« ForrigeFortsett »
as riotous and drunken, do not pro- of our ancient literature, has lately pubceed to the vulgarity we read of in lished, at Chiswick, a truly exquisite Æschylus and Sophocles, with an exreprint of what he himself justly calls ception only, that one of them throws“ one of the most beautifully simple the foot of an ox Toda Bociav at the head and impressive specimens of biographiof Ulysses."
cal writing to be found in our own or “ The heroes sat at table, and were any other language." not reclined on couches, as Douris re- We know not that there is any feapresents to have been the custom in the ture in the literary character of the age time of Alexander the Great This which delights us more heartily, than prince, giving an entertainment to four the returning affection manifested in hundred officers of his army, made them every direction by our educated counsit on chairs and couches of silver, trymen for those old English books, covered with purple cushions. Teges- which, although utterly neglected and ander writes, that it was not the cus- despised by our literati of the last centom for any one in Macedonia to re- tury, cannot fail to go down to the cline on couches at their meals, who most distant generations, and to be had not killed a wild boar beyond the prized, wherever they shall be read, toils; and that Cassander, though he by wise and good men, as containing was thirty-five years old, always sat at the portraits, and opinions, and hishis father's table, because he had not tories, of the most truly venerable and achieved this exploit, notwithstanding noble set of worthies which Christian his skill and agility in hunting." Europe has ever had the glory to pro
“ Homer, always attentive to deco- duce. Of these worthies, one of the rum, makes his heroes dress their own chief was that Thomas More, the food. Ulysses was an excellent carver, memory of whose genius and virtue and unrivalled in the art of making a can never die, so long as England defire ; Patroclus and Achilles put their serves to keep her name. His “ anhands to every thing. At the feast gelicall witt," as his son-in-law calls by Menelaus for Megapenthes, the it, has embodied itself in works not young bridegroom pours out the wine much to the taste of our time. But for the guests.
it would be indeed a bad sign of this, “ But we are so fallen off from these or of any age, to contemplate, othergood old customs, that we luxuriously wise than with an ardent and reverent recline upon our couches."
interest, the memorials of his personal “ Baths, too, are become common, character—the simplicitythe innowhereas formerly they were not per cent cheerfulness-the manly unbendmitted within the precincts of the ing integrity-the piety, pure and pri
mitive, scarcely deformed by its small « Homer, who knew well the nature tincture of Catholic superstition—the of pertumes, does not allow them to heroic death, finally, of this martyr any of his heroes, except Paris.” to principle, “ cui pectus," as his
* It is to be observed, that in the friend Erasmus has expressed it, “eOdyssey, Ulysses washes his hands be- rat omni nive candidius.” fore he eats.' This the heroes of the The only objection we have to make Iliad never do. The Odyssey is the to the present edition of Roper's Life quiet picture of the private life of of this great and good man, arises out persons, whom peace had accustomed of its extreme beauty, and consequent to luxurious indulgence.”
high price. It would perhaps be too much to blame the elegant scholar, to whom we are indebted for the book,
for having done every thing he thought NOTICES OF REPRINTS OF CURIOUS
most likely to make the book acOLD BOOKS.
ceptable to that portion of the public No III.
for whom almost all books are in our
time published. But we wish, on The Life of Sir Thomas More ; by many accounts, that some person or his Son-in-Law, WILLIAM Roper, persons, disposed to confer a benefit Esq. Chiswick, Whittingham. 1817. upon a yet more extensive circle of
readers, would give another reprint of MR SINGER, already well known, by the same work in a form as simple many excellent works, to the students and cheap as possible. Books like this
should not be allowed to remain in the biographical sketches contained in the hands of those alone, who can afford works of our old English authors, parto pay a large price for a small pocket ticularly the church historians and volume. They should be circulated as other ecclesiastical writers, we cannot. widely as coarse paper and plain types without sorrow, and some little anger can enable them to be. They should too, see funds which might do so be the manuals of youth; they could much good, condemned to do so little. not fail to be the comfort and delight We speak, in this matter, more with of the pious and the aged.
