I.2 Lady Mary Neville was the daughter of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset (for whom see the commentary note on II.65), and was married to Sir Henry Neville (for whom see the commentary note on II.66). Their children Thomas and Cecily are mentioned in subsequent epigrams.
I.2.2 Martyn (I.108) noticed that the st in stultitiam fails to create positional lengthening, a familiar phenomenon in Neo-Latin poetry. As he observed, the rule that sp and st should do so was first remarked by R. Dawes in his 1745 Miscellanea Critica.
I.3 John Hoskins, the witty lawyer [1566 - 1638], could be counted on to appreciate Owen’s humor (Martyn, I.142, notes that he was expelled for his excesses at an Encaena as Terrae Filius or University Bufoon). Biography in D. N. B. I.96 and IV.152 are also addressed to Hoskins.
I.6.3 Cf. a fragment of Cicero’s De Republica quoted by Servius on Aeneid VI.875, Fanni, causa difficilis laudare puerum; non enim res laudanda, sed spes est.
I.8 Nosce teipsum of course translates the famous Delphic injunction, Know Thyself (gnothi seauton).
I.9.1 Cf. Vergil, Georgics II.490, felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.
I.14 Dr. William Gilbert [1540 - 1603], the physician - scientist whose De Magnete was one of the great scientific contributions of the age. Biography in D. N. B. (the D. in the title = dominus, a title enjoyed by anybody admitted to the B. A.). Marvyn (II.159) notes that the boat analogy comes from his discussion of the earth’s rotation in Book VI, ch. 3, p. 117 of that work. II.82 is also addressed to Gilbetg.
I.16 The humanist scholar-poet Joseph Scaliger [1540 - 1609]. The present epigram was clearly written after his death, and alludes to his great work on calendar-systems, Opus De Emendatione Tempore (1583). IV.110 and XII.7 are also addressed to Scaliger.
I.17.4 Cf. Vergil, Eclogue x.69, omnia vincit Amor, et nos cedamus Amori.
I.17.6 Juno Moneta was a cult title of the goddess at Rome.
I.18.1f. Cf. Democritus, fr. 68 B 117 D. - K. as paraphrased by Cicero, Academica I.xliv.9, et ut Democritus in profundo veritatem esse demersam.
I.26.1 Martyn (I.108) perceived an allusion to Ovid, Ars Amatoria I.224, Et Venus in vinis ignis in igne fuit. But more likely Owen was thinking of a stock trope in the standard rhetoric of the Petrarchan sonnet.
I.29 In Greek, the optative is the mood in which wishes are expressed.
I.33 In Book VIII of the Odyssey Homer tells how Vulcan caught his consort venus in flagrante with Mars.
I.33.4 In Book VI of the Iliad Glaucus and Diomedes swap armor. Glaucus gives away golden armor in exchange for armor of brass, a proverbial example of an ill-advised exchange.
I.34 In this comic epigram (made to look as if it has been mangled by the censor), Owen expresses surprise that the noun mentula is feminine. Martyn (I.109) suggested the epigram ought to be restored:
Foeminaeo generi tribuuntur membra pudenda
Propria quae maribus membra virilia sunt.
I.37.3 Infernum is used sensu obscaeno. Elisa is another name for Dido (Owen is of course referring to Aeneas meeting Dido in the Underworld in Book VI of the Aeneid).
I.38 “Mellificatis apes, nidificatis aves [is] from Vergil ap. Donatus Vita Vergilii”(Martyn I.109).
I.39 Martyn [I.109] pointed out that this epigram was suggested by Juvenal vii.106 - 49.
I.40 More literally, “Weary of his wife, Cotta put on a monk’s hood (cucullum) that, dying to the world, he might put off the cuckold.”
I.41.4 Rudolph II, the Holy Roman Emperor.
I.42 Owen is poking fun at the Nugae of Nicolas Bourbon (Borbonius) the elder [1505 - ca. 1548].
I.43 More literally, “Among the ancients there was much mention of faiths, none of stars, for there was a single faith of the ancients.” Perhaps by “the ancients” Owen meant the primitive Church, and this epigram is aimed against the current popularity for astrology.
I.45 As reported by Plato in the Apology, Apollo called Socrates the wisest of men, because he alone knew that he knew nothing.
I.48.1 Owen quotes Horace, Odes III.ii.13.
I.49.2 Owen puns on two meanings of rectus, “straight” and “upright.”
I.50 The pornographic writer Pietro Aretino [1492-1556].
I.50.1 Cf. Horace, Sermones I.i.101, est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines.
I.53.3 Ordonner = “prescribe”, or donner = “give gold.”
I.58.1 Cana senectus is a tag from Catullus cviii.1.
I.59 Here the old moralizing cliche about the narrow road and the wide one (used by Owen himself, as at III.25, and III.137) is given an obscene twist here and at VIII.27.
I.60 This is the first of a number of epigrams that may suggest to the reader that Owen was a male supremecist: cf. also such items as II.103, II.143, and IV.43.
I.62 Although the official calendar (old style) began on March 25, January 1, nevertheless reckoned as New Year’s Day, was an occasion for exchanging gifts.
I.64 More literally, “Nothing’s more useful for the preservation of the species, but naught more harmful to the individual.”
I.66.2 Martyn [I.109] compared Martial I.73, ingeniosus homo es.
I.70 Owen’s footnote refers to Varro quoted by Lactantius, Opif. Dei XII.17, mulier…a mollitie vocata est…velut mollier (Martyn I.109).
I.74 Elsewhere I have pointed out that the traditional rhetoric of the Petrarchan sonnet colors a number of Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s erotic epigrams. This is rarely true of Owen’s, but is so here (hence the Italian title).
I.79 Eras = “you were”, mus = “mouse.” Compare VII.34.
I.90.2 Horace, Odes IV.vii.16.
I.94.1 Cf. Matthew 6:24, No man can serve two masters. In the second line of his translation, Harvey misses the point: “you serve a mistress, and therefore not the Lord.”
I.96 For John Hoskins see the commentary note on I.3.
I.99 Perhaps written about the satirist Joseph Hall, for whom cf. VIII.78 and the commentary note ad loc.
I.100.5f. Cf. Horace, Epistulae I.i.73 - 5:
olim quod volpes aegroto cauta leoni
respondit, referam: ’quia me vestigia terrent,
omnia te adversum spectantia, nulla retrorsum.’
I.101.2 Cf. Juvenal x.22, cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.
I.103 Zoilus is a traditional name for a captious critic.
I.104 Evidently an earlier version of the proverb out of the mouths of fools and babes comes wisdom.
I.105.6 Cf. Juvenal ii.8, frontis nulla fides.
I.108.2 Infecta re simultaneously means “his business unaccomplished” and “his thing infected.”
I.110.7 The British legal year is divided into terms, like the academic one.
I.115.1 Cf. Cicero, Lucullus c (Anaxagoras fr. 59 A 97 D. - K.), Huius modi igitur visis consilia capiet et agendi et non agendi faciliorque erit ut albam esse nivem probet quam erat Anaxagoras, qui id non modo ita esse negabat, sed sibi, quia sciret aquam nigram esse unde illa concreta esset, albam ipsam esse ne videri quidem, et quaecumque res eum sic attinget ut sit visum illud probabile neque ulla re impeditum, movebitur.
I.155.3 The allusion is to the fable of the Fox and the Crow (Phaedrus I.13).
I.120.2 This pun (as Harvey failed to acknowledge in his translation) involves a pun between testis = “witness” and “testicle.”
I.121.1 Horace, Epistulae I.xviii.84 (with nam for cum).
I.125.2 “His friendless” is an odd way of saying “his mistress” (if this is not a printer’s error).
I.131.1 Owen frequently wrote theiologus to procure a long first syllable.
I.132.1 As Harvey appreciated, the allusion is to Ecclesiastes 4:10.
I.132.2 I Corinthians 7:1 - 8.
I.132.3 A footnote cites a Welsh proverb, “Woe is me” is better than “woe is us.” A number of poems by the unmarried Owen praise bachelorhood, or dwell on the woes of the married condition.
I.133 The addressee is just possibly the John Horne [b. 1571] who matriculated from St. Mary Hall, Oxon., in 1586 (Foster II.746).
I.135 Cf. Horace, Ars Poetica 343, omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci. (Harvey’s She’s punctual misses the double-entendre, “she gets the point”).
I.138 Cicero, Tusculan Disputations V.63.13.
I.140 In printed texts difficilia quae pulchra is italicized, as it it were a quotation, and it is also quoted as a maximum at Abraham Cowley’s Naufragium Ioculare 91. But I do not recognize the source.
I.142 See the commentary note on I.62.
I.143.2 The allusion is to Genesis 16, where Sarah urges Abraham to beget children on her handmaid Agar.
I.144 Perhaps “D. T.” is the tutor of a young nobleman.
I.145.2 The allusion is probably to Ephesians 5:31, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (Martyn I.110 thought the allusion was to Matthew 9:9).
I.146 Owen playfully alludes to Horace, Epistulae I.xviii.9, virtus est medium vitiorum et utrimque reductum.
I.154 The answer is Eve: see VI.11 below.
I.157.4 A dactylic foot, being comprised of one long syllable and two short ones, is thus called after the Greek word for a finger.
I.159.2 Her stuttering converted futurum (“will be”) into fututurum (“will fuck”). Harvey’s translation conceals the humor utterly.
I.162.4 The pun here is that she simultaneously imagined she was marrying a Frenchman (Gallus) and a rooster (gallus). In the translation she is wittily represented as drawing a blank in the French lottery (La Blanque): see V.62.
I.165 C. F. Tucker Brooke wrote (“The Life and Times of William Gager (1555 - 1622),” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 95, 1951, 406f.): ”Christ Church, when Gager entered, was the largest and richest of the Oxford colleges; but, though nearly half a century had passed since its first founding, it was still glaringly unfinished. The original design of Cardinal College, after four years of furious building, was halted by Wolsey’s fall in 1529; and the reconstruction that Henry VIII belatedly undertook in 1546 was quickly checked by the king’s death. The great quadrangle, which Bishop Fell and Sir Christopher Wren were to complete a century later, was in Gager’s time more suggestive to him of decay than achievement. He imagined it haunted by Wolsey’s malignant ghost, and foreboded that as it had been begun with the fruits of spoliation, so it would perish by the machinations of the greedy aulici whom he saw grasping after its revenues. In his poem CXXI Gager accepts and develops in gloomy earnest the current prophecy that the enemies of Christ Church were quoting:
non stabit illa domus, allis fundata rapinis;
aut ruet, aut alter raptor habebit eam.
The second line quotes Ovid, Tristia IV.iii.84.
I.167 Samuel Daniel, the poet [1562 - 1619]. Biography in D. N. B. II.172 and VII.46 are also addressed to Daniel.
I.169 Thraso is the miles gloriosus in Terence’s Phormio.
I.169.2 The quotation is Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV.ii.36.
I.170.1 James 1:5.
I.172 Martyn [I.111] compared Martial III.ii.3 - 5:
Ne nigram cito raptus in culinam
Cordylas madida tegas papyro
Vel turis piperisve sis cucullus.
More immediately, the specific use to which Owen fears his book may be put is suggested by Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Affaniae I.10.21 - 3:
Post haec omnia, si toga aut cucullus
Algentive deest rogus tobacho,
Ex his assuat astruatque chartis.
