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invariably picturesque and fresh, and this undoubtedly must be ascribed to him. The syntax, though sometimes faulty, has almost always a certain naïve charm. On the whole, regarding both matter and manner, one can hardly refuse assent to Caxton when he says, “But thystorye (i.e., the history) of the sayd Arthur is so gloryous and shynyng, that he is stalled in the fyrst place of the moost noble, beste, and worthyest of the Cristen men.” With this version of the death of King Arthur the student should read Layamon's version (p. 5) and Tennyson's (p. 528).
ship with Colard Mansion and produced, besides the Troy Book, a translation called The Game and Play of the Chess Moralized. In 1476 he removed to London and set up a press in Westminster Abbey. Such was his diligence that he translated, before his death in 1491, twenty large folio volumes (4900 pages) and printed nearly one hundred volumes (over 18000 pages).
With the exception of his continuation of Higden's Polychronicon (see p. 71), his original writings are confined to the prefaces, epilogues, etc., which he supplied to several of his publications. These are very interesting, both for their intrinsic value and for the charming garrulity of his style. The passage here chosen is from his preface to his translation of a French version of the story of Æneas. What he tells us of his difficulty in determining what sort of English to use is a classic in the history of the language (compare the passage given above from Trevisa, p. 71). I have tried to make it easier to read by breaking up into shorter lengths his rambling statements, — they can hardly be called sentences, - but I somewhat fear that, in so doing, a part, at least, of their quaint charm may have been sacrificed.
PREFACE TO THE BOOKE OF ENEYDOS
P. 86. William Caxton, the first English printer, was born in Kent about 1422. After serving his apprenticeship in London with the merchant Robert Lange, who became Lord Mayor, he went to Bruges and so prospered that in 1462 he was Governor of the guild of English Merchant Adventurers there. In 1469 he seems to have given up his business and entered the service of the Duchess Margaret of Burgundy, sister of Edward IV of England. For her he began in that year a translation into English of a French prose romance called Le Recueil des Histoires de Troyes. So many of those who heard of this translation wished to have a copy of it that he learned the new art of printing in order to provide enough copies. He says in the Epilogue to the Third Book: “And for as moche as in the wryting of the same my penne is worn, myn hand wery and not stedfast, min eyen dimmed with over moche lokyng on the whit paper, and my corage not so prone and redy to. laboure as hit hath ben, and that age crepeth on me dayly and febleth all the bodye; and also because I have promysid to dyverce gentilmen and to my frendes to address to hem as hastely as I myght this sayd book; therfor I have practysed and lerned at my grete charge and dispense to ordeyne this sayd book in prynte after the manner and forme as ye may here see; and is not wreton with penne and ynke as other bokes ben, to thende that every man may have them attones (at once); for all the bookes of this storye named the Recule of the Historyes of Troyes, thus enpryntid as ye here 'see, were begonne in oon day and also fynyshid in oon day.”
Whether he learned printing in Cologne, where he finished his translation in September, 1471, or in Bruges, he began to print in Bruges in partner
THE PASTIME OF PLEASURE Pp. 86 f. The main stream of English poetry in the fifteenth century was in name and claim Chaucerian, but in reality it showed rather the influence of Lydgate. With the exception of the Scottish Chaucerians, not represented in this volume, the later men were insensible to those qualities of the master which make him significant not for the Middle Ages only but for all time. The literary forms and the style which attracted them and which they most frequently try to reproduce are those which Chaucer himself in the course of his marvelous artistic development outgrew and abandoned. They imitate The Boke of the Duchesse, The Prologue to the Legende of Goode Women, The Parlement of Foules, and above all the Roman de la Rose or the translation of it. Allegory is the chosen form, abstractions are the favorite personages; the ancient conventional machinery of spring mornings and grassy arbors and dreams and troups of men and fair women is used again and again, though all its parts have become loose and worn with use and age and creak audibly at every movement. To all this they add a pretentious diction that smells of schools and musty Latinity. The flowers that deck their fields are withered at its cleanest and clearest is given in the short extract from Colyn Cloute (p. 88).
The Boke of Phyllyp Sparowe (p. 87) was written for a young girl, Jane Scroupe, whose pet sparrow had been killed by a cat. The poem contains 1 267 lines, not counting the additions of 115 lines) in which he defends himself for having written as he did. The first 844 lines are supposed to be spoken by Jane; they are largely in the form of a dirge, with sentences and words interspersed from the Latin service for the dead. Some devout persons took offence at this, but Skelton explains that he meant no harm.
THE NUTBROWNE MAIDE
blossoms that they have picked up and painted and tied to the bare and lifeless stalks. Gaudy they are, but odorless, lifeless, and obviously painted.
