Det. 1.3. Shakespeare, The Earl of Oxford (2005)

 

 

“As early as 1598 a shameless name-dropper named Francis Meres began the liturgical chant, claiming that ‘As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for Comedy and Tragedy among the Latines: so Shakespeare among the English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage.”[1]

“In  truth, Meres was neither a profound nor industrious gatherer of commonplaces; in many respects the  Palladis Tamia  seems to be the work of a hack who had a contracted obligation to fulfill.”[2]

"This chapter uses the simile format to compare classical  authors to their contemporary English counterparts, and it  constitutes a unique and extremely valuable survey of English  literature at the end of the sixteenth century."[3]

 

Who was Francis Meres really? An attentive observer of the London literary scene who recognized Shakespeare’s incommensurable genius and left an “extremely valuable survey” of contemporary English literature? Or was he a “shameless name-dropper,” the first high-priest of bardolatry, reeling off names of ancient and English authors like names of saints in a litany? And what kind of work is this Palladis Tamia, more particularly the “Comparative Discourse” in which Shakespeare is likened to Plautus for comedy and to Seneca for tragedy? The reputable scholar G.E. Bentley puts it in a row of popular commonplace books of the age. “John Cotgrave’s English Treasury of Wit and Language, 1655, is a book of quotations much in the tradition of earlier commonplace books like Politeuphuia, Wits Commonwealth, 1597, Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury, 1598, Wits Theatre of the Little World, 1599, Belvedere, 1600, and Wits Labyrinth, 1648. Like the other five, it consists of a large number of quotations from a variety of authors, classified according to subjects — Adversity, Beauty, Chastity, Envy, Heaven, Sin, Women.”[4] In Bentley’s chronological listing it stands between two other commonplace books, the first and third part of the series Wit’s Commonwealth. The first part of John Bodenham’s Politeuphuia Wits Commonwealth (1597) opens with a section “Of God”; the third part of Robert Allot’s Theatre of the Little World (1599), opens with a section “Of God”; the second part of Francis Meres’s Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury (1598), opens with a section “Of God”. What distinguishes Meres’s commonplace book from the other two of the series is the presence of a section on art, mainly literature, in which Meres heaps praise on four contemporary poets: Michael Drayton, Samuel Daniel, Edmund Spenser and above all William Shakespeare, and simply lists a great number of others, in the overwhelming majority of cases without mentioning more than their bare names.

The heading “A comparative discourse of our English Poets, with the Greeke, Latine, and Italian Poets.” is misleading. The first paragraph contains no “discourse” at all, only a simple symmetric arrangement of names of ancient and English authors. The second paragraph contains only a short piece of discourse:

“As Homer is  reputed the Prince of Greek Poets; and Petrarch of Italian Poets: so Chaucer is accounted the God of English Poets.”

Yet, this morsel is not Meres’ own but a quotation from William Webbe’s Discourse of English Poetry, published in 1585, thirteen years before Meres’s Palladis Tamia : “Chaucer, who for that excellent fame which he obtained in his Poetry was always accounted the God of English Poets.”

Apparently G.E. Bentley did not hold Meres’ discourse to be of a sufficiently distinctive quality to set his commonplace book apart from the other ones. Nor did Meres himself claim such a distinction. Though he places the gathering of commonplaces above the historical feats of Alexander the Great he did not, in fact, think higher of his task than that of John Bodenham’s, the gatherer of the commonplaces for parts 1 and 3 of Wit’s Commonwealth.  In 1904 Gregory Smith qualified Meres’ “Comparative Discourse” within Palladis Tamia as a “directory of writers” and his method as “absolute scissors and paste”.[5] It is not much of an exaggeration.

          Don C. Allen probably came closest to the mark when he spoke of one who “had a contracted obligation to fulfill”. Though Meres was without doubt more than a “hack,” his “Comparative Discourse” is no less a compilation than the rest of his book, or than the other two books of the Wit’s Commonwealth series are. The above verbatim borrowing from another work is the rule, not the exception.  Hardly any textual passage in “Comparative Discourse” is not borrowed from existing works. Meres has therefore occasionally been accused of plagiarism.

