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Edmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon online

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The squyre of lo degree, The knight of courtesy, and the Lady
Faguell, Frederik of Gene, Syr Eglamoour, Sir Tryamoour, Sir
Lam well, Syr Isenbras, Syr Gawyn, Olyuer of the Castl, Lucres
and Eurialus, Virgil's life. The castle of Ladiez, The wido Edyth,
The King & the Tanner, Frier Rous, Howleglas, Gargantua,
Robinhood, Adambel,Clim of the clough,& William of Cloudesley,
The Churl & the Burd, The seauen wise Masters, The wife lapt
in a Morel's skin. The sak full of nuez, The seargeaunt that became
a Fryar, Skogan, Collyn cloout, The Fryar & the boy, Elynor
Rumming, and the Nutbrooun maid, with many moe then I
rehearz heere : I beleeue hee haue them all at hiz fingers endz.

Then, in Philosophy, both morall & naturall, I think he be
az naturally ouerseen : beside poetrie and Astronomic, and
oother hid sciencez, as I may gesse by the omberty of hiz
books : whcarof part az I remember, the Sheperdz kalender.
The Ship of Foolz, Danielz dreamz, the booke of Fortune,
Stans puer ad mensam, the hy wey to the Spitlhouse, lulian
of Brainford's testament, the castle of Louc, the booget of
Demaunds, the hundred Mery talez, the book of Riddels,



X " LANE HA APS LETTER " 267

the Seauen soroz of wemen, the prooud wiues Pater noster,
the Chapman of a peniworth of Wit : Beside hiz auncient playz,
Yooth & charitee, Hikskorner, Nugize, Impacient pouerty ; and
h^erwith, doctor Boord's breuiary of health. What shoold I
rehearz heer, what a bunch of ballets & songs, all auncient :
Az Broom broom on hil. So wo iz me begon, troly lo. Ouer
a whinny Meg. Hey ding a ding. Bony lass vpon a green.
My bony on gaue me a bek. By a bank az I lay : and a
hundred more, he hath, fair wrapt vp in Parchment, and
bound with a whipcord.

And az for Allmanaks of antiquitee, (a point for Ephemerides)
I weene hee can sheaw from lasper Laet of Antwarp vnto
Nostradam of Frauns, and thens vnto oour John Securiz of
Salsbury. To stay ye no longer hderin, I dare say hee hath
az fair a library for theez sciencez, & az many goodly monuments
both in proze & poetry, & at afternoonz can talk az much
without book, az ony Inholder betwixt Brainford and Bagshot,
what degree soeuer he be.

Beside thiz, in the field a good Marshall at musters : of
very great credite & trust in the toun heer, for he haz been
chozen Alecunner many a yeere, when hiz betterz haue stond
by : & euer quited himself with such estimation, az yet too
the tast of a cup of Nippitate, his iudgement will be taken aboue
the best in the parish, be hiz noze near so read.

Captain Cox cam marching on valiantly before, clden trust.
& gartered aboue the knee, all fresh in a veluet cap (master
Goldingham lent it him) floorishing with his tonswoord. . . .^

The following passage is evidence of the sensitiveness
of the author's perceptions :

P. 34. . . . which was Arion, that excellent & famouz
Muzicien, in tyre & appointment straunge well seeming too
hiz parson, ryding alofte vpon hiz olid freend the Dolphin,
(that from hed to tayl waz a foour & twenty foot long) &
swymd hard by theez Hands : ht^erwith Arion, for theez great
benefitez, after a feaw well coouched words vntoo her Maiesty
of thanksgyuing, in supplement of the same, beegan a delectabl

* [Mr. Furnivall notes as a remarkable fact that "Guy of Warwick " is
omitted from the list of this local worthy's books, and adds that " the fact
lends colour to the supposition that the list is as much one of Laneham's
own books as Captain Cox's." Captain Cox, in my opinion, is an imaginary
person. How would the "Mercer" know all about his books and studies
from seeing him on this occasion ? I take this to be an account of the
author's own reading. — E. G. H.]



268 SPENSER AND THE BACON IMPERSONATIONS chap.

ditty of a song wel apted too a melodious noiz, compounded
of six seuerall instruments al coouert, casting soound from
the Dolphin's belly within ; Arion, the seauenth, sitting thus
singing (az I say) withoout.

Noow syr, the ditty in miter so aptly endighted to the
matter, and after by voys so delicioously deliuerd : the song
by a skilful artist intoo hiz parts so sweetly sorted : each part
in hiz instrument so clean & sharpely toouched, euery instrument
again in hiz kind so excellently tunabl : and this in the eeu[en]-
ing of the day, resoounding from the callm waters : whear
prezens of her Maiesty, «& longing too listen, had vtterly damped
all noyz & dyn ; the hole armony conueyd in tyme, tune, &
temper, thus incomparably melodious : with what pleazure
(Master Martin), with what sharpnes of conceyt, with what
lyuely delighte, this moought pears into the heerers harts, I
pray ye imagin yoor self az ye may ; for, so God iudge me,
by all the wit & cunning I haue, I cannot express, I promis
yoo. Mais ieo bien vieii cela, Monseiir, que forte grande est la
pouuoyr qu'auoit la tresnoble Sciefice de Musique sur les esprites
humains : perceiue ye me ? I haue told ye a great matter
noow. As for me, surely I was lulld in such liking, & so loth
too leaue of, that mooch a doo, a good while after, had I, to
fynde me whear I waz.

Mr. Furnivall cites the following story which is told
about " Arion " on this occasion :

There was a spectacle presented to Q. Elizabeth upon the
water, and amongst others Harry Goldingham was to represent
Arion upon the Dolphin's backe; but finding his voice to be
very hoarse and unpleasant when he came to performe it, he
teares of his disguise and sweares he was none of Arion : not
he ! but eene honest Harry Goldingham — which blunt discoverie
pleased the Queene better then if he had gone thorough in
the right way. Yet he could order his voice to an instrument
exceeding well. (Para. 221 of Harl. MS. 6395 — a book of
" Merry Passages and Jeasts," collected by Sir Nicholas
L'Estrange of Hunstanton, Bart., who died in 1669.)

Compare with this the speech of Bottom about the
lion in Midsummer Night's Dream :

Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must
be seen through the lion's neck : and he himself must speak
through, saying thus, or to the same defect, — 'Ladies,' — or



X '' LANEHAiWS LETTER" 269

'Fair ladies ... If you think I come hither as a lion, it
were pity of my life : no, I am no such thing ; I am a man as
other men are ' ; and there indeed let him name his name, and
tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner, (iii. i .)

The account of the minstrel ^ which follows is eminently
Shakespearian (of the early period) in the vivid powers
of description and characterisation, and the exuberant
sportiveness. The ballad at the end is especially
remarkable, both as an imitation and parody.

P. 36. Mary, syr, I must tell yoo : Az all endeuoour waz too
mooue mirth »& pastime (az I tolld ye) : eeuen so a ridiculoous
deuise of an auncient minstrell & hiz song waz prepared to haue
been profferd, if meet time & place had b^en foound for it.
0ns in a woorshipfull company, whear, full appointed, he
recoounted his matter in sort az it shoould haue been vttred, I
chaunsed too be : what I noted, heer thus I tel yoo : A parson
very m^et sdemed he for the purpoze, of a xlv."^ y(^ers olid,
apparelled partly as he woold himself. Hiz cap of: his hed
seemly roounded tonster wyze : fayr kemb, that with a spoonge
deintly dipt in a littl capons greaz was finely smoothed too make
it shine like a Mallard's wing. Hiz beard smugly shauen : and
yet hiz shyrt after the nu trink, with ruffs fayr starched, slt^eked,
and glistering like a payr of nu shooz : marshalld in good order :
wyth a stetting stick, and stoout, that euery ruff stood vp like a
wafer : a side gooun of kendall green, after the freshnes of the
yder noow, gathered at the neck with a narro gorget, fastened
afore with a white clasp and a keepar close vp to the chin : but
easily for heat too vndoo when he list : S<^emly begyrt in a red
caddiz gyrdl : from that a payr of capped Sheffeld kniuez hanging
a to side : Out of hiz bozome drawne foorth a lappet of his
napkin, edged with a blu lace, & marked with a trulooue, a hart,
and A. D, for Damian : for he was but a bachelar yet.

