John Payne Collier.

A bibliographical and critical account of the rarest books in the English language, alphabetically arranged, which during the last fifty years have come under the observation of J. Payne Collier, F.S.A online

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Online LibraryJohn Payne CollierA bibliographical and critical account of the rarest books in the English language, alphabetically arranged, which during the last fifty years have come under the observation of J. Payne Collier, F.S.A → online text (page 16 of 30)
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where betrays a want of regularity and system in his education.
The tract does not contain a word of biographical matter, as re-
gards himself or others. No single name is mentioned.

Johnson, Eiohaed. — The most famous History of the
seven Champions of Christendome: Saint George of
England, Saint Denis of Fraunce, Saint James of
Spayne, Saint Anthony of Italie, Saint Andrev? of Scot-
land, Saint Patricke of Ireland, and Saint David of
Wales, shewing their Honorable battailes &c. — London
Printed for Elizabeth Burble, and are to be sold at her
shop in Pauls Church-yard. 1608. 4to. B. L. 109

This work by Richard Johnson is in two parts, but published
separately ; and as this is the earliest extant copy of the " first
part," and as no other exemplar of it is at present known, we
shall describe it with some particularity. We will advert after-
wards to " the second part " of the same " most famous history."

Following " Saint David of Wales," on the title-page, we read

€arl2 (Snglial) Citcratort. 181

as follows : " Shewing their Honorable battailes by Sea and
Land : their Tilts, Jousts and Turnaments for Ladies : their Com-
bats with Giants, Monsters and Dragons : their adventures in for-
raine Nations : their inchauntments in the holy Land : their
Knighthoods, Prowesse and Chivalry in Europe, Affrica and
Asia, with their victories against the enemies of Christ." Nothing
could well be more attractive to buyers of the day than such an
enumeration of subjects ; and it is given, with the rest of the title-
page, on sign. A 1. Sign. A 2 contains an address, subscribed R.
L, " To all courteous Readers, Richard Johnson wisheth increase
of vertuous knowledge," and that they will " in kindnes accept
of his labours." At the back of this page we have a poem, of no
great merit, but worth quoting, especially as it has never been
noticed. It is headed, " The Author's muse upon the Historic : " —

" The famous facts, Mars, deriv'd from thee,
By wearie pen and painefuU Authors toyle,
Enrold we find such feates of Chivalrie,
As hath beene seldome seene in any soyle.

" Thy ensignes here wee finde in field displaide.
The Trophies of thy victories erected ;
Such deedes of Armes as none could have assaide,
But Knights whose courage feare hath not detected.

" Such Ladies sav'd, such monsters made to fall.
Such Gyants slaine, such hellish Furies queld,
That humane forces, few or none at all,
In such exploits their lives could safely shield.

" But vertue, stirring up their noble minds

By valiant conquests to enlarge their fames,
Hath caused them seeke adventures forth to find,

Which registreth their never dying names.
Then Fortune, Time, and Fame agree in this,
That honours gaine the greatest glory is."

Then commences Chap. L, of the " honorable Historic of the
Seven Champions of Christendome," which runs on as far as
Chap. XIX., and is ended thus on p. 217, sign. Ee 3 b : — " 1608.
Finis. K. L"

Although no older copy is extant, there are two distinct pieces
of evidence to prove that it had come from the press at least ten

182 SibUograpljical 'Account of

or twelve years earlier : one is the mention of it by Francis Meres
in his Palladis Tamia, 1598 ; and the other two entries in the Reg-
isters of the Stationers' Company on 20th April and 6th Sept
1596. Danter, the printer, first claimed it, but he relinquished
his right to Cuthbert Burbie ; and after Burbie died, his widow,
as we see, published the edition of 1608. It had, no doubt, gone
through several previous impressions.

The " second part " was clearly a separate publication : it has
a new title-page, a new dedication (to Lord William Howard),
a new address " To the gentle Reader,'' and new signatures from
A 2 to B b 3, without pagination, which in the " first part " is
regular. The title-page of the second part is this : —

" The second part of the famous Historic of the seaven Champions of
Christendome. Likewise shewing the Princely prowes of Saint Georges
three Sonnes, the lively Sparke of Nobilitie. With many other memo-
rable achievemets worthy the golden spurres of Knighthood. — London,
Printed for Elizabeth Burbie, and are to be solde at her shop, in Panles
Church-yard at the signe of the Swan. 1608. 4to."

It consists of 98 leaves, rather arbitrarily divided into 16 chap-
ters ; and in his preliminary address Johnson states that he had
been encouraged to pen the " second part " by the Reader's
" great courtesie in the kind acceptation of my first part." The
truth is that the second part is in every respect inferior to the
first, and it begins with the entertainment of the three sons of
St. George by the city of London, after their mother had been
"slaine in a wood with the pricks of a thornie brake.'' Her
epitaph is one of the best specimens of Johnson's poetry in this
portion of his work. It begins, —

" Here lies the wonder of this worldly age
For beautie, wit and Princely Majestic,
Whom spiteful! death in his imperious rage

Procurde to fall through ruthlesse crueltie :
In leavie sports, within a fragrant wood,
Upon a thornie brake shee spilt her bloud.

" Let Virgins pure, and Princes of great might.
With silver pearled teares imbalme this toombe.
Accuse the fatall sisters of despight
For blasting thus the pride of natures bloome.

€arls €ngU0l) Cttoaturs. 183

For heere shee sleepes ■within this earthly grave,
Whose worth deserves a golden toombe to have."

There is no name of printer to either part, but Danter (who
originally entered the first part in 1596) has his device on the
title-page of the second part, and he made some singular blun-
ders ; for instance, in one place (sign. G b) he talks of " the holy
harmony of the heavenly Rubens " instead of " Cherubins," which
word Johnson employs not long afterwards.

Richard Johnson's earliest production was " The Nine Wor-
thies of London," written, as he states, while he was an appren-
tice, afterwards becoming free of the city, as he was proud of ac-
knowledging. It came out in 1592, 4to, and is reprinted in Vol.
Vni. of the Harleian Miscellany. We need not therefore criticise
it further than by saying that, in point of versification, it is supe-
rior to anything he wrote subsequently. The prose portion is
also meritorious, and he describes Fame as " shaking her bright
immortal wings and with the melodious noise, and with the
sweet breath fanned fi'om those Phoenix feathers," awaking the
Nine Worthies to tell their stories, while the rivers stood still, the
leaves ceased to whisper, and the winds were hushed to listen to
them. When Johnson died has not been ascertained. He was
baptized 24th May, 1573.

Jordan, Thomas. — Poeticall Varieties : or Varietie of
Fancies. By Tho. Jordan Gent. Garpere vel noli nos-
tra vel ede tua. Marti. Epigram. — London, Printed by
T. C. for Humphry Blunden, and are to be sold at his
shop, neare the Castle Taverne, in Corne-hill. 1 637.
4to. 31 leaves.

This seems to be Jordan's earliest production, and he was then,
no doubt, an actor, as we know he was in 1640. It is preceded
by commendatory poems subscribed Tho. Heywood, Rich. Brome,
Tho. Nabbes, Ed. May, and J. B : the last calls Jordan his

184 Bibltograpljical ^ccoitnt of

" adopted son " ; and Brome in his lines thus spealcs of the youth
of the author : —

" And now (most happily) when the Poets old
Are sinking too, that one so young should hold
The club up gainst the Giant Ignorance," &c.

J. B. also adverts to Jordan's youth, and says, "Thou hast
begun well," as if " Poetical Varieties " were his first effort.

