Page images
PDF
EPUB

seem to have uniformly influenced all the nobility of the court of king Henry the Eighth who were fond of writing verses. Henry Parker, lord Morley, who died an old man in the latter end of that reign, was educated in the best literature which our universities afforded. Bale mentions his TRAGEDIES and COMEDIES, which I suspect to be nothing more than grave mysteries and moralities, and which probably would not now have been lost, had they deserved to live. He mentions also his RHYMES, which I will not suppose to have been imitations of Petrarch. Wood says, that “his younger years were adorned with all kinds of superficial learning, especially with dramatic poetry, and his elder with that which was divine.” It is a stronger proof of his piety than his taste, that he sent, as a new year's gift to the princess Mary, HAMPOLE'S COMMENTARY UPON SEVEN OF THE FIRST PENITENTIAL Psalms. The manuscript, with his epistle prefixed, is in the royal manuscripts of the British Museum". Many of Morley's translations, being dedicated either to king Henry the Eighth, or to the princess Mary, are preserved in manuscript in the same royal repository . They are chiefly from Solomon, Seneca, Erasmus, Athanasius, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, and Paulus Jovius. The authors he translated show his track of reading. But we should not forget his attention to the classics, and that he translated also Tully's DREAM OF Scipio, and three or four lives of Plutarch, although not immediately from the Greeky. He seems to have been a rigid catholic, retired and studious. His declaration, or paraphrase, on the ninety-fourth Psalm, was printed by Berthelette in 1539. A theological commentary by a lord, was too curious and important a production to be neglected by our first printers.

SECTION XLII. John Heywood the Epigrammatist. His Works examined. Ancient

unpublished burlesque Poem of Sir Penny. John HEYWOOD, commonly called the epigrammatist, was beloved and rewarded by Henry the Eighth for his buffooneries *. At leaving the university, he commenced author, and was countenanced by sir Thomas More for his facetious disposition. To his talents of jocularity in conversation, he joined a skill in music, both vocal and instrumental. His merriments were so irresistible, that they moved even the rigid muscles of queen Mary*, and her sullen solemnity was not proof against his songs, his rhymes, and his jestst. He is said to have been often invited to exercise his arts of entertainment and pleasantry in her presence, and to have had the honour to be constantly admitted into her privy-chamber for this purpose.

+ Script. Brit. par. p. st. 103.
4 Ath. Oxon. i. 52.
W MSS. 18 B. xxi.
* But see MSS. Gresham, 8.

y See MSS. (Bibl. Bodl.) Laud. H. 17. MSS. Bibl. Reg. 17 D. 2.-17 D. xi.18 A. lx. And Walpole, Roy. and Nob. Auth. i. p. 92 seq. [p. 313 of Mr. Park's edition, where a specimen of his poetry is given. See also Wood's Ath. Oxon. by Mr. Bliss, vol. i. col. 117. and the Brit. Bibliographer, vol. iv. p. 107.]

* [From having been termed civis Londinensis by Bale, he has been considered as a native of London by Pitts, Fuller, Wood, Tanner, and by the editors of the New Biog. Dict. in 1798. Langbaine, and after him Gildon, conveyed the information that he had lived at North Mims, Herts; and Mr. Reed has followed up this report in Biog. Dram. by saying he was born there. That North Mims had been the place of his residence, if not of his nativity, may be deduced from the following

Notwithstanding his professional dissipation, Heywood appears to have lived comfortably under the smiles of royal patronage. What

lines in Thalia's Banquet 1620, by Hen. Peacham. I thinke the place that gave me first my

birth, The genius had of epigram and mirth; There famous More did his Utopia write, And there came Heywood's Epigrams to light.

PARK.] • [Heywood evinced his attachment to this princess long before her ascent to the throne, as appears from a copy of verses preserved in Harl. MS. 1703, entitled, “A Description of a most noble Ladye, advewed by John Heywoode presently; who advertisinge her yeares as face, saith of her thus in much eloquent phrase. Give place ye ladyes all, bee gone,

Shewe not your selves att all,
For why? behoulde there cometh one

Whose face yours all blanke shall.” The eulogist then proceeds to describe the virtuous attraction of her looks, the blushing beauty of her lively countenance, the wit and gravity, the mirth and modesty, with the firmness of word and deed which mingled in her character. This picture was taken when the princess was eighteen; and consequently in the year 1534. Part of the above poem was printed among the songs and sonnets of Uncertain Authors in Tottell's early Miscellany, and has been inserted by Mr. Warton at p.56 of this volume, with high commendation of the unsuspected writer. Two ballads by Heywood printed in 1554 and 1557 are preserved in the archives of the Society of Antiquaries. The former was written on the marriage of Philip and Mary; the latter, on the traitorous taking of Scarborough castle. Both have been reprinted

in vol. ii. of a Supplement to the Harleian Miscellany.-PARK.]

+ [One of these is preserved in Cotton MS. Jul. P. x. “When Queene Mary tolde Heywoode that the priestes must forego their wives, he merrily answered, Then your grace must allow them lemmans, for the clergie cannot live without sauce." Another is recorded by Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589 : “At the Duke of Northumberland's bourd, merry John Heywood was allowed to sit at the table's end. The duke had a very noble and honorable mynde alwayes to pay his debts well, and when he lacked money, would not stick to sell the greatest part of his plate: so had he done few dayes before. Heywood being loth to call for his drinke so oft as he was dry, turned his eye toward the cupbord and sayd, 'I finde great misse of your grace's standing cups :' the duke thinking he had spoken it of some knowledge that his plate was lately sold, said somewhat sharply, 'Why, sir, will not these cups serve as good a man as your selfe?' Heywood readily replied, “Yes, if it please your grace: but I would have one of them stand still at myne elbow full of drinke, that I might not be driven to trouble your men so often to call for it.' This pleasant and speedy turn of the former wordes holpe all the matter againe, whereupon the duke became very pleasaunt and dranke a bolle of wine to Heywood, and bid a cuppe should alwayes be standing by him." p. 231. Pitts has related an extraordinary instance of his death-bed waggery, which seems to vie in merriment with the scaffold jests of Sir Thomas More in articulo mortis.-Park.]

a Wood, Ath. Oxon. i. 150.

1 “North Mimmes in Herts, neere to Saint Albans.” Sir Thomas More must have had a seat in that neighbourhood, says Dr. Berkenhout. His admiration of Heywood's repartees is noticed in Dod's Church History, vol. i. p. 369.

the Fairy Queen could not procure for Spenser from the penurious Elisabeth and her precise ministers, Heywood gained by puns and conceits.

His comedies, most of which appeared before the year 1534, are destitute of plot, humour, or character, and give us no very high opinion of the festivity of this agreeable companion. They consist of low incident, and the language of ribaldry. But perfection must not be expected before its time. He is called our first writer of comedies. But those who say this, speak without determinate ideas, and confound comedies with moralities and interludes. We will allow, that he is among the first of our dramatists who drove the Bible from the stage, and introduced representations of familiar life and popular manners.

These are the titles of his plays. The Play called the four P's, being a new and a very mery ENTERLUDE OF A PALMER, A PARDONER, A PotyCARY, AND A PEDLAR, printed at London in quarto *, without date or name of the printer, but probably from the press of Berthelette or Rastell. The Play of Love. The Play of the Weather, or a new and a very mery ENTERLUDE of all maner of Weathers, printed in quarto by William Rastell, 1533, and again by Robert Wyerb. A mery Play betweene the PARDONER and the FRERE, the CURATE, and neybour PRATTE, in quarto, by William Rastell, dated the fifth day of April, 1533. The Play of Genteelnes and Nobilitie, in two parts, at London, without date. The Pinner of Wakefield, a COMEDIE. Philotas Scotcht, a Comedie. A mery Play betweene Johan the husband, Tyb the wife, and syr Johan the preeste, by William Rastell, in quarto, 1533.

His EPIGRAMS, six hundred in number, are probably some of his jokes versified f; and perhaps were often extemporaneous sallies, made and repeated in company. Wit and humour are ever found in proportion to the progress of politeness. The miserable drolleries and the

* (Reprinted in Dodsley's collection of without date. Again, 1577.— 1587. Old Plays, from an edition sine anno vel 1597. 4to. Pr. Prol. “Ryme without realoco. Herbert says it was printed by J. son, and reason.” The fifth and sixth Alde in 1569, and by W. Middleton with hundredth of Epigrammes. Pr. “Were it out date. Typog. Ant. p. 576.-PARK.] as perillous to deal cards as play." Lond.

In duodecimo. No date. Pr. “ Jupi 1566.-1577.-1587.-1597. 4to. See ter ryght far so far longe as now were to John Heywoodes Woorkes, anno domini recyte."

1576. Imprinted at London in Fleetet (Langbaine expressed a confident be streate, etc. by Thomas Marshe. In quarto. lief that Philotas and the Pindar of Wake The colophon has 1577. This edition is field were not Heywood's compositions, not mentioned by Ames. [The earliest and Mr. Reed fully coincided in the same edition I have seen was dated 1562, and belief.-PARK.]

this included the six centuries of Epi© See three hundred Epigrammes on grammes, and both parts of the dialogue three hundred Proverbes. Pr. “If every on proverbs.-PARK.) man mend one,” London, without date, (Gabriel Harvey in a note on Speght's but certainly before 1553. Again, 1577. Chaucer, (penes Bp. Percy,) says that some -1587.-1598. The first hundred Epi of Heywood's epigrams are supposed to be grammes. Pr. “Ryme without reason," conceits and devices of pleasant sir ThoLondon, 1566.-1577.-1587. 4to. The mas More.-Park.] fourth hundred of Epigrammes, London,

contemptible quibbles, with which these little pieces are pointed, indicate the great want of refinement*, not only in the composition but in the conversation of our ancestors. This is a specimen, on a piece of humour of Wolsey's Fool, A saying of Patch my lord Cardinal's FOOLET.

Maister Sexton", a person of unknowen witte,
As he at my lord Cardinal's boord did sitte,
Greedily raughte at a goblet of wine :
Drinke none, sayd my lord, for that sore leg of thyne:
I warrant your Grace, quoth Sexton, I provide

For my leg: for I drinke on the tother side'. The following is rather a humorous tale than an epigram, yet with an epigrammatic turn.

Although that Foxes have been seene there seelde,
Yet was there lately in Finsbery Feeldeh
A Foxe sate in sight of certaine people,
Nodding, and blissing', staring on Poules steeple.
A Maide toward market with hens in a band
Came by, and with the Foxe she fell in handk.
“What thing is it, Rainard, in your braine plodding,
That bringeth this busy blissing, and nodding ?
I nother' nod for sleepe sweete hart, the Foxe saide,
Nor blisse for spirites", except the divell be a maide :
My nodding and blissing breedth of wondern
Of the witteo of Poules Weathercoke yonder.
There is more witte in that cocks onely head
Than hath bene in all mens heds that be dead.
As thus—by common report we finde,
All that be dead, did die for lacke of winde :
But the Weathercocks wit is not so weake
To lacke winde-the winde is ever in his beake.
So that, while any winde blowth in the skie,
For lacke of winde that Weathercocke will not die."

* [Heath well observed in his first Century of Epigrams, 1610, that Heywood the old English epigrammatist Had wit at will, and art was all he mist : But now adaies we of the modern frie Have art and labour with wits penurie. Puttenham had some time before remarked with critical discrimination, that“Hey. wood came to be well benefited for the myrth and quiknesse of his conceits, more than for any good learning which was in him." Art of Eng. Poesie.—PARK.)

son to the Lord Mayor of London upon this condition, that he should every year wait on him who succeeded to the office. See More's Life of Sir Thomas More, p. 108.–Park.]

O The real name of Patch, Wolsey's
Fool.

e reached.
f First Hundred. Epigr. 44.
8 seldom.

Finsbury field.
i bowing and blessing.
I joined company.
m to drive away evil spirits.
n proceeds from wonder.
o wisdom.

+ [When sir Thomas More had resigned the chancellorship, he gave his fool Pater

i neither.

. She cast downe hir hennes, and now did she blis P,

“Jesu," quod she, “ in nomine patris !
Who hath ever heard, at any season,
Of a Foxes forgeing so feat a reason ?"
And while she preysed the Foxes wit so,
He gat her hennes on his necke, and to go9.
“Whither away with my hennes, Foxe ?” quoth she.
To Poules pig? as fast as I can," quoth he.
“Betweene these Hennes and yonder Weathercocke,
I will assaie to have chickens a flocke;
Which if I may get, this tale is made goode,

In all christendome not so Wise a broode !"8_
Another is on the phrase, wagging beards.

It is mery in hall, when beardes wagge all.
Husband, for this these woordes to mynd I call; .
This is ment by men in their merie eating,
Not to wag their beardes in brauling or threating :
Wyfe, the meaning hereof differth not two pinnes,

Between wagginge of mens beards and womens chins."
On the fashion of wearing Verdingales, or farthingales.

Alas! poore verdingales must lie in the street,
To house them no dore in the citee made meete.
Synce at our narrow doores they in cannot win",

Sende them to Oxforde, at brodegates to get in." Our author was educated at Broadgate-hall in Oxford, so called from an uncommonly wide gate or entrance, and since converted into Pembroke college. These EPIGRAMS are mentioned in Wilson's RheTORIKE, published in 1553*.

Another of Heywood's works, is a poem in long verse, entitled, A DIALOGUE contayning in effect the number of al the PROVERBES in the English tongue compact in a matter concerning two marriagest. The

cross herself. 9 began to steal off. 'pike, i. e. spire, or steeple.

* First Hundred. Epigr. 10. There are six more lines, which are superfluous.

? Epigrammes on Proverbes. Epigr. 2.

u enter in. Win is probably a contraction for go in. But see Tyrwhitt's Gloss. Ch. [See vol. i. p. 160. note.]

" Fifte Hundred. Epigr. 55.

* [“ The English proverbes gathered by Ihon Heiwoode helpe well in this behaulfe (allegory), the whiche commonlie are nothyng els but allegories and darke devised sentences,” fol. 90 a. Again, "for furnishing similitudes the proverbes of

Heiwoode helpe wonderfull wele for thys purpose," fol. 96 b.-PARK.)

+ [The following anecdote relating to this work has been transmitted among some “witty aunsweres and saiengs of Englishmen” in Cotton MS. Jul. F. x. “ William Paulett, Marques of Wynchester and highe treasurer of Engelande, being presented by John Heywoode with a booke, asked him what yt conteyned? and when Heywoode told him 'All the proverbes in Englishe'--'What, all ?' quoth my Lorde; No, Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton, is that in youre booke?' No, by my faith, my Lorde, I thinke not,' aunswered Heywoode.” But the neatest re

« PreviousContinue »