Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete
George Gilfillan

Part 4 out of 20

And of such haps and heavenly joys
As then we hope to hold,
All earthly sights, and worldly toys,
Are tokens to behold.
The day is like the day of doom,
The sun, the Son of man;
The skies, the heavens; the earth, the tomb,
Wherein we rest till than.

The rainbow bending in the sky,
Bedcck'd with sundry hues,
Is like the seat of God on high,
And seems to tell these news:
That as thereby He promised
To drown the world no more,
So by the blood which Christ hath shed,
He will our health restore.

The misty clouds that fall sometime,
And overcast the skies,
Are like to troubles of our time,
Which do but dim our eyes.
But as such dews are dried up quite,
When Phoebus shows his face,
So are such fancies put to flight,
Where God doth guide by grace.

The carrion crow, that loathsome beast,
Which cries against the rain,
Both for her hue, and for the rest,
The devil resembleth plain:
And as with guns we kill the crow,
For spoiling our relief,
The devil so must we o'erthrow,
With gunshot of belief.

The little birds which sing so sweet,
Are like the angels' voice,
Which renders God His praises meet,
And teach[1] us to rejoice:
And as they more esteem that mirth,
Than dread the night's annoy,
So much we deem our days on earth
But hell to heavenly joy.

Unto which joys for to attain,
God grant us all His grace,
And send us, after worldly pain,
In heaven to have a place,
When we may still enjoy that light,
Which never shall decay:
Lord, for thy mercy lend us might,
To see that joyful day.

[1] 'Teach:' _for_ teacheth.


When thou hast spent the ling'ring day
In pleasure and delight,
Or after toil and weary way,
Dost seek to rest at night;
Unto thy pains or pleasures past,
Add this one labour yet,
Ere sleep close up thine eyes too fast,
Do not thy God forget,

But search within thy secret thoughts,
What deeds did thee befall,
And if thou find amiss in aught,
To God for mercy call.
Yea, though thou findest nought amiss
Which thou canst call to mind,
Yet evermore remember this,
There is the more behind:

And think how well soe'er it be
That thou hast spent the day,
It came of God, and not of thee,
So to direct thy way.
Thus if thou try thy daily deeds,
And pleasure in this pain,
Thy life shall cleanse thy corn from weeds,
And thine shall be the gain:

But if thy sinful, sluggish eye,
Will venture for to wink,
Before thy wading will may try
How far thy soul may sink,
Beware and wake,[1] for else thy bed,
Which soft and smooth is made,
May heap more harm upon thy head
Than blows of en'my's blade.

Thus if this pain procure thine ease,
In bed as thou dost lie,
Perhaps it shall not God displease,
To sing thus soberly:
'I see that sleep is lent me here,
To ease my weary bones,
As death at last shall eke appear,
To ease my grievous groans.

'My daily sports, my paunch full fed,
Have caused my drowsy eye,
As careless life, in quiet led,
Might cause my soul to die:
The stretching arms, the yawning breath,
Which I to bedward use,
Are patterns of the pangs of death,
When life will me refuse;

'And of my bed each sundry part,
In shadows, doth resemble
The sundry shapes of death, whose dart
Shall make my flesh to tremble.
My bed it safe is, like the grave,
My sheets the winding-sheet,
My clothes the mould which I must have,
To cover me most meet.

'The hungry fleas, which frisk so fresh,
To worms I can compare,
Which greedily shall gnaw my flesh,
And leave the bones full bare:
The waking cock that early crows,
To wear the night away,
Puts in my mind the trump that blows
Before the latter day.

'And as I rise up lustily,
When sluggish sleep is past,
So hope I to rise joyfully,
To judgment at the last.
Thus will I wake, thus will I sleep,
Thus will I hope to rise,
Thus will I neither wail nor weep,
But sing in godly wise.

'My bones shall in this bed remain
My soul in God shall trust,
By whom I hope to rise again
From, death and earthly dust.'

[1] 'Wake:' watch.


This was a man of remarkable powers. He was the son of Sir Richard
Sackville, and born at Withyam, in Sussex, in 1527. He was educated and
became distinguished at both the universities. While a student of the
Inner Temple, he wrote, some say in conjunction with Thomas Norton, the
tragedy of 'Gorboduc,' which is probably the earliest original tragedy
in the English language. It was first played as part of a Christmas
entertainment by the young students, and subsequently before Queen
Elizabeth at Whitehall in 1561. Sackville was elected to Parliament when
thirty years of age. In the same year (1557) he formed the plan of a
magnificent poem, which, had he fully accomplished it, would have ranked
his name with Dante, Spenser, and Bunyan. This was his 'Mirrour for
Magistrates,' a poem intended to celebrate the chief of the illustrious
unfortunates in British history, such as King Richard II., Owen Glendower,
James I. of Scotland, Henry VI., Jack Cade, the Duke of Buckingham, &c.,
in a series of legends, supposed to be spoken by the characters them-
selves, and with epilogues interspersed to connect the stories. The work
aspired to be the English 'Decameron' of doom, and the part of it extant
is truly called by Campbell 'a bold and gloomy landscape, on which the
sun never shines.' Sackville had coadjutors in the work, all men of
considerable mark, such as Skelton, Baldwyn, a learned ecclesiastic, and
Ferrers, a man of rank. The first edition of the 'Mirrour for Magistrates'
appeared in 1559, and was wholly composed by Baldwyn and Ferrers. In the
second, which was issued in 1563, appeared the 'Induction and Legend of
Henry Duke of Buckingham' from Sackville's own pen. He lays the scene in
hell, and descends there under the guidance of Sorrow. His pictures are
more condensed than those of Spenser, although less so than those of Dante,
and are often startling in their power, and deep, desolate grandeur. Take
this, for instance, of 'Old Age:'--

'Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed,
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four,
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
His scalp all piled, and he with eld forelore,
_His wither'd fist still knocking at Deaths door;_
Fumbling and drivelling, as he draws his breath;
For brief--the shape and messenger of Death.'

Politics diverted Sackville from poetry. This is deeply to be regretted,
as his poetic gift was of a very rare order. In 1566, on the death of his
father, he was promoted to the title of Lord Buckhurst. In the fourteenth
year of Elizabeth's reign he was employed by her in an embassy to Charles
IX. of France. In 1587 he went as an ambassador to the United Provinces.
He was subsequently made Knight of the Garter and Chancellor of Oxford. On
the death of Lord Burleigh he became Lord High Treasurer of England. In
March 1604 he was created Earl of Dorset by James I., but died suddenly
soon after, at the council table, of a disease of the brain. He was, as a
statesman, almost immaculate in reputation. Like Burke and Canning, in
later days, he carried taste and literary exactitude into his political
functions, and, on account of his eloquence, was called 'the Bell of the
Star-Chamber.' Even in that Augustan age of our history, and in that most
brilliantly intellectual Court, it may be doubted if, with the sole
exception of Lord Bacon, there was a man to be compared to Thomas
Sackville for genius.


And first, within the porch and jaws of hell,
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent
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 unsteadfast, rolling here and there,
Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Toss'd 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.

Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook,
With foot uncertain, proffer'd here and there;
Benumb'd with speech; and, with a ghastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear,
His cap borne up with staring of his hair;
'Stoin'd and amaz'd at his own shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.

And next, within the entry of this lake,
Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire;
Devising means how she may vengeance take;
Never in rest, till she have her desire;
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or Veng'd by death to be.

