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Thus sought the dire enchantress in his mind
So with her sire to hell she took her flight
Wither's fame as a poet is derived chiefly from his
The birds' sweet notes, to sonnet out their joys,
And to the birds the winds attune their noise;
But to their Lord, now musing in his thought,
sectarian gloom of the Puritans, or become em-
All thought to pass, and each was past all thought trical Illustrations, made their appearance in 1635. His satirical and controversial works were numerous, but are now forgotten. Some authors of our own day (Mr Southey in particular) have helped to popularise Wither, by frequent quotation and eulogy; but Mr Ellis, in his Specimens of Early English Poets, was the first to point out that playful fancy, pure taste, and artless delicacy of sentiment, which distinguish the poetry of his early youth.' His poem on Christmas affords a lively picture of the manners of the times. His Address to Poetry, the sole yet cheering companion of his prison solitude, is worthy of the theme, and superior to most of the effusions of that period. The pleasure with which he recounts the various charms and the divine skill' of his Muse, that had derived nourishment and delight from the meanest objects' of external nature-a daisy, a bush, or a tree; and which, when these picturesque and beloved scenes of the country were denied him, could gladden even the vaults and shades of a prison, is one of the richest offerings that has yet been made to the pure and hallowed shrine of poesy. The superiority of intellectual pursuits over the gratifications of sense, and all the malice of fortune, has never been more touchingly or finely illustrated.
George Wither (1588—1667) was a voluminous author, in the midst of disasters and sufferings that would have damped the spirit of any but the most adventurous and untiring enthusiast. Some of his happiest strains were composed in prison: his limbs were incarcerated within stone walls and iron bars, but his fancy was among the hills and plains, with shepherds hunting, or loitering with Poesy, by rustling boughs and murmuring springs. "There is a freshness and natural vivacity in the poetry of Wither, that render his early works a 'perpetual feast.' We cannot say that it is a feast where no crude surfeit reigns,' for he is often harsh, obscure, and affected; but he has an endless diversity of style and subjects, and true poetical feeling and expression. Wither was a native of Hampshire, and received his education at Magdalen College, Oxford. He first appeared as an author in the year 1613, when he published a satire, entitled Abuses Stript and Whipt. For this he was thrown into the Marshalsea, where he composed his fine poem, The Shepherds' Hunting. When the abuses satirised by the poet had accumulated and brought on the civil war, Wither took the popular side, and sold his paternal estate to raise a troop of horse for the parliament. He rose to the rank of a major, and in 1642 was made governor of Farnham Castle, afterwards held by Denham. Wither was accused of deserting his appointment, and the castle was ceded the same year to Sir William Waller. During the struggles of that period, the poet was made prisoner by the royalists, and stood in danger of capital punishment, when Denham interfered for his brother bard, alleging, that as long as Wither lived, he (Denham) would not be considered the worst poet in England. The joke was a good one, if it saved Wither's life; but George was not frightened from the perilous contentions of the times. He was afterwards one of Cromwell's majors general, and kept watch and ward over the royalists of Surrey. From the sequestrated estates of these gentlemen, Wither obtained a considerable fortune; but the Restoration came, and he was stript of all his possessions. He remonstrated loudly and angrily; his remonstrances were voted libels, and the unlucky poet was again
thrown into prison. He published various treatises, satires, and poems, during this period, though he was treated with great rigour. He was released, under bond for good behaviour, in 1663, and survived nearly four years afterwards, dying in London on the 2d of May 1667.
[The Companionship of the Muse.]
[From the Shepherds' Hunting.]
See'st thou not, in clearest days,
As that sun doth oft exhale
"Twixt men's judgments and her light:
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
Though of all those pleasures past,
In some other wiser man.
Make this churlish place allow
The dull loneness, the black shade,
She hath taught me by her might
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
Though thou be to them a scorn,
Though our wise ones call thee madness,
Sonnet upon a Stolen Kiss.
Now gentle sleep hath closed up those eyes
The Stedfast Shepherd.
Hence away, thou Syren, leave me,
Pish! unclasp these wanton arins; Sugar'd words can ne'er deceive ine, (Though thou prove a thousand charms).
Fie, fie, forbear;
Can ever my affection chain:
Thy painted baits,
Neither shall that snowy breast,
To some more-soon enamour'd swain:
Of sighs and smiles,
Turn away thy tempting eye:
And feigned oaths may love obtain:
Whose look swears no,
Which on every breast are worn; That may pluck the virgin roses From their never-touched thorn ? I can go rest
On her sweet breast,
That is the pride of Cynthia's train;
Is all bestow'd on me in vain.
He's a fool, that basely dallies,
Where each peasant mates with him :
I know the best can but disdain :
Be all bestow'd on me in vain.
I do scorn to vow a duty,
Where each lustful lad may woo; Give me her, whose sun-like beauty, Buzzards dare not soar unto : She, she, it is
Affords that bliss,
For which I would refuse no pain;
You seek to captive me in vain.
To lead astray
The heart, that constant shall remain ; And I the while
Will sit and smile
To see you spend your time in vain.
