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But, ere the blossom fair doth rise,
Give o'er thy plaint, the danger's o'er ; She might have poison'd all thy life; Such wayward mind had 'bred thee more Of sorrow had she proved thy wife : Leave her to meet all hopeless meed, And bless thyself that so art freed.
No youth shall sue such one to win,
SONNET MADE ON ISABELLA MARKHAM,
WHEN I FIRST THOUGHT HER FAIR, AS SHE STOOD AT THE
WITHOUT enduring Lord Orford's cold-blooded depreciation of this hero, it must be owned that his writings fall short of his traditional glory; nor were his actions of the very highest importance to his country. Still there is no necessity for supposing the impression which he made upon his contemporaries to have been either illusive or exaggerated. Traits of character will distinguish great men, independently of their pens or their swords. The contemporaries of Sydney knew the man: and foreigners, no less than his own countrymen, seem to have felt, from his personal influence and conversation, an homage for him, that could only be paid to a commanding intellect guiding the principles of a noble heart. The variety of his ambition, perhaps, unfavourably divided the force of his genius; feeling that he could take different paths to reputation, he did not confine himself to one, but was successively occupied in the punctilious duties of a courtier, the studies and pursuits of a scholar and traveller, and in the life of
From the Nugæ Antiquæ, where the original Manuscript is said to be dated 1564.
WHENCE Comes my love? O heart, disclose;
The blushing cheek speaks modest mind,
Why thus, my love, so kind, bespeak
O Venus, take thy gifts again;
SIR PHILIP SYDNEY.
[Born, 1554. Died, 1586.]
a soldier, of which the chivalrous accomplishments could not be learnt without diligence and All his excellence in those pursuits, fatigue. and all the celebrity that would have placed him among the competitors for a crown, was gained in a life of thirty-two years. His sagacity and independence are recorded in the advice which he gave to his own sovereign. In the quarrel with Lord Oxford*, he opposed the rights of an English commoner to the prejudices of aristoAt home he was the cracy and of royalty itself. All England wore mournpatron of literature. Perhaps the well-known ing for his death. anecdote of his generosity to the dying soldier speaks more powerfully to the heart than the whole volumes of elegies, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that were published at his death by the
Mr. Ellis has exhausted the best specimens of his poetry. I have only offered a few short
* Vide the biographical notice of Lord Oxford.
COME sleep, O sleep, the certain knot of peace,
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
a Press, or crowd.
Was born at Norwich about 1560, was educated at Cambridge, travelled in Spain and Italy, and on his return held, for about a year, the vicarage of Tollesbury, in Essex. The rest of his life seems to have been spent in London, with no other support than his pen, and in the society of men of more wit than worldly prudence. He is said to have died about 1592*, from a surfeit occasioned by pickled herrings and Rhenish wine. Greene has acknowledged, with great contrition, some of the follies of his life; but the charge of profligacy which has been so mercilessly laid on his memory must be taken with great abatement, as it was chiefly dictated by his bitterest enemy, Gabriel Harvey, who is said to have trampled on his dead body when laid in the grave. The story, it may be hoped, for the credit of human nature, is untrue; but it shows to what a pitch the malignity of Harvey was supposed to be capable of being excited. Greene is accused of having 1 deserted an amiable wife; but his traducers rather inconsistently reproach him also with the necessity of writing for her maintenance.
[Born, 1560. Died, 1592.]
[* Greene died on the 3rd Sept. 1592. See his Dramatic Works, by Dyce, 2 vols 8vo. 1831.]
When Cupid having me his slave descried
O HAPPY Thames, that didst my Stella bear,
A list of his writings, amounting to forty-five separate productions, is given in the Censura Literaria, including five plays, several amatory romances, and other pamphlets, of quaint titles and rambling contents. The writer of that article has vindicated the personal memory of Greene with proper feeling, but he seems to overrate the importance that could have ever been attached to him as a writer. In proof of the once great popularity of Greene's writings, a passage is quoted from Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, where it is said that Saviolina uses as choice figures as any in the Arcadia, and Carlo subjoins, "or in Greene's works, whence she may steal with more security." This allusion to the facility of stealing without detection from an author surely argues the reverse of his being popular and well known†. Greene's style is in truth most whimsical and grotesque. He lived before there was a good model of familiar prose; and his wit, like a stream that is too weak to force a channel for itself, is lost in rhapsody and diffuseness.
[† See Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. ii. p. 71.]
DORASTUS ON FAWNIA.
