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For if I thought it were not so,
I would I thought it were not.
Lo! how my thought might make me free,
Of that perchance it needs not:
I shrink at that I bear not.
WALPOLE, Ellis, and Warton, gravely inform us that Lord Surrey contributed to the victory of Flodden, a victory which was gained before Lord Surrey was born. The mistakes of such writers may teach charity to criticism. Dr. Nott, who has cleared away much fable and anachronism from the noble poet's biography, supposes that he was born in or about the year 1516, and that he was educated at Cambridge, of which university he was afterwards elected high steward. At the early age of sixteen he was contracted in marriage to the Lady Frances Vere, daughter to John Earl of Oxford. The Duke of Richmond was afterwards affianced to
Surrey's sister. It was customary, in those times, to delay, frequently for years, the consummations of such juvenile matches; and the writer of Lord Surrey's life, already mentioned, gives reasons for supposing that the poet's residence at Windsor, and his intimate friendship with Richmond, so tenderly recorded in his verses, took place, not in their absolute childhood, as has been generally imagined, but immediately after their being contracted to their respective brides. If this was the case, the poet's allusion to
The secret groves which oft we made resound Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise.
But in my heart this word shall sink,
I would it were not as I think;
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
[Born, 1516. Died, 1547.]
may be charitably understood as only recording the aspirations of their conjugal impatience.
Surrey's marriage was consummated in 1535. In the subsequent year he sat with his father, as Earl Marshal, on the trial of his kinswoman Anne Boleyn. Of the impression which that event made upon his mind, there is no trace to be found either in his poetry, or in tradition. His grief for the amiable Richmond, whom he lost soon after, is more satisfactorily testified. It is about this period that the fiction of Nash, unfaithfully misapplied as reality by Anthony
Wood, and from him copied, by mistake, by Walpole and Warton, sends the poet on his romantic tour to Italy, as the knight errant of the fair Geraldine. There is no proof, however, that Surrey was ever in Italy. At the period of his imagined errantry, his repeated appearance at the court of England can be ascertained; and Geraldine, if she was a daughter of the Earl of Kildare, was then only a child of seven years old.
That Surrey entertained romantic sentiments for the fair Geraldine, seems, however, to admit of little doubt; and that too at a period of her youth which makes his homage rather surprising. The fashion of the age sanctioned such courtships, under the liberal interpretation of their being platonic. Both Sir P. Sydney and the Chevalier Bayard avowed attachments of this exalted nature to married ladies, whose reputations were never sullied, even when the mistress wept openly at parting from her admirer. Of the nature of Surrey's attachment we may conjecture what we please, but can have no certain test even in his verses, which might convey either much more or much less than he felt; and how shall we search in the graves of men for the shades and limits of passions that elude our living observation?
* Nash's History of Jack Wilton.
If concurring proofs did not so strongly point out his poetical mistress Geraldine to be the daughter of the Earl of Kildare, we might well suspect, from the date of Surrey's attachment, that the object of his praises must have been some other person. Geraldine, when he declared his devotion to her, was only thirteen years of age. She was taken, in her childhood, under the protection of the court, and attended the Princess Mary. At the age of fifteen she married Sir Anthony Wood, a man of sixty, and after his death accepted the Earl of Lincoln. From Surrey's verses we find that she slighted his addresses, after having for some time encouraged them; and from his conduct it appears that he hurried into war and public business in order to forget her indifference.
Towards the close of 1540, Surrey embarked in public business. A rupture with France being anticipated, he was sent over to that kingdom, with Lord Russell and the Earl of Southampton, to see that everything was in a proper state of defence within the English pale. He had previously been knighted; and had jousted in honour of Anne of Cleves, upon her marriage with Henry. The commission did not detain him long in France. He returned to England before Christmas, having acquitted himself entirely to the king's satisfaction. In the next year, 1541, we may suppose him to have been occupied in his literary pursuits—perhaps in his translation of Virgil. England was then at peace both at home and abroad, and in no other subsequent year of Surrey's life could his active service have allowed him leisure. In 1542 he received the order of the Garter, and followed his father in the expedition of that year into Scotland, where he acquired his first military experience. Amidst these early distinctions it is somewhat mortifying to find him, about this period, twice committed to the Fleet prison; on one occasion on account of a private quarrel, on another for eating meat in Lent, and for breaking the windows of the citizens of London with stones from his cross-bow. This was a strange misdemeanour indeed, for a hero and a man of letters. His apology, perhaps as curious as the fact itself, turns the action only into quixotic absurdity. His motive, he said, was religious. He saw the citizens sunk in papal corruption of manners, and he wished to break in upon their guilty secrecy by a sudden chastisement, that should remind them of Divine retribution!
