[CHETTLE, Henry (ca 1560-ca 1607)]. Englandes Mourning Garment: Worne here by plaine Shepheardes; in memorie of their sacred Mistresss, Elizabeth, Queene of Vertue wile shee lived, and Theame of Sorrow, being dead. London: V[alentine] S[immes] for Thomas Millington, .
4o (170 x 122 mm). (Lacking final blank, last leaf lightly soiled and with inner margin renewed.) Modern reddish-brown morocco, gilt-lettered on front cover and spine, edges gilt, by Riviere.
FIRST EDITION OF THIS SCARCE TRIBUTE TO QUEEN ELIZABETH. Chettle's pamphlet is written partly in prose, partly in verse, and is a tribute to "the right gratious Queene Elizabeth." One section describes the character and virtuous qualities of the Queen, illustrating the discourse with anecdotes. "The whole is written in the form of a dialogue, partly in verse, between Thenot and Collin, and in the usual 'The king is dead! Long live the king!' fashion ends with the Spring Song 'in gratulation... to... James.' The present value of this book, however, lies not so much apparently in its intrinsic merit, as in the fact that Chettle complains that the poets 'that are best able, scarce remember her Majestie... Nor doth one Poet seeke her name to raise, That living hourely striv'd to sing her praise' being too intent upon welcoming the Stuart. He goes on and reproaches several, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Jonson, Shakespeare, Drayton and others not by name, but by allusions to their works. For example, he calls upon Shakespeare under the name of Melicert to 'remember our Elizabeth, And sing her Rape, done by that Tarquin, Death'" (Pforzheimer).
There was also a pirated edition of 1603 published by Walter Burre; this pirated edition is dated and asserts on the title that it is "imprinted for Thomas Millington and to be sold by Walter Burre." Burre was fined for the edition on 7 June 1603.
RARE: only ten copies have been traced, of which several are imperfect. Pforzheimer notes that since the Shepheards Spring Song (on F4r-G1v) is mentioned on the title, its omission in some copies cannot be explained as an early issue. It is notable that of the approximately 16 broadsides and pamphlets issued in 1603 to commemorate the death of the Queen, none were written by any of the first-rank Elizabethan poets. Bartlett 281; Pforzheimer 180; STC 5121.