George Puttenham


The Arte of English Poesie



Of poemes and their sundry formes and how thereby the auncient Poets receaued surnames.



AS the matter of Poesie is diuers, so was the forme of their poemes & maner of writing, for all of them wrote not in one sort, euen as all of them wrote not vpon one matter. Neither was euery Poet alike cunning in all as in some one kinde of Poesie, nor vttered with like felicitie. But wherein any one most excelled, thereof he tooke a surname, as to be called a Poet Heroick, Lyrick, Elegiack, Epigrammatist or otherwise. Such therefore as gaue them selues to write long histories of the noble gests of kings & great Princes entermedling the dealings of the gods, halfe gods or Heroes of the gentiles, & the great & waighty consequences of peace and warre, they called Poets Heroick, whereof Homer was chief and most auncient among the Greeks, Virgill among the Latines: [20] Others who more delighted to write songs or ballads of pleasure, to be song with the voice, and to the harpe, lute, or citheron & such other musical, instruments, they were called melodious Poets [melici] or by a more common name Lirique Poets, of which sort was Pindarus, Anacreon and Callimachus with others among the Greeks: Horace and Catullus among the Latines. There were an other sort, who sought the fauor of faire Ladies, and coueted to bemone their estates at large, & the perplexities of loue in a certain pitious verse called Elegie, and thence were called Eligiack: such among the Latines were Ouid, Tibullus, & Propertius. There were also Poets that wrote onely for the stage, I means playes and interludes, to receate the people with matters of disporte, and to that intent did set forth in shewes pageants, accompanied with speach the common behauiours and maner of life of priuate persons, and such as were the meaner sort of men, and they were called Comicall Poets, of whom among the Greekes Menander and Aristophanes were most excellent, with the Latines Terence and Plautus. Besides those Poets Comick there were other who serued also the stage, but medled not with so base matters: For they set forth the dolefull falles of infortunate & afflicted Princes, & were called Poets Tragicall. Such were Euripides and Sophocles with the Greeks, Seneca among the Latines. There were yet others who mounted nothing so high as any of them both, but in base and humble stile by maner of Dialogue, vttered the priuate and familiar talke of the meanest sort of men, as shepheards, heywards and such like, such was among the Greekes Theocritus: and Virgill among the Latines, their poemes were named Eglogues or shepheardly talke. There was yet another kind of Poet, who intended to taxe the common abuses and vice of the people in rough and bitter speaches, and their inuectiues were called Satyres, and them selues Satyricques. Such were Lucilius, Iuuenall and Persius among the Latines, & with vs he that wrote the booke called Piers plowman. Others of a more fine and pleasant head were giuen wholly to taunting and scoffing at vndecent things, and in short poemes vttered pretie merry conceits, and these men were called Epigrammatistes. There were others that for the peoples good instruction, and triall of their owne witts vsed in places of great assembly, to [21] say by rote nombers of short and sententious meetres, very pithie and of good edification, and thereupon were called Poets Mimistes: as who would say, imitable and meet to be followed for their wise and graue lessons. There was another kind of poeme, inuented onely to make sport, & to refresh the company with a maner of buffonry or counterfaiting of merry speaches, conuerting all that which they had hard spoken before, to a certaine derision by a quite contrary sence, and this was done, when Comedies or Tragedies were a playing, & that betweene the actes when the players went to make ready for another, there was great silence, and the people waxt weary, then came in these maner of counterfaite vices, they were called Pantomimi, and all that had before bene sayd, or great part of it, they gaue a crosse construction to it very ridiculously. Thus haue you how the names of the Poets were giuen them by the formes of their poemes and maner of writing.





Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

The Arte of English Poesie.
London: Richard Field 1589.

Unser Auszug: S. 19-21 (= Buch 1, Kap. 11).

Online-Ausgabe: Exemplar Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, STC (2nd ed.) / 20519.5
Early English Books Online.

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).



Kommentierte und kritische Ausgaben




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