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You violets that first appear,
Wriotlesley, Earl of Southampton. I know not,' By your pure purple mantles known,
says the modest poet, in his first dedication, 'low Like the proud virgins of the year,
I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to As if the spring were all your own!
your lordship, nor how the world will censure me What are you, when the rose is blown? for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a So, when my mistress shall be seen
burthen; only, if your honour seem but pleased, I In form and beauty of her mind;
account myself highly praised, and vow to take adBy virtue first, then choice, a Queen!
vantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you Tell me, if she were not design'd
with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my Th' eclipse and glory of her kind ?
inventim prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so
noble & godfather, and never after ear (till] so A Parewell to the Vanities of the World. barren a land. The allusion to idle hours' seems | Farewell, ye gilded follies, pleasing troubles ; to point to the author's profession of an actor, in | Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles ! which capacity he had probably attracted the attenFame's but a hollow echo; gold pure clay;
tion of the Earl of Southampton ; but it is not so Honour the darling but of one short day;
easy to understand how the Venus and Adonis was Beauty, th' eye's idol, but a damask'd skin;
the first heir of his invention,' unless we believe State but a golden prison to live in,
| that it had been written in early life, or that his And torture free-born minds; embroider'd trains dramatic labours had then been confined to the Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins; adaptation of old plays, not the writing of new ones, And blood allied to greatness, is alone
for the stage. There is a tradition, that the Earl of Inherited, not purchased, nor our own :
Southampton on one occasion presented Shakspeare Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth, with L.1000, to complete a purchase which he Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.
wished to make. The gift was munificent, but the
sum has probably been exaggerated. The Venus Welcome, pure thoughts, welcome, ye silent groves, and Adonis is a glowing and essentially dramatic These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves : version of the well-known mythological story, full Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing
of fine descriptive passages, but objectionable on the My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring : score of licentiousness. Warton has shown that it A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass,
gave offence, at the time of its publication, on acIn which I will adore sweet Virtue's face.
count of the excessive warmth of its colouring. The Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares,
Rape of Lucrece is less animated, and is perhaps an No broken rows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears : inferior poem, though, from the boldness of its figuThen here I'll sigh, and sigh my hot love's folly, rative expressions, and its tone of dignified pathos And learn t' affect an holy melancholy;
and reflection, it is more like the hasty sketch of a And if Contentment be a stranger then,
great poet. Ill ne'er look for it, but in heaven again.
The sonnets of Shakspeare were first printed in The Character of a Happy Life.
1609, by Thomas Thorpe, a bookseller and publisher
of the day, who prefixed to the volume the following How happy is he born and taught,
enigmatical dedication :-* To the only begetter of That serveth not another's will;
these ensuing sonnets, Mr W. H., all happiness and Whose armour is his honest thought,
that eternity promised by our ever-living poet, And simple truth his utmost skill !
wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting Whose passions not his masters are,
forth, T. T.' The sonnets are 154 in number. They Whose soul is still prepared for death,
are, with the exception of twenty-eight, addressed l'ntied unto the worldly care
to some male object, whoin the poet addresses in a Of public fame, or private breath ;
style of affection, love, and idolatry, remarkable, even Who envies none that chance doth raise,
in the reign of Elizabeth, for its extravagant and Or vice ; who never understood
enthusiastic character. Though printed continuHow deepest wounds are given by praise ;
ously, it is obvious that the sonnets were written at Nor rules of state, but rules of good :
different times, with long intervals between the Who hath his life from rumours freed,
dates of composition; and we know that, previous to
1598, Shakspeare had tried this species of composiWhose conscience is his strong retreat ; Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
tion, for Meres in that year alludes to his “sugared
sonnets among his private friends.' We almost wish, Nor ruin make oppressors great ;
with Mr Hallam, that Shakspeare had not written Who God doth late and early pray,
these sonnets, beautiful as many of them are in More of his grace than gifts to lend ;
language and imagery. They represent him in a And entertains the harınless day
character foreign to that in which we love to regard With a religious book or friend;
him, as modest, virtuous, self-confiding, and indeThis man is freed from servile bands
pendent. His excessive and elaborate praise of Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
youthful beauty in a man seems derogatory to his Lord of himself, though not of lands;
genius, and savours of adulation ; and when we find And having nothing, yet bath all.
