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Prolix Narratives, whether jocose or serious, had not yet ceased to be the entertainment of polite companies : and rules for telling a tale with grace, now found a place in a book of general rhetoric P. In treating of pleasaunt Sporte made rebearsyng of a whole matter, he says, • Thei that can liuely tell pleasaunt tales “ and mery dedes doen, and set them out as wel with gesture as “ with voice, leauing nothing behinde that maie serue for beau
tifying of their matter, are most mete for this purpose,
p Yet he has here also a reference to the utility of tales both at the Bar and in the Pulpit. For in another place, profeffedly both speaking of Pleadings and Sermons, he says, “ If tyme maie so ferue, it were “ good when menne be wearied, to make " them somewhat merie, and to begin with “ some pleafaunte tale, or take occasion “ to iefte wittelie, &c." fol. 55. b. Again, “ Men commonlie tarie the ende of a me. “ rie Plaie, and cannot abide the half “ hearyng of a fower checkyng Sermon. “ Therefore euen these aunciente preach“ ers muste nowe and then plaie the fooles “ in the pulpite to serue the tickle eares “ of their fletyng audience, &c.” fol. 2. a. I know not if he means Latimer here, whom he commends, “ There is no better "preacher among them al except Hugh “ Latimer the father of al preachers.' fol. 63. a.
And again, “I would thinke “it not amifle to speake muche accord“ yng to the nature and phansie of the ig
norant, that the rather thei might be wonne through fables to learne more weightie and graue matters. For al
men cannot brooke sage causes and aun" cient collations, but will like earnest
matters the rather, if some be spoken " there among agreeing to their natures. “ The multitude, as Horace doth saie, is
a beast or rather a monster that hath many heddes, and therefore, like vnto • the diversitie of natvres, varietie of in“ uention must alwaies be vsed. Talke
altogether of moste graue matters, or
deppely searc! e out the ground of “thynges, or vse the quiddities of Duns
(Scotus] to set forth Gods mifteries, you " thal se the ignorant, I warrant you, ei
“ther fall aflepe, or els bid you farewell. “ The multitude muft nedes be made mer.
ry; and the more foolish your talke is, “ the more wise will thei compt it to be.
yet it is no foolishnes but rather “ wisdome to win men, by telling of fa. “ bles to heare Gods goodnes." fol. 101. See also fol. 52, a. 69. a.
Much to the same purpose he says, “ Euen in this “our tyme, some offende muche in te“ diousnesse, whose parte it were to com“ fort all men with cherefulnesse. Yea, “ the preachers of God mind so muche
edifiyng of soules, that thei often for.
gette we have any bodies. And there. “ fore, fome doe not so muche good with
tellyng the truthe, as thei doe harme “ with dullyng the hearers ; beyng lo “ farre gone in their matters, that often“ times thei cannot tell when to make an " ende.” fol. 70. a.
Yet still he allows “ much praise to the preachers in ge“ neral of his age.
“ Yea, what tell I “ nowe of suche lessons, feeyng God hath “ raised suche worthy preachers in this
our tyme, that their godlie and learned “ doynges maie be a moft iufte example “ for all other to followe.” fol. 55. b. By the way, although a zealous gospeller, in another place he obliquely censures the rapacity with which the reformation was conducted under Edward the sixth. [See fupr. vol. ii. p. 452.] “I had rather, “ said one, make my child a cobler than “a preacher, a tankard-bearer than a scho“ ler. For what shall my sonne seke for
learnyng, when he shall neuer get thereby any livyng? Set my sonne to that whereby he maie get somewhat. Doe you not see, how euery one catcheth and
“ whereof assuredly ther are but fewe. And whatsoeuer he is, " that can aptlie tell his tale, and with countenaunce, voice, and “ gesture, so temper his reporte, that the hearers may still take “ delite, hym coompte I a man worthie to be highlie estened. “ For vndoubtedly no man can doe any such thing excepte that “ thei haue a greate mother witte, and by experience confirmed • suche their comelinefle, whervnto by nature thei were most “ apte. Manie a man readeth histories, heareth fables, seeth “ worthie actes doen, euen in this our age; but few can fet “ them out accordinglie, and tell them liuelie, as the matter “ felfe requireth to be tolde. The kyndes of delityng in this « fort are diuers: whereof I will set forth many.--Sporte moued
by tellyng of olde tales. — If there be any olde tale or straunge “ historie, well and wittelie applied to some man liuyng, all " menne loue to heare it of life. As if one were called Ar“ thure, some good felowe that were wel acquainted with KYNG “ ARTHURES BOOKE and the Knightes of his Rounde Table, “ would want no matter to make good sport, and for a nede “ would dubbe him knight of the Rounde Table, or els proue
hym to be one of his kynne, or else (which were muche) proue
him to be Arthur himself. And so likewise of other names, merie panions would make madde pastyme. Oftentymes the deformitie of a mannes body giueth matter enough
to be right merie, or elles a picture in Nape like another “ manne will make some to laugh right hartelye ', &c.” This is no unpleasing image of the arts and accomplishments, which seasoned the mirth, and enlivened the conversations of our forefathers. Their wit seems to have chiefly consisted in mimicry'.