This outworn tradition was preserved in the beginning of the new age by one man of some note, Stephen Hawes, who regarded himself as the only faithful votary of true poetry in his age. His most important poem is an elaborate allegory in the form of a romance of chivalry. The full title of it is significant: The Pastime of Pleasure; or the llistory of Graunde Amour and La Bell Pucell; conteining the knowledge of the seven Sciences and the course of mans life in this worlde. All this is set forth in a series of incidents in which the hero, Graunde Amour (Love of Knowledge) falls in love with and wins La Bell Pucell (the beautiful maiden, Knowledge). Our extract gives a fair idea of the method and merits of the poem. After the marriage, Graunde Amour lives happily with his bride for many years; then, summoned by Old Age and Death, he dies and is buried, his epitaph being written by Remembrance.
The use of chivalric romance as the form of the allegory is both a link with the world that was passing away and Hawes's sole original contribution to the development of poetry. Even in Chaucer's day the spirit which had informed and vitalized chivalry as a social system was giving way before the new methods of warfare and the rising powers of commerce and industry; but the system remained much longer and the ideals were cherished with an almost fanatic zeal by many lovers of ancient forms of beauty. Malory's Morte Darthur
an unallegorical presentation of chivalry was published shortly before Hawes wrote. And nearly a century later, Edmund Spenser found no form so suitable for the embodiment of his allegory of the moral virtues as the persons and incidents of chivalric romance.
Pp. 88 ff. This is curiously modern in versification, in language and in tone. One would like to know who was the author - to what class of society he belonged, what education and experience of life were his, and whether he ever wrote anything else. The existence of such isolated originality as is shown in this poem, in The Or and the Nightingale, in some of the Early Tudor lyrics, and a few other ancient poems, makes one slow to believe that our remote ancestors were less capa. ble of excellence in literature than we are, and confirms the view that the variation in the number of good writers in different periods is due, not so much to differences in intellectual equipment, as to variation in the interests that attract the attention of different periods.
The poem was intended for recitation as a dialogue. The object is to set forth the manner in which a loving woman would overcome all obstacles separating her from her lover. It may
be held that the attitude expressed in Il. 151-156 is, after the mediæval fashion, somewhat exaggerated. Professor Skeat thought the author was a woman; but the last stanza, especially I. 177, seems against this view, and the whole conception of woman's love seems rather that of a man (cf. Mrs. Browning's Man's Requirements).
EARLY TUDOR LYRICS
Pp. 87 f. Skelton was the bitterest satirist of his time. His learning, which was of the old type, was very considerable, and his fondness for displaying it is thoroughly characteristic. He wrote verses on all sorts of subjects, but it is as a satirist of Cardinal Wolsey that he is best remembered. The language used in these satires is vituperative and often obscene, and the ideas are sometimes expressed with such obscurity that we who are ignorant of the petty details of court intrigue in those days are unable to discover their meaning. A brief specimen of his satirical verse
Pp. 92 ff. That Lyrics were written in great numbers before the influence of Italy seriously affected English poetry in the sixteenth century is well known, but most historians of English literature entirely neglect these lyrics and speak as if England owed all her wealth of song in the age of Elizabeth to Italian influence. That there was much imitation of sonnet and madrigal and other Italian forms of lyric poetry is beyond ques
tion, but in many of the most charming of the lyrics of the latter part of the century one hears, I think, the same notes and discovers the same poetic method that had marked English lyrics at the beginning of the century and for ages before. Only a few specimens of these “ native wood-notes wild ” are given here, but they will serve to enforce what has just been said. One of them, it will be remarked, is curiously unlike the rest and curiously modern. In both tone and poetic method the love song:
Lully, lulley, lulley, lulley!
The fawcon hath born my make away! (p. 94) smacks, not of the Middle Ages, but of that interesting nineteenth century imitation of mediævalism associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Movement.
of Henry VIII, and is known to all students of literature as the author of l'topia. Unfortunately for our purposes, that interesting book was written in Latin and, though soon translated into English, cannot represent to us the author's English style. I have chosen a selection from his Dialogues rather than from the Ilistory of Richard III, partly because the style seems to me more touched with the author's emotion, and partly because the passage presents the attitude of the writer on a question which may interest many modern readers. It is characteristic in its mixture of dignity, good sense, prejudice, enlightenment, spiritual earnestness, and playfulness of temper. The question of making the Bible accessible to the laity was one of the burning questions of the day. Sir Thomas argued that the Church had done all it was safe to do in this matter and that more harm than good would arise from going further. Tyndale and his fellows, a specimen of whose translation follows, thought differently.
