Journal of English and Germanic Philology/Volume 18/The Date, Authors, and Contents of A Handfull of Pleasant Delights

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Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Volume 18  (1919) 
The Date, Authors, and Contents of A Handfull of Pleasant Delights by Hyder E. Rollins

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1958, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 64 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


The Handefull of pleasant delties, a miscellany of broadside ballads composed "by Clement Robinson and divers others," is extant in a single imperfect copy which was printed by Richard Jones at London in 1584.[1] The book possesses considerable interest because of Shakespeare's familiarity with it[2]; but since it contains nothing but ballads, most of which can be proved to have first appeared on broadsides, one is somewhat surprised to find how extravagantly critics have praised it. Usually, ballads are regarded as beneath contempt. Thomas Park thought the "Delights" far superior to the pieces in A Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions (1578), "being written in general with a modernised tone of versification, which must render them more pleasing to modern readers. Some few indeed may aspire to be praised for higher merit than mere smoothness of verse: particularly . . . [No. 17, below, beginning "Ye louing wormes," etc.], which claims commendation for apposite metaphor, sarcastic sportiveness, ingenious illustration, and moral inference"! Mr. Crossley called the Handfull "one of the most prized of the poetical book gems of the Elizabethan period"; Mr. Crawford considers it "a work of considerable merit, containing some notable songs"[3]; and Sir Sidney Lee (Cambridge History of English Literature, III, 249) speaks of it as a collection of "lyric poems." Few persons seem to have recognized that the poems are street ballads, pure and simple.

In 1566 the following entry was made in the Stationers' Registers[4]:

R, Jonnes
Recevyd of Rychard Jonnes for his lycense for prynting of a boke intituled of very pleasaunte Sonettes and storyes in myter by clament Robynson [no sum stated]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It has been generally assumed that the extant edition of the Handfull is a re-issue, with additions, of the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets. This was suggested by Ritson.[5] Collier, in his Extracts from the Stationers' Registers,[6] thought that the identity of the two works was not altogether probable, but succeeded in showing that one or two of the ballads that appear in the Handfull were licensed for publication before the Pleasant Sonnets. More recently, most scholars interested in ballads have believed that the Pleasant Sonnets was a first edition of the Handfull,—among them, Hazlitt,[7] Chappell,[8] Sir Sidney Lee,[9] Ebsworth, Arber, and Mr. Harold H. Child.[10] Ebsworth found among the Bagford ballads a single leaf which he believed to belong to "an earlier edition" than the 1584 Handfull.[11] Arber did not feel sure that this leaf belonged to an earlier edition, but he attempted to name the Handfull ballads that could not have appeared in the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets.

Still more recently, however, Mr. Crawford, in his edition of Englands Parnassus,[12] has expressed this opinion of the matter: "Parts of the work [i.e., the Handfull] must surely have been composed after A Gorgious Gallery [1578], for I notice that three poems in it are made up principally from two poems that appear in its predecessor, whole stanzas in each, and several of them coming together in the same order, being worded almost exactly alike. . . The theory that A Handefull of Pleasant Delights may be identical with 'A boke of very pleasaunte sonnettes and storyes in myter,' by Clement Robinson, licensed to R. Jhones in 1566, can hardly be entertained when one finds that it is in parts but a rehash of pieces in A Gorgious Gallery; but it is possible that Robinson gave a place in his anthology to poems that were previously printed in his book of sonnets and stories." Mr. Crawford gives no references, but he was referring to the three ballads numbered 4, 6, and 23 below, and to the ballads in the Gorgious Gallery[13] called "The Louer exhorteth his Lady to bee constant, to the Tune of Attend thee go play thee," and "The Louer wounded with his Ladies beauty craueth mercy, to the Tune of where is the life that late I led." A mere glance at the two sets of ballads turns Mr. Crawford's statement like a boomerang against him, and shows indisputably that No. 4 had been published at least before 1578, the date of the Gallery; for it begins "Attend thee, go play thee," and this is the tune of one of the Gallery ballads. "The Louer exhorteth his Lady to bee constant," therefore, cannot possibly have been written before No. 4 was printed. Nos. 6 and 23, as the notes below will show, had almost certainly appeared before the Pleasant Sonnets was licensed in 1566.

There is every reason to believe that the Handfull was actually issued in 1566. The absence of a license-fee is not unprecedented,[14] and the difference in title between the 1566 entry and the 1584 edition is of no importance. The Gorgious Gallery itself was registered under two other names before its present title was decided on;[15] and it should be observed that the running title of both the Handfull and the single leaf discovered by Ebsworth is "Sonets and Histories, to sundrie new Tunes," a title much more appropriate for the 1566 entry than for the Handfull itself. This single leaf beyond all doubt belonged to a different edition: it has the page signature D 2, and bears the last three stanzas of No. 22, all of No. 23, and the first twelve lines of No. 24, and thus corresponds exactly (save that it has one additional line) to sign. D 4 and verso of the Handfull. The edition to which it belonged, then, presumably had two signatures, or four pages, fewer than the Handfull; and as three or four of the ballads printed in the latter before sign. D 4 can beyond all question be proved to have been written after the year 1572, it seems probable that this leaf was part of an edition earlier than that of 1584, perhaps of the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets.[16] The title-page of the Handfull, it is almost superfluous to add, in itself clearly shows that there had been an earlier issue. It announces that the book contains "sundrie new Sonets . . . Newly deuised to the newest tunes . . . With new additions of certain Songs to verie late deuised Notes, not commonly knowen, nor vsed heretofore."[17] But this is false from beginning to end. Like the typical dishonest stationer whose "character" George Wither was later so vividly to portray, Jones provided this new title-page to delude customers into buying old wares. Most of the ballads had been printed before 1566, and the tunes were so old and are now so hard to trace that even William Chappell could include only four or five of them in his Popular Music of the Olden Time.

Of Clement Robinson, whose name appears on the title-page of the Handfull, little is known, but it is perfectly obvious that he must have been at the height of his ballad-writing powers in 1566, when his name appeared in the Registers as the author of the Pleasant Sonnets. Hazlitt (Handbook, p. 515) thought that he was the C. R. whose initials are signed to a prose broadside on a "marueilous straunge Fishe,"[18] which was printed in 1569, and Collmann (Ballads and Broadsides, pp. 81–82) has plausibly suggested that he was the Robinson who in 1566 entered into a ballad-flyting with Thomas Churchyard; but, however that be, the very fact that Robinson's name adorned the title-page of the 1584 edition strengthens the presumption that the book was originally issued in 1566.

Arber[19] named nine ballads that "were not in this First Edition" of 1566. They may be enumerated here, with his reasons for their in exclusion:

1. No. 25, because it was registered in 1566-67. This is wrong.

2. Nos. 27 and 32, because an answer to the ballad from which they derived their tune was registered in 1567-68. But this is not a valid reason for dating these ballads after 1566.

3. Nos. 13 and 21, because "The Story of ij faythful Lovers &c" was licensed by Richard Jones in 1568–69. This is wrong, for the entry need not refer to No. 13 ("Pyramus and Thisbie"), and cannot refer to No. 21, which tells no story at all.

4. No. 29, because it was licensed in 1576. This is correct.

5. No. 7, because the tune comes from ballads licensed in 1580. This is correct.

6. No. 14, because its tune was taken from a ballad registered in 1582. This is correct.

7. No. 16, because the tune was derived from a ballad not registered until 1567-68. This is wrong.

From the following notes it will be seen that only three of the nine ballads listed by Arber appeared after 1566, while others which he failed to name are here pointed out. The notes may help to give a clearer idea of what the first edition could have contained, and some of them (as Nos. 2, 3, and 29, which produce new facts about Leonard Gibson and Thomas Richardson and help to establish the date of Misogonus) may perhaps be found of independent value. Points previously made by other investigators are fully acknowledged below.

A book called "a nose gaye" was licensed by John King in 1557 (Trans., I, 75), and Collier (Extracts, I, 3) thought that this might be our ballad. The identification is very doubtful. Arber's reference (p. vi) to "a newe yeres gefte," 1567 (Trans., I, 336), is not apropos; but the ballad of "A Smellinge Nosegaye," which had been owned by Williamson and which was registered by Charlewood on January 15, 1581–2 (Trans. II, 406), is undoubtedly our ballad. No. 1, then, was very probably added to the 1584 edition. Thomas Evans, who reprints the "Nosegaie" and several other of the "Delights" in his Old Ballads (1810), thinks that Ophelia alludes to this ballad in her ramblings about rosemary, fennel, etc. (Hamlet, IV, v).

2. "L. Gibsons Tantara. . . . To the tune of, Down right Squire." (Signed) Finis. L. G.

