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Short poem

George Puttenham (ca. 1529-1591)

The Arte of Poesie (1589)

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Of Proportion Poeticall.

¶2.1.1 IT is said by such as professe
the Mathematicall sciences, that all things stand by
proportion, and that without it nothing could stand to be
good or beautiful. The Doctors of our Theologie to the same
effect, but in other termes, say: that God made the world by
number, measure and weight: some for weight say tune, and
peraduenture better. For weight is a kind of measure or of
much conueniencie with it: and therefore in their
descriptions be alwayes coupled together (
statica |&| metrica) weight and measures.
Hereupon it seemeth the Philosopher gathers a triple
proportion, to wit, the Arithmeticall, the Geometricall, and
the Musicall. And by one of these three is euery other
proportion guided of the things that haue conueniencie by
relation, as the visible by light colour and shadow: the
audible by stirres, times and accents: the odorable by
smelles of sundry temperaments: the tastible by fauours to
the rate: the tangible by his obiectes in this or that
regard. Of all which we leaue to speake, returning to our
poeticall proportion, which holdeth of the Musical, because
as we sayd before Poesie is a skill to speake |&| write
harmonically: and verses or rime be a kind of Musicall
vtterance, by reason of a certaine congruitie in sounds
pleasing the eare, though not perchance so exquisitely as
the harmonicall concents of the artificial Musicke
consisting in strained tunes, as is the vocall Musike, or
that of melodious instruments, as Lutes, Harpes, Regals,
Records and such like. And this our proportion Poeticall

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resteth in fiue points: Staffe, Measure, Concord, Scituation
and figure all which shall be spoken of in their places.


Of proportion in Staffe.

¶2.2.1 STaffe in our vulgare Poesie I
know not why it should be so called, vnlesse it be for that
we vnderstand it for a bearer or supporter of a song or
ballad not vnlike the old weake bodie, that is stayed vp by
his staffe, and were not otherwise able to walke or to stand
vpright. The Italian called it Stanza, as if we
should say a resting place: and if we consider well the
forme of this Poeticall staffe, we shall finde it to be a
certaine number of verses allowed to go altogether and ioyne
without any intermission, and doe or should finish vp all
the sent|en|ces of the same with a full period vnlesse it be
in som special cases, |&| there to stay till another staffe
follow of like sort: and the shortest staffe conteineth not
vnder foure verses, nor the longest aboue ten, if it passe
that number it is rather a whole ditty then properly a
staffe. Also for the more part the staues stand rather vpon
the euen nomber of verses then the odde, though there be of
both sorts. The first proportion then of a staffe is by
quadrien or foure verses. The second of fiue verses,
and is seldome vsed. The third by
sizein or sixe verses, and is not only most vsual,
but also very pleasant to th'eare. The fourth is in seu|en|
verses, |&| is the chiefe of our ancient proportions vsed by
any rimer writing any thing of historical or graue poeme, as
ye may see in Chaucer and Lidgate th'one
writing the loues of Troylus and Cresseida
, th'other of the fall of Princes: both by them translated
not deuised. The fift proportion is of eight verses very
stately and Heroicke, and which I like better then
that of seuen, because it receaueth better band. The sixt is
of nine verses, rare but very graue. The seuenth proportion
is of tenne verses, very stately, but in many mens opinion
too long: neuerthelesse of very good grace |&| much
grauitie. Of eleuen and twelue I find none ordinary staues
vsed in any vulgar language, neither doth it serue well to
continue any historicall report or ballade, or other song:
but is a dittie of it self, and no staffe, yet some moderne
writers haue vsed it but very seldome. Then last of all haue
ye a proportion to be vsed in the num-

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ber of your staues, as to a caroll and a ballade, to a song,
|&| a round, or virelay. For to an historicall poeme no
certain number is limited, but as the matter fals out: also
a distick or couple of verses is not to be
accompted a staffe, but serues for a continuance as we see
in Elegie, Epitaph, Epigramme or such meetres, of plaine
concord not harmonically entertangled, as some other songs
of more delicate musick be.

¶2.2.2 A staffe of foure verses containeth in it
selfe matter sufficient to make a full periode or complement
of sence, though it doe not alwayes so, and therefore may go
by diuisions.

¶2.2.3 A staffe of fiue verses, is not much vsed
because he that can not comprehend his periode in foure
verses, will rather driue it into six then leaue it in fiue,
for that the euen number is more agreable to the eare then
the odde is.

¶2.2.4 A staffe of sixe verses, is very pleasant
to the eare, and also serueth for a greater complement then
the inferiour staues, which maketh him more commonly to be

¶2.2.5 A staffe of seuen verses, most vsuall with
our auncient makers, also the staffe of eight, nine and ten
of larger complement then the rest, are onely vsed by the
later makers, |&| unlesse they go with very good bande, do
not so well as the inferiour staues. Therefore if ye make
your staffe of eight, by two fowers not entertangled, it is
not a huitaine or a staffe of eight, but two quadreins, so
is it in ten verses, not being entertangled they be but two
staues of fiue.


Of proportion in measure.

¶2.3.1 MEeter and measure is all one,
for what the Greekes call
metron, the Latines call
Mensura, and is but the quantitie of a verse,
either long or short. This quantitie with them consisteth in
the number of their feete: |&| with vs in the number of
sillables, which are comprehended in euery verse, not
regarding his feete, otherwise then that we allow in
scanning our verse, two sillables to make one short
porti|on| (suppose it a foote) in euery verse. And after
that sort ye may say, we haue feete in our vulgare rymes,
but that is improperly: for a foote by his sence naturall is
a m|en|ber of office and function, and serueth to three
purposes, that is to say, to go, to

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runne, |&| to stand still: so as he must be sometimes swift,
sometimes slow, sometime vnegally marching or peradu|en|ture
steddy. And if our feete Poeticall want these qualities it
can not be sayd a foote in sence translatiue as here. And
this commeth to passe, by reason of the euident motion and
stirre, which is perceiued in the sounding of our wordes not
alwayes egall: for some aske longer, some shorter time to be
vttered in, |&| so by the Philosophers definition, stirre is
the true measure of time. The Greekes |&| Latines because
their wordes hapned to be of many sillables, and very few of
one sillable, it fell out right with them to conceiue and
also to perceiue, a notable diuersitie of motion and times
in the pronuntiation of their wordes, and therefore to euery
bissillable they allowed two times, |&| to a
trissillable three times, |&| to euery
polisillable more, according to his quantitie, |&|
their times were some long, some short according as their
motions were slow or swift. For the sound of some sillable
stayd the eare a great while, and others slid away so
quickly, as if they had not bene pronounced, then euery
sillable being allowed one time, either short or long, it
fell out that euery tetrasillable had foure times,
euery trissillable three, and the
bissillable two, by which obseruation euery word, not
vnder that sise, as he ranne or stood in a verse, was called
by them a foote of such and so many times, namely the
bissillable was either of two long times as the
spondeus, or two short, as the pirchius, or
of a long |&| a short as the trocheus, or of a
short and a long as the iambus: the like rule did
they set vpon the word trissillable, calling him a
foote of three times: as the dactilus of a long
and two short: the mollossus of three long, the
tribracchus of three short, the amphibracchus
of two long and a short, the amphimacer of two
short and a long. The word of foure sillables they called a
foote of foure times, some or all of them, either long or
short: and yet not so content they mounted higher, and
because their wordes serued well thereto, they made feete of
sixe times: but this proceeded more of curiositie, then
otherwise: for whatsoeuer foote passe the
trissillable is c|om|pounded of his inferiour as
euery number Arithmeticall aboue three, is compounded of the
inferiour numbers as twise two make foure, but the three is
made of one number, videl. of two and an vnitie. Now because
our naturall |&| primitiue language of the Saxon En-

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glish, beares not any wordes (at least very few)
of moe sillables then one (for whatsoeuer we see exceede,
commeth to vs by the alterations of our language growen vpon
many conquestes and otherwise) there could be no such
obseruation of times in the sound of our wordes, |&| for
that cause we could not haue the feete which the Greeks and
Latines haue in their meetres: but of this stirre |&| motion
of their deuised feete, nothing can better shew the qualitie
th|en| these runners at common games, who setting forth from
the first goale, one giueth the start speedely |&| perhaps
before the come half way to th'other goale, decayeth his
pace, as a m|an| weary |&| fainting: another is slow at the
start, but by amending his pace keepes euen with his fellow
or perchance gets before him: another one while gets ground,
another while loseth it again, either in the beginning, or
middle of his race, and so proceedes vnegally sometimes
swift somtimes slow as his breath or forces serue him:
another sort there be that plod on, |&| will neuer change
their pace, whether they win or lose the game: in this maner
doth the Greeke dactilus begin slowly and keepe on
swifter till th'end, for his race being deuided into three
parts, he spends one, |&| that is the first slowly, the
other twaine swiftly: the anapestus his two first
parts swiftly, his last slowly: the Molossus
spends all three parts of his race slowly and egally
Bacchius his first part swiftly, |&| two last parts
slowly. The tribrachus all his three parts
swiftly: the antibacchius his two first partes
slowly, his last |&| third swiftly: the amphimacer
, his first |&| last part slowly |&| his middle part
swiftly: the amphibracus his first and last parts
swiftly but his midle part slowly, |&| so of others by like
proporti|on|. This was a pretie phantasticall obseruation of
them, |&| yet brought their meetres to haue a maruelous good
grace, which was in Greeke called rithmos:
whence we haue deriued this word ryme, but improperly |&|
not wel because we haue no such feete or times or stirres in
our meeters, by whose simpathie, or pleasant
c|on|u|en|iencie with th'eare, we could take any delight:
this rithmus of theirs, is not therfore our rime,
but a certaine musicall numerositie in vtterance, and not a
bare number as that of the Arithmeticall c|om|putation is,
which therfore is not called rithmus but
arithmus. Take this away from them, I meane the
running of their feete, there is nothing of curiositie among
them more then with vs nor yet so much.

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How many sorts of measures we vse in our vulgar.

¶2.4.1 TO returne from rime to our
measure againe, it hath bene sayd that according to the
number of the sillables contained in euery verse, the same
is sayd a long or short meeter, and his shortest proportion
is of foure sillables, and his longest of twelue, they that
vse it aboue, passe the bounds of good proportion. And euery
meeter may be aswel in the odde as in the euen sillable, but
better in the euen, and one verse may begin in the euen, |&|
another follow in the odde, and so keepe a commendable
proportion. The verse that containeth but two silables,
which may be in one word, is not vsuall: therefore many do
deny him to be a verse, saying that it is but a foot, and
that a meeter can haue no lesse then two feete at the least,
but I find it otherwise aswell among the best Italian Poets,
as also with our vulgar makers, and that two sillables serue
wel for a short measure in the first place, and midle, and
end of a staffe: and also in diuerse scituations and by
sundry distances, and is very passionate and of good grace,
as shalbe declared more at large in the Chapter of
proportion by scituation.

¶2.4.2 The next measure is of two feete or of
foure sillables, and then one word
tetrasillable diuided in the middest makes vp the
whole meeter, as thus

¶2.4.3 Rèue rèntl{_i}e

¶2.4.4 Or a trissillable and one monosillable
thus. Soueraine God, or two bissillables and that
is plesant thus, Restore againe, or with foure
monossillables, and that is best of all thus, When I
doe thinke
, I finde no fauour in a meetre of three
sillables nor in effect in any odde, but they may be vsed
for varietie sake, and specially being enterlaced with
others: the meetre of six sillables is very sweete and
dilicate as thus.

O God {w}hen I behold
This bright heauen so hye
By thine o{w}ne hands of old
Contriud so cunningly.

¶2.4.5 The meter of seuen sillables is not vsual,
no more is that of nine and eleuen, yet if they be well
composed, that is, their Cesure well appointed,
and their last accent which makes the concord, they

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are c|om|mendable inough, as in this ditty where one verse
is of eight an other is of seuen, and in the one the accent
vpon the last, in the other vpon the last saue on.

The smoakie sighes, the bitter teares
That I in vaine haue wasted
The broken sleepes, the woe and feares
That long in me haue lasted
Will be my death, all by thy guilt
And not by my deseruing
Since so inconstantly thou wilt>br> Not loue but still be sweruing.

And all the reason why these meeters in all sillable are
alowable is, for that the sharpe accent falles vpon the
penultima or last saue one
sillable of the verse, which doth so drowne the last, as he
seemeth to passe away in maner vnpronounced, |&| so make the
verse seeme euen: but if the accent fall vpon the last and
leaue two flat to finish the verse, it will not seeme so:
for the odnes will more notoriously appeare, as for example
in the last verse before recited Not loue but still be
, say thus Loue it is a maruelous thing.
. Both verses be of egall quantitie, vidz. seauen
sillables a peece, and yet the first seemes shorter then the
later, who shewes a more odnesse then the former by reason
of his sharpe accent which is vp|on| the last sillable, and
makes him more audible then if he had slid away with a flat
accent, as the word sw|'e|ruing.

Your ordinarie rimers vse very much their measures in the
odde as nine and eleuen, and the sharpe accent vpon the last
sillable, which therefore makes him go ill fauouredly and
like a minstrels musicke. Thus sayd one in a meeter of
eleuen very harshly in mine eare, whether it be for lacke of
good rime or of good reason, or of both I wot not.

Now sucke childe and sleepe childe, thy mothers owne ioy
Her only sweete comfort, to drowne all annoy
For beauty surpassing the azured skie
I loue thee my darling, as ball of mine eye.

This sort of compotition in the odde
I like not, vnlesse it be holpen by the Cesure or
by the accent as I sayd before.

The meeter of eight is no lesse pleasant then that of sixe,

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the Cesure fals iust in the middle, as this of the
Earle of Surreyes.

When raging loue, with extreme payne.

The meeeter of ten sillables is very
stately and Heroicall, and must haue his Cesure
fall vpon the fourth sillable, and leaue sixe behinde him

I serue at ease, and gouerne all with woe.

This meeter of twelue sillables the French man calleth a
verse Alexandrine, and is with our moderne rimers
most vsuall: with the auncient makers it was not so. For
before Sir Thomas Wiats time they were not vsed in
our vulgar, they be for graue and stately matters fitter
than for any other ditty of pleasure. Some makers write in
verses of foureteene sillables, giuing the Cesure
at the first eight, which proportion is tedious, for the
length of the verse keepeth the eare too long from his
delight, which is to heare the cadence or the tuneable
accent in the ende of the verse. Neuerthelesse that of
twelue if his Cesure be iust in the middle, and
that ye suffer him to runne at full length, and do not as
the common rimers do, or their Printer for sparing of paper,
cut them of in the middest, wherin they make in two verses
but halfe rime. They do very wel as wrote the Earle of
Surrey translating the booke of the preacher.

Salomon Dauids sonne, king of Ierusalem.

This verse is a very good Alexandrine, but
perchaunce woulde haue sounded more musically, if the first
word had bene a dissillable, or two monosillables and not a
trissillable: hauing his sharpe accent vppon the
Antepenultima as it hath, by which occasion it runnes
like a Dactill, and carries the two later
sillables away so speedily as it seemes but one foote in our
vulgar measure, and by that meanes makes the verse seeme but
of eleuen sillables, which odnesse is nothing pleasant to
the eare. Iudge some body whether it would haue done better
(if it might) haue bene sayd thus,

Robóham Dauids sonne king of Iersualem,

Letting the sharpe accent fall vpon bo, or thus

Restóre king D{'a}uids sonne vntó Ierúsalém

For now the sharpe accent falles vpon bo,
and so doth it vpon the last in restóre, which
was not in th'other verse. But because we haue seemed to
make mention of Cesure, and to appoint his place
in euery measure, it shall not be amisse to say somewhat
more of it,

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|&| also of such pauses as are vsed in vtterance, |&| what
commoditie or delectation they bring either to the speakers
or to the hearers.

