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the Spanish, by desire of the lady of sir Nicholas Carew, THE CASTLE OF LOVE. From the French he translated, at the request of the earl of Huntingdon, SIR HUGH OF BOURDEAUX, which became exceedingly popular; and from the same language, THE HISTORY of Arthur, an Armorican knight. Bale says, that he wrote a comedy called Ite in vineam, or the PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD, which was frequently acted at Calais, where lord Berners resided, after vespersh. He died in 1532.
I have also been told, that the late lord Eglintoun had a genuine book of manuscript sonnets, written by king Henry the Eighth. There is an old madrigal, set to music by William Bird, supposed to be written by Henry, when he first fell in love with Anne Boleyn'. It begins,
The eagles force subdues eche byrde that flyes;
It appears in Bird's PSALMES, SONGS, AND SONNET3, printed with musical notes, in 1611. Poetry and music are congenial; and it is certain, that Henry was skilled in musical composition. Erasmus attests, that he composed some church services1: and one of his anthems still continues to be performed in the choir of Christ-church at Oxford, of his foundation. It is in an admirable style, and is for four voices. Henry, although a scholar, had little taste for the classical elegancies which now began to be known in England. His education seems to have been altogether theological; and, whether it best suited his taste or his interest, polemical divinity seems to have been his favorite science. He was a patron of learned men, when they humoured his vanities; and were wise enough, not to interrupt his pleasures, his convenience, or his ambition.
& Cent. ix. p. 706.
Ath. Oxon. i. 33. It is not known, whether it was in Latin or English. Stowe says, that in 1528, at Greenwich, after a grand tournament and banquet, there was the "most goodliest Disguising or Interlude in Latine," &c. Chron. p. 539. edit. fol. 1615. But possibly this may be Stowe's way of naming and describing a comedy of Plautus. See vol. ii. p. 511.
i I must not forget that a song is ascribed to Anne Boleyn, but with little probability, called her COMPLAINT. See Hawkins, Hist. Mus. iii. 32. v. 480.
See also Nugæ Antiq. ii. 248. [And it makes part of a stanza in Churchyard's legend of Jane Shore.-PARK.]
1 See Hawkins, Hist. Mus. ii. 533.
The Second Writer of Blank-verse in English. Specimens of early Blank-verse.
To these SONGES and SONNETTES of UNCERTAIN AUCTOURS, in Tottell's edition are annexed SONGEs written by N. G. By the initials N. G. we are to understand Nicholas Grimoald*, a name which never appeared yet in the poetical biography of England: but I have before mentioned him incidentally. He was a native of Huntingdonshire, and received the first part of his academical institution at Christ's college in Cambridge. Removing to Oxford in the year 1542, he was elected fellow of Merton College: but, about 1547, having opened a rhetorical lecture in the refectory of Christ-church, then newly founded, he was transplanted to that society +, which gave the greatest encouragement to such students as were distinguished for their proficiency in criticism and philology. The same year he wrote a Latin tragedy, which probably was acted in the college, entitled, ARCHIPROPHETA, sive JoHANNES BAPTISTA, TRAGEDIA, that is, The Arch-prophet, or Saint John Baptist, a tragedy, and dedicated to the dean Richard Cox. In the year 1548, he explained all the four books of Virgil's Georgics ‡ in a regular prose Latin paraphrase, in the public hall of his college. He wrote also explanatory commentaries or lectures on the Andria of Terence, the Epistles of Horace, and many pieces of Cicero, perhaps for the same auditory. He translated Tully's Offices into English. This translation, which is dedicated to the learned Thirlby bishop of Ely, was printed at London, 1553'. He also familiarised some of the purest Greek classics by English versions, which I believe were never printed. Among others was the CYROPÆDIA. Bale the biographer, and bishop of Ossory, says, that he turned Chaucer's TROILUS into a play; but whether this piece was in Latin or English, we are still to seek and the word Comedia, which Bale uses on this occasion, is without precision or distinction. The same may be said of what Bale calls
* They begin with fol. 113.
* [or Grimaold, according to Barnaby Googe; but Nicolas Grimalde is the poet's own orthography.-PARK.]
See vol. ii. p. 493. [At this place the initials E. G. not N. G. are incidentally mentioned: an error which, with many of our laureat's minor hallucinations, escaped the Argus eyes of Ritson.-PARK.]
