תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

>

SECTION XXXVIII.

WITH Surrey's Poems, Tottel has joined, in his editions of 1557 and 1565, the Songes and SONNETTES of sir Thomas Wyat the elder ?, and of Uncertain Auctours.

Wyat was of Allington-castle in Kent, which he magnificently repaired, and educated in both our universities. But his chief and most splendid accomplishments were derived from his travels into various parts of Europe, which he frequently visited in the quality of an envoy.

He was endeared to king Henry the Eighth, who did not always act from caprice, for his fidelity and success in the execution of public business, his skill in arms, literature, familiarity with languages, and lively conversation. Wood, who degrades' every thing by poverty of style and improper representation, says, that “the king was in a high manner delighted with his witty jestsb.” It is not perhaps improt bable, that Henry was as much pleased with his repartees' as his politics. He is reported to have occasioned the reformation by a joke, and to have planned the fall of cardinal Wolsey by a seasonable story. But he had almost lost his popularity, either from an intimacy with queen Anne Boleyn, which was called a connection, or the gloomy cabals of bishop Bonner, who could not bear his political superiority. Yet his prudence and integrity, no less than the powers of his oratory, justified his innocence. He laments his severe and unjust imprison

Wyat's begin at fol. 19,

of worthy memorie for wit, learnyng and 6 AT. Oxon, i. 51.

experience, old syr Thomas Wiat, wrote [In Sloane MS. 1523, some maxims to his sonne that the greatest mischief and sayings of sir T. Wyat are preserved. amongst men, and least punished, is unA letter occurs in the Harleian MSS. kyndnes."-PARK.] Ascham in his “ discourse of the state " See MISCELLANEOUS ANTIQUITIES. of Germanie,” has the following tribu- Numb. ii. pag. 16. Printed at Strawtary remark. A knight of England berry-hill, 1772. 410.

ment on that trying occasion, in a sonnet addressed to sir Francis · Bryan: insinuating his sollicitude, that although the wound would be healed, the scar would remain, and that to be acquitted of the accusation would avail but little, while the thoughts of having been accused were still fresh in remembranced. It is a common mistake, that he died abroad of the plague in an embassy to Charles the Fifth. Being sent to conduct that emperor's embassador from Falmouth to London, from too eager and a needless desire of executing his commission with dispatch and punctuality, he caught a fever by riding in a hot day, and in his return died on the road at Shirburn, where he was buried in the great conventual church, in the year 1541. The next year, Leland published a book of Latin verses on his death, with a wooden print of his head prefixed, probably done by Holbein. It will be superfluous to transcribe the panegyrics of his cotemporaries, after the encomium of lord Surrey, in which his amiable character owes more to truth, than to the graces of poetry, or to the flattery of friendship*.

We must agree with a critic above quoted, that Wyat cooperated with Surrey, in having corrected the roughness of our poetic style. But Wyat, although sufficiently distinguished from the common versifiers of his age, is confessedly inferior to Surrey in harmony of numbers, perspicuity of expression, and facility of phraseology t. Nor is he equal to Surrey in elegance of sentiment, in nature and sensibility. His feelings are disguised by affectation, and obscured by conceit. His declarations of passion are embarrassed by wit and fancy; and his style is not intelligible, in proportion as it is careless and unadorned. His compliments, like the modes of behaviour in

P. 358.

. Fol. 44.

+(Mr. Headley, a very able critic, • Nærix in mortem T. Viati, Lond. was of opinion that Sir T. Wyat deserves 1542. 4to. See also Leland's Encom. equally of posterity with Surrey, for the

diligence with which he cultivated polite (The following epitaph from Le- letters, although in his verses he seems to land, as it is short and the book very have wanted the judgement of his friend, scarce, may here be appended :

who in imitating Petrarch resisted the Urna tenet cineres ter magni parva Viali; contagion of his sweets. -Park. ] Fama per immensas sed volat alta

j plagas.

PARK

that age, are ceremonious and strained. He has too much art as a lover, and too little as a poet. His gallantries are laboured, and his versification negligent. The truth is, his genius was of the moral and didactic species: and his poems abound more in good sense, satire, and observations on life, than in pathos or imagination. Yet there is a degree of lyric sweetness in the following lines to his lute*, in which, The lover complaineth the unkindness of his love.

My Lute awake, performe the last
Labour, that thou and I shall wast;
And end that I have now begonne:

And when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where care is none,
As leade to grave in marble stone;
My song, may pearse her hart as sone.
Should we then sigh, or sing, or mone?
No, no, my lute, for I have done.

The rockes do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my sute and affection:
So that I am past remedy.
Wherbyf my lute and I have done.

