« ZurückWeiter »
murthered with his nephew lord Gray in 1483, by Baldwyne'. Lord Hastings betrayed by Catesby, and murthered in the Tower by Richard duke of Gloucester, in 1483s. Sackville's INDUCTION. Sackville's Duke of Buckingham. Collingbourne, cruelly executed for making a foolish rhyme, by Baldwyne. Richard duke of Gloucester, slain in Bosworth field by Henry the Seventh, in 1485, by Francis Seagerst. Jane Shore, by Churchyard u. Edmund duke of Somerset, killed in the first battle of Saint Albans in 1454, by Ferrers. Michael Joseph the blacksmith and lord Audely, in 1496, by Cavyl.
It was injudicious to choose so many stories which were then recent. Most of these events were at that time too well known to become the proper subject of poetry, and must have lost much of their solemnity by their notoriety. But Shakspeare has been guilty of the same fault. The objection, however, is now worn away, and age has given a dignity to familiar circumstances.
This collection, or set of poems, was printed in quarto, in 1559, with the following title :—“ A MYRROVRE FOR MAGISTRATES, Wherein may be seen by example of others, with how greuous plages vices are punished, and howe frayl and vnstable worldly prosperitie is founde, euen of those whom Fortvne seemeth most highly to favour. Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. Anno 1559. Londini, in ædibus Thomæ Marshe." A Mirrour was a favorite title of a book, especially among the old French writers*. Some anecdotes of the publication may be collected from Baldwyne's DEDICATION TO THE NOBILITIE, prefixed. “ The wurke was begun and parte of it prynted in Queene Maries tyme, but hyndred by the Lord Chancellour that then was: nevertheles, through the meanes of my lorde Stafford®, the fyrst parte was licenced, and imprynted the fyrst year of the raygne of this our
* The Seconde Parte begins with this Life.
* Subscribed in Niccols's edition,“ Master D.” that is, John Dolman. It was intended to introduce here The two Princes murthered in the Tower, "by the lord Vaulx, who undertooke to penne it, says Baldwyne, but what he hath done therein I am not certaine." fol. cxiiii. b. Dolman above mentioned was of the Middle Temple. He translated into English Tully's Tusculane Questions, dedicated to Jewel bishop of Salisbury, and printed in 1561, duodecimo.
Miroir de l'Ame pecheresse, 1531.
This chancellor must have been bishop Gardiner. [Herbert disproves this, by remarking, that Gardiner died November 13, 1555; and Sackville formed the plan of this book in 1557 (see p. 183). Dr. Heath, archbishop of York, succeeded him in the chancellorship on the new year's day following.–PARK.]
Henry lord Stafford, son and heir of Edward last duke of Buckingham, a scholar and a writer. See Wood, Ath. Oxon. i. 108. One of his books is dedicated to the Protector Somerset. Aubrey gives us a rhyming epitaph in Howard's chapel in Lambeth church, written by this nobleman to his sister the duchess of Norfolk. Surrey, vol. v. p. 236. It is subscribed “by thy most bounden brother Henry lord Stafford.” Bale says that he was “ vir multarum rerum ac disciplinarum notitia ornatus," and that he died in 1558, par. post. 112.
t A translator of the Psalms, see supr.
u In the Prologue which follows, Baldwyne says, he was." exhorted to procure Maister Churchyarde undertake and to penne as many more of the remaynder, as myght be attayned,” &c. fol. clvi. a.
* [In the British Museum occur Miroir des Pecheurs, en vers, 1468. Miroir de la Redemption humaine, 1482.
most noble and vertuous queeney, and dedicated then to your honours with this preface. Since whych time, although I have been called to another trade of lyfe, yet my good lord Stafford hath not ceassed to call upon me to publyshe so much as I had gotten at other mens hands, so that through his lordshyppes earnest meanes I have now also set furth another parte, conteyning as little of myne owne as the fyrst parte doth of other mens?."
