In the summer months of 1580 the same Gabriel Harvey who complimented Oxford in Latin prose back in August 1578 found himself in trouble for satirizing Oxford in English verse. Under the title of Speculum Tuscanismi, that is, ‘Mirror of Tuscanism’ or ‘Italian Mirrour’, Harvey's poem appeared without his permission in Three Proper, and Wittie, Familiar Letters (sigs. E2–2v), evidently edited by Edmund Spenser, with a preface to the reader dated 19 June 1580. Harvey's poem is introduced as a ‘bolde Satyriall Libell lately deuised at the instaunce of a certayne worshipfull Hartefordshyre Gentleman, of myne olde acquayntaunce’ – a give-away description of Harvey. The proper name Galateo assigned to the mock hero derives from Robert Peterson's 1576 translation of Giovanni della Casa's Galateo (STC 4738, sig. B1), a treatise ‘of fashions and maners’.
Though Harvey's experiments with ‘quantitative verse’ are obscured by tortured grammar and limited comprehensibility, the target of the satire was openly recognizable – and recognized – as Oxford:
Since Galateo came in, and Tuscanisme gan vsurpe,
Vanitie aboue all: Villanie next her, Statelynes Empresse.
No man, but Minion, Stowte, Lowte, Plaine, swayne quoth a Lording:
No wordes but valorous, no workes but woomanish onely.
For life Magnificoes, not a beck but glorious in shew,
In deede most friuolous, not a looke but Tuscanish alwayes.
His cringing side necke, Eyes glauncing, Fisnamie smirking,
With forefinger kisse, and braue embrace to the footewarde.
Largebelled Kodpeasd Dublet, vnkodpeased halfe hose,
Straite to the dock, like a shirte, and close to the britch, like a diueling. [diueling = little devil]
A little Apish Hatte, cowched fast to the pate, like an Oyster,
French Camarick Ruffes, deepe with a w[h]it[e]nesse, starched to the purpose.
Euery one A per se A, his termes, and braueries in Print,
Delicate in speach, queynte in araye: conceited in all poyntes:
In Courtly guyles, a passing singular odde man,
For Gallantes a braue Myrrour, a Primerose of Honour,
A Diamond for nonce, a fellowe perelesse in England.
Not the like Discourser for Tongue, and head to be found out:
Not the like resolute Man, for great and serious affayres,
Not the like Lynx, to spie out secretes, and priuities of States.