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His hopes of obtaining eminence as a political lyric and heroic poems, pastorals, epistles, ballads, writer now became extravagantly sanguine, and &c. Sublimity and beauty pervade many of them; he already seems to have considered himself a and they display wonderful powers of imagination man of considerable public importance. “My and facility of composition; yet, says Dr. Aikin, company," he says, in a letter to his sister, " is there is also much of the commonplace flatness courted everywhere, and could I humble myself and extravagance, that might be expected from a to go into a compter, could have had twenty places juvenile writer, whose feruility was greater than betore now; but I must be among the great ; state his judgment, and who had fed his mind upon maiters suit me better than commercial.” These stores collected with more avidity than choice. bright prospects, about July, appear to have been The haste and ardour, with which he pursued his suddenly clouded ; and, after a short career of various liierary designs, was in accordance with Gissipation, which kept pace with his hopes, he his favourite maxim, " that God had sent his creafound that he had nothing to expect from the pa- tures into the world with arms long enough to tronage of the great; and, to escape the scene of reach any thing, if they would be at the trouble of his mortification, made an unsuccessful attempt to extending them." obtain the post of surgeon's-mate to the coast of In 1778, a miscellaneous volume of the avowed Africa. It is less certain to what extent he was writings of Chatterton was published ; and, in 1803, now employed by the booksellers, than that he an edition of his works appeared, in three volumes, felt the idea of dependence upon them insup- octavo, with an account of his life, by Dr. Gregory, portable, and soon fell into such a state of india from whom we have before quoted. The general gence as to be reduced to the want of necessary character of his productions has been well appretod. Such was his pride, however, that when, ciated by Lord Orford, who, after expatiating upon aller a fast of three days, his landlady invited him his quick intuition, his humour, his vein of satire, to dinner, he refused the invitation as an insult, the rapidity with which he seized all the topics of assuring her he was not hungry. This is the last conversation, whether of politics, literature, or act recorded of his life; a few hours afterward. | fashion, remarks, “ Nothing in Chatterton can be he swallowed a dose of arsenic, and was found separated from Chatterton. His noblest flight, his dead the next morning, August the 25th, 1770, sweetest strain, his grossest ribaldry, and his most surrounded by fragments of numerous manuscripts, commonplace imitations of the productions of which he appeared to have destroyed. His sui magazines, were all the effervescences of the same cide took place in Brook-street, Ilolborn, and he ungovernable impulse, which, cameleon-like, imwas interred, in a shell, in the burying-ground | bibed the colours of all it looked on. It was Osof Shoe lane workhouse. This melancholy ca- sian, or a Saxon monk, or Gray, or Smollett, or tastrophe is heightened by the fact, that Dr. Fry, Junius ; and if it failed most in what it most affecthead of St. John's College, Oxford, had inst gone to led to be, a poet of the fifteenth century, it was beBristol, for the purpose of assisting Chatterton, cause it could not imitate what had not existed." when he was there informed of his death.
In person, Chatterton is said to have been, like his The controversy respecting the authenticity of genius, premature ; he had, says his biographer, a the poems attributed to Rowley is now at an end ; manliness and dignity beyond his years, and there though there are still a few, perhaps, who may was a something about him
was a something about him uncommonly preposside with Dean Milies and others, against the host sessing. Ilis most remarkable feature was his of writers, including Gibbon, Johnson, and the two eyes, which, thongh gray, were uncommonly piercWarons, who ascribe the entire authorship to ing; when he was warmed in argument, or otherChaterton. The laiter have, perhaps, come to a wise, they sparkled with fire; and one eye, it is conclusion, which is not likely to be again dis said, was still more remarkable than the other. pated, viz. that however extraordinary it was for The character of Chatterton has been sufficiently Chatterton to produce them in the eighteenth cen- developed in the course of the preceding memoir; tury, it was impossible that Rowley could have his ruling passion, we havo seen, was