The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Volume 2 of 2 (Illustrated)

The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Volume 2 of 2 (Illustrated)

by John Davies

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I am indebted to the Bodleian copy—among Malone's books—for my text of these 'Epigrams.' I have preferred this edition to the two others that preceded, inasmuch as, while it, like them, bears the imprint of 'Middlebourgh,' there seems no reason to doubt that it was printed in London: therefore most probably under the author's eye. The volume is a small 12mo. and the following is the title-page:—

3 Bookes
By C. M.
At Middlebourgh.

Malone has filled in in MS. 'Christopher Marlowe and John Davis.' Cf. Collier's Bibliographical Account of Early English Literature: Vol I. s.n.

The Rev. Alexander Dyce in his collective edition of the Works of Marlowe, has given Davies' "Epigrams" in extenso, with a painstaking collation of the various readings from the other two editions (both undated) together with similar various readings from a Manuscript discovered by him in the Harleian Collection (1836.) Mr. Dyce with reference to his reprint of the 'Epigrams,' and the foregoing MS. says, "I have given them with the text considerably improved by means of one of the Harleian MSS." ('Some Account of Marlowe and his Writings: p. xl: edition 1862.) I must demur to this alleged 'improvement.' The MS. has no authority whatever, the Scribe being an extremely ignorant and blundering one. These nine examples out of many, taken at random, will suffice to prove this:

[1] Epigram 1, line first.

'Fly, merry Muse unto that merry towne &c.
he actually reads, spite of its heading 'Ad Musam'

'Fly, merry Newes....
[2] Epigram 2, line 14

'And stands, in Presence, stroaking up his haire'
he gives, to neglect of the rhyme with 'yeare'

'...... stroaking up his heade'
[3] Epigram 3, line 5, for 'fry' he stupidly reads 'cry.'

[4] Epigram 13, line 9, for 'sectaries' he gives nonsensically 'scituaries.'

[5] Epigram 15, line 3.

'Thou with harsh noise the ayre doth rudely breake,'
he transmogrifies into

'...... horse nor sea the ayre doth.'
[6] Epigram 26, line 11, he substitutes 'sweete' for 'hot' oblivious of the rhyme with 'petticoat.'

[7] Epigram 36, line 19, for 'rarifie' he reads 'ratiffie'[!]

[8] Epigram 41, line 2,

'Paulus, in spite of enuy, fortunate'
he gives thus

Paulus, in fight of envy'......

[9] Epigram 43, line 3, for 'Paris-garden' he has 'Parish-garden;' and so on ludicrously, with numerous proper names.

Any one capable of perpetrating such stupidities as these, ought not in my opinion, to be allowed to displace a text printed for the Author, more especially his cannot for a moment be allowed to over-bear the third edition, our text.

From a confused inscription on the first page of the MS. its probable writer is ascertained. It is as follows "Ex spoliis Richardi Wharfe, ex...... It is much trouble and much.... Ex spoliis R. W." Underneath is the book-plate of John, Duke of Newcastle. The general title runs "Epigramma in Musam, like Buckminster's Allmanacks servinge generallie for all England: but especiallie for the meridian of this famous Cittie of London." I regret that besides these (mis-called) 'improvements,' so admirable an Editor should have modernized throughout, the ORTHOGRAPHY equally of Marlowe and of Davies: and all the more, that in his 'Notes' he adheres to the original orthography whenever he quotes from his wealth of illustrative extracts. The annotation condemns the text. Without any hesitation therefore, I have set aside Mr. Dyce's reprints, and returned (as supra) to Davies' own text and orthography, saving a slight reduction of capitals and italics. None the less do I owe thanks to Mr. Dyce for his kind permission kindly given, to use any 'Notes' that might be deemed interesting. Those that I have taken are marked with his initial, D. I have to add another important correction of Mr. Dyce. After describing the Harleian MS. he observes "Though it is of a date considerably posterior to the first appearance in print of Epigrams by I. D., perhaps all the pieces which it exhibits are from the pen of Davies. (page 353.) Homer nods here: for on reading these additional 'Epigrams' thus assigned to Davies, I at once discovered that they consisted merely of a like blundering transcript of the "Satyricall Epigrams" of Henry Hutton, Dunelmensis, that were appended to his "Follie's Anatomie or Satyres" (1619.) The oversight is the more noticeable in that all these were reprinted in 1842, (edited by Rimbault), for the Percy Society, whereof Mr. Dyce was one of the most effective members of Council.

I confess that it was far from a disappointment to find that the 'Epigrams' of Davies were not to be increased to the extent they would have been had I accepted Mr. Dyce's opinion,

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148121268
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 02/24/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
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