What might we expect as we inch along in a jam of fifty-eight paragraphs, all of them shaped according to the same monotonous formula? The first paragraph reads:

“As Greece had three Poets of great antiquity Orpheus, Linus, Musoeus and Italy, other three auncient Poets, Livius Andronicus, Ennius, Plautus: So hath England three auncient Poets, Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate.”

Few begin differently. They all take the form of an equation with the as-side listing ancient authors (in a few cases an Italian and in even fewer cases a French or Spanish author), and an equal number of English authors listed on the so-side. The message is a simple one: the symmetry asserts that English literature can stand the comparison with ancient literature. Were it not for the symmetric structure, Meres’ “Comparative Discourse” would be an amorphous succession of names. It is still a monotonous one. But:

Sometimes in a heap of mud,

A piece of gold is shut.

 

Wit’s Commonwealth: a publishing project

                        The commonplace book series Wit’s Commonwealth presents all the features of a project of one or more publishers. Who could have ordered Palladis Tamia, the second part of Wit’s Commonwealth? It is reasonable to search Meres’ employers among the publishers of  Wit’s Commonwealth, the whole of the series. We meet two old acquaintances: the publisher of the first and third part was Nicholas Ling, the printer of both was James Roberts. Palladis Tamia was published by Cuthbert Burby and printed by Peter Short. But Cuthbert Burby stood in some partnership relation with Nicholas Ling. In 1607, shortly before his death, he transferred some of his copies to the latter. On the publishing side, then, we have two men who were occcasional partners. Cuthbert Burby published the two amended second issues of Love’s Labour’s Lost (1598) and Romeo and Juliet (1599). He also published Meres’ translation of the second book of Luis de Granada’s A Sinner’s Guide. Ling and Burby may have been Meres’ employers.

 

Was Meres a “plagiarist”?

                  In his Discourse of English Poetry (1585) William Webbe writes: “And Cicero in his Tusculane questions is of that minde, that a Poet cannot expresse verses aboundantly...”.[6]  Meres repeats this phrase verbatim, and, likewise, does not scruple to borrow almost literally from other authors, most heavily from Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie. A list is prefixed to his book naming the authors from whom he quotes; among them Philip Sidney and John Harington in the section “Poetry” preceding the two sections “Poets” and “A comparative discourse.”   But authors from whom he borrows in these two latter sections are not listed: William Webbe, Puttenham, Roger Ascham, and others.  Should Meres, therefore, be accused of plagiarism?

Actually, we do not think so. After all, the “Comparative Discourse” was part of his commonplace book. A commonplace book by definition is a collection of citations. Hence, Meres continued to practise what he did in the rest of his book, where he translates quotes ordered according to subjects, though here, in the “Comparative Discourse,” without listing the sources. Given that few of his comments are his own and that not a single work is mentioned for the majority of listed authors, calling Meres a "literary critic," and his “Comparative Discourse” an “extremely valuable survey of English  literature,” seems very wide of the mark indeed.

 

Meres’s “expertise”

               Nonetheless, two mentions seem to indicate that Meres was keeping his ear to the literary ground.  He knew that Michael Drayton was busy writing his Poly-Olbion. “Michael Drayton is now in penning in English verse a Poem called Poly-olbion Geographical and Hydrographicall of all the forests, woods, mountaines, fountaines, rivers, lakes, flouds, bathes and springs that be in England.” The work was not published until 1612/13. He also includes Evrard Guilpin’s satire Skialetheia, registered as late as 15 September 1598, a full week after the registration of Meres’ Palladis Tamia.

But one man would have known better than anyone, even Francis Meres, about Guilpin’s forthcoming satire: Nicholas Ling. It was entered to him and he published it. The printer was again James Roberts. Possibly, the work was still in the process of being printed when Meres’ Palladis Tamia was published. Ling must also have known that Drayton was composing his Poly-Olbion. Had he not died in 1607 he is likely to have published that work. He published nearly all the works of Drayton before 1607, always with James Roberts as printer.  Nicholas Ling thus appears as the driving force behind the whole Wit’s Commonwealth project. He signed the dedication and the epistle to the reader of the first part and it is likely that the unsigned dedication and epistle of the third part are also his work.

