The reasons for this are as much a matter of textual history as they are of political affiliation: despite the endeavours of Edward Capell in his edition of Edward III in 1760, as well as the claims expressed in his Prolusions
; or, Select Pieces of Ancient Poetry (1760), few eighteenth-century editors of Shakespeare were inclined to include the originally anonymously published Edward III (1596) in the growing list of Bardic apocrypha.
(89) Edward Capell, ed., Prolusions
; or, Select Pieces of Antient Poetry, pt.2; Edward the third, an historical Play (London, 1760).
Forsyth traces early signs of Milton's Protestant and anti-Royalist inclinations in some of his early works, among which his often unmentioned early tracts, the Prolusions
, are also examined.
The impact of this experience is manifest in his edition, which deployed a bewildering array of "new-invented marks" to signal lines that are "spoke apart or aside," to show "a change of address," to indicate "a thing shown or pointed at" (Prolusions
Clair that anthologies of classics--and one could also cite Edward Capell's Prolusions
(1760), Elizabeth Cooper's The Muses Library (1738), some of the many Shakespeare editions, and even Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry, though the latter is not an anthology--cooperate explicitly in the shift from a religious to a secular conception of culture.
The general essay on the Silvae follows two lines of research, situating the poems within Poliziano's poetic oeuvre overall, and relating it to his other prolusions
. The thrust of the humanist's poetry is seen to be metaliterary: poetry about poetry, but in a tone which has an ambiguous lightness about it and thus prevents one-sided interpretations (including the neoplatonic interpretation of the Stanze, a work which Bettinzoli terms 'il piu intricato e il piu insidioso dei labirinti polizianei').
The "societies of Virtuosi" or Academies, which "assume to themselves conceited or fanciful names" were, he thought, "for the most part prolusions
of wit and rhetoric, or discourses about moral subjects." So too the public behaviour of the "inferiour gentry" who "affect to appear in publick with as much splendour as they can, and will deny themselves many satisfactions at home." This was so that they could "keep a coach, and therein make the tour a la mode about the streets of their city every evening."(53)
"American" speech or "Red Indian dialect" is the most barbarous, Milton declared in response to the dehumanized, abused native English tongue in Prolusions
Middle spirits are numerous in Milton's early writing, from "those beings which we call spirits and genii and daemons" (CPW 1:296) mentioned in the Prolusions
, to the Attendant Spirit in A Masque who is one of "those immortal shapes / Of bright aerial spirits" which live not with Jove but "ensphered / In regions mild of calm and serene air" (A Masque 2-4).
Well before he entered on his wide-ranging publicist career in 1641, Milton had already demonstrated his impressive rhetorical talents in the group of seven academic exercises, or Prolusions
, which he wrote in Latin for public declamation at Cambridge between 1625 and 1632, although they only emerged in print for the first time in 1674.