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gresses, and wrote for her amusement, in the month of July, a kind of mask, entitled “The Princely Pleasures of Kenelworth Castle.” Some of the verses were not only written, but spoken by him on this occasion ; but the whole of the entertainment, owing to the unfavourable weather, was not performed. On his return from this progress, his principal residence, while preparing his works, was at Walthamstow. Here it appears, by Whetstone's account, he wrote the “ Steele Glasse," the "Glass of Government,' the “ Delicate Diet," a book of hunting, and the “ Doom's Day Drum,” which last was not published until after his death. He left other pieces bebind him, some of which were afterwards printed in various collections, but without his name.
Although he enjoyed the esteem of many of his poetical contemporaries, and the patronage of lord Grey of Wilton, the earl of Bedford, sir Walter Rawleigh, and other persons of distinction; yet during this period, he complains bitterly of the envy of rivals, and the malevolence of critics, and seems to intimate that, although he apparently bore this treatment with patience, yet it insensibly wore him out, and brought on a bodily distemper which his physicians could not cure. In all his publications, he takes every opportunity to introduce and bewail the errors of his youth, and to atone for any injury, real or supposed, which might have accrued to the public from a perusal of his early poems, in which, however, the proportion of indelicate thoughts is surely not very great. His biographers, following the Oxford historian, have hitherto placed his demise at Walthamstow in 1578; but Whetstone, on whom we can more certainly rely, informs us that he died at Stamford in Lincolnshire, Oct. 7, 1577. He had perhaps taken a journey to this place for change of air, accompanied by his friend Whetstone, who was with him when he died, so calmly, that the moment of his departure was not perceived. He left a wife and son behind him, whom he recommended to the liberality of the queen, whether successfully, or what became of them, cannot now be known. The registers of Stamford and of Walthamstow have been examined without success.
Although his age is not mentioned by any of his biographers, yet from various expressions in his works, it may be conjectured that it did not exceed forty years, and even a much shorter period might be fixed upon with great pro
bability. His stay at Cambridge was perhaps not.long; in 1566, when his comedy of the “ Supposes" was acted at Gray’s-inn, he is denominated one of the students. In one of his prefaces, he calls himself of middle age; his exploits in the army are consistent with the prime of life; and it is certain that he did not survive these above five years. The editions of Gascoigne's works are all extremely scarce, and often imperfect. An account of them may be seen in the late edition of the English poets, from which this article is taken.
If we consider the general merit of the poets in the early part of the Elizabethan period, it will probably appear that the extreme rarity of Gascoigne's works has been the chief cause of his being so much neglected by modern readers. In smoothness and harmony of versification, he yields to no poet of his own time, when these qualities were very common; but his higher merit is that in every thing he discovers the powers and invention of a poet, a warmth of sentiment tender and natural, and a fertility of fancy, although this be not always free from the conceits of the Italian school. As a satirist, if nothing remained but his “ Steele Glasse,” he may be reckoned one of the first. There is a vein of sly sarcasm in this piece, which appears to be original ; and his intimate knowledge of mankind, acquired indeed at the expence probably of health, and certainly of comfort and independence, enabled him to give a more curious picture of the dress, manners, amusements, and follies of the times, than we meet with in almost any other author.
A pamphlet of uncommon rarity has lately been brought to light, after a concealment of nearly a century. Bishop Tanner is the first who notices this pamphlet, under the title of “ A Remembrance of the well-employed life and godly end of George Gascoigne, esq. who deceased at Stamford in Lincolnshire, 7th October, 1577, reported by George Whetstone." But it is very extraordinary that the learned prelate should inform us of this pamphlet being in his possession, and at the same time express his doubt whether it was the life of this, or of another George Gascoigne, when a very slight inspection must have convinced him that it could be no other, and that, in its principal facts, it agreed with the account he had just transcribed from Wood. Since the antiquities of poetry have become a favourite study, many painful inquiries have been made VOL. XV.
after this tract, but it could not be found in Tanner's li. brary, which forms part of the Bodleian, or in any other collection, private or public, and doubts began to be entertained whether such a pamphlet had ever existed. About six or seven years ago, however, it was discovered in the collection of a deceased gentleman, a Mr. Voight of the Custom-house, London, and was purchased at his sale by Mr. Malone. It consists of about thirteen pages small quarto, black letter, and contains certainly not much life, but some particulars unknown to his biographers. A transcript of the whole is given in the late edition of the English Poets."
GASCOIGNE (Sir WILLIAM), chief justice of the king's bench in the reign of Henry IV. was descended of a noble family, originally from Normandy, and born at Gawthorp in Yorkshire, about 1350. Being designed for the law, he became a student either at Gray's-inn or the Inner Temple*; and growing eminent in his profession, was made one of the king's serjeants at law, Sept. 1398. In October following, he was appointed one of the attornies to Henry IV. then duke of Hereford, on his going into banishment: and upon the accession of that prince to the throne, in 1399, sat as judge in the court of common-pleas. In Nov. 1401, he was made chief justice of the king's bench; and how much he distinguished himself in that office, appears from the several abstracts of his opinions, arguments, distinctions, and decisions, which occur in our old books of law-reports.
