« PreviousContinue »
Make plaine thine hart, that it be not knotted
For thou shalt feele it sticking in thy mynde.
None other payne pray I for them to be,
Even as she is, so goodly fayre and bright !! With these disinterested strains we may join the following single stanza, called The COURTIER's Life.
In court to serve, decked with freshe aray,
That whoso joyes such kind of life to hold,
In prison joyes, fettred with chaines of gold". Wyat may justly be deemed the first polished English satirist. I am of opinion, that he mistook his talents when, in compliance with the mode, he became a sonnetteer; and, if we may judge from a few instances, that he was likely to have treated any other subject with more success than that of love. His abilities were seduced and misapplied in fabricating fine speeches to an obdurate mistress. In the following little ode, or rather epigram, on a very different occasion, there is great simplicity and propriety, together with a strain of poetic allusion. It is on his return from Spain into England.
Tagus, farewell, that westward with thy stremes
passions. k assigned
(Nec te quæsiveris extra.-Ashby.] + [Virtutem videant, intabescantque relictâ, Pers. Sat. 3. If Surrey copies but little, Wyat doth plentifully.-Ashby.]
1 Fol. 45, 46.
And to the town that Brutus sought by dreames?,
Like bended mooner that leanes her lustys side ;
O mighty Jove, the wyndes for this me give! Among Wyat's poems is an unfinished translation, in Alexandrine verse, of the Song of Iopas in the first book of Virgil's Eneidu. Wyat's and Surrey's versions from Virgil are the first regular translations in English of an ancient classic poet; and they are symptoms of the restoration of the study of the Roman writers, and of the revival of elegant literature. A version of David's Pslams by Wyat is highly extolled by lord Surrey and Leland. But Wyat's version of the PeniTENTIAL Psalms seems to be a separate work from his translation of the whole Psaltery, and probably that which is praised by Surrey, in an ode above quoted, and entitled, Praise of certain Psalmes of David, translated by Sir T. Wyat the elder". They were printed with this title, in 1549. “Certayne Psalmes chosen out of the Psalter of David commonly called the vij penytentiall Psalmes, drawen into Englyshe meter by Sir Thomas Wyat knyght, whereunto is added a prologe of the auctore before every Psalme very pleasant and profettable to the godly reader. Imprinted at London in Paules Churchyarde at the sygne of thee starre by Thomas Raynald and John Harryngton, cum previlegio ad imprimendum solum, MDXLIX." Leland seems to speak of the larger version.
Transtulit in nostram Davidis carmina linguam,
Et numeros magna reddidit arte pares.
Non morietur opus tersum, SPECTABILE, sacrum*. But this version, with that of Surrey mentioned above, is now lost); and the pious Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins are the only im. mortal translators of David's Psalms.
A similarity, or rather sameness of studies, as it is a proof, so perhaps it was the chief cement, of that inviolable friendship which is said to have subsisted between Wyat and Surrey. The principal subject of their poetry was the same : and they both treated the passion of love in the spirit of the Italian poets, and as professed disciples of Petrarch.
9 a tradition in Geoffrey of Monmouth.
" The old city from the river appeared in the shape of a crescent.
* strong, flourishing, populous, &c. 1 Fol. 44.
• Fol. 49. w Fol. 16. (See supr. p. 34.) [These Psalms were reprinted by bishop Percy with his ill-fated impression of lord Surrey's poems, which perished in the warehouse of Mr. John Nicholls, 1808. To William Marquis of Northampton, &c. &c. they were inscribed by John Harrington (the father probably of Sir John H.), who
determined to print them, “that the noble fame of so worthy a knight as was the author hereof, Sir Thomas Wyat, should not perish, but remayne.” Before each psalm is inserted an explanatory“ Prologe of the Auctor," in eight-line stanzas: the translation is throughout in alternate verse.—PARK.]
* Næn. ut supr.
y See Hollinsh. Chron. iii. p. 978. col. 2. (Dr. Nott is of opinion that Wyat translated no more of the Psalter than the Penitential Psalms.-PRICE.]
They were alike devoted to the melioration of their native tongue, and an attainment of the elegancies of composition. They were both engaged in translating Virgil*, and in rendering select portions of Scripture into English metre.
The first printed Miscellany of English Poetry. Its Contributors.
Sir Francis Bryan, Lord Rochford, and Lord Vaulx. The First True Pastoral in English. Sonnet-writing cultivated by the Nobility. Sonnets by King Henry the Eighth. Literary Character of that
king. To the poems of Surrey and Wyat are annexed, as I have before hinted, in Tottell's editions, those of “ Uncertain Authors a.” This latter collection forms the first printed poetical miscellany in the English language; although very early manuscript miscellanies of that kind are not uncommon. Many of these pieces are much in the manner of Surrey and Wyat, which was the fashion of the times. They are all anonymous ; but probably, sir Francis Bryan, George Boleyn earl of Rochford, and lord Vaulx, all professed rhymers and sonnet-writers, were large contributorst.
Drayton, in his elegy (epistle] To his dearly loved friend HENRY ReynolDS OF POETS AND Poesie, seems to have blended all the several collections of which Tottell's volume consists. After Chaucer
They with the Muses who conversed, were
[There seems no reason for inferring with Dr. Nott, that Warton intended by this expression a larger portion of Virgil than the Song of Iopas mentioned above. -PRICE.]
* They begin at fol. 50.
