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monument, or cairn, to which every man added his stone, or little separate specimen of brick and mortar, who conceived himself to have any skill in building the lofty rhyme. There were scarcely any limits to the size to which the book might have grown, except the mutability of the public taste, which will permit no one thing, good or bad, to go on for ever. The Mirror for Magistrates, however, for all its many authors, is of note in the history of our poetry for very little else which it contains, except the portions contributed by its contriver Sackville, consisting only of one legend, that of Henry, Duke of Buckingham (Richard the Third's famous accomplice and victim), and the introduction, or Induction, as it is called, prefixed to that narrative, which however appears to have been originally intended to stand at the head of the whole work. The induction begins with a picture of winter, which is drawn with vivid colours and a powerful pencil; then follow some brief reflections, suggested by the faded fields and scattered summer flowers, on the instability of all things here below; but suddenly the poet perceives that the night is drawing on faster, and thereupon redoubles his pace; when, he continues,

In black all clad there fell before my face
A piteous wight, whom woe had all forwast;
Furth from her eyen the crystal tears outbrast,
And, sighing sore, her hands she wrong and fold,
Tearing her hair that ruth was to behold.

Her body small, forwithered and forspent,
As is the stalk with summer's drought opprest;
Her wealked face with woful tears besprent,
Her colour pale, and, as it seemd her best,
In woe and plaint reposed was her rest;
And, as the stone that drops of water wears,
So dented were her cheeks with fall of tears.


I stood aghast, beholding all her plight,
Tween dread and dolour so ão in heart,
That, while my knees upstarted with the sight,
The tears outstreamed for sorrow of her smart.
But, when I saw no end that could apart
The deadly dole which she so sore did make,
With doleful voice then thus to her I spake :

Unwrap thy woes, whatever wight thou be
And stint betime to spill thyself with plaint:
Tell what thou art, aid whence; for well I see
Thou can'st mot dure, with sorrow thus attaint.
And with that word, of sorrow, all forfaint,
She looked up, and, prostrate as she lay,
With piteous sound, lo! thus she gan to say:

Alas, I, wretch, whom thus thou see'st distrained,
With wasting woes that never shall aslake,
SoRRow I am; in endless torments pained
Among the Furies in the infernal lake;
Where Pluto, God of Hell, so grisly blake,
Doth hold his throne, and Lethe's deadly taste
Doth reave remembrance of each thing forepast.

Whence come I am, the dreary destiny
And luckless lot for to bemoan of those
Whom fortune in this maze of misery
Of wretched chance most woeful mirrors chose ;
That when thou seest how lightly they did lose
Their pomp, their power, and that they thought most sure,
Thou may'st soon deem no earthly joy may dure.

Sorrow conducts the poet to the region of departed spirits; and then follows a long succession of allegoric pictures—including Remorse, Dread (or Fear), Revenge, Misery (that is, Avarice), Care, Sleep, Old Age, Malady, Famine, Death, War, Debate (or Strife), &c.; all drawn with extraordinary strength of imagination, and with a command of expressive, picturesque, and melodious language, nothing equal or approaching to which had till now been seen in our poetry, except only in Chaucer—and he can scarcely be said to have written in the same English the capabilities of which were thus brought out by Sackville. Both for his poetical genius, and in the history of the language, Sackville and his two poems in the Mirror for Magistrates—more especially this Induction—must be considered as forming the connecting link or bridge between Chaucer and Spenser, between the Canterbury Tales and the Fairy Queen. For the sake of affording a means of comparison with the style and manner of the extracts we shall presently have to give from the latter work, we will add here another of Sackville's delineations:—

And, next in order, sad OLD AGE we found,
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind,
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where nature him assigned
To rest, when that the Sisters had untwined
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast-declining life.

There heard we him, with broke and hollow plaint,
Rue with himself his end approaching fast,
And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past,
And fresh delights of lusty youth forewaste ;"
Recounting which how would he sob and shriek,
And to be young again of Jove beseek

But, an” the cruel fates so fixed be
That time forepast cannot return again,
This one request of Jove yet prayed he—
That, in such withered plight and wretched pain
As eld, accompanied with her loathsome train,
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief,
He might awhile yet linger forth his lief,

* Utterly wasted and gone. • If.

And not so soon descend into the pit,
Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain,
With reckless hand in grave doth cover it,
Thereafter never to enjoy again
The gladsome light, but, in the ground ylain,
In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought,
As he had ne'er into the world been brought.

But who had seen him sobbing how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan
His youth forepast,--as though it wrought him good
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone—
He would have mused, and marvelled much, whereon
This wretched Age should life desire so fain,
And knows full well life doth but length his pain.

Crook-backed he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed, Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four; With old lame bones, that rattled by his side; His scalp all piled," and he with eld forelore ; His withered fist still knocking at death's door; Fumbling and drivelling as he draws his breath; For brief, the shape and messenger of Death. Nothing is wanting to Sackville that belongs to force either of conception or of expression. In his own world of the sombre and sad, also, he is almost as great an inventor as he is a colourist; and Spenser has been indebted to him for many hints, as well as for example and inspira– tion in a general sense: what most marks the immaturity of his style is a certain operose and constrained air, a stiffness and hardness of manner, like what we find in the works of the earliest school of the Italian painters, before Raphael and Michael Angelo arose to convert the art from a painful repetition or mimicry of reality into a process of creation—from the timid slave of nature into her glorified rival. Of the flow and variety, the genuine

* Peeled, bare, bald.

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spirit of light and life, that we have in Spenser and Shakspeare, there is little in Sackville; his poetry—ponderous, gloomy, and monotonous—is still oppressed by the shadows of night; and we see that, although the darkness is retiring, the sun has not yet risen.


From the first introduction of dramatic representations in England, probably as early as the beginning of the twelfth century, down to the beginning of the fifteenth, or perhaps somewhat later, the only species of drama known was that styled the Miracle, or Miracle-play. The subjects of the miracle-plays were all taken from the histories of the Old and New Testament, or from the legends of saints and martyrs; and, indeed, it is probable that their original design was chiefly to instruct the people in religious knowledge. They were often acted as well as written by clergymen, and were exhibited in abbeys, in churches, and in churchyards, on Sundays or other holidays. It appears to have been not till some time after their first introduction that miracle-plays came to be annually represented under the direction and at the expense of the guilds or trading companies of towns, as at Chester and elsewhere. The characters, or dramatis personae, of the miracle-plays, though sometimes supernatural or legendary, were always actual personages, historical or imaginary; and in that respect these primitive plays approached nearer to the regular drama than those by which they were succeeded—the Morals, or Moralplays, in which not a history, but an apologue was represented, and in which the characters were all allegorical.

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