George Puttenham, The arte of English poesie Contriued into three bookes: the first of poets and poesie, the second of proportion, the third of ornament. (London,1589)

p. 102

But of all your words bissillables the most part naturally do make the foot Iambus, many the Trocheus, fewer the Spondeus, fewest of all the Pirrichius, because in him the sharpe accent (if ye follow the rules of your accent, as we haue presupposed) doth make a litle oddes: and ye shall find verses made all of monosillables, and do very well, but lightly they be Iambickes, bycause for the more part the accent falles sharpe vpon euery second word rather then contrariwise, as this of Sir Thomas Wiats.

I finde no peace and yet mie warre is done,
I feare and hope, and burne and freese like ise.

And some verses where the sharpe accent falles vpon the first and third, and so make the verse wholly Trochaicke, as thus,

Worke not, no nor, wish thy friend or foes harme
Try but, trust not, all that speake thee so faire.

And some verses made of monosillables and bissillables enterlaced as this of th’Earles,

When raging loue with extreme paine

And this

A fairer beast of fresher hue beheld I neuer none.

pp. 102-3

And some verses made all of bissillables and others all of trissillables, and others of polisillables egally increasing and of diuers quantities, and sundry situations, as in this of our owne, made to daunt the insolence of a beautifull woman.

Brittle beauty blossome daily fading
Morne, noone, and eue in age and eke in eld
Dangerous disdainefull pleasantly perswading
Easie to gripe but combrous to weld
For slender bottome hard and heauy lading
Gay for a while, but little while durable
Suspicious, incertaine, irreuocable,
O since thou art by triall not to trust
Wisedome it is, and it is also iust
To sound the stemme before the tree be feld
That is, since death will driue vs all to dust
To leaue thy loue ere that we be compeld.

In which ye haue your first verse all of bissillables and of the foot trocheus. The second all of monosillables, and all of the foote Iambus, the third all of trissillables, and all of the foote dactilus, your fourth of one bissillable, and two monosillables interlarded, the fift of one monosillable and two bissillables enterlaced, and the rest of other sortes and scituations, some by degrees encreasing, some diminishing: which example I haue set downe to let you perceiue what pleasant numerosity in the measure and disposition of your words in a meetre may be contriued by curious wits & these with other like were the obseruations of the Greeke and Latine versifiers.

pp. 104-5

The Earle of Surrey vpon the death of Sir Thomas Wiat made among other this verse Pentameter and of ten sillables,

What holy graue (alas) what sepulcher

But if I had had the making of him, he should haue bene of eleuen sillables and kept his measure of fiue still, and would so haue runne more pleasantly a great deale: for as he is now, though he be euen he seemes odde and defectiue, for not well obseruing the natural accent of euery word, and this would haue bene soone holpen by inserting one monosillable in the middle of the verse, and draw|ing another sillable in the beginning into a Dactil, this word [holy] being a good [Pirrichius] & very well seruing the turne, thus,

What holie graue a las what fit sepulcher.

Which verse if ye peruse throughout ye shall finde him after the first dactil all Trochaick & not Iambic, nor of any other foot of two times. But perchance if ye would seeme yet more curious, in place of these foure Trocheus ye might induce other feete of three times, as to make the three sillables next following the dactil, the foote [amphimacer] the last word [Sepulcher] the foote [amphibracus] leauing the other midle word for a [Iambus] thus.

What holie graue a las what fit sepulcher.

If ye aske me further why I make [what] first long & after short in one verse, to that I satisfied you before, that it is by reason of his accent sharpe in one place and flat in another, being a commo~ monosillable, that is, apt to receiue either accent, & so in the first place receiuing aptly the sharpe accent he is made long: afterward recei|uing the flat accent more aptly the~ the sharpe, because the sillable precedent [las] vtterly distaines him, he is made short & not long, & that with very good melodie, but to haue giuen him the sharpe accent & plucked it fro~ the sillable [las] it had bene to any mans eare a great discord: for euermore this word [alás] is acce~ted vpon the last, & that lowdly & notoriously as appeareth by all our ex|clamations vsed vnder that terme.

p. 105

The same Earle of Surrey & Sir Thomas Wyat the first reformers & polishers of our vulgar Poesie much affecting the stile and measures of the Italian Petrarcha, vsed the foote dactil very often but not many in one verse, as in these,

Fūll mănìe that in presence of thy līuelĭe hĕd,
Shed Caesars teares vpon Pōmpĕĭūs hĕd.
Th’ēnĕmĭe to life destroier of all kinde,
If āmŏ rŏus faith in an hart vnfayned,
Myne old deēre ĕnĕ my my froward master.
Thē fŭrĭous gone in his most raging ire.

