Note: All items in this collection are written either in dactylic hexameters or elegiac couplets, save as noted in connection with individual poems.
Title page Horace, Odes IV.ix.29f., paulum sepultae distat inertiae / caelata virtus serves as the epigraph for this volume. The idea, of course, is that, thanks to this volume, Sidney’s virtue will not remain hidden.
Introductory letter, nostro more I. e., by the writing of such verse. Not by the issuance of such a memorial anthology, for this was the first such Oxford publication.
ornatissimus atque optimus vir dominus Iamesius Dr. William James, the current Dean of Christ Church, to which Gager belonged.
vita ac morte historiam Presumably a reference to Fulke Greville’s famous biography of Sidney (although this work was not printed until 1652).
Fabius ille noster Fabius Cunctator was a Roman general who defeated Hannibal by studiously avoiding battle but constantly hounding him (as did James over the need for an anthology). The quote is from Ennius Annales fr. 363.
faecialem quasi operam The Fetiales were a Roman priestly college charged with the responsibility of issuing declarations of war (not unlike medieval heralds). As such, they were the representatives and spokesmen of their nation.
pro mediocri…gratia The inclusion of the word mediocri somewhat tends to spoil the rhetorical effect of Gager’s statement. One wonders if there is a printer’s error here, and if Gager had originally written non mediocri.
duos avunculos meos Cordelos Nothing seems to be known about the relationship of Leicester with either of Gager’s maternal uncles, Sir William (Master of the Rolls under Elizabeth) and Edward.
ut cui amantissima matertera lachrymas uberrimas profudisset…quidam etiam e nostris peplum texuissent The first of many references in this volume to the two previous memorial anthologies on the death of Sidney, described in the Introduction.
in otio cum summa dignitate Otium cum dignitate was a kind of motto Cicero invoked to express his beau ideal of a gentleman’s life. Cf. Epistulae ad Familiares I.ix.21, id quod a me saepissime dictum est, cum dignitate otium, non idem semper dicere sed idem semper spectare debemus.
in maximo hoc tuo patriae suscepto negotio This alludes to Leicester’s current military command in the Lowlands.
1 - 5 Currently Lawrence Humphrey was President of Magdalen College and Regius Professor of Divinity; eventually he would be Dean of Winchester Cathedral. According to contemporary convention, when more than one poem in an anthology is printed, they are grouped together and their author’s name is placed after the last one. The inclusion of Humphrey’s name after 2 as well as 5 is evidently a printer’s error.
1.9 This line is glossed by a sidenote, Apoc. 6. If the reference is to the sixth chapter of Revelations, its meaning is anything but clear.
2.2 Notice the Latin-like elision in λείπεται ἄγαλμα.
3.1f. After the death of his mortal wife, the early Roman king is supposed to have married the nymph Egeria. According to the article on her in the Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), “After the death of her lover she fled to the shrine of the Arician Diana, by whom, as her wailings disturbed the worship, [p. 574] she was changed into the fountain which bore her name. Married women worshipped her at Rome as a goddess of childbirth.” For Byblis’ incestuous affair with her brother Caunus, cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.446ff.
3.13 Cf. Seneca, Phaedra 607, curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent (a line referred to by other poets in this collection, and therefore evidently a theme suggested to them by Gager).
3.14 Cf. Martial, I.xxxiii.4, Ille dolet vere, qui sine teste dolet (also echoed at at lines 8f. of the following poem).
4.24 For the traditional image that Oxford was one’s alma mater (which serves as the basis for quite a few poems in this collection) cf. Thomas Seccombe and H. Scott, In Praise of Oxford (London, 1912) II.333f.
4.66 Sidney is not, of course, being equated with the mythological Pandora, who inflicted so many ills on the world. Rather, Humphrey is thinking only of her name, “All-Giver”: Sidney was a cornucopia from which all good things came. The “three goddesses” are the Graces.
4.70 In academic literature of the time, it was common to equate Oxford (or Cambridge) with Athens, to describe a university as a new home for the Muses, and so forth.
4.79 The last time Sidney had been at Oxford was when he accompanied the Earl of Leicester on his visit in January 1585 (the occasion of a revival performance of Gager’s Meleager).
5.12 A sidenote glosses this line with a reference to Isaiah 3, which begins, For behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff…
5.17ff. On July 27, 1585 Sir Francis Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford, was murdered by the Scots, and his father died the following day. The Ear’s second son John, Baron Russell, had died in 1584, at which time Francis succeeded to the title.
5.27 Sir Thomas Bromley, Lord Chancellor of England, died in April 1587.
5.29 This line is comprehensible in the light of what William Camden wrote in Britannia, Tribunalia Angliae 7, about the etymology of the title Chancellor (based on Cassiodorus, Variarum XI.vi.5):
Cancellaria e cancellario nomen traxit, quod nomen sub priscis imperatoribus non adeo magnae dignatitus fuisse ex Vopisco docemur. Nunc autem honoris est maximi, et in summum togatae dignitatis fastigium evecti sunt cancellarii. Quorum nomen Cassiodorus e cancellis repetit, quod inta secreta cancellorum septis clausa caussas examinarunt. Respice, inquit ille, quo nomine nuncuperis, latere non potest quod intra cancellos egeris. Tenes quippe lucidas fores, claustra patentia, fenestratas ianuas. Unde plane constat cancellarium intra cancellos undique conspicuum sedisse, ut inde nomen accepisse videatur. Verum cum eius esset qui principis quasi os, oculus, aurisque erat, rescripta et decreta contra ius vel rempublicam impetrata transversis lineis cancellatim inducere, quod non improprie cancellare dixerunt, ab hoc cancellatione nonnulli cancellarii nomen deductum opinantur, et in recentiori glossario legitur Cancellarius est qui habet officium scripta responsaque imperatoris atque mandata inspicere, male scripta cancellare, et bene scripta signare.
