Page images


As frozen dung-hils in a winter's morne,
That voyd of vapours seemed all beforne 20,.
Soone as the sun sends out his piercing beames,
Exhale out filthie smoke and stinking steames:
So doth the base, and the fore-barren" braine,
Soone as the raging wine begins to raigne.
One higher pitch'd doth set his soaring thought
On crowned kings, that fortune hath low brought;
Or some upreared, high-aspiring swaine,
As it might be the Turkish Tamberlaine":
Then weeneth he his base drink-drowned spright,
Rapt to the threefold loft of heaven's hight,
When he conceives upon his fained stage
The stalking steps of his great personage,
Graced with huf-cap termes" and thundring threats,
That his poore hearers' hayre quite upright sets.
Such soone, as some brave-minded hungry youth
Sees fitly frame to his wide-strained mouth,
He vaunts his voyce upon a hyred stage,
With high-set steps and princely carriage:
Now, soouping in side robes of royalty,
That earst did skrub 25 in lowsie brokery
There, if he can with termes Italianate
Big-sounding sentences, and words of state,
Faire patch me up his pure Iambick verse,
He ravishes the gazing scaffolders":




[blocks in formation]

As it might be the Turkish Tamberlaine.

See Malone's Shakespeare.-Ed. 1790. pp. 115, 116. E.



huf-cap termes-blustering, swaggering terms.

Soouping-flaunting proudly: alluding, perhaps, to the swooping

or descent of a bird of prey on his quarry.


-skrub-look mean and filthy: taken, probably, from scrub, a short

and dirty fellow. See Reed's Shakespeare, vol. vii. p. 383.

26 There if he can with termes ITALIANATE.

Alluding to the prevailing custom of innovating on our native tongue from the Italian. See also, in B. v. Sat. 2.

When Mavio's first page of his poesy,

Nail'd to a hundred postes for novelty,
With his big title an ITALIAN MOT,

Layes siege unto the backward buyer's groat.

So Marston, in his Satires, 1598


Or brand my Satires with a SPANISH TERME. E.

27 He ravishes the gazing scaffolders:

Those who sat on the Scaffold; a part of the Play-House, which answered to the Upper Gallery. So, again, B. iv. Sat. 2.

When a CRAZ'D SCAFFOLD, and a rotten stage,

Was all rich Nænius his heritage.

See the conformation of an old English Theatre accurately investigated in the Supplement to Shakespeare: I. 9. seq. W.

Then, certes, was the famous Corduban 28,
Never but halfe so high Tragedian.

Now, least such frightfull showes of Fortune's fall",
And bloudy tyrant's rage, should chance appall
The dead stroke audience, mids the silent rout,
Comes leaping in a selfe-misformed lout;
And laughes, and grins, and frames his mimik face,
And justles straight into the prince's place:
Then doth the Theatre eccho all aloud,


With gladsome noyse of that applauding croud.
A goodly hoch-poch! when vile Russettings3
Are match't with monarchs, and with mighty kings.
A goodly grace to sober Tragick Muse

When each base clown his clumbsie fist doth bruise",
And show his teeth in double rotten row,
For laughter at his selfe-resembled show.
Meane while our poets, in high parliament,
Sit watching every word and gesturement 32;
Like curious censors of some doughtie geare 33,
Whispering their verdit in their fellowes' eare.
Wo to the word, whose margent, in their scrole,
Is noted with a blacke condemning cole!
But, if each periode might the synode please,
Ho!- -bring the ivy boughs, and bands of bayes.
Now, when they part and leave the naked stage,
Gins the bare hearer, in a guiltie rage,

To curse and ban, and blame his likerous eye,
That thus hath lavisht his late halfe-peny.
Shame that the Muses should be bought and sold,
For every peasant's brasse, on each scaffold.



Too popular is Tragicke Poesie,

Strayning his tip-toes for a farthing fee,

The famous Corduban. Seneca.

29 Now, least such frightfull showes of Fortune's fall, &c. &c.

But, adds the critical Satirist, that the minds of the astonished audience may not be too powerfully impressed with the terrors of tragic solemnity, a VICE, or Buffoon, is suddenly, and most seasonably introduced. W.

See Malone's Shakespeare. Ed. 1790. pp. 115, 116.

30 Russettings-a coarse kind of stuff.

"When each base clown his clumbsie fist doth bruise.

In striking the benches to express approbation. W.




geare-a general word for things or matters. See Reed's Shake

speare: vol. vii. 240. xiii. 261.

And doth besides on Rimelesse numbers tread,
Unbid Iambicks flow from carelesse head 34.
Some braver braine in high Heroick rimes
Compileth worm-eate stories of olde times:
And he, like some imperious Maronist,
Conjures the Muses that they him assist.
Then strives he to bumbast his feeble lines
With farre-fetcht phrase;

And maketh up his hard-betaken tale

With straunge enchantments, fetcht from darksom vale,
Of some Melissa, that, by magicke doome,

To Tuscans' soyle transporteth Merlin's Toombe 35.
Painters and Poets hold your auncient right:
Write what you wil, and write not what you might:
Their limits be their List; their reason, will.
But if some painter, in presuming skill,
Should paint the stars in center of the earth,
Could ye forbeare some smiles, and taunting mirth?
But let no rebell Satyre dare traduce

Th' eternall Legends of thy Faery Muse,
Renowmed Spencer: whom no earthly wight
Dares once to emulate, much lesse dares despight.
Salust of France 36, and Tuscan Ariost,

Yeeld up the Lawrell Girlond ye have lost :
And let all others willow weare with mee,
Or let their undeserving Temples bared bee.


