Edward George Harman.

Edmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon online

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seem to suggest that verbal communication was generally impossible.
2 Relation of Sir Arthur Gorges : Purchase.


sayd, my reckoning was untrue, and charged me in her Maiesties
name, and as I would shewe myselfe in her Countrey, to follow
him that night. I fearing his threatenings, because he presented
her Maiesties person, did follow his commaundement, and about
seven of the clocke in the morning the ship stroke on ground,
where shee was cast away. — Hakluyt (18 10), iii. 207.

In the storm, therefore, described by Hayes, Gilbert
would not be navigating the ship ; but, even so, would he
naturally, in such circumstances, be " sitting abaft with a
booke in his hand," and if he were, could he, with the
frigate " oppressed by waves," be in such a position as to
be seen and to communicate orally with another ship ?

I proceed to give some extracts from the Report written
by Hayes, which are relevant to these remarks, and may be
useful in the consideration of the question raised.

The Report opens with considerations as to religious
fortitude, enterprise, etc., which —

may helpe to suppresse all dreads rising of hard euents in attempts
made this way by other nations, as also of the heauy successe and
issue in the late enterprise made by a worthy gentleman our
countryman Sir Humfrey Gilbert, knight, who was the first of our
realm that carried people to erect an habitation and gouernment
in those Northerly countreys of America. About which, albeit
he had consumed much substance, and lost his life at last, his
people also perishing for the most part : yet the mystery thereof
we must leaue vnto God, and judge charitably both of the cause
(which was just in all pretence) and of the person, who was very
zealous in prosecuting the same, deseruing honourable remem-
brance for his good minde, and expense of life in so vertuous an

Gilbert's courage under difficulties, his losses and dis-
couragements from the failure of the first expedition, and
the support given him by Sir George Peckham and others,
are referred to, and the voyage outward, the country and
its commodities, and the proceedings in Newfoundland are
then described : " We began our voyage upon Tuesday
the eleuenth day of lune, in the yere of our Lord 1583,
hauing in our fleet (at our departure from Causet bay)
these shippes," namely : the Delight, Barke Raleigh, Golden
Hinde, Swallow, Squirrill.


On the 3 ist August, the Delight being lost, and having
no means to meet the winter, they decide, very reluctantly,
to return ; and "even in winding about" they see a sea-
monster which comes alongside " right against the Hinde."
[This is the extravagant tale referred to above.] The
" Generall " " tooke it for Bonum Omen, rejoycing that he
was to warre against such an enemie, if it were the deuill."
Gilbert visits Hayes on board his ship, who asks him to
remain, as the frigate he was in was very small ; but he
insists on returning to his men. Then follows the account
of the return voyage, in the course of which the writer says:

We being more than 300 leagues onward of our way home.

• •••••

We met with very foule weather, and terrible seas, breaking
short and high Pyramid wise.

• •••••

We had also vpon our maine yard, an apparition of a little
fire by night, which seamen doe call Castor and Pollux. But we
had onely one, which they take an euill signe of more tempest :
the same is vsuall in stormes.

Munday the ninth of September, in the afternoone, the Frigat
was neere cast away, oppressed by waues, yet at that time
recouered : and giuing foorth signes of joy, the Generall sitting
abaft with a booke in his hand, cried out vnto vs in the Hinde
(so oft as we did approch within hearing) " We are as neere to
heauen by sea as by land." Reiterating the same speech, well be-
seeming a souldier, resolute in lesus Christ, as I can testify he was.

The same Monday night, about twelue of the clocke, or not
long after, the Frigat being ahead of vs in the Golden Hinde,
suddenly her lights were out, whereof as it were in a moment, we
lost the sight, and withall our watch cryed, the Generall was cast
away, which was too true. For in that moment, the Frigat was
deuoured and swallowed vp of the Sea. Yet still we looked out
all that night, and euer after, untill wee arriued vpon the coast of

It remains to give a brief account of the contents of
the first Report — that attributed to Sir George Peckham.
It opens as follows :

It was my fortune (good Reader) not many dayes past, to
meete with a right honest and discrete Gentleman, who accom-
panied that valiant and worthy knight Sir JIumfry Gilbert in his


last journey for the Westerne discoueries. And is owner and
Captaine of the onehe Vessell which is yet returned from
thence : ^

By him I did understande, that Sir Humfrey departed the
coaste of Englande the eleuenth of lune last past, with fiue sayle
of Shippes from Caushenbay neere Plimmouth, whereof one of the
best forsooke his companie, the thirtenth day of the same
moneth, and returned into England.