The war with France called him into more honourable activity. In the first campaign he joined the army under Sir John Wallop, at the siege of Landrecy; and in the second and larger expedition he went as marshal of the army of which his father commanded the vanguard. The siege of Montreuil was allotted to the Duke of Norfolk and his gallant son; but their operations were impeded by the want of money, ammunition, and artillery, supplies most probably detained from reaching them by the influence of the Earl of Hertford, who had long regarded both Surrey and his father with a jealous eye. In these disastrous circumstances Surrey seconded the duke's efforts with zeal and ability. On one expedition he was out two days and two nights, spread destruction among the resources of the enemy, and returned to the camp with a load of supplies, and without the loss of a single man. In a bold attempt to storm the town he succeeded so far as to make a lodgement in one of the gates; but was dangerously wounded, and owed his life to the devoted bravery of his attendant Clere, who received a hurt in rescuing him, of which he died a month after. On the report of the Dauphin of France's
approach with 60,000 men, the English made an able retreat, of which Surrey conducted the movements as marshal of the camp.
He returned with his father to England, but must have made only a short stay at home, as we find him soon after fighting a spirited action in the neighbourhood of Boulogne, in which he chased back the French as far as Montreuil. The following year he commanded the vanguard of the army of Boulogne, and finally solicited and obtained the government of that place. It was then nearly defenceless; the breaches unrepaired, the fortifications in decay, and the enemy, with superior numbers, established so near as to be able to command the harbour, and to fire upon the lower town. Under such disadvantages, Surrey entered on his command, and drew up and sent home a plan of alterations in the works, which was approved of by the king, and ordered to be acted upon. Nor were his efforts merely defensive. On one occasion he led his men into the enemy's country as far as Samerau-Bois, which he destroyed, and returned in safety with considerable booty. Afterwards, hearing that the French intended to revictual their camp at Outreau, he compelled them to abandon their object, pursued them as far as Hardilot, and was only prevented from gaining a complete victory through the want of cavalry. But his plan for the defence of Boulogne, which, by his own extant memorial, is said to evince great military skill, was marred by the issue of one unfortunate sally. In order to prevent the French from revictualling a fortress that menaced the safety of Boulogne, he found it necessary, with his slender forces, to risk another attack at St. Etienne. His cavalry first charged and routed those of the French: the foot, which he commanded in person, next advanced, and the first line, consisting chiefly of gentlemen armed with corselets, behaved gallantly, but the second line, in coming to the push of the pike, were seized with a sudden panic, and fled back to Boulogne, in spite of all the efforts of their commander to rally them. Within a few months after this affair he was recalled to England, and Hertford went out to France as the king's lieutenant-general.
It does not appear, however, that the loss of this action was the pretext for his recal, or the direct cause of the king's vengeance, by which he was subsequently destined to fall. If the faction of Hertford, that was intriguing against him at home, ever succeeded in fretting the king's humour against him, by turning his misfortune into a topic of blame, Henry's irritation must have passed away, as we find Surrey recalled, with promises of being replaced in his command, (a promise, however, which was basely falsified,) and again appearing at court in an honourable station. But the event of his recal (though it does not seem to have been marked by tokens
of royal displeasure) certainly contributed indirectly to his ruin, by goading his proud temper to farther hostilities with Hertford. Surrey, on his return to England, spoke of his enemy with indignation and menaces, and imprudently expressed his hopes of being revenged in a succeeding reign. His words were reported, probably with exaggeration, to the king, and occasioned his being sent, for some time, as a prisoner to Windsor. He was liberated, however, from thence, and again made his appearance at court, unsuspicious of his impending ruin.
