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which he was restored to his liberty, without, however, being permitted to resume his episcopal functions. Latimer was burnt at the stake under the reign of bloody Mary, together with Ridley, the bishop of London, to whom he cried out, with that dauntless intrepidity and full consciousness of rectitude which bad marked his whole life : · Be of good cheer master Ridley, and play the man ; we shall this day kindle such a torch in England, as, I trust in God, shall never be extinguished.' His chief writings are sermons, which are marked by a dignity, power and simplicity that are rarely, if ever, to be noted in modern pulpit discourses. Some of these sermons were delivered, with much applause, before Henry bimself; and, notwithstanding their homely dress, will, we venture to assert, amply compensate the reader of the present day for the trouble of a serious and careful perusal. No writings of Henry's time combining language better assorted, or home thrusts more touching and expressive can be found in any of the productions of this reign ; added to which, we find, in his very sermons, the most singularly descriptive pictures of the private and peculiar manners of the times. For ourselves, we candidly confess, we never arise from the writings of the honest and heroic Latimer without an increased respect for the sincerity and talents of the man, and we think we venture little in strongly recommending to such of our readers as have them within reach, a careful perusal of the substantial though familiar sermons of Bishop Latimer.
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, was one of the chief opponents of Latimer, and, though neither possessed of the abilities por the honesty of the latter, completely triumphed over the friends of the reformation, and, during the short but cruel reign of Mary, applied the torch to the funeral pile of many a worthier man and better christian. As his literary career is only remarkable for his controversial writings, which seem to have been dictated more by policy than any thing like true religion, it is unnecessary to dwell upon it.
or Sir John Cheke, it is by no means undue praise to say, that he may be considered the father of the true Greek pronunciation in England, and perhaps the first Greek scholar of his own, or any other age. He was distinguished at a very early age for his great proficiency in the ancient tongues, and was placed in the chair of Greek lecturer in his own college as soon as he had completed his collegiate course. From this station, he was promoted to the Greek professorship, founded by Henry the Eighth at Cambridge, and was shortly after' appointed one of the tutors of Prince Edward, who, soon after
his accession to the British throne, appointed him to various offices of high trust and dignity, and finally constituted him one of the secretaries of state and a privy counsellor. Notwithstanding the violent opposition of the Catholics, aided by all the influence of Gardiner, Cheke, with the assistance of his friend Smith, succeeded in establishing a more correct pronúnciation of the Greek language, which was at that time pronounced in a manner so discordant as to destroy all the effect of the harmony of that musical language, and which, therefore, was evidently a different mode of pronunciation from that of the Greeks themselves. The opposition of the Catholics to this innovation was so great, and the contest between them and the more enlightened favourers of Cheke rose so high, as to give place to some pitched battles, in which Greek met Greek with the same animosity as of old the Trojans and Grecians opposed each other. Cheke also proposed many amendments in the philology of the Latin and English, which were unsuccessful, and, in our opinion, deservedly so. His writings are by no means interesting to the general reader ; but, although he confined himself almost entirely to philological pursuits, yet we hazard nothing in pronouncing Cheke the first classical scholar that had fourished in England from the days of the conqueror.
We know of but one other writer (if we except Grafton, who was but a compiler of Chronicles from the works of others) worthy of notice prior to the reign of Elizabeth. This is Thomas Wilson, the first English writer who has attempted any regular work on rhetoric and logic. His treatise is entitled, * The Art of Rhetoric, for the use of all such as are studious of eloquence, set forth in English.' This very interesting volume, notwithstanding the confusion and turbulence of Mary's reign, made its appearance in the very first year after her accession. When we consider the time in which this volume was produced, we cannot but be struck with admiration of the author's genius, and respect for his unbounded learning and copious research. His strictures on elocution, composition and style, are such as do honour to his taste and to the literary character of his time. Of his remarks on the necessity of a due preservation of character, Warton makes the following observation: Shakspeare himself has not delineated the characters of these English monarchs with more truth;' and so great was the impression made by this remarkable and spirited critical treatise, that the bigoted inquisitors of the Holy See, imagining it to be an innovation of a most daring nature, seized the author when he was on a visit at Rome, and imVol. I. No. VI.
prisoned him under the pretence, and perhaps, under the belief, that he must necessarily be a bold and dangerous heretic. Wilson held some of the first offices in the kingdom during the reign of Elizabeth, having been frequently employed as an ambassador from the English queen to Mary Queen of Scots, and finally appointed dean of Durham. He died in 1581.
