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The owle with feble sight
But wo to me, alas !
My burden to unlade.m Nor can I omit to notice the sentimental and expressive metaphor contained in a single line.
Walking the path of pensive thought."
Adieu desert, how art thou spent !
easy it is the stony rocke
Thus mayst thou safely say and sweare,
Alas! pore hart, thus hast thou spent
m Fol. 71. [The turn and texture of these stanzas would appear to be derived from the Gospels of St. Matthew, viii. 20. and St. Luke, ix. 58.---PARK.]
n Fol. 87. o favour. p love. 9
And where thou sekes a quiet port,
That thy true hart should cause thy wo.s. These reflections, resulting from a retrospect of the vigorous and active part of life, destined for nobler pursuits, and unworthily wasted in the tedious and fruitless anxieties of unsuccessful love, are highly natural, and are painted from the heart: but their force is weakened by the poet's allusions.
This miscellany affords the first pointed English epigram that I remember; and which deserves to be admitted into the modern collections of that popular species of poetry. Sir Thomas More was one of the best jokers of that age; and there is some probability, that this might have fallen from his pen. It is on a scholar, who was pursuing his studies successfully, but in the midst of his literary career, married unfortunately.
A student, at his boke so plast,
That welth he might have wonne,
From welth to wo to run.
Now, who hath plaid a feater cast,
Since jugling first begonne ?
Himselfe he hath undonne.u
But the humour does not arise from the circumstances of the character. It is a general joke on an unhappy match.
These two lines are said to have been written by Mary queen of Scots with a diamond on a window in Fotheringay castle, during her imprisonment there, and to have been of her composition :
From the toppe of all my trust
But they belong to an elegant little ode of ten stanzas in the collection before us, in which a lover complains that he is caught by the snare which he once defied. The unfortunate queen only quoted a distich applicable to her situation, which she remembered in a fashionable set of poems, perhaps the amusement of her youth.
• Fol. 109. so pursuing his studies. Plast, so spelled for the rhyme, is placed.
u Fol. 64.
The ode, which is the comparison of the author's faithful and painful passion with that of Troilus Y, is founded on Chaucer's poem, or Boccace's, on the same subject. This was the most favorite love-story of our old poetry, and from its popularity was wrought into a drama by Shakspeare. Troilus's sufferings for Cressida were a common topic for a lover's fidelity and assiduity. Shakspeare, in his MERCHANT OF Venice, compares a night favorable to the stratagems or the meditation of a lover, to such a night as Troilus might have chosen, for stealing a view of the Grecian camp from the ramparts of Troy.
And sigh'd his soul towards the Grecian tents
Where Cressid lay that night Among these poems is a short fragment of a translation into Alexandrines of Ovid's epistle from Penelope to Ulysses a. This is the first attempt at a metrical translation of any part of Ovid into English, for Caxton's Ovid is a loose paraphrase in prose. Nor were the heroic epistles of Ovid translated into verse till the year 1582*, by George Turberville. It is a proof that the classics were studied, when they began to be translated.
It would be tedious and intricate to trace the particular imitations of the Italian poets, with which these anonymous poems
abound. Two of the sonnets are panegyrics on Petrarch and Laura, names at that time familiar to every polite reader, and the patterns of poetry and beauty. The sonnet on The diverse and contrarie passions of the lover, is formed on one of Petrarch's sonnets, and which, as I have remarked before, was translated by sir Thomas Wyatd. So many of the nobility, and principal persons about the court, writing sonnets in the Italian style, is a circumstance which must have greatly contributed to circulate this mode of composition, and to encourage the study of the Italian poets. Beside lord Surrey, sir Thomas Wyat, lord Boleyn, lord Vaux, and sir Francis Bryan, already mentioned, Edmund lord Sheffield, created a baron by king Edward the Sixth, and killed by a butcher in the Norfolk insurrection, is said by Bale to have written sonnets in the Italian mannere.
I have been informed, that Henry lord Berners translated some of Petrarch's sonnets f. But this nobleman otherwise deserved notice here, for his prose works, which co-operated with the romantic genius and the gallantry of the age. He translated, and by the king's command, Froissart's Chronicle, which was printed by Pinson in 1523. Some of his other translations are professed romances.
He translated from
y Fol. 81.
2 Act v. sc. 1. a Fol. 89.
* [This is an oversight; since Mr. War. ton has recorded the appearance of Turberville's Ovid in the year 1567, (see Sect. XI.) and it was then printed by Henry Denham in 12mo.-PARK.]
b Fol. 74.
c Fol. 107. Supr. p. 44. e See Tanner, Bibl. p. 668. Dugd. Bar, iii. 386. [And Noble Authors, i. 277. edit. 1806. also Nevyll's Letters of Lord Sheffield, p. 61. 1582.-PARK.]
f MSS. Oldys.
the Spanish, by desire of the lady of sir Nicholas Carew, THE CASTLE of Love. From the French he translated, at the request of the earl of Huntingdon, Sir HUGH OF BOURDEAUX, which became exceedingly popular; and from the same language, The HISTORY OF ARTHUR, an Armorican knight. Bale says 8, that he wrote a comedy called Ite in vineam, or the PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD, which was frequently acted at Calais, where lord Berners resided, after vespersh. He died in 1532.