 

Meres’ method

       In paragraph 36 on iambic poets or hexametrists, Meres clearly describes his method:

"Among the Greeks I will name but two for Iambics, Archilochus Parius and Hipponax Ephesius: So amongst us I name but two iambical poets, Gabriel Harvey, and Richard Stanyhurst, because I have seene no more in this kind."

           Don C. Allen[7] was probably the first to discover the main source from which Meres had taken the names of the ancient authors, Ravisius Textor’s Officina, a then widely used encyclopedy.[8] Textor, of course, lists many more ancient authors of alexandrines (iambic hexameters). But as Meres can only find two English hexametrists, he selects only two from Textor.  In the same way he chooses only as many ancient authors of tragedy as he can find English ones (14), the same for comedy (16), and so on.

            In one case, however, Meres commits a blunder serious enough to have his scholarship called into question by Allen. “It should be apparent from this account that Meres’s statements about Greek and Latin poets were at second hand. However, Meres commits a greater sin than ignorance, since he gives definite evidence on one occasion that he was stupid. In his section on satirists, Meres records among the Latin writers of this sort Lucullus and Lucilius. The latter name falls within the definition, but the former, Lucullus, was at best a historian.”[9] The paragraph in question reads [the numbering is ours]:

As 1. Horace, 2. Lucilius, 3. Iuvenall, 4. Persius & 5. Lucullus are the best for Satire among the Latins: So with us in the same faculty these are chiefe 1. Piers Plowman, 2. Lodge, 3. Hall of Imanuel Colledge in Cambridge, 4. the Authour of Pigmalions Image, and certaine Satyrs, 5. the Author of Skialetheia.

               The author of Pygmalion’s Image and certain satires, published in 1598 by E. Mattes and printed by James Roberts, was Kinsayder, the pseudonym of John Marston. Meres knew Kinsayder to be a pseudonym and thus omitted the name. Of course James Roberts and Nicholas Ling must also have known it. Evrard Guilpin’s Skialetheia had been published anonymously by Nicholas Ling and printed by James Roberts.  How was Meres “stupid”?  The error in the case of Lucullus is Ravisius Textor’s, not Meres’, since the tenth paragraph in Textor’s list begins: "Lucullus Satyrographus, ex Arunca urbe Italiae."  This clearly explains Meres’ error and provides a very tangible proof of his use of the Officina.  However, if this is accepted, how can Lucilius, who is not found in Textor’s catalogue (but whom Meres places correctly among the Latin satirists), be accounted for? The Officina gives the explanation of this and also indicates Meres’ method of compiling data.”  Immediately after the heading “De poetis Graecis et Latinis” Textor refers to Petrus Crinitus, an author of the biographies of ninety-five poets. “These biographies were exceedingly popular in the first half of the century and were used for the vitae of most editions of classical authors published at that time. In this small book there is no mention of Lucullus, but in the same order as that of the Officina is noticed: “C. Lucilius Satyrarum scriptor... Ex Arunca urbe Ausoniae fuit.”[10]

            Our own hypothesis is that Meres was less stupid than tricky. The only difference between Crinitus and Textor is that the former uses the ancient name of Italy: Ausonia. As the name of the author differs only by three letters and the name of the town is identical, this can hardly have been the cause of the error. But Meres was facing a difficulty. In all other cases he could find names in overplus in Textor’s Officina to select as many authors in the genre as there were English authors. Here, for satirists, the situation was reversed. Textor mentions only four satirists but there were many more English satirists at hand. Disregarding the printing error in Textor allowed Meres to add one name more. It was not a scholarly procedure, but he could keep to his symmetric structure. Still, the paragraph conspiciously lacks one name. Though separately mentioned, Thomas Nashe, the outstanding satirist of the 1590s, is left out in favour of two newcomers, John Marston and Evrard Guilpin. This decision seems to have rested more on commercial rather than on scholarly considerations. Guilpin was published by Ling and printed by Roberts, Marston was printed by Roberts.

