Billeder på siden

inability of health and body, being in the 73d year of his age, for executing the said office," was exempted for ever, on the payment of 6007. In 1704, Sir Thomas Cooke was excused from serving by the common council; and Sir Owen Buckingham was elected in his room. In 1709, Sir Jeffery Jefferies was exempted, after election, he being then ill at Bath. In 1740, Alderman George Heathcote, M. P., who had executed the office of sheriff in the preceding year, was excused on the pleas of ill-health, the fatiguing employment he had just been discharged from, and the more than ordinary attendance which he should be obliged to give, the next sessions, in parliament.


THE evils of impressing seamen to man the navy has been frequently the theme of indignant remark; but it is little known that in former times, even Minstrels and Singing children might be pressed into the service of the crown; and that parents were liable to have their offspring torn from their homes to become choristers in the royal chapels. Warton notices an ordinance of the time of Henry the Sixth for " pressing minstrels ;" and Strype informs us, that in the year 1550, a commission was granted to Phillip Van Wilder, gentleman of the privie chamber," to take to the king's use," in "anie churches or chapells within England, such and so many singing children and choristers as he and his deputy thought good." Again, in the following year, the master of the king's chapel

had licence “ to take up, from time to time, as many Children to serve the King's Chapel as he shall think fit.” Thomas Tusser, the well-known agricultural poet, writing of himself in queen Elizabeth's reign, thus complains :

« Then for my voyce

I must (no choice)
Away; of force
Like posting-horse,
For sundry men
Had placards, then,

Such child to take
(The better breaste,
The lesser reste)
To serve the

queen ;
For time so spente
I may repente,

And sorrowe make.”

[ocr errors]

At the time when Tusser was thus impressed for the queen's chapel, he was a chorister in the collegiate church of Wallingford, in Berkshire. He afterwards became a musician, a farmer, a grazier, and a poet ; but his success was not equal to his industry. His “Five Hundred Pointes of good Husbandrie” is both an entertaining and a judicious work. Much curious information may be gathered from it, illustrative of the customs of his age ; and there is a sprightliness and vigour in many of the lines, which enliven the subject, ånd occasionally verge both into pleasantry and

[ocr errors]

wit. His directions for the culture of a Hop-garden conclude with the following epigrammatic point :

"The Hop,' for his profit, I thus do exalt,

It strengtheneth drinke, and it favoureth malt;
And being well brewed, long kept it will last,
And drawing abide,—if ye draw not too fast?


It is not generally known that this meek-spirited, but bigotted and priest-ridden sovereign was a humble votary of the Muses. The following curious, and not inelegant verses appear to have been composed by him whilst in a state of suffering; and, probably, when made a prisoner by Sir James Haryngton.

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Plesure ys a pryvie pryeke

Which vyce doth styll provoke;
Pompe, unprompt; and fame, a flayme ;
Power, a smoulderyng smoke.

"Who meenethe to remoffe the rocke
Owte of the slymie mudde,
Shall myre hymselfe, and hardlie scape
The swellynge of the flodde."

Nuga Antiqua.


GOWER, the earliest of our poets of distinguished reputation, was the friend and contemporary of Chau

cer, who thus speaks of him, and the "philosophicall" Strode, at the end of his " Troilus and Cressida.”

"O morall Gower, this boke I directe
To thee, and to the philosophicall Strode,
To vouchsafe, ther nede is, to correcte


Of your benignitees and zeles good." Gower's poem "De Confessione Amantis," was first printed by Caxton, in September, 1483, and by Berthelette, in Fletestrete," in 1532, and again in March, 1554. The Address to the Reader, in the latter edition, includes the following particulars of his monument, in St. Mary Overies Church, now St. Saviour's, Southwark.

[ocr errors]

"John Gower prepared for his bones a restynge place in the Monasterie of Saint Marie Overes, where somewhat after the olde facion, he lieth right sumptuousely buried, with a garlande on his head, in token that he in his life daies flourished freshely in literature and science. And the same monumente in remembrance of hym erected, is on the north side of the foresaid churche, in the chapell of Sainte John, where he hath of his owne foundacion a masse daily songe. And moreover, he hath an obite yerely, done for hym within the same churche, on Fridaie after the feaste of the blessed pope Saynte Gregorie.

"Beside, on the wall where he lieth, there be painted three Virgins, with crownes on their heades, one of the whiche is written Charitie, and she holdeth this devise in her honde.

"En toy qui es Fitz de Dieu le Pere

Sauve soit, qui gist sonz cest piere."

"The second, is written Mercie, whiche holdeth in hir hande this devise;

"O bone Jesu, fait ta mercie,

Al Alme, dont le corps gist icy."

"The third of them is written Pitee, whiche holdeth in hir hande, this devise folowynge:

« Pur ta pité Jesu regarde,

Et met cest alme in sauve garde."

"And thereby hangeth a table, wherein appereth that whosoever praith for the soule of John Gower, he shall so oft as he so doth have a M and D daïes of pardon."

[ocr errors]

When St. Mary Overies was rebuilt in the reign of Richard II., and Henry IV., Gower was "an especial benefactor to that worke." Stow, who says, that he had neither a garland of ivie nor of roses,' describes his Image,' thus:


"The haire of his head aburne, long on his shoulders, but curling up; and a long forked beard: on his head a chaplet, like a coronet of foure roses; an habite of purple, damasked down to his feete; a collar of esses of gold, about his necke, and vnder his feete the likenesse of three bookes, which he compiled;" viz: 1. Speculum Meditantis, written in French: 2. Vox Clamantis, in Latin: and 3. Confessio Amantis, in English.*


SIR John Harington, in a letter written to his friend Mr. Robert Markham, in 1606, and published


Stow adds, "This last is printed. Vox Clamantis, with his Cronica Tripartita, and others, both in Latine, and French, never printed, I have, and doe possesse; but Speculum Meditantis, I never saw, though heard thereof to be in Kent." Vide "Survày of London ;" p. 785, Ddd 4: Edit. 1618,

« ForrigeFortsæt »