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Title: Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete
Author: Gilfillan, George, 1813-1878 [Editor]
Language: English
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SPECIMENS WITH MEMOIRS OF THE LESS-KNOWN BRITISH POETS.

With an Introductory Essay,


BY THE REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN.



COMPLETE



VOL. I.

M.DCCC.LX.



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY


We propose to introduce our 'Specimens' by a short Essay on the Origin
and Progress of English Poetry on to the days of Chaucer and of Gower.
Having called, in conjunction with many other critics, Chaucer 'the
Father of English Poetry,' to seek to go back further may seem like
pursuing antenatal researches. But while Chaucer was the sun, a certain
glimmering dawn had gone before him, and to reflect that, is the object
of the following pages.


Britain, when the Romans invaded it, was a barbarous country; and although
subjugated and long held by that people, they seem to have left it nearly
as uncultivated and illiterate as they found it. 'No magnificent remains,'
says Macaulay, 'of Latian porches and aqueducts are to be found in Britain.
No writer of British birth is to be reckoned among the masters of Latin
poetry and eloquence. It is not probable that the islanders were, at any
time, generally familiar with the tongue of their Italian rulers. From
the Atlantic to the vicinity of the Rhine the Latin has, during many
centuries, been predominant. It drove out the Celtic--it was not driven
out by the Teutonic--and it is at this day the basis of the French,
Spanish, and Portuguese languages. In our island the Latin appears never
to have superseded the old Gaelic speech, and could not stand its ground
before the German.' It was in the fifth century that that modification
of the German or Teutonic speech called the Anglo-Saxon was introduced
into this country. It soon asserted its superiority over the British
tongue, which seemed to retreat before it, reluctantly and proudly, like
a lion, into the mountain-fastnesses of Wales or to the rocky sea-beach
of Cornwall. The triumph was not completed all at once, but from the
beginning it was secure. The bards of Wales continued to sing, but their
strains resembled the mutterings of thunder among their own hills, only
half heard in the distant valleys, and exciting neither curiosity nor awe.
For five centuries, with the exception of some Latin words added by the
preachers of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxon language continued much as it
was when first introduced. Barbarous as the manners of the people were,
literature was by no means left without a witness. Its chief cultivators
were the monks and other religious persons, who spent their leisure in
multiplying books, either by original composition or by transcription,
including treatises on theology, historical chronicles, and a great
abundance and variety of poetical productions. These were written at first
exclusively in Latin, but occasionally, in process of time, in the Anglo-
Saxon tongue. The theology taught in them was, no doubt, crude and
corrupted, the history was stuffed with fables, and the poetry was rough
and bald in the extreme; but still they furnished a food fitted for the
awakening mind of the age. When the Christian religion reached Great
Britain, it brought necessarily with it an impulse to intellect as well
as to morality. So startling are the facts it relates, so broad and deep
the principles it lays down, so humane the spirit it inculcates, and so
ravishing the hopes it awakens, that, however disguised in superstition
and clouded by imperfect representation, it never fails to produce, in all
countries to which it comes, a resurrection of the nation's virtue, and a
revival, for a time at least, of the nation's political and intellectual
energy and genius. Hence we find the very earliest literary names in our
early annals are those of Christian missionaries. Such is said to have
been Gildas, a Briton, who lived in the first part of the sixth century,
and is the reputed author of a short history of Britain in Latin. Such was
the still more apocryphal Nennius, also called, till of late, the writer
of a small Latin historical work. Such was St Columbanus, who was born
in Ireland in 560; became a monk in the Irish monastery of Benchor; and
afterwards, at the head of twelve disciples, preached Christianity, in its
most ascetic form, in England and in France; founded in the latter country
various monasteries; and, when banished by Queen Brunehaut on account of
his stern inflexibility of character, went to Switzerland, and then to
Lombardy, proselytising the heathen, and defending, by his letters and
other writings, the peculiar tenets of the Irish Church in reference to
the time of the celebration of Easter and to the popular heresies of the
day. He died October 2, 615, in the monastery of Bobbio; and his religious
treatises and Latin poetry gave an undoubted impulse to the age's progress
in letters.

About this period the better sort of Saxons, both clergy and laity, got
into the habit of visiting Rome; while Rome, in her turn, sent emissaries
to England. Thus, while the one insensibly imbibed new knowledge as well
as devotion from the great centre, the other brought with them to our
shores importations of books, including copies of such religious classics
as Josephus and Chrysostom, and of such literary classics as Homer. About
680, died Caedmon, a monk of Whitby, one of the first who composed in
Anglo-Saxon, and some of whose compositions are preserved. Strange and
myth-like stories are told by Bede about this remarkable natural genius.
He was originally a cow-herd. Partly from want of training, and partly
from bashfulness, when the harp was given him in the hall, and he was
asked, as all others were, to raise the voice of song, Caedmon had often
to abscond in confusion. On one occasion he had retired to the stable,
where he fell into a sound sleep. He dreamed that a stranger appeared to
him, and said, 'Caedmon, sing me something.' Caedmon replied that it was
his incapacity to sing which had brought him to take refuge in the stable.
'Nay,' said the stranger, 'but thou hast something to sing.' 'What shall I
sing?' rejoined Caedmon. 'Sing the Creation,' and thereupon he began to
pour out verses, which, when he awoke, he remembered, repeated, and to
which he added others as good. The first lines are, as translated into
English, the following:--

  Now let us praise
  The Guardian of heaven,
  The might of the Creator
  And his counsel--
  The Glory!--Father of men!
  He first created,
  For the children of men,
  Heaven as a roof--
  The holy Creator!
  Then the world--
  The Guardian of mankind!
  The Eternal Lord!
  Produced afterwards
  The Earth for men--
  The Almighty Master!'

Our readers all remember the well-known story of Coleridge falling asleep
over Purchas's 'Pilgrims'; how the poem of 'Kubla Khan' came rushing
from dreamland upon his soul; and how, when awakened, he wrote it down,
and found it to be, if not sense, something better--a glorious piece
of fantastic imagination. We knew a gentleman who, slumbering while in
a state of bad health, produced, in the course of a few hours, one or
two thousand rhymed lines, some of which he repeated in our hearing
afterwards, and which were full of point and poetry. We cannot see that
Caedmon's lines betray any weird inspiration; but when rehearsed the next
day to the Abbess Hilda, to whom the town-bailiff of Whitby conducted him,
she and a circle of learned men pronounced that he had received the gift
of song direct from heaven! They, after one or two other trials of his
powers, persuaded him to become a monk in the house of the Abbess, who
commanded him to transfer to verse the whole of the Scripture history. It
is said that he was constantly employed in repeating to himself what he
had heard; or, as one of his old biographers has it, 'like a clean animal
ruminating it, he turned it into most sweet verse.' In this way he wrote
or rather improvised a vast quantity of poetry, chiefly on religious
subjects. Thorpe, in his edition of this author, has preserved a speech
of Satan, bearing a striking resemblance to some parts of Milton:--

 'Boiled within him
  His thought about his heart,
  Hot was without him,
  His due punishment.
  "This narrow place is most unlike
  That other that we formerly knew
  High in heaven's kingdom,
  Which my master bestowed on me,
  Though we it, for the All-Powerful,
  May not possess.

     *     *     *     *     *

  That is to me of sorrows the greatest,
  That Adam,
  Who was wrought of earth,
  Shall possess
  My strong seat;
  That it shall be to him in delight,
  And we endure this torment,
  Misery in this hell.

     *     *     *     *     *

  Here is a vast fire,
  Above and underneath.
  Never did I see
  A loathlier landscape.
  The flame abateth not
  Hot over hell.
  Me hath the clasping of these rings,
  This hard-polished band,
  Impeded in my course,
  Debarred me from my way.
  My feet are bound,
  My hands manacled;
  Of these hell-doors are
  The ways obstructed,
  So that with aught I cannot
  From these limb-bonds escape.
  About me lie
  Huge gratings
  Of hard iron,
  Forged with heat,
  With which me God
  Hath fastened by the neck.
  Thus perceive I that he knoweth my mind,
  And that he knew also,
  The Lord of hosts,
  That should us through Adam
  Evil befall,
  About the realm of heaven,
  Where I had power of my hands."'

Through these rude lines there flashes forth, like fire through a thick
dull grating, a powerful conception--one which Milton has borrowed and
developed--that of the Evil One feeling in his dark bosom jealousy at
young Man, almost overpowering his hatred to God; and another conception
still more striking, that of the devil's thorough conviction that all
his plans and thoughts are entirely known by his great Adversary, and
are counteracted before they are formed--

  'Thus perceive I that he knoweth my mind.'

Compare this with Milton's lines--

                       'So should I purchase dear
  Short intermission, bought with double smart.
  _This knows_ my Punisher; therefore as far
  From granting he, as I from begging peace.'

Caedmon saw, without being able fully to express, the complex idea of
Satan, as distracted between a thousand thoughts, all miserable--tossed
between a thousand winds, all hot as hell--'pale ire, envy, and despair'
struggling within him--fury at man overlapping anger at God--remorse and
reckless desperation wringing each other's miserable hands--a sense of
guilt which will not confess, a fear that will not quake, a sorrow that
will not weep, a respect for God which will not worship; and yet,
springing out of all these elements, a strange, proud joy, as though
the torrid soil of Pandemonium should flower, which makes 'the hell he
suffers seem a heaven,' compared to what his destiny might be were he
either plunged into a deeper abyss, or taken up unchanged to his former
abode of glory. This, in part at least, the monk of Whitby discerned;
but it was reserved for Milton to embody it in that tremendous figure
which has since continued to dwindle all the efforts of art, and to
haunt, like a reality, the human imagination.

Passing over some interesting but subordinate Saxon writers, such as
Ceolfrid, Abbot of Wearmouth; Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury; Felix of
Croyland; and Alcuine, King Egbert's librarian at York, we come to one
who himself formed an era in the history of our early literature--the
venerable Bede. This famous man was educated in the monastery of
Wearmouth, and there appears to have spent the whole of his quiet,
innocent, and studious life. He was the very sublimation of a book-worm.
One might fancy him becoming at last, as in the 'Metamorphoses' of Ovid,
one of the books, or rolls of vellum and parchment over which he con-
stantly pored. That he did not marry, or was given in marriage, we are
certain; but there is little evidence that he even ate or drank, walked
or slept. To read and to write seemed the 'be all and the end all' of
his existence. Important as well as numerous were his contributions
to literature. He translated from the Scriptures. He wrote religious
treatises, biographies, and commentaries upon portions of Holy Writ.
Besides his very valuable Ecclesiastical History, he composed various
pieces of Latin poetry. His works in all were forty-four in number: and
it is said that on the very day of his death (it took place in 735) he
was dictating to his amanuensis, and had just completed a book. His works
are wonderful for his time, and not the less interesting for a fine
cobweb of fable which is woven over parts of them, and which seems in
keeping with their venerable character. Thus, in speaking of the Magi who
visited the infant Redeemer, he is very particular in describing their
age, appearance, and offerings. Melchior, the first, was old, had gray
hair, and a long beard; and offered 'gold' to Christ, in, acknowledgment
of His sovereignty. Gaspar, the second, was young, and had no beard;
and he offered 'frankincense,' in recognition of our Lord's divinity.
Balthasar, the third, was of a dark complexion, had a large beard, and
offered 'myrrh' to our Saviour's humanity. We should, we confess, miss
such pleasant little myths in other old books besides Bede's Histories.
They seem appropriate to ancient works, as the beard is to the goat
or the hermit; and the truth that lies in them is not difficult to
eliminate. The next name of note in our literary annals is that of the
great Alfred. Surely if ever man was not only before his age, but before
'all ages,' it was he. A palm of the tropics growing on a naked Highland
mountain-side, or an English oak bending over one of the hot springs of
Hecla, were not a stranger or more preternatural sight than a man like
Alfred appearing in a century like the ninth. A thousand theories about
men being the creatures of their age, the products of circumstances, &c.,
sink into abeyance beside the facts of his life; and we are driven to the
good old belief that to some men the 'inspiration of the Almighty giveth
understanding;' and that their wisdom, their genius, and their excellency
do not proceed from them-selves. On his deeds of valour and patriotism it
is not necessary to dwell. These form the popular and bepraised side of
his character, but they give a very inadequate idea of the whole. On one
occasion he visited the Danish camp--a king disguised as a harper; but
he was, all his life long, a harper disguised as a king. He was at once
a warrior, a legislator, an architect, a shipbuilder, a philosopher,
a scholar, and a poet. His great object, as avowed in his last will,
was to leave his people 'free as their own thoughts.' Hence he bent the
whole force of his mind, first, to defend them from foreign foes, by
encouraging the new naval strength he had himself established; and then
to cultivate their intellects, and make them, as well as their country,
worth defending. Let us quote the glowing words of Burke:--'He was
indefatigable in his endeavours to bring into England men of learning in
all branches from every part of Europe, and unbounded in his liberality
to them. He enacted by a law that every person possessed of two hides of
land should send their children to school until sixteen. He enterprised
even a greater design than that of forming the growing generation--to
instruct even the grown, enjoining all his sheriffs and other officers
immediately to apply themselves to learning, or to quit their offices.
Whatever trouble he took to extend the benefits of learning among his
subjects, he shewed the example himself, and applied to the cultivation
of his mind with unparalleled diligence and success. He could neither
read nor write at twelve years old, but he improved his time in such
a manner, that he became one of the most knowing men of his age, in
geometry, in philosophy, in architecture, and in music. He applied
himself to the improvement of his native language; he translated several
valuable works from Latin, and wrote a vast number of poems in the Saxon
tongue with a wonderful facility and happiness. He not only excelled in
the theory of the arts and sciences, but possessed a great mechanical
genius for the executive part. He improved the manner of shipbuilding,
introduced a more beautiful and commodious architecture, and even taught
his countrymen the art of making bricks; most of the buildings having
been of wood before his time--in a word, he comprehended in the greatness
of his mind the whole of government, and all its parts at once; and what
is most difficult to human frailty was at the same time sublime and
minute.'

Some exaggeration must be allowed for in all this account of Alfred the
Great. But the fact that he left a stamp in his age so deep,--that
nothing except what was good and great has been ascribed to him,--that
the very fictions told of him are of such _vraisemblance_ and magnitude
as to FIT IN to nothing less than an extraordinary man,--and that, as
Burke says, 'whatever dark spots of human frailty may have adhered to
such a character, are entirely hid in the splendour of many shining
qualities and grand virtues, that throw a glory over the obscure period
in which he lived, and which is for no other reason worthy of our
knowledge,'--all proclaim his supremacy. Like many great men,--like
Julius Caesar, with his epilepsy--or Sir Walter Scott and Byron, with
their lameness--or Schleiermacher, with his deformed appearance,--a
physical infirmity beset Alfred most of his life, and at last carried
him off at a comparatively early age. This was a disease in his bowels,
which had long afflicted him, 'without interrupting his designs, or
souring his temper.' Nay, who can say that the constant presence of such
a memento of weakness and mortality did not operate as a strong, quiet
stimulus to do with his might what his hand found to do--to lower pride,
and to prompt to labour? If Saladin had had for his companion some such
faithful hound of sorrow, it would have saved him the ostentatious flag
stretched over his head, in the hour of wassail, with the inscription,
'Saladin, Saladin, king of kings! Saladin must die!'

Alfred wrote little that was original, but he was a copious translator.
He rendered into the Anglo-Saxon tongue--which he sought to enrich with
the fatness of other soils--the historical works of Orosius and of Bede;
nay, it is said the Fables of Aesop, and the Psalms of David--desirous,
it would seem, to teach his people morality and religion, through the
fine medium, of fiction and poetry.

Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, is the name of another important
contributor to Saxon literature. He wrote a grammar of his native
language, which procured him the name of the 'Grammarian,' besides a
collection of homilies, some theological treatises, and a translation
of the first seven books of the Old Testament. In imitation of Alfred,
he devoted all his energies to the instruction of the common people,
constantly writing in Anglo-Saxon, and avoiding as much as possible the
use of compound or obscure words. After him appeared Cynewulf, Bishop of
Winchester, Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, and others of some note. There
was also slowly piled up in the course of ages, and by a succession of
authors, that remarkable production, 'The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.' This
is thought to have commenced soon after the reign of Alfred, and
continued till the times of Henry II. Previous, however, to the Norman
invasion, there had been a decided falling off in the learning of the
Saxons. This arose from various causes. Incessant wars tended to
conserve and increase the barbarism of the people. Various libraries
of value were destroyed by the incursions of the Danes. And not a few
bishops, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, began to consider
learning as prejudicial to piety-and grammar and ungodliness were
thought akin. The effect of this upon the subordinate clergy was most
pernicious. In the tenth century, Oswald, Archbishop of Canterbury,
found the monks of his province so grossly ignorant, not only of
letters, but even of the canonical rules of their respective orders,
that he required to send to France for competent masters to give them
instruction.

At length came the Conqueror, William, and one battle gave England to
the Normans, which had cost the Romans, the Saxons, and the Danes so
much time and blood to acquire. The people were not only conquered, but
cowed and crushed. England was as easily and effectually subdued as was
Ireland, sometime after, by Henry II. But while the Conquest was for a
season fatal to liberty, it was from the first favourable to every
species of literature, art, and poetry. 'The influence,' says Campbell,
'of the Norman Conquest upon the language of England was like that of a
great inundation, which at first buries the face of the landscape under
its waters, but which, at last subsiding, leaves behind it the elements
of new beauty and fertility. Its first effect was to degrade the Anglo-
Saxon tongue to the exclusive use of the inferior orders, and by the
transference of estates ecclesiastical benefices, and civil dignities to
Norman possessors, to give the French language, which had begun to
prevail at court from the time of Edward the Confessor, a more complete
predominance among the higher classes of society. The native gentry of
England were either driven into exile, or depressed into a state of
dependence on their conqueror, which habituated them to speak his
language. On the other hand, we received from the Normans the first
germs of romantic poetry; and our language was ultimately indebted to
them for a wealth and compass of expression which it probably would not
have otherwise possessed.'

The Anglo-Saxon, however, held its place long among the lower orders,
and specimens of it, both in prose and verse, are found a century after
the Conquest. Gradually the Norman tongue began to amalgamate with it,
and the result was, the English. At what precise year our language might
be said to begin, it is impossible to determine. Throughout the whole of
the twelfth century, great changes were taking place in the grammatical
construction, as well as in the substance of the Anglo-Saxon. Some new
words were imported from the Norman, but, as Dr Johnson remarks, 'the
language was still more materially altered by the change of its sounds,
the cutting short of its syllables, and the softening down of its
terminations, and inflections of words.' Somewhere between 1180 and
1216, the majestic speech in which Shakspeare was to write 'Macbeth'
and 'King Lear,' Lord Bacon his 'Advancement of Learning,' Milton his
'Paradise Lost' and 'Areopagitica,' Burke his 'Reflections,' and Sir
Walter Scott the Waverley Novels, and whose rough, but manly accents
were to be spoken by at least a hundred million tongues, commenced its
career, and not since Homer,

                   "on the Chian strand,
  Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee
  Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea,"

had a nobler era been marked in the history of literature. For here was
a tongue born which was destined to mate even with that of Greece in
richness and flexibility, to make the language of Cicero and Virgil seem
stiff and stilted in comparison, and, if not to vie with the French in
airy grace, or with the Italian in liquid music, to excel them far in
teeming resources and robust energy. Memorable and hallowed for ever be
the hour when the 'well of English undefiled' first sparkled to the day!

Previous to this the chief of the poets, after the Conquest, were
Normans. The country whence that people came had for some time been
celebrated for poetry. France was, as to its poetic literature, divided
into two great sections--the Provençal and the Northern. The first was
like the country where it flourished--gay, flowery, and exuberant; it
swam in romance, and its rhymers delighted, when addressing large
audiences under the open skies of their delightful climate, to indulge
in compliment and fanfaronade, to sing of war, wine, and love.

The Normans produced a race of simpler poets. That some of them were men
as well as singers, is proved by the fact that it was a bard named
Taillefer who first broke the English ranks at the battle of Hastings.
After him came Philippe de Thaun, who tried to set to song the science
of his day; Thorold, the author of a romance entitled 'Roland;' Samson
de Nauteuil, the translator of Solomon's Proverbs into French verse;
Geoffrey Gaimar, who wrote a Chronicle of the Saxon kings; and one
David, a minstrel of no little note and power in his day. But a more
remarkable writer succeeded, and his work, like Aaron's rod, swallowed
up all the productions of these clever but petty poets. This was Wace,
commonly called Maistre Wace, a native of Jersey. In 1160, or as some
say 1155, Wace finished his 'Brut d'Angleterre' which is in reality a
translation into French of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote a History
of Britain from the imaginary Brutus of Troy down to Cadwallader in
689. Literature owes not a little to Wace's poem. He collected into
a permanent shape a number of traditions and legends--many of them
interesting--which had been floating through Europe, just as Macpherson
preserved in Ossian not a few real fragments of the songs of Selma. And,
as we shall see immediately, Wace's production became the basis of the
earliest of English poems.

Maistre Wace is the author also of a History of the Normans, which he
calls 'Roman de Rou;' or, 'The Romance of Rollo.' He was a great favourite
with Henry II., who bestowed on him a canonry in the Cathedral of Bayeux.
Besides Wace, there flourished about the same time Benoit, who wrote a
History of the Dukes of Normandy; and Guernes, a churchman of Pont St
Maxence in Picardy, who wrote in verse a Life of St Thomas à Becket.

At the beginning of the century following the Conquest, the chief authors,
such as Peter of Blois, John of Salisbury, Joseph of Exeter, and Geoffrey
of Monmouth, all wrote in Latin. Layamon, however, a priest of Ernesley-
upon-Severn, used the vernacular in a poem which, as we have already
hinted, was essentially a translation of Wace's 'Brut d'Angleterre.' The
most remarkable thing about Layamon's poem is the language in which it is
written-language in which you catch English in the very act of chipping
the Saxon shell, or, as Campbell happily remarks, 'the style of Layamon is
as nearly the intermediate state of the old and new languages as can be
found in any ancient specimen --something like the new insect stirring its
wings before it has shaken off the aurelia state.'

Between Layamon and Robert of Gloucester a good many miscellaneous
strains--some of a satirical, others of an amatory, and others again of
a legendary and devout style--were produced. It was customary then for
minstrels, at the instance of the clergy, to sing on Sundays devotional
strains on the harp to the assembled multitudes. At public entertainments,
during week-days, gay ditties were common. One of these is extant, but
is too coarse for quotation. It is entitled 'The Land of Cokayne,' an
allegorical satire on the luxury and vice of the Church, given under the
description of an imaginary paradise, in which the nuns are represented
as houris, and the black and grey monks as their paramours. 'Richard of
Alemaine' is a ballad, composed by an adherent of Simon de Montfort, Earl
of Leicester, after the defeat of the Royal party at the battle of Lewes
in 1264. In the year after that battle the Royal cause rallied, and the
Earl of Warren and Sir Hugh Bigod returned from exile, and helped the King
in his victory. In the battle of Lewes, Richard, King of the Romans, his
brother Henry III., and Prince Edward, with many others of the Royal
party, were taken prisoners.
[Note: See 'Richard of Alemaine,' Percy's Reliques, vol. ii., p. 2.]

The spirit and the allusions of this song shew that it was composed by
Leicester's party in the moment of their victory, and not after the
reaction which took place against their cause, and it must therefore
belong to the thirteenth century. To this period, too, probably belongs
a political satire, published by Ritson, and which Campbell thus charac-
terises:--'It is a ballad on the execution of the Scottish patriots, Sir
William Wallace and Sir Simon Frazer. The diction is as barbarous as we
should expect from a song of triumph on such a subject. It relates the
death and treatment of Wallace very minutely. The circumstance of his
being covered with a mock crown of laurel in Westminster Hall, which Stow
repeats, is there mentioned, and that of his legs being fastened with iron
fetters "_under his horse's wombe_" is told with savage exultation. The
piece was probably indited in the very year of the political murders which
it celebrates, certainly before 1314, as it mentions the skulking of
Robert Bruce, which, after the battle of Bannockburn, must have become
a jest out of season.'

Campbell quotes a love-ditty of this period, which is not devoid of
merit:--

  'For her love I cark and cave,
   For her love I droop and dare,
   For her love my bliss is bare,
             And all I wax wan.

  'For her love in sleep I slake,[1]
   For her love all night I wake,
   For her love mourning I make
             More than any man.'

[1] 'In sleep I slake:' am deprived of sleep.


And another of a pastoral vein:--

  'When the nightingale singës the woods waxen green,
  Leaf, grass, and blossom springs in Avril I ween,
  And love is to my heart gone, with one spear so keen,
  Night and day my blood it drinks, my heart doth me teen.'

About a hundred years after Layamon (in 1280) appeared a poet not
dissimilar to him, named Robert of Gloucester. His surname is unknown, and
so are the particulars of his history. We know only that he was a monk of
Gloucester Abbey, that he lived in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I.,
and that he translated the Legends of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and continued
the History of England down to the time of Edward I. This work is wonder-
fully minute, and, generally speaking, accurate in its topography as well
as narrative, and was of service to Selden when he wrote his Notes to
Drayton's 'Polyolbion.' It is more valuable in this respect than as a
piece of imagination.

He narrates the grandest events--such as the first crusaders bursting
into Asia, with a sword of fire hung in the firmament before them, and
beckoning them on their way--as coolly as he might the emigration of a
colony of ants. Yet, although there is little animation or poetry in his
general manner, he usually succeeds in riveting the reader's attention;
and the speeches he puts into the mouths of his heroes glow with at
least rhetorical fire. And as a critic truly remarks--'Injustice to the
ancient versifier, we should remember that he had still only a rude
language to employ, the speech of boors and burghers, which, though it
might possess a few songs and satires, could afford him no models of
heroic narration. In such an age the first occupant passes uninspired
over subjects which might kindle the highest enthusiasm in the poet of
a riper period, as the savage treads unconsciously in his deserts over
mines of incalculable value, without sagacity to discover or inplements
to explore them.' We give the following extracts from Robert of
Gloucester's poem:--


  THE SPOUTS AND SOLEMNITIES WHICH FOLLOWED KING ARTHUR'S CORONATION.

  The king was to his palace, tho the service was ydo,[1]
  Yled with his meinie,[2] and the queen to her also.
  For they held the old usages, that men with men were
  By themselve, and women by themselve also there.
  When they were each one yset, as it to their state become,
  Kay, king of Anjou, a thousand knightës nome[3]
  Of noble men, yclothed in ermine each one
  Of one suit, and served at this noble feast anon.
  Bedwer the botyler, king of Normandy,
  Nome also in his half a fair company
  Of one suit for to serve of the hotelery.
  Before the queen it was also of all such courtesy,
  For to tell all the nobley that there was ydo,
  Though my tongue were of steel, me should nought dure thereto.
  Women ne kept of no knight in druery,[4]
  But he were in arms well yproved, and atte least thrye.[5]
  That made, lo, the women the chaster life lead,
  And the knights the stalwarder, and the better in their deed.
  Soon after this noble meat, as right was of such tide,
  The knights atyled them about in eachë side,
  In fields and in meadows to prove their bachlery,[6]
  Some with lance, some with sword, without villany,
  With playing at tables, other attë chekere,[7]
  With casting, other with setting,[8] other in some other mannere.
  And which so of any game had the mastery,
  The king them of his giftës did large courtesy.
  Up the alurs[9] of the castle the ladies then stood,
  And beheld this noble game, and which knights were good.
  All the three extë dayës[10] ylastë this nobley,
  In halle's and in fieldës, of meat and eke of play.
  These men come the fourth day before the kingë there,
  And he gave them large gifts, ever as they worthy were.
  Bishoprics and churches' clerks he gave some,
  And castles and townës knights that were ycome.

[1] 'Tho the service was ydo:' when the service was done.
[2] 'Meinie:' attendants.
[3] 'Nome': brought.
[4] 'Druery.' modesty, decorum.
[5] 'Thrye:' thrice.
[6] 'Bachlery:' chivalry, courage, or youth.
[7] 'Chekere:' chess.
[8] 'With casting, other with setting:' different ways of playing at
chess.
[9] 'Alurs:' walks made within the battlements of the castle.
[10] 'Extë dayës:' high, or chief days.


AN OLD TRADITION.

It was a tradition invented by the old fablers that giants brought the
stones of Stonehenge from the most sequestered deserts of Africa, and
placed them in Ireland; that every stone was washed with juices of
herbs, and contained a medical power; and that Merlin, the magician, at
the request of King Arthur, transported them from Ireland, and erected
them in circles on the plain of Amesbury, as a sepulchral monument for
the Britons treacherously slain by Hengist. This fable is thus
delivered, without decoration, by Robert of Glocester:--

  'Sir king,' quoth Merlin then, 'such thingë's ywis
  Ne be for to shew nought, but when great need is,
  For if I said in bismare, other but it need were,
  Soon from me he would wend, the ghost that doth me lere.'[1]
  The king, then none other n'as, bid him some quaintise
  Bethink about thilk cors that so noble were and wise.[2]
  'Sir King,' quoth Merlin then, 'if thou wilt here cast
  In the honour of men, a work that ever shall ylast,
  To the hill of Kylar[3] send in to Ireland,
  After the noble stonës that there habbet[4] long ystand;
  That was the treche of giants,[5] for a quaintë work there is
  Of stonës all with art ymade, in the world such none is.
  Ne there n'is nothing that me should myd[6] strength adownë cast.
  Stood they here, as they doth there, ever a woulde last.'
  The king somdeal to-lygh[7], when he heardë this tale:
  'How might,' he said, 'such stonës, so great and so fale,[8]
  Be ybrought of so far land? And yet mist of were,
  Me would ween that in this landë no stone to wonke n'ere.'
  Sir king,' quoth Merlin, 'ne make nought an idle such laughing;
  For it n'is an idle nought that I tell this tiding.
  For in the farrest stude of Afric giants whilë fet [9]
  These stones for medicine and in Ireland them set,
  While they wonenden in Ireland to make their bathë's there,
  There under for to bathë when they sick were.
  For they would the stonës wash and therein bathe ywis;
  For is no stone there among that of great virtue n'is.'
  The king and his counsel rode the stones for to fet,
  And with great power of battle if any more them let.
  Uther, the kingë's brother, that Ambrose hett[10] also,
  In another namë ychosë was thereto,
  And fifteen thousand men, this deedë for to do,
  And Merlin for his quaintise thither went also.

[1] If I should say any thing out of wantonness or vanity, the spirit
 which teaches me would immediately leave me.
[2] Bade him use his cunning, for the sake of the bodies of those noble
and wise Britons.
[3] 'Kylar:' Kildare.
[4] 'Habbet:' have.
[5] 'The treche of giants:' 'The dance of giants.' The name of this
collection of immense stones.
[6] 'Myd:' with.
[7] 'Somdeal to-lygh:' somewhat laughed.
[8] 'Fale:' many.
[9] Giants once brought them from the furthest part of Africa.
[10] 'Hett:' was called.


  ARTHUR'S INTRIGUE WITH YGERNE.

  At the feast of Easter the king sent his sond,[1]
  That they comen all to London the high men of this lond,
  And the ladies all so good, to his noble feast wide,
  For he shouldë crown here, for the high tide.
  All the noble men of this land to the noble feast come,
  And their wivës and their daughtren with them many nome,[2]
  This feast was noble enow, and nobliche ydo;
  For many was the fair lady that ycome was thereto.
  Ygerne, Gorloys' wife, was fairest of each one,
  That was Countess of Cornëwall, for so fair n'as there none.
  The king beheld her fast enow, and his heart on her cast,
  And thoughtë, though he were wise, to do folly at last.
  He made her semblant fair enow, to none other so great.
  The earl n'as not therewith ypayed[3], when he it under get.
  After meat he nome his wife myd[4] sturdy med enow,
  And, without leave of the king, to his country drow.
  The king sentë to him then, to byleve[5] all night,
  For he must of great counsel havë some insight.
  That was for nought. Would he not, the king sent yet his sond,
  That he byleved at his parlement, for need of the lond.
  The king was, when he n'oldë not, anguyssous and wroth.
  For despite he would a-wreak be he sworë his oath,
  But he come to amendëment. His power attë last
  He garked, and went forth to Cornëwall fast.
  Gorloys his castles a store all about.
  In a strong castle he did his wife, for of her was all his doubt,
  In another himself he was, for he n'oldë nought,
  If cas[6] come, that they were both to death ybrought.
  The castle, that the earl in was, the king besieged fast,
  For he might not his gins for shame to the other cast.
  Then he was there seen not, and he speddë nought,
  Ygerne, the countessë, so much was in his thought,
  That he nustë none other wit, ne he ne might for shame
  Tell it but a privy knight, Ulfyn was his name,
  That he trustë most to. And when the knight heard thia,
  'Sir,' he said, 'I ne can wit, what rede hereof is,
  For the castle is so strong, that the lady is in,
  For I ween all the land ne should it myd strengthë win.
  For the sea goeth all about, but entry one there n'is,
  And that is up on hardë rocks, and so narrow way it is,
  That there may go but one and one, that three men within
  Might slay all the laud, ere they come therein.
  And nought for then, if Merlin at the counsel were,
  If any might, he couthë the best rede thee lere.'[7]
  Merlin was soon of sent, pled it was him soon,
  That he should the best rede say, what were to don.
  Merlin was sorry enow for the kingë's folly,
  And natheless, 'Sir king,' he said, 'there may to mast'ry,
  The earl hath two men him near, Brithoel and Jordan.
  I will make thyself, if thou wilt, through art that I can,
  Have all the formë of the earl, as thou were right he,
  And Olfyn as Jordan, and as Brithoel me.'
  This art was all clean ydo, that all changed they were,
  They three in the others' form, the solve as it were.
  Against even he went forth, nustë[8] no man that cas;
  To the castle they come right as it even was.
  The porter ysaw his lord come, and his most privy twei,
  With good heart he let his lord in, and his men bey.
  The countess was glad enow, when her lord to her come
  And either other in their arms myd great joy nome.
  When they to beddë come, that so long a-two were,
  With them was so great delight, that between them there
  Begot was the best body, that ever was in this land,
  King Arthur the noble man, that ever worthy understand.
  When the king's men nuste amorrow, where he was become,
  They fared as wodëmen, and wend[9] he were ynome.[10]
  They assaileden the castle, as it should adown anon,
  They that within were, garked them each one,
  And smote out in a full will, and fought myd there fone:
  So that the earl was yslaw, and of his men many one,
  And the castle was ynome, and the folk to-sprad there,
  Yet, though they haddë all ydo, they ne found not the king there.
  The tiding to the countess soon was ycome,
  That her lord was yslaw, and the castle ynome.
  And when the messenger him saw the earl, as him thought,
  That he had so foul plow, full sore him of thought,
  The countess made somedeal deol,[11] for no sothness they nustë.
  The king, for to glad her, beclipt her and cust.
  'Dame,' he said,' no sixt thou well, that les it is all this:
  Ne wo'st thou well I am alive. I will thee say how it is.
  Out of the castle stillëlich I went all in privity,
  That none of minë men it nustë, for to speak with thee.
  And when they mist me to-day, and nuste where I was,
  They fareden right as giddy men, myd whom no rede n'as,
  And foughtë with the folk without, and have in this mannere
  Ylore the castle and themselve, and well thou wo'st I am here.
  And for my castle, that is ylore, sorry I am enow,
  And for my men, that the king and his power slew.
  And my power is to lute, therefore I dreadë sore,
  Lestë the king us nyme[12] here, and sorrow that we were more.
  Therefore I will, how so it be, wend against the king,
  And make my peace with him, ere he us to shamë bring.'
  Forth he went, and het[13] his men if the king come,
  That they shouldë him the castle yield, ere he with strength it nome.
  So he come toward his men, his own form he nome,
  And leaved the earl's form, and the king Uther become.
  Sore him of thought the earlë's death, and in other half he found
  Joy in his heart, for the countess of spousehed was unbound,
  When he had that he would, and paysed[14] with his son,
  To the countess he went again, me let him in anon.
  "What halt[15] it to tale longë? but they were set at one,
  In great love long enow, when it n'oldë other gon;
  And had together this noble son, that in the world his pere n'as,
  The king Arthur, and a daughter, Anne her namë was.

[1] 'Sond' message.
[2] 'Nome:' took.
[3] 'Ypayed:' satisfied.
[4] 'Myd:' with.
[5] 'Byleve:' stay.
[6] 'Cas:' chance.
[7] 'Lere:' teach.
[8] 'Nustë:' knew.
[9] 'Wend:' thought.
[10] 'Ynome:' taken.
[11] 'Deol:' grief.
[12] 'Nyme:' take.
[13] 'Het:' bade.
[14] 'Paysed:' made peace.
[15] 'Halt:' holdeth.

The next name of note is Robert, commonly called De Brunne. His real name
was Robert Manning. He was born at Malton in Yorkshire; for some time
belonged to the house of Sixhill, a Gilbertine monastery in Yorkshire;
and afterwards became a member of Brunne or Browne, a priory of black
canons in the same county. When monastical writers became famous, they
were usually designated from the religious houses to which they belonged.
Thus it was with Matthew of Westminster, William of Malmesbury, and John
of Glastonbury--all received their appellations from their respective
monasteries. De Brunne's principal work is a Chronicle of the History of
England, in rhyme. It can in no way be considered an original production,
but is partly translated, and partly compiled from the writings of Maistre
Wace and Peter de Langtoft, which latter was a canon of Bridlington in
Yorkshire, of Norman origin, but born in England, and the author of an
entire History of his country in French verse, down to the end of the
reign of Edward I. Brunne's Chronicle seems to have been written about
the year 1303. We extract the Prologue, and two other passages:--


  THE PROLOGUE.

  'Lordlingës that be now here,
  If ye willë listen and lere,
  All the story of England,
  As Robert Mannyng written it fand,
  And in English has it shewed,
  Not for the leared but for the lewed;[1]
  For those that on this land wonn
  That the Latin ne Frankys conn,[2]
  For to have solace and gamen
  In fellowship when they sit samen,
  And it is wisdom for to witten
  The state of the land, and have it written,
  "What manner of folk first it wan,
  And of what kind it first began.
  And good it is for many things,
  For to hear the deeds of kings,
  Whilk were fools, and whilk were wise,
  And whilk of them couth[3] most quaintise;
  And whilk did wrong, and whilk right,
  And whilk maintained peace and fight.
  Of their deedës shall be my saw,
  In what time, and of what law,
  I shall you from gre to gre,[4]
  Since the time of Sir Noe:
  From Noe unto Eneas,
  And what betwixt them was,
  And from Eneas till Brutus' time,
  That kind he tells in this rhyme.
  For Brutus to Cadwallader's,
  The last Briton that this land lees.
  All that kind and all the fruit
  That come of Brutus that is the Brute;
  And the right Brute is told no more
  Than the Britons' timë wore.
  After the Britons the English camen,
  The lordship of this land they nameu;
  South and north, west and east,
  That call men now the English gest.
  When they first among the Britons,
  That now are English then were Saxons,
  Saxons English hight all oliche.
  They arrived up at Sandwiche,
  In the kings since Vortogerne
  That the land would them not werne, &c.
  One Master Wace the Frankës tells
  The Brute all that the Latin spells,
  From Eneas to Cadwallader, &c.
  And right as Master Wacë says,
  I tell mine English the same ways,' &c.

[1] 'Lowed:' ignorant.
[2] 'Conn:' know.
[3] 'Couth:' knew.
[4] 'Gre:' step.


  KING VORTIGERN'S MEETING WITH PRINCESS KODWEN.

  Hengist that day did his might,
  That all were glad, king and knight,
  And as they were best in glading,
  And wele cop schotin[1] knight and king,
  Of chamber Rouewen so gent,
  Before the king in hall she went.
  A cup with wine she had in hand,
  And her attire was well-farand.[2]
  Before the king on knee set,
  And in her language she him gret.
    'Lauerid[3] king, Wassail,' said she.
  The king asked, what should be.
  In that language the king ne couth.[4]
  A knight the language lered[5] in youth.
  Breg hight that knight, born Bretoun,
  That lered the language of Sessoun.[6]
  This Breg was the latimer,[7]
  What she said told Vortager.
  'Sir,' Breg said, 'Rowen you greets,
  And king calls and lord you leets.[8]
  This is their custom and their gest,
  When they are at the ale or feast.
  Ilk man that louis quare him think,
  Shall say Wosseil, and to him drink.
  He that bidis shall say, Wassail,
  The other shall say again, Drinkhail.
  That says Wosseil drinks of the cup,
  Kissing his fellow he gives it up.
  Drinkheil, he says, and drinks thereof,
  Kissing him in bourd and skof.'[9]
  The king said, as the knight 'gan ken,[10]
  Drinkheil, smiling on Rouewen.
  Rouwen drank as her list,
  And gave the king, sine[11] him kist.
  There was the first wassail in deed,
  And that first of fame gede.[12]
  Of that wassail men told great tale,
  And wassail when they were at ale,
  And drinkheil to them that drank,
  Thus was wassail tane[13] to thank.
    Fele sithës[14] that maiden ying,[15]
  Wassailed and kist the king.
  Of body she was right avenant,[16]
  Of fair colour, with sweet semblant.[17]
  Her attire full well it seemed,
  Mervelik[18] the king she quemid.[19]
  Out of measure was he glad,
  For of that maiden he were all mad.
  Drunkenness the fiend wrought,
  Of that paen[20] was all his thought.
  A mischance that time him led,
  He asked that paen for to wed.
  Hengist wild not draw a lite,[21]
  But granted him, allë so tite.[22]
  And Hors his brother consented soon.
  Her friendis said, it were to don.
  They asked the king to give her Kent,
  In douery to take of rent.
  Upon that maiden his heart so cast,
  That they asked the king made fast.
  I ween the king took her that day,
  And wedded her on paien's lay.[23]
  Of priest was there no benison
  No mass sungen, no orison.
  In seisine he had her that night.
  Of Kent he gave Hengist the right.
  The earl that time, that Kent all held,
  Sir Goragon, that had the sheld,
  Of that gift no thing ne wist
  To[24] he was cast out with[25] Hengist.

[1] 'Schotin:' sending about the cups briskly.
[2] 'Well-farand:' very rich.
[3] 'Lauerid:' lord.
[4] 'Ne couth:' knew not.
[5] 'Lered:' learned.
[6] 'Sessoun:' Saxons.
[7] 'Latimer:' _for_ Latiner, or Latinier, an interpreter.
[8] 'Leets:' esteems.
[9] 'Skof:' sport, joke.
[10] 'Ken:' to signify.
[11] 'Sine:' then.
[12] 'Cede:' went.
[13] 'Tane:' taken.
[14] 'Sithës:' many times.
[15] 'Ying:' young.
[16] 'Avenant:' handsome.
[17] 'Semblant:' countenance.
[18] 'Mervelik:' marvellously.
[19] 'Quemid:' pleased.
[20] 'Paen:' pagan, heathen.
[21] 'Wild not draw a lite:' would not fly off a bit.
[22] 'Tite:' happeneth.
[23] 'On paien's lay:' in pagan's law; according to the heathenish
custom.
[24] 'To:' till.
[25] 'With:' by.


  THE ATTACK OF RICHARD I. ON A CASTLE HELD BY THE SARACENS.

  The dikes were fullë wide that closed the castle about,
  And deep on ilka side, with bankis high without.
  Was there none entry that to the castle 'gan ligg,[1]
  But a strait kaucë;[2] at the end a draw-brig,
  With great double chainës drawen over the gate,
  And fifty armed swainës porters at that gate.
  With slingës and mangonels they cast to king Richard,
  Our Christians by parcels casted againward.
  Ten sergeants of the best his targe 'gan him bear
  That eager were and prest[3] to cover him and to were.[4]
  Himself as a giant the chainës in two hew,
  The targe was his warant,[5] that none till him threw.
  Eight unto the gate with the targe they yede,
  Fighting on a gate, under him they slew his steed,
  Therefore ne would he cease, alone into the castele
  Through them all would press; on foot fought he full wele.
  And when he was within, and fought as a wild lión,
  He fondred the Sarazins otuynne,[6] and fought as a dragon,
  Without the Christians 'gan cry, 'Alas! Richard is taken;'
  Then Normans were sorry, of countenance 'gan blaken,
  To slay down and to' stroy never would they stint,
  They left fordied[7] no noye,[8] ne for no wound no dint,
  That in went all their press, maugre the Sarazins all,
  And found Richard on dais fighting, and won the hall.

[1] 'Ligg:' lying.
[2] 'Kaucë:' causey.
[3] 'Prest:' ready.
[4] 'Were:' defend.
[5] 'Warant:' guard.
[6] 'He fondred the Sarazins otuynne:' he formed the Saracens into two
parties.
[7] 'Fordied:' undone.
[8] 'No noye:' annoy.

Of De Brunne, Warton judiciously remarks--'Our author also translated
into English rhymes the treatise of Cardinal Bonaventura, his
contemporary, _De coena et passione Domini, et paenis S. Mariae
Virgins_. But I forbear to give more extracts from this writer, who
appears to have possessed much more industry than genius, and cannot at
present be read with much pleasure. Yet it should be remembered that
even such a writer as Robert de Brunne, uncouth and unpleasing as he
naturally seems, and chiefly employed in turning the theology of his age
into rhyme, contributed to form a style, to teach expression, and to
polish his native tongue. In the infancy of language and composition,
nothing is wanted but writers;--at that period even the most artless
have their use.'

Here we may allude to the introduction of romantic fiction into English
poetry. This had, as we have seen, reigned in France. There troubadours
in Provence, and men more worthy of the name of poets in Normandy, had
long sung of Brutus, of Charlemagne, and of Rollo. And thence a class,
called sometimes Joculators, sometimes Jongleurs, and sometimes
Minstrels, issued, harp in hand, wandering to and fro, and singing tales
of chivalry and love, composed either by themselves, or by other poets
living or dead. (We refer our readers to our first volume of Percy's
'Reliques,' for a full account of this class, and of the poetry they
produced.) These wanderers reached England in due time and brought with
them compositions which found favour and excited emulation, or at least
imitation, in our vernacular genius. Hence came a great swarm of
romances, all more or less derived from the French, even when Saxon in
subject and style; such as 'Sir Tristrem,' (which Sir Walter Scott tried
in vain to prove to be written by the famous Thomas the Rhymer, of
Ercildoun, or Earlston, in Berwickshire, who died before 1299;) 'The
Life of Alexander the Great,' said to be written by Adam Davie, Marshall
of Stratford-le-Bow, who lived about 1312; 'King Horn,' which certainly
belongs to the latter part of the thirteenth century; 'The Squire of Low
Degree; 'Sir Guy;' 'Sir Degore;' 'The King of Tars;' 'King Robert of
Sicily;' 'La Mort d'Arthur;' 'Impodemon;' and, more lately, 'Sir Libius;'
'Sir Thopas;' 'Sir Isenbras;' 'Gawan and Gologras;' and 'Sir Bevis.'
Richard I. also formed the subject of a very popular romance. We give
extracts from it:--


THE SOLDAN SALADIN SENDS KING RICHARD A HORSE.

  'Thou sayst thy God is full of might:
  Wilt thou grant with spear and shield,
  To detryve the right in the field,
  With helm, hauberk, and brandës bright,
  On strongë steedës good and light,
  Whether be of more power,
  Thy God almight, or Jupiter?
  And he sent rue to sayë this
  If thou wilt have an horse of his,
  In all the lands that thou hast gone
  Such ne thou sawest never none:
  Favel of Cyprus, ne Lyard of Prys,[1]
  Be not at need as he is;
  And if thou wilt, this samë day,
  He shall be brought thee to assay.'
  Richard answered, 'Thou sayest well
  Such a horse, by Saint Michael,
  I would have to ride upon.----
  Bid him send that horse to me,
  And I shall assay what he be,
  If he be trusty, withoutë fail,
  I keep none other to me in battail.'
  The messengers then homë went,
  And told the Soldan in present,
  That Richard in the field would come him unto:
  The rich Soldan bade to come him unto
  A noble clerk that couldë well conjure,
  That was a master necromansour:
  He commanded, as I you tell,
  Thorough the fiendë's might of hell,
  Two strong fiendë's of the air,
  In likeness of two steedës fair,
  Both like in hue and hair,
  As men said that there were:
  No man saw never none sich;
  That one was a mare iliche,
  That other a colt, a noble steed,
  Where that he were in any mead,
  (Were the knight never so bold.)
  When the mare neigh wold,
  (That him should hold against his will,)
  But soon he wouldë go her till,
  And kneel down and suck his dame,
  Therewith the Soldan with shame
  Shouldë king Richard quell,
  All this an angel 'gan him tell,
  That to him came about midnight.
  'Awake,' he said, 'Goddis knight:
  My Lord doth thee to understand
  That thee shalt come an horse to land,
  Fair it is, of body ypight,
  To betray thee if the Soldan might;
  On him to ride have thou no drede
  For he thee helpë shall at need.'

The angel gives king Richard several directions about managing this
infernal horse, and a general engagement ensuing, between the Christian
and Saracen armies,

  He leapt on horse when it was light;
  Ere he in his saddle did leap
  Of many thingës he took keep.--
  His men brought them that he bade,
  A square tree of forty feet,
  Before his saddle anon he it set,
  Fast that they should it brase, &c.
  Himself was richëly begone,
  From the crest right to the tone,[2]
  He was covered wondrously wele
  All with splentës of good steel,
  And there above an hauberk.
  A shaft he had of trusty werk,
  Upon his shoulders a shield of steel,
  With the libards[3] painted wele;
  And helm he had of rich entaile,
  Trusty and true was his ventaile:
  Upon his crest a dovë white,
  Significant of the Holy Sprite,
  Upon a cross the dovë stood
  Of gold ywrought rich and good,
  God[4] himself, Mary and John,
  As he was done the rood upon,[5]
  In significance for whom he fought,
  The spear-head forgat he nought,
  Upon his shaft he would it have
  Goddis name thereon was grave;
  Now hearken what oath he sware,
  Ere they to the battaile went there:
  'If it were so, that Richard might
  Slay the Soldan in field with fight,
  At our willë evereachone
  He and his should gone
  Into the city of Babylon;
  And the king of Macedon
  He should have under his hand;
  And if the Soldan of that land
  Might slay Richard in the field
  With sword or spearë under shield,
  That Christian men shouldë go
  Out of that land for evermo,
  And the Saracens their will in wold.'
  Quoth king Richard, 'Thereto I hold,
  Thereto my glove, as I am knight.'
  They be armed and ready dight:
  King Richard to his saddle did leap,
  Certes, who that would takë keep
  To see that sight it were sair;
  Their steedës rannë with great ayre,[6]
  All so hard as they might dyre,[7]
  After their feetë sprang out fire:
  Tabors and trumpettës 'gan blow:
  There men might see in a throw
  How king Richard, that noble man,
  Encountered with the Soldan,
  The chief was toldë of Damas,
  His trust upon his marë was,
  And therefor, as the book[8] us tells,
  His crupper hungë full of bells,
  And his peytrel[9] and his arsowne[10]
  Three mile men might hear the soun.
  His mare neighed, his bells did ring,
  For greatë pride, without lesing,
  A falcon brode[11] in hand he bare,
  For he thought he wouldë there
  Have slain Richard with treasoun
  When his colt should kneelë down,
  As a colt shouldë suck his dame,
  And he was 'warë of that shame,
  His ears with wax were stopped fast,
  Therefore Richard was not aghast,
  He struck the steed that under him went,
  And gave the Soldan his death with a dent:
  In his shieldë verament
  Was painted a serpent,
  With the spear that Richard held
  He bare him thorough under his sheld,
  None of his armour might him last,
  Bridle and peytrel all to-brast,
  His girthës and his stirrups also,
  His ruare to groundë wentë tho;
  Maugre her head, he made her seech
  The ground, withoutë morë speech,
  His feet toward the firmament,
  Behinde him the spear outwent
  There he fell dead on the green,
  Richard smote the fiend with spurrës keen,
  And in the name of the Holy Ghost
  He driveth into the heathen host,
  And as soon as he was come,
  Asunder he brake the sheltron,[12]
  And all that ever afore him stode,
  Horse and man to the groundë yode,
  Twenty foot on either side.
  When the king of France and his men wist
  That the mast'ry had the Christian,
  They waxed bold, and good heart took,
  Steedës bestrode, and shaftës shook.

[1] 'Favel of Cyprus, ne Lyard of Prys:' Favel of Cyprus, and Lyard of
Paris, horses of Kichard's.
[2] 'Tone:' toes.
[3] 'Libards:' leopards.
[4] 'God:' our Saviour.
[5] 'As he was done the rood upon:' as he died upon the cross.
[6] 'Ayre:' ire.
[7] 'Dyre:' dare.
[8] 'The book:' the French romance.
[9] 'Peytrel:' the breast-plate or breast-band of a horse.
[10] 'Arsowne:' saddle-bow.
[11] 'falcon brode:' F. bird.
[12] 'Sheltrou:' 'schiltron:' soldiers drawn up in a circle.

From 'Sir Degore' we quote the description of a dragon, which Warton
thinks drawn by a master:--


  DEGORE AND THE DRAGON.

  Degorë went forth his way,
  Through a forest half a day:
  He heard no man, nor sawë none,
  Till it past the high none,
  Then heard he great strokës fall,
  That it made greatë noise withal,
  Full soonë he thought that to see,
  To weetë what the strokes might be:
  There was an earl, both stout and gay,
  He was come there that samë day,
  For to hunt for a deer or a doe,
  But his houndës were gone him fro.
  Then was there a dragon great and grim,
  Full of fire and also venim,
  With a wide throat and tuskës great,
  Upon that knight fast 'gan he beat.
  And as a lion then was his feet,
  His tail was long, and full unmeet:
  Between his head and his tail
  Was twenty-two foot withouten fail;
  His body was like a wine tun,
  He shone full bright against the sun:
  His eyes were bright as any glass,
  His scales were hard as any brass;
  And thereto he was necked like a horse,
  He bare his head up with great force:
  The breath of his mouth that did out blow
  As it had been a fire on lowe[1].
  He was to look on, as I you tell,
  As it had been a fiend of hell.
  Many a man he had shent,
  And many a horsë he had rent.

[1] 'On lowe:' in flame.

From Davie's supposed 'Life of Alexander' we extract a description of a
battle, which shews some energy of genius:--


  A BATTLE

  Alisander before is ryde,
  And many gentle a knight him myde;[1]
  As for to gather his meinie free,
  He abideth under a tree:
  Forty thousand of chivalry
  He taketh in his company,
  He dasheth him then fast forthward,
  And the other cometh afterward.
  He seeth his knightës in mischief,
  He taketh it greatly a grief,
  He takes Bultyphal[2] by the side,
  So as a swallow he 'ginneth forth glide.
  A duke of Persia soon he met,
  And with his lance he him grett.
  He píerceth his breny, cleaveth his shieldë,
  The heartë tokeneth the yrnë;
  The duke fell downë to the ground,
  And starf[3] quickly in that stound:
  Alisander aloud then said,
  Other toll never I ne paid,
  Yet ye shallen of mine pay,
  Ere I go more assay.
  Another lance in hand he hent,
  Against the prince of Tyre he went
  He ... him thorough the breast and thare
  And out of saddle and crouthe him bare,
  And I say for soothë thing
  He brake his neck in the falling.
  ... with muchel wonder,
  Antiochus haddë him under,
  And with sword would his heved[4]
  From his body have yreaved:
  He saw Alisander the goodë gome,
  Towards him swithë come,
  He lete[5] his prey, and flew on horse,
  For to save his owen corse:
  Antiochus on steed leap,
  Of none woundës ne took he keep,
  And eke he had fourë forde
  All ymade with spearës' ord.[6]
  Tholomeus and all his felawen[7]
  Of this succour so weren welfawen,
  Alysander made a cry hardy,
  'Ore tost aby aby.'
  Then the knightës of Achaÿ
  Jousted with them of Araby,
  They of Rome with them of Mede,
  Many land....
  Egypt jousted with them of Tyre,
  Simple knights with richë sire:
  There n'as foregift ne forbearing
  Betweenë vavasour[8] ne king;
  Before men mighten and behind
  Cunteck[9] seek and cunteck find.
  With Persians foughten the Gregeys,[10]
  There was cry and great honteys.[11]
  They kidden[12] that they weren mice,
  They broken spearës all to slice.
  There might knight find his pere,
  There lost many his distrere:[13]
  There was quick in little thraw,[14]
  Many gentle knight yslaw:
  Many armë, many heved[15]
  Some from the body reaved:
  Many gentle lavedy[16]
  There lost quick her amy.[17]
  There was many maim yled,[18]
  Many fair pensel bebled:[19]
  There was swordës liklaking,[20]
  There was spearës bathing,
  Both kingës there sans doute
  Be in dash'd with all their route, &c.

[1] 'Myde:' with.
[2] 'Bultyphal:' Bucephalus.
[3] 'Starf:' died.
[4] 'Heved: head.
[5] 'Lete:' left.
[6] 'Ord:' point.
[7] 'Felawen;' fellows.
[7] 'Vavasour:' subject.
[8] 'Cunteck:' strife.
[9] 'Gregeys:' Greeks.
[10] 'Honteys:' shame.
[11] 'Kidden:' thought.
[12] 'Distrere:' horse.
[13] 'Little thraw:' short time.
[14] 'Heved:' head.
[15] 'Lavedy:' lady.
[16] 'Amy:' paramour.
[17] 'Yled:' led along, maimed.
[18] 'Many fair pensel bebled:' many a banner sprinkled with blood.
[19] 'Liklaking:' clashing.

Davie was also the author of an original poem, entitled, 'Visions in
Verse,' and of the 'Battle of Jerusalem,' in which he versifies a French
romance. In this production Pilate is represented as challenging our
Lord to single combat!

In 1349, died Richard Rollo, a hermit, and a verse-writer. He lived a
secluded life near the nunnery of Hampole in Yorkshire, and wrote a
number of devotional pieces, most of them very dull. In 1350, Lawrence
Minot produced some short narrative ballads on the victories of Edward
III., beginning with Halidon Hill, and ending with the siege of Guisnes
Castle. His works lay till the end of the last century obscure in a MS.
of the Cotton Collection, which was supposed to be a transcript of the
Works of Chaucer. On a spare leaf of the MS. there had been accidentally
written a name, probably that of its original possessor, 'Richard
Chawsir.' This the getter-up of the Cotton catalogue imagined to be the
name of Geoffrey Chaucer. Mr Tyrwhitt, while foraging for materials to
his edition of 'The Canterbury Tales,' accidentally found out who the
real writer was; and Ritson afterwards published Minot's ballads, which
are ten in number, written in the northern dialect, and in an alliterative
style, and with considerable spirit and liveliness. He has been called the
Tyrtaeus of his age.

We come now to the immediate predecessor of Chaucer--Robert Langlande.
He was a secular priest, born at Mortimer's Cleobury, in Shropshire,
and educated at Oriel College, Oxford. He wrote, towards the end of the
fourteenth century, a very remarkable work, entitled, 'Visions of William
concerning Piers Plowman.' The general object of this poem is to denounce
the abuses of society, and to inculcate, upon both clergy and laity, their
respective duties. One William is represented as falling asleep among the
Malvern Hills, and sees in his dream a succession of visions, in which
great ingenuity, great boldness, and here and there a powerful vein of
poetry, are displayed. Truth is described as a magnificent tower, and
Falsehood as a deep dungeon. In one canto Religion descends, and gives
a long harangue about what should be the conduct of society and of
individuals. Bribery and Falsehood, in another part of the poem, seek a
marriage with each other, and make their way to the courts of justice,
where they find many friends. Some very whimsical passages are introduced.
The Power of Grace confers upon Piers Plowman, who stands for the
Christian Life, four stout oxen, to cultivate the field of Truth. These
are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the last of whom is described as the
gentlest of the team. She afterwards assigns him the like number of stots
or bullocks, to harrow what the evangelists had ploughed, and this new
horned team consists of Saint or Stot Ambrose, Stot Austin, Stot Gregory,
and Stot Jerome.

Apart from its fantastic structure, 'Piers Plowman' was not only a sign
of the times, but did great service in its day. His voice rings like
that of Israel's minor prophets--like Nahum or Hosea--in a dark and
corrupt age. He proclaims liberal and independent sentiments, he attacks
slavery and superstition, and he predicts the doom of the Papacy as with
a thunder-knell. Chaucer must have felt roused to his share of the
reformatory work by the success of 'Piers Plowman;' Spenser is suspected
to have read and borrowed from him; and even Milton, in his description
of a lazar-house in 'Paradise Lost,' had him probably in his eye. (See
our last extract from 'Piers.')

On account of the great merit and peculiarity of this work we proceed to
make rather copious extracts.


  HUMAN LIFE.

  Then 'gan I to meten[1] a marvellous sweven,[2]
  That I was in wilderness, I wist never where:
  As I beheld into the east, on high to the sun,
  I saw a tower on a loft, richly ymaked,
  A deep dale beneath, a dungeon therein,
  With deep ditches and dark, and dreadful of sight:
  A fair field full of folk found I there between,
  Of all manner men, the mean and the rich,
  Working and wand'ring, as the world asketh;
  Some put them to the plough, playeden full seld,
  In setting and sowing swonken[3] full hard:
  And some put them to pride, &c.

[1] 'Meten:' dream.
[2] 'Sweven:' dream.
[3] 'Swonken:' toiled.


  ALLEGORICAL PICTURES.

  Thus robed in russet, I roamed about
  All a summer season, for to seek Dowell
  And freyned[1] full oft, of folk that I met
  If any wight wist where Dowell was at inn,
  And what man he might be, of many man I asked;
  Was never wight as I went, that me wysh[2] could
  Where this lad lenged,[3] lessë or more,
  Till it befell on a Friday, two friars I met
  Masters of the Minors,[4] men of greatë wit.
  I halsed them hendely,[5] as I had learned,
  And prayed them for charity, ere they passed further,
  If they knew any court or country as they went
  Where that Dowell dwelleth, do me to wit,[6]
  For they be men on this mould, that most widë walk
  And know countries and courts, and many kinnes[7] places,
  Both princes' palaces, and poor mennë's cotes,
  And Dowell, and Doevil, where they dwell both.
  'Amongst us,' quoth the Minors, 'that man is dwelling
  And ever hath as I hope, and ever shall hereafter.'
  Contra, quod I, as a clerk, and cumsed to disputen,
  And said them soothly, _Septies in die cadit justus_,
  Seven sythes,[8] sayeth the book, sinneth the rightful,
  And whoso sinneth, I say, doth evil as methinketh,
  And Dowell and Doevil may not dwell together,
  Ergo he is not alway among you friars;
  He is other while elsewhere, to wyshen[9] the people.
  'I shall say thee, my son,' said the friar then,
  'How seven sithes the saddë[10] man on a day sinneth,
  By a forvisne'[11] quod the friar, 'I shall thee fair shew;
  Let bring a man in a boat, amid the broad water,
  The wind and the water, and the boatë wagging,
  Make a man many time, to fall and to stand,
  For stand he never so stiff, he stumbleth if he move,
  And yet is he safe and sound, and so him behoveth,
  For if he ne arise the rather, and raght[12] to the steer,
  The wind would with the water the boat overthrow,
  And then were his life lost through latches[13] of himself.
  And thus it falleth,' quod the friar, 'by folk here on earth,
  The water is lik'ned to the world, that waneth and waxeth,
  The goods of this world are likened to the great waves
  That as winds and weathers, walken about,
  The boat is liken'd to our body, that brittle is of kind,
  That through the flesh, and the frailë world
  Sinneth the saddë man, a day seven times,
  And deadly sin doeth he not, for Dowell him keepeth,
  And that is Charity the champion, chief help against sin,
  For he strengtheth man to stand, and stirreth man's soul,
  And though thy body bow, as boatë doth in water,
  Aye is thy soulë safe, but if thou wilt thyself
  Do a deadly sin, and drenchë[14] so thy soul,
  God will suffer well thy sloth, if thyself liketh,
  For he gave thee two years' gifts, to teme well thyself,
  And that is wit and free-will, to every wight a portion,
  To flying fowlës, to fishes, and to beasts,
  And man hath most thereof, and most is to blame
  But if he work well therewith, as Dowell him teacheth.'
  'I have no kind knowing,' quoth I, 'to conceive all your wordës
  And if I may live and look, I shall go learnë better;
  I beken[15] the Christ, that on the crossë died;'
  And I said, 'The samë save you from mischance,
  And give you grace on this ground good me to worth.'
  And thus I went wide where, walking mine one
  By a wide wilderness, and by a woodë's side,
  Bliss of the birdës brought me on sleep,
  And under a lind[16] on a land, leaned I a stound[17]
  To lyth[18] the layës, those lovely fowlës made,
  Mirth of their mouthës made me there to sleep.
  The marvellousest metelles mettë[19] me then
  That ever dreamed wight, in world as I went.
  A much man as me thought, and like to myself,
  Came and called me, by my kindë[20] namë.
  'What art thou,' quod I then, 'thou that my namë knowest?'
  'That thou wottest well,' quod he, 'and no wight better.'
  'Wot I what thou art?' Thought said he then,
  'I have sued[21] thee this seven years, see ye me no rather?'
  'Art thou Thought?' quoth I then, 'thou couldest me wyssh[22]
  Where that Dowell dwelleth, and do me that to know.'
  'Dowell, and Dobetter, and Dobest the third,' quod he,
  'Are three fair virtues, and be not far to find,
  Whoso is true of his tongue, and of his two handës,
  And through his labour or his lod, his livelod winneth,
  And is trusty of his tayling,[23] taketh but his own,
  And is no drunkelow ne dedigious, Dowell him followeth;
  Dobet doth right thus, and he doth much more,
  He is as low as a lamb, and lovëly of speech,
  And helpeth all men, after that them needeth;
  The baggës and the bigirdles, he hath to-broke them all,
  That the earl avarous heldë and his heirës,
  And thus to mammons many he hath made him friends,
  And is run to religion, and hath rend'red[24] the Bible
  And preached to the people Saint Paulë's wordës,
  _Libenter suffertis insipientes, cum sitis ipsi sapientes_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  And suffereth the unwise with you for to live,
  And with glad will doth he good, for so God you hoteth.[25]
  Dobest is above both, and beareth a bishop's cross
  Is hooked on that one end to halye[26] men from hell;
  A pike is on the potent[27] to pull down the wicked
  That waiten any wickedness, Dowell to tene;[28]
  And Dowell and Dobet amongst them have ordained
  To crown one to be king, to rule them boeth,
  That if Dowell and Dobet are against Dobest,
  Then shall the king come, and cast them in irons,
  And but if Dobest bid for them, they be there for ever.
  Thus Dowell and Dobet, and Dobestë the third,
  Crowned one to be king, to keepen them all,
  And to rule the realmë by their three wittës,
  And none otherwise but as they three assented.'
  I thanked Thought then, that he me thus taught,
  And yet favoureth me not thy suging, I covet to learn
  How Dowell, Dobest, and Dobetter do among the people.
  'But Wit can wish[29] thee,' quoth Thought, 'where they three dwell,
  Else wot I none that can tell that now is alive.'
  Thought and I thus, three dayës we yeden[30]
  Disputing upon Dowell, dayë after other.
  And ere we were 'ware, with Wit 'gan we meet.
  He was long and leanë, like to none other,
  Was no pride on his apparel, nor poverty neither;
  Sad of his semblance, and of soft cheer;
  I durst not move no matter, to make him to laugh,
  But as I bade Thought then be mean between,
  And put forth some purpose to prevent his wits,
  What was Dowell from Dobet, and Dobest from them both?
  Then Thought in that timë said these wordës;
  'Whether Dowell, Dobet, and Dobest be in land,
  Here is well would wit, if Wit could teach him,
  And whether he be man or woman, this man fain would espy,
  And work as they three would, this is his intent.'
  'Here Dowell dwelleth,' quod Wit, 'not a day hence,
  In a castle that kind[31] made, of four kinds things;
  Of earth and air is it made, mingled together
  With wind and with water, witterly[32] enjoined;
  Kindë hath closed therein, craftily withal,
  A leman[33] that he loveth, like to himself,
  Anima she hight, and Envy her hateth,
  A proud pricker of France, _princeps hujus mundi_,
  And would win her away with wiles and he might;
  And Kind knoweth this well, and keepeth her the better.
  And doth her with Sir Dowell is duke of these marches;
  Dobet is her damosel, Sir Dowell's daughter,
  To serve this lady lelly,[34] both late and rathe.[35]
  Dobest is above both, a bishop's pere;
  That he bids must be done; he ruleth them all.
  Anima, that lady, is led by his learning,
  And the constable of the castle, that keepeth all the watch,
  Is a wise knight withal, Sir Inwit he hight,
  And hath five fair sonnës by his first wife,
  Sir Seewell and Saywell, and Hearwell-the-end,
  Sir Workwell-with-thy-hand, a wight man of strength,
  And Sir Godfray Gowell, great lordës forsooth.
  These five be set to save this lady Anima,
  Till Kind come or send, to save her for ever.'
  'What kind thing is Kind,' quod I, 'canst thou me tell?'--
  'Kind,' quod Wit, 'is a creator of all kinds things,
  Father and former of all that ever was maked,
  And that is the great God that 'ginning had never,
  Lord of life and of light, of bliss and of pain,
  Angels and all thing are at his will,
  And man is him most like, of mark and of shape,
  For through the word that he spake, wexen forth beasts,
  And made Adam, likest to himself one,
  And Eve of his ribbë bone, without any mean,
  For he was singular himself, and said _Faciamus_,
  As who say more must hereto, than my wordë one,
  My might must helpë now with my speech,
  Even as a lord should make letters, and he lacked parchment,
  Though he could write never so well, if he had no pen,
  The letters, for all his lordship, I 'lieve were never ymarked;
  And so it seemeth by him, as the Bible telleth,
  There he saidë, _Dixit et facta sunt_.
  He must work with his word, and his wit shew;
  And in this manner was man made, by might of God Almighty,
  With his word and his workmanship, and with life to last,
  And thus God gave him a ghost[36] of the Godhead of heaven,
  And of his great grace granted him bliss,
  And that is life that aye shall last, to all our lineage after;
  And that is the castle that Kindë made, Caro it hight,
  And is as much to meanë as man with a soul,
  And that he wrought with work and with word both;
  Through might of the majesty, man was ymaked.
  Inwit and Allwits closed been therein,
  For love of the lady Anima, that life is nempned.[37]
  Over all in man's body, she walketh and wand'reth,
  And in the heart is her home, and her most rest,
  And Inwit is in the head, and to the heartë looketh,
  What Anima is lief or loth,[38] he leadeth her at his will
  Then had Wit a wife, was hotë Dame Study,
  That leve was of lere, and of liche boeth.
  She was wonderly wrought, Wit me so teached,
  And all staring, Dame Study sternëly said;
  'Well art thou wise,' quoth she to Wit, 'any wisdoms to tell
  To flatterers or to foolës, that frantic be of wits;'
  And blamed him and banned him, and bade him be still,
  With such wisë wordës, to wysh any sots,
  And said, '_Noli mittere_, man, _margaritae_, pearls,
  Amongë hoggës, that havë hawes at will.
  They do but drivel thereon, draff were them lever,[39]
  Than all precious pearls that in paradise waxeth.[40]
  I say it, by such,' quod she, 'that shew it by their works,
  That them were lever[41] land and lordship on earth,
  Or riches or rentës, and rest at their will,
  Than all the sooth sawës that Solomon said ever.
  Wisdom and wit now is not worth a kerse,[42]
  But if it be carded with covetise, as clothers kemb their wool;
  Whoso can contrive deceits, and conspire wrongs,
  And lead forth a lovëday,[43] to let with truth,
  He that such craftës can is oft cleped to counsel,
  They lead lords with lesings, and belieth truth.
  Job the gentle in his gests greatly witnesseth
  That wicked men wielden the wealth of this world;
  The Psalter sayeth the same, by such as do evil;
  _Ecce ipsi peccatores abundantes in seculo obtinuerunt divitias_.
  Lo, saith holy lecture, which lords be these shrewes?
  Thilkë that God giveth most, least good they dealeth,
  And most unkind be to that comen, that most chattel wieldeth.[44]
  _Quae perfecisti destrutxerunt, justus autem, &c_.
  Harlots for their harlotry may have of their goodës,
  And japers and juggelers, and janglers of jestës,
  And he that hath holy writ aye in his mouth,
  And can tell of Tobie, and of the twelve apostles,
  Or preach of the penance that Pilate falsely wrought
  To Jesu the gentle, that Jewës to-draw:
  Little is he loved that such a lesson sheweth;
  Or daunten or draw forth, I do it on God himself,
  But they that feign they foolës, and with fayting[45] liveth,
  Against the lawë of our Lord, and lien on themself,
  Spitten and spewen, and speak foulë wordës,
  Drinken and drivellen, and do men for to gape,
  Liken men, and lie on them, and lendeth them no giftës,
  They can[46] no more minstrelsy nor music men to glad,
  Than Mundie, the miller, of _multa fecit Deus_.
  Ne were their vile harlotry, have God my truth,
  Shouldë never king nor knight, nor canon of Paul's
  Give them to their yearë's gift, nor gift of a groat,
  And mirth and minstrelsy amongst men is nought;
  Lechery, losenchery,[47] and losels' talës,
  Gluttony and great oaths, this mirth they loveth,
  And if they carpen[48] of Christ, these clerkës and these lewed,
  And they meet in their mirth, when minstrels be still,
  When telleth they of the Trinity a talë or twain,
  And bringeth forth a blade reason, and take Bernard to witness,
  And put forth a presumption to prove the sooth,
  Thus they drivel at their dais[49] the Deity to scorn,
  And gnawen God to their gorge[50] when their guts fallen;
  And the careful[51] may cry, and carpen at the gate,
  Both a-hunger'd and a-thirst, and for chill[52] quake,
  Is none to nymen[53] them near, his noyel[54] to amend,
  But hunten him as a hound, and hoten[55] him go hence.
  Little loveth he that Lord that lent him all that bliss,
  That thus parteth with the poor; a parcel when him needeth
  Ne were mercy in mean men, more than in rich;
  Mendynauntes meatless[56] might go to bed.
  God is much in the gorge of these greatë masters,
  And amongës mean men, his mercy and his workës,
  And so sayeth the Psalter, I have seen it oft.
  Clerks and other kinnes men carpen of God fast,
  And have him much in the mouth, and meanë men in heart;
  Friars and faitours[57] have founden such questions
  To please with the proud men, sith the pestilence time,
  And preachen at St Paulë's, for pure envy of clerks,
  That folk is not firmed in the faith, nor free of their goods,
  Nor sorry for their sinnës, so is pride waxen,
  In religion, and in all the realm, amongst rich and poor;
  That prayers have no power the pestilence to let,
  And yet the wretches of this world are none 'ware by other,
  Nor for dread of the death, withdraw not their pride,
  Nor be plenteous to the poor, as pure charity would,
  But in gains and in gluttony, forglote goods themself,
  And breaketh not to the beggar, as the book teacheth.
  And the more he winneth, and waxeth wealthy in riches,
  And lordeth in landës, the less good he dealeth.
  Tobie telleth ye not so, takë heed, ye rich,
  How the bible book of him beareth witness;
  Whoso hath much, spend manly, so meaneth Tobit,
  And whoso little wieldeth, rule him thereafter;
  For we have no letter of our life, how long it shall endure.
  Suchë lessons lordës shouldë love to hear,
  And how he might most meinie, manlich find;
  Not to fare as a fiddeler, or a friar to seek feasts,
  Homely at other men's houses, and haten their own.
  Elenge[58] is the hall every day in the week;
  There the lord nor the lady liketh not to sit,
  Now hath each rich a rule[59] to eaten by themself
  In a privy parlour, for poorë men's sake,
  Or in a chamber with a chimney, and leave the chief hall
  That was made for mealës men to eat in.'--
  And when that Wit was 'ware what Dame Study told,
  He became so confuse he cunneth not look,
  And as dumb as death, and drew him arear,
  And for no carping I could after, nor kneeling to the earth
  I might get no grain of his greatë wits,
  But all laughing he louted, and looked upon Study,
  In sign that I shouldë beseechen her of grace,
  And when I was 'ware of his will, to his wife I louted
  And said, 'Mercie, madam, your man shall I worth
  As long as I live both late and early,
  For to worken your will, the while my life endureth,
  With this that ye ken me kindly, to know to what is Dowell.'
  'For thy meekness, man,' quoth she, 'and for thy mild speech,
  I shall ken thee to my cousin, that Clergy is hoten.[60]
  He hath wedded a wife within these six moneths,
  Is syb[61] to the seven arts, Scripture is her name;
  They two as I hope, after my teaching,
  Shall wishen thee Dowell, I dare undertake.'
  Then was I as fain as fowl of fair morrow,
  And gladder than the gleeman that gold hath to gift,
  And asked her the highway where that Clergy[62] dwelt.
  'And tell me some token,' quoth I, 'for time is that I wend.'
  'Ask the highway,' quoth she, 'hencë to suffer
  Both well and woe, if that thou wilt learn;
  And ride forth by riches, and rest thou not therein,
  For if thou couplest ye therewith, to Clergy comest thou never,
  And also the likorous land that Lechery hight,
  Leave it on thy left half, a largë mile and more,
  Till thou come to a court, keep well thy tongue
  From leasings and lyther[63] speech, and likorous drinkës,
  Then shalt thou see Sobriety, and Simplicity of speech,
  That each might be in his will, his wit to shew,
  And thus shall ye come to Clergy that can many things;
  Say him this sign, I set him to school,
  And that I greet well his wife, for I wrote her many books,
  And set her to Sapience, and to the Psalter glose;
  Logic I learned her, and many other laws,
  And all the unisons to music I made her to know;
  Plato the poet, I put them first to book,
  Aristotle and other more, to argue I taught,
  Grammer for girlës, I gard[64] first to write,
  And beat them with a bales but if they would learn;
  Of all kindës craftës I contrived toolës,
  Of carpentry, of carvers, and compassed masons,
  And learned them level and line, though I look dim;
  And Theology hath tened[65] me seven score timës;
  The more I muse therein, the mistier it seemeth,
  And the deeper I divine, the darker me it thinketh.

[1] 'Freyned:' inquired.
[2] 'Wysh:' inform.
[3] 'Lenged:' lived.
[4] 'Minors:' the friars minors.
[5] 'Halsed them hendely:' saluted them kindly.
[6] 'Do me to wit:' make me to know.
[7] 'Kinnes:' sorts of.
[8] 'Sythes:' times.
[9] 'Wyshen:' inform, teach.
[10] 'Saddë:' sober, good.
[11] 'Forvisne:' similitude.
[12] 'Raght:' reach.
[13] 'Latches:' laziness.
[14] 'Drenchë:' drown.
[15] 'Beken:' confess.
[16] 'Lind:' lime-tree.
[17] 'A stound:' a while.
[18] 'Lyth:' listen.
[19] 'Mettë:' dreamed.
[20] 'Kinde:' own.
[21] 'Sued:' sought.
[22] 'Wyssh:' inform.
[23] 'Tayling:' dealing.
[24] 'Rend'red:' translated.
[25] 'Hoteth:' biddeth.
[26] 'Halve:' draw.
[27] 'Potent:' staff.
[28] 'Tene:' grieve.
[29] 'Wish:' inform.
[30] 'Yeden:' went.
[31] 'Kind:' nature.
[32] 'Witterly:' cunningly.
[33] 'Leman:' paramour.
[34] 'Lelly:' fair.
[35] 'Rathe:' early.
[36] 'Ghost:' spirit.
[37] 'Nempned:' named.
[38] 'Loth:' willing.
[39] 'Lever:' rather.
[40] 'Waxeth: grow.
[41] 'Them were lever:' they had rather.
[42] 'Kerse:' curse.
[43] 'Lovëday:'lady.
[44] 'Wieldeth:' commands.
[45] 'Fayting:' deceiving.
[46] 'Can:' know.
[47] 'Losenchery:' lying.
[48] 'Carpen:' speak.
[49] 'Dais:' table.
[50] 'Gorge:' throat.
[51] 'Careful:' poor.
[52] 'Chill:' cold.
[53] 'Nymen:' take.
[54] 'Noye:' trouble.
[55] 'Hoten:' order.
[56] 'Mendynauntes meatless:' beggars supperless.
[57] 'Faitours:' idle fellows.
[58] 'Elenge:' strange, deserted.
[59] 'Rule:' custom.
[60] 'Hoten:' named.
[61] 'Syb:' mother.
[62] 'Clergy:' learning.
[63] 'Lyther:' wanton.
[64] 'Gard:' made.
[65] 'Tened:' grieved.


  COVETOUSNESS.

  And then came Covetise; can I him no descrive,
  So hungerly and hollow, so sternëly he looked,
  He was bittle-browed and baberlipped also;
  With two bleared eyen as a blindë hag,
  And as a leathern pursë lolled his cheekës,
  Well sider than his chin they shivered for cold:
  And as a bondman of his bacon his beard was bidrauled,
  With a hood on his head, and a lousy hat above.
  And in a tawny tabard,[1] of twelve winter age,
  Allë torn and baudy, and full of lice creeping;
  But that if a louse could have leapen the better,
  She had not walked on the welt, so was it threadbare.
  'I have been Covetise,' quoth this caitiff,
  'For sometime I served Symmë at style,
  And was his prentice plight, his profit to wait.
  First I learned to lie, a leef other twain
  Wickedly to weigh, was my first lesson:
  To Wye and to Winchester I went to the fair
  With many manner merchandise, as my master me hight.--
  Then drave I me among drapers my donet[2] to learn.
  To draw the lyfer along, the longer it seemed
  Among the rich rays,' &c.

[1] 'Tabard:' a coat.
[2] 'Donet:' lesson.


  THE PRELATES.

  And now is religion a rider, a roamer by the street,
  A leader of lovëdays,[1] and a loudë[2] beggar,
  A pricker on a palfrey from manor to manor,
  An heap of houndës at his arse as he a lord were.
  And if but his knave kneel, that shall his cope bring,
  He loured on him, and asked who taught him courtesy.

[1] 'Lovëdays:' ladies.
[2] 'Loudë:' lewd.


  MERCY AND TRUTH.

  Out of the west coast, a wench, as methought,
  Came walking in the way, to heavenward she looked;
  Mercy hight that maidë, a meek thing withal,
  A full benign birdë, and buxom of speech;
  Her sister, as it seemed, came worthily walking,
  Even out of the east, and westward she looked,
  A full comely creature, Truth she hight,
  For the virtue that her followed afeared was she never.
  When these maidens met, Mercy and Truth,
  Either asked other of this great marvel,
  Of the din and of the darkness, &c.


  NATURE, OR KIND, SENDING FORTH HIS DISEASES FROM THE PLANETS, AT
  THE COMMAND OF CONSCIENCE, AND OF HIS ATTENDANTS, AGE AND DEATH.

  Kind Conscience then heard, and came out of the planets,
  And sent forth his forriours, Fevers and Fluxes,
  Coughës and Cardiacles, Crampës and Toothaches,
  Rheumës, and Radgondes, and raynous Scallës,
  Boilës, and Botches, and burning Agues,
  Phreneses and foul Evil, foragers of Kind!
  There was 'Harow! and Help! here cometh Kind,
  With Death that is dreadful, to undo us all!'
  The lord that liveth after lust then aloud cried.
  _Age the hoar, he was in the va-ward,
  And bare the banner before Death: by right he it claimed._
  Kindë came after, with many keenë sorës,
  As Pocks and Pestilences, and much people shent.
  So Kind through corruptions, killed full many:
  Death came driving after, and all to dust pashed
  Kings and Kaisers, knightës and popës.
  Many a lovely lady, and leman of knights,
  Swooned and swelted for sorrow of Death's dints.
  Conscience, of his courtesy, to Kind he besought
  To cease and sufire, and see where they would
  Leave Pride privily, and be perfect Christian,
  And Kind ceased then, to see the people amend.


'Piers Plowman' found many imitators. One wrote 'Piers the Plowman's
Crede;' another, 'The Plowman's Tale;' another, a poem on 'Alexander the
Great; 'another, on the 'Wars of the Jews;' and another, 'A Vision of
Death and Life,' extracts from all which may be found in Warton's
'History of English Poetry.'

We close this preliminary essay by giving a very ancient hymn to the
Virgin, as a specimen of the once universally-prevalent alliterative
poetry.


  I.

  Hail be you, Mary, mother and may,
  Mild, and meek, and merciable;
  Hail, folliche fruit of soothfast fay,
  Against each strife steadfast and stable;
  Hail, soothfast soul in each, a say,
  Under the sun is none so able;
  Hail, lodge that our Lord in lay,
  The foremost that never was founden in fable;
  Hail, true, truthful, and tretable,
  Hail, chief ychosen of chastity,
  Hail, homely, hendy, and amiable:
  _To pray for us to thy Sonë so free!_  AVE.


  II.

  Hail, star that never stinteth light;
  Hail, bush burning that never was brent;
  Hail, rightful ruler of every right,
  Shadow to shield that should be shent;
  Hail, blessed be you blossom bright,
  To truth and trust was thine intent;
  Hail, maiden and mother, most of might,
  Of all mischiefs an amendëment;
  Hail, spice sprung that never was spent;
  Hail, throne of the Trinity;
  Hail, scion that God us soon to sent,
  _You pray for us thy Sonë free!_ AVE.


  III.

  Hail, heartily in holiness;
  Hail, hope of help to high and low;
  Hail, strength and stel of stableness;
  Hail, window of heaven wowe;
  Hail, reason of righteousness,
  To each a caitiff comfort to know;
  Hail, innocent of angerness,
  Our takel, our tol, that we on trow;
  Hail, friend to all that beoth forth flow;
  Hail, light of love, and of beauty,
  Hail, brighter than the blood on snow:
  _You pray for us thy Sonë free!_ AVE.


  IV.

  Hail, maiden; hail, mother; hail, martyr trew;
  Hail, kindly yknow confessour;
  Hail, evenere of old law and new;
  Hail, builder bold of Christë's bower;
  Hail, rose highest of hyde and hue;
  Of all fruitë's fairest flower;
  Hail, turtle trustiest and true,
  Of all truth thou art treasour;
  Hail, pured princess of paramour;
  Hail, bloom of brere brightest of ble;
  Hail, owner of earthly honour:
  _You pray for us thy Sonë so free!_ AVE, &c.


  V.

  Hail, hendy; hail, holy emperess;
  Hail, queen courteous, comely, and kind;
  Hail, destroyer of every strife;
  Hail, mender of every man's mind;
  Hail, body that we ought to bless,
  So faithful friend may never man find;
  Hail, lever and lover of largëness,
  Sweet and sweetest that never may swynde;
  Hail, botenere[1] of every body blind;
  Hail, borgun brightest of all bounty,
  Hail, trewore then the wode bynd:
  _You pray for us thy Sonë so free!_ AVE.


  VI.

  Hail, mother; hail, maiden; hail, heaven queen;
  Hail, gatus of paradise;
  Hail, star of the sea that ever is seen;
  Hail, rich, royal, and righteous;
  Hail, burde yblessed may you bene;
  Hail, pearl of all perrie the pris;
  Hail, shadow in each a shower shene;
  Hail, fairer than that fleur-de-lis,
  Hail, chere chosen that never n'as chis;
  Hail, chief chamber of charity;
  Hail, in woe that ever was wis:
  _You pray for us thy Sonë so free!_ AVE, &c. &c.

[1] 'Botenere:' helper.



ADVERTISEMENT.

It will be observed that, in the specimens given of the earlier poets, the
spelling has been modernised on the principle which has been so generally
approved in its application to the text of Chaucer and of Spenser.

On a further examination of the material for 'Specimens and Memoirs of the
less-known British Poets,' it has been deemed advisable to devote three
volumes to this _résumé_, and merely to give extracts from Cowley, instead
of following out the arrangement proposed when the issue for this year was
announced. In this space it has been found possible to present the reader
with specimens of almost all those authors whose writings were at any
period esteemed. The series will thus be rendered more perfect, and will
include the complete works of the authors whose entire writings are by
a general verdict regarded as worthy of preservation; together with
representations of the style, and brief notices of the poets who have,
during the progress of our literature, occupied a certain rank, but whose
popularity and importance have in a great measure passed.

It is confidently hoped that the arrangements now made will give a
completeness to the First Division of the Library Edition of the British
Poets--from Chaucer to Cowper--which will be acceptable and satisfactory
to the general reader.

Edinburgh, July 1860.



CONTENTS.

       *       *       *       *       *

FIRST PERIOD.

JOHN GOWER
  The Chariot of the Sun
  The Tale of the Coffers or Caskets, &c.
  Of the Gratification which the Lover's Passion receives from
    the Sense of Hearing

JOHN BARBOUR
  Apostrophe to Freedom
  Death of Sir Henry de Bohun

ANDREW WYNTOUN

BLIND HARRY
  Battle of Black-Earnside
  The Death of Wallace

JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND
  Description of the King's Mistress

JOHN THE CHAPLAIN--THOMAS OCCLEVE

JOHN LYDGATE
  Canace, condemned to Death by her Father Aeolus, sends to her guilty
    Brother Macareus the last Testimony of her unhappy Passion
  The London Lyckpenny

HARDING, KAY, &c.

ROBERT HENRYSON
  Dinner given by the Town Mouse to the Country Mouse
  The Garment of Good Ladies

WILLIAM DUNBAR
  The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins through Hell
  The Merle and Nightingale

GAVIN DOUGLAS
  Morning in May

HAWES, BARCLAY, &c.

SKELTON
  To Miss Margaret Hussey

SIR DAVID LYNDSAY
  Meldrum's Duel with the English Champion Talbart
  Supplication in Contemption of Side Tails

THOMAS TUSSER
  Directions for Cultivating a Hop-garden
  Housewifely Physic
  Moral Reflections on the Wind

VAUX, EDWARDS, &c.

GEORGE GASCOIGNE
  Good-morrow
  Good-night

THOMAS SACKVILLE, LORD BUCKHURST AND EARL OF DORSET
  Allegorical Characters from 'The Mirror of Magistrates'
  Henry Duke of Buckingham in the Infernal Regions

JOHN HARRINGTON
  Sonnet on Isabella Markham
  Verses on a most stony-hearted Maiden

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
  To Sleep
  Sonnets

ROBERT SOUTHWELL
  Look Home
  The Image of Death
  Love's Servile Lot
  Times go by Turns

THOMAS WATSON
  The Nymphs to their May-Queen
  Sonnet

THOMAS TURBERVILLE
  In praise of the renowned Lady Aime, Countess of Warwick

UNKNOWN
  Harpalus' Complaint of Phillida's Love bestowed on Corin, who loved
    her not, and denied him that loved her
  A Praise of his Lady
  That all things sometime find Ease of their Pain, save only the Lover
  From 'The Phoenix' Nest'
  From the same
  The Soul's Errand

       *       *       *       *       *

SECOND PERIOD.

FROM SPENSER TO DRYDEN.

FRANCIS BEAUMONT
  To Ben Jonson
  On the Tombs in Westminster
  An Epitaph

SIR WALTER RALEIGH
  The Country's Recreations
  The Silent Lover
  A Vision upon 'The Fairy Queen'
  Love admits no Rival

JOSHUA SYLVESTER
  To Religion
  On Man's Resemblance to God
  The Chariot of the Sun

RICHARD BARNFIELD
  Address to the Nightingale

ALEXANDER HUME
  Thanks for a Summer's Day

OTHER SCOTTISH POETS

SAMUEL DANIEL
  Richard II., the morning before his Murder in Pomfret Castle
  Early Love
  Selections from Sonnets

SIR JOHN DAVIES
  Introduction to the Poem on the Soul of Man
  The Self-subsistence of the Soul
  Spirituality of the Soul

GILES FLETCHER
  The Nativity
  Song of Sorceress seeking to tempt Christ
  Close of 'Christ's Victory and Triumph'

JOHN DONNE
  Holy Sonnets
  The Progress of the Soul

MICHAEL DRAYTON
  Description of Morning

EDWARD FAIRFAX
  Rinaldo at Mount Olivet

SIR HENRY WOTTON
  Farewell to the Vanities of the World
  A Meditation

RICHARD CORBET
  Dr Corbet's Journey into France

BEN JONSON
  Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke
  The Picture of the Body
  To Penshurst
  To the Memory of my beloved Master, William Shakspeare, and what
    he hath left us
  On the Portrait of Shakspeare

VERE, STORBER, &c

THOMAS RANDOLPH
  The Praise of Woman
  To my Picture
  To a Lady admiring herself in a Looking-glass

ROBERT BURTON
  On Melancholy

THOMAS CAREW
  Persuasions to Love
  Song
  To my Mistress sitting by a River's Side
  Song
  A Pastoral Dialogue
  Song

SIR JOHN SUCKLING
  Song
  A Ballad upon a Wedding
  Song

WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT
  Love's Darts
  On the Death of Sir Bevil Grenville
  A Valediction

WILLIAM BROWNE
  Song
  Song
  Power of Genius over Envy
  Evening
  From 'Britannia's Pastorals'
  A Descriptive Sketch

WILLIAM ALEXANDER, EARL OF STIRLING
  Sonnet

WILLIAM DRUMMOND
  The River of Forth Feasting
  Sonnets
  Spiritual Poems

PHINEAS FLETCHER
  Description of Parthenia
  Instability of Human Greatness
  Happiness of the Shepherd's Life
  Marriage of Christ and the Church


       *       *       *       *       *


SPECIMENS, WITH MEMOIRS, OF THE LESS-KNOWN BRITISH POETS.



JOHN GOWER


Very little is told us (as usual in the beginnings of a literature) of
the life and private history of Gower, and that little is not specially
authentic or clearly consistent with itself. His life consists mainly of
a series of suppositions, with one or two firm facts between--like a few
stepping-stones insulated in wide spaces of water. He is said to have
been born about the year 1325, and if so must have been a few years
older than Chaucer; whom he, however, outlived. He was a friend as well
as contemporary of that great poet, who, in the fifth book of his
'Troilus and Cresseide,' thus addresses him:--

  'O moral Gower, this bookë I direct,
  To thee and the philosophical Strood,
  To vouchsafe where need is to correct,
  Of your benignities and zealës good.'

Gower, on the other hand, in his 'Confessio Amantis,' through the mouth
of Venus, speaks as follows of Chaucer:--

  'And greet well Chaucer when ye meet,
  As my disciple and my poët;
  For 'in the flower of his youth,
  In sundry wise, as he well couth,
  Of ditties and of songës glad,
  The whichë for my sake he made,
  The laud fulfill'd is over all,' &c.

The place of Gower's birth has been the subject of much controversy.
Caxton asserts that he was a native of Wales. Leland, Bales, Pits,
Hollingshed, and Edmondson contend, on the other hand, that he belonged
to the Statenham family, in Yorkshire. In proof of this, a deed is
appealed to, which is preserved among the ancient records of the Marquis
of Stafford. To this deed, of which the local date is Statenham, and the
chronological 1346, one of the subscribing witnesses is _John Gower_ who
on the back of the deed is stated, in the handwriting of at least a
century later, to be '_Sr John Gower the Poet_'. Whatever may be thought
of this piece of evidence, 'the proud tradition,' adds Todd, who had
produced it, 'in the Marquis of Stafford's family has been, and still
is, that the poet was of Statenham; and who would not consider the
dignity of his genealogy augmented by enrolling among its worthies the
moral Gower?'

From his will we know that he possessed the manor of Southwell, in the
county of Nottingham, and that of Multon, in the county of Suffolk. He
was thus a rich man, as well as probably a knight. The latter fact is
inferred from the circumstance of his effigies in the church of St Mary
Overies wearing a chaplet of roses, such as, says Francis Thynne, 'the
knyghtes in old time used, either of gold or other embroiderye, made
after the fashion of roses, one of the peculiar ornamentes of a knighte,
as well as his collar of S.S.S., his guilte sword and spurres. Which
chaplett or circle of roses was as well attributed to knyghtes, the
lowest degree of honor, as to the higher degrees of duke, erle, &c.,
being knyghtes, for so I have seen John of Gaunte pictured in his
chaplett of roses; and King, Edwarde the Thirde gave his chaplett to
Eustace Rybamonte; only the difference was, that as they were of lower
degree, so had they fewer roses placed on their chaplett or cyrcle of
golde, one ornament deduced from the dukes crowne, which had the roses
upon the top of the cyrcle, when the knights had them only upon the
cyrcle or garlande itself.'

It has been said that Gower as well as Chaucer studied in the Temple.
This, however, Thynne doubts, on the ground that 'it is most certeyn
to be gathered by cyrcumstances of recordes that the lawyers were not
in the Temple until towardes the latter parte of the reygne of Kinge
Edwarde the Thirde, at whiche tyme Chaucer was a grave manne, holden in
greate credyt and employed in embassye;' and when, of course, Gower,
being his senior, must have been 'graver' still.

There is scarcely anything more to relate of the personal career of our
poet. In his elder days he became attached to the House of Lancaster,
under Thomas of Woodstock, as Chaucer did under John of Gaunt. It is
said that the two poets, who had been warm friends, at last quarrelled,
but obscurity rests on the cause, the circumstances, the duration, and
the consequences of the dispute. Gower, like some far greater bards,
--Milton for instance, and those whom Milton has commemorated,

  'Blind Thamyris and blind Moeonides,
  And Tiresiaa and Phineus, prophets old,'--

was sometime ere his death deprived of his sight, as we know on his own
authority. It appears from his will that he was still living in 1408,
having outlived Chaucer eight years. This will is a curious document.
It is that of a very rich and very superstitious Catholic, who leaves
bequests to churches, hospitals, to priors, sub-priors, and priests,
with the significant request '_ut orent pro me_'--a request which, for
the sake of the poor soul of the 'moral Gower,' was we trust devoutly
obeyed, although we are irresistibly reminded of the old rhyme,

  'Pray for the soul of Gabriel John,
  Who died in the year one thousand and one;
  You may if you please, or let it alone,
        For it's all one
        To Gabriel John,
  Who died in the year one thousand and one.'

There is no mention of children in the will, and hence the assertion of
Edmondson, who, in his genealogical table of the Statenham family, says
that Thomas Gower, the governor of the castle of Mans in the times of
the Fifth and Sixth Henrys, was the only son of the poet, and that of
Glover, who, in his 'Visitation of Yorkshire,' describes Gower as
married to a lady named Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Sadbowrughe,
Baron of the Exchequer, by whom he had five sons and three daughters,
must both fall to the ground. According to the will, Gower's wife's name
was Agnes, and he leaves to her £100 in legacy, besides his valuable
goods and the rents accruing from his aforesaid manors of Multon, in
Suffolk, and Southwell, in Nottinghamshire. His body was, according
to his own direction, buried in the monastery of St Mary Overies, in
Southwark, (afterwards the church of St Saviour,) where a monument, and
an effigies, too, were erected, with the roses of a knight girdling the
brow of one who was unquestionably a true, if not a great poet.

In Warton's 'History of English Poetry,' and in the 'Illustrations of
the Lives and Writings of Gower and Chaucer' by Mr Todd, there will be
found ample and curious details about MS. poems by Gower, such as fifty
sonnets in French; a 'Panegyrick on Henry IV.,' half in Latin and half
in English, a short elegiac poem on the same subject, &c.; besides a
large work, entitled 'Speculum Meditantis,' a poem in French of a moral
cast; and 'Vox Clamantis,' consisting of seven books of Latin elegiacs,
and chiefly filled with a metrical account of the insurrections of the
Commons in the reign of Richard II. In the dedication of this latter
work to Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, Gower speaks of his blindness
and his age. He says, 'Hanc epistolam subscriptam corde devoto misit
_senex et cecus_ Johannes Gower reverendissimo in Christo patri ac
domino suo precipuo domino Thome de Arundell, Cantuar. Archiepö.' &c.
Warton proves that the 'Vox Clamantis' was written in the year 1397, by
a line in the Bodleian manuscript of the poem, 'Hos ego _bis deno_
Ricardo regis in anno.' Richard II. began, it is well known, to reign in
the year 1377, when ten years of age, and, of course, the year 1397 was
the twentieth of his reign. It follows from this, that for eleven years
at least before his death Gower had been _senex et cecus_, helpless
through old age and blindness.

The 'Confessio Amantis' is the only work of Gower's which is printed and
in English. The rest are still slumbering in MS.; and even although the
'Vox Clamantis' should put in a sleepy plea for the resurrection of
print, on the whole we are disposed to say, better for all parties that
it and the rest should slumber on. But the 'Confessio Amantis' is
altogether a remarkable production. It is said to have been written at
the command of Richard II., who, meeting our poet rowing on the Thames,
near London, took him on board the royal barge, and requested him to
_book some new thing_. It is an English poem, in eight books, and was
first printed by Caxton in the year 1483. The 'Speculum Meditantis,'
'Vox Clamantis,' and 'Confessio Amantis,' are, properly speaking, parts
of one great work, and are represented by three volumes upon Gower's
curious tomb in the old conventual church of St Mary Overies already
alluded to--a church, by the way, which the poet himself assisted in
rebuilding in the elegant shape which it retains to this day.

The 'Confessio' is a large unwieldy collection of poetry and prose,
superstition and science, love and religion, allegory and historical
facts. It is crammed with all varieties of learning, and a perverse but
infinite ingenuity is shewn in the arrangement of its heterogeneous
materials. In one book the whole mysteries of the Hermetic philosophy
are expounded, and the wonders of alchymy dazzle us in every page.
In another, the poet scales the heights and sounds the depths of
Aristotelianism. From this we have extracted in the 'Specimens' a
glowing account of 'The Chariot of the Sun.' Throughout the work, tales
and stories of every description and degree of merit are interspersed.
These are principally derived from an old book called 'Pantheon; or,
Memoriae Seculorum,'--a kind of universal history, more studious of
effect than accuracy, in which the author ranges over the whole history
of the world, from the creation down to the year 1186. This was a
specimen of a kind of writing in which the Middle Ages abounded--namely,
chronicles, which gradually superseded the monkish legends, and for
a time eclipsed the classics themselves; a kind of writing hovering
between history and fiction, embracing the widest sweep, written in a
barbarous style, and swarming with falsehoods; but exciting, interesting,
and often instructive, and tending to kindle curiosity, and
create in the minds of their readers a love for literature.

Besides chronicles, Gower had read many romances, and alludes to them
in various parts of his works. His 'Confessio Amantis' was apparently
written after Chaucer's 'Troilus and Cresseide,' and after 'The Flower
and the Leaf,' inasmuch as he speaks of the one and imitates the other
in that poem. That Chaucer had not, however, yet composed his 'Testament
of Love,' appears from the epilogue to the 'Confessio,' where Gower is
ordered by Venus, who expresses admiration of Chaucer for the early
devotion of his muse to her service, to say to him at the close--

  'Forthy, now in his daies old,
   Thou shalt him tell this message,
   That he upon his later age
   To set an end of all his work,
   As he which is mine owen clerk,
   Do make his Testament of Love,
   As thou hast done thy shrift above,
   So that my court it may record'--

the 'shrift' being of course the 'Confessio Amantis.' In 'The Canterbury
Tales' there are several indications that Chaucer was indebted to Gower
--'The Man of Law's Tale' being borrowed from Gower's 'Constantia,' and
'The Wife of Bath's Tale' being founded on Gower's 'Florent.'

After all, Gower cannot be classed with the greater bards. He sparkles
brightly chiefly from the depth of the darkness through which he shines.
He is more remarkable for extent than for depth, for solidity than for
splendour, for fuel than for fire, for learning than for genius.


THE CHARIOT OF THE SUN.

Of goldë glist'ring spoke and wheel
The Sun his cart hath fair and wele,
In which he sitteth, and is croned[1]
With bright stonës environed:
Of which if that I speakë shall,
There be before in special
Set in the front of his corone
Three stones, whichë no person
Hath upon earth; and the first is
By name cleped Leucachatis.
That other two cleped thus
Astroites and Ceraunus;
In his corone, and also behind,
By oldë bookës as I find,
There be of worthy stonës three,
Set each of them in his degree.
Whereof a crystal is that one,
Which that corone is set upon:
The second is an adamant:
The third is noble and evenant,
Which cleped is Idriades.
And over this yet natheless,
Upon the sidës of the werk,
After the writing of the clerk,
There sitten fivë stones mo.[2]
The Smaragdine is one of tho,[3]
Jaspis, and Eltropius,
And Vendides, and Jacinctus.
Lo thus the corone is beset,
Whereof it shineth well the bet.[4]
And in such wise his light to spread,
Sits with his diadem on head,
The Sunnë shining in his cart:
And for to lead him swith[5] and smart,
After the bright dayë's law,
There be ordained for to draw,
Four horse his chare, and him withal,
Whereof the namës tell I shall.
Eritheus the first is hote,[6]
The which is red, and shineth hot;
The second Acteos the bright;
Lampes the thirdë courser hight;
And Philogens is the ferth,
That bringen light unto this earth,
And go so swift upon the heaven,
In four and twenty hourës even,
The cartë with the brightë sun
They drawen, so that over run
They have under the circles high,
All middë earth in such an hie.[7]

And thus the sun is over all
The chief planet imperial,
Above him and beneath him three.
And thus between them runneth he,
As he that hath the middle place
Among the seven: and of his face
Be glad all earthly creatures,
And taken after the natures
Their ease and recreation.
And in his constellation
Who that is born in special,
Of good-will and of liberal
He shall be found in allë place,
And also stand in muchel grace
Toward the lordës for to serve,
And great profit and thank deserve.

And over that it causeth yet
A man to be subtil of wit,
To work in gold, and to be wise
In everything, which is of prise.[8]
But for to speaken in what coast
Of all this earth he reigneth most,
As for wisdom it is in Greece,
Where is appropred thilk spece.[9]

[1] 'Croned:' crowned.
[2] 'Mo:' more.
[3] 'Tho:' those.
[4] 'Bet:' better.
[5] 'Swith:' swift.
[6] 'Hot:' named.
[7] 'Hie:' haste.
[8] 'Prise:' value.
[9] 'Thilk spece:' that kind.


THE TALE OF THE COFFERS OR CASKETS, &c.

In a chroniquë thus I read:
About a kingë, as must need,
There was of knightës and squiers
Great rout, and ekë officers:
Some of long timë him had served,
And thoughten that they have deserved
Advancëment, and gone without:
And some also been of the rout,
That comen but a while agon,
And they advanced were anon.

These oldë men upon this thing,
So as they durst, against the king
Among themselves complainen oft:
But there is nothing said so soft,
That it ne cometh out at last:
The king it wist, anon as fast,
As he which was of high prudence:
He shope[1] therefore an evidence
Of them that 'plainen in the case
To know in whose default it was:
And all within his own intent,
That none more wistë what it meant.
Anon he let two coffers make,
Of one semblànce, and of one make,
So like, that no life thilkë throw,[2]
The one may from that other know:
They were into his chamber brought,
But no man wot why they be wrought,
And natheless the king hath bede
That they be set in privy stede,[3]
As he that was of wisdom sly;
When he thereto his timë sih,[4]
All privily that none it wist,
His ownë handës that one chest
Of fine gold, and of fine perrie,[5]
The which out of his treasury
Was take, anon he filled full;
That other coffer of straw and mull,[6]
With stonës meynd[7] he fill'd also:
Thus be they full bothë two.
So that erliche[8] upon a day
He bade within, where he lay,
There should be before his bed
A board up set and fairë spread:
And then he let the coffers fet[9]
Upon the board, and did them set,
He knew the namës well of tho,[10]
The which against him grutched[11] so,
Both of his chamber, and of his hall,
Anon and sent for them all;
And saidë to them in this wise:

'There shall no man his hap despise:
I wot well ye have longë served,
And God wot what ye have deserved;
But if it is along[12] on me
Of that ye unadvanced be,
Or else if it be long on yow,
The soothë shall be proved now:
To stoppë with your evil word,
Lo! here two coffers on the board;
Choose which you list of bothë two;
And witteth well that one of tho
Is with treasure so full begon,
That if he happë thereupon
Ye shall be richë men for ever:
Now choose and take which you is lever,[13]
But be well 'ware ere that ye take,
For of that one I undertake
There is no manner good therein,
Whereof ye mighten profit win.
Now go together of one assent,
And taketh your advisëment;
For but I you this day advance,
It stands upon your ownë chance,
All only in default of grace;
So shall be shewed in this place
Upon you all well afine,[14]
That no defaultë shall be mine.'

They kneelen all, and with one voice
The king they thanken of this choice:
And after that they up arise,
And go aside and them advise,
And at lastë they accord
(Whereof their talë to record
To what issue they be fall)
A knight shall speakë for them all:
He kneeleth down unto the king,
And saith that they upon this thing,
Or for to win, or for to lose,
Be all advised for to choose.

Then took this knight a yard[15] in hand,
And go'th there as the coffers stand,
And with assent of every one
He lay'th his yardë upon one,
And saith the king[16] how thilkë same
They chose in reguerdon[17] by name,
And pray'th him that they might it have.

The king, which would his honour save,
When he had heard the common voice,
Hath granted them their ownë choice,
And took them thereupon the key;
But for he wouldë it were see
What good they have as they suppose,
He bade anon the coffer unclose,
Which was fulfill'd with straw and stones:
Thus be they served all at ones.

This king then in the samë stede,
Anon that other coffer undede,
Where as they sawen great richés,
Well morë than they couthen [18] guess.

'Lo!' saith the king, 'now may ye see
That there is no default in me;
Forthy[19] myself I will acquite,
And beareth ye your ownë wite[20]
Of that fortune hath you refused.'

Thus was this wisë king excused:
And they left off their evil speech.
And mercy of their king beseech.

[1] 'Shope:' contrived.
[2] 'Thilkë throw:' at that time.
[3] 'Stede:' place.
[4] 'Sih:' saw.
[5] 'Perrie:' precious stones.
[6] 'Mull:' rubbish.
[7] 'Meynd:' mingled.
[8] 'Erlich:' early.
[9] 'Fet:' fetched.
[10] 'Tho:' those.
[11] 'Grutched:' murmured.
[12] 'Along:' because of.
[13] 'Lever:' preferable.
[14] 'Afine:' at last.
[15] 'Yard:' rod.
[16] 'Saith the king:' saith to the king.
[17] 'Reguerdon:' as their reward.
[18] 'Couthen:' could.
[19] 'Forthy:' therefore.
[20] 'Wite:' blame.


OF THE GRATIFICATION WHICH THE LOVERS PASSION RECEIVES
FROM THE SENSE OF HEARING.

Right as mine eyë with his look
Is to mine heart a lusty cook
Of lovë's foodë delicate;
Right so mine ear in his estate,
Where as mine eyë may nought serve,
Can well mine heartë's thank deserve;
And feeden him, from day to day,
With such dainties as he may.

For thus it is that, over all
Where as I come in special,
I may hear of my lady price:[1]
I hear one say that she is wise;
Another saith that she is good;
And some men say of worthy blood
That she is come; and is also
So fair that nowhere is none so:
And some men praise her goodly chere.[2]
Thus everything that I may hear,
Which soundeth to my lady good,
Is to mine ear a lusty food.
And eke mine ear hath, over this,
A dainty feastë when so is
That I may hear herselvë speak;
For then anon my fast I break
On suchë wordës as she saith,
That full of truth and full of faith
They be, and of so good disport,
That to mine earë great comfórt
They do, as they that be delices
For all the meats, and all the spices,
That any Lombard couthë[3] make,
Nor be so lusty for to take,
Nor so far forth restoratif,
(I say as for mine ownë life,)
As be the wordës of her mouth
For as the windës of the south
Be most of allë debonaire;[4]
So, when her list to speakë fair,
The virtue of her goodly speech
Is verily mine heartë's leech.

