Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

THOMAS NASH.

(Born, 1560 ? Died about 1600_4.]

Thomas Nash was born at Lowestoft in Suf- Jupiter and Saturn. Drayton, in his Epistle of folk, was bred at Cambridge, and closed a cala Poets and Poesy, says of himmitous life of authorship at the age, it is said, of forty-two. Dr. Beloe* has given a list of his

Sharply satyric was he, and that way

He went, since that his being to this day, works, and Mr. Disraeli + an account of his Few have attempted, and I surely think, shifts and miseries. Adversity seems to have These words shall hardly be set down with ink,

Shall blast and scorch so as his could. whetted his genius, as his most tolerable verses are those which describe his own despair ; and

From the allusion which he makes in the followin the midst of his woes, he exposed to just derision the (profound fooleries of the astrologer before the introduction of the following lines, it

ing quotation to Sir P. Sydney's compassion, Harvey, who, in the year 1582, had thrown the whole kingdom into consternation by his predic. bounty of that noble character.

may be conjectured that he had experienced the tions of the probable effects of the junction of

DESPAIR OF A POOR SCHOLAR.

FROM PIERCE PENNILESS.

Forgive me, God, although I curse my birth,
And ban the air wherein I breathe a wretch,
Since misery hath daunted all my mirth,
And I am quite undone through promise breach ;
Ah friends !--no friends that then ungentle frown,
When changing fortune casts us headlong down.

War is't damnation to despair and die,

When life is my true happiness' disease ?
| My soul, my soul, thy safety makes me fly

The faulty means that might my pain appease :
Divines and dying men may talk of hell,
But in my heart her several torments dwell.

Ah, worthless wit ! to train me to this woe : | Deceitful arts ! that nourish discontent :

Ill thrive the folly that bewitch'd me so!
Vain thoughts, adieu ! for now I will repent,-
And yet my wants persuade me to proceed,
For none take pity of a scholar's need.
* Anecdotes of Scarce Books. Calamities of Authors.

[ocr errors]

Without redress complains my careless verse,
And Midas' ears relent not at my moan ;
In some far land will I my griefs rehearse,
'Mongst them that will be moved when I shall

groan.
England, adieu ! the soil that brought me forth,
Adieu ! unkind, where skill is nothing worth.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

This nobleman sat as Great Chamberlain of able traits of his character are to be found in the 1

England upon the trial of Mary Queen of history of his life. Scots. In the year of the Armada, he distin taken, ordered him to leave the room, and, on his refusal, guished his public spirit by fitting out some ships

gave him the epithet of a puppy. Sir Philip retorted the

lie on his lordship, and left the place, expecting to be I at his private cost. He had travelled in Italy in

followed by the peer. But Lord Oxford neither followed his youth, and is said to have returned the most

him nor noticed his quarrel, till her majesty's council | accomplished coxcomb of his age. The story of had time to command the peace. The queen interfered, his quarrel with Sir Philip Sydney, as it is re- reminding Sir Philip of the difference between earls

and gentlemen," and of the respect which inferiors !lated by Collins, gives us a most unfavourable idea

owed their superiors. Sydney, boldly but respectfully, of his manners and temper, and shows to what a stated to her majesty, that rank among freemen could : height the claims of aristocratical privilege were claim no other homage than precedency, and did not

obey her commands to make submission to Oxford. For i at that time carried. Some still more discredit

a fuller statement of this anecdote, vide the quotation : Tbe Earl of Oxford being one day in the tennis-court

from Collins, in the British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 83. with Sir Philip Sydney, on some offence which he had § By Mr. Park, in the Cat. of Royal and Noble Authors.

FANCY AND DESIRE.