an eye to England than Scotland; for It is not, we confess, without some here so universally is education difemotions of pain, that we observe in- fused, so intimately are our peasantry to what miserable direction a great acquainted with the Pilgrim's Proportion of the charity of this country gress, and the rude butstriking histories has fallen,-we allude, in particular, of the covenanting period,-but, above to those institutions whose professed all, so intensely familiar are they with purpose it is to promote the moral and the Bible, that they cannot endure to religious welfare of our own poorer see the ore of religion served up with countrymen by the distribution of the base alloy of these tract-mongers. tracts. The active management of They keep to their old manuals, and the funds of these institutions has, allow the flimsy presents of the itineit would appear, fallen, in a vast num- rant illuminators to blow where they ber of instances, into the hands of a list.—But to return to our text. set of persons, who, however good may The main incidents in Sir Thomas be their intentions, are in no respect More's life are so well known, that qualified to be the instructors, or to those who read the present tract for superintend the instruction of others. the first time, need not expect to acThese good people inundate the coun- quire much new information in regard try with a vast quantity of the most to them. But they may expect someexecrable trash that ever disgraced the thing much more valuable,-a compress of any enlightened land, under plete view of the detail of his life,-a the name of cheap tracts. Whether it domestic and intimate acquaintance be that the conceit of the directors of with the manners of the man. The these institutions commonly leads book is written by the son-in-law of them to suppose that it is their duty More, who seems, according to the to write as well as to distribute, we primitive fashion of the times, not know not; but it is certain, that the to have withdrawn his wife, on his Forks they do distribute are the most marriage, from her father's house, but abominable outrages upon good taste to have established himself there with and good sense, and, in not a few in- her as an additional inmate of that stances, upon sound religion also, patriarchal dwelling. We have no inwhich have ever happened to come tention to analyze his narrative, but under our inspection. Vulgar, drivel- we shall enrich our pages with a few ling, absurd histories of the imaginary of the most interesting passages. The conversions of unreal milkmaids, boat- exquisite beauty of the style may be swains, drummers, pedlars, and picke felt; it is not capable of being depockets ; drawling, nauseous narra- scribed, any more than it is of being tives of the gossipings and whinings imitated, by a writer of these degeneof religious midwives and nurses, and rate days. Our language, rich and of children two or three years old al- powerful as it is, has lost at least as ready " under concern ;"-sickening much as it has gained within the last hymns composed by blacksmiths and two centuries. brewers, in whom poetry and piety “ At this Parliament Cardinall Wolsey have been twin-births ;-horrible and founde himselfe muche greived with the blasphemous stories of sudden judg- Burgesses thearof for that nothinge was soe ments upon card-players and beer soone donne or spoken thearin but that it drinkers, &c. &c. &c.;-such are the was immediatelye blowne abroad in everie greater part of the mystic leaves alehouse. It fortuned at that Parliament a which those doting sybils, the tract
verie great subsidie to be demanded, which
the Cardinall fearinge would not passe the societies, are perpetually dispersing
Common house determined for the furtherOver the surface of a justly thankless
ance thearof to be personallie theare him. land.- When we reflect on the vast selfe. Before whose comminge after longe body of most interesting and instructive debatinge theare, whither it weare better but with a fewe of his Lords, as the most opin- tie a matter was unfit to make his Grace anions of the house was, or with his whole sweare. Whearuppon the Cardinall, distraine to receave him theare amongst them: pleased with Sir Thomas More, that had • Masters, quoth Sir Thomas More, foras. not in this Parliament in all things satisfied muche as my Lord Cardinall latelie laied to his desire, suddenlie arose and departed. our charges the lightnes of our tonges for “ And after the Parliament ended, in things uttered out of this house, it shall not his gallerie at White ball at Westminster in my minde be amisse to receave him with [heuttered unto him his griefes, sayeinge : all his pompe, with his maces, his * pillers, Would to God you had binne at Rome, pollaxes, his crosses, his hatt and the greate Mr More, when I made you Speaker." seale too ; to th'intent that if he finde the “ Your Grace not offended soe would I too,' like fault with us heerafter, wee maie be quoth Sir Thomas More. And to winde the bolder from ourselves to laie the blame suche quarrells out of the Cardinali's head, on those that his Grace bringeth hither with he beganne to talke of the gallerie, sayehim. Whearunto the house agreeinge, he inge, I like this gallerie of yours muche was receaved accordinglie. Wheare after better then your gallerie at Hampton-Court. that he had in a solemne oration by manie Whearwith soe wiselie broke he off the Carreasons proved how necessarie