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expression is preserved throughout along with the forms of speech, as well as of thought, natural to the rustic narrator:—
I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
At Charing-Cross, hard by the way
Amongst the rest, one pestilent fine
At course-a-park, withouten doubt,
But wot you what? The youth was going
The maid—and thereby hangs a tale—
* The present Northumberland House, then called Suffolk House, the seat of the lady's father.
Could ever yet produce;
Nor half so full of juice.
Her finger was so small, the ring
Her feet beneath her petticoat
He would have kissed her once or twice,
Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
Her lips were red, and one was thin
* It was formerly believed that the sun danced on Easterday. See Brand, “Popular Antiquities” (edit. of 1841) I. 95; where the present verse is strangely quoted in illustration of this popular notion from “a rare book entitled ‘Recreation for Ingenious Head Pieces,’ &c., 8vo, Lon. 1667.”
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.
Passion o’ me ! how I run on 1
Just in the nick the cook knocked thrice,
When all the meat was on the table,
Now hats fly off, and youths carouse;
O' the sudden up they rise and dance;
By this time all were stolen aside
But that he must not know :
Above an hour or so.
When in he came, Dick, there she lay,
But, just as heavens would have to cross it,
To this date belongs a remarkable poem, the ‘Cooper's Hill' of Sir John Denham, first published in 1642. It immediately drew universal attention. Denham, however, had the year before made himself known as a poet by his tragedy of The Sophy, on the appearance of which Waller remarked that he had broken out like the Irish rebellion, threescore thousand strong, when nobody was aware or in the least suspected it. Cooper's Hill may be considered as belonging in point of composition to the same school with Sir John Davies's Nosce Teipsum ; and, if it has not all the concentration of that poem, it is equally pointed, correct, and stately, with, partly owing to the subject, a warmer tone of imagination and feeling, and a fuller swell of verse. The spirit of the same classical style pervades both; and they are the two greatest
poems in that style which had been produced down to the date at which we are now arrived. Denham is the author of a number of other compositions in verse, and especially of some songs and other shorter pieces, several of which are very spirited; but the fame of his principal poem has thrown everything else he has written into the shade. It is remarkable that many biographical notices of this poet make him to have survived nearly till the Revolution, and relate various stories of the miseries of his protracted old age; when the fact is, that he died in 1668, at the age of fifty-three.*
But, of all the cavalier poets, the one who did his cause the heartiest and stoutest service, and who, notwithstanding much carelessness or ruggedness of execution, possessed perhaps, even considered simply as a poet, the richest and most various faculty, was John Cleveland, the most popular verse-writer of his own day, the most neglected of all his contemporaries ever since. Among the one hundred and sixty-one poets, from Robert of Gloucester to Sir Francis Fane, whose choicest relics
* The readers of the ‘Mémoires de Grammont” will remember the figure he makes in that work, where he is described as “Le Chevalier Denham, comblé de richesses, aussi bien que d’années,” and as having for the first time entered into the marriage state, at the age of seventy-nine, with Miss Brook, a famous court beauty, then only eighteen. The fact is, that this was a second marriage, and that, whatever was the lady's age, Denham himself was then only about fifty. His load of riches is probably as much exaggerated by the lively historian of the Comte de Grammont as his load of years.