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The style of Peacham in the treatment of his subject is simple and agreeable, and distinguished by strong good sense, as will be seen by the introduction of one or two of his emblems to the notice of our readers.
And deadly peire'd, can in no place abide
But runnes about with arrow in her side.
The meane neglecting which might heale the sinne,
Blind Ignorance, expelling with that light
The Scepter shewes, her power and soveraigne might.
Her age declares the studie, and the paine
Heere lighting on the fair'st he might espie,
Is beate by Drones, the waspe and butterflie.
Or be perhaps (if gotten into grace)
and reard in
Peacham appears to have partaken of some advantages from Oxford, as well as from his own university of Cambridge, which he expresses in the following emblem:
* Cambridge From whome this little that I haue I draw,
Which first enflam'd to this, my duller spright,
And lent in darke, my Muse her candle light.
And shewes the TRVTH around by land and sea,
Directing thousandes erring, in their way. Peacham was endued with a true poetical mind, and, when not confinde by the trammels of his subject, could give expression to its feeling. Some of his stanzas on the ensuing motto may be quoted as instances of that manly simplicity and freshness of poetical expression in which many of our early writers abound.
Rura mihi et silentium.
As well as language, as of differing heartes,
A bodie seuered in a thousand parts.
There should’st thou sit at long desired rest,
And thinke thy selfe, aboue a Monarch blest.
Whiles round about thy greedie eie doth looke,
Observing wonders in some flower by,
This bent, that leafo, this worme, that butterflie.
Eridanos, and there Orion bound,
the silver Swanne is found.
Some matelesse Dove, doth murmur out the Base.
Nor Princes richest Arras may compare
A Maidens blush, here Purples, there a white,
Then all commingled for our more delight. For the same reason as before stated we give a few of the opening stanzas from “The Author's Conclusion,” with which the volume closes.
As then the Skie was calme and faire,
New risen from her rosie bed :
At whose approach the *Harlot strew time a famous
Both meade and mountaine with her flowers :
The Beast lay couched on the ground,
When I as other taking rest,
The builder Akorne long agoe
Within there was a Circlet round
A massie Collar set with stones,
While proudly vnderfoote she trod
She lent the Holy Land her aide, &c. Peacham, as we have seen, was the son of Mr. Henry Peacham of Leverton, in the County of Lincoln, but was born, as he himself informs us, at North Mimms near St. Alban's, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took his degree of M.A. He resided for a considerable time in Italy, where he studied music with Orazio Vecchi, and was intimate with many of the great masters of the time both at home and abroad. He
also to have had some skill in painting, and likewise in engraving. From his Art of Drawing, published in 1606, and again in 1612, 4to, we learn that he was engaged in the tuition of young gentlemen in the Latin and Greek languages, and assisted afterwards in educating the children of the Earl of Arundel, whom he accompanied to the Low Countries. In the advertisement by William Lee the publisher, at the end of Peacham's Worth of a Penny, 1664, 4to, he speaks of “a friend of his that knew bim well in the Low Countrys, when he was tutor to the Earl of Arundell's children." And in the Relation of Affairs of Cleve and Gulick, 1615, 4to, the dedication to which is dated from Breda in Brebant, Peacham speaks of having been an eye witness of the events recorded, when with the army before Rees. In the Art of Drawing, 1612, 4to, he says that he translated King James's Basilikon Doron into emblems and Latin verses, presenting the same afterwards to Prince Henry. He also published in 1615, Prince Henry revived: or a Poem upon the birth of Henry Frederic, Heir apparent to Frederic, Count Palatine of the Rhine. Peacham was the author of several other works, both in prose and poetry, all of them distinguished by good taste and acute observation, and obtaining much popularity during the seventeenth century. Copies of most of these, uniformly bound in Russia, are in the editor's possession, with the exception of his Thalias Banquet, 1620, sm. Svo, the rarest of all. The one by which he is best known, is his Complele Gentleman, 1622, 4to, and frequently reprinted. This work has been much commended by Dibdin in his Bibliomania, p. 370, who has given some quotations from it. All his works possess considerable merit, and contain much useful information on the subjects of education, the value of money, and other matters of interest.