Barnabe Googe

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Rosemond Tuve (essay date 1947)

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SOURCE: Tuve, Rosemond. Introduction to The Zodiake of Life, by Marcellus Palingenius, translated by Barnabe Googe, pp. v-xxiv. New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1947.

[In the following excerpt, Tuve praises Googe's translation of Palingenius's Zodiake, a philosophical poem studied by many of the translator's most important Renaissance contemporaries.]

The especial interest of [The Zodiake of Life] lies in what we know of its readers. A few of those readers were men of greater genius and originality than its writer. The greatest number of them were students who studied it as a school-book, in Latin, or read Googe's translation because they were interested in a “most learned” and “pregnant introduction into Astronomie, & both philosophies.” This characterization of the book by Gabriel Harvey indicates the nature of its influence upon English thought.

Among Renaissance Latin poems it enjoyed in England a popularity perhaps rivaled only by Mantuan's eclogues; it did not, like Mantuan, form men's styles, but it helped to shape the thinking of very many 16th and 17th century English writers and readers. This facsimile is a somewhat belated recognition of the importance of a poem which was prescribed as a textbook in many schools; which had more than sixty editions, ten of them in England; which was praised by Bruno; which was so admired by one of England's outstanding mathematical scientists—Thomas Digges—that he learned its 11th book “bie hart”; which appeared in Googe's English translation (first partial, then complete) in five editions from 1560 to 1588, gathering many praises, even such a one as the critical Harvey's inclusion of it among books whose translators had not wronged their authors.1 One should add that Shakespeare probably studied it.2


Such reasons as these for our re-reading of a book make its writer and its translator of far less interest to us than the content and qualities of the book itself. This is fortunate, for we are not even sure of the identity of the writer, and would know little more about him if we were, while its translator is a figure of small magnitude, even to the literary historian who is caught by the fact that his eclogues did much to establish the pastoral genre in the vernacular.

The usual identification of Palingenius with Pier Angelo Manzolli of Stellata, near Ferrara, may be accepted if the reader pleases; it helps one to no further knowledge. The dedication to Ercole II Duke of Ferrara is translated by Googe in the 1576 edition; and one fact about Palingenius' life seems certain: that his bones were exhumed and burnt, and his book placed upon the Index in 1558, among writings of heretics of the first class. All other facts about him are questioned: his identity, his connection with the unorthodox group which gathered about Renée de France, his profession of medicine, the date when his book appeared (?1531 or ca. 1535).3 Thus, by a strange irony, which would not have displeased an author who is most powerful when most sardonic, Palingenius lives only in this one book, and he disobligingly died before what he said in it could bring him to his death. Nor was he destroyed by the second and symbolic death to which his book did bring him; his bones were burned and his book was reprinted—some thirty times before the end of the century.

Barnabe Googe's stature as a writer is not great, yet we must think that he added to it by translating Palingenius, and therein agree with the men of some repute who made this claim...

(This entire section contains 8139 words.)

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for him in their commendatory verses. These are not uninformative to one who is interested in contemporary critical attitudes and intellectual interests, offering a perspective through which the figure of Googe takes on new dignity. We may boggle at assenting to Carlile's comparison of Googe to Chaucer, but Googe's own tribute to the latter is humble and just enough. The references to Chaucer remind us, as do Harvey's marginalia, that that poet was read with great seriousness; one need not be surprised that these commenders took pleasure alike in Palingenius' and in Chaucer's “astronomy,” in Googe's and in Chaucer's Englishing of foreign works, in Palingenius' book Scorpius and in Chaucer's high arguments of free will. foreknowledge, and destiny. In sum, the commendatory verses and various prefatory epistles here reprinted help us not only to measure contemporary appraisals of Googe and Palingenius but to define more accurately the attitudes of the 1560's with regard to poets and poetry: the high hopes; the zeal in placing knowledge within reach of the unlearned; the pride in English men of eloquence and learning; the sense of the poet's responsibilities; the still firm unwinking faith (which was to help mould English poets and critics for a century to come) in the power of a philosophical poetry of high seriousness; therewith, the fair estimate of a mediaeval poet like Chaucer which, though unaided by scholarly findings, yet took account of aspects not seen by an Arnold.

Much of what there is to be known about Googe can be found in the prefatory materials here reproduced from the various editions4; we learn thence of his connection with Christ's College, Cambridge and New College, Oxford, his residence at Staple Inn, his connection with Cecil, his encouragers, his critics, his strongly Protestant admiration of Palingenius, the earnestness which made him begin such a work at 19 and finish it at 25. It is to be remembered that he did this despite the not inconsiderable interruptions of a journey abroad, a betrothal and marriage effected in the teeth of family opposition to which even his lady had succumbed, and the publication of the book for which literary history has remembered him: the Eglogs, epytaphes, and sonettes of 1563.

The numerous prefatory materials give a view of the young author of that more famous volume which is not unprepossessing. He has enthusiasm and determination, if he lacks urbanity. His defense of poetry is as typical of his period as is Sidney's, however less forcefully and beautifully he phrases the same didactic ideal and the same emphasis on scriptural precedent (To Cecil, 1561; To the Reader, 1565). His ranking of Chaucer with Homer, Virgil, and Ovid is part of a patriotic zeal for the English tongue and for those who had written in it with fine and filed phrases equalling the ancients'. One need not read heavy solemnity into his lighter verses; there is a humor not entirely unintended in the vision of the 19-year-old Googe faced by the Muses with the choice of translating Aratus for Urania, or Lucan for Melpomene, or Palingenius for Calliope (The Preface, 1560).

We may feel that Calliope might well have rewarded him with a little more of her sweetness of tone. Yet we must admit that he follows with honesty and intelligence his theory of translation; it is that workable one which gave us the great Elizabethan translations—not always to follow the strict order of word for word and verse for verse, but yet no whit to swerve “from the perfect minde of the autoure” (Preface to the Reader, 1565). One will note improvement in the translation as he grew older, in the direction of compression, particularity, and exactness. Even earlier, there is something to be said for a youth of 20 who for his translation of the Zodiake was included by Donne's uncle, Jasper Heywood, in that group of “Mineruaes men, And finest witts” who contributed lustre to the London Inns of Court by their translations of important foreign works.5

His earliest such contribution was not his last. A translation by Googe of Naogeorgus' Popish kingdome came out in 1570. Later, a busy official life in Ireland, though it prevented him from finding time for proper revision (To Cecil, 1576), deterred him no more than it did Spenser, whom he very probably knew, from that odd and strenuous Elizabethan combination of patriotic services to the English tongue and to the English empire, pen in one hand and (one must suppose) sword in the other. Perhaps the duties were not onerous; but still there can have been neither tranquility nor libraries in the bogs and fens to encourage Googe's other two translations during those years: one of Conrad Heresbach's Foure bookes of husbandry in 1577, one of Lopez de Mendoza's Proverbes in 1579 (cf. also STC 1970, Andrew Bertholdus' The wonderfull and strange effects of a new terra sigillata, translated by ‘B. G.,’ 1587).

Googe returned from Ireland in 1585, and died in 1593/4; of his eight children two younger sons were more conventionally academic than their father: Robert, a Fellow of All Souls, and Barnabe, master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. One builds up an estimate of the man—it may be, in the absence of information—much like one's estimate of his book here reproduced. It was not a great achievement. It commands esteem.


This poem is in the tradition of mediaeval philosophical poetry—already a “tradition,” of course, by the time of the Middle Ages. Accordingly the scope of the poem is encyclopaedic, its purpose serious, its structure far from the simple organization of narrative, and its tone ironic or satirical, hortatory, descriptively violent or florid or macabre, according to the demands of the themes treated in the course of the argument.6

Like many poems of the Renaissance other than the Faerie Queene, it uses the poetic conventions of a Confessio Amantis, a Roman de la Rose, an Anticlaudianus or Archithrenius, a Divine Comedy. It is set in a “vision” framework, with various guiding spirits to explain and to instruct the author. Its mythological apparatus—pagan and Christian, “historical” and fanciful—is an eclectic composite (or, as other readers might put it, a hodge-podge). Myths and mythological figures are allegorized so as to heighten their significance; Proserpina's reign is an exemplum against Pride, Mercury is a messenger from a hell too crowded because so many friars must be accommodated, Timalphes son of Jove and Arete is the author's guide through visions and discussions elucidating the nature of earthly and heavenly love (Cancer) or of earthly and heavenly wisdom (Sagittarius).

The conflict between concepts is dramatized. Nature and Fortune bear in their persons the heavy weight of centuries of speculation; Arete (compare Jonson's and Wither's use of her) puts down the argument of Epicure. The individuation of universals by rhetorical means induces some of the chief traits of style, and floods the pages with lively portrayals of Gluttony, Idleness, Pride—portrayals which in their number and their verisimilitude are far too rich and strong for our less robust modern taste.

An awareness of the poetic theory which dictated the use of these conventions is the first condition for any just judgment of the poem. The author dreams and argues his way through to Truth; he has assuredly, as Donne recommends, wound around and around that steep and craggy mountain (cf. Aries, 57), but his purpose is unwavering. He is sternly didactic and is no more afraid of a careful philosophical argument than of a heavily sensuous one; nor does he hesitate to take sides in the contemporary quarrel, but castigates those who would relegate Poetry to the irresponsible domain of lies and marvels. He has no regard, and no respect, for the reader who is unwilling to bring his full reason to bear, including Judgment as well as Imagination; such a reader is cast unceremoniously out among the other “twolegd Asses” who live with but half their faculties, those who live for riches, or court-honour, or some other partial end. The modern reader of Googe's Palingenius must face the same stern requirements.

The functional but lavish use of poetic device and rhetorical ornament, the conception of poetic inspiration, are all in decorous accord with the primary aim. Invocations call upon Urania or the Holy Ghost, according to the demand of the matter. There is more than a plenty of sententious admonition, of Polonius-like set-pieces—there are essays on the commodity of friendship, maxims on conduct; there are “characters” etched with vigorous detail, like that vivid night-piece in Taurus, of the man of business tossing and turning in his bed, and discussing his investments with himself in sleepless agitation of phrase. There is conscious use of the rhetorician's divisions: arguments “distributed” according to the delightful, the honest, the useful, with each of these generals divided into its specials; discourses enriched by “circumstances”: of a pestilence, of a husbandman's contented life.

Rhetorical amplification serves its traditional purpose of giving dramatic immediacy to imagined situations: the rich man is killed by his servant “In bed a sleepe and snorting fast” (13), the deceived man like a fish follows the twirling thread in a fast and doleful dance. Googe's marginal glosses underline the rhetorical and logical intentions of the text: they state an underlying syllogism (162); they carefully maintain the distinction between “similitude” and “comparison”; they call attention to “example” and “periphrasis,” to “a pleasaunt Antithesis” (218) or “an application of a comparison” (136), or to many an elaborate descriptio (of person, of place, of season).

The distinctions thus signalized are typical of the author's careful adjustment of his imagery to his purpose. In accord with Renaissance practice, in the writing of expository or persuasive discourse in poetic form, similitudes generally furnish a logical argument from analogy, expanded images are common, and radical or homely images are used without any sense that decorum is thereby disturbed. To love God as an equal would be like knitting a knot of amity between a silly flea and a mighty elephant (66); man should feed within his tether (22); a wife can supply the want of “a Dormouse for the night” (16). Far-fetched or dissonant images are not objected to; carpenters, large and small flies, organ-playing, usefully enter discussions of man's reasonableness, bought justice, the mind's structure. As one might expect because of the dialectical purpose and nature of much of the discourse, we may note the habits, though we miss the power and economy, of the Metaphysical poet. Simpler images match simpler concepts or purposes; in portions utilizing the fashionable genre of pastoral, mere properties breed images, and the author can find nearly as many shades of “whiteness” for a lady as could Herrick. Ordinarily, however, multiplied parallels enforce the statement of a fairly abstruse concept. Sometimes indeed they obscure it with tumbling waterfalls of analogies. But at least a certain lively concreteness characterizes the style of an author who, to make a point concerning the intelligibility of Fortune's action, needs to refer to wormwood, snow, tree limbs, amber, magnets, diamonds, basins, crocks and pitchers (146). These habits in the use of imagery are normal for writing in this kind, or writing with these purposes to assist.

The decorum observed is that of the genre written in; the tone is properly that of the mean or of the base style; thus purpose and subject set the conditions, in accordance with contemporary theory. Either style admits occasional archaisms, and of course idiomatic and colloquial language (“scotfree”—31, impune; “gredy snudge”—63, avarus; “heaveners”—219, caelicoli; “some sir Johns”—66, quidam). The roughness of satire is endorsement for violence of diction, and is partially responsible for the frequency of the figure meiosis, the diminisher (Puttenham's “disabler”): the grasping man is “a two leggde Mole,” monks are “porklings,” war is compared to Jupiter's skimming his unclean pots, and some false ideas of the movement of the spheres are derided as condemning the gods to the labor of a slavey in a bakehouse (199, 181, 190, 215). No innovation in poetic, nor rebellion against Petrarchan sweetness, need be postulated; indeed, Googe would be an odd channel for either. All these characteristics, as well as the pronounced irony and bitterness of certain passages, are quite within 16th century theory.

In many other ways the book reflects the two periods, separated by a quarter-century, which combined to produce it in the form in which it here appears. It is a mine of Renaissance commonplaces, most of them with a long history in mediaeval or classical literature. Many an inexperienced writer of the school “themes” recommended by the rhetorics of the period, many a hurried sermon-writer, and many a journeyman poet must have found useful its tree and flower lists, its comparisons of life to a stage-play, with the accompanying description of the Ages of Man, its distinctions between Reason as the sun and Opinion as the moon, its vivid collections of images describing Death and his threatening speeches. Many conventional images which we know best in Sidney, Shakespeare, Chapman, Spenser, are here in more abbreviated or more diluted form: Sleep as brother or picture of Death, Sleep as the leveller, the world as an inn, as a cherry fair, the great and the low suffering differently the winds of Fortune as do the high tree and the low shrub.8 References are made topical or modernized: a gloss identifies the crafty fox-hearted man with “Machiuales or worldlings” (170); a bawd is “mother Bee” (76; cf. Gammer Gurton's Needle, III.3.74); or Googe may note in a gloss: “He wrote this before the discouerie of the new Indies” (116).

The marginal glosses are largely informative, except for sighs of “in these dayes to trewe” (185), or pious hopes that “God graunt it be not found” so in England (194), or except for occasional warning comment on the text. Advice on praying to the saints, for example, is to be “read, but not folowed,” though Googe's text keeps honestly to its Catholic original (175). Some of the information indicates the type of reader anticipated. Mythological references are explained for him; he is told when the text represents the “opinion Peripateticall” (99), or when the arguments are “ab effectibus” or “a minore ad maius” (113, 228). Or parallel passages in Cicero are recalled to his mind, or famous controversies such as that over the Pelagian heresy. Many of the marginal aids are interesting as indication of the range and type of authorities to whom the student of 1576 was sent for further discussion of important matters: Varro, Cardan, Plato, Plotinus, Lactantius, Macrobius, Peter Martyr, Pliny, Petrarch (the De remediis, as one would expect). To smile at the schoolmaster showing through Googe's marginal notes would be unbecoming in the modern reader, who frequently needs what they contain.

The commendatory verses (p. 242) by Abraham Fleming (who himself translated Virgil's Bucolics and Georgics, 1575, 1589), are evidence of Googe's connection with a group of rather solemn and well-meaning translators of the period. The marginal commentary may also seem to typify a certain youthful pedantry in the author, and Googe as a translator worked in a metre which many have vilified. Yet he at least had sufficient energy of mind to attack not only a book of the length and philosophical difficulty of the Zodiacus, but also three very different volumes almost equally edifying. Even in the earliest work one does not find him careless; and a young civil servant in Ireland during the uneasy years of the seventies and early eighties who found time to open yet other veins of foreign wisdom to English readers may perhaps be pardoned a certain monotony of cadence. The fourteener which he chose for his translation can be easily turned into doggerel by the reader's own management of the pauses which are its chief method of metrical variation. But if one is willing to match Googe's own indefatigability, by careful rather than unsympathetic reading, one comes through to the end of the twelve books of the Zodiake with considerable respect for its translator.

His translation is spare; minute compressions of phrase will mount gradually to a saving of a hundred lines in a book. He does not force the opinions of his original by sly choices in the coloring of phrases. He wrenches syntax, he uses rhyme-fillers (though in this he is no egregious sinner); yet the vigor and boldness which can characterize the fourteener are more marked as a characteristic of the book than is the dilution which is the chief vice of the measure even in better hands. He shows at all times more energy than delicacy, but in this he follows his original. It is evident from the style of the Eglogs, epytaphes, and sonettes that the trenchant irony which is the most powerful instrument used by Palingenius was not the natural tone of his translator. Googe's qualities are not those of subtlety, nice discrimination, or mature mastery of covered or modulated tones.

Yet he is the honest servant of his original, frequently regarding with care the smaller indications of his author's wishes. The incivility in “Morosophi” he conserves in “Foolosophers,” and gives a note (215; the word appears in the Chaloner translation of the Praise of Folie, 1549). When in speaking of God as artificer Palingenius enforces his meaning with word-patterning (“Quae non ars, imo deberet inertia dici”), Googe transliterates it: “Which should be rather Folly cald and not a Facultie” (229; Pisces, v. 63). He may even manage an extra effect of this sort, turning “Deum … Iovem” into “Ioue … Iehoue” (65; Leo, v. 152). Except perhaps in the very earliest part of the book, he takes care not to miss opportunities for particularity, and slight differences from his original frequently take that direction: Kings suspecting “euery twigge” replaces “suspectaque eisdem Omnia sunt” (70; Leo, 377); or “dominumque volentem Dici et adorari” is made more dramatic: “Desiring yet to here the sounde, of God preserue your grace And to be duckd and knelde vnto” (62; Leo, 36). The liberties taken by some of the greater Elizabethan translators to vivify and dramatize their originals are not however characteristic of Googe.

On the whole one must concede it to be a long task done with honor. To the reader of 242 pages of fourteeners, Itzuert's phrase is a tempting one: that Googe cultivated the Muses' garden largis sudoribus; so also is that phrase of the hasty Blunderston who gave the Eglogs to the printer during Googe's absence, and called them in a preface the “fyled worke of Googes flowing Heade.” But in the Zodiake at least it was labor spent toward a serious end, and it was so appreciated by contemporaries. Hence we are not justified in thus frivolously summing up Googe's achievement in the translation of Palingenius, unless we have read its lengthy arguments with the same keenness of interest in their truth or falsity which contemporaries were willing to give. The satisfaction of such an interest was the poet's guiding intention.


To the reader who would prefer to regard the Renaissance as a time when daring writers redeemed men's minds at length from the darkness of mediaeval authoritarianism by the light of a new belief in man and a new independence of the past, Googe's Palingenius is a sobering document. When the bones of its original author were exhumed, one may suppose they burnt the more crisply for being labelled as those of a heretic of the first class. But there is a certain mellower heat about the book's heretical discussions, resembling as they do the discussions carried on, though in somewhat soberer dialectic, by churchmen whose bones had been allowed to rest quietly during those authoritarian middle centuries. It would be puzzling to have to conclude that one could as well say that Palingenius was born too late, as born too early. We are accustomed to lauding the Renaissance as the seedtime of those saints of our modern hagiography who suffered punishment for their crimes against Christian orthodoxy; perhaps we have a right to be affronted as well as puzzled when the newness sometimes appears to lie rather in the punishment than in the crime. Palingenius, it is true, may be mined for the gold of “modern” ideas. It is also true, however, that the orthodoxy, the even more patent “mediaevalism” of Palingenius will probably prove to be much more unpalatable to modern readers than his heresies were to a former age. It will be ironic if he is now damned for the one, having been burnt for the other.

Attitudes and purposes far from congenial to the modern mind characterize this Renaissance book. In this it is typical enough of its period. It is typical also in the fact that, as with most translations of the time, we have to deal with a sort of Janus-author, a composite. Googe can be separated from Palingenius only by the most careful research into the connotations of 16th century Latin words, only by the most careful study of the shadowy impress of the translator's preconceptions, overlaying the original. Even this would be irrelevant to one of the main purposes of the edition, that of enabling students to judge the nature of the book's influence, for we seldom know which version men read. If I speak of the author as one man, I shall probably not belie either the nature of that influence or the understanding which most 16th and 17th century Englishmen had of the attitudes and purposes of the author of the Zodiacus Vitae.

The truisms common throughout the Middle Ages which this rebel of an author accepts and promulgates must be the despair of a Burckhardtian. Far from keeping historical decorum and staying in his period, he takes a firm stance on certain commonplaces which were long since set down as unbefitting to either the 1530's when he wrote or the 1560's when he was translated; they are commonplaces regarding man's raison d'être and place in the world which any undergraduate could point to as proper and suitable to the mediaeval writer, not to the Man of the Renaissance. Our author is like certain other men of the Renaissance is not being quite “Renaissance.” He sees the ambition of self-assertive individual man, proud in his self-conceit, as a sin against God and an irrational folly—like Spenser and Milton. He finds in his vast extension of the cosmos a new argument for man to be humble, like Kepler; yet like Daniel's Musophilus, or like Donne, he is far from being impelled by a sense of man's physical insignificance toward a declaration of his spiritual bankruptcy. He sees much of this last in the world, but finds old and uningenious reasons for it. It is man's sinfulness and God's power that he would show the plainer as he discusses the plurality of worlds. This stable of earth is full of “dust, dyrt, dung, bones and carion,” full of fools; if we think God left unfurnished with greater inhabitants than these the other and greater stars, “if no creature else excell this man,” then certainly we make of “the chiefe Creator of the world” a mere Lord of misers and fools, scarce deserving of “a workmans name” (Aquarius, Sagittarius, Libra, Pisces). He is convinced that “seldome is the unlearned good” and that man must unwearyingly search the causes of things, yet, like Milton, like the stronger side in Marlowe's perhaps unconcluded argument, he seems to see as punishable the unwillingness to renounce earthly Knowledge for heavenly Wisdom (Capricornus, Sagittarius, Virgo). The burden of his mistrust of man's discoveries of Truth is like Donne's refrain: “Poore soule, in this thy flesh what dost thou know?”; he has the same distrust of “sense, and Fantasie,” and thinks to see truth finally from the same “watch-towre,” like the angels (The second Anniversary, 254 ff.; cf. Virgo).

Our author shows in other ways a similar tendency not to exalt what one has every right to expect him to exalt (that is, if he is to keep our rules for men of his century). Like the Cowley of the essays, he praises the mean estate, satisfied with “a prety house” in a small ground (Leo, 71), like Herrick counts with content his moderate orchard trees and honied bees and ground “that gives his master malt and wheat.” Praising stoic content with little, he like Montaigne adds his voice (Leo, 82) to the number of those who ask whether “To Philosophie [be not] to learne how to die.” Like Montaigne too, or Daniel's Defence, he is impatient with “trifling” books, especially when “with princely wordes theyr stile is deckt, but small effect within” (Virgo, 84). Like Sidney he defends Poetry because of the Muses' fitness to “expel the vices of the minde,” to make men sound (Aries, 3); like Ascham he deplores bawdy books, concerned that education should do more than shuffle boys through some “dolefull tragedie,” “some harlots tricks” “or doting loves of auncient time” (Sagittarius, 174). He is far from complimentary to “the Greekish sorte,” “addict to toyes and dreames”—a national characteristic evidently happily escaped by Plato and Aristotle, “Which two are lightes to all the world” (Cancer, 46; Leo, 69; Cancer, 53).

Like these others, one must grant, he is behind the times with respect to what Burckhardt saw as the typical Renaissance “discovery of the world and of man.” Perhaps he is yet a typical man of the Renaissance in certain other more optimistic and forward-looking attitudes of mind, and no doubt it is perverse to cite our parallels from the Middle Ages. Like Boethius and others, as well as Dante, Chaucer, the Roman de la Rose, he asserts that neither blood nor riches can confer nobility, that true nobility is an inward quality of the mind which each individual severally must achieve (Virgo). In the satirical scorn and vigor of detail with which he refuses to allocate value to individuals according to class, he is most like Jean de Meun; like him also he prescribes “a ciuil common loue” to all men regardless of station (Cancer). True, one is not to give one's heart to “the many.” However, dukes and rich John Franklings are unceremoniously dumped into that category; one misses in this author the modern tendency to reserve the category, which we likewise call the “masses,” for men of lesser pretensions. Like Alanus, like Jean de Meun, he openly ridicules the celibacy of clerics; especially like Jean's is a defense of love, marriage, fertility, as “sacred natures hest” (Cancer, 48). Like Brunetto Latini, Guillaume de Conches, Dante, Petrarch, he apostrophizes “famous worthy pouertye” (Taurus, 19); perhaps we must admit him here not a man of the future, except that, as in Jean de Meun again, it is man's liberty as an individual that is the point at issue. For like Jean and so many before and after him, he sees the king as enslaved to the will of others and to fear, sees the covetous man enslaved to his greed and his riches, both alike lacking “worthy Libertie, The chiefest Gem”—“For nothing more an honest man becommes than liberty” (Taurus, 11, 18; Leo, 70-1). It is true that neither he nor Jean had made our modern equation of Liberty with the power to assert one's own will or manage one's own possessions. Indeed it is to be feared that he would not even be willing to follow Bacon (or Aristotle, or Aquinas) in seeing material goods as a possible aid to the development of the moral life.9

In certain other habitual postures of the mind, our author is more completely a man of the Renaissance. Like Chaucer and like Langland he introduces into his poetic framework the most knife-keen satire of social abuses and of those qualities in man which make for them; his pen burns and scalds and curls its way like those of the 1590's across the easy optimist's picture of man. Like Aristotle he sees a Deity who is remote from man, has no need of him (Leo, 66; Pisces, 236). Like many mediaeval thinkers, he sees a God whose self-sufficient perfection sets Him at a distance from man, which (supposedly) increases the so-called “baroque” sense of aloneness, or perhaps we should merely say which precludes the inanities of certain later kinds of piety (Pisces; Scorpius). Like St. Augustine and Donne he distrusts the reports of the senses, but like them, and unlike writers of a naturalistic temper in the mid-17th and early 14th centuries, he is concerned chiefly to assert the validity of sensuously unverifiable spiritual phenomena, and commonly trusts and uses the methods of Reason. Yet, like William of Ockham, he occasionally separates theology and natural philosophy, in one very telling passage proclaiming that certain truths of “Moyses” are not amenable to the proofs of Reason (Aquarius, 221). But his opposition is commonly not between Reason and Faith; rather it is between Reason and Opinion, or Reason and the Affections or the Will (Libra, Scorpius, Taurus). In contrasting Reason and the Affections he emphasizes what is of course the most common antithesis in Renaissance philosophical and ethical writing. Like Abelard, Dante, Cusanus, he pursues some of the heretical implications of the principle of plenitude, in discussions that are to be related to Plotinian and to 18th century optimism, to 13th and to 17th century discussions of necessity or freedom of choice touching God as first cause, to Bruno's extensions of Abelard's premises and reasonings (Aquarius, Pisces, Scorpius, Libra).10

In general he is a man of the Renaissance in his willingness to bring baldly into the discussion the questions most embarrassing to orthodoxy, and although perhaps more inclined to compromise or evasion than Abelard or Ockham, he seems to worship no thinker except Plato. His references to “divine Plato” have the tone of personal allegiance familiar for example in the 12th century writers of Chartres, though he has not the humanistic sympathies of those writers. On the other hand he is as unwilling as 13th century Paris to subscribe wholesale to Aristotle, and his allegiance to Plato may have as much as anything else to do with the contentious tone which he sometimes adopts toward the Stagirite.

It is clear, from the differences between the men he resembles, that this author does not hold to a clear line, that he defies easy classification. Sometimes this is because his argument cannot be acquitted of the charge of confusion. Sometimes it may result from real indecision in a dilemma, or from the use of a method of irony, or from the extreme complexity of the problems introduced, most of them being still unsolved except in the popular mind. Even in flat statements of a position the use of a method of wilful irony should be suspected. In general, however, one has to be careful of imposing interpretations based on our possibly subjective judgment of what an author assumed to be unorthodox “must really have meant.” It is wise to remember that the Christian humanists who placed Palingenius in English schools were good Latinists with no desire to have schoolboys read authors who maliciously undermined orthodox Christian solutions and poked fun at God, Moses and Aristotle. The number of thinkers ordinarily (and often properly) opposed, whom the author finds it possible to resemble during the course of his arguments, gives one pause. It is not always easy to decide whether these resemblances are adventitious or whether the seeming contradictions result from falsities in the generalizations to which we have tried to make writers of this period conform.

A proper philosophical evaluation of the book would have to take cognizance of many factors with which this preface may not concern itself. The differences between the author and the translator, particularly in tone and in emotional weighting of arguments, would have to be carefully scrutinized, all the more, perhaps, in places where Googe does not make a caveat in the margin to the effect that he does not, and others should not, believe what he is translating. A technical philosophical consideration is no part of my purpose.11 If and when such be made, I think it may confirm a judgment one arrives at by other routes: that the book (especially in this later form in which many Englishmen read it) is in form, purpose, poetics, and thought, an example of that inter-dependence between Middle Ages and Renaissance which makes the two periods all but inextricable. To one who wishes to draw clear lines of distinction between those periods, or remain within the confines of the later epoch, or praise either at the expense of the other, the book will be more than anything else an embarrassment.

It is even possible that this is most typically a book of the Renaissance by virtue of the mediaeval character of most of its proposed solutions. The problem of evil, posed again and again, is teased through all the familiar arguments: of contingency, of refinement through suffering, of stoic disregard, of Christian redefinition of the good, of Plotinian optimism in the statement of the concept of the scale of being, of a linked order of causes with the devil as the basest, of a dualistic conception of vile body and heavenly soul, “two so farre contrary things … compact in one” (Scorpius, 144). The reality of evil seems to be asserted in passages of a terror and power which may have ranged their author with writers accused of the Manichaean heresy. No Marston or Nashe could outdo the lashing savagery of detail, or the bitterness with which he tells men to go build them churches and rattle out hymns to ask for the lengthening of their flea-bitten lives (Virgo, Capricornus). Yet all this is, as it is in those later authors, a scourge of villainy; and man, not God, is the villain.

The end of Capricorn is very terrible, with its galling mirth over one more child born but to be a fool: “A boy is borne, be mery syrs, reioyce … Fil in your cuppes;” with its tormented self-question: “And thus vnto my selfe I saide, Is wisedome euermore, In vaine of us desirde?” The reader may decide for himself whether the question is answered or not, through the descriptions and the visions, Platonic and “Spenserian,” of a transcendent world to be seen with the eyes of heavenly Wisdom (Pisces, Sagittarius). Those who gave it to children to study thought so. Other answers are given throughout the book, and some with great power, especially that of mediaeval Christian stoicism. If sometimes the questions have more power upon us than the answers, that may indicate our relation, not the author's, to those answers.

Problem after problem receives treatment in the same concrete, denunciatory, full, often passionate style: the riddle of Fortune—subject to God, tyrannical, but powerless over the soul; the immortality of the soul, treated in several books; the infinity of the universe; the freedom of the will, Boethian in emphasis (“he alone is free, Whom reason rules,” Scorpius, 142); this author like Augustine and so many after him stresses right use of the gift of liberty, like Milton and so many before him emphasizes self-discipline and the maintaining of proper relation between the affections, the reason, and the will. Into and through every book is woven the problem of the relation of body to soul. The treatments of various aspects of this last problem are as complicated as learning and passion can make them. The line taken is generally that of the conventional hierarchy with Reason at the top, as being “more celestiall,” or as being that by virtue of which man is said to be made in God's image (though all the faculties are by God's plan in creation a natural part of man; the affections are the prick without which the mind would nought perform, and a wise man is not a “forme in marble signde,” Gemini, 35-6). The problems of the relation of body to soul and of matter to spirit are handled in every variety of context: in the context of a moral dualism, relentless in castigation of the vileness of body, in the context of a psychological analysis of man's rational and irrational faculties, in discussions of the nature of the soul, in passages eulogizing Reason, in relation to the corruptibility or incorruptibility of the heavens, in relation to the plurality of inhabited worlds, in relation to the famous Palingenian concept of an infinite space filled with light and inhabited by the finest spirits. In whatever context, Palingenius' treatments of these problems are full of foreshadowings, and like those of every Renaissance book, they are full of echoes.

It is these echoes which must be attended to by him who would see in Palingenius one of those martyrs to orthodoxy who cried new things aloud in the wilderness and could not be heard because the dark Middle Age still held sway. Any editor, even a mere facsimile editor, wishes well to his author. But before we can canonize Palingenius as one of the saints of freedom-of-thought, we must dig up and burn the bones of many a comfortably-buried predecessor, and there is a certain awkwardness in the respectability of the list. Nevertheless, there stands the incontrovertible fact. He was condemned, and condemned as no lesser heretic. The minds of inquisitors are tender. Still one can hardly believe that the snubbing of Aristotle, in remarks exalting Reason above him, for example, was sufficient to put the book on the Index, especially when that philosopher is rejected for such innocent reasons as some appear to be, e.g., a desire to deny Chance in a Christian cosmos. More serious are the implications of certain theories, seen perhaps as particularly dangerous in a particular time and place and configuration of ideas—albeit theories far from new, and argued without especial reference to their incompatibility with traditional Christian cosmology.

I shall not be the one to find all the possible reasons for that charge of heresy. He who does will, I suspect, find many of them in the book Aquarius.12 He may find many of them in Palingenius' relationships to 15th and 16th century Averroistic thought in certain Italian centers,13 even perhaps in his relationship to the quarrels between Averroists of various stripes.14 Palingenius' relations to the points of conflict between these groups, and between them and more orthodox thinkers, are subtle, so hair-thin that they are obliterated by the heavier pen of a translator—especially that of one who was Protestant and under 25. In Aquarius particularly the author travels dangerous ground—discussing the infinity of the universe, the eternity of forms, the inhabitants of the stars, the eternity of the world, the creation ex nihilo, the necessity of the creation. Indeed, he is seldom off dangerous ground; to us the perils he runs are often less strange than the securities he stands upon. These latter I think were quite as important in their influence on English thinking.

There is no doubt, however, that part of Palingenius' great importance in England lay in his repudiation of certain Aristotelian dogmas, just as part of his great prestige lay in his condemnation for heresy. For though Renaissance England may have been mediaeval in much of what it believed, it was thoroughly modern in its affection for heretics, if only they might be Roman heretics. We have happily lost the bigotry of this last distinction. Googe's Palingenius is to be commended to the modern reader's attention as a writer heretically opposed to most of the intellectual positions taken for granted as “true” by the average modern man, and to most of the evaluations acted upon by modern society. One hopes that these differences from modern opinion will not sully the reputation he has gained on the score of being an “independent” and “original” thinker.


  1. Contemporary references, and the list of schools in which study of Palingenius was prescribed by statute, are most conveniently found in Foster Watson, The ‘Zodiacus Vitae’ of Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus: An Old School-Book, London, 1908; an appendix gives texts of foreign references to Palingenius' work. Further substantiation of F. R. Johnson's description of it as “this most popular astronomical poem of the English Renaissance” may be found in the latter's Astronomical Thought in Renaissance England, Baltimore, 1937, esp. pp. 145-9. For Harvey's comments see Gabriel Harvey's Marginalia, ed. G. C. Moore Smith, Stratford, 1913. The text of Bruno's comment, in which Palingenius is placed with Cusanus, Copernicus and Paracelsus, is given in E. Troilo, Un Poeta-Filosofo del 500: Marcello Palingenio Stellato, Rome, 1912 (Studi filosofici sul Rinascimento), a somewhat enthusiastic review of the main outlines of Palingenius' thought and their departure from received doctrine.

  2. See T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespere's Small Latine & Lesse Greeke, 2 vols., Urbana, Ill., 1944, I, ch. 28.

  3. The question of Palingenius' identity is discussed in G. Borgiani, Marcello Palingenio Stellato e il suo poema lo ‘Zodiacus Vitae,’ Città di Castello, 1912, where may be found references to early accounts of the author and later students' discussions, as well as an exposition of the Latin poem, book by book, and a good deal of information on reputation and influence. STC accepts the identification with Manzolli; Brunet thinks the proofs not incontestable. Bayle's account, still useful, is in Dict. hist. et crit., Rotterdam, 1697, II, 721-2. Borgiani dates the first Latin edition (Venice) ca. 1535-6; the Newberry Library has a copy of this edition (listed as ?-1531, in accord with datings by earlier bibliographers). His list of sixty-odd editions in Latin is divided according to countries; STC doubles his list for England. The STC does not list the first Latin edition in England (T. Marsh, 1569; sold at Sotheby's in 1940: 18 March). I owe knowledge of it to the late Dr. J. Q. Adams of the Folger Library.

  4. Many modern bibliographers have described the various editions of the translation, partial and complete. Materials which are still useful are to be found in Warton, History of English Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, London, 1871, IV, 323-31, and in Arber's edition, in the English Reprints, of Googe's Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, London, 1871 (1910). Especially in the latter will be found references to sources of information on Googe's life; or see R. C. Hope's introduction to his reprint of The Popish Kingdome … by Thomas Naogeorgus, London, 1880.

  5. According to a speech addressed to Seneca in a vision; see Heywood's poetical preface to his translation of the Thyestes, 1559, printing finished March, 1560 (ed. by de Vocht in Bang's Materialen, Bd. xli, Louvain, 1913).

  6. The characteristics of the poem discussed in this section are not personal to author or translator, and produce features which appear in both the Latin and English versions. A distinction between the two writers involved is proper only to the points which concern Googe's marginal glosses or his habits as a translator.

  7. All references to the English translation are to pages in this edition; since many of the Latin editions have line numberings, those are used for references to the Latin version.

  8. One marginal correction by Googe is interesting to the reader of Spenser and the emblem books: “… catch occasion by the hairy scalp,” p. 177, is added to his rendering of the text's “… Tumque sapit quum calva retro fortuna recessit …,” Sagitt., v. 828 (see J. G. McManaway, in Variorum Spenser, II, 226). Relations with Spenser seem not all tenuous; for a first essay at indicating some of them see the present writer's “Spenser and the Zodiake of Life,” JEGP, XXXIV (1935), 1-19.

  9. Mediaeval and Renaissance attitudes on this question are suggestively treated in an article by Hans Baron on “Franciscan Poverty and Civic Wealth as Factors in the Rise of Humanistic Thought,” Speculum, XIII (1938), 1-37.

  10. Palingenius' relation to this whole complex of ideas, and the Neo-Platonic and mediaeval discussions of them which preceded him, may be studied in A. O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, Cambridge, Mass., 1936.

  11. Bibliographical aids to such a task are more conveniently to hand than heretofore, since the publication of two articles in the ACLS series of bibliographical surveys: P. O. Kristeller and J. H. Randall, “The Study of the Philosophies of the Renaissance,” JHI, II (1941), 449-96; and F. R. Johnson and S. V. Larkey, “Science [in the Renaissance],” MLQ, II (1941), 363-401.

  12. A student of Palingenius' cosmological ideas, and of their relation to earlier and contemporary Neo-Platonic thought and to orthodox Aristotelian theory, will find most help in F. R. Johnson's study of Astronomical Thought in Ren. England, Baltimore, 1937; Palingenius himself is considered in pp. 145-9, 162-3; see also p. 69. Palingenius is listed not only in the Louvain Index of 1558 but in a good many later ones, as printed in F. H. Reusch, “Indices librorum prohibitorum des xvi. Jrh.,” Bibl. des litt. ver. in Stuttgart, CLXXVI (1886).

  13. The physician Brasavola praised by Palingenius in the dedication to Ercole (for the translation see ed. of 1576) was the author of commentaries on Averroës dedicated to the same patron; see Renan, Averroës et l'averroïsme, Paris, 1861, 2d. ed., p. 407. Prof. P. O. Kristeller tells me that he does not know of a publication of these commentaries since Renan's designation of them as still in MS., but that conditions of teaching at Italian universities indicate that such authorship would not necessarily constitute proof of either man's philosophical alignment.

  14. The violent and particularized style and the untechnical character of the language make it difficult even to align Palingenius with one of the four parties of opinion distinguished by A. H. Douglas in The Philosophy and Psychology of P. Pomponazzi, Cambridge, 1910, p. 63; these factors make it extremely difficult to pursue such careful distinctions as those by which Douglas defines Pomponazzi's position, for example (as in ch. viii, “Reason,” or ix, “Knowledge”).

Paul E. Parnell (essay date April 1961)

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SOURCE: Parnell, Paul E. “Barnabe Googe: A Puritan in Arcadia.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology LX, no. 2 (April 1961): 273-81.

[In the following essay, Parnell discusses themes in Googe's eight-part Eclogues, which he considers a moralizing pastoral poem that denounces sensual love as well as the pastoral tradition itself.]

In the history of the pastoral, Barnabe Googe occupies a small but interesting place. He represents a moment in the history of taste when one nationality, confronted with an enticing but exotic literary form, experiments with it hopefully in order to adapt it to its own literary climate. The pastoral poem, for a sturdy Protestant like Googe, was full of unpleasant overtones, exactly those that point up the difference between English mortality and Latin sophistication.

