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Berdan, John M.  Early Tudor Poetry, 1485-1547.
New York:  The Macmillan Company, 1920.  504-545.


Up to the period of the second literary generation of the writers of the reign of Henry VIII, the literature is easy to analyze because the work has the extreme characteristics that mark all beginnings. The change in the language, due to the long continuance of civil strife, had broken the literary continuity. The works of Chaucer and his contemporaries were no longer available as precedents. Yet the social stability given by the first two Tudor kings stimulated a demand for literature. Under the circumstances those that wished to supply this demand necessarily experimented in literary forms, each choosing that form most consonant to his aims and his predilection. In this new age there was no one dominant literary tradition. Consequently there is apparent confusion. Books were written contemporaneously which yet depend upon entirely different theories and to judge which requires a knowledge of entirely different literatures. Such a statement may seem to imply that it was a critical age, an age in which there was eager discussion of literary theory. But this is untrue. Aside from the humanists there was no literary propaganda,--and with them the stress was upon morality, not upon literature. As in the time of the Judges, each man did what was right in his own eyes. Moreover, as each wrote according to his natural bent, instead of electing one literary type and spurning all the others, actually in his work he may show the result of two quite different forces. This is quite natural. They were alive, and, being alive, each was affected in varying degrees by the literary impulses of his age. Yet in each author one (and only one) impulse is major; the other impulse, (or other impulses) is definitely subordinated. For this reason it is possible, by arranging them according to the dominant impulse, to show the gradual progress and modification of the types. But by so doing a judgment is passed upon them. Great writers cannot be listed according to single traits, because they draw from


a diversified past. This age, then, will not produce great literature. With the exception of More and Skelton, the personality of the writer seems subordinated to the form in which he writes, and even Skelton cannot control his medium. The reader does not feel near to the author; the latter's voice seems faint and far away. He cannot make his form express himself. This is because the age was one of beginnings. Chaucer, at the culmination of the previous period, can say what he wishes; Spenser, at the culmination of this period, can say what he wishes; but these men in the rude beginnings of art necessarily stammer. It is the inevitable penalty of youth. The age does not reach its intellectual maturity until the writers of the second half of the reign, writers represented for us by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.

The uncertainty so characteristic of all our knowledge of this period finds another illustration in the poems of Surrey. Of these, not counting the translations of Vergil, the publication of which was separate, there are fifty-nine pieces. These are preserved to us by Tottel and by seven manuscripts. 1 Only two of the manuscripts are pre-Elizabethan and those two have but one poem each. All told, there are thirty-four poems in the manuscripts. Unhappily the manuscripts do not completely agree with one another for the text, nor does any one completely agree with Tottel. In them there are found poems not in Tottel, and one in Tottel that is assigned to "Uncertain Authors." It is to be remembered that as Tottel in 1557 printed the contents of a commonplace book, probably like that in the British Museum Add. 36529, the authority of his text depends upon the accuracy of an entirely unknown compiler. On the other hand, as the manuscripts that furnish the majority of the poems are late, they equally depend upon unknown compilers. By comparison with the autograph manuscript of Wyatt we know that Tottel's text is far from being accurate. Therefore the presumption is that the same is the case with his text of Surrey. The manuscripts which contain poems of Wyatt and may therefore be tested are only slightly more accurate than Tottel. The result is that in Surrey's text we have only an approximation. Each poem, consequently, requires careful discussion. But however faulty may be the text of Tottel, it will

1 Tottel Miscellany we have in Arber's Reprint. The manuscript poems have been reprinted by Professor Padelford in Anglia xxix, 3 .


always be important because through it the Elizabethan age knew Surrey. It was reprinted nine times before the end of the century.

It may be even due to Tottel's publication that in the last half of the century Surrey was regarded as the great poet of the former age. The title-page of the Miscellany reads Songes and Sonettes, written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Haward late Earle of Surrey, and other. Although the only other author named in full in the second edition is Wyatt, apparently he is considered secondary. They are usually bracketed together, and Surrey is usually given the precedence,--so often in fact that the curious error arose that Wyatt was Surrey's disciple. The most extreme illustration of Wyatt's eclipse by Surrey is given by Sidney: 1

For there being two principall parts, Matter to be expressed by words, and words to expresse the matter: In neither, wee use Art or imitation rightly . . . Chawcer undoubtedly did excellently in his Troilus and Creseid: of whome trulie I knowe not whether to mervaile more, either that hee in that mistie time could see so clearly or that wee in this cleare age, walke so stumblingly after him. Yet had hee great wants, fit to be forgiven in so reverent an Antiquitie. I account the Mirrour of Magistrates, meetly furnished of bewtiful partes. And in the Earle of Surreis Lirickes, manie thinges tasting of a Noble minde. The Sheepheards Kalendar, hath much poetrie in his Egloges, . . Besides these, I doo not remember to have seen but fewe (to speak boldly) printed, that have poeticall sinnewes in them.

Chaucer, Surrey, presumably Sackville and Spenser, those four names to Sidney are the only ones that have poetical sinews. The list is extraordinary for its omissions. As to him Chaucer is the sole representative of Middle English, Surrey is the only survivor of the literature of the first half of the century. 2 It is a fair statement that where Wyatt is remembered, as in Ascham and Puttenham, he is subordinated to Surrey, and that very many did not remember him at all. Surrey is the principal figure of the past age.

As the respect for caste was great in the time of Elizabeth, such valuation of his poetry may have been due, to some extent at

1 The Defense of Poesie. By Sir Philip Sidney, Knight. Printed at the University Press, Cambridge, 1904, p. 71.
2 Wyatt is also omitted from the list of writers given by Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetrie, 1586, Arber's Reprint, 33 .


least, to his rank. He belonged to the family which in Pope's lines was to become synonymous with noble blood. 1 The fortunes of the family were founded early in the fifteenth century by the marriage of Robert Howard with the Lady Margaret Mowbray, in whose veins was blood royal. By her father, she was descended from Edward the First and Margaret of France; by her mother, from Edward the First and Elinor of Castile. On the extinction of the Mowbrays, John, the son of Robert, was created Duke of Norfolk by Richard III in 1483. He married twice. By the first wife he had Thomas, the second Duke of Norfolk, and four daughters who all married; by the second, one daughter Catherine, who married John Bourchier, Lord Berners, the translator. This Thomas, the second Duke of Norfolk, the grandfather of Surrey, married twice and had eleven children. As these intermarried with the great noble families, Surrey was thus closely related to many in the English court. Of these the important ones are (besides his father): Edward, the English admiral whose gallant death in 1513 is celebrated by Barclay in the Fourth Eclogue; Edmund, the father of Catherine, the fifth wife of Henry VIII; and Elizabeth, the mother of Anne Boleyn the second wife of Henry VIII. Surrey's father, Thomas, the third Duke of Norfolk, married first the Lady Anne, the daughter of Edward IV and sister of Elizabeth the Queen of Henry VII. On her decease he married Lady Elizabeth Stafford, the daughter of the Duke of Buckingham, who bore him three children; Henry the poet, Thomas, and Mary. Thus on his mother's side he was descended from Edward III; his grandmother was a daughter of the Percys; his uncle had married the daughter of Margaret Pole, countess of Salisbury; one aunt, Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland, and the other, George Neville, Lord Abergavenny. In fact he was so close to the throne that it was rumored that he was to marry the princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, who later became queen. He was the close friend of Henry, Duke of Richmond, the King's illegitimate son, who married his sister Mary. By his descent and by his family connections he was the greatest noble of his generation, and his ancestry compared very favorably even with that of the prince of Wales, whose descent on the father's side was scarcely

1 What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards? Alsa! not all the blood of all the Howards. Essay on Man, Epistle IV.


better than Surrey's own and whose mother was the comparatively obscure Jane Seymour.

An appreciation of the state of life to which Surrey was called by his birth is all important in understanding his character and the events of his life. There is no necessity of recounting the latter here. 1 It is enough to state that we know a very great many facts concerning his various actions through the years, and from them can infer fairly accurately his character. Another factor, however, must be mentioned. The Howards were in somewhat straightened circumstances. Naturally, as the first Duke of Norfolk and his son had fought on the side of Richard III at Bosworth Field, the survivor, the second Duke, was promptly lodged in the Tower and his goods attainted. Although Henry VII pardoned him, freed him, and eventually restored him to his rank, he did not restore the property that went to sustain the rank. Although Henry VIII was much more lavish in their regard, yet as their expenses increased proportionally to their honors, the family was financially embarrassed. In 1515 the Duke of Norfolk, admittedly the ablest general in England and the victor of Flodden Field, was forced to retire from court to recuperate. This condition explains the financial negotiations which they dignified by the name of marriage. Love was no more a factor in the marriage of the sixteenth century than in the royal alliances of today. 2 Surrey's mother, for example, who brought a dowry of 1500 pounds, had previously been engaged to Ralph Neville (who afterwards married her sister,) was much attached to him, and their wedding day had been announced. 3 All this was not allowed to interfere with her nuptials with the Duke of Norfolk. Such a beginning would scarcely argue for happy connubial relations. And historical events did not tend to increase the chance. In 1523 her father, Duke of Buckingham, was condemned for high treason by a panel of peers, of which her father-in-law the Duke of Norfolk was chief judge. The fact that

1 Owing to his high rank Surrey figures largely in the State Papers, which have been published. Basing upon those entries and supplementing them by outside reference, M. Edmond Bapst has constructed a detailed life of Surrey, in Deux Gentilshommes-Poètes de la Cour de Henry VIII, Paris 1891. This is the authority for Sir Sidney Lee's article in the D. N. B. There is an excellent digest in Flügel Lesebuch, op. cit., 382.
2 Cf. pp. 20 - 21 .
3 Letter to Cromwell, Calendar of State Papers, October 27, 1537.


