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Worship not Jove with curious fancies vain,
The maxim is enforced with great quickness and variety of illustration: nor is the collision of opposite thoughts, which the subject so naturally affords, extravagantly pursued, or indulged beyond the bounds of good sense and propriety. The following stanzas on the Nine Muses are more poetical, and not less correct'.
Imps. of king Jove and queen REMEMBRANCE, lo,
Clion in solem songes reneweth all day,
With voyces tragicall foundes Melpomen,
Fine Erato, whose looke a lively chere
Uranie, her globes to view all bent,
Lord Phebus in the mids, (whofe heauenly sprite
It would be unpardonable to dismiss this valuable miscellany, without acknowledging our obligations to its original editor Richard Tottell: who deserves highly of English literature, for having collected at a critical period, and preserved in a printed volume, so many admirable specimens of antient genius, which would have mouldered in manuscript, or perhaps from their detached and fugitive state of existence, their want of length, the capriciousness of taste, the general depredations of time, inattention, and other accidents, would never have reached the present age.
It seems to have given birth to two favorite and celebrated collections of the same kind, THE PARADISE OF Dainty Devises, and ENGLAND's Helicon, which appeared in the reign of
T will not be supposed, that all the poets of the reign of
Henry the eighth were educated in the school of Petrarch. The graces of the Italian muse, which had been taught by Surrey and Wyat, were confined to a few. Nor were the beau. ties of the classics yet become general objects of imitation. There are many writers of this period who still rhymed on, in the old prosaic track of their immediate predecessors, and never ventured to deviate into the modern improvements. The strain of romantic fiction was lost; in the place of which, they did not substitute the elegancies newly introduced.
I shall consider together, yet without an exact observation of chronological order, the poets of the reign of Henry the eighth who form this subordinate class, and who do not bear any mark of the character of the poetry which distinguishes this period. Yet some of these have their degree of merit; and, if they had not necessarily claimed a place in our series, deserve examination.
Andrew Borde, who writes himself ANDREAS PERFORATUS, with about as much propriety and as little pedantry as BuchaAan calls one Wisehart SOPHOCARDIUS, was educated at Winchester and Oxford"; and is said, I believe on very slender proof, to have been physician to king Henry the eighth. His BreVIARY OF HEALTH, first printed in 1547 \, is dedicated to the
college of physicians, into which he had been incorporated. The first book of this treatise is said to have been examined and approved by the University of Oxford in 1546°. He chiefly practiced in Hampshire ; and being popishly affected, was censured by Poynet, a Calvinistic bishop of Winchester, for keeping three prostitutes in his house, which he proved to be his patients. He appears to have been a man of great superstition, and of a weak and whimsical head : and having been once a . Carthusian, continued ever afterwards to profess celibacy, to drink water, and to wear a shirt of hair. His thirst of knowledge, dislike of the reformation, or rather his unsettled dispofition, led him abroad into various parts of Europe, which he visited in the medical character. Wood says, that he was “ esteemed a noted poet, a witty and ingenious person, and an “ excellent physician.” Hearne, who has plainly discovered the origin of Tom Thumb, is of opinion, that this facetious practitioner in physic gave rise to the name of MERRY ANDREW, the Fool on the mountebank's stage. The reader will not perhaps be displeased to see that antiquary's reasons for this conjecture: which are at the same time a vindication of Borde's character, afford some new anecdotes of his life, and shew that a Merry Andrew may be a scholar and an ingenious man. " It is “ observable, that the author [Borde) was as fond of the word “ DOLENTYD, as of many other hard and uncooth words, as
any Quack can be. He begins his BREVIARY OF HEALTH, Egregious doétours and Maysters of the eximious and archane science of Physicke, of your urbanite exasperate not your felve, “ &c. But notwithstanding this, will any one from hence infer
or assert, that the author was either a pedant or a superficial “ scholar? I think, upon due consideration, he will judge the “ contrary. Dr. Borde was an ingenious man, and knew how to “ humour and please his patients, readers, and auditors. In
At the end of which is this Note. " Here endeth the first boke Examined
" in Oxforde in the yere of our Lorde
See Againt Martin, &c. p. 48.
6. his travells and visits, he often appeared and spoke in "ublic: “ and would often frequent markets and fairs where a coi lux “ of people used to get together, to whom he prescribed, and “ to induce them to flock thither the more readily, he would “ make humorous speeches, couched in such language as carefed “ mirth, and wonderfully propagated his fame : and 'twas for the “o fame end that he made use of such expressions in his Books, “ as would otherwise (the circumstances not considered) be very
justly pronounced bombast. As he was versed in antiquity, he " had words at command from old writers with which to amuse “ his hearers, which could not fail of pleasing, provided he " added at the same time fome remarkable explication. For in• stance, if he told them that Asxédns was an old brass medal
among the Greeks, the oddness of the word, would, without “ doubt, gain attention ; tho nothing near so much, as if withall he
fignified, that 'twas a brass medal a little bigger than an Obolus, “ that used to be put in the mouths of persons that were dead.
And withall, 'twould affect them the more, if when he spoke of such a brass medal, he signified to them, that brass “ was in old time looked upon as more honourable than other “ metals, which he might safely enough do, from Homer and his fcholiaft. Homer's words are &c. A passage, which without
doubt HIERONYMUS MAGIUS would have taken notice of in “ the fourteenth chapter of his Book De TINTINNABULIS, had “ it occurred to his memory when in prison he was writing, “ without the help of books before him, that curious Discourse. “ 'Twas from the Doctor's method of using such speeches at “ markets and fairs, that in aftertimes, those that imitated the “ like humorous, jocose language, were styled MERRY ANDREWS, “ a term much in vogue on our stages *.'
He is supposed to have compiled or composed the MERRY TALES of the mad men of Gotham, which, as were told by Wood, “ in the
reign of Henry the eighth, and after, was accounted a book full
e Hearne's BENEDICT. ABB. Tom. i. PRÆFAT. p. 50. edit. Oxon. 1735.