The Chancerie drew that name from a Chancellor, which name under the ancient Romane Emperours was of not so great esteeme and dignity, as we learne out of Vopiscus. But now adaies a name it is of highest honour, and Chancellors are advanced to the highest pitch of civil Dignity. Whose name Cassiodorus fetcheth from crosse grates or lattesses, because they examined matters within places severed apart enclosed with partitions of such crosse barres, which the Latins call cancelli. Regard, saieth he to a Chancellor, what name you beare. It cannot bee hidden which you doe within Lattesses. For you keepe your gates lightsome, your bars open, and our dores transparent as windowes. Whereby it is very evident that he sat within grates, where he was to be seene on every side, and thereof it may be thought he tooke that name. But considering it was his part, being as it were the Princes mouth, eie and eare, to strike and dash out with crosse-lines lattise-like those letters, Commissions, Warrants, and Decrees passed against law and right, or prejudiciall to the Common-wealth, which not improperly they termed to cancell, some think the name of Chancellor came from this Cancelling, and in a Glossarie of later time thus we read, A Chancellor is he whose Office is to looke into and peruse the writings and answer of the Emperour; to cancell what is written amisse, and to signe that which is well.
5.31 Sir Nicholas Bacon, at various times Lord Chancellor of England and Keeper of the Great Seal, died in 1579.
5.33 Sir Ralph Sadler, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, died in March 1587.
5.38 Both his parents had died earlier in 1586.
5.53 If sic perrexit is meant to convey that Sidney completed his studies, this is factually incorrect: he left Oxford in 1571, probably because the town was currently being visited by a plague, without having gained any qualifications.
5.59 What Humphrey meant by memor Alphonsi does not seem exacty self-evident. Was he thinking of Alphonso X, King of Galicia, Castile and Leon, who was both an astronomer and a crusader against the Moors, and so likewise could be decribed as a son both of the Muses and of Mars?
5.68 The incorruptible Roman statesman Manius Curius Dentatus (d. 270 B. C.).
5.76 As an ordinary member of Christ Church, Sidney possessed the title of “student.”
6 Thomas Thornton, a Christ Church Canon, twice served as Vice Chancellor of the University, in 1583 and 1599. Meter: elegiac couplets.
7 Martin Heton, another Christ Church Canon, and a future Bishop of Ely.
8 Henry Jervis Meter: hendecasyllables.
9 Henry Bust was a Fellow of Magdalen College and a physician who “practiced his faculty many years in Oxford with great repute”: Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses (London, 1891 - 2, repr. Nendeln, 1968) III.221.
10 - 11 For Richard Eedes of Christ Church, see the Introduction to his travel satire Iter Boreale in the Philological Museum.
10.1f. If Eedes wrote any poetry for this occasion, it is now lost.
11.23 This remark is explained by the words with which William Camden introduces the year 1588 in his Annales Rerum Gestarum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabeth:
Iam ad annum Christi MDLXXXVIII, quem Regiomontanus astronomus ante seculum anne fore mirabilem, et Germani chronologi mundi climacterum praedixerunt, pervenimus.
[“Now are wee come to the yeare of Christ One thousand five hundred eighty and eight, which an Astronomer of Konigsberg above an hundred yeares before foretold would be an admirable yeare, and the German Chronologers presaged would be the Climacterical yeare of the world.”]
12 - 20 Although the antiquarian-historian William Camden [1551 - 1623] had been a Christ Church student, he was currently Second Master of the Westminster School had recently achieved national prominence by the publication of the first edition of his Britannia (1586). He was therefore the only contributor to this volume who was not currently at Oxford. Possibly his inclusion was reckoned as something of a “catch” designed to counterbalance, as best as could be done, the inclusion of items by King James VI in the Cambridge Sidney anthology.
These poems appear elsewhere in the Philological Museum as poems V - XIII of Camden’s Poems and Epitaphs.
18.5 I do not know of any tradition that Democritus attempted to bring Homer back to life by the use of magic. But according to Pliny, N. H. VII.lv, similis et de adservandis corporibus hominum ac revivescendi promisso Democrit<i> vanitas, qui non revixit ipse.
22 William Saintbarb (or Simberbe) was a student of Christ Church.
23 - 24 Thomas Smith, a student of Christ Church, had served as a University Proctor in 1584, and was the University Orator. In later life he was Secretary to the Earl of Essex, and latterly Clerk to the High Court of Parliament and one of the Clerks of the Council.
