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vivid, and picturesque—a mode of expression terse, it is a mere conceit. Perhaps we should not be far simple, and condensed-and a wit admirable, as well from the truth, if we were to represent this style as for its caustic severity, as for its playful quickness' the natural symptoms of the decline of the brilliant --and as only wanting sufficient sensibility and taste school of Sackville, Spenser, and Shakspeare. All to preserve him from the vices of style which seem the recognised modes, subjects, and phrases of poetry,
introduced by them and their contemporaries, were now in some degree exhausted, and it was necessary to seek for something new. This was found, not in a new vein of equally rich ore, but in a continuation of the workings through adjoining veins of spurious metal.
It is at the same time to be borne in mind, that the quality above described did not characterise the whole of the writings of Donne and his followers. These men are often direct, natural, and truly poetical-in spite, as it were, of themselves. Donne, it may be here stated, is usually considered as the first writer of that kind of satire which Pope and Churchill carried to such perfection. But his satires, to use the words of a writer already quoted, are rough and rugged as the unhewn stones that have just been blasted from the quarry.
The specimens which follow are designed only to exemplify the merits of Donne, not his defects :
Address to Bishop Valentine, on the day of the marriage
of the Elector Palatine to the Princess Elizabeth
Monumental Effigy of Dr Donne. to have beset him. Donne is usually considered as the first of a series of poets of the seventeenth century, who, under the name of the Metaphysical Poets, fill a conspicuous place in English literary history. The directness of thought, the naturalness of description, the rich abundance of genuine poetical feeling and imagery, which distinguish the poets of Elizabeth's reign, now begin to give way to cold and forced conceits, mere vain workings of the intellect, a kind of poetry as unlike the former as punning is unlike genuine wit. To give an idea of these conceits-Donne writes a poem on a familiar popular subject, a broken heart. Here he does not advert to the miseries or distractions which are presumed to be the causes of broken hearts, but starts off into & play of conceit upon the phrase. He entered 8 room, he says, where his mistress was present, and
- lore, alas!
Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
But after one such love can love no more.
That is, absence.
And though it in the centre sit,
Stranger than seven antiquaries' studiesYet when the other far doth roam,
Than Afric monsters-Guiana's raritiesIt leans, and hearkens after it,
Stranger than strangers. One who for a Dane And grows erect as that comes home.
In the Danes' massacre had sure been slain, Such wilt thou be to me, who must
If he had lived then ; and without help dies Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
When next the 'prentices 'gainst strangers rise.
One whom the watch at noon scarce lets go by ;
One to whom th' examining justice sure would cry,
'Sir, by your priesthood, tell me what you are ?' The Will.
His clothes were strange, though coarse—and black,
though bare; Before I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been Great Love, some legacies : I here bequeath
Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen) Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see;
Become tuff-taffety; and our children shall If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee;
See it plain rash awhile, then not at all. My tongue to Fame; to ambassadors mine ears;
The thing hath travell’d, and saith, speaks all tongues; To women, or the sea, my tears ;
And only knoweth what to all states belongs. Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore,
Made of the accents and best phrase of these, By making me serve her who had twenty more,
He speaks one language. If strange meats displease, That I should give to none but such as had too much
Art can deceive, or hunger force my taste ; before.
But pedants' motley tongue, soldiers' bombast, My constancy I to the planets give;
Mountebanks' drug-tongue, nor the terms of law, My truth to them who at the court do live;
Are strong enough preparatives to draw Mine ingenuity and openness
Me to bear this. Yet I must be content To Jesuits ; to Buffoons my pensiveness;
With his tongue, in his tongue called compliment. My silence to any who abroad have been ; My money to a Capuchin.
He names me, and comes to me. I whisper, God! Thou, Love, taught'st me, by appointing me
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod, To love there, where no love received can be,
(This fellow) chooseth me? He saith, “Sir, Only to give to such as have no good capacity. I love your judgment--whom do you prefer
For the best linguist ?' And I sillily
Said, that I thought, Calepine's Dictionary.