P. 93. 1, 1. 36. Some such word as io or for seems needed for the metre before the ( = thee).
II. The refrain seems to represent a playful conversation between the Mother and the Babe. 'The Mother says, “What are you seeking, O little son?” The Babe replies, “O sweetest Mother, kiss-kiss!” The question is repeated; and the Babe replies, “Give me the kisses of approval." I take ba-ba and da-da to be the only remarks really made by the Babe, the rest of his speeches being the Mother's interpretation of this babble. Ba-ba and da-da are treated as Latin imperatives, the latter being taken from the actual imperative of do, and the former, as my friends Professors Hale and Beeson suggest, being based on the obsolete English verb ba (meaning “kiss”).
THE GOSPELL OF S. MATIIEW Pp. 96 f. Tyndale's translation of the New Testament (1525) was the first of many translations into English that appeared during the sixteenth century. It passed through two editions of 3000 copies each almost immediately, although it had to be printed abroad and distributed surreptitiously. The opposition of the English bishops to its circulation was bitter and effective, and as Henry VIII had not yet broken with the Roman Church, he did not come to the aid of Tyndale as he did to that of Coverdale ten years later.
Tyndale's translation is one of the most important monuments of the English language. As will readily be seen, the Authorized Version of 1611 is greatly indebted to it in diction and phraseology; and it has directly or indirectly affected the language of all later writers and speakers of English.
CONVIVIAL SONGS P. 94. II. The exclamations in this song are mere convivial outeries, having probably no very dennite meaning. Sir James Murray says, however, that “Tyrll on the bery” means “Pass round the wine."
WYATT AND SURREY
THE BEGINNING OF THE
SIR THOMAS MORE
A DIALOGUE Pp. 95 f. Sir Thomas More is one of the mosť striking and charming figures in the brilliant court
Pp. 97 ff. Most of the lyrics of Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey were first printed in a little volume entitled Songes and Sonettes written by the right honourable Lorde Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey, and other, but commonly known, from the publisher's name, as Tottel's Miscellany. With this volume modern English literature is usilbeen a favorite for translation. Surrey's version is very graceful as well as nearly literal.
ally regarded as beginning; its significance is duly emphasized in all histories of English literature.
The contribution of Wyatt, Surrey, and their fellows is twofold; partly in introducing new forms of verse, and partly in developing themes which were either new or freshly conceived and expressed. The principal new forms were the sonnet, which was destined to become the standard form for the brief expression of serious thought in poetic mood, and blank verse, which was destined to become the standard form for drama and serious narrative poetry.
THE LOVER COMPLAINETH
This is important as the earliest blank verse written in England. Although lacking the flexibility later developed by Shakespeare, Milton, and others, this earliest attempt is far less stiff and monotonous than much blank verse that followed it. The translation keeps pretty close to the original, though it lacks distinction and persection of phrasing.
In this passage Æneas begins to tell Dido the story of the destruction of Troy and his wanderings.
11. 10-11. The soldiers mentioned were enemies of Eneas.
1. 55. Kindled means excited. The punishment of Laocoon, related by Virgil in this same book, has become famous in literature and in art.
P. 98. This poem appears to be original, as also is the next. Lines 6-8 mean “My song may pierce her heart as soon as a tool of lead can engrave in marble or a sound be heard where there is no ear to hear."
A DESCRIPTION, ETC. 1. 4. The l in should is pronounced and the word rhymes with gold (1. 6).
1. 7. The printed editions have tried, but tied (the reading of the Mss.) is obviously correct. The poet says that he might be tied to one object of love if she possessed the charms he enumerates, and good sense (wil) in addition.
DESCRIPTION AND PRAISE OF HIS LOVE
P. 100. This sonnet was addressed to Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of the great Irish Earl of Kildare, who was brought to England and imprisoned by Henry VIII. After her father's execution in 1534, Elizabeth was attached to the household of the Princess Mary. A very romantic story grew up about the love of Surrey for the fair Geraldine, as she was called; but his love poems were probably mere literary exercises, as Elizabeth was only nine years old when this poem is supposed to have been written. The Fitzgeralds claimed to have come from Florence in Tuscany (ll. 1, 2); Camber (1. 4) is Wales; Hunsdon (l. 9) and Hampton (l. 11) were royal residences. Surrey was imprisoned at Windsor in 1537 for having struck a courtier, and this poem (because of l. 12) is usually ascribed to that date; but he was also imprisoned there in 1542, and, after all, the passage may mean that Geraldine was at Windsor and he elsewhere.