And if it so befall among,
That she carol upon a song,
When I it hear, I am so fed,
That I am from myself so led
As though I were in Paradise;
For, certes, as to mine avìs,[5]
When I hear of her voice the steven,[6]
Methink'th it is a bliss of heaven.

And eke in other wise also,
Full oftë time it falleth so,
Mine carë with a good pitànce[7]
Is fed of reading of romance
Of Ydoine and of Amadas,
That whilom weren in my case;
And eke of other many a score,
That loveden long ere I was bore.
For when I of their lovës read,
Mine eare with the tale I feed,
And with the lust of their histoire
Sometime I draw into memoire,
How sorrow may not ever last;
And so hope cometh in at last.

[1] 'Price:' praise.
[2] 'Chere:' mien.
[3] 'Couthë:' knows to.
[4] 'Debonaire:' gentle.
[5] 'Avis:' opinion.
[6] 'Steven:' sound.
[7] 'Pitance:' allowance.



JOHN BARBOUR.


The facts known about this Scottish poet are only the following. He
seems to have been born about the year 1316, in, probably, the city of
Aberdeen. This is stated by Hume of Godscroft, by Dr Mackenzie, and
others, but is not thoroughly authenticated. Some think he was the son
of one Andrew Barbour, who possessed a tenement in Castle Street,
Aberdeen; and others, that he was related to one Robert Barbour, who, in
1309, received a charter of the lands of Craigie, in Forfarshire, from
King Robert the Bruce. These, however, are mere conjectures, founded
upon a similarity of name. It is clear, from Barbour's after rank in
the Church, that he had received a learned education, but whether in
Arbroath or Aberdeen is uncertain. We know, however, that a school of
divinity and canon law had existed at Aberdeen since the reign of
Alexander II., and it is conjectured that Barbour first studied there,
and then at Oxford. In the year 1357, he was undoubtedly Archdeacon of
Aberdeen, since we find him, under this title, nominated by the Bishop
of that diocese, one of the Commissioners appointed to meet in Edinburgh
to take measures to liberate King David, who had been captured at the
battle of Nevil's Cross, and detained from that date in England. It
seems evident, from the customs of the Roman Catholic Church, that he
must have been at least forty when he was created Archdeacon, and this
is a good reason for fixing his birth in the year 1316.

In the same year, Barbour obtained permission from Edward III., at the
request of the Scottish King, to travel through England with three
scholars who were to study at Oxford, probably at Balliol College, which
had, a hundred years nearly before, been founded and endowed by the wife
of the famous John Balliol of Scotland. Some years afterwards, in
November 1364, he got permission to pass, accompanied by four horsemen,
through England, to pursue his studies at the same renowned university.
In the year 1365, we find another casual notice of our Scottish bard. A
passport has been found giving him permission from the King of England
to travel, in company with six horsemen, through that country on their
way to St Denis', and other sacred places. It is evident that this was
a religious pilgrimage on the part of Barbour and his companions.

A most peripatetic poet; verily, he must have been; for we find another
safe-conduct, dated November 1368, granted by Edward to Barbour,
permitting him, to pass through England, with two servants and their
horses, on his way to France, for the purpose of pursuing his studies
there. Dr Jamieson (see his 'Life of Barbour') discovers the poet's name
in the list of Auditors of the Exchequer.

Barbour has himself told us that he commenced his poem in the 'yer of
grace, a thousand thre hundyr sevynty and five,' when, of course, he
was in his sixtieth year, or, as he says, 'off hys eld sexty.' It is
supposed that David II.--who died in 1370--had urged Barbour to engage
in the work, which was not, however, completed till the fifth year of
his successor, Robert II., who gave our poet a pension on account of it.
This consisted of a sum of ten pounds Scots from the revenues of the
city of Aberdeen, and twenty shillings from the burgh mails. Mr James
Bruce, to whose interesting Life of Barbour, in his 'Eminent Men of
Aberdeen,' we are indebted for many of the facts in this narrative,
says, 'The latter of these sums was granted to him, not merely during
his own life, but to his assignees; and the Archdeacon bequeathed it to
the dean, canons, the chapter, and other ministers of the Cathedral of
Aberdeen, on condition that they should for ever celebrate a yearly mass
for his soul. At the Reformation, when it came to be discovered that
masses did no good to souls in the other world, it is probable that this
endowment reverted to the Crown.'

Barbour also wrote a poem under what seems now the strange title, 'The
Brute.' This was in reality a metrical history of Scotland, commencing
with the fables concerning Brutus, or 'Brute,' who, according to ancient
legends, was the great-grandson of Aeneas--came over from Italy, the
land of his birth--landed at Totness, in Devonshire--destroyed the
giants who then inhabited Albion--called the island 'Britain' from his
own name, and became its first monarch. From this original fable,
Barbour is supposed to have wandered on through a hundred succeeding
stories of similar value, till he came down to his own day. There can be
little regret felt, therefore, that the book is totally lost. Wynton, in
his 'Chronicle,' refers to it in commendatory terms; but it cannot be
ascertained from his notices whether it was composed in Scotch or in
Latin.

Barbour died about the beginning of the year 1396, eighty years of age.
Lord Hailes ascertained the time of his death from the Chartulary of
Aberdeen, where, under the date of 10th August 1398, mention is made of
'quondam Joh. Barber, Archidiaconus, Aberd., and where it is said that
he had died two years and a half before, namely, in 1396.'

His great work, 'The Bruce,' or more fully, 'The History of Robert
Bruce, King of the Scots,' does not appear to have been printed till
1616 in Edinburgh. Between that date and the year 1790, when Pinkerton's
edition appeared, no less than twenty impressions were published, (the
principal being those of Edinburgh in 1620 and 1648; Glasgow, 1665; and
Edinburgh, 1670--all in black letter,) so popular immediately became the
poem. Pinkerton's edition is in three volumes, and has a preface, notes,
and a glossary, all of considerable value. The MS. was copied from a
volume in the Advocates' Library, of the date of 1489, which was in the
handwriting of one John Ramsay, believed to have been the prior of a
Carthusian monastery near Perth. Pinkerton first divided 'The Bruce'
into books. It had previously, like the long works of Naerius and
Ennius, the earliest Roman poets, consisted of one entire piece, woven
'from the top to the bottom without seam,' like the ancient simple
garments in Jewry. The late respectable and very learned Dr Jamieson, of
Nicolson Street United Secession Church, Edinburgh, well known as the
author of the 'Scottish Dictionary,' 'Hermes Scythicus,' &c., published,
in 1820, a more accurate edition of 'The Bruce,' along with Blind
Harry's 'Wallace,' in two quarto volumes.

In strict chronology Barbour belongs to an earlier date than Chaucer,
having been born and having died a few years before him. But as the
first Scotch poet who has written anything of length, with the exception
of the author of the 'Romance of Sir Tristrem,' he claims a conspicuous
place in our 'Specimens.' He was singularly fortunate in the choice of
a subject. With the exception of Wallace, there is no name in Scottish
history that even yet calls up prouder associations than that of Robert
Bruce. The incidents in his history,--the escape he made from English
bondage to rescue his country from the same yoke; his rise refulgent
from the stroke which, in the cloisters of the Gray Friars, Dumfries,
laid the Red Comyn low; his daring to be crowned at Scone; his frequent
defeats; his lion-like retreat to the Hebrides, accompanied by one or
two friends, his wife meanwhile having been carried captive, three of
his brothers hanged, and himself supposed to be dead; the romantic
perils he survived, and the victories he gained amidst the mountains
where the deep waters of the river Awe are still telling of his name,
and the echoes of Ben Cruachan repeating the immortal sound; his sudden
reappearance on the west coast of Scotland, where, as he 'shook his
Carrick spear,' his country rose, kindling around him like heather on
flame; the awful suspense of the hour when it was announced that Edward
I., the tyrant of the Ragman's Roll, the murderer of Wallace, was
approaching with a mighty army to crush the revolt; the electrifying
news that he had died at Sark, as if struck by the breath of the fatal
Border, which he had reached, but could not overpass; the bloody
summer's day of Bannockburn, in which Edward II. was repelled, and the
gallant army of his father annihilated; the energy and wisdom of the
Bruce's civil administration after the victory; the less famous, but
noble battle of Byland, nine years after Bannockburn, in which he again
smote the foes of his country; and the recognition which at last he
procured, on the accession of Edward III., of the independence of
Scotland in 1329, himself dying the same year, his work done and his
glory for ever secured,--not to speak of the beautiful legends which
have clustered round his history like ivy round an ancestral tower--of
the spider on the wall, teaching him the lesson of perseverance, as he
lay in the barn sad and desponding in heart--of the strange signal-light
upon the shore near his maternal castle of Turnberry, which led him to
land, while

  'Dark red the heaven above it glow'd,
  Dark red the sea beneath it flow'd,
  Red rose the rocks on ocean's brim,
  In blood-red light her islets swim,
  Wild screams the dazzled sea-fowl gave,
  Dropp'd from their crags a plashing wave,
  The deer to distant covert drew,
  The blackcock deem'd it day, and crew;'

and last, not least, the adventures of his gallant, unquenchable heart,
when, in the hand of Douglas,--meet casket for such a gem!--it marched
onwards, as it was wont to do, in conquering power, toward the Holy
Land;--all this has woven a garland round the brow of Bruce which every
civilised nation has delighted to honour, and given him besides a share
in the affections and the pride of his own land, with the joy of which
'no stranger can intermeddle.'

Bruce has been fortunate in his laureates, consisting of three of
Scotland's greatest poets,--Barbour, Scott, and Burns. The last of these
has given us a glimpse of the patriot-king, revealing him on the brow of
Bannockburn as by a single flash of lightning. The second has, in 'The
Lord of the Isles,' seized and sung a few of the more romantic passages
of his history. But Barbour has, with unwearied fidelity and no small
force, described the whole incidents of Bruce's career, and reared to
his memory, not an insulated column, but a broad and deep-set temple of
poetry.

Barbour's poem has always been admired for its strict accuracy of
statement, to which Bower, Wynton, Hailes, Pinkerton, Jamieson, and Sir
Walter Scott all bear testimony; for the picturesque force of its
natural descriptions; for its insight into character, and the lifelike
spirit of its individual sketches; for the martial vigour of its battle-
pictures; for the enthusiasm which he feels, and makes his reader feel,
for the valiant and wise, the sagacious and persevering, the bold,
merciful, and religious character of its hero, and for the piety which
pervades it, and proves that the author was not merely a churchman in
profession, but a Christian at heart. Its defects of rude rhythm,
irregular constructions, and obsolete phraseology, are those of its age;
but its beauties, its unflagging interest, and its fine poetic spirit,
are characteristic of the writer's own genius.


APOSTROPHE TO FREEDOM.

Ah! freedom is a noble thing!
Freedom makes man to have liking!
Freedom all solace to man gives:
He lives at ease that freely lives!
A noble heart may have none ease,
Nor nought else that may him please,
If freedom fail; for free liking
Is yearned o'er all other thing.
Nay, he that aye has lived free,
May not know well the property,
The anger, nor the wretched doom,
That is coupled to foul thirldom.
But if he had assayed it,
Then all perquier[1] he should it wit:
And should think freedom more to prize
Than all the gold in world that is.

[1] 'Perquier:' perfectly.


DEATH OF SIR HENRY DE BOHUN.

And when the king wist that they were
In hale[1] battle, coming so near,
His battle gart[2] he well array.
He rode upon a little palfrey,
Laughed and jolly, arrayand
His battle, with an axe in hand.
And on his bassinet he bare
A hat of tyre above aye where;
And, thereupon, into tok'ning,
An high crown, that he was king.
And when Gloster and Hereford were
With their battle approaching near,
Before them all there came ridand,
With helm on head and spear in hand,
Sir Henry the Bohun, the worthy,
That was a wight knight, and a hardy,
And to the Earl of Hereford cousin;
Armed in armis good and fine;
Came on a steed a bowshot near,
Before all other that there were:
And knew the king, for that he saw
Him so range his men on raw,[3]
And by the crown that was set
Also upon his bassinet.
And toward him he went in hy.[4]
And the king so apertly[5]
Saw him come, forouth[6] all his feres,[7]
In hy till him the horse he steers.
And when Sir Henry saw the king
Come on, forouten[8] abasing,
To him he rode in full great hy.
He thought that he should well lightly
Win him, and have him at his will,
Since he him horsed saw so ill.
Sprent they samen into a lyng;[9]
Sir Henry miss'd the noble king;
And he that in his stirrups stood,
With the axe, that was hard and good,
With so great main, raucht[10] him a dint,
That neither hat nor helm might stint
The heavy dush that he him gave,
The head near to the harns[11] he clave.
The hand-axe shaft frushit[12] in two;
And he down to the yird[13] 'gan go
All flatlings, for him failed might.
This was the first stroke of the fight,
That was performed doughtily.
And when the king's men so stoutly
Saw him, right at the first meeting,
Forouten doubt or abasing,
Have slain a knight so at a straik,
Such hardment thereat 'gan they take,
That they come on right hardily.
When Englishmen saw them so stoutly
Come on, they had great abasing;
And specially for that the king
So smartly that good knight has slain,
That they withdrew them everilk ane,
And durst not one abide to fight:
So dread they for the king his might.
When that the king repaired was,
That gart his men all leave the chase,
The lordis of his company
Blamed him, as they durst, greatumly,
That be him put in aventure,
To meet so stith[14] a knight, and stour,
In such point as he then was seen.
For they said, well it might have been
Cause of their tynsal[15] everilk ane.
The king answer has made them nane,
But mainit[16] his hand-axe shaft so
Was with the stroke broken in two.

[1] 'Hale:' whole.
[2] 'Gart:' caused.
[3] 'Haw:' row
[4] 'Hy:' haste
[5] 'Apertly:' openly, clearly.
[6] 'Forouth:' beyond.
[7] 'Feres:' companions.
[8] 'Forouten:' without.
[9] 'Sprent they samen into a lyng:' they sprang forward at once,
     against each other, in a line.
[10] 'Raucht:' reached.
[11] 'Harns:' brains.
[12] 'Frushit:' broke.
[13] 'Yird:' earth.
[14] 'Stith:' strong.
[15] 'Tynsal:' destruction.
[16] 'Mainit:' lamented.



ANDREW WYNTOUN.


This author, who was prior of St Serf's monastery in Loch Leven, is the
author of what he calls 'An Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland.' It appeared
about the year 1420. It is much inferior to the work of Barbour in
poetry, but is full of historical information, anecdote, and legend. The
language is often sufficiently prosaic. Thus the poet begins to describe
the return of King David II. from his captivity, referred to above.

  'Yet in prison was king Davy,
  And when a lang time was gane bye,
  Frae prison and perplexitie
  To Berwick castle brought was he,
  With the Earl of Northamptoun,
  For to treat there of his ransoun;
  Some lords of Scotland come there,
  And als prelates that wisest were,' &c.

Contemporary, or nearly so, with Wyntoun were several other Scottish
writers, such as one Hutcheon, of whom we know only that he is
designated of the 'Awle Ryall,' or of the Royal Hall or Palace, and that
he wrote a metrical romance, of which two cantos remain, called 'The
Gest of Arthur;' and another, named Clerk of Tranent, the author of a
romance, entitled 'The Adventures of Sir Gawain.' Of this latter also
two cantos only are extant. Although not perhaps deserving to have even
portions of them extracted, they contain a good deal of poetry. A
person, too, of the name of Holland, about whose history we have no
information, produced a satirical poem, called 'The Howlate,' written in
the allegorical form, and bearing some resemblance to 'Pierce Plowman's
Vision.'



BLIND HARRY.


Although there are diversities of opinion as to the exact time when this
blind minstrel flourished, we prefer alluding to him at this point,
where he stands in close proximity to Barbour, the author of a poem on
a subject so cognate to 'Wallace' as 'Bruce.' Nothing is known of Harry
but that he was blind from infancy, that he composed this poem, and
gained a subsistence by reciting or singing portions of it through the
country. Another Wandering Willie, (see 'Redgauntlet,') he 'passed like
night from land to land,' led by his own instincts, and wherever he met
with a congenial audience, he proceeded to chant portions of the noble
knight's achievements, his eyes the while twinkling, through their sad
setting of darkness, with enthusiasm, and often suffused with tears.
In some minds the conception of this blind wandering bard may awaken
ludicrous emotions, but to us it suggests a certain sublimity. Blind
Harry has powerfully described Wallace standing in the light and
shrinking from the ghost of Fawdoun, (see the 'Battle of Black-
Earnside,' in the 'Specimens,') but Harry himself seems walking in the
light of the ghost of Wallace, and it ministers to him, not terror, but
inspiration. Entering a cot at night, and asked for a tale, he begins,
in low tones, to recite that frightful apparition at Gaskhall, and the
aged men and the crones vie with the children in drawing near the 'ingle
bleeze,' as if in fire alone lay the refuge from

                'Fawdoun, that ugly sire,
  That haill hall he had set into a fire,
  As to his sight, his OWN HEAD IN HIS HAND.'

Arriving in a village at the hour of morning rest and refreshment, he
charms the swains by such words as

  'The merry day sprang from the orient
   With beams bright illuminate the Occident,
   After Titan Phoebus upriseth fair,
   High in the sphere the signs he made declare.
   Zephyrus then began his morning course,
   The sweet vapour thus from the ground resourse,' &c.--

and the simple villagers wonder at hearing these images from one who is
blind, not seeing the sun. As the leaves are rustling down from the
ruddy trees of late autumn, he sings to a little circle of wayside
wanderers--

  'The dark region appearing wonder fast,
   In November, when October was past,

     *       *       *       *       *

   Good Wallace saw the night's messenger,
   Phoebus had lost his fiery beams so clear;
   Out of that wood they durst not turn that side
   For adversours that in their way would hide.'

And while on the verge of the December sky, the wintry sun is trembling
and about to set as if for ever, then is the Minstrel's voice heard
sobbing amidst the sobs of his hearers, as he tells how his hero's sun
went down while it was yet day.

  'On Wednesday the false Southron furth brocht
   To martyr him as they before had wrocht,
   Of men in arms led him a full great rout,
   With a bauld sprite guid Wallace blent about.'

There can be little doubt that Blind Harry, during his lifetime, became
a favourite, nay, a power in the realm. Wherever he circulated, there
circulated the fame of Wallace; there, his deeds were recounted; there,
hatred of a foreign foe, and love to their native land, were inculcated
as first principles; and long after the Homer of Scotland had breathed
his last, and been consigned perhaps to some little kirkyard among the
uplands, his lays continued to live; and we know that such a man as
Burns (who read them in the modern paraphrase of William Hamilton of
Gilbertfield, a book which was, till within a somewhat recent period,
a household god in the libraries of the Scotch) derived from the old
singer much of 'that national prejudice which boiled in his breast till
the floodgates of life shut in eternal rest.' If Barbour, as we said,
was fortunate in his subject, still more was Blind Harry in his. The
interest felt in Wallace is of a deeper and warmer kind than that which
we feel in Bruce. Bruce was of royal blood; Wallace was from an ancient
but not wealthy family. Bruce stained his career by one great crime
--great in itself, but greater from the peculiar notions of the age
--the murder of Comyn in the sanctuary of Dumfries; on the character of
Wallace no similar imputation rests. Wallace initiated that plan of
guerilla warfare,--that fighting now on foot and now on the wing, now
with beak and now with talons, now with horns and now with hoofs,--which
Bruce had only to perfect. Wallace was unsuccessful, and was besides
treated by the King of England with revolting barbarity; while Bruce
became victorious: and, as we saw in our remarks on Chaucer, it is the
unfortunate brave who stamp themselves most forcibly on a nation's
heart, and it is the red letters, which tell of suffering and death,
which are with most difficulty erased from a nation's tablets. On Bruce
we look somewhat as we regard Washington,--a great, serene man, who,
after long reverses, nobly sustained, gained a notable national triumph;
to Wallace we feel, as the Italians do to Garibaldi, as a demon of
warlike power,--blending courage and clemency, enthusiasm and skill,
daring and determination, in proportions almost superhuman,--and we cry
with the poet,

  'The sword that seem'd fit for archangel to wield,
     Was light in his terrible hand.'

We have often regretted that Sir Walter Scott, who, after all, has not
done full justice to Bruce in that very unequal and incondite poem 'The
Lord of the Isles,' had not bent his strength upon the Ulysses bow of
Wallace, and filled up that splendid sketch of a part of his history to
be found near the beginning of 'The Fair Maid of Perth.' As it is, after
all that a number of respectable writers, such as Miss Porter, Mrs
Hemans, Findlay, the late Mr Macpherson of Glasgow, and others, have
done--in prose or verse, in the novel, the poem, or the drama--to
illustrate the character and career of the Scottish hero, Blind Harry
remains his poet.

It is necessary to notice that Harry derived, by his own account, many
of the facts of his narrative from a work by John Blair, a Benedictine
monk from Dundee, who acted as Wallace's chaplain, and seems to have
composed a life of him in Latin, which is lost. Besides these, he
doubtless mingled in the story a number of traditions--some true, and
some false--which he found floating through the country. His authority
in reference to certain disputed matters, such as Wallace's journey to
France, and his capture of the Red Rover, Thomas de Longueville, who
became his fast friend and fellow-soldier, was not long ago entirely
established by certain important documents brought to light by the
Maitland Club. It is probable that some other of his supposed
misstatements--always excepting his ghost-stories--may yet receive from
future researches the confirmation they as yet want. Blind Harry, living
about a century and a half after the era of Wallace, and at a time when
tradition was the chief literature, was not likely to be able to test
the evidence of many of the circumstances which he narrated; but he
seems to speak in good faith: and, after all, what Paley says is
unquestionably true as a general principle--'Men tell lies about minute
circumstantials, but they rarely invent.'


BATTLE OF BLACK-EARNSIDE.

Kerlie beheld unto the bold Heroun,
Upon Fawdoun as he was looking down,
A subtil stroke upward him took that tide,
Under the cheeks the grounden sword gart[1] glide,
By the mail good, both halse[2] and his craig-bane[3]
In sunder strake; thus ended that chieftain,
To ground he fell, feil[4] folk about him throng,
'Treason,' they cried, 'traitors are us among.'
Kerlie, with that, fled out soon at a side,
His fellow Steven then thought no time to bide.
The fray was great, and fast away they yeed,[5]
Both toward Earn; thus 'scaped they that dread.
Butler for woe of weeping might not stint.
Thus recklessly this good knight have they tint.[6]
They deemed all that it was Wallace' men,
Or else himself, though they could not him ken;
'He is right near, we shall him have but[7] fail,
This feeble wood may little him avail.'
Forty there pass'd again to Saint Johnstoun,
With this dead corpse, to burying made it boune.[8]
Parted their men, syne[9] divers ways they rode,
A great power at Dupplin still there 'bode.
To Dalwryeth the Butler pass'd but let,[10]
At sundry fords the gate[11] they unbeset,[12]
To keep the wood while it was day they thought.
As Wallace thus in the thick forest sought,
For his two men in mind he had great pain,
He wist not well if they were ta'en or slain,
Or 'scaped haill[13] by any jeopardy.
Thirteen were left with him, no more had he;
In the Gaskhall their lodging have they ta'en.
Fire got they soon, but meat then had they nane;
Two sheep they took beside them of a fold,
Ordain'd to sup into that seemly hold:
Graithed[14] in haste some food for them to dight:[15]
So heard they blow rude horns upon height.
Two sent he forth to look what it might be;
They 'bode right long, and no tidings heard he,
But bousteous[16] noise so bryvely blowing fast;
So other two into the wood forth pass'd.
None came again, but bousteously can blaw,
Into great ire he sent them forth on raw.[17]
When that alone Wallace was leaved there,
The awful blast abounded meikle mare;[18]
Then trow'd he well they had his lodging seen;
His sword he drew of noble metal keen,
Syne forth he went whereat he heard the horn.
Without the door Fawdoun was him beforn,
As to his sight, his own head in his hand;
A cross he made when he saw him so stand.
At Wallace in the head he swakked[19] there,
And he in haste soon hint[20] it by the hair,
Syne out again at him he could it cast,
Into his heart he greatly was aghast.
Right well he trow'd that was no sprite of man,
It was some devil, that sic[21] malice began.
He wist no wale[22] there longer for to bide.
Up through the hall thus wight Wallace can glide,
To a close stair, the boards they rave[23] in twin,[24]
Fifteen foot large he lap out of that inn.
Up the water he suddenly could fare,
Again he blink'd what 'pearance he saw there,
He thought he saw Fawdoun, that ugly sire,
That haill[25] hall he had set into a fire;
A great rafter he had into his hand.
Wallace as then no longer would he stand.
Of his good men full great marvel had he,
How they were tint through his feil[26] fantasy.
Trust right well that all this was sooth indeed,
Suppose that it no point be of the creed.
Power they had with Lucifer that fell,
The time when he parted from heaven to hell.
By sic mischief if his men might be lost,
Drowned or slain among the English host;
Or what it was in likeness of Fawdoun,
Which brought his men to sudden confusion;
Or if the man ended in ill intent,
Some wicked sprite again for him present.
I cannot speak of sic divinity,
To clerks I will let all sic matters be:
But of Wallace, now forth I will you tell.
When he was won out of that peril fell,
Right glad was he that he had 'scaped sa,[27]
But for his men great mourning can he ma.[28]
Flait[29] by himself to the Maker above
Why he suffer'd he should sic paining prove.
He wist not well if that it was God's will;
Right or wrong his fortune to fulfil,
Had he pleas'd God, he trow'd it might not bo
He should him thole[30] in sic perplexity.
But great courage in his mind ever drave,
Of Englishmen thinking amends to have.
As he was thus walking by him alone
Upon Earnside, making a piteous moan,
Sir John Butler, to watch the fords right,
Out from his men of Wallace had a sight;
The mist again to the mountains was gone,
To him he rode, where that he made his moan.
On loud he speir'd,[31] 'What art thou walks that gate?'
'A true man, Sir, though my voyage be late;
Errands I pass from Down unto my lord,
Sir John Stewart, the right for to record,
In Down is now, newly come from the King.'
Then Butler said, 'This is a selcouth[32] thing,
You lied all out, you have been with Wallace,
I shall thee know, ere you come off this place;'
To him he start the courser wonder wight,
Drew out a sword, so made him for to light.
Above the knee good Wallace has him ta'en,
Through thigh and brawn in sunder strake the bane.[33]
Derfly[34] to dead the knight fell on the land.
Wallace the horse soon seized in his hand,
An ackward stroke syne took him in that stead,
His craig in two; thus was the Butler dead.
An Englishman saw their chieftain was slain,
A spear in rest he cast with all his main,
On Wallace drave, from the horse him to bear;
Warily he wrought, as worthy man in weir.[35]
The spear ho wan withouten more abode,
On horse he lap,[36] and through a great rout rode;
To Dalwryeth he knew the ford full well:
Before him came feil[37] stuffed[38] in fine steel.
He strake the first, but bade,[39] on the blasoun,[40]
Till horse and man both fleet[41] the water down.
Another soon down from his horse he bare,
Stamped to ground, and drown'd withouten mair.[42]
The third he hit in his harness of steel,
Throughout the cost,[43] the spear it brake some deal.
The great power then after him can ride.
He saw no waill[44] there longer for to bide.
His burnish'd brand braithly[45] in hand he bare,
Whom he hit right they follow'd him na mair.[46]
To stuff the chase feil freiks[47] follow'd fast,
But Wallace made the gayest aye aghast.
The muir he took, and through their power yede,
The horse was good, but yet he had great dread
For failing ere he wan unto a strength,
The chase was great, skail'd[48] over breadth and length,
Through strong danger they had him aye in sight.
At the Blackford there Wallace down can light,
His horse stuffed,[49] for way was deep and lang,
A large great mile wightly on foot could gang.[50]
Ere he was hors'd riders about him cast,
He saw full well long so he might not last.
Sad[51] men indeed upon him can renew,
With returning that night twenty he slew,
The fiercest aye rudely rebutted he,
Keeped his horse, and right wisely can flee,
Till that he came the mirkest[52] muir amang.
His horse gave over, and would no further gang.

[1] 'Gart:' caused.
[2] 'Halse:' throat.
[3] 'Craig-bane:' neck-lone.
[4] 'Feil:' many.
[5] 'Yeed:' went.
[6] 'Tint:' lost.
[7] 'But:' without.
[8] 'Boune:' ready.
[9] 'Sync:' then.
[10] 'But let:' without impediment.
[11] 'Gate:' way.
[12] 'Unbeset:' surround.
[13] 'Haill:' wholly.
[14] 'Graithed:' prepared.
[15] 'Dight:' Make ready.
[16] 'Bousteous:' boisterous.
[17] 'On raw:' one after another.
[18] 'Meikle mare:' much more.
[19] 'Swakked:' pitched.
[20] 'Hint:' took.
[21] 'Sic:' such.
[22] 'Wale:' advantage.
[23] 'Rave:' split.
[24] 'Twin:' twain.
[25] 'Haill:'whole.
[26] 'Feil:' great.
[27] 'Sa:' so.
[28] 'Ma:' make.
[29] 'Flait:' chided.
[30] 'Thole:' suffer.
[31] 'Speir'd:' asked.
[32] 'Selcouth:' strange.
[33] 'Bane:' bone.
[34] 'Derfly:' Quickly.
[35] 'Weir:' war.
[36] 'Lap:' leaped.
[37] 'Feil:' many.
[38] 'Stuffed:' armed.
[39] 'But bade:' without delay.
[40] 'Blasoun:' dress over armour.
[41] 'Fleet:' float.
[42] 'Mair:' more.
[43] 'Cost:' side.
[44] 'Waill:' advantage.
[45] 'Braithly:' violently.
[46] 'Na mair:' no more.
[47] 'Feil freiks:' many fierce fellows.
[48] 'Skail'd:' spread.
[49] 'Stuffed:' blown.
[50] 'Gang:' go.
[51] 'Sad:' steady.
[52] 'Mirkest:' darkest.


THE DEATH OF WALLACE.

On Wednesday the false Southron forth him brought
To martyr him, as they before had wrought.[1]
Of men in arms led him a full great rout.
With a bold sprite good Wallace blink'd about:
A priest he ask'd, for God that died on tree.
King Edward then commanded his clergy,
And said, 'I charge you, upon loss of life,
None be so bold yon tyrant for to shrive.
He has reign'd long in contrare my highness.'
A blithe bishop soon, present in that place;
Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord;
Against the king he made this right record,
And said, 'Myself shall hear his confessioun,
If I have might, in contrare of thy crown.
An[2] thou through force will stop me of this thing,
I vow to God, who is my righteous king,
That all England I shall her interdict,
And make it known thou art a heretic.
The sacrament of kirk I shall him give:
Syne[3] take thy choice, to starve[4] or let him live.
It were more 'vail, in worship of thy crown,
To keep such one in life in thy bandoun,[5]
Than all the land and good that thou hast reft,
But cowardice thee aye from honour dreft.[6]
Thou hast thy life rougin[7] in wrongous deed;
That shall be seen on thee, or on thy seed.'
The king gart[8] charge they should the bishop tae,[9]
But sad[10] lords counselled to let him gae.
All Englishmen said that his desire was right.
To Wallace then he raiked[11] in their sight,
And sadly heard his confession till an end:
Humbly to God his sprite he there commend,
Lowly him served with hearty devotion
Upon his knees, and said an orison.
A psalter-book Wallace had on him ever,
From his childhood from it would not dissever;
Better he trow'd in voyage[12] for to speed.
But then he was despoiled of his weed.[13]
This grace he ask'd at Lord Clifford, that knight,
To let him have his psalter-book in sight.
He gart a priest it open before him hold,
While they till him had done all that they would.
Steadfast he read for ought they did him there;
Foil[14] Southrons said that Wallace felt no sair.[15]
Good devotion so was his beginning,
Continued therewith, and fair was his ending;
Till speech and spirit at once all can fare
To lasting bliss, we trow, for eveermair.

[1] 'Wrought:' contrived.
[2] 'An:' if.
[3] 'Syne:' then.
[4] 'Starve:' perish.
[5] 'Bandoun:' disposal.
[6] 'Dreft:' drove.
[7] 'Rougin:' spent.
[8] 'Gart:' caused.
[9] 'Tae:' take.
[10] 'Sad:' grave.
[11] 'Raiked:' walked.
[12] 'Voyage:' journey to heaven.
[13] 'Weed:' clothes.
[14] 'Feil:' many.
[15] 'Sair:' sore.



JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND.


Here we have a great ascent from our former subject of biography--from
Blind Harry to James I.--from a beggar to a king. But in the Palace of
Poetry there are 'many mansions,' and men of all ranks, climes,
characters, professions, and we had almost added _talents_, have been
welcome to inhabit there. For, even as in the House Beautiful, the weak
Ready-to-halt and the timid Much-afraid were as cheerfully received as
the strong Honest and the bold Valiant-for-truth; so Poetry has inspired
children, and seeming fools, and maniacs, and mendicants with the finest
breath of her spirit. The 'Fable-tree' Fontaine is as immortal as
Corneille; Christopher Smart's 'David' shall live as long as Milton's
'Paradise Lost;' and the rude epic of a blind wanderer, whose birth,
parentage, and period of death are all alike unknown, shall continue to
rank in interest with the productions of one who inherited that kingdom
of Scotland, the independence of which was bought by the successive
efforts and the blended blood of Wallace and Bruce.

Let us now look for a moment at the history and the writings of this
'Royal Poet.' The name will suggest to all intelligent readers the title
of one of the most pleasing papers in Washington Irving's 'Sketch-book.'
James I. was the son of Robert III. of Scotland,--a character familiar
to all from the admirable 'Fair Maid of Perth,'--and of Annabella
Stewart. He was created Earl of Carrick; and after the miserable death
of the Duke of Rothesay, his elder brother, his father, apprehensive of
the further designs of Albany, determined to send James to France, to
find an asylum and receive his education in that friendly Court. On his
way, the vessel was captured off Flamborough Head by an English cruiser,
(the 13th of March 1405,) and the young prince, with his attendants, was
conveyed to London, and committed to the Tower. As there was a truce
between the two nations at the time, this was a flagrant outrage on the
law of nations, and has indelibly disgraced the memory of Henry IV.,
who, when some one remonstrated with him on the injustice of the
detention, replied, with cool brutality, 'Had the Scots been grateful,
they ought to have sent the youth to me, for I understand French well.'
Here for nineteen years,--during the remainder of the life of Henry IV.,
and the whole of the reign of Henry V.,--James continued. He was
educated, however, highly, according to the fashion of these times,
--instructed in the languages, as well as in music, painting,
architecture, horticulture, dancing, fencing, poetry, and other
accomplishments. Still it must have fretted his high spirit to be
passing his young life in prison, while without horses were stamping,
plumes glistening, trumpets sounding, tournaments waging, and echoes
from the great victories of Henry V. in France ringing around. One
sweetener of his solitude, however, he at length enjoyed. Having been
transferred from the Tower to Windsor Castle, he beheld one day from its
windows that beautiful vision he has described in 'The King's Quhair,'
(see 'Specimens.') This was Lady Jane or Joanna Beaufort, daughter of
the Earl of Somerset, niece of Richard II., and grand-daughter of John
of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. She was a lady of great beauty and
accomplishments as well as of high rank, and James, even before he knew
her name, became deeply enamoured. The passion was returned, and their
mutual attachment had by and by an important bearing upon his prospects.

In 1423, the Duke of Bedford being now the English Regent, the friends
of James renewed negotiations--often attempted before in vain--for his
return to his native land, where his father had been long dead, and
which, torn by factions and steeped in blood, was sorely needing his
presence. Commissioners from the two kingdoms met at Pontefract on the
12th of May 1423, when, in presence of the young King, and with his
consent, matters were arranged. The English coolly demanded £40,000 to
defray the expense of James's nurture and education, (as though a _bill_
were handed in to a man who had been unjustly detained in prison on
a false charge, ere he left its walls,) insisted on the immediate
departure of the Scots from France, where a portion of them were
fighting in the French army, and procured the assent of the Scottish
Privy Council to the marriage of James with his beloved Jane Beaufort.
A truce, too, with Scotland was concluded for seven years. All this was
settled; and soon after, in the Church of St Mary Overies, Southwark,
so often alluded to in the 'Life of Gower,' the happy pair were wed.
It seemed a most auspicious event for both countries, and to augur
the substitution of permanent peace for casual and temporary truces.
To Lady Jane Beaufort it gave a crown, and a noble, gallant, and gifted
prince to share it withal. On James it bestowed a lady of great beauty,
who was regarded, too, with gratitude as having lightened the load of
his captivity, and been a sunshine in his shady place, and--least
consideration--who brought him a dowry of £10,000, which was, in fact,
a remission of the fourth part of his ransom.

Attended by a magnificent retinue, the royal pair set out for Scotland.
They were met at Durham by three hundred of the principal nobility and
gentry, twenty-eight of whom were retained by the English as hostages
for the national faith. Arrived on his native soil, James, at Melrose
Abbey, gave his solemn assent on the Holy Gospels to the treaty; and
seldom have the Eildon Hills returned a louder and more joyous shout
of acclamation than now welcomed back to the kingdom of his fathers
the 'Royal Poet.' He proceeded to Edinburgh, where he celebrated Easter
with great pomp, and a month later, he and his queen were solemnly
crowned inthe Abbey Church at Scone. This was in 1424. He lived after
this only thirteen years; but the period of his reign has always been
thought a glorious interlude in the dark early history of Scotland.
He set himself, with considerable success, to curb the exorbitant
power of the nobles, sacrificing some of them, such as Albany, to his
just indignation. He passed many useful regulations in reference to
the coinage, the constitution, and the commerce of the country. He
suppressed with a strong hand some of the gangs of robbers and 'sorners'
which abounded, founding instead the order of Bedesmen or King's
Beggars, immortalised since in the character of Edie Ochiltree. He
stretched a strong hand over the refractory Highland chieftains. While
keeping at first on good terms with the English Court, he turned with a
fonder eye to the French as the ancient allies of Scotland, and in 1436
gave his daughter Margaret in marriage to the Dauphin. This step roused
the jealousy of his southern neighbours, who tried even to intercept the
fleet that was conveying the bride across the Channel, whereupon James,
stung to fury, proclaimed war against England, and in August commenced
the siege of Roxburgh Castle. The castle, after being environed for
fifteen days, was about to fall into his hands, when the Queen suddenly
arrived in the camp, and communicated some information, probably
referring to a threatened conspiracy of the nobles, which induced him
to throw up the siege, disband his army, and return northward in haste.
This unexpected step probably retarded, but could not prevent the
dreadful purpose of death which had already been formed against the
King.

In October 1436, he held his last Parliament in Edinburgh, in which,
amidst many other enactments, we find, curiously enough, a prefiguration
of the Forbes Mackenzie Act, in a decree that all taverns should be shut
at nine o'clock. In the end of the year he determined on retiring to
Perth, where (in the language of Gibbon, applied to Timour) 'he was
expected by the Angel of Death.' It is said that, when about to cross
the Frith of Forth, then called the Scottish Sea, a Highland woman, who
claimed the character of a prophetess, like Meg Merrilees in fiction,
met the cavalcade, and cried out, with a loud voice, 'My Lord the King,
if you pass this water you shall never return again alive;' but as she
was concluded to be mad or drunk, her warning was scorned. He betook
himself to the convent of the Black Friars, where Christmas was being
celebrated with great pomp and splendour. Meanwhile Robert Grahame, and
Walter, Earl of Athole, the King's own uncle, actuated, the former by
revenge on account of the resumption of some lands improperly granted
to his family, and the latter by a desire to succeed to the Crown, had
formed a plot against James's life. Several warnings, besides that of
the Highland seeress, the King received, but he heeded them not, and,
like most of the doomed, was in unnaturally high spirits, as if the
winding-sheet far up his breast had been a wedding-robe.

It is the evening of the 20th of February 1437. James and his nobles and
ladies are seated at table till deep into the night, engaged in chess,
music, and song. Athole, like another Judas, has supped with them, and
gone out at a late hour. A tremendous knocking is heard at the gate. It
is the Highland prophetess, who, having followed the monarch to Perth,
is seeking to force her way into the room. The King tells her, through
his usher, that he cannot receive her to-night, but will hear her
tidings to-morrow. She retires reluctantly, murmuring that they will for
ever rue their refusal to admit her into the royal presence. About an
hour after this, James calls for the _Voidee_, or parting-cup, and the
company disperse. Sir Robert Stewart, the chamberlain, who is in the
confidence of the conspirators, is the last to retire, having previously
destroyed the locks and removed the bars of the doors of the royal bed-
chamber and the outer room adjoining. The King is standing before the
fire, in his night-gown and slippers, and talking gaily with the Queen
and her ladies, when torches are seen flashing up from the garden, and
the clash of arms and the sound of angry voices is heard from below. A
sense of the dread reality bursts on them in an instant. The Queen and
the ladies run to secure the door of the chamber, while James, seizing
the tongs, wrenches up one of the boards of the floor and takes refuge
in a vault beneath. This was wont to have an opening to the outer court,
but it had unfortunately been built up of late by his own orders. There,
under the replaced boards, cowers the King, while the Queen and her
women seek to barricade the door. One brave young lady, Catherine
Douglas, thrusts her beautiful arm into the staple from which the bolt
had been removed. It is broken in a moment, and she sinks back, to bear,
with her descendants--a family well known in Scotland--the name of
_Barlass_ ever since. The murderers, who had previously killed in the
passage one Walter Straiton, a page, rush in, with naked swords,
wounding the ladies, striking, and well-nigh killing the Queen, and
crying, with frantic imprecations, 'This is but a woman! Where is
James?' Finding him not in the chamber, they leave it, and disperse
through the neighbouring apartments in search.

James, who had become wearied of his immurement, and thought the
assassins were gone, calls now on one of the ladies to aid him in coming
out of his place of concealment. But while this is being effected, one
of the murderers returns. The cry, 'Found, found,' rings through the
halls; and after a violent but unarmed resistance, the King is, with
circumstances of horrible barbarity, first mangled, then run through the
body, and then despatched with daggers. In vain he offers half his
kingdom for his life; and when he seeks a confessor from Grahame, the
ruffian replies, 'Thou shalt have no confessor but this sword.' It is
satisfactory to know that the Queen made her escape, and that the
criminals were punished, although the tortures they endured are such
as human nature shrinks from conceiving, and history with a shudder
records.

       *       *       *       *       *

We turn with pleasure from King James's life and death to his poetry,
although there is so little of it that a sentence or two will suffice.
'The King's Quhair' is a poem conceived very much in the spirit, and
written in the style of Chaucer, whose works were favourites with James.
There is the same sympathy with nature, and the same perception of _its_
relation to and unconscious sympathy with human feelings, and the same
luscious richness in the description, alike of the early beauties of
spring and of youthful feminine loveliness, although this seems more
natural in the young poet James than in the sexagenarian author of 'The
Canterbury Tales.' There is nothing even in Chaucer we think finer than
the picture of Lady Jane Beaufort in the garden, particularly in the
lines--

  'Or are ye god Cupidis own princess,
   And comen are ye to loose me out of band?
   Or are ye very Nature the goddess,
   That have depainted with your heavenly hand
   This garden full of flowers as they stand?'

Or where, picturing his mistress, he cries--

  'And above all this there was, well I wot,
   Beauty enough to make a world to dote.'

Or where, describing a ruby on her bosom, he says--

  'That as a spark of low[1] so wantonly
   Seemed burning upon her white throat.'

[1] 'Low:' fire.

Besides this precious little poem, King James is believed by some to
have written several poems on Scottish subjects, such as 'Christis Kirk
on the Green,' 'Peblis to the Play,' &c., but his claim to these is
uncertain. The first describes the mingled merrymaking and contest
common in the old rude marriages of Scotland, and, whether by James or
not, is full of burly, picturesque force.

Take the Miller--

  'The Miller was of manly make,
     To meet him was no mowes.[1]
   There durst not tensome there him take,
     So cowed he their powes.[2]
   The bushment whole about him brake,
     And bicker'd him with bows.
   Then traitorously behind his back
     They hack'd him on the boughs
         Behind that day.'

Or look at the following ill-paired pair--

  'Of all these maidens mild as mead,
     Was none so jimp as Gillie.
   As any rose her rude[3] was red--
     Her lire[4] like any lillie.
   But yellow, yellow was her head,
     And she of love so silly;
   Though all her kin had sworn her dead,
     She would have none but Willie,
         Alone that day.

  'She scorn'd Jock, and scripped at him,
     And murgeon'd him with mocks--
   He would have loved her--she would not let him,
     For all his yellow locks.
   He cherisht her--she bade go chat him--
     She counted him not two clocks.
   So shamefully his short jack[5] set him,
     His legs were like two rocks,
         Or rungs that day.'

[1] 'Mowes:' joke.
[2] 'Powes:' heads.
[3] 'Rude:' complexion.
[4] 'Lire:' flesh, skill.
[5] 'Jack:' jacket.

Our readers will perceive the resemblance, both in spirit and in form of
verse, between this old poem and the 'Holy Fair,' and other productions
of Burns.

James, cut off in the prime of life, may almost be called the abortive
Alfred of Scotland. Had he lived, he might have made important
contributions to her literature as well as laws, and given her a
standing among the nations of Europe, which it took long ages, and even
an incorporation with England, to secure. As it is, he stands high on
the list of royal authors, and of those kings who, whether authors or
not, have felt that nations cannot live on bread alone, and who have
sought their intellectual culture as an object not inferior to their
physical comfort. It is not, perhaps, too much to say, that no man or
woman of genius has sate either on the Scotch or English throne since,
except Cromwell, to whom, however, the term 'genius,' in its common
sense, seems ludicrously inadequate. James V. had some of the erratic
qualities of the poetic tribe, but his claim to the songs--such as the
'Gaberlunzie Man'--which go under his name, is exceedingly doubtful.
James VI. was a pedant, without being a scholar--a rhymester, not a
poet. Of the rest we need not speak. Seldom has the sceptre become an
Aaron's rod, and flourished with the buds and blossoms of song. In our
annals there has been one, and but one 'Royal Poet.'


THE KING THUS DESCRIBES THE APPEARANCE OF HIS MISTRESS,
WHEN HE FIRST SAW HER FROM A WINDOW OF HIS PRISON
AT WINDSOR.

X.

The longë dayës and the nightës eke,
I would bewail my fortune in this wise,
For which, against distress comfórt to seek,
My custom was, on mornës, for to rise
Early as day: O happy exercise!
By thee came I to joy out of tormènt;
But now to purpose of my first intent.

XI.

Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,
Despaired of all joy and remedy,
For-tired of my thought, and woe begone;
And to the window 'gan I walk in hye,[1]
To see the world and folk that went forby;
As for the time (though I of mirthis food
Might have no more) to look it did me good.

XII.

Now was there made fast by the toweris wall
A garden fair; and in the corners set
An herbere[2] green; with wandis long and small
Railed about, and so with treës set
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
That life was none [a] walking there forby
That might within scarce any wight espy.

       *       *       *       *       *

XIV.

And on the smallë greenë twistis [3] sat
The little sweetë nightingale, and sung,
So loud and clear the hymnis consecrate
Of lovë's use, now soft, now loud among,[4]
That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Right of their song; and on the couple next
Of their sweet harmony, and lo the text.

XV.

Worship, O ye that lovers be, this May!
For of your bliss the calends are begun;
And sing with us, 'Away! winter, away!
Come, summer, come, the sweet seasòn and sun;
Awake for shame that have your heavens won;
And amorously lift up your headës all,
Thank love that list you to his mercy call.

       *       *       *       *       *

XXI.

And therewith cast I down mine eye again,
Where as I saw walking under the tower,
Full secretly new comen to her pleyne,[5]
The fairest and the freshest youngë flower
That e'er I saw (methought) before that hour
For which sudden abate [6] anon astert [7]
The blood of all my body to my heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

XXVII.

Of her array the form if I shall write,
Toward her golden hair, and rich attire,
In fret-wise couched with pearlis white,
And greatë balas[8] lemyng[9] as the fire;
With many an emerald and fair sapphìre,
And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue,
Of plumës parted red, and white, and blue.

       *       *       *       *       *

XXIX.

About her neck, white as the fair amaille,[10]
A goodly chain of small orfeverie,[11]
Whereby there hang a ruby without fail
Like to a heart yshapen verily,
That as a spark of lowe[12] so wantonly
Seemed burning upon her whitë throat;
Now if there was good, perdie God it wrote.

XXX.

And for to walk that freshë Mayë's morrow,
A hook she had upon her tissue white,
That goodlier had not been seen toforrow,[13]
As I suppose, and girt she, was a lite[14]
Thus halfling[15] loose for haste; to such delight
It was to see her youth in goodlihead,
That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread.

XXXI.

In her was youth, beauty with humble port,
Bounty, richess, and womanly featúre:
(God better wot than my pen can report)
Wisdom, largèss, estate, and cunning[16] sure,

       *       *       *       *       *

In word, in deed, in shape and countenance,
That nature might no more her child advance.

[1] 'Hye:' haste.
[2] 'Herbere:' herbary, or garden of simples.
[3] 'Twistis:' twigs.
[4] 'Among:' promiscuously.
[5] 'Pleyne:' sport.
[6] 'Sudden abate:' unexpected accident.
[7] 'Astert:' started back.
[8] 'Balas:' rubies.
[9] 'Lemyng:' burning.
[10] 'Amaille:' enamel.
[11] 'Orfeverie:' goldsmith's work.
[12] 'Lowe:' fire.
[13] 'Toforrow:' heretofore.
[14] 'Lite:' a little.
[15] 'Halfling:' half.
[16] 'Cunning:' knowledge.



JOHN THE CHAPLAIN--THOMAS OCCLEVE.


The first of these is the only versifier that can be assigned to England
in the reign of Henry IV. His name was John Walton, though he was
generally known as _Johannes Capellanus_ or 'John the Chaplain.' He was
canon of Oseney, and died sub-dean of York. He, in the year 1410,
translated Boethius' famous treatise, 'De Consolatione Philosophiae,'
into English verse. He is not known to have written anything original.
--Thomas Occleve appeared in the reign of Henry V., about 1420. Like
Chaucer and Gower, he was a student of municipal law, having attended
Chester's Inn, which stood on the site of the present Somerset House;
but although he trod in the footsteps of his celebrated predecessors, it
was with far feebler powers. His original pieces are contemptible, both
in subject and in execution. His best production is a translation of
'Egidius De Regimine Principum.' Warton, alluding to the period at which
these writers appeared, has the following oft-quoted observations:
--'I consider Chaucer as a genial day in an English spring. A brilliant
sun enlivens the face of nature with an unusual lustre; the sudden
appearance of cloudless skies, and the unexpected warmth of a tepid
atmosphere, after the gloom and the inclemencies of a tedious winter,
fill our hearts with the visionary prospect of a speedy summer, and we
fondly anticipate a long continuance of gentle gales and vernal serenity.
But winter returns with redoubled horrors; the clouds condense more
formidably than before, and those tender buds and early blossoms which
were called forth by the transient gleam of a temporary sunshine, are
nipped by frosts and torn by tempests.' These sentences are, after all,
rather pompous, and express, in the most verbose style of the _Rambler_,
the simple fact, that after Chaucer's death the ground lay fallow, and
that for a while in England (in Scotland it was otherwise) there were
few poets, and little poetry.



JOHN LYDGATE.


This copious and versatile writer flourished in the reign of Henry VI.
Warton affirms that he reached his highest point of eminence in 1430,
although some of his poems had appeared before. He was a monk of the
Benedictine Abbey at Bury, in Suffolk. He received his education at
Oxford; and when it was finished, he travelled through France and Italy,
mastering the languages and literature of both countries, and studying
their poets, particularly Dante, Boccaccio, and Alain Chartier. When he
returned, he opened a school in his monastery for teaching the sons of
the nobility composition and the art of versification. His acquirements
were, for the age, universal. He was a poet, a rhetorician, an astronomer,
a mathematician, a public disputant, and a theologian. He was born in
1370, ordained sub-deacon in 1389, deacon in 1393, and priest in 1397.
The time of his death is uncertain. His great patron was Humphrey, Duke
of Gloucester, to whom he complains sometimes of necessitous circumstances,
which were, perhaps, produced by indulgence, since he confesses himself to
be 'a lover of wine.'

The great merit of Lydgate is his versatility. This Warton has happily
expressed in a few sentences, which we shall quote:--

'He moves with equal ease in every form of composition. His hymns and
his ballads have the same degree of merit; and whether his subject be
the life of a hermit or a hero, of Saint Austin or Guy, Earl of Warwick,
ludicrous or legendary, religious or romantic, a history or an allegory,
he writes with facility. His transitions were rapid, from works of the
most serious and laborious kind, to sallies of levity and pieces of
popular entertainment. His muse was of universal access; and he was not
only the poet of his monastery, but of the world in general. If a
disguising was intended by the Company of Goldsmiths, a mask before His
Majesty at Eltham, a May game for the sheriffs and aldermen of London,
a mumming before the Lord Mayor, a procession of pageants, from the
"Creation," for the Festival of Corpus Christi, or a carol for the
coronation, Lydgate was consulted, and gave the poetry.'

Lydgate is, so far as we know, the first British bard who wrote for
hire. At the request of Whethamstede, the Abbot of St Alban's, he
translated a 'Life of St Alban' from Latin into English rhymes, and
received for the whole work one hundred shillings. His principal poems,
all founded on the works of other authors, are the 'Fall of Princes,'
the 'Siege of Thebes,' and the 'Destruction of Troy.' They are written
in a diffuse and verbose style, but are generally clear in sense, and
often very luxuriant in description. 'The London Lyckpenny' is a
fugitive poem, in which the author describes himself coming up to town
in search of legal redress for a wrong, and gives some curious
particulars of the condition of that city in the early part of the
fifteenth century.


CANACE, CONDEMNED TO DEATH BY HER FATHER AEOLUS, SENDS
TO HER GUILTY BROTHER MACAREUS THE LAST TESTIMONY OF
HER UNHAPPY PASSION.

Out of her swoonë when she did abraid,[1]
Knowing no mean but death in her distrèss,
To her brothèr full piteously she said,
'Cause of my sorrow, root of my heaviness,
That whilom were the source of my gladness,
When both our joys by will were so disposed,
Under one key our hearts to be enclosed.--

       *       *       *       *       *

This is mine end, I may it not astart;[2]
O brother mine, there is no more to say;
Lowly beseeching with mine wholë heart
For to remember specially, I pray,
If it befall my little son to dey[3]
That thou mayst after some mind on us have,
Suffer us both be buried in one grave.
I hold him strictly 'tween my armës twain,
Thou and Natùrë laid on me this charge;
He, guiltless, mustë with me suffer pain,
And, since thou art at freedom and at large,
Let kindness ourë love not so discharge,
But have a mind, wherever that thou be,
Once on a day upon my child and me.
On thee and me dependeth the trespàce
Touching our guilt and our great offence,
But, welaway! most àngelic of face
Our childë, young in his pure innocence,
Shall against right suffer death's violence,
Tender of limbs, God wot, full guiltëless
The goodly fair, that lieth here speechlèss.

A mouth he has, but wordës hath he none;
Cannot complain, alas! for none outràge:
Nor grutcheth[4] not, but lies here all alone
Still as a lamb, most meek of his visàge.
What heart of steel could do to him damàge,
Or suffer him die, beholding the mannère
And look benign of his twain even clear.'--

       *       *       *       *       *

Writing her letter, awhapped[5] all in drede,
In her right hand her pen began to quake,
And a sharp sword to make her heartë bleed,
In her left hand her father hath her take,
And most her sorrow was for her childë's sake,
Upon whose facë in her barme[6] sleepíng
Full many a tear she wept in complainíng.
After all this so as she stood and quoke,
Her child beholding mid of her paines' smart,
Without abode the sharpë sword she took,
And rove herselfë even to the heart;
Her child fell down, which mightë not astart,
Having no help to succour him nor save,
But in her blood theself began to bathe.

[1] 'Abraid:' awake.
[2] 'Astart:' escape.
[3] 'Dey:' die.
[4] 'Grutcheth:' murmureth.
[5] 'Awhapped:' confounded.
[6] 'Barme:' lap.


THE LONDON LYCKPENNY.

Within the hall, neither rich nor yet poor
  Would do for me ought, although I should die:
Which seeing, I gat me out of the door,
  Where Flemings began on me for to cry,
  'Master, what will you copen[1] or buy?
Fine felt hats? or spectacles to read?
Lay down your silver, and here you may speed.

Then to Westminster gate I presently went,
  When the sun was at high prime:
Cooks to me they took good intent,[2]
  And proffered me bread, with ale and wine,
  Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine;
A fair cloth they 'gan for to spread,
But, wanting money, I might not be sped.

Then unto London I did me hie,
  Of all the land it beareth the price;
'Hot peascods!' one began to cry,
  'Strawberry ripe, and cherries in the rise!'[3]
  One bade me come near and buy some spice;
Pepper, and saffron they 'gan me beed;[4]
But, for lack of money, I might not speed.

Then to the Cheap I 'gan me drawn,
  Where much people I saw for to stand;
One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn,
  Another he taketh me by the hand,
  'Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land!'
I never was used to such things, indeed;
And, wanting money, I might not speed.

Then went I forth by London Stone,
  Throughout all Canwick Street:
Drapers much cloth me offered anon;
  Then comes me one cried 'Hot sheep's feet;'
  One cried mackerel, rushes green, another 'gan greet,[5]
One bade me buy a hood to cover my head;
But, for want of money, I might not be sped.

Then I hied me unto East-Cheap,
  One cries ribs of beef, and many a pie;
Pewter pots they clattered on a heap;
  There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy;
  Yea by cock! nay by cock! some began cry;
Some sung of Jenkin and Julian for their meed;
But, for lack of money, I might not speed.

Then into Cornhill anon I yode,[6]
  Where was much stolen gear among;
I saw where hung mine ownë hood,
  That I had lost among the throng;
  To buy my own hood I thought it wrong:
I knew it well, as I did my creed;
But, for lack of money, I could not speed.

The taverner took me by the sleeve,
  'Sir,' saith he, 'will you our wine assay?'
I answered, 'That can not much me grieve,
  A penny can do no more than it may;'
  I drank a pint, and for it did pay;
Yet, sore a-hungered from thence I yede,[7]
And, wanting money, I could not speed.

[1] 'Copen:' _koopen_(Flem.) to buy.
[2] 'Took good intent:' took notice; paid attention.
[3] 'In the rise:' on the branch.
[4] 'Beed:' offer.
[5] 'Greet:' cry.
[6] 'Yode:' went.
[7] 'Yede:' went.



HARDING, KAY, &c.


John Harding flourished about the year 1403. He fought at the battle of
Shrewsbury on the Percy side. He is the author of a poem entitled 'The
Chronicle of England unto the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, in
Verse.' It has no poetic merit, and little interest, except to the
antiquary. In the reign of the above king we find the first mention of
a Poet Laureate. John Kay was appointed by Edward, when he returned from
Italy, Poet Laureate to the king, but has, perhaps fortunately for the
world, left behind him no poems. Would that the same had been the case
with some of his successors in the office! There is reason to believe,
that for nearly two centuries ere this date, there had existed in the
court a personage, entitled the King's Versifier, (versificator,) to
whom one hundred shillings a-year was the salary, and that the title
was, by and by, changed to that of Poet Laureate, _i.e._, Laurelled
Poet. It had long been customary in the universities to crown scholars
when they graduated with laurel, and Warton thinks that from these the
first poet laureates were selected, less for their general genius than
for their skill in Latin verse. Certainly the earliest of the Laureate
poems, such as those by Baston and Gulielmus, who acted as royal poets
to Richard I. and Edward II., and wrote, the one on Richard's Crusade,
and the other on Edward's Siege of Stirling Castle, are in Latin. So
too are the productions of Andrew Bernard, who was the Poet Laureate
successively to Henry VII. and Henry VIII. It was not till after the
Reformation had lessened the superstitious veneration for the Latin
tongue that the laureates began to write in English. It is almost a
pity, we are sometimes disposed to think, that, in reference to such
odes as those of Pye, Whitehead, Colley Cibber, and even some of
Southey's, the old practice had not continued; since thus, in the first
place, we might have had a chance of elegant Latinity, in the absence of
poetry and sense; and since, secondly, the deficiencies of the laureate
poems would have been disguised, from the general eye at least, under
the veil of an unknown tongue. It is curious to notice about this period
the uprise of two didactic poets, both writing on alchymy, the chemistry
of that day, and neither displaying a spark of genius. These are John
Norton and George Ripley, both renowned for learning and knowledge of
their beloved occult sciences. Their poems, that by Norton, entitled
'The Ordinal,' and that by Ripley, entitled 'The Compound of Alchemie,'
are dry and rugged treatises, done into indifferent verse. One rather
fine fancy occurs in the first of these. It is that of an alchymist who
projected a bridge of gold over the Thames, near London, crowned with
pinnacles of gold, which, being studded with carbuncles, should diffuse
a blaze of light in the dark! Alchymy has had other and nobler singers
than Ripley and Norton. It has, as Warton remarks, 'enriched the store-
house of Arabian romance with many magnificent imageries.' It is the
inspiration of two of the noblest romances in this or any language
--'St. Leon' and 'Zanoni.' And its idea, transfigured into a transcen-
dental form, gave light and life and fire, and the loftiest poetry, to
the eloquence of the lamented Samuel Brown, whose tongue, as he talked
on his favourite theme, seemed transmuted into gold; nay, whose lips,
like the touch of Midas, seemed to create the effects of alchymy upon
every subject they approached, and upon every heart over which they
wielded their sorcery.

We pass now from this comparatively barren age in the history of English
poetry to a cluster of Scottish bards. The first of these is ROBERT
HENRYSON. He was schoolmaster at Dunfermline, and died some time before
1508. He is supposed by Lord Hailes to have been preceptor of youth in
the Benedictine convent in that place. He is the author of 'Robene and
Makyne,' a pastoral ballad of very considerable merit, and of which
Campbell says, somewhat too warmly, 'It is the first known pastoral,'
(he means in the Scottish language of course,) 'and one of the best, in
a dialect rich with the favours of the pastoral muse.' He wrote also a
sequel to Chaucer's 'Troilus and Cresseide' entitled 'The Testament of
Cresseide,' and thirteen Fables, of which copies, in MS., are preserved
in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. One of these, 'The Town and
Country Mouse,' tells that old story with considerable spirit and
humour. 'The Garment of Good Ladies' is an ingenious and beautiful
strain, written in that quaint style of allegorising which continued
popular as far down as the days of Cowley, and even later.


DINNER GIVEN BY THE TOWN MOUSE TO THE COUNTRY MOUSE.

*     *     *     Their harboury was ta'en
Into a spence,[1] where victual was plenty,
Both cheese and butter on long shelves right high,
With fish and flesh enough, both fresh and salt,
And pockis full of groats, both meal and malt.

After, when they disposed were to dine,
Withouten grace they wuish[2] and went to meat,
On every dish that cookmen can divine,
Mutton and beef stricken out in telyies grit;[3]
A lordë's fare thus can they counterfeit,
Except one thing--they drank the water clear
Instead of wine, but yet they made good cheer.

With blithe upcast and merry countenance,
The elder sister then spier'd[4] at her guest,
If that she thought by reason difference
Betwixt that chamber and her sairy[5] nest.
'Yea, dame,' quoth she, 'but how long will this last?'
'For evermore, I wait,[6] and longer too;'
'If that be true, ye are at ease,' quoth she.

To eke the cheer, in plenty forth they brought
A plate of groatis and a dish of meal,
A threif[7] of cakes, I trow she spared them nought,
Abundantly about her for to deal.
Furmage full fine she brought instead of jeil,
A white candle out of a coffer staw,[8]
Instead of spice, to creish[9] their teeth witha'.

Thus made they merry, till they might nae mair,
And, 'Hail, Yule, hail!' they cryit up on high;
But after joy oftentimes comes care,
And trouble after great prosperity.
Thus as they sat in all their jollity,
The spencer came with keyis in his hand,
Open'd the door, and them at dinner fand.

They tarried not to wash, as I suppose,
But on to go, who might the foremost win:
The burgess had a hole, and in she goes,
Her sister had no place to hide her in;
To see that silly mouse it was great sin,
So desolate and wild of all good rede,[10]
For very fear she fell in swoon, near dead.

Then as God would it fell in happy case,
The spencer had no leisure for to bide,
Neither to force, to seek, nor scare, nor chase,
But on he went and cast the door up-wide.
This burgess mouse his passage well has spied.
Out of her hole she came and cried on high,
'How, fair sister, cry peep, where'er thou be.'

The rural mouse lay flatlings on the ground,
And for the death she was full dreadand,
For to her heart struck many woful stound,
As in a fever trembling foot and hand;
And when her sister in such plight her fand,
For very pity she began to greet,
Syne[11] comfort gave, with words as honey sweet.

'Why lie ye thus? Rise up, my sister dear,
Come to your meat, this peril is o'erpast.'
The other answer'd with a heavy cheer,
'I may nought eat, so sore I am aghast.
Lever[12] I had this forty dayis fast,
With water kail, and green beans and peas,
Than all your feast with this dread and disease.'

With fair 'treaty, yet gart she her arise;
To board they went, and on together sat,
But scantly had they drunken once or twice,
When in came Gib Huntér, our jolly cat,
And bade God speed. The burgess up then gat,
And to her hole she fled as fire of flint;
Bawdrons[13] the other by the back has hent.[14]

From foot to foot he cast her to and frae,
Whiles up, whiles down, as cant[15] as any kid;
Whiles would he let her run under the strae[16]
Whiles would he wink and play with her buik-hid;[17]
Thus to the silly mouse great harm he did;
Till at the last, through fair fortune and hap,
Betwixt the dresser and the wall she crap.[18]

Syne up in haste behind the panelling,
So high she clamb, that Gilbert might not get her,
And by the cluiks[19] craftily can hing,
Till he was gone, her cheer was all the better:
Syne down she lap, when there was none to let her;
Then on the burgess mouse loud could she cry,
'Farewell, sister, here I thy feast defy.

Thy mangery is minget[20] all with care,
Thy guise is good, thy gane-full[21] sour as gall;
The fashion of thy feris is but fair,
So shall thou find hereafterward may fall.
I thank yon curtain, and yon parpane[22] wall,
Of my defence now from yon cruel beast;
Almighty God, keep me from such a feast!

Were I into the place that I came frae,
For weal nor woe I should ne'er come again.'
With that she took her leave, and forth can gae,
Till through the corn, till through the plain.
When she was forth and free she was right fain,
And merrily linkit unto the muir,
I cannot tell how afterward she fure.[23]

But I heard syne she passed to her den,
As warm as wool, suppose it was not grit,
Full beinly[24] stuffed was both butt and ben,
With peas and nuts, and beans, and rye and wheat;
Whene'er she liked, she had enough of meat,
In quiet and ease, withouten [any] dread,
But to her sister's feast no more she gaed.


[FROM THE MORAL.]

Blessed be simple life, withouten dreid;
Blessed be sober feast in quieté;
Who has enough, of no more has he need,
Though it be little into quantity.
Great abundance, and blind prosperity,
Ofttimës make an evil conclusion;
The sweetest life, therefore, in this country,
Is of sickerness,[25] with small possession.

[1] 'Spence:' pantry.
[2] 'Wuish:' washed.
[3] 'Telyies grit:' great pieces.
[4] 'Spier'd;' asked.
[5] 'Sairy:' sorry.
[6] 'Wait:' expect.
[7] 'Threif:' a set of twenty-four.
[8] 'Staw:' stole.
[9] 'Creish:' grease.
[10] 'rede:' counsel.
[11] 'Syne:' then.
[12] 'Lever:' rather.
[13] 'Bawdrons:' the cat.
[14] 'Hent:' seized.
[15] 'Cant:' lively.
[16] 'Strae:' straw.
[17] 'Buik-hid:' body.
[18] 'Crap:' crept.
[19] 'Cluiks:' claws.
[20] 'Minget:' mixed.
[21] 'Gane-full:' mouthful.
[22] 'Parpane:' partition.
[23] 'Fure:' went.
[24] 'Beinly:' snugly.
[25] 'Sickerness:' security.



THE GARMENT OF GOOD LADIES.

Would my good lady love me best,
  And work after my will,
I should a garment goodliest
  Gar[1] make her body till.[2]

Of high honoùr should be her hood,
  Upon her head to wear,
Garnish'd with governance, so good
  No deeming[3] should her deir,[4]

Her sark[5] should be her body next,
  Of chastity so white:
With shame and dread together mixt,
  The same should be perfite.[6]

Her kirtle should be of clean constance,
  Laced with lesum[7] love;
The mailies[8] of continuance,
  For never to remove.

Her gown should be of goodliness,
  Well ribbon'd with renown;
Purfill'd[9] with pleasure in ilk[10] place,
  Furred with fine fashioùn.

Her belt should be of benignity,
  About her middle meet;
Her mantle of humility,
  To thole[11] both wind and weet.[12]

Her hat should be of fair havìng,
  And her tippet of truth;
Her patelet of good pansìng,[13]
  Her hals-ribbon of ruth.[14]

Her sleeves should be of esperance,
  To keep her from despair;
Her glovës of good governance,
  To hide her fingers fair.

Her shoes should be of sickerness,[15]
  In sign that she not slide;
Her hose of honesty, I guess,
  I should for her provide.

Would she put on this garment gay,
  I durst swear by my seill,[16]
That she wore never green nor gray
That set[17] her half so weel.

[1] 'Gar:' cause.
[2] 'Till:' to.
[3] 'Deeming:' opinion.
[4] 'Deir:' injure.
[5] 'Sark:' shift.
[6] 'Perfite:' perfect.
[7] 'Lesum:' lawful.
[8] 'Mailies:' eyelet-holes.
[9] 'Purfill'd:' fringed.
[10] 'Ilk:' each.
[11] 'Thole:' endure.
[12] 'Weet:': wet.
[13] 'Pansing:' thinking.
[14] 'Her hals-ribbon of ruth:' her neck-ribbon of pity.
[15] 'Sickerness:' firmness.
[16] 'Seill:' salvation.
[17] 'Set:' became.



WILLIAM DUNBAR


This was a man of the true and sovereign seed of genius. Sir Walter
Scott calls Dunbar 'a poet unrivalled by any--that Scotland has ever
produced.' We venture to call him the Dante of Scotland; nay, we
question if any English poet has surpassed 'The Dance of the Seven
Deadly Sins through Hell' in its peculiarly Dantesque qualities of
severe and purged grandeur; of deep sincerity, and in that air of moral
disappointment and sorrow, approaching despair, which distinguished the
sad-hearted lover of Beatrice, who might almost have exclaimed, with one
yet mightier than he in his misery and more miserable in his might,

  'Where'er I am is Hell--myself am Hell.'

Foster, in an entry in his journal, (we quote from memory,) says, 'I
have just seen the moon rising, and wish the impression to be eternal.
What a look she casts upon earth, like that of a celestial being who
loves our planet still, but has given up all hope of ever doing her any
good or seeing her become any better--so serene she seems in her settled
and unutterable sadness.' Such, we have often fancied, was the feeling
of the great Florentine toward the world, and which--pained, pitying,
yearning enthusiast that he was!--escaped irresistibly from those deep-
set eyes, that adamantine jaw, and that brow, wearing the laurel, proudly
yet painfully, as if it were a crown of everlasting fire! Dunbar was not
altogether a Dante, either in melancholy or in power, but his 'Dance'
reveals kindred moods, operating at times on a kindred genius.

In Dante humour existed too, but ere it could come up from his deep
nature to the surface, it must freeze and stiffen into monumental scorn
--a laughter that seemed, while mocking at all things else, to mock at
its own mockery most of all. Aird speaks in his 'Demoniac,' of a smile
upon his hero's brow,

                 'Like the lightning of a hope about to DIE
  For ever from the furrow'd brows of Hell's Eternity.'

Dante's smile may rather be compared to the RISING of a false and self-
detected hope upon the lost brows where it is never to come to dawn, and
where, nevertheless, it remains for ever, like a smile carved upon
a sepulchre. Dunbar has a more joyous disposition than his Italian
prototype and master, and he indulges himself to the top of his bent,
but in a style (particularly in his 'Twa Married Women and the Widow,'
and in 'The Friars of Berwick,' which is not, however, quite certainly
his) too coarse and prurient for the taste of this age.

'The Merle and the Nightingale' is one of the finest of Moelibean poems.
Beautiful is the contest between the two sweet singers as to whether the
love of man or the love of God be the nobler, and more beautiful still
their reconciliation, when

  'Then sang they both with voices loud and clear,
   The Merle sang, "Man, love God that has thee wrought."
   The Nightingale sang, "Man, love the Lord most dear,
   That thee and all this world made of nought."
   The Merle said, "Love him that thy love has sought
   From heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone."
   The Nightingale sang. "And with his death thee bought:
   All love is lost, but upon him alone."

  _'Then flew these birds over the boughis sheen,
   Singing of love among the leaves small.'_

William Dunbar is said to have been born about the year 1465. He
received his education at St Andrews, and took there the degree of M.A.
in 1479. He became then a friar of the Franciscan order, (Grey Friars,)
and in the exercise of his profession seems to have rambled over all
Scotland, England, and France, preaching, begging, and, according to his
own confession, cheating, lying, and cajoling. Yet if this kind of life
was not propitious, in his case, to morality, it must have been to the
development of the poetic faculty. It enabled him to see all varieties
of life and of scenery, although here and there, in his verses, you find
symptoms of that bitterness which is apt to arise in the heart of a
wanderer. He was subsequently employed by James IV. in some official
work connected with various foreign embassies, which led him to Spain,
Italy, and Germany, as well as England and France. This proves that he
was no less a man of business-capacity and habits than a poet. For these
services he, in 1500, received from the King a pension of ten pounds,
afterwards increased to twenty, and, in fine, to eighty. He is said to
have been employed in the negotiations preparatory to the marriage of
James with Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII., which took place in
1503, and which our poet celebrated in his verses, 'The Thistle and the
Rose.' He continued ever afterwards in the Court, hovering in position
between a laureate and a court-fool, charming James with his witty
conversation as well as his verses, but refused the benefices for which
he petitioned, and gradually devoured by chagrin and disappointment.
Seldom has genius so great been placed in a falser position, and this
has given a querulous tinge to many of his poems. He seems to have died
about 1520. Even after his death, misfortune pursued him. His works
were, with the exception of two or three pieces, locked up in an obscure
MS. till the middle of last century. Since then, however, their fame has
been still increasing. In 1834, Mr David Laing, so favourably known as
one of our first antiquarians, published a complete and elaborate edition
of Dunbar's works; and in a newspaper this very day (May 23) we see another
edition announced, in a popular and modernised shape, of the poetry of this
great old Scottish _Makkar_.


THE DANCE OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS THROUGH HELL.

I.

Of Februar' the fifteenth night,
Full long before the dayis light,
  I lay into a trance;
And then I saw both Heaven and Hell;
Methought among the fiendis fell,
  Mahoun[1] gart[2] cry a Dance,
Of shrewis[3] that were never shrevin,[4]
Against the feast of Fastern's even,
To make their observànce:
He bade gallants go graith[5] a guise,[6]
And cast up gamounts[7] in the skies,
  As varlets do in France.


II.
       *       *       *       *       *
Holy harlottis in hautane[8] wise,
Came in with many sundry guise,
  But yet laugh'd never Mahòun,
Till priests came in with bare shaven necks,
Then all the fiends laugh'd and made gecks,[9]
Black-Belly and Bawsy-Broun.[10]
       *       *       *       *       *


III.

'Let's see,' quoth he, 'now who begins:'
With that the foul Seven Deadly Sins
  Began to leap at anis.[11]
And first of all in dance was Pride,
With hair wyld[12] back, and bonnet on side,
  Like to make wasty weanis;[13]
And round about him, as a wheel,
Hang all in rumples to the heel,
  His kethat[14] for the nanis.[15]
Many proud trompour[16] with him tripped,
Through scalding fire aye as they skipped,
  They girn'd[17] with hideous granis.[18]


IV.

Then Ire came in with sturt[19] and strife,
His hand was aye upon his knife,
  He brandish'd like a beir;
Boasters, braggers, and barganeris,[20]
After him passed into pairis,[21]
  All bodin in feir of weir.[22]
In jackis, scripis, and bonnets of steel,
Their legs were chenyiet[23] to the heel,
  Froward was their affeir,[24]
Some upon other with brands beft,[25]
Some jaggit[26] others to the heft[27]
  With knives that sharp could shear.


V.

Next in the dance follow'd Envy,
Fill'd full of feud and felony,
  Hid malice and despite,
For privy hatred that traitor trembled;
Him follow'd many freik[28] dissembled,
With feigned wordis white.
  And flatterers into men's faces,
And backbiters in secret places
To lie that had delight,
  And rowneris[29] of false lesìngs;[30]
Alas, that courts of noble kings
  Of them can never be quite![31]


VI.

Next him in dance came Covetice,
Root of all evil and ground of vice,
  That never could be content,
Caitiffs, wretches, and ockerars,[32]
Hood-pikes,[33] hoarders, and gatherers,
  All with that warlock went.
Out of their throats they shot on other
Hot molten gold, methought, a fother,[34]
  As fire-flaucht[35] most fervènt;
Aye as they tumit[36] them of shot,
Fiends fill'd them new up to the throat
  With gold of all kind prent.[37]


VII.

Syne[38] Sweirness[39] at the second bidding
Came like a sow out of a midding,[40]
  Full sleepy was his grunyie.[41]
Many sweir bumbard[42] belly-huddroun,[43]
Many slute daw[44] and sleepy duddroun,[45]
  Him served aye with sounyie.[46]
He drew them forth into a chenyie,[47]
And Belial with a bridle-rennyie,[48]
  Ever lash'd them on the lunyie.[49]
In dance they were so slow of feet
They gave them in the fire a heat,
  And made them quicker of counyie.[50]


VIII.

Then Lechery, that loathly corse,
Came bearing like a bagged horse,[51]
  And Idleness did him lead;
There was with him an ugly sort[52]
And many stinking foul tramort,[53]
  That had in sin been dead.
When they were enter'd in the dance,
They were full strange of countenance,
  Like torches burning reid.
       *       *       *       *       *

IX.

Then the foul monster Gluttony,
Of wame[54] insatiable and greedy,
  To dance he did him dress;
Him followed many a foul drunkàrt
With can and collep, cop and quart,[55]
  In surfeit and excess.
Full many a waistless wally-drag[56]
With wames unwieldable did forth drag,
  In creish[57] that did incress;
Drink, aye they cried, with many a gape,
The fiends gave them hot lead to laip,[58]
Their leveray[59] was no less.


X.
       *       *       *       *       *
No minstrels play'd to them but[60] doubt,
For gleemen there were holden out,
  By day and eke by night,
Except a minstrel that slew a man;
So till his heritage he wan,[61]
  And enter'd by brief of right.
       *       *       *       *       *

XI.

Then cried Mahoun for a Highland padyane,[62]
Syne ran a fiend to fetch Mac Fadyane,[63]
  Far northward in a nook,
By he the Correnoch had done shout,[64]
Ersch-men[65] so gather'd him about
  In hell great room they took:
These termagants, with tag and tatter,
Full loud in Ersch began to clatter,
  And roup[66] like raven and rook.
The devil so deaved[67] was with their yell,
That in the deepest pot of hell
  He smored[68] them with smoke.

[1] 'Mahoun:' the devil.
[2] 'Gart:' caused.
[3] 'Shrewis:' sinners.
[4] 'Shrevin:' confessed.
[5] 'Graith:' prepare.
[6] 'Guise:' masque.
[7] 'Gamounts:' dances.
[8] 'Hautane:' haughty.
[9] 'Gecks:' mocks.
[10] 'Black-Belly and Bawsy-Broun:' names of spirits.
[11] 'Anis:' once.
[12] 'Wyld:' combed.
[13] 'Wasty weanis:' wasteful children.
[14] 'Kethat:' cassock.
[15] 'Nanis:' nonce.
[16] 'Trompour:' impostor.
[17] 'Girn'd:' grinned.
[18] 'Granis:' groans.
[19] 'Sturt:' violence.
[20] 'Barganeris:' bullies.
[21] 'Into pairis:' in pairs.
[22] 'Bodin in feir of weir:' arrayed in trappings of war.
[23] 'Chenyiet:' covered with chain-mail.
[24] 'Affeir:' aspect.
[25] 'Beft:' struck.
[26] 'Jaggit:' stabbed.
[27] 'Heft:' hilt.
[28] 'Freik:' fellows.
[29] 'Rowneris:' whisperers.
[30] 'Lesìngs:' lies.
[31] 'Quite:' quit.
[32] 'Ockerars:' usurers.
[33] 'Hood-pikes:' misers.
[34] 'Fother:' quantity.
[35] 'Flaucht:' flake.
[36] 'Tumit:' emptied.
[37] 'Prent:' stamp.
[38] 'Syne:' then.
[39] 'Sweirness:' laziness.
[40] 'Midding:' dunghill.
[41] 'Grunyie:' grunt.
[42] 'Bumbard:' indolent.
[43] 'Belly-huddroun:' gluttonous sloven.
[44] 'Slute daw:' slovenly drab.
[45] 'Duddroun:' sloven.
[46] 'Sounyie:' care.
[47] 'Chenyie:' chain.
[48] 'Rennyie:' rein.
[49] 'Lunyie:' back.
[50] 'Counyie:' apprehension.
[51] 'Bagged horse:' stallion.
[52] 'Sort:' number.
[53] 'Tramort:' corpse.
[54] 'Wame:' belly.
[55] 'Can and collep, cop and quart:' different names of
      drinking-vessels.
[56] 'Wally-drag:' sot.
[57] 'Creish:' grease.
[58] 'Laip:' lap.
[59] 'Leveray:' desire to drink.
[60] 'But:' without.
[61] 'Wan:' got.
[62] 'Padyane:' pageant.
[63] 'Mac Fadyane:' name of some Highland laird.
[64] 'By he the Correnoch had done shout:' by the time that he had
      raised the Correnoch, or cry of help.
[65] 'Ersch-men:' Highlanders.
[66] 'Roup:' croak.
[67] 'Deaved:' deafened.
[68] 'Smored:' smothered.


THE MERLE AND NIGHTINGALE.

In May, as that Aurora did upspring,
With crystal een[1] chasing the cluddës sable,
I heard a Merle[2] with merry notës sing
A song of love, with voice right comfortáble,
Against the orient beamis, amiable,
Upon a blissful branch of laurel green;
This was her sentence, sweet and delectable,
'A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

Under this branch ran down a river bright,
Of balmy liquor, crystalline of hue,
Against the heavenly azure skyis light,
Where did upon the other side pursue
A Nightingale, with sugar'd notës new,
Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone;
This was her song, and of a sentence true,
'All love is lost but upon God alone.'

With notës glad, and glorious harmony,
This joyful merle, so salust[3] she the day,
While rung the woodis of her melody,
Saying, 'Awake, ye lovers of this May;
Lo, fresh Flora has flourish'd every spray,
As nature, has her taught, the noble queen,
The fields be clothed in a new array;
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with living man,
Than made this merry gentle nightingale;
Her sound went with the river as it ran,
Out through the fresh and flourish'd lusty vale;
'O Merle!' quoth she, 'O fool! stint of thy tale,
For in thy song good sentence is there none,
For both is tint,[4] the time and the travail,
Of every love but upon God alone.'

'Cease,' quoth the Merle, 'thy preaching, Nightingale:
Shall folk their youth spend into holiness?
Of young saintis, grow old fiendis, but[5] fable;
Fy, hypocrite, in yearis' tenderness,
Against the law of kind[6] thou goes express,
That crooked age makes one with youth serene,
Whom nature of conditions made diverse:
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

The Nightingale said, 'Fool, remember thee,
That both in youth and eild,[7] and every hour,
The love of God most dear to man should be;
That him, of nought, wrought like his own figour,
And died himself, from death him to succour;
Oh, whether was kythit[8] there true love or none?
He is most true and steadfast paramour,
And love is lost but upon him alone.'

The Merle said, 'Why put God so great beauty
In ladies, with such womanly havíng,
But if he would that they should loved be?
To love eke nature gave them incliníng,
And He of nature that worker was and king,
Would nothing frustir[9] put, nor let be seen,
Into his creature of his own making;
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

The Nightingale said, 'Not to that behoof
Put God such beauty in a lady's face,
That she should have the thank therefor or love,
But He, the worker, that put in her such grace;
Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space,
And every goodness that been to come or gone
The thank redounds to him in every place:
All love is lost but upon God alone.'

'O Nightingale! it were a story nice,
That love should not depend on charity;
And, if that virtue contrar' be to vice,
Then love must be a virtue, as thinks me;
For, aye, to love envy must contrar' be:
God bade eke love thy neighbour from the spleen;[10]
And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be?
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

The Nightingale said, 'Bird, why does thou rave?
Man may take in his lady such delight,
Him to forget that her such virtue gave,
And for his heaven receive her colour white:
Her golden tressed hairis redomite,[11]
Like to Apollo's beamis though they shone,
Should not him blind from love that is perfite;
All love is lost but upon God alone.'

The Merle said, 'Love is cause of honour aye,
Love makis cowards manhood to purchase,
Love makis knightis hardy at essay,
Love makis wretches full of largëness,
Love makis sweir[12] folks full of business,
Love makis sluggards fresh and well beseen,[13]
Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness;
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'

The Nightingale said, 'True is the contrary;
Such frustis love it blindis men so far,
Into their minds it makis them to vary;
In false vain-glory they so drunken are,
Their wit is went, of woe they are not 'ware,
Till that all worship away be from them gone,
Fame, goods, and strength; wherefore well say I dare,
All love is lost but upon God alone.'

Then said the Merle, 'Mine error I confess:
This frustis love is all but vanity:
Blind ignorance me gave such hardiness,
To argue so against the verity;
Wherefore I counsel every man that he
With love not in the fiendis net be tone,[14]
But love the love that did for his love die:
All love is lost but upon God alone.'

Then sang they both with voices loud and clear,
The Merle sang, 'Man, love God that has thee wrought.'
The Nightingale sang, 'Man, love the Lord most dear,
That thee and all this world made of nought.'
The Merle said, 'Love him that thy love has sought
From heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone.'
The Nightingale sang, 'And with his death thee bought:
All love is lost but upon him alone.'

Then flew these birds over the boughis sheen,
Singing of love among the leavës small;
Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis grein,[15]
Both sleeping, waking, in rest and in travail;
Me to recomfort most it does avail,
Again for love, when love I can find none,
To think how sung this Merle and Nightingale;
'All love is lost but upon God alone.'

[1] 'Een:' eyes.
[2] 'Merle:' blackbird.
[3] 'Salust:' saluted.
[4] 'Tint:' lost.
[5] 'But:' without.
[6] 'Kind:' nature.
[7] 'Eild:' age.
[8] 'Kythit:' shewn.
[9] 'Frustrir:' in vain.
[10] 'Spleen:' from the heart.
[11] 'Redomite:' bound, encircled.
[12] 'Sweir:' slothful.
[13] 'Well beseen:' of good appearance.
[14] 'Tone:' taken.
[15] 'Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis grein:' whose close
      disputation made my thoughts yearn.



GAVIN DOUGLAS.


This eminent prelate was a younger son of Archibald, the fifth Earl of
Angus. He was born in Brechin about the year 1474. He studied at the
University of Paris. He became a churchman, and yet united with
attention to the duties of his calling great proficiency in polite
learning. In 1513 he finished a translation, into Scottish verse, of
Virgil's 'Aeneid,' which, considering the age, is an extraordinary
performance. It occupied him only sixteen months. The multitude of
obsolete terms, however, in which it abounds, renders it now, as a
whole, illegible. After passing through various subordinate offices,
such as the 'Provostship' of St Giles's, Edinburgh, and the 'Abbotship'
of Arbroath, he was at length appointed Bishop of Dunkeld. Dunkeld was
not then the paradise it has become, but Birnam hill and the other
mountains then, as now, stood round about it, the old Cathedral rose up
in mediaeval majesty, and the broad, smooth Tay flowed onward to the
ocean. And, doubtless, Douglas felt the poetic inspiration from it quite
as warmly as did Thomas Brown, when, three centuries afterwards, he set
up the staff of his summer rest at the beautiful Invar inn, and thence
delighted to diverge to the hundred scenes of enchantment which stretch
around. The good Bishop was an ardent politician as well as a poet, and
was driven, by his share in the troubles of the times, to flee from his
native land, and take refuge in the Court of Henry VIII. The King
received him kindly, and treated him with much liberality. In 1522 he
died at London of the plague, and was interred in the Savoy Church.
He was, according to Buchanan, about to proceed to Rome to vindicate
himself before the Pope against certain charges brought by his enemies.
Besides the translation of the 'Aeneid,' Douglas is the author of a long
poem entitled the 'Palace of Honour;' it is an allegory, describing
a large company making a pilgrimage to Honour's Palace. It bears
considerable resemblance to the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' and some suppose
that Bunyan had seen it before composing his allegory. 'King Hart' is
another production of our poet's, of considerable length and merit. It
gives, metaphorically, a view of human life. Perhaps his best pieces are
his 'Prologues,' affixed to each book of the 'Aeneid.' From them we have
selected 'Morning in May' as a specimen. The closing lines are fine.

  'Welcome the lord of light, and lamp of day,
  Welcome fosterer of tender herbis green,
  Welcome quickener of flourish'd flowers sheen,
  Welcome support of every root and vein,
  Welcome comfort of all kind fruit and grain,' &c.

Douglas must not be named with Dunbar in strength and grandeur of
genius. His power is more in expression than in conception, and hence
he has shone so much in translation. His version of the 'Aeneid' is the
first made of any classic into a British tongue, and is the worthy
progenitor of such minor miracles of poetical talent--all somewhat more
mechanical than inspired, and yet giving a real, though subordinate
glory to our literature-as Fairfax's 'Tasso,' Dryden's 'Virgil,' and
Pope's, Coper's, and Sotheby's 'Homer.' The fire in Douglas' original
verses is occasionally lost in smoke, and the meaning buried in flowery
verbiage. Still he was an honour alike to the Episcopal bench and the
Muse of Scotland. He was of amiable manners, gentle temperament, and a
noble and commanding appearance.


MORNING IN MAY.

As fresh Aurore, to mighty Tithon spouse,
Ished of[1] her saffron bed and ivor' house,
In cram'sy clad and grained violate,
With sanguine cape, and selvage purpurate,
Unshet[2] the windows of her largë hall,
Spread all with roses, and full of balm royal,
And eke the heavenly portis crystalline
Unwarps broad, the world to illumine;
The twinkling streamers of the orient
Shed purpour spraings,[3] with gold and azure ment;[4]
Eous, the steed, with ruby harness red,
Above the seas liftis forth his head,
Of colour sore,[5] and somedeal brown as berry,
For to alighten and glad our hemispery;
The flame out-bursten at the neisthirls,[6]
So fast Phaeton with the whip him whirls. * *
While shortly, with the blazing torch of day,
Abulyit[7] in his lemand[8] fresh array,
Forth of his palace royal ished Phoebus,
With golden crown and visage glorious,
Crisp hairs, bright as chrysolite or topaz;
For whose hue might none behold his face. * *
The aureate vanes of his throne soverain
With glittering glance o'erspread the oceane;
The largë floodës, lemand all of light,
But with one blink of his supernal sight.
For to behold, it was a glore to see
The stabled windis, and the calmed sea,
The soft season, the firmament serene,
The loune[9] illuminate air and firth amene. * *
And lusty Flora did her bloomis spread
Under the feet of Phoebus' sulyart[10] steed;
The swarded soil embrode with selcouth[11] hues,
Wood and forest, obumbratë with bews.[12] * *
Towers, turrets, kirnals,[13] and pinnacles high,
Of kirks, castles, and ilk fair city,
Stood painted, every fane, phiol,[14] and stage,[15]
Upon the plain ground by their own umbrage.
Of Aeolus' north blasts having no dreid,
The soil spread her broad bosom on-breid;
The corn crops and the beir new-braird
With gladsome garment revesting the yerd.[16] * *
The prai[17] besprent with springing sprouts disperse
For caller humours[18] on the dewy night
Rendering some place the gersë-piles[19] their light;
As far as cattle the lang summer's day
Had in their pasture eat and nip away;
And blissful blossoms in the bloomed yerd,
Submit their heads to the young sun's safeguard.
Ivy-leaves rank o'erspread the barmkin wall;
The bloomed hawthorn clad his pikis all;
Forth of fresh bourgeons[20] the wine grapës ying[21]
Endlong the trellis did on twistis hing;
The loukit buttons on the gemmed trees
O'erspreading leaves of nature's tapestries;
Soft grassy verdure after balmy showers,
On curling stalkis smiling to their flowers. * *
The daisy did on-breid her crownal small,
And every flower unlapped in the dale. * *
Sere downis small on dentilion sprang.
The young green bloomed strawberry leaves amang;
Jimp jeryflowers thereon leaves unshet,
Fresh primrose and the purpour violet; * *
Heavenly lilies, with lockerand toppis white,
Open'd and shew their crestis redemite. * *
A paradise it seemed to draw near
These galyard gardens and each green herbere.
Most amiable wax the emerald meads;
Swarmis soughis throughout the respand reeds,
Over the lochis and the floodis gray,
Searching by kind a place where they should lay.
Phoebus' red fowl,[22] his cural crest can steer,
Oft stretching forth his heckle, crowing clear.
Amid the wortis and the rootis gent
Picking his meat in alleys where he went,
His wivës Toppa and Partolet him by--
A bird all-time that hauntis bigamy.
The painted powne[23] pacing with plumës gym,
Cast up his tail a proud pleasand wheel-rim,
Yshrouded in his feathering bright and sheen,
Shaping the print of Argus' hundred een.
Among the bowis of the olive twists,
Sere[24] small fowls, working crafty nests,
Endlong the hedges thick, and on rank aiks[25]
Ilk bird rejoicing with their mirthful makes.
In corners and clear fenestres[26] of glass,
Full busily Arachne weaving was,
To knit her nettis and her webbis sly,
Therewith to catch the little midge or fly.
So dusty powder upstours[27] in every street,
While corby gasped for the fervent heat.
Under the boughis bene[28] in lovely vales,
Within fermance and parkis close of pales,
The busteous buckis rakis forth on raw,
Herdis of hartis through the thick wood-shaw.
The young fawns following the dun does,
Kids, skipping through, runnis after roes.
In leisurs and on leais, little lambs
Full tait and trig sought bleating to their dams.
On salt streams wolk[29] Dorida and Thetis,
By running strandis, Nymphis and Naiadis,
Such as we clepe wenches and damasels,
In gersy[30] groves wandering by spring wells;
Of bloomed branches and flowers white and red,
Platting their lusty chaplets for their head.
Some sang ring-songës, dances, leids,[31] and rounds.
With voices shrill, while all thel dale resounds.
Whereso they walk into their carolling,
For amorous lays does all the rockis ring.
One sang, 'The ship sails over the salt faem,
Will bring the merchants and my leman hame.'
Some other sings, 'I will be blithe and light,
My heart is lent upon so goodly wight.'[32]
And thoughtful lovers rounis[33] to and fro,
To leis[34] their pain, and plain their jolly woe;
After their guise, now singing, now in sorrow,
With heartis pensive the long summer's morrow.
Some ballads list indite of his lady;
Some lives in hope; and some all utterly
Despaired is, and so quite out of grace,
His purgatory he finds in every place. * *
Dame Nature's minstrels, on that other part,
Their blissful lay intoning every art, * *
And all small fowlis singis on the spray,
Welcome the lord of light, and lamp of day,
Welcome fosterer of tender herbis green,
Welcome quickener of flourish'd flowers sheen,
Welcome support of every root and vein,
Welcome comfort of all kind fruit and grain,
Welcome the birdis' bield[35] upon the brier,
Welcome master and ruler of the year,
Welcome welfare of husbands at the ploughs,
Welcome repairer of woods, trees, and boughs,
Welcome depainter of the bloomed meads,
Welcome the life of every thing that spreads,
Welcome storer of all kind bestial,
Welcome be thy bright beamis, gladding all. * *

[1] 'Ished of:' issued from.
[2] 'Unshet:' opened.
[3] 'Spraings:' streaks.
[4] 'Ment:' mingled.
[5] 'Sore:' yellowish brown.
[6] 'Neisthirls:' nostrils.
[7] 'Abulyit:' attired.
[8] 'Lemand:' glittering.
[9] 'Loune:' calm.
[10] 'Sulyart:' sultry.
[11] 'Selcouth:' uncommon.
[12] 'Bews:' boughs.
[13] 'Kirnals:' battlements.
[14] 'Phiol:' cupola.
[15] 'Stage:' storey.
[16] 'Yerd:' earth.
[17] 'Prai:' meadow.
[18] 'Caller humours:' cool vapours.
[19] 'Gersë:' grass.
[20] 'Bourgeons:' sprouts.
[21] 'Ying:' young.
[22] 'Red fowl:' the cook.
[23] 'Powne:' the peacock.
[24] 'Sere:' many.
[25] 'Aiks:' oaks.
[26] 'Fenestres:' windows.
[27] 'Upstours:' rises in clouds.
[28] 'Bene:' snug.
[29] 'Wolk:' walked.
[30] 'Gersy:' grassy.
[31] 'Leids:' lays.
[32] Songs then popular.
[33] 'Rounis:' whisper.
[34] 'Leis:' relieve.
[35] 'Bield:' shelter.



HAWES, BARCLAY, &c.


Stephen Hawes, a native of Suffolk, wrote about the close of the
fifteenth century. He studied at Oxford, and travelled much in France,
where he became a master of French and Italian poetry. King Henry VII.,
struck with his conversation and the readiness with which he repeated
old English poets, especially Lydgate, created him groom of the privy
chamber. Hawes has written a number of poems, such as 'The Temple of
Glasse,' 'The Conversion of Swearers,' 'The Consolation of Lovers,' 'The
Pastime of Pleasure,' &c. Those who wish to see specimens of the strange
allegories and curious devices of thought in which it abounds, may find
them in Warton's 'History of English Poetry.'

In that same valuable work we find an account of Alexander Barclay, author
of 'The Ship of Fools.' He was educated at Oriel College in Oxford, and
after travelling abroad, was appointed one of the priests or prebendaries
of the College of St Mary Ottery, in Devonshire--a parish famous in later
days for the birth of Coleridge. Barclay became afterwards a Benedictine
monk of Ely monastery; and at length a brother of the Order of St Francis,
at Canterbury. He died, a very old man, at Croydon, in Surrey, in the year
1552. His principal work, 'The Ship of Fools,' is a satire upon the vices
and absurdities of his age, and shews considerable wit and power of
sarcasm.



SKELTON.


John Skelton is the name of the next poet. He flourished in the earlier
part of the reign of Henry VIII. Having studied both at Oxford and
Cambridge, and been laureated at the former university in 1489, he was
promoted to the rectory of Diss or Dysse, in Norfolk. Some say he had
acted previously as tutor to Henry VIII. At Dysse he attracted attention
by satirical ballads against the mendicants, as well as by licences of
buffoonery in the pulpit. For these he was censured, and even, it is
said, suspended, by Nykke, Bishop of Norwich. Undaunted by this, he flew
at higher game--ventured to ridicule Cardinal Wolsey, then in his power,
and had to take refuge from the myrmidons of the prelate in Westminster
Abbey. There Abbot Islip kindly entertained and protected him till his
dying day. He breathed his last in the year 1529, and was buried in the
adjacent church of St Margaret's.

Skelton as well as Barclay enjoyed considerable popularity in his own
age. Erasmus calls him 'Britannicarum literarum lumen et decus!' How
dark must have been the night in which such a Will-o'-wisp was mistaken
for a star! He has wit, indeed, and satirical observation; but his wit
is wilder than it is strong, and his satire is dashed with personality
and obscenity. His style, Campbell observes, is 'almost a texture of
slang phrases, patched with shreds of French and Latin.' His verses on
Margaret Hussey, which we have quoted, are in his happiest vein. The
following lines, too, on Cardinal Wolsey, are as true as they are
terse:--

 'Then in the Chamber of Stars
  All matter there he mars.
  Clapping his rod on the board,
  No man dare speak a word.
  For he hath all the saying,
  Without any renaying.
  He rolleth in his recòrds;
  He sayeth, How say ye, my Lords?
  Is not my reason good?
  Good even, good Robin Hood.
  Some say, Yes; and some
  Sit still, as they were dumb.'

It is curious that Wolsey's enemies, in one of their charges against him
in the Parliament of 1529, have repeated, almost in the words of Skelton,
the same accusation.


  TO MISTRESS MARGARET HUSSEY.

  Merry Margaret,
  As midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon,
  Or hawk of the tower;
  With solace and gladness,
  Much mirth and no madness,
  All good and no badness;
  So joyously,
  So maidenly,
  So womanly,
  Her demeaning,
  In everything,
  Far, far passing,
  That I can indite,
  Or suffice to write,
  Of merry Margaret,
  As midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon,
  Or hawk of the tower;
  As patient and as still,
  And as full of good-will,
  As fair Isiphil,
  Coliander,
  Sweet Pomander,
  Good Cassander;
  Steadfast of thought,
  Well made, well wrought.
  Far may be sought,
  Ere you can find
  So courteous, so kind,
  As merry Margaret,
  This midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon,
  Or hawk of the tower.



SIR DAVID LYNDSAY.


Returning to Scotland, we find a Skelton of a higher order and a
brawnier make in Sir David Lyndsay, or, as our forefathers were wont
familiarly to denominate him, 'Davie Lyndsay.' Lyndsay was descended
from a noble family, a younger branch of Lyndsay of the Byres, and born
in 1490, probably at the Mount, the family-seat, near Cupar-Fife. He
entered the University of St Andrews in the year 1505, and four years
later left it to travel in Italy. He must, however, have returned to
Scotland before the 12th of October 1511, since we learn from the
records of the Lord Treasurer that he was presented with a quantity of
'blue and yellow taffety to be a playcoat for the play performed in the
King and Queen's presence in the Abbey of Holyrood.' On the 12th of
April 1512, Lyndsay, then twenty-two years of age, was appointed
gentleman-usher to James V., who had been born that very day. In his
poem called 'The Dream,' he reminds the King of his having borne him
in his arms ere he could walk; of having wrapped him up warmly in his
little bed; of having sung to him with his lute, danced before him to
make him laugh, and having carried him on his shoulders like a 'pedlar
his pack.' He continued to be page and companion to the King till 1524,
when, in consequence of the unprincipled machinations of the Queen-
mother--who was acting as Regent--he, as well as Bellenden, the learned
translator of Livy and Boece, was ejected from his office. When, however,
in 1528, the young King, by a noble effort, emancipated himself from the
thraldom of his mother and the Douglasses, Lyndsay wrote his 'Dream,' in
which, amidst much poetic or fantastic matter, he congratulates James on
his deliverance; reminds him, as aforesaid, of his early services; and
takes occasion to paint the evils the country had endured during his
minority, and to give him some bold and salutary advice as to his future
conduct. The next year (1529) he produced 'The Complaint,' a poem in
which he recurs to former themes, and remonstrates with great freedom
and severity against the treatment he had undergone. Here, too, the
religious reformer peeps out. He exhorts the King to compel the clergy
to attend to the duties of their office; to preach more earnestly; to
administer the sacraments according to the institution of Christ; and not
to deceive their people with superstitious pilgrimages, vain traditions,
and prayers to graven images, contrary to the written command of God. He
with quaint iron says, that if his Grace will lend him

  'Of gold ane thousand pound or tway,'

he will give him a sealed bond, obliging himself to repay the loan when
the Bass and the Isle of May are set upon Mount Sinai; or the Lomond
hills, near Falkland, are removed to Northumberland; or

  'When kirkmen yairnis [desire] na dignity,
  Nor wives na soveranitie.'

Still finer the last lines of the poem. 'If not,' he says, 'my God

  'Shall cause me stand content
  With quiet life and sober rent,
  And take me, in my latter age,
  Unto my simple hermitage,
  To spend the gear my elders won,
  As did Diogenes in his tun.'

This 'Complaint' proved successful, and in the next year (1530) Lyndsay
was appointed Lion King-at-Arms--an office of great dignity in these
days. The Lion was the chief judge of all matters connected with
heraldry in the realm; was also the official ambassador from his
sovereign to foreign countries; and was inaugurated in his office with
a pomp and circumstance little inferior to those of a royal coronation,
the King crowning him with his own hands, anointing him with wine
instead of oil, and putting on his head the Royal Crown of Scotland,
which he continued to wear till the close of the feast. It is of Lyndsay
in the full accoutrements of this office that Sir Walter Scott speaks in
his 'Marmion,' although he antedates by sixteen years the time when he
assumed it:--

  'He was a man of middle age,
  In aspect manly, grave, and sage,
    As on king's errand come;
  But in the glances of his eye,
  A penetrating, keen, and sly
    Expression found its home--
  The flash of that satiric rage
  Which, bursting on the early stage,
  Branded the vices of the age,
    And broke the keys of Rome.
  On milk-white palfrey forth he paced;
  His cap of maintenance was graced
    With the proud heron-plume;
  From his steed's shoulder, loin, and breast
    Silk housings swept the ground,
  With Scotland's arms, device, and crest
    Embroider'd round and round.
  The double treasure might you see,
    First by Achaius borne,
  The thistle and the fleur-de-lis,
    And gallant unicorn.
  So bright the king's armorial coat,
  That scarce the dazzled eye could note;
  In living colours, blazon'd brave,
  The lion, which his title gave.
  A train which well beseem'd his state,
  But all unarm'd, around him wait;
  Still is thy name in high account,
    And still thy verse has charms,
  Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount,
    Lord Lion King-at-Arms.'

Soon after this appointment, Lyndsay wrote 'The Complaint of the King's
Papingo,' in which, through the mouth of a dying parrot, he gives some
sharp counsel to the king, his courtiers and nobles, and administers
severe satirical chastisement to the corruptions of the clergy. It is an
exceedingly clever production, and has some beautiful poetry as well as
stinging sarcasm. Take the following address to Edinburgh, Stirling,
Linlithgow, and Falkland:--

  Adieu, Edinburgh! thou high triumphant town,
  Within whose bounds right blitheful have I been;
  Of true merchandis, the rule of this region,
  Most ready to receive court, king, and queen;
  Thy policy and justice may be seen;
  Were devotion, wisdom, and honesty,
  And credence tint, they micht be found in thee.

  Adieu, fair Snawdoun! [Stirling] with thy towers hie,
  Thy chapel-royal, park, and table round;
  May, June, and July would I dwell in thee,
  Were I a man to hear the birdis sound,
  Which doth against the royal rock rebound.
  Adieu, Lithgow! whose palace of pleasance
  Meets not its peer in Portingale or France.

  Farewell, Falkland! the forteress of Fife,
  Thy velvet park under the Lomond Law;
  Sometime in thee I led a lusty life.
  The fallow deer to see them raik on raw [walk in a row],
  Caust men to come to thee, they have great awe, &c.

In the year 1535, Lyndsay wrote his remarkable drama, 'The Satire of the
Three Estates'--Monarch, namely, Barons, and Clergy. It is made up in
nearly three equal parts of ingenuity, wit, and grossness. It is a drama,
and was acted several times--first, in 1535, at Cupar-Fife, on a large
green mound called Moot-hill; then, in 1539, in an open park near
Linlithgow, by the express desire of the king, who with all the ladies
of the Court attended the representation; then in the amphitheatre of
St Johnston in Perth; and in 1554, at Edinburgh, in the village of
Greenside, which skirted the northern base of the Calton Hill, in the
presence of the Queen Regent and an enormous concourse of spectators.
Its exhibition appears to have occupied nearly the whole day. In the
'Pictorial History of Scotland,' chapter xxiv., our readers will find a
full and able analysis with extracts of this extraordinary performance.
It is said to have done much good in opening the eyes of the people to
the evils of the Papacy, and in paving the way for the Reformation.

In 1536 Sir David, in company with Sir John Campbell of Lundie, was sent
to the Court of France to demand in marriage for James V. a daughter of
the House of Vendome; but the King chose rather to take the matter in
his own hands, and, going over in person, wedded Magdalene, daughter of
Francis. She died two months after her arrival in Scotland, universally
regretted; and Lyndsay made the sad event the subject of a poem,
entitled 'Deploration of the Death of Queen Magdalene,' whom he
designates

  'The flower of France, and comfort of Scotland.'

When James subsequently married Mary of Guise, Sir David's ingenuity was
strained to the utmost in providing pageants, masques, and shows to
welcome her Majesty. For forty days in St Andrews, festivities continued;
and it was during this prolonged festival that the Lion King, as if sick
and satiated with vanities, wrote two poems, one entitled 'The Justing
between James Watson and John Barbour,' a dull satire on tournaments, &c.,
and the other a somewhat cleverer piece, entitled 'Supplication directed
to the King's Grace in Contemptioun of Side Tails,' the long trains then
worn by the ladies. It met, we presume,with the fate of _Punch's_ sarcasms
against crinoline,--the 'phylacteries' would for a season, instead of
being lessened, be enlarged, till Fashion lifted up her omnipotent rod,
and told it to be otherwise.

King James died prematurely on the 14th of December 1542, and Lyndsay
closed his eyes at Falkland, and mourned for him as a brother. From that
day forth he probably felt that there was 'less sunshine in the sky for
him.' In the troublous times which succeeded this, he had to retire for
a season from the Court, having become obnoxious to the rigid Papists on
account of his writings. After the death of Cardinal Beatoun he wrote
the tragedy of 'The Cardinal,' a poem in which the spectre of the
Cardinal is the spokesman, and which teems with good advice to all and
sundry. The execution, however, is not so felicitous as the plan. In
1548 Lyndsay went to Denmark to negotiate a free trade with Scotland. On
his return in 1550 he wrote his very pleasing and chivalric 'History of
Squire Meldrum,' founded on the actual adventures of William Meldrum,
the Laird of Cleish and Binns, a distinguished friend of the poet, who
had gained laurels as a warrior both in Scotland and in France. This
poem is, in a measure, an anticipation of the rhymed romances of Scott,
and is full of picturesque description and spirit-stirring adventure. In
1553 he completed his last and most elaborate work, which had occupied
him for years, entitled 'The Monarchic,' containing an account of the
most famous monarchies which have existed on earth, and carrying on the
history to the general judgment. From this date we almost entirely lose
sight of our poet. He seems to have retired into private life, and is
supposed to have died about the close of 1557. He was probably buried in
the family vault at Ceres, but no stone marks the spot. Dying without
issue, his estates passed to his brother Alexander, and were continued
in the possession of his descendants till the middle of last century.
They now belong to the Hopes of Rankeillour. The office of Lord Lion was
held by two of the poet's relatives successively--Sir David, his
nephew, who became Lion King in 1591, and his son-in-law, Sir Jerome
Lyndsay, who succeeded to it in 1621.