I.174.4 Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations III.xxx, id de se ipso loquitur Euripides. fuerat enim auditor Anaxagorae, quem ferunt nuntiata morte filii dixisse: ’sciebam me genuisse mortalem.’ quae vox declarat is esse haec acerba, quibus non fuerint cogitata.
II.2 - 4 See the commentary note on I.1.
II.4.5 Apelles was one of the greatest Greek painters.
II.5 and II.6 The juxtaposition of this and the following epigram, as well as the contents of the present one, show that both are addressed to the courtier, satirist, witer Sir John Harington [1561 - 1612], ever to be revered as the inventor of the flush toilet. Biography in D. N. B. II.34 and II.168 are addressed to Harington.
II.6.1 Martyn [I.111] pointed out that the 1622 London edition has togatorum and argued the superiority of that reading: “…‘beggar’ or ‘proposer’ is inapposite. In Juvenal, i.96, turbae…togatae describes clients.” But a.) surely rogatorum can mean “askers,” and b.) in the Latin of Owen’s day togatorum would normally mean “gowned men,” i. e., academics, which seems quite inappropriate: see II.199 with the commentary note ad loc.
II.11 The remedy in question is that of St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:9, it is better to marry than to burn. The title of this epigram is of course that of Ovid’s sequel to his Ars Amatoria.
II.12 Britain’s mythological founder was the eponymous Brutus, a refugee from the fall of Troy. Hence London was sometimes called Troynovant or New Troy. Martyn [I.112] points out this was written in reaction to the 1603 fire of London.
II.13 Terminus was the Roman god of boundaries. Owen pretends he is the god of the terms of the lawcourts. George Ruggle appropriated this joke in line 15 of the second Prologue of his 1615 comedy Ignoramus when he wrote of maximo deo Termino, qui cedit nemini, togis Þunt sacra innumeris.
II.16 Thomas Sackville [1536 - 1608], first Earl of Dorset and father of Mary Neville, Lord Treasurer from 1599. Biography in D. N. B.
II.17 Robert Cecil [1563? - 1612], James’ Secretary of State until 1608. Biography in D. N. B. II.21 is also addressed to Cecil.
II.19 Thomas Egerton, Lord Ellesmere [1540? - 1617], James’ Lord Chancellor. Biography in D. N. B. IV.133, V.54, X.12, X.98, and XII.6 are also addressed to him.
II.19.1 Evidently Owen is thinking of Cicero, Pro Caecina v, vis ea quae iuri maxime est adversaria.
II.20 Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton [1540 - 1614]. Biography in D. N. B. IV.124, V.43, and VI.50 are also addressed to Northampton.
II.21 William Cecil, Lord Burleigh [1520 - 98]. Biography in D. N. B.
II.21.1f. Cf. Cicero, De Officiis I.xxvi.10, parvi enim sunt foris arma,nisi est consilium domi.
II.22 Owen missed the obvious point: had Elizabeth ennobled Burleigh, he would have not been able to uphold her interest in Commons (the mistake James made by creating Robert Cecil Earl of Salisbury).
II.23 Richard Vaughan [1550? - 1607], Bishop of London. Biogrpahy in D. N. B. In addition to the next epigram, IV.265 is also addressed to Vaughan.
II.25 Thomas Bilson [1546 - 7 - 1616], elected Bishop of Winchester in 1597. He had taught Owen at Winchester. Biography in D. N. B. There is also a biographical article at Wood II.169 - 172.
II.26 and 27 In 1597 Dr. Thomas Martin [d. 1597] published Historica Descriptio complectans vitam es res gestas beatissimi viri Gulielmi Wicami. William Wykeham [1324 - 1404], Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, founded both the academic institutions to which Owen belonged, Winchester School and New College, Oxon., as he wrote in VIII.87.
II.26.2 The correct form of Ovid, Ars Amatoria 453 is hoc opus, hic labor est.
II.27.3 See the commentary note on I.103.
II.28.3 Martyn [I.112] perceived an echo of Juvenal x.125, conspicuae divina Philippa famae. This may be so, but after Sidney’s death plenty of writers represented him as having experienced some manner of apotheosis.
II.30 William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke [1580 - 1630], married Mary, daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, in 1605. Biography in D. N. B. V.37 is also addressed to Pembroke.
II.31 Sir Philip Sidney’s daughter Frances [1585 - 1612] married Roger Manners, Earl of Rutland.
II.32 Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford [d. 1627], a noted patroness of poets. Biography in D. B. B.
II.33 Sir Henry Goodyear, a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, was a literary patron and friend of John Donne; verses by Goodyear appear in several contemporary collections. (This information from Martyn I.139). IV.74 and V.90 are also addressed to Goodyear.
II.34 “I. H.” is Sir John Harington: see the commentary note on II.5.
II.35 Martyn [I.112] wrote “It is likely that D. B. is a corruption of a D. H. [Harington].” But Owen elsewhere designates Harington as “I. H.,” as in the preceding epigram.
II.35.1 Cf. Ovid, Tristia III.iv.25, bene qui latuit bene vixit.
II.36 Sir Thomas Chaloner [1561 - 1615], naturalist, Gentleman of the King’s Bedchamber, and governor of Prince Henry’s household. Biography in D. N. B. V.73 is also addressed to Chaloner. The four realms are England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The fifth one is the newly-formed Great Britain.
II.37 Sir Adam Newton [d. 1630], tutor to Prince Henry and latterly Dean of Durham Cathedral. Biography in D. N. B. VI.8 is also addressed to Newton.
II.38 “A fellow anagrammatist, who benefitted from Royal patronage. Possibly related to John Owen, through the Gwyns of Bodfel” — Martyn I.140. Despite Owen’s footnote, evidently this individual never published his efforts: no work by him appears in the Short Title Catalogue. The footnote also suggests the gentleman had Scottish rather than Welsh connections, and may therefore diminish the likelihood that he was a kinsman.
II.39 Martyn (I.5f.) tells the story of this epigram. It was written when Owen was a precocious Westminster boy, and was one of the special poems pinned on the mast of the Golden Hind at the occasion when Queen Elizabeth knighted Sir Francis Drake on her quarterdeck as she was laid up in Deptford, after he had returned from his celebrated circumnavigation of the globe. William Camden (his schoolmaster at Westminster) quoted this in his 1615 Annales Rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha (I.308, and also in the Denshire chapter of Britannica), in a slightly different form:
Drake, pererrati novit quem terminus orbis
Quemque semel mundi vidit utrumque latus,
Si taceant homines, facient te sidera notum,
Sol nescit comitis non memor esse sui.
Camden also prints the final distich of the present epigram as a separate composition.
II.40 Martyn (I.l112) observed “A true appreciation of England’s strength; another Athens against Persia (Spain), with her Themistocles (Elizabeth) proving too crafty.”
II.40.2 The printed texts have valli corpora, which makes sense (“her bodies perform the office of a wall”) but is not parallel with the other constructions in the epigram.
II.42.5 Una salus is from Catullus lxxvi.15.
II.45 The title is taken from Juvenal vi.165, rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno.
II.45.3 The diminutive of menta (“mint”) would be mentula (“penis”). Harvey’s translation manages to obscure the humor altogether.
II.55.1 Owen may have been thinking of Seneca, Dialogi VI.xix, Mors nec bonum nec malum est; id enim potest aut bonum aut malum esse quod aliquid est; quod vero ipsum nihil est et omnia in nihilum redigit, nulli nos fortunae tradit (Martyn I.113 thought he was alluding to Troades 406).
II.59.2 Eros and eris are, respectively, the Greek words for love and strife.
II.60 Identified by Martyn [I.143] as Sir William Jones [1566 - 1640], judge and Sheriff of Caernavonshire (academic record and biographical facts at Foster II.p.831), but in view of the common name, is this assured? He may have been (e. g.) William Jones of County Carnarvon, who matriculated from Oriel College in 1561, was evidently a student of the Middle Temple, and in later life was repeatedly returned as M. P. for Beaumoaris and for his county (Foster, loc. cit.). II.133 is also addressed to Jones.
II.61.3 Although a modern reader would expect decries, descries is not a typographical error, as the word appears at II.198.1.
II.62 Ponos is the Greek equivalent of labor.
II.64 The Order of the Golden Fleece was founded by Duke Philip III of Burgundy, in 1430.
II.65 See the note on II.16.
II.66 Sir Henry Neville [1564? - 1617], courtier and diplomat, and husband of Mary Neville. Biography in D. N. B. IV.141 is also addressed to him.
II.68 Jane Owen of Oxford was that rarity, an Englishwoman with a Latin education. Martyn [I.17] quotes an epigram by her in praise of our poet printed with some editions of his works:
Quod fuit, est, et semper erit solemne poetis,
Carpimur in libris femina virque quis;
Iudice me tamen haec epigrammata salsa merentur
Laudet ut ingenium vir mulierque tuum.
[“What was, is, and always will be serious for poets, man and woman we glean from your books; yet, according to my judgement, these salty epigrams deserve that man and woman praise your talent.”]
There is no visible reason for thinking Jane Owen was a kinswoman.
II.69 John Thorie [b. 1568] matriculated from Christ Church in 1586 (academic record at Foster IV.1478]. Marthyn (I.150) adds that he wrote five sonnets praising Gabriel Harvey in Pierce’s Supererogation (1593) and translated from the Spanish. IV.122 is also addressed to Thorie.
II.74 The allusion is to Hercules’ servitude to Omphale. Martyn (I.113) thought the fera in line 4 is the Hydra, but surely it is the Nemean Lion mentioned in the preceding line.
II.77.1 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid IX.641, macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra.
II.78.1 Owen quotes Juvenal x.168.
II.82 See the commentary note on I.14.
II.85.1 The allusion is of course to Erasmus’ Moriae Encomium (“Praise of Folly”).
II.86.3f. Cf. Vergil, Eclogue i.6, deus nobis haec otia fecit and Eclogue vii.2, compulerantque greges Corydon et Thyrsis in unum.
II.88 Martyn (I.114) observed that Amor is called nudus by Ovid, Metamorphoses X.516 (in the plural) and Propertius I.ii.8.
II.89 Originally addressed to William Pitts [1560 - 1616] , who matriculated from New College in 1578 (academic record and biography at Foster, III.1170 ). In subsequent editions the addressee was altered to his son John, who matriculated from St. John’s College, Oxon., in 1590 (Foster, loc. cit., biography at Wood II.171177 ) Presumably the son was substituted because the father defected to Rome.
II.91.2 Owen puns on the two Latin words mundus, a noun meaning “cosmos, world” and an adjective meaning “elegant” (not “clean,” as Martyn I.114 would have it).
II.95.1 Owen alludes to Cicero, De Natura Deorum II.xxxi, praesertim cum is ardor qui est mundi non agitatus ab alio neque externo pulsu sed per se ipse ac sua sponte moveatur.
II.98 Literally, “To us spirit is flesh, hence flesh is our friend. Why is a wife dear to her husband? Because she is dear to his flesh.”
II.99.2 Aristotle is supposed to have said this according to Seneca, Dialogi V.iii.1.
II.104 See the commentary note on I.103.
II.107.1 Tarquin the Proud, last king of Rome, was deposed and banished for having raped Lucretia.
II.108 Maurice Griffin took the B. C. L. from Lincoln College, Oxon., in 1590 (partial academic record and biographical facts at Foster II.611).
