Philobiblon: Check out Isabella and the dangerous (male) mermaids

Monday, March 27, 2006

Check out Isabella and the dangerous (male) mermaids

With a hat-tip to Sharon on Early Modern Notes, nice to note that the bulk of the work of my favourite poet, Isabella Whitney, is now readily accessible online, via Representative Poetry Online. (Although there does seem to be a problem with the "Sweet Nosegay" link, which I've emailed them about. That is particularly important since it is the text hardest to otherwise obtain.)

A sample, from Isabella's warning to "all maids in love", about men, of course...

Beware of fair and painted talk,
beware of flattering tongues:
The Mermaids do pretend no good
for all their pleasant songs.

Some use the tears of crocodiles,
contrary to their heart:
And if they cannot always weep,
they wet their cheeks by art.

Ovid, within his Art of Love,
doth teach them this same knack
To wet their hand and touch their eyes,
so oft as tears they lack.

There are plenty of other poets there, from the 7th-century AD onwards. (And a not-bad representation of women.)

Elsewhere, from the inbox: the second edition of The Letters of William Herle, the Elizabethan intelligencer and diplomat, with "20 newly discovered letters".

And Jim Chevallier, who posts a wonderful weekly miscellany on the 18th-century email list, has started collecting them on a website. It is particularly strong on recipes: You can learn how to bake a chicken into a lizard or, for those who think the past was polite, Floozy's Flatulence.


Anonymous Sharon said...

There's a complete (I think) edition of Sweet Nosegay here. RPO, if you track it down via Google, seems to have only extracts anyway

3/27/2006 09:05:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks! That wasn't up last time I was looking, or else I didn't find it. This might also be a good place to point to my online bibliography. I did it a couple of years ago, so it is a little out of date now, but it is probably still not a bad starting point for anyone interested in Isabella.

3/28/2006 12:06:00 pm  
Blogger clanger said...


"The floures of philosophie, 1572. Hugh Plat. And, A sweet nosegay, 1573. And The copy of a letter, 1567. Isabella Whitney."
Delmar: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1982. [SF&R 374.]
With an introduction by Richard J. Panofsky.

BL: WP.9530/374.

3/28/2006 05:49:00 pm  

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