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Sylvester's translation of Dubartas appeared in 1598. Some of his original pieces have quaint titles, such as were then affected by many authors; for example : Lachrymæ Lachrymarum, or the Spirit of Teares distilled for the ontymely Death of the incomparable Prince Panaretus (Henry, son of King James I.), 1012; Tobacco Battered and the Pipes Shattered about their Eares, that idely Idolize so base and barbarous a Weed, or at least overlove so loathsome a Vanity, by a Volley of Holy Shot thundered from Mount Helicon, 1615.
Though art's hid causes are not found,
Hymn to Diana.– From 'Cynthia's Revels.' Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep ; Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep. Hesperus entreats thy light, Goddess excellently bright ! Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose ;
Heaven to clear when day did close ;
And thy crystal shining quiver :
Space to breathe, how short soever ; Thou that mak'st a day of night, Goddess excellently bright!
BEN JONSON. In 1616, BEN JONSON collected the plays he had then written, adding at the same time a book of epigrams and a number of poems, which he entitled The Forest and The Underwood. The whole were comprised in one folio volume, which Jonson dignified with the title of his Works, a circumstance which exposed him to the ridicule of some of his contemporaries.* There is much delicacy of fancy, fine feeling, and sentiment in some of Jonson's lyrical and descriptive effusions. He grafted a classic grace and musical expression on parts of his masks and interludes, which could hardly have been expected from his massive and ponderous hand. In some of his songs he equals Carew and Herrick in picturesque images, and in portraying the fascinations of love. A taste for nature is strongly displayed in his fine lines on Penshurst, that ancient seat of the Sidneys. It has been justly remarked by one of his critics, that Jonson's dramas'do not lead us to value highly enough his admirable taste and feeling in poetry; and when we consider how many other intellectual excellences distinguished him-wit, observation, judgment, memory, learning--we must acknowledge that the inscription on his tomb, “O rare Ben Jonson !” is not more pithy than it is true.'
To Celia.- From "The Forest.'
And I will pledge with mine ;
And I'll not look for wine.
Doth ask a drink divine ;
I would not change for thine.
Not so much honouring thee,
It could not withered be.
And sent'st it back to me;
Not of itself, but thee.
Still to be neat, still to be drest,
To Night.- From 'The Vision of Delight.' Break, Phantasy, from thy cave of cloud,
And spread thy purple wings; Now all thy figures are allowed,
And various shapes of things;
To all the senses here,
Or music in their ear.
Song:- From' The Forest.' Oh, do not wanton with those eyes,
Lest I be sick with seeing ; Nor cast them down, but let them rise,
Lest shame destroy their being.
Oh, be not angry with those fires,
For then their threats will kill me ; Nor look too kind on my desires,
For then my hopes will spill me. Oh, do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me; Nor spread them as distraught with fears ;
Mine own enough betray me.
* An epigram addressed to him on the subject is as follows:
Pray tell us, Ben, where does the mystery lurk ?
What others call a play, you call a work. On behalf of Jonson an answer was returned, which seems to glance at the labour which Jonson bestowed on all his productions:
The author's friend thus for the author says-
Good Life, Long Life. It is not growing like a tree In bulk, doth make man better be, Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear.
A lily of a day
Is fairer far, in May,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed : Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke,
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies, and the tops Underneath this sable hearse
Fertile of wood. Ashore, and Sidney's copse, Lies the subject of all verse,
To crown thy open table, doth provide Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother.
The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side:
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be killed.
And if the high-swoln Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds that pay thee tribute fish, Epitaph on Elizabeth, L. H.
Fat, aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loath the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously, at first, themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land, Underneath this stone doth lie
Before the fisher, or into his hand. As much beauty as could die ;
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 reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down; Than that it lived at all. Farewell!