 

Infatuated with numerology

              Meres’dedication begins with the words “Tria sunt omnia" (all good things come in threes). Apart from the last sentence, every other line in the euphuistic dedication is a variation on this motto. It returns in his “Comparative Discourse.”  In numerology three, and its multiples six and twelve, are perfect numbers. Four poets are given special mention in the “Comparative Discourse”: Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Samuel Daniel, and Michael Drayton. Spenser and Daniel are given three paragraphs, Shakespeare four, Drayton six.

            Spenser published his Fairie Queene in two parts, books I-III in 1590, books IV-VI in 1596. The Fairie Queene is mentioned in two paragraphs. The third paragraph is for The Shepherd’s Calendar.

            Samuel Daniel is mentioned with three works: Delia , Rosamond  and Civil Wars.

Michael Drayton is mentioned with six works : The civil wars of Edward the second, and the Barons (Mortimeriados, or the Baron’s Wars); England’s Heroical Epistles; Robert of Normandy; Matilda; Peirs Gaveston; Poly-Olbion.

            Symmetry and homespun numerology are favored over completeness, and this holds true in Shakespeare’s case. Of four paragraphs, two contain general statements without mention of works. One paragraph cites his poems, honoring the “all good things come in threes” principle by mentioning Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, and the Sonnets, subsuming the rest under “&c.” Twelve plays are mentioned, six comedies and six tragedies.

            Balancing and counter-balancing is another quirk exhibited by Meres. Among the comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost is counterbalanced by Love’s Labour’s Won, a title which hitherto, as far as we know, has never been convincingly traced[11] and has triggered much speculation about which play could actually be meant. Though Much Ado About Nothing and All’s Well that Ends Well seem plausible candidates, it cannot be entirely ruled out that the title simply derives from Meres’s fondness of antithesis, a figure which looms large in euphuistic style. He practises the same in his paragraphs on tragedy and comedy, mentioning for tragedy first an author of the University of Cambridge, then one of Oxford, following the reverse order in the paragraph on comedy.

 

Meres’s arithmetic “errors”.

              From the paragraph on satirists we have seen how tenaciously Meres adhered to symmetry. He was even prepared to use a cheap trick, profiting from a printing error to get one ancient satirist more than he had found in his source, the Officina of Ravisius Textor, and willing to deny the true standing of the foremost contemporary satirist Thomas Nashe. To control whether Meres always counted correctly seems as senseful as counting sheep to fall asleep.  However, a letter of 29 September 1996 from Derran Charlton informed us that one person had not thought it beneath his scientific dignity to do exactly that. The man in question was the late Enoch Powell. In a speech delivered to the De Vere Society in England, he had communicated his finding that Meres did not list the same number of ancient and English  authors of comedy. There were sixteen ancient and seventeen English authors, Powell pointed out. This paragraph was unbalanced!  He concluded:  “It would be a natural assumption that one name was added without corresponding adjustment of the symmetry. It also happens to be the one place where there is a reference to Edward Earl of Oxford.”[12]

              Other inferences are possible. Orthodox scholars could argue that this proves “beyond doubt” that Oxford and Shakespeare were two different persons. Oxfordians, however, could argue that the asymmetry is a deliberate imbalance, and that it points to the identity of Oxford as Shakespeare; the asymmetry would thus be illusory, the paragraph looks asymmetrical but is not.  Powell’s observation on the unequality between the number of ancient and English authors is correct, but to test the validity of his interpretation it would be necessary to examine whether the rule of symmetry had been broken in other paragraphs. Suddenly, a dreadfully tedious occupation looked, if not exciting, much less tedious and at any rate, worth the counting.  Certainly, if this were the only paragraph where Meres missed his numbers, the supernumerary might be significant.

 

Results

            Meres always observes some kind of symmetry, which is achieved in three ways:

 

1)  Same number of Greek, Latin, and English poets.

As seen above, in the first paragraph three Greek (Orpheus, Linus, Musoeus) and three Latin authors (Livius Andronicus, Ennius, Plautus) are set against three English authors (Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate).

