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ship, then by lerned clerkes in an argument of translacion.
Well how so ever it shalbe lyked of the learned, I hope it shall be allowed of the unlatined. Whose Capacitees by my owne I consider, and for lacke of a fine and flowynge stile I have used the playne and common speeche, and to thende the sense mighte not be chaunged, nor the goodnes of the matter by shift of tounges muche mynished, 'I caused it to bee conferred wyth the latine Auctor, and so by the knowen well lerned to be corrected: after whose handelynge me thought a newe spirite and life was geven it, and many partes semed as it were wyth a newe cote arayed, aswell for the orderly placynge and eloquently changeynge of some woordes, as also for the plainly openyng and learnedly amending of the sence, whiche in the Frenche translatyon was somewhat darkened, and by me for lacke of knoulage in many places missed.
Thus when the thinge was perfected and I þeheld the fame of the Auctor, the nature of the treatise, and the clerenesse of his teachyng, I coulde not judge to whome I shoulde rather offer it then unto youre Grace, whome the freendelesse haply finde their defence and the helples repaire to as a refuge.
This did I not to teache you, but to let you see in learnynge aunciente that you have by na
ture used ! nor to warne you of oughte you lacked, but to sette forthe your perfection: the proufe whereof the deede mighte wytnesse, and their offspring hath just cause to knoulage it, as mo can recorde it then can requite it. And such your freendly stedfastnesse declared to the deade, doth assertaine usof your stedfast frendlinesse towards the livyng, whiche the many have felte and diverse doe prove and fewe can want Of whiche number youre. Grace hathe made me one, that neyther leaste nor seldomest have tasted of your benefites both in my trouble and also libertie. Wherfore your Grace in my sight is of all other most worthy this small fruite of my prisons laboure, as a fitte patronesse to the honour of suche a worke and å trewe example in whom it is fulfilled. Thus the lord of trueth preserve you in freendshyp, encrease youre frendes and defend you from enemyes.
It is here acknowledged by Sir John Harrington bimself, that he translated this tract, not from the original Latin, but from the French Version. After having translated it from the French, “he caused his Version to be conferred with the latine Auctor, and so by the knowen well lerned to be corrected.”
This version is of particular importance to ascertain the orthography of the time, as adopted in the most polished society. Sir John Harrington was a courtier, and to him we may safely look for the terms, expressions, and mode of spelling, in fashionable vogue. The more remarkable peculiarities seem to be these : joined is spelt joygned, commoditees now obsolete is used for advantages, knowlage occurs instead of knowledge, hertes for hearts, freendes instead of friends, none lyked me for none I liked, phantasied for admired, mete for moe, interesting to many, unlatined for those ignorant of Latin, trewe for true, &c. &c.
The style, considering the period at which it was written, may be allowed to be sufficiently easy and elegant. At the end of the volume is
Imprinted at London, in Fletestreete, by Tho. Powell."
The Copy which I have used is the property of Mr. Douce,
SYR FRANCIS POYNGS.
OF this personage I have been able to obtain no farther information than that he was the first who translated Cebes into English: he did this, as the advertisement informs us, at the request of his brother, Syr Antony Poyngs.
The volume, if so it may be called, for it is of very diminutive size, was printed by Berthelette. It is in black letter, and without date.
The following is its title.
How one maye take profite of his ennemies, translated oute of Plutarche.
A Treatyse perswading a man paciently to suffer the death of his freende."
This last Tract is translated from Erasmus.
The following is the Address from the Printer to the Reader.
This Table of Cebes, shewing how mortall : creatures wander in this worlde, and can not : atteyne to very felicitee for that they be mysled by false opinions and wrong weenynges: was translated out of latine into english by Syr Frances Poyngs, at the request of his brother Syr Antony Poyngs, which translacion is woorthy of high commendation. And if any faute be A a 2
therein, I knowe well it is mistakinge, for my copie was somewhat combrouse what for the enterlining and yll writing.”
As this is the first translatiori of Cebés, and in itself a nost curious and rare book, I subjoin the following example of its style and execution.
“ What is this place called? The habitation: of blessed folke (quoth he). For here dwell all vertues and felicitee. It must needes then. be a fayre place, quoth I. Then thou seest at the gate a certeyne woman, the which is verye fayre and of a constant face and behaveour, in hir middel and lusti age, and hauynge hir ap- ! parell and garmentes symple. She standeth not upon a rounde stoane, but on a square surely set and fixed : and with hir there be two other that seeme to be hir daughters ? It appereth so... Of these, the myddlemoste is Learning, the other trouth, the other perswasion. But why standeth 2 this woman upon a square stoane? It is a token, quoth he, that the way that leadeth folk to her is to them bothe fyrme and sure; and the gifte of those thynges that she geveth is to the receivours sure and stable. And what thynges be they that she geveth ? Boldnes and assurednes without feare, quoth he. What be thei? Knowlage, quoth he, to suffer nothing grevously int his lyfe. By God, quoth I, these bee goodly gyftes: But stādeth she so without the compasse? To the intent, quoth he, she may heale these the whiche come :