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immediately directed to those who write in the English tongue.”
Among other lessons, this should first be learned, that we never affect any strange inkhorn terms, but to speak as is commonly received: neither seeking to be over fine, nor yet living over careless; using our speech as most men do, and ordering our wits as thé, fewest have doen. Some seek so far for outlandish English, that they forget altogether their mother's language. And I dare swear this, if some of their mothers were alive, they were not able to tell what they say: and yet these fine English clerks will say they speak in their mother tongue, if a man should charge them with counterfeiting the king's English. Some far journied gentlemen, at their return home; like as they love to go in foreign apparel, so they will ponder their talk with over-sea language. He that cometh lately out of France will talk French English, and never blush at the matter. Another chops in with English Italianated, and applieth the Italian phrase to our English speaking ; the which is, as if an oration that professeth to utter his mind in plain Latin, would needs speak poetry, and far-fetched colours of strange antiquity. The lawyer will store his stomach with the prating of pedlars. The auditor in making his account and reckoning, cometh in with sise squld, et cater denere, for 6sand 4d. The fine courtier will talk nothing but Chaucer. The mystical wise men, and poetical clerks, will speak nothing but quaint proverbs and blind allegories ; delighting much in their own darkness, especially when none can tell what they do say. The unlearned or foolish fantastical, that smells but of learning (such fellows as have seen learned men in their days), will so Latin their tongues, that the simple cannot but wonder at their talk, and think surely they speak by some revelation. I know them, that think rhetoric to stand wholly upon dark words; and he that can catch an inkhorn term by the tail, him they count to be a fine Englishman and a good rhetorician. And the rather to set out this folly, I will add here such a letter as William Sommer himself, could not make a better for that purpose,--devised by a Lincolnshire man for 'a void benefice.
“ This point he illustrates with other familiar and pleasant instances."
“ In enforcing the application and explaining the nature of fables, for the purpose of amplification he gives a general idea of the Iliad and Odyssey."
The saying of poets, and all their fables, are not to be forgotten.. For by them we may talk at large, and win men by persuasion, if we declare before hand, that these tales were not feigned of such wise men without cause, neither yet continued until this time and kept in memory, without good consideration; and thereupon declare the true meaning of all such writing. For undoubtedly, there is no one tale among all the poets, but under the same is comprehended something that pertaineth either to the amendment of manners, to the knowledge of truth, to the setting forth nature's work, or else to the understanding of some notable thing duen. For what other is the painful travail of Ulysses described so largely by Homer but a lively picture of '
man's inisery in this life? And as Plutarch saith, and likewise Basilius Magnus, in the liads are described strength and valiantriess of body: in Odyssea is set forth a lively pattern of the mind. The poets aré wise men,
and wished in heart the redress of things; the which when for fear they durst not openly rebuke, they did in colours paint them out, and told men by shadows what they should do in good sothe; or else, because the wicked were unworthy to hear the truth, they spake so that none might understand but those unto whom they please to utter their nieaning, and knew them to be of honest conversation.
« Wilson thus recommends the force of circumstantial description, or what he calls an evident or plain setting forth of a thing as though it were presently doen.”
An example. If our enemies shall invade and by treason win the victory, we shall all die every mother's son of us, and our city shall be destroyed stick and stone: I see our children made slaves, our daughters ravished, our wives carried away, the father forced to kill his own son, the mother her daughter, the son his father, the sucking child slain in his mother's bosom, one standing to the knees in another's blood, churches spoiled, houses plucked down, and all set on fire round about us, every one cursing the day of their birth, children crying, women wailing, &c. Thus, where I might have said, we shall all be destroyed, and say no more, I have by description set the evil forth at large.
“ It must be owned that this picture of a sacked city is literally translated from Quintilian. But it is a proof, that we were now beginning to make the beauties of the ancients our own."
« On the necessity of a due preservation of character he has the following precepts, which
seem to be directed to the writers of historical plays.".
In describing of persons, there ought always a comeliness to be used, so that nothing be spoken which may be thought is not in them. As if one should describe Henry the sixth, he might call him gentle, mild of nature, led by persuasion and ready to forgive, careless for wealth, suspecting none, merciful to all, fearful in adversity and without forecast to espy his misfortune. Again, for Richard the third, I might bring him in cruel of heart, ambitious by nature, envious of mind, a deep dissembler, a close man for weighty matters, hardy to revenge and fearful to lose his high estate, trusty to none, liberal for a purpose, casting still the worst, and hoping ever for the best. By this figure also, we imagine a talk for some one to speak, and according to his person we frarne the oration. As if one should bring in noble Henry the eight of famous memory, to inveigh against rebels, thus he might order his oration. What if Henry the eight were alive and saw such rebellion in the realm, would he not say thus and thus ? Yea, methinks I hear him speak even now. And so set forth such words as we would have him to
Shakespeare himself has not delineated the characters of these English monarchs with