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Metaphors of the Book as Garden in the English Renaissance.


This article surveys the metaphor of the book as garden in English Renaissance printed collections. It includes as an appendix a listing of every Pollard and Redgrave title using the terms 'garden', 'posy', and so on. The primary emphases are on the paratextual features of these volumes, and on the authors' self-conscious musings on the literal sense of the anthology as a gathering of flowers.

Ye haue here (good readers) a gardeyn or a paradyse rather of nette, propre, quicke, and graue sayenges of renowmed persons, in which to recreate your selfes, it shalbe as I iudge no les profytable, then pleasaunt vnto you.

Richard Taverner, 'To the gentle readers', The garden of wysdom (1539) Pardon, I pray thee, my presumption, and protect me from those Cavelling finde-faults that never like well of any thing they see printed, though never so well compiled: What I have here done, I have done to the pleasure of my friends, and thee, and not to make any profit by them; wherefore my gentle Reader accept kindly, I pray thee, of all, and be not (as hard Censurers) hastie to blast young springing Blossomes in their tender Bud.
 Samuel Pick, 'To the Reader', Festum Voluptatis (1639)
 Eiz to' n leimv na kahisaz
 e[degrees]drepen eteron e Q' e1/2ter v
 airo menoz a[degrees]creum' a nhevn
 a1/2 domena. yuca. --

 Francis Turner Palgrave, after Euripedes,
 epigraph to The Golden Treasury (1861)

In his Moral Epistle 84, Seneca employs a metaphor that we find reflected in numerous early modern collections of apothegms, prayers, meditations, poems, epigrams, and elegies, and which is embodied, through its etymology, in the anthology: (1)

Apes, ut aiunt, debemus imitari, quae vagantur et flores ad mel faciendum idoneos carpunt, deinde quicquid attulere, disponunt ac per favos digerunt. [...] Nos quoque has apes debemus imitari et quaecumque ex diversa lectione congessimus, separare. (2)

Erasmus echoes Seneca, more than fourteen centuries later, under the heading 'Ratio colligendi exempla' of his De Dvplici Copia Verborum (1528; STC 10472): 'Itaque studiosus ille velut apicula diligens, per omnes au[c]torum hortos volitabit, flosculis omnibus adsultabit, vndique succi non nihil colligens, quod in suum de ferat aluearium' (sig. [T5.sup.r]). (3) In Palladis Tamia (1598; STC 17834) Francis Meres includes his own version of Seneca's passage under 'The vse of reading many Bookes' ('Bees out of diuers flowers draw diuers iuices, but they temper and digest them by their owne vertue, otherwise they would make no honny: so all authours are to be turned ouer, and what thou readest is to be transposed to thine owne vse' (sig. [Mm4.sup.v])), (4) but Meres alters Seneca's subjunctive recommendation (we ought to imitate the bee), to a more pointed exhortation: texts are meant to be mined; their choicest selections are to be appropriated by the lector diligens.

This labour of the compiler/apicula provides the material for a class of texts that has persevered for more than two millennia. The precursors to the enterprise of selecting, extracting, and recombining material, and the horticultural metaphors for that enterprise, can be traced to ancient Greece. What we today call the Greek Anthology is an assembly of several collections of elegiac epigrams, foremost among them the Garland, or SteQanoz, of Meleager (c. 100 BC); Meleager's collection lives up to its title by assigning each author a specific flower, and encodes his critical assessments of the poets in the characteristics of each author's flower, from the lily, rose, and iris to the crocus, pine, and myrtle. W. R. Paton emphasizes that Meleager's 'collection comprises no poems (as far as we know) of [his] age except his own'; (5) falling chronologically and, in MS Palatinus 23 (the primary source for much of the Greek anthology), (6) physically after Meleager, the Garland of Philippus tries, by contrast, to mediate the taste for the old with an interest in the new: 'Plucking for thee flowers of Helicon and the first-born blooms of the famous Pierian forests, reaping the ears of a newer page, I have in my turn plaited a garland to be like that of Meleager. Thou knowest [...] the famous writers of old; learn to know the less abundant verses of our younger ones' (7) We also find the anthology, or Chokusenwakashu, developing, several centuries removed from Meleager, within the literary culture of Japan. The first of these anthologies, the Kokinshu (Collection of Ancient and Modern Times), embraces the metaphor in focus here: it celebrates Japanese verse as that which 'blossoms forth in a forest of words'. (8) During the later imperial period one finds a related group of twenty-one Japanese anthologies, compiled by command of the emperor (roughly AD 905 to 1439). Many of these anthologies are striking for their participation in the figurative harvest first suggested by Meleager: a number are described as different shui, or 'gleanings' (Shuishu, Goshuishu, Shokushuishu, Shokugoshuishu, Shinshuishu, and Shingoshuishu), in addition to volumes such as the Collection of Golden Leaves (Kin'yoshu), the Collection of Jewelled Leaves (Gyokuyoshu), and, most remarkably in the context of this essay, the Collection of Verbal Flowers (Shikashu). (9) Equally illuminating is the development of the anthology in Muslim Spain, (10) where it first surfaced in the early tenth century with the Kitab al-'Iqd al-Fard (The [Unique] Necklace) of Ibn 'Abd Rabbih (the Meleager of Andalusia), and soon spawned titles that trade on the familiar horticultural metaphor, among them Kitab al-Hada'iq (The Book of the Gardens), revised in a later edition as Hada'iq al-Azhar (Gardens of Flowers), and Naf h al-T b min ghusn al-Andalus (The Pleasant Smell of the Perfume of the Green Branch of al-Andalus). Even in these earliest of collections, an acute sensitivity to the task facing all anthologists is evident. In his introduction to Kitab al-'Iqd al-Fard, Ibn 'Abd Rabbih laments how 'choosing words is harder than composing them', and emphasizes that one is known through one's choice, 'since one's choice is evidence of the soundness of his judgment'. (11)

