Edward George Harman.

Edmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon online

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the Councel, sumtime with the Ambassadour himself, if hee bid call
hiz lacky, or ask me whats a clok : and I warrant ye I aunswer
him roundly, that they maruell to see such a fello thear : then
laugh I, and say nothing. Dinner and supper I have twenty
placez to go to, and hartly prayd to. . . .

In afternoons & a nights, sumtime am I with the right
worshipfuU Sir George Howard, az good a Gentlman as ony
liuez : And sumtime at my good Lady Sidneis ^ chamber,
a Noblewooman that I am az mooch boound vntoo, as ony
poore man may bee vnto so gracyous a Lady : And sumtime
in sum oother place; But alwayez among the Gentlwemen by

' Mary, the sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wife of Sir
Henry .Sidney, K.G.

[Their son, Sir Philip Sidney, was presumably at this entertainment,
an<l perhaps also Mary Sidney. — E. G. H.]


my good will (O, yee kno that cum alweyez of a gentle spirite) ;
& when I see cumpany according, than can I be az lyuely to ;
sumtyme I foote it with daunsing : noow with my Gittern, and
els with my Cittern, then at the Virgynalz : — Ye kno nothing
cums amisse to m^e : — then carroU 1 vp a song withall, that
by and by they com flocking about me lyke b^ez too hunny :
and euer they cry, " anoother, good Langham, anoother ! " Shall
I tell you ? when I s6e Misterz — (A ! see a madde knaue ! I
had almost toUde all ! ) that shee gyuez onz but an ey or an
ear : why, then man, am I blest ! my grace, my corage, my
cunning iz doobled : She sayz sumtime she likez it, & then I
like it mooch the better ; it dooth me good to heer hoow well
I can doo. And, too say truth : what, with myne eyz, az I
can amoroously gloit it, with my Spanish sospires, my French
heighes, mine Italian dulcets, my Dutch houez,^ my doobl
releas, my hy reachez, my fine feyning, my deep diapason, my
wanton warblz, my running, my tyming, my tuning, and my
twynkling, I can gracify the matters az well az the prowdest of
them ; and waz yet neuer staynd, I thank God. By my
troth, cuntreman, it iz sumtim by midnight ear I can get from
them. And thus haue I told ye most of my trade, al the
l^eue long daye : what will ye more ? God saue the Queene
and my Lord ! I am well, I thank yoo.

P. 62. Well, onez again, fare ye hartely well ! From the
Coourt. At the Citde of Worceter, the xx of August, 1575.

Yor countreeman, companion, & freend assuredly : Mercer,
Merchantauenturer, the Clark of the Councel-chamber door,
and also keeper of the same : El Prencipe negro. Par me,
R. L. Gent. Mercer.


Cedant ar/na togae, concedat laurea linguae^
lactanter Cicero, ad iustiiis illud habe :

1 [Cf.—

" My youthfuUeste hollaes, hussaes, and sahoes,
But wretched allasses, Godhelpes, and woes."

The Schollars Loove, Harvey Letter-book.

E. G. H.]
[The hne used by Pedantius (in the play of that name) for his lecture
to the youth Parillus, on Eloquence :

*^ Ped. Notandum etiam est, haec legi plerisque sic, concedat laurea laudi,
non autem linguae : sed eundem in finem ista recidunt . . .

Par. Me habebis attentissimum ; admiror enim elegantias tuas.


Ceiiant anna togae, vigil et toga cedat honori,
Omnia concedant Iniperioque suo,


•Ped. Optime, sic enim ens ingenij nostri partus aniens : Cedant arma
togae, concedat laurea linguae. Quasi diceret, cedant Imperatores bellici
Paedagogis pacificis . . .

Par. Moriar, si te quisquam esse possit copiosior."

On this Prof. Moore Smith, the editor of the play, has the following note :

" Cicero's line quoted by himself in De Off. i. 22. 77 and elsewhere in

the form 'Cedant . . . laurea laudi.' — Quoted by Gosson, Sch. of Abuse,

as here, and cp. Harvey, Mtisaruni Lack. F. iii. verso : Vate ab eo cujus

cedebat laurea linguae, Arma togae." — E. G. H,]



Returning to Gascoigne, let us consider the remaining
" Court " piece, The Tale of Hemetes the Heremyte.
From the dedication, dated 1st January 1576, it appears
that it was presented before the Queen at Woodstock,
where she paid a visit in September 1575 (" wherw^*^ I
saw yo"" lerned judgment greatly pleased at Woodstock ").
As ] have already said, Gascoigne does not claim to be
the author, but only to have turned it into " latyne,
Italyan and frenche." ^

