« PreviousContinue »
A dreadful thunder-clap at last he heard,
And brought three yards of velvet and three quarters,
He, that precisely knew what was enough,
Peace, knave ! quoth he, I did not see one rag
Of such a colour'd silk in all the flag. On the green banks, which that fair stream inbound,
SIR HENRY WOTTON. Flowers and odours sweetly smild and sinellid, Which reaching out his stretched arms around, SIR HENRY WOTTON, less famed as a poet than as All the large desert in his bosom held,
a political character in the reigns of Elizabeth and And through the grove one channel passage found ; James I., was born at Bocton Hall, the seat of his This in the wood, that in the forest dwelld :
ancestors, in Kent, in 1568. After receiving his Trees clad the streams, streams green those trees aye education at Winchester and Oxford, and travelling made,
for some years on the continent, he attached himself And so exchang'd their moisture and their shade.
SIR JOHN HARRINGTON.
The first translator of Ariosto into English was SIR John HARRINGTON, a courtier of the reign of Elizabeth, and also god-son of the queen. He was the son of John Harrington, Esq., the poet already noticed. Sir John wrote a collection of epigrams, and a Brief View of the Church, in which he reprobates the marriage of bishops. He is supposed to have died about the year 1612. The translation from Ariosto is poor and prosaic, but some of his epigrams are pointed.
Against Writers that carp at other Men's Books.
Of a Precise Tailor.
Sir Henry Wotton.
To his Mistress, the Queen of Bohemiah
That poorly satisfy our eyes
You common people of the skies !
What are you, when the sun shall rise !
That warble forth dame Nature's lays,
By your weak accents ! what's your praise
You violets that first appear,
Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. I know not,' By your pure purple mantles known,
says the modest poet, in his first dedication, 'how Like the proud virgins of the year,
I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to As if the spring were all your own!
your loruship, nor how the world will censure me What are you, when the rose is blown? for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a So, when my mistress shall be seen
burthen ; only, if your honour seem but pleased, I In form and beauty of her mind;
account myself highly praised, and vow to take ad. By virtue first, then choice, a Queen!
vantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you Tell me, if she were not design'd
with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my Th'eclipse and glory of her kind !
invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so
noble a godfather, and never after ear (till] 80 A Farewell to the Vanities of the World.
barren a land.' The allusion to idle hours' seems Farewell
, ye gilded follies, pleasing troubles ; to point to the author's profession of an actor, in Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles ! which capacity he had probably attracted the attenFame's but a hollow echo; gold pure clay ;
tion of the Earl of Southampton; but it is not so Honour the darling but of one short day;
easy to understand how the Venus and Adonis was Beauty, th' eye's idol, but a damask'd skin;
the first heir of his invention,' unless we believe State but a golden prison to live in,
that it had been written in early life, or that his And torture free-born minds; embroider'd trains dramatic labours had then been confined to the
Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins ; adaptation of old plays, not the writing of new ones, And blood allied to greatness, is alone
for the stage. There is a tradition, that the Earl of Inherited, not purchased, nor our own :
Southampton on one occasion presented Shakspeare Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth, with L.1000, to complete a purchase which he Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.
wished to make. The gift was munificent, but the
sum has probably been exaggerated. The Venus Welcome, pure thoughts, welcome, ye silent groves, and Adonis is a glowing and essentially dramatic These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves : version of the well-known mythological story, full Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing
of fine descriptive passages, but objectionable on the My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring: score of licentiousness. Warton has shown that it A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass, gave offence, at the time of its publication, on acIn which I will adore sweet Virtue's face.
count of the excessive warmth of its colouring. The Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares,
Rape of Lucrece is less animated, and is perhaps an No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears : inferior poem, though, from the boldness of its figu. Then here I'll sigh, and sigh my hot love's folly, rative expressions, and its tone of dignified pathos And learn t'affect an holy melancholy;
and reflection, it is more like the hasty sketch of a And if Contentment be a stranger then,
great poet. I'll ne'er look for it, but in heaven again.
