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since breuitie (so that it be not drowned in obscuritie) is most commendable.

16 I had forgotten a notable kinde of ryme, called ryding rime, and that is suche as our Mayster and Father Chaucer vsed in his Canterburie tales, and in diuers other delectable and light enterprises: but though it come to my remembrance somewhat out of order, it shall not yet come altogether out of time, for I will nowe tell you a conceipt whiche I had before forgotten to wryte: you may see (by the way) that I holde a preposterous order in my traditions, but as I sayde before I wryte moued by good wil, and not to shewe my skill. Then to returne to my matter, as this riding rime serueth most aptly to wryte a merie tale, so Rythme royall is fittest for a graue discourse. Ballades are beste of matters of loue, and rondlettes moste apt for the beating or handlyng of an adage or common prouerbe: Sonets serue as well in matters of loue as of discourse: Dizaymes and Sixames for shorte Fantazies: Verlayes for an effectuall proposition, although by the name you might otherwise iudge of Verlayes, and the long verse of twelue and fouretene sillables, although it be now adayes vsed in all Theames, yet in my iudgement it would serue best for Psalmes and Himpnes.

I woulde stande longer in these traditions, were it not that I doubt mine owne ignoraunce, but as 1 sayde before, I know that I write to my freende, and affying myselfe therevpon, I make an ende.


A Discourse of Eng

lish Poetrie.

Together with the Authors
iudgment, touching the re-
formation of our Eng-
lish Verse.

By William VVebbe.

Jmprinled at London,

by Iohn Charlewood for
Robert Walley.


To the right worship

full, learned, and most gentle Gentle-
wan, my verie good Master, Ma,
Edward Suliard, Esquire. VV. VV.
wysheth his harts desire.


MAY it please you Syr, thys once more to beare with my rudenes, in presenting vnto your viewe, an other slender conceite, of my simple capacity: wherin although I am not able to bring you anie thing, which is meete to detaine you from your serious matters: yet vppon my knowledge of your former courtesy & your fauourable countenaunce towardes all enterprises of Learning, I dare make bold to craue your accustomed patience, in turning ouer some of these fewe leaues, which I shall account a greater recompence, then the wryting thereof may deserue.

The firme hope of your wonted gentlenes, not any good lyking of myne owne labour, made me thus presumptuously to crane your worships patronage for my poore booke. A pretty

A ii aunaunswere is reported by some to be made by Apelles to King Alexander, who (in disport) taking vp one of his pensilles to drawe a line, & asking the Paynters iudgment of his draught, It is doone (quoth Apelles) like a King: meaning indeede it was drawen as he pleased, but was nothing lesse then good workmanshippe. My selfe in like sort, taking vppon me, to make a draught of English Poetry, and requesting your worshyps censure of the same, you wyll perhaps gyue me thys verdict, It was doone like a Scholler, meaning, as I could, but indeede more like to a learner, then one through grounded in Poeticall workmanship.

Alexander in drawing his lyne, leaned sometime too hard, otherwhyle too soft, as neuer hauing beene apprentice to the Arte: I in drawing this Poeticall discourse, make it some where to straight (leauing out the cheefe colloures and ornaments of Poetry) in an other place to wyde (stuffing in peeces little pertinent to true Poetry) as one neuer acquainted wyth the learned Muses. What then? as he being a king, myght meddle in what Scyence him listed, though therein hee had no skyll: so I beeing a learner, wyll trye my cunning in some parts of Learning, though neuer so simple.

Nowe, as for my saucie pressing vppon your expected fauor in crauing your iudgment, I beseech you let me make thys excuse: that whereas true Gentilitie did neuer withdrawe her louing affection from louely Lady Learning, so I am perswaded, that your worshyppe cannot chuse, but continue your wonted fauourable benignitie towardes all the indeuourers to learning, of which corporation I doo indeede professe my selfe one sillie member.

For sith the wryters of all ages, haue sought as an vndoubted Bulwarke and stedfast sauegarde the patronage of Nobili.tye, (a shiclde as sure as can be to learning) wherin to shrowde


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