« PreviousContinue »
See there the happy troups of purest sprights The Prince of Darknesse gins to tyrannize,
And reare up cruel trophies of his rage
Yeelds up herselfe to endlesse vassalage:
What champion now shal tame the power of Hell, Allelujahs to Heaven's king.
And the unrulie spirits overquell ?
While Greenham yriteth on the Sabbath's rest,
Heaven, Earth, Nature, Death, and every Fate His soul enjoys not what his pen exprest :
Thus spoild the carelesse world of woonted joy : His work enjoys not what it self doth say,
Whiles each repin'd at others' pleasing state, For it shall never find one resting day.
And all agreed to work the world's annoy: A thousand hands shall toss each page and line,
Heaven strove with Earth, Destiny gave the doome,
That Death should Earth and Nature overcome.
Earth takes one part, when forced Nature sendes
The soule, to fit into the yeelding skie:
Foreseene, foresett from all eternitie:
Destinie by Death spoyl'd feeble Nature's frame,
Earth was despoyld when Heaven overcame.
Ah, coward Nature, and more cruell Death,
Unweildy carkasse and unconstant breath, Or if some sadder shades ye can devise,
That did so lightly leave your living hold : Those sadder shades vaile my light-loathing eie: How have ye all conspir'd our hopelesse spight, I loath the lanrel-bandes I loved best,
And wrapt us up in Griefe's eternall night. And all that maketh mirth and pleasant rest.
Base Nature yeeldes, imperious Death commandes,
Heaven desires, durst lowly dust denie?
The spirit leaves his load, and lets it lie.
Now ginne your triumphes, Death and Destinies, Thou flattering Sun, that ledst this loathed light, And let the trembling world witnesse your wast:
Why didst thou in thy saffron-robes arise? Now let blacke Orphney raise his gastly neighes, Or foldst not up the day in drierie night?
And trample high, and hellish fome outcast: And wakst the westerne worldes amazed eies? Shake he the Earth, and teare the hollow skies, And never more rise from the ocean,
That all may feele and feare your victories. To wake the morn, or chase night-shades again.
And after your triumphant chariot,'
Drag the pale corpes that thus you did to die,
And ravens blacke of night of death of driere: Millions of lives, of deathes no conquest were,
Compared with one onely Whitakere.
But thou, O soule, shalt laugh at their despite,
All in the bosome of that blessed spright:
Which the great God for thy safe conduct sent, The hoofed Satyres silent heretofore:
He through the circling spheres taketh his flight, Religion, Vertue, Muses, holie mirth
And cuts the solid skie with spirituall might. Have now forsworne the late forsaken Earth.
Open, ye golden gates of Paradise,
Open ye wide unto a welcome ghost: King's professor, and master of St. John's Cold Enter, O) soule, into thy boure of blisse, lege, Cambridge ; he died in 1595. This Elegy Through all the throng of Heaven's hoast : was annexed to the Carmen Funebre Caroli Horni, Which shall with triumph gard thee as thou go'st 1596. N.
With psalmes of conquest and with crownes of cost.
Seldome had ever soule such entertaines, (crowne. | Meanewhile, the memorie of his mightie name
With such sweet hymnes, and such a glorious Shall live as long as aged Earth shal last:
Ay ming'd, ay mourn'd: and wished oft in wast.
A double life: that neither liv'd afore?
LIFE OF WILLIAM ALEXANDER,
EARL OF STIRLING.'
BY MR. CHALMERS.
ILLIAM ALEXANDER, another of those men of genius who have anticipated the style of a more refined age, is said to have been a descendant of the ancient family of Macdonald. Alexander Macdonald, his ancestor, obtained from one of the earls of Argyle a grant of the lands of Menstrie in the county of Clackmanan ; and our author's surname was taken from this ancestor's proper-name. He was born about the year 1580, and from his infancy exhibited proofs of genius, which his friends were desirous of improving by the best instruction which the age afforded. Travelling was at that time an essential branch of education, and Mr. Alexander had the advantage of being appointed tutor, or rather companion, to the earl of Argyle, who was then about to visit the continent.
On his return to Scotland, he betook himself for some time to a retired life, and endeavoured to alleviate the sorrows of ill-requited love by writing those songs and sonnets which he entitled Aurora. Who his mistress was, we are not told; but it appears by these poems that he was smitten with her charms when he was only in his tifteenth year, and neither by study or travel could banish her from his affections. When all hope, however, was cut off by her marriage, he had at last recourse to the same remedy, and obtained the hand of Janet the daughter and heiress of sir William Erskine.
Soon after his marriage, he attended the court of king James VI, as a private gentleman, but not without being distinguished as a man of learning and personal accomplishments, and particularly noticed as a poet by his majesty, who, with all his failings, had allowable pretensions to the discernment, as well as the liberality, of a patron of letters. James was fond of flattery, and had no reason to complain that his courtiers stinted him in that article ; yet Mr. Alexander chose at this time to employ his pen on subjects that were new in the palaces of kings. Having studied the ancient moralists and philosophers, he descanted on the vanity of grandeur, the value of truth, the abuse of power, and the burthen of riches. Against all that has ever been objected to courts and ministers, to minions and flatterers, he advised and remonstrated