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of sixty furlongis, by name Emaws. And thei | and afterwards translated, first into French, spaken togidre of alle these thingis that hadden and then into English. Mandeville's name bifalle. And it was don the while thei talkiden, has unfortunately become a synonym for and soughten by hemsilf: Jesus himsilf nei- absurdity and shameless mendacity; in short, ghede and wente with hem. But her ygen he is most frequently but unjustly referred weren holdun, that thei kuewen him not. And to as a sort of English Münchhausen. As he seide to hem, what ben these wordis that regards all that fell directly under his own ye speken togidere wondringe: and ye ben observation he is usually correct enough, sorewful? And oon, whos name was Cleofas, but he was singularly credulous, and beanswerde and seyde, Thou thi silf art a pil- lieved every ridiculous story he heard, even grim in Jerusalem, and hast thou not know- the account of birds so large and powerful un what thingis ben don in it these dayes? as to be able to fly away with an elephant. To whom he seyde, what thingis? And thei Byron, in his English Bards and Scotch seiden to him, Of Jhesus of Nazareth, that was Reviewers, makes a sarcastic reference to a profete myghti in werk and word bifore God this old writer, when he tells us that Southey, and al the puple. in his epic poem, Madoc,

John Wickliffe, Wiclif or Wycliffe (13241384), the first who made a complete translation of the Scriptures into the English tongue (only his New Testament, however; has been printed), is popularly regarded as the earliest of the reformers, though his religious views were not identical with those of most modern Protestants. He was born in Yorkshire, and studied at Oxford, where he gained high academical honours and preferments. Though protected by John of Gaunt and Percy, Earl of Northumberland, he was driven from his chair of theology at Oxford, and twice imprisoned, but he lived to complete his great work, and died in peace at his parsonage of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. Twenty years after his death, by the impotent malice of his enemies, his bones were dug up, burnt to ashes, and cast into the river Swift. It is almost impossible to over-estimate the importance of his translation of the Bible both for the English people and the English language. John Gower, called by his friend Chaucer, 'the moral Gower,' was by a few years the senior of the two, and he lived till 1408. He wrote in French, Latin and English; his principal work, the Confessio Amantis, notwithstanding its Latin title, being composed in his native language. In the Confessio, a lover, instructed by Venus, confesses his sins to Genius, who embraces the opportunity to illustrate the nature of each sin by stories collected from every possible source. It consists of a prologue, and eight books, and though by no means devoid of merit, it is pedantic, often tedious, and in all respects inferior to the Canterbury Tales.

Sir John Mandeville, who in the year 1356 wrote an account of his extensive travels, has been called the earliest of Middle English prose-writers, though his book was originally composed in Latin,

Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do, More old than Mandeville's, and not so true.

by Wickliffe's lectures at Oxford diffused The spirit of religious inquiry awakened itself rapidly through all classes. Longlande, the author of the Vision, soon found imitators, one of the boldest of whom was the author of Pierce the Plowman's Crede (subjoined to Rogers's edition of the Vision). The writer, whoever he was, assails not Church with the utmost acrimony. As he only the discipline, but the doctrines of the mentions the death of Wickliffe, the Crede must have been written in or after the year 1381. The Complaint, which seems to have been composed about 1399, is only a fragAll these curious works retained their poment, and rather political than religious. pularity down to the time of the Reformation, for which they had done much to prepare the way; and they exercised no inof Spenser. considerable influence on the great mind

The work begun by Wickliffe was continued, more than a century after his death, by William Tyndale, born at Hunt's Court in Gloucestershire, in 1477, and for some time a friar in the monastery of GreenwichBeing obliged to leave England on account of his religious opinions, he went to Ger. many, where he had a conference with Luther, and then set himself to translate the New Testament into English. This translation he published at Wittemberg in the year 1526, and copies of it very soon reached England, where it produced a sensation, all the greater, because it was generally known that Tyndale had translated out of the original Greek, whereas Wickliffe had merely made use of the Latin Vulgate. In 1530 he found a home in Antwerp as chaplain to a company of English merchants, but four years later, at the instigation of Henry VIII. of England, he

was arrested, and imprisoned at a small place between Brussels and Malines, called Vilvoord. At length, in September 1536, he was put to death by strangulation, and his body burned. Tyndale translated not only the New Testament from the Greek, but the Pentateuch and some other portions of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. In this task he was assisted by Miles Coverdale (1487-1568), afterwards Bishop of Exeter; but the whole work bears the stamp of Tyndale's learning and genius. The authorized version now in use is indebted to Tyndale's translation for the majestic simplicity by which it is so eminently distinguished. As a specimen of his style we subjoin the Lord's Prayer:

'Oure Father which arte in heven, halowed be thy name. Let thy kingdom come. Thy wyll be fulfilled as well in erth, as hit ys in heven. Geve vs this daye oure dayly breade. And forgeve vs oure treaspases, even as we forgeve them which treaspas Leede vs not into temptacion, but delyvre vs from yvell. Amen.'


In 1535 Coverdale published the first English version of the whole Bible.

The Wars of the Roses, which began with the battle of St. Albans (May 22, 1455), and were only terminated by the marriage of Henry VII. with Elizabeth of York, left the nation little time for the cultivation of literature. With the accession of Henry VIII., however, a sort of literary revival took place. The brave and accomplished Howard, Earl of Surrey (1516-1547) wrote his smooth and elegant sonnets in honour of the fair Geraldine, as Petrarch had made Laura famous throughout the world. Who Geraldine was, has never been clearly ascertained, but as, according to the poet, fostered she was with milk of Irish breast,' it has been conjectured that she belonged to the noble family of the Fitzgeralds, which had been long settled in Ireland. Besides writing his sonnets, Surrey translated a part of the Eneid of Virgil into English blank verse, and is supposed to be the first English writer by whom blank verse was employed. When

only thirty-one, he fell a victim to the jealousy of the despotic king, and died on the scaffold. A similar fate befell the learned Chancellor, Sir Thomas More (1480– 1535), who incurred the tyrant's displeasure by refusing to sanction the divorce of Queen Catherine. Though a poet in his youth, More is best known by the curious philosophical work, entitled Utopia, in which he describes an imaginary model country with a model population. This book, which he wrote in Latin, was afterwards translated by Bishop Burnet. Another eminent person, who forms a connecting link between the reigns of Henry VIII. and James 1, was Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (1536-1608). In 1563 this writer contributed the Induction and Complaint of the Duke of Buckingham to a work already published in 1559, under the name of a Mirrour for Magistrates. In the Mirrour the most eminent historical personages who have experienced great reverses of fortune are made to pass in review before the eyes of the reader, and each of them tells his own sad story. We have already seen how great was the influence of Boccaccio on Chaucer, and that of Petrarch on Surrey, but in Sackville's poetry we detect a different and gloomier source of inspiration, though still Italian-we mean Dante's Inferno-and we shall find, as we proceed, that even at this period the influence exercised by the great Tuscan writers on English literature was by no means exhausted.

The agitation and contests which ushered in the Reformation naturally called forth a host of ephemeral literary productions. One of the most singular of these was Henry VIII.'s defence of the Catholic faith, in reply to Martin Luther; a work for which Pope Leo X. conferred on him (Oct. 9, 1521) the title of Defender of the Faith, little dreaming that Henry would soon become a no less dangerous enemy of the Church and the Papacy than Luther himself.

We have now arrived at that period of English history, from which we may date the rise of




The first great English poet after Chaucer, at an interval of not much less than two centuries, is Edmund Spenser (1553-1599). |

His smooth and polished style is a great improvement on the age of Chaucer, and although from his youth he seems to have been a diligent reader and enthusiastic admirer of our earliest great English poet, there is a superadded elegance in his versi

