Elizabethan Critical Essays
Poets … were the first that entended to the obseruation of nature and her works, and specially of the Celestiall courses, by reason of the continuall motion of the heauens, searching after the first mouer, and from thence by degrees comming to know and consider of the substances separate & abstract, which we call the diuine intelligences or good Angels.
The Arte of English Poesie, Book 1, Chap. 3.

Elizabethan Critical Essays

Edited with an Introduction by G. Gregory Smith

These early modern prose writers sought to make the Western world safe for verse against conservative religious and scholarly forces.

Bibliographic Record



I. Preliminary
II. The Puritan Attack
III. The Defence
IV. The Classical Purpose
V. The Special Problems
VI. The Romantic Qualities
VII. The Critical Temper
VIII. The Sources
Roger Ascham—‘Of Imitation’: The Scholemaster (Book II). 1570.
George Gascoigne—Certayne Notes of Instruction. 1575.
George Whetstone—The Dedication to Promos and Cassandra. 1578.
Thomas Lodge—A Defence of Poetry. 1579.
Spenser-Harvey Correspondence: Letters on Reformed Versifying, &c. 1579–80.
    I. Edmund Spenser to Gabriel Harvey
    II. Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser
    III. Edmund Spenser to Gabriel Harvey
    IV. Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser
    From Gabriel Harvey’s ‘Letter-Book
‘E. K.’—The Epistle Dedicatory to The Shepheards Calender. 1579.
Richard Stanyhurst—From the Dedication and Preface to the Translation of the Aeneid. 1582.
Sir Philip Sidney—An Apologie for Poetrie. c. 1583 (printed 1595).
King James VI.—Ane Schort Treatise conteining some reulis and cautelis to be obseruit and eschewit in Scottis Poesie. 1584.
William Webbe—A Discourse of English Poetrie. 1586.
Abraham Fraunce—From The Arcadian Rhetorike. 1588.
Thomas Nashe
    I. Preface to Greene’s Menaphon. 1589.
    II. From The Anatomie of Absurditie. 1589.
Appendix—From E. Hoby’s translation of Coignet’s Politique Discourses. 1586.
George Puttenham—The Arte of English Poesie. 1589.
    The First Booke: Of Poets and Poesie
    The Second Booke: Of Proportion Poetical
    The Third Booke: Of Ornament
Sir John Harington—A Preface, or rather a Briefe Apologie of Poetrie, prefixed to the translation of Orlando Furioso. 1591.
Thomas Nashe—Preface to Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella. 1591.
Gabriel Harvey—From Foure Letters. 1592.
Gabriel Harvey—From Strange Newes, or Foure Letters Confuted. 1592.
Gabriel Harvey
    I. From Pierce’s Supererogation. 1593.
    II. From A New Letter of Notable Contents. 1593.
Richard Carew—The Excellency of the English Tongue. ?1595–6.
George Chapman
    I. Preface to Seaven Bookes of the Iliades of Homere. 1598.
    II. Dedication, etc. of Achilles Shield. 1598.
Francis Meres—From Palladis Tamia. 1598.
William Vaughan—From The Golden Grove. 1600.
Thomas Campion—Observations in the Art of English Poesie. 1602.
Samuel Daniel—A Defence of Ryme. ?1603.
Ben Jonson
    I. From Every Man in his Humour, Every Man out of his Humour and The Poetaster
    II. From The Returne from Parnassus. 1601.