces, and misteries of God? What meaneth it that Priests and Bishops do arrogantly ascribe to them selves to be Bridegromes, to stand in Gods stead, to have power to pardon sinne, and to be our Ladies clean and undefiled knights? What be these else than names of blasphemie?’ (van der Noot: G4r-G4v).
12.8 ‘The infallible word of God (which be the Scriptures) hath given him this wound’ ( van der Noot: H3r). In Rev 13:3 although one of the heads of the beast is said to have sustained an apparently mortal wound, the wound is then said to have healed, a detail captured in the Dutch − maer is weet om genesen (‘but it has been healed’) − but dropped in the French and English versions.
One cride: At Rev 13:4, a multitude of worshippers offers up this reverent question.
12.11-14 The last four lines of the sonnet are based loosely on Rev 13:11-14, which narrates the appearance of a second beast which sets up an idolatrous cult of the first. ‘All those that worshyp the Dragon, worship the beast also: for as those whiche honour Christ, honor hys father also, in lyke maner all those whiche adore Antechrist, that is to say, consent and holde of his traditions, masses, and ordinaunces, all those (I saye) worship the divel, of whom they have receyved all his wickednesses’ (van der Noot, H3r).
from the sea: At Rev 13:11, a second beast arises, this time from the land. Although the woodcut plainly distinguishes the origins of the two beasts, Spenser departs from the biblical source here by faithfully translating his French original (de Mer ‘from the sea’), which mistranslates its Dutch original (wt de eerde ‘out of the earth’).
setting . . . up: 1) erecting, 2) exalting. The phrase operates with similar ambiguity in van der Noot’s commentary where he comments on the cultishness of the prelates and bishops of the Roman Church: ‘they proceed further to the forbidding of mariage, meate, egges, butter: in lyke manner images, and crucifixes were sette up, woorkyng thereby false miracles’ (G1v).
hir: I.e., her, the first beast’s.
hir: I.e., her, the first beast’s.
13.1-10 The first ten lines of the sonnet are based on Rev 17:3-6. ‘The beast signifieth the ancient Rome: the Woman that sitteth thereon, the newe Rome whiche is the Papistrie, whose crueltie & blood sheding is declared by skarlat’ (1560 Geneva gloss to Rev 17:3).
Orenge: Spenser has mistranslated migrainne, the term for a cloth dyed to a not-very-intense scarlet.
fell: cruel
13.12-14 Based on Rev 18:1-2 .
The third of the apocalyptic sonnets is based on Rev 19:11-20. Van der Noot offers a sustained gloss on the poem at M5v-O3v.
embrued: soaked, stained
puissant : powerful
14.8-9 The apparent padding − as me thought and descending downe − actually reproduces similar features in the French source.
slea: slay
Although Spenser would revise the translations from Du Bellay and Petrarch for Complaints, he never reworked the apocalyptic sonnets; yet he would adapt this rendering of John’s final vision in Revelation for Redcrosse’s vision at the Mount of Holy Contemplation, FQ I.x.55-7. As the New Jerusalem of these sonnets is meant to displace vainglorious Babylon and Rome in the esteem of men, so Redcrosse will recognize the milder error of his over-estimation of Cleopolis, the dwelling place of the Faerie Queene herself (FQ I.x.58).
15.1-7 Based on Rev 21:1-4.
new: At (O4v) Van der Noot draws attention to the figurative force of the term even as he insists that the new Jerusalem is the Church.
garnisht: adorned
spouse: In a marginal gloss at O4v, as part of his discussion of the newness of the New Jerusalem, van der Noot draws attention in a marginal gloss to his source in Ephesians 5 for the analogy of the Church as a bride; he indicates that the newness of the Jerusalem-Church is like the figurative renewal of a betrothed woman as she is ‘trimmed for hir husbande, for she is purified and made newe againe.’
15.8-14 The last half of the sonnet derives its matter from several verses from Rev 21 and 22; the divine radiance from 21:11; the square city plan of the New Jerusalem, 21:16; its gates of pearl, 21:21; and the crystalline river of life, 22:1-2.
Square: ‘Whatsoever is foure square, abideth firme and unmoveable, and is not subject to rolling or unstablenesse’, Theatre O7r .
twelve gates: For the twelve gates as the twelve apostles, see van der Noot’s commentary at P1.
unto the Churches good: Whereas in the biblical original, the leaves of the tree of life are said to heal the nations, Noot’s sonnets suggest that the fruit of the tree is instead meant to improve the state of the church.
Declaration: explanation
unquiet: restless
mislike of: begrudge, disapprove of
estate: status, situation
calling: vocation
go about: undertake
enter into: take up
lyvings: vocations, positions in life
the fewest numbre of: very few
for all that: despite the fact that
inconveniences: misfortunes
men of the countrey: Rustics, translating ‘Le Paisan ou laboreur’ (Le Theatre, D7).
travaile: strive
yet: still
studieth: exerts himself in planning
carnall: worldly
careful: anxious
moyle: drudge
gapeth for: longs for
graunted of: granted by
than that of brute: We take ‘is’ in our copy text as a compositor’s misreading of ‘yt’ in MS copy.
proceede of: derive from
for this . . . us: that is given to us for this purpose
unquietnesse: discontent
christian libertie: The phrase has distinctive, technical force in the writings of Calvin’s Institutes III.xix (and less technical force in Luther), but van der Noot’s use of this important Reformation slogan to designate a freedom from worldly desires is incongruous with Calvin’s usage, which denotes that freedom from the Old Law expounded in Galatians.
put case: propose by way of example
Although van der Noot doesn’t offer the reader a formal partition or outline of the next few pages, he does suggest, at F2r, that he has offered an account of the three principal temptations from which all and every kinde of evyll proceedeth (F2r): the love of riches (E1v-E7v), ambition (E7v-F1r), and lust (F1r-F2r). We here offer the beginning of the discussion of the temptation of riches, the longest of these three informal sections.
the rather: the more easily
covete after: long for
more a greate deale: a great deal more
thorough: through, by means of
in it is no suche default: in the right use of worldly goods there is no moral defect
onely I meane: I only mean
propre: legitimate
possessed of: possessed by
Gallio . . . unto them: Van der Noot here paraphrases the concluding line of chapter 22 of De Vita Beata, which the younger Seneca dedicated to his older brother Gallio: ad postremum divitiae meae sunt, tu divitiarum es ‘in fine, I own my riches; yours own you’.
confidence: impudence
chasyng: chasing away, expulsion
thraldome: captivity
set by: esteem
When riches . . . them: Ps 62:10.
103-106Consideryng . . . ydle: The sentence would be a bit less difficult if it were less compressed. Van der Noot not only asserts the worthlessness of worldly things, but also sets up an opposition between the intrinsic worthlessness of things – ‘of them selves most miserable’ and the vanity and idleness that we confer on things, insisting, as he does so, that things receive nothing else from us other than this vain and idle aspect.
as Plato sayth: The Laws 5.727E-728A. For the idea that the essence of poverty is not lack and that the only true poverty is covetousness, see Laws 5.736E.
unsaciable: insatiable
contentation: contentment
He is . . . at all: Moral Epistles, 20.10, 20.8.
Chrysostom: Hom. 21 super Matt. (6.24).
inconveniences: improprieties
come to great estate: come into great wealth (or achieve eminent status)
endued: endowed
wil not be: wish not to be
them: Referring to the ‘divers and sundry kindes of wantonnesse and other inconveniences.’
of other: for others
330-331those three: Greed, lust, ambition.
as witnesseth . . . Epistles: 1 John 2:15-17.
For all . . . of the eyes: Both the immediate French source and the verse from 1 John that it renders strongly support the emendation here. The compositor has plainly compressed his copy, reducing the first two of the three vices to a single one – ‘the luste of the eyes’ − in a straightforward instance of eye-skip. It may be that the compositor fumbled the line further, misreading ‘as the luste’ (which would translate ‘asçavoir la concupiscence’) and setting ‘is the luste’, yet because ‘is’ corresponds to the syntax of the phrase as the passage is rendered in the Vulgate we have let the word stand.
rehearse: recount
incorporated: For the incorporation of believers into the body of Christ, see Eph 5:30 and Rom 12:5; for the identity of the Church with that body, see Col 1:24.
crosses: misfortunes, impediments
commodities: useful things, goods
354-356turned . . . mire: Both proverbs are marshalled at 2 Pet 2:22 .
the livelier: more vividly
to the ende: so that
Omne . . . dulci : Ars Poetica 343.
honestly: honourably, chastely
Brabants speache: In effect, Dutch: in the middle of the sixteenth century the central region of the Netherlands, the region straddling the Rhine, was more influential politically than the Frisian region to the north, and the dialect spoken in Brabant seemed on the verge of becoming a more widely accepted trans-regional standard. As is observed in the introduction above, Roest here misrepresents the genesis of the translations of the poems: the poems were translated from Marot’s French version as printed the previous year, probably with occasional reference to the Italian original.
understode: meant
are . . . one: share a single approach.
stay hym selfe: rely
fansie: fantasy
passed over: spent
what with . . . what in: in consequence of . . . and in consequence of
hir departure (as it is sayde): I.e., her so-called ‘departure’.
so long a time: The French source is less vague, stipulating that, having loved Laura for forty years, Petrarch mourned her for seven.
considering with him self: reconsidering, reflecting
to Godwarde: toward God
described of: described by
Arke triumphant: triumphal arch

