Page images
[graphic][merged small]



[THOMAS SACKVILLE, EARL OF DORSET, the son of Sir Richard Sackville, was born at Withyam in Sussex, in 1536, and was educated at Oxford and Cambridge. He became a student of the Inner Temple, and while there composed the first tragedy ever written in the English language. After having published that and the "Mirrour for Magistrates," he bade adieu to the Muses, and became a statesman. His integrity and vigour procured him many important appointments from Elizabeth, and caused his elevation to the highest honours and dignities. He died suddenly at the Council Board in 1608, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.]

THE wrathful winter 'proching on apace,

With blust'ring blasts had all ybared the treen,

And old Saturnus with his frosty face

With chilling cold had pierced the tender green;

The mantles wrent, wherein enwrapped been
The gladsome groves that now lay overthrown,

The tapets torn, and every bloom down blown.

The soil that erst so seemly was to seen,

Was all despoiled of her beauty's hue:

And soote fresh flowers (wherewith the summer's queen
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 woful wise bewailed 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 (me thought) with weeping eye me told
The cruel season, bidding me withhold
Myself within, for I was gotten out

Into the fields whereas I walked about.



[SIR JOHN HARRINGTON was born at Kelston, near Bath, in 1561. Queen Elizabeth was his godmother, and took him under her patronage; but he afterwards greatly offended her, by receiving knighthood from the Earl of Essex. James I. made him a Knight of the Bath. He died in 1612.

Harrington was the first who translated Ariosto into English. His epigrams are his best productions.]

A TAILOR, thought a man of upright dealing—
True, but for lying-honest, but for stealing,
Did fall one day extremely sick by chance,
And on the sudden was in wondrous trance;
The fiends of hell mustering in fearful manner,
Of sundry colour'd silks display'd a banner
Which he had stolen, and wish'd, as they did tell,
That he might find it all one day in hell.
The man, affrighted with this apparition,

Upon recovery grew a great precisian :

He bought a bible of the best translation,

And in his life he show'd great reformation;

He walked mannerly, he talked meekly,

He heard three lectures and two sermons weekly;

He vow'd to shun all company unruly,

And in his speech he used no oath but truly;


And zealously to keep the Sabbath's rest,
His meat for that day on the eve was drest;
And lest the custom which he had to steal
Might cause him sometimes to forget his zeal,
He gives his journeyman a special charge,
That if the stuff, allowance being large,

He found his fingers were to filch inclined,
Bid him to have the banner in his mind.
This done (I scant tell the rest for laughter)
A captain of a ship came three days after,
And brought three yards of velvet and three quarters,
To make Venetians down below the garters.
He, that precisely knew what was enough,
Soon slipt aside three quarters of the stuff;
His man, espying it, said in derision,
Master, remember how you saw the vision!
Peace, knave! quoth he, I did not see one rag
Of such a colour'd silk in all the flag.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

[WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1564, and was educated at the free school of that town; afterwards, he was placed in the office of an attorney. At eighteen years of age he married the daughter of a farmer, and soon after was obliged to leave his native place, for reasons which have been differently related. It is said that when he arrived in London, he obtained a living by holding horses during the performances in the theatre at Southwark; but this has been very reasonably questioned. He soon, however, became an actor, wrote his celebrated plays, and often performed the part of the ghost in his own "Hamlet." His extraordinary talents soon rendered him eminent; he was a favourite both with Elizabeth and James I., and his prudence enabled him to accumulate considerable property, with which he retired to the place of his birth, where he purchased a house and estate which he called "New-place," and which, by the munificence of a few individuals, has lately become the property of the nation. Having enjoyed his retirement four years, he died on his birthday in 1616, and was buried in the church at Stratford; a monument was erected to his memory in Westminster

« PreviousContinue »