Proude of the spoile that thou has gotte
Of simple hartes, through Loves shot,
By whom unkind! thou hast them wonne;
Thinke not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdaine,
That makest but game on earnest paine:

• [This harmonious and elegant poem, Dr. Nott conceives it does not belong in one of the Harrington Mss. dated to Lord Rochford, but to Sir Thomas 1564, is ascribed to viscount Rochford, Wyatt. See his edition of Surrey, &c. for an account of whom, see the follow- - Park.) ing section. Mr. Ashby remarks that wherefore, it is almost a translation from Horace.

Thinke not alone under the sunne
Unquits to cause thy lovers plaine:
Although my lute and I have done.

May chaunce thee h lie withered and olde
In winter nightes that are so colde,
Plaining in vaine unto the monei:
Thy wishes then dare not be tolde:
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chaunce thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent,
To cause thy lovers sigh and swowne;
Then shalt thou know beautie but lent,
And wish and want as I have done.

Now cease my lute, this is the last
Labour, that thou and I shall wast;
And ended is that that we begonne.
Now is this song both sung and past,

My lute be still, for I have done. * Our author has more imitations, and even translations, from the Italian poets than Surrey: and he seems to have been more fond of their conceits *. Petrarch has described the perplexities of a lover's mind, and his struggles betwixt hope and despair, a subject most fertile of sentimental complaint, by a combination of contrarieties, a species of wit highly relished by the Italians. I am, says he, neither at peace nor war. I burn, and I freeze. I soar to heaven, and yet grovel on the earth. I can hold nothing, and yet grasp every thing. My prison is neither shut, nor is it opened. I see without eyes, and I complain without a voice. I laugh, and I weep. I live, and am dead, Laura, to what a condition am I reduced, by your cruelly ! Pace non trovo, e non ho da far

guerra; E temo, e spero, ed ardo, e son en un ghiaccio: unacquitted, free. h It may chance you may, &c.

[These conceits found a later imi. tator in Cowley.--Ashby.]

* Fol. 33.

[ocr errors]

moon.

: E volo sopra 'l cielo, e giaccio in terra:

E nulla stringo, e tutto 'l mondo abraiccio.
Tal m'ha in prigion, che non m'apre nè serra';

Nè per suo mi rittien, ne scioglie il laccio;
E non m'uccide Amtor, e non mi sferra;

Nì mi vuol vivo, nì mi trae d'impaccio.
Veggio senz' occhi, e non ho lingua, e grido;

E bramo di perir, e cheggio aita ;

Ed ho in odio me stesso, ed amo altrui :
Pascomi di dolor, piangendo rido.

Egualmente mi spiace morte, e vita :

In questo stato son, Donna, per vui.m
Wyat has thus copied this sonnet of epigrams.

I finde no peace, and all my warre is done :
I feare and hope, I burne and frese likewyse:
I flye aloft, yet can I not aryse;
And nought I have, yet all the world I season;

[ocr errors]

* This passage is taken from Messen further observed, that Beuter in his Jordi, a Provencial poet of Valencia. Chronicle was the first who asserted

(Mossen, not Messen, Jorge de Sant that Jordi lived as early as the year 1250, Jorde (not a Provencial but a Limosin and that he was imitated by Petrarch in poet, whether of Valencia or Catalonia the passage cited in the text: while the does not appear), was posterior to Pe- marquis de Santillana, who died in 1458, trarch by almost a couple of centuries. countenanced a different hypothesis, by See Sarmiento, § 365. 503. Ritson. making Jorden contemporary with himMS. note.

I am pretty well satisfied, self, according to Sarmiento in his he adds, that no such person as Messen “Memorias para la Poesia :” and if this Jordi ever existed, Obs. p. 30. By the authority be allowed, Jordi must have late masterly poet and elegant scholar, imitated Petrarch instead of being Thomas Russell, fellow of New Coll. copied by him. But in either case the Oxon. the self-satisfaction here express- existence of Mossen Jordi is equally ed by Ritson was left on a shallow proved; as also the resemblance of the basis. That Mossen (Anglicè m?) passages, whichever of the two we supJordi had more than a poetical existence, pose to have been the original. Camoens is fully ascertained by Velasquez in also took the hint of a similar epigramhis “Origines de la Poesia Castellana,” matic sonnet, which is appended to Mr. 1754: the German translator of which Russell's able vindication of our poetical work, in 1769, tells us, that “ Jordi historian in the Gent. Mag. for Dec. signifies George, his family name not 1782.–PARK.] being known :" but Gaspar Escolano in m Sonn. ciii. There is a Sonnet in Historia de Valencia identifies him

by imitation of this, among those of the saying, “that he composed sonnets &c. UNCERTAIN Auctours at the end of in the Valencian Lemosine language Surrey's Poems, fol. 107. And in Da with great applause, and that Petrarch vison's Poems, B. ii. Canzon. vii. has taken much fromh im.”. Mr. Russell p. 108. 4th edit. Lond. 1621. 12mo.

« הקודםהמשך »