COMMENTARY NOTES

Epigram to Dr. Bond This introductory poem addressed to Dr. Nicholas Bond, President of Magdalene College and current Vice Chancellor of the University, written in elegiac couplets, stands in lieu of a dedicatory epistle. It is signed by the author, whose name does not appear on the title page. (The title dominus was given any University man who had been admitted to the degree of B. A.).
3
Nostros…penates means Magdalene College, not the University as a whole.

1 - 24 The poem’s first passage, in dactylic hexameters, sets the fictive stage for the following sequence. Apollo and the Muses, ejected from their Grecian haunts, have made their way to Oxford where they intend to make a new home. Why they have been cast out of Greece is not yet stated: for the reason, cf. 52ff. with the note ad loc. Now at last they are delighted to find a new, more hospitable environment.
3 This tale that Alfred founded some kind of academy at Oxford previously was recorded at least as early as Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia V.13 (where Alfred is called Alured).
9 Gorgonis unda refers to the Hippocrene, so called because this fountain was created by the blow of Pegasus’ hoof; cf. Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV.viii.79f.:

quae quoniam nec nos unda submovit ab illa,
   ungula Gorgonei quam cava fecit equi.

    11 Cf. Vergil, Eclogue i.3, nos patriae finis et dulcia linquimus arva.
19 Special rattles (sistra) were used in Greek and Roman religious processions.
20 The identification of Oxford as a modern Athens is a recurrent theme throughout the cycle: cf. 181 and 294. Here and at 179f. there is a concomitant insinuation that Elizabeth is to be identified with Minerva.
25 - 54 The meter is Lesser Asclepiadics.
30 Daphne, pursued by Apollo, was transformed into a laurel tree, from which was made a wreath for the god (Ovid, Metamorphoses  I.452 - 567). For decus unicum cf. Ps. - Seneca, Hercules Oetaeus 749.
31 - 5 A bevy of women mentioned by Ovid in the Metamorphoses. Clymene, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, was the mother of Phaethon (II.156). Perse was the mother of Circe (IV.205). For Chione cf. XI.301 - 45.  Leucothea (or Leucothoe), loved by Apollo, was changed into a frankincense bush (IV.255).
39 In his description of the royal visit, Philip Stringer wrote of “the coach wherein she was” (p. 250 Plummer). The “band of noble lords” are the members of the Privy Council, to whom we shall be introduced below.
40 The palatia are the various colleges and halls of the University.
45f. Since monilibus and torquibus would seem redundant if both referred to necklaces, perhaps the former word is employed to designate ruffs.
52 Sanford appears to be speaking of the barbarism of contemporary war-torn Italy (see the quote from Polydore Vergil in the Introduction).
Evidently in writing these lines Sanford was thinking of a passage in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which the island of Delos offers its hospitality to Latona, pregnant with Apollo and Diana (VI.184 - 9):

Latonam praeferre mihi, cui maxima quondam
exiguam sedem pariturae terra negavit!
nec caelo nec humo nec aquis dea vestra recepta est:
exsul erat mundi, donec miserata vagantem
“hospita tu terris erras, ego” dixit “in undis”
instabilemque locum Delos dedit.

55 - 78 These lines are written in Alcaic stanzas. 
55f. Iova, a humanistic poetical contraction of Jehova, is also found at line 99 Michael Wallace’s In Serenissimi Regis Jacobi…Carmen Ἐπιχάρτικον, printed by Richard Field at London, 1606. (This poem has been published by Estelle Haan as “Milton’s In Quintum Novembris and the Anglo-Latin Gunpowder Epic, Part II,” Humanistica Lovaniensia 42, 1993, pp. 368 - 401).
58 Sanford may have been thinking of Vergil, Aeneid I.53f.:

luctantis uentos tempestatesque sonoras
imperio premit ac vinclis et carcere frenat.                    

