By George Saintsbury
This Elibron Classics ebook is a facsimile reprint of a 1910 version by means of Macmillan and Co., constrained, London.
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Extra resources for A History of Elizabethan Literature
Time waswhen Italy and Rome have been, to the great good of us who nowlive, the bestbreedersandbringersup of the worthiestmen, not only for wisespeaking,but alsofor well-doing in all civil affairsthat everwasin the world. But now that time is gone; and thoughthe place remain,yet the old and presentmannersdo differ as faras blackand white,as virtue andvice. Virtue once made that country mistress over all the world ; vice now maketh that THE CRITICS 33 country slave to them that beforewere glad to serveit.
So also does Gabriel Harvey, Spenser'sfriend, a curious coxcomb who endeavouredto dissuade Spenser from continuing The Faerie Qiu'ene,devoted much time himself and strove to devote other peopleto the thanklesstask of composingEnglish hexametersand 1 The final s of suchnamesoften at the time appearsunaltered. e. " 36 EARLY ELIZABETHAN PROSE CHAP. trimeters,engaged(very much to his discomfiture)in a furious pamphlet war with Thomas Nash, and altogether presents one of the most characteristicthough least favourable specimensof the Elizabethan man of letters.
Yet the pains which were spent upon translationduring this time were considerable,and undoubtedlyhad muchto do with strengthening and improvingthe language. The formal part of poetrybecamefor the first time a subjectof studyresultingin the Instructionsof Gascoigne, and in the noteworthycritical workswhichwill be mentionedin the next chapter; whilethe popularityof poeticalmiscellanies showedthe audience that existed for verse. The translators and the miscel- lanistswill each call for some brief notice; but first it is necessary to mention some individual, and in their way, original writers who, though not possessingmerit at all equal to that of Wyatt, Surrey,and Sackville,yet deserveto be singled from the crowd.
A History of Elizabethan Literature by George Saintsbury