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Samuel Daniel’s authorial strategies in The Queenes Arcadia (1606)

Les stratégies auctoriales de Samuel Daniel dans The Queenes Arcadia (1606)
Christine Sukic

Résumés

Dans cet article, j’examine la manière dont le poète et dramaturge Samuel Daniel envisage son statut d’auteur à partir d’une pastorale dramatique, The Queenes Arcadia, d’abord jouée en 1605 sous le titre de Arcadia Reformed puis publiée l’année suivante. Daniel utilise des procédés autoréflexifs et, par des intrusions méta-dramatiques dans la pièce, confirme qu’il avait une vision spécifique de son rôle d’auteur. Les différents styles utilisés dans la pièce sont également analysés, de même que les circonstances de la représentation, à Oxford pendant une visite du roi et de la reine, afin de définir la stratégie auctoriale de Daniel.

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1In August 1605, Samuel Daniel was commissioned to write a play for a royal visit at the university of Oxford. On the last day of the visit, August 31st, Arcadia Reformed was performed before an audience that comprised Queen Anne and her son, Prince Henry. It was the only play performed in English out of the four that were showed on that occasion, the other three being in Latin. It was also the first English pastoral drama in the vernacular, and it was, apparently, much more successful than the others that had been presented to the royal family, as several witnesses attested. On October 12, 1605, John Chamberlain wrote to Sir Ralph Winwood:

  • 1 Quoted by John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities, of King James the (...)

the plays had not the like success, especially Magdalen’s Tragedy of Ajax, which was very tedious, and wearied all the company; but the day of departure, an English Pastorall of Samuel Daniel’s, presented before the Queen, made amends for all, being indeed very excellent, and some parts exactly acted.1

  • 2 Samuel Daniel, The Queenes Arcadia. A Pastorall trago-comedie presented to her Maiestie and her Lad (...)
  • 3 John Florio, Florio his firste fruites which yeelde familiar speech, merie prouerbes, wittie senten (...)
  • 4 Certaine small vvorkes heretofore divulged by Samuel Daniel one of the groomes of the Queenes Maies (...)
  • 5 Stephen Guy-Bray, “The Achievement of Print: Samuel Daniel and the Anxiety of Authorship”, Explorat (...)

2This successful play was first published the next year in 1606, as The Queenes Arcadia.2 It included an address to Queen Anne of Denmark in which the poet was offering his play to her and stressing the very humility of that work, while at the same time claiming the worth of that humble nature: “if we fall, we fall but on the earth”, he wrote, while adding an Italian proverb of the same nature at the end of the dedication, “Chi non fa, non falla”, which had been translated by John Florio a few years earlier as “He that maketh not, marreth not”.3 The following year, Daniel published the play with other works this time, under the title Certaine small works, in which he left out the dedication to the Queen but added a general preface to his work, stressing the importance of correction and edition.4 This habit of editing and republishing his works is typical of Daniel’s interest in his own status as an author, as both Stephen Guy-Bray and John Pitcher have noted.5 Guy-Bray in particular insists on the importance of the process of revision in Daniel’s sense of authorship.

  • 6 Battista Guarini, Il pastor fido: or The faithfull shepheard. Translated out of Italian into Englis (...)
  • 7 On Daniel and this translation, see Christine Sukic, “Samuel Daniel et les traductions anglaises du (...)
  • 8 Paolo Giovio, The Worthy tract of Paulus Iouius, contayning a Discourse of rare inuentions, both Mi (...)
  • 9 As Jason Lawrence has shown, he uses it in his sonnet to William Jones, the translator of G. B. Nen (...)

3Daniel’s relation to pastoral drama probably originated in his interest in Italian literature. His dedication to Sir Edward Dymock prefixed to the first English translation of Battista Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido (1602)6 attests to it.7 Even though Daniel’s career as an author began in his relation to Italian texts, starting with his own translation of Paolo Giovio’s book of imprese8 and maybe encouraged by his relation to John Florio, his friend and brother-in-law, in Daniel’s own Queenes Arcadia, he seems to stress the importance of native, local culture against the “infection” of “forraine lands” (Queenes Arcadia, I. 4. 10). If Daniel had already claimed his attachment to an appropriation of Italian culture that boiled down to a naturalization—using the word “indenized”9—his apparently parochial perspective in The Queenes Arcadia is also inscribed within a double political frame: firstly, his claim of the superiority of “countrie goodness” in the play, where the naïve Arcadians are tricked by foreign intrusions, is juxtaposed with his own claim of a plain style; secondly, both in the text and in the circumstances of the play, he reasserts his status as a national and courtly writer. So in this article, I would like to focus on Samuel Daniel’s use of the genre of the pastoral drama, on his self-reflexive devices as well as on his meta-poetic intrusions within the plot of the play, as a basis for his own vision of himself as an author. Like most early modern playwrights, Daniel can be envisaged as a collaborative writer. It is the case in his practice of masque writing, where he collaborated with Inigo Jones: in the published version of Tethys Festival (1610), he acknowledges Jones’s part in the work in the preface to the reader, while at the same time asserting in the first-person singular his emancipation from the “tyrannie” of classical culture:

And for these figures of mine, if they come not drawn in all proportions to the life of antiquity (from whose tyrannie, I see no reason why we may not emancipate our inuentions, and be as free as they, to vse our owne images) yet I know them such as were proper to the busines, and discharged those parts for which they serued, with as good correspondencie, as our appointed limitations would permit.