literary fame; writien them in the fifteenth. But, whether and it is doubtful whether his death was not Charterton was or was not the author of the poems rather occasioned through fear of losing the reputaascribed to Rowley, his transcendent genius must tion he had already acquired, than despair of being ever be the subject of wonder and admiration. able to obtain a future subsistence. This is renThe eulogy of his friends, and the opinions of the dered at least plausible, by the fact of his having controversialisis respecting him, are certainly too received pecuniary assistance from Mr. Hamilton, estravagant. Dean Milles prefers Rowley to llo. senior, the proprietor of the Critical Review, not rder, Virgil, Spencer, and Shakspeare ; Mr. Ma- long before his death, with a promise of more ; that lone " believes Chatterton to have been the great he was employed by his literary friends, almost to est genius that England has produced since the the last hour of his existence; and that he was days of Shakspeare ;" and Mr. Croil, the author aware of the suspicions existing that himself and of Love and Madness, asserts, that “no such hu- Rowley were the same. Though he neither conman being, at any period of life, has ever been | fessed nor denied this, it was evident that his conknown, or possibly ever will be known." This duct was influenced by some mystery, known only enthusiastic praise is not confined to the critical 10 himself; he grew wild, abstracted, and incohn. writers; the British muse has paid some of her rent, and a settled gloominess at length took posmost beautiful iributes to the genius and memory session of his countenance, which was a presage of Chatierion. The poems of Rowley, as published of his fatal resolution. Ile has been accused of by Dean Milles, consist of pieces of all the prin- libertinism, but there are no proofs of this during cipal classes of poetical composition: fragedies, his residence either at London or Bristol ; though
many of his productions show a laxity of principle caused by the last act of his life? His sister sars, which might justify the supposition. The best that “ he was a lover of truth from the earliest qualities in his character were the negative ones dawn of reason;" yet his life was one continued of temperance and affection for his family, to whom career of deception. He is to be pitied for his he sent small presents out of his first gains, and misfortunes, and admired for his genius ; but, with always spoke of their welfare as one of the princi Kirke White in our remembrance, we could pal ends of his exertions. But what deeper afflic- wish to forget all else that belonged to Chattion could he have brought upon them than that I terton.
1 Thenne Maister Canynge saughte the kynge, BRISTOWE TRAGEDIE;
And felle down onne hys knee;
“I'm come," quod hee, “ unto your grace, OR, THE DETIE OF SYR CHARLES BAWDIN. To move your clemencye.” The featherd songster chaunticleer
" Thenne," quod the kynge," youre tale speke out, Han wounde hys bugle horne,
You have been much oure friende : And tolde the earlie villager
Whatever youre request may bee, The commynge of the morne :
Wee wylle io ytte attende." Kynge Edwarde sawe the ruddie streakes “My nobile leige! alle my request Of lyghte eclypse the greie ;
Ys for a nobile knyghte, And herde the raven's crokynge throte
Who, though mayhap hee has donne wronge, Proclayme the fated daie.
He thoughte ytte slylle was ryghte: “Thou’rt ryght," quod he, “ for, by the Godde “ Hee has a spouse and children twaine ; That syttes onthroned on hyghe!
Alle rewyn'd are for aie, Charles Bawdin, and hys fellowes twaine, Yff that you are resolved to lett To-daie shall surelie die."
Charles Bawdin die to-daie." Thenne wythe a jigge of nappy ale
" Speke not of such a traytour vile," Hys knyghtes dydd onne hymm waite ;
The kynge ynn furie sayde, “ Goe tell the traytour, thatt to-daie
“ Before the evening starre doth shcene, Hee leaves thys mortall state.”
Bawdin shall loose hys hedde : Syr Canterlone thenne bendedd lowe
“ Justice does loudlie for hym calle, Wythe harte brymm-fulle of woe;
And hee shalle have hys meede : Hee journey'd to the castle-gate,
Speke, Maister Canynge! whatte thynge else And to Syr Charles dydd goe.
Att present doe you neede ?".
“ Leave justice to our Godde, Wythe brinie tears dydd wett the floore,
And laye the yronne rule asyde; For goode Syr Charleses lyfe.
Be thyne the olyve rodde. “O goode Syr Charles !" sayd Canterlone, “ Was Godde to serche our hertes and reines, “ Badde tydyngs I doe brynge."
The best were synners grete ; “Speke boldlie, manne," sayd brave Syr Charles, Christ's vicarr only knowes ne synne, " Whatte says the traytour kynge ?"