The dedication deserves notice, since it is " To the Mecasnas of
candid industry, Mr. John Ford of Grayes-Inn Gent " ; prohably
the same John Ford of Gray's Inn, who was cousin to John Ford
of the Temple, the celebrated dramatist, who addressed his
"Lovers Melancholy" to him in 1629. Jordan's dedication is
remarkable for being in a sort of prose run mad, for in fact most
of it is in blank- verse, though not so printed. It commences, —

" I have had a long propeusion in my soule
To endeavour something worthy yo^ir acceptance.
And gaine me honour in the oblation.
Had lov'd Thalia pleas'd to blesse my braine
With some deserving subject," &c.,

which may or may not show, that he had already unsuccessfully
attempted some comic matter for the stage. An address " To the
criticall Reader " is in the same stage-stilted strain, in which he
says, again printing his verse as prose, —

" Seeke some knowne author, whose applauded name
Self-lov'd opinion taught you to admire;
The title-page you censure, not the worke :
I am condemn'd already by that rule.
But tis no legall try all," &o.

The same remark may be made on Jordan's few words " to the
candid Header," where he asserts, in more irregular measure, —

" I have not rob'd
The hive of any mans endeavours, or exhausted
His hony treasurie to enrich my barren braines.
But from the native flower I suck'd my sweetnesse," &o.

This is just as if he had been writing or reciting blank-verse,
until (like his namesake Monsieur Jourdain) he really did not
know when he was writing prose. The volume is in two parts,

OEarlg (Kngltsf) Cikrattiw. 185

the first consisting mainly of love-poems, and the last entirely of
elegies. Jordan seems to have been vagrant in his amours, and
he addressed two different mistresses ; one of them Susan Blunt,
to whom he sends an acrostic, and the other Avis Booth, to whom
he appeals in some passionate couplets. A few of the poems
would not bear printing in our days, on account of their indeli-
cacy, especially one " To Leda, his coy Bride, on the Bridall
Night." This volume may be said to have little really original
merit in any part of it.

The " Elegiack Poems " are the most deserving of notice, be-
cause they contain memorials of the deaths of Richard Gunnell and
John Honeyman, who were both applauded players. We have no
precise information as to the date of the death of Richard Gunnell
(who was one of the actors at the Fortune in Golden Lane), but
we know from the register that " John Honnyman, player," was
buried at Cripplegate,! 13th April, 1637, and must have figured
on the same stage as Jordan. There are five other elegies, but
only two of them are preceded by real names, — one is " Mr.
John Raven, Gent.," who may have been an actor, although his

1 The date here given of John Honeyman's death, 13th April, 1637,
makes it quite certain that Jordan was writing of the same man and
actor. His lines are worth quoting in a note on this account : —
"jln Epitaph on his hind friend Mr. John Moniman, Gent.
'* Thou that couldst neTer weepe, and knowst not why

Teares should he spent hut in mans infancy,

Come and repent thy error, for here lyes

A theame for Angels to write Elegies,

Had they the losse as we have ; such a one

As nature kild for his perfection ;

And when shee sends those vertues backe agen,

His stocke shall serve for twenty vertuous men.
Tn Aprill dyed this Aprill, to finde May

In Paradise, or celebrate a day

With some celestiall creature : had he beene

Designed for other then a Cherubin,

Earth would have gave him choice : he was a man

So sweetly good, that he who wisely can

Describe at large must such another be,

Or court no Muses but Divinitie.

Here will I rest, for feare the Readers eyes

Upon his ume become a sacrifice."

186 33ibUograpl)ical ;3lao«nt of

name does not occur anywhere in that capacity. Nothing is said
in the poem to settle the question ; but in the cases of Gunnell and
Honeyman, notoriously actors of considerable eminence, the
same may be stated, for Jordan gives us no information as to their
profession. The other person elegized and eulogized is " Mr.
Charles Rider, Student in the art of Limning, or Picture-draw-
ing." As he was only a " student " at the time of his death, it is
not to be wondered that we hear of Rider on no other authority.