Sir David Lyndsay, unlike most satirists, was a good, a blameless, and a
religious man. The occasional loftiness of his poetic vein, the breadth
of his humour, the purity of his purpose, and his strong reforming zeal
combined to make his poetry exceedingly popular in Scotland for a number
of ages, particularly among the lower orders. Scott introduces Andrew
Fairservice, in 'Rob Roy,' saying, in reference to Francis Osbaldistone's
poetical efforts, 'Gude help him! twa lines o' Davie Lyndsay wad ding a'
he ever clerkit,' and even still there are districts of the country where
his name is a household word.


MELDRUM'S DUEL WITH THE ENGLISH CHAMPION TALBART.

Then clarions and trumpets blew,
And warriors many hither drew;
On every side came many man
To behold who the battle wan.
The field was in the meadow green,
Where every man might well be seen:
The heralds put them so in order,
That no man pass'd within the border,
Nor press'd to come within the green,
But heralds and the champions keen;
The order and the circumstance
Were long to put in remembrance.
When these two noble men of weir
Were well accoutred in their geir,
And in their handis strong burdouns,[1]
Then trumpets blew and clariouns,
And heralds cried high on height,
'Now let them go--God show the right.'

       *       *       *       *       *

Then trumpets blew triumphantly,
And these two champions eagerly,
They spurr'd their horse with spear on breast,
Pertly[2] to prove their pith they press'd.
That round rink-room[3] was at utterance,
But Talbart's horse with a mischance
He outterit,[4] and to run was loth;
Whereof Talbart was wonder wroth.
The Squier forth his rink[5] he ran,
Commended well with every man,
And him discharged of his spear
Honestly, like a man of weir.

       *       *       *       *       *

The trenchour[6] of the Squier's spear
Stuck still into Sir Talbart's geir;
Then every man into that stead[7]
Did all believe that he was dead.
The Squier leap'd right hastily
From his courser deliverly,[8]
And to Sir Talbart made support,
And humillie[9] did him comfort.
When Talbart saw into his shield
An otter in a silver field,
'This race,' said he, 'I sore may rue,
For I see well my dream was true;
Methought yon otter gart[10] me bleed,
And bore me backward from my steed;
But here I vow to God soverain,
That I shall never joust again.'
And sweetly to the Squier said,
'Thou know'st the cunning[11] that we made,
Which of us two should tyne[12] the field,
He should both horse and armour yield
To him that won, wherefore I will
My horse and harness give thee till.'
Then said the Squier, courteously,
'Brother, I thank you heartfully;
Of you, forsooth, nothing I crave,
For I have gotten that I would have.'

[1] 'Burdouns:' spears.
[2] 'Pertly:' boldly.
[3] 'Rink-room:' course-room.
[4] 'Outterit:' swerved.
[5] 'Kink:' course.
[6] 'Trencliour:' head.
[7] 'Stead:' place.
[8] 'Deliverly:' actively.
[9] 'Humillie:' humbly.
[10] 'Gart:' made.
[11] 'Cunning:' agreement.
[12] 'Tyne:' lose.


SUPPLICATION IN CONTEMPTION OF SIDE TAILS,[1] (1538.)

Sovereign, I mene[2] of these side tails,
Whilk through the dust and dubbës trails,
Three quarters lang behind their heels,
Express against all commonweals.
Though bishops, in their pontificals,
Have men for to bear up their tails,
For dignity of their office;
Right so a queen or an emprice;
Howbeit they use such gravity,
Conforming to their majesty,
Though their robe-royals be upborne,
I think it is a very scorn,
That every lady of the land
Should have her tail so side trailand;
Howbeit they be of high estate,
The queen they should not counterfeit.

Wherever they go it may be seen
How kirk and causey they sweep clean.
The images into the kirk
May think of their side tailës irk;[3]
For when the weather be most fair,
The dust flies highest into the air,
And all their faces does begary,
If they could speak, they would them wary. * *
But I have most into despite
Poor claggocks[4] clad in raploch[5] white,
Whilk has scant two merks for their fees,
Will have two ells beneath their knees.
Kittock that cleckit[6] was yestreen,
The morn will counterfeit the queen. * *
In barn nor byre she will not bide,
Without her kirtle tail be side.
In burghs, wanton burgess wives
Who may have sidest tailës strives,
Well bordered with velvet fine,
But following them it is a pine:
In summer, when the streetës dries,
They raise the dust above the skies;
None may go near them at their ease,
Without they cover mouth and neese. * *
I think most pain after a rain,
To see them tucked up again;
Then when they step forth through the street,
Their faldings flaps about their feet;
They waste more cloth, within few years,
Nor would cleid[7] fifty score of freirs. * *
Of tails I will no more indite,
For dread some duddron[8] me despite:
Notwithstanding, I will conclude,
That of side tails can come no good,
Sider nor[9] may their ankles hide,
The remanent proceeds of pride,
And pride proceedis of the devil;
Thus alway they proceed of evil.

Another fault, Sir, may be seen,
They hide their face all but the een;
When gentlemen bid them good-day,
Without reverence they slide away. * *
Without their faults be soon amended,
My flyting,[10] Sir, shall never be ended;
But would your grace my counsel take,
A proclamation ye should make,
Both through the land and burrowstowns,
To show their face and cut their gowns.
Women will say, This is no bourds,[11]
To write such vile and filthy words;
But would they cleanse their filthy tails,
Whilk over the mires and middings[12] trails,
Then should my writing cleansed be,
None other' mends they get of me.

Quoth Lyndsay, in contempt of the side tails,
That duddrons[13] and duntibours[14] through the dubbës trails.

[1] 'Side tails:' long skirts.
[2] 'Mene:' complain.
[3] 'Irk:' May feel annoyed.
[4] 'Claggocks:' draggle-tails.
[5] 'Raploch:' homespun.
[6] 'Cleckit:' born.
[7] 'Cleid:' clothe.
[8] 'Duddron:' slut.
[9] 'Nor:' than.
[10] 'Flyting:' scolding.
[11] 'Bourds:' jest.
[12] 'Middings:' dunghills.
[13] 'Duddrons:' sluts.
[14] 'Duntibours:' harlots.



THOMAS TUSSER.


Of Tusser we know only that he was horn in the year 1523, was well
educated, commenced life as a courtier under the patronage of Lord
Paget, but became a farmer, pursuing agriculture at Ratwood in Sussex,
Ipswich, Fairsted in Essex, Norwich, and other places; that he was not
successful, and had to betake himself to other occupations, such as
those of a chorister, fiddler, &c.; and that, finally, he died a poor
man in London in the year 1580. Tusser has left only one work, published
in 1557, entitled 'A Hundred Good Points of Husbandrie,' written in
simple but sometimes strong verse. It is our first, and not our worst
didactic poem.


DIRECTIONS FOR CULTIVATING A HOP-GARDEN.

Whom fancy persuadeth, among other crops,
To have for his spending sufficient of hops,
Must willingly follow, of choices to choose,
Such lessons approved as skilful do use.

Ground gravelly, sandy, and mixed with clay,
Is naughty for hops, any manner of way.
Or if it be mingled with rubbish and stone,
For dryness and barrenness let it alone.

Choose soil for the hop of the rottenest mould,
Well dunged and wrought, as a garden-plot should;
Not far from the water, but not overflown,
This lesson, well noted, is meet to be known.

The sun in the south, or else southly and west,
Is joy to the hop, as a welcomed guest;
But wind in the north, or else northerly east,
To the hop is as ill as a fray in a feast.

Meet plot for a hop-yard once found as is told,
Make thereof account, as of jewel of gold;
Now dig it, and leave it, the sun for to burn,
And afterwards fence it, to serve for that turn.

The hop for his profit I thus do exalt,
It strengtheneth drink, and it favoureth malt;
And being well brew'd, long kept it will last,
And drawing abide--if ye draw not too fast.


HOUSEWIFELY PHYSIC.

Good housewife provides, ere a sickness do come,
Of sundry good things in her house to have some.
Good _aqua composita_, and vinegar tart,
Rose-water, and treacle, to comfort thine heart.
Cold herbs in her garden, for agues that burn,
That over-strong heat to good temper may turn.
White endive, and succory, with spinach enow;
All such with good pot-herbs, should follow the plough.
Get water of fumitory, liver to cool,
And others the like, or else lie like a fool.
Conserves of barbary, quinces, and such,
With sirops, that easeth the sickly so much.
Ask _Medicus'_ counsel, ere medicine ye take,
And honour that man for necessity's sake.
Though thousands hate physic, because of the cost,
Yet thousands it helpeth, that else should be lost.
Good broth, and good keeping, do much now and than:
Good diet, with wisdom, best comforteth man.
In health, to be stirring shall profit thee best;
In sickness, hate trouble; seek quiet and rest.
Remember thy soul; let no fancy prevail;
Make ready to God-ward; let faith never quail:
The sooner thyself thou submittest to God,
The sooner he ceaseth to scourge with his rod.


MORAL REFLECTIONS ON THE WIND.

Though winds do rage, as winds were wood,[1]
And cause spring-tides to raise great flood;
And lofty ships leave anchor in mud,
Bereaving many of life and of blood:
Yet, true it is, as cow chews cud,
And trees, at spring, doth yield forth bud,
Except wind stands as never it stood,
It is an ill wind turns none to good.

[1] 'Wood:' mad.



VAUX, EDWARDS, &c.


In Tottell's 'Miscellany,' the first of the sort in the English language,
published in 1557, although the names of many of the authors are not
given, the following writers are understood to have contributed:--Sir
Francis Bryan, a friend of Wyatt's, one of the principal ornaments of the
Court of Henry VIII., and who died, in 1548, Chief Justiciary of Ireland;
George Boleyn, Earl of Rochford, the amiable brother of the famous Anne
Boleyn, and who fell a victim to the insane jealousy of Henry, being
beheaded in 1536; and Lord Thomas Vaux, son of Nicholas Vaux, who died
in the latter end of Queen Mary's reign. In the same Miscellany is found
'Phillide and Harpalus,' the 'first true pastoral,' says Warton, 'in the
English language,' (see 'Specimens.') To it are annexed, too, a
collection of 'Songes, written by N. G.,' which means Nicholas Grimoald,
an Oxford man, renowned for his rhetorical lectures in Christ Church,
and for being, after Surrey, our first writer of blank verse, in the
modulation of which he excelled even Surrey. Henry himself, who was an
expert musician, is said also to have composed a book of sonnets and one
madrigal in praise of Anne Boleyn. In the same reign occur the names of
Borde, Bale, Bryan, Annesley, John Rastell, Wilfred Holme, and Charles
Bansley, all writers of minor and forgotten poems. John Heywood, called
the Epigrammatist, was of a somewhat higher order. He was the favourite
of Sir Thomas More and the pensioner of Henry VIII. He gained favour
partly through his conversational humour, and partly through his writings.
He is the author of various comedies; of six hundred epigrams, most of
them very poor; of a dialogue, in verse, containing all the proverbs then
afloat in the language; of an apologue, entitled 'The Spider and the Fly,'
&c. Heywood, who was a rigid Papist, left the kingdom after the decease
of Queen Mary, and died at Mechlin, in Brabant, in 1565. Warton has
preserved some specimens of Sir Thomas More's poetry, which do not add
much to our conception of his genius. In 1542, one Robert Vaughan wrote
an alliterative poem, entitled 'The Falcon and the Pie.' In 1521, 'The
Not-browne Maid,' (given by us in 'Percy's Reliques,') appeared in a
curious collection, called 'Arnolde's Chronicle, or Customs of London.'
In the same year Wynkyn de Worde printed a set of 'Christmas Carols,' and
in 1529 'A Treatise of Merlin, or his Prophecies in Verse.' In Henry's
days, too, there commences the long line of translators of the Psalms
into English metre, commencing with Thomas Sternhold, groom of the robes
to the King, who versified fifty-one psalms, which were published in 1549,
and with John Hopkins, a clergyman and schoolmaster in Suffolk, who added
fifty-eight more, and progressing with Whyttingham, Thomas Norton, (the
joint author, along with Lord Buckhurst, of the curious old tragedy of
'Gorboduc,') Robert Wisdome, William Hunnis, William Baldwyn, Parker, the
scholarly and celebrated Archbishop of Canterbury, &c. &c. Parker trans-
lated all the Psalms himself; and John Day published in 1562, and attached
to the Book of Common Prayer, the whole of Sternhold and Hopkins' 'Psalms,
with apt notes to sing them withall.' In Edward's reign appeared a very
different strain--the first drinking-song of merit in the language, 'Back
and sides go bare'--(see 'Specimens,' vol. 2.) This song occurs at the
opening of the second act of 'Gammer Gurton's Needle,' a comedy written
(by a 'Mr S.') and printed in 1551, and afterwards acted at Christ's
College in Cambridge.

In the reign of Mary, flourished Richard Edwards, a man of no small
versatility of genius. He was a native of Somersetshire, was born about
1523, and died in 1566. He wrote two comedies, one entitled 'Damon and
Pythias,' and the other 'Palamon and Arcité,' both of which were acted
before Queen Elizabeth. He also contrived masques and wrote verses for
pageants, and is said to have been the first fiddler, the most elegant
sonnetteer, and the most amusing mimic of the Court. He is the author of
a pleasing poem, entitled 'Amantium irae,' and of some lines under the
title, 'He requesteth some friendly comfort, affirming his constancy.'
We quote a few of them:--

  'The mountains nigh, whose lofty tops do meet the haughty sky,
   The craggy rock, that to the sea free passage doth deny,
   The aged oak, that doth resist the force of blust'ring blast,
   The pleasant herb, that everywhere a pleasant smell doth cast,
   The lion's force, whose courage stout declares a prince-like might,
   The eagle, that for worthiness is borne of kings in fight--
   Then these, I say, and thousands more, by tract of time decay,
   And, like to time, do quite consume and fade from form to clay;
   But my true heart and service vow'd shall last time out of mind,
   And still remain, as thine by doom, as Cupid hath assign'd.'

Edwards also contributed some beautiful things to the well-known old
collection, 'The Paradise of Dainty Devices.'



GEORGE GASCOIGNE.


Gascoigne was born in 1540, in Essex, of an ancient family. He was
educated at Cambridge, and entered at Gray's Inn, but was disinherited
by his father for extravagance, and betook himself to Holland, where
he obtained a commission from the Prince of Orange. After various
vicissitudes of fortune, being at one time taken prisoner by the
Spaniards, and at another receiving a reward from the Prince of three
hundred guilders above his pay for his brave conduct at the siege of
Middleburg, he returned to England. In 1575, he accompanied Queen
Elizabeth in one of her progresses, and wrote for her a mask, entitled
'The Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth.' He is said to have died at
Stamford in 1578. He is the author of two or three translated dramas,
such as 'The Supposes,' a comedy from Ariosto, and 'Jocasta,' a tragedy
from Euripides, besides some graceful and lively minor pieces, one or
two of which we append.


GOOD-MORROW.

You that have spent the silent night
  In sleep and quiet rest,
And joy to see the cheerful light
  That riseth in the east;
Now clear your voice, now cheer your heart,
  Come help me now to sing:
Each willing wight come, bear a part,
  To praise the heavenly King.

And you whom care in prison keeps,
  Or sickness doth suppress,
Or secret sorrow breaks your sleeps,
  Or dolours do distress;
Yet bear a part in doleful wise,
  Yea, think it good accord,
And acceptable sacrifice,
  Each sprite to praise the Lord.

The dreadful night with darksomeness
  Had overspread the light;
And sluggish sleep with drowsiness
  Had overpress'd our might:
A glass wherein you may behold
  Each storm that stops our breath,
Our bed the grave, our clothes like mould,
  And sleep like dreadful death.

Yet as this deadly night did last
  But for a little space,
And heavenly day, now night is past,
  Doth show his pleasant face:
So must we hope to see God's face,
  At last in heaven on high,
When we have changed this mortal place
  For immortality.

And of such haps and heavenly joys
  As then we hope to hold,
All earthly sights, and worldly toys,
  Are tokens to behold.
The day is like the day of doom,
  The sun, the Son of man;
The skies, the heavens; the earth, the tomb,
  Wherein we rest till than.

The rainbow bending in the sky,
  Bedcck'd with sundry hues,
Is like the seat of God on high,
  And seems to tell these news:
That as thereby He promised
  To drown the world no more,
So by the blood which Christ hath shed,
  He will our health restore.

The misty clouds that fall sometime,
  And overcast the skies,
Are like to troubles of our time,
  Which do but dim our eyes.
But as such dews are dried up quite,
  When Phoebus shows his face,
So are such fancies put to flight,
  Where God doth guide by grace.

The carrion crow, that loathsome beast,
  Which cries against the rain,
Both for her hue, and for the rest,
  The devil resembleth plain:
And as with guns we kill the crow,
  For spoiling our relief,
The devil so must we o'erthrow,
  With gunshot of belief.

The little birds which sing so sweet,
  Are like the angels' voice,
Which renders God His praises meet,
  And teach[1] us to rejoice:
And as they more esteem that mirth,
  Than dread the night's annoy,
So much we deem our days on earth
  But hell to heavenly joy.

Unto which joys for to attain,
  God grant us all His grace,
And send us, after worldly pain,
  In heaven to have a place,
When we may still enjoy that light,
  Which never shall decay:
Lord, for thy mercy lend us might,
  To see that joyful day.

[1] 'Teach:' _for_ teacheth.


GOOD-NIGHT.

When thou hast spent the ling'ring day
  In pleasure and delight,
Or after toil and weary way,
  Dost seek to rest at night;
Unto thy pains or pleasures past,
  Add this one labour yet,
Ere sleep close up thine eyes too fast,
  Do not thy God forget,

But search within thy secret thoughts,
  What deeds did thee befall,
And if thou find amiss in aught,
  To God for mercy call.
Yea, though thou findest nought amiss
  Which thou canst call to mind,
Yet evermore remember this,
  There is the more behind:

And think how well soe'er it be
  That thou hast spent the day,
It came of God, and not of thee,
  So to direct thy way.
Thus if thou try thy daily deeds,
  And pleasure in this pain,
Thy life shall cleanse thy corn from weeds,
  And thine shall be the gain:

But if thy sinful, sluggish eye,
  Will venture for to wink,
Before thy wading will may try
  How far thy soul may sink,
Beware and wake,[1] for else thy bed,
  Which soft and smooth is made,
May heap more harm upon thy head
  Than blows of en'my's blade.

Thus if this pain procure thine ease,
  In bed as thou dost lie,
Perhaps it shall not God displease,
  To sing thus soberly:
'I see that sleep is lent me here,
  To ease my weary bones,
As death at last shall eke appear,
  To ease my grievous groans.

'My daily sports, my paunch full fed,
  Have caused my drowsy eye,
As careless life, in quiet led,
  Might cause my soul to die:
The stretching arms, the yawning breath,
  Which I to bedward use,
Are patterns of the pangs of death,
  When life will me refuse;

'And of my bed each sundry part,
  In shadows, doth resemble
The sundry shapes of death, whose dart
  Shall make my flesh to tremble.
My bed it safe is, like the grave,
  My sheets the winding-sheet,
My clothes the mould which I must have,
  To cover me most meet.

'The hungry fleas, which frisk so fresh,
  To worms I can compare,
Which greedily shall gnaw my flesh,
  And leave the bones full bare:
The waking cock that early crows,
  To wear the night away,
Puts in my mind the trump that blows
  Before the latter day.

'And as I rise up lustily,
  When sluggish sleep is past,
So hope I to rise joyfully,
  To judgment at the last.
Thus will I wake, thus will I sleep,
  Thus will I hope to rise,
Thus will I neither wail nor weep,
  But sing in godly wise.

'My bones shall in this bed remain
  My soul in God shall trust,
By whom I hope to rise again
  From, death and earthly dust.'

[1] 'Wake:' watch.



THOMAS SACKVILLE, LORD BUCKHURST AND EARL OF DORSET.


This was a man of remarkable powers. He was the son of Sir Richard
Sackville, and born at Withyam, in Sussex, in 1527. He was educated and
became distinguished at both the universities. While a student of the
Inner Temple, he wrote, some say in conjunction with Thomas Norton, the
tragedy of 'Gorboduc,' which is probably the earliest original tragedy
in the English language. It was first played as part of a Christmas
entertainment by the young students, and subsequently before Queen
Elizabeth at Whitehall in 1561. Sackville was elected to Parliament when
thirty years of age. In the same year (1557) he formed the plan of a
magnificent poem, which, had he fully accomplished it, would have ranked
his name with Dante, Spenser, and Bunyan. This was his 'Mirrour for
Magistrates,' a poem intended to celebrate the chief of the illustrious
unfortunates in British history, such as King Richard II., Owen Glendower,
James I. of Scotland, Henry VI., Jack Cade, the Duke of Buckingham, &c.,
in a series of legends, supposed to be spoken by the characters them-
selves, and with epilogues interspersed to connect the stories. The work
aspired to be the English 'Decameron' of doom, and the part of it extant
is truly called by Campbell 'a bold and gloomy landscape, on which the
sun never shines.' Sackville had coadjutors in the work, all men of
considerable mark, such as Skelton, Baldwyn, a learned ecclesiastic, and
Ferrers, a man of rank. The first edition of the 'Mirrour for Magistrates'
appeared in 1559, and was wholly composed by Baldwyn and Ferrers. In the
second, which was issued in 1563, appeared the 'Induction and Legend of
Henry Duke of Buckingham' from Sackville's own pen. He lays the scene in
hell, and descends there under the guidance of Sorrow. His pictures are
more condensed than those of Spenser, although less so than those of Dante,
and are often startling in their power, and deep, desolate grandeur. Take
this, for instance, of 'Old Age:'--

  'Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed,
  Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four,
  With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
  His scalp all piled, and he with eld forelore,
  _His wither'd fist still knocking at Deaths door;_
  Fumbling and drivelling, as he draws his breath;
  For brief--the shape and messenger of Death.'

Politics diverted Sackville from poetry. This is deeply to be regretted,
as his poetic gift was of a very rare order. In 1566, on the death of his
father, he was promoted to the title of Lord Buckhurst. In the fourteenth
year of Elizabeth's reign he was employed by her in an embassy to Charles
IX. of France. In 1587 he went as an ambassador to the United Provinces.
He was subsequently made Knight of the Garter and Chancellor of Oxford. On
the death of Lord Burleigh he became Lord High Treasurer of England. In
March 1604 he was created Earl of Dorset by James I., but died suddenly
soon after, at the council table, of a disease of the brain. He was, as a
statesman, almost immaculate in reputation. Like Burke and Canning, in
later days, he carried taste and literary exactitude into his political
functions, and, on account of his eloquence, was called 'the Bell of the
Star-Chamber.' Even in that Augustan age of our history, and in that most
brilliantly intellectual Court, it may be doubted if, with the sole
exception of Lord Bacon, there was a man to be compared to Thomas
Sackville for genius.


ALLEGORICAL CHARACTERS FROM THE MIRROR FOR MAGISTRATES.

And first, within the porch and jaws of hell,
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent
To sob and sigh, but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care; as she that, all in vain,
Would wear and waste continually in pain:

Her eyes unsteadfast, rolling here and there,
Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Toss'd and tormented with the tedious thought
Of those detested crimes which she had wrought;
With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky,
Wishing for death, and yet she could not die.

Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook,
With foot uncertain, proffer'd here and there;
Benumb'd with speech; and, with a ghastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear,
His cap borne up with staring of his hair;
'Stoin'd and amaz'd at his own shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.

And next, within the entry of this lake,
Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire;
Devising means how she may vengeance take;
Never in rest, till she have her desire;
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or Veng'd by death to be.

When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,
Had show'd herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Till in our eyes another set we met;
When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet,
Ruing, alas! upon the woeful plight
Of Misery, that next appear'd in sight:

His face was lean, and some deal pined away
And eke his hands consumed to the bone;
But what his body was I cannot say,
For on his carcase raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches pieced one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast:

His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree,
Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
As on the which full daint'ly would he fare;
His drink, the running stream, his cup, the bare
Of his palm closed; his bed, the hard cold ground:
To this poor life was Misery ybound.

Whose wretched state when we had well beheld,
With tender ruth on him, and on his feres,
In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held;
And, by and by, another shape appears
Of greedy Care, still brushing up the briers;
His knuckles knob'd, his flesh deep dinted in
With tawed hands, and hard ytanned skin:

The morrow gray no sooner hath begun
To spread his light e'en peeping in our eyes,
But he is up, and to his work yrun;
But let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And with foul dark never so much disguise
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
But hath his candles to prolong his toil.

By him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath;
Small keep took he, whom Fortune frowned on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown, but, as a living death,
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath:

The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,
The travel's ease, the still night's fere was he,
And of our life in earth the better part;
Riever of sight, and yet in whom we see
Things oft that [tyde] and oft that never be;
Without respect, esteeming equally
King Croesus' pomp and Irus' poverty.

And next in order sad, Old Age we found:
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind;
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where nature him assign'd
To rest, when that the sisters had untwined
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast declining life:

There heard we him with broke and hollow plaint.
Rue with himself his end approaching fast,
And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past.
And fresh delights of lusty youth forewaste;
Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek,
And to be young again of Jove beseek!

But, an the cruel fates so fixed be
That time forepast cannot return again,
This one request of Jove yet prayed he
That in such wither'd plight, and wretched pain,
As eld, accompanied with her loathsome train,
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief,
He might a while yet linger forth his life,

And not so soon descend into the pit;
Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain,
With reckless hand in grave doth cover it:
Thereafter never to enjoy again
The gladsome light, but, in the ground ylain,
In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought,
As he had ne'er into the world been brought:

But who had seen him sobbing how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan
His youth forepast--as though it wrought him good
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone--
He would have mused, and marvell'd much whereon
This wretched Age should life desire so fain,
And knows full well life doth but length his pain:

Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed;
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four;
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
His scalp all piled,[1] and he with eld forelore,
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door;
Fumbling, and drivelling, as he draws his breath;
For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.

And fast by him pale Malady was placed:
Sore sick in bed, her colour all foregone;
Bereft of stomach, savour, and of taste,
Ne could she brook no meat but broths alone;
Her breath corrupt; her keepers every one
Abhorring her; her sickness past recure,
Detesting physic, and all physic's cure.

But, oh, the doleful sight that then we see!
We turn'd our look, and on the other side
A grisly shape of Famine might we see:
With greedy looks, and gaping mouth, that cried
And roar'd for meat, as she should there have died;
Her body thin and bare as any bone,
Whereto was left nought but the case alone.

And that, alas! was gnawen everywhere,
All full of holes; that I ne might refrain
From tears, to see how she her arms could tear,
And with her teeth gnash on the bones in vain,
When, all for nought, she fain would so sustain
Her starven corpse, that rather seem'd a shade
Than any substance of a creature made:

Great was her force, whom stone-wall could not stay:
Her tearing nails snatching at all she saw;
With gaping jaws, that by no means ymay
Be satisfied from hunger of her maw,
But eats herself as she that hath no law;
Gnawing, alas! her carcase all in vain,
Where you may count each sinew, bone, and vein.

On her while we thus firmly fix'd our eyes,
That bled for ruth of such a dreary sight,
Lo, suddenly she shriek'd in so huge wise
As made hell-gates to shiver with the might;
Wherewith, a dart we saw, how it did light
Right on her breast, and, therewithal, pale Death
Enthirling[2] it, to rieve her of her breath:

And, by and by, a dumb dead corpse we saw,
Heavy and cold, the shape of Death aright,
That daunts all earthly creatures to his law,
Against whose force in vain it is to fight;
No peers, nor princes, nor no mortal wight,
No towns, nor realms, cities, nor strongest tower,
But all, perforce, must yield unto his power:

His dart, anon, out of the corpse he took,
And in his hand (a dreadful sight to see)
With great triumph eftsoons the same he shook,
That most of all my fears affrayed me;
His body dight with nought but bones, pardy;
The naked shape of man there saw I plain,
All save the flesh, the sinew, and the vein.

Lastly, stood War, in glittering arms yclad,
With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued:
In his right hand a naked sword he had,
That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued;
And in his left (that kings and kingdoms rued)
Famine and fire he held, and therewithal
He razed towns, and threw down towers and all:

Cities he sack'd, and realms (that whilom flower'd
In honour, glory, and rule, above the rest)
He overwhelm'd, and all their fame devour'd,
Consumed, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceased,
Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd:
His face forhew'd with wounds; and by his side
There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide.

[1] 'Piled:' bare.
[2] 'Enthirling:' piercing.


HENRY DUKE OP BUCKINGHAM IN THE INFERNAL REGIONS.

Then first came Henry Duke of Buckingham,
His cloak of black all piled,[1] and quite forlorn,
Wringing his hands, and Fortune oft doth blame,
Which of a duke had made him now her scorn;
With ghastly looks, as one in manner lorn,
Oft spread his arms, stretch'd hands he joins as fast
With rueful cheer, and vapour'd eyes upcast.

His cloak he rent, his manly breast he beat;
His hair all torn, about the place it lain:
My heart so molt to see his grief so great,
As feelingly, methought, it dropp'd away:
His eyes they whirl'd about withouten stay:
With stormy sighs the place did so complain,
As if his heart at each had burst in twain.

Thrice he began to tell his doleful tale,
And thrice the sighs did swallow up his voice;
At each of which he shrieked so withal,
As though the heavens rived with the noise;
Till at the last, recovering of his voice,
Supping the tears that all his breast berain'd,
On cruel Fortune weeping thus he plain'd.

[1] 'Piled:' bare.



JOHN HARRINGTON.


Of Harrington we know only that he was born in 1534 and died in 1582; that
he was imprisoned in the Tower by Queen Mary for holding correspondence
with Elizabeth; and after the accession of the latter to the throne, was
favoured and promoted by her; and that he has written some pretty verses
of an amatory kind.


SONNET ON ISABELLA MARKHAM,

WHEN I FIRST THOUGHT HER FAIR, AS SHE STOOD AT THE PRINCESS'S WINDOW,
IN GOODLY ATTIRE, AND TALKED TO DIVERS IN THE COURT-YARD.

Whence comes my love? O heart, disclose;
It was from cheeks that shamed the rose,
From lips that spoil the ruby's praise,
From eyes that mock the diamond's blaze:
Whence comes my woe? as freely own;
Ah me! 'twas from a heart like stone.

The blushing cheek speaks modest mind,
The lips befitting words most kind,
The eye does tempt to love's desire,
And seems to say, ''Tis Cupid's fire;'
Yet all so fair but speak my moan,
Since nought doth say the heart of stone.

Why thus, my love, so kind bespeak
Sweet eye, sweet lip, sweet blushing cheek
Yet not a heart to save my pain;
O Venus, take thy gifts again;
Make not so fair to cause our moan,
Or make a heart that's like our own.


VERSES ON A MOST STONY-HEARTED MAIDEN WHO DID SORELY
BEGUILE THE NOBLE KNIGHT, MY TRUE FRIEND.

I.

Why didst thou raise such woeful wail,
And waste in briny tears thy days?
'Cause she that wont to flout and rail,
At last gave proof of woman's ways;
She did, in sooth, display the heart
That might have wrought thee greater smart.

II.

Why, thank her then, not weep or moan;
Let others guard their careless heart,
And praise the day that thus made known
The faithless hold on woman's art;
Their lips can gloze and gain such root,
That gentle youth hath hope of fruit.

III.

But, ere the blossom fair doth rise,
To shoot its sweetness o'er the taste,
Creepeth disdain in canker-wise,
And chilling scorn the fruit doth blast:
There is no hope of all our toil;
There is no fruit from such a soil.

IV.

Give o'er thy plaint, the danger's o'er;
She might have poison'd all thy life;
Such wayward mind had bred thee more
Of sorrow, had she proved thy wife:
Leave her to meet all hopeless meed,
And bless thyself that so art freed.

V.

No youth shall sue such one to win.
Unmark'd by all the shining fair,
Save for her pride and scorn, such sin
As heart of love can never bear;
Like leafless plant in blasted shade,
So liveth she--a barren maid.



SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.


All hail to Sidney!--the pink of chivalry--the hero of Zutphen--the author
of the 'Arcadia,'--the gifted, courteous, genial and noble-minded man! He
was born November 29, 1554, at Penshurst, Kent. His father's name was
Henry. He studied at Shrewsbury, at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at
Christ Church, Oxford. At the age of eighteen he set out on his travels,
and, in the course of three years, visited France, Flanders, Germany,
Hungary, and Italy. On his return he was introduced at Court, and became a
favourite with Queen Elizabeth, who sent him on an embassy to Germany. He
returned home, and shortly after had a quarrel at a tournament with Lord
Oxford. But for the interference of the Queen, a duel would have taken
place. Sidney was displeased at the issue of the affair, and retired, in
1580, to Wilton, in Wiltshire, where he wrote his famous 'Arcadia,'--that
true prose-poem, and a work which, with all its faults, no mere sulky and
spoiled child (as some have called him in the matter of this retreat)
could ever have produced. This production, written as an outflow of his
mind in its self-sought solitude, was never meant for publication, and did
not appear till after its author's death. As it was written partly for his
sister's amusement, he entitled it 'The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.'
In 1581, Sidney reappeared in Court, and distinguished himself in the
jousts and tournaments celebrated in honour of the Duke of Anjou; and on
the return of that prince to the Continent, he accompanied him to Antwerp.
In 1583 he received the honour of knighthood. He published about this time
a tract entitled 'The Defence of Poesy,' which abounds in the element the
praise of which it celebrates, and which is, besides, distinguished by
acuteness of argument and felicity of expression. In 1585 he was named one
of the candidates for the crown of Poland; but Queen Elizabeth, afraid of
'losing the jewel of her times,' prevented him from accepting this honour,
and prevented him also from accompanying Sir Francis Drake on an
expedition against the Spanish settlements in America. In the same year,
however, she made him Governor of Flushing, and subsequently General of
the Cavalry, under his uncle, the Earl of Leicester, who commanded the
troops sent to assist the oppressed Dutch Protestants against the
Spaniards. Here our hero greatly distinguished himself, particularly when
capturing, in 1586, the town of Axel. His career, however, was destined
to be short. On the 22d of September of the same year he accidentally
encountered a convoy of the enemy marching toward Zutphen. In the
engagement which followed, his party triumphed; but their brave commander
received a shot in the thigh, which shattered the bone. As he was carried
from the field, overcome with thirst, he called for water, but while about
to apply it to his lips, he saw a wounded soldier carried by who was
eagerly eyeing the cup. Sidney, perceiving this, instantly delivered to
him the water, saying, in words which would have made an ordinary man
immortal, but which give Sir Philip a twofold immortality, 'Thy necessity
is greater than mine.' He was carried to Arnheim, and lingered on till
October 17, when he died. He was only thirty-two years of age. His death
was an earthquake at home. All England wore mourning for him. Queen
Elizabeth ordered his remains to be carried to London, and to receive a
public funeral in St Paul's. He was identified with the land's Poetry,
Politeness, and Protestantism; and all who admired any of the three,
sorrowed for Sidney.

Sidney's 'Sonnets and other Poems' contain much that is quaint, but also
much that is beautiful and true; yet they are the least poetical of his
works. His 'Arcadia' is a glorious unfinished and unpolished wilderness
of fancy. It is a vineyard, the scattered clusters of which are so heavy,
that, like the grapes of Eshcol of old, they must be carried on a staff.
Here is one of those rich clusters:--

  'There were hills, which garnished their proud heights with stately
  trees; humble valleys, whose base estate seemed comforted with the
  refreshing of silver rivers; meadows, enamelled with all sorts of
  eye-pleasing flowers; thickets, which, being lined with most pleasant
  shade, were witnessed so, too, by the cheerful disposition of many
  well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep, feeding with sober
  security; while the pretty lambs, with bleating oratory, craved the
  dams' comfort; _here a shepherd's boy, piping as though he should
  never be old;_ there a young shepherdess, knitting and withal singing,
  and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her
  hands kept time to her voice-music.'

From 'The Defence of Poesy' we could cull, did space permit, a hundred
passages even superior to the above, full of dexterous reasoning, splendid
rhetoric, and subtle fancy, and substantiating all that has been said in
favour of Sir Philip Sidney's accomplishments, chivalric earnestness, and
richly-endowed genius.


TO SLEEP.

FROM THE 'ARCADIA.'

Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe;
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low.

With shield of proof shield me from out the prease[1]
Of those fierce darts despair doth at me throw:
Oh, make in me those civil wars to cease!
I will good tribute pay if thou do so.

Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,
A rosy garland and a weary head;
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see.

[1] 'Prease:' press, throng.


SONNETS.

I.

Because I oft in dark abstracted guise
Seem most alone in greatest company,
With dearth of words, or answers quite awry
To them that would make speech of speech arise,
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies,
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie
So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself, and others do despise.
Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass;
But one worse fault, Ambition, I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends overpass,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place
Bends all his powers, even unto Stella's grace.


II.

With how sad steps, O Moon! thou climb'st the skies,
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What! may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure, if that long with love acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case;
I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace,
To me that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?


III.

Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
Guided so well, that I obtain'd the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance;
Townfolks my strength; a daintier judge applies
His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise;
Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I do take
My blood from them who did excel in this,
Think nature me a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry! the true cause is,
Stella look'd on, and from her heavenly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.


IV.

In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
And yet to break more staves did me address;
While with the people's shouts, I must confess,
Youth, luck, and praise, even fill'd my veins with pride.
When Cupid, having me (his slave) descried
In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
'What now, Sir Fool,' said he, 'I would no less.
Look here, I say.' I look'd, and Stella spied,
Who hard by made a window send forth light.
My heart then quaked, then dazzled were mine eyes;
One hand forgot to rule, th' other to fight;
Nor trumpet's sound I heard, nor friendly cries;
My foe came on, and beat the air for me,
Till that her blush taught me my shame to see.


V.

Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
Edward named Fourth as first in praise I name;
Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,
Although less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame:
Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame
His sire's revenge, join'd with a kingdom's gain,
And, gain'd by Mars, could yet mad Mars so tame,
That Balance weigh'd what Sword did late obtain:
Nor that he made the Flower-de-luce so 'fraid,
Though strongly hedged of bloody Lion's paws,
That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid.
Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause--
But only for this worthy knight durst prove
To lose his crown, rather than fail his love.


VI.

O happy Thames, that didst my Stella bear!
I saw thee with full many a smiling line
Upon thy cheerful face joy's livery wear,
While those fair planets on thy streams did shine.
The boat for joy could not to dance forbear;
While wanton winds, with beauties so divine
Ravish'd, stay'd not, till in her golden hair
They did themselves (O sweetest prison!) twine:
And fain those Oeol's youth there would their stay
Have made; but, forced by Nature still to fly,
First did with puffing kiss those locks display.
She, so dishevell'd, blush'd. From window I,
With sight thereof, cried out, 'O fair disgrace;
Let Honour's self to thee grant highest place.'



ROBERT SOUTHWELL.


Robert Southwell was born in 1560, at St. Faith's, Norfolk. His parents
were Roman Catholics, and sent him when very young to be educated at the
English College of Douay, in Flanders. Thence he went to Borne, and when
sixteen years of age he joined the Society of the Jesuits--a strange bed
for the rearing of a poet. In 1585, he was appointed Prefect of Studies,
and was soon after despatched as a missionary of his order to England.
There, notwithstanding a law condemning to death all members of his
profession found in this country, he laboured on for eight years,
residing chiefly with Anne, Countess of Arundel, who died afterwards in
the Tower. In July 1592, Southwell was arrested in a gentleman's house
at Uxendon in Middlesex. He was thrust into a dungeon so filthy that
when he was brought out to be examined his clothes were covered with
vermin. This made his father--a man of good family--petition Queen
Elizabeth that if his son was guilty of anything deserving death he
might suffer it, but that, meanwhile, being a gentleman, he should be
treated as a gentleman. In consequence of this he was somewhat better
lodged, but continued for nearly three years strictly confined to
prison; and as the Queen's agents imagined that he was in the secret of
some conspiracies against the Government, he was put to the torture ten
times. In despair, he entreated to be brought to trial, whereupon Cecil
coolly remarked, 'that if he was in such haste to be hanged, he should
quickly have his desire.' On the 20th of February 1595, he was brought
to trial at King's Bench, and having confessed himself a Papist and a
Jesuit, he was condemned to death, and executed at Tyburn next day, with
all the nameless barbarities enjoined by the treason laws of these
unhappy times. He is believed to have borne all his sufferings with
unalterable serenity of mind and sweetness of temper. 'It is fitting,'
says Burke, 'that those made to suffer should suffer well.' And suffer
well throughout all his short life of sorrow, Southwell did.

He was, undoubtedly, although in a false position, a true man, and a
true poet. To hope all things and believe all things, in reference to
a Jesuit, is a difficult task for Protestant charity. Yet what system
so vile but it has sometimes been gloriously misrepresented by its
votaries? Who that ever read Edward Irving's 'Preface to Ben Ezra'--that
modern Areopagitica--combining the essence of a hundred theological
treatises with the spirit and grandeur of a Pindaric or Homeric ode--has
forgot the pictures of Ben Ezra, or Lacunza the Jesuit? His work, 'The
Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty,' Irving translated from
Spanish into his own noble English prose, and he describes the author as
a man of primitive manners, ardent piety, and enormous erudition, and
expresses a hope, long since we trust fulfilled, of meeting with the
'good old Jesuit' in a better world. To this probably small class of
exceptions to a general rule (it surely is no uncharity to say this,
since the annals of Jesuitism have confessedly been so stained with
falsehood, treachery, every insidious art, and every detestable crime)
seems to have belonged our poet. No proof was produced that he had any
connexion with the treacherous and bloody designs of his party, although
he had plied his priestly labours with unwearied assiduity. He was too
sincere-minded a man to have ever been admitted to the darker secrets of
the Jesuits.

His verses are ingenious, simpler in style than was common in his time
--distinguished here by homely picturesqueness, and there by solemn
moralising. A shade of deep but serene and unrepining sadness, connected
partly with his position and partly with his foreseen destiny, (his
larger works were written in prison,) rests on the most of his poems.


LOOK HOME.

Retired thoughts enjoy their own delights,
  As beauty doth in self-beholding eye:
Man's mind a mirror is of heavenly sights,
  A brief wherein all miracles summ'd lie;
Of fairest forms, and sweetest shapes the store,
Most graceful all, yet thought may grace them more.

The mind a creature is, yet can create,
  To nature's patterns adding higher skill
Of finest works; wit better could the state,
  If force of wit had equal power of will.
Device of man in working hath no end;
What thought can think, another thought can mend.

Man's soul of endless beauties image is,
  Drawn by the work of endless skill and might:
This skilful might gave many sparks of bliss,
   And, to discern this bliss, a native light,
To frame God's image as his worth required;
His might, his skill, his word and will conspired.

All that he had, his image should present;
  All that it should present, he could afford;
To that he could afford his will was bent;
  His will was follow'd with performing word.
Let this suffice, by this conceive the rest,
He should, he could, he would, he did the best.


THE IMAGE OF DEATH.

Before my face the picture hangs,
  That daily should put me in mind
Of those cold names and bitter pangs
  That shortly I am like to find;
But yet, alas! full little I
Do think hereon, that I must die.

I often look upon a face
  Most ugly, grisly, bare, and thin;
I often view the hollow place
  Where eyes and nose had sometime been;
I see the bones across that lie,
Yet little think that I must die.

I read the label underneath,
  That telleth me whereto I must;
I see the sentence too, that saith,
  'Remember, man, thou art but dust.'
But yet, alas! how seldom I
Do think, indeed, that I must die!

Continually at my bed's head
  A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell
That I ere morning may be dead,
  Though now I feel myself full well;
But yet, alas! for all this, I
Have little mind that I must die!

The gown which I am used to wear,
  The knife wherewith I cut my meat;
And eke that old and ancient chair,
  Which is my only usual seat;
All these do tell me I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.

My ancestors are turn'd to clay,
  And many of my mates are gone;
My youngers daily drop away,
  And can I think to 'scape alone?
No, no; I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.

       *       *       *       *       *

If none can 'scape Death's dreadful dart;
  If rich and poor his beck obey;
If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
  Then I to 'scape shall have no way:
Then grant me grace, O God! that I
My life may mend, since I must die.


LOVE'S SERVILE LOT.

Love mistress is of many minds,
  Yet few know whom they serve;
They reckon least how little hope
  Their service doth deserve.

The will she robbeth from the wit,
  The sense from reason's lore;
She is delightful in the rind,
  Corrupted in the core.

       *       *       *       *       *

May never was the month of love;
  For May is full of flowers:
But rather April, wet by kind;
  For love is full of showers.

With soothing words, inthralled souls
  She chains in servile bands!
Her eye in silence hath a speech
  Which eye best understands.

Her little sweet hath many sours,
  Short hap, immortal harms
Her loving looks are murdering darts,
  Her songs bewitching charms.

Like winter rose, and summer ice,
  Her joys are still untimely;
Before her hope, behind remorse,
  Fair first, in fine[1] unseemly.

Plough not the seas, sow not the sands,
  Leave off your idle pain;
Seek other mistress for your minds,
  Love's service is in vain.

[1] 'Fine:' end.


TIMES GO BY TURNS.

The lopped tree in time may grow again,
  Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
  The driest soil suck in some moistening shower:
Time goes by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow;
  She draws her favours to the lowest ebb:
Her tides have equal times to come and go;
  Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web:
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,
  Not endless night, yet not eternal day:
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
  The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
  That net that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are cross'd;
  Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmingled joys here to no man befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.



THOMAS WATSON.


He was born in 1560, and died about 1592. All besides known certainly of
him is, that he was a native of London, and studied the common law, but
seems to have spent much of his time in the practice of rhyme. His
sonnets--one or two of which we subjoin--have considerable merit; but we
agree with Campbell in thinking that Stevens has surely overrated them
when he prefers them to Shakspeare's.


THE NYMPHS TO THEIR MAY-QUEEN.

With fragrant flowers we strew the way,
And make this our chief holiday:
For though this clime was blest of yore,
Yet was it never proud before.
O beauteous queen of second Troy,
Accept of our unfeigned joy.

Now the air is sweeter than sweet balm,
And satyrs dance about the palm;
Now earth with verdure newly dight,
Gives perfect signs of her delight:
O beauteous queen!

Now birds record new harmony,
And trees do whistle melody:
And everything that nature breeds
Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds.


SONNET.

Actaeon lost, in middle of his sport,
Both shape and life for looking but awry:
Diana was afraid he would report
What secrets he had seen in passing by.
To tell the truth, the self-same hurt have I,
By viewing her for whom I daily die;
I lose my wonted shape, in that my mind
Doth suffer wreck upon the stony rock
Of her disdain, who, contrary to kind,
Does bear a breast more hard than any stock;
And former form of limbs is changed quite
By cares in love, and want of due delight.
I leave my life, in that each secret thought
Which I conceive through wanton fond regard,
Doth make me say that life availeth nought,
Where service cannot have a due reward.
I dare not name the nymph that works my smart,
Though love hath graven her name within my heart.



THOMAS TURBERVILLE.


Of this author--Thomas Turberville--once famous in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, but now almost totally forgotten, and whose works are
altogether omitted in most selections, we have preserved a little. He
was a voluminous author, having produced, besides many original pieces,
a translation of Ovid's Heroical Epistles, from which Warton has
selected a short specimen.


IN PRAISE OP THE RENOWNED LADY ANNE, COUNTESS OF
WARWICK.

When Nature first in hand did take
  The clay to frame this Countess' corse,
The earth a while she did forsake,
  And was compell'd of very force,
With mould in hand, to flee to skies,
To end the work she did devise.

The gods that then in council sate,
  Were half-amazed, against their kind,[1]
To see so near the stool of state
  Dame Nature stand, that was assign'd
Among her worldly imps[2] to wonne,[3]
As she until that day had done.

First Jove began: 'What, daughter dear,
  Hath made thee scorn thy father's will?
Why do I see thee, Nature, here,
  That ought'st of duty to fulfil
Thy undertaken charge at home?
What makes thee thus abroad to roam?

'Disdainful dame, how didst thou dare,
  So reckless to depart the ground
That is allotted to thy share?'
  And therewithal his godhead frown'd.
'I will,' quoth Nature, 'out of hand,
Declare the cause I fled the land.

'I undertook of late a piece
  Of clay a featured face to frame,
To match the courtly dames of Greece,
  That for their beauty bear the name;
But, O good father, now I see
This work of mine it will not be.

'Vicegerent, since you me assign'd
  Below in earth, and gave me laws
On mortal wights, and will'd that kind
  Should make and mar, as she saw cause:
Of right, I think, I may appeal,
And crave your help in this to deal.'

When Jove saw how the case did stand,
  And that the work was well begun,
He pray'd to have the helping hand
  Of other gods till he had done:
With willing minds they all agreed,
And set upon the clay with speed.

First Jove each limb did well dispose,
  And makes a creature of the clay;
Next, Lady Venus she bestows
  Her gallant gifts as best she may;
From face to foot, from top to toe,
She let no whit untouch'd to go.

When Venus had done what she could
  In making of her carcase brave,
Then Pallas thought she might be bold
  Among the rest a share to have;
A passing wit she did convey
Into this passing piece of clay.

Of Bacchus she no member had,
  Save fingers fine and feat[4] to see;
Her head with hair Apollo clad,
  That gods had thought it gold to be:
So glist'ring was the tress in sight
Of this new form'd and featured wight.

Diana held her peace a space,
  Until those other gods had done;
'At last,' quoth she, 'in Dian's chase
  With bow in hand this nymph shall run;
And chief of all my noble train
I will this virgin entertain.'

Then joyful Juno came and said,
  'Since you to her so friendly are,
I do appoint this noble maid
  To match with Mars his peer for war;
She shall the Countess Warwick be,
And yield Diana's bow to me.'

When to so good effect it came,
  And every member had his grace,
There wanted nothing but a name:
  By hap was Mercury then in place,
That said, 'I pray you all agree,
Pandora grant her name to be.

'For since your godheads forged have
  With one assent this noble dame,
And each to her a virtue gave,
  This term agreeth to the same.'
The gods that heard Mercurius tell
This tale, did like it passing well.

Report was summon'd then in haste,
  And will'd to bring his trump in hand,
To blow therewith a sounding blast,
  That might be heard through Brutus' land.
Pandora straight the trumpet blew,
That each this Countess Warwick knew.

O seely[5] Nature, born to pain,
  O woful, wretched kind (I say),
That to forsake the soil were fain
  To make this Countess out of clay:
But, O most friendly gods, that wold,
Vouchsafe to set your hands to mould.

[1] 'Kind:' nature.
[2] 'Imps:' children.
[3] 'Wonne:' dwell.
[4] 'Feat:' neat.
[5] 'Seely:' simple.


       *       *       *       *       *


In reference to the Miscellaneous Pieces which close this period, we
need only say that the best of them is 'The Soul's Errand,' and that its
authorship is uncertain. It has, with very little evidence in any of the
cases, been ascribed to Sir Walter Raleigh, to Francis Davison, (author
of a compilation entitled 'A Poetical Rhapsody,' published in 1593, and
where 'The Soul's Errand' first appeared,) and to Joshua Sylvester, who
prints it in his volume of verses, with vile interpolations of his own.
Its outspoken energy and pithy language render it worthy of any of our
poets.


HARPALUS' COMPLAINT OF PHILLIDA'S LOVE BESTOWED ON CORIN,
WHO LOVED HER NOT, AND DENIED HIM THAT LOVED HER.

1   Phillida was a fair maid,
      As fresh as any flower;
    Whom Harpalus the herdman pray'd
      To be his paramour.

2   Harpalus, and eke Corin,
      Were herdmen both yfere:[1]
    And Phillida would twist and spin,
      And thereto sing full clear.

3   But Phillida was all too coy
      For Harpalus to win;
    For Corin was her only joy,
      Who forced[2] her not a pin.

4   How often would she flowers twine,
      How often garlands make
    Of cowslips and of columbine,
      And all for Conn's sake!

5   But Corin he had hawks to lure,
      And forced more the field:
    Of lovers' law he took no cure;
      For once he was beguiled.

6   Harpalus prevailed nought,
      His labour all was lost;
    For he was furthest from her thought,
      And yet he loved her most.

7   Therefore was he both pale and lean,
      And dry as clod of clay:
    His flesh it was consumed clean;
      His colour gone away.

8   His beard it not long be shave;
      His hair hung all unkempt:
    A man most fit even for the grave,
      Whom spiteful love had shent.[3]

9   His eyes were red, and all forwacht;[4]
      It seem'd unhap had him long hatcht,
    His face besprent with tears:
      In midst of his despairs.

10  His clothes were black, and also bare;
      As one forlorn was he;
    Upon his head always he ware
      A wreath of willow tree.

11  His beasts he kept upon the hill,
      And he sat in the dale;
    And thus with sighs and sorrows shrill
      He 'gan to tell his tale.

12  'O Harpalus!' thus would he say;
      Unhappiest under sun!
    The cause of thine unhappy day
      By love was first begun.

13  'For thou went'st first by suit to seek
      A tiger to make tame,
    That sets not by thy love a leek,
      But makes thy grief a game.

14  'As easy it were for to convert
      The frost into the flame;
    As for to turn a froward hert,
      Whom thou so fain wouldst frame.

15  'Cerin he liveth carëless:
      He leaps among the leaves:
    He eats the fruits of thy redress:
      Thou reap'st, he takes the sheaves.

16  'My beasts, a while your food refrain,
      And hark your herdman's sound;
    Whom spiteful love, alas! hath slain,
      Through girt with many a wound,

17  'O happy be ye, beastes wild,
      That here your pasture takes:
    I see that ye be not beguiled
      Of these your faithful makes,[5]

18  'The hart he feedeth by the hind:
      The buck hard by the doe:
    The turtle-dove is not unkind
      To him that loves her so.

19  'The ewe she hath by her the ram:
      The young cow hath the bull:
    The calf with many a lusty lamb
      Do feed their hunger full.

20  'But, well-a-way! that nature wrought
      Thee, Phillida, so fair:
    For I may say that I have bought
      Thy beauty all too dear.

21  'What reason is that cruelty
      With, beauty should have part?
    Or else that such great tyranny
      Should dwell in woman's heart?

22  'I see therefore to shape my death
      She cruelly is prest,[6]
    To the end that I may want my breath:
      My days be at the best.

23  'O Cupid, grant this my request,
      And do not stop thine ears:
    That she may feel within her breast
      The pains of my despairs:

24  'Of Corin that is careless,
      That she may crave her fee:
    As I have done in great distress,
      That loved her faithfully.

25  'But since that I shall die her slave,
      Her slave, and eke her thrall,
    Write you, my friends, upon my grave
      This chance that is befall:

26  '"Here lieth unhappy Harpalus,
      By cruel love now slain:
    Whom Phillida unjustly thus
      Hath murder'd with disdain."'

[1] 'Yfere' together.
[2] 'Forced' cared for.
[3] 'Shent:' spoiled.
[4] 'Forwacht:' from much watching.
[5] 'Makes:' mates.
[6] 'Prest:' ready.


A PRAISE OF HIS LADY.

1  Give place, you ladies, and begone,
     Boast not yourselves at all,
   For here at hand approacheth one
     Whose face will stain you all.

2  The virtue of her lively looks
     Excels the precious stone;
   I wish to have none other books
     To read or look upon.

3  In each of her two crystal eyes
     Smileth a naked boy;
   It would you all in heart suffice
     To see that lamp of joy.

4  I think Nature hath lost the mould
     Where she her shape did take;
   Or else I doubt if Nature could
     So fair a creature make.

5  She may be well compared
     Unto the phoenix kind,
   Whose like was never seen nor heard,
     That any man can find.

6  In life she is Diana chaste,
     In truth Penelope;
   In word, and eke in deed, steadfast;
     What will you more we say?

7  If all the world were sought so far,
     Who could find such a wight?
   Her beauty twinkleth like a star
     Within the frosty night.

8  Her rosial colour comes and goes
     "With such a comely grace,
   More ruddier, too, than doth the rose,
     Within her lively face."

9  At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
     Nor at no wanton play,
   Nor gazing in an open street,
     Nor gadding, as astray.

10 The modest mirth that she doth use,
     Is mix'd with shamefastness;
   All vice she doth wholly refuse,
     And hateth idleness.

11 O Lord, it is a world to see
     How virtue can repair,
   And deck in her such honesty,
     Whom Nature made so fair.

12 Truly she doth as far exceed
     Our women now-a-days,
   As doth the gilliflower a wreed,
     And more a thousand ways.

13 How might I do to get a graff
     Of this unspotted tree?
   For all the rest are plain but chaff
     Which seem good corn to be.

14 This gift alone I shall her give,
     When death doth what he can:
   Her honest fame shall ever live
     Within the mouth of man.


THAT ALL THINGS SOMETIME FIND EASE OF THEIR PAIN,
SAVE ONLY THE LOVER.

1 I see there is no sort
    Of things that live in grief,
  Which at sometime may not resort
     Where as they have relief.

2 The stricken deer by kind
    Of death that stands in awe,
  For his recure an herb can find
    The arrow to withdraw.

3 The chased deer hath soil
    To cool him in his heat;
  The ass, after his weary toil.
    In stable is up set.

4 The coney hath its cave,
    The little bird his nest,
  From heat and cold themselves to save
    At all times as they list.

5 The owl, with feeble sight,
    Lies lurking in the leaves,
  The sparrow in the frosty night
    May shroud her in the eaves.

6 But woe to me, alas!
    In sun nor yet in shade,
  I cannot find a resting-place,
    My burden to unlade.

7 But day by day still bears
    The burden on my back,
  With weeping eyes and wat'ry tears,
    To hold my hope aback.

8 All things I see have place
    Wherein they bow or bend,
  Save this, alas! my woful case,
    Which nowhere findeth end.


FROM 'THE PHOENIX' NEST.'

O Night, O jealous Night, repugnant to my pleasure,
O Night so long desired, yet cross to my content,
There's none but only thou can guide me to my treasure,
Yet none but only thou that hindereth my intent.

Sweet Night, withhold thy beams, withhold them till to-morrow,
Whose joy, in lack so long, a hell of torment breeds,
Sweet Night, sweet gentle Night, do not prolong my sorrow,
Desire is guide to me, and love no loadstar needs.

Let sailors gaze on stars and moon so freshly shining,
Let them that miss the way be guided by the light,
I know my lady's bower, there needs no more divining,
Affection sees in dark, and love hath eyes by night.

Dame Cynthia, couch a while; hold in thy horns for shining,
And glad not low'ring Night with thy too glorious rays;
But be she dim and dark, tempestuous and repining,
That in her spite my sport may work thy endless praise.

And when my will is done, then, Cynthia, shine, good lady,
All other nights and days in honour of that night,
That happy, heavenly night, that night so dark and shady,
Wherein my love had eyes that lighted my delight.


FROM THE SAME.

1 The gentle season of the year
  Hath made my blooming branch appear,
  And beautified the land with flowers;
  The air doth savour with delight,
  The heavens do smile to see the sight,
  And yet mine eyes augment their showers.

2 The meads are mantled all with green,
  The trembling leaves have clothed the treen,
  The birds with feathers new do sing;
  But I, poor soul, whom wrong doth rack,
  Attire myself in mourning black,
  Whose leaf doth fall amidst his spring.

3 And as you see the scarlet rose
  In his sweet prime his buds disclose,
  Whose hue is with the sun revived;
  So, in the April of mine age,
  My lively colours do assuage,
  Because my sunshine is deprived.

4 My heart, that wonted was of yore,
  Light as the winds, abroad to soar
  Amongst the buds, when beauty springs,
  Now only hovers over you,
  As doth the bird that's taken new,
  And mourns when all her neighbours sings.

5 When every man is bent to sport,
  Then, pensive, I alone resort
  Into some solitary walk,
  As doth the doleful turtle-dove,
  Who, having lost her faithful love,
  Sits mourning on some wither'd stalk.

6 There to myself I do recount
  How far my woes my joys surmount,
  How love requiteth me with hate,
  How all my pleasures end in pain,
  How hate doth say my hope is vain,
  How fortune frowns upon my state.

7 And in this mood, charged with despair,
  With vapour'd sighs I dim the air,
  And to the gods make this request,
  That by the ending of my life,
  I may have truce with this strange strife,
  And bring my soul to better rest.


THE SOUL'S ERRAND.

1  Go, Soul, the body's guest,
     Upon a thankless errand,
   Fear not to touch the best,
     The truth shall be thy warrant;
   Go, since I needs must die,
     And give the world the lie.

2  Go tell the Court it glows,
     And shines like rotten wood;
   Go, tell the Church it shows
     What's good and doth no good;
   If Church and Court reply,
   Then give them both the lie.

3  Tell potentates they live,
     Acting by others' actions,
   Not loved, unless they give,
     Not strong, but by their factions;
   If potentates reply,
   Give potentates the lie.

4  Tell men of high condition,
     That rule affairs of state,
   Their purpose is ambition,
     Their practice only hate;
   And if they once reply,
   Then give them all the lie.

5  Tell them that brave it most,
     They beg for more by spending,
   Who, in their greatest cost,
     Seek nothing but commending;
   And if they make reply,
   Then give them all the lie.

6  Tell Zeal it lacks devotion,
     Tell Love it is but lust,
   Tell Time it is but motion,
     Tell Flesh it is but dust;
   And wish them not reply,
   For thou must give the lie.

7  Tell Age it daily wasteth,
     Tell Honour how it alters,
   Tell Beauty how she blasteth,
      Tell Favour how she falters;
   And as they shall reply,
   Give every one the lie.

8  Tell Wit how much it wrangles
     In treble points of niceness,
   Tell Wisdom she entangles
     Herself in overwiseness;
   And when they do reply,
   Straight give them both the lie.

9  Tell Physic of her boldness,
     Tell Skill it is pretension,
   Tell Charity of coldness,
     Tell Law it is contention;
   And as they do reply,
   So give them still the lie.

10 Tell Fortune of her blindness,
     Tell Nature of decay,
   Tell Friendship of unkindness,
     Tell Justice of delay;
   And if they will reply,
   Then give them all the lie.

11 Tell Arts they have no soundness,
     But vary by esteeming,
   Tell Schools they want profoundness,
     And stand too much on seeming;
   If Arts and Schools reply,
   Give Arts and Schools the lie.

12 Tell Faith it's fled the city,
     Tell how the country erreth,
   Tell Manhood shakes off pity,
     Tell Virtue least preferreth;
   And if they do reply,
   Spare not to give the lie.

13 And when thou hast, as I
     Commanded thee, done blabbing,
   Although to give the lie
     Deserves no less than stabbing;
   Yet stab at thee who will,
   No stab the Soul can kill.


       *       *       *       *       *


SECOND PERIOD.

FROM SPENSER TO DRYDEN.



FRANCIS BEAUMONT.


This remarkable man, from his intimate connexion with Fletcher, is better
known as a dramatist than as a poet. He was the son of Judge Beaumont, and
descended from an ancient family, which was settled at Grace Dieu in
Leicestershire. He was born in 1585-86, and educated at Cambridge. Thence
he passed to study in the Inner Temple, but seems to have preferred poetry
and the drama to law. He was married to the daughter of Sir Henry Isley of
Kent, who bore him two daughters. He died in his 30th year, and was buried
March 9, 1615-16, in St Benedict's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. More of his
connexion with Fletcher afterwards.

After his death, his brother published a collection of his miscellaneous
pieces. We extract a few, of no little merit. His verses to Ben Jonson,
written before their author came to London, and first appended to a play
entitled 'Nice Valour,' are picturesque and interesting, as illustrating
the period.


TO BEN JONSON.

The sun (which doth the greatest comfort bring
To absent friends, because the selfsame thing
They know, they see, however absent) is
Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
It is our country's style) in this warm shine
I lie, and dream of your full Mermaid wine.
Oh, we have water mix'd with claret lees,
Brink apt to bring in drier heresies
Than beer, good only for the sonnet's strain,
With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
So mix'd, that, given to the thirstiest one,
'Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
I think, with one draught man's invention fades:
Two cups had quite spoil'd Homer's Iliades.
'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
Lie where he will, and make him write worse yet;
Fill'd with such moisture in most grievous qualms,
Did Robert Wisdom write his singing psalms;
And so must I do this: And yet I think
It is a potion sent us down to drink,
By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knights.
'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
A medicine to obey our magistrates:
For we do live more free than you; no hate,
No envy at one another's happy state,
Moves us; we are all equal: every whit
Of land that God gives men here is their wit,
If we consider fully, for our best
And gravest men will with his main house-jest
Scarce please you; we want subtilty to do
The city tricks, lie, hate, and flatter too:
Here are none that can bear a painted show,
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow;
Who, like mills, set the right way for to grind,
Can make their gains alike with every wind;
Only some fellows with the subtlest pate,
Amongst us, may perchance equivocate
At selling of a horse, and that's the most.
Methinks the little wit I had is lost
Since I saw you; for wit is like a rest
Held up at tennis, which men do the best,
With the best gamesters: what things have we seen
Done at the Mermaid; heard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
As if that every one from whence they came
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
And had resolved to live a fool the rest
Of his dull life: then when there had been thrown
Wit able enough to justify the town
For three days past; wit that might warrant be
For the whole city to talk foolishly
Till that were cancell'd; and when that was gone,
We left an air behind us, which alone
Was able to make the two next companies
Eight witty; though but downright fools were wise.
When I remember this,
*     *     *         I needs must cry
I see my days of ballading grow nigh;
I can already riddle, and can sing
Catches, sell bargains, and I fear shall bring
Myself to speak the hardest words I find
Over as oft as any with one wind,
That takes no medicines, but thought of thee
Makes me remember all these things to be
The wit of our young men, fellows that show
No part of good, yet utter all they know,
Who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls.
Only strong Destiny, which all controls,
I hope hath left a better fate in store
For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor.
Banish'd unto this home: Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain
The way of knowledge for me; and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company,
Protest it will my greatest comfort be,
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee,
Ben; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine;
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine.


ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER.

Mortality, behold and fear,
What a charge of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heap of stones:
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands;
Where, from their pulpits seal'd with dust,
They preach--in greatness is no trust.
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest, royal'st seed,
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried,
Though gods they were, as men they died:
Here are wands, ignoble things,
Dropp'd from the ruin'd sides of kings.
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.


AN EPITAPH.

Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name:
The rigid Spartan that denied
An epitaph to all that died,
Unless for war, in charity
Would here vouchsafe an elegy.
She died a wife, but yet her mind,
Beyond virginity refined,
From lawless fire remain'd as free
As now from heat her ashes be:
Keep well this pawn, thou marble chest;
Till it be call'd for, let it rest;
For while this jewel here is set,
The grave is like a cabinet.



SIR WALTER RALEIGH.


The verses attributed to this illustrious man are few, and the
authenticity of some of them is doubtful. No one, however, who has
studied his career, or read his 'History of the World,' can deny him
the title of a great poet.

We cannot be expected, in a work of the present kind, to enlarge on a
career so well known as that of Sir Walter Kaleigh. He was born in 1552,
at Hayes Farm, in Devonshire, and descended from an old family there. He
went early to Oxford, but finding its pursuits too tame for his active
and enterprising spirit, he left it, and became a soldier at seventeen.
For six years he fought on the Protestant side in France, besides serving
a campaign in the Netherlands. In 1579, he went a voyage, which proved
disastrous, to Newfoundland, in company with his half-brother, Sir
Humphrey Gilbert. There can be no doubt that this early apprenticeship
to war and navigation was of material service to the future explorer and
historian. In 1580, he fought in Ireland against the Earl of Desmond,
who had raised a rebellion there, and on one occasion is said to have
defended a ford of Shannon against a whole band of wild Irish rebels,
till the stream ran purple with their blood and his own. With the Lord-
Deputy, Lord Grey de Wilton, he got into a dispute, and to settle it came
over to England. Here high favour awaited him. His handsome appearance,
his graceful address, his ready wit and chivalric courtesy, dashed with
a fine poetic enthusiasm, (see them admirably pictured in 'Kenilworth,')
combined to exalt him in the estimation of Queen Elizabeth. On one
occasion he flung his rich plush cloak over a miry part of the way, that
she might pass on unsoiled. By this delicate piece of enacted flattery he
'spoiled a cloak and made a fortune.' The Queen sent him, along with some
other courtiers, to attend the Duke of Anjou, who had in vain solicited
her hand, back to the Netherlands. In 1584, he fitted two ships, and sent
them out for the discovery and settlement of those parts of North America
not already appropriated by Christian states, and the next year there
followed a fleet of seven ships under the command of Sir Richard
Grenville, Raleigh's kinsman. The attempt to colonise America at that
time failed, but two important things were transplanted through means of
the expedition from Virginia to Britain, namely, tobacco and the potato,
--the former of which has ever since been offered up in smoky sacrifice to
Raleigh's memory throughout the whole world, and the latter of which has
become the most valuable of all our vegetable esculents. Raleigh first
planted the potato in Ireland, a country of which it has long been the
principal food. A ludicrous story is told about this. It is said that he
had invited a number of his neighbours to an entertainment, in which the
new root was to form a prominent part, but when the feast began Raleigh
found, to his horror, that the servants had boiled the plums, a most
unsavoury mess, and immediately, we suppose, 'tabulae solvuntur risu.'
In 1584 the Queen had knighted him, and shortly after she granted him
certain lucrative monopolies, and an estate in Ireland, in addition to
one he had possessed for some years. In 1588, he was of material service
as one of Her Majesty's Council of War, formed to resist the Spanish
Armada, and as one of the volunteers who joined the English fleet with
ships of their own. Next year he accompanied a number of his countrymen
in an expedition, which had it in view to restore Don Antonio to the
throne of Portugal, of which the Spaniards had deprived him. On his
return he lost caste considerably, both with the Queen and country, by
taking bribes, and otherwise abusing the influence he had acquired at
Court. Yet, about this time, his active mind was projecting what he
called an 'Office of Address,'--a plan for facilitating the designs of
literary and scientific men, promoting intercourse between them, gaining,
in short, all those objects which are now secured by our literary
associations and philosophical societies. Raleigh was eminently a man
before his age, but, alas! his age was too far behind him.

While visiting Ireland, after his expedition to Portugal, he contracted
an intimacy with Spenser. (See our 'Life of Spenser,' vol. ii.) In 1592,
he commanded a large naval expedition, destined to attack Panama and
intercept the Spanish Plate-fleet, but was recalled by the Queen, not,
however, till he had seized on an important prize, and, in common
parlance, had 'feathered his nest.' On his return he excited Her
Majesty's wrath, by an intrigue with Elizabeth Throgmorton, one of the
maids of honour, and, although Raleigh afterwards married her, the Queen
imprisoned both the offending parties for some months in the Tower.
Spenser is believed to allude to this in the 4th Book of his great poem.
(See vol. in. of our edition, p. 88.) Even after he was released from
the Tower, Raleigh had to leave the Court in disgrace; instead, however,
of wasting time in vain regrets, he undertook, at his own expense, an
expedition against Guiana, where he captured the city of San Joseph, and
which he occupied in the Queen's name. After his return he published an
account of his expedition, more distinguished by glowing eloquence than
by rigid regard to truth. In 1596, having in some measure regained the
Queen's favour, he was appointed to a command in the expedition against
Cadiz, under the Earl of Essex. In this, as well as in the expedition
against the Spanish Plate-fleet the next year, he won laurels, but was
unfortunate enough to excite the jealousy of his Commander-in-Chief.
When the favourite got into trouble, Raleigh eagerly joined in the hunt,
wrote a letter to Cecil urging him to the destruction of Essex, and
witnessed his execution from a window in the Armoury. This is
undoubtedly a deep blot on the escutcheon of our hero.

Cecil had been glad of Raleigh's aid in ruining Essex, but he bore him
no good-will otherwise, and is said to have poisoned James, who now
succeeded to the English throne, against him. Assuredly the new King was
no friend of Raleigh's. Stimulated by Cecil, after first depriving him
of his office of Captain of the Guards, he brought him to trial for high
treason. He was accused of conspiring to establish Popery, to dethrone
the King, and to put the crown on the head of Arabella Stewart. Sir
Edward Coke, the Attorney-General, led the accusation, and disgraced
himself by heaping on Raleigh's head every foul epithet, calling him
'viper,' 'damnable atheist,' 'monster,' 'traitor,' 'spider of hell,'
&c., and by his violence, although to his own surprise, as he never
expected to gain his cause in full, he browbeat the jury to bring in a
verdict of high treason.

Raleigh's defence was a masterpiece of temper, dignity, strength of
reasoning, and eloquence, and his enemies were ashamed of the decision
to which they had driven the jury. He was therefore reprieved, and
committed to the Tower, where his wife was allowed to bear him company,
and where his youngest son was born. His estates were, in general,
preserved to him, but Carr, the infamous minion of the King, under some
pretext of a flaw in the conveyance of it by Raleigh to his son, seized
upon his manor of Sherborne. In the Tower he continued for twelve years.
These years his industry and genius rendered the happiest probably of
his life. Immured in the

    'towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
  By many a foul and midnight murder fed,'

his winged soul soared away, like the dove of the Deluge, over the wild
ocean of the past. The Tower confined his body, but this great globe the
world seemed too little for the sweep of his spirit. To fill up the vast
void which a long imprisonment created around him, and to shew that his
powers retained all their elasticity, he projected a work on the largest
scale, and with the noblest purpose--'The History of the World.' In this
undertaking he found literary men ready to lend him their aid. A hundred
hands were generously stretched out to gather materials, and to bring
them to the captive in the Tower. Cart-loads of books were sent. One
Burrell, formerly his chaplain, assisted him in much of the critical and
chronological drudgery. Rugged Ben Jonson sent in a piece of rugged
writing on the Punic War, which Raleigh polished and set as a carved
stone in his magnificent temple. Some have, on this account, sought to
detract from the merit of the author. As if ever an architect could rear
a building without hodmen! But in Raleigh's case the hodmen were Titans.
'The best wits in England assisted him in his undertaking;' and what a
compliment was this to the strength and stature of the master-builder!

This great work was never finished. The part completed comprehended only
the period from the Creation to the Downfall of the Macedonian Empire
--one hundred and seventy years before Christ. He tarries too long amidst
the misty and mythical ages which precede the dawn of history; his
speculations on the site of the original Paradise, on the Flood, &c.,
are more ingenious than instructive; but his descriptions of the Greek
battles--his account of the rise of Rome--the extensive erudition, on
all subjects displayed in the book--the many acute, profound, and
eloquently-expressed observations which are sprinkled throughout--and
the style, massive, dignified, rich, and less involved in structure than
that of almost any of his contemporaries--shall always rank it amongst
the great literary treasures of the language. It was published in 1614.
Besides it, Raleigh was the author of various works, all full of
sagacious thought and brilliant imagery, such as 'The Advice to a Son on
the Choice of a Wife,' 'The Sceptic,' 'Maxims of State,' &c. At last he
was released by the advance of a large sum of money to Villiers, Duke of
Buckingham, James's favourite; and, to retrieve his fortunes, projected
another expedition to America. James granted him a patent, under the
Great Seal, for making a settlement in Guiana, but ungenerously did not
grant him a pardon for the sentence which had been passed on him for
treason. He set sail, 1617, in a ship built by himself, called the
_Destiny_, with eleven other vessels. Having reached the Orinoco, he
despatched a portion of his forces to attack the new Spanish settlement
of St Thomas. This was captured, with the loss of Raleigh's eldest son.
The expected plunder, however, proved of little value; and Sir Walter
having in vain attempted to induce his captains to attack other
settlements of the Spaniards, was compelled to return home--his golden
dreams dissolved, and his prophetic soul forewarning him of the doom
that awaited him on his native shores. In July 1618, he landed at
Plymouth; 'whence,' says Howell, in his 'Familiar Letters,' 'he thought
to make an escape, and some say he tampered with his body by physic to
make him look sickly, that he might be the more pitied, and permitted to
lie in his own house.' James was at this time seeking the hand of the
Infanta for his son Charles, and was naturally disposed to side with the
Spanish cause. He was, besides, stirred up by the Spanish ambassador,
Count Gondomar, who sent to desire an audience with His Majesty, and
said, that he had only one word to say to him. 'The King wondered what
could be delivered in one word, whereupon, when he came before him, he
said only, "Pirates! pirates! pirates!" and so departed.'

Raleigh consequently was arrested and sent back to his old lodgings in
the Tower. He was not tried, as might have been expected, for the new
offence of waging war against a power then at amity with England, but
James, with consummate meanness and cruelty, determined to revive his
former sentence. He was brought before the King's Bench, where his old
enemy, Sir Edward Coke, now sat as Chief Justice, and officially
condemned him to death. His language, however, was considerably modified
to the prisoner. He said, 'I know you have been valiant and wise, and I
doubt not but you retain both these virtues, for now you shall have
occasion to use them. Your faith hath heretofore been questioned, but I
am resolved you are a good Christian; for your book, which is an
admirable work, doth testify as much. I would give you counsel, but I
know you can apply unto yourself far better than I can give you. Yet
will I (with the good neighbour in the Gospel, who, finding one in the
way wounded and distressed, poured oil into his wounds and refreshed
him) give unto you the oil of comfort, though, in respect that I am a
minister of the law, mixed with vinegar.' Such was Coke's comfort to the
brave and gifted man who stood untrembling before his bar.

On the 26th of October 1618, the day after his condemnation, Raleigh was
beheaded. He met his fate with dignity and composure. Having addressed
the multitude in vindication of his conduct, he took up the axe, and
said to the sheriff, 'This is a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all
diseases.' He told the executioner that he would give the signal by
lifting up his hand, and 'then,' he said, 'fear not, but strike home.'
He next laid himself down, but was asked by the executioner to alter the
position of the head. 'So the heart be right,' he replied, 'it is no
matter which way the head lies.' The headsman became uncertain and
tremulous when the signal was given, whereupon Ealeigh exclaimed, 'Why
dost thou not strike? Strike, man!' and by two blows that gallant,
witty, and richly-stored head was severed from the body. He was in his
sixty-fifth year. He had the night before composed the following verse:--

  Even such is Time, that takes on trust
    Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
  And pays us but with age and dust;
    Who in the dark and silent grave,
  When we have wander'd all our ways,
  Shuts up the story of our days.'

Thus perished Sir Walter Raleigh. There has been ever one opinion as to
the breadth and brilliance of his genius. His powers were almost
universal in their range. He commented on Scripture with the ingenuity
of a Talmudist, and wrote love verses (see the lines in Campbell's
'Specimens,' entitled 'Dulcina') with the animus and graceful levity of
a Thomas Moore. He was deep at once in 'all the learning of the
Egyptians,' and in that of the Greeks and Romans. In his large mind lay
dreams of golden lands, which even Australia has not yet fully verified,
alongside of maxims of the most practical wisdom. He was learned in all
that had been; well-informed as to all that was; and speculative and
hopeful as to all that might be and was yet to be. Disgust at the
scholastic methods, blended with the adventurous character of his mind,
and perhaps also with some looseness of moral principle, led him at one
time to the brink of universal scepticism; but disappointment, sorrow,
and the solitude of the Tower, made him a sadder and wiser man, and he
returned to the verities of the Christian religion. The stains on his
character seem to have arisen chiefly from his position. He was, like
some greater and some smaller men of eminence, undoubtedly, to a certain
extent, a brilliant adventurer--a class to whom justice is seldom done,
and against whom every calumny is believed. He was a _novus homo_, in an
age of more than common aristocratic pretence; sprang, indeed, from an
ancient family, but possessing nothing himself, save his cloak, his
sword, his tact, and his genius. We all know how, in later times, such
spirits, kindred in many points to Raleigh, in some superior, and in
others inferior--as Burke, Sheridan, and Canning--were used, less for
their errors of temper or of life, than because they had gained immense
influence, not by birth or favour, but by the force of extraordinary
talent and no less remarkable address. Raleigh, however, was undoubtedly
imprudent in a high degree. He had once or twice outraged common
morality; his enemies were constantly accusing him of gasconading and of
'pride.' His success at first was too early and too easy, and hence a
reverse might have been anticipated as certain and as remarkable as his
rise had been. His fall ultimately is understood to have been
precipitated by the base complicity of James with the Spaniards, who
were informed by the King of Raleigh's motions in America, and prepared
to counteract them, as well as by the loud-sounding invectives and legal
lies of the unscrupulous instruments of his tyrannical power. With all
his faults and follies, (of 'crimes,' it has been justly said, Raleigh
can hardly be accused,) he stood high in that crowd of giants who
illustrated the reign of the Amazonian Queen. What an age it was! Bacon,
with still brighter powers, and far darker and meaner faults than
Raleigh, was sitting on the woolsack in body, while his spirit was
presiding over the half-born philosophies of the future, and beholding
the cold rod of Induction blossom in an after-day into the Aaronic
flowers and fruits of a magnificent science; Cecil was nodding out
wisdom or transcendental craft in the Cabinet; Sir Philip Sidney was
carrying the spirit of 'Arcadia' into the field of battle; Spenser was
dreaming his one beautiful lifelong Dream; and Shakspeare was holding up
his calm mirror to the heart of man and the universe of nature; while,
on the prow of the British vessel, carrying on those lofty spirits and
enterprises, there appeared a daring mariner, the Poet and 'Shepherd of
the Ocean,' with bright eye, sanguine countenance, step treading the
deck like a throne, and look contemplating the sunset, as if it were the
dawning, and the Evening, as if it were the Morning Star. It was the
hopeful and the brilliant Raleigh, who, while he 'opened up to Europe
the New World, was the historian of the Old.' Alas that this illustrious
'Marinere' was doomed to a life so troubled and a death so dreadful, and
that the glory of one of England's prodigies is for ever bound up with
the disgrace of one of England's and Scotland's princes!


THE COUNTRY'S RECREATIONS.

1   Heart-tearing cares and quiv'ring fears,
    Anxious sighs, untimely tears,
        Fly, fly to courts,
        Fly to fond worldling's sports;
  Where strain'd sardonic smiles are glozing still,
  And Grief is forced to laugh against her will;
        Where mirth's but mummery,
        And sorrows only real be.

2   Fly from our country pastimes, fly,
    Sad troop of human misery!
        Come, serene looks,
        Clear as the crystal brooks,
  Or the pure azured heaven, that smiles to see
  The rich attendance of our poverty.
        Peace and a secure mind,
        Which all men seek, we only find.

3   Abused mortals, did you know
    Where joy, heart's ease, and comforts grow,
        You'd scorn proud towers,
        And seek them in these bowers;
  Where winds perhaps our woods may sometimes shake,
  But blustering care could never tempest make,
        Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us,
        Saving of fountains that glide by us.

       *       *       *       *       *

4   Blest silent groves! oh, may ye be
    For ever mirth's best nursery!
      May pure contents,
      For ever pitch their tents
  Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains,
  And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,
      Which we may every year
      Find when we come a-fishing here.


THE SILENT LOVER.

1 Passions are liken'd best to floods and streams,
    The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb;
  So when affection yields discourse, it seems
    The bottom is but shallow whence they come;
  They that are rich in words must needs discover
  They are but poor in that which makes a lover.

2 Wrong not, sweet mistress of my heart,
    The merit of true passion,
  With thinking that he feels no smart
    That sues for no compassion.

3 Since if my plaints were not t' approve
    The conquest of thy beauty,
  It comes not from defect of love,
    But fear t' exceed my duty.

4 For not knowing that I sue to serve
    A saint of such perfection
  As all desire, but none deserve
    A place in her affection,

5 I rather choose to want relief
    Than venture the revealing;
  Where glory recommends the grief,
    Despair disdains the healing.

6 Silence in love betrays more woe
    Than words, though ne'er so witty;
  A beggar that is dumb, you know,
    May challenge double pity.

7 Then wrong not, dearest to my heart,
    My love for secret passion;
  He smarteth most who hides his smart,
    And sues for no compassion.


A VISION UPON 'THE FAIRY QUEEN.'

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Within that temple where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn: and passing by that way
To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love and fairer Virtue kept,
All suddenly I saw the Fairy Queen,
At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept;
And from thenceforth those Graces were not seen,
For they this Queen attended; in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse.
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce,
Where Homer's sprite did tremble all for grief,
And cursed the access of that celestial thief.


LOVE ADMITS NO RIVAL.

1 Shall I, like a hermit, dwell,
  On a rock, or in a cell,
  Calling home the smallest part
  That is missing of my heart,
  To bestow it where I may
  Meet a rival every day?
  If she undervalue me,
  What care I how fair she be?

2 Were her tresses angel gold,
  If a stranger may be bold,
  Unrebuked, unafraid,
  To convert them to a braid,
  And with little more ado
  Work them into bracelets, too;
  If the mine be grown so free,
  What care I how rich it be?

3 Were her hand as rich a prize
  As her hairs, or precious eyes,
  If she lay them out to take
  Kisses, for good manners' sake,
  And let every lover skip
  From her hand unto her lip;
  If she seem not chaste to me,
  What care I how chaste she be?

4 No; she must be perfect snow,
  In effect as well as show;
  Warming but as snow-balls do,
  Not like fire, by burning too;
  But when she by change hath got
  To her heart a second lot,
  Then if others share with me,
  Farewell her, whate'er she be!



JOSHUA SYLVESTER.


Joshua Sylvester is the next in the list of our imperfectly-known, but
real poets. Very little is known of his history. He was a merchant-
adventurer, and died at Middleburg, aged fifty-five, in 1618. He is said
to have applied, in 1597, for the office of secretary to a trading
company in Stade, and to have been, on this occasion, patronised by
the Earl of Essex. He was at one time attached to the English Court as
a pensioner of Prince Henry. He is said to have been driven abroad by
the severity of his satires. He seems to have had a sweet flow of
conversational eloquence, and hence was called 'The Silver-tongued.' He
was an eminent linguist, and wrote his dedications in various languages.
He published a large volume of poems, very unequal in their value, and
inserted in it 'The Soul's Errand,' with interpolations, as we have seen,
which prove it not to be his own. His great work is the translation of
the 'Divine Weeks and Works' of the French poet, Du Bartas, which is a
marvellous medley of flatness and force--of childish weakness and soaring
genius--with more _seed poetry_ in it than any poem we remember, except
'Festus,' the chaos of a hundred poetic worlds. There can be little doubt
that Milton was familiar with this work in boyhood, and many remarkable
coincidences have been pointed out between it and 'Paradise Lost.'
Sylvester was a Puritan, and his publisher, Humphrey Lownes, who lived
in the same street with Milton's father, belonged to the same sect; and,
as Campbell remarks, 'it is easily to be conceived that Milton often
repaired to the shop of Lownes, and there met with the pious didactic
poem.' The work, therefore, some specimens of which we subjoin, is
interesting, both in itself, and as having been the _prima stamina_ of
the great masterpiece of English poetry.


TO RELIGION.

1 Religion, O thou life of life,
  How worldlings, that profane thee rife,
    Can wrest thee to their appetites!
  How princes, who thy power deny,
  Pretend thee for their tyranny,
    And people for their false delights!

2 Under thy sacred name, all over,
  The vicious all their vices cover;
    The insolent their insolence,
  The proud their pride, the false their fraud,
  The thief his theft, her filth the bawd,
    The impudent, their impudence.

3 Ambition under thee aspires,
  And Avarice under thee desires;
    Sloth under thee her ease assumes,
  Lux under thee all overflows,
  Wrath under thee outrageous grows,
    All evil under thee presumes.

4 Religion, erst so venerable,
  What art thou now but made a fable,
    A holy mask on folly's brow,
  Where under lies Dissimulation,
  Lined with all abomination.
    Sacred Religion, where art thou?

5 Not in the church with Simony,
  Not on the bench with Bribery,
    Nor in the court with Machiavel,
  Nor in the city with deceits,
  Nor in the country with debates;
    For what hath Heaven to do with Hell?


ON MAN'S RESEMBLANCE TO GOD.
(FROM DU BARTAS.)

O complete creature! who the starry spheres
Canst make to move, who 'bove the heavenly bears
Extend'st thy power, who guidest with thy hand
The day's bright chariot, and the nightly brand:
This curious lust to imitate the best
And fairest works of the Almightiest,
By rare effects bears record of thy lineage
And high descent; and that his sacred image
Was in thy soul engraven, when first his Spirit,
The spring of life, did in thy limbs inspire it.
For, as his beauties are past all compare,
So is thy soul all beautiful and fair:
As he's immortal, and is never idle,
Thy soul's immortal, and can brook no bridle
Of sloth, to curb her busy intellect:
He ponders all; thou peizest[1] each effect:
And thy mature and settled sapience
Hath some alliance with his providence:
He works by reason, thou by rule: he's glory
Of the heavenly stages, thou of th' earthly story:
He's great High Priest, thou his great vicar here:
He's sovereign Prince, and thou his viceroy dear.

For soon as ever he had framed thee,
Into thy hands he put this monarchy:
Made all the creatures know thee for their lord,
And come before thee of their own accord:
And gave thee power as master, to impose
Fit sense-full names unto the host that rows
In watery regions; and the wand'ring herds
Of forest people; and the painted birds:
Oh, too, too happy! had that fall of thine
Not cancell'd so the character divine.

But, since our souls' now sin-obscured light
Shines through the lanthorn of our flesh so bright;
What sacred splendour will this star send forth,
When it shall shine without this vail of earth?
The Soul here lodged is like a man that dwells
In an ill air, annoy'd with noisome smells;
In an old house, open to wind and weather;
Never in health not half an hour together:
Or, almost, like a spider who, confined
In her web's centre, shakes with every wind;
Moves in an instant, if the buzzing fly
Stir but a string of her lawn canopy.

[1] 'Peizest:' weighest.


THE CHARIOT OF THE SUN.

Thou radiant coachman, running endless course,
Fountain of heat, of light the lively source,
Life of the world, lamp of this universe,
Heaven's richest gem: oh, teach me where my verse
May but begin thy praise: Alas! I fare
Much like to one that in the clouds doth stare
To count the quails, that with their shadow cover
The Italian sea, when soaring hither over,
Fain of a milder and more fruitful clime,
They come with us to pass the summer time:
No sooner he begins one shoal to sum,
But, more and more, still greater shoals do come,
Swarm upon swarm, that with their countless number
Break off his purpose, and his sense encumber.

Day's glorious eye! even as a mighty king
About his country stately progressing,
Is compass'd round with dukes, earls, lords, and knights,
(Orderly marshall'd in their noble rites,)
Esquires and gentlemen, in courtly kind,
And then his guard before him and behind.
And there is nought in all his royal muster,
But to his greatness addeth grace and lustre:
So, while about the world thou ridest aye,
Which only lives through virtue of thy ray,
Six heavenly princes, mounted evermore,
Wait on thy coach, three behind, three before;
Besides the host of th' upper twinklers bright,
To whom, for pay, thou givest only light.
And, even as man (the little world of cares)
Within the middle of the body bears
His heart, the spring of life, which with proportion
Supplieth spirits to all, and every portion:
Even so, O Sun, thy golden chariot marches
Amid the six lamps of the six low arches
Which seele the world, that equally it might
Richly impart them beauty, force, and light.

Praising thy heat, which subtilly doth pierce
The solid thickness of our universe:
Which in the earth's kidneys mercury doth burn,
And pallid sulphur to bright metal turn;
I do digress, to praise that light of thine,
Which if it should but one day cease to shine,
Th' unpurged air to water would resolve,
And water would the mountain tops involve.

Scarce I begin to measure thy bright face
Whose greatness doth so oft earth's greatness pass,
And which still running the celestial ring,
Is seen and felt of every living thing;
But that fantastic'ly I change my theme
To sing the swiftness of thy tireless team,
To sing how, rising from the Indian wave,
Thou seem'st (O Titan) like a bridegroom brave,
Who, from his chamber early issuing out
In rich array, with rarest gems about,
With pleasant countenance and lovely face,
With golden tresses and attractive grace,
Cheers at his coming all the youthful throng
That for his presence earnestly did long,
Blessing the day, and with delightful glee,
Singing aloud his epithalamie.



RICHARD BARNFIELD.


Of him we only know that he published several poetical volumes between
1594 and 1598. We give one beautiful piece, 'To a Nightingale,' which
used to be attributed to Shakspeare.


ADDRESS TO THE NIGHTINGALE.

As it fell upon a day,
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made;
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and plants did spring;
Everything did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn;
And there sung the dolefull'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
'Fie, fie, fie,' now would she cry;
'Teru, teru,' by and by;
That, to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah! (thought I) thou mourn'st in vain;
None takes pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless bears they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion he is dead;
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
All thy fellow-birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing!
Whilst as fickle Fortune smiled,
Thou and I were both beguiled.
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find.
Every man will be thy friend
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend:
But, if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call;
And with such-like flattering,
'Pity but he were a king.'
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown:
They that fawn'd on him before
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need;
If thou sorrow, he will weep,
If thou wake, he cannot sleep:
Thus, of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.



ALEXANDER HUME.


This Scottish poet was the second son of Patrick, fifth Baron of
Polwarth. He was born about the middle of the sixteenth century, and
died in 1609. He resided for some years, in the early part of his life,
in France. Returning home, he studied law, and then tried his fortune at
Court. Here he was eclipsed by a rival, named Montgomery; and after
assailing his rival, who rejoined, in verse, he became a clergyman in
disgust, and was settled in the parish of Logie. Here he darkened into
a sour and savage Calvinist, and uttered an exhortation to the youth of
Scotland to forego the admiration of classical heroes, and to read no
love-poetry save the 'Song of Solomon.' In another poetic walk, however,
that of natural description, Hume excelled, and we print with pleasure
some parts of his 'Summer's Day,' which our readers may compare with Mr
Aird's fine poem under the same title, and be convinced that the sky of
Scotland was as blue, and the grass as green, and Scottish eyes as quick
to perceive their beauty, in the sixteenth century as now.


THANKS FOR A SUMMER'S DAY.

1  O perfect light which shade[1] away
     The darkness from the light,
   And set a ruler o'er the day,
     Another o'er the night.

2  Thy glory, when the day forth flies,
     More vively does appear,
   Nor[2] at mid-day unto our eyes
     The shining sun is clear.

3  The shadow of the earth anon
     Removes and drawis by,
   Syne[3] in the east, when it is gone,
     Appears a clearer sky.

4  Which soon perceive the little larks,
     The lapwing, and the snipe,
   And tune their song like Nature's clerks,
     O'er meadow, muir, and stripe.

5  But every bold nocturnal beast
     No longer may abide,
   They hie away both maist and least,[4]
     Themselves in house to hide.

       *       *       *       *       *

6  The golden globe incontinent
     Sets up his shining head,
   And o'er the earth and firmament
     Displays his beams abroad.[5]

7  For joy the birds with boulden[6] throats,
     Against his visage sheen,[7]
   Take up their kindly music notes
     In woods and gardens green.

8  Upbraids[8] the careful husbandman,
     His corn and vines to see,
   And every timeous[9] artisan
     In booths works busily.

9  The pastor quits the slothful sleep,
     And passes forth with speed,
   His little camow-nosed[10] sheep,
     And rowting kye[11] to feed.

10 The passenger, from perils sure,
     Goes gladly forth the way,
   Brief, every living creäture
     Takes comfort of the day.

       *       *       *       *       *

11 The misty reek,[12] the clouds of rain
     From tops of mountain skails,[13]
   Clear are the highest hills and plain,
     The vapours take the vales.

12 Begaired[14] is the sapphire pend[15]
     With spraings[16] of scarlet hue;
   And preciously from end to end,
     Damasked white and blue.

13 The ample heaven, of fabric sure,
     In clearness does surpass
   The crystal and the silver, pure
     As clearest polish'd glass.

14 The time so tranquil is and clear,
     That nowhere shall ye find,
   Save on a high and barren hill,
     The air of passing wind.

15 All trees and simples, great and small,
     That balmy leaf do bear,
   Than they were painted on a wall,
     No more they move or steir.[17]

16 The rivers fresh, the caller[18] streams,
     O'er rocks can swiftly rin,[19]
   The water clear like crystal beams,
     And makes a pleasant din.

       *       *       *       *       *

17 Calm is the deep and purple sea,
     Yea, smoother than the sand;
   The waves, that woltering[20] wont to be,
     Are stable like the land.

18 So silent is the cessile air,
     That every cry and call,
   The hills and dales, and forest fair,
     Again repeats them all.

19 The clogged busy humming bees,
     That never think to drown,[21]
   On flowers and flourishes of trees,
     Collect their liquor brown.

20 The sun most like a speedy post
     With ardent course ascends;
   The beauty of our heavenly host
     Up to our zenith tends.

       *       *       *       *       *

21 The breathless flocks draw to the shade
     And freshure[22] of their fauld;[23]
   The startling nolt, as they were mad,
     Run to the rivers cauld.

22 The herds beneath some leafy trees,
     Amidst the flowers they lie;
   The stable ships upon the seas
     Tend up their sails to dry.

23 The hart, the hind, the fallow-deer,
     Are tapish'd[24] at their rest;
   The fowls and birds that made thee beare,[25]
     Prepare their pretty nest.

24 The rayons dure[26] descending down,
     All kindle in a gleid;[27]
   In city, nor in burrough town,
     May none set forth their head.

25 Back from the blue pavemented whun,[28]
     And from ilk plaster wall,
   The hot reflexing of the sun
     Inflames the air and all.

26 The labourers that timely rose,
     All weary, faint, and weak,
   For heat down to their houses goes,
     Noon-meat and sleep to take.

27 The caller[29] wine in cave is sought,
     Men's brothing[30] breasts to cool;
   The water cold and clear is brought,
     And sallads steeped in ule.[31]

28 With gilded eyes and open wings,
     The cock his courage shows;
   With claps of joy his breast he dings,[32]
     And twenty times he crows.

29 The dove with whistling wings so blue,
     The winds can fast collect,
   Her purple pens turn many a hue
     Against the sun direct.

30 Now noon is gone--gone is mid-day,
     The heat does slake at last,
   The sun descends down west away,
     For three o'clock is past.

       *       *       *       *       *

31 The rayons of the sun we see
     Diminish in their strength,
   The shade of every tower and tree
     Extended is in length.

32 Great is the calm, for everywhere
     The wind is setting down,
   The reek[33] throws up right in the air,
     From every tower and town.

33 The mavis and the philomeen,[34]
     The starling whistles loud,
   The cushats[35] on the branches green,
     Full quietly they crood.[36]

34 The gloamin[37] comes, the clay is spent,
     The sun goes out of sight,
   And painted is the occident
     With purple sanguine bright.

       *       *       *       *       *

35 The scarlet nor the golden thread,
     Who would their beauty try,
   Are nothing like the colour red
     And beauty of the sky.

       *       *       *       *       *

36 What pleasure then to walk and see,
     Endlong[38] a river clear,
   The perfect form of every tree
     Within the deep appear.

37 The salmon out of cruives[39] and creels[40]
     Uphauled into scouts;[41]
   The bells and circles on the weills,[42]
     Through leaping of the trouts.

38 O sure it were a seemly thing,
     While all is still and calm,
   The praise of God to play and sing
     With trumpet and with shalm.

39 Through all the land great is the gild[43]
     Of rustic folks that cry;
   Of bleating sheep, from they be fill'd,
     Of calves and rowting kye.

40 All labourers draw home at even,
     And can to others say,
   Thanks to the gracious God of heaven,
     Who sent this summer day.

[1] 'Shade:' for shaded.
[2] 'Nor:' than.
[3] 'Syne:' then.
[4] 'Maist and least:' largest and smallest.
[5] 'Abread:' abroad.
[6] 'Boulden:' emboldened.
[7] 'Sheen:' shining.
[8] 'Upbraids:' uprises.
[9] 'Timeous:' early.
[10]'Camow-nosed:' flat-nosed.
[11]'Rowting kye:' lowing kine.
[12]'Reek:' fog.
[13]'Skails:' dissipates.
[14]'Begaired:' dressed out.
[15]'Pend:' arch.
[16]'Spraings:' streaks.
[17] 'Steir:' stir.
[18] 'Caller:' cool.
[19] 'Rin:' run.
[20] 'Woltering:' tumbling.
[21] 'Drown:' drone, be idle.
[22] 'Freshure:' freshness.
[23] 'Fauld:' fold.
[24] 'Tapish'd:' stretched as on a carpet.
[25] 'Beare:' sound, music.
[26] 'Rayons dure:' hard or keen rays.
[27] 'Gleid:' fire.
[28] 'Whun:' whinstone.
[29] 'Caller:' cool.
[30] 'Brothing:' burning.
[31] 'Ule:' oil.
[32] 'Dings:' beats.
[33] 'Reek:' smoke.
[34] 'The mavis and the philomeen:' thrush and nightingale.
[35] 'Cushats:' wood-pigeons.
[36] 'Crood:' coo.
[37] 'Gloamin:' evening.
[38] 'Endlong:' along.
[39] 'Cruives:' cages for catching fish.
[40] 'Creels:' baskets.
[41] 'Scouts:' small boats or yawls.
[42] 'Weills:' eddies.
[43] 'Gild:' throng.


       *       *       *       *       *


OTHER SCOTTISH POETS.


About the same time with Hume flourished two or three poets in Scotland
of considerable merit, such as Alexander Scott, author of satires and
amatory poems, and called sometimes the 'Scottish Anacreon;' Sir Richard
Maitland of Lethington, father of the famous Secretary Lethington, who,
in his advanced years, composed and dictated to his daughter a few moral
and conversational pieces, and who collected, besides, into a MS. which
bears his name, the productions of some of his contemporaries; and
Alexander Montgomery, author of an allegorical poem, entitled 'The
Cherry and the Slae.'

The allegory is not well managed, but some of the natural descriptions
are sweet and striking. Take the two following stanzas as a specimen:--

  'The cushat croods, the corbie cries,
  The cuckoo conks, the prattling pies
    To geck there they begin;
  The jargon of the jangling jays,
  The cracking craws and keckling kays,
    They deav'd me with their din;
  The painted pawn, with Argus eyes,
    Can on his May-cock call,
  The turtle wails, on wither'd trees,
    And Echo answers all.
  Repeating, with greeting,
    How fair Narcissus fell,
  By lying, and spying
    His shadow in the well.

  'The air was sober, saft, and sweet,
  Nae misty vapours, wind, nor weet,
    But quiet, calm, and clear;
  To foster Flora's fragrant flowers,
  Whereon Apollo's paramours
    Had trinkled mony a tear;
  The which, like silver shakers, shined,
    Embroidering Beauty's bed,
  Wherewith their heavy heads declined,
    In Mayë's colours clad;
      Some knopping, some dropping
        Of balmy liquor sweet,
      Excelling and smelling
        Through Phoebus' wholesome heat.'

The 'Cherry and the Slae' was familiar to Burns, who often, our readers
will observe, copied its form of verse.



SAMUEL DANIEL.


This ingenious person was born in 1562, near Taunton, in Somersetshire.
His father was a music-master. He was patronised by the noble family
of Pembroke, who probably also maintained him at college. He went to
Magdalene Hall, Oxford, in 1579; and after studying there, chiefly
history and poetry, for seven years, he left without a degree. When
twenty-three years of age, he translated Paulus Jovius' 'Discourse of
Rare Inventions.' He became tutor to Lady Anne Clifford, the elegant
and accomplished daughter of the Earl of Cumberland. She, at his death,
raised a monument to his memory, and recorded on it, with pride, that
she had been his pupil. After Spenser died, Daniel became a 'voluntary
laureat' to the Court, producing masques and pageants, but was soon
supplanted by 'rare Ben Jonson.' In 1603 he was appointed Master of the
Queen's Revels and Inspector of the Plays to be enacted by juvenile
performers. He was also promoted to be Gentleman Extraordinary and Groom
of the Chambers to the Queen. He was a varied and voluminous writer,
composing plays, miscellaneous poems, and prose compositions, including
a 'Defence of Rhyme' and a 'History of England,'--an honest, but somewhat
dry and dull production. While composing his works he resided in Old
Street, St Luke's, which was then thought a suburban residence; but he
was often in town, and mingled on intimate terms with Selden and
Shakspeare. When approaching sixty, he took a farm at Beckington, in
Somersetshire--his native shire--and died there in 1619.

Daniel's Plays and History are now, as wholes, forgotten, although the
former contained some vigorous passages, such as Richard II.'s soliloquy
on the morning of his murder in Pomfret Castle. His smaller pieces and
his Sonnets shew no ordinary poetic powers.


RICHARD II., THE MORNING BEFORE HIS MURDER IN POMFRET CASTLE.

Whether the soul receives intelligence,
By her near genius, of the body's end,
And so imparts a sadness to the sense,
Foregoing ruin, whereto it doth tend;
Or whether nature else hath conference
With profound sleep, and so doth warning send,
By prophetising dreams, what hurt is near,
And gives the heavv careful heart to fear:--

However, so it is, the now sad king,
Toss'd here and there his quiet to confound,
Feels a strange weight of sorrows gathering
Upon his trembling heart, and sees no ground;
Feels sudden terror bring cold shivering;
Lists not to eat, still muses, sleeps unsound;
His senses droop, his steady eyes unquick,
And much he ails, and yet he is not sick.

The morning of that day which was his last,
After a weary rest, rising to pain,
Out at a little grate his eyes he cast
Upon those bordering hills and open plain,
Where others' liberty makes him complain
The more his own, and grieves his soul the more,
Conferring captive crowns with freedom poor.

'O happy man,' saith he, 'that lo I see,
Grazing his cattle in those pleasant fields,
If he but knew his good. How blessed he
That feels not what affliction greatness yields!
Other than what he is he would not be,
Nor change his state with him that sceptre wields.
Thine, thine is that true life: that is to live,
To rest secure, and not rise up to grieve.

'Thou sitt'st at home safe by thy quiet fire,
And hear'st of others' harms, but fearest none:
And there thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire,
Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan.
Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost inquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall;
For pity must have part--envy not all.

'Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see;
No interest, no occasion to deplore
Other men's travails, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more
To see our misery and what we be:
Whose blinded greatness, ever in turmoil,
Still seeking happy life, makes life a toil.'


EARLY LOVE.

Ah, I remember well (and how can I
But evermore remember well?) when first
Our flame began, when scarce we knew what was
The flame we felt; when as we sat and sigh'd
And look'd upon each other, and conceived
Not what we ail'd, yet something we did ail,
And yet were well, and yet we were not well,
And what was our disease we could not tell.
Then would we kiss, then sigh, then look: and thus
In that first garden of our simpleness
We spent our childhood. But when years began
To reap the fruit of knowledge; ah, how then
Would she with sterner looks, with graver brow,
Check my presumption and my forwardness!
Yet still would give me flowers, still would show
What she would have me, yet not have me know.


SELECTIONS FROM SONNETS.

I must not grieve, my love, whose eyes would read
Lines of delight, whereon her youth might smile;
Flowers have time before they come to seed,
And she is young, and now must sport the while.
And sport, sweet maid, in season of these years,
And learn to gather flowers before they wither;
And where the sweetest blossom first appears,
Let love and youth conduct thy pleasures thither,
Lighten forth smiles to clear the clouded air,
And calm the tempest which my sighs do raise:
Pity and smiles do best become the fair;
Pity and smiles must only yield thee praise.
Make me to say, when all my griefs are gone,
Happy the heart that sigh'd for such a one.

Fair is my love, and cruel as she's fair;
Her brow shades frown, although her eyes are sunny;
Her smiles are lightning, though her pride despair;
And her disdains are gall, her favours honey.
A modest maid, deck'd with a blush of honour,
Whose feet do tread green paths of youth and love;
The wonder of all eyes that look upon her:
Sacred on earth; design'd a saint above;
Chastity and Beauty, which are deadly foes,
Live reconciled friends within her brow;
And had she Pity to conjoin with those,
Then who had heard the plaints I utter now?
For had she not been fair, and thus unkind,
My muse had slept, and none had known my mind.

Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born,
Relieve my anguish, and restore the light,
With dark forgetting of my care, return.
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-advised youth;
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torments of the night's untruth.
Cease, dreams, the images of day-desires,
To model forth the passions of to-morrow;
Never let the rising sun prove you liars,
To add more grief, to aggravate my sorrow.
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain,
And never wake to feel the day's disdain.



SIR JOHN DAVIES.


This knight, says Campbell, 'wrote, at twenty-five years of age, a poem
on the "Immortality of the Soul," and at fifty-two, when he was a judge
and a statesman, another on the "_Art of Dancing_."  Well might the
teacher of that noble accomplishment, in Molière's comedy, exclaim, "_La
philosophie est quelque chose--mais la danse!_"  This, however, is more
pointed than correct, since the first of these poems was written in
1592, when the author was only twenty-two years of age, and the latter
appeared in 1599, when he was only twenty-nine.

Tisbury, in Wiltshire, was the birthplace of this poet, and 1570 the
date of his birth. His father was a practising lawyer. John was expelled
from the Temple for beating one Richard Martyn, afterwards Recorder, but
was restored, and subsequently elected for Parliament. In 1592, as
aforesaid, appeared his poem, 'Nosce Teipsum; or, The Immortality of the
Soul.' Its fame soon travelled to Scotland; and when Davies, along with
Lord Hunsdon, visited that country, James received him most graciously
as the author of 'Nosce Teipsum.' His history became, for some time, a
list of promotions. He was appointed, in 1603, first Solicitor and then
Attorney-General in Ireland, was next made Sergeant, was then knighted,
then appointed King's Sergeant, next elected representative of the
county of Fermanagh, and, in fine, after a violent contest between the
Roman Catholic and Protestant parties, was chosen Speaker of the House
of Commons in the Protestant interest. While in Ireland he married
Eleanor, a daughter of Lord Audley, who turned out a raving prophetess,
and was sent, in 1649, to the Tower, and then to Bethlehem Hospital, by
the Revolutionary Government. In 1616, Sir John returned to England,
continued to practise as a barrister, sat in Parliament for Newcastle-
under-Lyne, and received a promise of being made Chief-Justice of
England; but was suddenly cut off by apoplexy in 1626.

His poem on dancing, which was written in fifteen days, and left a
fragment, is a piece of beautiful, though somewhat extravagant fancy.
His 'Nosce Teipsum,' if it casts little new light, and rears no
demonstrative argument on the grand and difficult problem of
immortality, is full of ingenuity, and has many apt and memorable
similes. Feeling he happily likens to the

            'subtle spider, which doth sit
     In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
  If aught do touch the utmost thread of it,
     She feels it instantly on every side.'

In answering an objection, 'Why, if souls continue to exist, do they not
return and bring us news of that strange world?' he replies--

  'But as Noah's pigeon, which return'd no more,
     Did show she footing found, for all the flood,
   So when good souls, departed through death's door,
     Come not again, it shows their dwelling good.'

The poem is interesting from the musical use he makes of the quatrain,
a form of verse in which Dryden afterwards wrote his 'Annus Mirabilis,'
and as one of the earliest philosophical poems in the language. It is
proverbially difficult to reason in verse, but Davies reasons, if not
always with conclusive result, always with energy and skill.


INTRODUCTION TO THE POEM ON THE SOUL OF MAN.

1  The lights of heaven, which are the world's fair eyes,
     Look down into the world, the world to see;
   And as they turn or wander in the skies,
     Survey all things that on this centre be.

2  And yet the lights which in my tower do shine,
     Mine eyes, which view all objects nigh and far,
   Look not into this little world of mine,
     Nor see my face, wherein they fixed are.

3  Since Nature fails us in no needful thing,
     Why want I means my inward self to see?
   Which sight the knowledge of myself might bring,
     Which to true wisdom is the first degree.

4  That Power, which gave me eyes the world to view,
     To view myself, infused an inward light,
   Whereby my soul, as by a mirror true,
     Of her own form may take a perfect sight.

5  But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
     Except the sunbeams in the air do shine;
   So the best soul, with her reflecting thought,
     Sees not herself without some light divine.

