Introduction


spacer1. Throughout the Tudor and early Stuart period, English literature was enhanced by the advent of foreign immigrants, ranging from Polydore Vergil under Henry VII to John Florio under Elizabeth and Isaac Casaubon in the reign of James I. Others did not come to stay, but nonetheless made literary contributions while on English soil, one of whom was the German Paulus Melissus Schede [1539 - 1602], who spent part of 1585 - 86 among the English. In connection with this visit, he wrote a good deal of verse both in England and while still on the Continent when seeking to pave the way for a friendly reception. The results were printed in his massive three-volume Schediasmata Poetica; secundo edita multo auctiora (Paris, 1586), a second edition of a collection originally published in 1574.
spacer2. As represented in this body of poetry, Schede was in England in search of support. He makes no bones about his poverty, particularly in poems 46 and 48, and poems 2, 16, 36, 40 and 44 contain more or less undisguised appeals for Elizabeth’s patronage, as of course do the dedicatory epistles placed at the start of each volume. Some writers have taken these statements at face value and accepted that he was angling for some kind of pensioned position as the queen’s poet laureate, NOTE 1 a position he had previously held when laureated by the Emperor Ferdinand I in 1564. Certainly, the steady barrage of flattery to which he subjects her lends apparent support to this view. The 1586 Schediasmata Poetica is certainly dominated by Elizabeth, not only in terms of the number of poems addressed to her it contains, but because all three of its volumes are dedicated to her, and also because each volume is subdivided into Books, each of which has a poem addressed to her at, or at least conspicuously near to, its beginning. Then too, many of Schede’s poems addressed to Elizabeth lay considerable emphasis on the power of poetry in general, and of his own in particular, to confer worldwide and enduring fame on her.
spacer3. It ought to have been obvious from the beginning that his campaign was doomed to failure. England had not had a pensioned royal poet since the blind French monk Bernard André served as regius poeta under Henry VII (a job he retained during the early years of the reign of Henry VIII). That had been understandable: Henry was in deep need of propagandizing poetry to render his new Tudor dynasty palatable, and at that time there was no Englishman capable of serving his requirements. Taking a larger view of the thing, Henry’s role in introducing Humanism into England should not be underestimated: he surrounded himself with a group of Continental Humanists who collectively did much to elevate the tone of English intellectual life, and his employment of André deserves to be regarded as part of that effort. But thrifty Elizabeth did not have to pay foreign poets for the kind of image-shaping courtly flattery she was getting for free and in great abundance from home-grown ones. Furthermore, although a number of previous scholars have written that such was Schede’s ambition, none, evidently, has observed how remarkable a thing it was for a man who could sign his letters as comes Palatinus et eques (Count Palatine and knight) to seek a patron's support. One would have thought that both the confession of poverty and the unvarnished appeals for subsidy would have been painfully, maybe even impossibly, demeaning for a poet who could claim membership in the nobility.
spacer4. Then why did Schede work so industriously to create this strange persona of an esurient aristocrat attempting to gain a poet laureate’s job? It seems not unlikely that he did this out of a desire to divert attention from his real reasons for coming to England. Two motivations have been suggested, one or both of which are more plausible explanations. Based on a remark about “business at court” (negotia mea in aula) in a letter he wrote slightly before his departure, the suggestion has been made (by James Phillips) NOTE 2 that his ultimate goal was to assist his friend and co-religionist Sir Philip Sidney, presently fighting in the Netherlands, in an attempt to induce Elizabeth to renew financial support for the Palatine prince John Casimir so that he could renew his campaigning on the side of the States General. This may be the case. Although a Protestant, an important reason for Schede’s successful career (over and above his literary prowess) was his ability to get along with Catholics. He had been a beneficiary of a warm welcome both in Italy, where he had been granted his noble title and knighthood, and also Roman citizenship, and at the at least nominally Catholic court of the Emperor Rudolph II, who had used his services as a diplomatic representative, and, for all he knew to the contrary, Rudolph might have further need of good treatment in those quarters. Hence he would have had a strong motive for drawing attention away from the fact that he was in England to recruit more fighting men for the Protestant cause.
spacer 5. Another possible motive is suggested by Lee Piepho: NOTE 3

