Dedicatory epistle et illic etiam fides atque plectra A contemporary denizen of the court, Ben Jonson, made the same point in his commentary for Prince Henry to The Masque of Queens, presented at Whitehall in Feb. 1609: “...a principal part of life in these spectacles [sc. the masques] lay in their variety...” (quoted by Bayne at CHEL VI.395). He therefore created the antimasque as a foil to the masque. The lute and the harp are instruments for heroic verse; pipes and flutes for pastoral.
I.1 This poem describes how, at the beginning if King James’s reign, the spirit (genius) of Britain approached the Fates (Parcae) and asked for knowledge of the future. A Fate (Parca, now singular) replied: James will have many years of rule; his daughter Elizabeth will see the Rhine and have great offspring; Prince Henry, alas, will die; Prince Charles will be the one chosen to extend his father’s glory. The poem was written after Prince Henry’s death in Nov. 1612 and Elizabeth’s marriage in February 1613 to Frederick V, Elector Palatine, the Winter King of Bohemia.]
I.1.47 Tithonus, son of Laomedon, was made immortal by Aurora who loved him, but since she failed to ask the gods to give him perpetual youth, he shrivelled away until he became a mere voice, like a cicada. He appears three times in the Poemata.
I.1.89 The Rhine has a double stream here and is two-fold in the poem to Robert Cecil. At Aeneid VIII.727 the Rhine is bicornis, “with two horns”, either because river gods were occasionally depicted with the heads of bulls or because of the two main distributaries of the river, the Rhine a7nd the Waal.
I.1.122 Prince Henry died in November 1612, aged eighteen, probably of typhoid fever.
I.1.190 Same trope (king as poet) in I.4 and I.5 (on Prince Henry). The equation of poet and ruler is common in Jacobean poetry: Cowley, Davideis I.3 “Who from best poet, best of kings did grow”; Ben Jonson, To King James: “How best of kings, dost thou a sceptre bear! / How, best of poets, doest thou laurel wear. / But two things rare the fates had in their store, / And gave thee both, to show they could no more.”
I.2 The poet wonders what New Year’s gift he might give the king. The Spirit of Britain appears in the poet’s dream. She rushes into the king’s bedroom and asks for a boon. She recounts his previous benefactions (peace, control, of the sea, prosperity). She asks that these be made permanent and perpetual. Other goddesses arrive and worship the king, but at their noise the poet awakes. He decides that, like Britannia, he too should ask for gifts from the beneficent deity. The original of this poem appeared in 1606 as poem 2 of the Sylvae, (Iacobo Primo, Kal. Jan.). Barclay made only minor revisions for the Poemata.]
I.2.11 Saturnalia allowed free speech. A few lines below, Barclay wonders what he can “fasten to the temple.” He refers to the custom mentioned in Livy VII.3 of the clavus annalis, which the praetor fastened to a temple to mark the year. Barclay here transfers this custom to New Year’s Day.
I.2.69 Crete’s son was Zeus/Jupiter, born in a cave on Mt. Ida. Delos’s son was Apollo, born of Leto/Latona with his sister Artemis/Diana.
I.2.82 Mygdon was a king of Phrygia; hence “Phrygian” or “Oriental.”
I.2.152 In the original Sylvae version, Et Latiae Siculaeque deae... “Italian and Sicilian goddesses” arrive. Perhaps Barclay came to the conclusion that Italy and Sicily were too far-fetched.
I.3 The King of Denmark, Christian IV, Queen Anne’s brother, visited England in July 1606. This poem describes his voyage and reception in London. His fleet is guided by Pietas (Righteousness) and his reception shows the world that kings can be friends. The original of the poem was the first poem in the Sylvae, since the book as a whole was dedicated to King Christian. In 1606 Barclay might not have fully grasped that “the Danish fleet approaches” had meant something quite different in previous centuries. In Sylvae 1.10 the king is described as nobilis Ausoniae populator Vandalus orae, “the noble Vandal plunderer of the Ausonian (Italian) shore.” (The Vandali lived on the south coast of the Baltic, roughly Mecklenburg.) This line is postponed in the later version and the guidance of Pietas (whose opposite would be Scelus, Crime) is emphasized. In the later version Barclay added the colourful comparison between King Christian’s joyful reception in London and the Goddess Cybeles’s arrival in Rome.