  • 10 Samuel Daniel, Tethys festival, in, The Order and Solemnitie of the Creation of the High and mighti (...)

But in these things wherein the onely life consists in shew: the arte and inuention of the Architect giues the greatest grace, and is of most importance: ours, the least part and of least note in the time of the performance thereof, and therefore haue I interserted the discription of the artificiall part which only speakes M. Inago Iones.10

  • 11 Jeffrey Masten, Textual Intercourse. Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Dram (...)

4Daniel’s dual attitude in Tethys Festival is characteristic of his relation to authorship in general: on the one hand, he takes part in the collaborative writing practices of his time, “Renaissance English theatre’s dominant mode of textual production”,11 as Jeffrey Masten calls it, but in his publishing practices in particular, he insists on singular authorship. His construction as a single author thus takes the form of intense reliance on print culture, but also of cultural appropriation of, and emancipation from, classical or foreign cultural objects, and finally on the emphasis of his association with various members of the royal family as a sort of social and national endorsement. The Queenes Arcadia allowed him all of these construction practices.

  • 12 Ibid.
  • 13 Lucy Munro, Children of the Queen’s Revels. A Jacobean Theatre Repertory, Cambridge, Cambridge Univ (...)

5As Jason Lawrence rightly demonstrated, Samuel Daniel drew heavily on Italian sources for The Queenes Arcadia,12 while Lucy Munro reinterpreted his borrowings in the light of his willingness to ingratiate himself with Queen Anne, who was an admirer of Italian culture.13 Apart from its close relation to Italian pastoral dramas such as Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido, Tasso’s Aminta or Groto’s Il Pentimento Amoroso, the text of The Queenes Arcadia is also striking for its satirical contents, as well as its stress on the importance of a pure or purified Arcadia. It is therefore both dependent on former, foreign models, and re-invented by Daniel as a national product, a “Queen’s” Arcadia.

6The play is framed by two onlookers, Melibaeus and Ergastus, who, by virtue of their definition as “two ancient Arcadians” in “The names of the actors”, represent a form of native wisdom. They are the witnesses of the action, as they hide and overhear all the conversations of the other characters, so that they can solve the situations and conclude the play. In the first scene, they meet to denounce the state of things in Arcadia, and to lament on how it is much changed, as Ergastus exposes it to Melibaeus:

  • 14 All references to the play are taken from The Queenes Arcadia, in Elizabeth Story Donno (ed.), Thre (...)

How is it, Melibaeus, that we finde
Our Countrey, faire Arcadia, so much changd
From what it was; that was, thou knowt, of late,
The gentle region of plaine honestie,
The modest seat of undisguiséd trueth,
Inhabited with simple innocence:
And now, I know not how, as if it were
Unhallowed, and divested of that grace,
Hath put off that faire nature which it had,
And growes like ruder countries, or more bad (l. 1-10).
14

7Throughout their dialogue, they develop the idea of the original purity of Arcadia that has been changed from honesty and virtue to a fallen state. The Arcadia of the play being associated with Queen Anne, it is likely that Daniel intended to utilize the setting as a political and cultural metaphor of regeneration and purification, of which he could be appear as the author. Daniel frequently uses disease metaphors or even motifs, since he introduces in the play a “quacksalver” called Alcon who has managed to convince the Arcadians that they were sick and needed medication, that he is of course, only too happy to provide. Daniel’s satire at quack doctors is conventional in the sense that he points out Alcon’s use of complex names and words in order to better stress Alcon’s dishonesty and incompetence. Alcon mentions “books I never read” and “strange speech” (III. 1. 130). The same could be said of the dishonest lawyer Lincus – a “Petyfogger”, as he is called in the “List of Actors” – who admits to Alcon that he employs the same technique: “I over-whelme my practise too, with darknesse and strange words” (III. 1. 136-137).

8The word “strange”, referring here to the eccentricity of the medical (or legal) terms as a source of comedy, is used throughout the play and is associated with the corruption brought about by outsiders: Alcon’s, as well as Lincus’s. Daniel also opposes false medicine as it is practised by Alcon to the native goodness of Urania, the local healer who is known for her “great skill in hearbes” (V. 2. 42) and who is able, in the play, to restore the shepherd Amyntas to life after his attempted suicide. The simplicity and plainness of Urania’s cure is set in opposition to Alcon’s strangeness, based on the overwhelming effect of famous names and complex medical conditions:

And forraine drugs [he] bringes to distemper’s here
And make us like the wanton world abroad,
Reckning us barbarous, but if this their skil
Doth civilize, let us be barbarous stil (V. 3. 68-71).

