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which the original MS. was preserved in the library of Mr. Le Neve, from whence it was purchased by Mr. West. An apparently accurate transcript of it, by the well-known Thomas Martin, of Palsgrave, is fortunately preserved, and was in the possession of the late Dr. Farmer. It is, in general, a satire on the professors of religion ; but the subject of the following lines is the illustrious Sir Thomas More.*
But now we have a knight
* Sir Thomas More, who is attacked in the foregoing piece of obscure and almost unintelligible ribaldry, ought perhaps to be classed among the poets of this reign. One of the small pieces of poetry, composed in his youth, and preserved in his works (the merry Jest of the Serjeant and Frere), may possibly have suggested to the late Mr. Cowper the idea of his popular tale of John Gilpin. In general, although like all the compositions of the age, they are too diffuse and languid, his poems possess considerable merit; and, as well as his prose works, were considered by his contemporaries as a model of pure and elegant language. This excellence principally recommended them to the notice of Dr. Johnson, who has printed many of them in the introduction to his Dictionary; and for this reason the insertion of a specimen here seems unnecessary.
By Bow-bell policy;
Without replication, Having delectation, To make exclamation, By way of declamation, In his debellation, With a popish fashion, To subvert our nation. But this dawcock doctor, And purgatory proctor, Waketh now for wages; And as a man that rages, Or overcome with ages, Disputeth per ambages, To help these parasites, And naughty hypocrites, With legends of lies, Feigned fantasies, And very vanities, Called verities, Unwritten, and unknown, But as they be blown, From liar to liar; Invented by a frier, In magnâ copiá, Brought out of Utopia, Unto the maid of Kent, Now from the devil sent,
A virgin fair and gent,
[MS. fol. 100, &c.]
Dr. Farmer has noticed another work of Skelton, entitled “ Vox Populi,Vox Dei,” which is preserved in MS. in the archives of the university of Cambridge, and which, as well as the “ Image of “ Hypocricy,” had escaped the notice of Mr. Warton.
Another satirist, less distinguished than Skelton, as a Latin scholar, but at least equally formidable to cardinal Wolsey and the Catholics, was WilLIAM Roy; of whom, I believe, nothing is known but that Bale, who has described his poem, (de Script. Brit. edit. 1548, p. 254.) declares that he flourished in 1526.
His work, which is now extremely rare, forms a small duodecimo volume, elegantly printed in black letter, without date or publisher's name. It has a prose dedication, to some person, of whose name the initials only are given ; and a metrical prologue, consisting of a dialogue between the author and his book. Then follows a sort of satirical dirge, or lamentation, on the death of the Mass; and then the treatise itself, which is called a“ Brefe Dialogue between two Preestes’ Servants, “ named Watkin and Jeffraye.” It is in two parts, of which the first is, in general, a satire on the monastic orders; though even here, the Cardinal and his friends are occasionally introduced.
Roy's versification is tolerably easy and flowing; his language often coarse, but nervous and expressive. The bitterness of his invective will appear from the following extracts :
Wat. Doth he' then use on mules to ride ?
That to tell it is not possible.
With worldly pomp incredible.
Before him rideth two priests strong,
Gaping in every man's face.