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We will fuppofe this love-letter to have
of French philofophy, and the imaginary
ties of the people. No ftronger proof
in that age thought to infringe the liber- diftinguished by their noble birth, and the cffices they held, from the worshipful juftice of the peace, to the grave counfellors and fplendid courtiers who furrounded the throne." It was (as. has been truly obferved) an ingenuous uninquifitive time, when all the paffions fhe was almost idolized by them. At and affections of the people were lapped up in fuch an innocent and humble obedience, that there was never the leaft conteftations nor capitulations with the Queen; nor, though the very frequent ly confulted with her fubjects, any further reasons urged of her actions than her own will‡.
Add to this, the powerful operation produced in the minds of the people at that time, by the alterations in religion, "As they had been lately made,” (L ufe the words of a learned writer yet
once dignified and familiar, refpected and beloved, the almost every year of her reign made a progrefs among them, and won their hearts by her affability and condefcenfion*.. "There was no prince living, (fays a good obferver, who lived near the time) who was fo tender of honour, and fo exactly stood for the prefervation of fovereignty, that was fo great a courtier of her people, yea of her commons, and that tooped and defcended lower in prefenting her perfon to the public view, as the paffed in her progreffes and perambulations, and in the ejaculation of her prayers for her peoplet. The deteftable doctrines
* In one of these progreffes the vifited Leycefter at Kenelworth Castle, in 1576, when our youthful bard, among the crowds that flocked thicher from all the neighbourhood, might have feen her.
+ Naunton's Fragmenta Regalia, p. 12.
living) as their importance was great, no account or pretence whatsoever was and as the benefits of the change had it lawful to infringe. been earned at the expence of much Such was the period when our Stratblood and labour; all these confidera- ford youth, whofe tender mind was tions, begot a zeal for religion, which probably impreffed with a fenfe of loyalhardly ever appears under other circum- ty on each day of the week, employed ftances. This zeal had an immediate in the acquifition of learning, and who and very fenfible effect on the morals of was further confirmed in the fame fenthe reformed. It improved them in timents by the doctrines enjoined to be every inftance; efpecially as it produ- taught on the day devoted to the func ced a cheerful fubmiffion to the govern- tions of religion, is made to expreís ment, which had refcued them from himself concerning the diadem of kings, their former flavery, and was still their in the ftyle which one of the regicides onls fupport againit the returning dan- would have used in the following cengers of fuperftition. Thus religion act- tury, or one of the rulers of France ing with all its power, and that too, would employ at this day. heightened by gratitude and even selfintereft, bound obedience on the minds of men with the ftrongest ties*. And luckily for the Queen, this obedience was further fecured to her, by the high uncontroverted notions of royalty, which at that time obtained among the peoplet.
To prevent thefe notions from fading from their minds, the Homilies, which were published by authority, and enjoined to be read every Sunday by the clergy in their respective churches, inculcated unconditional and paffive obedience‡ to the prince on the throne, which on
* « One of these (says this writer) was the préjudice of education; and fome uncommon methods were used to bind it fast on
the minds of the people.-A book called *Eiphnapxia, five Elizabetha," was written in Latin verfe by one Ockland, containing the highest panegyricks on the Queen's character and government, and fetting forth the tranfcendent virtues of her minifters. This book was enjoined by authority to be taught, as a claffic author, in grammar-schools, and was of courfe to be gotten by heart by the young fcholars throughout the kingdom.This was a matchlefs contrivance to imprint fenfe of loyalty on the minds of the people." Hurd, ubi fupr.
† Moral and Political Dialogues, by the Rev. Mr Hurd, (now Lord Bishop of Worcefter) vol. ii. page 27.
The Homilies, it has been obferved, contain more precepts in fupport of this vile and flavish doctrine, than all the writings of Filmer and His followers.
When Cromwell had no further use for the Rump Parliament, and kicked them, as they well deferved, out of doors, he defired one of his janizaries (as Whitelocke tells us) to take away that fool's bauble, the fpeaker's mace. A bauble, in ancient time, had various fignifications. It originally meant a jewels, and afterward a temporary scaffold for any fcenic exhibition or pageant ¶. It alfo fignified the truncheon which licensed fools used to carry in their hands. In a fecondary and derivative fenfe, deduced from the origi nal barbarous term baubellum, (a jewel) in procefs of time the word in popular language came to fignify any flight toy, gewgaw, or trifling piece of finery; and in this fenfe it is employed by our poet himself in feveral of his plays: but I have fome doubt whether the word had obtained that fignification fo early as the middle of the reign of Elifabeth. Be that as it may, the fentiment before us may have been fuggefted either by the following paffage in a letter of Crom
Hume, and fome other hiftorians, make him fay-" What shall we do with this bauble?" Here, take it away: by which the point of the allufion is loft.—The fool's bauble
was a fhort truncheon with a carved head and afs' ears.'
