תמונות בעמוד

conceived and effentially marred his poet's design, by softening the sternness of the Man, which could not be intended to admit of any degree of relaxation. Henry's hypocrisy is not characteristically nor confistently sustained. He frequently talks in too respectful and complaisant a style. Sometimes he calls Emma my tender maid, and my beauteous Emma; he fondly dwells on the ambrosial plenty of her flowing ringlets gracefully wreathed with variegated ribbands, and expatiates with rapture on the charms of her snowy bosom, her slender waist, and harmony of shape. In the antient poem, the concealed lover never abates his affectation of rigour and reserve, nor ever drops an expression which may tend to betray any traces of tenderness. He retains his severity to the last, in order to give force to the conclusion of the piece, and to heighten the effect of the final declaration of his love. Thus, by diminishing the opposition of interests, and by giving too great a degree of uniformity to both characters, the distress is in some measure destroyed by Prior. For this reason, Henry, during the course of the dialogue, is less an objećt of our aversion, and Emma of our pity. But these are the unavoidable consequences of Prior's plan, who presupposes a long conneétion between the lovers, which is attended with the warmest professions of a reciprocal passion. Yet "this very plan suggested another reason, why Prior should have more closely copied the cast of his original. After so many mutual promises and protestations, to have made Henry more obdurate, would have enhanced the sufferings and the fincerity of the amiable Emma.

It is highly probable, that the metrical romances of Rich ARD CUER DE LYon, GUY EARL of WAR wick, and syR Bev Ys of South AMPT on, were modernised in this reign from more antient and finple narrations. The first was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, in 1528". The second without date, but about the same time, by William Copland. I mean that which begins thus,

* In quarto. See supr. Vol. i. p. 150, seq. Ithen

[ocr errors]

With this colophon. “ Here endeth the booke of the most “ vićtoryous prynce Guy earle of Warwyk. Imprinted at Lon“ don in Lothbury, over against saynt Margaret's church by “ Wyllyam Copland'." Richard Pinson printed siR BEvy's without date. . Many quarto prose romances were printed between the years 1 5 Io and 1540 *. Of these, KY N G E AP Poly N of THYRE is not one of the worst. In the year 1542, as it seems, Robert Wyer printed, “Here “ begynneth a lytell boke named the Scol E Hows E. wherein “ every man may rede a goodly Prayer of the condycyons of “ women.” Within the leaf is a border of naked women. This is a satire against the female sex. The writer was wise enough to suppress his name, as we may judge from the following

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

vening the merriments of the Christmas celebrity: and not such religious songs as are current at this day with the common people under the same title, and which were substituted by those enemies of innocent and useful mirth the puritans. The boar's head soused, was antiently the first dish on Christmas day, and was carried up to the principal table in the Hall with great state and solemnity. Hollinshead says, that in the year 1170, upon the day of the young prince's coronation, king Henry the first “ served his sonne at the table as sewer, bringing up the BoF Es “ HEAD with trumpets before it according to the manner".” For this indispensable ceremony, as also for others of that season, there was a Carol, which Wynkyn de Worde has given us in the miscellany just mentioned, as it was sung in his time, with the title, “A CARol. bryngyng in the bores head.”

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

* Chron, iii. 76. See also Polyd. Virg. p Found. Hist.. p. 212, 10. ed. 1534. * Great and small. * That is, the chief dish served at a feast.

Wol. III. T This * MSS. HAR L. 5396. fol. 4. fol. 18. * Fox, Marty Roloc. f. 1339, edit. * lin octavo. I 576. 'Pilled, i.e. bald.

This carol, yet with many innovations, is retained at Queen's college in Oxford. Other antient Christmas carols occur with Latin Burthens or Latin intermixtures. As thus,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

In the year 1533, a proclamation was promulged, prohibiting evil-disposed persons to preach, either in public or private, “After their own braine, and by playing of enterludes, and “ printing of false fond bookes, ballades, rhymes, and other “ lewd treatyses in the English tongue, concerning doćtrines in “ matters now in question and controverfie, &c".” But this popular mode of attack, which all understood, and in which the idle and unlearned could join, appears to have been more powerful than royal interdićtions and parliamentary censures.

In the year 1540, Thomas lord Cromwell, during the short interval which Henry's hasty passion for Catharine Howard permitted between his commitment and execution, was insulted in a ballad written by a defender of the declining cause of popery, who certainly shewed more zeal than courage, in reproaching a disgraced minister and a dying man. This satire, however unseemly, gave rise to a religious controversy in verse, which is preserved in the archives of the antiquarian society. I find a poem of thirty oëtave stanzas, printed in 1546, called the Dowf AL of ANT Ich RISTE's MAs, or Mass, in which the nameless satirist is unjustly severe on the distresses of that ingenious class of mechanics who got their living by writing and ornamenting service-books for the old papistic worship, now growing into decay and disuse ; infinuating at the same time, in a {train of triumph, the great blow their craft had received, by the diminution of the number of churches in the dissolution of the monasteries ". It is, however, certain, that this busy and lucrative occupation was otherwise much injured by the invention and propagation of typography, as several catholic rituals were printed in England: yet still they continued to employ

interval * In a roll of John Morys, warden of Winchester college, an. xx Ric, ii. A. D. 1397, are large articles of disbursement for grails, legends, and other service-books for the choir of the chapel, then just founded. It appears that they bought the parchment; and hired persons to do the business of writing, illuminating, noting, and binding, within the walls of the college. As thus. “Item in xi doseyn iiij pellibus “emptis pro i legenda integra, que inci“ pit folio secundo Quia dixerunt, conti“nente xxxiiij quaterniones, (pret. doseyn “iiijs, vid. pret. pellis iiijd. ob.) lis. * Item in scriptura ejusden Legende, “lxxijs. Et in illuminacione et ligacione “ejusdem, xxx s. Item in vi doseyn de “velym emptis pro factura vs Processiona“lium, quorum quilibet continet xv qua“ termiones, (pret. doseyn iiij s. vid ) “xxvijs. Et in scriptura, notacione, il“luminacione, et ligacione corundem,

T 2

“xxxiijs.” The highest cost of one of these books is, 71. 13 s. Vellum, for this purpose, made an article of staurum or store. As, “Item in vi doseyn de velym “emptis in staurum pro aliis libris, inde “faciendis, xxxiiijs. xjd.” The books were covered with deer-skin. As, “ Item “in vi pellibus cervinis emptis pro libris “predićtis cooperiendis, xijs. iiijd.” In another roll (xix Ric. ii. A. D. 1396.) of warden John Morys abovementioned, disbursements of diet for Script or Es enter into the quarterly account of that article. “Expense extraneorum supervenien“cium, iij Scriptor UM, viij serviencium, “et x choristarum, ix. l. iiijs. x d.” The whole diet.expences this year, for strangers, writers, servants, and choristers, amount to zol. 19s. 1 od. In another roll of 1399, (Rot. Corp. Burs. 22 Ric, ii.) writers are in commons weekly with the regular members of the society.


« הקודםהמשך »