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and commands that the progress of the spring shall no longer be checked by ungenial weather. Neptune and Æolus give the necessary orders. Then Nature, by her messengers, summons all organized beings before her,the beasts by the roe, the birds by the swallow, the flowers by the yarrow. The Lion is crowned king of the beasts, the Eagle of the birds, and the Thistle of the flowers. The Rose, the type of beauty, is wedded to the Thistle, the type of strength, who is commanded well to cherish and guard his Rose. Such is an outline of the plot of this beautiful and graceful poem.
"The design of the Golden Terge"-another allegoric poem "is to show the gradual and imperceptible influence of love when too far indulged over reason. ""* This poem is in a curious nine-line stanza, having only two rhymes. But Dunbar excelled also in comic and satirical composition. The Dance of the Seven deadly Sins is a production of this kind, the humour, dash, and broad Scotch of which remind one strongly of Burns. The metre is that of Chaucer's Sir Thopas. Some Highlanders are introduced at the end, and receive very disrespectful mention: :
"Thae turmagantis with tag and tatter
Full loud in Ersche [Erse] begout to clatter,
The devil sa devit wes with thair yell
He smorit them with smoke."
Gawain Douglas, sprung from a noble family, studied at the university of Paris, and rose to be bishop of Dunkeld. After Flodden field, the regent Albany drove him from Scotland. Coming into England, he was hospitably received by Henry, who allowed him a liberal pension. He died in London of the plague, in 1521. He is chiefly known for a translation of the Eneid into heroic verse, * Warton
which is the earliest English version on record, having been published in 1513. The prologues prefixed to the several books have great poetic beauty; and the language presents little more difficulty than that of Chaucer. The concluding lines of one of these prologues are subjoined as a specimen; they are part of an address to the
"Welcum depaynter of the blomyt medis,
Welcum the lyffe of everything that spredis,
Welcum be thy bricht bemes gladand al."
Sir David Lyndsay was a satirist of great power and boldness. He is the Jean de Meunt of the sixteenth century; but, as a layman and a knight, he levels his satire with even greater directness and impartiality than that extraordinary ecclesiastic. In his allegorical satire, entitled The Dreme, the poet is conducted by Remembrance, first to the infernal regions, which he finds peopled with churchmen of every grade,—then to Purgatory,-then through the "three elements" to the seven planets in their successive spheres, then beyond them to the empyrean and the celestial abodes. The poetical topography is without doubt borrowed from Dante. He is then transported back to earth, and visits Paradise; whence, by a "very rapid transition," as Warton calls it, he is taken to Scotland, where he meets " Johne the comounweill," who treats him to a long general satire on the corrupt state of that kingdom. After this the poet is in the usual manner brought back to the cave by the sea side, where he fell asleep, and wakes up from his dream. The metre is the Chaucerian heptastich. There is prefixed to the poem an exhortation in ten stanzas, addressed to King James V., in which advice and warning are conveyed with unceremo
Author of the continuation of the Roman de la Rose; the causti cynicism of which is almost incredible.
nious plainness. Among Lyndsay's remaining poems, the most important is the Monarchie, an account of the most famous monarchies that have flourished in the world, commencing with the creation of man, and ending with the day of judgment. This poem, which is for the most part in the common romance metre, or eight-syllable couplet, runs over with satire and invective. Lyndsay's powerful attacks on the Scottish clergy, the state of which at that time unfortunately afforded but too much ground for them, are said to have hastened the religious war in Scotland.
The language of all these Scottish writers in their serious compositions closely resembles the English of their contemporaries south of the Tweed; the chief difference consisting in certain dialectic peculiarities, such as the use of "quh" for "wh," and of "it" and "and" for "ed "and "ing," in the terminations of the past and present participles. But in proportion as they resort to comic expression, and attach their satire to particular places or persons, their language becomes less English, and slides into the rough vernacular of their ordinary speech. Exactly the same thing is observable in Burns' poetry.
Learning:-Grocyn, Colet, the Humanities; State of the Universities.
The fifteenth century was, as we have said, preeminently an age of accumulation, assimilation, and preparation.
The first two-thirds of the sixteenth century fall under the same general description. England had to bring herself up to the intellectual level of the continent, and to master the treasures of literature and philosophy, which the revival and diffusion of Greek, and partly of Roman learning, had placed within her reach, before her writers could
attempt to rival the fame of the great ancients. There is much interest in tracing in detail the numerous minute steps and individual acts which helped on this process. Many such are related by Wood in his Athence Oxonienses. Thus we are told that the first man who publicly taught Greek at Oxford was William Grocyn. Stapleton, a Catholic writer of the age of Elizabeth, says, "Recens tunc ex Italiâ venerat Grocinus, qui primus in eâ ætate Græcas literas in Angliam invexerat, Oxoniique publice professus fuerat." Of course Grocyn had to go abroad to get this new learning. Born about 1450, and educated at Oxford, he travelled on the continent about the year 1488, and studied both at Rome and Florence. Greek learning flourished then at Florence more than at any place in Europe, owing to the fact that Lorenzo de Medici had eagerly welcomed to his court many illustrious and learned refugees, who, subsequently to the fall of Constantinople, had been forced to seek shelter from the violence and intolerance of the Mussulmans in Western Europe. One of these learned Byzantines, Demetrius Chalcocondyles, together with the Italian Angelo Politian, afforded to Grocyn by their public instructions those opportunities which he had left his country to search for,-of penetrating into the sanctuary of classical antiquity, and drinking in at the fountain head the inspirations of a national genius, whose glories no lapse of time can obscure. Gibbon,* with his usual fulness of learning and wonderful mastery of style, has thus sketched the features of this eventful time :
"The genius and education of Lorenzo rendered him not only a patron, but a judge and candidate, in the literary race. In his palace, distress was entitled to relief, and merit to reward; his leisure hours were delightfully spent in the Platonic academy; he encouraged the emula
*Decline and Fall, ch. lxvi.
tion of Demetrius Chalcocondyles and Angelo Politian; and his active missionary, Janus Lascaris, returned from the East with a treasure of two hundred manuscripts, four score of which were as yet unknown in the libraries of Europe. The rest of Italy was animated by a similar spirit, and the progress of the nation repaid the liberality of her princes. The Latins held the exclusive property of their own literature, and these disciples of Greece were soon capable of transmitting and improving the lessons which they had imbibed. After a short succession of foreign teachers, the tide of emigration subsided, but the language of Constantinople was spread beyond the Alps; and the natives of France, Germany, and England imparted to their countrymen the sacred fire which they had kindled in the schools of Florence and Rome." After noticing the spirit of imitation which long prevailed, he continues:- "Genius may anticipate the season of maturity; but in the education of a people, as in that of an individual, memory must be exercised before the powers of reason and fancy can be expanded; nor may the artist hope to equal or surpass, till he has learned to imitate the works of his predecessors."
But to return to Grocyn, whose visit to Florence occasioned this quotation. When settled in Oxford again, about the year 1490, he opened his budget, and taught Greek to all comers. Among his hearers was a youth of much promise from London, known afterwards to his own and later ages as Sir Thomas More. More was further instructed in Greek by a private tutor, Thomas Lynacre, the physician, who had gained his medical degree, as well as his Greek, in Italy. Another active patron of the new learning was Dean Colet, the founder of St. Paul's school, and the friend of Erasmus. He too had travelled extensively, and observed admiringly; he had remarked how Lorenzo de Medici laboured to build up a sort of Utopia of intelligence and refinement, made beautiful by Art, and governed by Wis