By the sixteenth century the distillation and repackaging of material had become a favourite and wide-ranging literary activity in England. A survey of the Short Title Catalogue reveals over twenty volumes, dated from 1571 onwards, which advertise themselves as miscellanies, among them: The poore mans librarie [...] which may properly be called Miscellanea (1571); Miscelanea. Meditations. Memoratives (1604); Pammelia. Musicks miscellanie. Or, mixed varieties of pleasant roundelayes (1609); Poemata miscellanea (1612); The miscellanie, or, a registrie, and methodicall directorie of orizons (1615); A helpe to discourse. Or a miscelany of merriment (1619); Ervbhin or Miscellanies Christian and Iudaicall (1629); Polydoron: or a miscellania of morall, philosophicall, and theological sentences (1631); Miscellanies of divinitie (1633); Miscellanea philo-theologica (1637); Meditations miscellaneous, holy and humane (1637); Ros cli. Or, a miscellany of ejaculations, divine, morall, &c. Being an extract out of divers worthy authors (1640). Six volumes from the STC period are explicitly labelled as anthologies: Progymnasma scholasticum. Hoc est, epigrammatum Grcorum, ex anthologia selectorum ab H. Stephano (1597); A geographicall and anthologicall description of all the empires in this globe (1607); (12) Roman histori anthologia (1614); G tgz a nholociaz Anholocia. Florilegium epigrammatum Grcorum (1629); Anthologia in regis exanthemata (1632); Deliti delitiarum sive epigrammatum ex optimis poetis in illa bibliotheca Bodleiana, anholocia, opera (1637). Two other titles employ the Latin equivalent for anholocia: Florilegus dictus (1570), and Florilogium phrasicvn. Or, a survey of the Latin tongue, according to the elegancy of it's proper dialect (1633). (13)

The prolix title of the anonymous A Helpe to Memory and discourse (1630; STC 13051.3) suggests how deeply the Greek origins of the anthology had influenced those compelled to collect and publish, presenting itself as 'a Compendium of witty, and vsefull Propositions, Problemes, and Sentences, Extracted from the larger Volumes of Physicians, Philosophers, Orators and Poets: Distilled in their assiduous and learned Obseruations'. The verses to the reader of A Helpe to Memory and discourse advertise the compiler's labour as a quick means to appearing well-read: (14)
 Of Books and Pamphlets I commerse with many,
 Before I drew a good conceit from any. [...]
 Yet a wise looker on, that viewes a ground,
 Set with rich grafts and plants but rarely found,
 From seueral nurseries brought in and set,
 Must thinke some paines was taken such to get.
 And if a Gardner much waste woods passe by,
 Before one wholesome fruit makes glad his eye;
 Why should he think that such a plot doth sute
 But he should reape the haruest of his fruit? ([A2.sup.r-v])

The commendatory verses 'In praise of the Worke, and the Author' continue in the same vein. Here the buyer/reader is the drone, and the compiler the worker bee:
 He that doth read, &fain would vnderstand
 Shall find instruction here at the first hand. [...]
 This book's the Garden, and since thou art in,
 Walke through each Arbor, whilst alone vnseen,
 Then contemplate the beauties that be there
 Planted, to fill thy pleasure euery where. ([A3.sup.v])

Despite this salutary recommendation, the difference between a miscellany compiled for private delectation and one prefabricated for others is significant: only the producer of a miscellany can know the full reasons why a particular item was chosen. While such predigested volumes may supply convenience, (15) they do not necessarily provide the context for the choice: only the compiler fully knows why a specific piece has been selected. While readers are led to believe that the value of another's selections ought to be self-evident, they are, in fact, left to make their own sense of each item selected (without benefit of knowing what has been left behind in the process). The miscellany is essentially a private, idiosyncratic collection, whereas the carefully indexed or headed commonplace book, for instance, introduces a support structure that by its nature suggests a readership with a common goal. In a sense, the commonplace book is implicitly produced with other readers in mind or, perhaps more accurately, it is produced with reference in mind, rather than merely collection. Miscellanies and anthologies, on the contrary, invite casual, perhaps even unsystematic re-reading and discovery. These miscellanies and anthologies of early modern verse may be said to devote themselves to the cultivation, as well as to the harvest, of the Renaissance hortus poeticus.

Lawrence Anderton reveals an acute awareness of his chosen format. In the dedicatory epistle to Miscellania or a Treatise Contayning Two Hundred Controuersiall Animaduersions (1640; STC 576) he emphasizes the unmethodical approach of the miscellany:

These Animaduersions are of most diVerent and seuerall points; and in regard of such their diuersity, they can hardly be reduced to any certaine Heads, or can be set downe in any precise Method, with mutuall dependency one to the other. And therefore in regard of the want of such Method, I haue entituled the whole Worke Miscellania, as being a mixture of things in themselues, heterogenious, and of different natures. And although some of them might (as touching the same point) be ranged and set downe together [...] yet I haue purposely, for the most part, marshalled them in different places, the better to obserue the to' prepon, required in the true Method of Miscellania. [...] And as these Animaduersions (being promiscuously deliuered, without any punctuall order) do in part resemble a great plot of ground (not deuided into any certaine beds or quarters) wherein confusedly and scatteringly grow many flowers of different kinds &odours: So here you shall find sparsedly Obseruations of so many points in number, and of such different Natures, as that I hold it more conuenient to refer the Reader immediately to the perusing of them, then to particularize but any few heads. ([A2.sup.v]-[A3.sup.r])

Here we find the very pointed distinction between the commonplace book and the miscellany, an explicit acknowledgement of the method of arrangement and exposition of a commonplace book, and Anderton's celebration of his deviation from it. (16) Even more significant, however, is Anderton's attention to the commercial value of a 'heterogenious' selection to 'draw on the Reader':

And as we obserue, that a man comming into a curious Garden, layeth not hold of euery flower, which first presenteth it selfe to his sight, but will gather here and there such, as are most pleasing to the eye, & smell; So I hope, I may here boldly say, I haue forborne all vulgar and obuious Obseruations (as presuming them to be knowne to you allready) resting only (and this with the iudgment of other graue men of my Coate, already acquainted with this Worke) in such, as choyse, selected, and full of matter. ([A3.sup.v])

While this may be an astute editorial tactic, the production of a printed miscellany nevertheless requires a great deal of confidence in one's abilities to make choices that appeal to the interests and tastes of the book buying public.