FROM THE PARADISE OP DAINTY DEVICES

Doth either Time or Age bring him into decay?
No, no, Desire both lives and dies a thousand

times a day.
Then, fond Desire, farewell ! thou art no mate

for me : I should, methinks, be loth to dwell with such a

one as thee,

WHEN wert thou born, Desire? In pride and

pomp of May. By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot ? By fond

conceit, men say. Tell me who was thy nurse ? Fresh Youth, in

sugar'd joy. What was thy meat and daily food ? Sad sighs

with great annoy.

LINES ATTRIBUTED TO THE EARL OF

OXFORD.

IN A MS, OF THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY.

What hadst thou then to drink ? Unsavoury

lovers' tears. What cradle wert thou rock'd in? In hope de

void of fears. What lull'd thee, then, asleep? Sweet sleep, which

likes me best. Tell me where is thy dwelling-place ? In gentle

hearts I rest.

If women could be fair, and yet not fond,
Or that their love were firm, not fickle still,
I would not marvel that they make me bond,
By service long, to purchase their good-will ;
But when I see how frail those creatures are,
I muse that men forget themselves so far.
To mark the choice they make and how they change,
How oft from Phoebus they do flee to Pan ;
Unsettled still, like haggards wild they range,
These gentle birds that fly from man to man;
Who would not scorn and shake them from the fist,
And let them fly, fair fools, where'er they list ?

[blocks in formation]

Yet, for disport, we fawn and flatter both,
To

pass the time when nothing else can please,
And train them to our lure with subtil oath,
Till, weary of their wiles, ourselves we ease;
And then we say, when we their fancy try,
To play with fools, oh, what a fool was I !

Where doth Desire delight to live ? He loves to

live alone.

THOMAS STORER.

(Died, 1604.)

The date of this writer's birth can only be and that he died in the metropolis. Besides the generally conjectured from his having been elected History of Cardinal Wolsey in three parts, viz. a Student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1587. his aspiring, his triumph, and death, he wrote The slight notice of him by Wood only mentions several pastoral pieces in England's Helicon. that he was the son of John Storer, a Londoner,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

WOLSEY'S VISION.

*

A more than heavenly nymph I did behold,
Who glancing on me with her gracious eye,
So gave me leave her beauty to espy ;

For sure no sense such sight can comprehend,
From that rich valley, where the angels laid him, Except her beams their fair reflection lend.
His unknown sepulchre in Moab's land,
Moses, that Israel led, and they obey'd him, Her beauty with Eternity began,
In glorious view before my face did stand, And only unto God was ever seen,
Bearing the folded tables in his hand,

When Eden was possess'd with sinful man,
Wherein the doom of life, and death's despair, She came to him and gladly would have been
By God's own finger was engraven there, The long succeeding world's eternal Queen ;

But they refused her, 0 heinous deed !
Then passing forth a joyful troop ensued

And from that garden banish'd was their seed.
Of worthy judges and triumphant kings,

Since when, at sundry times in sundry ways, After several personages of sacred history, some alle Atheism and blended Ignorance conspire, gorical ones condescend to visit the sleeping Cardinal, How to obscure those holy burning rays, among whom Theology naturally has a place, and is

And quench that zeal of heart-inflaming fire thus described

That makes our souls to heavenly things aspire ; In chariot framed of celestial mould,

But all in vain, for, maugre all their might, And simple pureness of the purest sky,

She never lost one sparkle of her light.

*

*

*

JOSEPH HALL.

(Born, 1574. Died, 1656.]

Bishop Hall, who ,for his ethical eloquence | tical manner and an antique allusion, which cast has been sometimes denominated the Christian obscurity over his otherwise spirited and amusing Seneca, was also the first who gave our language traits of English manners; though the satirist an example of epistolary composition in prose.

himself was so far from anticipating this objection, He wrote besides a satirical fiction, entitled that he formally apologises for “ too much stoopMundus alter et idem, in which, under pretence ing to the low reach of the vulgar.But in many of describing the Terra Australis Incognita, he instances he redeems the antiquity of his allusions reversed the plan of Sir Thomas More's Utopia, by their ingenious adaptation to modern manners; and characterized the vices of existing nations.