Dodonian tree: An oak; see above n. to 5.1.

Vimiall . . . Vimiel: There is considerable transmissional muddle here. The French source reads Viminel and Viniel for the third and sixth hills in its list (Le Theatre: E8). Viniel seems simply to be a distorted repetition of Viminel - the learned reader would expect to see the Aventine hill listed here - and Viminel is a misspelling of Viminall. The misspelling may have been marked for correction in Roest’s copy, but ‘Vimiall’ in the English Theatre fails to make an accurate correcton; and ‘Vimiel’ is no improvement on Viniel.
wherout . . . flushing: out from which a bird abruptly flying upwards
hundreth: hundred
drave: drove
With all . . . Lupa: The sentence summarizes the two themes of the sequence: the transitory character of earthly achievements and satisfactions, and the specific humiliation of Rome, the rise of which was motivated by covetousness and a desire for authority consistent with the wolvishness of its founders’ upbringing.
and that: I.e. and that destruction.
had to: had for.
following: deriving from
Lupa: The name is simply the Latin word for ‘she-wolf’.
Oute . . . beastlynesse: In The Boke Named the Governour (1537: B7v) Sir Thomas Elyot remarks on the antiquity of the idea that character could be transmitted by breast-milk; in The Boke of Children (1546), Jean Goeurot adduces a number of classical authors from Plato to Pliny on this point, particularly citing Aeneid IV.365-7, where Virgil’s Dido attributes Aeneas’ cruelty ‘unto the gyver of the mylke’ (S1v-S2v).
cast . . . teeth: The famous anti-Roman remark of Mithridates VI is recorded in Justin’s Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus XXXVIII.6.8.
bloud: An outlier in the series, the term has no equivalent in the French commentary that Roest is translating.
Figures: images
Pourphere: porphyry
Emplaster: plaster of Paris
graven: carved
other some: some others
privie: secret
particular: narrowly self-interested
from time to time: from age to age
president: appointed governor, viceroy
theirs: The gods of the Romans.
enorme: enormous
473-476have been . . . are . . . rysen: The shift to the present tense captures the typological historical sense at the core of the Theatre: the punishment of ancient anti-Christian Rome is imagined as meted out in the present, so that the early persecutors merge with the pope and his bishops and the early Christian martyrs dissolve into modern Protestants.
Eastgothes . . . Westgothes: Ostrogoths and Visigoths
rased: razed
For the fervent . . . purpose: Bale 1570, p. 74-75 on the events following upon the opening of the third seal.
533-536After this sort . . . abolished: Bale 1570, p. 78.
Sunne. . . Moone: Language of the sixth seal, possibly borrowed from Bale 1550: L6v.
538-555For they dayly . . . have sayde: Bale 1550: L1r-L2r.
John . . . Patriarkes: Even before the accession of John IV to the office of Archbishop of Constantinople in 582, the Council of Constantinople (381) had declared that the Bishop of Constantinople should have primacy of honour after the Bishop of Rome and the Council of Chalcedon (451) had established Constantinople as a patriarchate. But it was only when John IV, also known as John the Faster, began styling himself Ecumenical Patriarch and, it was alleged, claimed that it was a title to be restricted to his own see, that he provoked protests from Pope Pelagius II and his successor, Gregory the Great. Calvin treats Gregory as the hero of this struggle, ascribing to him a general resistance to episcopal primacy (Institutes 4.7.21)
Boniface the third: The future Boniface III was appointed by Gregory the Great to serve as papal legate to Constantinople in 603, and he served in that capacity until the end of Gregory’s papacy and on through the papacy of Gregory’s successor, Sabinian, after which time he was himself elected to the papacy. During his brief service as pope, he reasserted papal primacy, claiming the title of Universal Bishop.
lieuetenant: The term is used here in its technical sense, i.e. place-holder, or vice-regent.
Mahomet . . . afterward: Chronology is crucial to the logic of this discussion of John, Boniface, and Mohammed: John the Faster served as Archbishop of Constantinople from 582 to 595, Boniface’s brief papacy took place in 606, and Mohammed experienced his first revelation in 610 and took up the public work of prophecy in 613.
Talmuith: Talmud. The status of the Talmud within Judaism had been a central object of dispute in the pamphlet war that passed between Reuchlin on the one hand and Johnannes Pfefferkorn and his Dominican supporters on the other during the years 1507 and 1521, but the claim that Jews regarded the Talmud as having greater authority than the Bible may be traced to the letters that Gregory IX issued in 1239 condemning the Talmud.
Sarazens their Alcorane: This distorts the Qur’anic principle of tarīf, the idea that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament corrupt the revelation that the Qur’an embodies. This particular distortion was given its most influential articulation in the work of Ricoldo da Monte di Croce, whose major thirteenth-century treatise on the Qur’an Luther translated and who claimed that Moslems believed that the Gospel, in its uncorrupted original form, contained a prophecy of the coming of Muhammed.
Decretals: The term denotes the papal letters that formulate decisions in canon law. The pseudo-Isidorean Decretals, part of a large Frankish collection of spurious documents, were woven into a larger collection of authentic canons, the so-called Hispana, sometime in the middle of the ninth century. Nicholas of Cusa subjected these documents to critical scrutiny in the middle of the fifteenth century, and Erasmus and du Moulin elaborated Cusanus’ criticism in the century that followed.
traditions: Because the term can be used to designate authoritative convention passed down orally, it can connote dubitable legends and rules, as it does here.
Wherunto: to which end
the rather: the sooner