Hiz gooun had syde sleeuez, dooun to midlegge, slit from
the shooulder too the hand, & lined with white cotten. Hiz
doobled sleeuez of blak woorsted, vpon them a payr of poynets
of towny Chamblet laced a long the wreast wyth blu threeden
points, a wcalt toward the hand of fustian anapes : a payr of
red neatherstocks : a pair of pumps on hiz feet, with a cross cut
at the toze for cornz : not nu inddede, yet cleanly blakt with
soot, & shining az a shoing horn.

• [A piece of imaginary self-portraiture. — E. G. H.]

2 The Duchess of Portland's copy reads "xiv." Nichols, ed. 1788,
vol. i. p. 30.



270 SPENSER AND THE BACON IMPERSONATIONS CHAP.

Aboout hiz nek a red rebond sutable too hiz girdl ; hiz harp
in good grace dependaunt before him : hiz wreast tyed to a grden
lace, and hanging by : vnder the gorget of hiz gooun a fair flagon
cheyn, (pewter, for) siluer, az a squier minstrel of Middilsex,
that trauaild the cuntree this soommer seazon vnto fairz &
worshipful! mens hoousez : from hiz chein hoong a Schoochion,
with mettall & cooller resplendant vpon hiz breast, of the
auncient armez of Islington: vpon a question whearof: he, az
one that waz wel schoold, & coold hiz lesson parfit withoout
booke too aunswear at full, if question wear askt hym, declared :
hoow the woorshipfuU village of Islington in Middelsex, well
knooen too bee one of the most auncient and best toounz in
England next London at thiz day : for the feythfull friendship of
long time sheawed, az well at Cookez feast in Aldersgate streete
yeerely vpon holly Rood day, az allso at all solem bridalez in
the citie of London all the yeer after : in well seruing them of
furmenty for porage, not ouersod till it be too weak ; of mylk
for theyr flawnez, not pild nor chalked : of cream for their
custardes, nor frothed nor thykned with floour : and of butter
for theyr pastiez, and pyepast, not made of well curds, nor
gathered of whey in soommer : nor mingled in winter with salt
butter watered or washt, did obteyn long ago thez woorshipfuU
armez in cooler & foorm az yee see : which are the armz, a
field argent, as the field and groound indeed, whearin the milk-
wiuez of thiz woorthy tooun, and euery man els in hys faculty
doth trade for hiz liuing : on a Fess Tenny three platez betweene
three milke tankerds proper. The three milk tankerds, az the
proper vessell whearin the substauns and matter of their trade
iz too and fro transported. The Fess Tenny, which iz a
cooler betokening dout & suspition : so az suspition & good
heed taking, az wel to their markets & seruants, az to their
customers, that they trust not too farre : may bring vnto them
platez, that iz, coynnd syluer : three, that iz, suflScient and
plentie, for so that number in Armory may well signifie. . . .

[Quoth the minstrel]

" In the skro vndergrauen," (quoth hee) " thiz ear a proper
woord, an hemistichi, well squaring with al the rest, taken out of
Salerns chapter of things that most noorish man's body : LaCy
Caseus infans. That iz, good milke and yoong ch^ez. And
thus mooch, Gintlmen, and pleaz you (quoth he) for the armz
of oour woorshipfuU tooun." And thearwithal made a manerly
leg, and so held his peas.

Az the cumpany pawzed, and the minstrell seemde to gape
after a praiz for hiz Beauparlar : and bicauz he had renderd hiz
lesson so well : Saiz a good fello of the cumpany, " I am sory to



X " LANEHA.WS LETTER " 271

see hoow mooch the poore minstrell mistakez the matter : for
indeed the armez are thus.

" Three milk tankerds proper, in a fielde of cloouted cream ;
three green cheesez vpon a shealf of cakebread. The fyrmenty
boll and hornspoonz : cauz their profit corns all by horned
beastz. Supported by a Mare with a gald back, & thearfore
still couerd with a panniell, fisking with her tail for flyez, and
her filly fole neying after the dam for suk. This woord Lac,
Caseus infans. That is, a fresh cheez and cream, & the common
cry that theez milk-wiuez make in London streetes yeerly, betwixt
Easter and Whitsontide : and this iz the very matter ; I kno it
well inough : " and so ended hiz tale, and sate him dooun again.