Of Cesure.

THere is no greater difference betwixt a ciuill
and brutish vtteraunce then cleare distinction of voices:
and the most laudable languages are alwaies most plaine and
distinct, and the barbarous most confuse and indistinct: it
is therefore requisit that leasure be taken in
pronuntiation, such as may make our wordes plaine |&| most
audible and agreable to the eare: also the breath asketh to
be now and then releeued with some pause or stay more or
lesse: besides that the very nature of speach (because it
goeth by clauses of seuerall construction |&| sence)
requireth some space betwixt th|em| with intermissi|on| of
sound, to th'end they may not huddle one vpon another so
rudly |&| so fast that th'eare may not perceiue their
difference. For these respectes the auncient reformers of
language, inuented, three maner of pauses, one of lesse
leasure then another, and such seuerall intermissions of
sound to serue (besides easm|en|t to the breath) for a
treble distinction of sent|en|ces or parts of speach, as
they happened to be more or lesse perfect in sence. The
shortest pause or intermissi|on| they called comma
as who would say a peece of a speach cut of. The sec|on|d
they called colon, not a peece but as it were a
member for his larger length, because it occupied twise as
much time as the comma. The third they called
periodus, for a c|om|plement or
full pause, and as a resting place and perfection of so much
former speach as had been vttered, and from whence they
needed not to passe any further vnles it were to renew more
matter to enlarge the tale. This cannot be better
represented then by ex|am|ple of these c|om|m|on| trauailers
by the hie ways, where they seeme to allow th|em|selues
three maner of staies or easements: one a horsebacke calling
perchaunce for a cup of beere or wine, and hauing dronken it
vp rides away and neuer lights: about noone he commeth to
his Inne, |&| there baites him selfe and his horse an houre
or more: at night when he can conueniently trauaile no
further, he taketh vp his lodging, and rests him selfe till
the morrow: from whence he followeth the course of a further
voyage, if his businesse

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be such. Euen so our Poet when he hath made one verse, hath
as it were finished one dayes iourney, |&| the while easeth
him selfe with one baite at the least, which is a
Comma or Cesure in the mid way, if the
verse be euen and not odde, otherwise in some other place,
and not iust in the middle. If there be no Cesure
at all, and the verse long, the lesse is the makers skill
and hearers delight. Therefore in a verse of twelue
sillables the Cesure ought to fall right vpon the
sixt sillable: in a verse of eleuen vpon the sixt also
leauing fiue to follow. In a verse of ten vpon the fourth,
leauing sixe to follow. In a verse of nine vpon the fourth,
leauing fiue to follow. In a verse of eight iust in the
middest, that is, vpon the fourth. In a verse of seauen,
either vpon the fourth or none at all, the meeter very ill
brooking any pause. In a verse of sixe sillables and vnder
is needefull no Cesure at all, because the breath
asketh no reliefe: yet if ye giue any Comma, it is
to make distinction of sense more then for any thing else:
and such Cesure must neuer be made in the middest
of any word, if it be well appointed. So may you see that
the vse of these pawses or distinctions is not generally
with the vulgar Poet as it is with the Prose writer because
the Poetes cheife Musicke lying in his rime or concorde to
heare the Simphonie, he maketh all the hast he can to be at
an end of his verse, and delights not in many stayes by the
way, and therefore giueth but one Cesure to any
verse: and thus much for the sounding of a meetre.
Neuerthelesse he may vse in any verse both his comma
, colon, and interrogatiue point, as
well as in prose. But our auncient rymers, as Chaucer
, Lydgate |&| others, vsed these Cesures
either very seldome, or not at all, or else very
licentiously, and many times made their meetres (they called
them riding ryme) of such vnshapely wordes as would allow no
conuenient Cesure, and therefore did let their
rymes runne out at length, and neuer stayd till they came to
the end: which maner though it were not to be misliked in
some sort of meetre, yet in euery long verse the
Cesure ought to be kept precisely, if it were but to
serue as a law to correct the licentiousnesse of rymers,
besides that it pleaseth the eare better, |&| sheweth more
cunning in the maker by following the rule of his restraint.
For a rymer that will be tyed to no rules at all, but range
as he list, may easily vtter what he will: but such maner of
Poesie is called id our

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vulgar, ryme dogrell, with which rebuke we will in no case
our maker should be touched. Therfore before all other
things let his ryme and concordes be true, cleare and
audible with no lesse delight, then almost the strayned note
of a Musicians mouth, |&| not darke or wrenched by wrong
writing as many doe to patch vp their meetres, and so follow
in their arte neither rule, reason, nor ryme. Much more
might be sayd for the vse of your three pauses, comma
, colon, |&| periode, for perchance it
be not all a matter to vse many commas, and few,
nor colons likewise, or long or short
periodes, for it is diuersly vsed, by diuers good
writers. But because it apperteineth more to the oratour or
writer in prose then in verse, I will say no more in it,
then thus, that they be vsed for a commodious and sensible
distinction of clauses in prose, since euery verse is as it
were clause of it selfe, and limited with a Cesure
howsoeuer the sence beare, perfect or imperfect, which
difference is obseruable betwixt the prose and the meeter.


Of Proportion in Concord, called Symphonie or rime.

BEcause we vse the word rime (though by maner of
abusion) yet to helpe that fault againe we apply it in our
vulgar Poesie another way very commendably |&| curiously.
For wanting the currantnesse of the Greeke and Latine feete,
in stead thereof we make in th'ends of our verses a certaine
tunable sound: which anon after with another verse
reasonably distant we accord together in the last fall or
cadence: the eare taking pleasure to heare the like tune
reported, and to feele his returne. And for this purpose
serue the monosillables of our English Saxons
excellently well, because they do naturally and
indifferently receiue any accent, |&| in them if they finish
the verse, resteth the shrill accent of necessitie, and so
doth it not in the last of euery bissillable, nor
of euery polisillable word: but to the purpose,
ryme is a borrowed word fr|om| the Greeks by the
Latines and French, from them by vs Saxon angles, and by
abusion as hath bene sayd, and therefore it shall not do
amisse to tell what this rithmos was with the
Greekes, for what is it with vs hath bene already sayd.
There is an acc|om|ptable number which we call
arithmeticall (arithmos) as one, two, three. There is
also a musi-

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call or audible number, fashioned by stirring of tunes |&|
their sundry times in the vtterance of our wordes, as when
the voice goeth high or low, or sharpe or flat, or swift or
slow: |&| this is called rithmos or numerositie,
that is to say, a certaine flowing vtteraunce by slipper
words and sillables, such as the toung easily vtters, and
the eare with pleasure receiueth, and which flowing of
wordes with much volubilitie smoothly proceeding from the
mouth is in some sort harmonicall and breedeth to
th'eare a great compassion. This point grew by the smooth
and delicate running of their feete, which we haue not in
our vulgare, though we vse as much as may be the most
flowing words |&| slippery sillables, that we can picke out:
yet do not we call that by the name of ryme, as the Greekes
did: but do giue the name of ryme onely to our concordes, or
tunable consentes in the latter end of our verses, and which
concordes the Greekes nor Latines neuer vsed in their Poesie
till by the barbarous souldiers out of the campe, it was
brought into the Court and thence to the schoole, as hath
bene before remembred: and yet the Greekes and Latines both
vsed a maner of speach, by clauses of like termination,
which they called omioteluton, and was the
nearest that they approched to our ryme: but is not our
right concord: so as we in abusing this terme (ryme
) be neuerthelesse excusable applying it to another point
in Poesie no lesse curious then their rithme or
numerositie which in deede passed the whole verse
throughout, whereas our concordes keepe but the latter end
of euery verse, or perchaunce the middle and the end in
meetres that be long.


Of accent, time and stir perceiued euidently in the
distinction of mans voice, and which makes the flowing of

NOwe because we haue spoken of accent, time and
stirre or motion in wordes, we will set you downe more at
large what they be. The auncient Greekes and Latines by
reason their speech fell out originally to be fashioned with
words of many sillables for the most part, it was of
necessity that they could not vtter euery sillable with one
like and egall sounde, nor in like space of time, nor with
like motion or agility: but that one must be more suddenly
and quickely forsaken, or longer pawsed vpon

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then another: or sounded with a higher note |&| clearer
voyce then another, and of necessitie this diuersitie of
sound, must fall either vpon the last sillable, or vpon the
last saue one, or vpon the third and could not reach higher
to make any notable difference, it caused them to giue vnto
three different sounds, three seuerall names: to that which
was highest lift vp and most eleuate or shrillest in the
eare, they gaue the name of the sharpe accent, to the lowest
and most base because it seemed to fall downe rather then to
rise vp, they gaue the name of the heauy accent, and that
other which seemed in part to lift vp and in part to fall
downe, they called the circumflex, or compast accent: and if
new termes were not odious, we might very properly call him
the (windabout) fo so is the Greek word. Th|en| bycause
euery thing that by nature fals down is said heauy, |&|
whatsoeuer naturally mounts vpward is said light, it gaue
occasi|on| to say that there were diuersities in the motion
of the voice, as swift |&| slow, which moti|on| also
presupposes time, bycause time is mensura
, by the Philosopher: so haue you the
causes of their primitiue inuention and vse in our arte of
Poesie, all this by good obseruati|on| we may perceiue in
our vulgar wordes if they be of mo sillables th|en| one, but
specially if they be trissillables, as for example
in these wordes [altitude] and [heauinesse
] the sharpe accent falles vp|on| [al] |&| [
he] which be the antepenultimates: the
other two fall away speedily as if they were scarse sounded
in this trissilable [forsaken] the sharp
accent fals vp|on| [sa] which is the
penultima, and in the other two is heauie and
obscure. Againe in these bissillables, endúre,
vnsúre, demúre: aspíre, desíre, retíre
your sharpe accent falles vpon the last sillable: but in
words monsillable which be for the more part our
naturall Saxon English, the accent is indifferent, and may
be vsed for sharp or flat and heauy at our pleasure. I say
Saxon English, for our Normane English alloweth vs very many
bissillables, and also trissillables as,
reuerence, diligence, amorous,
desirous, and such like.


Of your Cadences by which your meeter is made Symphonicall
when they be sweetest and most solemne in a verse.

AS the smoothnesse of your words and sillables
running vpon feete of sundrie quantities, make with the
Greekes and La-

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tines the body of their verses numerous or Rithmicall, so in
our vulgar Poesie, and of all other nations at this day,
your verses answering eche other by couples, or at larger
distances in good [cadence] is it that maketh your
meeter symphonicall. This cadence is the fal of a verse in
euery last word with a certaine tunable sound which being
matched with another of like sound, do make a [
concord.] And the whole cadence is contained sometime
in one sillable, sometime in two, or in three at the most:
for aboue the antepenultima there
reacheth no accent (which is chiefe cause of the cadence)
vnlesse it be by vsurpati|on| in some English words, to
which we giue a sharpe accent vpon the fourth as,
Hónorable, m{'a}trimonie,
p{'a}trimonie, míserable, and such other
as would neither make a sweete cadence, nor easily find any
word of like quantitie to match them. And the accented
sillable with all the rest vnder him make the cadence, and
no sillable aboue, as in these words, Agíllitie
, facíllitie, subiéction,
diréction, and these bissilables, Ténder
, slénder, trústie,
lústie, but alwayes the cadence which falleth vpon
the last sillable of a verse is sweetest and most
commendable: that vpon the penultima
more light, and not so pleasant: but falling vpon the
antepenultima is most vnpleasant
of all, because they make your meeter too light and triuall,
and are fitter for the Epigrammatist or Comicall Poet then
for the Lyrick and Elegiack, which are accompted the sweeter
Musickes. But though we haue sayd that (to make good
concord) your seuerall verses should haue their cadences
like, yet must there be some difference in their
orthographie, though not in their sound, as if one cadence
be [constraíne] the next [restraíne
] or one [aspíre] another [respíre
] this maketh no good concord, because they are all one,
but if ye will exchange both these consonants of the
accented sillable, or voyde but one of them away, then will
your cadences be good and your concord to, as to say,
restraine, refraine, remaine: aspire
, desire, retire: which rule
neuerthelesse is not well obserued by many makers for lacke
of good iudgement and a delicate eare. And this may suffise
to shew the vse and nature of your cadences, which are in
effect all the sweetnesse and cunning in our vulgar Poesie.

{{Page 67}}


How the good maker will not wrench his word to helpe his
rime, either by falsifying his accent, or by vntrue

¶2.5.1 NOw there can not be in a maker
a fowler fault, then to falsifie his accent to serue his
cadence, or by vntrue orthographie to wrench his words to
helpe his rime, for it is a signe that such a maker
it not copious in his owne language, or (as they
are wont to say) not halfe his crafts maister: as for
example, if one should rime to this word [Restore]
he may not match him with [Doore] or [Poore
] for neither of both are of like terminant, either by
good orthography or in naturall sound, therfore such rime is
strained, so is it to this word [Ram] to say [
came] or to [Beane [
Den] for they sound not nor be written alike, |&|
many other like cadences which were superfluous to recite,
and are vsuall with rude rimers who obserue not precisely
the rules of [prosodie] neuerthelesse in all such
cases (if necessitie constrained) it is somewhat more
tollerable to help the rime by false orthographie, then to
leaue an vnpleasant dissonance to the eare, by keeping trewe
orthographie and loosing the rime, as for example it is
better to rime [Dore] with [Restore]
then his truer orthographie, which is [Doore] and
to this word [Desire] to say [Fier] then
fyre though it be otherwise better written fire.
For since the cheife grace of our vulgar Poesie consisteth
in the Symphonie, as hath bene already sayd, our maker must
not be too licentious in his concords, but see that they go
euen, iust and melodious in the eare, and right so in the
numerositie or currantnesse of the whole body of his verse,
and in euery other of his proportions. For a licentious
maker is in truth but a bungler and not a Poet. Such men
were in effect the most part of all your old rimers and
specially Gower, who to make vp his rime would for
the most part write his terminant sillable with false
orthographie, and many times not sticke to put in a plaine
French word for an English, |&| so by your leaue do many of
our common rimers at this day: as he that by all likelyhood,
hauing no word at hand to rime to this word [ioy]
he made his other verse ende in [Roy] saying very
impudently thus,

O mightie Lord of loue, dame Venus onely ioy

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Who art the highest God of any heauenly Roy.

¶2.5.2 Which word was neuer yet receiued in our
l|an|guage for an English word. Such extreme licentiousnesse
is vtterly to be banished from our schoole, and better it
might haue bene borne with in old riming writers, bycause
they liued in a barbarous age, |&| were graue morall men but
very homely Poets, such also as made most of their workes by
translation out of the Latine and French toung, |&| few or
none of their owne engine as may easely be knowen to them
that lift to looke vpon the Poemes of both languages.

¶2.5.3 Finally as ye may ryme with wordes of all
sortes, be they of many sillables or few, so neuerthelesse
is there a choise by which to make your cadence (before
remembred) most commendable, for some wordes of exceeding
great length, which haue bene fetched from the Latine
inkhorne or borrowed of strangers, the vse of them in ryme
is nothing pleasant, sauing perchaunce to the common people,
who reioyse much to be at playes and enterludes, and besides
their naturall ignoraunce, haue at all such times their
eares so attentiue to the matter, and their eyes vpon the
shewes of the stage, that they take little heede to the
cunning of the rime, and therefore be as well satisfied with
that which is grosse, as with any other finer and more


Of concorde in long and short measures, and by neare or
farre distaunces, and which of them is most commendable.

