« הקודםהמשך »
But although the earl first beheld this lady at the palace of Hunsdon, yet, as we further learn from the sonnet, he was first struck with her incomparable beauty, and his passion commenced, at Hampton-court.
That is, and perhaps on occasion of some splendid masque or carousal, when the lady Elisabeth Fitzgerald, with the princesses Mary and Elisabeth, and their brother Richmond, with the young
lord Surrey, were invited by the king to Hampton-court. In the mean time we must remember, that the lord Leonard Gray, uncle to lord Gerald Fitzgerald, was deputy of Ireland for the young duke of Richmond: a connection, exclusive of all that has been said, which would alone account for Surrey's acquaintance at least with this lady. It is also a reason, to say no more, why the earl should have regarded her from the first with a particular attention, which afterwards grew into the most passionate attachment. She is supposed to have been Maid of honour to queen Catharine. But there are three of Henry's queens of that name. For obvious reasons, however, we may venture to say, that queen Catharine Howard was Geraldine's
queen. It is not precisely known at what period the earl of Surrey began his travels. They have the air of a romance. He made the tour of Europe in the true spirit of chivalry, and with the - ideas ideas of an Amadis; proclaiming the unparalleled charms of his mistress, and prepared to defend the cause of her beauty with the weapons of knight-errantry. Nor was this adventurous journey performed without the intervention of an enchanter. The first city in Italy which he proposed to visit was Florence, the capital of Tuscany, and the original seat of the ancestors of his Geraldine. In his way thither, he passed a few days at the emperor's court; where he became acquainted with Cornelius Agrippa, a celebrated adept in natural magic. This visionary philosopher shewed our hero, in a mirror of glass, a living image of Geraldine, reclining on a couch, fick, and reading one of his most tender sonnets by a waxen taper*. His imagination, which wanted not the flattering representations and artificial incentives of illusion, was heated anew by this interesting and affeeting spectacle. Inflamed with every enthusiasm of the most romantic passion, he hastened to Florence: and, on his arrival, immediately published a defiance against any person who could handle a lance and was in love, whether Christian, Jew, Turk, Saracen, or Canibal, who should presume to dispute the superiority of Geraldine's beauty. As the lady was pretended to be of Tuscan extraćtion, the pride of the Florentines was flattered on this occasion ; and the grand duke of Tuscany permitted a general and unmolested ingress into his dominions of the combatants of all countries, till this important trial should be decided. The challenge was accepted, and the earl vićtorious". The shield which he presented to the duke before the tournament began, is exhibited in Vertue's valuable plate of the Arundel family, and was aétually in the possession of the late duke of Norfolk'. These heroic vanities did not, however, so totally engross the time which Surrey spent in Italy, as to alienate his mind from letters: he studied with the greatest success a critical knowledge of the Italian tongue, and, that he might give new lustre to the name of Geraldine, attained a just taste for the peculiar graces of the Italian poetry.
* Drayton, Her. Epist.—How ARD to * Wood, ubi supr. Geraldine, v. 57. * Walpole, Anecd. Paint. i. 76.
Vol. III. B of * Fol. 6, 7. * Fol. 18. See Dudg, Bar on a G. ii. p. 275. * * But * See Stowe, CHR on. p. 592. Challoner, de Republ. AN Gl. inst Aur AND. lib. ii. P. 45. B 2 dropping * Dugd. Baron. i. 533. ii. 275. & 4 elder
He was recalled to England for some idle reason by the king, much sooner than he expected: and he returned home, the most elegant traveller, the most polite lover, the most learned nobleman, and the most accomplished gentleman, of his age. Dexterity in tilting, and gracefulness in managing a horse under arms, were excellencies now viewed with a critical eye, and practised with a high degree of emulation. In 1540, at a tournament held in the presence of the court at Westminster, and in which the principal of the nobility were engaged, Surrey was distinguished above the rest for his address in the use and exercise of arms. But his martial skill was not solely displayed in the parade and ostentation of these domestic combats. In 1542, he marched into Scotland, as a chief commander in his father's army; and was conspicuous for his condućt and bravery at the memorable battle of Flodden-field, where James the fourth of Scotland was killed. The next year, we find the career of his vićtories impeded by an obstacle which no valour could resist. The censures of the church have humiliated the greatest heroes: and he was imprisoned in Windsor-castle for eating flesh in Lent. The prohibition had been renewed or strengthened by a recent proclamation of the king. I mention this circumstance, not only as it marks his charaćter, impatient of any controul, and careless of very serious consequences which often arise from a contempt of petty formalities, but as it gave occasion to one of his most sentimental and pathetic sonnets". In 1544, he was field-marshal of the English army in the expedition to Bologne, which he took. In that age, love and arms constantly went together: and it was amid the fatigues of this protracted campaign, that he composed his last sonnet called the FAN's IE of a wearied Lover '.
