Page images

practice he acquired some facility in the use of the English language: this is more evident in his version of Naorgorgeus's "Popish Kingdom," 1570, which contains an account of some curious and amusing customs, although the title is unpromising: a piece Ritson assigns to him, called "A new yeares gifte, dedicated to the Popes Holinesse," 1579, is certainly not his, but probably Bernard Garter's, as any body who reads it will see.

Morton. In what way was Googe to be brought before us?

Elliot. I am afraid we are now about to be treated with one of your absolute bibliomaniac curiosities.

Bourne. Your sufferings will not be of long duration, if you are patient under the infliction. The existence of this small volume by Googe has been doubted by some, and it is clear that Ritson had never heard of it. The title is this, "The Prouerbes of the noble and woorthy souldier Sir James Lopez de Mendoza, Marques of Santillana, with the paraphrase of D. Peter Diaz of Toledo," &c. "Translated out of Spanishe by Barnabe Googe. Imprinted at London by Richarde Watkins, 1579." It is dedicated to Cecill "Baron of Burghley," and the translator complains that he had found some difficulty in making out the meaning of his author.

Morton. Is it in verse or prose?

Bourne. In both: the proverbs (though why so called cannot very easily be guessed), are in Googe's favourite measure of fourteen syllables, divided into two lines, for the purpose of coming conveniently into an 8vo. page, and the paraphrase or commentary is in prose.

Elliot. The prose can be dispensed with, at all events.

Bourne. I did not intend to read it: the following are numbered 47,48, and 49, but only form one Proverb, and are in praise of women.

'* For setting here aside that sweete

and blessed worthie rose,
That ouer all the rest doth shine,

and far beyond them goes,
The daughter of the thundring God,

and spouse vnto the hiest;
The light and lampe of women all

who bare our sauiour Christ.

"Manie ladies of renowne

and beautifull there bee,
That are both chast and vertuous

and famous for degree:
Amongst the blessed saintes

full many a one we finde,
That in this copasse may be brought

for liues that brightly shinde."What should I of Saint Katheren

that blessed martyr tell,
Among the rest of Virgins all''

a flowre of precious smell? . ...::' , .:: Well worthy of remembrance is

her beauty and her youth,
And eke no lesse deserueth praise

her knowledge in the trueth."

Ew.iot. I should be surprised if, with all your love of old poetry, you could say any thing in praise of those lines.

Bourne. I do not affect it; nor indeed, as I observed, in praise of any thing Googe ever wrote, excepting so far as he was able to gain the name of a poet by the smoothness of his versification.

Morton. The lines you have read have that recommendation, though with some want of judgment you have brought him after the author of "Alcilia."

Bourne. The following stanza from the same volume, referring to Cato and Mutius Scarvola, is unquestionably the best in it.

"Oh, what a death had Cato dyed

if it had lawfull beene,
And had not by the iust decrees

of God beene made a sinne!
No lesse doe I the worthy fact

of Mucius commend,
That Lyuie in his story hath

so eloquently pende."

Elliot. I do not find that that has much more merit than the rest. '' ''. •' > • .'' r-.

'Bourne. The degree of difference is rather minute, and we may pass the book over without further quotation or remark. . ;. i • i .. i'

Morton. I see that two other tracts still remain to be noticed: what are they? :••.••

Bourne. I had looked them out for examination, but since I did so, I have discovered that they have both been mentioned in Beloe's "Anecdotes of Literature and scarce Books:"—as it is not necessary that we should travel over ground that has been trodden by any precursors, I have determined to omit them, and to leave them to your separate examination: the first is by Rowland Broughton, a new name in the history of our poetry, and is a funeral poem on the death of the Marquis of Winchester (1572); and the second, a production of a similar kind on the Countess of Lenox (1577). by John Phillip or Phillips, whose production on Sir P. Sidney you cannot have forgotten.

Elliot. Certainly not: I remember so much of it that even if this "excessive rarity," (for such I take it for granted it is), had not been mentioned by Beloe, I should not have wished to have heard a single line from it.

Bourne. Rowland Broughton is quite as bad, if not worse; but then his performance is such a singular curiosity. Phillip's tract contains a fulsome and rather curious character of Elizabeth: it is better than his poem on the death of Sir P. Sidney, though the last was a much later production.

i Morton. Is that character of Elizabeth given in Beloe? I should like to hear it:—the subject is inviting, though it may not be well treated.

Bourne. It has not been quoted, and certainly deserves extracting; and I would read it, if I could prevail upon this objector " to shut his ears like adder to the sound."

Elliot. If it be short, I shall not attempt to resist your wishes on the subject.

Bourne. It is not long; and even you, I think, will find something amusing in it. It is as follows:

"With in her brest Iustice a place hath pyght,
And in her mercy welds the supreme sway:The poore opprest to helpe she doth delight,
Her hand is prest to shield them from decay:To all the fruites of loue she doth display;Her eares attend to hear each subiects wrong.
Like Saba she her subiects rules among.

The sacred Nimph that noble Vesta hight
Within her bower accompanies the Queene.
Like Pha?bus rayes her glorye glisters bright,
Adornde she sits with Lawrell lasting greene.
Pernassus mount to scale this Prince is seene;
Of Helicon, that Riuer running cleere,
To taste her fill our Pandra hath desyre. ,

The scepter she like sad Cassandra swaies;
Corinna like augmentes her learned skill.
Then Triton see in haste thou take thy waves

« PreviousContinue »