This notion of poems as flowers, blossoms, posies, or nosegays, (17) or the volumes that contained them as gardens, paradises, (18) garlands, arbors, or bowers, had great currency in the early modern period. See, for example: Flowers of Epigrammes (1557); A hundreth sundrie flowres bounde vp in one small poesie (1573); The arbor of amitie, wherin is comprised pleasant poems (1568); The Paradyse of Daynty Deuises (at least eight printings from 1576 to 1606); A posie of gilloflowers (1580); Brittons Bowre of Delights (1591); The Arbor of Amorous Deuises (1597); Illvstrivm Poetarvm Flores (1598); Bel-vedere or the Garden of the Muses (1600); Englands Parnassus: or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets (1600); An Italians dead bodie, stucke with English flowers. Elegies on the death of Sir Oratio Pallavicino (1600); A Crowne-Garland of Goulden Roses (1612); Mausoleum or, the choisest flowres of the epitaphs, on the death of prince Henrie (1613); Garland of Good Will (1628); and Fasciculus florum: or, a nosegay of flowers, tr. out of the gardens of severall poets (1636).

In the instance of the Garden of the Muses (1600; STC 3189), the metaphor supplied in the etymology of anthology is rather floridly extended:

Marke then, what varietie of flowres grow all along as though goest, and trample on none rudely, for all are right precious. If thy conscience be wounded, here are store of hearbs to heale it: If thy doubts be fearefull, here are flowres of comfort. Are thy hopes frustrated? here's immediate helpes for them. In briefe, what infirmities canst thou have, but here it may bee cured? What delight or pleasure wouldst thou have, but here it is afforded? ([A3.sup. v])

The metaphor of book-as-garden also provides a convenient mode for self-deprecation. See, for instance, Richard Turner's The Garland of a greene Witte (?[1595]; STC 24345):

I haue entered my barraine Garden, and there gathered such greene flowers as so small a plotte affoordes: and because of the Spring-time I haue made them in a Garland, according to my promise to present you withall. Pardon my branches that buds but in Sommer with the Mulberie, for I am one of those Poets that came to Homers bason, to lap vp that hee dooth cast vp. It sufficeth me to be a water bough, not a top bud, so I may be of the same roote. ([A2.sup. r-v]) (19)

Others eschew the role of industrious bee, as does Thomas Jordan in his address 'To the Candid Reader' of his Poeticall Varieties (1637; STC 14788):

The pregnant Bee, fil'd with the hony'd bounty of the Rose, flyes to the wealthy Hive as doth my humble Muse unto your Candor. [...] I have compos'd to feede thy gentle view these various Poems, for which I must Apologize thus much; I have not rob'd the Hive of any mans endeavours, or exhausted his hony treasurie to enrich my barren labours, but from the native flower suck'd I my sweetenesse, if there bee ought that may content thy wealthy pallat, it is thine owne, the Cooke prepar'd it for thee. ([A3.sup.v])

Yet others marshal the metaphor in scornful indignation; see, for instance, John Cooke's epistle 'To the Iudicious, Enuious and foolish Reader': 'As for you enuious Reader, I know your malice and ignorance is such, that were they the choicest flowers that grow vpon the mount of Pernassus you would spitte your poyson vpon them, therfore I haue preuented you and sent you netles.' (20)

In his epistle to the reader of Flowers of Epigrammes (1577; STC 14927), Timothy Kendall emphasizes the role of compiler as moral filter as well as collector:

Now (courteous reader) of all sorts of Poems, & Poesies, none (mee thinketh) are more pithie and pleasant, than pretty, shorte, witty, quicke and quippyng Epigrammes. [...] Marrie this I must let thee vnderstand, that [...] I haue left the lewde, I haue chosen the chaste: I haue weeded away all wanton and woorthlesse woordes: I haue pared away all pernicious patches: I haue chipt & chopt of all beastly boughes and branches, all filthy and fulsome phrases. ([a5.sup.r]) (21) Kendall is not shy about the editorial power he can exert upon a 'lewde' text, and shows the metaphor of the garden can furnish images both of plucking for publication and pruning from circulation: two very different aspects of the editorial process.

The balance of the full title to George Gascoigne's A Hundreth sundrie Flowres bounde vp in one small Poesie ([1573]; STC 11635) in part advertises authors who likely would not meet Kendall's test for lewdness or wantonness: Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripedes, Ouid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by inuention, out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande: Yelding sundrie sweete sauours of Tragical, Comical, and Morall Discourses, bothe pleasaunt and profitable to the well smellyng noses of learned Readers. Gascoigne is a great paratextual strategist: one can imagine eager readers tearing through A Hundreth sundry Flowres looking for the naughty bits of Ovid and Ariosto:

Hauing wel perused the worke, I find nothing therein amisse (to my iudgemente) vnlesse it be two or three wanton places passed ouer in the discourse of an amorous enterprise: The which for as much the words are cleanly (although the thing ment be somewhat naturall) I haue thought good also to let them passe as they came to me, and the rather bicause [...] the well minded man may reape some commoditie out of the most friuolous works that are written. And as the venemous spider wil sucke poison out of the most holesome herbe, and the industrious Bee can gather hony out of the most stinking weede: Euen so the discrete reader may take a happie example by the most lasciuious histories, although the captious and harebraind heads can neither be encoraged by the good, nor forewarned by the bad. And thus much I haue thought good to say in excuse of some sauours, which may perchance smell vnpleasantly to some noses, in some part of this poeticall poesie. Now it hath with this fault a greater commoditie than common poesies haue ben accustomed to present, and that is this, you shall not be constreined to smell of the floures therein conteined all at once, neither yet to take them vp in such order as they are sorted: But you may take any one flowre by it selfe, and if that smell not so pleasantly as you wold wish, I doubt not yet but you may find someother which may supplie the defects thereof. ([A2.sup.r-v])

While this full title is notable for its sustained expansion of the familiar horticultural metaphor, no less important is Gascoigne's acknowledgment that there is no accounting for tastes, (22) and his revelation that he seeks heterogeneity not out of any responsibility to provide a representative assessment of literary activity, but because such variety makes his collection more vendible. (23)

Most charming of all is Humfrey Gifford's epistle 'To the Worshipfull John Stafford of Bletherwicke Esquier' at the end of A Posie of Gilloflowers, eche diVering from other in colour and odour, yet all sweete (1580; STC 11872):

The thing that I here present you with, is a posie of Gillowflowers collected out of the garden of mine owne inuentions. Which if they shal come too short in shew and colour, or proue inferiour in sent and odour to that which is to be looked for of so fragrant a flower, let the Gardiner (I pray you) be excused, who hath done his goodwill and indeuour in the sowing, & setting of them, and lay the fault in the barrennesse of the soyle, wherein they were planted: which had it byn better, their vertue would haue proued to be greater. [...] I might here take occasion to liken the crew of curious carpers (which more of malice then good meaning accustomed to cauel at other mens doings, playing the ydle drones themselues) to the venomous beastes ... before spoken of. [...] But leste that the old prouerb be obiected agaynst me, Ne sutor vltra crepitam, let the Gardiner meddle no farther then his spade, I wil [...] returne agayne to my Gillowflowers, eftsoones beseeching your worship to accept those that I present you with no lesse thankfulnes then the Gardiner doth offer them willingly. [...] In one thing I haue vsed suche circumspection as my simple skill would permit me, which is that the beauty of my flowers be not blemished with the weedes of wantonnesse, that commonly grow in such gardens. I hope therfore, ye shall finde them rooted out in such sort, that if there remayne any, my trust is they shall not fall out, to be many. The onely thing that I doubt of this in my dedication, is that your worshipp shall haue cause to account mee a deepe dissembler and one that hath byn more lauish in promise, then he is able to pay with performance. [...] For (to deale plainly with you) I was neuer Gardiner in all my life. And the thing that I here present you with, is but a collection of such verses and odde deuises as haue (at such idle howres as I founde in my maister his seruice) vpon sundry occasions by me byn composed. The one I confesse farre vnworthy your view, and yet such as when ye shal returne home weeried from your fielde sportes, may yeelde you some recreation. (sig. I [1.sup. r]-I [2.sup. r])

Gifford's quaint admission that he 'was never Gardiner in all [his] life', after dwelling on the book as garden for nearly two pages, reveals how the metaphor was particularly convenient for explaining away any incongruous qualities of a book as growing out of differences in 'soyle'.

However, horticultural in-gatherings of materials were by no means restricted to verse. There was, at the same time, an equally strong tradition of describing the contents of devotional books as 'flowers', (24) among them: Ihesus. The floure of the commaundementes of god (1510); Hortulus anime ad vsum insignis ecclesie Sarum (?1524), and its Protestant translation, Ortulus anime. The garden of the soule (1530); A pleasaunt newe Nosegaye, full of many godly and sweete floures (1542); Meditations and praiers, gathered out of the sacred letters and vertuous writers (alternately titled 'The Posye of Flowered Prayers' in the running head) (?[1569]); A godlie gardeine, out of the which most comfortable herbes may be gathered for the wounded conscience of sinners (twelve printings, beginning in 1569); Spiritus est [...] The poore mans garden (1571); A pleasant posie, or sweet nosegay of fragrant smellyng flowers: gathered [from] the Bible (1572); The Garlande of Godly Flowers, Bewtifully adorned as most freshly they flourish in the Gardens of right faithfull Christian writers (four printings, beginning in 1574); The godlie garden of Gethsemani, furnished with holsome fruites of meditacion & prayer (c. 1576); The glorious and beautifull garland of mans glorification (1585); The garden of prudence (1595); The oderiVerous garden of charitie (1603); A garden of grave and godlie flowres: sonets, elegies, and epitaphes (1609); A paradise of praiers, containing the puritie of devotion, and meditation (1609); A garden of spirituall flowers (1609); A posie of spirituall flowers, taken out of the scriptures (1610); The posie of godly prayers, fit for every christian to use (at least twenty-nine printings, beginning in 1611); The garden of our B. Lady (1619); The paradise of delights (1620); An hundred severall flowers, springing one from another. Declaring the difference betweene heaven and earth (c. 1620); Flowers of Sion (1623); The little garden of our B. lady (1626); A spirituall posie for Zion (1629); A myrrhine posie of the bitter dolours of Christ his passion (1639).

