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London to Berwick, 342 miles, in twelve days; in 1603 he rode from
Gervase Markham (1568–1637) in 1595 published a poem on the same fight which Tennyson's “ Revenge” has made so familiar to modern readers.
Richard Barnfeld (1574–1627) was probably the author of the ode, “ As it fell upon a day," and the sonnet," If Musique and sweet Poetrie agree,” though both are sometimes printed as Shakespeare's.
Dr. John Donne (1573–1631) is known as the metaphysical poet. His verses, though often harsh and full of strange conceits, contain great beauties. He had considerable influence on Dryden, Pope, and Browning. His chief works are “ Divine Poems,” “ Elegies,” and “ Satires.”
“The Anatomy of Melancholy," by Robert Burton (1577-1639), was the only book that ever took Samuel Johnson out of bed two hours before he wished to rise. Byron said of it: “ The book in my opinion most useful to a man who wishes to acquire the reputation of being well read, with the least trouble, is Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy,' the most amusing and instructive medley of quotations and classical anecdotes I ever perused.” Here are a few of Burton's sentences:
“I say with Didacus Stella, a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.”
“ Aristotle said melancholy men are of all others the most witty." “ All places are distant from heaven alike."
The commonwealth of Venice in their armoury have this inscription: 'Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war.''
Diogenes struck the father when the son swore."
“ Isocrates adviseth Demonicus, when he came to a strange city, to worship by all means the gods of the place.”
George Sandys (1578–1644) wrote a book of travels in Egypt, Turkey, and Palestine, which ran through seven editions between 1615 and 1673. To Americans he is chiefly interesting from the fact that he lived in Virginia 1621–1631 and there completed a bad but for a time popular translation of Ovid.
Thomas Coryate (1577-1617) was also a traveller. In his “Crudi
Puris " to k
ties” there are many passages of both historical and modern interest. For instance, in Italy he discovered forks, which apparently he had not seen before, and of which he says: “ The Italian cannot by any means endure to have his dish touched with fingers, seeing all men's fingers are not alike clean. Hereupon I myself thought good to imitate the Italian fashion.” His remarks on fried frogs, on women as actresses, and on feather beds, all of which were discovered by him on his travels, are interesting. He also instructed his countrymen in the Italian pronunciation of Latin which is now used in all American schools but has not yet been adopted in conservative England.
George Herbert (1593-1533), a country parson known as “holy George Herbert,” wrote many short sacred poems. Two of these, “ The Pulley” and “Vertue,” every student of English might well learn by heart. Vertue” is as follows:
“Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky,
For thou must die.
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
And thou must die.
A box where sweets compacted lie,
And all must die."
Like seasoned timber, never gives ;
Then chiefly lives.” George Wither (1588-1667) was another real poet. Being taken prisoner during the civil war by the Royalists, he was saved from hanging by the intervention of Denham, who told the authorities that, as long as Wither lived, he (Denham) would not be considered the worst poet in England. Wither afterward rose to the rank of major-general in Cromwell's army. His best known poem, the " Author's Resolution,” begins thus:
"Shall I, wasting with despair,
Francis Rous (1579–1659), who divides with King David the honor of being the sweet psalmist of Scotland, was a Cornishman.