+ [Churchyard must also be added to this list of contributors on the following averment:~"Many things in the booke
of Songs and Sonets printed then (in queen Mary's time) were of my making." See notices of his works prefixed to his “Challenge, 1593." Heywood and Harrington likewise have dormant claims to the honourable distinction of coadjutorship. Vid. infra, p. 56. and Nugæ Antiquæ, vol. i. p. 95. and ii. 256. ed. 1775.- PARK.]
Of Songes and Sonnetts, wherein oft they hit
On many dainty passages of witb. Sir Francis Bryan was the friend of Wyat, as we have seen ; and served as a commander under Thomas earl of Surrey in an expedition into Brittany; by whom he was knighted for his bravery C. Hence he probably became connected with lord Surrey the poet. But Bryan was one of the brilliant ornaments of the court of king Henry the Eighth, which at least affected to be polite: and from his popular accomplishments as a wit and a poet, he was made a gentleman of the privychamber to that monarch, who loved to be entertained by his domesticsd. Yet he enjoyed much more important appointments in that reign, and in the first year of Edward the Sixth ; and died chief justiciary of Ireland, at Waterford, in the year 1548€. On the principle of an unbiassed attachment to the king, he wrote epistles on Henry's divorce, never published ; and translated into English from the French, Antonio de Guevara's Spanish Dissertation on the life of a courtier, printed at London in the year last mentioned. He was nephew to John Bourchier, lord Berners, the translator of Froissart; who, at his desire, translated at Calais from French into English, the Golden Boke, or Life of Marcus Aurelius, about 15338. Which are Bryan's pieces I cannot ascertain.
George Boleyn, viscount Rochford, was son of Sir Thomas Boleyn, afterwards earl of Wiltshire and Ormond; and at Oxford discovered an early propensity to polite letters and poetry. He was appointed to several dignities and offices by king Henry the Eighth, and subscribed the famous declaration sent to Pope Clement the Seventh. He was brother to queen Anne Boleyn, with whom he was suspected of a criminal familiarity. The chief accusation against him seems to have been, that he was seen to whisper with the queen one morning while she was in bed. As he had been raised by the exaltation, he was involved in the misfortunes of that injured princess, who had no other fault but an unguarded and indiscreet frankness of nature ; and whose character has been blackened by the bigoted historians of the catholic cause, merely because she was the mother of queen Elizabeth. To gratify the ostensible jealousy of the king, who had conceived a violent passion for a new object, this amiable nobleman was beheaded on the first of May, in 1536h. His elegance of person, and spritely conversation, captivated all the ladies of Henry's court. Wood says, that at the “royal court he was much adored, especially by the female sex, for his admirable discourse, and symmetry of body i.” From these irresistible allurements his
Works, vol. iv. p. 1255. edit. Lond.
Rymer, Fæd. xiv. 380.
Oxon. [Printed again in 1575, small 8vo.
8 See the Colophon. It was printed by Thomas Berthelett, in 1536, quarto. Often afterwards. Lord Berners was deputygeneral of Calais, and its marches.
f Cod. Impress. A. Wood, Mus. Ashmol.
n See Dugd. Baron. iii.
enemies endeavoured to give a plausibility to their infamous charge of an incestuous connection. After his commitment to the Tower, his sister the queen, on being sent to the same place, asked the lieutenant, with a degree of eagerness, “Oh! where is my sweet brotherk?” Here was a specious confirmation of his imagined guilt: this stroke of natural tenderness was too readily interpreted into a licentious attachment. Bale mentions his RhyTHMI ELEGANTISSIMI', which Wood calls “ Songs and Sonnets, with other things of the like nature m." These are now lost, unless some, as I have now insinuated, are contained in the present collection; a garland, in which it appears to have been the fashion for every FlowERY COURTIER to leave some of his blossoms. But Boleyn's poems cannot now be distinguished *.
The lord Vaulx, whom I have supposed, and on surer proof, to be another contributor to this miscellany, could not be the Nicholas lord Vaux, whose gown of purple velvet, plated with gold, eclipsed all the company present at the marriage of prince Arthur; who shines as a statesman and a soldier with uncommon lustre in the history of Henry the Seventh, and continued to adorn the earlier annals of his successor, and who died in the year 1523. Lord Vaux the poet was probably Thomas lord Vaux, the son of Nicholas, and who was summoned to parliament in 1531, and seems to have lived till the latter end of the reign of queen Mary”. All our old writers mention the poetical lord Vaux, as rather posterior to Wyat and Surrey; neither of whom was known as a writer till many years after the death of lord Nicholas. George Gascoyne [Thomas Churchyard], who wrote in 1575 (1568], in his panegyric on the English Poets, places Vaux after Surrey.
Piers Plowman was full plaine,
And Chauser's spreet was great ;
LORD Vaux the marke did beat t.
Puttenham, author of the ARTE OF English PoESIE, having spoken of Surrey and Wyat, immediately adds, “In the same TIME, or not LONG AFTER, was the lord Nicholas" Vaux, a man of much facilitie in
See Richard Smith's verses, in commendation of Gascoigne's Posies.-Park.]
► See what I have said of his son lord William, in the Life of Sir Thomas Pope, p. 221. In 1558, sir Thomas Pope leaves him a legacy of one hundred pounds, by the name of lord Vaulx. [Warton's conjecture is now generally admitted to be correct.--PRICE.]
+ [Prefixed to Skelton's Poems, printed by Marsh, 1568.-PARK.]
• The christian name is a mistake, into which it was easy to fall.