In cygneam pompam 10 The idiom comes from Horace, Ars Poetica 343, omne tulit punctum.
Longe invictissimo Henrico treis epigrammaton libellos Unlike his later poetry, Leland did not publish these three Books of epigrams in his lifetime. These must have supplied the material for Principum ac illustrium aliquot et eruditorum in Anglia virorum, Encomia, Trophaea, Genethliaca, et Epithalamia a Joanne Lelando Antiquario conscripta, nunc primum in lucem edita (edited by Thomas Newton, printed 1589). The three Books itemized by Leland might be translated Songs of Praise, Sallies, and Songs of Mourning.
Nec sic contentus The reference is to Leland’s Genethliacon illustrissimi Eaduerdi principis Cambriae (1543).
de tuo…Ascanio I. e., Prince Edward (Ascanius was the son of Aeneas).
manum de tabula tollere A Roman proverb, “Remove your hand from the picture, quit while you are ahead!” It is interesting that Leland regarded the writing of Latin poetry as a young man’s game.
tenebris plus quam Cimmeriis The Cimmerians lived in the extreme north, and the darkness of their winters became proverbial for obscurity in general.
Ego vero cum nuper a te huc missus In his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography life of Leland, James P. Carley interprets this sentence to sentence to mean that Henry had sent Leland to study at Oxford as a student (Anthony Wood records a tradition that he was associated with All Souls). But Leland would scarcely have used the word nuper to refer to something that had happened in 1524. More plausibly, he is recalling that sometime in the recent past Henry had sent him to Oxford to discharge some sort of commission (munus), possibly in connection with the formation of the royal library. Even more likely, as Dr. James Carley has suggesed to me, this has to do with his appointment as a Canon of Henry VIII College in 1543.
decimo Aeneidos libro X.189ff.
Ovidius libro Metamorphoseos secundo Met. II.373ff. The following quote is ib. 252f.
Idem rursus decimo quarto eiusdem operis libro Ib. XIV.428ff. (modern editions have modulata dolore).
ex epistolis Heroidum Heroides vii.1f.
et alibi Fasti II.109f.
et quarto de Tristibus Leland’s memory failed him: the correct reference is Tristia V.i.11f.
Lucretius etiam libro quarto IV.545f.
Martialis quoque poeta XIII.lxxvii.
Alexander Nechamius Anglus The medieval English poet Alexander of Necham or Neckham [1157 - 1217], author of De Laude Sapientiae Divinae, quoted here and below.
et Horatius lyricus Odes III.xxviii.14f.
Statius libro Sylvarum tertio Silvae III.iv.22.
Tale quidem videtur Cicero De Oratore III.vi (modern texts print quam quasi expectantes where Leland has quum quasi spectantes).
Sic Scottos genus foedifragum This poem was written against the background of the current war against France and Scotland, in the course of which the English captured Boulogne.
Ad invictissimum Henricum 5 Cf. Aeneid IX.641, macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra.
8 Isidis vadum, “the ford of the Isis,” is Leland’s regular term for Oxford in this poem.
36 Caducis because by the time the swan reaches his goal of Greenwich the Thames is a tidal estuary.
63 In a note, Leland explains that Cissa, father of King Ina of Wessex, founded a monastery there.
64 According to Leland, Hydropolis was the Roman name for Dorchester (Camden, in his description of Glocester, rejects this information as fanciful). Bishop Birinus, “the apostle of the West Saxons,” had his seat there.
67 He identifies Sinnodunum as a hill fort at Wallinford, Berks., and rejects the identification with Silchester, where the ditch of some fortification was visible in his day. The Atrebates were a powerful tribe of British Celts living in the area of modern Sussex, Berkshire, and Hampshire.
71 Cholsey, Berks., where the Danes ravaged a Saxon monastery.
75 Reading. (modern scholarly opinion identifies Pontes, in the Antonine Itinerary, with Staines). It is near here that the Kenet joins the Thames.
78 Sonning, a Saxon administrative center in the late seventh century.
84 The Cattieuchlani were another Britich Celtic tribe, that inhabited Buckinghamshire.
86 Bustelesham or Bisham Montague, Berks., once the site of a priory founded by William de Montague, Earl of Salisbury. He and some other members of his family were buried there.
89 Maidenhead (formerly Southealington).
91f. Under the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy the Thames was the boundary between the kingdoms of Kent and Essex (Windsor and Eton are on opposite sides of the river).
99 A river in Lydia, famous in antiquity for its swans.
106 The Insula Ceroti (Chertsey) where Erchenwald, a Bishop of London, founded an abbey in the seventh century. It is striking that Leland does not mention nearby Runnymede.