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, Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make Mary, the daughter of their youth :
The better cheeses, bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands; and whose baskets bear At six months' end, she parted hence
An emblem of themselves, in plum or pear. With safety of her innocence ;
But what can this—more than express their loveWhose soul Heaven's queen-whose name she bears In comfort of her mother's tears,
Add to thy free provisions, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow Hath placed among her virgin train :
With all that hospitality doth know! ... Where, while that severed doth remain,
Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee This grave partakes the fleshly birth,
With other edifices, when they see Which, cover lightly, gentle earth.
Those proud ambitious heaps, and nothing else,
May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells. To Penshurst.* Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show Of touch or marble ; nor canst boast a row
To the Memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr William Of polished pillars or a roof of gold :
Shakspeare, and what he hath left us. Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told ;
To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name, Or stair, or courts; but stand’st an ancient pile,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame; And these grudged at are reverenced the while.
While I confess thy writings to be such Thou joy'st in better marks of soil and air,
As neither man nor Muse can praise too much. Of wood, of water ; therein thou art fair.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport;
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise; Thy mount to which the Dryads do resort,
For seeliest ignorance on these would light, Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right : Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance That taller tree which of a nut was set
The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance; At his great birth where all the Muses met.
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
And think to ruin, where it seemed to raise. Of many a silvan token with his flames.
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed, And thence the ruddy Satyrs oft provoke
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need. The lighter Fauns to reach thy Ladies' Oak.
I therefore will begin : Soul of the age ! Thy copse, too, named of Gamage, thou hast here,
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage ! That never fails, to serve thee, seasoned deer,
My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by When thou wouldst feast or exercise thy friends.
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie The lower land that to the river bends,
A little further off, to make thee room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb, * Penshurst is situated in Kent, near Tunbridge, in a wide and And art alive still, while thy book doth live, rich valley. The gray walls and turrets of the old mansion, its high peaked and red roofs, and the new buildings of fresh stone,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give. mingled with the ancient fabric, present a very striking and vener
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, It is a fitting abode for the noble Sidneys. The I mean with great but disproportioned Muses: park contains trees of enormous growth, and others to which past
For if I thought my judgment were of years, events and characters have given an everlasting interest; as Sir Philip Sidney's Oak, Saccharissa's Walk, Gamage's Bower, &c.
I should commit thee surely with thy peers, The ancient massy oak-tables remain : and from Jonson's de- And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine, scription of the hospitality of the family, they must often have
Or sporting Kyd or Marlowe's mighty line. ‘groaned with the weight of the feast.' Mr William Howitt has given an interesting account of Penshurst in his Visits to Remark- And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek, able Places, 1840.
From thence to honour thee I will not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus, ing the family estate of Grace Dieu, in LeicesterEuripides, and Sophocles to us,
shire, Sir John dedicated part of his leisure hours Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
to the service of the Muses. He wrote a poem To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
on Bosworth Field in the heroic couplet, which, And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
though generally cold and unimpassioned, exLeave thee alone for the comparison
hibits correct and forcible versification. As a Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
specimen, we subjoin Richard's address to his Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to shew,
troops on the eve of the decisive battle : To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
My fellow-soldiers ! though your swords
Are sharp, and need not whetting by my words,
Yet call to mind the many glorious days When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
In which we treasured up immortal praise. Our ears, or like a Mercury, to charm !
If, when I served, I ever fled from foe, Nature herself was proud of his designs,
Fly ye from mine-let me be punished so! And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
But if my father, when at first he tried Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
How all his sons could shining blades abide, As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
Found me an eagle whose undazzled eyes The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Affront the beams that from the steel arise ; Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
And if I now in action teach the same, But antiquated and deserted lie,
Know, then, ye have but changed your general's name. As they were not of nature's family.
