Imágenes de páginas

diners places to prison, and afterward al to Pomfruit, where they were in conclusion beheaded.

A letter written with a cole by Sir ThoMAs MoRE to hys doughter maistres MARGAR et Rop ER, within a whyle after he was prisoner in the Towre.

MYNE own good doughter, our Lorde be thanked I am in good helthe of bodye, and in good quiet of minde: and of all worldly thynges I no more desyer then I haue. I beseche hym make you all mery in the hope of heauen. And such tynges as I somewhat longed to talke with you all, concerning the worlde to some, our Lorde put theim into your myndes, as I truste he dothe and better to by hys holy spirite: who blesse you and preserue you all. Written wyth a ole by your tender louing father, who in hys pore prayers forgetteth none of You all nor your babes, nor your nurses, or your good husbandes, nor your good husbandes shrewde wyues, nor your fators shrewde wyse neither, nor our or frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well for lacke of paper. Thomas MoRE, knight.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

At the same time with Sir Thomas More lived Skelton, the poet laureate of Henry VIII. from whose works it seems proper to insert a few stanzas, though he cannot be said to have attained great elegance of language. -

The Prologue to the Bouge of Courte.

IN Autumpne when the sonne in vyrgyne
By radyante hete enryped hath our corne,
When Luna full of mutabylyte
As Emperes the dyademe hath worne
Of our pole artyke, smylynge half in a scorne
At our foly and our vnstedfastnesse
The time whan Mars to warre hym dyddres,
I callynge to mynde the greate auctoryte
Of poetes olde, whiche full craftely
Vnder as couerte termes as coulde be
Can touche a trouth, and cloke subtylly
With fresshe voteraunce full sentencyously
Dyuerse in style some spared not vyce to
Some of mortalitie nobly did endyte
Whereby I rede, theyr renome and theyr
- fame
May neuer dye, but euermore endure
I was sore moued to a forse the same
But ignoraunce full soone dyd me dyscure
And shewed that in this arte I was not sure
For to illumine she sayd I was to dulle
Aduysynge me my penne awaye to pulle
And not to wryte, for he so wyll atteyne
Excedyng ferther than his conny age is
His heed maye be harde, but feble is brayne
Yet haut I knowen sucheer this
But of reproche surely he maye not mys
That clymmeth hyer than he may foringe

What and he slyde downe, who shall him

saue - as ** Thus vp and downe my mynde was drawen

and cast That I me wyste what to do was beste So sore enwered that I was at the laste Enforsed to slepe, and for to take some reste And to lye downe as soone as 1 my dreste At Harwyche porte slumbrynge as I laye In myne hostes house called powers keye.

Of the wits that flourished in the reign of Henry VIII. none has been more frequently celebrated than the earl of our y; and this history would therefore have been impérfect without some specimens, of his works, which yet it is not easy to distinguish from those of Sir Thomas Isvat and others, with which they are confounded in the edition that has fallen into my hands. The three first are, I believe, Surry's ; the rest, being of the same age, are selected, some as examples

The litening Macedon by swordes, by gleaves,
By bandes and troupes of footemen, with his
Speedes to Dary, but hym his merest kyn,
Oxate praserves with horsemen on a plumpe
Before his carr, that none his charge should
, give. , - -
Here grunts, here groans, eche where strong
youth is spent :
Shaking her bloudy hands, Bellone among
The Perses soweth all kind of cruel death:
With throte yrent he roares, he lyeth along
His entrailes with a launce through gryded
Hym smytes the club, hym woundes farre
- stryking bowe,
And hym the sling, and him the shining
He dyeth, he is all dead, he pantes, he restes.
Right over stoode in snow white armour brave,
The Memphite Zoroas, a cunnyng clarke,
To whom the heaven lay open as his booke;
And in celestiall bodies he could tell
The moving meeting light, aspect, eclips,
And influence, and constellations all;
What earthly chaunces would betyde, what

yere, Of plenty storde, what signe forewarned death, How winter gendreth snow, what temperature, * * In the prime tyde doth season well the soyle, Why summer burnes, why autumne hath ripe grapes, Whither the circle quadrate may become, Whether our tunes heavens harmony, can yelde Of four begyns among themselves how great Proportion is; what sway the erryng lightes Doth send in course gayne that fyrst movyng heaven ; What grees one from another distance be, What starr doth lett the hurtfull fyre to rage, Or him more mylde what opposition makes, What fyre doth qualifye Mavorses fyre, What house eche one doth seeke, what plannett raignts Within this heaven sphere, nor that, small thynges I speake, whole heaven he closeth in his brust. - This sage then in the starres hath spyed the - fates Threatned him death without delay, and, sith -> He saw he could not fatall order chaunge, Foreward he prest in battayle, that he might Mete with the rulers of the Macedons, of his right hand desirous to be slain, The bouldest borne, and worthiest in the feilde; And as a wight, now wery of his lyfe, And seking death, in fyrst front of his rage, comes desperately to Alexanders face, At him with dartes one after other throwes, with recklesse wordes' and clamour him


