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Title: Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Volume 1
Author: Gilfillan, George, 1813-1878 [Editor]
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

With an 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to have superseded the old Gaelic speech, and could not stand its ground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

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

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

  '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 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
[9] 'Alurs:' walks made within the battlements of the castle.
[10] 'Extë dayës:' high, or chief days.


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.


  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:--


  '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.


  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
[24] 'To:' till.
[25] 'With:' by.


  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
[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:--


  '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:--


  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:--


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


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.


       *       *       *       *       *


  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

  Apostrophe to Freedom
  Death of Sir Henry de Bohun


  Battle of Black-Earnside
  The Death of Wallace

  Description of the King's Mistress


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


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

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

  Morning in May


  To Miss Margaret Hussey

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

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



  Allegorical Characters from 'The Mirror of Magistrates'
  Henry Duke of Buckingham in the Infernal Regions

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

  To Sleep

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

  The Nymphs to their May-Queen

  In praise of the renowned Lady Aime, Countess of Warwick

  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

       *       *       *       *       *



  To Ben Jonson
  On the Tombs in Westminster
  An Epitaph

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

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

  Address to the Nightingale

  Thanks for a Summer's Day


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

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

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

  Holy Sonnets
  The Progress of the Soul

  Description of Morning

  Rinaldo at Mount Olivet

  Farewell to the Vanities of the World
  A Meditation

  Dr Corbet's Journey into France

  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


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

  On Melancholy

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

  A Ballad upon a Wedding

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

  Power of Genius over Envy
  From 'Britannia's Pastorals'
  A Descriptive Sketch


  The River of Forth Feasting
  Spiritual Poems

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

       *       *       *       *       *



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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.


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.


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.


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


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

  '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.'


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.


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.


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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

  '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 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.


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.


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.

       *       *       *       *       *


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.


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.

       *       *       *       *       *


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.

       *       *       *       *       *


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.

       *       *       *       *       *


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


*     *     *     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.


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.


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.


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_.



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.

       *       *       *       *       *
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]
       *       *       *       *       *


'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]


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.


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]


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]


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]


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.
       *       *       *       *       *


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.

       *       *       *       *       *
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.
       *       *       *       *       *


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
[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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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

 '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.


  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,
  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.


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

  '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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.'


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

       *       *       *       *       *




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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

       *       *       *       *       *


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.


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.


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.'


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.



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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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

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

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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.'


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.


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.'


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.



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 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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



_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.


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.


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.'


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


'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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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

  '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.'



_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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.'


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.



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.


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.


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!'


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.


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.


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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  '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.


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