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But as Fortune would it better fell,
For it bap't as I shal now tell.
When I was into the caue ycome,
I had no sooner set foot in the roome,
But an olde Woman of looke thin and pale,
(For alack) melancholie makes bloud faile,
Speciallie if age be fitting therevnto,
Then must the lustie red awaie go,
And meagre blunesse sit in his place,
Such God wot was this old womans face,
Which time and care had well furrowed,
With wrincles deepe, so long she bad sorrowed
With bitter teares and inward greeuance,
But yet sure seem'd to me hir countenance
Inly to shew sparkes of gentilitie,
And that she liu'd there only through some malady

Of discontent and griefe great conceaued. The subject of the story turns chiefly on the law of primogenitureship in England, and is mainly directed against the system of entail upon the firstborn which prevails in this country, and it is not unlikely was founded upon circumstances occurring in real life. In attempting to shew how the younger sons in a family are sometimes advanced by fortune in war or otherwise, and that the nobility are often raised, from those born originally in mean condition, by their own exertions or merits; there is a pleasing allusion made in the succeeding lines to some one of the name and family of Vere:

Fortune ...... doth aduance
Men by the sword and also by the launce,
Speciallie those that are of noble spright
In whom there is by Natures light
A kind of Nobles rais'd from the common sort,
An high yet mild mind, stil garding good report,
And yet still aspiring to higher honour,
And yet not raising but by the step of fauour
Purchased by worth, winning mens harts,
To aduance him more high for his vertuous parts.
Such a one bath Fortune now vp raised,
And with renowme his name blased,
Giuing guerdon to due desart,
Who in euery spring so plaies bis part
As they saie, through his valour and manlinesse,
Through his wisdome, forecast, and worthinesse,

That himselfe is pow the hight the spring
Of honour, for this his braue doing.
They call him ver, which as I baue heard say
Signifies the time that, when Winter is away
Delightcth the earth and creatures all,
With his pleasant countenance for which men do call,
And birds with their musicke for ioy entertaine,
It is the time that puts life in the graine,
Sap in the tree, iuice in the grasse,
Smel to the flower, beautie to the earths face,

Such is his glorie and renowne. These lines evidently allude to Sir Francis Vere, who had distinguished himself by many acts of personal bravery in the wars of the Low Countries, and in 1596 was made governor of Flushing by Queen Elizabeth. He was celebrated also for his vigorous defence of Ostend against the Spaniards, and died in 1608.

Of the author of this work, I. O., we have not been able to learn any account. This was the copy from the Bibl. Ang. Poet, p. 428, price 281., ' and had successively belonged to Mr. Hill, Mr. Fillingham, and Mr. Heber.

Of extreme rarity; only two other copies known.

OVERBURY, (SIR TAOMAS.) - A Wife now the Widdow of Sir

Thomas Overburye. Being a most exquisite and singular
Poem of the choice of a Wife.

Whereunto are added many witty Characters and conceited Newes, written by himselfe and other learned Gentlemen his friends.

London Printed for Lawrence Lisle, and are to bee sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Tigers head. 1614. 4to, pp. 64.

The untimely death of Sir Thomas Overbury by poison in the Tower took place on the 15th September 1613; this, therefore, was probably a posthumous work, of which it is believed that no less than nine impressions were published before the close of the year 1616, four of which appeared in 1614, the date of the present copy. From the circumstanee of no edition being mentioned on the title, as in those that followed, we may safely conclude



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this to be the first known edition of this popular work. But if so, we are disposed to surmise with Mr. Park, that it might possibly have appeared in 1613, before the death of Overbury. In the address from “ The Printer to the Reader,” which is prefired to the book, and is dated May 16th 1614, he uses these remarkable words, “The surplusage, that now exceeds the last edition, was (that I may bee, honestly impartiall) in some things only to be challenged by the first author, but others now added (little inferior to the residue) being in nature answerable, and first transcrib'd by Gentlemen of the same qualitie, I haue upon good inducements, made publike with warrantie of their and my owne credit.” This certainly leads us to infer that a former edition had been already printed, most probably in the lifetime of the author, no copy of which, however, that we are aware of, appears now to be known. After the address from the printer follow “A MorningSacrifice to the Author," in thirty-two lines, by I. S. Lincolniensis, Gentleman, and three " Briefe Panegyrickes to the Authors praise," in verse, signed G. R., T. B., and X. Z. These are succeeded by eleven six-line stanzas “On the choice of a Wife,” not without merit, which have been quoted with the omission of two stanzas by Dr. Bliss in the Ath. O.con., vol. ii, p. 137; after which the poem commences, preceded by “The Method” or Argument. It consists of forty-seven stanzas of six lines each, and at the end of these are eight lines, “The Author's Epitaph.” The poem of the “Wife" is a composition of great merit, and contains a line of singular force, one of the few that have become as “household words” amongst us, but the source of which is not generally known. It is, perhaps, the happiest adage respecting literature ever penned,

Bookes are a part of mans prerogative! words that will be familiar to the modern reader, as attributed frequently to Sir Walter Scott. They were no doubt met with by that illustrious writer in the course of his multifarious reading, and adopted with that happy spirit of selection that renders the scraps he has taken from our early literature some of the most instructive and entertaining parts of his works. There is a solidity and truth in the observations of Overbury in this poem, which, though clothed in dry and unattractive language, evince considerable talent and judgment. But the moral sentiments and excellent advice, on the qualities requisite in the character of a woman to render the married state comfortable and happy, contained in this work are superior to the poetry of the writer; and probably the violent and unfortunate death of the author, and the strong sympathy expressed at his fate, may have added considerably to the popularity of the work, and induced also some of its imitations.

