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And neether strange nor home borne childe,
of Fortune stands afraied. Here hands doe reape the seeds thei sowe,
and heads haue quiet sleeps; And wisedome gouerns so the worlde,
that reason order keeps. Here mercie rules, and mildnesse raigns
and peace greate plentie bryngs; And solace in his sweetest voice
the Christmas carrowle syngs. Here freends maie feast, and triumphe too,
in suertie voide of ill; And one the other welcome make .
with mirthe and warme good will. The ground it bryngs suche blessyng forthe,
that glad are forraigns all, Amid their want and hard extreems
in favour here to faull: Here wounded staets doe heale their harms
and straungers still repaire; When mischief makes them marche abroad,
and driue them in dispaire. Here thousands haunt and finde releef,
that are in heauie cace, And friendly folke with open armes
doeth sillie soules embrace. Here thyngs are cheape, and easly had,
no soile the like can showe; No state nor Kyngdome at this daie
doeth in such plentie flowe.
The trau'lar that hath paste the worlde, and gone through many a lande:
When he comes home, and noets these thyngs to heauen holds vp hande;
And museth how this little plotte
can yeeld suche pleasures greate:
It argues where suche graces growe, that God hath blest the seate."
Elliot. I like that better than you seem to do; there is a great air of cheerfulness and contentment about it: the quotation affords a very lively and pleasant picture of the condition of the kingdom under Queen Elizabeth.
Bourne. I am inclined to think that this production, on the whole, is one of the best that has proceeded from Churchyard's pen. However, we have now gone through all that it is worth our while to read from it.
Morton. It appears from his "True Discourse historical of the succeeding Governors in the Netherlands" of 1C02, that he was most importantly concerned in the wars of the Low Countries: does he say nothing material regarding them in that part of the tract before you, referring to "the Misery of Flanders?"
Bourne. Nothing worth reading, I assure you: in another work by him, printed in 1578, and called "a Lamentable and pitifull Description of the wofull warres in Flanders," he enters into more details than in 1602, and in the dedication of it to Sir F. Walsingham, he mentions his design to publish the tract on which we are now engaged. It shows that some of the most learned men who write about books never read them, or Mr. Chalmers from hence would have been put upon the scent for " the Miserie of Flavnders," &c.
Elliot. That is not a matter of great consequence. Was Churchyard in much repute with his contemporaries 3
Bourne. That point is treated in Chalmers's Life, and you will find that while Gabriel Harvey abuses him, Thomas Nash greatly applauds his "Tragedy of Shores Wife." There is, however, one poet of the highest rank, I mean Spenser, who bestows a few compassionate lines upon him in his "Colin Clouts come home again:" this is not mentioned by Chalmers.
Morton. Lord Buckhurst, Drayton, Alabaster, Daniel, and others, are there alluded to, but I do not recollect Churchyard.
Bourne. The following four lines refer to him:
"And there is old Palemon free from spight Whose carefull pipe may make the hearer rew; Yet he himselfe may rewed be more right, Who sung so long until quite hoarse he grew."
Elliot. As Churchyard is not named, how do you prove that the allusion is to him—by inference?
Bourne. The description is almost sufficient, though it does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Todd when he published his edition of Spenser. But it is put beyond a doubt by the following stanza in Churchyard's " Pleasaunt Discourse of Court & Wars," 1596, which I found on looking over a variety of his productions. He is speaking of the Court, which he says is
"The platform where all Poets thriue,
Elliot. That fixes the description upon him very satisfactorily. "Colin Clouts come home again," was published in 1595.
Bourne. In his "Challenge," 1593, Churchyard had praised Spenser " in a new kind of Sonnet," the novelty of which consists in all the lines but the two last (twenty-two in number) rhyming to the words war and show. He drearily laments, at the same time, his own incompetence, and the folly of his young overweening ambition. It is scarcely worth the trouble of reading, but you may find it in Cens. Lit. II. p. 309.
Elliot. You mentioned just now " the Tragedy of Shore's Wife" by Churchyard. Did it come upon the stage, or has Rowe availed himself of it in his "Jane Shore?"
Bourne. You mistake; the word tragedy there
does not mean a dramatic composition: it refers to his Legend of Jane Shore, in the Mirror for Magistrates; many poems of a tragical nature, but not at all in the form of plays, were at that time called Tragedies: Dante (Inf. XX. 113), in the same way, makes Virgil speak of his iEneid as,
L'alta tnia Tragedia in alcun loco, &c. and he further explains the application of the word in his work Delia volgare Eloquenza—Per tragcediam superiorem stilum induimus, per comcediam inferiorem, per elegiam stilum intelligimus meserorum.
Morton. Jervis Markham's Tragedy of Sir R. Grenville is precisely in point; and some account of the contents of that poem (which, indeed, you promised us), will better illustrate the matter than any quotation you can make.
Elliot. I am rather curious to see that production, from the lavish praise Fitzgeffrey bestows upon it in the quotation we read from his "Drake'' in our first conversation.
Bourne. I remember I told you at the time, that the applause was far beyond what Markham's poem deserved, and I have no objection now to establish my assertion by a few quotations. As to your seeing the book itself, that is out of the question, as but one copy of it is known, and that, if I mistake not, is now in the possession of the Hon. T. Grenville, whose family is descended from the hero of the poem.