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IN tracing the gradual accessions of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, an incidental departure from the general line of our chronologic series has been incurred. But such an anticipation was unavoidable, in order to exhibit a full and uninterrupted view of that poem, which originated in the reign of Mary, and was not finally completed till the beginning of the seventeenth century. I now therefore return to the reign of queen Mary.
To this reign I assign Richard Edwards, a native of Somersetshire about the year 1523. He is said by Wood to have been a scholar of Corpus Christi college in Oxford: but in his early years, he was employed in some department about the court. This circumstance appears from one of his poems in the PARADISE OF DAINTIE DEVISES, a miscellany which contains many of his pieces.
In youthfull yeares when first my young desires began
To pricke me forth to serve in court, a slender tall young man, My fathers blessing then, I asked upon my knee,
Who blessing me with trembling hand, these wordes gan say
My sonne, God guide thy way, and shield thee from mischaunce, And make thy just desartes in court, thy poore estate to advance, &c. a
In the year 1547, he was appointed a senior student of Christ-church in Oxford, then newly founded. In the British Museum there is a small set of manuscript sonnets signed with his initials, addressed to some of the beauties of the courts of
* Edit. 1585. 4to. CARM. 7.
queen Mary, and of queen Elisabeth". Hence we may conjecture, that he did not long remain at the university. About this time he was probably a member of Lincoln's-inn. In the year 1561, he was constituted a gentleman of the royal chapel by queen Elisabeth, and master of the singing boys there. He had received his musical education, while at Oxford, under George Etheridge.
When queen Elisabeth visited Oxford in 1566, she was attended by Edwards, who was on this occasion employed to compose a play called PALAMON AND ARCITE, which was acted before her majesty in Christ-church hall. I believe it was
MSS. COTTON. Tit. A. xxiv. "To some court Ladies."-Pr. " Howarde is not hawghte," &c.
[This MS. appears to be the fragment of a collection of original poetry, by different writers. In Ayscough's Catalogue, it is described as "Sonnets by R. E." but no sonnet occurs among the several pieces, and only four out of fourteen are signed R. E. The rest bear the signatures of Nerton (the dramatic associate probably of Lord Buckhurst) Surre (i. e. Surrey) Va. Pig. and six are unsignatured. That quoted by Mr. Warton may be seen at length in Nug. Antiq. ii. 392. Another by Edwards is printed in Mr. Ellis's Specimens, vol. ii. and Norton's is also there inserted. -PARK.]
George Etheridge, born at Thame in Oxfordshire, was admitted Scholar of Corpus Christi college Oxford, under the tuition of the learned John Shepreve, in 1534. Fellow, in 1539. In 1553, he was made royal professor of Greek at Oxford. In 1556, he was recommended by lord Williams of Thame, to Sir Thomas Pope founder of Trinity college in Oxford, to be admitted a fellow of his college at its first foundation. But Etheridge chusing to pursue the medical line, that scheme did not take effect. He was persecuted for popery by queen Elisabeth at her accession: but afterwards practised physic at Oxford with much reputation, and established a private seminary there for the instruction of catholic youths in the classics, music, and logic. Notwithstanding his active perseverance in the papistic persuasion,
he presented to the queen, when she
never printed. Another of his plays is DAMON AND PYTHIAS, which was acted at court. It is a mistake, that the first edition of this play is the same that is among Mr. Garrick's collection printed by Richard Johnes, and dated 1571. The first edition was printed by William How in Fleet-street, in 1570, with this title, "The tragical comedie of DAMON ANd Pithias, newly imprinted as the same was playde before the queenes maiestie by the children of her graces chapple. Made by Mayster Edward then being master of the children f." There is some degree of low humour in the dialogues between Grimme the collier and the two lacquies, which I presume was highly pleasing to the queen. He probably wrote many other dramatic pieces now lost. Puttenham having mentioned lord Buckhurst and Master Edward Ferrys, or Ferrers, as most eminent in tragedy, gives the prize to Edwards for Comedy and Interludes. The word Interlude is here of wide extent. For Edwards, besides that he was a writer of regular dramas, appears to have been a contriver of masques, and a composer of poetry for pageants. In a word, he united all those arts and accomplishments which minister to popular pleasantry: he was the first fiddle, the most fashionable sonnetteer, the readiest rhymer, and the most facetious mimic, of the court. In consequence of his love and his knowledge of the histrionic art, he taught the choristers over which he presided to act plays; and they were formed into a company of players, like those of saint Paul's cathedral, by the queen's licence, under the superintendency of Edwards h
The most poetical of Edwards's ditties in the Paradise of DAINTIE DEVISES is a description of May. The rest are mo
e Quarto. Bl. lett.