The dedicatory epistle to Thomas Becon's collection, The Flour of godly praiers (c. 1550; STC 1719.5), confirms that these religious texts equal their secular brethren when it comes to invoking the metaphor of the book as garden:

I feare nothinge to offer this my booke vnto your grace, as a testimonye of my seruiseable heart and ready bent good wyll towarde your grace. It is a flower, I graunte. Notwithstandynge suche a flower as if it be ryghtelye vsed, is of synguler vertue and myghtye in operacyon. No euyl ayer can hurte where the sauoure of thys flower commeth. Yea the deuil the world & the flesh cannot abide the ayer of thys flower, so mighte is the spiritual operacion therof. The flower geueth a smel in the stretes to the soule of the faythefull, as Cimamone and Balme, that hathe so good a sauoure, yea a sweete odoure doth it gyue, as it wer mirre of the best. ([A7.sup. r])

However, what is undoubtedly the most elaborate theological exploration of the notion of the spiritual garden comes in Henry Hawkins's Partheneia Sacra. Or the Mysteriovs and Deliciovs Garden of the Sacred Parthenes (1573; STC 12958):

When the Sauiour of the world had passed [...] into the Garden of Gethsemani, there to commence the Tragedie, whose sad Catastrophe he was to finish on Mount Caluarie, he gaue to vnderstand, how much (no doubt) he was pleased with Gardens. But then especially, after the Tragick Scene was ended, [...] and he vouchsafed to appeare familiarly againe to his deerest friends, in the forme and habit of a Gardener, he euidently declared his good affection, towards the Garden of their Soules. [...] May it not therefore seeme strange vnto you, if I, knowing the sympathie of harts, between the Mother and the Sonne, the Blessed IESVS, flower of Nazareth, and his sacred Stem, presume heer to personate, and make her appeare to your viewes, not in the habit of fashion of a Gardener, which office she rather yealds (as proper) to her Sonne, but of a Garden, vnder the veyle of Symbols. [...] Heer behold our Sacred Parthenes, who presents her self for your delights in Garden-attire and cheerfully receaue her, with serene browes, in this coorse and rural array, of hearbes and flowers, as if she were clothed with the Sunne, crowned with the Starres, and trampling the Moone. [...] Nor would I wish you perfunctoriously to view her only, and passe her ouer with a slender glance of the eye, but to enter into her Garden, which she is herself, and suruey it wel. Where, to the end you may not erre, mistake, or goe stray, in wayes so new, and strange, and (for ought I know) as yet vntraced or trod of anie. ([A1.sup. r]-[A2.sup. r])

Hawkins's tour de force sustains the metaphor to the end, as he drafts 'The Conclvsion to His Proper Genivs':

Now heer, my Genius, shalt thou dismisse thy Reader, with his Ship ful fraught with the prayses of the sacred Parthenes; and shutting vp thyself in this Parthenian Paradice, walk in it vp and downe by thyself alone, without eye or arbiter, to witness the secret aspirations of thy hart, while contemplating with thyself, this great rich Magazin of the treasures of Nature, enclosed in this spacious and ample garden. [...] And as thou walkest vp and downe, taking a view of those curious knots of ever-flourishing and green hearbs, say this vnto thyself: When shal I order and compose my greener and inordinat affections, in so faire and goodlie a decorum, and so sweet proportion? [...] When shal it be, I be so curious, to purge and take away the impurities from my hart? The great diuersitie of flowers, wil present to thee, the great multiplicitie and wel-nigh infinitie of thy thoughts, as various as numerous, & al as transitorie as they. ([R7.sup.r-v])

It is notable that Hawkins leaves the spiritual flowers in situ: the way to heaven is likened to a walk through a garden and, although he does not explicitly make the connection, perhaps the temptation to pluck the attractive flowers can be likened to our more worldly temptations. (25)

Another ecclesiastical text sensitive to the tradition of books of flowers, I.D.'s A hedgerow of busshes, brambles, and briers: of the vanities of this worlde, leading to damnation (1598; STC 6170), makes a clearer connection with the temptations of the metaphorical flower patch:

I haue immitated, by Laying open before our eyes in this small Booke following, [...] the Vanities and vayne delightes of this Worlde, and haue named it (as me thinkes most fit) A Hedgerowe of Bushes, Brambles, and Briers: or a Fielde full of Tares, Thistles, and Tine; of the Vanities and vayne delightes of this Worlde, leading the way to eternall damnation. [...] So by reading and vnderstanding [...] we might thereby learne to choose the right and good way, and to shunne and flie the wrong and bushie bad way: as [...] one steppeth aside out of the way amongst Bushes and Briers, seeking after Butterflies. [...] And let vs examine our selues, that yf we be intangled in any Brier of this Hedgerow, we striue to get out in time, least being caught by one Brier, and carelesse to get loose, an other also layeth holde; and so be degress we be fastened and ouerwhelmed in the Hedge. ([A2.sup. r]-[A3.sup. r])

Though here the author substitutes butterflies for comely blossoms, the point is much the same: that which we find a pleasing garden of delights can instead be full of tangles and snares. A hedgerow of bushes, brambles, and briers may have taken its cue from John Northbrooke's Spiritus est Vicarius Christi in terra. The poore mans Garden (1571; STC 18664.5):

After that man had transgressed, the earth receyued the curse due to mans offence, that is, to bring foorth thornes and thistles: and as man was defiled, and coulde yeelde foorth no good fruite, except he were delued by Gods spirite, and the seede of Gods worde sowen into him, which by the influence of the same spirite, might bud out the leaues, stalkes, and blossomes of grace. [...] Many are so forgetfull of their miseries, that the studie of their whole life, is onlie employed to satisfie their vaine pleasure, and so mans life, whiche should be as a fruictfull Garden, is altogether become a barren wildernes, whiche at the least, though it be voide of good fruictes, yet is it full stuffed with baggage, Bryers and Brambles, and all ouergrowen with Brakes and moste vnprofitable weedes. ([A4.sup. r-v])

The reader is no doubt urged to associate these gardens of briars and brambles with the dangers hidden among the beauties of the First Garden.

