Page images

Where Furies fight on beds of steele, and heares of crauling snakes,
Where Gorgon gremme, where Harpies are, and lothsom limbo lakes,
Where most prodigious" vgly things the hollow hell doth hyde,
If yet a monster more mishapt, &c.

In the TROAS, which was first faultily printed in or before 1560", afterwards reprinted in 1581 by Newton, he has taken greater liberties. At the end of the chorus after the first act, he has added about sixty verses of his own invention. In the beginning of the second act, he has added a new scene, in which he introduces the spectre of Achilles raised from hell, and demanding the sacrifice of Polyxena. This scene, which is in the octave stanza, has much of the air of one of the legends in the MIRROUR FOR MAGISTRATES. To the chorus of this act he has subjoined three stanzas. Instead of translating the chorus of the third act, which abounds with the hard names of the ancient geography, and which would both have puzzled the translator and tired the English reader, he has substituted a new ode. In his preface to the reader, from which he appears to be yet a fellow of All Souls college, he modestly apologises for these licentious innovations, and hopes to be pardoned for his seeming arrogance, in attempting " to set forth in English this present piece of the flowre of all writers Seneca, among so many fine wittes, and towardly youth, with which England this day florisheth." Our translator Jasper Heywood has several poems extant in the Paradise of Daintie Deuises, published in 1573†. He was the son of John Heywood, commonly called the epigrammatist, and born in London. In 1547, at twelve years of age, he was sent to Oxford, and in 1553 elected fellow of Merton college. But inheriting too large a share of his father's facetious and free disposition, he sometimes in the early part of life indulged his festive vein in extravagancies and indiscretions, for which being threatened with expulsion, he resigned his fellowship'. He exercised the office of Christmas-prince, or lord of misrule, to the college; and seems to have given offence, by suffering the levities and jocularities of that character to mix with his life and general conversation. In the year 1558, he was recommended by cardinal Pole, as a polite scholar, an able disputant, and a steady

"So Milton, on the same subject, and in the true sense of the word, Par. L. ii. 625.

-All monstrous, all PRODIGIOUS things.

I have never seen this edition of 1560 or before, but he speaks of it himself in the metrical Preface to the Thyestes just mentioned, and says it was most carelessly printed at the sign of the hand and star. This must have been at the shop of Richard Tottel within Temple Bar.

* [Or rather published by Newton, who translated the last Tragedy. It was printed by T. Marsh.-PARK.]

* Fol. 95 a.

[Herbert, in Typogr. Antiq. p. 686, thinks this date a misprint for 1578, the first edition not having been published till 1576, and Mr. Warton having before cited the publication as dated 1578.PARK.]

See Harrington's Epigrams, "Of old Haywood's sonnes." B. ii. 102.

z Among Wood's papers, there is an oration De Ligno et Fono, spoken by Heywood's cotemporary and fellow-collegian, David de la Hyde, in commendation of his execution of this office.

catholic, to sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity college in the same university, to be put in nomination for a fellowship of that college, then just founded. But this scheme did not take place. He was, however, appointed fellow of All Souls college the same year. Dissatisfied with the change of the national religion, within four years he left England, and became a catholic priest and a Jesuit at Rome, in 1562*. Soon afterwards he was placed in the theological chair at Dilling in Switzerland, which he held for seventeen years. At length returning to England, in the capacity of a popish missionary, he was imprisoned, but released by the interest of the earl of Warwick. For the deliverance from so perilous a situation, he complimented the earl in a copy of English verses, two of which, containing a most miserable paronomasy on his own name, almost bad enough to have condemned the writer to another imprisonment, are recorded in Harrington's Epigrams. At length he retired to Naples, where he died in 1597. He is said to have been an accurate critic in the Hebrew languaged. His translation of the TROAS, not of Virgil as it seems, is mentioned in a copy of verses by T. B. prefixed to the first edition, above-mentioned, of Studley's AGAMEMNON. He was intimately connected abroad with the biographer Pitts, who has given him rather too partial a panegyric.

