Heere am I (quoth The Flea) and shew’d himselfe.
Heere am I (quoth The Flea) ready to proue
What erst I said, and downe he throwes his gloue :
Then trye the quarell, when & how thou dare ...
—Peter Woodhouse, The Contention betweene the Elephant & the FLEA (1605)
In this The FLEA’s XIXth Broadsheete, our Authors, againe, haue not disappointed; nay, far therefrom; indeed they triumph: for who could not admire Quincy Lehr Esq.’s selection from his uast and masterful Epic, Heimat? Who could fail to applaude Master C.E. Chaffin (of Melic fame) with his Heraclitan Flouuers? Sir Wesli Court, of the Virginia Colonies, in his Epitaphs, passeth & surpasseth, with loftie & fit comment on our departed Fellouue Poets, rent, in our current glorious Age, by the Death the Leveller, & abstracted awaye from this Earthlie pace; the subtle & penetrative Sir Stephen Edgar maketh shrewd poetickal-metaphysickal Observations, concerning our enlanguag’d Wor(l)d; Mr. Timothy Murphy, who is wont to hunt (with his trusty hounde Feeney euer at his side), small birds in the Dakota Hills, insted now uentureth forth a-Mushrooming, & yet discouers, it may hap, Platonick Loue springing boldly forthe from Earthe & common Soil.
Platonick Loue, I say, of which the Vulgar little reck (the deficiencie being in their periur’d Sowles); & yet such Loue is the truest & noblest State our Humanity can achieue; & is not, I firmlie auer, to be despis’d; but, to the contrary: those who have it, Knowe; & those who Lacke, may Howl their Despondencie to the Outer Dark, where they are lost until they stumble, through Grace, vpon that sole Lighte. I am entirely at one with Mr. Murphy on this head: Loue is the Matter, & the Pith, & Marrouue of All; without which, there is but sad material Knocke vpon Knocke, of dead Atom vpon dead Atom, like vnto so many hard skittle balls, aimlessly rolling, & bumping, thither & yon, to no signification.
So Goodwife Janice D. Soderling confirms, in her elegant lines; Mr. Richard Meyer’s passing sweete Cadences sing of it; Mistress Annie Drysdale’s magnificently Slut-strutting braue Lasses proclaime it proudly to the Worlde; Mr. Dennis Loney’s Stations progress steadily therevnto; the Magisterial Sir Don Thackrey delineates unerringly the Deathward march of those who see it not; Master Will Kemp descries the sad estate of her who lacketh Loue; all our Uerses in this Broadsheete point unerringly towards the Black & the White, the Negatiue & the Positiue, of Life & Deathe, of Loue & Vnlove.
The which Uerses, I heartily commend to my Esteem’d Readers.
NB: This current Broadsheet was first deviz’d to be publish’d in the monthe of Avgust; but hath, on account of the vnsalutory effects vpon Yr Editor’s faculties, of the late Reuells at the Mermaid Tauerne, been delay’d until September; & likewise, that Broadshete preuiously set for September, will now (Deo volente) be impixell’d next month; viz., October. This obscure Conundrum can best be apprehended, & conceptually clarify’d, by liberal application of Dutch Jenever Spirits, which, Yr Hble & Obdt findes, do maruellously enhance Man’s Powers of Ratiocination.