Jordan, Thomas. — A Royal Arbor of Loyal Poesie, con-
sisting of Poems and Songs. Digested into Triumph,
Elegy, Satyr, Love and Drollery. Composed by Thomas
Jordan, Mediocribus esse Poetis, ^c. Hor. de Arte Poet.
— London, Printed by R. Wood, for Eliz. Andrews at
the White Lion near Pye-Corner. 1664. 8vo. 79

Only one other copy of this work is known, but part of its con-
tents appeared in various shapes, the author resorting to unworthy
expedients, in order to give a show of novelty to what in truth
was old and had been before printed. It affords proof, too, how
Jordan left a blank for the name of any dedicatee, who he fancied
would give him a few shillings for calling himself " the humblest
of all your faithful servants, and the devoutest of your honourers."
In this instance, such were the terms in which he addressed " John
Adams, Gent.," whose name was inserted with type and ink dif-
ferent to the rest of the volume. This trick Jordan effected late
in life by carrying about with him movable letters for the pur-
pose. (See Vol. I. pp. 121, 255.)

To the dedication succeeds an address, " To all Noble, Learned
and Ingenious Lovers of Poiitry and Poets ; " then, on p. 1, begins
" An Induction " to certain speeches, &c., delivered, at Skinners'
Hall and other places, to General Monok, on 4th April, 1660.
Next we have various Prologues and Epilogues, which Jordan
had been employed to write, the most remarkable being the noted
one, " to introduce the first Woman that came to act on the

(Karlg ^ngltsl) Citeratttw. 187

stage in the Tragedy call'd The Moor of Venice," with the Epi-
logue. The miscellaneous matter ends on p. 28, and on p. 29
begin " Kepresentations in Parts to be Habited, Sung, and Acted,
as they have been often times, with great applause, performed
before the Lord Major and the Sheriffs of London " ; the date
here given is Decemb. 18th, 1659. On p. 57 commence " Acros-
ticks, Annagrams, Epigrams, Elegies and Epitaphs." The
" Epitaph supposed to be written by a Gentleman on himself, who
dyed of a disease called by the name of a Bad Wife," Jordan has
applied to himself in his " Claraphil and Clarinda," (see post, p.
190.) " The Player's Petition to the Long Parliament, after
being long silenc'd, that they might play again, 1642," on p. 78,
was nevertheless obviously written after the Restoration of Charles
n., when Jordan was not afraid of abusing the Puritans and Par-

The most valuable portion of the volume here begins, with a
new pagination and fresh signatures, and may once have been
part of another book, but added by the author to swell the bulk
of this. It is headed " Songs," and commences with " The Royal
Vision, — The Tune, Greece and Troy.'' Some of the pieces here
inserted are remarkable, not for any great merit they possess, but
because they are ballads founded upon plays which had been pop-
ular before the closing of the theatres, the stories of which Jordan
made use of, as if the sources from whence he drew them were
not then well known. When the stage was put down, these bal-
lads gave the people a sort of dramatic entertainment in another

The first of these is the plot of " The Merchant of Venice,"
under the title of " The Forfeiture, a Romance. — Tune, Dear,
let me now this evening dye," in 13 stanzas. Then comes "Love
in Languishment. — Tune, Have I not lov'd thee much and long,"
from Beaumont and Fletcher's " Philaster," in 12 stanzas. After
these follow " The Revolution : a Love-story. — Tune, No man
loves fiery passions," derived from " Much ado about Nothing,"
in 12 stanzas; — " The jealous Duke and the injur'd Duchess: a
Story. — Tune, The Dream," founded upon " The Winter's Tale,"
in 12 stanzas; — " The Double Marriage: A sad Story. — Tune,
Amidst the Mirlles as I walkt," which in the incidents is nearly

188 I3ibUograpl)kal ;3laount of

the same as Wilkin's " Miseries of enforced Marriage," in 22
stanzas ; — " The Broken Contract. — Tune, Claris farewell, I
needs must go," the dramatic original of which we do not recol-
lect, in 14 stanzas ; — "A merry Marriage : A Stratagem. —
Tune, Do but view this glass of Claret," taken from Rowley's
"Match at Midnight," in 18 stanzas; — and "The happy Ad-
venture, or the witty Lady : a Story. — Tune, Wert thou much
fairer than thou art," derived from Shirley's " Witty Fair One,"
in 16 stanzas.