But as Surrey's popularity encreased, his interest declined with the king; whose caprices and jealousies grew more violent with his years and infirmities. The brilliancy of Surrey's charaćter, his celebrity in the military science, his general abilities, his wit, learning, and affability, were viewed by Henry with disgust and suspicion. It was in vain that he possessed every advantageous qualification, which could adorn the scholar, the courtier, and the soldier. In proportion as he was amiable in the eyes of the people, he became formidable to the king. His rising reputation was misconstrued into a dangerous ambition, and gave birth to accusations equally groundless and frivolous. He was suspected of a design to marry the princess Mary; and, by that alliance, of approaching to a possibility of wearing the crown. It was infinuated, that he conversed with foreigners, and held a correspondence with cardinal Pole.
The addition of the escocheon of Edward the Confessor to his own, although used by the family of Norfolk for many years, and justified by the authority of the heralds, was a sufficient foundation for an impeachment of high treason. These motives were privately aggravated by those prejudices, with which Henry remembered the misbehaviour of Catharine Howard, and which were extended to all that lady's relations. At length, the earl of Surrey fell a sacrifice to the peevish injustice of a merciless and ungrateful master. Notwithstanding his eloquent and masculine defence, which even in the cause of guilt itself would have proved a powerful persuasive, he was condemned by the prepared suffrage of a servile and obsequious jury, and beheaded on Tower-hill in the year 1547". In the mean time we should remember, that Surrey's public condućt was not on all occasions quite unexceptionable. In the affair of Bologne he had made a false step. This had offended the king. But Henry, when once offended, could never forgive. And when Hertford was sent into France to take the command, he could not refrain from dropping some reproachful expressions against a measure which seemed to impeach his personal courage. Conscious of his high birth and capacity, he was above the little attentions of caution and reserve; and he too frequently neglected to consult his own situation, and the king's temper. It was his misfortune to serve a monarch, whose resentments, which were easily provoked, could only be satisfied by the most severe revenge. Henry brought those men to the block, which other monarchs would have only disgraced. Among these anecdotes of Surrey's life, I had almost forgot to mention what became of his amour with the fair Geraldine. We lament to find, that Surrey's devotion to this lady did not end in a wedding, and that all his gallantries and verses availed so little ! No memoirs of that incurious age have informed us, whether her beauty was equalled by her cruelty; or whether her ambition prevailed so far over her gratitude, as to tempt her to prefer the solid glories of a more splendid title and ample fortune, to the challenges and the compliments, of so magnanimous, so faithful, and so eloquent a lover. She appears, however, to have been afterwards the third wife of Edward Clinton, earl of Lincoln. Such also is the power of time and accident over amorous vows, that even Surrey himself outlived the violence of his passion. He married Frances, daughter of John earl of Oxford, by whom he left several children. One of his daughters, Jane countess of Westmoreland, was among the learned ladies of that age, and became famous for her knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages ". Surrey's poems were in high reputation with his cotemporaries, and for many years afterwards. He is thus charaćterised by the author of the old ARTE of ENGL1sh PoEsi E, whose opinion remained long as a rule of criticism. “ In the latter “ end of the same kinges [Henry] raigne, spronge up a new “ company of courtly makers, of whom fir Thomas Wyat the