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college of physicians, into which he had been incorporated. The first book of this treatise is said to have been examined and approved by the University of Oxford in 1546 °. He chiefly practiced in Hampshire; and being popishly affected, was censured by Poynet, a Calvinistic bishop of Winchester, for keeping three prostitutes in his house, which he proved to be his patients". He appears to have been a man of great superstition, and of a weak and whimsical head : and having been once a Carthusian, continued ever afterwards to profess celibacy, to drink water, and to wear a shirt of hair. His thirst of knowledge, dislike of the reformation, or rather his unsettled dispofition, led him abroad into various parts of Europe, which he visited in the medical charaćter. Wood says, that he was “ esteemed a noted poet, a witty and ingenious person, and an “excellent physician.” Hearne, who has plainly discovered the origin of Tom Thumb, is of opinion, that this facetious practitioner in physic gave rise to the name of MERRY ANDREw, the Fool on the mountebank's stage. The reader will not perhaps be displeased to see that antiquary's reasons for this conjecture: which are at the same time a vindication of Borde's charaćter, afford some new anecdotes of his life, and shew that a Merry Andrew may be a scholar and an ingenious man. “It is “ observable, that the author [Borde] was as fond of the word “ Dol ENTYD, as of many other hard and uncooth words, as “any Quack can be. He begins his BREvi ARY of HEALTH, “ Egregious doćiours and Mayslers of the eximious and archane “ science of Physicke, of your urbanite exasperate not your selve, “ &c. But notwithstanding this, will any one from hence infer “ or assert, that the author was either a pedant or a superficial “scholar I think, upon due consideration, he will judge the “ contrary. Dr. Borde was an ingenious man, and knew how to “humour and please his patients, readers, and auditors. In “ his travells and visits, he often appeared and spoke in public: “ and would often frequent markets and fairs where a conflux “ of people used to get together, to whom he prescribed; and “ to induce them to flock thither the more readily, he would “ make humorous speeches, couched in such language as caused “ mirth, and wonderfully propagated his fame: and ’twas for the “ same end that he made use of such expressions in his Books, “ as would otherwise (the circumstances not confidered) be very “ justly pronounced bombass. As he was versed in antiquity, he “ had words at command from old writers with which to amuse “ his hearers, which could not fail of pleasing, provided he “ added at the same time some remarkable explication. For in“ stance, if he told them that Atxào, was an old brass medal “ among the Greeks, the oddnes of the word, would, without “ doubt, gain attention; tho nothing near so much, as if withall he “ sgnified, that 'twas a brass medal a little bigger than an Obolus, “ that used to be put in the mouths of persons that were dead. & G And withall, 'twould affe: them the more, if when he “ spoke of such a brass medal, he fignified to them, that brass “ was in old time looked upon as more honourable than other “ metals, which he might safely enough do, from Homer and his “scholast. Homer's words are &c. A passage, which without “ doubt HIERo NY MUs MAG IUs would have taken notice of in “ the fourteenth chapter of his Book De TINT IN NABUL is, had “ it occurred to his memory when in prison he was writing, “ without the help of books before him, that curious Discourse. “’Twas from the Dočtor's method of using such speeches at “ markets and fairs, that in aftertimes, those that imitated the “ like humorous, jocose language, were styled MERRY ANDREws, “ a term much in vogue on our stages *.” He is supposed to have compiled or composed the MERRY TALES of the mad men of Gotham, which, as were told by Wood, “in the “ reign of Henry the eighth, and after, was accounted a book full
* At the end of which is this Note. “in Oxforde in the yere of our Lorde ** Here endeth the first boke Examined “ Mcccc.cxlv.1, &c.”
* See Against Martin, &c. p. 48. . .
Vol. III. K “ his * Hearne's Benedict. ABB, Tom. i. PR AEFAr. p. 5o. edit. Oxon, 1735.
“ of wit and mirth by scholars and gentlemen".” This piece, which probably was not without its temporary ridicule, and which yet mantains a popularity in the nursery, was, I think, first printed by Wynkyn de Worde. Hearne was of opinion, that these idle pranks of the men of Gotham, a town in Lincolnshire, bore a reference to some customary law-tenures belonging to that place or its neighbourhood, now grown obsolete; and that Blount might have enriched his book on ANTIENT TENUREs with these ludicrous stories. He is speaking of the political defign of REYNARD THE Fox, printed by Caxton. “ It was an admi“ rable Thing. And the design, being political, and to represent “ a wise government, was equally good. So little reason is there “ to look upon this as a poor despicable book. Nor is there more “ reason to esteem THE MERRY TALEs of THE MAD MEN “ of Goth AM (which was much valued and cried up in Henry “ the eighth's time tho now sold at ballad-fingers stalls) as alto“gether a romance: a certain skilfull person having told me “ more than once, that he was assured by one of Gotham, that they “ formerly held lands there, by such Sports and Customs as are “ touched upon in this book. For which reason, I think par“ ticular notice should have been taken of it in Blount's TE“ NUREs, as I do not doubt but there would, had that other“ wise curious author been apprised of the matter. But 'tis “strange to see the changes that have been made in the book of “ REYNARD THE Fox, from the original editions “1” Borde's chief poetical work is entitled, “The first Boke of “ the INTRoduction of KNow LEDGE, the which doth teach “ a man to speake parte of al maner of languages, and to knowe “ the usage and fashion of al maner of countryes; and for to “ knowe the most parte of al maner of coynes of money, the “ whych is currant in every region. Made by Andrew Borde “ of phisyk doćtor.” It was printed by the Coplands, and is dedicated to the king's daughter the princess Mary. The dedication is dated from Montpelier, in the year 1542. The book, containing thirty-nine chapters, is partly in verse and partly in prose ; with wooden cuts prefixed to each chapter. The first is a satire, as it appears, on the fickle nature of an Englishman : the symbolical print prefixed to this chapter, exhibiting a naked man, with a pair of sheers in one hand and a roll of cloth in the other, not determined what sort of a coat he shall order to be made, has more humour, than any of the verses which follow". Nor is the poetry destitute of humour only ; but of every embellishment, both of metrical arrangement and of expression. Borde has all the baldness of allusion, and barbarity of versification, belonging to Skelton, without his strokes of satire and severity. The following lines, part of the Englishman's speech, will not prejudice the reader in his favour.
* Ath. Oxon. i. 74. There is an edi- oldest I have seen, is London, 1630, tion in duodecimo by Henry Wikes, with- 12mo. out date, but about 1568, entitled, MERIE * Hearne's Not. et Spicileo, ad Gul. Tales of the madmen of Gotam, gathered Neubrig, vol. iii. p. 744. See also Betogether by A. B. of physicke doćiour. The Nedict. As B. ut supr. p. 54.
K 2 “whych * Harrison, in his Description of ENGLAND, having mentioned this work by Borde, adds, “Suche is our mutabi“litie, that to daie there is none [equal] “to the Spanish guise, to morrow the “French toies are most fine and delectable, “yer [ere] long no such apparel as that “which is after the Almaine fashion; by “ and by the Turkish maner otherwise the
What do I care, if all the world me faile *
In the seventh chapter, be gives a fantastic account of his travels', and owns, that his metre deserves no higher appellation than ryme dogrell. But this delineation of the fickle Englishman is perhaps to be restrićted to the circumstances of the author's age, without a respect to the national charaćter: and, as Borde was a rigid catholic, there is a probability, notwithstanding in other places he treats of natural dispositions, that a satire is designed on the laxity of principle, and revolutions of opinion, which prevailed at the reformation, and the easy compliance of many of his changeable countrymen with a new religion for lucrative purposes.
“Moristo gowns, the Barbarian sleves, the
I am a Welshman, and do dwel in Wales,