Be still yourselves! Ye fight against the dross Yet must I not give nature all ; thy art,
Of those who oft have run from you with loss. My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
How many Somersets (dissension's brands) For though the poet's matter nature be,
Have felt the force of our revengeful hands? His art doth give the fashion ; and, that he
From whom this youth, as from a princely flood, Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
Derives his best but not untainted blood. Such as thine are—and strike the second heat
Have our assaults made Lancaster to droop? Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And shall this Welshman with his ragged troop, And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Subdue the Norman and the Saxon line, Or for the laurel, he may gain a scom;
That only Merlin may be thought divine ? For a good poet's made as well as born.
See what a guide these fugitives have chose ! And such wert thou! Look how the father's face
Who, bred among the French, our ancient foes, Lives in his issue, even so the race
Forgets the English language, and the ground, Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
And knows not what our drums and trumpets sound ! In his well-turned and true-filed lines : In each of which he seems to shake a lance, As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sir John Beaumont wrote the heroic couplet Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
with great ease and correctness. In a poem to To see thee in our waters yet appear,
the memory of Ferdinando Pulton, Esq. are the And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
following excellent verses : That so did take Eliza and our James !
Why should vain sorrow follow him with tears, But stay; I see thee in the hemisphere
Who shakes off burdens of declining years? Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Whose thread exceeds the usual bounds of life, Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and, with rage
And feels no stroke of any fatal knife? Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
The destinies enjoin their wheels to run, Which since thy flight from hence hath mourned like
Until the length of his whole course be spun. night,
No envious clouds obscure his struggling light, And despairs day, but for thy volume's light !
Which sets contented at the point of night :
Yet this large time no greater profit brings,
Than every little moment whence it springs ;
Must wear out many years and live few days.
Time flows from instants, and of these each one It was for gentle Shakspeare cut,
Should be esteemed as if it were alone. Wherein the graver had a strife
The shortest space, which we so lightly prize With nature, to outdo the life :
When it is coming, and before our eyes, O could he but have drawn his wit,
Let it but slide into the eternal main, As well in brass, as he hath hit
No realms, no worlds, can purchase it again : His face, the print would then surpass
Remembrance only makes the footsteps last, All that was ever writ in brass :
When winged time, which fixed the prints, is past.
FRANCIS BEAUMONT (1586–1616), whose name SIR, JOHN BEAUMONT (1582–1628) was the is most conspicuous as a dramatist, in union with elder brother of the celebrated dramatist. Enjoy- that of Fletcher, wrote a small number of miscel
laneous pieces, which his brother published after This attestation of Ben Jonson to the first engraved portrait his death. Some of these youthful effusions are of Shakspeare, seems to prove its fidelity as a likeness. T'he portrait corresponds with the monumental effigy at Stratford, but witty and amusing; others possess a lyrical sweetboth represent a heavy and somewhat inelegant figure. There is, ness; and a few are grave and moralising. The and much sweetness in the mouth and lips. The upper part of the most celebrated is the letter to Ben Jonson, which head is bald, and the lofty forehead is conspicuous in both, as in was originally published at the end of the play the Chandos and other pictures. The general resemblance we Nice Valour, with the following title: 'Mr Francis have no doubt is correct, but considerable allowance must be made Beaumont's Letter to Ben Jonson, written before for the defective state of English art at this period.