The Renaissance pastoral in the Latin countries was built on conventions close to those of courtly love, and transferred to a background rich in classical meaning and local reference. But in Northern countries the pastoral was as foreign as the olive tree, and any process of naturalization was difficult. The sober, moral, Renaissance Englishman understood neither the geographical nor the philosophical background of the form. He could not accept the view that life was based on passion, which it was man's purpose to realize and satisfy with an unassuming grace. To him the world was a workaday place, where practical achievement was the great end of life, and no literary work could be tolerated that made achievement only a laborious prelude to pleasure. This English preoccupation with morality became almost a patriotic duty after the Reformation; but, by an irony of history, the literary primacy of the Latin countries was never more pronounced than in this same period. It was hard not to admire the literary skill of Boccaccio or Petrarch or Sannazaro, but their principles were clearly wrong. Since the dilemma was not purely a literary one, but had become involved with other matters, such as political subversion by Catholic agents, not many Englishmen after 1540 could shrug it off. Ascham even denounced “Papist” infiltration into the pre-Reformation literature of his own country, as in Malory's Morte Darthur. Sometimes a writer tried imitating a foreign model so as to expose its limitations and show the virtues of sounder English practice.

Such a one was Barnabe Googe, a young Oxford student around 1560, who read some of the more conspicuous pastorals with what were evidently powerfully mixed feelings. He must have been impressed, because he began to imitate them forthwith; he must have been disturbed by them, because he was already disturbed by his own preoccupation with love. Some early poems to mistresses probably not imaginary show him as a bookish young man whose head is full of amorous clichés like “enslavement,” while at the same time his Protestant contempt for pleasure reminds him that his immortal soul ought not to be enslaved by a charming face or figure. His strong passions drive him into a Petrarchan romanticizing of his loved one; his strong religious convictions drive him into a brutal repudiation of an unkind mistress (“To Maystresse A.”),1 or into exhorting a friend not to gaze too long on the seductive fair. His sonnets, presumably because they were written at different times, show a vacillation between the two extremes. But in the Eglogs, his most significant work, he finds his solution in following the lead of Mantuan, who had some years before used the pastoral for the celebration of Christian ideals. But whereas Mantuan was deeply devoted to the classical tradition, and united an enthusiastic Catholic faith with bucolic vulgarity, Googe was a Protestant first and foremost: whichever of the traditional ingredients seemed pagan or immoral would have to be left out. He might allow some narrative thread, but only enough to emphasize the moral; the characters might suffer and make fateful decisions, but the moral import of their behavior would be the important thing; and the problem of woman's place in life would be thoroughly re-examined. Googe had no more use for the indiscriminate misogyny of Mantuan than for the idealization of Petrarch; he rejected pure aestheticism, and a display of technique on a conventional motif. Googe could therefore save only as much of the pastoral as would make a stern and resolute sermon. And in fact the Eglogs do form a clearly plotted homily in eight parts with a statement of thesis, examples, an explicit relating of example to thesis, an unsympathetic glance at opposing opinions, and the necessary rhapsodic peroration.2 Naturally some drastic adaptations had to be made in the form and content of his pastoral models, both Mantuan and Montemayor's Diana; some beauties perhaps had to be omitted. But then, some beauties are dangerous, and hardly instructive.

The first eclogue introduces the theme, the dangers of love, in the most positive and dogmatic manner: experienced age instructing callow youth. The naïve Daphnes respectfully asks the venerable Amintas for some general words of wisdom. The old man, knowing the real interests of the youth, begins to speak of love, not because he enjoys the subject, but because he feels it his moral duty. Love, he explains, is a fervent humor, running from eye to eye with “poysoned beames” and thence fatally to the heart.3 Then it is that the “paines appeare, / and tormentes all of hell.” The sufferings of the lover directly parallel the symptoms of lovesick Amyntas in Mantuan's third eclogue (103-24, 139-53): frequent sobbing and sighing, loss of will power, a masochistic delight in suffering and death, a love of solitary wandering through forest areas. So virulent is this “Affection” (Googe stresses the connotation of “infection” just as Mantuan does),4 that the mere name of a loved one is enough to cause a relapse. If the lover seeks to throw off the disease, he finds it too far advanced; if he sues for relief to his sweetheart and is rebuffed, his symptoms become more intense (cf. Mantuan, III, 129 ff.). A refuge in “lawfull Loue” is no doubt better than the “wycked loue that Ioue did vse, / In Ganimedes tyme,” but marriage is seen basically as a last resort, lacking the bucolic charm it has in Mantuan's first eclogue. Googe's old shepherd is too short of breath to follow the progress of the “Affection” to its ultimate consequences; neither does he prescribe any sure cure. At the beginning of this eight-part sermon, a statement of the problem and an ominous warning are enough.

The second eclogue, parallel in subject matter to Mantuan's third, shows the awful consequences of an unchecked love. Dametas, a hopeless lover, cannot face the prospect of further humiliation by his mistress. But since he is an Englishman, he is incapable of subsiding helplessly into fatal misery, like Mantuan's Amyntas; Dametas has to will his despair, and arrive at suicide after a long rationalization. It is only after he has proved that the interests of both himself and his mistress will be served by his early demise that he can resolutely confront the “flud” that will be his “fatall graue.” The insistent rhyme of the last ten verses on “die” evokes the pathos of the situation. Googe does not immediately generalize on the incident, but he allows us to see that the shepherd's flocks are extensive, that Dametas himself is young and highly eligible, that the countryside is rich, and it is springtime. In spite of all, the poor fellow finds death a welcome release. The sense of waste parallels the sad case of Amyntas, whose bright hopes were also brought low by his vulnerability to love.

In the third eclogue Dametas' martyrdom receives only admiration and compassion from two other shepherds, Menalcas and Coridon, who exchange greetings on a bright spring morning. Again like Mantuan (IV, 1-7, 20-64) Googe introduces the dialogue with a burlesque incident hinting at the poet's real attitude. Coridon's ram is lamed, almost crippled, because he was attracted by the many “Yewes / of pleasaunt forme” in the flock of Titirus and consequently had to fight an amorous duel with a “mighty Ramme … / that workes all Woers woe.” Coridon shrugs his shoulders at the outcome: “suche happes in loue there be.” The spectacle of love and honor in the beasts can be merely amusing, since it is appropriate to their nature; but men, the poet implies, ought to despise such rude behavior. Dametas, who took the clichés of love seriously, is dead; Titirus, who inherited his flocks, is now wealthy. Love clearly is not the best policy.

The rest of the poem is social and religious satire, directed at the upstart commercial class who are shouldering aside the nobility and oppressing the lower classes, including the “shepherds.” Here again Googe seems to follow the lead of Mantuan, who in his sixth eclogue adapted the stock theme of City vs. Country to an attack on the brutal opportunism of townsmen. In Googe's version, “Carters” like the greedy Sir John Cur and Sir John Straw have pushed to prominence (their trade is possibly a parallel with that of Mantuan's deceitful ox-driver, VI, 158-62). But Googe also wants to strike out at the abettors of the Marian persecutions, and hence borrows from Mantuan's eighth eclogue the symbolism of the hill for salvation and the valley for corruption. To unite the two strands, there is the figure of “Coridon come from the Carte” who has forced the “simple sheep” to leave their sweet (presumably Protestant) pasture for the “old corrupted grass” (probably in the Marian plain), has burned any unwilling sheep, and killed or exiled refractory shepherds. Coridon might be the Lord Chancellor Stephen Gardiner, reputed son of a clothworker, the main figure in the establishment of persecution as a policy under Mary; Daphnes and Alexis, the illustrious victims mentioned in the eclogue, are certainly Latimer and Ridley. “Thynkste you? yat God, will long forbere, / his scourge, and plague to sende?” asks the poem in conclusion (cf. Mantuan, VI, 236-39, 250-51), a question that could date the eclogue before 1558, if it is not simply poetic license.

After this digression from private to public morality, the poet must return to the story of Dametas, and show what really happened to the shepherd after his death. There could be no sinking low and rising high for him, a suicide; and here Googe felt required to improve upon Mantuan, who was so full of pagan traditions that he had assigned to “high Elysium” the youth Amyntas, who had died of love after indulging in blasphemously free remarks about religion and sexual morality. Googe sees the opportunity for a vivid moral lesson by simply reversing the apotheosis; and so in the fourth eclogue Melibeus tells of receiving a visit from Dametas, all in black like a hell-shape. At first he imagined it to be Daphnes or a Fury, a wry comment on people so deluded by the folklore of love as to believe a religious martyr might go to hell before a martyr to Venus. When the spirit was commanded to speak, a stinking smoke flew out of his mouth, and he identified himself as the shepherd who slew himself “by force of foolysshe flame.” (Googe follows Mantuan in his use of a favorite love-symbol, “fires” or “flames,” with infernal implication.) Dametas had thought to be relieved of his troubles, only to find that God dealt severely with self-pitying escapists. How trivial now the motivation for the deed! How full of flaws his rationalization! Before he could speak further, a devil “With lothsome Clawes” carried him back to endless torments. Love brings suffering in this world, and truly Gothic torments in the life to come.

Palemon is stunned by this information. He had thought Dametas undeniably a saint. Yet the shepherd who so valiantly pursued a false ideal cannot be blamed, so much as the ground “That fosterde vp, so fayre a face”; and the poet inferentially curses, as Mantuan does more explicitly (cf. III, 163-88), the philosophy of love that proved to be so mistaken.

From the moralist's point of view, the incident of Dametas is closed; and since Googe's purpose is to demonstrate the ubiquity of the danger, he introduces in the fifth eclogue another “desperate Acte of Loue,” rather hastily adapted, without much pastoral coloring, from Montemayor's Diana.5 Claudia (Montemayor's Celia) is loved by a worthy knight Faustus (for Felix) who sends his page Valerius to speak for him. Googe does not even bother to change the locale from court to country; but he cannot accept the detail that the page is a beautiful girl in disguise. For Googe, no unattached girl can be in a gentleman's service and remain sympathetic. In the Eglogs Valerius the page is a boy, whose sex is not a matter of doubt; and when Claudia falls in love with him, he does not reciprocate because he is too honorable to imagine such falseness to his master. So he runs forth alone, “No Man knowes where,” but some say to the woods, “there to ende his lyfe.” Claudia, in order to demonstrate more fully the degenerating effect of love, cannot simply give up the ghost, as in the Spanish; she has to be so distraught by love's “fyerye flames” that she seizes a “cruel knyfe, / and bluddye downe doth fall.” Faustus also runs forth in “ragynge moode,” and the catastrophe is complete.

The sixth eclogue opens with a distraught lover named Faustus being questioned charitably by the wise and experienced shepherd, Felix. At first, Faustus seems to be the unhappy knight of the preceding eclogue; and perhaps it was Googe's intention to make the sixth eclogue a continuation of the fifth. But as the poems stand, there are important discrepancies. Felix comments that Faustus has a number of “waightye fleesed shepe … aboue the rest, / of Shephardes here.” He seems considered as a colleague, not a courtier. Faustus' sweetheart in Eclogue VI is plainly alive (“Wilt thou destroy thy self with tears / and she to pleasures bent?”), while Claudia is described as “deade” at the end of Eclogue V. But the appearance of a distraught lover serves the over-all plan of the eclogues, whether or not he has been seen previously. By now enough of the catastrophes of love have been cited; it is time to prescribe a cure.

Felix therefore begins by explaining to the shaken lover that the real cause of his misfortune has been the enslavement of his Reason by mere Fancy. In order to expel the dangerous Affection from his mind, he must be willing to look at things rationally again. First, “Forsake the Town,” and dwell with the shepherds. Next, “fly Idlenes,” by busying himself with the sights and duties of country life, much in the manner of Mantuan's Faustus (I, passim). Felix too was once smitten with the universal disease, and cured himself by these means and by casting away, with a conscious effort, all the letters and love-tokens he had received from his mistress. Now he is free from “Yoke of Louers Lawe”; and at their next interview he will give his companion stronger medicines to “purge that Venym swete.”

We may assume Faustus to have been cured, because the eclogues do not mention him again. A few more cases, however, are needed to complete the poet's brief. It might be desirable to present a woman as a main actor, to clarify the role of woman in Googe's concept of the disease Love.

So far, one might suppose this role was a fiendish one, from the agonized gasps of Dametas before his death. But naturally he was not then in a position to consider the problem objectively, or to analyze the character of his mistress. In the fifth eclogue, the character of Claudia suggested not so much treachery as flightiness: just after warning Faustus never to court her more, she committed suicide. The other women in the Eglogs have been mentioned rather remotely, but not described; a further examination is needed.

The seventh eclogue focuses directly on the character of women. At the beginning two shepherds console each other on their ill luck with the lady Diana. Silvanus has never enjoyed a response to his love, and is resigned; Sirenus has recently been jilted, and is disconsolate. “When fyrst she falst her troth to me, / she kyld a faythfull frende.” This sounds like the suicidal tendency of Dametas in embryo. But the more moderate Silvanus refuses to become embittered; he still worships Diana and esteems his friend for having once gained her love. If she abandoned Sirenus, she has since been overheard to curse her own perfidy for doing so. Googe and Silvanus both believe in her sincerity; it was only her weakness of will that made her break her promise, even though the shepherd had been away only a short time. Women lack steadfastness of purpose, no matter how earnestly they give their word. A short description of Diana's husband, which ends the conversation, shows that women do not really value social and intellectual qualities, but only money.

Now a woman approaches, one of Diana's friends from the fields below, who has had no better luck in love than the two men. The shepherd Alanius loved her once but now favors Ismenia. Thus the three neighbors greet each other sympathetically, as partners in misfortune; but their cordiality cannot last long after Selvagia, the visitor, complains that the chief fault in love is committed by men, whose deceit brings women to shame. The shepherds retort that women's inconstancy is far worse. Sirenus argues that woman is too weak-minded to attain or maintain a rational attitude; consequently she cannot know an unfeigned love. This is the crux of Googe's whole argument, and one that Selvagia must answer if she is to defend her sex's credit. Instead, she goes off into a tirade accusing men of finding fault with women no matter what they do. She makes many shrewd hits, but she does not speak to the question, presumably because, being a woman, she does not understand it. Sirenus is thus justified in not trying to answer these fishwife's arguments, except by a very direct request: Let us hear your own fortune in love, if ever love could move your constant heart. She declines, giving as a transparent excuse the lateness of the hour. Clearly she does not understand the meaning of constancy either. Women are light things, the poet concludes, pretty but vain and shallow. No man devoted to the life of reason will worship them or believe them capable of logical thinking. Where Sirenus goes wrong, and with him pastoralists like Montemayor, is in assuming that it is man's fate to love, to worship, and to be betrayed. Googe believes more firmly in the power of the individual will.

In the concluding eclogue, he presents the summation of his argument and the solution to the problem of love. The answer is, as it is in Mantuan's last four eclogues, to abjure this dangerous Affection, to sing instead of religious duties, more valuable, more delightful, and more prudent than an amorous “playing with fire.” In a shrewd bit of antipaganism, Googe juxtaposes the great deeds of salvation done by God with the inability of the pagan gods to save even themselves. Googe, like Euhemerus, believes that the gods were heroes of the Homeric age who now “rest … in stynkyng Graue.” God's goodness illuminates the lives of those who accept Him, whereas the pagan gods were themselves notably immoral and generally to be identified with some Affection: Mars with choler, Venus with wantonness. The moral influence of all is corrupt in the extreme, leading to evil and death. The better to illustrate this process, Googe introduces a long, heavily personified and most unpastoral description of the wanton soul afloat on the sea of sin. The passage may be compared with Mantuan's VII, 92-119, although it more closely resembles the medieval morality play. Googe's rebel against fate is an allegorized wastrel, but he is also a social upstart who rejects not only God but respect for his betters. He brags that he will teach “the nedy Dogges, / with Cappe to crowche, and bow.” As he hoists the sails of Wilfulness with Pleasure at his side, the wind of Affection blows him forth, and he thinks gloatingly of fine clothes and vicious deeds. Suddenly Death on a black galley comes sailing in, and after a short, fierce battle, the wretched man lies drowned in the very ocean of Sin “wher late, he swetly swam.” The exhortation may seem outside the limits of an eclogue, but it has specifically abandoned the preoccupations of pastoral poetry for something deemed higher; and the device of the brimstone morality is a customary climax in a religious discourse. And it certainly provides a graphic culmination to the arguments presented throughout the eclogues. If eternal torment is actually the end of wanton pleasure (the lowest form of love), then the poet is justified in attacking the pagan philosophy as strenuously as he does, and equally justified in lecturing on the necessity of strict piety. And it is love he attacks more than women, whom he sees as weak, thoughtless creatures needing control more than hatred, their irresponsibility dangerous only if they are worshipped or given authority. No perfectly rational person, he thinks, could fall in love with the real qualities of woman; this passion is only an undesirable act of the imagination, mere moonshine, a foul infection.

In the eight eclogues he has outlined the problem, demonstrated his thesis with several examples from trivial to tragic, and given his solution. If it seems odd that such a somber moralist should have written pastorals, the answer is that he wrote the Eglogs as a sort of refutation of the pastoral tradition; and, regrettably, his antipaganism led him to become anticlassical and antiaesthetic as well. His determination to purge the pastoral of its evil tendencies in fact required the destruction of the form. But his willingness to experiment freely and piquantly with Mantuan's innovations, his attempt to make the pastoral English and Protestant, were courageous and imaginative. They were a start, on which greater men could build.


  1. Barnabe Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes (first published in 1563; reprinted in E. Arber's English Reprints series, London, 1871), p. 87. All quotations from Googe in the text are from this edition.

  2. Edwin A. Greenlaw, in “Shepheards Calender” (PMLA, xxvi [1911], 426-28), notes this concern of Googe's for giving unity to his work, and compares it to Spenser's own methods in the Calender. T. P. Harrison, Jr., in “Googe's Eglogs and Montemayor's Diana” (University of Texas Studies in English, v [1925], 74), insists, however, that the connecting narrative threads do not “give sufficient unity to the whole.” It is the intent of this article to arbitrate between the two statements.

  3. Compare I, 48-51, in W. P. Mustard's edition of The Eclogues of Baptista Mantuanus (Baltimore, 1911). All subsequent quotations from the eclogues of Mantuan are from this edition.

  4. As, for example, in II, 170.

  5. Harrison, pp. 68-78.

Alan Stephens (essay date 1961)

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SOURCE: Stephens, Alan. Introduction to Selected Poems of Barnabe Googe, pp. 7-21. Denver: Allan Swallow, 1961.

[In the following excerpt, Stephens examines Googe's style and the literary inspiration for his poetry in Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets.]


Barnabe Googe's Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets, … appeared in 1563. Googe was then twenty-three years old. It will be well to examine the tradition which informed Googe's poems, for that tradition is alien to most contemporary readers.

Googe's education had prepared him to serve in the government (he was the son of the Recorder of Lincoln, and a kinsman and retainer of Lord Burghley) and, as contemporary scholars have shown, education at that time was intensively rhetorical: year after year, the boy spent about nine hours a day, six days a week, inching up through the ranks of his Latin texts, from Aesop and the Bible, through the verse of the Italians Mantuan and Palingenius, into Cicero's Topica, Susenbrotus's Epitome of one hundred and thirty-two tropes, and Erasmus's De duplici … ; thence into more Cicero, and Ovid, Virgil, Lucan, Juvenal, and Persius. He memorized the Metamorphoses. Confronted with a set of verses, he could give an account of the grammatical structure; of the prosodic form; of the distinctive logical tactics of the argument; of the meaning, phrase by phrase; of the diversified forces at work in the rhetorical figures. He could detect vices of style, and he could name them. He had learned, in a discipline of ancient lineage, that poetry was not a mystery which simultaneously required his devotion and forbade his approach. Poetry was an art, and as it mobilized and directed the passions, it profoundly engaged the understanding.

From this tradition Googe could look to another: the tradition of the short poem written in English. When he began writing his own poems, this tradition was in general still moving with the peculiar momentum of the late medieval. In the fifteenth century the courtly love poem had been as common as the gnomic or moral poem, the epitaph, the satire, the occasional poem. These are precisely the kinds that make up the bulk of Tottel's Miscellany (1557), which Googe had studied with care. The tradition was not obsolescent; at that time it possessed clarity, variousness, and force, and it would proceed, still robust, into the seventeenth century. It had never been insular. Since Chaucer's time it had been in communication with Latin and with French. And though the form of English speech in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was altering rapidly, the earlier poets nevertheless commanded formal principles by which they could fix vigorous meaning in attitudes of great precision and beauty:

                              A God and yet a man?
                              A maid and yet a mother?
                              Wit wonders what wit can
                              Conceive this or the other.
                              A God, and can he die?
                              A dead man, can he live?
                              What wit can well reply?
                              What reason reason give?
God, truth itself, doth teach it;
Man's wit sinks too far under
By reason's power to reach it.
Believe and leave to wonder.


What is this world but only vanity?
Who trusteth fortune soonest hath a fall.
Each man take heed of prodigality;
Wealth that is past no man again may call.
The greenest wound that ever man had or shall
Is to think on wealth that is gone and past,
And in old age in misery to be cast.


The smiling mouth, the laughing eyën gray,
The breastës round, and long small armës twain,
The handës smooth, the sidës straight and plain,
Your feetës light—what should I further say?
It is my craft when you are far away
To muse thereon in stinting of my pain. …


The first of these, which is the finest, moves in its stanzas with the intricacy, the exactitude and the rapidity of Shakespeare's “The Phoenix and the Turtle”—

Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together;
To themselves yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded,

and it does so with less repetitiousness and fuss. The second concludes with the massed, deliberate force and the unshadowed clarity of Ben Jonson—

No, I do know that I was born
To age, misfortune, sickness, grief;
But I will bear these with that scorn
As shall not need thy false relief. …

And the last, from which Wyatt evidently picked up and reworked a phrase (“her arms long and small”), has the smoothness and steadiness of the courtly verses in Tottel's Miscellany.1 All three were written in the fifteenth century. In a statistical survey of fifteenth-century verse, their qualities would vanish. The poems are exceptional, of course. But when practicing poets seek the vitality of their tradition, they do not consult charts of tendencies and averages.

The technical clarity in this work ought to embarrass those who declare that English verse fell into chaos in the fifteenth century. Neither the first nor the second poem is troubled rhythmically by the contemporaneous decay of grammatical inflections (the third, written before 1440, is less pertinent here). The old alliterative line, too, could hold firm from the fifteenth century—

Excellent sovereign, seemly to see,
Preved prudent, peerless of price …

through to Vaux's poem in Tottel's Miscellany:

O temerous tauntres that delights in toys,
Tumbling cockboat tottering to and fro. …

And when Heywood composes this—

This write I not to teach, but to touch, for why
Men know this as well or better than I …

or Lord Morley this—

Never was I less alone than being alone
Here in this chamber. Evil thought had I none,
But always I thought to bring the mind to rest,
And that thought of all thoughts I judge it the best,

there are formal principles at work; in the interior, the line is defined roughly by stress and by simple syntactical figures; at the end, by rhyme. It is a minimal verse, capable of maneuvers slightly more definitive than those of prose. Wyatt worked easily in it:

Though myself be bridled of my mind,
Returning me backward by force express,
If thou seek honor to keep thy promise,
Who may thee hold, my heart, but thou thyself unbind?

However, when he set out to write a song, he had work like this, from the fifteenth century, for precedent:

O mistress, why
Outcast am I
All utterly
          From your pleasaunce,
Since you and I
Ere this, truly,
          Have had pastaunce?

And he was able to extend this movement into longer lines.


The native tradition of the lyric, then, had not disintegrated. But of course it had changed by the time it reached Googe. There is a present-day academic version of what happened in Tudor poetry: out of the medieval dark came the Italianate glimmer of Wyatt and Surrey; then a dense, unnaturally prolonged twilight; then the blaze of Sidney and Spenser. This account has a picturesque simplicity, but what happened, apparently, is more complicated.

In 1524, Cox's Art or Craft of Rhetoric appeared; in 1550, Sherry's Treatise of Schemes and Tropes; in 1553, Wilson's Art of Rhetoric. During these years, an English poet could turn from direct dealings with the rhetoric of his Latin texts at grammar school and university, and find this rhetoric becoming denizened in English. Simultaneously, the translators were working on the Latin texts favored by the humanists, so that there came into English an array of moral poems and satires and epigrams and elegies with an extended range of materials, with tactics new in English phrasing, and with emotions of a novel order and focus. But all this did not bring on a poetical revolution. Modes of language proceed with such inertia that they may be deflected only minutely. The tradition continued, its center of gravity now slightly shifted, its movement a little more intricate.

This continues to hold true when we take into account the work by the “new company of courtly makers, of whom Sir Thomas Wyatt the elder and Henry Earl of Surrey were the two chieftains, who having travelled into Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and style of the Italian poesy …, greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poesy. …”2 Googe read this work in the miscellany, where he found several practical lessons in writing poems. The courtly love poetry which had been brought over from the continent characteristically differs from that previously written in English in two respects: violent emotion (in the original Italian and French) is thrust to its extreme, repeatedly and as a matter of course; and the materials of the entire poem are fixed in the grasp of a single figurative scheme.

Surrey turns this poetry into work that is curiously bland. Although he clearly and deliberately establishes his language inside the form, he commonly limits his syntactical devices to the line unit, and arranges for marked rhythmical events not within the line, but only along the borders of the poem, in initial trochees, in end-rhyme, in the final verse. He writes the poem by accumulating individual lines, and averages out the extreme feeling of the original in line by line of even, unemphatic iambs. When Surrey is not merely setting one line below another, but stringing the syntax out to cover a set of lines, he provides the syntax with no rhythmic support, so that the structure is flimsy, as it is in his blank verse. He constructs most of his original verse, likewise, of lines that exist apart—the poem on his imprisonment at Windsor, for example, is in quatrains only by virtue of the rhyme scheme. Only once (in “When raging love with extreme pain,” Number 16 in the Miscellany) does he place an entire poem under the control of a single principle of organization. In general, Surrey evidently relied on the Petrarchan convention, the prestige of the given exotic materials, to do his work for him. The results are dull. However, when Googe read Surrey he could have noticed that an iambic movement, running steadily throughout a poem in pentameter or poulter's measure, had possibilities: it might make for singular emotional cohesion.

Surrey's elder, Wyatt, recognizes the violence implicit in the foreign poetry; he does not simply set the material forth to be looked at. However, he accepts its peculiar conditions not as an end but as a fated beginning:

Since love will needs that I must love,
Of very force I must agree. …

Thence he takes up the conventional material entire and sets it in motion with a strong intelligence in unwavering concentration. The meaning is hard, exact, full; the poem advances inexorably. Though his original poems show traces of Petrarch and Serafino in scheme and image, they are not Italianate in feeling. The form is clear and steady; the tone is single and grave—gravely sad, gravely admonitory, gravely meditative or vehement. The poems are severe inquiries into the courtly heritage of the continental renaissance. Googe would observe the power in these, and in the epigrams and occasional poems. The same qualities are present in Wyatt's translations from the Italian and French, though in his direct encounters here, one senses the shock of his mind's collision with the alien sensibility in the materials. In his original poems, the form of the ballet accommodated him. Translating offered special resistances, as the rough metric discloses. Again, the continental poems were, after all, something new in England. He may well have translated them with a motive similar to Surrey's—to cast new matter and new rhetorical methods into English, where they might be scrutinized and made use of.

The first edition of the Miscellany presented Surrey's and Wyatt's poems first, and then forty poems by Nicholas Grimald, churchman, scholar, translator, playwright (in Latin), and author of poems in Latin and English. Hyder Rollins remarks that Grimald was rather out of place amongst the courtiers in the Miscellany. His sources are not French or Italian but Latin (frequently medieval and renaissance) and occasionally Greek. These are some of his titles: “Musonius the Philosopher's Saying,” “To Mistress D. A.,” “Of Mirth,” “Of Friendship,” “A New Year's Gift, to the L. M. S.” “Upon the Decease of W. Ch.” Here is the precise convention that Googe chose to work in. The poet appears not as the disaffected servant of the court, nor as the lover confined in the ritual of courtly love. He appears as the private person engaged in a public utterance. Late medieval moral poems are anonymous and generalized; Grimald writes as Grimald, and frequently addresses his meditations to a particular occasion: the death of his mother, a cherished literary text, his friendship with Mistress Damascene Audley. The poem gives access to the private event—

Ah, could you thus, dear mother, leave us all?
Now should you live, that yet before your fall
My songs you might have sung, have heard my voice—

but it does not grow indistinct in mists of private feeling. Grimald locates it in a ponderous structure of classical allusion (which happens to be only remotely relevant):

Have, mother, monuments of our sore smart:
No costly tombs, areared with curious art,
Nor Mausolean mass …
But wailful verse, and doleful song accept.
By verse the names of ancient peers be kept;
By verse lives Hercules

and Achilles, and Hector, and Aeneas. The very crudity makes the method unmistakable; the uses of the method would be apparent.

Googe took other lessons from Grimald. He learned to make the line his minimum unit of utterance, by building it up of distinct and emphatic iambs set close on one another; he then piled line upon line, poised in a single thought, so that the poem is constructed of massive blocks. And he learned that the use of emphatic feet gave him a metrical opportunity: in a context of heavy iambs he could suddenly introduce a spondee, and the rhythm would deliver a sharp blow. Here is a passage from Grimald:

So happy be the course of your long life,
So run the year into his circle rife,(3)
That nothing hinder your well meaning mind:
Sharp wit may you, remembrance ready find,
Perfect intelligence, all help at hand;
Still stayed your thought in fruitful studies stand.
Head framëd thus may th' other parts well frame.

Googe was to work in the same range of diction, also. There are other distinctive features in Grimald's verse which Googe chose to let alone; he took what he needed, and put it to his own uses.


The poem to Dr. Bale … offers a good opportunity for examining Googe's procedures. The first six of the ten lines, each set solidly in the pentameter measure, are welded in a syntactical unit; the alliterated phrasing is almost entirely formulary, holding the figure of Bale at a distance, a paradigm fixed in heavy iambs. The immediate life of the passage issues from two unobtrusive rhythmic events located in the context of the emphatic beat, and thrown into intimate relation: “Good aged Bale,” which opens the poem, and “Give over now,” which opens line five and is placed crucially at the grammatical turning point. In the entire passage, these phrases alone share the hard g and the peculiar rhythm produced by the extraordinary stress on the metrically unaccented first syllable. The first phrase suffuses the passage with personal affection and respect; the second quickens it with concern. The ninth line develops a quiet urgency through the mounting rhythm in

For aged men unfit sure is such pain,

a rhythm consummated in the rare trochaic substitution at the fourth position. The final two lines bring the poem to rest in simultaneous wonder and resignation, cast in the finality of the stable, distinct iambic movement. The vitality of the writing is subtle but unmistakable, once one grasps what order of perception is at stake, and finds the points of entry. And there is something more to notice about the poem.

The figure of Dr. Bale, I have said, appears as a paradigm; there is method in this. Implicit in the poem is the knowledge that the old scholar leans above a particular text, which both he and Googe have known long and intimately. When we draw close enough to see what the text is, Googe's lines grow translucent and suddenly dense with new meaning. It is Cicero's essay On Old Age:

… there is also the calm and serene old age of a life passed peacefully, simply, and gracefully. Such, we have heard, was Plato's, who died at his desk in his 81st year; such was Isocrates', who was 94 when he wrote his Panathenaicus and lived five years more. His teacher Gorgias of Leontini rounded out 107 years without suspending his diligence or his pursuits.

Such texts lie under the surface of several of Googe's poems. On these occasions he is neither imitating nor translating; the implicit allusion produces a resonance from beneath, which vibrates in the immediate feeling of the lines. Out of Sight, Out of Mind … is a clanging parody both of a stock courtly motif and of a solemn poem he found in the Miscellany:

The longer life, the more offense,
The more offense, the greater pain,
The greater pain, etc.

(Googe gives the courtly mode a rough treatment elsewhere, as well.) To George Holmedon, of a Running Head, has behind it another poem in the Miscellany, which is entitled That Few Words Show Wisdom, and Work Much Quiet, and which is remarkably prolix. Googe's piece is short; it parodies the prolixity by vehemently accumulating ponderous phrases, yet at the same time swiftly pays out a boisterous impatience with its original. Such a poem, it is well to notice, stands amongst Googe's serious moralistic poems.

All the features of Googe's style assume their form from a single conviction about the relation of language and experience. The modern reader supposes that diction and trope are designed to release unique, startling perception of a personal order—

When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table. …

And he expects something like this to happen in every phrase, so that the surface of the whole poem is a scene of multitudinous activity. Googe assumed otherwise. At strategic points, his diction will become cleanly literal and plain; there results a modulated power and hard clarity not available to any other kind of writing. He would have seen this in the poem which has been attributed to Cheke in the Miscellany:

Complain we may: much is amiss:
Two things prevail: money and sleight.
To seem is better than to be.

In Googe's hands such diction can give off a curiously caustic pathos:

So fareth man, who wanders here and there,
Thinking no hurt to happen him thereby. …

(From To Alexander Neville …)

But this diction is embedded in a context of figurative language which does not intend to present fresh perception: it directs the attention through implicit allusions to a venerable order of experience. The formulary phrases may run back through Petrarch to Horace, Virgil, the Greek Anthology, the Bible, and Homer. An example from the Miscellany will make the attitude clear. In #238 the poet asks his lady to pity him, even as Cressida pitied Troilus. He never glances at the outcome of that famous affair. He can see one section of Chaucer's tale in isolation—a paradigm. Beneath such a procedure is the conviction that meaning is not personal, unique, and difficult to reach; it lies in plain sight, in the texts of the tradition. There it awaits its realization in the poem being written in the sharp present. As Heywood put it,

This write I not to teach, but to touch, for why
Men know this as well or better than I …

However, when Googe wishes, he can take an old figure and spring it apart, letting in a burst of fresh feeling. The poem to Alexander Neville, for example, is built on the old trope of man as fish gazing upon the baited hook of woman's carnal beauty. We know the moral; one had better turn his eyes elsewhere. After an almost ferocious presentation of the attendant perils, Googe discriminates:

Neville, to thee that lovest their wanton looks:
Feed on the bait, but yet beware the hooks.

Furthermore, Googe can handle an original metaphor with great subtlety. In “Of Money” …, he has come to prefer money to friendship, “For friends are gone, come once adversity”; on the other hand,

Gold never starts aside …

Out of the negative phrasing, the scene appears momentarily and unforgettably: the well-off friend has just noticed his needy friend approaching with a request for a loan.

Googe does not distribute events over the entire poem. He takes up a set of apparently inert sticks of language—stock epithets, moral commonplaces, worn allusions—and deliberately suspends the motion of the poem while he stacks them up, line by line; at the crucial moment he lets the event occur and release a precise current of strong individual feelings. Two particularly fine examples are Going towards Spain and Coming Homeward out of Spain. The latter, incidentally, has Wyatt's “Tagus, farewell …” behind it.

In the stiff courtly convention, the subject and the attitudes are assumed at the outset to be complete; the poet is driven to use up the bulk of his poem in a skillful approach to the predetermined end. The approach is all, is essentially diversionary, and is likely therefore to be very busy, as in Sidney. Thought itself becomes entirely figurative, since the subject—the inaccessible lady, the reasonless agony of the lover—forbids examination. Googe works in the more pervasive convention of the language itself, heavy with its moralistic and literary accretions, in which thought is the authentic substance of the poem, and massive articulated forms sustain the weight of meaning and feeling.

I wish to discuss briefly one more example of Googe's poetry, by way of comparing it with an earlier poem of the same kind. First, the earlier poem:

Mine heartës joy, and all mine whole pleasaunce,
Whom that I serve and shall do faithfully,
With true intent and humble observaunce,
          You for to please in that I can truly,
          Beseeching you this little bill and I
                    May heartily with simplessë and drede,
                    Be recommended to your goodlyhead.

There is another stanza of the same, and then,

I write to you no more for lack of space,
But I beseech the only Trinity
You keep and save by support of his grace,
          And be your shield from all adversity.
          Go little bill, and say thou were with me
                    Of very truth, and thou canst well remember,
                    At mine uprist,(4) the fifth day of December.

“Without doubt,” R. H. Robbins writes, “the love epistle is the main conventional form during the fifteenth century.” The formulary rhetoric of this poem cannot accommodate particulars; the last line, as the poet indicates by dropping it down one space, lies outside of the poem, like a signature written across the bottom of a formal greeting card. Googe's poem, Of Mistress D. S. is likewise a love epistle, likewise heavily formulary in phrasing; but in the middle lines the private event appears, without a catch in the movement, firmly and unobtrusively. Issuing from the conventional context, the speaker's personal gratitude is gently moving.


Evidently Googe wrote no more original poetry after publishing Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets. Between 1560 and 1565 he published in stages his translation of an anti-Roman Catholic diatribe, The Zodiac of Life, by “Marcellus Palingenius” (Pietro Angelo Manzolli). In 1570 he published another translation, The Popish Kingdom, by Thomas Kirchmayer (or “Naogeorgos”), with The Spiritual Husbandry of Thomas Naogeorgos appended. This was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Later he published other translations. In his youth he had attended both Cambridge and Oxford, and had traveled in France and Spain. In 1574 he was sent to Ireland by Cecil, as provost marshal of the presidency court of Connaught. He died in 1594.


  1. The first two are anonymous; the third is by Charles d'Orleans, who was taken prisoner at Agincourt and held in England from 1415 to 1440. The passage is a re-working of Chaucer's description of Criseyde, III, 1247-50.

  2. George Puttenham's well known description.

  3. rife: easily.

  4. I.e., “when I arose this morning.”

Douglas L. Peterson (essay date 1967)

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SOURCE: Peterson, Douglas L. “The Early Elizabethans.” In The English Lyric from Wyatt to Donne: A History of the Plain and Eloquent Styles, pp. 120-63. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967.

[In the following excerpt, Peterson analyzes several of Googe's poems, paying special attention to their thematic and literary indebtedness to poetry from Tottel's Miscellany.]

Most of the good poems written in the two decades following the appearance of Tottel's Miscellany in 1557 are to be found among the works of Barnabe Googe, George Turbervile, and George Gascoigne.1 Of these three poets only Gascoigne continued to write verse over a period of years. Googe and Turbervile, after publishing single collections of lyrical verse which they had probably written when fresh from the university, turned to what seemed to them more important political and literary labors.2 Generally they follow the fashionable vogues that had been established by Tottel's Miscellany, although Turbervile was one of the early imitators of classical epigram, and Googe worked hard, if unsuccessfully, to resurrect the Mantuan eclogue. Each also experimented with variations of the eloquent style. But mainly they follow the models they found in Tottel among the works of Surrey, Wyatt, and Grimald.3 Gascoigne, too, shows the influence of Tottel, though to a lesser extent.

Googe appears deliberately to have set out to learn to write verse by imitating the poets in Tottel's Miscellany, especially Wyatt and Grimald, and his verse indicates how rigidly the early Elizabethan poet felt bound to those conventions which the Miscellany had established as proper for the treatment of specific subjects and themes.

Most of Googe's aphoristic poems reflect the continuation of the medieval didactic tradition. They have the effect of wise proverbs neatly expressed, but they lack the conviction of Wyatt's better epigrams, or the incisive wit of Turbervile's. “To L. Blundeston” is typical in these respects.

Some men be countyd wyse that well can talke:
And some because they can eche man begyle.
Some forbecause they know well chese from chalke,
And can be sure, weepe who so lyst to smyle.
But (Blundston) hym I call the wysest wyght,
Whom God gyues grace to rule affections ryght.(4)

The verse states the advice with about as much effect as Polonius' advice to Laertes. More effective is his handling of the theme of friendship which, judging by the number of poems in the Paradise and the Gallery treating it, must have been a favorite among the schoolmasters.5


Gyue Money me, take Frendshyp who so lyst,
For Frends are gon come once Aduersytie,
When Money yet remayneth safe in Chest,
That quickely can the bryng from myserye,
Fayre face showe frendes, whan ryches do habounde,
Come tyme of proofe, farewell they must awaye,
Beleue me well, they are not to be founde.
If God but sende the once a lowrynge daye.
Golde neuer starts asyde, but in dystres,
Fyndes wayes enoughe, to ease thyne heuynes.

The poem shows signs of the discipline gained from the exercise of refutatio and may, in fact, have been written as an exercise in refutation.6 But it shows none of the cavalier qualities that usually accompany such schoolboy assignments. As an attack upon the fawning hypocrisy of the Court, which Wyatt had also attacked in “Myn owne Iohn Poyns,”7 and as a blunt condemnation of the fatuous and insincere praises of friendship of the sort collected by Richard Edwardes,8 the poem is distinguished by the personal conviction that comes through in its unrelieved severity of statement. It is concomitant with an uncompromising honesty in attitude and language—a quality of mind which distinguishes Wyatt and for which Googe probably admired him.

Googe, however, was also intent on mastering eloquence and experimented with a good many of the conventions of the polite and learned lyric that he found in Tottel. The opening stanzas of “To Maystresse D.” and “Of the vnfortunate choyse of his Valentyne” emulate the learned and rhetorical style of Grimald's praises of women:9

Not from the hye Cytherion Hyll
          nor from that Ladies throne
From whens flies forth the winged boy
          that makes some sore to grone.
THe Paynes that all the Furyes fell
          can cast from Lymbo lake,
Eche Torment of those Hellish brains
          wher crawleth mani a snake. …

“Out of Syght, out of Mind” is an exercise in gradatio and almost certainly an imitation of No. 16 in Tottel's collection. “To the Tune of Appeles” suggests a similar indebtedness; its opening stanzas echo Wyatt's “Resound my voice, ye woods that hear me plain”:

The rushyng Ryuers that do run
The valeys sweet adourned new
That leans their sides against the Sun
With Flours fresh of sundry hew,
Both Ashe and Elme, and Oke so hye,
Do all lament my wofull crye.
While winter blak, with hydious stormes
Doth spoil the ground of Sommers grene,
While springtime sweet the leaf returns
That late on tree could not be sene,
While somer burns while haruest rains
Stil styl do rage my restles paynes.