The other foure (through the assistaunce of almightye God)
did arrive at Saint lohns Hauen, in Neivfounde Lande, the thyrd
of August last.

Upon their arrival " all the Maisters and cheefe
Mariners " of the English fishing fleet " repayred unto
Sir Htimfrey^ whom he made acquainted with the effect
of his commission," and "did all welcome him in the best
sorte that they coulde." He then went to view the country
and "on munday being the first of August, the Generall
caused his tent to be set on the side of an hill in the
viewe of all the Flete of Englishmen and Straungers,
which were in number between thirty and fortie sayle,"
and caused " hys commission under the great scale of
England to bee openlie and solempnlie reade unto them."
He then —

tooke possession of the sayd land in the right of the Crowne of
England by digging of a Turfe and receiuing the same with an
Hasell wande, dehuered unto him, after the manner of the lawe
and custome of England.

He departed from thence the 20 of August with the other
three, namelie, the Delight . . . the Golden Hynde, in which was
Captaine and owner, Maister Edwarde Hay : and the little
Frigat where the Generall himselfe did goe, seeming to him most
fitt to discouer and approche the Shoare.

The loss of the Delight, owing to fog and storm, is
described :

And the Delight in the presence of them all was lost, to
theyr unspeakable greefe, with all theyr cheefe victuall, munition,
and other necessary provisions, and other thinges of value not fitt
heere to be named. Whereupon, by reason also that \\inter was

* Marginal note, •' Maister Edward Hays."


come upon them, and fowle wether increased with Fogges and
Mysts that so couered the Land, as without daunger of perishing
they coulde not approche it : Sir Humfrey Gilbert and Maister
Hays were compelled much against theyr wills to retyre home-
wardes. And being 300. Leagues on theyr way, were afterwarde
by tempestious weather seperated the one from the other, the
9. of September last, since which time, Maister Hay with his
Barke, is saflie arriued, but of Sir Humfrey as yet, we heare no
certaine newes.*

This is the exordium, which serves to introduce the
treatise which follows. The writer continues :

Uppon this reporte (together with my former intent, to write
some briefe discourse in the commendation of this so noble and
woorthy an enterprise) I did call to remembraunce, the Historie
of Themistocles the Grecian . . .

and there follow examples from antiquity, from which the
writer concludes that the late voyage was honourable as
well as profitable, and therefore " allowable by the opinion
of Aristides if he were now alive."

In order therefore to rouse his countrymen "out of
that drowsie dreame wherein we all have so long
slumbered," he says he has taken it upon him "to write
this simple shorte treatise . . ." " though my skill and
knowledge be simple ... to prooue " [as in extract at
p. 3 1 9 above].

The discourse is divided into chapters, the subjects of
which are, briefly, as follow :

Chapter IL — "We may justly trade and traffique with
the Sauages, and lawfully plant and inhabite theyr
countries." Examples at great length from the Old
Testament, and from History : duty of extirpating
idolatry and paganism, and planting the Christian faith.

Chapter IIL — The Queen's lawful title: an ingenious
but fantastic piece of historical analogy.

Chapter IV. — Advantages : Fish ; Sale of English-
made clothes to the Savages, which will result in the
revival of decayed towns and villages ; employment of
idle persons at home, among them " our ydle women
(which the Realme may well spare)."


Chapter V. — An advertisement of the "commodities"
of the country : written from the aristocratic standpoint.

Chapter VI. — Planting of those countries very bene-
ficial to the Savages themselves.

Chapter VII. — The passage and planting there not a
matter of such charge and difficulty as many would make
it seem. The deeds of other countries cited to rouse

Appended are the " Articles of Assurance " between
the " principall assigns of Sir Humfrey Gilbert knight,
and the foure sortes of adventurers with them in the
voyage for the Westerne Discoueries."

In the last chapter is a passage in the style of
religious exhortation (designed, no doubt, to appeal to
the classes who were indifferent to examples from
classical literature), interspersed (from force of habit, as I
suppose) with a little " euphuism " :

Beholde heere, good Countreimen, the manifolde benefites,
commodities and pleasures heretofore unknowne, by Gods
especiall blessing not onelie reuealed unto us, but also as it were
infused into our bosomes, who though hitherto like Dormice haue
slumbered in ignoraunce thereof, being like the Cattes that are
loth for theyr praye to wette their feete, yet if now therefore at
the last we would awake, and with willing mindes (setting friuolous
imaginations aside) become industrious instruments to our selvues,
Questionles we shoulde not onely heereby set foorth the glorie
of our heauenlie Father, but also easily attaine the ende of all
good purposes, that may be wished or desired.

The book from beginning to end is in the nature of an
" advertisement," and an effort to rescue the project of
Gilbert and the other adventurers from abandonment.^

^ The last chapter opens thus : " Now therfore for proofe that Planting in
these parts is a thing that may be doone without the aide of the Princes
power and purse, contrarye to the allegations of many malicious persons, who
will neither be actors in any good action themselues, nor so much as
afoord a good word to the setting forward thereof: and that wurse is they
will take upon them to make Molehylles seeme Mountaines, and flies Elephants,
to the end they may discourage others, that be very well or indifferently
affected to the matter, being like unto Esoppes Dogge which neither would
eate haie himself, nor suffer the poore hungry asse to feede thereon."
Camden, however, was with the pessimists. Referring to the death of
Gilbert, he says that he was "constrained to give over his enterprise,


The treatise, or the movement of which it probably
formed a part, would explain the allusion in a letter by
Sir Philip Sidney written (according to the date given)
the year after Gilbert's death :

Her Majesti seemes affected to deal in the Low Countrey
matters, but I think nothing will com of it. We are haulf
perswaded to enter into the Journey of Sir Humphry Gilbert
very eagerli ; whereunto your Mr. Hackluit hath served for a
very good Trumpet. — To Sir Edward Stafford, Ambassador in
France. From the Court, 21st July 1584.^

learning too late himself, and teaching others, that it is a more difficult thing
to carrj' over colonies into remote countries upon private mens purses, than
he and others in an erroneous credulity had persuaded themselves, to their
own cost and detriment."

^ Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, i. 298. Hakluyt was at that
time in Paris as Chaplain to Sir E. Stafford. He states that he returned to
England in the winter of 1588, having been there five years. Letter to
Walsingham, Principall Navigations, etc., 1589.



I PROPOSE now to continue my survey of the remaining
works of Edmund Spenser so far as they furnish evidence
in support of the argument for Baconian authorship.
Before doing so, I had intended to discuss a document in
the British Museum, the MS. of the so-called " Letter-
book " of Gabriel Harvey, which contains, among other
things, the drafts of certain letters supposed to have
been written to Spenser (under the names of " Immerito "
and " Benevolo ") by Harvey. The writings relate to two
periods, 1573 and i 5 79-80, and not only the handwriting,
but the style and the vocabulary of the documents of
these respective periods are entirely different. No ex-
planation for this has so far been offered, the editor of
the reprint in the Camden series being content, while
noting the difference in the handwriting, to say that they
are all in Harvey's hand, though in different styles. But
I found that this opened up the subject of the Harvey-
Nashe controversy, which I believe to have been a " put-
up" affair, designed by Bacon, writing in character (partly
as regards Harvey, and wholly as regards " Nashe "), for
giving expression to certain ideas, and, at the same time,
providing amusing and instructive reading under the con-
ditions of the censorship. I do not believe that Harvey had
the means or influence to publish independently. I had
prepared extracts to illustrate this view, but the subject is
too large for this book, and I am obliged to put it aside.
Turning to the remaining works of Spenser, and
following the order in the " Globe " edition, we come to



Daphnaida, dedicated to Helena, Marquess of North-
ampton.^ The dedication, signed " Ed. Sp.," is dated
"London, this first of Januarie, 1591,"^ and the occasion
of the poem is the death of the daughter of Lord
Howard, wife of Arthur Gorges, Esquire. The poem is
remarkable for its abundance, power of expression, and
melody ; the tone is somewhat querulous and unrestrained,
due partly to the writing being in character. In the
following stanza, with the usual compliment to the Queen,
the author praises his own work in that peculiar way
which I have had occasion to notice before :

Ne let Elisa, royall Shepheardesse,

The praises of my parted love envy.

