Edward George Harman.

Edmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon online

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And to what course thou please thy selfe advance :

But most, me seemes, thy accent will excell

In Tragick plaints and passionate mischance.

And there that Shepheard of the Ocean is.

That spends his wit in loves consuming smart :

Full sweetly tempred is that Muse of his,

That can empierce a Princes mightie hart.

The problem of the Ralegh " impersonation," as I
regard it, will be dealt with later. As regards Daniel, it
would require more space than this work will allow to
deal adequately with his works from the point of view
which I take. But I will endeavour to give some
indication of my reasons for holding that the writer of
these lines made use of Daniel's name on certain occasions,
and also rendered him assistance in publishing some of
his works. Nothing is known of Daniel's early life, but
he is said to have been a Somersetshire man, the son of
a music - master, and to have been born about 1563.^
He was a typical poor scholar of the time (an Oxford
man), depending for his livelihood on services in great
establishments, supplemented by what he could earn by
his pen, which was probably little enough. From
allusions in his writings it appears that his first literary
attempts were made at Wilton, and several of his pieces
are dedicated to Mary, Countess of Pembroke, Sir Philip
Sidney's sister. Later his patron — whom he refers to, in
the phrase of the time, as " his lord " — was Mountjoy,
afterwards Earl of Devonshire. In 1600, and for a few
years, he was engaged as tutor to Lady Anne Clififord,
daughter of Margaret, Countess of Cumberland,^ and
after the accession of James he obtained a post in the
establishment of the Queen. He died in 16 19.

1 "This is arrived at from his entry as 'commoner' in Magdalen Hall,
Oxford. This was in 1579, when he was in his seventeenth year.'' — Grosart,
IVor/iS of Samuel Daniel, I. xiv.

2 Suggested in Chapter III. as the original of " Florimell."


Daniel first appeared before the world as a writer of
verse in 1591, under extraordinary circumstances, A
printer, Thomas Newman, as was alleged, brought out,
for the first time, a collection of Sidney's *' Astrophel and
Stella " sonnets, and included in the volume twenty-
seven sonnets, entitled " Delia," by Daniel. The volume
contained an introductory address by Thomas Nashe.
This will be more conveniently discussed when we come
to Spenser's " Astrophel." In the meantime I may say
that I attach no credence to the statement which was
given out subsequently that the " Delia " sonnets were
published without Daniel's knowledge. They were
published, in my belief, by the writer of the above-quoted
stanza in Colin Clout, partly as a means of filling up the
slender " Astrophel and Stella " volume, and partly as a
service to Daniel, who was too poor at that time to
publish anything himself.

In the world of those days, for men who aspired to
follow letters as a profession, the spectre of poverty was
an ever-present fear. Their only resource, if they had
no means or emolument, was the life of a dependant in
a great household ; and though they were probably better
off under those conditions than the generation of literary
men who first began to live independently by their pens,
the position entailed risks and humiliations, and those
who worked under such conditions cannot, in fairness, be
held to account, in regard to compliances and literary
shifts, with the same strictness as we are accustomed to
apply to writers living under the conditions of more
recent times. No one can doubt, in reading Daniel's
works, that he was a good man, certainly a man of good
intentions, but they show also that he had strong literary
ambitions and that he suffered in mind under the
restraints of poverty. The following sonnet, which first
appeared in the "authorised" edition of the "Delia"
sonnets in 1592,^ may be quoted in illustration :

' It appeared only in the 2nd edition of 1592 : Grosart.



To M. P.

Like as the spotlesse Ermelin distrest,

Circumpast'd round with filth and lothsome mud :

Pines in her griefe, imprisoned in her nest,

And cannot issue forth to seeke her good.

So I inviron'd with a hatefull want,

Looke to the heavens ; the heavens yeelde forth no grace :

I search the earth, the earth I find as skant ;

I view my selfe, my selfe in wofuU case.

Heaven nor earth will not, myselfe cannot work

A way through want to free my soule from care :

But I must pine, and in my pining lurke,

Least my sad lookes bewray me how I fare.

My fortune mantled with a clowde s'obscure

Thus shades my life so long as wants endure.

Again, in the first book of the Civile Wars pubHshed
'" 1595. Daniel addresses Mountjoy as follows:

And thou Charles Montioy, who didst once afford
Rest for my fortunes, on thy quiet shore.