Nay, but of men, most sweet sir ?'--Beza then,
Some Jesuits, and two reverend men
Of our two academies, I named. Here
He stopt me, and saidNay, your apostles were Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
| Pretty good linguists, and so Panurge was,
Yet a poor gentleman. All these may pass Love her that holds my love disparity,
By travel.' Then, as if he would have sold Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.
His tongue, he prais'd it, and such wonders told, I give my reputation to those
That I was fain to say—If you had liv'd, Sir,
To Babel's bricklayers, sure the tower had stood.' My sickness to physicians, or excess;
He adds, If of court-life you knew the good, To Nature all that I in rhyme hare writ!
You would leave loneness. I said, “Not alone And to my company my wit :
My loneness is, but Spartans' fashion. Thou, Love, by making me adore
To teach by painting drunkards doth not last Her who begot this love in me before,
Now; Aretine's pictures have made few chaste; Taught'st me to make as though I gave, when I do but
| No more can prince's courts (though there be few restore.
Better pictures of vice) teach me virtue. To him for whom the passing bell next tolls
He, like a high-stretch'd lutestring, squeak’d, 'O, Sir, I give my physic books; my written rolls
'Tis sweet to talk of kings ! 'At Westminster, Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give;
(Said I) the man that keeps the Abbey-tombs, My brazen medals, unto them which live
And, for his price, doth, with whoever comes, In want of bread; to them which pass among
Of all our Harrys and our Edwards talk, All foreigners, my English tongue:
From king to king, and all their kin can walk. Thoa, Love, by making me love one
Your ears shall hear nought but kings-your eyes meet Who thinks her friendship a fit portion
Kings only-the way to it is King street ?' For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.
He smack'd and cry'd-He's base, mechanic, coarse,
So are all your Englishmen in their discourse. Therefore I'll give no more, but I'll undo
Are not your Frenchmen neat? Mine ?-as you see, The world by dying, because love dies too.
I have but one, Sir-look, he follows me. 1 Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Certes, they are neatly cloth'd. I of this mind am, Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it forth,
Your only wearing is your grogoram.' And all your graces no more use shall have
Not so, Sir. I have more.' Under this pitch Than a sun-dial in a grave.
He would not fly. I chaf'd him. But as itch Thon, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Scratch'd into smart-and as blunt iron ground Love her who doth neglect both me and thee,
Into an edge hurts worse—so I (fool!) found To invent and practise this one way to annihilate all |
Crossing hurt me. To fit my sullenness three.
He to another key his style doth dress,
And asks, What news! I tell him of new plays; [A Character from Donne's Satires.]
He takes my hands, and as a still which stays
More than ten Holinsheds, or Halls, or Stowes-
When the queen frown'd or smil'd, and he knows what So nothing in his maw? yet seemeth by his belt, A subtle statesman may gather from that.
That his gaunt gut no too much stuffing felt.
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip.
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
His grandame could have lent with lesser pain !
Though he perhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore, JOSEPH HALL
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head, Joseph Hall, born at Bristow Park, in Leicester One lock amazon-like dishevelled, shire, in 1574, and who rose through various church | As if he meant to wear a native cord, preferments to be bishop of Norwich, is more dis- If chance his fates should him that bane afford. tinguished as a prose writer than as a poet : he is, All British bare upon the bristled skin, however, allowed to have been the first to write Close notched is his beard, both lip and chin; satirical verse with any degree of elegance. His His linen collar labyrinthian set, satires, which were published under the title of Whose thousand double turnings never met: Virgidemiarum, in 1597-9, refer to general objects, His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings, and present some just pictures of the more remark- As if he meant to fly with linen wings. able anomalies in human character: they are also But when I look, and cast mine eyes below, written in a style of greater polish and volubility What monster meets mine eyes in human show ? than most of the compositions of this age. Bishop So slender waist with such an abbot's loin, Hall, of whom a more particular notice is given Did never sober nature sure conjoin. elsewhere, died in 1656, at the age of eighty-two. Lik'st a strawn scarecrow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield, [Selections from Hall's Satires.]
