Imatges de pÓgina

and, on the whole, English poetry began to be divested of its monaftic barbarifm, and to attain to fome degree of purity and elegance.

The poetry of Scotland, during the reign we are confidering, doth not by any means appear in the glory which it affumed in our two former articles. In this period, the chief poet of that country was fir David Lindsay. His writings were very numerous, and, feparately from their internal qualities, became extremely popular, on account of their being applied to the purposes of the Reformation. According to Mr. Pinkerton, fir David was more the Reformer of Scotland than John Knox; for he had prepared the ground, and John only fowed the feed. The best of his works is the history of William Meldrum, which is defcriptive of real manners and incidents. He is faid to have had the honour of first introducing dramatic poetry into North Britain. Sir David Lindfay's zeal for Reformation did not fo far purify his conduct as to prevent his fometimes trefpaffing, in his productions, against the laws of modesty.

Another Scots poet of this period was fir James Inglis. His principal performance was the "Complaint of Scotland," which is well written for the time, and difplays abundance of learning. Sir James appears to have read much in Greek and Latin authors, and to have been well fkilled in Mathematics and Natural Philofophy. In one of his compofitions he has mentioned a number of poets of his own country as then living, that is, about the year 1530. These are, Culrofe, Kyd, Stewart, Stewart of Lorn, Galbreith, Kinloch, and Ballentyne. Concerning four of thefe perfons, nothing is known. Lord Hailes has publifhed fome pieces of the Stewarts; and Balentyne, muft mean John Ballenden, the tranflator of Hector Boethius's Hiftory of Scotland, in which work he has interspersed feveral poems, and, particularly, one entitled "Virtue.and Vyce," which has been reprinted. The author of the article concerning Ballenden, in the Biographia Britannica, reprefents his writings as diftinguished by that noble enthusiasm which is the very foul of poefy.



About this time was produced, by an unknown writer, a comedy, called Philotus, which is extremely valuable for its curious pictures of life, manners, drefs, and other cir cumftances relative to the age in which it was compofed. A ftrong charge of indecency has been brought against Philotus; but the piece has found an ingenious and zeal+ ous vindicator, who afferts that there are in it but two im modeft lines.

It is an object worthy of notice, and which clearly marks the progrefs of knowledge and learning, that a number of perfons of high rank fhould be ambitious of diftinguishing themfelves by their literary productions. The king stands at the head of them; and the noble authors of his reign were Nicholas Lord Vaux, John Bourchier, lord Berners, George Boleyn vifcount Rochford, John lord Lumley, Henry Parker, lord Morley, and Henry Howard, carl of Surrey: concerning Henry Howard, we have already spoken at large; aud we have mentioned lord Vaux and vifcount Rochford. Lord Morley appears to have been a multifarious writer, and his compofitions included both profe and verfe. He chiefly diftinguished himself as a tranflator; and the fubjects of his tranflations, are claffical, hiftorical, and theological. A paraphrafe which he wrote on the ninety-fourth Pfalm, and which would naturally be deemed important by the divines of that time, was printed in 1539. Lord Morley, who was educated in the best literature which our univerfities afforded, was certainly one of the moft learned noblemen of that age. John Bourchier, lord Berners, tranflated Froiffart's Chronicle, by the command of the king, befides which he was the tranflator of fome French, Italian, and Spanish novels. These novels conftituted part of the fashionable reading of that period, -The only circumftance that entitles John lord Lumley to the appellation of an author, is his having tranflated into English Erafmus's Inftitution of a Chriftian Prince. All the noblemen here fpecified, lord Morley excepted, were deeply engaged in active life; fo that they appear to have been animated with the defire of imitating thofe illuftrious ancients who added the character of the fcholar to thofe of


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the ftatefman and the warrior: and, notwithstanding their prodigious inferiority to the great names of antiquity, the principle they were infpired with merits applause.