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fication which clearly reveals a close study of Tasso and Ariosto. Spenser, who possessed a great amount of solid learning, must have read these two great poets in the original, for Edward Fairfax's translation of the Gerusalemme liberata was not published till 1600, and Sir John Harrington's English version of the Orlando Furioso first appeared in 1609. While studying at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Spenser become acquainted with Gabriel Harvey, a learned but conceited and pedantic man, best known by his hobby of wishing to introduce the Latin prosody into English poetry, and for a time young Spenser seems to have On leaving college, been his convert. Spenser was introduced by Harvey to Sir Philip Sidney, one of the brightest ornaments of Elizabeth's court, the poet-soldier, and author of the chivalric romance, Arcadia. To him the young poet dedicated, in 1579, his Shepherd's Calendar, a pastoral poem in twelve eclogues, one for each month of the year, still regarded as the most perfect and classical of English pastorals. In the first eclogue (devoted to January), the hero, Colin Clout, by whom are to understand the poet himself, after complaining of the severity of the winter, laments the indifference shown him by a country girl called Rosalind. This Rosalind, Harvey tells us, really existed, and was a young lady in the north of England, whose acquaintance Spenser had made, while on a visit to some relations there, but her character was too prosaic to relish poetry much, and she only laughed at the verses in which poor Colin Clout celebrated In the second eclogue, an her charms. ill-bred herdsman's boy makes himself merry the decrepitude of an old shepherd named Thenot, whereupon the shepherd tells him the story of the ungrateful briar, the farmer of the which complained to sheltering oak, and induced him to cut it down, but had no sooner lost its old protector than



The biting frost nipped his stalk dead,
And watery wet weighed down his head.
And heaped snow burdened him so sore,
That now upright he can stand no more,
And, being down, is trod in the dirt

Of cattle, and brouzed, and sorely hurt.
In the third eclogue (March) we have a
description of the hopeless contest of a
young shepherd with Cupid, who at last
overpowers him with his swift and piercing
arrows. In the fourth, the hapless Colin
is condoled with by another shepherd called
Hobinel, who with the intention of proving
Herrig, British Auth.

the insensibility of the cruel Rosalind to true merit, repeats an ode addressed by his friend Colin to Eliza, the name under which the poets were accustomed to adulate Queen Elizabeth. The fifth eclogue, though devoted to May, is a violent attack on the creed of the Roman Catholic Church, and the vices and corruptions of the monastic orders. Spenser is not happy in satire, and this eclogue is the least agreeable of the twelve. In the sixth Colin complains to his friend Hobinel, that the faithless Rosalind has bestowed her favours on another shepherd, Menalcas; and the poet introduces a tribute to the memory of Chaucer, under the name of Tityrus. The seventh is a panegyric on good shepherds, with a slight theological tinge. In the eighth. two rival shepherds contend in verse, The ninth eclogue is of and the eclogue ends with a song composed by Colin.


a polemical character, and exposes the vices
of priests in the middle ages. The tenth,
perhaps the best of all, dwells on the di-
vine origin of true poetry, and the en-
nobling mission of all real poets.
a threne or lamentation in
eleventh is
honour of some unknown lady whom he
calls Dido: and the last eclogue contains
a complaint to the god Pan, in which life
is compared to the four seasons of the
year. In the Shepherd's Calendar, as will
be observed, Spenser has not restricted
himself to the narrow sphere of vision of
the actual shepherd's monotonous life, but
has often made his rustic heroes discuss
the political and religious topics of the
day, following the example of Virgil in his

The Shepherd's Calendar showed what
Spenser was capable of achieving, and so
much did it please Sir Philip Sidney, that
he introduced the author to his powerful
uncle, the Earl of Leicester. At the re-
commendation of the latter, Spenser was
appointed secretary to the Lieutenancy or
Viceroyalty in Ireland, and after some time
he obtained a grant of land, near Cork, out
of the forfeited estates of the Earl of
Desmond, on condition of residing on his
new property. Spenser accordingly settled
down at Kilcolman Castle, where he re-
sided from 1586 till 1598; and it was here,
on the beautiful banks of the Mulla, that
he wrote his Faery Queen, and entertained
his renowned guest, Sir Walter Raleigh,
the 'Shepherd of the Ocean.' The original
design of the Faery Queen was to typify,
in the personage of a knight or champion,
each of the moral virtues; and the work
was to consist of twelve books, each book


divided into twelve cantos. The hero of the poem is the mythic King Arthur, who in a vision becomes enamoured of the Faery Queen, and sets out in quest of her. This lady, the representative of Fame or Glory, but whom Spenser finds means to identify with Queen Elizabeth, is supposed, at the arrival of King Arthur, to be holding an annual festival lasting twelve days, and on each day an adventure is to be undertaken by a knight. These knights belong to the same class as the characters in the old dramatic Moralities, for the RedCross Knight, in the first book, typifies Holiness; Sir Guyon, in the second, Temperance; Britomartis, in the third, Chastity; and so of the rest. Spenser only lived to finish one half of his work-six books; three of which were published in 1590, and three in 1596. There is a doubtful tradition that the latter portion of the poem was completed by him, but lost at sea. The work, however, as we have it, is very voluminous; and as the subsequent adventures must have strongly resembled those recorded in the preceding books, Hallam was quite right in saying that we have no reason to regret its incomplete condition.

abbreviated forms of words at his disposal, as well as by the ease with which he can suppress final vowels; and above all, by the wonderful facility of inversion peculiar to the Italian language. We need not therefore be surprised, that Spenser, who had to find for each stanza, in a much less flexible language, four rhymes of one kind, three of another, and two of a third, should have not only seen him constrained to revive many obsolete words of Chaucer, but even in an emergency to introduce one of his Own creation. These words form the Chaucerisms and the neologisms of Spenser, on which some critics have passed so severe a condemnation.

We have still to mention Spenser's satirical and humorous fable, Mother Hubbard's Tale. It is supposed to be related by Mother Hubbard herself to the poet, to divert him, when confined to his bed by illness. The two heroes are a Fox and an Ape, who set out together to push their fortune; and they begin their career as beggars. A husbandman at last takes compassion on them, and engages them to herd his sheep, but the rogues devour all the lambs, and somehow or other gradually get rid The first book of the Faery Queen is of the sheep, so that in dread of punishgenerally acknowledged to be by far the ment, they take to the road again. After best. Indeed, it is a complete romance in living for a time by cheating and lying, itself, quite sufficient to exhaust the inven- they resolve to enter holy orders, and an tive powers of any other than a very su- old priest is found, who instructs them, how perior mind. Besides, it may boast of more by dint of false humility, unctuous hypounity of design, and more freshness, than crisy, and abject subserviency they may any other portion of the poem. At the obtain a benefice. By this advice they command of the Faery Queen, the Red- profit; the Fox becomes a priest, and gets Cross Knight issues forth to deliver the a church living, while the Ape officiates as royal parents of a lovely lady, called Una parish clerk. Their misconduct, however, (true religion), from a dungeon in which soon forces them to fly anew; and in their they are held as captives by a terrible next adventure the Ape figures as a courdragon. The adventures of the Knight and tier, while the Fox, as his groom, fills his Una are too multifarious to be briefly de- purse at the expense of poor suitors. scribed, but finally the Dragon is overcome, Reduced at last, in spite of their cleverness, and the Knight is rewarded for his bravery to great distress, they find, in the course of with the hand of Una. The stanza adopted their wanderings, the Lion sleeping under by Spenser in the Faery Queen is the rima a tree, with his royal crown, and his skin, ottava of Ariosto, with an Alexandrine ap- which he has laid aside on account of the pended to it, which lends a stateliness to heat of the weather, lying beside him. The the whole that we miss in the Orlando. Fox at once takes the crown, and the Ape In a moral point of view, Spenser's poem puts on the Lion's hide, but so shamefully is as much superior to that of Ariosto as do they misgovern the realm of beasts, that the Canterbury Tales are to the Decamerone; at length Mercury is sent by Jupiter to and though the want of unity in the Faery see what is the matter. All is detected: Queen has been complained of, it is vastly the subtle Fox, feigning contrition, escapes less complicated than the Orlando. The with a short imprisonment, but the Ape is task undertaken by Spenser was immensely condemned to have his ears clipped short, more difficult than that of the Italian poet. and his long tail cut off. The story has Every one, who is at all versed in Italian much of the drollery of Chaucer's tale of poetry, knows how much the labour of the Cock and the Fox, as narrated by the the poet is lessened by the innumerable Nun's Priest in the Canterbury Tales.









modern english literATURE ALLFOR

In the course of time Spenser forgot his ungrateful Rosalind, and married his Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy merchant in Cork. The misfortunes of the latter part of his life are well known. His remains repose near those of Chaucer in Westminster Abbey.

King James VI. of Scotland published a volume of poems in 1584, when he was hardly eighteen years old. These are creditable enough for a youth, but the rules and cautions which he chose to append to them are at once puerile and pedantic. The earliest form of dramatic composition known in England was the Miracle Play, probably introduced from France, in the beginning of the 12th century, which was succeeded, about the time of Henry VI., by the Morality. Of the Miracle Plays we have several collections, but the three principal are the Chester, Coventry and Towneley Series. Very much has been written on the subject of these simple primitive dramas, but the limited space at our command forbids us to do more than to mention the names of two of the principal writers, John Parfre and Henry Medwell, who enjoyed considerable popularity in the 16th century.

In the Interludes of the time of Henry VIII. we find a great advance on the Moralities; but these are, in their turn, thrown into the shade by the dramatic compositions of Lyly, Peele, Kyd, and above all Marlowe (1564-1593). The first work of this talented but dissolute man was Tamburlaine the Great, which with all its rant and bombast contains much true poetry, and according to Collier was the earliest play in blank verse ever exhibited on the English stage. His best known piece, however, is undoubtedly Faustus, founded on the old German legend. In Marlowe's Faustus we have the ardent student pure and simple, to whom no sacrifice is too great in following the path of knowledge; and consequently there is no room in his drama for such an exquisite conception as that of Goethe's Margaret. In the creation of Mephistophiles Marlowe falls far short of the great German poet. His Edward II. is really a very fine tragedy, and was taken by Shakespeare as his model in writing Richard II Charles Lamb says that it furnished hints that Shakespeare has scarce improved, and the scene in Killingworth Castle between the imprisoned king and the Bishop of Winchester has been pronounced by competent judges to be equal to any thing written by the great master himself. The Jew of Malta is a greatly

inferior production, and Barabas cannot stand a moment's comparison with Shakespeare's Shylock. Marlowe was no contemptible poet, and he wrote the fine lines:

Come live with me, and be my love; which have been repeatedly published under Shakespeare's name.

Of the great poet and dramatist, William Shakespeare (we follow the usual spelling of the name) the little that is known will be found in another part of the present work. His early life in his native Stratfordon-Avon has little to interest us; his poetical career begins with 1585, the year of his removal to London. As a sufficient reason for his leaving Stratford, we may assume, without giving too much credit to ароcryphal stories, the necessity of earning bread for himself and an increasing family. Like Fielding, when he found himself in later times a penniless stranger in London, Shakespeare found that the readiest means of earning money was to write for the stage, and he began by furbishing up and repairing old theatrical pieces. This uncongenial work, however, he executed so well, that in 1592, while still in his dramatic apprenticeship, and before he had produced any of his great masterpieces, he had acquired such a reputation as to awaken the envy of Greene, and to elicit a warm commendation from Chettle. Shakespeare, indeed, was not at this time exclusively dependent on his pen, for he was an actor as well as a playwright, though he never seems to have shone on the boards, nor did he ever attempt the personation of any of the leading characters in his own great pieces. The fact, however, that for several years he was rather an improver and transformer than an original writer, makes it very difficult to draw up an accurate list of his authentic works. Much has been attributed to him, and many dramatic pieces and poems have been published by speculative booksellers under his name, in which it is quite certain that he had no part. It is deeply to be regretted that none of his plays were published under his own supervision, for though many of them appeared in print during his lifetime, they seem to have been given to the world without his consent, their publication being decidedly opposed to the author's interests. There was no copyright law in England, to protect literary property, before the year 1649, and Shakespeare naturally wished to restrict the performance of his pieces to the Globe and Blackfriars, the two theatres with which he was connected.


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