Imagens das páginas

allowability of a practical joke, when I admit, in any work of fiction be utterly there was positively no other way of undatural and preposterous. I can only getting rid of time--and the contempt urge, in palliation of su original a finale, with which he had dared anybody to the excuse Ben Jonson once advanced take him in—if they could.

for dispensing with the graces of rhyme As this reminiscence served to check -that the fact stated happens to be true. the bitter complaints of which the Of course I was astonished at the enmajor was about to deliver himself, he gagement, and suspected the parties imsummoned sufficient discretion "to mediately concerned must have been still smooth his cheek to smiles," and pre- more so. Yet, it is not difficult to see tend to laugh at his own inisfortune. how it happened. My uncle had never

At any rate; his equanimity was com- seen so much of any lady before, and no pletely restored, when some whisky, lady had ever seemed so disposed to see lemons, and sugar, smuggled from the a great deal of him. But, after all, it is neighboring village, were mingled with likely enough that the whole affair was the water supplied so lavishly by the determined upon and arranged soon after institution, and, the door being locked, Major Wherrey's arrival.

"Here is a he sat with Mr. Barnard enjoying the good-tempered gentleman, of handsome same after dinner.

fortune, who only wa a liitle encou“Well, sir,” said my uncle, after the ragement, to take a wife to assist him in professor's epistles had been duly dis- spending it—and if so, why should not I cussed, “so you sent the letters to Bear- as well as any one else profit by the cirbrook to be post-marked; and all that cumstance?" Mind, I don't say that stuff about my fate being united with Miss Kate said or thought anything of that of Miss Kate Lawton, and the the kind; I only decline to peril the perhavoc I had made with her affections, fect authenticity of this history by declarwas written by you !"

ing that she did not. Written by me--yes”- replied Mr. But however it came about, I am heartBarnard, “but dictated by herself.” ily glad that it did come about somehow

--for a happier match was never lighted amid such watery surroundings. Happy!

yes, you would have thought so, had you And now we have come to the last been at Bearbrook last winter during the chapter, which, according to all rules session of the Court. Why, that great and precedents, should contain a wed- house was full of company, and Major ding, or, at the very least, an engage- Wherrey, all smiles, was going about ment. I have something of the kind to from one gaest to another, expatiating put into it, you may be sure, though it upon the excellence of his wife and his may not prore of the most legitimate cranberries, and treating us all to description.

make our elves perfectly at home—for In fact, had I persevered in my first which eve.y ne thanked him sincerely. idea, and made a romance out of this and declared they would. matter, I should have bestowed the band And, what is more, I believe we did t of Miss Kate Lawton upon Signor Kwin- too-only that nobody's real home cor Id sidi, the gentleman from Norway, or have been half so amusing. You should Sir Harold Skiff, the English baronet; have seen our Bearbrook theatricalaboth of whom, as I learn from my uncle's not the performance of Love's Sucridiary, were sojourners at the establish- fice: that to be sure was a failure--but ment during his visit, and appear to those two farces in which Aunt Cathehave been of person and years suitable rine played the chambermaid, and had for the manufacture of a liero.

fifteen bouquets thrown upon her by the But, as I have determined to adhere delighted audience. And then that good to the real facts in the case, and tell, not romping country ball when the young what Miss Kate could, would, or should lady who “never meant to marry” found have done, but, what she actually did herself engaged to Sir Harold Skiff; and do-I am compelled to declare that she Mr. Barnarti sang

that capital song after is at present my aunt.

supper, and even Kwinsidi, the imperturTo make a lively young creature of bable Norwegian, was stimulated into three-and-twenty marry a somewhat in- something like life. But, as the reader firm gentleman of forty-two, even if he did not see all this (that is supposing he did have a fine house in the country, and was not of the party), I can only wish could keep his carriage in town, would him better luck another time, and not


try to anticipate his pleasure by imper- had a young and pretty kinswoman, to fect reminiscences.

whose luxurious mansion you were alIn conclusion, then—but, stop :-be- ways welcomed, whom you could drive, fore concluding, I wish to say a word to and read to, and take to the theatre, Mr. Frank Osborne, whose history of without the confounded report of an en* Wensley" I have jast read with almost gagement, and the shrugs and frowns of unmingled satisfaction.

fathers and brothers-had you found There exists in that work a passage such a treasure at Wensley, should we highly commendatory of the “institution not have read:of cousins," and, by implication, rather “Cousins may be very well for those severe upon those who are slow to ap- who can get nothing better; boty-there preciate the advantages of this blessed Is virtue in an Aunt. relationship; but, Mr. Osborne, had you


