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verning passion of Skelton. His turbulence and scurrility, which kept him embroiled through life, drove him at last to claim the protection of the sanctuary of Westminster ; in which the first English libeller died in merited contempt and obscurity. It is not easy to find a tolerable specimen of Skelton, whose vein was wholly satiric. Ellis and Campbell have wholly neglected the royal tutor, “ Laureate Skelton;" and a very few lines may be enough of him. It is thus he celebrates Mistress Margery Wentworth :
With Margerain gentill,
With Earl Surrey the SPECIMENS of our LYRICAL, DESCRIPTIVE, and NARRATIVE Poets, may with propriety commence, and proceed thence in chronological order. From this date the continuous stream of English poetry flows down free and uninterrupted. It rose at once a lake-fed mighty river. Disdaining the augmentation of the scanty rills and tributary streams, which fell into its channels in its lengthened course, it burst away in impetuous grandeur. In following its track, we must soon indeed lose sight of the bold, broad, rush. ing wave which swept forward on its swell the bark of Shakspeare through all the quick-changing and luxuriant scenes of nature and enchantment and of those sylvan glades and magic islets, in which wander the bravest knights and fairest damsels of romance, where the Nymphs and Fauns, the “Hours and Elves,” held their revels; and among which floated over golden sands, wafted on by spicy gales, the “shallow ship” of Spenser. But much delight is still to be gained in following the downward course of this noble stream through many a lovely and unexplored region. Even when confined within circumscribed limits, the exquisite neatness, grace, and finish of its verdant embankments and archi. tectural decorations, yield a high and pure pleasure, till in its later course we hail it, as it again bursts forth, amidst scenes of mingled rich cultivation and wild luxuriance, with much of the majestic gran. deur of its early upland flow.
LYRICAL, DESCRIPTIVE, AND NARRATIVE
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
BORN 1516-Beheaded 1547,
“ Who has not heard of Surrey's fame?
His was the hero's soul of fire,
SURREY, the grace and ornament of the court of the tyrant who caused his death, was the eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk. He was educated at Cambridge, and was in his sixteenth year betrothed to Lady Frances Vere, the daughter of the Earl of Oxford. It had been a common practice of the English nobility, in unsettled times, to strengthen and consolidate their family alliances by the early contracts of their children; and it was some time before this custom was discontinued. Surrey's marriage was not completed till three years afterwards; and in this interval he resided at Windsor and Hampton as the domestic companion and fellow-student of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, the natural son and favourite child of Henry VIII. To this young nobleman, who was contracted in marriage to his sister, Surrey was warmly attached ; and the tender re. collection of this youth, who died at the age of seventeen,
often breaks out in his verses with marks of sensibility at least as authentic as those with which he has celebrated the beauty of Geraldine, or the depth and constancy of
the passion she inspired. With the young Duke of Richmond Surrey attended Car
dinal Wolsey's College at Oxford; and it is said he went over to France with him to receive the king on his memorable visit to Francis I., and thus must have been a witness and partaker of the stately pageants of the “Field of the Cloth of Gold.” But this rests on little better authority than that he assisted in gaining the victory at the fight of Flodden-field, which was stricken be
fore he was born. The romantic traditionary history of Surrey, which was
handed down even to our own day unquestioned, and received with admiration and delight, has been grievously demolished of late by one of those lovers of accuracy in dates and matters of fact, who appear to have a malicious pleasure in setting folks right on small points of chronology and unimportant truth, at the sacrifice of the finest points of their romantic creed. Surrey's late ingenious biographer cannot well get rid of the Fair Geraldine, whom the passion and genius of her lover have rendered so illustrious in poetical annals; but he is only too successful in showing, that, instead of pricking forth her knight and lover-proclaiming her peerless charms at the point of the lance at all the courts of Europe-throwing defiance to “ Christian, Turk, Jew, Saracen, or Cannibal," who should dare to dispute her charms, as we have ever fondly believed, -Surrey never at this time left England. If he never was abroad-never jousted in honour of Geraldine at the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany-another interesting tradition respecting this romantic lover is destroyed by a back-stroke. In the course of his chivalrous progress, it is said he remained some days at the court of the Emperor, where he became acquainted with that ce.
lebrated adept in natural magic, Cornelius Agrippa, who showed him in a mirror the image of his beloved Geraldine reclining sick on a couch, and reading by a taper one
of his most passionate sonnets. Even Geraldine herself has been imagined an ideal being,
though there is little doubt that surrey's mistress had a real existence, and was a daughter of the Earl of Kildare. She was an attendant on some of the princesses, and at an early age married Sir Anthony Wood, and afterwards the Earl of Lincoln. Surrey was probably married before he had ever seen Geraldine, as he has named her; but such poetical attachments were, in chivalrous times, no im. peachment either on the fame of the knight or the purity of the lady. Bayard, the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, was through life the avowed knight of the Dame of Fluxas : and Sir Philip Sydney's attachment to one “ whose fair neck a foul yoke bore," did not in this parti
cular infringe the good custom of chivalry. In the midst of his love and sonneteering, Surrey was knight
ed and sent to France in 1540, to superintend the defences of the possessions England then held on the frontier of that kingdom. In the subsequent year he is imagined to have been employed in translating Virgil, and in original composition, till he accompanied his father into Scotland on the military expedition which has been confounded with that which ended at Flodden. Surrey's biographer, not content with rescuing him from the imputation of being a practical Amadis or Quixote, shows him, on his return from Scotland, tarnishing his first-won laurels by the inglorious pastime of breaking the windows of the citizens of London with stones shot from his cross-bow, to the great bodily peril of the lieges, and in very youth. ful wantonness. For such offences, and for eating meat in Lent, he was twice imprisoned, and in confinement consoled himself by writing love-verses. Chaucer, nearly two hundred years before, had been fined for beating a