Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, The Poems of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, Ed. James Yeowell, George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden, London, 1894.

“Surrey first rejected the use of those ‘aureate and mellifluate’ terms, which he found disfiguring our language… (lxx)

And lastly, he discountenanced altogether the French mode of laying an unnatural stress upon final syllables; (lxxi)

He first introduced the use of Blank Heroic Verse. (lxxi)

All writers are agreed that Surrey’s translation of the Second and Fourth Book of Virgil’s Aeneid is the first specimen of Heroic Blank Verse in our language. (lxxii)

“The leading features of Surrey’s style were chiefly dignity and compression. Of his compression, contrasted with the diffusive mode of writing used by all the authors who preceded him, (lxxii)

Surrey’s style bears a stronger resemblance to Dryden’s than to that of any other of our poets. The same manliness, and ease, and vigour characterizes both. In neither do we find any affection of prettiness; they seem both to have been more intent on their thoughts than to have been more intent on their thoughts than their words; (lxxii)

For if I found, sometime that I have sought,
Those stars by whom I trusted of the port,
My sails do fall, and I advance right nought;
As anchor’d fast, my spirits do all resort
To stand agazed, and sink in more and more
The deadly harm which she doth take in sport.
(Description of the Restless State of a Lover, With Suit to His Lady, To Rue on His Dying Heart, page 3)

Rue on my life; or else your cruel wrong
Shall well appear, and by my death be seen. (3)

And when mine eyen did still pursue
The Flying chase of their request;
Their greedy looks did oft renew
The hidden wound within my breast.
(Description of the Restless State of a Lover, 5)

He causeth the one to rage with golden burning dart;
And doth allay with leaden cold again the other’s heart.
Hot gleams of burning fire, and easy sparks of flame,
In balance of unequal weight he pondereth by aim.
(Description of the Fickle Affections, Pangs, and Slights of Love, 6)

And how to hide my harms with soft dissembling chere,
When in my face the painted thoughts would outwardly appear. (7)

I know, and can by rote the tale that I would tell;
But oft the words come forth awry of him that loveth well.
I know in heat and cold the lover how he shakes;
In singing how he doth complain; in sleeping how he wakes. (7)

How small a net may take, and meash a heart of gentle kind: (8)

And when I felt the air so pleasant round about,
Lord! to myself how glad I was that I had gotten out.
(Complaint of a Lover That Defied Love, And Was by Love After the More Tormented, 10)

The jolly woes, the hateless, short debate,
The rakehell life, that ‘longs to love’s disport.
([rakehell: dissolute] How Each Thing, Save the Lover in Spring, Reviveth to Pleasure, 16)

I never saw my Lady lay apart
Her cornet black, in cold nor yet in heat,
Sith first she knew my grief was grown so great;
(Complaint That His Lady, After She Knew His Love, Kept Her Face Always Hidden From Him, 17)

The palme-play, where, despoiled for the game,
With dazzled eyes oft we by gleams of love
Have miss’d the ball, and got sight of our dame,
(Prisoned in Windsor, He Recounteth His Pleasure There Passed, 19)

The wild forest, the clothed holts with green;
With reins availed, and swift y-breathed horse,
With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between, (19)

And such as by their lords do set but little price,
Let them sit still, …
(Complaint of the Absence of her Lover, Being Upon the Sea, 28)

Give place, ye lovers, here before
That spent your boasts and brags in vain;
My Lady’s beauty passeth more
The best of yours, I dare well sayen,
(A Praise of His Love, Wherein He Reproveth Them That Compare Their Ladies with His, 31)

To break it forth unto some friend, it easeth well the heart.
(A Warning to the Lover, How He is Abused By His Love, 34)

I see, (what would you more,) stood never man so sure
On woman’s word, but wisdom would mistrust it to endure. (35)

Each beast can choose his fere according to his mind,
And eke can shew a friendly chere, like to their beastly kind.
(A Song Written by the Earl of Surrey, Of A Lady Refused to Dance with Him, 47)

I might perceive a Wolf as white as whalesbone;
A fairer beast of fresher hue, beheld I never none;
Save that her looks were coy, and forward eke her grace:
Unto the which this gentle beast’gan him advance apace. (47)

But now I do perceive that nought it moveth you, (50)

While that I live and breathe, such shall my custom be
In wildness of the woods to seek my prey, where pleaseth me; (51)

And in my thought I roll her beauties to and fro;
Her laughing chere, her lovely look, my heart that pierced so.
Her strangeness when I sued her servant for to be;
And what she said, and how she smiled, when that she pitied me.
(The Faithful Lover Declareth His Pains and His Uncertain Joys, And With Only Hope Recomforteth Somewhat His Woeful Heart, 54)

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:

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.
(The means to Attain Happy Life, Complete, 57)

Laid in my quiet bed, in study as I were,
I saw within my troubled head a heap of thoughts appear.
And every thought did shew so lively in mine eyes,
That now I sigh’d, and then I smiled, as cause of thought did rise.
I saw the little boy in thought how oft that he
Did wish of God, to scape the rod, a tall young man to be.
The young man eke that feels his bones with pains opprest,
How he would be a rich old man, to live and lie at rest.
The rich old man that sees his end draw on so sore,
How he would be a boy again, to live so much the more.
Whereat full oft I smiled, to see how all these three
From boy to man, form man to boy, would chop and change degree.
And musing thus I think, the case is very strange,
That man from wealth, to live in woe, doth ever seek to change.
Thus thoughtful as I lay, I saw my wither’d skin,
How it doth shew my dented chews, the flesh was worn so thin.
And eke my toothless chaps, the gates of my right way,
That opes and shuts as I do speak, do thus unto me say:
‘Thy white and hoarish hairs, the messengers of age,
That shew, like lines of true belief, that this life doth assuage;
Bid thee lay hand, and feel them hanging on thy chin;
The which do write two ages past, the third now coming in.
Hang up therefore the bit of thy young wanton time:
And thou that therein beaten art, the happiest life define.’
Whereat I sigh’d, and said: ‘Fare well! my wonted joy;
Truss up thy pack, and trudge from me to every little boy;
And tell them thus from me; their time most happy is,
If, to their time, they reason had, to know the truth of this.’
(How No Age is Content With His Own Estate, And How the Age of Children is the Happiest if They Had Skill to Understand It, Complete, 64)

Thraldom at large hath made this prison free.
(Bonum Est Mihi Quod Humiliasti Me, 66)

For well I find it easeth me;
(The Lover Describeth His Whole State Unto His Love, And Promising Her His Faithful Good Will, Assureth Himself of Hers Again, 74)

What is that pleasant gain? What is that sweet relief,
That should delay the bitter taste that we feel of our grief?
The gladsome days we pass to search a simple gain;
The quiet nights, with broken sleeps, to feed a restless brain.
(Ecclesiastes, Chapter II, 86)

Wherefore each greedy heart that riches seeks to gain,
Gather may he that savoury fruit that springeth of his pain.
(Chapter III, 90)

Who sleeps alone, at every turn doth feel the winter blast:
(Chapter IV, 92)

In boast of outward works he taketh no delight,
Nor waste of words; such sacrifice unsavoureth in his sight.
(Chapter IV, 94)

In waste of wind, I rede [advise], vow nought unto the Lord,
Whereto thy heart to bind thy will, freely doth not accord;
For humble vows fulfill’d, by grace right sweetly smoke:
But bold behests, broken by lusts, the wrath of God provoke.
(Chapter V, 95)

‘Oh!’ think I, ‘had I wings like to the simple dove,
This peril might I fly; and seek some place of rest
In wilder woods, where I might dwell far from these cares.’
(Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam. Pslam LV, 106)


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