صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

The daughter of debate,

That eke discord doth sow,
Shall

reap no gain where former rule
Hath taught still peace to grow.
No foreign banished wight

Shall anchor in this port;
Our realm it brooks no stranger force,

Let them elsewhere resort.
Our rusty sword with rest,

Shall find his edge employ
To poll their tops that seek such change,

And gape for eager joy.

There is more merit in this poem than appears at first reading. It is strikingly characteristic of the illustrious author; written evidently with much pains ; very harmonious; and so overflowing with metaphor, that every line almost, contains one, and some two conceits. Several other poetical compositions by Queen Elizabeth are extant; one may be found at length in Mr. Park's additions to the Royal and Noble Authors,' being a translation in blank verse of a chorus in the Hercules tæus of Seneca. A few lines of this may amuse, and will doubtless satisfy the reader. The weight of sceptre's sway if choice must bear, Albeit the vulgar crew fill full thy gates, And hundred thresholds with their feet be smoothed; Though with thy gleaves and axes thou be armed, And root full great do glory give thy name; Amid the view of all these sundry sorts One faultless faith her room even frank may

claim.

• The lines in the original are of twelve and fourteen sylla. lables; they are here divided for the convenience both of the reader and the printer.

It is amusing to contrast this bombast with the simplicity of the original.

Tu, quicunque es, qui sceptra tenes,
Licet omne tuâ vulgus in anlâ
Centum pariter limina pulset;
Cum tot popnlis stipatus eas
In tot populis vix unâ fides.

There is an air_of originality in these, and other poems of Queen Elizabeth, which leaves very little reason to doubt their being genuine and uncontaminated by a meaner hand. In truth, who but ancient Pistol himself could have produced their like? The same remark cannot with justice be applied to her father's compositions, otherwise his name as a Kentish man should have adorned our pages, in due form. Henry the eighth was also born at the palace at Greenwich. In the Nugæ Antiquæ is a letter from Sir John Harrington to Prince Henry, inclosing "a special verse" of King Henry the eighth, 'when he conceived love for Anne Boleyn; “and hereof,” says Sir John, tertain no doubt of the author; for if I had no better reason than the rhyme, it were sufficient to think that no other than such a King could write such a sonnet; but of this my father oft gave me good assurance, who was in his household. This sonnet was sung to the lady at his commandment,--and here followeth.”

66

I en

The eagle's force subdues each bird that flies;

What metal can resist the flaming fire ? Does not the sun dazzle the clearest eyes,

And melt the ice, and make the frost retire? The hardest stones are pierced through with tools: The wisest are, with princes, made but fools.

This is too good for a King of the age of Henry the eighth, and was more probably made for him, than by him. The following, taken from a manuscript of that

period, given by Mr. Ritson to the British Museum,
where it is called • The King's Balade,' is much more
in character.

Pastime with good company
I love, and shall until I die;
Grudge whoso will, but none deny ;
So God be pleased, so live will I.

For my pastaunce
Hunt, song, and dance,
My heart is set,

All goodly sport,

To my comfort,

Who shall me let?
Youth will needs have dalliance,
Of good or ill some pastaunce,
Company methinketh them best
All thoughts and fancies to digest ;

For idleness
Is chief mistress
Of vices all :

Then who can say,

But pass the day,

Is best of all.
Company with honesté
Is virtue, and vice to flee;
Company is good or ill,
But every man hath his free will.

The best ensue,
The worst eschew,
My mind shall be :

Virtue to use,

Vice to refuse,
I shall use me.

1

So much for Henry the eighth, whose character was never better drawn than in the following stanza:

“ Harry the eighth, as story saith,

Was a king so unjust,
He ne'er did spare man in his ire,

Nor woman in his lust."

except perhaps, the memorable words of Wolsey, on his death-bed.-" He is a prince, who rather than he will miss or want any part of his will, he would endanger the one half of his kingdom.”

[graphic]

ALEXANDER NEVILLE,

Born 1544.—Died 1614.

Alexander Neville (or Nevil) was the eldest son of Richard Neville, of an ancient and honourable Nottinghamshire family, and born at Canterbury, according to Fuller, probably in 1544; his mother was Anne, daughter of Sir Walter Mantel, of Heyford, in Northamptonshire. He was brother to Thomas Neville, the fourth Dean of Canterbury, and after spending his youth at court, retired to that City, where he passed his age in honourable seclusion, and the pursuits of literature. As an author, perhaps the following account by Warton, in his History of English Poetry, is the best we can select.

“Alexander Neville translated, or rather paraphrased the Cdipus of Seneca, in the sixteenth year of his age, and in the year 1560, but it was not printed till 1581. It is dedicated to Dr. Wootton, a privy-counsellor, and his god-father. Notwithstanding the translator's youth, it is by far the most spirited and elegant version in the whole collection, and it is to be regretted that he did not undertake all the rest. He seems to have been persuaded by his friends, who were of the graver sort, that poetry was only one of the lighter accomplishments of a youag man, and that it should soon give way to the more weighty pursuits of literature.

. .^- Master's degree at Cam

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »