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The Works o f Sir William D’Avenant London:Printed by T. N. forHenry Heningman,at the Sign of the Blew Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange. 1673. ANNOTATION [frontfree endpaper,in ink]: HermanMelville London, December, 1849 ANNOTATION [frontfreeendpp,inink]: (NewY & Day atsea) ANNOTATION [frontfree endpaper,in pencil, over erased “1850in Elizabeth Shaw Melville’shand (?)I: 1850 ANNOTATlON [frontfreeendpaFr, in pencil, erased):234Epitaphon I. Walker 196 [Postscriptto the reader] Gondibert:An Heroick Poem 1 “The Author’s Preface to his much Honour’d Friend Mr. Hobs.” * [D’Avenantexplains his choice of easily followed, end-stopped four-line stanzas] ...for I had so much heat (which you, Sir may call pride[)] as to presume they might [like the works of Homer ere they werejoyn’d together and made a Volumn by the Athenian King) be sung at Village-feasts; though not to Monarchs after Victory, nor to Armies before battel. For so (as an inspiration of glory into the one, and of valor into the other) did Homer’s Spirit, long after his bodies rest, wander in musick about Greece. [Ina section on poetic composition, D’Avenant devotes a paragraph to the importance of intellectual labor] Next to the usefulness of Time (which here implys ripe age) I believ’d pains most requisite to this undertaking: for though painfulness in Poets (according to the usual negligence of our Nation in examining, and their diligence to censure) seems always to discover a want of natural force, and is traduc’d, as if Poesie concern’d the world no more then Dancing; whose onely grace is the quickness and facility of motion; and whose perfection is not of such publick consequence, that any man can merit much by attaining it with long labor; yet let them consider, and they will find (nor can I stay long ere I convince them in the important use of Poesie) the natural force of a Poet more apparent, by but confessing that great forces aske great labor in managing; then by an arrogant braving of the World, when he enters the field with his undisciplin’d first thoughts: For a wise Poet, like a wise General, will not shew his strengths till they are in exact Government and order; which are not the postures of chance, but proceed from Vigilance and labor. A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 8 3 Figure 1. Frontispiece and title page of Melville’s copy of 7he Works ofsir William D’Avenant (London: Henry Herringman, 1673) M E L V I L L E ’ S D ’ A V E N A N T 10 [DAvenant recollects consulting the work of other authors at points of difficulty] ...but 1 have staid and recorded such objects, till by consulting with right Masters, I have disposed of them without mistake; it being no more shame to get Learning at that very time, and from the same Text; when, and by which we instruct others; then for a forward Scout, discovering the Enemy, to save his own life at a Pass, where he then teaches his Party to escape. 14 Melville has recorded an “X” in upper-left corner of the page [In a paragraph on military leaders, Davenant discusses imperial expansion] ...for God ordain’d not huge Empire as proportionable to the Bodies, but to the Mindes of Men; and the Mindes of Men are more monstrous, and require more space for agitation and the hunting of others, then the Bodies of Whales. ___ ’5 [In a paragraph on statesmen and law-makers,DAvenant arguespoetry more than religion assists the state] ...For Religion is to the wicked and faithless (who are many) a jurisdiction, against which they readily rebell; because it rules severely , yet promiseth no worldly recompence for obedience; obedience being by every humane Power invited, with assurances of visible advantage. The good (who are but few) need not the Power of Religion to make them better, the power of Religion proceeding from her threatnings, which though mean weapons, are fitly us’d, since she hath none but base Enemies. We may observe...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
pp. 83-102
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-29
Open Access
No
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