« AnteriorContinuar »
search made, as he was fain to turn back, and get him to the house of Bethlehem, called the priory of Sheen (which had the privilege of Sanctuary), and put himself into the hands of the prior of that monastery. The prior was thought an holy man, and much reverenced in those days. He came to the king, and besought the king for Perkin's life only, leaving him otherwise to the king's discretion. Many about the king were again more hot than ever, to have the king take him forth and hang him. But the king, that had an high stomach, and could not hate any that he despised, bid, “ Take him forth, and set the knave in the stocks ;” and so promising the prior his life, he caused him to be brought forth. And within two or three days after, upon a scaffold set up in the palace court at Westminster, he was fettered and set in the stocks for the whole day. And the next day after, the like was done by him at the cross in Cheapside, and in both places he read his confession, of which we made mention before ; and was from Cheapside conveyed and laid up in the Tower.
But it was ordained, that this winding-ivy of a Plantagenet should kill the true tree itself. For Perkin, after he had been awhile in the Tower, began to insinuate himself into the favour and kindness of his keepers, servants to the lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Digby, being four in number; Strangeways, Blewet, Astwood, and Long Roger. . These varlets, with mountains of promises, he sought to corrupt, to obtain his escape; but knowing well that his own fortunes were made so contemptible as he could feed no man's hopes, and by hopes he must work, for rewards he had none, he had contrived with himself a vast and tragical plot; which was, to draw into his company Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, then prisoner in the Tower; whom the weary life of a long imprisonment, and the often and renewing fears of being put to death, had softened to take any impression of counsel for his liberty. This young prince he thought these servants would look upon, though not upon himself; and therefore, after that by some message by one or two of them, he had tasted of the Earl's consent; it was agreed that these four should murder their master, the lieutenant, secretly, in the night, and make their best of such money and portable goods of his, as they should find ready at hand, and get the keys of the Tower, and presently let forth Perkin and the earl. But this conspiracy was revealed in time, before it could be executed. And in this again the opinion of the king's great wisdom did
surcharge him with a sinister fame, that Perkip was but his bait, to entrap the Earl of Warwick. And in the very instant while this conspiracy was in working, as if that also had been the king's industry, it was fated that there should break forth a counterfeit Earl of Warwick, a cordwainer's son, whose name was Ralph Wilford; a young man taught and set on by an Augustin friar, called Patrick. They both from the parts of Suffolk came forwards into Kent, where they did not only privily and underhand give out that this Wilford was the true Earl of Warwick, but also the friar, finding some light credence in the people, took the boldness in the pulpit to declare as much, and to incite the people to come in to his aid. Whereupon they were both presently apprehended, and the young fellow executed, and the friar condemned to perpetual imprisonment. This also happening so opportunely, to represent the danger to the king's estate from the Earl of Warwick, and thereby to colour the king's severity that followed; together with the madness of the friar so vainly and desperately to divulge a treason before it had gotten any manner of strength : and the saving of the friar's life, which nevertheless was, indeed, but the privilege of his order; and the pity in the common people, which if it run in a strong stream, doth ever cast up scandal and envy, made it generally rather talked than believed that all was but the king's device. But howsoever it were, hereupon Perkin, that had offended against grace now the third time, was at the last proceeded with, and by commissioners of oyer and determiner, arraigned at Westminster, upon divers treasons committed and perpetrated after his coming on land, within this kingdom, for so the judges advised, for that he was a foreigner, and condemned, and a few days after executed at Tyburn; where he did again openly read his confession, and take it
his death to be true. This was the end of this little cockatrice of a king, that was able to destroy those that did not espy him first. It was one of the longest plays of that kind that had been in memory, and might perhaps have had another end, if he had not met with a king both wise, stout, and fortunate.
17.-THE ANCIENT MANSION.
CRABBE, [CRABBE has been called the Teniers of poetry; by which title it is meant to be conveyed that he painted the minute details of low life with a brilliant fidelity. There is something more in Crabbe than we find in the Dutch painter. He exhibits, indeed, the coarse pleasures of the poor,-he has scenes of boisterous merriment and sottish degradation ;—but he is also the painter of the strong passions and deep feelings that belong to the common nature of the humble and the great. If he had sufficiently kept his power of delineating character within the limits of pleasurable effects—the great test of all high art,—if he had not too frequently revelled in descriptions that only excite unmixed disgust,-he would have been the Wilkie of poetry, a much higher order of artist than the whole race of Tenierses, and Ostades, and Jan Steens. Crabbe will always be a popular poet, to å certain extent;—although the chances are that as real poetry comes to be better understood, a great deal that he has written will be forgotten and neglected. It was said in his praise, by Mr. Jeffrey, in 1810, “ His characters and incidents are as common as the elements out of which they are compounded are humble; and not only has he nothing prodigious or astonishing in any of his representations, but he has not even attempted to impart any of the ordinary colours of poetry to these vulgar materials. He has no moralizing swains or sentimental tradesmen.” This is a sarcasm against the poetry of Wordsworth, which it was then the fashion to sneer at, It would not be difficult to show that the “moralizing swains and sentimental trades
are really as true to our higher nature—that nature with which poetry has especially to deal—as “the depraved, abject, diseased, and neglected poor,-creatures in whom everything amiable or respectable has been extinguished by sordid passions or brutal debauchery,"-are revolting accidents which poetry ought to avoid. Indeed, if Crabbe had not higher delineations than such as these, (which are too common in his writings,) he would not take the rank which he deservedly holds amongst English poets. It is where he does approach to the despised moralists and sentimentalists of another school, that he has the best assurance of an undying fame.
George Crabbe was the son of a humble tradesman at Aldborough, in Suffolk. He was born in 1754. He was apprenticed to a surgeon ; but his father was unable to afford the means of completing his professional education. In 1780, he went to London, a literary adventurer; sustained many hardships and mortifications; was finally res
cued from poverty by the kindness of Edmund Burke ; entered the Church ; and enjoyed competence and universal esteem till his death in 1832. His collected works, with a life by his son, in eight volumes, were published in 1834.]
Or, lassie, lead me to the west,
Where grew the elm trees thick and tall, Where rooks unnumber'd build their nest
Deliberate birds, and prudent all; Their notes, indeed, are harsh and rude, But they're a social multitude."
“ The rooks are shot, the trees are fell’d, And nest and nursery all expelld; With better fate the giant-tree, Old Bulmer's Oak, is gone to sea. The church-way walk is now no more, And men must other ways explore : Though this indeed promotion gains, For this the park's new wall contains : And here I fear we shall not meet A shade-although, perchance, a seat.”
“O then, my lassie, lead the way
To Comfort's Home, the ancient inn :
Old David is our living kin;
" Alas! that mine should be the fate
“O then," the grieving Man replied,
“ No farther, lassie, let me stray ; Here's nothing left of ancient pride,
Of what was grand, of what was gay: