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the coffin of a great Pie or pasty, in the bottome whereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will ; let the sides of the coffin be somewhat higher then ordinary Pies, which done put it full of flower and bake it, and being baked open the hole in the bottome and take out the flower."
Morton. And put the living birds in its place, that, I take it, is the great secret.
BOURNE. You have guessed it exactly, and we need read no more of it.
MORTON. While on the '“ antiquities of nursery literature" (a subject rendered important by the Quarterly Reviewers), let me ask, if you know with what veneration you ought to look upon some noted lines in “ Mother Goose's Melodies.”
Elliot. What edition? A most interesting inquiry! What lines do you allude to in that splendid and delightful work-splendid from its Dutch-gold binding, and delightful from its classical subjects. What are they? MORTON. Those pathetic elegiac verses,
“ Three children sliding on the ice
All on a summer's day,
The rest they ran away,” &c.
They are nearly 200 years old, and are to be found, with some variations, at the end of a travestie of the story of Hero and Leander which I met with the
other day. It was published between 1640 and 1650, but I forget the precise date.
BOURNE. If it be no older than that, it is not of much consequence, though the various readings perhaps might still be worth noting.-As I suppose we have now done with these interesting matters, we may proceed to the order of the day.
MORTON. Your “ order in confusion”-the feast you have provided for us; only I hope it will not be like the “ Roman smell-feast," of which we read in Chapman's translation from Juvenal. Do not tantalize us with the mere odour of your cates, without allowing us to taste them.
BOURNE. You need be under no apprehensions of that kind. As you took up Thos. Churchyard's tract first, we may begin with him. ELLIOT. And begin with him by telling us who he
His name is not at all familiar to my ears. BOURNE. Perhaps not, for though he was a very voluminous author, he has been very
much neglected until of late, when Mr. G. Chalmers took him under his patronage, and reprinted most of his pieces relating to Scotland.
MORTON. And prefixed his life, as far as the particulars could be ascertained, did he not?
BOURNE. Yes, collecting them with much industry and accuracy-Churchyard began writing in the reign of Edward VI., but 1559 is the earliest date of any extant and known performance by him, and he did not cease to publish until after the death of
Elizabeth. Here is Mr. Chalmers's production, and at the end of the biographical sketch you will find a long list of Churchyard's pieces, which, generally speaking, is accurate, with however one very important omission.
Morton. That is singular, for I suppose there are few men of more knowledge or research upon these subjects than Mr. Chalmers.
BOURNE. Unquestionably: the omission was of the more consequence to him, because the work of Churchyard he has not included, and had of course not seen (but which is now before us) contains a tolerably long poem on the “ Troubles of Scotland,” which Mr. Chalmers would not have failed to quote in his book had he been aware of its existence. It is also omitted by Warton and Ritson, and after them by all writers on our old poets.
Elliot. That sufficiently proves its great rarity. What do you call it?
BOURNE. “ The Miserie of Flavnders, Calamitie of Fraunce, Misfortune of Portugall, Vnquietnes of Jrelande, Troubles of Scotlande: And the blessed State of Englande. Written by Tho. Churchyarde, Gent. 1579.” Imprinted at London for Andrewe Maunsell. The size, you see, is the old small quarto, and it consists of only 20 leaves,
Morton. If all those subjects are treated it must be very compendious, or contain a great deal in a
BOURNE. They are treated separately but summa
rily. The dedication is “ To the Queenes most excellent Maiestie, Thomas Churchyard wisheth all heauenly blessednesse, worldly felicitie and ynremouable good Fortune.” The first sentence is worth reading, as it refers to the object of the writer's unwearied literary labours : “ Hauing" (says he) “a duetifull desire, moste redoubted soueraigne, to be daily exercised in some seruisable deuice and action (that maie please my Prince and countrey) I neither spare paines nor season to purchase through practise of pen, and studie of heade my desired hope," and in the end he states this tract to be one of several new years' gifts of the same kind he had made to Elizabeth.
Elliot. The topics adverted to in the title-page seem interesting: are they well handled ?
BOURNE. Some of them are, making allowances for the early date of the performance: Churchyard, generally, has had injustice done to him, because his readers compared his works with those of Daniel or Drayton, when in fact he began to write nearly half a century before them, and had formed his style upon older and less improved models.
Morton. He himself claims the authorship of some of the poems by “ uncertain authors,” in Tottel's Miscellany of 1557.
BOURNE. He does, though they cannot now be separated: he was for some time in the service of Lord Surrey. He should be estimated, therefore,
by a comparison with writers about that date, and not with later poets, because it was his misfortune not to die until 1604.-You must not fail to bear this in mind while I read the following quotation from that part of the tract before us that relates to the “ Calamitie of Fraunce." « Thei lost in feeld two hundreth thousande men, Yet still their mindes on murther ran so faste Thei went about nothying but bloodshed then To fight it out, as long as life might laste; Revenge did woorke & weaue an endlesse webbe Desire of will, a wofull threede did spinne, The floode of hate, that neuer thinks of ebbe, A swellyng Sea of strife brought gushing in. The rooted wrathe had spred such braunches out, That leaues of loue were blasted on the bowe, Yet spitfull twiggs began so faste to sprout That from the harte the tree was rotten throwe. No kindly sappe did comforte any spraie, Both barke & stocke and bodye did decaie: So that it seemde the soile infected was With malice moods that smells of mischief greate. Their golden lande, was tournde to rustic Bras, And eche thyng wrought, as God had curst the seate: The groūd thought scorne to bryng forth frute in
time, The Vines did rotte, the blade would beare no corne, Like Winter foule became the Sommers Prime, The pleasant plotts brought forth wilde brier & thorn