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BIEN RIMER." His chapters on IMITATION and TRANSLATion have much more philosophy and reflection than are to be expected for his age, and contain observations which might edify modern critics f. Nor must I forget, that Pelletier also published a French translation of Horace's Art of Poetry at Paris in 1545%. I presume, that Joachim du Bellay's Deffense et Illustration de la LANGUE FRANÇOISE was published at no great distance from the year 1550. He has the same just notion of the drama. “ As to tragedies and comedies, if kings and states would restore them in their antient glory, which has been

usurped by farces and MORALITIES, I am of opinion that

you would lend your assistance; and if you wish to adorn our “ language, you know where to find models ".

The Italian vernacular criticism began chiefly in commentaries and discourses on the language and phraseology of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccace. I believe one of the first of that kind is, “ Le tre Fontane di Nicolò Liburnio sopra la grammatica, e

l'eloquenza di Dante, del Petrarcha, e del Boccacio. In Ve. “ nezia, per Gregorio Gregori, 1526'.” Numerous expositions, lectures, annotations, and discourses of the same fort, especially on Dante's Inferno, and the Florentine dialect, appeared soon afterwards. Immediately after the publication of their respective poems, Ariosto, whose ORLANDO Furioso was styled the nuova poeha, and Taffo, were illustrated or expounded by commentators more intricate than their text. One of the earliest of these is, Sposizione de Simon Fornari da Reggio sopra *« l'Orlando Furioso di Lodovico Ariosto. In Firenze per Lo“ renzo Torrentino 1549 *.” Perhaps the first criticism on what the Italians call the Volgar Lingua is by Pietro Bembo, " Prose “ di Pietro Bembo della volgar Lingua divise in tre libri. In

i In quarto. Again, per Marchio Sesla,

e Liv. ii. ch. i. De la Rime.
f See Liv, i. ch. v. and vi.
& Par Michel Vascosan. 8vo.

Liv. ii. ch. iv.

1534. 8vo.

* In 8vo. The Seconde Partie appeared ibid. 1550. 8vo.

66 Firenze

Firenze per Lorenzo Torrentino, 1549!.” But the first edition seems to have been in 1525. This subject was discussed in an endless succession of Regole grammaticali, Osservazioni, Avvertimenti, and Ragionamenti. Here might also be mentioned, the annotations, although they are altogether explanatory, which often accompanied the early translations of the Greek and Latin claffics into Italian. But I resign this labyrinth of research to the superior opportunities and abilities of the French and Italian antiquaries in their native literature. To have said nothing on the subject might have been thought an omission, and to have said more, impertinent. I therefore return to our own poetical annals.

Our three great poets, Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate, seem to have maintained their rank, and to have been in high reputation, during the period of which we are now treating. Splendid impressions of large works were at this time great undertakings. A sumptuous edition of Gower's ConfessIO AMANTIS was published by Berthelette in 1554. On the same ample plan, in 1555, Robert Braham printed with great accuracy, and a diligent investigation of the antient copies, the first correct edition of Lydgate's TROYBOKE". I have before incidentally remarked", that Nicholas Briggam, a polite scholar, a student at Oxford and at the Inns of Court, and a writer of poetry, in the year 1555, deposited the bones of Chaucer under a new tomb, crected at his own cost, and inscribed with a new epitaph, in the chapel of bishop Blase in Westminster abbey, which still remains °. Wilson, as we have just seen in a citation from his RHETORIC, records an anecdote, that the more accomplished and elegant courtiers were perpetually quoting Chaucer. Yet 1 In quarto.

William Caxton the printer : and which, * Nothing can be more incorrect than Leland adds, was written on a white tablet the first edition in 1513.

by Surigonius, on a pillar near Chaucer's See supr. vol. ii. p. 44.

in the south ile at Weftminster. • Undoubtedly Chaucer was originally Script. Brit. GALFRID. CHAUCER US. buried in this place. Leland sites à Latin See Caxton's EPILOGUE to Chaucer's elegy, or NÆNIA, of thirty-four lines, Booke of Fame, in Caxton's CHAUCER. which he says was composed by Stephanus Wood says, that Briggam “ exercised his Surigonius of Milan, at the request of “ mufe much in poetry, and took great

“ delight


Vol. III,

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this must be restricted to the courtiers of Edward the fixth. And indeed there is a peculiar reafon why Chaucer, exclusive of his real excellence, should have been the favorite of a court which laid the foundations of the reformation of religion. It was, that his poems abounded with satyrical strokes against the corruptions of the church, and the dissolute manners of the monks. And undoubtedly Chaucer long before, a lively and popular writer, greatly assisted the doctrines of his cotemporary Wickliffe, in opening the eyes of the people to the absurdities of popery, and exposing its impoftures in a vein of humour and pleasantry. Fox the martyrologist, a weak and a credulous compiler, perhaps goes too far in affirming, that Chaucer has undeniably proved the pope to be the antichrist of the apocalypse?

Of the reign of queen Mary, we are accustomed to conceive every thing that is calamitous and disgusting. But when we turn our eyes from its political evils to the objects which its literary history presents, a fair and flourishing scene appears. In this prospect, the mind feels a repose from contemplating the fates of those venerable prelates, who suffered the most excruciating death for the purity and inflexibility of their faith ; and whose unburied bodies, dissipated in alhes, and undistinguished in the common mass, have acquired a more glorious monument, than if they had been interred in magnificent shrines, which might have been visited by pilgrims, loaded with superstitious gifts, and venerated with the pomp of mistaken devotion. .

