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in SPIRITUAL BATAILE". The old collector of his ENGLISH Workes has also preserved two shorte ballettes ", or stanzas, which he wrote for his pastyme, while a prisoner in the Towers,
It is not my design, by these specimens, to add to the fame of sir Thomas More ; who is reverenced by posterity, as the scholar who taught that erudition which civilised his country, and as the philosopher who met the horrours of the block with that fortitude which was equally free from ostentation and enthusiasm : as the man, whose genius overthrew the fabric of false learning, and whose amiable tranquillity of temper triumphed over the malice and injustice of tyranny.
To some part of the reign of Henry the Eighth I assign the Tournament of TOTTENHAM, or The wooeing, winning, and wedding of Tibbe the Reeves Daughter there. I presume it will not be supposed to be later than that reign: and the substance of its phraseology, which I divest of its obvious innovations, is not altogether obsolete enough for a higher period. I am aware, that in a manuscript of the British Museum it is referred to the time of Henry the Sixth. But that manuscript affords no positive indication of that date'. It was published from an antient manuscript in the year 1631, and reduced to a more modern style, by William Bedwell, rector of Tottenham, and one of the translators of the Bible. He says it was written by Gilbert Pilkington, supposed to have been rector of the same
These pieces were written in the
DAVY THE Dycer. reign of Henry the Seventh. But as More flourished in the succeeding reign, Long was I, lady Luck, your serving I have placed them accordingly.
man, Workes, b. ii.
and now have lost agayne all that I gat; * Ut supr. fol. 1432. [These ballettes wherefore, whan I thinke on you nowe are here given :
and in my minde remember this & that, LEWYS THE LOST LOVER.
ye may not blame me, though I beshrew Ey, flatering Fortune, loke thou never
your cat : so fayre,
but, in fayth, I blesse you agayne a Or never so plesantly begin to smile,
thousand times, As though thou wouldst my ruine all for lending me now some laysure to repayre,
make rymes.- Park.] During my life thou shalt me not begile, Trust shall I God, to entre in a while Y MSS. Harl. 5396. [One of the His haven of heaven sure & uniforme, entries in this MS. is dated the 34th Ever after thy calme loke I for a storme. year of Henry VI. or 1456. There can
parish, and author of an unknown tract, called Passio DOMINI JESU. But Bedwell, without the least comprehension of the scope and spirit of the piece, imagines it to be a serious narrative of a real event; and, with as little sagacity, believes it to have been written before the year 1330. Allowing that it might originate from a real event, and that there might be some private and local abuse at the bottom, it is impossible that the poet could be serious. Undoubtedly the chief merit of this poem, although not destitute of humour, consists in the design rather than the execution. As Chaucer, in the RIME OF SIR THopas ?, travestied the romances of chivalry, the Tournabe no doubt that the poem is of equal Thus in Braband has he bene, antiquity.- Edir.]
Whare he bifore was seldom sene, (The Rev. Wilhelm Bedwell, who For to prove thaire japes; published the Turnament of Tottenham, Now no langer wil he spare, from an ancient MS. in 1631, 4to, says, Bot unto Fraunce fast will he fare, in his Epistle to the reader, “ It is now To confort him with grapes. seven or eight years since I came to the Furth he ferd into France, sight of the copy, and that by the meanes God save him fro mischance, of the worthy and my much honoured
And all his cumpany; good friend, M. George Withers : of whom The nobill duc of Braband also, now at length, I have obtained the With him went into that land, use of the same. And because the verse
Redy to lif or dy. was then by him (a man of so exquisite Than the riche floure de lice judgement in this kinde of learning) Wan thare ful litill prise, much commended, as also for the thing
Fast he fled for ferde; it selfe, I thought it worth while to transcribe it and to make it public,” &e.- Es cumen with all his knightes fre
The right aire' of that cuntre Park.]
To schac* him by the berd. ? I take this opportunity of observing, that the stanza of one of Laurence Mi- Sir Philip the Valayse,
Wit his men in tho dayes, not's poems on the wars of Edward the
To batale had he thoght; Third, is the same as Chaucer's sir To
He bad his men tham purvay Pas. Minot was Chaucer's cotemporary.
Withowten lenger delay, MSS. Cott. GALB. E. ix.
Bot he ne held it noght. Edward oure cumly king
He broght folk ful grete wone, In Braband has his woning,
Ay sevyn ogains one, With mani cumly knight,
That ful wele wapind' were; And in that land, trewly to tell,
Bot sone when he herd ascry, Ordains he still for to dwell,
That king Edward was nere tharby,
Than durst he noght cum nere.
It changed all thaire chere:
Oure king unto God made his bone, Save oure king, and his menze,
And God sent him gude confort sone, Fro sorow, schame, and syn.
The weder wex ful clere.
