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How could August" so many yeres well passe ?
Measure forbids unmeasurable prayse.9 The maxim is enforced with great quickness and variety of illustration: nor is the collision of opposite thoughts, which the subject so naturally affords, extravagantly pursued, or indulged beyond the bounds of good sense and propriety. The following stanzas on the Nine Muses are more poetical, and not less correct."
Impss of king Jove and quene REMEMBRANCE, lo,
Clio in solem songes reneweth all day,
With voyces tragicall sowndes Melpomen,
Fine Erato, whose looke a lively chere
Uranie, her globes to view all bent,
Lord Phebus in the mids (whose heauenly sprite
It would be unpardonable to dismiss this valuable miscellany, without acknowledging our obligations to its original editor Richard Tottell, who deserves highly of English literature, for having collected at a critical period, and preserved in a printed volume, so many admirable specimens of antient genius, which would have mouldered in manuscript, or perhaps from their detached and fugitive state of existence, their want of length, the capriciousness of taste, the general depredations of time, inattention, and other accidents, would never have reached the present age. It seems to have given birth to two favorite and celebrated collections * of the same kind, The PARADISE OF Dainty Devises, and ENGLAND's Helicon, which appeared in the reign of queen Elisabeth ".
Andrew Borde. Bale. Ansley. Chertsey. Fabyll's Ghost, a poem.
The Merry Devil of Edmonton. Other minor Poets of the Reign of Henry the Eighth.
It will not be supposed, that all the poets of the reign of Henry the Eighth were educated in the school of Petrarch. The graces of the Italian inuse, which had been taught by Surrey and Wyat, were confined to a few. Nor were the beauties of the classics yet become general objects of imitation. There are many writers of this period who still rhymed on, in the old prosaic track of their immediate predecessors, and never ventured to deviate into the modern improvements. The strain of romantic fiction was lost; in the place of which, they did not substitute the elegancies newly introduced.
I shall consider together, yet without an exact observation of chronological order, the poets of the reign of Henry the Eighth who form this subordinate class, and who do not bear any mark of the character of the poetry which distinguishes this period. Yet some of these have
*[Quere whether these collections were not more immediately derived from “A gorgeous Gallery of gallant Inventions,” &c. and the “Phænix Nest,” both reprinted in Heliconia, vol. i. —PARK.]
u The reader will observe, that I have followed the paging and arrangement of Tottell's second edition in 1565. 12mo. In his edition of 1557, there is much confusion. A poem is there given to Grimoald, on the death of lady Margaret Lee, in 1555. Also among Grimoald's is a poem on sir James Wilford, mentioned above,
who appears to have fought under Henry the Eighth in the wars of France and Scotland. This edition of 1557, is not in quarto, as I have called it by an oversight, but in small duodecimo, and only with signatures. It is not mentioned by Ames, and I have seen it only among Tanner's printed books at Oxford. It has this colophon :-“Imprinted at London in Flete Strete within Temple barre, at the sygne of the hand and starre by Richard Tottel, the fifte day of June. An. 1557. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.”
their degree of merit; and, if they had not necessarily claimed a place in our series, deserve examination.
Andrew Borde, who writes himself ANDREAS PERFORATUS, with about as much propriety and as little pedantry as Buchanan calls one Wisehart SophOCARDIUS, was educated at Winchester and Oxford a; and is said, I believe on very slender proof, to have been physician to king Henry the Eighth. His BREVIARY OF HEALTH, first printed in 1547b, is dedicated to the college of physicians, into which he had been incorporated. The first book of this treatise is said to have been examined and approved by the University of Oxford in 1546o. He chiefly practised in Hampshire; and being popishly affected, was censured by Poynet, a Calvinistic bishop of Winchester, for keeping three prostitutes in his house, which he proved to be his patientsd. He appears to have been a man of great superstition, and of a weak and whimsical head: and having been once a Carthusian, continued ever afterwards to profess celibacy, to drink water, and to wear a shirt of hair. His thirst of knowledge, dislike of the reformation, or rather his unsettled disposition, led him abroad into various parts of Europe, which he visited in the medical character*. Wood says, that he was s esteemed a noted poet, a witty and ingenious person, and an excellent physician.” Hearne, who has plainly discovered the origin of Tom Thumb, is of opinion, that this facetious practitioner in physie gave rise to the name of MERRY ANDREW, the Fool on the mountebank's stage. The reader will not perhaps be displeased to see that antiquary's reasons for this conjecture; which are at the same time a vindication of Borde's character, afford some new anecdotes of his life, and show that a Merry Andrew may be a scholar and an ingenious
“ It is observable, that the author [Borde] was as fond of the word DOLENTYD, as of many other hard and uncooth words, as any Quack can be: He begins his BREVIARY OF HEALTH, Egregious doctours and Maysters of the eximious and archane science of Physicke, of your urbanite exasperate not your selve, &c. But notwithstanding this, will any one from hence infer or assert, that the author was either a pedant or a superficial scholar? I think, upon due consideration, he
* See his Introduction to Knowledge, ut infr. cap. xxxv.
“Compyled by Andrewe Boorde of Physicke Doctoure an Englysshe man." It was reprinted by William Powell in 1552, and again in 1557. There was an impression by T. East, 1587, 4to. others also in 1548, and 1575, which I have
The latest is by East in 1598, 4to. (This seems to have been printed, says Herbert, before 1547, by William Mydilton, in 12mo, because therein he mentions his Introduction to Knowledge, as at that time printing at old Rob. Copland's. But the dedication of
that to the princess Mary is dated 3 May 1542, and may be supposed to have been printed soon after, though indeed it has no date of printing. It was printed by Wm. Copland. See Bibl. West. No. 1643. -PARK.]
