« AnteriorContinuar »
“ The wrinkles in my brow,
« Thus must I youth give up, The furrows in my face,
Whose badge I long did wear ; Say limping age will lodge him now To them I yield the wanton cup Where youth must give him place.”
That better may it bear.
“ The higher that the cedar tree under the heavens does grow,
OF A CONTENTED MIND.
" When all is done and said, in the end thus shall you find,
“ The body subject is to fickle Fortune's power,
" Companion none is like unto the mind alone,
66 Our wealth leaves us at death, our kinsmen at the grave,
BETHINKING HIMSELF OF HIS END, WRITETH THUS.
" When I behold my bier, my last and posting horse,
Then say I, silly wretch, why dost thou put thy trust
" Dost thou not see the young, the hardy, and the fair,
“ Dost thou not see how death through-smiteth with his lance,
“ Lo! here the summer flower, that sprung this other day,
" Thy house shall be of clay, a clod under thy head;
If Lord Vaux's life was a gay one, excite interest even where it is diffi it must be owned that his lines have, cult to bestow much praise. with wonderful success, shown “ the counterfeit action" of the lugubrious, though we should hardly say with THEY OF THE MEAN ESTATE ARE HAPPIEST. Puttenham, that he has done it " very Jively and pleasantly." If his conversation was like his poetry, he must " Among good things I prove and find have played at Court the part of the The quiet life doth most abound, Consul's Companion in the Roman And sure to the contented mind triumph, and both Henry and his There is no riches to be found. courtiers might have better profited by such lessons.
We return to Tottel's Collection,from " I heard a herdsman once compare which we shall take a few further spe. That quiet nights he had mo slept, cimens, believing that the importance And had mo merry days to spare of this period, in giving a direction to Than he which oughtf the beasts he kept." the sentiments and a shape to the language of poetry among us, may
" Of youth the lusty flower, THAT EACH THING IS HURT OF ITSELT. Which whilom stood in price,
Shall vanish quite within an hour, " Why fearest thou the outward foe,
As fire consumes the ice.
“ Where is become that wigit, Within each thing is sown the seed. For whose sake Troy town
Withstood the Greeks, till ten years fight " So fine was never yet the cloth,
Had rased their walls adown?
“ Did not the worms consume T'other with canker all to-fret.
Her carrion to the dust ?
Did dreadful death forbear his fumo “ The knotty oak and wainscot old
For beauty, pride, or lust ?” Within doth eat the silly worm ;
We find ourselves here again in the Even so a mind in envy rolled,
death's-head school of poetry, of which Always within itself doth burn.
the last verse may have too rank an
odour for the polite nostrils of modern “ Thus every thing that nature wrought,
days. We learn that among Tottel's Within itself his hurt doth bear;
contributors we should include the No outward harm need to be sought Where enemies be within so near."
poet Churchyard, to whom, as far as the name goes, the most doleful of these ditties might be fittingly ascribed.
Their funereal solemnity comes oddly OF THE VANITY OF MAN'S LIFE.
from that courtly company to wbom “ Vain is the fleeting wealth
they are attributed. What a different Whereon the world stays,
collection would have proceeded from Since stalking time by privy stealth, the courtly makers of other reigns! Encroacheth on our days.
In compliment to the second writer
of English blank verse we shall in. “ And eld which creepeth fast
clude among our extracts from Tottel, To taint us with her wound,
before closing them, some lines of Will turn each bliss into a blast
Nicholas Grimoald, in commendation Which lasteth but a stound.*
It seems to have been quite gratui. () that the wives in these our days were tous in Grimoald, who was an eccle- to their mates so kind.” siastic, and could scarcely be a married The Paradise of Dainty Devices, man, to insert in another of his coup
his coup "aptly furnished with sundry pithy and
antle furt lets on this subject an unhandsome re- learned inventions, devised and written flection on the matrons of the age, for the most part by M. Edwards, which might be used, however, to sometime of Her Majesty's Chapel; raise a laugh against the husbands.
the rest by sundry learned gentlemen “ Down Theseus went to hell, Pirith his both of honour and worship," was pubfriend to find;
lished in 1576. It contains, as may
* An hour.
already have been inferred, rather too trasted with each other as the Geormuch of the cypress and yew to be a gics of Virgil and the Five Hundred very delicious Eden; and its ivies and Points of Good Husbandry of Thomas myrtles are not of a much livelier cast. Tusser, Gentleman. In the one we We should say, indeed, that the love. see poetry in all its power and beauty songs in it are rather duller than the employed to adorn and elevate the art dirges. We select a part of one piece, which it professes to teach ; harmony already printed by Percy and by of numbers, dignity of diction, fertility Ellis, which seems to us to be well of invention, tenderness of sentiment, versified, and in the last verse to pos- sublimity of thought. In the other sess considerable stateliness both of we see nothing of the Poet's skill exstyle and sentiment. The author, cept the simple device of easy rhythm whose initials are M. T., is not cer- and homely rhyme, intended rather to tainly known.
aid the memory than to delight the
ear, every thing else being left on the “ Man's flitting life finds surest stay level of the most pedestrian prose.