This ballad was not registered. The tune (cf. No. 13, below), however, is old: a ballad "To the tune of The downeryght squyre" is preserved in Bodleian MS. Ashmole 48 (Songs and Ballads, ed. Thomas Wright, 1860, p. 191), which Wright dates at circa 1559.[20] L. Gibson is without doubt the Leonard Gibson who signed his ballad, "A very proper Dittie, To the tune of Lightie Loue," with the full name. His Tower of Trustinesse, a work in prose and verse, is dated 1555 in Lilly's Ballads, p. xxx, and 1534 in Hazlitt's Handbook, p. 228. Another work is dated 1582 in Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica, p. 219, and in Crawford's Englands Parnassus, p. xx. The "proper Dittie" was printed by Richard Jones (fl. 1564–1602) without date (Lilly, p. 113). If no more facts are forthcoming, it is not unreasonable to suppose that No. 2 was included in the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets, especially since a Leonard Gibson, almost certainly our balladist, was a student and chorister at New College, Oxford, in 1564-65 (cf. Clark's Register of Oxford, II, ii, 22; Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, Early Series, II, 562). Perhaps his study at Oxford suggested the "Tantara," which, as Professor Kittredge has reminded me, was a phrase well known, because "At tuba horribili sonitu taratantara dixit," a sentence in a fragment of Ennius, was quoted by Priscian. For other uses of "Tantara," see McKerrow's Nashe, I, 118, II, 310, IV, 290; Lilly's Ballads, pp. 105, 292; Tottel's Miscellany, ed. Arber, p. 120; Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, 1579 (Shakespeare Society ed., pp. 59-61); Collier's Extracts, II, 81, 187-8 (Trans., II, 348,434).

3. "A proper new Song made by a Studient in Cambridge, To the tune of I wish to see those happie daies." (Signed) Finis quod Thomas Richardson, sometime Student in Cambridge.

It is pleasant, and easy, to identify this Richardson who left Cambridge because 'love caught him from his books,' and who wrote this ballad of warning "because that he sufficiently hath tried the female kind"! In the ninth stanza he writes:

Here Cambridge now I bid farewell, / adue to Students all:
Adue vnto the Colledges, / and vnto Gunuil Hall.

Thanks to this, he can unquestionably be identified with the Thomas Richardson, aged eighteen, who was admitted pensioner to Caius College on April 28, 1572 ( , ed. John Venn, I, 69); and in all probability he was the "T. Richeson" whose name is signed to a ballad "To the toune of "The raire & greatest gift,"[21] preserved in B. M. MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. XXV (ed. Boeddeker, Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache, N. F., II, 362) . His "proper new Song" was not licensed, and the tune is not mentioned by Chappell; but this ballad was not in the first edition of the Handfull.

This begins "Attend thee, go play thee, / Sweet loue I am busie;" and in the Gorgious Gallery, 1578 (Collier's reprint, p. 49), there is a ballad written hi imitation of it, "The Louer exhorteth his Lady to bee constant, to the Tune of Attend thee go play thee." In the Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, 1579 (Shakespeare Society ed., p. 20), Wantonness sings a song "to the tune of 'Attend the goe playe the.'" It is only reasonable, then, to suppose that No. 4 was in the first edition of the Handfull. It is odd that Collier nowhere mentioned the appearance of the first five stanzas (with many verbal dissimilarities) of this ballad in his much quoted "MS. of the reign of James I" (cf. No. 15, below).

This is in the same measure, and was probably written by the same person, as No. 4, which without doubt it immediately followed. Peter Picks is undoubtedly a pseudonym.

This is a reply to a ballad which began,

Where is the life that late I led?
Where are those [happy days]?

(cf. Taming of the Shrew, IV, i, 143; 2 Henry IV, V, iii, 147; Anders, Shakespeare's Books, p. 181), and which was registered by Richard Jones, the publisher of the 1566 Sonnets and the 1584 Handfull, about March, 1566 (Trans., I, 308), as "A newe ballet of one who myslykeng his lybertie soughte his owne bondage through his owne folly." No. 6 begins,

The life that erst thou ledst my friend,
was pleasant to thine eies:
But now the losse of libertie,
thou seemest to despise,

and evidently appeared shortly after the original "newe ballet." Both ballads were probably suggested by one beginning,

My frynd, the lyf I lead at all
By thes fewe wordes perceave youe shall,

which was registered (Trans., I, 306) a few days before "A newe ballet" and which is preserved in Bodleian MS. Ashmole 48 (ed. Wright, p. 38). It seems certain that No. 6 had appeared before the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets was compiled, and that the ballad of "The Louer wounded with his Ladies beauty craueth mercy, to the Tune of where is the life that late I led," printed in the Gorgious Gallery, 1578 (Collier's reprint, p. 51), is an imitation of it, not vice versa. The tune of "Where is the life that late I led" was, as No. 23 below shows, exactly the same as "Appelles," an additional proof of the priority of the Handfull ballad over the Gallery one.