And many moe which if ye would not allow for dactils the verse would halt vnlesse ye would seeme to helpe it contracting a sillable by vertue of the figure Syneresis which I thinke was neuer their meaning, nor in deede would haue bred any pleasure to the eare, but hindred the flowing of the verse.

pp. 107-8


Of your verses perfect and defectiue, and that
which the Graecians called the halfe foote.

The Greekes and Latines vsed verses in the odde sillable of two sortes, which they called Catalecticke and Acatalecticke, that is odde vnder and odde ouer the iust measure of their verse, & we in our vulgar finde many of the like, and specially in the rimes of Sir Thomas Wiat, strained perchaunce out of their originall, made first by Francis Petrarcha: as these

Like vnto these, immeasurable mountaines,
So is my painefull life the burden of ire:
For hie be they, and hie is my desire
And I of teares, and they are full of fountaines.

Where in your first second and fourth verse, ye may find a sillable superfluous, and though in the first ye will seeme to helpe it, by drawing these three sillables, [im me su] into a dactil, in the rest it can not be so excused, wherefore we must thinke he did it of purpose, by the odde sillable to giue greater grace to his meetre, and we finde in our old rimes, this odde sillable, sometime placed in the beginning and sometimes in the middle of a verse, and is al|lowed to go alone & to ha~g to any other sillable. But this odde sil|lable in our meetres is not the halfe foote as the Greekes and Latines vsed him in their verses, and called such measure pentimimeris and eptamimeris, but rather is that, which they called the catalectik or maymed verse. Their hemimeris or halfe foote serued not by licence Poeticall or necessitie of words, but to bewtifie and exornate the verse by placing one such halfe foote in the middle Cesure, & one other in the end of the verse, as they vsed all their pentameters elegiack: and not by coupling them together, but by accompt to make their verse of a iust measure and not defectiue or superflous: our odde sillable is not altogether of that nature, but is in a maner drownd and supprest by the flat accent, and shrinks a|way as it were inaudible and by that meane the odde verse comes almost to be an euen in euery mans hearing. The halfe foote of the auncients was reserued purposely to an vse, and therefore they gaue such odde sillable, wheresoeuer he fell the sharper accent, and made by him a notorious pause as in this pentameter.

Nil mi hi rescribàs attamen ipse ve nì.

Which in all make fiue whole feete, or the verse Pentameter. We in our vulgar haue not the vse of the like halfe foote.

p. 110

And as Sir Thomas Wiat song in a verse wholly trochaick, because the wordes do best shape to that foote by their naturall accent, thus,

Fārewĕll lōue ănd āll thĭe lāwes fŏr ēuĕr

And in this ditty of th’Erle of Surries, passing sweete and harmonicall: all be Iambick.

When raging loue with extreme paine
So cruelly doth straine my hart,
And that the teares like fluds of raine
Beare witnesse of my wofull smart.

Which beyng disposed otherwise or not broken, would proue all trochaick, but nothing pleasant.

Now furthermore ye are to note, that al your monosyllables may receiue the sharp accent, but not so aptly one as another, as in this verse where they serue well to make him iambicque, but not trochaick.

Gŏd grāunt thĭs peāce măy lōng ĕndūre

Where the sharpe accent falles more tunably vpon [graunt] [peace] [long] [dure] then it would by conuersion, as to accent them thus:

Gōd grăunt — thīs pĕace — māy lŏng — ēndŭre,

And yet if ye will aske me the reason, I can not tell it, but that it shapes so to myne eare, and as I thinke to euery other mans. And in this meeter where ye haue whole words bissillable vnbroken, that maintaine (by reason of their accent) sundry feete, yet going one with another be very harmonicall.

p. 146

[Polisindeton or couple clause]

Quite contrary to this ye haue another maner of construction which they called [Polisindeton] we may call him the [couple clause] for that euery clause is knit and coupled together with a coniunctiue thus.