traditions of men: What follows is a condensed summary of the aspects of Catholic doctrine and worship to which the Reformers were most vehemently opposed, characterized as traditions of men (with the same disapproving connotations of the word traditions as are intended two sentences earlier) to distinguish them from those aspects of doctrine of worship that, the Reformers contended, could be securely founded on Scripture. As mentioned in the Introduction, van der Noot continues to follow Bale’s Image of Two Churches, but slightly abridging his list of the sensuous and spectacular of worship (the use of bells, incense, candles, instrumental music), the doctrine of purgatorie and the practices intended to intercede on behalf of those abiding there (masses for al soules, diriges, obsequies, indulgences), an array of related practices aimed to secure the intercession of saints (Pilgrimages, the veneration of relikes), and several practices of self-deprivation thought to substitute for faith itself and a dependence of divine grace (Lenten abstentions and, for the clergy, celibacy)(1550: L1v).
as: such as
bells: The use of bells in Catholic worship was a frequent object of Reformation attack. Various uses of bells − to announce imminent death, to call the faithful to worship, and to accompany the elevation of the host at Mass − were subjected to criticism, but the practice of dedicating new bells by prayers, washing, and unction was considered especially egregious.
diriges, obsequies: funeral or commemorative rites
diriges: The word can be used specifically to denote Matins for the Dead or, more generally, any chanting or reading of the Office of the Dead, whether for a funeral or for a memorial service. The word, which develops into the modern dirge, is the first in the antiphon for the first nocturn of Matins.
obsequies: Sometimes used as a synonym for dirige, sometimes to refer more generally to the Offices of the Dead (comprising both the Placebo and the Dirige, i.e. Vespers and Matins for the Dead), and sometimes, most generally, to denote all burial rites and ritual commemoratives for the dead.
Rogation dayes: Though the Catholic Church formally recognized a Major Rogation on 25 April and three Minor Rogations, on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, the Sunday before Ascension Day also came to be known as Rogation Sunday. All Rogation days were associated with penance and fasting, but the Minor Rogations − and, by association, Rogation Sunday − were especially distinguished by outdoor processions and prayers for agricultural prosperity.
coales . . . broyled: These relics were among the treasures of Rome’s church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna.
Josephs hosen: Since the ninth century relics said to be Jesus’ swaddling clothes were housed at Aachen; the legend that St. Joseph had fashioned these swaddling clothes from his stockings is of a later date.
S. Cornelis: Relics of St. Cornelius, patron saint of cattle, were widely distributed across northern Europe, and especially in the Low countries: an important collection of relics were housed at an abbey in Ninove, 40 miles SW of Antwerp. But van der Noot may have been thinking of another collection of relics near Aachen: St. Cornelius’ head was preserved at Kornelimünster a few miles SE of Aachen.
images: While the veneration of images is a central object of Protestant criticism, van der Noot’s iconoclastic engagements are hardly abstract. Van der Noot had fled to England because of the punitive repression that followed the sacking of Antwerp churches and defacing of their images in the summer of 1566.
seventh seale: An error. The French source is correct: van der Noot is describing the vision of the opening of the fourth seal ( Rev 6:7-8).
Rom. 2. . . . Math. 6. [marg. glosses]: The reference to Romans is miscopied from the French: the relevant passage from Romans, on the extension of Christ’s offer of a spiritual life even to those dead in the body, is 8:10. The chapters from Luke and Matthew contain the two versions of the Sermon on the Mount, both concerned with life conferred by Christ. But each of the Gospel chapters takes up different themes of concern to van der Noot: Luke 12:4-5 focuses on the eternal death to which van der Noot imagines his papist adversaries as condemned; several verses in Matt 6 concentrate on the empty devotional shows of hypocrisy.
Esay. 5. [marg. gl.]: Isa 5:14.
seduced by them: Although the seductress of Prov 5:3-6 is less potent than the Whore of Rev, ‘her steppes take holde on hel.’ Still, the reference may be a misprint: the gloss in the French Theatre gives ‘Pro. 2’, possibly a reference to a comparable seductress at 2:16-19, whereas the source in Bale (1550: L2v) offers ‘Prove. 1’, presumably 1:12, which, like Isa 5:14, features a ravenous Sheol.
Daniel and Paule: It was customary among the Reformers to associate the fourth beast in Dan 7 with Rome (7:7, explicated at 7:19-23) and to understand the little horn of the beast (7:8, explicated at 7:24-6) not only as the Antichrist, the man of sin of 2 Thess 2:3-8, but also as the pope. Tertullian is the first to have argued that the lawlessness of the Antichrist (2 Thess 2:3) would be unleashed only when the Roman Empire fell (De Resurrectione Carnis 24).
holy ghost by S. John: Cf. Bale (1550: A3v-A4r). But the language here may also reflect the influence of the headnote to Rev in the Geneva Bible, which, like Bale’s Image, describes the book as the Holy Ghost’s own compendium of apocalyptic prophecies, emphasizes the theme of punishment of hypocrisy, and focuses on enargeia: ‘Herein therefore is lively set forth the Divinitie of Christ’ and ‘the livelie description of Antichrist is set forth’.
I saw . . . and corporally: This long passage on Rev 13:1-2 is all but lifted from Bale (1550: f8r-g5r).
congregation . . . hypocrites: Job 15:34; versions of this formulation make up a steady refrain in Bale’s Image.
Ceder . . . Libanus: Cf. Bale (1550: f8r). For the cedars of Lebanon as a figure for a punishable pride, see Isa 2:12-13 and Ps 37:35.
Elmas: Acts 13.6-12.
Apoc. 6. [marg. gl.]: I.e., Rev 6:7-8.
Apoc. 9. [marg. gl.]: I.e., Rev 9:3 and 9:17. The gloss in the Geneva Bible to the locusts (van der Noot’s ‘Grashoppers’) that vex the earth in Rev 9 is pertinent: ‘Locustes are false teachers, heretikes, and worldlie suttil Prelates, with Monkes, Freres Cardinals Patriarkes, Archebishops, Bishops, Doctors Bachelors & masters which forsake Christ to mainteine false doctrine.’
odible: odious

