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As a poet, his attempt to unite allegory with heroic narrative, and his giving our language its earliest regular tragedy, evince the views and enterprize of no ordinary mind; but, though the induction to the Mirror for Magistrates displays some potent sketches, it bears the complexion of a saturnine genius, and resembles a bold and gloomy landscape on which the sun never shines. As to Gorboduc, it is a piece of monotonous recitals, and cold and heavy accumulation of incidents. As an imitation of classical tragedy it is peculiarly unfortunate, in being without even the unities of place and time, to circumscribe its dulness.
FROM SACKVILLE'S INDUCTION TO THE COMPLAINT
OF HENRY, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, Tre wrathful Winter, 'proaching on apace, With blust'ring blasts had all ybared the treen, And old Saturnus, with his frosty face, With chilling cold had pierc'd the tender green; The mantles rent wherein enwrapped been The gladsome groves that now lay overthrown, The tapets torn, and every tree down blown.
The soil that erst so seemly was to seen,
Was all despoiled of her beauty's hue ;
And sootel fresh flow'rs, wherewith the Summer's
Had clad the earth, now Boreas blasts down blew; And small fowls, flocking, in their song did rue The Winter's wrath, wherewith each thing defaced In woeful wise bewail'd the Summer past.
Hawthorn had lost his motley livery,
The naked twigs were shivering all for cold,
And dropping down the tears abundantly;
Each thing, methought, with weeping eye me told
The cruel season, bidding me withhold
Myself within ; for I was gotten out
Into the fields, whereas I walk'd about.
When lo, the Night with misty mantles spread,
Gan dark the day, and dim the azure skies ;
And Venus in her message Hermes sped
To bloody Mars, to wile him not to rise,
While she herself approach'd in speedy wise ;
And Virgo hiding her disdainful breast,
With Thetis now had laid her down to rest.
And pale Cynthèa, with her borrow'd light,
Beginning to supply her brother's place,
Was past the noon steed six degrees in sight,
When sparkling stars ainid the Heaven's face,
With twinkling light shone on the Earth apace,
That while they brought about the Nightès chair,
The dark had dimm'd the day ere I was ware.
And sorrowing I to see the Summer flowers,
The lively green, the lusty leas forlorn;
The sturdy trees so shatter'd with the showers,
The fields so fade that flourished so beforne;
It taught me well all earthly things be borne
To die the death, for nought long time may last;
The Summer's beauty yields to Winter's blast.
Then looking upward to the Heaven's leams,
With Nightè's stars thick powder'd every where,
Which erst so glisten’d with the golden streams,
That cheerful Phæbus spread down from his sphere,
Beholding dark oppressing day so near;
The sudden sight reduced to my
mind The sundry changes that in earth we find.
That musing on this worldly wealth in thought,
Which comes and goes more faster than we see
The fleckering flame that with the fire is wrought,
My busy mind presented unto me
Such fall of Peers as in this realm had be',
That oft I wish'd some would their woes descrive,
To warn the rest whom fortune left alive.
And strait forth-stalking with redoubled pace,
For that I saw the Night draw on so fast,
In black all clad, there fell before my face
A piteous wight, whom Woe had all forewaste,
Forth from her eyen the chrystal tears out brast,
And sighing sore, her hands she wrung and fold, Tare all her hair, that ruth was to behold.
Her body small, forewither'd and forespent,
As is the stalk that Summer's drought oppress'd;
Her wealked face with woeful tears besprent,
Her colour pale, and as it seem'd her best ;
In woe and plaint reposed was her rest;
And as the stone that drops of water wears,
So dented was her cheek with fall of tears.
For forth she paced in her fearful tale: “ Come, come,” quoth she, “ and see what I shall
Come, hear the plaining and the bitter bale
Of worthy men by Fortune overthrow :
Come thou, and see them rewing all in row,
They were but shades that erst in mind thou rollid,
Come, come with me, thine eyes shall them behold.”
And with these words, as I upraised stood,
And 'gan to follow her that strait forth paced,
Ere I was ware, into a desart wood
We now were come, where, hand in hand embraced,
She led the way, and through the thick so traced,
As, but I had been guided by her might,
It was no way
Allegorical Personages described in Hell.
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 unstedfast, 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 by 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;
Benumm'd of speech, and with a ghastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear;
His cap upborn with staring of his hair,
Stoyn'd and amazed at his shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.