For she hath praises in all plenteousnesse

Powr'd upon her, like showers of Castaly,

By her owne Shepheard, Colin, her ovvne Shepherd,

That her with heavenly hymnes doth deifie,

Of rusticke muse full hardly to be betterd.

The following passage bears a strong resemblance to
the complaints of Hamlet :

Hencefoorth I hate what ever Nature made,

And in her workmanship no pleasure finde.

For they be all but vaine, and quickly fade ;

So soone as on them blowes the Northern winde,

They tarrie not, but flit and fall away.

Leaving behind them nought but griefe of minde.

And mocking such as thinke they long will stay.

I hate the heaven, because it doth withhold
Me from my love, and eke my love from me ;
I hate the earth, because it is the mold
Of fleshly slime and fraile mortalitie ;
I hate the fire, because to nought it flyes ;
I hate the Ayre, because sighes of it be ;
I hate the Sea, because it teares supplyes.

' Apparently third wife of William Parr, Earl of Essex and Marquis of
Northampton (died 1571). Mer connection wiih the subject of this poem
appears to liave arisen through her remarriage with Sir Thomas Gorges, who
was uncle of Sir Arthur Gorges. She was Mistress of the Robes, and is
referred to in Colin Clout as " Mansilia."

2 This is presumably 1591 new style. The lady's death is said to have
occurred in August 1590, and the fourth stanza of tJie poem refers to " early
frosts," which points to the autumn of that year as the time of composition.


I hate all men, and shun all womankinde :

The one, because as I they wretched are ;

The other, for because I doo not finde

My love with them, that wont to be their Starre :

And life I hate, because it will not last ;

And death I hate, because it life doth marre ;

And all I hate that is to come or past.

So all the world, and all in it I hate,

Because it changeth ever too and fro,

And never standeth in one certaine state,

But still unstedfast, round about doth goe

Like a Mill-wheele in midst of miserie.

Driven with streames of wretchednesse and woe,

That dying lives, and living still does dye.

Compare Hamlet, ii. 2 :

Hamlet. ... I have of late — but wherefore I know not —
lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises : and indeed
it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent
canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this
majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other
thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man ! . . . And yet, to me, what is
this quintessence of dust ? man delights not me \ no, nor woman
neither. . . .

In both passages the writer seems to be giving
expression to the state of a spiritually sensitive mind
which has lost the sense of faith in the permanent life of
the soul, which temporal conditions, however apparently
beautiful, are incapable of satisfying, and to which, after a
time, they become even repugnant. The same thought is
expressed in other words by Bacon in the Advancement
of Learning :

So certainly, if a man meditate much upon the universal frame
of nature, the earth with men upon it (the divineness of souls
except) will not seem much other than an ant-hill, where some
ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty,
and all to and fro a litde heap of dust. It taketh away or
mitigateth fear of death, or adverse fortune ; which is one of
the greatest impediments of virtue and imperfections of manners.


For if a man's mind be deeply seasoned with the consideration
of the mortality and corruptible nature of things, he will easily
concur with Epictetus. . . . — Spedding, Works, iii. 314.

The next piece is Colin Clouts Come Home Again.
The piece is dedicated to Sir Walter Ralegh " in part
paiment of the infinite debt in which I acknowledge
my selfe bounden unto you, for your singular favours and
sundrie good turnes, shewed to me at my late being in
England." The dedication is dated " From my house
of Kilcolman, the 27 of December 1591," but the piece
did not appear until 1595. It describes, in " pastoral"
metaphor, the effect of the verse of the author (under the
person of " Colin ") on his hearers :

Who all the while, with greedie listfull eares,

Did stand astonisht at his curious skill.

Like hartlesse deare, dismayd with thunders sound.

" Hobbinol " ^ tells him that —

Whilest thou wast hence, all dead in dole did lie :
The woods were heard to waile full many a sythe,
And all their birds with silence to complaine :
The fields with faded flowers did seem to mourne.
And all their flocks from feeding to refraine :

and he asks him to tell them what befell him in his late
voyage. Colin complies, and begins with a eulogy of
Queen Elizabeth under the language of love :

And since I saw that Angels blessed eie.

Her worlds bright sun, her heavens fairest light,

My mind, full of my thoughts satietie.

