« PredošláPokračovať »
old poem, and the ballads of England kept up the original vein of poetry. It is one of the signs of a new poetic life in a nation when it is fond of poetry which, like the ballad, has to do with the human interests of the present: and, when that kind of human poetry pleases the upper classes as well as the lower, a resurrection of poetry is at hand.
HAWES AND SKELTON.—At such a time we are likely to find imitators of the old work, and in the reign of Henry VII. STEPHEN HAWES recast a poem of Lydgate's (?) The Temple of Glass, and imitated Chaucer's work and the old allegory in his Pastime of Pleasure, 1506. We shall also find men who, while they still follow the old, leave it for an original line, because they are more moved by human life in the present than in the past. Their work will be popular, it may even resemble the form of the ballad. Such a man was JOHN SKELTON, who wrote in Henry VII.'s and in Henry VIII.’s reign, and died, 1529. His carliest poems were after the manner of Chaucer, but he soon took a manner of his own, and, being greatly excited by the cry of the people for Church reformation, wrote a bitter satire on Wolsey for his pride, and on the clergy for their luxury. His poem, Why come ye not to Court? was a fierce satire on the great Cardinal. That of Colin Clout was the cry of the country Colin, and of the Clout or mechanic of the town, against the corruption of the Church.
Both are written in short, rude, rayling rimes, pleasing only the popular ear,' and Skelton chose them for that purpose. Both have a rough, impetuous power; their language is coarse, full even of slang, but Skelton could use any language he pleased. He was an admirable scholar. Erasmus calls him the 'glory and light of English letters,' and Caxton says that he improved our language. Colin Clout represents the whole popular feeling of the time just before the movement of the Reformation took a new turn by the opposition of the Pope to Henry’s divorce. It was not only in this satirical vein that Skelton wrote. We owe to him some pretty and new love lyrics ; and the Boke of Phyllyp Sparowe, which tells the grief of a nun, called Jane Scrope, for the death of her sparrow, is one of the gayest and most inventive poems in the language. Skelton stands quite alone between the last flicker of the influence of Chaucer, whose last true imitator he was, and the rise of a new Italian influence in England in the poems of Surrey and Wyatt. In his own special work he was entirely original, and, standing thus between two periods of poetry, he is a kind of landmark in English literature. The Ship of Fooles, 1508, by BARCLAY, is of this time, but it has no value. It is a recast of a work published at Basel, and was popular because it attacked the follies and questions of the time. It was written in Chaucer's stanza.
ITALIAN INFLUENCE_WYATT AND SURREY.-While poetry under Skelton and Lyndsay became an instrument of reform, it revived as an art at the close of Henry VIII.'s reign in SIR THOMAS WYATT and the EARL OF SURREY. They were both Italian travellers, and, in taking back to England the inspiration they had gained from Petrarca, they re-made English poetry. They are the first really modern English poets; the first who have anything of the modern manner. Though Italian in sentiment, their language is more English than Chaucer's is, they use fewer romance words. They handed down this purity of English to the Elizabethan poets, to Sackville, Spenser, and Shakespeare. They introduced a new kind of poetry, the amourist poetry. The “ AMOURISTS,' as they are called, were poets who composed poems on the subject of love-sonnets mingled with lyrical pieces after the manner of Petrarca, and in accord with the love philosophy he built on Plato. The Hundred Passions of WATSON, the sonnets of Sidney, Shakespeare, Spenser, and Drummond are all poems of this kind, and the same impulse in a similar form appears in the sonnets of Rosetti and Mrs. Browning of our time.
