« PreviousContinue »
observations on the English language. Many of its precepts are delivered in metre. In 1586, was published by William Bullokar, a “ Brief Grammar for English, imprinted at London by Edmund Bollifant." It is also called “ W. Bullokar's Abbreviation of his Grammar for English, extracted out of his grammar at large for the speedy parcing of English speech, and the easier coming to the knowledge of grammar for other languages.” This was the first grammar of the English language which ever appeared, except (as the author says) my grammar at large.
RICHARD GRAFTON appears to have been descended of a good family, and to have been born in London, about the close of the reign of Henry VII. He had probably a liberal education, since it appears by his writings, that he understood the languages. He practised the art of printing in the successive reigns of Henry VIII. Edward VI. queen Mary, and of Elizabeth. By company, he was a grocer, as he subscribes himself in a letter to the lord Cromwell, dated 1537. The same year, too, he first appears as a printer in London ; a profession he first engaged in, from his being applied to, to procure an edition of Tyndal's . Testament, and afterwards of his Bible revised by Coverdale. He might possibly have been induced also, like several other persons of education in that age, by a desire to promote
the progress of ancient learning, as well as of the reformation! He was the printer of Matthews' Bible.
Grafton dwelt in a part of the dissolved house of the Grey Friars, which was afterwards granted by Edward VI. as an hospital for the maintenance and education of orphans, called Christ's Hospital. On the death of Edward VI. he was employed, from his office of king's printer, to print the proclamation, by which the lady Jane Grey was declared successor to the crown. For thus discharging simply the duty of his office, he was deprived of his patent, and forfeited a debt of 300l. due to him from the crown. He was also prosecuted and imprisoned for the same ostensible cause; though more probably from his attachment to the principles of the reformers.
There was a Richard Grafton, grocer, member of parliament for London 1553 and 1554; and again, 1556 and 1557; but that this person was the same with the printer appears somewhat inconsistent with his imprisonment just mentioned. Grafton the member was afterwards returned for Coventry.
During his imprisonment, or at least, while he was driven from his profession of a printer, he compiled “ An Abridgement of the Chronicles of England;" of which there have been several impressions. Ames says, that he had seen five, printed by R. Tottyl-those of 1562, 1563, 1564, 1570, and 1572.
There appears to have been some pique between Grafton and John Stow, the historian of London, &c, originating probably in a spirit of rivalry: for Grafton, in the dedication of his editions of 1570 and 1579, affects to speak with contempt of the labours of his brother historian, whose Chronicle, he said, was composed of “ The memories of superstitious foundations, fables, and lies, foolishly STOWED together,” &c. Stow, in the next edition of his Chronicle, retorted this censure upon Grafton; charging him with making Edward Hall's Chronicle, his own ; and
ith falsifying Harding's Chronicle, in several instances, when he printed it in 1543. As we are naturally interested in the veracity of our early Chroniclers, it is proper that we should hear what Grafton has tợ say of himself in vindication. This vindication is contained in the epistle to the reader, in the edition of 1570.
Richard Grafton to the gentle reader.
I have (right loving reader) now once again turned over my first abridgement of Chronicles, and not only amended such things as I found amiss therein, but also have added thereunto many and divers good notes, as the diligent reader shall easily perceive. And my trust is, that as I am not desirous to offend any person, neither by naming or misreporting of their doings; so I shall be favourably (without reproachful or malicious taunts and biting terms) allowed of, as my labours deserve. But yet, gentle reader, this one thing offendeth me so much, that I am enforced to purge myself thereof, and shew my simple and plain dealing therein. One John Stow-of whom I will say no evil, although he hath greatly provoked me thereunto, as by writing of an epistle against me, stuffed with ragged eloquence and uncourteous terms, descanting and defining my name, &c.--and now of late the same man hath published a book, which he nameth a summary of the Chronicles of England, (the untruths whereof I will not here detect) and therein hath charged me bitterly, but chiefly with two things. The one, that I have made Edward Hall's Chronicle my Chronicle, but not without mangling, and (as he saith) without any