The reign we are treating of was diftinguished by female as well asby noble authors. Mr. Ballard, in his "Memoirs of British Ladies, who have been celebrated for their Writings or Skill in the learned Languages, Arts, and Sciences," hath given a place to Catharine of Arragon, the first wife of Henry the Eighth. But this feems to have been done without fufficient reafon; for, though the queen had received a good education, and was a woman of good underftanding, she could only be ranked as having been, in fome degree, a patronefs of literature, by the encouragement she gave to Ludovicus Vives and Erafmus.-Catherine Parr, Henry's laft wife, is undoubtedly entitled to the character of a writer. Her works, which were partly originals, and partly tranflations, are entirely of a religious nature. She was a woman of admirable accomplishments; and by her zeal to promote the reformation, and to spread the knowledge of the fcriptures among the common people, the rendered very confiderable fervices to this country.But the most accomplished literary woman of the period feems undoubtedly to have been Margaret Roper, the favourite daughter of fir Thomas More, Under fuch a father fhe had every poffible advantage in point of educa tion, and he exerted all his talents, and called in every affiftance, for the fomation of her mind. It was not poffible to have a finer fubject of inftruction; for fhe had a ready wit, a quick conception, a tenacious memory, and a fine imagination. With these advantages from nature, her acquired improvements were equal to her father's most fanguine hopes and wishes; and her abilities have been celebrated by fome of the eminent fcholars of that period. Her compofitions were chiefly in the Latin tongue, in which fhe wrote with no finall degree of elegance. Her great knowledge of the Greek language was evidenced by her tranflating, out of that language, into Latin, the Ecclefiaftical History of Eufebius.-Anne Afkew, who is placed by Ballard among his learned ladies, chiefly fhines


as a martyr. Though not an author, fhe was certainly a woman of an excellent understanding, as well as of unconquerable virtue and integrity, and her memory is juftly held in high estimation.

Some idea of the literary character and tafte of an age may be formed from the nature of its publications. The works which were printed were numerous; and among thefe, controverfial treatifes, and devotional writings held a principal place. It is furprifing what a number of law books iffued from the prefs. The firft Abridgment of the Statutes appeared in this reign, and it was fpeedily followed by other Abridgments. Magna Charter was fo often reprinted, that it may hence be judged that our ancestors. were extremely attentive to, and had a high value for that grand fecurity of English liberty. Poetry, and the old tales and romances, continued to be read as formerly. Of the ancient claffics we only recollect an edition of Virgil, and of Tully de Senectute, in Latin and English; fo littie encouragement had our printers to prefent to the public the invaluable monuments of Greek and Roman genius and learning.

Amidst all the tyranny and vices of Henry the Eighth, he was endued with a munificent fpirit, and had a taste which led him to encourage the arts of defign. Accordingly, these arts made, in fome refpects, a confiderable, progrefs during his reign. Henry had the honour of putting the finishing hand to the chapel of King's College, at Cambridge; which is undoubtedly one of the most complete, elegant, and magnificent ftructures in the kingdom. Its decorations, harmony, and proportions; its fine painted windows, and richly ornamented fpreading roof; its gloom and perfpective, all contribute to affect the the imagination. with pleafure and delight, and, at the fame time, to in(pire the mind with awe and devotion. Some fmaller ípecimens of exquifite workmanship, fuch as oratories, chapels, and monumental edifices, were alfo produced at this time, from which it may be concluded, that the architecture of churches arrived at its highest point of glory

in England, just before its final period. There began, likewife, to be fome endeavour to catch the correct graces, and to copy the true magnificence of the Grecian and Roman models. Though the king's numerous edifices are conftructed on the ancient fyftem, they are, nevertheless, fometimes interfperfed with chafte ornaments and graceful mouldings, and are often marked with a legitimacy of proportion, and a purity of defign, which had not heretofore been attempted.

As a lover and an encourager of painting, Henry the Eighth fhines with an extraordinary degree of luftre. Such was his admiration of the art, and of the eminent men who excelled in it, that he endeavoured to tempt into England thofe two great prodigies of their profeffion, Raphael and Titian. Some performers were obtained by him from Italy, and others from the Low Countries; of whom, however, little is known but their names. The munificence of the king was but ill beftowed, till, at laft, it centered on Hans Holbein, a native, as is generally fuppofed, of Bafil, and whofe varied excellence merited all the encouragement and rewards of his royal and other patrons. Holbein spent the greatest part of his life in this country, and the cata logue of his paintings amounts to a vast number. It was one of his talents, that he was equal to dignified character. He had the power of expreffing the piercing genius of More, or the grace of Anne Boleyn. There is not a fingle countenance into which any mafter has poured greater energy of expreffion than in the drawing of fir Thomas More at Kenfington. It was in oil, in distemper, and in water colours that Holbein painted. The laft he had never prac tifed till he came to England, where he learned it of Lucas Cornelii, a Dutch painter, in the king's fervice. It was foon carried to the highest perfection by Holbein, his miniatures having all the strength of oil-colours, joined to the most finished delicacy. Of Holbein's public works in this country, four only are at prefent certainly known.


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