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A History of English Poetry: an Unpublished Continuation   By:

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The Augustan Reprint Society


A History of English Poetry : an Unpublished Continuation

Edited, with an Introduction, by Rodney M. Baine

Publication Number 39

Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1953


H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan RALPH COHEN, University of California, Los Angeles VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles


W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan


EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, Duke University LOUIS BREDVOLD, University of Michigan JOHN BUTT, King's College, University of Durham JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota EARNEST MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, University College, London H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles


EDNA C. DAVIS, Clark Memorial Library


Among the unpublished papers of Thomas and Joseph Warton at Winchester College the most interesting and important item is undoubtedly a continuation of Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry . This continuation completes briefly the analysis of Elizabethan satire and discusses the Elizabethan sonnet. The discussion offers material of interest particularly for the bibliographer and the literary historian. The bibliographer, for example, will be intrigued by a statement of Thomas Warton that he had examined a copy of the Sonnets published in 1599 a decade before the accepted date of the first edition. The literary historian will be interested in, inter alia, unpublished information concerning the university career of Samuel Daniel and in the theory that Shakespeare's sonnets should be interpreted as if addressed by a woman to her lover.

Critically appraised, Warton's treatment of the Elizabethan sonnet seems skimpy. To dismiss the sonnet in one third the amount of space devoted to Joseph Hall's Virgidemiarum seems to betray a want of proportion. Perhaps even more damaging may seem the fact that Warton failed to mention more sonnet collections than he discussed. About twenty years later, in 1802, Joseph Ritson listed in his Bibliographia Poetica the sonnet collections of Barnaby Barnes, Thomas Lodge, William Percy, and John Soowthern all evidently unknown to Warton. But Warton was not particularly slipshod in his researches. In his immediately preceding section, on Elizabethan satire, he had stopped at 1600; and in the continuation he deliberately omitted the sonnet collections published after that date. Thus, though he had earlier in the History (III, 264, n.) promised a discussion of Drayton, he omitted him here because his sonnets were continually being augmented until 1619. Two sixteenth century collections which Warton had mentioned earlier in the History (III, 402, n.) he failed to discuss here, William Smith's Chloris (1596) and Henry Lock's Sundry Christian Passions, contayned in two hundred Sonnets (1593). Concerning Lock he had quoted significantly (IV, 8 9) from The Return from Parnassus : "'Locke and Hudson, sleep you quiet shavers among the shavings of the press, and let your books lie in some old nook amongst old boots and shoes, so you may avoid my censure.'" A collection which certainly did not need to avoid censure was Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella ; and for Warton's total neglect of Sidney's sonnets it seems difficult to account, for in this section on the sonnet Sidney as a poet would have been most aptly discussed. The Astrophel and Stella was easily available in eighteenth century editions of Sidney's works, and Warton admired the author. Both Thomas and Joseph Warton, however, venerated Sidney mainly for his Arcadia and his Apology for Poetry ... Continue reading book >>

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