and this is but a small part of his praise ; for in Of our satirical poetry, taking satire in its moral the point, and volubility, and vigour of Hall's and dignified sense, he claims, and may be al numbers, we might frequently imagine ourselves lowed, to be the founder : for the ribaldry of perusing Dryden I. This may be exemplified in Skelton, and the crude essays of the graver

the harmony and picturesqueness of the following Wyat, hardly entitle them to that appellation*. description of a magnificent rural mansion, which Though he lived till beyond the middle of the the traveller approaches in the hopes of reaching seventeenth century, his satires were written the seat of ancient hospitality, but finds it deserted before, and his Mundus alter et idem about, the by its selfish owner. year 1600 : so that his antiquity, no less than

Beat the broad gates, a goodly hollow sound, his strength, gives him an important place in the With double echoes, doth again rebound; formation of our literaturet.

# The satire which I think contains the most vigorous In his Satires, which were published at the

and musical couplets of this old poet, is the first of Book age of twenty-three, he discovered not only the 3rd, beginning, early vigour of his own genius, but the powers Time was, and that was term'd the time of gold, and pliability of his native tongue. Unfortu When world and time were young, that now are old. nately, perhaps unconsciously, he caught, from I preferred, however, the insertion of others as examples studying Juvenaland Persius as his models,anellip- of his poetry, as they are more descriptive of English

manners than the fanciful praises of the golden age (* Donne appears to have been the first in order of com which that satire contains. It is flowing and fanciful, position-though Hall and Marston made their appear. but conveys only the insipid moral of men decaying by ance in print before him.]

the progress of civilisation ; a doctrine not unlike that † His name is therefore placed in these Specimens with which Gulliver found in the book of the old woman of a variation from the general order, not according to the Brobdignag, whose author lamented the tiny size of the date of his death, but about the time of his appearance

modern Brobdignagdians compared with that of their as a poet.

ancestors.

[ocr errors]

But not a dog doth bark to welcome thee,

During his youth and education he had to Nor churlish porter canst thou chafing see.

struggle with poverty ; and in his old age he was All dumb and silent like the dead of night, Or dwelling of some sleepy Sybarite;

one of those sufferers in the cause of episcopacy The marble pavement hid with desert weed,

whose virtues shed a lustre on its fall. He was With house-leek, thistle, dock, and hemlock seed. born in the parish of Ashby de la Zouche, in * *

Liecestershire, studied and took orders at CamLook to the towered chimneys, which should be bridge, and was for some time master of the The wind-pipes of good hospitality,

school of Tiverton, in Devonshire. An accidental Through which it breatheth to the open air, Betokéning life and liberal welfare,

opportunity which he had of preaching before Lo, there th' unthankful swallow takes her rest Prince Henry seems to have given the first imAnd fills the tunnel with her circled nest.

pulse to his preferment, till by gradual promotion His satires are neither cramped by personal he rose to be bishop of Exeter, having previously hostility, nor spun out to vague declamations on

accompanied King James, as one of his chaplains, vice, but give us the form and pressure of the

to Scotland, and attended the Synod of Dort at

As times exhibited in the faults of coeval literature, bishop of Exeter he was so mild in his conduct

a convocation of the protestant divines. and in the foppery or sordid traits of prevailing towards the puritans, that he, who was one of the manners. The age was undoubtedly fertile in

last broken pillars of the church, was nearly eccentricity. His picture of its literature may at first view appear to be overcharged with se

persecuted for favouring them. Had such converity, accustomed as we are to associate a

duct been, at this critical period, pursued by the general idea of excellence with the period of high churchmen in general, the history of a Elizabeth ; but when Hall wrote there was not bloody age might have been changed into that a great poet firmly established in the language

of peace ; but the violence of Laud prevailed except Spenser, and on him he has bestowed

over the milder counsels of a Hall, an Usher, and ample applause. With regard to Shakspeare, the

a Corbet. When the dangers of the church grew reader will observe a passage in the first satire,

more instant, Hall became its champion, and where the poet speaks of resigning the honours

was met in the field of controversy by Milton, of heroic and tragic poetry to more inspired whose respect for the bishop's learning is ill geniuses; and it is possible that the great drama

concealed under the attempt to cover it with

derision. tist may be here alluded to, as well as Spenser. But the allusion is indistinct, and not necessarily