When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,
Had show'd herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Till in our eyes another set we met;
When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet,
Ruing, alas! upon the woeful plight
Of Misery, that next appear'd in sight:

His face was lean, and some deal pined away
And eke his hands consumed to the bone;
But what his body was I cannot say,
For on his carcase raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches pieced one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast:

His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree,
Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
As on the which full daint'ly would he fare;
His drink, the running stream, his cup, the bare
Of his palm closed; his bed, the hard cold ground:
To this poor life was Misery ybound.

Whose wretched state when we had well beheld,
With tender ruth on him, and on his feres,
In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held;
And, by and by, another shape appears
Of greedy Care, still brushing up the briers;
His knuckles knob'd, his flesh deep dinted in
With tawed hands, and hard ytanned skin:

The morrow gray no sooner hath begun
To spread his light e'en peeping in our eyes,
But he is up, and to his work yrun;
But let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And with foul dark never so much disguise
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
But hath his candles to prolong his toil.

By him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath;
Small keep took he, whom Fortune frowned on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown, but, as a living death,
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath:

The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,
The travel's ease, the still night's fere was he,
And of our life in earth the better part;
Riever of sight, and yet in whom we see
Things oft that [tyde] and oft that never be;
Without respect, esteeming equally
King Croesus' pomp and Irus' poverty.

And next in order sad, Old Age we found:
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind;
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where nature him assign'd
To rest, when that the sisters had untwined
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast declining life:

There heard we him with broke and hollow plaint.
Rue with himself his end approaching fast,
And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past.
And fresh delights of lusty youth forewaste;
Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek,
And to be young again of Jove beseek!

But, an the cruel fates so fixed be
That time forepast cannot return again,
This one request of Jove yet prayed he
That in such wither'd plight, and wretched pain,
As eld, accompanied with her loathsome train,
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief,
He might a while yet linger forth his life,

And not so soon descend into the pit;
Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain,
With reckless hand in grave doth cover it:
Thereafter never to enjoy again
The gladsome light, but, in the ground ylain,
In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought,
As he had ne'er into the world been brought:

But who had seen him sobbing how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan
His youth forepast--as though it wrought him good
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone--
He would have mused, and marvell'd much whereon
This wretched Age should life desire so fain,
And knows full well life doth but length his pain:

Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed;
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four;
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
His scalp all piled,[1] and he with eld forelore,
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door;
Fumbling, and drivelling, as he draws his breath;
For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.

And fast by him pale Malady was placed:
Sore sick in bed, her colour all foregone;
Bereft of stomach, savour, and of taste,
Ne could she brook no meat but broths alone;
Her breath corrupt; her keepers every one
Abhorring her; her sickness past recure,
Detesting physic, and all physic's cure.

But, oh, the doleful sight that then we see!
We turn'd our look, and on the other side
A grisly shape of Famine might we see:
With greedy looks, and gaping mouth, that cried
And roar'd for meat, as she should there have died;
Her body thin and bare as any bone,
Whereto was left nought but the case alone.

And that, alas! was gnawen everywhere,
All full of holes; that I ne might refrain
From tears, to see how she her arms could tear,
And with her teeth gnash on the bones in vain,
When, all for nought, she fain would so sustain
Her starven corpse, that rather seem'd a shade
Than any substance of a creature made:

Great was her force, whom stone-wall could not stay:
Her tearing nails snatching at all she saw;
With gaping jaws, that by no means ymay
Be satisfied from hunger of her maw,
But eats herself as she that hath no law;
Gnawing, alas! her carcase all in vain,
Where you may count each sinew, bone, and vein.

On her while we thus firmly fix'd our eyes,
That bled for ruth of such a dreary sight,
Lo, suddenly she shriek'd in so huge wise
As made hell-gates to shiver with the might;
Wherewith, a dart we saw, how it did light
Right on her breast, and, therewithal, pale Death
Enthirling[2] it, to rieve her of her breath:

And, by and by, a dumb dead corpse we saw,
Heavy and cold, the shape of Death aright,
That daunts all earthly creatures to his law,
Against whose force in vain it is to fight;
No peers, nor princes, nor no mortal wight,
No towns, nor realms, cities, nor strongest tower,
But all, perforce, must yield unto his power:

His dart, anon, out of the corpse he took,
And in his hand (a dreadful sight to see)
With great triumph eftsoons the same he shook,
That most of all my fears affrayed me;
His body dight with nought but bones, pardy;
The naked shape of man there saw I plain,
All save the flesh, the sinew, and the vein.

Lastly, stood War, in glittering arms yclad,
With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued:
In his right hand a naked sword he had,
That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued;
And in his left (that kings and kingdoms rued)
Famine and fire he held, and therewithal
He razed towns, and threw down towers and all:

Cities he sack'd, and realms (that whilom flower'd
In honour, glory, and rule, above the rest)
He overwhelm'd, and all their fame devour'd,
Consumed, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceased,
Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd:
His face forhew'd with wounds; and by his side
There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide.

[1] 'Piled:' bare.
[2] 'Enthirling:' piercing.


Then first came Henry Duke of Buckingham,
His cloak of black all piled,[1] and quite forlorn,
Wringing his hands, and Fortune oft doth blame,
Which of a duke had made him now her scorn;
With ghastly looks, as one in manner lorn,
Oft spread his arms, stretch'd hands he joins as fast
With rueful cheer, and vapour'd eyes upcast.

His cloak he rent, his manly breast he beat;
His hair all torn, about the place it lain:
My heart so molt to see his grief so great,
As feelingly, methought, it dropp'd away:
His eyes they whirl'd about withouten stay:
With stormy sighs the place did so complain,
As if his heart at each had burst in twain.

Thrice he began to tell his doleful tale,
And thrice the sighs did swallow up his voice;
At each of which he shrieked so withal,
As though the heavens rived with the noise;
Till at the last, recovering of his voice,
Supping the tears that all his breast berain'd,
On cruel Fortune weeping thus he plain'd.

[1] 'Piled:' bare.


Of Harrington we know only that he was born in 1534 and died in 1582; that
he was imprisoned in the Tower by Queen Mary for holding correspondence
with Elizabeth; and after the accession of the latter to the throne, was
favoured and promoted by her; and that he has written some pretty verses
of an amatory kind.



Whence comes my love? O heart, disclose;
It was from cheeks that shamed the rose,
From lips that spoil the ruby's praise,
From eyes that mock the diamond's blaze:
Whence comes my woe? as freely own;
Ah me! 'twas from a heart like stone.

The blushing cheek speaks modest mind,
The lips befitting words most kind,
The eye does tempt to love's desire,
And seems to say, ''Tis Cupid's fire;'
Yet all so fair but speak my moan,
Since nought doth say the heart of stone.

Why thus, my love, so kind bespeak
Sweet eye, sweet lip, sweet blushing cheek
Yet not a heart to save my pain;
O Venus, take thy gifts again;
Make not so fair to cause our moan,
Or make a heart that's like our own.



Why didst thou raise such woeful wail,
And waste in briny tears thy days?
'Cause she that wont to flout and rail,
At last gave proof of woman's ways;
She did, in sooth, display the heart
That might have wrought thee greater smart.


Why, thank her then, not weep or moan;
Let others guard their careless heart,
And praise the day that thus made known
The faithless hold on woman's art;
Their lips can gloze and gain such root,
That gentle youth hath hope of fruit.


But, ere the blossom fair doth rise,
To shoot its sweetness o'er the taste,
Creepeth disdain in canker-wise,
And chilling scorn the fruit doth blast:
There is no hope of all our toil;
There is no fruit from such a soil.


Give o'er thy plaint, the danger's o'er;
She might have poison'd all thy life;
Such wayward mind had bred thee more
Of sorrow, had she proved thy wife:
Leave her to meet all hopeless meed,
And bless thyself that so art freed.