26 - 34 These poems appear elsewhere in the Philological Museum (with heavier annotation) as Gager’s poems XXVII - XXXV. They have previously been edited by J. W. Binns, “William Gager on the Death of Sir Philip Sidney,” Humanistica Lovaniensia 21 (1972) 225 - 30.
Regarding poem 26, Binns cited John Pointer, Oxoniensis Academia, or the Antiquities and Curiosities of the University of Oxford (London, 1744) vi:
As for the Antiquity of Oxford, it must have been a considerable place even in the time of the Romans, for we are told by some Historians, that it was called Bellositum, before the time of the Saxons.
Cf. also Anthony à Wood, The Antient and Present State of the City of Oxford (with additions by J. Peshall, London, 1773) 2, 4, 6f., and 10 note b, and also Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford (edited by the Rev. Andrew Clark, Oxford, 1889 — 99) I.44, who cites various other antiquarians to the same effect, and quotes an anonymous epigram:
Bellositum te rite vocant, Oxonia, patres
namque situ bellum quid magis orbe tuo est?
This tradition is already found in the undated ms. treatise on the antiquities of Oxford by Gager’s Oxford contemporary Leonard Hutten, who writes of “…this place of Oxford, then knowne or called by the name of Bellesitum, propter montium, pratorum, et nemorum adiacentium amoenitatem” (cf. Charles Plummer, Elizabethan Oxford, Oxford, 1887, 39).
The idea for this poem is suggested by Vergil, Eclogue v.20 - 3:
exstinctum nymphae crudeli funere Daphnim
flebant (vos coryli testes et flumina nymphis),
cum complexa sui corpus miserabile nati
atque deos atque astra vocat crudelia mater.
26.6 Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses VI.582 - 7:
germanaeque suae fatum miserabile legit
et (mirum potuisse) silet: dolor ora repressit,
verbaque quaerenti satis indignantia linguae
defuerunt, nec flere vacat, sed fasque nefasque
confusura ruit poenaeque in imagine tota est.
26.10 In Hecube Gager employs the Greek nominative singular ending -e.
26.14 The (very strained) logic is that if Oxford was Sidney’s mother, then Oxford’s sister university must be his aunt.
26.34 A good deal of material in these lines comes from Vergil, Aeneid XI.153 - 8.
non haec, o Palla, dederas promissa parenti,
cautius ut saevo velles te credere Marti.
haud ignarus eram quantum nova gloria in armis
et praedulce decus primo certamine posset.
primitiae iuvenis miserae bellique propinqui
dura rudimenta, et nulli exaudita deorum
vota precesque meae!
Throughout this eclogue the comparison of Sir Philip with Vergil’s Pallas is pursued programmatically.
26.58ff. Cf. Vergil, Aeneid II.535 - 50:
“at tibi pro scelere,” exclamat, “pro talibus ausis
di, si qua est caelo pietas quae talia curet,
persolvant grates dignas et praemia reddant
debita, qui nati coram me cernere letum
fecisti et patrios foedasti funere vultus.”
26.81 In the Aeneid, Euryalus and Nisus were two good friends. When Euryalus was killed, Nisus slew the enemy who did the deed and then died of his wounds, falling over his friend’s body. This is a reference to Sidney’s great friend Fulke Greville.
26.82f. Sidney had two brothers, Robert and Thomas. Robert had been knighted for distinguished service during the Lowlands campaign.
26.85ff. Sidney’s sister, Mary, was married to Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Binns pointed out that no less than five of Sir Philip’s female relations were Countesses: the Countesses of Sussex and Huntington where his aunts by blood, and the Countesses of Warwick and Essex by marriage. Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, were his uncles, and he was married to Frances, daughter of the Elizabeth’s Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham.
26.98 In reading this (and similar ominous forecasts in other poems in this volume) is worth bearing in mind that this volume was published only a couple of months before the beginning of the Armada year.
disertissime Romuli nepotum,
quot sunt quotque fuere, Marce Tulli,
quotque post aliis erunt in annis,
gratias tibi maximas Catullus
agit pessimus omnium poeta,
tanto pessimus omnium poeta,
quanto tu optimus omnium patronus.
29 Meter: iambic senarii. The Greek Anthology contains several poems written in shapes resembling physical objects: cf. XV.21f. and 24 - 7. The present anthology contains several similar exercises by other hands. Written out as normal iambics, the poem reads:
auferte, cives, marmor, et ferrum impotens,
et aes Philippo. cesset artificum labor,
peritura saeclis opera. non illis est opus
isto sepulchri genere. composita sua
pyramide, vivus ipse quam struxit sibi,
solida struem virtute, quadrata, ardua,
Aegyptiorum sola quae superet pyras
regum superbas, nulla cui par marmoris
ferrique et aeris esse durities potest.
quam nulla venti, nulla vis imbrium,
nec fulminantis ulla tempestas poli
eruere valeat, nulla quam minuat dies.
aeterna stabit, quam diu pietas, fides,
relligio, Musae, fama, nobilitas erunt.
annosa tanti memoria extabit viri,
tamen usque grata laude florescet recens,
viresque ab annis sumet et largum
sequens addet priori gloriae cumulum dies.
This poem anticipates the idea of Gager’s later hexameters on the Gunpowder Plot, Pyramis: the erection of a literary pyramid more enduring than any such monument made out of bronze or marble. The conceit is of course taken from Horace, Odes III.xxx.1 - 5 (exegi monumentum aere perennius etc.) and Propertius III.ii.17 - 28.