^ (St SO

Grosart gives the following discarded reading of this :

That hast receiv'd into . . .

Me tempest-driven fortune-tossed wight,

Tir'd with expecting and could hope no more.

Daniel also describes his relations to Mountjoy in the
following line in the same stanza :

I, who heretofore have liv'd by thee.

In 1 60 1 he addresses Queen Elizabeth, who must
have done something for him, in terms of sincere gratitude:

I, who by that most blessed hand sustain'd,
In quietnes, do eate the bread of rest.^

During the next reign he was occasionally employed
by Anne (of Denmark) in assisting in the preparation of
masques, and in 16 10 he describes himself, on the title-
page of Tethys Festival, as " one of the Groomes of Her
Majesties honourable privie Chamber."

' Works, newly augmented, 1601. Grosart apparently takes this as being
addressed to Queen Anne, but this is impossible in view of the date. More-
over, Queen Elizabeth is named in the poem.



The proposition which I have to maintain is that
among the works published under Daniel's name there
are some which are not by him. They are, in my
opinion, the following :

1. " The Worthy Tract of Paulus Jovius, contayning a
Discourse of rare inventions, both Militarie and Amorous,
called Imprese. . . . By Samuell Daniell late student in
Oxenforde." London, 1585.

This book is a translation from the Italian of a
treatise about devices on shields, helmets, etc., and I
regard it as a typical Baconian book of that period, the
whole of it (including the introductory matter under the
name of Daniel and the letter of " N. VV." " to his good
frend Samuel Daniel," " from Oxen ford ") being, in my
belief, Bacon's work. The style, which is the same through-
out, is to me unmistakably his, and nothing could be
more remote, whether in ideas, feeling or diction, from the
writer who produced the Civile Wars, Mtisophihis, and
other pieces in that manner. Tales of Italian gallantry
could have had no attraction for Daniel, and it seems
very improbable also that he knew Italian at that time.

2. " The Complaint of Rosamond," published with an
edition of the " Delia " sonnets in i 592.

3. " A Letter from Octavia to Marcus Antonius,"

4. "A Defence of Ryme," 1603.

5. Verses " To the Angell Spirit of the most excellent
S' Phillip Sidney," published posthumously in 1623.

Nos. 2 and 3 are remarkable for dramatic power and
wealth of " invention." In both these qualities Daniel
was totally deficient. It is only necessary to read such
a piece as The Queenes Arcadia to see this, Daniel is
a moralist, and he only describes well when he has the
material to work upon ; and then he sometimes writes
very well, though never with sustained excellence, and
always in a manner which approximates more nearly to
prose than poetry. Thus among his plays The Tragedy
of Philotas is the best — in fact, in m\' judgment, the only
one worth reading, the reason being (in spite of his


disclaimers made under the influence of fear) that it is
" written round " the tragedy of the Earl of Essex. I do
not see how there can be any reasonable question that
this is so, for there is correspondence even to such a
peculiar detail as the irrational confessions by Essex in
the Tower. The piece therefore is historically very
interesting, and it is because it is based upon facts that
Daniel succeeds, more or less, in producing some human
interest. Where he has to trust to his own " invention "
the result is flat and tedious in the extreme ; there is
no poetry, no play of imagination, and no vestige of
" character " in the several persons employed for the
speeches. In the Civile Wars, again, Daniel writes well,
though unequally, because he was a good versifier and
had as his material the annals of England, in which he
took delight. But his aim is always " reality " as he
conceives it, and he is most emphatic in expressing his
dislike of the fucatiim sertnonem of poetry as generally
held in esteem : " I versifie the troth, not Poetize." ^
The prosaic character of Daniel's style was alleged
against him by contemporary critics,^ and he retorts :

And England since I use thy present tongue,
Thy forme of speech, thou must be my defence
If to new eares it seemes not well exprest ;
For though I hold not accent I hold sence.''

In the dedication to the Countess of Pembroke in
the edition of 1609 he defends the use of verse, "this
harmony of words," for such a grave subject, " howsoever
others (seeing in what sort Verse hath beene idly
abused) hold it but as a language fitting Lightnes and
Vanitie." So, again, one of the grounds of his defence for
the writing of Philotas (which had got him into trouble

* Civile Wars, i. 6.

2 Ben Jonson is reported by Drummond to have said of Daniel : " Samuel
Daniel was a good honest man, had no children, but no poet." Edmund
Bolton, a contemporary, writes of him as follows : "The works of Samuel
Daniel contained somewhat a flat, but yet withal a very fine and copious
English, and words as warrantable as any Man's, and fitter perhaps for Prose
than measure." Hypercritica.

3 Certaine small Workes^ etc., 1607 : " To the Reader."


with Cecil, then Lord Cranborne, and with his patron,
Mountjoy) was that he " thought the representing so true
a History, in the ancient forme of a Tragedy,^ could not
but have had an unreproveable passage with the time,
and the better sort of men ; seeing with what idle fictions
and grosse follies the Stage at this day abused mens
recreations." Once again, in this evident reference to
the poetry of Spenser, we see the same habit of mind :

Let others sing of Knights and Palladines,
In aged accents and untimely words :

Paint shadowes in imaginary Hnes,

Which well the reach of their high wits records.

(" Delia," Sonnet 55.)

and in the following from the Civile Wars, put into

the mouth of Henry V., imagined as complaining to the

writer :

Why do you seeke for famed Palladines
(Out of the smoke of idle vanitie)
Who may give glory to the true designes.
Of Bouc/ner, Talbot, Nevile, Willoughby ?
Why should not you strive to fill up your lines.
With wonders of your owne, with veritie ?
T'inflame their ofspring with the love of good,
And glorious true examples of their Blood.

What everlasting matter here is found.
Whence new immortal Iliads might proceed !
That those, whose happie graces do abound
In blessed accents, here may have to feed
Good thoughts ; on no imaginarie ground
Of hungry shadowes, which no profite breed.

(v. 4 and 5.)

The same allusion is evidently intended in the verses
addressed to Queen Elizabeth dedicating to her six books
of the Civile Wars in 1601 :

Nor shall 1 hereby vainely entertainc
Thy Land with idle shadowes to no end.

These principles would find a sympathetic response
with many of his countrymen, and this is shown by the
number of editions of the Civile Wars, to which

' After the model of Seneca.


Daniel alludes with satisfaction in his address to the
Countess of Pembroke above referred to. On the other
hand, they are utterly at variance with the art of the
" Complaint of Rosamond" and the " Letter from Octavia,"
which are superb specimens of dramatic relation and
monologue in the manner of Shakespeare's Lucrece.
The latter especially is, to my mind, both in conception
and execution, quite outside the range of Daniel's thought
and capacity. The former may possibly have been
based on an attempt of his, and worked up into the
shape in which it was published. I do not wish to lay
stress on verbal similarities, or even similarities of
thought, but it is interesting to note that a striking
metaphor in Romeo and Juliet, which appeared in the
previous year, occurs also in the "Complaint of Rosamond,"
the description in the one case being the death of
Juliet, in the other of Rosamond.
Of Juliet:

beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death's pale flag is not advanced there.

(V. 3.)
Of Rosamond :

But now the poyson, spread through all my vaines,
Gan dispossesse my living sences quite :
And nought-respecting death (the last of paines)
Plac'd his pale colours (th' ensigne of his might)
Upon his new-got spoyle before his right.

Also Rosamond is made to say at the end of her
relation, addressed to the poet :

When mirthlesse Thames shall have no Swanne to sing,
All musicke silent, and the Muses dombe.
And yet even then it must be knowne to some.
That once they flourisht, though not cherisht so,
And Thames had Swannes as well as ever Po.

Whereas, in one of the last of the " Delia " sonnets,
bound up in the same cover, Daniel, in the somewhat
peevish tone he adopted in speaking of the writers
and critics of the metropolis, who were evidently in-
clined to laugh at him, writes as follows :


No, no, my Verse respects not Thames nor Theaters,
Nor seekes it to be knowne unto the Great,
But Avon rich in fame, though poore in waters,
Shall have my Song, where Delia hath her seat :
Avon shall be my Thames, and she my Song.

These, however, are comparatively small points. The
" Letter from Octavia," and the " Argument " which pre-
cedes it, are more striking, and they present, to my mind,
overwhelming evidence that they are by the same hand
as that which produced the Shakespearian play. The
" Argument " for the dull play Antotiius, from the French
of Garnier, published as the Countess of Pembroke's, but
I think also betraying the hand of Daniel, is in the
same brilliant style. The poem contains, among other
things, a contention on the " feminist " side, set forth
with a power which should satisfy the most vehement
partisan, militant or otherwise, and it is reproduced, in
briefer and less delicate form (to suit the character of
Emilia), in Othello, the poet supplying the answer in
the personality (without argument) of Desdemona.