The rest of the poem is composed of familiar amatory materials, the third and fourth stanzas developing the notion of love as a passion consuming reason, and the fifth cataloguing the mistress' charms:

O Nature thou that fyrst dyd frame,
My Ladyes heare of purest Golde
Her face of Crystall to the same.
Her lippes of precious Rubyes molde,
Her necke of Alblaster whyte
Surmountyng far eche other Wight.

The two concluding stanzas develop in familiar antitheses the customary plea for pity. These poems show little concern for invention and satisfy the requirements of eloquence either by concentrating upon decorative language or by emulating courtly love fashions.

On the other hand, there are other love poems in Googe's collection that suggest an indebtedness to the Tudor song. Occasionally in a way that recalls Wyatt they treat love in a moral context. “A Refusal” suggests Wyatt's treatments of the lover who has been badly treated by fortune:

Syth Fortune fauoures not
          and al thynges backward go,
And syth your mynd, hath so decreed,
          to make an end of woe.
Syth now is no redresse,
          but hence I must a way,
Farwele I wast no vayner wordes,
          I Hope for better day.

“At Bonyall in Fraunce,” “The Harte absent,” and “Vnhappy tonge why dydste thou not consent” are also close to the Wyatt of the native song tradition, except that Googe uses the pentameter line in place of the short-line forms. The best of these is “The Harte absent”:

SWete muse tell me, wher is my hart becom,
For well I feele, it is from hence a way,
My Sences all, doth sorrow so benumme:
That absent thus, I can not lyue a Day.
I know for troth, there is a specyall Place,
Wher as it most, desyreth for to bee:
For Oft it leaues, me thus in Dolfull case,
And hether commes, at length a gayne to me?
Woldest thou so fayne, be tolde where is thy Harte
Sir Foole in place, wher as it shuld not be:
Tyed vp so fast, that it can neuer starte?
Tyll Wysdom get, agayne thy Lybertye:
In place wher thou, as safe maist dwel swet daw?
As may the harte, ly by the Lyons paw:
And wher for thee, as much be sure they passe:
As dyd the master ons for Esops Asse.

The treatment is formulary, but the language is unpretentious, even idiomatic, the attitude unrhetorical. What makes the poem particularly interesting is the variation of cesural length and placement. The resulting cadences are unsophisticated when compared with the cadences in the song after Sidney, but they mark the beginning of the process of refinement of the pentameter line which culminates in the sonnets of Sidney and Shakespeare.

Most of Googe's epitaphs and poems in praise of friends, on the other hand, are experiments in the high style and make use of the conventions of the “hawty verse” which Googe praises as Virgilian in “An Epytaphe of Maister Phayre.” “An Epytaphe of M. Shelley” labors to sustain the “doleful” tone that is established by an astrological beginning.10 “An Epytaphe of Lorde Sheffeldes death” attempts to realize the heroic convention by balanced syntax, heavy alliteration, and other devices of classical heroical narrative.

Both poems reflect the ways in which the old biographical methods of praise were undergoing modification under the influence of Latin heroic narrative. Each attempts to present “iust cause” for lamentation and to exhort pity by the traditional methods outlined in Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique.11 The “places” of praise are still present, but the “place” of “dedes doen,” under the influence of epical narration has been made the main concern. Shelley was of noble heart and a loss to the kingdom; Sheffelde's death was untimely and is mourned by all who knew him:

Farewel good Lord, thy deth bewayle
          all suche as well the knewe,
And euerye man laments thy case:
          and Googe thy death doth rewe.

(ll. 21-2)12

But, except for passing references to the other “places,” Googe concentrates either on “actes doen, which doe Procede out of the giftes, and excellencies of the minde” or on physical giftes and “the might and strength of the same.”13 “Actes doen” provides the content of heroical narrations honoring Shelley the soldier and Sheffelde the sheriff. In the latter instance Googe exhorts pity by relating the incident of Sheffelde's murder, that is, by setting “the waight of the matter” (that is, “the tyrrannous wrong”) “plain before [men's] eyes.”14 In both instances Googe's interest is mainly in narration in the heroic style. But the style that was suitable for describing the deeds of Aeneas, the founder of a new race, is simply not suitable for describing the deeds of a Shelley or the murder of a Sheffelde, no matter how worthy of praise each may have been. It is the incongruity between the heroic style and the subject that makes these poems ring hollow. The narratives provide only the barest details, at best only a sketch of their respective actions, with the consequence that the heroic convention is unsupported.

The weaknesses in Googe's elegies, and this is true of his amorous verse as well, result from a concern with conventions as ends in themselves. There are occasional exceptions, however. In “Of Maistres D S,” he has combined the familiar pledge-of-service formula with the biographical formula, to produce an original and very charming poem:

Thy fyled wordes, that from thy mouth did flow
Thy modest looke with gesture of Diane.
Thy curteous mynde, and althynges framed so.
As answered well, vnto thy vertuous fame,
The gentlenes that at thy handes I founde
In straungers hou[s]e, all vnaquaynted I,
Good S. hath my Hart to the so bounde,
That from the can it not be forced to flye,
In pledge wherof, my seruyce here I gyue
Yf thou so wylte to serue the whylst I lyue.

The cataloguing of the lady's spiritual and physical gifts, the confession of love, and the avowal to serve faithfully are saved from the triteness and self-pity that usually inhere in the pledge by the plain and dignified language. The poet's reference to the kindly way he has been received into a strange household by D. S. and his desire to serve only if it pleases her, set the poem beyond the customary exercise. The poem's charm lies in the way in which the convention is restrained and made to express a genuine respect for the lady.15

There are several other poems by Googe which show in various ways the successful fusion of the plain style and eloquent conventions. They include “An Epytaphe of the Death of Nicolas Grimaold,” “To Doctor Bale” and “To the Translation of Pallingen.” The epitaph for Grimald shows a fine control of syntax and tone:

Beholde this fletyng world how al things fade
Howe euery thyng doth passe and weare awaye,
Eche state of lyfe, by comon course and trade,
Abydes no tyme, but hath a passyng daye.
For looke as lyfe, that pleasuant Dame hath brought,
The pleasaunt yeares, and dayes of lustynes,
So death our Foe, consumeth all to nought,
Enuyeng these, with Darte doth vs oppresse,
And that which is, the greatest gryfe of all,
The gredye Grype, doth no estate respect,
But wher he comes, he makes them down to fall,
Ne stayes he at, the hie sharpe wytted sect.
For if that wytt, or worthy Eloquens,
Or learnyng deape, coulde moue hym to forbeare,
O Grimaold then, thou hadste not yet gon hence
But heare hadest sene, full many an aged yeare.
Ne had the Muses loste so fyne a Floure,
Nor had Minerua wept to leaue the so,
If wysdome myght haue fled the fatall howre,
Thou hadste not yet ben suffred for to go,
A thousande doltysh Geese we myght haue sparde,
A thousande wytles heads, death might haue found
And taken them, for whom no man had carde,
And layde them lowe, in deepe obliuious grounde,
But Fortune fauours Fooles as old men saye
And lets them lyue, and take the wyse awaye.

The poem begins quietly with a contemplation of the commonplace that all worldly things are transient. The commonplace is then applied successively to mankind in general, to those who have devoted their lives to learning, and finally to Grimald himself. His death is a just cause for lament, for his gifts of mind were such that were death able to spare wisdom, certainly Grimald would have been spared. But the worthiest are often taken away before their time.16 These topics are among the most familiar in medieval and sixteenth-century poetry. And yet the poem is distinguished from the elegiac exercise by a genuine, personal grief. This is achieved by a thorough mastery of a style that is wholly dedicated to its subject. It is a style that enables Googe to control feeling in every line of the poem. The opening commonplace and its development, first with respect to the world and then to mankind, establish the general tone for the whole poem—a feeling of loss and quiet resignation; but as the poem proceeds to restrict the application of the truism, until finally it is focused on Grimald, the initially established feeling is gradually particularized. Whereas initially the sadness expressed is for human mortality, by the time Grimald is introduced it is sadness occasioned by the profound loss of a civilized and venerable scholar. The feeling has been so well managed that the reader is apt to miss the shift from the detached meditative statement of the opening lines to the conversational directness of the final passage. One should notice how feeling begins to develop from the rhetorical series which introduces the direct address to Grimald until it emerges as private indignation in lines 19 through 24, and is resolved finally with the reluctant acceptance of the closing commonplace.

The same successful fusion of the plain style and eloquent structure is apparent, though less distinctly, in “To Doctor Bale” and “To the Translation of Pallingen.” The former is a fine and original compliment to an aging scholar:

Good aged Bale: that with thy hoary heares
Doste yet persyste, to turne the paynefull Booke,
O happye man, that hast obtaynde suche yeares,
And leavst not yet, on Papers pale to looke,
Gyue ouer now to beate thy weryed brayne,
And rest thy Pen that long hath laboured soore
For aged men vnfyt sure is suche paine,
And the beseems to laboure now no more,
But thou I thynke Don Platoes part will playe
With Booke in hand, to haue thy dyeng daye.

A thorough training in rhetoric lies behind the poem. Googe's familiarity with the methods of praise suggested to him a suitable way for expressing his admiration for Bale. He selects what Rainolde suggests in his adaptation of Aphthonius as suitable for the third and fifth topics when praising persons living or deceased—“excellencies of mind, as the fortitude of the mynde” and “Comparison, wherein that which you praise, maie be aduanced to the vttermoste.”17 “To the Translation of Pallingen,” on the other hand, is more indebted to the conventional divisions within the sonnet than it is to rhetorical precept:

The labour swete, that I sustaynde in the,
(O Pallingen) when I tooke Pen in hande,
Doth greue me now, as ofte as I the se,
But halfe hewd out before myne eyes to stande,
For I must needes (no helpe) a whyle go toyle,
In Studyes, that no kynde of muse delyght.
And put my Plow, in grosse vntylled soyle,
And labour thus, with ouer weryed Spryght,
But yf that God, do graunt me greater yeares
And take me not from hence, before my tyme,
The Muses nyne, the pleasaunt synging feares
Shall so enflame my mynde with lust to ryme,
That Palingen I wyll not leaue the so,
But fynysh the accordyng to my mynd.
And yf it be my chaunce away to go,
Let some the ende, that heare remayne behynde.

The argument of the poem is probably developed to fit the quatrain and sestet divisions that Googe found in the Petrarchan sonnets in Tottel: a general statement of reluctance at having to give up an unfinished task (ll. 1-4); the reason for having to give it up (ll. 5-8); the hope that it may be recommenced (ll. 9-14); and the concluding hope that if it may not be completed personally, it may be completed by someone else. Both “To Doctor Bale” and “To the Translation of Pallingen” are written in the old plain style but in conjunction with new principles of order that Googe discovered in the course of his rhetorical training and study of Tottel's Miscellany. Those principles operate both as principles of order and methods of analysis, since by establishing an order of progression they also provide a means of discovering what to say about a given subject. These two poems again illustrate the way in which the plain style was continually being improved by the adaptation of rhetorical practices.


  1. Barnabe Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes & Sonettes, 1563; George Turbervile, Epitaphes, Epigrams, Songes and Sonets, 1567; George Gascoigne, A Hundreth sundrie Flowres bounde vp in one small Poesie, 1572, and The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire. Corrected, perfected, and augmented by the Authour, 1575. Available modern editions are: Googe, Arber Reprints (London: Constable and Company, 1910); Turbervile, Chalmers' The Works of the English Poets, ii (London, 1810); Gascoigne, Complete Works, ed., John W. Cunliffe (Cambridge: University Press, 1910), i.

  2. Googe's major effort was to translate Palingenius' Zodiacus Vitae. Turbervile became ambassador to Russia, translated Ovid's Heroides, wrote courtesy books on falconry and venery, and contributed his Tragical Tales and other poems to the body of didactic “complaint verse.”

  3. Turbervile's indebtedness to Tottel's poets is demonstrated by John Erskine Hawkins in The Life and Works of George Turbervile (University of Kansas Publications, Humanistic Studies, No. 25, 1940), pp. 70-84.

  4. See also “Of a Ronnynge Heade”; “To Alexander Neuell”; “Accuse not God, yf fancie fond”; and “Of the blessed State of him that feeles not the force of Cupids flames.

  5. See Hoyt Hudson's discussion of the “setting of themes” in the Renaissance schools: The English Epigram in the Renaissance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), pp. 145-53.

  6. Cf. Nos. 131 and 132 in Tottel's Miscellany, discussed in Chapter II.

  7. Googe knew and admired Wyatt's poem enough to imitate it in “To M. Henry Cobham, of the most blessed state of Lyfe.” Lines 9-16, in fact, probably contain an allusion to Wyatt:

    I take not I as some do take,
    To gape and fawne, for Honours hye,
    But Court and Cayser to forsake,
    And lyue at home, full quyetlye,
    Remembrest thou? what he once sayde
    Who bad, Courte not in any case,
    For Vertue is, in Courtes decayed
    And Vyce with States, hath chyefest place.

    [Italics mine]

  8. The Paradise of Dainty Devices, was advertised as Edwardes' commonplace book.

  9. Cf. Nos. 139-147 in Tottel's Miscellany.

  10. For earlier examples of the astrological beginning see the discussion of Surrey and Grimald in Chapter II. See also Ecclogues one and eight in Cupido Conquered for other examples in Googe.

  11. Wilson's See [Wilson, Thomas. Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique, 1560, ed., G. H. Mair. Oxford, 1909.] Chapter II, pp. 62-66.

  12. The elegies on Grimald and Phayre also offer commonplace reasons for lamentation. Phayre died before finishing his important work:

    The enuyous fates (O pytie great)
                        had great disdayne to se,
    That vs amongst there shuld remayn
                        so fyne a wyt as he,
    And in the mydst of all his toyle,
                        dyd force hym hence to wende,
    And leaue a Worke vnperfyt so,
                        that neuer man shall end.

    (ll. 15-18)

    Grimald died before his time:

    But Fortune favours Fooles as old men say
    And lets them lyue, and take the wyse away.

    (ll. 21-22)

  13. Cf. Rainolde, [Richard.] The Foundacion of Rhetorike, [ed., Francis R. Johnson. New York, 1945. (Scholars’ Facsimilies & Reprints.] Fol. xlr.

  14. Wilson, Arte of Rhetorique, p. 131.

  15. See also “To Maystresse A.”

  16. Wilson, Arte of Rhetorique, p. 69.

  17. The Foundacion of Rhetorike, Fol. xlr.

Frank B. Fieler (essay date 1968)

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SOURCE: Fieler, Frank B. Introduction to Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonnettes by Barnabe Googe, pp. v-xxii. Gainesville, Fla.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1968.

[In the following excerpt, Fieler discusses Googe's life and the poetry from his Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets, arguing that Googe's greatest literary achievement is his influence on the development of plain style lyrics in the century after his death.]


Barnabe Googe (1540-1594)1 was one of that large group of Elizabethan civil servants with Puritan religious preferences, who assiduously spent their spare time translating continental works for the greater glory of the English language and for the edification of those Englishmen without languages. He attended both Oxford and Cambridge, took a degree at neither, and by 1560, when he published his translation of the first three books of The Zodiacke of Life, by Marcellus Palingenius, was living at Staples Inne. During the next year he probably entered the service of his kinsman William Cecil. In the winter of 1561-62, after completing three more books of The Zodiacke, he traveled to France and Spain. The extent of his stay on the continent is not known, but if we can believe Blundeston's preface to the present work Googe did not return before the second half of 1562. In the summer of 1563, following the publication in March of Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonnetes, Googe was betrothed to Mary Darrell of Scotney, probably the Mistress D and D. S. of his poems. Also in 1563 he was appointed one of Elizabeth's gentlemen pensioners.

On February 5, 1564, Googe married Mistress Darrell but only after enlisting the influence of Cecil and Archbishop Parker to keep her parents from marrying her to a later and wealthier suitor.2 Googe finished his translation of Palengenius by 1565 when he published all twelve books of The Zodiacke. In 1570 appeared his translation of Thomas Naogeorgus' Regnum Papisticum, under the title The Popish Kingdome, or Reigne of Antichrist.

Googe went to Ireland in 1574, seemingly as an intelligencer reporting to Cecil on the activities of Walter Devereux, first Earl of Essex. Whatever the original purpose of his service in Ireland, he remained there in the service of the English government for eleven years and continued his translating activities. In 1577 appeared his Foure Bookes of Husbandrie collected by Conradus Heresbachius. And in 1579 was published his translation of The Proverbs of Lopez de Mendoza. In 1582 he was appointed Provost Marshall of the Presidency Court of Connaught, a post he held until his return to England in 1585. It is generally believed that while in Ireland he became acquainted with Geoffrey Fenton, Edmund Spenser, and Barnabe Rich, for whose Alarum For England (1578) he supplied a prose epistle.

In his own day, Barnabe Googe was known primarily for his translations of Palingenius, Naogeorgus, and Heresbachius, and judging by the laudatory notices of him by other writers was held in high esteem. For us, however, the Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonnetes holds most interest. It is important to the history of English literature because the eight eclogues which it contains were influential in establishing the genre in English, they introduced Montemayor's Diana to English readers, and they probably had some influence upon the Shepheardes Calendar. Further, because of its date and the author's age it offers interesting evidence of the immediate effects of Tottel's Miscellany and The Mirror for Magistrates. Thirdly, Googe is important to literary historians because his lyrics help to transmit the native lyric tradition to the greater Elizabethans and at the same time are evidence of a developing plain style tradition in the poetry of the English Renaissance.

Perhaps more importantly, Googe's poems have aesthetic value and can be read with some pleasure. Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonnetes is one of the very few readable volumes of poetry written during the first two decades of Elizabeth's reign. Like any minor poet he has many unsuccessful poems, but he also has a handful of successful ones. Since the sixteenth century Googe's reputation as a poet has been slight. Except for a pioneering essay almost thirty years ago by Yvor Winters,3 only at the present time has Googe been read by modern criticism with any understanding of the purposes and values of his poetry.4


About midway through the entries for 22 July 1562 to 22 July 1563, in Register A of the Stationers' Company, we find the following entry:

Recevyd of Raufe newbery for his lycense for printinge of a Certayne Ephitaphes and Sonattes wryten by Barnabe Googe … vjd

(Arber's Transcript, I, 208)

According to the title page printing was completed by 15 March 1563, and presumably the book was offered for sale immediately. It was not printed again until Arber's reprint edition in 1871, which was reissued in 1895 and again in 1910. In 1961 Alan Stephens edited a selection of the lyrics.

The prefaces and dedicatory epistle tell the following story about the printing of the poems. When Googe left for the continent in the winter of 1561-62, he deposited his poems in manuscript with his friend, Blundeston, who, without the poet's knowledge, gave them to Ralph Newbery for publication and composed a preface in verse and one in prose for the book by the end of May 1562. When Googe returned from the continent in late 1562 or early 1563, Blundeston was away from London and it was not until the latter returned that the author was informed of what had happened to his manuscript in his absence. Because the printer had already invested money in the book, rather than have him lose his investment, Googe reluctantly agreed to allow the poems to be published. Googe asks that the readers not be too critical of “the vnpleasaunt forme of my to fastely fynyshed Dreame,” i.e., “Cupido Conquered,” thus implying that the ending had been completed in haste for publication, the poem having been unfinished in manuscript.

We may properly be suspicious about the accuracy of this account. Placing the responsibility for publication upon a “friend” was conventional at the time and for long after. And we may ask why over nine months passed between the time Blundeston completed his prefaces and the date the book was published, and why Newbery waited six or seven months before protecting his investment by acquiring license to print from the Stationers' Company. It certainly seems clear enough that more poems were added to the collection than the unfinished part of “Cupido Conquered” after Googe returned from Spain. The lyrics entitled “Goyng towardes Spayne,” “At Bonyuall in Fraunce,” and “Commynge home warde out of Spayne” clearly arise from his trip abroad and thus could not have been left with Blundeston. In all probability the fifth, sixth, and seventh eclogues were not written before Googe's visit to Spain. All three contain sections translated from Montemayor's Diana,5 which was first published circa 1560 and was the rage of the Spanish court during the period of Googe's visit. The passage in the sixth eclogue dealing with the trapping of birds is translated from the Spanish pastoral poet, Garcilaso de la Vega. Since it is unlikely that the Diana would have been available in England by 1561, and indeed there is no evidence that any other English writer had any knowledge of Montemayor until after Googe's eclogues were published, it seems safer to assume that these three eclogues were not composed before Googe left England.

When Googe's manuscript was set into type all lines of greater length than four metrical feet were divided into two lines; often the point of division occurred in the middle of a word. A septenar was divided after the fourth foot, a hexameter after the third, and a pentameter line after the second. Although Googe usually follows the ideal of the Tottel editor for regular metrical lines, the short lines on the page often give the false impression of absolute regularity, particularly in relation to the placing of the caesura.


The only pastoral eclogues in English preceding Googe's are the five by Alexander Barclay, which were not brought together in print until 1570. Although written early in the century, Barclay's eclogues do not seem to have been influential in making the genre a popular one among English writers. After the publication of Googe's, pastoral eclogues in English begin appearing regularly.

Like Barclay's, Googe's eclogues are quite derivative. As already mentioned the fifth, sixth, and seventh are primarily translations from the prose of Montemayor's Diana. The other five are in various ways imitative of, and in some places translations of, Mantuan.6 Googe's first and second eclogues parallel and imitate Mantuan's third. Googe's third imitates Mantuan's fourth and sixth. The English author undoubtedly uses Mantuan's sixth eclogue as a model for the social and religious satire here. Coridon “come from the carte” can probably be identified as Stephen Gardiner, Mary Tudor's Lord Chancellor, and Daphnes and Alexis would seem to be the Protestant martyrs Latimer and Ridley. The fourth eclogue shows some influence of Mantuan's third, but for the most part is modeled after the complaints in A Mirror for Magistrates, properly Puritanized in theme, of course. Googe's eighth eclogue has some close affinities with a passage in Mantuan's seventh.

It has long been recognized that Googe, like Spenser afterwards, unified his pastorals with a narrative and thematic thred. In the opening eclogue is stated the theme of the pastorals as a whole:

Nowe Loue therfore I wyll defyne
          and what it is declare,
Which way poore souls it doth entrap
          and howe it them doth snare.

The second eclogue, through the pathetic complaint of the shepherd Dametas ending in his death, illustrates the terrible effects of uncontrolled and unreasonable passion. The reference at the beginning of the third eclogue to the flock of sheep Titirus has inherited from Dametas ties this eclogue to what has gone before, and the incident of the laming of Coridon's ram is thematically related to the first two eclogues. Googe is then free to engage in the conventional social and religious satire of the continental pastoral. Eclogue Four, by having the dead Dametas appear from Hell to warn of the dangers of love, recapitulates and drives home the theme of the first three eclogues. The story of Faustus, Claudia, and Valerius in the fifth eclogue presents another example of the fearful effects of love. The sixth contains the conventional praise of the country over the city, and is clumsily connected with the fifth through the use of a shepherd named Faustus, although not the Faustus of Eclogue Five. Eclogue Seven returns to the theme of unhappiness occasioned by love and takes up the question of the woman's part in this unhappiness. The final eclogue brings the series to a proper Christian conclusion by recommending divine love over the evils of physical love.

Of the eight, the second is the most successful as poetry. The effective variations played upon the refrain “Dametas for to die” help to give the poem a sense of that pastoral lyricism which, with the next generation of English poets, becomes one of the glories of Elizabethan verse. And the dangerous device of using die as a rime in each of the last five couplets, in addition to three more lines earlier, successfully supports the pathos of the situation and brings the poem to an effective close with a proper sense of finality as the inevitable rime coalesces in the last line with the final variation of the refrain: “Dametas here doth dye.”


The short poems which make up the middle part of the book, however, contain the best of Googe's poetry and are ultimately his most important in the development of English poetry, for they lead directly to the great plain style lyrics of the seventeenth century. Yvor Winters described the early Elizabethan plain style at its best, as follows:

a theme usually broad, simple, and obvious, even tending toward the proverbial, but usually a theme of some importance, humanly speaking; a feeling restrained to the minimum required by the subject; a rhetoric restrained to a similar minimum, the poet being interested in his rhetoric as a means of stating his matter as economically as possible. … There is also … a strong tendency towards aphoristic statement. …

The wisdom of poetry of this kind lies not in the acceptance of a truism, for anyone can accept a truism, at least formally, but in the realization of the truth of the truism: the realization resides in the feeling, the style … the type of poetry which is perhaps the hardest to compose and the last to be recognized, a poetry not striking nor original as to subject, but merely true and universal, that is, in a sense commonplace, not striking nor original in rhetorical procedure, but direct and economical, a poetry which permits itself originality, that is the breath of life, only in the most restrained and refined of subtleties in diction and in cadence, but which by virtue of those subtleties inspires its universals with their full value as experience.7

This description may serve accurately to suggest the qualities of Googe's most successful lyrics, like “An Epytaphe of the Death of Nicholas Grimaold,” “To Doctor Balle,” “To George Holmeden of a ronnynge Heade,” “To Mistress D. S.,” “Of Money,” and “Commyage home warde out of Spayne.” In each, the effect can be ascribed to simple materials under purposeful control. But most of the poems in the volume fall short of this level, often because they are the experiments of a tyro trying to find his metier.

In 1557, when Tottel's Miscellany was published, Googe was seventeen years old and presumably a fledgling poet. Tottel served as his textbook for the lyrics he published at twenty-three. His meters are the meters of Tottel, as are his subjects, but his use of the Miscellany was not indescriminate. His poetry is primarily influenced by Wyatt and Grimald. From Wyatt he learned to handle the deceptively simple native lyric tradition and the values of controlled, sparse, precise diction. Specific Wyatt poems can be seen behind certain of Googe's poems, for example, in “To M. Henrye Cobham, of the most blessed state of Lyfe,” “To Mystresse A,” and “Commynge home warde out of Spayne.”

From Grimald, Googe derived a preference for the longer lyric measures, his characteristic form—the verse epistle, and the Humanist oriented practice of using classical rhetorical theory to order his poems. What, in effect, Googe's short poems represent is a merging of the native lyric tradition with the schema of classical rhetoric, emphasizing inventio and dispositio: a poetry of logical statement, whose emotion is consciously restrained and controlled. In Googe we find one of the earliest practitioners of a consciously plain style in English Renaissance poetry.

“Cupido Conquered” is a strange and unsuccessful attempt to combine medieval dream vision, classical mythology, and Puritan morality. As Googe states in his dedication it is hastily finished, but its real weakness is that it is inordinately long and repetitious. Most of the poem is so illustrative of the vices of copia that it reads at times like a parody. The only interest the poem evokes today is that in a few places after the dreamer arrives at the Castle of Diana, the reader is reminded of similar attitudes toward love in Book III of the Faerie Queene.


  1. The fullest biographical accounts can be found in the Dictionary of National Biography and in Robert Charles Hope's Introduction to a reprint (London, 1880) of The Popish Kingdome.

  2. See “Notes of the Life and Writings of Barnabe Googe” (pp. 8-13) in Arber's reprint of Eglogs, Epitaphes and Sonnetes (London, 1871) for details and the texts of letters written at the time by those directly involved.

  3. “The 16th Century Lyric in England,” Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, LIII, No. 5 (Feb. 1939), 258-272; LIII, No. 6 (Mar. 1939), 320-335; LIV, No. 1 (April 1939), 35-51.

  4. See Douglas Peterson's important study, The English Lyric from Wyatt to Donne (Princeton, 1967).

  5. T. P. Harrison, Jr., “Googe's Eglogs and Montemayor's Diana,Univ. of Texas Studies in English, No. 5 (Oct. 1925), 67-78.

  6. For the influence of Mantuan upon Googe, see Paul E. Parnell, “Barnabe Googe: A Puritan in Arcadia,” JEGP, LX (1961), 273-281.

  7. Poetry, LIII, No. 5 (Feb. 1939), 262-263.

William E. Sheidley (essay date 1972)

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SOURCE: Sheidley, William E. “A Timely Anachronism: Tradition and Theme in Barnabe Googe's ‘Cupido Conquered.’” Studies in Philology 69, no. 2 (1972): 150-66.

[In the following essay, Sheidley discusses the styles and themes in “Cupido Conquered.”]

It is now commonplace to emphasize the continuity of the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and to stress the conservatism and authoritarianism of Elizabethan culture at the expense of the older and still not entirely discredited view of the English sixteenth century as an age of exuberant expansion and experimentation. Though it is not easy to reconcile modern statements of these opposing positions,1 the two impulses they alternatively fasten upon can be seen working smoothly together in the literature of the age—most clearly, perhaps, in the rough-hewn and often ignored poetry of the 1560's. Barnabe Googe (1540-1594), the author of Eglogs, Epitaphes, & Sonettes (1563), The Ship of Safegarde (1596), and a number of translations, including the popular and influential Zodiake of Life, can be cited as an early example of an Elizabethan innovator: he put together the first collection of short poems by a single author to be published during the reign of Elizabeth; he wrote the only unified set of eclogues before Spenser; he experimented with spondaic and trochaic metrical variations in the age of the wooden iambic line; his translations, finally, came at the inauguration of the literary phase of Elizabethan exploration and discovery. Yet Googe's book of poems is inspired and controlled by the example of Tottel's Miscellany, his eclogues are an epitome of the Mantuan tradition, and the doctrine both of his own works and of those he translated is a conservative Christian Humanism, chastened where necessary by rigid anti-Romanism. The most interesting of Googe's poems from the point of view of this paradox is what he called his “Dreame,” an allegorical love vision entitled “Cupido Conquered.” Though by Googe's own admission shoddily finished,2 this long poem (388 broken fourteeners) commands attention as a resourceful response to a fundamental Elizabethan poetic problem.

C. S. Lewis, when he comes in The Allegory of Love to the point of considering “Cupido Conquered,” is struck by “its complete fidelity to the oldest models in this kind. … There is nothing in the content of the poem to show that it was not written in the fourteenth, or even the thirteenth century.”3 Lewis calls the Roman de la Rose a “germinal” book, “a parent, begetting offspring at once like and unlike itself.”4 “Cupido Conquered” is a scion of this ancient line. By sheer chronology many generations removed from its noble ancestor, in several important ways it fails to show the mark of the three centuries of development and transmutation of the genre that Lewis traces.

Why did Googe in 1563 give birth to a work which, not without reason, seems to Lewis such an anachronism? Googe was consciously trying to produce a poem in a genre of which he had in mind a codified critical definition while at the same time using that genre for new purposes profoundly at odds with its traditional themes. He does not seem to have confined himself to imitating any single work, old or new, though passages analogous to parts of “Cupido Conquered” appear as early as the Roman de la Rose or even the Psychomachia of Prudentius and as late as Tottel's Miscellany. Instead, by an examination of many poems, Googe settled upon what seemed to him the essential features of the genre in which he wanted to write, and he undoubtedly expected his readers to recognize his perfect fidelity to the most venerable traditions of the kind.

J. V. Cunningham has set forth some useful propositions describing the interaction of tradition and experience in poetic composition. A writer's grasp of his experience, he maintains, is largely determined by “what his literary tradition enables him to see and to handle”:

Experience is sometimes obtrusively at odds with tradition. We can see that it is, for we can see how tradition has been modified to render it more supple to experience. But the one term is always tradition, not unalterable but never abandoned, as, of course, the other term is always experience. The one is form, method, a way of apprehending; the other is matter, realization, and what is apprehended.5

For Googe (as, to a degree, for most Elizabethan poets), literary tradition, Cunningham's first term, also forms a large portion of the second term; tradition determines both the means of apprehension and the matter apprehended. Not a belated instance of the flourishing of the allegorical love-vision as a means of ordering experience, “Cupido Conquered” is first of all a retrospective, scholarly attempt to compose in a fossilized style. But Googe does not merely recombine the inert traditional subject matter with the rigid traditional forms. As in his eclogues,6 he writes with a purpose—to drive courtly love, which he finds morally repugnant, out of poetry, which he understands as a means of ethical instruction.

In all his poetry Googe returns to a motto that sums up the ethically oriented philosophy of Christian Humanism and forms the keystone for the ideal of order to which he adheres: “Let Reason Rule.” For many of his short poems and for The Ship of Safegarde, Googe appropriated medieval and classical genres and the rhetorical modes and structures of humanistic education as vehicles for the inculcation of his conservative doctrines. When turning to the tradition of the love poem, both classical and courtly, Googe, like many poets of his era, found his artistic and his philosophical conservatism in serious conflict. To write poetry at all was to follow the example of the ancients, the Italians, and the writers in Tottel's Miscellany and deal with love. But the sensuality of the ancients and the postured sufferings of the poets of courtly love appear both foolish and evil in the eyes of Christian stoicism. The struggle to resolve this dilemma leads Googe to his most original and interesting poetic achievements.

In describing the tenets of Andreas Capellanus that command high standards of courtly and knightly behavior, Lewis pronounces courtly love “a system of ethics.”7 Nevertheless, he argues, we should take Andreas' volte-face in the third book, which repudiates in favor of religion all that has gone before, to indicate neither joking nor hypocrisy. Andreas was serious in saying that love is “the source of everything in saeculo bonum,” by which he intends not what we might mean by “worldly” good, but

the really good things, in a human sense, as contrasted with the really bad things: courage and courtesy and generosity, as against baseness. But rising like a sheer cliff above and behind this humane or secular scale of values, he has another which is not to be reconciled with it, another by whose standard there is very little to choose between the “worldly” good and the “worldly” bad.8

An absolute cleavage between this world and the next allows the medieval mind to let the religion of love and the true religion stand as statement and palinode.

Whatever else it may entail, the most basic aspiration of humanism is to eradicate the division between secular and eternal values, to bring down the morality of the high cliff and put it into practice on the plain of this world. So Googe, concentrating not on the distance between the two scales of values but on the iron chain that links them into unbroken continuity, cannot leave the conflict unresolved. He does not, like some humanists and some English poets of the next generation, resolve it in the neoplatonism that justifies courtly love as a pathway to the divine. Neither does he salvage the sentiment by eliminating the provision requiring adultery and by making marriage the goal of courtship. Googe's objection to courtly love has nothing to do with the seventh commandment: he rejects the doctrine because it leads to irrational mental states and behavior, and hence is improper and sinful for human beings. The refined sentiment of courtly love is for Googe a mask hiding the brute passion of lust.

In his eclogues Googe worked out his antagonism toward love in moral and theological terms; in his dream vision he deals with a specific—one would like to say personal—instance of a lover wrestling with Cupid's snares. The immediate impulse for rejecting love comes not from an awareness of love's irrationality, though that awareness is presupposed, but from a practical conflict of desires: the sufferings of love have kept the poet from writing and his muses are calling.

Briefly, the three-part progression of the poem is as follows. The poet, wandering forth on a spring day, finds a fountain under a Laurel tree. He falls asleep and dreams that he is accosted by Mercury, who, after some conversation, leads him to the castle where Diana holds her court. As he is exploring the place, a messenger comes with the news that Cupid's army is invading Diana's realm. She sends out Hippolytus with an army to meet the invader. In the ensuing battle, Cupid is captured and his army put to flight. The dreamer awakes and writes the poem about his dream. At every stage Googe echoes the poetry of the tradition he is repudiating.

As is nearly obligatory for a love vision, the poem begins in May, with a reverdie emphasizing the trees, “clothed greene,” and a profusion of white hawthorn blossoms. The colors are significant: white indicates purity or virginity, and green was the color of amorous passion for the courtly-love tradition.9

In a few lines the speaker enters the landscape, seeking and finding in the diversions of the outdoors some relief from the pain of separation from his beloved. He is especially delighted by “the pleasaunt Harmonye / that syngyng Byrdes did make,” birds that excel Amphion, “Sir Orpheus,” and Apollo as musicians. A picture of Orpheus' probable reaction to these singers, while it may not underline the exceptional, weird power of the birdsong, as Googe surely wished, serves a more important purpose:

I rather judge the thracian wold,
          his Harpe wherwith he played,
Have cast a way as one whom Ire,
          had uterly dismayed.

(ll. 25-6)

“I rather judge …”—this is the same tongue-in-cheek Googe who kneels aghast before Calliope, Urania, and Melpomene in his preface to the translation of Palingenius.10 Occasional puncturing of the solemnity of his mythological references testifies that Googe sensed the artificiality of his chosen mode of composition and that he could see beyond the limitations of his conventions enough to use them without being imprisoned by them.

The source of the first thirty-four lines of “Cupido Conquered” is the first part of Surrey's “Complaint of a lover, that defied love, and was by love after the more tormented.” Surrey's poem begins, like Googe's, when summer sets about overthrowing winter, spreading green over the earth. As in “Cupido Conquered,” spring eases the poet's heart and draws him outdoors to feel the air and hear the birds. Though the birdsong cheers him, he realizes enviously that the birds are rejoicing because nature has given them leave to choose their mates and love freely. He curses love and tries to throw off Cupid's yoke but soon regrets his attempt when he finds that it cannot be done and that he is going to be in a worse situation because now Cupid will not even help him with his courtship:

          A miror let me be unto ye lovers all:
Strive not with love: for if ye do, it will ye thus befall.(11)

Googe takes up the challenge and sets out to prove that Cupid can be overthrown. His imitation of Surrey's poem, besides providing a satisfactorily conventional prologue for the dream vision, serves to recall to the reader's mind a statement of the contrary view. By attacking even the most inanimate of straw men, Googe could give his poem an aura of relevance and importance.

He next discards his model from Tottel's Miscellany to assemble several elements central to the convention of the love vision. The poet watches the singing birds until he notices “a stately Lawrell tree” placed so beautifully beside a spring that “Dame Nature” seems to have been showing off in planting it. The tree and the fountain bristle with literary associations, of which the speaker is not unaware:

For sure I thynke, it was the place,
          wherein Narcissus dyed,
Or els the Well, to which was turnd
          poore Biblis while she cryed.

(ll. 57-8)

Googe does not miss a chance to pursue his vendetta against love. Narcissus and Byblis are not merely unfortunate lovers who suffered from their love: their names suggest subtly repugnant perversions—Narcissus loved himself; Byblis loved her twin brother.

It is the fountain of Narcissus into which the dreamer in the Roman de la Rose peers. Looking down, he sees reflected in two crystals the whole garden and especially the Rosebud he will seek. The crystals represent the lady's eyes, and it is at this moment that the dreamer falls in love, immediately suffering the wounds of Cupid's arrows. In “Cupido Conquered” the poet is already in love, and since he has not yet fallen asleep, it is awkward to attach a specific allegorical significance to the act of his looking into the fountain. But Googe can treat it as a literal experience with symbolic overtones. Within the fountain are reflected green trees, white blossoms, and a choir of birds—a natural garden now solidly connected with the allegorical garden of the Roman de la Rose, where birdsong, almost supernatural in its beauty, also provides a hypnotically charming background. Googe singles out not the beloved rose but the conflict of passion and chastity represented by their conventional colors, green and white.

In the Roman the fountain of love is situated under a pine tree described in the same sort of superlative terminology that Googe applies to the laurel arching over his fountain. His emphasis on this laurel, as well as the progress of the poem from the speaker's enslavement to love to the triumph of the armies of chastity over Cupid's forces, suggests that he may have been indebted to Petrarch's Trionfi, especially the first two, the “Triumph of Love” (where the dreaming poet plucks a laurel branch) and the “Triumph of Chastity.” But the resemblances between the rout of Cupid in Googe and the stately processionals of Petrarch are only of a general nature, and though Cupid is captured in both works, the results and implications differ: for Petrarch it means that his love will not be requited; for Googe it points the way to a rationally achieved and morally commendable self-extrication from the enervating snares of love.12

The laurel tree, together with Googe's use of the green and white color symbolism, recalls another poem that might more likely have provided a major inspiration for “Cupido Conquered,” the Middle English “The Flower and the Leaf,” once attributed to Chaucer, but now supposed to have been written by a woman, perhaps the same person who composed “The Assembly of Ladies.” What might have recommended “The Flower and the Leaf” to Googe is its moralistic tenor. It is a vision dreamed under a laurel tree of gentle rewards and punishments for courtly virtues and vices,13 a dance of conflict and reconciliation between the white-clad company of the Leaf, led by Diana, and the troop of the Flower, dressed in “lusty grene.” Though the whole remains within the matrix of courtly love, one of the virtues rewarded, along with valor and troth, is virginity, and the major vice to be punished is idleness. Idleness personified is the portress of the garden gate in the Roman de la Rose and the first soldier in Cupid's army in “Cupido Conquered.”

The atmosphere of “The Flower and the Leaf” is fanciful and feminine, quite different from the sturdy earnestness of Googe. The lady who composed it lingers lovingly over each pearl, each gold thread of the costumes of the revellers. Googe, though his subject perhaps demands descriptive detail, can bring himself only to pronounce a few hurried epithets. The keynote of the fairyland world of “The Flower and the Leaf” is graceful inconsequentiality. Throughout “Cupido Conquered,” though there are a number of humorous passages, we are aware of Googe's attempt to impress us with the solemn importance of the psychomachy that ends the dream. If we conclude that Googe knew and used “The Flower and the Leaf,” it does not necessarily follow that he misread the old poem, overlooking its essential lightness. All the conventional material he borrowed retains its external identity even as Googe transmutes its meaning by turning it to new purposes.

The glare of the sun forces the speaker of “Cupido Conquered” to give over staring at the reflections in the spring and to take shelter beneath the laurel tree. Under the influence of weariness, strange fumes from the spring, the music of the birds, and the agency of “woddy Nimphes,” he soon falls into a “slumbre Deepe,” and immediately the second poem of the poem begins. Mercury, dresses in white, acosts the dreamer, who at first is stunned, and then comically offended:

Thou Goddesse Son, why standste thou there
          what busines now with thee,
What meanest thou in thy flying weed,
          For to appeare to me.

(ll. 71-2)

Mercury replies that he has come as a messenger from the Muses to thank the poet for taking the trouble “In theyr affaires (a thankeles thyng) / to occupie thy Brayne,” and to encourage him in the face of “Momus ill report” to set to work with a will. Mercury assures him that “The day shall come when thankfull men, / shall well accept thy Paine,” and mentions some of Googe's friends whose writing has seen the light. But it is not reticence that keeps the poet from his work:

Moreover yet the Ladyes nine,
          have all commanded me,
Bycause they know, the blynded God
          has somethyng pearced the.
To leade the foorth, a thyng to see,
          Yf all thyngs happen right,
Whiche shall gyve the occasion good,
          with joyfull mynde to wryght.

(ll. 103-6)

The opposition between the idleness that results from the enervation of love and the praiseworthy work that the muses urge on the poet recalls the opposition between the idle company of the Flower and the industrious company of the Leaf, many of whom are crowned with laurel, the traditional reward of the working poet. The terms in which Googe couches his dreamer's encounter with Mercury bind together his moral and artistic themes.

The god tells the astonished dreamer to follow him; wings sprout on his sides and they fly off to “a Gorgyous Castell.” Cautioning him to “note what thou doose se,” Mercury hurries away. leaving the dreamer frightened and alone, cursing his guide in a comic soliloquy for having deserted him. Still, he decides, “hap what hap will to me,” to approach the castle.

In a line, Googe nods his acknowledgement to the conventional exterior description of the castle usually included in court-of-love poems and neglects entirely the next incident, the dreamer's entrance into the palace itself—an entrance often assisted by a porter such as “Genius” or “Fair Welcome,” with, or pointedly without, obstacles. But after his dreamer has strolled into the castle, Googe does full justice to one of the most fascinating and variously exploited features of the genre, the paintings on the walls.

Many authors took advantage of these frescoes to retell mythic or legendary tales. In “Cupido Conquered” the paintings indicate to the dreaming poet whose palace he has entered and remind him of something he needs to know. He finds himself in what amounts to Diana's trophy room. There is a picture of Acteon; one showing Orion in his discomfiture, subscribed “Account thy selfe lost, yf that / thou bearste a lecherous Hart”; and “many storyes more” of “What fearfull haps to many men, / for lust uncleane befell.”

Just as the poem is grinding to a halt in static description, Googe infuses it with action and life. A messenger, “blowyng fast for want of breath,” rushes past the dreamer, who follows him into Diana's presence chamber. Here Diana, in a shining robe of silver-white, sits on a high throne surrounded by her court. Among the throng are chaste but not virgin women (Dido, Hisiphile, Lucretia, Penelope); famous virgins, led by Hippolytus; and a trio of personified abstractions—Continence, Labour (“Of bodie bygge and strong … and somwhat Crabtre faced”), and Abstinence (“a leane unwyldy wyght” of “Diet thyn”).

The fraternization of mythological and legendary figures with personified abstractions is a customary feature of the medieval tradition that stands behind “Cupido Conquered.” Allegorical thought frequently chooses for its visible symbols typical or exceptional practitioners of the virtues or vices they are meant to stand for. Thus Diana, the chaste goddess, comes in this poem to represent the principle or ideal of Chastity, just as Venus, who is mentioned but never appears, looms over the poem as the erotic principle. So Hippolytus plays a foil for Cupid; the latter represents the action of lust in the soul, the former the counter-action of the ideal of Chastity. Continence, Labour, and Abstinence are concomitant virtues to chastity, and though Continence is not described (the proposition does present some difficulty), Googe pictures Labour as a laborer, Abstinence as one who has abstained. Later he envisions one of Cupid's attendants, “Exces,” in a passage anticipating Spenser's description of Gluttony, as “A lubbour great … full trust with guts.”

The messenger falls on his knees before Diana and bursts into a plea for aid against a terrible invader. Once his terror so overcomes him that he must pause, and then he launches a description of Cupid's army and the manner in which it is ravaging Diana's realm. As captain, Cupid rides with his golden bow and a quiver of poisonous arrows in a chariot. He has sacked a number of Diana's forts and slain many with his mysterious arrows. The wounds he inflicts fester and spread venom to the victims' hearts; they burn with fever or seek relief in suicide. “Nothyng abashde,” Hippolytus knows his duty and, reassuring the frightened ladies of the court, vows to bring the rampaging “Chieftain back” in chains.

Diana accepts Hippolytus as her champion, but she does not, as might have been true in a medieval poem, send him forth to meet Cupid in single combat. She charges him to raise an army and to march out to meet the invaders in a full epic battle. Here “Cupido Conquered” reaches back to the archetype of another literary tradition, the Psychomachia of Prudentius. One of the goriest conflicts in Prudentius' poem is the slaying of Libido by Pudicitia.14 Such a victory is possible, argues Prudentius, because all human flesh shares in the nature of the virgin birth and may be purified by Baptism. Prudentius' theological rationale differs from the moral-psychological scheme of “Cupido Conquered” as much as the bloody details that adorn the Psychomachia differ from Googe's generalized reports of who strikes blows and who then falls.

Hippolytus, choosing Abstinence, Continence, and Labour for his captains, takes his leave amid the tears of the ladies in the castle and sallies forth into the countryside to raise an army. Soldiers, “All armed brave in Corsletes white,” courageously rally to his trumpet and prepare to meet the enemy, whose general, Cupid himself, approaches, scattering flames in all directions and leading behind him a thousand bleeding hearts.

The dreamer hears Hippolytus harangue his soldiers, praising their courage, virtue, and manhood while disparaging their enemies, and the inevitable pattern of battle unfolds. The soldiers of Labour overcome those of Idlenes, and the two captains fight it out until Idlenes falls. Labour then goes to the aid of “Syr Abstinence” and together “the gresye Hoaste, / of Glottonye they slewe,” as Cupid's forces take to their heels before the joyous pursuit of the victorious army.

Googe renders the precise moment of the victory of the powers of chastity within the soul through a familiar image from the Phaedrus:

The dryver of his [Cupid's] Charyot soone
          Hipolitus there slewe.
And down from Horse, the wretche doth fall.
          The horses spoyld of guyde,
A souldier stoute of Reasons bande,
          is wylled there to ryde.
Who turnyng Raynes another waye
          restrayns hym of his flyght.

(ll. 354-7)

The rational will reins in the appetites and holds lust in check; the soul, formerly in disarray because of the unrestrained triumph of the erotic impulse, is now in its proper order.

Cupid pleads with Hippolytus for his life, reminding his conquerors that he is entitled to respect because he could very well have won the battle. Like the teller of ghost stories who lets his demon vanish into the night, perhaps to return, Googe leaves Cupid's fate undetermined. The poem ends with a passage of pleasant recapitulation that recalls earlier motives and artfully rounds off the narration. The dreamer awakes in confusion but soon recognizes the fountain and the laurel. After watching the sunset and the birds preparing for rest, he returns home to a restless bed. But:

When Phebus rose to passe the tyme,
          and passe my gryefe awaye
I toke my Pen and pend the Dreame
          that made my Muses staye.

(ll. 387-8)

The grief and the sleepless night suggest that the poet still suffers from the pangs of love, and that his situation, despite the outcome of the psychomachy, has not changed. This is only partly true. Googe recognizes that resolving in the mind to cast off love by exercising the rational will (to defeat love in the arena of the soul) does not result in immediate freedom from all further pain: love and lust act on the body as well as on the soul. But by rising in the morning and setting about to write, the poet acts positively on his resolve. He writes “to passe the tyme,” that is, to avoid idleness, which is the first step toward overcoming love's torments.

The locus classicus for this conception of the role of idleness in matters of love is Ovid's Remedia Amoris. Googe acknowledges his indebtedness in a marginal note to the brief gnome “To Alexander Nevell,” a translation of verses 139-40, 162-3 of Ovid's poem. “The Aunswere of A. Nevell to the Same” states succinctly the psychological mechanism that operates in “Cupido Conquered” and indicates its moral implications, even using two of the same epithets—“Drowsy Idlenes” and “vyle exces.”15 Perhaps, then, we should pronounce “Cupido Conquered” and its allegory needless elaboration, charming to the medieval and even the Renaissance mind; for us, however, only a bothersome interposition between the reader and the kernel of meaning it buries.16 But the allegory of “Cupido Conquered” does not simply expand a preformulated packet of truth. It shadows forth in what was probably the only way available to Googe the actual interplay of ambition, desire, and knowledge that, according to the traditional psychology, leads to human choice.

A suggestive contribution to the perennial controversy over the nature of allegory and how to read it is to be found in Lewis' description of the Roman de la Rose as a radical allegory. A radical allegory is a poem whose allegorical surface can otherwise be rendered “without confusion, but not without loss,” into a consistent literal story.17 Externalization of inner conflicts forms the core of the radical allegorical method; to be successful it must presuppose the existence of a character or characters within whom the conflicts are really taking place, such as the lover and his mistress in the Roman.

“Cupido Conquered” can be read as a radical allegory and translated into literal narration. A poet has fallen in love and lost his mistress. The loss, as we learn, added to his natural reluctance for fear of adverse criticism, has rendered him unable to write. He sets forth one spring day to distract himself from his woe. The conventional elements of the landscape, the birds, fountain, and laurel cannot be translated, but this is not necessary, for the externalization of the poet's inner conflict begins only when he falls asleep. As the messenger of the gods, Mercury often stands for eloquence, but let us say that here he represents the poet's desire to be eloquent, his poetic ambition. This ambition spurs the poet on by reminding him of others' success and instilling a hope for eventual fame, and drives him to the point—the gate of Diana's castle—where he can see a way to overcome his major obstacle, love, and so get on with his work. The triumph of Hippolytus over Cupid shows the chaster and more ambitious impulses of the poet's soul getting the upper hand on his debilitating erotic desires. When he awakes he is able to write again. Certain other elements of the poem fit the pattern of this story. For instance, the pomp of the mustered court of Diana, set beside the ragged army of Cupid and its devastation of the countryside, can represent the poet's knowledge of the dignity and nobility of chastity balanced with his perception of the repulsiveness and destructive effect of love. The descriptions of the frescoes play a similar role. These passages are appropriately bookish and derivative: the poet has learned what he knows from ancient authors. In short, then, “Cupido Conquered,” far from just decking a moral saw with gratuitous ornamentation, presents the externalized story of how and why a poet, meditating his case on a spring afternoon, makes up his mind to overcome the tyranny of love over his spirit and return to his work.18

The fountain, laurel tree, birds, and the May morning, though packed with connotations accumulated from centuries of use, exert their symbolic force only outside the radical allegory. Unlike Mercury or Diana's castle, they purport to be objects of the actual world. Googe uses them in two ways. First, he includes them in his poem as obligatory stage-properties of the genre in which he is writing. But, having no use for them in his allegory, he excludes them from the dream proper. Second, he playfully exploits the literary associations they recall in the mind of such a well-read person as the poet in “Cupido Conquered” by suggesting that it is under their mysterious influence that the dream appears to him. It is only natural that a scholarly poet, having found in the real world a place so similar to the landscapes of the old visionary poems he knew, should one way or another conceive an analogous dream vision for himself.

What the poet finally learns in the dream is not only how to overcome love in the soul but how to deal with it in poetry. “Cupido Conquered” acts out in detail the response Googe made to the problem presented by his artistic conservatism and his desire to use poetry for moral suasion; it is a poem about poetry, a piece of literary criticism. The dream sent him by the muses shows how, by portraying love defeated, one can treat the traditional subjects in the traditional genres without abdicating moral responsibility. Though Googe wrote “Cupido Conquered” in the medieval manner, imitating with precision the form of the dream-vision allegory, court of love, and psychomachy, a comparison of his work with three previous British analogues shows how much he has transformed the conventions to fit his needs.

Googe unequivocally takes sides on the conventional opposition between love and reason or religion or chastity. William Dunbar's The Goldyn Targe presents the opposition, but does not attempt to communicate a judgment. The shield of Reason protects Dunbar's dreamer from the arrows of the whole pagan pantheon and the allegorical court of love until a figure called Presence blinds Reason and the dreamer is captured. He is passed from Beauty to Dissimulance, and then in succession to Fair Calling, New Acquaintance, Danger, and Heaviness before he finally awakens. Reason, Dunbar implies, is helpless in the presence of beauty; no exercise of will or virtue can prevent the disaster. But Dunbar's forces of love are charming and seem not seriously dangerous; the poet awakens undisturbed. The purpose of the poem, as the envoy praising Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate makes clear, is to display eloquence in the statement and celebration of the poetic traditions of love.

“Cupido Conquered” brings to bear on the question of love a moral concern that is foreign to Dunbar's poem and to the much more pretentious Palice of Honour by Gavin Douglas, an encyclopedic dream vision against which the unity and focus of “Cupido Conquered” stand out sharply. Early in the poem Douglas' dreamer describes a triumph of Diana, whose crew, he notices, is badly diminished. Soon after, he meets a glorious triumph of Venus, to which he responds by singing a poem on the sufferings of love. Arraigned for this offense before the bar of Venus, he frees himself after some humorous interplay by composing a more acceptable lyric. Though it is clear that love is an obstacle to be avoided on the way to the Palace of Honor, this incident is handled without any of the moral fervor that Googe would have brought to it. Douglas' dreamer, as poet, gives in to the commands of Venus, thus debasing his art in precisely the way that Googe strives to avoid.

Stephen Hawes' Pastime of Pleasure employs the dream framework to begin an allegory of man's life structured as a romantic quest. The dreamer, besides passing through an allegorized scholastic education, must learn the discipline of chivalry in order to gain his beloved, La Belle Pucell, who personifies Beauty and Purity. Courtship and love are set forth after the manner of the Roman de la Rose and are climaxed by marriage. There is no question of evading love, though its shortcomings and decay with age are duly noted.

All three of these works deal in general types to describe what is real in the abstract, idealistic medieval sense. Love is incontrovertibly a part of life and so finds its literary representation in the usual ways. Googe is less concerned with what is real than with what is good, or rather, what one should do. Thus he builds his allegory not around man's life but around a single choice made by a particular man in a particular situation. The allegory brings to life the elements that enter into the choice, and though it does not deny that they are real, it discloses their true nature as perceived by the moral sense. Cupid's crew is by no means attractive, even though love is undeniably attractive in real life.

Preoccupied with revealing the love celebrated in poetry as a disruptive passion that can lead directly to mortal sin, Googe makes no provision for even a purified version of love, thus cutting off his poetry from a significant part of human experience. Unlike the later Elizabethans, who struggled to find new literary embodiments of love that could be reconciled with religion and morality, Googe dealt entirely with the traditional outlines of love in poetry, and, finding them at odds with his system of ethics, uncompromisingly rejected them. Thus he formulated a problem his successors worked to solve and in the process assembled many of the elements necessary to the solution. In “Cupido Conquered,” Googe demonstrated one way in which, by the application of moral philosophy to traditional subject matter, a dead genre could be revitalized.


  1. Hiram Haydn's The Counter-Renaissance (New York, 1950) demonstrates the scale of effort required.

  2. In the prefatory epistle to his collection Googe asks his readers “to beare with the unpleasaunt forme of my to hastely fynyshed Dreame, the greater part whereof with lytle advyse I lately ended, because the beginnyng of it, as a senseles head separated from the body was gyven with the rest to be prynted” by a friend while Googe was out of the country. Eglogs, Epytaphes, & Sonettes (1563), ed. Edward Arber (Westminster, 1895), p. 25. All quotations from Googe are from this edition; I have expanded typographical contractions and regularized the usage of i/j and u/v.

  3. New York, 1958, pp. 257-8. Earle Broadus Fowler, in Spenser and the Courts of Love (Menasha, Wis., 1921), tabulates the outstanding conventions of the genre. “Cupido Conquered” fulfills them almost without exception.

  4. The Allegory of Love, p. 157.

  5. Tradition and Poetic Structure (Denver, 1960), pp. 61-2.

  6. See Paul E. Parnell, “Barnabe Googe: A Puritan in Arcadia,” JEGP, LX (1961), 273-81. Parnell shows that in his eclogues Googe writes a homily against the love customarily celebrated in the genre.

  7. The Allegory of Love, p. 39.

  8. Ibid., pp. 41-2.

  9. See J. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (Garden City, N. Y., 1954), p. 271.

  10. See Rosemond Tuve, ed., The Zodiake of Life (New York, 1947).

  11. No. 5 in Tottel's Miscellany, ed. Hyder Edward Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1928, 1965).

  12. Petrarch has no court-of-love or court-of-chastity scene. Diana does not appear. In Petrarch, Love is defeated in the vain endeavor to subdue the chaste Laura in a single combat; in Googe two large armies clash, one led by Hippolytus, the other by Cupid. To remark that Googe was not closely following the Trionfi, nevertheless, is not to demonstrate that he did not know them. If he did not have Italian, he could have read them in an English version by Henry Parker, Lord Morley, published in 1554. In addition to the conventional trappings of the dream vision which they share and the partial similarity of their plots, the Trionfi and “Cupido Conquered” have several characters in common among those in the camp of the chaste. It is likely that Googe knew Petrarch had done something in the “dream” genre in which Cupid was overcome by the forces of chastity, that he was thus emboldened to try his own scheme for “Cupido Conquered,” and that he wanted to evoke the authoritative name of Petrarch along with all the other literary associations he weaves into the poem.

  13. See The Allegory of Love, p. 247. “The Flower and the Leaf” is printed in Chaucerian and Other Pieces, ed. W. W. Skeat (Oxford, 1897).

  14. Prudentius, ed. H. J. Thomson, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass., 1949), I, 40-108.

  15. Eglogs, Epitaphes, & Sonettes, p. 92.

  16. This view is held by Frank B. Fieler, editor of the Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints version of Googe's poems (Gainesville, Fla., 1968), pp. xix-xx.

  17. The Allegory of Love, p. 166.

  18. The danger of applying such a notion as radical allegory to the interpretation of poems is that once the general pattern emerges, the temptation is strong to push the case too far by trying to fit every detail into the scheme. It seldom works, and the critic finds himself rejecting the poem as inconsistent and confused simply because it does not form a mathematically perfect cryptogram. In Googe's poem, for example, we are compelled to understand the chariot seized by the soldier of Reason as a symbol of the poet's soul, while at the same time we must regard the whole world of the dream as a representation of his soul as well. Graham Hough in his Preface to the Faerie Queene (London, 1962), offers a healthy remonstrance against this kind of over-schematization in the reading of allegory. It is in the whole sweep of the narration that we are to seek the final meaning of the allegory, and we need ask only that each incident be consistent with the others on the surface level.

J. D. Alsop (essay date December 1981)

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SOURCE: Alsop, J. D. “The Dramatis Personae in Barnabe Googe's Critique of the Marian Persecution.” Notes and Queries 28, no. 6 (December 1981): 512-16.

[In the following essay, Alsop argues that the shepherds in Googe's third eclogue, a broad critique of religious problems of the day, were modeled on real-life Englishmen, the identity of whom cannot fully be established.]

Barnabe Googe's third eclogue, published in 1563 in Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, was a mixed critique of social and religious problems in Marian England set in the form of a pastoral dialogue between two shepherds, Menalcas and Coridon.1 The latter, when asked for news from the town, began with a complaint against urban life (ll. 25-32) which quickly developed into a survey first of the disorders in the social system produced by base upstarts who lacked breeding and virtue (ll. 33-53), and second of the oppression suffered by Protestants (ll. 54-86). The last two sections were connected when Coridon placed the responsibility for this persecution upon one of these social upstarts. This individual, described as ‘The chiefest man, in all our towne’ (l. 55), was also named Coridon, but the shepherd assured his audience that he was ‘no kynne to me’ (l. 56). The ‘bad’ Coridon, a neatherd or cowherd, had driven the sheep from their newly acquired pleasant hills and sweet pastures of Protestantism to return to their ‘old corrupted Grasse’ in the stinking dales of the old religion (ll. 54-63). The sheep who would not leave were consumed in fire and one shepherd, Daphnes, had died for them and another, Alexis, was burnt to death. The ‘good’ Coridon then concluded by expressing his intention to seek refuge in the country with his sheep until God restored true order (ll. 73-86).

Although Googe's satire is itself straightforward, some controversy has arisen over the identification of the real individuals who presumably are disguised as Coridon, Daphnes, and Alexis. The latter two shepherds were obviously leading Protestants who died under Queen Mary. John Heath-Stubbs stated that Daphnes was Cranmer and Alexis was Latimer or Ridley.2 Frank Fieler identified the two as Latimer and Ridley,3 a suggestion turned into certainty by Paul Parnell.4 The latest attempt by Timothy Cook argues that Alexis (not Daphnes) was Cranmer.5 In fact, none of these suggestions is based upon enough evidence to make them credible. It is simply not known why Googe identified only two martyrs when there were at least the three prominent ones mentioned above, besides Hooper and numerous lesser lights.

The identification of Coridon poses as great a problem, but at least in this case it is feasible to study the possibilities in greater depth. Cook has argued convincingly that Googe deliberately gave the same name to the religious oppressor and the shepherd who narrated the story in the poem in order to reveal that one of Googe's acquaintances, the shepherd Coridon, had in real life the same surname as the hated persecutor.6 This was brought out by the shepherd's statement that the second Coridon was ‘no kynne to me’. However, Cook went on to maintain that Googe's narrator was doing little more than repeating the views of the real life acquaintance, whom he identified as Barnabe Rich. Googe and Rich were certainly friends by 1578, and Cook suggested that they met at court in the early 1560s, at a time when the Marian oppression was fresh in the memories of these two Protestants. He identified the persecuting Coridon as Richard, Lord Rich, a leading conservative in religion who was active on the national scene under Henry VIII and Edward VI and in Rich's native Essex under Queen Mary. Lord Rich also fits the character of Coridon, who had ‘come from the Carte’ (l. 57), in that he had risen from a low social background. Barnabe Rich later expressed strong contempt for upstarts and stressed the importance of virtue as a characteristic of true nobility, as in his statement: ‘counterfeit gentlemen that are lately crept out of a thatcht house or from the dunghil’.7 These views were so closely aligned with the shepherd Coridon's social criticism that Cook believed Googe was merely repeating Rich's own philosophy when he spoke of ‘dunghill knights’ (l. 53), or:

But when by byrth, they base are bred,
          and churlisshe harte retaine,
Though place of gentlemen thei haue
          yet churles they do remayne.

(ll. 47-9)

However, this does not take into account that Googe elsewhere expressed a similar view of society. In his ‘An Epytaphe of the Lorde Sheffeldes death’, he wrote of the death of the lord during Ket's Rebellion:

By clubbish hands, of crabbed Clowns
          there spent his Noble blud.
His noble byrth auayled not,
          his honor all was vayne

(Eglogs, & c., p. 69, ll. 4-5)

Here, his ‘Dunghyll Dogs’ and the ‘Carlysh hands’ of the murderer are fully reminiscent of the third eclogue's ‘dunghill knights’ and ‘Churlysh Crueltye’ (ll. 53, 58-59). Similar views were expressed elsewhere in his poetry, especially in his eighth eclogue.8 Hence, there is no need to associate Barnabe Rich with the opinions expressed in the third eclogue; Googe independently maintained similar views.

Moreover, Cook's identification of the two Coridons as Barnabe and Richard Rich fails on several points. No evidence exists to suggest that Googe and Rich did meet in the early 1560s, or that the third eclogue can be dated to this period.9 The oppressing Coridon was described as ‘The chiefest man, in all our towne’, but this scarcely fits Lord Rich who under Mary had only local influence in Essex, a county with which Googe had no known connection. It is unlikely that this individual was prominent enough to have the leadership of the entire persecution assigned to him. Furthermore, Googe specifically stated that this Coridon was a ‘neteherd’ (l. 56), or cowherd, and of course the other Coridon was a shepherd. Throughout the religious section of the poem shepherds and their flocks represented clergy and their congregations. Hence, Googe's decision to make the persecutor a neatherd is revealing. In all probability he was a cleric in real life. It was, of course, essential to the pastoral form that the narrator be a shepherd. However, there was no necessity to have a single figure, identical in name with the oppressing clergyman, monopolize the poem. The other shepherd, Menalcas, had little to say, and none of it related to the religious situation. By assigning the name Coridon to both figures, and then making the shepherd Coridon responsible for refuting the religious persecution of the second, Googe could well have intended to reveal that the two men shared both the same surname and the same profession in life, yet held totally opposing views. Hence the statement that the second Coridon was ‘no kynne to me’ could have been a disclaimer of both kinship and religious affinity. In any case, it is apparent that even if the shepherd Coridon did not represent a cleric, the oppressor Coridon certainly did, and hence could not have been Richard, Lord Rich.

A less fanciful identification of the second Coridon was made by both Fieler and Parnell when they suggested the figure of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England.10 He was certainly an architect of religious persecution under Mary, and as Lord Chancellor could well be described as the ‘chiefest man, in all our towne’. Moreover, he was reported to be the son of a clothworker, and was well known for his stubbornness and scheming, crafty nature, which figure among Coridon's characteristics.11 Furthermore, contrary to the statement by Cook,12 a strong possibility exists that Googe did know at this time a second Gardiner, who was a cleric and a Protestant. George Gardiner (1535?-89), later dean of Norwich and chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, was, like Googe, a scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge.13 He took his B.A. in 1554, the year before Googe arrived, but remained in Cambridge as a fellow of Queen's College and proceeded M.A. in 1558. In March of 1558 he was ordained a priest and was later deprived of his fellowship for non-attendance.14 Gardiner thus could well have been the shepherd Coridon who escaped the town (Cambridge) to retire to the country with his flock. However, this would suggest a very early date of composition for the poem; Stephen Gardiner died in November 1555. One advantage to this, which could explain Googe's reference to only two martyred shepherds, is that at this time Latimer and Ridley were the two principal sufferers, having been executed in the preceding month; Cranmer did not die until March 1556. Nevertheless, it is difficult to accept without supporting evidence that Googe wrote the poem, and probably the other early eclogues, at the age of fifteen and a half. It is possible that Googe was retrospectively relating events in the eclogue. Yet, Coridon is clearly described as being the most important man at the time. Without stronger reasons for believing that the two Coridons were in fact Stephen and George Gardiner the identification must remain in doubt.

This is particularly true since there is no lack of other possible candidates for the two Coridons. After Gardiner's death the obvious candidates for the leadership in the religious persecution were Cardinal Pole, Queen Mary, and Philip of Spain, all of whom must be rejected since none could have been described as coming ‘from the Carte’. This leaves three Marian bishops who for various reasons could have been Googe's persecuting Coridon: Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London (1553-9), Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York (1555-9), and Thomas Watson, Bishop of Lincoln (1556-9). Bonner was John Heath-Stubbs's choice.15 He took the lead in oppressing Protestants in his diocese and was well known for his cruelty, quick temper, and caustic humour, which could well be described as ‘Crabbed, Clownish wytte’ (l. 58).16 He was supposed to be the natural son of a country rector and this could perhaps have represented a menial birth for Googe. Googe, himself, is not known to have had any involvement with London, the scene of Bonner's activity, at this time, but his father was frequently there and his step-mother probably had relations in the city.17 However, no other Protestant Bonner whom Googe could have known has yet come to light.

Another possibility is Nicholas Health. He succeeded Gardiner as Lord Chancellor of England and hence was at least a national figurehead for the persecution.18 Googe perhaps viewed him with personal displeasure because Heath was a former graduate of Googe's own college, Christ's, and because his father's residence of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, fell within Heath's archdiocese of York.19 Yet, little is known concerning his family's social status and again no other Protestant of this name has been discovered.

Finally, Coridon could well have represented Thomas Watson. He was the chief Catholic controversialist under Queen Mary, disputing in 1554 against Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer and also taking part against Hooper and other martyrs.20 Early in the reign he investigated the state of religion in the Oxford colleges and in 1557 he was one of the visitors to Cambridge when the bodies of Bucer and Fagius were unearthed and burned. Watson is an attractive possibility because as Bishop of Lincoln he was responsible for enforcing the Counter-Reformation at Googe's two principal residences of Horkstow and Alvington, Lincolnshire.21 Unfortunately, little is known of his social background, but this in itself could suggest an undistinguished birth. He was a well learned man, suitable to fill Coridon's description as a crabbed wit, in the sense of being a twisted intellectual. Moreover, Godwin and Strype described him as ‘an austere, or rather a sour and churlish man’,22 which is reminiscent of Googe's phrase, ‘Churlysh Crueltye’ (l. 59). A principal advantage to Watson is the fact that a large number of other individuals sharing this name were present in Cambridge in the 1550s.23 Many more attended Christ's College by at least the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign; Watsons had been associated with Googe's college since John Watson served as its master from 1517 to 1531. Hence, circumstantial evidence exists for supposing that Googe's two Coridons were Thomas Watson and an unidentified Cambridge scholar of the same name.

Therefore, either Gardiner, Bonner, Heath, Watson, or perhaps another individual could possibly have been Googe's persecuting Coridon. It is impossible to provide a certain identification given the present insufficient knowledge of the possible candidates, Googe's own associates at this time, and the date of composition of the third eclogue. As with Daphnes and Alexis, the identity of the individual whom Googe held chiefly responsible for the religious persecution must remain in doubt.


  1. Barnabe Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, ed. Edward Arber (English Reprints, 1871), 38-42. All textual references are to this edition. For Googe's poetry see: Douglas L. Peterson, The English Lyric from Wyatt to Donne (Princeton, 1967), 134-41; Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, ed. Frank Fieler (Gainesville, 1969).

  2. John Heath-Stubbs, The Pastoral (Oxford, 1969), 18.

  3. Fieler, xiii.

  4. Paul Parnell, ‘Barnabe Googe, a Puritan in Arcadia’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, lx (1961), 276.

  5. Timothy Cook, ‘Who Were Barnabe Googe's Two Coridons?’, N & Q, ccxxii (1977), 498.

  6. Ibid., 498-9.

  7. From Roome for a Gentleman (1609), quoted by Cook, 498.

  8. Googe, Eglogs, & c., 66-7. The subject of Googe's social criticism is dealt with at greater length in a forthcoming study by the author.

  9. Writers have been complacent in assigning composition of the Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes to the years immediately preceding publication in 1563: Arber, 16; Fieler, xi-xii; Peterson, 134. Although some of the works date from the early 1560s, there is no evidence that this includes the early eclogues. It is at least as likely that the third eclogue is the contemporary protest which it appears to be and therefore was composed in Queen Mary's reign, before Googe left the university.

  10. Fieler, xiii; Parnell, 276.

  11. DNB.

  12. Cook, 498.

  13. DNB. Googe entered Christ's College in May 1555 and left at an uncertain date for New College, Oxford, whence he entered the Inns of Court apparently early in 1560: John Venn and J. A. Venn (eds.), Alumni Cantabrigienses (Cambridge, 1922), I, ii. 231.

  14. Venn, I, ii. 192.

  15. Heath-Stubbs, 18; but see Gina Alexander, ‘Bonner and the Marian Persecutions’, History, lx (1975), 374-91.

  16. DNB.

  17. Richard C. Barnett, Place, Profit, and Power (Chapel Hill, 1969), 65-6; Walter C. Richardson, History of the Court of Augmentations, 1536-1554 (Baton Rouge, 1961), 49; Googe family wills, Public Record Office, PROB 11/28, fos. 293-v, 40, fos. 53v-5v.

  18. DNB.

  19. Public Record Office, PROB 11/40, fo. 53v.

  20. DNB.

  21. Public Record Office, PROB 11/40, fos. 53v-4.

  22. Quoted in the DNB.

  23. Venn, I, iv. 347-51.

William E. Sheidley (essay date 1981)

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SOURCE: Sheidley, William E. “Barnabe Googe in His Time—and Afterwards,” and “The Later Translations: Images of Life.” In Barnabe Googe, pp. 16-27; 100-17. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1981.

[In the first excerpt which follows, Sheidley examines Googe's literary reputation and poetic style. In the second, he discusses themes and style in the final six works Googe translated.]



Almost entirely forgotten for over a hundred years, Googe and his works were exhumed by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiquarians and bibliophiles.1 Thomas Warton's matter-of-fact account set the tone for subsequent literary historians, whose distaste for Googe's writings is imperfectly hidden by scattered bits of grudging praise.2 For some, Googe presented an opportunity to vent scholarly impatience or critical scorn. A speaker in Collier's Poetical Decameron remarks that Googe, “though a voluminous writer, and especially translator, has produced nothing original that I have ever seen worth preserving.”3 Rollins and Baker, although they give him generous space in their anthology, cannot refrain from observing that “Googe's first impulse to let his juvenilia lie in darkness was probably sound.”4 Perhaps Googe's reputation hits rock-bottom in Don Cameron Allen's devastating epithet, “subpoet.”5

But however repellent to refined sensibilities, Googe's works have had an undeniable value to historical scholarship. Long before Rollins and Baker recognized in the collection of short poems “a grim little testimonial to the continuing influence of Tottel's Miscellany,6 the diligent Edward Arber in 1871 had reprinted it with introduction and notes as an important link in the chain of English poetry, calling Googe one of “the heralds, the forerunners, the teachers of Spenser, Shakespeare, and Johnson [sic].”7 Shortly thereafter, an elegant facsimile of one translation appeared,8 and Googe, thus accessible, began to attract the attention of specialists. To the student of Spanish influence on English literature, for example, he was important as the first Elizabethan to reflect it; for the historian of the pastoral, he offered the only clear anticipation of The Shepheardes Calender in English; for the scholar in quest of sources for ideas and images in Shakespeare and Spenser, the Zodiake provided a major repository; and for the writer interested in the influence of works Googe translated, he served as a crucial conduit.

It is mostly to critics interested specifically in the history of the short poem, however, that Googe owes his partial rehabilitation during the present century. As early as 1905, John Erskine saw in many of Googe's poems what he held indispensable to the successful lyric, an honest expression of personal feeling.9 To Yvor Winters, whose essay on the Renaissance lyric has commanded attention for over forty years, Googe formed an important stage in the native tradition of the plain style.10 Writers following Winters's suggestions have analyzed Googe's lyrics and their historical context with a care befitting works of stature, and the poems have been edited and anthologized, so that today they surely reach a wider and more appreciative audience than when they were first published.11

Although occasionally his original works were acknowledged,12 among his contemporaries Googe was mainly famous as a translator.13 Translation was the distinctive literary activity of Googe's generation, which labored to fill the empty shelves of the English library by the readiest expedient and to mesh the vernacular culture of England with the neo-Latin culture of Renaissance Europe at large.14 Most of the writers with whom Googe is associated were primarily translators, whether of Seneca's tragedies, Mantuan's eclogues, or Homer from the French. Many entered the service of the Protestant statesmen and clerics who had come to power with Elizabeth, just as Googe himself joined the household of his kinsman Sir William Cecil, later Lord Burghley.15 Their literary labors were designed to advance the general program of the new regime, which included purging the realm of vice, papistry, and dissension while educating the populace to the need for civil order, obedience, and a patriotism focused on the crown. In this context, “englishing” a foreign classic was a service to the nation—all the more so if it contained sound moral doctrine, Protestant polemic, or useful practical information. As for narrative poetry or the lyric, though it was well to demonstrate that English was as good a tongue for a sonnet16 as Italian or French, one had carefully to avoid seeming to espouse idleness or vice.

Under the influence of the rhetorical education they received at the hands of an older generation of humanists, Googe and his fellows believed in the power of poetry to move the mind to virtue;17 unlike the younger group of writers who supplanted them in the middle of their lives, however, their interest was always engaged more in the purpose being pursued than in the poetry itself. Their writings frequently have a rough-and-ready quality that makes them seem naive and rustic in comparison with the sophisticated craftsmanship of Sidney or Spenser. Caught thus between a paternal establishment whose projects and values served as their own and the advent of a brilliant new generation that would redefine English literary culture in less constrictive terms, most writers born in the 1530s and 1540s gave up original poetry quickly—if they ever tried it—and lapsed into virtual silence before 1580.18


The Fovre Bookes of Husbandry was the most durable of Googe's efforts—in part, perhaps, because he wrote it in prose. Early Elizabethan poetry sounded laughably primitive in the age of Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson, and its verse and diction still remain the greatest obstacles to the appreciation of Googe and his contemporaries. The poulter's measure and fourteener couplets favored in the 1560s and 1570s have struck the ears of most critics as jog-trot doggerel, beginning with Warton, who held that “this metre of Sternhold and Hopkins impoverished three parts of the poetry of Queen Elizabeth's reign.”19 Because of the large type and narrow pages in use during the 1560s, most of Googe's fourteeners were printed broken after the fourth foot, which happily charges the caesura with the force of a line ending and eliminates the tendency of the long lines to sag in the middle.20 Since Googe followed the principles Gascoigne would enunciate21 of fitting light and heavy syllables into a rigidly conceived and continuously asserted prosodic matrix of alternating stresses, regular caesuras, and end-stopped lines, dividing his fourteener couplets or poulter's distichs automatically produced little epigrammatic abcb stanzas.22 The effect is especially felicitous in short poems, where he strives for concision. Sometimes Googe breaks with the set norms, and the consequent rhythmic variations, because they are so rare, carry exceptional force. His use of spondees for emphasis struck Winters as an important anticipation of the strong and various rhythms attained by the later Elizabethans.23

In his deployment of the rhetorical figures whose presence indicated artfulness in early Elizabethan poetry24 and in his adherence to given principles of decorum,25 Googe remains, to be sure, a man of his time, but despite his artistic conservatism he is less imprisoned by convention than some. His elevated and figurative language seldom obscures the meaning it seeks to advance, and he can parody the kind that does. His base or rude style depends not on recherché archaism but on the sharp concretion of the spoken word. To a reader unfamiliar with the works of Grimald, Turbervile, Howell, or the translators of Seneca, Googe's poetry may sound primitive and quaint, but anyone inured to the endemic peculiarities of early Elizabethan style will hear a distinct, refreshing voice with something meaningful to say. In discussing the relationship of writers to established attitudes toward language and reality, Robert Pinsky has argued that “it takes considerable effort by a poet either to understand and apply those attitudes, for his own purposes, or to abandon them. The alternative to such effort,” he goes on, “may be to lapse into mere mannerism or received ideas.”26 Although Googe certainly deals in received ideas, he understands them, possesses them, and, whether composing his own statements or … translating those of others, he applies them to real and vital concerns. His modes of expression rely heavily on his models in the rhetorics, the classics, and Tottel's Miscellany, but he escapes mannerism by firmly subjugating style to statement and cliché to the case at hand.



In his life of Sir Philip Sidney, Fulke Greville used terms like those of “The Ship of Safegarde” to explain that his own poetry, drawing more “upon the Images of Life, than the Images of Wit,” is addressed “to those only, that are weather-beaten in the Sea of this World, such as having lost the sight of their Gardens, and groves, study to saile on a right course among Rocks, and quick-sands.”27 Similarly, Googe, especially after weathering his first trip to Ireland in 1574, chose no longer to range through the zodiac of his own wit but to confine himself to the proven imaginings of others, notably Palingenius, to whom he returned for the definitive Zodiake of 1576. Subsequently, he found guidance through the moral and practical perils of life in three new books he translated between 1577 and 1579. The work of this prolific period, together with two legends from ecclesiastical history in The Shippe of Safegarde (1569), a timely anti-Papist volume of 1570, and Googe's last publication, a medical pamphlet printed in 1587, is the concern of this final chapter.

Although he imagined translation patronized by the Muses, Googe pursued his art according to the simplest of principles. Striving always for a “faythfull and true translation,” he aimed merely to make useful works available in English. He rendered the texts “in some places verse for verse, & word for worde.” “In other places (where I haue not precisely obserued so strickte an order) yet,” he insists, “haue I no whit swarued from the perfect minde of the autoure.”28 His diverse translations all reflect the conviction that he could better serve his readers and please his patrons with satiric, didactic, and practical writings than with works of fancy, even if purged of sin. The small library he “englished” deals with topics ranging from the miracles of a martyred bishop to the best way to hatch duck eggs. Reading through it reinforces the notion of the universal curiosity of the Renaissance mind and inspires admiration for the endurance and workmanship of the translator.


The two narratives Googe versified from “Eusebius” and included in The Shippe of Safegarde occupy a middle ground between translation and original composition. Googe's source was the Latin version of the Ecclesiastical History made by Tyrannius Rufinus around a.d. 401. Rufinus scrupled neither to revise the Greek original when it suited him nor to add details or whole incidents to the record.29 One such passage supplies the second of Googe's stories, to be discussed below, although it appears in Book VII rather than Book IV as his headnote wrongly affirms. The first tale, “The death of S. Polycarpus, Bishop of Smyrna, and disciple to saint Iohn,” comes from Book IV, Chapter 15. A comparison of Googe's version with Rufinus's, which in this case is a close rendering of the Greek,30 will show how Googe adapts his source to suit his juvenile English audience.

Although he follows the historical narrative incident by incident, Googe suppresses some points, expands on others, and strives always to eliminate confusing issues, clarify obscure passages, heighten the drama, and drive home the moral point. To set up the conflict between “The poore afflicted Christian flocke” (1. 5) and its wolvish Roman persecutors, he provides a dozen lines (fourteeners) of prologue naturally absent from the original. His simplified version of how the eighty-six-year-old bishop was arrested slips no opportunity to evoke sympathy for the victim and hatred for the “cursed Catchpolles” (1. 41) who torment him. When, for example, Polycarp's captors hurry him down from a wagon, causing him to hurt his foot,31 Googe has it that “they threw him headlong downe” and “hurt him verie sore” (11. 88-89).