Other shape-poems in the present anthology are 51 (by Richard Latewar) and 82 (by Henry Price).
31 This and the following poem are written in hendecasyllables. Although the present item is not modelled on any specific classical poem, the technique of repeating lines is found in several hendecasyllabic poems by Catullus, such as xvi and lxvii.
32 This poem, too, is not based on any classical model, and the idea of Sidney undergoing some manner of celestial apotheosis runs through many items in this anthology. But once Sidney had been associated with Vergil’s Daphnis, then it is possible that Gager found more specific inspiration in that portion of Vergil’s fifth Eclogue in which Menalcus sings of Daphnis’ apotheosis. Cf. 56f.:
candidus inuetum miratur limen Olympi
sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis.
33 This eclogue is based on Mopsus’ lament for Daphnis in Vergil’s fifth Eclogue.
33.2f. Cf. Anthony à Wood, The Antient and Present State of the City of Oxford 1, “Towards the East is a continual Ascent of two Miles to the Top of Shotover-Hill; from whence is an extensive Prospect of the City, Blenheim-House, and the adjacent County.”
33.89f. Stowe-Wood and Beckley are two suburban Oxford parishes. Woodstock is a town ten miles from Oxford. “Bartholemew” alludes to the district around St. Bartholemew’s Hospital, about a mile and a half to the east. For an antiquarian description of this suburb, cf. Anthony à Wood, The Antient and Present state of the City of Oxford 273 - 83.
33.95 Binns plausibly thought this was a reference to Lady Penelope Devereux, daughter of the first Earl of Essex (Sidney’s Stella).
33.98ff. Gager now describes the mourning of Christ Church personified. For the particular difficulties that seem to have engendered this outburst, cf. the discussion of Gager’s poems CXX - CXXII in the General Introduction to his poetry. The strength of his feelings about this situation obviously overcame any possible doubt that it would be inappropriate, if not tasteless, to ventilate them on the present occasion.
These four lines are printed with quotation marks at the beginning of each line. Often this was done in printed books to highlight memorable passages; in this case, possibly, Gager (often prone to write something rashly and then have second thoughts) marked them for omission and that the printer misunderstood his intentions.
33.105 Presumably another reference to his friendship with Fulke Greville.
33.121 Philomela, the nightingale.
35 Robert Dowe was a Fellow of All Souls College. He is chiefly remembered for his part-book, owned by the Christ Church Library, an important document for preserving the music of William Byrd. He must have been especially attuned to music, for he also wrote an epigram (ca. 1580).
Talis es et tantus, Tallisi musicus, ut si
Fata senem aufferent musica muta foret
[“You are such a great musican, Talis, that if the Fates were to take you away in your old age, music would be mute.”]
Clearly, Dow’s interest in Poland must have originated in a visit to that country, where he was granted an interview with the king (cf. line 45). The at which Dowe dwells on the idea that Sidney would have made a fine king of Poland suggests that he is recording at least a rumor that Sidney had been mooted as a possible candidate for the Polish throne (a rumor that also left traces in such later writers as Antony Stafford and Sir Robert Naunton). In 1583 Albert Alasco. Palatine Pfalzgraf of Siradia visited England and was given a lavish welcome both by the English government and the University of Oxford (William Gager’s Didowas performed on that occasion). The amount of money invested in hosting this obscure Polish nobleman is remarkable, so I have suggested that he had come to England as the representative of a consortium of Polish nobles who desired to nominate Sidney for that position, with the purpose of securing Sidney’s assent and Elizabeth’s permission: see D. F. Sutton, “Sir Philip Sidney and the Crown of Poland,” Sidney Journal 32:2 (2014) 73 - 83.
35.40 The future Henri III was elected king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1573, but abdicated two years in order to assume the throne of France. Stefan Batory then ruled from 1576 until 1586.
35.75 This line = Horace, Epistulae I.vii.98 (with iustum substituted for verum).
36 - 37 For the poet-playwright Matthew Gwinne, a Fellow of St. John’s College (destined to be first Professor of Physic at Gresham College and a Royal Physician to James I), see the Introduction to his tragedy Nero in the Philological Museum
36.1 I am unsure what this reference to four months refers to: Sidney had been serving in the Netherlands for more than four months before receiving his fatal wound, and it had been more than four months since his death when this anthology appeared. See the equally mysterious reference to four months at 80.71f. (by Thomas Hutton). The reference to mist alludes to the dense fog in which the battle at Zutphen was fought.
36.7 A sidenote glosses this line with a reference to “Fulke Greville’s martial elegy,” which is evidently to his “Elegy on the Death of Sidney,” which begins Silence augmenteth grief, writing increaseth rage, / Staled are my thoughts, which loved and lost the wonder of our age. But I do not understand how an allusion to this elegy is particularly apposite for these two lines, or for Gwinne’s poem as a whole. Is the reference to some other piece by Greville, now lost?