Ynne all thys mortall state. "I greeve to telle: before yonne sonne
“ Leit mercie rule thyne infante reigne, Does fromme the welkinn flye,
'Twylle faste thye crowne fulle sure ; Hee hath uppon hys honour sworne,
From race to race thye familie Thatt thou shalt surelie die."
Alle sovereigns shall endure : “We all must die,” quod brave Syr Charles, But yff wythe bloode and slanghter thou “Or thatie I'm not affearde ;
Beginne thy infante reigne, Whatte bootes to lyve a little space ?
Thy crowne upponne thy childrennes brows Thanke Jesu, I'm prepared :
Wylle never long remayne." “ Batt telle thye kynge, for myne hee's not, “Canynge, awaie! thys traytour vile I'de sooner die to-daie,
Has scorn'd my power and mee ; Thanne lyve hys slave, as manie are,
Howe canst thou then for such a manne Thongb I shoulde lyve for aie.”
Entreate my clemencye?" , Then Canterlone hee dydd goe out,
"My nobile leige! the trulie brave To tell the maior straite
Wylle val'rous actions prize, To gett all thynges ynne reddyness
Respect a brave and nobile mynde, For gonde Syr Charleses fate.
Although ynne enemies."
I make no double butt hee ys gone,
Where soone I hope to goe; Where wee for ever shall bee blest,
From oute the reech of woe. “ Hee taughte mee justice and the laws
Wyth pitie to unite ; And eke hee taughte mee howe to knowe
The wronge cause from the ryghte : “ Hee taughte mee wythe a prudent hando
To feede the hungrie poore,
The hungrie fromm my doore :
I have hys wordyes kept;
Eche nyghte before I slept.
“I have a spouse, goe aske of her
Yff I defyled her bedde; I have a kynge, and none can laie
Black treason onne my hedde.
“ Canynge, awaie! By Godde ynne heaven
Thatt dydd mee being gyve
Whilst thys Syr Charles dothe lyve. * By Marie, and alle seinctes ynne heaven,
Thys sunne shall be hys laste." Thenne Canynge dropp'd a brinie teare,
And from the presence paste.
Hee to Syr Charles dydd goe,
And teares beganne to flowe. “Wee all must die," quod brave Syr Charles ;
- Whatte bootes ytre howe or whenne ; Dethe ys the sure, the certaine sate
Of all wee mortall menne.
Runns over att thyne eye ;
Thatt thou dost child-lyke crye ?”
Thatt thou so soone must die,
"Tys thys thatt wettes myne eye."
From godlie fountaines sprynge ; Detbe I despise, and alle the power
Of Edwarde, traytour kynge. * Whan through the tyrant's welcome means
I shall resigne my lyfe,
For bothe my sonnes and wyse.
Thys was appointed mee;
What Godde ordeynes to bee ?
Whan thousands dyed arounde ; Whan smokynge streemes of crimson bloode
Imbrew'd the fatten'd grounde :
Thatt cutte the airie waie,
And close myne eyes for aie ?
Looke wanne and bee dysmayde ?
Bee alle the manne display'd.
And guarde thee and thye sonne, Yff 'tis bys wylle ; but yff 'tis nott,
Why thenne hys wylle bee donne. * My honest friende, my faulte has beene
To serve Godde and my prynce ; And thatt I no tyme-server am,
My dethe wylle soone convynce. - Ynne Londonne citye was I borne,
Of parents of grete note; My fadre dydd a nobile armes
Emblazon onne hys cote :
And nowe the belle began to tolle,
And claryonnes to sound ;
A prauncyng onne the grounde :
His lovynge wyfe came ynne, Weepynge unseigned teers of woe,
Wythe loude and dysmalle dynne.
Ynn quiet lett mee die;
Maye looke onne dethe as I. “Sweet Florence! why these brinie ieers ?
Theye washe my soule awaie,
Wyth thee, sweete dame, to staie.
Ynne diffraunt partes a godlie psaume
Moste sweetlie theye dydd chaunt; Behynde theyre backes syx mynstrelles came,
Who tuned the strunge bataunt.
Echone the bowe dydd bende,
Syr Charles forr to defend.