In July 1403, he was joined in a commission with Ralph Nevil, earl of Westmoreland, and others, to issue their power and authority, for levying forces in Yorkshire and Northumberland, against the insurrection of Henry Percy, earl of that county, in favour of Richard II. and, after that earl had submitted, was nominated April 1405, in another commission to treat with his rebellious abettors, a proclamation to the purpose being issued next day by the king at Pontefract. These were legal trusts, which he executed from a principle of gratitude and loyalty, with spirit and steadiness. But, on the taking of archbishop Scroop in
* Fuller says, the latter : Dugdale risdic. p. 308, edit. 1671, folio. The the former, from his arms on one of the arms are, Argent, on a pale Sable, a windows in Gray's-inn-hall. Orig. Ju- demy-lace Or.
1 Johnson and Chalmers's edition of the English Poets, with the references
arms the same year, when the king required him to pass sentence upon that prelate as a traitor, in his manor house at Bishopthorp near York, no prospect of fear or favour was able to corrupt hiin to any such violation of the subjects' rights, or infringement of those laws, which suffered no religious person to be brought to a secular or lay trial, unless he were a heretic, and first degraded by the church. He therefore refused to obey the royal command, and said to his majesty : “Neither you, my lord the king, nor any liege subject of yours in your name, can legally, according to the rights of the kingdom, adjudge any bishop to death.”
Henry was highly displeased at this instance of his intrepidity; but his anger must have been short, if, as Fuller tells us, Gascoigne had the honour of knighthood conferred on him the same year. However that be, it is certain, the king was fully satisfied with his fidelity and circumspection in treating with the rebels ; and on that account joined him again in a commission as before, dated at Pontefract-castle, April 25, 1408.
Besides the weight of his decisions in the King's-bench, already mentioned, he was engaged in reforming and regulating other public affairs, pursuant to the resolutions and directions of the parliament. Of this we shall give one instance. The attornies being even then grown by their multitude and mal-practice a public grievance", an act was made in 1410, not only for the reduction and limitation of them to a certain number for every county, but also for their amendment and correction; as that they should be sworn every term to deal faithfully and truly by their clients, and in breach thereof be imprisoned for a twelvemonth, and then make their ransom according to the king's will : and it being farther enacted, that the justices of both benches should make this regulation, sir W. Gascoigne must unavoidably have had a principal part in promoting the general benefit by redressing that grievance.
From his general conduct, as related by historians, there is sufficient reason to place sir William Gascoigne in the rank of chief justices of the first merit, both for his integrity and abilities, and he had once occasion to distinguish
There were but 140 lawyers and increased in a little more than 100 attornies in Eogland, in the time of years to about 2000; but afterwards Edward I. as appears in a parlia they were reckoned at 10,000 by lord ment-roll, ann. 20 of that reign, in Coke, in Epil. to Inst. iv. 1292. Yet, Fortescue assures us, they
himself above his brethren, by a memorable transaction in the latter end of this king's reign. A servant of the prince of Wales (afterwards Henry V.) being arraigned for felony at the bar of the King's-bench; the news soon reached his master's ears, who, hastening to the court, ordered him to be unfettered, and offered to rescue him. In this being opposed by the judge, who commanded him to leave the prisoner and depart, he rushed furiously up to the bench, and, as is generally affirmed, struck the chief justice, then sitting in the execution of his office. On this sir William, after some expostulations upon the outrage, indignity, and unwarrantable interruption of the proceedings in that place, directly committed him to the king's bench prison, there to wait his father's pleasure; and the prince submitted to his punishment, with a calmness no less sudden and surprising, than the offence had been which drew it upon him. The king, being informed of the whole affair, instead of being displeased with the chief justice, returned thanks to God, “That he had given him both a judge who knew how to administer, and a son who could obey justice.” This extraordinary event has been recorded, not only in the general histories of the reigns of these two sovereigus, but celebrated also by the poets; and particularly Shakspeare, in the second part of “ Henry IV.”
This unparalleled example of firmness and civil intrepidity upon that bench, happened in the latter end of Henry IVth's reign, which our chief justice did not long survive. He was called to the parliament which met in the first year of Henry V. but died before the expiration of the year, Dec. 17, 1413. He was twice married, and had a train of descendants by both his wives: by the former, the famous earl of Strafford, in the reign of Charles I.'
GASPARINO (BARZIZZA), one of the revivers of lite. rature, and an able grammarian, took his name from the village of Barzizza, near Bergamo, where he was born in 1370. It is thought that he studied at Bergamo, and kept a private school there. He afterwards became professor of the belles lettres at Pavia, Venice, Padua, and Milan. He was in this last mentioned city in 1418, when pope Martin V. passed through in his return from the council of Constance. Barzizza was on this occasion appointed to pay him the coinpliments of the city, and the two univer
Biog. Brit. -- Archäologia, vol. VI. p. 334. Gough's Sepulchral Dionu