7. "A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Green sleeues. To the new tune of Greensleeues."

Chappell (Popular Music, I, 228) believed that the tune of Green Sleeves must belong to Henry VIII's reign; but the name occurs in the Stationers' Registers for the first time on September 3, 1580(Trans., II, 376), when Richard Jones licensed "A newe northen Dittye of ye Ladye greene sleves." Several other "Green Sleeves" ballads were licensed within a short space (Trans., II, 378, 384, 388, 400). No. 7, then, as Arber suggested, must have been added to the 1584 edition of the Handfull.

8. "A proper sonet, wherin the Louer dolefully sheweth his grief. . . . To the tune of, Row wel ye Marriners."

The tune is noted in Popular Music, I, 112. A ballad called "Roowe well ye marynors &c" was licensed by W. Pekering in 1565–66, and was widely imitated and moralized in the months that followed (Trans., I, 305, 340, 342, 355, 360, 362, 401). No. 8, it seems reasonable to assume, was written in 1565–66, when the original ballad of "Row Well" was at the height of its popularity.

9. "The Historie of Diana and Acteon. To the Quarter Braules."

"A ballett intituled the Cater bralles bothe Wytty and mery" was licensed by Thomas Colwell in 1565–66 (Collier's Extracts, I, 120; Trans., I, 298). No. 9, then, could have appeared in the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets. Various broadside versions of this ballad are extant: see Roxburghe Ballads, II, 520. The first line, "Diana and her darlings deare," is quoted in Richard Brome's Damoiselle, V, i, and in his Jovial Crew, III (Dramatic Works, ed. Pearson, I, 455; III, 396).

10. A fragmentary ballad on the power of Venus.

This imitates William Elderton's ballad, "The Pangs of Love" (reprinted in Collier's Old Ballads, Percy Society, I, 25, and elsewhere), with the "Lady, lady" refrain. Elderton's "Pangs" was registered in 1559 (Trans., I, 96), and was perhaps the most widely imitated ballad written during the reign of Elizabeth. No. 10 was almost certainly written sometime in the period between 1559 and 1565, when innumerable other imitations and moralizations were pouring from the press.

11. "The Louer complaineth the losse of his Ladie, To Cicilia Pauin. " (Signed) Finis. I. Tomson.

These lines in the opening stanzas of the ballad,

Heart, what makes thee thus to be,
in extreame heauinesse? . . .
Why would I cloake from her presence,
My loue and faithfull diligence? . . .
No, no, I wil shew my woe,
in this calamitie,

indicate that this was perhaps the ballad of "a harte Declarynge his heavenes wyshyng that yt were knowen," which Richard Jones licensed several months before the Pleasant Sonnets (Trans., I, 297). It is hopeless to try to identify I. Tomson with any of the very many John Tomsons who were students at Oxford and Cambridge in 1565–84.

12. "The Louer compareth some subtile Suters to the Hunter. To the tune of the Painter."

No details about the tune are in Popular Music, I, 161; but, as Arber (p. viii) notes, A. Lacy licensed a ballad of "ye paynter in his pryntyshod" in 1565–66, T. Colwell licensed a moralization in 1566–67, and W. Griffith licensed "a ballett intituled the paynter moralyzed" in 1568 (Trans., I, 297, 331, 380). It may also be observed that in John Pikering's Horestes, 1567 (Brandl's Quellen, pp. 517–18), one of the stage directions is, "Enter the Vyce, synginge this song to ye tune of 'the Paynter.'" The Vice sings four stanzas in exactly the same measure as our ballad. That No. 12 was in the 1566 edition is highly probable.

13. "A new Sonet of Pyramus and Thisbie. To the, Downe right Squier." (Signed) Finis. I. Tomson.

For the tune, see No. 2, above; for the author, No. 11, above. "A boke intituled Perymus and Thesbye" was licensed by Griffith in July, 1563 (Trans., I, 215), and a ballad would inevitably have followed the book, or pamphlet.

14. "A Sonet of a Louer. . . . To Calen o Custure me: sung at euerie lines end."

