Page images
PDF
EPUB

their sentences all alike, making their talk' rather to appear rhymed metre, than to seem plain speech."

I heard a preacher delighting much in this kind of composition, who used so often to end his sentence with words like unto that which went bè. fore, that in my judgment there was not a dozen sentences in his whole sermon but they ended all in rhyme for the most part. Some, not best disposed, wished the preacher a lute, that with his rhymed sermon he might use some pleasant melody, and so the people might take pleasure divers ways, and dance if they list.

“Some writers, he observes, disturbed the natural arrangement of their words. Others were copious where they should be concise. The most frequent fault seems to have been, the rejection of common and proper phrases, for those that were more curious, refined, and unintelligible.”

This work exhibits a favourable symptom of the dawn of reason. It was considered as an innovation so daring, that the author happening to visit Rome, was imprisoned by the

[ocr errors]

a style.

VOL. II.

inquisitors of the holy see, as a presumptuous and dangerous heretic.

Wilson also translated seven orations of Demosthenes, which, in 1570, he dedicated to sir William Cecil; affording thereby another proof of his attention to the advancement of the English știle,

Warton likewise mentions a treatise of rhe. toric, published in 1555, by Richard Sherry, schoolmaster of Magdalene College, Oxford. And speaks of William Fullwood, who-in his Enemy of Idleness, teaching the manner and stile how to endite and write all sorts of epistles and letters, set forth in English by William Fullwood, merchant;" published in 1571, and written partly in prose and partly in verse-alludes in a respectful manner to Wilson's book. “Whoso (says he) will more circumspectly and narrowly entreat of such matters, let them read the rhetoric of master doctor Wilson, or of master Richard Rainold.”-Moreover, in 1582, was published at London, a book entitled, “ The first part of the Elementaire, which entreateth chiefly of the right writing of the English tongue, set forth by Richard Mulcaster, London, 1592. This book contains many judicious criticisms and

[ocr errors]

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) iny grammar at large.

GRATTON.

RICHARD Grapton 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 some. what 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,

« PreviousContinue »