II.109 Francis Holyoke’s corrected and augmented version of John Rider’s 1589 Latin dictionary Bibliotheca Scholastica appeared in 1606.
II.110 John Tovey took his B. A. from Balliol College, Oxon., in 1594 - 5 and his M. A. in 1599 (Foster IV.1498). Martyn (I.150f.) adds the information that he was Master of Coventry Grammar school and subsequently chaplain to Sir John Harington (for whom see the commentary note on IV.20). III.168, IV.98, and IV. 242 are also addressed to Tovey.
II.112.4 For the proverb, Martyn (I.114) compared Cicero, Pro Caelio xii.28, se ad bonam frugem, ut dicitur, recepisse.
II.114.1 This information comes from II Samuel 11.
II.115.2 Owen quotes Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto II.vii.42 (with a bilingual pun on plaga).
II.119.3 The famous diagnosis of Hannibal at Livy XXII.li.
II.125.4 Malesuada fames comes from Vergil, Aeneid VI.276.
II.129 The title is a quote from Ovid Amores I.ix.1.
II.133 See the commentary note on II.60.
II.135 Owen cites from one of the many glossaries of legal terminology with the title De Verborum Significatione.
II.136.1 Cf. Cicero, de Divinatione II.lxi, sapientem esse portentum est.
II.138 The printed title is IN ADRIANUM V., and the suggestion that V. = VERSIFICATOR was made by Martyn I.135.
II.140 Matthew 7:7.
II.140.4 An allusion to Lucretius’ famous dictum (I.150 etc.) nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam.
II.143 See the commentary note on I.103.
II.144.4 Genesis 3:16.
II.145 Sir William Button [1566 - 1653]; matriculated from New College 1585 - 6 (Foster I.225). Martyn (I.135) adds that he was the second baronet Button and Master of the Ceremonies, and that he suffered at the hands of Parliamentarians during the Civil War.
II.148 Sir Francis Drake died at sea in January 1596.
II.152 Perhaps this refers to Sir Thomas More removing his beard from the block as he knelt before it, remarking that the beard was not guilty of treason. More was executed in 1535. (The textual variant corpus for crines in line 2, reported by Martyn I.121, is no more than foolish).
IV.154 Dom Antonio ( Prior of Crato) [1531 - 95], the unsuccessful pretender to the throne of Portugal supported by England and France.
II.154.4 My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
II.156 Bees allegedly settled on the lips of the sleeping infant Plato, betokening his future eloquence. Cf. Cicero, De Divinatione I.lxxviii, At Platoni cum in cunis parvulo dormienti apes in labellis consedissent, responsum est singulari illum suavitate orationis fore.
II.162 The industrious translator Philemon Holland [1552 - 1637] brought out his translation of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History in 1601. Biography in D. N. B.
II.163 Cf. Catullus xlix.1f.:
Disertissime Romuli nepotum,
quot sunt quotque fuere, Marce Tulli.
II.164 Addressed to Sir Thomas Sackville [1571 - 1648], second son of Sir Thomas Sackville, first Earl of Dorset. Martyn (I.115 and I.149) confused Sir Thomas with his father. II.167 and II.171 are also addressed to him.
II.164.5 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid II.39, scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus.
II.167 See the commentary note on II.164.
II.168 “I. H.” is Sir John Harington: see the commentary note on II.5.
II.170 As Harvey appreciated, the title refers to Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great), Cato Maior (Cato the Elder), and Fabius Maximus.
II.171 See the commentary note on II.164.
II.172 See the commentary note on I.167.
II.173 The following sequence of epigrams on the five senses rather resemble poetic responses to quaestiones propounded in university debates, a recognized genre of academic verse. Often these were on subjects dealing with natural history.
II.182 Possibly Owen means Apollonius of Tyana, the ancient mystagogue.
II.199 The pallia was a layman’s cloak. In contemporary Latin the academic gown was frequently called a toga.
II.214.1 Phidias and Apelles were two great Greek painters.
II.216 William James [1542 - 1617], matriculated from Christ Church, Oxon., in 1565. Subsequently Master of University College, Oxon., Dean of Durham, Bishop of Durham. Biography in D. N. B.
II.217 Sir Henry Fanshawe [1569 - 1616], James’ Remembrancer of the Exchequer. Biography in D. N. B. IV.73 is also addressed to Fanshawe. (This epigram is not included in some later editions, including the one that served as the basis for Harvey’s translation. It is printed in some editions as XII.54). Owen frequently describes a patron of literature as a Maecenas, after the famous patron of Horace and Vergil.
II.217.4 The footnote points out that Greek adjective olbos means “blessed, prosperous.”
III.1 See the commentary note on I.1.
III.5 I. e., Holland’s Pallas-like patroness and Palladium-like treasure, Elizabeth, died in 1602 (old style). Martyn (I.116) wrote that “…an embassy led by the Dutch statesman, Barneveld, approached James I in 1603, soon after Elizabeth’s death, to obtain more help in defending Ostend against the Spanish under Spinola. However, money was unavailable for a long campaign, and James preferred peace with Spain.” He could have added that by implication this epigram displays a remarkably critical attitude towards James, in contrast to all Owen’s adulatory epigrams addressed to the king. See also the commentary note on XII.35.
III.6.2 For Brutus see the commentary note on II.12.
III.6.3 Vergil, Eclogue i.66.
III.8 While still king of Scotland, James wrote Basilicon Doron (“The Royal Gift”), a volume of advice for his heir Henry.
III.9 See the commentary note on I.1.
III.9.3 Vergil, Aeneid IV.174.
III.12 Sir Thomas Puckering [1592 - 1636], son of Sir John Puckering, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and a companion of Prince Henry. IV.213 and VI.9 are also addressed to Puckering.
The allusion is to Prodicus’ Horae (summarized at greatest length by Xenophon, Memorabilia II.1, in which the young Hercules was confronted with a choice between taking the road of Virtue, or that of Vice.
III.13 “Possibly one of the four sons of Rowland Meyrick, Bishop of Bangor [1506 - 61], who married Catherine Owen Barrett of Gelliswic”: Martyn I.145.
III.14 Martyn (I.151) identified this individual: “Christ’s College Cambridge, 1598 - 9; Middle Temple, 1597; Member of the King’s Privy Chamber, and a Deputy Remembrancer of the Exchequer. Died 1638.”
III.18 For Lazarus see Luke 16:19 - 31.
III.19 Genesis 1:28.
III.22.2 In some editions this line is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
III.23 Cf. Plautus, Asinaria 495, lupus est homo homini.
III.27 The identity of the addressee is unknown, although one suspects that he had the Cornish surname Connock.
III.28.3 Irus, the beggar in the Odyssey, became a proverbial example of a destitute man.
III.29 Theodore Price [1570? - 1631], subsequently prebendary of Winchester. Biography in D. N. B. IV.33, VII.106, and X.30 are also addressed to Price.
III.30 The “twelve things” are the Apostle’s Creed, the “seven prayers” are the Lord’s Prayer, as is explained by IX.22 (it contains seven petitions). The ten things that must be done are the Ten Commandments.
III.32.1 Cf. Cicero, Pro Milone xviv, o spes fallaces, o cogitationes inanes meae!
III.33.1 Cf. Ennius, Annales XII.363 (of Fabius Cunctator), Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem.
III.33.3 Cf. ib. XII.364, Noenum rumores ponebat ante salutem (some texts have non enim for noenum).
III.34.1 Owen quotes Ovid, Tristia I.ix.7.
III.39 Henry VII, who brought the War of the Roses to a conclusion. The allusion in the footnote to Scotland being restored by Stuart is probably to the founder of the Stuart line, Banquo, a subject first made popular during James’ reign by Matthew Gwinne’s Tres Sibyllae (1605), and then by Macbeth.
III.39.2 The war produced armed men like Cadmus sowing the dragon’s teeth.
III.39.3 Castor and Pollux.
III.39.8 Tacitus mentions the island of Mona (Angelsey, not Man) at Agricola xiv, xviii, Annales XIV.xxix, XV.ii, XV.iv, and XV.v.
III.39.10 Theou doron (“God’s gift”) is Owen’s fanciful etymology of the name Tudor, as if the Tudors were God’s gift to England; cf. Theodore in his footnote to V.57.
III.40 John Napier, Laird of Merchiston [1550 - 1617] is best remembered as the inventor of logorithms. In 1594 he published A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John. Biography in D. N. B.
III.51 The title is taken from Psalm 51:6.
III.53 Ellis Wynn of County Carnarvon matriculated from St. Edmund Hall, Oxon., in 1593 - 4, and may have been M. P. from Saltash in 1597 - 8 (Foster IV.1694). IV.63 is also addressed to Wynn.
III.53.4 According the footnote, the fons et origo of sin was Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
III.54 Robert Bowyer took his B. A. from Oxford in 1578 - 9 (Foster I.162). IV.35 is also addressed to Bowyer.
III.56 Martyn [I.151] identified this addressee as the soldier-administrator Richard Trevor [1558 - 1638] with strong connections to Wales. But he presented no evidence that this individual possessed the L. L. D., so the identification seems rather unlikely.
III.57 John Gifford [1565 - 1647], a contemporary of Owen’s both at Winchester and New College, and subsequently a distinguished physician; academic record and biographical facts at Foster II.563. III.123 and III.197 are also addressed to Gifford.
III.64 John Bowman [1565 - 1629] matriculated from Trinity College, Oxon., in 1582 - 3, and subsequently was Chancellor of St. Paul’s; academic record and biographical facts at Foster I.161.
III.64.3 Statius, Thebais III.661.
III.75.2 More accurately, “for bad men are oppressed with law, as if by force, and good men are oppressed with force, as if by law.”
III.81.2 Ovid, Fasti I.493.
III.83.1 Ennius was an early Roman epic poet, excellent in his day but primitive and crude in comparison with Vergil. The line quoted here is found at Jerome, Epistle 107.12; cf. Donatus, Life of Vergil p. 31 (Brummer) and Cassiodorus, Institutiones I.i.8 (ed. Mynors) [my thanks to Professor James O’Donnell for this information].
III.85 Festina lente (“make haste slowly”) was Augustus’ watchword (Suetonius, Augustus xxv).
III.94.2 Cf. Isaiah 53:5, and with his stripes we are healed.
III.95 John Suckling [1569 - 1627], statesman and M. P.; life in D. N. B. IV.36 is also addressed to Suckling.
III.97 Rachael mourns for Joseph, whom she imagines to be dead.
III.103.2 Autos epha is the Greek equivalent of ipse dixit.
III.105 Charles Ryves [1564 - 1622]; academic record and biographical facts at Foster III.1295; Martyn (I.148) adds that he was a chaplain to the King. III.115 and IV.79 are also addressed to Ryves.
III.113.3 John 1:17.
III.117 Cicero’s exclamation at In Catilinam I.ii.
III.120.1 Cf. Horace, Ars Poetica 78, grammatici certant et adhuc sub iudice lis est.
III.121.2 See the commentary note on I.146.2.
III.122.2 Alethes = the truth (literally, as Harvey noted, “without forgetfulness”).
III.123 Sir Henry Martin [1563 - 1641], matriculated from New College, Oxon., in 1581, chancellor of the diocese of London, judge of high court of admiralty, etc., and a contemporary of Owen’s at Winchester, father of the regicide Henry Marten; academic record and biographical facts at Foster III.977. I assume that the abbreviation V. in the title = vulgaris (for civilis). IV.204 is also addressed to Martin. For Gifford see the commentary note on III.57.