him excuse this friend for robbing him of his mistress-a married female—and subjecting his noble
spirit to all the pangs of jealousy, of guilty love, and SHAKSPEARE,
blind misplaced attachment, it is painful and diffiSHAKSPEARE, as a writer of miscellaneous poetry, cult to believe that all this weakness and folly can claims now to be noticed, and, with the exception of be associated with the name of Shakspcare, and still the Faery Queen, there are no poems of the reign more, that he should record it in verse which he beof Elizabeth equal to those productions to which lieved would descend to future agesthe great dramatist affixed his name. In 1593, Not marble, not the gilded monuments when the poet was in his twenty-ninth year, ap Of princes, shall outlire this powerful rhyme. peared his Venus and Adonis, and in the following Some of the sonnets may be written in a feigned year his Rupe of Lucrece, both dedicated to Henry character, and merely dramatic in expression; but
in others, the poet alludes to his profession of an For through his mane and tail the high wind sings, actor, and all bear the impress of strong passion and Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather's wings. deep sincerity. A feeling of premature age seems to have crept on Shakspeare
[Venus's Prophecy after the Death of Adonis.] That time of year thou may'st in me behold
Since thou art dead, lo! here I prophecy,
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend;
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low :
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe. Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud, In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
Bud and be blasted in a breathing while, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstrawd As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile. Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
The strongest body shall it make most weak, This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool to speak. To love that well which thou inust leave ere long. It shall be sparing, and too full of riot, He laments his errors with deep and penitential
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures ;
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet, sorrow, summoning up things past to the sessions of sweet silent thought,' and exhibiting the depths
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures ;
It shall be raging mad, and silly mild, of a spirit 'solitary in the very vastness of its sympathies.' The · W. H.' alluded to by Thorpe, the
Make the young old, the old become a child. publisher, has been recently conjectured to be | It shall suspect, where is no cause of fear ; William Herbert, afterwards Earl of Pembroke, who It shall not fear, where it should most mistrust; (as appears from the dedication of the first folio of It shall be merciful, and too severe, 1623) was one of Shakspeare's patrons. This con- | And most deceiving when it seems most just : jecture has received the assent of Mr Hallam and Perverse it shall be, when it seems most toward, othei
and the author of an ingenious work on the Put fear to valour, courage to the coward. sonnets, Mr C. Armitage Brown, has supported | It shall be cause of war, and dire erents, it with much plausibility. Herbert was in his And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire : eighteenth year, when Meres first notices the son- Subject and servile to all discontents, nets in 1598; he was learned, of literary taste, and As dry combustious matter is to fire. gallant character, but of licentious life. The son- Sith in his prime, death doth my love destroy, nets convey the idea, that the person to whom they They that love best, their love shall not enjoy. were addressed was of high rank, as well as personal beauty and accoinplishments. We know of only one objection to this theory--the improbability that the
[Selections from Shakspeare's Sonnets.] publisher would address William Herbert, then Earl When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, of Pembroke, and a Knight of the Garter, as - Mr I all alone beweep my outcast state, W. H.' Herbert succeeded his father in the earl- | And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, dom in 1601, while the sonnets, as published by And look upon myself, and curse my fate, Thorpe, bear the date, as already stated, of 1609. Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
The composition of these mysterious productions Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd, evinces Shakspeare's great facility in versification Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, of a difficult order, and they display more intense With what I most enjoy contented least; feeling and passion than either of his classical | Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, poems. They have the conceits and quaint turns of Haply I think on thee-and then my state expression, then common, particularly in the sonnet; (Like to the lark at break of day arising but they rise to far higher flights of genuine poetry From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate ; than will be found in any other poet of the day, and For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings, they contain many traces of his philosophical and That then I scorn to change my state with kings. reflective spirit.
Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there, [The IIorse of Adonis.]