I.3.13f. The Thames is here favourably compared to Atlas.
I.3.19 Vandalia was on the Baltic coast east of Denmark, roughly Mecklenburg. One of Christian’s titles was rex Vandalorum. The word is a convenient metrical alternative for Cimbri.
I.3.24 Pietas (Righteousness) is made equivalent to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus, the last of the immortals who associated with mankind and who fled the Earth during the Age of Iron (Ovid, Met. I.149 - 150). Astraea is frequently mentioned in Renaissance literature as the spirit of renewal already returned (for example, as Queen Elizabeth I) or soon to return to Earth.
I.3.32 A fisherman who became a sea-god (Ovid, Met. XIII.896ff).
I.3.83ff. This description taken from Ovid, Fasti IV.291-328.
I.4 Praise of Prince Henry, with special emphasis on the requirement that he should model himself on his father. The prince will be both a leader and a poet, like his father; he will do great deeds and will have the talent to sing of them as well. He will rule the nations along with his father. Most of this poem is a revision of Sylvae, poem 3, Ad Serenissimum Britanniarum Principi Henrico, Kalend. Jan. 1606, one of two poems to Prince Henry in the Sylvae. Since it was a New Year’s Day poem, the Sylvae version begins with an invocation of Phoebus, the sun, who is guiding his horses over a renewed course. These lines are omitted in the Poemata, and the first line of Sylvae 6 is substituted, Deliciae superum... Lines 40 - 44 and 64 - 77 are also revised from Sylvae 6.
I.4.9 I. e., he was porphyrogenitus, born in the purple.
I.4.51 Almus is an unusual word for a child. Even more striking, the corresponding line in the Sylvae has Alme parens, nurturing father. Henry has already taken on the attributes of an adult, paternalistic king.
I.4.55 On this expedition he discovered tobacco. See here.
I.4.61 A river of Boeotia sacred to Apollo and the Muses (Vergil, Ecl. vi.64).
I.5 The first of four pastoral eclogues. Here the shepherd Corydon complains that he has left his home, his sheep, and his wonted ways to become an attendant in Phoebus’s temple. (Phoebus is the sun, the sun god, and Barclay’s usual term for King James.) Corydon had been famous for his song, but now his pipes are worn out and he has had no reward for his labours. He begs leave to return to his home. Judging from lines 22f., it has been three years since Corydon left home; from this I assume that Barclay wrote the poem in 1608, three years after his arrival in London in 1605.
I.6 This second pastoral is a response to I.5, Corydon’s plaint. Phoebus has granted the shepherd’s wishes and has given him appropriate rewards. The shepherd will now lay aside his rustic flutes and pipes and take up the heroic lyre. He now produces a sample of heroic verse in praise of the king, as well as a poem of thanks to the temple guardian (sc. court official) who commended to the king the shepherd’s petition. Written in 1608/9.
I.6.4f. Quoted from the previous poem (lines 65f.),
I.6.40 Here follows two examples of such a “noble song,” one to the king, one to a chief minister.
I.6.49 Thestorides (son of Thestor) is Calchas, the Greek prophet frequently mentioned in the Iliad. Thiodamas (often Theiodamas), son of Melampus, is the seer of the Seven against Thebes (Statius Theb. VIII.279). Melampus is a seer whose story is told in Odyssey XI.223ff.
