« PrejšnjaNaprej »
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
The most important translations (1.) The Prose Translators.
before 1600 were those from the The part which was plaved by Italian and Spanish novelists. Late the translators in the formation of Greek and Latin romances English literature already has been also turned into English--for ex. pointed out: their influence on ample, THOMAS UNDERDOWN'S English prose too often has been translation (1569?) of the Theagenes underrated. The work of transla- and Chariclea of Heliodorus of tion was not marked by any process
Tricca. But the most important of selection, and much of the result foreign books at this time were by shows, as we might reasonably ex- the long succession of Italian storypect, a lack of literary art. But it tellers, from the anonymous writer is a mistake to imagine that the of the Novellino to the Renaissance net outcome of all this labour was novelist, Bandello, whose collection merely a supply of stories which of anecdotes was, on the whole, the furnished the dramatists with plots most popular, if we are to judge for their plays.
Even the story- from their employment by both books show, in many cases, a sense translators and dramatists. Banof the value of style, a harmony in dello's novels had been published, the arrangement of their sentences, in definitive form, in 1554: the which places them high in the Frenchman, François de Belleforest, earliest chapter of modern prose. had used them freely for his His. Further, of the manifold intellectual toires Tragiques (1559) : and, doubttendencies of the Elizabethan age, less, the English translators used there was hardly one which was not, Belleforest as much as Bandello. in one way or another, controlled or In 1562, Arthur BROKE (d. 1563) helped by the work of the trans- had translated one of Bandeilo's lators. Sir THOMAS Hoby's (1530- stories into English verse, giving it 1566) translation of Castiglione's the title of The Tragicall Historye treatise, Il Cortegiano (The Courtier), of Romeus and Julieit, which, in its published in 1561, was among the ultimate result, is familiar to every works which settled the standard of English reader. In 1566 and 1567, conduct in Elizabeth's Court, repre- appeared WILLIAM PAINTER'S sented, on the side of accomplish- (1540 ?-1594) Palace of Pleasure, an ments, by Sidney and Ralegh ; and admirable treasure-house of stories on the side of sheer intellectual drawn from Bandello, Belleforest, vigour, by statesmen like Burghley. Boccaccio, and other sources, inThis influence must not be taken as cluding the Ecatomithi of Giraldo immediate and direct, for a single Cinthio, which had been published book cannot be said to change the in Italian two years before (1565). spirit of a whole age: but, just as BARNABE Rich, in 1581, drew upon Castiglione's book--the mirror of Bandello and Cinthio for his story Italian society during the Renais- of Apollonius and Silla. In the sance-was one of the means by next year (1582) GEORGE WHET. which the principal features of those STONE (1544 ?-1587 ?), who had presocial conditions were transferred to viously (1578) sounded his Promos the rest of Europe, so Hoby's trans- and Cassandra on the same theme, lation took its part in extending its introduced a translation of one of authority. There can be very little Cinthio's romances into his Hepdoubt that its influence on Lyly and tameron of Civil Discourses, a collecon Eunhuism generally was very tion of tales on the usual plan of the
Italian novelists and their imitators,
Again, in 1590, we find a book of somewhat confused disregard of his tales called Tarlton's News out of periods : and one is hardly surprised Purgatory, which purports to come that his Plutarch, in the eighteenth from the ghost of Richard Tarlton, century, became obsolete and was the famous comic actor, then two supplanted by the perspicuous but years dead. These are all, of course, commonplace translation of the popular adaptations rather than brothers Langhorne. It is also to translations, but the amount of ori- be noted that he translated, not ginal work in them is a hardly percep- from the Greek, but from the French tible minimum. The translation of of Jacques Amyot. Had North, Spanish novelists was more seriously however, been an original author undertaken. Pedro Mexia's novel of instead of a translator, his fame Timur was translated in Fortescue's among the writers of Elizabeth's Forest (1571), from which it was taken reign would be equal to that of by Marlowe for the foundation of Hooker; and, for the student of Tamburlaine the Great. The Diana English prose, his position is not Enamorada of Montemayor, which dissimilar. His most important folSidney had already laid under con- lower in classical translation was the tribution for his Arcadia, was twice voluminous PHILEMON HOLLAND translated between 1595 and 1600,(1552–1637), fellow of Trinity Col. first, in manuscript, by THOMAS lege, Cambridge, who, beside his WILSON ; secondly (1598), by BAR- famous version of Livy (1600), transTHOLOMEW YOUNG. Cervantes ap- lated everything else he could lay peared in English in THOMAS SHEL- his hands on, including Camden's TON'S translation (1612), seven years Britannia (1610). later than the original. Of other Another great Elizabethan was foreign authors, Rabelais, in the JOHN FLORIO (15537-1625), whose quaint and admirable translation parents were refugees from the Valof Sir THOMAS URQUHART (1611-tellina. Florio lived in England all 1660). came out in 1653. This, his life, and was in touch with the which was completed by P. A. Mot-chief literary men of his day. He teux and others in 1708, is somewhat was a singular Euphuist, and shared beyond the scope of our present in the strained eccentricities of his period. Similarly, Machiavelli, whose tribe — the love for punning and influence on the political life of the other affectations. But his transperiod was so considerable, was not lation of Montaigne's Essays, pubseen in English till 1640, when lished, twenty-three years after the EDWARD DACRES translated The original, in 1603, although it is not Prince and one or two of the mis- free from some pedantry of this cellaneous essays, such as the life of kind, is, in one way, the ideal of a Castruccio Castracane. Up till that translation. It is fluent, and at the time, his work must have been known same time literal : but, above everyeither from the Italian editions (first thing else, Florio has managed to in 1532), the four Latin editions, or catch the very spirit of Montaigne Guillaume Cappel's French trans- and to reproduce it in an exact lation (1553).
facsimile, with just that amount The finest English translation of of freedom which emphasises his a classical author appeared in 1579, own individuality. No writer has and again, in its second edition, in probably been so handled by a 1595. This was the Plutarch of ihoroughly congenial spirit as MonSIR THOMAS NORTH (1535?-1601?), taigne has been handled by Florio. which, for the splendid vigour and This admirable work is now accesseverity of its style, must be reckoned sible to the student in several poputhe chief contribution to English lar editions; and, as a specimen prose before Hooker. North can- of Elizabethan translation, he can not be said to be a plain writer : find nothing that can excel it. the height of his subject and its an- Florio's Italian dictionary, A World tiquity drove him, not unwillingly, of Words, was first published in into intricacies of construction and a l 1598,
(2.) The Pamphleteers.
Italian and Spanish--plenty, too, of
gutter-English. Nash's most famous The most important feature in the achievement is his attack upon ordinary prose-writing of the day is Spenser's friend, the exclusive arbiter furnished by the pamphleteers. The of taste with a certain clique, the most famous of these were, with bombastic and frigid Gabriel Harvey. more glory to their reputation, con- The only reason for this onslaught cerned in the foundation of the could have been that Nash was an. English drama, and their names noyed by the good conceit which will be found in their proper place. Harvey certainly had of himself and The pamphlets, which exist in im- his position ; and the chief argument mense numbers, do not in any sense which Nash used was the fact that connect themselves with the splendid his adversary's father had been a traditions of Elizabethan prose: but rope-maker at Saffron Walden. On they are most important in their this ground, however, he constructed exhibition of the copious vocabulary a splendid edifice of abuse, to which of the age. More definitely literary Harvey, with less humour and a less than any are the Euphuistic dia- versatile command of English, was in. logues and romances, in which John capable of replying coherently. One Lyly was followed by Robert Greene would think, after reading Have and Thomas Lodge, to say nothing of with you to Saffron Walden (1596), lesser writers. Again, there were the that the force of invective could go numerous semi-religious pamphlets, no farther. But the choicest flowers like Greene's