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In the fourth stanza, she reproaches the astrologers for their falsity in having predićted, that this should be the happiest and most fortunate year of her whole life. This, while it is a natural reflection in the speaker, is a proof of More's contempt of a futile and frivolous science, then so much in esteem. I have been prolix in my citation from this forgotten poem : but I am of opinion, that some of the stanzas have strokes of nature and pathos, and deserved to be rescued from total oblivion.
More, when a young man, contrived in an apartment of his father's house a goody hangyng of fyne painted clothe, exhibiting nine pageants, or allegoric representations, of the stages of man's life, together with the figures of Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity. Under each pićture he wrote a stanza. The first is under CHILD HooDE, expressed by a boy whipping a top.
I am called CHILDHoD, in play is all my mynde,
Next was pićtured MAN Hod, a comely young man mounted on a fleet horse, with a hawk on his fist, and followed by two greyhounds, with this stanza affixed.
* A quoit. * A stick for throwing at a cock. Stele is handle, Sax.
The personification of FAME, like RUMour in the Chorus to Shakespeare's HENRY THE FIFTH, is surrounded with tongues". Tapestry, with metrical legends illustrating the subječt, was common in this age: and the public pageants in the streets were often exhibited with explanatory verses. I am of opinion, that the CoMoEDIol Ae, or little interludes, which More is said to have written and acted in his father's house, were only these nine pageants'. Another juvenile exercise of More in the English stanza, is annexed to his prose translation of the LYFe of John Picus Mirandula, and entitled, Twelve Rules of John Picus MIR ANDULA, partely exciting partely directing a man in spiriTUAL BAT AILE". The old colleótor of his ENGL1sh workes has also preserved two shorte ballettes", or stanzas, which he wrote for his pasyme, while a prisoner in the tower *. It is not my design, by these specimens, to add to the fame of fir 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 Tou RNAMENT of ToTT ENHAM, 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 fixth. 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 parish, and author of an unknown tract, called PAss Io Do M IN 1 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 THop As *, travestied the romances of chivalry, the Tour NA
* Ibid. Sign. C. iii. rished in the succeeding reign, I have See supr. Vol. ii. p. 387. placed them accordingly. * These pieces were written in the reign * Ibid. b. iii.
of Henry the seventh. But as More flou- * Ut supr. fol. 1432. affords y MSS. Harl. 5396.
* I take this opportunity of observing, that the stanza of one of Laurence Minot's
Furth he ferd into France,
oems on the wars of Edward the third, is the same as Chaucer's siR To PAs. Minot was Chaucer's cotempary. MSS. Cott. GAL.B. E. ix.
Edward oure cumly king
Now God that es of mightes maste,
Thus in Braband has he bene, *
a Heir. b Shake, Vol. III.
The nobill duc of Braband
Than the riche floure de lice
Sir Philip the Valayse,
He broght folk ful grete wome,
c Weaponed. Armed.
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 extračt *.
He that bear'th him best in the tournament,
There was many a bold lad their bodyes to bede's
* V. 42. i Heads.
* Prize. * Instead of helmets. * Strength of blows, 1 Poles.
* Expence. * Cudgels.
* Bid. Offer. * They sewed themselves up in sheep * Hied. skins, by way of armour, to avoid being * Made their cloaths gay. hurt.
* Fight for the lady. * Each.
O 2 A baskett