It is difficult to trace any personal motives that could impel Henry to wish for his destruction. He could not be jealous of his intentions to marry the Princess Mary--that fable is disproved by the discovery of Surrey's widow having survived him. Nor is it likely that the king dreaded him as an enemy to the Reformation, as there is every reason to believe that he was a Protestant. The natural cruelty of Henry seems to have been but an instrument in the designing hands of Hertford, whose ambition, fear, and jealousy, prompted him to seek the destruction of Norfolk and his His measures were unhappily aided by the vindictive resentment of the Duchess of Norfolk
against her husband, from whom she had been long separated, and by the still more unaccountable and unnatural hatred of the Duchess of Richmond against her own brother. Surrey was arrested on the 12th of December, 1546, and committed to the Tower. The depositions of witnesses against him, whose collective testimony did not substantiate even a legal offence, were transmitted to the king's judges at Norwich, and a verdict was returned, in consequence of which he was indicted for high treason. We are not told the full particulars of his defence, but are only generally informed that it was acute and spirited. With respect to the main accusation, of his bearing the arms of the Confessor, he proved that he had the authority of the heralds in so doing, and that he had worn them himself in the king's presence, as his ancestors had worn them in the presence of former kings. Notwithstanding his manifest innocence, the jury was base enough to find him guilty. The chancellor pronounced sentence of death upon him ; and in the flower of his age, in his 31st year, this noble soldier and accomplished poet was beheaded on Tower-hill.
PRISONED IN WINDSOR, HE RECOUNTETH HIS PLEASURE THERE PASSED.
So cruel prison how could betide, alas !
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green;
The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue:
To other liefe: but unto me most dear. Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue, Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint. Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew, In prison pine, with bondage and restraint : And with remembrance of the greater grief, To banish the less, I find my chief relief.
d Companion. • Beloved.
DESCRIPTION OF SPRING.
THE Sootef season, that bud and bloom forth
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale,
HOW EACH THING, SAVE THE LOVER IN SPRING,
THESE hairs of age are messengers
WHEN Windsor walls sustain'd my wearied arm;
They be the lines that lead the length
The which I feel, and you may see
k Careless-Rakil, or rakle, seems synonymous with reckless.
It is now universally admitted that Lord Vaux, | pieces are found in the Paradise of Dainty Dethe poet, was not Nicholas the first peer, but Thomas, the second baron of that name. He was one of those who attended Cardinal Wolsey on his embassy to Francis the First. He received the order of the Bath at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and was for some time Captain of the island of Jersey. A considerable number of his
vices. Mr. Park has noticed a passage in the prose prologue to Sackville's Introduction to the Mirror for Magistrates, that Lord Vaux had undertaken to complete the history of King Edward's two sons who were murdered in the Tower, but that it does not appear he ever executed his intention.
UPON HIS WHITE HAIRS.
FROM THE AGED LOVER'S RENUNCIATION OF LOVE.
They be the strings of sober sound,
God grant to those that white hairs have,
a In his edition of Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors.
[Born, 1523. Died, 1566.]
WAS a principal contributor to the Paradise able sonneteer, and the most facetious mimic of of Dainty Devices, and one of our earliest dra- the court. In the beginning of Elizabeth's reign matic authors. He wrote two comedies, one he was one of the gentlemen of her chapel, and entitled Damon and Pythias, the other Palamon master of the children there, having the character and Arcite, both of which were acted before of an excellent musician. His pleasing little Queen Elizabeth. Besides his regular dramas, poem, the Amantium Iræ, has been so often rehe appears to have contrived masques, and to printed, that, for the sake of variety, I have have written verses for pageants; and is described selected another specimen of his simplicity. as having been the first fiddle, the most fashion
HE REQUESTETH SOME FRIENDLY COMFORT, AFFIRMING HIS CONSTANCY.
THE mountains high, whose lofty tops do meet the haughty sky;
The craggy rock, that to the sea free passage doth deny;
The aged oak, that doth resist the force of blustring blast;
The pleasant herb, that everywhere a pleasant smell doth cast;
The lion's force, whose courage stout declares a prince-like might;
The eagle, that for worthiness is born of kings in fight.
Then these, I say, and thousands more, by tract of time decay,
And, like to time, do quite consume, and fade from form to clay;
But my true heart and service vow'd shall last time out of mind,
And still remain as thine by doom, as Cupid hath assigned;
My faith, lo here! I vow to thee, my troth thou know'st too well;
My goods, my friends, my life, is thine; what
need I more to tell?
I am not mine, but thine; I vow thy hests I will
And serve thee as a servant ought, in pleasing if
And sith I have no flying wings, to serve thee as
Ne fins to cut the silver streams, as doth the
And strain thy azure veins to write, that I may
And thus farewell! more dear to me than chiefest friend I have,
Whose love in heart I mind to shrine, till Death his fee do crave.