The religions affinities that drew Melissus and Sidney together at Heidelberg [where they first seem to have met, in 1572] also brought the German poet to Elizabeth’s court in 1585. The death of the Duke of Anjou that year left the Protestant Henry of Navarre heir to the French throne, a prospect to which Catholics responded by pressuring Henry III to declare war on the Protestants and Navarre. The result was the Treaty of Nemours, signed in July 1585, in which Henri submitted to the Catholic League and lifted all protection from the Huguenots in France. The Duke of Guise having cut off Melissus’ escape routes back to Germany, his increasingly vulnerable position in France seems to have been the decisive factor that led the German poet to journey into England.

At first sight it may seem that, had Schede come to England as a Protestant refugee from Catholic oppression, he would have had a fine motive for proclaiming that such was the case, since it would have garnered him a great deal of local sympathy. But, again, had he made a public acknowledgment of the fact that the reason for his English sojourn was actually doctrinal, this might have had the effect of burning his bridges in those same Catholic quarters. Giving out that he was in England in a quest for royal patronage may have made him seem a rather shabby kind of Palatine Count, but this excuse had the great advantage of being innocuous from a religious point of view. Nevertheless, one cannot help noting that Piepho’s theory begs an important question: why did Schede leave England so quickly, and why did he return from there to France (as he presumbaly did, to oversee the printing of Schediasmata poetica)?
spacer6. Schede had been thinking of an English visit for some time: we learn from poems 23 and 24 that as early as 1572 Philip Sidney had invited him to do so, but that this journey had been precluded by the St. Bartholomew’s day massacre and its violent aftermath. Poems 16, 26, and 26, written at Augsburg in 1582, show him already angling for a favorable reception, and in poem 26 he states that he had sent a collection of poetry to Elizabeth in about 1578, perhaps intended as an overture for a visit at that time. But the events of 1585 added a new urgency to the project. Evidence for the idea that patronage-hunting was more of a pretext than an actual motive for his visit is perhaps provided by poem 14, in which Schede announces his intention of returning to the Continent after his English sojourn. This poem contains no hint of disappointment or frustration over failing in his attempt to gain royal support.
spacer7. As considered thus far, all that Schede seems to have doing is addressing poems to Elizabeth, the leading lights of her court, and some English diplomats he has already befriended on the Continent, whom no doubt he hoped would help pave the way for his visit. A lot of what he writes, therefore, consists of standard courtly flattery: flattery, to be sure, executed with exceptional artistry but nevertheless, au fond, his talking-points are routinized and predictable. (It must of course be added that not all of Schede’s praise of Elizabeth can be written off as courtly flattery: Continental Protestant Humanists lionized her as a champion of their common cause and wrote glowing praise of her: Thodore Beza’s 1588 Armada poems in The Philological Museum may serve as an example, and Henri Estienne even dedicated his monumental work of Greek lexicography the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae to her). But interesting complication is introduced by the many poems in the 1586 volume written to or about a certain Rosina. Certain of these attract our attention because of their immediate juxtaposition with ones addressed to Elizabeth. Sometimes there are lengthy sequences in which Elizabeth poems and Rosina poems are concatenated or intertwined in a sort of garland. Understandably, the insistence with which these juxtapositions are made has caught the eye of readers, who have sought to interpret them. This is not easy, because one can discern Schede putting “Rosina” to least three separate purposes.
spacer8. In the first place, as Eckhart Schäfer put it, NOTE 4

Rosina, die von Melissus den Geliebten der Liebesdichter von Catull über Petrarca bis zu Lotichius...steht im Übergangsbereich zwischen Dichtung und Leben. Der Dichter behauptet, sie nie in de Wirklichkeit, sondern nur in einem Traum gesehen zu haben...Seit dieser Zeit ist Rosina für ihn die ersehnte Frau...Dieser prospektive Charakter unterscheidet Rosina von Petrarcha’s Laura, meit der sie der Dichter rivalisieren läßt:

LUSTRA quattuor unicamque messem
Amasti ingenue PETRARCHA LAURAM;
Sed quam cernere sat superque quisti.
Lustra quattuor ampliusque iam nunc
Amavit Schedius suam ROSINAM;
Sed quae cernier impetrata nunquam.
spacerUtri mitior adfuit Dione?
Utri fortius imperat Cupido?