In the second paragraph we have one Greek (Homer), one Italian (Petrarch) and one English (Chaucer).

Paragr. 8: eight Greek and eight Latin against eight English. 

Paragr. 12, one Greek (Theocritus), one Latin (Virgil) and one English (Spenser).

To this can be added the rather odd paragr. 55:

“As Achilles tortured the dead body of Hector, and as Antonius, and his Fulvia tormented the liveless corps of Cicero: So Gabriel Harvey hath shewed the same inhumanity to Greene that lies full low in his grave.” 

 

2)  A difference in the number of poets is made up for by adding works:

In paragr. 18, Drayton is mentioned with three works:

As Accius, M. Attilius and Milithus were called Tragoediographi, because they writ Tragedies: So may we truly term Michael Drayton Tragoediographus, for his passionate penning the downfals of valiant Robert of Normandy, chast Matilda, and great Gaveston.

 

Accius

Drayton, Robert of Normandy

M. Attilius

Drayton, Matilda

Milithus

Drayton, Gaveston

 

 

3) In all other paragraphs there is always the same number on the as-side (Greek, Latin, Italian, French (1), Spanish (1), and the so-side (English).

However, four paragraphs must be excepted.  Here there is clearly asymmetry not balanced out by any devices . In these four cases there is a supernumerary. To restore symmetry we would have to posit the phrase from Shakespeare’s sonnet 136: “Among a number one is reckoned none.”

The paragraphs are:

Paragraph 7:

As these neoterics Jovianus Pontanus, Politianus, Marullus Tarchaniota, the two Strozae, the father and the son, Palingenius, Mantuanus, Philelphus, Quintianus Stoa and Germanus Brixius have obtained renown and good place among the ancient Latin poets, so also these Englishmen, being Latin poets, Walter Haddon, Nicholas Carr, Gabriel Harvey, Christopher Ocland, Thomas Newton with his Leyland, Thomas Watson, Thomas Campion, Brownswerd & Willey, have attained good report and honourable advancement in the Latin empire.

The two Strozzi are the Latin writing Florentines, Vespasiano Strozzi (1424-1505), the father, and Ercole Strozzi (1473-1508), the son.

Is there really asymmetry? The answer is yes, and no. There is asymmetry of persons (10: 9), but symmetry of names, as only one name is given for the two Strozzi.  One name thus stands for two persons.

 

Jovianus Pontanus

Walter Haddon

Politianus

Nicholas Carr

Marullus Tarchaniota

Gabriel Harvey

Strozzi, the father ad the son

Christopher Ocland

Palingenius

Thomas Newton with his Leyland

Mantuanus

Thomas Watson

Philelphus

Thomas Campion

Quintianus Stoa

Brownswerd

Germanus Brixius

Willey

 

Paragraph 39:

These and many other epigrammatists the Latin tongue hath, Q. Catullus, Portius Licinius, Quintus Cornificius, Martial, Cn. Getulicus, and witty Sir Thomas More; so in English we have these, Heywood, Drant, Kendal, Bastard, Davies.

We have six Latin epigrammatists, including Sir Thomas More, who wrote in Latin, and only five English epigrammatists. There is undeniably asymmetry of names, but the asymmetry of persons is only apparent. But the name Davies stands for two contemporeanous epigrammatists, Sir John Davies and John Davies of Hereford.

Q. Catullus

Heywood

Portius Licinius

Dran

Quintus Cornificius

Kenda

Martial

Bastard

Cn. Getulicus

Davies [Sir John]

Sir Thomas More

Davies [of Hereford]

 

So we have the reverse relation of paragr. 7, asymmetry of names but symmetry of persons operated by the same means: one name stands for two persons.

 

Paragr. 47:

As Terence for his translations out of Apollodorus and Menander, and Aquilius for his translation out of Menander, and C. Germanicus Augustus for his out of Aratus, and Ausonius for his translated Epigrams out of Greeke, and Doctor Iohnson for his Frogge-fight out of Homer, and Watson for his Antigone out of Sophocles, have got good commendations: so these versifiers for their learned translations are of good note among us, Phaer for Virgil’s Æneads, Golding for Ouid’s Metamorphosis, Harington for his Orlando Furioso, the Translators of Seneca’s Tragedies, Barnabe Googe for Palingenius, Turberuile for Ouid’s Epistles and Mantuan, and Chapman for his inchoate Homer.  

