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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

§ 18. Miscellanies: The Paradyse of Daynty Devises

To return now to the miscellanies. The earliest to follow Tottel’s Miscellany was The Paradyse of Daynty Devises (1576) “devised and written for the most part” by Richard Edwards but not, apparently, published till ten years after his death. Edwards was master of the children of the queen’s chapel, and is best known not by his lyrics, but by his plays. He was a poet, however, of no small merit, and of his own poems in this volume one, at least, rises to a high level: In going to my naked bed, with its refrain on amantium irae, “The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.” The tone of the collection (which opens with a translation from St. Bernard) is, on the whole, very serious and didactic; the motives of love and honour that had inspired Wyatt and Surrey have dropped out of use, and in their place we find but few signs of any joy in life. The pleasant woes of the lover have given place to apprehensions of the shortness and vanity of life and the need of preparing for death and judgment, themes familiar to the poets of two centuries earlier. The contributors to the volume, in its first (1576) and second (1578) editions, number, in all, twenty-three, with two anonymous poems. The author who signs himself “My luke is losse” is an ingenious contriver of metrical patterns and repetitions, though a monotonous poet; William Hunnis, Edwards’s successor in office and, like him, a dramatist, is over-ingenious, too, but one of the best of the company; among the others are Jasper Heywood, the translator of Seneca; M. Yloop (?Pooly); Richard Edwards himself; Thomas lord Vaux (see above); Francis Kinwelmersh, a writer of sincere religious poems, whose contributions include a delightful song by A Vertuous Gentlewoman in the praise of her love and his carol From Virgin’s wombe, which was deservedly popular with the musicians; W. R., who, possibly, is Ralegh, though the attribution of the single poem signed with these intials was changed in the second edition; Richard Hill; D. S. (Dr. Edwyn Sandys); Churchyard; F. G., who is probably young Fulke Greville; Lodowick Lloyd (of whose epitaph on Sir Edward Saunders the quotation of two lines will be a sufficient criticism: “Who welnigh thirtie yeeres was Judge, before a Judge dyd fall, A judged by that mighty Judge, which Judge shal judge us all”); E. O. (Edward Vere, earl of Oxford); M. Bew; George Whetstone (in the second edition only); and M. Thom. Fulke Greville, lord Brooke (if, indeed, he be author of the poem signed with his initials), will be discussed in a later chapter; Edward Vere is, perhaps, more famous for his quarrel with Sidney and for his lyric If women would be fair and yet not fond than for all the rest of his work. This volume contains more of his poetry than any later collection; but it is early work, written before he had taken his place as the champion of the literary party that opposed Sidney and Gabriel Harvey, or before he had developed his special epigrammatic vein. In The Paradyse of Daynty Devises, his work partakes of the devotional character of the miscellany.