This use of Rosina as a Laura-like Ideal Woman is of course standard fare in Renaissance poetry, and, no doubt, is why Schede can cheerfully confide to Elizabeth that, unlike Laura, his Rosina is an entirely fictitious invention. when at poem 17.10ff. he says:

Fortassis et Rosina quae sit spacer
spacerspacerNostra rogaveris.
spacerspacerEquidem ipsemet (credas velim)

Ignoro. Numquam enim Rosinam
spacerspacerVidi ego, quam cano
spacerspacerCecinique, quamque post canam.

[“Perhaps you will also ask who my Rosina is. Believe me, I myself have no idea. For I have never laid eyes on Rosina, of whom I sing, of whom I have sung and shall again.”]

By far the greatest number of Schede’s Rosina poems employ Rosina in this way: she is “the poet’s ideal mistress” pure and simple.
spacer9. But we can also discern a few poems in which Rosina is put to very different purposes, in two ways. First, Jane Stevenson NOTE 5 has observed that there were already thirteen poems addressed to Rosina in the 1574 Melissi Schediasmata Poetica, one of which (p. 392),

...leaves the addressee’s identify beyond doubt, since it is rather charmingly titled “to Rosina, even though she is already married to me.” It would therefore seem that “Rosina” (little rose) was a nickname: this is corroborated by the names of their two children, both, in a sense, named after their mother, Aemilius and Rosina.

For Schede was married to Amilia Jordan, daughter of Ludovic Jordan, a councillor of the Palatinate (a woman who, if German herself, was at least of French extraction). Traces of this wife-Rosina are visible in the 1586 Schediasmata Poetica. In the course of the 1586 collection we are given little particularized information about Rosina. But in at least one poem (Mittit Rosinae cantionem quinque vocum harmonia a se concinnatam, Epigrammatum IV pp. iii.89f.) Schede explicitly identifies Rosina as “the flower of French womanhood.” At poem 38.9f he writes Osque glycyrrhizae succo mihi Francica tinxit / Nympha, remollitos eliciente sonos [“a French girl smeared my lips with sugared juice which elicited sounds sweetened once more”], and this is probably another reference to his wife. Then too, one poem (Ad Rosinam, Epigrammatum IX pp. iii.282f.) is a proposal of marriage: the poet wants to marry Rosina for the very un-Petrarchan purpose putting her to work bearing his children. This may have been written when Schede was courting Amelia, or at least harks back to that time.
spacer10. Finally, there is are some poems in which Rosina is associated with Elizabeth. In poem 22 he alludes to his perception of the resemblance between the two (“Elisa” is a name which contemporary Neo-Latin poets frequently applied to Elizabeth, usually for no other reason than metrical convenience):

AD AURORAM

Aurora, solis splendor ille pulchrior,
spacerspacerQuo purpurare cernitur
spacerspacerEt mane caelum et vesperi serenum,
Formosa nata lucidissimi Iovis,
spacerspacerO ter quaterque et amplius spacer
spacerspacerAurora salve. Te meis venustam
Quoties ocellis laetus aspexi, palam
spacerspacerVidere Elisam sum ratus,
spacerspacerBritanniae illam doctam et eruditam
Reginam, in illiusque viva imagine spacer
spacerspacerMeam Rosinam, tot libris
spacerspacerTot luculentis carminum involucris
Claram, poetarumque mille versibus
spacerspacerPridem celebratam, in mei
spacerspacerTantum favorem gratiamque nymphae. spacer
Aurora, quid te in orbe toto est pulchrius,
spacerspacerFormosius, venustius?
spacerspacerElisa, quid te splendidum magis, quid
Illustre regificumque te mage uspiam?
spacerspacerAurora, quid te dignius spacer
spacerspacerCelebriusve aut notius per orbem?

