Numbers in the notes are those I have assigned to poems. “P” refers to Ross’s Poems on Events of the Day. "G"= Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, trans. Lewis Thorpe (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966), followed by Book and Chapter. Britannica is discussed at some length in my “Geoffrey among the Lawyers: Britannica (1607) by John Ross of the Inner Temple,” Sixteenth Century Journal 23 (1992) 235 - 49.
2.6 The pun on olbos appears in the title of Drayton's Poly-Olbion, unpublished till 1612 but begun, according to Meres, by 1598. Drayton, who signed his preface at the Inner Temple, had strong ties to the society. See note on 4.
12 In G “Brennius” gets Northumbria as well (3.1). Ross's spelling equates him with the actual Gallic conqueror of Rome in 390 B.C. (this identification was scarcely original to Ross, Polydore Vergil I.23 had found it necessary to discredit it).
18 Caesar is nobler in G 4.1. The speech on Britain's remoteness from the warm, civilized south repeats English complaints about cisalpine boasts such as those expressed in Drayton’s Englands Heroicall Epistles, Henry Howard to Lady Geraldine, 227 - 34.
26 G 5f. is augmented here by the political analysis, which alludes to the conspiracies and unrest of Ross's time. Ross omits G's blaming of the Picts for Basianus's fall. Following this in G 5.6, omitted in Ross, is the story of Coel or Cole and his capitulation to Rome.
27 Constantine, receiving the longest poem of any king, also represents Ross's greatest departure from G. Ross amplifies G 5.6 on Constantine's parents and tells the story of the vision of the cross, as G does not (5.7f.). He perpetuates the story of Constantine's British mother, already long disputed (e.g., Holinshed 4.23). He used a variety of sources, especially the historians Theodoretus, Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomenus (all included in Cassiodorus' Historia Tripartita), and perhaps Eusebius. His form of the message from heaven, ΕΝ ΤΟΥΤΩ ΝΙΚΑ is in Soc. Schol. 1.2. Some of Arius's sayings are in Theod. Ι.ιιι. His description of Licinius's killing by a private soldier (privati periit militis ille manu) may be due to a misreading of Soz. 1.7 (cf. Cassiod., Hist. [Paris, 1574]: privatusque Thessalonicae aliquanto tempore permanerat, ibique perimeretur), who says he was living a private life. Ross omits details unflattering to Constantine, such as his banishment of Athanasius in 336. The gory details of Arius's death at a public toilet are in Soc. Schol. Ι.38. In the next-to-last paragraph the “warlike horse” is Pegasus, another allusion to the badge of the Inner Temple: for Ross's belief in the interdependency of arms and the law see P 9 and P 52.
30 This poem jumps from G 6.16 to G 8.2, Book 7 of G being the prophecies of Merlin (on which see 31). In Apostrophe, the Nymph's last speech (260ff.), compares Hengist's massacre to the Gunpowder Plot.
32 The “Saxon yoke” is a variant of the mythic "Norman yoke.” Verulamum is the old name of St. Alban's (G 8.23); the city did not rebel but was a center for Octa's and Eosa's forays against the Britons. Ross invents Octa's scoffing speech about Uther.
42.13ff. The name is from the Greek aletheia, truth, who is proverbially the daughter of time. See D. J. Gordon, “Veritas Filia Temporis: Hadrian Juknus and Geoffrey Whitney,” in his The Renaissance Imagination (Berkeley, 1975), 220 - 32.
41.153ff. Details were available from the “official” version of the story in Anon., A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors (1606): 36 barrels weighed down to increase blast effects; presentation of would-be victims by rank; innocence of Prince Henry; plan for rebellion; attempt to dig under walls; James’s detective work. Ross may have given his own description of Catesby. Coke viciously attacked Sir Everard Digby at his trial, but Ross, who knew Digby’s wife, omits him.
42.218ff. Coke and others remarked on Father Garnet’s learning and years during the trial (see, most notably, this passage of Coke’s indictment, quoted by the True and Perfect Relation).
42.272 The fable is told by Phaedrus. The frogs petitioned Zeus for a king, and he jokingly sent them a block of wood floating on their pond. When the frogs complained Zeus sent a water snake, who devoured them all.
42.363 There is an allusion here to the Jesuitical Doctrine of Equivocation — i. e. the idea that it was morally acceptable for Catholics to lie in the service of their religion — at which Protestants at least professed to be scandalized. See Attorney General Coke’s remarks in this passage of Coke’s indictment, quoted by the True and Perfect Relation,and see also Macbeth II.iii.9. A series of poems in Parerga (nos. 35 - 43) offer parallel sentiments on Rome.