I.7 The third pastoral. Corydon burned with love for Daphne, but she had rejected his suit. He praises himself, partly by citing the devotion of his previous girlfriend Leuconoe, whom he has deserted for Daphne (cp. Vergil, Ecl. ii, Horace, Epode xi). The shepherd has just finished his plaint when signs from heaven indicate that his wishes will be fulfilled. There is no evidence of the poem’s date; no earlier version in the Sylvae.I.8 The fourth eclogue, closely based on Vergil, Ecl. v and the related Neo-Latin poems on the deaths of prominent persons. This poem is an amoebaean lament by Corydon and Tityrus for the death of Daphnis, the ideal shepherd of pastoral. Daphnis has died, but he now shines as a new star in the heavens. His genius (guardian spirit) has also appeared as a new Daphnis with a small crook and sling. Vergil’s eclogue has traditionally been viewed as memorialising the death of Julius Caesar and his rebirth as a comet. Similar poems were composed for a memorial volume on the death of Sir Philip Sidney in 1586. The volume, Exequiae Illustrissimi Equitis, D. Philippi Sidnaei, Gratissimae Memoriae ac Nomini Impensae, edited by William Gager in 1587, contains numerous poems which anticipate Barclay’s effusion in detail, not to mention the similarity of tone: the nymphs mourn for Daphnis (for example, poem 26, by Gager himself, Bellesitae (=Oxford), formosissimae nymphae ac matris in Daphnidis filii sui); Daphnis is a new star (poem 13, Ecce novum subito mirantur sydera sydus,); a chorus is repeated (poem 44, Dicite Philisidem, mea carmina, dicite vatem, where the name Philisides (one who loves the river Isis, (sc. Sidney), is used instead of Daphnis. Barclay’s poem is presumably on the death of Prince Henry (Nov. 1612). The new Daphnis would then be Prince Charles.
I.8.80 These are the three types of civic wreaths or crowns won by the ancients: oak leaves for the Roman corona civica (for saving the life of a fellow citizen); the laurel wreath for athletic or military victories; the olive wreath for an Olympic victor.
I.9 To Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury [1563 - May 24, 1612], son of William Cecil, First Baron Burghley, Queen Elizabeth’s chief advisor. Robert was advisor to Queen Elizabeth after his father’s death in 1598, and chief advisor to King James I. The poet relates how Cecil’s father, the famous Elizabethan statesman, raised him to be even greater than himself, and thus his father’s spirit still lives on. Cecil’s fame has spread throughout the world. He is wearied by the crowds of petitioners, but never flags. The poet asks for a kind reception for his requests. The original of this poem, Sylvae 5, was another New Year’s greeting on Kal. Jan. 1606. The are only small verbal revisions in this later version.
I.9.26 Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, encouraged by the people of Tarentum (originally a colony of Sparta), waged war with Rome (281 - 275 B. C.). He sent Cineas to Rome to negotiate peace. Cineas was noted for his memory; shortly after arriving in Rome, he could greet each senator by name.
I.9.61 Nestor was known for his wise advice.
I.10 A poem of encouragement for his father. It has been a year since the poet said goodbye to his father. He hopes that his father enjoys good health wherever he might go. His father’s health will probably prevent his visiting England again, so the poet sends news of King James, Queen Anne, and Prince Henry. Originally poem 7 of the Sylvae, written in 1606, one year after Barclay’s arrival in London. The earlier Sylvae version explicitly refers to William’s controversial work De regno et regale potestate (1600); differences from the Poemata are in italics:
At tu seu placitam curis subducere vitam...
Seu tua purpureos generoso flumine Reges
Musa colit, sternitque fera sub acumine pennae
Protinus, et positos victrix ulciscitur hostes,
Nunc certe viresque...
[“But whether you plan to withdraw peacefully from affairs...or whether your Muse cultivates empurpled kings with her ample flow of words, straightway lays low the enemy with the ferocious point of your pen, and declares herself the victor in their defeat, certainly, father, you are blaming your health...”]
By 1615 John had edited his father’s second controversial work De potestate papae (1610), and perhaps thought that a more general statement about the impulses of Themis was more appropriate than the Sylvae’s specific reference to an earlier work. John added several similes, including the still mysterious Sidonian seer
William Barclay [1546/7 - 1608] was born in Scotland, educated at Aberdeen, and spent some time at the court of Queen Mary. In 1571, three years after Mary’s abdication and flight to England, he left Scotland for France, where he studied law at Paris and Bourges. His uncle Edmund Hay, a Jesuit and the rector of the university at Pont-à-Musson in Lorraine, recommended him to Charles III, Duke of Lorraine (ruled 1545 - 1608), who appointed him to a post as professor of law and as counselor to the Duke. In 1581 William married Anne de Mallevillier and their son John was born in 1582. William subsequently lost the duke’s favor, left his post in 1603, and removed to England, where Queen Mary’s son James had just ascended the throne. It is not known if John went with him to England. William remained in England only until 1604, apparently because James was unwilling to give him preferment unless he renounced his Catholic faith. Unwilling to do this, William returned to France, where he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law at Angers, in Anjou, the site of a prominent university. There he died in 1608.