Good farmers in the country nurse
The poor, that else were undone ; Some landlords spend their money worse, On lust and pride at London. There the roysters they do play, Drab and dice their lands away, Which may be ours another day,
And therefore let's be merry. The client now his suit forbears,
The prisoner's heart is eased; The debtor drinks away his cares,
And for the time is pleased. Though others' purses be more fat, Why should we pine, or grieve at that? Hang sorrow! care will kill a cat, And therefore let's be merry.
Hark! now the wags abroad do call,
Each other forth to rambling; Anon you'll see them in the hall,
For nuts and apples scrambling. Hark! how the roofs with laughter sound, Anon they'll think the house goes round, For they the cellar's depth have found, And there they will be merry.
The wenches with their wassail bowls
Now kings and queens poor sheepcotes have,
The honest now may play the knave,
Then, wherefore, in these merry days,
To make our mirth the fuller: And, while we thus inspired sing, Let all the streets with echoes ring; Woods and hills, and everything, Bear witness we are merry.
WILLIAM BROWNE (1590-1645) was a pastoral and descriptive poet, who, like Phineas and Giles Fletcher, adopted Spenser for his model. He was a native of Tavistoc in Devonshire, and the beautiful scenery of his native county seems to have inspired his early strains. His descriptions are vivid and true to nature. Browne was tutor to the Earl of Carnarvon, and on the death of the latter at the battle of Newbury in 1643, he received the patronage and lived in the family of the Earl of Pembroke. In this situation he realised a competency, and, according to Wood, purchased an estate. He died at Ottery-St-Mary (the birth-place of Coleridge) in 1645. Browne's works consist of Britannia's Pastorals, the first part of which was published in 1613, the second part in 1616. He wrote, also, a pastoral poem of inferior merit, entitled, The Shepherd's Pipe. In 1620, a masque by Browne was produced at court, called The Inner Temple Masque; but it was not printed till a hundred and twenty years after the author's death, transcribed from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library. As all the poems of Browne were produced before he was thirty years of age, and the best when he was little more than twenty, we need not be surprised at their containing marks of juvenility, and frequent traces of resemblance to previous poets, especially Spenser, whom he warmly admired. His pastorals obtained the approbation of Selden, Drayton, Wither, and Ben Jonson. Britannia's Pastorals are written in the heroic couplet, and contain much beautiful descriptive poetry. Browne had great facility of expression, and an intimate acquaintance with the phenomena of inanimate nature, and the characteristic features of the English landscape. Why he has failed in maintaining his ground among his contemporaries, must be attributed to the want of vigour and condensation in his works, and the almost total absence of human interest. His shepherds and shepherdesses have nearly as little character as the silly sheep' they tend; whilst pure description, that 'takes the place of sense,' can never permanently interest any large number of readers. So completely had some of the poems of Browne vanished from the public view and recollection, that, had it not been for a single copy of them possessed by the Rev. Thomas Warton, and which that poetical student and quary lent to be transcribed, it is supposed there would have remained little of those works which their author fondly hoped would
Keep his name enroll'd past his that shines
Warton cites the following lines of Browne, as containing an assemblage of the same images as the morning picture in the L'Allegro of Milton :
name of Philarete in a pastoral poem; and Milton is supposed to have copied his plan in Lycidas. There is also a faint similarity in some of the sentiments and images. Browne has a very fine illustration of a
By this had chanticleer, the village cock,
Look, as a sweet rose fairly budding forth
Betrays her beauties to th' enamour'd morn,
[A Descriptive Sketch.]
O what a rapture have I gotten now!
Some white and curious hand, inviting
As in an evening, when the gentle air
Browne celebrated the death of a friend under the With some sweet relish was forgot before:
I would have been content if he would play,
The writings of FRANCIS QUARLES (1592-1644) are more like those of a divine, or contemplative recluse, than of a busy man of the world, who held various public situations, and died at the age of fifty-two. Quarles was a native of Essex, educated at Cambridge, and afterwards a student of Lincoln's Inn. He was successively cup-bearer to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, secretary to Archbishop Usher, and chronologer to the city of London. He espoused the cause of Charles I., and was so harassed by the opposite party, who injured his property, and plundered him of his books and rare manuscripts, that his death was attributed to the affliction and ill health caused by these disasters. Notwithstanding his loyalty, the works of Quarles have a tinge of Puritanism and ascetic piety that might have molsist of various pieces-Job Militant, Sion's Elegies, lified the rage of his persecutors. His poems conThe History of Queen Esther, Argalus and Parthenia, The Morning Muse, The Feast of Worms, and The Divine Emblems. The latter were published in 1645, and were so popular, that Phillips, Milton's nephew, styles Quarles the darling of our plebeian judgments.' The eulogium still holds good to some extent, for the Divine Emblems, with their quaint and grotesque illustrations, are still found in the cottages of our peasants. After the Restoration, when everything sacred and serious was either neglected or made the subject of ribald jests, Quarles seems to have been entirely lost to the public. Even Pope, who, had he read him, must have relished his lively fancy and poetical expression, notices only his bathos and absurdity. The better and more tolerant taste of modern times has admitted the divine emblemist into the 'laurelled fraternity of poets,' where,
But since her stay was long: for fear the sun
That, for his lass, sought fruits, most sweet, most ripe. if he does not occupy a conspicuous place, he is at
least sure of his due measure of homage and atten-
The sable mantle of the silent night
As when a lady, walking Flora's bower,
The Shortness of Life.
And what's a life-a weary pilgrimage,