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but with pious reverence. Chaucer, who was sup. posed to have greatly assisted the doctrines of his contemporary, Wickliffe, by ridiculing the absurdities and exposing the impostures of the monks, was not only respected as the father of English poetry, but revered as a champion of reformation: and a familiar knowledge of his phraseology was considered, at least in the reign of Edward VI., as essential to the politeness of a courtier. “ I know

them," says Wilson in his “ Rhetorique,” “ that « think rhetorick to stand wholly upon dark words: 6 and he that can catch an ink-horn term by the “ tail, him they count to be a fine Englishman and

2 good rhetorician. He that cometh lately out “ of France will talk French-English, and never “ blush at the matter. Another chops in with Eng. “ lish Italianated. The fine courtier will talk no« thing but Chaucer.This, by the way, may serve to explain the cause of Spenser's predilection for a phraseology which, though antiquated, was not either obsolete or unfashionable.

The whole world of words, therefore (to borrow. an expression of one of our glossarists), was operi to Shakspeare and his contemporaries, and the mode of employing its treasures was left very much to their discretion. Criticism was in its infancy: this was the age of adventure and experiment,

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undertaken for the instruction of posterity. Mr Warton thinks he sees in the writers of this reign “ a certain dignity of inattention to niceties," and to this he attributes the “flowing modulation which

now marked the measures of our poets :" but there seems to be neither dignity nor inattention in deviating from rules which had never been laid down; and the modulation which he ascribes to this cause is not less likely to have resulted from the musical studies which now formed a part of general education. The lyrical compositions of this time are so far from being usually marked with a faulty negligence, that excess of ornament, and laboured affectation, are their characteristic blemishes. Such as are free from conceit and antithesis are, in general, exquisitely polished, and may safely be compared with the most elegant and finished specimens of modern poetry.



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“I find none example so well maintaining this figure in “ English metre, (of the Gorgeous) [Exargasia] as that

ditty of her Majesty's own making, passing sweet and “ harmonical.—And this was the action : our sovereign “ lady, perceiving how by the Scotish queen's residence « within this realm, at so great liberty and ease as were

scarce worthy of so great and dangerous a prisoner, « bred secret factions among her people, and made many 6 of her nobility incline to favour her party :—to declare “ that she was nothing ignorant in those secret favours, “ though she had long with great wisdom and patiencie “ dissembled it, writeth this ditty, most.sweet and senten« tions," &c. Puttenham, “ Arte of English Poesie,"

p. 207...



HE doubt of future foes exiles my present joy, And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten

mine annoy. For falsehood now doth flow, and subject faith

doth ebb; Which would not be if Reason ruld, or Wisdom But clouds of toys untried do cloak aspiring minds, Which turn to rain of late repent, by course of

weav'd the web.

changed winds. The top of hope suppos’d the root of ruth will be, And fruitless all their graffed guiles, as shortly ye

shall see.

Then dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambi

tion blinds, Shall be unseal'd by worthy wights, whose fore

sight falsehood finds. The daughter of debate, that eke discòrd doth sow, Shall reap no gain where former rule hath taught still

peace No foreign banish'd wight shall anchor in this port, Our realm it brooks no strangers’ force, let them

elsewhere resort. Our rusty sword with rest shall first his edge em

ploy To poll their tops that seek such change, and gape

to grow.

for joy.


Published “ The Arte of English Poesie, contrived into

“ three Books," 1589, 4to. This writer has given us mapy specimens of bis own poetry, with a view of ex

emplifying the rules he inculcates. Puttenham speaks of bimself as baving been a scholar in

Dxford; though whether he was bred there, Wood says he could not tell. He recites an anecdote which he remembered in the first year of Queen Mary's reign, and he quotes a passage from an eclogue entitled “ Elpine," which he made at the age of 18, addressed to King Ed: ward VI. This places the date of his birth before 1535. He was author of two interludes, “ Lustie London," and “ The Woer," and a copious composer of Triumphals, &c. io honour of Queen Elizabeth; to whom he was a gentleman-pensioner. His “ Arte of Poesie” is commend. ed by Bolton, in his Hypercritica, as “ elegant, witty, and artificial.” The following short ditty is, perhaps, the best that can be selected as an example of his talents.

Cruel you be, who can say nay;

Since ye delight in other's woe:
Unwise am I, ye may

well say,
For that I have honour'd you so:
But blameless I, who could not choose

To be enchanted by your eye:
But ye to blame, thus to refuse

My service, and to let me die.

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