it was the de- dinal's displeasant talke, that the Cardinall mande theare moved to be graunted, and at that present, as it seemed, wist not what further shewed that lesse woulde not serve more to saie unto him. to maintaine the Prince's purpose, He seeinge the companie sittinge still silent and “ Suche entire favour did the Kinge thearunto nothinge answearinge, contrarye beare him, that he made hime Chauncellor to his expectation shewinge in themselves of the Duchie of Lancaster uppon the deathe towardes his request noe towardnes of in- of Sir Richard Wingfield who had that ofclinacion, saied unto them, Masters, you fice before. And for the pleasure he tooke have many wise and learned men amongst in his companie would his Grace suddenlie you, and since I am from the Kinge's owne sometimes come home to his house at Chelperson sent hither unto you for the preser- sey to be merry with him, Whither, on a vacion of your selves and all the Realme, I time, unlooked for he came to dinner, and thinke it meete you give me some reason- after dinner, in a faire garden of his, walked able answeare.' Wheareat everie man hold- with him by the space of an howre, holdinge inge his peace, then beganne he to speake his arme about his necke. As soone as his to one Mr Marney, afterward Lord Mamey, Grace was gone, I rejoy cinge thearat, saide How saie you, quothe hee, Mr Marney? to Sir Thomas More, how happie he was who makinge him noe answeare neyther, he whome the Kinge had soe familliarlie enterseverallie asked the same question of diverse tained, as I never had seene him doe to any other accompted the wisest of the companye, other, except Cardinall Wolsey, whome I to whome when none of them all would give sawe his Grace walke once with arme in so muche as one worde, being agreed before, arme. “I thanke our Lord, sonne, (quoth as the custome was, to answeare by their he) I finde his Grace my very good Lord inSpeaker, ' Masters, quoth the Cardinall, deed, and I beleive he dothe as singularlie unlesse it be the manner of your house, as favor me as anye subject within this Realme: of likelihood it is, by the mouthe of your howbeit, sonne Roper, I maie tell thee, I Speaker whome you have chosen for trustie have no cause to be prowde thearof, for if and wise, (as indeed he is) in such cases to my head would winne him a castle in utter your mindes, heere is without doubt a Fraunce (for then was theare warres bee. marveilous obstinate silence,' and thearupon twixt us) it should not faile to goe." ; he required answeare of Mr Speaker. Who first reverentlie on his knees excusinge the “ As Sir Thomas More's custome was silence of the house, abashed at the presence dailie (if he weare at home) besides hist pri. of so noble a personage able to amaze the vate praiers with his children, to saie the wisest and best learn'd in a Realme, and af. seaven psalmes, the Lettanie, and the Suf. ter by many probable arguments provinge frages followeinge, so was his guise nightlie that for them to make answeare it was ney. before he went to bed, with his wife, child. ther expedient nor agreeable with the aun- ren and houshold, to goe to his chappell, tient libertie of the house ; in conclusion for and theare on his knees ordinarily to saie himselfe shewed that though they had all certaine psalmes and collects with them. with their voices trusted him, yet except And because he was desirous for godlie pureverie one of them could put into his head poses, solitarie to sequester himselfe from of their severall witts, he alone in soe weigh
• Cardinalis dum viveret Moro parum æquus erat, eumqué metuebat verius quam amabat.Erasmi Epist.
* Every cardinal of the Roman church has a pillar of silver carried before him as an emblem of his being a pillar of the church. But Wolsey out of his love of pomp and splendor had two born before him.-Lewis.
+ Habet suas horas quibus Deo litet precibus, non ex more, sed ex pectore depromptis. Erasmi Epist.
worldlie companie, a good distance from his “ This Lord Chauncellor used commonhouse builded he a place called the newe. lie everie afternoone to sit in his open hall, buildinge, whearin was a Chappell, a Lib. to the intent that if any person had any suit marie, and a Gallerye, in which, as his use unto him, they might the more boldlie come was on other daies to occupie himselfe in to his presence and then open their comprayer and studie theare together, soe on the plaints before him. Whose manner was Fridaies used he continuallie to be theare alsoe to reade everie bill himselfe, before he from morninge to night, spendinge his time would award any Sub-pæna, which being
lie in devout praiers and spirituall exer- matter worthie of Sub-pana, he would set dises. And to provoake his wife and chil. his hande unto or else cancell it. Whensodres to the desier of heavenlie thinges, he ever he passed through Westminster-Hall Toald sometimes use these wordes unto to his place in the Chauncery by the Court them. . It is now noe maistrie for chil. of the King's Bench, if his father (beinge dren to goe to heaven, for everie body giv- one of the Judges therof) had binne satt ere
the you good counsaile, everie body giveth he came, he would goc into the same Court, you good example. You see virtue reward and theare reverentlie kneelinge downe in ed and vice punished, soe that you are care the sight of them all dulie aske his Father's ried up to heaven even by the chinnes. But blessinge. And if it fortuned that his Fa.