The translators of Seneca are given as a nameless entity, as a one-ness. But we have an equal number of names.

 

Translator

 

from Greek to Latin

 

Translator

 

from Latin/Italian to English

Terence

Apollodorus

 

Phaer

Virgil’s Æneads

Terence

Menander

 

Golding

Ovid’s Metamorphosis

Aquilius

Menander

 

Harington

Orlando Furioso

C. Germ. Augustus

Aratus

 

[divers]

Seneca’s Tragedies

Ausonius

Greek Epigrams

 

Barnabe Googe

Palingenius

Doctor Iohnson

Frogge-fight / Homer [13]

 

Turbervile

Ovid’s Epistles and Mantuan

Watson

Antigone / Sophocles

 

Chapman

Homer [14]

 

Paragr. 34, the one on comedy:

The best poets for comedy among the Greeks are these, Menander, Aristophanes, Eupolis Atheniensis, Alexis Terius, Nicostratus, Amipsias Atheniensis, Anaxandrides Rhodius, Aristonymus, Archippus Atheniensis and Callias Atheniensis, and among the Latins, Plautus, Terence, Naevius, Sext. Turpilius, Licinius Imbrex, and Virgilius Romanus, so the best for comedy amongst us be Edward Earl of Oxford, Doctor Gager of Oxford, Master Rowley, once a rare scholar of learned Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, Master Edwards, one of her Majesty's Chapel, eloquent and witty John Lyly, Lodge, Gascoigne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Munday, our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.

We have N + 1 names. To be balanced as group, it is necessary that P, the number of persons, should be the same (as in the case of the two epigrammatists John Davies). Which means that two names must stand for one and the same person.

 

 

Edward Earl of Oxford

Menander

Doctor Gager of Oxford

Aristophanes

Master Rowley

Eupolis Atheniensis

Master Edwards

Alexis Terius

John Lyly

Nicostratus

Lodge

Amipsias Atheniensis

Gascoigne

Anaxandrides Rhodius

Greene

Aristonymus

Shakespeare

Archippus Atheniensis

Thomas Nash

Callias Atheniensis

Thomas Heywood

Plautus

Anthony Munday

Terence

Chapman

Naevius

Porter

Sext. Turpilius

Wilson

Licinius Imbrex

Hathway

Virgilius Romanus

Henry Chettle [15]

 

Meres’ arithmetical arrangements confirm the finding. Edward, Earl of Oxford, and Shakespeare are one and the same person.

Can this pattern of deviations from symmetry, in itself balanced, be ascribed to mere chance? We do not think this a reasonable assumption, the less so because the square of departures carries a meaning, a contrapuntal composition on the theme “What's in a name”? In one case the crucial name indicates the relation from father to son; in the second case the name stands for two unrelated namesakes; in the third case, the item causing the asymmetry of person is an anonymous entity; in the fourth case the relationship is pseudonymous.

It seems as if we are encountering one of the phenomena historians have observed in  courtly society: something is concealed and at the same time revealed. Here de Vere is concealed and at the same time, by a fugue-like textural procedure, revealed, as Shakespeare.

Which 16th- and 17th-century reader would have seen it? Kent A. Hieatt may give us a hint.[16] The work analyses Edmund Spenser’s poem Epithalamion . He points out that, as in other works of the Renaissance, the poem follows a symbolic structure. “Understanding of this symbolism requires at least some knowledge of the geography and values of a particular medieval-Renaissance world-view... This method requires that beneath a simple literal surface profound symbolic communication of an integrated continuity should take place covertly...” 

Elizabethan readers were better exercised in allegorical, multi-layer reading, especially those persons to whom court rituals were familiar.  Ultimately, Meres’ list of the “best for Comedy” is not so very different from Spenser’s arrangement in the fourth Book of The Fairie Queene. Alistair Fowler explains that the eighteen knights symbolize concord.[17]  But “concord is repeatedly impaired by significant departures from the pattern.” The departure from the pattern consists in the inclusion of a mock-knight named Braggadocchio. And he adds: “Although several features of the tournament episode remain obscure, we can at least be sure that it is not intended merely as a portrayal of physical conflict... It is meant rather as a poetic imitation of a balletic tournament, of a kind which actually took place in the sixteenth century. Miss Frances Yates’ recent account of tournaments at the Valois court has indicated some of the ways in which ideals of political and cosmic order were set forth by means of symbolic arrangements. The symbolism of place and number in Spenser’s tournament is in a similar mode.”[18]  Thus, to understand what "actually took place in the sixteeenth century," we would do well to learn this courtly language again.

 “Comparative discourse” does not operate quite in the manner of Spenser’s tournament, but the device is analogous. The symmetry is broken and at the same time preserved, through the ambivalent use of names.

 

 



[1] Taylor, Gary. Reinventing Shakespeare. London: The Hogarth Press. 1990, p. 380.

[2] Meres, Francis. Palladis Tamia. Wits Treasury. Printed by P. Short for Cuthbert Burbie. 1598. Facsimile Reprint of the Church copy in the Henry E. Huntington Library. Introduction by Don C. Allen, p. vii.

[3] Entry on Meres by Dr. David Kathman, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. – See also Det.1.3.1 Francis Meres: Palladis Tamia.

[4] Bentley, Gerald Eades. “John Cotgrave’s English Treasury of Wit and Language and the Elizabethan Drama” in Studies in Philology, Vol. XL, 1943, p. 186.

[5] Smith, G. Gregory. Elizabethan Critical Essays., vol. I, p. xiii and p. xxi.

[6] Webbe, William. “A Discourse of English Poetry” in Gregory Smith, Critical Essays, Vol. I, p. 231.

[7] Allen, Don C. “The classical scholarship of Francis Meres” in PMLA, Vo. XLVIII, March 1933, Number 1, pp. 418-425.

[8] Ravisius, Johannes: Officinae epitome I-II. – Lyon 1560. http://mateo.unimannheim.de/camenaref/ravisius.html

[9] Allen, “The Classical Scholarship of Francis Meres”, p. 425.

[10] Ibid.

[11] The booklist of the stationer Christopher Hunt seems to indicate that the title was known. But so little is further known about this list that it seems premature to consider it definitive evidence for the existence of such a title.

[12] Powell, Enoch. Francis Meres and the Authorship Question. A paper delivered to the de Vere Society, Oxford, on the twenty-fifth of February 1988 by the Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Powell (unpublished manuscript).

[13] Batrachomyomachia. id est. Ranarum & murium pugna, latino versu donata ex Homero. Christophero Ionsono medico Londinensi interprete. (Battle of the frogs and mice, Latin). London 1580.

[14] Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English (2000), ed. by Olice Classe, vol. 1: “In 1598 Chapman brought out his version of seven books of the Iliad. -  Chapman’s command of the Greek was only basic; he worked, chiefly, from the Greek text of Spondanus with its parallel Latin translation by Andreas Divus. It is clear that he made more use of the Latin than of the Greek itself.”

[15] Roger Strittmatter reflects on the correspondences between the Ancient and Modern sides of Meres’ par. 34: “As the numbers do not match, one writer on the ‘so’ English side is by definition left without a match. The arrangement is premised on the hypothesis that Meres intends Oxford to be in the ‘zero’ position.” (Roger Stritmatter, Omnia Sunt Tria, Francis Meres, Shakespeare, and Aristonymus, 2013). Therefore Meres compares Chapman to Terence, Nashe to the comic Archippus and Shakespeare to Aristonymus, the aristocratic author an librarian. [KK]

[16] Hieatt, Kent A. Short Time’s Endless Monument, Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1960, p. 6.

[17] Fowler, Alistair. Spenser and the Number of Time, London, 1964, p. 179.

[18] Ibid., pp.179-180.