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear," Look, when a painter would surpass the life,
Made old offences of affections new. In limning out a well-proportion'd steed,
Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth His art with Nature's workmanship at strife,
Askance and strangely ; but, by all above, As if the dead the living should exceed :
These blenches gave my heart another youth, So did this horse excel a common one
And worst essays pror'd thee my best of love. In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone.
Now all is done, save what shall have no end : Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, Mine appetite I never more will grind Broad brcast, full eve, small head, and nostril wide, On newer proof, to try an older friend, High crest, short ears, strait legs, and passing strong, A God in love, to whom I am confined. Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide : Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best, Look what a horse should have, he did not lack, E'en to thy pure and most most loving breast. Save a proud rider on so proud a back.
O for my sake do thou with fortune chide, Sometimes he scuds far off, and there he stares; The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, Anon he starts at stirring of a feather.
That did not better for my life provide, To bid the wind a basel he now prepares,
Than public means, which public manners breeds. And whe'r he run, or fly, they know not whether. Thence comes it that my name receives a brand, I to bind the print a base: i.e. to challenge the wind to con
And almost thence my nature is subdued tend with him in speed: base-prison-base, or prison-bars, was To what it works in, like the dyer s hand. a rustic game, consisting chiefly in running.
| Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd ;
Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Nor did I wonder at the lilies white, Potions of eysell,' 'gainst my strong infection; Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose ; No bitterness that I will bitter think,
They were but sweet, but figures of delight, Nor double penance to correct correction.
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those. ! Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away, E'en that your pity is enough to cure me.
As with your shadow I with these did play.
My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming; When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
| I love not less, though less the show appear: I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming, And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
| The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere. Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
Our love was new, and then but in the spring, For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, | And weep afresh love's long-since-cancell'd woe, And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight.
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days :
Not that the summer is less pleasant now Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night, And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
But that wild music burdens every bough, The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight. Which I new pay as if not paid before.
Therefore, like her, I sometimes hold my tongue, || But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
Because I would not dull you with my song.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds "O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem, Admit impediments. Love is not love | By that sweet ornament which truth doth give! Which alters when it alteration finds, The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
Or bends with the remover to remove : For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark, 1. The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken; | As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
It is the star to every wandering bark, I Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. When summer's breath their masked buds discloses ; Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks But, for their virtue only is their show,
| Within his bending sickle's compass come ; They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade;
| Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, Die to theinselves. Sweet roses do not so ;
| But bears it out e'en to the edge of doom. Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made ; If this be error, and upon me proved, And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. When that shall fade, my verse distils your truth.
[ Selections from Shakspeare's Songs.] No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
[From · As you like it.'] Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind,
As man's ingratitude !
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen, That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
Although thy breath be rude. If thinking on me then should make you woe.
| Heigh, ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly, O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly. When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Then heigh, ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, And mock you with me after I am gone.
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot! Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Though thou the waters warp, Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Thy sting is not so sharp Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
As friend remember'd not.
Heigh, ho ! &c. &c.
[At the end of Love's Labour Lost.'] Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
When icicles hang by the wall, To linger out a purposed overthrow.
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
And Tom bears logs into the hall, When other petty griefs have done their spite,
And milk comes frozen home in pail; But in the onset come ; so shall I taste
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul, At first the very worst of Fortune's might;
Then nightly sings the staring owl, And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Tu-whoo! Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parsons's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marion's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whoo! Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note, 1 Vinegar.
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 102
The judgment and fancy are reconciled, and the [In. Much Ado about Nothing.')
imagery of the poem seems to start more vind Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more ;
from the surrounding shades of abstraction. The Men were deceivers ever;
versification of the poem (long quatrains) vs One foot in sea, and one on shore,
afterwards copied by Davenant and Dryden. Wir To one thing constant never :
Southey has remarked that “Sir John Davies sur Then sigh not so,
Sir William Davenant, avoiding equally the opposite But let them go,
faults of too artificial and too careless a style, writt And be you blithe and bonny;
in numbers which, for precision, and clearness, and Converting all your sounds of woe
felicity, and strength, have never been surpasse! Into, Hey nonny, nonny.
