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this accomplished and ill-fated person was inferior to many poets who have long been forgotten : but his foreign studies, and his refinement of taste and feeling, concurred in enabling him to turn our poetical literature into a track which had not yet been trodden.

The works through which Surrey's influence was exerted were of two kinds: a collection of Sonnets and other poems of a Lyrical and Amatory cast; and a Translation of the Second and Fourth Books of the Æneid. All of them have this in common; that they are imitations of Italian models, which, in our country, had not yet perhaps been by any one studied exactly, and had certainly never yet been imitated. His were the first Sonnets in our language; so that he gave us a new form of poetical composition, and a form which, used with zealous frequency by all the greatest poets of the Elizabethan age, has not lost its hold from that time to this. Nor was there less of novelty in the introduction of that refined and sentimental turn of thought, which breathes through all his lyrics, and which was prompted by Petrarch and his other Italian masters. The Italian studies of our poets of the fourteenth century, lay, as we have learned, in other quarters: the Petrarchan subtilties and conceits, and the Petrarchan tenderness and reflectiveness, were alike ungenial in their rougher and more manly temperament. Surrey was thus our usher into a poetical school, in which, for much good and not a little harm, succeeding poets became both pupils and teachers : and, it should also be remembered, his studies in the poetry of Italy, as it existed before his own day, prepared the way for introducing to the notice of his successors the great Italian works which were produced in his century. Surrey's familiarity with Petrarch's lyrics was a step towards Spenser's acquaintance with the chivalrous epic of Tasso.

His Æneid conferred on us an obligation yet weightier. It was not the first translation of a classical poem into English verse; unless indeed we should think ourselves compelled to refuse the name of English to the language used in Gawain Douglas's version, from which, indeed, Surrey borrowed not a little. But it was the first specimen of English Blank Verse : the unwonted metre was handled, not very skilfully, indeed, yet with a success which instantly recommended it for adoption: and thus we have to thank Surrey for a form of versification, in which the noblest poetry of our tongue has since been couched, and but for which our drama and our epic would alike have been incomparably meaner and feebler and less animated. This was another of

his importations from Italy, in which a similar metre appeared early in the century.

One is strongly tempted to pass over, in silence, on account of its real frivolousness, another claim which has been made on behalf of the noble poet. He is asserted to have been the writer who substituted, in our poetry, the counting of metres by syllables for the counting of them by accents. The true state of the case seems to be simply this. The accentual reckoning of measure was undoubtedly the oldest practice; and, in a strongly ac

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The sweet season, that bud and bloom forth brings,

With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale:
The nightingale with feathers new she sings;

The turtle to her mate hath told her tale.
Summer is come; for every spray now springs.

The hart hath hung his old head on the pale ;
The buck in brake his winter-cont he flings;

The fishes fleet with new repairëd scale;
The adder all her slough away she flings :

The swift swallow pursuëth the flies small:
The busy bee her honey now she mings:

Winter is worn that was the flowër's bale,
And thus, I see, among these pleasant things
Each care decays; and yet my sorrow springs.


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The Ghost of Creusa vanishing from Æneas.
Thus having said, she left me, all in tears
And minding much to speak; but she was gone,
And subtly fled into the weightless, air.
Thrice raught? I with mine arms to accol3 her neck;
Thrice did my hands’ vain hold the image escape,
Like nimble winds and like the flying dream.
So, night spent out, return I to my feres ;-
And there, wond'ring, I find together swarmed
A new number of mates: mothers and men,
A rout exiled, a wretched multitude,
From each where flock together, prest to pass,
With heart and goods, to whatsoever land
By sliding seas we listed them to lead.

And now rose Lucifer above the ridge
Of lusty Ide, and brought the dawning light.
The Greeks held the entries of the gates beset.
Of help there was no hope. Then gave I place,
Took up my sire, and hasted to the hill,

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cented tongue like ours, it was the only one at all likely to be used in the ruder stages of literature. But the syllabic reckoning naturally and inevitably began to be taken more and more into account, as something like criticism arose : and the general substitution of the latter for the former took place the more readily, because of the tendency of our words to fall into iambics, which made the two reckonings to coincide not infrequently even in older times, and to coincide oftener and oftener as pronunciation became more fixed. Although the accentual counting is the safer and more convenient of the two for our reading of all our mediæval poetry, the other is applicable in a great number of instances, as early as Chaucer himself: it prevailed more and more widely afterwards : and it appears to be almost universally applicable to our later poetry of the fifteenth century, in both kingdoms of the island. That Surrey, guided by his foreign examples, followed the modern fashion more strictly than

any before him, (though by no means always,) is probably true : and it cannot well be doubted that, in this as in other respects, his example had much effect in making the adoption of it universal. Just as certain is it, that the old tendency towards accentual scanning survived his time. It shows itself very strongly in the versification of the dramatists in the Elizabethan age, and is used by some of them with much freedom and excellent effect : and further, its congeniality to the structure of our language is shown by the rich and varied melody which, through its re-introduction, has been attained by several poets of our own time.

5. Along with Surrey is commonly named the elder Sir Thomas Wyatt; a conjunction made proper not only by the friendship of the two, but by a general likeness in taste, sentiment, and poetical forms. But Wyatt, wanting his friend's merit as the originator of valuable changes, does not call for very particular notice by his greater vigour of style and keenness of observation. His poetry is more diversified in kind than that of his friend: he indulged freely in epigram and satire ; and he attempted, much more frequently, versified translation from the Scriptures.

His and Surrey's versions of some of the Psalms are the most polished among many attempts of the sort made in their time, none of them with much success. Not good, but not the worst of these, and better than the feeble modern rhymes by which it has been superseded, was the complete Translation of the Psalms which bears the names of Sternhold and Hopkins. More than a hundred of the psalms were from the pen of these two; but there were also other translators. One of them was Whittingham, already noticed as the editor of the Geneva New Testament: and another was Norton, a lawyer, whom we shall immediately know as a dramatist, and who distinguished himself likewise as an able controversialist against Romanism. The whole collection was not published till 1562.

To the very close of our period belongs an extremely singular work, in which there was struck out, by the ingenuity of its designer, an idea poorly embodied by his assistants, but suggesting a great deal to the poets of the next age. It was entitled “Ă Mirror for Magistrates.” It is a large collection of separate poems, celebrating personages, illustrious but unfortunate, who figure in the history of England. The intention was, that the series should extend from the Conquest to the end of the fifteenth century: but a small part only of the plan was executed in the earliest edition of the work; and it was not completed by all the additions which its popularity caused it to receive in the early part of Elizabeth's reign. The chief contributors to it in its oldest shape were Baldwyne, an ecclesiastic, and Ferrers, à lawyer; and among the others were Churchyard, a voluminous writer of verses then and long afterwards, and Phaer, who translated a part of the Æneid. The historical design, and the method of calling up each of the heroes to tell his own tale, furnished hints for a kind of poems written by several eminent men whom we shall encounter in a later age : and some poets yet greater, Spenser himself for one, have been traced in direct borrowing of particulars from the “ Mirror.” Otherwise none of the pieces contained in this ponderous mass are worthy of special notice, except the small portions written by the projector, who was Thomas Sackville, of

tener known as Lord Buckhurst. It was for the benefit

of his children that their grandfather prompted the composition of Ascham's “Schoolmaster."

Planning the work in the middle of Mary's reign, Sackville threw over it a gloom which, as a poet has remarked, may naturally have been inspired by the scenes of terror amidst which he stood. He himself wrote only the “Induction,” or prefatory poem, and the “ Complaint of Henry duke of Buckingham," the friend and victim of Richard the Third, with which it was intended that the series should be closed. The Induction, which is very much more vigorous and poetical than the Complaint, derives its form, partly at least, from the Italian poet Dante; while its cast of imagination is that which has become so familiar to us in the later poetry of the middle ages. It is a very remarkable poem, and has furnished hints to other poetical minds. It has a fine

b. 1536. d. 1608.

vein of solemn imagination, which is especially active in the conception of allegoric personages. Its plan is this. While the poet muses sadly, in the depth of winter, over nature's decay and man's infirmity, Sorrow appears to him in bodily form, and leads him into the world of the dead. Within the porch of the dread abode is seen a terrible group of shadowy figures, who are painted with great originality and force: there are, among them, Remorse, Dread, Revenge, Misery, Care, Sleep, Old-Age, Famine, War, and Death. These are the rulers and peoplers of the realm below. Then, when the dark lake of Acheron has been crossed, the ghosts of the mighty and unfortunate dead stalk in awful procession past the poet and his conductor. Hefe, evidently, a prelude is struck to some of the fullest strains which resound in Spenser's Faerie Queene.


From The Mirror for Magistrates ;published in 1559.


By him lay heavy SLEEP, the cousin of Death,

Flat on the ground, and still as any stone;
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath:

Small keep took he whom fortune frownöd on,

Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown; but, as a living death,
So dead-alive, of life he drew the breath.
The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,

The travail's ease, the still night's fere’ was he,
And of our life on earth the better part:

Reiverof sight, and yet in whom we see

Things oft that tide, 4 and oft that never be:
Without respect, esteeming equally
King Creesus' pomp, and Irus' poverty.


Midnight was come: and every vital thing

With sweet sound sleep their weary limbs did rest.
The beasts were still; the little birds that sing,

Now sweetly slept besides their mother's breast;
The old and young were shrouded in their nest.
The waters calm; the cruel seas did cease;
The woods, the fields, and all things, held their peace.
The golden stars were whirled amid their race,

And on the earth did laugh with twinkling light;
When each thing nestled in his resting-place,

Forgat day's pain with pleasure of the night;

The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight;
The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt;
The partridge dreamt not of the falcon's foot.
9 Bereaver.

4 Betide.

i Care.

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