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of literary men, to whom these antique Oriental com- that short period, we shall find the names of almost positions presented numberless incidents, images, all the very great men that this nation has ever proand sentiments, unknown before, and of the richest duced, the names of Shakspeare, and Bacon, and and most interesting kind.
Spenser, and Sydney, and Hooker, and Taylor, and Among other circumstances favourable to litera- Barrow, and Raleigh, and Napier, and Hobbes, and ture at this period, must be reckoned the encourage- many others; men, all of them, not merely of great ment given to it by Queen Elizabeth, who was herself talents and accomplishments, but of vast compas very learned and addicted to poetical composition, and reach of understanding, and of minds truly and had the art of filling her court with men qualified creative and original; not perfecting art by the to shine in almost every department of intellectual delicacy of their taste, or digesting knowledge by the exertion. Her successors, James and Charles; re- justness of their reasonings, but making vast and sembled her in some of these respects, and during substantial additions to the materials upon wbich their reigns, the impulse which she had given to taste and reason must hereafter be employed, and literature experienced rather an increase than a enlarging to an incredible and unparalleled extent decline. There was, indeed, something in the policy, both the stores and the resources of the huma as well as in the personal character of all these sove- faculties.' reigns, which proved favourable to literature. The
THOMAS SACKVILLE. study of the belles lettres was in some measure identified with the courtly and arbitrary principles In the reign of Elizabeth, some poetical names of of the time, not perhaps so much from any enlight-importance precede that of Spenser. The first is ened spirit in those who supported such principles, THOMAS SACKVILLE (1536–1608), ultimately Earı as from a desire of opposing the puritans, and other malcontents, whose religious doctrines taught them to despise some departments of elegant literature, and utterly to condemn others. There can be no doubt that the drama, for instance, chiefly owed that encouragement which it received under Elizabeth and her successors, to a spirit of hostility to the puritans, who, not unjustly, repudiated it for its immorality. We must at the same time allow much to the influence which such a court as that of England, during these three reigns, was calculated to have among men of literary tendencies. Almost all the poets, and many of the other writers, were either courtiers themselves, or under the immediate protection of courtiers, and were constantly experiencing the smiles, and occasionally the solid benefactions, of royalty. Whatever, then, was refined, or gay, or sentimental, in this country and at this time, came with its full influence upon literature.
The works brought forth under these circumstances have been very aptly compared to the productions of a soil for the first time broken up, when 'all indigenous plants spring up at once with a rank and irrepressible fertility, and display whatever is peculiar and excellent in their nature, on a scale the
Thomas Sackville. most conspicuous and magnificent.** The ability to of Dorset and Lord High Treasurer of England, and write having been, as it were, suddenly created, the who will again come before us in the character of a whole world of character, imagery, and sentiment, dramatic writer. In 1557. Sackville formed the de as well as of information and pbilosophy, lay ready I sign of a poem, entitled The Mirrour for Magistrates. for the use of those who possessed the gift, and of which he wrote only the Induction,' and one legend was appropriated accordingly. As might be ex
on the life of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. pected, where there was less rule of art than opu- | In imitation of Dante and some other of his prede. lence of materials, the productions of these writers
cessors, he lays the scene of his poem in the infernal are often deficient in taste, and contain much that regions, to which he descends under the guidance is totally aside from the purpose. To pursue the
of an allegorical personage named SORROW. It was simile above quoted, the crops are not so clean as if his object to make all the great persons of English they had been reared under systematic cultivation. history, from the Conquest downwards, pass here in On this account, the refined taste of the eighteenth review, and each tell his own story, as a warning to century condemned most of the productions of the existing statesmen ; but other duties compelled the sixteenth and seventeenth to oblivion, and it is only poet, after he had written what has been stated, to of late that they have once more obtained their de
| break off, and commit the completion of the work to served reputation. After every proper deduction
two poets of inferior note, Richard Baldwyne and has been made, enough remains to fix this era as | George Ferrers. The whole poem is one of a very 'by far the mightiest in the history of English lite
remarkable kind for the age, and the part executed rature, or indeed of human intellect and capacity. | by Sackville exhibits in some parts a strength of There never was anything,' says the writer above description and a power of drawing allegorical cha. quoted, like the sixty or seventy years that elapsed racters, scarcely inferior to Spenser from the middle of Elizabeth's reign, to the period of the Restoration. In point of real force and origi- [Allegorical characters from the Mirrour for Magistrate.) nality of genius, neither the age of Pericles, nor the
And first, within the porch and jaws of hell, age of Augustus, nor the times of Leo X., nor of Louis XIV., can come at all into comparison; for in
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent | With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent * Edinburgh Review, xviii. 275.
