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  • Appendix 1"Triumphus Mortis" and "Inuenta Bellica"

Lucus 32, "Triumphus Mortis" offer us the testimony of three sources, two of them manuscripts and one a printed version relying on a now-lost third manuscript:

(1) "Triumphus Mortis" appears in the Williams manuscript (W), thought to be in Herbert's hand, the source of Hutchinson's printed version.

(2) "Inuenta Bellica" is in the Alabaster manuscript in Chetham's Library, Manchester (C), reproduced here in facsimile, along with our transcription. This version does not include a line that appears in both W and in Pickering (see below), and is filled with errors in spelling and punctuation. We reproduce the manuscript here because it has much in common with the version in Pickering and offers independent manuscript evidence of the poem's transmission.

(3) William Pickering's 1836 edition of The Temple includes "Inventa Bellica." It was slightly revised in his 1838 edition (P), reproduced in facsimile in this appendix. Pickering claimed to have transcribed his printed text from a manuscript, since lost.

To clarify the differences in the three versions, we include a chart of the major substantive differences (we exclude differences in orthography, accentuation, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation).

W presents fewer textual problems than P (see Hutchinson 593) and far fewer than C. Hutchinson, who did not have access to C, discusses P, noting that with simple changes in lines 1, 4, 34, 49, 95, 100-01, the poem presents "the theme from the point of view of mortal man" (592-93). Story, following an argument by Hutchinson as to the aesthetic superiority of the "Inventa Bellica" as presented in P, argues [End Page 201] that the C version of "Inventa Bellica" offers us "Herbert's final version," of which the poem in Lucus is a draft (270). We disagree with Story, in part because the Chetham text is so unreliable. We disagree also with Hutchinson's negative appraisal of Death as a speaker. Death's speech has great rhetorical power, a power in keeping with the baroque exuberance of much of Herbert's Latin verse and with the traditions of ancient literature, Death as a character appearing as early as Euripides' Alcestis (438 bce). In "Triumphus Mortis," the character of Death expounds passionately, audaciously, and at great length about how war serves him; the effect is to heighten Herbert's rage at war's destruction. In the next poem in the Lucus sequence, "The Triumph of the Christian. Against Death," the speaker directly addresses Death, calls him a "magnificent hawker" and a "renowned murderer," and invokes the Lamb and the Cross as the only proper remedy for Death (ll. 2, 6). Death's speech gives power to "The Triumph of the Christian. Against Death." The W version should not be superseded by P and C, a conclusion with which Hovey agrees. Hovey also concludes that W is probably the final version, asserting that the earlier version was inspired by Thomas Reid's Inventa Adespota and may have circulated together with Reid's poem; the Alabaster gathering at Chetham's Library includes both Herbert's and Reid's poems. Hovey further notes, "It seems most reasonable that the longer and more religious version of the Herbert's poem found in manuscript with some of his most mature poems should have been a revision of the other version rather than vice versa" (276; see also Kelliher 43-46).


The version of "Inuenta Bellica" in the Alabaster manuscript in Chetham's Library, Manchester, is reproduced on the next three pages, followed by our transcription. [End Page 202]

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Inuenta Bellica

O mortis longaeua fames, venterque perennisQuem non AEmathius torrens, non sanguine pinguisDaunia, non satiat bis ter millissima caedisProgenies, mundique aetas ab domine tantoIngluuieque minor: quercus habitare ferunturPrisci, crescentesque una cum prole cauernasHinc tamen excludi mors noluit, ipsaque vitamGlans dedit, et truncus tectum, et ramalia mortem.        Confluere interea passim ad floralia pubesCoeperat agricolis, mentemque et aratra solutisCompita feruescunt pedibus, clamoribus aether,Hic vbi discumbunt...


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