37 Meter: iambic trimeters.
37.7 In mythology, Apollo served as shepherd to King Admetus.
37.9 Two French Protestant writers currently enjoying a vogue in England: the theologian Philippe de Mornay, Seigneur du Plessis, usually known as Du Plessis-Mornay, author of De la verite de la religion chrestienne, and the poet Guillaume de Saluste Sieur du Bartas, author of La Sepmaine; ou, Creation du monde (1578). A sidenote points out that Sidney at least began translations of both works.
37.26 Suadae medulla is a tag of the early Roman poet Ennius (Annales IX.308), quoted by Cicero at Brutus lix and De Senectute l. xii.
37.30 Sidney served Elizabeth as a Hector for being a warrior, and as a Hermes for his diplomatic activities (Hermes was the god of heralds and ambassadors).
37.53 The Sidney family motto was quo vocant. Gwinne associates this with Lucan II.287, sed quo fata trahunt uirtus secura sequetur.
37.58 An anagram on Greville’s name.
37.60 In the book, the words are printed in capitals, as here. Do they conceal another anagram?
38 Thomas Potticary was a Fellow of St. John’s College.
38.16 The Roman goddess of war.
39 More likely Edward Saunders, a Christ Church student who possessed the M. A. (but possibly Edward Saunders of Oriel College, an undergraduate).
40 - 43 John Dove was a student of Christ Church.
41 Meter: Sapphic stanzas.
41.5 Since there scarcely seems any point in stating that these are Punic lions, it would appear that the printed text is corrupt.
41.23 Mt. Hybla on Sicily was famous for the quality of its honey.
43 John Pellinge of Magdalen College, subsequently Master of the school attached to that college.
43.1ff. Various mythological characters who came back from the dead, Tyndareus was revived by Asclepius, and Minos’ son Glaucus by Polyeidus. The Palici (Jupiter’s twin sons by the nymph Thalia) were chthonic deities worshipped on Sicily. Androgeus was another son of Minos, brought back to life by Asclepius. For this last, cf. Propertius II.i.61f., closely echoed at lines 8f. below:
et deus exstinctum Cressis Epidaurius herbis
restituit patriis Androgeona focis,
44 - 63 Richard Latewar was a Fellow of St. Johns’ College, one of Elizabethan Oxford’s exceptionally talented poets (as can be seen from the metric adventurousness of his contributions). Hence Gager included a rather remarkable number of his items. In later life he served as chaplain to Lord Mountjoy during his Irish campain and was killed in a skirmish.
In poem 44, the name Philisides is of course taken from that of a character in Sidney’s Arcadia, but it has another significance in the context of this anthology: it can be interpreted to mean “lover of the Isis,” and the Isis is a river that flows through Oxford.
44.7 “Unequal Muses” = elegiac couplets, the standard meter for elegies.
44.47 The hyacinth is supposed to have sprouted from the blood of the slain Ajax, son of Telamon.
44.52 Mirafilus is evidently Latewar’s invented name for Fulke Greville.
44.73f. Two literary works currently in vogue. Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata had not yet been translated into English, but a partial Latin translation by Scipio Gentili had been published at London in 1584. For “Du Bartas’ work of seven days” see the note on 37.9.
44.81 Here Sappho is an accusative (as at Horace, Odes II.xiii.25).
44.92 The poet of Naples is Statius, who is supposed to have taken twelve years to write the Thebais.
45 Meter: hemiambs.
46 The trochaic equivalent of the preceding, what might be called “hemitrochees.”
47 Meter: hendecasyllables.
49.1f. The mythological reference is to the Theban matrons lamenting the loss of Ino (Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.542 - 562).
50 Meter: iambic dimeters.
51 Written out normally, the poem of the first column consists of four Alcaic stanzas:
Non sculpta pictis fornicibus strues
Non nixa celso culmine marmora
Non illa multorum trophaea
Artifici medicata fuco
Sed tincta fuso praelia sanguine,
Sed fracta cursu volubili,
Sed scuta loricaeque et enses
Sola tuos facient triumphos,
Commissa campis praelia Belgicis,
Servata seris tela nepotibus,
Et scuta loricaeque et enses,
Perpetuo veneranda cultu
Quae quando princeps videret Italus,
Princeps Philippi nobilis aemulis,
“O summe,” clamabit, “Philippe,
“O meritis monumenta veris!”
And likewise the second column:
O magna magni progenies Iovis,
Si sint poetae progenies Iovis,
Quis te poetam, quis negabit
Progeniem Iovis extitisse?
Laurus poetam te viridis probat,
Divina virtus progeniem Iovis,
Virtute divine, Philippe,
Et viridi celebrande lauro.
Quem cum poetam Iuppiter Angliae,
Ingrata questus secula dempserit,
Nec Iuppiter talem poetam
Secula nec referent futura.
Tu facta vatis laurea praemium
Solae Philippi reliquiae pii,
Floresce ut insignem Philippum
Posteritas sciat esse vatem.53 Meter: dactylic hexameters alternating with iambic dimeters.
53.1 This comes from Plutarch, Life of Brutus ix.6. These sentiments were written on a statue of Brutus’ great ancestor who had led the rebellion against monarchy at Rome.
54.5 Sir Philip’s His father Sir Henry happened to die in the Bishop’s palace at Worcester, in the course of a journey. His mother Mary (born Mary Dudley) died at the family home at Ludlow Castle, Shropshire (her husband’s headquarters, as he was serving as Lord President of the Council in the Marches).
