Fun stuff here. but I’m f’n supposed to engage in and write an essay with a rock-hard deadline coming at me fast.
Amazing what can be found with some judicious web surfing: happy trails to you . . .
by Stephen J. Gertz
Said of John Taylor (1580 - 1653)
“The Water Poet” -
(his primary source of income derived from his profession as a waterman,
the trade of boatmen who ferried passengers across the Thames -
his poetry, while far from gemstone,
was notable for its diamond wit and keen observations of the contemporary social and cultural scene.)
“Sweet sacred Muses, my invention raise
Unto the life, to write great Hempseeds praise…”
So begins The Praise of Hemp-seed
Of what use is hemp?
“This grain grows to a stalk, whose coat or skin
Good industry doth hatchell twist, and spin,
And for mans best advantage and availes
It makes clothes, cordage, halters, ropes and sailes.”
Taylor enumerates the many manufacturers and trades dependent upon hemp, not the least of which are pharmacy:
“Apothecaries were not worth a pin,
If Hempseed did not bring their commings in;
Oyles, Unguents, Sirrops, Minerals, and Baulmes,
(All nature’s treasures, and th’Almighties almes),
Emplasters, Simples, Compounds, sundry drugs
With Necromanticke names like fearful Bugs,
Fumes, Vomits, purges, that both cures, and kils,
Extractions, conserves, preserves, potions, pils,
Elixirs, simples, compounds, distillations,
Gums in abundance, brought from foreign nations.”
All manner of physical complaint is relieved.
“Most serviceable Hempseed but for thee, These helpes for man could not thus scattered be.”
One of the more notable aspects of The Praise of Hempseed is that
within Taylor acknowledges the death of Shakespeare four years earlier and his place in poetry’s firmament;
he was the first poet to do so:
“In paper, many a poet now survives
Or else their lines had perish’d with their lives.
Old Chaucer, Gower, and Sir Thomas More,
Sir Philip Sidney, who the laurel wore,
Spenser, and Shakespeare did in art excell,
Sir Edward Dyer, Greene, Nash, Daniel,
Sylvester, Beaumont, Sir John Harrington.
Forgetfulness their works would over run
But that in paper they immortally
Do live in spite of death, and cannot die.”
Taylor may have known William Shakespeare.
In The True Cause of the Waterman’s Suit Concerning Players (1613 or 1614)
he writes about the waterman’s dispute with London theater companies,
which in 1612 had moved from the south bank of the Thames to the north,
thus depriving the ferrymen of lucrative traffic.
January 13, 2011
The Elizabethan Poem in Praise of Cannabis
by Stephen J. Gertz
And so on and so forth.