¶2.6.1 BVt this ye must obserue
withall, that bycause your concordes containe the chief part
of Musicke in your meetre, their distaunces may not be too
wide or farre a sunder, lest th'eare should loose the tune,
and be defrauded of his delight, and whensoeuer ye see any
maker vse large and extraordinary distaunces, ye must thinke
he doth intende to shew himselfe more artificiall then
popular, and yet therein is not to be discommended, for
respects that shalbe remembred in some other place of this

¶2.6.2 Note also that rime or concorde is not
commendably vsed both in the end and middle of a verse,
vnlesse it be in toyes and trifling Poesies, for it sheweth
a certaine lightnesse either of the matter or of the makers
head, albeit these common rimers vse it much, for

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as I sayd before, like as the Symphonie in a verse of great
length, is (as it were) lost by looking after him, and yet
may the meetre be very graue and stately: so on the other
side doth the ouer busie and too speedy returne of one maner
of tune, too much annoy |&| as it were glut the eare,
vnlesse it be in small |&| popular Musickes song by these
Cantabanqui vpon benches and barrels heads where they
haue none other audience then boys or countrey fellowes that
passe by them in the streete, or else by blind harpers or
such like tauerne minstrels that giue a fit of mirth for a
groat, |&| their matters being for the most part stories of
old time, as the tale of Sir Topas, the reportes
of Beuis of Southampton, Guy
of Warwicke, Adam Bell, and
Clymme of the Clough |&| such other old
Romances or historicall rimes, made purposely for recreation
of the c|om|mon people at Christmasse diners |&| brideales,
and in tauernes |&| alehouses and such other places of base
resort, also they be vsed in Carols and rounds and such
light or lasciuious Poemes, which are commonly more
commodiously vttered by these buffons or vices in playes
then by any other person. Such were the rimes of
Skelton (vsurping the name of a Poet Laureat) being
in deede but a rude rayling rimer |&| all his doings
ridiculous, he vsed both short distaunces and short measures
pleasing onely the popular eare: in our courtly maker we
banish them vtterly. Now also haue ye in euery song or ditty
concorde by compasse |&| concorde entertangled and a mixt of
both, what that is and how they be vsed shalbe declared in
the chapter of proportion by scituation.


Of proportion by situation.

¶2.7.1 THis proportion consisteth in
placing of euery verse in a staffe or ditty by such
reasonable distaunces, as may best serue the eare for
delight, and also to shew the Poets art and variety of
Musick, and the proportion is double. One by marshalling the
meetres, and limiting their distaunces hauing regard to the
rime or concorde how they go and returne: another by placing
euery verse, hauing a regard to his measure and quantitie
onely, and not to his concorde as to set one short meetre to
three long, or foure short and two long, or a short measure
and a long, or of diuers

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lengthes with relation one to another, which maner of
Situation, euen without respect of the rime, doth
alter the nature of the Poesie, and make it either lighter
or grauer, or more merry, or mournfull, and many wayes
passionate to the eare and hart of the hearer, seeming for
this point that our maker by his measures and concordes of
sundry proportions doth counterfait the harmonicall tunes of
the vocall and instrumentall Musickes. As the Dorien
because his falls, sallyes and compasse be diuers from
those of the Phrigien, the Phrigien
likewise from the Lydien, and all three from the
Eolien, Miolidien and Ionien, mounting
and falling from note to note such as be to them peculiar,
and with more or lesse leasure or precipation. Euen so by
diuersitie of placing and scituation of your measures and
concords, a short with a long, and by narrow or wide
distaunces, or thicker or thinner bestowing of them your
proportions differ, and breedeth a variable and strange
harmonie not onely in the eare, but also in the conceit of
them that heare it: whereof this may be an ocular example.

¶2.7.2 Scituation in [[ illustration]]
[[illustration]]Concord Measure

¶2.7.3 Where ye see the concord or rime in the
third distance, and the measure in the fourth, sixth or
second distaunces, whereof ye may deuise as many other as ye
lift, so the staffe be able to beare it. And I set you downe
an occular example: because ye may the better conceiue it.
Likewise it so falleth out most times your occular
proportion doeth declare the nature of the audible: for if
it please the eare well, the same represented by delineation
to the view pleaseth the eye well and è
and this is by a naturall
simpathie, betweene the eare and the eye, and
betweene tunes |&| colours, euen as there is the like
betweene the other sences and their obiects of which it
apperteineth not here to speake. Now for the distances
vsually obserued in our vulgar Poesie, they be in the first
second third and fourth verse, or if the verse be very short
in the fift and sixt and in some maner of Musickes farre

¶2.7.4 And the first distance for the most part
goeth all by distick or couples of verses agreeing
in one cadence, and do passe so speedily

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away and so often returne agayne, as their tunes are neuer
lost, nor out of the eare, one couple supplying another so
nye and so suddenly, and this is the most vulgar proportion
or distance of situation, such as vsed Chaucer in
his Canterbury tales, and Go{w}er in all his
workes. [[illustration]]

¶2.7.5 Second distance is, when ye passe ouer one
verse, and ioyne the first and the third, and so continue on
till an other like distance fall in, and this is also vsuall
and common, as [[illustration]]

¶2.7.6 Third distaunce is, when your rime falleth
vpon the first and fourth verse ouerleaping two, this maner
is not so common but pleasant and allowable inough.

¶2.7.7 In which case the two verses ye leaue out
are ready to receiue their concordes by the same distaunce
or any other ye like better. The fourth distaunce is by
ouerskipping three verses and lighting vpon the fift, this
maner is rare and more artificiall then popular, vnlesse it
be in some speciall case, as when the meetres be so little
and short as they make no shew of any great delay before
they returne, ye shall haue example of both.

¶2.7.8 And these ten litle meeters make but one
Exameter at length.

¶2.7.9 --,--,--,--,--,--,--,--,--,--,

¶2.7.10 There be larger distances also, as when
the first concord falleth vp|on| the sixt verse, |&| is very
pleasant if they be ioyned with other distances not so
large, as [[illustration]].

¶2.7.11 There be also, of the seuenth, eight,
tenth, and twefth distance, but then they may not go thicke,
but two or three such dist|an|ces serue to proporti|on| a
whole song, and all betweene must be of other lesse
distances, and these wide distaunces serue for coupling of
staues, or for to declare high and passionate or graue
matter, and also for art: Petrarch hath giuen vs
examples hereof in his Canzoni, and we by lines of
sundry lengths |&| distances as followeth, [[illustration]].

¶2.7.12 And all that can be obiected against this
wide distance is to say that the eare by loosing his concord
is not satisfied. So is in deede the rude and popular eare
but not the learned, and therefore the

{{Page 72}}

Poet must know to whose eare he maketh his rime, and
accommodate himselfe thereto, and not giue such musicke to
the rude and barbarous, as he would to the learned and
delicate eare.

¶2.7.13 There is another sort of proportion vsed
by Petrarche called the
Seizino, not riming as other songs do, but by
chusing sixe wordes out of which all the whole dittie is
made, euery of those sixe commencing and ending his verse by
course, which restraint to make the dittie sensible will try
the makers cunning, as thus. [[illustration]]

¶2.7.14 Besides all this there is in
Situation of the concords two other points, one that
it go by plaine and cleere compasse not intangled: another
by enterweauing one with another by knots, or as it were by
band, which is more or lesse busie and curious, all as the
maker will double or redouble his rime or concords, and set
his distances farre or nigh, of all which I will giue you
ocular examples, as thus.

¶2.7.15 Concord in
Plaine compasse [[illustration]] Entertangle

¶2.7.16 And first in a Quadreine there
are but two proportions,
[[illustration]] for foure verses in this last sort coupled,
are but two Disticks, and not a staffe
quadreine or of foure.

¶2.7.17 The staffe of fiue hath seuen proportions,
whereof some of them be harsher and vnpleasaunter to the
eare then other some be.

¶2.7.18 The Sixaine or staffe of sixe
hath ten proportions, whereof some be vsuall, some not
vsuall, and not so sweet one as another.

¶2.7.19 The staffe of seuen verses hath seuen
proportions, whereof one onely is the vsuall of our vulgar,
and kept by our old Poets Chaucer and other in
their historicall reports and other ditties: as in the last
part of them that follow next.

{{Page 73}}

The huitain or staffe of eight verses, hath eight
proportions such as the former staffe, and because he is
longer, he hath one more then the settaine.

¶2.7.20 The staffe of nine verses hath yet moe
then the eight, and the staffe of ten more then the ninth
and the twelfth, if such were allowable in ditties, more
then any of them all, by reason of his largenesse receiuing
moe compasses and enterweauings, alwayes considered that the
very large distances be more artificiall, then popularly
pleasant, and yet do giue great grace and grauitie, and moue
passion and affections more vehemently, as it is well to be
obserued by Petrarcha his Canzoni.

¶2.7.21 Now ye may perceiue by these proportions
before described, that there is a band to be giuen euery
verse in a staffe, so as none fall out alone or vncoupled,
and this band maketh that the staffe is sayd fast and not
loose: euen as ye see in buildings of stone or bricke the
mason giueth a band, that is a length to two breadths, |&|
vpon necessitie diuers other sorts of bands to hold in the
worke fast and maintaine the perpendicularitie of the wall:
so in any staffe of seuen or eight or more verses, the
coupling of the moe meeters by rime or concord, is the
faster band: the fewer the looser band, and therfore in a
huiteine he that putteth foure verses in one concord
and foure in another concord, and in a dizaine
fiue, sheweth him selfe more cunning, and also more copious
in his owne language. For he that can find two words of
concord, can not find foure or fiue or sixe, vnlesse he haue
his owne language at will. Sometime also ye are driuen of
necessitie to close and make band more then ye would, lest
otherwise the staffe should fall asunder and seeme two
staues: and this is in a staffe of eight and ten verses:
whereas without a band in the middle, it would seeme two
quadriens or two quintaines, which is an
error that many makers slide away with. Yet Chaucer
and others in the staffe of seuen and sixe do almost as
much a misse, for they shut vp the staffe with a
disticke, concording with none other verse that went
before, and maketh but a loose rime, and yet bycause of the
double cadence in the last two verses serue the eare well
inough. And as there is in euery staffe, band, giuen to the
verses by concord more or lesse busie: so is there is in
some cases a band giuen to euery staffe,

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and that is by one whole verse running alone throughout the
ditty or ballade, either in the middle or end of euery
staffe. The Greekes called such vncoupled verse
Epimonie, the Latines Versus
. Now touching the situation of
measures, there are as manie or more proportions of them
which I referre to the makers phantasie and choise,
contented with two or three ocular examples and no moe.


Which maner of proportion by situati|on| of measures giueth
more efficacie to the matter oftentimes then the concords
them selues, and both proportions concurring together as
they needes must, it is of much more beautie and force to
the hearers mind.

¶2.7.22 To finish the learning of this diuision, I
will set you downe one example of a dittie written extempore
with this deuise, shewing not onely much promptnesse of wit
in the maker, but also great arte and a notable memorie.
Make me saith this writer to one of the companie, so many
strokes or lines with your pen as ye would haue your song
containe verses: and let euery line beare his seuerall
length, euen as ye would haue your verse of measure. Suppose
of foure, fiue, sixe or eight or more sillables, and set a
figure of euerie number at th'end of the line, whereby ye
may knowe his measure. Then where you will haue your rime or
concord to fall, marke it with a compast stroke or
semicircle passing ouer those lines, be they farre or neare
in distance, as ye haue seene before described. And bycause
ye shall not thinke the maker hath premeditated beforehand
any such fashioned ditty, do ye your selfe make one verse
whether it be of perfect or imperfect sense, and giue it him
for a theame to make all the rest vpon: if ye shall perceiue
the maker do keepe the measures and rime as ye haue
appointed him, and besides do make his dittie sensible and
ensuant to the first verse in good reason, then may ye say
he is his crafts maister. For if he were not of a plentiful
discourse, he could not vpon the sudden shape an entire
dittie vpon your imperfect theame or proposition in one

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verse. And if he were not copious in his language, he could
not haue such store of wordes at commandement, as should
supply your concords. And if he were not of a maruelous good
memory he could not obserue the rime and measures after the
distances of your limitation, keeping with all grauitie and
good sense in the whole dittie.


Of Proportion in figure.

¶2.8.1 YOur last proportion is that of
figure, so called for that it yelds an ocular
representation, your meeters being by good symmetrie reduced
into certaine Geometricall figures, whereby the maker is
restrained to keepe him within his bounds, and sheweth not
onely more art, but serueth also much better for briefenesse
and subtiltie of deuice. And for the same respect are also
fittest for the pretie amourets in Court to entertaine their
seruants and the time withall, their delicate wits requiring
some commendable exercise to keepe them from idlenesse. I
find not of this proportion vsed by any of the Greeke or
Latine Poets, or in any vulgar writer, sauing of that one
forme which they cal Anacreens egge. But being in
Italie conuersant with a certaine gentleman, who had long
trauailed the Orientall parts of the world, and seene the
Courts of the great Princes of China and Tartarie. I being
very inquisitiue to know of the subtillities of those
countreyes, and especially in matter of learning and of
their vulgar Poesie, he told me that they are in all their
inuentions most wittie, and haue the vse of Poesie or
riming, but do not delight so much as we do in long tedious
descriptions, and therefore when they will vtter any pretie
conceit, they reduce it into metricall feet, and put it in
forme of a Lozange or square, or such other
figure, and so engrauen in gold, siluer or iuorie, and
sometimes with letters of ametist, rubie, emeralde or topas
curiousely cemented and peeced together, they sende them in
chaines, bracelets, collars and girdles to their mistresses
to weare for a remembrance. Some fewe measures composed in
this sort this gentleman gaue me, which I translated word
for word and as neere as I could followed both the phrase
and the figure, which is somewhat hard to performe, because
of the restraint of the figure from which ye may not
digresse. At the beginning they wil seeme

{{Page 76}}

nothing pleasant to an English eare, but time and vsage wil
make them acceptable inough, as it doth in all other new
guises, be it for wearing of apparell or otherwise. The
formes of your Geometricall figures be hereunder

The Lozange called Rombus The Fuzie or spindle, called
Romboides The TRiangle, or Tricquet The Square or
quadrangle The Pillaster, or Cillinder


The Spire or taper, called piramis The Rondel or Sphere
The egge or figure ouall The Tricquet reuerst The
Tricquet displayed


The Taper reuersed The R|on|del displayed The
Lozange reuersed The egge displayed The Lozange


Of the Lozange.

¶2.8.4 The Lozange is a most beautifull
figure, |&| fit for this purpose, being in his kind a
quadrangle reuerst, with his point vpward like to a quarrell
of glasse the Greeks and Latines both call it Rombus
which may be the cause as I suppose why they also gaue
that name to the fish commonly called the Turbot,
who beareth iustly that figure, it ought not to containe
aboue thirteene or fifteene or one

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|&| twentie meetres, |&| the longest furnisheth the middle
angle, the rest passe vpward and downward, still abating
their lengthes by one or two sillables till they come to the
point: the Fuzie is of the same nature but that he is
sharper and slenderer. I will giue you an example or two of
those which my Italian friend bestowed vpon me, which as
neare as I could I translated into the same figure obseruing
the phrase of the Orientall speach word for word.