The subjects of Wyatt and Surrey were chiefly lyrical, and the fact that they imitated the same model has made some likeness between them. Like their personal characters, however, the poetry of Wyatt is the more thoughtful and the more strongly felt, but Surrey's has a sweeter movement and a livelier fancy. Both did this great thing for English verse—they chose an exquisite model, and in imitating it corrected the ruggedness of English poetry.' Such verse as Skelton's became impossible. A new standard was made, below which the after poets could not fall. They also added new stanza measures to English verse, and enlarged in this way the ‘lyrical range.' Surrey was the first, in his translation of Vergil's Æneid, to use the ten-syllabled, unrhymed verse, which we now call BLANK-VERSE. In his hands it is not worthy of praise; it had neither the true form nor the harmony into which it grew afterwards. Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, introduced it into drama; Marlowe, in his Tamburlaine, made it the proper verse of the drama; and Shakespeare, Beaumont, and Massinger used it splendidly. In plays it has a special manner of its own; in poetry proper
was, we may say, not only created but perfected by Milton.
The new impulse thus given to poetry was all but arrested by the bigotry that prevailed during the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, and all the work of the New Learning seemed to be useless. But Thomas Wilson's book in English on Rhetoric and Logic in 1553, and the publication of Thos. TUSSER'S Pointes of Husbandrie and of Tottel's Miscellany of Uncertain Authors, 1557, in the last years of Mary's reign, proved that something was stirring beneath the gloom. The latter book contained the poems of Surrey and Wyatt, and others by Grimald, by Lord Vaux, and Lord Berners. The date should be remembered, for it is the first printed book of modern English poetry. It proves that men cared now more for the new than for the old poets, that the time of imitating Chaucer was over, and that of original creation was begun. It ushers in the Elizabethan literatúre.”
Fifteenth Century Prose.
Houses of Lancaster and York
and War of the Roses... 69 Revival of Learning.
69 Conquest of Ireland...
69 Interest in Literature... 70 Italian Influence... 71 Caxton's Work
71 Prose under Henry VIII. 72 Prose and the Reformation.... 73 Lydgate......
75 Ballads, etc.
76 Chevy Chase....
Celtic Elements ......
... 80 National Elements..
81 Individual Element.
81 Barbour and James I. of Scotland.....
83 Dunbar and Douglass..... 84 Under Hawes
87 Chaucer's Influence. (Skelton. | Wyatt.
Surrey 88 Italian Influence. | Blank-Verse .. 89
Wilson ... 89
Fifteenth Century Poetry.
Sixteenth Century Poetry.
LESSON 17. Brief Historical Sketch.—Elizabeth's first Parliament undid Mary's work, repealed the statutes of heresy, dissolved the refounded monasteries, and restored the Royal Supremacy. Manufactures of all kinds are stimulated, commerce is developed, and the diet of the common people improved; pewter plates replace wooden trenchers, and feather beds straw mattresses; carpets supersede rushes, glass windows become common, and houses are no longer built for defence, but for comfort, and of brick instead of wood. Members of the House of Commons no longer paid. The thirty-nine articles of faith enacted by Parliament, 1562. Hawkins begins Slave Trade with Africa, 1562. First penal statute against Catholics and first Poor Law, 1562. Puri. tans secede from English Church, 1566. The Revolt of the Netherlands against Philip II. assisted by Elizabeth, 1575 and on. Futile attempts to colonize America made by Gilbert, 1578, and by Raleigh, 1584, 6, and 7. Drake circumnavigated the earth, 1577. London supplied by water in pipes, 1582. Potatoes and tobacco introduced, 1586. Mary, Queen of Scots, executed by Elizabeth, 1587. Spanish Armada defeated, 1588. Episcopacy abolished in Scotland and Presbyterianism established as the state religion, 1596. Ruin of second Armada, 1597. Bodleian library founded at Oxford, 1598. East India Company chartered, 1600. Magnetism discovered same year. Earl of Essex executed, 1601. Tyrone's rebellion in Ireland crushed, 1603. Wonders of the New World powerfully influenced the literature of this period.
LESSON 18. ELIZABETHAN LITERATURE.- “ This may be said to begin with Surrey and Wyatt. But as their poems were published shortly before Elizabeth came to the throne, we date the be