Thomas Newton, the publisher of all the ten tragedies of Seneca in English, in one volume, as I have already remarked, in 1581, himself added only one to these versions of Studley, Nevile, Nuce, and Jasper Heywood. This is the THEBAIS, probably not written by Seneca, as it so essentially differs in the catastrophe from his OEDIPUS. Nor is it likely the same poet should have composed two tragedies on the same subject, even with a variation of incidents. It is without the chorus and a fifth act. Newton appears to have made his translation in 1581, and perhaps with a view only of completing the collection. He is more prosaic than most of his fellow-labourers, and seems to have paid the chief attention to perspicuity and fidelity. In the general EPISTLE DEDICATORY to sir Thomas Henneage, prefixed to the volume, he says, "I durst not haue geuen the aduenture to approch your presence, vpon trust of any singularity, that in this Booke hath vnskilfully dropped out of myne owne penne, but that I hoped the perfection of others ar

a MS. Collectan. Fr. Wise. See Life of Sir T. Pope.

[Arthur Hall, before his Homer in 1581, speaks of the learned and painful translation of part of Seneca by M. Jasper Heywood, "a man then (circa 1562) better learned than fortunate, and since more fortunate than he hath well bestowed, as it is thought, the giftes God and nature hath liberally lent him."PARK.]

b Epigr. lib. iii. Epigr. 1.

Ath. Oxon. i. 290.

H. Morus, Hist. Provinc. Angl. So

cietatis Jes. lib. iv. num. 11. sub annum 1585.

e With these initials, there is a piece prefixed to Gascoigne's poems, 1579. [A misprint perhaps for 1575; no such edition as the preceding being known.PARK.]

There is a receipt from Marsh for "Seneca's Tragedies in Englishe." Jul. 2, 1581. Registr. Station. B. fol. 181 The English version seems to have produced an edition of the original for Man and Brome, Sept. 6, 1585. Ibid. fol. 205 b.


tificiall workmanship that haue trauayled herein, as well as myselfe, should somewhat couer my nakednesse, and purchase my pardon.— Theirs I knowe to be deliuered with singular dexterity: myne, I confesse to be an vnflidge [unfledged] nestling, vnable to flye; an vnnatural abortion, and an vnperfect embryon: neyther throughlye laboured at Aristophanes and Cleanthes candle, neither yet exactly waighed in Critolaus his precise ballaunce. Yet this I dare saye, I haue deliuered myne authors meaning with as much perspicuity as so meane a scholar, out of so meane a stoare, in so smal a time, and vpon so short a warning, was well able to performe," &c.g

Of Thomas Newton, a slender contributor to this volume, yet perhaps the chief instrument of bringing about a general translation of Seneca, and otherwise deserving well of the literature of this period, some notices seem necessary. The first letter of his English THEBAIS is a large capital D. Within it is a shield exhibiting a sable Lion ram

Dated, "From Butley in Cheshyre the 24. of Aprill, 1581."

I am informed by a manuscript note of Oldys, that Richard Robinson translated the Thebais. Of this I know no more, but R. Robinson was a large writer both in verse and prose. Some of his pieces I have already mentioned. He wrote also "Christmas Recreations of histories and moralizations aplied for our solace and consolacions," licensed to T. East, Dec. 5, 1576. Registr. Station. B. fol. 136 b. And, in 1569, is entered to Binneman, "The ruefull tragedy of Hemidos, &c. by Richard Robinson." Registr. A. fol. 190 a. And, to T. Dawson in 1579, Aug. 26, "The Vineyard of Vertue a booke gathered by R. Robinson." Registr. B. fol. 163 a. He was a citizen of London. The reader recollects his English Gesta Romanorum, in 1577. He wrote also "The avncient order, societie, and vnitie laudable, of Prince Arthure, and his knightly armory of the Round Table. With a threefold assertion, &c. Translated and collected by R. R." Lond. for J. Wolfe, 1583. bl. lett. 4to. This work is in metre, and the armorial bearings of the knights are in verse. Prefixed is a poem by Churchyard, in praise of the Bow. His translation of Leland's Assertio Arthuri (bl. lett. 4to.) is entered to J. Wolfe, Jun. 6, 1582. Registr. Station. B. fol. 189 b. [It was published in the same year.-PARK.] I find, licensed to R. James in 1565, "A boke intituled of very pleasaunte sonnettes and storyes in myter [metre] by Clement Robynson." Registr. B. fol. 141 a.