Googe had to make other changes in the ancient story of the martyrdom of a saint to render it suitable for Tudor readers. While the source stresses the miraculous proleptic vision of fire experienced by Polycarp on the eve of his capture and the uncanny way in which his blood, coursing from a wound made by the impatient executioner's sword, extinguishes the towering flames that surround him, Googe deletes references to the bishop's “dreame” whenever he can and allows that the fire was quenched by blood only “In diuers places of the pile” (1. 205). Likewise, he totally rewrites Polycarp's final prayer in Protestant language. When God's voice booms out over the arena, it says in Rufinus's Latin, “fortis esto, Polycarpe, et viriliter age” (Mommsen, p. 343; sig. E3v), “Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man” (Lake, p. 347), but in Googe's English it says, “Be of good comfort Polycarpe / and keepe thy conscience well” (1. 94), as the translator steers away from anything that might be misread as merely pagan heroism. While for Eusebius and Rufinus Polycarp's sainthood derives in part from the miracles that attended his death, the martyred bishop interests Googe, as an interpolated passage (11. 50-58) makes clear, almost entirely as an exemplar of steadfast resistance to temptation in face of threatened physical torment—not unlike the Protestant martyrs who went to the stake in England during his childhood. Thus the tale's theme harmonizes more fully than Googe saw fit to claim with the purport of The Ship of Safegarde itself.

The brief story of “A Priest of Apollo straungely conuerted” is less moralistic; it deals in irony and wonder and rounds off the book with a happily-ever-after conclusion. High in the Alps stands a temple where many repair to hear the oracles of the god. When “One Gregorie, a christian Bishop olde” (1. 10) spends a night there in his travels, the attendant priest entertains him by explaining the details of his cult. After Gregory leaves in the morning, however, he discovers that the idol has fallen silent. That night the god informs him in a dream that he cannot speak without the bishop's permission. Catching up with him on the morrow, the priest reminds Gregory of his former hospitality and the bishop expresses his gratitude by writing:

Unto Apollo Gregorius greeting sendes,
I giue thee leaue, do as thou didst before.

(11. 81-82)

When this paper is placed on the altar, “The Idoll streight beginnes againe to prate” (1. 89), but Apollo has lost his standing with the priest, who follows Gregory, and, “falling flat” before him as he has previously done before his idol, begs to learn about the stronger God, is converted, and ultimately succeeds his patron as bishop.

Googe again follows Rufinus point for point but enriches the account with details of setting, action, and dialogue.32 His brisk pentameter quatrains advance the narrative without interruption for sermon or satire; in concision, structure, and wit the poem maintains the highest standards of the Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes. It is unfortunate that Googe found these stories “tedious,” as he tells his sisters-in-law in the dedication, and wrote no more. His public and satiric interests had gained the upper hand, and his next work, addressed to no less a personage than the queen, aimed less to foster virtue in the young or amuse them with stories than to enlighten the nation at large about the enemy of the day.


It is pleasant to surmise that the “learned Maister Bale” who encouraged Googe to translate Palingenius also introduced him to the congenially Protestant works of Thomas Naogeorgus or Kirchmeyer.33 Twice an exile for his reformed beliefs and an outspoken Protestant in print, the old antiquary may well have placed in the hands of his young friend such tracts as the vehemently anti-Catholic satire Regnum Papisticum and a handbook for a reformed ministry called Agriculturae Sacrae Libri Quinque.34 Although his translation of The Popish Kingdome did not appear until 1570, some seven years after Bale's death, Googe explained that he had done the two books of “The Spirituall Husbandrie” appended to give bulk to the volume “long before.”35

Naogeorgus, a German cleric of independent mind, is primarily remembered for his Latin plays, including the intensely anti-Papist Pammachius (1538), whose impact was great enough to precipitate an inquisition by Bishop Gardiner when it was produced at Cambridge in 1545.36 Apparently ill-disposed to adhere on the basis of tradition or authority to doctrines that seemed to him erroneous, Naogeorgus set himself up not only against Rome but against the Wittenberg reformers as well. The Regnum Papisticum rings with the sarcastic fervor of the outsider to whom everything with which he does not agree appears a conscious fraud perpetrated by men of power and evil motives. His view of the Roman church as composed entirely of knaves and fools animated by greed and fear narrows the poem's emotional range, but the oversimplification makes the work an effective piece of propaganda. It was with a sure sense of purpose that Googe chose to publish The Popish Kingdome in 1570, in the midst of a crisis in the conflict between England and Rome, as a study of the queen's “greatest aduersarie.”

The general argument of the poem is simple: the Pope, or Antichrist, by establishing himself as the arbiter of who is saved and who is damned, has gained sway over everyone foolish enough to believe him. He uses this power to extort wealth and other worldly rewards, presiding over a hierarchy of graft and emulation through which the “lothsome poyson” (fol. 17v) of his avarice and pride seeps out into the world at large (cf. fol. 27v). Since for Naogeorgus salvation is God's free gift to all believers and cannot be earned through good works or bought from the clergy, the Pope and all his train are engaged in a gigantic confidence racket, peddling through all their manifold rituals and other operations something that is not theirs to sell.

The first two books survey the ranks of the clergy. The extravagance of their claims to authority and the complex distinctions among their titles and duties have a Lilliputian absurdity, but Naogeorgus does not regard the Papists with any amusement: their worldly power shapes the fate of nations; their greed strips the people of the fruits of their labor. The third book anatomizes the main rites of the church in ironic terms, showing how the Mass, pilgrimages, worship of relics, and the rest are used to prey on the anxieties of the faithful.

Book Four, which has been useful to students of late medieval and Renaissance popular customs,37 mocks traditional holiday ceremonies. Following his usual satiric strategy, Naogeorgus gives a deadpan, literal-minded account of symbolic rituals and semiserious or entirely recreative revelry, viewing the old customs as ignorant superstition or dangerous idolatry. Here his humorless tone, which was effective enough in ridiculing “the iesture straunge … And shuffling vp and downe of Clarkes” (fol. 10v) in the Mass, becomes tiresome, even when punctured by irony. Although a concluding complaint about the religious wars and persecutions to which German Protestants were subjected and which Englishmen in 1570 had reason to fear reminds us that the poem treats an issue of urgent seriousness, it is nonetheless refreshing now and then to catch in a flash of energetic verse or a vivid image a hint that the poet and his translator were not entirely immune to the beauty of the customs they described—as in these lines on a Christmas ceremony:

This done, a woodden childe in clowtes is on the aultar set
About the which both boyes and gyrles do daunce and trymly jet,
And Carrols sing in prayse of Christ, and for to helpe them heare,
The Organs aunswere euery verse, with sweete and solemne cheare.

(fol. 45)

To establish that this is idolatrous, Naogeorgus goes on to compare it to the “Coribants … vpon the mountaine Ide,” who sang and beat on brass pans to hide the crying of the newborn Jupiter from his father. Here even the pagan parallel is charged with exotic fascination, but the general impression of the popish kingdom conveyed by Book Four is of a world gone mad with inane processions, frantic efforts to ward off evil spirits, divination, dancing, drunkenness, and lechery. On Corpus Christi Day, for example, everyone parades behind a loaf of bread that is protected from the “doung” of “some mad birde” (fol. 53v) by a rich canopy; at Shrovetide the same fools “beare a torde, that on a Cushion soft they lay, / And one there is that with a flap doth keepe the flies away” (fol. 48).

As [Brooke] Peirce says ([“Barnabe Googe: Poet and Translator.” Diss. Harvard, 1954.] p. 104), The Popish Kingdome is better satire than the controversial pamphlets it resembles, and Googe's translation enriches it with a vigorous and colorful English idiom: the appurtenances of Roman religion are “gewgawes” and “trumperies” (fol. 9); Jesuits will be damned with other “rifraffe” (fol. 25); and unbelievers receive no grace from baptism, “though ten times in the fludde they sowsed be” (fol. 31). Although he remains close to the original, Googe caters to his public by deleting learned allusions, explaining confusing terms, and adding vivid descriptive details.38

The two books of “The Spirituall Husbandrie” lack the vigor and precision of the longer poem.39 Rather than distorting and exaggerating actual men and manners in order to satirize them, Naogeorgus develops a bookish extended simile like that of The Ship of Safegarde. Man's mind is a field; God planted seeds of grace and virtue there, but Satan sowed weeds and thistles. After the Fall, God persuaded Adam to become a good husbandman of his soul, but in subsequent generations Satan's cockles sprang up again to harm the crop. Since the Incarnation, good seeds are found in the word of God preached by Jesus and the apostles: the New Testament is “the arte of husbandrie” (fol. 65). The weeds of heresy and superstition still spring up; the rock of sin still breaks the plow. But God sends “learned labourers” (fol. 65) to till the field, spiritual husbandmen whose requisite background, constitution, and training are developed in standard humanist terms. After a full presentation of “the learnings liberall” (fol. 69) and a defense of study on the basis that its alternative is sloth, the first book ends with an attack on pride. The second begins with a similar discussion of avarice, a particular danger to the learned, whose sins are worse than those of the lewd, Naogeorgus affirms, inveighing against lust and gluttony and elegant living. Thus chastened and prepared, the learned preacher is advised to sow the seed he finds in the word of God, confining himself to scripture, especially the books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Gospels. At times his enthusiasm for the inspired parts of the Bible seems to be leading Naogeorgus toward a contempt for human learning similar to that of the “franticke Anabaptistes” (fol. 72v) he condemns: “No neede is here to vexe the minde with turning many bookes,” he says (fol. 78v), expressing an attitude that may well have given his studious translator pause. But since the Holy Ghost, like many “prophane wryters” (fol. 79v), tends to be something of an allegorist, Naogeorgus would allow the preacher what help he needs to find out the hidden meaning and explain it to his flock. Book Two therefore ends with a reading list of sacred and secular works presented in the form of a plan for arranging the minister's bookshelf. The part of the treatise that Googe translated, then, forms a coherent introduction to the calling of the Protestant ministry. As a comparatively readable presentation of stock moral doctrine and some key points of Protestant theology, it provides a suitable counterweight to the invective of the longer poem. But neither work approaches the curious appeal of the two books that Googe, with seven more years of hard experience on his back, next undertook to translate.


In 1577 Abraham Veale issued a little book entitled The Overthrow of the Gout / Written in Latin Verse, by Doctor Christopher Balista. A translation of two Latin poems by Christophe Arbaleste, a physician and sometime Reformation preacher in Switzerland, the volume is dedicated by “B.G.” to “his very good Frende” Richard Masters, the queen's physician.40 Although “the verse in Latin is not very eloquent,” Googe confesses himself “somthing delighted with the writer” and says he set about the work “partely for mine owne recreation” but mainly “for the benefit of diuerse my freends troubled with that disease.” In this he follows his author, who several times mentions with outrage the affliction of his patient, Philip of Platea, Bishop of Sion (Sedun), Switzerland, and seems to have written the poem while working on his case.

The modern reader of the first poem in The Overthrow of the Gout, a rendering in 344 broken fourteeners of Balista's “In Podagram Concertatio,” will note a tension between its sophisticated mock-heroic machinery and its naively confident presentation of remedy after outlandish remedy to be prepared from the herbs, spices, minerals, and animal substances that were the stock in trade of ancient pharmacology. But as Googe's other translation of 1577, the Fovre Bookes of Husbandry, attests, the extremes of literary refinement could coexist in the sixteenth century with the most practical information. Amusing as it may be, Balista's heroic style does not belittle his subject, but rather suggests that, to the afflicted, the battle against crippling gout is indeed a matter of epic seriousness. Balista uses elevated passages as a frame for his lists of remedies and rules for good living. His occasional digressions to recount incidents relating to the gout from classical literature or to give a short panegyric on the virtues of swine grease or “Colewort” reveal that, despite its concentration on the details of preparing and applying medication, the poem is a piece of humanistic book learning. Balista compiles all the remedies for the gout that his scholarship has been able to unearth.41 Any one of scores of herbs or fats, applied in every conceivable fashion, should put the sufferer back on his feet in no time, but Balista seems drawn to the most nauseous preparations, and Googe makes it a point of honor to follow him without batting an eye,42 matter-of-factly reproducing the formulae for turning goose grease, urine, bird droppings, seaweed, and “Beauers stones” into sovereign remedies, and helpfully adding alternatives or supplying idiomatic English names in the margin. A prescription for applying to the feet a poultice made from wax and the ashes of a crow that has been buried alive in horse manure is offered with characteristic confidence: it will make “the poore diseased man, / to go without a stay” (sig. C1v).

The much shorter poem (sixty-six fourteeners) that closes the volume, “A Dialogue betwixt the Gout and Cri. Balista,” serves as an envoy to the whole. As before, Balista blends wit with sympathy for victims of the gout and a general Christian-humanist moralism. Gout opens the poem with a woeful lament. Like her own victims, she is stabbed with pain and can walk no faster than a tortoise. “Alas,” she cries, “and shall I dye?” “Thou shalt,” the poet intrudes, giving his name and announcing pompously that he is the one responsible for bringing her to the point of death (sig. C6). When Gout complains, he taxes her with having plagued virtuous men, and when she then pleads for pity, he agrees to spare her on two conditions: that she will release Bishop Philip from his torments and that she will henceforth afflict only the wicked, especially gluttons (sig. C7v).

In arguing that Googe was indeed the “B.G.” who translated The Overthrow of the Gout, Peirce remarks that it must have appealed to his fondness for “encyclopedic trivia” (p. 168). More than that, Balista's little book gave him a chance to combine his scholarly, moral, and poetic concerns with the interest in medicine and horticulture evident elsewhere in his works to an unquestionably utilitarian purpose.


Googe had still more to say on medicinal herbs in a long digression interpolated into his version of the Fovre Bookes of Husbandry by Conrad Heresbach. This handsomely printed prose treatise of well over 150,000 words was the most popular of Googe's books apart from the Zodiake. It was issued three times during Googe's life (1577, 1578, and 1586), again in 1596, 1601, and 1614, and in a revised version by Gervase Markham in 1631. The esteem in which it was held is justified by the interest, usefulness, and readability of its contents.

The original, Rei rusticae libri quatuor, is part of a series of works on rural subjects composed during his retirement by Heresbach (1496-1576), a Rhineland humanist and servant of the Duke of Cleves.43 It compiles the teachings of ancient and modern authorities on (as Googe expresses it in his subheadings) “earable ground, tyllage, and pasture”; “Gardens, Orchardes, and Wooddes”; “feeding, breeding, and curing of Cattell”; and “Poultry, Foule, Fishe, and Bees.” Each book introduces one or more experts who respond to the inquiries of their companions by discoursing at large on the excellence and practical details of their occupations.

At the start Heresbach portrays in Cono a learned gentleman like himself whose daily activities include study and prayer and who can defend in good set terms his withdrawal from court to country, so that when he cites Varro, Theophrastus, Cato, Columella, Dioscorides, and Laurentius in a single breath (sigs. D3-D3v) or quotes at length in verse from Vergil or Horace, it seems no less probable than when he explains the best arrangement of farm buildings by leading his interlocutor on a tour of his estate or names the tools in his toolshed as he points to them one by one. But when in Book Three four herdsmen demonstrate similar learning as they pass a holiday in conversation under a tree by preference to the tavern or when Melisseus in Book Four regales his friends by quoting long passages on bee-keeping from the Georgics, it becomes clear that verisimilitude did not interest Heresbach and that he used the dialogue form primarily as a way to organize the voluminous information he had gleaned from his studies. Having decided to devote himself to cultivating his lands, like a true humanist Heresbach read everything he could find on the subject and set forth his knowledge in a pleasant form for the benefit of others.

One of his beneficiaries was Googe, who had himself gone to farming, or at least gardening, at Kingston in Kent after his first trip to Ireland and who was looking forward eagerly to the day when he could take possession of his father's lands in Lincolnshire.44 For the “further profite and pleasure” of his English readers, Googe added what he could from “myne owne readinges and obseruations, ioyned with the experience of sundry my freendes.” Although he admits that some of what he takes by way of Heresbach from “the olde auncient husbandes, as well Greekes as Latines,” (sig. (iij)) concerns plants foreign to England, he is confident that they can be naturalized—even the vine, which used to be grown in England and should be reintroduced for the benefit of the realm.

Googe devotes a full page to listing the authorities on which he and Heresbach have drawn. After “The Byble, and Doctors of the Churche,” he gives fifty-nine Greek and Latin writers, and then, in a separate group, he names eighteen Englishmen, some of whom are authors, some his neighbors and acquaintances.45 “My freend Wylliam Prat, very skilful in these matters,” contributes a recipe for preparing asparagus (sig. G6v); from “Maister Ihon Franklin of Chart in Kent, who was in his life time a skilfull husband, and a good housekeeper,” comes a treatment for ailing horses (sig. S8). “Maister Fytzherbert, a Gentleman of Northamptonshyre, who was the fyrst that attempted to wrighte of husbandry in England,” is quoted in extenso for a way to cure a “Sheepe that haue a woorme in his foote” (sig. S7v).46 Such interpolations, along with more personal asides like the eulogy of his grandmother (sig. X7v) or the praise of Sir Thomas Challoner's horsewarden (sig. Q2) mentioned above, may be slightly unnerving to a reader who recalls that he is supposed to be hearing the words of Chenoboscus or Hippocomus as written by Heresbach, not the first-person discourse of Barnabe Googe. That Googe felt it proper to “increase” Heresbach in this fashion and at the same time could insist in the preface to the Gout that one ought not to be “to curious in an other mans woork” reflects the peculiar nature of the body of lore contained in the Husbandry, which grew and evolved from redaction to redaction, from Heresbach and his sources through Googe and his to Markham's revision and beyond, as if with a life of its own.

Googe is nonetheless quite right in the epistle to the reader when he judges that, despite his contributions, it would not be just, “as diuers in the like case haue done,” to issue the book under his own name. Indeed, he adds only one new passage of more than a page in length, the discussion of medicinal herbs (sigs. +5v-Aa1v) included “because maister Hersbach hath shewed you before in his Garden many good hearbes, and yet not whereto they serue” (sig. +6). Googe cites various authorites, including Cardanus, Mathiolus, and Hieronymus Tragus,47 but his personal enthusiasm for actually growing, collecting, and distilling herbs is apparent. He tells of receiving angellica seeds from “that vertuous and godly Lady, the Lady Golding in Kent” (sig. +6v), reports that cardiaca grows “plentifully in Surry” (sig. +8v) while “Pennygrasse” is found “by the shadowy Ditches, about great Peckham in Kent” (sig. +7v), and insists “that you doo not distill them, as the vnskilful doo,” in metal vessels, but only in glass (sig. Aa1). Earlier, in the third book, he illustrates a discussion of black ellebore root, “once brought vnto me … from Darndal in Sussex, …” with a picture of the plant, “for your better knowledge.” But Googe like Heresbach feels more comfortable relying on authority than on experience. He ends paraphrasing Mathiolus (sigs. R4-R4v), and even the picture, although not a direct copy, appears to be imitated closely from one given by Tragus.48

The main effect of Googe's interpolations is to add a little English flavor to the foreign text. He completes a survey of cheeses with some discriminating commentary on the product of various regions of England, capped by an epigram from “our English Martial,” John Heywood (sig. T3v); he endorses Heresbach's opinion of the voraciousness of sows by recalling one that devoured a child in Sussex, “to the pitifull discomfort of the parent” (sig. T6); and notes in the margin English applications of the methods described. In the epistle dedicatory to his 1631 revision, Gervase Markham complained that Googe had not gone far enough in adapting the book to English conditions: the work was “taught to speake English by a learned Gentleman Master Googe, who was so faithful to the first Author that it became an vtter stranger to our Climate” (sigs. A2-A2v). Googe's version won the critical esteem of William Webbe, however, who remarked in 1586 that Googe “deserued much commendation, as well for hys faythfull compyling and learned increasing the noble worke, as for hys wytty translation of a good part of the Georgickes of Virgill into English verse.”49

The terms of Webbe's praise suggest the reasons for the book's success and the nature of Googe's accomplishment in teaching it to speak English. He delivered to his countrymen a practical handbook on agriculture—so used, as annotations in some surviving copies attest—that was also a learned treatise, a commendation of the simple country life, and a tour de force of literary art. In the view of agricultural history, the Husbandry stands out for having brought to England advanced methods practiced in the Low Countries.50 For the student of literature its significance lies in its successful combination of so many seemingly disparate elements.

Although it may have diminished Googe's reputation not to print his translations from the Georgics separately, they were for him an integral part of their larger context. Peirce, who has studied them along with the other snippets of verse scattered through the Husbandry …, shows that Googe neither offers a word-for-word literal gloss on his originals nor attempts to reduplicate their more subtle refinements in English. Rather, he subdues them to the purpose at hand, striving to make accessible to the reader the information they contain.

With Vergil's bees, that information involves also a notation of the commendable industry and orderliness of the hive that allows Heresbach and Googe to sustain the sequence of moral asides that drop with ease and regularity from their pens. The Husbandry opens with a version of the familiar debate over the relative merits of service to the prince and otiose retirement, attended as always by attacks on the corruption of the times. In his dedication to Sir William Fitzwilliams, then leaving active service in Ireland, Googe seconds the preference for the country life, and near the end of Book One he adds a bitter aside about the unruly depredations of upstarts like those he attacks in “Egloga tertia,” including an epigram from Claudian and an English proverb to enforce the point.

Like Balista, Heresbach tried to make his treatise not only profitable but pleasant as well, and his translator followed his lead. Vivid descriptive passages and occasional poems, jokes, and stories help the reader along. Heresbach recalls how the sound a walnut tree makes before it falls once frightened people in Antandro out of the baths and into the street (sig. O4v); he describes a gooseliver he saw at the Diet of Worms that weighed a full four pounds (sig. X4v); he even repeats a tall tale—“when I was Embassador in England, it was told me by men of good credite”—of a tree in Scotland whose fruit, if it falls into the sea, turns into ducks (sig. X5v). Googe, as we have seen, contributes some anecdotes of his own and renders Heresbach's poised Latin into a zesty colloquial English. Once, he feels compelled to disagree with his author in vehement terms. After patiently following Heresbach's detailed account of the behavior and usefulness of cats as long as he can, Googe finally breaks off, ignoring further material on their excretory habits, the loyalty of castrated toms, and so on, and exclaims, “For my part I would rather counsell you to destroy your Rattes and Mise with Traps, Banes, or Weesels: for besides the sluttishnesse & lothsomenesse of the Catte (you know what she layes in the Malt heape) she is most daungerous and pernicious among children, as I mee self haue had good experience” (sig. U4v).51

The charm of the Husbandry lies in its hospitality to all kinds of topics, from the most private opinion to the broadest public concern, and to all levels of tone, from levity through matter-of-fact exposition to solemn piety. That the principles of unity and decorum never seem to be outraged may result from the book's total disregard for both, and yet the final impression it leaves on the reader is one of coherence, reliability, and pleasurable interest.


The last of the series of translations Googe published during the later 1570s promises more than its predecessors, but it delivers less. Like the Husbandry,The Prouerbes of the noble and woorthy souldier Sir Iames Lopes de Mendoza Marques of Santillana, with the Paraphrase of D. Peter Diaz of Toledo, is a collective effort: the wisdom of the ages and of personal experience versified by an aristocrat, expounded by his learned chaplain, and presented in English with a modest contribution here and there by the translator. Don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, Primer Marqués de Santillana (1398-1458), was one of the most important literary and political figures of his time in Castile.52 A good poet himself, in native and medieval modes as well as in the new Italian manner, he patronized humanistic learning by assembling a large library and harboring a number of scholars in his court, one of whom was Doctor Pedro Diaz.53 King Juan II requested the Proverbios for the edification of his son, Prince Enrique. The work was completed in 1437 and immediately became popular, circulating first in manuscript and then in print—twenty-nine editions before the end of the sixteenth century.54 The translation did not enjoy a similar success, but its contents have interest as a reflection of English literary taste after two decades of Elizabethan rule and as an index of Googe's concerns and abilities at the end of his literary career.

Moreover, the book contains a prose life of Santillana that represents the first and perhaps the only publication in English of a work by Fernando del Pulgar, author of the Libro de los claros varones de Castilla (Toledo, 1486).55 Googe found Pulgar's portrait of the Marqués appended unsigned to the text of the Proverbios he evidently used, a combined edition in Spanish of “Seneca's” proverbs and those of Santillana, both glossed by Diaz, printed in 1552.56 His version of Pulgar's Spanish is close enough to account for the observation of one reader unaware of its source that “the Elizabethan English curiously suggests the Spanish of Santillana's own day.”57

As Pulgar portrayed him, Santillana must have appealed to Googe not only for his exemplary learning and virtue, but also for a more personal reason: like Googe, Santillana had to fight to regain his patrimony.58 No doubt the parallel was not lost on Cecil, to whom Googe dedicated The Prouerbes in the confidence that both its author and its doctrine would be welcome to his moralistic patron.

During the 1570s, works of moral didacticism found increasing favor in the eyes of the established leaders of the realm, while amatory lyrics and tales fell ever more under suspicion as conducive to vice. For Googe, the Marqués of Santillana fills the role of the moralizing Gnomaticus in Gascoigne's The Glasse of Government (1575), setting down the precepts of virtue for a promising member of the younger generation. Santillana claimed in his “Prólogo” to be speaking as a father to his son after the manner of Solomon in the biblical proverbs,59 and he stresses in the text as well the superior wisdom, virtue, and reliability of age over youth.60 As the father of growing sons himself, Googe perhaps approved the doctrine as much as he knew Cecil would, but a good part of his delight in the work must have arisen from the learning displayed in the gloss.

In proverb 12 (fol. 27v)61 Santillana declares that the reason for study is to aid in the reprehension of sin—just what the book seeks straightforwardly to do. The hybrid text combines the qualities of the medieval didactic lyric and the humanist treatise, surrounding Santillana's concise and allusive aphorisms62 with a rich embroidery of explications, analogues, and authorities. Despite the intervening glosses, the proverbs are not entirely separable but form the stanzas of a continuous moral poem. Like many, it lacks an adequate structure.63 Diaz frequently points out relationships between stanzas, but aside from ending with age and death, the Marqués seems merely to have set down all the things Prince Enrique would need to know in the order they happened to come to mind. Drawing on the ancients, the scriptures, the church fathers, and medieval and modern writers,64 he dispenses the familiar tenets of Christian stoicism at tiresome length.

The most serious weakness of The Prouerbes is the absence of an authorial personality. Only when he descends from morals to manners to expound a more worldly kind of wisdom does the Marqués escape bookishness. “Flee Taletellers,” the reader is advised (7); “be comformable to the time” (20); and pick a wife not for her money but for her tractability (43, 44). Once, he even approaches the rueful self-irony that distinguishes some of Googe's own short poems, in proverb 87, which concludes:

Ofte haue I found my selfe by speache
          in thrall and trouble brought:
But neuer yet for keeping of
          my toung, I suffred ought.

The Proverbios have been praised for their mnemonic qualities,65 but in Googe's version few are easily remembered—or even apprehended. In rendering Santillana's stanza of four lines of eight syllables alternating with four of four as two fourteener couplets, Googe had to use about forty-five words to say what the Marqués said in twenty-five. Thus he threw away concision, one of the main virtues of the Proverbios and, when present, of his own style, and because of the plain abstraction of the originals he could not replace it with the imagery, wit (The Prouerbes are entirely humorless, as Peirce observes, p. 141), concretion, and fresh diction that enliven his other translations. Free from the need to fill up empty iambs, Googe generally did better with the prose gloss of Diaz. He gives lively versions of exemplary narratives about Coriolanus, Tarquin, Damon and Pithias, and others, and, when Diaz here and there generates a glimmer of irony, Googe propagates it eagerly: “aske of the Ladie Venus, howe chaunce shee hath so colde entertainement in the poore labourers houses, where you shall seldome or neuer see any of them goe mad for loue” (fol. 62; cf. 1494, sigs. F7-F7v).

Remarkably, Googe found little to disagree with in the book, although it was the work of two Catholic Spaniards. He translates some reverent verses on the Blessed Virgin without blinking (47) and endorses with notes in the margin congenial teachings on gluttony and lechery (fol. 54v) and on scripture reading (fol. 30).66 Only once does any anti-Spanish feeling come to the surface. Diaz argues that, although one should not maintain by alms anybody capable of working, exception should be made for an able-bodied person so nobly born that “he cannot abase himself to any vile occupation.” “A right Spanish stomacke,” Googe remarks (fol. 81).

Googe made two small additions to The Prouerbes. The first, a cynical note next to a story about how Caesar himself went to court to represent a common soldier who had formerly served him, is the more biographically suggestive: “Hard for a souldier in these daies to finde a Caesar” (fol. 12). The second has more literary interest. In the gloss on proverb 84, the first four lines of Petrarch's sonnet “Ceasare poi che'l traditor d'Egitto” are quoted and then paraphrased in Spanish prose. Googe translates them into competent pentameter:

Caesar, when as the false Egyptian had
Presented him with worthie Pōpeys hed,
Hiding his ioy with coloured coūtnance sad,
His fained teares foorthwith, they say, he shed.

(fol. 99v)

By naming Pompey (Petrarch does not), Googe clarifies the application of the passage to the argument Diaz is developing, and his fourth line is a manifest improvement over a literal version of the original: “… wept with his eyes, externally, as it is written.”67

The modicum of skill here displayed implies that, although The Prouerbes is a disappointing finale for his most productive period as a translator,68 Googe's powers remained intact. By no means the best work of its original authors,69 the book was written and translated into English for the specific purpose of moral pedagogy. Such works have little appeal for a sophisticated audience: the Proverbios, treasured by the Spanish people for many years, was also subjected to parody,70 and Shakespeare's treatment of Polonius suggests the knowledgeable later Elizabethan's attitude toward the whole tradition. It is unfortunate but should not be surprising that Googe catered to a much less up-to-date taste in the works of his middle years than he did in the forward-looking poetry of his youth.


Googe's last publication, The Wonderfull and strange effect and vertues of a new Terra Sigillata lately found out in Germanie, With the right order of the applying and administring of it: being oftentimes tried and experienced by Andreas Bertholdus of Oschatz in Misnia,71 has little or no literary value. Its curious contents and Googe's attitude toward them reveal that, then as now, men were frightened enough of death and disease to place their faith in pseudoscientific wonder drugs and that there was no lack of pious charlatans to prey on them. In tones of solemn patriotism and restrained enthusiasm, Googe dedicates to Doctors Masters and Baylie, physicians to the queen, his credulous translation of the Latin brochure that came with some medicine sent him by Hugh Morgan, “her Maiesties Apothecarie.”72

After listing thirteen different types of illness, from poisoning to the plague, that are cured by the “greace of the Sunne” (p. 15) he prepares from the slag of a gold mine near his home, Bertholdus gives detailed instructions for its use. Surely this miraculous remedy is one of God's blessings on his favored nation, and it is more patriotic and economical to use the German product than similar substances imported at great expense from the land of the Turk: plenty is available for purchase at the printer's office in Frankfurt. The doubtful are referred to the testimonials of certain noblemen and officials printed at the back of the book. These documents, duly notarized or sealed patent, describe public experiments in which the medicine prevented death by poisoning—once for a group of dogs (the deaths of a control group are described in detail), once for a prisoner named Wendel Thumblart, who escaped hanging by volunteering for the test.

In his prefatory epistle, Googe adds that the medicine has been found “most effectuall in sundrie dreadfull and daungerous diseases” by his friend “M. Doctor Hector, Nunnes and diuerse others of your learned Colledge in London” (sig. A3v). His strictly practical concern is reflected in the inelegant but clear style of the translation, through which the outlines of Bertholdus's Latin syntax and, in the testimonials, a deeper layer of legal German may be discerned. Finally seated on his patrimonial lands in Lincolnshire, Googe found reason to go to press only this once, in quest of favor not from Cecil, whose help he no longer needed, but from physicians, the only men whose worldly aid, at the age of forty-seven, he now required.

Whatever their accomplishments in moral enlightenment, service to the nation, personal self-definition, or artistic beauty, most of Googe's publications had the coordinate purpose of gaining the good will of those able to better his condition. It is a tribute to his integrity, however, that he never translated anything whose value he doubted would serve his readers' best interests as well as his own. Though he did not live directly on the proceeds from his books, Googe must be considered more a professional writer than a courtly amateur. That writing was nonetheless never his primary occupation as it was for Spenser or Shakespeare may partially account for the limitations of his works.

Still, the level of competence he maintained in most of the translations discussed in this chapter might have gained Googe a more prominent station in literary history if he had expended his efforts on works of classic rank. Even had he been able to free himself from the hesitations of self-doubt, however, from the peculiar perspective of his generation, the Renaissance works he chose to “english” appeared to have unquestioned value—and Googe probably regarded the Aeneid as the property of Phaer and the Metamorphoses, which Golding rattled out in verse decidedly inferior to Googe's own in 1567, as tainted with paganism and vice. Although he hoped for lasting fame mainly as a translator, the Zodiake,The Popish Kingdome, and the Husbandry did not carry his name beyond his time. Nevertheless, they do lend weight and substance to the clear and living voice that still speaks in Googe's original poems—not least in “To the Translation of Pallingen,” his most serious meditation on “the labour swete” of his chosen craft.


  1. Googe was noted and some of his works were listed by Anthony à Wood in 1691-92, although he is partly confused with one of his descendants. See Fasti Oxoniensis, part I, col. 310-11, in Anthony à Wood, Athenae Oxoniensis, ed. Philip Bliss (London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al., 1813-20; rpt. New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1967). Material on Googe was subsequently printed in such works as John Strype's Life and Acts of Matthew Parker (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821; orig. pub., 1711), pp. 286-89; Thomas Tanner's Bibliotheca Britanno-Hibernia (London: G. Bowyer, 1748; rpt. Tucson: Audax Press, 1963), pp. 332-33; Samuel Egerton Brydges's Censura Literaria (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806), II, 170, 206-208, 211-12; his Restituta (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1816), III, 35; IV, 307-11, 359-65; and Charles Henry Cooper and Thompson Cooper, Athenae Cantabrigiensis (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell & Co., 1858; rpt. Farnborough, Hants.: Gregg Press, 1967), II, 39-40. Brydges (Restituta, I: 364) ridicules Googe's hope for immortality even as he helps to fulfill it.

  2. See Thomas Warton, History of English Poetry, ed. W. Carew Hazlitt (London: Reeves and Turner, 1871), IV, 203, 323-31. Warton's History was originally published in 1774-81; more material on Googe is added by later editors in the 1871 edition. See also Edward Philips, Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum (Canterbury: Simmons and Kirkby, 1800), pp. 123-26; Edward Farr, ed., Select Poetry Chiefly Devotional of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1845), pp. xxv, xxxvi, 388, 391-92; W. J. Courthope, A History of English Poetry (London: Macmillan, 1897), II, 153-58; Harold H. Child, “The New English Poetry,” in Cambridge History of English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1909), III, 187-215, pp. 208-10; George Saintsbury, A Short History of English Literature (London: Macmillan, 1929), p. 254; C. F. Tucker Brooke, “The Renaissance,” in A Literary History of England, ed. A. C. Baugh (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948), pp. 391-92; and C. S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), pp. 258-59.

  3. John Payne Collier, The Poetical Decameron (Edinburgh: Constable, 1820), p. 121.

  4. Hyder E. Rollins and Herschel Baker, The Renaissance in England (Boston: D. C. Heath and Co., 1954), p. 286. They have a similar opinion of George Turbervile, who is “the Rosencrantz to Googe's Guildenstern” (p. 291). Googe might not seem to academic wits quite so much like a comicstrip character if his name were still pronounced, as it apparently was in his own time, to rhyme with coach.

  5. Don Cameron Allen, Image and Meaning: Metaphoric Traditions in Renaissance Poetry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1960), p. 12.

  6. The Renaissance in England, p. 286.

  7. Edward Arber, ed., Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, by Barnabe Googe (Westminster: Constable, 1871, 1895), pp. 15-16.

  8. R. C. Hope, ed., Reprint of The Popish Kingdome … 1570 (London: [privately printed], 1880). He includes a readable but derivative account of Googe's life.

  9. John Erskine, The Elizabethan Lyric: A Study (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1905), pp. 98-101.

  10. Yvor Winters, “The Sixteenth-Century Lyric in England,” Poetry: A Magazine of Verse LIII (1939): 258-72, 320-35; LIV (1939): 35-51, rpt. with revisions in Winters, Forms of Discovery ([Chicago]: Alan Swallow, 1967), pp. 1-52.

  11. See Alan Stephens, ed., Selected Poems of Barnabe Googe (Denver: Alan Swallow, 1961); Douglas L. Peterson, The English Lyric from Wyatt to Donne (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1967), pp. 134-45; John Williams, ed., English Renaissance Poetry (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1963; rpt. New York: Norton, 1974); and William Tydeman, ed., English Poetry, 1400-1580 (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970), pp. 137-39, 250-51.

  12. Apart from glowing commendations from his cousin Alexander Neville and his coadjutor L. Blundeston printed with his poems, Googe's own verse is praised by William Webbe in A Discourse of English Poetrie (London: Iohn Charlewood for Robert Walley, 1586), sig. C4, and seems to be included in the remarks of Richard Robinson, who in a dream sees Googe crowned with laurel and seated on Helicon along with Skelton, Lydgate, and others near the end of The rewarde of Wickednesse (London: William Williamson, 1573/4), sig. Q2v, as well as in the salute given him by Gabriel Harvey in Pierces Supererogation (1593), in Harvey's Works, ed. A. B. Grosart (London: [privately printed], 1884), II, 290.

  13. See Jasper Heywood's preface to his translation of The second tragedie of Seneca entituled Thyestes (London, 1560), sigs. *7v-*8 (quoted by Arber, pp. 5-6); T. B.'s preface to John Studley's translation of The eyght tragedie of Seneca, entituled Agamemnon (London: T. Colwell, 1566), sig. A1; Roger Ascham, The Schoolmaster (1570), ed. Lawrence V. Ryan (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press), pp. 145-46; Arthur Hall's dedicatory epistle to his Ten Books of Homers Iliades, translated out of French (London: Ralph Newberie, 1581); and Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia (1598), ed. Don Cameron Allen (New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1938), fol. 285v.

  14. See C. H. Conley, The First English Translators of the Classics (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1927; rpt. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1967).

  15. The precise nature of the kinship between Googe and Cecil has never been specified, and my efforts to trace it through the genealogical tables published by the Harleian Society and others have yielded only the impression that the connection was a matter of broad family alliances rather than a close and definite blood or marital tie between two individuals. One actual link is perhaps the exception that proves the rule: the third husband of Googe's maternal grandmother, Sir James Hales, was the grandson of Robert Atwater; Atwater's daughter Mary was the mother of a Robert Honeywood (whose son Thomas Googe called “cousin”); Robert Honeywood's wife Elizabeth Browne was the granddaughter of Sir William Fitzwilliams, Lord Deputy to Ireland and patron of Googe, who was the brother-in-law of Sir Anthony Cooke, father of Mildred, second wife of Sir William Cecil.

  16. By sonnet, of course, Googe meant any short poem not otherwise designated. There are, however, two right sonnets in his collection, overlooked by some because they were printed in lines broken after the second foot. See Hoyt H. Hudson, “Sonnets by Barnabe Googe,” PMLA LXVIII (1933): 293-94, and P. N. U. Harting, “The ‘Sonettes’ of Barnabe Googe,” English Studies XI (1929): 100-102. A third sonnet has been observed in Googe's translation of a passage from Columella in the Fovre Bookes of Husbandry (1577), sig. G3v, by Brooke Peirce in “Barnabe Googe: Poet and Translator,” Diss. Harvard, 1954, p. 122.

  17. See Googe's standard defense of poetry in the preface “To the vertuous and frendely Reader,” Zodiake, 1565, sigs.(‡)2-(‡)4.

  18. This holds true for, among others, George Turbervile, Geoffrey Fenton, and Thomas Howell. George Gascoigne seems to have been following it before his death in 1577. Cf. the related generational model discussed in Richard Helgerson's Elizabethan Prodigals (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1976), esp. pp. 4-15.

  19. Warton, [ed. Hazlitt,] IV, 328. Gordon Braden offers an interesting discussion of the problems and possibilities of the fourteener in “Golding's Ovid,” part one of his The Classics and English Renaissance Poetry (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1978), pp. 22-35.

  20. As has been pointed out by John Thompson, The Founding of English Metre (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1961), pp. 66-68.

  21. See George Gascoigne, “Certayne Notes of Instruction Concerning the Making of Verse or Ryme in English” (1575), in English Literary Criticism: The Renaissance, ed. O. B. Hardison, Jr. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1963).

  22. The pentameter lines in EE & S are likewise split after the second foot, but the only result is confusion to the reader. In quoting, I have followed the printed text in the case of long lines, but have indicated the break in pentameters only by inserting a virgule (/).

  23. Winters, Poetry LIII, (1939): 264-65; Winters, Forms of Discovery, pp. 19-20. See also Stephens, pp. 15-16.

  24. A detailed discussion of this issue may be found in Richard Jacob Panofsky, “A Descriptive Study of English Mid-Tudor Short Poetry,” Diss. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975. I am indebted to Panofsky throughout my book.

  25. See Veré L. Rubel, Poetic Diction in the English Renaissance (New York: Modern Language Assoc. of America, 1941), pp. 134-36, 171-74. See also Peirce, pp. 263-68.

  26. Robert Pinsky, The Situation of Poetry (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1976), p. 4.

  27. Sir Fulke Greville's Life of Sir Philip Sidney … (1652), ed. Nowell Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), p. 224.

