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SPEGHT'S 'CHAUCER'. Thomas Speght's edition of The Workes of... Chaucer, 1598, with autograph notes by Gabriel Harvey, including (f. 422b) the earliest known reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
ca.
1598
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Add. MS 42518, folio 422 verso

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Add. MS 42518, folio 422 verso
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From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copyright status of the manuscript and unpublished Materials: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039. Therefore important parts of the library’s collection remain in copyright, including very old manuscripts. However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark.

Document-specific information
Creator: Gabriel Harvey
Title: SPEGHT'S 'CHAUCER'. Thomas Speght's edition of The Workes of... Chaucer, 1598, with autograph notes by Gabriel Harvey, including (f. 422b) the earliest known reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Date: 1598-1913 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: Add. MS 42518, fol. 422v 
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Item Creator
Gabriel Harvey
Item Title
SPEGHT'S 'CHAUCER'. Thomas Speght's edition of The Workes of... Chaucer, 1598, with autograph notes by Gabriel Harvey, including (f. 422b) the earliest known reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Item Date
ca. 1598
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
Add. MS 42518, fol. 422v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copyright status of the manuscript and unpublished Materials: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039. Therefore important parts of the library’s collection remain in copyright, including very old manuscripts. However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark.

Document-specific information
Creator: Gabriel Harvey
Title: SPEGHT'S 'CHAUCER'. Thomas Speght's edition of The Workes of... Chaucer, 1598, with autograph notes by Gabriel Harvey, including (f. 422b) the earliest known reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Date: 1598-1913 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: Add. MS 42518, fol. 422v 
View online bibliographic record

The scholar and writer Gabriel Harvey was known and mocked in his lifetime for making copious notes in the margins of printed books. An inventor of words, friend of Edmund Spenser, and rival of Thomas Nashe, he constantly sought to improve himself through note-taking and repetitive reading. One of the writers he turned to for inspiration was Shakespeare. In a series of marginal notes, Harvey discusses “our best English [works], ancient & modern.” He includes Sidney’s Arcadia and Spenser’s Faerie Queene before praising Shakespeare's Venus and AdonisLucrece, and Hamlet: “The younger sort takes much delight in Shakespeare’s Venus, & Adonis: but his Lucrece, & his tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, have it in them, to please the wiser sort.”

Harvey mentions Shakespeare a second time when he suggests that Sir Edward Dyer’s Amaryllis and Sir Walter Raleigh’s Cynthia are worthy of emulation by a number of authors -- “Spenser, Constable, Fraunce, Watson, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Sylvester, Shakespeare, & the rest of our flourishing metricians.”

Modernized/Translated transcriptions

Heywood's proverbs, with his, and Sir Thomas More's Epigrams, may serve for sufficient supplies of many of these devices. And now translated Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, and Bartas himself deserve curious comparison with Chaucer, Lidgate, and our best English, ancient and modern. Among which, the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, and the Fairy Queen are now freshest in request: and Astrophil, and Amyntas are none of the idlest pastimes of some fine humanists. The Earl of Essex much commends Albion's England: and not unworthily for diverse notable pageants, before, and in the Chronicle. Some English, and other Histories nowhere more sensibly described, or more inwardly discovered. The Lord Mountjoy makes the like account of Daniel's piece of the Chronicle, touching the Usurpation of Henry of Bolingbroke. Which indeed is a fine, sententious, and politique piece of Poetry: as profitable, as pleasurable. The younger sort takes much delight in Shakespeare's Venus, and Adonis: but his Lucrece, & his tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, have it in them, to please the wiser sort. Or such Poets: or better: or none. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo Pocula Castaliae plena ministret aquae: quoth Sir Edward Dier, between jest, and earnest. Whose written devices far excel most of the sonnets, and cantos in print. His Amaryllis, & Sir Walter Raleigh's Cynthia, how fine and sweet inventions? Excellent matter of emulation for Spencer, Constable, France, Watson, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Silvester, Shakespeare, and the rest of our flourishing metricians. I look for much, as well in verse, as in prose, from my two Oxford friends, Doctor Gager, and M. Hackluit: both rarely furnished for the purpose: and I have a fancy to Owen's new Epigrams, as pithy as elegant, as pleasant as sharp, and sometime as weighty as brief: and amongst so many gentle, noble, and royal spirits methinks I see some heroical thing in the clouds: my sovereign hope. Axiophilus shall forget himself, or will remember to leave some memorials behind him: and to make a use of so many rhapsodies, cantos, hymns, odes, epigrams, sonnets, and discourses, as at idle hours, or at flowing fits he hath compiled. God knows what is good for the world, and fitting for this age.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[Fol. 422v]

Heywoods prouerbs, with His, & Sir Thomas Mores Epigrams, may serue for sufficient
supplies of manie of theis deuises. And now translated Petrarch, Ariosto,
Tasso, & Bartas himself deserue curious comparison with Chaucer, Lidgate,
& owre best Inglish, auncient & moderne. Amongst which, the
Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, & the Faerie Queene ar now freshest
in request: & Astrophil, & Amyntas ar none of the idlest pastimes of
sum fine humanists. The Earle of Essex much
commendes Albions England: and not vnworthily for diuerse
notable pageants, before, & in the Chronicle.
Sum Inglish, & other Histories nowhere more sensibly described,
or more inwardly discouered. The Lord Mountioy makes
the like account of Daniels peece of the Chronicle, touching the
Vsurpation of Henrie of Bullingbrooke. Which in deede is a fine,
sententious, & politique peece of Poetry: as proffitable, as pleasurable.
The younger sort takes much delight in Shakespeares Venus, & Adonis:
but his Lucrece, & his tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, haue it
in them, to please the wiser sort. Or such Poets: or better: or none.
Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castaliae plena ministret aquae: quoth Sir Edward Dier, betwene
iest, & earnest. Whose written deuices farr excell most of the sonets, and
cantos in print. His Amaryllis, & Sir Walter Raleighs Cynthia,
how fine & sweet inuentions? Excellent matter of emulation for Spencer,
Constable, France, Watson, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Siluester,
Shakespeare, & the rest of owr florishing metricians. I looke for much,
aswell in verse, as in prose, from mie two Oxford frends, Doctor Gager, & M. Hackluit:
both rarely furnished for the purpose: & I haue a phansie to Owens new Epigrams,
as pithie as elegant, as plesant as sharp, & sumtime as weightie as breife: & amongst
so manie gentle, noble, & royall spirits meethinkes I see sum heroical thing in the
clowdes: mie soueraine hope. Axiophilus shall forgett himself, or will remember
to leaue sum memorials behinde him: & to make an vse of so manie rhapsodies, cantos,
hymnes, odes, epigrams, sonets, & discourses, as at idle howers, or at flowing fitts he
hath compiled. God knowes what is good for the world, & fitting for this age.

 

 

Last updated February 16, 2017