6  O light, which mak'st the light which makes the day!
     Which sett'st the eye without, and mind within,
   Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray,
     Which now to view itself doth first begin.

7  For her true form how can my spark discern,
     Which, dim by nature, art did never clear,
   When the great wits, of whom all skill we learn,
     Are ignorant both what she is, and where?

8  One thinks the soul is air; another fire;
     Another blood, diffused about the heart;
   Another saith, the elements conspire,
     And to her essence each doth give a part.

9  Musicians think our souls are harmonies;
     Physicians hold that they complexions be;
   Epicures make them swarms of atomies,
     Which do by chance into our bodies flee.

10 Some think one general soul fills every brain,
     As the bright sun sheds light in every star;
   And others think the name of soul is vain,
     And that we only well-mix'd bodies are.

11 In judgment of her substance thus they vary;
     And thus they vary in judgment of her seat;
   For some her chair up to the brain do carry,
     Some thrust it down into the stomach's heat.

12 Some place it in the root of life, the heart;
     Some in the liver, fountain of the veins;
   Some say, she's all in all, and all in every part;
     Some say, she's not contain'd, but all contains.

13 Thus these great clerks their little wisdom show,
     While with their doctrines they at hazard play;
   Tossing their light opinions to and fro,
     To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.

14 For no crazed brain could ever yet propound,
     Touching the soul, so vain and fond a thought;
   But some among these masters have been found,
     Which in their schools the selfsame thing have taught.

15 God only wise, to punish pride of wit,
     Among men's wits hath this confusion wrought,
   As the proud tower whose points the clouds did hit,
     By tongues' confusion was to ruin brought.

16 But thou which didst man's soul of nothing make,
     And when to nothing it was fallen again,
   'To make it new, the form of man didst take;
     And, God with God, becam'st a man with men.'

17 Thou that hast fashion'd twice this soul of ours,
     So that she is by double title thine,
   Thou only know'st her nature and her powers,
     Her subtle form thou only canst define.

18 To judge herself, she must herself transcend,
     As greater circles comprehend the less;
   But she wants power her own powers to extend,
     As fetter'd men cannot their strength express.

19 But thou bright morning Star, thou rising Sun,
     Which in these later times hast brought to light
   Those mysteries that, since the world begun,
     Lay hid in darkness and eternal night:

20 Thou, like the sun, dost with an equal ray
     Into the palace and the cottage shine,
   And show'st the soul, both to the clerk and lay,
     By the clear lamp of oracle divine.

21 This lamp, through all the regions of my brain,
     Where my soul sits, doth spread such beams of grace,
   As now, methinks, I do distinguish plain
     Each subtle line of her immortal face.

22 The soul a substance and a spirit is,
     Which God himself doth in the body make,
   Which makes the man; for every man from this
     The nature of a man and name doth take.

23 And though this spirit be to the body knit,
     As an apt means her powers to exercise,
   Which are life, motion, sense, and will, and wit,
     Yet she survives, although the body dies.


THE SELF-SUBSISTENCE OF THE SOUL.

1  She is a substance, and a real thing,
     Which hath itself an actual working might,
   Which neither from the senses' power doth spring,
     Nor from the body's humours temper'd right.

2  She is a vine, which doth no propping need,
     To make her spread herself, or spring upright;
   She is a star, whose beams do not proceed
     From any sun, but from a native light.

3  For when she sorts things present with things past,
     And thereby things to come doth oft foresee;
   When she doth doubt at first, and choose at last,
     These acts her own,[1] without her body be.

4  When of the dew, which the eye and ear do take,
     From flowers abroad, and bring into the brain,
   She doth within both wax and honey make:
     This work is hers, this is her proper pain.

5  When she from sundry acts, one skill doth draw;
     Gathering from divers fights one art of war;
   From many cases like, one rule of law;
     These her collections, not the senses' are.

6  When in the effects she doth the causes know;
     And seeing the stream, thinks where the spring doth rise;
   And seeing the branch, conceives the root below:
     These things she views without the body's eyes.

7  When she, without a Pegasus, doth fly
     Swifter than lightning's fire from east to west;
   About the centre, and above the sky,
     She travels then, although the body rest.

8  When all her works she formeth first within,
     Proportions them, and sees their perfect end;
   Ere she in act doth any part begin,
     What instruments doth then the body lend?

9  When without hands she doth thus castles build,
     Sees without eyes, and without feet doth run;
   When she digests the world, yet is not fill'd:
     By her own powers these miracles are done.

10 When she defines, argues, divides, compounds,
     Considers virtue, vice, and general things;
   And marrying divers principles and grounds,
     Out of their match a true conclusion brings.

11 These actions in her closet, all alone,
     Retired within herself, she doth fulfil;
   Use of her body's organs she hath none,
     When she doth use the powers of wit and will.

12 Yet in the body's prison so she lies,
     As through the body's windows she must look,
   Her divers powers of sense to exercise,
     By gathering notes out of the world's great book.

13 Nor can herself discourse or judge of ought,
     But what the sense collects, and home doth bring;
   And yet the powers of her discoursing thought,
     From these collections is a diverse thing.

14 For though our eyes can nought but colours see,
     Yet colours give them not their power of sight;
   So, though these fruits of sense her objects be,
     Yet she discerns them by her proper light.

15 The workman on his stuff his skill doth show,
     And yet the stuff gives not the man his skill;
   Kings their affairs do by their servants know,
     But order them by their own royal will.

16 So, though this cunning mistress, and this queen,
     Doth, as her instruments, the senses use,
   To know all things that are felt, heard, or seen;
     Yet she herself doth only judge and choose.

17 Even as a prudent emperor, that reigns
     By sovereign title over sundry lands,
   Borrows, in mean affairs, his subjects' pains,
     Sees by their eyes, and writeth by their hands:

18 But things of weight and consequence indeed,
     Himself doth in his chamber then debate;
   Where all his counsellors he doth exceed,
     As far in judgment, as he doth in state.

19 Or as the man whom princes do advance,
     Upon their gracious mercy-seat to sit,
   Doth common things of course and circumstance,
     To the reports of common men commit:

20 But when the cause itself must be decreed,
     Himself in person in his proper court,
   To grave and solemn hearing doth proceed,
     Of every proof, and every by-report.

21 Then, like God's angel, he pronounceth right,
     And milk and honey from his tongue doth flow:
   Happy are they that still are in his sight,
     To reap the wisdom which his lips doth sow.

22 Right so the soul, which is a lady free,
     And doth the justice of her state maintain:
   Because the senses ready servants be,
     Attending nigh about her court, the brain:

23 By them the forms of outward things she learns,
     For they return unto the fantasy,
   Whatever each of them abroad discerns,
     And there enrol it for the mind to see.

24 But when she sits to judge the good and ill,
     And to discern betwixt the false and true,
   She is not guided by the senses' skill,
     But doth each thing in her own mirror view.

25 Then she the senses checks, which oft do err,
     And even against their false reports decrees;
   And oft she doth condemn what they prefer;
     For with a power above the sense she sees.

26 Therefore no sense the precious joys conceives,
     Which in her private contemplations be;
   For then the ravish'd spirit the senses leaves,
     Hath her own powers, and proper actions free.

27 Her harmonies are sweet, and full of skill,
     When on the body's instruments she plays;
   But the proportions of the wit and will,
     Those sweet accords are even the angels' lays.

28 These tunes of reason are Amphion's lyre,
     Wherewith he did the Theban city found:
   These are the notes wherewith the heavenly choir,
     The praise of Him which made the heaven doth sound.

29 Then her self-being nature shines in this,
     That she performs her noblest works alone:
   'The work, the touchstone of the nature is;
     And by their operations things are known.'

[1] That the soul hath a proper operation without the body.


SPIRITUALITY OF THE SOUL.

1  But though this substance be the root of sense,
     Sense knows her not, which doth but bodies know:
   She is a spirit, and heavenly influence,
     Which from the fountain of God's Spirit doth flow.

2  She is a spirit, yet not like air or wind;
     Nor like the spirits about the heart or brain;
   Nor like those spirits which alchymists do find,
     When they in everything seek gold in vain.

3  For she all natures under heaven doth pass,
     Being like those spirits, which God's bright face do see,
   Or like Himself, whose image once she was,
     Though now, alas! she scarce his shadow be.

4  For of all forms, she holds the first degree,
     That are to gross, material bodies knit;
   Yet she herself is bodiless and free;
     And, though confined, is almost infinite.

5  Were she a body,[1] how could she remain
     Within this body, which is less than she?
   Or how could she the world's great shape contain,
     And in our narrow breasts contained be?

6  All bodies are confined within some place,
     But she all place within herself confines:
   All bodies have their measure and their space;
     But who can draw the soul's dimensive lines?

7  No body can at once two forms admit,
     Except the one the other do deface;
   But in the soul ten thousand forms do fit,
     And none intrudes into her neighbour's place.

8  All bodies are with other bodies fill'd,
     But she receives both heaven and earth together:
   Nor are their forms by rash encounter spill'd,
     For there they stand, and neither toucheth either.

9  Nor can her wide embracements filled be;
     For they that most and greatest things embrace,
   Enlarge thereby their mind's capacity,
     As streams enlarged, enlarge the channel's space.

10 All things received, do such proportion take,
     As those things have, wherein they are received:
   So little glasses little faces make,
     And narrow webs on narrow frames are weaved.

11 Then what vast body must we make the mind,
     Wherein are men, beasts, trees, towns, seas, and lands;
   And yet each thing a proper place doth find,
     And each thing in the true proportion stands?

12 Doubtless, this could not be, but that she turns
     Bodies to spirits, by sublimation strange;
   As fire converts to fire the things it burns:
     As we our meats into our nature change.

13 From their gross matter she abstracts the forms,
     And draws a kind of quintessence from things,
   Which to her proper nature she transforms,
     To bear them light on her celestial wings.

14 This doth she, when, from things particular,
     She doth abstract the universal kinds,
   Which bodiless and immaterial are,
     And can be only lodged within our minds.

15 And thus from divers accidents and acts,
     Which do within her observation fall,
   She goddesses and powers divine abstracts;
     As nature, fortune, and the virtues all.

16 Again; how can she several bodies know,
     If in herself a body's form she bear?
   How can a mirror sundry faces show,
     If from all shapes and forms it be not clear?

17 Nor could we by our eyes all colours learn,
     Except our eyes were of all colours void;
   Nor sundry tastes can any tongue discern,
     Which is with gross and bitter humours cloy'd.

18 Nor can a man of passions judge aright,
     Except his mind be from all passions free:
   Nor can a judge his office well acquit,
     If he possess'd of either party be.

19 If, lastly, this quick power a body were,
     Were it as swift as in the wind or fire,
   Whose atoms do the one down sideways bear,
     And the other make in pyramids aspire;

20 Her nimble body yet in time must move,
     And not in instants through all places slide:
   But she is nigh and far, beneath, above,
     In point of time, which thought cannot divide;

21 She's sent as soon to China as to Spain;
     And thence returns as soon as she is sent:
   She measures with one time, and with one pain.
     An ell of silk, and heaven's wide-spreading tent.

22 As then the soul a substance hath alone,
     Besides the body in which she's confined;
   So hath she not a body of her own,
     But is a spirit, and immaterial mind.

23 Since body and soul have such diversities,
     Well might we muse how first their match began;
   But that we learn, that He that spread the skies,
     And fix'd the earth, first form'd the soul in man.

24 This true Prometheus first made man of earth,
     And shed in him a beam of heavenly fire;
   Now in their mothers' wombs, before their birth,
     Doth in all sons of men their souls inspire.

25 And as Minerva is in fables said,
     From Jove, without a mother, to proceed;
   So our true Jove, without a mother's aid,
     Doth daily millions of Minervas breed.

[1] That it cannot be a body.



GILES FLETCHER.


Giles Fletcher was the younger brother of Phineas, and died twenty-three
years before him. He was a cousin of Fletcher the dramatist, and the son
of Dr Giles Fletcher, who was employed in many important missions in the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, and, among others, negotiated a commercial
treaty with Russia greatly in the favour of his own country. Giles is
supposed to have been born in 1588. He studied at Cambridge; published his
noble poem, 'Christ's Victory and Triumph,' in 1610, when he was twenty-
three years of age; was appointed to the living of Alderston, in Suffolk,
where he died, in 1623, at the early age of thirty-five, 'equally loved,'
says old Wood, 'of the Muses and the Graces.'

The poem, in four cantos, entitled 'Christ's Victory and Triumph,' is one
of almost Miltonic magnificence. With a wing as easy as it is strong, he
soars to heaven, and fills the austere mouth of Justice and the golden
lips of Mercy with language worthy of both. He then stoops down on the
Wilderness of the Temptation, and paints the Saviour and Satan in colours
admirably contrasted, and which in their brightness and blackness can
never decay. Nor does he fear, in fine, to pierce the gloom of Calvary,
and to mingle his note with the harps of angels, saluting the Redeemer, as
He sprang from the grave, with the song, 'He is risen, He is risen--and
shall die no more.' The style is steeped in Spenser--equally mellifluous,
figurative, and majestic. In allegory the author of the 'Fairy Queen' is
hardly superior, and in the enthusiasm of devotion Fletcher surpasses him
far. From the great light, thus early kindled and early quenched, Milton
did not disdain to draw with his 'golden urn.' 'Paradise Regained' owes
much more than the suggestion of its subject to 'Christ's Victory;' and is
it too much to say that, had Fletcher lived, he might have shone in the
same constellation with the bard of the 'Paradise Lost?' The plan of our
'Specimens' permits only a few extracts. Let those who wish more, along
with a lengthened and glowing tribute to the author's genius, consult
_Blackwood_ for November 1835. The reading of a single sentence will
convince them that the author of the paper was Christopher North.


THE NATIVITY.

I.

Who can forget, never to be forgot,
The time, that all the world in slumber lies:
When, like the stars, the singing angels shot
To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes,
To see another sun at midnight rise
  On earth? was never sight of pareil fame:
  For God before, man like himself did frame,
But God himself now like a mortal man became.

II.

A child he was, and had not learned to speak,
That with his word the world before did make:
His mother's arms him bore, he was so weak,
That with one hand the vaults of heaven could shake.
See how small room my infant Lord doth take,
  Whom all the world is not enough to hold.
  Who of his years, or of his age hath told?
Never such age so young, never a child so old.

III

And yet but newly he was infanted,
And yet already he was sought to die;
Yet scarcely born, already banished;
Not able yet to go, and forced to fly:
But scarcely fled away, when by and by,
  The tyrant's sword with blood is all denied,
  And Rachel, for her sons with fury wild,
Cries, O thou cruel king, and O my sweetest child!

IV.

Egypt his nurse became, where Nilus springs,
Who straight, to entertain the rising sun,
The hasty harvest in his bosom brings;
But now for drought the fields were all undone,
And now with waters all is overrun:
  So fast the Cynthian mountains poured their snow,
  When once they felt the sun so near them glow,
That Nilus Egypt lost, and to a sea did grow.

V.

The angels carolled loud their song of peace,
The cursed oracles were stricken dumb,
To see their shepherd, the poor shepherds press,
To see their king, the kingly sophics come,
And them to guide unto his Master's home,
  A star comes dancing up the orient,
  That springs for joy over the strawy tent,
Where gold, to make their prince a crown, they all present.

VI.

Young John, glad child, before he could be born,
Leapt in the womb, his joy to prophesy:
Old Anna, though with age all spent and worn,
Proclaims her Saviour to posterity:
And Simeon fast his dying notes doth ply.
  Oh, how the blessed souls about him trace!
  It is the fire of heaven thou dost embrace:
Sing, Simeon, sing; sing, Simeon, sing apace.

VII.

With that the mighty thunder dropt away
From God's unwary arm, now milder grown,
And melted into tears; as if to pray
For pardon, and for pity, it had known,
That should have been for sacred vengeance thrown:
  There too the armies angelic devowed
  Their former rage, and all to mercy bowed,
Their broken weapons at her feet they gladly strowed.

VIII.

Bring, bring, ye Graces, all your silver flaskets,
Painted with every choicest flower that grows,
That I may soon unflower your fragrant baskets,
To strow the fields with odours where he goes,
Let whatsoe'er he treads on be a rose.
  So down she let her eyelids fall, to shine
  Upon the rivers of bright Palestine,
Whose woods drop honey, and her rivers skip with wine.


SONG OF SORCERESS SEEKING TO TEMPT CHRIST.

Love is the blossom where there blows
Everything that lives or grows:
Love doth make the heavens to move,
And the sun doth burn in love:
Love the strong and weak doth yoke,
And makes the ivy climb the oak;
Under whose shadows lions wild,
Softened by love, grow tame and mild:
Love no medicine can appease,
He burns the fishes in the seas;
Not all the skill his wounds can stench,
Not all the sea his fire can quench:
Love did make the bloody spear
Once a leafy coat to wear,
While in his leaves there shrouded lay
Sweet birds, for love, that sing and play:
And of all love's joyful flame,
I the bud, and blossom am.
  Only bend thy knee to me,
  The wooing shall thy winning be.

See, see the flowers that below,
Now as fresh as morning blow,
And of all, the virgin rose,
That as bright Aurora shows:
How they all unleaved die,
Losing their virginity;
Like unto a summer-shade,
But now born, and now they fade.
Everything doth pass away,
There is danger in delay:
Come, come gather then the rose,
Gather it, ere it you lose.
All the sand of Tagus' shore
Into my bosom casts his ore;
All the valley's swimming corn
To my house is yearly borne:
Every grape of every vine
Is gladly bruised to make me wine.
While ten thousand kings, as proud,
To carry up my train have bowed,
And a world of ladies send me
In my chambers to attend me.
All the stars in heaven that shine,
And ten thousand more, are mine:
  Only bend thy knee to me,
  Thy wooing shall thy winning be.


CLOSE OF 'CHRIST'S VICTORY AND TRIUMPH.'

I

Here let my Lord hang up his conquering lance,
And bloody armour with late slaughter warm,
And looking down on his weak militants,
Behold his saints, midst of their hot alarm,
Hang all their golden hopes upon his arm.
  And in this lower field dispacing wide,
  Through windy thoughts, that would their sails misguide,
Anchor their fleshly ships fast in his wounded side.

II.

Here may the band, that now in triumph shines,
And that (before they were invested thus)
In earthly bodies carried heavenly minds,
Pitched round about in order glorious,
Their sunny tents, and houses luminous,
  All their eternal day in songs employing,
  Joying their end, without end of their joying,
While their Almighty Prince destruction is destroying.

III.

Full, yet without satiety, of that
Which whets and quiets greedy appetite,
Where never sun did rise, nor ever sat,
But one eternal day, and endless light
Gives time to those, whose time is infinite,
  Speaking without thought, obtaining without fee,
  Beholding him, whom never eye could see,
Magnifying him, that cannot greater be.

IV.

How can such joy as this want words to speak?
And yet what words can speak such joy as this?
Far from the world, that might their quiet break,
Here the glad souls the face of beauty kiss,
Poured out in pleasure, on their beds of bliss,
  And drunk with nectar torrents, ever hold
  Their eyes on him, whose graces manifold
The more they do behold, the more they would behold.

V.

Their sight drinks lovely fires in at their eyes,
Their brain sweet incense with fine breath accloys,
That on God's sweating altar burning lies;
Their hungry ears feed on the heavenly noise
That angels sing, to tell their untold joys;
  Their understanding naked truth, their wills
  The all, and self-sufficient goodness fills,
That nothing here is wanting, but the want of ills.

VI.

No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow,
No bloodless malady empales their face,
No age drops on their hairs his silver snow,
No nakedness their bodies doth embase,
No poverty themselves, and theirs disgrace,
  No fear of death the joy of life devours,
  No unchaste sleep their precious time deflowers,
No loss, no grief, no change wait on their winged hours.

VII.

But now their naked bodies scorn the cold,
And from their eyes joy looks, and laughs at pain;
The infant wonders how he came so old,
And old man how he came so young again;
Still resting, though from sleep they still restrain;
  Where all are rich, and yet no gold they owe;
  And all are kings, and yet no subjects know;
All full, and yet no time on food they do bestow.

VIII.

For things that pass are past, and in this field
The indeficient spring no winter fears;
The trees together fruit and blossom yield,
The unfading lily leaves of silver bears,
And crimson rose a scarlet garment wears:
  And all of these on the saints' bodies grow,
  Not, as they wont, on baser earth below;
Three rivers here of milk, and wine, and honey flow.

IX.

About the holy city rolls a flood
Of molten crystal, like a sea of glass,
On which weak stream a strong foundation stood,
Of living diamonds the building was
That all things else, besides itself, did pass:
  Her streets, instead of stones, the stars did pave,
  And little pearls, for dust, it seemed to have,
On which soft-streaming manna, like pure snow, did wave.

X.

In midst of this city celestial,
Where the eternal temple should have rose,
Lightened the idea beatifical:
End and beginning of each thing that grows,
Whose self no end, nor yet beginning knows,
  That hath no eyes to see, nor ears to hear;
  Yet sees, and hears, and is all eye, all ear;
That nowhere is contained, and yet is everywhere.

XI.

Changer of all things, yet immutable;
Before, and after all, the first, and last:
That moving all is yet immoveable;
Great without quantity, in whose forecast,
Things past are present, things to come are past;
  Swift without motion, to whose open eye
  The hearts of wicked men unbreasted lie;
At once absent, and present to them, far, and nigh.

XII.

It is no flaming lustre, made of light;
No sweet consent, or well-timed harmony;
Ambrosia, for to feast the appetite:
Or flowery odour, mixed with spicery;
No soft embrace, or pleasure bodily:
  And yet it is a kind of inward feast;
  A harmony that sounds within the breast;
An odour, light, embrace, in which the soul doth rest.

XIII.

A heavenly feast no hunger can consume;
A light unseen, yet shines in every place;
A sound no time can steal; a sweet perfume
No winds can scatter; an entire embrace,
That no satiety can e'er unlace:
  Ingraced into so high a favour, there
  The saints, with their beau-peers, whole worlds outwear;
And things unseen do see, and things unheard do hear.

XIV.

Ye blessed souls, grown richer by your spoil,
Whose loss, though great, is cause of greater gains;
Here may your weary spirits rest from toil,
Spending your endless evening that remains,
Amongst those white flocks, and celestial trains,
  That feed upon their Shepherd's eyes; and frame
  That heavenly music of so wondrous fame,
Psalming aloud the holy honours of his name!

XV.

Had I a voice of steel to tune my song;
Were every verse as smooth as smoothest glass;
And every member turned to a tongue;
And every tongue were made of sounding brass:
Yet all that skill, and all this strength, alas!
  Should it presume to adorn (were misadvised)
  The place, where David hath new songs devised,
As in his burning throne he sits emparadised.

XVI.

Most happy prince, whose eyes those stars behold,
Treading ours underfeet, now mayst thou pour
That overflowing skill, wherewith of old
Thou wont'st to smooth rough speech; now mayst thou shower
Fresh streams of praise upon that holy bower,
  Which well we heaven call, not that it rolls,
  But that it is the heaven of our souls:
Most happy prince, whose sight so heavenly sight beholds!

XVII.

Ah, foolish shepherds! who were wont to esteem
Your God all rough, and shaggy-haired to be;
And yet far wiser shepherds than ye deem,
For who so poor (though who so rich) as he,
When sojourning with us in low degree,
  He washed his flocks in Jordan's spotless tide;
  And that his dear remembrance might abide,
Did to us come, and with us lived, and for us died?

XVIII.

But now such lively colours did embeam
His sparkling forehead; and such shining rays
Kindled his flaming locks, that down did stream
In curls along his neck, where sweetly plays
(Singing his wounds of love in sacred lays)
  His dearest Spouse, Spouse of the dearest Lover,
  Knitting a thousand knots over and over,
And dying still for love, but they her still recover.

XIX.

Fairest of fairs, that at his eyes doth dress
Her glorious face; those eyes, from whence are shed
Attractions infinite; where to express
His love, high God all heaven as captive leads,
And all the banners of his grace dispreads,
  And in those windows doth his arms englaze,
  And on those eyes, the angels all do gaze,
And from those eyes, the lights of heaven obtain their blaze.

XX.

But let the Kentish lad,[1] that lately taught
His oaten reed the trumpet's silver sound,
Young Thyrsilis; and for his music brought
The willing spheres from heaven, to lead around
The dancing nymphs and swains, that sung, and crowned
  Eclecta's Hymen with ten thousand flowers
  Of choicest praise; and hung her heavenly bowers
With saffron garlands, dressed for nuptial paramours.

XXI.

Let his shrill trumpet, with her silver blast,
Of fair Eclecta, and her spousal bed,
Be the sweet pipe, and smooth encomiast:
But my green muse, hiding her younger head,
Under old Camus' flaggy banks, that spread
  Their willow locks abroad, and all the day
  With their own watery shadows wanton play;
Dares not those high amours, and love-sick songs assay.

XXII.

Impotent words, weak lines, that strive in vain;
  In vain, alas, to tell so heavenly sight!
So heavenly sight, as none can greater feign,
  Feign what he can, that seems of greatest might:
    Could any yet compare with Infinite?
    Infinite sure those joys; my words but light;
Light is the palace where she dwells; oh, then, how bright!

[1] The author of 'The Purple Island.'



JOHN DONNE.


John Donne was born in London, in the year 1573. He sprung from a
Catholic family, and his mother was related to Sir Thomas More and to
Heywood the epigrammatist. He was very early distinguished as a prodigy
of boyish acquirement, and was entered, when only eleven, of Harthall,
now Hertford College. He was designed for the law, but relinquished the
study when he reached nineteen. About the same time, having studied the
controversies between the Papists and Protestants, he deliberately went
over to the latter. He next accompanied the Earl of Essex to Cadiz, and
looked wistfully over the gulf dividing him from Jerusalem, with all its
holy memories, to which his heart had been translated from very boyhood.
He even meditated a journey to the Holy Land, but was discouraged by
reports as to the dangers of the way. On his return he was received by
the Lord Chancellor Ellesmere into his own house as his secretary. Here
he fell in love with Miss More, the daughter of Sir George More, Lord-
Lieutenant of the Tower, and the niece of the Chancellor. His passion
was returned, and the pair were imprudent enough to marry privately.
When the matter became known, the father-in-law became infuriated. He
prevailed on Lord Ellesmere to drive Donne out of his service, and had
him even for a short time imprisoned. Even when released he continued in
a pitiable plight, and but for the kindness of Sir Francis Wooley, a son
of Lady Ellesmere by a former marriage, who received the young couple
into his family and entertained them for years, they would have
perished.

When Donne reached the age of thirty-four, Dr Merton, afterwards Bishop
of Durham, urged him to take orders, and offered him a benefice, which
he was generously to relinquish in his favour. Donne declined, on
account, he said, of some past errors of life, which, 'though repented
of and pardoned by God, might not be forgotten by men, and might cast
dishonour on the sacred office.'

When Sir F. Wooley died, Sir Robert Drury became his next protector.
Donne attended him on an embassy to France, and his wife formed the
romantic purpose of accompanying her husband in the disguise of a page.
Here was a wife fit for a poet! In order to restrain her from her
purpose, he had to address to her some verses, commencing,

  'By our strange and fatal interview.'

Isaak Walton relates how the poet, one evening, as he sat alone in
Paris, saw his wife appearing to him in vision, with a dead infant in
her arms--a proof at once of the strength of his love and of his
imagination. This beloved and admirable woman died in 1617, a few days
after giving birth to her twelfth child, and Donne's grief approached
distraction.

When he had reached the forty-second year of his age, our poet, at the
instance of King James, became a clergyman, and was successively
appointed Chaplain to the King, Lecturer to Lincoln's Inn, Dean of St
Dunstan's in the West, and Dean of St Paul's. In the pulpit he attracted
great attention, particularly from the more thoughtful and intelligent
of his auditors. He continued Dean of St Paul's till his death, which
took place in 1631, when he was approaching sixty. He died of consumption,
a disease which seldom cuts down a man so near his grand climacteric.

'He was buried,' says Campbell, 'in St Paul's, where his figure yet
remains in the vault of St Faith's, carved from a painting, for which he
sat a few days' (it should be weeks) 'before his death, dressed in his
winding-sheet.' He kept this portrait constantly by his bedside to
remind him of his mortality.

Donne's Sermons fill a large folio, with which we were familiar in
boyhood, but have not seen since. De Quincey says, alluding partly
to them, and partly to his poetry,--'Few writers have shewn a more
extraordinary compass of powers than Donne, for he combined--what no
other man has ever done--the last sublimation of dialectical subtlety
and address with the most impassioned majesty. Massy diamonds compose
the very substance of his poem on the 'Metempsychosis,'--thoughts and
descriptions which have the fervent and gloomy sublimity of Ezekiel or
Aeschylus; while a diamond-dust of rhetorical brilliances is strewed
over the whole of his occasional verses and his prose.' We beg leave
to differ, in some degree, from De Quincey in his estimate of the
'Metempsychosis,' or 'The Progress of the Soul,' although we have given
it entire. It has too many far-fetched conceits and obscure allegories,
although redeemed, we admit, by some very precious thoughts, such as

  'This soul, to whom Luther and Mahomet were Prisons of flesh.'

Or the following quaint picture of the apple in Eden--

  'Prince of the orchard, fair as dawning morn,
  Fenced with the law, and ripe as soon as born.'

Or this--

  'Nature hath no jail, though she hath law.'

If our readers, however, can admire the account the poet gives of Abel
and his bitch, or see any resemblance to the severe and simple grandeur
of Aeschylus and Ezekiel in the description of the soul informing a
body, made of a '_female fish's sandy roe' 'newly leavened with the
male's jelly_,' we shall say no more.

Donne, altogether, gives us the impression of a great genius ruined by
a false system. He is a charioteer run away with by his own pampered
steeds. He begins generally well, but long ere the close, quibbles,
conceits, and the temptation of shewing off recondite learning, prove
too strong for him, and he who commenced following a serene star, ends
pursuing a will-o'-wisp into a bottomless morass. Compare, for instance,
the ingenious nonsense which abounds in the middle and the close of his
'Progress of the Soul' with the dark, but magnificent stanzas which are
the first in the poem.

In no writings in the language is there more spilt treasure--a more lavish
loss of beautiful, original, and striking things than in the poems of
Donne. Every second line, indeed, is either bad, or unintelligible, or
twisted into unnatural distortion, but even the worst passages discover a
great, though trammelled and tasteless mind; and we question if Dr Johnson
himself, who has, in his 'Life of Cowley,' criticised the school of poets
to which Donne belonged so severely, and in some points so justly,
possessed a tithe of the rich fancy, the sublime intuition, and the lofty
spirituality of Donne. How characteristic of the difference between these
two great men, that, while the one shrank from the slightest footprint of
death, Donne deliberately placed the image of his dead self before his
eyes, and became familiar with the shadow ere the grim reality arrived!

Donne's Satires shew, in addition to the high ideal qualities, the rugged
versification, the fantastic paradox, and the perverted taste of their
author, great strength and clearness of judgment, and a deep, although
somewhat jaundiced, view of human nature. That there must have been
something morbid in the structure of his mind is proved by the fact that
he wrote an elaborate treatise, which was not published till after his
death, entitled, 'Biathanatos,' to prove that suicide was not necessarily
sinful.


HOLY SONNETS.

I.

Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday.
I dare not move my dim eyes any way;
Despair behind, and death before, doth cast
Such terror, and my feeble flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh,
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour myself I can sustain:
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou, like adamant, draw mine iron heart.

II.

As due by many titles, I resign
Myself to thee, O God! First I was made
By thee, and for thee; and when I was decayed
Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine.
I am thy son, made with thyself to shine,
Thy servant, whose pains thou hast still repaid,
Thy sheep, thine image; and, till I betrayed
Myself, a temple of thy Spirit divine.
Why doth the devil then usurp on me?
Why doth he steal, nay, ravish, that's thy right?
Except thou rise, and for thine own work fight,
Oh! I shall soon despair, when I shall see
That thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt not choose me,
And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.

III.

Oh! might these sighs and tears return again
Into my breast and eyes which I have spent,
That I might, in this holy discontent,
Mourn with some fruit, as I have mourned in vain!
In mine idolatry what showers of rain
Mine eyes did waste! what griefs my heart did rent!
That sufferance was my sin I now repent;
'Cause I did suffer, I must suffer pain.
The hydroptic drunkard, and night-scouting thief,
The itchy lecher, and self-tickling proud,
Have th' remembrance of past joys for relief
Of coming ills. To poor me is allow'd
No ease; for long yet vehement grief hath been
The effect and cause, the punishment and sin.

IV.

Oh! my black soul! now thou art summoned
By sickness, death's herald and champion,
Thou 'rt like a pilgrim which abroad hath done
Treason, and durst not turn to whence he is fled;
Or like a thief, which, till death's doom be read,
Wisheth himself delivered from prison;
But damn'd, and haul'd to execution,
Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned:
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack;
But who shall give thee that grace to begin?
Oh! make thyself with holy mourning black,
And red with blushing, as thou art with sin;
Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might,
That, being red, it dyes red souls to white.

V.

I am a little world, made cunningly
Of elements and an angelic sprite;
But black sin hath betrayed to endless night
My world's both parts, and oh! both parts must die.
You, which beyond that heaven, which was most high,
Have found new spheres, and of new land can write,
Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
Or wash it, if it must be drowned no more:
But oh! it must be burnt; alas! the fire
Of lust and envy burnt it heretofore,
And made it fouler; let their flames retire,
And burn me, O Lord! with a fiery zeal
Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heal.

VI.

This is my play's last scene; here Heavens appoint
My pilgrimage's last mile; and my race,
Idly yet quickly run, hath this last pace,
My span's last inch, my minute's latest point,
And gluttonous Death will instantly unjoint
My body and soul, and I shall sleep a space:
But my ever-waking part shall see that face
Whose fear already shakes my every joint.
Then as my soul to heaven, her first seat, takes flight,
And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,
So fall my sins, that all may have their right,
To where they're bred, and would press me to hell.
Impute me righteous; thus purged of evil,
For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.

VII.

At the round earth's imagined corners blow
Your trumpets, angels! and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, overthrow;
All whom war, death, age, ague's tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain; and you whose eyes
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord! and me mourn a space;
For if above all these my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there. Here on this holy ground
Teach me how to repent, for that's as good
As if thou hadst sealed my pardon with thy blood.

VIII.

If faithful souls be alike glorified
As angels, then my father's soul doth see,
And adds this even to full felicity,
That valiantly I hell's wide mouth o'erstride;
But if our minds to these souls be descried
By circumstances and by signs that be
Apparent in us not immediately,
How shall my mind's white truth by them be tried?
They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,
And style blasphemous conjurors to call
On Jesus' name, and pharisaical
Dissemblers feign devotion. Then turn,
O pensive soul! to God, for he knows best
Thy grief, for he put it into my breast.

IX

If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us;
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious,
Cannot be damn'd, alas! why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And mercy being easy and glorious
To God, in his stern wrath why threatens he?
But who am I that dare dispute with thee!
O God! oh, of thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sins' black memory:
That thou remember them some claim as debt,
I think it mercy if thou wilt forget!

X

Death! be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death! nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure, then, from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness, dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou, then?
One short sleep past we wake eternally;
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

XI.

Spit in my face, you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet and scoff, scourge and crucify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he
Who could do no iniquity hath died,
But by my death cannot be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews' impiety:
They killed once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
O let me then his strange love still admire.
Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment;
And Jacob came, clothed in vile harsh attire,
But to supplant, and with gainful intent:
God clothed himself in vile man's flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to surfer woe.

XII.

Why are we by all creatures waited on?
Why do the prodigal elements supply
Life and food to me, being more pure than I,
Simpler, and further from corruption?
Why brook'st thou, ignorant horse, subjection?
Why do you, bull and boar, so sillily
Dissemble weakness, and by one man's stroke die,
Whose whole kind you might swallow and feed upon?
Weaker I am, woe's me! and worse than you:
You have not sinned, nor need be timorous,
But wonder at a greater, for to us
Created nature doth these things subdue;
But their Creator, whom sin nor nature tied,
For us, his creatures and his foes, hath died.

XIII.

What if this present were the world's last night?
Mark in my heart, O Soul! where thou dost dwell,
The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
Whether his countenance can thee affright;
Tears in his eyes quench the amazing light;
Blood fills his frowns, which from his pierced head fell.
And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell
Which prayed forgiveness for his foes' fierce spite?
No, no; but as in my idolatry
I said to all my profane mistresses,
Beauty of pity, foulness only is
A sign of rigour, so I say to thee:
To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assigned;
This beauteous form assumes a piteous mind.

XIV.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend,
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but oh! to no end:
Reason, your viceroy in me, we should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue;
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me; for I,
Except you enthral me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

XV.

Wilt thou love God as he thee? then digest,
My Soul! this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
In heaven, doth make his temple in thy breast.
The Father having begot a Son most blest,
And still begetting, (for he ne'er begun.)
Hath deigned to choose thee by adoption,
Co-heir to his glory, and Sabbath's endless rest:
And as a robbed man, which by search doth find
His stol'n stuff sold, must lose or buy 't again;
The Sun of glory came down and was slain,
Us, whom he had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.
'Twas much that man was made like God before,
But that God should be made like man much more.

XVI.

Father, part of his double interest
Unto thy kingdom thy Son gives to me;
His jointure in the knotty Trinity
He keeps, and gives to me his death's conquest.
This Lamb, whose death with life the world hath blest,
Was from the world's beginning slain, and he
Hath made two wills, which, with the legacy
Of his and thy kingdom, thy sons invest:
Yet such are these laws, that men argue yet
Whether a man those statutes can fulfil:
None doth; but thy all-healing grace and Spirit
Revive again what law and letter kill:
Thy law's abridgment and thy last command
Is all but love; oh, let this last will stand!


THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL.

I.

I sing the progress of a deathless Soul,
Whom Fate, which God made, but doth not control,
Placed in most shapes. All times, before the law
Yoked us, and when, and since, in this I sing,
And the great World to his aged evening,
From infant morn through manly noon I draw:
What the gold Chaldee or silver Persian saw,
Greek brass, or Roman iron, 'tis in this one,
A work to outwear Seth's pillars, brick and stone,
And, Holy Writ excepted, made to yield to none.

II

Thee, Eye of Heaven, this great Soul envies not;
By thy male force is all we have begot.
In the first east thou now beginn'st to shine,
Suck'st early balm, and island spices there,
And wilt anon in thy loose-reined career
At Tagus, Po, Seine, Thames, and Danow, dine,
And see at night this western land of mine;
Yet hast thou not more nations seen than she
That before thee one day began to be,
And, thy frail light being quench'd, shall long, long outlive thee.

III

Nor holy Janus, in whose sovereign boat
The church and all the monarchies did float;
That swimming college and free hospital
Of all mankind, that cage and vivary
Of fowls and beasts, in whose womb Destiny
Us and our latest nephews did install,
(From thence are all derived that fill this all,)
Didst thou in that great stewardship embark
So diverse shapes into that floating park,
As have been moved and inform'd by this heavenly spark.

IV.

Great Destiny! the commissary of God!
Thou hast marked out a path and period
For everything; who, where we offspring took,
Our ways and ends seest at one instant: thou
Knot of all causes; thou whose changeless brow
Ne'er smiles nor frowns, oh! vouchsafe thou to look,
And shew my story in thy eternal book,
That (if my prayer be fit) I may understand
So much myself as to know with what hand,
How scant or liberal, this my life's race is spann'd.

V.

To my six lustres, almost now outwore,
Except thy book owe me so many more;
Except my legend be free from the lets
Of steep ambition, sleepy poverty,
Spirit-quenching sickness, dull captivity,
Distracting business, and from beauty's nets,
And all that calls from this and t'other's whets;
Oh! let me not launch out, but let me save
The expense of brain and spirit, that my grave
His right and due, a whole unwasted man, may have.

VI.

But if my days be long and good enough,
In vain this sea shall enlarge or enrough
Itself; for I will through the wave and foam,
And hold, in sad lone ways, a lively sprite,
Make my dark heavy poem light, and light:
For though through many straits and lands I roam,
I launch at Paradise, and sail towards home:
The course I there began shall here be stayed;
Sails hoisted there struck here, and anchors laid
In Thames which were at Tigris and Euphrates weighed.

VII.

For the great Soul which here amongst us now
Doth dwell, and moves that hand, and tongue, and brow,
Which, as the moon the sea, moves us, to hear
Whose story with long patience you will long,
(For 'tis the crown and last strain of my song;)
This Soul, to whom Luther and Mohammed were
Prisons of flesh; this Soul,--which oft did tear
And mend the wrecks of the empire, and late Rome,
And lived when every great change did come,
Had first in Paradise a low but fatal room.

VIII.

Yet no low room, nor then the greatest, less
If, as devout and sharp men fitly guess,
That cross, our joy and grief, (where nails did tie
That All, which always was all everywhere,
Which could not sin, and yet all sins did bear,
Which could not die, yet could not choose but die,)
Stood in the self-same room in Calvary
Where first grew the forbidden learned tree;
For on that tree hung in security
This Soul, made by the Maker's will from pulling free.

IX.

Prince of the orchard, fair as dawning morn,
Fenced with the law, and ripe as soon as born,
That apple grew which this soul did enlive,
Till the then climbing serpent, that now creeps
For that offence for which all mankind weeps,
Took it, and t' her, whom the first man did wive,
(Whom and her race only forbiddings drive,)
He gave it, she to her husband; both did eat:
So perished the eaters and the meat,
And we, for treason taints the blood, thence die and sweat.

X.

Man all at once was there by woman slain,
And one by one we're here slain o'er again
By them. The mother poison'd the well-head;
The daughters here corrupt us rivulets;
No smallness 'scapes, no greatness breaks, their nets:
She thrust us out, and by them we are led
Astray from turning to whence we are fled.
Were prisoners judges 't would seem rigorous;
She sinned, we bear: part of our pain is thus
To love them whose fault to this painful love yoked us.

XI.

So fast in us doth this corruption grow,
That now we dare ask why we should be so.
Would God (disputes the curious rebel) make
A law, and would not have it kept? or can
His creatures' will cross his?  Of every man
For one will God (and be just) vengeance take?
Who sinned? 'twas not forbidden to the snake,
Nor her, who was not then made; nor is 't writ
That Adam cropt or knew the apple; yet
The worm, and she, and he, and we, endure for it.

XII.

But snatch me, heavenly Spirit! from this vain
Reck'ning their vanity; less is their gain
Than hazard still to meditate on ill,
Though with good mind; their reasons like those toys
Of glassy bubbles which the gamesome boys
Stretch to so nice a thinness through a quill,
That they themselves break, and do themselves spill.
Arguing is heretics' game, and exercise,
As wrestlers, perfects them. Not liberties
Of speech, but silence; hands, not tongues, and heresies.

XIII.

Just in that instant, when the serpent's gripe
Broke the slight veins and tender conduit-pipe
Through which this Soul from the tree's root did draw
Life and growth to this apple, fled away
This loose Soul, old, one and another day.
As lightning, which one scarce dare say he saw,
'Tis so soon gone (and better proof the law
Of sense than faith requires) swiftly she flew
To a dark and foggy plot; her her fates threw
There through the earth's pores, and in a plant housed her anew.

XIV.

The plant, thus abled, to itself did force
A place where no place was by Nature's course,
As air from water, water fleets away
From thicker bodies; by this root thronged so
His spungy confines gave him place to grow:
Just as in our streets, when the people stay
To see the prince, and so fill up the way
That weasels scarce could pass; when he comes near
They throng and cleave up, and a passage clear,
As if for that time their round bodies flatten'd were.

XV.

His right arm he thrust out towards the east,
Westward his left; the ends did themselves digest
Into ten lesser strings, these fingers were:
And, as a slumberer, stretching on his bed,
This way he this, and that way scattered
His other leg, which feet with toes upbear;
Grew on his middle part, the first day, hair.
To shew that in love's business he should still
A dealer be, and be used, well or ill:
His apples kindle, his leaves force of conception kill.

XVI.

A mouth, but dumb, he hath; blind eyes, deaf ears,
And to his shoulders dangle subtle hairs;
A young Colossus there he stands upright;
And, as that ground by him were conquered,
A lazy garland wears he on his head
Enchased with little fruits so red and bright,
That for them ye would call your love's lips white;
So of a lone unhaunted place possess'd,
Did this Soul's second inn, built by the guest,
This living buried man, this quiet mandrake, rest.

XVII.

No lustful woman came this plant to grieve,
But 'twas because there was none yet but Eve,
And she (with other purpose) killed it quite:
Her sin had now brought in infirmities,
And so her cradled child the moist-red eyes
Had never shut, nor slept, since it saw light:
Poppy she knew, she knew the mandrake's might,
And tore up both, and so cooled her child's blood.
Unvirtuous weeds might long unvexed have stood,
But he's short-lived that with his death can do most good.

XVIII.

To an unfettered Soul's quick nimble haste
Are falling stars and heart's thoughts but slow-paced,
Thinner than burnt air flies this Soul, and she,
Whom four new-coming and four parting suns
Had found, and left the mandrake's tenant, runs,
Thoughtless of change, when her firm destiny
Confined and enjailed her that seemed so free
Into a small blue shell, the which a poor
Warm bird o'erspread, and sat still evermore,
Till her enclosed child kicked, and picked itself a door.

XIX.

Out crept a sparrow, this Soul's moving inn,
On whose raw arms stiff feathers now begin,
As children's teeth through gums, to break with pain:
His flesh is jelly yet, and his bones threads;
All a new downy mantle overspreads:
A mouth he opes, which would as much contain
As his late house, and the first hour speaks plain,
And chirps aloud for meat: meat fit for men
His father steals for him, and so feeds then
One that within a month will beat him from his hen.

XX.

In this world's youth wise Nature did make haste,
Things ripened sooner, and did longer last:
Already this hot cock in bush and tree,
In field and tent, o'erflutters his next hen:
He asks her not who did so taste, nor when;
Nor if his sister or his niece she be,
Nor doth she pule for his inconstancy
If in her sight he change; nor doth refuse
The next that calls; both liberty do use.
Where store is of both kinds, both kinds may freely choose.

XXI.

Men, till they took laws, which made freedom less,
Their daughters and their sisters did ingress;
Till now unlawful, therefore ill, 'twas not;
So jolly, that it can move this Soul. Is
The body so free of his kindnesses,
That self-preserving it hath now forgot,
And slack'neth not the Soul's and body's knot,
Which temp'rance straitens? Freely on his she-friends
He blood and spirit, pith and marrow, spends;
Ill steward of himself, himself in three years ends.

XXII.

Else might he long have lived; man did not know
Of gummy blood which doth in holly grow,
How to make bird-lime, nor how to deceive,
With feigned calls, his nets, or enwrapping snare,
The free inhabitants of the pliant air.
Man to beget, and woman to conceive,
Asked not of roots, nor of cock-sparrows, leave;
Yet chooseth he, though none of these he fears,
Pleasantly three; then straitened twenty years
To live, and to increase his race himself outwears.

XXIII.

This coal with over-blowing quenched and dead,
The Soul from her too active organs fled
To a brook. A female fish's sandy roe
With the male's jelly newly leavened was;
For they had intertouched as they did pass,
And one of those small bodies, fitted so,
This Soul informed, and able it to row
Itself with finny oars, which she did fit,
Her scales seemed yet of parchment, and as yet
Perchance a fish, but by no name you could call it.

XXIV.

When goodly, like a ship in her full trim,
A swan so white, that you may unto him
Compare all whiteness, but himself to none,
Glided along, and as he glided watched,
And with his arched neck this poor fish catched:
It moved with state, as if to look upon
Low things it scorned; and yet before that one
Could think he sought it, he had swallowed clear
This and much such, and unblamed, devoured there
All but who too swift, too great, or well-armed, were.

XXV.

Now swam a prison in a prison put,
And now this Soul in double walls was shut,
Till melted with the swan's digestive fire
She left her house, the fish, and vapoured forth:
Fate not affording bodies of more worth
For her as yet, bids her again retire
To another fish, to any new desire
Made a new prey; for he that can to none
Resistance make, nor complaint, is sure gone;
Weakness invites, but silence feasts oppression.

XXVI.

Pace with the native stream this fish doth keep,
And journeys with her towards the glassy deep,
But oft retarded; once with a hidden net,
Though with great windows, (for when need first taught
These tricks to catch food, then they were not wrought
As now, with curious greediness, to let
None 'scape, but few and fit for use to get,)
As in this trap a ravenous pike was ta'en,
Who, though himself distress'd, would fain have slain
This wretch; so hardly are ill habits left again.

XXVII.

Here by her smallness she two deaths o'erpast,
Once innocence 'scaped, and left the oppressor fast;
The net through swam, she keeps the liquid path,
And whether she leap up sometimes to breathe
And suck in air, or find it underneath,
Or working parts like mills or limbecs hath,
To make the water thin, and air like faith,
Cares not, but safe the place she's come unto,
Where fresh with salt waves meet, and what to do
She knows not, but between both makes a board or two.

XXVIII.

So far from hiding her guests water is,
That she shews them in bigger quantities
Than they are. Thus her, doubtful of her way,
For game, and not for hunger, a sea-pie
Spied through his traitorous spectacle from high
The silly fish, where it disputing lay,
And to end her doubts and her, bears her away;
Exalted, she's but to the exalter's good,
(As are by great ones men which lowly stood;)
It's raised to be the raiser's instrument and food.

XXIX.

Is any kind subject to rape like fish?
Ill unto man they neither do nor wish;
Fishers they kill not, nor with noise awake;
They do not hunt, nor strive to make a prey
Of beasts, nor their young sons to bear away;
Fowls they pursue not, nor do undertake
To spoil the nests industrious birds do make;
Yet them all these unkind kinds feed upon;
To kill them is an occupation,
And laws make fasts and lents for their destruction.

XXX.

A sudden stiff land-wind in that self hour
To sea-ward forced this bird that did devour
The fish; he cares not, for with ease he flies,
Fat gluttony's best orator: at last,
So long he hath flown, and hath flown so fast,
That, leagues o'erpast at sea, now tired he lies,
And with his prey, that till then languished, dies:
The souls, no longer foes, two ways did err.
The fish I follow, and keep no calender
Of the other: he lives yet in some great officer.

XXXI.

Into an embryo fish our Soul is thrown,
And in due time thrown out again, and grown
To such vastness, as if unmanacled
From Greece Morea were, and that, by some
Earthquake unrooted, loose Morea swam;
Or seas from Afric's body had severed
And torn the Hopeful promontory's head:
This fish would seem these, and, when all hopes fail,
A great ship overset, or without sail,
Hulling, might (when this was a whelp) be like this whale.

XXXII.

At every stroke his brazen fins do take
More circles in the broken sea they make
Than cannons' voices when the air they tear:
His ribs are pillars, and his high-arched roof
Of bark, that blunts best steel, is thunder-proof:
Swim in him swallowed dolphins without fear,
And feel no sides, as if his vast womb were
Some inland sea; and ever, as he went,
He spouted rivers up, as if he meant
To join our seas with seas above the firmament.

XXXIII.

He hunts not fish, but, as an officer
Stays in his court, at his own net, and there
All suitors of all sorts themselves enthral;
So on his back lies this whale wantoning,
And in his gulf-like throat sucks every thing,
That passeth near. Fish chaseth fish, and all,
Flier and follower, in this whirlpool fall:
Oh! might not states of more equality
Consist? and is it of necessity
That thousand guiltless smalls to make one great must die?

XXXIV.

Now drinks he up seas, and he eats up flocks;
He jostles islands, and he shakes firm rocks:
Now in a roomful house this Soul doth float,
And, like a prince, she sends her faculties
To all her limbs, distant as provinces.
The sun hath twenty times both Crab and Goat
Parched, since first launched forth this living boat:
'Tis greatest now, and to destruction
Nearest; there's no pause at perfection;
Greatness a period hath, but hath no station.

XXXV.

Two little fishes, whom he never harmed,
Nor fed on their kind, two, not th'roughly armed
With hope that they could kill him, nor could do
Good to themselves by his death, (they did not eat
His flesh, nor suck those oils which thence outstreat,)
Conspired against him; and it might undo
The plot of all that the plotters were two,
But that they fishes were, and could not speak.
How shall a tyrant wise strong projects break,
If wretches can on them the common anger wreak?

XXXVI.

The flail-finned thresher and steel-beaked sword-fish
Only attempt to do what all do wish:
The thresher backs him, and to beat begins;
The sluggard whale leads to oppression,
And t' hide himself from shame and danger, down
Begins to sink: the sword-fish upwards spins,
And gores him with his beak; his staff-like fins
So well the one, his sword the other, plies,
That, now a scoff and prey, this tyrant dies,
And (his own dole) feeds with himself all companies.

XXXVII.

Who will revenge his death? or who will call
Those to account that thought and wrought his fall?
The heirs of slain kings we see are often so
Transported with the joy of what they get,
That they revenge and obsequies forget;
Nor will against such men the people go,
Because he's now dead to whom they should show
Love in that act. Some kings, by vice, being grown
So needy of subjects' love, that of their own
They think they lose if love be to the dead prince shown.

XXXVIII.

This soul, now free from prison and passion,
Hath yet a little indignation
That so small hammers should so soon down beat
So great a castle; and having for her house
Got the strait cloister of a wretched mouse,
(As basest men, that have not what to eat,
Nor enjoy ought, do far more hate the great
Than they who good reposed estates possess,)
This Soul, late taught that great things might by less
Be slain, to gallant mischief doth herself address.

XXXIX.

Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant,
(The only harmless great thing,) the giant
Of beasts, who thought none had to make him wise,
But to be just and thankful, both to offend,
(Yet Nature hath given him no knees to bend,)
Himself he up-props, on himself relies,
And, foe to none, suspects no enemies,
Still sleeping stood; vexed not his fantasy
Black dreams; like an unbent bow carelessly
His sinewy proboscis did remissly lie.

XL.

In which, as in a gallery, this mouse
Walked, and surveyed the rooms of this vast house,
And to the brain, the Soul's bed-chamber, went,
And gnawed the life-cords there: like a whole town
Clean undermined, the slain beast tumbled down:
With him the murderer dies, whom envy sent
To kill, not 'scape, (for only he that meant
To die did ever kill a man of better room,)
And thus he made his foe his prey and tomb:
Who cares not to turn back may any whither come.

XLI.

Next housed this Soul a wolf's yet unborn whelp,
Till the best midwife, Nature, gave it help
To issue: it could kill as soon as go.
Abel, as white and mild as his sheep were,
(Who, in that trade, of church and kingdoms there
Was the first type,) was still infested so
With this wolf, that it bred his loss and woe;
And yet his bitch, his sentinel, attends
The flock so near, so well warns and defends,
That the wolf, hopeless else, to corrupt her intends.

XLII.

He took a course, which since successfully
Great men have often taken, to espy
The counsels, or to break the plots, of foes;
To Abel's tent he stealeth in the dark,
On whose skirts the bitch slept: ere she could bark,
Attached her with strait gripes, yet he called those
Embracements of love: to love's work he goes,
Where deeds move more than words; nor doth she show,
Nor much resist, no needs he straiten so
His prey, for were she loose she would not bark nor go.

XLIII.

He hath engaged her; his she wholly bides;
Who not her own, none other's secrets hides.
If to the flock he come, and Abel there,
She feigns hoarse barkings, but she biteth not!
Her faith is quite, but not her love forgot.
At last a trap, of which some everywhere
Abel had placed, ends all his loss and fear
By the wolf's death; and now just time it was
That a quick Soul should give life to that mass
Of blood in Abel's bitch, and thither this did pass.

XLIV.

Some have their wives, their sisters some begot,
But in the lives of emperors you shall not
Read of a lust the which may equal this:
This wolf begot himself, and finished
What he began alive when he was dead.
Son to himself, and father too, he is
A riding lust, for which schoolmen would miss
A proper name. The whelp of both these lay
In Abel's tent, and with soft Moaba,
His sister, being young, it used to sport and play.

XLV.

He soon for her too harsh and churlish grew,
And Abel (the dam dead) would use this new
For the field; being of two kinds thus made,
He, as his dam, from sheep drove wolves away,
And, as his sire, he made them his own prey.
Five years he lived, and cozened with his trade,
Then, hopeless that his faults were hid, betrayed
Himself by flight, and by all followed,
From dogs a wolf, from wolves a dog, he fled,
And, like a spy, to both sides false, he perished.

XLVI.

It quickened next a toyful ape, and so
Gamesome it was, that it might freely go
From tent to tent, and with the children play:
His organs now so like theirs he doth find,
That why he cannot laugh and speak his mind
He wonders. Much with all, most he doth stay
With Adam's fifth daughter, Siphatecia;
Doth gaze on her, and where she passeth pass,
Gathers her fruits, and tumbles on the grass;
And, wisest of that kind, the first true lover was.

XLVII.

He was the first that more desired to have
One than another; first that e'er did crave
Love by mute signs, and had no power to speak;
First that could make love-faces, or could do
The vaulter's somersalts, or used to woo
With hoiting gambols, his own bones to break,
To make his mistress merry, or to wreak
Her anger on himself. Sins against kind
They easily do that can let feed their mind
With outward beauty; beauty they in boys and beasts do find.

XLVIII.

By this misled too low things men have proved,
And too high; beasts and angels have been loved:
This ape, though else th'rough vain, in this was wise;
He reached at things too high, but open way
There was, and he knew not she would say Nay.
His toys prevail not; likelier means he tries;
He gazeth on her face with tear-shot eyes,
And uplifts subtlely, with his russet paw,
Her kid-skin apron without fear or awe
Of Nature; Nature hath no jail, though she hath law.

XLIX.

First she was silly, and knew not what he meant:
That virtue, by his touches chafed and spent,
Succeeds an itchy warmth, that melts her quite;
She knew not first, nor cares not what he doth;
And willing half and more, more than half wrath,
She neither pulls nor pushes, but outright
Now cries, and now repents; when Thelemite,
Her brother, entered, and a great stone threw
After the ape, who thus prevented flew.
This house, thus battered down, the Soul possessed anew.

L.

And whether by this change she lose or win,
She comes out next where the ape would have gone in.
Adam and Eve had mingled bloods, and now,
Like chemic's equal fires, her temperate womb
Had stewed and formed it; and part did become
A spungy liver, that did richly allow,
Like a free conduit on a high hill's brow,
Life-keeping moisture unto every part;
Part hardened itself to a thicker heart,
Whose busy furnaces life's spirits do impart.

LI.

Another part became the well of sense,
The tender, well-armed feeling brain, from whence
Those sinew strings which do our bodies tie
Are ravelled out; and fast there by one end
Did this Soul limbs, these limbs a Soul attend;
And now they joined, keeping some quality
Of every past shape; she knew treachery,
Rapine, deceit, and lust, and ills enough
To be a woman: Themech she is now,
Sister and wife to Cain, Cain that first did plough.

LII.

Whoe'er thou beest that read'st this sullen writ,
Which just so much courts thee as thou dost it,
Let me arrest thy thoughts; wonder with me
Why ploughing, building, ruling, and the rest,
Or most of those arts whence our lives are blest,
By cursed Cain's race invented be,
And blest Seth vexed us with astronomy.
There's nothing simply good nor ill alone;
Of every quality Comparison
The only measure is, and judge Opinion.



MICHAEL DRAYTON,


The author of 'Polyolbion,' was born in the parish of Atherston, in
Warwickshire, about the year 1563. He was the son of a butcher, but
displayed such precocity that several persons of quality, such as Sir
Walter Aston and the Countess of Bedford, patronised him. In his
childhood he was eager to know what strange kind of beings poets were;
and on coming to Oxford, (if, indeed, he did study there,) is said to
have importuned his tutor to make him, if possible, a poet. He was
supported chiefly, through his life, by the Lady Bedford. He paid court,
without success, to King James. In 1593 (having long ere this become
that 'strange thing a poet') he published a collection of his Pastorals,
and afterwards his 'Barons' Wars' and 'England's Heroical Epistles,'
which are both rhymed histories. In 1612-13 he published the first part
of 'Polyolbion,' and in 1622 completed the work. In 1626 we hear of him
being styled Poet Laureate, but the title then implied neither royal
appointment, nor fee, nor, we presume, duty. In 1627 he published 'The
Battle of Agincourt,' 'The Court of Faerie,' and other poems; and, three
years later, a book called 'The Muses' Elysium.' He had at last found an
asylum in the family of the Earl of Dorset; whose noble lady, Lady Anne
Clifford, subsequently Countess of Pembroke, and who had been, we saw,
Daniel's pupil, after Drayton's death in 1631, erected him a monument,
with a gold-lettered inscription, in Westminster Abbey.

The main pillar of Drayton's fame is 'Polyolbion,' which forms a poetical
description of England, in thirty songs or books, to which the learned
Camden appended notes. The learning and knowledge of this poem are exten-
sive, and many of the descriptions are true and spirited, but the space
of ground traversed is too large, and the form of versification is too
heavy, for so long a flight. Campbell justly remarks,--'On a general
survey, the mass of his poetry has no strength or sustaining spirit equal
to its bulk. There is a perpetual play of fancy on its surface; but the
impulses of passion, and the guidance of judgment, give it no strong
movements or consistent course.'

Drayton eminently suits a 'Selection' such as ours, since his parts are
better than his whole.


DESCRIPTION OF MORNING.

When Phoebus lifts his head out of the winter's wave,
No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave,
At such time as the year brings on the pleasant spring,
But hunts-up to the morn the feather'd sylvans sing:
And in the lower grove, as on the rising knoll,
Upon the highest spray of every mounting pole,
Those choristers are perch'd with many a speckled breast.
Then from her burnish'd gate the goodly glitt'ring east
Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night
Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's sight:
On which the mirthful choirs, with their clear open throats,
Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes,
That hills and valleys ring, and even the echoing air
Seems all composed of sounds, about them everywhere.
The throstle, with shrill sharps; as purposely he sung
T'awake the lustless sun, or chiding, that so long
He was in coming forth, that should the thickets thrill;
The woosel near at hand, that hath a golden bill;
As nature him had mark'd of purpose, t'let us see
That from all other birds his tunes should different be:
For, with their vocal sounds, they sing to pleasant May;
Upon his dulcet pipe the merle doth only play.
When in the lower brake, the nightingale hard by,
In such lamenting strains the joyful hours doth ply,
As though the other birds she to her tunes would draw,
And, but that nature (by her all-constraining law)
Each bird to her own kind this season doth invite,
They else, alone to hear that charmer of the night,
(The more to use their ears,) their voices sure would spare,
That moduleth her tunes so admirably rare,
As man to set in parts at first had learn'd of her.

To Philomel the next, the linnet we prefer;
And by that warbling bird, the wood-lark place we then,
The red-sparrow, the nope, the redbreast, and the wren.
The yellow-pate; which though she hurt the blooming tree,
Yet scarce hath any bird a finer pipe than she.
And of these chanting fowls, the goldfinch not behind,
That hath so many sorts descending from her kind.
The tydy for her notes as delicate as they,
The laughing hecco, then the counterfeiting jay,
The softer with the shrill (some hid among the leaves,
Some in the taller trees, some in the lower greaves)
Thus sing away the morn, until the mounting sun
Through thick exhaled fogs his golden head hath run,
And through the twisted tops of our close covert creeps
To kiss the gentle shade, this while that sweetly sleeps.
And near to these our thicks, the wild and frightful herds,
Not hearing other noise but this of chattering birds,
Feed fairly on the lawns; both sorts of season'd deer:
Here walk the stately red, the freckled fallow there:
The bucks and lusty stags amongst the rascals strew'd,
As sometime gallant spirits amongst the multitude.

Of all the beasts which we for our venerial name,
The hart among the rest, the hunter's noblest game:
Of which most princely chase since none did e'er report,
Or by description touch, to express that wondrous sport,
(Yet might have well beseem'd the ancients' nobler songs)
To our old Arden here, most fitly it belongs:
Yet shall she not invoke the muses to her aid;
But thee, Diana bright, a goddess and a maid:
In many a huge-grown wood, and many a shady grove,
Which oft hast borne thy bow (great huntress, used to rove)
At many a cruel beast, and with thy darts to pierce
The lion, panther, ounce, the bear, and tiger fierce;
And following thy fleet game, chaste mighty forest's queen,
With thy dishevell'd nymphs attired in youthful green,
About the lawns hast scour'd, and wastes both far and near,
Brave huntress; but no beast shall prove thy quarries here;
Save those the best of chase, the tall and lusty red,
The stag for goodly shape, and stateliness of head,
Is fitt'st to hunt at force. For whom, when with his hounds
The labouring hunter tufts the thick unbarbed grounds
Where harbour'd is the hart; there often from his feed
The dogs of him do find; or thorough skilful heed,
The huntsman by his slot, or breaking earth, perceives,
On entering of the thick by pressing of the greaves,
Where he had gone to lodge. Now when the hart doth hear
The often-bellowing hounds to vent his secret leir,
He rousing rusheth out, and through the brakes doth drive,
As though up by the roots the bushes he would rive.
And through the cumbrous thicks, as fearfully he makes,
He with his branched head the tender saplings shakes,
That sprinkling their moist pearl do seem for him to weep;
When after goes the cry, with yellings loud and deep,
That all the forest rings, and every neighbouring place:
And there is not a hound but falleth to the chase;
Rechating with his horn, which then the hunter cheers,
Whilst still the lusty stag his high-palm'd head upbears,
His body showing state, with unbent knees upright,
Expressing from all beasts, his courage in his flight.
But when the approaching foes still following he perceives,
That he his speed must trust, his usual walk he leaves:
And o'er the champain flies: which when the assembly find,
Each follows, as his horse were footed with the wind.
But being then imbost, the noble stately deer
When he hath gotten ground (the kennel cast arrear)
Doth beat the brooks and ponds for sweet refreshing soil:
That serving not, then proves if he his scent can foil,
And makes amongst the herds, and flocks of shag-wooled sheep,
Them frighting from the guard of those who had their keep.
But when as all his shifts his safety still denies,
Put quite out of his walk, the ways and fallows tries.
Whom when the ploughman meets, his team he letteth stand
To assail him with his goad: so with his hook in hand,
The shepherd him pursues, and to his dog doth hollo:
When, with tempestuous speed, the hounds and huntsmen follow;
Until the noble deer through toil bereaved of strength,
His long and sinewy legs then failing him at length,
The villages attempts, enraged, not giving way
To anything he meets now at his sad decay.
The cruel ravenous hounds and bloody hunters near,
This noblest beast of chase, that vainly doth but fear,
Some bank or quickset finds: to which his haunch opposed,
He turns upon his foes, that soon have him enclosed.
The churlish-throated hounds then holding him at bay,
And as their cruel fangs on his harsh skin they lay,
With his sharp-pointed head he dealeth deadly wounds.

The hunter, coming in to help his wearied hounds,
He desperately assails; until oppress'd by force,
He who the mourner is to his own dying corse,
Upon the ruthless earth his precious tears lets fall.



EDWARD FAIRFAX.


Edward Fairfax was the second, some say the natural, son of Sir Thomas
Fairfax of Denton, in Yorkshire. The dates of his birth and of his death
are unknown, although he was living in 1631. While his brothers were
pursuing military glory in the field, Edward married early, and settled in
Fuystone, a place near Knaresborough Forest. Here he spent part of his
time in managing his elder brother, Lord Fairfax's property, and partly in
literary pursuits. He wrote a strange treatise on Demonology, a History of
Edward the Black Prince, which has never been printed, some poor Eclogues,
and a most beautiful translation of Tasso, which stamps him a true poet as
well as a benefactor to the English language, and on account of which
Collins calls him--

'Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
  Believed the magic wonders which he sung.'


RINALDO AT MOUNT OLIVET.

1  It was the time, when 'gainst the breaking day
   Rebellious night yet strove, and still repined;
   For in the east appear'd the morning gray,
   And yet some lamps in Jove's high palace shined,
   When to Mount Olivet he took his way,
   And saw, as round about his eyes he twined,
     Night's shadows hence, from thence the morning's shine;
     This bright, that dark; that earthly, this divine:

2  Thus to himself he thought: 'How many bright
   And splendent lamps shine in heaven's temple high!
   Day hath his golden sun, her moon the night,
   Her fix'd and wandering stars the azure sky;
   So framed all by their Creator's might,
   That still they live and shine, and ne'er shall die,
     Till, in a moment, with the last day's brand
     They burn, and with them burn sea, air, and land.'

3  Thus as he mused, to the top he went,
   And there kneel'd down with reverence and fear;
   His eyes upon heaven's eastern face he bent;
   His thoughts above all heavens uplifted were--
   'The sins and errors, which I now repent,
   Of my unbridled youth, O Father dear,
     Remember not, but let thy mercy fall,
     And purge my faults and my offences all.'

4  Thus prayed he; with purple wings up-flew
   In golden weed the morning's lusty queen,
   Begilding, with the radiant beams she threw,
   His helm, his harness, and the mountain green:
   Upon his breast and forehead gently blew
   The air, that balm and nardus breathed unseen;
     And o'er his head, let down from clearest skies,
     A cloud of pure and precious dew there flies:

5  The heavenly dew was on his garments spread,
   To which compared, his clothes pale ashes seem,
   And sprinkled so, that all that paleness fled,
   And thence of purest white bright rays outstream:
   So cheered are the flowers, late withered,
   With the sweet comfort of the morning beam;
     And so, return'd to youth, a serpent old
     Adorns herself in new and native gold.

6  The lovely whiteness of his changed weed
   The prince perceived well and long admired;
   Toward, the forest march'd he on with speed,
   Resolved, as such adventures great required:
   Thither he came, whence, shrinking back for dread
   Of that strange desert's sight, the first retired;
     But not to him fearful or loathsome made
     That forest was, but sweet with pleasant shade.

7  Forward he pass'd, and in the grove before
   He heard a sound, that strange, sweet, pleasing was;
   There roll'd a crystal brook with gentle roar,
   There sigh'd the winds, as through the leaves they pass;
   There did the nightingale her wrongs deplore,
   There sung the swan, and singing died, alas!
     There lute, harp, cittern, human voice, he heard,
     And all these sounds one sound right well declared.

8  A dreadful thunder-clap at last he heard,
   The aged trees and plants well-nigh that rent,
   Yet heard the nymphs and sirens afterward,
   Birds, winds, and waters, sing with sweet consent;
   Whereat amazed, he stay'd, and well prepared
   For his defence, heedful and slow forth-went;
     Nor in his way his passage ought withstood,
     Except a quiet, still, transparent flood:

9  On the green banks, which that fair stream inbound,
   Flowers and odours sweetly smiled and smell'd,
   Which reaching out his stretched arms around,
   All the large desert in his bosom held,
   And through the grove one channel passage found;
   This in the wood, in that the forest dwell'd:
     Trees clad the streams, streams green those trees aye made,
     And so exchanged their moisture and their shade.

10 The knight some way sought out the flood to pass,
   And as he sought, a wondrous bridge appear'd;
   A bridge of gold, a huge and mighty mass,
   On arches great of that rich metal rear'd:
   When through that golden way he enter'd was,
   Down fell the bridge; swelled the stream, and wear'd
     The work away, nor sign left, where it stood,
     And of a river calm became a flood.

11 He turn'd, amazed to see it troubled so,
   Like sudden brooks, increased with molten snow;
   The billows fierce, that tossed to and fro,
   The whirlpools suck'd down to their bosoms low;
   But on he went to search for wonders mo,[1]
   Through the thick trees, there high and broad which grow;
     And in that forest huge, and desert wide,
     The more he sought, more wonders still he spied:

12 Where'er he stepp'd, it seem'd the joyful ground
   Renew'd the verdure of her flowery weed;
   A fountain here, a well-spring there he found;
   Here bud the roses, there the lilies spread:
   The aged wood o'er and about him round
   Flourish'd with blossoms new, new leaves, new seed;
     And on the boughs and branches of those treen
     The bark was soften'd, and renew'd the green.

13 The manna on each leaf did pearled lie;
   The honey stilled[2] from the tender rind:
   Again he heard that wonderful harmony
   Of songs and sweet complaints of lovers kind;
   The human voices sung a treble high,
   To which respond the birds, the streams, the wind;
     But yet unseen those nymphs, those singers were,
     Unseen the lutes, harps, viols which they bear.

14 He look'd, he listen'd, yet his thoughts denied
   To think that true which he did hear and see:
   A myrtle in an ample plain he spied,
   And thither by a beaten path went he;
   The myrtle spread her mighty branches wide,
   Higher than pine, or palm, or cypress tree,
     And far above all other plants was seen
     That forest's lady, and that desert's queen.

15 Upon the tree his eyes Rinaldo bent,
   And there a marvel great and strange began;
   An aged oak beside him cleft and rent,
   And from his fertile, hollow womb, forth ran,
   Clad in rare weeds and strange habiliment,
   A nymph, for age able to go to man;
     An hundred plants beside, even in his sight,
     Childed an hundred nymphs, so great, so dight.[3]

16 Such as on stages play, such as we see
   The dryads painted, whom wild satyrs love,
   Whose arms half naked, locks untrussed be,
   With buskins laced on their legs above,
   And silken robes tuck'd short above their knee,
   Such seem'd the sylvan daughters of this grove;
     Save, that instead of shafts and bows of tree,
     She bore a lute, a harp or cittern she;

17 And wantonly they cast them in a ring,
   And sung and danced to move his weaker sense,
   Rinaldo round about environing,
   As does its centre the circumference;
   The tree they compass'd eke, and 'gan to sing,
   That woods and streams admired their excellence--
     'Welcome, dear Lord, welcome to this sweet grove,
     Welcome, our lady's hope, welcome, her love!

18 'Thou com'st to cure our princess, faint and sick
   For love, for love of thee, faint, sick, distress'd;
   Late black, late dreadful was this forest thick,
   Fit dwelling for sad folk, with grief oppress'd;
   See, with thy coming how the branches quick
   Revived are, and in new blossoms dress'd!'
     This was their song; and after from it went
     First a sweet sound, and then the myrtle rent.

19 If antique times admired Silenus old,
   Who oft appear'd set on his lazy ass,
   How would they wonder, if they had behold
   Such sights, as from the myrtle high did pass!
   Thence came a lady fair with locks of gold,
   That like in shape, in face, and beauty was
     To fair Armida; Rinald thinks he spies
     Her gestures, smiles, and glances of her eyes:

20 On him a sad and smiling look she cast,
   Which twenty passions strange at once bewrays;
   'And art thou come,' quoth she, 'return'd at last'
   To her, from whom but late thou ran'st thy ways?
   Com'st thou to comfort me for sorrows past,
   To ease my widow nights, and careful days?
     Or comest thou to work me grief and harm?
     Why nilt thou speak, why not thy face disarm?

21 'Com'st thou a friend or foe? I did not frame
   That golden bridge to entertain my foe;
   Nor open'd flowers and fountains, as you came,
   To welcome him with joy who brings me woe:
   Put off thy helm: rejoice me with the flame
   Of thy bright eyes, whence first my fires did grow;
     Kiss me, embrace me; if you further venture,
     Love keeps the gate, the fort is eath[4] to enter.'

22 Thus as she woos, she rolls her rueful eyes
   With piteous look, and changeth oft her chere,[5]
   An hundred sighs from her false heart up-flies;
   She sobs, she mourns, it is great ruth to hear:
   The hardest breast sweet pity mollifies;
   What stony heart resists a woman's tear?
     But yet the knight, wise, wary, not unkind,
     Drew forth his sword, and from her careless twined:[6]

23 Towards the tree he march'd; she thither start,
   Before him stepp'd, embraced the plant, and cried--
   'Ah! never do me such a spiteful part,
   To cut my tree, this forest's joy and pride;
   Put up thy sword, else pierce therewith the heart
   Of thy forsaken and despised Armide;
     For through this breast, and through this heart, unkind,
     To this fair tree thy sword shall passage find.'

24 He lift his brand, nor cared, though oft she pray'd,
   And she her form to other shape did change;
   Such monsters huge, when men in dreams are laid,
   Oft in their idle fancies roam and range:
   Her body swell'd, her face obscure was made;
   Vanish'd her garments rich, and vestures strange;
     A giantess before him high she stands,
     Arm'd, like Briareus, with an hundred hands.

25 With fifty swords, and fifty targets bright,
   She threaten'd death, she roar'd, she cried and fought;
   Each other nymph, in armour likewise dight,
   A Cyclops great became; he fear'd them nought,
   But on the myrtle smote with all his might,
   Which groan'd, like living souls, to death nigh brought;
     The sky seem'd Pluto's court, the air seem'd hell,
     Therein such monsters roar, such spirits yell:

26 Lighten'd the heaven above, the earth below
   Roared aloud; that thunder'd, and this shook:
   Bluster'd the tempests strong; the whirlwinds blow;
   The bitter storm drove hailstones in his look;
   But yet his arm grew neither weak nor slow,
   Nor of that fury heed or care he took,
     Till low to earth the wounded tree down bended;
     en fled the spirits all, the charms all ended.

27 The heavens grew clear, the air wax'd calm and still,
   The wood returned to its wonted state,
   Of witchcrafts free, quite void of spirits ill,
   Of horror full, but horror there innate:
   He further tried, if ought withstood his will
   To cut those trees, as did the charms of late,
     And finding nought to stop him, smiled and said--
     'O shadows vain! O fools, of shades afraid!'

28 From thence home to the camp-ward turn'd the knight;
   The hermit cried, upstarting from his seat,
   'Now of the wood the charms have lost their might;
   The sprites are conquer'd, ended is the feat;
   See where he comes!'--Array'd in glittering white
   Appear'd the man, bold, stately, high, and great;
     His eagle's silver wings to shine begun
     With wondrous splendour 'gainst the golden sun.

29 The camp received him with a joyful cry,--
   A cry, the hills and dales about that fill'd;
   Then Godfrey welcomed him with honours high;
   His glory quench'd all spite, all envy kill'd:
   'To yonder dreadful grove,' quoth he, 'went I,
   And from the fearful wood, as me you will'd,
     Have driven the sprites away; thither let be
     Your people sent, the way is safe and free.'

[1] 'Mo:' more.
[2] 'Stilled:' dropped.
[3] 'Dight:' aparelled.
[4] 'Eath:' easy.
[5] 'Chere:' expression.
[6] 'Twined:' separated.



SIR HENRY WOTTON


Was born in Kent, in 1568; educated at Winchester and Oxford; and, after
travelling on the Continent, became the Secretary of Essex, but had the
sagacity to foresee his downfall, and withdrew from the kingdom in time.
On his return he became a favourite of James I., who employed him to be
ambassador to Venice,--a post he held long, and occupied with great skill
and adroitness. Toward the end of his days, in order to gain the Provost-
ship of Eton, he took orders, and died in that situation, in 1639, in the
72d year of his age. His writings were published in 1651, under the title
of 'Reliquitae Wottonianae,' and Izaak Walton has written an entertaining
account of his life. His poetry has a few pleasing and smooth-flowing
passages; but perhaps the best thing recorded of him is his viva voce
account of an English ambassador, as 'an honest gentleman sent to LIE
abroad for the good of his country.'


FAREWELL TO THE VANITIES OF THE WORLD.

1 Farewell, ye gilded follies! pleasing troubles;
  Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles;
  Fame's but a hollow echo, gold pure clay,
  Honour the darling but of one short day,
  Beauty, the eye's idol, but a damask'd skin,
  State but a golden prison to live in
  And torture free-born minds; embroider'd trains
  Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins;
  And blood, allied to greatness, is alone
  Inherited, not purchased, nor our own.
  Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth,
  Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.

2 I would be great, but that the sun doth still
  Level his rays against the rising hill;
  I would be high, but see the proudest oak
  Most subject to the rending thunder-stroke;
  I would be rich, but see men too unkind
  Dig in the bowels of the richest mind;
  I would be wise, but that I often see
  The fox suspected while the ass goes free;
  I would be fair, but see the fair and proud,
  Like the bright sun, oft setting in a cloud;
  I would be poor, but know the humble grass
  Still trampled on by each unworthy ass;
  Rich, hated; wise, suspected; scorn'd, if poor;
  Great, fear'd; fair, tempted; high, still envied more.
  I have wish'd all, but now I wish for neither
  Great, high, rich, wise, nor fair--poor I'll be rather.

3 Would the world now adopt me for her heir,
  Would beauty's queen entitle me 'the fair,'
  Fame speak me Fortune's minion, could I vie
  Angels[1] with India; with a speaking eye
  Command bare heads, bow'd knees, strike Justice dumb
  As well as blind and lame, or give a tongue
  To stones by epitaphs; be call'd great master
  In the loose rhymes of every poetaster;
  Could I be more than any man that lives,
  Great, fair, rich, wise, all in superlatives:
  Yet I more freely would these gifts resign,
  Than ever fortune would have made them mine;
  And hold one minute of this holy leisure
  Beyond the riches of this empty pleasure.

4 Welcome, pure thoughts! welcome, ye silent groves!
  These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves.
  Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing
  My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring;
  A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass,
  In which I will adore sweet Virtue's face;
  Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares,
  No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears:
  Then here I'll sit, and sigh my hot love's folly,
  And learn to affect a holy melancholy;
  And if Contentment be a stranger then,
  I'll ne'er look for it but in heaven again.

[1] 'Angels:' a species of coin.


A MEDITATION.

O thou great Power! in whom we move,
  By whom we live, to whom we die,
Behold me through thy beams of love,
  Whilst on this couch of tears I lie,
And cleanse my sordid soul within
By thy Christ's blood, the bath of sin.

No hallow'd oils, no gums I need,
  No new-born drams of purging fire;
One rosy drop from David's seed
  Was worlds of seas to quench thine ire:
O precious ransom! which once paid,
That _Consummatum est_ was said.

And said by him, that said no more,
  But seal'd it with his sacred breath:
Thou then, that has dispurged our score,
  And dying wert the death of death,
Be now, whilst on thy name we call,
Our life, our strength, our joy, our all!



RICHARD CORBET.


This witty and good-natured bishop was born in 1582. He was the son of
a gardener, who, however, had the honour to be known to and sung by Ben
Jonson. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford; and having received
orders, was made successively Bishop of Oxford and of Norwich. He was
a most facetious and rather too convivial person; and a collection of
anecdotes about him might be made, little inferior, in point of wit and
coarseness, to that famous one, once so popular in Scotland, relating to
the sayings and doings of George Buchanan. He is said, on one occasion,
to have aided an unfortunate ballad-singer in his professional duty by
arraying himself in his leathern jacket and vending the stock, being
possessed of a fine presence and a clear, full, ringing voice.
Occasionally doffing his clerical costume he adjourned with his chaplain,
Dr Lushington, to the wine-cellar, where care and ceremony were both
speedily drowned, the one of the pair exclaiming, 'Here's to thee,
Lushington,' and the other, 'Here's to thee, Corbet.' Men winked at
these irregularities, probably on the principle mentioned by Scott, in
reference to Prior Aymer, in 'Ivanhoe,'--'If Prior Aymer rode hard in
the chase, or remained late at the banquet, men only shrugged up their
shoulders by recollecting that the same irregularities were practised by
many of his brethren, who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever to atone
for them.' Corbet, on the other hand, was a kind as well as a convivial
--a warm-hearted as well as an eccentric man. He was tolerant to the
Puritans and sectaries; his attention to his duties was respectable; his
talents were of a high order, and he had in him a vein of genius of no
ordinary kind. He died in 1635, but his poems were not published till
1647. They are of various merit, and treat of various subjects. In his
'Journey to France,' you see the humorist, who, on one occasion, when the
country people were flocking to be confirmed, cried, 'Bear off there, or
I'll confirm ye with my staff.' In his lines to his son Vincent, we see,
notwithstanding all his foibles, the good man; and in his 'Farewell to
the Fairies' the fine and fanciful poet.


DR CORBET'S JOURNEY INTO FRANCE.

1  I went from England into France,
   Nor yet to learn to cringe nor dance,
     Nor yet to ride nor fence;
   Nor did I go like one of those
   That do return with half a nose,
     They carried from hence.

2  But I to Paris rode along,
   Much like John Dory in the song,
     Upon a holy tide;
   I on an ambling nag did jet,
   (I trust he is not paid for yet,)
     And spurr'd him on each side.

3  And to St Denis fast we came,
   To see the sights of Notre Dame,
     (The man that shows them snuffles,)
   Where who is apt for to believe,
   May see our Lady's right-arm sleeve,
     And eke her old pantofles;

4  Her breast, her milk, her very gown
   That she did wear in Bethlehem town,
     When in the inn she lay;
   Yet all the world knows that's a fable,
   For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable,
     Upon a lock of hay.

5  No carpenter could by his trade
   Gain so much coin as to have made
     A gown of so rich stuff;
   Yet they, poor souls, think, for their credit,
   That they believe old Joseph did it,
     'Cause he deserved enough.

6  There is one of the cross's nails,
   Which whoso sees, his bonnet vails,
     And, if he will, may kneel;
   Some say 'twas false,'twas never so,
   Yet, feeling it, thus much I know,
     It is as true as steel.

7  There is a Ianthorn which the Jews,
   When Judas led them forth, did use,
     It weighs my weight downright;
   But to believe it, you must think
   The Jews did put a candle in 't,
     And then 'twas very light.

8  There's one saint there hath lost his nose,
   Another's head, but not his toes,
     His elbow and his thumb;
   But when that we had seen the rags,
   We went to th' inn and took our nags,
     And so away did come.

9  We came to Paris, on the Seine,
   'Tis wondrous fair,'tis nothing clean,
     'Tis Europe's greatest town;
   How strong it is I need not tell it,
   For all the world may easily smell it,
     That walk it up and down.

10 There many strange things are to see,
   The palace and great gallery,
     The Place Royal doth excel,
   The New Bridge, and the statutes there,
   At Notre Dame St Q. Pater,
     The steeple bears the bell.

11 For learning the University,
   And for old clothes the Frippery,
     The house the queen did build.
   St Innocence, whose earth devours
   Dead corps in four-and-twenty hours,
     And there the king was kill'd.

12 The Bastille and St Denis Street,
   The Shafflenist like London Fleet,
     The Arsenal no toy;
   But if you'll see the prettiest thing,
   Go to the court and see the king--
     Oh, 'tis a hopeful boy!

13 He is, of all his dukes and peers,
   Reverenced for much wit at's years,
     Nor must you think it much;
   For he with little switch doth play,
   And make fine dirty pies of clay,
     Oh, never king made such!

14 A bird that can but kill a fly,
   Or prate, doth please his majesty,
     Tis known to every one;
   The Duke of Guise gave him a parrot,
   And he had twenty cannons for it,
     For his new galleon.

15 Oh that I e'er might have the hap
   To get the bird which in the map
     Is call'd the Indian ruck!
   I'd give it him, and hope to be
   As rich as Guise or Liviné,
     Or else I had ill-luck.

16 Birds round about his chamber stand,
   And he them feeds with his own hand,
     'Tis his humility;
   And if they do want anything,
   They need but whistle for their king,
     And he comes presently.

17 But now, then, for these parts he must
   Be enstyled Lewis the Just,
     Great Henry's lawful heir;
   When to his style to add more words,
   They'd better call him King of Birds,
     Than of the great Navarre.

18 He hath besides a pretty quirk,
   Taught him by nature, how to work
     In iron with much ease;
   Sometimes to the forge he goes,
   There he knocks and there he blows,
     And makes both locks and keys;

19 Which puts a doubt in every one,
   Whether he be Mars' or Vulcan's son,
     Some few believe his mother;
   But let them all say what they will,
   I came resolved, and so think still,
     As much the one as th' other.

20 The people too dislike the youth,
   Alleging reasons, for, in truth,
     Mothers should honour'd be;
   Yet others say, he loves her rather
   As well as ere she loved her father,
     And that's notoriously.

21 His queen,[1] a pretty little wench,
   Was born in Spain, speaks little French,
     She's ne'er like to be mother;
   For her incestuous house could not
   Have children which were not begot
     By uncle or by brother.

22 Nor why should Lewis, being so just,
   Content himself to take his lust
     With his Lucina's mate,
   And suffer his little pretty queen,
   From all her race that yet hath been,
     So to degenerate?

23 'Twere charity for to be known
   To love others' children as his own,
     And why? it is no shame,
   Unless that he would greater be
   Than was his father Henery,
      Who, men thought, did the same.

[1] Anne of Austria.


FAREWELL TO THE FAIRIES.

1 Farewell, rewards and fairies,
    Good housewives now may say,
  For now foul sluts in dairies
    Do fare as well as they.
  And though they sweep their hearths no less
    Than maids were wont to do,
  Yet who of late, for cleanliness,
    Finds sixpence in her shoe?

2 Lament, lament, old Abbeys,
    The fairies lost command;
  They did but change priests' babies,
    But some have changed your land;
  And all your children sprung from thence
    Are now grown Puritans;
  Who live as changelings ever since,
    For love of your domains.

3 At morning and at evening both,
    You merry were and glad,
  So little care of sleep or sloth
    These pretty ladies had;
  When Tom came home from labour,
    Or Cis to milking rose,
  Then merrily went their tabor,
    And nimbly went their toes.

4 Witness those rings and roundelays
    Of theirs, which yet remain,
  Were footed in Queen Mary's days
    On many a grassy plain;
  But since of late Elizabeth,
    And later, James came in,
  They never danced on any heath
     As when the time hath been.

5 By which we note the fairies
    Were of the old profession,
  Their songs were Ave-Maries,
    Their dances were procession:
  But now, alas! they all are dead,
    Or gone beyond the seas;
  Or further for religion fled,
    Or else they take their ease.

6 A tell-tale in their company
    They never could endure,
  And whoso kept not secretly
    Their mirth, was punish'd sure;
  It was a just and Christian deed,
    To pinch such black and blue:
  Oh, how the commonwealth doth need
    Such justices as you!



BEN JONSON.


As 'rare Ben' chiefly shone as a dramatist, we need not recount at
length the events of his life. He was born in 1574; his father, who had
been a clergyman in Westminster, and was sprung from a Scotch family
in Annandale, having died before his birth. His mother marrying a
bricklayer, Ben was brought up to the same employment. Disliking this,
he enlisted in the army, and served with credit in the Low Countries.
When he came home, he entered St John's College, Cambridge; but his stay
there must have been short, since he is found in London at the age of
twenty, married, and acting on the stage. He began at the same time to
write dramas. He was unlucky enough to quarrel with and kill another
performer, for which he was committed to prison, but released without
a trial. He resumed his labours as a writer for the stage; but having
failed in the acting department, he forsook it for ever. His first hit
was, 'Every Man in his Humour,' a play enacted in 1598, Shakspeare being
one of the actors. His course afterwards was chequered. He quarrelled
with Marston and Dekker,--he was imprisoned for some reflections on the
Scottish nation in one of his comedies,--he was appointed in 1619 poet-
laureate, with a pension of 100 marks,--he made the same year a journey
to Scotland on foot, where he visited Drummond at Hawthornden, and they
seem to have mutually loathed each other,'--he fell into habits of
intemperance, and acquired, as he said himself,

  'A mountain belly and a rocky face.'

His favourite haunts were the Mermaid, and the Falcon Tavern, Southwark.
He was engaged in constant squabbles with his contemporaries, and died
at last, in 1637, in miserably poor circumstances. He was buried in
Westminster Abbey, under a square tablet, where one of his admirers
afterwards inscribed the words,

  'O rare Ben Jonson!'

Of his powers as a dramatist we need not speak, but present our readers
with some rough and racy specimens of his poetry.


EPITAPH ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.

Underneath this sable hearse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother;
Death! ere thou hast slain another,
Learn'd and fair, and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee!


THE PICTURE OF THE BODY.

Sitting, and ready to be drawn,
What make these velvets, silks, and lawn,
Embroideries, feathers, fringes, lace,
Where every limb takes like a face?

Send these suspected helps to aid
Some form defective, or decay'd;
This beauty, without falsehood fair,
Needs nought to clothe it but the air.

Yet something to the painter's view,
Were fitly interposed; so new,
He shall, if he can understand,
Work by my fancy, with his hand.

Draw first a cloud, all save her neck,
And, out of that, make day to break;
Till like her face it do appear,
And men may think all light rose there.

Then let the beams of that disperse
The cloud, and show the universe;
But at such distance, as the eye
May rather yet adore, than spy.


TO PENSHURST.

(FROM 'THE FOREST')

Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show
Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polish'd pillars, or a roof of gold:
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told;
Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile,
And these grudged at, are reverenced the while.
Thou joy'st in better marks of soil and air,
Of wood, of water; therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport;
Thy mount to which the dryads do resort,
Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made
Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade;
That taller tree which of a nut was set
At his great birth where all the Muses met.
There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a Sylvan token with his flames.
And thence the ruddy Satyrs oft provoke
The lighter Fauns to reach thy Ladies' Oak.
Thy copse, too, named of Gamage, thou hast here
That never fails, to serve thee, season'd deer,
When thou would'st feast or exercise thy friends.
The lower land that to the river bends,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed:
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies, and the tops
Fertile of wood. Ashore, and Sidney's copse,
To crown thy open table doth provide
The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side:
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be kill'd.
And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat, aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As both the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously, at first, themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Thou hast thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come:
The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls that every child may reach.
And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're rear'd with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make
The better cheeses, bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands; and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves, in plum or pear.
But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provision, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know!
Where comes no guest but is allow'd to eat
Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat:
Where the same beer, and bread, and selfsame wine
That is his lordship's shall be also mine.
And I not fain to sit (as some this day
At great men's tables) and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups; nor, standing by,
A waiter doth my gluttony envy:
But gives me what I call, and lets me eat;
He knows below he shall find plenty of meat;
Thy tables hoard not up for the next day,
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray
For fire, or lights, or livery: all is there,
As if thou, then, wert mine, or I reign'd here.
There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay.
This found King James, when hunting late this way
With his brave son, the Prince; they saw thy fires
Shine bright on every hearth, as the desires
Of thy Penates had been set on flame
To entertain them; or the country came,
With all their zeal, to warm their welcome here.
What (great, I will not say, but) sudden cheer
Did'st thou then make them! and what praise was heap'd
On thy good lady then, who therein reap'd
The just reward of her high housewifery;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far; and not a room but drest
As if it had expected such a guest!
These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all;
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.
His children * * *
       *  *  have been taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have suck'd innocence.
Each morn and even they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day,
Head, in their virtuous parents' noble parts,
The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts.
Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see
Those proud ambitious heaps, and nothing else,
May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.


TO THE MEMORY OF MY BELOVED MASTER, WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US.

To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor Muse can praise too much,
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For silliest ignorance on these would light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!
My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further off, to make thee room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I mean with great but disproportion'd Muses:
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd or Marlow's mighty line,
And though thou had small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee I will not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage: or when thy socks were on
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury, to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines,
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of nature's family,
Yet must I not give nature all; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part,
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame;
Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made as well as born,
And such wert thou! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well-turned and true-filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
That so did take Eliza and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage,
Which since thy flight from hence hath mourn'd like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light!


ON THE PORTRAIT OF SHAKSPEARE.

(UNDER THE FRONTISPIECE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS WORKS: 1623.)

This figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to outdo the life:
Oh, could he but have drawn his wit,
As well in brass, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in 'brass:
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture but his book.



VERE, STORRER, &c.


In the same age of fertile, seething mind which produced Jonson and the
rest of the Elizabethan giants, there flourished some minor poets, whose
names we merely chronicle: such as Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, born
1534, and dying 1604, who travelled in Italy in his youth, and returned
the 'most accomplished coxcomb in Europe,' who sat as Grand Chamberlain
of England upon the trial of Mary Queen of Scots, and who has left, in
the 'Paradise of Dainty Devices,' some rather beautiful verses, entitled,
'Fancy and Desire;'--as Thomas Storrer, a student of Christ Church, Oxford,
and the author of a versified 'History of Cardinal Wolsey,' in three parts,
who died in 1604;--as William Warner, a native of Oxfordshire, born in
1558, who became an attorney of the Common Pleas in London, and died
suddenly in 1609, having made himself famous for a time by a poem, entitled
'Albion's England,' called by Campbell 'an enormous ballad on the history,
or rather the fables appendant to the history of England,' with some fine
touches, but heavy and prolix as a whole;--as Sir John Harrington, who was
the son of a poet and the favourite of Essex, who was created a Knight of
the Bath by James I., and who wrote some pointed epigrams and a miserable
translation of Ariosto, in which heeffectually tamed that wild Pegasus;
--as Henry Perrot, who collected, in 1613, a book of epigrams, entitled,
'Springes for Woodcocks;'--as Sir Thomas Overbury, whose dreadful and
mysterious fate, well known to all who read English history, excited such
a sympathy for him, that his poems, 'A Wife,' and 'The Choice of a Wife,'
passed through sixteen editions before the year 1653, although his prose
'Characters,' such as the exquisite and well-known 'Fair and Happy
Milkmaid,' are far better than his poetry;--as Samuel Rowlandes, a prolific
pamphleteer in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., author
also of several plays and of a book of epigrams;--as Thomas Picke, who
belonged to the Middle Temple, and published, in 1631, a number of songs,
sonnets, and elegies;--as Henry Constable, born in 1568, and a well-known
sonneteer of his day;--as Nicholas Breton, author of some pretty pastorals,
who, it is conjectured, was born in 1555, and died in 1624;--and as Dr
Thomas Lodge, born in 1556, and who died in 1625, after translating
Josephus into English, and writing some tolerable poetical pieces.



THOMAS RANDOLPH.


This was a true poet, although his power comes forth principally in the
drama. He was born at Newnham, near Daventry, Northamptonshire, in 1605,
being the you of Lord Zouch's steward. He became a King's Scholar at
Westminster, and subsequently a Fellow in Trinity College, Cambridge.
Ben Jonson loved him, and he reciprocated the attachment. Whether from
natural tendency or in imitation of Jonson, who called him, as well as
Cartwright, his adopted son, he learned intemperate habits, and died, in
1634, at the age of twenty-nine. His death took place at the house of W.
Stafford, Esq. of Blatherwyke, in his native county, and he was buried
in the church beside, where Sir Christopher, afterwards Lord Hatton,
signalised the spot of his rest by a monument. He wrote five dramas,
which are imperfect and formal in plan, but written with considerable
power. Some of his miscellaneous poems discover feeling and genius.


THE PRAISE OF WOMAN.

He is a parricide to his mother's name,
And with an impious hand murders her fame,
That wrongs the praise of women; that dares write
Libels on saints, or with foul ink requite
The milk they lent us! Better sex! command
To your defence my more religious hand,
At sword or pen; yours was the nobler birth,
For you of man were made, man but of earth--
The sun of dust; and though your sin did breed
His fall, again you raised him in your seed.
Adam, in's sleep again full loss sustain'd,
That for one rib a better half regain'd,
Who, had he not your blest creation seen
In Paradise, an anchorite had been.
Why in this work did the creation rest,
But that Eternal Providence thought you best
Of all his six days' labour? Beasts should do
Homage to man, but man shall wait on you;
You are of comelier sight, of daintier touch,
A tender flesh, and colour bright, and such
As Parians see in marble; skin more fair,
More glorious head, and far more glorious hair;
Eyes full of grace and quickness; purer roses
Blush in your cheeks; a milder white composes
Your stately fronts; your breath, more sweet than his,
Breathes spice, and nectar drops at every kiss.

*          *          *          *          *

If, then, in bodies where the souls do dwell,
You better us, do then our souls excel?

No. *          *          *          *
Boast we of knowledge, you are more than we,
You were the first ventured to pluck the tree;
And that more rhetoric in your tongues do lie,
Let him dispute against that dares deny
Your least commands; and not persuaded be,
With Samson's strength and David's piety,
To be your willing captives.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, perfect creatures, if detraction rise
Against your sex, dispute but with your eyes,
Your hand, your lip, your brow, there will be sent
So subtle and so strong an argument,
Will teach the stoic his affections too,
And call the cynic from his tub to woo.


TO MY PICTURE.

When age hath made me what I am not now,
And every wrinkle tells me where the plough
Of Time hath furrow'd, when an ice shall flow
Through every vein, and all my head be snow;
When Death displays his coldness in my cheek,
And I, myself, in my own picture seek,
Not finding what I am, but what I was,
In doubt which to believe, this or my glass;
Yet though I alter, this remains the same
As it was drawn, retains the primitive frame,
And first complexion; here will still be seen,
Blood on the cheek, and down upon the chin:
Here the smooth brow will stay, the lively eye,
The ruddy lip, and hair of youthful dye.
Behold what frailty we in man may see,
Whose shadow is less given to change than he.


TO A LADY ADMIRING HERSELF IN A LOOKING-GLASS.

Fair lady, when you see the grace
Of beauty in your looking-glass;
A stately forehead, smooth and high,
And full of princely majesty;
A sparkling eye, no gem so fair,
Whose lustre dims the Cyprian star;
A glorious cheek, divinely sweet,
Wherein both roses kindly meet;
A cherry lip that would entice
Even gods to kiss at any price;
You think no beauty is so rare
That with your shadow might compare;
That your reflection is alone
The thing that men must dote upon.
Madam, alas! your glass doth lie,
And you are much deceived; for I
A beauty know of richer grace,--
(Sweet, be not angry,) 'tis your face.
Hence, then, oh, learn more mild to be,
And leave to lay your blame on me:
If me your real substance move,
When you so much your shadow love,
Wise Nature would not let your eye
Look on her own bright majesty;
Which, had you once but gazed upon,
You could, except yourself, love none:
What then you cannot love, let me,
That face I can, you cannot see.

'Now you have what to love,' you'll say,
'What then is left for me, I pray?'
My face, sweet heart, if it please thee;
That which you can, I cannot see:
So either love shall gain his due,
Yours, sweet, in me, and mine in you.



ROBERT BURTON.


The great, though whimsical author of the 'Anatomy of Melancholy' was
born at Lindley, in Leicestershire, 1576, and educated at Christ Church,
Oxford. He became Rector of Seagrave, in his native shire. He was a man
of vast erudition, of integrity and benevolence, but his happiness,
like that of Burns, although in a less measure, 'was blasted _ab
origine_ by an incurable taint of hypochondria;' and although at times a
most delightful companion, at other times he was so miserable, even when
a young student at Oxford, that he had no resource but to go down to the
river-side, where the coarse jests of the bargemen threw him into fits
of laughter. This surely was a violent remedy, and one that must have
reacted into deeper depression. In 1621, he wrote and published, as a
safety-valve to his morbid feelings, his famous 'Anatomie of Melancholy,
by Democritus Junior.' It became instantly popular, and sold so well,
that the publisher is said to have made a fortune by it. Nothing more of
consequence is recorded of the author, who died in 1640. Although

  'Melancholy mark'd him for her own,'

she failed to kill him till he had passed his grand climacteric. He was
buried in Christ Church, with the following epitaph, said to have been
composed by himself:--

  'Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus.
  Hic jacet Democritus Junior,
  Cui vitam pariter et mortem
  Dedit _Melancholia_!

  'Known [by name] to few, unknown [as the author of the "Anatomy"]
  to fewer, here lies D. J., who owes his death [as a man] and his
  life [as an author] to Melancholy.'

His work is certainly a most curious and bewitching medley of thought,
information, wit, learning, personal interest, and poetic fancy. We all
know it was the only book which ever drew the lazy Johnson from his bed
an hour sooner than he wished to rise. The subject, like the flesh of
that 'melancholy' creature the hare, may be dry, but, as with that, an
astute cookery prevails to make it exceedingly piquant; the sauce is
better than the substance. Burton's melancholy is not, like Johnson's,
a deep, hopeless, 'inspissated gloom,' thickened by memories of remorse,
and lighted up by the lurid fires of feared perdition; it is not, like
Byron's, dashed with the demoniac element, and fretted into universal
misanthropy; it is not, like Foster's, the sad, fixed fascination of
a pure intelligence contemplating the darker side of things, as by a
necessity of nature, and ignoring, without denying, the existence of the
bright; nor is it, like that of the 'melancholy Jacques,' in 'As you
Like it,' a wild, woodland, fantastical habit of thought, as of one
living collaterally and aside to the world, and which often explodes
into laughter at itself and at all things else;--Burton's is a wide-
spread but tender shade, like twilight, diffused over the whole horizon
of his thought, and is nourished at times into a luxury, and at times
paraded as a peculiar possession. In his form of melancholy there are
pleasures as well as pains. 'Most pleasant it is,' he says, 'to such
as are to melancholy given, to lie in bed whole days and keep their
chambers; to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water,
by a brook-side, to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject;
and a most incomparable delight it is so to melancholise and build
castles in the air.' Religious considerations have little to do with
Burton's melancholy, and remorse or fear apparently nothing. Hence his
book, although its theme be sadness, never shadows the spirit, but, on
the contrary, from his dark, Lethean poppies, his readers are made to
extract an element of joyful excitement, and the anatomy, and the cure,
of the evil, are one and the same.

As a writer, Burton ranks, in some points, with Montaigne, and in others
with Sir Thomas Browne. He resembles the first in simplicity, _bonhommie_,
and miscellaneous learning, and the other in rambling manner, quaint
phraseology, and fantastic imagination. Neither of the three could be said
to write books, but they accumulated vast storehouses, whence thousands of
volumes might be, and have been compiled. There is nothing in Burton so
low as in many of the 'Essays' of Montaigne, but there is nothing so lofty
as in passages of Browne's 'Religio Medici' and 'Urn-Burial.' Burton has
been a favourite quarry to literary thieves, among whom Sterne, in his
'Tristram Shandy,' stands pre-eminent. To his 'Anatomy' he prefixes a poem,
a few stanzas of which we extract.


ON MELANCHOLY.

1 When I go musing all alone,
  Thinking of divers things foreknown,
  When I build castles in the air,
  Void of sorrow, void of fear,
  Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet
  Methinks the time runs very fleet.
    All my joys to this are folly;
    Nought so sweet as melancholy.

2 When I go walking all alone,
  Recounting what I have ill-done,
  My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
  Fear and sorrow me surprise;
  Whether I tarry still, or go,
  Methinks the time moves very slow.
    All my griefs to this are jolly;
    Nought so sad as melancholy.

3 When to myself I act and smile,
  With pleasing thoughts the time beguile,
  By a brook-side or wood so green,
  Unheard, unsought for, or unseen,
  A thousand pleasures do me bless,
  And crown my soul with happiness.
    All my joys besides are folly;
    None so sweet as melancholy.

4 When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
  I sigh, I grieve, making great moan;
  In a dark grove or irksome den,
  With discontents and furies then,
  A thousand miseries at once
  Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce.
    All my griefs to this are jolly;
    None so sour as melancholy.

5 Methinks I hear, methinks I see
  Sweet music, wondrous melody,
  Towns, palaces, and cities, fine;
  Here now, then there, the world is mine,
  Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine,
  Whate'er is lovely is divine.
    All other joys to this are folly;
    None so sweet as melancholy,

6 Methinks I hear, methinks I see
  Ghosts, goblins, fiends: my fantasy
  Presents a thousand ugly shapes;
  Headless bears, black men, and apes;
  Doleful outcries and fearful sights
  My sad and dismal soul affrights.
    All my griefs to this are jolly;
    None so damn'd as melancholy.



THOMAS CAREW.


This delectable versifier was born in 1589, in Gloucestershire, from an
old family in which he sprung. He was educated at Corpus Christi College,
Oxford, but neither matriculated nor took a degree. After finishing his
travels, he returned to England, and became soon highly distinguished, in
the Court of Charles I., for his manners, accomplishments, and wit. He
was appointed Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Sewer in Ordinary to the
King. He spent the rest of his life as a gay and gallant courtier; and in
the intervals of pleasure produced some light but exquisite poetry. He is
said, ere his death, which took place in 1639, to have become very
devout, and bitterly to have deplored the licentiousness of some of his
verses.

Indelicate choice of subject is often, in Carew, combined with great
delicacy of execution. No one touches dangerous themes with so light and
glove-guarded a hand. His pieces are all fugitive, but they suggest great
possibilities, which his mode of life and his premature removal did not
permit to be realised. Had he, at an earlier period, renounced, like
George Herbert, 'the painted pleasures of a court,' and, like Prospero,
dedicated himself to 'closeness,' with his marvellous facility of verse,
his laboured levity of style, and his nice exuberance of fancy, he might
have produced some work of Horatian merit and classic permanence.



PERSUASIONS TO LOVE.

Think not, 'cause men flattering say,
Y'are fresh as April, sweet as May,
Bright as is the morning-star,
That you are so;--or though you are,
Be not therefore proud, and deem
All men unworthy your esteem:

       *       *       *       *       *

Starve not yourself, because you may
Thereby make me pine away;
Nor let brittle beauty make
You your wiser thoughts forsake:
For that lovely face will fail;
Beauty's sweet, but beauty's frail;
'Tis sooner past, 'tis sooner done,
Than summer's rain, or winter's sun:
Most fleeting, when it is most dear;
'Tis gone, while we but say 'tis here.
These curious locks so aptly twined,
Whose every hair a soul doth bind,
Will change their auburn hue, and grow
White and cold as winter's snow.
That eye which now is Cupid's nest
Will prove his grave, and all the rest
Will follow; in the cheek, chin, nose,
Nor lily shall be found, nor rose;
And what will then become of all
Those, whom now you servants call?
Like swallows, when your summer's done
They'll fly, and seek some warmer sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

The snake each year fresh skin resumes,
And eagles change their aged plumes;
The faded rose each spring receives
A fresh red tincture on her leaves;
But if your beauties once decay,
You never know a second May.
Oh, then be wise, and whilst your season
Affords you days for sport, do reason;
Spend not in vain your life's short hour,
But crop in time your beauty's flower:
Which will away, and doth together
Both bud and fade, both blow and wither.


SONG.

Give me more love, or more disdain,
  The torrid, or the frozen zone
Bring equal ease unto my pain;
  The temperate affords me none;
Either extreme, of love or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.

Give me a storm; if it be love,
  Like Danaë in a golden shower,
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
  Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture-hopes; and he's possess'd
Of heaven that's but from hell released:
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.


TO MY MISTRESS SITTING BY A RIVER'S SIDE.

Mark how yon eddy steals away
From the rude stream into the bay;
There lock'd up safe, she doth divorce
Her waters from the channel's course,
And scorns the torrent that did bring
Her headlong from her native spring.
Now doth she with her new love play,
Whilst he runs murmuring away.
Mark how she courts the banks, whilst they
As amorously their arms display,
To embrace and clip her silver waves:
See how she strokes their sides, and craves
An entrance there, which they deny;
Whereat she frowns, threatening to fly
Home to her stream, and 'gins to swim
Backward, but from the channel's brim
Smiling returns into the creek,
With thousand dimples on her cheek.
Be thou this eddy, and I'll make
My breast thy shore, where thou shalt take
Secure repose, and never dream
Of the quite forsaken stream:
Let him to the wide ocean haste,
There lose his colour, name, and taste;
Thou shalt save all, and, safe from him,
Within these arms for ever swim.


SONG.

If the quick spirits in your eye
Now languish, and anon must die;
If every sweet, and every grace,
Must fly from that forsaken face:
  Then, Celia, let us reap our joys,
  Ere time such goodly fruit destroys.

Or, if that golden fleece must grow
For ever, free from aged snow;
If those bright suns must know no shade,
Nor your fresh beauties ever fade;
Then fear not, Celia, to bestow
What still being gather'd still must grow.
  Thus, either Time his sickle brings
  In vain, or else in vain his wings.


A PASTORAL DIALOGUE.

SHEPHERD, NYMPH, CHORUS.

