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Virgil's poems are thus characterised, in some of the best turned lines we find in these pastorals :
He funge of fieldes, and tilling of the grounde,
He gives us the following idea of the sports, spectacles, and pleasures, of his age.
Some men deliteth beholding men to fight,
• EGL. iv.
Roofs, curiouffy vaulted. • Houfes, Seats.
Ecl. ii. I shall here throw together in the Notes, fome traits in these Eclogues of the common customs and manners of
We have before seen, that our author and Skelton were rivals. He alludes to Skelton, who had been laureated at Oxford, in the following lines.
the times. A shepherd, after mentioning his skill in shooting birds with a bow, says, EGL.i. No shephearde throweth the axletree so farre.
A gallant is thus described, EGL. ii. For women use to love them most of all, Which boldly bofteth, or that can fing and
jet ; Whiche hath the maistry oftimes in tourna
ment, Or that can gambauld, or dance feat and
gent. The following forts of wine are recited, EGL. ii. As muscadell, caprike, romney, and mal
mesy, From Genoe brought, from Greece, or
Swanne, nor heron,
The pasties of a hart.The crane, the fefaunt, the pecocke, and
curlewe, The partriche, plover, bittorn, and heron
sewe : Seasoned so well in licour redolent, That the hall is full of pleasant smell and
sent. At a feast at court, ibid. Slowe be the fewers in serving in alway, But swift be they after, taking the meate
away : A speciall custom is ufed them
amonge, No good dishe to suffer on borde to be long: If the dishe be pleasaunt, cyther flefhe or
fishe, Ten handes at once swarme in the dishe:
And if it be fleshe ten knives shall thou see Mangling the defhe, and in the platter flee: To put there thy handes is perill without
fayle, Without a gauntlet or els a glove of mayle.
The two last lines remind us of a faying of Quin, who declared it was not safe to sit down to a turtle-feast in one of the city-halls, without a basket-hilted knife and fork. Not that I suppose Quin borrowed his bon mots from black letter books.
The following lines point out some of the festive tales of our ancestors. EGL. iv. Yet would I gladly heare some mery FIT Of Mayde Marian, or els of Robin Hood; Or Bentley's Ale which chafeth well the
blood, Of Perte of Norwich, or fauce of Wilberton, Or buckish Toby well-stuffed as a ton.
He mentions Bentley's Ale, which maketh me to winke, EGL. ii.
Some of our antient domestic pastimes and amusements are recorded, EGL. iv. Then is it pleafure the yonge maydens
amonge To watche by the fire the winter-nightès
long : And in the afhes fome playès for to marke, To cover wardens (pears] for faulte of other
warke: To tofte white fhevers, and to make pro
phitroles ; And, astir talking, oftimes to fill the bowles,
&c. He mentions fome musical instruments, EGL.ü.
- Methinkes no mirth is scant, Where no rejoyfing of minstrelfie doth want: The bagpipe or fiddle to us is delectable, &c.
And the mercantile commodities of different countries and cities, EGL. iv. England hath cloth, Bordeus hath ftore of
wine, Cornwalle hath tinne, and Lymfter woolès fine.
Then is he decked as poete laureate,
They count them poets bye and heroicall“.
Fearfull is LABOUR, without favour at all,
Here must man vanquish the dragon of Cadmus,
Like as Protheus ofte changeth his stature.
Under his browes he dreadfully doth lowre
The sweat distilling with droppes abundant, &c. The poet adds, that when the noble Howard had long boldly contended with this hideous monster, had broken the bars and doors of the castle, had bound the porter, and was now preparing to ascend the tower of Virtue and Honour, Fortune and Death appeared, and interrupted his progress".
The first modern Latin Bucolics are those of Petrarch, in number twelve, written about the year 13508. The Eclogues of Mantuan, our author's model, appeared about the year 1400, and were followed by many others. Their number multiplied so soon, that a collection of thirty-eight modern bucolic poets in Latin was printed at Bafil, in the year 1546". These writers judged this indirect and disguised mode of dialogue, consisting of fimple characters which spoke freely and plainly, the most safe and convenient vehicle for abusing
e EGL. iv.
h Viz, xxxviii. AUTHORES BUCOLICI, Bafil. 1546. 8vo.
the corruptions of the church. Mantuan became so popular, as to acquire the estimation of a classic, and to be taught in schools. Nothing better proves the reputation in which this writer was held, than a speech of Shakespeare's pedant, the pedagogue Holofernes. Faufte, precor, gelida quando pecus
omne sub ulmo', and so forth. Ah, good old MANTUAN ! “ I may speak of thee, as the traveller doth of Venice, Vi
negia, Vinegia, chi non te vedi, ei non te pregia. Old Man“ TUAN! Old MANTUAN! Who understandeth thee not, “ loveth thee not*.” But although Barklay copies Mantuan, the recent and separate publication in England of Virgil's bucolics, by Wynkyn de Worde', might partly suggest the new idea of this kind of poetry.
With what avidity the Italian and French poets, in their respective languages, entered into this species of composition, when the rage of Latin versification had subsided, and for the purposes above-mentioned, is an inquiry reserved for a future period. I shall only add here, that before the close of the fifteenth century, Virgil's bucolics were translated into Italian", by Bernardo Pulci, Fossa de Cremona, Benivieni, and Fiorini Buoninsegni.
i One of Mantuan's lines. Farnaby in Maroniani operis commendatio. Die vero his Preface to Martial says, that Faufte viii Aprilis. 4to. And they were reprintprecor gelida, was too often preferred to ed by the same, 1514, and 1516. Arma virumque cano.
I think there is an m Viz. LA BUCOLICA DI VIRGILIO old black letter translation of Mantuan in to per Fratrem Evangeliftam Fossa de CreEnglish. Another translation appeared by mona ord. servorum. In Venezia, 1494. one Thomas Harvey, 1656. Mantuan 4to. But thirteen years earlier we find, was three times printed in England before Bernardo Pulci nella BUSOLICA di Virthe year 1600. Viz. B. Mantuani Carme gilio: di Jeronimo BenIVIENI, Jacopo litæ theologi ADOLESCENTIA seu Buco FIORINO Buoninsegni de Sienna : Epistole
With the commentary of Jodocus di Luca Pulci. In Firenze, per Bartolomeo Badius. Excud. G. Dewes and H. Marshe, Miscomini, 1484. A dedication is per1584. 12mo. Again, for the same, the fixed, by which it appears, that Buoninsame year, 12mo. Again, for Robert
segni wrote a Piscatory ECLOGUE, the Dexter, 1598. 12mo. With Arguments to first ever written in Italy, in the year 1468. the Eclogues, and Notes by John Mur There was a fecond edition of Pulci's vermelius, &c.
fion, La BUCOLICA di VIRGILIO trak Love's Lab. L. Act iv. Sc. 3. dotta per Bernardo Pulci con l'Elegie. I BUCOLICA VIRGILII cum commento
In Fiorenza, 1494. familiari. At the end, Ad juvenes hujus