* [Vid. infra, p. 114. Note*.]
f Quarto. Bl. lett. The third edition among Mr. Garrick's Plays. 4to. Bl. lett. dated 1582.
ARTE OF ENGLISH POETRY, fol. 51.
i CARM. 6. edit. 1585. It seems to have been a favorite, and is complimented in another piece, A reply to M. Ed
wardes May, subscribed M. S. ibid. CARM. 29. This miscellany, of which more will be said hereafter, is said in the title to "be devised and written for the most parte by M. Edwardes sometime of her maiesties Chappell." Edwards however had been dead twelve years when the first edition appeared, viz. in 1578.
[It will be seen from Mr. Hasel
ral sentences in stanzas. His SOUL-KNELL, supposed to have been written on his death-bed, was once celebrated. His popularity seems to have altogether arisen from those pleasing talents of which no specimens could be transmitted to posterity, and which prejudiced his partial cotemporaries in favour of his poetry. He died in the year 15661.
In the Epitaphs, Songs, and Sonets of George Turbervile, printed in [1567 and] 1570, there are two elegies on his death; which record the places of his education, ascertain his poetical and musical character, and bear ample testimony to the high distinction in which his performances, more particularly of the dramatic kind, were held. The second is by Turbervile himself, entitled, "An Epitaph on Maister Edwards, sometime Maister of the Children of the Chappell and gentleman of Lyncolnes inne of court."
Ye learned Muses nine
And sacred sisters all;
Now lay your cheerful cithrons downe,
For he that led the daunce,
The chiefest of your traine,
I meane the man that Edwards height,
Ye courtiers chaunge your cheere,
For now your Orpheus has resignde,
O ruth! he is bereft,
That, whilst he lived here,
Could have no English peere.
wood's careful reprint of Edwards's Metrical Miscellany, that the first edition appeared in 1576, and a second in 1577. -PARK.]
* It is mentioned by G. Gascoigne in his Epistle to the young Gentlemen, before his works, 1587. qu.
[But it is only mentioned in derision, as a vulgar and groundless notion, to which those who gave credence are ridiculed for their absurdity.-PARK.]
1 Wood, ATH. OXON. i. 151. See also, ibid. FAST. 71.
The other is written by Thomas Twyne, an assistant in Phaer's Translation of Virgil's Eneid into English verse, educated a few years after Edwards at Corpus Christi college, and an actor in Edwards's play of PALAMON AND ARCITE before queen Elisabeth at Oxford in 1566 P. It is entitled, "An Epitaph vpon the death of the worshipfull Mayster Richarde
Shakespeare has inserted a part of Edwards's song In Commendation of Musicke, extant at length in the PARADISE OF DAINTIE DEUISES, (fol. 34. b.) in ROMEO AND JULIET. "When griping grief," &c. AcT iv. Sc. 5. In some Miscellany of the reign of Elisabeth, I have seen a song called The WILLOW-GARLAND, attributed to Edwards: and the same, I think, that is licenced to T. Colwell in 1564, beginning, "I am not the fyrst that hath taken in hande, The wearynge of the willowe garlande." This song, often reprinted, seems to have been written in conscquence of that sung by Desdemona in OTHELLO, with the burden, Sing, O the green willowe shall be my garland. OTHELL. ACT iv. Sc. 3. See REGISTER OF THE STATIONERS, A. fol. 119. b. Hence the antiquity of Desdemona's song may in some degree be ascertained. I take this opportunity of observing, that the ballad of SUSANNAH, part of which is sung by sir Toby in TWELFTH NIGHT, was licenced to T. Colwell, in 1562, with the title, "The godlye and constante wyfe Susanna. Ibid. fol. 89. b. There is a play on this subject, ibid. fol. 176. a. See Tw. N.
Acr ii. Sc. 3. And COLLECT. PEPYSIAN. tom. i. p. 33. 496.
Fol. 142. b. [The following is one of Turberville's epigrammatic witticisms:
Of one that had a great Nose.
the sunne, with open chaps,
Turb. Poems, 1570, p. 83. b.
P Miles Winsore of the same college was another actor in that play, and I suppose his performance was much liked by the queen. For when her majesty left Oxford, after this visit, he was appointed by the university to speak an oration before her at lurd Windsor's at Bradenham in Bucks: and when he had done speaking, the queen turning to Gama de Sylva, the Spanish ambassador, and looking wistly on Windsore, said to the ambassador, Is not this a pretty young man? Wood, Aтн. Oxon. i. 151. 489. Winsore proved afterwards a diligent antiquary.