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1611 __ « (Panegyric) Verses upon T. Coryat's Crudities » — Frozen words
John Donne (1572-1631)
Comment : “Coryat's Crudities: Hastily gobled up in Five Moneth's Travels” was a travelogue published in 1611 by Thomas Coryat of Odcombe, an English traveller and mild eccentric. The book is an account of a journey undertaken, much of it on foot, in 1608 through France, Italy, Germany, and other European countries. Among other things, it is credited with beginning the custom of the Grand Tour, and introducing the use of the fork to England. Coryat (sometimes also spelled "Coryate" or "Coriat") conceived of the 1,975-mile (3,175 km) voyage to Venice and back in order to write the subsequent travelogue dedicated to Henry, Prince of Wales, at whose court he was regarded as somewhat of a buffoon and jester, rather than the wit and intellectual he considered himself. The manuscript was jokingly mocked by a panel of contemporary wits and poets and, at the behest of the teenage prince, a series of mock panegyric verses was commissioned and appended to it for publication. The authors of these verses, which included John Donne, Ben Jonson, Inigo Jones, and Sir Thomas Roe, among others, took especial liberties with the personal anecdotes, finding Coryat's self-importance a ripe source of humour. Despite the ridicule (to an extent, some of it invited) he endured in his own lifetime, the model he set in Coryat's Crudities (for a self-improving journey to view the arts and culture of Europe) had a real and profound influence on subsequent British history, encouraging an openness to Continental ideas over the next two centuries to a frequently isolated Britain. (Compiled from various sources)
Original excerpt : « Loe her's a Man, worthy indeede to travell; / Fat Libian plaines, strangests Chinas gravell. / For Europe well hath scene stirre his stumpes : / Turning his double shoes to simple pumpes. / And for relation, looke he doth afford / Almost for every step he tooke a word ; / What had he done had he ere hug'd th' Ocean / With swimming Drake or famous Magelan ? / And kiss'd that unturn'd [Terra incognita] cheeke of our old mother. / Since so our Europes world he can discover ? / It's not that [Rabelais] French, which made his [Pantagruel] Gyant see / Those uncouth Ilands, where words frozen bee, / Till by the thaw next yeare they'r voic't againe ; / Whose Papagauts, Andoûilets, and that traine / Should be such matter for a Pope to curse / As he would make ; make ! makes ten times worse, / And yet so pleasing as shall laughter move : / And be his vaine, his gaine, his praise, his love. / Sit not still then, keeping fames trump unblowne ; / But get thee Coryate to some land unknowne. / From whence proclaim thy wisdom with those wonders, / Rarer then sommers snowes, or winters thunders. / And take this praise of that th'ast done alreadie ; / 'Tis pitty ere thy flow should have an eddie.Explicit Joannes Dones. »
Source : Coryat, Thomas (1611), “Coryat’s Crudities”, In two volumes, Vol. 1, Glasgow, Printed at the University Press by Robert MacLehose & Company Ltd. For James MacLehose and Sons, London : MacMillan and Co. Ltd., 1905, p. 103.
Urls : http://www.archive.org/details/coryatscrudities01coryuoft (last visited )

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