Thus we have here eight dramatic ballads of the existence of
which nobody seems to have been aware; they are all founded
upon then known plays, and the writer, no doubt, followed the
older practice of certain writers, who, when a new and popular
drama was brought out, took it as the subject of a ballad to be
sung and vended in the streets. In some instances, but we ap-
prehend not in many, the ballad preceded the play ; but in the
ease before us there is no doubt that Jordan spared his invention,
and took the play as the foundation of his ballad. He had been
an actor of some repute before theatres were prohibited in 1642,
and finally closed in 1647. As a specimen of his style we will
quote a few stanzas from the ballad he composed on the founda-
tion of " Philaster."

" You to whom melting hearts belong,

That lovers woes bewail,
And would not have true love take wrong,

Attend unto my tale
The like to which is seldom known ;
'Twill make your very soul to groan.
As if the case were all your own.

" A great man late a daughter had,

Which now may not be nam'd :
She had two suitors, good and bad,

Both by her eyes inflamed ;
But young Philaster was his name,
A gentleman of noble fame,
That her affections overcame.

" The tother was her father's choice,
Antonio was he caU'd,

€arl2 C6ngli0{) Citeratare. 189

Who with her feature, youth and voice

Was very much inthrall'd ;
And though her father bad her she
Should to Antonio's suit agree,
She cries, Philaster is for me.

" One day Philaster having walk'd

Close by a river's side.
He found a pretty boy that talk'd

Unto himself, and cried.
Could I but now a master view
To give my tender youth its due,
I would appear a servant true."

This it must be owned is humble doggerel, little superior to
Martin Parker's eflfusions in the same class of poetry, and it does
not at all improve as it proceeds. In the last stanza Jordan does
not scruple to violate grammar for the sake of his rhyme : —

" Antonio knows her, and doth vow

He'll marry none but she :
Philaster takes his love, and now

The father doth agree :
Their lives were near the push of pike,
But now embrace, and soft hands strike.
May all true lovers do the like."

The peculiar interest belonging to the ballads founded on
Shakspeare's dramas makes us, of course, wish to see how
Jordan, almost a contemporary, would treat the subjects ; and in
the edition of our great dramatist's works (6 vols. 8vo, 1858) they
are all extracted in connection with the .pieces to which they
belong. They have no more merit than other ballads, the stories
of which are derived from plays of a much inferior character.
Jordan was not at all elevated by the greater excellence of his

The portion of the volume headed " Songs" continues as far as
p. 72, when we come to the word " Finis," the last pieces being
two Medleys, not of words but of airs, and a song entitled " The
Jubilee on the Coronation day. Tune, The King enjoyes his own
again ; " so that it was posterior to Martin Parker's song, which
gave the original to that famous air.

190 33ibUo3ra}3l)i£al ;3lao«nt of

On the whole there is some merit, as well as great variety, in
the " Koyal Arbor of Loyal Poesie," and Jordan seems to have
comprised in it not a few of the best things he wrote during a
series of years. He obtained, by constant practice, much facility
of versification, and his thoughts are sometimes ingenious, if not
new. He ought to have been able to live without the literary
frauds, to which, perhaps, the irregularity of his life rendered it
necessary for him to resort.

Jordan, Thomas. — Claraphil and Clarinda : in a Forrest

of Fancies. By Tho. Jordan, Gent.

Sat mihi sunt pauci Lectores ; est satis unus ;
Si me nemo legal, sat mihi nullus erit.

Owen, Epigram.

— London, Printed by E. "Wood. 12mo. 4:1 leaves.