  • 15 Daniel wrote a long dedicatory poem for this translation. On Daniel and Montaigne, see Warren Boutc (...)

9Ergastus clearly associates this corrupted kind of medical practise to the outside world of “forraine drugs”, while developing the idea of a confrontation between the civilized and the barbarous, to the point of a topsy-turvy vision according to which civilization is identified with foreignness, while Ergastus claims his own barbarousness, an inversion that Daniel may have read in Montaigne’s essay “Of the cannibals”, translated by John Florio.15 The idea of strangeness is further developed in the play with the character of Colax and his assistant Techne, who are the main corrupters of the play, much more than Alcon and Lincus, who expose their own methods to each other but who we do not see interact with the Arcadians until the last scene of the play, when their dishonesty is revealed. Colax is a womanizer who claims that all the fairest women in the world have one defect, and therefore it is necessary to have them all in order to achieve perfection:

And I have heard abrode, where best experience
And witt is learnd, that all the fairest choyce
Of women in the world serve but to make
One perfect beautie, whereof each bringes part (I. 3. 25-28).

10He often claims, as here, his superiority over the other Arcadians by virtue of his experience of the world, since Colax’s other characteristic is that he is, originally, an Arcadian who has travelled abroad. But for the other Arcadians, his familiarity with the outside world has changed him and turned him into a monster. As Ergastus and Melibaeus overhear the conversation between Colax and Techne, they discover the reasons for the changes in Arcadia:

This is that Colax that from forraine lands
Hath brought home that infection which undoes
His countrie goodnesse, and impoysons all.
His being abroad would marre us quite at home:
Tis strange to see, that by his going out,
He hath out-gone that native honestie
Which here the breeding of his countrey gave.
For here I doe remember him a childe,
The sonne of Nicoginus of the Hill,
A man though low in fortune, yet in minde
High set, a man still practising
T’advance his forward sonne beyond the traine
Of our Arcadian breed, and still me thought
I saw a disposition in the youth,
Bent to a selfe conceipted surlinesse,
With an insinuating impudence (I. 4. 10-25).

11This passage contains all of Daniel’s obsessions with the dangers represented by “forraine lands” where Colax travelled to as opposed to his original “countrie goodnesse”, expressed here with the image of the poison (“impoysons all”) and enhanced again with the use of the adjective “strange”.

  • 16 A discouery of the great subtilitie and wonderful wisedome of the Italians whereby they beare sway (...)
  • 17 See Etienne Thuau, Raison d’État et pensée politique à l’époque de Richelieu, Paris, Albin Michel, (...)
  • 18 Jason Lawrence, art. cit., p. 144.
  • 19 A Defence of Ryme, in Samuel Daniel: Poems and a Defence of Ryme, ed. A. C. Sprague, London, 1950, (...)

12This rejection of the bad influence brought about by foreign travels and travellers is reiterated at the end of the play, even as the corruptors have finally been expelled. Once the two wise old men have solved the intricacies of the love plots and gotten rid of the villains, they rejoice at the new-found purity of Arcadia, and at their being healed from “these strange confuséd ills” (V. 4. 254). Melibaeus meditates on the danger of being “Corrupted, and abastardizéd thus” (V. 4. 251). Interestingly, “abastardized” is a word that is very rarely used. The OED gives a first occurrence in John Baret’s dictionary An Alvearie, in which it has more or less the meaning of “to disinherit”, while Samuel Daniel’s use clearly means to corrupt or degenerate. The word also appears in the English translation of an anonymous French treatise published by John Wolfe in 1591, A discouery of the great subtilitie and wonderful wisedome of the Italians, where it is applied to the corruption of the Church by ecclesiastics, who “abastardize[…]” the “true seruice” of God16. This anti-Italian work was destined, in France, to point to the great “subtlety” of the Italians who had taken over French political affairs through Catherine de Medici and her councillors17. The use of this word can be related to Daniel’s common reassertions in his other works, of the importance of naturalising foreign, and especially Italian, words or ideas instead of importing them as they stand. Jason Lawrence gives the example of Daniel’s Defence of Ryme (1603), in which Daniel “is highly critical of the unlicensed and unlimited introduction of foreign words into the English vernacular”:18 “And I can not but wonder at the strange presumption of some men that dare so audaciously aduenture to introduce any whatsoeuer forraine words, be they neuer so strange”19. So the word “abastardized” is both relevant to The Queenes Arcadia’s plot, and to Daniel’s assertion of the necessity of creating works that are “pure” in spite of their foreign origin.

  • 20 Three Renaissance Pastorals, op. cit., p. xxxii.
  • 21 As Andrew S. Keener rightly stated, by “favoring The Queenes Arcadia as an English product” one “mi (...)

13Just like in The Queenes Arcadia, Daniel brings together strangeness and foreignness in The Defence of Ryme. His claim for the necessity to naturalize foreign words and ideas is confirmed by his association with several translators such as John Florio, and his own practise as a translator, as well as his imitation of Italian and French authors in several of his plays and poems. However, Daniel is also ambiguous in his relation to Italian and French culture and language, as he hovers between a rejection of a foreign intrusion and an embracing of European culture. This ambiguity is particularly obvious in The Queenes Arcadia, a work in which Daniel makes no secret that it is imitated from famous Italian pastoral dramas, while at the same time naturalising it by including what Elizabeth Story Donno called “native English elements”.20 His association with imported models takes the form of an appropriation, by which their foreign origin is meant to disappear and be superseded by what Daniel saw as a superior English model, over which he can then claim authority. The emphasis on the danger represented by foreign elements is in keeping with Daniel’s poetic art as a dialectic between European culture and native English values. More than a rejection of anything foreign – which it clearly is not and is contradicted by his poetic practice anyway – 21Daniel’s reassertion of his Englishness has more to do with his acute sense of his status as an author, especially as a national and courtly writer. It is not a cultural rejection, but a social claim. His concern with his social status is particularly obvious in his relation to the new royal family.

  • 22 [London: Printed by Valentine Simmes for Edward Blount, 1603].
  • 23 Barbara Lewalski, art. cit., p. 350.

14When James I came to power, Daniel was one of the poets who stated their poetic interest to the new king. In order to do so, he presented him, as early as 1603, with a poem of political admiration and allegiance called A panegyrike congratulatorie to the Kings Maiestie Also certaine epistles.22 The following year, Daniel was commissioned to write a masque for Queen Anne: The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses was performed at Hampton Court in January 1604, and published the same year. Daniel became a groom of the Queen’s chamber as well as the licensor of plays for the Children of the Queen’s Revels. This attempt at being patronized by both King and Queen is also obvious in the story of the performance and then publication of The Queenes Arcadia, first called Arcadia Reformed for its performance and that Daniel may have intended to be performed for the King as well, even though he finally did not attend the play. The change of title could be seen as a reassertion of Daniel’s place in the Queen’s household­. Barbara Lewalski suggested that the play’s satirical contents was aimed at James’s court23 but it seems very unlikely that Daniel would have risked such dangerous and counterproductive political stance. He was confirming his place in Queen Anne’s household, but certainly not at the expense of his loyalty to the King. This is confirmed in the play by an indirect but fairly obvious satirical passage against tobacco, a well-known Jacobean theme by then.

15In act III, scene 1, Alcon the charlatan mentions an herb infused “in some pestiferous juyce” (l. 169), that grows in Cyprus, and that he wants to try on the local people of Arcadia. He describes it as “a vapour that consumes / Their spirits, spends nature, dries up memorie, / Corrupts the blood, and is a vanitie” (III. 1. 211-213). The whole passage devoted to tobacco is about 50 lines long and would have constituted an obvious endorsement of James’s ideas expressed in A Counterblaste to Tobacco, published a year earlier, in 1604. In that sense, it may have been a disappointed for Daniel to see that James did not attend the play, even though the passage was certainly not lost on the other members of the royal family or household.

  • 24 “It should be acknowledged that the configuration of specific motifs, incidents, character types, a (...)
  • 25 Daniel suppressed thirty lines from act V with Pistophoenax in the 1607 edition. See Donno’s collat (...)
  • 26 Warren Boutcher, op. cit., p. 261-262.

16Daniel’s sense of authorship also appears in an indirect way in the play itself, with references to authorial control of the plot, as a metadramatic device. Melibaeus and Ergastus’s superior position in the play takes on an authorial dimension, since they frame the play, being there in the first and the last scene, as well as in the course of the play. We could see them as an imitation of the chorus of shepherds in Il pastor fido, especially as Ergastus is a common name in Italian pastoral dramas, since he appears in both Aminta and Il pastor fido (as Ergasto). As for Melibaeus, he is related to Virgil’s Meliboeus. However, Daniel’s characters bear no similarity to them, and it is anyway a well-known practice in pastorals to use pastoral-sounding names taken from preceding works. This can already be seen as an implicit statement on Daniel’s part that he is now part of the community of pastoral writers, and an experimenter at that, since his play was the first of its kind to be performed and then published in English. The play obviously borrowed many elements of the lovers’ plot from Aminta and Il pastor fido, notably in some situations that are typical of the pastoral. As Donno pointed out,24 however, those imitations – appearing in the first English pastoral drama in the vernacular – also drew the first spectators’ and readers’ attention to the genre of the play: in order for The Queenes Arcadia to be recognized by all as a pastoral drama, it had to contain a certain number of clues and codes making it obvious. Daniel elaborated on some of the lovers’ plots and, more importantly, included the characters of the quack doctor and the pettifogger, as well as a false priest (a “disguiser of religion”) called Pistophoenax,25 characters that provide for a satirical context for the play. Warren Boutcher has shown how Daniel drew those characters from Florio’s translation of Montaigne’s essay “Of the resemblance between children and fathers”26, which further shows Daniel’s dependence on the European culture of his time.