III.123.5 Bartolus was the author of a standard legal textbook, used in English universities.
III.126.2 Cf. Ovid, Fasti I.217, in pretio pretium nunc est.
III.131.2 Ecclesiastes 3:1.
III.133 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
III.136 This poem raises an oddly sophisticated philosophical problem about the reflective nature of consciousness, a problem that is, I believe, still very much alive in modern philosophy. Harvey’s translation obscures the point: “The eyes are lacking with me with which I can see my own eyes, my mind lacks the mind with which to see my mind. If I do not know what is my mind, my best part, how can I tell you what I am?”
III.138.3 Cf. Horace, Epistulae I.ii.55, nocet empta dolore voluptas.
III.139.2 Kephas (“The Stone”) was Peter’s Aramaic name (John 1:42).
III.144.1 Nil ultra (“no further”) was supposed to be inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules. Martyn (I.118) pointed out that plus ultra was the motto of the emperor Charles V, and that the idea of spes lucri passing the pillars of Hercules comes from Juvenal xiv.272 - 5.
III.146 Cf. Ecclesiastes 1:2, Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
III.149 Cf. Psalm CX.10, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
III.152.1 Martyn [I.118] compared Vergil, Eclogue ii.69, Ah Corydon, Corydon, quae tu dementia cepit?
III.154 See the commentary note on I.8.
III.155 Hippocrates’ famous dictum, as translated by Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae I.i.
III.158.2 “The Christ” and “the gold.”
III.160 Martyn correctly (at II.149, but erroneously at I.118) notes that this is a quote from Gesta Romanorum 103, Quidquid agas, prudenter agas, et respice finem. But Owen reinterprets the tag to mean “consider the means of thy death.”
III.162 Thomas Bridges [b. 1576] matriculated from Queen’s College, Oxon., in 1591 (Foster I.181). IV.47 is also addressed to Bridges.
III.165 Cf. Genesis 3:19, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
III.166 Owen Gwyn [d. 1574] matriculated from Queen’s College, Cantab, in 1545, and was subsequently a lawyer and M. P.; academic record and biographical facts at Venn II.278. IV.89 is also addressed to Gwen.
III.168 See the commentary note on II.110.
III.171.1 Ovid, Metamorphoses XV.234.
III.171.2 Cf. Juvenal iii.104, non sumus ergo pares.
III.172 “Probably related to Benjamin [Heyden, for whom see the commentary note on IV.100]: both were friends of Owen (from Winchester?)“ — Martyn I.141. IV.170 is also addressed to Michael Heyden.
III.176.1 Horace, Epistulae I.xvi.52.
III.183.2 Persius v.53.
III.185.1 See the commentary note on I.9.1.
III.188.1 For Zoilus see the commentary note on I.103. Gnatho (a character in Terence) is the type of the opportunistic parasite.
III.190.1 The sword is the symbol of Paul, the key that of Peter.
III.190.3 As at 2 Corinthians 11:9.
III.193.1 Cf. Ecclesiastes 5:15, As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came.
III.195 Cf. Matthew 10:16, be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. The historian John Clapham wrote a biography of Elizabeth and (under the pseudonym ”Philomathes”) published the first Book of a projected history of England (Martyn I.137).
III.197 See the commentary note on III.57.
III.197.4 See the commentary note on I.8.
III.200 Westminster Abbey, hard by Whitehall, was consecrated to St. Peter. Open air sermons were delivered at St. Paul’s Cross, and booksellers set up their stalls in St. Paul’s Yard.
III.201 This and the following epigram are written against the Gunpowder Plotters.
III.201.3f. Owen had the insight to appreciate that there was something kindred in the Giants’ piling of Pelion upon Ossa, so as to assault the Olympian gods, and the construction of the Tower of Babel.
III.201.5 See the commentary note on II.12.
III.202.1 See the commentary note on II.12.
III.203 “On 22 March 1606, a rumour reached London that James I had been murdered: relief when it proved false helped thaw the ice between the King and his Commons” — Martyn I.119.
III.205 For the boy’s mother the commentary note on I.2 and, for his father, the commentary note on II.66.
III.206 Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire [1563 - 1606]. Biography in D. N. B.
IV.1 The king’s cousin Lady Arabella Stuart [1575 - 1616]. Biography in D. N. B. Printed texts write her Christian name as Arbella, but the final couplet of the present epigram assures us the mistake was not Owen’s own. IV.276 is also addressed to her.
IV.4 “[The Union was rejected] mainly by the British merchants, incensed at the free commerce proposals between England and Scotland. The Commons debate was postponed to winter 1607, to James’ annoyance” - Martyn II.140.
IV.5.1 Cf. Lucretius I.220 namque est in rebus inane.
IV.6 See the commentary note on I.103.
IV.8 Only the British lion will remain unafraid of the Gallic cock (see the commentary note on I.162.4). The ancient belief that lions are terrified by roosters is explained by Lucretius IV.714 - 7:
ni mirum quia sunt gallorum in corpore quaedam
semina, quae cum sunt oculis inmissa leonum,
pupillas interfodiunt acremque dolorem
praebent, ut nequeant contra durare feroces.
This epigram is of course addressed to Prince Henry (Martyn II.140 implausibly thought it refers to Henry VIII’s refusal to come to terms with François I).
IV.9 Bellum Grammaticale was the title of a very popular comedy by Leonard Hutten based on the prose work of Andrea Guarna, produced at Christ Church, Oxon., in 1581, and repeated as an entertainment for the royal visitation of 1592.
IV.9.2 Verbum dare is a Latin idiom for “to cheat.”
IV.12 Waterson was Owen’s publisher, “employing different printers from time to time, but ensuring a uniform appearance (duodecimo size)” - Martyn I.151.
IV.12.3 Martyn (II.140) perceived an allusion James’ cessation of monopolies upon his accession, and the 1604 Parliamentary debates about monopolies. But monopolies were so much a part and parcel of contemporary economic arrangements that it might be misguided to detect any specific historical reference.
IV.14.1 The words solstitium vitae are italicized in some editions, as if a quotation.
IV.16 Martyn (II.140) compared Juvenal’s similar description of trimming courtiers at iii.100 - 108.
IV.19 Sir Edward Herbert, Baron Herbert of Cherbury and a metaphysical writer [1583 - 1648]. Biography in D. N. B.
IV.20 John Harington [1589 - 1654], son of Sir John Harington (for whom see the commentary note on II.5),, subsequently a barrister and M. P.; academic record and biographical facts given by Foster II.654. IV.48, IV.257, and V.61 are also addressed to him.
IV.20.4 In some editions sperare invidiam is italicized, as if it were a quotation. The textual variant Iane for iure reported by Martyn (II.155) deserves consideration.
IV.21 See the commentary note on I.146.2.
IV.22.2 Once again relying on ancient rather than contemporary astronomy, Owen reckons the moon (Luna) as one of the planets.
IV.30 See the commentary note on I.33.4.
IV.31.4 Sleep is called mortis imago by Cicero, Tusculan Disputations I.xcii (echoed by Ovid, Amores II.ix (b).41).
IV.32 Sir Robert Cotton [1571 - 1631], antiquarian and M. P. Biography in D. N. B.
IV.33 “The self-tormentor” (the title of a comedy by Terence). Menedemus is the senex character in the play, not the ancient philosopher (as thought by Martyn II.140). For Price, see the commentary note on III.29.
IV.35 See the commentary note on III.54.
IV.36 See the commentary note on III.95.
IV.38.3 In n. 166 of his edition of Minucius’ Felix Octavius (New York, 1974, p. 240) G. W. Clark pointed out that this adage is quoted only by Christian writers (Lactantius, Div. Inst. 3.20.10, Jerome, Adv. Ruf. 3.28, Tertullian, Adv. Nat. 2.4.15, etc.) “Tertullian ascribed it to Epicurus. There has consequently been much discussion as to the correct attribution…Ariston ap. Stobaeus Florilegium 80.7… shows that the saying was proverbial…and suitably interpreted both Epicurus and more readily Socrates might have been reasonably accredited with nostrum in the philosophical tradition.” It also appears at Augustine, De Quantitate Animae 1.1. [I am indebted to Vojin Nedeljkovic for this information.]
IV.41 The allusion is to the Gregorian calendar, not adopted in England until the eighteenth century.
IV.47 See the commentary note on III.162.
IV.48 See the commentary note on IV.20.
IV.48.4 For his chaplain, Owen’s friend John Tovey, see the commentary note on II.110.
IV.49 Polydore Virgil [1470? - 1555], author of the Anglica Historia.
IV.50 This epigram is written to make it look as if the censor has mangled it. Momus, like Zoilus, is a traditional name for a captious critic.
IV.53.2f. Owen quotes Ovid, Metamorphoses XIII.140f.
IV.55 Cf. Terence, Phormio 203, fortis fortuna adiuvat.
IV.57.1 The hundred-eyed Argus, scarcely the one-eyed Cyclops in Hesiod (as thought by Martyn II.141, although this would destroy the intended contrast with Polyphemus).
IV.58.2 Argus was killed by Mercury whilst guarding Io.
IV.59.1 Astraea was the goddess of justice. She is supposed to have abandoned the earth (Ovid, Metamorphoses I.150, etc.).
IV.59.4 Many Latin humorists made puns on ius “justice” and ius “justice.” Here there is an allusion to the definition of justice given at the beginning of Justinian’s Digest, Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi.
IV.60 A writ of latitat or latitare accused a man of hiding or attempting to hide, and required him to post bond against his appearance in court.
IV.61 For another poem on the incomplete state of Christ Church, cf. I.165. As for Jesus College, Martyn (II.141) wrote “the foundation of Jesus in 1571 by the Welshman, Hugh Price, relied on the old, decaying, White Hall for accommodation, not pulled down until 1613; the new quadrangle, new Hall and Chaple, were virtually complete by 1620.”
IV.62.1 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
IV.63 See the commentary note on III.53.
IV.63.2 In some editions this line is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IV.66.1 Pythagorean neophytes, called akoustikoi, were supposed to listen and hold their silence. But at least according to Aulus Gellus I.ix.3, this phase of their training usually lasted two years. In some editions, Septennis taciturna fides is italicized, possibly as if it were a quotation.
IV.67 Cf. Acts 20:35, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
IV.69 The arrogant Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey [1471? - 1529], eventually arrested for high treason by Henry VIII (he died on the way to the Tower, before suffering the inevitable execution). Owen suggests that, by naming himself before his king, Wolsey fatally betrayed his selfishness to Henry and invited his own downfall.
IV.71 See the commentary note on I.62.
IV.73 See the commentary note on II.217
IV.74 See the commentary note on II.33.
IV.74.6 Ovid, Ars Amatoria III.66.
IV.76.4 Oleum et operam perdere appears to have been a proverbial Roman phrase: cf. Plautus, Poenulus 332 and Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares VIII.i.3.
IV.78 For William Ravenscroft, jurisconsult and M. P. [1561 - 1628] see Foster III.1235. VI.26 is also addressed to Ravenscroft.
IV.79 See the commentary note on III.105.
IV.83 The island of Britain is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, North Sea, and Irish Sea.
IV.87.1 Democritus fr. 68 A 81 (Cicero, Lucullus lv.3).