"the Duke of Northfolke wept" 1 probably did not compensate for the triviality of the charges on which her father was put to death, nor for the fact that the presiding judge was recompensed by part of the sequestered property. But at this time she had, also, a more personal grievance against her husband. He took to himself a concubine, an Elizabeth Holland, a relative of Lord Hussey. In spite of the fact that "she was butt washer of my nursery VIII yeres," 2 when the Duchess objected, 3

"They bound me and pyanaculled me and satt on my brest tyll I spitt blod, which I have ben worse for ever syns; and all for speking gainst the woman in the Courte, Bess Holand. Therefore he put me out at the doors and kepys the bawd and the harlots styli in his house."

In a later letter she is still more explicit: 4

"He sett hys women to bynde me, tyll blod came out att my fingars endes, and (they) pynnacullyt me and satt on my brest tyll I spett blod and he never ponyshed them, and all thys was done for Besse Holond's sake."

It is quite possible, as Bapst suggests, 5 that the Duchess in these accounts is drawing the long bow. She seems to have been an extremely high-spirited lady, much given to speaking her mind very frankly. Her remarks to Anne Boleyn, when the favorite opposed the marriage of Mary Howard to the Count of Derby, were such that she narrowly avoided being banished from the Court. 6 In 1534 the definite rupture came, because she discharged from her service the father of the lady in question and all connected with her. As the Duke took the part of the servants, the Duchess retired to Redbourn on a pension. That she was justified from the modern standpoint is clear, since in 1537, until the imprisonment of the Duke, Elizabeth Holland was installed at Kenninghall under

1 Hall Henry VIII, ed. Whibley, op. cit., 1, 225.
2 Letter to Cromwell, December 30, 1536.
3 Letter to Cromwell October 24, 1537.
4 Letter to Cromwell, June 26, 1538.
5 Bapst, op. cit., 207 : "Les scènes de violence dont, à en croire ses lettres, la Duchesse aurait été victime à ce moment de la part de ses domestiques, ne se sont très probablement jamais pasées que dans son imagination, ou tout au moins, s'il y a dans ses récits une part de vérité, elle est assez restreinte."
6 Chapuis to the Emperor, October 15, 1530, quoted by Bapst, op. cit., 199 (note).


the pretext of being lady-in-waiting to Mary Howard, at that time the widowed Duchess of Richmond. It is interesting to note that Surrey and his sister took the side of their father, the Duke, in this family quarrel, even to the extent of receiving the cause of it in the place of their own mother. Whatever may be the difference of opinion in regard to the principals in the affair, there can be no question of the unfortunate results to the children. The "homelife" at Kenninghall could not have been conventionally "sweet." Later it bore its inevitable fruit. One of the most telling witnesses against Surrey, when he was accused of high treason, was his own sister, the widow of his best friend. She deposed,--and it was confirmed by another witness,--that, when it was a question of her marriage with Sir Thomas Seymour, Surrey had advised her to use the marriage as a step to becoming the mistress of the king. 1 "Cette sanglante ironie" Bapst calls it. 2 Perhaps it was irony,-at least one wishes to believe it,--but the previous events in the family life scarcely tend to make one confident. At least her further testimony that Surrey had placed a cipher upon his coat-ofarms that resembled HR shows that she for one placed the worst interpretation and bore him a bitter hatred. 3 In our necessary ignorance, it seems rather useless first to impute motives and then to explain by them. Yet surely the inference is justifiable that the family life of the Howards was not happy. In spite of the Duke's experience, gained from his own mercenary marriage, acting by the direction of Anne Boleyn he married Surrey, February 13, 1532, to Lady Frances de Vere, daughter of the Count of Oxford, for 2500 pounds. In Surrey's case, however, the union seems to have been productive of happiness. The additional money was gratefully received.

This union of very high rank and comparative poverty accen-

1 Froude (Chapter XXIII, The Reign of Henry the Eighth) gives the deposition in full.
2 Bapst, op. cit. , 339 .
3 Miss Foxwell, op. cit., 2 , 76 notes on Wyatt poem A face that shuld content me: "This description of a woman is the only one in Wiat. Constant to his rule, he gives us no portrait, but rather a character sketch. Honest and sincere himself, with a deep scorn of anything false or inconstant, his ideal of a woman is displayed here in strength of character and gravity of thought, a cheerful, sympathetic and graceful woman. Mary, Duchess of Richmond, 'Maiden-wife, and widow', possessed the qualities he admired." Comment would be unkind!


tuated in Surrey the arrogance inherited from his mother. He was "the most relish prowde boye that ys in England." 1 When he was accused by Sir Richard Southwell, his answer was an appeal to the judgment of God by means of a boxing match 2 He refuted another witness by merely saying "I leave it to yourselves, Gentlemen, to judge whether it were probable that this man should speak thus to the Earl of Surrey, and he not strike him." Holinshed comments "had he tempered his answers with such modesty as he shewed token of a right perfect, and ready wit, his praise had been the greater." 3 But such a temperament is very rarely modest, and it does lead to blows. In 1542 he had quarreled with an unknown John à Leigh, and he was released only on a bond that he would not molest that gentleman. But he figures in another scrape that has some literary importance. On the second of February, 1543, Surrey in company with Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger, the son of the poet, and a William Pickering anticipated the eighteenth century Mohocks by a night raid upon London. As the citizens failed to find amusement in the performance, inquiry led to a certain Mistress Arundel of St. Laurence-Lane. On being summoned before the Privy Council she confessed that Surrey and other young noblemen used her house. 4

Further, she saith, how at Candlemas they went out with stone bows at nine o'clock at night, and did not come back, till post midnight, and the next day there was a great clamour of the breaking of many glass windows both of houses and churches, and shooting at men that night in the street; and the voice was that those hurts were done by my lord and his company. Whereupon she gave commandment unto all her house that they should say nothing of my lord's going out in form specified. Item, she said, that that night or the night before they used the same stone bows, rowing on the Thames; and Thomas Clear told her how they shot at the queans on the Bankside. Mistress Arundel also, looking one day at Lord Surrey's arms, said the arms were very like the king's arms, and said further, she thought he would be king, if aught but good happened to the king and prince.

The inquiry dragged along until the first of April. 5

1 A Memorial from George Constantyne to Thomas Lord Cromwell, Archæologia, xxiii. 62.
2 Lord Herbert of Cherbury's account is based on documents now lost.
3 Both quoted from Nott, op. cit., cii.
4 These passages are accessible in Froude, op. cit., Chapter XX
5 Acts of the Privy Council, Bapst, op. cit., 268.


Att Saint-James the first day off aprill . . . Th'erle of Surrey being sent for t'appere before the Cownsell was charged as well off eating off flesshe, as off a lewde and unsemely manner of walking in the night abowght the stretes and breaking with stonebows off certeyne wyndowes. And towching the eating off flesshe, he alleged a license, albeitt he hadde nott so secretly used the same as apparteyned. And towching the stonebows, he cowlde nott denye butt he hadde verye evyll done therein, submitting himselff therefore to such ponissement as sholde to them be thowght good. Whereapon he was committed to the Fleet.

Clearly we have here a drunken frolic in which the opposition of the City and the Court comes to the fore. It is the sort of senseless vandalism common half a century ago in our American colleges and manifested in the town and gown riots. But however objectionable may have been this lewd and unseemly manner of walking, it is impossible to regard it seriously. Rightfully he was sent to the Fleet to realize that the London citizen also had rights. Presumably while there, he composed his absurd explanation of the affair. 1

London, hast thow accused me
Of breche of lawes the roote of stryfe,
within whose brest did boyle to see
(so fervent hotte) thy dissolute lief
that even the hate of synnes that groo
within thy wicked walles so rife
ffor to breale forthe did convert soo
that terrour colde it not represse
the which by wordes syns prechers knoo
what hope is le(f)t for to redresse
by vnknowne meanes it liked me
my hydden burden to expresse
wherby yt might appere to the
that secret synn hath secret spight
ffrom Iustice rodd no fault is free
but that all such as wourkes vnright
In most quyet are next ill rest
In secret sylence of the night
this made me with a reckles brest
to wake thy sluggardes with my bowe
A fygure of the lordes behest
whose scourge for synn the sc(r)eptures shew
that as the fearfull thonder clapp

1 The text is given in MS. Add. 36529. It is also found in Add. MS. 28635, but not in Tottel.


by soddayne flame an hand we knowe
of peoble stones the sowndles rapp
the dredfull plage might mak the see
of goddes wrath that doth the enwrapp
that pryde might know from conscience free
how loftye workes may her defend
and envye fynd as he hath sought
how other seke him to offend
and wrath tast of eche crewell thought
that iust shapp hyer in the end
and ydell slouthe that never wrought
th heven hys spirite lift may begyn
& gredye lucre lyve in dred
to see what haste ill gott goodes wynn
the lechers ye that lustes do feed
porceve what secrecye is in synne
and gluttons hartes for sorow blede
awaked when their faulte they fynd
In lothsome vyce eche dronken wight
to styrr to godd this was my mynd
thy wyndowes had don me no spight
but prowd people that drede no fall
clothed with falshed and vnright
bred in the closures of thy wall
but wrested to wrathe in fervent zeale
thow hast to strief my secret call
endured hartes no warning feale
Oh shameles hore is dred then gone
by suche thy foes as ment thy weale
Oh membre of false Babylon
the shopp of craft, the denné of ire
thy dredfull dome drawes fast vppon
thy martyres blood by swoord & fyre
In heaven & earth for Iustice call
the lord shall here their iust desyre
the flame of wrath shall on the fall
with famyne and pest lamentablie
stricken shalbe they lecheres all
they prowd towers and turretes hye
enmyes to god beat stone from stone
thyne Idolles burnt that wrought iniquitie
when none thy ruyne shall bemone
but render vnto the right wise lord
that so hath iudged Babylon
Imortall praise with one accord
ffynis H. S.


Whether the Fleet served its purpose in causing repentance is open to question. Surrey could not deny but he had very evil done,-but remained an unrepentant sinner. To him the psalm-singing money-loving citizen was beneath contempt. So his poem from the point of view of the injured party is insulting both in matter and in manner. He defends himself by attacking. London is so evil that it should be shocked to an appreciation of its sins. And this paradox is phrased in a careful parody of the reforming manner.