The sonnets of Shakspeare were first printed in y The Character of a Happy Life.
1609, by Thomas Thorpe, a bookseller and publisher
of the day, who prefixed to the volume the following How happy is he born and taught,
enigmatical dedication :--To the only begetter of That serveth not another's will;
these ensuing sonnets, Mr W. H., all happiness and Whose armour is his honest thought,
that eternity promised by our ever-living poet, And simple truth his utmost skill !
wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting Whose passions not his masters are,
forth, T. T. The sonnets are 154 in number. They Whose soul is still prepared for death,
are, with the exception of twenty-eight, addressed Untied unto the worldly care
to some male object, whom the poet addresses in a of public fame, or private breath ;
style of affection, love, and idolatry, remarkable, even Who envies none that chance doth raise,
in the reign of Elizabeth, for its extravagant and Or vice ; who never understood
enthusiastic character. Though printed continuHow deepest wounds are given by praise ;
ously, it is obvious that the sonnets were written at Nor rules of state, but rules of good :
different times, with long intervals between the Who hath his life from rumours freed,
dates of composition ; and we know that, previous to Whose conscience is his strong retreat ;
1598, Shakspeare had tried this species of composiWhose state can neither flatterers feed,
tion, for Meres in that year alludes to his 'sugared Nor ruin make oppressors great ;
sonnets among his private friends.' We almost wish,
with Mr Hallam, that Shakspeare had not written Who God doth late and early pray,
these sonnets, beautiful as many of them are in More of his grace than gifts to lend;
language and imagery. They represent him in a And entertains the harmless day
character foreign to that in which we love to regard With a religious book or friend;
him, as modest, virtuous, self-confiding, and indeThis man is freed from servile bands
pendent. His excessive and elaborate praise of Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
youthful beauty in a man seems derogatory to his Lord of himself, though not of lands;
genius, and savours of adulation; and when we find And having nothing, yet hath all.
him excuse this friend for robbing him of his mis
tressa married female---and subjecting his noble SHAKSPEARE.
spirit to all the pangs of jealousy, of guilty love, and
blind misplaced attachment, it is painful and diffiSHAKSPEARE, as a writer of miscellaneous poetry, cult to believe that all this weakness and folly can claims now to be noticed, and, with the exception of be associated with the name of Shakspeare, and still the Faery Queen, there are no poems of the reign more, that he should record it in verse which he beof Elizabeth equal to those productions to which lieved would descend to future agesthe great dramatist affixed his name. In 1593, Not marble, not the gilded monuments when the poet was in his twenty-ninth year, ap- Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme. peared his Venus and Adonis, and in the following Some of the sonnets may be written in a feigned year his Rape of Lucrece, both dedicated to Henry character, and merely dramatic in expression; but
in others, the poet alludes to his profession of an For through his mane and tail the high wind sings, actor, and all bear the impress of strong passion and Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather's wings. deep sincerity. A feeling of premature age seems to have crept on Shakspeare
[Venus's Prophecy after the Death of Adonis.] That time of year thou may'st in me behold
Since thou art dead, lo ! here I prophesy,
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend ;
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low :
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe. Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud, In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
Bud and be blasted in a breathing while, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile. Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
The strongest body shall it make most weak, This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool to speak. To love that well which thou must leave ere long. It shall be sparing, and too full of riot, He laments his errors with deep and penitential Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures ; sorrow, summoning up things past to the sessions The staring rutian shall it keep in quiet, of sweet silent thought, and exhibiting the depths It shall be raging mad, and silly mild,
Pluck down the rick, enrich the poor with tradures; of a spirit "solitary in the very vastuess of its sym- Make the young old, the old become a child. pathies.' The .W. H.' alluded to by Thorpe, the publisher, has been recently conjectured to be It shall suspect, where is no cause of fear ; William Herbert, afterwards Earl of Pembroke, who | It shall not fear, where it should most mistrust; (as appears from the dedication of the first folio of It shall be merciful, and too severe, 1623) was one of Shakspeare's patrons. This con- And most deceiving when it seems most just : jecture has received the assent of Mr Hallam and Perverse it shall be, when it seems most toward, others; and the author of an ingenious work on the Put fear to valour, courage to the coward. sonnets, Mr C. Armitage Brown, has supported It shall be cause of war, and dire events, it with much plausibility. Herbert was in his And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire : eighteenth year, when Meres first notices the son- Subject and servile to all discontents, nets in 1598; he was learned, of literary taste, and As dry combustious matter is to fire. gallant character, but of licentious life. The son- Sith in his prime, death doth my love destroy, nets convey the idea, that the person to whom they They that love best, their love shall not enjoy. were addressed was of high rank, as well as personal beauty and accomplishments. We know of only one objection to this theory—the improbability that the
