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pears to have been a translator of Italian. The History of Nastagio and Traversari translated out of Italian into English by C. T. perhaps Christopher Tye, was printed at London in


It is not my intention to pursue any farther the mob of religious rhymers, who, from principles of the most unfeigned piety, devoutly laboured to darken the lustre, and enervate the force, of the divine pages. And perhaps I have been already too prolix in examining a species of poetry, if it may be so called, which even impoverishes prose; or rather, by mixing the stile of prose with verse, and of verse with prose, destroys the character and effect of both. But in surveying the general course of a species of literature, absurdities as well as excellencies, the weakness and the vigour of the human mind, must have their historian. Nor is it unpleasing to trace and to contemplate those strange incongruities, and false ideas of perfection, which at various times, either affectation, or caprice, or fashion, or opinion, or prejudice, or ignorance, or enthusiasm, present to the conceptions of men, in the shape of truth.

I must not, however, forget, that king Edward the Sixth is to be ranked among the religious poets of his own reign. Fox has published his metrical instructions concerning the eucharist, addressed to sir Antony Saint Leger. Bale also mentions his comedy called the WHORE OF BABYLON, which Holland the heroologist, who perhaps had never seen it, and knew not whether it was a play or a ballad, in verse or prose, pronounces

given only the canto firmo, or plain chant. He composed a new Litany still in use; and improved the simpler modulation of Marbeck's Suffrages, Kyries after the Commandments, and other versicles, as they are sung at present. There are two chants of Tallis, one to the VENITE EXULTEMUS, and another to the Athanasian Creed.

In duodecimo.-I had almost forgot to observe, that John Mardiley, clerk of the king's Mint, called Suffolk-house in Southwark, translated twenty-four of David's Psalms into English verse,

about 1550. He wrote also Religious
Hymns. Bale, par. post. p. 106. There
is extant his Complaint against the stiff-
necked papist in verse, Lond. by T. Rey-
nold, 1548. 8vo. And, a Short Resytal
of certyne holie doctors, against the real
presence, collected in myter [metre] by
John Mardiley. Lond. 12mo. See an-
other of his pieces on the same subject,
and in rhyme, presented and dedicated
to queen Elisabeth, MSS. REG. 17. B.
xxxvii. The Protector Somerset was
his patron.


to be a most elegant performance.

Its elegance, with some,

will not perhaps apologise or atone for its subject: and it may seem strange, that controversial ribaldry should have been suffered to enter into the education of a great monarch. But the genius, habits, and situation, of his age should be considered. The reformation was the great political topic of Edward's court. Intricate discussions in divinity were no longer confined to the schools or the clergy. The new religion, from its novelty, as well as importance, interested every mind, and was almost the sole object of the general attention. Men emancipated from the severities of a spiritual tyranny, reflected with horror on the slavery they had so long suffered, and with exultation on the triumph they had obtained. These feelings were often expressed in a strain of enthusiasm. The spirit of innovation, which had seized the times, often transgressed the bounds of truth. Every change of religion is attended with those ebullitions, which growing more moderate by degrees, afterwards appear eccentric and ridiculous.

We who live at a distance from this great and national struggle between popery and protestantism, when our church has been long and peaceably established, and in an age of good sense, of politeness and philosophy, are apt to view these effusions of royal piety as weak and unworthy the character of a king. But an ostentation of zeal and example in the young Edward, as it was natural so it was necessary, while the reformation was yet immature. It was the duty of his preceptors, to impress on his tender years, an abhorrence of the principles of Rome, and a predilection to that happy system which now seemed likely to prevail. His early diligence, his inclination to letters, and his seriousness of disposition, seconded their active endeavours to cultivate and to bias his mind in favour of the new theology, which was now become the fashionable knowledge. These and other amiable virtues his cotemporaries

f HEROOLOG. p. 27. [Qu. whether in 1607 by Decker, and have applauded Holland might not have mistakingly it as a royal production?-PARK.] read a play with the same title published

have given young Edward in an eminent degree. But it may be presumed, that the partiality which youth always commands, the specious prospects excited by expectation, and the flattering promises of religious liberty secured to a distant posterity, have had some small share in dictating his panegyric.

The new settlement of religion, by counteracting inveterate prejudices of the most interesting nature, by throwing the clergy into a state of contention, and by disseminating theological opinions among the people, excited so general a ferment, that even the popular ballads and the stage, were made the vehicles of the controversy between the papal and protestant communions 8.

The Ballad of LUTHER, the POPE, a CARDINAL, and a HusBANDMAN, written in 1550, in defence of the reformation, has some spirit, and supports a degree of character in the speakers. There is another written about the same time, which is a lively satire on the English Bible, the vernacular liturgy, and the book of homilies h. The measure of the last is that of PIERCE PLOWMAN, with the addition of rhyme: a sort of versification which now was not uncommon.

Strype has printed a poem called the PORE HELP*, of the year 1550, which is a lampoon against the new preachers or gospellers, not very elegant in its allusions, and in Skelton's style. The anonymous satirist mentions with applause Mayster Huggarde, or Miles Hoggard, a shoemaker of London, and who wrote several virulent pamphlets against the reformation, poem itself, from which it may suffice to extract the passage relating to Miles Hoggard.

See instances already given, before the Reformation had actually taken place, supr. vol. iii. p. 428.

h See Percy Ball. ii. 102.