_Shep._ This mossy bank they press'd. _Nym._That aged oak
   Did canopy the happy pair
   All night from the damp air.
_Cho._ Here let us sit, and sing the words they spoke,
       Till the day-breaking their embraces broke.

_Shep._ See, love, the blushes of the morn appear:
   And now she hangs her pearly store
   (Robb'd from the eastern shore)
 I' th' cowslip's bell and rose's ear:
 Sweet, I must stay no longer here.

_Nym._ Those streaks of doubtful light usher not day,
   But show my sun must set; no morn
   Shall shine till thou return:
 The yellow planets, and the gray
 Dawn, shall attend thee on thy way.

_Shep._ If thine eyes gild my paths, they may forbear
   Their useless shine. _Nym._ My tears will quite
   Extinguish their faint light.
_Shep._ Those drops will make their beams more clear,
 Love's flames will shine in every tear.

_Cho._ They kiss'd, and wept; and from their lips and eyes,
   In a mix'd dew of briny sweet,
   Their joys and sorrows meet;
 But she cries out. _Nym._ Shepherd, arise,
 The sun betrays us else to spies.

_Shep._ The winged hours fly fast whilst we embrace;
   But when we want their help to meet,
   They move with leaden feet.
_Nym._ Then let us pinion time, and chase
 The day for ever from this place.

_Shep._ Hark! _Nym._ Ah me, stay! _Shep._ For ever _Nym._ No, arise;
   We must be gone. _Shep._ My nest of spice
  _Nym._ My soul. _Shep._ My paradise.
_Cho._ Neither could say farewell, but through their eyes
Grief interrupted speech with tears supplies.


SONG.

Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauties orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.

Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For, in pure love, Heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.

Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale, when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.

Ask me no more, where those stars light,
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become, as in their sphere.

Ask me no more, if east or west
The phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.



SIR JOHN SUCKLING.


This witty baronet was born in 1608. He was the son of the Comptroller
of the Household of Charles I. He was uncommonly precocious; at five is
said to have spoken Latin, and at sixteen had entered into the service
of Gustavus Adolphus, 'the lion of the North, and the bulwark of the
Protestant faith.'

On his return to England, he was favoured by Charles, and became, in his
turn, a most enthusiastic supporter of the Royal cause; writing plays for
the amusement of the Court; and when the Civil War broke out, raising, at
his own expense of £1200, a regiment for the King, which is said to have
been distinguished only by its 'finery and cowardice.' When the Earl of
Strafford came into trouble, Suckling, along with some other cavaliers,
intrigued for his deliverance, was impeached by the House of Commons,
and had to flee to France. Here an early death awaited him. His servant
having robbed him, he drew on, in vehement haste, his boots, to pursue
the defaulter, when a rusty nail, or, some say, the blade of a knife,
which was concealed in one of them, pierced his heel. A mortification
ensued, and he died, in 1641, at thirty-three years of age.

Suckling has written five plays, various poems, besides letters,
speeches, and tracts, which have all been collected into one thin volume.
They are of various merit; none, in fact, being worthy of print, or at
least of preservation, except one or two of his songs, and his 'Ballad
upon a Wedding'. This last is an admirable expression of what were his
principal qualities--_naiveté_, sly humour, gay badinage, and a delicious
vein of fancy, coming out occasionally by stealth, even as in his own
exquisite lines about the bride,

  'Her feet, beneath her petticoat,
  Like _little mice, stole in and out_,
  As if they fear'd the light.'


SONG.

Why so pale and wan, fond lover!
      Prithee why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
      Looking ill prevail?
      Prithee why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
      Prithee why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
      Saying nothing do 't?
      Prithee why so mute?

Quit, quit for shame! this will not move,
      This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
      Nothing can make her--
      The devil take her!


A BALLAD UPON A WEDDING.

1  I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
   Where I the rarest things have seen:
              Oh, things without compare!
   Such sights again cannot be found
   In any place on English ground,
              Be it at wake or fair.

2  At Charing-Cross, hard by the way
   Where we (thou know'st) do sell our hay,
              There is a house with stairs:
   And there did I see coming down
   Such folks as are not in our town,
              Vorty at least, in pairs.

3  Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine,
   (His beard no bigger though than thine,)
              Walk'd on before the rest:
   Our landlord looks like nothing to him:
   The king (God bless him)'twould undo him,
              Should he go still so dress'd.

4  At Course-a-park, without all doubt,
   He should have first been taken out
              By all the maids i' the town:
   Though lusty Roger there had been,
   Or little George upon the Green,
              Or Vincent of the Crown.

5  But wot you what? the youth was going
   To make an end of all his wooing;
              The parson for him staid:
   Yet by his leave, for all his haste,
   He did not so much wish all past
              (Perchance) as did the maid.

6  The maid--and thereby hangs a tale--
   For such a maid no Whitsun-ale
              Could ever yet produce:
   No grape that's kindly ripe could be
   So round, so plump, so soft as she,
              Nor half so full of juice.

7  Her finger was so small, the ring
   Would not stay on which they did bring,
              It was too wide a peck:
   And to say truth (for out it must)
   It look'd like the great collar (just)
              About our young colt's neck.

8  Her feet, beneath her petticoat,
   Like little mice, stole in and out,
              As if they fear'd the light:
   But oh! she dances such a way!
   No sun upon an Easter-day
              Is half so fine a sight.

9  He would have kiss'd her once or twice,
   But she would not, she was so nice,
              She would not do 't in sight;
   And then she look'd as who should say.
   I will do what I list to-day;
              And you shall do 't at night.

10 Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
   No daisy makes comparison,
              (Who sees them is undone,)
   For streaks of red were mingled there,
   Such as are on a Katherine pear,
              The side that's next the sun.

11 Her lips were red, and one was thin,
   Compared to that was next her chin;
              Some bee had stung it newly.
   But (Dick) her eyes so guard her face,
   I durst no more upon them gaze,
              Than on the sun in July.

12 Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
   Thou'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
              That they might passage get;
   But she so handled still the matter,
   They came as good as ours, or better,
              And are not spent a whit.

13 If wishing should be any sin,
   The parson himself had guilty been,
              She look'd that day so purely:
   And did the youth so oft the feat
   At night, as some did in conceit,
              It would have spoil'd him, surely.

14 Passion o'me! how I run on!
   There's that that would be thought upon,
              I trow, beside the bride:
   The business of the kitchen's great,
   For it is fit that men should eat;
              Nor was it there denied.

15 Just in the nick the cook knock'd thrice,
   And all the waiters in a trice
              His summons did obey;
   Each serving-man with dish in hand,
   March'd boldly up, like our train'd band,
              Presented and away.

16 When all the meat was on the table,
   What man of knife, or teeth, was able
              To stay to be entreated?
   And this the very reason was,
   Before the parson could say grace,
              The company were seated.

17 Now hats fly off, and youths carouse;
   Healths first go round, and then the house,
              The bride's came thick and thick;
   And when 'twas named another's health,
   Perhaps he made it hers by stealth,
              And who could help it, Dick?

18 O' the sudden up they rise and dance;
   Then sit again, and sigh and glance:
              Then dance again and kiss.
   Thus sev'ral ways the time did pass,
   Whil'st every woman wish'd her place,
              And every man wish'd his.

19 By this time all were stol'n aside
   To counsel and undress the bride;
              But that he must not know;
   But yet 'twas thought he guess'd her mind,
   And did not mean to stay behind
              Above an hour or so.

20 When in he came (Dick), there she lay,
   Like new-fall'n snow melting away,
              'Twas time, I trow, to part.
   Kisses were now the only stay,
   Which soon she gave, as who would say,
              Good-bye, with all my heart.

21 But just as heavens would have to cross it,
   In came the bridemaids with the posset;
              The bridegroom eat in spite;
   For had he left the women to 't
   It would have cost two hours to do 't,
              Which were too much that night.

22 At length the candle's out, and now
   All that they had not done, they do!
              What that is, who can tell?
   But I believe it was no more
   Than thou and I have done before
              With Bridget and with Nell!


SONG.

I pray thee send me back my heart,
  Since I can not have thine,
For if from yours you will not part,
  Why then shouldst thou have mine?

Yet now I think on 't, let it lie,
  To find it were in vain;
For thou'st a thief in either eye
  Would steal it back again.

Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
  And yet not lodge together?
O love! where is thy sympathy,
  If thus our breasts thou sever?

But love is such a mystery,
  I cannot find it out;
For when I think I'm best resolved,
  I then am in most doubt.

Then farewell care, and farewell woe,
  I will no longer pine;
For I'll believe I have her heart
  As much as she has mine.



WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT.


Cartwright was born in 1611, and was the son of an innkeeper--once a
gentleman--in Cirencester. He became a King's scholar at Westminster,
and afterwards took orders at Oxford, where he distinguished himself,
according to Wood, as a 'most florid and seraphic preacher.' One is
reminded of the description given of Jeremy Taylor, who, when he first
began to preach, by his 'young and florid beauty, and his sublime and
raised discourses, made men take him for an angel newly descended from
the climes of Paradise.' Cartwright was appointed, through his friend
Bishop Duppa, Succentor of the Church of Salisbury in 1642. He was one
of a council of war appointed by the University of Oxford, for providing
troops in the King's cause, to protect, or some said to overawe, the
Universities. He was imprisoned by the Parliamentary forces on account
of his zeal in the Royal cause, but soon liberated on bail. In 1643,
he was appointed Junior Proctor of his University, and also Reader in
Metaphysics. At this time he is said to have studied sixteen hours
a-day. This, however, seems to have weakened his constitution, and
rendered him an easy victim to what was called the camp-fever, then
prevalent in Oxford. He died December 23, 1643, aged thirty-two. The
King, then in Oxford, went into mourning for him. His works were
published in 1651, and to them were prefixed fifty copies of encomiastic
verses from the wits and poets of the time. They scarcely justify the
praises they have received, being somewhat crude and harsh, and all of
them occasional. His private character, his eloquence as a preacher, and
his zeal as a Royalist, seem to have supplemented his claims as a poet.
He enjoyed, too, in his earlier life, the friendship of Ben Jonson, who
used to say of him, 'My son Cartwright writes all like a man;' and such
a sentence from such an authority was at that time fame.


LOVE'S DARTS.

1 Where is that learned wretch that knows
  What are those darts the veil'd god throws?
  Oh, let him tell me ere I die
  When 'twas he saw or heard them fly;
      Whether the sparrow's plumes, or dove's,
      Wing them for various loves;
      And whether gold or lead,
      Quicken or dull the head:
  I will anoint and keep them warm,
  And make the weapons heal the harm.

2 Fond that I am to ask! whoe'er
  Did yet see thought? or silence hear?
  Safe from the search of human eye
  These arrows (as their ways are) fly:
      The flights of angels part
      Not air with so much art;
      And snows on streams, we may
      Say, louder fall than they.
  So hopeless I must now endure,
  And neither know the shaft nor cure.

3 A sudden fire of blushes shed
  To dye white paths with hasty red;
  A glance's lightning swiftly thrown,
  Or from a true or seeming frown;
      A subtle taking smile
      From passion, or from guile;
      The spirit, life, and grace
      Of motion, limbs, and face;
  These misconceit entitles darts,
  And tears the bleedings of our hearts.

4 But as the feathers in the wing
  Unblemish'd are, and no wounds bring,
  And harmless twigs no bloodshed know,
  Till art doth fit them for the bow;
      So lights of flowing graces
      Sparkling in several places,
      Only adorn the parts,
      Till that we make them darts;
  Themselves are only twigs and quills:
  We give them shape and force for ills.

5 Beauty's our grief, but in the ore,
  We mint, and stamp, and then adore:
  Like heathen we the image crown,
  And indiscreetly then fall down:
      Those graces all were meant
      Our joy, not discontent;
      But with untaught desires
      We turn those lights to fires,
  Thus Nature's healing herbs we take,
  And out of cures do poisons make.


ON THE DEATH OF SIR BEVIL GRENVILLE.

Not to be wrought by malice, gain, or pride,
To a compliance with the thriving side;
Not to take arms for love of change, or spite,
But only to maintain afflicted right;
Not to die vainly in pursuit of fame,
Perversely seeking after voice and name;
Is to resolve, fight, die, as martyrs do,
And thus did he, soldier and martyr too.

       *       *       *       *       *

When now the incensed legions proudly came
Down like a torrent without bank or dam:
When undeserved success urged on their force;
That thunder must come down to stop their course,
Or Grenville must step in; then Grenville stood,
And with himself opposed and check'd the flood.
Conquest or death was all his thought. So fire
Either o'ercomes, or doth itself expire:
His courage work'd like flames, cast heat about,
Here, there, on this, on that side, none gave out;
Not any pike on that renowned stand,
But took new force from his inspiring hand:
Soldier encouraged soldier, man urged man,
And he urged all; so much example can;
Hurt upon hurt, wound upon wound did call,
He was the butt, the mark, the aim of all:
His soul this while retired from cell to cell,
At last flew up from all, and then he fell.
But the devoted stand enraged more
From that his fate, plied hotter than before,
And proud to fall with him, sworn not to yield,
Each sought an honour'd grave, so gain'd the field.
Thus he being fallen, his action fought anew:
And the dead conquer'd, whiles the living slew.

This was not nature's courage, not that thing
We valour call, which time and reason bring;
But a diviner fury, fierce and high,
Valour transported into ecstasy,
Which angels, looking on us from above,
Use to convey into the souls they love.
You now that boast the spirit, and its sway,
Shew us his second, and we'll give the day:
We know your politic axiom, lurk, or fly;
Ye cannot conquer, 'cause you dare not die:
And though you thank God that you lost none there,
'Cause they were such who lived not when they were;
Yet your great general (who doth rise and fall,
As his successes do, whom you dare call,
As fame unto you doth reports dispense,
Either a -------- or his excellence)
Howe'er he reigns now by unheard-of laws,
Could wish his fate together with his cause.

And thou (blest soul) whose clear compacted fame,
As amber bodies keeps, preserves thy name,
Whose life affords what doth content both eyes,
Glory for people, substance for the wise,
Go laden up with spoils, possess that seat
To which the valiant, when they've done, retreat:
And when thou seest an happy period sent
To these distractions, and the storm quite spent,
Look down and say, I have my share in all,
Much good grew from my life, much from my fall.


A VALEDICTION.

Bid me not go where neither suns nor showers
Do make or cherish flowers;
Where discontented things in sadness lie,
And Nature grieves as I.
When I am parted from those eyes,
From which my better day doth rise,
Though some propitious power
Should plant me in a bower,
Where amongst happy lovers I might see
How showers and sunbeams bring
One everlasting spring,
Nor would those fall, nor these shine forth to me;
Nature herself to him is lost,
Who loseth her he honours most.
Then, fairest, to my parting view display
Your graces all in one full day;
Whose blessed shapes I'll snatch and keep till when
I do return and view again:
So by this art fancy shall fortune cross,
And lovers live by thinking on their loss.



WILLIAM BROWNE.


This pastoral poet was born, in 1590, at Tavistock, in Devonshire,
a lovely part of a lovely county. He was educated at Oxford, and went
thence to the Inner Temple. He was at one time tutor to the Earl of
Carnarvon, and afterwards, when that nobleman perished in the battle of
Newbury, in 1643, he was patronised by the Earl of Pembroke, in whose
house he resided, and is even said to have become so rich that he
purchased an estate. In 1645 he died, at Ottery St Mary, the parish
where, in 1772, Coleridge was born.

Browne began his poetical career early, and closed it soon. He published
the first part of 'Britannia's Pastorals' in 1613, the second in 1616;
shortly after, his 'Shepherd's Pipe;' and, in 1620, produced his 'Inner
Temple Masque' which was then enacted, but not printed till a hundred
and twenty years after the author's death, when Dr Farmer transcribed
it from a MS. of the Bodleian Library, and it appeared in Tom Davies'
edition of Browne's poems. Browne has no constructive power, and no
human interest in his pastorals, but he has an eye for nature, and we
quote from him some excellent specimens of descriptive poetry.


SONG.

Gentle nymphs, be not refusing,
Love's neglect is Time's abusing,
  They and beauty are but lent you;
Take the one, and keep the other:
Love keeps fresh what age doth smother,
  Beauty gone, you will repent you.

'Twill be said, when ye have proved,
Never swains more truly loved:
  Oh, then, fly all nice behaviour!
Pity fain would (as her duty)
Be attending still on Beauty,
  Let her not be out of favour.


SONG.

1 Shall I tell you whom I love?
    Hearken then a while to me,
  And if such a woman move
    As I now shall versify;
  Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
  That I love, and love alone.

2 Nature did her so much right,
    As she scorns the help of art.
  In as many virtues dight
    As e'er yet embraced a heart;
  So much good so truly tried,
  Some for less were deified.

3 Wit she hath, without desire
    To make known how much she hath;
  And her anger flames no higher
    Than may fitly sweeten wrath.
  Full of pity as may be,
  Though perhaps not so to me.

4 Reason masters every sense,
    And her virtues grace her birth:
  Lovely as all excellence,
    Modest in her most of mirth:
  Likelihood enough to prove
  Only worth could kindle love.

5 Such she is: and if you know
    Such a one as I have sung;
  Be she brown, or fair, or so,
    That she be but somewhile young;
  Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
  That I love, and love alone.


POWER OF GENIUS OVER ENVY.

'Tis not the rancour of a canker'd heart
That can debase the excellence of art,
Nor great in titles makes our worth obey,
Since we have lines far more esteem'd than they.
For there is hidden in a poet's name
A spell that can command the wings of Fame,
And maugre all oblivion's hated birth
Begin their immortality on earth,
When he that 'gainst a muse with hate combines
May raise his tomb in vain to reach our lines.


EVENING.

As in an evening when the gentle air
Breathes to the sullen night a soft repair,
I oft have sat on Thames' sweet bank to hear
My friend with his sweet touch to charm mine ear,
When he hath play'd (as well he can) some strain
That likes me, straight I ask the same again,
And he, as gladly granting, strikes it o'er
With some sweet relish was forgot before:
I would have been content, if he would play,
In that one strain to pass the night away;
But fearing much to do his patience wrong,
Unwillingly have ask'd some other song:
So in this differing key though I could well
A many hours but as few minutes tell,
Yet lest mine own delight might injure you
(Though both so soon) I take my song anew.


FROM 'BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS.'

Between two rocks (immortal, without mother)
That stand as if outfacing one another,
There ran a creek up, intricate and blind,
As if the waters hid them from the wind,
Which never wash'd but at a higher tide
The frizzled cotes which do the mountains hide,
Where never gale was longer known to stay
Than from the smooth wave it had swept away
The new divorced leaves, that from each side
Left the thick boughs to dance out with the tide.
At further end the creek, a stately wood
Gave a kind shadow (to the brackish flood)
Made up of trees, not less kenn'd by each skiff
Than that sky-scaling peak of Teneriffe,
Upon whose tops the hernshew bred her young,
And hoary moss upon their branches hung;
Whose rugged rinds sufficient were to show,
Without their height, what time they 'gan to grow.
And if dry eld by wrinkled skin appears,
None could allot them less than Nestor's years.
As under their command the thronged creek
Ran lessen'd up. Here did the shepherd seek
Where he his little boat might safely hide,
Till it was fraught with what the world beside
Could not outvalue; nor give equal weight
Though in the time when Greece was at her height.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet that their happy voyage might not be
Without Time's shortener, heaven-taught melody,
(Music that lent feet to the stable woods,
And in their currents turn'd the mighty floods,
Sorrow's sweet nurse, yet keeping Joy alive,
Sad Discontent's most welcome corrosive,
The soul of art, best loved when love is by,
The kind inspirer of sweet poesy,
Least thou shouldst wanting be, when swans would fain
Have sung one song, and never sung again,)
The gentle shepherd, hasting to the shore,
Began this lay, and timed it with his oar:

Nevermore let holy Dee
  O'er other rivers brave,
Or boast how (in his jollity)
  Kings row'd upon his wave.
But silent be, and ever know
That Neptune for my fare would row.

       *       *       *       *       *

Swell then, gently swell, ye floods,
  As proud of what ye bear,
And nymphs that in low coral woods
  String pearls upon your hair,
Ascend; and tell if ere this day
A fairer prize was seen at sea.

See the salmons leap and bound
  To please us as we pass,
Each mermaid on the rocks around
  Lets fall her brittle glass,
As they their beauties did despise
And loved no mirror but your eyes,

Blow, but gently blow, fair wind,
  From the forsaken shore,
And be as to the halcyon kind,
  Till we have ferried o'er:
So mayst thou still have leave to blow,
And fan the way where she shall go.


A DESCRIPTIVE SKETCH.

Oh, what a rapture have I gotten now!
That age of gold, this of the lovely brow,
Have drawn me from my song! I onward run,
(Clean from the end to which I first begun,)
But ye, the heavenly creatures of the West,
In whom the virtues and the graces rest,
Pardon! that I have run astray so long,
And grow so tedious in so rude a song.
If you yourselves should come to add one grace
Unto a pleasant grove or such like place,
Where, here, the curious cutting of a hedge,
There in a pond, the trimming of the sedge;
Here the fine setting of well-shaded trees,
The walks their mounting up by small degrees,
The gravel and the green so equal lie,
It, with the rest, draws on your lingering eye:
Here the sweet smells that do perfume the air,
Arising from the infinite repair
Of odoriferous buds, and herbs of price,
(As if it were another paradise,)
So please the smelling sense, that you are fain
Where last you walk'd to turn and walk again.
There the small birds with their harmonious notes
Sing to a spring that smileth as she floats:
For in her face a many dimples show,
And often skips as it did dancing go:
Here further down an over-arched alley
That from a hill goes winding in a valley,
You spy at end thereof a standing lake,
Where some ingenious artist strives to make
The water (brought in turning pipes of lead
Through birds of earth most lively fashioned)
To counterfeit and mock the sylvans all
In singing well their own set madrigal.
This with no small delight retains your ear,
And makes you think none blest but who live there.
Then in another place the fruits that be
In gallant clusters decking each good tree
Invite your hand to crop them from the stem,
And liking one, taste every sort of them:
Then to the arbours walk, then to the bowers,
Thence to the walks again, thence to the flowers,
Then to the birds, and to the clear spring thence,
Now pleasing one, and then another sense:
Here one walks oft, and yet anew begin'th,
As if it were some hidden labyrinth.



WILLIAM ALEXANDER, EARL OF STIRLING.


This eminent Scotchman was born in 1580. He travelled on the Continent
as tutor to the Duke of Argyle. After his return to Scotland, he fell in
love with a lady, whom he calls 'Aurora,' and to whom he addressed some
beautiful sonnets. She refused his hand, however, and he married the
daughter of Sir William Erskine. He repaired to the Court of James I.,
and became a distinguished favourite, being appointed Gentleman Usher to
Charles I., and created a knight. He concocted a scheme for colonising
Nova Scotia, in which he was encouraged by both James and Charles; but
the difficulties seemed too formidable, and it was in consequence
dropped. Charles appointed him Lord-Lieutenant of Nova Scotia, and, in
1633, he created him Lord Stirling. Fifteen years (from 1626 to 1641)
our poet was Secretary of State for Scotland. These were the years
during which Laud was foolishly seeking to force his liturgy upon the
Presbyterians, but Stirling gained the praise of being moderate in his
share of the business. In the course of this time he contrived to amass
an ample fortune, and spent part of it in building a fine mansion in
Stirling, which is still, we believe, standing. He died in 1641.

Besides his smaller pieces, Stirling wrote several tragedies, including
one on Julius Caesar; an heroic poem; a poem addressed to Prince Henry,
the son of James I.; another heroic poem, entitled 'Jonathan;' and a
poem, in twelve parts, on the 'Day of Judgment.' These are all
forgotten, and, notwithstanding vigorous parts, deserve to be forgotten;
but his little sonnets, which are, if not brilliant, true things, and
inspired by a true passion, may long survive. He was, on the whole,
rather a man of great talent than of genius.


SONNET.

I swear, Aurora, by thy starry eyes,
And by those golden locks, whose lock none slips,
And by the coral of thy rosy lips,
And by the naked snows which beauty dyes;
I swear by all the jewels of thy mind,
Whose like yet never worldly treasure bought,
Thy solid judgment, and thy generous thought,

Which in this darken'd age have clearly shined;
I swear by those, and by my spotless love,
And by my secret, yet most fervent fires,
That I have never nursed but chaste desires,
And such as modesty might well approve.
Then, since I love those virtuous parts in thee,
Shouldst thou not love this virtuous mind in me?



WILLIAM DRUMMOND.


A man of much finer gifts than Stirling, was the famous Drummond. He
was born, December 13, 1585, at Hawthornden, his father's estate, in
Mid- Lothian. It is one of the most beautiful spots, along the sides
of one of the fairest streams in all Scotland, and well fitted to be
the home of genius. He studied civil law for four years in France, but,
in 1611, the estate of Hawthornden became his own, and here he fixed his
residence, and applied himself to literature. At this time he courted,
and was upon the point of marrying, a lady named Cunningham, who died;
and the melancholy which preyed on his mind after this event, drove him
abroad in search of solace. He visited Italy, Germany, and France; and
during his eight years of residence on the Continent, used his time
well, conversing with the learned, admiring all that was admirable in
the scenery and the life of foreign lands, and collecting rare books and
manuscripts. He had, before his departure, published, first, a volume
of occasional poems; next, a moral treatise, in prose, entitled, 'The
Cypress Grove;' and then another work, in verse, 'The Flowers of Zion.'
Returned once more to Scotland, he retired to the seat of his brother-
in-law, Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, and there wrote a 'History of
the Five James's of Scotland,' a book abounding in bombast and slavish
principles. When he returned to his own lovely Hawthornden, he met a
lady named Logan, of the house of Restalrig, whom he fancied to bear a
striking resemblance to his dead mistress. On that hint he spake, and
she became his wife. He proceeded to repair the house of Hawthornden,
and would have spent his days there in great peace, had it not been for
the distracted times. His politics were of the Royalist complexion; and
the party in power, belonging to the Presbyterians, used every method to
annoy him, compelling him, for instance, to furnish his quota of men and
arms to support the cause which he opposed. In 1619, Ben Jonson visited
him at Hawthornden. The pair were not well assorted. Brawny Ben and
dreaming Drummond seem, in the expressive coinage of De Quincey, to have
'interdespised;' and is not their feud, with all its circumstances,
recorded in the chronicles of the 'Quarrels of Authors' compiled by the
elder Disraeli? The death of a lady sent Drummond travelling over Europe
--the death of a King sent him away on a farther and a final journey.
His grief for the execution of Charles I. is said to have shortened his
days. At all events, in December of the year of the so-called
'Martyrdom,' (1649,) he breathed his last.

He was a genuine poet as well as a brilliant humorist. His 'Polemo
Middinia,' a grotesque mixture of bad Latin and semi-Latinised Scotch,
has created, among many generations, inextinguishable laughter. His
'Wandering Muses; or, The River of Forth Feasting,' has some gorgeous
descriptions, particularly of Scotland's lakes and rivers, at a time
when

  'She lay, like some unkenn'd of isle,
    Ayont New Holland;'

but his sonnets are unquestionably his finest productions. They breathe
a spirit of genuine poetry. Each one of them is a rose lightly wet
with the dew of tenderness, and one or two suggest irresistibly the
recollection of our Great Dramatist's sonnets, although we feel that
'a less than Shakspeare is here.'


THE RIVER OF FORTH FEASTING.

A PANEGYRIC TO THE HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE JAMES, KING
Or GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND.

_To His Sacred Majesty._

If in this storm of joy and pompous throng,
This nymph (great king) doth come to thee so near
That thy harmonious ears her accents hear,
Give pardon to her hoarse and lowly song:
Fain would she trophies to thy virtues rear;
But for this stately task she is not strong,
And her defects her high attempts do wrong,
Yet as she could she makes thy worth appear.
So in a map is shown this flowery place;
So wrought in arras by a virgin's hand
With heaven and blazing stars doth Atlas stand,
So drawn by charcoal is Narcissus' face:
  She like the morn may be to some bright sun,
  The day to perfect that's by her begun.

       *       *       *       *       *

What blustering noise now interrupts my sleep?
What echoing shouts thus cleave my crystal deep,
And seem to call me from my watery court?
What melody, what sounds of joy and sport,
Are convey'd hither from each neighbouring spring?
With what loud rumours do the mountains ring,
Which in unusual pomp on tiptoes stand,
And (full of wonder) overlook the land?
Whence come these glittering throngs, these meteors bright,
This golden people glancing in my sight?
Whence doth this praise, applause, and love arise,
What load-star eastward draweth thus all eyes?
Am I awake? or have some dreams conspired
To mock my sense with what I most desired?
View I that living face, see I those looks,
Which with delight were wont t'amaze my brooks?
Do I behold that worth, that man divine,
This age's glory, by these banks of mine?
Then find I true what long I wish'd in vain,
My much beloved prince is come again;
So unto them whose zenith is the pole,
When six black months are past, the sun doth roll:
So after tempest to sea-tossed wights
Fair Helen's brothers show their cheering lights:
So comes Arabia's wonder from her woods,
And far, far off is seen by Memphis' floods;
The feather'd Sylvans, cloud-like, by her fly,
And with triumphing plaudits beat the sky;
Nile marvels, Seraph's priests, entranced, rave,
And in Mydonian stone her shape engrave;
In lasting cedars they do mark the time
In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.
Let Mother Earth now deck'd with flowers be seen,
And sweet-breath'd zephyrs curl the meadows green,
Let heaven weep rubies in a crimson shower,
Such as on India's shores they use to pour:
Or with that golden storm the fields adorn,
Which Jove rain'd when his blue-eyed maid was born.
May never hours the web of day outweave,
May never night rise from her sable cave.
Swell proud, my billows, faint not to declare
Your joys as ample as their causes are:
For murmurs hoarse sound like Arion's harp,
Now delicately flat, now sweetly sharp;
And you, my nymphs, rise from your moist repair;
Strow all your springs and grots with lilies fair:
Some swiftest-footed, get them hence, and pray
Our floods and lakes come keep this holiday;
Whate'er beneath Albania's hills do run,
Which see the rising or the setting sun,
Which drink stern Grampius' mists, or Ochil's snows:
Stone-rolling Tay, Tyne tortoise-like that flows,
The pearly Don, the Dees, the fertile Spey,
Wild Neverne, which doth see our longest day;
Ness smoking sulphur, Leave with mountains crown'd,
Strange Lomond for his floating isles renown'd:
The Irish Rian, Ken, the silver Ayr,
The snaky Dun, the Ore with rushy hair,
The crystal-streaming Nid, loud-bellowing Clyde,
Tweed which no more our kingdoms shall divide;
Rank-swelling Annan, Lid with curled streams,
The Esks, the Solway, where they lose their names,
To every one proclaim our joys and feasts,
Our triumphs; bid all come and be our guests:
And as they meet in Neptune's azure hall,
Bid them bid sea-gods keep this festival;
This day shall by our currents be renown'd,
Our hills about shall still this day resound;
Nay, that our love more to this day appear,
Let us with it henceforth begin our year.
To virgins, flowers; to sunburnt earth, the rain;
To mariners, fair winds amidst the main;
Cool shades to pilgrims, which hot glances burn,
Are not so pleasing as thy blest return.
That day, dear prince, which robb'd us of thy sight,
(Day, no, but darkness and a dusky night,)
Did fill our breasts with sighs, our eyes with tears,
Turn'd minutes to sad months, sad months to years,
Trees left to flourish, meadows to bear flowers,
Brooks hid their heads within their sedgy bowers,
Fair Ceres cursed our fields with barren frost,
As if again she had her daughter lost:
The muses left our groves, and for sweet songs
Sat sadly silent, or did weep their wrongs.
You know it, meads; your murmuring woods it know,
Hill, dales, and caves, copartners of their woe;
And you it know, my streams, which from their een
Oft on your glass received their pearly brine;
O Naiads dear, (said they,) Napeas fair,
O nymphs of trees, nymphs which on hills repair!
Gone are those maiden glories, gone that state,
Which made all eyes admire our bliss of late.
As looks the heaven when never star appears,
But slow and weary shroud them in their spheres,
While Titon's wife embosom'd by him lies,
And world doth languish in a dreary guise:
As looks a garden of its beauty spoil'd,
As woods in winter by rough Boreas foil'd,
As portraits razed of colours used to be:
So look'd these abject bounds deprived of thee.

While as my rills enjoy'd thy royal gleams,
They did not envy Tiber's haughty streams,
Nor wealthy Tagus with his golden ore,
Nor clear Hydaspes which on pearls doth roar,
Nor golden Gange that sees the sun new born,
Nor Achelous with his flowery horn,
Nor floods which near Elysian fields do fall:
For why? thy sight did serve to them for all.
No place there is so desert, so alone,
Even from the frozen to the torrid zone,
From flaming Hecla to great Quinsey's lake,
Which thy abode could not most happy make;
All those perfections which by bounteous Heaven
To divers worlds in divers times were given,
The starry senate pour'd at once on thee,
That thou exemplar mightst to others be.
Thy life was kept till the Three Sisters spun
Their threads of gold, and then it was begun.
With chequer'd clouds when skies do look most fair,
And no disordered blasts disturb the air,
When lilies do them deck in azure gowns;
And new-born roses blush with golden crowns,
To prove how calm we under thee should live,
What halcyonian days thy reign should give,
And to two flowery diadems thy right;
The heavens thee made a partner of the light.
Scarce wast thou born when, join'd in friendly bands,
Two mortal foes with other clasped hands;
With Virtue Fortune strove, which most should grace
Thy place for thee, thee for so high a place;
One vow'd thy sacred breast not to forsake,
The other on thee not to turn her back;
And that thou more her love's effects mightst feel,
For thee she left her globe, and broke her wheel.

When years thee vigour gave, oh, then, how clear
Did smother'd sparkles in bright flames appear!
Amongst the woods to force the flying hart,
To pierce the mountain wolf with feather'd dart;
See falcons climb the clouds, the fox ensnare,
Outrun the wind-outrunning Doedale hare,
To breathe thy fiery steed on every plain,
And in meand'ring gyres him bring again,
The press thee making place, and vulgar things,
In Admiration's air, on Glory's wings;
Oh, thou far from the common pitch didst rise,
With thy designs to dazzle Envy's eyes:
Thou soughtst to know this All's eternal source,
Of ever-turning heaven the restless course,
Their fixed lamps, their lights which wandering run,
Whence moon her silver hath, his gold the sun;
If Fate there be or no, if planets can
By fierce aspects force the free will of man;
The light aspiring fire, the liquid air,
The flaming dragons, comets with red hair,
Heaven's tilting lances, artillery, and bow,
Loud-sounding trumpets, darts of hail and snow,
The roaring elements, with people dumb,
The earth with what conceived is in her womb.
What on her moves were set unto thy sight,
Till thou didst find their causes, essence, might.
But unto nought thou so thy mind didst strain,
As to be read in man, and learn to reign:
To know the weight and Atlas of a crown,
To spare the humble, proud ones tumble down.
When from those piercing cares which thrones invest,
As thorns the rose, thou wearied wouldst thee rest,
With lute in hand, full of celestial fire,
To the Pierian groves thou didst retire:
There garlanded with all Urania's flowers,
In sweeter lays than builded Thebes' towers,
Or them which charm'd the dolphins in the main,
Or which did call Eurydice again,
Thou sung'st away the hours, till from their sphere
Stars seem'd to shoot thy melody to hear.
The god with golden hair, the sister maids,
Did leave their Helicon, and Tempe's shades,
To see thine isle, here lost their native tongue,
And in thy world-divided language sung.

Who of thine after age can count the deeds,
With all that Fame in Time's huge annals reads?
How, by example more than any law,
This people fierce thou didst to goodness draw;
How, while the neighbour world, toss'd by the Fates,
So many Phaëtons had in their states,
Which turn'd to heedless flames their burnish'd thrones,
Thou, as ensphered, kept'st temperate thy zones;
In Afric shores the sands that ebb and flow,
The shady leaves on Arden's trees that grow,
He sure may count, with all the waves that meet
To wash the Mauritanian Atlas' feet.
Though crown'd thou wert not, nor a king by birth,
Thy worth deserves the richest crown on earth.
Search this half sphere, and the Antarctic ground,
Where is such wit and bounty to be found?
As into silent night, when near the Bear,
The virgin huntress shines at full most clear,
And strives to match her brother's golden light,
The host of stars doth vanish in her sight,
Arcturus dies; cool'd is the Lion's ire,
Po burns no more with Phaëtontal fire:
Orion faints to see his arms grow black,
And that his flaming sword he now doth lack:
So Europe's lights, all bright in their degree,
Lose all their lustre parallel'd with thee;
By just descent thou from more kings dost shine,
Than many can name men in all their line:
What most they toil to find, and finding hold,
Thou scornest--orient gems, and flattering gold;
Esteeming treasure surer in men's breasts,
Than when immured with marble, closed in chests;
No stormy passions do disturb thy mind,
No mists of greatness ever could thee blind:
Who yet hath been so meek? thou life didst give
To them who did repine to see thee live;
What prince by goodness hath such kingdoms gain'd?
Who hath so long his people's peace maintain'd?
Their swords are turn'd to scythes, to coulters spears,
Some giant post their antique armour bears:
Now, where the wounded knight his life did bleed,
The wanton swain sits piping on a reed;
And where the cannon did Jove's thunder scorn,
The gaudy huntsman winds his shrill-tuned horn:
Her green locks Ceres doth to yellow dye,
The pilgrim safely in the shade doth lie,
Both Pan and Pales careless keep their flocks,
Seas have no dangers save the wind and rocks:
Thou art this isle's Palladium, neither can
(Whiles thou dost live) it be o'erthrown by man.

Let others boast of blood and spoils of foes,
Fierce rapines, murders, Iliads of woes,
Of hated pomp, and trophies reared fair,
Gore-spangled ensigns streaming in the air,
Count how they make the Scythian them adore,
The Gaditan and soldier of Aurore.
Unhappy boasting! to enlarge their bounds,
That charge themselves with cares, their friends with wounds;
Who have no law to their ambitious will,
But, man-plagues, born are human blood to spill!
Thou a true victor art, sent from above
What others strain by force, to gain by love;
World-wandering Fame this praise to thee imparts,
To be the only monarch of all hearts.
They many fear who are of many fear'd,
And kingdoms got by wrongs, by wrongs are tear'd;
Such thrones as blood doth raise, blood throweth down,
No guard so sure as love unto a crown.

Eye of our western world, Mars-daunting king,
With whose renown the earth's seven climates ring,
Thy deeds not only claim these diadems,
To which Thame, Liftey, Tay, subject their streams;
But to thy virtues rare, and gifts, is due
All that the planet of the year doth view;
Sure if the world above did want a prince,
The world above to it would take thee hence.

That Murder, Rapine, Lust, are fled to hell,
And in their rooms with us the Graces dwell;
That honour more than riches men respect,
That worthiness than gold doth more effect,
That Piety unmasked shows her face,
That Innocency keeps with Power her place,
That long-exiled Astrea leaves the heaven,
And turneth right her sword, her weights holds even,
That the Saturnian world is come again,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.
That daily, Peace, Love, Truth, Delights increase,
And Discord, Hate, Fraud, with Incumbers, cease;
That men use strength not to shed others' blood,
But use their strength now to do others good;
That Fury is enchain'd, disarmed Wrath,
That (save by Nature's hand) there is no death;
That late grim foes like brothers other love,
That vultures prey not on the harmless dove,
That wolves with lambs do friendship entertain,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.
That towns increase, that ruin'd temples rise,
That their wind-moving vanes do kiss the skies;
That Ignorance and Sloth hence run away,
That buried Arts now rouse them to the day,
That Hyperion far beyond his bed
Doth see our lions ramp, our roses spread;
That Iber courts us, Tiber not us charms,
That Rhine with hence-brought beams his bosom warms;
That ill doth fear, and good doth us maintain,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.

O Virtue's pattern, glory of our times,
Sent of past days to expiate the crimes,
Great king, but better far than thou art great,
Whom state not honours, but who honours state,
By wonder born, by wonder first install'd,
By wonder after to new kingdoms call'd;
Young, kept by wonder from home-bred alarms,
Old, saved by wonder from pale traitors' harms,
To be for this thy reign, which wonders brings,
A king of wonder, wonder unto kings.
If Pict, Dane, Norman, thy smooth yoke had seen,
Pict, Dane, and Norman had thy subjects been;
If Brutus knew the bliss thy rule doth give,
Even Brutus joy would under thee to live,
For thou thy people dost so dearly love,
That they a father, more than prince, thee prove.

O days to be desired! Age happy thrice!
If you your heaven-sent good could duly prize;
But we (half palsy-sick) think never right
Of what we hold, till it be from our sight,
Prize only summer's sweet and musked breath,
When armed winters threaten us with death,
In pallid sickness do esteem of health,
And by sad poverty discern of wealth:
I see an age when, after some few years,
And revolutions of the slow-paced spheres,
These days shall be 'bove other far esteem'd,
And like Augustus' palmy reign be deem'd.
The names of Arthur, fabulous Paladines,
Graven in Time's surly brows, in wrinkled lines,
Of Henrys, Edwards, famous for their fights,
Their neighbour conquests, orders new of knights,
Shall by this prince's name be pass'd as far
As meteors are by the Idalian star.
If gray-hair'd Proteus' songs the truth not miss--
And gray-hair'd Proteus oft a prophet is--
There is a land hence distant many miles,
Outreaching fiction and Atlantic isles,
Which (homelings) from this little world we name,
That shall emblazon with strange rites his fame,
Shall rear him statues all of purest gold,
Such as men gave unto the gods of old,
Name by him temples, palaces, and towns,
With some great river, which their fields renowns:
This is that king who should make right each wrong,
Of whom the bards and mystic Sibyls sung,
The man long promised, by whose glorious reign
This isle should yet her ancient name regain,
And more of fortunate deserve the style,
Than those whose heavens with double summers smile.

Run on, great prince, thy course in glory's way,
The end the life, the evening crowns the day;
Heap worth on worth, and strongly soar above
Those heights which made the world thee first to love;
Surmount thyself, and make thine actions past
Be but as gleams or lightnings of thy last,
Let them exceed those of thy younger time,
As far as autumn; doth the flowery prime.
Through this thy empire range, like world's bright eye,
That once each year surveys all earth and sky,
Now glances on the slow and resty Bears,
Then turns to dry the weeping Auster's tears,
Hurries to both the poles, and moveth even
In the figured circle of the heaven:
Oh, long, long haunt these bounds which by thy sight
Have now regain'd their former heat and light.
Here grow green woods, here silver brooks do glide,
Here meadows stretch them out with painted pride,
Embroidering all the banks, here hills aspire
To crown their heads with the ethereal fire,
Hills, bulwarks of our freedom, giant walls,
Which never friends did slight, nor sword made thralls:
Each circling flood to Thetis tribute pays,
Men here in health outlive old Nestor's days:
Grim Saturn yet amongst our rocks remains,
Bound in our caves, with many metall'd chains,
Bulls haunt our shade like Leda's lover white,
Which yet might breed Pesiphae delight,
Our flocks fair fleeces bear, with which for sport
Endymion of old the moon did court,
High-palmed harts amidst our forests run,
And, not impaled, the deep-mouth'd hounds do shun;
The rough-foot hare safe in our bushes shrouds,
And long-wing'd hawks do perch amidst our clouds.
The wanton wood-nymphs of the verdant spring,
Blue, golden, purple flowers shall to thee bring,
Pomona's fruits the Panisks, Thetis' girls,
The Thule's amber, with the ocean pearls;
The Tritons, herdsmen of the glassy field,
Shall give thee what far-distant shores can yield,
The Serean fleeces, Erythrean gems,
Vast Plata's silver, gold of Peru streams,
Antarctic parrots, Ethiopian plumes,
Sabasan odours, myrrh, and sweet perfumes:
And I myself, wrapt in a watchet gown
Of reeds and lilies, on mine head a crown,
Shall incense to thee burn, green altars raise,
And yearly sing due paeans to thy praise.

Ah! why should Isis only see thee shine?
Is not thy Forth, as well as Isis, thine?
Though Isis vaunt she hath more wealth in store,
Let it suffice thy Forth doth love thee more:
Though she for beauty may compare with Seine,
For swans, and sea-nymphs with imperial Rhine,
Yet for the title may be claim'd in thee,
Nor she nor all the world can match with me.
Now when, by honour drawn, them shalt away
To her, already jealous of thy stay,
When in her amorous arms she doth thee fold,
And dries thy dewy hairs with hers of gold,
Much asking of thy fare, much of thy sport,
Much of thine absence, long, howe'er so short,
And chides, perhaps, thy coming to the north,
Loathe not to think on thy much-loving Forth:
Oh, love these bounds, where of thy royal stem
More than an hundred wore a diadem.
So ever gold and bays thy brows adorn,
So never time may see thy race outworn,
So of thine own still mayst thou be desired,
Of strangers fear'd, redoubted, and admired;
So Memory thee praise, so precious hours
May character thy name in starry flowers;
So may thy high exploits at last make even,
With earth thy empire, glory with the heaven.


SONNETS.

I.

I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time's great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know that all the Muse's heavenly lays,
With toil of sp'rit, which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds, of few, or none, are sought,
That there is nothing lighter than vain praise;
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords,
That love a jarring is of minds' accords,
Where sense and will envassal Reason's power;
  Know what I list, all this can not me move,
  But that, alas! I both must write and love.

II.

Ah me! and I am now the man whose muse
In happier times was wont to laugh at love,
And those who suffer'd that blind boy abuse
The noble gifts were given them from above.
What metamorphose strange is this I prove I
Myself now scarce I find myself to be,
And think no fable Circe's tyranny,
And all the tales are told of changed Jove;
Virtue hath taught with her philosophy
My mind into a better course to move:
Reason may chide her fill, and oft reprove
Affection's power, but what is that to me?
  Who ever think, and never think on ought
  But that bright cherubim which thralls my thought.

III.

How that vast heaven, entitled first, is roll'd,
If any glancing towers beyond it be,
And people living in eternity,
Or essence pure that doth this all uphold:
What motion have those fixed sparks of gold,
The wandering carbuncles which shine from high,
By sp'rits, or bodies crossways in the sky,
If they be turn'd, and mortal things behold;
How sun posts heaven about, how night's pale queen
With borrow'd beams looks on this hanging round,
What cause fair Iris hath, and monsters seen
In air's large field of light, and seas profound,
  Did hold my wandering thoughts, when thy sweet eye
  Bade me leave all, and only think on thee.

IV.

If cross'd with all mishaps be my poor life,
If one short day I never spent in mirth,
If my sp'rit with itself holds lasting strife,
If sorrow's death is but new sorrow's birth;
If this vain world be but a mournful stage,
Where slave-born man plays to the scoffing stars,
If youth be toss'd with love, with weakness age;
If knowledge serves to hold our thoughts in wars,
If Time can close the hundred mouths of Fame,
And make what's long since past, like that's to be;
If virtue only be an idle name,
If being born I was but born to die;
  Why seek I to prolong these loathsome days?
  The fairest rose in shortest time decays.

V.

Dear chorister, who from those shadows sends,
Ere that the blushing morn dare show her light,
Such sad, lamenting strains, that night attends,
Become all ear; stars stay to hear thy plight,
If one whose grief even reach of thought transcends,
Who ne'er, not in a dream, did taste delight,
May thee importune who like case pretends,
And seems to joy in woe, in woe's despite.
Tell me (so may thou fortune milder try,
And long, long sing) for what thou thus complains,
Since winter's gone, and sun in dappled sky,
Enamour'd, smiles on woods and flowery plains?
  The bird, as if my questions did her move,
  With trembling wings sigh'd forth, 'I love, I love.'

VI.

Sweet soul, which, in the April of thy years,
For to enrich the heaven mad'st poor this round,
And now, with flaming rays of glory crown'd,
Most blest abides above the sphere of spheres;
If heavenly laws, alas! have not thee bound
From looking to this globe that all upbears,
If ruth and pity there above be found,
Oh, deign to lend a look unto these tears,
Do not disdain, dear ghost, this sacrifice,
And though I raise not pillars to thy praise,
My offerings take, let this for me suffice,
My heart a living pyramid I raise:
  And whilst kings' tombs with laurels flourish green,
  Thine shall with myrtles and these flowers be seen.


SPIRITUAL POEMS.

I.

Look, how the flower which ling'ringly doth fade,
The morning's darling late, the summer's queen,
Spoil'd of that juice which kept it fresh and green,
As high as it did raise, bows low the head:
Right so the pleasures of my life being dead,
Or in their contraries but only seen,
With swifter speed declines than erst it spread,
And, blasted, scarce now shows what it hath been.
As doth the pilgrim, therefore, whom the night
By darkness would imprison on his way,
Think on thy home, my soul, and think aright,
Of what's yet left thee of life's wasting day;
  Thy sun posts westward, passed is thy morn,
  And twice it is not given thee to be born.

II.

The weary mariner so fast not flies
A howling tempest, harbour to attain;
Nor shepherd hastes, when frays of wolves arise,
So fast to fold, to save his bleating train,
As I, wing'd with contempt and just disdain,
Now fly the world, and what it most doth prize,
And sanctuary seek, free to remain
From wounds of abject times, and Envy's eyes.
To me this world did once seem sweet and fair,
While senses' light mind's prospective kept blind,
Now, like imagined landscape in the air,
And weeping rainbows, her best joys I find:
  Or if aught here is had that praise should have,
  It is a life obscure, and silent grave.

III.

The last and greatest herald of heaven's King,
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he more harmless found than man, and mild;
His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distill'd;
Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exiled;
There burst he forth; 'All ye whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn;
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!'
Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
  Only the echoes, which he made relent,
  Rung from their flinty caves, 'Repent, repent!'

IV.

Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours
Of winters past or coming, void of care,
Well-pleased with delights which present are,
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers:
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers,
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare,
And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare,
A stain to human sense in sin that lowers.
What soul can be so sick, which by thy songs,
Attired in sweetness, sweetly is not driven
Quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs,
And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven?
  Sweet artless songster, thou my mind dost raise
  To airs of spheres, yes, and to angels' lays.

V.

As when it happ'neth that some lovely town
Unto a barbarous besieger falls,
Who both by sword and flame himself installs,
And, shameless, it in tears and blood doth drown
Her beauty spoil'd, her citizens made thralls,
His spite yet cannot so her all throw down,
But that some statue, pillar of renown,
Yet lurks unmaim'd within her weeping walls:
So, after all the spoil, disgrace, and wreck,
That time, the world, and death, could bring combined,
Amidst that mass of ruins they did make,
Safe and all scarless yet remains my mind:
  From this so high transcending rapture springs,
  That I, all else defaced, not envy kings.



PHINEAS FLETCHER

We have already spoken of Giles Fletcher, the brother of Phineas. Of
Phineas we know nothing except that he was born in 1584, educated at
Eton and Cambridge, became Rector at Hilgay, in Norfolk, where he
remained for twenty-nine years, surviving his brother; that he wrote
an account of the founders and learned men of his university; that in
1633, he published 'The Purple Island;' and that in 1650 he died.

His 'Purple Island' (with which we first became acquainted in the
writings of James Hervey, author of the 'Meditations,' who was its
fervent admirer) is a curious, complex, and highly ingenious allegory,
forming an elaborate picture of _Man_, in his body and soul; and for
subtlety and infinite flexibility, both of fancy and verse, deserves
great praise, although it cannot, for a moment, be compared with his
brother's 'Christ's Victory and Triumph,' either in interest of subject
or in splendour of genius.


DESCRIPTION OF PARTHENIA.

  With her, her sister went, a warlike maid,
    Parthenia, all in steel and gilded arms;
  In needle's stead, a mighty spear she sway'd,
    With which in bloody fields and fierce alarms,
      The boldest champion she down would bear,
      And like a thunderbolt wide passage tear,
Flinging all to the earth with her enchanted spear.

  Her goodly armour seem'd a garden green,
    Where thousand spotless lilies freshly blew;
  And on her shield the lone bird might be seen,
    The Arabian bird, shining in colours new;
      Itself unto itself was only mate;
      Ever the same, but new in newer date:
And underneath was writ, 'Such is chaste single state.'

  Thus hid in arms she seem'd a goodly knight,
    And fit for any warlike exercise:
  But when she list lay down her armour bright,
    And back resume her peaceful maiden's guise;
      The fairest maid she was, that ever yet
      Prison'd her locks within a golden net,
Or let them waving hang, with roses fair beset.

  Choice nymph! the crown of chaste Diana's train,
    Thou beauty's lily, set in heavenly earth;
  Thy fairs, unpattern'd, all perfection stain:
    Sure heaven with curious pencil at thy birth
      In thy rare face her own full picture drew:
      It is a strong verse here to write, but true,
Hyperboles in others are but half thy due.

  Upon her forehead Love his trophies fits,
    A thousand spoils in silver arch displaying:
  And in the midst himself full proudly sits,
    Himself in awful majesty arraying:
      Upon her brows lies his bent ebon bow,
      And ready shafts; deadly those weapons show;
Yet sweet the death appear'd, lovely that deadly blow.

       *       *       *       *       *

  A bed of lilies flower upon her cheek,
    And in the midst was set a circling rose;
  Whose sweet aspect would force Narcissus seek
    New liveries, and fresher colours choose
      To deck his beauteous head in snowy 'tire;
      But all in vain: for who can hope t' aspire
To such a fair, which none attain, but all admire?

  Her ruby lips lock up from gazing sight
    A troop of pearls, which march in goodly row:
  But when she deigns those precious bones undight,
    Soon heavenly notes from those divisions flow,
      And with rare music charm the ravish'd ears,
      Daunting bold thoughts, but cheering modest fears:
The spheres so only sing, so only charm the spheres.

  Yet all these stars which deck this beauteous sky
     By force of th'inward sun both shine and move;
  Throned in her heart sits love's high majesty;
     In highest majesty the highest love.
       As when a taper shines in glassy frame,
       The sparkling crystal burns in glittering flame,
So does that brightest love brighten this lovely dame.


INSTABILITY OF HUMAN GREATNESS.

  Fond man, that looks on earth for happiness,
    And here long seeks what here is never found!
  For all our good we hold from Heaven by lease,
    With many forfeits and conditions bound;
      Nor can we pay the fine and rentage due:
      Though now but writ and seal'd, and given anew,
Yet daily we it break, then daily must renew.

  Why shouldst thou here look for perpetual good,
    At every loss against Heaven's face repining?
  Do but behold where glorious cities stood,
    With gilded tops, and silver turrets shining;
      Where now the hart fearless of greyhound feeds,
      And loving pelican in safety breeds;
Where screeching satyrs fill the people's empty steads.

  Where is the Assyrian lion's golden hide,
    That all the East once grasp'd in lordly paw?
  Where that great Persian bear, whose swelling pride
    The lion's self tore out with ravenous jaw?
      Or he which, 'twixt a lion and a pard,
      Through all the world with nimble pinions fared,
And to his greedy whelps his conquer'd kingdoms shared?

  Hardly the place of such antiquity,
    Or note of these great monarchies we find:
  Only a fading verbal memory,
    An empty name in writ is left behind:
      But when this second life and glory fades,
      And sinks at length in time's obscurer shades,
A second fall succeeds, and double death invades.

  That monstrous Beast, which nursed in Tiber's fen,
    Did all the world with hideous shape affray;
  That fill'd with costly spoil his gaping den,
    And trod down all the rest to dust and clay:
      His battering horns pull'd out by civil hands,
      And iron teeth lie scatter'd on the sands;
Backed, bridled by a monk, with seven heads yoked stands.

  And that black Vulture,[1] which with deathful wing
    O'ershadows half the earth, whose dismal sight
  Frighten'd the Muses from their native spring,
    Already stoops, and flags with weary flight:
      Who then shall look for happiness beneath?
      Where each new day proclaims chance, change, and death,
And life itself's as fleet as is the air we breathe.

[1] 'Black Vulture:' the Turk.


HAPPINESS OF THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE.

  Thrice, oh, thrice happy, shepherd's life and state!
    When courts are happiness, unhappy pawns!
  His cottage low and safely humble gate
    Shuts out proud Fortune, with her scorns and fawns
      No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep:
      Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep;
Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.

  No Serian worms he knows, that with their thread
    Draw out their silken lives; nor silken pride:
  His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need,
    Not in that proud Sidonian tineture dyed:
      No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright,
      Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite;
But sweet content exiles both misery and spite.

  Instead of music, and base flattering tongues,
    Which wait to first salute my lord's uprise,
  The cheerful lark wakes him with early songs,
    And birds' sweet whistling notes unlock his eyes:
      In country plays is all the strife he uses,
      Or sing, or dance unto the rural Muses,
And but in music's sports all difference refuses.

  His certain life, that never can deceive him,
    Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content;
  The smooth-leaved beeches in the field receive him
    With coolest shades, till noontide rage is spent;
      His life is neither toss'd in boisterous seas
      Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease;
Pleased, and full blest he lives, when he his God can please.

  His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
    While by his side his faithful spouse hath place;
  His little son into his bosom creeps,
    The lively picture of his father's face:
      Never his humble house nor state torment him;
      Less he could like, if less his God had sent him;
And when he dies, green turfs, with grassy tomb, content him.


MARRIAGE OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.

  'Ah, dearest Lord! does my rapt soul behold thee?
    Am I awake, and sure I do not dream?
  Do these thrice-blessed arms again enfold thee?
    Too much delight makes true things feigned seem.
      Thee, thee I see; thou, thou thus folded art:
      For deep thy stamp is printed on my heart,
And thousand ne'er-felt joys stream in each melting part.'

  Thus with glad sorrow did she sweetly 'plain her,
    Upon his neck a welcome load depending;
  While he with equal joy did entertain her,
    Herself, her champions, highly all commending:
      So all in triumph to his palace went;
      Whose work in narrow words may not be pent:
For boundless thought is less than is that glorious tent.

  There sweet delights, which know nor end nor measure;
    No chance is there, nor eating times succeeding:
  No wasteful spending can impair their treasure;
    Pleasure full grown, yet ever freshly breeding:
      Fulness of sweets excludes not more receiving;
      The soul still big of joy, yet still conceiving;
Beyond slow tongue's report, beyond quick thought's perceiving.

  There are they gone; there will they ever bide;
    Swimming in waves of joys and heavenly loves:
  He still a bridegroom, she a gladsome bride;
    Their hearts in love, like spheres still constant moving;
      No change, no grief, no age can them befall;
      Their bridal bed is in that heavenly hall,
Where all days are but one, and only one is all.

  And as in his state they thus in triumph ride,
    The boys and damsels their just praises chant;
  The boys the bridegroom sing, the maids the bride,
    While all the hills glad hymens loudly vaunt:
      Heaven's winged shoals, greeting this glorious spring,
      Attune their higher notes, and hymens sing:
Each thought to pass, and each did pass thought's loftiest wing.

  Upon his lightning brow love proudly sitting
    Flames out in power, shines out in majesty;
  There all his lofty spoils and trophies fitting,
    Displays the marks of highest Deity:
      There full of strength in lordly arms he stands,
      And every heart and every soul commands:
No heart, no soul, his strength and lordly force withstands.

  Upon her forehead thousand cheerful graces,
    Seated on thrones of spotless ivory;
  There gentle Love his armed hand unbraces;
    His bow unbent disclaims all tyranny;
      There by his play a thousand souls beguiles,
      Persuading more by simple, modest smiles,
Than ever he could force by arms or crafty wiles.

  Upon her cheek doth Beauty's self implant
    The freshest garden of her choicest flowers;
  On which, if Envy might but glance askant,
    Her eyes would swell, and burst, and melt in showers:
      Thrice fairer both than ever fairest eyed;
      Heaven never such a bridegroom yet descried;
Nor ever earth so fair, so undefiled a bride.

  Full of his Father shines his glorious face,
    As far the sun surpassing in his light,
  As doth the sun the earth with flaming blaze:
    Sweet influence streams from his quickening sight:
      His beams from nought did all this _All_ display;
      And when to less than nought they fell away,
He soon restored again by his new orient ray.

  All heaven shines forth in her sweet face's frame:
    Her seeing stars (which we miscall bright eyes)
  More bright than is the morning's brightest flame,
    More fruitful than the May-time Geminies:
      These, back restore the timely summer's fire;
      Those, springing thoughts in winter hearts inspire,
Inspiriting dead souls, and quickening warm desire.

  These two fair suns in heavenly spheres are placed,
    Where in the centre joy triumphing sits:
  Thus in all high perfections fully graced,
    Her mid-day bliss no future night admits;
      But in the mirrors of her Spouse's eyes
      Her fairest self she dresses; there where lies
All sweets, a glorious beauty to emparadise.

  His locks like raven's plumes, or shining jet,
    Fall down in curls along his ivory neck;
  Within their circlets hundred graces set,
    And with love-knots their comely hangings deck:
      His mighty shoulders, like that giant swain,
      All heaven and earth, and all in both sustain;
Yet knows no weariness, nor feels oppressing pain.

  Her amber hair like to the sunny ray,
    With gold enamels fair the silver white;
  There heavenly loves their pretty sportings play,
    Firing their darts in that wide flaming light:
      Her dainty neck, spread with that silver mould,
      Where double beauty doth itself unfold,
In the own fair silver shines, and fairer borrow'd gold.

  His breast a rock of purest alabaster,
    Where loves self-sailing, shipwreck'd, often sitteth.
  Hers a twin-rock, unknown but to the shipmaster;
    Which harbours him alone, all other splitteth.
      Where better could her love than here have nested,
      Or he his thoughts than here more sweetly feasted?
Then both their love and thoughts in each are ever rested.

  Run now, you shepherd swains; ah! run you thither,
    Where this fair bridegroom leads the blessed way:
  And haste, you lovely maids, haste you together
    With this sweet bride, while yet the sunshine day
      Guides your blind steps; while yet loud summons call,
      That every wood and hill resounds withal,
Come, Hymen, Hymen, come, dress'd in thy golden pall.

  The sounding echo back the music flung,
    While heavenly spheres unto the voices play'd.
  But see! the day is ended with my song,
    And sporting bathes with that fair ocean maid:
      Stoop now thy wing, my muse, now stoop thee low:
      Hence mayst thou freely play, and rest thee now;
While here I hang my pipe upon the willow bough.

  So up they rose, while all the shepherds' throng
    With their loud pipes a country triumph blew,
  And led their Thirsil home with joyful song:
    Meantime the lovely nymphs, with garlands new
      His locks in bay and honour'd palm-tree bound,
      With lilies set, and hyacinths around,
And lord of all the year and their May sportings crown'd.


END OF VOL. I.



SPECIMENS WITH MEMOIRS OF THE LESS-KNOWN BRITISH POETS.

With an Introductory Essay,

By

THE REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN.

IN THREE VOLS.

VOL. II.



CONTENTS


SECOND PERIOD--FROM SPENSER TO DRYDEN.
(CONTINUED.)


WILLIAM HABINGTON
  Epistle addressed to the Honourable W. E.
  To his Noblest Friend, J. C., Esq.
  A Description of Castara

JOSEPH HALL, BISHOP OF NORWICH
  Satire I.
  Satire VII.

RICHARD LOVELACE
  Song--To Althea, from Prison
  Song
  A Loose Saraband

ROBERT HERRICK
  Song
  Cherry-Ripe
  The Kiss: A Dialogue
  To Daffodils
  To Primroses
  To Blossoms
  Oberon's Palace
  Oberon's Feast
  The Mad Maid's Song
  Corinna's going a-Maying
  Jephthah's Daughter
  The Country Life

SIR RICHARD FANSHAWE
  The Spring, a Sonnet--From the Spanish

ABRAHAM COWLEY
  The Chronicle, a Ballad
  The Complaint
  The Despair
  Of Wit
  Of Solitude
  The Wish
  Upon the Shortness of Man's Life
  On the Praise of Poetry
  The Motto--'Tentanda via est,' &c
  Davideis-Book II
  Life
  The Plagues of Egypt

GEORGE WITHER
  From 'The Shepherd's Hunting'
  The Shepherd's Resolution
  The Steadfast Shepherd
  From 'The Shepherd's Hunting'

SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT
  From 'Gondibert'--Canto II
  From 'Gondibert'--Canto IV


DR HENRY KING
  Sic Vita
  Song
  Life

JOHN CHALKHILL
  Arcadia
  Thealma, a Deserted Shepherdess
  Priestess of Diana
  Thealma in Full Dress
  Dwelling of the Witch Orandra

CATHARINE PHILLIPS
  The Inquiry
  A Friend

MARGARET, DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE
  Melancholy described by Mirth
  Melancholy describing herself

THOMAS STANLEY
  Celia Singing
  Speaking and Kissing
  La Belle Confidante
  The Loss
  Note on Anacreon

ANDREW MARVELL
  The Emigrants
  The Nymph complaining of the Death of her Fawn
  On 'Paradise Lost'
  Thoughts in a Garden
  Satire on Holland

IZAAK WALTON
  The Angler's Wish

JOHN WILMOT, EARL or ROCHESTER
  Song
  Song

THE EARL OP ROSCOMMON
  From 'An Essay on Translated Verse'

CHARLES COTTON
  Invitation to Izaak Walton
  A Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque

DR HENRY MORE
  Opening of Second Part of 'Psychozoia'
  Exordium of Third Part
  Destruction and Renovation of all things
  A Distempered Fancy
  Soul compared to a Lantern

WILLIAM CHAMBERLAYNE
  Argalia taken Prisoner by the Turks

HENRY VAUGHAN
  On a Charnel-house
  On Gombauld's 'Endymion'
  Apostrophe to Fletcher the Dramatist
  Picture of the Town
  The Golden Age
  Regeneration
  Resurrection and Immortality
  The Search
  Isaac's Marriage
  Man's Fall and Recovery
  The Shower
  Burial
  Cheerfulness
  The Passion
  Rules and Lessons
  Repentance
  The Dawning
  The Tempest
  The World
  The Constellation
  Misery
  Mount of Olives
  Ascension-day
  Cock-crowing
  The Palm-tree
  The Garland
  Love-sick
  Psalm civ
  The Timber
  The Jews
  Palm-Sunday
  Providence
  St Mary Magdalene
  The Rainbow
  The Seed Growing Secretly (Mark iv. 26)
  Childhood
  Abel's Blood
  Righteousness
  Jacob's Pillow and Pillar
  The Feast
  The Waterfall

DR JOSEPH BEAUMONT
  Hell
  Joseph's Dream
  Paradise
  Eve
  To the Memory of his Wife
  Imperial Borne Personified
  End

MISCELLANEOUS PIECES--

FROM ROBERT HEATH--
  What is Love?
  Protest of Love
  To Clarastella

BY VARIOUS AUTHORS--
  My Mind to me a Kingdom is
  The Old and Young Courtier
  There is a Garden in her Face
  Hallo, my Fancy
  The Fairy Queen


       *       *       *       *       *


SPECIMENS WITH MEMOIRS OF THE LESS-KNOWN BRITISH POETS.


SECOND PERIOD--FROM SPENSER TO DRYDEN. (CONTINUED.)


       *       *       *       *       *


WILLIAM HABINGTON.


This poet might have been expected to have belonged to the 'Spasmodic
school,' judging by his parental antecedents. His father was accused of
having a share in Babington's conspiracy, but was released because he
was godson to Queen Elizabeth. Soon after, however, he was imprisoned a
second time, and condemned to death on the charge of having concealed
some of the Gunpowder-plot conspirators; but was pardoned through the
interest of Lord Morley. His uncle, however, was less fortunate,
suffering death for his complicity with Babington. The poet's mother,
the daughter of Lord Morley, was more loyal than her husband or his
brother, and is said to have written the celebrated letter to Lord
Monteagle, in consequence of which the execution of the Gunpowder-plot
was arrested.

Our poet was born at Hindlip, Worcestershire, on the very day of the
discovery of the plot, 5th November 1605. The family were Papists, and
William was sent to St Omers to be educated. He was pressed to become
a Jesuit, but declined. On his return to England, his father became
preceptor to the poet. As he grew up, instead of displaying any taste
for 'treasons, stratagems, and spoils,' he chose the better part, and
lived a private and happy life. He fell in love with Lucia, daughter of
William Herbert, the first Lord Powis, and celebrated her in his long
and curious poem entitled 'Castara.' This lady he afterwards married,
and from her society appears to have derived much happiness. In 1634,
he published 'Castara.' He also, at different times, produced 'The Queen
of Arragon,' a tragedy; a History of Edward IV.; and 'Observations upon
History.' He died in 1654, (not as Southey, by a strange oversight,
says, 'when he had just completed his fortieth year,') forty-nine years
of age, and was buried in the family vault at Hindlip.

'Castara' is not a consecutive poem, but consists of a great variety of
small pieces, in all sorts of style and rhythm, and of all varieties of
merit; many of them addressed to his mistress under the name of Castara,
and many to his friends; with reflective poems, elegies, and panegyrics,
intermingled with verses sacred to love. Habington is distinguished by
purity of tone if not of taste. He has many conceits, but no obscenities.
His love is as holy as it is ardent. He has, besides, a vein of sentiment
which sometimes approaches the moral sublime. To prove this, in addition
to the 'Selections' below, we copy some verses entitled--


'NOX NOCTI INDICAT SCIENTIAM.'--_David_.

  When I survey the bright
      Celestial sphere,
So rich with jewels hung, that Night
Doth like an Ethiop bride appear,

  My soul her wings doth spread,
      And heavenward flies,
The Almighty's mysteries to read
In the large volume of the skies;

  For the bright firmament
      Shoots forth no flame
So silent, but is eloquent
In speaking the Creator's name.

  No unregarded star
      Contracts its light
Into so small a character,
Removed far from our human sight,

  But if we steadfast look,
      We shall discern
In it, as in some holy book,
How man may heavenly knowledge learn.

  It tells the conqueror
      That far-stretch'd power,
Which his proud dangers traffic for,
Is but the triumph of an hour;

  That, from the furthest North,
      Some nation may,
Yet undiscover'd, issue forth,
And o'er his new-got conquest sway,--

  Some nation, yet shut in
      With hills of ice,
May be let out to scourge his sin
Till they shall equal him in vice;

  And then they likewise shall
      Their ruin brave;
For, as yourselves, your empires fall,
_And every kingdom hath a grave_.

  Thus those celestial fires,
      Though seeming mute,
The fallacy of our desires,
And all the pride of life, confute;

  For they have watch'd since first
      The world had birth,
And found sin in itself accurst,
And nothing permanent on earth.


There is something to us particularly interesting in the history of this
poet. Even as it is pleasant to see the sides of a volcano covered with
verdure, and its mouth filled with flowers, so we like to find the
fierce elements, which were inherited by Habington from his fathers,
softened and subdued in him,--the blood of the conspirator mellowed into
that of the gentle bard, who derived all his inspiration from a pure
love and a mild and thoughtful religion.


EPISTLE ADDRESSED TO THE HONOURABLE W.E.

  He who is good is happy. Let the loud
Artillery of heaven break through a cloud,
And dart its thunder at him, he'll remain
Unmoved, and nobler comfort entertain,
In welcoming the approach of death, than Vice
E'er found in her fictitious paradise.
Time mocks our youth, and (while we number past
Delights, and raise our appetite to taste
Ensuing) brings us to unflatter'd age,
Where we are left to satisfy the rage
Of threat'ning death: pomp, beauty, wealth, and all
Our friendships, shrinking from the funeral.
The thought of this begets that brave disdain
With which thou view'st the world, and makes those vain
Treasures of fancy, serious fools so court,
And sweat to purchase, thy contempt or sport.
What should we covet here? Why interpose
A cloud 'twixt us and heaven? Kind Nature chose
Man's soul the exchequer where to hoard her wealth,
And lodge all her rich secrets; but by the stealth
Of her own vanity, we're left so poor,
The creature merely sensual knows more.
The learned halcyon, by her wisdom, finds
A gentle season, when the seas and winds
Are silenced by a calm, and then brings forth
The happy miracle of her rare birth,
Leaving with wonder all our arts possess'd,
That view the architecture of her nest.
Pride raiseth us 'bove justice. We bestow
Increase of knowledge on old minds, which grow
By age to dotage; while the sensitive
Part of the world in its first strength doth live.
Folly! what dost thou in thy power contain
Deserves our study? Merchants plough the main
And bring home th' Indies, yet aspire to more,
By avarice in the possession poor.
And yet that idol wealth we all admit
Into the soul's great temple; busy wit
Invents new orgies, fancy frames new rites
To show its superstition; anxious nights
Are watch'd to win its favour: while the beast
Content with nature's courtesy doth rest.
Let man then boast no more a soul, since he
Hath lost that great prerogative. But thee,
Whom fortune hath exempted from the herd
Of vulgar men, whom virtue hath preferr'd
Far higher than thy birth, I must commend,
Rich in the purchase of so sweet a friend.
And though my fate conducts me to the shade
Of humble quiet, my ambition paid
With safe content, while a pure virgin fame
Doth raise me trophies in Castara's name;
No thought of glory swelling me above
The hope of being famed for virtuous love;
Yet wish I thee, guided by the better stars,
To purchase unsafe honour in the wars,
Or envied smiles at court; for thy great race,
And merits, well may challenge the highest place.
Yet know, what busy path soe'er you tread
To greatness, you must sleep among the dead.


TO HIS NOBLEST FRIEND, J.C., ESQ.

I hate the country's dirt and manners, yet
I love the silence; I embrace the wit
And courtship, flowing here in a full tide,
But loathe the expense, the vanity, and pride.
No place each way is happy. Here I hold
Commerce with some, who to my care unfold
(After a due oath minister'd) the height
And greatness of each star shines in the state,
The brightness, the eclipse, the influence.
With others I commune, who tell me whence
The torrent doth of foreign discord flow;
Relate each skirmish, battle, overthrow,
Soon as they happen; and by rote can tell
Those German towns, even puzzle me to spell.
The cross or prosperous fate of princes they
Ascribe to rashness, cunning, or delay;
And on each action comment, with more skill
Than upon Livy did old Machiavel.
O busy folly! why do I my brain
Perplex with the dull policies of Spain,
Or quick designs of France? Why not repair
To the pure innocence o' the country air,
And neighbour thee, dear friend? Who so dost give
Thy thoughts to worth and virtue, that to live
Blest, is to trace thy ways. There might not we
Arm against passion with philosophy;
And, by the aid of leisure, so control
Whate'er is earth in us, to grow all soul?
Knowledge doth ignorance engender, when
We study mysteries of other men,
And foreign plots. Do but in thy own shad
(Thy head upon some flow'ry pillow laid,
Kind Nature's housewifery,) contemplate all
His stratagems, who labours to enthrall
The world to his great master, and you'll find
Ambition mocks itself, and grasps the wind.
Not conquest makes us great. Blood is too dear
A price for glory. Honour doth appear
To statesmen like a vision in the night;
And, juggler-like, works o' the deluded sight.
The unbusied only wise: for no respect
Endangers them to error; they affect
Truth in her naked beauty, and behold
Man with an equal eye, not bright in gold,
Or tall in little; so much him they weigh
As virtue raiseth him above his clay.
Thus let us value things: and since we find
Time bend us toward death, let's in our mind
Create new youth, and arm against the rude
Assaults of age; that no dull solitude
O' the country dead our thoughts, nor busy care
O' the town make us to think, where now we are,
And whither we are bound. Time ne'er forgot
His journey, though his steps we number'd not.


A DESCRIPTION OF CASTARA.

1 Like the violet which, alone,
    Prospers in some happy shade,
  My Castara lives unknown,
    To no looser's eye betray'd,
      For she's to herself untrue,
      Who delights i' the public view.

2 Such is her beauty, as no arts
    Have enrich'd with borrow'd grace;
  Her high birth no pride imparts,
    For she blushes in her place.
      Folly boasts a glorious blood,
      She is noblest, being good.

3 Cautious, she knew never yet
    What a wanton courtship meant;
  Nor speaks loud, to boast her wit;
    In her silence eloquent:
      Of herself survey she takes,
      But 'tween men no difference makes.

4 She obeys with speedy will
    Her grave parents' wise commands;
  And so innocent, that ill
    She nor acts, nor understands:
      Women's feet run still astray,
      If once to ill they know the way.

5 She sails by that rock, the court,
    Where oft Honour splits her mast:
  And retiredness thinks the port
    Where her fame may anchor cast:
     Virtue safely cannot sit,
     Where vice is enthroned for wit.

6 She holds that day's pleasure best,
    Where sin waits not on delight;
  Without mask, or ball, or feast,
    Sweetly spends a winter's night:
      O'er that darkness, whence is thrust
      Prayer and sleep, oft governs lust.

7 She her throne makes reason climb;
    While wild passions captive lie:
  And, each article of time,
    Her pure thoughts to heaven fly:
      All her vows religious be,
      And her love she vows to me.



JOSEPH HALL, BISHOP OF NORWICH.


This distinguished man must not be confounded with John Hall, of whom
all we know is, that he was born at Durham in 1627,--that he was
educated at Cambridge, where he published a volume of poems,--that he
practised at the bar, and that he died in 1656, in his twenty-ninth
year. One specimen of John's verses we shall quote:--


THE MORNING STAR.

Still herald of the morn: whose ray
Being page and usher to the day,
Doth mourn behind the sun, before him play;
Who sett'st a golden signal ere
The dark retire, the lark appear;
The early cooks cry comfort, screech-owls fear;
Who wink'st while lovers plight their troth,
Then falls asleep, while they are both
To part without a more engaging oath:
  Steal in a message to the eyes
  Of Julia; tell her that she lies
Too long; thy lord, the Sun, will quickly rise.
Yet it is midnight still with me;
Nay, worse, unless that kinder she
Smile day, and in my zenith seated be,
I needs a calenture must shun,
And, like an Ethiopian, hate my sun.


John's more celebrated namesake, Joseph, was born at Bristowe Park,
parish of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, in 1574. He studied and
took orders at Cambridge. He acted for some time as master of the school
of Tiverton, in Devonshire. It is said that the accidental preaching of
a sermon before Prince Henry first attracted attention to this eminent
divine. Promotion followed with a sure and steady course. He was chosen
to accompany King James to Scotland as one of his chaplains, and
subsequently attended the famous Synod of Dort as a representative of
the English Church. He had before this, while quite a young man, (in
1597,) published, under the title of 'Virgidemiarum,' his Satires. In
the year 1600 he produced a satirical fiction, entitled, 'Mundus alter
et idem;' in which, while pretending to describe a certain _terra
australis incognita_, he hits hard at the existent evils of the actual
world. Hall was subsequently created Bishop of Exeter, where he exposed
himself to obloquy by his mildness to the Puritans. 'Had,' Campbell
justly remarked, 'such conduct been, at this critical period, pursued by
the High Churchmen in general, the history of a bloody age might have
been changed into that of peace; but the violence of Laud prevailed over
the milder counsels of a Hall, an Usher, and a Corbet.' Yet Hall was a
zealous Episcopalian, and defended that form of government in a variety
of pamphlets. In the course of this controversy he carne in collision
with the mighty Milton himself, who, unable to deny the ability and
learning of his opponent, tried to cover him with a deluge of derision.

Besides these pamphlets, the Bishop produced a number of Epistles
in prose, of Sermons, of Paraphrases, and a remarkable series of
'Occasional Meditations,' which became soon, and continue to be,
popular.

Hall, who had in his early days struggled hard with narrow circumstances
and neglect, seemed to reach the climax of prosperity when he was, in
1641, created by the King Bishop of Norwich. But having, soon after,
unfortunately added his name to the Protest of the twelve prelates
against the authority of any laws which should be passed during their
compulsory absence from Parliament, he was thrown into the Tower, and
subsequently threatened with sequestration. After enduring great
privations, he at last was permitted to retire to Higham, near Norwich,
where, reduced to a very miserable allowance, he continued to labour as
a pastor, with unwearied assiduity, till, in 1656, death closed his
eyes, at the advanced age of eighty-two. Bishop Hall, if not fully
competent to mate with Milton, was nevertheless a giant, conspicuous
even in an age when giants were rife. He has been called the Christian
Seneca, from the pith and clear sententiousness of his prose style. His
'Meditations,' ranging over almost the whole compass of Scripture, as
well as an incredible variety of ordinary topics, are distinguished by
their fertile fancy, their glowing language, and by thought which, if
seldom profound, is never commonplace, and seems always the spontaneous
and easy outcome of the author's mind. In no form of composition does
excellence depend more on spontaneity than in the meditation. The ruin
of such writers as Hervey, and, to some extent, Boyle, has been, that
they seem to have set themselves elaborately and convulsively to extract
sentiment out of every object which met their eye. They seem to say,
'We will, and we must meditate, whether the objects be interesting or
not, and whether our own moods be propitious to the exercise, or the
reverse.' Hence have come exaggeration, extravagance, and that shape
of the ridiculous which mimics the sublime, and has been so admirably
exposed in Swift's 'Meditation on a Broomstick.' Hall's method is, in
general, the opposite of this. The objects on which he muses seem to
have sought him, and not he them. He surrounds himself with his thoughts
unconsciously, as one gathers burs and other herbage about him by the
mere act of walking in the woods. Sometimes, indeed, he is quaint and
fantastic, as in his meditation


  'UPON THE SIGHT OF TWO SNAILS.'

  'There is much variety even in creatures of the same kind. See these
  two snails: one hath a house, the other wants it; yet both are snails,
  and it is a question whether case is the better; that which hath a
  house hath more shelter, but that which wants it hath more freedom;
  the privilege of that cover is but a burden--you see if it hath but a
  stone to climb over with what stress it draws up that artificial load,
  and if the passage proves strait finds no entrance, whereas the empty
  snail makes no difference of way. Surely it is always an ease and
  sometimes a happiness to have nothing. No man is so worthy of envy as
  he that can be cheerful in want.'

In a very different style he discourses

  'UPON HEARING OF MUSIC BY NIGHT.'

  'How sweetly doth this music sound in this dead season! In the daytime
  it would not, it could not so much affect the ear. All harmonious
  sounds are advanced by a silent darkness: thus it is with the glad
  tidings of salvation. The gospel never sounds so sweet as in the night
  of preservation  or of our own private affliction--it is ever the same,
  the difference is in our disposition to receive it. O God, whose praise
  it is to give songs in the night, make my prosperity conscionable and
  my crosses cheerful!'

Hall fulfilled one test of lofty genius: he was in several departments
an originator. He first gave an example of epistolary composition in
prose,--an example the imitation of which has produced many of the most
interesting, instructive, and beautiful writings in the language. He
is our first popular author of Meditations and Contemplations, and a
large school has followed in his path--too often, in truth, _passibus
iniquis_. And he is unquestionably the father of British satire. It is
remarkable that all his satires were written in youth. Too often the
satirical spirit grows in authors with the advance of life; and it is a
pitiful sight, that of those who have passed the meridian of years and
reputation, grinning back in helpless mockery and toothless laughter
upon the brilliant way they have traversed, but to which they can return
no more. Hall, on the other hand, exhausted long ere he was thirty the
sarcastic material that was in him; and during the rest of his career,
wielded his powers with as much lenity as strength.

Perhaps no satirist had a more thorough conception than our author of
what is the real mission of satire in the moral history of mankind;
--_that_ is, to shew vice its own image--to scourge impudent imposture
--to expose hypocrisy--to laugh down solemn quackery of every kind--to
create blushes on brazen brows and fears of scorn in hollow hearts--to
make iniquity, as ashamed, hide its face--to apply caustic, nay cautery,
to the sores of society--and to destroy sin by shewing both the ridicule
which attaches to its progress and the wretched consequences which are
its end. But various causes prevented him from fully realising his own
ideal, and thus becoming the best as well as the first of our satirical
poets. His style--imitated from Persius and Juvenal--is too elliptical,
and it becomes true of him as well as of Persius that his points are
often sheathed through the remoteness of his allusions and the perplexity
of his diction. He is very recondite in his images, and you are sometimes
reminded of one storming in English at a Hindoo--it is pointless fury,
boltless thunder. At other times the stream of his satiric vein flows
on with a blended clearness and energy, which has commanded the warm
encomium of Campbell, and which prompted the diligent study of Pope.
There is more courage required in attacking the follies than the vices of
an age, and Hall shews a peculiar daring when he derides the vulgar forms
of astrology and alchymy which were then prevalent, and the wretched
fustian which infected the language both of literature and the stage.
Whatever be the merits or defects of Hall's satires, the world is
indebted to him as the founder of a school which were itself sufficient
to cover British literature with glory, and which, in the course of ages,
has included such writers as Samuel Butler, with his keen sense of the
grotesque and ridiculous--his wit, unequalled  in its abundance and
point--his vast assortment of ludicrous fancies and language--and his
form of versification, seemingly shaped by the Genius of Satire for his
own purposes, and resembling heroic rhyme broken off in the middle by
shouts of laughter;--Dryden, with the ease, the _animus_, and the
masterly force of his satirical dissections--the vein of humour which
is stealthily visible at times in the intervals of his wrathful  mood
--and the occasional passing and profound touches, worthy of Juvenal,
and reminding one of the fires of Egypt, which ran along the ground,
scorching all things while they pursued their unabated speed;--the
spirit of satire, strong as death, and cruel as the grave, which became
incarnate in Swift;--Pope,  with his minute and microscopic vision
of human infirmities, his polish, delicate strokes, damning hints,
and annihilating whispers, where 'more is meant than meets the ear;'
--Johnson, with his crushing contempt and sacrificial dignity of scorn;
--Cowper, with the tenderness of a lover combined in his verse with the
terrible indignation of an ancient prophet;--Wolcot, with his infinite
fund of coarse wit and humour;--Burns, with that strange mixture of jaw
and genius--the spirit of a _caird_ with that of a poet--which marked all
his satirical pieces;--Crabbe, with his caustic vein and sternly-literal
descriptions, behind which are seen, half-skulking from view, kindness,
pity, and love;--Byron, with the clever Billingsgate of his earlier, and
the more than Swiftian ferocity of his later satires;--and Moore, with
the smartness, sparkle, tiny splendour, and minikin speed of his witty
shafts. In comparison with even these masters of the art, the good Bishop
does not dwindle; and he challenges precedence over most of them in the
purpose, tact, and good sense which blend with the whole of his satiric
poetry.


SATIRE I.

Time was, and that was term'd the time of gold,
When world and time were young, that now are old,
(When quiet Saturn sway'd the mace of lead,
And pride was yet unborn, and yet unbred;)
Time was, that whiles the autumn fall did last,
Our hungry sires gaped for the falling mast
    Of the Dodonian oaks;
Could no unhusked acorn leave the tree,
But there was challenge made whose it might be;
And if some nice and liquorous appetite
Desired more dainty dish of rare delight,
They scaled the stored crab with clasped knee,
Till they had sated their delicious eye:
Or search'd the hopeful thicks of hedgy rows,
For briary berries, or haws, or sourer sloes:
Or when they meant to fare the fin'st of all,
They lick'd oak-leaves besprint with honey fall.
As for the thrice three-angled beech nutshell,
Or chestnut's armed husk, and hide kernel,
No squire durst touch, the law would not afford,
Kept for the court, and for the king's own board.
Their royal plate was clay, or wood, or stone;
The vulgar, save his hand, else he had none.
Their only cellar was the neighbour brook:
None did for better care, for better look.
Was then no plaining of the brewer's 'scape,
Nor greedy vintner mix'd the stained grape.
The king's pavilion was the grassy green,
Under safe shelter of the shady treen.
Under each bank men laid their limbs along,
Not wishing any ease, not fearing wrong:
Clad with their own, as they were made of old,
Not fearing shame, not feeling any cold.
But when by Ceres' huswifery and pain,
Men learn'd to bury the reviving grain,
And father Janus taught the new-found vine
Rise on the elm, with many a friendly twine:
And base desire bade men to delven low,
For needless metals, then 'gan mischief grow.
Then farewell, fairest age, the world's best days,
Thriving in all as it in age decays.
Then crept in pride, and peevish covetise,
And men grew greedy, discordous, and nice.
Now man, that erst hail-fellow was with beast,
Wox on to ween himself a god at least.
Nor aery fowl can take so high a flight,
Though she her daring wings in clouds have dight;
Nor fish can dive so deep in yielding sea,
Though Thetis' self should swear her safëty;
Nor fearful beast can dig his cave so low,
As could he further than earth's centre go;
As that the air, the earth, or ocean,
Should shield them from the gorge of greedy man.
Hath utmost Ind ought better than his own?
Then utmost Ind is near, and rife to gone,
O nature! was the world ordain'd for nought
But fill man's maw, and feed man's idle thought?
Thy grandsire's words savour'd of thrifty leeks,
Or manly garlic; but thy furnace reeks
Hot steams of wine; and can aloof descry
The drunken draughts of sweet autumnitie.
They naked went; or clad in ruder hide,
Or home-spun russet, void of foreign pride:
But thou canst mask in garish gauderie
To suit a fool's far-fetched livery.
A French head join'd to neck Italian:
Thy thighs from Germany, and breast from Spain:
An Englishman in none, a fool in all:
Many in one, and one in several.
Then men were men; but now the greater part
Beasts are in life, and women are in heart.
Good Saturn self, that homely emperor,
In proudest pomp was not so clad of yore,
As is the under-groom of the ostlery,
Husbanding it in work-day yeomanry.
Lo! the long date of those expired days,
Which the inspired Merlin's word foresays;
When dunghill peasants shall be dight as kings,
Then one confusion another brings:
Then farewell, fairest age, the world's best days,
Thriving in ill, as it in age decays.


SATIRE VII.

Seest thou how gaily my young master goes,
Vaunting himself upon his rising toes;
And pranks his hand upon his dagger's side,
And picks his glutted teeth since late noontide?
'Tis Ruffio: Trow'st thou where he dined to-day?
In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humphray.
Many good welcomes, and much gratis cheer,
Keeps he for every straggling cavalier,
And open house, haunted with great resort;
Long service mix'd with musical disport.
Many fair younker with a feather'd crest,
Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
To fare so freely with so little cost,
Than stake his twelvepence to a meaner host.
Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
He touch'd no meat of all this livelong day.
For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness;
But could he have (as I did it mistake)
So little in his purse, so much upon his back?
So nothing in his maw? yet seemeth by his belt,
That his gaunt gut no too much stuffing felt.
Seest thou how side it hangs beneath his hip?
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip;
Yet for all that, how stiffly struts he by,
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
The nuns of new-won Calais his bonnet lent,
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
What needed he fetch that from furthest Spain.
His grandam could have lent with lesser pain?
Though he perhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore,
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head,
One lock, Amazon-like, dishevelled,
As if he meant to wear a native cord,
If chance his fates should him that bane afford.
All British bare upon the bristled skin,
Close notched is his beard both lip and chin;
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
Whose thousand double turnings never met:
His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings,
As if he meant to fly with linen wings.
But when I look, and cast mine eyes below,
What monster meets mine eyes in human show?
So slender waist with such an abbot's loin,
Did never sober nature sure conjoin,
Lik'st a strawn scarecrow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield;
Or if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
Despised nature, suit them once aright,
Their body to their coat, both now misdight.
Their body to their clothës might shapen be,
That nill their clothës shape to their body.
Meanwhile I wonder at so proud a back,
Whiles the empty guts loud rumblen for long lack:
The belly envieth the back's bright glee,
And murmurs at such inequality.
The back appears unto the partial eyne,
The plaintive belly pleads they bribed been:
And he, for want of better advocate,
Doth to the ear his injury relate.
The back, insulting o'er the belly's need,
Says, Thou thyself, I others' eyes must feed.
The maw, the guts, all inward parts complain
The back's great pride, and their own secret pain.
Ye witless gallants, I beshrew your hearts,
That sets such discord 'twixt agreeing parts,
Which never can be set at onement more,
Until the maw's wide mouth be stopt with store.



RICHARD LOVELACE.


This unlucky cavalier and bard was born in 1618. He was the son of Sir
William Lovelace, of Woolwich, in Kent. He was educated some say at
Oxford, and others at Cambridge--took a master's degree, and was
afterwards presented at Court. Anthony Wood thus describes his personal
appearance at the age of sixteen:--'He was the most amiable and
beautiful person that eye ever beheld,--a person also of innate modesty,
virtue, and courtly deportment, which made him then, but especially
after when he retired to the great city, much admired and adored by the
fair sex.' Soon after this, he was chosen by the county of Kent to
deliver a petition from the inhabitants to the House of Commons, praying
them to restore the King to his rights, and to settle the government.
Such offence was given by this to the Long Parliament, that Lovelace was
thrown into prison, and only liberated on heavy bail. His paternal
estate, which amounted to £500 a-year, was soon exhausted in his efforts
to promote the royal cause. In 1646, he formed a regiment for the
service of the King of France, became its colonel, and was wounded at
Dunkirk. Ere leaving England, he had formed a strong attachment to a
Miss Lucy Sacheverell, and had written much poetry in her praise,
designating her as _Lux-Casta_. Unfortunately, hearing a report that
Lovelace had died at Dunkirk of his wounds, she married another, so
that, on his return home in 1648, he met a deep disappointment; and to
complete his misery, the ruling powers cast him again into prison, where
he lay till the death of Charles. Like some other men of genius, he
beguiled his confinement by literary employment; and in 1649, he
published a book under the title of 'Lucasta,' consisting of odes,
sonnets, songs, and miscellaneous poems, most of which had been
previously composed. After the execution of the King, he was liberated;
but his funds were exhausted, his heart broken, and his constitution
probably injured. He gradually sunk; and Wood says that he became very
poor in body and purse, was the object of charity, 'went in ragged
clothes, and mostly lodged in obscure and dirty places.' Alas for the
Adonis of sixteen, the beloved of Lucasta, and the envied of all! Some
have doubted these stories about his extreme poverty; and one of his
biographers asserts, that his daughter and sole heir (but who, pray, was
his wife and her mother?) married the son of Lord Chief-Justice Coke,
and brought to her husband the estates of her father at Kingsdown, in
Kent. Aubrey however, corroborates the statements of Wood; and, at all
events, Lovelace seems to have died, in 1658, in a wretched alley near
Shoe Lane.

There is not much to be said about his poetry. It may be compared to his
person--beautiful, but dressed in a stiff mode. We do not, in every
point, homologate the opinions of Prynne, as to the 'unloveliness of
love-locks;' but we do certainly look with a mixture of contempt and
pity on the self-imposed trammels of affectation in style and manner
which bound many of the poets of that period. The wits of Charles II.
were more disgustingly licentious; but their very carelessness saved
them from the conceits of their predecessors; and, while lowering the
tone of morality, they raised unwittingly the standard of taste. Some of
the songs of Lovelace, however, such as 'To Althea, from Prison,' are
exquisitely simple, as well as pure. Sir Egerton Brydges has found out
that Byron, in one of his be-praised  paradoxical beauties, either
copied, or coincided with, our poet. In the 'Bride of Abydos' he says of
Zuleika--

  'The mind, the _music_ breathing from her face.'

Lovelace had, long before, in the song of 'Orpheus Mourning for his
Wife,' employed the words--

  'Oh, could you view the melody
    Of every grace,
  And _music of her face_,
    You'd drop a tear;
  Seeing more harmony
    In her bright eye
  Than now you hear.'

While many have praised, others have called this idea nonsense;
although, if we are permitted to speak of the harmony of the tones of a
cloud, why not of the harmony produced by the consenting lines of a
countenance, where every grace melts into another, and the various
features and expressions fluctuate into a fine whole? Whatever, whether
it be the beauty of the human face, or the quiet lustre of statuary, or
the mild glory of moonlight, gives the effects of music, and, like that
divine art,

  'Pours on mortals a beautiful disdain,'

may surely become music's metaphor and poetic analogy.


SONG.

TO ALTHEA, FROM PRISON.

1 When Love, with unconfined wings,
    Hovers within my gates,
  And my divine Althea brings
    To whisper at my grates;
  When I lie tangled in her hair,
    And fetter'd to her eye,
  The birds, that wanton in the air,
    Know no such liberty.

2 When flowing cups run swiftly round
    With no allaying Thames,
  Our careless heads with roses bound,
    Our hearts with loyal flames;
  When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
    When healths and draughts go free,
  Fishes, that tipple in the deep,
    Know no such liberty.

3 When, like committed linnets, I
    With shriller throat shall sing
  The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
    And glories of my king;[1]
  When I shall voice aloud how good
    He is, how great should be,
  Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
    Know no such liberty.

4 Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
  Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage.
  If I have freedom in my love,
    And in my soul am free,
  Angels alone, that soar above,
    Enjoy such liberty.

[1] Charles I., in whose cause Lovelace was then in prison.


SONG.

1 Amarantha, sweet and fair,
  Forbear to braid that shining hair;
  As my curious hand or eye,
  Hovering round thee, let it fly:

2 Let it fly as unconfined
  As its ravisher, the wind,
  Who has left his darling east,
  To wanton o'er this spicy nest.

3 Every tress must be confess'd
  But neatly tangled at the best,
  Like a clew of golden thread
  Most excellently ravelled:

4 Do not then wind up that light
  In ribands, and o'ercloud the night;
  Like the sun in his early ray,
  But shake your head and scatter day.


A LOOSE SARABAND.

1  Ah me! the little tyrant thief,
     As once my heart was playing,
   He snatch'd it up, and flew away,
     Laughing at all my praying.

2  Proud of his purchase, he surveys,
     And curiously sounds it;
   And though he sees it full of wounds,
     Cruel, still on he wounds it.

3  And now this heart is all his sport,
     Which as a ball he boundeth,
   From hand to hand, from breast to lip,
     And all its rest confoundeth.

4  Then as a top he sets it up,
     And pitifully whips it;
   Sometimes he clothes it gay and fine,
     Then straight again he strips it.

5  He cover'd it with false belief,
     Which gloriously show'd it;
   And for a morning cushionet
     On's mother he bestow'd it.

6  Each day with her small brazen stings
     A thousand times she raced it;
   But then at night, bright with her gems,
     Once near her breast she placed it.

7  Then warm it 'gan to throb and bleed,
     She knew that smart, and grieved;
   At length this poor condemned heart,
     With these rich drugs reprieved.

8  She wash'd the wound with a fresh tear,
     Which my Lucasta dropped;
   And in the sleeve silk of her hair
     'Twas hard bound up and wrapped.

9  She probed it with her constancy,
     And found no rancour nigh it;
   Only the anger of her eye
     Had wrought some proud flesh nigh it.

10 Then press'd she hard in every vein,
     Which from her kisses thrilled,
   And with the balm heal'd all its pain
     That from her hand distilled.

11 But yet this heart avoids me still,
     Will not by me be owned;
   But, fled to its physician's breast,
     There proudly sits enthroned.



ROBERT HERRICK.


This poet--a bird with tropical plumage, and norland sweetness of song
--was born in Cheapside, London, in 1591. His father, was an eminent
goldsmith. Herrick was sent to Cambridge; and having entered into holy
orders, and being patronised by the Earl of Exeter, he was, in 1629,
presented by Charles I. to the vicarage of Dean Prior, in Devonshire.
Here he resided for twenty years, till ejected by the civil war. He
seems all this time to have felt little relish either for his profession
or parishioners. In the former, the cast of his poems shews that he must
have been 'detained before the Lord;' and the latter he describes as a
'wild, amphibious race,' rude almost as 'salvages,' and 'churlish as the
seas.' When he quitted his charge, he became an author at the mature age
of fifty-six--publishing first, in 1647, his 'Noble Numbers; or, Pious
Pieces;' and next, in 1648, his 'Hesperides; or, Works both Human and
Divine of Robert Herrick, Esq.'--his ministerial prefix being now laid
aside. Some of these poems were sufficiently unclerical--being wild and
licentious in cast--although he himself alleges that his life was,
sexually at least, blameless. Till the Restoration he lived in Westminster,
supported by the rich among the Royalists, and keeping company with the
popular dramatists and poets. It would seem that he had been in the habit
of visiting London previously, while still acting as a clergyman, and had
become a boon companion of Ben Jonson. Hence his well-known lines--

              'Ah, Ben!
            Say how or when
            Shall we, thy guests,
        Meet at those lyric feasts,
            Made at the "Sun,"
        The "Dog," the "Triple Tun,"
        Where we such clusters had
      As made us nobly wild, not mad?
        And yet each verse of thine
  Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.
              My Ben!
            Or come again,
            Or send to us,
        Thy wit's great overplus.
            But teach us yet
        Wisely to husband it;
        Lest we that talent spend,
      And having once brought to an end
        That precious stock, the store
  Of such a wit, the world should have no more.'


With the Restoration, fortune began again to smile on our poet. He was
replaced in his old charge, and seems to have spent the rest of his life
quietly in the country, enjoying the fresh air and the old English
sports--'repenting at leisure moments,' as Shakspeare has it, of the
early pruriencies of his muse; or, as the same immortal bard says of
Falstaff, 'patching up his old body' for a better place. The date of his
death is not exactly ascertained; but he seems to have got considerably
to the shady side of seventy years of age.

Herrick's poetry was for a long time little known, till worthy Nathan
Drake, in his 'Literary Hours,' performed to him, as to some others,
the part of a friendly resurrectionist. He may be called the English
Anacreon, and resembles the Greek poet, not only in graceful, lively,
and voluptuous elegance and richness, but also in that deeper sentiment
which often underlies the lighter surface of his verse. It is a great
mistake to suppose that Anacreon was a mere contented sensualist and
shallow songster of love and wine. Some of his odes shew that, if he
yielded to the destiny of being a Cicada, singing amidst the vines of
Bacchus, it was despair--the despair produced by a degraded age and a
bad religion--which reduced him to the necessity. He was by nature an
eagle; but he was an eagle in a sky where there was no sun. The cry of
a noble being, placed in the most untoward circumstances, is here and
there heard in his verses, and reminds you of the voice of one of the
transmuted victims of Circe, or of Ariel from that cloven pine, where he

  'howl'd away twelve winters.'

Herrick might be by constitution a voluptuary,--and he has unquestionably
degraded his genius in not a few of his rhymes,--but in him, as well as
in Anacreon, Horace, and Burns, there lay a better and a higher nature,
which the critics have ignored, because it has not found a frequent or
full utterance in his poetry. In proof that our author possessed profound
sentiment, mingling and sometimes half-lost in the loose, luxuriant
leafage of his imagery, we need only refer our readers to his 'Blossoms'
and his 'Daffodils.' Besides gaiety and gracefulness, his verse is
exceedingly musical--his lines not only move but dance.


SONG.

1 Gather the rose-buds, while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
  And this same flower that smiles to-day
    To-morrow will be dying.

2 The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,
    The higher he's a-getting,
  The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he's to setting.

3 The age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
  But being spent, the worse and worst
    Times, still succeed the former.

4 Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And, whilst ye may, go marry;
  For having lost but once your prime,
    You may for ever tarry.


CHERRY-RIPE.

Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry;
Full and fair ones; come, and buy!
If so be you ask me where
They do grow? I answer, there,
Where my Julia's lips do smile;
There's the land or cherry isle,
Whose plantations fully show,
All the year, where cherries grow.


THE KISS: A DIALOGUE.

1. Among thy fancies, tell me this:
   What is the thing we call a kiss?--
2. I shall resolve ye what it is:

   It is a creature, born and bred
   Between the lips, all cherry red;
   By love and warm desires 'tis fed;
_Chor_.--And makes more soft the bridal bed:

2. It is an active flame, that flies
   First to the babies of the eyes,
   And charms them there with lullabies;
_Chor_.--And stills the bride too when she cries:

2. Then to the chin, the cheek, the ear,
   It frisks and flies; now here, now there;
   'Tis now far off, and then 'tis near;
_Chor_.--And here, and there, and everywhere.

1. Has it a speaking virtue?--2. Yes.
1. How speaks it, say?--2. Do you but this,
   Part your join'd lips, then speaks your kiss;
_Chor_.--And this love's sweetest language is.

1. Has it a body?--2. Aye, and wings,
   With thousand rare encolourings;
   And, as it flies, it gently sings,
_Chor_.--Love honey yields, but never stings.


TO DAFFODILS.

1 Fair daffodils, we weep to see
    You haste away so soon;
  As yet the early-rising sun
    Has not attain'd his noon:
          Stay, stay
    Until the hast'ning day
          Has run
    But to the even-song;
  And, having pray'd together, we
    Will go with you along!

2 We have short time to stay, as you;
    We have as short a spring,
  As quick a growth to meet decay,
    As you, or anything:
          We die,
    As your hours do; and dry
          Away
    Like to the summer's rain,
  Or as the pearls of morning dew
    Ne'er to be found again.


TO PRIMROSES.

1 Why do ye weep, sweet babes? Can tears
            Speak grief in you,
            Who are but born
          Just as the modest morn
          Teem'd her refreshing dew?
    Alas! you have not known that shower
            That mars a flower;
            Nor felt the unkind
        Breath of a blasting wind;
        Nor are ye worn with years;
            Or warp'd, as we,
        Who think it strange to see
  Such pretty flowers, like to orphans young,
  To speak by tears before ye have a tongue.

2 Speak, whimpering younglings; and make known
            The reason why
            Ye droop and weep.
          Is it for want of sleep,
          Or childish lullaby?
    Or that ye have not seen as yet
            The violet?
            Or brought a kiss
        From that sweetheart to this?
        No, no; this sorrow shown
            By your tears shed,
        Would have this lecture read,
  'That things of greatest, so of meanest worth,
  Conceived with grief are, and with tears brought forth.'


TO BLOSSOMS.

1 Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
      Why do ye fall so fast?
      Your date is not so past,
  But you may stay yet here awhile
      To blush and gently smile
          And go at last.

2 What, were ye born to be
      An hour or half's delight,
      And so to bid good night?
  'Tis pity Nature brought ye forth
      Merely to show your worth,
          And lose you quite.

3 But you are lovely leaves, where we
      May read how soon things have
      Their end, though ne'er so brave:
  And after they have shown their pride,
      Like you, awhile, they glide
          Into the grave.


OBERON'S PALACE.

                   Thus to a grove
Sometimes devoted unto love,
Tinsell'd with twilight, he and they,
Led by the shine of snails, a way
Beat with their num'rous feet, which by
Many a neat perplexity,
Many a turn, and many a cross
Tract, they redeem a bank of moss,
Spongy and swelling, and far more
Soft than the finest Lemster ore,
Mildly disparkling like those fires
Which break from the enjewell'd tires
Of curious brides, or like those mites
Of candied dew in moony nights;
Upon this convex all the flowers
Nature begets by the sun and showers,
Are to a wild digestion brought;
As if Love's sampler here was wrought
Or Cytherea's ceston, which
All with temptation doth bewitch.
Sweet airs move here, and more divine
Made by the breath of great-eyed kine
Who, as they low, impearl with milk
The four-leaved grass, or moss-like silk.
The breath of monkeys, met to mix
With musk-flies, are the aromatics
Which cense this arch; and here and there,
And further off, and everywhere
Throughout that brave mosaic yard,
Those picks or diamonds in the card,
With pips of hearts, of club, and spade,
Are here most neatly interlaid.
Many a counter, many a die,
Half-rotten and without an eye,
Lies hereabout; and for to pave
The excellency of this cave,
Squirrels' and children's teeth, late shed,
Are neatly here inchequered
With brownest toadstones, and the gum
That shines upon the bluer plumb.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             Art's
Wise hand enchasing here those warts
Which we to others from ourselves
Sell, and brought hither by the elves.
The tempting mole, stolen from the neck
Of some shy virgin, seems to deck
The holy entrance; where within
The room is hung with the blue skin
Of shifted snake, enfriezed throughout
With eyes of peacocks' trains, and trout--
Flies' curious wings; and these among
Those silver pence, that cut the tongue
Of the red infant, neatly hung.
The glow-worm's eyes, the shining scales
Of silvery fish, wheat-straws, the snail's
Soft candlelight, the kitling's eyne,
Corrupted wood, serve here for shine;
No glaring light of broad-faced day,
Or other over-radiant ray
Ransacks this room, but what weak beams
Can make reflected from these gems,
And multiply; such is the light,
But ever doubtful, day or night.
By this quaint taper-light he winds
His errors up; and now he finds
His moon-tann'd Mab as somewhat sick,
And, love knows, tender as a chick.
Upon six plump dandelions high-
Rear'd lies her elvish majesty,
Whose woolly bubbles seem'd to drown
Her Mabship in obedient down.

       *       *       *       *       *

And next to these two blankets, o'er-
Cast of the finest gossamer;
And then a rug of carded wool,
Which, sponge-like, drinking in the dull
Light of the moon, seem'd to comply,
Cloud-like, the dainty deity:
Thus soft she lies; and overhead
A spinner's circle is bespread
With cobweb curtains, from the roof
So neatly sunk, as that no proof
Of any tackling can declare
What gives it hanging in the air.

       *       *       *       *       *

OBERON'S FEAST.

Shapcot, to thee the fairy state
I with discretion dedicate;
Because thou prizest things that are
Curious and unfamiliar.
Take first the feast; these dishes gone,
We'll see the fairy court anon.

A little mushroom table spread;
After short prayers, they set on bread,
A moon-parch'd grain of purest wheat,
With some small glittering grit, to eat
His choicest bits with; then in a trice
They make a feast less great than nice.
But, all this while his eye is served,
We must not think his ear was starved;
But there was in place, to stir
His spleen, the chirring grasshopper,
The merry cricket, puling fly,
The piping gnat, for minstrelsy.
And now we must imagine first
The elves present, to quench his thirst,
A pure seed-pearl of infant dew,
Brought and besweeten'd in a blue
And pregnant violet; which done,
His kitling eyes begin to run
Quite through the table, where he spies
The horns of pap'ry butterflies,
Of which he eats; and tastes a little
Of what we call the cuckoo's spittle:
A little furze-ball pudding stands
By, yet not blessed by his hands--
That was too coarse; but then forthwith
He ventures boldly on the pith
Of sugar'd rush, and eats the sag
And well-bestrutted bee's sweet bag;
Gladding his palate with some store
Of emmets' eggs: what would he more
But beards of mice, a newt's stew'd thigh,
A bloated earwig, and a fly:
With the red-capp'd worm, that is shut
Within the concave of a nut,
Brown as his tooth; a little moth,
Late fatten'd in a piece of cloth;
With wither'd cherries; mandrakes' ears;
Moles' eyes; to these, the slain stag's tears;
The unctuous dewlaps of a snail;
The broke heart of a nightingale
O'ercome in music; with a wine
Ne'er ravish'd from the flatt'ring rine,
But gently press'd from the soft side
Of the most sweet and dainty bride,
Brought in a dainty daisy, which
He fully quaffs up to bewitch
His blood to height? This done, commended
Grace by his priest, the feast is ended.


THE MAD MAID'S SONG.

1 Good-morrow to the day so fair;
    Good-morning, sir, to you;
  Good-morrow to mine own torn hair,
    Bedabbled with the dew:

2 Good-morning to this primrose too;
    Good-morrow to each maid,
  That will with flowers the tomb bestrew
    Wherein my love is laid.

3 Ah, woe is me; woe, woe is me!
    Alack, and well-a-day!
  For pity, sir, find out this bee
    Which bore my love away.

4 I'll seek him in your bonnet brave,
    I'll seek him in your eyes;
  Nay, now I think they've made his grave
    I' th' bed of strawberries:

5 I'll seek him there; I know ere this
    The cold, cold earth doth shake him;
  But I will go, or send a kiss
    By you, sir, to awake him.

6 Pray hurt him not; though he be dead,
    He knows well who do love him,
  And who with green turfs rear his head,
    And who do rudely move him.