  • 27 Three Renaissance Pastorals, op. cit., p. 32.

17More interestingly for our purpose, Melibaeus and Ergastus are present throughout the play, either as commentators or overhearers of the action—or, as Elizabeth Story Donno calls them, “two voyeuristic elders”.27 They represent a kind of authority that can be interpreted as authorial. In act IV, scene 5, they decide to act since they have now seen enough of the overall corruption in Arcadia, as Melibaeus states it to Ergatus: “Well, come Ergastus, we have seen ynow, / And it is more then time that we prepare/ Against this Hydra of confusion now” (IV.5.1-3). Next, we see them in act V, scene 3 as they have gathered other Arcadian elders as well as the guilty quartet of Alcon, Lincus, Colax and Techne. Then Melibaeus announces to the Arcadians that they “have found the Authors of this wickednesse” (V. 3. 29), and in the next scene, the young lovers join them (as well as Pistophoenax). Melibaeus and Ergastus then proceed to reveal to each couple the source of their misunderstanding, each time caused by the joined action of Colax and Techne. Finally, each couple is married off by the two elders, so much so that when the villains are banished from Arcadia “under paine to be / Cast downe and dasht in peeces from these rockes, / And t’have your odious carkases devour’d/ By beasts (V. 4. 164-167), Colax jokingly encourages Techne to leave the place as soon as possible, not because of the threats of physical pain and more, but for fear of having to participate in the joyful conclusion of the play: “Well then, come Techne, for I see we two/ Must even be forst to make a marriage too” (V. 4. 168-169). This particular emphasis on and ironic deflating of the conventional ending of comedy, also partakes of a self-reflexive perspective, as Daniel is looking at himself ending the play and, I would argue, seeing himself as the author of a pastoral tragicomedy now rid of its foreign influences.

18In order to better understand Daniel’s strategies in The Queenes Arcadia, we also have to turn to the paratext of the published play. In the first edition, Daniel’s reference to plainness and native goodness also appears in his dedicatory letter to Queen Anne (“To the Queenes most exccellent Maiestie”) when he claims that he himself asserts his belief in a humble, plain style. The reassertion of humility should be read as a traditional topos of a dedicatory letter (Daniel calls his play “the offring of […] humblenesse” and “So poore presentments”), but he also refers to the actual style in similar terms:

And though it be in th'humblest ranke of words,
And in the lowest region of our speach,
Yet is it in that kinde, as best accords
With rurall passions, which vse not to reach
Beyond the groues, and woods where they were bred
And best become a claustrall exercise,
Where men shut out, retyr'd, and sequestred
From publicke fashion, seeme to sympathize
With innocent, and plaine simplicitie (sig. A2, l. 9-17).

  • 28 See G. K. Hunter, “Italian Tragicomedy on the English Stage”, Renaissance Drama, 1973, New Series, (...)

19Daniel’s claim of a humble style reflects the deliberately plain style of the local Arcadians, but not that of the comic characters. Daniel also claims that this style was appropriate for a performance before men living in “claustrall” conditions, presumably the students at Oxford who saw the play at the same time as the Queen and Prince Henry.28 By mentioning and appropriating humbleness of style in his dedicatory letter, he is blurring the differences between paratext and text. The idea of native goodness draws on the common opposition between town and country that is found in pastorals, but Daniel, by adding to it the claim of a stylistic plainness, turns it into a meta-poetic comment. In fact, Daniel creates an opposition between the complex style of the villains, including in the way they speak, and the plainness of language used by the lovers and the ancient Arcadians.

20The comic characters of Lincus and Alcon try to make a living in Arcadia by lying to the locals, Alcon by suggesting to them that they are sick, and Lincus by creating false conflicts between them over their properties, especially their lands. As for Colax and Techne, they are also characterised by the falsity of their words, Techne being Colax’s agent when she tries, on his behalf, to convince young shepherdesses that their loved one has betrayed them, while Colax seduces them and then abandons them. She also tries to take advantage of this as she has fallen in love with Amyntas. Stylistically, Lincus and Alcon’s language is generally characterised by copia, for instance with several examples of lists, of proper names, medical conditions and medications:

Then can I talke of Gallen, Averrois,
Hippocrates, Rasis, and Avicen,
And bookes I never read, and use strange speach
Of Symptoms, Crisis, and the Critique dayes;
Of Trochises, Opiats, Apophlegmatismes,
Eclegmats, Embrochs, Lixives, Cataplasmes,
With all the hideous termes Arte can devise
T’amuse weake and admiring ignorance (III. 1. 128-135).