IV.89 It will be observed that, on the showing of the present epigram, the contemporary revolution in astronomy has made no impression Owen. III.107 seems to suggest greater scientific sophistication. For the Rev. Owen Gwyn see the commentary note on III.166.
IV.93 XII.46 appears to be addressed to the same individual, and to have been written at the same time. From the present we learn that he was a London merchant, and from the latter that his surname was Spencer or Spenser.
IV.96.6 Martyn (II.142) pointed out that this line was copied by Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy I.1.4.4.
IV.98 The anecdote about Cato’s visit to the theater is told by Valerius Maximus II.x.8, and is alluded to in the introduction to Martial, Book I. For Owen’s friend John Tovey see the commentary note on II.110.
IV.100 Benjamin Heyden [1567 - 1607], a contemporary of Owen at Winchester; Headmaster of Winchester and latterly Dean of Wells; academic record and biographical facts at Foster II.701.
IV.106 A Pope would style himself servus servorum.
IV.111 According to Mervyn (I.134) Sir Josiah Bodley [1550 - 1618], a military engineer who served in Ireland and the Netherlands, was educated at Merton College, Oxon., although his name is not registered by Foster.
IV.115 Although Henri IV was not assassinated until 1610, there had been a number of previous attempts on his life. “The proverb provided the motto for the Order of the Death’s Head” - Martyn II.134.
IV.110 See the commentary note on I.16. The remark about the earth being divided into four parts can perhaps be explained with reference to III.182.
IV.117.1 Cf. Matthew 6:24, no man can serve two masters.
IV.118 “Woman, Damnation.”
IV.119 Women’s attire.
IV.121 George Ryves [1559 - 1613] was variously a Fellow of New College, Sub-Warden of Winchester College, and Oxford’s Regius Professor of Greek and, in 1601, served as its Vice-Chancellor (Martyn I.148, academic record and biographical facts at Foster III.1295). IV.144 is also addressed to Ryves.
IV.122 See the commentary note on II.69.
IV.124 See the commentary note on II.20. ) Northampton was “allied” to the Earl of Westmorland, who had married his sister; he was uncle to Philip Howard, a subsequent Earl of Westmorland, and to Henry de Vere, eighteenth Earl of Oxford. His elder brother Thomas was Duke of Norfolk, his father Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (the poet); had the Fates decreed that he should be the firstborn son, he himself would have been Duke of Norfolk.
On the basis of his collation of editions, Martyn wrote “The poem was revised, it seems, after [Howard’s] father’s death; the first draft lacked vv. 3 - 6…and began:
Filius es comitis, comitum patruusque duorum
Unus erat tibi Dux frater, avique duo.”
IV.130 Among the Biblical Hebrews, the tribe of Levi supplied the priesthood. Ostensibly the second line indicates that the addressee’s wife was herself the daughter of a clergyman, but probably there is a pun on levis - she is somehow fickle or silly. If this assessment is right, then evidently Harvey failed to get the joke’s point.
IV.131.4 Abadon is the angel of the bottomless pit of Revelations 9:11. A more recent humorist, Ambrose Bierce, made the same joke in his The Devil’s Dictionary, “Abbadon, n. A certain person who is much in society, but whom one does not meet. A bad one.”
IV.133 For Egerton see the commentary note on II.19. His daughter Mary was married to Sir Francis Leigh of Newnham Regis, Warks., for whom see also the next epigram.
IV.136 See the commentary note on III.200. Open-air sermons were given at St. Paul’s Cross.
IV.141 See the commentary note on II.66.
IV.142 Sir Robert Sidney [1563 - 1626], Viscount Lisle and Earl of Leicester, soldier and M. P.
IV.144 See the commentary note on IV.121.
IV.150 Robert Newman matriculated from New College in 1574 - 5; subsequently a Canon of Wells Cathedral. Academic record and biographical facts at Foster III.1063.
IV.152 See the commentary note on I.3.
IV.152.1 Greek has separate endings for the singular, dual, and plural.
IV.160 John Williams of London was goldsmith to Queen Elizabeth and King James, and also a banker and Alderman: biographical sketch at Martyn I.151. X.44 is also addressed to him, and X.45 indicates that he was a kinsman of the poet. “The growth of London at the expense of smaller neighbours must have helped Williams’ business”: Martyn II.143.
IV.160.3 As far upstream as London, the Thames is a tidal estuary.
IV.161 Possibly the addressee is the father of William Cawley, the regicide (for whom see Foster I.253). I do not know why Martyn (I.136) speculated he may have been a jeweler.
IV.163.1 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
IV.165.5 See the commentary note on II.12.
IV.167.3 Cf. Ecclesiasticus 7:40, in omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua et in aeternum non peccabis.
IV.170 See the commentary note on III.172.
IV.171.2 Luke 1:28.
IV.181 Lit. “Of Little Blackie, Whitened.”
IV.181.1 See the commentary note on II.45.
IV.184 As used here and at XII.22.2, filius terrae = “a nobody, with no pedigree.”
IV.187 (footnote) “Lucky 7 in dice” — Martyn II.144.
IV.188.1f. The crowns are of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The languages are English, and the Celtic tongues of Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall.
IV.188.6 When God cast down the Tower of Babel.
IV.189.2 Mark 6:4, Luke 4:25, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country.
IV.190 Henry Danvers [1573 - 1644] was created Baron Dauntsey in 1603 and Earl of Danby in 1626. Biography in D. N. B. VI.16 and X.14 are also addressed to him.
IV.191.1 Livor is called edax by various Roman poets (e. g. Ovid, Amores I.xv.1, Remedia Amoris 389, Seneca, Phaedra 493, Lucan I.288, Martial XI.xxxiii.3).
IV.193.4 See the commentary note on IV.31.4.
IV.199 Compare III.83. This addressee, an unidentified French physician, wrote a set of six gratulatory epigrams addressed to Owen reprinted by Martyn (I.15), signed D. Du. Tr. Med. Pariense.
IV.204 See the commentary note on III.123.
IV.207 This epigram, in a nutshell, replicates Sir Philip Sidney’s defense of the drama against Puritan attack.
IV.210.1 See the commentary note on IV.50.
IV.210.2 For Balaam and his ass see Numbers 21 - 22.
IV.213 See the commentary note on III.12.
II.215 See the commentary note on II.26.
IV.216.4 He means Cato Uticensis, whose career ended in suicide.
IV.222.2 This line contains a playful allusion to the dura mater and pia mater of the brain.
IV.233.1 Horace, Sermones I.ii.11.
IV.242 See the commentary note on II.110.
IV.244 The schoolmaster and antiquarian William Camden [1551 - 1623] published the first edition of his celebrated Britannia in 1586, and the final edition appeared in 1607. Biography in D. N. B. IX.50 is also addressed to Camden. For Brutus see the commentary note on II.12.
IV.245 Sir Roger Owen [1573 - 1617], barrister and M. P. See the biography of his father Sr Thomas in D. N. B. VIII.2, X.1, X.34, and X.100 are also addressed to Owen.
IV.248 “Mercurius Britannicus” is the pseudonym under which Joseph Hall wrote his Mundus Alter et Idem (ca. 1605). For Hall see the commentary note on VIII.78. Line 1 refers to Sir Thomas More.
IV.249.1 Martial XIV.xciv.1.
IV.250 Dr. William Butler [1535 - 1618]. Biography in D. N. B.
IV.257 See the commentary note on IV.20.
IV.257.1 According to Matthew 14:21, at the time of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
IV.259 And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.
IV.261 Psalm 32:9.
IV.262.2 For Momus see the commentary note on IV.50. For Gnatho see the commentary note on III.188.1.
IV.263 Aristotle’s four causes. Richard Sackville [1590 - 1624], future third Earl of Dorset. Biography in D. N. B. V.14 is also addressed to Sackville.
IV.265 See the commentary note on II.23.
IV.269 For Zoilus see the commentary note on I.103.
IV.270 “In cribbage and other card games, a ‘Pair Royal’ means 3 Kings, 38-spots, etc.” — Martyn II.145.
IV.272 In 1607 the union of England and Scotland was finalized, and James was laboring to effect a peace treaty between Spain and the Dutch Republic. At the same time, he was making “heartfelt speeches on the Union to the Houses of Commons and of Lords [that] led to laws regarding Scotland as a hostile country being abolished” — Martyn II.145.
IV.274 Steganographia = brevity in writing. Polygraphos = a wordy writer, steganographos = a terse one.
IV.276 See the commentary note on IV.1.
V.5 Mercurius Gallo-Belgicus was an annual summary of current events initiated by Michael von Isselt in 1588.
V.9.2 I have altered Harvey’s “and Alman added” to “and th’Alman added,” because it = Alemannus, and that this is another of Owen’s jibes against German fondness for drink.
V.5.1 Cf. Apuleius, Apology xliii, non enim ex omni ligno, ut Pythagoras dicebat, debet Mercurius exculpi.
V.10 This epigram bears a striking resemblance to Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Affaniae I.57:
Dum tuus in flavis messem facit Antius arvis,
Sementem fieri nescit, Atilla, domi.
V.14 See the commentary note on IV.263.
V.15.3 Glossa and glotta are different Greek versions of the same word: thence s and t are allegedly interchangable here too.
V.17 Upsilon (whose forked appearance reminds Owen of a cuckold’s horns) was called the Pytagorean letter. Writing on Aeneid VI.136, Servius explains why: novimus Pythagoram Samium vitam humanam divisisse in modum Y litterae, scilicet quod prima aetas incerta sit. The first line is italicized as if it were a quotation.
V.19.2 Unless a reference to Persius, iv.12, vel cum fallit pede regula varo, the italicized words would appear to quote some shoolman’s dictum.
V.20 “Solomon’s wish” may refer to Ecclesiasticus 30:15, Health and good estate of body are above all gold, and a strong body above infinite wealth.
V.21.1 The reference is of course to Ecclesiastes 1:9, and there is no new thing under the sun.
V.22.1 Henry VII’s consort was the redoubtable Margaret Beaumont. Their daughter Margaret was married to James IV of Scotland, and so was James I’s ancestress.
V.23 See the commentary note on III.8.
V.27.1f. The dove of Genesis 8:8 - 12.
V.29 George Abbot [1562 - 1633], Archbishop of Canterbury. Biography in D. N. B.
V.31 Cf. Matthew 22:21, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
V.33 David Murray [1567 - 1629], poet and Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince Henry. Biography in D. N. B.
V.37 See the commentary note on II.30.
V.38 John King [1559 - 1621], Dean of Christ Church, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford (1607 - 10), and laterrly Bishop of London. Biography in D. N. B.
V.40 Peter Young [1544 - 1628], who with George Buchanan and two others was a tutor to the young James. Biography in D. N. B.
V.43 See the commentary note on II.20.
V.45 Robert Carr [d. 1645], a favorite of King James, first Viscount Rochester, then Earl of Somerset, and a member of the Privy Council. Biography in D. N. B. X.14 is also addressed to Carr.
V.47 The humanistic savant Justius Lipsius (Joest Lips) [1547 - 1606].
V.48 Sir Thomas Overbury [1581 - 1613], the poet whose murder provided the great scandal of James’ reign and brought down Somerset. Biography in D. N. B. Owen must have read the work in question in manuscript, for it was first published posthumously, in 1614, under the title A Wife noew the Widdow of Sir T. Overbury.
V.50.4 See the commentary note on IV.59.4.
V.54 See the commentary note on II.19. For an analysis of this epigram see John R. C. Martyn, “John Owen on Thomas More,” Moreana 14 (1975) 73 - 7.