[“TO AURORA

Aurora, you fair splendor of the sun, by which which the serene sky is seen to glow ruddy in the morning and the evening, beautiful daughter of brightest Jove, oh hail, three, four or more times. As often as I have seen you with in your beauty with my happy eyes, I have imagined myself to be beholding Elisa (to my great favor, and to the grace of my lady), that learned, cultured English queen, a queen famous for being included in so many songs, celebrated in a thousand poet’s verses, and in her living image to have been beholding my Rosina. What fairer and lovelier thing in all the world than you, Aurora? What more splendid, what ever more bright, splendid and royal thing than you, Elisa? What thing in the world more worthy, more well-known and familiar than you, Aurora?”]

In poem 39 he momentarily imagines her in the role of a lady-in-waiting to the queen. In poem 18 (just quoted) he mentions her to Elizabeth, and in poem 50, De Regina et Rosina he joins the two women:

Reginam Veneres ut amant, Eratoque Rosinam,
spacerEn ego sic Erato contra amo, sic Veneres.
Oderit hoc regina Rosinavem quantus hic in me est,
spacerIpsam ad reginam totus abibit amor.

{“So that the Loves might love the Queen and Erato love Rosina, lo, I love Erato and the Loves in my turn. Should the Queen or Rosina dislike it, to the best of my ability all my love will fall to the Queen.”]

Finally, in poem 59 their names are linked as intimately as if they were embroidered together on a pillow:

E LISA claro tota fulgis au RO
LI mbos et oras. Proxime tuo SI
SA ltem nitori, en aurea est ROSI NA.

[“Elisa, you wholly gleam with bright gold with regard to the borders and shores. Lo, golden Rosina comes next to your brilliance.”]

spacerspacer11. J. A. Van Dorsten NOTE 7 focused his attention on the relationship of Rosina and Elisabeth. With particular reference to poem 22 he wrote: “In perfect agreement with the subtle fashions of Eliza’s court his mistress of perfection, Rosina, was the mirror of those ideals of courtly love exemplified by the Virgin Queen. Rosina was, so to speak, Melissus’ Tudor Rose.” In support of this last observation, van Dorsten could have added that in many poems Rosina is designated by the Greek and Latin words for “rose,” Rhode and Rosa.
spacer 12. Piepho (p. 109) looked into the Rosina - Elizabeth connection more closely, stressing what he stressed the “erotic tension” visible in some of the relevant poems. He looked particularly at a poem from the 1574 Schediasmatum Reliquae, p. 71, quoted here with Piepho’s translation):

AD DIVAM ELISABETHAM REG. ANGLIAE

Viginti potui Maios perrepere acanthas,
Pungentesque vepres saepe rubosque pati;
Carpere quo florem nitidum regina liceret,
Quem Venus ante alios semper amare solet.
Sed neque ver unquam me respectavit, et aestas
Postíca obvertit vultibus ora meis.
Floribus in mediis verser licet, en ego nullam
Conspicio, fuerit quæ mihi nata, ROSAM.
Nulla ROSA apparet. spinarum et sentis abunde est.
Quando ROSAE tandem prominet ille calyx?
Sis aestas mea verque meum, regina, ROSARUM
Flos: illum florem nempe videbo ROSAE.

[“For twenty Mays I have been able to creep through acanthus and often be subjected to prickling thorns and brambles. There the Queen was permitted to gather a gleaming flower which Venus is always accustomed to love above all others. But spring has never had regard for me and summer glances back towards my face. Although in the midst of flowers I may be turned this way and that, lo I see not at all the rose that has been naturally born for me. No rose is to be seen. Of thorn bushes and briars there are enough and to spare. When will that cup of the rose at last reach out to me? Be my spring and my summer, oh Queen, the finest of roses. Without doubt I shall see that flowering of the rose.”]