MENT OF TOTTENHAM is a burlesque on the parade and fopperies of chivalry itself. In this light, it may be considered as a curiosity; and does honour to the good sense and discernment of the writer, who seeing through the folly of these fashionable exercises, was sensible at the same time, that they were too po pular to be attacked by the more solid weapons of reason and argument. Even on a supposition that here is an allusion to real facts and characters, and that it was intended to expose some popular story of the amours of the daughter of the Reve of Tottenham, we must acknowledge that the satire is conveyed in an ingenious mode. He has introduced a parcel of clowns and rustics, the inhabitants of Tottenham, Islington, Highgate, and Hackney, places then not quite so polished as at present*,
Oure king and his men held the felde, The princes that war riche on raw, Stalworthly with spere and schelde, Gert nakers strikes and trumpes blaw, And thoght to win his right;
And made mirth at thaire might; With lordes and with knightes kene, Both alblast and many a bow And other doghty men bydene, War redy railed opon a row, That war ful frek to fight.
And ful frek for to fight. When sir Philip of France herd tell,
Gladly thai gaf mete and drink, That king Edward in feld walld dwell, So that thai suld the better swink, Than gayned him no gle;
The wight men that thar ware: He traisted of no better bote,
Sir Philip of Fraunce fled for dout, Bot both on hors and on fote,
And hied him hame with all his rout, He hasted him to file.
Coward, God giff him care.
For thare than had the lely flowre
Lorn all halely his honowre,
That so gat fled for ferd; For langer thare durst he noght bide,
Bot oure king Edward come ful still,
When that he trowed no harm him till, His bost was broght all doune.
And keped him in the berde.
[This and the following specimens A stede to umstride :
from Minot have been corrected by Mr. (He and] The king als of Naverne Ritson's editions of his poems.-Edr.] War faire ferd in the ferne
*[Here Dr. Ashby remarks that TotThaire heviddes for to hide.
tenham, &c. were always as near the caAnd leves wele, it is no lye,
pital, and consequently as much so then The felde hat Flemangrye
as now, comparatively. But what is That king Edward was in;
more to the point, and as true as strange, With princes that war stif ande bolde, the lower classes are little better than And dukes that war doghty tolde, those of the same rank at a greater diIn batayle to begin.
• In glittering ranks, made the drums beat and trumpets blow.
who imitate all the solemnities of the barriers. The whole is a mock-parody on the challenge, the various events of the encounter, the exhibition of the prize, the devices and escocheons, the display of arms, the triumphant procession of the conqueror, the oath before the combat, and the splendid feast which followed, with every other ceremony and circumstance which constituted the regular tournament. The reader will form an idea of the work from a short extract a.
He that bear'th him best in the tournament,
dunned cow :
For no cattell will I care.
There was many a bold lad their bodyes to bede o;
They armed them in mattes ;
They sett on their nowls i
Good blacke bowlsk,
They sewed hem in sheepskinnes for they should not brest",
Forthe con thei fare 4.
There was kid' mickle force.
Who should best fends his corse,
It appears to me, that the author, to give dignity to his narrative, and to heighten the ridicule by stiffening the familiarity of his incidents and characters, has affected an antiquity of style. This I could prove from the cast of its fundamental diction and idiom, with which many of the old words do not agree. Perhaps another of the author's affectations is the alliterative manner. For although other specimens of alliteration, in smaller pieces, are now to be found, yet it was a singularity. To those which I have mentioned, of this reign, I take this opportunity of adding an alliterative poem, which may be called the Falcon AND THE Pie, who support a DYALOGUE DEFENSYVE FOR WOMEN AGAYNST MALICYOUS DETRACTOURS, printed in 1542". The author's name Robert Vaghane, or Vaughan, I on they went.
eldest son of Edmond of Langley? See ' kithed, i. e. shewn. * defend. Noble Authors, i. 183. ed. 1806.
I have before observed, that it was Park.] a disgrace to chivalry to ride a mare. The poems of this manuscript do not
Farewell Lady of grete pris, seem to be all precisely of the same hand,
Farewell wys, both fair and free, and might probably once have been se
Farewell freefull flourdelys, parate papers, bere stitched together.
Farewell buril, bright of ble! At the end of one of them, viz. fol. 46. Farewell mirthe that y do mysse, The lysom ledys the Blynde, mention is Farewell Prowesse in purpull pall! inserted of an accompt settled ann. 34 Farewell creatur comely to kisse, Hen. vi. And this is in the hand and
Farewell Faucon, fare you befall! ink of that poem, and of some others. The TOURNAMENT OF TOTTENHAM, which Farewell amerouse and amyable, might once have been detached from the
Farewell worthy, witty, and wys, present collection, comes at some di- Farewell pured pris prisable, stance afterwards, and cannot perhaps
Farewell ryal rose in the rys. for a certainty be pronounced to be of Farewell derworth of dignite, the same writing. " Thus endeth the faucon However y fare, farewell ye,
Farewell grace of governaunce, Coloph. and pie anno dni 1542. Imprynted by Farewell prymerose my plesaunce! me Rob. Wyer for Richarde Bankes."
I have an antient manuscript allitera For the use of those who collect spetive poem, in which a despairing lover cimens of alliteration, I will add an inbids farewel to his mistress. At the end stance in the reign of Edward the Third is written, “ Explicit Amor p. Ducem from the BanoCBUR K of Laurence MiEborr nup. fact.” I will here cite a not, all whose pieces, in some degree, few of the stanzas of this unknown are tinctured with it. MSS. Cott. GALB. prince. (Qu. Edward Duke of York, E. ix. ut supr.