William Barclay’s most important work was his De Regno et Regali Potestate, adversus Buchananum, Brutum, Boucherium, et reliquos Monarchomachos (Paris 1600), dedicated to Henri IV of France. This work defends absolute royal power against those who would limit it. God, from primordial times, urged the human race to associations based on law and reason in order to promote religion and the State (res publica). Those who stir up the populace against the state or the king are villains. They are ventilatores, sycophantae, palpatores multitudinis.“
William’s targets, the monarchomachs, a label coined by him for this book, opposed royal power on different, often contradictory, grounds. To take his opponents in order: George Buchanan, the Scot historian and writer, in his De Iure Regni apud Scotos (1579) claimed that the source of all political power is the people, that the king is bound by the conditions under which the kingship was first entrusted to him or his ancestors, and that it is lawful to kill tyrants, i.e. usurpers. This might be called the democratic opposition to kingship. “Brutus,” the author of the Huguenot work Vindiciae contra Tyrannos (1577), today attributed to Hubert Languet, says that God first appointed kings for the benefit of the people.
If the king acts in a way destructive of the people’s welfare, he has broken his covenant with God and should be deposed. Jean Boucher, the author of De Iusta Henrici Tertii Abdicatione e Francorum Regno Libri Quattuor (Paris 1589), also claims that kings were first established by the people and can be deposed, but adds the point that, since the pope is Christ’s vicar on earth, his power to depose kings is unlimited. In addition the pope can dispose of the crown as he pleases.
Thus the monarchomachs set up an opposition between royal power and either the rights of the people or the rights of the Church. William’s De Regno supported royal prerogatives against the rights of the people. His second, posthumous, work on the topic of royal prerogatives, this time against the pope, was De Potestate Papae: an et quatenus in Reges et Principes seculares ius et imperium habeat (Pont-à-Mousson 1609, edited by his son John). In this book he argues that the distinction between temporal and spiritual power is absolute. The state is responsible for temporal peace and tranquility and has no authority over spiritual matters. In return spiritual authorities have no power over the temporal. The pope has no right to intervene in temporal affairs, clergy are subjects of the king, and any clerical privileges are royal gifts. In arguing this way, William was echoing the theory and practice of Gallicanism, which states that the civil power has authority over the church within each nation. In France the king arranged church organization and appointed his own bishops, albeit with the pope’s approval. In England Henry VIII declared himself to be the head of the church rather than the pope. In modern times Gallicanism has developed into the characteristically French laïcité, in which the state owns all (former) church properties and the public display of religion is discouraged.
I.10.25 The Grrek goddess of Justice. Barclay père was a law professor.
I.10.34 Perhaps a reference to Pythagoras.
I.10.54 William Barclay had married Anne de Mallevillier in 1581. Judging from the end of this paragraph, she apparently had visited England with her husband.
I.10.62 Seee the note on I.1.47.
I.10.77 Because of this poem’s date (1605/6), “prince” must refer to Henry.
I.11 A funeral poem. The poet was acquainted with the little girl, the daughter of an ambassador. He describes her, her parents’ grief, her journey to the heavens, and her return in a vision to comfort her parents. This poem could be dated if the ambassador were identified.
I.11.12 I.e., either married or unmarried. She could have been like Leda or Danae, a consort of Jove, or a virgin nymph, a companion to Diana.
I.11.41 I. e., a prospective one.
I.11.89 This sentence and the next may be exclamations rather than questions.
II.1 The poet begs Autumn to restore Phoebus (here the sun and the king) to health. Barclay frequently refers to the winds by their Latin names. Each has its special characteristic:
1. Boreas - the cold north wind
2. Zephyr - the mild west wind.
3. Auster - the south wind, blustery and bringing heavy rain.
4. Eurus - the east wind, often cold.
No date. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.1.11 Metaphors play with each other here. Phoebus is the sun, hence tristi in turbine can mean “in a whirl of clouds.” Phoebus is also the king, in which case tristi in turbine can mean “dizzy,” “light-headed.”
