« PreviousContinue »
thing more than the common words "with additions" upon the republication of a modern work, where the principal, if not the only, addition is a new title-page.
Morton. Very likely. Is there any thing else in the volume to confirm the opinion that " Rich his Farewel" was first printed much earlier than 1606?
Bourne. There is; and the proof is remarkable on another account, from its reference to Sir Christopher Hatton, who is spoken of as alive, and who died in 1591. He appears to have been the "Maister & vpholder" of Barnabe Rich, and was himself a poet. In all probability he penned the fourth act of " Tancred and Gismunda," in Dodsley's Collection, and if we may rely upon the authority of the writer of Polimanteia (who not publishing until four years after Sir C. Hatton's death, seems to have had no motive to flatter), he must have been a considerable poet. "Then (says he) name but Hatton, the Muses fauorite, the Churches musick, Learnings Patron, my once poore Hands ornament; the Courtiers grace, the Schollars countenance and the Guardes Captaine."
Elliot. A fine specimen of the art of sinking in prose, for the ridicule of a new Martinus.
Bourne. I quote it for the inference, not for the style: "Sir Christopher Hatton, L. Chancelor of England," is inserted in the margin, and from hence it would seem that he had written much more than has come, down to our time.
Morton. Ritson only 'mentions an acrostic by him, and there is some doubt about that: "the Church's music," in what you read from Polimanteia, would imply that he had translated Psalms, or at least, written some sacred poems. Horace Walpole, if I recollect rightly, attributes to a kinsman of Sir Christopher's a translation of the Psalms, not printed till 1644, and Wood assigns them to Jeremy Taylor. It is not impossible that they were in fact the work of Lord Chancellor Hatton. But what says Rich regarding him in his "Farewel?" any thing relating to his works?
Bourne. I wish he did; but still what he tells us is interesting: it principally refers to the magnificent house Hatton built at his birth-place, Holdenby, in Northamptonshire, and the state and hospitality there observed, which gives one a good notion of the housekeeping of the great men of that day. He says: "And here I cannot but speake of the bounty of that noble gentleman Sir Christopher Hatton, my very good Maister and vpholder; who hauing builded a house in Northamtonshire, called by the name of Holdenby, which house for the brauery of the buildings, for the statelinesse of the chambers, for the rich furniture of the lodgings, for the conueyance of the offices, and for all other necessaries appertenent to a Pallace of pleasure, is thought by those that have iudgement, to be incomparable, and to haue no fellowe in England that is out of her Maiesties hands: and although this house is not yet fully finished, and is but a newe erection, yet it differeth farre from the workesthat are vsed now a daies in many places. I meane where the houses are built with a great nuber of chimnies, and yet the smoke comes forth but at one tunnel. This house is not built on that manner, for as it hath sundry Chimnies, so they cast forth seuerall smoakes; and such worthy port and daily hospitality kept, that although the owner himselfe vseth not to come there once in two yeares, yet I dare vndertake, there is daily prouision to be found conuenient to intertaine any noble man with his whole traine, that should hap to call in of a sodaine. And how many gentlemen and strangers, that comes but to see the house are there dayly welcommed, feasted, and well lodged, from whence he shold come, be he rich, be he poore, that should not there be entertained, if it please him to call in. To bee short, Holdenby giueth daily reliefe to such as be in want, for the space of sixe or seauen miles compasse."
Elliot. I should not complain of your reading that extract, or of your dwelling so long on the prefatory matter of almost any other book; but when we have so important and so interesting an object in view, I can hardly spare time even to inquire who and what was the author of the tale which Shakespeare condescended to adapt to the stage. However, as I know nothing about Barnabe Rich, I must first beg you to take my ignorance into consideration.
Morton. Did Rich write nothing but prose? for his name, I see, is not even mentioned by Ritson.
Bourne. It is an unaccountable omission, and the same strange error is committed by Sir E. Brydges, in his new edition of the Theatrum Poetarum. Mr. Haslewood, however, has, in a great degree, supplied the deficiency in the late reprint of "the Paradise of Dainty Devises," but he neglects some particulars of Rich's biography that might have been gleaned from his pamphlets: indeed he does not notice the titles of several; one of them is called " A short Suruey of Ireland," bearing date at London, in the reign of William the Conqueror.
Elliot. Explain what you mean.
Bourne. Why, if printed dates would decide the point, there would here be an end of the mighty dispute about the Oxford St. Jerome, for this tract by Rich purports to have been printed 399 years before it, viz. in 1069.
Morton. An obvious, misprint for 1609, by the transposition of the figures.
Elliot. Can we not defer such trifles, that we may the sooner arrive at the point to which we are directing our course?
Bourne. You must not be quite so free in the use of your whip, or your horses may grow restive. I will not delay you by reading the titles of the several tracts omitted by Mr. Haslewood, and they are of less interest, because they relate chiefly to Ireland: they, however, contain some biographical particulars; for instance, in the dedication of his " Short Suruey of Ireland" to the Earl of Saresbury, he speaks of himself as a mere Souldier, in which capacity old Churchyard saw him acting in the Netherlands about 1572. "I am no diuine (says Rich) and it is truth; I am no scholler and that is true too: what am I then? I am a Souldier, a professed Souldier, better practised in my pike than in my penne." In his "New Description of Ireland," 1610, after abusing "idle Poets, Bardes, and Rythmers" who have written falsehoods upon the subject, he talks of his service in the army for 40 years; and two years afterwards, in his "Excuse" for the above work, he adds that it was then 40 years or thereabouts since he first came into Ireland.
Elliot. What is your authority for saying that Churchyard saw Rich acting as a soldier in the Netherlands about 1572?
Bourne. He was one of the phalanx of poets who united their endeavours under Elizabeth to free the Low Countries from the weight of the Spanish yoke. At the head of them, you know, was Sir Philip Sidney, and the names of Gascoyne, Churchyard, Whetstone, Rich, and others, are to be included in the muster-roll.
Morton. Churchyard, in his "Trve Discovrse historicall of the succeeding Governovrs in the Netherlands," 1602, a tract we have before noticed,