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by the king, but by the council. It would have been contrary to constitutional custom for the king to have signed any such document; it is quite clear, from the entry quoted, that, in point of fact, he did not sign it; and the narrative which the worthy martyrologist was misled into inserting, and Cranmer's difficulty to cause the king to 'put to his hand,' and the tears by which subsequent writers have declared that his submission to the stern pleading of his spiritual father was accompanied, all vanish.'

I am sure I need not say anything further on this point. Your own sense of justice will point out the proper course to adopt.

I am, Sir, yours respectfully,

JOHN SIMPSON. To the Editor of the British Quarterly Review.

We thank our correspondent of Runcorn for the civility of his communication. We heartily wish we could say that the reasons be alleges for doubting_Foxe's account of Cranmer's interview with King Edward in the matter of Joan Bocher, were as satisfactory to us as they appear to be to him. That the account may be circumstantially inaccurate, and yet substantially true, is very possible. It seems clear from what our correspondent bas adduced that the king's signature was not necessary to the validity of the warrant which was issued by the council of state ; but if the young king had expressed strong reluctance to the bloody proceedings, it is not unnatural that they should have taken pains to appease his clamorous conscience, nor alas! do we think it improbable that Cranmer (who in the service of his late master had done so many foul things) might be commissioned to undertake the task. The little picturesque additions about signing the warrant and so on, are just the sort of accrerions which attach themselves to facts in the course of their transmission from hand to hand, and as to such details, the martyrologist was very likely mistaken : but that there should have been no foundation for such a very striking story-so unlikely to be inventedso contrary, as the eulogists of Cranmer affirm, to the whole tenour of his life—a story uncontradicted, too, by Foxe's contemporaries, we cannot easily believe. We say uncontradicted;' for we must remind our respected correspondent that when we spoke of the account as such, we meant uncontradicted' by any contemporary historian,-not that there have not arisen warm partisans a century or two afterwards, willing to find evidence against what they do not like to believe ; for bardly any historic fact has come down to us which has not encountered such sceptics. But, in point of fact, it is of little consequence in itself, and none to our argument in the article referred to by our correspondent, whether the story be received or rejected; for if the story be wholly false, there is, alas! abundantly sufficient and more than sufficient in the life of Cranmer to show that he was capable of doing at the bidding of authority and interest almost any action, however base, provided it did not demand courage. He who served, as he served, such a master as Henry VIII., with such accommodating fidelity, and through such scenes - who becanje the tool of Northumberlaud, of Somerset, of anybody whom he feared to disobey-must have been capable of fully acquiescing in such proceedings as those of Joan Bocher. And yet, notwithstanding his manifold and glaring delinquencies, with what lenity, till lately, has he been generally regarded !

THE BRITISH

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

NOVEMBER 1, 1849.

ART. I. Savonarola. Ein Gedicht von NICOLAUS LENAU. Zweite

durchgesehene Auflage. 1844. (Savonarola. A Poem. By

NICHOLAS LENAU. Second Edition, revised, 1844.) This poem scarcely sustains the reputation which its late author had acquired in Germany by his Faust. A German professor of Hebrew said in our hearing one day that he had attempted in vain to read it through. This might have been the case, and the book excellent notwithstanding, for the learned Orientalist was no poet. But his unfavourable verdict was not altogether unjust. Though possessing abilities of no mean order, Lenau has failed to give the life and spirit to his production which a theme so noble should have inspired. The poet has not sufficiently acclimated himself, as it were, to the age of which he writes. Too much the moralist and too little the painter, he has not portrayed the period and suffered it to speak for itself. He assumes his office of interpreter too frequently and with too little of concealment. Modern sentiments are placed in the mouths of speakers in the fifteenth century. The reader becomes aware that his author, in his vehement censure of the learned scepticism that prevailed in the Florentine Academy, is, in effect, anxious to hold up to abhorrence the pantheistic philosophy of modern Germany. The truth of the analogy is undeniable, the parallel is fair, the indignation righteous, but this expression of it is ill-placed. These bitter iambics are out of keeping; they mar the artistic beauty of an historic poem. The monument of a hero should not be placarded with rewards offered for the apprehension of a criminal. But, though defective in this respect, and occasionally abstract and tedious, the poem contains many admirable passages.

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We propose, in briefly sketching the career of Savonarola, to give some account as we proceed of the religious condition of Europe towards the close of the fifteenth century. It was a principle with that master of landscape-gardening, Shenstone, that when the eye has viewed a principal object from the proper point, the foot should travel towards it by another route. A similar canon will hold good with regard to a narrative circumscribed by limits like the present, and in which the writer, like the gardener, has to make the best of his space. The course of our observations will, accordingly, bring us at first directly in view of our hero; then we shall lose sight of him for awhile, wandering somewhat deviously among the lights and shadows of the adjacent scenery, in order to approach him once more on emerging from our survey of preceding and contemporary history, enabled the more justly to appreciate his position and his character.

The principal biographies of Savonarola are four in number, two ancient and two modern. The two earlier are by Francesco Pico della Mirandola (nephew of the celebrated Giovanni Pico,) and the Dominican Burlamacchi. Both these writers have decorated their narratives with marvellous additions, after the manner of the Lives of the Saints; credulous, both as partisans and as religionists, they will reject no story which in their estimate would contribute to exalt the subject of their memoirs. The two later accounts, by Professors Rudelbach and Meier, appeared almost simultaneously; the one in 1835, and the other in the following year. Professor Rudelbach has produced the more attractive book; he writes well, sometimes even eloquently, and has brought much to bear upon his subject from other quarters. Professor Meier, though his work is less generally interesting, and in some points less complete, has been equally indefatigable in the research immediately requisite, and displays greater accuracy and caution in the conclusions at which he arrives. Both these volumes are highly favourable specimens of those Monographies which Germany has produced in such numbers of late years.

The day of St. George the Martyr was celebrated at Ferrara with festivities which rivalled in their magnificence those of the Florentines in honour of their patron St. John. The great ducal houses which had acquired rule in Italy, and, like the Emperors of Rome, were sovereigns among the vestiges of republicanism, wisely availed themselves of these annual occasions to conciliate the people, at once by dazzling and by employing them. On the morning of the twenty-third of April, in the year 1475, all Ferrara was early awake to celebrate, under the

auspices of Hercules d'Este, a St. George's day which should outshine the gayest of its predecessors. This prince had been invested with the vicariat only four years previously, but the city displayed already the results of his able policy. Stately buildings were rising in many quarters, giving occupation to numerous workmen. The fortifications had been strengthened at great cost. Embankments were in progress to confine the floods of the Po, which had formerly covered so large a space of the surrounding flats. The peasants had already reaped a harvest on some spots where, till recently, the eye had seen from the city walls only straggling poplars, or the grey willows stretching away, islanded among the stagnant waters.

On the day in question, there was a brilliant assemblage of nobles and courtiers in the court of the great castle of Este, under those walls which, seventy years before, had witnessed the execution of Hugo and Parisina, and beheld

• The crowd in a speechless circle gather,

To see the son fall by the doom of the father.' Those dark-red, square towers, slanting outwards at the base with such massiveness—the numerous archways, like prisonvaults - and the projecting battlements, overhanging heavily the dull waters of the moat-must have looked more than ever gloomy in contrast with the gay figures that passed to and fro under the teeth of the portcullis, as the chains of the drawbridge would vibrate, and its timbers echo, to the tread of the soldiery, the hoof of the steed, or the roll of the ponderous state-carriage. The castle has changed least of all with time, though the banner of Este no longer floats above the quadrangular tower that surmounts its keep. It stands yet, as then it stood, the grave reality which overlooked, and was to outlive, so much brief merriment and hollow pomp. But then almost everything in the city was in contrast with it, now almost everything is in harmony. The ways are grass-grown, and the largest houses, with their lower windows defended by huge iron-bars, look like penitentiaries for the memory of bygone revelry. In the narrower streets most of the windows are covered in with decayed planks, or have before them dusty and faded jalousies that look as though they had not been opened for years. The sunlight is now everywhere repelled, as if it was felt that it had pried cruelly into the calamity of the tottering edifices; but on that merry morning, sacred to St. George, it was welcomed, and framed, as it streamed in, with garlands hung about the windows. Gay-coloured handkerchiefs with gilded edges were suspended in festoons across the streets, and costly tapestries hung out their quaint figures of men, and beasts, and flowers, assuming life as they waved in the wind. Booths had been erected in the open places, (the theatre proper was not yet;) tumblers and dancers, musicians and charlatans, were preparing to play their parts. All made way for the harlequin and the player: the masters of merriment were lords absolute for the day, and in their laughing homage to the silken tyranny of these arbiters of pleasure, the light-hearted Italians lost all thought of any other servitude. The mechanist, too, with his novel or marvellous contrivances: the painter, with his optical illusions, cheating the eye of distance; the master of ceremonies, with his masking devices and marshalled pageantries, strove each to surpass himself in what should this day call forth the plaudits of the gathering multitude. In the crowd were mingled countless figures, such as Callot would have delighted to sketch;-condottieri,

bearded like the pard,' with fierce mien and clanging accoutrements, shouldering aside the unwarlike citizens; fortune tellers, ballad-singers, beggars; and pilgrims, covered with rags and dust, eking out a viaticum by offering for sale their saintly trumpery of leaden medallions, artificial flowers, and box-wood rosaries. The clergy, also, with all their gradations of colour, grey and scarlet, black and purple, contributed their variety to animate the scene. White-robed choristers sang in the churches; the bells — the blessed bells — which the holy chrism had anointed, and which princes had god-fathered, the interpreting tongues that were believed to signal to the world above the joy of man below, - rang their gleesome peals in the belfries; hymns and eulogies, satires and dancing-songs, were sung or recited in the streets. Courtiers, who were literary amateurs as well as literary patrons, according to the fashion of the day, furnished encomiastic verses; and grateful scholars from the flourishing university, classic odes in honour of the reigning house. The hymns sung on these occasions were commonly set, in compliance with a usage then coming into vogue, to light, popular airs; and psalms were to be heard trolled out in chorus to the jerking measure of some favourite Canzone a Ballo.'

Nicholas d’Este had induced Michael Savonarola, a man of noble birth, and distinguished as a physician and an author, to remove from Padua to Ferrara. Niccolo, the son of this eminent man, was still resident there, living as a private gentleman, enjoying the society of the literati about the court, and principally occupied with scientific pursuits and with the education of a numerous family. On this day the whole household had gone out to see the sights of the festival, with the exception of Girolamo, his third son, now about two-and-twenty years of age. He availed himself of this opportunity to put in execution

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