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By composition 'twixt the fiend and him,
The play is without absurdities, and the author was evidently an attentive reader of Shakespeare. It has nothing, except the machine of the chime, in common with FABYLL's GhosTE. Fabell is mentioned in our chronicle-histories, and from his dealings with the devil, was commonly supposed to be a friar
In the year 1537, Wilfrid Holme, a gentleman of Huntington in Yorkshire, wrote a poem called The Fall and evil Success of Rebellion. It is a dialogue between England and the author, on the commotions raised in the northern counties on account of the reformation in 1537, under Cromwell's administration. It was printed at London in 1573.
Alliteration is here carried to the most ridiculous excess : and from the constraint of adhering inviolably to an identity of initials, from an affectation of coining prolix words from the Latin, and from a total ignorance of prosodical harmony, the author has produced one of the most obscure, rough, and unpleasing pieces of versification in our language. He seems to have been a disciple of Skelton. The poem, probably from its political reference, is mentioned by Hollinshed'. Bale, who overlooks the author's poetry in his piety, thinks that he has learnedly and perspicuously discussed the absurdities of popery k.
See also Norden's SPECULUM BRITANNIÆ, written in 1596. MIDDLESEX, p. 18. And Fuller's WORTHIES, MIDDLESEX,
k ix. 22.
186. edit. fol. 1662. i Chron. iii. p. 978.
One Charles Banlley, about the year 1540, wrote a rhyming satire on the pride and vices of women now a days. I know not if the first line will tempt the reader to see more.
“ Bo peep, what have we spied !” It was printed in quarto by Thomas Rainolde ; but I do not find it among Ames's books of that printer, whose last piece is
Of equal reputation is Christopher Goodwin, who wrote the Mayden's Dreme, a vision without imagination, printed in 1542', and The CHANCE OF THE DOLORUS Lover, a lamentable story without pathos, printed in 1520 ". With these two may be ranked, Richard Feylde, or Field, author of a poem printed in quarto by Wynkyn de Worde, called The TREATISE OF THE LOVER AND JAYE. The prologue begins.
Though laureate poetes in old antiquite. I must not forget to observe here, that Edward Haliwell, admitted a fellow of King's college Cambridge in 1532, wrote the Tragedy of Dido, which was acted at faint Paul's school in London, under the conduct of the very learned master John Rightwise, before cardinal Wolsey". But it may be doubted, whether this drama was in English. Wood says, that it was written by Rightwise'. One John Hooker, fellow of Magdalene college Oxford in 1535, wrote a comedy called by Wood PISCATOR, or The Fisher caught P. But as latinity seems to have been his object, I suspect this comedy to have been in Latin, and to have been acted by the youth of his college.
The fanaticisms of chemistry seem to have remained at least till the diffolution of the monasteries. William Blomefield, otherwise Rattelsden, born at Bury in Suffolk, bachelor in
physic, and a monk of Bury-abbey, was an adventurer in quest of the philosopher's stone. While a monk of Bury, as I presume, he wrote a metrical chemical tract, entitled, BLOMEFIELD'S BLOSSOMS, or the CAMPE OF PHILOSOPHY. It is a vision, and in the octave stanza. It was originally written in the year 1530, according to a manuscript that I have seen : but in the copy printed by Alhmole', which has fome few improvements and additional stanzas, our author says he began to dream in 1557'. He is admitted into the camp of philosophy by Time, through a superb gate which has twelve locks. Just within the entrance were assembled all the true philosophers from Hermes and Aristotle, down to Roger Bacon, and the canon of Bridlington. Detached at some distance, appear those unskilful but specious pretenders to the transmutation of metals, lame, blind, and emaciated, by their own pernicious drugs and injudicious experiments, who defrauded king Henry the fourth of immense treasures by a counterfeit elixir. Among other wonders of this mysterious region, he sees the tree of philosophy, which has fifteen different buds, bearing fifteen different fruits. Afterwards Blomfield turning protestant, did not renounce his chemistry with his religion, for he appears to have dedicated to queen Elisabeth another system of occult science, entitled, THE RULE OF LIFE, OR THE FIFTH Essence, with which her majesty must have been highly edified'.