An, were she pitiful as she is fair,
Ah, when she sings, all music else be still,
Was born in 1562, took a bachelor's degree at Cambridge, and came to London, where he was a contemporary player and dramatic writer with Shakspeare. Had he lived longer to profit by the example of Shakspeare, it is not straining conjecture to suppose, that the strong misguided energy of Marlowe would have been kindled and refined to excellence by the rivalship; but his death, at the age of thirty, is alike to be lamented for its disgracefulness and prematurity, his own sword being forced upon him, in a quarrel at a brothel. Six tragedies, however, and his numerous translations from the classics, evince that if his life was profligate, it was not idle. The bishops ordered his translations of Ovid's Love Elegies to be burnt in public for their licentiousness. If all the licentious poems of that period had been included in the martyrdom, Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis would have hardly escaped the flames.
FROM TULLY'S LOVE.
WHEN gods had framed the sweets of woman's face,
And lockt men's looks within her golden hair, That Phoebus blush'd to see her matchless grace,
And heavenly gods on earth did make repair,
[Born, 1562. Died, May 1893.]
COME live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That valleys, groves, hills. and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields.
Then grew a wrinkle on fair Venus' brow,
In Marlowe's tragedy of "Lust's Dominion" there is a scene of singular coincidence with an event that was 200 years after exhibited in the same country, namely Spain. A Spanish queen, instigated by an usurper, falsely proclaims her own son to be a bastard.
Prince Philip is a bastard born;
O give me leave to blush at mine own shame;
Lust's Dom. Sc. iv. Act 3.
Compare this avowal with the confession which Bonaparte either obtained, or pretended to have obtained, from the mother of Ferdinand VII., in 1808, and one might almost imagine that he had consulted Marlowe's tragedy.
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Is said to have been descended from an ancient and respectable family in Norfolk, and being sent abroad for his education, became a jesuit at Rome. He was appointed prefect of studies there in 1585, and, not long after, was sent as a missionary into England. His chief residence was with Anne, Countess of Arundel, who died in the Tower of London. Southwell was apprehended in July 1592, and carried before Queen Elizabeth's agents, who endeavoured to extort from him some disclosure of secret conspiracies against the government; but he was cautious at his examination, and declined answering a number of ensnaring questions. Upon which, being sent to prison, he remained near three years in strict confinement, was repeatedly put to the rack, and as he himself affirmed, underwent very severe tortures no less than ten times. He owned that
[Born, 1560. Died, 1595.]
Love mistress is of many minds, Yet few know whom they serve; They reckon least how little hope Their service doth deserve.
The will she robbeth from the wit,
LOVE'S SERVILE LOT.
May never was the month of love;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With soothing words inthralled souls She chains in servile bands!
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
Her eye in silence hath a speech Which eye best understands.
he was a priest and a jesuit, that he came into England to preach the Catholic religion, and was prepared to lay down his life in the cause. On the 20th of February, 1595, he was brought to his trial at the King's Bench, was condemned to die, and was executed the next day, at Tyburn. His writings, of which a numerous list is given in the 67th volume of the Gentleman's Magazine together with the preceding sketch of his life, were probably at one time popular among the Catholics. In a small collection of his pieces there are two specimens of his prose compositions, entitled "Mary Magdalene's Tears," and the "Triumph over Death," which contain some eloquent sentences. Nor is it possible to read the volume without lamenting that its author should have been either the instrument of bigotry, or the object of persecution.
Her little sweet hath many sours,
Like winter rose, and summer ice, Her joys are still untimely; Before her hope, behind remorse, Fair first, in fine unseemly.
Plough not the seas, sow not the sands,
Seek other mistress for your minds,
RETIRED thoughts enjoy their own delights,
The mind a creature is, yet can create,
WAS a native of London, and studied the common law, but from the variety of his productions (Vide Theatrum Poetarum, p. 213) would seem
[Born, 1560. Died about 1592.]
THE NYMPHS TO THEIR MAY QUEEN. From England's Helicon.
WITH fragrant flowers we strew the way,
Now the air is sweeter than sweet balm,
Now birds record new harmony,
Man's soul of endless beauties image is,
* [The word Sonnet, in its laxest sense, means a small copy of verses; in its true and accepted sense, a poem of fourteen lines, written in heroic verse, with alternate and couplet rhymes. Watson's sonnets are all of eighteen
All that he had, his image should present;
to have devoted himself to lighter studies. Mr. Steevens has certainly overrated his sonnets in preferring them to Shakspeare's*.
ACTEON lost, in middle of his sport,
I leese my wonted shape, in that my mind
I dare not name the nymph that works my smart, Though love hath graven her name within my heart.
lines: and perhaps in their superfluity of four, Steevens thought their excellence to consist; for as he loved quantity in Shakspeare, he would like bulk in another.]