§ Roger Hoveden, as Minfhieu, and (after him) Dr Johnson, obferve, has the word baubellum in this fenfe: "Omnia baubella fus dedit Othoni ̧” fol. 449. b.
Barrett's Alvearie, 1580, in v.
"A prince the moment he is crown'd,
As emblems of the fovereign power,
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
To have thee crown' withal."
Again, in the fame play, where the eight kings appear:
"Thy crown does fear mine eye-balls:-
If it fhould be faid that in his earlier
days he was unacquainted with this circumftance, the answer is, that at that period of his life, instead of fuppofing the diadem to have been a piece of gilded metal, he was much more likely to have fancied it ftill more rich and refplendent than it really is, and to have emblazoned it, in his youthful imagination, with all the precious ftones of the east.
Cromwell, or fome of his flagitious colleagues, if I remember right, fpeaking of Charles the Firft, faid that he confidered him only as the high constable of the nation. If, in the prefent I have but one or two obfervations paffage, we had in the more measured more to make on this love epistle. It language of our modern republicans has not been proved that our poet wrote "Neither the gilded bauble that envi- any of his admirable plays while he was rons the head of the chief magistrate,' ," yet at school, or recently after he had &c. all would have been uniform and left it; though with due diligence fome complete. difcovery of this kind may be furnished from the inexhaustible store-house of curiofities already in part expofed to the public view. However, when he wrote to his dearefste Anna that “ the feelinge that dydde neareste approache untoe itte was thatte which commeth nyghefte untoe God, meeke and gentle charytye," it is evident that the fentiment of his own Portia was paffing through his youthful mind:
The counterfeit ornament with which
“Now is the golden crown like a deep well."
Being fo troublefome a bed-fellow!
"How quickly nature falls into revolt,
So alfo, in Macbeth :
Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my fpirits in thine ear;
"The quality of mercy is not ftrain'd;
It is an attribute to God himself;
It is obfervable that our author here ing terms: "I cheryfhe thee in my hearte, forre thou arte ass a talle Cedane ftretchynge forthe its branches ande fuccourynge fmaller plants fromme nyppynge Winneterre orr the boysterouse wyndes."
As Shakespeare is known to have been a curious obferver of nature, we might fuppofe that this defcription was fuggefted by what he had himself feen: but as it has been fhewn that there were no cedars in England till after the Ref toration, where could this image have In the Bible, without doubt, we fhall been prefented to our Stratford youth? be told. In Holy Writ we find that the Cedar of Lebanon was " exalted in height above all the trees of the field;" that it had " fair branches, and a fhadowing throud: the waters made him great, the deep fet him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants [his own plants] all the fowls of heaven made their nefts in his boughs, and under his fhadow dwell all generations."-But where did our author difcover that the wide-fpreading branches of this goodly tree protect the fmaller plants under it from the nipping blafts of winter? In fome natural hif tory, 1 fuppofe, that will shortly be brought forward; but till it appears, it may be fafely afferted that the very reverfe of this is the truth, and that an "umbrageous multitude of leaves," inlead of fuccouring, destroys all vegetation under it.
fpeaks with fomewhat more respect of the fceptre of kings, than the writer of the epiftle before us has done of the precious diadem," with which their brows are environed; and in one of his early hiftorical plays his veneration for majefty is still more apparent. The unhappy Richard the Second afferts,
"Not all the water in the rough rude fea
And in the fame play we find the Bishop of Carlisle expreffing the fame
"What subject can give fentence on his king?
Thieves are not judg'd, but they are by to
Thus, alfo, the King in Hamlet:
There's fuch divinity doth hedge about a king,
Acts little of his will,"
With the truth or rectitude of these fentiments we have at prefent nothing to do: they are produced folely to fhew the prevalent opinions of our author's age, and that, I conceive, they do most effectually.