[And yet in 1551, Turner's Preservative or Triacle against the Poyson of Pelagius, had a copy of verses prefixed by Nicholas Grimoald of Merton college.
his FAME, a comedy. Bale also recites his System of Rhetoric for the use of Englishmen 8, which seems to be the course of the rhetorical lectures I have mentioned. It is to be wished, that Bale, who appears to have been his friend, and therefore possessed the opportunities of information, had given us a more exact and full detail, at least of such of Grimoald's works as are now lost, or, if remaining, are unprinted. Undoubtedly this is the same person, called by Strype, one Grimbold, who was chaplain to bishop Ridley, and who was employed by that prelate, while in prison, to translate into English, Laurentio Valla's book against the fiction of Constantine's DONATION, with some other popular Latin pieces against the papists. In the ecclesiastical history of Mary's reign, he appears to have been imprisoned for heresy, and to have saved his life, if not his credit, by a recantation. But theology does not seem to have been his talent, nor the glories of martyrdom to have made any part of his ambition. One of his plans, but which never took effect, was to print a new edition of Josephus Iscanus's poem on the TROJAN WAR, with emendations from the most correct manuscripts1*.
I have taken more pains to introduce this Nicholas Grimoald to the reader's acquaintance, because he is the second English poet after lord Surrey, who wrote in blank-verse. Nor is it his only praise, that he was the first who followed in this new path of versification. To the style of blank-verse exhibited by Surrey, he added new strength, elegance, and modulation. In the disposition and conduct of his cadencies, he often approaches to the legitimate structure of the improved blank-verse: but we cannot suppose, that he is entirely free from those dissonancies and asperities, which still adhered to the general character and state of our diction†.
& Rhetorica in usum Britannorum. h Bale cites his comment, or paraphrase on the first Eclogue of Virgil, addressed ad Amicum Joannem Baleum, viii. 99.
Titles of many others of his pieces may be seen in Bale, ubi supr.
* See Strype's Cranmer, B. iii. c. 11. P. 343. And Grindal, 8. Fox, edit. i. 1047. And Wood, Ath. Oxon. i. 178. 1 Bale, ubi supr.
*[An epitaph on the death of Nicolas Grimaold appeared in the very scarce poems of Barn. Googe, 1563, and has been reprinted by Mr. Steevens in his Account of Ancient Translations from Classic Authors. (Reed's Shaksp. ii. 114.) The following extract relates more particularly to the person commemorated. "Yf that wyt or worthy eloquens
Or learnyng deape could move him [Death] to forbeare;
O GRIMAOLD, then thou hadste not yet gon hence,
But here hadst sene full many an aged yeare.
Ne had the Muses loste so fyne a floure,
Thou hadste not yet ben suffred for to go. A thousande doltysh geese we myght have sparde,
A thousande wytles heads death might have found
And taken them for whom no man had
And layde them lowe in deepe oblivious grounde.
But Fortune favours fooles, as old men saye,
And lets them lyve, and takes the wyse awaye."-PARK.
[It would seem from the following lines in Barnabe Googe's poems, that Grimoald had, after lord Surrey, translated a portion of Virgil; which the bishop of Dunkeld afterwards completed.
"The noble H[enry] Hawarde once
In his poem on the DEATH OF MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO are these lines. The assassins of Cicero are said to relent,
They his bare neck beheld, and his hore heyres,
Scant could they hold the teares that forth gan burst,
And lo hart-persing PITHO°, strange to tell,
Nor is this passage unsupported by a warmth of imagination, and the spirit of pathetic poetry. The general cast of the whole poem shows, that our author was not ill qualified for dramatic composition.
Another of Grimoald's blank-verse poems is on the death of Zoroas an Egyptian astronomer, who was killed in Alexander's first battle with the Persians*. It is opened with this nervous and animated exordium.
Now clattering armes, now raging broyls of warre,
With mighty style did bryng a pece
Of Virgil's worke in frame.
m His constrained spirit. "Graia.
Greek. • Peitho, the goddess of persuasion. P Fol. 117.
And is a translation from part of the Latin Alexandreis of Philip Gualtier de Chatillon, bishop of Megala, who flourished in the thirteenth century. See Steevens's Shaksp. vii. 337. ed. 1803.-PARK.] The reader must recollect Shakspeare's
Loud larums, neighing steeds, and TRUM-
* Fol. 115.
In the midst of the tumult and hurry of the battle, appears sage philosopher Zoroas; a classical and elegant description of whose skill in natural science, forms a pleasing constrast amidst images of death and destruction; and is inserted with great propriety, as it is necessary to introduce the history of his catastrophe.
Shakyng her bloudy hands Bellone, among
To whom the heaven lay open as his boke:
The movyng, metyng, light, aspect, eclips,
What earthly chances would betide: what yere
Our astronomer, finding by the stars that he is destined to die speedily, chooses to be killed by the hand of Alexander, whom he endeavours to irritate to an attack, first by throwing darts, and then by reproachful speeches.
Of mothers bed! Why losest thou thy strokes
Alexander is for a while unwilling to revenge this insult on a man eminent for wisdom.
brave, is richly decked.
✰ with plenty. spring, printemps.
w Whether any music made by man can resemble that of the spheres.
y Saturn. [Sirius.-RITSON.]
Z of Mavors, or the planet Mars.