but . . . congregation: Our copy text reads ‘but in this point differ the dragon and the beast, from the divell and his membres, Sathan and his carnal and beastly congregation’, which misrepresents the French source, which unfolds as a series of slightly irregular contrastive pairs: en ce seul point different le Dragon et la beste: le diable et ses membres: Satan de sa congregation charnelle (‘in this particular way differ the Dragon and the Beast, the Devil and his members, Satan from his carnal congregation’ [emphases mine]; F4r). We conjecture that, in preparing his translation, Roest first levelled the irregularity of et-et-de by rendering it ‘and . . . and . . . and’, but later changed his mind, crossing out the last ‘and’ and writing ‘from’ above it. Confused by his copy, the compositor set ‘from’ in the wrong place in the sentence and failed to cancel the third ‘and’.

It is worth noting that van der Noot equates the congregation of Satan (Rev 2:9 and 3:9) with the congregation of the hypocrites (Job 15:34) mentioned a few lines earlier.

their ten heads: In fact, the beast of Rev 13:1, to which the dragon of 12:3 defers, has only seven heads, although it wears a crown on each of its ten horns.
that which . . . have they: Whereas the draconic Satan has only instigated the thyng, the bestial congregation has achieved it. Roest takes care in this passage not to specify the work of the Beast, referring to it as the thyng or, merely, it.
blowe . . . eares: whisper to them concerning, secretly propose
he is but able . . . inspiration: He can only incite the bestial congregation to imagine performing it.
found out: invented
purgatorie . . . service: Although van der Noot offers this as a list of erroneous doctrines that the bestial congregation enforces as dogma, he follows Bale in augmenting the list of erroneous beliefs (purgatorie, transubstantiation) with several corrupt practices.
auricular confession: Compulsory confession ‘into the ear of’ a priestly-confessor. Calvin offers a sustained critique of the practice in Institutes III.4.
transubstantiation: Mentioned neither in Bale nor in the French Theatre at this juncture.
father of all lies: See John 8.44.
written: In both the French commentary and here, van der Noot departs from Bale, whose use of the phrase ‘unwritten veryte’ (1550: g1v) stipulates the unauthorized character of these dogmatic impositions.
Hereout . . . like: From these and similar instances
ghostly: spiritual
more wickednesse: It is worth observing the culminative force here. Van der Noot has steadily distinguished Satan and his ministers, making Satan the figure of lesser wickedness: whereas Satan instigates, they achieve and violently maintain; whereas he plays, they seriously compel; what he invents, they institute as dogma. This will culminate in the assertion that follows, that Satan is impotent without his popish ministers.
Judas . . . entred: Luke 22.3, John 13.27.
Math. 23 [marginal gloss]: Matt 23:34.
640-641And upon . . . Christ : Rev 13:1.
wher with: by means of which
suborne: adorn
suborne: For a similar usage, see Vewe [cross-ref to ‘Evill thinges being decked and suborned with the gay attyre of goodly woordes’].
estimation: reputation
patriarks: the highest-ranking of Catholic bishops
chief heads: Roest is translating ‘Principaux, chefz’.
protonotaries: high-ranking Monsignors of the Catholic church
officialls: bishops’ representatives to diocesan ecclesiastical courts
commissaries: papal appointees with special commissions
prebendaries: cathedral administrators
vicars: representatives
Bridegromes: I.e., bridegrooms of the Church. In Mark 2:19-20, Jesus is understood to have referred to himself as a bridegroom; in Eph 5:25, Paul likens Christ’s love for the Church to a man’s love for his spouse. Insofar as ordination was understood as conforming the priest to Christ, priests could also be understood as bridegrooms of the Church.
as Zacharie termeth them: Zech 10:17.
il favored of fashion: ugly in shape
stoutnesse: stubbornness
a Lion . . . Chaldees: Dan 7:4. The apparatus of the Geneva Bible illustrates a long-standing interpretive confusion over the first of the four kingdoms to which the prophetic chapters 2 and 8 of Daniel refer: the Geneva headnote sensibly refers to the first kingdom as Daniel’s Babylon, but the gloss to 7:4 associates the Lion with the Assyrians and Chaldeans, despite the fact that the Assyrian empire predates Daniel and his prophecy.
kingdome of the Grecians: Referring to the Greek empire established by the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great.
Paralipomenon: I.e., Chronicles.
684-686But this beast . . . to the Lion: Not in Bale.
as much, and more: The Geneva gloss emphasizes that the beast symbolically combines the peoples ‘whom the Romaines overcame’; Bale (1550: g3v) and van der Noot emphasize the ways in which the Beast exceeds the corruption of its predecessors. See the note to ‘vii. times double’ below.