To sob and sigh, but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care ; as she that, all in vain, Would wear and waste continually in pain : Her eyes unstedfast, rolling here and there, Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance So was her mind continually in fear, [brought, Tost and tormented with the tedious thought Of those detested crimes which she had wrought; With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky, Wishing for death, and yet she could not die. Nest, saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook, With foot uncertain, profer'd here and there; Benumb'd with speech ; and, with a ghastly look, Searched every place, all pale and dead for fear, | His cap born up with staring of his hair ;
'Stoin'd and amazed at his own shade for dread, li And fearing greater dangers than was need.
And, next, within the entry of this lake,
And next in order sad, Old-Age we found :
Gnawing, alas, her carcase all in vain,
On her while we thus firmly fix'd our eyes,
latter, on her accession to the throne, rewarded him That bled for ruth of such a dreary sight,
with many favours. He must have been a man Lo, suddenly she shriek'd in so huge wise
taste and refined feelings, as the following specindet As made hell gates to shiver with the might;
of his poetry will suffice to show:Wherewith, a dart we saw, how it did light Right on her breast, and, therewithal, pale Death
Sonnet made on Isabella Markham, when I first Enthirling it, to rieve her of her breath:
thought her fair, as she stood at the princess's vinder, And, by and by, a dumb dead corpse we saw,
in goodly attire, and talked to divers in the courtyard, Heavy, and cold, the shape of Death aright,
1564. That daunts all earthly creatures to his law,
Whence comes my love ? Oh heart, disclose; Against whose force in vain it is to fight;
It was from cheeks that shamed the rose, Ne peers, ne princes, nor no mortal wight,
From lips that spoil the ruby's praise, No towns, ne realms, cities, ne strongest tower,
From eyes that mock the diamond's blaze : But all, perforce, must yield unto his power:
Whence comes my woe! as freely own; His dart, anon, out of the corpse he took,
Ah me! 'twas from a heart like stone. And in his hand (a dreadful sight to see)
The blushing cheek speaks modest mind, With great triumph eftsoons the same hé shook,
The lips befitting words most kind, That most of all my fears affrayed me;
The eye does tempt to love's desire, His body dight with nought but bones, pardy;
And seems to say 'tis Cupid's fire; The naked shape of man there saw I plain,
Yet all so fair but speak my moan, All save the flesh, the sinew, and the vein,
Sith nought doth say the hcart of stone. Lastly, stood War, in glittering arms yclad,
Why thus, my love, so kind bespeak With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued :
Sweet eye, sweet lip, sweet blushing cheekIn his right hand a naked sword he had,
Yet not a heart to save my pain ; That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued ;
Oh Venus, take thy gifts again! And in his left (that kings and kingdoms rued)
Make not so fair to cause our moan,
Or make a heart that's like our own.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
Sir Pullip SIDNEY (1554-1586) takes his rank in Consum'd, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceas'd, English literary history rather as a prose writer than 'Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd : as a poet. His poetry, indeed, has long been laid His face forehew'd with wounds; and by his side aside on account of the cold and affected style in There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide. which he wrote. It has been justly remarked, that,
|“if he had looked into his own noble heart, and
written directly from that, instead of from his some[Henry Duke of Buckingham in the Infernal Regions.] what too metaphysico-philosophical head, his poetry
would have been excellent. Yet in some pieces he The description of the Duke of Buckingham-the Bucking. I has fortunately failed in extinguishing the natural ham, it must be recollected, of Richard III.-has been much
sentiment which inspired him. The following are admired, as an impersonation of extreme wretchedness.)
| admired specimens of his sonnets :-
[Sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney.] Which of a duke had made him now her scorn ; Because I oft in dark abstracted guise With ghastly looks, as one in manner lorn,
Seem most alone in greatest company,
To them that would make speech of speech arise, His cloak he rent, his manly breast he beat;
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies, His hair all torn, about the place it lain :
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie My heart so molt to see his grief so great,
So in my swelling breast, that only I As feelingly, methought, it dropped away :
Fawn on myself, and others do despise. His eyes they whirled about withouten stay :
Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess, With stormy sighs the place did so complain,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass ; As if his heart at each had burst in twain.
But one worse fault Ambition I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends overpass, Thrice he began to tell his doleful tale,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place And thrice the sighs did swallow up his voice ; Bends all his powers, even unto Stella's grace. At each of which he shrieked so withal, As though the heavens ryved with the noise ;
With how sad steps, O Moon! thou climb'st the skies, Till at the last, recovering of his voice,
How silently, and with how wan a face ! Supping the tears that all his breast berained,
What may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy Archer his sharp arrows tries !
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case;
I read it in thy looks, thy languish'd grace
To me that feel the like thy state descries. Some pleasing amatory verses (exhibiting a re- Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, markable polish for the time in which they were Is constant love deem’d there but want of wit! written) by John HARRINGTON (1534-1582) have | Are beauties there as proud as here they be! been published in the Nugæ Antiqua. This poet Do they above love to be lov’d, and yet was imprisoned in the Tower by Queen Mary, for | Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess ? holding correspondence with Elizabeth and the I Do they call virtue there ungratefulness o
i Come, Sleep, 0 Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
SIR WALTER RALEIGH-TIMOTHY KENDAL--NICHOLAS The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
BRETON-HENRY CONSTABLE. The indifferent judge between the high and low.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, to whose merits as a prose With shield of proof shield me from out the preasel writer justice is done in the sequel, deserves to be Of those fierce darts, Despair at me doth throw; ranked amongst the minor poets of Elizabeth's reign. O make in me those civil wars to cease :
TIMOTHY KENDAL is only known for having pubI will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
lished, in 1577, a volume entitled Hours of Epigrams, Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed; NICHOLAS BRETON (1555-1624) wrote some pastoral A chamber, deaf to noise, and blind to light;
poems, and a volume called the Works of a Young A rosy garland, and a weary head.
Wit. HENRY CONSTABLE was a popular writer of And if these things, as being thine by right,
sonnets, though strangely conceited and unnatural Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
in his style. In most of the works of these inferior Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see.
poets, happy thoughts and imagery may be found, Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
mixed up with affectations, forced analogies, and Guided so well, that I obtain'd the prize,
conceits. It is worthy of remark, that this was the Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
age when collections of fugitive and miscellaneous And of some sent from that sweet enemy France ;
poems first became common. Several volumes of Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance ;
this kind, published in the reign of Elizabeth, conTownfolks my strength; a daintier judge applies
tain poetry of high merit, without any author's His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise ; Some lucky wits impute it but to chance; Others, because of both sides I do take
The Country's Recreations, My blood from them who did excel in this,
(From a poem by Raleigh, bearing the above title, the following Think nature me a man of arms did make.
verses are extracted.] How far they shot awry! the true cause is,
| Heart-tearing cares and quiv’ring fears, Stella look'd on, and from her heavenly face
Anxious sighs, untimely tears, Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.
Fly, fly to courts, In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
Fly to fond worldling's sports ; And yet to break more staves did me address;
Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still, While with the people's shouts, I must confess,
And Grief is forced to laugh against her will ; Youth, luck, and praise, even fillid my veins with
Where mirth's but mummery, pride.
And sorrows only real be. When Cupid, having me (his slave) descried | Fly from our country pastimes, fly, In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
Sad troop of human misery ! 'What now, Sir Fool,' said he, 'I would no less.
Come, serene looks,
Clear as the crystal brooks,
Peace and a secure mind,
Which all men seek, we only find. "My foe came on, and beat the air for me, Till that her blush taught me my shame to see.