Where sacred virtue beareth sway. Yet Tusser's verses were not without " The sturdy rock for all his strength,
use in the formation of the English By raging seas is rent in twain ;
mind; and it may be said in his praise, The marble stone is pierced at length
that “ sure the Eternal Master found With little drops of drizzling rain. the single talent well employed.” The The ox doth yield unto the yoke,
qualities of good sense, good morals, The steel obey'th the hammer stroke. simplicity and sincerity, should never
be without their reward. The mixed “ Yea, man himself, unto whose will lessons which he inculcates of hospi. All things are bounden to obey,
tality and thrift, sobriety and cheerfulFor all his wit and worthy skill
ness, attention to this world and care Doth fade at length, and fall away.
for the next, were well calculated to There is no thing but time doth waste : please the taste and confirm the virtues The heavens, the earth consume at last. of the honest yeomen for whom they
were designed, and might help, in hum. “ But virtue sits triumphing still
ble minds, to prepare the way for Upon the throne of glorious Fame; higher sentiments and better poetry Though spiteful Death man's body kill,
on similar themes. We shall venture Yet hurts he not his virtuous name.
to extract a few moral verses from one By life or death, whatso betides,
of the unconnected chapters of which The state of virtue never slides.'
his work is composed. We may reIt deserves our approving notice that mark in passing that, in the scansion the poetical collections, of which we of his lines, Tusser is considered to be have now spoken, contain scarcely a remarkably correct according to the word or thought which could bring a pronunciation of his day. His poem blush into the purest chcek either of was originally published in 1557, but those times or of our own.
was considerably expanded in subse. It would be difficult to find two quent editions. He died a very old compositions with any similarity of man in 1580. name and purpose, so amusingly con
A DESCRIPTION OF LIFE AND RICHES.
" The lands and the riches that here we possess
“ God maketh no writing that justly doth say
“ To death we must stoop, be we high, be we low,
To cover this carcass of all that we have ?"
From George Gascoigne, once so Yea, tho thou find no thing amiss warmly admired, and then so tho. Which thou can'st call to mind, roughly forgotten, whose unthrifty Yet ever more remember this, youth was redeemed by a sober man There is the more behind. hood, and, as an eyewitness tells us, by “a godly and charitable end,” we And think how well soe'er it be could borrow several things which de- That thou hast spent the day, serve praise, and might afford plea. It came of God, and not of thee, sure. His minor poems, all smoothly
minor noems, all smoothly So to direct thy way. and easily written, have something of Thus, if thou try thy daily deeds, fancy, and much of good feeling. And pleasure in this pain, They show a gradual advance in taste Thy life shall cleanse thy corn from weeds, and polish, as applied to popular poe
And thine shall be the gain. try, on which those qualities seem better bestowed than on the cold rap- “But if thy sinful sluggish eye tures and forced fictions of Petrarcan Will venture for to wink love. Gascoigne's lullaby to his youth. Before thy wading will may try ful passions is ingeniously conceived,
How far thy soul may sink : though unequally executed. It flows
Beware and wake, for else thy bed, with a somewhat sweet and slumber
Which soft and smooth is made,
May heap more harm upon thy head ous melody. Take, for example, the
Than blows of enemies' blade. first verse:
Thus if this pain procure thine ease “ Sing lullaby, as women do,
In bed as thou dost lie,
To sing thus soberly.
I see that sleep is lent me here
To ease my weary bones, Full many wanton babes have I,
As death at last shall eke appear Which must be stilled with lullaby.”
To ease my grievous groans.
My daily sports, my paunch full fed, His Good-Morrow and Good Night Have caused my drowsy eye; are both of them meritorious composi. As careless life, in quiet bed, tions, infected, indeed, with the vulgar, Might cause my soul to die. disease of running an analogy for ever on all fours, whether it will or no; but " The stretching arms, the yawning probably not on that account the less po
breath pular with the million. Though averse W hich I to bedward use, to separate what their author intended Are patterns of the pangs of death for companions, we must, from con- When life will me refuse. siderations of space, confine ourselves And of my bed each sundry part to the quotation of one of these pieces, In shadows doth resemble and shall give the preference to the The sundry shapes of death whose dart “ Good Night,” as encroaching least Shall make my flesh to tremble. on the department of psalmody. Gascoigne, we may observe, died in the " My bed itself is like the grave, prime of life, in 1577.
My sheets the winding-sheet,
My clothes the mould which I must have GASCOIGNE'S GOOD-NIGHT.
To cover me most meet. " When thou hast spent the lingering day.
The hungry fleas which frisk so fresh, In pleasure and delight;
To worms I can compare, Or after toil and weary way
Which greedily shall gnaw my flesh,
And leave the bones full bare.
“ The waking cock that early crows Ere sleep close up thine eye too fast,
To wear the night away, Do not thy God forget.
Puts in my mind the trump that blows
Before the latter day. “ But search within thy secret thought And as I rise up lustily What deeds did thee befall;
When sluggish sleep is past, And if thou find amiss in aught,
So hope I to rise joyfully To God for mercy call.
To judgment at the last.