V.57 (footnote) See the commentary note on III.33.10.
V.59.1 Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:8, I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I (i. e., celibate).
V.61 See the commentary note on IV.20.
V.65 The joke in this epigram is taken from Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Affaniae III.98:
Bini, quos alit educatque, nati
Et suos vocat Antius putatque.
An sui dubiine sint notivi
Vulgus haesitat. Inficit Sabellus,
“Verum tandem ego providus sciensque
Novo qua ratione callidisque
Signis, iuditiis quibus, notisque
Suos esse satis probet popello,
Ut nec inficias eat Sabellus.
Suis nempe meus libris quod Aldus
Natis Antius hoc suis inurat
Ex dono Caranii sui sodalis.”
V.67.3 A witty parody of Aeneid I.199, dabit deus his quoque finem.
V.73 See the commentary note on II.36.
V.77 The famous warrior-Pope Julius II [regnavit 1503 - 13] took a vigorous part in the Italian Wars, to restore the Papal States. Martyn (II.146) observed “Owen’s attack is like Erasmus’ in his Moriae Encomium, Ch. 59.”
V.77.1 Evidently this refers to John 18:10, Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath.
V.78.2 Davus is a traditional Roman slave’s name.
V.79 See the commentary note on I.8.
V.81 Thomas Button, the admiral and explorer, was despatched by Prince Henry to seek the Northwest Passage in 1612, and explored Hudson’s Bay. Biography in D. N. B.
V.81.1 See the commentary note on III.6.3.
V.81.3 Matthew 7:7.
V.81.4 Vergil, Aeneid III.395, X.113.
V.83.3 Martyn (I.149) quoted James I’s 1597 Daemonologie I.6, Such innumerable false practicques, which are proven by over-manie in this age. As they who are acquainted with that Italian called Scoto still living can report. By Owen’s testimony, he haled from Parma.
V.87.1 Owen’s memory betrayed him. The proper reference is John 2:1, And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
V.89 Cf. Horace, Epistles I.ii.62, ira furor brevis est.
V.90 See the commentary note on I.62. For Goodyear see the commentary note on II.33.
V.90.2 In Plautus, olla is spelled aula (at e. g. Aulularia 611).
V.100 (footnote) Martyn (II.146) compared James Howell’s It. Prov. 15, As sound as a fish, or a bell, and notes that Howell [1594? - 166] was also Welsh.
V.107 Henry Cuff [b. 1563], author and politician. Biography in D. N. B. (where the date of his death is given as 1601: presumably the discrepancy is because he died prior to March 25, 1601).
V.108.2f. William Lilly’s Latin grammar (Grammatices Rudimenta, 1527, an expanded version Colet’s Rudimenta) was the standard textbook used in grammar schools. The noun cornus is of course not indeclinable, although in the singular the nominative, accusative, and ablative look alike.
V.109 The story is told (most recently by Peter Ackroyd, The Life of Thomas More, London, 1998, p. 391) that when in the Tower More showed a visitor his filled chamber pot, saying “For anything that I can perceive, this patient is not so sick that me may do well, if it be not the king’s pleasure that he should die.”
V.110 This joke was appropriated by George Ruggle in his comedy Ignoramus (Act II, 787ff.)
VI.3 Hysteron proteron (“last first”) a Greek rhetorical technique whereby a speaker rebuts his opponent’s points in reverse order. Owen wittily calls it a “preposterous” form of speech.
VI.7.2 I. e., it would take the oracle of Delphi to resolve my doubt.
VI.8 See the commentary note on II.37.
VI.9 See the commentary note on III.13.
VI.13 Sir Edward Coke [1552 - 1634], distinguished legalist and James’ Attorney General. Biography in D. N. B.
VI.14 A cross-staff used for taking the altitude of the sun.
VI.15.1f. It is not clear what passages in the Bible Owen had in mind. Martyn (II.147) identified the Ovid allusion as Fasti II10f.:
sederunt medio terra
terra fretumque solo.
VI.16 See the commentary note on IV.190.
VI.20 Sir George Carew [1551 - 1623], Master of the Court of Wards. Biography in D. N. B.
VI.21 The footnote explains the joke: the Pope, heir to the fisherman Peter, enjoins many days upon which only fish may be eaten, because it is good for the industry.
VI.26 See the commentary note on IV.78.
VI.29.4 According to Martyn (II.47) “This is an early use (the first?) in England of ’Platonic’ as ‘spritual’ as opposed to ‘sexual’ love.”
VI.33 An edition of the complete works of St. John Chrysosotom in eight volumes was published in 1610 - 1613 by Sir Henry Savile [1549 - 1622], who bullied the government into allowing him to be simultaneously Warden of Merton College, Oxon., and Provost of Eton College. Biography in D. N. B., and a biography by Wood II.310 - 317.
VI.35 The title seems to mean “property in the fourth degree” (evidently a legal term, perhaps having to with inheritance, although not derived from classical Roman law), and the footnote is “For every man alone, and always.”
VI.37 Edward Sackville [1591 - 1653], the future fourth Earl of Dorset. Biography in D. N. B.
VI.42.1f. Martyn [II.147] preferred the variant reading Nescio quos on the grounds that “Nescio quot…is unlikely with the indicative, afferit.” But the thing being discussed is the number of worlds, and Martyn printed the impossible verb form afferit — surely Owen wrote asserit.
VI.46.3 Vergil, Aeneid I.435 = Georgics 4.168.
VI.47.1 In some editions this line is italicized as if it is a quotation.
VI.48 Sir Edward Wotton [1548 - 1626], member of James’ Privy Council. Biography in D. N. B. VII.36 is also addressed to him.
VI.51 The four parts of arithmatic are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Evidenty Dindimus is being urged to divide his wealth and share it with the poor.
VI.57 Henri IV, king of Navarre and then of France. In line 2, Mervyn (II.57) preferred the textual variant caput on the grounds that “the king’s life (caput) was at risk.” But this fails to appreciate the specific allusion to his assassination by Ravaillac in 1610, when he was stabbed in the side, not the head.
VI.59 The three members of Rome’s first triumvirate: Pompey died in Egypt, Crassus in Parthia, and Caesar at Rome, in Europe.
VI.60 See the commentary note on II.20.
VI.61.1 Vergil, Aeneid I.73 = IV.126.
VI.62.1 Using the unclassical adjective holosericus, the Latin describes Faelix as being dressed all in silk.
VI.62.3 Horace, Ars Poetica 142 (translating Odyssey I.2).
VI.70 (footnote) Graecari (or pergraecari) literally means “act like a Greek,” with the connotation “behave riotously.”
VI.72 Pope Leo (“Lion”), from Florence (“the city of flowers”) gave the title to Henry thus called, perhaps, because the Tudor dynasty had united the red and white roses of Lancaster and York, and because the lion and the unicorn are featured in the royal crest.
VI.75 Warren Townsend [b. 1581], lawyer; academic record and biographical facts given by Foster IV.1501. X.74 may also be addressed to him.
VI.76.1 Parmenides p.136C.
VI.77.1 The Hebrew word is nepesh (Martyn II.148).
VI.82 Robert Johnston [1567? -1639]; biography in D. N. B. His Roberti Jonstoni, Scoto-Britanni, historiarum libri duo, continentes Rerum Britannicarum vicinarumque regionum historias maxime memorabiles was published posthumously at Amsterdam in 1642, and a fuller version, Historia Rerum Britannicarum, at Amsterdam in 1655. The present epigram stands at the beginning of the 1655 volume.
VI.84 Matthew 19:21.
VI.86.1 Martyn (II.148) explains that renes can mean “loins” as well as “kidneys” — this is yet another of Owen’s humorous epigrams about venereal disease, which greatly amused moralists of the times because the sin became its own punishment.
VI.95 Martyn (I.135) explains: Robert Calvin was “born in Edinburgh in 1605, he was grandson of Lord Colvill of Culross, whose family name often apeared as Colvin; Robert is given as Calvin in the English law books. In 1607 a piece of land was bought in his name (aged 2) in England, and an action brought against Bingley and Griffen for having deprived him thereof. A suit was also instituted in Chancery against two others who had detained papers relating to the land’s ownership. The case was most significant, being a test case for the post-nati; if proved alien, Robert would be barred from holding land in England. Then of the twelve judges of the Exchequer Chamber supported the Chancellor in declaring him a natural subject of the King of England, following the law delivered in the House of Lords (see State Trials 2.559). Despite this resolution of the Naturalisation problem, the Commons continued to reject Commercial Union with Scotland.”
Vl.95.1 In the parlance of the times, those born after the accession of King James were called post-nati.
VII.1 Cf. Statius, Silvae I, pr. 18: Primus libellus sacrosanctum habet testem: sumendum enim erat ’a Iove principium.’
VII.3.3 Sir James Fullerton, tutor to Prince Charles. “His name does not appear in the biographies of Charles I” — Martyn I.139. VII.22 is addressed to Fullerton. Thomas Murray [1526 - 1623], subsequently Provost of Eton College, and author of poems published in the second volume of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637). Biography in D. N. B. VII.26 is also addressed to Murray. Harvey’s translation omits the tutors’ names.
VII.4.1 The Greek poet Simonides is credited with first inventing a system for mnemonics (Cicero, De Oratore II.ccclvii).
VII.8 The Bodleian Library opened its doors in 1602.
VII.8.4 The scholar - diplomaticist Thomas Bodley [1545 - 1613] gave the University of Oxford the grant to found the Bodleian Library in 1598. Biography in D. N. B.
VII.10 In addition to being wife of James I and mother of Charles I, Queen Anne was daughter of Frederick II of Denmark and sister of Christian IV of Denmark.
VII.11.2 Owen may have been thinking of Ovid, Heroides xvi.274, o Iove digna viro, ni Iove nata fores.
VII.9 See the commentary note on VI.9.
VII.16 See the commentary note on I.62.
VII.16 Vergil, Aeneid II.49.
VII.18 Robert Carey [1560? - 1639], governor of Prince Charles’ household. Biography in D. N. B. His mother was Anne Boleyn’s sister.
VII.20.2 See the commentary note to I.146.
VII.22 See the commentary note on VII.3.3.
VII.22.4 Martyn (II.148) observed the parody of Vergil, Aeneid VI.129, hoc opus, hic labor est.
VII.26 See the commentary note on VII.3.3.
VII.27.1 In some editions virtute…niti is italicized as if it were a quotation, or an old proverb.
VII.28.2 As at the time of Atreus’ ghastly feast.
VII.30.1 Probably this “quotation” is a parody of Terence, Phormio 203, fortis fortuna adiuvat.
VII.32 Sir John Puckering [1544 - 1596], Lord Keeper of the Great Seal; biography in D. N. B. Probably this epigram was written as a compliment to his son, Sir Thomas (for whom see the commentary note on III.12).
VII.34 Compare I.79.
VII.36 See the commentary note on VI.48. In 1610 Wotton was sent to France as an ambassador extraordinary, to congratulate Louis XIII on his access to the throne. James, hard-pressed for money, discovered he was unable to pay Wotton’s salary, and appointed him Provost of Eton instead.
VII.37 See the commentary note on III.160.
VII.39 In France, the Salic Law barred women from dynastic succession.
VII.40 See the commentary note on II.38.