21In the same way, Lincus’s copia can be seen as a sign of his dishonesty: “I ouer-whelme / My practise too, with darknesse, and strange words, / Paragraphs, Condictions, Codicilles, / Acceptilations, Actions rescissorie, / Noxall, and Hypothecall” (III. 1. 137-140). In both cases the use of copia is tainted by the two characters’ own ignorance, as Alcon acknowledges quoting from “bookes [he] never read”, and Lincus suggests that he is aware of the “darknesse” of his own language.

22As for Colax, he commonly uses conceits, such as the one already quoted about perfect beauty of woman being the addition of the imperfect beauties of women, and his style is also copious, as in this passage characterised by anaphora:

Some till they laugh, we see, seeme to be fayre,
Some have their bodies good, their gestures ill,
Some please in Motion, some in sitting still,
Some are thought lovely, that have nothing faire,
Some again fayre that nothing lovely are (I. 3. 34-38).

23This kind of inverted blazon is an example of Daniel’s creative use of language in the play. As a contrast, the two elders’ favourite style is that of simple narratives and moral discourse. However, if Daniel’s poetic art consists in a claim for plainness, his work displays a variety of styles: the oppositions between the older Arcadians, the lovers and the villains create a richness of poetic styles suggesting that Daniel’s strategy was twofold with the pastoral: at the same time as he was borrowing and appropriating some Italian elements, he was also trying to introduce his own parts, thus showing his capacity for innovation. The villains allow for much of the comedy of the play, and the elders’ moral discourse appears as a stylistic counterpoint. So even though he borrowed from Italian pastoral drama, Daniel’s way of naturalising the pastoral was also achieved through his stylistic mastery of the genre and his willingness to innovate, not just imitate.

  • 29 Warren Boutcher, ibid., p. 259.

24There might also have been an implicit statement on Daniel’s part in the fact that he was writing in the vernacular, while the other plays of the royal visit in Oxford were all in Latin. Warren Boutcher pointed out that the narratives of the visit show that there was a clear distinction “between the academic events put on in Latin for the court of the ‘rex platonicus’ James and the vernacular translations and entertainments needed for the court of Queen Anna”,29 since James did not attend Daniel’s play. This, combined with Daniel’s other programmatic publications such as the Panegyrike Congratulatorie and the Defence of Ryme, showed that he had a specific authorial strategy and that he wanted to display his mastery at different genres.

  • 30 John Pitcher, “Samuel Daniel: New and Future Research”, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford, Oxford Uni (...)
  • 31 “The Poet as Literary Historian”, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 19, No. 1, The Eng (...)
  • 32 This last work was originally called Musophilus: containing a generall defence of learning. The cha (...)
  • 33 Certaine small workes, op. cit., sig. C3r.
  • 34 Ibid.

25So, the occasion of the royal visit at Oxford made it possible for Daniel to present his play as both a fashionable imitation of an Italian pastoral, and a native English work allowing him to appear as an innovative author. Socially, he confirmed his favour with the Queen, was able to flatter some of the King’s ideas and so advance his position as an official court writer. The circumstances of the first staging of the play helped Daniel achieve his goals, since the royal visit to Oxford was a momentous occasion, as is attested by the numerous narratives devoted to it and that describe at length the different events that were organised then. For Daniel to have been asked to take part was also evidence of his position as an author. John Pitcher pointed out in a recent article that Samuel Daniel was in a particularly enviable position in 1605, not only at court but also at Oxford – where he himself had studied – and that “the Canons (the college’s governing body) accorded Daniel a special honor in 1605, soon after his tragicomedy Arcadia Reformed had been acted in the College Hall for Queen Anne and her son”30. The beginning of the seventeenth century was particularly crucial as he was trying to gain his place – and partly succeeded – at James I and Anne of Denmark’s court. Daniel’s careful editing of his works also corroborates his “acute literary self-consciousness”, as S. Clarke Hulse calls it.31 When Daniel re-published The Queenes Arcadia in 1607, in Certaine Small Workes, he left out the dedicatory poem to the Queen, as if he no longer needed her patronage. The play was then part of a whole selection of Daniel’s works, showing his dramatic and poetic prowess, such as The Tragedy of Cleopatra, The Tragedie of Philotas, The Complaint of Rosamond or Musophilus, or a defence of Poesie.32 In the general preface, Daniel does not mention The Queenes Arcadia or pastoral, but he definitely stresses his own status as an author, starting with the process of correction, saying that he has “Repaird some parts defectiue here and there, / And passages new added to the same”33 and asserting his own authority over the literary texts with a building metaphor: “I may pull downe, raise, and reedifie / It is the building of my life”.34 Finally, and more importantly, he emphasizes his relation to the English language and the possibility of his own posterity:

  • 35 Ibid., sig. D1r.

I know I shalbe read, among the rest
So long as men speake English, and so long
As verse and virtue shalbe in request
Or grace to honest industry belong
35.

  • 36 Abraham Fraunce had already tried to take this place when he published his translation of Tasso’s A (...)
  • 37 H. R. Woudhuysen, Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640, Oxford, Clarendo (...)