7 He's soft and tender, pray take heed,
    With bands of cowslips bind him,
  And bring him home;--but 'tis decreed
    That I shall never find him!


CORINNA'S GOING A-MAYING.

1 Get up, get up for shame; the blooming morn
  Upon her wings presents the god unshorn:
      See how Aurora throws her fair
      Fresh-quilted colours through the air:
      Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
      The dew bespangling herb and tree:
  Each flower has wept, and bow'd toward the east,
  Above an hour since; yet you are not drest;
      Nay, not so much as out of bed;
      When all the birds have matins said,
      And sung their thankful hymns; 'tis sin,
      Nay, profanation, to keep in;
  When as a thousand virgins on this day,
  Spring sooner than the lark, to fetch in May!

2 Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
  To come forth like the spring-time, fresh and green,
      And sweet as Flora. Take no care
      For jewels for your gown, or hair:
      Fear not, the leaves will strew
      Gems in abundance upon you:
  Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
  Against you come, some orient pearls unwept:
      Come and receive them, while the light
      Hangs on the dew-locks of the night,
      And Titan on the eastern hill
      Retires himself, or else stands still
  Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying;
  Few beads are best, when once we go a-Maying!

3 Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark
  How each field turns a street, each street a park
      Made green, and trimm'd with trees; see how
      Devotion gives each house a bough,
      Or branch; each porch, each door, ere this
      An ark, a tabernacle is
  Made up of whitethorn newly interwove,
  As if here were those cooler shades of love.
      Can such delights be in the street
      And open fields, and we not see't?
      Come, we'll abroad; and let's obey
      The proclamation made for May,
  And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
  But, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying!

4 There's not a budding boy or girl this day
  But is got up, and gone to bring in May:
      A deal of youth, ere this, is come
      Back, and with whitethorn laden home:
      Some have despatch'd their cakes and cream,
      Before that we have left to dream;
  And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth,
  And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
      Many a green gown has been given;
      Many a kiss, both odd and even;
      Many a glance too has been sent
      From out the eye, love's firmament;
  Many a jest told of the key's betraying
  This night, and locks pick'd; yet we're not a-Maying!

5 Come, let us go, while we are in our prime,
  And take the harmless folly of the time:
      We shall grow old apace, and die
      Before we know our liberty:
      Our life is short, and our days run
      As fast away as does the sun:
  And, as a vapour, or a drop of rain,
  Once lost, can ne'er be found again,
      So when or you, or I, are made
      A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
      All love, all liking, all delight
      Lies drown'd with us in endless night.
  Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying,
  Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying!



JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER.

1  O thou, the wonder of all days!
   O paragon and pearl of praise!
   O Virgin Martyr! ever bless'd
                 Above the rest
   Of all the maiden train! we come,
   And bring fresh strewings to thy tomb.

2  Thus, thus, and thus we compass round
   Thy harmless and enchanted ground;
   And, as we sing thy dirge, we will
                 The daffodil
   And other flowers lay upon
   The altar of our love, thy stone.

3  Thou wonder of all maids! list here,
   Of daughters all the dearest dear;
   The eye of virgins, nay, the queen
                 Of this smooth green,
   And all sweet meads, from whence we get
   The primrose and the violet.

4  Too soon, too dear did Jephthah buy,
   By thy sad loss, our liberty:
   His was the bond and cov'nant; yet
                 Thou paid'st the debt,
   Lamented maid! He won the day,
   But for the conquest thou didst pay.

5  Thy father brought with him along
   The olive branch and victor's song:
   He slew the Ammonites, we know,
                 But to thy woe;
   And, in the purchase of our peace,
   The cure was worse than the disease.

6  For which obedient zeal of thine,
   We offer thee, before thy shrine,
   Our sighs for storax, tears for wine;
                 And to make fine
   And fresh thy hearse-cloth, we will here
   Four times bestrew thee every year.

7  Receive, for this thy praise, our tears;
   Receive this offering of our hairs;
   Receive these crystal vials, fill'd
                 With tears distill'd
   From teeming eyes; to these we bring,
   Each maid, her silver filleting,

8  To gild thy tomb; besides, these cauls,
   These laces, ribands, and these fauls,
   These veils, wherewith we used to hide
                 The bashful bride,
   When we conduct her to her groom:
   All, all, we lay upon thy tomb.

9  No more, no more, since thou art dead,
   Shall we e'er bring coy brides to bed;
   No more at yearly festivals
                 We cowslip balls
   Or chains of columbines shall make
   For this or that occasion's sake.

10 No, no; our maiden pleasures be
   Wrapt in a winding-sheet with thee;
   'Tis we are dead, though not i' th' grave,
                 Or if we have
   One seed of life left,'tis to keep
   A Lent for thee, to fast and weep.

11 Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice,
   And make this place all paradise:
   May sweets grow here! and smoke from hence
                 Fat frankincense.
   Let balm and cassia send their scent
   From out thy maiden-monument.

12 May no wolf howl or screech-owl stir
   A wing upon thy sepulchre!
   No boisterous winds or storms
                 To starve or wither
   Thy soft, sweet earth! but, like a spring,
   Love keep it ever flourishing.

13 May all thy maids, at wonted hours,
   Come forth to strew thy tomb with flowers:
   May virgins, when they come to mourn,
                 Male-incense burn
   Upon thine altar! then return
   And leave thee sleeping in thy urn.


THE COUNTRY LIFE.

Sweet country life, to such unknown
Whose lives are others', not their own!
But serving courts and cities, be
Less happy, less enjoying thee!
Thou never plough'st the ocean's foam
To seek and bring rough pepper home;
Nor to the Eastern Ind dost rove,
To bring from thence the scorched clove:
Nor, with the loss of thy loved rest,
Bring'st home the ingot from the West.
No: thy ambition's masterpiece
Flies no thought higher than a fleece;
Or how to pay thy hinds, and clear
All scores, and so to end the year;
But walk'st about thy own dear bounds,
Not envying others' larger grounds:
For well thou know'st, 'tis not the extent
Of land makes life, but sweet content.
When now the cock, the ploughman's horn,
Calls forth the lily-wristed morn,
Then to thy corn-fields thou dost go,
Which though well-soil'd, yet thou dost know
That the best compost for the lands
Is the wise master's feet and hands.
There at the plough thou find'st thy team,
With a hind whistling there to them;
And cheer'st them up by singing how
The kingdom's portion is the plough.
This done, then to th' enamell'd meads,
Thou go'st; and as thy foot there treads,
Thou seest a present godlike power
Imprinted in each herb and flower;
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine,
Sweet as the blossoms of the vine.
Here thou behold'st thy large sleek neat
Unto the dewlaps up in meat;
And, as thou look'st, the wanton steer,
The heifer, cow, and ox, draw near,
To make a pleasing pastime there.
These seen, thou go'st to view thy flocks
Of sheep, safe from the wolf and fox;
And find'st their bellies there as full
Of short sweet grass, as backs with wool;
And leav'st them as they feed and fill;
A shepherd piping on a hill.
For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
Thou hast thy eves and holidays;
On which the young men and maids meet,
To exercise their dancing feet;
Tripping the comely country round,
With daffodils and daisies crown'd.
Thy wakes, thy quintels, here thou hast;
Thy May-poles too, with garlands graced;
Thy morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
Thy shearing feast, which never fail;
Thy harvest-home, thy wassail-bowl,
That's toss'd up after fox i' the hole;
Thy mummeries, thy Twelfth-night kings
And queens, thy Christmas revellings;
Thy nut-brown mirth, thy russet wit;
And no man pays too dear for it.
To these thou hast thy times to go,
And trace the hare in the treacherous snow;
Thy witty wiles to draw, and get
The lark into the trammel net;
Thou hast thy cockrood, and thy glade
To take the precious pheasant made;
Thy lime-twigs, snares, and pitfalls, then,
To catch the pilfering birds, not men.

O happy life, if that their good
The husbandmen but understood!
Who all the day themselves do please,
And younglings, with such sports as these;
And, lying down, have nought to affright
Sweet sleep, that makes more short the night.



SIR RICHARD FANSHAWE.


This gallant knight was son to Sir Henry Fanshawe, who was Remembrancer
to the Irish Exchequer, and brother to Thomas Lord Fanshawe. He was born
at Ware, in Hertfordshire, in 1607-8. He became a vehement Royalist, and
acted for some time as Secretary to Prince Rupert, and was, in truth, a
kindred spirit, worthy of recording the orders of that fiery spirit--the
Murat of the Royal cause--to whom the dust of the _mêlée_ of battle was
the very breath of life. After the Restoration, Fanshawe was appointed
ambassador to Spain and Portugal. He acted in this capacity at Madrid in
1666. He had issued translations of the 'Lusiad' of Camoens, and the
'Pastor Fido' of Guarini. Along with the latter, which appeared in 1648,
he published some original poems of considerable merit. He holds
altogether a respectable, if not a very high place among our early
translators and minor poets.


THE SPRING, A SONNET.
FROM THE SPANISH.

Those whiter lilies which the early morn
  Seems to have newly woven of sleaved silk,
To which, on banks of wealthy Tagus born,
  Gold was their cradle, liquid pearl their milk.

These blushing roses, with whose virgin leaves
  The wanton wind to sport himself presumes,
Whilst from their rifled wardrobe he receives
  For his wings purple, for his breath perfumes.

Both those and these my Caelia's pretty foot
  Trod up; but if she should her face display,
And fragrant breast, they'd dry again to the root,
  As with the blasting of the mid-day's ray;
And this soft wind, which both perfumes and cools,
Pass like the unregarded breath of fools.



ABRAHAM COWLEY.


The 'melancholy' and musical Cowley was born in London in the year 1618.
He was the posthumous son of a worthy grocer, who lived in Fleet Street,
near the end of Chancery Lane, and who is supposed, from the omission of
his name in the register of St Dunstan's parish, to have been a
Dissenter. His mother was left poor, but had a strong desire for her
son's education, and influence to get him admitted as a king's scholar
into Westminster. His mind was almost preternaturally precocious, and
received early a strong and peculiar stimulus. A copy of Spenser lay in
the window of his mother's apartment, and in it he delighted to read,
and became the devoted slave of poetry ever after. When only ten he
wrote 'The Tragical History of Pyramus and Thisbe,' and at twelve
'Constantia and Philetus.' Pope wrote a lampoon about the same age as
Cowley these romantic narratives; and we have seen a pretty good copy of
verses on Napoleon, written at the age of seven, by one of the most
distinguished rising poets of our own day. When fifteen (Johnson calls
it thirteen, but he and some other biographers were misled by the
portrait of the poet being, by mistake, marked thirteen) Cowley
published some of his early effusions, under the title of 'Poetical
Blossoms.' While at school he produced a comedy of a pastoral kind,
entitled, 'Love's Riddle,' but it was not published till he went to
Cambridge. To that university he proceeded in 1636, and two years after,
there appeared the above-mentioned comedy, with a poetical dedication to
Sir Kenelm Digby, one of the marvellous men of that age; and also
'Naufragium Joculare,' a comedy in Latin, inscribed to Dr Comber, master
of the college. When the Prince of Wales afterwards visited Cambridge,
the fertile Cowley got up the rough draft of another comedy, called 'The
Guardian,' which was repeated to His Royal Highness by the scholars.
This was afterwards, to the poet's great annoyance, printed during his
absence from the country. In 1643 he took his degree of A.M., and was,
the same year, through the prevailing influence of the Parliament,
ejected, with many others, from Cambridge. He took refuge in St John's
College, Oxford, where he published a satire, entitled 'The Puritan and
Papist,' and where, by his loyalty and genius, he gained the favour of
such distinguished courtiers as Lord Falkland. During this agitated
period he resided a good deal in the family of the Lord St Albans; and
when Oxford fell into the hands of the Parliament he followed the Queen
to Paris, and there acted as Secretary to the same noble lord. He
remained abroad about ten years, and during that period made various
journeys in the furtherance of the Royal cause, visiting Flanders,
Holland, Jersey, Scotland, &c. His chief employment, however, was
carrying on a correspondence in cipher between the King and the Queen.
Sprat says, 'he ciphered and deciphered with his own hand the greatest
part of the letters that passed between their Majesties, and managed a
vast intelligence in other parts, which, for some years together, took
up all his days and two or three nights every week.' This does not seem
employment very suitable to a man of genius. He seems, however, to have
found time for more congenial avocations; and, in 1647, he published his
'Mistress,' a work which seems to glow with amorous fire, although
Barnes relates of the author that he was never in love but once, and
then had not resolution to reveal his passion. And yet he wrote 'The
Chronicle,' from which we might infer that his heart was completely
tinder, and that his series of love attachments had been an infinite
one!

In 1556, being of no more use in Paris, Cowley was sent back to England,
that 'under pretence of privacy and retirement he might take occasion of
giving notice of the posture of things in this nation.' For some time he
lay concealed in London, but was at length seized by mistake for another
gentleman of the Royal party; and being thus discovered, he was continued
in confinement, was several times examined, and ultimately succeeded,
although with some difficulty, in obtaining his liberation, Dr Scarborough
becoming his bail for a thousand pounds. In the same year he published a
collection of his poems, with a querulous preface, in which he expresses
a strong desire to 'retire to some of the American plantations, and to
forsake the world for ever.' Meanwhile he gave himself out as a physician
till the death of Cromwell, when he returned to France, resumed his former
occupation, and remained till the Restoration. In 1657 he was created
Doctor of Medicine at Oxford. Having studied botany to qualify himself for
his physician's degree, he was induced to publish in Latin some books on
plants, flowers, and trees.

The Restoration brought him less advantage than he had anticipated.
Probably he expected too much, and had expressed his sanguine hopes in a
song of triumph on the occasion. He had been promised, both by Charles
I. and Charles II., the Mastership of the Savoy, (a forgotten sinecure
office;) but lost it, says Wood, 'by certain persons, enemies to the
Muses.' He brought on the stage at this time his old comedy of 'The
Guardian,' under the title of 'Cutter of Coleman Street;' but it was
thought a satire on the debauchery of the King's party, and was received
with coldness. Cowley, according to Dryden, 'received the news of his
ill success not with so much firmness as might have been expected from
so great a man.' There are few who, like Dr Johnson, have been able to
declare, after the rejection of a play or poem, that they felt 'like the
Monument.' Cowley not only entertained, but printed his dissatisfaction,
in the form of a poem called 'The Complaint,' which, like all selfish
complaints, attracted little sympathy or attention. In this he calls
himself the 'melancholy Cowley,' an epithet which has stuck to his
memory.

He had always, according to his own statement, loved retirement. When he
was a young boy at school, instead of running about on holidays, and
playing with his fellows, he was wont to steal from them, and walk into
the fields alone with a book. This passion had been overlaid, but not
extinguished, during his public life; and now, swelled by disgust, it
came back upon him in great strength. He seems, too, if we can believe
Sprat, to have had an extraordinary attachment to Nature, as it 'was
God's;' to the whole 'compass of the creation, and all the wonderful
effects of the Divine wisdom.' At all events, he retired first to Barn
Elms, and then to Chertsey in Surrey. He had obtained, through Lord St
Albans and the Duke of Buckingham, the lease of some lands belonging to
the Queen, which brought him in an income of £300 a year. Here, then,
having, at the age of forty-two, reached the peaceful hermitage,' he set
himself with all his might to enjoy it. He cultivated his fields, and
renewed his botanical studies in his woods and garden. He wrote letters
to his friends, which are said to have been admirable, and might have
ranked with those of Gray and Cowper, but unfortunately they have not
been preserved. He renewed his intimacy with the Greek and Latin poets,
and he set himself to retouch the 'Davideis,' which he had begun in
early youth, but which he never lived to finish, and to compose his
beautiful prose essays. But he soon found that Chertsey, no more than
Paris, was Paradise. He had no wife nor children. He had sweet solitude,
but no one near him to whom to whisper 'how sweet this solitude is!' The
peasants were boors. His tenants would pay him no rent, and the cattle
of his neighbours devoured his meadows. He was troubled with rheums and
colds. He met a severe fall when he first came to Chertsey, of which he
says, half in jest and half in earnest--'What this signifies, or may
come to in time, God knows; if it be ominous, it can end in nothing less
than hanging.' Robert Hall said of Bishop Watson that he seemed to have
wedded political integrity in early life, and to have spent all the rest
of his days in quarrelling with his wife. So Cowley wedded his long-
sought-for bride, Solitude, and led a miserable life with her ever
after. Fortunately for him, if not for the world, his career soon came
to a close.

One hot day in summer, he stayed too long among his labourers in the
meadows, and was seized with a cold, which, being neglected, carried him
off on the 28th of July 1667. He was not forty-nine years old. He died
at the Porch House, Chertsey, and his remains were buried with great
pomp near Chaucer and Spenser; and King Charles, who had neglected him
during life, pronounced his panegyric after death, declaring that 'Mr
Cowley had not left behind him a better man in England.' It was in
keeping with the character of Charles to make up for his deficiency in
action, by his felicity of phrase.

If we may differ from such a high authority as 'Old Rowley,' we would
venture to doubt whether Cowley was the best--certainly he was not the
greatest--man then in England. Milton was alive, and the 'Paradise Lost'
appeared in the very year when the author of the 'Davideis' departed.
Cowley gives us the impression of having been an amiable and blameless,
rather than a good or great man. At all events, there was nothing
_active_ in his goodness, and his greatness could not be called
magnanimity. He was a scholar and a poet misplaced during early life;
and when he gained that retirement for which he sighed, he had, by his
habits of life, lost his capacity of relishing it. 'He that would enjoy
solitude,' it has been said, 'must either be a wild beast or a god;' and
Cowley was neither. How different his grounds of dissatisfaction with
the world from those of Milton! Cowley was wearied of ciphering, and his
'Cutter of Coleman Street' had been cut; that was nearly the whole
matter of his complaint; while Milton had fallen from being the second
man in England into poverty, blindness, contempt, danger, and the
disappointment of the most glorious hopes which ever heaved the bosom of
patriot or saint.

We find the want of greatness which marked the man characterising the
poet. Infinite ingenuity, a charming flexibility and abundance of fancy,
a perception of remote analogies almost unrivalled, great command of
versification and language, learning without bounds, and an occasional
gracefulness and sparkling ease (as in 'The Chronicle') superior to even
Herrick or Suckling, are qualities that must be conceded to Cowley. But
the most of his writings are cold and glittering as the sun-smitten
glacier. He is seldom warm, except when he is proclaiming his own
merits, or bewailing his own misfortunes. Hence his 'Wish,' and even his
'Complaint,' are very pleasing and natural specimens of poetry. But his
'Pindaric Odes,' his 'Hymn to Light,' and most of his 'Davideis,' while
displaying great power, shew at least equal perversion, and are more
memorable for their faults than for their beauties. In the 'Davideis,'
he describes the attire of Gabriel in the spirit and language of a
tailor; and there is no path so sacred or so lofty but he must sow it
with conceits,--forced, false, and chilly. His 'Anacreontics,' on the
other hand, are in general felicitous in style and aerial in motion. And
in his Translations, although too free, he is uniformly graceful and
spirited; and his vast command of language and imagery enables him often
to improve his author--to gild the refined gold, to paint the lily, and
to throw a new perfume on the violet, of the Grecian and Roman masters.

In prose, Cowley is uniformly excellent. The prefaces to his poems,
especially his defence of sacred song in the prefix to the 'Davideis,'
his short autobiography, the fragments of his letters which remain, and
his posthumous essays, are all distinguished by a rich simplicity of
style and by a copiousness of matter which excite in equal measure
delight and surprise. He had written, it appears, three books on the
Civil War, to the time of the battle of Newbury, which he destroyed. It
is a pity, perhaps, that he had not preserved and completed the work.
His intimacy with many of the leading characters and the secret springs
of that remarkable period,--his clear and solid judgment, always so
except when he was following the Daedalus Pindar upon waxen Icarian
wings, or competing with Dr Donne in the number of conceits which he
could stuff, like cloves, into his subject-matter,--and the bewitching
ease and elegance of his prose style, would have combined to render it
an important contribution to English history, and a worthy monument of
its author's highly-accomplished and diversified powers.


THE CHRONICLE, A BALLAD.

1  Margarita first possess'd,
   If I remember well, my breast,
   Margarita first of all;
   But when a while the wanton maid
   With my restless heart had play'd,
   Martha took the flying ball.

2  Martha soon did it resign
   To the beauteous Catharine:
   Beauteous Catharine gave place
   (Though loth and angry she to part
   With the possession of my heart)
   To Eliza's conquering face.

3  Eliza till this hour might reign,
   Had she not evil counsels ta'en:
   Fundamental laws she broke
   And still new favourites she chose,
   Till up in arms my passions rose,
   And cast away her yoke.

4  Mary then, and gentle Anne,
   Both to reign at once began;
   Alternately they sway'd,
   And sometimes Mary was the fair,
   And sometimes Anne the crown did wear,
   And sometimes both I obey'd.

5  Another Mary then arose,
   And did rigorous laws impose;
   A mighty tyrant she!
   Long, alas! should I have been
   Under that iron-sceptred queen,
   Had not Rebecca set me free.

6  When fair Rebecca set me free,
   'Twas then a golden time with me:
   But soon those pleasures fled;
   For the gracious princess died
   In her youth and beauty's pride,
   And Judith reign'd in her stead.

7  One month, three days, and half an hour,
   Judith held the sovereign power:
   Wondrous beautiful her face,
   But so weak and small her wit,
   That she to govern was unfit,
   And so Susanna took her place.

8  But when Isabella came,
   Arm'd with a resistless flame,
   And the artillery of her eye,
   Whilst she proudly march'd about,
   Greater conquests to find out,
   She beat out Susan by the bye.

9  But in her place I then obey'd
   Black-eyed Bess, her viceroy made,
   To whom ensued a vacancy.
   Thousand worst passions then possess'd
   The interregnum of my breast.
   Bless me from such an anarchy!

10 Gentle Henrietta then,
   And a third Mary, next began:
   Then Joan, and Jane, and Audria;
   And then a pretty Thomasine,
   And then another Catharine,
   And then a long _et caetera_.

11 But should I now to you relate
   The strength and riches of their state,
   The powder, patches, and the pins,
   The ribands, jewels, and the rings,
   The lace, the paint, and warlike things,
   That make up all their magazines:

12 If I should tell the politic arts
   To take and keep men's hearts,
   The letters, embassies, and spies,
   The frowns, the smiles, and flatteries,
   The quarrels, tears, and perjuries,
   Numberless, nameless mysteries!

13 And all the little lime-twigs laid
   By Mach'avel the waiting-maid;
   I more voluminous should grow
   (Chiefly if I like them should tell
   All change of weathers that befell)
   Than Holinshed or Stow.

14 But I will briefer with them be,
   Since few of them were long with me.
   An higher and a nobler strain
   My present Emperess does claim,
   Heleonora! first o' the name,
   Whom God grant long to reign.


THE COMPLAINT.

In a deep vision's intellectual scene,
Beneath a bower for sorrow made,
The uncomfortable shade
Of the black yew's unlucky green,
Mixed with the mourning willow's careful gray,
Where rev'rend Cam cuts out his famous way,
The melancholy Cowley lay;
And, lo! a Muse appeared to his closed sight
(The Muses oft in lands of vision play,)
Bodied, arrayed, and seen by an internal light:
A golden harp with silver strings she bore,
A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
In which all colours and all figures were
That Nature or that Fancy can create.
That Art can never imitate,
And with loose pride it wantoned in the air,
In such a dress, in such a well-clothed dream,
She used of old near fair Ismenus' stream
Pindar, her Theban favourite, to meet;
A crown was on her head, and wings were on her feet.

She touched him with her harp and raised him from the ground;
The shaken strings melodiously resound.
'Art thou returned at last,' said she,
'To this forsaken place and me?
Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste
Of all thy youthful years the good estate;
Art thou returned here, to repent too late?
And gather husks of learning up at last,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,
And winter marches on so fast?
But when I meant to adopt thee for my son,
And did as learned a portion assign
As ever any of the mighty nine
Had to their dearest children done;
When I resolved to exalt thy anointed name
Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame;
Thou changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and show,
Wouldst into courts and cities from me go;
Wouldst see the world abroad, and have a share
In all the follies and the tumults there;
Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a state,
And business thou wouldst find, and wouldst create:
Business! the frivolous pretence
Of human lusts, to shake off innocence;
Business! the grave impertinence;
Business! the thing which I of all things hate;
Business! the contradiction of thy fate.

'Go, renegado! cast up thy account,
And see to what amount
Thy foolish gains by quitting me:
The sale of knowledge, fame, and liberty,
The fruits of thy unlearned apostasy.
Thou thoughtst, if once the public storm were past,
All thy remaining life should sunshine be:
Behold the public storm is spent at last,
The sovereign is tossed at sea no more,
And thou, with all the noble company,
Art got at last to shore:
But whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see,
All marched up to possess the promised land,
Thou still alone, alas! dost gaping stand,
Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand.
As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
After a tedious, stormy night,
Such was the glorious entry of our king;
Enriching moisture dropped on every thing:
Plenty he sowed below, and cast about him light.
But then, alas! to thee alone
One of old Gideon's miracles was shown,
For every tree, and every hand around,
With pearly dew was crowned,
And upon all the quickened ground
The fruitful seed of heaven did brooding lie,
And nothing but the Muse's fleece was dry.
It did all other threats surpass,
When God to his own people said,
The men whom through long wanderings he had led,
That he would give them even a heaven of brass:
They looked up to that heaven in vain,
That bounteous heaven! which God did not restrain
Upon the most unjust to shine and rain.

'The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more,
Thou didst with faith and labour serve,
And didst (if faith and labour can) deserve,
Though she contracted was to thee,
Given to another, thou didst see, who had store
Of fairer and of richer wives before,
And not a Loah left, thy recompense to be.
Go on, twice seven years more, thy fortune try,
Twice seven years more God in his bounty may
Give thee to fling away
Into the court's deceitful lottery:
But think how likely 'tis that thou,
With the dull work of thy unwieldy plough,
Shouldst in a hard and barren season thrive,
Shouldst even able be to live;
Thou! to whose share so little bread did fall
In the miraculous year, when manna rain'd on all.'

Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile,
That seemed at once to pity and revile:
And to her thus, raising his thoughtful head,
The melancholy Cowley said:
'Ah, wanton foe! dost thou upbraid
The ills which thou thyself hast made?
When in the cradle innocent I lay,
Thou, wicked spirit, stolest me away,
And my abused soul didst bear
Into thy new-found worlds, I know not where,
Thy golden Indies in the air;
And ever since I strive in vain
My ravished freedom to regain;
Still I rebel, still thou dost reign;
Lo, still in verse, against thee I complain.
There is a sort of stubborn weeds,
Which, if the earth but once it ever breeds,
No wholesome herb can near them thrive,
No useful plant can keep alive:
The foolish sports I did on thee bestow
Make all my art and labour fruitless now;
Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever grow.

'When my new mind had no infusion known,
Thou gavest so deep a tincture of thine own,
That ever since I vainly try
To wash away the inherent dye:
Long work, perhaps, may spoil thy colours quite,
But never will reduce the native white.
To all the ports of honour and of gain
I often steer my course in vain;
Thy gale comes cross, and drives me back again,
Thou slacken'st all my nerves of industry,
By making them so oft to be
The tinkling strings of thy loose minstrelsy.
Whoever this world's happiness would see
Must as entirely cast off thee,
As they who only heaven desire
Do from the world retire.
This was my error, this my gross mistake,
Myself a demi-votary to make.
Thus with Sapphira and her husband's fate,
(A fault which I, like them, am taught too late,)
For all that I give up I nothing gain,
And perish for the part which I retain.
Teach me not then, O thou fallacious Muse!
The court and better king t' accuse;
The heaven under which I live is fair,
The fertile soil will a full harvest bear:
Thine, thine is all the barrenness, if thou
Makest me sit still and sing when I should plough.
When I but think how many a tedious year
Our patient sovereign did attend
His long misfortune's fatal end;
How cheerfully, and how exempt from fear,
On the Great Sovereign's will he did depend,
I ought to be accursed if I refuse
To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse!
Kings have long hands, they say, and though I be
So distant, they may reach at length to me.
However, of all princes thou
Shouldst not reproach rewards for being small or slow;
Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath,
And that, too, after death!'


THE DESPAIR.

1 Beneath this gloomy shade,
  By Nature only for my sorrows made,
  I'll spend this voice in cries,
  In tears I'll waste these eyes,
  By love so vainly fed;
  So lust of old the deluge punished.
  Ah, wretched youth, said I;
  Ah, wretched youth! twice did I sadly cry;
  Ah, wretched youth! the fields and floods reply.

2 When thoughts of love I entertain,
  I meet no words but Never, and In vain:
  Never! alas! that dreadful name
  Which fuels the infernal flame:
  Never! my time to come must waste;
  In vain! torments the present and the past:
  In vain, in vain! said I,
  In vain, in vain! twice did I sadly cry;
  In vain, in vain! the fields and floods reply.

3 No more shall fields or floods do so,
  For I to shades more dark and silent go:
  All this world's noise appears to me
  A dull, ill-acted comedy:
  No comfort to my wounded sight,
  In the sun's busy and impert'nent light.
  Then down I laid my head,
  Down on cold earth, and for a while was dead,
  And my freed soul to a strange somewhere fled.

4 Ah, sottish soul! said I,
  When back to its cage again I saw it fly:
  Fool! to resume her broken chain,
  And row her galley here again!
  Fool! to that body to return,
  Where it condemned and destined is to burn!
  Once dead, how can it be
  Death should a thing so pleasant seem to thee,
  That thou shouldst come to live it o'er again in me?


OF WIT.

1 Tell me, O tell! what kind of thing is Wit,
  Thou who master art of it;
  For the first matter loves variety less;
  Less women love it, either in love or dress:
  A thousand different shapes it bears,
  Comely in thousand shapes appears:
  Yonder we saw it plain, and here 'tis now,
  Like spirits, in a place, we know not how.

2 London, that vends of false ware so much store,
  In no ware deceives us more:
  For men, led by the colour and the shape,
  Like Zeuxis' birds, fly to the painted grape.
  Some things do through our judgment pass,
  As through a multiplying-glass;
  And sometimes, if the object be too far,
  We take a falling meteor for a star.

3 Hence 'tis a wit, that greatest word of fame,
  Grows such a common name;
  And wits by our creation they become,
  Just so as tit'lar bishops made at Rome.
  'Tis not a tale, 'tis not a jest,
  Admired with laughter at a feast,
  Nor florid talk, which can that title gain;
  The proofs of wit for ever must remain.

4 'Tis not to force some lifeless verses meet
  With their five gouty feet;
  All everywhere, like man's, must be the soul,
  And reason the inferior powers control.
  Such were the numbers which could call
  The stones into the Theban wall.
  Such miracles are ceased; and now we see
  No towns or houses raised by poetry.

5 Yet 'tis not to adorn and gild each part;
  That shows more cost than art.
  Jewels at nose and lips but ill appear;
  Rather than all things wit, let none be there.
  Several lights will not be seen,
  If there be nothing else between.
  Men doubt, because they stand so thick i' the sky,
  If those be stars which paint the galaxy.

6 'Tis not when two like words make up one noise,
  Jests for Dutch men and English boys;
  In which who finds out wit, the same may see
  In an'grams and acrostics poetry.
  Much less can that have any place
  At which a virgin hides her face;
  Such dross the fire must purge away; 'tis just
  The author blush there where the reader must.

7 'Tis not such lines as almost crack the stage,
  When Bajazet begins to rage:
  Nor a tall met'phor in the bombast way,
  Nor the dry chips of short-lunged Seneca:
  Nor upon all things to obtrude
  And force some old similitude.
  What is it then, which, like the Power Divine,
  We only can by negatives define?

8 In a true piece of wit all things must be,
  Yet all things there agree:
  As in the ark, joined without force or strife,
  All creatures dwelt, all creatures that had life.
  Or as the primitive forms of all,
  If we compare great things with small,
  Which without discord or confusion lie,
  In that strange mirror of the Deity.


OF SOLITUDE.

1  Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!
   Hail, ye plebeian underwood!
   Where the poetic birds rejoice,
   And for their quiet nests and plenteous food
   Pay with their grateful voice.

2  Hail the poor Muse's richest manor-seat!
   Ye country houses and retreat,
   Which all the happy gods so love,
   That for you oft they quit their bright and great
   Metropolis above.

3  Here Nature does a house for me erect,
   Nature! the fairest architect,
   Who those fond artists does despise
   That can the fair and living trees neglect,
   Yet the dead timber prize.

4  Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
   Hear the soft winds above me flying,
   With all their wanton boughs dispute,
   And the more tuneful birds to both replying,
   Nor be myself, too, mute.

5  A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
   Gilt with the sunbeams here and there,
   On whose enamelled bank I'll walk,
   And see how prettily they smile,
   And hear how prettily they talk.

6  Ah! wretched, and too solitary he,
   Who loves not his own company!
   He'll feel the weight of it many a day,
   Unless he calls in sin or vanity
   To help to bear it away.

7  O Solitude! first state of humankind!
   Which bless'd remained till man did find
   Even his own helper's company:
   As soon as two, alas! together joined,
   The serpent made up three.

8  Though God himself, through countless ages, thee
   His sole companion chose to be,
   Thee, sacred Solitude! alone,
   Before the branchy head of number's tree
   Sprang from the trunk of one;

9  Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
   Dost break and tame the unruly heart,
   Which else would know no settled pace,
   Making it move, well managed by thy art,
   With swiftness and with grace.

10 Thou the faint beams of reason's scattered light
   Dost, like a burning glass, unite,
   Dost multiply the feeble heat,
   And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright
   And noble fires beget.

11 Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks I see
   The monster London laugh at me;
   I should at thee, too, foolish city!
   If it were fit to laugh at misery;
   But thy estate I pity.

12 Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
   And all the fools that crowd thee so,
   Even thou, who dost thy millions boast,
   A village less than Islington wilt grow,
   A solitude almost.


THE WISH.

I.

Lest the misjudging world should chance to say
I durst not but in secret murmurs pray,
To whisper in Jove's ear
How much I wish that funeral,
Or gape at such a great one's fall;
This let all ages hear,
And future times in my soul's picture see
What I abhor, what I desire to be.

II.

I would not be a Puritan, though he
Can preach two hours, and yet his sermon be
But half a quarter long;
Though from his old mechanic trade
By vision he's a pastor made,
His faith was grown so strong;
Nay, though he think to gain salvation
By calling the Pope the Whore of Babylon.

III.

I would not be a Schoolmaster, though to him
His rods no less than Consuls' fasces seem;
Though he in many a place,
Turns Lily oftener than his gowns,
Till at the last he makes the nouns
Fight with the verbs apace;
Nay, though he can, in a poetic heat,
Figures, born since, out of poor Virgil beat.

IV.

I would not be a Justice of Peace, though he
Can with equality divide the fee,
And stakes with his clerk draw;
Nay, though he sits upon the place
Of judgment, with a learned face
Intricate as the law;
And whilst he mulcts enormities demurely,
Breaks Priscian's head with sentences securely.

V.

I would not be a Courtier, though he
Makes his whole life the truest comedy;
Although he be a man
In whom the tailor's forming art,
And nimble barber, claim more part
Than Nature herself can;
Though, as he uses men, 'tis his intent
To put off Death too with a compliment.

VI.

From Lawyers' tongues, though they can spin with ease
The shortest cause into a paraphrase,
From Usurers' conscience
(For swallowing up young heirs so fast,
Without all doubt they'll choke at last)
Make me all innocence,
Good Heaven! and from thy eyes, O Justice! keep;
For though they be not blind, they're oft asleep.

VII.

From Singing-men's religion, who are
Always at church, just like the crows, 'cause there
They build themselves a nest;
From too much poetry, which shines
With gold in nothing but its lines,
Free, O you Powers! my breast;
And from astronomy, which in the skies
Finds fish and bulls, yet doth but tantalise.

VIII.

From your Court-madam's beauty, which doth carry
At morning May, at night a January;
From the grave City-brow
(For though it want an R, it has
The letter of Pythagoras)
Keep me, O Fortune! now,
And chines of beef innumerable send me,
Or from the stomach of the guard defend me.

IX.

This only grant me, that my means may lie
Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone:
The unknown are better than ill known:
Rumour can ope the grave.
Acquaintance I would have, but when 't depends
Not from the number, but the choice of friends.

X.

Books should, not business, entertain the light,
And sleep, as undisturbed as death, the night.
My house a cottage more
Than palace, and should fitting be
For all my use, not luxury;
My garden, painted o'er
With Nature's hand, not Art's, that pleasure yield
Horace might envy in his Sabine field.

XI.

Thus would I double my life's fading space;
For he that runs it well twice runs his race;
And in this true delight,
These unbought sports, and happy state,
I would not fear, nor wish my fate,
But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them, I have lived to-day.


UPON THE SHORTNESS OF MAN'S LIFE.

1 Mark that swift arrow, how it cuts the air,
  How it outruns thy following eye!
  Use all persuasions now, and try
  If thou canst call it back, or stay it there.
  That way it went, but thou shalt find
  No track is left behind.

2 Fool! 'tis thy life, and the fond archer thou.
  Of all the time thou'st shot away,
  I'll bid thee fetch but yesterday,
  And it shall be too hard a task to do.
  Besides repentance, what canst find
  That it hath left behind?

3 Our life is carried with too strong a tide,
  A doubtful cloud our substance bears,
  And is the horse of all our years:
  Each day doth on a winged whirlwind ride.
  We and our glass run out, and must
  Both render up our dust.

4 But his past life who without grief can see,
  Who never thinks his end too near,
  But says to Fame, Thou art mine heir;
  That man extends life's natural brevity--
  This is, this is the only way
  To outlive Nestor in a day.


ON THE PRAISE OF POETRY.

'Tis not a pyramid of marble stone,
Though high as our ambition;
'Tis not a tomb cut out in brass, which can
Give life to the ashes of a man,
But verses only; they shall fresh appear,
Whilst there are men to read or hear,
When time shall make the lasting brass decay,
And eat the pyramid away,
Turning that monument wherein men trust
Their names, to what it keeps, poor dust;
Then shall the epitaph remain, and be
New graven in eternity.
Poets by death are conquered, but the wit
Of poets triumph over it.
What cannot verse? When Thracian Orpheus took
His lyre, and gently on it strook,
The learned stones came dancing all along,
And kept time to the charming song.
With artificial pace the warlike pine,
The elm and his wife, the ivy-twine,
With all the better trees which erst had stood
Unmoved, forsook their native wood.
The laurel to the poet's hand did bow,
Craving the honour of his brow;
And every loving arm embraced, and made
With their officious leaves a shade.
The beasts, too, strove his auditors to be,
Forgetting their old tyranny.
The fearful hart next to the lion came,
And wolf was shepherd to the lamb.
Nightingales, harmless Syrens of the air,
And Muses of the place, were there;
Who, when their little windpipes they had found
Unequal to so strange a sound,
O'ercome by art and grief, they did expire,
And fell upon the conquering lyre.
Happy, oh happy they! whose tomb might be,
Mausolus! envied by thee!


THE MOTTO.

TENTANDA VIA EST, ETC.

What shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own?
I shall like beasts or common people die,
Unless you write my elegy;
Whilst others great by being born are grown,
Their mother's labour, not their own.
In this scale gold, in the other fame does lie;
The weight of that mounts this so high.
These men are Fortune's jewels, moulded bright,
Brought forth with their own fire and light.
If I, her vulgar stone, for either look,
Out of myself it must be strook.
Yet I must on: What sound is't strikes mine ear?
Sure I Fame's trumpet hear:
It sounds like the last trumpet, for it can
Raise up the buried man.
Unpass'd Alps stop me, but I'll cut through all,
And march, the Muse's Hannibal.
Hence, all the flattering vanities that lay
Nets of roses in the way;
Hence, the desire of honours or estate,
And all that is not above Fate;
Hence, Love himself, that tyrant of my days,
Which intercepts my coming praise.
Come, my best friends! my books! and lead me on,
'Tis time that I were gone.
Welcome, great Stagyrite! and teach me now
All I was born to know:
Thy scholar's victories thou dost far outdo;
He conquered th' earth, the whole world you,
Welcome, learn'd Cicero! whose bless'd tongue and wit
Preserves Rome's greatness yet;
Thou art the first of orators; only he
Who best can praise thee next must be.
Welcome the Mantuan swan! Virgil the wise,
Whose verse walks highest, but not flies;
Who brought green Poesy to her perfect age,
And made that art which was a rage.
Tell me, ye mighty Three! what shall I do
To be like one of you?
But you have climb'd the mountain's top, there sit
On the calm flourishing head of it,
And whilst, with wearied steps, we upward go,
See us and clouds below.


DAVIDEIS.

BOOK II.

  THE CONTENTS.

  The friendship betwixt Jonathan and David; and, upon that occasion,
  a digression concerning the nature of love. A discourse between
  Jonathan and David, upon which the latter absents himself from court,
  and the former goes thither to inform himself of Saul's resolution.
  The feast of the New-moon; the manner of the celebration of it; and
  therein a digression of the history of Abraham. Saul's speech upon
  David's absence from the feast, and his anger against Jonathan.
  David's resolution to fly away. He parts with Jonathan, and falls
  asleep under a tree. A description of Fancy. An angel makes up a
  vision in David's head. The vision itself; which is a prophecy of
  all the succession of his race, till Christ's time, with their most
  remarkable actions. At his awaking, Gabriel assumes a human shape,
  and confirms to him the truth of his vision.

But now the early birds began to call
The morning forth; up rose the sun and Saul:
Both, as men thought, rose fresh from sweet repose;
But both, alas! from restless labours rose:
For in Saul's breast Envy, the toilsome sin,
Had all that night active and tyrannous been:
She expelled all forms of kindness, virtue, grace,
Of the past day no footstep left, or trace;
The new-blown sparks of his old rage appear,
Nor could his love dwell longer with his fear.
So near a storm wise David would not stay,
Nor trust the glittering of a faithless day:
He saw the sun call in his beams apace,
And angry clouds march up into their place:
The sea itself smooths his rough brow awhile,
Flatt'ring the greedy merchant with a smile;
But he whose shipwrecked bark it drank before,
Sees the deceit, and knows it would have more.
Such is the sea, and such was Saul;
But Jonathan his son, and only good,
Was gentle as fair Jordan's useful flood;
Whose innocent stream, as it in silence goes,
Fresh honours and a sudden spring bestows
On both his banks, to every flower and tree;
The manner how lies hid, the effect we see:
But more than all, more than himself, he loved
The man whose worth his father's hatred moved;
For when the noble youth at Dammin stood,
Adorned with sweat, and painted gay with blood,
Jonathan pierced him through with greedy eye,
And understood the future majesty
Then destined in the glories of his look:
He saw, and straight was with amazement strook,
To see the strength, the feature, and the grace
Of his young limbs; he saw his comely face,
Where love and reverence so well-mingled were,
And head, already crowned with golden hair:
He saw what mildness his bold sp'rit did tame,
Gentler than light, yet powerful as a flame:
He saw his valour by their safety proved;
He saw all this, and as he saw, he loved.

What art thou, Love! thou great mysterious thing?
From what hid stock does thy strange nature spring?
'Tis thou that movst the world through every part,
And holdst the vast frame close, that nothing start
From the due place and office first ordained;
By thee were all things made, and are sustained.
Sometimes we see thee fully, and can say
From hence thou tookst thy rise, and wentst that way;
But oftener the short beams of Reason's eye
See only there thou art, not how, nor why.
How is the loadstone, Nature's subtle pride,
By the rude iron woo'd, and made a bride?
How was the weapon wounded? what hid flame
The strong and conquering metal overcame?
Love (this world's grace) exalts his natural state;
He feels thee, Love! and feels no more his weight.
Ye learned heads whom ivy garlands grace,
Why does that twining plant the oak embrace?
The oak, for courtship most of all unfit,
And rough as are the winds that fight with it.
How does the absent pole the needle move?
How does his cold and ice beget hot love?
Which are the wings of lightness to ascend?
Or why does weight to the centre downwards bend?
Thus creatures void of life obey thy laws,
And seldom we, they never, know the cause.
In thy large state, life gives the next degree,
Where sense and good apparent places thee;
But thy chief palace is man's heart alone;
Here are thy triumphs and full glories shown:
Handsome desires, and rest, about thee flee,
Union, inheritance, zeal, and ecstasy,
With thousand joys, cluster around thine head,
O'er which a gall-less dove her wings does spread:
A gentle lamb, purer and whiter far
Than consciences of thine own martyrs are,
Lies at thy feet; and thy right hand does hold
The mystic sceptre of a cross of gold.
Thus dost thou sit (like men, ere sin had framed
A guilty blush) naked, but not ashamed.
What cause, then, did the fab'lous ancients find,
When first their superstition made thee blind?
'Twas they, alas! 'twas they who could not see,
When they mistook that monster, Lust, for thee.
Thou art a bright, but not consuming, flame;
Such in the amazed bush to Moses came,
When that, secure, its new-crown'd head did rear,
And chid the trembling branches' needless fear;
Thy darts are healthful gold, and downwards fall,
Soft as the feathers that they are fletched withal.
Such, and no other, were those secret darts
Which sweetly touched this noblest pair of hearts:
Still to one end they both so justly drew,
As courteous doves together yoked would do:
No weight of birth did on one side prevail;
Two twins less even lie in Nature's scale:
They mingled fates, and both in each did share;
They both were servants, they both princes were.
If any joy to one of them was sent,
It was most his to whom it least was meant;
And Fortune's malice betwixt both was cross'd,
For striking one, it wounded the other most.
Never did marriage such true union find,
Or men's desires with so glad violence bind;
For there is still some tincture left of sin,
And still the sex will needs be stealing in.
Those joys are full of dross, and thicker far;
These, without matter, clear and liquid are.
Such sacred love does heaven's bright spirits fill,
Where love is but to understand and will,
With swift and unseen motions such as we
Somewhat express in heighten'd charity.
O ye bless'd One! whose love on earth became
So pure, that still in heaven 'tis but the same!
There now ye sit, and with mix'd souls embrace,
Gazing upon great Love's mysterious face,
And pity this base world, where friendship's made
A bait for sin, or else at best a trade.
Ah, wondrous prince! who a true friend couldst be
When a crown flatter'd, and Saul threaten'd thee!
Who held'st him dear whose stars thy birth did cross,
And bought'st him nobly at a kingdom's loss!
Israel's bright sceptre far less glory brings,
There have been fewer friends on earth than kings.

To this strong pitch their high affections flew,
Till Nature's self scarce looked on them as two.
Hither flies David for advice and aid,
As swift as love and danger could persuade;
As safe in Jonathan's trust his thoughts remain,
As when himself but dreams them o'er again.

'My dearest lord! farewell,' said he, 'farewell;
Heaven bless the King; may no misfortune tell
The injustice of his hate when I am dead:
They're coming now; perhaps my guiltless head
Here, in your sight, must then a-bleeding lie,
And scarce your own stand safe for being nigh.
Think me not scared with death, howe'er 't appear;
I know thou canst not think so: it is a fear
From which thy love and Dammin speaks me free;
I've met him face to face, and ne'er could see
One terror in his looks to make me fly
When virtue bids me stand; but I would die
So as becomes my life, so as may prove
Saul's malice, and at least excuse your love.'

He stopped, and spoke some passion with his eyes.
'Excellent friend!' the gallant prince replies;
'Thou hast so proved thy virtues, that they're known
To all good men, more than to each his own.
Who lives in Israel that can doubtful be
Of thy great actions? for he lives by thee.
Such is thy valour, and thy vast success,
That all things but thy loyalty are less;
And should my father at thy ruin aim,
'Twould wound as much his safety as his fame.
Think them not coming, then, to slay thee here,
But doubt mishaps as little as you fear;
For, by thy loving God, whoe'er design
Against thy life, must strike at it through mine,
But I my royal father must acquit
From such base guilt, or the low thought of it.
Think on his softness, when from death he freed
The faithless king of Am'lek's cursed seed;
Can he t' a friend, t' a son, so bloody grow,
He who even sinned but now to spare a foe?
Admit he could; but with what strength or art
Could he so long close and seal up his heart?
Such counsels jealous of themselves become,
And dare not fix without consent of some;
Few men so boldly ill great sins to do,
Till licensed and approved by others too.
No more (believe it) could he hide this from me,
Than I, had he discovered it, from thee.'

Here they embraces join, and almost tears,
Till gentle David thus new-proved his fears:
'The praise you pleased, great prince! on me to spend,
Was all outspoken, when you styled me friend:
That name alone does dangerous glories bring,
And gives excuse to the envy of a king.
What did his spear, force, and dark plots, impart
But some eternal rancour in his heart?
Still does he glance the fortune of that day
When, drowned in his own blood, Goliath lay,
And covered half the plain; still hears the sound
How that vast monster fell, and strook the around:
The dance, and, David his ten thousand slew,
Still wound his sickly soul, and still are new.
Great acts t' ambitious princes treason grow,
So much they hate that safety which they owe.
Tyrants dread all whom they raise high in place;
From the good danger, from the bad disgrace.
They doubt the lords, mistrust the people's hate,
Till blood become a principle of state.
Secured not by their guards nor by their right,
But still they fear even more than they affright,
Pardon me, sir; your father's rough and stern;
His will too strong to bend, too proud to learn.
Remember, sir, the honey's deadly sting!
Think on that savage justice of the King,
When the same day that saw you do before
Things above man, should see you man no more.
'Tis true, the accursed Agag moved his ruth;
He pitied his tall limbs and comely youth;
Had seen, alas! the proof of Heaven's fierce hate,
And feared no mischief from his powerless fate;
Remember how the old seer came raging down,
And taught him boldly to suspect his crown.
Since then, his pride quakes at the Almighty's rod,
Nor dares he love the man beloved by God.
Hence his deep rage and trembling envy springs;
Nothing so wild as jealousy of kings.
Whom should he counsel ask, with whom advise,
Who reason and God's counsel does despise?
Whose headstrong will no law or conscience daunt,
Dares he not sin, do you think, without your grant?
Yes, if the truth of our fixed love he knew,
He would not doubt, believe it, to kill even you.'

The prince is moved, and straight prepares to find
The deep resolves of his grieved father's mind.
The danger now appears, love can soon show it,
And force his stubborn piety to know it.
They agree that David should concealed abide,
Till his great friend had the Court's temper tried;
Till he had Saul's most sacred purpose found,
And searched the depth and rancour of his wound.

'Twas the year's seventh-born moon; the solemn feast,
That with most noise its sacred mirth express'd.
From opening morn till night shuts in the day,
On trumpets and shrill horns the Levites play:
Whether by this in mystic type we see
The new-year's day of great eternity,
When the changed moon shall no more changes make,
And scattered death's by trumpets' sound awake;
Or that the law be kept in memory still,
Given with like noise on Sinai's shining hill;
Or that (as some men teach) it did arise
From faithful Abram's righteous sacrifice,
Who, whilst the ram on Isaac's fire did fry,
His horn with joyful tunes stood sounding by;
Obscure the cause, but God his will declared,
And all nice knowledge then with ease is spared.
At the third hour Saul to the hallowed tent,
'Midst a large train of priests and courtiers, went;
The sacred herd marched proud and softly by,
Too fat and gay to think their deaths so nigh.
Hard fate of beasts more innocent than we!
Prey to our luxury and our piety!
Whose guiltless blood on boards and altars spilt,
Serves both to make and expiate, too, our guilt!
Three bullocks of free neck, two gilded rams,
Two well-washed goats, and fourteen spotless lambs,
With the three vital fruits, wine, oil, and bread,
(Small fees to Heaven of all by which we're fed)
Are offered up: the hallowed flames arise,
And faithful prayers mount with them to the skies.
From thence the King to the utmost court is brought,
Where heavenly things an inspired prophet taught,
And from the sacred tent to his palace gates,
With glad kind shouts the assembly on him waits;
The cheerful horns before him loudly play,
And fresh-strewed flowers paint his triumphant way.
Thus in slow pace to the palace-hall they go,
Rich dressed for solemn luxury and show:
Ten pieces of bright tapestry hung the room,
The noblest work e'er stretched on Syrian loom,
For wealthy Adriel in proud Sidon wrought,
And given to Saul when Saul's best gift he sought,
The bright-eyed Merab; for that mindful day
No ornament so proper seemed as they.

There all old Abram's story you might see,
And still some angel bore him company.
His painful but well-guided travels show
The fate of all his sons, the church below.
Here beauteous Sarah to great Pharaoh came;
He blushed with sudden passion, she with shame:
Troubled she seemed, and labouring in the strife,
'Twixt her own honour and her husband's life.
Here on a conquering host, that careless lay,
Drowned in the joys of their new-gotten prey,
The patriarch falls; well-mingled might you see
The confused marks of death and luxury.
In the next piece bless'd Salem's mystic king
Does sacred presents to the victor bring;
Like Him whose type he bears, his rights receives,
Strictly requires his due, yet freely gives:
Even in his port, his habit, and his face,
The mild and great, the priest and prince, had place.
Here all their starry host the heavens display;
And, lo! a heavenly youth, more fair than they,
Leads Abram forth; points upwards; 'Such,' said he,
'So bright and numberless thy seed shall be.'
Here he with God a new alliance makes,
And in his flesh the marks of homage takes:
Here he the three mysterious persons feasts,
Well paid with joyful tidings by his guests:
Here for the wicked town he prays, and near,
Scarce did the wicked town through flames appear:
And all his fate, and all his deeds, were wrought,
Since he from Ur to Ephron's cave was brought.
But none 'mongst all the forms drew then their eyes
Like faithful Abram's righteous sacrifice:
The sad old man mounts slowly to the place,
With Nature's power triumphant in his face
O'er the mind's courage; for, in spite of all,
From his swoln eyes resistless waters fall.
The innocent boy his cruel burden bore
With smiling looks, and sometimes walked before,
And sometimes turned to talk: above was made
The altar's fatal pile, and on it laid
The hope of mankind: patiently he lay,
And did his sire, as he his God, obey.
The mournful sire lifts up at last the knife,
And on one moment's string depends his life,
In whose young loins such brooding wonders lie.
A thousand sp'rits peeped from the affrighted sky,
Amazed at this strange scene, and almost fear'd,
For all those joyful prophecies they'd heard;
Till one leaped nimbly forth, by God's command,
Like lightning from a cloud, and stopped his hand.
The gentle sp'rit smiled kindly as he spoke;
New beams of joy through Abram's wonder broke
The angel points to a tuft of bushes near,
Where an entangled ram does half appear,
And struggles vainly with that fatal net,
Which, though but slightly wrought, was firmly set:
For, lo! anon, to this sad glory doomed,
The useful beast on Isaac's pile consumed;
Whilst on his horns the ransomed couple played,
And the glad boy danced to the tunes he made.

Near this hall's end a shittim table stood,
Yet well-wrought plate strove to conceal the wood;
For from the foot a golden vine did sprout,
And cast his fruitful riches all about.
Well might that beauteous ore the grape express,
Which does weak man intoxicate no less.
Of the same wood the gilded beds were made,
And on them large embroidered carpets laid,
From Egypt, the rich shop of follies, brought;
But arts of pride all nations soon are taught.
Behold seven comely blooming youths appear,
And in their hands seven silver washpots bear,
Curled, and gay clad, the choicest sons that be
Of Gibeon's race, and slaves of high degree.
Seven beauteous maids marched softly in behind,
Bright scarves their clothes, their hair fresh garlands bind,
And whilst the princes wash, they on them shed
Rich ointments, which their costly odours spread
O'er the whole room; from their small prisons free,
With such glad haste through the wide air they flee.
The King was placed alone, and o'er his head
A well-wrought heaven of silk and gold was spread,
Azure the ground, the sun in gold shone bright,
But pierced the wandering clouds with silver light.
The right-hand bed the King's three sons did grace,
The third was Abner's, Adriel's, David's place:
And twelve large tables more were filled below,
With the prime men Saul's court and camp could show.
The palace did with mirth and music sound,
And the crowned goblets nimbly moved around:
But though bright joy in every guest did shine,
The plenty, state, music, and sprightful wine,
Were lost on Saul: an angry care did dwell
In his dark breast, and all gay forms expel.
David's unusual absence from the feast,
To his sick sp'rit did jealous thoughts suggest:
Long lay he still, nor drank, nor ate, nor spoke,
And thus at last his troubled silence broke.

'Where can he be?' said he. 'It must be so.'
With that he paused awhile. 'Too well we know
His boundless pride: he grieves, and hates to see
The solemn triumphs of my court and me.
Believe me, friends! and trust what I can show
From thousand proofs; the ambitious David now
Does those vast things in his proud soul design,
That too much business give for mirth or wine.
He's kindling now, perhaps, rebellious fire
Among the tribes, and does even now conspire
Against my crown, and all our lives, whilst we
Are loth even to suspect what we might see.
By the Great Name 'tis true.'
With that he strook the board, and no man there,
But Jonathan, durst undertake to clear
The blameless prince: and scarce ten words he spoke,
When thus his speech the enraged tyrant broke:

'Disloyal wretch! thy gentle mother's shame!
Whose cold, pale ghost even blushes at thy name!
Who fears lest her chaste bed should doubted be,
And her white fame stained by black deeds of thee!
Canst thou be mine? A crown sometimes does hire
Even sons against their parents to conspire;
But ne'er did story yet, or fable, tell
Of one so wild who, merely to rebel,
Quitted the unquestioned birthright of a throne,
And bought his father's ruin with his own.
Thou need'st not plead the ambitious youth's defence;
Thy crime clears his, and makes that innocence:
Nor can his foul ingratitude appear,
Whilst thy unnatural guilt is placed so near.
Is this that noble friendship you pretend?
Mine, thine own foe, and thy worst enemy's friend?
If thy low spirit can thy great birthright quit,
The thing's but just, so ill deserv'st thou it.
I, and thy brethren here, have no such mind,
Nor such prodigious worth in David find,
That we to him should our just rights resign,
Or think God's choice not made so well as thine.
Shame of thy house and tribe! hence from mine eye;
To thy false friend and servile master fly;
He's ere this time in arms expecting thee;
Haste, for those arms are raised to ruin me.
Thy sin that way will nobler much appear,
Than to remain his spy and agent here.
When I think this, Nature, by thee forsook,
Forsakes me too.' With that his spear he took
To strike at him: the mirth and music cease;
The guests all rise this sudden storm t' appease.
The prince his danger and his duty knew,
And low he bowed, and silently withdrew.

To David straight, who in a forest nigh
Waits his advice, the royal friend does fly.
The sole advice, now, like the danger clear,
Was in some foreign land this storm t' outwear.
All marks of comely grief in both are seen,
And mournful kind discourses passed between.
Now generous tears their hasty tongues restrain;
Now they begin, and talk all o'er again:
A reverent oath of constant love they take,
And God's high name their dreaded witness make:
Not that at all their faiths could doubtful prove,
But 'twas the tedious zeal of endless love.
Thus, ere they part, they the short time bestow
In all the pomp friendship and grief could show.
And David now, with doubtful cares oppressed,
Beneath a shade borrows some little rest;
When by command divine thick mists arise,
And stop the sense, and close the conquered eyes.
There is a place which man most high doth rear,
The small world's heaven, where reason moves the sphere;
Here in a robe which does all colours show,
(The envy of birds, and the clouds' gaudy bow,)
Fancy, wild dame, with much lascivious pride,
By twin-chameleons drawn, does gaily ride:
Her coach there follows, and throngs round about
Of shapes and airy forms an endless rout.
A sea rolls on with harmless fury here;
Straight 'tis a field, and trees and herbs appear.
Here in a moment are vast armies made,
And a quick scene of war and blood displayed.
Here sparkling wines, and brighter maids come in,
The bawds for Sense, and lying baits of sin.
Some things arise of strange and quarrelling kind,
The forepart lion, and a snake behind.
Here golden mountains swell the covetous place,
And Centaurs ride themselves, a painted race.
Of these slight wonders Nature sees the store,
And only then accounts herself but poor.
Hither an angel comes in David's trance,
And finds them mingled in an antique dance;
Of all the numerous forms fit choice he takes,
And joins them wisely, and this vision makes.

First, David there appears in kingly state,
Whilst the Twelve Tribes his dread commands await:
Straight to the wars with his joined strength he goes,
Settles new friends, and frights his ancient foes.
To Solima, Canaan's old head, they came,
(Since high in note, then not unknown to Fame,)
The blind and lame the undoubted wall defend,
And no new wounds or dangers apprehend.
The busy image of great Joab there
Disdains the mock, and teaches them to fear:
He climbs the airy walls, leaps raging down,
New-minted shapes of slaughter fill the town.
They curse the guards their mirth and bravery chose,
All of them now are slain, or made like those.
Far through an inward scene an army lay,
Which with full banners a fair Fish display.
From Sidon plains to happy Egypt's coast
They seem all met, a vast and warlike host.
Thither hastes David to his destined prey,
Honour and noble danger lead the way.
The conscious trees shook with a reverent fear
Their unblown tops: God walked before him there.
Slaughter the wearied Rephaims' bosom fills,
Dead corpse emboss the vale with little hills.
On the other side, Sophenes' mighty king
Numberless troops of the bless'd East does bring:
Twice are his men cut off, and chariots ta'en;
Damascus and rich Adad help in vain;
Here Nabathaean troops in battle stand,
With all the lusty youth of Syrian land;
Undaunted Joab rushes on with speed,
Gallantly mounted on his fiery steed;
He hews down all, and deals his deaths around;
The Syrians leave, or possess, dead, the ground.
On the other wing does brave Abishai ride,
Reeking in blood and dust: on every side
The perjured sons of Ammon quit the field;
Some basely die, and some more basely yield.
Through a thick wood the wretched Hanun flies,
And far more justly then fears Hebrew spies.
Moloch, their bloody god, thrusts out his head,
Grinning through a black cloud: him they'd long fed
In his seven chambers, and he still did eat
New-roasted babes, his dear delicious meat.
Again they rise, more angered and dismayed;
Euphrates and swift Tigris sends them aid:
In vain they send it, for again they're slain,
And feast the greedy birds on Healy plain.
Here Rabba with proud towers affronts the sky,
And round about great Joab's trenches lie:
They force the walls, and sack the helpless town;
On David's head shines Ammon's massy crown.
'Midst various torments the cursed race expires;
David himself his severe wrath admires.

Next upon Israel's throne does bravely sit
A comely youth, endowed with wondrous wit:
Far, from the parched line, a royal dame,
To hear his tongue and boundless wisdom, came:
She carried back in her triumphant womb
The glorious stock of thousand kings to come.
Here brightest forms his pomp and wealth display;
Here they a temple's vast foundations lay;
A mighty work; and with fit glories filled,
For God to inhabit, and that King to build.
Some from the quarries hew out massy stone,
Some draw it up with cranes; some breathe and groan
In order o'er the anvil; some cut down
Tall cedars, the proud mountain's ancient crown;
Some carve the trunks, and breathing shapes bestow,
Giving the trees more life than when they grow.
But, oh! alas! what sudden cloud is spread
About this glorious King's eclipsed head?
It all his fame benights, and all his store,
Wrapping him round; and now he's seen no more.

When straight his son appears at Sichem crown'd,
With young and heedless council circled round;
Unseemly object! but a falling state
Has always its own errors joined with Fate.
Ten tribes at once forsake the Jessian throne,
And bold Adoram at his message stone;
'Brethren of Israel!'--More he fain would say,
But a flint stopped his mouth, and speech in the way.
Here this fond king's disasters but begin;
He's destined to more shame by his father's sin.
Susac comes up, and under his command
A dreadful army from scorched Afric's sand,
As numberless as that: all is his prey;
The temple's sacred wealth they bear away;
Adrazar's shields and golden loss they take;
Even David in his dream does sweat and shake.
Thus fails this wretched prince; his loins appear
Of less weight now than Solomon's fingers were.

Abijah next seeks Israel to regain,
And wash in seas of blood his father's stain.
Ne'er saw the aged sun so cruel sight;
Scarce saw he this, but hid his bashful light.
Nebat's cursed son fled with not half his men;
Where were his gods of Dan and Bethel then?
Yet could not this the fatal strife decide;
God punished one, but blessed not the other side.

Asan, a just and virtuous prince, succeeds,
High raised by Fame for great and godly deeds:
He cut the solemn groves where idols stood,
And sacrificed the gods with their own wood.
He vanquished thus the proud weak powers of hell;
Before him next their doting servants fell:
So huge an host of Zerah's men he slew,
As made even that Arabia desert too.
Why feared he then the perjured Baasha's sight?
Or bought the dangerous aid of Syrian's might?
Conquest, Heaven's gift, cannot by man be sold;
Alas! what weakness trusts he? man and gold.

Next Josaphat possessed the royal state;
A happy prince, well worthy of his fate:
His oft oblations on God's altar, made
With thousand flocks, and thousand herds, are paid,
Arabian tribute! What mad troops are those,
Those mighty troops that dare to be his foes?
He prays them dead; with mutual wounds they fall;
One fury brought, one fury slays them all.
Thus sits he still, and sees himself to win,
Never o'ercome but by his friend Ahab's sin;
On whose disguise Fates then did only look,
And had almost their God's command mistook:
Him from whose danger Heaven securely brings,
And for his sake too ripely wicked kings.
Their armies languish, burnt with thirst, at Seere,
Sighs all their cold, tears all their moisture there:
They fix their greedy eyes on the empty sky,
And fancy clouds, and so become more dry.
Elisha calls for waters from afar
To come; Elisha calls, and here they are.
In helmets they quaff round the welcome flood,
And the decrease repair with Moab's blood.
Jehoram next, and Ochoziah, throng
For Judah's sceptre; both shortlived too long.
A woman, too, from murder title claims;
Both with her sins and sex the crown she shames.
Proud, cursed woman! but her fall at last
To doubting men clears Heaven for what was past.
Joas at first does bright and glorious show;
In life's fresh morn his fame did early crow:
Fair was the promise of his dawning ray,
But prophet's angry blood o'ercast his day:
From thence his clouds, from thence his storms, begin,
It cries aloud, and twice lets Aram in.
So Amaziah lives, so ends his reign,
Both by their traitorous servants justly slain.
Edom at first dreads his victorious hand;
Before him thousand captives trembling stand.
Down a precipice, deep down he casts them all;
The mimic shapes in several postures fall:
But then (mad fool!) he does those gods adore,
Which when plucked down had worshipped him before.
Thus all his life to come is loss and shame:
No help from gods, who themselves helped not, came.

All this Uzziah's strength and wit repairs,
Leaving a well-built greatness to his heirs;
Till leprous scurf, o'er his whole body cast,
Takes him at first from men, from earth at last.
As virtuous was his son, and happier far;
Buildings his peace, and trophies graced his war:
But Achaz heaps up sins, as if he meant
To make his worst forefathers innocent:
He burns his son at Hinnon, whilst around
The roaring child drums and loud trumpets sound:
This to the boy a barbarous mercy grew,
And snatched him from all miseries to ensue.
Here Peca comes, and hundred thousands fall;
Here Rezin marches up, and sweeps up all;
Till like a sea the great Belochus' son
Breaks upon both, and both does overrun.
The last of Adad's ancient stock is slain,
Israel captived, and rich Damascus ta'en;
All his wild rage to revenge Judah's wrong;
But woe to kingdoms that have friends too strong!

Thus Hezekiah the torn empire took,
And Assur's king with his worse gods forsook;
Who to poor Judah worlds of nations brings,
There rages, utters vain and mighty things.
Some dream of triumphs, and exalted names,
Some of dear gold, and some of beauteous dames;
Whilst in the midst of their huge sleepy boast,
An angel scatters death through all the host.
The affrighted tyrant back to Babel hies,
There meets an end far worse than that he flies.
Here Hezekiah's life is almost done!
So good, and yet, alas! so short 'tis spun.
The end of the line was ravelled, weak, and old;
Time must go back, and afford better hold,
To tie a new thread to it of fifteen years.
'Tis done; the almighty power of prayer and tears!
Backward the sun, an unknown motion, went;
The stars gazed on, and wondered what he meant.
Manasses next (forgetful man!) begins,
Enslaved and sold to Ashur by his sins;
Till by the rod of learned Misery taught,
Home to his God and country both he's brought.
It taught not Ammon, nor his hardness brake,
He's made the example he refused to take.

Yet from this root a goodly scion springs,
Josiah! best of men, as well as kings.
Down went the calves, with all their gold and cost;
The priests then truly grieved, Osiris lost.
These mad Egyptian rites till now remained;
Fools! they their worser thraldom still retained!
In his own fires Moloch to ashes fell,
And no more flames must have besides his hell.
Like end Astartes' horned image found,
And Baal's spired stone to dust was ground.
No more were men in female habit seen,
Or they in men's, by the lewd Syrian queen;
No lustful maids at Benos' temple sit,
And with their body's shame their marriage get.
The double Dagon neither nature saves,
Nor flies she back to the Erythraean waves.
The travelling sun sees gladly from on high
His chariots burn, and Nergal quenched lie.
The King's impartial anger lights on all,
From fly-blown Accaron to the thundering Baal.
Here David's joy unruly grows and bold,
Nor could sleep's silken chain its violence hold,
Had not the angel, to seal fast his eyes,
The humours stirred, and bid more mists arise;
When straight a chariot hurries swift away,
And in it good Josiah bleeding lay:
One hand's held up, one stops the wound; in vain
They both are used. Alas! he's slain, he's slain.

Jehoias and Jehoiakim next appear;
Both urge that vengeance which before was near.
He in Egyptian fetters captive dies,
This by more courteous Anger murdered lies.
His son and brother next to bonds sustain,
Israel's now solemn and imperial chain.
Here's the last scene of this proud city's state;
All ills are met, tied in one knot of Fate.
Their endless slavery in this trial lay;
Great God had heaped up ages in one day:
Strong works around the walls the Chaldees build,
The town with grief and dreadful business filled:
To their carved gods the frantic women pray,
Gods which as near their ruin were as they:
At last in rushes the prevailing foe,
Does all the mischief of proud conquest show.
The wondering babes from mothers' breasts are rent,
And suffer ills they neither feared nor meant.
No silver reverence guards the stooping age,
No rule or method ties their boundless rage.
The glorious temple shines in flames all o'er,
Yet not so bright as in its gold before.
Nothing but fire or slaughter meets the eyes;
Nothing the ear but groans and dismal cries.
The walls and towers are levelled with the ground,
And scarce aught now of that vast city's found,
But shards and rubbish, which weak signs might keep,
Of forepast glory, and bid travellers weep.
Thus did triumphant Assur homewards pass,
And thus Jerus'lem left, Jerusalem that was!

Thus Zedechia saw, and this not all;
Before his face his friends and children fall,
The sport of insolent victors: this he views,
A king and father once: ill Fate could use
His eyes no more to do their master spite;
All to be seen she took, and next his sight.
Thus a long death in prison he outwears,
Bereft of grief's last solace, even his tears.

Then Jeconiah's son did foremost come,
And he who brought the captived nation home;
A row of Worthies in long order passed
O'er the short stage; of all old Joseph last.
Fair angels passed by next in seemly bands,
All gilt, with gilded baskets in their hands.
Some as they went the blue-eyed violets strew,
Some spotless lilies in loose order threw.
Some did the way with full-blown roses spread,
Their smell divine, and colour strangely red;
Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear,
Whom weather's taint, and wind's rude kisses tear.
Such, I believe, was the first rose's hue,
Which, at God's word, in beauteous Eden grew;
Queen of the flowers, which made that orchard gay,
The morning-blushes of the Spring's new day.

With sober pace an heavenly maid walks in,
Her looks all fair, no sign of native sin
Through her whole body writ; immoderate grace
Spoke things far more than human in her face:
It casts a dusky gloom o'er all the flowers,
And with full beams their mingled light devours.
An angel straight broke from a shining cloud,
And pressed his wings, and with much reverence bowed;
Again he bowed, and grave approach he made,
And thus his sacred message sweetly said:

'Hail! full of grace! thee the whole world shall call
Above all bless'd; thee, who shall bless them all.
Thy virgin womb in wondrous sort shall shroud
Jesus the God; (and then again he bowed)
Conception the great Spirit shall breathe on thee:
Hail thou! who must God's wife, God's mother be.'
With that his seeming form to heaven he reared,
(She low obeisance made) and disappeared.
Lo! a new star three Eastern sages see;
(For why should only earth a gainer be?)
They saw this Phosphor's infant light, and knew
It bravely ushered in a sun as new;
They hasted all this rising sun t' adore;
With them rich myrrh, and early spices, bore.
Wise men! no fitter gift your zeal could bring;
You'll in a noisome stable find your king.
Anon a thousand devils run roaring in;
Some with a dreadful smile deform'dly grin;
Some stamp their cloven paws, some frown, and tear
The gaping snakes from their black-knotted hair;
As if all grief, and all the rage of hell
Were doubled now, or that just now they fell:
But when the dreaded maid they entering saw,
All fled with trembling fear and silent awe:
In her chaste arms the Eternal Infant lies,
The Almighty Voice changed into feeble cries.
Heaven contained virgins oft, and will do more;
Never did virgin contain Heaven before.
Angels peep round to view this mystic thing,
And halleluiah round, all halleluiah sing.

No longer could good David quiet bear
The unwieldy pleasure which o'erflowed him here:
It broke the fetter, and burst ope his eye;
Away the timorous Forms together fly.
Fixed with amaze he stood, and time must take,
To learn if yet he were at last awake.
Sometimes he thinks that Heaven this vision sent,
And ordered all the pageants as they went:
Sometimes that only 'twas wild Fancy's play,
The loose and scattered relics of the day.

When Gabriel (no bless'd sp'rit more kind or fair)
Bodies and clothes himself with thickened air;
All like a comely youth in life's fresh bloom,
Rare workmanship, and wrought by heavenly loom!
He took for skin a cloud most soft and bright
That e'er the mid-day sun pierced through with light;
Upon his cheeks a lively blush he spread,
Washed from the morning beauty's deepest red;
A harmless flaming meteor shone for hair,
And fell adown his shoulders with loose care:
He cuts out a silk mantle from the skies.
Where the most sprightly azure please the eyes;
This he with starry vapours spangles all,
Took in their prime ere they grow ripe, and fall:
Of a new rainbow, ere it fret or fade,
The choicest piece took out, a scarf is made;
Small streaming clouds he does for wings display,
Not virtuous lovers' sighs more soft than they;
These he gilds o'er with the sun's richest rays,
Caught gliding o'er pure streams on which he plays.

Thus dressed, the joyful Gabriel posts away,
And carries with him his own glorious day
Through the thick woods; the gloomy shades a while
Put on fresh, looks, and wonder why they smile;
The trembling serpents close and silent lie;
The birds obscene far from his passage fly;
A sudden spring waits on him as he goes,
Sudden as that which by creation rose.
Thus he appears to David; at first sight
All earth-bred fears and sorrows take their flight:
In rushes joy divine, and hope, and rest;
A sacred calm shines through his peaceful breast.
'Hail, man belov'd! from highest heaven,' said he.
'My mighty Master sends thee health by me.
The things thou saw'st are full of truth and light,
Shaped in the glass of the divine foresight.
Even now old Time is harnessing the Years
To go in order thus: hence, empty fears!
Thy fate's all white; from thy bless'd seed shall spring
The promised Shilo, the great mystic King.
Round the whole earth his dreaded Name shall sound.
And reach to worlds that must not yet be found:
The Southern clime him her sole Lord shall style,
Him all the North, even Albion's stubborn isle.
My fellow-servant, credit what I tell.'
Straight into shapeless air unseen he fell.


LIFE.

'NASCENTES MORIMUR.'--_Manil_.

1 We're ill by these grammarians used:
  We are abused by words, grossly abused;
  From the maternal tomb
  To the grave's fruitful womb
  We call here Life; but Life's a name
  That nothing here can truly claim:
  This wretched inn, where we scarce stay to bait,
  We call our dwelling-place;
  We call one step a race:
  But angels in their full-enlightened state,
  Angels who live, and know what 'tis to be,
  Who all the nonsense of our language see,
  Who speak things, and our words their ill-drawn picture scorn.
  When we by a foolish figure say,
  Behold an old man dead! then they
  Speak properly, and cry, Behold a man-child born!

2 My eyes are opened, and I see
  Through the transparent fallacy:
  Because we seem wisely to talk
  Like men of business, and for business walk
  From place to place,
  And mighty voyages we take,
  And mighty journeys seem to make
  O'er sea and land, the little point that has no space;
  Because we fight, and battles gain,
  Some captives call, and say the rest are slain;
  Because we heap up yellow earth, and so
  Rich, valiant, wise, and virtuous seem to grow;
  Because we draw a long nobility
  From hieroglyphic proofs of heraldry,
  And impudently talk of a posterity;
  And, like Egyptian chroniclers,
  Who write of twenty thousand years,
  With maravedies make the account,
  That single time might to a sum amount;
  We grow at last by custom to believe
  That really we live;
  Whilst all these shadows that for things we take,
  Are but the empty dreams which in death's sleep we make.

3 But these fantastic errors of our dream
  Lead us to solid wrong;
  We pray God our friends' torments to prolong.
  And wish uncharitably for them
  To be as long a-dying as Methusalem.
  The ripened soul longs from his prison to come,
  But we would seal and sew up, if we could, the womb.
  We seek to close and plaster up by art
  The cracks and breaches of the extended shell,
  And in that narrow cell
  Would rudely force to dwell
  The noble, vigorous bird already winged to part.


THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT.

I.

Is this thy bravery, Man! is this thy pride!
Rebel to God, and slave to all beside!
Captived by everything! and only free
To fly from thine own liberty!
All creatures, the Creator said, were thine;
No creature but might since say, Man is mine!
In black Egyptian slavery we lie,
And sweat and toil in the vain dru
Of tyrant Sin,
To which we trophies raise, and wear out all our breath
In building up the monuments of death.
We, the choice race, to God and angels kin!
In vain the prophets and apostles come
To call us home,
Home to the promised Canaan above,
Which does with nourishing milk and pleasant honey flow,
And even i' th' way to which we should be fed
With angels' tasteful bread:
But we, alas! the flesh-pots love;
We love the very leeks and sordid roots below.

II.

In vain we judgments feel, and wonders see;
In vain did God to descend hither deign,
He was his own Ambassador in vain,
Our Moses and our guide himself to be.
We will not let ourselves to go,
And with worse hardened hearts, do our own Pharaohs grow;
Ah! lest at last we perish so,
Think, stubborn Man! think of the Egyptian prince,
(Hard of belief and will, but not so hard as thou,)
Think with what dreadful proofs God did convince
The feeble arguments that human power could show;
Think what plagues attend on thee,
Who Moses' God dost now refuse more oft than Moses he.

III.

'If from some God you come,' said the proud king,
With half a smile and half a frown,
'But what God can to Egypt be unknown?
What sign, what powers, what credence do you bring?'
'Behold his seal! behold his hand!'
Cries Moses, and casts down the almighty wand:
The almighty wand scarce touched the earth,
When, with an undiscerned birth,
The almighty wand a serpent grew,
And his long half in painted folds behind him drew:
Upwards his threatening tail he threw,
Upwards he cast his threatening head,
He gaped and hissed aloud,
With flaming eyes surveyed the trembling crowd,
And, like a basilisk, almost looked the assembly dead:
Swift fled the amazed king, the guards before him fled.

IV.

Jannes and Jambres stopped their flight,
And with proud words allayed the affright.
'The God of slaves!' said they, 'how can he be
More powerful than their master's deity?'
And down they cast their rods,
And muttered secret sounds that charm the servile gods,
The evil spirits their charms obey,
And in a subtle cloud they snatch the rods away,
And serpents in their place the airy jugglers lay:
Serpents in Egypt's monstrous land
Were ready still at hand,
And all at the Old Serpent's first command:
And they, too, gaped, and they, too, hissed,
And they their threatening tails did twist;
But straight on both the Hebrew serpent flew,
Broke both their active backs, and both it slew,
And both almost at once devoured;
So much was overpowered
By God's miraculous creation
His servant Nature's slightly wrought and feeble generation.

V.

On the famed bank the prophets stood,
Touched with their rod, and wounded all the flood;
Flood now no more, but a long vein of putrid blood;
The helpless fish were found
In their strange current drowned;
The herbs and trees washed by the mortal tide
About it blushed and died:
The amazed crocodiles made haste to ground;
From their vast trunks the dropping gore they spied,
Thought it their own, and dreadfully aloud they cried:
Nor all thy priests, nor thou,
O King! couldst ever show
From whence thy wandering Nile begins his course;
Of this new Nile thou seest the sacred source,
And as thy land that does o'erflow,
Take heed lest this do so.
What plague more just could on thy waters fall?
The Hebrew infants' murder stains them all.
The kind, instructing punishment enjoy;
Whom the red river cannot mend, the Red Sea shall destroy.

VI.

The river yet gave one instruction more,
And from the rotting fish and unconcocted gore,
Which was but water just before,
A loathsome host was quickly made,
That scaled the banks, and with loud noise did all the country invade;
As Nilus when he quits his sacred bed,
(But like a friend he visits all the land
With welcome presents in his hand,)
So did this living tide the fields o'erspread.
In vain the alarmed country tries
To kill their noisome enemies,
From the unexhausted source still new recruits arise:
Nor does the earth these greedy troops suffice;
The towns and houses they possess,
The temples and the palaces,
Nor Pharaoh nor his gods they fear,
Both their importune croakings hear:
Unsatiate yet they mount up higher,
Where never sun-born frog durst to aspire,
And in the silken beds their slimy members place,
A luxury unknown before to all the watery race.

VII.

The water thus her wonders did produce,
But both were to no use:
As yet the sorcerer's mimic power served for excuse.
Try what the earth will do, said God, and lo!
They struck the earth a fertile blow,
And all the dust did straight to stir begin,
One would have thought some sudden wind had been,
But, lo! 'twas nimble life was got within!
And all the little springs did move,
And every dust did an armed vermin prove,
Of an unknown and new-created kind,
Such as the magic gods could neither make or find.
The wretched shameful foe allowed no rest
Either to man or beast;
Not Pharaoh from the unquiet plague could be,
With all his change of raiments, free;
The devils themselves confessed
This was God's hand; and 'twas but just
To punish thus man's pride, to punish dust with dust.

VIII.

Lo! the third element does his plagues prepare,
And swarming clouds of insects fill the air;
With sullen noise they take their flight,
And march in bodies infinite;
In vain 'tis day above, 'tis still beneath them night;
Of harmful flies the nations numberless
Composed this mighty army's spacious boast;
Of different manners, different languages,
And different habits, too, they wore,
And different arms they bore:
And some, like Scythians, lived on blood,
And some on green, and some on flowery food,
And Accaron, the airy prince, led on this various host.
Houses secure not men; the populous ill
Did all the houses fill:
The country all around,
Did with the cries of tortured cattle sound;
About the fields enraged they flew,
And wished the plague that was t' ensue.

IX.

From poisonous stars a mortal influence came,
(The mingled malice of their flame,)
A skilful angel did the ingredients take,
And with just hands the sad composure make,
And over all the land did the full viol shake.
Thirst, giddiness, faintness, and putrid heats,
And pining pains, and shivering sweats,
On all the cattle, all the beasts, did fall;
With deformed death the country's covered all.
The labouring ox drops down before the plough;
The crowned victims to the altar led
Sink, and prevent the lifted blow:
The generous horse from the full manger turns his head,
Does his loved floods and pastures scorn,
Hates the shrill trumpet and the horn,
Nor can his lifeless nostril please
With the once-ravishing smell of all his dappled mistresses;
The starving sheep refuse to feed,
They bleat their innocent souls out into air;
The faithful dogs lie gasping by them there;
The astonished shepherd weeps, and breaks his tuneful reed.

X.

Thus did the beasts for man's rebellion die;
God did on man a gentler medicine try,
And a disease for physic did apply.
Warm ashes from the furnace Moses took,
The sorcerers did with wonder on him look,
And smiled at the unaccustomed spell
Which no Egyptian rituals tell.
He flings the pregnant ashes through the air,
And speaks a mighty prayer,
Both which the minist'ring winds around all Egypt bear;
As gentle western blasts, with downy wings
Hatching the tender springs,
To the unborn buds with vital whispers say,
Ye living buds, why do ye stay?
The passionate buds break through the bark their way;
So wheresoe'er this tainted wind but blew,
Swelling pains and ulcers grew;
It from the body called all sleeping poisons out,
And to them added new;
A noisome spring of sores as thick as leaves did sprout.

XI.

Heaven itself is angry next;
Woe to man when Heaven is vexed;
With sullen brow it frowned,
And murmured first in an imperfect sound;
Till Moses, lifting up his hand,
Waves the expected signal of his wand,
And all the full-charged clouds in ranged squadrons move,
And fill the spacious plains above;
Through which the rolling thunder first does play,
And opens wide the tempest's noisy way:
And straight a stony shower
Of monstrous hail does downward pour,
Such as ne'er Winter yet brought forth,
From all her stormy magazines of the north:
It all the beasts and men abroad did slay,
O'er the defaced corpse, like monuments, lay;
The houses and strong-bodied trees it broke,
Nor asked aid from the thunder's stroke:
The thunder but for terror through it flew,
The hail alone the work could do.
The dismal lightnings all around,
Some flying through the air, some running on the ground,
Some swimming o'er the waters' face,
Filled with bright horror every place;
One would have thought, their dreadful day to have seen,
The very hail and rain itself had kindled been.

XII.

The infant corn, which yet did scarce appear,
Escaped this general massacre
Of every thing that grew,
And the well-stored Egyptian year
Began to clothe her fields and trees anew;
When, lo! a scorching wind from the burnt countries blew,
And endless legions with it drew
Of greedy locusts, who, where'er
With sounding wings they flew,
Left all the earth depopulate and bare,
As if Winter itself had marched by there,
Whate'er the sun and Nile
Gave with large bounty to the thankful soil,
The wretched pillagers bore away,
And the whole Summer was their prey;
Till Moses with a prayer,
Breathed forth a violent western wind,
Which all these living clouds did headlong bear
(No stragglers left behind)
Into the purple sea, and there bestow
On the luxurious fish a feast they ne'er did know.
With untaught joy Pharaoh the news does hear,
And little thinks their fate attends on him and his so near.

XIII.

What blindness and what darkness did there e'er
Like this undocile king's appear?
Whate'er but that which now does represent
And paint the crime out in the punishment?
From the deep baleful caves of hell below,
Where the old mother Night does grow,
Substantial Night, that does disclaim
Privation's empty name,
Through secret conduits monstrous shapes arose,
Such as the sun's whole force could not oppose;
They with a solid cloud
All heaven's eclipsed face did shroud;
Seemed with large wings spread o'er the sea and earth,
To brood up a new Chaos his deformed birth;
And every lamp, and every fire,
Did, at the dreadful sight, wink and expire,
To the empyrean source all streams of light seemed to retire.
The living men were in their standing houses buried,
But the long night no slumber knows,
But the short death finds no repose.
Ten thousand terrors through the darkness fled,
And ghosts complained, and spirits murmured,
And fancy's multiplying sight
Viewed all the scenes invisible of night.

XIV.

Of God's dreadful anger these
Were but the first light skirmishes;
The shock and bloody battle now begins,
The plenteous harvest of full-ripened sins.
It was the time when the still moon
Was mounted softly to her noon,
And dewy sleep, which from Night's secret springs arose,
Gently as Nile the land o'erflows;
When, lo! from the high countries of refined day,
The golden heaven without allay,
Whose dross, in the creation purged away,
Made up the sun's adulterate ray,
Michael, the warlike prince, does downwards fly,
Swift as the journeys of the sight,
Swift as the race of light,
And with his winged will cuts through the yielding sky.
He passed through many a star, and as he passed
Shone (like a star in them) more brightly there
Than they did in their sphere:
On a tall pyramid's pointed head he stopped at last,
And a mild look of sacred pity cast
Down on the sinful land where he was sent
To inflict the tardy punishment.
'Ah! yet,' said he, 'yet, stubborn King! repent,
Whilst thus unarmed I stand,
Ere the keen sword of God fill my commanded hand;
Suffer but yet thyself and thine to live.
Who would, alas! believe
That it for man,' said he,
'So hard to be forgiven should be,
And yet for God so easy to forgive!'

XV.

He spoke, and downwards flew,
And o'er his shining form a well-cut cloud he threw,
Made of the blackest fleece of night,
And close-wrought to keep in the powerful light;
Yet, wrought so fine, it hindered not his flight,
But through the key-holes and the chinks of doors,
And through the narrowest walks of crooked pores,
He passed more swift and free
Than in wide air the wanton swallows flee:
He took a pointed pestilence in his hand,
The spirits of thousand mortal poisons made
The strongly-tempered blade,
The sharpest sword that e'er was laid
Up in the magazines of God to scourge a wicked land:
Through Egypt's wicked land his march he took,
And as he marched the sacred first-born struck
Of every womb; none did he spare;
None from the meanest beast to Cenchre's purple heir.

XVI.

The swift approach of endless night
Breaks ope the wounded sleepers' rolling eyes;
They awake the rest with dying cries,
And darkness doubles the affright.
The mixed sounds of scattered deaths they hear,
And lose their parted souls 'twixt grief and fear.
Louder than all, the shrieking women's voice
Pierces this chaos of confused noise;
As brighter lightning cuts a way,
Clear and distinguished through the day:
With less complaints the Zoan temples sound
When the adored heifer's drowned,
And no true marked successor to be found:
While health, and strength, and gladness does possess
The festal Hebrew cottages;
The bless'd destroyer comes not there,
To interrupt the sacred cheer,
That new begins their well-reformed year.
Upon their doors he read and understood
God's protection writ in blood;
Well was he skilled i' th' character divine,
And though he passed by it in haste,
He bowed, and worshipped as he passed
The mighty mystery through its humble sign.

XVII.

The sword strikes now too deep and near,
Longer with its edge to play,
No diligence or cost they spare
To haste the Hebrews now away,
Pharaoh himself chides their delay;
So kind and bountiful is fear!
But, oh! the bounty which to fear we owe,
Is but like fire struck out of stone,
So hardly got, and quickly gone,
That it scarce outlives the blow.
Sorrow and fear soon quit the tyrant's breast,
Rage and revenge their place possess'd:
With a vast host of chariots and of horse,
And all his powerful kingdom's ready force,
The travelling nation he pursues,
Ten times o'ercome, he still the unequal war renews.
Filled with proud hopes, 'At least,' said he,
'The Egyptian gods, from Syrian magic free,
Will now revenge themselves and me;
Behold what passless rocks on either hand,
Like prison walls, about them stand!
Whilst the sea bounds their flight before,
And in our injured justice they must find
A far worse stop than rocks and seas behind;
Which shall with crimson gore
New paint the water's name, and double dye the shore.'

XVIII.

He spoke; and all his host
Approved with shouts the unhappy boast;
A bidden wind bore his vain words away,
And drowned them in the neighbouring sea.
No means to escape the faithless travellers spy,
And with degenerous fear to die,
Curse their new-gotten liberty:
But the great Guide well knew he led them right,
And saw a path hid yet from human sight:
He strikes the raging waves; the waves on either side
Unloose their close embraces, and divide,
And backwards press, as in some solemn show
The crowding people do,
(Though just before no space was seen,)
To let the admired triumph pass between.
The wondering army saw, on either hand,
The no less wondering waves like rocks of crystal stand.
They marched betwixt, and boldly trod
The secret paths of God:
And here and there, all scattered in their way,
The sea's old spoils and gaping fishes lay
Deserted on the sandy plain:
The sun did with astonishment behold
The inmost chambers of the opened main,
For whatsoe'er of old
By his own priests, the poets, has been said,
He never sunk till then into the Ocean's bed.

XIX.

Led cheerfully by a bright captain, Flame,
To the other shore at morning-dawn they came,
And saw behind the unguided foe
March disorderly and slow:
The prophet straight from the Idumean strand
Shakes his imperious wand;
The upper waves, that highest crowded lie,
The beckoning wand espy;
Straight their first right-hand files begin to move,
And with a murmuring wind
Give the word march to all behind;
The left-hand squadrons no less ready prove,
But with a joyful, louder noise,
Answer their distant fellows' voice,
And haste to meet them make,
As several troops do all at once a common signal take.
What tongue the amazement and the affright can tell,
Which on the Chamian army fell,
When on both sides they saw the roaring main
Broke loose from his invisible chain?
They saw the monstrous death and watery war
Come rolling down loud ruin from afar;
In vain some backward and some forwards fly
With helpless haste, in vain they cry
To their celestial beasts for aid;
In vain their guilty king they upbraid,
In vain on Moses he, and Moses' God, does call,
With a repentance true too late:
They're compassed round with a devouring fate
That draws, like a strong net, the mighty sea upon them all.



GEORGE WITHER


This remarkable man was born in Hampshire, at Bentworth, near Alton, in
1588. He was sent to Magdalene College, Oxford, but had hardly been
there till his father remanded him home to hold the plough--a reversal
of the case of Cincinnatus which did not please the aspiring spirit of
our poet. He took an early opportunity of breaking loose from this
occupation, and of going to London with the romantic intention of making
his fortune at Court. Finding that to rise at Court, flattery was
indispensable, and determined not to flatter, he, in 1613, published his
'Abuses Whipt and Stript,' for which he was committed for some months
to the Marshalsea. Here he wrote his beautiful poem, 'The Shepherd's
Hunting;' and is said to have gained his manumission by a satire to
the King, in which he defends his former writings. Soon after his
liberation, he published his 'Hymns and Songs of the Church,' a book
which embroiled him with the clergy, but procured him the favour of King
James, who encouraged him to finish a translation of the Psalms. He
travelled to the court of the Queen of Bohemia, (James's daughter,) in
fulfilment of a vow, and presented her with a copy of his completed
translation.

In 1639, he was a captain of horse in the expedition against the Scotch.
When the Civil War broke out, he sold his estate to raise a troop of
horse on the Parliamentary side, and soon after was made a major. In
1642, he was appointed captain and commander of Farnham Castle, in
Surrey; but owing to some neglect or cowardice on his part, it was ceded
the same year to Sir William Waller. He was made prisoner by the
Royalists some time after this, and would have been put to death had not
Denham interfered, alleging that as long as Wither survived, he (Denham)
could not be accounted the worst poet in England. He was afterwards
appointed Cromwell's major-general of all the horse and foot in the
county of Surrey. He made money at this time by Royalist sequestrations,
but lost it all at the Restoration. He had, on the death of Cromwell,
hailed Richard with enthusiasm, and predicted him a happy reign; which
makes Campbell remark, 'He never but once in his life foreboded good,
and in that prophecy he was mistaken.' Wither was by no means pleased
with the loss of his fortune, and remonstrated bitterly; but for so
doing he was thrown into prison again. Here his mind continued as active
as ever, and he poured out treatises, poems, and satires--sometimes,
when pen and ink were denied him, inscribing his thoughts with red ochre
upon a trencher. After three years, he was, in 1663, released from
Newgate, under bond for good behaviour; and four years afterwards he
died in London. This was on the 2d of May 1667. He was buried between
the east door and the south end of the Savoy church, in the Strand.

Wither was a man of real genius, but seems to have been partially
insane. His political zeal was a frenzy; and his religion was deeply
tinged with puritanic gloom. His 'Collection of Emblems' never became so
popular as those of Quarles, and are now nearly as much forgotten as his
satires, his psalms, and his controversial treatises. But his early
poems are delightful--full of elegant and playful fancy, ease of
language, and delicacy of sentiment. Some passages in 'The Shepherd's
Hunting,' and in the 'Address to Poetry,' resemble the style of Milton
in his 'L'Allegro' and 'Penseroso.' His 'Christmas' catches the full
spirit of that joyous carnival of Christian England. Altogether, it is
refreshing to turn from the gnarled oak of Wither's struggling and
unhappy life, to the beautiful flowers, nodding over it, of his poesy.


FROM 'THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING.'

See'st thou not, in clearest days,
Oft thick fogs could heavens raise?
And the vapours that do breathe
From the earth's gross womb beneath,
Seem they not with their black steams
To pollute the sun's bright beams,
And yet vanish into air,
Leaving it unblemished, fair?
So, my Willy, shall it be
With Detraction's breath and thee:
It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.
As that sun doth oft exhale
Vapours from each rotten vale;
Poesy so sometimes drains
Gross conceits from muddy brains;
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
'Twixt men's judgments and her light;
But so much her power may do
That she can dissolve them too.
If thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing, she gets power!
Yet the higher she doth soar,
She's affronted still the more:
Till she to the high'st hath past,
Then she rests with Fame at last.
Let nought therefore thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight:
For if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly
Till I reached eternity.
But, alas! my Muse is slow;
For thy pace she flags too low.
Yes, the more's her hapless fate,
Her short wings were clipped of late;
And poor I, her fortune ruing,
Am myself put up a-muing.
But if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did.
And though for her sake I'm cross'd,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double;
I would love and keep her too,
Spite of all the world could do.
For though banished from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night;
She doth for my comfort stay,
And keeps many cares away.
Though I miss the flowery fields,
With those sweets the springtide yields;
Though I may not see those groves,
Where the shepherds chant their loves,
And the lasses more excel
Than the sweet-voiced Philomel;
Though of all those pleasures past,
Nothing now remains at last,
But remembrance, poor relief,
That more makes than mends my grief:
She's my mind's companion still,
Maugre Envy's evil will:
Whence she should be driven too,
Were 't in mortals' power to do.
She doth tell me where to borrow
Comfort in the midst of sorrow;
Makes the desolatest place
To her presence be a grace,
And the blackest discontents
Be her fairest ornaments.
In my former days of bliss,
His divine skill taught me this,
That from everything I saw,
I could some invention draw;
And raise pleasure to her height
Through the meanest object's sight:
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough's rustling;
By a daisy, whose leaves spread,
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me,
Than all Nature's beauties can,
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Some things that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness:
The dull loneness, the black shade
That these hanging vaults have made,
The strange music of the waves,
Beating on these hollow caves,
This black den, which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals, that give light
More to terror than delight,
This my chamber of neglect,
Walled about with disrespect,
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight.

Therefore, then, best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this!
Poesy, thou sweet'st content
That e'er Heaven to mortals lent;
Though they as a trifle leave thee,
Whose dull thoughts can not conceive thee,
Though thou be to them a scorn
That to nought but earth are born;
Let my life no longer be
Than I am in love with thee!
Though our wise ones call it madness,
Let me never taste of gladness
If I love not thy madd'st fits
Above all their greatest wits!
And though some, too seeming holy,
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn
What makes knaves and fools of them!


THE SHEPHERD'S RESOLUTION.

1 Shall I, wasting in despair,
  Die because a woman's fair?
  Or make pale my cheeks with care,
  'Cause another's rosy are?
  Be she fairer than the day,
  Or the flowery meads in May;
      If she be not so to me,
      What care I how fair she be?

2 Shall my foolish heart be pined,
  'Cause I see a woman kind?
  Or a well-disposed nature
  Joined with a lovely feature?
  Be she meeker, kinder, than
  The turtle-dove or pelican;
      If she be not so to me,
      What care I how kind she be?

3 Shall a woman's virtues move
  Me to perish for her love?
  Or, her well-deservings known,
  Make me quite forget mine own?
  Be she with that goodness blest,
  Which may merit name of Best;
      If she be not such to me,
      What care I how good she be?

4 'Cause her fortune seems too high,
  Shall I play the fool and die?
  Those that bear a noble mind,
  Where they want of riches find,
  Think what with them they would do,
  That without them dare to woo;
      And, unless that mind I see,
      What care I how great she be?

5 Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
  I will ne'er the more despair:
  If she love me, this believe--
  I will die ere she shall grieve.
  If she slight me when I woo,
  I can scorn and let her go:
      If she be not fit for me,
      What care I for whom she be?


THE STEADFAST SHEPHERD.

1 Hence away, thou Siren, leave me,
    Pish! unclasp these wanton arms;
  Sugared words can ne'er deceive me,
    Though thou prove a thousand charms.
        Fie, fie, forbear;
        No common snare
    Can ever my affection chain:
        Thy painted baits,
        And poor deceits,
    Are all bestowed on me in vain.

2 I'm no slave to such as you be;
    Neither shall that snowy breast,
  Rolling eye, and lip of ruby,
    Ever rob me of my rest:
        Go, go, display
        Thy beauty's ray
    To some more soon enamoured swain:
        Those common wiles
        Of sighs and smiles
    Are all bestowed on me in vain.

3 I have elsewhere vowed a duty;
    Turn away thy tempting eye:
  Show not me a painted beauty:
    These impostures I defy:
        My spirit loathes
        Where gaudy clothes
    And feigned oaths may love obtain:
        I love her so,
        Whose look swears No,
    That all your labours will be vain.

4 Can he prize the tainted posies
    Which on every breast are worn,
  That may pluck the virgin roses
    From their never-touched thorn?
        I can go rest
        On her sweet breast
    That is the pride of Cynthia's train:
        Then stay thy tongue,
        Thy mermaid song
    Is all bestowed on me in vain.

5 He's a fool that basely dallies,
    Where each peasant mates with him:
  Shall I haunt the thronged valleys,
    Whilst there's noble hills to climb?
        No, no, though clowns
        Are scared with frowns,
    I know the best can but disdain;
        And those I'll prove:
        So will thy love
    Be all bestowed on me in vain.

6 I do scorn to vow a duty
    Where each lustful lad may woo;
  Give me her whose sun-like beauty
    Buzzards dare not soar unto:
        She, she it is
        Affords that bliss
    For which I would refuse no pain:
        But such as you,
        Fond fools, adieu!
    You seek to captive me in vain.

7 Leave me then, you Siren, leave me:
    Seek no more to work my harms:
  Crafty wiles cannot deceive me,
    Who am proof against your charms:
        You labour may
        To lead astray
    The heart that constant shall remain;
        And I the while
        Will sit and smile
    To see you spend your time in vain.


THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING.

    ARGUMENT.

    Cuddy tells how all the swains
    Pity Roget on the plains;
    Who, requested, doth relate
    The true cause of his estate;
    Which broke off, because 'twas long,
    They begin a three-man song.

        WILLY. CUDDY. ROGET.

WILLY.

Roget, thy old friend Cuddy here, and I,
Are come to visit thee in these thy bands,
Whilst both our flocks in an enclosure by
Do pick the thin grass from the fallowed lands.
He tells me thy restraint of liberty,
Each one throughout the country understands:
  And there is not a gentle-natured lad,
  On all these downs, but for thy sake is sad.

CUDDY.

Not thy acquaintance and thy friends alone
Pity thy close restraint, as friends should do:
But some that have but seen thee for thee moan:
Yea, many that did never see thee too.
Some deem thee in a fault, and most in none;
So divers ways do divers rumours go:
  And at all meetings where our shepherds be,
  Now the main news that's extant is of thee.

ROGET.

Why, this is somewhat yet: had I but kept
Sheep on the mountains till the day of doom,
My name should in obscurity have slept,
In brakes, in briars, shrubbed furze and broom.
Into the world's wide care it had not crept,
Nor in so many men's thoughts found a room:
  But what cause of my sufferings do they know?
  Good Cuddy, tell me how doth rumour go?

CUDDY.

Faith, 'tis uncertain; some speak this, some that:
Some dare say nought, yet seem to think a cause,
And many a one, prating he knows not what,
Comes out with proverbs and old ancient saws,
As if he thought thee guiltless, and yet not:
Then doth he speak half-sentences, then pause:
  That what the most would say, we may suppose:
  But what to say, the rumour is, none knows.

ROGET.

Nor care I greatly, for it skills not much
What the unsteady common-people deems;
His conscience doth not always feel least touch,
That blameless in the sight of others seems:
My cause is honest, and because 'tis such
I hold it so, and not for men's esteems:
  If they speak justly well of me, I'm glad;
  If falsely evil, it ne'er makes me sad.

WILLY.

I like that mind; but, Roget, you are quite
Beside the matter that I long to hear:
Remember what you promised yesternight,
You'd put us off with other talk, I fear;
Thou know'st that honest Cuddy's heart's upright,
And none but he, except myself, is near:
  Come therefore, and betwixt us two relate,
  The true occasion of thy present state.

ROGET.

My friends, I will; you know I am a swain,
That keep a poor flock here upon this plain:
Who, though it seems I could do nothing less,
Can make a song, and woo a shepherdess;
And not alone the fairest where I live
Have heard me sing, and favours deigned to give;
But though I say't, the noblest nymph of Thame,
Hath graced my verse unto my greater fame.
Yet being young, and not much seeking praise,
I was not noted out for shepherds' lays,
Nor feeding flocks, as you know others be:
For the delight that most possessed me
Was hunting foxes, wolves, and beasts of prey;
That spoil our folds, and bear our lambs away.
For this, as also for the love I bear
Unto my country, I laid by all care
Of gain, or of preferment, with desire
Only to keep that state I had entire,
And like a true-grown huntsman sought to speed
Myself with hounds of rare and choicest breed,
Whose names and natures ere I further go,
Because you are my friends, I'll let you know.
My first esteemed dog that I did find,
Was by descent of old Actaeon's kind;
A brach, which if I do not aim amiss,
For all the world is just like one of his:
She's named Love, and scarce yet knows her duty;
Her dam's my lady's pretty beagle Beauty,
I bred her up myself with wondrous charge,
Until she grew to be exceeding large,
And waxed so wanton that I did abhor it,
And put her out amongst my neighbours for it.
The next is Lust, a hound that's kept abroad,
'Mongst some of mine acquaintance, but a toad
Is not more loathsome: 'tis a cur will range
Extremely, and is ever full of mange;
And 'cause it is infectious, she's not wont
To come among the rest, but when they hunt.
Hate is the third, a hound both deep and long.
His sire is true or else supposed Wrong.
He'll have a snap at all that pass him by,
And yet pursues his game most eagerly.
With him goes Envy coupled, a lean cur,
And she'll hold out, hunt we ne'er so far:
She pineth much, and feedeth little too,
Yet stands and snarleth at the rest that do.
Then there's Revenge, a wondrous deep-mouthed dog,
So fleet, I'm fain to hunt him with a clog,
Yet many times he'll much outstrip his bounds,
And hunts not closely with the other hounds:
He'll venture on a lion in his ire;
Curst Choler was his dam, and Wrong his sire.
This Choler is a brach that's very old,
And spends her mouth too much to have it hold:
She's very testy, an unpleasing cur,
That bites the very stones, if they but stur:
Or when that ought but her displeasure moves,
She'll bite and snap at any one she loves:
But my quick-scented'st dog is Jealousy,
The truest of this breed's in Italy:
The dam of mine would hardly fill a glove,
It was a lady's little dog, called Love:
The sire, a poor deformed cur, named Fear,
As shagged and as rough as is a bear:
And yet the whelp turned after neither kind,
For he is very large, and near-hand blind;
At the first sight he hath a pretty colour,
But doth not seem so, when you view him fuller;
A vile suspicious beast, his looks are bad,
And I do fear in time he will grow mad.
To him I couple Avarice, still poor;
Yet she devours as much as twenty more:
A thousand horse she in her paunch can put,
Yet whine as if she had an empty gut:
And having gorged what might a land have found,
She'll catch for more, and hide it in the ground.
Ambition is a hound as greedy full;
But he for all the daintiest bits doth cull:
He scorns to lick up crumbs beneath the table,
He'll fetch 't from boards and shelves, if he be able:
Nay, he can climb if need be; and for that,
With him I hunt the martin and the cat:
And yet sometimes in mounting he's so quick,
He fetches falls are like to break his neck.
Fear is well-mouth'd, but subject to distrust;
A stranger cannot make him take a crust:
A little thing will soon his courage quail,
And 'twixt his legs he ever claps his tail;
With him Despair now often coupled goes,
Which by his roaring mouth each huntsman knows.
None hath a better mind unto the game,
But he gives off, and always seemeth lame.
My bloodhound Cruelty, as swift as wind,
Hunts to the death, and never comes behind;
Who but she's strapp'd and muzzled too withal,
Would eat her fellows, and the prey and all;
And yet she cares not much for any food,
Unless it be the purest harmless blood.
All these are kept abroad at charge of many,
They do not cost me in a year a penny.
But there's two couple of a middling size,
That seldom pass the sight of my own eyes.
Hope, on whose head I've laid my life to pawn;
Compassion, that on every one will fawn.
This would, when 'twas a whelp, with rabbits play
Or lambs, and let them go unhurt away:
Nay, now she is of growth, she'll now and then
Catch you a hare, and let her go again.
The two last, Joy and Sorrow, 'tis a wonder,
Can ne'er agree, nor ne'er bide far asunder.
Joy's ever wanton, and no order knows:
She'll run at larks, or stand and bark at crows.
Sorrow goes by her, and ne'er moves his eye;
Yet both do serve to help make up the cry.
Then comes behind all these to bear the base,
Two couple more of a far larger race,
Such wide-mouth'd trollops, that 'twould do you good
To hear their loud loud echoes tear the wood.
There's Vanity, who, by her gaudy hide,
May far away from all the rest be spied,
Though huge, yet quick, for she's now here, now there;
Nay, look about you, and she's everywhere:
Yet ever with the rest, and still in chase.
Right so, Inconstancy fills every place;
And yet so strange a fickle-natured hound,
Look for her, and she's nowhere to be found.
Weakness is no fair dog unto the eye,
And yet she hath her proper quality;
But there's Presumption, when he heat hath got,
He drowns the thunder and the cannon-shot:
And when at start he his full roaring makes,
The earth doth tremble, and the heaven shakes.
These were my dogs, ten couple just in all,
Whom by the name of Satyrs I do call:
Mad curs they be, and I can ne'er come nigh them,
But I'm in danger to be bitten by them.
Much pains I took, and spent days not a few,
To make them keep together, and hunt true:
Which yet I do suppose had never been,
But that I had a scourge to keep them in.
Now when that I this kennel first had got,
Out of my own demesnes I hunted not,
Save on these downs, or among yonder rocks,
After those beasts that spoiled our parish flocks;
Nor during that time was I ever wont
With all my kennel in one day to hunt:
Nor had done yet, but that this other year,
Some beasts of prey, that haunt the deserts here,
Did not alone for many nights together
Devour, sometime a lamb, sometime a wether,
And so disquiet many a poor man's herd,
But that of losing all they were afeard:
Yea, I among the rest did fare as bad,
Or rather worse, for the best ewes[1] I had
(Whose breed should be my means of life and gain)
Were in one evening by these monsters slain:
Which mischief I resolved to repay,
Or else grow desperate, and hunt all away;
For in a fury (such as you shall see
Huntsmen in missing of their sport will be)
I vowed a monster should not lurk about,
In all this province, but I'd find him out,
And thereupon, without respect or care,
How lame, how full, or how unfit they were,
In haste unkennell'd all my roaring crew,
Who were as mad as if my mind they knew,
And ere they trail'd a flight-shot, the fierce curs
Had roused a hart, and thorough brakes and furs
Follow'd at gaze so close, that Love and Fear
Got in together, so had surely there
Quite overthrown him, but that Hope thrust in
'Twixt both, and saved the pinching of his skin,
Whereby he 'scaped, till coursing o'erthwart,
Despair came in, and griped him to the heart:
I hallowed in the res'due to the fall,
And for an entrance, there I fleshed them all:
Which having done, I dipped my staff in blood,
And onward led my thunder to the wood;
Where what they did, I'll tell you out anon,
My keeper calls me, and I must be gone.
Go if you please a while, attend your flocks,
And when the sun is over yonder rocks,
Come to this cave again, where I will be,
If that my guardian so much favour me.
Yet if you please, let us three sing a strain,
Before you turn your sheep into the plain.