SPENSERIANA. THE title of this recently issued work terially assisted his promotion in after

is a text d-propos alike to a discus- life. sion of the life and fortunes of a great Spenser left Cambridge at twentypoet, and of a great poem. We desire three, and resided about two years at to speak of both; but what we have to some unascertained place in the north of say must be briefly said, and we shall England. There he fell in love with a endeavor to concentrate our critical illa- wayward “ Rosalind,” who liked and Inination upon a few topics suggested by loathed him, and finally rejected his suit. Dr. Hart's volume, rather than to diffuse However harrowing such an accident it over the whole ground. Let us begin must have been to one of the gentlest of by recapitulating the prominent incidents the gentle race of poets, it has been by the of the poet's life.

common consent of mankind declared In London, just about three hundred essential to the discipline of all poets, and one years ago, was born Edmund inasmuch as nothing less grievous is Spenser. At that time the future Queen supposed to induce that desperate state of Elizabeth was twenty years of age. Five mind in which successful poets are popuyears afterwards she succeeded to the larly believed to write successful poetry. English crown. Raleigh-Spenser- The literary results of the affliction, in Sidney-friends so congenial, and men Spenser's case, were not long afterwards so eminent in those " spacious times of before the world. But passing by his great Elizabeth,” were singularly cotem- poetry for the present, let us first deal poraneous in their origin. Raleigh was with his biography as a man. born in 1552, Spenser in 53, and Sidney Harvey, assisted doubtless by the in 54.

unfortunate love affair, enticed his friend At sixteen, Spenser entered one of from his seclusion, and introduced him the colleges at Cambridge as a charity to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and scholar. There, during his seven years his nephew, Sir Philip Sidney-personof study, he became intimate with ages then high in favor with the queen one Gabriel Harvey, a singular man, -noble, wealthy, adorned with maniwbose eccentricities attracted the out- fold accomplishments, after the fashion rageous ridicule of Thomas Nash, a of gentlemen of the time, and congenial stadent of the same university, and (especially Sidney), to the peculiar abiliide of the liveliest satirists of the ties of Spenser. These noblemen were time. Harvey was not only learned, not slow in discovering his wealth of bat fond of displaying his acquirements, miod and heart, and, from mingled fall of conceit, singular in his manners motives of admiration and friendly affecand dress, and especially oracular on tion, gave the young poet patronage-a matters of astrology. But Harvey, for home, and to some extent employment, all his whimsicalities, became a warm and in 1580 secured his appointment as and active friend of Spenser, and ma- a secretary to Lord Gray, then abou:

"Spenser and the Fairy Queen," * " An Essay on the life and Writings of Edmund Spenser " 3 Joas S. HART, LL.D., Philadelphia, 1854.

to assume the government of Ireland. made shipwreck of the fortunes of Spen. Thither Spanser followed his superior, ser, and sent his life down amid sorrow and there received various minor offices and desolation to the grave. and emoluments, and in 1586 a grant It is difficult to comprehend fully the from the crown of 3,028 acres in the condition of Ireland at that time; but it county of Cork, being part of the estate does seem as if there never had been, of the Earl of Desmond, forfeited by from the remotest period, a nation more treason and rebellion. Sir Walter Raleigh shockingly cursed with anarchy and had previously received nearly 12,000 misrule, than the Irish. The first auacres of the same domain ; and it is thentic fragment of the history of Irecurious that there is no record of land, is found in Tacitus, who mentions acquaintance between Spenser and Ra- that an Irish chief, driven froin his counleigh until after these possessions had try by civil war, came to Agricola, and made them neighbors. The grant to endeavored to persuade him to invade Spenser required his residence upon liis Ireland, assuring him, that a single legion estate, and he took up his abode at Kil- of Roman soldiers would be sufficient to colman Castle, an ancient stronghold of overrun and subdue the whole island. the Earls of Desmond. It was situated This incident is a fair exponent of centuon the shore of a lake, which was sur- ries of the succeeding history of Ireland rounded by a plain, the whole being Government, so far as it existed at all, encircled in the distance by mountains. remained for a long period in the form This old castle remains (or did recently which it always assumes among barbarremain), a ruin strikingly venerable and ous nations that of petty independent picturesque, and surrounded by some of tribes, between which there is no bond the fairest scenery of Ireland. Here of union, ruled by chiefs who are perbegan the halcyon days of Spenser. He petually at feud with each other. The had seen trouble; the leisure and com- country was successively invaded, at petence which he desired had been different periods, by the English, the delayed by the ill-will of Cecil and Danes, and again, the English ; but these others who were rivals to his patron, invasions were predatory and partial Leicester, but now the clouds which had The Celts were not subdued, nor their “lowr'd upon his house" seemed to be governments centralized. Neither was " in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.” the condition of the native tribes elevaAt Kilcolman he lived twelve years, ted by the infusion of new political and during which he married the lady whose social elements. On the contrary, those graces and virtues are so magnificently of the invaders who remained, retrocelebrated in his “ Epithalamium.” graded, and assumed the manners and During this period the larger portion of spirit of the natives. They embodied bis poetry was composed. Here, too, themselves in new clans, and by new he was visited by one whom he styled feuds between themselves, and with their " the Shepherd of the Ocean"--Raleigh neighbors, complicated the existing an--who, familiar with foreign adventure, archy and m brought an account of that New World, The power of England, however, gradquite as novel; and almost as romantic ually increased and predominated in Ireas the continent just discovered, and in land, from the invasion under Henry II., part explored, by Spenser in his own in 1172, until its thorough establishment exuberant imagination. Here, too, with- in the time of Elizabeth. But, throughout anachronism, we may imagine Ra- out all that period, Ireland may be conleigh to have initiated his friend into a sidered as territory partially colonized new art and inystery, then lately im- by English subjects, rather than as an ported from America by an expedition integral portion of England under Engwhich he had sent thither. As they lish law. The barbarism and poverty of reclined at a window of the old castle, the country rendered it unprofitable to or among the alders“ by the Mulla's the Englisli sovereigns; they had enough shore," we may fancy them wrapt in to do to handle France and their home 8 cloud not altogether ideal, while affairs, and they gave themselves very wound and loitered, idly free, the cur- little concern about Ireland. When rent of ungurued talk."