he and Master Fletcher came to London, with Only some fellows with the subtlest pate, two of the precedent Comedies then not finished, Amongst us, may perchance equivocate which deferred their merry-meetings at the Mer- At selling of a horse, and that's the most. maid.' Notwithstanding the admiration of Beau
Methinks the little wit I had is lost mont for “Rare Ben,' he copied Shakspeare in the
Since I saw you ; for wit is like a rest style of his dramas. Fletcher, however, was still
Held up at tennis, which men do the best,
With the best gamesters. What things have we seen more Shakspearian than his associate. Hazlitt
Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been says finely of the premature death of Beaumont
So nimble, and so full of subtile flame, and his more poetical friend : 'The bees were
As if that every one from whence they came said to have come and built their hive in the
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest, mouth of Plato when a child; and the fable might And had resolved to live a fool the rest be transferred to the sweeter accents of Beaumont Of his dull life : then when there had been thrown and Fletcher. Beaumont died at the age of five- Wit able enough to justify the town and-twenty (thirty). One of these writers makes For three days past; wit that might warrant be Bellario, the page, say to Philaster, who threatens
For the whole city to talk foolishly to take his life :
Till that were cancelled ; and when that was gone,
We left an air behind us, which alone 'Tis not a life,
Was able to make the two next companies 'Tis but a piece of childhood thrown away. Right witty; though but downright fools, mere wise. But here was youth, genius, aspiring hope, growing
On the Tombs in Westminster, reputation, cut off like a flower in its summer pride, or like "the lily on its stalk green," which makes Mortality, behold and fear ; us repine at fortune, and almost at nature, that What a change of flesh is here ! seem to set so little store by their greatest favour- Think how many royal bones ites. The life of poets is, or ought to be—judging
Sleep within this heap of stones ! of it from the light it lends to ours—a golden
Here they lie, had realms and lands, dream, full of brightness and sweetness, lapt in
Who now want strength to stir their hands; Elysium; and it gives one a reluctant pang to see
Where, from their pulpits sealed with dust, the splendid vision, by which they are attended in
They preach, ‘In greatness is no trust!'
Here's an acre sown indeed their path of glory, fade like a vapour, and their With the richest, royalest seed, sacred heads laid low in ashes, before the sand
That the earth did e'er suck in of common mortals has run out. Fletcher, too, Since the first man died for sin. was prematurely cut off by the plague.'*
Here the bones of birth have cried,
'Though gods they were, as men they died.' From Letter to Ben Jonson.
Here are wands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruined sides of kings. The sun-which doth the greatest comfort bring
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 : Drink apt to bring in drier heresies
The rigid Spartan that denied Than beer, good only for the sonnet's strain,
An epitaph to all that died, With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
Unless for war, in charity So mixed, that, given to the thirstiest one,
Would here vouchsafe an elegy. 'Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
She died a wife, but yet her mind, I think, with one draught man's invention fades :
Beyond virginity refined, Two cups had quite spoiled Homer's Iliades.
From lawless fire remained as free 'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
As now from heat her ashes be. Lie where he will, and make him write worse yet ;
Keep well this pawn, thou marble chest ; Filled with such moisture in most grievous qualms,
Till it be called for, let it rest; Did Robert Wisdom write his singing psalms;
For while this jewel here is set,
The grave is like a cabinet.
SIR HENRY WOTTON.
SIR HENRY WOTTON-less famed as a poet For we do live more free than you ; no hate,
than as a political character in the reigns of ElizaNo envy at one another's happy state,
beth and James I.—was born at Bocton Hall, the Moves us ; we are all equal : every whit
seat of his ancestors, in Kent, in 1568. After reOf land that God gives men here is their wit,
ceiving his education at Winchester and Oxford, If we consider fully ; for our best
and travelling for some years on the continent, And gravest men will with their main house-jest
he attached himself to the service of the Earl of Scarce please you ; we want subtilty to do The city tricks, lie, hate, and flatter too.
Essex, the favourite of Elizabeth, but had the Here are none that can bear a painted show,
sagacity to foresee the fate of that nobleman, and Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow;
to elude its consequences by withdrawing in time Who, like mills, set the right way for to grind,
from the kingdom. Having afterwards gained the Can make their gains alike with every wind;
friendship of King James, by communicating the
secret of a conspiracy formed against him, while * Lectures on the Age of Elizabeth.