spacer13. Piepho commented on this poem, “The erotic devotion tangled with some of his other poems to Elizabeth in this collection is openly on display here, and Melissus had the good sense to omit this lyric from the second edition of Schediasmata poetica, the collection he hoped she would read. But in the interweaving of poems to her and to his mistress Rosina, traces of the Petrarchan tensions are evident even in this carefully chosen selection of his verse.” He goes on to write about a “core tension that radically affected the presentation of Elizabeth in his verse.” What is going on in such poems, both in the 1586 collection and Shede’s poetry more generally, seems problematic and is in need of further consideration. Is Rosina coopted to serve as some kind of eroticized doppelgänger of the queen? Can we speak in psychological terms of some kind of cathetic transference of idealized erotic feelings, originally developed for a Petrarchan Ideal Woman seen in a dream, projected onto both Aemilia Jordan and Elizabeth? At this point we are navigating into deeper waters than is appropriate for the introduction to a text-edition and it would be sensible to reef sails. But one would hope that some future scholar will return to this subject and give questions such as these the careful consideration they deserve.
spacer14. In any event, the interpretational difficulty posed by the handling of Rosina in the 1586 Schediasmata can now be seen: if you look at all its poems written to or about Rosina, or in which she is mentioned, they do not add up to a self-consistent portrait. Rather, previous scholars’ observations are a perfect example of the “blind men and the elephant” syndrome: they all have grasped part of the truth but failed to appreciate it in its totality, since signs of all three Rosinas can be discerned. To complicate the matter yet further, the lion’s share of Rosina poems which are juxtaposed to or concatenated with Elizabeth poems are straightforward presentations of Rosina as a Petrarchan Ideal Woman, and nothing in their contents suggest any association of Rosina with either Aemilia Jordan or the queen. Some readers may share Piepho’s evident view that the mere fact of their placement in the book has a coopting effect that transforms them into Elizabeth-Rosina poems. Be this as it may, for the purposes of presenting poems that are unambiguously relevant to Schede’s English visit, only those Rosina poems that explicitly associate her with Elizabeth are included here.
spacer15. It seems surprising that Schede’s English visit has evidently left few traces in the historical record, and apparently made no impression on English literature. This is in striking contrast with the experiences of a couple of other contemporary foreign visitors. One cannot help comparing the treatment accorded Adalbert Łaski, Voivode of Siradia, a nobleman of approximately equal rank (remembered by the English as “Albertus Alasco, Palatine Pfalzgraf of Siradia”). In 1583 he received an official reception at Oxford, escorted by Sir Philip Sidney and accompanied by (of all people) Giordano Bruno, sufficiently lavish that it is recorded in the pages of Holinshed — it is described here in connection with William Gager’s play Dido, written as one of the entertainments for that event. One also compares the case of another friend of Sir Philip Sidney (whose stay in England was admittedly a good deal longer), Scipio Gentili, NOTE 7 who managed to publish no fewer than seven volumes at London and made an important contribution to English literature insofar as his Latin translations of Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata did much to introduce that seminal work to English readers: as explained here.spacerNOTE 8 Tasso’s new, Machiavellian Satan made an immediate impression and was swiftly imitated by a good number of British poets, beginning with George Peele in his 1585 Pareus and ending with Donne’s Ignatius his Conclave and Milton’s In Quintum Novembris and Paradise Lost. Schede published nothing during his visit, and I am unaware of any contemporary writer who notices his presence or reflects anything he wrote.
spacer16. The probable explanation is that his visit to England was much shorter than those of Łaski and Gentili. According to van Dorsten (p. 70) he only arrived there in autumn 1585 — which squares with the fact that his dedicatory epistles are dated from Paris in August of that year — and left early in 1586 (a letter from London to Sir Francis Walsingham, reproduced by van Dorsten, p. 213, is dated 19 February 1586 new style) after having stayed at court and visiting the two Universities, albeit without the fanfare that greeted Łaski. As indicated above, it appears difficult to reconcile the brevity of his stay with the theory that he had come to England as a Protestant refugee from French religious persecution. Hence the likelier explanation for his visit appears be Phillips’ suggestion that he was performing a covert diplomatic mission.
spacer16. The only visible connection between Schede and the current English literary scene involves one of Scipio Gentili’s published works. Piepho (pp. 109f.) writes extensively about one of the most interesting items in the present group of poems, poem 33, in which Urania predicts in chiliastic terms a quasi-messianic hero destined to usher in a new Golden Age. Piepho equates this figure with Melissus’ repeated vision of an ideal princeps ignotus who will accomplish such things, and I would not care to challenge his view. It is nevertheless worth adding that this particular representation of Schede’s princeps appears to take its immediate inspiration from Gentili’s 1584 Nereus, a poem in which that poet celebrates the birth of Sir Philip Sidney’s daughter by predicting that she is fated to give birth to a not dissimilar ruling figure who will introduce a very comparable Golden Age, described in terms reflecting Vergil’s Fourth Eclogue. Subsequently, when both were living in Germany, Schede and Gentili collaborated on a small volume of occasional poetry entitled In nuptias Petri Denaisii I. C. ... et Iulianae Mariae Lud. Culmanni ... filiae printed at Heidelberg in 1589, and it is tempting to imagine that they first met each other in London.
spacer17. Finally, notice should be taken of another poem addressed to Daniel Rogers, written at Greenwich on January 20, 1586, but not included in Schediasmata Poetica. This is preserved in the Public Records Office (P. R. O. SP 12/186, fol. 32) and is printed by van Dorsten, p. 74:

D[...}RSIO [...} ROGERSI

Quibus est honor in aula
Potior, potissimas nunc
Habeamque agamque grates?
Tibi quid? Tibi profecto
(Nec enim nego aut negabo)
Potiore laude grates
Tribuentur. Efficis pol
Studio evidentiore
Operaque promptiore,
Ut ego hospes insularis spacer
Aliis queam inquilinis
Agere atque habere grates.
Ideoque te, Rogersi,
Studii ob peculiaris
Animique signa, patrem
Vocitare Gratiarum.

[“To which of those men with great influence at court should I now feel my gratitude and express it? What about you? Indeed, I do not deny, nor shall I in the future, that gratitude should be expressed to you with particular praise. By heavens, by your manifest zeal and prompt help you bring it about that I, a guest, can feel gratitude to other inhabitants of this island. And so, because of your particular marks of zeal and good-will, Rogers, one should call you the Father of the Graces.”]

spacer18. The poems are not numbered in the original printed text. To facilitate citation, they are assigned numbers here. I should like to thank Prof. Lee Piepho for recommending Schede’s English poetry for inclusion in The Philological Museum and for giving me valuable advice and encouragement while I was working on this project.


Notes

spacerNOTE 1 So, for example, Jörg-Ulrich Fechner and Hans Dehnhard, “Melissus, Paulus,” Neue Deutsche Biographie (Berlin. 1994) XVII.15f.

spacerNOTE 2 James Phillips, “Elizabeth I as a Latin Poet: An Epigram on Paul Melissus,” Renaissance News 16 (1963), 297.

spacerNOTE 3 Lee Piepho, “Paulus Melissus and Jacobus Falckenburgius: Two German Protestant Humanists at the Court of Queen Elizabeth,” Sixteenth Century Journal 38 (2007), 97 - 110. The quote is from p. 104.

spacerNOTE 4 Eckhart Schäfer, “Die ‘Dornen’ des Paul Melissus, Humanistica Lovaniensis 22 (1973) 218 - 225. The quotation is from pp. 228f.: (Schediasmata Poetica iii.188, it had already appeared in Shede’s 1580 Odae ad Noribergam p. 70)

spacerNOTE 5 Jane Stevenson, Women Latin Poets (Oxford, 2005) p. 234.

spacerNOTE 6 J. A. Van Dorsten, Poets, Patrons and Professors: Sir Philip Sidney, Daniel Rogers, and the Leiden Humanists (Leiden, 1962) p. 97.

spacerNOTE 7 The reader familiar with what appears to be the only printed biography of Scipio Gentili, the article in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, will be surprised to learn that he was living in England off and on during the first half of the 1580’s, but see Anne Pallant's M. A. thesis “The Printed Poems of Scipione Gentili” (Birmingham, U. K., 1983) pp. xi - xlvi.

spacerNOTE 8 And at greater length at Dana F. Sutton, “Milton's in Quintum Novembris, Anno Aetatis 17 (1626): Choices and Intentions,” in Gareth L. Schmeling (ed.), Qui Miscuit Utile Dulci (Festschrift for Paul Lachlan MacKendrick on his 85th Birthday, Chicago, 1997) pp. 349 - 375.