* The Tale was not printed until after Gascoigne's death, when it appeared,
in 1579, in conjunction with a pamphlet stated to be by Abraham Fleming,
who apparently wished it to be supposed that he was the author of the Tale :

"A Paradoxe, proving by reason and example that Baldnesse is much
better than bushie haire, etc. Written by that excellent Philosopher Synesius,
Bishop of Thebes, or (as some say) Cyren. A Prettie pamphlet, to peruse,
and replenished with recreation. Englished by Abraham Fleming. Here-
unto is annexed the pleasant tale of Hemetes the Heremite, pronounced
before the Queenes Maiestie. Newly recognized both in Latine and Englishe
by the said A. F. t) ttjs cro(plas (paXaKpa arjixeiov. The badge of wisedome is
baldnesse. Printed by H. Denham. 1579."

Fleming was, of course, not the author of the Tale, and it is, therefore,
very curious that he should have published it with another work of an
altogether different character, and should have so worded the descriptive
title as to make it appear that he was the author. But an examination of
Fleming's other works proves beyond the possibility of reasonable doubt that
he was not the author of the translation from Synesius, which is totally
different in style, vocabulary and feeling. The style is Bacon's, and the
work anticipates in many respects the harangues of Nashe. It is apparently
a free translation (with additions) from a French translation of the original
work. I feel certain that this is another example of the use by Bacon of
another man's name for the purpose of getting his own work into print.
Further evidence pointing to a Fleming " impersonation " will be found in
William Webbe's treatise, A Discourse of English Poetrie, 1586, Arber
Reprints, pp. 34, 55 sq.

Mr. Cunliffe also draws attention to a little work, attributed to Gascoigne



It is quite clear, to my mind, that Gascoigne had
little or nothing to do with the writing of this piece,
though I think he wrote the first half of the dedication
to the Queen. I find nothing in his earlier works to
show that he had any acquaintance with foreign languages,
and the writer (as I believe) of the latter half of the
dedication, evidently recollecting this, says, towards the
end :

Some newes may yt seme unto yo*^ ma''^ that a poore gent of
England : w'^ owt travell or instructions (lattyne except) should
any way be able to deale w'^ so manye straunge languages, more
newes should y' be to my frendes if they heard that any vertue
had advanced me to youre service, etc.

Higher up the same writer says :

For my latyne is rustye, myne Itallyan mustye, and my
french forgrowne. ... But yet suche Itallyan as I have lerned
in London, and such lattyn as I forgatt att Cantabridge, suche
frenche as I borovved in Holland, and suche English as I stale
in westmerland, even such and no better (my worthy Sovereigne)
have I here poured forth before you, etc.

(now in the British Museum), which contains a version of the same tale, entitled
The Queenes iMaiesties entertainment at Woodstock, printed in 1585. It is
a little "comedy" in verse, full of compliment to the Queen, and showing
familiarity with the ladies of the Court. In my opinion U bears evidence on
the face of it of very juvenile production, and it contains the tell-tale phrase :
" In sign whereof accept most sacred Queene
This simple token wrought within this woode. "

The piece is thin and tedious, but the style is easy, and there is a sense of
rhythm not to be found in Gascoigne's poems. The following lines may
be quoted as a specimen :

" But yet my Lord consider all the toile,
Which I have past to compasse this my love ?
Shal old conceit at length receive the foyle
Whose force I feele not minding to remove ?
When Love forsaken shal revive agayne
Alas my Lord how sore will be my payne

To be constrained not once to cast a looke,
Vyhere I before did pitch my whole delight ?
To leave him thus for whom I ail forsooke.
How can true love abide such poysoned spight ? "

.ind so on. The subject of the allegory is evidently the aflTection between the
Queen and Leicester. Cf. paper by Mr. CunlifTe in Publications of Modern
language Association of America, vol. xxvi., 191 1, and an edition of the
piece, with mtroduction, by Mr. A. W. Pollard, 1910.


