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1533. The piece is of no merit; and I should not perhaps have mentioned it, but as the subject serves to throw light on our early drama. Peter Fabell, whose apparition speaks in this poem, was called The Merrie Devil of Edmonton, near London. He lived in the reign of Henry the Seventh, and was buried in the church of Edmonton. Weever, in his Antient FUNERAL MONUMENTS, published in 1631, says under Edmonton, that in the church “lieth interred under a seemlie tombe without inscription, the body of Peter Fabell, as the report goes, upon whom this fable was fathered, that he by his wittie devises beguiled the devill. Belike he was some ingenious-conceited gentleman, who did use some sleighte trickes for his own disportes. He lived and died in the raigne of Henry the Seventh, saith the booke of his merry Pranksf." The book of Fabell's Merry Pranks I have never seen. But there is an old anonymous comedy, written in the reign of James the First, which took its rise from this merry magician. It was printed in 1617, and is called the MERRY DEVIL OF EDMONTON, as it hath been sundry times acted by his majesties servants at the Globe on the Banke-side. In the Prologue, Fabell is introduced, reciting his own history.
'Tis Peter Fabell a renowned scholler,
heere make doubt of such a name,
& in quarto, Lond.
Behold him here laid on his restlesse couch,
The play is without absurdities, and the author was evidently an attentive reader of Shakspeare. It has nothing, except the machine of the chime, in common with FaBYLL’s GHOSTE. Fabell is mentioned in our chronicle-histories, and, from his dealings with the devil, was commonly supposed to be a friarh.
In the year 1537, Wilfrid Holme, a gentleman of Huntington in Yorkshire, wrote a poem called The Fall and evil Success of Rebellion. It is a dialogue between England and the author, on the commotions raised in the northern counties on account of the reformation in 1537, under Cromwell's administration. It was printed at London in 1573. Alliteration is here carried to the most ridiculous excess; and from the constraint of adhering inviolably to an identity of initials, from an affectation of coining prolix words from the Latin, and from a total ignorance of prosodical harmony, the author has produced one of the most obscure, rough, and unpleasing pieces of versification in our language. He seems to have been a disciple of Skelton. The poem, probably from its political reference, is mentioned by Hollinshed'. Bale, who overlooks the author's poetry in his piety, thinks that he has learnedly and perspicuously discussed the absurdities of popery k.
One Charles Bansley, about the year 1540, wrote a rhyming satire on the pride and vices of women now a days. I know not if the first line will tempt the reader to see more.
“ Bo peep, what have we spied!"
It was printed in quarto by Thomas Rainolde; but I do not find it among Ames's books of that printer, whose last piece is dated 1555. Of equal reputation is Christopher Goodwin, who wrote the MAYDEN'S DREME, a vision without imagination, printed in 1542', and THE CHANCE OF THE DOLORUS Lover, a lamentable story without pathos, printed in 1520m. With these two may be ranked, Richard [Thomas] Feylde, or Field, author of a poem printed in quarto by Wynkyn de
See also Norden's Speculum Britanniæ, written in 1596. Middlesex, p. 18. And Fuller's Worthjes, Middlesex, p. 186. edit. fol. 1662.
i Chroniii. p. 978.
k ix. 22.
| In 4to. Pr. “Behold you young ladies of high parentage.”
In 4to. Pr. “Upon a certain tyme as it befell."
Worde, called A CONTRAVERSYE BETWENE A LOVER AND A JAYE. The prologue begins
Thoughe laureate poetes in olde antyquyte. I must not forget to observe here, that Edward Haliwell, admitted a fellow of King's college Cambridge in 1532, wrote the Tragedy of DIDO, which was acted at saint Paul's school in London, under the conduct of the very learned master John Rightwise, before cardinal Wolsey But it may be doubted, whether this drama was in English. Wood says, that it was written by Rightwise'. One John Hooker, fellow of Magdalene college Oxford in 1535, wrote a comedy called by Wood PISCATOR, or The Fisher caughtP. But as latinity seems to have been his object, I suspect this comedy to have been in Latin, and to have been acted by the youth of his college.
