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a handsome man, and a rare full voice, he presently vended a great many, and had a great audience.” Aubrey had heard, however, that as a bishop “he had an admirable grave and venerable aspect.” Corbet's poetry, too, is a mixture or alternation of gravity and drollery. But it is the subject or occasion, rather than the style or manner, that makes the difference; he never rises to any thing higher than wit; and he is as witty in his elegies as in his ballads. As that ingredient, however, is not so suitable for the former as for the latter, his graver performances are worth very little. Nor is his merriment of a high order; when it is most elaborate it is strained and fantastic, and when more natural it is apt to run into buffoonery. But much of his verse, indeed, is merely prose in rhyme, and very indifferent rhyme for the most part. His happiest effusions are the two that are best known, his Journey into France and his ballad of The Fairies' Farewell. IIis longest and most curious poem is his Iter Boreale, describing a journey which he took in company with other three university men, probably about 1620, from Oxford as far north as Newark and back again. Two lines in this piece might almost pass for having suggested Byron's couplet in Don Juan, Let not a monument give you or me hopes, Since not a pinch of dust remains of Cheops: Corbet, moralizing upon the tombless grave of Wolsey at Leicester, exclaims:— * If thou art thus neglected, what shall we Hope after death, who are but shreds of thee ? At a village near Loughborough our travellers were obliged to procure a guide to conduct them through the intricacies of that unknown country to Bosworth ; and next morning the landlord of the inn in which they passed the night in the latter town mounted his horse and accompanied them to the neighbouring battle-field. Then comes a passage of some interest:—

Mine host was full of ale and history;
And on the morrow, when he brought us nigh
Where the two Roses joined, you would suppose
Chaucer ne'er made the Romaunt of the Rose.
Hear him—‘See ye yon wood? There Richard lay
With his whole army: look the other way,
And to where Richmond in a bed of gorse
Encamped himself ere night, and all his force.
Upon this hill they met.’ Why, he could tell
The inch where Richmond stood, where Richard fell.
Beside what of his knowledge he could say,
He had authentic notice from the play;
Which I might guess by his mustering up the ghosts
And policies not incident to hosts;
But chiefly by that one perspicuous thing,
Where he mistook a player for a king;
For when he would have said, King Richard died,
And called—A horse! a horse! he Burbage cried.

From this passage we learn, not only, as has been remarked, that Shakspeare's Richard III. was originally represented by the famous fellow-actor of the poet, Richard Burbage, but also that both the play and the performers were already familiarly known in the country as well as in London. It may be supposed indeed that the town of Bosworth would be one of the first places in which this particular drama was represented out of the metropolis. . As a sample of Corbet's humour, we may give his description of the landlady of their inn at Warwick :

Oh, there an hostess was,
To whom the Castle and the Dun Cow are
Sights after dinner; she is morning ware.

Her whole behaviour borrowed was and mixed,
Half fool, half puppet, and her face betwixt
Measure and jig; her curtsey was an honour;
Her gait, as if her neighbour had outgone her.
She was barred up in whalebones, which do leese
None of the whale's length, for they reached her knees.
Off with her head, and then she hath a middle :
As her waist stands she looks like the new fiddle,
The favourite Theorbo, truth to tell ye,
Whose neck and throat are deeper than the belly.
Have you seen monkeys chained about the loins,
Or pottle-pots with rings? Just so she joins
Herself together: a dressing she doth love
In a small print below and text above.
What though her name be King, yet ’tis no treason,
Nor breach of statute, for to ask the reason
Of her branched ruff, a cubit every poke.
I seem to wound her, but she strook the stroke
At our departure; and our worships there
Paid for our titles dear as any where.

This, then, was harder fortune than they met with in a previous instance, where, if the charge was rather high, the personal attractions of the landlady afforded some compensation in the eyes of the four Oxford clerks:—

'Twas quickly morning, though by our short stay
We could not find that we had less to pay.
All travellers, this heavy judgment hear:-
A handsome hostess makes the reckoning dear;
Her smiles, her words, your purses must requite 'em,
And every welcome from her adds an item.

We will add the picture of a dignified clergyman, well

beneficed and well fed, whom they met in the company of Sir Fulk Greville (soon after created Lord Brooke)


Warwick Castle, and who is understood to be the

Reverend Samuel Burton, Archdeacon of Gloucester:—

With him there was a prelate, by his place
Archdeacon to the bishop, by his face
A greater man; for that did counterfect
Lord abbott of some covent standing yet;

A corpulent relique; marry and ’tis sin
Some puritan gets not his face called in:
Amongst lean brethren it may scandal bring,
Who seek for parity in every thing.
For us, let him enjoy all that God sends,
Plenty of flesh, of livings, and of friends.

There was not a drop of gall in the merry-hearted bishop; but, as may be supposed, he had but small respect for puritans or puritanism, and he never loses an opportunity of a good-natured gibe at them or it.


Both our poetry and our prose eloquence continued to be generally infected by the spirit of quaintness and conceit, or over-refinement and subtlety of thought, for nearly a century after the first introduction among us of that fashion of writing. Even some of the highest minds did not entirely escape the contagion. If nothing of it is to be found in Spenser or Milton, neither Shakspeare nor Bacon is altogether free from it. Of our writers of an inferior order, it took captive not only the greater number, but some of the greatest, who lived and wrote from the middle of the reign of Elizabeth to nearly the middle of that of Charles II.-from Bishop Andrews, whom we have already mentioned in prose, and Donne both in prose and verse, to Cowley inclusive. The style in question appears to have been borrowed from Italy; it came in, at least, with the study and imitation of the Italian poetry, being caught apparently from the school of Petrarch, or rather of his later followers, about the same time that a higher inspiration was drawn from Tasso and Ariosto. It is observable that the species or departments of our poetry which it chiefly invaded were those which have always been more or less influenced by foreign models: it made comparatively little impression upon our dramatic poetry, the most truly native portion of our literature; but our lyrical and elegiac, our didactic and satirical verse, was overrun and materially modified by it, as we have said, for nearly a whole century. The return to a more natural manner, however, was begun to be made long before the expiration of that term. And, as we had received the malady from one foreign literature, so we were indebted for the cure to another. It is commonly assumed that our modern English poetry first evinced a disposition to imitate that of France after the Restoration. But the truth is that the influence of French literature had begun to be felt by our own at a considerably earlier date. The court of Charles I. was far from being so thoroughly French as that of Charles II. ; but the connexion established between the two kingdoms through Queen Henrietta could not fail to produce a partial imitation of French models both in writing and in other things. The distinguishing characteristic of French poetry (and in- . deed of French art generally), neatness in the dressing of the thought, had already been carried to considerable height by Malherbe, Racan, Malleville, and others; and these writers are doubtless to be accounted the true fathers of our own Waller, Carew, Lovelace, and Suckling, who all began to write about this time, and whose verses may be said to have first exemplified in our lighter poetry what may be done by correct and natural expression, smoothness of flow, and all that lies in the ars celare artem—the art of making art itself seem nature. Of the four, Waller was perhaps first in the field;

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