110 Ankerwick, once the site of a Benedictine nunnery. Since Leland’s term for Greenwich is Viridis sinus, it would appear that he thought there was some association between sinus and the place-name termination wich / wick. It is difficult to imagine what this might be (in fact, this termination is cognate with Gr. οἷκος and Lat. vicus).
According to Leland (in his note on Ankerwick), Stenum (Staines) was sited across the river, on the left bank of the Thames, and was the site of a church founded by William and Richard Monfichet).
113 Avona was the site of Hampton Court, once the residence of Cardinal Wolsey. In the Latin, it should be observed that the sentence of 112f. has no verb.
127 Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, was one of the four Royal Boroughs. Leland was wrong: seven Saxon kings were crowned there, most memorably Aethelstan.
135 The Brigantes were a tribe of British Celts who inhabited, inter alia, north Yorkshire and the district of Richmond.
140 Henry V refounded Sion at Twickenham as a nunnery for Bridgetines.
153 Evidenty King Henry’s sister Mary lived at Kew between her return to England after the death of Louis XII and prior to her marriage to Charles Brandon.
155f. In his commentary Leland points out that Mortlake was the site of a manor which had long belonged to the Archbishops of Canterbury, but was now Crown property.
161 Fulham (including the parish of Hammersmith) was a manor belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Its civic coat of arms includes black oared ship with a white sail, commemorating the visitation of the Danes in 879.
168 Henry VIII acquired a manor at Chelsea in 1536.
192 Anthony Bec, the haughty Bishop of Durham in the thirteenth century, built Durham House in the Strand. The Savoy was nearby.
197 The Savoy had belonged to Edmund of Lancaster, son of Henry III, and his descendants, but was converted into a poorhouse by Henry VII.
201 York House, a third mansion in the strand Strand, which, according to Camden’s Britannia, in his description of Middlesex, had originally been called Bath House.
205 Bridewell Palace stood on the west bank of the Fleet.
206 Trenovantum because the Trinovantes were the inhabitants of the area of London in Caesar’s day. The name of this tribe easily became confused with Troynovante (“New Troy”), the romantic name given London by those who subscribed to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s tradition that Britain had been founded by the Trojan refugee Brutus, who gave the island its name. Leland’s commentary note shows he subscribed to this confusion.
212 The original Baynard’s Castle was built on the river-bank hard by the Fleet Tower, by Baynard, a follower of William the Conqueror. In the thirteenth century it was replaced by another mansion of the same, this one unfortified, a little to the east.
220ff. These lines may refer to Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester [1355 - 1397], whose power and wealth were greatly enhanced when he became the heir of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex in exchange for agreeing to marry the Earl’s daughter (the swan was the Bohun family badge). Nevertheless, in the end he was taken prisoner and murdered by Richard II.
225 The main trading base of the Hanseatic League in London was the Steelyard, where the Walbrook entered the Thames.
245 Charles Brandon built Suffolk House in Southwark. Evidently Leland is saying nothing more specific than that this mansion was swan-like in its grace, and there was no connection between swans and either Brandon or the building (so that this has no bearing on the naming of the Swan Theater, built in Southwark in 1594).
246 In the twelfth century Bishop William Giffard of Winchester built a town-house at Southwark, and founded a Augustine monastery at St. Mary Overy’s nearby. Peter des Roches was a successor in the see of Winchester in the following century.
252 Bellinus was the mythological prehistoric founder of the Tower of London.
259 In contemporary parlance, a serpent was a light artillery piece mounted on a wheeled carriage.
270 Paestum was a town in Italy famous for the quality of its roses: see such passages as Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto II.iv.28, Martial V.xxxvii.9, and Columella, De Re Rustica X.x.1.3.
275 Limehouse, so called because along this stretch of the Thames the potters kept their kilns (these are the source of the smoke and fires observed by the swan).