At the end of which is this note :“Here endeth the first boke Examined in Oxforde in the yere of our Lorde MCCCCCXLVI," &c. d See Against Martin, &c. p. 48.
[“ I have gone round Christendome and overthwart Christendome," says Borde in his Dietarie of Health.-PARK. ]
will judge the contrary. Dr. Borde was an ingenious man, and knew how to humour and please his patients, readers, and auditors. In his travells and visits, he often appeared and spoke in public; and would often frequent markets and fairs where a conflux of people used to get together, to whom he prescribed ; and to induce them to flock thither the more readily, he would make humorous speeches, couched in such language as caused mirth, and wonderfully propagated his fame : and 'twas for the same end that he made use of such expressions in his Books, as would otherwise (the circumstances not considered) be very justly pronounced bombast. As he was versed in antiquity, he had words at command from old writers with which to amuse his hearers, which could not fail of pleasing, provided he added at the same time some remarkable explication. For instance, if he told them that Aekaèns was an old brass medal among the Greeks, the oddness of the word, would, without doubt, gain attention; tho nothing near so much, as if withall he signified, that 'twas a brass medal a little bigger than an Obolus, that used to be put in the mouths of persons that were dead.
-And withall, 'twould affect them the more, if when he spoke of such a brass medal, he signified to them, that brass was in old time looked upon as more honourable than other metals, which he might safely enough do, from Homer and his scholiast. Homer's words are, &c. A passage, which without doubt HIERONYMUS MAGIUS would have taken notice of in the fourteenth chapter of his Book De TINTINNABULIS, had it occurred to his memory when in prison he was writing, without the help of books before him, that curious Discourse. 'Twas from the Doctor's method of using such speeches at markets and fairs, that in aftertimes, those that imitated the like humorous, jocose language, were styled MERRY ANDREWS, a term much in vogue on our stagese.”
He is supposed to have compiled or composed the MERRY Tales of the mad men of Gotham, which, as we are told by Wood, “ in the reign of Henry the Eighth, and after, was accounted a book full of wit and mirth by scholars and gentlemen'.” This piece, which probably was not without its temporary ridicule, and which yet maintains a popularity in the nursery, was, I think, first printed by Wynkyn de Worde. Hearne was of opinion, that these idle pranks of the men of Gotham, a town in Lincolnshire, bore a reference to some customary law-tenures belonging to that place or its neighbourhood, now grown obsolete; and that Blount might have enriched his book on ANTIENT TENURES with these ludicrous stories. He is speaking of the political design of ReyNARD THE Fox, printed by Caxton. “ It was an admirable Thing. And the design, being political, and to represent a wise government, was equally good. So little reason is there to look upon this as a poor despicable book. Nor is there more reason to esteem the MERRY TALES OF THE MAD Men of GOTHAM (which was much valued and cried up in Henry the eighth's time tho now sold at ballad-singers stalls) as altogether a romance: a certain skillfull person having told me more than once, that he was assured by one of Gotham, that they formerly held lands there, by such Sports and Customs as are touched upon in this book. For which reason, I think particular notice should have been taken of it in Blount's TENURES, as I do not doubt but there would, had that otherwise curious author been apprised of the matter. But 'tis strange to see the changes that have been made in the book of REYNARD THE Fox, from the original editions 8!"
e Hearne's Benedict. Abb. tom. i. Præfat. p. 50. edit. Oxon. 1735.
f Ath. Oxon. i. 74. There is an edition in duodecimo by Henry Wikes, with
out date, but about 1568, entitled, MERIE Tales of the madmen of Gotam, gathered together by A. B. of physicke doctour. The oldest I have seen, is London, 1630, 12mo.
Borde's chief poetical work is entitled, “ The first Boke of the InTRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE, the which doth teach a man to speake parte of al maner of languages, and to knowe the usage and fashion of al maner of countryes: and for to knowe the most parte of al maner of coynes
of money, the whych is currant in every region. Made-by Andrew Borde of phisyk doctor.” It was printed by the Coplands, and is dedicated to the king's daughter the princess Mary. The dedication is dated from Montpelier, in the year 1542. The book, containing thirty-nine chapters, is partly in verse and partly in prose; with wooden cuts prefixed to each chapter. The first is a satire, as it appears, on the fickle nature of an Englishman: the symbolical print prefixed to this chapter, exhibiting a naked man, with a pair of shears in one hand and a roll of cloth in the other, not determined what sort of a coat he shall order to be made, has more humour than any of the verses which followh. Nor is the poetry destitute of humour only; but of every embellishment, both of metrical arrangement and of expression. Borde has all the baldness of allusion, and barbarity of versification, belonging to Skelton, without his strokes of satire and severity. The following lines, part of the Englishman's speech, will not prejudice the reader in his favour.
What do I care, if all the world me faile?
& Hearne's Not. et Spicileg. ad Gul. Neubrig. vol. iii. p. 744. See also Benedict. Abb. ut supr. p. 54.
h Harrison, in his Description of England, ha mentioned this work by Borde, adds, “Suche is our mutabilitie, that to daie there is none [equal] to the Spanish guise, to morrow the French toies are most fine and delectable, yer [ere] long no such apparel as that which is
after the Almaine fashion: by and by the Turkish maner otherwise the Morisco gowns, the Barbarian sleves, the mandilion worne to Collie Weston ward, and the shorte French breeches,” &c. B. ii. ch. 9.
* [A young fashionable courtier. See a print of French mignons in Montfaucon's Antiquities.-Ashby.]