[In 1584 was printed "A Handefull of pleasant Delites, containing sundrie new sonets and delectable historics, in diuers kindes of meeter, newly devised

to the newest times, &c. by Clement Robinson and others." 16mo. Extracts from this Miscellany are given in Censura Literaria, vol. iv. and Ellis's Specimens, vol. ii. Richard Robinson put forth the following works, "The Rewarde of Wickednesse, discoursing the sundrye monstrous Abuses of wicked and ungodlye Worldelinges, in such sort set downe and written, as the same have been dyversely practised in the persones of popes, harlots, proude princes, tyrauntes, Romish byshoppes, and others," &c. Author's address, dated May 1574. Lond. by W. Williamson. 4to. n. d. From this tract it appears, that R. Robinson was in the household service of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and employed by him as a domestic sentinel over the Q. of Scots. In 1576, he published a work, which Mr. Warton had entered as duly licensed. It was entitled "Robinson's Poems; certain selected histories for Christian recreations, with their several Moralizations. Brought into English verse, and are to be sung with several notes composed by Rich. Robinson." Lond. for H. Kirkham. In 1578 he printed "A Dyall of dayly Contemplacion, or devine Exercise of the Mind; instructing us to live unto God, and to dye unto the world," &c. Lond. by Hugh Singleton. This was translated from the Latin of Fox, bishop of Durham and Winchester. A work of a similar kind, translated from the Latin of Dr. Urbanus, was printed in 1587-1590, and lastly, by R. Jones in 1594. It was called "The Solace of Sion and Joy of Jerusalem, or Consolation of God's Church in the latter Age, redeemed by the preaching of the Gospell universallie." In these three latter pieces he designates himself as a citizen of London.-PARK.]

pant, crossed in argent on the shoulder, and a half moon argent in the dexter corner, I suppose his armorial bearing. In a copartment, towards the head, and under the semicircle, of the letter, are his initials, T. N. He was descended from a respectable family in Cheshire, and was sent while very young, about thirteen years of age, to Trinity college in Oxford. Soon afterwards he went to Queen's college in Cambridge; but returned within a very few years to Oxford, where he was re-admitted into Trinity college'. He quickly became famous for the pure elegance of his Latin poetry. Of this he has left a specimen in his ILLUSTRIA ALIQUOT ANGLORUM ENCOMIA, published at London in 1589. He is perhaps the first Englishman that wrote Latin elegiacs with a classical clearness and terseness after Leland, the plan of whose ENCOMIA and TROPHÆA he seems to have followed in this little work'. Most of the learned and ingenious men of that age appear to have courted the favours of this polite and popular encomiast. His chief patron was the unfortunate Robert earl of Essex. I have often incidentally mentioned some of Newton's recommendatory verses, both in English and Latin, prefixed to cotemporary books, according to the mode of that age. One of his earliest philological publications is a NOTABLE HIstorie of the SARACENS, digested from Curio, in three books, printed at London in 1575m. I unavoidably anticipate in remarking here, that he wrote a poem on the death of queen Elizabeth, called " ATROPOION DELION," or, "the Death of Delia with the Tears of her funeral. A poetical excusive discourse of our late Eliza. By T. N. G.* Lond. 1603"." The next year he published a flowery romance, "A plesant new history, or a fragrant posie made of three flowers Rosa, Rosalynd, and Rosemary. London, 1604°." Phillips, in his THEATRUM POETARUM, attributes to Newton a tragedy in two parts, called TAMBURLAIN the Great, or THE SCYTHIAN SHEPHERD. But this play, printed at London in 1593, was written by Christopher Marlowe P. He seems to have been a partisan of the puritans, from his pamphlet of CHRISTIAN FRIENDSHIP, with an Invective against dice-play and other profane games, printed at London, 1586. For some time our author practised physic, and, in the character of that profession, wrote or translated many medical tracts. The first of these, on a curious subject, A direction for the health of magistrates and students, from Gratarolus, appeared in 1574. At length taking orders, he first taught school at Macclesfield in CheI Lond. 1589. 4to. Reprinted by Hearne, Oxon. 1715. 8vo.