No youth shall sue such one to win.
Unmark'd by all the shining fair,
Save for her pride and scorn, such sin
As heart of love can never bear;
Like leafless plant in blasted shade,
So liveth she--a barren maid.


All hail to Sidney!--the pink of chivalry--the hero of Zutphen--the author
of the 'Arcadia,'--the gifted, courteous, genial and noble-minded man! He
was born November 29, 1554, at Penshurst, Kent. His father's name was
Henry. He studied at Shrewsbury, at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at
Christ Church, Oxford. At the age of eighteen he set out on his travels,
and, in the course of three years, visited France, Flanders, Germany,
Hungary, and Italy. On his return he was introduced at Court, and became a
favourite with Queen Elizabeth, who sent him on an embassy to Germany. He
returned home, and shortly after had a quarrel at a tournament with Lord
Oxford. But for the interference of the Queen, a duel would have taken
place. Sidney was displeased at the issue of the affair, and retired, in
1580, to Wilton, in Wiltshire, where he wrote his famous 'Arcadia,'--that
true prose-poem, and a work which, with all its faults, no mere sulky and
spoiled child (as some have called him in the matter of this retreat)
could ever have produced. This production, written as an outflow of his
mind in its self-sought solitude, was never meant for publication, and did
not appear till after its author's death. As it was written partly for his
sister's amusement, he entitled it 'The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.'
In 1581, Sidney reappeared in Court, and distinguished himself in the
jousts and tournaments celebrated in honour of the Duke of Anjou; and on
the return of that prince to the Continent, he accompanied him to Antwerp.
In 1583 he received the honour of knighthood. He published about this time
a tract entitled 'The Defence of Poesy,' which abounds in the element the
praise of which it celebrates, and which is, besides, distinguished by
acuteness of argument and felicity of expression. In 1585 he was named one
of the candidates for the crown of Poland; but Queen Elizabeth, afraid of
'losing the jewel of her times,' prevented him from accepting this honour,
and prevented him also from accompanying Sir Francis Drake on an
expedition against the Spanish settlements in America. In the same year,
however, she made him Governor of Flushing, and subsequently General of
the Cavalry, under his uncle, the Earl of Leicester, who commanded the
troops sent to assist the oppressed Dutch Protestants against the
Spaniards. Here our hero greatly distinguished himself, particularly when
capturing, in 1586, the town of Axel. His career, however, was destined
to be short. On the 22d of September of the same year he accidentally
encountered a convoy of the enemy marching toward Zutphen. In the
engagement which followed, his party triumphed; but their brave commander
received a shot in the thigh, which shattered the bone. As he was carried
from the field, overcome with thirst, he called for water, but while about
to apply it to his lips, he saw a wounded soldier carried by who was
eagerly eyeing the cup. Sidney, perceiving this, instantly delivered to
him the water, saying, in words which would have made an ordinary man
immortal, but which give Sir Philip a twofold immortality, 'Thy necessity
is greater than mine.' He was carried to Arnheim, and lingered on till
October 17, when he died. He was only thirty-two years of age. His death
was an earthquake at home. All England wore mourning for him. Queen
Elizabeth ordered his remains to be carried to London, and to receive a
public funeral in St Paul's. He was identified with the land's Poetry,
Politeness, and Protestantism; and all who admired any of the three,
sorrowed for Sidney.

Sidney's 'Sonnets and other Poems' contain much that is quaint, but also
much that is beautiful and true; yet they are the least poetical of his
works. His 'Arcadia' is a glorious unfinished and unpolished wilderness
of fancy. It is a vineyard, the scattered clusters of which are so heavy,
that, like the grapes of Eshcol of old, they must be carried on a staff.
Here is one of those rich clusters:--

'There were hills, which garnished their proud heights with stately
trees; humble valleys, whose base estate seemed comforted with the
refreshing of silver rivers; meadows, enamelled with all sorts of
eye-pleasing flowers; thickets, which, being lined with most pleasant
shade, were witnessed so, too, by the cheerful disposition of many
well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep, feeding with sober
security; while the pretty lambs, with bleating oratory, craved the
dams' comfort; _here a shepherd's boy, piping as though he should
never be old;_ there a young shepherdess, knitting and withal singing,
and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her
hands kept time to her voice-music.'

From 'The Defence of Poesy' we could cull, did space permit, a hundred
passages even superior to the above, full of dexterous reasoning, splendid
rhetoric, and subtle fancy, and substantiating all that has been said in
favour of Sir Philip Sidney's accomplishments, chivalric earnestness, and
richly-endowed genius.



Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe;
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low.

With shield of proof shield me from out the prease[1]
Of those fierce darts despair doth at me throw:
Oh, make in me those civil wars to cease!
I will good tribute pay if thou do so.

Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,
A rosy garland and a weary head;
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see.

[1] 'Prease:' press, throng.



Because I oft in dark abstracted guise
Seem most alone in greatest company,
With dearth of words, or answers quite awry
To them that would make speech of speech arise,
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies,
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie
So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself, and others do despise.
Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass;
But one worse fault, Ambition, I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends overpass,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place
Bends all his powers, even unto Stella's grace.


With how sad steps, O Moon! thou climb'st the skies,
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What! may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure, if that long with love acquainted eyes
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.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?


Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
Guided so well, that I obtain'd the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance;
Townfolks my strength; a daintier judge applies
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
My blood from them who did excel in this,
Think nature me a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry! the true cause is,
Stella look'd on, and from her heavenly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.


In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
And yet to break more staves did me address;
While with the people's shouts, I must confess,
Youth, luck, and praise, even fill'd my veins with pride.
When Cupid, having me (his slave) descried
In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
'What now, Sir Fool,' said he, 'I would no less.
Look here, I say.' I look'd, and Stella spied,
Who hard by made a window send forth light.
My heart then quaked, then dazzled were mine eyes;
One hand forgot to rule, th' other to fight;
Nor trumpet's sound I heard, nor friendly cries;
My foe came on, and beat the air for me,
Till that her blush taught me my shame to see.


Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
Edward named Fourth as first in praise I name;
Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,
Although less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame:
Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame
His sire's revenge, join'd with a kingdom's gain,
And, gain'd by Mars, could yet mad Mars so tame,
That Balance weigh'd what Sword did late obtain:
Nor that he made the Flower-de-luce so 'fraid,
Though strongly hedged of bloody Lion's paws,
That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid.
Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause--
But only for this worthy knight durst prove
To lose his crown, rather than fail his love.


O happy Thames, that didst my Stella bear!
I saw thee with full many a smiling line
Upon thy cheerful face joy's livery wear,
While those fair planets on thy streams did shine.
The boat for joy could not to dance forbear;
While wanton winds, with beauties so divine
Ravish'd, stay'd not, till in her golden hair
They did themselves (O sweetest prison!) twine:
And fain those Oeol's youth there would their stay
Have made; but, forced by Nature still to fly,
First did with puffing kiss those locks display.
She, so dishevell'd, blush'd. From window I,
With sight thereof, cried out, 'O fair disgrace;
Let Honour's self to thee grant highest place.'


