The Choise of Valentines, by Thomas Nashe



honorable the Lord S.9

Pardon, sweete flower of Matchles poetrie,

And fairest bud the red rose euer bare;

Although my Muse, devorst from deeper care,

Presents thee with a wanton Elegie. 4

Ne blame my verse of loose unchastitie

For painting forth the things that hidden are,

Since all men acte what I in speache declare,

Onlie induced with varietie. 8

Complants and praises euery one can write,

And passion out their pangu’s in statlie rimes;

But of loues pleasures none did euer write,

That have succeeded in theis latter times. 12

Accept of it, Deare Lord, in gentle gree,

And better lynes, ere long, shall honor thee.

9 Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield. The dedication is absent in the Rawlinson text: cf. variorum reading in line 13.

1 Matchles, machles.

2 the red rose euer bare, that euer red rose bare.

3 devorst from deeper care, diuert from deepest care. Nash was notoriously impecunious all through his life, and probably reference is here made to some bounty received at the hands of Lord Southampton (see Introduction). What patronage meant at times is gleaned from Florio’s dedication of The Worlde of Wordes in 1598 to the same nobleman. He says:—“In truth I acknowledge an entire debt, not only of my best knowledge, but of all; yea, of more than I know, or care, to your bounteous lordship, in whose pay and patronage I have lived some years. . . . But, as to me, and many more, the glorious and gracious sunshine of your honour hath infused light and life.” Rowe also tells a story of Lord Southampton’s munificence to Shakspeare. It is said that he gave the poet £1,000 (equal to £12,000 now-a-days) to complete a special purchase. Whether this story be true or not, it is certain that Lord Southampton was a most liberal patron of letters.

4 Presents thee with, Presentes you with.

5 “Ne” = Nor, A.S.; unchastitie, inchastitye.

6 painting, paynting; things, thinges; hidden are, hidden be.

7 & 8 In Rawl. MS. these lines are transposed. Since all men act, sith most men marke; speache declare, speech descrie; Onlie, only; varietie, varyetye.

9 Complants and praises euery one, Complayntes & prayses every man.

10 passion out, passion forth; their pangu’s, there loue; statlie rimes, statly rime.

11 pleasures none, pleasure non; euer write, e’re indite.

12 theis latter times, this latter time.

13 Deare Lord, deare loue. A significant reading in view of the absence of the dedication in the Rawl. MS. “Accept . . . in gentle gree,” to take kindly.

14 And better lynes ere long, And better farr, ere long (see Introduction).

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58