56 Meter: each line can be scanned as the first half of a galliambic.
56.1 In the dialogue Timaeus Plato wrote of a great or perfect year “when the relative speeds of all the eight revolutions accomplish their course together and reach their starting point.” He himself did not venture to estimate how often this cosmic cycle completes itself, but in the popular mind its duration has been assessed as 10,000 years. Latewar professes to believe that history repeats itself with each cycle.
58 Meter: hendecasyllables.
59 This epigram is important for documenting two lost tragedies by Latewar. The existence of Philotas is otherwise attested, and the play is registered in John R. Reed et al, Records of English Drama: Oxford (Toronto, 2004) I.208 and II.831. Creusus and the unnamed play about the House of Pelops are not listed in that compendium. Meter: iambic dimeters.
63 Meter: iambic strophes (i. e., trimeters alternating with dimeters).
64 - 65 Francis Cooke, a Fellow of St. John’s College.
66 - 68 Rowland Searchfield, Fellow of St. John’s College, a future Bishop of Bristol.
67 Meter: elegiac couplets (except that the first four lines are broken off for dramatic effect).
69 - 79 John Lee of St. John’s College (who did not take the B. A. until November 1587).
70.31 Astraea, the Roman goddess of justice, is supposed to have abandoned the earth out of disgust for Man’s bad dealings (Ovid, Metamorphoses I.150, etc.)
71 Meter: Alcaic stanzas.
72 Meter: lines 1f. are dactylic hexameters, lines 3 - 11 are iambic trimeters (with plenty of resolutions), lines 12f. are trochaic tetrameters (with plenty of resolutions).
76.1f. Here Lee draws attention to his eccentric scansion of Philippe at line 2 of the preceding poem.
78 I do not know if 1586 was a year marked by crop-ruining floods (in his Annales William Camden, who is usually interested in recording unusual weather and other phenomena which could be interpreted as portents, mentions no such thing for that year.
79 I take this opportunity to thank my Irvine colleague Christiana Sogno for supplying the translation used here. I assume that the import of line 6, Non so chi parlai, ma di te parlando, is that Lee is acknowledging that, unlike some of the other contributors to this volume, he had had no personal dealings with Sidney.
80 Thomas Hutton of St. John’s College did not receive the B. A. until November 1587, and so was still an undergraduate. Meter: iambic trimeters.
80.50 For the purpose of this poem, we are to regard even numbers as lucky, and uneven ones as unlucky.
80.71ff. It would seem that Hutton had read poem 36 (by Matthew Gwinne) or vice versa. See the note on 36.1.
80.98 In point of fact was the ruling house at the time of the Battle of Zutphen occurred, on September 22 (Libra begins on the following day).
81 - 83 Hentry Price of St. John’s College, another undergraduate (he received his B. A. at the same time as did Thomas Hutton).
81.6 Cypress was displayed at Roman funerals, and hence was a plant of ill omen.
82 Written out normally, the poem reads as follows:
Astra petiturus Sidnaeus noluit alas. Dactylic hexameter
Scilicet Icaream meminit, timuitque ruinam. Dactylic hexameter
Liquenda tellus frigidis stagnans aquis Iambic trimeter
Alis minata est ponderis nimium sui. Iambic trimeter
Tangenda crebris sydera nixibusHendecasyllable
Ustura plumas ignibus.Iambic dimeter
Virtus nescia cum foretGlyconic
Frigore stringi, Adonic
Ignibus uri, Adonic
Illa nititur insita Glyconic
Sidnaeus, illi nec calor Iambic dimeter
Ignis, nec undae frigora subditae Hendecasyllable
Obesse possunt, quin polum recta petat, Iambic trimeter
Quin praepotentis assidens lateri Iovis Iambic trimeter
Praesenti decoret possessum numine caelum,Dactylic hexameter
Adiecto illustret subiectam lumine terram Dactylic hexameter
Note that in the eighth line st in stringi fails to create positional lengthening, as no infrequently occurs in Neo-Latin poetry.
Due to the limitations of text- formatting for the Web, this transcription has been rotated ninety degrees leftwards from its presentation in the original book.
84 Probably Henry Smith or Smithe, who had taken the B. A. from Lincoln College and the M. A. from St. John’s College. Known as “silver-tongued Smith,” he was currently Lecturer of St. Clements Danes. Meter: one so-called Third Asclepiadean stanza (three First Asclepiadean lines + one glyconic).
85 Francis Mason, a fellow of Merton College, a future Chaplain to James I and archdeacon of Norfolk. What would otherwise be a well-crafted but unremarkable bucolic is made more interesting by the insertion of an epyllion at 115 - 293.
85.29f. Mason alludes to the old tale that Sabrina, daughter of King Locrinus, was cast into the river, which henceforth took its name from her.
85.48ff. Penshurst Place in Kent was the ancestral home of the Sidneys. Hence the importance given to Kent here.
85.73 The instruction Sidney received in Natural History at Oxford is equated with the nature lore taught by Silenus in Vergil’s sixth eclogue.