No. 4 (" A Defence of Ryme ") is, similarly, though for
other reasons, altogether beyond Daniel's resources, but
it may possibly be based on a draft by him.^

No. 5 (" To the Angell Spirit of S"" Phillip Sidney "),
though included among Daniel's works in the edition

* The following passage may be quoted as characteristic of the writer's
confident manner (wholly lacking in Daniel), and as an example of
exceptional eloquence. The writer is defending the position assailed by
Thomas Campion, musician, who affected to show that rhyme was a relic
of barbarism :

"The most judiciall and worthy spirites of this Land are not so delicate,
or will owe so much to their eare, as to rest upon the outside of woides,
and be entertained with sound : seeing that both Number, Measure and
Ryme, is but as the ground or seate, whereupon is raised the worke that
commends it, and which may easilie at the first be found out by any shallow
conceipt. . . . And power and strength that can plant it selfe any where,
having buih within this compasse, and reard it of so high a respect, wee
now embrace it as the fittest dwelling for our invention, and have thereon
bestowed all the substance of our understanding to furnish it as it is : And
therefore heere I stand foorth, onelie to make good the place wee have taken
up, and to defend the sacred monuments erected therein, which containe
the honour of the dead, the fame of the living, the glory of peace, and the
best power of our speach, and wherein so many honorable spirits have
sacrificed to Memorie their dearest passions, shewing by what divine influence
they have beene mooved, and under what stars they lived."


of them published by his brother after his death, is an
anonymous poem, written evidently in the name of
Sidney's sister, the Countess of Pembroke, in reference
to their joint work of paraphrasing the Psalms. It is
clearly not an expression of Daniel's feelings, because
he can have had little, if any, acquaintance with Sir
Philip Sidney, being at Oxford in 1580, the year when
Sidney retired from Court to Wilton, and I consider it
to have been beyond Daniel's powers to write such a
piece, of great feeling and beauty, as a work of art
representing the feelings of another. I give the first
and last (4th) stanzas :

To the pure Spirit, to thee alone addrest
Is this joynt worke, by double intrist thine ;
Thine by his owne, and what is done of mine
Inspir'd by thee, thy secret povvre imprest.
My Muse with thine, if selfe dar'd to combine
As mortall staffe with that which is divine :
Let thy faire beames give luster to the rest.

• • ■ • •

Receive these Hims, these obsequies receive,
(If any marke of thy secret spirit thou beare)
Made only thine, and no name els must weare.
I can no more deare soule, I take my leave.
My sorrow strives to mount the highest sphere.

I will conclude these somewhat summary remarks
on Daniel's writings by giving a specimen of his work
at its best, as I conceive it, selected from his " Funerall
Poeme upon the Death of the late noble Earle of
Devonshire" (Mountjoy), which occurred in 1606. The
lines are interesting for several reasons. They are
exceptionally good of their kind, because Daniel, who
lacked vitality and evidently suffered from depression
of spirits,^ is moved by a sense of personal emotion.

• The fine lines which follow are an example of this (among many which
might be given), being the opening lines of the last book of the Civile
Wars published in 1609. "She" in these Hnes is the Countess of
Pembroke :

On yet, sad Verse : though those bright starres, from whence
Thou hadst thy light, are set for evermore ;
And that these times do not like grace dispense
To our indevours, as those did before :