Elizabeth came to the throne, the tenBut a wild storm was mustering be- dency to rebellion was aggravated by Lind the mountains that bounded the religious dissension. The Celtic raco fair horizon of Kilcolman. It quickly continued loyal to Catholicism, which, at overspread the heavens and burst. It a very early period, bad become the religion of Ireland. The Protestant re. London. During those three months, form, under Henry VIII. and Edward for reasons which we can only conjectVI., had been pushed with the intem- ure, but which it is easy to conceive, perate violence characteristic of the he had lived obscurely. Yet, at his times; and though the Catholic rule of death he was publicly and duly honored. Mary allayed political disturbances for a The Earl of Essex gave him a costly while, the accession of Elizabeth opened funeral, and his remains were laid near afresh the old wound. Philip of Spain, those of Chaucer, in Westminster Abbey. also, exasperated by the loss of his in- On reviewing what is left us of the fluence in England, and the refusal of biography of Spenser, it is not difficult Elizabeth to marry himn, stimulated the to define a pretiy satisfactory outline of factions in Ireland. These factions Eliz- his character as a man. In his case we abeth endeavored at one time to concili- are not much troubled by those inconate by policy, and at another to subdue sistent traits which render some characby arms; and she lived just long enough ters hard to draw. It is noticeable that to see the latter object accomplished. throughout his whole life, he was de

At the date of the grant which gave pendent, for worldly advancement, on Spenser his title to Kilcolman, one of the bountiful love and admiration of a few these troublesome factions, headed by good friends-Harvey-Sidney–Leicesthe Earl of Desmoud, had lately been ter—and the queen. It is noticeable quelled. The earl himself had been put that his acqnisitions of wealth and honors, to death, and his domain, which was and his poetical achievements, made him immense, embracing a large portion of but few enemies; and that those who the county of Munster, in the south of laid blocks in the way of his advanceIreland, had been vested in the Crown. ment at court, appear to have done so This territory Elizabeth endeavored so from partisan, and not personal, motives. to distribute among her English-born In his day great license was allowed to subjects as to strengthen her government satire, and it so happened that its keenin the rebellious district. In carrying est arrows were levelled at bis nearest out this policy, she issued grants to friends. Harvey, especially, was a shinwhomsoever she chose, empowering ing mark for the crossbow of Nash, and those parties, to buy up portions of the was “punched full of deadly holes ;" but confiscated estate, on condition of actual Spenser does not seem to have made settlement thereon, at the low price of himself sufficiently disagreeable or riditwo-peoce per acre. A subsequent re- culous to give any point to the wit of bellion under Tyrone and his confede- malice. In his own poetical attempts at rates, which was quelled not long after, satire, the wit is not pungent nor the brought half a million of acres in the application cluse—it is ibat diffused Dorth of Ireland into market in the same satire of classes and conditions of men msuner, and thus Englishmen became which does not betray the hand of a landlords of the soil of Ireland, as they special good hater.". are to this day.