Groats-worth of Wit, in of language belong to the Martin which the egregious sinners of the Marprelate controversy, in which age openly lamented their wicked- Nash almost certainly took a part. ness-perhaps very sincerely for the The history of this pamphleteering time being. Thomas Dekker, the war is intricate and unprofitable. dramatist, was very fertile in prose It is sufficient to say that it rose out work of this kind; and his Gull's of the great quarrel between the Horn-Book and Seven Deadly Sins of Puritan and Episcopalian sections London are, with his plays, an in. of the Church, and its subject was valuable addition to our knowledge the fruitful topic of Church govern. of London life at this period. But ment. The Episcopal order was, on by far the most interesting of all the the one hand, attacked (1588-0) hy pamphlets are those concerned with an anonymous writer-or syndicate literary and religious controversies. of writers—who called himself Martin These masterpieces of scurrilous | Marprelate, and is generally identiabuse--not by any means without fied with a Welsh parson, one JOHN humour-were written by University PENRY (1559-1593): on the other, it men whose education had in every responded through the mouth of case been excellent. THOMAS NASH Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Win. (1567–1601), for example, was a chester, and a number of other Cambridge man. He, like Greene, writers. John Udall, not to be wrote plays : but certainly his repu. confounded with the more famous tation stands upon the ground of Nicholas Udall, Provost of Eton, the pamphlet. No one has ever took an carly part in the controversy shown so brilliant a genius for on the Puritan side, and died (1592) caling names as this contentious in the prison to which he was sent scholar. Attention to grammar was in consequence of his unruly action. not requisite in a style like Nash's : The dispute raged hotly from 1588 the sine quâ non was to be voluble, to 1590, the Martinists evading their expressive, and vivid ; to know how pursuers by carrying their printing. to ring changes on the most offen press about the country; and it finally sive phrases, to insert adroit epithets died-unfortunately, only in the form here and there, and to keep up a of pamphlets--of sheer exhaustion. breathless and perpetual strain of As might be expected, the point of abuse. There is plenty of Latin in these pamphlets lies, not in their these pamphlets, plenty of Euphyised! theological discrimination-although their religious allusions are plentiful, of vernacular prose. His translation and indecent, but in the extraordi- of the Psalms found a rival in; the nary energy of their personal attacks next century (1637) in that made on the leading men of each party. by ARTHUR JOHNSTON (1587-1641), No more instructive comment on physician to Charles I. the strangely contradictory spirit of SIR JOHN HAYWARD (1564 ?-1627). the day can be found than the published (1599) The First Part of historical link which unites these the Life and Reign of King Henry monuments of vulgar pasquinade IV, dedicated to the Earl of Essex. with the great defence of the Elizabeth was offended by the book, Anglican position embodied in and threw the author into prison ; Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. but James I afterwards patronised
and knighted him. His subsequent (3.) The Historians, etc.
histories were The Lives of the
Three Norman Kings of England, The histories of this age are plen- William I, William 11, and Henry tiful, but have no degree of interest. I (1613), which he dedicated to One of the earliest of these is the Charles, Prince of Wales ; and The Abridgement of the Chronicles of Life and Reign of King Edward VI, England (1562), by RICHARD GRAF with the beginning of the Reign of TON (d. 1572?), a printer, and the Queen Elizabeth, which was pub. editor and continuator of Hall's lished after his death (1630). Chronicle. He was thrown into RICHARD KNOLLES (d. 1610), prison for printing the proclama- master of the grammar school at tion of Lady Jane Grey's succession Sandwich in Kent, published (1603) to the throne. Later on (1568) he a History of the Turks, which Johnpublished a Chronicle compiled from son highly extolled in the Rambler. older historians. Of the chief chron- “ He has displayed all the exiclers who succeeded him, and of cellencies that narrative can admit. Stow, his contemporary, and the His style, though somewhat obscured object of his constant attacks, we by time, and vitiated by false wit, is have spoken in the text.
