Page images

“ CLINTON, PURSER, and ARNOLD to their Countryemen, wheresoever. Wherein is described by their own hands their unfeigned penitence for their offences past: their patience in welcoming their Death, and their duetiful minds towards her most excellent Majestie.—London. Imprinted by John Wolfe, and are to be sold at the middle shop in the Poultry, joyning to S. Mildredes Church."

This publication explains how it happened that, on page 70 of Mr. Field's reprint of “ Fortune by Land and Sea," Clinton calls Purser Tom Watton

“ Thinks Tom Watton,
Whom storms could never move, nor tempests dannt,
Rocks terrify,” &c.

Watton was a misprint for Walton, unless we suppose that the man's real name was Watton, and not Walton. It is easy to imagine that he obtained the sobriquet of “ Purser,” from the office he held among the crew; but his true name was certainly Walton, or Watton, for he subscribes the stanzas printed in his name,



Mr. Field concludes that Watton is “ an alias for Purser; but Purser was in fact an alias for Watton, or Walton, and in his supposed poem Walton calls himself expressly “The Purser." He opens it thus :

Lordings, that list to heare a dreery tale,

Where every Comma showes a Corosive,
Set mirth apart, and strike your pleasant saile :

My sighes may serue your loaden barkes to driue

Alongst the shore, where sorrowes ships arriue;
Whose case is such, as when you shall have scand,
Say as you see, and set my sighes on land.

“Not long since, then, I held a haplesse Shippe,

Precisely riggd, and furnisht for the nones :
Whome nothing craz’d till Fortune gan to trippe,

And dasht my state so stifly gainst the stones,

As brake my barke, and brused all my bones;
But if I say my sinne deseru'd the same,
In telling truth I merite meaner blame.".

He afterwards informs us that his capture was effected by “ two lofty sail ;” and we may conclude that Heywood and Rowley represented him as having been taken by young Forrest for the purpose of his drama, and not because it was consistent with history. Walton also asserts that he was not the first to open

the fire, and concludes with these two stanzas:

“ Some faithlesse French are pleasd to see, perhaps,

That his goodwill hath wrought him this reward,
Clapping their hands to heare of his mishaps,

Which had his realme and rightes in such regard,

And bet them backe, that els your martes had mard;
But looke abroad, haue care vnto your roades,
And cleanse your coastes of such vnseemly toades.

“ As for myselfe, I owe a due to Death,

And I respect it not in that I die,
Onely the manner of my losse of breath

Is cause that I for some compassion cry:

My soule is sau’d, where ere my body lie.
This makes me sigh, that faith unto my frend

Hath brought me thus to this vntimely end.” Arnold, whose poetical address comes next in the tract, does not, like Walton, address himself to the “Lordinges whom he imagines listening to his story, but to Heaven :

Ne in furore, oh, my sovereigne God!

Reprove me not in wrath, I thee desire," &c.

[ocr errors]

And afterwards he thus speaks of himself, and of his birthplace and misfortunes :

“ First then, suppose that you in presence see

An aged man, of no great personage,
Yet of a minde, as many others bee,

More nobly bent than seemed by mine age;

Who mongst the thickest thrust vnto the stage,
To breathe abroad from my constreined brest
The smoaky reekes of mine extreme unrest.

“Arnold I hight, by birth a gentleman,

Of honest parents, and in Hamshire borne,
Well left to live, when haplesse I began

In th' Irish bogges a soldier to be sworne :

Howbeit, a priest was cause of all my scorne,
A worthlesse priest, a priest of such despite,
As shadoweth that which should have given vs light.”


He subsequently adds :

“This made me first to set my farmes to sale ;

This droue poore Arnold out of house and home,
When I, as rich as he that begs his ale,

Amongst my friendes enforced was to rome;
But friendes are fiendes, when friendship should be shown ;
For when my cause they throughly vnderstood,
They said they grieved, but could do me no good.”

What Arnold states in the first of the following stanzas is probably historical:

“On seas I met a sort of faithles French,

That through a leake their ship had welny lost ;
But I in pittie sought the same to stench,

For which good deed they bad me, fare well frost :

A tunne of coales, nought els my labour cost;
These coales by law the jury did convart
To such a case as cooles me at the hart.

“Short tale to make, of force I must confesse,

My God my life no longer would deferre :
My prince displeasde that I did so digresse,

To warne the rest, that otherwise might erre,

To cut me off it also pleased her:
Yet lives he not that can in conscience say,
Purser or Arnold made one English praye.

poem ,"

is subscribed “ Finis. Arnold," as if the real writer did not know the man's Christian name; and the same observation will apply to the effusion attributed to Clinton, which has only “Finis Clinton” at the end of it. Clinton, among other things, says of himself

“My selfe sometime, not least in Fortune's love,

May best giue instance of her great disgrace,
Which whilom lived amidst the heave and shove,

And mongst the proudest gaind the chiefest place,

Till trustlesse she gan turne away her face ;
Till she (too sharpe) return'd me checke and mate,
And topside turvey turned mine estate.

“ Besides my selfe who bare so braue a sway?

Who raigned more than I that ruld the roast?
Who durst resist if I did him gainsay ?

And boldly be it spoke, withouten boast,

Who more than Clinton scowrd in euery coast ?
Who holpe the helplesse more (say what they shall)
Than Clinton did, that came at every call ???

Like the two others, he complains that injustice had been done him in charging him with cruelty; and he dwells upon the malignity of his enemies, observing

“ Yet such they are as worke my present woe,

As vnacquainted with my better deedes,
And I haue rescude many, as they know ;

But my good workes are choaked vp with weedes, ,

Such kankered malice their supposes feedes. .
The Londoners, whereof I neede not boast,
Regarde me least, whome I have favoured most.”

He ends with the following appeal to the “ Lordings,” to whom he is offering the excuse and explanation of his conduct:

“Loe ! Lordings, thus I leaue my last adue
to scan,

what ere of me become.
"Twere vaine for me to tell that were vntrue ;

You may belieue what I herein have done:

My paine is past, though yet my glasse doth runne. This grieues me most, that many a poore man lackes The gelt that I have giuen the sea by sackes.”

I am not aware that it is necessary to add anything to the above, beyond the remark, that in the Bodleian Library the tract, from which I have quoted somewhat at large, is considered unique, no other copy of it being known. It would entitle each of these parties to a place in Ritson's “ Bibliographia Poetica,” where however they are not found, nor in any other work of the same kind that I have been able to consult. I have also searched in vain in Mr. Heber's, Mr. Bright's, and other salecatalogues.

OXONIENSIS and a MEMBER. February 21, 1847.

« PreviousContinue »