Oh member of false Babylon!
The shop of craft! The den of ire!
Thy dreadful doom draws fast upon!
Thy martyr's blood by sword and fire
In Heaven and earth for justice call!

Of course, a jeu d'esprit must not be taken too seriously; it betrays a lack of humor. Yet, the piece is distinctly clever. As the City by its trade relations with the continent was the stronghold of Lutheranism, to apply to it the opprobrious name applied by the Lutherans to the Roman Church is a neat distortion. 1 And the "martyrs" were the poor courtiers, such as Surrey himself and young Wyatt, persecuted by the demons in the City, merely because they shot at them with cross-bows! But the literary significance of this is great. At once the reader is conscious of a note that has not been sounded in English poetry since Chaucer. There is a lightness of touch in the fooling that implies a mastery of the medium, that tells that the long apprenticeship of English literature is now over.

The last lines of this satire are also important since they have been quoted to show that Surrey was at heart in favor of the Reformation. 2 Irony is a dangerous tool that is apt to turn in the wielder's hand and cut him. So Defoe found in the Shortest Way with Dissenters. So with Surrey here. He naturally by his birth be-

1 Of course there is no parallelism with Petrarch's sonnets against Avignon, as Nott suggests, because Petrarch was not attacking the city of Avignon but the papal court located there. Petrarch's "Babylon" and Surrey's "Babylon" are two entirely different things. By 1542 London had no connection with the papacy.
2 There is also an ambiguous remark of George Barlow, Dean of Westbury, quoted by Constantyne (op. cit.), and the fact that Surrey translated the Psalms, a proof that Aretino also was a Protestant.


longed to the other party, of which his father the Duke of Norfolk was the recognized leader. 1 It was Norfolk who introduced the Bill of Six Articles to the House when not even Cranmer dared argue against it. The whole political complexion of the reign is determined by the opposition of the party of the old nobility, of which Norfolk was necessarily a member, and the "new men," due to the influence of the various queens. Each queen may be regarded as a counter signifying what political party had at that moment the control, although Anne Boleyn, as a niece of the Howards, confuses the issue; in general, as through her Henry was led to break with the Papacy, she may be considered as representing the Protestants. Still more Protestant was Jane Seymour, and her relatives. As uncles of the heir to the throne, in spite of their lack of high rank, they naturally became important. Also they were antagonists of the older order. This is the explanation for the Howards' hatred of Cromwell. His downfall was a triumph for them,--a triumph which they consolidated by the marriage of Katharine Howard to the King, a triumph which was fleeting and fatal. Towards the last, across the body of the King, the two parties glared at each other. The King was dying. The question uppermost was who should control the young Prince. Surrey naturally thought that his own father was the proper person, but he was imprudent in giving expression to his thought. Passion was running high. When Surrey told one of the other faction that Norfolk should be the governor, he was answered "rather than it should come to pass that the prince should be under the governance of his father or you, I would bide the adventure to thrust this dagger in you". 2 Norfolk was playing safe, but Surrey had the reckless spirit of youth. Of course the end came. On the trivial charge of quartering the arms with his own, Surrey was tried and found guilty of high treason. There is no need to go into the evidence of the trial. The technical indictment was merely technical. If it had not been that charge it would have been another. Nor is it of value to discuss it in terms of murder and bemoan Surrey's innocence. With the morality of the age it is quite possible that the Howards on their side had contemplated some such move. The sixteenth

1 See the quotation from both Romanists and Reformers cited by Bapst, op. cit., 161.
2 Froude, Chapter xxiii. There is some slip in the use of the pronouns.


century is the sixteenth century; it is useless to apply twentieth century conceptions as explanations of events then. The fact is that on the 19th of January, 1547, there was beheaded on Tower Hill the most brilliant, the most spectacular, the most cultivated noble in England, in the last analysis because he was descended from kings.

By the facts of his life Surrey is a romantic figure; it needed very little to make of him a figure in a romance. Two generations later this was done by Thomas Nash in his novel The Unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Iacke Wilton. 1 The hero, encountering the Earl of Surrey in Holland, where Cornelius Agrippa shows him a likeness of his love Geraldine in a mirror, travels to Italy with him and enjoys the tournament held by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in which Surrey sustains the honor of his lady against all comers. This yarn apparently was made up out of whole cloth. 2 Nash's novel has had the exceptional record of having been accepted as fact by scholars of repute for two centuries. It was accepted by Drayton and endorsed by Warton. When Nott published his great edition of Surrey in 1815, as in the case of Wyatt, he was strongly stirred by the whole romantic story. From Nott inevitably it spread broadcast. It may be disproved, as does Courthope, by showing the inconsistencies in the dating,--very large inconsistencies,--or as does Bapst by proving that in Surrey's record there is no time-interval sufficient to allow any series of such events. Today, surely, there is no necessity for more than a bare statement. The basis of the story is to be found in the sonnet.

Ffrom Tuscan cam my ladies worthi race
faire fflorence was sometime her auncient seate
the westorne Ile (whose pleasaunt showre cloth face
wylde Chambares cliffes) did geve her lyvely heate
ffostred she was with mylke of Irishe brest
her Syer (an) erle, hir dame, of princes bloud
from tender yeres in britaine she doth rest
with a kinges child where she tastes gostly foode
honsdon did furst present her to myn eyen
bryght ys her hew and Geraldine shee highte

1 Entered in the Stationers' Register xvii mo die Septembris ( 1593).
2 Mr. Berthold Clifford was unable to find any growth of such a legend in English, when he made the search for me.


Hampton me tawght to wishe her furst for myne
and windesor alas doth chace me from her sight
bewty of kind, her vertues from a bove
happy ys he, that may obtaine her love. S. H. 1

"Geraldine," the Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the daughter of the Earl of Kildare, was born 1528 (?) in Ireland. In 1533 she was brought to England and in 1537 she is listed among the attendants of the Princess Elizabeth at Hunsdon. In the spring of the same year she accompanied the little princess to Hampton Court. At this time she could not have been more than ten years old. Surrey certainly was then in attendance on the Court, because his quick temper involved him in a quarrel, of which we have the record. In spite of the fact that he had joined his father in suppressing the rebellion, called "The Pilgrimage of Grace," Lord Darcy before his execution had intimated that Surrey was favorable to the rebels. 2 When a courtier. 3 repeated this rumor, Surrey struck him, forgetting that, as he was within the royal precincts, he rendered himself by so doing liable to the amputation of one hand. Although the motive of the trouble is doubtful, the correspondence between Norfolk and Cromwell leaves no doubt of the fact. The pleading of his father was successful; Surrey was punished only by being paroled to Windsor,--a very great mitigation to the punishment as he must have been released before November 12th, when he was present at the funeral of Jane Seymour. On March 10th, 1538, his first son, Thomas, was born and on February 24th, 1539, his second son, Henry. And according to the records this is the only time after 1537 when the twelfth line of the sonnet is applicable. Under the circumstances it is quite clear that we have here the fancy of a lively lad of nineteen pleasuring a little girl. To read in it the history of a great passion posits an abnormal precocity on the part of Geraldine. 4 Aside from the romantic tradition there are no facts to support it.

1 Add. MS. 36529 and in Tottel.
2 This is Bapst's interpretation of Norfolk's letter to Cromwell ( Calendar of State Papers, xi, no. 21).
3 If this were one of the Seymours, as Bapst suggests, it would partly explain Surrey's hatred of them.
4 The ninth line of the sonnet, The golden gift that nature did thee give, in the first edition of Tottel (and it is found no where else) reads "Now certesse Ladie;" in the second edition this phrase was changed to "Now certesse Garrett," the


Another misconception, of quite a different type, is the close association of the names Wyatt and Surrey, the "Dioscuri of the dawn," "the twin stars of the Reformation." So far as the latter phrase be applied to Surrey, whatever evidence there is points in entirely the opposite direction. Religion was then joined with politics, and the party of the reformers found in Surrey an active antagonist. Sir Edward Knyvet deposed that when he learned of Cromwell's fall, he exclaimed: "Nowe is that foul churl dead so ambitious of others blode; nowe is he stricken by his owne staffe" and this in spite of the fact that it was by Cromwell's intercession that he himself had escaped mutilation only three years before. The feeling for his caste obliterated the sense of the merely personal obligation. But such sentiments would scarcely commend him to Wyatt, who did belong to the other party and who was one of the "minions" of Cromwell. The political differences, moreover, were not compensated for by a similarity in age. Wyatt was fifteen years older than Surrey, and, as at the time of his death Surrey was but twenty-nine, this difference was marked. Surrey belonged to a younger generation. He was but little older than Wyatt's son, and in fact it was in company with the latter that he scandalized London. It is Wyatt the younger that he takes with him on his French expedition. Consequently the usual implication in discussing the relationship between them, that they were intimates, needs careful revision.

That they were acquaintances, however, is equally clear from the same facts. But it does not rest alone upon inference. We have three poems by Surrey referring to Wyatt; one is in praise of the translations of the Psalms, and two are elegies on his death. Of these three the two Elizabethan sonnets are conventional. The third is worth quoting in this connection. 1

W. resteth here, that quick could neuer rest:
Whose heauenly giftes encreased by disdayn,
And vertue sank the deper in his brest.
Such profit he by enuy could obtain.

family name of the Fitzgeralds. Bapst's suggestion that Garret is a diminutive from Margaret is not plausible. I am unable to conjecture why Tottel made this alteration, unless this poem belongs, or he thought it belonged, to the same period and related the same affair.

1 This is found only in Tottel.


A hed, where wisdom misteries did frame:
Whose hammers bet styll in that liuely brayn,
As on a stithe: where that some work of fame
Was dayly wrought, to turne to Britaines gayn.

