Excerpt from The Harleian Miscellany, Vol. 9: A Collection of Scarce, Curious, and Entertaining Pamphlets and Tracts, as Well in Manuscript as in Print
Mn. Ellis, in hisfadmirable historic sketch of the progress of English poesy, has described and quoted with encomium the present tract. Its author, he observes, was William Ray,2 of whom nothing is known, but that Bale (de Script. Brit. 1548, p. Declares that he ﬂourished in His work, which is now extremely rare, forms a small duodecimo volume, elegantly printed in black letter, without date or publisher's name.5 It has a prose address from and to some persons, of whose names the initials only are given 'and a me trical prologue, consisting Qf a colloquy between the author and his treatise. Then follows a sort of satirical dirge or lamentation, on the death of the Mass and then the treatise itself, which is called a brief Dialogue between two priest's servants.' It is in two parts, of which the first is a general satire on the monastic orders though Cardinal Wolsey and his friends are occasionally introduced. Much of the second part forms a lampoon on the cardinal'sostateliness, and prtyiigacy and pride.6 The bide/mess of Roy's invective must have made him not less formidable than Shel/on, to l/volsey and the Romish priesthood. And hence, says Mr. Gilchrist} (to whose kindness I owe the power of reprinting Roy's scarce book), it will readily be conceived by those who remember: the rancour with which Shelton was persecuted for his Why come ye not to Court 9' that Wolsey would not be backward to punish the author of the present more virulent attack. The writer, however, if he remained in England, successfully concealed himself, and procured his libel to be printed abroad by a friend, of no inferior zeal, who qﬂercd his assistance in future services of the like nature.8 But the Cardinal spared neither pains nor expense to get all the copies in his own possession, having employed some emissary to buy them all up.9 After his death, in Nov. 1530, the tract was altered, and the edge of its satire taken (31% by transferring to the prelacy such charges as were designated only for ivolsey. Pope spoiled the force of his Dunciad in the same way, and rendered his first aim powerless, by striving to give a twofold wound with the same blow.
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