The plan was confessedly borrowed from Boccace's De CASIBUS PRINCIPUM, a book translated, as we have seen, by Lydgate, but which never was popular, because it had no English examples. But Baldwyne's scope and conduct, with respect to this and other circumstances, will best appear from his Preface, which cannot easily be found, and which I shall therefore insert at large. “ When the printer had purposed with himselfe to printe Lydgate's translation of Bochas of the Fall of PRINCES, and had made pryvye therto many both honourable and worshipfull, he was counsayled by dyvers of them, to procure to have the story contynewed from where as Bochas left, unto this present time; chiefly of such as Fortune had dalyed with in this ylande.Which advyse lyked him so well, that he requyred me to take paines therin. But because it was a matter passyng my wit and skyll, and more thankles than gaineful to meddle in, I refused utterly to undertake it, except I might have the help of suche, as in wit were apte, in learnyng allowed, and in judgement and estymacyon able to wield and furnysh so weighty an enterpryse, thinkyng even so to shift my handes. But he, earnest and diligent in his affayres, procured Atlas to set under his shoulder. For shortly after, divers learned men, whose manye giftes nede fewe prayses, consented to take upon them parte of the travayle. And when certaine of them, to the numbre of seven, were through a general assent at an appoynted tyme and place gathered together to devyse thereupon, I resorted unto them, bearing with me the booke of Bochas translated by Dan Lidgate, for the better observation of his order. Which although we liked wel, yet would it not conveniently serve, seeing that both Bochas and Lidgate were dead; neither were there
alive that meddled with like argument, to whom the UNFORTUNATE might make their mone. To make therefore a state mete for the matter, they all agreed that I should usurpe Bochas rowme, and the WRETCHED PRINCES complayne unto me; and take upon themselves every man for his parte to be sundry personages, and in their behalfes to bewaile unto me their greevous chances, heavye destinies, and wofull misfortunes. This done, we opened such bookes of Cronicles as we had there present. And maister Ferrers, after he had found where Bochas left, which was about the ende of Kinge Edward the Thirdes raigne, to begin the matter sayde thus.
? Signat. C. ii. [Mr. Haslewood remarks, that this dedication and the fol
lowing extract from Baldwyne's preface, are taken from the edition of 1563.Price.]
««I marvayle what Bochas meaneth, to forget among his MISERABLE PRINCES such as wer of our nacion, whose numbre is as great, as their adventures wunderfull. For to let passe all, both Britons, Danes, and Saxons, and to come to the last Conquest, what a sorte are they, and some even in his [Boccace's] owne time, or not much before! As for example, king Richard the Fyrst, slayne with a quarle in his chyefe prosperitie. Also king John his brother, as sum saye, poysoned. Are. not their histories rufull, and of rare example ? But as it should appeare, he being an Italian, minded most the Roman and Italike story, or els perhaps he wanted our countrey Cronicles. It were therefore a goodly and a notable matter, to search and discourse our whole story from the first beginning of the inhabiting of the yle. But seeing the printer's minde is, to have us folowe where Lidgate left, we will leave that great labour to other that may intend it, and (as blinde Bayard is alway boldest) I will begyn at the time of Rychard the Second, a time as unfortunate as the ruler therein. And forasmuch, frend Baldwyne, as it shal be your charge to note and pen orderlye the whole proces, I will, so far as my memorie and judgemente serveth, sumwhat further you in the truth of the storye. And therefore omittinge the ruffle of Jacke Strawe and his meyney, and the murther of manye notable men which therby happened, for Jacke, as ye knowe, was but a poore prynce; I will begin with a notable example which within a while after ensued. And although he be no Great Prynce, yet sithens he had a princely office, I will take upon me the miserable person of syr Robert TRESILIAN chyefe justyce of England, and of other which suffered with him. Therby to warne all of his authoritye and profession, to take hede of wrong judgements, misconstruynge of lawes, or wresting the same to serve the princes turnes, which ryghtfully brought theym to a miserable ende, which they may justly lament in manner ensuing d.?” Then follows sir Robert TREsilian's legend or history, supposed to be spoken by himself, and addressed to Baldwyne.