¶2.8.5 A great Emperor in Tartary wh|om| they cal
Can, for his good fortune in the wars |&| many
notable conquests he had made, was surnamed Temir
, this m|an| loued the Lady Kermesine
, who presented him returning fr|om| the c|on|quest of
Corasoon (a great kingdom adioyning) with this
Lozange made in letters of rubies |&| diamants
entermingled thus

O Harpe
Shril lie out
Temir the stout
Rider who with sharpe
Trenching blade of bright steele
Hath made his fiercest foes to feele
All such as wrought him shame or harme
The strength of his braue right arme,
Cleauing hard downe vnto the eyes
The raw skulles of his enemies,
Much honor hath he wonne
By doughtie deedes done
In Cora soon
And all the

¶2.8.6 To which Can Temir answered
Fuzie, with letters of Emeralds and Ametists
artificially cut and entermingled, thus

Sore batailes
Manfully fought
In blouddy fielde
With bright blade in hand
Hath Temir won |&| forst to yeld
Many a Captaine strong and stoute
And many a king his Crowne to vayle,
Conquering large countreys and land,
Yet neuer wanne I victorie,
I speake it to my greate glorie,
So deare and ioyfull vnto me,
As when I did first conquere thee
O Kerme fine, of all myne foes
The most cruell, of all myne woes
The smartest, the sweetest
My proude Conquest
My richest pray
O once a daye
Lend me thy sight
Whose only light
Keepes me

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Of the Triangle or Triquet.

¶2.8.8 The Triangle is an halfe square,
Lozange or Fuzie parted vpon the croste
angles: and so his base being brode and his top narrow, it
receaueth meetres of many sizes one shorter then another:
and ye may vse this figure standing or reuersed, as thus.

¶2.8.9 A certaine great Sultan of Persia called
Ribuska, entertaynes in loue the Lady Selamour
, sent her this triquet reuest pitiously bemoning his
estate, all set in merquetry with letters of blew Saphire
and Topas artificially cut and entermingled.

Selamour dearer than his owne life,
To thy distressed wretch captiue,
Ribuska whome lately erst
Most cruelly thou perst
With thy deadly dart,
That paire of starres
Shining a farre
Turne from me, to me
That I may |&| may not see
The smile, the loure
That lead and driue
Me to die to liue
Twise yea thrise
In one

¶2.8.11 To which Selamour to make the
match egall, and the figure entire, answered in a standing
Triquet richly engrauen with letter of like stuffe.

Of death
Nor of life
Hath Selamour,
With Gods it arise
To geue and bereue breath,
I may for pitie perchaunce
Thy lost libertie restore,
Vpon thine othe with this penaunce,
That while thou liuest thou neuer loue no more.

¶2.8.13 This condition seeming to Sultan
Ribuska very hard to performe, and cruell to be
enioyned him, doeth by another figure in Taper, signifying
hope answere the Lady Selamour, which dittie for
lack of time I translated not.

Of the Spire or Taper called Pyramis

¶2.8.15 The Taper is the longest and sharpest
triangle that is, |&| while he mounts vpward he waxeth
continually more slender, taking both his figure and name of
the fire, whose flame if ye marke it, is alwaies pointed and
naturally by his forme couets to clymbe: the

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Greekes call him Pyramis of pur. The
Latines in vse of Architecture call him Obeliscus,
it holdeth the altitude of six ordinary triangles, and in
metrifying his base can not well be larger then a meetre of
six, therefore in his altitude he wil require diuers rabates
to hold so many sizes of meetres as shall serue for his
composition, for neare the toppe there wilbe roome litle
inough for a meetre of two sillables, and sometimes of one
to finish the point. I haue set you downe one or two
examples to try how ye can disgest the maner of the deuise.

¶2.8.16 Her Maiestie, for many parts in her
most noble and vertuous nature to be found, resembled to the
spire. Ye must begin beneath according to the nature of the

Skie 1
in the
And better, 2
And richer,
Much greter.
Crown |&| empir
After an hier
For to aspire 4
Like flame of fire
In forme of spire
To mount on hie,
Con{ }ti{ }nu{ }al{ }ly
With trauel |&| teen
Most gratious queen
Ye haue made a vow 5
Shews vs plainly how
Not fained but true,
To euery mans vew,
Shining cleere in you
Of so bright an hewe,
Euen thus vertewe
Vanish out of our sight
Till his fine top be quite
To Taper in the ayre 6
Endeuors soft and faire
By his kindly nature
Of tall comely stature
Like as this faire figure.

¶2.8.17 From God the fountaine of all good,
are deriued into the world all good things: and vpon her
maiestie all the good fortunes any worldly creature can be
furnished with. Reade downward according to the nature of
the deuice.

1 God
2 From
Sends loue,
And doth geue
Al that liue,
Life |&| breath
Harts ese helth
Childr|en|, welth
Beauty str|en|gth
Restfull age,
And at length
A mild death,
4 He doeth bestow
All mens fortunes
Both high |&| low
And the best things
That earth c|an| haue
Or mankind craue,
Good queens |&| kings
Finally is the same
Who gaue you (mad|am|)
Seyson of this Crowne
With poure soueraigne
5 Impug{ }{ }{ }nable right,
Redoubtable might,
Most prosprous raigne
Eternall renowme,
And that your chiefest is
Sure hope of heauens blis.

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The Piller, Pillaster or Cillinder.

¶2.8.19 The Piller is a figure among all the rest
of the Geometricall most beawtifull, in respect that he is
tall and vpright and of one bignesse from the bottom to the
toppe. In Architecture he is considered with two accessarie
parts, a pedestall or base, and a chapter or head, the body
is the shaft. By this figure is signified stay, support,
rest, state and magnificence, your dittie then being reduced
into the forme of a Piller, his base will require to beare
the breath of a meetre of six or seuen or eight sillables:
the shaft of foure: the chapter egall with the base, of this
proportion I will giue you one or two examples which may

¶2.8.20 Her Maiestie resembled to the crowned
piller. Ye must read vpward.

Is blisse with immortalitie.
Her trymest top of all ye see,
Garnish the crowne
Her iust renowne
Chapter and head,
Parts that maintain
And womanhead
Her mayden raigne
In{ }te{ }ri{ }tie :
In honour and
With ve{ }ri{ }tie
Her roundnes stand
Str|en|gthen the state.
By their increase
Without debate
Concord and peace
Of her sup{ }port,
They be the base
With stedfastnesse
Vertue and grace
Stay and comfort
Of Albions rest,
The sounde Pillar
And seene a farre
Is plainely exprest
Tall stately and strayt
By this nob{ }le pour{ }trayt.

¶2.8.21 Philo to the Lady Calia, sendeth this
Odolet of her prayse in forme of a Piller, which ye must
read downward.

Thy Princely port and Maiestie
Is my ter{ }rene dei{ }tie,
Thy wit and sence
The streame |&| source
Of e{ }lo{ }quence
And deepe discours,
Thy faire eyes are
My bright loadstarre,
Thy speache a darte
Percing my harte,
Thy face a{ }las,
My loo{ }king glasse,
Thy loue{ }ly lookes
My prayer bookes,
Thy pleasant cheare
My sunshine cleare,
Thy ru{ }full sight
My darke midnight,
Thy will the stent
Of my con{ }tent,
Thy glorye flour
Of myne ho{ }our,
Thy loue doth giue
The lyfe I lyue,
Thy lyfe it is
Mine earthly blisse:
But grace |&| fauour in thine eies
My bodies soule |&| souls paradise.

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The Roundell or Spheare.

¶2.8.22 The most excellent of all the figures
Geometrical is the round for his many perfections. First
because he is euen |&| smooth, without any angle, or
interruption, most voluble and apt to turne, and to continue
motion, which is the author of life: he conteyneth in him
the commodious description of euery other figure, |&| for
his ample capacitie doth resemble the world or vnivers, |&|
for his indefinitenesse hauing no speciall place of
beginning nor end, beareth a similitude with God and
eternitie. This figure hath three principall partes in his
nature and vse much considerable: the circle, the beame, and
the center. The circle is his largest compasse or
circumference: the center is his middle and indiuisible
point: the beame is a line stretching directly from the
circle to the center, |&| contrariwise from the center to
the circle. By this description our maker may fashion his
meetre in Roundel, either with the circumference, and that
is circlewise, or from the circ|um|ference, that is, like a
beame, or by the circumference, and that is ouerthwart and
dyametrally from one side of the circle to the other.

A generall resemblance of the Roundell to God, the
world and the Queene.

All and whole, and euer, and one,
Single, simple, eche where, alone,
These be counted as Clerkes can tell,
True properties, of the Roundell.
His still turning by consequence
And change, doe breede both life and sence.
Time, measure of stirre and rest,
Is also by his course exprest.
How swift the circle stirre aboue,
His center point doeth neuer moue:
All things that euer were or be,
Are closde in his concauitie.
And though he be, still turnde and tost,
No roome there wants nor none is lost.
The Roundell hath no bonch or angle,
Which may his course stay or entangle.
The furthest part of all his spheare,

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It is equally both farre and neare.
So doth none other figure fare
Where natures chattels closed are:
And beyond his wide compasse,
There is no body nor no place,
Nor any wit that comprehends,
Where it begins, or where it ends:
And therefore all men doe agree,
That it purports eternitie.
God aboue the heauens so hie
Is this Roundell, in world the skie,
Vpon earth she, who heares the bell
Of maydes and Queenes, is this Roundell:
All and whole and euer alone,
Single, sans peere, simple, and one

A speciall and particular resemblance of her Maiestie to the

FIrst her authoritie regall
Is the circle compassing all:
The dominion great and large
Which God hath geuen to her charge:
Within which most spatious bound
She enuirons her people round,
Retaining them by oth and liegeance.
Within the pale of true obeysance:
Holding imparked as it were,
Her people like to heards of deere.
Sitting among them in the middes
Where she allowes and bannes and bids
In what fashion she list and when,
The seruices of all her men.
Out of her breast as from an eye,
Issue the rayes incessantly
Of her iustice, bountie and might
Spreading abroad their beames so bright,
And reflect not, till they attaine

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The fardest part of her domaine,
And makes eche subiect clearely see,
What he is bounden for to be
To God his Prince and common wealth,
His neighbour, kinred and to himselfe.
The same centre and middle pricke,
Whereto our deedes are drest so thicke,
From all the parts and outmost side
Of her Monarchie large and wide,
Also fro whence reflect these rayes,
Twentie hundred maner of wayes
Where her will is them to conuey
Within the circle of her suruey.
So is the Queene of Briton ground,
Beame, circle, center of all my round.

Of the square or quadrangle equilater.

¶2.8.23 The square is of all other accompted the
figure of most solliditie and stedfastnesse, and for his
owne stay and firmitie requireth none other base then
himselfe, and therefore as the roundell or Spheare is
appropriat to the heauens, the Spire to the element of the
fire: the Triangle to the ayre, and the Lozange to the
water: so is the square for his inconcussable steadinesse
likened to the earth, which perchaunce might be the reason
that the Prince of Philosophers in his first booke of the
Ethicks, termeth a constant minded man, euen egal and
direct on all sides, and not easily ouerthrowne by euery
litle aduersitie, hominem quadrat|um|
, a square man. Into this figure may ye reduce your
ditties by vsing no moe verses then your verse is of
sillables, which will make him fall out square, if ye go
aboue it wil grow into the figure Trapezion, which
is some portion longer then square. I neede not giue you any
example, bycause in good arte all your ditties, Odes |&|
Epigrammes should keepe |&| not exceede the nomber of twelue
verses, and the longest verse to be of twelue sillables |&|
not aboue, but vnder that number as much as ye will.

The figure Ouall.

¶2.8.24 This figure taketh his name of an egge,
and also as it is thought

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his first origine, and is as it were a bastard or imperfect
rounde declining toward a longitude, and yet keeping within
one line for his periferie or compasse as the rounde, and it
seemeth that he receiueth this forme not as an imperfection
by any impediment vnnaturally hindring his rotunditie, but
by the wisedome and prouidence of nature for the commoditie
of generation, in such of her creatures as bring not forth a
liuely body (as do foure footed beasts) but in stead thereof
a certaine quantitie of shapelesse matter contained in a
vessell, which after it is sequestred from the dames body
receiueth life and perfection, as in the egges of birdes,
fishes, and serpents: for the matter being of some
quantitie, and to issue out at a narrow place, for the easie
passage thereof, it must of necessitie beare such shape as
might not be sharpe and greeuous to passe as an angle, nor
so large or obtuse as might not essay some issue out with
one part moe then other as the rounde, therefore it must be
slenderer in some part, |&| yet not without a rotunditie |&|
smoothnesse to giue the rest an easie deliuerie. Such is the
figure Ouall whom for his antiquitie, dignitie and vse, I
place among the rest of the figures to embellish our
proportions: of this sort are diuers of Anacreons
ditties, and those other of the Grecian Liricks, who wrate
wanton amorous deuises, to solace their witts with all, and
many times they would (to giue it right shape of an egge)
deuide a word in the midst, and peece out the next verse
with the other halfe, as ye may see by perusing their

Of the deuice or embleme, and that other which the
Greekes call Anagramma, and we the Posie transposed

¶2.8.25 A
Nd besides all the remembred
points of Metricall proportion, ye haue yet two other sorts
of some affinitie with them, which also first issued out of
the Poets head, and whereof the Courtly maker was the
principall artificer, hauing many high conceites and curious
imaginations, with leasure inough to attend his idle
inuentions: and these be the short, quicke and sententious
propositions, such as be at these dayes all your deuices of
armes and other amorous inscriptions which courtiers vse to
giue and also to weare in liuerie for the honour of their
ladies, and commonly containe but two or three words of
wittie sentence or secrete conceit till they

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vnfolded or explaned by some interpretati|on|. For which
cause they be commonly accompanied with a figure or
purtraict of ocular representation, the words so aptly
corresponding to the subtiltie of the figure, that aswel the
eye is therwith recreated as the eare or the mind. The
Greekes call it Emblema, the Italiens
Impresa, and we, a Deuice, such as a man may put into
letters of gold and sende to his mistresses for a token, or
cause to be embrodered in scutchions of armes, or in any
bordure of a rich garment to giue by his noueltie maruell to
the beholder. Such were the figures and inscriptions the
Romane Emperours gaue in their money and coignes of
largesse, and in other great medailles of siluer and gold,
as that of the Emperour Augustus, an arrow
entangled by the fish Remora, with these words,
Festina lento, signifying that
celeritie is to be vsed with deliberation: all great
enterprises being for the most part either ouerthrowen with
hast or hindred by delay, in which case leasure in
th'aduice, and speed in th'execution make a very good match
for a glorious successe.

¶2.8.26 Th'Emperour Heliogabalus by his
name alluding to the sunne, which in Greeke is Helios
, gaue for his deuice, the cœlestial sunne, with these
words [Soliinuicto] the subtilitie lyeth in the
word [sol] which hath a double sense, viz. to the
Sunne, and to him onely.

¶2.8.27 We our selues attributing that most
excellent figure, for his incomparable beauty and light, to
the person of our Soueraigne lady altring the mot, made it
farre passe that of Th'Emperour Heliogabalus both
for subtilitie and multiplicitie of sense, thus, [
Soli nunquam deficienti] to her onely that
neuer failes, viz. in bountie and munificence toward all
hers that deserue, or else thus, To her onely (whose glorie
and good fortune may neuer decay or wane. And
so it inureth as a wish by way of resemblaunce in [
Simile dissimile] which is also a
subtillitie, likening her Maiestie to the Sunne for his
brightnesse, but not to him for his passion, which is
ordinarily to go to glade, and sometime to suffer eclypse.

