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WILLIAM DUNBAR. Scottish Poet: 1465–1520. Dunbar spent some of his early years as a mendicant friar, but was afterwards
employed at the court of James IV. He has been styled The Chaucer of Scotland,' and placed by Sir Walter Scott at the head of Scottish poets. His chief poems are The Thistle and the Rose, a nuptial-song on the union of James and the Princess Margaret, The Golden Terge, and The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins.
From The Daunce of the Seven Deadly Sinnis.
Than YRE came in with sturt1 and stryfe ;
He brandeist lyk a beir;?
All bodin in feir of weir,4
Frawart was thair affeir :6
With knyvis that scheirp coud scheir.
GAVIN DOUGLAS, Scottish Poet: 1474–1522.
Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, is celebrated for his translation of Virgil's Æneid, the
first version of a Latin classic into any British tongue. He wrote also two allegorical poems, King Hart, and The Palace of Honour. Douglas's language is remarkable for the number of words it contains derived from the Latin.
From his Translation of Virgil's Æneid.
1 Disturbance. 2 Brandished like a bear. 3 Boasters, braggarts, and bargainers. 4 Arrayed in feature of war. 5 In coats-of-mail and helmets. 6 Froward was their look. 7 With swords struck. 8 Cut others to the hilt. 9 Sharp could cut. 10 Blazing. 11 Clothed.
15 Vanes. 16 Ocean.
SIR THOMAS MORE : 1480-1585.
Sir Thomas More became Lord Chancellor of England in 1529. He was a devoted
adherent of the Catholic faith, and a man of great learning and talent. He incurred the displeasure of Henry VIII. by his opposition to the divorce of Queen Katherine, and perished on the scaffold. His chief works are Utopia, or scheme of a moral republic, and a History of Edward V., and of his Brother, and of Richard III.
LETTER TO LADY MORE,
On hearing that his barns, and some of those of his neighbours, had been
MAISTRES ALYCE, in my most harty wise I recommend me to you; and whereas I am enfourmed by my son Heron of the losse of our bames and of our neighbours also, with all the corn that was therein, albeit (saving God's pleasure) it is gret pitie of so much good corne lost, yet sith it hath liked hym to sende us such a chaunce, we must and are bounden, not only to be content, but also to be glad of his visitacion. He sente us all that we have loste: and sith he hath by such a chaunce taken it away againe, his pleasure be fulfilled. Let us never grudge ther at, but take it in good worth, and hartely thank him, as well for adversitie as for prosperitie. And peradventure we have more cause to thank him for our losse, then for our winning; for his wisdome better seeth what is good for vs then we do our selves. Therfore I pray you be of good chere, and take all the howsold with you to church, and there thanke God, both for that he hath given us, and for that he hath taken from us, and for that he hath left us, which if it please hym he can encrease when he will. And if it please hym to leave us yet lesse, at his pleasure be it.
I pray you to make some good ensearche what my poore neighbours have loste, and bid them take no thought therfore : for and I shold not leave myself a spone, there shal no pore neighbour of mine bere no losse by any chaunce happened in my house. I pray you be with my children and your household merry in God. And devise some what with your frendes, what waye wer best to take, for provision to be made for corne for our household, and for sede thys yere comming, if ye thinke it pod that we kepe the ground stil in our handes. And whether ye think it good that we so shall do or not, yet I think it were not best sodenlye thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk of our farme till we have somwhat advised us thereon. How beit if we have more nowe then ye shall nede, and which can get them other maisters, ye may then discharge us of them. But I would not that any man were sodenly sent away he wote nere wether.
At my comming hither I perceived none other but that I shold tary still with the Kinges Grace. But now I shal (I think) because of this chance, get leave this next weke to come home and se you: and then shall we further devyse together uppon all thinges, what order shal be best to take. And thus as hartely fare you well with all our children as ye can wishe. At Woodestok the thirde daye of Septembre by the hand of
your louing husbande,
THOMAS MORE Knight.
HENRY HOWARD, Earl of Surrey: 1517–1547.
Henry Howard was the eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk. During his travels in
Italy he studied the great poets of that country, and formed his own style upon theirs. He was the first who wrote English Sonnets, and in his translations from Virgil's Æneid he gave the earliest known specimen of blank verse. Surrey was a distinguished soldier as well as a poet. He finally fell under the displeasure of Henry VIII., and was beheaded.
DESCRIPTION OF SPRING.
WILLIAM TYNDALE : died 1536,
Tyndale, a clergyman of great learning and piety, having imbibed the opinions of the reformers, found it necessary for his safety to retire to the continent, where he completed his translation of the New Testament, which was printed at Antwerp. He also translated the first five books of the Old Testament. Being apprehended for heresy, he was strangled, and burned at Antwerp.
THE MAGNIFICAT. From his Translation of the New Testament, 1526. And Mary sayde: My soule magnifieth the Lorde, and my sprete reioyseth in God my Savioure.
For he hath loked on the povre degre off his honde mayden. Beholde nowe from hens forthe shall all generacions call me blessed.
For he that is myghty hath done to me greate thinges, and blessed ys his name:
And hys mercy is always on them that feare him thorow oute all generacions.
He hath shewed strengthe with his arme; he hath scattered them that are proude in the ymaginacion of their hertes.
He hath putt doune the myghty from their seates, and hath exalted them of lowe degre.
He hath filled the hongry with goode thinges, and hath sent away the ryche empty.
He hath remembred mercy, and hath holpen his servaunt Israhel.
HUGH LATIMER: died 1555.
Latimer is famous as a zealous leader of the English Reformation. He became Bishop of Worcester in 1535. When the Act of the Six Articles was passed, he resigned his bishopric. During the reign of Edward VI. he was popular at court as a preacher, but on the restoration of popery in Mary's reign he was, after an imprisonment of sixteen months, and when upwards of eighty years of age, burned at the stake along with Bishop Ridley. His Sermons are remarkable for a familiarity and drollery of style which was highly popular in his time.
THE SHEPHERDS OF BETHLEHEM.
From a Sermon preached in 1552.
But I pray you to whome was the nativitie of Christ first opened, to the Bishoppes or great Lordes which were at that time at Bethleem? or to those iolly damsels with their fardingales, with their round aboutes? or with their bracelets. No, no, they had so many lettes to trimme and dresse thēselves so that they coulde have no time to heare of the nativitie of Chryst, theyr myndes were so occupyed otherwise that they were not allowed to heare of them. But his nativitie was revealed first to the shepheardes, and it was revealed vnto them in the night time when every body was at rest, thē they heard this ioyfull tidinges of the Saviour of the World; for these shepheardes were keeping theyr sheep in the night season from the Wolfe or other beastes, and from the Foxe : for the sheepe in that countrey do lambe two tymes in the yeare, and therefore it was needefull for the sheep to have a shepheard to keep thē. And here note the diligence of these shepheardes : for whether the sheepe were theyr owne, or whether they were servaunts, I cannot tell: for it is not expressed in the booke, but it is most lyke they were servauntes, and theyr maysters had put them in trust to keepe theyr sheepe. Now if these shepheardes hadde bene deceitfull fellowes, that when theyr maysters had put them in trust to keepe theyr sheepe, they had bene drinking in ye alehouse all night as some of our servaunts do now a dayes, surely the Aungell had not appeared vnto them to have tolde them this great ioy and good tidinges. And here all servaunts may learne by these shepheards to serve truely and diligently vnto their maisters, in what busines soever they are set to doe let them be paynefull and diligent like as Jacob was vnto his maister Laban. O what a paynefull, faythfull, and trustye man was he : he was day and night at his worke, keeping his sheep truely, as he was put in trust to doe; and when any chance happened that any thing was lost, he made it good and restored it agayne of his owne. So likewise was Eleazarus a paynful man, a faythfull and trustye servaunt. Suche a servaunt was Joseph in Egipt to his mayster Potiphar. So likewise was Daniell vnto hys maister the King. But I pray you where are these servauntes now a dayes? In deede I feare me there bee but very few of such faythfull servauntes.
ROGER ASCHAM: 1515-1568.
Ascham was university orator at Cambridge, at one time tutor, and afterwards
Latin secretary, to Queen Elizabeth. He wrote The Scholemaster, the first important work on education in our language, and Toxophilus (a lover of archery), an essay on the importance of mixing recreation with study.
ANECDOTE OF LADY JANE GREY.
From The School Master.
One example, whether love or feare, doth worke more in a child, for vertue and learning, I will gladlie report: which maie be hard with some pleasure, and folowed with more profit. Before I went into Germanie, I came to Brodegate in Lecetershire, to take my leave of_that noble Ladie Jane Grey, to whom I was exceding moch beholdinge. Hir parentes, the Duke and the Duches, with all the houshould, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were huntinge in the Parke: I founde her, in her Chamber, readinge Phædon Platonis in Greeke, and that with as moch delite, as som jentleman wold read a merie tale in Bocase. After salutation, and dewtie done, with som other taulke, I asked hir, whie she wold leese soch pastime in the Parke? smiling she answered me: I wisse, all their sporte in the Parke is but a shadoe to that pleasure that I find in Plato: Alas good. folke, they never felt, what trewe pleasure ment. And howe came you Madame, quoth I, to this deepe knowledge of pleasure, and what did chieflie allure you unto it: seinge, not many women, but verie fewe men have atteined thereunto? I will tell you, quoth she, and tell you a troth, which perchance ye will mervell at. One of the greatest benefites, that ever God gave me, is, that he sent me so sharpe and severe Parentes, and so jentle a scholemaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speake, kepe silence, sit, stand, or go, eate, drinke, be merie, or sad, be sowyng, plaiyng, dauncing, or doing anie thing els, I must do it, as it were, in soch weight, mesure, and number, even so perfitelie, as God made the world, or else I am so sharplie taunted, so cruellie threatened, yea presentlie some tymes, with pinches, nippes, and bobbes, and other waies, which I will not name, for the honor I beare them, so without measure misordered, that I thinke my selfe in hell, till tyme cum that I must go to M. Elmer, who teacheth me so jentlie, so pleasantlie, with soch faire allurementes to learning, that I thinke all the tyme nothing, whiles I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because, what soever I do els, but learning, is ful of grief, trouble, feare, and whole misliking unto me: And thus my booke hath bene so moch my pleasure, and bringeth dayly to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deede, be but trifles and troubles unto me. I remember this talke gladly, both bicause it is so worthy of memorie, and bicause also, it was the last talke that ever I had, and the last tyme that ever I saw that noble and worthie Ladie.
1 Plato's Phædo, a dialogue on the immortality of the soul.