Robert Southwell was born in 1560, at St. Faith's, Norfolk. His parents
were Roman Catholics, and sent him when very young to be educated at the
English College of Douay, in Flanders. Thence he went to Borne, and when
sixteen years of age he joined the Society of the Jesuits--a strange bed
for the rearing of a poet. In 1585, he was appointed Prefect of Studies,
and was soon after despatched as a missionary of his order to England.
There, notwithstanding a law condemning to death all members of his
profession found in this country, he laboured on for eight years,
residing chiefly with Anne, Countess of Arundel, who died afterwards in
the Tower. In July 1592, Southwell was arrested in a gentleman's house
at Uxendon in Middlesex. He was thrust into a dungeon so filthy that
when he was brought out to be examined his clothes were covered with
vermin. This made his father--a man of good family--petition Queen
Elizabeth that if his son was guilty of anything deserving death he
might suffer it, but that, meanwhile, being a gentleman, he should be
treated as a gentleman. In consequence of this he was somewhat better
lodged, but continued for nearly three years strictly confined to
prison; and as the Queen's agents imagined that he was in the secret of
some conspiracies against the Government, he was put to the torture ten
times. In despair, he entreated to be brought to trial, whereupon Cecil
coolly remarked, 'that if he was in such haste to be hanged, he should
quickly have his desire.' On the 20th of February 1595, he was brought
to trial at King's Bench, and having confessed himself a Papist and a
Jesuit, he was condemned to death, and executed at Tyburn next day, with
all the nameless barbarities enjoined by the treason laws of these
unhappy times. He is believed to have borne all his sufferings with
unalterable serenity of mind and sweetness of temper. 'It is fitting,'
says Burke, 'that those made to suffer should suffer well.' And suffer
well throughout all his short life of sorrow, Southwell did.

He was, undoubtedly, although in a false position, a true man, and a
true poet. To hope all things and believe all things, in reference to
a Jesuit, is a difficult task for Protestant charity. Yet what system
so vile but it has sometimes been gloriously misrepresented by its
votaries? Who that ever read Edward Irving's 'Preface to Ben Ezra'--that
modern Areopagitica--combining the essence of a hundred theological
treatises with the spirit and grandeur of a Pindaric or Homeric ode--has
forgot the pictures of Ben Ezra, or Lacunza the Jesuit? His work, 'The
Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty,' Irving translated from
Spanish into his own noble English prose, and he describes the author as
a man of primitive manners, ardent piety, and enormous erudition, and
expresses a hope, long since we trust fulfilled, of meeting with the
'good old Jesuit' in a better world. To this probably small class of
exceptions to a general rule (it surely is no uncharity to say this,
since the annals of Jesuitism have confessedly been so stained with
falsehood, treachery, every insidious art, and every detestable crime)
seems to have belonged our poet. No proof was produced that he had any
connexion with the treacherous and bloody designs of his party, although
he had plied his priestly labours with unwearied assiduity. He was too
sincere-minded a man to have ever been admitted to the darker secrets of
the Jesuits.

His verses are ingenious, simpler in style than was common in his time
--distinguished here by homely picturesqueness, and there by solemn
moralising. A shade of deep but serene and unrepining sadness, connected
partly with his position and partly with his foreseen destiny, (his
larger works were written in prison,) rests on the most of his poems.


Retired thoughts enjoy their own delights,
As beauty doth in self-beholding eye:
Man's mind a mirror is of heavenly sights,
A brief wherein all miracles summ'd lie;
Of fairest forms, and sweetest shapes the store,
Most graceful all, yet thought may grace them more.

The mind a creature is, yet can create,
To nature's patterns adding higher skill
Of finest works; wit better could the state,
If force of wit had equal power of will.
Device of man in working hath no end;
What thought can think, another thought can mend.

Man's soul of endless beauties image is,
Drawn by the work of endless skill and might:
This skilful might gave many sparks of bliss,
And, to discern this bliss, a native light,
To frame God's image as his worth required;
His might, his skill, his word and will conspired.

All that he had, his image should present;
All that it should present, he could afford;
To that he could afford his will was bent;
His will was follow'd with performing word.
Let this suffice, by this conceive the rest,
He should, he could, he would, he did the best.


Before my face the picture hangs,
That daily should put me in mind
Of those cold names and bitter pangs
That shortly I am like to find;
But yet, alas! full little I
Do think hereon, that I must die.

I often look upon a face
Most ugly, grisly, bare, and thin;
I often view the hollow place
Where eyes and nose had sometime been;
I see the bones across that lie,
Yet little think that I must die.

I read the label underneath,
That telleth me whereto I must;
I see the sentence too, that saith,
'Remember, man, thou art but dust.'
But yet, alas! how seldom I
Do think, indeed, that I must die!

Continually at my bed's head
A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell
That I ere morning may be dead,
Though now I feel myself full well;
But yet, alas! for all this, I
Have little mind that I must die!

The gown which I am used to wear,
The knife wherewith I cut my meat;
And eke that old and ancient chair,
Which is my only usual seat;
All these do tell me I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.

My ancestors are turn'd to clay,
And many of my mates are gone;
My youngers daily drop away,
And can I think to 'scape alone?
No, no; I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.

* * * * *

If none can 'scape Death's dreadful dart;
If rich and poor his beck obey;
If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
Then I to 'scape shall have no way:
Then grant me grace, O God! that I
My life may mend, since I must die.


Love mistress is of many minds,
Yet few know whom they serve;
They reckon least how little hope
Their service doth deserve.

The will she robbeth from the wit,
The sense from reason's lore;
She is delightful in the rind,
Corrupted in the core.

* * * * *

May never was the month of love;
For May is full of flowers:
But rather April, wet by kind;
For love is full of showers.

With soothing words, inthralled souls
She chains in servile bands!
Her eye in silence hath a speech
Which eye best understands.

Her little sweet hath many sours,
Short hap, immortal harms
Her loving looks are murdering darts,
Her songs bewitching charms.

Like winter rose, and summer ice,
Her joys are still untimely;
Before her hope, behind remorse,
Fair first, in fine[1] unseemly.

Plough not the seas, sow not the sands,
Leave off your idle pain;
Seek other mistress for your minds,
Love's service is in vain.

[1] 'Fine:' end.


The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moistening shower:
Time goes by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow;
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb:
Her tides have equal times to come and go;
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web:
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,
Not endless night, yet not eternal day:
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
That net that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are cross'd;
Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmingled joys here to no man befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.


He was born in 1560, and died about 1592. All besides known certainly of
him is, that he was a native of London, and studied the common law, but
seems to have spent much of his time in the practice of rhyme. His
sonnets--one or two of which we subjoin--have considerable merit; but we
agree with Campbell in thinking that Stevens has surely overrated them
when he prefers them to Shakspeare's.


With fragrant flowers we strew the way,
And make this our chief holiday:
For though this clime was blest of yore,
Yet was it never proud before.
O beauteous queen of second Troy,
Accept of our unfeigned joy.

Now the air is sweeter than sweet balm,
And satyrs dance about the palm;
Now earth with verdure newly dight,
Gives perfect signs of her delight:
O beauteous queen!

Now birds record new harmony,
And trees do whistle melody:
And everything that nature breeds
Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds.


Actaeon lost, in middle of his sport,
Both shape and life for looking but awry:
Diana was afraid he would report
What secrets he had seen in passing by.
To tell the truth, the self-same hurt have I,
By viewing her for whom I daily die;
I lose my wonted shape, in that my mind
Doth suffer wreck upon the stony rock
Of her disdain, who, contrary to kind,
Does bear a breast more hard than any stock;
And former form of limbs is changed quite
By cares in love, and want of due delight.
I leave my life, in that each secret thought
Which I conceive through wanton fond regard,
Doth make me say that life availeth nought,
Where service cannot have a due reward.
I dare not name the nymph that works my smart,
Though love hath graven her name within my heart.


Of this author--Thomas Turberville--once famous in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, but now almost totally forgotten, and whose works are
altogether omitted in most selections, we have preserved a little. He
was a voluminous author, having produced, besides many original pieces,
a translation of Ovid's Heroical Epistles, from which Warton has
selected a short specimen.


When Nature first in hand did take
The clay to frame this Countess' corse,
The earth a while she did forsake,
And was compell'd of very force,
With mould in hand, to flee to skies,
To end the work she did devise.

The gods that then in council sate,
Were half-amazed, against their kind,[1]
To see so near the stool of state
Dame Nature stand, that was assign'd
Among her worldly imps[2] to wonne,[3]
As she until that day had done.

First Jove began: 'What, daughter dear,
Hath made thee scorn thy father's will?
Why do I see thee, Nature, here,
That ought'st of duty to fulfil
Thy undertaken charge at home?
What makes thee thus abroad to roam?

'Disdainful dame, how didst thou dare,
So reckless to depart the ground
That is allotted to thy share?'
And therewithal his godhead frown'd.
'I will,' quoth Nature, 'out of hand,
Declare the cause I fled the land.

'I undertook of late a piece
Of clay a featured face to frame,
To match the courtly dames of Greece,
That for their beauty bear the name;
But, O good father, now I see
This work of mine it will not be.

'Vicegerent, since you me assign'd
Below in earth, and gave me laws
On mortal wights, and will'd that kind
Should make and mar, as she saw cause:
Of right, I think, I may appeal,
And crave your help in this to deal.'

When Jove saw how the case did stand,
And that the work was well begun,
He pray'd to have the helping hand
Of other gods till he had done:
With willing minds they all agreed,
And set upon the clay with speed.

First Jove each limb did well dispose,
And makes a creature of the clay;
Next, Lady Venus she bestows
Her gallant gifts as best she may;
From face to foot, from top to toe,
She let no whit untouch'd to go.

When Venus had done what she could
In making of her carcase brave,
Then Pallas thought she might be bold
Among the rest a share to have;
A passing wit she did convey
Into this passing piece of clay.

Of Bacchus she no member had,
Save fingers fine and feat[4] to see;
Her head with hair Apollo clad,
That gods had thought it gold to be:
So glist'ring was the tress in sight
Of this new form'd and featured wight.

Diana held her peace a space,
Until those other gods had done;
'At last,' quoth she, 'in Dian's chase
With bow in hand this nymph shall run;
And chief of all my noble train
I will this virgin entertain.'

Then joyful Juno came and said,
'Since you to her so friendly are,
I do appoint this noble maid
To match with Mars his peer for war;
She shall the Countess Warwick be,
And yield Diana's bow to me.'

When to so good effect it came,
And every member had his grace,
There wanted nothing but a name:
By hap was Mercury then in place,
That said, 'I pray you all agree,
Pandora grant her name to be.

'For since your godheads forged have
With one assent this noble dame,
And each to her a virtue gave,
This term agreeth to the same.'
The gods that heard Mercurius tell
This tale, did like it passing well.

Report was summon'd then in haste,
And will'd to bring his trump in hand,
To blow therewith a sounding blast,
That might be heard through Brutus' land.
Pandora straight the trumpet blew,
That each this Countess Warwick knew.

O seely[5] Nature, born to pain,
O woful, wretched kind (I say),
That to forsake the soil were fain
To make this Countess out of clay:
But, O most friendly gods, that wold,
Vouchsafe to set your hands to mould.

[1] 'Kind:' nature.
[2] 'Imps:' children.
[3] 'Wonne:' dwell.
[4] 'Feat:' neat.
[5] 'Seely:' simple.

* * * * *

In reference to the Miscellaneous Pieces which close this period, we
need only say that the best of them is 'The Soul's Errand,' and that its
authorship is uncertain. It has, with very little evidence in any of the
cases, been ascribed to Sir Walter Raleigh, to Francis Davison, (author
of a compilation entitled 'A Poetical Rhapsody,' published in 1593, and
where 'The Soul's Errand' first appeared,) and to Joshua Sylvester, who
prints it in his volume of verses, with vile interpolations of his own.
Its outspoken energy and pithy language render it worthy of any of our


1 Phillida was a fair maid,
As fresh as any flower;
Whom Harpalus the herdman pray'd
To be his paramour.

2 Harpalus, and eke Corin,
Were herdmen both yfere:[1]
And Phillida would twist and spin,
And thereto sing full clear.

3 But Phillida was all too coy
For Harpalus to win;
For Corin was her only joy,
Who forced[2] her not a pin.

4 How often would she flowers twine,
How often garlands make
Of cowslips and of columbine,
And all for Conn's sake!

5 But Corin he had hawks to lure,
And forced more the field:
Of lovers' law he took no cure;
For once he was beguiled.

6 Harpalus prevailed nought,
His labour all was lost;
For he was furthest from her thought,
And yet he loved her most.

7 Therefore was he both pale and lean,
And dry as clod of clay:
His flesh it was consumed clean;
His colour gone away.

8 His beard it not long be shave;
His hair hung all unkempt:
A man most fit even for the grave,
Whom spiteful love had shent.[3]

9 His eyes were red, and all forwacht;[4]
It seem'd unhap had him long hatcht,
His face besprent with tears:
In midst of his despairs.

10 His clothes were black, and also bare;
As one forlorn was he;
Upon his head always he ware
A wreath of willow tree.

11 His beasts he kept upon the hill,
And he sat in the dale;
And thus with sighs and sorrows shrill
He 'gan to tell his tale.

12 'O Harpalus!' thus would he say;
Unhappiest under sun!
The cause of thine unhappy day
By love was first begun.

13 'For thou went'st first by suit to seek
A tiger to make tame,
That sets not by thy love a leek,
But makes thy grief a game.

14 'As easy it were for to convert
The frost into the flame;
As for to turn a froward hert,
Whom thou so fain wouldst frame.

15 'Cerin he liveth carėless:
He leaps among the leaves:
He eats the fruits of thy redress:
Thou reap'st, he takes the sheaves.

16 'My beasts, a while your food refrain,
And hark your herdman's sound;
Whom spiteful love, alas! hath slain,
Through girt with many a wound,

17 'O happy be ye, beastes wild,
That here your pasture takes:
I see that ye be not beguiled
Of these your faithful makes,[5]

18 'The hart he feedeth by the hind:
The buck hard by the doe:
The turtle-dove is not unkind
To him that loves her so.

19 'The ewe she hath by her the ram:
The young cow hath the bull:
The calf with many a lusty lamb
Do feed their hunger full.

20 'But, well-a-way! that nature wrought
Thee, Phillida, so fair:
For I may say that I have bought
Thy beauty all too dear.

21 'What reason is that cruelty
With, beauty should have part?
Or else that such great tyranny
Should dwell in woman's heart?

22 'I see therefore to shape my death
She cruelly is prest,[6]
To the end that I may want my breath:
My days be at the best.

23 'O Cupid, grant this my request,
And do not stop thine ears:
That she may feel within her breast
The pains of my despairs:

24 'Of Corin that is careless,
That she may crave her fee:
As I have done in great distress,
That loved her faithfully.

25 'But since that I shall die her slave,
Her slave, and eke her thrall,
Write you, my friends, upon my grave
This chance that is befall:

26 '"Here lieth unhappy Harpalus,
By cruel love now slain:
Whom Phillida unjustly thus
Hath murder'd with disdain."'

[1] 'Yfere' together.
[2] 'Forced' cared for.
[3] 'Shent:' spoiled.
[4] 'Forwacht:' from much watching.
[5] 'Makes:' mates.
[6] 'Prest:' ready.


1 Give place, you ladies, and begone,
Boast not yourselves at all,
For here at hand approacheth one
Whose face will stain you all.

2 The virtue of her lively looks
Excels the precious stone;
I wish to have none other books
To read or look upon.

3 In each of her two crystal eyes
Smileth a naked boy;
It would you all in heart suffice
To see that lamp of joy.

4 I think Nature hath lost the mould
Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could
So fair a creature make.

5 She may be well compared
Unto the phoenix kind,
Whose like was never seen nor heard,
That any man can find.

6 In life she is Diana chaste,
In truth Penelope;
In word, and eke in deed, steadfast;
What will you more we say?

7 If all the world were sought so far,
Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
Within the frosty night.

8 Her rosial colour comes and goes
"With such a comely grace,
More ruddier, too, than doth the rose,
Within her lively face."

9 At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
Nor at no wanton play,
Nor gazing in an open street,
Nor gadding, as astray.

10 The modest mirth that she doth use,
Is mix'd with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
And hateth idleness.

11 O Lord, it is a world to see
How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty,
Whom Nature made so fair.

12 Truly she doth as far exceed
Our women now-a-days,
As doth the gilliflower a wreed,
And more a thousand ways.

13 How might I do to get a graff
Of this unspotted tree?
For all the rest are plain but chaff
Which seem good corn to be.

14 This gift alone I shall her give,
When death doth what he can:
Her honest fame shall ever live
Within the mouth of man.


1 I see there is no sort
Of things that live in grief,
Which at sometime may not resort
Where as they have relief.

2 The stricken deer by kind
Of death that stands in awe,
For his recure an herb can find
The arrow to withdraw.

3 The chased deer hath soil
To cool him in his heat;
The ass, after his weary toil.
In stable is up set.

4 The coney hath its cave,
The little bird his nest,
From heat and cold themselves to save
At all times as they list.

5 The owl, with feeble sight,
Lies lurking in the leaves,
The sparrow in the frosty night
May shroud her in the eaves.

6 But woe to me, alas!
In sun nor yet in shade,
I cannot find a resting-place,
My burden to unlade.

7 But day by day still bears
The burden on my back,
With weeping eyes and wat'ry tears,
To hold my hope aback.

8 All things I see have place
Wherein they bow or bend,
Save this, alas! my woful case,
Which nowhere findeth end.


O Night, O jealous Night, repugnant to my pleasure,
O Night so long desired, yet cross to my content,
There's none but only thou can guide me to my treasure,
Yet none but only thou that hindereth my intent.

Sweet Night, withhold thy beams, withhold them till to-morrow,
Whose joy, in lack so long, a hell of torment breeds,
Sweet Night, sweet gentle Night, do not prolong my sorrow,
Desire is guide to me, and love no loadstar needs.

Let sailors gaze on stars and moon so freshly shining,
Let them that miss the way be guided by the light,
I know my lady's bower, there needs no more divining,
Affection sees in dark, and love hath eyes by night.

Dame Cynthia, couch a while; hold in thy horns for shining,
And glad not low'ring Night with thy too glorious rays;
But be she dim and dark, tempestuous and repining,
That in her spite my sport may work thy endless praise.

And when my will is done, then, Cynthia, shine, good lady,
All other nights and days in honour of that night,
That happy, heavenly night, that night so dark and shady,
Wherein my love had eyes that lighted my delight.


1 The gentle season of the year
Hath made my blooming branch appear,
And beautified the land with flowers;
The air doth savour with delight,
The heavens do smile to see the sight,
And yet mine eyes augment their showers.

2 The meads are mantled all with green,
The trembling leaves have clothed the treen,
The birds with feathers new do sing;
But I, poor soul, whom wrong doth rack,
Attire myself in mourning black,
Whose leaf doth fall amidst his spring.

3 And as you see the scarlet rose
In his sweet prime his buds disclose,
Whose hue is with the sun revived;
So, in the April of mine age,
My lively colours do assuage,
Because my sunshine is deprived.

4 My heart, that wonted was of yore,
Light as the winds, abroad to soar
Amongst the buds, when beauty springs,
Now only hovers over you,
As doth the bird that's taken new,
And mourns when all her neighbours sings.

5 When every man is bent to sport,
Then, pensive, I alone resort
Into some solitary walk,
As doth the doleful turtle-dove,
Who, having lost her faithful love,
Sits mourning on some wither'd stalk.

6 There to myself I do recount
How far my woes my joys surmount,
How love requiteth me with hate,
How all my pleasures end in pain,
How hate doth say my hope is vain,
How fortune frowns upon my state.

7 And in this mood, charged with despair,
With vapour'd sighs I dim the air,
And to the gods make this request,
That by the ending of my life,
I may have truce with this strange strife,
And bring my soul to better rest.


1 Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand,
Fear not to touch the best,
The truth shall be thy warrant;
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

2 Go tell the Court it glows,
And shines like rotten wood;
Go, tell the Church it shows
What's good and doth no good;
If Church and Court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

3 Tell potentates they live,
Acting by others' actions,
Not loved, unless they give,
Not strong, but by their factions;
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

4 Tell men of high condition,
That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate;
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.

5 Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending;
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

6 Tell Zeal it lacks devotion,
Tell Love it is but lust,
Tell Time it is but motion,
Tell Flesh it is but dust;
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

7 Tell Age it daily wasteth,
Tell Honour how it alters,
Tell Beauty how she blasteth,
Tell Favour how she falters;
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.

8 Tell Wit how much it wrangles
In treble points of niceness,
Tell Wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness;
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.

9 Tell Physic of her boldness,
Tell Skill it is pretension,
Tell Charity of coldness,
Tell Law it is contention;
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.

10 Tell Fortune of her blindness,
Tell Nature of decay,
Tell Friendship of unkindness,
Tell Justice of delay;
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.

11 Tell Arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming,
Tell Schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming;
If Arts and Schools reply,
Give Arts and Schools the lie.

12 Tell Faith it's fled the city,
Tell how the country erreth,
Tell Manhood shakes off pity,
Tell Virtue least preferreth;
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

13 And when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing;
Yet stab at thee who will,
No stab the Soul can kill.

* * * * *




This remarkable man, from his intimate connexion with Fletcher, is better
known as a dramatist than as a poet. He was the son of Judge Beaumont, and
descended from an ancient family, which was settled at Grace Dieu in
Leicestershire. He was born in 1585-86, and educated at Cambridge. Thence
he passed to study in the Inner Temple, but seems to have preferred poetry
and the drama to law. He was married to the daughter of Sir Henry Isley of
Kent, who bore him two daughters. He died in his 30th year, and was buried
March 9, 1615-16, in St Benedict's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. More of his
connexion with Fletcher afterwards.

After his death, his brother published a collection of his miscellaneous
pieces. We extract a few, of no little merit. His verses to Ben Jonson,
written before their author came to London, and first appended to a play
entitled 'Nice Valour,' are picturesque and interesting, as illustrating
the period.