VII.41 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
VII.46 See the commentary note on II.172. Daniel was not the kind of man given to sword-wielding, and Owen is probably alluding to his First Fowr Bookes of the Civile Wars between the Houses of Lancaster and York (1595), and, in effect, remarking that he wrote military history as well as sonnets.
VII.47.1 In some editions, insipiens novitas, delira vetustas is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
VII.50 This epigram alludes to Matthew 25:32 - 34, And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
VII.51.1 Cf. tempus edax rerum at Ovid, Metamorphoses XV.234.
VII.59.1 The dative case, is so to speak, the case of giving, and the ablative may be called the case of taking away: the dative is therefore preferable, because it is better to give than to receive.
VII.62 Saturn’s three sons are Omnipotent (Jupiter), Amnipotent (River-Powerful, i. e. Neptune), and Nummipotent (Money-Potent, i. e. Pluto).
VII.65 The physician Theodore Diodate [d. 1650], one of those Italian immigrants who, like his friend and collaborator John Florio, brightened the Elizabethan scene. See the D. N. B. biography of his son John, the young Milton’s great friend.
VII.67.2 In some editions currat ad Antipodes is italicized as if it were a quotation.
VII.68.4 Martyn (II.149) argued that Owen “wrote palliat, it seems, to explain pallia, instead of the proper palleat.”
VII.74 Quintus is a follower of the rhetorician and logician Peter Ramus [1515 - 72], who believed the truth could be attained by taking a category, dividing it in half, then dividing the halves and so forth until absolute true definitions are attained. Quintus would like to dispense with primogeniture and perform a similar operation on his father’s estate.
VII.75.1 See the commentary note on II.88.
VII.75.2 See the commentary note on I.17.4.
VII.78 “Water is best” (the opening words of Pindar’s first Olympian Ode).
VII.79 “I undertake / Scipio / pious.”
VII.81 Horace, Odes IV.vii.16.
VII.82.2 Phaulos = a rascal.
VII.84 The allusion is of course to the conversion St. Paul, as described in the Book of Acts.
VII.86 See the commentary note on VII.26.
VII.88 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
VII.90 Anglican lecterns frequently have eagles carved on them. In line 2 construe Iehova as a genitive.
VII.91 The celebrated preacher Tobie Mathew [1546 - 1628], one-time Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, elected Bishop of Durham 1595, and Archbishop of York 1606. Biography in D. N. B.
VII.97.2 Here Pluto (who should be Plutus) is the god of wealth, not the god of the underworld.
VII.100 This sentiment comes from an anonymous lost tragedy (by Pacuvius?), quoted by Cicero, Tusculan Disputations V.cviiii.
VII.103 As punishment for having seen Diana bathing, Actaeon was torn apart by his own hounds.
VII.103.2 Owen actually wrote “and his horns remain to be seen at London.”
VII.104.4 See the commentary note on VI.51.
VII.106 See the commentary note on III.29.
VII.107.1 For William Lilly’s Latin grammar see the commentary note on V.108.2f. A heteroclite noun is one that is declined irregularly.
VII.110 Cf. Plautus, Stichus 120, Ex malis multis malum quod minimum est, id minume est malum.
VII.121 William Sutton, of Christ Church [1562 - 1632]; academic record and biographical facts at Foster IV.1444. Biography at Wood II.546 - 8.
VIII.2 For Sir Edward Noel, Baron Noel of Rivlington [1586 - 1643]. Biography in D. N. B. VIII.5, VIII.21, VIII.56, X.100, and XII.55. are also addressed to Noel. For Sir Roger Owen, see the commentary note on IV.245. For Sir William Sedley, Bart. [1558 - 1613], see the academic record and biographical facts given by Foster IV.1356. Martyn (II.150) pointed out that his eventual heir was Sir Charles Sedley, the Restoration poet-playwright
VIII.5 See the preceding commentary note.
VIII.6.1 See the commentary note on IV.55.
VIII.8.3 In Greek, a poietes is literally a “maker.”
VIII.11 The point of this epigram is that the Latin word for a kiss, osculum, contains within it os (“mouth”) and culum (the accusative of culus, “anus”).
VIII.13.1 Aeacus was, together with Minos and Rhadamanthus, one of the judges in the Underworld. Owen is simply pointing out that Coventry and Warwick are in different dioceses and in different counties.
VIII.15.1 The allusion is to Ovid’s Ars Amatoria.
VIII.16 Owen ironically pretends that judicial corruption cannot happen in England, and that such evils can only exist elsewhere, as in France.
VIII.21 See the commentary note on VIII.2.
VIII.22 Pace Martyn (II.150), the subject of this epigram is has nothing to do with Festus, the procurator of Judaea before whom St. Paul was haled (for whom see the commentary note on X.56). As Martyn himself noted (II.153) Festus was not “sympathetic towards Paul, but ultimately responsible for his escape from the Sanhedrin, and departure for proper trial in Rome.” So he is an inappropriate “type” for an iniquitous judge.
VIII.23.2 Mentula (“penis”). Harvey’s translation destroys the humor of the original.
VIII.27 See the commentary note on I.59.
VIII.32.1 A gold coin displaying the archangel Michael, with which the gentleman purchases an ecclesiastical living from a corrupt bishop. We learn this from the title given XII.52, “DA MIHI ANGELUM, ET EGO DABO TIBI SPIRITUM,” SACROS ORDINES PETENTI DIXIT EPISCOPUS (except for its expanded title, XII.52 is identical to the present epigram).
VIII.33.2 In some editions est tua magna fides is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
VIII.34.2 Parca means “sparing, stingy.”
VIII.36.1 In some editions this line is italicized, as if it were a quotation or a proverb.
VIII.36.2 Horace, Satires I.ii.24.
VIII.38 I have not discovered any record of this incident. Perhaps it was some contretemps that followed the death of John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1603.
VIII.41.2 See the commentary note on VIII.11.
VIII.44 The titles of most epigrams begin with one of these three prepositions.
VIII.45.3 “Vagrancy was so bad within six months of James I’s accession that he ordered such ‘rogues and vagabonds’ to be deported to Newfoundland, the East and West Indies, etc. The normal punishments for beggars were severe: whipping, branding with an R on the left shoulder, and hanging for a second offence” — Martyn II.150.
VIII.46 For the sentiment, cf. Terence, Adelphoe 687, peccatum primum sane magnum, at humanum tamen.
VIII.50.1 Owen may have been thinking of de Officiis II.lxxxiii, At ille Graecus, id quod fuit sapientis et praestantis viri, omnibus consulendum putavit, eaque est summa ratio et sapientia boni civis, commoda civium non divellere atque omnis aequitate eadem continere.
VIII.53 “To Owen, the ‘sale’ of crucifixes was close to Simony” — Martyn II.150.
VIII.56 See the commentary note on VIII.2.
VIII.58.1 A line written by Matthew Borbonius in one of his mottoes for various emperors, this one being for Lothaire :
Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis:
Illa vices quasdam res habet, illa vices.
VIII.60 Some Oxford notable had a daughter named Agnes, who turned out to be a whore (lupa ). I doubt that his name was Benedict. The gentleman is mentioned under a pseudonym derived from the traditional blessing pronounced at academic meals, benedictus benedicat.
VIII.68.8 Inopsve is superior to the alternative reading inopsne selected by Martyn.
VIII.65 (footnote) “’Long Lane,” between Smithfield and Aldersgate Street, then one of London’s longest and busiest shopping streets, alive with hucksters, and lined with tenements and new and second-hand clothing shops” — Martyn II.151.
VIII.71.2 Cf. Publilius Syrus I 6, inopi beneficium bis dat, qui dat celeriter.
VIII.72 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid I.475, infelix puer atque impar congressus Achilli.
VIII.78 Joseph Hall [1574 - 1656], the scurrilous Cambridge satirist who subsequently “got religion” and rose to be Bishop of Norwich. Biography in D. N. B. I.99 may also be addressed to Hall. Owen refers to his Meditatiunculae Subitaneae (1601). See also IV.248.
VIII.80 (footnote) Juvenal ii.161. John R. C. Martyn (Hermes 102, 1974, 344f.) took this epigram as a serious criticism of Juvenal’s text, and proposed reading nimia for minima.
VIII.87.2 See Harvey’s footnote to the translation of this epigram, and also the commentary note on II.26.
VIII.94 Gerere = “bear,” regere = “rule.”
VIII.97 and 98 For Irus see the commentary note on III.28.3.
VIII.99 For Momus see the commentary note on IV.50.
IX.4 See the commentary note on VIII.2.
IX.5 John Sidley or Sedley [1597 - 1638]; academic record and biographical facts are given by Foster IV.1332.
IX.4.6 In some editions te meliora manent is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.5.4 The formula of the Nicene Creed.
IX.8 Two ancient divinities that had to do with change and therefore with inconstancy: Vertumnus was the Roman god (inherited from the Etruscans) of the changing seasons, and Proteus was the shape-shifting marine deity of the Odyssey. Owen may have remembered Vertumnus because Matthew Gwinne’s comedy Vertumnus, sive Annus Recurrens was produced at St. John’s College, Oxon., for a royal visitation on August 29, 1607.
IX.11.8 Genesis 1:10 etc.
IX.11 (footnote) Acts 22:1.
IX.15.4 Horace, Sermones I.iv.85.
IX.16 “Money accomplishes all.” The escu (“Shield”) and angelot (a gold coin depicting the Archangel Michael) were French and British coinage respectively.
IX.24.2 See the commentary note on I.146.
IX.25.6 In some editions, vivimus ut loquimur is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.40 “You say, scarce amiss, that meretricious misses are mere tricks. Yet whores rarely have hairs on their hides.”
IX.44 See the commentary note on IV.33.
IX.45 See the commentary note on VIII.2.
IX.47 See the commentary note on VII.74.
IX.48.2 Acts 22:26.
IX.50 See the commentary note on IV.244.
IX.60.2 Horace, Odes I.xxv.4.
IX.61 Cf. Cicero’s definition of a friend at De Amicitia lxxxi.1, est enim is, qui est tamquam alter idem.
IX.62 Mark 10.14.
IX.73 Matthew 22:14.
IX.74 “Besides the pun on sal (’salt’ or ’wit’), Owen compares the cheaper, refined salt in England with the taxed and coarse, soil-stained Franch salt (it being uneconomical to exclude impurities)” — Martyn II.152.
IX.75.1 In some editions, non semper erunt nova is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.76.1 In some editions, natura…artes is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.77.5 Vergil, Aeneid I.364.
IX.79.2 In some editions, vivere vita docet is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.79.4 In some editions, bene dicta docent is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
IX.81.1 Pythagoras is supposed to have sacrificed an ox in gratitude for his discovery of his famous theorem.
IX.83 Solomon, the author of The Song of Songs, and Joshua Ben Sirach, author of Ecclesiasticus.
IX.84 Matthew 19:21.
IX.89.2 The Attic-born Triptolemus was sent around the world by Ceres in a chariot, and subsequently deified.
IX.96 Tusculan Disputations I.cv.
IX.98.1 Statius, Thebais III.661.
IX.99 For Sedley, see the commentary note on VIII.2.
IX.99.1 The elderly king of Pylos in the Iliad.
IX.99.4 Plato’s immensely long cosmic year, when all the heavenly bodies will have completed their revolutions (Timaeus p. 39D).
X.1 See the commentary note on IV.245. X.18 is omitted from the numeration of epigrams in some editions, and X.29 in some others (although the epigrams are present). In such editions, 54 and 55 are not counted as separate items.