And I saw it, and I say it and I
Will sweare it to be true.
So might the Poesie of Caesar haue bene altered thus.
I came, and I saw, and I ouercame.
One wrote these verses after the same sort.
For in her mynde no thought there is,
But how she may be true iwis:
And tenders thee and all thy heale,
And wisheth both thy health and weale:
And is thine owne, and so she sayes,
And cares for thee ten thousand wayes.

pp. 146-7

[Irmus or the long loose]

Ye haue another maner of speach drawen out at length and going all after one tenure and with an imperfit sence till you come to the last word or verse which co~cludes the whole premisses with a perfit sence & full periode, the Greeks call it Irmus, I call him the [long loose] thus appearing in a dittie of Sir Thomas Wyat where he describes the diuers distempers of his bed.

The restlesse state renuer of my smart,
The labours salue increasing my sorrow:
The bodies ease and troubles of my hart,
Quietour of mynde mine vnquiet foe:
Forgetter of paine remembrer of my woe,
The place of sleepe wherein I do but wake:
Be sprent with teares my bed I thee forsake.

Ye see here how ye can gather no perfection of sence in all this dittie till ye come to the last verse in these wordes my bed I thee forsake. And in another Sonet of Petrarcha which was thus En|glished by the same Sir Thomas Wyat.

If weaker care if sodaine pale collour,
If many sighes with little speach to plaine:
Now ioy now woe, if they my ioyes distaine,
For hope of small, if much to feare therefore,
Be signe of loue then do I loue againe.

Here all the whole sence of the dittie is suspended till ye come to the last three wordes, then do I loue againe, which finisheth the song with a full and perfit sence.

p. 150

[Catachresis, or the Figure of abuse]

But if for lacke of naturall and proper terme or worde we take another, neither naturall nor proper and do vntruly applie it to the thing which we would seeme to expresse, and without any iust inconuenience, it is not then spoken by this figure Metaphore or of inuersion as before, but by plaine abuse, as he that bad his man go into his library and fet him his bowe and arrowes, for in deede there was neuer a booke there to be found, or as one should in reproch say to a poore man, thou raskall knaue, where raskall is properly the hunters terme giuen to young deere, leane & out of sea|son, and not to people: or as one said very pretily in this verse.

I lent my loue to losse, and gaged my life in vaine.

Whereas this worde lent is properly of mony or some such o|ther thing, as men do commonly borrow, for vse to be repayed againe, and being applied to loue is vtterly abused, and yet very commendably spoken by vertue of this figure. For he that loueth and is not beloued againe, hath no lesse wrong, than he that len|deth and is neuer repayde.

pp. 160-61


This Hyperbole was both vltra fidem and also vltra modum, and therefore of a graue and wise Counsellour made the speaker to be accompted a grosse flatte|ring foole: peraduenture if he had vsed it thus, it had bene better and neuerthelesse a lye too, but a more moderate lye and no lesse to the purpose of the kings commendation, thus. I am not able with any wordes sufficiently to expresse your Maiesties regall vertues, your kingly merites also towardes vs your people and realme are so exceeding many, as your prayses therefore are infinite, your ho|nour and renowne euerlasting: And yet all this if we shall mea|sure it by the rule of exact veritie, is but an vntruth, yet a more cleanely commendation then was maister Speakers. Neuerthelesse as I said before if we fall a praysing, specially of our mistresses ver|tue, bewtie, or other good parts, we be allowed now and then to ouer-reach a little by way of comparison as he that said thus in prayse of his Lady.

Giue place ye louers here before,
That spent your boasts and braggs in vaine:
My Ladies bewtie passeth more,
The best of your I dare well sayne:
Then doth the sunne the candle light,
Or brightest day the darkest night.

And as a certaine noble Gentlewoman lame~ting at the vnkindnesse of her louer said very pretily in this figure.