43 The opening lines refer to Ovid. Met. I.302 - 5, recounting the confusion of Deucalion's flood, in which dophins swam in the woods and the wild boar's strength could not prevail against the sea waves (silvasque tenent delphines /...nec vires fulminis apro /...prosunt).
Apologia 1 Ex his sunt qui in rebus calidissimis sunt frigidi, in frigidissimis calidi One is somewhat reminded of Richard Eedes’ acerb remark about a Durham preacher in his 1583 satiric travelogue Iter Borealis (405f.):
Frigidus in calido fuerat, ieiunus in amplo
Textu, quam suadet, fervens dilectio frigit.
Apologia 6 si aequo iudicio leges illas trutinent Dunvallo Mulmutius and Martia early British lawgiver-kings; they are commemorated in poem 11 and poem 13 respectively. It is particularly the remark Ross makes here about the continued force of the Martian Laws, as emended and expanded by Albert, that makes one wonder whether his true motive for defending Geoffrey of Monmouth was a professional one: if Geoffrey were to be discredited, the fabric of British law would suffer.
Apologia 6 si in vaticinia Merlini oculos convertunt Geoffrey’s earliest work was Propoetiae Merlini, a collection of the supposed prophecies of Merlin. A good amount of this material was later incorporated in his British history.
Apologia 6 Damicano et Fagano Two British-born, Rome-educated missionaries suppsedly sent by Pope Eleutherius in response to the request of the British king Lucius in about the year 180. In some quarters they are still regarded as the original apostles to the Welsh.
Apologia 10 Testes adhibeamus Among the less familiar figures in the following list are Sir John Prise [Syr Sion ap Rhyns, 1502 - 1555], author of Historiae Brytannicae Defensio, and Richard White of Basingstoke [1539 - 1611], author of Historiarum Britanniae Libri XI.
Apologia 13 Iohannes Twinus Bolingdunensis John Twyne [d. 1581], author of De rebus Albionicis, Britannicis, atque Anglicis commentariorum libri duo, published posthumously ijn 1590 (his name is latinized Troinus in the next paragraph). It is somewhat embarrassing to Ross’ case that Twyne’s geological theory had gained the support of his friend William Camden: see Britannia (1607 ed.), Kent § 32.
Apologia 13 Vereor ne mea in hac re ignorantia quae plerunque valde credula est This is the weakest part of Ross’ argument: the facts of the Welsh language were easily enough ascertained, had he wished to consider Twyne’s argument openmindedly.
Apologia 14 et “tanquam e caelo in synagogam” prolapsum Quoting Tertullian, Adversus Marcianum IV.vii (p. 408): Sed frustra negabit Christum dixisse quod statim fecit ex parte. Prophetiam enim interim de loco adimplevit. “De coelo statim ad synagogam.” Twyne, in other words, made his pronouncements just as Marcianus had claimed Jesus had functioned, as a prophet dropped straight from heaven.
Apologia 15 The names on his list are Hadrianus Junius [Adriaen de Johnge, 1511 - 1575], author of the Nomenclator; George Buchanan [1506 - 1582], author of the Rerum Scoticarum Historia; Joannes Ludovicus Vives [Luan Luis Vives, 1493 - 1540], author of De Disciplinis; Polydore Vergil [Polidoro Virgilio, d. 1555], author of the Anglica Historia; and Johannes Bodinus, [Jean Bodin, 1530 - 1596], author of such works as the Universae Naturae Theatrum.
Apologia 18 Illi autem adstipulatur Badius Ascensius, et Ivo Cavellatus The editio princeps of Geoffrey’s Historia was edited by Ivo Cavellatus and printed by Josse Bade at Paris in 1508. At the beginning of the following paragraph Ross distinguishes this edition from a successor one printed by Bade in 1517. Of Cavellatus’ editorial work, incidentally, Acton Griscom in the introduction of his 1929 London edition of the same text (p. 12) wrote “his editorial changes, compared with available manuscript evidence, appear in most cases to be downright error.” This lengthy quote gives his account of his discovery of the four mss. on which his edition was based.
Apologia 22 qui dente Theonino omnia corrodunt Cf. Horace, Epistles I.xviii.82, dente Theonino circumrodi (Theon was a hypercritical ancient literary critic): this expression passed into proverbial usage (Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades XI.ii.55).