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satire. Sheridan put him into his Critic as Sir Fretful Plagiary. 115. William Kendrick (1725?-1779). He set himself up as a dramatic critic, lectured on Shakespeare, and attacked, justly, Johnson's edition of Shakespeare. Earlier, he had written a very objectionable review of Goldsmith's Enquiry. - Hugh Kelly (1739-1777), the dramatist. William Woodfall (1746-1803), editor of The Morning Chronicle. 146. shifted his trumpet. Reynolds was very deaf.
DESCRIPTION OF AN AUTHOR'S BEDROOM
In Letter XXX. of the The Public Ledger, 1760.
Citizen of the World; reprinted from 11-12. See notes on Deserted Village, 1. 232. 14. Prince William. Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), third son of George II.; a distinguished soldier and commander. lamp-black face. Evidently a silhouette.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG
Printed in The Bee for October 27, 1759, and again in The Vicar of Wakefield, Chap. XVII.; modelled on an old French song.
The debt that English poetry owes to Chatterton is an anomalous His acknowledged poems, while interesting because the work of their author, in themselves have had little influence or effect. The spurious ones, which he fathered on an invented fifteenth-century priest, Thomas Rowley, were a real contribution to the new romantic poetry, and were not without influence on the development of the romantic movement, now well under way. Chatterton's whole life seemed to be as much a quip of fate as is his paradoxical fame. He had two leading, and to him imperative, motives – a passion for the past, and a zeal for notoriety. The latter could hardly be called ambition for fame, since he was willing to achieve it by any means, and was less eager to accomplish something worthy than merely to attract attention to himself. He was born at Bristol, and lived his earlier years among the associations, and almost in the shadow, of St. Mary
Redcliff cathedral. His earliest definite interest was in these as sociations and in such black-letter texts as came to his hand. This interest in time became his chief passion. When a mere child, he was using his knowledge to deceive gullible citizens of Bristol. Presently he learned of the growing interest in mediæval matters, and that suggested to him that he might find a larger public equally credulous. He tried Horace Walpole first, but was unsuccessful in his attempt on him. He wrote various poems and offered them, as the work of Thomas Rowley, to different editors, but unsuccessfully. At last, convinced of his own genius and of his versatility, he went to London, at the age of seventeen, to achieve celebrity by his pen. This was in 1770, at the time of the Wilkes agitation, when the periodicals were full of radical controversy. Chatterton chose as the quickest and most seasonable path to distinction, that of public satire. He got work published, both prose and verse how much cannot be known now. But it was not well paid; he did not publish enough to support him, and his circumstances became more and more distressing. At last, after four months of struggle, he put an end to his own life before he was eighteen years old.
The fact that he was producing the Rowley poems as imitations hampered him, in expression and matter both. But the poems have, nevertheless, a rareness that mere imitation could never have given them. The work is uneven, and few of the pieces have any perfection of form as a whole. But they show power of suggestion and beauty of conception. There is a fineness about them that shows their author to be akin to the great romanticists that were to follow him. In 1777, Thomas Tyrwhitt collected and published the Rowley poems, and added to the collection an appendix in which he showed the poems to be a forgery. In 1871, Dr. Skeat edited Chatterton's poems. He corrected the spelling of the Rowley poems, and at the same time showed the sources of Chatterton's archaisms, and the sham character of many of them.
The text used here is that of Skeat's edition. (London, 1891.)
SONGS FROM ÆLLA
Chatterton calls Ella a "Tragical Interlude, or Discoursing Tragedy," and says it was written by Rowley and played before Wm. Canynge. He wrote to Dodsley about it, telling him of the existence
of the play, and offering to get him a copy of it for a guinea. Dodsley declined the offer, and the work was not published until 1777, after Chatterton's death. Its plot is not very successful, but its tone has much charm, and some passages of the poetic dialogue are full of beauty. The songs are the best part, however. Chatterton himself said of them, in his letter to Dodsley, "the Songs are flowing, poetical, and elegantly simple."
Only the first and more beautiful part is given. 3. dight; adorned. From O. E. dihtan, to arrange, set in order. In current use down to Chatterton's time. 4. nesh. Tender, soft. Derived by Chatterton from Chaucer. 5. straught; stretched. An old preterit form. 8. eyne. Eyes. From O. E. eage; pl. eagan. This plural ending is preserved in oxen, children. 16. kind; Nature.
44. gre; grow.
