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Mongst all these stirs of discontented strife,
The last of this book, is a Satire on the pageantries of the papal chair, and the superstitious practices of popery, with which it is easy to make sport. But our author has done this, by an uncommon quickness of allusion, poignancy of ridicule, and fertility of burlesque invention. Were Juvenal to appear at Rome, he says,
How his enraged ghost would stamp and stare,
The following ludicrous ideas are annexed to the exclusive appropriation of the eucharistic wine to the priest in the mass.
The whiles the liquorous priest spits every trice,
But this sort of ridicule is improper and dangerous. It has a tendency, even without an entire parity of circumstances, to burlesque the celebration of this awful solemnity in the reformed church. In laughing at false religion, we may sometimes hurt the true. Though the rites of the papistic eucharist are erroneous and absurd, yet great part of the ceremony, and above all the radical idea, belong also to the protestant communion.
The argument of the first Satire of the fifth book, is the oppressive exaction of landlords, the consequence of the growing decrease of the value of money. One of these had perhaps a poor grandsire, who grew rich by availing himself of the general rapine at the dissolution of the monasteries. There is great pleasantry in one of the lines, that he
Begg'd a cast abbey in the church's wayne.
In the mean time, the old patrimonial mansion is desolated; and even the parishchurch unroofed and dilapidated, through the poverty of the inhabitants, and neglect or avarice of the patron.
Would it not vex thee, where thy sires did keep"7,
112 B. iv. 6.
115 And multitude of them.
And ruin'd house where holy things were said,
And idle battlements on either hand, &c. 119 By an enumeration of real circumstances, he gives us the following lively draught of the miserable tenement, yet ample services, of a poor copyholder.
Of one bay's breadth, God wot, a silly cote,
Or many maunds-full 120 of his mellow fruite, &c.
The smiling landlord shewes a sunshine face,
In the second 12, he reprehends the incongruity of splendid edifices and worthless inhabitants.
118 The bells were all sold, and melted down; except that for necessary use the saints-bell, or sanctusbell, was only suffered to remain within its lovery, that is, louver or turret, usually placed between the chancel and body of the church. Marston has “pitch-black loueries." Sc. Villan, B. ii. 5.
119 Just to keep up the appearance of a church.
12 Maund is basket. Hence Maunday-Thursday, the Thursday in Passion-week, when the king with bis own hands distributes a large portion of alms, &c. Maunday is Dies Sportulæ Maund occurs again, B. iy. 2:
With a maund charg'd with houshold marchandize. In The Whippinge of the Satyre, 1601, Signat. C. 4,
Whole maunds and baskets ful of fine sweet praise.
Certes if Pity dyed at Chaucer's date.
A tender creature
And tendir harte of that hath made her die.
Like the vaine bubble of Iberian pride,
He then beautifully draws, and with a selection of the most picturesque natural circumstances, the inhospitality, or rather desertion, of an old magnificent rural mausion.
Beat the broad gates, a goodly hollow sound
Afterwards, the figure of Famine is thus imagined.
Grim Famine sits in their fore-pined face,
That wont be drawne out by geometars 127.
The satire should be like the porcupine,
That sboots sharp quills out in each angry line 128. This ingenious thought, though founded on a vulgar errour, has been copied, among other passages, by Oldham. Of a true writer of satire, he says,
He'd shoot his quills just like a porcupine,
In the fourth and last of this book, he enumerates the extravagancies of a married
124 As when. 123 The Escurial in Spain.
125 In this age, the three modern languages were studied to affectation. In The Return from Parnassus, above quoted, a fashionable fop tells his page,“ Sirrah, boy, remember me when I come in Paul's Church-yard, to buy a Ronsard and Dubartas in French, an Aretine in Italian, and our hardest writers in Spanish, &c." A. ï. Sc. ii.
126 The motto on the front of the house oraEie EIXITS, which he calls a fragment of Plato's poetry, is a humorous alteration of Plato's ΟΥΔΕΙΣ ΑΚΑΘΑΡΤΟΣ ΕΙΣΙΤΩ.
123 B. v. 3. 129 B. v. 2. 124 Apology for the foregoing Ode, &c. Works, vol. i. p. 97, edit. 1722, 12mo.
spendthrift, a farmer's heir, of twenty pounds a year. He rides with two liveries, and keeps a pack of hounds.
But whiles ten pound goes to his wife's new gowne,
The last book, consisting of one long Satire only, is a sort of epilogue to the whole, and contains a humorous ironical description of the effect of his Satires, and a recapitulatory view of many of the characters and foibles which he had before delineated. But the scribblers seem to have the chief share. The character of Labeo, already repeatedly mentioned, who was some cotemporary poet, a constant censurer of our author, and who from pastoral proceeded to heroic poetry, is here more distinctly represented. He was a writer who affected compound epithets, which sir Philip Sydney had imported from France, and first used in his Arcadia'". The character in many respects suits Chapman, thougb I do not recollect that he wrote any pastorals.
That Labeo reades right, who can deny,
Forsooth, for adjectives can't stand alone. The arts of composition must have been much practised, and a knowledge of critical niceties widely diffused, when observations of this kind could be written. He proceeds to remark, it was now customary for every poet, before he attempted the dignity of heroic verse, to try his strength by writing pastorals 132,
But ere his Muse her weapon learn to wield,
130 B. v. 4.
Well might these cheeks have fitted former times,
And shoulder'd angry Skelton's breathelesse rimes. 112 Though these lines bear a general sense, yet at the same time they seem to be connected with the character of Labeu, by which they are introduced. By the Carmelite, a pastoral writer ranked with Theocritus and Virgil, he means Mantuan.
13; The pyrrhic dance, performed in armour,
And in high startups walk'd the pastur'd plaines,
Poems on petty subjects or occasions, on the death of a favourite bird or dog, seein to have been as common in our author's age as at present. He says,
Should Bandell's throstle die without a song,
In the old comedy, The Return from Parnassus, we are told of a coxcomb who could bear no poetry“ but fly-blown sonnets of his mistress, and her loving pretty creatures her monkey and her parrot "36.”
The following exquisite couplet exhibits our satirist in another and a more delicate species of poetry.
Her lids like Cupid's bow-case, where he hides
One is surprised to recollect, that these Satires are the production of a young man of twenty-three. They rather seem the work of an experienced master, of long observation, of study and practice in composition.
110 Iu pursuance of the argument, he adds;
Folly itselfe or boldnesse may be prais'd. An allusion to Erasmus's Moriæ Encomium, and the Encomium Calvitiei, written at the restoration of learning. Cardan also wrote an encoinium on Nero, the gout, &c.
135 In this Satire, Tarleton is praised as a poet, who is most commonly considered only as a comedian. Meres commends him for his facility in extemporaneous versification. Wits Tr. f. 286.
I shall here throw together a few notices of Tarleton's poetry. A new Booke on English Verse, entitled, Tarleton's Toyes, was entered Dec. 10, 1576, to R. Jones. Registr. Station. B. f. 136. b. See Heruey's Foure Letters, 1592. p. 34.–Tarleton's Devise uppon the unlooked-for great Snowe, is entered in 1578. Ibid. f. 156. b.- A ballad, called Tarleton's Farewell, is entered in 1588. Ibid. f. 233. a.--Tarleton's Repentance just before his Death, is entered in 1589. Ibid. f. 249. a. The next year, viz. 1590, Aug. 20, A pleasant Dittye dialogue-wise betweene Tarleton's Ghost and Robyn Goodfellowe, is entered to H. Carre. Ibid. f. 263. a. There is a transferred copy of Tarleton's Jests, I suppose Tarleton's Toyes, in 1607. Registr. C. f. 179. b. Many other pieces might be recited. [See supr. iii. 481.] See more of Tarleton, in Supplement to Shakespeare, i. pp. 55. 58, 59. And Old Plays, edit. 1778. Preface, p. lxii.
To what is there collected concerning Tarleton as a player, it may be added, that his ghost is one of the speakers, in that character, in Chettle's Kind-harte's Dreame, printed about 1593. Without date, quarto Signat. E. 3. And that in the Preface, he appears to have been also a musician. “Tarlton with his Taber taking two or three leaden friskes, &c.” Most of our old comedians professed every part of the histrionic science, and were occasionally fiddlers, dancers, and gesticulators. Dekker says, Tarleton, Kempe, nor Singer, “euer plaid the clowne more naturally." Dekker's Guls Horne Booke, 1609, p. 3. One or two of Tarleton's Jests are mentioned in The Discouerie of the Knights of the Poste, &c. by S. S. Lond. Impr. by G. S. 1597, 4to. Bl. Lett. In Fitz-Geoffrey's Cenotaphia, annexed to his Affaniæ, 1601, there is a panegyric on Tarleton. Signat. N. 2. Tarleton and Greene are often mentioned as associates in Harvey's Four Letters, 1592.
136 A. 3. Sc. iv.
197 B. vi. Ponton bere mentioned, I presume, is Jovinianus Pontanus, an elegant Latin amatorial and pastoral poet of Italy, at the revival of learning.