Richard Tottel (essay date 1557)
SOURCE: Tottel, Richard. “The Printer to the Reader.” 1557. Reprinted in Wyatt: The Critical Heritage, edited by Patricia Thomson, p. 32. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.
[In the following excerpt, which was originally published in Tottel's Songs and Sonettes, written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Haward late Earle of Surrey, and other, the printer credits Wyatt with helping improve the beauty and power of the English language.]
That to haue wel written in verse, yea & in small parcelles, deserueth great praise, the workes of diuers Latines, Italians, and other, doe proue sufficiently. That our tong is able in that kynde to do as praiseworthely as the rest, the honorable stile of the noble earle of Surrey, and the weightinesse of the depewitted sir Thomas Wyat the elders verse, with seuerall graces in sondry good Englishe writers, doe show abundantly. It resteth nowe (gentle reder) that thou thinke it not euill doon, to publish, to the honor of the Englishe tong, and for profit of the studious of Englishe eloquence, those workes which the vngentle horders vp of such treasure haue hereto enuied thee. And for this point (good reder) thine own profit and pleasure, in these presently, and in moe hereafter, shal answere for my defence. If parhappes some mislike the statelinesse of stile remoued from the rude skill of common eares: I aske help of the learned to defend their learned frendes, the authors of this work: And I exhort the vnlearned, by reding to learne to be more skilful, and to purge that swinelike grossenesse, that maketh the swete maierome not to smell to their delight.