¶2.8.28 King Ed{w}arde the thirde, her
Maiesties most noble progenitour, first founder of the
famous order of the Garter, gaue this posie with it.
Hony soit qui mal y pense, commonly thus
Englished, Ill be to him that thinketh ill, but in mine
opinion better thus, Dishonored be he, who meanes vnho-

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norably. There can not be a more excellent deuise, nor that
could containe larger intendment, nor greater subtilitie,
nor (as a m|an| may say) more vertue or Princely
generositie. For first he did by it mildly |&| grauely
reproue the peruers construction of such noble men in his
court, as imputed the kings wearing about his neck the
garter of the lady with whom he danced, to some amorous
alliance betwixt them, which was not true. He also iustly
defended his owne integritie, saued the noble womans good
renowme, which by lic|en|tious speeches might haue bene
empaired, and liberally recompenced her iniurie with an
honor, such as none could haue bin deuised greater nor more
glorious or permanent vpon her and all the posteritie of her
house. It inureth also as a worthy lesson and discipline for
all Princely personages, whose actions, imaginations,
co|un|tenances and speeches, should euermore corrrespond in
all trueth and honorable simplicitie.

¶2.8.29 Charles the fift Emperour, euen
in his yong yeares shewing his valour and honorable
ambition, gaue for his new order, the golden Fleece,
vsurping it vpon Prince Iason |&| his Argonants rich spoile
brought from Cholcos. But for his deuice two
pillers with this mot Plus vltra, as one not
content to be restrained within the limits that
Hercules had set for an vttermost bound to all his
trauailes, viz. two pillers in the mouth of the straight
Gibraltare, but would go furder: which came
fortunately to passe, and whereof the good successe gaue
great commendation to his deuice: for by the valiancy of his
Captaines before he died he conquered great part of the west
Indias, neuer knowen to Hercules or any of our
world before.

¶2.8.30 In the same time (seeming that the heauens
and starres had conspired to replenish the earth with
Princes and gouernours of great courage, and most famous
conquerous) Selim Emperour of Turkie gaue for his
deuice a croissant or new moone, promising to him self
increase of glory and enlargem|en|t of empire, til he had
brought all Asia vnder his subiection, which he reasonably
well accomplished. For in lesse then eight yeres which he
raigned, he conquered all Syria and Egypt, and layd it to
his dominion. This deuice afterward was vsurped by
Henry the second French king, with this mot
Donec totum compleat orbem, till he be
at his full: meaning it not so largely as did Selim
, but onely that his friendes should knowo

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how vnable he was to do them good, and to shew beneficence
vntil he attained the crowne of France vnto which he aspired
as next successour.

¶2.8.31 King Le{w}is the twelfth, a
valiant and magnanimous prince, who because hee was on euery
side enuironed with mightie neighbours, and most of them his
enemies, to let them perceiue that they should not finde him
vnable or vnfurnished (incase they should offer any
vnlawfull hostillitie) of suffificient forces of his owne,
aswell to offende as to defend, and to reuenge an iniurie as
to repulse it. He gaue for his deuice the Porkespick with
this posie pres |&| loign, both
farre and neare. For the Purpentines nature is, to such as
stand aloofe, to dart her prickles from her, and if they
come neare her, with the same as they sticke fast to wound
them that hurt her.

¶2.8.32 But of late yeares in the ransacke of the
Cities of Cartagena and S.
Dominico in the West Indies, manfully put in
execution by the prowesse of her Maiesties men, there was
found a deuice made peraduenture without King Philips
knowledge, wrought al in massiue copper, a king sitting
on horsebacke vpon a monde or world, the horse
prauncing forward with his forelegges as if he would leape
of, with this inscription, Non sufficit orbis
, meaning, as it is to be c|on|ceaued, that one
whole world could not content him. This immeasurable
ambition of the Spaniards, if her Maiestie by Gods
prouidence, had not with her forces, prouidently stayed and
retranched, no man knoweth what inconuenience might in time
haue insued to all the Princes and common wealthes in
Christendome, who haue founde them selues long annoyed with
his excessiue greatnesse.

¶2.8.33 Atila king of the Huns, inuading
Fr|an|ce with an army of 300000 fighting men, as it is
reported, thinking vtterly to abbase the glory of the Romane
Empire, gaue for his deuice of armes, a sword with a firie
point and these words, Ferro |&| flamma
, with sword and fire. This very deuice being as
ye see onely accommodate to a king or conquerour and not a
coillen or any meane souldier, a certaine base man of
England being knowen euen at that time a bricklayer or mason
by his science, gaue for his crest: whom it had better
become to beare a truell full of morter then a sword and
fire, which

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is onely the reuenge of a Prince, and lieth not in any other
mans abilitie to performe, vnlesse ye will allow it to euery
poore knaue that is able to set fire on a thacht house. The
heraldes ought to vse great discretion in such matters: for
neither any rule of their arte doth warrant such
absurdities, nor though such a coat or crest were gained by
a prisoner taken in the field, or by a flag found in some
ditch |&| neuer fought for (as many times happens) yet is it
no more allowable then it were to beare the deuice of
Tamerlan an Emperour in Tartary, who gaue the
lightning of heauen, with a posie in that language
purporting these words, Ira Dei,
which also appeared well to answer his fortune. For from a
sturdie shepeheard he became a most mighty Emperour, and
with his innumerable great armies desolated so many
countreyes and people, as he might iustly be called [
the {w}rath of God]. It appeared also by his strange
ende: for in the midst of his greatnesse and prosperitie he
died sodainly, |&| left no child or kinred for a successour
to so large an Empire, nor any memory after him more then of
his great puissance and crueltie.

¶2.8.34 But that of the king of China in the
fardest part of the Orient, though it be not so terrible is
no lesse admirable, |&| of much sharpnesse and good
implication, worthy for the greatest king and conquerour:
and it is, two strange serpents entertangled in their
amorous congresse, the lesser creeping with his head into
the greaters mouth, with the words purporting [
ama |&| time] loue |&| feare. Which posie
with maruellous much reason and subtillity implieth the
dutie of euery subiect to his Prince, and of euery Prince to
his subiect, and that without either of them both, no
subiect could be sayd entirely to performe his liegeance,
nor the Prince his part of lawfull gouernement. For without
feare and loue the soueraigne authority could not be
vpholden, nor without iustice and mercy the Prince be
renowmed and honored of his subiect. All which parts are
discouered in this figure: loue by the serpents amorous
entertangling: obedience and feare by putting the inferiours
head into the others mouth hauing puissance to destroy. On
th'other side, iustice in the greater to prepare and manace
death and destruction to offenders. And if he spare it, then
betokeneth it mercie, and a grateful recompence of the loue
and obedience which the soueraigne receaueth.

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¶2.8.35 It is also worth the telling, how the king
vseth the same in pollicie, he giueth it in his ordinarie
liueries to be worne in euery vpper garment of all his
noblest men and greatest Magistrats |&| the rest of his
officers and seruants, which are either embrodered vpon the
breast and the back with siluer or gold or pearle or stone
more or lesse richly, according to euery mans dignitie and
calling, and they may not presume to be seene in publick
without them: nor also in any place where by the kings
commission they vse to sit in iustice, or any other publike
affaire, wherby the king is highly both honored and serued,
the common people retained in dutie and admiration of his
greatnesse: the noblemen, magistrats and officers euery one
in his degree so much esteemed |&| reuerenced, as in their
good and loyall seruice they want vnto their persons litle
lesse honour for the kings sake, then can be almost due or
exhibited to the king him selfe.

¶2.8.36 I could not forbeare to adde this forraine
example to acc|om|plish our discourse touching deuices. For
the beauty and gallantnesse of it, besides the subtillitie
of the conceit, and princely pollicy in the vse, more exact
then can be rem|en|bred in any other of any European
Prince, whose deuises I will not say but many of them be
loftie and ingenious, many of them louely and beautifull,
many other ambitious and arrogant, and the chiefest of them
terrible and ful of horror to the nature of man, but that
any of them be comparable with it, for wit, vertue,
grauitie, and if ye list brauerie, honour and magnificence,
not vsurping vpon the peculiars of the gods. In my conceipt
there is none to be found.

¶2.8.37 This may suffice for deuices, a terme
which includes in his generality all those other, viz.
liueries, cogniz|an|ces, emblemes, enseigns and impreses.
For though the termes be diuers, the vse and intent is but
one whether they rest in colour or figure or both, or in
word or in muet shew, and that is to insinuat some secret,
wittie morall and braue purpose presented to the beholder,
either to recreate his eye, or please his phantasie, or
examine his iudgement or occupie his braine or to manage his
will either by hope or by dread, euery of which respectes be
of no litle moment to the interest and ornament of the
ciuill life: and therefore giue them no litle commendation.
Then hauing produced so many worthy and wise founders

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of these deuices, and so many puissant patrons and
protectours of them, I feare no reproch in this discourse,
which otherwise the venimous appetite of enuie by detraction
or scorne would peraduenture not sticke to offer me.

Of the Anagrame, or posie transposed.

¶2.8.38 ONe other pretie conceit we
will impart vnto you and then trouble you with no more, and
is also borrowed primitiuely of the Poet, or courtly maker,
we may terme him, the [posie transposed] or in one
word [a transpose] a thing if it be done for
pastime and exercise of the wit without superstition
commendable inough and a meete study for Ladies, neither
bringing them any great gayne nor any great losse vnlesse it
be of idle time. They that vse it for pleasure is to breed
one word out of another not altering any letter nor the
number of them, but onely transposing of the same, wherupon
many times is produced some grateful newes or matter to them
for whose pleasure and seruice it was intended: and bicause
there is much difficultie in it, and altogether standeth
vpon hap hazard, it is compted for a courtly conceit no
lesse then the deuice before remembred. Lycophron
one of the seuen Greeke Lyrickes, who when they met together
(as many times they did) for their excellencie and louely
concorde, were called the seuen starres [pleiades]
this man was very perfit |&| fortunat in these transposes,
|&| for his delicate wit and other good parts was greatly
fauoured by Ptoleme king of Egypt and Queene
Arsinoe his wife. He after such sort called the king
apomilitos, which is letter for letter
Ptolomæus and Queene Arsinoe he called
[[missing]], which is Arsinoe, now the subtillitie lyeth
not in the conuersion but in the sence in this that
Apomelitos, signifieth in Greek [hony sweet
] so was Ptolome the sweetest natured man in the
world both for countenance and conditions, and
Ioneras, signifieth the violet or flower of
Iuno a stile among the Greekes for a woman endued
with all bewtie and magnificence, which construction falling
out grateful and so truly, exceedingly well pleased the King
and the Queene, and got Lycophron no litle thanke
and benefite at both their hands.

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¶2.8.39 The French Gentlemen haue very sharpe
witts and withall a delicate language, which may very easily
be wrested to any alteration of words sententious, and they
of late yeares haue taken this pastime vp among them many
times gratifying their Ladies, and often times the Princes
of the Realme, with some such thankfull noueltie. Whereof
one made by François de Vallois, thus
De façon suis Roy, who in deede was
of fashion countenance and stature, besides his regall
vertues a very king, for in a world there could not be seene
a goodlier man of person. Another found this by Henry
de Vallois
[Roy de nulz hay] a king hated of
no man, and was apparant in his conditions and nature, for
there was not a Prince of greater affabilitie and mansuetude
then he.

¶2.8.40 I my selfe seing this conceit so well
allowed of in Fraunce and Italie, and being informed that
her Maiestie tooke pleasure sometimes in desciphring of
names, and hearing how diuers Gentlemen of her Court had
essayed but with no great felicitie to make some delectable
transpose of her Maiesties name, I would needs try my luck,
for cunning I know not why I should call it, vnlesse it be
for the many and variable applications of sence, which
requireth peraduenture some wit |&| discreti|on| more then
of euery vnlearned m|an| and for the purpose I tooke me
these three wordes (if any other in the world) containing in
my conceit greatest mysterie, and most importing good to all
them that now be aliue, vnder her noble gouernement.

Elissabet Anglorum Regina.

¶2.8.41 Which orthographie (because ye shall not
be abused) is true |&| not mistaken, for the letter
zeta, of the Hebrewes |&| Greeke and of all other
toungs is in truth but a double ss. hardly vttered, and H.
is but a note of aspiration onely and no letter, which
therefore is by the Greeks omitted. Vpon the transposition I
found this to redound.

Multa regnabis ense gloria.
By thy sword shalt thou raigne in great renowne

Then transposing the word [ense] it came to be

Multa regnabis sene gloria.
Aged and in much glorie shall ye raigne

Both which resultes falling out vpon the very first
marshalling of

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the letters, without any darknesse or difficultie, and so
sensibly and well appropriat to her Maiesties person and
estate, and finally so effectually to mine own wish (which
is a matter of much moment in such cases) I tooke them both
for a good boding, and very fatalitie to her Maiestie
appointed by Gods prouidence for all our comfortes. Also I
imputed it for no litle good luck and glorie to my selfe, to
haue pronounced to her so good and prosperous a fortune, and
so thankefull newes to all England, which though it cannot
be said by this euent any destinie or fatal necessitie, yet
surely is it by all probabillitie of reason, so likely to
come to passe, as any other worldly euent of things that be
vncertaine, her Maiestie continuing the course of her most
regal proceedings and vertuous life in all earnest zeale and
godly contemplation of his word, |&| in the sincere
administration of his terrene iustice, assigned ouer to her
execution as his Lieutenant vpon earth within the compasse
of her dominions.

¶2.8.42 This also is worth the noting, and I will
assure you of it, that as the first search whereupon this
transpose was fashioned. The same letters being by me tossed
|&| tranlaced fiue hundreth times, I could neuer make any
other, at least of some sence |&| conformitie to her
Maiesties estate and the case. If any other man by triall
happen vpon a better omination, or what soeuer els ye will
call it, I will reioyse to be ouermatched in my deuise, and
renounce him all the thankes and profite of my trauaile.

¶2.8.43 When I wrate of these deuices, I smiled
with my selfe, thinking that the readers would do so to, and
many of them say, that such trifles as these might well haue
bene spared, considering the world is full inough of them,
and that it is pitie mens heades should be fedde with such
vanities as are to none edification nor instruction, either
of morall vertue, or otherwise behooffull for the common
wealth, to whose seruice (say they) we are all borne, and
not to fill and replenish a whole world full of idle toyes.
To which sort of reprehendours, being either all holy and
mortified to the world, and therefore esteeming nothing that
sauoureth not of Theologie, or altogether graue and worldly,
and therefore caring for nothing but matters of pollicie,
|&| discourses of estate, or all giuen to thrift and passing
for none art that is not gainefull and lucratiue, as the

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sciences of the Law, Phisicke and marchaundise: to these I
will giue none other aunswere then referre them to the many
trifling poemes of Homer, Ouid, Virgill, Catullus
and other notable writers of former ages, which were not of
any grauitie or seriousnesse, and many of them full of
impudicitie and ribaudrie, as are not these of ours, nor for
any good in the world should haue bene: and yet those
trifles are come from many former siecles vnto our times,
vncontrolled or condemned or supprest by any Pope or
Patriarch or other seuere censor of the ciuill maners of
men, but haue bene in all ages permitted as the conuenient
solaces and recreations of mans wit. And as I can not denie
but these conceits of mine be trifles: no lesse in very
deede be all the most serious studies of man, if we shall
measure grauitie and lightnesse by the wise mans ballance
who after he had considered of all the profoundest artes and
studies among men, in th'ende cryed out with this Epyphoneme
Vanitas vanitatum |&| omnia vanitas
. Whose authoritie if it were not sufficient to make me
beleeue so, I could be content with Democritus
rather to condemne the vanities of our life by derision,
then as Heraclitus with teares, saying with that
merrie Greeke thus,

Omnia sunt risus, sunt puluis, |&| omnia nil sunt.
Res hominum cunctæ, nam ratione carent.

Thus Englished,

All is but a iest, all dust, all not {w}orth t{w}o

For {w}hy in mans matters is neither rime nor reason

¶2.8.44 Now passing from these courtly trifles,
let vs talke of our scholastical toyes, that is of the
Grammaticall versifying of the Greeks and Latines and see
whether it might be reduced into our English arte or no.


How if all maner of sodaine innouations were not very
scandalous, specially in the lawes of any langage or arte,
the vse of the Greeke and Latine feete might be brought into
our vulgar Poesie, and with good grace inough.

¶2.9.1 NOw neuerthelesse albeit we haue
before alledged that our vulgar Saxon English
standing most vpon wordes monosillable, and little
polysillables doth hardly admit the vse of those

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fine inuented feete of the Greeks |&| Latines, and that for
the most part wise and graue men doe naturally mislike with
all sodaine innouations specially of lawes (and this the law
of our auncient English Poesie) and therefore lately before
we imputed it to a nice |&| scholasticall curiositie in such
makers as haue sought to bring into our vulgar Poesie some
of the auncient feete, to wit the Dactile into
exameters, as he that translated certaine bookes
of Virgils Eneydos in such measures |&| not
vncommendably: if I should now say otherwise it would make
me seeme contradictorie to my selfe, yet for the information
of our yong makers, and pleasure of all others who be
delighted in noueltie, and to th'intent we may not seeme by
ignorance or ouersight to omit any point of subtillitie,
materiall or necessarie to our vulgar arte, we will in this
present chapter |&| by our own idle obseruations shew how
one may easily and commodiously lead all those feete of the
auncients into our vulgar langage. And if mens eares were
not perchaunce to daintie, or their iudgementes ouer
partiall, would peraduenture nothing at all misbecome our
arte, but make in our meetres a more pleasant numerositie
then now is. Thus farre therefore we will aduenture and not
beyond, to th'intent to shew some singularitie in our arte
that euery man hath not heretofore obserued, and (her
maiesty good liking always had) whether we make the common
readers to laugh or to lowre, all is a matter, since our
intent is not so exactlie to prosecute the purpose, nor so
earnestly, as to thinke it should by authority of our owne
iudgement be generally applauded at to the discredit of our
forefathers maner of vulgar Poesie, or to the alteration or
peraduenture totall destruction of the same, which could not
stand with any good discretion or curtesie in vs to attempt,
but thus much I say, that by some leasurable trauell it were
not hard matter to induce all their auncient feete into vse
with vs, and that it should proue very agreable to the eare
and well according with our ordinary times and
pronunciation, which no man could then iustly mislike, and
that is to allow euery word
polisillable one long time of necessitie, which
should be where his sharpe accent falls in our owne
ydiome most aptly and naturally, wherein we would not
follow the licence of the Greeks and Latines, who made not
their sharpe accent any necessary pro-

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longation of their times, but vsed such sillable sometimes
long sometimes short at their pleasure. The other sillables
of any word where the sharpe accent fell not to be accompted
of such time and quantitie as his ortographie
would best beare hauing regard to himselfe, or to his next
neighbour, word, bounding him on either side, namely to the
smoothnes |&| hardnesse of the sillable in his vtterance,
which is occasioned altogether by his ortographie
|&| scituation as in this word [d{'a}yly] the
first sillable for his vsuall and sharpe accentes sake to be
alwayes long, the second for his flat accents sake to be
alwayes short, and the rather for his ortographie,
bycause if he goe before another word commencing with a
vowell not letting him to be eclipsed, his vtterance is
easie |&| currant, in this trisillable [da{_u}ng{-e}r{-
] the first to be long, th'other two short for the
same causes. In this word [d{_a}ng{-e}r{-o}usnesse
] the first |&| last to be both long, bycause they receiue
both of them the sharpe accent, and the two middlemost to be
short, in these words [remedie] |&| [
remedilesse] the time to follow also the accent, so
as if it please better to set the sharpe accent vp|on| [
re] then vpon [dye] that sillable should be
made long and è conuerso, but in this word [
remedilesse] bycause many like better to accent the
sillable [me] th|en| the sillable [les]
therfore I leaue him for a c|om|mon sillable to be able to
receiue both a long and a short time as occasion shall
serue. The like law I set in these wordes [reuocable
] [recouerable] [irreuocable] [
irrecouerable] for sometime it sounds better to say
r{-e}u{-o} c{_a}bl{-e} then r{-e} u{_o}c{-
, r{_e}c{-o}u{-e}r{_a}ble th|en|
r{-e}c{_o}u{-e}r {-a}bl{-e} for this one thing ye
must alwayes marke that if your time fall either by reason
of his sharpe acc|en|t or otherwise vpon the
penultima, ye shal finde many other words to rime
with him, bycause such terminati|on|s are not geazon, but if
the l|on|g time fall vp|on| the antepenultima ye
shall not finde many wordes to match him in his termination,
which is the cause of his concord or rime, but if you would
let your long time by his sharpe accent fall aboue the
antepenultima as to say [c{_o}u{-e}r{-a}bl{-e}
] ye shall seldome or perchance neuer find one to make vp
rime with him vnlesse it be badly and by abuse, and
therefore in all such long polisillables ye doe
commonly giue two sharpe accents, and thereby reduce him
into two feete as in this word [r{_e}m{-u} n{-
] which makes a couple of good
Dactils, and

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in this word [contribution] which makes a good
sp|on|deus |&| a good dactill, and in this
word [rec{_a}p{-i}t{-u}l{_a}ti{-o}n] it makes two
dactills and a sillable ouerplus to annexe to the
word precedent to helpe peece vp another foote. But for
wordes monosillables (as be most of ours) because
in pronouncing them they do of necessitie retaine a sharpe
accent, ye may iustly allow them to be all long if they will
so best serue your turne, and if they be tailed one to
another, or th'one to a dissillable or
polyssillable ye ought to allow them that time that
best serues your purpose and pleaseth your eare most, and
truliest aunsweres the nature of the ortographie
in which I would as neare as I could obserue and keepe the
lawes of the Greeke and Latine versifiers, that is to
prolong the sillable which is written with double consonants
or by dipthong or with single consonants that run hard and
harshly vpon the toung: and to shorten all sillables that
stand vpon vowels, if there were no cause of elision
and single consonants |&| such of them as are most
flowing and slipper vpon the toung as n. r. t. d. l.
and for this purpose to take away all aspirations, and
many times the last consonant of a word as the Latine Poetes
vsed to do, specially Lucretius and Ennius
as to say [finibu] for [finibus] and
so would not I stick to say thus [delite] for [
delight] [hye] for [high] and
such like, |&| doth nothing at all impugne the rule I gaue
before against the wresting of wordes by false
ortographie to make vp rime, which may not be
falsified. But this omission of letters in the middest of a
meetre to make him the more slipper, helpes the numerositie
and hinders not the rime. But generally the shortning or
prolonging of the monosillables dependes much
vp|on| the nature of their ortographie which the
Latin Grammariens call the rule of position, as for example
if I shall say thus.

¶2.9.2 N{-o}t m{-a}n{-i}e day{-e}s p{-a}st
. Twentie dayes after,

¶2.9.3 This makes a good Dactill and a
good spondeus, but if ye turne them backward it
would not do so, as.

¶2.9.4 Many dayes, not past.

¶2.9.5 And the distick made all of

B{_u}t n{_o}ne {_o}f {_u}s tr{_u}e m{_e}n {_a}nd

Could finde so great good lucke as he.

¶2.9.6 Which words serue well to make the verse
all spondiacke or
iambicke, but not in dactil, as other
words or the same otherwise pla-

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ced would do, for it were an illfauored dactil to

¶2.9.7 B{_u}t n{-o}ne {-o}f, {_u}s {-a}ll

¶2.9.8 Therefore whensoeuer your words will not
make a smooth dactil, ye must alter them or their
situations, or else turne them to other feete that may
better beare their maner of sound and orthographie: or if
the word be polysillable to deuide him, and to
make him serue by peeces, that he could not do whole and
entierly. And no doubt by like consideration did the Greeke
|&| Latine versifiers fashion all their feete at the first
to be of sundry times, and the selfe same sillable to be
sometime long and sometime short for the eares better
satisfaction as hath bene before rem|en|bred. Now also
wheras I said before that our old Saxon English for his many
monosillables did not naturally admit the vse of
the ancient feete in our vulgar measures so aptly as in
those languages which stood most vpon polisillables
, I sayd it in a sort truly, but now I must recant and
confesse that our Normane English which hath growen since
William the Conquerour doth admit any of the auncient
feete, by reason of the many polysillables euen to
sixe and seuen in one word, which we at this day vse in our
most ordinarie language: and which corruption hath bene
occasioned chiefly by the peeuish affectation not of the
Normans them selues, but of clerks and scholers or
secretaries long since, who not content with the vsual
Normane or Saxon word, would conuert the very Latine and
Greeke word into vulgar French, as to say innumerable for
innombrable, reuocable, irreuocable, irradiation,
depopulati|on| |&| such like, which are not naturall Normans
nor yet French, but altered Latines, and without any
imitation at all: which therefore were long time despised
for inkehorne termes, and now be reputed the best |&| most
delicat of any other. Of which |&| many other causes of
corruption of our speach we haue in another place more amply
discoursed, but by this meane we may at this day very well
receiue the auncient feete metricall of the Greeks
and Latines sauing those that be superflous as be all the
feete aboue the trissillable, which the old
Grammarians idly inuented and distinguisht by speciall
names, whereas in deede the same do stand compounded with
the inferiour feete, and therefore some of them were called
by the names of didactilus, dispondeus
and disiambus: all which feete as I say we may

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be allowed to vse with good discretion |&| precise choise of
wordes and with the fauorable approbation of readers, and so
shall our plat in this one point be larger and much surmount
that which Stamhurst first tooke in hand by his
exameters dactilicke and spondaicke in the
translation of Virgills Eneidos, and such as for a
great number of them my stomacke can hardly digest for the
ill shapen sound of many of his wordes polisillable
and also his copulation of monosillables
supplying the quantitie of a trissillable to his
intent. And right so in promoting this deuise of ours being
(I feare me) much more nyce and affected, and therefore more
misliked then his, we are to bespeake fauour, first of the
delicate eares, then of the rigorous and seuere
dispositions, lastly to craue pardon of the learned |&|
auncient makers in our vulgar, for if we should seeke in
euery point to egall our speach with the Greeke and Latin in
their metricall obseruations it could not possible
be by vs perfourmed, because their sillables came to be
timed some of them long, some of them short not by reason of
any euident or apparent case in writing or sounde remaining
vpon one more then another, for many times they shortned the
sillable of sharpe accent and made long that of the flat,
|&| therefore we must needes say, it was in many of their
wordes done by preelection in the first Poetes, not hauing
regard altogether to the ortographie, and
hardnesse or softnesse of a sillable, consonant, vowell or
dipthong, but at their pleasure, or as it fell out: so as he
that first put in a verse this word [Penelope]
which might be Homer or some other of his
antiquitie, where he made [p{_e}] in both places
long and [ne] and [l{-o}] short, he
might haue made them otherwise and with as good reason,
nothing in the world appearing that might moue them to make
such (preelection) more in th'one sillable then in the other
for pe. ne. and lo. being
sillables vocals be egally smoth and currant vpon the toung,
and might beare aswel the long as the short time, but it
pleased the Poet otherwise: so he that first shortned,
ca. in this word
cano, and made long tro, in troia
, and o, in oris, might haue aswell
done the contrary, but because he that first put them into a
verse, found as it is to be supposed a more sweetnesse in
his owne eare to haue them so tymed, therefore all other
Poets who followed, were fayne to doe the like, which made
that Virgill who came many

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yeares after the first reception of wordes in their seuerall
times, was driuen of necessitie to accept them in such
quantities as they were left him and therefore said.

{_a}rm{-a} u{-i} r{_u}mq{_u}e c{-a} n{_o} tr{_o} i{_e}
quì pr{_i}m{-u}s {-a}b {_o}rìs

¶2.9.9 Neither truely doe I see any other reason
in that lawe (though in other rules of shortning and
prolonging a sillable there may be reason) but that it
stands vpon bare tradition. Such as the Cabalists
auouch in their mysticall constructions Theologicall and
others, saying that they receaued the same from hand to hand
from the first parent Adam, Abraham and
others, which I will giue them leaue alone both to say and
beleeue for me, thinking rather that they haue bene the idle
occupations, or perchaunce the malitious and craftie
constructions of the Talmudists, and others of the
Hebrue clerks to bring the world into admiration of their
lawes and Religion. Now peraduenture with vs Englishmen it
be somewhat too late to admit a new inuention of feete and
times that our forefathers neuer vsed nor neuer obserued
till this day, either in their measures or in their
pronuntiation, and perchaunce will seeme in vs a
presumptuous part to attempt, considering also it would be
hard to find many men to like of one mans choise in the
limitation of times and quantities of words, with which not
one, but euery eare is to be pleased and made a particular
iudge, being most truly sayd, that a multitude or
comminaltie is hard to please and easie to offend, and
therefore I intend not to proceed any further in this
curiositie then to shew some small subtillitie that any
other hath not yet done, and not by imitation but by
obseruation, nor to th'intent to haue it put in execution in
our vulgar Poesie, but to be pleasantly scanned vpon, as are
all nouelties so friuolous and ridiculous as it.


A more particular declaration of the metricall feete of the
ancient Poets Greeke and Latine and chiefly of the feete of
two times.

