About the author
Lodowick Lloyd (d. 1610), writer of miscellanies and occasional poetry, was a colourful Welsh member of Elizabeth's court. He signed himself as ‘her Maiesties Seargeant at Armes’, a role he retained after James's accession.
About the text
The Pilgrimage of Princes opens with acrostic verses on the name of Christopher Hatton and a prose dedication, suggesting his sponsorship of Lloyd at court. At least two other editions appeared in his lifetime (1586 and 1607); and an expanded reissue, The Marrow of History (1653), emphasising, in the subtitle, ‘the variety of dangers inhaerent to their crowns’. The original has an index arranged for the easy location of commonplace topics.
The arts of memory
In the excerpt presented Lloyd pays tribute to the father of the memory arts: ‘Simonides straight invented the art of memory as the register and sure recorder of knowledge to keep the same’ (E3r). This chapter, devoted to anecdotes about memory and oblivion, is typical of the volume in stressing the preservation of gems of wisdom from the past to fill a treasury from which one might judiciously draw. This section celebrates prodigious feats of memory recorded by the ancients followed by tales of forgetfulness, and concludes with a triumphant call to arms.
Lodowicke Lloid Gent, The Pilgrimage of Princes (London, 1573), Mm1r–Mm3r.
The Pilgrimage of Princes
Of Memory, and Oblivion
[T]hat noble Athenian Themistocles passing by Simonides's school, who as some suppose taught first the art of memory, being demanded, whether he would learn the art and faculty of memory answered, that he had rather learn how to forget things, than to keep things in memory, ‘for I cannot’, said he, ‘forget what I would, and I have things in memory, which fain I would they were out of memory’. Seneca doth so report of himself, that he was of such perfect memory that he could rehearse after one, by hearing two hundred verses: yea, a greater marvel of memory, he could recite two thousand names of men, being repeated once before him, with as good a memory, as he that first named them. […] Of this excellent memory, to their perpetual fame was King Cirus and Scipio, the one a Persian, the other a Roman, which had this fame by memory: that either of them could severally call their soldiers by name, every one after another […].