A wide variety of other texts, from lexica to herbaries to philosophical extracts, also exploited the horticultural metaphor: Ortus. Vocabulorum (1500); Floures for Latine spekynge ([1534]); The garden of wysdom wherin ye maye gather moste pleasaunt flowres (1539); Flores aliquot sententiarum ex variis collecti scriptoribus. The flowers of sencies (1540); A brief an pleasant discourse of duties in marriage, called the Flower of friendshippe (1568); The floures of philosophie, with the pleasures of poetrie annexed to them (1572); The garden of pleasure: contayninge most pleasante tales [...] moralized (1573); The garden of eloquence (1577); Beautifull blossomes, gathered [...] from the best trees of all kyndes, diuine, philosophicall, astronomical (1577), reissued as A garden of recreation plentiously furnished (1578); The nosegay of morall philosophie (1580), a translation of Gabriel Meurier's Le Bouquet de la philosophie morale (Lyons, 1577); The flower of phisicke (1590); Florios second frutes, [...] To which is annexed his Gardine of recreation (1591); The garland of a greene witte (?[1595]); The Spanish Mandevile of miracles. Or the garden of curious flowers. Wherin are handled sundry points of humanity, philosophy (1600); The French garden: for English ladyes and gentle-women. Being an instruction for attayning the French tongue (1605); Minerva Britanna, or a garden of heroical devises ([1612]); Fasciculus florum (1617), further described in the second edition as a hand-full of flowers (1618). Isabella Whitney's epistle to George Mainwaring at the beginning of one such collection, A sweet nosegay, or pleasant posye: contayning a hundred and ten phylosophicall flowers (1573; STC 25440), captures perhaps better than any other piece of paratext the value of the compiler's labour:

When I [...] had made this simple Nosegay: I was in minde to bestow the same on som dere frind, of which number I haue good occasion to accompt you chiefe: But waying with my selfe, that although the Flowers bound in the same were good: yet so little of my labour was in them that they were not (as I wysht they should) to bee esteemed as recompens, for the least of a great nomber of benefites, which I haue [...] receaued of you. [...] Euen so, I being willinge to bestow some Present on you, [...] &not hauyng of mine owne to discharg that I [...] did step into an others garden for these Flowers: which I beseech you [...] to accepte: and though they be of an others growing, yet considering they be of my owne gathering and makeing vp: respect my labour and regard my good wil, and not onely receaue them, but vouchsaue to be a protecter of them from the spightful, which (perhaps) wil enuie that I either presented you, or gathered them, before they had done one, or both: and so might spoyle this Nosegay, and not to let it come so happili vnto your handes, as I wish it mai. And though the Garden of your godly mind be full fraught with vertuous Flowers, which I know in your infancie to take roote, and which all may see now to florish, with an vndoubted hope of their yeelding fruite hereafter: yet ordaine to smell to these, and when you come into a pestilent aire that might infect your sound minde: yet sauour to these SLIPS in which I trust you shal finde safety. ([A4.sup.r]-[A5.sup.r])

Whitney makes the leap of perceiving texts as reducible, and invests the extractor/compiler with the authority normally reserved for the creator: although these blossoms may be 'of an others growing' they are, significantly, of her 'owne gathering and makeing vp'. This awareness of authority and its transfer is an important concern to post-modern theorists, yet it can be seen how more than four centuries ago those who produced recombinant texts realized this transfer of power for themselves in the guise of the florist or the bee.


Census of STC Titles: Anthologies, Flowers, Gardens, Miscellanies

ANTHOLOGY / FLORILEGIUM: 4475, 10701, 11956-11964, 13259, 13970.5, 17653-17653a.7, 23135-23137, 23281, 26017-26017a.

FLOWER / BLOSSOM / NOSEGAY / POSY / GARLAND: 378-380, 1719.5-1720.7, 1742-1743, 1823, 3091 (cf. 3091.5), 3651, 3695, 4843-4844.4, 5412, 5528-5529, 5651-5653, 6039, 6553.5-6554, 7247-7251, 10445-10448, 10478.7, 11635-11637, 11872, 13160, 14927, 14945, 16856, 16901, 16906.5, 17129, 19154.3, 19511, 19897, 19990.5-19990.7, 20124, 20131.5-20132, 23588, 23589, 23876-23877, 23899-23903, 23934.5-23936, 24076.3-24077a.5, 24345, 24408-24410, 24559-24559a (see below), 24871, 25164, 25348 (see below), 25440.

GARDEN / PARADISE / FORREST / ARBOR / BOWER: 367.5, 3091.5 (cf. 3091), 3189-3190, 3631, 3633-3634, 4271, 4577, 4955, 4999, 6170, 7516-7524, 10513-10514, 11097, 11554.5-11561.5, 11596, 12174, 12464-12465, 12958, 13828.2-13828.6, 13829-13837, 13874, 14672-14673, 14674, 15117.3-15117.7, 15195-15196, 16645.3-16645.7, 17849-17850, 18664.5-18669, 19497-19498, 21204.5-21213, 21213.1-21213.10, 23531, 23711a-23712, 23712.5-23716, 23952.3, 24135-24136, 24559-24559a (see above), 24610, 25329, 25348 (see above).

MISCELLANY / MISCELLANEA / MISCELLANIA: 374-375, 576, 1124, 1547-1554.5, 3990-3990.5, 4938, 5217-5218, 7020, 11461-11462, 12407-12410, 13050.5-13051.3, 13171-13172, 13219, 13248.2, 13726, 14903-14904, 15593, 17981.5, 18384, 20759-20760, 25244, 26121a, 26121a.3.

It is a poignant privilege to acknowledge, here, a long-standing debt to my mentor, and my friend, D. F. McKenzie. Scarcely a day passes when I do not think of Don's sly smile and soft New Zealand accent, or do not remember the many generosities he extended to me.