As at this day: This abridges the version in the French Theatre, which adduces Paul’s ‘prediction’ of this realm of surpassing corruption. The gloss in the French version incorrectly refers the reader to Rom 7, whereas the language of the source of the passage in Bale’s Image makes a clear reference to Paul’s description of an ancient ‘mystery of iniquity’ that would eventually lose its mysteriousness (2 Thess 2:7-8). As Bale’s commentary in Part II of Image makes clear, the workings of the mystery of iniquity are responsible for the embodiment of the Antichrist in the worldly papacy (1550: g1v).
Sodometrie: sodomy
Sodometrie: While sodomy (or, here, ‘Sodometrie’) is often used to comprise the full field of proscribed sexual practices (and thus substantially overlaps uncleannesse), it sometimes seems especially to evoke sexual activities between men, hence the frequent use of the term in denunciations of monks.
695-696Gods holy Temple: The Church; as the gloss indicates, Paul describes the Church in these terms at 1 Cor 3:16.
vessels of his glory: Rom 9:23, part of Paul’s discussion of election.
Pharao . . . Caiphas: To the formulaic list of the notorious oppressors of the righteous, Pharaoh, Antiochus, and Caiaphas, a fourth, Herod, is sometimes added.
in the comparison of: i.e., compared to
securitie: In the sixteenth century, the term could be used to denote a culpable confidence or lack of compunction.
[glosses]: The relevant passages are Esth 3:4 and 1 Macc 1:41-51.
to the ordinaunces: in comparison to the ordinaunces
After this sort: accordingly
Popedom: This play on ‘kingdom’ is not original with Roest; the Reformers used both this and ‘papisty’ to refer to the papacy.
covetousnesse: Translating convoitise; van der Noot's source in Bale reads ‘affeccyons’ (1550: g3v).
sheade: shed
observings: observances
Therfore God . . . . pleasure in unrighteousnesse: Not in Bale.
[The portion of Theatre extracted for print ends here. (The editors earlier approved an extract that ended a two-and-a-half sentences earlier. I’ve decided to extend it to reach to the end of the commentary on the first two sentences of Rev 13. Neater that way.) What follows henceforth is simply an account of the debts to Bale.]
745-746the Pope . . . I mean: Not in Bale.
upon the Mount . . . Jesus): Not in Bale.
1080-1081Brabant . . . countrey: Bale’s focus is on England.
friendshyp . . . children: Not in Bale.
1150-1179And it was permitted . . . ordinaunces: Bale, Image, I4v-I5v. Van der Noot skips a long section in Bale devoted to the suppression of scriptural reading and the censorship of reformed commentary in England. He also skips Bale's gloss on Rev 13:13-14 (Image, I1r-I4v) and instead turns directly to Bale’s gloss on Rev 13:15, the first few sentences of which he abridges here.
For it is evident . . . made whole?: Bale, Image, 1545, G3r-I1r. The appropriation of Bale is freer in this next, long section. Van der Noot abridges the Image at a few junctures at which Bale is especially prolix, sketchily updates Bale’s survey of the European anti-Catholic movement, and he gives a slightly more penetrating account of those temporizers who reject the authority of the contemporary Roman church, but cling to earlier traditions of doctrine and practice that he judges to be without scriptural warrant. Here, as elsewhere, van der Noot mutes anti-semitic notes in Bale and − because the first version of this commentary was prepared for a French audience − removes many specific references to the struggles of English protestants.
809-816Other some . . . serve hym arighte: Not in Bale.
to consume their adversaries: Bale asserts, at this juncture, ‘Neverthelesse to the christiane is persecucion necessarye’ (H4v), and elaborates the principle of necessary martyrdom before turning to Rev 13:11.
1272-1280This number . . . agaynst him: Bale, Image, K1v.
1280-1298Some expositors . . . father the pope: Bale, Image, K2r.
1300-1313I saw (sayth . . . or whatsoever: Bale, Image, Q5v. Van der Noot breaks in on Bale to reflect on his own service as an alderman in Antwerp.
1329-1372This beaste is whole . . . doings are: Image, Q5v-Q7v. As part of his general program of updating Bale and muting the local English concerns of the Image, van der Noot excises Bale’s obscene account of the Tunstall’s panting service to the Whore of Babylon.
1373-1399And in hir forhead . . . horrible impietie: Image, Q7v-Q8v.
1401-1437It is no mervaile . . . confidence in it: Image, Q3v-Q4v.
1438-1516The .x. horns . . . abhomination of that Antechrist: Image, S3r-S4v.
John Wicliffe, . . . Regius,]: The list of Reformation champions adapts Bale’s, adding Wycliff, Hus, Beza, Viret, Peter Martyr, Alasco, and Regius and dropping Reuchlin, Erasmus, Pomeran, Grineus, and a variety of English reformers.
For the Foules, . . . hir flesh: Not in Bale.
After all these manifold . . . bonde of peace: Bale, Image, 1570, U8v [sig. no?]-Aaa3r.
1516-1521After all these manifold . . . with the cloud: Bale, Image, L2r.