  28. Zodiake, 1565, sigs. *6v, (‡)4.

  29. See J. E. L. Oulton, “Rufinus's Translation of the Church History of Eusebius,” Journal of Theological Studies XXX (1929): 150-74. I have consulted a photo-copy of Ecclesiastica Historia diui Eusebii: et Ecclesiastica historia gentis anglorum venerabilis Bede (Strassburg: George Husner, 1500), hereinafter referred to as Rufinus, 1500; but in quoting I follow the modernized orthography of the edition of Rufinus by Theodore Mommsen in Eusebius, Kirchengeschichte, ed. Eduard Schwartz (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs Buchhandlung, 1903).

  30. Rufinus, 1500, sigs. E3-E4; cf. Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, ed. and trans. Kirsopp Lake, Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann, 1926), I, 343-55.

  31. Rufinus: “… ita ut pedem laederet praeceps actus” (IV, 15, 16; Mommsen, I, 343).

  32. Rufinus's interpolation appears in Book VII, chapter 25, which corresponds to Book VII, chapter 28 of Lake. His version of the story differs from that in Gregory of Nyssa's life of St. Gregory the Wonder Worker (Migne, PG, 46: 914-18) and from that in the independent anonymous Latin life as well. See W. Telfer, “The Latin Life of St Gregory Thaumaturgus,” Journal of Theological Studies XXXI (1929-30): 142-55, 354-62.

  33. On Bale's connections with Naogeorgus, see Charles H. Herford, Studies in the Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1886), pp. 131-38; Honor C. McCusker, John Bale: Dramatist and Antiquary (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971; orig. pub. 1942), pp. 94-95; and (for a negative view on the question of influence) Thora Balslev Blatt, The Plays of John Bale: A Study of Ideas, Technique and Style (Copenhagen: G. E. C. Gad, 1969), pp. 164-81.

  34. The Regnum Papisticum was published in Basel in 1553 and issued in revised form in 1559. Googe used the later edition (see Peirce, p. 95, n. 2). The Agricultura Sacra was published in Basel (1550). For Bale's life and opinions, see McCusker, pp. 1-28, and Blatt, pp. 9-19.

  35. The Popish Kingdome was printed in London by Henrie Denham for Richard Watkins in 1570 and was not reprinted until 1880. … It was reprinted again in 1972 by Johnson Reprint Co. Neither reprint contains “The Spirituall Husbandrie.” The fourth book and part of the third are included in Phillip Stubbes's Anatomy of the Abuses in England in Shakespeare's Youth, a.d. 1583, ed. Frederick J. Furnivall (London: New Shakspere Society, 1877-79), pp. 323-48.

  36. See Roy Pascal, German Literature in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1968), pp. 63-64; see also pp. 213-14. Cf. Herford, pp. xxv, 129-31; Fritz Wiener, Naogeorgus im England der Reformationszeit (Berlin: [n.p.], 1907), pp. 51-66; and The Letters of Stephen Gardiner, ed. James Arthur Muller (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970; orig. pub. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1933), pp. 129-40. Further information on Naogeorgus, whose birthdate is variously given as 1505, 1508, and 1511, and who died in 1563, may be found in Herford, pp. 93, 120-24, and in Hans-Gert Roloff, “Thomas Naogeorgs Judas—ein Drama der Reformationszeit,” Archiv für das Studium der Neuren Sprachen und Literaturen CCVIII (1971): 81-101.

  37. Besides Furnivall, see [William] Hone, [The] Every-Day Book [(London: T. Tegg, 1827; rpt. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1967)]; John Brand, Observations on Popular Antiquities, ed. Sir Henry Ellis (London: Charles Knight, 1841-42); and Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933), I, 139-40; II, 528-34.

  38. See Wiener, pp. 114-31, and Peirce, pp. 98, 102-104.

  39. Wiener describes the original and Googe's translation, pp. 132-39. See Herford, p. 121, for the suggestion that Naogeorgus meant the work as a Christian parallel to Vergil's Georgics.

  40. The Latin is Christophori Ballistae Parhisiensis in Podagrā concertatio, ad Reuerendissimum in Christo patrem, illustrissimumque principem, Dominum Philippum de Platea, Sedunensem Episcopum. Adiectus est dialogus inter Podagram & Christophorum Ballistam. Ad tria tendo (Zurich?, 1525? or 1528?). Information on the author, on the poems, their tradition, and the translation, has been compiled by Robert Schuler in the introduction and notes to his critical edition of the first of the two poems in Three Renaissance Scientific Poems, No. 5 of Studies in Philology LXXV (1978), pp. 67-107. I am grateful to Professor Schuler for letting me see the text of his commentary in advance of publication, and I am indebted to him in the pages that follow. To the ascription of this translation to Googe in Kennedy, Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Literature, IV, 285, which was supported by Peirce, Schuler adds his endorsement, along with some further evidence of contact between Googe and Masters as servants of Cecil.

    Peirce's account of the work (pp. 41-42, 154-57, 159-75) includes a comparison of the translation with the original Latin that reveals Googe's “characteristic fidelity to the language and figures of his original” (p. 162) and notes instances of his habitual diction and phraseology.

  41. Schuler shows the main sources to be Pliny's Natural History and the Materia Medica of Dioscorides Pedanius.

  42. He does delete a discussion of the relative immunity of menstruating women to the gout (see Peirce, p. 165).

  43. Rei rusticae libri quatuor, vniuersam rusticam disciplinam complectentes, vna cum appendice oraculorum cornidas adiecta. Item, de venatione, aucupio atque piscatione compendium (Cologne: Iohannes Burckmann, 1570). On Heresbach, see Neue Deutsche Biographie (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1969), VII, 606-607. See also the facsimile edition of the first book of Rei rusticae by Wilhelm Abel, with a facing page German translation by Helmut Dreitzel, Vier Bücher über Landwirtschaft, Band I, Vom Landblau (Meisenheim: A. Hain, 1970).

  44. In a line added to the Husbandry he remarks on “Linconshyre, a countrey replenished with Gentlemen of good houses, and good house keepers” (sig. Y3v).

  45. Googe inadvertently omits a half-dozen names cited by Heresbach in his similar list and adds one of his own, “Tragus,” to be discussed below. The contributions of some of the Englishmen listed are specified in the text; some, like Tusser, seem to be mentioned out of courtesy only. The idea that the names may represent “missing Tudor books on farming” has been demolished by Peirce (pp. 40-41). Googe also cites British authorities he neglects to list, including Reynolde (Reginald) Scot's A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden (1574) and Thomas Blundeville's The Fower Chiefyst Offices Belonging to Horsemanshippe (1565, 1566)—see sigs. H8v, P2v.

  46. I.e., John Fitzherbert's Boke of Husbandry, published under that and other titles ten times between 1523 and 1568 (STC 10994-11003). To his friend and later commander in Ireland, Sir Nicholas Malbie, Googe attributes an “infallible” treatment for horses (sig. Q3v) taken from Malbie's A Plaine and Easie Way to Remedie a Horse that is Foundered in his Feete (1576).

  47. I.e., Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), author of Ars curandi parva (Basel: Ex Officina Henricpetrina, 1566); Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1500-1577), whose commentary on Dioscorides's Materia Medica (Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1568) was widely disseminated in various versions (cf. the facsimile edition, Rome: [n.p.], 1970); and Hieronymus Bock (1498-1554), author of De stirpivm … commentarium libri tres (Strassburg: V. Rihelius, 1552).

  48. Cf. Bock, [Heironymus. De stirpium … commentarium libri tres (Strassburg: V. Rihelius, 1552)] sig. Cc3 (p. 405). The style and contents of the two drawings are identical, but the various parts of the plant are differently arranged.

  49. Webbe, [William. A Discourse of English Poetrie (London: Iohn Charlewood for Robert Walley, 1586)] sig. F1v.

  50. See Rowland E. Prothero, Lord Ernle, English Farming, Past and Present (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1972; orig pub. 1917), pp. 89, 99-100.

  51. On the cat and the malt heap, see Tilley, [Morris Palmer. A Dictionary of Proverbs in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1950)] C177 (p. 88).

  52. See Foster, Santillana. See also José Amador de los Rios, ed., Obras … de Santillana (Madrid: José Rodriquez, 1852); Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, “Estudio Preliminar” to his selected, modernized edition of the Proverbios (Madrid: Atlas, 1944); Rafael Lapesa, La obra literaria del Marqués de Santillana (Madrid: Insula, 1957); Mario Schiff, La bibliothèque du Marquis de Santillane (Paris: Librarie Émile Bouillon, 1905); and, on Santillana's humanist predilections, Arnold Reichenberger, “The Marqués de Santillana and the Classical Tradition,” Ibero-romania I (1969): 5-34, and Miguel Garci-Gómez, “The Reaction against Medieval Romances: Its Spanish Forerunners,” Neophilologus LX (1976) 220-32.

  53. Diaz wrote a Diálogo é razonamiento en la muerte del Marqués de Santillana, printed in Opusculos Literarios de los siglos XIV á XVI, ed. A. Paz y Melia, Sociedad de Bibliófilos Españoles, vol. XIX (Madrid, 1892), pp. 245-360, a commentary on the adages of “Seneca” (Publilius Syrus) (see note 30, below), and prefaces to other works he translated for the Marqués. See Schiff, passim. See also Paz y Melia, pp. xiii-xiv.

  54. See Schiff, pp. xxiii, xxvi, and José Simon Díaz, Bibliografia de la literatura Hispánica (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigationes Científicas, 1950-), III, 693. See also Los Proverbios con su Glosa, Incunables Poeticos Castellanos, XI (Valencia: Artes Gráficas Soler, 1965), a facsimile of the Seville edition of 1494.

  55. See Pulgar, Claros varones de Castilla, ed. Robert Brian Tate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), esp. pp. li-lii; see also Biographie Universelle (Paris: Michaud Frères, 1811-28), XXXVI, 313-14.

  56. Prouerbios y Sentencias de Lucio Anneo Seneca, y de Don Yñigo Lopez de Mendoça, Marques de Santillana. Glosados por el Doctor Pedro Diaz de Toledo (Antwerp: Iuan Steelsio, 1552); Simon Díaz No. 3450. Googe did not translate any of the first (“Senecan”) part of the volume nor the introductions by Diaz and Santillana that precede the second part. The 1552 edition varies from the MS.-based text in the Obras in ways similar to the printed text of 1494, as in the omission of the ninety-third proverb. Googe always follows 1552 when it differs from 1494, as in the omission of the seventh proverb plus some surrounding prose, in errors in the headings and numeration of chapters, and in the quotation of four lines from Petrarch (see below, p. 115). Finally, a passage on military discipline in Pulgar's portrait of Santillana (Tate, ed., pp. 22-23) is absent both from 1552 and from Googe's translation.

  57. J. B. Trend, ed., Prose and Verse [by the] Marqués de Santillana (London: Dolphin Bookshop, 1940), p. xvi.

  58. According to Pulgar, but see Pelayo, pp. 21-22.

  59. See Obras, ed. Amador de los Rios, pp. 21-22.

  60. Cf. his chapters “of Duetie to Parents” and “of Age” (fols. 103-112). Diaz seconds him in the gloss, fols. 24-27v, 109-112.

  61. I cite the proverbs as numbered by Googe. See note 30, above.

  62. As Googe recognized them to be, rather than true popular proverbs, in his epistle dedicatory.

  63. Foster shares this judgment [Foster, David William. The Marques of Santillana, Twayne's World Author Series 154 (New York: Twayne, 1971)] (pp. 69-70, 72).

  64. In his prologue, Santillana disclaimed any attempt at originality (Obras, ed. Amador de los Rios, p. 26; cf. Schiff, p. lxxxi).

  65. See Schiff, p. lxxxi: “ils restent sans effort dans l'oreille de qui les a entendus.”

  66. Googe's marginalia are sparse, some perhaps having been omitted by the printer, as he seems to imply in the dedicatory epistle. He may have intended to enter more objections. There are no marginalia in 1552.

  67. Durling, ed. and trans., Petrarch's Lyric Poems, p. 204 (No. 102).

  68. See Peirce, pp. 141, 145-46, for a similar opinion.

  69. On Santillana, see Foster, p. 69. Diaz is more ambitious and coherent in his Diálogo.

  70. See Schiff, pp. xxiii, xxxvi.

  71. Printed by Robert Robinson for Richard Watkins, London, 1587. “The Epistle” is signed “Aluingham this 14. of August, 1587 … B.G.” Peirce shows that this work and the Gout may be attributed to Googe as an indivisible pair (pp. 154-57).

  72. A copy of the original is in the British Museum: Bertholdus (Andreas), Terrae sigillatae, nuper in Germania repertae, vires atque virtutes admirandae, eiusque administrandae ac vsurpandae ratio (Frankfort: C. Rab, 1583).

Mark Eccles (essay date autumn 1985)

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SOURCE: Eccles, Mark. “Barnabe Googe in England, Spain, and Ireland.” English Literary Renaissance 15, no. 3 (autumn 1985): 353-70.

[In the following essay, Eccles reviews Googe's life and principal writings.]

“Most of the good poems written in the two decades following the appearance of Tottel's Miscellany in 1557,” as Douglas L. Peterson says, “are to be found among the works of Barnabe Googe, George Turbervile, and George Gascoigne.”1 Edwin A. Greenlaw pointed out possible influences of Googe's Eglogs (1563) on Spenser's Shepheardes Calender, including the strong religious element, the complaint against the times and the evils of court life, and the use of archaisms.2 Rosemond Tuve and J. E. Hankins studied the many echoes in Spenser and Shakespeare of Googe's version of Palingenius.3 But the account of Googe in DNB is full of errors, and the first careful study of his life and works was made by Brooke Peirce in his unpublished Harvard dissertation in 1954, “Barnabe Googe: Poet and Translator.” William E. Sheidley in Barnabe Googe, Twayne's English Authors Series 306 (Boston, 1981), also includes “A Brief Life of Googe” on pages 18-26 of his excellent discussion of the poems and translations. Building upon the work of Peirce and Sheidley, I should like to explore more fully the varied and interesting career of this first significant Elizabethan lyric poet. His many letters and the personal comments in his books tell us a good deal about his thoughts and feelings.

Googe was born in May or June 1540, and his Christian name suggests the possibility that he was born on June 11, St. Barnaby's day, Spenser's “Barnaby the bright” in the Epithalamion. His parents, Robert Goche and Margaret Mantell, had married on June 18, 1539 at Bekesbourne near Canterbury, but his mother died on July 24, 1540.4 He dedicated his first book, The Zodiac of Life (1560), to his grandmother, Lady Hales of Canterbury. She was Margaret, daughter and heiress of Oliver Wood of Collingtree, Northamptonshire (d. 1521), and wife to three knights in succession: Sir Walter Mantell of Heyford, Northamptonshire (1494-1529), Sir William Haute of Bishopsbourne, Kent, who in 1531 sold Clement's Inn and other property Margaret had inherited, and Sir James Hales, justice of the common pleas, who drowned himself in 1554.5 Sir James's daughter Jane married first Margaret's son, Walter Mantell, who was executed for rising with Wyatt, and second Christopher Carlell of Barham, Kent, possibly the Cambridge man of that name who wrote verse for the 1565 edition of Googe's Zodiac. Googe's grandmother sued Cyriac Petit without success in 1559, claiming that her share of a joint lease had not been forfeited when Sir James drowned himself. The First Gravedigger in Hamlet parodied the argument in this case by Serjeant Walsh that “an act hath three branches.”6 In his Four Books of Husbandry (1577, sig. X7v) Googe remembered the turkey capons that were “served as a daynty dishe to the table” in the hospitable house of Lady Hales, who “was the very Phoenix and Parageon of al the Gentlewomen that I ever knewe.”

Sir William Cecil called Googe his kinsman, and they may have had common ancestors in Herefordshire, where Cecil's grandfather David Cecil was born.7 The same arms, three castles triple-towered, are quartered, each with a heraldic difference, with Googe's arms in the 1560 edition of The Zodiac and with Cecil's arms in the 1576 edition. These arms were borne by Avery Traherne, whose daughter and heir, Elizabeth, married Barnabe's great-grandfather, Geoffrey Goche (1439-1512).8 In the heralds' visitation of Lincolnshire in 1592 Googe claimed descent from Matthew Goch (from Welsh coch “red”), a captain in France under Henry V and Henry VI who was killed in 1450 by Cade's rebels at London Bridge. Shakespeare's 2 Henry VI, 4.7, has a stage-direction, “Mathew Goffe is slain.” Whether or not Barnabe really descended from Matthew, he believed that he did, and he bore Matthew's arms. He described his great-grandfather as Geoffrey Goche of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire (just south of Herefordshire), who married Elizabeth, daughter of Avery Traherne; his grandfather as John Goche of Newland (near Monmouth) in the Forest of Dean, who married Jane, daughter of James Bridges; and his father as Robert Goche of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, who married first Margaret Mantell and second Ellen Gadbury, daughter of a London goldsmith.9 John Goche and James Bridges were London mercers and merchant adventurers, and John Goche by his will in 1536, proved in 1541, settled his house in Distaff Lane on Margaret Mantell as her jointure.10 Robert, whose will mentions the Mercers' Company of London, is called “Robert Gougge, mercer, of London” in 1538 and “Robert Gouche,” merchant, in 1543.11 Robert is wrongly called “John Gouge,” mercer, earlier in 1543 when the Council bound him over for maintaining in his house a schoolmaster named Cobbe who was charged with translating a “Postilla upon the Gospelles” containing seditious and erroneous opinions.12 This Protestant merchant, Barnabe's father, was probably not the “Robert Goughe,” servant to Bishop Bonner, who carried letters to France in 1539, when Sir Thomas Wyatt referred to him as “Gough, my lord of London's servant.”13

The poet's father, Robert Goche, on April 20, 1543 was appointed receiver of the King's revenues from lands of the late religious houses of Lincolnshire in the Court of Augmentations, at a salary of twenty pounds a year, and in 1547 he became also receiver for Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire.14 In 1552 his fee was a hundred pounds a year, and a fee of twenty pounds was paid to the newly-knighted Sir William Cecil as surveyor for the King to oversee the work of Goche and the auditor.15 Goche was M.P. for Kingston-upon-Hull in 1545 and for Hedon, another Yorkshire borough, in 1547 when he was evidently chosen as a supporter of the Protector Somerset, like Cecil.16 Goche's only known letter is to Cecil in 1548; George Williams wrote to Cecil in 1554 that he had been with Master Goche of Newark about the receipt of rents for Stamford and Deeping; and two years later the parishioners of St. Michael's, Stamford, desired Cecil that “Mr. Gouch may be discharged of a year's rent.”17 He was still receiving rents for Cecil in 1556.18

Barnabe was not born at Alvingham, Lincolnshire, although he died there in 1594. He inherited in 1557 the Lincolnshire manor of Horkstow near Barton-upon-Humber, bought by his father in 1549 from Sir Thomas Heneage and William Lord Willoughby, and the lands of Alvingham Priory near Louth, bought by Robert Goche of Southwell, Notts, in 1551/2 from Lord Admiral Clinton.19 He also inherited his grandfather's house in Distaff Lane (now part of Cannon Street) in Bread Street ward, London. His father was in London in 1550 when Lancelot Gibson of London, yeoman, killed Thomas Downes, haberdasher, while defending himself and his master Robert Goche.20 In 1552 Robert married Ellen Gadbury Parris, a widow who owned a house in London and lands in Paddington. As Robert Goche of Chilwell and London he bought from Queen Mary in 1553/4, like Cecil and many others, a general pardon for all offenses.21 Robert Goche of Chilwell, esquire, by his will made on December 22, 1556 and proved on February 12, 1557/8, left to his son and heir “Barnabie Gouche” Horkstow manor, and, when he should be twenty-two, a house in Distaff Lane, London, and Alvingham manor, unless part or all the value of the manor should be spent in buying his wardship.22 “Then his wardeshipp being bought,” Robert directed, “I will he be sett to the Innes of Courte, there to studye and applye his lerning in the lawe unto such tyme as by his said learning he attayne and come to be made Sergeaunte of the Coiff.” When he shall become a serjeant, “I will my said sonne Barnabee on my blessing that he never take penny or any manner of rewarde for his councell, but to geve the same to all men without taking anny thinges, and specially those parsonnes that dwell in Lincolnshir”; otherwise he shall have nothing but Horkstow. Robert left annuities out of Alvingham manor of sixteen pounds to his widow while unmarried, twenty-four to his brother Richard for life, five to his son Robert until twenty-one “to the fynding of hym to the scole,” two to a servant, and another annuity of eight pounds out of Horkstow. His second wife, Ellen or “Eleonore,” was named an executor with three men (one of whom, William Burnell, she married in 1563). The Earl of Pembroke (named by Henry VIII as one of his executors) was to be supervisor, for which he was forgiven a debt of a hundred pounds. When Robert died on May 5, 1557 Barnabe, aged sixteen years and eleven months, became a royal ward, first to Queen Mary and then to Queen Elizabeth.23 Although his lands were worth £120 a year, the Court of Wards allowed him only £26 13s. 4d. a year for his maintenance. After Cecil became master of the wards in January 1561, Barnabe was allowed, as his father had wished, to buy his own wardship, paying ten pounds a year for eight years. Cecil gave him favorable terms, since most wards at this time had to pay the value of their lands for a year or a year and a half, which would have amounted to £120 or £180 instead of £80. Suing his livery, he paid again for a license to enter upon his lands on June 26, 1563.24

Though he was probably brought up at Canterbury by the hospitable Lady Hales, who had many children and grandchildren, Barnabe remembered in 1577 his father's “auncient house called Chylwel,” “besides Nottingham,” where a great window of glass portrayed the planting, pruning, stamping, and pressing of grapes for wine and where an old vine still yielded grapes for “a right good wine, as was lately prooved by a Gentlewoman in the saide house.”25 In May 1555 he matriculated at Cambridge from Christ's College (later Milton's college) as a pensioner, one who paid his own expenses.26 How long he studied at Cambridge is not known, but it was long enough to make good friends, though plague scattered many Cambridge students in 1556 and his father died in 1557. He wrote in 1561 that he was once a member of Christ's, and he also praised New College, Oxford, but he did not say that he was ever at Oxford. His friend George Turbervile was elected fellow of New College in 1561, and Googe wrote verses for Thomas Gressop of All Souls, Oxford, B.A. 1557, in Gressop's translation of A Brief Treatise, Containing a Declaration of the Pope's Usurped Primacy (1560) by Nilus Cabasilas, Greek Orthodox archbishop of Thessalonica, who died in 1361.27

Barnabe was studying law at Staple Inn in Holborn, an inn of Chancery that prepared for Gray's Inn, when on March 28, 1560 at the age of nineteen, he dedicated to Lady Hales his first work, a translation into English verse of three books of Marcellus Pelingenius, Zodiacus Vitae.28 He wrote that he had been persuaded to finish the three books by his friends, especially his cousin Honiwood, his uncle Mantell (Thomas of Canterbury, third son of Lady Hales), and “learned Master Bale,” then canon of Canterbury. He added a Latin epistle, dated “Decimo Martii Anno Christi. 1560 et aetatis nostrae xx,” to three Kentish squires, William Cromer or Crowmer (c. 1531-98, condemned to death with Wyatt but pardoned and later sheriff and M.P., a kinsman of Lady Hales), Thomas Honiwood (M.P. in 1572, a nephew of Sir James Hales), and Ralph “Heimund,” who signed his name as Hayman in the 1574 visitation.29 Gilbert Duke of Christ's contributed Latin acrostics on Googe's name. Barnabe lived with his grandmother at the Hales manor of Dunjeon, or Dane John, Canterbury. In 1563 he signed a letter “from Dongeon” and published a poem to his lady from “the Dongeon” where “thy faithful Servaunt lives.”30 Jasper Heywood of Oxford, in his translation of Seneca's Thyestes in 1560, praised Googe for translating The Zodiac, and “T. B.” (Thomas Bedingfield or Thomas Blundeville?) praised him in John Studley's translation of Seneca's Agamemnon in 1566.

Googe dedicated six books of The Zodiac of Life in 1561 to “his singular good Master, sir William Cecill.” Three college friends contributed Latin verses: Edward Dering of Kent, fellow of Christ's, who defended The Zodiac against William Fulke's Antiprognosticon; Gilbert Duke of Christ's with two poems; and William Chaderton, fellow of Christ's, who wrote this same year “Mr. Chatherton's plaie” and later became bishop of Chester and Lincoln.31 When Googe dedicated to Cecil all twelve books of The Zodiac in 1565, he wrote that he had been encouraged to finish them by “The favorable accepting of my simple travayles lately dedicated unto your honor.” In his poem “To the Translation of Pallingen” in 1563 he said that he found this labor sweet compared with studying law, “For I must needes (no helpe) a while go toyle, / In Studyes, that no kynde of muse delyght.” He chose to be a poet rather than a serjeant-at-law as his father had hoped. In this he was like John Marston, whose father left his law books to John, “whom I hoped would have profited by them in the study of the law but man proposeth and God disposeth.”32

Instead of entering Gray's Inn with his friends Jasper Heywood and Laurence Blundeston, Googe went to Spain in November 1561 with the new ambassador, Sir Thomas Chaloner, who had translated Erasmus's Praise of Folly and written the tragedy of Richard II in A Mirror for Magistrates.33 In 1579 Cecil arranged posthumous publication of many of his friend Chaloner's Latin poems, of which the editor gave Googe a presentation copy. Chaloner and Googe both wrote elegies on the death of Edward Shelley in battle in 1547 and on that of Thomas Phaer in 1560.

In “Goyng towardes Spayne” Googe declared that he “was not framed heare, to lyve at home with eas: / But passynge foorth for knowledge sake to cut the fomyng seas.” Chaloner left London for Paris on November 1, 1561 and, according to a letter from Googe's friend John Somer, “minds to come in post, with three with him, to Tours, where his horse and train shall meet him” (Calendar of State Papers, Foreign, 1561-62, p. 335). Googe wrote a poem on love at Bonneval, south of Chartres. The accounts of Chaloner's steward, Henry King, show payments at Poitiers for five men and their five horses and for five more horses (packhorses) with two horsekeepers.34 In Four Books of Husbandry (1577, sig. Q2) Googe praised “the best dyeter of Horses that ever I knewe in England, one Henry King, who havyng charge of that most woorthy Gentlemans Horses, syr Thomas Chalenour, caryed a fayre company of Geldinges from London, to the Court of Spayne, who notwithstandyng their long journey through Fraunce, and the painefull passage of the Piremies, by the skilfull diligence of their keeper, came thyther in as good plight, as they came out of England.” King, who had recently served Dr. Nicholas Wotton, dean of Canterbury and ambassador to France, carried home in May letters from Chaloner to the Queen, Cecil and Lord Robert Dudley, on muleback through Spain but riding post from Bayonne to Paris (Calendar, 1562, pp. 9, 29, 34, 47, 106).

Googe shared many of the experiences that Chaloner describes in his letters from Madrid. “This journey,” Chaloner writes to Cecil, “has been to him the most painful he ever found, namely, coming into New Spain (now not Old Spain), both for ill stoney ways of the mountains and miry ways of the plain country, and also for the worse fare and lodging, such as in eight weeks journey, for want of his own things he came not three times in naked bed, almost famished for want of bread to his taste” (1561-62, p. 519). Still worse, he writes from Madrid on January 15, “certain coffers which came to Bilboa were before his coming broken up and ransacked by the Inquisition, whereof he has complained, but to little effect.” He petitions Philip II to command the officers of the Inquisition not to meddle with his goods “under colour of searching for prohibited books,” since the ambassadors of all other princes receive their chests intact and unsearched, and he asks Cecil's advice about “this troublesome matter of these inquisitive inquisitors” (1561-62, pp. 493, 509, 520, 542; 1562, p. 135). The inquisitors arrested Chaloner's servant Chapman on February 15 (1561-62, pp. 548-49). Queen Elizabeth told Philip's ambassador that she might recall Chaloner because he and his servants had their trunks broken open, their papers examined, and some of the people imprisoned (Calendar of State Papers Spanish, 1558-67, pp. 232-33). At Madrid, until his predecessor left in February, Chaloner “could only get but one sorry chamber for his lodging” and “The servants which came with him in post are at a village three leagues distant.” He writes that “all kinds of victuals are double, treble, or quadruple the price they are in England. If he keeps but a dozen servants, their wages, liveries, and clothing will cost him above 600 ducats per annum, besides lodging and bedding,” for the dearness of things is “owltragious” (1561-62, p. 519-20; 1562, p. 9). “There has not been so much rain in Spain,” he laments, “for twenty years. ‘Spain, quoth he? nay, rather pain.’” “Seven years in Flanders is less penalty than seven months here,” and he wishes he were “out of this Hispania, vallis miseriae, fons superbiae” (1561-62, pp. 521, 568). His three years in Spain ruined his health, and he died a few months after his return in 1565, at the age of forty-four.

Googe, who was only twenty-one, was in Madrid from January to May 1562. On May 5 Chaloner writes that “The bearer, Mr. Googe, kinsman to Cecil,” will bring back to England the hangings and plate of the former ambassador, and asks his agent in Bilbao to provide a good ship for Googe and Chaloner's servant Wensley. Barnabe sailed from Bilbao on the first of June in “a ship of London,” James Conant, master.35 In his poem “Commynge home warde out of Spayne” he hoped that the raging seas that beat the shores of Spain would cease their rage till he reached “my Countreye Coast.” His friend Henry Cobham, Lord Cobham's brother, who carried Chaloner's letters to the Queen in October, writes of his own voyage that “he had like to have been lost going home; their ship fell upon a leak, but a Portingale ship took them in and carried them to Waterford” in Ireland (1563, p. 185). Chaloner sent letters to the Queen in August by a young Cambridge man, Bartholomew Withipoll, Gascoigne's friend “good Bat,” who had learned Spanish during the few months he was in the ambassador's household and who writes a light-hearted letter about his journey to Burgos and Bilbao, with a London merchant buying the food (the “nipcrust” almost starved him with bread, cheese, and tinto or red wine), and addresses it to Chaloner “en su casa en la Porte del Sol,” Madrid.36

Googe was the first Englishman to borrow, as Shakespeare did later, from Montemayor's Diana (1559) and the first to translate into English lines from a Spanish poet, Garcilaso de la Vega.37 He also translated a Spanish moral poem which he dedicated to Burghley, The Proverbs of the Noble and Worthy Soldier, Sir James Lopez de Mendoza, Marquis of Santillana (1579, STC 16809).38 In this book (p. 99) he translated a few lines of Italian from a sonnet by Petrarch.

Laurence Blundeston,39 who had been with Googe at Christ's and was now at Gray's Inn, introduced his friend's Eglogs (1563) with an epistle to the reader dated May 27, 1562 and a verse preface claiming that he, while Googe was in Spain, had sent to the printer “These Eglogs, Sonets, Epytaphes of men.” This was probably a device by which Googe could avoid criticism for allowing “these tryfles of mine to come to light.” Googe included recent poems such as “Goyng towardes Spayne,” “At Bonyvall in Fraunce,” “Commynge home warde out of Spayne,” three eclogues that make use of Montemayor and Garcilaso, a lover's song “To the Tune of Appelles,” and his completion of a dream poem, “Cupido Conquered.” He dedicated his book to William Lovelace of Gray's Inn and Kent, M.P. for Canterbury and legal counsel to Archbishop Parker and to Gascoigne, who called him “many ways my friend.”40 Googe wrote poems to two dramatists, “Good aged Bale” of Canterbury and Richard Edwards of the Chapel Royal; to a translator of Seneca, Alexander Neville, his first cousin and also a friend of Gascoigne (DNB); to Henry Cobham, who had been with him in Spain and later became ambassador there (DNB); to Edward Cobham, another brother of Lord Cobham and a member of the household of Archbishop Parker; to George Holmden, who died in Sussex in 1598 (P.C.C. will); and “To Maystresse D.,” probably Mary Darell of Scotney Castle, Sussex, his future wife.

Cecil wrote on October 1, 1563 to Thomas Darell, who was trying to make his daughter accept a richer suitor, Sampson Lennard: “Where as I understand that Googe my servant hath been a sutor to your daughter … These shall be to require you not to go about to break the bond so perfectly knit between them, whereof you have been so long a favorer.” He wrote another letter to Sampson's father requesting him not to hinder the marriage of Googe and Mary, since “I esteeme him as my near kinsman” and “I have seen the letters that have passed between her father and him as also her own letters whereby the matter is made clear unto me that she hath fully assured herself unto him.”41 John Lennard, a lawyer who had recently bought from Cecil the valuable office of custos brevium of the common pleas, answered that Googe “seemeth to have a whotte hedde and a sicke braine” and that Darell says that Googe “hath faced him that he wolde tell the Quene of him and that a serjaunt at armes shoulde fetche his daughter from him.” He sent Cecil (Arber, p. 12) “A copy of a scornefull letter written by master Goge, to master George Darrell and master Edward Darrell” (Mary's uncles). This letter deserves quoting in full, since it tells more about Googe than any other letter of his now known:

Ryght worshipfull and my lovynge frindes

I have receaved youre letters wherein you write that you perfectly understand the hole state of the case that hath passed betwene master lennard and youre cosinne mary before my acquayntaunce with her, even so have I binne certyfied of a pretye laffynge toye as touchynge a precontracte declarynge at full the sharp invencyon of master lennardes grave hedd, whereat if old Democritus were now alyve, I woulde thynke that he should have juster cause to laffe then at his contrymens folly. Ye seame to wyll a meatynge to be had betwene us, whereunto I with all my hart consent, althoughe a number consyderyng my case would not doe, consyderynge the martiall furniture that hath benne prepared ageynst me, and the Italyon inventyons that have binne menaced towardes me, which when the counsell shall understande, I trust they will not altogether commend. For all this, takyng you to be my verye fryndes, I rejoyse to meate you, neither if my adversaryes should be in commission, would I feare to see them. Of one thyng I must crave pardonne, for not beynge able to meate you on sundaye because I have sent my manne to the courte, who wyll retorne on munday as I trust, but whether he do nor not, I wyll with godes leave wayte uppon you at that daye in hast from Dongeon, the xvith of octobre. Youre lovynge frynd, Barnabe Goge.

Archbishop Parker wrote Cecil on November 20, 1563, that he had examined Mary and her parents and that she “remayneth fyrme and stable to stond to that contract which she hath made” with Googe. They married on February 5, 1563/4.42 Barnabe was able to marry because he now had an income from Alvingham and Horkstow. To assure Mary's jointure he and Mary conveyed Horkstow in 1566 for twenty marks in trust to her uncle George Darell of Gray's Inn and Scotney (P.C.C. will, 1567) and her sister's husband, Edmund Pelham of Gray's Inn and Sussex (DNB; Hasler, III, 192-93). In 1572 he was granted money and arrears of rent due to the Queen from the estate of Mary's grandfather, Thomas Roydon, whose late grandson and heir had been a royal ward but had married while a minor contrary to the Queen's pleasure.43 Barnabe and Mary had Matthew and other children christened at Lamberhurst in Kent, the parish that included Scotney Castle. Googe lived in this parish with his family, but he wrote in 1582 of his daily attendance upon Cecil, now Lord Burghley.

In 1565 Googe dedicated to Cecil all twelve books of The Zodiac of Life, with new verses by David Bell and three Cambridge friends, Christopher Carlile (DNB), Richard Stephens44 (“Richardos ho Stephanos” in Greek characters), and James Yetsweirt (“Itzuertus”) of the family of Nicasius Yetsweirt, secretary for the French tongue and a clerk of the signet, whom Ascham mentions in his preface to The Schoolmaster and Googe in Four Books of Husbandry.45

George Turbervile in 1567 published four poems answering poems by Googe, as Googe in 1563 had published verses with answers by his friends Blundeston and Neville. Turbervile took the opposite side in three short poems on love and replied to “Maister Googes fansie that begins Give Monie mee take friendship who so list” with lines beginning, “Friend Googe, give me the faithfull friend to trust.”46 Turbervile was born about 1540, like Googe, since his age was given as fourteen when he became scholar of Winchester in 1554.47 At eighteen he left school for Oxford, where he was chosen a fellow of New College in 1561, the year in which Googe wrote of “the ancient mother of learned men the newe Colledge in Oxforde” (Zodiac, “To the reader”).

In 1569 Googe published The Ship of Safeguard, “wrytten by G. B.” but proved Googe's by the dedication, as Haslewood pointed out.48 He dedicated it to his wife's young sisters, “Mistresse Phillyp Darell, and Mistress Fraunces Darell, of the house of Scotney,” saying that he had intended to dedicate to them a large book, “The Counterfeit Christian,” on “the great disorders of this our tyme,” but that that book “by yll favourd misfortune perished.” The moral poem in ottava rima that he wrote instead has little interest today except that it quotes thirty-six lines on “Pope holye” from the Romance of the Rose “By learned Chaucer that gem of Poetrie, / Who passed the reach of any English braine.”49 In The Zodiac (1560, at the end, “The Translatour to the Reader”; Arber, p. 8) he had called Chaucer the best of all English poets, in verses that begin “If Chaucer nowe should live.” I suggest that Googe may be the author of an anonymous poem of sixty-two lines printed in A Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions (1578), beginning “If Chawcer yet did lyve, whose English tongue did passe,” and entitled “In the prayse of the rare beauty, and manifolde vertues of Mistres D.”50 Probably he wrote this poem, describing the lady's eyes that shine by night and “Her haire that shines like golde,” before he married Mary Darell in 1564. This poem is the only one in A Gorgeous Gallery that mentions either Chaucer or Surrey, whom Googe praised in his epitaph on Phaer and in his Latin epistle in The Zodiac in 1560.

In 1570, the year in which the Pope excommunicated Elizabeth, Googe dedicated to her The Popish Kingdom or Reign of Antichrist, Written in Latin Verse by Thomas Naogeorgus and Englished by Barnabe Googe, in rhymed fourteeners. He added two books of the same author's Spiritual Husbandry, “which I long before translated.”51 He tells the Queen that his translation of The Popish Kingdom “was chiefely made for the benefite of the common, and simpler sorte.” His friend Bishop Bale had translated an anti-papal drama, Pammachius, which Thomas Kirchmeyer or Naogeorgus dedicated in 1538 to Cranmer and which the students of Christ's College acted in 1545.

A recent volume of The History of Parliament, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, by P. W. Hasler (London, 1981), II, 205-06, shows for the first time that Barnabe, like his father, was a member of parliament. He represented Aldborough, Yorkshire, in the parliament that met during April and May of 1571, with many ardent Protestants such as Sackville (Lord Buckhurst) and Norton, the authors of Gorboduc. Though no returns survive for 1571, a manuscript names Googe as a member for Aldborough. He owed his election to Cecil, whose ally Sussex, lord president of the council in the north, named Thomas Eynns, secretary of the council, as the other member for Aldborough. Here only six or eight burgesses had a right to vote, and in 1572 these sent blank returns in which two names were then added, each in a different hand.52 Cecil probably chose one, since his friend William Lambarde the antiquary sat for Aldborough in 1563 and his servant William Waad in 1584. Barnabe's friends in the parliament of 1571 included Laurence Blundeston of Gray's Inn, William Cromer and Serjeant Lovelace of Kent, and his young cousin Matthew Mantell, who the next year inherited Milton and other Northamptonshire manors from his grandmother, Lady Hales, whose son Thomas Mantell testified to her “great housekeeping.”53 Googe also knew Sir Henry Sidney, lord deputy of Ireland and lord of the manor of Lamberhurst; Sampson Lennard, his rival for Mary but now married to the heiress of Lord Dacre; and Cecil's son Thomas and nephew Henry Cheke, who later translated an Italian tragedy, Free Will. When Burghley entertained Elizabeth in July 1572 at his splendid new country house, Theobalds in Hertfordshire, twenty miles north of London, he assigned Googe to be first server to the Queen at the first table.54 Waad, who served at the second table, became clerk of the privy council in 1584 and later lieutenant of the Tower, but Burghley never rewarded Googe with any office of profit.

Barnabe found it hard to make ends meet, and about 1576 he even borrowed money from John Lennard, who had written of his “whotte hedde.” He wrote to Lennard from Cecil House:55

Syr I Beseeche yowe shewe mee so much ffriendshipp as to Lend me ffyve pownds ffor eight or nyne Dayes. Itt may att thys present doo me greater pleasure then yow wold suppose. Thus am I bold to trouble yow Trustyng to ffynd yow as I have allwayes ffound yow. I have no newes ffor yow Butt that the progresse to buxtons holdethe nott, God have yow in hys keepyng, in hast ffrom Cecyll howse thys present Saterday.

Your allways assured ffrend

Barnabe Goche.

Lennard seems to have lent five marks, for his agent Edward Woodgate wrote on December 23, 1577, “To the right worshypefull Mr. John Lennard at Knolle”:

I have sent my mane to Mistryse ghoche for the fyfe marke that she othe you, and s[h]e hathe sente ansure that she hath yt not, nor cane not pay yt tyll the nyxt teareme for thene she saythe that Mr Ghoche ys to resefe monye, and yf yt come then you shalle be payde, or ellse she knowethe not when she shall be abelle.

A revised edition of The Zodiac of Life in 1576 was dedicated once again to Burghley by “Your Honours most bounden Barnabie Googe,” with verses by Abraham Fleming of Cambridge (Tuve facsimile, p. 242). Next year Googe dedicated The Overthrow of the Gout, a verse translation of two Latin poems by “Doctor Christopher Balista” or Arbaleste, to “his very good Frende” Dr. Richard Master, one of the physicians to the Queen and to Burghley.56 In the margin (sig. B6) he noted that sea colewort “groweth under the Clyfts besydes Seaforde in Sussex.”

