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** employed in the service of the king." That he originally wrote in Latin, appears from the antient title wrsfficator: and may be moreover collected from the two Latin poems, which Baston and Gulielmus, who appear to have respectively acted in the capacity of royal poets to Richard the first and Edward the second, officially composed on Richard's crusade, and Edward's siege of Striveling castle '.
Andrew Bernard, successively poet laureate of Henry the seventh and the eighth, affords a still stronger proof that this officer was a Latin scholar. He was a native os Tho-louse, and an Augustine monk. He was not only the king's. poet laureate q, as it is supposed, but his historiographer', and preceptor in grammar to prince Arthur. He obtainedmany ecclesiastical prefer-ments in England '. All the pieces now to be found, which he wrote in the character of poet' laureate, are in Latin '. These are, an Aonxess to Harry the eighth fir the nest a'g/þiassaus beginning qf' the tenth year qf his reign, with an EPITHALAMIUM an the marriage qf Francis the Dauþhzsin qf France 'with the king-'r daughter '2 A NEW YEAR'SGIFT for the year I 515 '. And verses wishing prosperity to his majesty's thirteenth year x. He has left some Latin hymns': and many of his Latin prose pieces, which he wrote in the quality of histori'ographer to both monarchs, are remaining '.
P See snpr. ml. i. . 232. By the way, Baston is called by Zale " lauream: dy'd *' Oxoniense:." Cent. iv. cap. 92.
'I See an instrument 'no Pozra unrIEATO. dat. '486. Rymer's Fonn- tom. xii. p. 317. But, by the way, in this instrument there is no specification of any thing to be done affin'ally by Bernard. The king only grants to Andrew Bernard, Path: lar-rare, which we may construe either Tr-r I laureate-dyen, or A poet laureate, a salary of len mares, till he can obtain some equivalent appointment. This, however, is only a preCept to the treasurer and chamberlains to disburse the salary, and refers to letters parent, not printed by Rymer. It is certain that Gower and Chaucer were never appointed to this office, notwithstanding this is commonly supposed. Skelton, in his CROWNB or LAWRELL, sees Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate approach: he describes their whole apparel as glittering with the richest precious stones, and then 'immediately adds,
They wanted nothing but the LAU a EL L . Afterwards, however, there is the rubric
Maister Chaucer LAUREATE pom r' SHItan. Works, p. 2'. 22. edit. '736.
s Apostolo Zeno was both poet and historio rapher to his imperial majesty. So was ryden to James the second. It is observable that Petrarch was laureated as poet and historian.
3 One of these, the mastership os saint Leonard's hospital at Bedsord, was given him by bishop Smith, one of the sounders of Brase-nose college, Oxford, in the year 1498. Registr. SMtTH, episc. Lincoln. sub. arm.
' Some osSkelton's Latin poems seem to be written in the character os the eryal laureate, particularly one, entitled " Haec Laureatus " Skeltonus, orator reginae, super triumn
*' phali, &c. It is subscribed " Per Skelro-
" nida Laureatum, oratorem regium." Works, p. no. edit. ut supr. Hardly any of his English pieces, which are numerous, appear to belong to that character. With regard to the ORATOR Raorus, I find one john Mallard in that office to Henry the eighth, and his epistolary secretary. He has lest a Latin elegiac paraphra/E or' the lord's prayer, MSS. Bibl. Reg. 7
xzu. xiii. Dedicated to that king. Le premi'r li'Use de [a tosmagraphzsir, in verse, ibid. 20 B. xii. And a Psalter, beautifully written by himself, for the use of the king. In the margin, are short notes in the handwriting, and two exquisite miniatures, of Henry the eighth. i bid. 2 A. xvi.
I am of opinion, that it was not customary for the royal laureate to write in English, till the reformation of religion had begun to diminish the veneration for the Latin language: or rather, till the love of novelty, and a better sense of things, had banished the narrow pedantries of monastic erudition, and taught us to cultivate our native tongue. In the mean time it is to be wished, that another change might at leastbe suffered to take place in the execution of this institution, which is confessedly Gothic, and unaccommodated to modern manners. I mean, that the more than annual return of a composition on a trite argument would be no longer required. I am conscious I say this at a time, when the best of kings affords the most just and copious theme for panegyric: but I speak it at a time, when the department is. honourably filled by a poet of taste and genius, which are idly wasted on the most splendid subjects, when imposed by constraint, and perpetually repeated.