Drawne onne a cloth-ladye sledde, Bye two blacke stedes ynne trappyoges whyte,
Wyth plumes uponne theyre hedde:
Of archers strong and stoute,
Marched ynne goodlie route :
Echone hys parte dydd chaunt; Behynde theyre backes syx mynstrelles came,
Who tuned the strunge bataunt :
Ynne clothe of scarlett deckt;
Lyke casterne princes trick't:
“ 'Tys butt a journie I shalle goe
Untoe the lande of blysse ;
Receive thys holie kysse."
Tremblynge these wordyes spoke,
Mye herte ys welle nyghe broke : " Ah, sweete Syr Charles ! why wylt thou goe
Wythoute thye lovynge wyse ?
Ytte eke shall ende mye lyse.”
To brynge Syr Charles awaie, Who turnedd to hys lovynge wyse,
And thus to her dydd saie :
Truste thou ynne Godde above,
And ynne theyre hertes hym love :
Thatt I theyre fader runne;
Yee officers, leade onne.
And dydd her tresses tere ; “Oh, staie mye husbande, lorde, and lyfe!"
Syr Charles thenne dropt a teare.
Shee fellen onne the floore;
And march'd fromm oute the dore.
Wythe lookes fulle brave and sweete; Lookes thatt enshone ne moe concern
Thanne anie ynne the strete.
Ynne scarlett robes and golde,
Muche glorious to beholde :
Appeared to the syghie,
Of godlie monkysh plyghte :
And after them a multitude
Of citizenns dydd thronge;
As hee dydd passe alonge.
Syr Charles dydd turne and saie, “O Thou thatt savest manne fromme synne,
Washe mye soule clean thys daie!" Att the grete mynster wyndowe sat
The kynge ynne myckle state,
To hys most welcom fate
Thatt Edwarde hee myghte heare,
And thus hys wordes declare :
Exposed to infamie ;
I'm greaterr nowe thanne thee.
Thou wearest nowe a crowne; And hast appoynted mee to die,
By power noit thyne owne.
I have beene dede till nowe,
For aie uponne my browe: " Whylst thou, perhapps, for some few yeares,
Shalt rule thys fickle lande, To lett them knowe howe wyde the rule - 'Twixt kynge and tyrante hande : " Thye power unjust, thou traytour slave!
Shall falle onne thye owne hedde"Fromm out of hearyng of the kynge | Departed thenne the sledde.
krnge Edwarde's soule rush'd to hys face,
flee turn'd hys hedde awaie, And to hys broder Gloucester
Hee thus dydd speke and saie:
Ne ghastlie terrors brynge,
Hee's greaier thanne a kynge!"
* And maye echone oure foes Bende downe theyre neckes to bloudie axe,
And feede the carryon crowes.' And nowe the horses gentlie drewe
Syr Charles uppe the hyghe hylle ;
Ilys pretious blonde to spylle.
As uppe a gilded carre
Gayn'd ynne the bloudie warre :
* Beholde you see mee dye, For servynge loyally mye kynge,
Mye kynge most ryghtfullie. * Is longe as Edwarde rules thys lande,
Ne quiet you wylle knowe: Your sonnes and husbandes shalle bee slayne.
And brookes wythe bloude shalle fowe.
Whenne ynne adversitye ;
And for the true cause dye."
A prayer to Godde dyd make, Beseechynge hym unto hymselfe
Hys parlynge soule to take. Thenne kneelynge downe, hee layde hys hedde,
Mosi seemlie onne the blocke; Whyche fromme hys bodie fayre at once
The able heddes-manne stroke:
And oute the bloude beganne to flowe,
And rounde the scaffolde twyne ; And teares, enow to washe't awaie,
Dydd flowe fromme each man's eyne.
Innto foure partes cutte;
Cponne a pole was putte.
One onne the mynster-tower, And one from off the castle-gate
The crowen dydd devoure :
Heere uponne mie true love's grave,
Mie love ys dedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Mie love ys dedde,
The other onne Seyncte Powle's goode gate,
A dreery spectacle ; Ulys hedde was placed onne the hyghe crosse,
Ynne hyghe strete most nobile. This was the ende of Bawdin's fate :
Godde prosper longe oure kynge, And grante hee inaye, wyth Bawdin's soule,
Ynne Heaven Godde's mercie synge!
Comme, wythe acorne-coppe and thorne,
Mie love ys dedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.