Contents Copyright Maria-Luisa Minio-Paluello, 2005

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Furthermore Oldys says: "...I have somewhere met with hints that Sir Walter Ralegh was a great proficient in music, either vocal, instrumental, or both" and thinks that we might be "somewhat induced to construe...in a literal sense"1 also Spenser's allusion and, I add, Nashe's.

Winter now adds:

"Let him not talke; for he has words at will
And wit to make the baddest matter good." (498-99)
and Ralegh, the poet and politician, could certainly fit this description well. Ralegh's contemporary Sir Robert Naunton in fact remarks of him: "He had a strong natural wit and better judgment, with a bold plausible tongue, whereby he could set out his part at the best advantage"2; and Oldys reports that "no man in his days was more a master of language than himself"3. He was "the wonder of the world for witt" says Aubrey4.

Summer follows with yet another possible reminiscence of real words:

"Bad words, bad wit; oh where dwels faith or truth?" (500)
Belphoebe-Elizabeth has a very similar remark for Timias-Ralegh in Spenser's Faerie Queene: "Is this the faith?..."(IV, vii, 36). Spenser represented in that episode the same phase of the relationship between Ralegh and the Queen to which Nashe is referring, (namely, the disgrace of 1592 because of Ralegh's unfaithfulness in love). The verbal parallelism, in this case seems to suggest that both Spenser and Nashe were probably reproducing a remark made by the Queen on hearing of Ralegh's secret love affair5. In this case the phrase could be easily recognised by an audience familiar with the Court. This charge too, then, not sufficiently justified by the context, is explained satisfactorily when we refer it to the development of Ralegh's circumstances in 1592.

In Sol's defence speech there is not much new material to compare to real life, because with it he replies, point by point, to the accusations we have already examined in the previous pages. The style of Sol's speeches however can be compared to Ralegh's poetry. The self-contained lines, the half lines balanced against each other and the strings of lines beginning with the same word are all stylistic elements which in Nashe might be echoes of Sir Walter Ralegh. For instance Nashe in:

"Shee leadd...
Shee waining...
She was eclipst." (561-63)
uses a device of which there are innumerable examples in Ralegh's poems. We find it for instance in:
"Thus Hope brings Hap; ...
Thus Pleasure comes; ....
Thus Fortune yelds, .....
Thus happy state is none without delay" (II, p.4)
In:
"In vayne mine eyes in vaine you wast your teares,
In vayne my sighs ...
In vayne you search...
In vayne you seeke, for fortune keeps my love." (VI, p.9).
And in:
"Praisd be Diana faire ...
Praisd be the dewes, ...
Praisd be her beames
Praisd be hir powre, by which all powres abound". (X, p. 10),
which continue in the same pattern for another three lines.

At the end of this poem we find another element to which we can compar Sol's speech; this is in the line:

"Praisd be that force by which she moves the floods" (X, l.f., p. 11). If we recall that Ralegh's nickname was Water (for the Queen, and also, later, for his wife Elizabeth), and that he assumed the poetical name of Ocean, we must recognise and acknowledge the importance of this line as a personal reference to which Sol's lines 559-61 correspond. The theme developed by Nashe in the speech given to Sol is, in fact, the same:
"Diana ...........
Only commaundeth o're the raging mayne;
She leads his wallowing ofspring up and downe; (559-61)
(with which Sol answers to the accusation of having let the water of the Thames overflow its banks).

Returning to the stylistic device6. of which I have already quoted a number of examples, we could quote many more from almost every one of Ralegh's poems; among the early ones (those grouped by Mr Oakeshott within the years 1581-87) its use is very extensive: in a few cases whole poems are set in this pattern. In later poems the device is used more soberly. In the unfinished Ocean to Cynthia, for instance, we find it applied to only two or three consecutive lines

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1. Op. cit, pp. 81-82

2. Fragmenta Regalia", cit. p. 48

3. Life of Ralegh, cit., p. 157

4. Brief Lives, cit., p. 256 The italics in these quotations are mine.

5. W. OAKESHOTT, op. cit., p. 96: it is implied, but not asserted, that the Queen may have formulated a question with words to that effect in 1592; Mr. Oakeshott quotes only, "Is this the faith..." from the Faerie Queene, and does not mention "..where dwels faith..." found in our play, which probably proves that both remarks do echo actual words.

6. I am aware that this particular arrangement of words and lines can be found in many other poets too; Spenser and Shakespeare have it occasionally, so have many others. Nevertheless we meet it so frequently in Ralegh's poems that, although it is not exclusively his, the device is undeniably peculiarly characteristic of him.


Contents Copyright Maria-Luisa Minio-Paluello, 2005. The copyright of this thesis belongs to the author under the terms of the United Kingdom Copyright Acts. Due acknowledgement must always be made of the use of any material contained in, or derived from, this thesis.