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Of a production, which, from the number of the editions published, is so easy to be met with by the poetical reader, a short extract will be sufficient here. The author had been speaking of birth, beauty, wealth, as “nothing worth alone,” and says Rather than these, the obiect of my

Let it be Good, when these with vertue goe,
They (in themselues indifferent) vertues proue.
For Good (like Fire) turnes all things to be so.

Gods Image in her Soule, ô let me place

My Loue vpon, not Adams in her Face.
Good is a fairer attribute then White
'Tis the Minds beauty keeps the other sweet
That's not still one, nor 'mortall with the light,
Nor glasse, nor painting, can it counterfet,

Shees truly faire, whose beauty is unseen,

Like heav'n faire sight-ward, but more faire within.
Giue me next Good, an understanding Wife,
By Nature wise, not learned by much Art,
Some knowledge on her side will all my life
More scope of Conuersation impart,

Besides, her inborne vertue fortifie.

They are most firmely good, that best know why,
A passiue understanding to conceiue,
And Iudgement to discerne, I wish to find,
Beyond that, all as hazardous I leaue,
Learning and pregnant wit, in Woman-kind,

What it finds malleable maketh fraile,
And doth not add more ballaste but more saile.

All these good parts a Perfect woman make
Adde Loue to me, they make a Perfect Wife
Without hir Loue, Her Beauty should I take
As that of Pictures, dead ; That giues it life :

Till then her Beauty like the Sunne doth shine

Alike to all; That makes it only mine.
And of that Loue, let Reason Father be
And Passion Mother ; let it from the one
His Being take, the other his Degree:
Selfe love (which second Loues are built vpon)

Will make me (if not her) her Loue respect;
No man but fauours his owne worth effect.

Among other imitations of Overbury's poem may be enumerated The Husband. A Poeme expressed in a compleat Man,” London, 1614, 8vo. The Description of a Good Wife: or a rare one amongst women. Ву Richard Brathwaite. London, 1619, 8vo. A Happy Husband: or Directions for a Maid to chuse her Mate, together with a Wives behauiour after Marriage, by Patrick Hannay, Gent. London, 1619, 8vo. A Wife not ready made, but bespoken, by Dicus the Batchelor: and made up for him by his fellow shepheard Tityrus. In four pastoral Eglogues. By Robert Aylett, LL.D. London, 1653, 8vo. The Poeme of a Maid by Wye Saltonstall. London, 1631, 12mo. A Select Second Husband for Sir Thomas Overburies Wife, now a matchlesse Widow. By John Davies of Hereford. London, 1616, 8vo. The Illustrious Wife, viz., That excellent Poem, Sir Thomas Overburies Wife, illustrated by Giles Oldisworth, Nephew to the same Sir T. O. London, 1673. Of these imitations, that by Saltonstall may, perhaps, be considered as the best, but they were none of them so popular as the · original, nor of equal merit.

According to Fuller, Sir Thomas Overbury is to be considered as “the first writer of characters of our nation, and it is since generally admitted that to him we are indebted for the earliest legitimate specimen of this entertaining species of composition. Although somewhat quaint and antithetical, they are written with much spirit and truthfulness of delineation. The “characters” in this impression are twenty-one in number, and the “newes” seventeen, which, in subsequent editions, were greatly increased. The former are without any acknowledgment by name, but may be assigned altogether to Overbury. The latter are by divers other writers, the first alone having the initials of Sir Thomas Overbury, the others being marked with various initials at the end of each. One of them, “ Newes from the very Country," signed I. D., was printed as Dr. Donne's in 1669. We quote one of the shortest characters, "A Disseinbler," as a specimen of this portion of the volume.

A Dissembler Is an essence needing a double definition, for hee is not that he appears. Unto the eye hee is pleasing, vnto the eare not harsh, but onto the vnderstanding intricate, and full of windings : he is the prima materia, and bis intents give him forme: he dieth his meanes and his meaning into two colors, he baites craft with humilitie, and his countenance is the picture of the present dispositions. He winnes not by battery, but vndermining, and his racke is soothing. He allures, is not allur'd by his affections, for they are the brokers of his obseruation. Hee knowes passion onely by sufference, and resisteth by obeying. He makes his time an accomptant to his memorie, and of the humors of men weaues a net for occasion; the inquisitor must looke through bis iudgement, for to the eye only he is not visible.

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