The ballad of "Callin o custure me" was "tolerated" to John Alde on March 10, 1581–2 (Trans., II, 407); our "Sonet," then, as Arber (p. x) points out, cannot have been in the 1566 edition.[22]

15. "A proper Sonet, Intituled, Maid, wil you marrie. To the Blacke Almaine."

As Arber (p. vi) noticed, Griffith licensed a ballad, "Mayde Will you mary moralyzed," in 1570 (Trans., I, 437). Shortly afterward Stephen Peele's "Balade expressyng the fames," to be sung to "The Black Almaine,"[23] was licensed (ibid., 439). Perhaps these entries indicate that our "Sonet" was not written before 1566, although moralizations often appeared when re-issues of ballads were made, many years after their original publication. Collier printed No. 15 (or rather three stanzas of it, all slightly changed) in his Extracts (II, 6–7), prefaced by the note, "The original ballad . . . has been preserved in a MS. belonging to the Editor, but we are not aware that it exists any where in print"![24]

16. "The ioy of Virginitie: to, The Gods of loue."

This is a moralization of Elderton's "Gods of Love," which was published in 1562: this date can be established by the fact that William Birch's "The complaint of a sinner, vexed with paine. . . After W[illiam] E[lderton] moralized," was printed in 1562–63 (Trans., I, 205; reprinted in Collmann's Ballads and Broadsides, No. 7). Innumerable moralizations, answers, and imitations appeared during the next four or five years, and No. 16 is not improbably one of the ballads actually registered (Trans., I, 272, 307, 355). Elderton's ballad was imitated in George Turbervile's Epitaphes, 1565?, 1567, and in many plays printed circa 1566. It seems almost certain, then, that No. 16 had been printed before 1566.

17. "A warning for Wooers, that they be not ouer hastie. . . . To, Salisburie Plaine."

This ballad, beginning "Ye louing wormes come learne of me," R. W. Bond prints among the early poems of John Lyly (Works, III, 465). In marginal glosses he notes resemblances between the phrases and ideas in the ballad and in Lyly's Euphues, Campaspe, etc., and remarks (ibid., 438), "Few, I believe, will be found to question the correctness of my attribution of . . . A Warning for Wooers" to Lyly. Nevertheless, as Collier (Extracts, I, 110) long ago pointed out, Richard Jones licensed No. 17 in July, 1565, as "a ballett intituled ye lovynge Wormes comme learne of me" (Trans. I, 293), at which time Lyly was a mere lad. Cf . also No. 20, below. Halliwell-Phillipps, in his Memoranda on Love's Labour's Lost, p. 70, says that the name of Shakespeare's comedy may have been suggested by lines in the ballad of "Ye loving worms."

18. "An excellent Song of an outcast Louer. To, All in a Garden green."

As Arber (p. viii) noticed, "a ballett intituled All in a garden grene/betwene ij lovers" was registered by Pekering in 1565 (Trans., I, 295). For comments on this ballad, see foot-note 24. It is hard to see how the septenaries of No. 18 could be sung to the tune of "All in a Garden Green," a ballad written in a peculiar stanza form; but that No. 18 had actually appeared before Jones licensed his Pleasant Sonnets is proved by the fact that its first two stanzas are copied verbatim in Bodleian MS. Ashmole 48 (ed. Wright, p. 183; cf. foot-note 20 above).

19. "The complaint of a woman Louer, To the tune of, Raging loue."

"Raging Love" was a tune derived from Lord Surrey's "The louer comforteth himself with the worthinesse of his loue," a poem in Tottel's Miscellany (ed. Arber, p. 14), and reprinted as a broadside in 1557, 1560–61, and 1561–62 (Trans., I, 75, 154, 177). Perhaps the tune indicates that No. 19 had been printed early enough for inclusion in the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets.

20. "A proper sonet, Intituled: I smile to see how you deuise. To anie pleasant tune."

I can find nothing that assists in dating No. 20. Bond, "with some doubts," attributes this ballad to Lyly (Works, III, 440, 468) but he is not convincing (cf. No. 17, above). For example, he also credits Lyly (ibid., 463) with the authorship of a ballad "In lingeringe Loue mislikinge growes, " which he prints from Rawlinson MS. Poet. 148; but there is, I observe, another copy of this ballad in MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. XXV (ed. Boeddeker, loc. cit., II, 211), and the ballad itself was licensed for publication by William Griffith in 1564 (Trans., I, 238).

21. "A Sonet of two faithfull Louers, exhorting one another to be constant. To the tune of Kypascie."

I can find nothing that assists in dating this ballad.

22. "A proper new Dity: Intituled. Fie vpon Loue and al his lawes. To the tune of lumber me."

