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chiefly as the author of two beautiful hymns on Heavenly Love and Heavenly Beauty. But the claims of Spenser to the title of Sacred Poet may be estimated as much by the titles of poetical treasures lost, as by those we possess. He wrote paraphrases of "Ecclesiastes," and of the "Canticum Canticorum;" the "Hours of our Lord," the "Sacrifice of a Sinner," and the "Seven Penitential Psalms," which are irretrievably lost to posterity.
THE time and place of the birth of this old English poet are unknown. His occupation was the profession of arms, and he was likewise a follower of the court of Elizabeth: we find that he accompanied the queen in one of her progresses. His poems are numerous, and of a miscellaneous character. In republishing his works Gascoigne thought proper to deprecate censure on the poetical levities of his youth; and the preface is thus addressed: "To the reuerende deuines unto whom these posies shall happen to be presented, George Gascoigne, Esquire, professing armes in defence of God's trueth, wisheth quiet in conscience, and all consolation in Christ Jesus." The religious poems of Gascoigne were evidently written in what he calls his "middle age," when he saw and lamented the follies of his youth. The original editions of his poems are among the rarest books in the English language. Gascoigne died in a religious, calm, and happy frame of mind, in 1577.
BARNABY BARNES was a younger son of Dr. Richard Barnes, bishop of Durham. He was born in Yorkshire, about the year 1569, and at the age of seventeen he became a student of Brasenose College, Oxford.
He left the university without a degree, and Wood says that he knew not what became of him afterwards. It appears, however, that in 1595 he accompanied a military expedition into Normandy, to aid the king of France, in which country he remained until 1594. Barnes wrote "A Divine Centurie of Spiritual Sonnets," which work issued from the press
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY AND THE
COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY and the COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE were the offspring of Sir Henry Sidney, of Penshurst, in Kent. Sir Philip was one of the most celebrated characters of his times. His popularity was great both at home and abroad. In his youth he attended both the universities; and when his education was completed, he visited different foreign countries. He spent a year in Italy, and on his return he was taken into favour by Queen Elizabeth. In 1586, Sir Philip accompanied a military force sent from England to assist the people of the Netherlands in throwing off the yoke of Spain. During this expedition he lost his life in a skirmish near Zutphen.
In this selection Sir Philip Sidney is introduced, together with his sister the Countess of Pembroke, as the joint authors of "The Psalmes of David, translated into divers and sundry kindes of verse, more rare and excellent, for the method and varietie, than ever yet hath been done in English." Manuscript copies of this version of the Psalms of David are to be found in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the libraries of two or three private individuals. It is not certain which portions were written by Sir Philip and which by the countess; but the title-page of one of the MSS. in the Bodleian Library states that the version was "begun by the noble and learned gent, Sir Philip Sidney, Knt. and finished by the Right Honorable the Countess of Pembroke, his sister."
SIR JOHN DAVIES.
SIR JOHN DAVIES, an eminent lawyer, was born in 1570, and died in 1626. His "Nosce Teipsum, or The Soul of Man and the Immortality thereof," from which the extracts in this volume are taken, first appeared in 1599, and it was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth.
FULKE GREVILLE, LORD BROOKE.
SIR FULKE GREVILLE, afterwards LORD BROOKE, and on whose monument it is inscribed that he was "Servant to Queen Elizabeth, counsellor to King James, and friend to Sir Philip Sidney," was the author of several works, among which was one entitled "Cælia," containing CIX Sonnets, from whence those under his name are derived.
SIR JOHN HARINGTON.
SIR JOHN HARINGTON was one of the most noted characters in the reign of Elizabeth, as a courtier and a man of wit. His poems are chiefly of a secular character; but some few of his minor pieces have a moral and religious tendency, and among them are a few versions of selected psalms.
THIS poet was born in 1563, and died in 1631. He enjoyed a high degree of popularity during his long life, and left a name still regarded with respect. His works are numerous, but the only volumes offering
extracts suitable to these pages, written in the age of Elizabeth, are Moyses in his Map of Miracles," and "The Harmonie of the Church: containing, The spiritual songes and holy hymnes of godly men, patriarkes, and prophets; all sweetly sounding to the praise and glory of the Highest." This latter work was published in 1591, and is not included in the editions of Drayton's collected poems.
Or this author little is known, though he appears to have been connected with the court of Elizabeth, to whom he dedicated some of his pieces, comprising two hundred sonnets, treating of meditation, humiliation, prayer, comfort, joy, and thanksgiving. His name occurs to a small book in the Bodleian Library, entitled Sundry Psalms of Dauid translated into verse, as briefly and significantly as the scope of the text will suffer." These Psalms are included in the very rare work which he published in 1597, entitled "Ecclesiastes, otherwise called the Preacher. Containing Saloman's Sermons or Commentaries-as it may probably be collected-vpon the 49 Psalme of Dauid his father. Compendiously abridged, and also paraphrastically dilated in English poesie, according to the analogie of Scripture, and consent of the most approued writers thereof. Composed by H. L., gentleman. Whereunto are annexed sundrie Sonnets of Christian Passions heretofore printed, and now corrected and augmented with other affectionate Sonnets of the same author's." In the whole there are 320 sonnets in the volume; those on "sundrie Christian Passions" comprising 200 of that number.
HUNNIS was a gentleman of the Royal Chapel under Edward the Sixth, and afterwards chapel-master to Queen Elizabeth. He was the author of "Certayne Psalmes chosen out of the Psalter of David, and drawen forth into English metre ;" "A Handfull of Honeysuckles;" "A Hive full of Honey;" "Various Paraphrases of portions of Scripture History;" and "Seven Sobs of a Sorrowful Soule for Sinne, comprehending those Seven Psalmes of the Princelie Prophet David, commonly called Pœnitentiall.” It is from these various works that the extracts in these pages are derived.
THOMAS BRYCE appears to have been a clergyman: according to Ritson, an epitaph of " Mr. Bryce, preacher," was licensed to John Allde. He, however, escaped the rage of Queen Mary, and in 1559 he published "A Compendious Register in Metre, conteigning the names and pacient suffryngs of the membres of Jesus Christ; and the tormented and cruelly burned within England, since the death of our famous Kyng of immortall memory Edwarde the Sixte: to the entrance and beginnyng of the raign of our Soueraigne and derest lady Elizabeth of England, Fraunce, and Irelande, quene etc."
SIR NICHOLAS BRETON.
LITTLE is known of this poet, but Bishop Percy says he was of some fame in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He is known to be the author of several works, and many are ascribed to him which appeared anonymously. Those from which the annexed specimens are derived are entitled: "A small Handfull of Fragrant