Googe's most widely read work after The Zodiac was Four Books of Husbandry (1577), “Newely Englished, and increased, by Barnabe Googe, Esquire,” from Conrad Heresbach's Rei rusticae libri quatuor (Cologne, 1570).57 The dedication “from Kingstone” to his very good friend Sir William Fitzwilliam, lord deputy of Ireland from 1571 to 1575 but now living at his country house in Milton, Northamptonshire, where Lady Hales had owned an estate, praises his brave “charge geven upon the Oneale at Monham” (Monaghan) to rescue his companions. Googe cites eighteen English “Aucthours, and Husbandes,” or gentlemen farmers, whose observations he has used, beginning with his friend Sir Nicholas Malbie of Ireland, “that honest, wyse, and valiaunt Gentleman” (sig. Q3v), who had published a cure for a foundered horse in 1576 (STC 17209).58 Captain Bingham, later Sir Richard, had been a gentleman in the household of Archbishop Parker in 1566 and had fought the Turk at Lepanto.59 John Somer was a clerk of the signet and an envoy to France in 1563, and Nicasius Yetsweirt was a clerk of the signet and secretary for the French tongue, with a country house at Sunbury, Middlesex. Fitzherbert and Tusser had written the first two books in English on farming. Five other “Husbandes” were country gentlemen whom Googe knew in Kent. “M. Wylli. Lambert” or Lambarde in A Perambulation of Kent (1576) had added to the names of gentry recorded in the 1574 visitation those of “Barnabe Goche” (p. 56) and his wife's father Thomas Darell, his friend Serjeant Lovelace, and his cousins Alexander and Thomas Neville.60 Googe lists also Thomas Whetenhall of East Peckham, a cousin of the Darells and Roydons who had studied at Staple Inn and Gray's Inn; Richard Dering of Surrenden (1530-1612), uncle of Googe's friend Edward Dering and married to a cousin of Googe's wife; Richard's kinsman Henry Brockhull of Allington, who signed his pedigree “Henry Brokehull” in the visitation; and “M. Franklyn” or John Francklyn, as he signed his name, of Chart, fined for Wyatt's rebellion but deputy clerk of the peace for Kent, who died in 1576 and is mentioned on sig. S8 as “in his life time a skilfull husband, and a good housekeeper.”61 Googe also cites Henry King, who had journeyed with him to Spain; Richard Andrewes, “a good painful searcher out” of herbs for medicines, who once brought him black hellebore root or bearfoot from “Darndal in Sussex” (sig. R4v); and “my freend Wylliam Prat, very skilful in these matters,” who held office under Burghley as usher in the Court of Wards, had a garden adjoining Fetter Lane near Fleet Street,62 and told Googe how to cook asparagus cut “in small peeces lyke Dyse” (sig. G6v).

Googe mentions (sig. &6v, p. 190v) that he first received angelica seeds “from that vertuous and godly Lady, the Lady Golding in Kent” (1523-95), who was a sister of Mary Googe's mother Mary Darell and a coheir with her of their father, Thomas Roydon (d. 1559) of Roydon Hall, also called Fortune Hall, in East Peckham.63 Googe notes that he has found pennygrass, with “little round leaves,” “by the shadowy Ditches, about great Peckam in Kent” (sig. &7r,v) and that he has seen veronica in Lord Cobham's park and motherwort plentifully in Surrey and about Maidstone (sig. &8v). In his epistle to the reader he observes that Lord Cobham and Lord Williams of Thame have good grapevines growing about their houses and that he has heard Dr. Valentine Dale, ambassador to France, praise the wines of Paris. On hops, he advises (sig. H6v), “Reade the perfect ordering hereof, in maister Reynolde Scots booke of Hoppe Gardens.” Scot, in turn, refers to the Husbandry in A Discovery of Witchcraft (1584, p. 283), where he tells his readers not to trust to charms to preserve cattle against witchcraft, but “looke in B. Googe his third booke, treating of cattell, and happilie you shall find some good medicine or cure for them.” Adam Winthrop of Groton, Suffolk, records in his diary in the 1590s that he twice lent “Googe” or “Googes husbandry” to the rector of Brettenham.64 Archbishop Juxon (1583-1663) owned a copy of the 1614 edition which is now in the British Library.

Googe wrote a letter “To my very loving friend Captaine Barnabe Ryche,” printed in his Alarm to England (1578), written in Ireland, quoting what Sir William Drury, “a paragon of armes at this day,” on whose death the next year Rich wrote an epitaph, “was wont (I remember) to say.” When William Malim, headmaster of St. Paul's School, published in 1579 a Latin poem Sir Thomas Chaloner had written in Spain, De republica Anglorum instauranda, with Chaloner's portrait and Latin verses by Burghley and by Googe's friend Christopher Carlile, he inscribed a copy “To Mr. Barnabee Googe.” Googe adds an autograph note, “Barnabee Goche ex dono Gulielmi Malim, 1579, AEtatis, 39.”65 In the same year he dedicated to Burghley his translation from Spanish of the Proverbs of the Marquis of Santillana. Burghley assigned “Gooche” to be one of fifty servitors, with young Francis Bacon, in the great chamber of his house in the Strand at the most sumptuous banquet he ever gave, on April 30, 1581 to entertain the Dauphin and other French commissioners who came, attended by five hundred Frenchmen, to treat of the Queen's marriage to Alençon.66

Richard Robinson of Sheffield praised Googe as a poet in The Reward of Wickedness (1574, sig. Q2v). Arthur Hall of Grantham, Lincolnshire, a ward of Cecil's who began to translate Homer while a “Scholer” in Cecil's house, wrote in dedicating Ten Books of Homer's Iliads in 1581 about the “workes so exquisitely done in this kinde by our owne Nation. As the travaile of M Barnabe Googe in Palingenius.” In A Discourse of English Poetry (1586, sigs. C4, F1v) William Webbe praised Googe for “hys helpe to Poetry besides hys owne devises” in translating Palingenius, Heresbachius, and parts of Vergil's Georgics (in his Husbandry). The translation of Palingenius was mentioned (without naming Googe) by Roger Ascham and Gabriel Harvey, and with Googe's name by Francis Meres.67 Gervase Markham, who later revised the Husbandry in 1631, in a manuscript poem also listed Googe among English poets.68

A. H. Bullen in DNB, not having bothered to read the printed letters by Googe that he cited, misled many later writers by assuming that Googe was in Ireland for eleven years, from 1574 to 1585. Actually, he was there during the first half of 1574 and for parts of the four years from 1582 to 1585. Though he always spelled his name “Googe” in print, he signed his name “Barnabe Goche” in all his letters from Ireland, which begin on February 2, 1573/4, from “Knockffergus” (Carrickfergus).69 Sent by Burghley to report on the first Earl of Essex's expedition to Ulster, he wrote that “comynge syck from sea, mye lodgynge being the ground,” he suffered from dysentery, which he cured by “drinking of waater out of a rusty Skull” (helmet: pp. 181-82). Essex died of this disease two years later, and Googe wrote in 1583 that “I was never moar affrayd off my skoolmaster than I am off itt, and yett I trust in God to eskaap itt” (p. 242). Two sketches that he sent to Burghley are in the Public Record Office: “a spirited pen and ink sketch of the interview between the Earl of Essex and Turlough Lynagh, close to the bank of the historic Blackwater on the 16th of March, 1574, when a truce was concluded,” and a plan of Drogheda, “seated upon two hylles,” with a picture or “counterffeit off Terlough Lenogh rudely by mee drawne, butt assure your Lordshipp greatlye resemblyng hym.”70 From the camp by Belfast in May he praised Captain Malbie and other “proper men,” though some of the soldiers were “poore Creatures” (p. 183). In July 1574 he came home with letters from Essex, who recommended him highly as one who “hath both a mynde and a bodi meete for the profession wherein I live, and never showed discontentacon for any extremitie. I pray your L.,” he wrote Burghley, “encorage him in this his good deserte” (p. 184).

In August 1582 Googe came back to Ireland as provost marshal of Connaught at forty pounds a year, but “The Lord Graye leavynge Ireland att mye comynge hyther lefte mee nothynge butt hys baare hande ffor the Offyce,” and he sued for three years to get the Queen's patent (p. 361). Lord Grey's successors, Archbishop Loftus and Sir Henry Wallop, the lords justices, granted him a warrant for a commission on December 12, 1582, as provost marshal in the province of Connaught and Thomond, with power to execute martial law and to punish or to treat with rebels and enemies.71

Since Spenser was an official in Dublin, Googe very likely met him there.72 Googe explained to Burghley why he had left his own country and his “daily attendance upon your lordship.”73 It was not “lightness or inconstancy” but “mere carefulness of my poor estate,” since “I have on the other side a poor wife and a great sort of children,” and “the little living my father left me” is too small to maintain so many, until his stepmother dies and “it shall please God to send my own living into my hands.” “My poor wyff,” he wrote from Athlone, “I have lefte in England, who, besyds the charge off dyvers of my chyldren that she keepeth at gramer skoal and abroad, is greatlie charged wyth a copyl off them att the Unyversytye” (p. 243). The master and fellows of All Souls College, Oxford, he wrote (p. 241), had not acted upon Burghley's letters “in the behaff of my poor boy” (Robert, later fellow of the college). To Walsingham he wrote that in Connaught “I shall ffor thys wynter tyme have ffull experryens off the purgatory off Saynt Patryck,” and that “I hear lyve amongste a sort off Scythians, wantynge the comffort off mye Contrey, mye poor wyff and chyldren” (pp. 241, 243).

Googe was welcomed heartily by Sir Henry Wallop, Geoffrey Fenton, who gave him a horse, and Sir Nicholas Malbie, the governor and president of Connaught, “my especyall ffrend,” who wrote to Walsingham that he had “long affected Mr. Goche, an honest, learned, and virtuous gentleman.”74 They had met in Ulster in 1574, and both had served English ambassadors at Madrid and had published books (DNB, Malby; STC 11621 and 17209-11). An Irish annalist wrote of Malbie: “There came not to Erinn in his own time, nor often before, a better gentleman of the Foreigners than he,” and Googe reported of him and the Irish “that hys comon dallyons wyth them is Veni, Vidi, Vici.” Googe journeyed with Malbie through Connaught to hold sessions at Galway, Ennis, and Roscommon, sued a Galway merchant, Alderman Lynch, for slandering Burghley and Hatton, and drew a plan of the town of Galway showing Malbie's device to build a citadel against the Spaniard.75 After recovering from a wound, Googe wrote that “I am allwayes in danger to have my throat cutt” by his Irish retainers (p. 242). He compared the “brotherlye affectyon” between Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanricard, and his brother John to that of the sons of Oedipus, who killed each other (the Earl killed his brother that November). When Googe went to England in September 1583, Malbie wrote that his “honest service and friendly assistance hath been very comfortable unto me,” especially in helping to prevent a rising by Brian O'Rourke in Sligo.76 Malbie was “verye earnest” in writing Walsingham to keep his promise to obtain the Queen's grant for Googe.

After six months of suing at court for his patent, Googe returned in March 1583/4 to find Malbie dead and no friendship from his former friend Bingham, now chief commissioner of Connaught. A new lord deputy, Sir John Perrot, came in June and refused Googe's request for leave to settle his estate in England, saying that if Googe left he would bestow the marshalship on one of his own followers, while the principal secretary, Geoffrey Fenton, “hath wrytten very Imperyouslye unto mee to have itt,” “(so manye hungry Harpyes theare bee)” (pp. 302, 361). In April a pardon was granted, probably as a routine precaution to cover acts personally ordered by Malbie, to nineteen of the chief officers of Connaught, including Anthony Brabazon, lieutenant governor, Rowland Argall, clerk of the council, and Barnabe Googe, marshal.77 In July Googe was commissioned one of the justices for civil government in Connaught, with Loftus, Wallop, Fenton, Bingham, and others.78 After continuing that winter “to moyl amonge the Boggs” (p. 302), he finally sold his office for a hundred pounds to Captain Francis Berkeley, “a Gentleman off goodd Dyscretyon,” and left Ireland in April 1585, carrying dispatches from Perrot to Walsingham (pp. 361-62). Berkeley, later Sir Francis, was son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, standard-bearer to Henry VIII, and grandson of William, Lord Mountjoy, friend of Erasmus. He was granted on April 24 the same fees and “diet at the chief commissioner's board, as Googe had.”79

From Burghley's chamber at court on June 19, 1587 Googe wrote his last known letter, sending the Earl of Rutland news about Drake, Leicester, and the King of Navarre.80 Since his stepmother, Mrs. Burnell, had died, “havyng the best parte off mye Inherytanse bye the Death off mye mother in law newly ffallen unto mee,” he was now able to live with his family in Lincolnshire, where his wife, he wrote from Dublin in 1584 (p. 302), had been living as a “dyscomfforted stranger in a strange Contrey.”

From Alvingham on August 14, 1587, Googe dedicated a translation of Andreas Bertholdus, The Wonderful and Strange Effect and Virtues of a New Terra Sigillata Lately Found out in Germany, to his friends Dr. Master and Dr. Bayley, the Queen's physicians. He mentioned his good and learned friend Dr. Hector Nuñez, a Jewish physician, and the Queen's Welsh apothecary, Hugh Morgan.81 In December 1590 he was at Nottingham, where witnesses were examined for his suit in the Court of Exchequer to claim a crown lease of lands in Lenton, Notts, as heir to his uncle Richard Goche.82 Googe is listed among Burghley's gentlemen to attend the Queen when she visited Theobalds from May 10 to May 20, 1591, but it is not known whether or not he came.83 He wrote his bold signature, “Barnabe Goche,” and his heraldic crest, an arm erect grasping a dragon's head, in a thirteenth-century parchment register of Alvingham Priory.84 When the heralds visited Lincolnshire in 1592 he gave the same crest and the arms of Goche: azure three boars argent armed or. In his books he gave three different coats for Goche, the first of four or six quarterings: in 1560, 1561, 1563, and 1565 … a chevron between three talbots, on a chief three leopards' heads; in 1570 a chevron between three cocks … and in 1577 three boars, as in 1592, the arms of Matthew Goch.85

Googe died about February 7, 1593/4, and was buried in Cockerington church near Alvingham.86 Mary, his wife for thirty years, administered his estate and lived until 1614. Of their nine children, Matthew, aged twenty-eight in 1594, inherited Alvingham and had eight sons, the eldest named Barnabe for the poet; Robert was Kentish fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and B.A. 1590; Dr. Barnabe Goche, LL.D., became master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, M.P. for the University, and chancellor of Worcester and Exeter dioceses; and Dr. Henry Goche, D.D., of Trinity College, Cambridge, traveled with an ambassador to Persia.87

Googe journeyed to Spain in 1561 “for knowledge sake” and to Ireland in 1582 for “mere carefulness of my poor estate.” He married for love against the will of Mary Darell's father and kinsmen, with the result that he had to provide for her and for “a great sort of children” at grammar school and university. Burghley, on whom his fortunes depended, had no use for love poems but preferred “the most Christian poet Marcellus Palingenius” and didactic verse like The Proverbs of Santillana. Googe was a pioneer because he had the enterprise to experiment with different genres and the courage to offer his poems to the public. He was the first English writer to publish a book of varied kinds of poems: pastorals, elegies, and lyrics.


  1. The English Lyric from Wyatt to Donne (Princeton, 1967), p. 134.

  2. E. A. Greenlaw, “The Shepheards Calendar,PMLA, 26 (1911), 415-51 (see 426-27). See also Paul E. Parnell, “Barnabe Googe: A Puritan in Arcadia,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 60 (1961), 273-81.

  3. Rosemond Tuve, “Spenser and the Zodiake of Life,Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 34 (1935), 1-19; J. E. Hankins, Shakespeare's Derived Imagery (Lawrence, Kansas, 1953).

  4. Harleian MS 4181, fol. 314, a pedigree cited by Joseph Hunter, “Chorus Vatum,” Add. MS 24887, fol. 347, and by Peirce, p. 6. A fine monumental brass of Googe's ancestor Sir Walter Mauntell (d. 1487) and his wife is shown in John Gillingham, The Wars of the Roses (London and Baton Rouge, 1981), plate after p. 174.

  5. John Bridges, The History of the County of Northampton (Oxford, 1791), I, 350-52; George Baker, The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton (London, 1822-30), I, 183; Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, III (Canterbury, 1790), 319n., and IV (1799), 440n.; The Visitation of Kent Taken in the Years 1619-21, Harleian Society, 42 (1898), 87, 214; Elijah Williams, Early Holborn and the Legal Quarter of London (London, 1927), II, 1508; Peirce, p. 9.

  6. Edmund Plowden, Les Commentaries ou Reportes (1599), fols. 253-64; DNB under Hales, naming the wrong Lady Hales; Hamlet, ed. Harold Jenkins (London, 1982), p. 547.

  7. Oswald Barron, Northamptonshire Families (London, 1906), pp. 21-41; A. L. Rowse, “Alltyrynys and the Cecils,” English Historical Review, 75 (1960), 54-76.

  8. Harleian MS 4181, cited by J. Y. W. Lloyd, The History of Powys Fadog, III (London, 1882), 396-98.

  9. The Genealogist, 4 (1880), 29, and 6 (1882), 155-56; Lincolnshire Pedigrees, ed. A. R. Maddison, Harleian Society, 51 (1906), 408-09. Googe was responsible for only the second of these three pedigrees, that of 1592; the other two wrongly describe his father as recorder of Lincoln, an error for receiver for Lincolnshire.

  10. Acts of Court of the Mercers' Company, 1453-1527 (Cambridge, 1936), p. 385 and passim; will in Prerogative Court of Canterbury (hereafter P.C.C.), 37 Alenger.

  11. Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, XVIII.i.347, XXI.ii.431; Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-47, p. 139.

  12. Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-47, p. 115; on Cobbe see pp. 126, 128.

  13. Letters and Papers, XIV.ii.288-89, 304-05.

  14. Letters and Papers, XVIII.i.545; Walter C. Richardson, History of the Court of Augmentations, 1536-1554 (Baton Rouge, 1961), pp. 48-49, 281; Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-47, p. 346, and 1556-58, p. 112.

  15. Publications of the Lincoln Record Society, 53 (1959), 36; see also pp. 68-70.

  16. House of Commons Papers, 1878, LXII.i.377; S. T. Bindoff, The House of Commons, 1509-1558 (London, 1982), II, 234-35. Cf. I, 242-44, on Hedon, a small borough which was granted members for the first time since 1295.

  17. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1547-80, pp. 7, 63, 83.

  18. Public Record Office (hereafter PRO), State Papers 11/107-08.

  19. Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward VI, II, 239, IV, 413, 433, V, 61; Peirce, pp. 5-7.

  20. Cal. Patent Rolls, Edward VI, IV, 65, pardon reciting the coroner's inquest in the parish of St. Martin Ludgate.

  21. Cal. Patent Rolls, Philip and Mary, I, 438.

  22. Will in P.C.C., 7 Noodes, PRO; abstract in North Country Wills, Surtees Society, 116 (1908), 238-40; Mark Eccles, Christopher Marlowe in London (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), p. 148.

  23. Chancery inquisition post mortem, PRO, C142/113/56. He was not fifteen years and eleven months, as stated by Maddison, Lincolnshire Pedigrees, p. 408.

  24. Cal. Patent Rolls, Elizabeth, II, 596; Richard C. Barnett, Place, Profit, and Power: A Study of the Servants of William Cecil, Elizabethan Statesman (Chapel Hill, 1969), pp. 65-67; Joel Hurstfield, The Queen's Wards (London, 1958), p. 275.

  25. Googe to the reader in Conrad Heresbach, Four Books of Husbandry (1577).

  26. C. H. and T. Cooper, Athenae Cantabrigienses, II (Cambridge, 1861), 39-40; John Peile, Biographical Register of Christ's College, I (Cambridge, 1910), 56; J. and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, II (Cambridge, 1922), 231.

  27. “B. G.” in STC 4325, identified as Googe in The British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (1881-1900), IX, 161. See Peirce, pp. 149-54, who suggests that Googe wrote the verses at the request of Ralph Newbery, publisher of this treatise and of Googe's Zodiac and Eglogs; Sheidley, pp. 20-21, 123.

  28. The Zodiake of Life, with an introduction by Rosemond Tuve, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints (New York, 1947).

  29. Hasted, Kent, II (1782), 575-76; Harleian Society, 74 (1923), 43-44, 63, 65; Peirce, p. 10; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies (Cambridge, 1965), pp. 81, 119-20; P. W. Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603 (London, 1981), I, 302-03, 678-79, and II, 333.

  30. Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, ed. Edward Arber, English Reprints (London, 1871; rpt. 1895, 1910, and New York, 1966), pp. 12, 93; facsimile with an introduction by Frank B. Fieler, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints (Gainesville, Florida, 1968), pp. 118-19.

  31. John Peile, Christ's College (London, 1900), p. 72; Malone Society Collections, II.ii (1923), 209.

  32. The Poems of John Marston, ed. A. B. Grosart (Manchester, 1879), pt. ii, p. xi.

  33. The Praise of Folie, ed. Clarence H. Miller, EETS, o.s. 257 (1965), pp. xxxviii-xlii on Spain.

  34. G. M. Bell, “Sir Thomas Chaloner's Diplomatic Expenses in Spain,” Bulletin of the Institute for Historical Research, 53 (1980), 118-24, extracts from Lansdowne MSS 111 and 112, preserved by Cecil.

  35. Calendar of State Papers, Foreign, 1562, pp. 10, 74 (misread as “Gogher”), 256 (misread as “Mr. Barnaby Clough”); 1563, p. 185.

  36. Calendar, 1561-62, pp. 644-45; 1562, pp. 214, 259; Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, IV (1927), 484; G. C. Moore Smith, The Family of Withipoll (Letchworth, 1936), pp. 55-58; Works of Gascoigne, ed. J. W. Cunliffe, I (Cambridge, 1907), pp. 344-47.

  37. John G. Underhill, Spanish Literature in the England of the Tudors (New York, 1899), pp. 239-45; T. P. Harrison, Jr., “Googe's Eglogs and Montemayor's Diana,University of Texas Studies in English, no. 5 (1925), pp. 68-78; Judith M. Kennedy, ed., “A Critical Edition of Yong's Translation of George of Montemayor's ‘Diana’ and Gil Polo's ‘Enamoured Diana’” (Oxford, 1968), pp. liv-lv; Sheidley, pp. 78-79.

  38. Peirce, pp. 135-47; Sheidley, pp. 112-15, 142-43. G. K. Hunter, “A Source for Shakespeare's ‘Lucrece’?,” Notes and Queries, 197 (1952), 46, suggested that Shakespeare may have used this book, but the evidence is unconvincing.

  39. Not “Blunderstone,” as in DNB, nor “Lord Blundeston,” as C. T. Prouty called him in George Gascoigne's A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, University of Missouri Studies, 18, no. 2 (1942), 22. See Peile, Biographical Register, I, 57; Joseph Foster, Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn (London, 1889), p. 30 (Jasper Heywood is on p. 29); Elijah Williams, Staple Inn (London, 1906), pp. 128, 130, and Early Holborn (London, 1927), II, 1223 (cf. 1177-88 on Staple Inn); Harleian Society, 4 (1871), 158; Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, I, 452.

  40. C. T. Prouty, George Gascoigne (New York, 1942), pp. 34, 46. Thomas Twine dedicated STC 6901 to Lovelace in 1572 and Reginald Scot dedicated STC 21865 to him in 1574. See DNB under Richard Lovelace; Hasler, II, 491-93; and William's portrait at Dulwich College in the red robes of a serjeant-at-law. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral in 1577.

  41. For these letters in the State Papers and others in Lansdowne MSS 6 and 7 see John Strype, The Life and Acts of Matthew Parker (London, 1711), pp. 144-45; Sir Egerton Brydges, Restituta, IV (London, 1816), 307-11; Gentleman's Magazine, 162 (1837), 477-81; Correspondence of Matthew Parker, Parker Society, 33 (1853), 198; Arber pp. 8-13. Strype was mistaken in thinking that Googe was a gentleman pensioner; the Elizabethan rolls of pensioners at the Record Office (E407/1) do not name Googe, only pensioners named Gorge. Joel Hurstfield, The Queen's Wards (London, 1958), p. 150, did not understand that Mary's “charming letter to a Mr Gorge” (sic), refusing him, was dictated by her parents and said just the opposite of what she felt. Mary was not an heiress, as Hasler calls her (II, 205), since her brother Henry inherited Scotney.

  42. Peile, Biographical Register, I, 56. On the Darells see Edward Hussey, “Scotney Castle,” Archaeologia Cantiana, 17 (1887), 38-48; Hasted, Kent, II, 380; and visitations in Harleian Society, 4 (1871), 90-91, 42 (1898), 186-87, 74 (1923), 8, and 75 (1924), 94. An unreliable pedigree, which mentions “Barnaby Gough,” is in Henry Foley, “Scotney Castle and the Darell Family,” Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, III (London, 1878), 475-90.

  43. Cal. Patent Rolls, Elizabeth, III, 404, V, 440.

  44. Cooper, Athenae Cantabrigienses, I (1858), 384.

  45. See C. A. Bradford, Nicasius Yetsweirt, Secretary for the French Tongue (London, 1934), F. B. Williams, Jr., “Renaissance Names in Masquerade,” PMLA, 69 (1954), 314-23 (esp. p. 317).

  46. In Turbervile's Epitaphes, Epigrams, Songs and Sonets, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints (Delmar, N.Y., 1977), verses on sigs. B7v, C2, Q2, R3 answer verses in Googe's Eglogs, sigs. G6-6v, G8v-Hl. See Sheidley, pp. 52-53, 57-58.

  47. T. F. Kirby, Winchester Scholars (London and Winchester, 1888), p. 132.

  48. The British Bibliographer, II (London, 1812), 618-34. See STC 12049; Peirce, pp. 175-214; Sheidley, pp. 91-102. The only known copy, formerly Heber and Britwell, is in the Folger Library. Haslewood was probably right in suggesting that these initials explain the “G. B.” listed as a poet by William Webbe in 1586: see Eccles in C. J. Sisson, Thomas Lodge and Other Elizabethans (Cambridge, Mass., 1933), pp. 422-23. The Ship of Safeguard was stolen and reprinted as his own by Anthony Nixon in The Christian Navy (1602).

  49. See C. F. E. Spurgeon, Five Hundred Years of Chaucer Criticism and Allusion, I (1914), 103-04, 171-72.

  50. A Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions, ed. H. E. Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1926), pp. 63-64.

  51. The Popish Kingdom, but not The Spiritual Husbandry, was reprinted by R. C. Hope (London, 1880), with a brief memoir of Googe, less accurate than Arber's in 1871. F. J. Furnivall reprinted Googe's translation of Book IV as an appendix to Philip Stubbes, Anatomy of Abuses, New Shakespere Society (1877-79). Peter Davison wrote an introduction to a facsimile of The Popish Kingdom (New York, 1972). See Peirce, pp. 95-108, Sheidley, pp. 103-06, 140.

  52. Hasler, I, 75-76, 284.

  53. Hasler, III, 13-14.

  54. Barnett, Place, Profit, and Power, p. 66, citing Cecil Papers at Hatfield House, vol. 140, p. 20.

  55. Thomas Barrett-Lennard, An Account of the Families of Lennard and Barrett (privately printed, 1908), pp. 76-77. I quote from the Library of Congress copy.

  56. See the edition of the first translation in Robert M. Schuler, “Three Renaissance Scientific Poems,” Studies in Philology, 75, no. 5 (1978), 65-107; Peirce, pp. 41-42, 154-75; Sheidley, pp. 106-07, 140-41. Googe was named as the translator by Joseph Ritson, Bibliographia Poetica (London, 1802), p. 222.

  57. A. L. Rowse, The England of Elizabeth (London, 1951), pp. 100-01; Peirce, pp. 39-41; Sheidley, pp. 108-12, 141-42. A facsimile is in The English Experience, no. 323 (Amsterdam and New York, 1971), and several editions are in University Microfilms. Harvard owns six original editions, and the British Library, Folger, and Wisconsin five each.

  58. See G. E. Fussell, The Old English Farming Books (London, 1947), pp. 12-13, 128, and “An Elizabethan Landowner (Barnaby Googe),” Estate Magazine, April 1946, where he corrects his misinterpretation of Googe's list in “Missing Tudor Books on Farming,” Times Literary Supplement, Oct. 23, 1937, p. 788.

  59. John Nichols, The Progresses of Queen Elizabeth (London, 1823), I, 203; DNB.

  60. Lambarde had bought Heresbach's Latin book in 1571: Retha M. Warnicke, William Lambarde: Elizabethan Antiquary, 1536-1601 (London and Chichester, 1973), p. 41.

  61. The Visitations of Kent, 1530-31, 1574, 1592, and 1619-21, Harleian Society, 74 (1923), 75 (1924), 42 (1898); Joseph Foster, Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn, which lists Whetenhall and Mary Googe's father, grandfather, and uncle George Darell; Sir Edgar Stephens, The Clerks of the Counties, 1360-1960 (London, 1961), p. 111. Whetenhall, the son of a Marian exile to whom Thomas Becon dedicated STC 1742, wrote A Discourse of the Abuses Now in Question in the Churches of Christ (1606).

  62. Cal. Patent Rolls, Elizabeth, VII (1982), 4, 305; Barnett, p. 120.

  63. Hasted, Kent, II, 274-75, 288, 381; William Berry, County Genealogies, Kent (London, 1830); Harleian Society, 42 (1898), 135; Cal. Patent Rolls, Elizabeth, VI, 68, 77; will of Thomas Roydon at PRO. Roydon, a Protestant to whom Thomas Becon in 1543 dedicated STC 1738, married Margaret Whetenhall, aunt of Thomas Whetenhall. See also D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, pp. 82, 87, on Lady Golding's third husband, Cuthbert Vaughn, pardoned after Wyatt's rising.

  64. Winthrop Papers, I (Boston, 1929), 41, 72.

  65. Brydges and Haslewood, The British Bibliographer, II (London, 1812), 619; Anthony a Wood, Fasti Oxonienses, I (London, 1815), 310n.; Athenaeum, Nov. 23, 1889, p. 716; Michael McDonnell, The Registers of St Paul's School (London, 1977), p. 40.

  66. Lansdowne MS 33, p. 175; Barnett, pp. 7-8, 66. J. A. Gotch, “The Homes of the Cecils,” in William Cecil Lord Burghley (London, 1904), p. 57, names “Mr. Goodge” as lodging with Ralegh at Theobalds in May 1583, but this is a misreading of Burghley's “Mr. Gordge” in William Murdin, A Collection of State Papers at Hatfield House, II (London, 1759), 378, or in John Nichols, The Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, II, 403. Googe was then in Ireland.

  67. The Schoolmaster (1570), ed. L. V. Ryan (Ithaca, 1967), pp. 145-46; Gabriel Harvey's Marginalia, ed. G. C. Moore Smith (Stratford-upon-Avon, 1913), p. 231 (Harvey named Googe as a poet in Pierce's Supererogation, 1593, p. 191); Palladis Tamia (1598), fol. 285v. See Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith (Oxford, 1904), I, 30, 243-44, 265, II, 280, 322; Sheidley, pp. 120-21.

  68. J. H. H. Lyon, A Study of the Newe Metamorphosis (New York, 1919), p. 63.

  69. William Pinkerton, “Barnaby Googe,” Notes and Queries, 3 Ser. 3 (1863), 141-43, 181-84, 241-43, 301-02, 361-62; Cal. S. P. Ireland, 1574-85 (see index); Cal. Carew MSS, 1575-88, pp. 362-63; Peirce, pp. 31-36, 44-50; Sheidley, pp. 24-25. Pinkerton, whose page numbers are cited in parentheses, quotes Googe's spelling, which the calendars modernize.

  70. Cal. S. P. Ireland, 1574-85, pp. viii, 17; Pinkerton, pp. 182-83; DNB, Turlough Luineach O'Neill. The rough sketch of O'Neill is reproduced in Eleanor Hull, A History of Ireland and Her People (Dublin, 1926), p. 358, and in David B. Quinn, The Elizabethans and the Irish (Ithaca, 1966), frontispiece and p. 97.

  71. Calendar of fiants in Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 13 (Dublin, 1881), 197. Fiants were warrants to the Irish Chancery of grants under the great seal: see OED and Spenser, Mother Hubberds Tale, 1144.

  72. F. F. Covington, Jr., “Biographical Notes on Spenser,” Modern Philology, 22 (1924-25), 63-66.

  73. Historical MSS Commission, Cecil MSS, II (1888), 522.

  74. Cal. S. P. Ireland, 1574-85, p. 392. Malbie also recommended Sidney's friend Bryskett as honest, discreet, and “trusty every way”: H. R. Plomer and T. P. Cross, The Life and Correspondence of Lodowick Bryskett (Chicago, 1927), p. 12.

  75. Pinkerton, pp. 242, 301; The Annals of Loch Ce, ed. W. M. Hennessy (London, 1871), II, 459; M. D. O'Sullivan, “The Fortification of Galway in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries,” Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, 16 (1934), 1-47, with Googe's map facing p. 9, and “Barnabe Googe, Provost-Marshal of Connaught, 1582-1585,” Journal, 18 (1938), 1-39. Googe is listed in Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Cartographers of Great Britain and Ireland, 1550-1850, ed. Peter Eden, II (London, 1976), 115.

  76. Pinkerton, p. 302; Cal. Carew MSS, 1575-88, pp. 362-63.

  77. Calendar of fiants in Report, 15.33.

  78. Report, 15.54.

  79. Liber Munerum Publicorum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1852); I.ii.192; Report, 15.85, 105; Harleian Society, 11 (1886), 7.

  80. Historical MSS Commission, Rutland MSS, I (1888), 219.

  81. See William Munk, The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, I (London, 1878), 52-54, 80-82; DNB, Richard Master and Walter Bayley; Eccles, Christopher Marlowe in London, pp. 77-79; Sheidley, pp. 115-16, 143.

  82. Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, 38 (London, 1877), 287.

  83. Barnett, Place, Profit, and Power, p. 66.

  84. T. Longley, “Alvingham Priory Register,” Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, 4 (1894), 85-87. See also 3 (1893), 183-86, 4.109-12, and Agnes Cuming, “Some Documents Connected with Alvingham Priory,” Lincolnshire Magazine, 3, no. 2 (1936), 38-40.

  85. He never quartered the arms of Darell and Roydon, as stated by Hope in The Popish Kingdom, p. xvi n.

  86. Chancery inquisition post mortem taken at Louth, PRO, C142/238/73; Patent Rolls, 36 Eliz., grant to Mary Goche; Arber, p. 14.

  87. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, II (1922), 231-32. F. A. Gooch, The History of a Surname (New Haven, 1926), pp. 42-54, prints many records of Dr. Barnabe and other children of Googe, but fails to prove any relationship between the poet and several Gooches who came to Maine or Virginia. A Mary Gough who became abbess of the Poor Clares at Gravelines was not a daughter of Barnabe but of Thomas Gough of Shropshire: Catholic Record Society, 14 (1914), 32-33. Matthew Gooche of Lamberhurst, Kent, was a recusant in 1596, with his uncle Henry Darell: Catholic Record Society, 61 (1970), 159, and Matthew of Alvingham was still a recusant in 1609: Cal. S. P. D., 1603-10, p. 515. Googe's friend Alexander Neville (1544-1614) left two hundred pounds to “my wellbeloved cousin” Dr. Barnabe Goche: Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, III, 121.

Simon McKeown and William E. Sheidley (essay date 2001)

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SOURCE: McKeown, Simon and William E. Sheidley. Introduction to The Shippe of Safegarde (1569), by Barnabe Googe, pp. xiii-xxxiv. Tempe, Ariz.: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1989.

[In the following excerpt, McKeown and Sheidley analyze Googe's The Ship of Safegarde, which they see as a moralizing poem extolling the rewards of a virtuous life and the superiority of Protestantism over Catholicism.]

In 1569 the London printer William Seres, renowned mainly for producing books of prayers and devotions, published a slim octavo volume entitled A newe Booke called the Shippe of safegarde.1 This work, ascribed on the title-page to one “G. B.,” has the appearance of a poetic miscellany; in addition to a prose dedication, the volume includes an introductory address to the reader in fourteeners, two narrative versifications of miraculous incidents from a Latin redaction of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, and the long title-poem. In 219 ottava rima stanzas, plus a 36-line interpolation from the Chaucerian Roman de la Rose,The Ship of safegarde, as poem is headed in the text, is a moral and religious allegory in which man's life is likened to the passage of a ship through dangerous seas.2 As the bark of man's life steers between islands, shoals, and whirlpools of sin towards its hoped-for destination, the Haven of Bliss, its pilot, the soul, must trust to the divine compass and card to negotiate a course through the dangers. The mariner must avoid the Rock of Pride, the Rock of Avarice, the Quicksands of Detraction, the Sandbanks of Gluttony, the Island of Fleshly Pleasure, the Rock of Heresy, the Island of Idolatry, and the Rock of Hypocrisy. Beset by such hazards, few ships achieve the blessed goal. Only the pilot who has safeguarded his ship with the bulwarks of piety and moral vigilance can reach the heavenly port. Once his ship is thus provisioned, helpful beacons such as Prayer, Peace, Love, Mercy, Patience, and Faith direct him towards the Haven of Bliss.

Traditional and generic as its theme might be, the poem is a representative mid-Tudor work, where the species of allegory is that of the sermon, in which the typically commonplace imagery is rarely allowed to distract from the deeply serious moral purpose of the author. Sometimes, however, the author indulges in a more sophisticated brand of allegory, in which the imagery is sustained and developed and made peculiarly appropriate to its context. In this vein The Ship of safegarde shows characteristics of later allegories like The Faerie Queene.3 Typical also of the 1560s are both the poem's strong Protestant bias and its author's adaptation of stock imagery to promote a reformed agenda. Another distinctively Protestant feature of the poem is its use of polemic and satire to point up the follies and excesses of contemporary society. The poem thus suggests the influence of Erasmus's Lucianic satire as mediated through the mid-century English religious controversialists, notably John Bale. In addition, however, the poem reflects a wider intellectual commerce, as its author shows himself to be comfortable with both the milieu of neoclassical humanism and the doctrines of the early church fathers. There are also passages in the poem reminiscent of the conventions of the humanist emblem book. In detailing the Sandbanks of Gluttony and the Island of Fleshly Pleasure in particular, the imagery is highly visual, with the poet presenting a series of striking emblematic tableaux. This static rhetorical visualization, followed by close ecphrastic moralizing, resembles the emblema nuda species of emblem, where the picturae are replaced by verbal descriptions. In evidence too throughout the poem is that Horatian precept so popular with humanists in the sixteenth century, the pedagogic impulse to marry moral instruction and pleasant entertainment. For so long overlooked, The Shippe of Safegarde, for a range of reasons, is in need of modern reappraisal. It is hoped that the present edition will help facilitate a renewed interest in the work, thereby allowing the Shippe at last to assume its proper position on our rather short shelf of English literature from the 1560s. …


Googe was an important pioneer of native English poetry in the mid-Tudor period.4 Born on St. Barnabas's Day, 11 June 1540, he was the son of Robert Goche, a Lincolnshire retainer to several prominent figures within the Henrician and Edwardian reformist party, including Sir William Cecil—a distant relation of Goche—and Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. Googe's mother died a month after his birth, and Googe, as was customary in such circumstances, was farmed out to the household of his maternal grandmother, Lady Hales of Dane John Manor, Canterbury. His treatment by Lady Hales was evidently kind; in later years Googe was to look back on her as “the very Phoenix and Parageon of al the Gentlewomen that I ever knewe.”5 Canterbury was the administrative center of the Church of England, and Dane John was renowned as a focal point for reformed thinkers within the city, attracting at various times such luminaries of the new faith as John Bale, Alexander Nowell, and Matthew Parker. Influential as the presence of such figures must have been on the development of Googe's religious and political outlook in his formative years, it was more probably an event typical of the vicissitudes of the mid-Tudor period that shaped his thinking along strongly Protestant lines. In 1554 Googe's stepgrandfather James Hales was arrested on religious grounds by the Marian authorities. While in prison, Hales, already mentally unstable, attempted suicide by cutting his wrists. He failed, but on his release a short time later, he threw himself into the River Stour near Canterbury and drowned.6 This family tragedy, coupled with the testimony of the returning religious exiles at the end of Mary's reign, must have done much to convince Googe that the religious controversies of the day were manifestations of a forthright spiritual conflict between good and evil. Googe's moral sternness and unremittingly bleak view of human nature may also have been informed by the physical location of Dane John within the city of Canterbury. Known locally as The Dungeon, Googe's childhood home overlooked the city's place of public execution, where Googe could have seen the rotting corpses of Protestant martyrs amongst the usual traffic of thieves and petty felons.

Googe's formal education was at Christ's College, Cambridge, an institution famous for its progressive theology in the sixteenth century, and alma mater of many English reformers. From Christ's, Googe proceeded to the Inns of Court in London and was a full participant in the burgeoning cultural life of that community. His first publication came at this time, when he was nineteen years old. The work, a poem of recommendation, prefaced Thomas Gressop's A Briefe Treatise, Conteynynge a playne and fruitfull declaration of the Popes vsurped Primacye; it appeared on 10 March 1560.7 Of much greater importance was his next publication, which followed a fortnight later: his translation of the first three books of Marcellus Palingenius's Zodiacus vitae, a work first published in Venice in 1532.8 Palingenius (alias Pietro Angelo Manzolli) was a poet under the patronage of Duke Ercole II D'Este of Ferrara. His Zodiacus vitae (or The Zodiake of Life in Googe's version) is a long moralizing satire on man's condition, encyclopedic in scope and occasionally brilliant in its imagery. The book had its controversial side, however; Palingenius was fully aware of the long-running enmity between the Estensi and the Papacy and included for Ercole's delight some passages satirizing both the Pope and the religious orders. Accordingly, in 1558 the Zodiacus was placed on the very first Index librorum prohibitorum and its late author exhumed and burned. This morbid posthumous fate did much to foster the view among reformed thinkers that Palingenius was a kind of crypto-Protestant, and his book enjoyed considerable success in reformed countries, often being reprinted at times of perceived Protestant peril, as in England in 1588 and the Netherlands in 1622. As a repository of memorable apophthegms and improving sententiae, the Zodiacus was valued for its educational potential, and in England it appeared on the statues of several grammar schools.9 Googe completed his task of translation in 1565 and furnished his work with an index and scholarly marginalia in 1576.10 His endeavors in Englishing Palingenius earned Googe the high esteem of leading Protestant intellectuals, including Edward Dering, William Chadderton, and Abraham Fleming.11

Translating the Zodiake also gave Googe an opportunity to cultivate poet-patron relations with his now preeminent kinsman, Sir William Cecil. By the early 1560s Cecil was Elizabeth's chief minister. Of reformed bent, Cecil recognized the value of fostering the literary talents of his zealous young kinsman. This relationship was the most important connection in Googe's career. Through Cecil, Googe, whose father had died in 1558, was able to buy off his wardship at a favorable price;12 through Cecil, Googe found regular employment at the households of Theobalds, Cecil House, and at Court;13 through Cecil, Googe was able to sidestep obstacles placed in his way by Mary Darrell's parents when they suddenly entertained the overtures of a wealthier suitor;14 through Cecil, Googe entered Parliament as M.P. for Aldeburgh in Yorkshire in 1571;15 and through Cecil, Googe was employed on two spells of government duty in Ireland, one of which was an important military posting.16 Googe repaid these favors with the fruits of his pen, presenting Cecil with successive editions of the Zodiake and relying on his patron's “learned protection and graue authority.”17 In 1579 he also dedicated to Cecil a translation of some Spanish moral proverbs of the Marquis of Santillana, and in 1577, aware of Cecil's affliction with gout, Googe tactfully dedicated to Richard Masters, Cecil's physician, a slim medical poem detailing cures and salves for the disease.18

Probably Googe's most important literary venture—although it was not regarded as such in his lifetime—was the publication in March 1563, when he was twenty-two years old, of Eglogs Epytaphes, and Sonettes.19 This small collection of original verse was unprecedented; no previous English author had published a volume of poems bearing his own name in his own lifetime. Although the collection shows its debt to Tottel's Miscellany of 1557, which was still very much in vogue, it has its own distinct points of interest. It boasts eight eclogues, which were among the earliest examples of original English pastoral. Sixteen years before the publication of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender, Googe was already handling moral, political, and religious questions under the cover of shepherds' songs. Of the volume's other pieces, the epitaphs, or elegies, are earnest and full of strong feeling, and the “sonettes,” a miscellany of occasional verse, have been widely admired and anthologized over the past one hundred years.

In 1570, probably in response to Elizabeth's excommunication by Pope Pius V, Googe translated the Regnum Papisticum of Thomas Naogeorgus, or Kirchmeyer, a venomous satire on Roman folly and superstition.20 Googe dedicated his Popish Kingdome, or reign of antichrist, to Elizabeth, hoping that she would find the work a “present meete for a Queene.” In 1577 Googe translated a treatise on agriculture from the Latin of Conrad Heresbach, Rei rusticae libri quatuor (Cologne, 1570).21Fovre Bookes of Husbandry enjoyed many reprintings, and was still respected in 1634 when Gervase Markham produced a revision of Googe's text.22 Although Fovre Bookes reflects its German origins, Googe was careful to augment his translation with additional information relevant to the English farmer. One detail is worth mentioning: in the prefatory materials Googe laments the inability of the English at sustaining serious viniculture. Given that southern England enjoys the same meteorological conditions as the wine regions of Germany, Googe feels that Englishmen should be capable of producing palatable wine. It is a testimony to Googe's agricultural acuity and intuition that his home parish of Lamberhurst now contains England's most productive vineyard.

The year 1587 saw Googe's last published work, another translation, this time from a Latin work (Frankfurt, 1583) by Andreas Berthold.23 In this odd little book Googe preaches the virtues of a supposed wonder drug, Terra Sigillata. The prose dedication, addressed again to Masters, and another physician, Dr. Baylie, was signed from Alvingham in Lincolnshire. Googe had moved in the mid-1580s from Kent to his family seat, and passed his time in obscure retirement until his death in February 1594.

By the time of his death, Googe had earned wide respect as the translator of Palingenius and Heresbach, but was largely forgotten as an original poet. By the mid 1590s, readers had before them examples of the work of Spenser, Sidney, and Marlowe. Googe's original work from the 1560s belonged to a different era and must have seemed hopelessly outmoded in comparison to the flurry of sonnet sequences and elegant lyrics which were tripping from the presses. Googe's favored meter, the fourteener, a native approximation to the classical alexandrine, had once been regarded as a powerful tool of didactic expression. Now it had become a byword for rustic uncouthness: Shakespeare's Rude Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream hope to have the prologue to their amateur dramatics “written in eight and six.”24 There can be no doubt that the historical proximity of Googe and other sober-minded writers of the mid-Tudor period to the glittering latter decades of the sixteenth century has done little to enhance their reputation. It should be remembered, however, that this earlier generation of writers did much to prepare the way for the later successes of the English literary Renaissance. They created a climate where literary production came to be respected and praised. For the greater glory of the English tongue they conscientiously naturalized a range of classical and continental models and provided the unlearned with serviceable vernacular versions of seminal texts. Thus they familiarized a native audience with literary forms and educated them in styles and conventions that later writers could build upon. Laboring against the censure of a received wisdom that branded English verse as barbarous, Googe and his contemporaries improvised a vernacular poetry from an eclectic range of models. The Shippe of safegarde typifies this cultural acquisitiveness. It is at once deeply traditional and yet forward-looking, morally urgent yet iconoclastic, conventional yet idiosyncratic. In all, the Shippe exemplifies much of the English literary achievement of the mid-Tudor years. In both its strengths and its limitations it provides evidence of a burgeoning faith in the native cultural voice while further revealing many of the confusions and contradictions that cut across that politically and religiously uncertain society.


The notion that life is like a voyage is, arguably, the paradigmatic metaphor for human existence.25 The concept occurs in nearly all cultures in all ages, found in such varied expressions as Egyptian and Norse after-life beliefs, biblical episodes such as those of Noah and Jonah, Indian and Arabian tales of Sinbad, and Homer's Odyssey. As Hans Blumenberg has recently explained, “the repertory of this nautical metaphorics of existence is very rich. It includes coasts and islands, harbors and the high seas, reefs and storms, shallows and calms, sail and rudder, helmsmen and anchorages, compass and astronomical navigation, lighthouses and pilots.”26 Whether human life is comfortable and secure, or troubled and vexed, the marine figure provides humanity with a spectrum of images to express its condition. And as Blumenberg noted, “the metaphorics of embarkation includes the suggestion that living means already being on the high seas, where there is no outcome other than being saved or going down, and no possibility of abstention.”27

Given the ubiquity of the theme, one hesitates to claim with any confidence the ultimate source or inspiration for Googe's poem. There are, however, certain texts and traditions from which he clearly draws. The most obvious is Homer's Odyssey, not least because Googe cites episodes and incidents from the epic at various points of his poem. Googe could have read the Odyssey in a Latin translation, a number of which had been published during the first half of the sixteenth century, but the stories he refers to were commonly found in compendia and florilegia, and it may have been such a collection that furnished him with details from the poem. It is, of course, entirely unsurprising to find a Christian poet of this period reconfiguring pagan material to suit a Christian theme. Homer was among those ancient writers who were felt to be divinely enlightened and whose works contained covert Christian instruction. Medieval and Renaissance readers interpreted the Homeric epics as moral and religious allegories of human life, and episodes and incidents from them were subjected to close typological analysis.28

Googe, though, did not have to resort to Christianized readings of the ancients to find the theme of his poem because biblical and Christian literature made extensive use of the ship and sea motifs. Men and women of Googe's era must have been very familiar with the comparison of man's life to a voyage, and of the ship as a place of refuge in a precarious world. In the Elizabethan Boke of Common Praier of 1559, the Divine Service for Baptism asks the Lord that the children “maye be receaued into the Arke of Christes Churche: and beeynge stedfaste in faythe, ioyefull through hope, and rooted in charitie, may so passe the waues of this troublesome worlde, that finally they maye come to the lande of euerlastyng lyfe, there to reygne with thee. …”29 It could be that Googe found the key inspiration for his poem from the Anglican liturgy, but as a literary man he must also have been conscious of a range of other sources. He may have known, for example, the Legend of St. Brandan from Wynkyn de Worde's Golden Legend of 1527.30 The story details the holy man's seven years of voyaging and his encounters with bejewelled islands and fabulous fish. The narrative structure is to a large extent dependent on the turning of the Church calendar, and the tale's moral impact is made through the emphasis placed on the saint's godly and estimable life. Googe likely also knew Chaucer's story of the morally pure Custance in the “Man of Law's Tale” from The Canterbury Tales,31 which features prolonged voyaging sequences and includes the motif of the charmed or magical boat so popular in Romance literature. The story's purpose, however, is much more elaborate than the typical Romance, and the tale of Custance and her voyages has considerable allegorical significance. The tale comes to speak of notions of life and death, rebirth and renewal, and separation and restoration, as well as providing images of the sacraments and the nature of the Christian life. Custance's obedience, faith, and perseverance can be read as exemplary patterns of pious behavior, and of direct application in righteous living. The ship in which she drifts connects with ancient ideas of the Ship of the Church, with Providence at the helm. The seas are the trials of life, and the destination the port of heaven. On this allegorical level, the story of Custance inhabits the same imaginative world as Googe's Ship and makes use of similar iconographic conventions. Googe is no hagiographer, however, and the Ship differs in important ways from both the stories of Custance and St. Brandan. These tales have a happy resolution, and the tensions created by the various situations and states experienced by the protagonists are relieved. In Googe's voyage the central protagonist is essentially Everyman, and the outcome of his journey remains uncertain: success depends on the mariner's following the navigational principles mediated by Googe from scriptural authority. The resolution of the issues raised in the poem lies outside the work, in the individual conscience of the reader.

In its allegoresis of moral choice and appeal to the reader's conscience, the Ship employs features of another religious literary form. The homiletic tradition, variously expressed in sermons, biblical commentaries, and works of devotion, had been a major channel of religious discourse from the earliest days of the Christian faith, and remained undiminished in its stature and popularity in the sixteenth century. The homilist viewed himself as a humble interlocutor between Christ's message and the common believer, and this role of advocate and teacher often required the use of mundane metaphors to illustrate profound spiritual mysteries. The homilist used images from everyday experience, and it is not surprising to find the image of the storm-tossed ship as one of the commonest metaphors used in homiletic writing. Examples among the works of the early church fathers are numerous and seem to have their roots in a range of biblical episodes such as Noah and the Deluge or Christ's calming of the storm. In his Sermons, St. Augustine figured the church as a ship sailing on the seas of temptation, beset by winds and dangers.32 Of greater interest to the reader of Googe, however, are the works of St. John Chrysostom, fourth-century Bishop of Constantinople. Like other homilists, he compares the virtuous man, for example, to “a skilful pilot, controlling the rudder of his mind with great vigilance, not allowing the craft to be submerged under the volume of the billows of wickedness, but getting the better of the storm and riding it out at sea as though safely berthed in port.”33 Elsewhere he compares the Christian's desire of heaven to the avarice of the seafaring merchant.34 From allusions in the prefatory matter to the 1565 edition of the Zodiake we know that Googe had read and admired Chrysostom's works by the time he wrote the Shippe.35 Chrysostom was widely regarded as a venerable champion of simple, unadorned Christianity, and his works enjoyed great popularity among reformers. Of all the early church fathers, sixteenth-century Protestants found the doctrines of Chrysostom to be most in harmony with their own beliefs. Thus in 1543, John Cheke in seeking to encourage Henry VIII in the role of the reformist prince presented him with an edition of Chrysostom's works.36

By the Middle Ages, the influence of generations of homiletic writers had made the ship motif a commonplace for life's perils and trials. As G. R. Owst has shown, in the pulpit the basic image was subjected to almost endless elaborations and refinements.37 It could take on the form of the universal church or the individual mortal. Sometimes the ship's mast figured as the cross of Christ, and the wind that filled the sails the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. In other versions, sins in the forms of sea-monsters could assail the ship or the vessel could be pitched by the storms of Pride. Attuned to these subtle variations on the theme, the Renaissance reader of homilies continued to be drawn by the imaginative appeal of the ship image. Numerous books of meditations from the period take as a starting point the similitude of life as a voyage.38 Usually, however, the nautical image does not extend far beyond the title; the image serves as a springboard for more general religious reflections. An instance of this is Stephen Bateman's A christall glasse of christian reformation (1569), which announces its homily on Hope with an allegorical woodcut that dramatizes the Christian life as a passage through stormy seas. The text of the homily proper, however, makes no further allusion to marine imagery.39 Metaphors in homiletic literature are not drawn out to the lengths achieved in the Ship, where Googe tries to couch his moral lessons in literary artifice. It is his intention, as he states in the dedication, to delight as well as to instruct, and to this end his precepts and sober guidance are enlivened by the imaginative development of the ship figure.

The Ship, then, does not seem particularly indebted to any one literary precedent, but rather draws on several venerable traditions. The fusion of literary genres within Googe's book has led John N. King to see the Ship, together with Stephen Bateman's The Travayled Pylgrime, as exemplifying “Elizabethan syncretism,” where authors brought together an “encyclopedic combination of romance, quest narrative, didactic allegory, and Protestant polemics.”40 But whereas establishing connections with earlier works is problematic, no such difficulty exists when seeking resemblances between the Ship and later works. A little over a month after Googe dedicated the Shippe to the Darrell sisters, Edmund Spenser made his first appearance in print as the precocious translator of verses in Jan Van der Noot's A Theatre for Voluptuous Worldlings.41 Among Spenser's contributions to A Theatre is a series of epigrammatic translations from Petrarch, mediated to Spenser through Clément Marot's De Visions de Pétrarque. The second epigram describes the fate of a magnificent and richly laden ship which founders on a submerged rock when a “sodaine storme did … turmoyle the aire, / And tombled up the sea. …” For Petrarch, and Spenser, the vision of a stricken ship suggests the fragility of human ambitions and the dangers of presumption. Spenser was to enlarge upon the theme of a moralized voyage years later when he described Guyon's passage to the Bower of Bliss in Book II of The Faerie Queene. The description of the Bower itself shares striking parallels with Googe's Island of Fleshly Pleasure. The Rocks of Avarice, littered with the wealth of shipwrecked souls, recall Spenser's “Rich strond” in Book III, and the ship's progress past a series of allegorical temptations has points of contact with the parade of the Seven Cardinal Sins in Book I. There is little evidence to suggest that Spenser was directly indebted to Googe's poem, or indeed that he was even familiar with the piece, although the two poets may have met in Ireland in the early 1580s.42 Spenser certainly did not require the example of Googe's allegory to spur on his own fecund imagination, but it is nonetheless instructive to compare the diverse angles of approach between the two poets when handling similar themes. Another major work from a later period also derives from the same broad tradition as Googe's Ship. John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1678 & 1684) is arguably the definitive expression of the spiritual journey theme in English literary culture.43 Although the Ship again falls short of the complexity and profundity of Bunyan's classic rendering of the Puritan experience, the two works have much in common. Both hinge upon the journey metaphor; both portray life as a succession of challenges and dangers; and both are driven by the conviction that continence and discipline are requisite for a successful negotiation of life's trials. Both even share a taste for embodying abstract notions with concrete forms: Googe with his Rock of Pride or Channel of Lowliness, Bunyan with his Slough of Despond and the Delectable Mountains. Important distinctions remain between The Ship of safegarde and works of the calibre of The Pilgrim's Progress and The Faerie Queene. The Ship links each poetic description—in itself usually a success—with a protracted exposition and interpretation. Spenser and Bunyan present their material in the enigmatic and resonant splendor of allegory proper, rarely intruding to offer commentaries on their conceits. The Faerie Queene, despite its vastness, maintains an internal coherence and unity, and its allegory is sustained, consistent, and suggestive. The Pilgrim's Progress, a simpler allegorical narrative, nonetheless remains similarly clear, focused, and monolithic in form and intent. In these areas the Ship is deficient. The allegorical structure repeatedly breaks down with digressions, anecdotes, and multifarious allusions. Even Googe himself sometimes seems unsure of his exact allegorical intentions: the ship itself can be read variously as representing the individual soul, or body, or mortal man collectively.

These confusions are symptomatic of the poem's mixed origins and intentions. Cross-bred with the various strains of homily, legend, allegory, and spiritual biography, the Ship on the whole emulates none of these forms at their best, and can appear to lack refinement and grace. In common with other mongrel breeds, however, the poem abounds in spirit and vigor. And this is its real significance; for a literary culture so long lying moribund and uninspired, the “Ship” and works of its kind offered evidence that in the early years of Elizabeth's reign a new pride and confidence in English letters was abroad, and with it a new mood of experimentation among native poets.


Googe chose to dedicate The Shippe of Safegarde to his sisters-in-law on St. Valentine's Day. A tradition of the sixteenth century dictated that on the 14th of February men and women of all ages drew random names from a hat to determine their Valentine for the day. The practice, and its potential for disaster, is humorously described in Googe's poem “Of the Unfortunate Choice of his Valentine.”44 Both married and unmarried alike entered into this game; if a married partner were chosen, he or she could be absolved of amorous obligations by presenting a gift to the choosing party. The formal occasion of the Shippe's dedication to the Darrell sisters may have stemmed from this seasonal tradition, but in his epistle Googe says he had long intended to present the girls with a book. Considering their “vertuous and well disposed minds” in their “yong and tender yeares”—judging by their grandfather's will they must have been at least twelve years old at the time—Googe resolved to show his good will towards them by “finding out such matter, as neither I might accompt my time vainly spent in wryting, nor you yours evill employed in reading.” He had settled on a project seeking to delineate “the perfite estate of a true christian,” and had given it the working title of “the counterfeyt Christian,” but his nearly completed manuscript met with “yll favourd misfortune.” Dismayed by the loss of his labors, Googe hastily began the Shippe “with a scarse quiet mind.” He explains that the conceit was inspired by his reflecting on the “daungers of this worlde, whereby the soule enclosed in the barke of sinfull fleshe wyth great hasard passeth,” though he confesses that the end product of his work is “a Ship but rudely furnished, and God knowes symply rygged.” Because the girls “delight in stories,” he has appended two tales from the lives of saints of the early church. He would have added more, but found his time pressured and the tales “tedious.” All this, of course, is the standard gracious rhetoric of dedications, where the writer plays down his literary ability, the charge of presumption is countered by the insistence of a moral purpose, and the product of long careful hours is dismissed as a trifle. Aside from his kinship by marriage to the Darrells, it was natural for Googe to dedicate his book to two such adolescents: it was a practice of ancient pedigree to present improving works for the edification and delight of minors. What makes Googe's choice of dedication particularly interesting in the case of the Shippe is that he was directing his work at the daughters of a recusant household.45

Fraunces and Phillyp's grandfather had not only been the lord of the manor of Scotney, but also is said to have served as priest in the parish church of St. Mary's, Lamberhurst, from 1547.46 He did not live to see the accession of Elizabeth, but just two months prior to her coronation he bequeathed to his son Thomas his beloved instruments and paraphernalia of devotion, including mass books, psalters, a chalice, vestments, candlesticks, cruets, and a sacring bell. Other references in his will show him to have been a considerable benefactor to the churches in that part of the Kentish Weald. He arranged for Lamberhurst's benefice to be repaired, and he made provision for the proper dressing of the altars in the parish churches of Wadhurst, Ticehurst, and Goudhurst. With the Elizabethan ecclesiastical settlement of 1559, Thomas Darrell the younger maintained the family's adherence to the old faith. Although nothing is explicitly stated in the documents relating to Googe's courtship wrangles with the family, it seems most likely that Darrell's low estimate of the poet was influenced by the latter's connections with such figures as Cecil and Parker. For a range of reasons, Darrell must have balked at the notion of establishing kinship with such a well-connected and energetic advocate of reformed thought.

In time, Thomas Darrell's recusancy extended beyond a mere refusal to adopt Anglican forms of worship. Soon after the first Jesuit missionaries arrived in England from Cardinal Allen's seminary at Douai (about 1573), Darrell offered Scotney as a safe house for incoming priests.47 As such it was ideally situated. Scotney is an inconspicuous and relatively small manorial house, nestling in a large hollow, where even as late as the eighteenth century the air was felt to be unhealthy.48 In Googe's time the surrounding terrain was heavily wooded, and in places marshy.49 Despite its seclusion, however, it lay near the London-to-Rye road, thus affording easy access to either the capital or the English Channel. In short, Scotney was an excellent staging-post for incoming Jesuit missionaries. Darrell's commitment to the cause was so great that in 1580, while refurbishing the south wing of the castle, he fitted a network of concealed hiding-places—which can still be seen—alongside the grand oak staircase added also at this time. His clandestine activities at Scotney passed undetected until 1598 when the castle was twice searched after a Protestant serving-man tipped off the authorities.50 The object of the searches was the renowned Jesuit Richard Blount, who had been installed at Scotney since 1591. Holed up for ten days while the searches took place around him, the priest made a dramatic escape over the frozen moat and the surrounding rough terrain, but the authorities arrested Thomas Darrell on suspicion of harboring Jesuit missionaries. He was taken to London and imprisoned in Newgate; his name disappears from the records at this point, and it is thought that Thomas Darrell died in custody.51

These events lay some time in the future when Googe dedicated the Shippe to Thomas Darrell's daughters in 1569. There can be no doubt that when he did so he was well aware of the family's religious leanings. Quite aside from his intimate and established knowledge of the family and their affairs, his mere domicile in the Lamberhurst area would have afforded him every opportunity to ascertain something of the Darrells' heterodoxy on religious matters, their secret being so open that one anonymous clerk recorded in the parish register of the burial of Mary's aunt as being “early in the morning without knowledge of the Minister and without Divine service.”52 It is worth noting that despite intermittent harassment the Darrell family kept true to Catholicism until the line expired in the late eighteenth century.53 For Googe the gulf between his opinions and those of his wife's family must have seemed unbridgeable. As an ardent reformer, Googe would have found Darrell's recusancy and the Roman influence presumably exerted over his household deeply repugnant; due to the bonds of blood and civility, however, he was compelled to leave his extended family unmolested. His apparent response to this quandary was characteristic. Convinced of the efficacy of the written word to challenge and persuade the unreformed, Googe penned The Shippe of Safegarde as a shot in the polemical battle over the intellectual and emotional territory of his sisters-in-law. The Shippe is not, however, an overtly controversial text. Indeed by the standards of the day, it is restrained: in seeking to communicate reformed notions to his Catholic in-laws, Googe's approach was insinuative rather than incendiary.

Nonetheless, a Protestant ethos pervades the work. The emphasis throughout is on the centrality of scriptural authority. Googe's deployment of biblical exempla both familiarized the girls with biblical episodes and demonstrated to them the usefulness of scriptural exegesis in the sphere of personal morality. Repeated use of the Bible also absolved Googe from censure, as his arguments were conspicuously grounded on scripture. On some issues, though, Googe more obviously raised his head above the Protestant parapet. In the section dealing with Heresy, for example, Googe turns on the opponents of the vernacular Bible, dismissing them as “envious beasts” driven by “malice” (st. 152). This attack on the enemies of the English Bible coincided almost exactly with the publication and distribution of the new Bishop's Bible, that peculiarly Anglican translation commissioned and regulated by Matthew Parker.54 Elizabeth and Cecil had reviewed the finished work on 22 September 1568, and it was put to press shortly thereafter. Published with a frontispiece portrait of Elizabeth herself, and also carrying full-page xylographs of Cecil and Dudley, the Bishop's Bible was a potent symbol of Protestant political and ideological dominance in 1560s England.55 Among the prefatory materials, Parker reprinted the prologue Thomas Cranmer had originally added to the Great Bible of Henry VIII's reign. There Cranmer sought, in imagery later to be used by Googe, to encourage a public unused to the notion of free access to the scriptures: “They that be free and farre from trouble and entermedling of worldly thynges liue in safegarde and tranquilitie, and in the calme, or within a sure hauen. Thou art in the middest of the sea of worldly wyckednesse, and therefore thou needest the more of ghostly succour and comfort.”56 In the Ship Googe clearly endorses the aims and aspirations of the ongoing translation movement. In stanza 153 he ridicules the efforts of an unnamed individual who recently

          needlesse paines did take
In culling out the faults he could espie,
Of everie tittell straight accompt doth make
In noting where he thinkes [the translators] run awrie.

The subject of this attack is uncertain, but Googe is obviously alluding to a known enemy of Bible translation who had identified perceived heresies and errors in the translators' work. One figure that fits the description is Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and a conservative churchman under Henry, Edward, and Mary. In 1542 he had pronounced the Great Bible “contaminate, sometime … with the malice of the translator … sometime by ignorance and sometime by negligence.”57 The list of words he felt defied appropriate translation into the common tongue included many basic religious terms such as Christus, Dominus, sacramentum, gratia, charitas, and mysterium.58 To reformed eyes, the exclusion of such vocabulary precluded the usefulness of a translation to the unlearned, and could merit Googe's estimation of his target's labors as the fruits of a “fonde and foolish braine.”

Other passages in the poem reveal its Protestant stance. In the treatment of Idolatry, Googe envisions an alluring island adorned with pyramids and altars and dotted with scented fires (sts. 161-69). He describes some of the many statues and graven images to be found there, and among them lists those of Saturn, Venus, Mars, Diana, Bacchus, Ceres, and other deities from the classical pantheon. He then proceeds to describe three other statues, the first two recognizable by their attributes as St. George and St. Christopher. The third image, that of an androgynous trifrons, would seem to be a representation of the demonic Hecate. Googe thus equates the veneration of such talismanic Christian saints as St. George and St. Christopher with the worship of the pagan gods, including that of witchcraft.

This uncompromising but oblique presentation of reformed opinions is carried on in the patristic translations Googe appended to his title poem. The stories are taken from the standard Renaissance edition of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, a Latin version originally compiled in the fifth century by Rufinus Tyrannius. Rufinus had freely but silently altered his material, grafting additional tales and incidents onto Eusebius's text, and Googe's second tale is one of these spurious additions.59 The first passage tells of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.60 This story of the immolation of an early church martyr suggests that Googe was attuned to the interest such accounts carried with a public inspired by John Foxe's Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Days. More commonly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, this work, first published in 1563, was a formidable memorial to the Protestant martyrs who had suffered persecution under Mary Tudor. Googe's translation is on the whole faithful to his original, but it is the details where he differs from Eusebius and Rufinus that are of real interest. Googe's account is more succinct and direct than the original: gone are the latter's digressions and elaborations. In part this simplification of the text could result from Googe's effort to keep the interest of the young readers to whom the work is addressed. But Googe does not merely edit Eusebius. He adds phrases and emphases to the existing text, and in places inserts blocks of his own verse. Accordingly the account of Polycarp's martyrdom takes on new color. The opening fourteen lines are entirely Googe's, serving as an introduction to the action of Eusebius's account by recalling the widespread persecution of the early church. The persecutors are described as descending on the “Christian flocke” with “wolvish tongue and tooth.” Googe is here connecting with a standard metaphor of the Reformation struggle in which the sheep represent the reformers, innocent creatures of God's flock, and the wolf represents Rome, the ravenous agent of the devil. Googe thus looks back not only to terrible and momentous events of the second century a.d., but also to those of recent memory. It is no accident that the story of Polycarp tells of a Greek bishop suffering at the hands of Roman authorities; reformers across Europe saw themselves as the heirs of the simple faith espoused by the primitive Greek Church.61 Like these early followers of Christ, they also found themselves to be a minority community undergoing persecution. In some particulars, however, the Polycarp story was not wholly suitable as an ideal Protestant biography. Googe felt it necessary to deflect attention away from Polycarp himself for fear of encouraging idolatry, and to focus instead on the worthiness of his beliefs. Thus the role of the portentous dream in the account is underplayed, and the marvels attendant on Polycarp's death are summarily handled. In Eusebius, the reader is provided with a mystical appreciation of the dead martyr's broken body, the bones being weighed “more precious than stones of great price, more splendid than gold.”62 Googe omits the passage entirely and replaces it with a more spiritual evaluation of Polycarp's death: “The people all amased, depart, the corse neglected lies, / The soule rejoycing at this day, unto the heaven flies” (ll. 206-7). The bishop's body is “neglected,” having served its mortal purpose; Googe thus precludes its use as an object of veneration.

The second story, one of Rufinus's additions to Eusebius,63 affords similar contemporary applications. It recounts the tale of Gregory, Bishop of Neocaesarea, who converts a votary of Apollo by a demonstration of the true God's power.64 Here again, the story seems handpicked by Googe for the instruction of his sisters-in-law. It shows the redundancy of worshipping false gods and the superiority of the Christian God to all other deities. The spiritual wealth of Gregory stands in contradistinction to the material splendor of the priest's “gorgeous temple faire” (l. 2), illustrating Googe's preference for unadorned Protestant worship over the more elaborate rituals of the old faith. The narrative also devalues the role of the priest as an intermediary between divinity and man. Gregory's communication with God is direct and intimate, while the followers of Apollo are obliged to seek recourse to the priest for spiritual guidance. In the ongoing Reformation debate, reformers were anxious to diminish the clergy's standing in the church, pointing instead to the centrality of the Word. Here Googe, in presenting this tale to the Darrell sisters, offers an alternative view of religious service, expressed, one presumes, with the silent hope that they will come to reject the perceived constraints of the formalistic faith they have been born into. His use of Eusebius is highly selective, and ultimately sectarian, but is a further manifestation of the Shippe's overall purpose, an evangelical concern to introduce the reader to reformed ideas, and to persuade the moral waverer into dedicated pious living.


  1. The book is dated 1569 on its title page and was entered in the Stationers' Register for 1568-69.

  2. A thorough study of the journey motif within the Renaissance period is Samuel C. Chew, The Pilgrimage of Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962).

  3. For a discussion of the distinctions between these terms see Michael Murrin, The Veil of Allegory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), 3-20.

  4. The principal biographical and critical accounts of Googe are the following: Edward Arber, “Notes on the Life and Writings of Barnabe Googe” and “Introduction” to Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes and Sonettes (1563), edited by Arber, English Reprints (London: Edward Arber, 1871), 5-18; Peirce, “Barnabe Googe: Poet and Translator” [Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1954]; William E. Sheidley, Barnabe Googe (Boston: Twayne, 1981); Mark Eccles, “Barnabe Googe in England, Spain, and Ireland” [English Literary Renaissance 15 (1985)]; Judith M. Kennedy, “The Life and Times of Barnabe Googe” in Googe, Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets, edited by Kennedy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989), 3-16, 29-30; Judith M. Kennedy, “Googe, Barnabe,” The Spenser Encyclopedia, edited by A. C. Hamilton et al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990); Judith M. Kennedy, “Barnabe Googe,” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 132: Sixteenth-Century British Nondramatic Writers, First Series (Detroit: Gale Research, 1994), 141-48; and Simon McKeown, “Barnabe Googe: Poetry and Society in the 1560s” (Ph.D. diss., The Queen's University of Belfast, 1993).

  5. Conrad Heresbach, Fovre Bookes of Husbandry, translated by Barnabe Googe (London: Richard Watkins, 1577), X8.

  6. See Kennedy, “The Life,” 5, and William Shakespeare, Hamlet, edited by Harold Jenkins, The Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1982), 547.

  7. Nilus [Cabasilas], A Briefe Treatise, Conteynynge a playne and fruitfull declaration of the Popes vsurped Primacye, translated by Thomas Gressop (London: Henry Sutton f. Ralph Newbery, 1560).

  8. An excellent discussion of the work is Rosemond Tuve's introduction to Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus, The Zodiake of Life, translated by Barnabe Googe, edited by Rosemond Tuve (1947; Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1976), v-xxvi. See also Foster Watson, The “Zodiacus Vitae” of Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus: An Old Schoolbook (London: Philip Wellby, 1908); Guiseppe Borgiani, Marcello Palingenio Stellato e il suo poema lo “Zodiacus Vitae” (Citto di Castello, 1912); Sheidley, Barnabe Googe, 28-47; J. M. Richardson, “Palingenius, Marcellus,” The Spenser Encyclopedia, ed. Hamilton, 526; and McKeown, “Barnabe Googe: Poetry and Society,” 129-82.

  9. See Foster Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908), 379.

  10. Palingenius, Zodiake (London: Henry Denham f. Ralph Newbery, 1565); Zodiake (London: H. Middleton f. Ralph Newbery, 1576).

  11. Prefatory matter, Zodiake (1565); Zodiake (1576), 242.

  12. Eccles, “Barnabe Googe in England, Spain, and Ireland,” 356.

  13. Eccles, “Barnabe Googe in England, Spain, and Ireland,” 362, 366, 370. See also Richard C. Barnett, Place, Profit and Power: A Study of the Servants of William Cecil, Elizabethan Statesman (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969), 66-67.

  14. The interesting correspondence concerning this affair is reprinted in Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes and Sonettes, edited by Arber, 8-13.

  15. Eccles, “Barnabe Googe in England, Spain, and Ireland,” 363.

  16. Details of Googe's duties and experiences in Ireland are vividly preserved in his dispatches to Cecil and other members of the Privy Council. These are printed in William Pinkerton, “Barnabe Googe,” Notes & Queries 3rd Ser. 3 (1863): 141-43, 181-84, 241-43, 301-2, and 361-62. They are discussed in M. D. O'Sullivan, “Barnabe Googe: Provost Marshall of Connaught 1582-85,” Journal of the Galway Archaeological Society 18 (1938): 1-39.

  17. Epistle dedicatory, Zodiake (1565).

  18. Inigo Lopes de Mendoza, Marques of Santillana, The Prouerbes …, translated by Barnabe Googe (London: Richard Watkins, 1579); Christopher Ballista, The Overthrow of the Gout, trans. Barnabe Googe (London: Abraham Veale, 1577). For detailed studies of the latter see Robert M. Schuler, “Three Renaissance Scientific Poems,” Studies in Philology 75,5 (1978): 65-107; and Ballista, The Overthrow of the Gout, translated by Barnabe Googe, edited by Simon McKeown (London: Indelible Inc., 1990).

  19. London: Thomas Colwell f. Raffe Newbery, 1563.

  20. Thomas Kirchmeyer, The Popish Kingdome, or reign of Antichrist, translated by Barnabe Googe (London: Henry Denham f. Richard Watkins, 1570). Googe's translation was reprinted in the nineteenth century, edited by Charles Hope (London: Chiswick Press, 1880), and in the facsimile reprint edited by Peter Davison (New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1972). Googe may have been introduced to Kirchmeyer's work by John Bale, who was on familiar terms with the German reformer in the 1540s.

  21. See n. 5, above.

  22. Conrad Heresbach, The Whole Art of Husbandry, translated by Barnabe Googe, revised by Gervase Markham (London: T. C. f. Richard More, 1631).

  23. Andreas Bertholdus, The Wonderful and strange effect and vertues of a new Terra Sigillata lately found out in Germanie, translated by Barnabe Googe (London: Robert Robinson f. Richard Watkins, 1587).

  24. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, edited by Harold F. Brooks, The Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1979), 3.1.23.

  25. In addition to Chew, Pilgrimage of Life, see W. H. Auden, The Enchafèd Flood or the Romantic Iconography of the Sea (New York: Random House, 1950); Robert Cockcroft, The Voyage of Life: Ship Imagery in Art, Literature and Life (Nottingham: University of Nottingham Art Gallery, 1982); and Philip Edwards, Sea-Mark: The Metaphorical Voyage, Spenser to Milton, Liverpool English Texts & Studies 30 (Liverpool: University of Liverpool, 1997).

  26. Hans Blumenberg, Shipwreck with Spectator: Paradigm of a Metaphor for Existence, translated by Steven Rendall (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997), 7.

  27. Blumenberg, Shipwreck with Spectator, 19.

  28. For a discussion of the moral gloss imposed by Renaissance readers on classical writers, see Douglas Bush, Mythology and the Renaissance Tradition in English Poetry (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1932), 68ff.

  29. The Boke of common praier, and administration of the Sacramentes, and other rites and Ceremonies in the Churche of Englande (London: Richard Grafton, 1559), S1v-S2r.

  30. The tale is reprinted in St. Brandan, a Medieval Legend of the Sea, edited by Thomas Wright (London: Percy Society, 1844).

  31. An excellent study of the tale, and a thorough discussion of the nautical motif in Christian iconography, is V. A. Kolve, Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative (London: Edward Arnold, 1984), 297-358.

  32. Kolve, Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative, 314.

  33. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis, translated by Robert C. Hill, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1990), 82: 87.

  34. St. John Chrysostom, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, translated by Paul W. Harkins, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1984), 72: 185.

  35. Prefatory matter, Zodiake (1565), *8v, (‡)2v-(‡)3.

  36. Joannis Chrysostomi, Homilae duae, translated by John Cheke (London: R. Wolfe, 1543).

  37. See G. R. Owst, Literature and the Pulpit in Medieval England, 2nd ed. (1933; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1966), 67-76, 177-78.

  38. See for example Edward Cradocke, The shippe of assured safetie (London: William Norton, 1572); A. P., The Compasse of a Christian. Directing them that be tossed in the waues of this worlde vnto Christ Iesus (London: J. Wolfe f. J. Harison the younger, 1582); John Hull, The Arte of christian saylinge (London: J. Harrison & S. Stafford f. J. Harison, 1602); Richard Middleton, Card and Compasse of life … (London: W. S. f. Walter Burre, 1613); James Pickford, The safegarde from ship-wracke or heaven's haven (Douai: Peter Telv, 1618); Thomas Odell, A brief and short treatise. Called The Christians Pilgrimage to His Fatherland (Amsterdam: John Fredericksz, 1635); Thomas Brewer, Lord have mercy upon us … (London: Henry Gosson, 1636); Jeremiah Burroughs, The sea mans direction in time of storme (London: T. Paine & M. Simmons, 1640); Thomas Elsliot, The true mariner and his pixis nautical (London: s.n., 1652).

  39. Stephen Bateman, A christall glasse of christian reformation wherein the godly maye beholde the coloured abuses vsed in this our present tyme (London: John Day, 1569), N3.

  40. See John N. King, Spenser's Poetry and the Reformation Tradition (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990), 5.

  41. Jan Van der Noot, A Theatre wherein be represented as wel the miseries & calamities that follow the voluptuous Worldlings, As also the greate ioyes and plesures which the faithfull do enioy (London: Henry Bynneman, 1569). See The Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, ed. William A. Oram et al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 465.

  42. See Kennedy, “Googe, Barnabe,” The Spenser Encyclopedia, ed. Hamilton, 336-37,336.

  43. A useful survey of Bunyan's sources is James Blanton Wharey, A Study of the Sources of Bunyan's Allegories (Baltimore: J. H. Furst, 1904; repr., New York: Gordian Press, 1968).

  44. The custom is described in R. Chambers, The Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities (London: W. & R. Chambers, 1863), 1: 255. For Googe's poem, see Eclogues, ed. Kennedy, 98.

  45. The Darrells' recusancy is noted in Peirce, “Barnabe Googe: Poet and Translator,” 203-5, and Kennedy, “The Life,” 30.

  46. See William Morland, The Church in Lamberhurst ([England]: n.p., 1978), 13. Morland does not explain the apparent conflict between grandfatherhood and celibacy.

  47. See John Morris, The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers (London: n.p., 1872), 2: 187-215.

  48. See Christopher Hussey, Scotney Castle (London: The National Trust, 1990), 21.

  49. The woodland, now partially cleared, provided fuel for iron-smelting, the area's principal industry in the early modern period. See Hussey, Scotney Castle, 3.

  50. See Morris, Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers, 207-11.

  51. Morris, Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers, 231; Hussey, Scotney Castle, 12.

  52. Morland, The Church in Lamberhurst, 13.

  53. Hussey, Scotney Castle, 16.

  54. See F. F. Bruce, The History of the Bible in English (London: Lutterworth, 1970), 92-95.

  55. See Margaret Aston, The King's Bedpost: Reformation and Iconography in a Tudor Group Portrait (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 43-47, 124, 133.

  56. Prefatory matter, The holie bible, 2nd ed. (London: Richard Jugge, 1572).

  57. Cited in James Arthur Muller, Stephen Gardiner and the Tudor Reaction (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1926), 105.

  58. Muller, Stephen Gardiner, 104-5.

  59. See Sheidley, Barnabe Googe, 101. Rufinus's translation, edited by Theodore Mommsen, appears on facing pages with the Greek original in Eusebius, Kirchengeschichte, ed. Eduard Schwartz, 3 vols., cont. pag. (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1903-9), hereinafter cited as Rufinus.

  60. For the original account, see Eusebius, The History of the Church, translated by G. A. Williamson, edited by Andrew Louth (London: Penguin, 1989), 118-23, and Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, translated by Kirsopp Lake, vol. 1, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann, 1926), 343-57. See also Rufinus, 339-53.

  61. See Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, The Theology of the English Reformers (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1965), 30ff.

  62. Eusebius, trans. Williamson, 122; cf. Eusebius, translated by Lake, 357.

  63. See Rufinus, 2: 953-56.

  64. A full assessment of the historical St. Gregory is given in Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (Harmondsworth: Viking, 1986), 517-42.


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