« ZurückWeiter »
NOTE.-Five hundred and twenty copies of this edition printed for England and America, each of which is numbered as issued.
FROM THE DRAMATISTS OF THE
A. H. BULLEN.
JOHN C. NIMMO,
HE scattered lyrical poetry of the Elizabethan
age is as voluminous as it is excellent. I attempted to collect a portion of it in an anthology entitled Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-books; and I now add another chapter to the story. It is only by a patient and minute examination that we gradually become aware of the extent and wealth of this fruitful tract of English literature ; if we advance too rapidly our survey must needs be defective. In the present volume I have gathered together the lyrics dispersed among the plays, masques, and pageants of the Elizabethan age,allowing myself the usual privilege of construing the word “ Elizabethan” in an elastic sense, so as to include all who “trafficked with the stage ” in the days of James I. and Charles I. I advance from Lyly and Peele to Shirley and Sir William Davenant.
1 The ground had been traversed before by the late Robert Bell in his Songs from the Dramatists. My predecessor's labour covered a wider area than mine, Sheridan being the last name in his anthology. My collection, within the limits
It will be noticed that, though I have called this anthology Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, some dramatists are not represented.
The most notable absentee is Robert Greene, whose lyrical poetry is of singular beauty. His exclusion is due to the fact that his lyrics are only found in his romances, not in his plays. Thomas Lodge stands in the same position. Both will be fully represented hereafter in a volume of Lyrics from Elizabethan Romances; but I am now concerned solely with the drama.
Adopting chronological order, I give the first place to John Lyly, who (unlike Greene) plentifully garnished his comedies with songs, while he never struck a lyrical note in his romance, Euphues. We are indebted to Edward Blount, the enterprising publisher who in 1632 issued a collective edition of Lyly's plays, for the preservation of these songs. They were not included in the original editions of Lyly's plays. In those days publishers frequently omitted songs when they put plays to press. Marston's plays, for instance, have come down without any of the songs, though the stage-directions show that songs were provided in abundance. There
that I have prescribed to myself, is somewhat fuller than Bell's.
? The late Mr. Hain Friswell in 1867 excised all the poetry from his edition of Sidney's Arcadia !
9 Yet I can hardly believe that these lost songs were by