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My yearly guerdon, men andnity,
O liberal prince, ensample of honour, That was me granted for my long labour, Into your grace like it to promote I all behind; I may no pued be;
My poor estate, and to my woe beth TVhich canseth me to live in languor.
Contemporary with Occlepe was John LydGATE (circa 1373-1460), à monk of Biry, born at Lydgate, near Newmarket. His poetical compositions range over a great variety of styles. “His muse,' says Warton,' was of universal access; and he was not only the poet of the monastery, but of the world in general. If a disguising was intended by the company of goldsmiths, a mask before his majesty at Eltham, a May-game for the sheriff's and aldermen of London, a mumming before the lord mayor, a procession of pageants from the creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, or a carul for the coronation, Lyugate was consulted, and gave the poetry. The principal works of this versatile writer are entitled, The Story of Thebes,' The Falls of Princes,' and 'The Destruction of Troy. He had travelled in France and Italy, and studied the poetry of those countries.
In the words of Warton, 'there is great softness and facility' in the following passage (spelling modernised) of Lydgate's 'Destruction of Troy':
Description of a Sylvan Retreat. Till at the last, among the bowes glade, That I me laid adown upon the grass, Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade; Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell, Full smooth, and plain, and lusty for to Beside the river of a crystal well; seen,
And the water, as I reherse can, And soft as velvet was the yonge green : Like quicke silver in his streams y-ran, Where from my horse I did alight as fast, Of which the gravel and the brighte And on the bow aloft his reine cast.
stone, So faint and mate of weariness I was, As any gold, against the sun y-shone.
We add a few lines in the original orthography of the met-a passage in the Story of Thebes,' shewing that truth hath ever in the end victory over falsehood : Ageyn trouth falshed hath no myght; Scleight or engyne, fors or felonye, Fy on querilis nat grounded upon right! Arn to feble to holden champartye (2) With-oute which may be no victorye, Ageyns trouth, who that list take hede; Therefor ech man ha this in memoyre, For at the end falshede may not spede That gret pouer, shortly to conclude, Tendure long; ye shul fynde it thus. Plenty of good, por moch multitude,
A fugitive poem of Lydgate, called “The London Lyckpenny,' is curious for the particulars it gives respecting the city of London in the early part of the fifteenth century. The poet has come to town in search of legal redress for some wrong, and visits, in sucuss on, the King's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, the Court of A!"421cery, and Westminster Hall.
1 Give remedy.
The London Lyckpenny.
Would do for me ought, although I should die:
Master, what will you copen (1) or buy?
When the sun was at high prime;
And proffered me bread, with ale and wine,
Of all the land it beareth the prize ;
Where much people I saw for to stand ;
Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land !
Throughout all Canwick Street:
Then comes me one cried 'Hot sheep's feet;'
One cried mackerel, rushes green, another gan greet; (6)
One cries ribs of beef, and many a pie;
There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy;
Yea by cock! nay by cock! some began to cry;
Where was much stolen gear among;
That I had lost among the throng;
To buy my own hood I thought it wrong;
'Sir,' sith he, will you our wine assay ?' 1 konpen (Flem.) is to buy. 2 Took notice; paid attention. 3 On the twig. 4 Offer.
5 A fragment Loudon Stone is still preserved in Cannon Street, formerly called Can. wick or Candlowick Street. It is built into the street-wall of the church oi St. Swithin.
I answered: That can bot much me grieve;
A penny can do no more than it may ;'
I drank a pint, and for it did pay ;
The Ship of Fools' and the Pastime of Pleasure' are the only poetical works of any importance in the Reign of Henry VII. ALEXANDER BARCLAY (who was in orders, and survived tili 1552) wrote several allegorical pieces and some eclogues--the latter suposed to be the first compositions of the kind attempted in the Eur. lish language. But his greatest work is his 'Ship of Fools,' printed in 1509. It is a translation from the German of Brandt, with additions from various quarters, including satirical portraits and sketches by Barclay of his own countrymen. His ship is freighted with fools of all kinds, but their folly is somewhat dull and tedious. Barclay, however, was an improver of the English language. The Book-collector, or Bibliomaniac.- From Barclay's 'Ship of Fools.'
That in this ship the chief place I govern,
For in them is the cuuning wherein I me boast.. STEPHEN HAWES was an allegorical poet of much more power. His 'Pastime of Pleasure, or the Historie of Grande Amour and La Bel Pucel,' was written in 1506, dedicated to King Henry-in whose court the poet held the office of groom of the privy-chamber--and printed in 1517 by Wynkyn de Worde. Two more editions were called for during the same century, in 1554 and 1555, and from his time it was known only to black-letter readers until, in 1846, it was reprinted by Mr. Wright for the Percy Society ; but even the convenience of easy access and modern type has not made Hawes much better known. His poem is long, and little interest is felt in his personified virtues. The Pastime of Pleasure,' however, is a work of no ordinary poetical talent. It is full of thought, of ingenious analogy, and occasionally of striking allegory. A few stanzas, stripped of the disused spelling, will shew the state of the language after Lydgate, of whom Hawes was a great admirer.
The Temple of Mars.
O prince of honour and of worthy fame!
JOIIN SKELTON. Barclay, in his 'Ship of Fools,' alludes to JOHN SKELTON, who was ,decked as poet-laureate at Oxford :
If they have smelled the arts trivial,
They count them poets high and heroical. Skelton is certainly more of a trivial than a heroical poet. He was a satirist of great volubility, fearlessness, and scurrility. In attacking Cardinal Wolsey, for example, he alludes to his greasy genealogy.' The clergy were the special objects of his abuse, as with most of the old satirists. So early as 1483, Skelton appeared as a satirist; he was laureated in Oxford in 1489; and to escape from the vengeance of Wolsey, he took shelter in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, where he resides till his death in 1529. Skelton is a sort of rhyming Rabelais--as indelicate and gross, which with both was to some extent necessary as a cover to their satire. The copiousness of Skel
ton's language, and his command of rhyme in short rattling verses, prove the advance of the language. The works of Skelton were edited by the Rev. A. Dyce, and printed in 1843. The most poetical of his productions is entitled Philip Sparrow,' an elegy on the deathi of a pet bird. A few lines from his • Colin Clout' will shew the torrent-like flow of his doggerel rhymes :
- A Satire on the Clergy.
With gold all be-trapped,
In purple and pail be-lapped,
Some hatted and some capped,
(God wot to their great pains)
In rochets of fine reins,
White as morrow's milk
Their taberts of fine silk,
Their stirrups of mixed gold be
There may no cost be spared.
Their moils gold doth eat,
Their neighbours die for meat
What care they though Gill sweat,
Or Jack of the Noke?
The poor people they yoke
With summons and citations
About churches and market:
The bishop on his carpet
Full soft doth sit-
This is a fearful fit
To hear the people jangle
How warily they wrangle!
And shakes them by the ear,
And brings them in such fear,
He baiteth them like a bear...
And beneath him they're so stout
That no man of them dare rout,
Duke, earl, baron, nor lord,
But to his sentence must accord;
Whether he be knight or squire,
All must follow his desire.
Skelton's serious poetry is greatly inferior to his ludicrous and satirical; but the following effusion of gallantry is not unworthy the pen of a laureate :
To Mrs. Margaret II ussey.
Far, far passing
That I can iudite.
Or sutice to write,
Of Merry Margaret,