¶2.10.1 T
Heir Grammarians made a great
multitude of feete. I wot not to what huge number, and of so
many sizes and their wordes

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were of length, namely sixe sizes, whereas in deede, the
metricall feete are but twelue in number, whereof foure only
be of two times, and eight of three times, the rest
compounds of the premised two sorts, euen as the
Arithmeticall numbers aboue three are made of two and three.
And if ye will know how many of these feete will be
commodiously receiued with vs, I say all the whole twelue,
for first for the foote spondeus of two long times
ye haue these English wordes m{_o}rn{_i}ng,
m{_i}dnìght, m{_i}sch{_a}unce
, and a number moe
whose ortographie may direct your iudgement in this point:
for your Trocheus of a long and short ye haue
these wordes m{_a}n{-e}r, br{_o}k{-e}n, t{_a}k{-e}n,
b{_o}d{-i}e, m{_e}mb{-e}r
, and a great many moe if
their last sillables abut not vpon the consonant in the
beginning of another word, and in these whether they do abut
or no w{_i}tt{-i}e, d{_i}tt{-i}e, s{_o}rr{-o}w,
, |&| such like, which end in a vowell for
your Iambus of a short and a long, ye haue these
wordes [r{-e}st{_o}re] [r{-e}m{_o}rse]
[d{-e}s{_i}re] [{-e}nd{_u}re] and a
thousand besides. For your foote pirrichius or of
two short silables ye haue these words [m{-a}n{-i}e
] [m{-o}n{-e}y] [p{-e}n{-i}e] [
s{-i}l{-i}e] and others of that constitution or the
like: for your feete of three times and first your
dactill, ye haue these wordes |&| a number moe
p{_a}t{-i}{-e}nce, t{_e}mp{-e}r{-a}nce, {w}{_o}m{-a}nhe{-
a}d, i{_o}l{-i}t{-i}e, da{_u}ng{-e}r{-o}us, d{_u}et{-i}f{-
|&| others. For your molossus, of all
three long, ye haue a member of wordes also and specially
most of your participles actiue, as
p{_e}rs{_i}st{_i}ng, dèspòil{_i}ng,
, and such like in ortographie: for
your anapestus of two short and a long ye haue
these words but not many moe, as m{-a}n{-i}f{_o}ld, m{-
o}n{-i}l{_e}sse, r{-e}m{-a}n{_e}nt, h{-o}l{-i}n{_e}sse
For your foote tribracchus of all three short, ye
haue very few trissillables, because the sharpe
accent will always make one of them long by pronunciation,
which els would be by ortographie short as [m{-e}r{-
] [minion] |&| such like. For your foote
bacchius of a short |&| two long ye haue these and
the like words trissillables [l{-
] [r{-e}qu{-e}st{_i}ng] [
r{-e}no{_u}nc{_i}ng] [r{-e}p{_e}nt{_a}nce]
[{-e}n{_u}r{_i}ng]. For your foote
antibacchius, of two long and a short ye haue these
wordes [f{_o}rs{_a}k{-e}n] [{_i}mp{_u}gn{-
] and others many: for your amphimacer
that is a long a short and a long ye haue these wordes and
many moe [éxcellént] [{_i}m{-
] and specially such as be propre names of
persons or townes or other things and namely Welsh wordes:
for your foote amphibracchus, of a short, a long
and a short, ye haue these wordes and

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many like to these [r{-e}s{_i}st{-e}d] [d{-
] [r{-e}pr{_i}s{-a}ll] [
{-i}na{_u}nt{-e}r] [{-e}n{_a}m{-i}ll] so as
for want of English wordes if your eare be not to daintie
and your rules to precise, ye neede not be without the
metricall feete of the ancient Poets such as be most
pertinent and not superfluous. This is (ye will perchaunce
say) my singular opinion: then ye shall see how well I can
maintaine it. First the quantitie of a word comes either by
(preelection) without reason or force as hath bene alledged,
and as the auncient Greekes and Latines did in many wordes,
but not in all, or by (election) with reason as they did in
some, and not a few. And a sound is drawen at length either
by the infirmitie of the toung, because the word or sillable
is of such letters as hangs long in the palate or lippes ere
he will come forth, or because he is accented and tuned hier
and sharper then another, whereby he somewhat obscureth the
other sillables in the same word that be not accented so
high, in both these cases we will establish our sillable
long, contrariwise the shortning of a sillable is, when his
sounde or accent happens to be heauy and flat, that is to
fall away speedily, and as it were inaudible, or when he is
made of such letters as be by nature slipper |&| voluble and
smoothly passe from the mouth. And the vowell is alwayes
more easily deliuered then the consonant: and of consonants,
the liquide more then the mute, |&| a single consonant more
then a double, and one more then twayne coupled together:
all which points were obserued by the Greekes and Latines,
and allowed for maximes in versifying. Now if ye
will examine these foure bissillables [
r{_e}mn{_a}nt] [r{-e}m{_a}ine] [r{-
] [r{-e}n{-e}t] for an example by which
ye may make a generall rule, and ye shall finde, that they
aunswere our first resolution. First in [remnant]
[rem] bearing the sharpe accent and hauing his
consonant abbut vpon another, soundes long. The sillable [
nant] being written with two c|on|sonants must needs
be accompted the same besides that [nant] by his
Latin originall is l|on|g, viz. [remanens]. Take
this word [remaine] because the last sillable
beares the sharpe accent, he is long in the eare, and [
re] being the first sillable, passing obscurely away
with a flat accent is short, besides that [re] by
his Latine originall and also by his ortographie is short.
This word [render] bearing the sharpe acc|en|t
vpon [ren] makes it long, the sillable [der
] falling

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away swiftly |&| being also writt|en| with a single
c|on|sonant or liquide is short and makes the
trocheus. This word [r{-e}n{-e}t] hauing
both sillables sliding and slipper make the foote
Pirrichius, because if he be truly vttered, he beares
in maner no sharper accent vp|on| the one then the other
sillable, but he in effect egall in time and tune, as is
also the Spondeus. And because they be not written
with any hard or harsh consonants, I do allow them both for
short sillables, or to be vsed for common, according as
their situation and place with other words shall be: and as
I haue named to you but onely foure words for an example, so
may ye find out by diligent obseruation foure hundred if ye
will. But of all your words bissillables the most
part naturally do make the foot
Iambus, many the Trocheus, fewer the
Spondeus, fewest of all the Pirrichius,
because in him the sharpe accent (if ye follow the rules of
your accent, as we haue presupposed) doth make a litle
oddes: and ye shall find verses made all of
monosillables, and do very well, but lightly they be
Iambickes, bycause for the more part the accent
falles sharp vpon euery second word rather then
contrariwise, as this of Sir Thomas Wiats.

I f{_i}nde n{-o} pe{_a}ce {-a}nd y{_e}t m{-i}e w{_a}rre
{-i}s d{_o}ne,
I feare and hope, and burne and freese like ise

¶2.10.2 And some verses where the sharpe accent
falles vpon the first and third, and so make the verse
wholly Trochaicke, as thus,

Worke not, no nor, wish thy friend or foes harme
Try but, trust not, all that speake thee so faire

¶2.10.3 And some verses made of
monosillables and bissillables enterlaced
as this of th'Earles,

When raging loue with extreme paine

¶2.10.4 And this

A fairer beast of fresher hue beheld I neuer none.

¶2.10.5 And some verses made all of
bissillables and others all of
trissillables, and others of polisillables
egally increasing and of diuers quantities, and sundry
situations, as in this of our owne, made to daunt the
insolence of a beautifull woman.

Brittle beauty blossome daily fading
Morne, noone, and eue in age and eke in eld
Dangerous disdainefull pleasantly perswading
Easie to gripe but combrous to weld

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For slender bottome hard and heauy lading
Gay for a while, but little while durable
Suspicious, incertaine, irreuocable,
O since thou art by triall not to trust
Wisedome it is, and it is also iust
To sound the stemme before the tree be feld
That is, since death {w}ill driue vs all to dust
To leaue thy loue ere that {w}e be compeld

¶2.10.6 In which ye haue your first verse all of
bissillables and of the foot
trocheus. The second all of monosillables
, and all of the foote Iambus, the third all of
trissillables, and all of the foote
dactilus, your fourth of one bissillable,
and two monosillables interlarded, the fift of one
monosillable and two bissillables
enterlaced, and the rest of other sortes and scituations,
some by degrees encreasing, some diminishing: which example
I haue set downe to let you perceiue what pleasant
numerosity in the measure and disposition of your words in a
meetre may be contriued by curious wits |&| these with other
like were the obseruations of the Greeke and Latine


Of your feet of three times, and first of the Dactil.

¶2.11.1 YOur feete of three times by
prescription of the Latine Grammariens are of eight sundry
proportions, for some notable difference appearing in euery
sillable of three falling in a word of that size: but
because aboue the antepenultima there was (am|on|g
the Latines) none accent audible in any long word, therfore
to deuise any foote of l|on|ger measure then of three times
was to them but superfluous: because all aboue the number of
three are but compounded of their inferiours. Omitting
therefore to speake of these larger feete, we say that of
all your feete of three times the Dactill is most
vsuall and fit for our vulgar meeter, |&| most agreeable to
the eare, specially if ye ouerlade not your verse with too
many of them but here and there enterlace a Iambus
or some other foote of two times to giue him grauitie and
stay, as in this quadrein Trimeter or of three

Rend{-e}r {-a}ga{_i}ne m{-i}e l{_i}b{-e}rt{-i}e
{-a}nd s{_e}t yo{-u}r c{_a}pt{-i}ue fr{_e}e

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Gl{_o}r{-i}o{-u}s {_i}s th{-e} vìct{-o}r{-i}e
C{_o}nqu{-e}r{-o}urs {-u}se with l{_e}n{-i}t{-i}e

¶2.11.2 Where ye see euery verse is all of a
measure, and yet vnegall in number of sillables: for the
second verse is but of sixe sillables, where the rest are of
eight. But the reason is for that in three of the same
verses are two Dactils a peece, which abridge two
sillables in euery verse: and so maketh the longest euen
with the shortest. Ye may note besides by the first verse,
how much better some bissillable becommeth to
peece out an other longer foote then another word doth: for
in place of [render] if ye had sayd [
restore] it had marred the Dactil, and of
necessitie driuen him out at length to be a verse
Iambic of foure feet, because [render] is
naturally a Trocheus and makes the first two times
of a dactil. [Restore] is naturally a
Iabus, |&| in this place could not possibly haue made
a pleasant dactil.

¶2.11.3 Now againe if ye will say to me that these
two words [libertie] and [conquerours]
be not precise Dactils by the Latine rule. So much
will I confesse to, but since they go currant inough vpon
the tongue, and be so vsually pronounced, they may passe wel
inough for Dactils in our vulgar meeters, |&| that
is inough for me, seeking but to fashion an art, |&| not to
finish it: which time only |&| custom haue authoritie to do,
specially in all cases of language as the Poet hath wittily
remembred in this verse volet vsus

Quem penes arbitrium est |&| vis |&| norma loquendi

¶2.11.4 The Earle of Surrey vpon the death of Sir
Thomas Wiat made among other this verse
Pentameter and of ten sillables,

What holy graue (alas) {w}hat sepulcher

¶2.11.5 But if I had had the making of him, he
should haue bene of eleuen sillables and kept his measure of
fiue still, and would so haue runne more pleasantly a great
deale: for as he is now, though he be euen he seemes odde
and defectiue, for not well obseruing the natural accent of
euery word, and this would haue bene soone holpen by
inserting one monosillable in the middle of the
verse, and drawing another sillable in the beginning into a
Dactil, this word [holy] being a good
[Pirrichius] |&| very well seruing the turne,

Wh{_a}t h{-o}l{-i}e gr{_a}ue {-a} l{_a}s wh{-a}t f{_i}t

¶2.11.6 Which verse if ye peruse throughout ye
shall finde him after the first dactil all
Trochaick |&| not Iambic, nor of any other
foot of two

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times. But perchance if ye would seeme yet more curious, in
place of these foure Trocheus ye might induce
other feete of three times, as to make the three sillables
next following the dactil, the foote [
amphimacer] the last word [Sepulcher] the
foote [amphibracus] leauing the other midle word
for a [Iambus] thus.

¶2.11.7 Wh{_a}t h{-o}li{-e} gr{_a}ue {-a}
l{_a}s wh{-a}t f{_i}t s{-e}p{_u}lch{-e}r

¶2.11.8 If ye aske me further why I make [
{w}hat] first long |&| after short in one verse, to
that I satisfied you before, that it is by reason of his
accent sharpe in one place and flat in another, being a
comm|on| monosillable, that is, apt to receiue
either accent, |&| so in the first place receiuing aptly the
sharpe accent he is made long: afterward receiuing the flat
accent more aptly th|en| the sharpe, because the sillable
precedent [las] vtterly distaines him, he is made
short |&| not long |&| that with very good melodie, but to
haue giuen him the sharpe accent |&| plucked it fr|om| the
sillable [las] it had bene to any mans eare a
great discord: for euermore this word [alas] is
acc|en|ted vpon the last, |&| that lowdly |&| notoriously as
appeareth by all our exclamations vsed vnder that terme. The
same Earle of Surrey |&| Sir Thomas Wyat the first
reformers |&| polishers of our vulgar Poesie much affecting
the stile and measures of the Italian Petrarcha,
vsed the foote dactil very often but not many in
one verse, as in these,

F{_u}ll m{-a}n{-i}e that in presence of thy l{_i}uel{-
i}e h{-e}d,
Shed Cæsars teares vpon P{_o}mp{-e}i{_u}s h{-e}d.
Th'{_e}n{-e}m{-i}e to life destroi er of all kinde,
If {_a}m{-o} r{-o}us faith in an hart vn fayned,
Myne old de{_e}re {-e}n{-e} my my froward master.
Th{_e} f{-u}r{-i} ous gone in his most ra ging ire.

¶2.11.9 And many moe which if ye would not allow
for dactils the verse would halt vnlesse ye would
seeme to help it contracting a sillable by vertue of the
figure Syneresis which I thinke was neuer their
meaning, nor in deede would haue bred any pleasure to the
eare, but hindred the flowing of the verse. Howsoeuer ye
take it the dactil is commendable inough in our
vulgar meetres, but most plausible of all when he is sounded
vpon the stage, as in these comicall verses shewing how well
it becommeth all noble men and great personages to be
temperat and modest, yea more then any meaner man, thus.

{{Page 106}}

L{_e}t n{-o} n{-o}b{_i}l{-i}t{-i}e r{_i}ch{-e}s {-o}r

H{_o}n{-o}ur {-o}r emp{-i}re {-o}r e{_a}rthl{-i}e d{-

Br{_e}ed {-i}n y{-o}ur he{-a}d {-a}n{-i}e p{_e}euish {-

That y{-e} m{-a}y s{_a}f{-e}r {-a}u{_o}uch {-a}n{-i}e

¶2.11.10 And in this distique taxing the Prelate
symoniake standing all vpon perfect

No{w} m{_a}n{_i}e b{_i}e m{_o}n{_e}y p{_u}ru{-e}y pr{-

For mony mooues any hart to deuotion.

¶2.11.11 But this aduertisement I will giue you
withall, that if ye vse too many dactils together
ye make your musike too light and of no solemne grauitie
such as the amorous Elegies in court naturally
require, being alwaies either very dolefull or passionate as
the affections of loue enforce, in which busines ye must
make your choise of very few words dactilique, or
them that ye can not refuse, to dissolue and breake them
into other feete by such meanes as it shall be taught
hereafter: but chiefly in your courtly ditties take heede ye
vse not these maner of long polisillables and
specially that ye finish not your verse with th|em| as [
retribution] restitution [
remuneration [recapitulation] and such
like: for they smatch more the schoole of common players
than of any delicate Poet Lyricke or


Of all your other feete of three times and ho{w} {w}ell they
{w}ould fashion a meetre in our vulgar.