singing children and choristers, as he or his deputy shall think
good'.” And again, in the following year, the master of the king's chapel, that is, the master of the king's finging-boys, has licence ''to take up from time to time as many children [boys] “ to serve in the king's chapel as he shall think fit".” Under the year 1454, there is a commission of the fame fort from king Henry the fixth, De ministrallis propter folatium regis providendis, for procuring minstrels, even by force, for the solace or entertainment of the king: and it is required, that the minstrels so procured, should be not only skilled in arte minstrallatus, in the art of minstrelsy, but membris naturalibus elegantes, handsome and elegantly shaped". As the word Minstrel is of an extensive signification, and is applied as a general term to every character of that species of men whose business it was to entertain, either with oral recitation, music, gesticulation, and singing, or with a mixture of all these arts united, it is certainly difficult to determine, whether singers only, more particularly fingers for the royal chapel, were here intended. The last clause may perhaps more immediately seem to point out tumblers or posture-masters o. But in the register of the capitulary acts of York cathedral, it is ordered as an indispensable qualification, that the chorister who is annually to be elected the boy-bishop, should be competenter corpore formofus. I will transcribe an article of the register, relating to that ridiculous ceremony. “ Dec. 2. 1367. Joannes
Dat. April. Strype's Mem. Eccl. ii. p. 538. m Ibid. p. 539. Under the same
year, a yearly allowance of sol. is specified, “ to find fix singing children for the king's “ privy chamber.” Ibid. I presume this appointment was transmitted from preceding reigns.
· Rym Foed. xi. 375.
o Even so late as the present reign of queen Mary, we find tumblers introduced for the diversion of the court. In 1556, at a grand military review of the queen's pensioners in Greenwich park,
Tumbler and played many pretty feats,
“the queen and cardinal [Pole) looking
on; whereat she was observed to laugh “ heartily, &c." Strype's Eccl. Mem.ji. p. 312. ch. xxxix. Ms. Attie has a roll of some private expences of king Edward the second : among which it appears, that fifty shillings were paid to a person who danced before the king on a table, “et “lui fift tres - grandement rire.” And that twenty shillings were allowed to another, who rode before his majesty, and oiten fell from his horse, at which his majelty laughed heartily, de queux roi rya grantement. The laughter of kings was thought worthy to be recorded.
" de Quixly confirmatur Episcopus Puerorum, et Capitulum “ ordinavit, quod electio episcopi Puerorum in ecclesia Ebora“ censi de cetero fieret de Eo, qui diutius et magis in dicta “ ecclefia laboraverit, et magis idoneus repertus fuerit, dum “ tamen competenter fit corpore formosus, et quod aliter facta “ electio non valebit P.” It is certainly a matter of no consequence, whether we understand these Minstrels of Henry the fixth to have been fingers, pipers, players, or posture-masters. From the known character of that king, I should rather suppose them performers for his chapel. In any sense, this is an instance of the fame oppressive and arbitrary privilege that was practised on our poet.
Our author Tuller wrote, during his residence at Ratwood in Sussex, a work in rhyme entitled Five HUNDRED POINTES OF Good HUSBANDRIE, which was printed at London in 1557". But it was soon afterwards reprinted, with additions and improvements, under the following title, “ Five hundreth pointes of
good Husbandrie as well for the Champion or open countric,
as also for the Woodland or Severall, mixed in euerie moneth “ with Huswiferie, ouer and besides the booke of Hus
WIFERIE. Corrected, better ordered, and newlie augmented
à fourth part more, with diuers other lessons, as a diet for “ the farmer, of the properties of windes, planets, hops, herbs, “ bees, and approved remedies for the sheepe and cattell, with
P Registr. Archiv. Ecclef. Ebor. MSS. In the Salisbury-miffal, in the office of EPISCOPUS PUERORUM, among the suffrages we read, “ Corpore enim formosus
es O fili, et diffusa est gratia in labiis “ tuis, &c.” In further proof of the solemnity with which this farce was conducted, I will cite another extract from the chapter-registers at York.
1370. In Scriptoria capituli Ebor. “ dominus Johannes Giffon, magifter cho“ riftarum ecclefiæ Eboracenfis, liberavit • Roberto de Holme choristæ, qui tunc “ ultimo fuerat episcopus puerorum, iij “ libras, xvs. id. ob. de perquisitis ipfius
“ episcopi per ipfum Johannem receptis,
et dictus Robertus ad sancta dei evan“ gelia per ipsum corporaliter tacta jura“vit, quod nunquam molestaret dictum « dominum Johannem de summa pecuniæ
prædicta." REGISTR. Ebor.
Quarto. Bl. Lett. In 1557, John Daye has licence to print “ the hundreth “poyntes of good Hufserie." REGISTR. STATION. A. fol. 23. a. In 1559-60, jun. 20, T. Marshe has licence to princ “ the boke of Husbandry." Ibid. fol. 48. b. This last title occurs in these registers much lower.
“ manie other matters both profitabell and not vnpleasant for the “ Reader. Also a table of HUSBANDRIE at the beginning of “ this booke, and another of Huswiferie at the end, &c. “ Newlie set foorth by THOMAS TUSSER gentleman'."
It must be acknowledged, that this old English georgic has much more of the fimplicity of Hefiod, than of the elegance of Virgil : and a modern reader would suspect, that many of its salutary maxims originally decorated the margins, and illustrated the calendars, of an antient almanac. It is without invocations, digressions, and descriptions: no pleasing pictures of rural imagery are drawn from meadows covered with flocks and fields waving with corn, nor are Pan and Ceres once named. Yet it is valuable, as a genuine picture of the agriculture, the rural arts, and the domestic cconomy and customs, of our industrious ancestors.
I must begin my examination of this work with the apology of Virgil on a similar subject,
Poflum multa tibi veterum præcepta referre,
Ni refugis, tenuesque piget cognoscere curas '. I first produce a specimen of his directions for cultivating a hop-garden, which may, perhaps not unprofitably, be compared with the modern practice.
Whom fanfie perswadeth, among other crops,
"The oldest edition with this title which I have seen is in quarto, dated 1586, and printed at London," in the now dwelling is house of Henrie Denham in Aldersgate “ streete at the signe of the starre." In black letter, containing 164 pages. The next edition is for H. Yardley, London 1593. Bl. Lett. 4to. Again at London, printed by Peter Short, 1597. Bl. Lett. 410, 'The laf I have seen is dated 1610. 4to.
In the Register of the Stationers, a re. ceipt of T. Hackett is entered for licence for printing " A dialoge of wyvynge and
“thryvynge of Tusfhers with ij lessons for “olde and yonge," in 1562 or 1563. RegistR. STAT. COMP. Lond. notat. A. fol. 74. b. I find licenced to Alde in 1565, “ An hundreth poyntes of evell
hufwyfraye,” I suppose a satire on Tusser. Ibid. fol. 131. b. In 1561, Richard Tottell was to print “ A booke intituled one “ hundreth good poyntes of hufboundry " lately maryed unto a hundreth good “poyntes of Huswiffry newly corrected " and amplyfyed.” Ibid. fol. 74. a.
• GEORGIC. i. 176.