Or, if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
In 1616, Bex Joxson collected the plays he had Second, that he do, on no default,
then written, and published them in one volume, Ever presume to sit above the salt.
folio, adding, at the same time, a book of epiThird, that he nerer change his trenchcr tırice. grams, and a number of poems, which he entitled Fourth, that he use all common courtesies;
The Forest, and The Underwood. The whole were Sit bare at meals, and one half rise and wait.
comprised in one folio volume, which Jonson digni. Last, that he never his young master beat,
fied with the title of his Works, a circumstance But he must ask his mother to define,
which exposed him to the ridicule of some of his How many jerks he would his breech should linc. contemporaries. * It is only with the minor poetry All these obserred, he could contented be,
of Jonson that we have to deal at present, as the i To give five marks and winter livery.
dramatic productions of this stern old master of the
manly school of English comedy will be afterwards Seest thou how gaily my young master goes,*
described. There is much delicacy of fancy, fine Vaunting himself upon his rising toes;
feeling, and sentiment, in some of Jonson's lyrical And pranks his hand upon his dagger's side;
and descriptive effusions. He grafted a classic grace And picks his glutted teeth since late noon-tide!
and musical expression on parts of his masques and 'Tis Ruffio: Trow'st thou where he dined to-day!
interludes, which could hardly have been expected In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humphrey.
from his massive and ponderous hand. In some of Many good welcomes, and much gratis cheer,
his songs he equals Carew and Herrick in pictuKeeps he for every straggling cavalier;
resque images, and in portraying the fascinations of An open house, haunted with great resort;
love. A taste for nature is strongly displayed in his Long service mixt with musical disport.t
fine lines on Penshurst, that ancient seat of the | Vany fair younker with a feather'd crest,
Sidneys. It has been justly remarked by one of Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
his critics, that Jouson's dramas do not lead us to To fare so freely with so little cost,
value highly enough his admirable taste and feeling Than stake his twelverence to a meanor host. Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
in poetry; and when we consider how many other
intellectual excellenccs distinguished him-wit, obHe touch'd no meat of all this lire-long day. For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
servation, judgment, memory, learning-we must
acknowledge that the inscription on his tomb, “O) His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness, ! But could he have (as I did it mistake)
rare Ben Jonson !" is not more pithy than it is
true. So little in his purse, so much upon his back!
* This is the portrait of a poor gallant of the days of Elizabeth. In St Paul's Cathedral, then an open public place, there was a I tomb erruneously supposed to be that of Humphrey, Duke of
Gloucester, which was the resort of gentlemen upon town in that day who had occasion to look out for a dinner. When unsuccessful in getting an invitation, they were said to dine with Duke llumplirey
An allusion to the church service to be heard ncar Duke Rumphrey's tomb
I Long, or low.
Pray tell us, Ben, where does the mystery Iurk,
What others call a play you call a work
The author's friend thus for the author says-
[From The Forest.') Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
Doth ask a drink divine;
I would not change for thine.
Not so much honouring thee,
It could not wither'd be.
And sent'st it back to me;
Not of itself, but thee.
[From The Forest.']
Lest I be sick with seeing;
Lest shame destroy their being.
For then their threats will kill me; Nor look too kind on my desires,
For then my hopes will spill me. Oh do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me; Nor spread them as distraught with fears;
Mine own enough betray me.
The Sweet Neglect.