Heerat euery man laught a good, saue the minstrell : that,
thoough the fooU wear made priuy, all waz but for sport, yet to
see himself thus crost with a contrary ku that hee lookt not for,
woold straight haue geen ouer all, waxt very wayward, eager, and
soour : hoow be it, last, by sum entreaty and many fayr woords,
with sak & suger, we sweetned him againe, and after becam az
mery az a py. Appeerez then a fresh, in hiz ful formalitee, with
a louely loock : after three loly cooursiez, cleered his vois with a
hem and a reach, and spat oout withal, wiped hiz lips with the
hollo of his hand, for fyling hiz napkin, temperd a string or too
with his wreast : and after a littl warbling on hiz harp for a
prelude, came foorth with a sollem song, warraunted for story
oout of King Arthurz acts, the first booke and 26 chapter,
whearof I gate a copy, and that iz this.

So it befell vpon a Penticost day.

When King Arthur at Camelot kept coourt rial,

With hiz cumly Queen, dame Gaynoour the gay

And many bolld Barrons sitting in hall.

Ladies apparaild in purpl and pall,

When herauds in hukes berried full by,

" Largess ! Largess I cheualiers treshardy ! "

A doouty Dwarf too the vppermost deas
Right peartly gan prik, and, kneeling on knee,
With steeuen ^ full stoout amids all the preas,
Said " hail, syr king ! God thee saue and see !
King Ryens of Northgalez greeteth well thee,
And bids that thy beard anon thou him send,
Or els from thy iawz he will it of rend.

For his robe of state, a rich skarlet mantell.
With a-leauen kings beards bordred aboout,

1 " Voice," A.-Sax. stefn.



272 SPENSER AND THE BACON IMPERSONATIONS chap.

Hee hath made late, and yet in a cantell ^
Iz leaft a place, the twelth to make oout :
Wear thin must stand, bee thou neuer so stoout :
This must bee doon, I tell thee no fabl,
Mawgre the poour of all thy roound tabl."

When this mortall message from hiz moouth vvaz past,
Great waz the brute in hall and in boour :
The King fumed, the queen shriked, ladiez wear agast,
Princes puft, Bar[o]nz blustered, Lordz began too loour,
Knights stampt, squirez startld, az steedz in a stoour,
Yeemen and pagez yeald oout in the hall :
Thearwith cam in Syr Kay of Seneshall.

" Sylens, my suffrainz," quoth the courteyz Knight,

And in that stoound the chearm becam still,

The Dwarfs dynner full deerly waz dight.

For wine and wastell hee had at hiz will :

And when hee had eaten and fed hiz fill.

One hundred peeces of coyned gould

Wear giuen the Dwarfe for hiz message bolld.

" Say too Syr Ryens, thou Dwarf," quoth the King,
" That for his proud message I him defy.
And shortly with basinz and panz will him ring
Oout of Northgalez, whearaz hee and I
With sweards (and no razerz) shall vtterly try
Which of vs both iz the better Barber : "
And thearwith he shook hiz sword Excalaber.

At this, the minstrell made a pauz & a- curtezy, for Primus
passus? More of the song iz thear, but I gat it not.

Having exhausted the account of entertainments the
writer fills up the letter with fancies of his own :

P. 43. If I dyd but ruminate the dayz I have spoken of, I shall
bring oout yet sumwhat moore, meet for yoor appetite, (thoogh a
deinty tooth have ye), which I beleve yoor tender stomak will
brook wel inoogh.

Whearof part iz : fyrst hoow according to her highnes name
Elizaukth, which I heer say oout of the Hebru signifieth
(amoong oother) the Seauetith of my God: diverz things heer did
soo justly in number scjuare with the same. Az fyrst her highnes
hither cumming in this seauenth moonth. . . .

> A piece, or part. 2 Y\x%'i filt, ist canto.



X " LANEHAAPS LETTER " 273

Then, too, consider how fully the Gods (az it seemed) had
conspyred most magnificently in aboundauns too bestow theyr
influeneez and gyfts vpon her coourt, thear too make her Maiesty
merry.

There follows a long catalogue of pagan divinities,
with their respective bestowals. The following is a
specimen :

Venus. Vntoo the Ladyez & Gentl-wemen, beauty, good
fauour, cumlinesse, galant attyre, dauncing with cumly grace,
sweet vois in song, & pleazaunt tallk : with express commaund-
ment & charge vntoo her sunn, on her blessing, that he shoote
not a shaft in the Coourt all the while her highnes remayned at
Killingwoorth.