85.118ff. This narrative pattern, whereby Satan or some other hellish being comes to earth and stirs up England’s enemy, if found in a number of other narrativess including several Gunpowder Plot poems (such as thomas Campion’s De Pulverea Coniuratione and John Milton’s In Quintum Novembris) was introduced into Neo-Latin literature by George Peele in his epyllion about Dr. William Parry’s assassination attempt against Elizabeth, Pareus (printed at Oxford in 1585). Parry in turn took his inspiration from Book IV of Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, perhaps in the Latin translation by Scipio Gentile printed at London in 1585: the history of this pattern is discussed in my Introduction to Pareus).
85.130 Is Mason making an absurd claim that Philip II murdered his father, the Emperor Charles V?
85.139 Evidently we are to think that the present conversation took place before 1586, so that Allecto is predicting the capture of Santo Domingo by Drake, which occurred in that year.
85.143 Allessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma, the Spanish governor of the Netherlands.
85.150 The olive branch signifies that they are ambassadors.
85.166 O dea certe is an obvious tag from the Aeneid (I.328).
85.179f. Another familiar Aeneid reference, and one which carries along a frequent theme in this anthology, the identification of Elizabeth with Dido. Cf. her lines at Aen. I.628ff.:
me quoque per multos similis fortuna labores
iactatam hac demum voluit consistere terra;
non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.
85.190ff. The ragged staff and bear of Warwick (he was a son of John Duke of Warwick). Leicester’s coat of arms featured a rampant lion vert on a field d’or, with a crescent moon in the upper left to distinguish it from the otherwise identical arms of his brother, Ambrose Earl of Warwick.
86.196 Sidney had been an M. P. for Kent in 1581 and 1584-5.
85.218 Tuo because this narrative is addressed to Oceanus. The gold is that taken by Drake on his various voyages, most recently his 1585-86 West Indies expedition (no detailed account of which would be published until the following year — when a Latin translation of the one by Walter Bigges was printed at Leiden — and the average Englishman was perhaps unaware of how unsuccessful the campaign had actually been).
85.222 After the lengthy description of his shield (clypeus), this reference to his scutum seems confusing and redundant. Evidently by a scutum Mason meant to indicate some kind of medallion allegedly worn by Sidney, and he may have been thinking of the helmet with a porcupine crest displayed at Sidney’s funeral and preserved at Penshurst Place (the Sidney family coat of arms featured a porcupine crest). Applied to a medallion, the adjective comante perhaps describes an irregular, sunbeam-like or comet-like border such as this one:
85.235ff. I. e., she summoned Aurora and Iris. Cf. Aeneid I.356, cum Iuno aeternum seruans sub pectore vulnus. It is not clear why Juno is introduced into the narrative, or what precisely she is attempting to achieve. Evidently she supports the Spanish against the English, just as she formerly supported the Greeks against Aeneas’ refugee Trojans, and is creating a magical mist to protect the Spanish at Zutphen.
85.270ff. In some other accounts of Sidney’s participation in this battle in the present anthology, writers are more accurate in representing both Sidney’s first horse and he himself to have been hit by bullets. Evidently Mason regarded this detail as insufficiently classical, and therefore unheroic, and therefore has the horse hit by an arrow and is purposefully vague about the nature of Sidney’s injury. On the other hand, the reference to “a Gorgon’s poison” at 281 at least delicately alludes to the fact that Sidney lingered on for the better part of a month and died of blood poisoning, whereas some of these descriptions representing him as dying a more heroic death on the field of battle.
85.279 Two of the horses that pull the chariot of the sun (Ovid, Metamorphoses II.153).
85.335 The Riphaean mountains constituted a more or less fictional mountain range of antiquity, possibly to be equated with the Urals.
86 - 89 William Pricard of Jesus College, a future Canon of St. Paul’s.
86.45f. The Roman general Furius Camillus (at the end of his Life of Camillus Plutarch states his death was especially deplored), and the young and attractive emperor Titus (Suetonius makes a similar statement at the end of his Titus).
90 - 91 Nathaniel Dod, a Christ Church student.
90.1f. Cf. Dido’s lament at Aeneid IV.327ff.:
saltem si qua mihi de te suscepta fuisset
ante fugam suboles, si quis mihi parvuulus aula
luderet Aeneas, qui te tamen ore referret,
non equidem omnino capta ac deserta viderer.
90.8 For the Lesbian Iphis, cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.666 - 797 (a story subsequently dramatized by Henry Bellamy in his Oxford play Iphis).
92 John Hickes, a Christ Church student and future Canon of York. Meter: Alcaic stanzas.
93 - 99 Charles Son(n)ibancke, another Christ Church student, currently an undergraduate.
94.9 Here the city of Parma is made to represent the Duke named after it.
95.9 I. e., the Muses.
99 Meter: a variant of iambic stanzas consisting of iambic trimeters catalectic alternating with iambic dimeters.
100 - 103 Probably Thomas Lodington of Christ Church (but possibly Thomas Lodington, a Fellow of Lincoln College). 100 is written in iambic trimeters organized into four-line stanzas.
101.1ff. This story is found at Valerius Maximus V.iv.7.
102For Du Bartas see the note on 37.9. He praised More, Bacon and Sidney in his Second Sepmaine. In his Pierce Penniless, His Supplication to the Devil, Nashe wrote:
What age will not praise immortal Sir Phillip Sidney, whom noble Salustius (that thrice singuler french Poet) hath famoused: together with Sir Nicholas Bacon Lord keeper, & merry sir Thomas Moore, for the chiefe pillers of our english speech.
