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preacher, betrays an obliquity of design, and a contempt of human credulity that is not very amiable. But had he been spared, his pride and ambition would have come to flow in their
channels; his understanding would have taught him the practical value of truth and the dignity of virtue, and he would have despised artifice, when he had felt the strength and security of wisdom. In estimating the promises of his genius, I would rather lean to the utmost enthusiasm of his admirers, than to the cold opinion of those, who are afraid of being blinded to the defects of the poems attributed to Rowley, by the veil of obsolete phraseology which is thrown over them. If we look to the ballad of Sir Charles Bawdin, and translate it into modern English, we shall find its strength and interest to have no dependance on obsolete words. In the striking passage of the martyr Bawdin standirg erect in his car to rebuke Edward, who beheld him from the window, when
“ The tyrant's soul rushed to his face,” and when he exclaimed,
“ Behold the man! he speaks the truth,
“ He's greater than a king;"
in these, and in all the striking parts of the ballad, no effect is owing to mock antiquity, but to the simple and high conception of a great and just character, who
“ Summ'd the actions of the day,
What a moral portraiture from the hand of a boy! The inequality of Chatterton's various productions may be compared to the disproportions of the ungrown giant. His works had nothing of the definite neatness of that precocious talent which stops short in early maturity. His thirst for know, ledge was that of a being taught by instinct to lay up materials for the exercise of great and unde, veloped powers. Even in his favourite maxim, , pushed it might be to hyperbole, that a man by abstinence and perseverance might accomplish whatever he pleased, may be traced the indications of a genius which nature had meant to achieve works of immortality. Tasso alone can be compared to him as a juvenile prodigy'. No English poet ever equalled him at the same age.
1 In the verses which Tasso sent to his mother when he was nine years old.
THE DETHE OF SYR CHARLES BAWDIN.
The featherd songster chaunticleer
Han wounde hys bugle horne,
of the morne :
Kynge Edwarde sawe the ruddie streakes
Of lyghte eclypse the greie;
Proclayme the fated daie.
“Thou’rt ryght," quod he, "for, by the Godde
That syttes enthron'd on hyghe! Charles Bawdin, and hys fellowes twaine,
To-daie shall surelie die.”
Thenne wythe a jugge of nappy ale
Hys knyghtes dydd onne hymm waite; “ Goe tell the traytour, thạtt to-daie
Hee leaves thys mortall state.”
Syr Canterlone thenne bendedd lowę,
Wythe harte brymm-fulle of woe; Hee journey'd to the castle-gate, And to Syr Charles dydd goe,”
But whenne hee came, hys children twaine,
And eke hys lovynge wyfe,
For goode Syr Charleses lyfe.
“O goode Syr Charles !" sayd Canterlone,
“ Badde tydyngs I doe brynge." Speke boldlie, manne," sayd brave Syr Charles, “ Whatte says thie traytor kynge?"
“ I greeve to telle; before yonne sonne
Does fromme the welkin flye,
Thatt thou shalt surelie die."
“ Wee all must die," quod brave Syr Charles ;
« Of thatte I'm not affearde; Whatte bootes to lyve a little space?
Thanke Jesu, I'm prepar'd:
“ Butt telle thye kynge, for myne hee's not,
I'de sooner die to-daie,
Though I shoulde lyve for aie."
Then Canterlone hee dydd goe out,
To telle the maior straite
For goode Syr Charleses fate.
Thenne Maisterr Canynge saughte the kynge,
And felle down onne hys knee; " I'm come," quod hee, “ unto your grace
To move your clemencye."
Thenne quod the kynge, “ Youre tale speke out,
You have been much oure friende; Whatever youre request may bee,
Wee wylle to ytte attende.”
“ My nobile leige! alle my request
Ys for a nobile knyghte, Who, though may hap hee has donne wronge,
Hee thoughte ytte stylle was ryghte:
“ He has a spouse and children twaine,
Alle rewyn'd are for aie;
Charles Bawdin die to-daie."
Speke not of such a traytour vile,”
The kynge yon furie sayde; “ Before the evening starre doth sheene,
Bawdin shall loose hys hedde:
“ Justice does loudlie for hym calle,
And hee shalle have hys meede : Speke, Maister Canynge! whatte thynge else
Att present doe you neede?"