II.1.18 Sirius the Dog Star rose at the beginning of summer, and summer’s heat was attributed to this star’s effect. In addition, Leo (Lion), the sign for July/August can also be said to rage.
II.2 The first of five poems for Melidoria, all slightly revised from their originals in the Sylvae. These hendecasyllabic (11-syllable) poems show the influence of Catullus, perhaps of George Buchanan (although the genre is rife in Neo-Latin), and date from John’s residence in Paris, the Alexandria of poem II.9. This first poem describes a bracelet which has absorbed the poet’s heart. He dies delighted that his heart will now be so close to his girl.
II.3 In this second poem Melidoria scorns the poet’s love. Why? Cupid is blindfolded (same image in II.16) and shoots his darts at random. The poet decides that he prefers a blind Cupid, since now the god cannot himself fall in love with Melidoria. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.4 To King Christian on his departure from England in August 1606, a companion piece to I.3. The poet hopes that the lands of England and Denmark might be ripped from their moorings and become one. Such a miracle would be no greater than the union of the kings’ two hearts. Date: 1606, but not in Sylvae. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.5 A lament for the death of the infant Duc d’ Orléans in 1611. The imagery is similar to that of I.8 and I.11: the dead person has become a new star in the heavens. In all these poems the imagery is exclusively classical. No trace appears of Christian thought. This poem is evidence that Barclay maintained his connection with France and French affairs. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.6 The first of six poems against Camella. The Sylvae include two poems (nrs. 14 and 15) against Mamella. These two were revised (with the name change) to become II.6 and II.7, with new poems added to the series. (There is a remote possibility that the change from Mamella to Camella is due to the former’s similarity to the heroine’s name in Robert Greene’s first novel Mamillia (1580). In 1605, the year of the Sylvae, Barclay would certainly not have been acquainted with this English work—but perhaps not later either. Barclay’s native language was French and to my knowledge he never wrote English.) The closest parallel to these poems is George Buchanan’s much longer series of poems against Leonora and her mother Peiris. This sort of abuse poetry was influenced by Horace’s Epodes (especially viii and xii) and the many abuse poems of Catullus. II.6 revives the theme of Catullus xliii: “you think you are beautiful, but you aren’t.” Some or all of these may date from John’s days in Paris. Meter: hendecasyllabic. For a thorough discussion of these six poems with a translation see Gilmore.
II.7 The poet bumps his head and in his delirium sees a horrible vision of Camella. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.8 The poet’s friend Augustus (King? LeRoy? Cesare?) flees barely clothed from his mistress’s house, which is in flames, and falls into a mud puddle. Perhaps from John’s Paris days, like the next poem. Meter: elegiac epigram, like Martial, with a punch line at the end.
II.8.20 I take orbis as orbiculus or globulus, “button,” and sinus (properly the top fold of the toga) as “shirt.”
II.8.30 Vulcan’s anger towards Mars and the adulterous Venus. Vulcan fell to earth on the island Lemnos.
II.9 The courtesan Nape has been deserted by the prince, who has transferred his affections to Chloe. Nape attacks Chloe as both are driving through the streets of Alexandria (Paris). A fierce battle ensues. Written in Paris at some unknown date. Alexandria meaning Paris occurs throughout John’s first novel Euphormio. Meter: iambic strophes, unique in Barclay, but appropriate for an urban satire. Compare Horace Epodes i - x.
II.10 A farewell to the court and king as the poet leaves for his homeland France. England is now his patria, and he will be an exile even while at his native place. Date: perhaps the summer of 1608 or 1609, after his father died. John edited his father’s last work, De potestate papae, in 1609. The alternative (that this poem dates from 1604/5, with I.10 Ad patrem as the later companion piece) seems less likely. This poem gives the impression that the poet has lived in England long enough for it to have become his patria. Meter: elegiac couplets.
II.11 Advice for a noble named Megadorus (“Great-gifter”), who is preparing for 300 weddings. This may end with the bridegrooms cursing the institution of marriage. In Latin verse 300 is an indefinite large number, like our “hundreds,” not to be taken literally. No date. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.11.6 Literally: for your [prospective] daughter-in-law.