Abused mortals, did you know
Where joy, heart's ease, and comforts grow, Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
You'd scorn proud towers, Edward named Fourth as first in praise I name;
And seek them in these bowers ; Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,
Where winds perhaps our woods may sometimes shake Although less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame:
But blustering care could never tempest make, | Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame
Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us, 1. His sire's revenge, join'd with a kingdom's gain,
Saving of fountains that glide by us.
| Blest silent grores ! O may ye be Nor that he made the Flower-de-luce so fraid, For ever mirth's best nursery ! Though strongly hedg'd of bloody Lion's paws,
May pure contents That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid.
For ever pitch their tents Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause
Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these But only for this worthy knight durst prove
mountains, To lose his crown, rather than fail his love.
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,
Which we may every year
Find when we come a-fishing here.
[Farewell to Town, by Breton.]
Thou gallant court, to thee farewell? Ravish'd, staid not, till in her golden hair
For froward fortune me denies They did themselves (O sweetest prison) twine :
Now longer near to thee to dwell. And fain those Eol's youth there would their stay I must go live, I wot not where, Have made ; but, forced by Nature still to fiy,
Nor how to live when I come there. First did with puffing kiss those locks display.
And next, adieu you gallant dames, She, so dishevill'd, blush'd. From window I,
The chief of noble youth's delight! With sight thereof, cried out, “O fair disgrace;
Untoward Fortune now so frames, Let Honour's self to thee grant highest place.'
That I am banish'd from your sight.
And, in your stead, against my will,
CHRISTOPHER MARLOW-JOSHUA SYLVESTER
RICHARD BARXFIELD. CHRISTOPHER MARLOW, so highly eminent as a dramatic writer, would probably have been over. looked in the department of miscellaneous poetry, but for his beautiful piece, rendered familiar by its being transferred into Walton's · Angler'— The Passionate Shepherd to his Lore. Joshua SYLVESTER, who died in 1618, at the age of 55, and who was the author of a large volume of poems of very unequal merit, claims notice as the now generally received author of an impressive piece, long ascribed to Raleigh-The Soul's Errand. Another fugitive poem of great beauty, but in a different style, and which has often been attributed to Shakspeare, is now given to Richard BARNFIELD, author of several poetical volumes published between 1594 and 1598. These three remarkable poems are here subjoined :
Now next, my gallant youths, farewell;
My lads that oft have cheered my heart ! My grief of mind no tongue can tell,
To think that I must from you part.
With instruments of music's sounds!
And heavenly descants on sweet grounds. I now must leave you all, indeed, And make some music on a reed ! And now, you stately stamping steeds,
And gallant geldings fair, adieu !
To think that I must part with you:
Caliver pistol, arquebuss,
To think that I must leave you thus;
Primero, and Imperial,
To pass away the time withal :
With sundry sorts of sugar'd wine!
To please this dainty mouth of mine! I now, alas, must leave all these, And make good cheer with bread and cheese! And now, all orders due, farewell !
My table laid when it was noon;
My dainty dinners all are done:
With jewels rich, of rare device!
I must go range in woodman's wise;
To every dream of sweet delight,
In dungeon deep of foul despite, I must, ah me! wretch as I may, Go sing the song of welaway!
The Passionate Shepherd to his Lore. Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That vallies, groves, and hills and fields, Woods or steepy mountains yields. And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make thee beds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies; A cap of flowers and a kirtle, Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle : A gown made of the finest wool, Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold : A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs ; And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me, and be my love. The shepherd swains shall dance and sing, For thy delight, each May-morning : If these delights thy mind may more Then live with me, and be my love.
[Sonnet by Constable.]
[From his · Diana :' 1591.) To live in hell, and heaven to behold, To welcome life, and die a living death, To sweat with heat, and yet be freezing cold, To grasp at stars, and lie the earth beneath, To tread a maze that never shall have end, To burn in sighs, and starve in daily tears, To climb a hill, and never to descend, Giants to kill, and quake at childish fears, To pine for food, and watch th' Hesperian tres, To thirst for drink, and nectar still to draw, To live accurs'd, whom men hold blest to be, And wecp those wrongs, which never creature saw ; If this be love, if love in these be founded, My heart is love, for these in it are grounded.
[The Nymph's Reply to the Passionate Shepherd.