Doth feed on sweet contentment of that sight :

Since that same day in nought I take delight,

Ne feeling have in any earthly pleasure.

But in remembrance of that glorious bright.

My lifes sole blisse, my hearts eternall threasure.

He proceeds to describe himself as sitting one day —

' "Hobbinol" here is, no doubt, Gabriel Harvey, as in the Shepheanis
Calender. The name, however, is used otherwise, as, for instance, for Robert
Cecil in the amusin},' but scurrilous epitaph, attributed (without foundation)
to Ralegh, which was circulated after his death, beginning " Here lies
Hobbinol." See Hannah's Couri/y Poets, p. 56, and p. 227 7w(e.


Under the foote of Mole, that mountaine hore,
Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade
Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore ;
There a straunge shepheard chaunst to find me out,

• ■••••

Whom when I asked from what place he came,
And how he hight, himselfe he did ycleepe
The shepheard of the Ocean by name,
And said he came far from the main-sea deepe.

They sit together, playing their pipes and singing, and
Colin describes the burden of the other shepherd's song
in the well-known lines which refer to Sir Walter Ralegh's
loss of favour with the Queen. The reference, from the
date of the poem, would appear to be to 1589, but, as
will be later explained, this is doubtful.

His song was all a lamentable lay

Of great unkindnesse, and of usage hard.

Of Cynthia the Ladie of the Sea,^

Which from her presence faultlesse him debarred.

And ever and anon, with singults rife.

He cryed out, to make his undersong,

Ah ! my loves queene, and goddesse of my life,

Who shall me pittie, when thou doest me wrong ?

He then describes how the "shepheard of the Ocean" —

. . . gan to cast great lyking to my lore,

And great dislyking to my lucklesse lot,

That banisht had my selfe, like wight forlore,

Into that waste, where I was quite forgot.

The which to leave thenceforth he counseld mee,

Unmeet for man, in whom was ought regardfull.

And wend with him, his Cynthia to see ;

Whose grace was great, and bounty most rewardfull.

He me perswaded forth with him to fare.
Nought tooke I with me, but mine oaten quill :
Small needments else need shepheard to prepare.

The last lines, of course, belong to romance, and give
colour to the suggestion which I shall have to make that
the rest is of the same character.

1 This expression, "The Lady of the Sea," is applied by Bacon to England
in his Observations on a Libel, written in 1592, or at the beginning of 1593.
Spedding, Life, i. 160. Cf. Ilolinshed, 1587, iii. 1330 (year 1581).


A vivid description follows of the voyage and Cynthia's
sea-kingdom. Arriving at Cynthia's land, they come
into her presence. This gives the poet another oppor-
tunity of eulogising the Queen in the reckless style which
he adopts when writing on this theme :

Her power, her mercy, and her wisdome, none
Can deeme, but who the Godhead can define.

In reply to the question what grace she showed him,
he professes to describe the incident of his first introduction
to the Queen by Ralegh :

The shepheard of the Ocean (quoth he)
Unto that Goddesse grace me first enhanced.
And to mine oaten pipe encHn'd her eare,
That she thenceforth therein gan take deHght,
And it desir'd at timely houres to heare.

Then follows the account of various poets of the time
in England under imaginary names, which make identifica-
tion a matter of speculation. The list ends with *' Action,"
who is thought by some, in spite of the early date, to stand
for Shakespeare :

And there, though last not least, is Action,
A gentler shepheard may no where be found :
Whose Muse, full of high thoughts invention.
Doth like himselfe Heroically sound.

This, in my opinion, is a reference by the author
to himself, in accordance with his habitual practice of
self-appreciation of which I have given examples : see
especially the stanza of the same kind in the Teares
of the Muses}

Daniel and Ralegh are also mentioned ; partly, as I
shall endeavour to show, for the purpose of " impersona-
tions " :

And there is a new shepheard late up sprong,
The which doth all afore him far surpasse ;
Appearing well in that well tuned song,
Which late he sung unto a scornfull lasse.

» Chapter VI.


Yet doth his trembling Muse but lowly flie,

As daring not too rashly mount on hight,

And doth her tender plumes as yet but trie

In loves soft laies and looser thoughts delight.

Then rouze thy feathers quickly, Daniell,

Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 30 of 55)