and in the .xiii. Chapter . . . downeward: Bale, Image, L4r.
riggish and lecherous prelates: The French Theatre inserts an adapted version of sonnet decrying contemporary Roman debauchery. The sonnet appears later in an adapted form in George Thomson’s La chasse de la beste romaine (1611), addressed to Du Bellay.
and shed very . . . any more: Image, Aaa3r-Bbb3v. Van der Noot imitates Bale freely here, sometimes expanding and sometimes condensing.
But they have their rewarde . . . gnashing of teeth: Not in Bale.
Bertrandus Herebaldus: An almost comical instance of unfaithful transmission: ‘Bertrandus, Herebaldus’ in Le Theatre, a corruption of ‘Bertramus, Herebaldus’ in Bale’s Image. A treatise on the Eucharist arguing against the doctrine of transubstantiation was printed in 1531 and attributed to Bertramus, although the treatise is actually the work of a ninth-century theologian by the name of Ratramnus. Similar errors of transmission appear elsewhere in this list.
1796-1816against God and hys saincts . . . on this maner: Although van der Noot continues to follow Bale here, he condenses and rearranges freely in this section when adapting it for Le Theatre; Theatre is even more fully reworked.
1842-1867And every Shippe . . . she is fallen: Image, Ccc2v-Ccc4r.
1868-1893The apples . . . dangerous wayes: Image, Bbb8r-Ccc1r.
1893-1896These grosse . . . one houre: Picking up detail of the merchants’ corpulence from Image, Ccc1v, van der Noot proceeds to conclude this section by appropriating the conclusion of the lament of the shipmen at Image, Ccc4r.
1904-2013I Saw the heavens open . . . everlasting fire: Image, Eee2r-Eee6r.
holds: strongholds
savior: i.e. savour
2016-2021For he it is . . . things are set: Image, Eee6v.
2021-2126And I saw an Angell . . . leude Prelats: Image, Eee8r-Fff3v.
2109-2113They seeke . . . against Christ: Not in Bale.
The conspectus of contemporary persecutions departs from Bale’s Image.
2197-2210the Lambe is strong . . . of those virgins: These lines draw variously from Bale, Image, K5r-K5v, K7r, and K8r.
2210-2270for they judge . . . unchast chastitie: Van der Noot departs from his dependence on Bale here. Bale concentrates on the spiritual virginity of ideal marriage, whereas van der Noot’s address to marriage is somewhat less mystical. Even as he sustains a vigorous attack on the corrupt sexuality of the Roman clergy’s, he propounds a defense of right marriage as a moral and devotional practice.
2270-2276For what I pray you . . . S. Paule testifieth: Image, K8r-K8v.
The Lambe whyche . . . strong mounte Syon: Image, K5r.
2279-2287the Dragon and . . . of the divel: Image, F3v.
2291-2308For it followeth . . . and false Prophetes: Image, Fff4r-Fff4v, deleting the discussion of Caiaphas.
2309-2326And the remnant . . . bloud of the wicked: Image, Fff5v-Fff6v.
2342-2356I sawe (sayth S. John . . . perfection: Image, Kkk1v-Kkk2v.
2356-2440And there was no more sea . . . farre from them: Image, Kkk3r-Kkk7r, lightly abridged.
2440-2456The building of the frame . . . accepted of God: Image, Lll8r.
2467-2475This holy Jerusalem . . . moste finest golde: Image, Mmm2r-Mmm2v.
2475-2481This Citie hath . . . shall be saved: Image, Mmm3v.
And on every gate . . . kingdom of Christ: Image, Ooo2v.
2486-2498And at these gates . . . of the promise: Image, Mmm3v-Mmm4r.
2498-2539The walles of the Citie . . . principallest: Image, Mmm5r-Mmm6v.
2540-2553The buildings of the wall . . . pretious stones: Image, Nnn5r-Nnn6r.
2555-2559The first foundation . . . chyldren of God: Image, Nnn6v-Ooo2r.
2684-2742And the Angell . . . never shall perishe: Image, Ppp2r-Ppp3v and Ppp4v-Ppp6v. Van der Noot abridges and simplifies Bale slightly in this section.
2742-2751This worde then . . . heavenly Jerusalem: based loosely on Bale, Image, PPP6v-Ppp7r.
3026-3037It must be of necessitie . . . are unperfect: Image, 1545, H4v-H5r.
[1] Sir Thomas Elyot, The Boke Named the Governour (1531), 77v-78r.
[2] Jennifer Nevile, The Eloquent Body: Dance and Humanist Culture in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004) and
woulde be: wish to be
369.xxi. yeares: The 211th poem in Petrarch’s Rime sparse establishes the year of Petrarch’s enamourment as 1327; the 336th poem establishes the year of Laura’s death as 1348. Petrarch gives both dates again in an obituary he inscribes in his manuscript of Virgil.
ten yeares: In the 364th of the 366 poems of the Rime sparse, Petrarch recalls the twenty-one years during which he loved Laura prior to her death and marks the occasion of the poem as the tenth anniversary of her death.
and that of good right: and I do so for good reason
seven hilles: "namely upon the hill of Palatine, the hill Capitoli[n]e, the mounte Vimiall, the mount Cely, Esquilin, Vimiel, and Quirinel" (Noot, F4v-Fv).
Dragon: Of the dragon of Rev. 12 and 13, the Geneva glossator comments (at 13.2) “that is, the devil.”
one cride: At Rev 13.4, a multitude of worshippers offers up this reverent question.