59 Cf. Horace, Odes I.vii.15, albus ut obscuro deterget nubila caelo.
69f. Academic disputations were staged as part of the Queen’s entertainment; Stringer and Wood provide detailed accounts, and some of the arguments advanced on this occasion survive.
72 The Queen’s visit lasted from September 22 to 28, eight days by the Roman inclusive method of reckoning.
79 - 114 This passage describes Elizabeth’s formal reception into Oxford, on the afternoon of September 22, 1592. Some of its details can be glossed by Philip Stringer’s description of the event; others refer to transactions not mentioned by him.
Clio’s song is written in Sapphic stanzas.
79 Perhaps Sanford was thinking of Vergil, Aeneid XII.584, urbem alii reserare iubent et pandere portas.
80 Calena or Calaena is an old Roman name for Oxford. (cf. the entry for Oxonia in J. G. T. Graese, Orbis Latinus (Amsterdam, 1969). For other uses in Philological Museum texts cf. the phrase Calensis soboles devota Minervae in line 53 of Thomas Drope's gratulatory epigram preceding John Case's 1585 Speculum Moralium Quaestionum and also Charles Fitzgeoffrey in his 1601 Affaniae (III.131.11).
81f. According to Stringer (p. 250 Plummer) the Queen was greeted by Vice Chancellor Bond and other academic luminaries at Godstow Bridge, about a mile outside the city. If any gates were still hanging, their function was purely ceremonial. Cf. Nicholas Robinson’s description of the Queen’s 1566 entry (p. 176 Plummer), introiit Regina in urbem per portam Aquilonarem, in qua carcer publicus est, quo Bocardo dicitur, intra duas turres quae portam utrinque claudunt, quaeque dealbatae erant.
87f. Stringer does not mention the presence of civic authorities, but cf. the account of the Queen’s visit by Anthony à Wood, reproduced by John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth (London, 1788, reprinted New York, undated) II, p. 144.
88f. Cf. Stringer, ib., “Whereupon the Vicechancellor delivered up unto her Highness the Beadles staves, which were immediately re-delivered unto her by himself, with the signification of a speech wherewithall they were provided (as hir Highness understood) so that it were not too longe.”
91 - 4 A speech was then delivered by Mr. Thomas Saville of Merton College, Senior Proctor of the University, and brother of Sir Henry, the famous Tacitean scholar. Presumably the Queen was simultaneously presented with a copy of the oration.
99 For animo virili as a quality attributed to a woman cf. Ovid, Fasti II.847, Metamorphoses XIII.165, and Seneca, Agamemnon 958.
102 Camilla was the Amazon-like Volscian princess who fought and died for the Italian cause in Book XI of the Aeneid.
108 This assertion is not quite truthful: during this visit a controversy between William Gager and Dr. John Rainolds about the propriety of acting, currently dividing the academic community, erupted, and Elizabeth, less than pleased, was obliged to intervene during the present visit; in her farewell speech to the University she issued a warning against such dissension and implicitly rebuked Rainolds (for the text cf. Plummer, op. cit. 272f.).
115 - 35 This passage is written in Phalaecean lines.
121 The Attalids were a wealthy dynasty of Pergamum during the Alexandrian period.
122 Non ignara mali refers to Elizabeth’s treatment under Mary. The echo of Vergil, Aeneid I.630, non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco, already makes Elizabeth a kind of second Dido.
125f. The reference is to Dido receiving Aeneas and his wandering Trojans. There may be an allusion here to William Gager’s Dido of 1583, in which the comparison between Dido, often under the name Eliza, and Elizabeth had been drawn repeatedly.
136 - 59 The meter now is First Archilochians, consisting of a dactylic hexameter followed by a a dactylic trimeter catalectic
139 The phrase ludicra bella scholae refers to the academic disputations witnessed by the queen, and probably also to Leonard Hutten’s comedy Bellum Grammaticale, performed on this occasion.
156f. Cf. Vergil, Georgics IV.466, te veniente die, te decedente canebat.
160 - 187 The meter is iambic dimeters. In the book lines 173 - 5 and 177 are indented for no obvious reason.
160 Again, Sanford returns to the theme of identifying Elizabeth with Minerva, for Elizabeth is the proles Iovis of 175 - 83.
163 The gens togata is presumably the Athenian race and simultaneously the gown-clad Oxonians: cf. 191ff. (for the phrase cf. Vergil, Aeneid I.282, Martial XIV.cxxiv.1, and Statius, Silvae I.vi.360).
170 The book has virenti fronte, as if the prayer is to impart shining faces to the Oxford citizenry. This reading is scarcely impossible, but fronde seems to fit the context better; cf. also fronde with forms of vireo at Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.27, XI.108, and Statius, Silvae I.ii.231.
173ff. Cf. Vergil, Aeneid VI.808f.:

quis procul ille autem ramis insignis olivae
sacra ferens?

179  For Caballinus (“The Nag’s Spring”) = Hippocrene, cf. Persius, Proem 1. Gager had used his expression in one of his printed odes on Elizabeth’s rescue from the Babington plot (poem XX.15).
188 - 211 Polyhymnia’s passage is written in Second Asclepiadeans.
191 In my translation I am not sure what to do with anguibus. I have construed it with cautius, as if Sanford were echoing Matthew 10:16, estote ergo prudentes sicut serpentes. But it might also be taken with insidias. At the anonymous poem Pareus published by Barnes in 1585 (probably by George Peele), lines 351f., the image  of the snake in the grass is also employed as a symbol of treason.
192ff. In writing these lines Sanford must have been thinking immediately of the storm that destroyed the Armada. More generally, he is touching on a theme that appears in a good deal of Elizabethan literature, the provident nature of England’s isolation. This theme can be traced back to Vergil, Eclogue i.5, et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos. Cf. Shakespeare, Cymbeline III.i.13f., “a world by itself” and III.iv.136f. I’ th’ world’s volume / Our Britain seems as of it, but not in’t, and the speech in Richard II II.i. that begins with the line This other Eden, demi-paradise.
200ff. Sanford was of course thinking of a famous passage from the Aeneid (IV.364 - 6):

nec tibi diva parens generis nec Dardanus auctor,
perfide, sed duris genuit te cautibus horrens
Caucasus Hyrcanaeque admorunt ubera tigres.

