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STEPHEN HAWES, the author of the following poem, was, according to the information gathered by Warton, a native of Suffolk, and studied in the University of Oxford, after which he travelled much in France, and "became a complete master of the French and Italian poetry." He subsequently obtained the favour of King Henry VII, who made him groom of his privy chamber. To Warton's information, we are at present able only to add, that it appears from a book of the expenses of the 12th Henry VIII, among the records in the Rolls House, that the following payment was made to our author on the 6th of January in that year: the play referred to is now perhaps lost.
"Item, to Mr. Hawse, for his play, vjli. xiijs. iiijd.” Hawes was the author of several other works besides the one here printed, for an account of which we refer the reader to "Warton's History of English Poetry." They are in general of very little importance. "The Pastime of Pleasure," which Warton characterises as his "capital work,"
is one of those allegorical writings which were popular with our forefathers, but which can now only be looked upon as monuments of the bad taste of a bad age. It is however a monument ; and being one of the most remarkable productions between the age of Lydgate and that of Wyatt and Surrey, it deserves to be reprinted as one of the links in the history of English poetry, without which that history would be incomplete. The old editions of this poem are very rare.
The present edition is a reprint of that of 1555, of which there is a copy in the British Museum. In two passages the language is so gross in the original, that it has been considered necessary to omit a few lines. These relate chiefly to the dénouement of a tale which was extremely popular in the Middle Ages, and which will be found told with somewhat more decency in the common chap-book story of the enchanter Virgil. It has been thought sufficient to print the simple text of this poem, without illustrative notes. From the nature of the work, the choice lay between giving a large mass of explanatory matter, or none at all, and the circumstances under which it has been published placed the former alternative entirely out of the question.
The History of
GRAUND AMOURE and LA BEL PUCELL,
THE PASTIME OF PLEASURE,
Conteynyng the Knowledge of the Seven Sciences, and the Course of Mans Life in this Worlde.
Invented by STEPHEN HAWES,
Grome of Kyng Henry the Seventh his chamber.