A visage, stern, and myld: where bothe did grow,
Vice to contemne, in vertue to reioyce:
Amid great stormes, whom grace assured so,
To lyue upright, and smile at fortunes choyce.

A hand, that taught, what might be sayd in ryme:
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit:
A mark, the which (unparfited, for time)
Some may approche, but neuer none shall hit.

A toung, that serued in forein realmes his king:
Whose courteous talke to vertue did enflame.
Eche noble hart: a worthy guide to bring
Our English youth, by trauail, unto dame.

An eye, whose iudgement none affect could blinde,
Frendes to allure, and foes to reconcile:
Whose persing loke did represent a mynde
With vertue fraught, reposed, voyd of gyle.

A hart, where drede was neuer so imprest,
To hyde the thought, that might the trouth auance:
In neyther fortune lost, nor yet represt,
To swell in wealth, or yeld unto mischance.

A valiant corps, where force, and beawty met:
Happy, alas, to happy, but for foes:
Liued, and ran the race, that nature set:
Of manhodes shape, where she the molde did lose.

But to the heauens that simple soule is fled:
Which left with such, as couet Christ to know,
Witnesse of faith, that neuer shall be ded:
Sent for our helth, but not receiued so.
Thus, for our gilte, this iewel haue we lost:
The earth his bones, the heauens possesse his gost.

Whatever may be the criticisms on the stereotyped expressions in this piece, or the inventory nature of its structure, the allusions show that the poet knew his subject, although the frigidity of the treatment suggests that this knowledge was of the head rather than of the heart. But at least it is certain that he admired him. Presumably it was on account of this poem that Leland dedicated his Naeniae in mortem Thomae Viati equitis incomparabilis to Surrey. 1 In the dedicatory poem to this volume Leland tells Surrey that

1 This has been reprinted as Appendix B, Vol. 2 of Miss Foxwell's edition.


The phrase suggests the friendly interest of the older poet in the younger, an interest that was repaid by the formal elegy just quoted. This hypothesis seems borne out by another epigram. 1 Although naturally much trust cannot be placed in verses in which the author aims to flatter, the conjunction of the two names seems to indicate that Surrey was recognized as the logical successor to Wyatt's poetical position, and at the least it does show that Surrey took his own verses seriously enough to make Leland feel that he would be flattered by such a conjunction. The inference from this is that he must have regarded Wyatt's work with admiration and respect.

Under the circumstances a comparison between the work of the two poets is inevitable. Both translated Sonnet CXL of Petrarch. In order that the reader may have the documents in evidence the three will be given.

Amor, che nel penser mio vive e regna
E'l suo seggio maggior nel mio cor tene,
Talor armato ne la fronte vène;
Ivi si loca, et ivi pon sua insegna.
Quella ch'amare e sofferir ne 'nsegna,
E vòl che 'l gran desio, l'accesa spene,
Ragion, vergogna e reverenza affrene,
Di nostro ardir fra sè stessa si sdegna.
Onde Amor paventoso fugge al core,
Lasciando ogni sua impresa, e piange, e trema;
Ivi s'acsonde e non appar più fòre.
Che poss' io far, temendo il mio signore,
Se non star seco in fin a l'ora extrema?
Chè bel fin fa chi ben amando more

This is a typical sonnet in Petrarch's conceited manner, a metaphor ridden to death for the purpose of closing with an epigram. The last line is marked by conscious alliteration,--c-b-f-f-c-b-m-m-. It is a purely intellectual concept worked out like a puzzle. With

Una dies geminos phœnices non dedit orbi
Mors erit unius vita sed alterius
Rara avis in terris confectus morte Viatus
Houardum heredem scripserat ante suum

1 Miss Foxwell Wiat, 2, 235.


Wyatt's predeliction for this sort of sonnet no explanation is required why he chose it. 1

The longe love that in my thought doeth harbar:
And in myn hert doeth kepe his residence:
Into my face preseth with bolde pretence;
And therein campeth spreding his baner.

She that me lerneth to love and suffre;
And willes that my trust and lustes negligence
Be rayned by reason, shame, and reverence;
With his hardines taketh displeasur.

Where with all unto the hertes forrest he fleith:
Leaving his enterprise with payn and cry:
And ther him hideth and not appereth.

What may I do when my maister fereth?
But in the feld with him to lyve and dye?
For goode is the liff, ending faithfully.

Wyatt here has succeeded in giving an almost literal translation, at the same time preserving the form of the Italian sonnet, with the exception of the ending in a couplet. It is unnecessary again to stress the amount of verbal ingenuity such a performance requires. Also it must be granted that in the accomplishment of this feat he has sacrificed whatever poetic value the original may have. Nor is the scansion without difficulties. If the first line be read as a normal pentameter,

The lónge love thát in mý thought doéth harbár,

every stress falls upon a weak syllable. But Wyatt, following the Medieval Latin tradition, composed by ear. Thus there is a syllabic value given to the probably unsounded final e and a dactyl is substituted for a trochee. The line then reads

The lónge lóve // thát in my thoúght doéth harbár.

But to shift the accent to so great an extent is not freedom but license, and presupposes the accompaniment of music. The explanation is that the language was still in so unsettled a condition that the Romance accent upon the second syllable, where modern English accents the first, was allowable. Consequently he ac-

1 The reading is from the Egerton MS. given by Miss Foxwell, 1 , 14 .


cepts rimes based alone on the final syllable,--harbár, banér, suffré, displeasúr, although by no system can they be accounted pure rimes. Wyatt is clearly hampered both by an unsettled technique and an unsettled language. Surrey's version shows the advance. 1

Love that doth raine and line within my thought
and buylt his seat within my captyve brest
clad in the armes wherein with me he fowght
oft in my face he doth his banner rest
But she that tawght me love and suffre paine
my doub(t)ful hope & eke my hote desire
with shamfast looke to shadoo and refrayne
her smyling grace convertyth streight to yre
And cowarde Love then to the hart apace
taketh his flight where he doth lorke and playne
his purpose lost, and dare not shew his face.
for my lorde's gilt thus fawtles byde I payine;
yet from my Lorde shall not my foote remove
sweet is the death that taketh end by love.

Although this version is as literal as the other, by abandoning the rime-scheme of the Italian sonnet, the difficulty of the rendition has been greatly decreased. It is unnecessary here to apologize for the so-called "Elizabethan sonnet"; the form used by Shakespeare needs no defense. For, whereas the frequency of rimes in Italian makes the Italian sonnet normal in that language, in English, except in the hands of the greatest masters, it tends to degenerate into mere verbal ingenuity. It is always an exotic. Certainly Wyatt's experiments in the Italian form would not encourage imitators. Surrey here shows, then, both his independence and his critical ability in preferring a form more consonant with the genius of the language. And his use of it was carried over into the next generation. The two forms of the sonnet produce quite different effects. The Italian sonnet, as Petrarch uses it, automatically breaks into the octave and the sextet, the octave stating the general condition and the sextet giving the concrete application. As the Elizabethan sonnet consists of three quatrains and a couplet, there is no such mechanical break; the idea, therefore, is developed

1 Add. MS. 36529, as quoted by Padelford. It must be remembered that whereas the Wyatt text being probably autographic represents Wyatt's final work, the Surrey is derived only from a copyist.


through twelve lines, closing with an epigrammatic couplet. The difference is obvious even in the translations from Petrarch. Wyatt's couplet is not complete in itself, whereas Surrey's may be detached as a quotation. That this form originated with Surrey is very doubtful, since it was used by Wyatt, although with a slightly different rime-scheme, by Grimald, and by several of the Uncertain Authors; Surrey's use of it, however, in all probability gave it currency. It was Surrey's fortune to be accepted as the representative of the age,--the age when for the first time since Chaucer, the language had become relatively fixed in the forms of the words, and when the poetic technique had passed beyond the obviously experimental stage.

Owing to this advantage of position, Surrey seemed to Sidney to be the first modern poet. Whereas the language of Skelton or Wyatt was archaic, Surrey's English was current for the next two centuries. As the archaic effect in the previous quotations is due primarily to the spelling, his translation of the forty-seventh Epigram of the Tenth Book of Martial will be given, with the Latin and with two later versions. The Martial is as follows: 1

Vitam quoe faciant beatiorem,
Iucondissime Martialis, hæc sunt:
Res non parta labore, sed relicta;
Non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
Lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
Vires ingenuæ, salubre corpus;
Prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
Convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
Nox non ebria, sed soluta curis;
Non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus;
Somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras:
Quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis;
Summum nec metuas diem nec optes.

Surrey renders this as follows: 2

Martial, the things that do attain
The happy life, be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind:

1 Ad Julium Martialem, Martialis Epigrammaton, Liber X, Epig. xlvii, von Ludwig Friedlaender, Zweiter Band, 134.
2 The Poems of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, London, William Pickering, 1831 57.


The equal friend, no grudge, no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthful life;
The household of continuance:

The mean diet, no delicate fare;
True wisdom join'd with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress:

The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night.
Contented with thine own estate;
Ne wish for Death, ne fear his might.

Fortunately this same epigram was translated by R. Fletcher in 1656: 1

Most pleasant Martial these are they
That make the happyer life and day,
Means not sweat for, but resign'd,
Fire without end, fields still in kinde,
No strife, no office, inward peace,
Free strength, a body sans disease,
A prudent plainesse, equal friends,
Cheap Cates, not scraped from the world's ends,
A night not drown'd, but free from care,
Sheets never sad, and yet chast are,
Sleep that makes short the shades of night,
Art such thou would'st be, it there might
A choice be offer'd, nor dost fear
Nor wish thy last dayes exit here.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1695, the same epigram was translated again. 2

What our Lives render most at ease,
My dearest Martial, they are these:
A 'State that's left, not got with Toil;
A constant Fire, a fruitful Soil;
A quiet Life, from Law-Suits free;
But seldom that the Gown doth see;

1 Ex otio Negotium, or Martiall his Epigrams. By R. Fletcher, London 1656; 93.
2 Epigrams of Martial, Englished. . . London, 1695, 236. It was likewise translated by Charles Cotton, Poems on Several Occasions, 1689, 561. I have preferred the one in the text merely because the date of publication is nearer the end of the century.


