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Description and Praise of his Love Geraldine.
From Tuscan' came my lady's worthy race;
Her sire, an earl; her dame of princes' blood:
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight: Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine:
And Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight. Her beauty of kind, her virtues from above; Happy is he that can obtain her love!
How no age is content with his own estate, and how the age of children is the happiest, if they had skill to understand it.
Laid in my quiet bed,
In study as I were,
I saw within my troubled head,
A heap of thoughts appear.
And every thought did show
So lively in mine eyes,
That now I sighed, and then I smiled,
As cause of thoughts did rise.
I saw the little boy,
In thought how oft that he
Did wish of God, to scape the rod,
The young man eke that feels
His bones with pains opprest, How he would be a rich old man, To live and lie at rest:
The rich old man that sees
His end draw on so sore, How he would be a boy again, To live so much the more.
Whereat full oft I smiled,
To see how all these three,
And musing thus, I think,
The case is very strange,
That man from wealth, to live in woe, Doth ever seek to change.
Thus thoughtful as I lay,
I saw my withered skin,
How it doth show my dented thws,
Them hanging on my chin.
Hang up, therefore, the bit
Of thy young wanton time;
Whereat I sighed, and said,
And tell them thus from me,
Their time most happy is,
The Means to attain Happy Life.
The happy life, be these, I find, The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind, The equal frend; no grudge, no strife; No charge of rule, nor governance; Without disease, the healthful life; The household of continuance: The mean diet, no delicate fare; True wisedom joined with simpleness; The night discharged of all care;
Where wine the wit may not oppress. The faithful wife, without debate; Such sleeps as may beguile the night; Contented with thine own estate,
Ne wish for death, pe fear his might.
SIR THOMAS WYATT.
In amorous poetry, which may be said to have taken its rise in this age, Surrey had a fellow-labourer in SIR THOMAS WYATT (1503-1541), another distinguished figure in the court of Henry VIII. Wyatt was a man highly educated for his age, a great traveller, and generally accomplished. died of a fever caught by riding too fast on a hot day from Falmouth, while engaged on a mission to conduct the ambassador of the emperor, Charles V., to court. The songs and sonnets of this author, in praise of his mistress, and expressive of the various feelings he experienced while under the influence of the tender passion, though conceited, are not without refinement, and some share of poetical feeling. The lover's lute cannot be blamed, though it sing of his lady's unkindness.
Blame not my Lute! for he must sound
For lack of wit the Lute is bound
To give such tunes as pleaseth me;
My Lute, alas! doth not offend,
To sing to them that heareth me;
My Lute and strings may not deny,
But wreak thyself some other way;
Spite asketh spite, and changing change,
The re-cured Lover exulteth in his Freedom, and voweth to remain free until Death.
I am as I am, and so will I be ;
Be it ill, be it well, be I bond, be I free,
I lead my life indifferently;
And though folks judge full diversely,
I do not rejoice, nor yet complain,
Divers do judge as they do trow,
Yet some there be that take delight,
That Pleasure is mixed with every Pain. Venomous thorns that are so sharp and keen Bear flowers, we see, full fresh and fair of hue, Poison is also put in medicine,
And unto man his health doth oft renew. The fire that all things eke consumeth clean,
May hurt and heal: then if that this be true, I trust some time my harm may be my health, Since every woe is joined with some wealth.
The Courtier's Life.
In court to serve decked with fresh array,
Of the Mean and Sure Estate.
Stand whoso lists upon the slipper' wheel,
For grips of death do he too hardly pass That known is to all, but to himself, alas! He dieth unknown, dased with dreadful face.
Amongst the poets dating towards the conclusion of the present period, may be ranked THOMAS TUSSER, author of the first didactic poem in the language. He was born about 1523, of an ancient family had a good education; and commenced life at court, under the patronage of Lord Paget. Afterwards he practised farming successively at Ratwood in Sussex, Ipswich, Fairsted in Essex, Norwich, and other places; but not succeeding in that walk, he betook himself to other occupations, amongst which were those of a chorister, and, it is said, a fiddler. As might be expected of one so inconstant, he did not prosper in the world, but died poor in London, in 1580.
Tusser's poem, entitled a Hondreth Good Points of Husbandrie, which was first published in 1557, is a series of practical directions for farming, expressed in simple and inelegant, but not always dull verse. It was afterwards expanded by other writers, and published under the title of Five Hundreth Points of Good Husbandrie: the last of a considerable number of editions appeared in 1710.
[Directions for Cultivating a Hop-Garden.]
It strengtheneth drink, and it favoureth malt;
Good huswife provides, ere a sickness do come,
Get water of fumitory, liver to cool,
And others the like, or else lie like a fool. Conserves of barbary, quinces, and such, With sirops, that easeth the sickly so much. Ask Medicus' counsel, ere medicine ye take, And honour that man for necessity's sake. Though thousands hate physic, because of the cost, Yet thousands it helpeth, that else should be lost. Good broth, and good keeping, do much now and than: 1. Good diet, with wisdoin, best comforteth man. In health, to be stirring shall profit thee best; In sickness, hate trouble; seek quiet and rest. Remember thy soul; let no fancy prevail; Make ready to God-ward; let faith never quail: The sooner thyself thou submittest to God, The sooner he ceaseth to scourge with his rod.
