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“ colneshire man for a voide benefice"." This point he illustrates with other familiar and pleasant instances'.
In enforcing the application and explaining the nature of fables, for the purpose of amplification, he gives a general idea of the Iliad and Odyssey. “ The saying of poetes, and al “ their fables, are not to be forgotten. For by then we maie “ talke at large, and win men by perswasion, if we declare be“ fore hand, that these tales wer not fained of suche wisemen “ without cause, neither yet continued vntill this time, and
kept in memorie without good consideracion, and therevpon “ declare the true meanyng of all suche writynge. For vn
doubtedly, there is no one Tale among all the poetes, but “ vnder the same is comprehended somethyng that perteyneth “ either to the amendement of maners, to the knowledge of “ truthe, to the settyng forth natures worke, or els to the vn“ derstanding of fome notable thing doen. For what other is “ the painful trauaile of Vlisses, described so largely by Ho“ mere, but a liuely picture of mans miserie in this life? And
as Plutarche faith, and likewise Basilius Magnus, in the “ ILIADES are described strength and valiauntnesse of bodie: in “ Odissea, is set forthe a lively paterne of the mynde. The “ Poetes are Wisemen, and wisshed in harte the redresse of
thinges, the which when for feare thei durst not openly re“ buke, they did in colours paint them out, and tolde men by “ fhadowes what thei shold do in good sothe: or els, because “ the wicked were vnworthy to heare the trueth, thei spake so
with the people for his impertinence, was “ reuolutyng with myself, your ingent af. detained, and obliged to submit to many “ fabilitie, and ingenious capacitie, for ridiculous indignities: but extricated him “ mundane affaires, I cannot but cele. self from all his difficulties by comic ex “ brate and excoll your magnificall dexte. pedients and the readiness of his wit. On " ritie above all other. For how could returning to court, he gave their majesties, you have adapted suche illustrate prero. who were inconsolable for his long ab gative, and dominiall superioritie, if the sence, a minute account of these low ad “ fecunditie of your ingenie had not been ventures, with which they were infinitely “ fo fertile and wonderfull pregnaunt, &c.'. entertained. What shall we think of the It is to the lord Chancellor. See what is manners of such a court ?
said of A. Bordes's style, supr. p. 71. Viz. “ Ponderyng, expendyng, and i B, ii, fol. 82, b. edit. 1567. VOL. III.
“ that none might vnderstande but those vnto whom thei please “ to vtter their meanyng, and knewe them to be men of honest 66 conuersacioni."
Wilson thus recommends the force of circumstantial description, or, what he calls, An euident or plaine setting forthe of a thing as though it were presently doen. “ An example. If our “ enemies Thal inuade and by treason win the victory, we shal “ all die euery mothers fonne of vs, and our citee shal be del“ troied, sticke and stone: I se our children made naues, our
daughters rauished, our wiues carried away, the father forced “ to kill his owne sonne, the mother her daughter, the sonne “ his father, the sucking childe slain in his mothers bosom, one
standyng to the knees in anothers blood, churches spoiled, “ houses plucte down, and al set on fire round about vs, euery
one cvrsing the daie of their birth, children criyng, women “ wailing, &c. Thus, where I might haue said, We shal al be
destroied, and say [no] more, I haue by description set the “ euill forthe at largek.” It must be owned that this picture of a sacked city is literally translated from Quintilian. But it is a proof, that we were now beginning to make the beauties of the antients our own.
On the necessity of a due preservation of character he has the following precepts, which seem to be directed to the writers of Historical Plays. “ In describyng of persons, there ought al“ waies a comelinesse to be vsed, so that nothing be spoken “ which may be thought is not in them. . As if one shold de“ scribe Henry the fixt, He might call hym jentle, milde of
nature, ledde by perswacion, and ready to forgiue, carelesse for “ wealth, suspecting none, mercifull to al, fearful in aduersitie, “ and without forecast to espie his misfortvne. Againe, for “ Richarde the thirde, I might brynge him in cruell of harte, “ ambicious by nature, enuious of minde, a deepe dissembler, “ a close man for weightie matters, hardie to reuenge and feare
* full to lose hys high estate, trustie to none, liberall for a pur
pose, caftyng still the worste, and hoping euer for the best'. “ By this figure " also, we imagine a talke for some one to
speake, and accordyng to his persone we frame the oration. “ As if one shoulde bryng in noble Henry the eight of famous “ memory, to enuegh against rebelles, thus he might order his “ oration. What if Henry the eight were aliue, and save suche “ rebellion in the realme, would be not faie tbus and thus ? Yea “ methinkes I heare hym speake euen nowe. And so sette “ forthe suche wordes as we would haue hym to say Shakespeare himself has not delineated the characters of these English monarchs with more truth. And the first writers of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, who imagine a talke for some one to Speake, and according to his perfon frame the oration, appear to have availed themselves of these directions, if not to have catched the notion of their whole plan from this remarkable passage.
He next shews the advantages of personification in enlivening a composition. “ Some times it is good to make God, the “ Countray, or some one Towne, to speake ; and looke what
we would saie in our owne perfone, to frame the whole tale “ to them. Such varietie doeth much good to auoide tedious“ nesse. For he that speaketh all in one sorte, though he speake " thinges neuer so wittilie, shall sone weary his hearers. Figures " therefore were inuented, to auoide fatietie, and cause delite : “ to refresh with pleasure and quicken with grace the dulnesse “ of mans braine. Who will looke on a white wall an houre
together where no workemanshippe is at all? Or who will “ eate still one kynde of meate and neuer desire chaunge o ?”
" Richard the third seems to have been an UNIVERSAL character for exemplifying a cruel disposition. Our author, meaning
to furnish a chamber with persons fa'mous for the greatest crimes, says in another place. • In the beditede I wil set “ Richarde the third kinge of Englande, “ or somelike notable murtherer.” fol.
109. b. Shakespeare was not the first that exhibited this tyrant upon the stage. In 1586, a ballad was printed called a tia
gick report of kinge Richarde the iii.” REGISTR, Station. B. fol. 210. b.
m Lively Description.
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 pleafaunt 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, professedly 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 pleasaunte 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 lower 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 amisse to speake muche accord
yng to the nature and phansie of the ignorant, that the rather thei might be wonne through fables to learne more weightie and graue matters. For al
men cannot brooke fage 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 moníter that hath
many heddes, and therefore, like vnto • the diuerfitie of natvres, varietie of in“ uention must alwaies be vsed. Talke
altogether of moste graue matters, or “ deppely feare! e out the ground of
thynges, or vse the quiddities of Duns
(Scotus] to set forth Gods misteries, you “ Thal se the ignorant, I warrant you, ei
“ ther fall aslepe, or els bid you farewell. “ The multitude must nedes be made mer.
ry; and the more foolish your talke is, “ the more wise will thei compt it to be. “And 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 fame 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 foules, 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 often6 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 fixth. [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 there. by any livyng? Set my sonne to that whereby he maie get fomewhat. 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 estemed. • 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 set “ them out accordinglie, and tell them liuelie, as the matter “ selfe 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 mu
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 Neape 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'.