[Selections from Shakspeare's Sonnets.] publisher would address William Herbert, then Earl When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, of Pembroke, and a Knight of the Garter, as 'Mr I all alone beweep my outcast state, W. H.' Herbert succeeded his father in the earl. And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, dom in 1601, while the sonnets, as published by And look upon myself, and curse my fate, Thorpe, bear the date, as already stated, of 1609. Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
The composition of these mysterious productions Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd, evinces Shakspeare's great facility in versification Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, of a difficult order, and they display more intense With what I most enjoy contented least ; feeling and passion than either of his classical Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, poems. They have the conceits and quaint turns of Haply I think on thee--and then my state expression, then common, particularly in the sonnet; (Like to the lark at break of day arising but they rise to far higher flights of genuine poetry From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate ; than will be found in any other poet of the day, and For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings, they contain inany traces of his philosophical and That then I scorn to change my state with kings. reflective spirit.
Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there, [The Horse of Adonis.]
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear, Look, when a painter would surpass the life,
Made old offences of affections new. In limning out a well-proportion'd steed,
Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth His art with Nature's workmanship at strife,
Askance and strangely; but, by all above, As if the dead the living should exceed :
These blenches gave my heart another youth, So did this horse excel a common one
And worst essays prov'd thee my best of love. In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone.
Now all is done, save what shall have no end : Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, Mine appetite I never more will grind Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostril wide, On newer proof, to try an older friend, High crest, short ears, strait legs, and passing strong, A God in love, to whom I am confined. Thin miane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide: Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best, Look what a horse should have, he did not lack, E'en to thy pure and most most loving breast. Save a proud rider on so proud a back.
O for my sake do thou with fortune chide, Sometimes he scuds far off, and there he stares ; The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, Anon he starts at stirring of a feather.
That did not better for my life provide, To bid the wind a basel he now prepares,
Than public means, which public manners breeds. And whe'r he run, or fly, they know not whether. Thence comes it that my name receives a brand, 1 To bid the wind a base: i.e. to challenge the wind to con
And almost thence my nature is subdued tend with him in speed : base---prison-base, or prison-bars, was
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand. A rustic game, consisting chiefly in running,
Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd ;
Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Nor did I wonder at the lilies white, Potions of eysell,I 'gainst my strong infection; Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose ; No bitterness that I will bitter think,
They were but sweet, but figures of delight, Nor double penance to correct correction.
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those. Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away, E'en that your pity is enough to cure me.
As with your shadow 1 with these did play. When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear:
That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays ; For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days :
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night, The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
But that wild music burdens every bough, Which I new pay as if not paid before.
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight. But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
Therefore, like her, 1 sonetimes hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song. All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem, Admit impediments. Love is not love By that sweet ornament which truth doth give ! Which alters when it alteration finds, The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
Or bends with the remover to remove : For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
O no ! it is an ever-fixed mark, The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken ; As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
It is the star to every wandering bark, Hang on such thorns, and play as wantouly
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. When summer's breath their masked buds discloses ; Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks But, for their virtue only is their show,
Within his bending sickle's compass come ; They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade ;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not 80 ;
But bears it out e'en to the edge of doon Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made ; If this be error, and upon me proved, And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. When that shall fade, my verse distils your truth.