Ingenuous Strength, a Body sound;
Prudent Plainness, Friends equal found;
An artless Board, with ease Fare;
A Night not Drunk, yet void of Care;
A Bed not sowre, and yet that's Chaste;
Sound Sleep, that makes Night seem to haste;
Nought else, but what thou art, to wish to be.
The last Hour not to fear, or haste to see.

Of these three, certainly (with the modern spelling) Surrey shows his age the least! There is nothing that suggests the peculiarities of the epoch as does the line

A Night not Drunk, yet void of Care!

Aside from the obvious fact that Surrey is by far the greatest poet of the three, it is worthy of note that there is scarcely one of his phrases that is not today in common usage, whereas in both of the others some phrases seem strained. Clearly in his time it was possible to write standard English.

And the fact is obvious that Surrey is giving poetic value to his version of the Latin. The objection may be raised that the effect is gained by the easy device of comparing him with inferior writers. Fortunately the same piece has been translated by the well-known Clément Marot. 1

Marot, voici, si tu le veux savoir,
Qui fait à l'homme heureuse vie avoir:
Successions, non biens acquiz à peine,
Feu en tout temps, maison plaisante et saine,
Jamias procès, lea membres bien dispos,
Et au dedans un esprit à repos;
Contraire à nul, n'avoir aucuns contraires;
Peu se mesler des publique affaires;
Sage simplesse, amys à soy pareilz,
Table ordinaire et sans graus appareilz;
Facilement avec toutes gens vivre;
Nuict sans nul soing, n'estre pas pourtant yvre;
Femme joyeuse, et chaste néantmoins;
Plus haut qu'on n'est ne vouloir point attaindre;
Ne desirer la mort ny ne la craindre.
Voylà, Marot, si tu le veux sçavoir,
Qui faict à l'homme heureuse vie avoir

1 Oeuvres de Clément Marot, ed. Jannet, 3, 89. De soy mesme.


For precision and felicity ot phrase Surrey need not shun comparison even with the great French poet of his age. The documents in evidence have here been given the reader, that he may form his own judgment. It will be a matter of surprise, however, if the verdict, to some measure at least, does not justify the Elizabethans in their estimate of Surrey.

That this ability was not reached at a bound, either by Surrey, or the poets of his age, is shown by the translations from Horace. The three separate renderings of the same ode, the Tenth Ode of the Second Book, 1 may be regarded as studies in English versification. This must argue either that Surrey and two of his friends translated this ode in rivalry, or that independently each of the three turned to Horace, as the exemplar of the art of poetry, to learn poetic technique. That it is the latter alternative may be assumed from the widely separated positions of the translations in Tottel. Surrey's version is on page twenty-seven; the second, by one of the "Uncertain Authors," on page one hundred and fiftyseven; and the third was included in the thirty-nine additional poems of the second edition. If indeed the Miscellany does represent the combination of two or more commonplace books, the probability is strong of a diverse authorship.

Such a possibility at once lends a peculiar interest to the poems themselves. In order that the reader may be able himself to make the necessary comparison, the Latin will be first cited and then the three English translations in the order given above.

Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
semper urgendo; neque, dum procellas
cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
litus iniquum

Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
sobrius aula

Sæpius ventis agitatur ingens
pinus, et celsæ graviore casu
decidunt turres, feriuntque summos
fulgura montes

1 Noted by Nott, Works of Surrey, op. cit., 329.


Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
alteram sortem bene præparatum
pectus. Informes hiemes reducit
Iuppiter, idem

Summovet. Non, si male nunc, et olim
sic erit. Quondam cithara tacentem
suscitat Musam, neque semper arcum
tendit Apollo

Rebus angustis animosus atque
fortis appare; sapienter idem
contrahes vento nimium secundo
turgida vela

Surrey's version is headed Praise of meane and constant estate.

of thy lyfe, Thomas, this compasse well mark:
Not aye with full sayles the hye seas to beat:
Ne by coward dred, in shonning stormes dark,
On shalow shores thy keel in perill heat.
Who so gladly halseth the golden meane,
Voyde of dangers aduisdly hath his home
Not with lothsom muck, as a den vncleane:
Nor palacelyke, wherat disdayn may glome.
The lofty pyne the great winde often riues:
With violenter swey falne turrets stepe:
Lightnings assault the hye mountains, and cliues.
A hart well stayd, in ouerthwartes depe,
Hopeth amendes: in swete, doth feare the sowre.
God, that sendeth, withdrawthe winter sharp.
Now ill, not aye thus: once Phebus to lowre
With bow vnbent shall cesse, and frame to harp. 1
His voyce. In straite estate appere thou stout:
And so wisely, when lucky gale of winde
All thy puft sailes shall fil, loke well about:
Take in a ryft: hast is wast, prose doth finde.

The Poem of the First Edition is entitled The meane estate is to be accompted the best.

Who craftly castes to stere his boate
and safely skoures the flattering flood:

He cutteth not the greatest waues
for why that way were nothing good.

1 The punctuation, although clearly in error, has been retained.


Ne fleteth on the crocked shore
lest harme him happe awayting left.

But wines away between them both,
as who would say the meane is best.

Who waiteth on the golden meane,
he put in point of sickernes:

Hides not his head in sluttishe coates,
ne shroudes himself in filthines.

Ne sittes aloft in hye estate,
where hatefull hartes enuie his chance:

But wisely walkes betwixt them twaine,
ne proudly doth himself auance

The highest tree in all the woode
is rifest rent with blustring windes:

The higher hall the greater fall
such chance haue proude and lofty mindes.

When Iupiter from hie doth threat
with mortall mace and dint of thunder

The highest hilles ben batrid eft
When they stand still that stoden vnder

The man whose head with wit is fraught
in welth will feare a worser tide

When fortune failes dispaireth nought
but constantly doth stil abide

For he that sendeth grisely stormes
with whisking windes and bitter blastes

And fowlth with haile the winters face
and frotes the soil with hory frostes

Euen he adawth the force of colde
the spring in sendes with somer hote

The same full oft to stormy hartes
is cause of bale: of ioye the roote.

Not always il though so be now
when cloudes ben driuen then rides the racke

Phebus the fresh ne shoteth still
sometime he harpes his muse to wake

Stand stif therfore pluck vp thy hart
lose not thy port though fortune faile

Againe whan wind doth serue at will
take hede to hye to hoyse thy saile.

The version in the Second Edition is labelled merely Of the golden meane.

The wisest way, thy bote, in waue and winde to guie,
Is neither still the trade of middle streame to trie:


Ne (warely shunnyng wrecke by wether) aye to nie,

To presse vpon the perillous shore.
But clenely flees he filthe: ne wonnes a wretched wight,
In carlish coate: and carefur court aie thrall to spite,
With port of proud statate he leues: who doth delight,

Of golden meane to hold the lore.
Stormes rifest rende the sturdy stout pineapple tre.
Of lofty ruing towers the fals the feller be,
Most fers doth lightenyng light, where furthest we do se.

The hilles the valey to forsake.
Well furnisht brest to bide eche chanses changing chear.
In woe hath chearfull hope, in weal hath warefull fear,
One self Ioue winter makes with lothfull lokes appear.

That can by course the same aslake.
What if into mishap the case now casten be?
It forceth not such forme of luck to last to thee.
Not alway bent is Phebus bow: his harpe and he,

Ceast siluer sound sometime doth raise.
In hardest hap vse helpe of hardy hopefull hart.
Some bold to bear the brunt of fortune ouerthwart.
Eke wisely when forewinde to full breathes on thy part.

Swage swellying saile, and doubt decayes.

Even a casual reading of these poems in comparison with the Latin shows that we are dealing with prentice pieces of low grade. Not one of them would excite the enthusiasm of a modern schoolmaster. The problem was to transpose the Sapphic strophes of Horace into an analogous English form without dilution. As the three are here given to the reader, he may judge the results for himself. Surrey is trying to render the six strophes of the Latin into five pentameter quatrains. To translate the ninety-two words of the original he has used only one hundred and fifty-seven, in spite of the fact that his rime-scheme required a superfluous last line. On the other hand to gain such condensation his sentences are distorted out of the English order.

once Phebus to lowre
With bow vnbent shall cesse, and frame to harp
His voyce. .

is comprehensible only upon a second reading. It may be assumed that this is an early piece; if so, it, with the other two, is an interesting proof that the poets of the age turned to the Latin to learn


their art. The very crudity of the work becomes eloquent. And if much of the work produced then has been lost, these pieces are important, not for themselves but as types. For such poems as these there may be posited a background of classical Latin.

But clearly so far as Surrey is concerned, this classical background is limited to the contents of the poems. He makes no attempt to suggest classic forms. Thus, in the three poems just quoted, while the third author endeavors to imitate the Sapphic strophe by three riming hexameter lines and a half line, Surrey contents himself with pentameter quatrains. The simplicity of the rime-scheme, abab, recalls the precepts of the Medieval Latin. The practice of the medieval writers is also evidenced in the desire to introduce the very obvious classical allusion. 1

I that Vlisses' yeres have spent
to seeke Penelope
fynde well the foyle I have ment
to say yat was not soo
Sins Troilus' cause hathe caused me
from Crised for to goo

and to repent Ulisses' truthe
in seas and storme skyes
of raginge will - wanton youthe,
wherewith I have tossed sore
from Cilla's seas to Carribes' clives
vppone the drowninge shore.

Such stanzas as these might well have been written in the fifteenth century before the introduction of Greek. No distinction is made between the stories of the Odyssey and the Troilus; to the writer both are equally authoritative. The objection may be made that this poem is at best only doubtfully attributed to Surrey. But the same is true of the poem assigned him by Tottel, When ragyng loue. 2 The second and third stanzas of this are:

I call to minde the nauye greate,
That the Greekes brought to Troye towne:
And how the boysteous windes did beate
Their shyps, and rente their sayles adowne,

1 Harl. Misc. 78, given by Padelford, op. cit., 41 . By Tottel it is listed among the poems of the "Uncertain Authors," Arbers Reprint, 241 .
2 Arber's Reprint, 14 ; not given in any manuscript.