No. 22 appears on the leaf, sign. D 2, which Ebsworth found; and therefore one may well believe that it was in the first edition.

23. "The Louer being wounded with his Ladis beutie, requireth mercy. To the tune of Apelles."

"The Louer wounded with his Ladies beauty craueth mercy, To the Tune of where is the life that late I led," a ballad in the Gorgious Gallery, 1578 (Collier's reprint, p. 51), borrows its title and a number of lines from No. 23. Although the priority of the Handfull ballad is hardly questionable, it may be further noted that this ballad imitates a poem by Wyatt (Tottel's Miscellany, ed. Arber, p. 34) beginning, "The liuely sparkes, that issue from those eyes," while there is no such imitation in the Gallery ballad. Furthermore, a ballad "to ye tune of Appelles" was licensed by Colwell in 1565–66; and shortly afterwards, in the same year, Griffith licensed a ballad "to the tune of ye fyrst Appelles" (Trans., I, 298, 312, noted by Arber, p. viii), either of which may have been No. 23. A song "to the tune of Appelles" is in Googe's Epitaphes, which was printed in 1562–63 (cf. Collier's Extracts, I, 120). The title of the Gallery ballad shows that the tune of "Appelles" was the same as "Where is the life that late I led," for the date of which see No. 6, above. There can be no doubt that No. 23 had been printed before 1566.

24. "The lamentation of a woman being wrongfully defamed. To the tune of Damon & Pithias."

Arber (p. viii) refers to "a ballett intituled tow lamentable songes Pithias and Damon," licensed by Lacy in 1565–66 (Trans., I, 304). Our ballad imitates the measure of the song, "Damon my friend must die, " sung by Pithias in the play of Damon and Pithias (Dodsley-Hazlitt's Old Plays, IV, 43; preserved in MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. XXV, ed. Boeddeker, loc. cit. 210). This play seems to have been the work of Richard Edwards, and in that case was performed at Christmas, 1564. But "A Newe Ballade of a Louer ... To the tune of Damon and Pithias" (Lilly's Ballads, p. 24), which was licensed in 1563 (Trans., I, 204), was also written in this measure. In John Phillip's Patient Grissell, 1566, sign. C 4, "Here Grissell Singith a songe, to the tune of Damon & Pithias. " No. 24 must have been in the 1566 Pleasant Sonnets.

25. "A proper Song, Intituled: Fain wold I haue a pretie thing to giue vnto my Ladie. To the tune of lustie Gallant."

In MS. Ashmole 48 (ed. Wright, p. 195) there is a ballad on Troilus and Cressida (registered in 1565-66, Trans., I, 300), "To the tune of Fayne woold I fynd sum pretty thynge to geeve unto my lady," a tune unquestionably named from No. 25. Thomas Colwell licensed a moralization, entitled "A fayne wolde I have a godly thynge to shewe vnto my ladye," in 1566-67 (Trans., I, 340: Arber, p. ix). No. 25 was beyond all doubt printed before the Pleasant Sonnets was registered.

26. "A proper wooing Song, intituled: Maide will ye loue me: ye or no? To the tune of the Marchaunts Daughter went ouer the fielde."

I can find nothing to assist in dating this ballad, though it may have been suggested by Wyatt's "To a ladie to answere directly with yea or nay" (Tottel's Miscellany, ed. Arber, p. 41).

27. "The painefull plight of a Louer oppressed with the beautifull looks of his Lady. To the tune of, I loued her ouer wel."

The fact (noted by Arber, p. ix) that in 1567-68 (Trans., I, 362) Griffith licensed a ballad called "A ffayrewell to Alas I lover you over well &c, " indicates that No. 27 was written circa 1566, when the ballad from which it derives its tune was having some vogue. This tune is used also for No. 32.

28. "A faithfull vow of two constant Louers. To the new Rogero."

The tune of "Rogero" is in Popular Music, I, 93 ff., but nothing is there told of the "New Rogero." Elderton's "Lamentation of Follie," which is to be sung to the latter tune, seems to have been printed after February 15, 1584 (cf. Collmann's Ballads and Broadsides, p. 118). No. 28 may have been added to the 1584 edition of the Handfull.

29. "A sorrowfull Sonet, made by M. George mannington, at Cambridge Castle. To the tune of Labandala Shot."