26By including The Queenes Arcadia in this edifice, Daniel was putting forward the importance of the pastoral in the construction of his identity as an author. The genre of the pastoral drama was until then in England mainly a university genre in Latin or, when it appeared in English, a translation of an Italian work. By writing a pastoral drama in English, Daniel was able to appear as a true purveyor of Italian culture in England, as well as a national poet ready to symbolically take Sidney’s place in that capacity. The title given to the published play, The Queenes Arcadia, is clearly a reference to The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia.36 Daniel had already walked in Sidney’s literary and editorial footsteps when twenty-eight of his own sonnets from Delia had been published in a pirated edition, together with Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella as Syr P. S. His Astrophill and Stella (published by the unscrupulous printer Thomas Newman). Daniel stressed this point in his preface to the first authorised publication of Delia, published the following year in a joint edition with his own Complaint of Rosamond. H. R. Woudhuysen suggested that Daniel may have had a part in Newman’s pirated edition in order to be further associated with the Sidney family.37 If this is true, the interpretation of the title of the Queenes Arcadia could also confirm Daniel’s strategy to be the new national poet through a play that was an Arcadia, that is to say related to classical and Italian models but also a quintessentially English one, Sidney’s. It was also a “Queen’s” Arcadia, that is to say, one that was able, in spite of its Danish and Scottish origins, to represent a new English model and to reflect on its creator as an English author.

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Notes

1 Quoted by John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities, of King James the First, in four volumes, London, J. B. Nichols, New York, AMS Press, Inc., 1828, vol. 1, p. 561-562.

2 Samuel Daniel, The Queenes Arcadia. A Pastorall trago-comedie presented to her Maiestie and her Ladies, by the Vniuersitie of Oxford in Christs Church, in August last, 1605, London, G. Eld for Simon Waterson, 1606.

3 John Florio, Florio his firste fruites which yeelde familiar speech, merie prouerbes, wittie sentences and golden sayings […], London, Imprinted at the three Cranes in the Vintree, by Thomas Dawson, for Thomas Woodcocke, 1578, p. 28. Daniel skipped the second part of the proverb: “chi falla, s’amenda”, translated by Florio as “who marreth, amendeth”.

4 Certaine small vvorkes heretofore divulged by Samuel Daniel one of the groomes of the Queenes Maiesties priuie Chamber, & now and againe by him corrected and augmented, London, Printed by I[ohn] W[indet] for Simon Waterson, 1607.

5 Stephen Guy-Bray, “The Achievement of Print: Samuel Daniel and the Anxiety of Authorship”, Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 29.1, 2003, p. 108-118; John Pitcher, “Editing Daniel”, in W. Speed Hill (ed.), News Ways of Looking at Old Texts, Binghmton, NY, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993, p. 57-73.

6 Battista Guarini, Il pastor fido: or The faithfull shepheard. Translated out of Italian into English, London, Printed [by Thomas Creede] for Simon Waterson, 1602.

7 On Daniel and this translation, see Christine Sukic, “Samuel Daniel et les traductions anglaises du Pastor Fido au XVIIe siècle: du voyage d’Italie à la naturalisation”, Études Épistémè [en ligne], 4 | 2003, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2003, consulté le 12 juin 2021.

8 Paolo Giovio, The Worthy tract of Paulus Iouius, contayning a Discourse of rare inuentions, both Militarie and Amorous called Imprese, At London, Printed for Simon Waterson, 1585. On this translation see Christine Sukic, “« Giordano Bruno et ses contemporains anglais : le texte silénique”, Bulletin de la société d’études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, 58, juin 2004, p. 43-55.

9 As Jason Lawrence has shown, he uses it in his sonnet to William Jones, the translator of G. B. Nenna’s Il Nennio, published as Nennio, or a Treatise of Nobility (1595): “Here dost thou bring (my friend) a stranger borne / To be indenized with us, and made our owne” (quoted in Jason Lawrence, “'The whole complection of Arcadia chang'd': Samuel Daniel and Italian lyrical drama”, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England (Madison, NJ), 11, 1999, p.143-171, here p. 144).

10 Samuel Daniel, Tethys festival, in, The Order and Solemnitie of the Creation of the High and mightie Prince Henrie, Eldest Sonne to our sacred Soueraigne, Prince of VVales, Duke of Cornewall, Earle of Chester, &c, London, Printed for Iohn Budge, 1610, sig. E2r.

11 Jeffrey Masten, Textual Intercourse. Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 14.

12 Ibid.

13 Lucy Munro, Children of the Queen’s Revels. A Jacobean Theatre Repertory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 103-104. See also Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, “Anne of Denmark and he Subversions of Masquing”, Criticism, vol. 35, No. 3, The Politics of Literature in Early Modern English Culture, Summer 1993, p. 341-355.

14 All references to the play are taken from The Queenes Arcadia, in Elizabeth Story Donno (ed.), Three Renaissance Pastorals. Tasso, Guarini, Daniel, Binghamton, New York, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993.

