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THE MONTHLY REVIEW,
For J U N E, 1817.
ART. I. The Works of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, and of
Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder. Edited by Geo. Fred. Nott, D.D. F.S.A., late Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. 2 Vols. 4to. 71. 78. Boards. Longman and Co.
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ALTHOUGH these volumes are printed uniformly, and A published as one set of books, they are in fact distinct works: the first divided into two parts, containing the writings of Lord Surrey, with the Editor's apparatus criticus respecting that noble author; and the second including Sir Thomas Wyatt's productions, with similar commentaries and excursive matter. - We propose to confine ourselves, in the present article, to the former, and will take an early opportunity of making a report of the other.
As our readers may possibly inquire by what art a small duodecimo, such as they have usually seen to hold the remains of Surrey, has been suddenly expanded over more than nine hundred quarto pages, closely printed, it may be well to relieve their astonishment by drawing out for them a brief table of contents. The first volume, then, furnishes, i. Memoirs of the Earl of Surrey. 2. A Dissertation on the Improvements introduced by him into English Poetry. 3. His Poetical Works. 4. His Letters. 5. A large Body of Notes on the Poems. 6. A long historical Notice of the Earl of Northampton, Surrey's second Son. 7. and lastly, A copious Appendix, consisting of sundry Matters relevant and irrelevant. It will easily be presumed that so comprehensive a volume, without its companion, affords ample materials for as many pages as we can afford to allot to the subject at one time in the M. R.
The life of the gallant and ingenious Lord Surrey, as detailed by his present editor, is divested of much of that romantic dress which obscurity on the one hand, in the shape of traditional history, and hasty compilations on the other, chiefly resting on popular belief, seldom fail to superinduce. It seems, indeed, that tolerably strong reason exists for surmising that no previous biographer of this early poet has sifted · VOL. LXXXIII.
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can be settled with any thing like precision : but Kenning-hall in Norfolk is suggested by Dr. Nott as the most probable scene of the former, and the year 1516 as a date for his birth most coinciding with some events of his life better ascertained in point of time:
The first statement of former biographers, which the reverend editor prepares to controvert, is the presumed education of Lord Surrey at Windsor-Castle in company with the Duke of Richmond, a natural son of Henry VIII. It cannot be doubted that these two young men passed some of their earlier years at that place; Lord S. himself bearing testimony to it in his poems, and the following words occurring in the writings of Lord Herbert of Cherbury: “ It appears that these two noble youths were bred up together, and spent much of their young days at Windsor :". words, however, which are not strong enough to imply that it was the regular scene of their education. Dr. Nott has had access to a curious book of household-expenditure belonging to the Norfolk family, from which it appears that a boy was brought up at Tendring-hall in Suffolk, where he passed the spring and the summer-months, removing to Hunsdon in Hertfordshire for the winter on the 29th of October in each year. The expences of the nursery-establishment are regularly en-, tered in this document; and the fact deduced from it relative. to Surrey seems at first sight satisfactory, but is not so on examination. The accounts of the nursery-dinners are from 1513 to 1524 inclusive: but, if Lord Surrey was born in 1516, what becomes of this evidence ?- The name of Surrey's preceptor is unknown. Dr. Nott proposes the celebrated Leland, Hadrian Junius, and lastly Clerke, a learned Englishman of those days, who continued to reside in this nobleman's family until the time of his attainder; and a preference grounded on presumptive evidence is given to the latter. The whole of this statement, however, seems perfectly conjectural, and not intitled to much attention. It will be recollected that Surrey had the strongest stimulus to literary exertion in the success of many nobles who were closely allied to his family: Bouchier Lord Berners, the translator of Froissart, Thomas Lord Stafford, Parker Lord Morley, and George Boleyn Lord. Rochford, having been long conspicuous for taste and learning. Such were doubtless the persons whose example warmed the ambition of the aspiring boy: but the names of those who directed his studies and pruned the exuberances of his fancy must probably continue in obscurity. Anthony à Wood says that, when Surrey's domestic education was completed, he was sent to Cardinal