By the little power that was still left to the applicable to the bard of Avon. Shakspeare's sovereign in 1641, Hall was created bishop of Romeo and Juliet, Richard II. and III. have Norwich ; but having joined, almost immediately been traced in print to no earlier date than the after, in the protest of the twelve prelates against year 1597, in which Hall's first series of satires the validity of laws that should be passed in their appeared ; and we have no sufficient proof of compelled absence, he was committed to the his previous fame as a dramatist having been so

Tower, and, in the sequel, marked out for sequesgreat as to leave Hall without excuse for oinitting tration. After suffering extreme hardships, he to pay him homage. But the sunrise of the

was allowed to retire, on a small pittance, to drama with Shakspeare was not without abund- Higham, near Norwich, where he continued, in ance of attendant mists in the contemporary comparative obscurity, but with indefatigable fustian of inferior playmakers, who are severely

zeal and intrepidity, to exercise the duties of a ridiculed by our satirist. In addition to this, our

pastor, till he closed his days at the venerable age poetry was still haunted by the whining ghosts

of eighty-two. of the Mirror for Magistrates, while obscenity and during the siege of Colchester, was sent for by the walked in barbarous nakedness, and the very

heads of the parliamentary army, to encourage the

soldiers, by assuring them that the town would be taken. genius of the language was threatened by revo

Fairfax told the seer, that he did not understand his art, lutionary prosodists.

but hoped it was lawful, and agreeable to God's word. From the literature of the age Hall proceeds

Butler alludes to this when he says, to its manners and prejudices, and among the Do not our great Reformers use latter derides the prevalent confidence in alchymy

This Sidrophel to forebode news ; and astrology. To us this ridicule appears an

To write of victories next year, ordinary effort of reason ; but it was in him a

And castles taken yet th' air? common sense above the level of the times. If any proof were required to illustrate the slow

And has not he point-blank foretold

Whats'e'r the Close Committee would; departure of prejudices, it would be found in the

Made Mars and Saturn for the Cause, fact of an astrologer being patronised, half a The moon for fundamental laws? century afterwards, by the government of England*.

Made all the Royal stars recant,

Compound, and take the Covenant ? * William Lilly received a pension from the council of

Hudibras, Canto il. state, in 1648. Ho was, besides, consulted by Charles ;

**

*

*

[ocr errors]

Or some upreared, high-aspiring swain,
SATIRE L. BOOK I.

As it might be the Turkish Tamberlain :

Then weeneth he his base drink-drowned spright, Nor ladies' wanton love, nor wand'ring knight, Rapt to the threefold loft of heaven height, Legend I out in rhymes all richly dight.

When he conceives upon his feigned stage Yor fright the reader with the Pagan vaunt The stalking steps of his great personage, Of mighty Mahound, and great Termagaunt. Graced with huff-cap terms and thund'ring threats, Nor list I sonnet of my mistress' face,

That his poor hearer's hair quite upright sets. To paint some Blowesse with a borrowed grace ; Such soon as some brave-minded hungry youth Nor can I bide to pen some hungry scene Sees fitly frame to his wide-strained mouth, For thick-skin ears, and undiscerning eyne. He vaunts his voice upon an hired stage, Nor ever could my scornful muse abide

With high-set steps, and princely carriage ; With tragic shoes her ancles for to hide.