Here we have another proof of Jordan's unworthy practice, in
filling up a blank dedication with the name of any party who
would remunerate him. In this copy " Rob. Filmere, Esq.," is in-
serted with type and ink different from that of the rest of the
volume. It is divided into three portions, the first called " Clara-
phil and Clarinda," (the running title being " A Forrest of Fan-
cies,") which occupies to sign. D 8, and consists of love-poems ;
the second is headed " Piety and Poesy," entirely of a religious
cast (the signatures beginning with B and ending with C 8) ; and
the third, " Elegiack Poems," filling only eight pages. We need
have little doubt that most, if not all, of the pieces had appeared
elsewhere, and the undated book came from the press of the same
man who had printed the " Royal Arbor of Loyal Poesie " in
1664. The most remarkable production in " Claraphil and Cla-
rinda " is a poem on the last leaf, headed " An Epitaph on Him-
self," and, with the change of a word or two, it is the same which
appears in the " Royal Arbor," &c., although there the title is
general and not autobiographical. If what is charged be true,
Jordan was married to a bad wife, for it runs thus : —

"Nay, read and spare not. Passenger;
My sence is now past feeling,

©arlg (Sngliel) Cita'aturt. 191

Who to my grave a wound did bear
Within, past physicks healing.
"But do not (if thou mean to wed)
To read my story tarry,
Least thou envy me this cold bed,
Eather than live to marry :
" For a long strife with a lewd wife
(Worst of all ills beside)
Made me grow weary of my life ;
So I fell sick, and died."

The latest poem in this little volume is valuable only because it
is an epitaph upon a dramatic writer, John Kirk, author of a play
called " The Seven Champions of Christendom," 4to, 1638, of
whom we know nothing, and regarding whom Jordan tells noth-
ing; still it may be worth quoting, as it has never been men-
tioned : —

"An Epitaph on my worthy Friend
Mr. John Kirk.
" Reader, within this Dormitory lies
The wet Memento of a widows eys;
A Kirk, though not of Scotland — one in whom
Loyalty livd, and Faction found no room:
No Conventicle Christian, but he died
A Kirk of England by the mothers side.
In brief, to let you know what you have lost,
Kirk was a Temple of the Holy Ghost."

The love-poems have little merit, but interspersed with them
are some others ; one of these is marked 1645, and it is the only
date from beginning to end. There is a tolerable medley to ten
different airs, which, however, are not specified.

Katheeine de Medicis. — A mervaylous discourse upon
the life deedes and behaviours of Katherine de Medicis,
Queene mother : wherin are displayed the meanes which
she hath practised to atteyne unto the usurping of the
Kingedome of France, and to the bringing of the estate
of the same unto utter ruine and destruction. At Hey-
delberge. 1575. B. L. 8vo. 98 leaves.

192 l3ibliograpl)tral ;2lccouiit of

This work, which has been mistakenly called " a Satire," is
from beginning to end a series of most abusive attacks upon
Katherine de Medicis, under the pretext of historical narration ;
it professes to have been printed at Heidelberg, but the types are
English in their appearance. The anonymous author writes in
the character of a Frenchman, and it is known to have been the
work of Henry Stephens. It is without preface or dedication.
It brings the events in France down to the accession of Henry
ni. The conclusion is an elaborate comparison of Katherine de
Medicis with Brunehault, " daughter of Athanage, King of Spain,"
and " married to Sigebert, King of Metz."

Kendall, Timothy. — Flowers of Epigrammes out of
sundrie moste singular authors selected, as well auncient
as late writers. Pleasant and profitable to the expert
readers of quicke capacitie : By Timothe Kendall, late
of the Universitie of Oxford : now student of Staple
Inne in London. [Horatius. Aut prodesse volunt, ^-c]
— Imprinted at London in Poules Churche-yarde, at
the signe of the Brasen Serpent by Jhon Shepperd.
1577. 8vo. B. L. 152 leaves.

Anthony Wood was not acquainted with this very scarce book,!

1 The name of John Keeper ought perhaps to have been inserted here
by virtue of a separate work, which he published without date, but prior
to 1600, containing verses of some merit as translations. They deserve

Online LibraryJohn Payne CollierA bibliographical and critical account of the rarest books in the English language, alphabetically arranged, which during the last fifty years have come under the observation of J. Payne Collier, F.S.A → online text (page 16 of 30)