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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0296  Tuesday, 3 February 2004

[1]     From:   Katherine Duncan-Jones
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Feb 2004 13:32:27 -0000
        Subj:   A Lover's Complaint etc.

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Feb 2004 16:01:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

[3]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Feb 2004 23:11:12 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Katherine Duncan-Jones
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Date:           Monday, 2 Feb 2004 13:32:27 -0000
Subject:        A Lover's Complaint etc.

I'm sorry, but not altogether so, that Gerald Downs thinks my
arguments for the complementarity of 'A Lover's Complaint' to
Shakespeare's Sonnets 'rhetorical'. Most Elizabethans, including
Shakespeare, deployed 'rhetoric' in their writing; so, indeed, do most
scholars/historians/critics. So does Downs. The important question is
the extent to which the rhetoric used by any of us works, that is,
persuades!

I want to respond with three points.

First: on bibliographical evidence for a book's popularity. Print-runs
were restricted by law, to 200 or 250- hence the re-publication of
very popular works, such as Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, sometimes
as often as three or four times in a single year. Low survival rates
are generally held by bibliographers as sound evidence of heavy
'thumbing'. It is well known that many editions of school books have
vanished altogether. For instance, there is no doubt that Shakespeare,
along with most Elizabethan schoolboys, was deeply familiar with
Leonhard Cullmann's 'Sententiae Pueriles', a collection of aphorisms
originally written by Publilius Syrus during the reign of Julius
Caesar. But not a single English printed edition survives from the
sixteenth century. We can be sure that such editions existed, both
because of entries in the Stationers' Register, and because of many
literary allusions to the 'Pueriles' as a beginner's text studied in
grammar schools. Lyly, Nashe and Drayton are among those who make such
allusions.

Secondly: on my literary arguments for the complementarity- that is,
contrasting treatment of common material - of ALC to Sonnets. I
directed readers to John Kerrigan, but it doesn't sound as if Gerald
Downs has followed this up. I deliberately kept my arguments brief in
the Arden Introduction -which was subject to a strict General
Editorial word limit- because the case had already been made so fully
by Kerrigan both in his Penguin edition of the Sonnets and in his
collection of female-voiced complaints, 'Motives of Woe', to both of
which I direct readers of the Arden edition.

Thirdly: on the case for the Sonnets as an authorized publication. I
first argued for this, with a good deal of evidence, in a longish
article in The Review of English Studies as long ago as 1983. I also
gave evidence for the inclusion of ALC as a designed part of the
whole. At that time the claim was radical and unusual. But since then
many other scholars have come to the same conclusion. One very
distinguished one who now accepts it-after some years of resistance-
is the distinguished bibliographer Macdonald P. Jackson. His verdict
should command great respect, even if mine, it seems, doesn't.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Feb 2004 16:01:52 -0500
Subject: 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

Has anyone answered my question as to why "A Lover's Complaint" would
have been included in a book called "Shakespeare's Sonnets" and called
his if it were not his?

--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Feb 2004 23:11:12 EST
Subject: 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0279 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

Perhaps Jerry Downes or someone else can explain to me exactly what
Downes is saying in his last contribution to this thread. He seems to
be saying that "Because of [something], "A Lover's Complaint" is not
by Shakespeare and the sonnets were unauthorized." I can't identify
what that [something] is.

Since Downes accepts the initials "W.S." as referring to Shakespeare
so easily in the stationer's registry entry of "Amours", can I assume
that he also accepts that the initials "W.S." which appear on the
title page _and_ the dedication of the Peter "Funeral Elegy" also
refer to Shakespeare?

Downes fails to point out what Duncan-Jones pointed out in her
introduction to the sonnets, namely that the "J.D." is probably Sir
John Davies, the author of "Nosce Teipsum", not John Davies of
Hereford. A "J.D." had, shortly before the "Amours" entry in the SR,
published "Epigrammes and Elegies", by "J.D. and C.M." The epigrammes
are known to be by Sir John Davies, and the "C.M." refers to
Christopher Marlowe because the volume also included his translations
of Ovid's elegies.  The "Amours" of the title of the SR entry by
Eleazar Edgar are probably Ovid's Amours, although we can't be certain
because the volume either was never printed or didn't survive.

Here is the SR entry again:

Eleazar Edgar. Entred for his copye under the handes of the Wardens. A
booke called _Amours_ by J.D. with certain other sonnetes by W.S.

It seems to me that this could be Shakespeare, but I suspect that the
volume was never printed. More likely, some sonnets, like those in the
unauthorized Jaggard volume, had found their way to this publisher
(this was right after the publication of Jaggard's first edition of
"The Passionate Pilgrim"), but Shakespeare got wind of it before it
could be published and quashed it, in the same or similar manner that
he did with Jaggard's publication.

If someone can explain to me how any of this points to an author other
than Shakespeare for "A Lover's Complaint" I would be grateful.

After searching through Grosart's edition of John Davies of Hereford's
poems, I couldn't find a single poem written in the rhyme-royal stanza
of "A Lover's Complaint", the same stanza form used by Shakespeare for
his "Lucrece". Shakespeare in some of his sonnets was indebted to
Daniel, and to Thomas Lodge for his "Venus and Adonis, and likewise he
followed Daniel in the stanza form for the complaint, and Daniel and
Lodge in that they both included a complaint with their sonnet
collections.

As I pointed out in two previous contributions here:

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/0029.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/0062.html

I don't find Vickers' arguments attributing "A Lover's Complaint" to
John Davies of Hereford very convincing. The more I look at it, in
fact, the sillier it gets.

Jim Carroll

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