289ff. Some of the ships catalogued by Leland are readily identified on the basis of the Anthony Roll in the Samuel Pepys Library and N. A. M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea: a Naval History of Britain 660 - 1649 (London - New York, 1997), 476 - 8. In this list we have the carracks Henri Grace à Dieu, Katharine Fortileza, Mary Rose, and Peter Pomegranate, and the somewhat smaller warships Lion, Primrose, Swallow, and Sweepstakes. After this, things become more problematic because Leland is using traditional Roman words for sea-craft to describe contemporay catagories of ships, and it is not entirely clear how. According to the Collins Gem Latin Dictionary, phaselus can mean “pinnace,” but it seems unlikely that he would mention such a humble kind of vessel. More likely it means “barque” and refers to the Less Bark (i. e., the second of Henry’s warships to bear that name, commissioned in 1536). The Pinus is likely to be the 600-tonner Great Galley or Great Galleass. Leland’s friend Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder must have commanded her at some time between his rehabilitation, after Cromwell’s downfall, in the Spring of 1541 and his death in the following year (hence the tense erat in 300), and since the Great Galley had been commissioned in 1538 she could reasonably be described as a new ship in comparison with many of the others listed by Leland. This would appear to be the only published reference of Wyatt’s holding this position, it is cited by Patricia Thomson, Wyatt: The Critical Heritage (London, 1996) 24, although according to Kenneth Muir, Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Wyatt (Liverpool, 1963) 212f., “In August it was reported that Wyatt was to be made ‘captain’ of an armada of seven or eight vessels, or as Chapuys reported to the Emperor on 10 August, captain of some twelve vessels and vice-admiral of the whole fleet. This appointment was celebrated by John Leland in his Cygnea Cantio.” Muir referenced Letters and Papers [foreign and domestic in the reign of Henry VIII] XVII pg 742 and no. 598.
I should like to thank David Prothero and Ms. E. C. Evershed for their assistance in writing the above paragraph.
302 A list of errata on the last page of the book tells us to read Neireidum for Peiridum. I regard this change as injurious. If we read Neireidum, we are only being told the same thing we have been told in the previous line, but if we retain Peireidum we are given the extra interesting information that Wyatt was a poet as well as a warrior.
306 William Gonson (the surname was understood by Leland to be a shortened form of Gunderson), Vice-Admiral of the Coast in 1536, subsequently Treasurer of the Navy. In his commentary note, Leland records that Gonson scored a victory over the French, but does not mention the “Getae” (I am not certain who they are supposed to be).
336 Henry, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V and Protector of England during the minority of Henry VI. He built a palace here (but called it Bella Court). When he fell from power in 1447, it was confiscated by Margaret of Anjou (who renamed it Placentia). The phrase ditione Claudiana auctus refers to his dukedom: cf. Camden’s description of Gloucester (evidently with an implied criticism of Leland’s commentary note):
Sinuoso volumine a Deorhirst defluit Sabrina, et statim se diffindens ut amnicam insulam viridisntibus pratis laetissima efficiat, primariam comitatus praeterfluit urbem, quam Antoninus Clevum et Glevum dixit, Britanni Caer Glovi, Saxones Gleavcester, nos Glocester, vulgus Latinorum Gloverniam, alii Claudiocestriam a Claudio imperatore, ut fabulantur qui sic denominaret, quum Genissam filiiam nuptiis hic Arvirago Britanno locasset.
From Deorhirst, Severne, making many reaches and windings in and out and forthwith dividing himselfe to make a river Iland most rich and beautifull in greene meddowes, he passeth along by the head Citie of this Shire, which Antonine the Emperour called Cilvum and Glevum, the Britans terme Caer Glow, the English Saxons Gleavecester, we Glocester, the Vulgar sort of Latinists Gloveria, others Claudiocestria of the Emperour Claudius, as they imagine who, forsooth, should give it this name when he had bestowed heere his daughter Genissa in marriage upon Arviragus the Britan.
He was destroyed by the deceit of William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk.
347 Evidently Leland shifts without sufficient warning from describing the flowers in his garden to those in his stained glass windows.
350ff. The learned men of France were indebted to him because he founded the University of Caen, and those of Oxford because he built the Theology School there, with a well-furnished library on the second floor.
358 The Duke was buried in the Abbey Church of St. Albans, where a handsome monument was erected for him.
397f. Cf. Aeneid I.203, forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
402 The Romans marked lucky days on their calendars with white stones. The present day is so auspicious that it deserves to be marked with jewels, not just ordinary stones.
435 The Morini were the ancient Celtic tribe that inhabited the region around Boulogne: the reference is to Henry’s recent capture of that city, in 1544.
439ff. The reference is to the defeat of James IV at Solway Moss in 1542. James himself had not been present at the battle, but died of chagrin slightly thereafter.
444 Leland makes it seem that credit for the victory at Solway Moss belonged to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and subsequently Duke of Norfolk, and his son Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, although Sir Thomas Wharton had commanded the English forces at Solway. He appears to muddle the historical facts by shifting from recent to previous events without adequately warning the reader. Thomas Howard had won the English a previous victory over the Scots at Flodden, in 1513, and Henry had captured Tournai after the Battle of the Spurs in the same year.
449 The English retained Tournai from until 1518, and evidently Henry fortified it with new defensive works, as he subsequently did at Boulogne.
452ff. When Charles V learned that Henry was to meet François I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold (in 1520), he grew alarmed and hot-footed it to England, where he met Henry at Canterbury and tried to forestall that meeting (Polydore Vergil tells the story, and continues by describing the following meeting with François).
