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the sage philosopher Zoroas: a classical and elegant description of whose skill in natural science, forms a pleasing contrast amidst images of death and destruction; and is inserted with great propriety, as it is necessary to introduce the history of his catastrophe.
Shakyng her bloudy hands Bellone, among
What fire doth qualify Mavorses 2 fire, &c. & Our astronomer, finding by the stars that he is destined to die speedily, chooses to be killed by the hand of Alexander, whom he endeavours to irritate to an attack, first by throwing darts, and then by reproachful speeches.
* hinder. ' with plenty
spring, printemps. y Saturn. [Sirius. Ritson.] * Whether any music made by man ” of Mavors, or the planet Mars. can resemble that of the Spheres.
a Fol. 115.
Manhode there be so much left in thy hart:
A match more meet, sir king, than any here. Alexander is for a while unwilling to revenge this insult on a man eminent for wisdom.
The noble prince amoved, takes ruthe upon
Alighted Zoroas, &c. d I have a suspicion, that these two pieces in blank-verse, if not fragments of larger works, were finished in their present state, as prolusions, or illustrative practical specimens, for our author's course of lectures in rhetoric. In that case, they were written so early as the year 1547. There is positive proof, that they appeared not later than 1557, when they were first printed by Tottell.
I have already mentioned lord Surrey's Virgil: and for the sake of juxtaposition, will here produce a third specimen * of
b his head. lessons of wisdom. in Gascoigne's Steele Glass, 1576, and & Fol. 115. 116.
Aske's Elizabetha Triumphans, 1588. • The intervening specimens appeared -PARK.
early blank-verse, little known. In the year 1590, William Vallans published a blank-verse poem, entitled, A TALE OF TWO SWANNES, which, under a poetic fiction, describes the situation and antiquities of several towns in Hertfordshire. The author, a native or inhabitant of Hertfordshire, seems to have been connected with Camden and other ingenious antiquaries of his age. I cite the exordium.
When Nature, nurse of every living thing,
Ringes out all night, &c. Vallans is probably the author of a piece much better known, a history, by many held to be a romance, but which proves the writer a diligent searcher into antient records, entitled, “The HONOURABLE PRENTICE, Shewed in the Life and Death of Sir John HAWKEWOOD sometime Prentice of London, interlaced with the famous History of the noble Fitzwalter Lord of Woodham in Essex', and of the poisoning of his faire daughter. Also of the merry Customes of DUNMOWE, &c. Whereunto is annexed the most lamentable murther of Robert Hall at the High Altar in Westminster Abbey 8."
The reader will observe, that what has been here said about early specimens of blank-verse, is to be restrained to poems not
London, Printed by Roger Ward afterwards mentioned, in the reign of for John Sheldrake, MDXC. 4to. 3 sheets. Henry the Third. He mentions most of the Seats in Hert 6 There are two old editions, at Lonfordshire then existing, belonging to the don, in 1615, and 1616, both for Henry queen and the nobility. See Hearne's Gosson, in 5 sh. 4to. They have only LEL. Itix. V. Pr. p. iv. seq. ed. 2. the author's initials W. V. See Hearne,
" The founder of Dunmowe Priory, ut modo supr. iii. p. v. ii. xvi.
written for the stage. Long before Vallans's Two SWANNES, many theatrical pieces in blank-verse had appeared; the first of which is, The TRAGEDY OF GORBODUC, written in 1561. The second is George Gascoigne's Jocasta, a tragedy, acted at Grays-inn, in 1566. George Peele had also published his tragedy in blank-verse of David AND BETHŞABE, about the year 15795. HIERONYMO, a tragedy also without rhyme, was acted before 1590. But this point, which is here only transiently mentioned, will be more fully considered hereafter, in its proper place. We will now return to our author Grimoald.
Grimoald, as a writer of verses in rhyme, yields to none of his cotemporaries, for a masterly choice of chaste expression, and the concise elegancies of didactic versification. Some of the couplets, in his poem IN PRAISE OF MODERATION, have all the smartness which marks the modern style of sententious poetry, and would have done honour to Pope's ethic epistles.
The auncient Time commended not for nought
" Shakespeare did not begin writing for the stage till 1591. Jonson, about 1598.
Icarus, with thy father.
I that which. m Julius Cesar.
No wastefull wight, no greedy goom is prayzd:
Measure forbids unmeasurable prayse." The maxim is enforced with great quickness and variety of illustration: nor is the collision of opposite thoughts, which the subject so naturally affords, extravagantly pursued, or indulged beyond the bounds of good sense and propriety. The following stanzas on the Nine Muses are more poetical, and not less correct."
Imps of king Jove and quene REMEMBRANCE, lo,
Clio in solem songes reneweth all day,
With voyces tragicall sowndes Melpomen,
Fine Erato, whose looke a lively chere