The Pastime of Pleasure

The Pastime of Pleasure

The Pastime of Pleasure

The Pastime of Pleasure

Excerpt

Practically all that is known about the life of Stephen Hawes is brought together in the Dictionary of National Biography, to which the reader may be referred. Meagre as that account is, it is hardly more so than most of the lives of poets before and long after his time, notably Shakespeare. The art of biography was in its infancy in the sixteenth century, and of few writers, even the most eminent, have we more than casual bits of information preserved by a lucky chance. As for the laborious attempts to deduce the date of his birth from ll. 3053-4 in the 1555 edition of The Pastime:

'I thought me paft al chyldly ygnoraunce The .xxxi. yere of my yonge flourynge aege',

they prove nothing, since the editions of 1509, 1517, and 1554 read '.xxi.' instead of '.xxxi.' These lines, then, obviously give no indication whatever of the age of the poet when he was writing The Pastime, but merely tell us that when he had passed his twenty-first year he was no longer a child and had in some measure attained the wisdom of manhood. Unfortunately, the wide circulation of Thomas Wright's reprint of the 1555 edition by the Percy Society in 1845 has made this passage a stumbling-

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