Here we see that a company was feigned to be assembled, each of which, one excepted, by turns personates a character of one of the great Unfortunate; and that the stories were all connected, by being related to the silent person of the assembly, who is like the chorus in the Greek tragedies, or the Host in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The whole was to form a sort of dramatic interlude, including a series of independent soliloquies. A continuity to this imagined representation is preserved by the introduction, after every soliloquy, of a prose epilogue, which also serves as a prologue to the succeeding piece, and has the air of a stage-direction. Boccace had done this before. We have this interposition, which I give as a specimen, and which explains the method of the recital, between the tragedies of king RICHARD THE Second and Owen GLENDOUR. 66 When he had ended this so wofull
a how many they are.
quarell, the bolt of a cross-bow.
c multitude, crew.
Signat. A. ii.
a tragedye, and to all Princes a right worthy instruction, we paused ; having passed through a miserable tyme, full of pyteous tragedyes. And
seyng the reygne of Henry the Fourth ensued, a man more ware and prosperous in hys doynges, although not untroubled with warres both of outforthe and inward enemyes, we began to serch what Pyers (peers] were fallen therein, wherof the number was not small: and yet because theyr examples were not muche to be noted for our purpose, we passed over all the Maskers, of whom kynge Rycharde's brother was chiefe: whych were all slayne and put to death for theyr trayterous attempt. And fyndynge Owen Glendoure next one of Fortune's owne whelpes, and the Percyes his confederates, I thought them unmete to be overpassed, and therefore sayd thus to the sylent cumpany, What, my maysters, is every one at once in a browne study, and hath no man affection to any of these storyes ? You mynd so much some other belyke, that those do not move you. And to say the trouth, there is no special cause why they should. Howbeyt Owen Glendoure, becaus he was one of Fortune's darlynges, rather than he should be forgotten, I wil tel his tale for him, under the privelidge of Martine hundred. Which Owen, cuming out of the wilde mountains lyke the Image of Death in al pointes, (his darte onlie excepted,) so sore hath famyne and hunger consumed hym, may lament his folly after this maner.” This process was a departure from Sackville's idea ; who supposes, as I have hinted, the scene laid in hell, and that the unfortunate princes appeared to him in succession, and uttered their respective complaints, at the gates of Elysium, under the guidance of SORROW.
Many stanzas in the legends written by Baldwynee and Ferrers, and their friends, have considerable merit, and often shew a command of language and versification'. But their performances have not the pathos which the subject so naturally suggests. They give us, yet often with no common degree of elegance and perspicuity, the chronicles of Hall and Fabyan in verse. I shall therefore, in examining this part of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, confine my criticism to Sackville's INDUCTION and Legend of Buckingham.
e That is, Baldwyne had previously prepared and written his legend or monologue, and one of the company was to act his part, and assume this appearance. fol. xviii. b.
f These lines in Collingbourne's legend are remarkable, fol. cxliiii. a. Like Pegasus a poet must have wynges, To flye to heaven, or where him liketh
He must have knowledge of eternal
thynges, Almightie Jove must harbor in his brest.
[Mr. Haslewood states the reference in this note to agree with the edition of 1563, and that the extract accords with an improved reading which first appeared in 1571.-PRICE.]
Sackville's Induction to the Mirrour for Magistrates. Examined.
A prelude to the Fairy Queen. Comparative view of Dante's
Inferno. SACKVILLE's INDUCTION, which was to have been placed at the head of our English tragical story, and which loses much of its dignity and propriety by being prefixed to a single life, and that of no great historical importance, is opened with the following poetical landscape of wintera.
The wrathfull winter, prochinge on apace,
Gan darke the daye, and dim the azure skies, &c. The altered scene of things, the flowers and verdure of summer deformed by the frosts and storms of winter, and the day suddenly over
See fol. cxvi. (Warton's text is taken from the edition of 1610, corrected by the emendations of Capell in his Prolusions. Some of these are manifestly erroneous, and the original readings have consequently been restored. Sir Egerton Brydges objects to the reading of the seventh line,
because “ bloom applies to spring, not autumn." Have we then no autumnal flowers ? It may be questioned whether the modern abstract idea of “ bloom" was current in Sackville's day. But the succeeding stanza clearly justifies Warton's election.-PRICE.]