But since it will no better be,
My teares shall neuer blin:
To moist the earth in such degree,
That I may drowne therein:
That by my death all men may say,
Lo weemen are as true as they.

p. 162


The Noble Earle of Surrey wrote thus:
In winters iust returne, when Boreas gan his raigne,
And euery tree vnclothed him fast as nature taught the~ plaine.

p. 168

[Ploche, or the Doubler]
Yet haue ye one sorte of repetition, which we call the doubler, and is as the next before, a speedie iteration of one word, but with some little intermission by inserting one or two words betweene, as in a most excellent dittie written by Sir Walter Raleigh these two closing verses:

Yet when I sawe my selfe to you was true,
I loued my selfe, bycause my selfe loued you.

And this spoken in common Prouerbe.

An ape wilbe an ape, by kinde as they say,
Though that ye clad him all in purple array.

Or as we once sported vpon a fellowes name who was called Woodcock, and for an ill part he had plaid entreated fauour by his friend.

I praie you intreate no more for the man,
Woodcocke wilbe a woodcocke do what ye can.

Now also be there many other sortes of repetition if a man would vse them, but are nothing commendable, and therefore are not obserued in good poesie, as a vulgar rimer who doubled one word in the end of euery verse, thus:

adieu, adieu,
my face, my face.

And an other that did the like in the beginning of his verse, thus:

To loue him and loue him, as sinners should doo.

These repetitions be not figuratiue but phantastical, for a figure is euer vsed to a purpose, either of beautie or of efficacie: and these last recited be to no purpose, for neither can ye say that it vrges affection, nor that it beautifieth or enforceth the sence, nor hath any other subtilitie in it, and therfore is a very foolish impertinency of speech, and not a figure.

p. 172

[Climax, or the Marching Figure]
Ye haue a figure which as well by his Greeke and Latine originals, & also by allusion to the maner of a mans gate or going may be called the marching figure, for after the first steppe all the rest proceede by double the space, and so in our speach one word proceedes double to the first that was spoken, and goeth as it were by strides or paces: it may aswell be called the clyming figure, for Clymax is as much to say as a ladder, as in one of our Epitaphes shewing how a very meane man by his wisedome and good fortune came to great estate and dignitie.

His vertue made him wise, his wisedome brought him wealth,
His wealth wan many friends, his friends made much supply:
Of aids in weale and woe in sicknesse and in health,
Thus came he from a low, to sit in seate so hye.

pp. 177-78

[Ecphonesis, or the outcry]

The figure of exclamation, I call him [the outcrie] because it vtters our minde by all such words as do shew any extreme pas|sion, whether it be by way of exclamation or crying out, admira|tion or wondering, imprecation or cursing, obtestation or taking God and the world to witnes, or any such like as declare an impotent affection, as Chaucer of the Lady Cresseida by exclamation.

O soppe of sorrow soonken into care,
O caytife Cresseid, for now and euermare.
Or as Gascoine wrote very passionatly and well to purpose.
Ay me the dayes that I in dole consume,
Alas the nights which witnesse well mine woe:
O wrongfull world which makest my fancie fume,
Fie fickle fortune, fie, fie thou art my foe:
Out and alas so froward is my chance,
No nights nor daies, nor worldes can me auance.

Petrarche in a sonet which Sir Thomas Wiat Englished excellently well, said in this figure by way of imprecation and obtestation: thus,

Perdie I said it not,
Nor neuer thought to doo:
Aswell as I ye wot,
I haue no power thereto:
“And if I did the lot
That first did me enchaine,
May neuer slake the knot
But straite it to my paine.
“And if I did each thing,
That may do harme or woe:
Continually may wring,
My harte where so I goe.
“Report may alwaies ring:
Of shame on me for aye,
If in my hart did spring,
The wordes that you doo say.
“And if I did each starre,
That is in heauen aboue.
And so forth, &c.

p. 179

[Synonymia or the figure of store]

When so euer we multiply our speech by many words or clauses of one sence, the Greekes call it Sinonimia, as who would say, like or consenting names: the Latines hauing no fitte terme to giue him, called it by a name of euent, for (said they) many words of one nature and sence, one of them doth expound another. And there|fore they called this figure the [Interpreter] I for my part had rather call him the figure of [store] because plenty of one manner of thing in our vulgar we call so. Aeneas asking whether his Cap|taine Orontes were dead or aliue, vsed this store of speeches all to one purpose.