Our youthful lover's last compliment to his miftrefs is couched in the follow
bottom of the page, where this encomium on
ON THE POETRY OF THAT the literature of Spain and Portugal is not attended to at prefent, when the ftores of German imagination are open to us, is not to be wondered at but it is ftrange, that the fame ne
Mr Evelyn is on good ground fuppofed to have first brought the Cedar tree into Enggland, about the year 1662. See a curious memoir on this subject, by the late Sir John Cullum, in the Gent. Magazine for 1779, page 138.
Ezek. chap. 31.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.
glect fhould have prevailed in thofe earlier periods, when tranflations were so common, fo useful, and fo honourable. The beft Italian poets were naturalized in England, during the reigns of EliZabeth
zabeth and James; at that time, Spain was in the meridian of its glory, and it might have been imagined, that the fame of Lope de Vega would have reached this ifland. I believe, however, that, except Fanfhaw's verfion of the Lufiad, no poetical tranflation, from either the Spanish or Portuguese appeared in England, till the editor of "The Reliques of Ancient Poetry," whofe taste and genius equal his erudition, excited fome curiofity in the public mind by the beautiful ballad, "Rio verde, Rio verde." Mr Mickle's Lufiad, and Mr Hayley's account of the Araucana foon followed. The former of which has, perhaps, exceeded the original; and the latter occafioned regret in every reader, that the sketch has never been filled up. Here (I believe) our acquaintance with Spanish and Portuguefe poetry has stopped. We have, indeed, often heard of Lope de Vega, and Mr Hayley has mentioned the ULyles of Gabriel Perieira de Castro, and the Malaca Conquistada of Francifco de Sa de Menezes, as poems which the Portuguese themselves efteem only inferior to the Lufiad of their great Camoens; we have heard their names indeed, but with their merit, the English reader is utterly unacquainted.
It is my intention, to give fome account of the best Spanish and Portuguese poets, to analyze the plans of their moft efteemed works, and tranflate fuch fpecimens as, while they are brief enough to fuit your Magazine, may give fome idea of the genius, tafte, and manner of the authors*.
The profe writers of thefe countries (except the great Cervantes) are, for obvious reafons, lefs valuable than their poets. Learning has never flourished enough in either of the kingdoms, to form the taste of the inhabitants; and genius and imagination will not atone for the want of taste and erudition in a profe writer. It would be improper to pafs them over in filence; but a brief notice will be fufficient.
* These fhall be given when they appear in the Month. Mag. VOL. LVIII.
Spain and Portugal had reached the meridian of their glory, while the arts were yet in their infancy. Individual genius will be found then to have flourifhed moft when the community fhall have been moft flourishing; Athens was then moft glorious when Sophocles and Euripides fucceeded the aged Æfchylus; and Ovid, Horace, and Virgil wrote at the time when Auguftus fent forth his decree, That all the world should be taxed. Uniform experience will attest the truth of the obfervation; why this fympathy fhould exist, I know not; but poetical genius is certainly a barometer that rifes or falls according to the state of the political atmosphere. Bofcan, and Garcilaffo de la Vega, and Diego de Mendoza, fought and conquered for their country, under Charles the Fifth; and their fpirits partook of the elevation they had affifted her to obtain; and they were followed in Portugal by Francifco de Sa de Miranda, Antonio Ferreira, and Pedro de Andrade Caminha.
It may, perhaps, raise a smile to af fert that the poetry of Spain was purified and corrected, by introducing an Italian tafte into the country. At this period, however, fuch a revolution in literature was effected by fuch means. Marino foon corrupted the tafte of Italy, and Spain foon followed the fafcinating faults. Always fond of the extravagant, and mistaking hyperbolifm for grandeur, quaintnefs for wit, and the obfcure for the fublime, the Spaniards readily fell in with the fashion of the day; and the fatire of Cervantes proved powerlefs here. The decline of the empire quickly fucceeded, and Lope de Vega lived to witness the defeat of that Armada, which, with more extravagance and lefs genius than he ufually difplayed, he had commanded "to go forth and burn the world.”
Spain has never recovered herself fince the ruinous reign of Philip the Second. Not content with oppreffing the Spaniards by the Inquifition, he made them the inftrument of oppreffion abroad; there indeed he failed; but though the liberty of Holland was eftablifhed, the 6 I