The reference to Westmoreland in this passage has
been a puzzle to biographers, as Gascoigne was the son of
a Bedfordshire squire. The young writer, however, who (in
my belief) was using Gascoigne's name has let his pen run
away with him in a humorous description of Gascoigne's
deficiencies, and " westmerland," from its remoteness in
those days from London, is used to signify " outlandish "
or " barbarous." No man (certainly not Gascoigne)
would write so about himself. My view is that between
young Francis Bacon and Gascoigne there was an
understanding, the youth helping the older man, who
was poor and broken-down, by his genius, and probably
with money, Gascoigne in return lending the use of
his name. Suspected at home (as we see from the
dedication to The Steele Glas) and in poverty, it was
natural that Gascoigne should try to obtain employment
in the Queen's service, which would as a matter of course
take him (being a soldier) abroad. The dedication of
this piece to the Queen was devised with that object.
It is interesting to find (whether through this effort or in
some other way) that Gascoigne was successful, for in the
dedication to the Queen of The Grief of Joye (both
dedication and poem being unquestionably by Gascoigne),
dated ist January 1577, he writes:

Upon thes considerations [peereles Queene) I have presumed
to employ my penn in this small worke which I call the griefe of
joye. And with greater presumption have I adventured to present
the same unto youre royall and most perfect judgement. Not
that I thinke my Poemes any waie worthie to bee ones redd or
beheld of youre heavenly eyes, but that I might make youre
Majestic witnesse, how the Jfiie7-i7ns and vacant howres of those
dales which I spent this sommer in your service have byn

Surely Madame, the leaves of this pamphlett have passed
with mee in all my perilles neither could any dales travaile so
tyre mee but that the night had some conference withe my restles
(and yet worthies) Muze.

Finally he refers to " the unspeakable comfort whiche
I have conceived in your Ma"*^"" undeserved favor," and


VOWS " willingly to purchase the continewance of your
comfort, by any deathe, or perill, whiche occasion maie
present for accomplishment of any least service acceptable
to so vvorthie a Queene"

Compare with this the dedication of The Fruites of
Warre written under similar circumstances. Gascoigne
was the simplest and most candid of men, and always
refers to his circumstances and doings. We gather from
this passage that he was in the Queen's service, on perilous
duty, during the summer of 1576, and that he used
his leisure in composing The Grief of foye. The poem
ends with the words " Left unperfect for feare of Horsmen,"
presumably having been interrupted at that moment by
some military action. The piece was not printed, which
may have been due to Gascoigne's inability to pay for it.
It occupies 45 pages of Mr. Cunlifife's edition. The style
of the piece is heavy, and it is wholly lacking in the measure
of inspiration which is present in some of the earlier
pieces. This in itself is an argument against the possi-
bility at that time of such literary activity on Gascoigne's
part as is indicated by the various productions under his
name in the year 1576.

There is one piece, however, which more than any of
the others betrays the existence of a second author writing
under Gascoigne's name, as it appeared on 22nd August
I 576, with the facetious and extraordinary title, "A delicate
Diet for daintiemouthde Droonkardes." But this was the
summer of 1576, which Gascoigne says he spent in the
Queen's service, evidently abroad. This is confirmed by
the account of the sack of Antwerp by the Spaniards,
which occurred on 4th November 1576, entitled "The
Spoyle of Antwerpe, Faithfully reported by a true
Englishman who was present at the same." Mr. Cunliffe
gives reasons for attributing this account, dated 25th
November 1576, with confidence to Gascoigne.^ On

* " Gascoigne's identity with the author of the anonymous tract [given in
the text] is set beyond doubt by the signatures of two letters in the Record
Office dated Sept. 15 and Oct. 7 respectively, 1576." — Prefatory Note.


internal evidence alone I should have little hesitation in
accepting it as his work. The writer, however, of the
article in the Dictionary of National Biography repudiates
it, in view of the publication in London of the Delicate
Diet. He writes : " The Delicate Diet is dedicated
(August 1576) 'from my lodging in London.' There
seems therefore no foundation for the categorical assertion
of Richard Simpson that Gascoigne was present at the
Sack of Antwerp by the Spaniards in November 1576."
The piece, however, which in my opinion has to be
repudiated as the work of Gascoigne is not the Spoyle of
Antwerpe, but the Delicate Diet. Noticeable, however, as
these points of difficulty are, they would not carry con-
viction with me apart from the question of style, which
is, and must be, the final criterion. In this respect the
doubts raised by the facts just noted 'are fully confirmed.
There is absolutely no resemblance to the style or thought
of Gascoigne in this piece, and it is quite impossible, in
my judgment, that such a man could have written it.

The title of this work (which I shall now examine)
is very curious :

A delicate Diet for daintiemouthde Droonkardes. Wherein
the fowle abuse of common Carowsing, and Quaflfing with hartie
draughtes, is honestlie admonished. By George Gascoyne
Esquier. Tarn Marti quam Mercurio.

The pamphlet is dedicated to " the right Worshipfull
his synguler good friend, Lewes Dyve of Broomeham, in the
Countie of Bedforde, Esquyer," and the writer, conscious
of the awkwardness of " presenting this small pamphlet
called A delycate Diet for Droonkards unto your name
and patronage," gets over the difficulty by saying, " I
knowe you, and the world hath always esteemed you, for
a paterne of Sobryetie, and one that doth zelously detest
the beastlie vyce of droonkennesse." In the course of
the dedication the writer (who, from the works by himself
which he names, professes to be George Gascoigne) speaks
of " my Brother foJin Dyve" and later of " my brother
fohn" and refers to " your good Lord and myne the


Lorde Greye of Wilton." Here apparently is a very
remarkable confusion. Lewis Dyve was a cousin of
Lord Grey, and is so referred to in his account of the
services of his father, William Lord Grey.^ In an
appendix to that volume there is a description of Lord
Grey's funeral (1562), in which two younger brothers of
Lewis Dyve, John and George, are mentioned as assisting
in the ceremony. They also appear in the pedigree.
Here then is some one, who professes to be George
Gascoigne, referring to " John Dyve " as his brother.
The inference seems to be that the dedication was in-
tended, in its original form, to appear in the name of a
younger brother (probably in poor circumstances), perhaps
George Dyve, and that this idea was abandoned without
the necessary corrections being made for the press. An
alternative inference is that Gascoigne had a brother (of
whom nothing is known) with the Christian names "John,
Dyve." But it seems rather improbable that, in an
address to the squire, Lewis Dyve, he would have so
referred to him.

The writer of the dedication, while assuming the
character of Gascoigne (then a man of about fifty, and
fresh from the trials of war and captivity), cannot refrain
from letting his imagination play pranks with him in a
way which, I think, clearly indicates the impersonation :

But Syr, when my wanton (and worse smelling) Poesies
presumed fyrst to peark abroade they came forth sooner then I
wyshed, and muche before they deserved to be lyked. So that
(as you maye sithens perceyve) I was more combred with
correction of them, then comforted in the constructions, where-
unto they were subject. And too make amendes for the lost
time which I misbestowed in wryting so wantonlie : I have of

' Lewis Dyve of Broomham was first cousin once removed to William
Lord Grey, and is described as his " Deputy " at the siege of Guisnes (1558),
of which Grey was Governor. His son Arthur, then a young man of twenty-
two, was present, and he says " my coozyn Dyve and myself were put owtte,"
i.e. as hostages to the enemy. — " A Commentarie of the servycies and
chargies that my Lord my father was employed in whyllest he lyved," by his
son Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, K.G. ; Camden Soc. No. 40. For the
Dyve pedigree see (as noted by the editor) Baker's Northamptonshire, i. 83,
and (.ientUmaii's Magazine for 1829, vol. xcix. pt. ii.


latter dayes used al my travaile in matters both serious and

He continues :

I wrote first a tragicall commedie called The Glasse of Govern-
ment : and nowe this last spring, I translated and collected a
worthy peece of worke, called the Droomme of Doomes dale, and
dedicated the same to my Lord and Maister [the Earl of

So far so good. But the writer then brings in some of
Gascoigne's own works, his object evidently being to
indicate the wholly serious nature of his thoughts and
employments at that time, and so to give more weight
to the exhortation contained in the pamphlet. This is
characteristic of Bacon, who attached little importance to
writing for its own sake, but only as a means to an end.
And his tendency was always to regard the end as
justifying the means. In this way he continues :

And I invented a Satyre, and an Ellegie, called The Steele
Glasse : and The complaint of Phylomene. Both which I dedicated
to your good Lord and myne, the Lorde Greye of Wylton :
These works or Pamphlets, I esteeme both Morall and Godly :
whereof although I presented you no Coppies, yet am I not
therein so blamefuU as unhappy. Surely I must needes alledge
that I had verie fewe coppies thereof my selfe : and yet of those
fewe, I had one readie to have sent you, the last time that my
Brother yi?/^^ Dyve was in the Cittye.

The dedication is dated " From my lodging in London,
the 10 of August I 576." If, as appears certain, Gascoigne
was abroad, he could not (even if he would) prevent this
use of his name ; and if by chance he were to show dis-
satisfaction on his return, his young friend would have
plenty of excellent reasons to give him for his action :
that the cause was a good one, the pamphlet being for
" edification," and so forth.
The pamphlet begins :

Whyles I travayled in Translation, and collection of my
Droomme of Doo?nes daye : and was busyed in sorting of the
same (for I gathered the whole out of sundry Pamphlets :) I


chaunced at passage, to espye one shorte Epistle, written against

This is a short epistle of St. Augustine, of which the
writer proceeds to give what purports to be a translation,
prefacing it with some remarks of his own, and concluding
with a most striking and eloquent exhortation to his own
countrymen on the vice of excessive drinking. In the
prefatory remarks there is a curious example of " euphu-
ism," where the writer is mentioning the different phases
of drunkenness :

What shoulde I speake of ... or of the prowde Droonkarde
whiche (Peacocklike) doth jet in every streete: Neyther ashamed
to shew his vyle vanytie, nor yet never abashed, tyll hee fall
downe in the channel, as the Peacocks pride is abated when hee
looketh towardes his feete.

The same "conceit" occurs in one of Nashe's up-
roarious attacks on Harvey :

I told him [Harvey] in Piers Pennilesse Apologie, That he
need not be so lustie, if {like the Peacocke) he lookt downe to
the foule feete that upheld him, for he was but the sonne of a
Ropemaker ; and he would not have a shoo to put to his feete,
if his father had not traffique with the Hangman. — Have with
you to Saffron Walden, Grosart's edition, p. 83.

It is also found in Greene, e.g.

the Peacocke hath moste glistering feathers and yet most ouglie
feete. — Mamillia.

the Peacock that glorying in the beautie of her glistring plumes,
no sooner lookes at her feete but she lets downe her feathers.
— Fenelojye's ]Veb.

The writer of the Delicate Diet is full of confidence,
and attains a brilliant, if hard, rhetoric in denouncing
the vice of drunkenness in England :

But when I had throughly considered it (St. Augustine's
Epistle), and therewith all had some consideration of the huge
enormyties and shames which daylie followe that sinne : yea,
when I had fuUye advised mee, howe commonly it is nowe a
dayes exercised amongste us : and how slylie it stealeth into this


Realme through continuall custome of cheering, and banquetting :
I thought it shoulde not be unprofitable, nor any way unpleasaunt
(unlesse it be to such as can not abyde to hear of vertue, for
feare least they might be ashamed of theyr vyce) to add some
Aucthoryties and examples for the more speedy extyrpation of
this monstrous plant, lately crept into the pleasaunt Orchyardes of

And surely it is time (yea more than tyme) that we shoulde
foresee, and learn to avoyde, those Mermaydes of myschiefe, which
pype so pleasantly in every Potte, that men be thereby allured to
sayle into the Ilandes of all evyll. And there (being justly
depryved of Gods grace,) are transfourmed into most ougly shapes
of brute Beastes. . , ,

So that (as I sayde) I dare take in hande to defende this
proposition, that All Droonkards are Beastes.

Then follows what purports to be the translation of St.
Augustine, admirably done, and thereafter, with somewhat
laboured self-depreciation in presuming " to take pen in
hande, after so holy a Father as A7igHstine, so profoundly
studied, and so well adorned with skyll to endight, both
pleasantly, and pythily," the author undertakes to add
some remarks of his own, " beseeching the Reader neither
to regard the unpleasauntnesse of my style, nor the
nakednesse of my simplicitie ; but only to consider the
necessity of my reprehensions, constrained by the ex-
tremitie of this beastly vice, which Augustine in his tyme
dyd so sharply rebuke." In the words " the nakednesse
of my simplicitie " we have, as I have had occasion to
remark before, one of Bacon's favourite and most charac-
teristic mannerisms.

There follows a typical Baconian passage where the
thought (as has often been observed of his writings, as
well as those of Shakespeare) clothes itself in a profuse
variety of expression, the ideas following each other with
the impetuosity of a torrent :

Such is the very nature and property of sinne generally (but
of this sinne especially) that where it once getteth y*^ maistry and
upperhand by continuall custome, it hardneth the hart, blindeth
the eyes, amaseth the understanding, bewitcheth the sences,
benoometh the members, dulleth the wyts, provoketh unto


beastlynesse, discourageth from vertuous exercise, maketh lovely
to seeme lothsome, hasteneth crooked age, fostereth infirmyties,
defyleth the body openly, and woundeth the soule unseen.

The writer proceeds with examples to enforce his text,
drawn from scriptural and classical story : Noah, Lot,
Samson and Delilah, Holofernes ; then the following illus-
tration from one of Bacon's favourite examples :

Alexander the Macedonian, who by his valiaunce and
prowesse in lesse than twelve yeeres conquered and subdued
Illiria, now called Slavonia, the Cittie of Thebes, with the
Territories and Countreyes adjoyning : yea al Greece, Asia,
Persia and India, with the East parts of the whole world : being
settled in peaceable possession of his dominions, gave him-

Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 26 of 55)