"A woefull ballade made by master George mannyngton an houre before he suffered at Cambridge castell 1576" was licensed, as was long ago pointed out, by Richard Jones on November 7, 1576 (Trans., II, 304). This is the most famous ballad in the entire collection, primarily because Jonson burlesqued it in Eastward Ho. Many other scornful references to it by Elizabethan writers could be pointed out. Samuel Rowlands, in his Melancholic Knight, 1615 (Works, ed. Hunterian Club, II, No. xxiv, p. 37), refers to "Thou scuruie Ballat of I wale in woe"; and the first line is burlesqued in Rowley's Match at Midnight, V, i, where Randall sings, "Hur wail in woe, hur plunge in pain." No one, I believe, has noticed that in the old play of Misogonus (Brandl's Quellen, p. 456) one of the characters sings a "songe to the tune of Labondolose Hoto," beginning,

O mighty Jove, some pitty take
One me poore wretch for christis sake.
Greif doth me gripe, payne doth me pinch,
Willfull dispite my harte doth wrinch,

which not only borrows Mannington's tune but also unmistakably imitates his style and diction. This imitation is of the highest importance, for it makes conclusive the argument some time ago advanced by Professor Kittredge (Jour. Germ. Phil., III, 339 ff.), that Misogonus was written, not in 1560 as Collier suggested, but circa 1578. Professor Kittredge holds that Laurence Johnson, B.A., 1573–4, M.A., 1577, of Cambridge, wrote Misogonus; and this indirect allusion to Mannington, who was hanged at Cambridge in 1576, undoubtedly favors his argument. R. W. Bond (Early Plays from the Italian, p. 171) thinks that Misogonus and its songs were written about 1560, and that the play was revised to its present form about 1576, although the old songs were retained. But evidently the song quoted above does not favor his theory.

30. "A proper Sonet, of an vnkinde Damsell, to her faithful Louer. To, the nine Muses."

Attention should be called to the fact that this ballad is incorrectly named, for it is not supposed to be written by "an vnkinde Damsell," but is a complaint made by a man against a faithless mistress. Perhaps this is another instance of how the unscrupulous Mr. Richard Jones tried to deceive prospective buyers into believing that the Handfull was made up of new delights. The ballad is an imitation of Surrey's "The louer describes his restlesse state" (Tottel's Miscellany, ed. Arber, p. 24). The former begins,

The ofter that I view and see,
That plesant face and faire beautie,
whereto my heart is bound:
The neer my Mistresse is to me,
My health is farthest off I see:
and fresher is my wound:
Like as the flame doth quench by fire,
or streams consume by raigne. . . .

Surrey's poem begins,

As oft as I behold and se
The soueraigne bewtie that me bound:
The nier my comfort is to me,
Alas the fresher is my wound.
As flame doth quenche by rage of fire,
And running stremes consume by raine. . . .

It seems probable that this ballad was in the 1566 edition.

31. "The Louer complaineth the absence of his Ladie, wisheth for death. To, the new Almaine."

I can find out nothing about this ballad. For other "Almains," see footnote 23 above.

32. "The Louer compareth him self to the painful Falconer. To the tune, I loued her ouer wel."

The tune indicates that this ballad was probably in the 1566 edition. Cf. No. 27, above.

To summarize: Nos. 3, 7, 14, and 29 were certainly not in the 1566 edition; perhaps Nos. 1 and 15 were not; and there is no evidence to show whether or not Nos. 20, 21, 26, 28, and 31 were printed by 1566 or were added to the 1584 edition. When the Pleasant Sonnets was prepared for the press, it certainly contained many of the ballads later to be published in the 1584 Handfull; and that the Sonnets was actually printed in 1566 hardly admits of doubt.

Hyder e. Rollins.

Harvard University.

