網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

ROGER ASCHAM.

doch

Asclamus.

thing doen. For what other is the painful travail of merrily for a mere matter ; this I am sure, which Ulysses, described so largely by Homer, but a lively thing this fair wheat (God save it) maketh me repicture of man's misery in this life? And as Plutarch member, that those husbandmen which rise earliest, saith, and likewise Basilius Magnus, in the Iliads are and come latest home, and are content to have their described strength and valiantness of body: in Odyssea dinner and other drinkings brought into the field to is set forth a lively pattern of the mind. The poets are them, for fear of losing of time, have fatter barn, wise men, and wished in heart the redress of things; in the harvest, than they which will either sleep at the which when for fear they durst not openly rebuke, noontime of the day, or else make merry with their they did in colours paint then out, and told men by neighbours at the ale. And so a scholar, that purshadows what they should do in good sothe: or else, poseth to be a good husband, and desireth to reap because the wicked were unworthy to hear the truth, and enjoy much fruit of learning, must till and sow they spake so that none might understand but those thereafter. Our best seed time, which be scholars, as unto whom they please to utter their meaning, and it is very timely, and when we be young ; so it enknew them to be of honest conversation.

dureth not over long, and therefore it may not be let slip one hour; our ground is very hard and full of weeds, our horse wherewith we be drawn very wild, as

Plato saith. And infinite other mo lets, which will A still more distinguished instructive writer of time in sport and play. Toxophilus.--That Aristotle

and

make a thrifty scholar take heed how he spendeth his this age was ROGER Ascham, university orator at Tully spake earnestly, and as they thought, the earnest Cambridge, at one time preceptor, and ultimately matter which they entreat upon, doth plainly prove. Latin secretary, to Queen Elizabeth. He must be And as for your husbandry, it was more probably told

with apt words, proper to the thing, than thoroughly proved with reasons belonging to our matter. For, contrarywise, I heard myself a good husband at his book once say, that to omit stady for some time of the day, and some time of the year, inade as much for the increase of learning, as to let the land lie some time fallow, maketh for the better increase of corn. This

we see, if the land be ploughed every year, the corn considered as the first writer on education in our cometh thin up; the ear is short, the grain is small, language, and it is remarkable that many of his and when it is brought into the bar and threshed, views on this subject accord with the most en- giveth very evil faule. So those which never leave lightened of modern times. His writings themselves poring on their books, have oftentimes as thin invenfurnished an improved example of style, and they tion, as other poor men have, and as small wit and abound in sound sense and excellent instructions. weight in it as in other men's. And thus your husWe are the more called on to admire them, when we bandry, methink, is more like the life of a covetous reflect on the tendency of learned men in that age snudge, that oft very evil proves, than the labour of a to waste their talents and acquirements on profitless good husband, that knoweth well what he doth. And controversy—which was so strong a passion, that, surely the best wits to learning must needs have much whenever Sir John Cheke was temporarily absent recreation, and ceasing from their book, or else they from Cambridge, his associates immediately forsook mar themselves; when base and dumpish wits can the elegant studies to which he had tempted them, never be hurt with continual study ; as ye see in lutand fell into disputes about predestination, original ing, that a treble minikin string must always be let sin, &c. Ascham died in 1568, and Elizabeth did down, but at such time as when a man must needs him the honour to remark, that she would rather play, when the base and dull string needeth never to have given ten thousand pounds than lost him. His be moved out of his place. The same reason I find principal work, The Schoolmaster, printed by his true in two bows that I have, whereof the one is quick widow, contains, besides the good general views of of cast, trig and trim, both for pleasure and profit; education above alluded to, what Johnson has ac- the other is a lugge slow of cast, following the string, knowledged to be perhaps the best advice that ever more sure for to last than pleasant for to use. Now, was given for the study of languages. It also pre- Sir, it chanced this other night, one in my chamber sents judicious characters of ancient authors. An- would needs bend them to prove their strength, but other work, entitled Toxophilus, published in 1544, is (1 cannot tell how) they were both left bent till the a dialogue on the art of Archery, designed to promote next day after dinner; and when I came to them, an elegant and useful mode of recreation among purposing to have gone on shooting, I found my good those who, like himself, gave most of their time to bow clean cast on the one side, and as weak as water, study, and also to exemplify a style of composition that surely, if I were a rich man, I had rather have more purely English, than what was generally prac- spent a crown ; and as for my lugge, it was not one tised. Ascham also wrote a discourse on the affairs whit the worse, but shot by and by as well and as far of Germany, where he had spent three years in at

as ever it did. And eren so, I am sure that good wits, tendance on the English ambassador during the reign except they be let down like a treble string, and unof Edward VI. The following extracts from Ascham's bent like a good casting bow, they will never last and writings show generally an intellect much in advance be able to continue in study. And I know where I of his age:

speak this, Philologe, for I would not say thus much afore young men, for they will take soon occasion to

study little enough. But I say it, therefore, because [Study should be Reliered by Amusement.]