AN EXCELENTE BALADE OF CHARITIE
Chatterton adds to this title, As written by the Good Priest Thomas Rowley, 1464. He added, with the glossary, notes explaining what he intended to seem local references in the poem. He sent the poem to the Town and Country Magazine about a month before his death, but it was rejected. This and the Roundelay have been the best known and most admired of Chatterton's poems. The following notes give only the intended meaning of the words in unusual forms, and some slight reference to their proper etymology; there is not space to explain in full Chatterton's ingenious mistakes. The stanza form is a combination of rime royal and the Spenserian stanza; it is rime royal with an alexandrine substituted for the last line of each stanza.
1. In Virgo. That is, in that sign of the Zodiac; the time is September. sheene; shine. 5. chelandry; goldfinch. 7. aumere; dress, apparel. 18. weed. Properly used. The O. E. wæd meant garment. 22. gloomed. Chatterton traces a false etymology for the word, and explains that it means clouded. 24. church-glebehouse. The grave. Church-glebe, cultivable land belonging to a parish church. 31. ghastness; gloom. 'pall; appall. 40.
swangs. Swings. Coined from swang,—the O. E. preterit of swing, -here made into a present form. 45. chapournette. "A small round hat, not unlike the shapournette in heraldry, formerly worn by ecclesiastics and lawyers." · Chatterton. 46. mickle. Much. O. E. mycel; M. E. mikel. Preserved in the Scots muckle. 47. aynewarde. "He told his beads backwards, a figurative expression to signify cursing." Chatterton. Chatterton had no authority for aynewarde; ayenwarde (again-ward) means back again. 52. autremete. "A loose white robe worn by priests." Chatterton. 53. shoe's peak. The fashion of peaked shoes reached an extreme in the fifteenth century. The points were often two feet long, with sometimes an arrangement for fastening them up to be out of the way in walking. They were, as in this case, a sign of foppishness. 56. horse-milliner. Certainly not a fifteenth-century word. But Steevens tells us he saw it, in 1776, over a shop-door in Bristol.” Skeat. 63. Crouche. Cross. Lat. crux. 74. jape. "A short surplice, worn by friars of an inferior class, and secular priests.” Chatterton. Another unwarranted coinage or adaptation. 75. limitor. A begging friar, who was given license to beg within a certain limit. See Prologue to Canterbury Tales, 11. 208-269. 89. his way aborde. Pursued his way. Aborde was coined by Chatterton. 90. gloure; glory.
Printed in the Political Register for June, 1770. It is not probable that Chatterton had any deep or well-formed convictions on political subjects. In fact there is a possibility that he wrote on both sides of the public issue. All that has been identified, however, is in the line of this satire. His radicalism is of a vague, undirected type, very easy to find expression for. This poem is, perhaps, the keenest and most mature of his satires. If his conviction had equalled his power of expression, he would have given promise of becoming a great satirist. The Prophecy was written during the great contest over Wilkes and his expulsion from Parliament, when London was noisy with patriotic clamour of all sorts.
20. St. Stephen's pier. In the old Houses of Parliament, burned in 1834, St. Stephen's Chapel was used as the chamber of the House of Commons. 22. Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton (1735-1811), Premier from 1768-1770. He was at the
head of affairs when Wilkes was expelled from Parliament, and hence was a butt of attack from friends of Wilkes. 40. Gotham. A parish in Nottinghamshire, said to be distinguished by the foolishness of its people. 73. The Earl of Bute had not been Premier since 1763, but he was hated whether in office or out of office. He was regarded as the chief moral support of George III., in his dogged fight for royal supremacy, and in fact, as largely responsible for the king's notion of royal prerogative. 102. "This probably refers to the famous No. 45 of Wilkes's North Briton which was suppressed by the government.”—Skeat. Wilkes established his paper, the North Briton, in 1762. In 1763, in No. 45, he made a vigorous attack on the government, for which he was eventually expelled from Parliament and finally sentenced to prison.
The excuse for including in this collection a piece of work whose authenticity has not been proved, is found in the importance given to the production in its own time, and its undoubted influence. Macpherson's Ossian appeared shortly before Percy's Reliques did, and had its share in turning the attention and taste of the public back to earlier and romantic times. The new interest in the mediaval was stimulated by anything that came out of the past, whether supposed to be from the third century or the thirteenth. Macpherson, a schoolmaster of Highland birth, began to publish his translations from Gaelic poetry in 1760 and continued to add to them for three years. His own assertion was that the poems were the composition of Ossian, a Gaelic bard of the third century A.D. The authenticity of Macpherson's claim was at once disputed, and controversy over the point ran high. The exact valuation to be put upon the work has not even yet been settled. Very few in the present time believe that the poems were the work of Ossian. But on the other hand, it is improbable that they were entirely original with Macpherson. The probability is that parts of them are bits of Gaelic poetry later than the third century, however—which Macpherson translated and put together with additions and filling of his own. For a summing up of the controversy, and of the present theories on the subject, see Beers's History of English Romanticism in the