Page images

A company of us rode in a certain ground, Where we, well nigh an impassable slough found. Their horses, ere they enter'd, began to stay; Every one horse giving an other the way; Of good manners, as it were :-and, more and more Each horse gave back to set his better before, Save this rude, rusty, bold, blind bayard of mine, As rashly as rudely, chopt forth : and, in fine, Without

any curtesy, ere any man bids, Blindly and boldly he lept into the mids. And look, how boldly the mids he lept intill, Even with like boldness, in the mids he lay still. And, trow you, the jade, at the best man's words

there, Would stir one joint? Nay: not the breadth of a

hair! But stared on them, with as bold a countenance, As that hole had been his by inheritance ! He having no more to do there than I.

But straight, there cometh a cart-wear' of good

hors 2 by, By force whereof, and help of all that rout, Blind bayard and I were drawn together out. Which blind boldness, by this admonition, Unless he amend in some meet condition, 1 A team.

* A contraction for horses.

Rather than ride so, I will afoot take pain, Blind bold bayard shall not thus bear me again.

[2d cent. Epig. 101.]

The time of Heywood's birth is uncertain; he is supposed to have lived till 1565.

In 1542, a printer of the name of Robert Wyer, published an anonymous satire against women, entitled “ the Scole-House, wherein every man

may rede a goodly prayer of the condycions of women.” From this work Mr. Warton has extracted the following epigrammatic stanza, which, in point of taste and spirit, nearly resembles the poetry of Heywood.

Truly some men there be,
That live alway in great horroúr,
And say, it goeth by destiny
To hang or wed: both have one hour:
And, whether it be, I am well sure,
Hanging is better of the twain :
Sooner done, and shorter pain.

The minor poets of this reign were, Andrew Borde, a whimsical physician, who is mentioned by the ingenious editor of the “ Muses' Library," with much more praise than he seems to deserve; John

Bale, the biographer; Brian Annesley, translator of the “ City of Dames;" Andrew Chertsey, another translator; Wilfrede Holme, author of “ the Fall and evil success of Rebellion ;" Charles Bansley, a rhyming satirist; Christopher Goodwin, author of " the Maiden's Dream ;” Richard Feylde, author of "the Treatise of the Lover and the “ Jay:" and William Bloomfield, a monk of Bury, and chemical writer. These deserve no farther notice; but it would be unpardonable to omit the mention of two anonymous compositions, the Tournament of Tottenham,” and the “ Nut« brown Maid;" both of which are, by Mr. Warton, ascribed to this reign. By referring to the second volume of Percy's Reliques, (p. 13 and 29) where they are inserted, the reader will perceive that the first is anterior to the accession of Henry VIII, by at least half a century, and that the date of the second is still uncertain, though the circum'stance of its having been first printed in Arnold's chronicle (p. 1521) is favourable to the conjecture of Warton and Capell. The poetical merit of both pieces, is unquestionable.

At the head of the Scotch poets of this period, stands Sir David Lindsay, of the Mount, near Coupar, in Fife ; born, as Mr. Pinkerton supposes, about the year 1490. He was (says this editor)

descended of an ancient family; was educated at St. Andrew's; afterwards travelled through England, France, Italy, and Germany, and returned to Scotland about 1514. Soon after his return he became one of the gentlemen of the king's chamber, and had the charge of superintending the education of the young prince, afterwards king James V. In 1536 he was employed by that monarch, as his ambassador to the emperor Charles V. and also to France, to negotiate the king's marriage: a proof that he possessed much of his master's confidence; which, indeed, he seems to have deserved, by the affection with which he served him, and by the honest and wise counsels which he never failed to offer. But the only permanent establishment which he ever gained at court, was the post of lion king at arms; an office of more honour than emolument. After the death of James V. in 1542, he is said to have enjoyed a degree of favour with the earl of Arran; but having been deprived of this by means of a court intrigue, he retired to his country seat, where he lived tranquil and respected till the end of 1553, when he died, at the age of about 60.'

In the works of Sir David Lindsay we do not often find, either the splendid diction of Dunbar, or the prolific imagination of Gawin Douglas ;

perhaps, indeed, his “ Dream" is the only composition which can be cited as uniformly poetical: but his various learning, his good sense, his perfect knowledge of courts and of the world, the facility of his versification, and, above all, his peculiar talent of adapting himself to readers of all denominations, will continue to secure to him a considerable share of that popularity, for which he was originally indebted to the opinions he professed, no less than to his poetical merit. “ In fact, (says “ Mr. Pinkerton) Sir David was more the reformer " of Scotland than John Knox; for he had pre

pared the ground, and John only sowed the “ seed.” This, though it has greatly increased his posthumous reputation; was a considerable impediment to his advancement during life, as it was not till 1560 that the reformation was established in Scotland ; and his works being so odious to the clergy that, by an act of assembly in 1558, they were ordered to be publicly burned: there is perhaps not one of the numerous editions through which they have passed that preserves the genuine text of the author. The earliest, and probably the best of these, is that of 1568; the last (which is very common) is that of 1776.

The most important pieces in this volume are the “ Dream,” addressed to king James V.

« PreviousContinue »