WILLY.

I am content.

CUDDY.

               As well content am I.

ROGET.

Then, Will, begin, and we'll the rest supply.


SONG.

WILLY.

    Shepherd, would these gates were ope,
    Thou might'st take with us thy fortune.

ROGET.

    No, I'll make this narrow scope,
    Since my fate doth so importune
    Means unto a wider hope.

CUDDY.

    Would thy shepherdess were here,
    Who belov'd, loves thee so dearly!

ROGET.

    Not for both your flocks, I swear,
    And the gain they yield you yearly,
    Would I so much wrong my dear.
    Yet to me, nor to this place,
    Would she now be long a stranger;
    She would hold it no disgrace,
    (If she feared not more my danger,)
    Where I am to show her face.

WILLY.

    Shepherd, we would wish no harms,
    But something that might content thee.

ROGET.

    Wish me then within her arms,
    And that wish will ne'er repent me,
    If your wishes might prove charms.

WILLY.

    Be thy prison her embrace,
    Be thy air her sweetest breathing.

CUDDY.

    Be thy prospect her fair face,
    For each look a kiss bequeathing,
    And appoint thyself the place.

ROGET.

  Nay pray, hold there, for I should scantly then
  Come meet you here this afternoon again:
  But fare you well, since wishes have no power,
  Let us depart, and keep the 'pointed hour.

[1] 'Ewes:' hopes.



SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT,


The author of 'Gondibert,' was the son of a vintner in Oxford, and born
in February 1605. Gossip says--but says with her usual carelessness about
truth--that he was the son of no less a person than William Shakspeare,
who used, in his journeys between London and Stratford, to stop at the
Crown, an inn kept by Davenant's reputed father. This story is hinted at
by Wood, was told to Pope by Betterton the player, and believed by Malone,
but seems to be a piece of mere scandal. It is true that Davenant had a
great veneration for Shakspeare, and expressed it, when only ten years
old, in lines 'In remembrance of Master William Shakspeare,' beginning
thus:--

  'Beware, delighted poets, when you sing,
   To welcome nature in the early spring,
       Your numerous feet not tread
   The banks of Avon, for each flower
   (As it ne'er knew a sun or shower)
       Hangs there the pensive head.'

Southey says--'The father was a man of melancholy temperament, the mother
handsome and lively; and as Shakspeare used to put up at the house on his
journeys between Stratford and London, Davenant is said to have affected
the reputation of being Shakspeare's son. If he really did this, there
was a levity, or rather a want of feeling, in the boast, for which social
pleasantry, and the spirits which are induced by wine, afford but little
excuse.'

He was entered at Lincoln College; he next became page to the Duchess of
Richmond; and we find him afterwards in the family of Fulk Greville, Lord
Brooke--famous as the friend of Sir Philip Sidney. He began to write for
the stage in 1628; and on the death of Ben Jonson he was made Poet Laureate
--to the disappointment of Thomas May, so much praised by Johnson and
others for his proficiency in Latin poetry, as displayed in his supplement
to Lucan's 'Pharsalia.' He became afterwards manager of Drury Lane; but
owing to his connexion with the intrigues of that unhappy period, he was
imprisoned in the Tower, and subsequently made his escape to France. On his
return to England, he distinguished himself greatly in the Royal cause; and
when that became desperate, he again took refuge in France, and wrote part
of his 'Gondibert.' He projected a scheme for carrying over a colony to
Virginia; but his vessel was seized by one of the Parliamentary ships--he
himself was conveyed a prisoner to Cowes Castle, in the Isle of Wight, and
thence to the Tower, preparatory to being tried by the High Commission. But
a giant hand, worthy of having saved him had he been Shakspeare's veritable
son, was now stretched forth to his rescue--the hand of Milton. In this
generous act Milton was seconded by Whitelocke, and by two aldermen of
York, to whom our poet had rendered some services. Liberated from the
Tower, Davenant was also permitted, through the influence of Whitelocke,
to open, in defiance of Puritanic prohibition, a kind of theatre at Rutland
House, and by enacting his own plays there, he managed to support himself
till the Restoration. He then, it is supposed, repaid to Milton his
friendly service, and shielded him from the wrath of the Court. From this
period Davenant continued to write for the stage--having received the
patent of the Duke's Theatre, in Lincoln's Inn--till his death. This event
took place on April 7, 1668. His last play, written in conjunction with
Dryden, was an alteration and pollution of Shakspeare's 'Tempest,' which
was more worthy of Trincula than of the authors of 'Absalom and Ahithophel'
and of 'Gondibert.' Supposing Davenant the son of Shakspeare, his act to
his father's masterpiece reminds us, in the excess of its filial impiety,
of Ham's conduct to Noah.

'Gondibert' is a large and able, without being a great poem. It has the
incurable and indefensible defect of dulness. 'The line labours, and the
words move slow.' The story is interesting of itself, but is lost in the
labyrinthine details. It has many lines, and some highly and successfully
wrought passages; but as a whole we may say of it as Porson said of
certain better productions, 'It will be read when the works of Homer and
Virgil are forgotten--but _not till then_.'


FROM 'GONDIBERT'--CANTO II.

THE ARGUMENT.

The hunting which did yearly celebrate
The Lombards' glory, and the Vandals' fate:
The hunters praised; how true to love they are,
How calm in peace and tempest-like in war.
The stag is by the numerous chase subdued,
And straight his hunters are as hard pursued.

1  Small are the seeds Fate does unheeded sow
     Of slight beginnings to important ends;
   Whilst wonder, which does best our reverence show
     To Heaven, all reason's sight in gazing spends.

2  For from a day's brief pleasure did proceed,
     A day grown black in Lombard histories,
   Such lasting griefs as thou shalt weep to read,
     Though even thine own sad love had drained thine eyes.

3  In a fair forest, near Verona's plain,
     Fresh as if Nature's youth chose there a shade,
   The Duke, with many lovers in his train,
     Loyal and young, a solemn hunting made.

4  Much was his train enlarged by their resort
     Who much his grandsire loved, and hither came
   To celebrate this day with annual sport,
     On which by battle here he earned his fame,

5  And many of these noble hunters bore
     Command amongst the youth at Bergamo;
   Whose fathers gathered here the wreaths they wore,
     When in this forest they interred the foe.

6  Count Hurgonil, a youth of high descent,
     Was listed here, and in the story great;
   He followed honour, when towards death it went;
     Fierce in a charge, but temperate in retreat.

7  His wondrous beauty, which the world approved,
     He blushing hid, and now no more would own
   (Since he the Duke's unequalled sister loved)
     Than an old wreath when newly overthrown.

8  And she, Orna the shy! did seem in life
     So bashful too, to have her beauty shown,
   As I may doubt her shade with Fame at strife,
     That in these vicious times would make it known.

9  Not less in public voice was Arnold here;
     He that on Tuscan tombs his trophies raised;
   And now Love's power so willingly did bear,
     That even his arbitrary reign he praised.

10 Laura, the Duke's fair niece, enthralled his heart,
     Who was in court the public morning glass,
   Where those, who would reduce nature to art,
     Practised by dress the conquests of the face.

11 And here was Hugo, whom Duke Gondibert
     For stout and steadfast kindness did approve;
   Of stature small, but was all over heart,
     And, though unhappy, all that heart was love.

12 In gentle sonnets he for Laura pined,
     Soft as the murmurs of a weeping spring,
   Which ruthless she did as those murmurs mind:
     So, ere their death, sick swans unheeded sing.

13 Yet, whilst she Arnold favoured, he so grieved,
     As loyal subjects quietly bemoan
   Their yoke, but raise no war to be relieved,
     Nor through the envied fav'rite wound the throne.

14 Young Goltho next these rivals we may name,
     Whose manhood dawned early as summer light;
   As sure and soon did his fair day proclaim,
     And was no less the joy of public sight.

15 If love's just power he did not early see,
     Some small excuse we may his error give;
   Since few, though learn'd, know yet blest love to be
     That secret vital heat by which we live:

16 But such it is; and though we may be thought
     To have in childhood life, ere love we know,
   Yet life is useless till by reason taught,
     And love and reason up together grow.

17 Nor more the old show they outlive their love,
     If, when their love's decayed, some signs they give
   Of life, because we see them pained and move,
     Than snakes, long cut, by torment show they live.

18 If we call living, life, when love is gone,
     We then to souls, God's coin, vain reverence pay;
   Since reason, which is love, and his best known
     And current image, age has worn away.

19 And I, that love and reason thus unite,
     May, if I old philosophers control,
   Confirm the new by some new poet's light,
     Who, finding love, thinks he has found the soul.

20 From Goltho, to whom love yet tasteless seemed,
     We to ripe Tybalt are by order led;
   Tybalt, who love and valour both esteemed,
     And he alike from either's wounds had bled.

21 Public his valour was, but not his love,
     One filled the world, the other he contained;
   Yet quietly alike in both did move,
     Of that ne'er boasted, nor of this complained.

22 With these, whose special names verse shall preserve,
     Many to this recorded hunting came;
   Whose worth authentic mention did deserve,
     But from Time's deluge few are saved by Fame.

23 New like a giant lover rose the sun
     From the ocean queen, fine in his fires and great;
   Seemed all the morn for show, for strength at noon,
     As if last night she had not quenched his heat.

24 And the sun's servants, who his rising wait,
     His pensioners, for so all lovers are,
   And all maintained by him at a high rate
     With daily fire, now for the chase prepare.

25 All were, like hunters, clad in cheerful green,
     Young Nature's livery, and each at strife
   Who most adorned in favours should be seen,
     Wrought kindly by the lady of his life.

26 These martial favours on their waists they wear,
     On which, for now they conquest celebrate,
   In an embroidered history appear
     Like life, the vanquished in their fears and fate.

27 And on these belts, wrought with their ladies' care,
     Hung cimeters of Akon's trusty steel;
   Goodly to see, and he who durst compare
     Those ladies' eyes, might soon their temper feel.

28 Cheered as the woods, where new-waked choirs they meet,
     Are all; and now dispose their choice relays
   Of horse and hounds, each like each other fleet;
     Which best, when with themselves compared, we praise.

29 To them old forest spies, the harbourers,
     With haste approach, wet as still weeping night,
   Or deer that mourn their growth of head with tears,
     When the defenceless weight does hinder flight.

30 And dogs, such whose cold secrecy was meant
     By Nature for surprise, on these attend;
   Wise, temperate lime-hounds that proclaim no scent,
     Nor harb'ring will their mouths in boasting spend.

31 Yet vainlier far than traitors boast their prize,
     On which their vehemence vast rates does lay,
   Since in that worth their treason's credit lies,
     These harb'rers praise that which they now betray.

32 Boast they have lodged a stag, that all the race
     Outruns of Croton horse, or Rhegian hounds;
   A stag made long since royal in the chase,
     If kings can honour give by giving wounds.

33 For Aribert had pierced him at a bay,
     Yet 'scaped he by the vigour of his head;
   And many a summer since has won the day,
     And often left his Rhegian followers dead.

34 His spacious beam, that even the rights outgrew,
     From antler to his troch had all allowed,
   By which his age the aged woodmen knew,
     Who more than he were of that beauty proud.

35 Now each relay a several station finds,
     Ere the triumphant train the copse surrounds;
   Relays of horse, long breathed as winter winds,
     And their deep cannon-mouthed experienced hounds.

36 The huntsmen, busily concerned in show,
     As if the world were by this beast undone,
   And they against him hired as Nature's foe,
     In haste uncouple, and their hounds outrun.

37 Now wind they a recheat, the roused deer's knell,
     And through the forest all the beasts are awed;
   Alarmed by Echo, Nature's sentinel,
     Which shows that murderous man is come abroad.

38 Tyrannic man! thy subjects' enemy!
     And more through wantonness than need or hate,
   From whom the winged to their coverts fly,
     And to their dens even those that lay in wait.

39 So this, the most successful of his kind,
     Whose forehead's force oft his opposers pressed,
   Whose swiftness left pursuers' shafts behind,
     Is now of all the forest most distressed!

40 The herd deny him shelter, as if taught
     To know their safety is to yield him lost;
   Which shows they want not the results of thought,
     But speech, by which we ours for reason boast.

41 We blush to see our politics in beasts,
     Who many saved by this one sacrifice;
   And since through blood they follow interests,
     Like us when cruel should be counted wise.

42 His rivals, that his fury used to fear
     For his loved female, now his faintness shun;
   But were his season hot, and she but near,
    (O mighty love!) his hunters were undone.

43 From thence, well blown, he comes to the relay,
     Where man's famed reason proves but cowardice,
   And only serves him meanly to betray;
     Even for the flying, man in ambush lies.

44 But now, as his last remedy to live,
     (For every shift for life kind Nature makes,
   Since life the utmost is which she can give,)
     Cool Adice from the swoln bank he takes.

45 But this fresh bath the dogs will make him leave,
     Whom he sure-nosed as fasting tigers found;
   Their scent no north-east wind could e'er deceive
     Which drives the air, nor flocks that soil the ground.

46 Swift here the fliers and pursuers seem;
     The frighted fish swim from their Adice,
   The dogs pursue the deer, he the fleet stream,
     And that hastes too to the Adriatic sea.

47 Refreshed thus in this fleeting element,
     He up the steadfast shore did boldly rise;
   And soon escaped their view, but not their scent,
     That faithful guide, which even conducts their eyes.

48 This frail relief was like short gales of breath,
     Which oft at sea a long dead calm prepare;
   Or like our curtains drawn at point of death,
     When all our lungs are spent, to give us air.

49 For on the shore the hunters him attend:
     And whilst the chase grew warm as is the day,
  (Which now from the hot zenith does descend,)
     He is embossed, and wearied to a bay.

50 The jewel, life, he must surrender here,
     Which the world's mistress, Nature, does not give,
   But like dropped favours suffers us to wear,
     Such as by which pleased lovers think they live.

51 Yet life he so esteems, that he allows
     It all defence his force and rage can make;
   And to the eager dogs such fury shows,
     As their last blood some unrevenged forsake.

52 But now the monarch murderer comes in,
     Destructive man! whom Nature would not arm,
   As when in madness mischief is foreseen,
     We leave it weaponless for fear of harm.

53 For she defenceless made him, that he might
     Less readily offend; but art arms all,
   From single strife makes us in numbers fight;
     And by such art this royal stag did fall.

54 He weeps till grief does even his murderers pierce;
     Grief which so nobly through his anger strove,
   That it deserved the dignity of verse,
     And had it words, as humanly would move.

55 Thrice from the ground his vanquished head he reared,
     And with last looks his forest walks did view;
   Where sixty summers he had ruled the herd,
     And where sharp dittany now vainly grew:

56 Whose hoary leaves no more his wounds shall heal;
     For with a sigh (a blast of all his breath)
   That viewless thing, called life, did from him steal,
     And with their bugle-horns they wind his death.

57 Then with their annual wanton sacrifice,
     Taught by old custom, whose decrees are vain,
   And we, like humorous antiquaries, that prize
     Age, though deformed, they hasten to the plain.

58 Thence homeward bend as westward as the sun,
     Where Gondibert's allies proud feasts prepare,
   That day to honour which his grandsire won;
     Though feasts the eyes to funerals often are.

59 One from the forest now approached their sight,
     Who them did swiftly on the spur pursue;
   One there still resident as day and night,
     And known as the eldest oak which in it grew:

60 Who, with his utmost breath advancing, cries,
     (And such a vehemence no heart could feign,)
   'Away! happy the man that fastest flies!
     Fly, famous Duke! fly with thy noble train!'

61 The Duke replied: 'Though with thy fears disguised,
     Thou dost my sire's old ranger's image bear,
   And for thy kindness shalt not be despised;
     Though counsels are but weak which come from fear.

62 'Were dangers here, great as thy love can shape,
     And love with fear can danger multiply,
   Yet when by flight thou bidst us meanly 'scape,
     Bid trees take wings, and rooted forests fly.'

63 Then said the ranger: 'You are bravely lost!'
     (And like high anger his complexion rose.)
   'As little know I fear as how to boast;
     But shall attend you through your many foes.

64 'See where in ambush mighty Oswald lay!
     And see, from yonder lawn he moves apace,
   With lances armed to intercept thy way,
     Now thy sure steeds are wearied with the chase.

65 'His purple banners you may there behold,
     Which, proudly spread, the fatal raven bear;
   And full five hundred I by rank have told,
     Who in their gilded helms his colours wear.'

66 The Duke this falling storm does now discern;
     Bids little Hugo fly! but 'tis to view
   The foe, and timely their first count'nance learn,
     Whilst firm he in a square his hunters drew.

67 And Hugo soon, light as his courser's heels,
     Was in their faces troublesome as wind;
   And like to it so wingedly he wheels,
     No one could catch, what all with trouble find.

68 But everywhere the leaders and the led
     He temperately observed with a slow sight;
   Judged by their looks how hopes and fears were fed,
     And by their order their success in fight.

69 Their number, 'mounting to the ranger's guess,
     In three divisions evenly was disposed;
   And that their enemies might judge it less,
     It seemed one gross with all the spaces closed.

70 The van fierce Oswald led, where Paradine
     And manly Dargonet, both of his blood,
   Outshined the noon, and their minds' stock within
     Promised to make that outward glory good.

71 The next, bold, but unlucky Hubert led,
     Brother to Oswald, and no less allied
   To the ambitions which his soul did wed;
     Lowly without, but lined with costly pride.

72 Most to himself his valour fatal was,
     Whose glories oft to others dreadful were;
   So comets, though supposed destruction's cause,
     But waste themselves to make their gazers fear.

73 And though his valour seldom did succeed,
     His speech was such as could in storms persuade;
   Sweet as the hopes on which starved lovers feed,
     Breathed in the whispers of a yielding maid.

74 The bloody Borgio did conduct the rear,
     Whom sullen Vasco heedfully attends;
   To all but to themselves they cruel were,
     And to themselves chiefly by mischief friends.

75 War, the world's art, nature to them became;
     In camps begot, born, and in anger bred;
   The living vexed till death, and then their fame,
     Because even fame some life is to the dead.

76 Cities, wise statesmen's folds for civil sheep,
     They sacked, as painful shearers of the wise;
   For they like careful wolves would lose their sleep,
     When others' prosperous toils might be their prize.

77 Hugo amongst these troops spied many more,
     Who had, as brave destroyers, got renown;
   And many forward wounds in boast they wore,
     Which, if not well revenged, had ne'er been shown.

78 Such the bold leaders of these lancers were,
     Which of the Brescian veterans did consist;
   Whose practised age might charge of armies bear,
     And claim some rank in Fame's eternal list.

79 Back to his Duke the dexterous Hugo flies,
     What he observed he cheerfully declares;
   With noble pride did what he liked despise;
     For wounds he threatened whilst he praised their scars.

80 Lord Arnold cried, 'Vain is the bugle-horn,
     Where trumpets men to manly work invite!
   That distant summons seems to say, in scorn,
     We hunters may be hunted hard ere night.'

81 'Those beasts are hunted hard that hard can fly,'
     Replied aloud the noble Hurgonil;
   'But we, not used to flight, know best to die;
     And those who know to die, know how to kill.

82 'Victors through number never gained applause;
     If they exceed our count in arms and men,
   It is not just to think that odds, because
     One lover equals any other ten.'


FROM 'GONDIBERT'--CANTO IV.

1  The King, who never time nor power misspent
     In subject's bashfulness, whiling great deeds
   Like coward councils, who too late consent,
     Thus to his secret will aloud proceeds:

2  'If to thy fame, brave youth, I could add wings,
     Or make her trumpet louder by my voice,
   I would, as an example drawn for kings,
     Proclaim the cause why thou art now my choice.

       *       *       *       *       *

3  'For she is yours, as your adoption free;
     And in that gift my remnant life I give;
   But 'tis to you, brave youth! who now are she;
     And she that heaven where secondly I live.

4  'And richer than that crown, which shall be thine
     When life's long progress I have gone with fame,
   Take all her love; which scarce forbears to shine,
     And own thee, through her virgin curtain, shame.'

5  Thus spake the king; and Rhodalind appeared
     Through published love, with so much bashfulness,
   As young kings show, when by surprise o'erheard,
     Moaning to favourite ears a deep distress.

6  For love is a distress, and would be hid
     Like monarchs' griefs, by which they bashful grow;
   And in that shame beholders they forbid;
     Since those blush most, who most their blushes show.

7  And Gondibert, with dying eyes, did grieve
     At her vailed love, a wound he cannot heal,
   As great minds mourn, who cannot then relieve
     The virtuous, when through shame they want conceal.

8  And now cold Birtha's rosy looks decay;
     Who in fear's frost had like her beauty died,
   But that attendant hope persuades her stay
     A while, to hear her Duke; who thus replied:

9  'Victorious King! abroad your subjects are,
     Like legates, safe; at home like altars free!
   Even by your fame they conquer, as by war;
     And by your laws safe from each other be.

10 'A king you are o'er subjects so, as wise
     And noble husbands seem o'er loyal wives;
   Who claim not, yet confess their liberties,
     And brag to strangers of their happy lives.

11 'To foes a winter storm; whilst your friends bow,
     Like summer trees, beneath your bounty's load;
   To me, next him whom your great self, with low
     And cheerful duty, serves, a giving God.

12 'Since this is you, and Rhodalind, the light
     By which her sex fled virtue find, is yours,
   Your diamond, which tests of jealous sight,
     The stroke, and fire, and Oisel's juice endures;

13 'Since she so precious is, I shall appear
     All counterfeit, of art's disguises made;
   And never dare approach her lustre near,
     Who scarce can hold my value in the shade.

14 'Forgive me that I am not what I seem;
     But falsely have dissembled an excess
   Of all such virtues as you most esteem;
     But now grow good but as I ills confess.

15 'Far in ambition's fever am I gone!
     Like raging flame aspiring is my love;
   Like flame destructive too, and, like the sun,
     Does round the world tow'rds change of objects move.

16 'Nor is this now through virtuous shame confessed;
     But Rhodalind does force my conjured fear,
   As men whom evil spirits have possessed,
     Tell all when saintly votaries appear.

17 'When she will grace the bridal dignity,
     It will be soon to all young monarchs known;
   Who then by posting through the world will try
     Who first can at her feet present his crown.

18 'Then will Verona seem the inn of kings,
     And Rhodalind shall at her palace gate
   Smile, when great love these royal suitors brings;
     Who for that smile would as for empire wait.

19 'Amongst this ruling race she choice may take
     For warmth of valour, coolness of the mind,
   Eyes that in empire's drowsy calms can wake,
     In storms look out, in darkness dangers find;

20 'A prince who more enlarges power than lands,
     Whose greatness is not what his map contains;
   But thinks that his where he at full commands,
     Not where his coin does pass, but power remains.

21 'Who knows that power can never be too high;
     When by the good possessed, for 'tis in them
   The swelling Nile, from which though people fly,
     They prosper most by rising of the stream.

22 'Thus, princes, you should choose; and you will find,
     Even he, since men are wolves, must civilise,
   As light does tame some beasts of savage kind,
     Himself yet more, by dwelling in your eyes.'

23 Such was the Duke's reply; which did produce
     Thoughts of a diverse shape through several ears:
   His jealous rivals mourn at his excuse;
     But Astragon it cures of all his fears,

24 Birtha his praise of Rhodalind bewails;
     And now her hope a weak physician seems;
   For hope, the common comforter, prevails
     Like common medicines, slowly in extremes.

25 The King (secure in offered empire) takes
     This forced excuse as troubled bashfulness,
   And a disguise which sudden passion makes,
     To hide more joy than prudence should express.

26 And Rhodalind, who never loved before,
     Nor could suspect his love was given away,
   Thought not the treasure of his breast so poor,
     But that it might his debts of honour pay.

27 To hasten the rewards of his desert,
     The King does to Verona him command;
   And, kindness so imposed, not all his art
     Can now instruct his duty to withstand.

28 Yet whilst the King does now his time dispose
     In seeing wonders, in this palace shown,
   He would a parting kindness pay to those
     Who of their wounds are yet not perfect grown.

29 And by this fair pretence, whilst on the King
     Lord Astragon through all the house attends,
   Young Orgo does the Duke to Birtha bring,
     Who thus her sorrows to his bosom sends:

30 'Why should my storm your life's calm voyage vex?
     Destroying wholly virtue's race in one:
   So by the first of my unlucky sex,
     All in a single ruin were undone.

31 'Make heavenly Rhodalind your bride! whilst I,
     Your once loved maid, excuse you, since I know
   That virtuous men forsake so willingly
     Long-cherished life, because to heaven they go.

32 'Let me her servant be: a dignity,
     Which if your pity in my fall procures,
   I still shall value the advancement high,
     Not as the crown is hers, but she is yours.'

33 Ere this high sorrow up to dying grew,
     The Duke the casket opened, and from thence,
   Formed like a heart, a cheerful emerald drew;
     Cheerful, as if the lively stone had sense.

34 The thirtieth caract it had doubled twice;
     Not taken from the Attic silver mine,
   Nor from the brass, though such, of nobler price,
     Did on the necks of Parthian ladies shine:

35 Nor yet of those which make the Ethiop proud;
     Nor taken from those rocks where Bactrians climb:
   But from the Scythian, and without a cloud;
     Not sick at fire, nor languishing with time.

36 Then thus he spake: 'This, Birtha, from my male
     Progenitors, was to the loyal she
   On whose kind heart they did in love prevail,
     The nuptial pledge, and this I give to thee:

37 'Seven centuries have passed, since it from bride
     To bride did first succeed; and though 'tis known
   From ancient lore, that gems much virtue hide,
     And that the emerald is the bridal stone:

38 'Though much renowned because it chastens loves,
     And will, when worn by the neglected wife,
   Show when her absent lord disloyal proves,
     By faintness, and a pale decay of life.

39 'Though emeralds serve as spies to jealous brides,
     Yet each compared to this does counsel keep;
   Like a false stone, the husband's falsehood hides,
     Or seems born blind, or feigns a dying sleep.

40 'With this take Orgo, as a better spy,
     Who may in all your kinder fears be sent
   To watch at court, if I deserve to die
     By making this to fade, and you lament.'

41 Had now an artful pencil Birtha drawn,
     With grief all dark, then straight with joy all light,
   He must have fancied first, in early dawn,
     A sudden break of beauty out of night.

42 Or first he must have marked what paleness fear,
     Like nipping frost, did to her visage bring;
   Then think he sees, in a cold backward year,
     A rosy morn begin a sudden spring.

43 Her joys, too vast to be contained in speech,
     Thus she a little spake: 'Why stoop you down,
   My plighted lord, to lowly Birtha's reach,
     Since Rhodalind would lift you to a crown?

44 'Or why do I, when I this plight embrace,
     Boldly aspire to take what you have given?
   But that your virtue has with angels place,
     And 'tis a virtue to aspire to heaven.

45 'And as towards heaven all travel on their knees,
     So I towards you, though love aspire, will move:
   And were you crowned, what could you better please
     Then awed obedience led by bolder love?

46 'If I forget the depth from whence I rise,
     Far from your bosom banished be my heart;
   Or claim a right by beauty to your eyes;
     Or proudly think my chastity desert.

47 'But thus ascending from your humble maid
     To be your plighted bride, and then your wife,
   Will be a debt that shall be hourly paid,
     Till time my duty cancel with my life.

48 'And fruitfully, if heaven e'er make me bring
     Your image to the world, you then my pride
   No more shall blame than you can tax the spring
     For boasting of those flowers she cannot hide.

49 'Orgo I so receive as I am taught
     By duty to esteem whate'er you love;
   And hope the joy he in this jewel brought
     Will luckier than his former triumphs prove.

50 'For though but twice he has approached my sight,
     He twice made haste to drown me in my tears:
   But now I am above his planet's spite,
     And as for sin beg pardon for my fears.'

51 Thus spake she: and with fixed, continued sight
     The Duke did all her bashful beauties view;
   Then they with kisses sealed their sacred plight,
     Like flowers, still sweeter as they thicker grew.

52 Yet must these pleasures feel, though innocent,
     The sickness of extremes, and cannot last;
   For power, love's shunned impediment, has sent
     To tell the Duke his monarch is in haste:

53 And calls him to that triumph which he fears
     So as a saint forgiven, whose breast does all
   Heaven's joys contain, wisely loved pomp forbears,
     Lest tempted nature should from blessings fall.

54 He often takes his leave, with love's delay,
     And bids her hope he with the King shall find,
   By now appearing forward to obey,
     A means to serve him less in Rhodalind.

55 She weeping to her closet window hies,
     Where she with tears doth Rhodalind survey;
   As dying men, who grieve that they have eyes,
     When they through curtains spy the rising day.



DR HENRY KING.


Of this poetical divine we know nothing, except that he was born in
1591, and died in 1669,--that he was chaplain to James I., and Bishop of
Chichester,--and that he indited some poetry as pious in design as it is
pretty in execution.


SIC VITA.

Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are;
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew;
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to-night.

The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot:
The flight is past--and man forgot.


SONG.

1 Dry those fair, those crystal eyes,
  Which like growing fountains rise
  To drown their banks! Grief's sullen brooks
  Would better flow in furrowed looks:
  Thy lovely face was never meant
  To be the shore of discontent.

2 Then clear those waterish stars again,
  Which else portend a lasting rain;
  Lest the clouds which settle there
  Prolong my winter all the year,
  And thy example others make
  In love with sorrow, for thy sake.


LIFE.

1 What is the existence of man's life
  But open war or slumbered strife?
  Where sickness to his sense presents
  The combat of the elements,
  And never feels a perfect peace
  Till death's cold hand signs his release.

2 It is a storm--where the hot blood
  Outvies in rage the boiling flood:
  And each loud passion of the mind
  Is like a furious gust of wind,
  Which beats the bark with many a wave,
  Till he casts anchor in the grave.

3 It is a flower--which buds, and grows,
  And withers as the leaves disclose;
  Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
  Like fits of waking before sleep,
  Then shrinks into that fatal mould
  Where its first being was enrolled.

4 It is a dream--whose seeming truth
  Is moralised in age and youth;
  Where all the comforts he can share
  As wandering as his fancies are,
  Till in a mist of dark decay
  The dreamer vanish quite away.

5 It is a dial--which points out
  The sunset as it moves about;
  And shadows out in lines of night
  The subtle stages of Time's flight,
  Till all-obscuring earth hath laid
  His body in perpetual shade.

6 It is a weary interlude--
  Which doth short joys, long woes, include:
  The world the stage, the prologue tears;
  The acts vain hopes and varied fears;
  The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
  And leaves no epilogue but Death!



JOHN CHALKHILL.


This author was of the age of Spenser, and is said to have been an
acquaintance and friend of that poet. It was not, however, till 1683
that good old Izaak Walton published 'Thealma and Clearchus,' a pas-
toral romance, which, he stated, had been written long since by John
Chalkhill, Esq. He says of the author, 'that he was in his time a man
generally known, and as well beloved; for he was humble and obliging
in his behaviour--a gentleman, a scholar, very innocent and prudent,
and indeed his whole life was useful, quiet, and virtuous.' Some have
suspected that this production proceeded from the pen of Walton himself.
This, however, is rendered extremely unlikely--first, by the fact that
Walton, when he printed 'Thealma,' was ninety years of age; and,
secondly, by the difference in style and purpose between that poem and
Walton's avowed productions. The mind of Walton was quietly ingenious;
that of the author of 'Thealma' is adventurous and fantastic. Walton
loved 'the green pastures and the still waters' of the Present; the
other, the golden groves and ideal wildernesses of the Golden Age in
the Past.

'Thealma and Clearchus' may be called an 'Arcadia' in rhyme. It
resembles that work of Sir Philip Sidney, not only in subject, but in
execution. Its plot is dark and puzzling, its descriptions are rich to
luxuriance, its narrative is tedious, and its characters are mere
shadows. But although a dream, it is a dream of genius, and brings
beautifully before our imagination that early period in the world's
history, in which poets and painters have taught us to believe, when the
heavens were nearer, the skies clearer, the fat of the earth richer, the
foam of the sea brighter, than in our degenerate days;--when shepherds,
reposing under broad, umbrageous oaks, saw, or thought they saw, in the
groves the shadow of angels, and on the mountain-summits the descending
footsteps of God. Chalkhill resembles, of all our modern poets, perhaps
Shelley most, in the ideality of his conception, the enthusiasm of his
spirit, and the unmitigated gorgeousness of his imagination.


ARCADIA.

              Arcadia, was of old, a state,
Subject to none but their own laws and fate;
Superior there was none, but what old age
And hoary hairs had raised; the wise and sage,
Whose gravity, when they are rich in years,
Begat a civil reverence more than fears
In the well-mannered people; at that day,
All was in common, every man bare sway
O'er his own family; the jars that rose
Were soon appeased by such grave men as those:
This mine and thine, that we so cavil for,
Was then not heard of; he that was most poor
Was rich in his content, and lived as free
As they whose flocks were greatest; nor did he
Envy his great abundance, nor the other
Disdain the low condition of his brother,
But lent him from his store to mend his state,
And with his love he quits him, thanks his fate;
And, taught by his example, seeks out such
As want his help, that they may do as much.
Their laws, e'en from their childhood, rich and poor
Had written in their hearts, by conning o'er
The legacies of good old men, whose memories
Outlive their monuments, the grave advice
They left behind in writing;--this was that
That made Arcadia then so blest a state;
Their wholesome laws had linked them so in one,
They lived in peace and sweet communion.
Peace brought forth plenty, plenty bred content,
And that crowned all their plans with merriment.
They had no foe, secure they lived in tents,
All was their own they had, they paid no rents;
Their sheep found clothing, earth provided food,
And labour dressed them as their wills thought good;
On unbought delicates their hunger fed,
And for their drink the swelling clusters bled;
The valleys rang with their delicious strains,
And pleasure revelled on those happy plains;
Content and labour gave them length of days,
And peace served in delight a thousand ways.


THEALMA, A DESERTED SHEPHERDESS.

Scarce had the ploughman yoked his horned team,
And locked their traces to the crooked beam,
When fair Thealma, with a maiden scorn,
That day before her rise, outblushed the morn;
Scarce had the sun gilded the mountain-tops,
When forth she leads her tender ewes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Down in a valley, 'twixt two rising hills,
From whence the dew in silver drops distils
To enrich the lowly plain, a river ran,
Hight Cygnus, (as some think, from Leda's swan
That there frequented;) gently on it glides,
And makes indentures in her crooked sides,
And with her silent murmurs rocks asleep
Her watery inmates; 'twas not very deep,
But clear as that Narcissus looked in, when
His self-love made him cease to live with men.
Close by the river was a thick-leafed grove,
Where swains of old sang stories of their love,
But unfrequented now since Colin died--
Colin, that king of shepherds, and the pride
Of all Arcadia;--here Thealma used
To feed her milky droves; and as they browsed,
Under the friendly shadow of a beech
She sat her down; grief had tongue-tied her speech,
Her words were sighs and tears--dumb eloquence--
Heard only by the sobs, and not the sense.
With folded arms she sat, as if she meant
To hug those woes which in her breast were pent;
Her looks were nailed to earth, that drank
Her tears with greediness, and seemed to thank
Her for those briny showers, and in lieu
Returns her flowery sweetness for her dew.

       *       *       *       *       *

'O my Clearchus!' said she, and with tears
Embalms his name: 'oh, if the ghosts have ears,
Or souls departed condescend so low,
To sympathise with mortals in their woe,
Vouchsafe to lend a gentle ear to me,
Whose life is worse than death, since not with thee.
What privilege have they that are born great
Move than the meanest swain? The proud waves beat
With more impetuousness upon high lands,
Than on the flat and less-resisting strands:
The lofty cedar, and the knotty oak,
Are subject more unto the thunder-stroke,
Than the low shrubs that no such shocks endure;
Even their contempt doth make them live secure.
Had I been born the child of some poor swain,
Whose thoughts aspire no higher than the plain,
I had been happy then; t'have kept these sheep,
Had been a princely pleasure; quiet sleep
Had drowned my cares, or sweetened them with dreams:
Love and content had been my music's themes;
Or had Clearchus lived the life I lead,
I had been blest!'


  PRIESTESS OF DIANA.

  Within a little silent grove hard by,
  Upon a small ascent, he might espy
  A stately chapel, richly gilt without,
  Beset with shady sycamores about:
  And ever and anon he might well hear
  A sound of music steal in at his ear
  As the wind gave it being; so sweet an air
  Would strike a syren mute.--

    *     *    *    *    *

A hundred virgins there he might espy
Prostrate before a marble deity,
Which, by its portraiture, appeared to be
The image of Diana; on their knee
They tendered their devotions, with sweet airs,
Offering the incense of their praise and prayers.
Their garments all alike; beneath their paps
Buckled together with a silver claps,
And 'cross their snowy silken robes, they wore
An azure scarf, with stars embroidered o'er.
Their hair in curious tresses was knit up,
Crowned with a silver crescent on the top.
A silver bow their left hand held, their right,
For their defence, held a sharp-headed flight
Drawn from their broidered quiver, neatly tied
In silken cords, and fastened to their side.
Under their vestments, something short before,
White buskins, laced with ribanding, they wore.
It was a catching sight for a young eye,
That love had fired before. He might espy
One, whom the rest had sphere-like circled round,
Whose head was with a golden chaplet crowned.
He could not see her face, only his ear
Was blessed with the sweet sounds that came from her.


THEALMA IN FULL DRESS.

----Tricked herself in all her best attire,
As if she meant this day to invite desire
To fall in love with her; her loose hair
Hung on her shoulders, sporting with the air;
Her brow a coronet of rosebuds crowned,
With loving woodbines' sweet embraces bound.
Two globe-like pearls were pendant to her ears,
And on her breast a costly gem she wears,
An adamant, in fashion like a heart,
Whereon Love sat, a-plucking out a dart,
With this same motto graven round about,
On a gold border, 'Sooner in than out.'
This gem Clearchus gave her, when, unknown,
At tilt his valour won her for his own.
Instead of bracelets on her wrists, she wore
A pair of golden shackles, chained before
Unto a silver ring, enamelled blue,
Whereon in golden letters to the view
This motto was presented, 'Bound, yet free,'
And in a true-love's knot, a T and C
Buckled it fast together; her silk gown
Of grassy green, in equal plaits hung down
Unto the earth; and as she went, the flowers,
Which she had broidered on it at spare hours,
Were wrought so to the life, they seemed to grow
In a green field; and as the wind did blow,
Sometimes a lily, then a rose, takes place,
And blushing seems to hide it in the grass:
And here and there good oats 'mong pearls she strew,
That seemed like spinning glow-worms in the dew.
Her sleeves were tinsel, wrought with leaves of green
In equal distance spangeled between,
And shadowed over with a thin lawn cloud,
Through which her workmanship more graceful showed.


DWELLING OF THE WITCH ORANDRA.

Down in a gloomy valley, thick with shade,
Which two aspiring hanging rocks had made,
That shut out day, and barred the glorious sun
From prying into the actions there done;
Set full of box and cypress, poplar, yew,
And hateful elder that in thickets grew,
Among whose boughs the screech-owl and night-crow
Sadly recount their prophecies of woe,
Where leather-winged bats, that hate the light,
Fan the thick air, more sooty than the night.
The ground o'ergrown with weeds and bushy shrubs,
Where milky hedgehogs nurse their prickly cubs:
And here and there a mandrake grows, that strikes
The hearers dead with their loud fatal shrieks;
Under whose spreading leaves the ugly toad,
The adder, and the snake, make their abode.
Here dwelt Orandra; so the witch was hight,
And hither had she toiled him by a sleight:
She knew Anaxus was to go to court,
And, envying virtue, she made it her sport
To hinder him, sending her airy spies
Forth with delusion to entrap his eyes,
As would have fired a hermit's chill desires
Into a flame; his greedy eye admires
The more than human beauty of her face,
And much ado he had to shun the grace;
Conceit had shaped her out so like his love,
That he was once about in vain to prove
Whether 'twas his Clarinda, yea or no,
But he bethought him of his herb, and so
The shadow vanished; many a weary step
It led the prince, that pace with it still kept,
Until it brought him by a hellish power
Unto the entrance of Orandra's bower,
Where underneath an elder-tree he spied
His man Pandevius, pale and hollow-eyed;
Inquiring of the cunning witch what fate
Betid his master; they were newly sate
When his approach disturbed them; up she rose,
And toward Anaxus (envious hag) she goes;
Pandevius she had charmed into a maze,
And struck him mute, all he could do was gaze.
He called him by his name, but all in vain,
Echo returns 'Pandevius' back again;
Which made him wonder, when a sudden fear
Shook all his joints: she, cunning hag, drew near,
And smelling to his herb, he recollects
His wandering spirits, and with anger checks
His coward fears; resolved now to outdare
The worst of dangers, whatsoe'er they were;
He eyed her o'er and o'er, and still his eye
Found some addition to deformity.
An old decrepit hag she was, grown white
With frosty age, and withered with despite
And self-consuming hate; in furs yclad,
And on her head a thrummy cap she had.
Her knotty locks, like to Alecto's snakes,

Hang down about her shoulders, which she shakes
Into disorder; on her furrowed brow
One might perceive Time had been long at plough.
Her eyes, like candle-snuffs, by age sunk quite
Into their sockets, yet like cats' eyes bright:
And in the darkest night like fire they shined,
The ever-open windows of her mind.
Her swarthy cheeks, Time, that all things consumes,
Had hollowed flat into her toothless gums.
Her hairy brows did meet above her nose,
That like an eagle's beak so crooked grows,
It well-nigh kissed her chin; thick bristled hair
Grew on her upper lip, and here and there
A rugged wart with grisly hairs behung;
Her breasts shrunk up, her nails and fingers long;
Her left leant on a staff, in her right hand
She always carried her enchanting wand.
Splay-footed, beyond nature, every part
So patternless deformed, 'twould puzzle art
To make her counterfeit; only her tongue,
Nature had that most exquisitely strung,
Her oily language came so smoothly from her,
And her quaint action did so well become her,
Her winning rhetoric met with no trips,
But chained the dull'st attention to her lips.
With greediness he heard, and though he strove
To shake her off, the more her words did move.
She wooed him to her cell, called him her son,
And with fair promises she quickly won
Him to her beck; or rather he, to try
What she could do, did willingly comply,
With her request. * * *
Her cell was hewn out of the marble rock
By more than human art; she did not knock,
The door stood always open, large and wide,
Grown o'er with woolly moss on either side,
And interwove with ivy's nattering twines,
Through which the carbuncle and diamond shines.
Not set by Art, but there by Nature sown
At the world's birth, so star-like bright they shone.
They served instead of tapers to give light
To the dark entry, where perpetual Night,
Friend to black deeds, and sire of Ignorance,
Shuts out all knowledge, lest her eye by chance
Might bring to light her follies: in they went,
The ground was strewed with flowers, whose sweet scent,
Mixed with the choice perfumes from India brought,
Intoxicates his brain, and quickly caught
His credulous sense; the walls were gilt, and set
With precious stones, and all the roof was fret
With a gold vine, whose straggling branches spread
All o'er the arch; the swelling grapes were red;
This Art had made of rubies, clustered so,
To the quick'st eye they more than seemed to grow;
About the wall lascivious pictures hung,
Such as were of loose Ovid sometimes sung.
On either side a crew of dwarfish elves
Held waxen tapers, taller than themselves:
Yet so well shaped unto their little stature,
So angel-like in face, so sweet in feature;
Their rich attire so differing; yet so well
Becoming her that wore it, none could tell
Which was the fairest, which the handsomest decked,
Or which of them desire would soon'st affect.
After a low salute they all 'gan sing,
And circle in the stranger in a ring.
Orandra to her charms was stepped aside,
Leaving her guest half won and wanton-eyed.
He had forgot his herb: cunning delight
Had so bewitched his ears, and bleared his sight,
And captivated all his senses so,
That he was not himself; nor did he know
What place he was in, or how he came there,
But greedily he feeds his eye and ear
With what would ruin him;--
 *  *  *  *  *
                 Next unto his view
She represents a banquet, ushered in
By such a shape as she was sure would win
His appetite to taste; so like she was
To his Clarinda, both in shape and face;
So voiced, so habited, of the same gait
And comely gesture; on her brow in state
Sat such a princely majesty, as he
Had noted in Clarinda; save that she
Had a more wanton eye, that here and there
Rolled up and down, not settling any where.
Down on the ground she falls his hand to kiss,
And with her tears bedews it; cold as ice
He felt her lips, that yet inflamed him so,
That he was all on fire the truth to know,
Whether she was the same she did appear,
Or whether some fantastic form it were,
Fashioned in his imagination
By his still working thoughts, so fixed upon
His loved Clarinda, that his fancy strove,
Even with her shadow, to express his love.



CATHARINE PHILLIPS.


Very little is known of the life of this lady-poet. She was born in
1631. Her maiden name was Fowler. She married James Phillips, Esq., of
the Priory of Cardigan. Her poems, published under the name of "Orinda,"
were very popular in her lifetime, although it was said they were
published without her consent. She translated two of the tragedies of
Corneille, and left a volume of letters to Sir Charles Cotterell. These,
however, did not appear till after her death. She died of small-pox
--then a deadly disease--in 1664. She seems to have been a favourite
alike with the wits and the divines of her age. Jeremy Taylor addressed
to her his "Measures and Offices of Friendship;" Dryden praised her; and
Flatman and Cowley, besides imitating her poems while she was living,
paid rhymed tributes to her memory when dead. Her verses are never
commonplace, and always sensible, if they hardly attain to the measure
and the stature of lofty poetry,


THE INQUIRY.

1 If we no old historian's name
    Authentic will admit,
  But think all said of friendship's fame
    But poetry or wit;
  Yet what's revered by minds so pure
  Must be a bright idea sure.

2 But as our immortality
    By inward sense we find,
  Judging that if it could not be,
    It would not be designed:
  So here how could such copies fall,
  If there were no original?

3 But if truth be in ancient song,
    Or story we believe;
  If the inspired and greater throng
    Have scorned to deceive;
  There have been hearts whose friendship gave
  Them thoughts at once both soft and grave.

4 Among that consecrated crew
    Some more seraphic shade
  Lend me a favourable clew,
    Now mists my eyes invade.
  Why, having filled the world with fame,
  Left you so little of your flame?

5 Why is't so difficult to see
    Two bodies and one mind?
  And why are those who else agree
    So difficultly kind?
  Hath Nature such fantastic art,
  That she can vary every heart?

6 Why are the bands of friendship tied
    With so remiss a knot,
  That by the most it is defied,
    And by the most forgot?
  Why do we step with so light sense
  From friendship to indifference?

7 If friendship sympathy impart,
    Why this ill-shuffled game,
  That heart can never meet with heart,
    Or flame encounter flame?
  What does this cruelty create?
  Is't the intrigue of love or fate?

8 Had friendship ne'er been known to men,
    (The ghost at last confessed)
  The world had then a stranger been
    To all that heaven possessed.
  But could it all be here acquired,
  Not heaven itself would be desired.


A FRIEND.

1 Love, nature's plot, this great creation's soul,
    The being and the harmony of things,
  Doth still preserve and propagate the whole,
    From whence man's happiness and safety springs:
  The earliest, whitest, blessed'st times did draw
  From her alone their universal law.

2 Friendship's an abstract of this noble flame,
    'Tis love refined and purged from all its dross,
  The next to angels' love, if not the same,
    As strong in passion is, though not so gross:
  It antedates a glad eternity,
  And is an heaven in epitome.

       *       *       *       *       *

3 Essential honour must be in a friend,
    Not such as every breath fans to and fro;
  But born within, is its own judge and end,
    And dares not sin though sure that none should know.
  Where friendship's spoke, honesty's understood;
  For none can be a friend that is not good.

       *       *       *       *       *

4 Thick waters show no images of things;
    Friends are each other's mirrors, and should be
  Clearer than crystal or the mountain springs,
    And free from clouds, design, or flattery.
  For vulgar souls no part of friendship share;
  Poets and friends are born to what they are.



MARGARET, DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE.


This lady, if not more of a woman than Mrs Phillips, was considerably
more of a poet. She was born (probably) about 1625. She was the daughter
of Sir Charles Lucas, and became a maid-of-honour to Henrietta Maria.
Accompanying the Queen to France, she met with the Marquis, afterwards
Duke of Newcastle, and married him at Paris in 1645. They removed to
Antwerp, and there, in 1653, this lady published a volume, entitled
'Poems and Fancies.' The pair aided each other in their studies, and the
result was a number of enormous folios of poems, plays, speeches, and
philosophical disquisitions. These volumes were, we are told, great
favourites of Coleridge and Charles Lamb, for the sake, we presume, of
the wild sparks of insight and genius which break irresistibly through
the scholastic smoke and bewildered nonsense. When Charles II. was
restored, the Marquis and his wife returned to England, and spent their
life in great harmony. She died in 1673, leaving behind her some
beautiful fantasias, where the meaning is often finer than the music,
such as the 'Pastime and Recreation of Fairies in Fairy-land.' Her
poetry, particularly her contrasted pictures of Mirth and Melancholy,
present fine accumulations of imagery drawn direct from nature, and
shewn now in brightest sunshine, and now in softest moonlight, as the
change of her subject and her tone of feeling require.


MELANCHOLY DESCRIBED BY MIRTH.

Her voice is low, and gives a hollow sound;
She hates the light, and is in darkness found;
Or sits with blinking lamps, or tapers small,
Which various shadows make against the wall.
She loves nought else but noise which discord makes,
As croaking frogs, whose dwelling is in lakes;
The raven's hoarse, the mandrake's hollow groan,
And shrieking owls which fly i' the night alone;
The tolling bell, which for the dead rings out;
A mill, where rushing waters run about;
The roaring winds, which shake the cedars tall,
Plough up the seas, and beat the rocks withal.
She loves to walk in the still moonshine night,
And in a thick dark grove she takes delight;
In hollow caves, thatched houses, and low cells,
She loves to live, and there alone she dwells.


MELANCHOLY DESCRIBING HERSELF.

I dwell in groves that gilt are with the sun;
Sit on the banks by which clear waters run;
In summers hot, down in a shade I lie;
My music is the buzzing of a fly;
I walk in meadows, where grows fresh green grass;
In fields, where corn is high, I often pass;
Walk up the hills, where round I prospects see,
Some brushy woods, and some all champaigns be;
Returning back, I in fresh pastures go,
To hear how sheep do bleat, and cows do low;
In winter cold, when nipping frosts come on,
Then I do live in a small house alone;
Although 'tis plain, yet cleanly 'tis within,
Like to a soul that's pure, and clear from sin;
And there I dwell in quiet and still peace,
Not filled with cares how riches to increase;
I wish nor seek for vain and fruitless pleasures;
No riches are, but what the mind intreasures.
Thus am I solitary, live alone,
Yet better loved, the more that I am known;
And though my face ill-favoured at first sight,
After acquaintance, it will give delight.
Refuse me not, for I shall constant be;
Maintain your credit and your dignity.



THOMAS STANLEY.


Thomas Stanley, like Thomas Brown in later days, was both a philosopher
and a poet; but his philosophical reputation at the time eclipsed his
poetical. He was the only son of Sir Thomas Stanley of Camberlow Green,
in Hertfordshire, and was born in 1620. He received his education at
Pembroke College, Oxford; and after travelling for some years abroad,
he took up his abode in the Middle Temple. Here he seems to have spent
the rest of his life in patient and multifarious studies. He made
translations of some merit from Anacreon, Bion, Moschus, and the
'Kisses' of Secundus, as well as from Marino, Boscan, Tristan, and
Gongora. He wrote a work of great pretensions as a compilation, entitled
'The History of Philosophy,' containing the lives, opinions, actions,
and discourses of philosophers of every sect, of which he published the
first volume in 1655, and completed it in a fourth in 1662. It is rather
a vast collection of the materials for a history, than a history itself.
He is a Cudworth in magnitude and learning, but not in strength and
comprehension, and is destitute of precision and clearness of style.
Stanley also wrote some poems, which discover powers that might have
been better employed in original composition than in translation.
His style, rich of itself, is enriched to repletion by conceits, and
sometimes by voluptuous sentiments and language. He adds a new flush to
the cheek of Anacreon himself; and his grapes are so heavy, that not a
staff, but a wain were required to bear them. Stanley died in 1678.


CELIA SINGING.

1   Roses in breathing forth their scent,
    Or stars their borrowed ornament;
    Nymphs in their watery sphere that move,
    Or angels in their orbs above;
    The winged chariot of the light,
    Or the slow, silent wheels of night;
    The shade which from the swifter sun
    Doth in a swifter motion run,
  Or souls that their eternal rest do keep,
  Make far less noise than Celia's breath in sleep.

2  But if the angel which inspires
   This subtle flame with active fires,
   Should mould this breath to words, and those
   Into a harmony dispose,
   The music of this heavenly sphere
   Would steal each soul (in) at the ear,
   And into plants and stones infuse
   A life that cherubim would choose,
 And with new powers invert the laws of fate,
 Kill those that live, and dead things animate.


SPEAKING AND KISSING.

1 The air which thy smooth voice doth break,
    Into my soul like lightning flies;
  My life retires while thou dost speak,
    And thy soft breath its room supplies.

2 Lost in this pleasing ecstasy,
    I join my trembling lips to thine,
  And back receive that life from thee
    Which I so gladly did resign.

3 Forbear, Platonic fools! t'inquire
    What numbers do the soul compose;
  No harmony can life inspire,
    But that which from these accents flows.


LA BELLE CONFIDANTE.

You earthly souls that court a wanton flame
  Whose pale, weak influence
Can rise no higher than the humble name
  And narrow laws of sense,
Learn, by our friendship, to create
      An immaterial fire,
Whose brightness angels may admire,
      But cannot emulate.
Sickness may fright the roses from her cheek,
    Or make the lilies fade,
But all the subtle ways that death doth seek
    Cannot my love invade.


THE LOSS.

1   Yet ere I go,
  Disdainful Beauty, thou shalt be
    So wretched as to know
  What joys thou fling'st away with me.

2   A faith so bright,
  As Time or Fortune could not rust;
    So firm, that lovers might
  Have read thy story in my dust,

3   And crowned thy name
  With laurel verdant as thy youth,
    Whilst the shrill voice of Fame
  Spread wide thy beauty and my truth.

4   This thou hast lost,
  For all true lovers, when they find
    That my just aims were crossed,
  Will speak thee lighter than the wind.

5   And none will lay
  Any oblation on thy shrine,
    But such as would betray
  Thy faith to faiths as false as thine.

6   Yet, if thou choose
  On such thy freedom to bestow,
    Affection may excuse,
  For love from sympathy doth flow.


NOTE ON ANACREON.

Let's not rhyme the hours away;
Friends! we must no longer play:
Brisk Lyaeus--see!--invites
To more ravishing delights.
Let's give o'er this fool Apollo,
Nor his fiddle longer follow:
Fie upon his forked hill,
With his fiddlestick and quill;
And the Muses, though they're gamesome,
They are neither young nor handsome;
And their freaks in sober sadness
Are a mere poetic madness:
Pegasus is but a horse;
He that follows him is worse.
See, the rain soaks to the skin,
Make it rain as well within.
Wine, my boy; we'll sing and laugh,
All night revel, rant, and quaff;
Till the morn, stealing behind us,
At the table sleepless find us.
When our bones, alas! shall have
A cold lodging in the grave;
When swift Death shall overtake us,
We shall sleep and none can wake us.
Drink we then the juice o' the vine
Make our breasts Lyaeus' shrine;
Bacchus, our debauch beholding,
By thy image I am moulding,
Whilst my brains I do replenish
With this draught of unmixed Rhenish;
By thy full-branched ivy twine;
By this sparkling glass of wine;
By thy Thyrsus so renowned:
By the healths with which th' art crowned;
By the feasts which thou dost prize;
By thy numerous victories;
By the howls by Moenads made;
By this haut-gout carbonade;
By thy colours red and white;
By the tavern, thy delight;
By the sound thy orgies spread;
By the shine of noses red;
By thy table free for all;
By the jovial carnival;
By thy language cabalistic;
By thy cymbal, drum, and his stick;
By the tunes thy quart-pots strike up;
By thy sighs, the broken hiccup;
By thy mystic set of ranters;
By thy never-tamed panthers;
By this sweet, this fresh and free air;
By thy goat, as chaste as we are;
By thy fulsome Cretan lass;
By the old man on the ass;
By thy cousins in mixed shapes;
By the flower of fairest grapes;
By thy bisks famed far and wide;
By thy store of neats'-tongues dried;
By thy incense, Indian smoke;
By the joys thou dost provoke;
By this salt Westphalia gammon;
By these sausages that inflame one;
By thy tall majestic flagons;
By mass, tope, and thy flapdragons;
By this olive's unctuous savour;
By this orange, the wine's flavour;
By this cheese o'errun with mites;
By thy dearest favourites;
To thy frolic order call us,
Knights of the deep bowl install us;
And to show thyself divine,
Never let it want for wine.



ANDREW MARVELL.


This noble-minded patriot and poet, the friend of Milton, the Abdiel of a
dark and corrupt age,--'faithful found among the faithless, faithful only
he,'--was born in Hull in 1620. He was sent to Cambridge, and is said
there to have nearly fallen a victim to the proselytising Jesuits, who
enticed him to London. His father, however, a clergyman in Hull, went
in search of and brought him back to his university, where speedily, by
extensive culture and the vigorous exercise of his powerful faculties,
he emancipated himself for ever from the dominion, and the danger of the
dominion, of superstition and bigotry. We know little more about the early
days of our poet. When only twenty, he lost his father in remarkable
circumstances. In 1640, he had embarked on the Humber in company with a
youthful pair whom he was to marry at Barrow, in Lincolnshire. The weather
was calm; but Marvell, seized with a sudden presentiment of danger, threw
his staff ashore, and cried out, 'Ho for heaven!' A storm came on, and the
whole company perished. In consequence of this sad event, the gentleman,
whose daughter was to have been married, conceiving that the father had
sacrificed his life while performing an act of friendship, adopted young
Marvell as his son. Owing to this, he received a better education, and
was sent abroad to travel. It is said that at Rome he met and formed a
friendship with Milton, then engaged on his immortal continental tour.
We find Marvell next at Constantinople, as Secretary to the English
Embassy at that Court. We then lose sight of him till 1653, when he was
engaged by the Protector to superintend the education of a Mr Dutton at
Eton. For a year and a half after Cromwell's death, Marvell assisted
Milton as Latin Secretary to the Protector. Our readers are all familiar
with the print of Cromwell and Milton seated together at the council-table,
--the one the express image of active power and rugged grandeur, the other
of thoughtful majesty and ethereal grace. Marvell might have been added as
a third, and become the emblem of strong English sense and incorruptible
integrity. A letter of Milton's was, not long since, discovered, dated
February 1652, in which he speaks of Marvell as fitted, by his knowledge
of Latin and his experience of teaching, to be his assistant. He was not
appointed, however, till 1657. In 1660, he became member for Hull, and was
re-elected as long as he lived. He was absent, however, from England for
two years, in the beginning of the reign, in Germany and Holland. After-
wards he sought leave from his constituents to act as Ambassador's
Secretary to Lord Carlisle at the Northern Courts; but from the year 1665
to his death, his attention to his parliamentary duties was unremitting.
He constantly corresponded with his constituents; and after the longest
sittings, he used to write out for their use a minute account of public
proceedings ere he went to bed, or took any refreshment. He was one of
the last members who received pay from the town he represented; (2s.
a-day was probably the sum;) and his constituents were wont, besides, to
send him barrels of ale as tokens of their regard. Marvell spoke little
in the House; but his heart and vote were always in the right place. Even
Prince Eupert continually consulted him, and was sometimes persuaded by
him to support the popular side; and King Charles having met him once in
private, was so delighted with his wit and agreeable manners, that he
thought him worth trying to bribe. He sent Lord Danby to offer him a mark
of his Majesty's consideration. Marvell, who was seated in a dingy room
up several flights of stairs, declined the proffer, and, it is said,
called his servant to witness that he had dined for three successive days
on the same shoulder of mutton, and was not likely, therefore, to care
for or need a bribe. When the Treasurer was gone, he had to send to a
friend to borrow a guinea. Although, a silent senator, Marvell was a
copious and popular writer. He attacked Bishop Parker for his slavish
principles, in a piece entitled 'The Rehearsal Transposed,' in which he
takes occasion to vindicate and panegyrise his old colleague Milton. His
anonymous 'Account of the Growth of Arbitrary Power and Popery in England'
excited a sensation, and a reward was offered for the apprehension of the
author and printer. Marvell had many of the elements of a first-rate
political pamphleteer. He had wit of a most pungent kind, great though
coarse fertility of fancy, and a spirit of independence that nothing could
subdue or damp. He was the undoubted ancestor of the Defoes, Swifts,
Steeles, Juniuses, and Burkes, in whom this kind of authorship reached its
perfection, ceased to be fugitive, and assumed classical rank.

Marvell had been repeatedly threatened with assassination, and hence,
when he died suddenly on the 16th of August 1678, it was surmised that
he had been removed by poison. The Corporation of Hull voted a sum to
defray his funeral expenses, and for raising a monument to his memory;
but owing to the interference of the Court, through the rector of the
parish, this votive tablet was not at the time erected. He was buried in
St Giles-in-the-Fields.

'Out of the strong came forth sweetness,' saith the Hebrew record. And
so from the sturdy Andrew Marvell have proceeded such soft and lovely
strains as 'The Emigrants,' 'The Nymph complaining for the Death of her
Fawn,' 'Young Love,' &c. The statue of Memnon became musical at the dawn;
and the stern patriot, whom no bribe could buy and no flattery melt, is
found sympathising in song with a boatful of banished Englishmen in the
remote Bermudas, and inditing 'Thoughts in a Garden,' from which you might
suppose that he had spent his life more with melons than with men, and was
better acquainted with the motions of a bee-hive than with the contests of
Parliament, and the distractions of a most distracted age. It was said
(not with thorough truth) of Milton, that he could cut out a Colossus from
a rock, but could not carve heads upon cherry-stones--a task which his
assistant may be said to have performed in his stead, in his small but
delectable copies of verse.


THE EMIGRANTS.

1 Where the remote Bermudas ride,
  In the ocean's bosom unespied,
  From a small boat that rowed along,
  The listening winds received this song.

2 'What should we do but sing His praise
  That led us through the watery maze,
  Unto an isle so long unknown,
  And yet far kinder than our own!

3 'Where he the huge sea-monsters racks,
  That lift the deep upon their backs;
  He lands us on a grassy stage,
  Safe from the storms and prelates' rage.

4 'He gave us this eternal spring
  Which here enamels everything,
  And sends the fowls to us in care,
  On daily visits through the air.

5 'He hangs in shades the orange bright,
  Like golden lamps in a green night:
      *       *       *       *       *
  And in these rocks for us did frame
  A temple where to sound his name.

6 'Oh, let our voice his praise exalt
  Till it arrive at heaven's vault,
  Which then perhaps rebounding may
  Echo beyond the Mexique bay.'

7 Thus sung they in the English boat,
  A holy and a cheerful note;
  And all the way, to guide their chime,
  With falling oars they kept the time.


THE NYMPH COMPLAINING FOR THE DEATH OF HER FAWN.

The wanton troopers riding by
Have shot my fawn, and it will die.
Ungentle men! they cannot thrive
Who killed thee. Thou ne'er didst alive
Them any harm; alas! nor could
Thy death to them do any good.
I'm sure I never wished them ill;
Nor do I for all this; nor will:
But, if my simple prayers may yet
Prevail with Heaven to forget
Thy murder, I will join my tears,
Rather than fail. But, O my fears!
It cannot die so. Heaven's King
Keeps register of every thing,
And nothing may we use in vain:
Even beasts must be with justice slain.

       *       *       *       *       *

Inconstant Sylvio, when yet
I had not found him counterfeit,
One morning (I remember well)
Tied in this silver chain and bell,
Gave it to me: nay, and I know
What he said then: I'm sure I do.
Said he, 'Look how your huntsman here
Hath taught a fawn to hunt his deer.'
But Sylvio soon had me beguiled.
This waxed tame while he grew wild,
And, quite regardless of my smart,
Left me his fawn, but took his heart.
Thenceforth I set myself to play
My solitary time away
With this, and very well content
Could so my idle life have spent;
For it was full of sport, and light
Of foot and heart; and did invite
Me to its game; it seemed to bless
Itself in me. How could I less
Than love it? Oh, I cannot be
Unkind to a beast that loveth me!
Had it lived long, I do not know
Whether it too might have done so
As Sylvio did; his gifts might be
Perhaps as false, or more, than he.
But I am sure, for aught that I
Could in so short a time espy,
Thy love was far more better than
The love of false and cruel man.
With sweetest milk and sugar first
I it at my own fingers nursed;
And as it grew, so every day
It waxed more white and sweet than they:
It had so sweet a breath; and oft
I blushed to see its foot more soft
And white, shall I say, than my hand?
Nay, any lady's of the land.
It is a wondrous thing how fleet
'Twas on those little silver feet;
With what a pretty skipping grace
It oft would challenge me the race;
And when't had left me far away,
'Twould stay, and run again, and stay;
For it was nimbler much than hinds,
And trod as if on the four winds.
I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown,
And lilies, that you would it guess
To be a little wilderness,
And all the spring-time of the year
It only loved to be there.
Among the beds of lilies I
Have sought it oft where it should lie,
Yet could not, till itself would rise,
Find it, although before mine eyes;
For in the flaxen lilies' shade
It like a bank of lilies laid;
Upon the roses it would feed,
Until its lips e'en seemed to bleed;
And then to me 'twould boldly trip,
And print those roses on my lip.
But all its chief delight was still
On roses thus itself to fill,
And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold.
Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without, roses within. * * *


ON PARADISE LOST.

When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song;
(So Sampson groped the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, still growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wild field how he his way should find,
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite be spanned,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And, by ill imitating, would excel)
Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit.
And all that was improper dost omit;
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty, which through thy work doth reign,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease;
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird named from that Paradise you sing,
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well mightst thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure;
While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells,
And like a pack-horse tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And while I meant to praise thee, must commend.
Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.


THOUGHTS IN A GARDEN.

1 How vainly men themselves amaze,
  To win the palm, the oak, or bays!
  And their incessant labours see
  Crowned from some single herb or tree,
  Whose short and narrow-verged shade
  Does prudently their toils upbraid;
  While all the flowers and trees do close,
  To weave the garlands of repose.

2 Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
  And Innocence, thy sister dear?
  Mistaken long, I sought you then
  In busy companies of men.
  Your sacred plants, if here below,
  Only among the plants will grow.
  Society is all but rude
  To this delicious solitude.

3 No white nor red was ever seen
  So amorous as this lovely green.
  Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
  Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
  Little, alas, they know or heed,
  How far these beauties her exceed!
  Fair trees! where'er your barks I wound,
  No name shall but your own be found.

4 What wondrous life in this I lead!
  Ripe apples drop about my head.
  The luscious clusters of the vine
  Upon my mouth do crush their wine.
  The nectarine, and curious peach,
  Into my hands themselves do reach.
  Stumbling on melons as I pass,
  Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

5 Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
  Withdraws into its happiness.
  The mind, that ocean where each kind
  Does straight its own resemblance find;
  Yet it creates, transcending these,
  Far other worlds and other seas;
  Annihilating all that's made
  To a green thought in a green shade.

6 Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
  Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
  Casting the body's vest aside,
  My soul into the boughs does glide;
  There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
  Then whets and claps its silver wings,
  And, till prepared for longer flight,
  Waves in its plumes the various light.

7 Such was the happy garden state,
  While man there walked without a mate:
  After a place so pure and sweet,
  What other help could yet be meet!
  But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
  To wander solitary there:
  Two paradises are in one,
  To live in paradise alone.

8 How well the skilful gard'ner drew
  Of flowers and herbs this dial new!
  Where, from above, the milder sun
  Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
  And, as it works, the industrious bee
  Computes its time as well as we.
  How could such sweet and wholesome hours
  Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?


SATIRE ON HOLLAND.

Holland, that scarce deserves the name of land,
As but the offscouring of the British sand;
And so much earth as was contributed
By English pilots when they heaved the lead;
Or what by the ocean's slow alluvion fell,
Of shipwrecked cockle and the mussel-shell;
This indigested vomit of the sea
Fell to the Dutch by just propriety.
Glad then, as miners who have found the ore,
They, with mad labour, fished the land to shore:
And dived as desperately for each piece
Of earth, as if't had been of ambergris;
Collecting anxiously small loads of clay,
Less than what building swallows bear away;
Or than those pills which sordid beetles roll,
Transfusing into them their dunghill soul.
How did they rivet, with gigantic piles,
Thorough the centre their new-catched miles;
And to the stake a struggling country bound,
Where barking waves still bait the forced ground;
Building their watery Babel far more high
To reach the sea, than those to scale the sky.
Yet still his claim the injured Ocean laid,
And oft at leap-frog o'er their steeples played;
As if on purpose it on land had come
To show them what's their _mare liberum_.
A daily deluge over them does boil;
The earth and water play at level-coil.
The fish oft-times the burgher dispossessed,
And sat, not as a meat, but as a guest;
And oft the Tritons, and the sea-nymphs, saw
Whole shoals of Dutch served up for Cabillau;
Or, as they over the new level ranged,
For pickled herring, pickled heeren changed.
Nature, it seemed, ashamed of her mistake,
Would throw their land away at duck and drake,
Therefore necessity, that first made kings,
Something like government among them brings.
For, as with Pigmies, who best kills the crane,
Among the hungry he that treasures grain,
Among the blind the one-eyed blinkard reigns,
So rules among the drowned he that drains.
Not who first see the rising sun commands,
But who could first discern the rising lands.
Who best could know to pump an earth so leak,
Him they their lord, and country's father, speak.
To make a bank was a great plot of state;
Invent a shovel, and be a magistrate.
Hence some small dikegrave unperceived invades
The power, and grows, as 'twere, a king of spades;
But, for less envy some joined states endures,
Who look like a commission of the sewers:
For these half-anders, half-wet and half-dry,
Nor bear strict service, nor pure liberty.
'Tis probable religion, after this,
Came next in order; which they could not miss.
How could the Dutch but be converted, when
The apostles were so many fishermen?
Besides, the waters of themselves did rise,
And, as their land, so them did re-baptize;
Though herring for their God few voices missed,
And Poor-John to have been the Evangelist.
Faith, that could never twins conceive before,
Never so fertile, spawned upon this shore
More pregnant than their Marg'ret, that laid down
For Hands-in-Kelder of a whole Hans-Town.
Sure, when religion did itself embark,
And from the east would westward steer its ark,
It struck, and splitting on this unknown ground,
Each one thence pillaged the first piece he found:
Hence Amsterdam, Turk, Christian, Pagan, Jew,
Staple of sects, and mint of schism grew;
That bank of conscience, where not one so strange
Opinion, but finds credit, and exchange.
In vain for Catholics ourselves we bear:
The universal church is only there. * * *



IZAAK WALTON.


This amiable enemy of the finny tribe was born in Stafford, in August
1593. We hear of him first as settled in London, following the trade
of a sempster, or linen-draper, having a shop in the Royal Burse, in
Cornhill, which was 'seven feet and a half long, and five wide,' and
where he became possessed of a moderate fortune. He spent his leisure
time in fishing 'with honest Nat and R. Roe.' From the Royal Burse, he
removed to Fleet Street, where he had 'one half of a shop,' a hosier
occupying the other half. In 1632, he married Anne, the daughter of
Thomas Ken of Furnival's Inn, and sister of Dr Ken, the celebrated
Bishop of Bath and Wells. Through her and her kindred, he became
acquainted with many eminent men of the day. His wife, 'a woman of
remarkable prudence and primitive piety,' died long before him. He
retired from business in 1643, and lived, for forty years after, a life
of leisure and quiet enjoyment, spending much of his time in the houses
of his friends, and much of it by the still waters, which he so dearly
loved. Walton commenced his literary career by writing a Life of Dr
Donne, and followed with another of Sir Henry Wotton, prefixed to his
literary remains. In 1653 appeared his 'Complete Angler,' four editions
of which were called for before his decease. He wrote, in 1662, a Life
of Richard Hooker; in 1670, a Life of George Herbert; and, in 1678, a
Life of Bishop Sanderson--all distinguished by _naïveté_ and heart. In
1680, he published an anonymous discourse on the 'Distempers of the
Times.' In 1683, he printed, as we have seen, Chalkhill's 'Thealma and
Clearchus;' and on the 15th of December in the same year, he died at
Winchester, while residing with his son-in-law, Dr Hawkins, Prebendary
of Winchester Cathedral.

Walton is one of the most loveable of all authors. Your admiration of
him is always melting into affection. Red as his and is with the blood
of fish, you pant to grasp it and press it to yours. You go with him
to the fishing as you would with a bright-eyed boy, relishing his
simple-hearted enthusiasm, and leaning down to listen to his precocious
remarks, and to pat his curly head. It is the prevalence of the
childlike element which makes Walton's 'Angler' rank with Bunyan's
'Pilgrim,' 'Robinson Crusoe,' and White's 'Natural History of Selborne,'
as among the most delightful books in the language. Its descriptions of
nature, too, are so fresh, that you smell to them as to a green leaf.
Walton would not have been at home fishing in the Forth or Clyde, or in
such rivers as are found in Norway, the milk-blue Logen, or the grass-
green Rauma, uniting, with its rich mediation, Romsdale Horn to the
tremendous Witch-Peaks which lower on the opposite side of the valley;
--the waters of his own dear England, going softly and somewhat drowsily
on their path, are the sources of his inspiration, and seem to sound like
the echoes of his own subdued but gladsome spirit. Johnson defined angling
as a rod with a fish at one end, and a fool at the other; in Walton's
case, we may correct the expression to 'a rod with a fish at one end, and
a fine old fellow--the "ae best fellow in the world"--at the other'--

  'In wit a man, simplicity a child.'

We have given a specimen of the verse he intersperses sparingly in a
book which _is itself a complete poem._


THE ANGLER'S WISH.

1 I in these flowery meads would be:
  These crystal streams should solace me,
  To whose harmonious bubbling noise
  I with my angle would rejoice:
  Sit here and see the turtle-dove
  Court his chaste mate to acts of love:

2 Or on that bank feel the west wind
  Breathe health and plenty: please my mind
  To see sweet dew-drops kiss these flowers,
  And then washed off by April showers!
  Here hear my Kenna sing a song,
  There see a blackbird feed her young,

3 Or a leverock build her nest:
  Here give my weary spirits rest,
  And raise my low-pitched thoughts above
  Earth, or what poor mortals love;
  Or, with my Bryan[1] and my book,
  Loiter long days near Shawford brook:

4 There sit by him and eat my meat,
  There see the sun both rise and set,
  There bid good morning to next day,
  There meditate my time away,
  And angle on, and beg to have
  A quiet passage to the grave.

[1] Probably his dog.



JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER


We hear of the Spirit of Evil on one occasion entering into swine, but,
if possible, a stranger sight is that of the Spirit of Poesy finding a
similar incarnation. Certainly the connexion of genius in the Earl of
Rochester with a life of the most degrading and desperate debauchery is
one of the chief marvels of this marvellous world.

John Wilmot was the son of Henry, Lord Rochester, and was born April 10,
1647, at Ditchley in Oxfordshire. He was taught grammar at the school of
Burford. He then 'entered a nobleman' into Wadham College, when twelve
years old, and at 1661, when only fourteen, he was, in conjunction with
some others of rank, made M.A. by Lord Clarendon in person. Pursuing his
travels in France and Italy, he went in 1665 to sea with the Earl of
Sandwich, and distinguished himself at Bergen in an attack on the Dutch
fleet. Next year, while serving under Sir Edward Spragge, his commander
sent him in the heat of an engagement with a reproof to one of his
captains--a duty which Wilmot gallantly accomplished amidst a storm of
shot. With this early courage some of his biographers have contrasted
his subsequent reputation for cowardice, his slinking away out of
street-quarrels, his refusing to fight the Duke of Buckingham, &c. This
diversity at different periods may perhaps be accounted for on the
ground of the nervousness which continued dissipation produces, and
perhaps from his poetical temperament. A poet, we are persuaded, is
often the bravest, and often the most pusillanimous of men. Byron was
unquestionably in general a brave, almost a pugnacious man; and yet he
confesses that at certain times, had one proceeded to horsewhip him,
he would not have had the hardihood to resist. Shelley, who, in a
tremendous storm, behaved with dauntless heroism, and who would at any
time have acted on the example of his own character in 'Prometheus,'
who, in a shipwreck,

                    'gave an enemy
  His plank, then plunged aside to die,'

was yet subject to paroxysms of nervous horror, which made him perspire
and tremble like a spirit-seeing steed. Rochester had the same
temperament, and a similar creed, with these men, although inferior to
them both in _morale_ and in genius.

His character was certainly very depraved. He told Burnet on his
deathbed that for five years he had not known the sensation of sobriety,
having been all that time either totally drunk, or mad through the dregs
of drunkenness. He on one occasion, while in this state, erected a stage
on Tower Hill, and addressed the mob as a naked mountebank. Even after
he became more temperate, he continued and even increased his
licentiousness--one devil went out, and seven entered in. He pursued low
amours in disguise; he practised occasionally as a quack doctor; and at
other times he retired to the country, and, like Byron, amused himself
by libelling all his acquaintances--every line in each libel being a
lie. Notwithstanding all this, he was a favourite with Charles II., who
made him one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber, and comptroller of
Woodstock Park. In his lucid intervals he recurred to his studies, wrote
occasional verses, read in French Boileau and in English Cowley, and is
called by Wood the best scholar among all the nobility.

At last, ere he was thirty-one, the 'dreary old sort of feel,' and the
'rigid fibre and stiffening limbs,' of which Byron and Burns, when
scarcely older, complained, began to assail Rochester. He had exhausted
his capacity of enjoyment by excess, and had deprived himself of the
consolations of religion by infidelity. His unbelief was not like
Shelley's--the growth of his own mind, and the fruit of unbridled,
though earnest, speculation;--it was merely a drug which he snatched
from the laboratories of others to deaden his remorse, and enable him to
look with desperate calmness to the blotted Past and the lowering
Future. At this stage of his career, he became acquainted with Bishop
Burnet, who has recorded his conversion and edifying end in a book
which, says Johnson, 'the critic ought to read for its elegance, the
philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety.' To this,
after Johnson's example, we refer our readers. Eochester died July 26,
1680, before he had completed his thirty-fourth year. He was married,
and left three daughters and a son named Charles, who did not long
survive his father. With him the male line ceased, and the title was
conferred on a younger son of Lord Clarendon. His poems appeared in the
year of his death, professing on the title-page to be printed at
Antwerp. They contain much that is spurious, but some productions that
are undoubtedly Rochester's. They are at the best, poor fragmentary
exhibitions of a vigorous, but undisciplined mind. His songs are rather
easy than lively. His imitations are distinguished by grace and spirit.
His 'Nothing' is a tissue of clever conceits, like gaudy weeds growing
on a sterile soil, but here and there contains a grand and gloomy image,
such as--

  'And rebel Light obscured thy reverend dusky face.'

His 'Satire against Man' might be praised for its vigorous misanthropy,
but is chiefly copied from Boileau.

Rochester may be signalised as the first thoroughly depraved and vicious
person, so far as we remember, who assumed the office of the satirist,
--the first, although not, alas! the last human imitator of 'Satan
accusing Sin.' Some satirists before him had been faulty characters,
while rather inconsistently assailing the faults of others; but here,
for the first time, was a man of no virtue, or belief in virtue whatever,
(his tenderness to his family, revealed in his letters, is just that of
the tiger fondling his cubs, and seeming, perhaps, to _them_ a 'much-
misrepresented character,') and whose life was one mass of wounds,
bruises, and putrefying sores,--a naked satyr who gloried in his shame,
--becoming a severe castigator of public morals and of private character.
Surely there was a gross anomaly implied in this, which far greater
genius than Rochester's could never have redeemed.


SONG.

1 Too late, alas! I must confess,
    You need not arts to move me;
  Such charms by nature you possess,
    'Twere madness not to love ye.

2 Then spare a heart you may surprise,
    And give my tongue the glory
  To boast, though my unfaithful eyes
    Betray a tender story.


SONG.

1 My dear mistress has a heart
    Soft as those kind looks she gave me,
  When with love's resistless art,
    And her eyes, she did enslave me.
  But her constancy's so weak,
    She's so wild and apt to wander,
  That my jealous heart would break
    Should we live one day asunder.

2 Melting joys about her move,
    Killing pleasures, wounding blisses:
  She can dress her eyes in love,
    And her lips can warm with kisses.
  Angels listen when she speaks,
    She's my delight, all mankind's wonder;
  But my jealous heart would break,
    Should we live one day asunder.



THE EARL OF ROSCOMMON.


Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, was the son of James Dillon and
Elizabeth Wentworth. She was the sister of the infamous Strafford, who
was at once uncle and godfather to our poet. In what exact year Dillon
was born is uncertain, but it was some time about 1633. His father had
been converted from Popery by Usher; and when the Irish Rebellion broke
out, Strafford, afraid of the fury of the Irish, sent for his godson,
and took him to his own seat in Yorkshire, where he was taught Latin
with great care. He was sent afterwards to Caen, where he studied under
Bochart. It is said that while playing extravagantly there at the
customary games of boys, he suddenly paused, became grave, and cried
out, 'My father is dead,' and that a fortnight after arrived tidings
from Ireland confirming his impression. Johnson is inclined to believe
this story, and we are more than inclined. Since the lexicographer's
day, many of what used to be called his 'superstitions' have been
established as certain facts, although their explanation is still
shrouded in darkness. Roscommon was then only ten years of age.

From Caen he travelled to Italy, where he obtained a profound knowledge
of medals. At the Restoration he returned to England, where he was made
Captain of the Band of Pensioners, and subsequently Master of the Horse
to the Duchess of York. He became unfortunately addicted to gambling,
and, through this miserable habit, he got embroiled in endless quarrels,
as well as in pecuniary embarassments.

Business compelled him to visit Ireland, where the Duke of Orrnond made
him Captain of the Guards. On his return to England in 1662, he married
the Lady Frances, daughter of the Earl of Burlington. By her he had no
issue. His second wife, whom he married in 1674, was Isabella, daughter
of Matthew Beynton of Barmister, in Yorkshire.

Roscommon now began to meditate and execute literary projects. He
produced an 'Essay on Translated Verse,' (in 1681,) a translation of
Horace's 'Art of Poetry,' and other pieces. He projected, in conjunction
with his friend Dryden, a plan for refining our language and fixing its
standard, as if Time were not the great refiner, fixer, and enricher of
a tongue. While busy with these schemes and occupations, the troubles of
James II.'s reign commenced. Roscommon determined to retire to Rome,
saying, 'It is best to sit near the chimney when the chamber smokes.'
Death, however, prevented him from reaching the beloved and desired
focus of Roman Catholic darkness. He was assailed by gout, and an
ignorant French empiric, whom he consulted, contrived to drive the
disease into the bowels. Roscommon expired, uttering with great fervour
two lines from his own translation of the 'Dies Irae,'--

  'My God, my Father, and my Friend,
  Do not forsake me in my end.'

This was in 1684. He received a pompous interment in Westminster Abbey.

Roscommon does not deserve the name of a great poet. He was a man of
varied accomplishments and exquisite taste rather than of genius. His
'Essay on Translated Verse' is a sound and sensible, not a profound and
brilliant production. In one point he went before his age. He praises
Milton's 'Paradise Lost,' although unfortunately he selects for encomium
the passage in the sixth book describing the angels fighting against
each other with fire-arms--a passage which most critics have considered
a blot upon the poem.


FROM "AN ESSAY ON TRANSLATED VERSE."

Immodest words admit of no defence;
For want of decency is want of sense.
What moderate fop would rake the park or stews,
Who among troops of faultless nymphs may choose?
Variety of such is to be found:
Take then a subject proper to expound;
But moral, great, and worth a poet's voice;
For men of sense despise a trivial choice;
And such applause it must expect to meet,
As would some painter busy in a street,
To copy bulls and bears, and every sign
That calls the staring sots to nasty wine.

Yet 'tis not all to have a subject good:
It must delight us when 'tis understood.
He that brings fulsome objects to my view,
As many old have done, and many new,
With nauseous images my fancy fills,
And all goes down like oxymel of squills.
Instruct the listening world how Maro sings
Of useful subjects and of lofty things.
These will such true, such bright ideas raise,
As merit gratitude, as well as praise:
But foul descriptions are offensive still,
Either for being like, or being ill:
For who, without a qualm, hath ever looked
On holy garbage, though by Homer cooked?
Whose railing heroes, and whose wounded gods
Make some suspect he snores, as well as nods.
But I offend--Virgil begins to frown,
And Horace looks with indignation down:
My blushing Muse with conscious fear retires,
And whom they like implicitly admires.

On sure foundations let your fabric rise,
And with attractive majesty surprise;
Not by affected meretricious arts,
But strict harmonious symmetry of parts;
Which through the whole insensibly must pass,
With vital heat to animate the mass:
A pure, an active, an auspicious flame;
And bright as heaven, from whence the blessing came:
But few, oh! few souls, preordained by fate,
The race of gods, have reached that envied height.
No rebel Titan's sacrilegious crime,
By heaping hills on hills can hither climb:
The grizzly ferryman of hell denied
Aeneas entrance, till he knew his guide.
How justly then will impious mortals fall,
Whose pride would soar to heaven without a call!

Pride, of all others the most dangerous fault,
Proceeds from want of sense, or want of thought.
The men who labour and digest things most,
Will be much apter to despond than boast:
For if your author be profoundly good,
'Twill cost you dear before he's understood.
How many ages since has Virgil writ!
How few are they who understand him yet!
Approach his altars with religious fear:
No vulgar deity inhabits there.
Heaven shakes not more at Jove's imperial nod,
Than poets should before their Mantuan god.
Hail, mighty Maro! may that sacred name
Kindle my breast with thy celestial flame,
Sublime ideas and apt words infuse;
The Muse instruct my voice, and thou inspire the Muse!

What I have instanced only in the best,
Is, in proportion, true of all the rest.
Take pains the genuine meaning to explore!
There sweat, there strain: tug the laborious oar;
Search every comment that your care can find;
Some here, some there, may hit the poet's mind:
Yet be not blindly guided by the throng:
The multitude is always in the wrong.
When things appear unnatural or hard,
Consult your author, with himself compared.
Who knows what blessing Phoebus may bestow,
And future ages to your labour owe?
Such secrets are not easily found out;
But, once discovered, leave no room for doubt.

Truth stamps conviction in your ravished breast;
And peace and joy attend the glorious guest.
Truth still is one; Truth is divinely bright;
No cloudy doubts obscure her native light;
While in your thoughts you find the least debase,
You may confound, but never can translate.
Your style will this through all disguises show;
For none explain more clearly than they know.
He only proves he understands a text,
Whose exposition leaves it unperplexed.
They who too faithfully on names insist,
Rather create than dissipate the mist;
And grow unjust by being over nice,
For superstitious virtue turns to vice.
Let Crassus' ghost and Labienus tell
How twice in Parthian plains their legions fell.
Since Rome hath been so jealous of her fame
That few know Pacorus' or Monaeses' name.

Words in one language elegantly used,
Will hardly in another be excused;
And some that Rome admired in Caesar's time,
May neither suit our genius nor our clime.
The genuine sense, intelligibly told,
Shows a translator both discreet and bold.

Excursions are inexpiably bad;
And 'tis much safer to leave out than add.
Abstruse and mystic thought you must express
With painful care, but seeming easiness;
For truth shines brightest through the plainest dress.
The Aenean Muse, when she appears in state,
Makes all Jove's thunder on her verses wait;
Yet writes sometimes as soft and moving things
As Venus speaks, or Philomela sings.
Your author always will the best advise,
Fall when he falls, and when he rises, rise.
Affected noise is the most wretched thing,
That to contempt can empty scribblers bring.
Vowels and accents, regularly placed,
On even syllables (and still the last)
Though gross innumerable faults abound,
In spite of nonsense, never fail of sound,
But this is meant of even verse alone,
As being most harmonious and most known:
For if you will unequal numbers try,
There accents on odd syllables must lie.
Whatever sister of the learned Nine
Does to your suit a willing ear incline,
Urge your success, deserve a lasting name,
She'll crown a grateful and a constant flame.
But if a wild uncertainty prevail,
And turn your veering heart with every gale,
You lose the fruit of all your former care,
For the sad prospect of a just despair.

A quack, too scandalously mean to name,
Had, by man-midwifery, got wealth and fame;
As if Lucina had forgot her trade,
The labouring wife invokes his surer aid.
Well-seasoned bowls the gossip's spirits raise,
Who, while she guzzles, chats the doctor's praise;
And largely, what she wants in words, supplies,
With maudlin eloquence of trickling eyes.
But what a thoughtless animal is man!
How very active in his own trepan!
For, greedy of physicians' frequent fees,
From female mellow praise he takes degrees;
Struts in a new unlicensed gown, and then
From saving women falls to killing men.
Another such had left the nation thin,
In spite of all the children he brought in.
His pills as thick as hand grenadoes flew;
And where they fell, as certainly they slew:
His name struck everywhere as great a damp,
As Archimedes' through the Roman camp.
With this, the doctor's pride began to cool;
For smarting soundly may convince a fool.
But now repentance came too late for grace;
And meagre famine stared him in the face:
Fain would he to the wives be reconciled,
But found no husband left to own a child.
The friends, that got the brats, were poisoned too:
In this sad case, what could our vermin do?
Worried with debts, and past all hope of bail,
The unpitied wretch lies rotting in a jail:
And there, with basket-alms scarce kept alive,
Shows how mistaken talents ought to thrive.

I pity, from my soul, unhappy men,
Compelled by want to prostitute their pen;
Who must, like lawyers, either starve or plead,
And follow, right or wrong, where guineas lead!
But you, Pompilian, wealthy, pampered heirs,
Who to your country owe your swords and cares,
Let no vain hope your easy mind seduce,
For rich ill poets are without excuse;
'Tis very dangerous tampering with the Muse,
The profit's small, and you have much to lose;
For though true wit adorns your birth or place,
Degenerate lines degrade the attainted race.
No poet any passion can excite,
But what they feel transport them when they write.
Have you been led through the Cumaean cave,
And heard the impatient maid divinely rave?
I hear her now; I see her rolling eyes;
And panting, 'Lo! the God, the God,' she cries:
With words not hers, and more than human sound,
She makes the obedient ghosts peep trembling through the ground.
But, though we must obey when Heaven commands,
And man in vain the sacred call withstands,
Beware what spirit rages in your breast;
For ten inspired, ten thousand are possess'd:
Thus make the proper use of each extreme,
And write with fury, but correct with phlegm.
As when the cheerful hours too freely pass,
And sparkling wine smiles in the tempting glass,
Your pulse advises, and begins to beat
Through every swelling vein a loud retreat:
So when a Muse propitiously invites,
Improve her favours, and indulge her flights;
But when you find that vigorous heat abate,
Leave off, and for another summons wait.
Before the radiant sun, a glimmering lamp,
Adulterate measures to the sterling stamp,
Appear not meaner than mere human lines,
Compared with those whose inspiration shines:
These, nervous, bold; those, languid and remiss;
There cold salutes; but here a lover's kiss.
Thus have I seen a rapid headlong tide,
With foaming waves the passive Saone divide;
Whose lazy waters without motion lay,
While he, with eager force, urged his impetuous way.



CHARLES COTTON.


Hearty, careless 'Charley Cotton' was born in 1630. His father, Sir
George Cotton, was improvident and intemperate in his latter days, and
left the poet an encumbered estate situated at Ashbourne, in Derbyshire,
near the river Dove. This place will recall the words quoted by O'Connell
in Parliament in reference to the present Lord Derby:--

  'Down thy fair banks, romantic Ashbourne, glides
   The Derby dilly, with its six insides.'

Charles studied at Cambridge; and after travelling abroad, married the
daughter of Sir Thomas Owthorp in Nottinghamshire, who does not appear
to have lived long. His extravagance keeping him poor, he was compelled
to eke out his means by translating works from the French and Italian,
including those of a spirit somewhat kindred to his own--Montaigne. At
the age of forty, he obtained a captain's commission in the army, and
went to Ireland. There he met with his second wife, Mary, Countess
Dowager of Ardglass, the widow of Lord Cornwall. She possessed a
jointure of £1500 a-year, secured, however, after marriage, from her
husband's imprudent and reckless management. He returned to his English
estate, where he became passionately fond of fishing,--intimate with
Izaak Walton, whom he invited in a poem, although now eighty-three years
old, to visit him in the country--and where he built a fishing-house,
with the initials of Izaak's name and his own united in ciphers over
the door; the walls, too, being painted with fishing scenes, and the
portraits of Cotton and Walton appearing upon the beaufet. Poor Charles
had a less fortunate career than his friend, dying insolvent at
Westminster in 1687.

Careless gaiety and reckless extravagance, blended with heart, sense,
and sincerity, were the characteristics of Cotton as a man, and were, as
is usually the case, transferred to his poetry. He squandered his pence
and his powers with equal profusion. His travestie of the 'Aeneid' is
pronounced by Christopher North (who must have read it, however,) a
beastly book. Campbell says, with striking justice, of another of
Cotton's productions, 'His imitations of Lucian betray the grossest
misconception of humorous effect, when he attempts to burlesque that
which is ludicrous already.' It is like trying to turn the 'Tale of
a Tub' into ridicule. But Cotton's own vein, as exhibited in his
'Invitation to Walton,' his 'New Year,' and his 'Voyage to Ireland,'
(which anticipates in some measure the style of Anstey in the 'New Bath
Guide,') is very rich and varied, full of ease, picturesque spirit, and
humour, and stamps him a genuine, if not a great poet.


INVITATION TO IZAAK WALTON.

1  Whilst in this cold and blustering clime,
     Where bleak winds howl, and tempests roar,
   We pass away the roughest time
     Has been of many years before;

2  Whilst from the most tempestuous nooks
     The dullest blasts our peace invade,
   And by great rains our smallest brooks
     Are almost navigable made;

3  Whilst all the ills are so improved
     Of this dead quarter of the year,
   That even you, so much beloved,
     We would not now wish with us here:

4  In this estate, I say, it is
     Some comfort to us to suppose,
   That in a better clime than this,
     You, our dear friend, have more repose;

5  And some delight to me the while,
     Though Nature now does weep in rain,
   To think that I have seen her smile,
     And haply may I do again.

6  If the all-ruling Power please
     We live to see another May,
   We'll recompense an age of these
     Foul days in one fine fishing day.

7  We then shall have a day or two,
     Perhaps a week, wherein to try
   What the best master's hand can do
     With the most deadly killing fly.

8  A day with not too bright a beam;
     A warm, but not a scorching sun;
   A southern gale to curl the stream;
     And, master, half our work is done.

9  Then, whilst behind some bush we wait
     The scaly people to betray,
   We'll prove it just, with treacherous bait,
     To make the preying trout our prey;

10 And think ourselves, in such an hour,
     Happier than those, though not so high,
   Who, like leviathans, devour
     Of meaner men the smaller fry.

11 This, my best friend, at my poor home,
     Shall be our pastime and our theme;
   But then--should you not deign to come,
     You make all this a flattering dream.



A VOYAGE TO IRELAND IN BURLESQUE.

CANTO I.

The lives of frail men are compared by the sages
Or unto short journeys, or pilgrimages,
As men to their inns do come sooner or later,
That is, to their ends, to be plain in my matter;
From whence when one dead is, it currently follows,
He has run his race, though his goal be the gallows;
And this 'tis, I fancy, sets folks so a-madding,
And makes men and women so eager of gadding;
Truth is, in my youth I was one of these people
Would have gone a great way to have seen a high steeple,
And though I was bred 'mongst the wonders o' th' Peak,
Would have thrown away money, and ventured my neck
To have seen a great hill, a rock, or a cave,
And thought there was nothing so pleasant and brave:
But at forty years old you may, if you please,
Think me wiser than run such errands as these;
Or had the same humour still run in my toes,
A voyage to Ireland I ne'er should have chose;
But to tell you the truth on 't, indeed it was neither
Improvement nor pleasure for which I went thither;
I know then you'll presently ask me for what?
Why, faith, it was that makes the old woman trot;
And therefore I think I'm not much to be blamed
If I went to the place whereof Nick was ashamed.

O Coryate! thou traveller famed as Ulysses,
In such a stupendous labour as this is,
Come lend me the aids of thy hands and thy feet,
Though the first be pedantic, the other not sweet,
Yet both are so restless in peregrination,
They'll help both my journey, and eke my relation.

'Twas now the most beautiful time of the year,
The days were now long, and the sky was now clear,
And May, that fair lady of splendid renown,
Had dressed herself fine, in her flowered tabby gown,
When about some two hours and an half after noon,
When it grew something late, though I thought it too soon,
With a pitiful voice, and a most heavy heart,
I tuned up my pipes to sing _'loth to depart;_'
The ditty concluded, I called for my horse,
And with a good pack did the jument endorse,
Till he groaned and he f----d under the burden,
For sorrow had made me a cumbersome lurden:
And now farewell, Dove, where I've caught such brave dishes
Of over-grown, golden, and silver-scaled fishes;
Thy trout and thy grayling may now feed securely,
I've left none behind me can take 'em so surely;
Feed on then, and breed on, until the next year,
But if I return I expect my arrear.

By pacing and trotting betimes in the even,
Ere the sun had forsaken one half of the heaven,
We all at fair Congerton took up our inn,
Where the sign of a king kept a King and his queen:
But who do you think came to welcome me there'?
No worse a man, marry, than good master mayor,
With his staff of command, yet the man was not lame,
But he needed it more when he went, than he came;
After three or four hours of friendly potation,
We took leave each of other in courteous fashion,
When each one, to keep his brains fast in his head,
Put on a good nightcap, and straightway to bed.

Next morn, having paid for boiled, roasted, and bacon,
And of sovereign hostess our leaves kindly taken,
(For her king, as 'twas rumoured, by late pouring down,
This morning had got a foul flaw in his crown,)
We mounted again, and full soberly riding,
Three miles we had rid ere we met with a biding;
But there, having over-night plied the tap well,
We now must needs water at a place called Holmes Chapel:
'A hay!' quoth the foremost, 'ho! who keeps the house?'
Which said, out an host comes as brisk as a louse;
His hair combed as sleek as a barber he'd been,
A cravat with black ribbon tied under his chin;
Though by what I saw in him, I straight 'gan to fear
That knot would be one day slipped under his ear.
Quoth he (with low conge), 'What lack you, my lord?'
'The best liquor,' quoth I, 'that the house will afford.'
'You shall straight,' quoth he; and then calls out, 'Mary?
Come quickly, and bring us a quart of Canary.'
'Hold, hold, my spruce host! for i' th' morning so early,
I never drink liquor but what's made of barley.'
Which words were scarce out, but, which made me admire,
My lordship was presently turned into 'squire:

'Ale, 'squire, you mean?' quoth he nimbly again,
'What, must it be purled'--'No, I love it best plain.'
'Why, if you'll drink ale, sir, pray take my advice,
Here's the best ale i' th' land, if you'll go to the price;
Better, I sure am, ne'er blew out a stopple;
But then, in plain truth, it is sixpence a bottle.'
'Why, faith,' quoth I, 'friend, if your liquor be such,
For the best ale in England, it is not too much:
Let's have it, and quickly.'--'o sir! you may stay;
A pot in your pate is a mile in your way:
Come, bring out a bottle here presently, wife,
Of the best Cheshire hum he e'er drank in his life.'
Straight out comes the mistress in waistcoat of silk,
As clear as a milkmaid, as white as her milk,
With visage as oval and sleek as an egg,
As straight as an arrow, as right as my leg:
A curtsey she made, as demure as a sister,
I could not forbear, but alighted and kissed her:
Then ducking another, with most modest mien,
The first word she said was, 'Will 't please you walk in?
I thanked her; but told her, I then could not stay,
For the haste of my business did call me away.
She said, she was sorry it fell out so odd,
But if, when again I should travel that road,
I would stay there a night, she assured me the nation
Should nowhere afford better accommodation:
Meanwhile my spruce landlord has broken the cork,
And called for a bodkin, though he had a fork;
But I showed him a screw, which I told my brisk gull
A trepan was for bottles had broken their skull;
Which, as it was true, he believed without doubt,
But 'twas I that applied it, and pulled the cork out.
Bounce, quoth the bottle, the work being done,
It roared, and it smoked, like a new-fired gun;
But the shot missed us all, or else we'd been routed,
Which yet was a wonder, we were so about it.
Mine host poured and filled, till he could fill no fuller:
'Look here, sir,' quoth he, 'both for nap and for colour,
Sans bragging, I hate it, nor will I e'er do 't;
I defy Leek, and Lambhith, and Sandwich, to boot.'
By my troth, he said true, for I speak it with tears,
Though I have been a toss-pot these twenty good years,
And have drank so much liquor has made me a debtor,
In my days, that I know of, I never drank better:
We found it so good and we drank so profoundly,
That four good round shillings were whipt away roundly;
And then I conceived it was time to be jogging,
For our work had been done, had we stay'd t' other noggin.

From thence we set forth with more metal and spright,
Our horses were empty, our coxcombs were light;
O'er Dellamore forest we, tantivy, posted,
Till our horses were basted as if they were roasted:
In truth, we pursued might have been by our haste,
And I think Sir George Booth did not gallop so fast,
Till about two o'clock after noon, God be blest,
We came, safe and sound, all to Chester i' th' west.

And now in high time 'twas to call for some meat,
Though drinking does well, yet some time we must eat:
And i' faith we had victuals both plenty and good,
Where we all laid about us as if we were wood:
Go thy ways, Mistress Anderton, for a good woman,
Thy guests shall by thee ne'er be turned to a common;
And whoever of thy entertainment complains,
Let him lie with a drab, and be poxed for his pains.

And here I must stop the career of my Muse,
The poor jade is weary, 'las! how should she choose?
And if I should further here spur on my course,
I should, questionless, tire both my wits and my horse:
To-night let us rest, for 'tis good Sunday's even,
To-morrow to church, and ask pardon of Heaven.
Thus far we our time spent, as here I have penned it,
An odd kind of life, and 'tis well if we mend it:
But to-morrow (God willing) we'll have t' other bout,
And better or worse be 't, for murder will out,
Our future adventures we'll lay down before ye,
For my Muse is deep sworn to use truth of the story.


CANTO II

After seven hours' sleep, to commute for pains taken,
A man of himself, one would think, might awaken;
But riding, and drinking hard, were two such spells,
I doubt I'd slept on, but for jangling of bells,
Which, ringing to matins all over the town,
Made me leap out of bed, and put on my gown.
With intent (so God mend me) t' have gone to the choir,
When straight I perceived myself all on a fire;
For the two forenamed things had so heated my blood,
That a little phlebotomy would do me good:
I sent for chirurgeon, who came in a trice,
And swift to shed blood, needed not be called twice,
But tilted stiletto quite thorough the vein,
From whence issued out the ill humours amain;
When having twelve ounces, he bound up my arm,
And I gave him two Georges, which did him no harm:
But after my bleeding, I soon understood
It had cooled my devotion as well as my blood;
For I had no more mind to look on my psalter,
Than (saving your presence) I had to a halter;
But, like a most wicked and obstinate sinner,
Then sat in my chamber till folks came to dinner:
I dined with good stomach, and very good cheer,
With a very fine woman, and good ale and beer;
When myself having stuffed than a bagpipe more full,
I fell to my smoking until I grew dull;
And, therefore, to take a fine nap thought it best,
For when belly full is, bones would be at rest:
I tumbled me down on my bed like a swad,
Where, oh! the delicious dream that I had!
Till the bells, that had been my morning molesters,
Now waked me again, chiming all in to vespers:
With that starting up, for my man I did whistle,
And combed out and powdered my locks that were grizzle;
Had my clothes neatly brushed, and then put on my sword,
Resolved now to go and attend on the word.

Thus tricked, and thus trim, to set forth I begin,
Neat and cleanly without, but scarce cleanly within;
For why, Heaven knows it, I long time had been
A most humble obedient servant to sin;
And now in devotion was even so proud,
I scorned forsooth to join prayer with the crowd;
For though courted by all the bells as I went,
I was deaf, and regarded not the compliment,
But to the cathedral still held on my pace,
As't were, scorning to kneel but in the best place.
I there made myself sure of good music at least,
But was something deceived, for 'twas none of the best:
But however I stay'd at the church's commanding
Till we came to the 'Peace passes all understanding,'
Which no sooner was ended, but whir and away,
Like boys in a school when they've leave got to play;
All save master mayor, who still gravely stays
Till the rest had made room for his worship and's mace:
Then he and his brethren in order appear,
I out of my stall, and fell into his rear;
For why, 'tis much safer appearing, no doubt,
In authority's tail, than the head of a rout.

In this rev'rend order we marched from prayer;
The mace before me borne as well as the mayor;
Who looking behind him, and seeing most plain
A glorious gold belt in the rear of his train,
Made such a low congé, forgetting his place,
I was never so honoured before in my days:
But then off went my scalp-case, and down went my fist,
Till the pavement, too hard, by my knuckles was kissed;
By which, though thick-skulled, he must understand this,
That I was a most humble servant of his;
Which also so wonderful kindly he took,
(As I well perceived both b' his gesture and look,)
That to have me dogg'd home he straightway appointed,
Resolving, it seems, to be better acquainted.
I was scarce in my quarters, and set down on crupper,
But his man was there too, to invite me to supper:
I start up, and after most respective fashion
Gave his worship much thanks for his kind invitation;
But begged his excuse, for my stomach was small,
And I never did eat any supper at all;
But that after supper I would kiss his hands,
And would come to receive his worship's commands.
Sure no one will say, but a patron of slander,
That this was not pretty well for a Moorlander:
And since on such reasons to sup I refused,
I nothing did doubt to be holden excused;
But my quaint repartee had his worship possess'd
With so wonderful good a conceit of the rest,
That with mere impatience he hoped in his breeches
To see the fine fellow that made such fine speeches:
'Go, sirrah!' quoth he, 'get you to him again,
And will and require, in his Majesty's name,
That he come; and tell him, obey he were best, or
I'll teach him to know that he's now in West-Chester.'
The man, upon this, comes me running again,
But yet minced his message, and was not so plain;
Saying to me only, 'Good sir, I am sorry
To tell you my master has sent again for you;
And has such a longing to have you his guest,
That I, with these ears, heard him swear and protest,
He would neither say grace, nor sit down on his bum,
Nor open his napkin, until you do come.'
With that I perceived no excuse would avail,
And, seeing there was no defence for a flail,
I said I was ready master may'r to obey,
And therefore desired him to lead me the way.
We went, and ere Malkin could well lick her ear,
(For it but the next door was, forsooth) we were there;
Where lights being brought me, I mounted the stairs,
The worst I e'er saw in my life at a mayor's:
But everything else must be highly commended.
I there found his worship most nobly attended,
Besides such a supper as well did convince,
A may'r in his province to be a great prince;
As he sat in his chair, he did not much vary,
In state nor in face, from our eighth English Harry;
But whether his face was swelled up with fat,
Or puffed up with glory, I cannot tell that.
Being entered the chamber half length of a pike,
And cutting of faces exceedingly like
One of those little gentlemen brought from the Indies,
And screwing myself into congés and cringes,
By then I was half-way advanced in the room,
His worship most rev'rendly rose from his bum,
And with the more honour to grace and to greet me,
Advanced a whole step and a half for to meet me;
Where leisurely doffing a hat worth a tester,
He bade me most heartily welcome to Chester.
I thanked him in language the best I was able,
And so we forthwith sat us all down to table.

Now here you must note, and 'tis worth observation,
That as his chair at one end o' th' table had station;
So sweet mistress may'ress, in just such another,
Like the fair queen of hearts, sat in state at the other;
By which I perceived, though it seemed a riddle,
The lower end of this must be just in the middle:
But perhaps 'tis a rule there, and one that would mind it
Amongst the town-statutes 'tis likely might find it.
But now into the pottage each deep his spoon claps,
As in truth one might safely for burning one's chaps,
When straight, with the look and the tone of a scold,
Mistress may'ress complained that the pottage was cold;
'And all 'long of your fiddle-faddle,' quoth she.
'Why, what then, Goody Two-Shoes, what if it be?
Hold you, if you can, your tittle-tattle,' quoth he.
I was glad she was snapped thus, and guessed by th' discourse,
The may'r, not the gray mare, was the better horse,
And yet for all that, there is reason to fear,
She submitted but out of respect to his year:
However 'twas well she had now so much grace,
Though not to the man, to submit to his place;
For had she proceeded, I verily thought
My turn would the next be, for I was in fault:
But this brush being past, we fell to our diet,
And every one there filled his belly in quiet.
Supper being ended, and things away taken,
Master mayor's curiosity 'gan to awaken;
Wherefore making me draw something nearer his chair,
He willed and required me there to declare
My country, my birth, my estate, and my parts,
And whether I was not a master of arts;
And eke what the business was had brought me thither,
With what I was going about now, and whither:
Giving me caution, no lie should escape me,
For if I should trip, he should certainly trap me.
I answered, my country was famed Staffordshire;
That in deeds, bills, and bonds, I was ever writ squire;
That of land I had both sorts, some good, and some evil,
But that a great part on't was pawned to the devil;
That as for my parts, they were such as he saw;
That, indeed, I had a small smatt'ring of law,
Which I lately had got more by practice than reading,
By sitting o' th' bench, whilst others were pleading;
But that arms I had ever more studied than arts,
And was now to a captain raised by my deserts;
That the business which led me through Palatine ground
Into Ireland was, whither now I was bound;
Where his worship's great favour I loud will proclaim,
And in all other places wherever I came.
He said, as to that, I might do what I list,
But that I was welcome, and gave me his fist;
When having my fingers made crack with his gripes,
He called to his man for some bottles and pipes.

To trouble you here with a longer narration
Of the several parts of our confabulation,
Perhaps would be tedious; I'll therefore remit ye
Even to the most rev'rend records of the city,
Where, doubtless, the acts of the may'rs are recorded,
And if not more truly, yet much better worded.

In short, then, we piped and we tippled Canary,
Till my watch pointed one in the circle horary;
When thinking it now was high time to depart,
His worship I thanked with a most grateful heart;
And because to great men presents are acceptable,
I presented the may'r, ere I rose from the table,
With a certain fantastical box and a stopper;
And he having kindly accepted my offer,
I took my fair leave, such my visage adorning,
And to bed, for I was to rise early i' th' morning.


CANTO III.