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

marre ;

That treasure house this hand shall never spoyle,

My sword shall never bruise that skillful brayne,

Long gather'd heapes of science sone to spill; O how fayre fruites may you to mortall men From Wisdoms garden give; how many may By you the wiser and the better prove': What error, what mad moode, what frenzy thee Perswades to be downe, sent to depe Averne, Where no artes flourish, nor no knowledge vailes For all these sawes. When thus the sovereign said, Alighted Zoroas with sword unsheathed, The careless king there smoate above the greve, At th' opening of his quishes wounded him, So that the blood down trailed on the ground: The Macedon perceiving hurt, gan gnashe, But yet his mynde he bent in any wise Hym to forbeare, sett spurrs unto his stede, And turnde away, lest anger of his smarte Should cause revenger hand deale balefull blowes. But of the Macedonian chieftaines knights, One Meleager could not bear this sight, But ran upon the said Egyptian rude, And cutt him in both knees: he fell to ground, Where with a whole rout came of souldiours sterne, - - And all in pieces hewed the sely seg, But happely the soule fled to the starres, Where, under him, he hath full sight of all, Whereat he gazed here with reaching looke. The Persians waild such sapience to forgoe, The very fone the Macedonians wisht He would have lived, king Alexander selfe Demce him a man unmete to dye at all ; Who wonne like praise for conquest of hi Yre, As for stoute men in field that day subdued Who princes taught how to discerne a man, That in his head so rare a jewel beares, But over all those same Camenes, those sarne Divine Camenes, whose honour he procurd, As tender parent doth his daughters weale, Lamented, and for thankes, all that they can, Docherish hym deceast, and sett him free, From dark oblivion of devouring death.

Barclay wrote about 1550; his chief work is the Ship of Fooles, of which the following extract will show his style.

Of Mockers and Scorners and false Accusers.

O HEART less fooles, haste here to our doctrine, Leaue off the wayes of your enormitie, Enforce you to my preceptes to encline, For here shall I shewe you good and veritie: Encline, and ye finde shall great prosperitie, Ensuing the doctrine of our fathers olde, And godly lawes in valour worth great olde. Who that will followe the graces manyfolde Which are in vertue, shall finde auauncement : Wherfore ye fooles that in your sinne are bolde, Ensue ye wisdome, and leaue your lewde intent, Wisdome is the way of men most excellent: Therfore haue done, and shortly spede your Pace,

To quaynt your self and company with grace..

Learne what is vertue, therin is lace, Learne what is truth, sadnes and prudence, Let grutche be gone, and grauitie purchase, Forsake your folly and inconuenience, Cease to be fooles, and ay to sue offence, Followe ye vertue, chiefe roote of godlynes, For it and wise.dome is ground of clenlynes. Wisedome and vertue two thinges at doubtles, Whiche man endueth with honour speciall, But suche heartes as slepe in foolishnes Knoweth nothing, and will nought know at all : But in this little barge in principall All foolish mockers I purpose to repreue, Clawe he his backe that feeleth itch or greue. Mockers and scorners that are harde of beicut, With a rough comb here will I clawe and grate, To proue if they will from their vice remoue, Af leaue their folly, which causeth great debate : Suche caytiues spare neyther poore man nor estate, And where their selfe are most worthy derision, Other men to scorne is all their most condition.

great so

Yet are mo fooles of this abusion, Whiche of wise men despiseth the doctrine, With mowes, mockes, scorne, and collusion, Rewarding rebukes for their good discipline: Shewe to suche wisdome, yet shall they not


Unto the same, but set nothing therby
But mocke thy doctrine, still or openly.

So in the worlde it appeareth commonly, That who that will a foole rebuke or blame, A mocke or mowe shall he haue by and by : Thus in derision haue fooles their speciall

asn't. correc: a wise man that woulde eschue ill name, And fayne woulde learne, and his lewde life amende,

And to thy wordes he gladly shall intende.
If by misfortune a rightwise man offende,
He gladly suffereth a iuste correction,
And him that him teacheth taketh for his
Him selfe putting mekely unto subjection,
Folowing his preceptes and good direction :
But yf that one a foole rebuke or blame,
He shall his teacher hate, slaunder and dif-
Howbeit his wordes oft turne to his own
shame, r
And his owne dartes retourne to him agayne,
And so is he sore wounded with the same,
And in wo endeth, great misery and payne.
It also proued full often is certayne,
That they that on mockers alway their
mindes cast, -
Shall of all other be mocked at the last.
He o goeth right, stedfast, sure, and
May him well mocke that goeth halting and


And he that is white may well his scornes

CaSt, Agaynst a man of Inde: but no man ought to blame Anothers vice, while he vseth the same. But who that of sinne is cleane in dede and thought, May him well scorne whose liuing is starke nought. The scornes of Naball full dere should haue been bought, If Abigay] his wife discrete and sage, Had not by kindnes right crafty meanes sought, The wrath of Dauid to temper and asswage. Hath not two beares in their fury and rage Two and fortie children rent and torne, For they the prophete Helyscus did scorne. So might they curse the time that they were borne, For their mocking of this prophete diuine: So many other of this sort often mourne For their lewde mockes, and fall into ruine. Thus is it foly for wise men to encline, To this lewde flocke of fooles, for see thou shall Them moste scorning that are most bad of all.

The Lemuoy of Barclay to the fooles. }

Ye mocking fooles that in scorne set your

toy, Proudly ories Gods punition: Take ye example by Cham the sonne of Noy, Which laughed his father vnto derision, Which him after cursed for his transgression, And made him seruaunt to all his lyne and

w stocke.

So shall ye caytifs at the conclusion,

Since ye are nought, and other scorne and mocke.

About the year 1553 wrote Dr. Wilson, a man celebrated for the politeness of his style, and the extent of his knowledge: what was the state of our language in his time, the following may be of use to show.

PRonunciation is an apte orderinge bothe of the voyce, countenaunce, and all the whole bodye, accordynge to the worthines of suche woordes and mater as by speache are declared. The vse hereof is suche for anye one that liketh to haue prayse for tellynge his tale in open assemblie, that hauing a good tongue, and a comelye countenaunce, he shal be thought to passe all other that haue the like vtteraunce: thoughe they haue muche better learning. The tongue geneth a certayne grace to euerye matter, and beautifieth the cause in like maner, as a Swete soundynge lute muche setteth forthe a meane deuised ballade. Or as the sounde of a good instrumente styroth the hearers, and moueth much delite, so a cleare soundyng voice comfort

[ocr errors]

eth muche our deintie eares, with muché swete melodie, and causeth vs to allowe the matter rather for the reporters sake, then the reporter for the matters sake. Demosthenes therfore, that famouse oratour, o; asked what was the chiefest point in al oratorie, gaue the chiefe and onely praise to Pronunciation; being demaunded, what was the secoñde, and the thirds he still made answere, Pronunciation, and would make none other aunswere, till they lefte askyng, declaryng hereby that arte without vtteraunce can dooe, nothyng, vtteraunce without arte can dooe right muche, And no doubte that man is in outwarde appearaunce halfe a good clarke, that hath a cleane tongue, and a comely gesture of his body. AEschines lykwyse beyng bannished his countrie through Demosthenes, when he had redde to the Rhodians his own oration, and Demosthenes aunswere thereunto, by force whereof he was bannished, and all they marueiled muche at the excellencie of the same: then (q d AEschines) you would have marueiled muche more if you had heard hymselfe speak it. Thus beyng cast in miserie and bannished for euer, he could not but geue suche greate reporte of his deadly and mortal ennemy.

[merged small][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

expressed by the szine chalacter; but as those let

ters, which had always different powers, have now different forms, our alphabet may be properly said to consist of twenty-six letters. None of the simall consonants have a double form, excepts, si of which sis used in the beginning and middle, and s at the end.

[ocr errors]

In treating on the letters, I shall not, like some other grammarians, inquire into the original of their form, as an antiquarian; nor into their formation and prolation by the organs of speech, as a mechanick, anatomist, or physiologist ; nor into the properties and gradation of sounds, or the elegance or harshness of particular combinations, as a writer of universal and transcendental grammar. I consider the English alphabet only as it is English; and even in this narrow disquisition I follow the txample of former grammarians, perhaps with more reverence than judgment, because by writing in English I suppose my reader already acquainted with the English language, aud consequently able to pronounce the letters of which I teach the pronunciation; and because of sounds in gener; it may be observed, that words are unable to describe theon. An account therefore of the Primitive and simple letters is uscless almost alike to those who know their sound, and those who know it not.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »