Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University

England's Helicon

This publication of 1600 is a collection entirely of pastoral poetry, and so its aura is nostalgic. Indeed, some of the contributing poets had been dead for many years. The dedicatory "To the Reader" page includes this acknowledgment of attribution murkiness with a Titus Andronicus touch:

The trauaile that hath beene taken in gathering them from so many handes, hath wearied some howres, which seuered, might in part haue perished, digested into this meane volume, may in the opinion of some not be altogether vnworthy the labour. If any man hath beene defrauded of any thing by him composed, by another mans title put to the same, hee hath this benefit by this collection, freely to challenge his owne in publique, where els he might be robd of his proper due.
Poems are attributed to the long dead Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, Robert Greene, Thomas Watson, W. Shakespeare (57), the Earle of Oxenford (82-83), Christopher Marlowe, and to the more enigmatic "Shepherd Tonie," "Ignoto," W.H., W.S., E.B., S.E.D., and others.

This is the collection that contains the famous "Come liue with me and be my loue" (186-187) by "Chr. Marlow." The "Nimph's Reply" follows (187-188), and despite every anthology through the decades, it is not credited to Sir Walter Raleigh but to "Ignoto." The next poem in the collection is also Ignoto's and in the same vein: "Come liue with mee, and be my deere," with the lines, "Then in mine armes will I enclose / Lillies faire mixture with the Rose" (189). Ignoto is interested in Thisbe (211) in a poem that begins,

The frozen snake, opprest with heaped snow
By strugling hard gets out her tender head,
And spies farre off from where she lies below
The winter Sunne that from the North is fled.
But all in vaine she lookes vpon the light,
Where heate is wanting to restore her might.
Ignoto also has some connection with Weelkes 1597 madrigals (231).

One of the Thomas Watson pieces focuses on the Actaeon myth (60): "I dare not name the Nimph that works my smart, / Though Loue hath grau'n her name within my hart."

And here's a stanza from a Greene poem:

I stoode amaz'd, and wondring at the sight,
      while that a dame,
That shone like to the heauens rich sparkling light,
      Discourst the same,
And said, My friend, this worme within the fire:
      Which lyes
Is Venus worme, and represents desire.
Maybe best is "The Sheepheards Sunne" by Shepherd Tonie, beginning, "Faire Nimphs, sit ye heere by me" (196-198).


England's Helicon. 1600. London: Frederick Etchells and Hugh Macdonald, 1925.

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