" delight in the works of Jeffrey Chau

cer : for whose memory he had fo great

a respect, that he removed his bones a into the south cross-ile or transept of " S. Peter's church, &c.” Ath. Oxon. i. 130. I do not apprehend there was any

removal, in this case, from one part of the abbey to another. Chaucer's tomb has appropriated this aile, or transept, to the sepulture or to the honorary monuments of our poets.

p Tom. ii. p. 42. edit. 1684.


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HE first poem which presents itself at the commencement

of the reign of queen Elisabeth, is the play of GORDOBUC, written by Thomas Sackville lord Buckhurst, the original contriver of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATEs. Thomas Notton, already mentioned as an associate with Sternhold and Hopkins in the metrical version of David's Psalms, is said to have been his coadjutor.

It is no part of my plan, accurately to mark the progress of our drama, much less to examine the merit of particular plays. But as this piece is perhaps the first specimen in our language of an heroic tale, written in blank verse, divided into acts and {cenes, and cloathed in all the formalities of a regular tragedy,

• It is scarcely worth observing, that Thomas Norton was a clergyman, a puri. one Thomas Brice, at the accession of Eli.

tan, a man of parts and learning, well fabeth, printed in English metre a Regifter known to secretary Cecil and archbishop of the Martyrs and Confeffors under queen Parker, and that he was fufpected, but Mary, Lond. for R. Adams, 1559. 8vo. without foundation, of writing an answer I know not how far Fox might profit by to Whitgift's book against the puritans, this work. I think he has not mentioned published in 1572. Life of PARKER, P. it. In the Stationers registers, in 1567, 364. Life op Whitgift, p. 28. I forwere entered to Henry Binneman, SONGES got to mention before, that Norton has a and Sonnetts by Thomas Brice. Re. copy of recommendatory verses prefixed to GISTR. A.' fol. 164. a. I have never seen Turner's Preservative, a tract against the book. In 1570, an elegy, called “ An the Pelagians, dedicated to Hugh Latimer, “ epitaph on Mr. Bryce preacher” occurs, printed Lond, 1551. Izmo. In the Con. licenced to John Alde. Ibid. fol. 205. b. ferences in the Tower with Campion the Again, we have the COURT OP Venus, Jefuit, in 1581, one Norton, but not our I suppose a ballad, MORALISED, in 1966, author, seems to have been employed as a by Thomas Bryce, for Hugh Singleton. notary. See “ A TRUE Reporte of Ibid. fol. 156. a.

The DISPUTATION, &c." Lond. 1583. • See fupr. p. 169. See Preface to Gor BI. Lett. 4to. SIGNAT. A a. iij. DOBUC, edit. 1571. Strype fays, that Y y 2


it seems justly to deserve a more minute and a distinct discussion in this general view of our poetry.

It was first exhibited in the great Hall of the Inner Temple, by the students of that Society, as part of the entertainment of a grand Christmas, and afterwards before queen Elisabeth at Whitehall, on the eighteenth day of January in 1561. It was never intended for the press. But being surreptitiously and very carelessly printed in 1565, an exact edition, with the consent and under the inspection of the authors, appeared in 1571, in black letter, thus entitled. “ The TRAGIDIE OF FERREX AND “ Porrex, set forth without addition or alteration, but alto“ gether as the same was showed on stage before the queenes Majestie about nine yeare past, viz. The xviij day of Januarie,

1561. By the gentlemen of the Inner-Temple. Seen and “ allowed, &c. Imprinted at London by John Daye dwelling “ ouer Aldersgate.” It has no date, nor natation of


and contains only thirty-one leaves in small octavo'. In the edition of 1565, it is called the TRAGEDIE OF GORDOBUC. The whole title of that edition runs thus. “ The Tragedie of Gor“ dobuc, whereof three actes were wrytten by Thomas Nor" tone and the two laste by Thomas Sackvyle. Sett forthe as " the same was shewed before the queenes most excellent ma“ ieftie in her highnes court of Whitehall, the 18 Jan. 1561.

By the gentlemen of thynner Temple in London. Sept. 22.

1565.” Printed by William Griffith at the sign of the falcon in Fleet-street, in quartoo. I have a most incorrect black lettered

• For the benefit of those who wish to gain a full and exact information about this edition, so as to distinguish it from all the rest, I will here exhibit the ar. rangement of the lines of the title page. "The Tragidie of Ferrex and Porrex,

1 set forth without addition or alte- | “ration but altogether as the same was “ Thewed on stage before the queenes “ maiestie, / about nine yeares past, vz. " the xviij daie of Januarie. 1561. by " the Gentlemen of the Inner Temple.

| Seen and allowed &c. | Imprinted at “ London by | John Daye, dwelling ouer “ Aldersgate." With the Bodleian copy of this edition, are bound up four pamphlets against the papists by Thomas Norton.

d On the books of the Stationers, " The

Tragedie of GORDOBUC where iij actes “ were written by Thomas Norton and “ the laste by Thomas Sackvyle,” is en. tered in 1565-6, with William Griffiths, Regista. A, fol. 132. b.


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