vii. times double: Roest here translates ‘sept fois le double’, probably a derivation from septemgeminus (L.) and, hence, meaning ‘sevenfold’, as opposed to ‘fourteenfold’.

383understode: The word is used similarly below at [give l. ref to Understandyng hereby]. The sense of the term as used here -- not an unfamiliar one in Spenser’s period -- suggest a semantic peculiarity central to visionary poetry. Insofar as Petrarch is to be taken as having been a passive witness to these visions, this understanding may be taken as his interpretation of that visionary experience (OED ‘understand’ 5a); insofar as Petrarch is to be taken as the inventor of these visions, this understanding may be taken as the meaning he intends for us to derive from his description of those visions (OED ‘understand’ 5b). The dual sense of understand thus anticipates the very similar dual sense of read in Spenser’s mature poetry.
Holly: Neither Petrarch’s poem nor van der Noot’s French commentary warrants the suggestion that a holly has bloomed from a laurel. Holly seems to be an error based on the compositor’s misreading of his copy, but the original wording of the copy is difficult to determine. Roest may have consulted Marot’s translation of Petrarch and construed divins rameaux (l. 1) as ‘holy bowes’ or, perhaps, he has translated the phrase in the French commentary, belles branchettes, as ‘jolly bowes’.
423-424the shee wolfe . . . Romains: This symbol (‘Armes’) was widely circulated on Roman coins from as early as the third century B.C.E. Cicero mentions that a statue of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus was damaged by a lightning strike in 65 B.C.E. (In Catilinem, 3.19).
428-429Typheus daughter: The poem refers, in fact, to ‘Typhæus sister’, for which see the note at 11.4 above. Different authors attribute various daughters to Typhaon/Typhoeus: the Chimera, the Sphinx, the Harpies, and the Lernaean Hydra, none of whom have attributes that correspond securely to those of the central figure in Du Bellay’s poem.
cast . . . teeth: reproached them
466-467Nero . . . Maxence: The inclusion of Trajan in this list may seem anomalous, since both Aquinas and Dante include him among the virtuous pagans, but van der Noot seems to be drawing on Augustine’s list of the ten persecutions of the early Church that stand as preliminary to the eleventh and final persecution under the aegis of the Antichrist (City of God, 18.52): Augustine lists Trajan’s persectuion as the third of these ten. He gives Nero’s and Domitian’s as the first two, Aurelian’s as the ninth and Diocletian’s (and Maximian’s) as the tenth. Van der Noot may have meant to include Maximian in this list and not his son, Maxentius – Maxence. Maxentius had, in fact, practiced a policy of toleration towards Christians, although because of his rivalry with the Christian Constantine, he earned an undeserved post-antique reputation for hostility to Christians.
brought in: introduced

church holy days: Like most of the criticism in this passage, the attack on the multitude of Catholic holidays might have come from any of the Reformers, but Calvinists like van der Noot were especially fervent in their sabbatarianism and in their strict abridgement in the number of holidays celebrated: many mid-century Calvinist churches celebrated only the Sabbath, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday, and there was a brief period in Geneva when even the celebration of Christmas was proscribed.