Also they express, in a beautiful way, through the
portrait of Mountjoy, Daniel's ideal of life — " quiet "
and order. He shrank from the turmoil of existence,
and was always seeking for a golden age in any other
but his own. He had much of the " Quaker " in his
disposition ; he had a higher sense of morality in
public as well as private life than was prevalent among
writers of that age, and, however dull he may often
be, the purity of his mind and obvious goodness of his
intentions command respect. He has been compared to
Wordsworth, who studied him, and probably drew
from Daniel's portrait of Mountjoy some ideas for the
" Happy Warrior." Lastly, in eulogising Mountjoy 's
achievements, Daniel gives us a striking view of what
was in the minds of the leaders of England in the long
struggle for the reduction of Ireland. In the romance
which attaches to that part of the struggle against Spain
and the Catholic power which was determined at sea,
the more prosaic, but far more arduous, efforts made
by the English of those days by land in Ireland are
apt to be overlooked, and the leaders in those wars have
received less than their due from posterity, probably on
both sides of the Atlantic. The one branch of the
contest was mainly carried on by private enterprise,
with many attractions in the way of gain and glory ;
the other was conducted by the Government, and involved
a wasting conscription and a heavy drain of treasure
over a long series of years. Also the conditions of Irish
warfare were of the hardest, offering few opportunities
for distinction, and many, on both sides, for loss of life
by starvation, exposure and disease. All this seems to
have been borne without serious complaint, and with
steady loyalty to the Queen and her Council ; but it is
easy to understand how high Mountjoy stood in the

Yet on ; since She, whose beanies do reincense
This sacred fire, seenies as reserv'd in store
To raise this Worke, and here to have my last ;
Who had the first of all my labours past.

On (with her blessed favour) and relate, etc.


eyes of his countrymen when he was found the means
of bringing these wars to a successful close. Daniel's
lines are as follow :

Now that the hand of death hath layd thee there,

Where neither greatnesse, pompe, nor grace, we see.

Nor any differences of earth ; and where

No vaile is drawne betwixt thy selfe and thee :

Now Devonshire that thou art but a name,

And all the rest of thee besides is gone,

When men conceive thee not, but by the fame

Of what thy vertue, and thy worth have done :

Now shall my verse which thou in life didst grace,

(And which was no disgrace for thee to do)

Not leave thee in the grave . . .

And therefore I sincerely will report

First how thy parts were faire convaid within,

How that brave minde was built, and in what sort

All thy contexture of thy heart hath beene,

Which was so nobly fram'd, so well compos'd

As vertue never had a fairer seate,

Nor could be better lodg'd nor more repos'd,

Then in that goodly frame ; where all things sweete,

And all things quiet, held a peaceful! rest ;

Where passion did no sudden tumults raise

That might disturbe her, nor was ever brest

Contain'd so much, and made so little noyse ;

That by thy silent modestic is found

The emptiest vessels make the greatest sound.

Although in peace thou seem'dst to be all peace.

Yet being in warre, thou wert all warre, and there

As in thy spheere thy spirits did never cease

To move with indefatigable care.

And nothing seem'd more to arride thy heart

Nor more enlarge thee into jollity,

Then when thou sawest thy selfe in armour girt,

Or any act of armes like to be nye.

• > a • •

[Of his Irish command]

For without thy great valour we had lost
The dearest purchase ever England made :
And made with such profuse exceeding cost
Of bloud and charge, to keepe and to invade :
As commutation paid a deerer price
For such a peece of earth, and yet well paid
And well adventur'd for, with great advice.


And happily to our dominions laid ;

Without which out-let, England thou hadst bin

From all the rest of th'earth shut out, and pent

Unto thyselfe, and forst to keepe within,

Inviron'd round with others government ;

Where now by this, thy large imperiall Crowne

Stands boundlesse in the West, and hath a way

For noble times, left to make all thine owne

That lyes beyond it, and force all t'obay.

And this important peece, like t' have beene rent

From off thy state, did then so tickle stand,

As that no joynture of the government

But shooke, no ligament, no band

Of order and obedience, but were then

Loose and in tottering, when the charge

Thereof was laid on Montioy, and that other men

Checkt by example sought to put it off.

And he out of his native modesty

(As being no undertaker) labours too

To have avoided that which his ability

And Englands Genius would have him do,

Alleadging how it was a charge unfit

For him to undergo, seeing such a one

As had more power and meanes t'accomplish it

Then he could have, had there so little done.^

Whose ill successe (considering his great worth,

Was such as, could that mischiefe be withstood.

It had beene wrought) did in it selfe bring forth

Discouragement that he should do lesse good.

The state replide, it was not lookt he should
Restore it wholy to it selfe againe.
But only now if possible he could
In any fashion but the same retaine,
So that it did not fall a sunder quite,
Being thus dishivered in a desperate plight.

With courage on he goes . . .

• ■ • ■ •

The poem alludes (in reference to " detraction "), in
general terms, to Mountjoy's relations with Lady Rich
(the " Stella " supposed of the Sidney sonnets), and urges,

Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 31 of 55)