The fanaticisms of chemistry seem to have remained at least till the dissolution of the monasteries. William * Blomefield, otherwise Rattlesden, born at Bury in Suffolk, bachelor in physic, and a monk of Buryabbey, was an adventurer in quest of the philosopher's stone. While a monk of Bury, as I presume, he wrote a metrical chemical tract, entitled, BLOMEFIELD's Blossoms, or the CAMPE OF Philosophy. It is a vision, and in the octave stanza. It was originally written in the year 1530, according to a manuscript that I have seen : but in the copy printed by Ashmoleq, which has some few improvements and additional stanzas, our author says he began to dream in 15577. He is admitted into the camp of philosophy by Time, through a superb gate which has twelve locks. Just within the entrance were assembled all the true philosophers from Hermes and Aristotle, down to Roger Bacon, and the canon of Bridlington. Detached at some distance, appear those unskilful but specious pretenders to the transmutation of metals, lame, blind, and emaciated, by their own pernicious drugs and injudicious experiments, who defrauded king Henry the Fourth of immense treasures by a counterfeit elixir. Among other wonders of this mysterious region, he sees the tree of philosophy, which has fifteen different buds, bearing fifteen different fruits. Afterwards, Blomefield turning protestant, did not renounce his chemistry with his religion, for he appears to have dedicated to queen Elisabeth another system of occult science, entitled, The RULE OF LIFE, OR TIIE FIFTH ESSENCE, with which her majesty must have been highly edified 8.
Although lord Surrey and some others so far deviated from the dullness of the times, as to copy the Italian poets, the same taste does not
seem to have uniformly influenced all the nobility of the court of king Henry the Eighth who were fond of writing verses. Henry Parker, lord Morley, who died an old man in the latter end of that reign, was educated in the best literature which our universities afforded. Bale mentions his TRAGEDIES and COMEDIES, which I suspect to be nothing more than grave mysteries and moralities, and which probably would not now have been lost, had they deserved to live. He mentions also his Rhymes, which I will not suppose to have been imitations of Petrarcht. Wood
says, that “his younger years were adorned with all kinds of superficial learning, especially with dramatic poetry, and his elder with that which was divineu.” It is a stronger proof of his piety than his taste, that he sent, as a new year's gift to the princess Mary, HAMPOLE's COMMENTARY UPON SEVEN OF THE FIRST PENITENTIAL PSALMS. The manuscript, with his epistle prefixed, is in the royal manuscripts of the British Museum". Many of Morley's translations, being dedicated either to king Henry the Eighth, or to the princess Mary, are preserved in manuscript in the same royal repository *. They are chiefly from Solomon, Seneca, Erasmus, Athanasius, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, and Paulus Jovius. The authors he translated show his track of reading. But we should not forget his attention to the classics, and that he translated also Tully's DREAM OF Scipio, and three or four lives of Plutarch, although not immediately from the Greeky. He seems to have been a rigid catholic, retired and studious. His declaration, or paraphrase, on the ninety-fourth Psalm, was printed by Berthelette in 1539. A theological commentary by a lord, was too curious and important a production to be neglected by our first printers.
SECTION XLII. John Heywood the Epigrammatist. His Works examined. Ancient
unpublished burlesque Poem of Sir Penny. John Heywood, commonly called the epigrammatist, was beloved and rewarded by Henry the Eighth for his buffooneries * At leaving the
+ Script. Brit. par. p. st. 103.
Ath. Oxon. i. 52.
MSS. 18 B. xxi. * But see MSS. Gresham, 8.
Y See MSS. (Bibl. Bodl.) Laud. H. 17. MSS. Bibl. Reg. 17 D. 2.-17 D. xi.18 A. lx. And Walpole, Roy. and Nob. Auth. i. p. 92 seq. [p. 313 of Mr. Park's edition, where a specimen of his poetry is given. See also Wood's Ath. Oxon. by Mr. Bliss, vol. i. col. 117. and the Brit. Bibliographer, vol. iv. p. 107.]