The greatest literary achievement of the age remains to be noticed. The King James Version of the Bible, which appeared 1611, is probably the best translation ever made in any language. The great original Hebrew and Greek books; the aid in style which the translators found in the Latin Vulgate; the pioneer work done by Wickliffe, Tyndale, and Coverdale; and the fact that the translators, themselves men of great literary faculty, worked in the midst of the most noteworthy ferment in all literature-all these forces produced a matchless result. A volume is compressed into the line, " And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light "; a page into the two words, “Jesus wept." Beside the splendor of the Psalms, of the Book of Job, of The Prophets, and of The Apocrypha, the odes of “Sappho ” and “ Pindar" seem tame and absurd. Even Shakespeare's prose is not impressive in comparison with the vigor of the English Bible. No other book has so penetrated the hearts and speech of the English race. Huxley calls it the national epic of Britain. Coleridge says: After reading Isaiah, or St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, 'Homer' and 'Virgil ' are disgustingly tame to me." Milton's opinion was that there are no songs to be compared with the songs of Zion, no orations equal to those of the prophets. Sir Walter Scott, on his deathbed, asked Lockhart to read to him. When asked from what book, he replied: "Need you ask? There is but one." Wordsworth called the Scriptures the grand storehouses of imagination. Ruskin counted the fact that his mother made him learn by heart certain portions of the Bible the one essential part of his education. Among others who have expressed similar opinions are Carlyle, Newman, Macaulay, Froude, and Swift. The Bible was the chief model of Bunyan in “ Pilgrim's Progress," of Andrew Lang in his wonderful prose versions of the “Iliad” and “Odyssey," of Walt Whitman, and of the greatest
author e consis
poem , :
speeches made in the nineteenth century—those of Abraham Lincoln. Coleridge indeed says that intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from being vulgar in point of style. Prof. Albert S. Cook declares it, finally, the chief bond that holds united, in a common loyalty and a common endeavor, the various branches of the English race. In no generation since, however, has the influence of the English Bible been so marked as in that which followed its first publication.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES 1. What were the thoughts of a certain great English poet upon reading
George Chapman's translation of Homer? 2. Does the transition from the Club at the Mermaid Tavern to one of
our larger city “clubs” denote progress? 3. Who were the great men at the Mermaid Tavern and of what do you
think they talked ? 4. Who wrote The Shoemaker's Holiday,” “ The Duchess of Malfi,"
“The English Traveler,” and “The Spanish Gypsy”? 5. Tell something of the career of him who wrote A New Way to Pay
Old Debts.' 6. Who wrote “The Anatomy of Melancholy”? 7. What do you know of the literary power of the English Bible? 8. From what you know of the Elizabethan playwrights, do you believe
that the opportunity to obtain large sums of money for works of
the imagination is a necessary stimulus for great literary production ? 9. When Shakespeare died, under whose governance and in what condi
tion of settlement was North America ? 10. There is a spirit in every age; by writing five hundred words express
what you can of the spirit of England between 1560 and 1605.
Suggested Readings.—The representative works of the different authors are mentioned in the chapter. Read those for which you can find time. For further biographical and critical matter consult the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Cambridge History of English Literature and Chambers's Encyclopædia of English Literature. Time spent upon George Saintsbury's “Elizabethan Literature” will be well repaid.
PURITAN AND CAVALIER (1625-1660)
“What the Puritans gave the world was not thought but action.”— Wendell Phillips.
'Puritanism, believing itself quick with the seed of religious liberty, laid, without knowing it, the egg of democracy.”—Lowell.
SHAKESPEARE's age was characterized by satisfaction with the world as it is. Its attitude was that of the Normansgallant, graceful, careless, magnificent. In that which followed there arose a generation of men who rebelled against the tyranny of kings and the vices of men. Their philosophy of life is condensed into one of Milton's lines,
“Love Virtue; she alone is free." The spirit of these men was essentially Saxon. Severe, narrow, and ascetic, the Puritans, as they were called, were distinguished by great practical sagacity and boundless energy. Their character is thus eloquently described by Macaulay:
“They habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute. The difference between the greatest and the meanest of mankind seemed to vanish when compared with the boundless interval which separated the whole race from Him on whom their own eyes were constantly fixed. They recognized no title to superiority but his favor; and, confident of that favor, they despised all the accomplishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the works of philosophers and poets, they were deeply read in the oracles of God. If their names were not found in the registers of heralds, they were recorded in the Book of Life. If their steps were not accompanied by a splendid train of menials, legions of ministering angels had charge over them. Their palaces were houses not made with hands; their diadems crowns of glory which should never fade away. On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt, for they esteemed