pure, nervous, elevated, and clear. nection with them should be men- Nothing could have sunk this author tioned WILLIAM HARRISON (1534- | into obscurity but the remoteness 1593), whose Description of Eng and barbarity of the people he land (1577) belongs to the Uni. relates." The history was versal Cosmography projected and tinued by the dramatist Thomas begun by Reginald Wolfe, the Nabbes. Queen's printer, and appeared in In 1612 and 1617 SAMUEL front of Holinshed's Chronicle. The DANIEL, the poet, published two book is full of value to the student parts of a History of England of English manners and customs. from the Conquest to the Reign of Harrison also translated Bellenden's Edward III. `Hallam's criticism is Scottish version of Hector Boece well worth quoting: “It is written into English, and compiled a Great with a freedom from all stiffness, Chronology in manuscript.
and a purity of style, which hardly GEORGE BUCHANAN (1506-1582) any other work of so early a date wrote his History of Scotland (Rerum exhibits. These qualities are indeed Scoticarum Historia, 1582) in Latin. so remarkable that it would require He was one of the most learned men a good deal of critical observation to of his age, and had studied at St. distinguish it even from writings of Andrews and Paris. In 1569 the the reign of Anne; and where it Council of Regency appointed him differs from them, (I speak only of tutor to the young James VI. In the secondary class of works, which addition to his history and other have not much individuality of Latin prose works, he made a manner,) it is by a more select metrical Latin version of the Psalms, idiom, and by an absence of the and satirised the Secretary Maitland Gallicism or vulgarity which are of Lethington in Chameleon, a piece often found in that age."
Another species of history is GEORGE PUTTENHAM'S (d. 1590) represented by the Britannia (1586) | Art of English Poesy (1589) is the of WILLIAM CAMDEN (1551-1623), chief critical work of Elizabeth's head master of Westminster School reign. It is not by any means the and Clarenceux King-at-Arms. As only work of its kind. Gascoigne a topographical description of Great had furnished instruction in the diffiBritain from the earliest times, the cult art in 1575; and Sir Philip Britannia forms one of the most Sidney wrote the work eventually valuable
of antiquarian known as The Defence of Poesy about knowledge. Camden endowed a 1579; and, besides these, a number historical chair at Oxford, and was of lesser writers had debated the the patron of Ben Jonson in his question of quantity versus accent early years. He also wrote a Latin and rhyme. Puttenham's book is history of the reign of Elizabeth, not very valuable as prose, but it which was published in 1615.
shows a very enlightened attitude A later antiquary of some eminence towards the disputed standard of was Sir HENRY SPELMAN (1564?- poetry; and, without doubt, it had 1641), who published in Latin various its share in the rejection of Gabriel works upon legal and ecclesiastical Harvey's uncouth attempt to natuantiquities. One of the principal of ralise Latin prosody in England, these is a history of the English and in settling the elastic criterion of Councils, which began to appear Elizabethan poetry. in 1639, and was continued (1664) Although JOHN SELDEN (1584under the editorship of Sir William 1654), that "gulf of learning," the Dugdale.
friend of Camden and Ben Jonson, In addition to the collectors of and by far the most learned of travellers' tales, many private gentle- Elizabethan jurists, is scarcely of the men of this period left accounts number of the historians, yet his of their travels. The Scotchman, Table-Talk (1689), published long William LITHGOW (1582-1645 ?), after his death, gives him a place brought out a book in 1614, which, among those men of letters whose in a greatly enlarged form (1632). mere conversation has contributed described nineteen years of travelling something to literature. The Tableon foot through Europe, Asia, and Talk is an anthology of his wit and Africa. GEORGE SANDYS (1578- | wisdom, and is intensely valuable 1644), the youngest son of Edwin as the revelation of a mind whose Sandys, Archbishop of York, wrote whole course of thought was directed an account (1615) of his Travels in and strengthened by the political the East, which was very popular, and religious spirit of England and was repeatedly published in the immediately after the Reformaseventeenth century. He also pro- tion. Selden's remaining works are duced a metrical version of Ovid's very voluminous, and are chiefly in Metamorphoses (1621-6).