Till Agamemnons daughters bloode
Appeasde the goddes, that them withstode.
And how that in those ten years warre,
Full many a bloudye dede was done,
And many a lord, that came full farre,
There caught his bane (alas)to sone:
And many a good knight ouerronne,
Before the Grekes had Helene wonne.

Lines such as these are more like the medieval treatment of Grecian "knights" and of "Duke Hannyball," and the rime-scheme, ababcc, is that used, according to Gascoigne, in the Ballade, 1 and serving "beste for daunces and light matters." The very word comes from the Medieval Latin ballare. All this reminds one that besides the obvious classical strain there is the other, the Medieval Latin strain, in Surrey. It must be remembered that he was brought up with a knowledge of poets following medieval precedents. It was for his uncle, the Admiral, that Barclay wrote the Tower of Honour and Virtue, and,--what is much more important-Skelton was in some sort an attaché of the Howards. 2 It will be remembered 3 that the Medieval Latin scanned by the number of accents rather than the number of syllables in a line. So in the second, third and fifth lines of the second stanza of the last passage quoted, there is an extra syllable. For instance, in the line,

Full many a bloúdye déde was dóne,

the second foot is an anapest. Quite clearly this is not due to a desire to copy classic meters; it is due to medieval precedent. This gives the point of view necessary to understand Gascoigne's remarks in the next age: 4

For furder explanation hereof, note you that commonly now a dayes in english rimes (for I dare not cal them English verses) we use none other order but a

1 Certayne notes of Instruction in The Posies, ed. by John W. Cunliffe, 1907, 471.
2 I have myself overstated the relationship in saying that Surrey was a "pupil" of Skelton,--Surrey could not have been more than four or five when Skelton wrote the Garland of Laurel at Sheriff Hutton,--but that there is a definite influence of the older poet upon the younger is not open to question.
3 Cf. pp. 145 - 147 .
4 Gascoigne, op. cit., 467. The diagram there given is omitted.


foote of two sillables, wherof the first is depressed or made short, & the second is elevate or made long: and that sound or scanning contineuth throughout the verse. We have used in times past other kindes of Meeters: as for example this following:

No wight in this world, that wealth can attayne.
Ùnlésse hè bèléve, thàt áll ìs bùt váyne.

Also our father Chaucer hath used the same libertie in feete and measures that the Latinists do use: and who so ever do peruse and well consider his workes, he shall finde that although his lines are not alwayes of one selfe same number of Syllables, yet beyng redde by one that hath understanding, the longest verse and that which hath most Syllables in it, wil fall (to the eare) correspondent unto that whiche hath fewest sillables in it: and likwise that whiche hath in it fewest syllables, shalbe founde yet to consist of woordes that have suche naturall sounde, as may seeme equall in length to a verse which hath many moe sillables of lighter accentes. And surely I can lament that wee are fallen into suche a playne and simple manner of wryting, that there is none other foote used but one: wherby our Poemes may justly be called Rithmes, and cannot by any right challenge the name of a Verse.

Gascoigne here is lamenting that the progress of humanism has restricted the freedom of English verse. Although, as a matter of fact, the practice was not in accord with the theory, yet the theory is significant, especially for the development of blankverse. The origin of this has been discussed elsewhere. 1 It is Surrey's treatment of the measure that is the problem here.

The difficulty consists in the fact that during the first half of the century two distinct theories of versification were advocated, and the practice was a compromise between them. In the rimed verse the Medieval Latin theory is certainly perceptible; the confusion arises in the unrimed verse,--where we with our intensive knowledge of the classics expect a quantitative value. To clear the issue, take first the unrimed translation of the Fifty-fifth Psalm, the Fifty-fourth of the Vulgate. Forty-one lines in the English follow fairly literally the Latin of the Vulgate. Then follows an interpolation entirely original.

friowr whose harme and tounge presents the wicked sort of those false wolves with cootes which doo their ravin hyde that sweare to me by heauen the fotestole of the lord who though force had hurt my fame they did not touch my lyfe such patching care I lothe as feeds the welth with lyes

1 Pp. 352 - 360 .


but in thother p(s)alme of David fynd I ease Iacta curam tuam super dominum et ipse to enutriet. 1

The Latin line with which the poem ends is that in the Vulgate immediately following the one translated; the Psalm then continues for five more verses. Surrey's version is then truncated; forty-one lines are translated, an original passage is interpolated, a line of the original is given, and the conclusion omitted. The explanation of this anomaly is purely hypothetical. It will be remembered that the witnesses all comment upon the fact that during his trial Surrey's attitude was one of defiance, 2 to such an extent that Holinshed insinuates that it prejudiced his judges against him. 3 If this passage means what it says, Surrey had been told by a friar, suborned by his enemies, that the accusation concerned merely his reputation, not his life. 4 Consequently instead of the expected humble confession, such as was his father's later, he played into the hands of the Seymours by defending himself. After his conviction, therefore,

Iacta super Dominum curam tuam, et ipse te enutriet!

If this hypothesis be accepted as plausible, the passage becomes interesting, since it is the last work of the author. To the end, then, he scans his lines by the number of accents, not by the number of syllables. The third line of the passage quoted reads

that sweáre to mé by heáuen the fótestole óf the lórd;

and the fourth line is still more irregular in beginning with an anapest,

who though fórce had húrt my fáme they díd not tóuch my lýfe.

Clearly he avails himself of an unacademic freedom.

1 Padelford, op. cit., 53. Of course "to" in the last line of the passage should read te. The poem is the last of Surrey's in Add. MS. 36529 and is found in Add. MS. 28635.
2 Cf. p. 511 .
3 Herbert of Cherbury, ( The Life and Raigne of King Henry the Eighth, London, 1649, 565) who had access to documents now lost, gives the same impression.
4 Nott ( Surrey, op. cit., 398) sees in this passage a "presumption that Surrey's attachment to the Reformation had drawn upon him the anger of the supporters of Popery." The documents do not support such an interpretation. Bapst, 158,


This has been a long approach to the question of Surrey's version of the Second and the Fourth Books of the Æneid. The question has been complicated because it happened to be a classic author, Vergil. But for a long sustained effort in translation Vergil was the inevitable choice for author and the Æneid for subject. This is shown by the fact that during the first half of the century translations of the Æneid appear in almost all the vernaculars. In 1529 was published the French version in rimed couplets by Octavien de Saint-Gelais; in 1553 the Gawin Douglas version in Lowland Scotch; and in 1539-1544 the Italian rendition of the first six books, done by a group of men. As there is little probability of imitation between the French, Italian, and the Scotch, it is evident that we are dealing with a phenomenon not limited to a single country or to a single author. There was during the first half of the century a desire diffused throughout Europe to reproduce classic authors in the vernacular, and this desire surely is due to humanism.

The relation of Surrey's translation to those of the members of the group requires a detailed analysis. Yet, even in the stating of the problem, the inherent difficulties in the way of a satisfactory solution become manifest. We have no data. Of necessity hypothesis piles upon hypothesis, until the result is as complicated and as fragile as a spider's web! On June 21, 1557, Tottel issued Surrey's translation of the Second and Fourth Books of the Æneid,--but by 1557 Surrey had been dead already ten years. Therefore the date of the Tottel publication is of no value in deciding the date of composition. Nor is it definite for textual criticism, since there is little probability that Tottel had a better text for the Æneid than he had for the poems. Moreover, for the Fourth Book there are two other issues, that of the Hargrave MS. 205, and that of the John Day impression 1 and the text as given by the manuscript

1 The first is in the British Museum, and has been studied by Fest ( Ũ + ̈ber Surrey's Virgilübersetzung, nebst Neuausgabe des vierten Buches, Dr. von Otto Fest, Palæstra XXXXIV, 1903) and by Imelmann ( Zu den Alfängen des Blankverses: Surrey's Æneis IV in ursprünglicher Gestalt. Von Rudolf Imelmann, Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, 1905, p. 81. The second is the John Day issue previously discussed (pages 355 - 356 note) at Britwell Court. To my knowledge this has never been either reprinted or collated.
4 interprets this passage as a reference to the betrayal of the Duke of Buckingham by the Monk Hopkins. But surely both Surrey was too young at that time, and the passage was written too much later, to make that explanation plausible.


differs markedly from that given by Tottel. 1 Whether this difference in the readings be due to Surrey himself, or whether in the versions we have are derivatives from a single lost original, and, if so, which of the two more nearly represents that lost original, are questions at present impossible of solution. 2 The fact to be kept constantly in mind in discussing Surrey's treatment of blank verse is that the fundamental requirement, an authoritative text, is lacking. Therefore the relation of the unknown Surrey version to the various translations, when one remembers the highhanded methods of the sixteenth century editors, may be expressed as an algebraic formula where all the quantities are unknown! The value of x may be expressed only in terms of y and z.

Since no one has ever claimed Surrey's dependence upon SaintGelais, the question narrows down to the relation between his version and that of Douglas and the Italian. Actually of course, it is not one question here, but two quite different problems. Although the Douglas version was not published until 1553, six years after Surrey's death, as Douglas had died in London in 1524, for a quarter of a century his translation had been in existence in manuscript or manuscripts. Now there is nothing inherently improbable in the assumption that at some time Surrey had had access to one of these manuscripts. Nott collected the passages in which the two versions were verbally similar, of which there are

1 An extreme example is given by Imelmann. (op. cit: 98 .)

Continuo invadit: "Tu nunc Karthaginis altæ
Fundamenta locas, pulchramque uxorius urbem
Exstruis? heu regni rerumque oblite tuarumi!