The compact structure of Davies's verse is indeed Sing no more ditties, sing no mo
remarkable for his times. In another productie, Of dumps so dull and heavy;
entitled Orchestra, or a Poom of Dancing, in a Da. The fraud of inen was ever so,
logue between Penelope and One of her Wovers, be is Since summer first was leavy.
much more fanciful. He there represents Penelor Then sigh not so, &c.
as declining to dance with Antinous, and the latte
as proceeding to lecture her upon the antiquity of (In • Cymbeline.']
that elegant exercise, the merits of which he de Fear no more the heat o'th' sun,
scribes in verses partaking, as has been justly i Nor the furious winter's rages;
marked, of the flexibility and grace of the subjet. Thou thy worldly task hast done,
The following is one of the most imaginative pas
[The Dancing of the Air.]
And now behold your tender nurse, the air,
And common neighbour, that aye runs around,
fair To thee the reed is as the oak.
How many pictures and impressions :
Within her empty regions are there found,
Which to your senses dancing do propound;
For what are breath, speech, echoes, music, winds
But dancings of the air in sundry kinds !
For when you breathe, the air in order moves, 'Thou hast finished joy and moan.
Now in, now cut, in time and measure true, All lovers young, all lovers must
And when you speak, so well she dancing loves, Consign to thee, and come to dust.
That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new,
With thousand forms she doth herself endue: No exorciser harm thee!
For all the words that from your lips repair,
Are nought but tricks and turnings of the air.
Hence is her prattling daughter, Echo, born,
That dances to all voices she can hear :
There is no sound so harsh that she doth scorn,
Nor any time wherein she will forbear
The airy pavement with her feet to wear:
And yet her hearing sense is nothing quick,
For after time she endeth ev'ry trick.
And thou, sweet Music, dancing's only life,
The ear's sole happiness, the air's best speech,
Loadstone of fellowship, charming rod of strife, Here shall he see
The soft mind's paradise, the sick mind's leech, No enemy
With thine own tongue thou trees and stones cal But winter and rough weather.
teach, Who doth ambition shun,
That when the air doth dance her finest measure, And loves to live i’ the sun;
Then art thou born, the gods' and men's sweet
Lastly, where keep the Winds their revelry,
Their violent turnings, and wild whirling hays,
But in the air's translucent gallery!
Where she herself is turn'd a hundred ways,
Yet in this misrule, they such rule embrace,
As two at once encumber not the place. Sir John DAVIES (1570-1626), an English bar
Afterwards, the poet alludes to the tidal influence of rister, at one time Speaker of the Irish House of |
etical in er Commons, was the author of a long philosophical poen, On the Soul of Man and the Immortality thereof, Pro
of pression :supposed to have been written in 1598, and one of | For lo, the sea that fleets about the land, the earliest poems of that kind in our language. And like a girdle clips her solid waist, Davies is a profound thinker and close reasoner : | Music and measure both doth understand : ‘in the happier parts of his poem,' says Campbell, For his great crystal eye is always cast .we come to logical truths so well illustrated by in Up to the moon, and on her fixed fast: genious similes, that we know not whether to call | And as she danceth in her pallid spheres the thoughts more poetically or philosophically just. So danceth he about the centre here.
Sometimes his proud green waves in order set,
[The Dignity of Man.]
Oh! what is man, great Maker of mankind ! And to make known his courtly love the more, That thou to him so great respect dost bcar; i He oft doth lay aside his three-fork'd mace, That thou adorn’st him with so bright a mind,
And with his arms the timorous earth embrace. Mak'st him a king, and even an angel's peer ? [ The poem on Dancing is said to have been written
Oh ! what a lively life, what heav'nly pow'r,
| What spreading virtue, what a sparkling fire, , in fifteen days. It was published in 1596. The
| How great, how plentiful, how rich a dow'r Nosce Teipsum, or Poem on the Immortality of the
Dost thou within this dying flesh inspire ! Soul, bears the date (as appears from the dedication to the Queen) of 1602. The fame of these works Thou leav'st thy print in other works of thine, introduced Sir John Davies to James I., who made But thy whole image thou in man hast writ; him successively solicitor-general and attorney-ge There cannot be a creature more divine, neral for Ireland. He was also a judge of assize, Except, like thee, it should be infinito : and was knighted by the king in 1607. The first But it exceeds man's thought, to think how highReports of Law Cases, published in Ireland, were God hath rais'd man, since God a man became; made by this able and accomplished man, and his | The angels do admire this mystery, preface to the volume is considered the best that
And are astonish'd when they view the same : was ever prefixed to a law-book.'