I know, as little study getteth little learning, or none ['The following is from the opening of the Toxophilus. It may

at all, so the most study getteth not the most learning

of all. be remarked, that what was good sense and sound philosophy in

For a man's wit, fore-occupied in earnest Ascham's time is so still, and at the present time the lesson is study, must be as well recreated with some honest not less required than it was then.]

pastime, as the body, fore-laboured, must be refreshed

with sleep and quietness, or else it cannot endure very Philologus.—How much in this matter is to long, as the noble poet saith :be given to the authority of Aristotle or Tully, 1. What thing wants quiet and merry rest, endures but a small cannot tell, seeing sad men may well enough speak while.'

(The Blowing of the Wind.]

court, which be born and be fitter rather for the cart;

some to be masters and rule other, which never yet [In the Toxophilus, Ascham has occasion to treat very mi- began to rule themselves ; some always to jangle nutely the difficulties which the archer experiences from the and talk, which rather should hear and keep silence; blowing of the wind. His own experience of these difficulties some to teach, which rather should learn; some to in the course of his sport, seems to have made him a natural be priests, which were fitter to be clerks. And this philosopher to that extent, before the proper time.]

perverse judgment of the world, when men measure To see the wind with a man's eyes, it is impossible, themselves amiss, bringeth much disorder and great the nature of it is so fine and subtle; yet this expe- unseemliness to the whole body of the commonwealth, rience of the wind had I once myself, and that was in

as if a man should wear his hose upon his head, or the great snow which fell four years ago. I rode

a woman go with a sword and a buckler, every man in the high way betwixt Topcliff upon Swale and would take it as a great uncomeliness, although it be Boroughbridge, the way being somewhat trodden afore but a trifle in respect of the other. by wayfaring men ; the fields on both sides were

This perverse judgement of men hindereth nothing plain, and lay almost yard deep with snow; the night so much as learning, because commonly those that before had been a little frost, so that the snow was

be unfittest for learning, be chiefly set to learning. hard and crusted above ; that morning the sun shone As if a man now-a-days have two sons, the one impobright and clear, the wind was whistling aloft, and tent, weak, sickly, lisping, stuttering, and stammering, sharp, according to the time of the year ; the snow in

or having any mis-shape in his body; what doth the the highway lay loose and trodden with horse feet ; father of such one commonly say ? This boy is fit so as the wind blew, it took the loose snow with it, for nothing else, but to set to learning and make a and made it so slide upon the snow in the field, which priest of, as who would say, the outcasts of the world, was hard and crusted by reason of the frost overnight, having neither countenance, tongue, nor wit (for of a that thereby I might see very well the whole nature perverse body cometh commonly a perverse mind), be of the wind as it blew that day. And I had a great good enough to make those men of, which shall be delight and pleasure to mark it, which maketh me appointed to preach God's holy word, and minister now far better to remember it. Sometime the wind his blessed sacraments, besides other most weighty would be not past two yards broad, and so it would matters in the commonwealth ; put oft times, and carry the snow as far as I could see. Another time worthily, to learned men's discretion and charge ;'when the snow would blow over half the field at once. Some- rather such an office so high in dignity, so goodly in time the snow would tumble softly, bye and bye it administration, should be committed to no man, which would fly wonderful fast. And this I perceived also, should not have a countenance full of comeliness, to that the wind goeth by streams and not whole to allure good men, a body full of manly authority to gether. For I should see one stream within a score

fear ill men, a wit apt for all learning, with tongue on me, then the space of two score, no snow would stir, and voice able to persuade all men. And although but, after so much quantity of ground, another stream few such men as these can be found in a common. of snow, at the same very time, should be carried wealth, yet surely a goodly disposed man will both likewise, but not equally; for the one would stand still, in his mind think fit, and with all his study labour when the other flew apace, and so continue sometime to get such men as I speak of, or rather better, if swiftlier, sometime slowlier, sometime broader, some

better can be gotten, for such an high administration, time narrower, as far as I could see. Nor it flew not which is most properly appointed to God's own matstraight, but sometime it crooked this way, sometime ters and businesses. that way, and sometime it ran round about in a com