* [My erudite friend Mr. Douce, who is supposed to possess the only ancient copy of this little libel now remaining, thinks it was probably written by Skelton. The following is its title: "A PORE HELPE.

The bukler and defence
Of mother holy Kyrke,
And wepon to drive hence
Al that against her wircke."

Herbert, in his general history of printing, has blended this title with the

And also Maister Huggarde
Doth shewe hymselfe no sluggarde,
Nor yet no dronken druggarde,
But sharpeth up his wyt
And frameth it so fyt
These yonkers for to hyt
And wyll not them permyt
In errour styll to syt,
As it maye well speare
By his clarkely answere

The whiche intitled is

Agaynst what meaneth this.-PARK.]

which were made important by extorting laboured answers from several eminent divines. He also mentions a nobler clarke, whose learned Balad in defence of the holy Kyrke had triumphed over all the raillery of its numerous opponents. The same industrious annalist has also preserved A song on bishop Latimer, in the octavé rhyme, by a poet of the same persuasion1. And in the catalogue of modern English prohibited books delivered in 1542 to the parish priests, to the intent that their authors might be discovered and punished, there is the Burying of the Mass in English rithme". But it is not my intention to make a full and formal collection of these fugitive religious pasquinades, which died with their respective controversies.

In the year 1547, a proclamation was published to prohibit preaching. This was a temporary expedient to suppress the turbulent harangues of the catholic ministers, who still composed no small part of the parochial clergy: for the court of augmentations took care perpetually to supply the vacant benefices with the disincorporated monks, in order to exonerate the exchequer from the payment of their annuities. These men, both from inclination and interest, and hoping to restore the church to its antient orthodoxy and opulence, exerted all their powers of declamation in combating the doctrines of protestantism, and in alienating the minds of the people from the new doctrines and reformed rites of worship. Being silenced by authority, they had recourse to the stage; and from the pulpit removed their polemics to the play-house. Their farces became more successful than their sermons. The people flocked eagerly to the play-house, when deprived not only of their antient pageantries, but of their pastoral discourses, in the church. Archbishop Cranmer and the protector Somerset were the chief objects of these dramatic invectives". At length, the same autho* Strype, EccL. MEM. ii. APPend. i.

i One of these pieces is, "A Confutation to the answer of a wicked ballad," printed in 1550. Crowley above mentioned wrote "A Confutation of Miles Hoggard's wicked ballad made in defence of the transubstantiation of the Sacrament." Lond. 1548, octavo.

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rity which had checked the preachers, found it expedient to controul the players: and a new proclamation, which I think has not yet appeared in the history of the British drama, was promulgated in the following terms. The inquisitive reader will observe, that from this instrument plays appear to have been long before a general and familiar species of entertainment, that they were acted not only in London but in the great towns, that the profession of a player, even in our present sense, was common and established; and that these satirical interludes are forbidden only in the English tongue. "Forasmuch as a

great number of those that be cOMMON PLAYERS of ENTERLUDES and PLAYES, as well within the city of London as elsewhere within the realm, doe for the most part play such ENTERLUDES, as contain matter tending to sedition, and contemning of sundry good orders and laws; whereupon are grown and daily are likely to growe and ensue much disquiet, division, tumults and uprores in this realm P: the Kinges Majesty, by

Dat. 3 Edw. vi. Aug. 8.

P It should, however, be remarked, that the reformers had themselves shewn the way to this sort of abuse long before. Bale's comedy of THE THREE LAWS, printed in 1538, is commonly supposed to be a Mystery, and merely doctrinal : but it is a satirical play against popery, and perhaps the first of the kind in our language. I have mentioned it in general terms before, under Bale as a poet; but I reserved a more particular notice of it for this place. [See supr. vol.iii.p.362.] It is exceedingly scarce, and has this colophon. "Thus endeth thys Comedy concernynge the thre lawes, of Nature, Moses, and Christ, corrupted by the Sodomytes, Pharisees, and Papystes, most wycked. Compyled by Johan Bale. Anno M. D. XXXVII. And lately imprented per Nicolaum Bamburgensem,' duod.

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It has these directions about the dresses, the first I remember to have seen, which shew the scope and spirit of the piece. SIGNAT. G. "The apparellynge of the six Vyces or frutes of Infydelyte.-Let Idolatry be decked lyke an olde wytche, Sodomy lyke a monke of all sectes, Ambycyon lyke a byshop, Co

vetousnesse lyke a Pharisee or spyrituall lawer, False Doctrine lyke a popysh doctour, and Hypocresy lyke a graye fryre. The rest of the partes are easye ynough to conjecture." A scene in the second Act is thus opened by INFIDELITAS."Post cantionem, Infidelitas alta voce dicat, OREMUS. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram formasti laicos, da, quæsumus, ut sicut eorum sudoribus vivimus, ita eorum uxoribus, filiabus, et domicellis perpetuo frui mereamur, per dominum nostrum Papam." Bale, a clergyman, and at length a bishop in Ireland, ought to have known, that this profane and impious parody was more offensive and injurious to true religion than any part of the missal which he means to ridicule. INFIDELITY then begins in English verse a conversation with LEX MoYsIs, containing the most low and licentious obscenity, which I am ashamed to transcribe, concerning the words of a Latin anteme, between an old fryre, or friar, with spectacles on hys nose, and dame Isabel an old nun, who crows like a capon. This is the most tolerable part of INFIDELITY's dialogue. SIGNAT. C. iiij.

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