Nor hath he given these blessings for a day, .
Nor made them on the body's life depend; [Reasons for the Soul's Immortality.]
The soul, though made in time, survives for ayc;
And though it hath beginning, sees no end.
JOHN DONNE was born in London in 1573, of a
Catholic family; through his mother he was reAll moving things to other things do move
lated to Sir Thomas More and Heywood the epiOf the same kind, which shows their nature such ; grammatist. He was educated partly at Oxford So earth falls down, and fire doth mount above, and partly at Cambridge, and was designed for the Till both their proper elements do touch.
law, but relinquished the study in his nineteenth Add as the moisture which the thirsty earth
year. About this period of his life, having carefully
considered the controversies between the Catholics Sucks from the sca to fill her empty veins,
and Protestants, he became convinced that the latter From out her womb at last doth take a birth,
were right, and became a member of the established And runs a lymph along the grassy plains,
church. The great abilities and amiable character Long doth she stay, as loath to leave the land, of Donne were early distinguished. The Earl of From whose soft side she first did issue make; Essex, the Lord Chancellor Egerton, and Sir Robert She tastes all places, turns to every hand,
Drury, successively befriended and employed him ; Her flowery banks unwilling to forsake.
and a saying of the second of these eminent persons
respecting him is recorded by his biographers—that Yet nature so her streams doth lead and carry
he was fitter to serve a king than a subject. He As that her course doth make no final stay,
fell, nevertheless, into trouble, in consequence of Till she herself unto the sea doth marry,
secretly marrying the daughter of Sir George Moore, Within whose wat'ry bosom first she lay.
lord lieutenant of the Tower. This step kept him for E'en so the soul, which, in this earthly mould, several years in poverty, and by the death of his The spirit of God doth secretly infuse,
wife, a few days after giving birth to her twelfth Because at first she doth the earth behold,
child, he was plunged into the greatest grief. At And only this material world she views.
the age of forty-two, Donne became a clergyman,
and soon attaining distinction as a preacher, he was At first her mother earth she holdeth dear,
preferred by James I. to the deanery of St Paul's; And doth embrace the world and worldly things;
in which benefice he continued till his death in 1631, She flies close by the ground, and hovers here,
when he was buried honourably in Westminster And mounts not up with her celestial wings :
Abbey. Yet under heaven she cannot light on aught
The works of Donne consist of satires, elegies, That with her heavenly nature doth agree;
religious poems, complimentary verses, and epiShe cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
grams: they were first collected into one volume She cannot in this world contented be.
by Tonson in 1719. His reputation as a poet, great
in his own day, low during the latter part of the For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth,
seventeenth, and the whole of the eighteenth cenOr pleasure of the sense, contentment find ?
turies, has latterly in some degree revived. In its Who ever ceased to wish, when he had health, days of abasement, critics spoke of his harsh and Or, having wisdom, was not vex'd in mind ?
rugged versification, and his leaving nature for conThen, as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
ceit: Dryden even hints at the necessity of transWhich seem sweet flow'rs, with lustre fresh and gay,
lating him into numbers and English. It seems She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
to be now acknowledged that, amidst much rubbish, But, pleased with none, doth rise and soar away.
there is much real poetry, and that of a high order,
in Donne. He is described by a recent critic as So, when the soul finds here no true content,
• imbued to saturation with the learning of his age,' And, like Noah's dove, can do sure footing take, endowed with a most active and piercing intellect She doth return from whence she first was sent, -an imagination, if not grasping and comprehenAnd flies to him that first her wings did make. sive, most subtle and far-darting-a fancy, rich,