15 Daniel wrote a long dedicatory poem for this translation. On Daniel and Montaigne, see Warren Boutcher, The School of Montaigne in Early Modern Europe. Volume 2: The Reader-Writer, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017.

16 A discouery of the great subtilitie and wonderful wisedome of the Italians whereby they beare sway ouer the most part of Christendome and cunninglie behaue themselues to fetch the quintescence out of the peoples purses: discoursing at large the meanes, howe they prosecute and continue the same: and last of all, conuenient remedies to preuent all their pollicies herein, London, Printed by Iohn Wolfe, 1591.

17 See Etienne Thuau, Raison d’État et pensée politique à l’époque de Richelieu, Paris, Albin Michel, 2000, p. 54.

18 Jason Lawrence, art. cit., p. 144.

19 A Defence of Ryme, in Samuel Daniel: Poems and a Defence of Ryme, ed. A. C. Sprague, London, 1950, quoted by Jason Lawrence, ibid.

20 Three Renaissance Pastorals, op. cit., p. xxxii.

21 As Andrew S. Keener rightly stated, by “favoring The Queenes Arcadia as an English product” one “miss[es] its dynamic, translingual process” (“Samuel Daniel’s The Queenes Arcadia and the Translation of Italian Pastoral Tragicomedy into Renaissance England”, Shakespeare Studies, vol. 48, 2020, p. 73-79). While I acknowledge this, this is not my point here: rather, I concentrate on Daniel’s sense of authorship.

22 [London: Printed by Valentine Simmes for Edward Blount, 1603].

23 Barbara Lewalski, art. cit., p. 350.

24 “It should be acknowledged that the configuration of specific motifs, incidents, character types, and even names in a given exemplar can set a pattern which, reappearing in other exemplars, become the characteristics that determine a genre” (Three Renaissance Pastorals, op. cit., p. xxxi).

25 Daniel suppressed thirty lines from act V with Pistophoenax in the 1607 edition. See Donno’s collation, ibid., p. 255.

26 Warren Boutcher, op. cit., p. 261-262.

27 Three Renaissance Pastorals, op. cit., p. 32.

28 See G. K. Hunter, “Italian Tragicomedy on the English Stage”, Renaissance Drama, 1973, New Series, vol. 6, Essays on Dramatic Antecedents, p. 123-148, especially p. 133.

29 Warren Boutcher, ibid., p. 259.

30 John Pitcher, “Samuel Daniel: New and Future Research”, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018.

https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935338-e-88 (Consulted on June 17, 2021). John Pitcher adds that “The play was acted twice in Christ Church before the royal performance in the Hall—a rehearsal and a town and gown performance—and Daniel stayed in Oxford for several weeks, managing the production and putting the final touches to it. What Christ Church or the University (or both) paid Daniel for writing it is not known, but it cannot have been much less than the £40 he received for writing and managing aspects of the court masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, played at Hampton Court in January 1604” (ibid.). We can infer from this that Daniel’s strategy of authoriality was quite efficient at that time.

31 “The Poet as Literary Historian”, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 19, No. 1, The English Renaissance, Winter 1979, p. 55-69, here p. 55. S. Clarke Hulse also describes Daniel’s relation to authorship as “a personal awareness of himself in time” (ibid.).

32 This last work was originally called Musophilus: containing a generall defence of learning. The change to “a defence of Poesie” can be seen as another Sidneian reference.

33 Certaine small workes, op. cit., sig. C3r.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid., sig. D1r.

36 Abraham Fraunce had already tried to take this place when he published his translation of Tasso’s Aminta and called it The Countess of Pembrokes Yuychurch. Conteining the affectionate life, and vnfortunate death of Phillis and Amyntas: That in a Pastorall; This in a Funerall: both in English Hexameters, London, printed by Thomas Orwyn for William Ponsonby (et alt.), 1591. On this work, see Lynn Sermin Meskill, “’Aminta, Thou art translated!’: Deux versions anglaises de l’Aminta du Tasse aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles”,  Études Épistémè [En ligne], 6 | 2004, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2004, consulté le 21 juin 2021.

37 H. R. Woudhuysen, Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 377-378.

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Christine Sukic, « Samuel Daniel’s authorial strategies in The Queenes Arcadia (1606) »Études Épistémè [En ligne], 41 | 2022, mis en ligne le 10 juin 2022, consulté le 10 août 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/15000 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/episteme.15000

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Christine Sukic

Christine Sukic is Professor of Early Modern English Literature and Culture at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France and President of the Société Française Shakespeare. She has published on Shakespeare, George Chapman and Samuel Daniel. She is the author of a monograph on George Chapman and has translated and edited Chapman’s Bussy D’Ambois into French for the Pléiade series (2009). She edited or co-edited eight collections on the heroic body and representations of the immaterial. Her forthcoming monograph is entitled A Poetics of the Ineffable: Heroic Bodies on the Early Modern Stage to be published at Routledge.

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