yet only king of Scotland, he was employed by 112
that monarch, when he ascended the English throne, as ambassador to Venice. A versatile To his Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia (1620). and lively mind qualified Sir Henry in an eminent degree for this situation, of the duties of which
You meaner beauties of the night, we have his own idea in the well-known punning
That poorly satisfy our eyes expression, in which he defines an ambassador to
More by your number than your light,
You common people of the skies, be an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for
What are you, when the moon shall rise ? the good of his country.' He ultimately took orders, to qualify himself to be provost of Eton You curious chanters of the wood, College, in which situation he died in 1639, in the That warble forth Dame Nature's lays, seventy-second year of his age. While resident Thinking your passions understood abroad, he embodied the result of his inquiries By your weak accents! what's your praise into political affairs in a work called The State of When Philomel her voice shall raise ? Christendom; or a most Exact and Curious Dis
You violets that first appear, covery of many Secret Passages and Hidden Mysteries of the Times. This, however, was not
By your pure purple mantles known,
Like the proud virgins of the year, printed till after his death. In 1624, while provost
As if the spring were all your own! of Eton, he published Elements of Architecture,
What are you, when the rose is blown? then the best work on that subject. His writings were published in 1651, under the title of Reliquiæ So, when my mistress shall be seen Wottonianæ; and a memoir of his very curious In form and beauty of her mind; life has been published by Izaak Walton. The By virtue first, then choice, a Queen ! latest editor of Wotton's poems (Mr Hannah) Tell me, if she were not designed states that none of Sir Henry's pieces have been Th' eclipse and glory of her kind ? traced to an earlier date than 1602, but when very young, he wrote a tragedy, called 'Tancredo. He was a scholar and patron of men of letters rather
LORD BROOKE. than an author, and his enthusiastic praise of Milton's Comus-a copy of which the poet had FULKE GREVILLE, LORD BROOKE (1554-1628), sent to him-reflects credit on his taste. Not less was a thoughtful, sententious author both in prose characteristic is his advice to Milton, when he and verse, though nearly all his productions were went to Italy, to 'keep his thoughts close, and his unpublished till after his death. He lived in the countenance loose ;' an axiom which Sir Henry reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles I. In the had learned from an old courtier, but which Milton government of Elizabeth he was Treasurer of was of all men the least likely to put in practice. Marine Causes; and in that of James, Chancellor Sir Henry appears to have been an easy, amiable of the Exchequer and a Privy-councillor. He man, an angler, and an 'undervaluer of money,' was raised to the peerage by King James in the as Walton—who boasts of having fished and con- year 1620. Lord Brooke was in 1628 stabbed to versed with him-relates. His poems are marked | death by an old servant, who had found he was by a fine vein of feeling and happy expression. not mentioned in his master's will ; the man,
struck with remorse, then slew himself. Lord
Brooke's tomb may still be seen in the church at The Character of a Happy Life (1614). Warwick, with the emphatic inscription written How happy is he born and taught,
by himself : ‘Fulke Greville, servant to Queen That serveth not another's will;
Elizabeth, counsellor to King James, friend to Sir Whose armour is his honest thought,
Philip Sidney. The poems of Lord Brooke conAnd simple truth his utmost skill!
sist of Treatises on Monarchy, Religion, and
Humane Learning, two tragedies, 110 sonnets, Whose passions not his masters are;
&c. He also wrote a Life of Sir Philip Sidney, Whose soul is still prepared for death,
with whom, he said, he had lived and known from Untied unto the world by care
a child, yet never knew him other than a man.' Of public fame, or private breath :
The whole works of Lord Brooke have been col
lected, edited, and printed in four volumes (1871) Who envies none that chance doth raise,
by the Rev. A. B. Grosart. A few stanzas from Or vice; who never understood
the Treatise on Monarchy will shew the grave How deepest wounds are given by praise ;
style of the noble author's verse :
The Prehistoric Age.
There was a time, before the times of Story,
When nature reigned instead of laws or arts,
And mortal gods with men made up the glory
Of one republic by united hearts.
Earth was the common seat, their conversation
In saving love, and ours in adoration.
For in those golden days, with Nature's chains
Both king and people seemed conjoined in one ;
Both nursed alike with mutual feeding veins,
Transcendency of either side unknown;
Princes with men using no other arts
But by good dealing to obtain good hearts.