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friar in Fleet-street; and there can be no doubt that the monk richly deserved it. Without this great precedent the ingenuity of Surrey's apology for his unknightly amusements may prove their excuse with posterity. He said, " he saw the citizens were sunk in popish corruptions and personal luxury, and by a sudden stroke he wished to arouse their consciences, and remind them of the Divine retribution."-If this apology were sincere and serious, there can yet be no doubt that Surrey, as a knight-errant, challenged Turk, and Jew, and Cannibal,
in honour of Geraldine. A haughty temper, impatience of restraint, consciousness of superior abilities, and contempt of those petty observances to which every man must submit for the good of all men, soon involved this gallant and accomplished person in more serious disasters than those which a short imprisonment could fully expiate. When war broke out with France, Surrey obtained a command, and conducted himself with the skill of a modern tactician, and the reckless bravery of those heroes of romance whom he admired and emulated the paladins of the age when love and arms went hand in hand. In this campaign he still amused his leisure, or beguiled the languor of absence, by pouring forth “ ditties highly penned" to his distant mistress. In the course of the war he was made governor of Boulogne. He did much to repair the decayed fortifications, and put the place in a proper state of defence, and was successful in several skirmishes with the enemy. In a sally, not only bravely but prudently planned, he failed from sudden and unaccountable panic seizing his troops, or from their less pardonable cowardice. This disaster was taken advantage of by his personal foe, and the hereditary enemy of his family, the Earl of Hertford, who, having intrigued against him in his absence, now procured his recall, and was himself appointed to the highest command in France.
Of Hertford, his bitter enemy, Surrey, on his return, spoke
with the warm and open indignation of a soldier avowing his angry feelings, and careless of consequences. A hasty and unguarded expression which he had employed, of obtaining the revenge of his enemy in another reign which was forbidden in this, was reported to the King. It was also insinuated that Surrey aspired to an alliance with the Princess Mary, though his wife long outlived himself, and that he corresponded with Cardinal Pole. But the true causes of his ruin are more implicitly stated by War. ton :-“ As Surrey's popularity increased,” says he, his interest declined with the King, whose caprices and jealousies grew more violent with his years and infirmities. The brilliancy of Surrey's character--his celebrity in the military science-his general ability, wit, learning, and affability, were viewed by Henry with disgust and suspicion.”-Other authorities impute the downfal of this accomplished nobleman to the intrigues of Hertford, who thought the sacrifice of Surrey necessary to his own safety. But wherever the scent of blood lay, the royal hound needed little cheering on. The virtues and high qualities of his victims gave fresh zest to the gratification of his natural cruelty. Surrey was committed to the Tower; his real fault, if he had committed any, being contempt or carelessness in propitiating the tyrant who held his life in his hands. The chief accusation on which the charge of high treason was founded, was his wearing the arms of Edward the Confessor, which he proved had been done by his ancestors and himself in presence of Henry and of former English kings, and by the authority of the heralds. He made an eloquent and manly defence; but the jury were assembled to condemn
him, not to hear the proofs of his innocence. “ Surrey,” says the historian of English poetry, “ for his
justness of thought, correctness of style, and purity of expression, may justly be pronounced the first English
classical poet. He unquestionably is the first polite writer of love-verses in our language.”-He perished on Tower-hill in his thirty-first year, one of the noblest of the many victims immolated by the vindictive tyrant who sent him thither. The only consolation that remains for his death, is, that he and all the nobility of England stood tamely by when Henry began his worst career of cruelty and legalized murder; for Surrey, though but a youth of nineteen, attended in an official
capacity at the trial of Anne Boleyn. The romance of his character, the mystery of his passion,
and above all his unjust death in the flower of his age, have thrown an interest around the verse of Surrey which belongs rather to the man than the poet. That criticism would be cold-hearted indeed which would seek to diminish this interest.
A PRISONER IN WINDSOR, HE CALLS TO MIND THE HAPPINESS FORMERLY ENJOYED IN
THE SAME PLACE,
So cruel prison how could betide, alas,
As proud Windsor ! where I, in lust and joy, W’ith a king's son my childish years did pass
In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy.
Where each sweet place returns a taste full sower! The large green courts, where we were wont to
hove, With eyes cast up into the maiden's tower,
And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love.
The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue,
The dances short, long tales of great delight, With words and looks that tigers could but rue ;
Where each of us did plead the other's right.
The palm-play, where, despoiled for the game,
With dazed eyes, oft we by gleams of love Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame ;
To bait her eyes which kept the leads above.
The gravel ground, which sleeves tied on the helm, On foaming horse, with swords, and friendly
hearts, With cheer as though one should another whelm : Where we have fought, and chased oft with
The secret groves, which oft we made resound
Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise, Recording oft what grace each one had found,
What hope of speed, what dread of long delays.
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green,
With reins avaled, (a) and swift ybreathed horse, With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between,
Where we did chase the fearful hart of force.(6)
The wide vales, eke, that harbour'd us each night,
Wherewith, alas ! reviveth in my breast
(a) Reins dropped.
(6) Chasse à forcer, Fr., is the chase in which the game is run down, in opposition to the chasse à tirer, in which it is shot.
The sweet accord, such sleeps as yet delight,
The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest:
The secret thoughts imparted with such trust,
The wanton talk, the divers change of play, The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just,
Wherewith we past the winter night away
O place of bliss, renewer of my woes !
Give me account where is my noble fere, (a) Whom in thy walls thou dost each night enclose,
To other leefe, but unto me most dear.
VERSES TO SPRING,
WHEREIN EACH THING RENEWS, SAVE ONLY THE LOVER.
The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale ; The nightingale, with feathers new, she sings,
The turtle to her mate hath told her tale.
Summer is come ; for every spray now springs.
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale ; The buck in brake his winter coat he flings,
The fishes flete, with new repaired scale ;
The adder all her slough away she Alings ;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies smale ; The busy bee, her honey now she mings;
Winter is worne, that was the flower's bale :