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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/204

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162 NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 S. X. MAR. 4, 1922. was dedicated first to one and afterwards to another member of the Nevil family (to which the first Mrs. Plumbe belonged). But I do not think it has been observed that the earliest poem of all is another case of the same kind. The translation of Du Bartas's * Yvry ' (1590-1) was dedicated to " Maister James Parkinson and Maister John Caplin, Esquires, his well-beloved friends," and the former of these was, as we have seen, the poet's uncle. Now in this dedication Parkinson is associated with John Caplin, and the Capelins were one of the most prominent families in Southampton at this time. A John Capelin had been Mayor of South- ampton at the time King Edward VI. School was founded in 1553, and ten years later he was burgess of Parliament for the borough. He died in 1570, and his son, also called John Capelin, was admitted a burgess of the town in the same year. It must have been this younger John Capelin with whom James Parkinson was associated in the dedication of Sylvester's first published poem. We can hardly stop at this point. If Sylvester dedicated any early poems to relatives, the first of all was scarcely likely to have been an exception. And if the first was dedicated to two men, of about the same age, of whom one, as we now know, was an uncle of the poet, it is very probable that the other was an uncle also. Other- wise, one imagines that his uncle Parkinson would have had the dedication to himself. Thus the association of the two names not only makes it impossible to doubt the identity of the James Parkynson of William Plumbe's will with the James Parkinson of South- ampton, but it further suggests the likeli- hood of John Capelin's wife having been another of the daughters of "John Plumbe. If that were so, we should have the fol- lowing tree : John Plumbe L William a daughter a daughter a daughter Plumbe m. Bobert m. Capt. m. John Sylvester James Capelin | Parkinson JOSUAH SYLVESTER The conjecture relating to John Capelin still waits to be confirmed. In the mean- time we have shown that the poet had at least one uncle living in Southampton, even if he had not two. It may be worth while to give a few more particulars which the study of the South- ampton records has elicited. In 1643 a Captain John Parkinson died by his own hand, and in consequence his estates became forfeit to the mayor and burgesses. Papers relating to the matter are preserved among the town muniments. One of them, ' Henry Capelin's Release to Mr. Parkinson of free Land and Garden,' is interesting as bringing together again the two names of Sylvester's dedication. It is dated Dec. 30, 1613, and in it John Parkinson is described as " brother and heir of James Parkinson gent deceased." Taking account of all the dates, it would seem that the two brothers John and James were sons of that James Par- kinson who married Miss Plumbe, and so were first cousins of Josuah Sylvester. A reference in another document to a sum of money " lent by M r Jo n Parkinson for y e payment of y e garrisson repayed . . . oute of y e Excise Office," suggests that the connexion with the Castle of Southampton had been .maintained. Among the many bonds forfeited to the corporation there are almost as many drawn in favour of Bridgett Parkinson as of John, so that Bridgett must have been his wife, though I found no document in which she was so described. She was evidently possessed of considerable property, and this agrees with the fact that in 1635 a certain Bridget Parkinson gave twenty pounds to the town of Southampton for the annual benefit of the poor, a gift- which was afterwards transferred to King Edward VI. School. I add a note on the two Nevils to whom Sylvester dedicated his ' Auto-Machia,' for it appears to me that the ' D.N.B.' is mistaken on one point. The dictionary states that the poem was first dedicated to Lady Mary Nevil, and afterwards to her sister Lady Cecily. I think that Cecily was the daughter, not the sister, of Mary. The dedications are as follows : In 1607, "To the right noble, vertuous and learned lady, the Lady Marie Nevil." In 1615, "To the truely-honorable Mistris Cecilie Nevil." The writer in the ' D.N.B.' appears to have misquoted the title in the second case ; and it is obvious that the descrip- tion Mistris Cecilie is not in favour of the sister -relationship, for Lady Mary Nevil was a daughter of the Earl of Dorset. On the other hand, a piece of positive evidence for the daughter -relationship arises out of Sylvester's inveterate habit of con-