The sun in the morning disclosed his light,
With complexion as ruddy as mine over night;
And o'er th' eastern mountains peeping up's head,
The casement being open, espied me in bed;
With his rays he so tickled my lids that I waked,
And was half ashamed, for I found myself naked;
But up I soon start, and was dressed in a trice,
And called for a draught of ale, sugar, and spice;
Which having turned off, I then call to pay,
And packing my nawls, whipt to horse, and away.
A guide I had got, who demanded great vails,
For conducting me over the mountains of Wales:
Twenty good shillings, which sure very large is;
Yet that would not serve, but I must bear his charges;
And yet for all that, rode astride on a beast,
The worst that e'er went on three legs, I protest:
It certainly was the most ugly of jades,
His hips and his rump made a right ace of spades;
His sides were two ladders, well spur-galled withal;
His neck was a helve, and his head was a mall;
For his colour, my pains and your trouble I'll spare,
For the creature was wholly denuded of hair;
And, except for two things, as bare as my nail,
A tuft of a mane, and a sprig of a tail;
And by these the true colour one can no more know,
Than by mouse-skins above stairs, the merkin below.
Now such as the beast was, even such was the rider,
With a head like a nutmeg, and legs like a spider;
A voice like a cricket, a look like a rat,
The brains of a goose, and the heart of a cat:
Even such was my guide and his beast; let them pass,
The one for a horse, and the other an ass.
But now with our horses, what sound and what rotten,
Down to the shore, you must know, we were gotten;
And there we were told, it concerned us to ride,
Unless we did mean to encounter the tide;
And then my guide lab'ring with heels and with hands,
With two up and one down, hopped over the sands,
Till his horse, finding the labour for three legs too sore,
Foaled out a new leg, and then he had four:
And now by plain dint of hard spurring and whipping,
Dry-shod we came where folks sometimes take shipping;
And where the salt sea, as the devil were in 't,
Came roaring t' have hindered our journey to Flint;
But we, by good luck, before him got thither,
He else would have carried us, no man knows whither.

And now her in Wales is, Saint Taph be her speed,
Gott splutter her taste, some Welsh ale her had need;
For her ride in great haste, and    *     *
For fear of her being catched up by the fishes:
But the lord of Flint castle's no lord worth a louse,
For he keeps ne'er a drop of good drink in his house;
But in a small house near unto 't there was store
Of such ale as, thank God, I ne'er tasted before;
And surely the Welsh are not wise of their fuddle,
For this had the taste and complexion of puddle.
From thence then we marched, full as dry as we came,
My guide before prancing, his steed no more lame,
O'er hills and o'er valleys uncouth and uneven,
Until 'twixt the hours of twelve and eleven,
More hungry and thirsty than tongue can well tell,
We happily came to Saint Winifred's well:
I thought it the pool of Bethesda had been,
By the cripples lay there; but I went to my inn
To speak for some meat, for so stomach did motion,
Before I did further proceed in devotion:
I went into th' kitchen, where victuals I saw,
Both beef, veal, and mutton, but all on 't was raw;
And some on't alive, but soon went to slaughter,
For four chickens were slain by my dame and her daughter;
Of which to Saint Win. ere my vows I had paid,
They said I should find a rare fricasée made:
I thanked them, and straight to the well did repair,
Where some I found cursing, and others at prayer;
Some dressing, some stripping, some out and some in,
Some naked, where botches and boils might be seen;
Of which some were fevers of Venus I'm sure,
And therefore unfit for the virgin to cure:
But the fountain, in truth, is well worth the sight,
The beautiful virgin's own tears not more bright;
Nay, none but she ever shed such a tear,
Her conscience, her name, nor herself, were more clear.
In the bottom there lie certain stones that look white,
But streaked with pure red, as the morning with light,
Which they say is her blood, and so it may be,
But for that, let who shed it look to it for me.
Over the fountain a chapel there stands,
Which I wonder has 'scaped master Oliver's hands;
The floor's not ill paved, and the margin o' th' spring
Is inclosed with a certain octagonal ring;
From each angle of which a pillar does rise,
Of strength and of thickness enough to suffice
To support and uphold from falling to ground
A cupola wherewith the virgin is crowned.
Now 'twixt the two angles that fork to the north,
And where the cold nymph does her basin pour forth,
Under ground is a place where they bathe, as 'tis said,
And 'tis true, for I heard folks' teeth hack in their head;
For you are to know, that the rogues and the * *
Are not let to pollute the spring-head with their sores.
But one thing I chiefly admired in the place,
That a saint and a virgin endued with such grace,
Should yet be so wonderful kind a well-willer
To that whoring and filching trade of a miller,
As within a few paces to furnish the wheels
Of I cannot tell how many water-mills:
I've studied that point much, you cannot guess why,
But the virgin was, doubtless, more righteous than I.
And now for my welcome, four, five, or six lasses,
With as many crystalline liberal glasses,
Did all importune me to drink of the water
Of Saint Winifreda, good Thewith's fair daughter.
A while I was doubtful, and stood in a muse,
Not knowing, amidst all that choice, where to choose.
Till a pair of black eyes, darting full in my sight,
From the rest o' th' fair maidens did carry me quite;
I took the glass from her, and whip, off it went,
I half doubt I fancied a health to the saint:
But he was a great villain committed the slaughter,
For Saint Winifred made most delicate water.
I slipped a hard shilling into her soft hand,
Which had like to have made me the place have profaned;
And giving two more to the poor that were there,
Did, sharp as a hawk, to my quarters repair.

My dinner was ready, and to it I fell,
I never ate better meat, that I can tell;
When having half dined, there comes in my host,
A catholic good, and a rare drunken toast;
This man, by his drinking, inflamed the scot,
And told me strange stories, which I have forgot;
But this I remember, 'twas much on's own life,
And one thing, that he had converted his wife.

But now my guide told me, it time was to go,
For that to our beds we must both ride and row;
Wherefore calling to pay, and having accounted,
I soon was down-stairs, and as suddenly mounted:
On then we travelled, our guide still before,
Sometimes on three legs, and sometimes on four,
Coasting the sea, and over hills crawling,
Sometimes on all four, for fear we should fall in;
For underneath Neptune lay skulking to watch us,
And, had we but slipped once, was ready to catch us.
Thus in places of danger taking more heed,
And in safer travelling mending our speed:
Redland Castle and Abergoney we past,
And o'er against Connoway came at the last:
Just over against a castle there stood,
O' th' right hand the town, and o' th' left hand a wood;
'Twixt the wood and the castle they see at high water
The storm, the place makes it a dangerous matter;
And besides, upon such a steep rock it is founded,
As would break a man's neck, should he'scape being drowned:
Perhaps though in time one may make them to yield,
But 'tis prettiest Cob-castle e'er I beheld.

The sun now was going t' unharness his steeds,
When the ferry-boat brasking her sides 'gainst the weeds,
Came in as good time as good time could be,
To give us a cast o'er an arm of the sea;
And bestowing our horses before and abaft,
O'er god Neptune's wide cod-piece gave us a waft;
Where scurvily landing at foot of the fort,
Within very few paces we entered the port,
Where another King's Head invited me down,
For indeed I have ever been true to the crown.



DR HENRY MORE.


This eminent man was the son of a gentleman of good family and estate
in Grantham, Lincolnshire. He was born in 1614. His father sent him to
study at Eton, and thence, in 1631, he repaired to Cambridge, where he
was destined to spend the most of his life. Philosophy attracted him
early, in preference to science or literature, and he became a follower
of Plato, so decided and enthusiastic as to gain for himself the title
of 'The Platonist' _par excellence_. In 1639, he graduated M.A.; and the
next year, he published the first part of 'Psychozoia; or, The Song of
the Soul,' containing a Christiano-Platonical account of Man and Life.
In preparing the materials of this poem, he had studied all the
principal Platonists and mystical writers, and is said to have read
himself almost to a shadow. And not only was his body emaciated, but
his mind was so overstrung, that he imagined himself to see spiritual
beings, to hear supernatural voices, and to converse, like Socrates,
with a particular genius. He thought, too, that his body 'exhaled the
perfume of violets!' Notwithstanding these little peculiarities, his
genius and his learning, the simplicity of his character, and the
innocence of his life, rendered him a general favourite; he was made
a fellow of his college, and became a tutor to various persons of
distinguished rank. One of these was Sir John Finch, whose sister, Lady
Conway, an enthusiast herself, brought More acquainted with the famous
John Baptist Van Helment, a man after whom, in the beginning of the
seventeenth century, the whole of Europe wondered. He was a follower and
imitator of Paracelsus, like him affected universal knowledge, aspired
to revolutionise the science of medicine, and died with the reputation
of one who, with great powers and acquirements, instead of becoming a
great man, ended as a brilliant pretender, and was rather an 'architect
of ruin' to the systems of others, than the founder of a solid fabric of
his own. More admired, of course, not the quackery, but the adventurous
boldness of Helment's genius, and his devotion to chemistry; which is
certainly the most spiritual of all the sciences, and must, especially
in its transcendental forms, have had a great charm for a Platonic
thinker. Our author was entirely devoted to study, and resisted every
inducement to leave what he called his 'Paradise' at Cambridge. His
friends once tried to decoy him into a bishopric, and got him the length
of Whitehall to kiss the king's hand on the occasion; but when he
understood their purpose, he refused to go a single step further. His
life was a long, learned, happy, and holy dream. He was of the most
benevolent disposition; and once observed to a friend, 'that he was
thought by some to have a soft head, but he thanked God he had a soft
heart.' In the heat of the Rebellion, the Republicans spared More,
although he had refused to take the Covenant. Campbell says of him,
'He corresponded with Descartes, was the friend of Cudworth, and, as a
divine and a moralist, was not only popular in his own time, but has
been mentioned with admiration both by Addison and Blair.' One is rather
amused at the latter clause. That a man of More's massive learning,
noble eloquence, and divine genius should need the testimony of a mere
elegant wordmonger like Blair, seems ludicrous enough; and Addison
himself, except in wit and humour, was not worthy to have untied the
shoelatchets of the old Platonist. We were first introduced to this
writer by good Dr John Brown, late of Broughton Place, Edinburgh, and
shall never forget hearing him, in his library, read some splendid
passages from More's work, in those deep, mellow, antique tones which
flavoured whatever he read, like the crust on old wine. His chief works
are, 'A Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul,' 'The Mystery of
Godliness,' 'The Mystery of Iniquity,' 'Divine Dialogues,' 'An Antidote
against Atheism,' 'Ethical and Metaphysical Manuals,' &c. In writing
such books, and pursuing the recondite studies of which they were the
fruit, More spent his life happily. In 1661, he became a Fellow of
the Royal Society. For twenty years after the Restoration, his works
are said to have sold better than any of their day--a curious and
unaccountable fact, considering the levity and licentiousness of the
period. In September 1687, the fine old spiritualist, aged seventy-
three, went away to that land of 'ideas' to which his heart had been
translated long before.

More's prose writings give us, on the whole, a higher idea of his powers
than his poem. This is not exactly, as a recent critic calls it, 'dull
and tedious,' but it is in some parts prosaic, and in others obscure.
The gleams of fancy in it are genuine, but few and far between. But his
prose works constitute, like those of Cudworth, Charnock, Jeremy Taylor,
and John Scott, a vast old quarry, abounding both in blocks and in gems
--blocks of granite solidity, and gems of starry lustre. The peculiarity
of More is in that poetico-philosophic mist which, like the autumnal
gossamer, hangs in light and beautiful festoons over his thoughts, and
which suggests pleasing memories of Plato and the Alexandrian school.
Like all the followers of the Grecian sage, he dwells in a region of
'ideas,' which are to him the only realities, and are not cold, but
warm; he sees all things in Divine solution; the visible is lost in the
invisible, and nature retires before her God. Surely they are splendid
reveries those of the Platonic school; but it is sad to reflect that
they have not cast the slightest gleam of light on the dark, frightful,
faith-shattering mysteries which perplex all inquirers. The old shadows
of sin, death, damnation, evil, and hell, are found to darken the 'ideas'
of Plato's world quite as deeply as they do the actualities of this weary,
work-day earth, into which men have, for some inscrutable purpose, been
sent to be, on the whole, miserable,--so often to toil without compen-
sation, to suffer without benefit, and to hope without fulfilment.


OPENING OF SECOND PART OF 'PSYCHOZOIA.'

1  Whatever man he be that dares to deem
   True poets' skill to spring of earthly race,
   I must him tell, that he doth mis-esteem
   Their strange estate, and eke himself disgrace
   By his rude ignorance. For there's no place
   For forced labour, or slow industry,
   Of flagging wits, in that high fiery chase;
   So soon as of the Muse they quickened be,
 At once they rise, and lively sing like lark in sky.

2  Like to a meteor, whose material
   Is low unwieldy earth, base unctuous slime,
   Whose inward hidden parts ethereal
   Lie close upwrapt in that dull sluggish fime,
   Lie fast asleep, till at some fatal time
   Great Phoebus' lamp has fired its inward sprite,
   And then even of itself on high doth climb:
   That erst was dark becomes all eye, all sight,
 Bright star, that to the wise of future things gives light.

3  Even so the weaker mind, that languid lies,
   Knit up in rags of dirt, dark, cold, and blind,
   So soon that purer flame of love unties
   Her clogging chains, and doth her sprite unbind,
   She soars aloft; for she herself doth find
   Well plumed; so raised upon her spreaden wing,
   She softly plays, and warbles in the wind,
   And carols out her inward life and spring
 Of overflowing joy, and of pure love doth sing.


EXORDIUM OF THIRD PART.

1  Hence, hence, unhallowed ears, arid hearts more hard
   Than winter clods fast froze with northern wind,
   But most of all, foul tongue! I thee discard,
   That blamest all that thy dark straitened mind
   Cannot conceive: but that no blame thou find;
   Whate'er my pregnant muse brings forth to light,
   She'll not acknowledge to be of her kind,
   Till eagle-like she turn them to the sight
 Of the eternal Word, all decked with glory bright.

2  Strange sights do straggle in my restless thoughts,
   And lively forms with orient colours clad
   Walk in my boundless mind, as men ybrought
   Into some spacious room, who when they've had
   A turn or two, go out, although unbade.
   All these I see and know, but entertain
   None to my friend but who's most sober sad;
   Although, the time my roof doth them contain
 Their presence doth possess me till they out again.

3  And thus possessed, in silver trump I sound
   Their guise, their shape, their gesture, and array;
   But as in silver trumpet nought is found
   When once the piercing sound is passed away,
   (Though while the mighty blast therein did stay,
   Its tearing noise so terribly did shrill,
   That it the heavens did shake, and earth dismay,)
   As empty I of what my flowing quill
 In needless haste elsewhere, or here, may hap to spill.

4  For 'tis of force, and not of a set will,
   Nor dare my wary mind afford assent
   To what is placed above all mortal skill;
   But yet, our various thoughts to represent,
   Each gentle wight will deem of good intent.
   Wherefore, with leave the infinity I'll sing
   Of time, of space; or without leave; I'm brent
   With eager rage, my heart for joy doth spring,
 And all my spirits move with pleasant trembeling.

5  An inward triumph doth my soul upheave
   And spread abroad through endless 'spersed air.
   My nimble mind this clammy clod doth leave,
   And lightly stepping on from star to star
   Swifter than lightning, passeth wide and far,
   Measuring the unbounded heavens and wasteful sky;
   Nor aught she finds her passage to debar,
   For still the azure orb as she draws nigh
 Gives back, new stars appear, the world's walls 'fore her fly.


DESTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF ALL THINGS.

1                               As the seas,
   Boiling with swelling waves, aloft did rise,
   And met with mighty showers and pouring rain
   From heaven's spouts; so the broad flashing skies,
   With brimstone thick and clouds of fiery bane,
 Shall meet with raging Etna's and Vesuvius' flame.

2  The burning bowels of this wasting ball
   Shall gallup up great flakes of rolling fire,
   And belch out pitchy flames, till over all
   Having long raged, Vulcan himself shall tire,
   And (the earth an ash-heap made) shall then expire:
   Here Nature, laid asleep in her own urn,
   With gentle rest right easily will respire,
   Till to her pristine task she do return
 As fresh as Phoenix young under the Arabian morn.

3  Oh, happy they that then the first are born,
   While yet the world is in her vernal pride;
   For old corruption quite away is worn,
   As metal pure so is her mould well tried.
   Sweet dews, cool-breathing airs, and spaces wide
   Of precious spicery, wafted with soft wind:
   Fair comely bodies goodly beautified.

4  For all the while her purged ashes rest,
   These relics dry suck in the heavenly dew,
   And roscid manna rains upon her breast,
   And fills with sacred milk, sweet, fresh, and new,
   Where all take life and doth the world renew;
   And then renewed with pleasure be yfed.
   A green, soft mantle doth her bosom strew
   With fragrant herbs and flowers embellished,
 Where without fault or shame all living creatures bed.


A DISTEMPERED FANCY.

1  Then the wild fancy from her horrid womb
   Will senden forth foul shapes. O dreadful sight!
   Overgrown toads, fierce serpents, thence will come,
   Red-scaled dragons, with deep burning light
   In their hollow eye-pits: with these she must fight:
   Then think herself ill wounded, sorely stung.
   Old fulsome hags, with scabs and scurf bedight,
   Foul tarry spittle tumbling with their tongue
 On their raw leather lips, these near will to her clung,

2  And lovingly salute against her will,
   Closely embrace, and make her mad with woe:
   She'd lever thousand times they did her kill,
   Than force her such vile baseness undergo.
   Anon some giant his huge self will show,
   Gaping with mouth as vast as any cave,
   With stony, staring eyes, and footing slow:
   She surely deems him her live, walking grave,
 From that dern hollow pit knows not herself to save.

3  After a while, tossed on the ocean main,
   A boundless sea she finds of misery;
   The fiery snorts of the leviathan,
   That makes the boiling waves before him fly,
   She hears, she sees his blazing morn-bright eye:
   If here she 'scape, deep gulfs and threatening rocks
   Her frighted self do straightway terrify;
   Steel-coloured clouds with rattling thunder knocks,
 With these she is amazed, and thousand such-like mocks.


SOUL COMPARED TO A LANTERN.

1  Like to a light fast locked in lantern dark,
   Whereby by night our wary steps we guide
   In slabby streets, and dirty channels mark,
   Some weaker rays through the black top do glide,
   And flusher streams perhaps from horny side.
   But when we've passed the peril of the way,
   Arrived at home, and laid that case aside,
   The naked light how clearly doth it ray,
 And spread its joyful beams as bright as summer's day.

2  Even so, the soul, in this contracted state,
   Confined to these strait instruments of sense,
   More dull and narrowly doth operate.
   At this hole hears, the sight must ray from thence,
   Here tastes, there smells; but when she's gone from hence,
   Like naked lamp, she is one shining sphere,
   And round about has perfect cognoscence
   Whate'er in her horizon doth appear:
 She is one orb of sense, all eye, all airy ear.



WILLIAM CHAMBERLAYNE.


Chamberlayne was, during life, a poor man, and, till long after his
death, an unappreciated poet. He was a physician at Shaftesbury,
Dorsetshire; born in 1619, and died in 1689. He appears to have been
present among the Royalists at the battle of Newbury. He complains
bitterly of his narrow circumstances, and yet he lived to a long age.
He published, in 1658, a tragic comedy, entitled 'Love's Victory,' and
in 1659, 'Pharonnida,' a heroic poem.

The latter is the main support of his literary reputation. It was
discovered to be good by Thomas Campbell, who might say,

  'I was the first that ever burst
   Into that silent sea.'

Silent, however, it continues since, and can never be expected to be
thronged by visitors. The story is interesting, and many of the separate
thoughts, expressions, and passages are beautiful, as, for instance--

  'The scholar stews his catholic brains for food;'

and this--

                            'Harsh poverty,
  That moth which frets the sacred robe of wit;'

but the style is often elliptical and involved; the story meanders too
much, and is too long and intricate; and, on the whole, a few mutilated
fragments are all that are likely to remain of an original and highly
elaborate poem.


ARGALIA TAKEN PRISONER BY THE TURKS.

          *    *   The Turks had ought
Made desperate onslaughts on the isle, but brought
Nought back but wounds and infamy; but now,
Wearied with toil, they are resolved to bow
Their stubborn resolutions with the strength
Of not-to-be-resisted want: the length
Of the chronical disease extended had
To some few months, since to oppress the sad
But constant islanders, the army lay,
Circling their confines. Whilst this tedious stay
From battle rusts the soldier's valour in
His tainted cabin, there had often been,
With all variety of fortune, fought
Brave single combats, whose success had brought
Honour's unwithered laurels on the brow
Of either party; but the balance, now
Forced by the hand of a brave Turk, inclined
Wholly to them. Thrice had his valour shined
In victory's refulgent rays, thrice heard
The shouts of conquest; thrice on his lance appeared
The heads of noble Rhodians, which had struck
A general sorrow 'mongst the knights. All look
Who next the lists should enter; each desires
The task were his, but honour now requires
A spirit more than vulgar, or she dies
The next attempt, their valour's sacrifice;
To prop whose ruins, chosen by the free
Consent of all, Argalia comes to be
Their happy champion. Truce proclaimed, until
The combat ends, the expecting people fill
The spacious battlements; the Turks forsake
Their tents, of whom the city ladies take
A dreadful view, till a more noble sight
Diverts their looks; each part behold their knight
With various wishes, whilst in blood and sweat
They toil for victory. The conflict's heat
Raged in their veins, which honour more inflamed
Than burning calentures could do; both blamed
The feeble influence of their stars, that gave
No speedier conquest; each neglects to save
Himself, to seek advantage to offend
His eager foe * * * *
* * * But now so long
The Turks' proud champion had endured the strong
Assaults of the stout Christian, till his strength
Cooled, on the ground, with his blood--he fell at length,
Beneath his conquering sword. The barbarous crew
O' the villains that did at a distance view
Their champion's fall, all bands of truce forgot,
Running to succour him, begin a hot
And desperate combat with those knights that stand
To aid Argalia, by whose conquering hand
Whole squadrons of them fall, but here he spent
His mighty spirit in vain, their cannons rent
His scattered troops.

       *       *       *       *       *

Argalia lies in chains, ordained to die
A sacrifice unto the cruelty
Of the fierce bashaw, whose loved favourite in
The combat late he slew; yet had not been
In that so much unhappy, had not he
That honoured then his sword with victory,
Half-brother to Janusa been, a bright
But cruel lady, whose refined delight
Her slave (though husband), Ammurat, durst not
Ruffle with discontent; wherefore, to cool that hot
Contention of her blood, which he foresaw
That heavy news would from her anger draw,
To quench with the brave Christian's death, he sent
Him living to her, that her anger, spent
In flaming torments, might not settle in
The dregs of discontent. Staying to win
Some Rhodian castles, all the prisoners were
Sent with a guard into Sardinia, there
To meet their wretched thraldom. From the rest
Argalia severed, soon hopes to be bless'd
With speedy death, though waited on by all
The hell-instructed torments that could fall
Within invention's reach; but he's not yet
Arrived to his period, his unmoved stars sit
Thus in their orbs secured. It was the use
Of the Turkish pride, which triumphs in the abuse
Of suffering Christians, once, before they take
The ornaments of nature off, to make
Their prisoners public to the view, that all
Might mock their miseries: this sight did call
Janusa to her palace-window, where,
Whilst she beholds them, love resolved to bear
Her ruin on her treacherous eye-beams, till
Her heart infected grew; their orbs did fill,
As the most pleasing object, with the sight
Of him whose sword opened a way for the flight
Of her loved brother's soul.



HENRY VAUGHAN.


Vaughan was torn in Wales, on the banks of the Uske, in Brecknockshire,
in 1614. His father was a gentleman, but, we presume, poor, as his son
was bred to a profession. Young Vaughan became first a lawyer, and then
a physician; and we suppose, had it not been for his advanced life, he
would have become latterly a clergyman, since he grew, when old,
exceedingly devout. In life, he was not fortunate, and we find him, like
Chamberlayne, complaining bitterly of the poverty of the poetical tribe.
In 1651, he published a volume of verse, in which nascent excellence
struggles with dim obscurities, like a young moon with heavy clouds. But
his 'Silex Scintillans,' or 'Sacred Poems,' produced in later life,
attests at once the depth of his devotion, and the truth and originality
of his genius. He died in 1695.

Campbell, always prone to be rather severe on pious poets, and whose
taste, too, was finical at times, says of Vaughan--'He is one of the
harshest even of the inferior order of the school of conceit; but he has
some few scattered thoughts that meet the eye amidst his harsh pages,
like wild flowers on a barren heath.' Surely this is rather 'harsh'
judgment. At the same time, it is not a little laughable to find that
Campbell has himself appropriated one of these 'wild flowers.' In his
beautiful 'Rainbow,' he cries--

  'How came the world's gray fathers forth
   To mark thy sacred sign!'

Vaughan had said--

  'How bright wert thou, when Shem's admiring eye,
  Thy burnished, flaming arch did first descry;
  When Terah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
  The youthful world's gray fathers in one knot,
  Did with intentive looks watch every hour
  For thy new light, and trembled at each shower!'

Indeed, all Campbell's 'Rainbow' is just a reflection of Vaughan's, and
reminds you of those faint, pale shadows of the heavenly bow you
sometimes see in the darkened and disarranged skies of spring. To steal
from, and then strike down the victim, is more suitable to robbers than
to poets.

Perhaps the best criticism on Vaughan may be found in the title of his
own poems, 'Silex Scintillans.' He had a good deal of the dulness and
hardness of the flint about his mind, but the influence of poverty and
suffering,--for true it is that

  'Wretched men
  Are cradled into poetry by wrong;
  They learn in suffering what they teach in song,'--

and latterly the power of a genuine, though somewhat narrow piety,
struck out glorious scintillations from the bare but rich rock. He ranks
with Crashaw, Quarles, and Herbert, as one of the best of our early
religious poets; like them in their faults, and superior to all of them
in refinement and beauty, if not in strength of genius.


ON A CHARNEL-HOUSE.

Where are you, shoreless thoughts, vast-tentered[1] hope,
Ambitious dreams, aims of an endless scope,
Whose stretched excess runs on a string too high,
And on the rack of self-extension die?
Chameleons of state, air-mongering[2] band,
Whose breath, like gunpowder, blows up a land,
Come, see your dissolution, and weigh
What a loathed nothing you shall be one day.
As the elements by circulation pass
From one to the other, and that which first was
Is so again, so 'tis with you. The grave
And nature but complete: what the one gave,
The other takes. Think, then, that in this bed
There sleep the relics of as proud a head,
As stern and subtle as your own; that hath
Performed or forced as much; whose tempest-wrath
Hath levelled kings with slaves; and wisely, then,
Calm these high furies, and descend to men.
Thus Cyrus tamed the Macedon; a tomb
Checked him who thought the world too strait a room.
Have I obeyed the powers of a face,
A beauty, able to undo the race
Of easy man? I look but here, and straight
I am informed; the lovely counterfeit
Was but a smoother clay. That famished slave,
Beggared by wealth, who starves that he may save,
Brings hither but his sheet. Nay, the ostrich-man,
That feeds on steel and bullet, he that can
Outswear his lordship, and reply as tough
To a kind word, as if his tongue were buff,
Is chapfallen here: worms, without wit or fear,
Defy him now; death has disarmed the bear.
Thus could I run o'er all the piteous score
Of erring men, and having done, meet more.
Their shuffled wills, abortive, vain intents,
Fantastic humours, perilous ascents,
False, empty honours, traitorous delights,
And whatsoe'er a blind conceit invites,--
But these, and more, which the weak vermins swell,
Are couched in this accumulative cell,
Which I could scatter; but the grudging sun
Calls home his beams, and warns me to be gone:
Day leaves me in a double night, and I
Must bid farewell to my sad library,
Yet with these notes. Henceforth with thought of thee
I'll season all succeeding jollity,
Yet damn not mirth, nor think too much is fit:
Excess hath no religion, nor wit;
But should wild blood swell to a lawless strain,
One check from thee shall channel it again.

[1] Vast-tentered: extended.
[2] Air-mongering: dealing in air or unsubstantial visions.


ON GOMBAULD'S ENDYMION.

I've read thy soul's fair night-piece, and have seen
The amours and courtship of the silent queen;
Her stolen descents to earth, and what did move her
To juggle first with heaven, then with a lover;
With Latmos' louder rescue, and, alas!
To find her out, a hue and cry in brass;
Thy journal of deep mysteries, and sad
Nocturnal pilgrimage; with thy dreams, clad
In fancies darker than thy cave; thy glass
Of sleepy draughts; and as thy soul did pass
In her calm voyage, what discourse she heard
Of spirits; what dark groves and ill-shaped guard
Ismena led thee through; with thy proud flight
O'er Periardes, and deep-musing night
Near fair Eurotas' banks; what solemn green
The neighbour shades wear; and what forms are seen
In their large bowers; with that sad path and seat
Which none but light-heeled nymphs and fairies beat,
Their solitary life, and how exempt
From common frailty, the severe contempt
They have of man, their privilege to live
A tree or fountain, and in that reprieve
What ages they consume: with the sad vale
Of Diophania; and the mournful tale
Of the bleeding, vocal myrtle:--these and more,
Thy richer thoughts, we are upon the score
To thy rare fancy for. Nor dost thou fall
From thy first majesty, or ought at all
Betray consumption. Thy full vigorous bays
Wear the same green, and scorn the lean decays
Of style or matter; just as I have known
Some crystal spring, that from the neighbour down
Derived her birth, in gentle murmurs steal
To the next vale, and proudly there reveal
Her streams in louder accents, adding still
More noise and waters to her channel, till
At last, swollen with increase, she glides along
The lawns and meadows, in a wanton throng
Of frothy billows, and in one great name
Swallows the tributary brooks' drowned fame.
Nor are they mere inventions, for we
In the same piece find scattered philosophy,
And hidden, dispersed truths, that folded lie
In the dark shades of deep allegory,
So neatly weaved, like arras, they descry
Fables with truth, fancy with history.
So that thou hast, in this thy curious mould,
Cast that commended mixture wished of old,
Which shall these contemplations render far
Less mutable, and lasting as their star;
And while there is a people, or a sun,
Endymion's story with the moon shall run.


APOSTROPHE TO FLETCHER THE DRAMATIST.

I did believe, great Beaumont being dead,
Thy widowed muse slept on his flowery bed.
But I am richly cozened, and can see
Wit transmigrates--his spirit stayed with thee;
Which, doubly advantaged by thy single pen,
In life and death now treads the stage again.
And thus are we freed from that dearth of wit
Which starved the land, since into schisms split,
Wherein th' hast done so much, we must needs guess
Wit's last edition is now i' the press.
For thou hast drained invention, and he
That writes hereafter, doth but pillage thee.
But thou hast plots; and will not the Kirk strain
At the designs of such a tragic brain?
Will they themselves think safe, when they shall see
Thy most abominable policy?
Will not the Ears assemble, and think't fit
Their synod fast and pray against thy wit?
But they'll not tire in such an idle quest--
Thou dost but kill and circumvent in jest;
And when thy angered muse swells to a blow,
Tis but for Field's or Swansteed's overthrow.
Yet shall these conquests of thy bays outlive
Their Scottish zeal, and compacts made to grieve
The peace of spirits; and when such deeds fail
Of their foul ends, a fair name is thy bail.
But, happy! thou ne'er saw'st these storms our air
Teemed with, even in thy time, though seeming fair.
Thy gentle soul, meant for the shade and ease
Withdrew betimes into the land of peace.
So, nested in some hospitable shore,
The hermit-angler, when the mid seas roar,
Packs up his lines, and ere the tempest raves,
Retires, and leaves his station to the waves.
Thus thou diedst almost with our peace; and we,
This breathing time, thy last fair issue see,
Which I think such, if needless ink not soil
So choice a muse, others are but thy foil;
This or that age may write, but never see
A wit that dares run parallel with thee.
True Ben must live; but bate him, and thou hast
Undone all future wits, and matched the past.


PICTURE OF THE TOWN.

Abominable face of things!--here's noise
Of banged mortars, blue aprons, and boys,
Pigs, dogs, and drums; with the hoarse, hellish notes
Of politicly-deaf usurers' throats;
With new fine worships, and the old cast team
Of justices, vexed with the cough and phlegm.
'Midst these, the cross looks sad; and in the shire-
Hall furs of an old Saxon fox appear,
With brotherly rufts and beards, and a strange sight
Of high, monumental hats, ta'en at the fight
Of Eighty-eight; while every burgess foots
The mortal pavement in eternal boots.
Hadst thou been bachelor, I had soon divined
Thy close retirements, and monastic mind;
Perhaps some nymph had been to visit; or
The beauteous churl was to be waited for,
And, like the Greek, ere you the sport would miss,
You stayed and stroked the distaff for a kiss.

       *       *       *       *       *

Why, two months hence, if thou continue thus,
Thy memory will scarce remain with us.
The drawers have forgot thee, and exclaim
They have not seen thee here since Charles' reign;
Or, if they mention thee, like some old man
That at each word inserts--Sir, as I can
Remember--so the cipherers puzzle me
With a dark, cloudy character of thee;
That, certes, I fear thou wilt be lost, and we
Must ask the fathers ere't be long for thee.
Come! leave this sullen state, and let not wine
And precious wit lie dead for want of thine.
Shall the dull market landlord, with his rout
Of sneaking tenants, dirtily swill out
This harmless liquor shall they knock and beat
For sack, only to talk of rye and wheat?
Oh, let not such preposterous tippling be;
In our metropolis, may I ne'er see
Such tavern sacrilege, nor lend a line
To weep the rapes and tragedy of wine!
Here lives that chemic quick-fire, which betrays
Fresh spirits to the blood, and warms our lays;
I have reserved, 'gainst thy approach, a cup,
That, were thy muse stark dead, should raise her up,
And teach her yet more charming words and skill,
Than ever Coelia, Chloris, Astrophil,
Or any of the threadbare names inspired
Poor rhyming lovers, with a mistress fired.
Come, then, and while the snow-icicle hangs
At the stiff thatch, and winter's frosty fangs
Benumb the year, blithe as of old, let us,
'Midst noise and war, of peace and mirth discuss.
This portion thou wert born for: why should we
Vex at the times' ridiculous misery?
An age that thus hath fooled itself, and will,
Spite of thy teeth and mine, persist so still.
Let's sit, then, at this fire, and while we steal
A revel in the town, let others seal,
Purchase, or cheat, and who can, let them pay,
Till those black deeds bring on a darksome day.
Innocent spenders we! A better use
Shall wear out our short lease, and leave th' obtuse
Rout to their husks: they and their bags, at best,
Have cares in earnest--we care for a jest.


THE GOLDEN AGE.

Happy that first white age! when we
Lived by the earth's mere charity;
No soft luxurious diet then
Had effeminated men--
No other meat nor wine had any
Than the coarse mast, or simple honey;
And, by the parents' care laid up,
Cheap berries did the children sup.
No pompous wear was in those days,
Of gummy silks, or scarlet baize.
Their beds were on some flowery brink,
And clear spring water was their drink.
The shady pine, in the sun's heat,
Was their cool and known retreat;
For then 'twas not cut down, but stood
The youth and glory of the wood.
The daring sailor with his slaves
Then had not cut the swelling waves,
Nor, for desire of foreign store,
Seen any but his native shore.
No stirring drum had scared that age,
Nor the shrill trumpet's active rage;
No wounds, by bitter hatred made,
With warm blood soiled the shining blade;
For how could hostile madness arm
An age of love to public harm,
When common justice none withstood,
Nor sought rewards for spilling blood?
Oh that at length our age would raise
Into the temper of those days!
But--worse than Aetna's fires!--debate
And avarice inflame our state.
Alas! who was it that first found
Gold hid of purpose under ground--
That sought out pearls, and dived to find
Such precious perils for mankind?


REGENERATION.

1  A ward, and still in bonds, one day
                 I stole abroad;
   It was high spring, and all the way
          Primrosed, and hung with shade;
          Yet was it frost within,
                 And surly wind
   Blasted my infant buds, and sin,
          Like clouds, eclipsed my mind.

2  Stormed thus, I straight perceived my spring
                 Mere stage and show,
   My walk a monstrous, mountained thing,
          Rough-cast with rocks and snow;
          And as a pilgrim's eye,
                 Far from relief,
   Measures the melancholy sky,
          Then drops, and rains for grief,

3  So sighed I upwards still; at last,
                 'Twixt steps and falls,
   I reached the pinnacle, where placed
          I found a pair of scales;
          I took them up, and laid
                 In the one late pains,
   The other smoke and pleasures weighed,
          But proved the heavier grains.

4  With that some cried, Away; straight I
                 Obeyed, and led
   Full east, a fair, fresh field could spy--
          Some called it Jacob's Bed--
          A virgin soil, which no
                 Rude feet e'er trod,
   Where, since he stept there, only go
          Prophets and friends of God.

5  Here I reposed, but scarce well set,
                 A grove descried
   Of stately height, whose branches met
          And mixed on every side;
          I entered, and, once in,
                 (Amazed to see 't;)
   Found all was changed, and a new spring
          Did all my senses greet.

6  The unthrift sun shot vital gold
                 A thousand pieces,
   And heaven its azure did unfold,
          Chequered with snowy fleeces.
          The air was all in spice,
                 And every bush
   A garland wore; thus fed my eyes,
          But all the ear lay hush.

7  Only a little fountain lent
                 Some use for ears,
   And on the dumb shades language spent,
          The music of her tears;
          I drew her near, and found
                 The cistern full
   Of divers stones, some bright and round,
          Others ill-shaped and dull.

8  The first, (pray mark,) as quick as light
                 Danced through the flood;
   But the last, more heavy than the night,
          Nailed to the centre stood;
          I wondered much, but tired
                 At last with thought,
     My restless eye, that still desired,
          As strange an object brought.

9  It was a bank of flowers, where I descried
                 (Though 'twas mid-day)
   Some fast asleep, others broad-eyed
          And taking in the ray;
          Here musing long I heard
                 A rushing wind,
   Which still increased, but whence it stirred,
          Nowhere I could not find.

10 I turned me round, and to each shade
                 Despatched an eye,
   To see if any leaf had made
          Least motion or reply;
          But while I, listening, sought
                 My mind to ease
   By knowing where 'twas, or where not,
          It whispered, 'Where I please.'

  'Lord,' then said I, 'on me one breath,
  And let me die before my death!'

'Arise, O north, and come, thou south wind; and blow upon my garden,
that the spices thereof may flow out.'--CANT. iv. 16.


RESURRECTION AND IMMORTALITY.

'By that new and living way, which he hath prepared for us, through the
veil, which is his flesh.'--HEB. x. 20.

BODY.

1 Oft have I seen, when that renewing breath
                That binds and loosens death
  Inspired a quickening power through the dead
                Creatures abed,
            Some drowrsy silk-worm creep
                From that long sleep,
  And in weak, infant hummings chime and knell
            About her silent cell,
  Until at last, full with the vital ray,
                She winged away,
            And, proud with life and sense,
                Heaven's rich expense,
  Esteemed (vain things!) of two whole elements
            As mean, and span-extents.
  Shall I then think such providence will be
                Less friend to me,
    Or that he can endure to be unjust
    Who keeps his covenant even with our dust?

SOUL

2 Poor querulous handful! was't for this
                I taught thee all that is?
  Unbowelled nature, showed thee her recruits,
                And change of suits,
            And how of death we make
                A mere mistake;
  For no thing can-to nothing fall, but still
            Incorporates by skill,
  And then returns, and from the womb of things
                Such treasure brings,
            As pheenix-like renew'th
                Both life and youth;
  For a preserving spirit doth still pass
            Untainted through this mass,
  Which doth resolve, produce, and ripen all
                That to it fall;
            Nor are those births, which we
                Thus suffering see,
  Destroyed at all; but when time's restless wave
            Their substance doth deprave,
  And the more noble essence finds his house
                Sickly and loose,
            He, ever young, doth wing
                Unto that spring
  And source of spirits, where he takes his lot,
            Till time no more shall rot
  His passive cottage; which, (though laid aside,)
                Like some spruce bride,
  Shall one day rise, and, clothed with shining light,
                All pure and bright,
    Remarry to the soul, for'tis most plain
    Thou only fall'st to be refined again.

3 Then I that here saw darkly in a glass
                But mists and shadows pass,
  And, by their own weak shine, did search the springs
                And course of things,
           Shall with enlightened rays
                Pierce all their ways;
  And as thou saw'st, I in a thought could go
           To heaven or earth below,
  To read some star, or mineral, and in state
                There often sate;
              So shalt thou then with me,
                Both winged and free,
  Rove in that mighty and eternal light,
           Where no rude shade or night
  Shall dare approach us; we shall there no more
                Watch stars, or pore
           Through melancholy clouds, and say,
                'Would it were day!'
    One everlasting Sabbath there shall run
    Without succession, and without a sun.

'But go thou thy way until the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand
in thy lot at the end of the days.'--DAN. xii. 13.


THE SEARCH.

'Tis now clear day: I see a rose
Bud in the bright east, and disclose
The pilgrim-sun. All night have I
Spent in a roving ecstasy
To find my Saviour. I have been
As far as Bethlehem, and have seen
His inn and cradle; being there
I met the wise men, asked them where
He might be found, or what star can
Now point him out, grown up a man?
To Egypt hence I fled, ran o'er
All her parched bosom to Nile's shore,
Her yearly nurse; came back, inquired
Amongst the doctors, and desired
To see the temple, but was shown
A little dust, and for the town
A heap of ashes, where, some said,
A small bright sparkle was abed,
Which would one day (beneath the pole)
Awake, and then refine the whole.

Tired here, I came to Sychar, thence
To Jacob's well, bequeathed since
Unto his sons, where often they,
In those calm, golden evenings, lay
Watering their flocks, and having spent
Those white days, drove home to the tent
Their well-fleeced train; and here (O fate!)
I sit where once my Saviour sate.
The angry spring in bubbles swelled,
Which broke in sighs still, as they filled,
And whispered, Jesus had been there,
But Jacob's children would not hear.
Loth hence to part, at last I rise,
But with the fountain in mine eyes,
And here a fresh search is decreed:
He must be found where he did bleed.
I walk the garden, and there see
Ideas of his agony,
And moving anguishments, that set
His blest face in a bloody sweat;
I climbed the hill, perused the cross,
Hung with my gain, and his great loss:
Never did tree bear fruit like this,
Balsam of souls, the body's bliss.
But, O his grave! where I saw lent
(For he had none) a monument,
An undefiled, a new-hewed one,
But there was not the Corner-stone.
Sure then, said I, my quest is vain,
He'll not be found where he was slain;
So mild a Lamb can never be
'Midst so much blood and cruelty.
I'll to the wilderness, and can
Find beasts more merciful than man;
He lived there safe, 'twas his retreat
From the fierce Jew, and Herod's heat,
And forty days withstood the fell
And high temptations of hell;
With seraphim there talked he,
His Father's flaming ministry,
He heavened their walks, and with his eyes
Made those wild shades a paradise.
Thus was the desert sanctified
To be the refuge of his bride.
I'll thither then; see, it is day!
The sun's broke through to guide my way.

But as I urged thus, and writ down
What pleasures should my journey crown,
What silent paths, what shades and cells,
Fair virgin-flowers and hallowed wells,
I should rove in, and rest my head
Where my dear Lord did often tread,
Sugaring all dangers with success,
Methought I heard one singing thus:


1 Leave, leave thy gadding thoughts;
         Who pores
         And spies
    Still out of doors,
         Descries
    Within them nought.

2 The skin and shell of things,
         Though fair,
         Are not
    Thy wish nor prayer,
         But got
    By mere despair
         Of wings.

3 To rack old elements,
         Or dust,
         And say,
    Sure here he must
         Needs stay,
    Is not the way,
         Nor just.

Search well another world; who studies this,
Travels in clouds, seeks manna where none is.

'That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him,
and find him, though he be not far off from every one of us: for in
him we live, and move, and have our being.'--ACTS xvii. 27, 28.


ISAAC'S MARRIAGE.

'And Isaac went out to pray in the field at the eventide, and he
lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.'
--GEN. xxiv. 63.

Praying! and to be married! It was rare,
But now 'tis monstrous; and that pious care
Though of ourselves, is so much out of date,
That to renew't were to degenerate.
But thou a chosen sacrifice wert given,
And offered up so early unto Heaven,
Thy flames could not be out; religion was
Hayed into thee like beams into a glass;
Where, as thou grew'st, it multiplied, and shined
The sacred constellation of thy mind.

But being for a bride, prayer was such
A decried course, sure it prevailed not much.
Hadst ne'er an oath nor compliment? thou wert
An odd, dull suitor; hadst thou but the art
Of these our days, thou couldst have coined thee twenty
New several oaths, and compliments, too, plenty.
O sad and wild excess! and happy those
White days, that durst no impious mirth expose:
When conscience by lewd use had not lost sense,
Nor bold-faced custom banished innocence!
Thou hadst no pompous train, nor antic crowd
Of young, gay swearers, with their needless, loud
Retinue; all was here smooth as thy bride,
And calm like her, or that mild evening-tide.
Yet hadst thou nobler guests: angels did wind
And rove about thee, guardians of thy mind;
These fetched thee home thy bride, and all the way
Advised thy servant what to do and say;
These taught him at the well, and thither brought
The chaste and lovely object of thy thought.
But here was ne'er a compliment, not one
Spruce, supple cringe, or studied look put on.
All was plain, modest truth: nor did she come
In rolls and curls, mincing and stately dumb;
But in a virgin's native blush and fears,
Fresh as those roses which the day-spring wears.
O sweet, divine simplicity! O grace
Beyond a curled lock or painted face!
A pitcher too she had, nor thought it much
To carry that, which some would scorn to touch;
With, which in mild, chaste language she did woo
To draw him drink, and for his camels too.

And now thou knew'st her coming, it was time
To get thee wings on, and devoutly climb
Unto thy God; for marriage of all states
Makes most unhappy, or most fortunates.
This brought thee forth, where now thou didst undress
Thy soul, and with new pinions refresh
Her wearied wings, which, so restored, did fly
Above the stars, a track unknown and high;
And in her piercing flight perfumed the air,
Scattering the myrrh and incense of thy prayer.
So from Lahai-roi[1]'s well some spicy cloud,
Wooed by the sun, swells up to be his shroud,
And from her moist womb weeps a fragrant shower,
Which, scattered in a thousand pearls, each flower
And herb partakes; where having stood awhile,
And something cooled the parched and thirsty isle,
The thankful earth unlocks herself, and blends
A thousand odours, which, all mixed, she sends
Up in one cloud, and so returns the skies
That dew they lent, a breathing sacrifice.

Thus soared thy soul, who, though young, didst inherit
Together with his blood thy father's spirit,
Whose active zeal and tried faith were to thee
Familiar ever since thy infancy.
Others were timed and trained up to't, but thou
Didst thy swift years in piety outgrow.
Age made them reverend and a snowy head,
But thou wert so, ere time his snow could shed.
Then who would truly limn thee out must paint
First a young patriarch, then a married saint.

[1] 'Lahai-roi:' a well in the south country where Jacob dwelt, between
Kadesh and Bered; _Heb.,_ The well of him that liveth and seeth me.


MAN'S FALL AND RECOVERY.

Farewell, you everlasting hills! I'm cast
Here under clouds, where storms and tempests blast
            This sullied flower,
Robbed of your calm; nor can I ever make,
Transplanted thus, one leaf of his t'awake;
            But every hour
He sleeps and droops; and in this drowsy state
Leaves me a slave to passions and my fate.
            Besides I've lost
A train of lights, which in those sunshine days
Were my sure guides; and only with me stays,
            Unto my cost,
One sullen beam, whose charge is to dispense
More punishment than knowledge to my sense.
            Two thousand years
I sojourned thus. At last Jeshurun's king
Those famous tables did from Sinai bring.
            These swelled my fears,
Guilts, trespasses, and all this inward awe;
For sin took strength and vigour from the law.
            Yet have I found
A plenteous way, (thanks to that Holy One!)
To cancel all that e'er was writ in stone.
            His saving wound
Wept blood that broke this adamant, and gave
To sinners confidence, life to the grave.
            This makes me span
My fathers' journeys, and in one fair step
O'er all their pilgrimage and labours leap.
            For God, made man,
Reduced the extent of works of faith; so made
Of their Red Sea a spring: I wash, they wade.

'As by the offence of one the fault came on all men to condemnation;
so by the righteousness of one, the benefit abounded towards all men
to the justification of life.'--ROM. v. 18.


THE SHOWER.

1 'Twas so; I saw thy birth. That drowsy lake
  From her faint bosom breathed thee, the disease
  Of her sick waters, and infectious ease.
                  But now at even,
                  Too gross for heaven,
  Thou fall'st in tears, and weep'st for thy mistake.

2 Ah! it is so with me; oft have I pressed
  Heaven with a lazy breath; but fruitless this
  Pierced not; love only can with quick access
                  Unlock the way,
                  When all else stray,
  The smoke and exhalations of the breast.

3 Yet if, as thou dost melt, and, with thy train
  Of drops, make soft the earth, my eyes could weep
  O'er my hard heart, that's bound up and asleep,
                  Perhaps at last,
                  Some such showers past,
  My God would give a sunshine after rain.


BURIAL.

1 O thou! the first-fruits of the dead,
            And their dark bed,
  When I am cast into that deep
            And senseless sleep,
          The wages of my sin,
                   O then,
  Thou great Preserver of all men,
            Watch o'er that loose
            And empty house,
          Which I sometime lived in!

2 It is in truth a ruined piece,
            Not worth thy eyes;
  And scarce a room, but wind and rain
            Beat through and stain
          The seats and cells within;
                   Yet thou,
  Led by thy love, wouldst stoop thus low,
            And in this cot,
            All filth and spot,
          Didst with thy servant inn.

3 And nothing can, I hourly see,
            Drive thee from me.
  Thou art the same, faithful and just,
            In life or dust.
          Though then, thus crumbed, I stray
                   In blasts,
  Or exhalations, and wastes,
            Beyond all eyes,
            Yet thy love spies
          That change, and knows thy clay.

4 The world's thy box: how then, there tossed,
            Can I be lost?
  But the delay is all; Time now
            Is old and slow;
          His wings are dull and sickly.
                   Yet he
  Thy servant is, and waits on thee.
            Cut then the sum,
            Lord, haste, Lord, come,
          O come, Lord Jesus, quickly!

'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of
the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.'--ROM. viii. 23.


CHEERFULNESS.

1 Lord, with what courage and delight
         I do each thing,
  When thy least breath sustains my wing!
         I shine and move
         Like those above,
         And, with much gladness
         Quitting sadness,
  Make me fair days of every night.

2 Affliction thus mere pleasure is;
         And hap what will,
  If thou be in't,'tis welcome still.
         But since thy rays
         In sunny days
         Thou dost thus lend,
         And freely spend,
  Ah! what shall I return for this?

3 Oh that I were all soul! that thou
         Wouldst make each part
  Of this poor sinful frame pure heart!
         Then would I drown
         My single one;
         And to thy praise
         A concert raise
  Of hallelujahs here below.


THE PASSION.

1           O my chief good!
            My dear, dear God!
            When thy blest blood
  Did issue forth, forced by the rod,
            What pain didst thou
            Feel in each blow!
            How didst thou weep,
            And thyself steep
  In thy own precious, saving tears!
            What cruel smart
            Did tear thy heart!
            How didst thou groan it
            In the spirit,
  O thou whom my soul loves and fears!

2           Most blessed Vine!
            Whose juice so good
            I feel as wine,
  But thy fair branches felt as blood,
            How wert thou pressed
            To be my feast!
            In what deep anguish
            Didst thou languish!
  What springs of sweat and blood did drown thee!
            How in one path
            Did the full wrath
            Of thy great Father
            Crowd and gather,
  Doubling thy griefs, when none would own thee!

3           How did the weight
            Of all our sins,
            And death unite
  To wrench and rack thy blessed limbs!
            How pale and bloody
            Looked thy body!
            How bruised and broke,
            With every stroke!
  How meek and patient was thy spirit!
            How didst thou cry,
            And groan on high,
            'Father, forgive,
            And let them live!
  I die to make my foes inherit!'

4           O blessed Lamb!
            That took'st my sin,
            That took'st my shame,
  How shall thy dust thy praises sing?
            I would I were
            One hearty tear!
            One constant spring!
            Then would I bring
  Thee two small mites, and be at strife
            Which should most vie,
            My heart or eye,
            Teaching my years
            In smiles and tears
  To weep, to sing, thy death, my life.


RULES AND LESSONS.

1  When first thy eyes unvail, give thy soul leave
   To do the like; our bodies but forerun
   The spirit's duty. True hearts spread and heave
   Unto their God, as flowers do to the sun.
     Give him thy first thoughts then; so shalt thou keep
     Him company all day, and in him sleep.

2  Yet never sleep the sun up. Prayer should
   Dawn with the day. There are set, awful hours
   'Twixt Heaven and us. The manna was not good
   After sun-rising; far-day sullies flowers.
     Rise to prevent the sun; sleep doth sins glut,
     And heaven's gate opens when this world's is shut.

3  Walk with thy fellow-creatures; note the hush
   And whispers amongst them. There's not a spring
   Or leaf but hath his morning-hymn. Each bush
   And oak doth know I AM. Canst thou not sing?
     Oh, leave thy cares and follies! go this way,
     And thou art sure to prosper all the day.

4  Serve God before the world; let him not go
   Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
   The whole unto him, and remember who
   Prevailed by wrestling ere the sun did shine;
     Pour oil upon the stones; weep for thy sin;
     Then journey on, and have an eye to heaven.

5  Mornings are mysteries; the first world's youth,
   Man's resurrection and the future's bud
   Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth
   Is styled their star, the stone, and hidden food.
     Three blessings wait upon them, two of which
     Should move. They make us holy, happy, rich.

6  When the world's up, and every swarm abroad,
   Keep thou thy temper; mix not with each clay;
   Despatch necessities; life hath a load
   Which must be carried on, and safely may.
     Yet keep those cares without thee, let the heart
     Be God's alone, and choose the better part.

7  Through all thy actions, counsels, and discourse,
   Let mildness and religion guide thee out;
   If truth be thine, what needs a brutish force?
   But what's not good and just ne'er go about.
     Wrong not thy conscience for a rotten stick;
     That gain is dreadful which makes spirits sick.

8  To God, thy country, and thy friend be true;
   If priest and people change, keep thou thy ground.
   Who sells religion is a Judas Jew;
   And, oaths once broke, the soul cannot be sound.
     The perjurer's a devil let loose: what can
     Tie up his hands that dares mock God and man?

9  Seek not the same steps with the crowd; stick thou
   To thy sure trot; a constant, humble mind
   Is both his own joy, and his Maker's too;
   Let folly dust it on, or lag behind.
      A sweet self-privacy in a right soul
      Outruns the earth, and lines the utmost pole.

10 To all that seek thee bear an open heart;
   Make not thy breast a labyrinth or trap;
   If trials come, this will make good thy part,
   For honesty is safe, come what can hap;
     It is the good man's feast, the prince of flowers,
     Which thrives in storms, and smells best after showers.

11 Seal not thy eyes up from the poor, but give
   Proportion to their merits, and thy purse;
   Thou may'st in rags a mighty prince relieve,
   Who, when thy sins call for't, can fence a curse.
     Thou shalt not lose one mite. Though waters stray,
     The bread we cast returns in fraughts one day.

12 Spend not an hour so as to weep another,
   For tears are not thine own; if thou giv'st words,
   Dash not with them thy friend, nor Heaven; oh, smother
   A viperous thought; some syllables are swords.
     Unbitted tongues are in their penance double;
     They shame their owners, and their hearers trouble.

13 Injure not modest blood, while spirits rise
   In judgment against lewdness; that's base wit
   That voids but filth and stench. Hast thou no prize
   But sickness or infection? stifle it.
     Who makes his jest of sins, must be at least,
     If not a very devil, worse than beast.

14 Yet fly no friend, if he be such indeed;
   But meet to quench his longings, and thy thirst;
   Allow your joys, religion: that done, speed,
   And bring the same man back thou wert at first.
     Who so returns not, cannot pray aright,
     But shuts his door, and leaves God out all night.

15 To heighten thy devotions, and keep low
   All mutinous thoughts, what business e'er thou hast,
   Observe God in his works; here fountains flow,
   Birds sing, beasts feed, fish leap, and the earth stands fast;
     Above are restless motions, running lights,
     Vast circling azure, giddy clouds, days, nights.

16 When seasons change, then lay before thine eyes
   His wondrous method; mark the various scenes
   In heaven; hail, thunder, rainbows, snow, and ice,
   Calms, tempests, light, and darkness, by his means;
     Thou canst not miss his praise; each tree, herb, flower
     Are shadows of his wisdom and his power.

17 To meals when thou dost come, give him the praise
   Whose arm supplied thee; take what may suffice,
   And then be thankful; oh, admire his ways
   Who fills the world's unemptied granaries!
     A thankless feeder is a thief, his feast
     A very robbery, and himself no guest.

18 High-noon thus past, thy time decays; provide
   Thee other thoughts; away with friends and mirth;
   The sun now stoops, and hastes his beams to hide
   Under the dark and melancholy earth.
      All but preludes thy end. Thou art the man
      Whose rise, height, and descent is but a span.

19 Yet, set as he doth, and 'tis well. Have all
   Thy beams home with thee: trim thy lamp, buy oil,
   And then set forth; who is thus dressed, the fall
   Furthers his glory, and gives death the foil.
     Man is a summer's day; whose youth and fire
     Cool to a glorious evening, and expire.

20 When night comes, list[1] thy deeds; make plain the way
   'Twixt heaven and thee; block it not with delays;
   But perfect all before thou sleep'st; then say
   'There's one sun more strung on my bead of days.'
     What's good score up for joy; the bad, well scanned,
     Wash off with tears, and get thy Master's hand.

21 Thy accounts thus made, spend in the grave one hour
   Before thy time; be not a stranger there,
   Where thou may'st sleep whole ages; life's poor flower
   Lasts not a night sometimes. Bad spirits fear
     This conversation; but the good man lies
     Entombed many days before he dies.

22 Being laid, and dressed for sleep, close not thy eyes
   Up with thy curtains; give thy soul the wing
   In some good thoughts; so, when the day shall rise,
   And thou unrak'st thy fire, those sparks will bring
     New flames; besides where these lodge, vain heats mourn
     And die; that bush where God is shall not burn.

23 When thy nap's over, stir thy fire, and rake
   In that dead age; one beam i' the dark outvies
   Two in the day; then from the damps and ache
   Of night shut up thy leaves; be chaste; God pries
     Through thickest nights; though then the sun be far,
     Do thou the works of day, and rise a star.

24 Briefly, do as thou wouldst be done unto,
   Love God, and love thy neighbour; watch and pray.
   These are the words and works of life; this do,
   And live; who doth not thus, hath lost heaven's way.
     Oh, lose it not! look up, wilt change those lights
     For chains of darkness and eternal nights?

[1] 'List:' weigh.


REPENTANCE.

Lord, since thou didst in this vile clay
          That sacred ray,
Thy Spirit, plant, quickening the whole
  With that one grain's infused wealth,
My forward flesh crept on, and subtly stole
  Both growth and power; checking the health
And heat of thine. That little gate
  And narrow way, by which to thee
The passage is, he termed a grate
  And entrance to captivity;
Thy laws but nets, where some small birds,
  And those but seldom too, were caught;
Thy promises but empty words,
  Which none but children heard or taught.
This I believed: and though a friend
  Came oft from far, and whispered, No;
Yet, that not sorting to my end,
  I wholly listened to my foe.
Wherefore, pierced through with grief, my sad,
  Seduced soul sighs up to thee;
To thee, who with true light art clad,
  And seest all things just as they be.
Look from thy throne upon this roll
  Of heavy sins, my high transgressions,
Which I confess with all my soul;
  My God, accept of my confession!
          It was last day,
Touched with the guilt of my own way,
I sat alone, and taking up,
          The bitter cup,
Through all thy fair and various store,
Sought out what might outvie my score.
  The blades of grass thy creatures feeding;
  The trees, their leaves; the flowers, their seeding;
  The dust, of which I am a part;
  The stones, much softer than my heart;
  The drops of rain, the sighs of wind,
  The stars, to which I am stark blind;
  The dew thy herbs drink up by night,
  The beams they warm them at i' the light;
  All that have signature or life
  I summoned to decide this strife;
  And lest I should lack for arrears,
  A spring ran by, I told her tears;
  But when these came unto the scale,
  My sins alone outweighed them all.
  O my dear God! my life, my love!
  Most blessed Lamb! and mildest Dove!
  Forgive your penitent offender,
  And no more his sins remember;
  Scatter these shades of death, and give
  Light to my soul, that it may live;
  Cut me not off for my transgressions,
  Wilful rebellions, and suppressions;
  But give them in those streams a part
  Whose spring is in my Saviour's heart.
  Lord, I confess the heinous score,
  And pray I may do so no more;
  Though then all sinners I exceed,
  Oh, think on this, thy Son did bleed!
  Oh, call to mind his wounds, his woes,
  His agony, and bloody throes;
  Then look on all that thou hast made,
  And mark how they do fail and fade;
  The heavens themselves, though fair and bright,
  Are dark and unclean in thy sight;
  How then, with thee, can man be holy,
  Who dost thine angels charge with folly?
  Oh, what am I, that I should breed
  Figs on a thorn, flowers on a weed?
  I am the gourd of sin and sorrow,
  Growing o'er night, and gone to-morrow.
  In all this round of life and death
  Nothing's more vile than is my breath;
  Profaneness on my tongue doth rest,
  Defects and darkness in my breast;
  Pollutions all my body wed,
  And even my soul to thee is dead;
  Only in him, on whom I feast,
  Both soul and body are well dressed;
      His pure perfection quits all score,
      And fills the boxes of his poor;
He is the centre of long life and light;
I am but finite, he is infinite.
Oh, let thy justice then in him confine,
And through his merits make thy mercy mine!


THE DAWNING.

Ah! what time wilt thou come? when shall that cry,
    'The Bridegroom's coming!' fill the skyl?
    Shall it in the evening run
    When our words and works are done?
    Or will thy all-surprising light
              Break at midnight,
    When either sleep or some dark pleasure
    Possesseth mad man without measure?
    Or shall these early, fragrant hours
              Unlock thy bowers,
    And with their blush of light descry
    Thy locks crowned with eternity?
    Indeed, it is the only time
    That with thy glory doth best chime;
    All now are stirring, every field
              Full hymns doth yield;
    The whole creation shakes off night,
    And for thy shadow looks the light;
    Stars now vanish without number,
    Sleepy planets set and slumber,
    The pursy clouds disband and scatter,
    All expect some sudden matter;
    Not one beam triumphs, but from far
              That morning-star.

    Oh, at what time soever thou,
    Unknown to us, the heavens wilt bow,
    And, with thy angels in the van,
    Descend to judge poor careless man,
    Grant I may not like puddle lie
    In a corrupt security,
    Where, if a traveller water crave,
    He finds it dead, and in a grave.
    But as this restless, vocal spring
    All day and night doth run and sing,
    And though here born, yet is acquainted
    Elsewhere, and flowing keeps untainted;
    So let me all my busy age
    In thy free services engage;
    And though, while here, of force I must
    Have commerce sometimes with poor dust,
    And in my flesh, though vile and low,
    As this doth in her channel flow,
    Yet let my course, my aim, my love,
    And chief acquaintance be above;
    So when that day and hour shall come
    In which thyself will be the Sun,
    Thou'lt find me dressed and on my way,
    Watching the break of thy great day.


THE TEMPEST.

1  How is man parcelled out! how every hour
   Shows him himself, or something he should see!
   This late, long heat may his instruction be;
   And tempests have more in them than a shower.

     When nature on her bosom saw
         Her infants die,
     And all her flowers withered to straw,
         Her breasts grown dry;
     She made the earth, their nurse and tomb,
         Sigh to the sky,
     Till to those sighs, fetched from her womb,
         Rain did reply;
     So in the midst of all her fears
         And faint requests,
     Her earnest sighs procured her tears
         And filled her breasts.

2  Oh that man could do so! that he would hear
     The world read to him! all the vast expense
     In the creation shed and slaved to sense,
   Makes up but lectures for his eye and ear.

3  Sure mighty Love, foreseeing the descent
     Of this poor creature, by a gracious art
     Hid in these low things snares to gain his heart,
   And laid surprises in each element.

4  All things here show him heaven; waters that fall
     Chide and fly up; mists of corruptest foam
   Quit their first beds and mount; trees, herbs, flowers, all
     Strive upwards still, and point him the way home.

5  How do they cast off grossness? only earth
     And man, like Issachar, in loads delight,
     Water's refined to motion, air to light,
   Fire to all three,[1] but man hath no such mirth.

6  Plants in the root with earth do most comply,
     Their leaves with water and humidity,
     The flowers to air draw near and subtilty,
   And seeds a kindred fire have with the sky.

7  All have their keys and set ascents; but man
     Though he knows these, and hath more of his own,
   Sleeps at the ladder's foot; alas! what can
     These new discoveries do, except they drown?

8  Thus, grovelling in the shade and darkness, he
     Sinks to a dead oblivion; and though all
     He sees, like pyramids, shoot from this ball,
   And lessening still, grow up invisibly,

9  Yet hugs he still his dirt; the stuff he wears,
     And painted trimming, takes down both his eyes;
     Heaven hath less beauty than the dust he spies,
   And money better music than the spheres.

10 Life's but a blast; he knows it; what? shall straw
     And bulrush-fetters temper his short hour?
     Must he nor sip nor sing? grows ne'er a flower
   To crown his temples? shall dreams be his law?

11 O foolish man! how hast thou lost thy sight?
     How is it that the sun to thee alone
     Is grown thick darkness, and thy bread a stone?
   Hath flesh no softness now? mid-day no light?

12 Lord! thou didst put a soul here. If I must
     Be broke again, for flints will give no fire
     Without a steel, oh, let thy power clear
   Thy gift once more, and grind this flint to dust!

[1] 'All three:' light, motion, heat


THE WORLD.

1 I saw eternity the other night,
  Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
          All calm, as it was bright;
  And round beneath it, time, in hours, days, years,
            Driven by the spheres,
  Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
          And all her train were hurled.
  The doting lover in his quaintest strain
            Did there complain;
  Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
            Wit's sour delights;
  With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
            Yet his dear treasure,
  All scattered lay, while he his eyes did pour
            Upon a flower.

2 The darksome statesman, hung with weights and woe,
  Like a thick midnight fog, moved there so slow,
          He did nor stay, nor go;
  Condemning thoughts, like sad eclipses, scowl
            Upon his soul,
  And clouds of crying witnesses without
          Pursued him with one shout.
  Yet digged the mole, and, lest his ways be found,
            Worked under ground,
  Where he did clutch his prey. But one did see
            That policy.
  Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
            Were gnats and flies;
  It rained about him blood and tears; but he
            Drank them as free.

3 The fearful miser on a heap of rust
  Sat pining all his life there, did scarce trust
          His own hands with the dust,
  Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
            In fear of thieves.
  Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
          And hugged each one his pelf;
  The downright epicure placed heaven in sense,
            And scorned pretence;
  While others, slipped into a wide excess,
            Said little less;
  The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
            Who think them brave,
  And poor, despised truth sat counting by
            Their victory.

4 Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
  And sing and weep, soared up into the ring;
          But most would use no wing.
  'O fools,' said I,'thus to prefer dark night
            Before true light!
  To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
          Because it shows the way,
  The way, which from this dead and dark abode
            Leads up to God,
  A way where you might tread the sun, and be
            More bright than he!'
  But, as I did their madness so discuss,
            One whispered thus,
  'This ring the bridegroom did for none provide,
            But for his bride.'


'All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And
the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof; but he that doeth the
will of God abideth for ever.'--1 JOHN ii. 16, 17.


THE CONSTELLATION.

1  Fair, ordered lights, whose motion without noise
       Resembles those true joys,
   Whose spring is on that hill where you do grow,
     And we here taste sometimes below.

2  With what exact obedience do you move,
       Now beneath, and now above!
   And in your vast progressions overlook
     The darkest night and closest nook!

3  Some nights I see you in the gladsome east,
       Some others near the west,
   And when I cannot see, yet do you shine,
     And beat about your endless line.

4  Silence and light and watchfulness with you
       Attend and wind the clue;
   No sleep nor sloth assails you, but poor man
     Still either sleeps, or slips his span.

5  He gropes beneath here, and with restless care,
       First makes, then hugs a snare;
   Adores dead dust, sets heart on corn and grass,
     But seldom doth make heaven his glass.

6  Music and mirth, if there be music here,
       Take up and tune his ear;
   These things are kin to him, and must be had;
     Who kneels, or sighs a life, is mad.

7  Perhaps some nights he'll watch with you, and peep
       When it were best to sleep;
   Dares know effects, and judge them long before,
     When the herb he treads knows much, much more.

8  But seeks he your obedience, order, light,
       Your calm and well-trained flight?
   Where, though the glory differ in each star,
     Yet is there peace still and no war.

9  Since placed by him, who calls you by your names,
       And fixed there all your flames,
   Without command you never acted ought,
     And then you in your courses fought.

10 But here, commissioned by a black self-will,
       The sons the father kill,
   The children chase the mother, and would heal
     The wounds they give by crying zeal.

11 Then cast her blood and tears upon thy book,
       Where they for fashion look;
   And, like that lamb, which had the dragon's voice,
     Seem mild, but are known by their noise.

12 Thus by our lusts disordered into wars,
       Our guides prove wandering stars,
   Which for these mists and black days were reserved,
     What time we from our first love swerved.

13 Yet oh, for his sake who sits now by thee
       All crowned with victory,
   So guide us through this darkness, that we may
     Be more and more in love with day!

14 Settle and fix our hearts, that we may move
       In order, peace, and love;
   And, taught obedience by thy whole creation,
     Become an humble, holy nation!

15 Give to thy spouse her perfect and pure dress,
       Beauty and holiness;
   And so repair these rents, that men may see
     And say, 'Where God is, all agree.'


MISERY.

Lord, bind me up, and let me lie
A prisoner to my liberty,
If such a state at all can be
As an impris'ment serving thee;
The wind, though gathered in thy fist,
Yet doth it blow still where it list,
And yet shouldst thou let go thy hold,
Those gusts might quarrel and grow bold.

As waters here, headlong and loose,
The lower grounds still chase and choose,
Where spreading ail the way they seek
And search out every hole and creek;
So my spilt thoughts, winding from thee,
Take the down-road to vanity,
Where they all stray, and strive which shall
Find out the first and steepest fall.
I cheer their flow, giving supply
To what's already grown too high,
And having thus performed that part,
Feed on those vomits of my heart.
I break the fence my own hands made
Then lay that trespass in the shade;
Some fig-leaves still I do devise,
As if thou hadst not ears nor eyes.
Excess of friends, of words, and wine
Take up my day, while thou dost shine
All unregarded, and thy book
Hath not so much as one poor look.
If thou steal in amidst the mirth
And kindly tell me, I am earth,
I shut thee out, and let that slip;
Such music spoils good fellowship.
Thus wretched I and most unkind,
Exclude my dear God from my mind,
Exclude him thence, who of that cell
Would make a court, should he there dwell.
He goes, he yields; and troubled sore
His Holy Spirit grieves therefore;
The mighty God, the eternal King
Doth grieve for dust, and dust doth sing.
But I go on, haste to divest
Myself of reason, till oppressed
And buried in my surfeits, I
Prove my own shame and misery.
Next day I call and cry for thee
Who shouldst not then come near to me;
But now it is thy servant's pleasure,
Thou must and dost give him his measure.
Thou dost, thou com'st, and in a shower
Of healing sweets thyself dost pour
Into my wounds; and now thy grace
(I know it well) fills all the place;
I sit with thee by this new light,
And for that hour thou'rt my delight;
No man can more the world despise,
Or thy great mercies better prize.
I school my eyes, and strictly dwell
Within the circle of my cell;
That calm and silence are my joys,
Which to thy peace are but mere noise.
At length I feel my head to ache,
My fingers itch, and burn to take
Some new employment, I begin
To swell and foam and fret within:
  'The age, the present times are not
  To snudge in and embrace a cot;
  Action and blood now get the game,
  Disdain treads on the peaceful name;
  Who sits at home too bears a load
  Greater than those that gad abroad.'
Thus do I make thy gifts given me
The only quarrellers with thee;
I'd loose those knots thy hands did tie,
Then would go travel, fight, or die.
Thousands of wild and waste infusions
Like waves beat on my resolutions;
As flames about their fuel run,
And work and wind till all be done,
So my fierce soul bustles about,
And never rests till all be out.
Thus wilded by a peevish heart,
Which in thy music bears no part,
I storm at thee, calling my peace
A lethargy, and mere disease;
Nay those bright beams shot from thy eyes
To calm me in these mutinies,
I style mere tempers, which take place
At some set times, but are thy grace.

Such is man's life, and such is mine,
The worst of men, and yet still thine,
Still thine, thou know'st, and if not so,
Then give me over to my foe.
Yet since as easy 'tis for thee
To make man good as bid him be,
And with one glance, could he that gain,
To look him out of all his pain,
Oh, send me from thy holy hill
So much of strength as may fulfil
All thy delights, whate'er they be,
And sacred institutes in me!
Open my rocky heart, and fill
It with obedience to thy will;
Then seal it up, that as none see,
So none may enter there but thee.

Oh, hear, my God! hear him, whose blood
Speaks more and better for my good!
Oh, let my cry come to thy throne!
My cry not poured with tears alone,
(For tears alone are often foul,)
But with the blood of all my soul;
With spirit-sighs, and earnest groans,
Faithful and most repenting moans,
With these I cry, and crying pine,
Till thou both mend, and make me thine.


MOUNT OF OLIVES.

When first I saw true beauty, and thy joys,
Active as light, and calm without all noise,
Shined on my soul, I felt through all my powers
Such a rich air of sweets, as evening showers,
Fanned by a gentle gale, convey, and breathe
On some parched bank, crowned with a flowery wreath;
Odours, and myrrh, and balm in one rich flood
O'erran my heart, and spirited my blood;
My thoughts did swim in comforts, and mine eye
Confessed, 'The world did only paint and lie.'
And where before I did no safe course steer,
But wandered under tempests all the year;
Went bleak and bare in body as in mind,
And was blown through by every storm and wind,
I am so warmed now by this glance on me,
That 'midst all storms I feel a ray of thee.
So have I known some beauteous passage rise
In sudden flowers and arbours to my eyes,
And in the depth and dead of winter bring
To my cold thoughts a lively sense of spring.

Thus fed by thee, who dost all beings nourish,
My withered leaves again look green and flourish;
I shine and shelter underneath thy wing,
Where, sick with love, I strive thy name to sing;
Thy glorious name! which grant I may so do,
That these may be thy praise, and my joy too!


ASCENSION-DAY.

Lord Jesus! with what sweetness and delights,
Sure, holy hopes, high joys, and quickening flights,
Dost thou feed thine! O thou! the hand that lifts
To him who gives all good and perfect gifts,
Thy glorious, bright ascension, though removed
So many ages from me, is so proved
And by thy Spirit sealed to me, that I
Feel me a sharer in thy victory!
              I soar and rise
              Up to the skies,
            Leaving the world their day;
              And in my flight
              For the true light
            Go seeking all the way;
I greet thy sepulchre, salute thy grave,
That blest enclosure, where the angels gave
The first glad tidings of thy early light,
And resurrection from the earth and night,
I see that morning in thy convert's[1] tears,
Fresh as the dew, which but this dawning wears.
I smell her spices; and her ointment yields
As rich a scent as the now primrosed fields.
The day-star smiles, and light with the deceased
Now shines in all the chambers of the east.
What stirs, what posting intercourse and mirth
Of saints and angels glorify the earth?
What sighs, what whispers, busy stops and stays,
Private and holy talk, fill all the ways?
They pass as at the last great day, and run
In their white robes to seek the risen Sun;
I see them, hear them, mark their haste, and move
Amongst them, with them, winged with faith and love.
Thy forty days' more secret commerce here
After thy death and funeral, so clear
And indisputable, shows to my sight
As the sun doth, which to those days gave light.
I walk the fields of Bethany, which shine
All now as fresh as Eden, and as fine.
Such was the bright world on the first seventh day,
Before man brought forth sin, and sin decay;
When like a virgin clad in flowers and green
The pure earth sat, and the fair woods had seen
No frost, but flourished in that youthful vest
With which their great Creator had them dressed:
When heaven above them shined like molten glass,
While all the planets did unclouded pass;
And springs, like dissolved pearls, their streams did pour,
Ne'er marred with floods, nor angered with a shower.
With these fair thoughts I move in this fair place,
And the last steps of my mild Master trace.
I see him leading out his chosen train
All sad with tears, which like warm summer rain
In silent drops steal from their holy eyes,
Fixed lately on the cross, now on the skies.
And now, eternal Jesus! thou dost heave
Thy blessed hands to bless those thou dost leave.
The cloud doth now receive thee, and their sight
Having lost thee, behold two men in white!
Two and no more: 'What two attest is true,'
Was thine own answer to the stubborn Jew.
Come then, thou faithful Witness! come, dear Lord,
Upon the clouds again to judge this world!

[1] 'Thy convert:' St Mary Magdalene.


COCK-CROWING.

1 Father of lights! what sunny seed,
  What glance of day hast thou confined
  Into this bird? To all the breed
  This busy ray thou hast assigned;
       Their magnetism works all night,
       And dreams of paradise and light.

2 Their eyes watch for the morning hue,
  Their little grain-expelling night
  So shines and sings, as if it knew
  The path unto the house of light.
      It seems their candle, howe'er done,
      Was tinned and lighted at the sun.

3 If such a tincture, such a touch,
  So firm a longing can empower,
  Shall thy own image think it much
  To watch for thy appearing hour?
      If a mere blast so fill the sail,
      Shall not the breath of God prevail?

4 O thou immortal light and heat!
  Whose hand so shines through all this frame,
  That by the beauty of the seat,
  We plainly see who made the same,
      Seeing thy seed abides in me,
      Dwell thou in it, and I in thee!

5 To sleep without thee is to die;
  Yea,'tis a death partakes of hell:
  For where thou dost not close the eye
  It never opens, I can tell.
      In such a dark, Egyptian border,
      The shades of death dwell, and disorder.

6 If joys, and hopes, and earnest throes,
  And hearts, whose pulse beats still for light,
  Are given to birds; who, but thee, knows
  A love-sick soul's exalted flight?
      Can souls be tracked by any eye
      But his, who gave them wings to fly?

7 Only this veil which thou hast broke,
  And must be broken yet in me,
  This veil, I say, is all the cloak
  And cloud which shadows me from thee.
      This veil thy full-eyed love denies,
      And only gleams and fractions spies.

8 Oh, take it off! make no delay;
  But brush me with thy light, that I
  May shine unto a perfect day,
  And warm me at thy glorious eye!
      Oh, take it off! or till it flee,
      Though with no lily, stay with me!


THE PALM-TREE.

1 Dear friend, sit down, and bear awhile this shade,
  As I have yours long since. This plant you see
  So pressed and bowed, before sin did degrade
  Both you and it, had equal liberty

2 With other trees; but now, shut from the breath
  And air of Eden, like a malcontent
  It thrives nowhere. This makes these weights, like death
  And sin, hang at him; for the more he's bent

3 The more he grows. Celestial natures still
  Aspire for home. This Solomon of old,
  By flowers, and carvings, and mysterious skill
  Of wings, and cherubims, and palms, foretold.

4 This is the life which, hid above with Christ
  In God, doth always (hidden) multiply,
  And spring, and grow, a tree ne'er to be priced,
  A tree whose fruit is immortality.

5 Here spirits that have run their race, and fought,
  And won the fight, and have not feared the frowns
  Nor loved the smiles of greatness, but have wrought
  Their Master's will, meet to receive their crowns.

6 Here is the patience of the saints: this tree
  Is watered by their tears, as flowers are fed
  With dew by night; but One you cannot see
  Sits here, and numbers all the tears they shed.

7 Here is their faith too, which if you will keep
  When we two part, I will a journey make
  To pluck a garland hence while you do sleep,
  And weave it for your head against you wake.


THE GARLAND.

1 Thou, who dost flow and flourish here below,
  To whom a falling star and nine days' glory,
  Or some frail beauty, makes the bravest show,
  Hark, and make use of this ensuing story.

      When first my youthful, sinful age
            Grew master of my ways,
      Appointing error for my page,
            And darkness for my days;
      I flung away, and with full cry
            Of wild affections, rid
      In post for pleasures, bent to try
            All gamesters that would bid.
      I played with fire, did counsel spurn,
            Made life my common stake;
      But never thought that fire would burn,
            Or that a soul could ache.
      Glorious deceptions, gilded mists,
            False joys, fantastic flights,
      Pieces of sackcloth with silk lists,
            These were my prime delights.
      I sought choice bowers, haunted the spring,
            Culled flowers and made me posies;
      Gave my fond humours their full wing,
            And crowned my head with roses.
      But at the height of this career
            I met with a dead man,
      Who, noting well my vain abear,
            Thus unto me began:
      'Desist, fond fool, be not undone;
            What thou hast cut to-day
      Will fade at night, and with this sun
            Quite vanish and decay.'

2 Flowers gathered in this world, die here; if thou
  Wouldst have a wreath that fades not, let them grow,
  And grow for thee. Who spares them here, shall find
  A garland, where comes neither rain nor wind.


LOVE-SICK.

Jesus, my life! how shall I truly love thee!
Oh that thy Spirit would so strongly move me,
That thou wert pleased to shed thy grace so far
As to make man all pure love, flesh a star!
A star that would ne'er set, but ever rise,
So rise and run, as to outrun these skies,
These narrow skies (narrow to me) that bar,
So bar me in, that I am still at war,
At constant war with them. Oh, come, and rend
Or bow the heavens! Lord, bow them and descend,
And at thy presence make these mountains flow,
These mountains of cold ice in me! Thou art
Refining fire; oh, then, refine my heart,
My foul, foul heart! Thou art immortal heat;
Heat motion gives; then warm it, till it beat;
So beat for thee, till thou in mercy hear;
So hear, that thou must open; open to
A sinful wretch, a wretch that caused thy woe;
Thy woe, who caused his weal; so far his weal
That thou forgott'st thine own, for thou didst seal
Mine with thy blood, thy blood which makes thee mine,
Mine ever, ever; and me ever thine.


PSALM CIV.

1  Up, O my soul, and bless the Lord! O God,
     My God, how great, how very great art thou!
   Honour and majesty have their abode
               With thee, and crown thy brow.

2  Thou cloth'st thyself with light as with a robe,
     And the high, glorious heavens thy mighty hand
   Doth spread like curtains round about this globe
               Of air, and sea, and land.

3  The beams of thy bright chambers thou dost lay
     In the deep waters, which no eye can find;
   The clouds thy chariots are, and thy pathway
               The wings of the swift wind.

4  In thy celestial, gladsome messages
     Despatched to holy souls, sick with desire
   And love of thee, each willing angel is
               Thy minister in fire.

5  Thy arm unmoveable for ever laid
     And founded the firm earth; then with the deep
   As with a vail thou hidd'st it; thy floods played
                Above the mountains steep.

6  At thy rebuke they fled, at the known voice
     Of their Lord's thunder they retired apace:
   Some up the mountains passed by secret ways,
                Some downwards to their place.

7  For thou to them a bound hast set, a bound
     Which, though but sand, keeps in and curbs whole seas:
   There all their fury, foam, and hideous sound,
                Must languish and decrease.

8  And as thy care bounds these, so thy rich love
     Doth broach the earth; and lesser brooks lets forth,
   Which run from hills to valleys, and improve
               Their pleasure and their worth.

9  These to the beasts of every field give drink;
     There the wild asses swallow the cool spring:
   And birds amongst the branches on their brink
                Their dwellings have, and sing.

10 Thou from thy upper springs above, from those
     Chambers of rain, where heaven's large bottles lie,
   Dost water the parched hills, whose breaches close,
                Healed by the showers from high.

11 Grass for the cattle, and herbs for man's use
     Thou mak'st to grow; these, blessed by thee, the earth
   Brings forth, with wine, oil, bread; all which infuse
                To man's heart strength and mirth.

12 Thou giv'st the trees their greenness, even to those
     Cedars in Lebanon, in whose thick boughs
   The birds their nests build; though the stork doth choose
                The fir-trees for her house.

13 To the wild goats the high hills serve for folds,
     The rocks give conies a retiring place:
   Above them the cool moon her known course holds,
                And the sun runs his race.

14 Thou makest darkness, and then comes the night,
     In whose thick shades and silence each wild beast
   Creeps forth, and, pinched for food, with scent and sight
                Hunts in an eager quest.

15 The lion's whelps, impatient of delay,
     Roar in the covert of the woods, and seek
   Their meat from thee, who dost appoint the prey,
                And feed'st them all the week.

16 This past, the sun shines on the earth; and they
     Retire into their dens; man goes abroad
   Unto his work, and at the close of day
                Returns home with his load.

17 O Lord my God, how many and how rare
     Are thy great works! In wisdom hast thou made
   Them all; and this the earth, and every blade
                Of grass we tread declare.

18 So doth the deep and wide sea, wherein are
     Innumerable creeping things, both small
   And great; there ships go, and the shipmen's fear,
               The comely, spacious whale.

19 These all upon thee wait, that thou mayst feed
     Them in due season: what thou giv'st they take;
   Thy bounteous open hand helps them at need,
               And plenteous meals they make.

20 When thou dost hide thy face, (thy face which keeps
     All things in being,) they consume and mourn:
   When thou withdraw'st their breath their vigour sleeps,
               And they to dust return.

21 Thou send'st thy Spirit forth, and they revive,
     The frozen earth's dead face thou dost renew.
   Thus thou thy glory through the world dost drive,
               And to thy works art true.

22 Thine eyes behold the earth, and the whole stage
     Is moved and trembles, the hills melt and smoke
   With thy least touch; lightnings and winds that rage
               At thy rebuke are broke.

23 Therefore as long as thou wilt give me breath
     I will in songs to thy great name employ
   That gift of thine, and to my day of death
               Thou shalt be all my joy.

24 I'll spice my thoughts with thee, and from thy word
     Gather true comforts; but the wicked liver
   Shall be consumed. O my soul, bless thy Lord!
               Yea, bless thou him for ever!


THE TIMBER.

1  Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs,
     Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers
   Passed o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
     Which now are dead, lodged in thy living bowers.

2  And still a new succession sings and flies;
     Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
   Towards the old and still-enduring skies,
     While the low violet thrives at their root.

3  But thou, beneath the sad and heavy line
     Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark;
   Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
     Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.

4  And yet, as if some deep hate and dissent,
     Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
   Were still alive, thou dost great storms resent,
     Before they come, and know'st how near they be.

5  Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
     Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
   But this thy strange resentment after death
     Means only those who broke in life thy peace.

6  So murdered man, when lovely life is done,
     And his blood freezed, keeps in the centre still
   Some secret sense, which makes the dead blood run
     At his approach that did the body kill.

7  And is there any murderer worse than sin?
     Or any storms more foul than a lewd life?
   Or what resentient can work more within
     Than true remorse, when with past sins at strife?

8  He that hath left life's vain joys and vain care,
     And truly hates to be detained on earth,
   Hath got an house where many mansions are,
     And keeps his soul unto eternal mirth.

9  But though thus dead unto the world, and ceased
     From sin, he walks a narrow, private way;
   Yet grief and old wounds make him sore displeased,
     And all his life a rainy, weeping day.

10 For though he should forsake the world, and live
     As mere a stranger as men long since dead;
   Yet joy itself will make a right soul grieve
     To think he should be so long vainly led.

11 But as shades set off light, so tears and grief,
     Though of themselves but a sad blubbered story,
   By showing the sin great, show the relief
     Far greater, and so speak my Saviour's glory.

12 If my way lies through deserts and wild woods,
     Where all the land with scorching heat is cursed;
   Better the pools should flow with rain and floods
     To fill my bottle, than I die with thirst.

13 Blest showers they are, and streams sent from above;
     Begetting virgins where they use to flow;
   The trees of life no other waters love,
     Than upper springs, and none else make them grow.

14 But these chaste fountains flow not till we die.
     Some drops may fall before; but a clear spring
     And ever running, till we leave to fling
   Dirt in her way, will keep above the sky.

'He that is dead is freed from sin.'--ROM. vi. 7.


THE JEWS.

1       When the fair year
      Of your Deliverer comes,
  And that long frost which now benumbs
  Your hearts shall thaw; when angels here
      Shall yet to man appear,
  And familiarly confer
  Beneath the oak and juniper;
        When the bright Dove,
  Which now these many, many springs
        Hath kept above,
        Shall with spread wings
  Descend, and living waters flow
  To make dry dust, and dead trees grow;

2       Oh, then, that I
  Might live, and see the olive bear
  Her proper branches! which now lie
        Scattered each where;
  And, without root and sap, decay;
  Cast by the husbandman away.
      And sure it is not far!
  For as your fast and foul decays,
  Forerunning the bright morning star,
  Did sadly note his healing rays
  Would shine elsewhere, since you were blind,
  And would be cross, when God was kind,--

3       So by all signs
  Our fulness too is now come in;
  And the same sun, which here declines
  And sets, will few hours hence begin
  To rise on you again, and look
  Towards old Mamre and Eshcol's brook.
        For surely he
  Who loved the world so as to give
  His only Son to make it free,
  Whose Spirit too doth mourn and grieve
  To see man lost, will for old love
  From your dark hearts this veil remove.

4 Faith sojourned first on earth in you,
    You were the dear and chosen stock:
  The arm of God, glorious and true,
    Was first revealed to be your rock.

5 You were the eldest child, and when
    Your stony hearts despised love,
  The youngest, even the Gentiles, then,
    Were cheered your jealousy to move.

6 Thus, righteous Father! dost thou deal
    With brutish men; thy gifts go round
  By turns, and timely, and so heal
    The lost son by the newly found.


PALM-SUNDAY.

1 Come, drop your branches, strew the way,
              Plants of the day!
  Whom sufferings make most green and gay.
  The King of grief, the Man of sorrow,
  Weeping still like the wet morrow,
  Your shades and freshness comes to borrow.

2 Put on, put on your best array;
  Let the joyed road make holyday,
  And flowers, that into fields do stray,
  Or secret groves, keep the highway.

3 Trees, flowers, and herbs; birds, beasts, and stones,
  That since man fell expect with groans
  To see the Lamb, come all at once,
  Lift up your heads and leave your moans;
              For here comes he
              Whose death will be
  Man's life, and your full liberty.

4 Hark! how the children shrill and high
              'Hosanna' cry;
  Their joys provoke the distant sky,
  Where thrones and seraphim reply;
  And their own angels shine and sing,
              In a bright ring:
              Such young, sweet mirth
              Makes heaven and earth
  Join in a joyful symphony.

5 The harmless, young, and happy ass,
  (Seen long before[1] this came to pass,)
  Is in these joys a high partaker,
  Ordained and made to bear his Maker.

6 Dear Feast of Palms, of flowers and dew!
    Whose fruitful dawn sheds hopes and lights;
  Thy bright solemnities did shew
    The third glad day through two sad nights.

7 I'll get me up before the sun,
    I'll cut me boughs off many a tree,
  And all alone full early run
    To gather flowers to welcome thee.

8 Then, like the palm, though wronged I'll bear,
    I will be still a child, still meek
  As the poor ass which the proud jeer,
    And only my dear Jesus seek.

9 If I lose all, and must endure
    The proverbed griefs of holy Job,
  I care not, so I may secure
    But one green branch and a white robe.

[1] Zechariah ix. 9.


PROVIDENCE.

1     Sacred and secret hand!
  By whose assisting, swift command
  The angel showed that holy well
    Which freed poor Hagar from her fears,
    And turned to smiles the begging tears
  Of young, distressed Ishmael.

2     How, in a mystic cloud,
  Which doth thy strange, sure mercies shroud,
  Dost thou convey man food and money,
    Unseen by him till they arrive
    Just at his mouth, that thankless hive,
  Which kills thy bees, and eats thy honey!

3     If I thy servant be,
  Whose service makes even captives free,
  A fish shall all my tribute pay,
    The swift-winged raven shall bring me meat,
    And I, like flowers, shall still go neat,
  As if I knew no month but May.

4     I will not fear what man
  With all his plots and power can.
  Bags that wax old may plundered be;
    But none can sequester or let
    A state that with the sun doth set,
  And comes next morning fresh as he.

5     Poor birds this doctrine sing,
  And herbs which on dry hills do spring,
  Or in the howling wilderness
    Do know thy dewy morning hours,
    And watch all night for mists or showers,
  Then drink and praise thy bounteousness.

6     May he for ever die
  Who trusts not thee, but wretchedly
  Hunts gold and wealth, and will not lend
    Thy service nor his soul one day!
    May his crown, like his hopes, be clay;
  And what he saves may his foes spend!

7     If all my portion here,
  The measure given by thee each year,
  Were by my causeless enemies
    Usurped; it never should me grieve,
    Who know how well thou canst relieve,
  Whose hands are open as thine eyes.

8     Great King of love and truth!
  Who wouldst not hate my froward youth,
  And wilt not leave me when grown old,
    Gladly will I, like Pontic sheep,
    Unto my wormwood diet keep,
  Since thou hast made thy arm my fold.


ST MARY MAGDALENE.

Dear, beauteous saint! more white than day,
When in his naked, pure array;
Fresher than morning-flowers, which shew,
As thou in tears dost, best in dew.
How art thou changed, how lively, fair,
Pleasing, and innocent an air,
Not tutored by thy glass, but free,
Native, and pure, shines now in thee!
But since thy beauty doth still keep
Bloomy and fresh, why dost thou weep?
This dusky state of sighs and tears
Durst not look on those smiling years,
When Magdal-castle was thy seat,
Where all was sumptuous, rare, and neat.
Why lies this hair despised now
Which once thy care and art did show?
Who then did dress the much-loved toy
In spires, globes, angry curls and coy,
Which with skilled negligence seemed shed
About thy curious, wild, young head?
Why is this rich, this pistic nard
Spilt, and the box quite broke and marred?
What pretty sullenness did haste
Thy easy hands to do this waste?
Why art thou humbled thus, and low
As earth thy lovely head dost bow?
Dear soul! thou knew'st flowers here on earth
At their Lord's footstool have their birth;
Therefore thy withered self in haste
Beneath his blest feet thou didst cast,
That at the root of this green tree
Thy great decays restored might be.
Thy curious vanities, and rare
Odorous ointments kept with care,
And dearly bought, when thou didst see
They could not cure nor comfort thee;
Like a wise, early penitent,
Thou sadly didst to him present,
Whose interceding, meek, and calm
Blood, is the world's all-healing balm.
This, this divine restorative
Called forth thy tears, which ran in live
And hasty drops, as if they had
(Their Lord so near) sense to be glad.
Learn, ladies, here the faithful cure
Makes beauty lasting, fresh, and pure;
Learn Mary's art of tears, and then
Say you have got the day from men.
Cheap, mighty art! her art of love,
Who loved much, and much more could move;
Her art! whose memory must last
Till truth through all the world be passed;
Till his abused, despised flame
Return to heaven, from whence it came,
And send a fire down, that shall bring
Destruction on his ruddy wing.
Her art! whose pensive, weeping eyes,
Were once sin's loose and tempting spies;
But now are fixed stars, whose light
Helps such dark stragglers to their sight.

Self-boasting Pharisee! how blind
A judge wert thou, and how unkind!
It was impossible that thou,
Who wert all false, shouldst true grief know.
Is't just to judge her faithful tears
By that foul rheum thy false eye wears?
'This woman,' sayst thou, 'is a sinner!'
And sat there none such at thy dinner?
Go, leper, go! wash till thy flesh
Comes like a child's, spotless and fresh;
He is still leprous that still paints:
Who saint themselves, they are no saints.


THE RAINBOW.

Still young and fine! but what is still in view
We slight as old and soiled, though fresh and new.
How bright wert thou, when Shem's admiring eye
Thy burnished, flaming arch did first descry!
When Terah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
The youthful world's gray fathers in one knot,
Did with intentive looks watch every hour
For thy new light, and trembled at each shower!
When thou dost shine, darkness looks white and fair,
Forms turn to music, clouds to smiles and air:
Rain gently spends his honey-drops, and pours
Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and flowers.
Bright pledge of peace and sunshine! the sure tie
Of thy Lord's hand, the object[1] of his eye!
When I behold thee, though my light be dim,
Distant, and low, I can in thine see him,
Who looks upon thee from his glorious throne,
And minds the covenant 'twixt all and one.
O foul, deceitful men! my God doth keep
His promise still, but we break ours and sleep.
After the fall the first sin was in blood,
And drunkenness quickly did succeed the flood;
But since Christ died, (as if we did devise
To lose him too, as well as paradise,)
These two grand sins we join and act together,
Though blood and drunkenness make but foul, foul weather.
Water, though both heaven's windows and the deep
Full forty days o'er the drowned world did weep,
Could not reform us, and blood in despite,
Yea, God's own blood, we tread upon and slight.
So those bad daughters, which God saved from fire,
While Sodom yet did smoke, lay with their sire.

Then, peaceful, signal bow, but in a cloud
Still lodged, where all thy unseen arrows shroud;
I will on thee as on a comet look,
A comet, the sad world's ill-boding book;
Thy light as luctual and stained with woes
I'll judge, where penal flames sit mixed and close.
For though some think thou shin'st but to restrain
Bold storms, and simply dost attend on rain;
Yet I know well, and so our sins require,
Thou dost but court cold rain, till rain turns fire.

[1] Genesis ix. 16.


THE SEED GROWING SECRETLY.

MARK IV. 26.

1  If this world's friends might see but once
     What some poor man may often feel,
   Glory and gold and crowns and thrones
     They would soon quit, and learn to kneel.

2  My dew, my dew! my early love,
     My soul's bright food, thy absence kills!
   Hover not long, eternal Dove!
     Life without thee is loose and spills.

3  Something I had, which long ago
     Did learn to suck and sip and taste;
   But now grown sickly, sad, and slow,
     Doth fret and wrangle, pine and waste.

4  Oh, spread thy sacred wings, and shake
     One living drop! one drop life keeps!
   If pious griefs heaven's joys awake,
     Oh, fill his bottle! thy child weeps!

5  Slowly and sadly doth he grow,
     And soon as left shrinks back to ill;
   Oh, feed that life, which makes him blow
     And spread and open to thy will!

6  For thy eternal, living wells
     None stained or withered shall come near:
   A fresh, immortal green there dwells,
     And spotless white is all the wear.

7  Dear, secret greenness! nursed below
     Tempests and winds and winter nights!
   Vex not that but One sees thee grow,
     That One made all these lesser lights.

8  If those bright joys he singly sheds
     On thee, were all met in one crown,
   Both sun and stars would hide their heads;
     And moons, though full, would get them down.

9  Let glory be their bait whose minds
     Are all too high for a low cell:
   Though hawks can prey through storms and winds,
     The poor bee in her hive must dwell.

10 Glory, the crowd's cheap tinsel, still
    To what most takes them is a drudge;
   And they too oft take good for ill,
    And thriving vice for virtue judge.

11 What needs a conscience calm and bright
     Within itself an outward test?
   Who breaks his glass to take more light,
     Makes way for storms into his rest.

12 Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
     At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb;
   Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch,
     Till the white-winged reapers come!


CHILDHOOD.

I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
    Were now that chronicle alive,
Those white designs which children drive,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content too in my power,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to heaven.

             Why should men love
A wolf more than a lamb or dove?
Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
Before bright stars and God's own beams?
Who kisseth thorns will hurt his face,
But flowers do both refresh and grace;
And sweetly living (fie on men!)
Are, when dead, medicinal then.
If seeing much should make staid eyes,
And long experience should make wise,
Since all that age doth teach is ill,
Why should I not love childhood still?
Why, if I see a rock or shelf,
Shall I from thence cast down myself,
Or by complying with the world,
From the same precipice be hurled?
Those observations are but foul,
Which make me wise to lose my soul.

And yet the practice worldlings call
Business and weighty action all,
Checking the poor child for his play,
But gravely cast themselves away.

Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span
Where weeping virtue parts with man;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please without self-ends.

An age of mysteries! which he
Must live twice that would God's face see;
Which angels guard, and with it play,
Angels! which foul men drive away.

How do I study now, and scan
Thee more than ere I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and thy bordering light!
Oh for thy centre and mid-day!
For sure that is the narrow way!


ABEL'S BLOOD.

Sad, purple well! whose bubbling eye
Did first against a murderer cry;
Whose streams, still vocal, still complain
      Of bloody Cain;
And now at evening are as red
As in the morning when first shed.
      If single thou,
Though single voices are but low,
Couldst such a shrill and long cry rear
As speaks still in thy Maker's ear,
What thunders shall those men arraign
Who cannot count those they have slain,
Who bathe not in a shallow flood,
But in a deep, wide sea of blood--
A sea whose loud waves cannot sleep,
But deep still calleth upon deep;
Whose urgent sound, like unto that
Of many waters, beateth at
The everlasting doors above,
Where souls behind the altar move,
And with one strong, incessant cry
Inquire 'How long?' of the Most High?
              Almighty Judge!
At whose just laws no just men grudge;
Whose blessed, sweet commands do pour
Comforts and joys and hopes each hour
On those that keep them; oh, accept
Of his vowed heart, whom thou hast kept
From bloody men! and grant I may
That sworn memorial duly pay
To thy bright arm, which was my light
And leader through thick death and night!
              Aye may that flood,
That proudly spilt and despised blood,
Speechless and calm as infants sleep!
Or if it watch, forgive and weep
For those that spilt it! May no cries
From the low earth to high heaven rise,
But what, like his whose blood peace brings,
Shall, when they rise, speak better things
Than Abel's doth! May Abel be
Still single heard, while these agree
With his mild blood in voice and will,
Who prayed for those that did him kill!


RIGHTEOUSNESS.

1 Fair, solitary path! whose blessed shades
    The old, white prophets planted first and dressed;
  Leaving for us, whose goodness quickly fades,
    A shelter all the way, and bowers to rest;

2 Who is the man that walks in thee? who loves
    Heaven's secret solitude, those fair abodes,
  Where turtles build, and careless sparrows move,
    Without to-morrow's evils and future loads?

3 Who hath the upright heart, the single eye,
    The clean, pure hand, which never meddled pitch?
  Who sees invisibles, and doth comply
    With hidden treasures that make truly rich?

4        He that doth seek and love
             The things above,
   Whose spirit ever poor is, meek, and low;
         Who simple still and wise,
             Still homeward flies,
   Quick to advance, and to retreat most slow.

5       Whose acts, words, and pretence
             Have all one sense,
   One aim and end; who walks not by his sight;
        Whose eyes are both put out,
             And goes about
   Guided by faith, not by exterior light.

6       Who spills no blood, nor spreads
             Thorns in the beds
   Of the distressed, hasting their overthrow;
        Making the time they had
             Bitter and sad,
   Like chronic pains, which surely kill, though slow.

7  Who knows earth nothing hath
             Worth love or wrath,
   But in his Hope and Rock is ever glad.
        Who seeks and follows peace,
             When with the ease
   And health of conscience it is to be had.

8  Who bears his cross with joy,
             And doth employ
   His heart and tongue in prayers for his foes;
        Who lends not to be paid,
             And gives full aid
   Without that bribe which usurers impose.

9  Who never looks on man
             Fearful and wan,
   But firmly trusts in God; the great man's measure,
        Though high and haughty, must
             Be ta'en in dust;
   But the good man is God's peculiar treasure.

10 Who doth thus, and doth not
             These good deeds blot
   With bad, or with neglect; and heaps not wrath
        By secret filth, nor feeds
             Some snake, or weeds,
   Cheating himself--That man walks in this path.


JACOB'S PILLOW AND PILLAR.

I see the temple in thy pillar reared,
And that dread glory which thy children feared,
In mild, clear visions, without a frown,
Unto thy solitary self is shown.
'Tis number makes a schism: throngs are rude,
And God himself died by the multitude.
This made him put on clouds, and fire, and smoke;
Hence he in thunder to thy offspring spoke.
The small, still voice at some low cottage knocks,
But a strong wind must break thy lofty rocks.

The first true worship of the world's great King
From private and selected hearts did spring;
But he most willing to save all mankind,
Enlarged that light, and to the bad was kind.
Hence catholic or universal came
A most fair notion, but a very name.
For this rich pearl, like some more common stone,
When once made public, is esteemed by none.
Man slights his Maker when familiar grown,
And sets up laws to pull his honour down.
This God foresaw: and when slain by the crowd,
Under that stately and mysterious cloud
Which his death scattered, he foretold the place
And form to serve him in should be true grace,
And the meek heart; not in a mount, nor at
Jerusalem, with blood of beasts and fat.
A heart is that dread place, that awful cell,
That secret ark, where the mild Dove doth dwell,
When the proud waters rage: when heathens rule
By God's permission, and man turns a mule,
This little Goshen, in the midst of night
And Satan's seat, in all her coasts hath light;
Yea, Bethel shall have tithes, saith Israel's stone,
And vows and visions, though her foes cry, None.
Thus is the solemn temple sunk again
Into a pillar, and concealed from men.
And glory be to his eternal name,
Who is contented that this holy flame
Shall lodge in such a narrow pit, till he
With his strong arm turns our captivity!

But blessed Jacob, though thy sad distress
Was just the same with ours, and nothing less;
For thou a brother, and bloodthirsty too,

Didst fly,[1] whose children wrought thy children's woe:
Yet thou in all thy solitude and grief,
On stones didst sleep, and found'st but cold relief;
Thou from the Day-star a long way didst stand,
And all that distance was law and command.
But we a healing Sun, by day and night,
Have our sure guardian and our leading light.
What thou didst hope for and believe we find
And feel, a Friend most ready, sure, and kind.
Thy pillow was but type and shade at best,
But we the substance have, and on him rest.

[1] Obadiah 10; Amos i, 11.


THE FEAST.

1          Oh, come away,
           Make no delay,
   Come while my heart is clean and steady!
           While faith and grace
           Adorn the place,
   Making dust and ashes ready!

2          No bliss here lent
           Is permanent,
   Such triumphs poor flesh cannot merit;
           Short sips and sights
           Endear delights:
   Who seeks for more he would inherit.

3          Come then, true bread,
           Quickening the dead,
   Whose eater shall not, cannot die!
           Come, antedate
           On me that state,
   Which brings poor dust the victory.

4          Aye victory,
           Which from thine eye
   Breaks as the day doth from the east,
           When the spilt dew
           Like tears doth shew
   The sad world wept to be released.

5          Spring up, O wine,
           And springing shine
   With some glad message from his heart,
           Who did, when slain,
           These means ordain
   For me to have in him a part!

6          Such a sure part
           In his blest heart,
   The well where living waters spring,
           That, with it fed,
           Poor dust, though dead,
   Shall rise again, and live, and sing.

7          O drink and bread,
           Which strikes death dead,
   The food of man's immortal being!
           Under veils here
           Thou art my cheer,
   Present and sure without my seeing.

8          How dost thou fly
           And search and pry
   Through all my parts, and, like a quick
           And knowing lamp,
           Hunt out each damp,
   Whose shadow makes me sad or sick!

9          O what high joys!
           The turtle's voice
   And songs I hear! O quickening showers
           Of my Lord's blood,
           You make rocks bud,
   And crown dry hills with wells and flowers!

10         For this true ease,
           This healing peace,
   For this [brief] taste of living glory,
           My soul and all,
           Kneel down and fall,
   And sing his sad victorious story!

11         O thorny crown,
           More soft than down!
   O painful cross, my bed of rest!
           O spear, the key
           Opening the way!
   O thy worst state, my only best!

12         O all thy griefs
           Are my reliefs,
   As all my sins thy sorrows were!
           And what can I,
           To this reply?
   What, O God! but a silent tear?

13         Some toil and sow
           That wealth may flow,
   And dress this earth for next year's meat:
           But let me heed
           Why thou didst bleed,
   And what in the next world to eat.

'Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the
Lamb.'--Rev. xix. 9.


THE WATERFALL.

With what deep murmurs, through time's silent stealth,
Does thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth
          Here flowing fall,
          And chide and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue staid
Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid;
          The common pass,
          Where, clear as glass,
          All must descend,
          Not to an end,
But quickened by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.

  Dear stream! dear bank! where often I
  Have sat, and pleased my pensive eye;
  Why, since each drop of thy quick store
  Runs thither whence it flowed before,
  Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
  Who came (sure) from a sea of light?
  Or, since those drops are all sent back
  So sure to thee that none doth lack,
  Why should frail flesh doubt any more
  That what God takes he'll not restore?

  O useful element and clear!
  My sacred wash and cleanser here;
  My first consigner unto those
  Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes!
  What sublime truths and wholesome themes
  Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams!
  Such as dull man can never find,
  Unless that Spirit lead his mind,
  Which first upon thy face did move
  And hatched all with his quickening love.
  As this loud brook's incessant fall
  In streaming rings re-stagnates all,
  Which reach by course the bank, and then
  Are no more seen: just so pass men.
  O my invisible estate,
  My glorious liberty, still late!
  Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
  Not this with cataracts and creeks.



DR JOSEPH BEAUMONT.


This writer, though little known, appears to us to stand as high almost
as any name in the present volume, and we are proud to reprint here some
considerable specimens of his magnificent poetry.

Joseph Beaumont was sprung from a collateral branch of the ancient
family of the Beaumonts, that family from which sprung Sir John Beaumont,
the author of 'Bosworth Field,' and Francis Beaumont, the celebrated
dramatist. He was born at Hadleigh, in Suffolk. Of his early life nothing
is known. He received his education at Cambridge, where, during the Civil
War, he was fellow and tutor of Peterhouse. Ejected by the Republicans
from his offices, he retired to Hadleigh, and spent his time in the com-
position of his _magnum opus_, 'Psyche.' This poem appeared in 1648; and
in 1702, three years after the author's death, his son published a second
edition, with numerous corrections, and the addition of four cantos by the
author. Beaumont also wrote several minor pieces in English and Latin, a
controversial tract in reply to Henry More's 'Mystery of Godliness,' and
several theological works which are still in MS., according to a provision
in his will to that effect. Peace and perpetuity to their slumbers!

After the Restoration, our author was not only reinstated in his former
situations, but received from his patron, Bishop Wren, several valuable
pieces of preferment besides. Afterwards, he exercised successively the
offices of Master of Jesus and of Peterhouse, and was King's Professor
of Divinity from 1670 to 1699. In the latter year he died.

While praising the genius of Beaumont, we are far from commending his
'Psyche,' either as an artistic whole, or as a readable book. It is,
sooth to say, a dull allegory, in twenty-four immense cantos, studded
with the rarest beauties. It is considerably longer than the 'Faery
Queen,' nearly four times the length of the 'Paradise Lost,' and five or
six times as long as the 'Excursion.' To read it through now-a-days were
to perform a purgatorial penance. But the imagination and fancy are
Spenserian, his colouring is often Titianesque in gorgeousness, and his
pictures of shadows, abstractions, and all fantastic forms, are so
forcible as to seem to start from the canvas. In painting the beautiful,
his verse becomes careless and flowing as a loosened zone; in painting
the frightful and the infernal, his language, like his feeling, seems to
curdle and stiffen in horror, as where, speaking of Satan, he says--

    'His tawny teeth
  Were ragged grown, by endless _gnashing at
  The dismal riddle of his living death._'

The 'Psyche' may be compared to a palace of Fairyland, where successive
doors fly open to the visitor--one revealing a banqueting-room filled
with the materials of exuberant mirth; another, an enchanted garden,
with streams stealing from grottos, and nymphs gliding through groves;
a third conducting you to a dungeon full of dead men's bones and all
uncleanness; a fourth, to a pit which seems the mouth of hell, and
whence cries of torture come up, shaking the smoke that ascendeth up for
ever and ever; and a fifth, to the open roof, over which the stars are
seen bending, and the far-off heavens are opening in glory; and of these
doors there is no end. We saw, when lately in Copenhagen, the famous
tower of the Trinity Church, remarkable for the grand view commanded
from the summit, and for the broad spiral ascent winding within it
almost to the top, up which it is said Peter the Great, in 1716, used to
drive himself and his Empress in a coach-and-four. It was curious to
feel ourselves ascending on a path nearly level, and without the