you live in the time that noe man will ther and he at Readings in Lincolnes Inne gire you good counsaile, noe man will give met together, (as they sometimes did) notFoo good example, when you shall see vir- withstandinge his high office he would offer te ponished and vice rewarded, if you will in argument the preeminence to his father, het stande fast and firmelie sticke to God though he for his office sake would refuse to uppon paine of life, though you be but halfe take it. And for better declaration of his Food, God will allow you for whole good.' naturall affections towards his father, he If his wife or anie of his children had binne not onelie, while he laye on his deathe bedd, discasel or troubled, he would saie unto accordinge to his dutie, oftentimes with them; • We maie not looke, at our plea. comfortable wordes most kindlie came to gures, to go to heaven in featherbeds, it is visit him, but also at his departure out of not the way ; for the Lord himselfe went this world, with teares takeinge him about thither with great paine, by many tribula- the necke, most lovingelie kissed and emcons, which was the pathe whearin he walk. braced him, commendinge him into the ed thither, for the servant maie not looke to hands of almightie God, and soe departed be in better case then his Master.' And from him.” as he would in this sort perswade them to The reader will recollect that More bake their troubles patientlie, soe would he resigned the Chancellorship on account o like sort teache them to withstand the of his resolution not to assist Henry in Diril and his temptacions valiantly, saye. « his great matter," as Roper calls it, lege, • Whosoever will marke the Divill
viz. the divorce from Queen Katharine. and his temptacions, shall finde him thearin
" After he had thus given over the buch like to ane ape, who not well looked
Chauncellorship, and placed all his gentle19 will be busie and bold to do shrewde
men and yeomen with noblemen and byshtines, and contrariwise beinge spycde will
ops, and his 8 watermen with the Lord soddainelie leape backe and adventure noe father. Soe the Divill findinge a man idle,
Audley, that in the same office succeeded dostafull, and without resistance readie to
him, to whome alsoe he gave his great
barge ; then callinge us all that weare his reccave his temptacions, waxethe soe hardie
children to him, and askinge our advise how that he will not faile still to continewe with him, untill to his purpose he have throughlie
we might now in this decay of his abilitie,
(by the surrender of his office soe impaired, brought him. But on the other side if he
that he could not, as he was wont and glad. æ a man with dilligence persevere to withstand his tempacions, he waxethe so wearie
lie would, beare out the whole chardges of
them all himselfe,) thenceforthe be able to that in conclusion he utterlie forsaketh him.
live and continew together, as he wished we For as the Divill of disposition is a spirit of
should ; when he sawe us silent, and in that we high pride as he cannot abide to be
case not readie to shewe our opinions unto becked, soe is he of nature soe envious, that
him, then will I, said he, shewe my poore he fearethe anie more to assault him, least
minde to you. I have been brought up, he should thearbie not onlie catche a foule fall himselfe, but also should minister to
E quoth he, at Oxford, at an Inne of the
Chauncery, at Lincolne's Inne, and alsoe the man more matter of merit.' Thus de
in the King's Court, and so from the least Egbted he evermore not only in vertuous exercises to be occupied himselfe, but alsoe
degree to the highest, and yet have I in
yeerlie revennues at this present leaft me to exhort his wife, children, and housholde,
little above a hundred powndes by the yeere. to embrace the same and followe it.”
