תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

41

SHAKSPERE'S SECOND YEAR.

A.D.

MASTER JOHN SHAKSPERE, the father of our bard, 1565.

was this year so far honoured as to be elected one

of the aldermen of Stratford-upon-Avon; and, by and by, we shall see him arrive at the head of the corporation. Prosperity now smiled upon him ; and, in his own pleasant little town at least, doubtless he was a man of mark. And how he and his good wife, the descendant of the Ardens, would now gaze enraptured on every little manifestation of consciousness in their infant son, as only parents can! For let us believe that the gentle Willy” was a lovely babe, worthy of the innumerable kisses which his delighted mother so profusely lavished on his peachlike cheeks; and that, gazing on his smiling boy, Master John Shakspere, like a true father, rather than an alderman, would forget alike the cares of his own private business and of the corporation, as he drained his frothing cup of nut-brown ale by his own capacious hearth at eventide.

The secular drama continues to make headway. To this year is ascribed the composition of “Gammer Gurton's Needle,” a comedy written by John Still, M.A., afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells. "This is a piece of low rustic humour,” says Robert Chambers, “the whole turning upon the loss and recovery of the needle with which Gammer Gurton was mending a piece of attire belonging to her man Hodge. But it is cleverly hit off, and contains a few well-sketched characters.” It is in this play that the following “famous old drinking trow],” as Washington Irving calls it, occurs :

“I cannot eat but little meat,

My stomach is not good,
But sure I think that I can drink

With him that wears a hood.
Though I go bare, take ye no care,

I nothing am a cold,
I stuff my skin so full within

of jolly good ale and old.
« Back and side go bare, go bare,

Both foot and hand go cold,
But belly, God send thce good ale enough,

Whether it be new or old.
“I have no roast, but a nut-brown toast,

And a crab laid in the fire;

A little bread shall do me 'stead,

Much bread I not desire,
No frost nor snow, nor wind, I trow,

Can hurt me if I would,
I am so wrapt and throwly lapt

of jolly good ale and old,
« Back and side, go bare, go bare, &c.
* And Tyb, my wife, that, as her life,

Loveth well good ale to seek,
Full oft drinks she, till ye may see

The tears run down her cheek.
Thon doth she trowl to me the bowl,

Even as a maltworm should,
And saith, Sweetheart, I took my part,

Of this jolly good ale and old.'
Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.
** Now let them drink, till they nod and wink,

Even as good fellows should do ;
They shall not miss to have the bliss

Good ale doth bring them to
And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls,

Os have them lustily trowld,
God save the lives of them and their wives,

Whether they be young or old.
« Back and side, go bare, go bare,

Both foot and hand go cold,
But belly, God send thee good ale enough,

Whether it be new or old."

WILLIAM CAMDEN—who being born in London, on the second of May, 1551, was nearly thirteen years older than William Shakspere—was this year removed from St. Paul's School to Magdalen College, Oxford. He was the son of a painter, named Sampson Camden. “About that time,”

Bishop Gibson, Dr. Cooper (successively promoted, first to the Bishopric of Lincoln, and then to that of Winchester,) was Pellow of Magdalen College, in Oxford, and master of the school belonging to it. To his care he was recommended ; and by his means, probably, admitted chorister; but missing of a demy's place, and being thereby disappointed of his hopes in that rich and ample foundation, he was obliged to seek a new patron, and

to frame a newscheme for his future fortunes.” --Thomas Bilson, D.D., a native of Winchester, but of German parentage, who afterwards assisted Dr. Miles Smith in the final revision of the present translation of the Bible, is now admitted Perpetual Fellow of New College, Oxford ; and will one day

a bishop.--A tra tion of “Ovid's Metamorphoses' into English metre, by Arthur Golding, “a work very, pleasant and delectable,” was given to the public this year with the following admonitory distich :