Tottel's version is:

Thus he encounters him: oh careles wight
Both of thy realme and of thine owne affaires;
A wifebound man now dost thou reare the walles
Of high Cartage, to build a goodly town. . . .

The Hargrave MS. renders it:

Then thus be sayd: Thow that of highe Cartage
Dost the foundaciouns laye, to please thie wife,
Raising on height a passing fayer citie,
But oh! for woe, thine owne things out of minde.

2 I confess that I am not much impressed by arguments were the chief reliance is placed upon rhetorical questions.


ninety-seven in the Second Book alone. Now although it way be granted that two men translating the same poem tend to use the same expressions even in cases where the verse-form requires a dilution of the original, yet so large a number can scarcely be explained upon the theory of coincidence. If we were but sure of our text, the question might be considered answered. But the curious fact is that the version of the Fourth Book, given by the unpublished Hargrave MS., is clearly much more like the Douglas translation than is the version given by Tottel. What this signifies is not very clear. Apparently, after 1553, Surrey's work was edited with the Douglas translation in mind. Therefore the case rests merely upon the fact that there are similarities between the two versions, whether due to Surrey or to another, and must rest there until more data be given.

In comparing Surrey with Douglas, at least we have the identity of phrase to guide us; in the case of the Italian even that help is withdrawn. In 1539 the Second Book appeared in Italian in versi sciolti. 1 Hippolito, the natural son of Giulano, had been raised to the cardinalate in 1529. He gathered around him a court of scholars as was the fashion, among whom was the writer Molza. As the book professes to be by him, it must have been composed before 1535, the year of his death, whether or not he actually wrote it. Later, others joined in translating separate books, of which the Fourth is by Bartolomeo C. Picholomini. Surrey's translation, then, if taken from the Italian, would be dependent upon the work of two writers, and each book must be considered separately. Dr. Fest feels that there is no doubt but that Book Two is drawn from the Italian and Dr. Imelmann that at least the Hargrave MS. version, the "older" version, shows equal dependence upon Book Four. 2 To prove his position each cites numerous lines where both the Italian and the English agree in diluting the original. For, since both translations are in verse, a certain amount of dilution is inevitable. As it is stated, with the long array of confirmatory passages, the conclusion seems inevitable. But

1 Il secondo di Virgilio in lingua volgare, volto da Hippolito de Medici Cardinale. (Citta di Castello.) M. D. XXXVIIII: again in 1540, 1541, and 1544 as parts of the collected work.
2 This supposition was originally suggested by Nott (op. cit. CC.) but denied by him. It owes its present form to the German scholars.


a priori such a conclusion is surprising. To the sixteenth century boy Latin was almost as familiar as his mother-tongue, and of all writers in Latin Vergil was probably the most familiar. 1 To find a writer of that age turning for help to a translation in a foreign vernacular is curious. One would expect him to use the Latin to interpret the vernacular. That Surrey in particular knew Italian, although he had never been in Italy, is always assumed from his renditions of Petrarch; but that he understood Italian with anywhere near the facility with which he understood Latin is an idea that needs very careful proof before it should be accepted. On the other hand the correspondence between the Surrey and the Italian are evident, and it is within the bounds of possibility that he might have seen the Italian. The fact to be explained is that the correspondences are there. The first and most obvious explanation is that they are due to coincidence. Two men, translating the same piece into verse will be apt to amplify in much the same way. Thus when the meus Hector of the Second Book of Vergil (522) is amplified respectively into il nostro figlio and Hector my son, on the assumption that each translator needed an extra foot in the verse, it is not necessary to assume a dependence of one upon the other as the additional matter, son, is implicit in the Latin meus. This is typical of many of the correspondences collected by the German scholars. The undoubted effect produced by their work is due to the accumulation of such minute details, any one of which is in itself negligible. Numerous as they seem when so carefully listed and classified, the total effect is also negligible upon the translation as a whole since they are scattered through it at long intervals. 2 Yet however negligible they may seem, the fact that it is possible to frame such a list requires an explanation other than mere coincidence. We are forced to the dilemma, that either Surrey was familiar with the Italian versions or there was a common source. This common source, I think, is to be found in the annotated editions of Vergil. 3 Very early such edi-

1 The reader is referred back to Chapter IV.
2 This is the explanation of Nott's remark: "But as there is no similarity what. ever in style or turn of expression between the two translations, I am disposed to think that Surrey's adoption of blank verse originated wholly with himself." . . Op. cit. CC.
3 They appear almost every year.


tions began to appear. Moreover, as each editor tended to preserve such annotations of his predecessors as seemed to him valuable, around each Vergilian phrase was gathered a mass of commentary. Such commentary would be followed in any doubtful interpretation by both the Italian and Surrey. 1

At least that would be the usual course. Particularly would it be true of a man of the sixteenth century. And although it is conceivable that before undertaking his translation Surrey assembled versions in other languages, such a proceeding would be more characteristic of the scholarly pedant than of a high-spirited young poet and man of the world. Consequently until all the various commentaries of Vergil published before the composition of Surrey's translation be examined, his indebtedness to the Italian should be received with great caution. Supposing that by this means Surrey's indebtedness to the Italian be proved, the result would not be commensurate with the labor. As the poem is clearly mature work, the result of the effort would be merely to confirm what has always been assumed. Yet until that is done, the as-

1 The edition I have used is that of Venice 1531 with the comments of Donatus, Landinus, and Servius Maurus. For example, to the passage quoted above the comment is: "Non si ipse meus, sub audi filius posset defendere." Another illustration, Surrey's version of the lines 63-4:

Undique visendi studio Troiana iuventus
Circumfusa ruit, certantque inludere capto

is (81-82)

Near him, to gaze, the Trojan youth gan flock,
And strave who most might at the captive scorn.

Nott notes (op. cit., 403 ) "To scorn, is to insult at, to make a mock of." The Hippolito version is

La gioventu Troiana d'ogn' intorno
Sparsa corre a verderlo a fanno a gara,
Chi plu faccia al prigion vergogna e scorno

Fest black-leads this with the comment: "Es ist durchaus unwahrscheinlich, dass H. und S. unabhäng ig zur Wiedergabe des Infinitives durch Fragesatz, die sich fast wörtlich deckt, gekommen sind. 'Scorn' mit Nott 1403 als Verb aufzufassen, ist unrichtig" (op. cit., 57 ). The comment, in this case of Servius, is: "Circûfusa ruit. Figura hypallage, ruit & circûfusa est. Illudere capto. Et illudo tibi dicim, vt hoc loco & illudo te. vt verbis virtutê illude supbis (superbis) & in te sil'e (simile) est a isulto. It is quite clear it is not Nott that is here "unrichtig."


sumption of Surrey's indebtedness to the Hippolito version is hypothetical.

However unsatisfactorily vague may seem the discussion of the problem of the Second Book, the outlines are clearly drawn in comparison with the questions involved in the problem of the Fourth. For the Second Book we have a text admittedly inferior, because there is very little doubt that it has been edited; for the Fourth we have three texts, which do not agree among themselves and the value of anyone of which depends upon its similarity to an unknown original. These are (a) the Tottel edition of 1557, reprinted by the Roxburghe Club in 1814, and the Fourth Book alone by Fest; (b) the Hargrave MS. version, never printed at all, but very carefully collated by Imelmann; and (c) the printed edition of John Day, which exists today in an unique copy at Britwell Court, and which has never been either reprinted or collated. 1 In the two accessible texts, the Tottel and the Hargrave MS., there are certain curious differences. Imelmann has shown that the second is more like the Douglas translation, and also the Italian version of Picholomini, than is the Tottel. 2 Granted that this be true, it is not clear what it signifies. Either Tottel changed the text, or the copyist of the Hargrave MS. changed the text, or (what is more probable) both edited the manuscripts that they received. The case is still more complicated by the fact that, as Imelmann shows, there are apparent reminiscences of the Hargrave MS. version in Phaer's translation, finished in April 1556. But there is no proof that the copyist of the Hargrave MS. did not improve his author in reference to Phaer! And these verbal similarities are not more numerous than would happen by the doctrine

1 Clearly, until this last be published, no results can be considered definite.
2 The following is a fair sample of the variants:

IV. 427. Nec patris Anchisæ cinerem Manisve revelli . . .

Tottel, 560-1. Nor cynders of his father Anchises Disturbed have, out of his sepulture.

Hargrave MS.561-2 Nor cynders of his father Anchises Disturbed/ ne pulled/ out of his sepulture.

Picholomini 12b. Ne'l cener del suo padre Anchise o l'ombre Trassi fuor del sepolcro.

But the ne pulled is superimposed upon an aye crossed out. Imelmann, op cit., 116


of chance. We are asked to accept hypothesis piled upon hypothesis, that Surrey knew the unpublished Douglas and the accessible Italian, and that Phaer knew the unpublished Surrey (unless the Britwell copy be like the Hargrave MS.). It seems to me that this theory breaks of its own weight. The correspondences in the various versions are not sufficiently striking; you read, but you remain unconvinced. The one dominant idea you gain from the whole discussion is of the uncertainty surrounding Surrey's text. Until that be determined any discussion of the relation between the different versions is necessarily futile.

The importance of this discussion lies in the fact that it involves the early treatment of blank verse. Upon analysis, the peculiarities of blank verse may be resolved into (a) the omission of rime; (b) the use of pentameter; and (c) the use of the feet within the line. The first seems clearly due to the influence of humanism. 1 The second, on the other hand, is due to the dominance in English of the pentameter line. There is no inherent reason why the five-accented line should have been preferred to that having six accents, especially as the hexameter was the meter of Vergil. At least so thought Surrey himself as shown by his version of the Fiftyfifth Psalm. But the pentameter line was that used in both the rime-royal and in the heroic couplet. It therefore had the sanction of all the great writers. Logically, then, both Grimald and Surrey adopted it. This represents the working of the English tradition. But for the treatment within the lines Surrey especially claimed the full measure of freedom in the placing of his accents. As in the case of the Fifty-fifth Psalm, here also, he writes by ear. So long as there be the five stresses in the line, the feet may take care of themselves. One of the favorite openings is a stressed syllable, followed by two unaccented syllables: 2

C'óldest thou hópe? Unúrst to léve my lánd?