II.12 The third poem against Camella. If Camella finally does the right thing and hangs or drowns herself, she will be worshipped as a goddess of shameful things, dea turpium. The adjective turpis (shameful, ugly) is Camella’s epithet throughout these poems (II.6.1, II.7.12, II.24.8). Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.12.8f. Diana/Artemis/Phoebe (sister of Apollo - Phoebus) was often identified with Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, as well as with the moon. Thessaly is the native land of witches (Apuleius Metamorphoses 1). Same reference in II.28.
II.13 The fourth Camella poem, a physical description, much of which makes her appear African. On this point see Gilmore. Meter: hendecasyllabic
II.14 King James had built a hunting lodge at Newmarket (65 miles N. of London) in 1606-1610 as a sporting retreat. He is said to have introduced organized horse racing here. In this letter, the hares admit that they are killed in great number at Newmarket, but for them it is a voluntary death. They are in fact pleased to die under the gaze of such a great king and they hope to recruit foreign hares for the same fate. Date: after 1610. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.15 The poet is again on the point of death from unrequited love. He urges Melidoria to be less cruel. If so, the poet will sing her praises before the judges in Hades. An earlier version was the second Melidoria poem in the Sylvae. Compare II.2 for the same “dying lover” motif, and Catullus xlii for a similar transition from blame of the beloved to praise. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.16 The poet asks why Cupid is blindfolded. Venus tells him that Cupid was once all-powerful, but since the moment when he caught sight of Melidoria, he lost everything. he now hides his weeping eyes behind the blindfold. A shorter version was the third Melidoria poem in the Sylvae. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.17 The first of three poems relating to the capture of Ostend. The town was besieged by the Spanish from 1601 to 1604. A small English army was in the city to support the Dutch—hence the interest at James’ court as indicated by these poems. Earlier versions, written in 1604 or 1605, appeared in the Sylvae. In II.17 Ostend speaks: she has been destroyed like ancient Troy. Now in the underworld she is happy that she was able to entomb her defenders, seemingly referring to some specific episode when walls collapsed and buried the soldiers. The motif “I am glad to perish for my glory will survive” also appears in Buchanan’s Miscell. 9, where Troy nec suo mallet cineri superstes, “would not prefer to survive her ashes” because of the fame given by Homer’s poetry (transl. Ford and Watt in Ford). Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.18 Ostend again speaks: in addition to her destruction, she now faced the horror of being celebrated by a hack poet. Compare Catullus xiv or xxxvi for poetic attacks on bad writers. This is not a heroic poem like II.17, so the meter is hendecasyllabic,
II.19 The bad poet of II.18 has complained that our poet is trying to prevent expressions of grief for Ostend.The person attacked in II.18 and II.19 is unknown. M. Germanus is probably not a personal name; M. may be magister or monsieur,"i.e. a “Master German” or "Mister German." One famous poem on the siege of Ostend, perhaps written before the city’s fall, was Hugo Grotius’s Prosopopoeia, in which the city speaks for itself, as in Barclay’s II.17. But Grotius’s famous poem seems unlikely as the target of Barclay’s satire:
Area parva ducum, totus quam respicit orbis,
Celsior una malis, et quam damnare ruinae
Nunc quoque fata timent, alieno in littore resto.
Tertius annus abit; toties mutavimus hostem.
Saevit hiems pelago, morbisque furentibus aestas;
Et nimium est quod fecit Iber crudelior armis.
In nos orta lues: nullum est sine funere funus,
Nec perimit mors una semel. Fortuna, quid haeres?
Qua mercede tenes mixtos in sanguine manes?
Quis tumulos moriens hos occupet hoste perempto
Quaeritur, et sterili tantum de pulvere pugna est.
This response is not a heroic poem like II.17, so the meter is hendecasyllabic. Meter: elegiac couplets.
II.19.6 A pun on manibus from manus, “forces, troops,” and manibus from manes, “spirits of the dead.”
II.19.10 The Seven against Thebes; story in Statius Thebaid.
II.19.22 Evander’s words are in Vergil, Aen. XI.173ff; the horrors of Troy are probably from Amata’s speech in Aen. VII.359ff; Amata’s death at .Aen. XII.600ff.