ANOTHER, whose more heavie hearted Saint
Delights in nought but notes of rufull plaint,

From these lines Warton supposes Hall was no friend to blank verse, And he soon after condemns such licentious fictions as occur in Orlando Furioso. E. Yet, in his Postscript, he speaks pretty decisively against rhyme, at least as applicable to satire:-" the fettering together the series of the verses, with the bonds of like cadence or desinence of rhyme, which if it be unusually abrupt, and not dependent in sense upon so near affinity of words, I know not what a loathsome kind of harshness and discordance it breedeth to any judicial ear &c."

And maketh up his hard-betuken tale

With straunge enchantments, fetcht from darksom vale,

Of some Melissa, that, by magicke doome,

To Tuscans' soyle transporteth Merlin's Toombe.

Referring to the beginning of the Third Book of Orlando Furioso; where the Tomb of Merlin is transferred by the poet from Wales to France. Compare Warton's Observations on the Fairy Queen. I. 37. E.

Salust of France

Guillaume Salluste, Seigneur du Bartas, the translation of whose "Semaines" was once popular, and to which Hall prefixed Commendatory Verses. E.

"The Book, to which this Satire alludes, is the "Mirrour of Magistrates :" in which poem many of the most eminent characters in English History are intro

Urgeth his melting muse with solemne teares
Rime of some drerie fates of lucklesse peres.
Then brings he up some branded whining ghost,
To tell how old misfortunes had him tost.
Then must he ban the guiltlesse fates above,
Or fortune fraile, or unrewarded love:

And, when he hath parbrak'd" his grieved minde,
He sends him downe where earst he did him find,
Without one peny to pay Charon's hire,
That waiteth for the wand'ring ghosts' retire.


ANOTHER Scorns the home-spun threed of rimes 4,
Match'd with the loftie feet of elder times:
Give me the numbred verse that Virgil sung,
And Virgil selfe shall speake the English tung:

Manhood and garboiles shall he chaunt with chaunged feete,
And head-strong dactils making musicke meete.

The nimble Dactils, striving to out-go

The drawling Spondees, pacing it below:
The lingring Spondees, labouring to delay
The breath-lesse Dactils, with a sudden stay".
Who ever saw a colt wanton and wilde,

Yok'd with a slow-foote oxe on fallow field,

duced relating their own misfortunes. It was originally written by Thomas Sackville, first Lord Buckhurst, about 1557; and was afterwards digested anew, and continued by several of the greatest wits of the Elizabethan Age. E.



i. 20.,

Rime-i. e. To rhyme.


parbrak'd,— i. e. sickened to vomiting. Spenser, Book I. Canto

Her filthy PAR BREAKE all the place defiled has.

See Mr. Todd's note. In the old translation of the Bible, edit. 1569, at Prov. v 16. we read, "If thou findest honey, eate so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be over full, and perbrake it out agayne."

40 Another scorns the home-spun threed of rimes, &c. &c.

Alluding to a servile imitation of Latin verse, in which the mistaken zeal of pedantry had engaged, and for which some of the finest poets of the Elizabethan Age would have rejected rhyme. Mr. Warton thought that the hexametral translation of Virgil to which Hall alluded was Webb's Translation of the Bucolics : but it would rather seem to be Stanihurst's Translation of the Æneid, 8vo. 1579 : for Hall, in his fifth line, says

"MANHOOD AND GARBOILES shall he chaunt with chaunged feete;" and Stanihurst's fifth line of the First Æneid runs thus,

Now MANHOOD AND GARBOILS I chaunt, and martial horror. E.

"These four lines exhibit the earliest specimen of representative harmony, which I remember to have met with. E.

Can right areed" how handsomly besets
Dull Spondees with the English Dactilets.
If Jove speake English in a thundring cloud,
Thwick thwack, and rif raf, rores he out aloud.
Fie on the forged mint that did create
New coyne of words never articulate.


GREAT is the follie of a feeble braine,
Ore-rul'd with love, and tyrannous disdaine.
For love, how-ever in the basest brest,

It breedes high thoughts, that feed the fancie best:
Yet is he blinde, and leades poore fooles awrie,
While they hang gazing on their mistres' eie.
The love-sicke poet, whose importune prayer
Repulsed is, with resolute dispayre
Hopeth to conquer his disdainfull dame,
With publique plaints of his conceyved flame.
Then poures he forth in patched Sonettings,
His love, his lust, and loathsome flatterings:
As tho' the staring world hangd on his sleeve,
When once he smiles, to laugh; and, when he sighs, to grieve.
Careth the world, thou love, thon live, or die " ?
Careth the world how faire thy faire one bee?
Fond wit-wal, that wouldst lode thy wit-less head
With timely hornes", before thy bridall bed!
Then can he terme his durtie ill-fac'd bride,
Lady and Queene, and Virgin Deifide:
Be shee all sootie-black, or bery-browne,

Shee's white as morrows milk, or flakes new blowne:


* In Hall's time, Sonnets to Beauty were embarrassed by Wit and Fancy. They were ceremonious and strained; abounded in laboured and affected gallantries, were replete with combinations of contrarieties, and marked by complaints which moved no compassion. E.

4 Careth the world, thou love, thou live, or die?

i. e. whether thou love &c."

45 Fond WIT-WAL, that wouldst lode thy wit-less head With timely hornes

Ford, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, reflects on himself as conscious of his own injury under the opprobrious epithet of "wittol-cuckold" which Mr. Malone explains as "one who knows his wife's falsehood, and is contented with it:-from wittan, Sax. to know." In Book IV. Sat 1, our author seems to use wit-old in much the same sense:

That hee, base wretch, may clog his wIT-OLD head,
And give himhansell of his Hymen-bed.

« PreviousContinue »