The item marks a departure from Bale, who here speaks of ‘hallowing of churches’ instead of the proliferation of holidays (1550: L1v). Bale’s Image continues to inspire the next few sentences, but van der Noot improvises by providing more piquantly specific enormities than Bale offers.

568foreseing . . . Maosin: The text, which has no equivalent in Bale’s Image, may be corrupt here. Roest is translating Ils bastirent & edifierent en tous endroictz leurs Maosins (‘In every place they build and set up their Maosins’; F4), but even if foresee is being used to mean ‘provide for’, it seems an imperfect way to render van der Noot’s two verbs for building. Because of the oddly spelled word, Maosins, in his source, Roest may not have recognized van der Noot’s reference to the notoriously difficult verse, Daniel 11.38, ‘But in hys place’ – that is, instead of ‘the God of his fathers’ (11.37) – ‘shal he honour the God Mauzzim’, where ‘he’ is ‘the King’ of 11.36, usually understood as the Antichrist. Modern translations render ‘Mauzzim’ as ‘forces’ or ‘fortresses’, while Luther identifies ‘Mauzzim’ with the mass, but the gloss to the Geneva version is closer to the spirit of van der Noot’s allusion, for it characterizes the Mauzzim as ‘the god of riches and power.’ On Maosin, see also N7v.

Of these . . . seduced by them.: C.f Bale (1550: L2r).

copper faces: An unusual locution, possibly comparable to brazen-faced. But because Roest is translating ‘la face enflée’ (enflamed face) he may mean the phrase to name acne rosacea, sometimes referred to as ‘copper-nose’.
606their heads . . . and their hornes: Rev 13.1.
635bishops and Scribes: Van der Noot’s formulation has polemical force: it adapts the gospel pairing, ‘chief Priests and Scribes’ from Matt 2.4 (and see also Luke 23.10 and the more frequent pairing of scribes and Pharisees, which is employed throughout the gospels and serves as the anaphoric matrix of Jesus’ address to the multitude in Matt 23). By referring to Jerusalem’s chief priests as bishops, van der Noot sharpens the typological relationship between the modern Roman clerics and the priestly enemies of Jesus himself and so prepares for the double assertion in the next sentence: first, that the Apostles, tru ministers and other witnesses of Christ were persecuted and are again persecuted at this present and, second, that, by persecuting the present witnesses of Christ, these popish prelates . . . fulfil the mesure of their fathers. Bale’s typology is even more emphatic; in the comparable passage, he speaks of “Bysshoppes and lawers” (sic, 1550: g1v).
[glosses]: As elsewhere TVW reproduces the glosses in the French Theatre, with some errors. As printed, TVW misrepresents the reference to 1 Maccabees as a reference to 2 Maccabees (a book that Luther regarded with contempt and which many Protestants kept at arms’ length), but even the gloss in the French source seems only approximate, for although 1 Macc. 2 is relevant to the discussion at hand, the oppressions of Antiochus are most vividly narrated in the first chapter of 1 Macc. Other glosses are also problematic. Habak. 1 marvels over the conquests of the Chaldeans, but the curse on them is withheld until 2.8 and 2.15-17. The gloss ‘Esay. 22’ may be a reference to the captivity of Shebna at Isa 22.17, but context strongly suggests that this, like the rest of Isa 22, concerns an Assyrian conquest, not one of Persians or Medes. (The Geneva glosses construe Isa 22 as a prophecy of Babylonian conquest – again, not Persian or Medean.) The other references may be specified to Isa 13.17-22 and 2 Chron 36.17-23.
[glosses: Psalm 9 . . . Rom. 1.]: There are no corresponding glosses in the French Theatre, although their textual locations correspond to places in the French Theatre where, in several copies, the margins are distinguished by a great deal of bleed-through. It may be that Roest, construing this bleed-through as poorly printed glosses, felt obliged to “repair” the illegible glosses. If so, he did his job poorly: since neither Ps 9 nor Rom 3 are pertinent to the passages they ostensibly underpin, they seem little better than place-holders. It may be that the list of the various forms of wickedness that fill those who do not honor God (Rom 1.29) is a gloss relevant to the Popedom’s ‘headlong rush ‘to every kinde of mischiefe.
[gloss: 2. Thess. 2.]: This is the first of three consecutive glosses all of which refer the reader to 2 Thess 2: this passage draws on verses 10-11, but as van der Noot’s glosses imply, Bale’s commentary here, and for the next page, dwells on the identification of the Lawless One of 2 Thess 2.9-12 and the Antichrist-Beast of Rev 13 (1550: g3v-g4r). Bale and van der Noot interest themselves especially on the dynamics of apocalyptic justice: to those who, refusing truth, secure authority by means of illusion, God responds by inflicting delusion, leaving the deceivers sunk in deception. Both Bale and Calvin regard the Antichrist as being made fully manifest in the papacy by the progressive workings of the mystery of iniquity of 2 Thess 2.7; see Firth, Apocalyptic Tradition, 53.
Building display . . .
Re-selecting textual changes . . .


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Textual Changes

The vagaries of early modern printing often required that lines or words be broken. Toggling Modern Lineation on will reunite divided words and set errant words in their lines.

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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Off: Sweet slõbring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes: (FQ I.i.36.4)

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Off: And all the world in their subiection held, Till that infernall feend with foule vprore (FQ I.i.5.6-7) On: And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore

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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

(The text of 1590 reads Mostlothsom, while the editors’ emendation reads Most lothsom.)


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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