(1) The Oxford English Dictionary reveals the underlying roots for our notion of an anthology: anholocia ('a gathering of flowers of verse'), from a[degrees]nhoz ('flower') and locia ('collection') or the verb lecein ('to gather'). The OED notes the first use of anthology in 1640, with florilegium following directly out of the Greek equivalent in 1647. In his superb study, The Greek Anthology from Meleager to Planudes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), Alan Cameron traces the first instance of a[degrees]nhg lecein to Diogenian in the second century AD (p. 5). In 'A New Gnomologium', Classical Quarterly, 44 (1950), 126-37, John Barns notes that 'the word leimv n ['any moist, grassy place; a meadow, mead, holm'] constantly recurs in connection with the concept of a nholocia [...] as the wide and varied field from which the literary selector gathers his flowers or honey. The name was perhaps only later transferred to the result of selection' (p. 132n.).

(2) 'We should follow, men say, the example of the bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in. [...] We also, I say, ought to copy these bees, and sift whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading.' Seneca, Ad Lucilium epistulae morales, ed. and trans. by Richard M. Gummere, Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1917-25), ii, 276-79. John Barns traces the earliest use of the bee metaphor to (?)Isocrates, Ad Demonicum, and notes other well-known occurrences in Plutarch and Lucian. He also shows that the term Melissa was given as an actual title to the labour of the editor-apicula, there being both a Melissa by Antonius Monachus and a Liber Apis by Solomon, bishop of Basrah.

(3) 'So our student will flit like a busy bee through the entire garden of literature, will light on every blossom, collect a little nectar from each, and carry it to his hive.' Collected Works of Erasmus, ed. by R. A. B. Mynors and others (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974-), xxiv: De Copia, De Ratione Studii, ed. by Craig R. Thompson (1978), p. 639.

(4) Sig. [Mm4.sup.v]. For further descriptions of the compiler/editor as apicula, see: Bodenham (STC 3189; sigs [A7.sup.r] and [A8.sup.v]); Breton (3695; [A2.sup.r]); Florio (11097; [*1.sup.r]); Gascoigne (11635; [A2.sup.v]); Grange (12174; [N3.sup.v]); Grymeston (12140; [A3.sup.r); Hawkins (12958; [A7.sup.r); Howell (13875; [a2.sup.r]); Jordan (14788; [A3.sup.v]); Kendall (14927; [a6.sup.v]); Leycester (7681.3; [A2.sup.r]); Symmer (23588; title-page); Terence (23899; [p2.sup.v]); Witts Recreations (25870; [p1.sup.v]); Wrednot (26014; [A3.sup.v]). Another common adjunct to the horticultural formula was the juxtaposition of the noxious spider to the virtuous bee. See Florio (STC 11097; sig. *1r); Gascoigne (11635; [A2.sup.v]); Gifford (11872; [I1.sup.r]); Grange (12174; [N3.sup.r]); Grymeston (12410; [A3.sup.r]); Howell (13875; [a2.sup.r]); Kendall (14927; [a6.sup.v]);Wentworth (25244; [A1.sup.r]).

(5) The Greek Anthology, trans. by W. R. Paton, Loeb Classical Library, 5 vols (London: Heinemann, 1916-18), i, v.

(6) Although containing roughly eight hundred fewer epigrams than MS Palatinus 23, when we speak of the Greek Anthology in the sixteenth century we are speaking of the Anthologia Planudea (MS Ven. Marc. gr. 481), compiled in 1301 by Maximus Planudes; the larger Palatine Anthology was not discovered until 1607. The Planudean Anthology was first printed in Florence in 1494 and reprinted on the Continent for a tenth time by 1600. The first metrical translations into English from the Planudean Anthology were not published until 1805. See James Hutton, The Greek Anthology in France, Cornell Studies in Classical Philology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1946), p. 13.

(7) Paton, The Greek Anthology, i, 114-15. Here Paton's elegant rendering of selidoz nearg z hepisaz staxun--'reaping the ears of a newer page'--neatly reflects the seasonal nature of contemporary verse collections. Compare Pindar's Ninth Olympian Ode: e[degrees]ceir' epevn sQin oi1/2mon licun, | ai[degrees]nei de1/2 palaio'n me1/2n oi1/2non, a[degrees]nhea d1/2 u[degrees]mnvn | nevtervn (ll. 47-49; 'Awaken for them a clear-sounding path of words; | praise wine that is old, but the blooms of hymns | that are newer'). Pindar, ed. and trans. by William H. Race, Loeb Classical Library, 2 vols (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), i, 152-53.

(8) See Kato Shuichi, A History of Japanese Literature, trans. by David Chibbett, 3 vols (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1981), i, 114.

(9) The largest of these Chokusenwakashu, the Man?yoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), contains approximately 4,500 poems that were compiled beginning in the second half of the seventh century AD. The Manyoshu was the product of a committee that worked for more than a century on a project that was, in the end, never completed. The Manyoshu was assembled not only from available collections of individual poets and other anthologies such as the lost Ruiju-Karin, or Forest of Classified Verses (the Manyoshu was itself selectively harvested by the later imperial anthologies), but also from circulating manuscripts and poems otherwise perpetuated through oral transmission. For a fuller description of the contents and circumstances of its production, see Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai, The Manyoshu (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969). These collections are described in detail by Robert H. Brower and Earl Miner in Japanese Court Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), pp. 482-86; they, in turn, further refer the reader to Edwin O. Reischauer and Joseph K. Yamagiwa, Translations from Early Japanese Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951), pp. 131-35. My thanks to Professor Kathryn Sparling for clarifying the history and etymologies of the waka.

(10) I am grateful to Friedericke Rinckens for bringing these volumes to my attention, and for sharing with me portions of her Oxford doctoral thesis, 'The Intellectual and Cultural Development of Muslim Spain with Specific Reference to the Literary Anthologies'.

(11) Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, Iqd al-Fard, 3 vols (Beirut: 1983), i, 4n.

(12) Stafforde's volume appears by its title to confuse 'anthology' with 'chorography', but his epistle to the reader proves otherwise: 'A poore Suruey here thou hast, not of my trauels, but reading: If sometime therefore erroneous, I patronize it not, but relate it. So far thou mayest beleeue me, that what my selfe beleeue not, I inuented not, but tooke out of others' ([A3.sup.r]).