¶2.12.1 ALl your other feete of three
times I find no vse of them in our vulgar meeters nor no
sweetenes at all, and yet words inough to serue their
proportions. So as though they haue not hitherto bene made
artificiall, yet nowe by more curious obseruation they might
be. Since all artes grew first by obseruation of natures
proceedings and custome. And first your [Molossus]
being of all three long is euidently discouered by this word
[p{_e}rm{_i}tt{_i}ng]. The [Anapestus]
of two short and a long by this word [f{-u}r{-
] if the next word beginne with a consonant.
The foote [Bacchius] of a short and two long by
this word [r{-e}s{_i}st{_a}nce] the foote [
Antibachius] of two long and a short by this word [
{_e}x{_a}mpl{-e}] the foote] Amphimacer] of
a long a short |&| a long by this word [c{_o}nqu{-
] the foote of [Amphibrachus] of a
short a long and a short by this word [r{-e}-]

{{Page 107}}

m{_e}mber] if a vowell follow. The foote [
Tribrachus] of three short times is very hard to be
made by any of our trissillables vnles they be
c|om|pounded of the smoothest sort of consonants or
sillables vocals, or of three smooth monosillables
, or of some peece of a l|on|g
polysillable |&| after that sort we may with
wresting of words shape the foot [Tribrachus]
rather by vsurpation th|en| by rule, which neuertheles is
allowed in euery primitiue arte |&| inuenti|on|: |&| so it
was by the Greekes and Latines in their first versifying, as
if a rule should be set downe that from henceforth these
words should be counted al Tribrachus [{-
] r{-e}m{-e}d{-i}e] s{-
] m{-o}n{-i}l{-e}s] p{-
] cr{-u}{-e}ll{-i}e] |&| such
like, or a peece of this long word [r{-e}c{_o}u{-e}r{-
] inn{-u}m{-e}r{-a}bl{-e} re{-a}d{-i}l{-
] and others. Of all which manner of apt wordes to
make these stranger feet of three times which go not so
currant with our eare as the dactil, the maker
should haue a good iudgement to know them by their manner of
orthographie and by their accent which serue most fitly for
euery foote, or else he shoulde haue alwaies a little
calender of them apart to vse readily when he shall neede
them. But because in very truth I thinke them but vaine |&|
superstitious obseruations nothing at all furthering the
pleasant melody of our English meeter, I leaue to speake any
more of them and rather wish the continuance of our old
maner of Poesie, scanning our verse by sillables rather than
by feete, and vsing most commonly the word Iambique
|&| sometime the Trochaike which ye shall
discerne by their accents, and now and then a dactill
keeping precisely our symphony or rime without any other
mincing measures, which an idle inuentiue head could easily
deuise, as the former examples teach.


Of your verses perfect and defectiue, and that which the
Græcians called the halfe foote.

¶2.13.1 THe Greekes and Latines vsed
verses in the odde sillable of two sortes, which they called
Catalecticke and Acatalecticke, that is
odde vnder and odde ouer the iust measure of their verse,
|&| we in our vulgar finde many of the like, and specially
in the rimes of Sir Thomas Wiat, strained perchaunce out of
their originall, made first by Francis Patrarcha:
as these

Like vnto these, immeasurable mountaines,

{{Page 108}}

So is my painefull life the burden of ire:
For hie be they, and hie is my desire
And I of teares, and they are full of fountaines

¶2.13.2 Where in your first second and fourth
verse, ye may find a sillable superfluous, and though in the
first ye will seeme to helpe it, by drawing these three
sillables, [{_m} m{-e} s{-u}] into a dactil
, in the rest it can not be so excused, wherefore we must
thinke he did it of purpose, by the odde sillable to giue
greater grace to his meetre, and we finde in our old rimes,
this odde sillable, sometime placed in the beginning and
sometimes in the middle of a verse, and is allowed to go
alone |&| to h|an|g to any other sillable. But this odde
sillable in our meetres is not the halfe foote as the
Greekes and Latines vsed him in their verses, and called
such measure pentimimeris and eptamimeris
, but rather is that, which they called the
catalectik or maymed verse. Their h|en|mimeris
or halfe foote serued not by licence Poeticall or
necessitie of words, but to bewtifie and exornate the verse
by placing one such halfe foote in the middle Cesure
, |&| one other in the end of the verse, as they vsed all
their pentameters elegiack: and not by coupling
them together, but by accompt to make their verse of a iust
measure and not defectiue or superflous: our odde sillable
is not altogether of that nature, but is in a maner drownd
and supprest by the flat accent, and shrinks away as it were
inaudible and by that meane the odde verse comes almost to
be an euen in euery mans hearing. The halfe foote of the
auncients was reserued purposely to an vse, and therefore
they gaue such odde sillable, wheresoeuer he fell the
sharper accent, and made by him a notorious pause as in this

N{_i}l m{-i} h{-i} r{_e}scr{-i}b{-a}s {_a}tt{-a}m{-e}n
{_i}ps{-e} v{-e} nì

¶2.13.3 Which in all make fiue whole feete, or the
verse Pentameter. We in our vulgar haue not the
vse of the like halfe foote.


Of the breaking your bissillables and polysillables and when
it is to be vsed.

¶2.14.1 BVt whether ye suffer your
sillable to receiue his quantitie by his accent, or by his
ortography, or whether ye keepe your bissillable
whole or whether ye breake him, all is one to his quantitie,

{{Page 109}}

and his time will appeare the selfe same still and ought not
to be altered by our makers, vnlesse it be wh|en| such
sillable is allowed to be common and to receiue any of both
times, as in the dimeter, made of two sillables

¶2.14.2 {_e}xtr{_e}ame d{-e}s{_i}re

¶2.14.3 The first is a good spondeus,
the second a good iambus, and if the same wordes
be broken thus it is not so pleasant.

¶2.14.4 {-i}n {_e}x tr{_e}ame d{-e} sire

¶2.14.5 And yet the first makes a iambus
, and the second a trocheus ech sillable
retayning still his former quantities. And alwaies ye must
haue regard to the sweetenes of the meetre, so as if your
word polysillable would not sound pleasantly
whole, ye should for the nonce breake him, which ye may
easily doo by inserting here and there one
monosillable among your polysillables, or
by chaunging your word into another place then where he
soundes vnpleasantly, and by breaking, turne a
trocheus to a iambus, or contrariwise: as

H{_o}ll{-o}w v{_a}ll{-e}is {_u}nd{-e}r hì{-e}st mo{-
Cr{_a}gg{-i}e cliffes br{-i}ng fo{_o}rth th{-e} fa{_i}r{-
e}st fo{_u}nta{-i}nes

¶2.14.6 These verses be trochaik, and in
mine eare not so sweete and harmonicall as the
iambicque, thus:

Th{-e} h{_o}ll{-o}wst v{_a}ls l{-i}e {_u}nd{-e}r
h{_i}{-e}st m{_o}unt{_a}ines
Th{-e} cr{_a}gg{-i}st cl{_i}fs br{_i}ng f{_o}rth th{-e}
fa{_i}r{-e}st fo{_u}nt{_a}ines

¶2.14.7 All which verses bee now become
iambicque by breaking the first
bissillables, and yet alters not their quantities
though the feete be altered: and thus,

Restlesse is the heart in his desires
Rauing after that reason doth denie

¶2.14.8 Which being turned thus makes a new

The restlesse heart, renues his old desires
Ay rauing after that reason doth it deny.

¶2.14.9 And following this obseruation your
meetres being builded with
polysillables will fall diuersly out, that is some
to be spondaick, some iambick, others
dactilick, others trochaick, and of one
mingled with another, as in this verse.

H{_e}au{-i}e {_i}s th{-e} b{_u}rd{-e}n of Pr{-i}nc{-e}s

¶2.14.10 The verse is trochaick, but
being altered thus, is iambicque.

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F{-u}ll h{_e}au{-i}e {_i}s th{-e} p{_a}ise {-o}f
Pr{_i}nces {_i}re

¶2.14.11 And as Sir Thomas Wiat song in
a verse wholly trochaick, because the wordes do
best shape to that foote by their naturall accent, thus,

F{_a}rew{-e}ll l{_o}ue {-a}nd {-a}ll th{_i}e l{_a}wes
f{-o}r {_e}u{-e}r

¶2.14.12 And in this ditty of th'Erle of Surries,
passing sweete and harmonicall: all be Iambick.

When raging loue with extreme paine
So cruelly doth straine my hart,
And that the teares like fluds of raine
Beare witnesse of my wofull smart

¶2.14.13 Which beyng disposed otherwise or not
broken, would proue all
trochaick, but nothing pleasant.

¶2.14.14 Now furthermore ye are to note, that al
your monosyllables may receiue the sharp accent,
but not so aptly one as another, as in this verse where they
serue well to make him iambicque, but not

G{-o}d gra{-u}nt th{-i}s pe{_a}ce m{-a}y l{_o}ng {-

¶2.14.15 Where the sharpe accent falles more
tunably vpon [graunt] [peace] [
long] [dure] then it would by conuersion,
as to accent them thus:

G{_o}d gra{-u}nt -- th{-i}s pe{-a}ce -- m{_a}y l{-o}ng
-- {_e}nd{_u}re

¶2.14.16 And yet if ye will aske me the reason, I
can not tell it, but that it shapes so to myne eare, and as
I thinke to euery other mans. And in this meeter where ye
haue whole words bissillable vnbroken, that
maintaine (by reason of their accent) sundry feete, yet
going one with another be very harmonicall.

¶2.14.17 Where ye see one to be a trocheus
another the iambus, and so entermingled not by
election but by constraint of their seuerall accents, which
ought not to be altred, yet comes it to passe that many
times ye must of necessitie alter the accent of a sillable,
and put him from his naturall place, and then one sillable,
of a word polysillable, or one word
monosillable, will abide to be made sometimes
long, sometimes short, as in this quadreyne of
ours playd in a mery moode.

Gèue mé mìne ówne ànd whén I dó
Geue others theirs, and nothing that is mine

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Nòr gíue mè th{'a}t, wherto all men aspire
Then neither gold, nor faire women nor wine

¶2.14.18 Where in your first verse these two words
[giue] and [me] are accented one high
th'other low, in the third verse the same words are accented
contrary, and the reason of this exchange is manifest,
because the maker playes with these two clauses of sundry
relations [giue me] and [giue others] so
as the monosillable [me] being
respectiue to the word [others] and inferring a
subtilitie or wittie implication, ought not to haue the same
accent, as when he hath no such respect, as in this
distik of ours.

Pr{_o}ue m{-e} (Madame) ere ye r{_e}pr{-o}ue
Meeke minds should {_e}xc{-u}se not {_a}cc{-u}se.

¶2.14.19 In which verse ye see this word [
reprooue,] the sillable [prooue] alters his
sharpe accent into a flat, for naturally it is long in all
his singles and compoundes [reproòue] [
approòue] [disproòue] |&| so is the
sillable [cuse] in [excuse] [
accuse] [recuse] yet in these verses by
reason one of them doth as it were nicke another, and haue a
certaine extraordinary sence with all, it behoueth to remoue
the sharpe accents from whence they are most naturall, to
place them where the nicke may be more expresly discouered,
and therefore in this verse where no such implication is,
nor no relation it is otherwise, as thus.

If ye r{-e}pr{_o}ue my constancie
I will exc{_u}se you curtesly

¶2.14.20 For in this word [reproóue]
because there is no extraordinary sence to be inferred, he
keepeth his sharpe accent vpon the sillable [
proóue] but in the former verses because they
seeme to encounter ech other they do thereby merite an
audible and pleasant alterati|on| of their accents in those
sillables that cause the subtiltie. Of these maner of
nicetees ye shal finde in many places of our booke, but
specially where we treate of ornament, vnto which we referre
you, sauing that we thought good to set down one example
more to solace your mindes with mirth after all these
scholasticall preceptes, which can not but bring with them
(specially to Courtiers) much tediousnesse, and so to end.
In our Comedie intituled Ginecocratia: the king
was supposed to be a person very amorous and effeminate, and
therefore most ruled his ordinary affaires by the

{{Page 112}}

aduise of women either for the loue he bare to their persons
or liking he had to their pleasant ready witts and
vtterance. Comes me to the Court one Polemon an
honest plaine man of the country, but rich: and hauing a
suite to the king, met by chaunce with one Philino
, a louer of wine and a merry companion in Court, and
praied him in that he was a stranger that he would vouchsafe
to tell him which way he were best to worke to get his
suite, and who were most in credit and fauour about the
king, that he might seeke to them to furder his attempt.
Philino perceyuing the plainnesse of the man, and
that there would be some good done with him, told
Polemon that if he would well consider him for his
labor he would bring him where he should know the truth of
all his demaundes by the sentence of the Oracle.
Polemon gaue him twentie crownes, Philino
brings him into a place where behind and arras cloth hee
himselfe spake in manner of an Oracle in these meeters, for
so did all the Sybils and sothsaiers in old times giue their

Your best way to worke - and marke my words well,
Not money: nor many,
Nor any: but any,
Not weemen, but weemen beare the bell

¶2.14.21 Polemon wist not what to make
of this doubtfull speach, |&| not being lawfull to importune
the oracle more then once in one matter, conceyued in his
head the pleasanter construction, and stacke to it: and
hauing at home a fayre yong damsell of eighteene yeares old
to his daughter, that could very well behaue her selfe in
countenance |&| also in her language, apparelled her as gay
as he could, and brought her to the Court, where
Philino harkning daily after the euent of this
matter, met him, and recommended his daughter to the Lords,
who perceiuing her great beauty and other good parts,
brought her to the King, to whom she exhibited her fathers
supplication, and found so great fauour in his eye, as
without any long delay she obtained her sute at his hands.
Polemon by the diligent solliciting of his
daughter, wanne his purpose: Philino gat a good
reward and vsed the matter so, as howsoeuer the oracle had
bene construed, he could not haue receiued blame nor
discredit by the successe, for euery waies it would haue
proued true, whether Polemons daughter had
obtayned the sute, or not obtained it.

{{Page 113}}

And the subtiltie lay in the accent and Ortographie of these
two wordes [any] and [weemen] for [
any] being deuided sounds [a nie or neere
person to the king: and [weemen] being diuided
soundes wee men, and not [weemen] and so
by this meane Philino serued all turnes and
shifted himselfe from blame, not vnlike the tale of the
Rattlemouse who in the warres proclaimed betweene the foure
footed beasts, and the birdes, beyng sent for by the Lyon to
beat his musters, excused himselfe for that he was a foule
and flew with winges: and beyng sent for by the Eagle to
serue him, sayd that he was a foure footed beast, and by
that craftie cauill escaped the danger of the warres, and
shunned the seruice of both Princes. And euer since sate at
home by the fires side, eating vp the poore husbandmans
baken, half lost for lacke of a good huswifes looking too.



  • Original Text: George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie: 1589 (Menston: Scolar Press, 1968).
  • First Publication Date: The Arte of English Poesie. London: Richard Field, 1589. STC 20519. British Library G.11548 (owned by Ben Jonson)
  • Representative Poetry On-line: Editor, I. Lancashire; Publisher, Web Development Group, Inf. Tech. Services, Univ. of Toronto Lib.
  • Edition: RPO 1998. © I. Lancashire, Dept. of English (Univ. of Toronto), and Univ. of Toronto Press 1998. Research Assistant: Allison Hay.

Editorial Conventions

Note: the four-page concluding Table of Contents is not included in this electronic text.

This edition does not encode signatures, page numbers, or catchwords. Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Contractions and abbreviations are placed within vertical bars. Italics and lineation are retained, but not small capitals and the text of catchwords, signatures, and running titles. Original lineation and irregularities in spacing are ignored. Reference citations are by page numbers and editorial through-text paragraph numbers.

The following character codes represent letters not available in the 256-character set employed in HTML documents.

  • {-a} : a-curl
  • {_a} : a-macron
  • {-e} : e-curl
  • {_e} : e-macron
  • {-i} : i-curl
  • {_i} : i-macron
  • {-o} : o-curl
  • {_o} : o-macron
  • {-u} : u-curl
  • {_u} : u-macron
  • {w}{W} : double-v w

Greek is transliterated according to the following scheme:
  • a : alpha
  • b : beta
  • g : gamma
  • d : delta
  • e : epsilon
  • z : zeta
  • {ee} : eta
  • th : theta
  • i : iota
  • k : kappa
  • l : lambda
  • m : mu
  • n : nu
  • x : ksi
  • o : omicron
  • p : pi
  • r : rho
  • s : sigma
  • t : tau
  • u : upsilon
  • ph : phi
  • ch : chi
  • ps : psi
  • {o} : omega

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Other works by George Puttenham