Mercuri. Learned men in Sciencez, Poets, Merchaunts,
Painterz, Karuerz, Players, Engyners, Deuyserz, & dexteritee in
handling of all pleazaunt attempts.

Luna. Callm nights for quiet rest, and syluer moonshine,
that nightly in-deede shone for most of her Maiestyez beeing
thear.i

P. 44. For all Quid's censure, that saiz :

Si quoties peccant koinines, sua fulmina mittat
Jupiter : exiguo tempore iftermis erit.

If loue shoold shoot hiz thunderbollts az oft as men offend,
Assure you hiz artillary wold soon be at an end.-

The writer describes the grounds of the Castle, and, in
the following passage, a fountain in the garden in which
one day he found himself alone. The description is
characteristic of Bacon, whose love of gardens, orna-
mental work, etc., appears, with similar wealth of detail,
in his Essay :

P. 52. In the center (az it wear) of this goodly Gardein, was
theer placed a very fayre Foountain, cast intoo an eight square,
reared a four foot hy, from the midst whearof a Colum vp set in
the shape of too Athlants ioined togeather a backhalf, the toon

' [The passage in Midsummer Nighfs Dream, "That very night I saw,"
etc., seems reminiscent of this. — E. G. H.]

^ [It was Bacon's habit generally to translate his Latin quotations, and into
idiomatic English, alterations being made, if necessary, for that purpose. —
E. G. H.]

T



274 SPENSER AND THE BACON IMPERSONATIONS CHAP.



looking East, toother West, with theyr hands vphollding a fayr
formed boll, of a three foot ouer : from wheans sundrye fine
pipez did liuely distill continuall streamz intoo the receyt of the
Foountayn, maynteyned styll too foot deep by the same fresh
falling water : whearin pleazauntly playing too & fro, & round
about, Carp, Tench, Bream, and for varietee, Pearch & Eel,
fysh fayrliking all, and large; in the toppe, the ragged staflfe,
which, with the boll, the pillar, and eyght sides beneath, wear all
heawen oout of rich «S: hard white Marbl. A one syde, Neptune
with his Tridental Fuskin triumphing in hiz Throne, trayled
into the deep by his marine horsez. On another, Thetis in her
chariot drawn by her Dollphins. Then, Triton by hiz fyshez.
Hder, Protheus bearding hiz sea buls, Thear, Doris & her
dooughterz solacyng a sea & sandz. The wauez soourging with
froth & fome, entermengled in place with whalez, whirlpoolz,
sturgeonz, Tunneyz, Conchs, & wealks : all engrauen by exquisit
deuize and skill, so az I maye thinke this not much inferioour
vnto Phoebus gatez, which (Ouid sayz), & peraduentur a
pattern to thiz, that Vulcan himself dyd cut : whearof such was
the excellency of art, that the woork in valu surmoounted the
stuff; and yet wer the gatez all of clean massy syluer.

The following passage is typically Baconian :

P. 53. But, Master Martin, yet one wyndlesse must I featch,
too make ye one more fayr coorz, and I can : and cauz I speak of
one : let me tel yoo a littl of the dignitde of onehod, whearin
alhveyz al hy Deitee, al Soueraintee, Preeminens, Principalitee,
and Concord withoout possibilitde of disagreement, iz conteyned.
Az one God, one Sauioour, one Feith, one Prins, one Sun, one
Phenix ; and, az one of great wizdom sayz, one hart, one wey.^
Whear onehod reinz, ther quiet bears rule, & discord fliez a pase.
Three again may signify cumpany, a meeting, a multitude,
pluralit^e : so az all talez and numbrings from too vntoo thr^e,
and so vpward, may well be counted numberz, till they moount
vntoo infinit^e, or els too confusion, which thing the sum of Too
can neuer admit : nor it self can well bee coounted a number,
but rather a freendly coniunction of too ones, that, keeping in a

* The motto of the great Lord Bacon was Cor unum, una via. — [Note from]
Ken. III. p. 38.