205 William Gager also wrote about this peculiar thirst for royal blood. For example, in poem III he discussed the dagger of the would-be assassin William Parry:

praelusit olim pugio qui tuus
in creditoris sanguine subditi
  iam victimam spernens minorem
    imperii caput expetebat.

See also his poems *VII.1f. and XXV.7f.
212 - 41 The meter is iambic trimeters alternating with iambic dimeters.
227 Cf. Persius, Satire i.47, neque enim mihi cornea fibra est.
230ff. Once the Giants rebelled against Zeus, who buried one of them, Enceladus, under Mt. Aetna. The prayer is that this weight be shifted to modern conspirators, which would have the incidental effect of relieving Enceladus of his burden.
This passage seems reminiscent of a passage from Gager’s poem XXIII, from his cycle of odes on the Babington Conspiracy (45 - 60):

illi periclo dispereant suo
nati gygantum sanguine. spiritus
   contunde sublimes, malumque
      eveniat male cogitanti.

Pindo Tiphoeus Pelion obruat,
Ossamque Olympi mole cacuminet,
   frendant Gygantes, et revulsas
         Enceladus iaculetur ornos:

maior trisulco fulmine Iuppiter
sternet rebelles, impiger aggeres
   evertet, aeternumque flammis
      sulphureae cruciabit Aetnae.

Titana proles, consilii fere
expers, ruinam mole trahit sua.
   odere divi quicquid altum
      tentat iter, vetitumque nobis.

The present passage also echoes Vergil, Aeneid III.578 - 82:

fama est Enceladi semustum fulmine corpus
urgeri mole hac, ingentemque insuper Aetnam
impositam ruptis flammam exspirare caminis,
et fessum quotiens mutet latus, intremere omnem
murmure Trinacriam et caelum subtexere fumo.

237 The caedis author is Cain.
242 - 69 This passage consists of anapestic tetrameters, variously resolved.
249 - 52 The image would be fresh in Oxonians’ minds since Gager’s tragicomic Ulysses Redux, which dramatized the homecoming of Ulysses, had been produced at Christ Church in the preceding February.
251 Cf., evidently, Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.215f., ea fessa diurnis / membra ministeriis nutrit reparatque labori.
253 Statius, Silvae II.ii.108, Mygdonii Pyliique senis. Presumably Sanford, like Statius, meant to indicate Tithonus, who asked for and received immortality from the gods but forgot to ask for perpetual youth, so grew increasingly decrepit and eventually turned into a cicada. But this seems a strange kind of immortality to wish for Elizabeth.
254 Cf. the prophecy at Silvae IV.iii.150f.:

                      annos perpetua geres iuventa
quos fertur placidos adisse Nestor,

270 - 89 Urania’s song consists iambelegiac distichs: dactylic hexameters alternating with a line consisting an iambic dimeter + two and a half dactylic feet (a meter used in Horace, Epode  xiii).
276 - 80 Sanford mentions three astral transformations described by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, that of Erigone and Bootes, or Icarius (X.446ff.), of Ariadne (VIII. 172ff.), and Julius Caesar (XV.745ff.). In the case of the third of these, there is probably an insinuation here that Elizabeth’s Protestant star will eclipse Caesar’s Roman one. For Iulium sydus cf. Horace, Odes I.xii.46 - 8:

                      micat inter omnis
Iulium sidus velut inter ignis
             luna minores.

The reader attuned to classical echoes might have recalled Propertius III.xiii.60, frangitur ipsa suis Roma superba bonis.
This passage bears a striking resemblance to one in another 1592 volume of Latin poetry. At the end of the fourth Eclogue of Thomas Watson’s Amintae Gaudia the spirit of Sir Philip Sidney is transformed into a bright new star, appropriately named Astrophilus (372 - 390). Since Watson was buried at the church of St. Bartholomew-the-Less, London, on September 26, 1592, and Amintae Gaudia was registered with the Stationers’ Company on November 10, it is doubtful that either poet influenced the other. Presumably both were thinking of the nova of 1572 which inspired Tycho Brahe’s de Nova Stella, although that event actually occurred in Casseiopia.
290 -  296 The meter changes to stichic hexameters.
291 For Aeonides = Boeotian or Theban, cf. the examples cited in the Oxford Latin Dictionary entry.
297f. The Cathedral College of Christ was founded, under the name of Cardinal College, by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525. For “Attalid” cf. the note on 121.
302 The College of Mary Magdalene was founded by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, in 1459.
309 Cf., evidently, Ovid, Amores I.iv.19, verba…sine voce loquenti.
318 - 20 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid I.705f.:

centum aliae totidemque pares aetate ministri,
qui dapibus mensas onerent et pocula ponant.

321 - 4 University records show that the French ambassador on this occasion was not Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte (later Duc) de Turrenne, as one would expect (Howard A. Lloyd, The Rouen Campaign, 1590 - 92, Oxford, 1973, pp. 31f.), but rather Monsieur Beauvoys La Noude. Cf. Wood, Fasti Oxonienses I.261.
325 - 30 William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1530 - 98).
327 As indicated by the sidenote, the tag aevi prudentia nostri comes from Ovid, Metamorphoses XII.178.
331 - 8 Edward Somerset, fourth Earl of Worcester (1553 - 1628). He was one of several members of the Council who received an M. A. on this occasion. His sons Henry (destined to be the fifth Earl and first Marquis of Worcester) and Charles were both Magdalene men (Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, London, 1891 - 2, reprinted Nendeln, 1968, IV.1389).
A full list of recipients of M. A.’s on this occasion, with some biographical sketches, is given by Wood, Fasti Oxonienses I.260f.
339 - 48 George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland [1558 - 1605]. He too received an M. A. now.
346 The sands of the sea-bottom.
348 A grim but untranslatable pun: the surface of the sea is sometimes called marmor in Latin poetry.
349 - 57 Henry Herbert, second Earl of Pembroke [d. 1601]. Another recipient of an M. A. His son William Herbert was also present on this occasion.
357 A heraldic motto suggested by Ovid, Heroides xvii.265.
358 - 74 Essex had attended Cambridge where, according to the practice of the the times, he received a courtesy M. A. Those familiar with Essex’ flamboyant career at Cambridge, where he distinguished himself chiefly by running up debts, will be amused by this account of his erudition. It is noticeable that the passage devoted to Essex is the longest of the series.
362 Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.64, invenit Eurydicen cupidisque amplectitur ulnis.
363   Though ὄζος Ἄρηος is a common Homeric formula, the sidenote cites its application to Titaresius at the Hesiodic Shield of Heracles 181.
365 - 70 In 1589, without first securing the queen’s permission, Essex joined Drake’s Lisbon expedition, where, as his D. N. B. biography put it, “he distinguished himself in an aimless way.”
370 Brittany.
375 - 9 Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton [1573 - 1624]. He is of course best remembered as the patron of Shakespeare.
380 - 86 Charles Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham and Earl of Nottingham, the Lord High Admiral of England [1536 - 1624].
381 Cf. Vergil, Aeneid VI.857, viros supereminet omnis.
387 -  92 Fernando Stanley, Lord Strange [d. 1594]. “On the death of his father on 25 September, 1593, he succeeded to the earldom of Derby and the sovereignty of Man” — D. N. B. (which shows that Mona refers to Man and not Anglesey).
397- 9 Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst [1536 - 1608], the Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
410 For the traditional image that Oxford was one’s alma mater cf. Thomas Seccombe and H. Spencer Scott  (edd.), In Praise of Oxford: An Anthology in Prose and Verse (London, 1910) II.333f.
416 According to Stringer (pp. 251 and 257 Plummer), Elizabeth twice heard disputations at St. Mary’s, on the afternoons of September 23 and 26. The former occasion was the first full day of her visit, and on the 25th the Privy Council had met in session (ib. p. 256). It would seem more probable that this banquet was held at midday on the 26th.
432f. Sanford was perhaps thinking of Psalm 24:9, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
438 For humiles myricae cf. Vergil, Eclogue iv.2.
441 For Eois…ab Indis cf. Ovid, Amores II.vi.1. But of course the phrase had acquired a new significance in view modern geographical discoveries.
444 Cf. Vergil, Georgics II.121, velleraque ut foliis depectant tenuia Seres? (evidently Sanford had no clearer idea than did Vergil of how silk is manufactured).
445f. Is there an insinuation that the inmates of Magdalene live, and extend hospitality, like Philemon and Baucis at Ovid, Metamorphoses VIII.629 - 724?
454- 63 The sidenote refers to Ovid, Metamorphoses XV.560ff. and Plutarch, Life of Romulus xx.5 - 6 (but Plutarch only says that in the time of Caesar the tree was inadvertently destroyed by workmen).