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Say he is rude that cannot lie and feign ;
The lecher a lover; and tyranny To be the right of a prince's reign.
I cannot, I, no, no! it will not be. This is the cause that I could never yet
Hang on their sleeves that weigh as thou may'st see, A chip of chance more than a pound of wit.
This maketh me at home to hunt and hawk ; And in foul weather at my book to sit,
In frost and snow; then with my bow to stalk;
In lusty leas at liberty I walk;
Save that a clog doth hang yet at my heel.**
That I may leap both hedge and dyke full well. I am not now in France to judge the wine,
With savoury sauce the delicates to feel ; Nor yet in Spain, where one must him incline
Rather than to be, outwardly to seem : I meddle not with wits that be so fine.
Nor Flanders cheer letteth my sight to deem.
away With beastliness, they beasts do so esteem. Nor am I not, where Christ is given in prey
For money, poison, or treason, at Rome A common practice, used night and day.
* Warton conjectures that this alludes to some office the poet held at court-Dr. Nott thinks some temporary restraint is alluded to, by which he was confined to his domain of Allington. From the opening of the poem it is probable that neither of these conjectures is the right.
But I am here in Kent and Christendom, Among the muses, where I read and rhyme :
Where if thou list, mine own John Poynz to come, Thou shalt be judge how I do spend my time.
This is a free translation, or rather an imitation of the tenth Satire of Luigi Alamanni, a contemporary writer, and probably personally known to Sir Thomas Wyatt, when he was a resident at the Emperor's court. It is thought by the commentators, to be the earliest of the three poems of a similar character contained in Wyatt's works, and, if so, is certainly the first satirical composition in point of time, extant in the English language. This circumstance seems to have been unknown to Bishop Hall, who publishing his Satires fifty years afterwards, ventured roundly to assert,
“I first adventure, follow me who list
And be the second English satirist." which is the more extraordinary, as it is evident that Hall had paid particular attention to the poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt, having written an imitation of his ode beginning « Blame not my Lute.”
Earl of Surrey;
BORN 1517.-DIED 1547.
The following Poem by this accomplished nobleman, being on a subject eminently Kentish, demands a place in this selection.
An Epitaph on Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elder. Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest:
Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain ;
Such profit he of envy could obtain.*
Whose hammers beat still on that lively brain,
Was daily wrought, to turn to Britain's gain. A visage stern, and mild; where both did grow
Vice to contemn, in virtue to rejoice. I Amid great storms, whom grace assured so,
To live upright, and smile at fortune's choice.
* “ The meaning of this stanza is obscure.-" In this grave resteth Wyatt, who, when living, could never rest in inaction. Who suffered not the disdain he conceived at the unworthy treatment be experienced, to repress the exercise of his heavenly talent: but turning the envy of his persecutors to his own advantage, drew from their malice a generous motive to fix the love of virtue more deeply in his heart.”
† Stithy or stiddie means the anvil of the smith, and is a word still in nse in the northern parts of England.
# That is; “ an expression of countenance, which at the same time that it was stern, to mark his abhorrence of vice, was mild to encourage the love of virtue.”
A hand, that taught what might be said in rhyme;
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit. A mark, the which (unperfected for time,)
Some may approach, but never none shall hit. A tongue that served in foreign realms his king;
Whose courteous talk to virtue did inflame
Our English youth by travail unto fame.
Friends to allure, and foes to reconcile;
With virtue fraught, reposed, void of guile. A heart, where dread was never so impres't
To hide the thought that might the truth advance : In neither fortune loft, 1 nor yet represt,
To swell in wealth, nor yield unto mischance. A valiant corpse, where force and beauty met :
Happy, alas ! too happy, but for foes, Lived, and ran the race, that nature set,
Of manhood's shape, where she the mould did lose. But to the heavens that simple.soul is filed,
Which left, with such as covet Christ to know, Witness of faith that never shall be dead; $
Sent for our health, but not received so. Thus for our guilt this jewel have we lost; The earth his bones, the heavens possess his ghost. *“ Effect,” is here used for affections or passions of the mind.
+ “Reposed,” firmly fixed, in opposition to whatever is capricious or variable.
“ Loft,” elevated,-neither elated by good, pressed by ill fortune. ģ“ In allusion to Wyatt's translation of the seven penetentiary psalms, of which the principal object is, to shew that faith in the mercies of a Redeemer, is the only meritorious cause of acceptance with God.”
“ This Elegy, for it may more properly be called an Elegy than an Epitaph, seems to have been_generally read and admired before it was printed. The whole poem is justly entitled to the highest commendation.Warton cites some stanzas of it as a specimen of a manly and nervous style. So far his praise is just; but this is the least part of Surrey's merit. The objects selected for praise in his departed friend, are virtues of the purest and most exalted nature. Faith in God, and a humble reliance on divine grace; abhorrence of sin ; love of virtue ; innocency of life; and a steady devotion of great natural abilities, and high attainments, to the diffusion of general good, and the service of his country. These could not have been fixed upon by Surrey as topics of panegyric in Wyatt's character, unless they had found congenial virtues in his own bosom.”
** The comments, marked by inverted commas, upon the Poems of Wyatt and Surrey, are taken from Dr. Nott's late edition of their works.