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(ABOUT 1596.) The following beautiful poem has been claimed on behalf of a considerable number of authors. Bishop Percy assigns it to Sir Walter Raleigh, who is said to have written it the night before his execution. Such an account of it is clearly indefensible from the fact that, whereas Raleigh was not executed till the year 1618, this poem had been published in the second edition of Francis Davison's “Poetical Rhapsody," in 1608; and had, moreover, found a place in a manuscript collection of poems completed some years earlier. There is no direct evidence that it was written by Raleigh at all. It appears, indeed, with the title of “The Farewell,” amongst Raleigh's poems in the edition of Sir Egerton Brydges; but that ingenious antiquarian objects that it is found in a MS. collection in the British Museum, of date 1596. (It occurs, it may be parenthetically remarked, in numbers 2296 and 6910 of the Harleian MSS. The latter, evidently the one referred to, is a singularly beautiful volume; but Sir Egerton Brydges has been hasty in attaching to it as a whole the date 1596. This date certainly appears in it, but it is at the end of the ninth group of poems, fol. 74; whilst the “satirical ballad of Go Soul, etc.," is at the head of group number eighteen, and on folios 141, 142. The nearness of the time of its insertion to the year mentioned, would, therefore, depend either upon the collector's opportunities or his industry; or, to group both these into one expression, upon his rate of compilation. After this explanation, the assertion of Sir E. Brydges that this poem is found in a MS. volume of date 1596, may be accepted with the addition of the alternative clause, or a short time after. It is likely, and indeed all but evident, that it must have been known more or less widely by the end of the sixteenth century.)
Mr. Ellis in his “Specimens,” refers it provisionally, "until a more authorized claimant shall be produced,” to Joshua Sylvester, on the ground that it had appeared in an issue of that writer's poems, under the conduct of an editor who was, presumably, well informed. The inconclusiveness of such an argument will be understood from the fact that the claim of Lord Pembroke, resting on precisely the same basis, is of precisely the same validity.
Ritson puts forward another candidate for the keenly contested honour. He asserts unhesitatingly, in his
Bibliographia Poetica,” that “the ‘Answer to the Lie,' usually ascribed to Raleigh, and pretended to have been written the night before his execution, was, in fact, by Francis Davison." But the objection which Campbell urges against Davison's claim on the score of his youth -Davison was only twenty-one years old in 1596—seems perfectly valid. It is altogether improbable that a satire, which bears in every line the stamp of authority and firsthand experience, should have been the product of an age the proper attributes of which are enthusiasm and anticipation. Not even the contemplation of the dilapidated fortune of the secretary, his father, could so early have broken Davison in to such a view of worldly sterility and hollowness.
Some other critics seem to have drawn lots for the claimant whose pretensions they would enforce; or else to have referred the piece to the particular poet whom they personally held in greatest esteem. Probably its authorship will never be ascertained; certainly, up to the
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sion, upon his rate of compilation. Ander this mon tion, the assertion of Sir E. Brydges that this means found in a MS. volume of date 1596, may be und with the addition of the alternative clanse, or a where ** after. It is likely, and indeed all but ovident, the # must have been known more or less widely by the end of the sixteenth century.)
Mr. Ellis in his “Specimens," refers it provisionally “until a more authorized claimant shall be produced," to Joshua Sylvester, on the ground that it had appeared in an issue of that writer's poems, under the conduo of an editor who was, presumably, well informed. The incon ensiveness of such an argument will be understood thom the fact that the claim of Lord Pembroke, rosting on pres cisely the same basis, is of precisely the same validity,
Kitson puts forward another candidate for the keonly comested honour. He asserts unhesitatingly, in his *Bibliographia Poetica," that "the Answer to the Lie, senalis ariel to Baleigh, and pretended to have been o tre ugut before his exccution, was, in 1901, by ta Ban" But the chiestion which (ornplal
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present time, it is a case in which investigation vindicates itself as a process by which we successfully arrive at indecision; and it is judicious to keep back an expression of opinion which must be in great part capricious.
This most brilliant of the scattered family of the fatherless can well afford to owe nothing to ancestry. The clamour for its appropriation will, it is hoped, excuse the length of notice which, wherever it may tend to fix or to unfix probability, is at least in the direction of truth.
THE LIE ;
OR, THE SOUL'S ERRAND.
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.
If Church and Court reply,
Then give them both the lie.
If Potentates reply,
Give Potentates the lie.
And if they once reply,