(From • The Silent Woman.') Still to be neat, still to be drest, As you were going to a feast; Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd : Lady, it is to be presum’d, Though art's hid causes are not found, All is not sweet, all is not sound. Give me a look, give me a face, That makes simplicity a grace ; Robes loosely flowing, hair as free ; Such sweet neglect more taketh me Than all th' adulteries of art : They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
[From the same.] Kiss me, sweet! the wary lover Can your favours keep and cover, When the common courting jay All your bounties will betray. Kiss again ; no creature comes; Kiss, and score up wealthy sums On my lips, thus hardly sunder'd While you breathe. First give a hundred, Then a thousand, then another Hundred, then unto the other Add a thousand, and so more, Till you equal with the store, All the grass that Romney yields, Or the sands in Chelsea fields, Or the drops in silver Thames, Or the stars that gild his streams In the silent summer nights, When youths ply their stol'n delights ; That the curious may not know How to tell them as they flow, And the envious when they find What their number is, be pined.
Hymn to Diana.
(From Cynthia's Revels.'] Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep ; Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep. Hesperus intreats thy light, Goddess excellently bright! Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose ; ; Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear when day did close ; Bless us then with wished sight, Goddess excellently bright! Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver : Give unto the flying hart,
Space to breathe, how short soever ; Thou that mak'st a day of night, Goddess excellently bright !
Wherein my lady rideth !
And well the car love guideth.
Unto her beauty;
But enjoy such a sight,
All that love's world compriseth!
As love's star when it riseth !
Than words that soothe her!
Sheds itself through the face,
Before rude hands have touch'd it?
Before the soil hath smutch'd it ?
Or swan's down ever ?
Or the 'nard in the fire ?
To Night. [From The Vision of Delight.'] Break, Phantasy, from thy cave of cloud,
And spread thy purple wings ; Now all thy figures are allow'd,
And various shapes of things;
To all the senses here,
Or music in their ear.
Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport;
Good Life, Long Life.
Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke.
Epitaph on Elizabeth, L. H.
There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a Sylvan token with his flames. Mary, the daughter of their youth:
And thence the ruddy Satyrs oft provoke Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
The lighter Fauns to reach thy Ladies' Oak. It makes the father less to rue.
Thy copse, too, named of Gamage, thou hast here At six months end she parted hence
That never fails, to serve thee, season'd deer, With safety of her innocence ;
When thou would'st feast or exercise thy friends. Whose soul heaven's queen (whose name she bears) The lower land that to the river bends, In comfort of her mother's tears,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed : Hath placed among her virgin train :
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed. Where, while that sever'd doth remain,
Each bank doth yield thee conies, and the tops This grave partakes the fleshly birth,
Fertile of wood. Ashore, and Sidney's copse, Which cover lightly, gentle earth.
To crown thy open table doth provide
The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side:
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be kill'd. [From The Forest.']
And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish, Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show Thou hast thy ponds that pay thee tribute fish, Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Fat, aged carps that run into thy net, Of polish'd pillars, or a roof of gold:
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat, Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told ;
As loath the second draught or cast to stay, Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile, Officiously, at first, themselves betray. And these grudg’d at, are reverenced the while. Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land, Thou joy’st in better marks of soil and air,
Before the fisher, or into his hand. Of wood, of water ; therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours. * Penshurst is situated in Kent, near Tunbridge, in a wide and
The early cherry with the later plum, rich valley. The grey walls and turrets of the old mansion ; its
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come: high-peaked and red roofs, and the new buildings of fresh stone,
The blushing apricot and woolly peach mingled with the ancient fabric, present a very striking and
Hang on thy walls that every child may reach. venerable aspect. It is a fitting abode for the noble Sidneys.
And though thy walls be of the country stone, The park contains trees of enormous growth, and others to
They're rear’d with no man's ruin, no man's groan; which past events and characters have given an everlasting interest; as Sir Philip Sidney's Oak, Saccharissa's Walk, Ga
There's none that dwell about them wish them down; mage's Bower, &c. The ancient massy oak tables remain ; and
But all come in, the farmer and the clown, from Jonson's description of the hospitality of the family. they | And no one empty handed, to salute must often have groaned with the weight of the feast.' Mr
| Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit. William Howitt has given an interesting account of Penshurst | Some bring a capon, some a rural cake, in his Visits to Remarkable Places, 1840.
| Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make