This perverse judgment of fathers, as concerning pass. And sometime the snow would be lift clean the fitness and unfitness of their children, causeth the from the ground up to the air, and bye and bye it commonwealth have many unfit ministers: and seeing would be all clapt to the ground, as though there had that ministers be, as a man would say, instruments been no wind at all; straightway it would rise and fly wherewith the commonwealth doth work all her matagain. And that which was the most marvel of all, ters withal, I marvel how it chanceth that a poor shoeat one time two drifts of snow flew, the one out of the maker hath so much wit, that he will prepare no west into the east, the other out of the north into the instrument for his science, neither knife nor awl, nor east. And I saw two winds, by reason of the snow, nothing else, which is not very fit for him. The comthe one cross over the other, as it had been two high- monwealth can be content to take at a fond father's ways. And again, I should hear the wind blow in hand the riffraff of the world, to make those instruthe air, when nothing was stirred at the ground. And ments of wherewithal she should work the highest when all was still where I rode, not very far from me

matters under heaven. And surely an awl of lead is the snow should be lifted wonderfully. This experi- not so unprofitable in a shoemaker's shop, as an upfit ence made me more marvel at the nature of the wind, minister made of gross metal is unseemly in the comthan it ma me cunning in the knowledge of the monwealth. Fathers in old time, among the noble wind; but yet thereby I learned perfectly that it is Persians, might not do with their children as they no marvel at all, though men in wind lose their length thought good, but as the judgment of the commonin shooting, seeing so many ways the wind is so va

wealth always thought best. This fault of fathers iable in blowing.

bringeth many a blot with it, to the great deformity

of the commonwealth : and here surely I can praise (Occupations should be chosen suitable to the Natural

gentlewomen, which have always at hand their glasses,

to see if Faculties.)

any thing be amiss, and so will amend it;

yet the commonwealth, having the glass of knowledge If men would go about matters which they should in every man's hand, doth see such uncomeliness in do, and be fit for, and not such things which wilfully it, and yet winketh at it. This fault, and many such they desire, and yet be unfit for, verily greater matters like, might be soon wiped away, if fathers would bein the commonwealth than shooting should be in stow their children always on that thing, whereunto better case than they be. This ignorance in men nature hath ordained them most apt and fit. For if which know not for what time, and to what thing they youth be grafted straight and not awry, the whole be fit, causeth some wish to be rich, for whom it were commonwealth will flourish thereafter. When this better a great deal to be poor; other to be meddling is done, then must every man begin to be more ready in every man's matter, for whom it were more honesty to amend himself, than to check another, measuring to be quiet an\ still; some to desire to be in the their matters with that wise proverb of Apollo, Knox

the way.'

thyself: that is to say, learn to know what thou art few, whether your example be old or young, who withable, fit, and apt unto, and follow that.

out learning have gathered, by long experience a little

wisdom, and some happiness ; and when you do con[Detached Observations from the Schoolmaster.] sider what mischief they have committed, what danIt is pity that commonly more care is had, and gers they have escaped (and yet twenty for one do that among very wise men, to find out rather a cun

perish in the adventure), then think well with yourning man for their horse, than a cunning man for self, whether ye would that your own son should their children. To the one they will gladly give a

come to wisdom and happiness by the way of such stipend of 200 crowns by the year, and loth to offer

experience or no. the other 200 shillings. "God, that sitteth in heaven, sometime chief justice would tell.of himself. Wheu

It is a notable tale, that old Sir Roger Chamloe, laugheth their choice to scorn, and rewardeth their liberality as it should; for he suffereth them to have he was Ancient in inn of court certain young gentletame and well ordered horse, but wild and unfor- tain misorders; and one of the lustiest said, “Sir, we

men were brought before him to be corrected for certunate children. One example, whether love or fear doth work more

be young gentlemen; and wise men before us have in a child for virtue and learning, I will gladly report; well. This they said, because it was well known,

proved all fashions, and yet those have done full which may be heard with some pleasure, and followed Sir Roger had been a good fellow in his youth. But with more profit. Before I went into Germany, I he answered them very wisely. Indeed,' saith he, 'in came to Broadgate, in Leicestershire, to take my leave youth I was as you are now: and I had twelve fellows of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceed- like unto myself, but not one of them came to a good ing much beholden. ller parents, the duke and the end. And therefore, follow not my example in youth, duchess, with all the houschold, gentlemen and gentle- but follow my counsel in age, if ever ye think to women, were hunting in the park. I found her in her come to this place, or to these years, that I am come chamber, reading Phadon Platonis in Greek, and that with as inuch delight, as some gentlemen would read

unto ; less ye meet either with poverty or Tyburn in a merry tale in Bocace. After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she

Thus, experience of all fashions in youth, being in would lose such pastime in the park! Sniling, she proof always dangerous, in issue seldom lucky, is a answered me, ‘I wiss, all their sport in the park is but way indeed to overinuch knowledge ; yet used 'coma shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas! curious attection of mind, or driven by some hard

monly of such men, which be either carried by some good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant. And how came you, Madam,' quoth 1, "to this deep necessity of life, to hazard the trial of overmany ri

lous adventures. knowledge of pleasure ? And what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few [In favour of the learning of more languages than men, have attained thereunto?' 'I will tell you,' one)--I have been a looker on in the cockpit of learnquoth she,' and tell you a truth which, perchance, ye ing these many years; and one cock only have I will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever known, which, with one wing, even at this day, doth God gave me, is, that he sent me so sharp and severe pass all other, in mine opinion, that ever I saw in parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I any pit in England, though they had two wings. Yet am in presence either of father or mother, whether I nevertheless, to fly well with one wing, to run fast speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be with one leg, be rather rare masteries, much to be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing marvelled at, than sure examples, safely to be folanything else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, lowed. A bishop that now liveth a good man, whose measure, and number, even so perfectly as God made judgment in religion I better like, than his opinion the world, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly in perfectness in other learning, said once unto me ; threatened, yea, presently, sometimes with pinches, We have no need now of the Greek tongue, when all nips, and bobs, and other ways, which I will not things be translated into Latin.' But the good man name for the honour I bear them, so without measure understood not, that even the best translation, is for misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come mere necessity but an evil imped wing to fly withal, that I must go to Mr Elmer ; who teacheth me so or a heavy stump leg of wood to go withal. Such, gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to the higher they fly, the sooner they falter and fail : learning, that I think all the time nothing, whiles I the faster they run the ofter they stumble and sorer am with him. And when I am called from him, I they fall. Such as will needs so fly, may fly at a fall on weeping, because, whatever I do else, but learn- pye and catch a daw: and such runners, as commonly ing, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking they, shove and shoulder, to stand foremost, yet in unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my the end they come behind others, and deserve but pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and the hopshackles, if the masters of the game be right more, that, in respect of it, all other pleasures, in judgers. very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me.'

[With reference to what took place at the univerLearning teacheth more in one year than experience sities on the accession of Maryl-Ànd what good could in twenty ; and learning teacheth safely when expe- chance then to the universities, when soine of the rience maketh mo miserable than wise. He hazardeth greatest, though not of the wisest, nor best learned, sore that waxeth wise by experience. An unhappy nor best men neither of that side, did labour to permaster he is, that is made cunning by many ship- suade, that ignorance was better than knowledge, wrecks ; a miserable merchant, that is neither rich which they meant, not for the laity only, but also for nor wise but after some bankrouts. It is costly the greatest rabble of their spirituality, what other

And therefore wisdom that is bought by experience. We know by pretence openly soever they made. experience itself, that it is a marvelous pain, to find did some of them at Cambridge (whom I will not out but a short way by long wandering. And surely, name openly) cause hedge priests fettel out of the he that would prove wise by experience, he may be country, to be made fellows in the university ; saying witty indeed, but even like a swift runner, that run

in their talk privily, and declaring by their deeds neth fast out of his way, and upon the night, he openly, that he was fellow good enough for their knoweth not whither. And verily' they be fewest in time, if he could wear a gown and a tippet comely, and number that be happy or wise by unlearned expe- have his crown shorn fair and roundly; and could rience. And look well upon the former life of those

1 Fetched.

turn his porteus and piel readily.' Which I speak member), after some reasoning we concluded both not to reprove any order either of apparel, or other what was in our opinion to be looked for at his hand, duty, that may be well and indifferently used ; but that would well and advisedly write an history. First to note the misery of that time, when the benefits point was, to write nothing false ; next, to be bold to provided for learning were so foully misused. say any truth : whereby is avoided two great faults

And what was the fruit of this seed ? Verily, judg. flattery and hatred. For which two points, Cæsar is ment in doctrine was wholly altered ; order in disci- read to his great praise ; and Jovius the Italian to pline very sore changed ; the love of good learning his just reproach. T'hen to mark diligently the causes began suddenly to wax cold ; the knowledge of the counsels, acts, and issues, in all great attempts : and tongues (in spite of some that therein had flourished) in causes, what is just or unjust ; in counsels, what is was manifestly contemned: and so, the way of right purposed wisely or rashly; in acts, what is done study purposely perverted; the choice of good authors, courageously or faintly ; and of every issue, to note of malice confounded; old sophistry, I say not well, some general lesson of wisdom and wariness for like not old, but that new rotten sophistry, began to beard, matters in time to come, wherein Polybius in Greek, and shoulder logic in her own tongue : yea, I know and Philip Comines in French, have done the duties that heads were cast together, and counsel devised, of wise and worthy writers. Diligence also must be that Duns, with all the rabble of barbarous ques used in keeping truly the order of time, and describtionists, should have dispossessed of their place and sing lively both the site of places and nature of perroom, Aristotle, Plato, Tully, and Demosthenes, whom sons, not only for the outward shape of the body, but good M. Redman, and those two worthy stars of that also for the inward disposition of the mind, as Thucyuniversity, M. Cheke and M. Smith, with their scho- dides doth in many places very trimly; and Homer lars, had brought to flourish as notably in Cambridge, everywhere, and that always most excellently; which as ever they did in Greece and in Italy; and for the observation is chiefly to be marked in him. And our doctrine of those four, the four pillars of learning, Cam- Chaucer doth the same, very praiseworthily: mark bridge then giving no place to no university, neither him well, and confer him with any other that writeth in France, Spain, Germany, nor Italy. Also, in out- in our time in their proudest tongue, whosoever list. ward behaviour, then began simplicity in apparel to The style must be always plain and open ; yet some be laid aside, courtly gallantness to be taken up; time higher and lower,' as matters do rise and fall. frugality in diet was privately misliked, town going to For if proper and natural words, in well-joined sengood cheer openly used; honest pastimes, joined with tences, do lively express the matter, be it troublesome, labour, left off in the fields ; unthrifty and idle games quiet, angry, or pleasant, a man shall think not to be haunted comers, and occupied the nights : contention reading, but present in doing of the same. And in youth nowhere for leaming; factions in the elders herein Livy of all other in any tongue, by mine opieverywhere for trifles.

nion, carrieth away the praise. All which miseries at length, by God's providence, had their end 16th November 1558.* Since which After the publication of Ascham's works, it time, the young spring hath shot up so fair as now became more usual for learned men to compose there be in Cambridge again many good plants. in English, more particularly when they aimed [ Qualifications of an Historian.]

at influencing public opinion. But as religious

controversy was what then chiefly agitated the (From the Discourse on the Affairs of Germany. The writer minds of men, it follows that the great bulk of is addressing his friend John Astely.]

the English works of that age are now of little When you and I read Livy together (if you do re-l interest.

Third Period.

THE REIGNS OF ELIZABETH, JAMES I., AND CHARLES I. [1558 TO 1649.]
POETS.

study of classical literature, the invention or print

ing, the freedom with which religion was disN the preced-cussed, together with the general substitution of ing sections, the

the philosophy of Plato for that of Aristotle, had history of Eng- everywhere given activity and strength to the lish literature is minds of men. The immediate effects of these nobrought to a pe- velties upon English literature, were the enrichriod when its in- ment of the language, as already mentioned, by fancy may be said a great variety of words from the classic tongues, to cease, and its the establishment of better models of thought and manhood to com- style, and the allowance of greater freedom to the mence. In the fancy and powers of observation in the exercise earlier half of of the literary calling. Not only the Greek and the sixteenth cen- Roman writers, but those of modern Italy and tury, it was sen- France, where letters experienced an earlier revival, sibly affected by were now translated into English, and being libea variety of in- rally diffused by the press, served to excite a taste fluences, which, for elegant reading in lower branches of society for an age be than had ever before felt the genial influence of fore, had operated letters. The dissemination of the Scriptures in

powerfully in ex- the vulgar tongue, while it greatly affected the panding the intellect of European nations. The language and ideas of the people, was also of no 1 Breviary. * The date of the accession of Queen Elizabeth. I small avail in giving new direction to the thoughts

[graphic]

of literary men, to whom these antique Oriental com- that short period, we shall find the names of almost positions presented numberless incidents, images, all the very great men that this nation has ever proand sentiments, unknown before, and of the richest duced, the names of Shakspeare, and Bacon, and and most interesting kind.