[Selections from Shakspeare's Songs.] No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
[From · As you like it.') Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell'
Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Give warning to the world, that I am fled
Thou art not so unkind,
As man’s ingratitude !
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh, ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly,
Most friendship is feignir most loving mere folly.
Then heigh, ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot! Then hate me when thou wilt ; if ever, now ;
Though thou the waters warp, Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Thy sting is not so sharp Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
As friend remember'd not.
Heigh, ho! &c. &c.
(At the end of • Love's Labour Lost.'] Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
When iciclęs bang by the wall, To linger out a purposed overthrow.
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
And Tom bears logs into the hall, When other petty griefs have done their spite,
And milk comes frozen home in pail; But in the onset come ; so shall I taste
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul, At first the very worst of Fortune's might;
Then nightly sings the staring owl, And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Tu-hoo! Compared with loss of thee, will not seem 80.
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow, Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
And Marion's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note,
The judgment and fancy are reconciled, and the [In • Much Ado about Nothing.')
imagery of the poem seems to start more vividly Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more ; from the surrounding shades of abstraction.' The Men were deceivers ever ;
versification of the poem (long quatrains, was One foot in sea, and one on shore,
afterwards copied by Davenant and Dryden. Mr
Southey has remarked that “Sir John Davies and
Sir William Davenant, avoiding equally the opposite
faults of too artificial and too careless a style, wrote
in numbers which, for precision, and clearness, and Converting all your sounds of woe
felicity, and strength, have never been surpassed.'
The compact structure of Davies's verse is indeed
remarkable for his times. In another production,
entitled Orchestra, or a Poem of Dancing, in a Dia. The fraud of inen was ever so,
logue between Penelope and One of her Wooers, he is Since summer first was leavy.
much more fanciful. He there represents Penelope Then sigh not so, &c.
as declining to dance with Antinous, and the latter
as proceeding to lecture her upon the antiquity of [In Cymbeline.']
that elegant exercise, the merits of which he deFear no more the heat o' th' sun,
scribes in verses partaking, as has been justly reNor the furious winter's rages;
marked, of the flexibility and grace of the subject. Thou thy worldly task hast done,
The following is one of the most imaginative pas-
[The Dancing of the Air.) Fear no more the frown o'th' great,
And now behold your tender nurse, the air,
And common neighbour, that aye runs around,
How many pictures and impressions fair
Within her empty regions are there found, All follow this, and come to dust.
Which to your senses dancing do propound;
For what are breath, speech, echoes, music, winds,
But dancings of the air in sundry kinds !
For when you breathe, the air in order moves,
Now in, now out, in time and measure true;
And when you speak, so well she dancing loves,
That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new,
With thousand forms she doth herself endue :
For all the words that from your lips repair,
Are nought but tricks and turnings of the air.
Hence is her prattling daughter, Echo, born,
That dances to all voices she can hear :
There is no sound so harsh that she doth scorn,
Nor any time wherein she will forbear (FromAs you Like it.]
The airy pavement with her feet to wear : Under the green-wood tree
And yet her hearing sense is nothing quick, Who loves to lie with me,
For after time she endeth ev'ry' trick. And tune his merry note
And thou, sweet Music, dancing's only life, Unto the sweet bird's throat,
The ear's sole happiness, the air's best speech,
Loadstone of fellowship, charming rod of strife,
The soft mind's paradise, the sick mind's leech,
With thine own tongue thou trees and stones can
teach, Who doth ambition shun,
That when the air doth dance her finest measure, And loves to live i' the sun;
Then art thou born, the gods' and men's sweet Seeking the food he eats,
pleasure. And pleas’d with what he gets, Come hither, come hither, come hither;
Lastly, where keep the Winds their revelry,
Their violent turnings, and wild whirling hays,
But in the air's translucent gallery!
Where she herself is turn'd a hundred ways,
While with those maskers wantonly she plays:
Yet in this misrule, they such rule embrace,
As two at once encumber not the place.
SIR JOHN DAVIES.