Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

To play at the cards and dice
Some of them are nothing nice;

Both at hazard and mum-chance.
They drink in gay golden bowls
The blood of poor simple souls

Perishing for lack of sustenance.

The following passage, on the abuse of great farms, is extremely curious. After describing the numerous exactions to which even the abbeys were subject, he interrupts the recital by this natural question

Wat. How have the abbeys their payment ?
Jeff. A new way they do invent,

Letting a dozen farms under one;
Which one or two great francklyngs,'
Occupying a dozen mens' livings,

Take all in their own hands alone.

Wat. The other, in paying their rent,

By likelihood, were negligent,

And would not do their duty ? Jeff. They payed their duty, and more,

But, their farms are heythed? so sore,

That they are brought unto beggary. frankleyne. See Vol. I.

• Advanced.

1

The next poet deserving notice is John Herwood the epigrammatist, who was much admired by Henry VIII, and by his daughter Queen Mary; but the modern reader will not easily detect, in his printed works, that elegant turn of humour which was so long the delight and admiration of an English court. His “ Parable of the Spider and the Flie" is utterly contemptible: a less tiresome work is his “ Dialogue, contayning in

effect the number of al the proverbes in the English tongue, compact in a matter concerning two mar

riages," printed in 1547, 4to, and 1549, 8vo. The idea is ingenious, and, though ill executed, such a repertory is at least curious. To the dialogue were added in his works (printed by Powell, in 1562, 4to, and afterwards three several times) six centuries of epigrams, interspersed with a few small tales and fables, and from this heap of rubbish it may perhaps be worth while to extract the three following specimens, which are in Heywood's very best manner.

[ocr errors]

An old Wife's Boon.

In old world, when old wives bitterly pray'd,

One, devoutly, as by way of a boon,

Ask'd yengeance on her husband; and to him said, :“ Thou wouldst wed a young wife, ere this week

were done, “ Were I dead, but thou shalt wed the devil as

soon!“ I cannot wed the devil,” quod he. “ Why?"

quod she. " For I have wedded his dam before," quod he,

[1st. cent. epig. 36.]

Two Wishers for two manner of Mouths. “ I wish thou hadst a little narrow mouth, wife, " Little and little, to drop out words in strife!” “ And I wish you, sir, a wide mouth, for the nonce, “ To speak all that ever you shall speak at once!”,

(1st. cent. epig. 83.]

Of blind Bayard. Who so bold as blind Bayard?' no beast, of truth: Whereof my bold blind Bayard perfect proof

shew'th; Both of his boldness, and for his bold blindness; By late occasion in a cause of kindness.

1

Bayard is the name of a horse renowned in stories of chivalry, but I am ignorant of the source of this proverbial expression. VOL. II.

с

A company of us rode in certain ground, Where we well nigh an impassable slough found. Their horses, ere they enter'd, began to stay; Every one's horse giving an other the way; Of good manner, as it were :-and, more and more Each horse gave back to set his better before, Save this rude, rusty, bold, blind Bayard of mine, As rashly as rudely, chopt forth : and, in fine, Without any courtesy, ere any man bids, Blindly and boldly he lept into the mids : And look, how boldly the mids he lept intill, Even with like boldness in the mids he lay still. And, trow you, the jade, at the best men's words

there, Would stir one joint ?--Nay: not the breadth of an

hair! But stared on them, with as bold a countenance, As that hole had been bis by inheritance! He having no more to do there than had I.

But straight, there cometh a cart-wear' of good

hors? by,
By force whereof, and help of all that rout,
Blind Bayard and I were drawn together out.
Which blind boldness, by this admonition,
Except he amend in some meet condition,

"A team.

: A contraction for horses.

Rather than ride so, I will afoot take pain ; Blind bold Bayard shall not thus bear me again.

[3d. cent. epig. 101.]

The time of Heywood's birth is uncertain : he is supposed to have died at Mechlin in 1565; having after the death of Queen Mary become a refugee on account of his religion.

About 1542, a printer of the name of Robert Wyer published an anonymous satire against women, entitled The Scole-howse, wherein every man may rede a goodly prayse of the condycyons of women.From this work Mr. Warton has extracted the following epigrammatic stanza, which, in point of taste and spirit, nearly resembles the poetry of Heywood.

Truly some men there be,

That live always in great horroùr,
And say, it goeth by destiny

To hang or wed: both hath one hour.

And, whether it be, I am well sure,
Hanging is better of the twain ;
Sooner done, and shorter pain.

The minor poets of this reign were, ANDREW BOORD, or BORDE, a whimsical physician, who is mentioned by the ingenious editor of “ the Muses' Library," with much more praise than he seems to

« AnteriorContinuar »