We have thus given an imperfect and hurried sketch of the principal English prose writers from the earliest times to the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. In our next, we shall endeavour to give some account of the poets who flourished in the time alluded to in the preceding article, together with a brief glance at the authors who rose in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, from whom,' in the powerful language of Dr. Johnson, “a speech might be formed, adequate to all the purposes of use and elegance. If the language of theology were extracted from Hooker, and the translation of the bible; the terms of natural knowledge from Bacon; the phrases of policy, war and navigation, from Raleigh ; the dialect of poetry and fiction from Spenser and Sidney; and the diction of common life from Shakspeare; few ideas would be lost to mankind, for want of English words in which they might be expressed.'
Biographia Dramatica, containing Historical and Critical Me
moirs, and original anecdotes of Dramatic Writers. In our last, we inserted a notice of the above work, which, from want of room, we were compelled to curtail to a very narrow compass.
We have, since then, been enabled, through the politeness of the gentleman now editing and enlarging the work, to give some idea of its merits.
The original Biographia Dramatica is, we are persuaded, but little known in this country, and we think we hazard little in saying that it only requires to be known to be generally read and admired.
Dramatic composition, from the earliest ages to the present day, has been more interesting to the community at large, and has contributed more to general improvement, than perhaps any other species of literature. It surely then cannot be doubted that the work, now under consideration, is worthy of the patronage of all who wish to be possessed of a general key to dramatic literature, together with spirited biographical sketches of all dramatic authors and celebrated actors.
The work now before us was originally commenced by David Erskine Baker, and was, by him, carried down to the
It was continued thence by Isaac Reed, to 1782, and brought down to the close of 1811, with considerable additions and improvements, by Stephen Jones. Mr. Foote, of the New-York Theatre, has continued it to the present time. It commences with a very complete and interesting introductory view of the rise and progress of the British stage. It includes biographical memoirs and anecdotes not only of the British dramatic writers, but of nearly all the distinguished actors and actresses. It contains also an alphabetical account and chronological list of all the dramatic writings of those persons, accompanied with valuable and learned notes and observations on their respective merits.
The number of plays enumerated in the last edition of this work is five thousand six hundred and eighty-three, a number much greater probably than would be supposed, without actually examining the Biographia Dramatica itself. But any wonder at this fact will speedily give place to greater astonishment on knowing that the perseverance and industry of the gentle. man preparing the new edition of this work, has enabled him to add about two thousand more to the list.
In the American edition, the reader will be presented with an historical and critical introduction to the American drama. This will, of course, be peculiarly interesting and gratifying to our countrymen generally. The progress of a nation in civilization and literary refinement may very safely be estimated from the history of the stage, which is the open volume that displays to every traveller the literary standard of the grand mass of the people. Although it cannot be presumed that our advancement in dramatic literature can be extensive, yet, unless we are much deceived, those who shall peruse the American edition of the Biographia Dramatica'will be disappointed, in no unpleasant manner, by finding that the general estimate of our dramatic literature falls infinitely below its real value. As we are not at liberty to convey to our readers any other than such information as has been acquired in the general çourse of reading and conversation, we are not, therefore, at liberty to encroach upon the materials prepared, with vast labour and pains, for the new edition of this work. We may, however, merely, by way of a single example, advert to the many theatrical productions of our highly respectable fellow citizen, Danlap. If every city in the United States can exhibit a collection of dramatic writing in proportion to that which NewYork has produced, it will form altogether nouninteresting feature
in our literary history. For, however trivial it may be consis dered in the present day, it will at least serve to show that, in the infancy of our national existence, we had a literature by no means unworthy of being classed with that of any other nation of the same age. Besides, the preservation of those dramatic annals will, at some future day, be valuable, not merely to the antiquary, but to all who desire to obtain a correct knowledge of the literature of the country from its earliest commences ment. What a treasure to the learned world would not such a history of the British stage be; and how many useless, yet painfully collated, speculations of antiquarian writers might have been spared by the possession of an unbroken history of the English drama! In this consideration alone, we conceive, the literati of our country will find abundant reason to en. courage this early history of our dramatic literature.
We cannot conclude, without expressing our sincere hope that the worthy and accomplished gentleman, who is engaged in the completion of this interesting work, may meet with that encouragement which his undoubted talents and classical acquirements assuredly merit.
From a Correspondent in Virginia.
PETRONIUI ARBITER. On board of one of the ships sent out by Walter Raleigh un. der the patronage of Queen Elizabeth, to make discoveries along the North American coast, was a passenger, of a singular and melancholy aspect, who, from the first moment of departure, was regarded by all the company with eyes of doubt and suspicion. There was a settled gloom upon his countenance, mingled with an expression that seemed sinister and malign, at the same time that it was timorous; and there was a restlessness and uneasiness in bis deportment and gait which it was disagreeable for one who noted him to observe. He would sometimes start, when there was neither sound nor sight por other cause of agitation. Sometimes he was seen, as darkness was descending over the waters, to conceal himself near the ship's stern, or among ropes and coile