469ff. Charles met Henry at Calais immediately after his meeting with François (where they signed the Treaty of Calais), and visited London two years later. The theatrum may have been a building put up for the memorably lavish banquet that took place on the occasion of their Calis meeting. Or was there also a jousting tournament?
481 In 1512, 1522, and 1544.
485ff. In 1525 François was captured by Charles V at the Battle of Pavia, Henry intervened diplomatically with Charles to obtain his release. François felt deeply indebted to Henry, and the two kings met again at Boulogne, in 1535 (see the note on 435).
523 Exuit veternum contains an allusion to Colossians 3:9 - 10:
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
532 An allusion to the 1534 Act of Supremacy.
570 In his commentary note, Leland records a tradition that Caesar made his first landfall at Dale, a promontory on the coast of Kent (see also Camden’s description of Kent).
584 The Novantes were the Celtic Britons who possessed the portion lying between the Dee and the Irish Sea.
586 Tuesis was an ancient British town listed by Ptolemy. In his commentary note Leland conjecturally identified it with Berwick.
589 Guines was a French town within the English Pale of Calais.
594 Probably a reference to the foundation of the King’s School at Canterbury (there is some irony here, possibly unconscious, since Henry’s most famous architectual innovation at Canterbury was the demoliltion of Becket’s tomb).
597 This is problematic: Henry VIII does not seem to have built anything that might be called a regia here, nor anywhere else on the river Ure (which might also be Leland’s meaning). Henry’s house and fortification-building is comprehensively reviewed by Howard Colvin and Sir John Summerson in The History of the King’s Works, vol 4 (London, 1972).
615 John Cheke [1514 - 1557], the first Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge.
616 The scholar - statesman Sir Thomas Smith [1513 - 1577], closely associated with Cheke in introducing a reformed pronunciation of Greek.
617 John Ponet [d. 1556], Bishop of Winchester and author of A Trageodie, or, Dialoge of the Unjust Usurper Primacy of the Bishop of Rome, a translation of a work by Bernardino Ochino.
619 Walter Haddon [1515 - 1571], Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge and a leading reformer. He later served Elizabeth as a diplomat.
621 Nicholas Carr [1523 - 1568], who succeeded Cheke as Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge. John Christpoherson [d. 1558], Master of Trinity College and Bishop of Chichester. Roger Acham [d. 1568], author of The Scholemaster and Elizabeth’s tutor.
630 John Hoker or Hooker of Magdalen College, author of Piscator (possibly an academic comedy), an introduction to rhetoric, and Latin poems and epigrams.
631 Henry Cole [1505 - 1580], for a while a Fellow of New College). Although a trained lawyer, he was a member of the clergy and rose to be Dean of St. Paul’s.
632 William Chedsey [b. 1511], a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. It is noteworthy that he, Bruerne, and Harpsefield were Catholics, and that Weston also got in trouble for his religious conservatism
633 Hugh Weston [d. 1558], a Baliol-educated Dean of Windsor.
634 The Hebrew scholar Richard Bruerne or Bruarne [1519 - 1565], a Fellow of Lincoln College.
635 Thomas Caius or Key of All Souls College [d. 1572]. He translated Erasmus’ paraphrase of Mark and wrote Latin epigrams. He is best remembered for his work arguing that the University of Oxford was older than the University of Cambridg, which provoked a lengthy counterblast from his namesake John Caius. The identification of Petrus cosmographus in the following line is undertain: J. W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England (Leeds, 1990) 452 n. 59 suggested Sir William Petre [d. 1572], the second founder of Exeter College. In the following note he confessed himself at a loss about identifying Facundus Curio.
638f. John Harpesfield [1516–1578] The first Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, he translated Simplicius’s commentary on Aristotle’s Physics.
641 John Harding (who was John Foxe’s tutor at Brasenose College, Oxon.).
643 Henry initiated a new policy of wresting control of Ireland from its Catholic and Gaelic population, enforcing his new religion, and introducing “plantations” of English colonists. In 1541 he compelled the Irish Parliament to declare him King of Ireland.
647 Henry was uncle to James V.
655ff. Another reference to the English victory at Solway Moss in 1542.
660 The tyrant in question is Charles V, as described above.
664f. I suppose that the reader is supposed to supply fecit (reading suique iuris fecit), and that Leland is referring to the lowering of the French flag in token of surrender. Leland was probably thinking of the capture of Boulogne in 1544.
667 The English fired Leith in 1544 and destroyed that portion of the Scots fleet then in harbor (which amounted to only two ships).
669f. Maiden Castle (i. e., Edinburgh Castle).
674 See the note on 435.
680 Oudard du Biez, Marshal of France.
686 Katherine Parr.
Augurium 2 Aeneid I.393.