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breaking windows in the city of London"-a case which we verily believe many a dissipated peer, in a more civilised age, has been guilty of, with a different instrument, twenty times for Surrey's once. Dr Nott, worthy man! thinks that this conduct of Surrey's grew out of his “romantic turn of thought, and enthusiastic mode of contemplating common objects ;” while another biographer more sensibly traces it to the cause which made Toby Tosspot, “ enthusiastically contemplating such a common object” as Shove's brass-plate, rudely disturb the owner's slumbers.
In October the same year, Norfolk sent him over to the continent to join the allied army before Landrecies, near Cambray. Here nothing of special interest occurred, and he came home in November.
In July 1544, Henry VIII. invaded France with a large army, the vanguard of which was commanded by Norfolk. Surrey was appointed marshal, and in the siege of Montreuil displayed conduct and courage. On the 19th of September, he was nearly killed, and owed his life to Clere, who, in carrying him off, received a wound which eventually proved fatal. Surrey seems to have mourned Clere sincerely, as our readers will gather from the verses--poor enough, certainlywhich he chose to inscribe on his tomb at Lambeth. Soon after, the siege was raised; and Norfolk, probably accompanied by his son, returned to England in December.
Next year, the Privy Council appointed Surrey to the command of five thousand soldiers, forming the vanguard of an army which was despatched to Calais in August. Subsequently he became commander of Guisnes ; but soon after, by his own wish, was removed to Boulogne. Thence, in January 1645-6, hearing that the French were advancing, he made a sally, and with inferior numbers assailed their troops at St Etienne; but in consequence of the cowardice of a part of his army, was defeated, and forced to retreat to Boulogne. Althoug! this did not immediately lead to his recall, it must have somewhat shattered the king's confidence in him, as, a few months after, he was informed that Lord Hertford was appointed Lieutenant-General in his room. Paget, the king' private secretary, who told him this news, advised him, in
order to save himself, to solicit some command under Hertford—a suggestion which Surrey treated as an insult, and which hardly could have been serious on the part of the proposer, since how could any man of honour and proper pride consent to act under an undermining rival? He could not betray his trust, from his fidelity to the king, and he could not be expected to be very diligent in its discharge under the jealous eye of Hertford, his supplanter. Ultimately, under some pretext of being required to give account of the state of the fortifications, he was recalled; and Lord Gray, a creature of Hertford's, received the local command at Boulogne.
To be recalled, in those days, was almost equivalent to being beheaded; and so, after a number of intrigues on the part of his foes, and of bitter outbreaks of pride and passion on the part of Surrey, this gay and gallant nobleman was, along with his father, committed to the Tower. Paltry charges were produced about using the arms of Edward the Confessor, &c.—charges dictated by spite, and attested by perjured infamy, his father's mistress being the chief witness against him; and, in spite of a bold and powerful defence, he was tried, found guilty by a jury of Norfolk men, including some relations of Clere ; and on the 21st of January 1547, in the thirtieth year of his age, and exactly a week before his estranged sovereign closed his career of capricious lust and blood, the lover of Geraldine was beheaded on Tower Hill. He left two sons and three daughters. He was buried in Tower Street, and thence removed to Framlingham, his birthplace, where his second son, the Earl of Northampton, erected a monument to his memory. His widow married again. His father escaped the son's doom. Such was the end of our peer-poet. He was,
person, small and slight, but sinewy in frame and beautiful in counteAance—his eye wearing that expression of permanent sadness so often the augury of early and violent death, as if its lustre were shining through blood. His character somewhat resembled that of Byron—ardent, brave, but rash, impetuous, and uncertain. His poetry, with fine lines, and here and there passages of considerable power, would not, apart from his rank, his story, and his poetic position, preserve his name.
It is full of
crude conceits and unintelligible tortuosities of thought and rhyme. Much as he sings of love, he is, on the whole, a frigid writer, and has preserved purity at the expense of nature and fervour of passion. He was a star in the poetic horizon when stars were few, and owes it to darkness and to distance rather than to merit that his light still glimmers—it can hardly be said to shine-upon us; and we accept it not as poetry itself, but merely as containing in it the hope and promise of future and far superior song.
Surrey's principal claim to consideration lies in his versification. He undoubtedly improved the mechanical part of our poetry. He found that in the last state of anarchy and disorganisation. Heroic verse, instead of being confined to ten syllables, was often expanded to eleven, twelve, and even fourteen. The results were languor and a sprawling motion. The variation of pauses, too, was entirely neglected. Surrey limited the heroic verse to ten syllables, and divided these into five equal lambic feet. To prevent the monotony produced by the Iambic measure, he broke his lines by pauses interposed wherever he thought the harmony of the verse required them. He also employed, in general, simple and colloquial expressions, avoiding foreign idioms and far-fetched words. His introduction of a studied mode of involution into his periods is probably a less happy innovation. But he deserves credit, it has been said, when he “discountenanced altogether the French mode of laying an unnatural stress upon final syllables, and followed the obvious and common pronunciation of our language, carefully avoiding all double terminations, and using only those words for rhyme which were noble and harmonious, and such as the ear might dwell upon with pleasure.'
These are not great achievements, and were competent to one who had even less of the “vision and the Faculty Divine" than Surrey. But when we recollect the miracles of melody produced since by our Miltons, Drydens, Shelleys, and Coleridges, and that these are in part owing to the improvements introduced by Surrey, we feel that we owe him a debt of considerable gratitude as a mechanical artist, whatever we may think of his genius as a poet.
EARL OF SURREY'S POETICAL WORKS.
SONGS AND SONNETS.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESTLESS STATE OF
WITH SUT TO HIS LADY, TO RUE ON HIS DYING HEART.
The sun hath twice brought forth his tender green,
Twice clad the earth in lively lustiness; Once have the winds the trees despoiled clean,
And once again begins their cruelness, Since I have hid under my breast the harm
That never shall recover healthfulness. The winter's hurt recovers with the warm ;
The parched green restored is with shade; What warmth, alas ! may serve for to disarm
The frozen heart, that mine in flame hath made ? What cold again is able to restore
My fresh green years, that wither thus and fade?
But Time, in time, reduceth a return :
And seems to have my cure always in scorn.
At hand, to melt; far off, in flame to burn.
And like as time list to my cure apply,
So doth each place my comfort clean refuse. All things alive, that seeʼth the heavens with eye,
With cloak of night may cover, and excuse
Save I, alas ! against all others’ use,
And curse each star as causer of my fate.
And brought the day, it doth nothing abate The travails of mine endless smart and pain ;
For then, as one that hath the light in hate, I wish for night, more covertly to plain ;
And me withdraw from every haunted place, Lest by my chere? my chance appear too plain :
And in my mind I measure pace by pace, To seek the place where I myself had lost,
That day that I was tangled in the lace,2 In seeming slack, that knitteth ever most.
But never yet the travail of my thought, Of better state could catch a cause to boast.
For if I found, some time that I have sought, Those stars by whom I trusted of the port,
My sails do fall, and I advance right nought ; As anchor'd fast my spirits do all resort
To stand agazed, and sink in more and more The deadly harm which she doth take in sport.
Lo! if I seek, how I do find my sore ! And if I flee, I carry with me still The venom'd shaft, which doth his force re
store By haste of fight; and I may plain my fill Unto myself, unless this careful song
"Chere:' countenance, behaviour,_2 Lace:' a snare.