In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

390 ] Dainty Devices An unsigned review of The Paradise of Dainty Devices (1576-1606), ed. Hyder Edward Rollins Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP; London: Milford, 1927. Pp. lxix + 299. The Times Literary Supplement, 1368 (19 Apr 1928) 286 We have recently had the opportunity of providing our libraries with new and good editions of several Elizabethan song-books or anthologies; the Haslewood Press has given us a new edition of England’s Helicon, and The Phoenix Nest edited by Mr. Macdonald.1 We now have a third Elizabethan anthology, of great celebrity, edited by an American scholar. Professor Rollins has devoted to this anthology of second-rate early Elizabethan lyrics the same care that other scholars have given to Hamlet or Othello.2 Every edition is mentioned; every variant is included and explained; every attribution is traced as far as it can be traced; and the title pages of the various editions of this popular anthology are all reproduced in facsimile. Professor Rollins is not only conscientious but conscious; and he does not pretend that the anthology has great literary value. Indeed, what we get from these Elizabethan song-books is primarily an appreciation of the greatness of the generation of Shakespeare. Most of the poems in this book were written when Shakespeare and Marlowe were schoolboys; so that our first impression is that of wonder at the transformation that Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but chiefly Shakespeare, accomplished in lyric verse.3 It is hardly too much to say that we cannot appreciate the work of Shakespeare and Jonson in the lyric form – and without appreciation of the work of Shakespeare and Jonson we cannot appreciate the work of Donne and the “metaphysical poets” – unless we know something about the work of the earlier generation. RichardEdwards,JasperHeywood(alreadyfamousastheuncleofDonne, and better known through Dr. Reed’s Early Tudor Drama),4 Hunnis, Kin­ welmarsh, are known names; still more is the name of Barnabe Rich and that of Whetstone.5 In this anthology is included Sir Thomas Wyatt, and, by several examples, Lord Vaux – known by the kindness of Shakespeare, and no better known through his attempts in this collection.6 Those who know [ 391 Dainty Devices something of English poetry in the sixties and seventies of the sixteenth century will know what to expect. Primarily, we obtain an enhanced admiration of the later generation, particularly Shakespeare, who transmuted English verse into the greatest lyric poetry; and second an echo, a sound here and there,whicheitherrecallsanearlierageoranticipatesalater.Ingeneralitmust be admitted that the poetry of the mid-sixteenth century, the early Eliza­ bethan verse, is a special taste. If we are saturated in the earlier poetry, that of Chaucer, or if we are saturated in the later poetry, that of Shakespeare andhiscontemporaries,thispoetrymustbeverystrangetous.Itisthepoetry of the generation which produced the Tenne Tragedies of Seneca; it is dominated by the fourteener.7 Many of the poems of the Paradise are in the fourteener ; some in a measure which we may call the sixteener, and there is an octosyllabic couplet which is merely a variant of these ambling measures: In freendes are found a heape of doubtes, that double dealing use, A swarme of such I could finde out, whose craft I can accuse . . .8 Such is the normal metre, varied by the longer Forlorne in filthy froward fate, wherein a thousand cares I finde, By whom I doo lament my state, annoide with fond afflicted mind: . . .9 which except for typography, is exactly the same as The sturdy Rocke, for all his strength, By raaging Seas, is rent in twayne: The Marble stone, is pearst at length, With little droppes, of drisling rayne . . .10 a metre which at its best produces verses such as the following: When sage Ulisses sailed by The perilous seas, where Cirens syng: Hym self unto the mast did tye, Lest their alluryng tunes might bryng His mynde on maze and make hym staie, And he with his become their praie . . .11 The vocabulary, on the whole, is that of the translators of Seneca;12 a vocabulary surprisingly different from that of the contemporaries of Shake­speare. Alliteration is, as in the typical fourteener, frequent: “trustlesse trappe,” “he bites the baites,” “to bewties blast,” and such uncouth expressions abound.13 1928 392 ] The transition from this phase of English verse to the next is a fruitful subject of study, on the one hand for those who believe in a slow and minute variation, and on the other hand for those who maintain...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.