[Moral Reflections on the Wind.]
Though winds do rage, as winds were wood,!
SIR DAVID LYNDSAY.
While Surrey and Wyatt were imparting fresh beauties to English poetry, Dunbar and his contem
Sir David Lyndsay.
poraries were succeeded in Scotland by several poets of considerable talent, whose improvements, however,
fell far short of those effected in the literature of their southern neighbours. The most eminent of these writers was SIR DAVID LYNDSAY, born about 1490, who, after serving King James V., when that monarch was a boy, as sewer, carver, cup-bearer, purse-master, chief cubicular; in short, everything -bearing him as an infant upon his back, and dancing antics for his amusement as a boy-was appointed to the important office of Lord Lyon King at Arms, and died about the year 1555. He chiefly shone as a satirical and humorous writer, and his great fault is an entire absence of that spirit of refinement which graced the contemporary literature of England. The principal objects of Lyndsay's vituperations were the clergy, whose habits at this period (just before the Reformation) were such as to afford unusually ample scope for the pen of the satirist. Our poet, also, although a state officer, and long a servant to the king, uses little delicacy in exposing the abuses of the court. His chief poems are placed in the following succession by his editor, Mr George Chalmers:-The Dreme, written about 1528; The Complaynt, 1529; The Complaynt of the King's Papingo (Peacock), 1530; The Play (or Satire) of the Three Estates, 1535; Kitteis Confession, 1541; The History of Squire Meldrum, 1550; The Monarchie, 1553. The three first of these poems are moralisings upon the state and government of the kingdom, during two of its dismal minorities. The Play is an extraordinary performance, a satire upon the whole of the three political orders-monarch, barons, and clergy-full of humour and grossness, and curiously illustrative of the taste of the times. Notwithstanding its satiric pungency, and, what is apt to be now more surprising, notwithstanding the introduction of indecencies not fit to be described, the Satire of the Three Estates was acted in presence of the court, both at Cupar and Edinburgh, the stage being in the open air. Kitteis Confession is a satire on one of the practices of Roman Catholics. By his various burlesques of that party, he is said to have largely contributed to the progress of the Reformation in Scotland. The History of Squire Meldrum is perhaps the most pleasing of all this author's works. It is considered the last poem that in any degree partakes of the character of the metrical romance.
Of the dexterity with which Lyndsay could point a satirical remark on an error of state policy, we may judge from the following very brief passage of his Compluynt, which relates to the too early committal of the government to James V. It is given in the original spelling.
Imprudently, like witles fules,
Thay tuke the young prince from the scules,
Was learnand vertew and science,
And hastilie pat in his hand
The governance of all Scotland:
Quhilk first devisit that counsell;
I pray God lat me never see ring
[A Carman's Account of a Law-suit.]
Of tails I will no more indite,
Marry, I lent my gossip my mare, to fetch hame coals, Notwithstanding, I will conclude,
And he her drounit into the quarry holes ;
And there I happenit amang ane greedie meinyie.1
And syne I gat-how call ye it -ad replicandum;
Supplication in Contemption of Side Tails.2
Sovereign, I mean3 of thir side tails,
Richt so ane queen or ane emprice;
Should have her tail so side trailand;
May think of their side tails irk; 4
Gif they could speak, they wald them wary.
Poor claggocks5 clad in Raploch white,
Then when they step furth through the street,
That of side tails can come nae gude,
Quoth Lindsay, in contempt of the side tails,
[The Building of the Tower of Babel, and Confusion of Tongues.]
(From the Monarchie.)
Their great fortress then did they found,
The translator of Orosius
Intil his chronicle writes thus;
At noon, when it doth shine maist bricht,
Afore that time all spak Hebrew,
Then brocht they to them stocks and stanes;
But never ane word they understood. *
Constrained were they for till depart,
A Praise of his (the Poet's) Lady.
Excels the precious stone:
I wish to have none other books
In each of her two crystal eyes
It would you all in heart suffice
I think Nature hath lost the mould,
Or else I doubt if Nature could
She may be well compared
Unto the phoenix kind,
Whose like was never seen nor leard,
In life she is Diana chaste,
In word and eke in deed steadfast:
Her roseal colour comes and goes
With such a comely grace,
At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
The modest mirth that she doth use
O Lord, it is a world to see
Our women now-a-days,
As doth the gilly flower a weed,
She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with her child,
She rocked it, and rated it, until on her it smil'd; Then did she say, 'Now have I found the proverb true to prove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.'
Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to write,
In register for to remain of such a worthy wight.
And proved plain, there was no beast, nor creature bearing life,
Could well be known to live in love without discòrd and strife:
Then kissed she her little babe, and sware by God above,
"The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.'
[Characteristic of an Englishman.]
[By Andrew Bourd, physician to Henry VIII. The lines form an inscription under the picture of an Englishman, naked, with a roll of cloth in one hand, and a pair of scissors in the other.]
I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear, For now I will wear this, and now I will wear that, Now I will wear I cannot tell what:
All new fashions be pleasant to me,
I will have them whether I thrive or thee: