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to become the proper subjećt of poetry, and must have lost much of their solemnity by their notoriety. But Shakespeare has been guilty of the same fault. The objećtion; however, is now worn away, and age has given a dignity to familiar circumstances. This collection, or set of poems, was printed in quarto, in 1559, with the following title. “A Myr Rovre for “ MAG is TRATEs, Wherein may be seen by example of * others, with howe greuous plages vices are punished, and “ howe frayl and vnstable worldly prosperitie is founde, euen of “ those whom Fortvne seemeth most highly to favour. Felix
“ quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. Anno 1559. Londini, in
“ a dibus Thoma Marshe.” A Mirrour was a favorite title of a book, especially among the old French writers. Some anec
dotes of the publication may be collected from Baldwyne's De
DicATIon To The NobiLITIE, prefixed. “ The wurke was “ begun and parte of it prynted in Queene Maries tyme, but
“hyndred by the Lord Chancellour that then was " : never
“ theles, through the meanes of my lorde Stafford *, the fyrst “ parte was licenced, and imprynted the fyrst yeare of the “ raygne of this our most noble and vertuous queene’, and de“ dicated then to your honours with this preface. Since whych “ time, although I have been called to another trade of lyfe, “ yet my good lord Stafford hath not ceased to call upon me “ to publyshe so much as I had gotten at other mens hands, so “ that through his lordshyppes earnest meanes I have now also “ set furth another parte, conteyning as little of myne owne “ as the fyrst parte doth of other mens “.”
The plan was confessedly borrowed from Boccace's DE CAsi
Bus PRINCIPUM, a book translated, as we have seen, by Lydgate, but which never was popular, because it had no English examples. But Baldwyne's scope and condućt, with respect to this and other circumstances, will best appear from his Preface, which cannot easily be found, and which I shall therefore insert at large. “When the printer had purposed with himselfe to “ printe Lydgate's booke of the FALL of PRINCEs, and had “made pryvye therto many both honourable and worshipfull, “ he was counsayled by dyvers of them, to procure to have the “ story contynewed from where as Bochas left, unto this pre“sent time; chiefly of such as Fortune had dalyed with in “ this ylande.—Which advyse lyked him so well, that he re“ quyred me to take paines therin. But because it was a matter “ passyng my wit and skyll, and more thankles than gaineful to “ meddle in, I refused utterly to undertake it, except I might “ have the help of suche, as in wit were apte, in learnyng al“ lowed, and in judgement and estymacyon able to wield and “ furnysh so weighty an enterpryse, thinkyng even so to shift “my handes. But he, earnest and diligent in his affayres, pro“ cured Atlas to set under his shoulder. For shortly after, “ divers learned men, whose manye giftes nede fewe prayses, “ consented to take upon them parte of the travayle. And “ when certaine of them, to the numbre of seven, were through “ a general assent at an appoynted tyme and place gathered to“gether to devyse thereupon, I resorted unto them, bearing the “ booke of Bochas translated by Dan Lidgate, for the better “ observation of his order. Which although we liked wel, yet “ would it not cumly serve, seeing that both Bochas and Lid“ gate were dead; neither were there any alive that meddled “ with like argument, to whom the UN for TUNATE might “ make make their mone. To make therefore a state mete for “ the matter, they all agreed that I should usurpe Bochas “ rowme, and the wretchED PRINCEs complayne unto me: “ and take upon themselves every man for his parte to be fundry “ personages, and in their behalfes to bewaile unto Me their to E e 2 “greevous “ greevous chances, heavye destinies, and wofull misfortunes.
This done, we opened such bookes of Cronicles as we had there present. And maister Ferrers, after he had found where Bochas left, which was about the ende of kinge Edwarde the thirdes raigne, to begin the matter sayde thus.”
“ I marvayle what Bochas meaneth, to forget among his
numbre is as great, as their adventures wunderfull. For to let passe all, both Britons, Danes, and Saxons, and to come to the last Conquest, what a sorte are they’, and some even in his [Boccace's] owne time ! As for example, king Richard the fyrst, slayne with a quarle” in his chyefe prosperitie. Also king John his brother, as sum saye, poysoned. Are not their histories rufull, and of rare example But as it should appeare, he being an Italian, minded most the Roman and Italike story, or els perhaps he wanted our countrey Cronicles. It were therefore a goodly and a notable matter, to
of the inhabiting of the yle. But seeing the printer's minde is, to have us folowe where Lidgate left, we will leave that great labour to other that may intend it, and (as blinde Bayard is alway boldest) I will begyn at the time of Rychard the second, a time as unfortunate as the ruler therein. "And forasmuch, frend Baldwyne, as it shal be your charge to note and pen orderlye the whole proces, I will, so far as my memorie and judgemente serveth, sumwhat further you in the truth of the storye. And therefore omittinge the ruffle of Jacke Strawe and his meyney', and the murther of manye notable men which therby happened, for Jacke, as ye knowe, was but a poore prynce; I will begin with a notable example which within a while after ensued. And although he be no Great Prynce, yet fithens he had a princely office, I will take upon me the miserable person of syr Robert TREsi“ lian chyese justyce of England, and of other which suf“fered with him. Therby to warne all of his authoritye and “ profession, to take hede of wrong judgements, misconstruynge “ of lawes, or wresting the same to serve the princes turnes, “ which ryghtfully brought theym to a miserable ende, which “ they may justly lament in manner ensuing “.” Then follows fir Robert TREsili AN's legend or history, supposed to be spoken by himself, and addressed to Baldwyne. Here we see that a company was feigned to be assembled, each of which, one excepted, by turns personates a chara&er of one of the great Unfortunate: and that the stories were all conneéted, by being related to the filent person of the assembly, who is like the chorus, in the Greek tragedies, or the Host in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The whole was to form a sort of dramatic interlude, including a series of independent soliloquies. A continuity to this imagined representation is preserved by the introdućtion, after every soliloquy, of a prose epilogue, which also serves as a prologue to the succeeding piece, and has the air of a stage-direction. Boccace had done this before. We have this interpofition, which I give as a specimen, and which explains the method of the recital, between the tragedies of king Rich ARD THE secon D and Owen Glen Dou R. “Whan he “ had ended this so wofull a tragedye, and to all PRINces a “ right worthy instruction, we paused: having passed through a “ miserable tyme, full of pyteous tragedyes. ...And seyng the * reygne of Henry the fourth ensued, a man more ware and “ prosperous in hys doynges, although not untroubled with “warres both of outforthe and inward enemyes, we began to “ serch what Pyers [peers] were fallen therein, wherof the “ number was not small: and yet because theyr examples were “ not muche to be noted for our purpose, we passed over all the “ Maskers, of whom kynge Rycharde's brother was chiefe: ” whych were all slayne and put to death for theyr trayterous “ attempt. And fyndynge Owen Glendoure next one of For“ tune's owne whelpes, and the Percyes his confederates, I “ thought them unmete to be overpassed, and therefore sayd “ thus to the sylent cumpany, What, my maysters, is every “one at once in a browne study, and hath no man affection “ to any of these storyes You mynd so much some other “ belyke, that those do not move you. And to say the trouth, “ there is no special cause why they should... Howbeyt Owen “ Glendoure, becaus he was one of Fortune's darlynges, rather “ than he should be forgotten, I will tel his tale for him, , “ under the privelidge of Martine hundred. Which Owen, “ cuming out of the wilde mountains lyke the Image of Death “; in al pointes, (his darte onlie excepted,) so sore hath famyne “, and hunger consumed hym, may lament his folly after this “maner.” . This process was a departure from Sackville's idea: who supposes, as I have hinted, the scene laid in hell, and that the unfortunate princes appeared to him in succession, and uttered their respective complaints, at the gates of Elysium, under the guidance of Sorrow. - - - Many stanzas in the legends written by Baldwyne" and Ferrers, and their friends, have confiderable merit, and often shew a command of language and versification'. But their performances have not the pathos which the subjećt so naturally suggests. ' They give us, yet often with no common degree of elegance and perspicuity, the chronicles of Hall and Fabyan in verse: , I shall therefore, in examining this part of the MIRRour of MAGIs TRATEs, confine my criticism to Sackville's INDuction and Legend of Buckingham.
* How many they are. * QEarthl. The bolt of a cross-bow. • Mul. titude. Crew. - . : olas - *