« FöregåendeFortsätt »
241, stood wyld.—stanza 39 preceded stanza 38.305, There.- -V. 313, blew wrestling.—v. 336 had originally been, He fear'd a' cou'd be fear'd.
The Editor was also informed, on the authority of Dr. David Clerk, M.D., of Edinburgh, (son of the aforesaid Dr. John Clerk,) that between the present stanzas 36 and 37, the two following had been intended, but were on maturer consideration omitted, and do not now appear among the MS. additions.
Now darts flew wavering through slaw speed,
Or reach'd, scarce blood the round point drew,
Right strengthy arms forefeebled
Sair wreck'd wi' that day's toils:
E'en fierce-born minds now lang'd for peace,
Yet still wars horns sounded to charge,
But saftly sae ilk blaster blew
The hills and dales fraemang.
Nae echo heard in double dints,
Nor the lang-winding horn
END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
SERIES THE SECOND.
A Ballad of Luther, the Pope, a Cardinal, and a husbandman.
In the former book we brought down this second series of poems as low as about the middle of the sixteenth century. We now find the Muses deeply engaged in religious controversy. The sudden revolution wrought in the opinions of mankind by the Reformation, is one of the most striking events in the history of the human mind. It could not but engross the attention of every individual in that age, and therefore no other writings would have any chance to be read, but such as related to this grand topic. The alterations made in the established religion by Henry VIII., the sudden changes it underwent in the three succeeding reigns within so short a space as eleven or twelve years, and the violent struggles between expiring Popery and growing Protestantism, could not but interest all mankind. Accordingly every pen was engaged in the dispute. The followers of the Old and New Profession (as they were called) had their respective ballad-makers; and every day produced
some popular sonnet for or against the Reformation. The following ballad, and that entitled Little John Nobody, may serve for specimens of the writings of each party. Both were written in the time of Edward VI.; and are not the worst that were composed upon the occasion. Controversial divinity is no friend to poetic flights. Yet this ballad of "Luther and the Pope," is not altogether devoid of spirit; it is of the dramatic kind, and the characters are tolerably well sustained: especially that of Luther, which is made to speak in a manner not unbecoming the spirit and courage of that vigorous Reformer. It is printed from the original black-letter copy, (in the Pepys collection, vol. i. folio,) to which is prefixed a large wooden cut, designed and executed by some eminent master.
We are not to wonder that the ballad-writers of that age should be inspired with the zeal of controversy, when the very stage teemed with polemic divinity. I have now before me two very ancient quarto black-letter Plays: one published in the time of Henry VIII., entitled Every Dan; the other called Lusty Juventus, printed in the reign of Edward VI. In the former of these, occasion is taken to inculcate great reverence for old mother church and her superstitions1: in the other, the poet, (one R. Wever,) with
1 Take a specimen from his high encomiums on the priesthood. "There is no emperour, kyng, dukę, ne baron
great success, attacks both. So that the stage in those days literally was, what wise men have always wished it,—a supplement to the pulpit. This was so much the case, that in the play of "Lusty Juventus," chapter and verse are every where quoted as formally as in a sermon: take an instance: "The Lord by his prophet Ezechiel sayeth in this wise playnlye, As in the xxxiij chapter it doth appere:
Be converted, O ye children," &c.
From this Play we learn that most of the young people were new Gospellers, or friends to the Reformation, and that the old were tenacious of the doctrines imbibed in their youth: for thus the Devil is introduced lamenting the downfal of superstition:
"The olde people would believe stil in my lawes,
In olde traditions, and made by men,'
And in another place Hypocrisy urges,
"The worlde was never meri
Since chyldren were so boulde:
The father a foole, the chyld a preacher."
Of the plays above mentioned, to the first is subjoined the following printer's colophon, ¶ Thus endeth this moral playe of Every Wan. T Imprynted at London in Powles chyrche yarde by me John Skot. In Mr. Garrick's collection is an imperfect copy of the same play, printed by Richarde Pynson.
The other is entitled, An enterlude called Lusty Juventus z and is thus distinguished at the end: Finis, quod R. Meber. Imprynted at London in Paules churche yeard by Abraham Dele at the signe of the Lambe. Of this too Mr. Garrick
has an imperfect copy of a different edition.
God gave preest that dignitè,
And letteth them in his stede amonge us be,
Thus be they above aungels in degre."
See Hawkins's Orig. of Eng. Drama, vol. i. p. 61.
Of these two plays the reader may find some further particulars in the former volume, book ii. See "The Essay on the Origin of the English Stage;" and the curious reader will find the plays themselves printed at large in Hawkins's "Origin of the English Drama," 3 vols. Oxford, 1773, 12mo.
LET us lift up our hartes all,
And prayse the Lordes magnificence,
As satisfactours for the deade.
For what we with our FLAYLES coulde get
They wolde have somewhat more or lesse,
Al their subteltye, and their false caste;
DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER.
Thou antichrist, with thy thre crownes,
2 i. e. denied us the cup, see below, ver. 94.