  1. This is now in the British Museum; sign. B.vj is missing. The work was reprinted by T. Park (Heliconia, vol. II) in 1815; in facsimile by J. Crossley for the Spenser Society (the edition followed in this article) in 1871; and by Edward Arber in 1878.
  2. See Anders, Shakespeare's Books, pp. 166, 169, 173–174, 181, 199, 269.
  3. Englands Parnassus (Oxford, 1913) p. xix.
  4. Arber's Transcript, I, 313. (Hereafter cited as Trans.)
  5. Bibliographia Poetica, p. 311.
  6. See especially I, 144.
  7. Handbook to Early English Literature, p. 515.
  8. Popular Music, I, 91.
  9. Dict. Nat. Biog., article "Clement Robinson."
  10. Cambridge History of English Literature, III, 190.
  11. The leaf is reprinted in Ebsworth's Bagford Ballads, I, 41 f., and also in Arber's edition of the Handfull (hereafter cited as Arber), pp. xv–xvi.
  12. Page xix. Seccombe and Allen (The Age of Shakespeare, 1903, I, 56) positively declare that "in 1584 appeared A Handefull of Pleasant Delites, a collection of, up to that time, unpublished lyrics."
  13. Collier's reprint, pp. 49, 51.
  14. See the Stationers' Registers for the year 1588, when no license-fees are given for about half of the entries.
  15. See Trans., II, 313.
  16. But there were many editions of the Handfull later than 1584. It was registered for publication on July 3, 1601; December 13, 1620; August 4, 1626; April 29, 1634; and April 4, 1655: Arber's Trans., III, 187, IV, 44, 166, 318; Eyre's Trans., I, 470.
  17. The italics are mine.
  18. Reprinted in Lilly's 79 Black-Letter Ballads, p. 145.
  19. Pages ix–x.
  20. Many of the ballads in this MS. were licensed at Stationers' Hall during 1560–66, however. Various interesting facts about the manuscript, some of which have considerable bearing on the ballad of "Chevy Chase," which is preserved there in its oldest known form, will be pointed out in an article presently to appear in Modern Language Notes.
  21. "The reare and grettyst gyfte of all" is the first line of a ballad on King Solomon (very probably that registered by Walker on March 4, 1559-60, Trans., I, 127), which is preserved in MS. Ashmole 48 (ed. Wright, p. 44).
  22. For the tune, see the notes to Malone's Shakspeare, XVII, 424–6; and Anders, Shakespeare's Books, 169–170, 268.
  23. The tune is evidently old. In John Phillip's comedy of Patient Grissell, 1566, sign. E ii, the Marquis sings a ballad "to the tune of the latter Almain." An idea of the large number of "Almains" known to ballad-writers may be gained from Anthony Munday's Banquet of Dainty Conceits, 1588, where there are ballads to the tunes of the "Masker's Allemaigne, commonly called the Olde Allemaigne," the "Venetian Allemaigne," "Allemaigne Measure," "Scottish Allemaigne," and "Mounsieures Allemaigne." See also No. 31 below.
  24. This remark is incredible; for in his first volume of Extracts Collier had exerted himself to identify the ballads published in the Handfull with ballads licensed before 1566, and he must have known that "Maid, Will You Marry?" was printed there. One might suspect that he made this statement to gain confidence in the authenticity of his MS. The MS. is described and a table of its contents given in the Extracts, II, vii–x, but naturally it has long been an object of suspicion (cf. Professor C. H. Firth's comment in the recently published Shakespeare's England, Oxford, 1916, II, 537). Those who are interested in the matter and who wish to draw their own conclusions will find it profitable to compare the ballad of "All in a Garden Green" (cf. No. 18 below), printed in the Extracts, I, 196, with "A merrye new ballad, of a countrye wench and a clowne" printed in the Shirburn Ballads, p. 220; Collier's "Lady Jane's Lament" (Extracts, I, 72) with the printed ballad included in the Ballad Society's Ballads from MSS., I, 427; Collier's "The Damned Soule in Hell" (Extracts, I, 117) with "The pittifull lamentation of a damned soule" (Shirburn Ballads, p. 260); Collier's "Kit hath Lost her Key" (Extracts, I, 55) with the ballad printed from Royal MSS. App. 58 by E. Flügel in Anglia, XII, 261; Collier's "Wine, Women, and Dice" (Extracts, II, 69, evidently written to fit the entries in the Transcript, I, 293, 296) with "A notable Instrucyon for all men to beware the abuses of dyce, wyne, & women," which is preserved in MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. XXV (ed. Boeddeker, Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache, N. F., II, 364); Collier's ballad of "Awake and Arise" (Extracts, I, 186, and notice especially his explanation there) with a copy (of whose existence he was unaware) preserved in MS. Ashmole 48 (ed. Wright, p. 32). Quite a number of ballads in Collier's MS. fit exactly entries in the Registers and yet are not referred to in the Extracts. William Chappell, in his Popular Music, accepted this MS. without question, somewhat to the detriment of his otherwise invaluable work. The MS. also contains vulgar "jests" of Peele, Tarlton, and Elderton (for two stanzas about Elderton, see Popular Music, I, 107), and some light is perhaps thrown on their composition by the preface to Collier's Few Odds and Ends, for Cheerful Friends (25 copies, privately printed, 1870). A comparison of the ballads in that book with those in the MS. may also prove illuminating.