II.20 The poet complains that earlier writers had an easy task: to describe the goddesses’ beauty. A far harder task is his: to describe Melidoria’s. Cupid appears and shows him that these descriptions of the goddesses are in fact descriptions of Melidoria. Repetition is the primary poetic technique of this poem, which was the first Melidoria poem in the Sylvae. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.20.13 Cephalus, the son of Mercury/Hermes, was carried off by Eos/Aurora (Dawn), who became by him the mother of Tithonus. Juno’s wandering husband is of course Jupiter.
II.21 An epitaph for young girl. No date. Meter: elegiac couiplets. Compare the numerous similar epitaphs in Martial, all in this same meter.
II.21.5 From metior. The perfect participle of this verb is usually mensus. Barclay uses this postclassical form (2 Esdras 16:58) to pun on meto, metere, “reap.”
II.22 The poet prays for his future: may he cling to his ancestral gods; may his family be happy and prosperous. Surely these represent John’s wishes as a Catholic at a Protestant court. He left England in 1615 partly because he would have difficulty raising his children, who were born in England, as Catholic. No date. Meter: elegiac couplets.
II.22.31 Reading refulsit for the editions’ refulcit, “support.” The two words were homonyms.
II.23 Perhaps Barclay is celebrating the opening of the New Exchange on the Strand, between the City and Westminster. Built in 1609 by Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury, the Exchange was designed by Inigo Jones and was competition for the Royal Exchange in the City. It contained about 100 shops. References to the Exchange as a fashionable place to shop are frequent in Restoration comedy. It was demolished in 1737. A watercolor image can be seen here.
II.23.4 The Roman goddess of thieves.
II.24 The fifth poem against Camella. All the gods should rejoice, since Camella is angry at the poet and stays away from him, to his great joy. The gods as well should hope that she stays away from their altars. Repetition is again the primary technique, along with ironic inversion of the usual lover-beloved relationship: staying away is pleasant and gratifying, while her closeness is unpleasant. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.25 Camella’s mother is charming and attractive. How could she have had such a hideous daughter? Buchanan’s poems to Peiris, Leonora’s mother, are a distant parallel, although much nastier in content, and emphasizing the fact that both mother and daughter are vicious harlots. Barclay’s satire is much milder, but then he was never a great hater like Buchanan. No date. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.26 A prayer for rain. Drought afflicts England; crops wither and disease rages. The poet prays that clouds may cover Phoebus and bring gentle rain. No date. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.27 A celebration of King James’s rule. Britain speaks: I could have been supreme in the world, conquering all from East to West, except that I was divided against myself into two warring nations. Now I am united and will become a world in myself. A slightly expanded version of Sylvae 23 from 1606. Meter: dactylic hexameter.
II.28 A joking address to Angelus Charia, whose toe, according to the poet, causes rain. The unidentified addressee was a canon lawyer, presumably in London. No date. Meter: hendecasyllabic.
II.29 A lengthy description of a cockfight attended by the king. An earlier much shorter version was Sylvae 16. In the revision, Barclay added a description of the arena and mock heroic comparisons of the cocks to their ancestors at Delphi, to Homeric warriors, to Jupiter and the giants, and to Horatius at the bridge. Like the hares of Newmarket, these birds are pleased to die under the king’s gaze. Meter: hendecasyllabic, unusual for a mock heroic poem.
II.29.9 In 279 B. C. the Gauls (Galli, the same word as in galli gallinaceorum, “cocks”) under Brennus unsuccessfully attacked Delphi. The conceit here is that the relatives of our fighting cocks are standing watch on Parnassus to forestall another attack by the Galli/Gauls (just as geese stood guard on the Capitoline at Rome).
II.30 The poet’s wife, Louise (neé Debonaire), gives directions to the painter who is making her portrait: the setting should be modest; he should include the children; she should be gazing at her husband; an epigram should be written at the bottom of the painting. Barclay’s image of the perfect wife. Madame Barclay seems to have been fond of her husband. After his death in 1621, she was indignant that his monument should be placed next to that of a mere schoolteacher (paedagogus; in fact the tutor of Cardinal Francesco Barberini) in the Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le mura (Barclay 2013 344); so she took her husband’s bust home. She survived her husband by 31 years, dying in 1652. Meter: elegiac couplets.