" With skill, heed, and judgment, this work must be read,

For else to the reader it stands in small stead." JOHN STow—the son of a tailor, and himself bred to the same humble calling, which he only abandoned for the (to him) less lucrative profession of literature—now publishes an edition of his “Summary of English Chronicles,” dedicated to the Earl of Leicester, at whose request the work is said to have been undertaken. There is something very venerable in this true labourer in the world of letters, trudging from town to town, a foot-sore pedestrian, to examine the records preserved in cathedral and other libraries, that he might give mankind the fruits of his industrious toil; and how one loves him for his manly efforts to preserve, as far as his. poverty would permit, those valuable manuscripts from the libraries of the pillaged monasteries. Bishop Bale, an intemperate enemy of the popery, whom Warton charges with being "angry with many authors who flourished before the thirteenth century for being catholic !” and who therefore would not be likely to misrepresent in favour of monachism, thus describes the worse than Gothic barbarity with which records that might have thrown much light on the social history of our countrymen were ruthlessly destroyed A number of them which purchased these superstitious mansions, reserved of those library books some to serve their jakes, some to scour their candlesticks, and some to rub their boots, and some they sold to the grocers and soap-sellers, and some they sent over sea to bookbinders, not in small numbers, but at times whole ships full. Yea, the universities are not all clear in this detestable fact; but cursed is the belly which seeketh to be fed with so ungodly gains, and so deeply shameth his native country. I know a merehantman (which shall at this time be nameless) that bought the contents of two noble libraries for forty shillings price : a shame it is to be spoken. This stuff hath he occupied instead of grey paper, by the space of more than these ten years, and yet hath he store enough for as many years to come.” And the editor of “Letters written by Eminent Persons in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries” tells us, that “the splendid and magnificent abbey of Malmesbury, which possessed some of the finest manuscripts in the kingdom, was ransacked, and its treasures either sold or burnt to serve the commonest purposes of life. An antiquary, who travelled through that town many years after the dissolution, relates that he saw broken windows patched up with remnants of the most valuable manuscripts on vellum, and that the bakers had not even then consumed the stores they had accumulated, in heating their ovens !" How valuable, then, are the labours of heroic antiquaries like Stow, under such circumstances ! To the honour of Archbishop Parker --himself an accomplished scholar, the liberal patron of literature and the fine arts, and founder of the first Society of Antiquaries in England_let it ever be remembered, that when the poverty of Stow obliged him to leave the literary labours he so much loved, and to resume his goose and shears, that venerable prelate assisted him with his purse, and thus enabled him to prosecute his studies. How Stow must have regretted the loss of his patron, especially when poverty and old age, in 1604, made him glad to accept from the British Solomon," King James the First, a license to beg!

This year died John Pullain, one of the translators of the Genevan Bible ; Sir Thomas Chaloner, author of "The English Republic;" and John Heywood, the poet and dramatist.

The Rev. John Pullain was a native of Yorkshire, and was born in 1517, educated at Oxford, presented to the rectory of St. Peter, Cornhill, London, in 1552, but deprived thereof in 1555, and glad to flee to Geneva, to save himself from the stake under the popish persecution of Queen Mary. When the Protestant Elizabeth came to the throne, he returned to England, but being a Puritan, he was soon cast into a dungeon, for preaching contrary, to the queen's prohibition. In 1559, he was made rector of Capford, in Essex, and archdeacon of Colchester. He died in July of the present year, and is said to have been a truly pious man, a constant preacher, a learned divine, a thorough Puritan, and an admired English and Latin poet.'

Of Sir Thomas Chaloner the elder, (so called to distinguish him from his equally celebrated son, Sir Thomas Chaloner the younger, who was so severely anathematised by the pope for commencing the manufacture of alum at Guisborough, in Yorkshire, and thus breaking in upon one of the lucrative monopolies of the papal see,) was descended from Maydoc Krwme, one of the fifteen peers of North Wales. Speaking of the Chaloner family, J. W. Ord says: --“ Its most illustrious members were Sir Thomas ChaToner, the elder and younger, excellent portraits of whom,

in a fine style of art, grace the residence at Long Hull, near Gisborough. Sir Thomas, the first, excelled as a statesman, soldier, and poet, and was born at London about the year 1515. Having been educated at both universities, but chiefly at Cambridge, he was introduced at the court of Henry VIII., who sent him abroad in the retinue of Sir Henry Řnevett as ambassador to the illustrious Charles V., and he attended that monarch on the fatal expedition to Algiers, in 1541. Soon after the fleet left that place, he was shipwrecked on the coast of Barbary, in a very dark night; and having exhausted his strength by, swimming, he chanced to strike his head against a cable, which he had the presence of mind to seize with his teeth, and, with the loss of several of them, was drawn up into his ship. Sir Thomas returned soon afterwards into England, and was appointed first clerk of the council, which office he held during the remainder of that reign. On the acession of the young prince, Edward VI., he became a favourite of the Duke of Somerset, whom he attended to Scotland, and from that nobleman received the honour of knighthood, after the battle of Musselburgh, A.D. 1547. The Protector's fall interfered with Sir Thomas Chaloner's expectations ; and, being a determined protestant, he was exposed to much danger during the reign of Queen Mary. On the accession of the maiden queen,' he again rose into favour, and was so immediately distinguished by her majesty, that she appointed him ambassador to Ferdinand I., being the first she nominated. So well satisfied was the queen with his conduct, that on his return she commissioned him to the court of Spain, in a similar capacity, A.D. 1561. In 1564, he addressed an elegy to his sovereign, after the manner of Ovid, soliciting his return to England, which was graciously permitted by the queen. Sir Thomas then resided in a house which he had built in Clerkenwell Close [London), where he died [on the seventh of October], 1565, and was honourably interred in St. Paul's [Cathedral], Sir William Cecil officiating as chief mourner on the occasion.—The accomplishments of Sir Thomas Chaloner were great and various, so that he excelled in every pursuit in which he engaged. He was a considerable proficient in poetry during an age of unusual brilliancy and splendour, when the wisdom and genius of the world were concentrated about the court of Elizabeth. His works were published by William Malin, in 1579; the most celebrated of which, Of Restoring the English Republic,' in teu books, written whilst ambassador in Spain, may still be consulted in the family library at Long Hull, being a very

D

« הקודםהמשך »