To his youthful love affair he makes At the period to which we have various allusions in his writings, and in brought the life of Spenser, his fairy a poem written shortly after it, treats it, home at Kilcolman was flourishing, like under feigned names, at some length; a vineyard of Naples, on the breast of a yet without asperity or any bitterness, volcano. A new insurrection, kindled save the bitterness of a too aspiring and from Tyrone's rebellion in the north, disappointed affection, for which he saddenly broke out in the south, during blames no one but himself. But many the progress of which, a lineal heir of years afterwards, we find liin, on occathe Earl of Desmond atternpted to oust sion of his inarriage, honoring the reci. the English possessors of the estate. procated affection of his new love with Backed by a wild mob—"the rough rug- a nuptial song, which, in exuberance of beaded Kernes of Ireland-he surprised imagery and brilliancy of spirit, is not Kilcolman Castle and burnt it. Spenser surpassed-perlaps not equalled—by and his wife had brief notice, and es- the same number of lines anywhere else esped; but, in the confusion, an infant in all his works. child of the poet was left behind, and Another illustration of his temper may perished in the conflagration. Spenser be found in a literary affair in which he inade good his flight to England, and took part. At a certain time Sidney, three months afterwards, January 16th, Harvey, and Dyer, formed a project, 1599, at the age of forty-six, died in which was no less than that of banishing

VOL. 1.-3


rhyme and accented rhythm from Eng- Armada, breathing out threatenings and ligh prosody, and substituting in their horribly armed with death and hell torstead a species of hexameter verse. This ture. On the southern main, the Spanish audacious attempt proved—as we believe plate fleet, bearing millions of treasure, that all such attempts will prove-a

and doubtfully convoyed, tempted reprifailure. The Saxon mind, from what- sals. In Ireland, rebellion and confusion ever cause we may choose to assign, abounded; and, on the Continent, Cadoes not, cannot, and will not move in tholio and Protestant had each other by such a measure. The thing has been the throat. Of such like affairs, Raleigh repeatedly tried, until it has become just and Sidney saw much, and were a part. a little less than certain, that the poet They were men of bravery and spirit

, who attempts a work in English hexam- who craved action, and their contribueters thereby foredooms his own defeat; tions to the literature of Ecgland were and we can half forgive the venomous- mostly the rainy-day labors of minds ness of Nash, in consideration of a sound laid on the shelf by misfortune, and too remark which he made at that time, restless to remain idle. With these men, namely, that “the hexameter, though a and in these tiines, Spenser's lot was gentleman of an ancient house, was not cast; yet the inspiration of these men likely to thrive in this clime of ours, the and times he reflected and illustrated, soil being too craggy to set his plough not at all in his own exploits, but only in in."

Spenser's private judgment does the adventures of elfin knights and ladies, not appear to have approved the innova- the creations of his imagination. tion, yet in deference to his friends, and And now, going back to the paragraph “fondly overcome by Sidney's charm," where we left his remains reposing in he laid aside, for a time, his great work, Westininster Abbey, what does all that ** The Fairy Queen,” and wrote hexa- intervenes, in its relation to his character, meters.

indicate respecting him? What else can Then, again, the friends on whom it indicate than that he was a man sinSpenser's fortune most depended, with gularly gentle, modest, loving, tractable, whom his biographers most intimately prudent, and forgiving—a man as little associate him, and who, in literary tastes iinctured with selfish and unkind passion and abilities, were congenial, were never- as any man? Had he been differenttheless, in some respects, very different had he possessed, in any considerable men, and passed a very different course degree, the incompatible and uncomproof life. Raleigh and Sidney were stir- mising qualities of Dante, or Milton, or ring men of the times, and the times Byron, could he have gone through life offered them abundant opportunities for so smoothly, and left behind him so clear stirring. The court was headed by a a record ? queen, who, while she knew how to re- Yet, there are one or two accusations tain lier power tirmly, understood also brought against him which should not be every art of coquetting with it, and passed over. During the tenure of his contrived to perpetuate, even to old age, estate in Ireland, he is accused, on the a game highly exciting and alluring to authority of existing legal documents, whosoever of her subjects were chival- of having attempted to add unjustly to rous, accomplished and intriguing. Eli- his possessions. He also wrote, in 1596, zabeth had a shrewd eye for all that a a political treatise on the state of Ireland, woman admires in a man. Being inor- in which he strongly advocates the exdinately fond of flattery, she made pre- ercise of Elizabeth's arbitrary power. cisely that use of her royal power in ber Neither the documents nor the treatise court, which a belle inakes of her beauty referred to are within our reach, and in a ball-room; consequently, her court how far they compromise the character furnished a brilliant field for the achieve- of Spenser we cannot judge. We desire ments of men, who, to the graces of the not to fashion an ideal character for beau, added the genius of the diplomat- him, but to ascertain the strict truth ist. Then, too, the world abroad was respecting him. Notwithstanding his fair alive with action. America, not half fame, he might have been, some things, discovered, hung like a dominion in the ungentle and unjust. We know that evening clouds, just sufficiently defined very good men have done things that to allure adventurous spirits in quest of were very wrong; yet we know that all manner of golden imaginations. Up it is unfair to judge any man by one or the northern Atlantic caine sweeping, two particular instances of conduct. in a seven-mile crescent, the Spanish Conduct indicates character only so far

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