[This was the motto on the arms adopted by Burghley, but I am not aware
that it was hcraldically used by Bacon, whose motto, adopted by his father,
was Mediocria firma. It was latterly, however, one of his favourite expressions,
e.g. "I have cor unum et via una." — Letter to Buckingham, 28th Oct.
1620; .Spedding, life, vii. 135; other examples, ibid. pp. 149, 169. —
E. G. II.]



X " LANE HAM'S LETTER " 275

synceritce of accord, may purport vnto vs, Charitde each too
other, mutuall looue, agreement, & integritee of friendship
withoout dissimulation. Az iz in thez : The too testamentes.
The too tables of the Law. The too great lights, Duo huninaria
magna. The Sun & Moon. . . . [And more in a similar figurative
vein, the reference evidently being to the Queen and the Earl of
Leicester. Cf. "Phoebus" and "Cynthia," p. 223 above.]

A characteristic piece of laudatory writing, full of hope
of future advancement :

P. 56. As for vnto hiz Lordship, hauing with such greatnes
of honorabl modestye & benignitee so passed foorth, as Laudem
sine inuidia et arnicos pararif, By greatnesse of well dooing, woon
with all sorts to bee in such reuerens, az : De quo nientiri fama
veretur. In synceritce of freendship so great, az no man more
deuooutly woorships.

Illud amicitiae sanctum et venerabile nomen.

So great in liberalitie, az hath no wey to heap vp the mass
of hiz trezure, but only by liberall gyuing & boounteoous
bestoing his trezure : foloing (az it sdemez) the saw of Martiall,
that sayth.

Extra fortunam est, quicquid donatur amicisj
Quas dederis, solas semper habebis opes.

Oout of all hazered doest thou set that to thy freends thoou gyuest :
.\ surer trezure canst thoou not haue euer whyle thoou lyuest.

What may theez greatnesses bode, but only az great honor,
fame, & renooum, for theez parts hCer awey, az euer waz vntoo
thoz too nobl Greatz : the Macedonian Alexander in Emathia or
Grees, or to Romane Charles in Germanye or Italy ? which,
wear it in me ony wey to set oout, no man of all men, by God
(Master Martin), had euer more cauz, and that hCerby consider
yoo. It pleazed his honor to beare me good wil at fyrst, & so
too continu. To haue giuen me apparail, Ceuen from hiz bale,
to get me allowauns in the stabl, too aduauns me vntoo this
worshipfull office, so nCer the most honorabl Councell, to help
me in my licens of Beanz (though indeed I do not so much vze
it, for I thank God I nCed not), to permit my good Father to
serue the stabl. Whearby I go noow in my sylks, that else
might ruffl in my cut canues : I ryde now a hors bak, that els
many timez mighte mannage it a foot : am knoen to their honors,
& taken foorth with the best, that els might be bidden to stand



276 SPENSER AND THE BACON IMPERSONATIONS chap.



bale my self : My good Father a good releef, that hee farez mooch
the better by; and none of theez for my dezert, eyther at
fyrst or syns : God, hee knoez. What say ye, my good friend
Humfrey ? shoold I not for euer honor, extol him, al the weyz
I can ? Yes, by your leaue, while God lends me poour to vtter
my minde ! And (hauing az good cauz of his honor, az Virgil
had of Augustus Cezar,) wil I poet it a littl with Virgill, and say,

Namque erit ille viihi semper Deus, illius aram
Sepe tener nostris ab ouilibus imbuet agtms.

For he shalbe a god to me, till death my life consumez :
His auters will I sacrifice with incens and parfumez.

A singular patron of humanitee may he be well vnto vs,
towarde all degreez ; of Honor, toward hy Estates ; and cheeflye,
whearby we may learne in what dignitee, worship, and reuerens,
her highnes iz to be esteemed, honored, and receiued, that waz
neuer indeed more condignly doon then beer, so as neither by
the bylders at first, nor by the Edict of pacification after, was
euer Kenelworth more nobled then by thiz, hiz Lordship's
receiuing hir highnes beer now.

The writer allows his egotism full play, exaggerating
it for purposes of amusement and to fill in the character,
which is a reflex of one side of himself :

P. 59. And h^er doth my langagez now and then stond me in
good sted, my French, my Spanish, my Dutch, and my Latten,
sumtime amoong Ambassadours men, if their Master be within



Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 25 of 55)