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Barclay
Barclay
159

animated Barclay against a prominent contemporary man of letters. Against Skelton, as a wanton and vicious writer, Barclay inveighed with little or no pretence of disguising his attack. At the close of the ‘Ship of Fools’ (sec. ‘A brefe addicion of the syngularyte of some newe Folys’) he alludes with lofty contempt to the author and theme of the ‘Boke of Phyllyp Sparowe,’ a hit very good-humouredly returned, as it seems, by Skelton in his ‘Garlande of Laurell’ (Dyce's Skelton, i. 411–12). Very probably, also, it is in allusion to Skelton that, in his ‘Ecl. iv.,’ Barclay upbraids a ‘poete laureat’ who is a graduate of ‘stinking Thais’ (cf. Dyce, xxxv–xxxvi). But though Skelton paraphrased and presented to Wolsey three portions of Locher's Latin version of the ‘Ship of Fools’ under the title of the ‘Boke of Three Fooles’ (see Dyce, i. 199–205, and cf. ii. 227), neither jealousy nor partisanship, nor even professional feeling is needed in order to explain Barclay's abhorrence of the Bohemian vicar of Diss, with whose motley the sober hue of his own more sedate literary and satirical gifts had so little in common. Bale mentions (Scriptorum Brytanniæ Centuria, ix.) a book by Barclay, ‘Contra Skeltonium,’ which, according to Ritson, ‘was probably in metre, but appears neither to have been printed, nor to be extant in manuscript.’

How Barclay fared at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries we do not know. Some time before this he had left Ely, where he had become a laudator temporis acti, and deprecated the violence which, in contrast with his predecessors, the ‘dredefull Dromo’ used towards his flock (see Ecl. iii. One would be tempted to identify this personage with Thomas Goodrich, bishop of Ely, 1534–54, who ‘reformed’ his see, but that the ‘Eclogue’ must have been written far earlier). At some date unknown he assumed the habit of the more rigorous Franciscan order at Canterbury (Bale, MS. Sloan, cited by Jamieson; cf. Dempster). It is probably a mere coincidence that an Alexander Barclay is mentioned in 1528 as a vehement promoter of the Lutheran reformation and refugee in Germany (see Arber's reprint of Roy and Barlow's Rede me and be nott wrothe, Introduction, 13). The reaction of the last years of Henry VIII's reign was clearly not disadvantageous to Barclay, who was presented, 7 Feb. 1546, by Mr. John Pascal with the vicarage of Great Baddow, in Essex, and 30 March of the same year with the vicarage of Wokey, in Somersetshire.

During the reign of Edward VI, through the greater part of which he survived, he must have acquiesced in the religious changes that seemed good to those in authority; for not only did he hold Great Baddow till his death, but he was in 1552 presented by the dean and chapter of Canterbury to the rectory of All Hallows, Lombard Street, in the city of London. Jamieson has pointed out that Wadding (Scriptores Ordinis Minorum), who promotes Barclay to a suffragan-bishopric of Bath and Wells, probably confounds him with Gilbert Berkeley, who was actually consecrated to that see in 1559, and that the same mistake may be at the bottom of a scandalous anecdote against Barclay related by Bale and repeated by Wood, of which the scene is laid at Wells, ‘before he was Queen Mary's chaplain.’ Queen Mary did not ascend the throne till more than a year after Barclay's death. One is altogether inclined to regard as resting on no better foundation Bale's characteristic assertion that Barclay throughout remained not only ‘ueritatis osor,’ i.e. a Roman catholic at heart, but also ‘sub cœlibatus fuco fœdus adulter.’

A few weeks after his presentation to his city rectory, Barclay died at Croydon, where he had spent some of his younger days. He was buried in the church there on 10 June 1552. Since, as has been seen, he was born about 1475, he had attained to a good old age. In his will, which is extant, he leaves bequests to the poor of Badew and of ‘Owkley’ (Wokey). The other bequests are numerous, but have little significance for posterity; a liberal legacy of 80l. to the poor and other gifts are dependent on the payment of debts owing by one Cutbeard Croke, of Winchester (see Jamieson, i. lxxxvi–lxxxix). Prefixed to Pynson's editions of Barclay's ‘Mirror of Good Manners’ and ‘Sallust’ is a representation of the author in monastic habit presenting a copy of his work to his patron. The face is (at least in the Cambridge ‘Sallust’) interesting; but Jamieson points out that the picture is used for a similar purpose in other publications, so that its chief figure cannot be identified with Barclay.

Even considering the length of his life, Barclay was a very productive writer. No intrinsic importance, however, belongs to any of his minor writings, incidentally mentioned above; in addition to which there has also been attributed to him, on no very satisfactory evidence, the English translation printed by Pynson, as is supposed, between 1520 and 1530, of the travels of Hayton, a Præmonstratensian friar, in the Holy Land and Armenia, originally written in French, and then rendered into Latin by command of Pope Clement V. Warton further mentions, as by Barclay, ‘Orationes variæ’ and a tractate,