« PreviousContinue »
Still Ajax fights, still Hector's dragg'd along :
For all the world is proud that he was born.
Boast then, O Troy! and triumph in thy flames,
ON A SAILOR RIDING (Book V. 38).
While he, no rider, a wild horse bestrides. Butler, in “Hudibras" (Part III. canto iii. 59), describes a sailor's manner of riding:
As seamen ride with all their force,
Translated in the “ Quarterly Review," No. 233.
Traces of the mediæval epigrams are sometimes found in works where they are least expected. In “The Spirit of the Public Journals " for 1806, X. 239, the following appears. It is only styled “Epigram," with no hint of being a translation, or of its origin, but undoubtedly it is a version of Macentinus' epigram :
Black locks hath Gabriel, beard that's white;
The reason, sir, is plain ;
More with his jaw than brain. An epigram, "To Marcus,” though very inferior, may be compared with the above. It is a distich by Owen (Book I. 95) translated by Hayman, with an addition of two lines by the translator (Hayman's “Quodlibets, &c." 1628):
Thy beard grows fair and large; thy head grows thin;
From thy dull heavy mouth so slow proceed.
Though many search, yet few the cause can find,
But we think most of these have missed the mark.
For this think we, that think we think aright,
Translated by James Wright.
Who are most foolish, Plutarch, he or they? Martial answers the question (Book I. 9, “ To Decianus.” Translated by Hay):
That you, like Thrasea, or like Cato, great,
A.D. 1480—A.D. 18
PIERRE GRINGORE. A French poet, born between 1475 and 1480; whether in Lorraine or Normandy is doubtful. He died about 1544.
THE DRESS MAKES NOT THE MAN.
The lepers by the warning clack are known,
Nor trappings proud the soldier brave and stout.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
BEHAVIOUR IN CHURCH.
Unwise the man who heareth Mass, I wist,
But to disturb his neighbours at their prayer. The custom complained of at this early period extended into mode... times. Witbin the memory of the present generation, it was very common for country farmers to take their dogs to church-an irreverent practice, which occasionally resulted in a rat-hunt in the middle of service. It is well known that old S. Paul's was a fashionable promenade, the general rendezvous of the busy and the idle of all classes, who disgraced the sacred building by jests and quarrels. The number was increased by those who, having no means of procuring a dinner, atfected to loiter there. From this the phrase, "dining with Duke Humphrey” originated; for in this “ Powles Walke” was a huge monument of Sir John Beauchamp, buried in 1358, which, by a vulgar mistake, was called the tomb of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was buried at S. Alban's. The duke had kept an open table, where any gentleman was welcome to dine ; and after his death, to dine with Duke Humphrey—i.e., to loiter about his supposed tomb in S. Paul's --meant to go dinnerless. Bishop Hall, in his satires, touches upon this use to which the cathedral was put (Book III. sat. 7):
'Tis Ruffio. Trow'st thou where he din'd to-day?
Long service mix'd with musical disport.
Some with their beads unto a pillar crowd ;
Some came to sleep, or walk, or talk of news.
When I past Pauls, and travellid in that walk
And youth, whose cozenage is as old as theirs.
This is God's House; but 'tis to be deplor'd,
SIR THOMAS WYAT, Usually styled “ the elder” to distinguish him from his son, who was executed for high treason in Mary's reign, was born in 1503.
He was a man of many accomplishments, and was a great favourite of Henry VIII., who employed him in several embassies. He is said to have combined the wit of Sir Thomas More with the wisdom of Sir Thomas Cromwell. He died in 1541.
TO HIS LOVE, WHOM HE HAD KISSED AGAINST HER
For to my mouth the first my heart did suck,
The next shall clean out of my breast it pluck. Plato, in a Greek distich, thus freely rendered by Moore, expresses the effect produced by a kiss (Jacobs I. 102, ii.):
Whene'er thy nectar'd kiss I sip,
And drink thy breath in trance divine,
Ready to fly and mix with thine. Robert Greene, born about 1550, has a similar passage (“Lady Fitzwater's Nightingale."--Philomela's Ode):
With arms folded, and lips meeting,
And soul with soul in kissing meeteth.
Breath marry breath, and kisses mingle souls,
Two hearts and bodies here incorporate! William Habington has a pretty epigram, “ Upon a Trembling Kiss at Departure,” too long for insertion, but the last few lines are worth comparing with Wyat's epigram, and close with a curious conceit:
Or else you fear, lest you, should my heart skip