I have also been told, that the late lord Eglintoun had a genuine book of manuscript sonnets, written by king Henry the Eighth. There is an old madrigal, set to music by William Bird, supposed to be written by Henry, when he first fell in love with Anne Boleyn'. It begins,
The eagles force subdues eche byrde that flyes;
It appears in Bird's PsALMES, SONGS, AND SONNET3, printed with musical notes, in 1611k. Poetry and music are congenial; and it is certain, that Henry was skilled in musical composition. Erasmus attests, that he composed some church services': and one of his anthems still continues to be performed in the choir of Christ-church at Oxford, of his foundation. It is in an admirable style, and is for four voices. Henry, although a scholar, had little taste for the classical elegancies which now began to be known in England. His education seems to have been altogether theological ; and, whether it best suited his taste or his interest, polemical divinity seems to have been his favorite science. He was a patron of learned men, when they humoured his vanities ; and were wise enough, not to interrupt his pleasures, his convenience, or his ambition.
& Cent. ix. p. 706.
b Ath. Oxon. i. 33. It is not known, whether it was in Latin or English. Stowe says, that in 1528, at Greenwich, after a grand tournament and banquet, there was the “most goodliest Disguising or Interlude in Latine,” &c. Chron. p. 539. edit. fol. 1615. But possibly this may be Stowe's way of naming and describing a comedy of Plautus. See vol. ii. p. 511.
i I must not forget that a song is ascribed to Anne Boleyn, but with little probability, called her COMPLAINT. See Hawkins, Hist. Mus. iii. 32. v. 480.
* See also Nugæ Antiq. ii. 248. [And it makes part of a stanza in Churchyard's legend of Jane Shore.-PARK.]
* See Hawkins, Hist. Mus. ii. 533.
The Second Writer of Blank-verse in English. Specimens of early
To these Songes and Sonnettes of UNCERTAIN Auctours, in Tottell's edition are annexed Songes WRITTEN BY N. G. By the initials N. G. we are to understand Nicholas Grimoald *, a name which never appeared yet in the poetical biography of England: but I have before mentioned him incidentallyb. He was a native of Huntingdonshire, and received the first part of his academical institution at Christ's college in Cambridge. Removing to Oxford in the year 1542, he was elected fellow of Merton College : but, about 1547, having opened a rhetorical lecture in the refectory of Christ-church, then newly founded, he was transplanted to that society t, which gave the greatest encouragement to such students as were distinguished for their proficiency in criticism and philology. The same year he wrote a Latin tragedy, which probably was acted in the college, entitled, ARCHIPROPHETA, sive JoHANNES BAPTISTA, TRAGEDIA, that is, The Arch-prophet, or Saint John Baptist, a tragedy, and dedicated to the dean Richard Coxc. In the year 1548d, he explained all the four books of Virgil's Georgics † in a regular prose Latin paraphrase, in the public hall of his college €. He wrote also explanatory commentaries or lectures on the Andria of Terence, the Epistles of Horace, and many pieces of Cicero, perhaps for the same auditory. He translated Tully's Offices into English. This translation, which is dedicated to the learned Thirlby bishop of Ely, was printed at London, 1553f. He also familiarised some of the purest Greek classics by English versions, which I believe were never printed. Among others was the CYROPÆDIA. Bale the biographer, and bishop of Ossory, says, that he turned Chaucer's Troilus into a - play; but whether this piece was in Latin or English, we are still to seek: and the word Comedia, which Bale uses on this occasion, is without precision or distinction. The same may be said of what Bale calls
They begin with fol. 113. * [or Grimaold, according to Barnaby Googe; but Nicolas Grimalde is the poet's own orthography.-PARK.]
b See vol. ii. p. 493. [At this place the initials E. G. not N. G. are incidentally mentioned : an error which, with many of our laureat's minor hallucinations, escaped the Argus eyes of Ritson.—PARK.]
+ [And yet in 1551, Turner's Preservative or Triacle against the Poyson of Pelagius, had a copy of verses prefixed by Nicholas Grimoald of Merton college.
They might perhaps be written earlier.
c Printed, Colon. 1548. 8vo. (See vol. ii.
[And the Bucolics also, added Her. bert in MS. note.-Park.]
e Printed at London in 1591. 8vo.
i In octavo. Again, 1556.--1558,1574.-1583.-1596.