X.5.1 In some editions, si sapis, es stultus is italicized, possibly as if it were a quotation.
X.8.1 Vergil, Eclogues viii.69.
X.10.2 A capite ad calcem = cap à pie.
X.12 See the commentary note on II.19. Ellesmere’s older son Thomas had been killed fighting in Ireland in 1599, leaving his son John Egerton [1579 - 1649], the future first Earl of Bridgewater; it was for him and his wife that Milton wrote Comus.
X.14 For Carr see the commentary note on V.45. For Danvers see the commentary note on IV.190.
X.14.1 The Jacobus was a gold coin issued during the reign of James I.
X.15.2 In some editions, this line is italicized as if it were a quotation. Possibly it is Owen’s parody of Vergil, Aeneid VIII.405f.:
optatos dedit amplexus placidumque petivit
coniugis infusus gremio per membra soporem.
X.19.1f Ovid, Tristia I.ii.49f., with fructus for fluctus.
X.19.4 Harvey’s printed text has More than the tenth, but gives the tenth to you, which seems to make no sense and does not translate the Latin’s qui dedit ipse decem. I have written but gives the ten to you under the assumption Owen refers to the Ten Commandments.
X.22.5 Cf. Ovid, Amores I.xv.42, vivam, parsque mei ulta superstes erit.
X.24.4 In some editions vendis emisque tuum is italicized, perhaps as if it were a quotation.
X.25 In some editions scafa…gerit is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
X.26 Cf. Ephesians 5:31, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
X.27.2 In some editions solem imitetur homo is italicized, perhaps as if it were a quotation.
X.28.2 In some editions nascitur igne nihil is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
X.30 See the commentary note on III.29.
X.31.4 In some editions deos posuit, sustulit illa deos is italicized, perhaps as if it were a quotation.
X.33.4 See the commentary note on I.146.
X.34 See the commentary note on IV.245.
X.35.1 The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3 - 10, managing to overlook 5:11).
X.35.2 Noah saved himself, his wife, his three sons, and their wives (Genesis 7:7).
X.38.2 See the commentary note on V.5.1.
X.39 This punning joke is taken from Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Affaniae III.79:
Cum te relinquit Phoebus in lecto occidens,
Oriensque lecto repperit,
Mediique cursus mox labore exaestuans
Lecto exeuntum vix videt,
Haud ille frustra (Galla) sit, qui faeminam
Te dixerit lectissimam.
X.41.1 Ovid, Tristia II.i.271.
X.42 X.45 indicates that all three of these individuals named John Williams were Owen’s kinsmen. The first is Dr. John Williams [d. 1613], Principal of Jesus College from 1602, also Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity (from 1594) and Vice-Chancellor of the univjeristy in 1604; academic record and biographical facts given by Foster IV.1640, biographical notice at Wood II.132.
X.43 John Williams [1582 - 1650], Fellow of St. John’s College, Cantab., and subsequently Archbishop of York. Biography in D. N. B.
X.43.2 In some editions a tergo…videt is italicized, perhaps as if it were a quotation.
X.44 See the commentary note on IV.160.
X.54 Before the adoption of the reformed calendar, the winter solstice fell on December 11, and the summer one on June 11.
X.55 For Paul and the procurator Felix, see Acts 23. For Paul and his successor Festus see the following chapter.
X.56 Harvey translated an edition in which the two distichs of X.54 were counted as epigrams 54 and 55, and the present item as omitted. In the edition followed here, X.56 is a repetition of X.51.
X.60 Maevius is one of the two bad poets mentioned at Vergil, Eclogue iii.90.
X.64.2 See the commentary note on VI.51.
X.69.1 Ovid, Amores III.iv.17 (modern texts have negata).
X.74 More accurately, “When you are your servant’s student and your teacher’s master.” Evidently it is written about a student who socially outranks his tutor. “G. T.” is perhaps Warren Townshend, the addressee of VI.75.
X.76 As Owen’s footnote shows, this epigram is suggested by a Spanish proverb, The cross on one’s breast, the Devil in one’s heart.
X.79 Harvey translated an edition which contained the attested variant non sinit (with Mosche not marked off with commas).
X.80 The Latin is more trenchant than Harvey’s translation: “The medico acts without measure, the lawyer is an outlaw. What are theologians [lit., men who discourse about God]? Nought but men who talk about God.”
X.81.1f. In some editions, nocet esse locutum and tacuisse nocet are italicized, as if they were quotations.
X.86.1 In some editions, miscenda theorica praxi is italicized, as if it were a quotation.
X.89.1 Martyn (II.154) compared Juvenal vii.51f., tenet insanabilie multos scribendi cacoethes / scriptores.
X.90.2 In some editions, nullus in inferno est atheus is italicized, as if it were a quotation (perhaps of a proverb).
X.94.1 Bedlam was a madhouse and Bridewell a penal workhouse.
X.97.1 Cf. Genesis 9:4, But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
X.98 See the commentary note on II.19.
X.100 For these individuals see the commentary note on VIII.2.
X.101 Prince Henry died in November 1612.
X.101.4f. Charles, Duke of York, his full (germanus) brother; Elizabeth his “German sister,” because earlier in 1612 she had married Frederick, Prince Palatine of the Rhine.
XII.2 This interesting statement unfortunately comes from an incomplete poem, being the pentameter of an elegiac couplet. Possibly the idea was to contrast the Christian faith, rooted in history, with some other that is not.
XII.4 Compare I.45.
XII.6 See the commentary note on II.19.
XII.7 See the commentary note on IV.110. The Protestant Scaliger abandoned France for Geneva after the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (August 1572).
XII.8.3 The phrase extremum axem denotes the North Pole (Owen’s hyperbole for England). Cf. Germanicus, Aratea 21f.:
extremum geminus determinat axem
quem Grai dixere polon:
XII.9 I have not been able to identify this man. One would expect James Morse or Morris, but no contemporary having one of these surnames appears in the records of the Universities or published a book in England. The suspicion arises that, like at least one of his drinking-companions in XII.16, he was a foreign visitor. Mors ius non habet in te involves a sort of anagram with the first two words (Morsius).
XII.9.1 At least some printed texts have scripsi. For the shortened form scripsti cf. Plautus, Asinaria 802.
XII.10 Thomas Farnaby [1575? - 1647], a notable English classicist. Biography in D. N. B. His edition of Seneca’s tragedies was published in 1613.
XII.11 Owen wrote a number of epigrams (e. g. IV.67, VI.51, VII.7, VII.107) urging the rich to give to the poor. Many of these, characteristically of the poet, combine Christian morality with sallies of wit. I cannot identify Thomas Pantschmann.
XII.11.3 Persona literally = actor’s mask. Since in Roman comedy the characters were very stereotyped (senex, adulescens, etc.) and identifiable to the audience, here persona = “character type,” “category of people.”
XII.14 A parody of Aeneid I.204f. (in view of this, the second line is probably not incomplete):
per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum
tendimus in Latium.
XII.15 Clearly this is an epigram about Owen rather than by him (I cannot identify its author Paul Stockman). It is also quite evident that it is written by someone who knew Owen’s attitude towards batchelorhood. See such epigrams as I.132, IV.35, and VI.26, as well as XII.17 directly below.
XII.16. Fetzer and Morsius were a pair of German travelers and avid autograph-collectors (see Heinrich Schneider, Joachim Morsius und sein Kreis, Lübeck, 1929 and, for Morsius, K. Goldmann, ürnberger und Altdorfer Stammbücher aus vier Jahrhunderten: ein Katalogue: ein Katalog: zur Erinnerung an die Errichtung der Akademie Altdorf im Jahre 1580 p. 95). At first sight “Matthaeus Leius” would appear to be a Latinized form of Matthew Lee or Leigh, who is possibly the individual who received the B. A. from Christ’s College, Cantab., in 1600 and the M. a four years later (Venn III.64). But this identification is far from certain. At XII.19 this individual signed himself M. Mathhais Leius, Avrillariensis, and I am unclear what this last word means. Certainly not “of Oriel College (Oxon.),” both because the Latin adjectival formation would not be quite right, and because Lee does not appear in Foster. Another possibility is that this individual might have been a Frenchman from Orléans. The usual Latin name of that city was Aurelianum or Aurelianense Palatium, but the variants Auriliana and Avrilanis Civitas were also sometimes used. But again the adjectival form is dissatisfactory: one would expect Aurilianus or Avrilianus. This and the following three items obviously comprise a miniature series, as they were supposed to have been minted on the same occasion. [I am indebted to Vera Keller of Princeton University for the information on Fezer and Morsius — 10.31.05.]
XII.18 “M. L.” is, no doubt, the Mattaeus Leius of XII.16 directly above.
XII.20.2 At least some printed texts have Non magis at coeci, which makes no sense.
XII.22 For similar comical pondering on the implications of the Adam and Eve story, see X.36.
XII.22.2 See the commentary note on IV.184.
XII.23 See VI.72 and VI.73.
XII.24.3f. See the commentary note on V.89.
XII.25 Other epigrams about Columbus are V.21 and V.27.
XII.35 This cynicism about royal politics is uncharacteristic of Owen. Did he write this in reaction to some particular diplomatic move of James? The only epigram in which he even obliquely criticizes James is III.5 (see the commentary note ad loc.), for abandoning Holland in her struggle against Spain, which he seems to have regarded as a betrayal of Elizabeth’s foreign policy. Possibly he had a similar evaluation of James’ subsequent peace treaty with Spain.
XII.37 and 38 Possibly the woman was called “Justitia” as a nickname; from the following epigram we learn that her actual name was Justina. She was one of the four Venetian whores, named after the four virtues, whom Owen writes about in VI.67.
XII.40 The title comes from Cicero’s famous line (fragment 11 of De Consulato Suo), cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi. Cicero was of course the learned Roman knight. The point of this rather obscure epigram is that in Owen’s day the academic gown was called a toga. A university man (dominus) of knightly rank has gotten involved in some kind of scandal or squabble, perhaps over his mistress, where he resorted to arms.
XII.41.4 As the result of James’ creation of Great Britain. Owen seems guilty of hyperbole: Scotland is not larger than England, the largest component of the United Kingdom.
XII.45.2 At least some printed texts wrongly have specula (“mirrors”).
XII.46 See the commentary note on IV.93.
XII.47.1 The first words of Cicero’s De Officiis.
XII.48.2 The statement that “Mars is now in Cyprus” refers to the siezure of that island by the Ottomans in the early 1570’s.
XII.49 The allusion of course is to John 1:1.
XII.50.1 Judges 145:8 (which says he found honey in a lion’s carcass).
XII.53 Evidently divisio here is used in the sense of “definition by the Ramist method” (see the commentary note on VII.74).
XII.54 See the commentary note on IV.73.
XII.55 For Sir Edward Noel see the commentary note on VIII.2. Evidenty Owen was mistaken: according to the D. N. B., his wife’s Christian name was Joanna.
XII.55.1 Owen was mistaken: this saying belongs to Ovid, Ars Amatoria II.155.
XII.56 - 59 These poems originally appeared after Monosticha Quaedam Ethica et Politica Veterum Sapientum — i. e. the spurious Book XI - in Owen’s 1607 volume, but were tranferred to the end of Book XII by seventeenth-century editors.
XII.57.5 Tobit 4:3.
XII.57.9 1 Kings 19:1.