Pp. 101 ff. Ascham is of special interest for two reasons: his reforms in the methods of teaching Latin and his services to English criticism. His ideas on education, presented fully in his Scholemaster, were singularly enlightened. He believed in making the study of Latin as easy as possible; he held that the value of the classics lay, not in their difficulty, but in the world of great ideas and great men which they made accessible; and he counseled humane and gentle methods of instruction and discipline. His ideas prevailed for a time, but were long forgotten or disregarded and had to be rediscovered by schoolmasters of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Much of his criticism of literature we now regard as mistaken, particularly his advocacy of classical metres for English and his mixture of ethics. with æsthetics in his judgments; but his ideas of English style were in the main sound, and he aided not a little in preventing the language from being overrun with ornate words of Latin origin.
In some matters he was very conservative. He believed that the replacement of the bow by the gun would cause the decay of manhood and he therefore wrote a book, Toxophilus (Lover of the Bow), to revive and promote archery in England.
THE MEANS TO ATTAIN A HAPPY LIFE
The epigram on this subject by the Latin poet Martial addressed to himself (Ad Seipsum), has
ACTS AND MONUMENTS Pp. 103 ff. This book, more commonly called Foxe's Book of Martyrs, is the work of a violent partisan. It purports to describe “the great persecutions and horrible troubles that have been wrought and practised by the Romish prelates, especially in this realm of England, and Scotland, from the year of our Lord a thousand unto the time now present” (1563). Probably no book .ever written is more uncritical and unjust, or has done so much to create among Protestants a wrong conception of Queen Mary and the Catholics of the sixteenth century. Catholics like Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher and numerous others, who susiered the same sorts of deaths as the Protestant martyrs, Foxe regards as wicked men who were justly and not too severely punished by righteous and gracious Henry VIII. Foxe's book - a huge folio originally, eight octavo volumes in the modern editions is an unrelieved orgy of blood and bitterness, but it was much relished by our Protestant ancestors.
1. 219 etc. Remorse of Conscience, Dread, Revenge, Misery, etc., are personifications of the mediæval type.
P. 106. 1. 294. Wealth and poverty are here contrasted in Cræsus, the fabulously rich king, and Irus, the beggar described in the Odyssey, Bk. XVIII.
1. 299. The Sisters, the Fates who spin and cut the thread of man's fate (cf. Lycidas, 75–6).
1. 330. This recalls the riddle of the Sphynx: There lives upon earth a being, two-footed, yea,
and with four feet, Yea and with three feet too, yet his voice con
tinues unchanging: And lo! of all things that move in earth, in heaven
or in ocean, He only changes his nature, and yet when on
most feet he walketh, Then is the speed of his limbs most weak and
The solution given by Epidus was as follows: Man is it thou hast described, who, when on
earth he appeareth, First as a babe from the womb, four-footed
creeps on his way; Then when old age cometh on and the burden of
years weighs full heavy, Bending his shoulders and neck, as a third foot
useth his staff.
THOMAS SACKVILLE, LORD BUCKHURST
Tr. by Plumptre, The Tragedies of Sophocles, p. I,
notes 2, 3
THE SHEPHEARDS CALENDER
A MIRROR FOR MAGISTRATES Pp. 105 ff. This is a tremendous collection (over 1400 pages) of tragic stories of wicked and unfortunate kings and nobles of Great Britain, from 1085 B.C. to the end of the fifteenth century after Christ. In character and aim it is mcdiæval; its editor says in his address to the nobility (i.e., those called magistrates in the title): “Here, as in a looking-glass, you shall see, if any vice be in you, how the like hath been punished in other(s) heretofore.” The plan was derived from such mediæval works as Chaucer's Monk's Tale and Lydgate's Falls of Princes. Nine editions, not counting reprints, were published between 1554 and 1610, and it contributed greatly to the development of historical poems and plays on British history. The author of the Induction was Thomas Sackville, one of the authors of Gorboduc, the first English tragedy, who later, as Lord Buckhurst, was an eminent statesman. The subject of the Induction is a vision in which the goddess Sorrow." shows the author the enemies of mankind and the sad plight of their victims.
1. 210. Averne, lake Avernus, near Cumæ, through which Æneas entered the underworld. This description is based on the Æneid, VI, 237 ff.
Pp. 108 ff. About 300 B.C., when the social life of Greek cities had become highly artificial and sophisticated, there arose, just as there has arisen in our own time, a feeling of satiety and weariness, and a fad of celebrating the charm and the virtues of rural life — a movement “back to nature.” The most important literary result of this fad was the Eclogues of Theocritus, a native probably of Sicily, and a dweller in the courts of Syracuse and Alexandria. In these Eclogues Theocritus represents goatherds as discussing the interests and incidents of their simple life, such as the care of their flocks, their contests in song, their loves, their joys and their sorrows. Three