Usually after such an opening the line becomes iambic, but it may be as irregular as 3

Fór to prepáre, and dríve to the séa cóst.

If this be the reading, it is clear that the number of syllables, while usually ten, is of minor importance. This explains Nott's

1 See ante 356 ff.
2 Bk. IV, 397 ( Fest).
3 Bk. IV, 374 ( Fest).


hypothesis that Surrey left the work unfinished, because a number of the lines do not scan according to the strict iambic measure. 1 But this is in consonance with the principles of the Medieval Latin as practiced in English. 2 The danger of this method is at once obvious; the freedom way degenerate into license, and lines be produced that are verse by courtesy only. 3 Consequently under the lead of humanism there was exerted a steady pressure to make the lines more "regular." The humanist critics objected to Surrey's feet that they lacked "true quantities." Their position may be best illustrated by Ascham, who, it will be remembered, desired unrimed iambic verse in imitation of the "perfect Grecians." 4

The noble Lord Th. Earle of Surrey, first of all English men, in translating the fourth booke of Virgill: and Gonsaluo Periz that excellent learned man, and Secretarie to kyng Philip of Spaine, in translating the Vlisses of Homer out of Greke into Spanish, haue both, by good iudgement, auoyded the fault of Ryming, yet neither of them hath fullie hit(t)e perfite and trew versifying. Indeed, they obserue iust number, and euen feete: but here is the fault, their feete: be feete without ioyntes, that is to say, not distinct by trew quantitie of sillabes: And so, soch feete, be but numme (benummed) feete: and be, euen as vnfitte for a verse to turne and runne roundly withall, as feete of brasse or wood be vnweeldie to go well withall. And as a foote of wood, is a plaine shew of a maifest maime, euen so feete, in our English versifying, without quantitie and ioyntes, be sure signes, that the verse is either, borne deformed, vnnaturall and lame, and so verie vuseemlie to looke vpon, except to men that be gogle eyed them selues.

This passage must mean that, while the number of syllables in the line is normally correct, the placing of the stress is such that feet in the classical sense cannot be formed from them. 5 But this freedom in placing the stress is characteristic of all our great blank verse. And the reason why in the history of the literature blank verse is so late in developing is because it thus combines in itself

1 Some of them certainly read like alexandrines.
2 Ante 145 ff.
3 Some of the authors of the Mirror for Magistrates, Cavyl for instance, wrote lines that defy any known rules for scansion.
4 Ascham Scholemaster, Arber's Reprint, 147-8.
5 This may be the explanation for the divergence of the texts of Surrey, that each editor in varying degrees tried to remodel the work along humanistic lines.


so many utterly diverse and antagonistic elements. Before it could be written an author must have arisen who in himself combined the movements of the English tradition, the Medieval Latin, and humanism. Logically such a combination was not possible until the second generation of the reign of Henry VIII, the generation of the Earl of Surrey.

It is this union of the separate influences that makes Surrey's work so important. It is possible, even, to choose single poems in which any one of the various movements seems to dominate. For example, a characteristic of the English tradition, inherited from Chaucer, is to be found in the feeling toward nature, shown by concrete allusions. Surrey Description of Spring may be cited in illustration: 1

The soote season, that bud and blome furth bringes
With grene hath clad the hill and eke the vale;
The nightingale with fethers new she sings:
The turtle to her make hath tolde her tale:
Somer is come, for euery spray nowe springes,
The hart hath hong his olde hed on the pale:
The buck in brake his winter cote he flinges:
The fishes flote with newe repaired scale:
The adder all her sloughe awaye she slinges:
The swift swalow pursueth the flyes smale:
The busy bee her honye now she minges:
Winter is worne that was the flowers bale:
And thus I see among these pleasant thinges
Eche care decayes, and yet my sorow springes.

Here even the language shows its dependence upon the earlier English writers; such words as soote (sweet), make (mate) and ming (remember) 2 prove Surrey a student of English. This is not an imitation of Chaucer or Lydgate, but one feels that, had they not written, the poem would have been quite different. The same is true also of its content. It is a catalogue of the signs of an English spring. For the sake of comparison to bring out this very important point the corresponding sonnet of Petrarch is here given: 3

1 Tottel's Miscellany, Arber's Reprint, 4.
2 It may be worth while to correct the old Aldine edition of Surrey on the authority of the N. E. D. Ming does not mean "mingle."
3 Sonnet CCCX.


Zefiro torna, e'l bel tempo rimena,
E i fiori e l'erbe, sua doice famiglia,
E garrir Progne e pianger Filomena,
E primavera candida e vermiglia

Ridono i prati, e'l ciel si rasserena:
Giove s'allegra di mirar sua figlia;
L'aria a l'acqua e la terra è d'amor piena:
Ogni animal d'amar si riconsiglia

Ma per me, lasso!, tornano i piû gravi
Sospori, che del cor profondo tragge
Quella ch'al ciel se ne portò le chiavi

E cantar augelletti, e fiorir piagge,
E'n belle donne oneste atti soavi,
Sono un deserto, e fere aspre e selvagge

These two poems lend themselves perfectly to the comparison; they are identical in both length and subject. Yet the dissimilarity is striking. The conventional generalizations of the Italian, the classical reminiscence in Progne, Filomena, and Giove, and the conceited close, contrast markedly with the concrete detail in the English, such detail, be it noted in passing, as would come to the eye of a young Englishman, fond of the out-of-doors. This characteristic trait, to embody within the verse observations of nature, was learned surely of his English predecessors, and not from the Italian poet; one has but to visit Vaucluse to realize how inadequate an impression of the spectacular beauty of the place is given by Petrarch's enamelled phrases. In Surrey the content surely is English. But if in the preceding poem the content be English, the form surely is not. The elaborate simplicity of the rimescheme, three quatrains abab with a final couplet cc, recall rather the Medieval Latin. Consequently in Surrey's works careful analysis can show the traces of all four of the great dominating impulses of literature. It is this union of forces which have appeared in the earlier writers that makes the poetry of the generation exemplified in Surrey so important.

It is this factor, rather than mere verse-technique, that caused the esteem in which Surrey was held by the Elizabethans. For one reason, the language had settled into its modern form. Whereas, even in Wyatt, the romance accent was still current, it is rare in Surrey. To assume that the romance accent disappeared because of his dislike, is to attribute much more influence to his writings than the facts seem to warrant. Actually it is more logical to as-


sume that he wrote the language as he found it, and the innovations attributed to him belong equally to all his contemporaries. 1 It was chronology, rather than genius, that rejected the older forms. But much the same reasoning applies to verse forms. In Surrey's work are first developed several of the forms used later, such as the Elizathan sonnet, and his use of others than new, such as poulter's measure, probably gave them currency. Yet here again he was following the lines of least resistance. It was Surrey's fortune, rather than his merit, that in his work are crystallized the beginnings of modern English literature. And it was equally the good fortune of the age that it found in Surrey a writer that could so crystallize them. Because of the junction of the time and the man, the result is that Surrey's work marks an epoch, the line of cleavage between the old and the new.

This is primarily because in Surrey we find for the first time the author clearly transcending his medium. He writes what he wishes to write as he wishes to write it,--not because he is constrained to any given form inherited from the past, or borrowed from Europe. For the first time since Chaucer the reader feels the personal note. Even Skelton's powerful personality dashes to pieces against his acquired forms, and he remains unread, and Wyatt's innate nobility petrifies in the Italian formula. But in Surrey, as in Chaucer, there is a light touch. When Lady Hertford refused to dance with him, he describes the scene with details that are intentionally comic. 2 The idea of personifying the participants by their armorial animals gives the ridiculous picture of the lion rampart "prancing" and beating his tail. Or, another example is his charming poem that childhood is the happiest period of a man's life,--with the ironic pathos added that to our modern eyes the author himself was still a young man at his death, in spite of the "white and hoarish hairs" "the messengers of age." His pieces to his wife seem of genuine lyric quality, without the Petrarchan conventionality and hackneyed phrasing. It is easy to believe that in his time of trial she remained faithful to him. The famous illustration is of course the poem written from Windsor. Without accepting the superlative

1 These innovations have been carefully analysed by Courthope, History of English Poetry, London 1904, 92-100. Therefore I shall not repeat them her
2 I cannot take this poem seriously as does M. Bapst, op. cit., 371-4, although certainly Surrey was distinctly irritated by the incident.


employed by Professor Courthope, 1 the charm is at once apparent. This charm, however, arises not from the splendor of the verse nor from the easy handling of a conventional situation, but it is due to the use of such detail that the reader is convinced of the actuality. While the lads below are playing tennis on the green courts, the girls are watching them from the leads of the Maiden's Tower. Such a scene must have occurred many many times, or the tournaments,

On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts.

For the moment you breathe the air of merry England in the reign of bluff King Hal! But of what other writer of the age may this be said? Others may interest us by the quaintness of their sentiments or the power of their verse, but they are dead. Surrey alone lives.

Surrey's poetry, therefore, shows the culmination of forces that had been at work for nearly three quarters of a century. Unconscious of his place and blind to the law, each writer had contributed his part to the making of English literature. Each had written as seemed good to him, limited by his particular past and conditioned by his own personality. Each had written, as we write, for the vital present; no more than we, had they power to foresee the future. Nevertheless, each in his own way, had laid the foundations for the great literature of the coming age. Poetry was ready for the master's hand, because the prentice work had already been done. Early Tudor literature is primarily interesting, therefore, because it is prentice work,--because in this period, more clearly than in any other, is to be seen the working of literary law.

1 "I know of few verses in the whole range of human poetry in which the voice of nature utters the accents of grief with more simplicity and truth; it seems to me to be the most pathetic personal elegy in English poetry." Op. cit., 2, 85.