103 This epigram mentions two previous volumes of poetry on the death of Sidney: the New College Peplus and the Cambridge Lachrymae. Barupenthe presumably designates a third, but I do not know what volume it represents (the word is Greek for “deep sorrow”).
104 Thomas Hammonde, a Christ Church student.
105 Francis Sidney was a student of Christ Church, and still an undergraduate (he only matriculated in 1585). Evidently he had a special interest in acting: he subsequently played the title role in William Gager’s 1592 Ulysses Redux, and memorialized his performance in a dedicatory epigram prefacing the printed version of that play. There is no reason for thinking he was any kind of kinsman of Sir Philip. Meter: Sapphic stanzas.
106 John Foote, a Christ Church student and still an undergraduate. Meter: iambic trimeters.
107 - 108 Caleb Willis, a Christ Church student, only a second-year undergraduate. 107 is written in hendecasyllables.
108.2 As acknowledged in a sidenote, this line is inspired by Ovid, Ars Amatoria II.24, semibovemque virum semivirumque bovem (the printer has obviously botched this line).
109 John Calfhill, a Christ Church student and another undergraduate in his second year.
110 Samuel Burton, a Christ Church undergraduate in his second year.
111 Roger Ewer, a Christ Church undergraduate who was in his first year. Cf. Servius on Aeneid VI.136:
Novimus Pythagoram Samium vitam humanam divisisse in modum Y litterae, scilicet quod prima aetas incerta sit, quippe quae adhuc se nec vitiis nec virtutibus dedit: bivium autem Y litterae a iuventute incipere, quo tempore homines aut vitia, id est partem sinistram, aut virtutes, id est dexteram partem sequuntur.
Ewers fails to make clear the reason Sidney is assigned the letter Ψ.
It may or may not be wholly coincidental that William Gager also wrote a poem about the Pythagorean Y (poem CLXXXVI)
112 Raphael Heywoode, a Christ Church student, an undergraduate in his second year.
113 Thomas Cooper, a Christ Church undergraduate in his first year.
113.4 The fourth comparison is a bit problematic. Sidney does not seem to be compared to a celestial phenomenon; rather, Cooper appears to be saying “you were capable of producing in us the same kind of love as does the setting sun.”
114 William Gibbens, a Christ Church student, an undergraduate in his first year.
115 Nicholas Langford of Baliol College, an undergraduate.
116 Amos Alnewick, a Christ Church student, an undergraduate in his first year.
118 Edward Reynolds, a Fellow of All Souls’ College (the Latin spelling of his name in the book is perhaps influenced by that of his prominent contemporary John Rainalds of Corpus Christi).
119 Probably George Carleton of Christ Church, althugh possibly George Carleton of St. Edmund Hall (a future Bishop of Llandaff). A silva has recently been defined (by Frans De Bruyn, “The Classical Silva and the Generic Development of Scientific Writing in Seventeenth-century England,” New Literary History 32:2 (2001) 347 as:
The silva is a “collection” genre, a miscellaneous poetic form of classical origin which enjoyed a great vogue in the Renaissance and early eighteenth century. The best-known practitioner of the form in ancient times was the Roman poet Statius, who produced a collection of thirty-two occasional poems entitled Silvae. The Latin word silva literally means "wood" or "forest,” but its use as a literary term plays on several metaphorical meanings the word acquired over time, especially “pieces of raw material" and “material for construction.”
The appositeness of this title for the present work is not entirely clear. Perhaps Carleton meant that the description of the battle at Zutphen contained within this poem could supply the raw material for a more developed epic treatment of the subject.
119.40 For Curius see the note on 5.68, and for Camillus the note on 86.45f.
119.70 Presumably tractum is employed as a supine.
119.87 In 1580 Sidney had retired from Court and spent a year at Wilton, the country house of his sister Mary and her husband, the Earl of Penbroke, where he wrote the Old Arcadia, A Defence of Poesy, and Astrophil and Stella.
119.144 Lord William Russell, a younger son of the Earl of Bedford, distinguished himself at Zutphen.
119.146f. With the possible exception of Davalus, it does not seem worthwhile to guess what Spanish surnames may be lurking under some of these Latinized forms. Vogas may or not stand for the Captain de Vega who was one of the officers serving under the chief commander of the Spanish, the Marquis del Vasto.
119.149 Hannibal Gonzaga commanded the Spanish cavaly on this occasion.
119.156 In the book the words vix ea nostra voco are capitalized to show that Sidney was responding with an apposite tag from Ovid (Metamorphoses XIII.140f.):
nam genus et proavos et quae non fecimus ipsi,
vix ea nostra voco
119.171 Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, the English governor of Bergen-ap-Zoon.
120 - 125 William Whitlock or Whitelock of Christ Church. Poem 120 consists of third Asclepiadean stanzas (three first Asclepiadeans + one glyconic).
121.1 The Greeks and Romans wore garlands of parsley as a sign of mourning.
122.1 Ops was a Roman goddess often identified with Rhea and Cybele.
125 Meter: as 120.