Robert Hayman’s Quodlibets, Lately Come over from New Britaniola, Old Newfoundland is a collection of witty, poetic verses that were penned while he served as governor in colonial Harbour Grace, Newfoundland between 1618 and 1628. His is likely the first English poetry penned in North America.
And, his work is quite impressive. Containing original poetry as well as his translations of pieces by John Owen and Francois Rabelais, Quodlibets reflects on thieves and knaves, good wives and whores, as well as the untamed beauty of Newfoundland. Hayman’s poetry exposes his love for Newfoundland, inviting the adventurous and hopeful to settle this rock. The language for this edition has been updated by David Reynolds to facilitate reading for modern audiences yet preserve the poetic voice of the author.