[From having been termed civis Londinensis by Bale, he has been considered as a native of London by Pitts, Fuller, Wood, Tanner, and by the editors of the New Biog. Dict. in 1798. Langbaine, and after him Gildon, conveyed the information that he had lived at North Mims, Herts; and Mr. Reed has followed up this. report in Biog. Dram. by saying he was born there. That North Mims had been the place of his residence, if not of his nativity, may be deduced from the following
university, he commenced author, and was countenanced by sir Thomas More for his facetious disposition. To his talents of jocularity in conversation, he joined a skill in music, both vocal and instrumental. His merriments were so irresistible, that they moved even the rigid muscles of queen Mary*, and her sullen solemnity was not proof against his songs, his rhymes, and his jestst. He is said to have been often invited to exercise his arts of entertainment and pleasantry in her presence, and to have had the honour to be constantly admitted into her privy-chamber for this purpose a.
Notwithstanding his professional dissipation, Heywood appears to have lived comfortably under the smiles of royal patronage. What
lines in Thalia's Banquet 1620, by Hen. Peacham. I thinke the place that gave me first my
birth, The genius had of epigram and mirth; There famous More did his Utopia write, And there came Heywood's Epigrams to light.
PARK.] • [Heywood evinced his attachment to this princess long before her ascent to the throne, as appears from a copy of verses preserved in Harl. MS. 1703, entitled, “A Description of a most noble Ladye, advewed by John Heywoode presently; who advertisinge her yeares as face, saith of her thus in much eloquent phrase. Give place ye ladyes all, bee gone,
Shewe not your selves att all,
Whose face yours all blanke shall." The eulogist then proceeds to describe the virtuous attraction of her looks, the blushing beauty of her lively countenance, the wit and gravity, the mirth and modesty, with the firmness of word and deed which mingled in her character.
This picture was taken when the princess was eighteen; and consequently in the year 1534. Part of the above poem was printed among the songs and sonnets of Uncertain Authors in Tottell's early Miscellany, and has been inserted by Mr. Warton at p. 56 of this volume, with high commendation of the unsuspected writer. Two ballads by Heywood printed in 1554 and 1557 are preserved in the archives of the Society of Antiquaries. The former was written on the marriage of Philip and Mary; the latter, on the traitorous taking of Scarborough castle. Both have been reprinted
in vol. ii. of a Supplement to the Harleian Miscellany.--PARK.]
+ [One of these is preserved in Cotton MS. Jul. F. X. “When Queene Mary tolde Heywoode that the priestes must forego their wives, he merrily answered, Then your grace must allow them lemmans, for the clergie cannot live without sauce.” Another is recorded by Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589: “At the Duke of Northumberland's bourd, merry John Heywood was allowed to sit at the table's end. The duke had a very noble and honorable mynde alwayes to pay his debts well, and when he lacked money, would not stick to sell the greatest part of his plate: so had he done few dayes before. Heywood being loth to call for his drinke so oft as he was dry, turned his eye toward the cupbord and sayd, 'I finde great misse of your grace's standing cups :' the duke thinking he had spoken it of some knowledge that his plate was lately sold, said somewhat sharply, “Why, sir, will not these cups serve as good a man as your selfe?' Heywood readily replied, “Yes, if it please your grace: but I would have one of them stand still at myne elbow full of drinke, that I might not be driven to trouble your men so often to call for it.' This pleasant and speedy turn of the former wordes holpe all the matter againe, whereupon the duke became very pleasaunt and dranke a bolle of wine to Heywood, and bid a cuppe should alwayes be standing by him.” p. 231. Pitts has related an extraordinary instance of his death-bed waggery, which seems to vie in merriment with the scaffold jests of Sir Thomas More in articulo mortis.-Park.]
Wood, Ath. Oxon. i. 150.
1 “North Mimmes in Herts, neere to Saint Albans." Sir Thomas More must have had a seat in that neighbourhood, says Dr. Berkenhout. His admiration of Heywood's repartees is noticed in Dod's Church History, vol. i. p. 369.