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“ The First and Second Part of The Remedy of Love,” is reprinted from an edition “Printed by Nicholas Okes,” in 1620, a copy of which is preserved in the British Museum. It is of the utmost possible rarity, and not to be found in any of the libraries of our collectors of old poetry. Lowndes refers to the Museum copy, but misquotes the title “The Comedy of Love." Warton (Ilist. of Poet. iii. 339, note, edit. 1840) speaking of Francis Beaumont, says, “He also translated part of Ovid's 'Remedy of Love ;' as did Sir T. Overbury the whole soon afterwards, Lond. 1620, 8vo. But I believe there is a former edition, no date, 8vo."
Sir Thomas Overbury's "Observations in his Travailes," is reprinted from a small quarto pamphlet, "printed 1626.” It was licensed, according to the entry in the Stationers' Registers, “ 28 Jan. 1615-16 ;" but no copy of that date has come down to us.
Wood (Athence Oron. ii. 135) says, "This goes under his
name, but doubted by some whether he wrote it." The same writer mentions an edition in 1627, and another in 1657. Dr. Bliss informs us that a MS. copy exists in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth (MS. Lambeth, 81,115). It is also to be found in the Harleiaa " Colletion of Voyages and Travels,” folic, 1715, and in the seventh volume of the "Harlea Miscellany."
The “Crumms fal'n from King James's Table," is printed from the Harleian MS. No. 7582, fol. 42, where it purports to have been copied from the original, in Sir Thomas Overbury's own handwriting. It has appeared in print, but from a different MS., in "The Prince's Cabala, or Mysteries of State. Written by King James the First, and some Noblemen in his Reign, and in Queen Elizabeth's," &c. 12mo. 1715. The editor says in his Preface, “We here present the judicious reader with a choice collection of ingenious sentences, which fell from the table of that learned monarch, King James the First, and never made publick before. The substance of them are both Theological and Moral; and being gather'd, as they proceeded from the royal mouth, by that most witty Knight Sir Thomas Overbury, a little before he was poyson'd in the Tower of London, it is not to be doubted but they will escape the censures, frowns and derisions of the criticks.”
It only remains to say, that in reprinting the various pieces contained in the following pages, I have adhered to the old spelling; not because there is any value in a philological view attached to it--on the contrary, the same word is frequently spelt three different ways in the course of the same pagebut for other reasons which will have more weight. Overbury, in common with almost all the writers of
his period, occasionally uscs words and "figures of speech," ill-suited to the refinement of the present age. In reading an old author, in his own orthography, we can make every allowance for that which we are apt to forget or overlook in the more modern type and spelling of our own clay.
THE LIFE OF SIR THOMAS
“He cometh upon you with a tale, which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney.corner.”
Sir P. SIDNEY's Defence of Poesy.
HE tale of Sir Thomas Overbury is
indeed one of fearful mystery. Born with more than ordinary genius, nursed
in affluence, the companion of statesmen, and the favourite of princes; yet this man, so highly favoured, so marked for distinction, was doomed to an early death, to suffer lingering tortures, and to die in a loathsome dungeon, surrounded by the ghastly forms of murderers !
Thomas Overbury was born at Compton Scorfen, in the parish of Ilmington in Warwickshire, in 1581.* He was the son of Nicholas Overbury, of Boorton-on-the-hill in Gloucestershire; and, ac
At the house of his maternal grandfather, Giles Pal. mer. It is a tradition in Warwickshire, that he frequently resided at Barton-on-the-Heath, which was purchased hy Walter Overbury, younger son of Nicholas, who built the present Manor House there.
cording to Wood, * was "eclucated partly in grammar learning in those parts.” In Michaelmas term, 159.), he became a gentleman communer of Queen's College, Oxford, and through the aid of a youll tutor and severe discipline, made rapid progress in philosophy and logic. In 1598, as a “squire's son,” he took the degree of bachelor of arts, and soon after left the university and settled in the Middle Temple. How long lie continuell in the study of the law, we have not been able to ascertain. The writer of the “Secret History of the Reign of James," MS. in the Harleian library, † says, at the University and the Temple, "he was instructed in all those qualities which became a gentleman ; by the entreaty of my Lord Treasurer, Sir Robert Cecil, preferred to honour, found favour extraordinary, yet hindered in his expectations by some of his enemies, and to shift off discontent, forced to travel; therein spent not his time as most do, to loss, but turnished himself with things fitting a statesman, by experience in foreign governient, knowledge of the language, passages of employinent, external courtship, and good behaviour--things not common to every man. Overbury travelled for some time on the Continent, and on his return home, had the reputation of being an accomplished person, wliich, as
Athene Oxonienses, ii. 134, edit. Bliss. + Printeri in the second volume of The Autobiography and Correspondence of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, 8vo. 1815. Mr. Halliwell, the editor, observes, " Wilson seems to have been indebted to this JIS. in his Life of James, and it is altogether a curious and valuable memorial of the stirring events of the time." It was written befure the close of the year 1615.