Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/352

This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL MAY 2, 1903.

reproaches Harvey for his "nimblest Pom- mados and Sommersets " (Grosart's * Nashe, iii. 33). Nashe undoubtedly refers to some composition of Harvey's which is that which Marston sneers at. I have not seen it ; but I think it was almost certainly some fulsome rubbish in flattery of the Countess of Pem- broke, who had befriended him in his troubles with Nashe, and upon whom he pours ex-

' i -i , . * _1 TT~

thrasonical rimester with Angelical meeter. He uses this equestrian metaphor of her verse elsewhere: "her [Countess of Pembroke's] hoattest fury may fitly be resembled to the

passing of a brave career by a Pegasus

Her Pen is a very Pegasus indeed, and runneth like a winged horse, governed with the hand of exquisite skill."

Ben Jonson uses the word pommado in 'Cynthia's Revels' (1600), ii. 1, the earliest example given in the 'Stanford Dictionary.' Probably Harvey introduced it, and both Nashe and Marston objected. Now that judicial Musus readeth thee He '11 whip each line, he '11 scourge thy balladry. "Judicial Musus" is still Harvey, and he seemed to regard ballad-makers with high and especial contempt. He girds constantly at Elderton (with the nose), i. 201 ; " who like Elderton for ballating," i. 163 ; " Elderton's ballating," ii. 57 ; " base enough for Elderton and the riffraff of the scribbling rascality," ii. 65, &c.

He 's nought but censure. This use of censure (blame, adverse criticism), which is the common use, is earlier than the first in 4 N.E.D.' (' Measure for Measure,' 1603). The verb occurs frequently in Harvey : " I will not condemn, or censure his works," i. 190 (1592); " and uprightly censure him according to his skill," ii. 116 (1593). The former or current- sense example is earlier than any in * N.E.D.'

Gabriel Harvey always posed as a moderator or public censor in literature. I refer the reader to Spenser's well-known sonnet to his

    • Singular good friend, M. Gabriele Harvey,

Doctor of the Lawes Dublin, this xvm. of

July, 1586, Your devoted friend during life, Edmund Spencer."

If the above instances are taken en bloc, I think my point is proved. Several of the allusions are unmistakable. Were they all to be disregarded, however, the last I give is in itself sufficient : He never writ one line in poesy, But once at Athens [Cambridge] in a theme did


A paradox in praise of virtue's name ; Which still he hugs and lulls.

This refers undoubtedly to Gabriel Harvey's

'A New Yeares gift in commendation of

Vertue, Fame, and Wealth.' It com- mences " Vertue sendeth a man to Renowne," and has a "L'envoy to blessed Vertue." It is a short paradoxical theme, but " Vertue " is addressed by name seven times. It is so paradoxical that it is extreme rubbish in hexameters. It will be found in vol. i.

Ep. 79-83. That he called it a theme is clear x)m his giving his brother two ' Theames ' (87, 89) to compose similarly in English hexa- meters. He "hugged these lines" still, though written 1580, since in his 'Foure Letters' (i. 209), 1592, twelve years later, he says, " It is long since I declaimed upon any Theame : but who would not pleade Vertue's cause ? " This last is proof positive that "this dog" (Torquatus) is Gabriel Harvey.

I trust I have removed Ben from the pur- view of Marston's ' Scourge.' It is a degrading gallery to be in. Marston was a most ribald writer, and his satires are bristling with pro- nounced obscenities. By the side of his work Ben's writings are pure as the waters of Helicon. I never believed Ben was Torquatus, but there was no certain way to disprove it except by producing the real Simon Pure, and it was only quite recently I had the pleasure of making the discovery. Not that the accusation of new-minting words contains severity, for this was the time when our language was being perfected, and we owe an enormous debt to these productive paper wars. Those trussers and scourgers coined words as fast as pigeons peck peas ; but rich as Nashe was, I think Harvey bears away the buckler at the exercise.

At the same date as Marston attacked Gabriel Harvey as Torquatus (1598), Meres wrote in his 'Wit's Treasury' : "As Achilles tortured the dead bodie of Hector, and as Antonius, and his wife Fuluia tormented the liueless corps of Cicero : so Gabriele Harvey hath shewed the same inhumanitie to Greene that lies full low in his grave" (New Sh. Soc., 1874, p. 154). And "As Eupolis of Athens used great libertie in tax- ing the vices of men, so dooth Thomas Nash, witnesse the broode of the Harveys " (ibidem).

In 1598 Harvey again applied for the post of Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, but failed. After this we know him no more, but he is believed to have lived till 1630. As he failed in literature and in his collegiate ambition, he probably went into trade, as his honest father had done before him. Already in 1595 the author of ' Polimanteia,' W(illiam) J(larke), tells us that " to learning's injurie " he was living "without preferment," anl *