Spenser, and Sydney, and Hooker, and Taylor, and Among other circumstances favourable to litera- Barrow, and Raleigh, and Napier, and Hobbes, and ture at this period, must be reckoned the encourage- many others; men, all of them, not merely of great ment given to it by Queen Elizabeth, who was herself talents and accomplishments, but of vast compass very learned and addicted to poetical composition, and reach of understanding, and of minds truly and had the art of filling her court with men qualified creative and original; not perfecting art by the to shine in almost every department of intellectual delicacy of their taste, or digesting knowledge by the exertion. Her successors, James and Charles, re- justness of their reasonings, but making vast and sembled her in some of these respects, and during substantial additions to the materials upon which their reigns, the impulse which she had given to taste and reason must hereafter be employed, and literature experienced rather an increase than a enlarging to an incredible and unparalleled extent decline. There was, indeed, something in the policy, both the stores and the resources of the human as well as in the personal character of all these sove- faculties.' reigns, which proved favourable to literature. The

THOMAS SACKVILLE. study of the belles lettres was in some measure identified with the courtly and arbitrary principles In the reign of Elizabeth, some poetical names of of the time, not perhaps so much from any enlight- importance precede that of Spenser. The first is ened spirit in those who supported such principles, Thomas SACKVILLE (1536-1608), ultimately Earl as from a desire of opposing the puritans, and other malcontents, whose religious doctrines taught them to despise some departments of elegant literature, and utterly to condemn others. There can be no doubt that the drama, for instance, chiefly owed that encouragement which it received under Elizabeth and her successors, to a spirit of hostility to the puritans, who, not unjustly, repudiated it for its immorality. We must at the same time allow much to the influence which such a court as that of England, during these three reigns, was calculated to have among men of literary tendencies. Almost all the poets, and many of the other writers, were either courtiers themselves, or under the immediate protection of courtiers, and were constantly experiencing the smiles, and occasionally the solid benefactions, of royalty. Whatever, then, was refined, or gay, or sentimental, in this country and at this time, came with its full influence upon literature.

The works brought forth under these circumstances have been very aptly compared to the productions of a soil for the first time broken up, when * all indigenous plants spring up at once with a rank and irrepressible fertility, and display whatever is peculiar and excellent in their nature, on a scale the

Thomas Sackville. most conspicuous and magnificent.'* The ability to of Dorset and Lord High Treasurer of England, and write having been, as it were, suddenly created, the who will again come before us in the character of a whole world of character, imagery, and sentiment, dramatic writer. In 1557, Sackville formed the deas well as of information and philosophy, lay ready sign of a poem, entitled The Mirrour for Magistrates, for the use of those who possessed the gift, and of which he wrote only the ‘Induction,' and one legend was appropriated accordingly. As might be ex

on the life of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. pected, where there was less rule of art than opu- In imitation of Dante and some other of his predelence of materials, the productions of these writers cessors, he lays the scene of his poem in the infernal are often deficient in taste, and contain much that regions, to which he descends under the guidance is totally aside from the purpose. To pursue the of an allegorical personage named Sorrow. It was simile above quoted, the crops are not so clean as if his object to make all the great persons of English they had been reared under systematic cultivation. history, from the Conquest downwards, pass here in On this account, the refined taste of the eighteenth review, and each tell his own story, as a warning to century condemned most of the productions of the existing statesmen ; but other duties compelled the sixteenth and seventeenth to oblivion, and it is only poet, after he had written what has been stated, to of late that they have once more obtained their de- break off

, and commit the completion of the work to served reputation. After every proper deduction two poets of inferior note, Richard Baldwyne and has been made, enough remains to fix this era as George Ferrers. The whole poem is one of a very

by far the mightiest in the history of English lite- remarkable kind for the age, and the part executed rature, or indeed of human intellect and capacity. by Sackville exhibits in some parts a strength of There never was anything,' says the writer above description and a power of drawing allegorical chaquoted, 'like the sixty or seventy years that elapsed racters, scarcely inferior to Spenser. from the middle of Elizabeth's reign, to the period of the Restoration. In point of real force and origi- [Allegorical characters from the Mirrour for Magistrates.) nality of genius, neither the age of Pericles, nor the And first,

within the porch and jaws of hell, age of Augustus, nor the times of Leo X., nor of Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent Louis XIV., can come at all into comparison ; for in With tears; and to herself oft would she tell

Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent
* Edinburgh Review, xviii. 275.'
i To sob and sigh, but ever thus lament

[graphic]

!

« 上一頁繼續 »