(13) See my appendix for a complete survey of STC entries for these and other titles that rely upon the horticultural metaphor.

(14) Compare Nicholas Themylthorp, The Posie of Godly Praiers (1611; STC 23934.5): 'Because I finde no prayer booke composed onely of Prayer and Thanksgiuing, therefore to auoyde the trouble of reading many, and the number of keeping many and most of all the burthen of bearing many, I haue collected the best prayers for repentance, remission of Sinnes and thankesgiuing' ([A3.sup.v]).

(15) This, in the opinion of Laura Riding and Robert Graves, A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (London: Cape, 1928), 'condone[s] the [...] wilful Inertness' (p. 88) of the anthology's reader. For a rival assessment of the anthology in the twentieth century, see T. S. Eliot, 'What is Minor Poetry?', in On Poetry and Poets (London: Faber, 1957).

(16) See John Lightfoot, Ervbhin or Miscellanies Christian and Iudaicall, and others (1629; STC 15593): 'I haue here brought home with some gleanings of my more serious studies, which I offer to thee not so much for thy instruction, as for thy harmelesse recreation. [...] For feare thy teeth should be set on edge, I haue brought some varietie: I haue not kept any method, for then I should not answer my title of Miscellanies' ([A5.sup.r-v]).

(17) To quantify a selection of cullings as a 'handful' was also not uncommon. John Grange refers to his Golden Aphroditis (1577; STC 12174) as 'a handfull of fragrant floures (though not gathered in adonis garden)' ([A3.sup. r]). See Robert Cawdray, A Tresvrie or Store-Hovse of Similes (1600; STC 4887): 'Euen so I also, out of my simple Garden, haue chosen and gleaned a handfull of Flowers, as it were a Nosegay [...] to Dedicate & offer vnto you' ([**.sup. r]). See also Anne Wheathill, A handfull of holesome (though homelie) hearbs (1584; STC 25329): 'This small handfull of grose hearbs, holesome in operation and workeing, shall be no lesse acceptable [...] than the fragrant floures of others, gathered with more vnderstanding' ([a3.sup. r]). Other notable titles include A handefull of pleasant delites (1575; STC 21104.5), A Smale handfull of fragrant Flowers (1575: 3695), Handfull of honisuckles (1583; 13975), and The figure of foure, or a handfull of sweet flowers (1631; 3651).

(18) For a superb philological excursus on the word paradise, originally descriptive of an enclosed park or garden (as in the Hebrew pardes), see A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic (New York: Norton, 1966), pp. 11-15.

(19) Turner later argues for the value of contrast afforded by his collection: 'Gentle Readers, misconster not my writing, [...] tis but a Garland, and though some flowers be sweete, looke not that all should haue the like sauour: weedes are glorious, and perhaps ouer-sight hath tyed them in my Garland, crop where you like, and carpe not at those you leaue, for the least in value will comprehend the Gardinaries labour' ([A3.sup. r]).

(20) Epigrames (?[1604]; STC 5672), sig. [A3.sup.r-v].

(21) Compare Meres, Palladis Tamia: 'Bees abstaine from withered flowers: so we should abstaine from corrupt, vicious and obscene bookes' (sig. [Mm1.sup.r]).

(22) Compare Geffrey Whitney, A Choice of Emblemes (1586; STC 25438): 'The fairest garden, wherein is greate varietie bothe of goodlie coulors, and sweete smelles, can not like all mennes fancies: but some gallant coulours are misliked, and some pleasant smelles not regarded' ([**4.sup.v]).

(23) For a bolder confession of economic motivation, see George Whetstone's epistle, 'To all the young gentlemen of England', that prefaces The Rocke of Regard, diuided into foure parts. The first, the Castle of delight: Wherin is reported, the wretched end of wanton and dissolute liuing. The second, the Garden of Vnthriftinesse: Wherein are many sweete flowers, (or rather fancies) of honest loue (1576; STC 25348): 'Some there be, that hauing eyed my former vnthriftinesse, doe gape (percase) to viewe in this booke, a number of vaine, wanton, and worthlesse Sonets, in some respectes I haue satisfied their expectation, moued to suffer the imprinting of them, not of vaine glorie, but of two good considerations: the one to make the rest of the booke more profitable, and (perhaps) lesse regarded, the better saileable' ([2.sup.v]).

(24) This tradition goes back at least as far as Brother Ugolino di Monte Santa Maria's collection of Saint Francis's devotions; strictly known as Actus beati Francisci, the collection is more popularly known as the Little Flowers. The first edition to be known as I fioretti di San Francesco was published in Vicenza in 1476, and followed in 1492 by El floreto published in Seville and Les petites fleurs in Paris.

(25) Matthew Kellison also yokes the textual garden to the spiritual in A Myrrhine Posie of the Bitter Dolovrs of Christ his Passion (1639; STC 17129): 'Having spent some time in Meditation of the Sacred Passion of Christ, I find it to be [...] a wood in which one may loose himselfe, though neuer to his losse; a Labyrinth or Maze in which one may sooner finde a way to get in, then to get out, yet shall neuer be out of his way; yea a Garden of such varietie of sweete and odoriferous flowers, that one can neuer gather all; hardlie can he determine where to make his first choice, yet can neuer choose amisse. [...] Nor will I gather; nor can I, all the Flowers of this Garden; onelie I will select such as were obuious to me, and of which I my selfe haue smelled; and I will of them make a posie or nosegay for thee to smell on by deuout Meditation. Thou shalt find as many diuerse smelles in this Posie, as it conteineth diuers Flowers' ([a1.sup. r]-[a2.sup. r]).


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Author:Anderson, Randall L.
Publication:Yearbook of English Studies
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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