Edwards, Thomas (fl.1595) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


EDWARDS, THOMAS (fl. 1595), poet, was the author of two long narrative poems, 'Cephalus and Procris' and 'Narcissus,' issued in a single volume by John Wolfe in 1595. The book is dedicated to 'Thomas Argall, Esquire,' and although Edwards's name does not appear on the title-page, it is appended to the prefatory matter and to the end of each poem. As early as 22 Oct. 1593 a book entytuled "Procris and Cephalus," divided into foure partes,' was entered in the Stationers' registers and licensed to Wolfe, A passage in Thomas Nashe's 'Have with you to Saffron Walden' (1596) referred to the poem, and was until recently misinterpreted to imply that Anthony Chute [q. v.] was its author. Mention is also made of a poem called 'Cephalus and Procris' in W[illiam] C[lerke]'s 'Polimanteia,' 1595. The work has only lately come to light. In 1867 a fragment was discovered in Sir Charles Isham's library at Lamport Hall, Nottingham; in 1878 a complete copy, and the only one known, was found in the Peterborough Cathedral Library. The latter was reprinted, with elaborate critical apparatus, by Mr. W. E. Buckley for the Roxburghe Club in 1882. 'Cephalus and Procris' is in heroic couplets, 'Narcissus' in seven-line stanzas; Ovid's stories are for the most part followed, but there is much originality in the general treatment, and real poetic feeling throughout, Each poem concludes with a lyrical envoy; that to 'Narcissus' refers in appreciative terms to Spenser, Daniel, Watson, and Marlowe under the names 'Collyn,' 'Rosamond,' 'Amintas,' and 'Leander.' 'Adon,' another of Edwards's heroes, is probably Shakespeare. The poet is doubtless identical with a Thomas Edwards who contributed to Adrianus Romanus's 'Parvum Theatrum Urbium,' Frankfort, 1595, fifty-five Latin hexameters on the cities of Italy (reprinted and translated in Robert Vilvain's 'Enchiridium Epigrammatum Latino-Anglicum,' London, 1654). Two short, poems signed 'Edwardes,' from Tanner MS. 306, f. 175, are printed as by the author of 'Cephalus and Procris' in Mr. Buckley's volume.

There is some reason to suppose that the poet was an Oxford man, but it is not possible to identify him with certainty. The name is a common one. One Thomas Edwards, of a Berkshire family, became fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, in 1579, proceeded B.A. on 20 March 1682, B.C.L. on 19 Nov. 1584, and D.C.L. on 17 Dec. 1590. He was afterwards, according to Wood, chancellor to the Bishop of London, and gave a few books to the Bodleian Library and to Christ Church.

A second Thomas Edwards (probably of Queens' College, Cambridge, B.A. 1578-9, M.A. 1582) became rector of Langenhoe, Essex, on 1 Oct. 1618; a third, the author of 'Gangræna' is noticed below; a fourth was buried in Westminster Abbey on 21 April 1624; a fifth had a son of the same name, who entered the Inner Temple in 1647; a sixth, a schoolmaster, is the subject of a poem in the Tanner MSS.

[Rev. W. E. Buckley's Cephalus and Procris (Roxburghe Club), 1882, contains all accessible information.]

S. L. L.