The sun (which doth the greatest comfort bring
To absent friends, because the selfsame thing
They know, they see, however absent) is
Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
It is our country's style) in this warm shine
I lie, and dream of your full Mermaid wine.
Oh, we have water mix'd with claret lees,
Brink apt to bring in drier heresies
Than beer, good only for the sonnet's strain,
With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
So mix'd, that, given to the thirstiest one,
'Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
I think, with one draught man's invention fades:
Two cups had quite spoil'd Homer's Iliades.
'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
Lie where he will, and make him write worse yet;
Fill'd with such moisture in most grievous qualms,
Did Robert Wisdom write his singing psalms;
And so must I do this: And yet I think
It is a potion sent us down to drink,
By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knights.
'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
A medicine to obey our magistrates:
For we do live more free than you; no hate,
No envy at one another's happy state,
Moves us; we are all equal: every whit
Of land that God gives men here is their wit,
If we consider fully, for our best
And gravest men will with his main house-jest
Scarce please you; we want subtilty to do
The city tricks, lie, hate, and flatter too:
Here are none that can bear a painted show,
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow;
Who, like mills, set the right way for to grind,
Can make their gains alike with every wind;
Only some fellows with the subtlest pate,
Amongst us, may perchance equivocate
At selling of a horse, and that's the most.
Methinks the little wit I had is lost
Since I saw you; for wit is like a rest
Held up at tennis, which men do the best,
With the best gamesters: what things have we seen
Done at the Mermaid; heard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
As if that every one from whence they came
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
And had resolved to live a fool the rest
Of his dull life: then when there had been thrown
Wit able enough to justify the town
For three days past; wit that might warrant be
For the whole city to talk foolishly
Till that were cancell'd; and when that was gone,
We left an air behind us, which alone
Was able to make the two next companies
Eight witty; though but downright fools were wise.
When I remember this,
* * * I needs must cry
I see my days of ballading grow nigh;
I can already riddle, and can sing
Catches, sell bargains, and I fear shall bring
Myself to speak the hardest words I find
Over as oft as any with one wind,
That takes no medicines, but thought of thee
Makes me remember all these things to be
The wit of our young men, fellows that show
No part of good, yet utter all they know,
Who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls.
Only strong Destiny, which all controls,
I hope hath left a better fate in store
For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor.
Banish'd unto this home: Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain
The way of knowledge for me; and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company,
Protest it will my greatest comfort be,
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee,
Ben; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine;
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine.


Mortality, behold and fear,
What a charge of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heap of stones:
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands;
Where, from their pulpits seal'd with dust,
They preach--in greatness is no trust.
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest, royal'st seed,
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried,
Though gods they were, as men they died:
Here are wands, ignoble things,
Dropp'd from the ruin'd sides of kings.
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.


Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name:
The rigid Spartan that denied
An epitaph to all that died,
Unless for war, in charity
Would here vouchsafe an elegy.
She died a wife, but yet her mind,
Beyond virginity refined,
From lawless fire remain'd as free
As now from heat her ashes be:
Keep well this pawn, thou marble chest;
Till it be call'd for, let it rest;
For while this jewel here is set,
The grave is like a cabinet.


The verses attributed to this illustrious man are few, and the
authenticity of some of them is doubtful. No one, however, who has
studied his career, or read his 'History of the World,' can deny him
the title of a great poet.

We cannot be expected, in a work of the present kind, to enlarge on a
career so well known as that of Sir Walter Kaleigh. He was born in 1552,
at Hayes Farm, in Devonshire, and descended from an old family there. He
went early to Oxford, but finding its pursuits too tame for his active
and enterprising spirit, he left it, and became a soldier at seventeen.
For six years he fought on the Protestant side in France, besides serving
a campaign in the Netherlands. In 1579, he went a voyage, which proved
disastrous, to Newfoundland, in company with his half-brother, Sir
Humphrey Gilbert. There can be no doubt that this early apprenticeship
to war and navigation was of material service to the future explorer and
historian. In 1580, he fought in Ireland against the Earl of Desmond,
who had raised a rebellion there, and on one occasion is said to have
defended a ford of Shannon against a whole band of wild Irish rebels,
till the stream ran purple with their blood and his own. With the Lord-
Deputy, Lord Grey de Wilton, he got into a dispute, and to settle it came
over to England. Here high favour awaited him. His handsome appearance,
his graceful address, his ready wit and chivalric courtesy, dashed with
a fine poetic enthusiasm, (see them admirably pictured in 'Kenilworth,')
combined to exalt him in the estimation of Queen Elizabeth. On one
occasion he flung his rich plush cloak over a miry part of the way, that
she might pass on unsoiled. By this delicate piece of enacted flattery he
'spoiled a cloak and made a fortune.' The Queen sent him, along with some
other courtiers, to attend the Duke of Anjou, who had in vain solicited
her hand, back to the Netherlands. In 1584, he fitted two ships, and sent
them out for the discovery and settlement of those parts of North America
not already appropriated by Christian states, and the next year there
followed a fleet of seven ships under the command of Sir Richard
Grenville, Raleigh's kinsman. The attempt to colonise America at that
time failed, but two important things were transplanted through means of
the expedition from Virginia to Britain, namely, tobacco and the potato,
--the former of which has ever since been offered up in smoky sacrifice to
Raleigh's memory throughout the whole world, and the latter of which has
become the most valuable of all our vegetable esculents. Raleigh first
planted the potato in Ireland, a country of which it has long been the
principal food. A ludicrous story is told about this. It is said that he
had invited a number of his neighbours to an entertainment, in which the
new root was to form a prominent part, but when the feast began Raleigh
found, to his horror, that the servants had boiled the plums, a most
unsavoury mess, and immediately, we suppose, 'tabulae solvuntur risu.'
In 1584 the Queen had knighted him, and shortly after she granted him
certain lucrative monopolies, and an estate in Ireland, in addition to
one he had possessed for some years. In 1588, he was of material service
as one of Her Majesty's Council of War, formed to resist the Spanish
Armada, and as one of the volunteers who joined the English fleet with
ships of their own. Next year he accompanied a number of his countrymen
in an expedition, which had it in view to restore Don Antonio to the
throne of Portugal, of which the Spaniards had deprived him. On his
return he lost caste considerably, both with the Queen and country, by
taking bribes, and otherwise abusing the influence he had acquired at
Court. Yet, about this time, his active mind was projecting what he
called an 'Office of Address,'--a plan for facilitating the designs of
literary and scientific men, promoting intercourse between them, gaining,
in short, all those objects which are now secured by our literary
associations and philosophical societies. Raleigh was eminently a man
before his age, but, alas! his age was too far behind him.

While visiting Ireland, after his expedition to Portugal, he contracted
an intimacy with Spenser. (See our 'Life of Spenser,' vol. ii.) In 1592,
he commanded a large naval expedition, destined to attack Panama and
intercept the Spanish Plate-fleet, but was recalled by the Queen, not,
however, till he had seized on an important prize, and, in common
parlance, had 'feathered his nest.' On his return he excited Her
Majesty's wrath, by an intrigue with Elizabeth Throgmorton, one of the
maids of honour, and, although Raleigh afterwards married her, the Queen
imprisoned both the offending parties for some months in the Tower.
Spenser is believed to allude to this in the 4th Book of his great poem.
(See vol. in. of our edition, p. 88.) Even after he was released from
the Tower, Raleigh had to leave the Court in disgrace; instead, however,
of wasting time in vain regrets, he undertook, at his own expense, an
expedition against Guiana, where he captured the city of San Joseph, and
which he occupied in the Queen's name. After his return he published an
account of his expedition, more distinguished by glowing eloquence than
by rigid regard to truth. In 1596, having in some measure regained the
Queen's favour, he was appointed to a command in the expedition against
Cadiz, under the Earl of Essex. In this, as well as in the expedition
against the Spanish Plate-fleet the next year, he won laurels, but was
unfortunate enough to excite the jealousy of his Commander-in-Chief.
When the favourite got into trouble, Raleigh eagerly joined in the hunt,
wrote a letter to Cecil urging him to the destruction of Essex, and
witnessed his execution from a window in the Armoury. This is
undoubtedly a deep blot on the escutcheon of our hero.

Cecil had been glad of Raleigh's aid in ruining Essex, but he bore him
no good-will otherwise, and is said to have poisoned James, who now
succeeded to the English throne, against him. Assuredly the new King was
no friend of Raleigh's. Stimulated by Cecil, after first depriving him
of his office of Captain of the Guards, he brought him to trial for high
treason. He was accused of conspiring to establish Popery, to dethrone
the King, and to put the crown on the head of Arabella Stewart. Sir
Edward Coke, the Attorney-General, led the accusation, and disgraced
himself by heaping on Raleigh's head every foul epithet, calling him
'viper,' 'damnable atheist,' 'monster,' 'traitor,' 'spider of hell,'
&c., and by his violence, although to his own surprise, as he never
expected to gain his cause in full, he browbeat the jury to bring in a
verdict of high treason.

Raleigh's defence was a masterpiece of temper, dignity, strength of
reasoning, and eloquence, and his enemies were ashamed of the decision
to which they had driven the jury. He was therefore reprieved, and
committed to the Tower, where his wife was allowed to bear him company,
and where his youngest son was born. His estates were, in general,
preserved to him, but Carr, the infamous minion of the King, under some
pretext of a flaw in the conveyance of it by Raleigh to his son, seized
upon his manor of Sherborne. In the Tower he continued for twelve years.
These years his industry and genius rendered the happiest probably of
his life. Immured in the

'towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
By many a foul and midnight murder fed,'

his winged soul soared away, like the dove of the Deluge, over the wild
ocean of the past. The Tower confined his body, but this great globe the
world seemed too little for the sweep of his spirit. To fill up the vast
void which a long imprisonment created around him, and to shew that his
powers retained all their elasticity, he projected a work on the largest
scale, and with the noblest purpose--'The History of the World.' In this
undertaking he found literary men ready to lend him their aid. A hundred
hands were generously stretched out to gather materials, and to bring
them to the captive in the Tower. Cart-loads of books were sent. One
Burrell, formerly his chaplain, assisted him in much of the critical and
chronological drudgery. Rugged Ben Jonson sent in a piece of rugged
writing on the Punic War, which Raleigh polished and set as a carved
stone in his magnificent temple. Some have, on this account, sought to
detract from the merit of the author. As if ever an architect could rear
a building without hodmen! But in Raleigh's case the hodmen were Titans.
'The best wits in England assisted him in his undertaking;' and what a
compliment was this to the strength and stature of the master-builder!

This great work was never finished. The part completed comprehended only
the period from the Creation to the Downfall of the Macedonian Empire
--one hundred and seventy years before Christ. He tarries too long amidst
the misty and mythical ages which precede the dawn of history; his
speculations on the site of the original Paradise, on the Flood, &c.,
are more ingenious than instructive; but his descriptions of the Greek
battles--his account of the rise of Rome--the extensive erudition, on
all subjects displayed in the book--the many acute, profound, and
eloquently-expressed observations which are sprinkled throughout--and
the style, massive, dignified, rich, and less involved in structure than
that of almost any of his contemporaries--shall always rank it amongst
the great literary treasures of the language. It was published in 1614.
Besides it, Raleigh was the author of various works, all full of
sagacious thought and brilliant imagery, such as 'The Advice to a Son on
the Choice of a Wife,' 'The Sceptic,' 'Maxims of State,' &c. At last he
was released by the advance of a large sum of money to Villiers, Duke of
Buckingham, James's favourite; and, to retrieve his fortunes, projected
another expedition to America. James granted him a patent, under the
Great Seal, for making a settlement in Guiana, but ungenerously did not
grant him a pardon for the sentence which had been passed on him for
treason. He set sail, 1617, in a ship built by himself, called the
_Destiny_, with eleven other vessels. Having reached the Orinoco, he
despatched a portion of his forces to attack the new Spanish settlement
of St Thomas. This was captured, with the loss of Raleigh's eldest son.
The expected plunder, however, proved of little value; and Sir Walter
having in vain attempted to induce his captains to attack other
settlements of the Spaniards, was compelled to return home--his golden
dreams dissolved, and his prophetic soul forewarning him of the doom
that awaited him on his native shores. In July 1618, he landed at
Plymouth; 'whence,' says Howell, in his 'Familiar Letters,' 'he thought
to make an escape, and some say he tampered with his body by physic to
make him look sickly, that he might be the more pitied, and permitted to
lie in his own house.' James was at this time seeking the hand of the
Infanta for his son Charles, and was naturally disposed to side with the
Spanish cause. He was, besides, stirred up by the Spanish ambassador,
Count Gondomar, who sent to desire an audience with His Majesty, and
said, that he had only one word to say to him. 'The King wondered what
could be delivered in one word, whereupon, when he came before him, he
said only, "Pirates! pirates! pirates!" and so departed.'

Raleigh consequently was arrested and sent back to his old lodgings in
the Tower. He was not tried, as might have been expected, for the new
offence of waging war against a power then at amity with England, but
James, with consummate meanness and cruelty, determined to revive his
former sentence. He was brought before the King's Bench, where his old
enemy, Sir Edward Coke, now sat as Chief Justice, and officially
condemned him to death. His language, however, was considerably modified
to the prisoner. He said, 'I know you have been valiant and wise, and I
doubt not but you retain both these virtues, for now you shall have
occasion to use them. Your faith hath heretofore been questioned, but I
am resolved you are a good Christian; for your book, which is an
admirable work, doth testify as much. I would give you counsel, but I
know you can apply unto yourself far better than I can give you. Yet
will I (with the good neighbour in the Gospel, who, finding one in the
way wounded and distressed, poured oil into his wounds and refreshed
him) give unto you the oil of comfort, though, in respect that I am a
minister of the law, mixed with vinegar.' Such was Coke's comfort to the
brave and gifted man who stood untrembling before his bar.

On the 26th of October 1618, the day after his condemnation, Raleigh was
beheaded. He met his fate with dignity and composure. Having addressed
the multitude in vindication of his conduct, he took up the axe, and
said to the sheriff, 'This is a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all
diseases.' He told the executioner that he would give the signal by
lifting up his hand, and 'then,' he said, 'fear not, but strike home.'
He next laid himself down, but was asked by the executioner to alter the
position of the head. 'So the heart be right,' he replied, 'it is no
matter which way the head lies.' The headsman became uncertain and
tremulous when the signal was given, whereupon Ealeigh exclaimed, 'Why
dost thou not strike? Strike, man!' and by two blows that gallant,
witty, and richly-stored head was severed from the body. He was in his
sixty-fifth year. He had the night before composed the following verse:--

Even such is Time, that takes on trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wander'd all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.'

Thus perished Sir Walter Raleigh. There has been ever one opinion as to
the breadth and brilliance of his genius. His powers were almost
universal in their range. He commented on Scripture with the ingenuity
of a Talmudist, and wrote love verses (see the lines in Campbell's
'Specimens,' entitled 'Dulcina') with the animus and graceful levity of
a Thomas Moore. He was deep at once in 'all the learning of the
Egyptians,' and in that of the Greeks and Romans. In his large mind lay
dreams of golden lands, which even Australia has not yet fully verified,
alongside of maxims of the most practical wisdom. He was learned in all
that had been; well-informed as to all that was; and speculative and
hopeful as to all that might be and was yet to be. Disgust at the
scholastic methods, blended with the adventurous character of his mind,
and perhaps also with some looseness of moral principle, led him at one
time to the brink of universal scepticism; but disappointment, sorrow,
and the solitude of the Tower, made him a sadder and wiser man, and he


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