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EARL OF SURREY.
WALPOLE, Ellis, and Warton, gravely inform us that Lord Surrey contributed to the victory of Flodden, a victory which was gained before Lord Surrey was born.
The mistakes of such writers may teach charity to criticism. Dr. Nott, who has cleared away much fable and anachronism from the noble poet's biography, supposes that he was born in or about the year 1516, and that he was educated at Cambridge, of which university he was afterwards elected high steward. At the early age of sixteen he was contracted in marriage to the Lady Frances Vere, daughter to John Earl of Oxford. The Duke of Richmond was afterwards affianced to Surrey's sister. It was customary, in those times, to delay, frequently for years, the consummations of such juvenile matches; and the writer of Lord Surrey's life, already mentioned, gives reasons for supposing that the poet's residence at Windsor, and his inti. mate friendship with Richmond, so tenderly recorded in his verses, took place, not in their absolute childhood, as has been generally imagined, but immediately after their being contracted to their respective brides. If this was the case, the poet's allusion to
The secret groves which oft we made resound
Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies love, may be charitably understood as only recording the aspirations of their conjugal impatience.
Surrey's marriage was consummated in 1535. In the subsequent year he sat, with his father, as Earl Marshal, on the trial of his kinswoman Anne Boleyn. Of the impression which that event made upon his mind, there is no trace to be found either in his poetry, or in tradition. His grief for the amiable Richmond, whom he lost soon after, is more satisfactorily testified. It is about this period that the fiction of Nash, unfaithfully misapplied as reality by Anthony Wood', and from him copied, by mistake, by Walpole and Warton, sends the poet on his romantic tour to Italy, as the knight errant of the fair Geraldine. There is no proof, however, that Surrey was ever in Italy. At the period of his imagined errantry his repeated appearance at the court of England can be ascertained ; and Geraldine, if she was a daughter of the Earl of Kildare, was then only a child of seven years olds.
Nash's History of Jack Wilton.— If concurring proofs did not so strongly point out his poetical mistress Geraldine to be the daughter of the Earl of Kildare, we might well suspect, from the date of Surrey's attachment, that the object of his praises must lave been some other person. Geraldine, when he declared + That Surrey entertained romantic sentiments for the fair Geraldine, seems, however, to admit of little doubt; and that too at a period of her youth which makes his homage rather surprising. The fashion of the age sanctioned such courtships, under the liberal interpretation of their being platonic. Both Sir P. Sidney and the Chevalier Bayard avowed attachments of this exalted nature to married ladies, whose reputations were never sullied, even when the mistress wept openly at parting from her admirer. Of the nature of Surrey's attachment we may conjecture what we please, but can have no certain test éven in his verses, which might convey either much more or much less than he felt; and how shall we search in the graves of men for the shades and limits of passions that elude our living observation ?
Towards the close of 1540 Surrey embarked in public business. A rupture with France being anticipated, he was sent over to that kingdom, with Lord Russel and the Earl of Southampton, to see that every thing was in a proper state of defence within the English pale. He had previously been
his devotion to her, was only thirteen years of age. She was taken, in her childhood, under the protection of the court, and attended the Princess Mary. At the age of fifteen she married Sir Anthony Wood, a man of sixty, and after his death accepted the Earl of Lincoln. From Surrey's verses we find that she slighted his addresses, after having for some time encouraged them; and from his conduct it appears, that he hurried into war and public business in order to forget her indifference.
knighted; and had jousted in honour of Anne of Cleves, upon her marriage with Henry. The com mission did not detain him long in France. He returned to England before Christmas, having acquitted himself entirely to the king's satisfaction. In the next year, 1541, we may suppose him to have been occupied in his literary pursuits---perhaps in his translation of Virgil. England was then at peace both at home and abroad, and in no other subse. quent year of Surrey's life could his active service have allowed him leisure. In 1542 he received the order of the garter, and followed his father in the expedition of that year into Scotland, where he ac, quired his first military experience. Amidst these early distinctions it is somewhat mortifying to find him, about this period, twice committed to the Fleet prison; on one occasion on account of a private quarrel, on another for eating meat in Lent, and for breaking the windows of the citizens of London
ith stones from his cross bow. This was a strange misdemeanour indeed, for a hero and a man of letters. His apology, perhaps as curious as the fact itself, turns the action only into quixotic absurdity. His motive, he said, was religious. He saw the citizens sunk in papal corruption of manners, and he wished to break in
their guilty secrecy by a sudden chastisement, that should remind them of divine retribution.
The war with France called him into more honourable activity. In the first campaign he joined the army under Sir John Wallop, at the siege of Landrecy; and in the second and larger expedition be went as marshal of the army of which his father commanded the vanguard. The siege of Montreuil was allotted to the Duke of Norfolk and his gallant son; but their operations were impeded by the want of money, ammunition, and artillery, supplies most probably detained from reaching them by the influence of the Earl of Hertford, who had long regarded both Surrey, and his father with a jealous eye. In these disastrous circumstances Surrey seconded the duke's efforts with zeal and ability. On one expedition he was out two days and two nights, spread destruction among the resources of the enemy, and returned to the camp with a load of supplies, and without the loss of a single man. In a bold attempt to storm the town he succeeded so far as to make a lodgement in one of the gates; but was dangerously wounded, and owed his life to the devoted bravery of his attendant Clere, who received a hurt in rescuing him, of which he died a month after. On the report of the Dauphin of France's approach with 60,000 men, the English made an able retreat, of which Surrey conducted the movements, as marshal of the