Is he aliue,
Is he as I left him queauing and quick,
And hath he not yet geuen vp the ghost,
Among the rest of those that I haue lost?

Or if it be in single words, then thus.

What is become of that beautifull face,
Those louely lookes, that fauour amiable,
Those sweete features, and visage full of grace,
That countenance which is alonly able
To kill and cure?

Ye see that all these words, face, lookes, fauour, features, visage, countenance, are in sence but all one. Which store, neuerthelesse, doeth much beautifie and inlarge the matter. So said another.

My faith, my hope, my trust, my God and eke my guide,
Stretch forth thy hand to saue the soule, what ere the body bide.
Here faith, hope and trust be words of one effect, allowed to vs by this figure of store.

p. 191

[Etiologia, or the Reason –Renderer, or the Tell-Cause]

In many cases we are driuen for better perswasion to tell the cause that mooues vs to say thus or thus: or els when we would fortifie our allegations by rendring reasons to euery one, this as|signation of cause the Greekes called Etiologia, which if we might without scorne of a new inuented terme call [Tellcause] it were right according to the Greeke originall: & I pray you why should we not? and with as good authoritie as the Greekes? Sir Thomas Smith, her Maiesties principall Secretary, and a man of great lear|ning and grauitie, seeking to geue an English word to this Greeke word αγαμοσ called it Spitewed, or wedspite. Master Secretary Wilson geuing an English name to his arte of Logicke, called it Witcraft, me thinke I may be bolde with like liberty to call the fi|gure Etiologia [Tellcause.] And this manner of speech is alwayes contemned, with these words, for, because, and such other confir|matiues. The Latines hauing no fitte name to geue it in one sin|gle word, gaue it no name at all, but by circumlocution. We also call him the reason-rendrer, and leaue the right English word [Tel cause] much better answering the Greeke originall. Aristotle was most excellent in vse of this figure, for he neuer propones any allegation, or makes any surmise, but he yeelds a reason or cause to fortifie and proue it, which geues it great credit. For example ye may take these verses, first pointing, than confirming by simili|tudes.

When fortune shall haue spit out all her gall,
I trust good luck shall be to me allowde,
For I haue seene a shippe in hauen fall,
After the storme had broke both maste and shrowde.

And this.

Good is the thing that moues vs to desire,
That is to ioy the beauty we behold:
Els were we louers as in an endlesse fire,
Alwaies burning and euer chill a colde.

And in these verses.

Accused though I be without desart,
Sith none can proue beleeue it not for true:
For neuer yet since first ye had my hart,
Entended I to false or be vntrue.

p. 192

And in this Disticque.

And for her beauties praise, no wight that with her warres:
For where she comes she shewes her selfe like sun among the stars.

And in this other dittie of ours where the louer complaines of his Ladies crueltie, rendring for euery surmise a reason, and by telling the cause, seeketh (as it were) to get credit, thus.

Cruel you be who can say nay,
Since ye delight in others wo:
Unwise am I, ye may well say,
For that I haue, honourd you so.
But blamelesse I, who could not chuse,
To be enchaunted by your eye:
But ye to blame, thus to refuse
My seruice, and to let me die.

p. 200

[Prosopopeia, or the counterfait impersonation]
But if ye wil faine any person with such features, qualities & co[n]ditio[n]s, or if ye wil attribute any humane quality, as reason or speech to do[m]be creatures or other insensible things, & do study (as one may say) to giue the a humane person, it is not Prosopographia, but Prosopopeia, because it is by way of fictio[n], & no prettier examples can be giuen to you thereof, than in the Romant of the rose translated out of French by Chaucer, describing the persons of auarice, enuie, old age, and many others, whereby much moralitie is taught.

pp. 200-01

[Pragmatographia: or the counterfait action]

But if such description be made to represent the handling of a|ny busines with the circumstances belonging therevnto as the manner of a battell, a feast, a marriage, a buriall or any other mat|ter that lieth in feat and actiuitie: we call it then the counterfait action [Pragmatographia.]

In this figure the Lord Nicholas Vaux a noble gentleman, and much delighted in vulgar making, & a man otherwise of no great learning but hauing herein a maruelous facillitie, made a dittie representing the battayle and assault of Cupide, so excellently well, as for the gallant and propre application of his fiction in euery part, I cannot choose but set downe the greatest part of his ditty, for in truth it can not be amended.

When Cupid scaled first the fort,
Wherein my hart lay wounded sore
The battrie was of such a sort,
That I must yeeld or die therefore.
There saw I loue vpon the wall,
How he his banner did display,
Alarme alarme he gan to call,
And bad his souldiers keepe aray.
The armes the which that Cupid bare,
Were pearced harts with teares besprent:
In siluer and sable to declare
The stedfast loue he alwaies meant.
There might you see his band all drest
In colours like to white and blacke,
With pouder and with pellets prest,
To bring them forth to spoile and sacke,
Good will the maister of the shot,
Stood in the Rampire braue and proude,
For expence of pouder he spared not,
Assault assault to crie aloude.
There might you heare the Canons rore,
Eche peece discharging a louers looke, &c.

pp. 201-2

[Omiosis, or Resemblance:]

As well to a good maker and Poet as to an excellent perswader in prose, the figure of Similitude is very necessary, by which we not onely bewtifie our tale, but also very much inforce & inlarge it. I say inforce because no one thing more preuaileth with all ordinary iudgements than perswasion by similitude. Now because there are sundry sorts of them, which also do worke after diuerse fashions in the hearers conceits, I will set them all foorth by a tri|ple diuision, exempting the generall Similitude as their common Auncestour, and I will cal him by the name of Resemblance without any addition, from which I deriue three other sorts: and giue euery one his particular name, as Resemblance by Pourtrait or Imagery, which the Greeks call Icon, Resemblance morall or misticall, which they call Parabola, & Resemblance by example, which they call Paradigma, and first we will speake of the generall resemblance, or bare similitude, which may be thus spoken.

But as the watrie showres delay the raging wind,
So doeth good hope cleane put away dispaire out of my mind.
And in this other likening the forlorne louer to a striken deere.
Then as the striken deere, withdrawes himselfe alone,
So do I seeke some secret place, where I may make my mone.

pp. 202-3

The Tuskan poet vseth this Resemblance, inuring as well by Dissimilitude as Similitude, likening himselfe (by Implication) to the flie, and neither to the eagle nor to the owle: very well Englished by Sir Thomas Wiat after his fashion, and by my selfe thus:

There be some fowles of sight so prowd and starke,
As can behold the sunne, and neuer shrinke,
Some so feeble, as they are faine to winke,
Or neuer come abroad till it be darke:
Others there be so simple, as they thinke,
Because it shines, to sport them in the fire,
And feele vnware, the wrong of their desire,
Fluttring amidst the flame that doth them burne,
Of this last ranke (alas) am I a right,
For in my ladies lookes to stand or turne
I haue no power, ne find place to retire,
Where any darke may shade me from her sight
But to her beames so bright whilst I aspire,
I perish by the bane of my delight.

p. 213

[Tautologia or self-saying [excessive alliteration]]

Ye haue another manner of composing your metre nothing commendable, specially if it be too much vsed, and is whe[n] our maker takes too much delight to fill his verse with wordes beginning all with a letter, as an English rimer that said:

The deadly droppes of darke disdaine,
Do daily drench my due desartes.

And as the Monke we spake of before, wrote a whole Poeme to the honor of Carolus Caluus, euery word in his verse beginning with C, thus:

Carmina clarisonae Caluis cantate camenae.

Many of our English makers vse it too much, yet we confesse it doth not ill but pretily becomes the meetre, if ye passe not two or three words in one verse, and vse it not very much, as he that said by way of Epithete.

The smoakie sighes: the trickling teares.

And such like, for such composition makes the meetre runne away smoother, and passeth from the lippes with more facilitie by iteration of a letter then by alteration, which alteration of a letter requires an exchange of ministery and office in the lippes, teeth or palate, and so doth not the iteration.