Although lord Surrey and some others so far deviated from the dullness of the times, as to copy the Italian poets, the same taste does not seem to have uniformly influenced all the nobility of the court of king Henry the eighth who were fond of writing verses. Henry Parker, lord Morley, who died an old man in the latter end of that reign, was educated in the best literature which our universities afforded. Bale mentions his TRAGEDIES and COMEDIES, which I suspect to be nothing more
. See Stanz. 5.
I See Ashmole's THEATRUM CHIMI. CUM, p. 305. 478.
• MSS. More, autograph. 430. Ps. " Althoughe, moft redoubted, fuffran la“dy." See Fox, MARTYR, edit. i. p.479.
grave mysteries and moralities, and which probably would not now have been lost, had they deserved to live. He mentions also his RHYMES, which I will not suppose to have been imitations of Petrarch. Wood says, that “ his younger years
were adorned with all kinds of superficial learning, especially “ with dramatic poetry, and his elder with that which was " divine"." It is a stronger proof of his piety than his taste, that he sent, as a new year's !gift to the princess Mary, HAMPOLE'S COMMENTARY UPON SEVEN OF THE FIRST PENITENTIAL PSALMS. The manuscript, with his epistle prefixed, is in the royal manuscripts of the British Museum". Many of Morley's translations, being dedicated either to king Henry the eighth, or to the princess Mary, are preserved in manuscript in the same royal repository. They are chiefly from Solomon, Seneca, Erasmus, Athanasius, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, and Paulus Jovius. The authors he translated Thew his track of reading. But we should not forget his attention to the classics, and that he translated also Tully's DREAM OF Scipio, and three or four lives of Plutarch, although not immediately from the Greek '. He seems to have been a rigid catholic, retired and studious. His declaration, or paraphrase, on the ninety-fourth Pfalm, was printed by Berthelette in 1539. A theological commentary by a lord, was too curious and important a production to be neglected by our first printers.
SCRIPT, Brit. par. p. ft. 103. » ATH. Oxon. i. 52. W MSS. 18 B. xxi. * But see MSS, GRESHAM, 8.
Y See MSS. (Bibl. Bodl.) LAUD. H. 17. MSS. Bibl. Reg. 17 D. 2. -- 17 D. xi. 18 A. Ix. And Walpole, Roy, and Nob. Auth. i, p. 92. feq.
S E C T.
OHN Heywood, commonly called the epigrammatist, was
beloved and rewarded by Henry the eighth for his buffooneries. At leaving the university, he commenced author, and was countenanced by fir Thomas More for his facetious disposition. To his talents of jocularity in conversation, he joined a skill in music, both vocal and instrumental. His merriments were so irresistible, that they moved even the rigid muscles of queen Mary; and her sullen solemnity was not proof against his songs, his rhymes, and his jests. He is said to have been often invited to exercise his arts of entertainment and pleasantry in her presence, and to have had the honour to be constantly admitted into her privy-chamber for this purpose ‘
Notwithstanding his professional diffipation, Heywood appears to have lived comfortably under the smiles of royal patronage. What the Fairy Queen could not procure for Spenser from the penurious Elisabeth and her precise ministers, Heywood gained by puns and conceits.
His comedies, most of which appeared before the year 1534, are destitute of plot, humour, or character, and give us no very high opinion of the festivity of this agreeable companion. They consist of low incident, and the language of ribaldry. But perfection must not be expected before its time.
He is called our first writer of comedies. But those who say this, speak without determinate ideas, and confound comedies with moralities and interludes. We will allow, that he is among the first of our
· Wood, Ath. Oxon. i. 150,