Another knot of such good companie be common rnmor-spreders, of whom the publike fame is, that there be or have bene certaine notable and noted walkers in Paule's and such places of resort, so common that the very usuall places of their being there are ordinarily knowen by the name of saving that I heare say now of late many of them flocke more into the middle isle, which is supposed to be done partly to shunne publike noting, partely for better hearkening, and partely for more commodious publishing.
The suspicion, grudge, and talke goeth among the Quene's good subjectes, how such fellowes be the coyners of newes; in the beginning of the rebellion how lustie they were, how their countenances, their fleering, their flinging paces, their whisperings, shewed their hartes; how they had newes of every encrease, of every going forward, and every avantageable doing of the rebelles; how they have newes out of Fraunce and Flaunders with the soonest, God knoweth what they send thither, and with what reciprocation they requite such newes againe; how they had newes of the late horrible murder ere it was done, as if they had ben accessaries before the fact; how they write letters at home directed to themselves ; how with these pretty letters, while they be fresh bleeding, that is, so scarcely drie that the ink blotteth, with their great countenances, and their wondrous intelligence and great insightes in secrets of princes, as if they were kinges' cousines, and with their offrings of wagers, and such other braggeries, they deface (as men say) all that can be brought or reported never so truly of any good successe to the Quene or her frendes.
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whose several writings the silver file of the workman recommendeth to the plausible entertainment of the daintiest censure." A man may live thrice Nestor's life, Thrice wander out Ulysses' race, Yet never find Ulysses' wife; Such change hath chaunced in this case; Less time will serve than Paris had, Small pain (if none be small inonghe) To find great' store of Helen's trade; Norton for a time turned his thoughts from the law, anu entered himself, in 1565, at Pembroke Hall, Oxford, where he was resident when the first edition of his play was published, and where he took his degree of M. Whilst at college, and in the year 1567, his excess of zeal displayed itself in three pamphlets, published by his printer, John Daye, but without the author's name." A bull graunted by the pope to Doctor Harding and other, by reconcilement and assoyling of English papistes, to undermyne faith and allegeance to the Quene; with a true declaration of the intention and frutes thereof, &c."" A disclosing of the sreat bull, and certain calves that he hath gotten, and specially the monster bull that roared at my lord by shops gate." Reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. 535, where the name of the writer is misprinted J/orton; and The close of the year in which he left the University was marked by the great northern insurrection, which broke out in Yorkshire in the beginning of November, and was quelled by Sussex at the end of December, 1569.
The opportunity was too tempting, and Norton1 addressed an eloquent letter, published by Henry Bynneman " To the Queene's Maiestes poore decey ved subiectes of the north countrey, drawen into rebellion by the Earles of Northumberland and Westmerland."2 They had " purified Durham Cathedral" by burning the versions of the Bible and the books of public devotion, and for this they are soundly rated: " Christians I cannot term you, that have defaced the communion of Christians, and, in destroying thebooke of Christes most holie testament, renounced your partes by his testament bequethed vnto you." This tirade did not suffice; and in 1570 Norton published, at John Daye's,1 his " Warning against the dangerous practices of the Papists, and specially the Partners of the late rebellion;" and in it he gave a curious but evidently exaggerated account of the diligence of the disaffected in spreading rumours and news.
At the Christmas of the same year, he had written, in conjunction with Thomas Sackville, the Tragedy of " Gorboduc." Norton had previously courted the Muses in some recommendatory verses prefixed to " Turner's Preservative," a tract against the Pelagians, dedicated to Hugh Latimer, and printed in 1551.*a second translation of 51; but the usual distinguishment was only the N., as prefixed to 75, 101, 102, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 115, 116, 117, 118, 129,1 131,2 135, 136,3 138 to 145 inclusive, 147, 149 and 150: in all twenty-eight."4 Of the want of poetical merit in Sternhold and Hopkins' Psalter, the baldness of expression, the bad construction of the metre, and the shifts and transposition of words to lengthen out a stanza and form a rhyme, only one opinion now prevails; and it is certain, says Warton,5 " that in Norton's Psalms we see none of those sublime strokes which Sir Philip Sydney discovered in that venerable drama," Gorboduc 6 But we have two better specimens of Norton's versification, preserved among the Cotton MSS.
He did not amass wealth ; but he was confided in by the Lord Treasurer Burghley and by Sir Christopher Hatton. When that prelate contemplated an answer to " An admonition to the parliament," Norton took it upon himself to address to him a long letter, dated 20th October, 1572,2 to dissuade him from the work—doubting whether it were not " best policy to let the matter die quietly ;" declaring that it was " good to contain controversies within schools, and not to carry them to Paul's Cross and elsewhere abroad ;" referring to the hurt which the division of the Lutherans and Zuinglians had done; and recommending the " Good Mr. Doctor, before he went any further with the book, to confer with some grave, wise men, and especially such as have been rather beholders than actors in this tragedy." Whitgift combated his views, and the other side continuing to write, Norton changed his opinion. The first has not been met with in print.4 The Psalms, with Norton's initial afterwards varied, versions by other hands appearing instead of Norton's. 132, has the initial M., and differs in some few words from Norton's version, in that Bible and in the recent edition of the Common Prayer, 1800, numbers 75 and 108 are Hopkins; and in the same edition of the Common Prayer, 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 117, 118, 129, 131, 132, 135, 136, 138 to 145 inclusive, 147, 149 and 150, are the twenty-seven ascribed to Norton; but 109 is a different version from Norton's, and he did not write 111 or 132. (1593) says, "How few may wage comparison with Reynolds, Stubbes, Mulcaster, Norton, Lambert, and the Lord Henry Howard? It is not improbable that, as his friend and recent patron, Sackville, had by a lavish expenditure become involved, and was travelling in Italy, and as Norton's religious opinions were very strong, not to say puritanical, he intended to devote himself to a religious life.