Registr. ibid.

i Ibid.

His master John Brunswerd, at Macclesfield school, in Cheshire, was no bad Latin poet. See his Progymnasmata aliquot Poemata. Lond. 1590. 4to. See Newton's Encom. p. 128. 131. Brunswerd died in 1589; and his epitaph, made by his scholar Newton, yet remains in the chancel of the church of Macclesfield. Alpha poetarum, coryphæus grammati


Flos παιδαγωγών, hac sepelitur humo.

[blocks in formation]

shire, and afterwards at Little Ilford in Essex, where he was beneficed. In this department, and in 1596, he published a correct edition of Stanbridge's Latin Prosody'. In the general character of an author, he was a voluminous and a laborious writer. From a long and habitual course of studious and industrious pursuits he had acquired a considerable fortune, a portion of which he bequeathed in charitable legacies.

It is remarkable, that Shakspeare has borrowed nothing from the English Seneca*. Perhaps a copy might not fall in his way. Shakspeare was only a reader by accident+. Hollinshed and translated Italian novels supplied most of his plots or stories. His storehouse of learned history was North's Plutarch. The only poetical fable of antiquity which he has worked into a play, is TROILUS. But this he borrowed from the romance of Troy. Modern fiction and English history were his principal resources. These perhaps were more suitable to his taste; at least he found that they produced the most popular subjects. Shakspeare was above the bondage of the classics.

I must not forget to remark here, that, according to Ames, among the copies of Henry Denham recited in the register of the Company of Stationers, that printer is said, on the eighth of January, in 1583, among other books, to have yielded into the hands and dispositions of the master, wardens, and assistants of that fraternity, "Two or three of Seneca his tragediest." These, if printed after 1581, cannot be new impressions of any single plays of Seneca, of those published in Newton's edition of all the ten tragedies.

Among Hatton's manuscripts in the Bodleian library at Oxford", there is a long translation from the HERCULES OETAEUS of Seneca, by queen Elizabeth. It is remarkable that it is blank verse, a measure which her majesty perhaps adopted from GORBODUC; and which therefore proves it to have been done after the year 1561. It has, however, no other recommendation but its royalty.

"Vocabula magistri Stanbrigii ab infinitis quibus scatebant mendis repurgata, observata interim (quoad ejus fieri potuit) carminis ratione, et meliuscule etiam correcta, studio et industria Thomae Newtoni Cestreshyrii. Edinb. excud. R. Waldegrave." I know not if this edition, which is in octavo, is the first. See our author's Encom. p. 128. Our author published one or two translations on theological subjects.

* [Yet the learned Mr. Whalley remarks, it exceeds the usual poetry of that age, and is equal perhaps to any of the versions which have been made of it since. Inquiry into the Learning of Shakspeare. -PARK.]

[Mr. G. Chalmers scouts this intelligence; and points out to curious inquirers the very books which Shakspeare studied. See Suppl. Apol. p. 228.-PARK.]

* I find nothing of this in Register B.

They are mentioned by Ames, with these pieces, viz. "Pasquin in a traunce. The hoppe gardein. Ovid's metamorphosis. The courtier. Cesar's commentaries in English. Ovid's epistles. Image of idlenesse. Flower of frendship. Schole of vertue. Gardener's laborynth. Demosthenes' orations." I take this opportunity of acknowledging my great obligations to that very respectable society, who in the most liberal manner have indulged me with a free and unreserved examination of their original records; particularly to the kind assistance and attention of one of its members, Mr. Lockyer Davies, bookseller in Holborn.

" MSS. Mus. Bodl. 55. 12. [Olim Hyper. Bodl.] It begins,

"What harming hurle of Fortune's arme,"


« PreviousContinue »