Soe that now must we hecrafter, if we like to live together, be contented to become
contributors together. But by my counsaile • Cum amicis sic fabulatur de vita futuri it shall not be best for us to fall to the lowseculi, ut agnoscas illum ex animo loqui, est fare first; we will not therfore descend med sine optima spe.Erasmi Epist. to Oxford-fare, nor to the fare of New-Inne; but wee will beginne with Lincolne's-Inn jeere the provoked Lady was so sensible diet, wheare manie Right Worshipfulls and that she went from him in a rage."1 of good yeeres doe live full well together. His unwillingness to acknowledge, Which, if we finde not our selves able to by his oath, the ecclesiastical authorimaintaine the first yeere, then will we the
ty, which Henry, in consequence of next yeere goe one step downe to New-Inne fare, whearwith many an honest man is well
his quarrel with the court of Rome, contented. If that exceed our abilitie too, assumed to himself, was made the prethen we will the next yeare after descend to tence for sacrificing More to the heart Oxford-fare, wheare many grave, learned less and unfeigning tyrant, whom his and auntient fathers be continuallie con probity had already irremediably ofversant. Which if our power stretche not fended. to mainteine neither, then maie wee yet “ As Sir Thomas More in the Tower with baggs and wallets goe a begginge to chaunced on a time lookinge out of his win. gether, and, hopinge that for pittie some dowe to behold one Mr Raynolds, a reli. good folkes will give us their charitie, at
gious, learned, and virtuous Father of Syon, everie man's dore to singe Salve Regina",
and 3 Monkes of the Charter-house for the and soe still keepe companie and be merrie
matter of the supremacy and matrimony together. And whearas you have heard be
goinge out of the Tower to execucion, he as fore he was by the Kinge from a verie wor. one longinge in that journey to have accom. shipfull livinge taken into his service, with
panied them, saide unto my wife then standwhome, in all the great and weightie causes ing theare besides him, . Loe doest thow not that concearned his Highness or the Realme, see, Meg, that these blessed fathers be now he consumed and spent with painful cares, as cheerfullie goinge to their deathes, as travailes and troubles, as well beyond the
bridegroomes to their marriages. Wher
bridegroomes to their marri seas as within the Realme, in effect, the
fore thearby maiest thow see, myne owne whole substance of his life, yet with all the good daughter, what a great difference there gaine he got thearby, beinge never wastfull is betweene such as have in effect spent all splendour thearof, he was not able, after their daies in a streight and penitentiall and the resignacion of his office of the Lord
painfull life religiouslie, and suche as have Chauncellour, for the maintenance of him.
in the world, like worldlie wretches, (as thy selfe and suche as necessarilie belonged un
poore father hath donne) consumed all their to him, sufficientlie to finde meat, drinke,
time in pleasure and ease licentiouslie. For fewell and apparrell, and such other neces
God, consideringe thair longe continued life sarie chardges. All the land that ever he in most sore and greivous pennance, will purchased (which also he purchased before
noe longer suffer them to remaine heere in he was Lord Chauncellor) was not, I am this vale of miserie, but speedilie hence tak. well assured, above the valewe of 20 markes eth them to the fruition of his everlastinge by the yeere : and, after his debts paied, Deitie. Whearas thy sillie father, Megg, he had not, I knowe, (his chaine excepted) that like a wicked caitiffe, hath passed forthe in gould and silver leaft him the worthe of the whole course of his miserable life of one hundred pownds. And whearas up- most sinfullie, God, thinkinge him not pon the holie daies, duringe his high worthie so soone to come to that eternall feChauncellorship, one of his gentlemen, licitie, leavethe him heere yet still in this when service at the Churche was donne, world, further to be plagued and turmoiled ordinarilie used to come to my Ladie his with miserie." wife's pewe dore, and saie ninto her, Ma. dam, my Lord is gone; the next holidaie “ When Sir Thomas More had continued after the surrender of his office and depar- a good while in the Tower, my ladye his ture of his gentlemen from him, he came wife obteyned license to see him. Who, at unto my Ladie his wife's pewe himselfe, her first comminge, like a simple woman, and makinge a lowe courtesie, said unto and somewhat worldlie too, with this man. her, Madam, my Lord is gone. (But she, ner of salutacion homelie saluted him. thinking this at first to be but one of his What a good-yeere, Mr More, quoth she, jests, was little moved, till he told her sad. I marvaile that you that hitherto have binne ly he had given up the great seale. Wheare taken for so wise a man, will now soe plaie uppon she speaking some passionate words, the foole to lie heere in this close filthie he called his daughters then present to see prison, and be content thus to be shutt up if they could not spy some fault about their amonge mise and ratts, when you might be mother's dressing ; but they, after search, abroad at your libertie, and with the favour saying they could find none : hee replied, and good will bothe of the King and his doe you not perceive that your mother's Counsaile, if you would but doe as all the nose standeth somewhat awry? Of which bishops and best-learned of this realme have
done. And seeing you have at Chelsey a
right faire house, your librarie, your bookes, • Tyndall forbiddeth folk to pray to the your gallerie, your garden, your orchard, Virgin Mary, and specially misliketh her and all other necessaries soe handsome about devout anthem Salve Regina.--More's you, wheare you might in the companie of English Works, p. 488, col. 2.
me your wife, your children, and household,