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orderlye the whole proces, I will, so far as my memorie and judgemente serveth, sumwhat further you in the truth of the storye. And therefore omittinge the ruffle of Jacke Strawe and his meyney, and the murther of manye notable men which therby happened, for Jacke, as ye knowe, was but a poore prynce; I will begin with a notable example which within a while after ensued. And although he be no Great Prynce, yet sithens he had a princely office, I will take upon me the miserable person of syr ROBERT TRESILIAN chyefe justyce of England, and of other which suffered with him. Therby to warne all of his authoritye and profession, to take hede of wrong judgements, misconstruynge of lawes, or wresting the same to serve the princes turnes, which ryghtfully brought theym to a miserable ende, which they may justly lament in manner ensuing 4." Then follows sir ROBERT TRESILIAN'S legend or history, supposed to be spoken by himself, and addressed to Baldwyne.
Here we see that a company was feigned to be assembled, each of which, one excepted, by turns personates a character of one of the great Unfortunate: and that the stories were all connected, by being related to the silent person of the assembly, who is like the chorus in the Greek tragedies, or the Host in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The whole was to form a sort of dramatic interlude, including a series of independent soliloquies. A continuity to this imagined representation is preserved by the introduction, after every soliloquy, of a prose epilogue, which also serves as a prologue to the succeeding piece, and has the air of a stage-direction. Boccace had done this before. We have this interposition, which I give as a specimen, and which explains the method of the recital, between the tragedies of king RICHARD THE SECOND and OWEN GLENDOUR. "Whan he had ended this so wofull a tragedye, and to all PRINCES a right worthy instruction, we paused:
having passed through a miserable tyme, full of pyteous tragedyes. And seyng the reygne of Henry the Fourth ensued, a man more ware and prosperous in hys doynges, although not untroubled with warres both of outforthe and inward enemyes, we began to serch what Pyers [peers] were fallen therein, wherof the number was not small: and yet because theyr examples were not muche to be noted for our purpose, we passed over all the Maskers, of whom kynge Rycharde's brother was chiefe: whych were all slayne and put to death for theyr trayterous attempt. And fyndynge Owen Glendoure next one of Fortune's owne whelpes, and the Percyes his confederates, I thought them unmete to be overpassed, and therefore sayd thus to the sylent cumpany, What, my maysters, is every one at once in a browne study, and hath no man affection to any of these storyes? You mynd so much some other belyke, that those do not move you. And to say the trouth, there is no special cause why they should. Howbeyt Owen Glendoure, becaus he was one of Fortune's darlynges, rather than he should be forgotten, I will tel his tale for him, under the privelidge of Martine hundred. Which OWEN, cuming out of the wilde mountains lyke the Image of Death in al pointes, (his darte onlie excepted,) so sore hath famyne and hunger consumed hym, may lament his folly after this maner." This process was a departure from Sackville's idea: who supposes, as I have hinted, the scene laid in hell, and that the unfortunate princes appeared to him in succession, and uttered their respective complaints, at the gates of Elysium, under the guidance of SORROW.
Many stanzas in the legends written by Baldwyne and Ferrers, and their friends, have considerable merit, and often shew a command of language and versification. But their performances have not the pathos which the subject so naturally
That is, Baldwyne had previously prepared and written his legend or monologue, and one of the company was
to act his part, and assume this appearance. fol. xviii. b.
f These lines in COLLINGBOURNE'S le
suggests. They give us, yet often with no common degree of elegance and perspicuity, the chronicles of Hall and Fabyan in verse. I shall therefore, in examining this part of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, confine my criticism to Sackville's INDUCTION and Legend of Buckingham.
gend are remarkable, fol. cxliiii. a.
Like Pegasus a poet must have wynges,
He must have knowledge of eternal
[Mr. Haslewood states the reference in this note to agree with the edition of 1563, and that the extract accords with an improved reading which first appeared in 1571.-EDIT.]
SACKVILLE'S INDUCTION, which was to have been placed at the head of our English tragical story, and which loses much of its dignity and propriety by being prefixed to a single life, and that of no great historical importance, is opened with the following poetical landscape of winter.
The wrathfull winter, prochinge on apace,
With blustring blasts had all ybard the treene;
With chilling colde had pearst the tender greene:
Was all despoyled of her beauty's hewe;
And soote freshe flowres, wherewith the sommers queen
Hawthorne had lost his motley lyverye,
a See fol. cxvi. [Warton's text is taken from the edition of 1610, corrected by the emendations of Capell in his Prolusions. Some of these are manifestly erroneous, and the original readings have consequently been restored. Sir Egerton Brydges objects to the reading of the se
venth line, because "bloom applies to spring, not autumn." Have we then no autumnal flowers? It may be questioned whether the modern abstract idea of "bloom" was current in Sackville's day. But the succeeding stanza clearly justifies Warton's election.-EDIT.]
The cruell season, bidding me witholde
When loe the night, with mistie mantels spred,
The altered scene of things, the flowers and verdure of summer deformed by the frosts and storms of winter, and the day suddenly overspread with darkness, remind the poet of the uncertainties of human life, the transient state of honour, and the instability of prosperity.
And sorrowing I to see the sommer flowers,
Then looking upwards to the heavens eams,
Immediately the figure of SORROW suddenly appears, which shews the poet in a new and bolder mode of composition.
And strayt forth stalking with redoubled pace,