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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

VIII. The New English Poetry

§ 17. Humfrey Gifford

Of Humfrey Gifford, whose Poise of Gilloflowers was published in 1580, and of Matthew Grove, whose Historie of Pelops and Hippodamia with the Epigrams, songes and sonnettes that follow it, was published in 1587, little need be said. Gifford, who was a friend of the Stafford family, was a translator from the French and Italian and a versifier of small merit, who writes, mainly, in decasyllabic lines, but employs, also, the popular fourteeners. He is not above riddles, anagrams and so forth. One of his poems, however, entitled For Souldiers, is a brave and spirited piece in a complicated but easy-moving, swinging metre; and the prose epistle to the reader may be mentioned as containing a sentence which, possibly, suggested to Shakespeare Iago’s speech in Othello (III, 3): “Who steals my purse, steals trash,” etc. Of Matthew Grove, even his publisher knew practically nothing. Unless his poems, too, were published (as was probably the case) some time after they were written, his was a belated voice singing on the eve of the Armada much as men had sung under Henry VIII, and as if Sidney and Spenser had never been.