INTRODUCTION

1. In 1581 Scipio Gentili published Paraphrasis Aliquot Psalmarum Davidis, Carmine Heroico Scipio Gentili Italo Auctore (printed by Thomas Vautrollier, London, 1581) [Short Title Catalogue nr. 11730, Early English Books reel 958], prefaced by a dedicatory epistle to Sir Philip Sidney, which also contained two original Christmas poems, Alcon, seu de Natali Iesu Christi Ecloga and Hymnus Christo Resurgenti. Alcon was written in 1577, when the Gentili family (Italian Protestant refugees) was still living in Austria, and it is likely that the Hymn was produced about the same time, so as to create a matched pair of Christmas and Easter poems. The reader will observe that in Alcon Gentili anticipates the strategy he subsequently employed in Nereus, of prophecizing great things for the newborn babe and using the imagery and language of Vergil’s fourth Eclogue. He no doubt included these out of justifiable pride in having written them at age fourteen.
2. Texts and translations of Alcon (pp. 1 - 8, with notes on pp. 138 - 41) and Hymnus Christo Resurgenti (p. 9 - 14, with notes on pp. 141 - 3) appeared in Anne Pallant’s M. A. thesis “The Printed Poems of Scipione Gentili” (Birmingham, U. K., 1983). I take this opportunity to record my gratitude for the benefit I have received from her annotations.