Now sweeping in side robes of royalty, Nor can I crouch, and writhe my fawning tail That erst did scrub in lousy brokery, To some great patron, for my best avail.

There if he can with terms Italianate Such hunger starven trencher poetry,

Big sounding sentences, and words of state, Or let it never live, or timely die :

Fair patch me up his pure iambic verse, Nor under every bank and every tree,

He ravishes the gazing scaffolders : Speak rhymes unto my oaten minstrelsy : Then certes was the famous Corduban, Nor carol out so pleasing lively lays,

Never but half so high tragedian. As might the Graces move my mirth to praise*. Now, lest such frightful shows of fortune's fall, Trumpet, and reeds, and socks, and buskins fine,

And bloody tyrant's rage, should chance appal I them bequeath : whose statues wand’ring twine The dead-struck audience, 'midst the silent rout, Of iry mix'd with bays, circling around

Comes leaping in a self-misformed lout, Their living temples likewise laurel-bound.

And laughs, and grins, and frames his mimic face, Rather had I, albe in careless rhymes,

And justles straight into the prince's place ; Check the mis-order'd world, and lawless times. Then doth the theatre echo all aloud, Nor need I crave the muse's midwifery,

With gladsome noise of that applauding crowd. To bring to light so worthless poetry:

A goodly hotch-potch ! when vile russetings Or if we list, what baser muse can bide,

Are match'd with monarchs, and with mighty kings. To sit and sing by Granta's naked side ?

A goodly grace to sober tragic muse,
They haunt the tided Thames and salt Medway, When each base clown his clumsy fist doth bruise,
E'er since the fame of their late bridal day. And show his teeth in double rotten row,
Nought have we here but willow-shaded shore, For laughter at his self-resembled show.
To tell our Grant his banks are left forlore.

Meanwhile our poets in high parliament
Sit watching every word and gesturement,
Like curious censors of some doughty gear,
Whispering their verdict in their fellow's ear.

Woe to the word whose margent in their scroll
SATIRE III. BOOK I.

Is noted with a black condemning coal. With some pot fury, ravish'd from their wit, But if each period might the synod please, They sit and muse on some no-vulgar writ:

Ho :-bring the ivy boughs, and bands of bays. As frozen dunghills in a winter's morn,

Now when they part and leave the naked stage, That void of vapours seemed all beforn,

'Gins the bare hearer, in a guilty rage, Soon as the sun sends out his piercing beams,

To curse and ban, and blame his likerous eye, Exhale out filthy smoke and stinking steams.

That thus hath lavish'd his late balfpenny. So doth the base, and the sore-barren brain,

Shame that the muses should be bought and sold Soon as the raging wine begins to reign.

For every peasant's brass, on each scaffold, One higher pitch'd doth set his soaring thought On crowned kings, that fortune hath low brought:

SATIRE V. BOOK III.

* In this satire, which is not perfectly intelligible at the first glance, the author, after deriding the romantic and pastoral vein of affected or mercenary poetasters, proceeds to declare, that for his own part he resigns the higher walks of genuine poetry to others ; that he need

not crave the "Muse's midwifery," since not even a 1 baser muse would now haunt the shore of Granta (the

(am, which they bave left deserted, and crowned with willows, the types of desertion ever since Spenser celobrated the marriage of the Medway and the Thames.-E.

+ This satire is levelled at the intemperance and bombastic fury of his contemporary dramatists, with an evi. dent allusion to Marlowe; and in the conclusion he attacks the buffoonery that disgraced the stage.-E.

Fie on all courtesy and unruly winds,
Two only foes that fair disguisement finds.
Strange curse ! but fit for such a fickle age,
When scalps are subject to such vassalage.
Late travelling along in London way,
Me met, as seem'd by his disguised array,
A lusty courtier, whose curled head
With auburn locks was fairly furnished,
I him saluted in our la vish wise :
He answers my untimely courtesies.

« AnteriorContinuar »