To what is here incidentally collected on an article more
" MS. olim penes Them. Martin de Palgrave.
" MSS. Coll. Nov. Oxon. 287.
* Brit. Mus. MSS. Reg. 12 A. x. The copy presented. In Paper. LThere is a
wretched false quantity in the sirst line,
Indue, honor, cultus, et adale munera.
Y And a, Latin life of saint Andrew.. MSS. Cotton. DOMLTuN. A. xviii. 15.
z A chronicle of the life and atchievements of Henry the seventh to the takingof Perkin Warbeck, MSS. Cotton. DoMiTrAN. A. xviii. 15. Other historical'commentaries on the reign of that king', Ibid.JUL.A.4. JUL-A. 3. _ curious
curious than important, I add an observation, which shews that the practice of other nations in this respect altogether corresponded with that of our own. When we read of the laureated poets of Italy and Germany, we are to remember, that they most commonly received this honour from the state, or some university ; seldom, at least not immediately, from the prince : and if we find any of these professedly employed in the department of a courtz-poet, that they were not, in consequence of that peculiar situation, styled poets laureate. The distinction, at least in general, was previously conferred *.
. John Scogan is commonly supposed to have been a cotemporary of Chaucer, but this is a mistakeb. He was educated at Oriel college in Oxford: and being an excellent mimic, and of great pleasantry in conversation, became the favourite buffoon of the court of Edward the fourth, in which he passed the greatest part of his life. Bale inaccurately calls Scogan, the JOCULATOR of Edward the fourth: by which word he seems simply to understand the king's JOKER, for he certainly csi_ould not mean that Scogan was his majesty's MINSTREL *. Andrew Borde, a mad physician and
" See Hollinsh. Chron. iii. s. 710. It is uncertain whether the poem addressed by
11. 303. _
a (lull poet in the reign of Henry 'the eighth, published his Jnsrs, under the- title of SCOGIN'S JESTS a, which are without humour or invention; and give us no very favourable idea of the delicacy of the king and courtiers, who could be exhilarated by the merriments of such a writer. A MORAL BALADE, printed in Chaucer's works, addressedto the dukes of Clarence, Bedford, and Gloucester, and sent from a tavern in the Vintry at London, is attributed to Scogan'. But our jocular bard evidently mistakes his talents when he attempts to give advice. This piece is the dullest sermon that ever was written in the octave stanza. Bale mentions his CoMEDIEs', which certainly mean nothing dramatic, and are perhaps only his JesTs above-mentioned. He seems to have flourished about the year 1480.
Two didactic poets on chemistry appeared in this reign, John Norton and George Ripley. Norton was a native of Bristol', and the most skillful alchemifl: of his age'". His poem is called the ORDINAL, or a manual of the chemical *art*. It was presented to Nevil archbishop of York, who was a great patron of the hermetic philosophersk; which were lately grown so numerous in England, as to occasion
an act of parliament against the transmutation of metals. Norton's reason for treating his subject in English rhyme, was to circulate the principles of a science of the most consummate utility among the unlearned '. This poem is totally' void of every poetical elegance. The only wonder which it relates, belonging to an art, so fertile in striking inventions, and contributing to enrich the store-house of Arabian romance with so many magnificent imageries, 'is that of an alchemist, who projected a bridge of gold over the river Thames near London, crowned with pinnacles of gold, which being studded with carbuncles, diffused a blaze of light in the dark m. I will add a few lines only, as a specimen of his versification.
Norton's heroes in the occult sciences are Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Raymond Lully, to whose specious promises of supplying the coinage of England with inexhaustible mines of philosophical gold, king Edward the third became an illustrious dupe '.
George Ripley, Norton's cotemporary, was accomplished
'Pag. 106. Camden's Ram. p. 241. edit. '674. By '" Pag. 26. 0 the way, Raymond Lully is said to have 'a Pag. 26. died at ei hty years os age, in the year
' Ashmol. ubi supr. p. 443. 467. And 1315. W art. An. Cave, cap. p. 6. m