Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here's no fantastic mask or dance,
But of our kids that frisk and prance;

Nor wars are seen,
Unless
upon

the

green Two harmless lambs are butting one another, Which done both bleating run, each to his mother:

And wounds are never found,
Save what the plough-share gives the ground.

Here are no false entrapping baits,
To has:en too, too, hasty fates;

Unless it be

The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which wordlings like, still look,
Upon the bait, but never on the hook :

Nor envy,

unless among

The birds, for prize of their sweet song

Go, let the diving negro seek
For gems, hid in some forlorn creek;

We all pearls scorn,

Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass;

And gold ne'er here appears,
Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

Blest silent groves!-0 may ye be
For ever mirth's best nursery !

May pure contents
For

ever pitch their tents, Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these

mountains,

And peace still slumber by these purling fountains;

Which we may every year
Find, when we come a fishing here.

IGNOTO.

or

It may

be doubted whether this be a poem of Sir Henry Wotton's, or not, it is rather in a higher mood” than most of his strains, and has not the usual signature,

the initials of his name.Walton arranges it with “ Poems found among the papers of Sir Henry Wotton,”-some of which certainly were by other hands; at the same time it

may

be remarked, that he himself addressed one of his compositions to his friend Dinely, as the work-authoris incerti.—Another poem, with the same signature of “ Ignoto,” is decidedly in Wotton's style.

[ocr errors]

De Morte.

Man's life's a Tragedy: his mother's womb
From which he enters, is the 'tiring room;
This spacious earth the theatre; and the stage,
That country which he lives in ; passions, rage,
Folly, and vice, are actors ;—the first

cry
The prologue to the ensuing tragedy:
The former act consisteth of dumb shews;
The second he to more perfection grows;
In the third he is a man, and doth begin
To nurture vice, and act the deeds of sin;
In the fourth declines; in the fifth diseases clog
And trouble him; then death's his epilogue.

IGNOTO. To the rarely accomplished, and worthy of best employment, Mr. HowELL, upon his VOCAL FOREST.

Believe it, sir, you happily have hit,
Upon a curious fancy of such wit,

That far transcends the vulgar; for each line
Mcthinks breathes Barclay or a Bocaline:
I know you might, none better, inake the vine,
The olive, ivy, mulberry, and pine,
With others, their own dialect expose ;
But you have taught them all rich English prome.
I end, and envy, but must justly say,
Who makes trees speak so well, deserves the bay.

HENRY WOrton.

The whimsical book of that voluminous writer, James Howell, to which these lines are appended, bears the title of “ Dodona's Grore, or the Vocal Forest.” It was popular in its day, and passed through many editions, being a political allegory, in which the great personages of the time are characterised by the several trees of the forest.

[graphic]

PHINEAS FLETCHER.

BORN ABOUT 1584.—Died ABOUT 1650.

6 Grare Father of this Muse thou deem'st ton light

To wear thy name, 'cuuse of thy youthful brain
It seems a sportful child; resembling right

Thy witty childhood, not thy graver strain,
Which now est eems these works of fancy vain ;
Let not thy child, thee living, orphan be,
Who, when thourt dead, will give a life to thee.

For thou art Poet born, who know thee, know it,
Thy Brother, Sire, thy cery name's a Poet:
Thy very name will mnke these Poems take,
These very Poems else thy name will make."

WM, BENLOWES.

If these dull times
Should want the present strength to prize thy rhymes,
The time-descended children of the next,
Shall fill thy margin, and admire the text,
Whose well-read lines will teach them now to be
The happy knowers of themselves and thee.

F. QUARLES.

The former of the above extracts is taken from a copy of commendatory verses prefixed to the “Purple Island," the principal poem of Phineas Fletcher, and inscribed “ to the learned author, son and brother to two judicious poets, himself the third-not second to either ;" the latter from another address • to the ingenious composer, the Spenser of his age,from his contemporary, the quaint author of the “ Emblems,” the romance of “ Argalus and Parthenia,” &c.—and his own brother,

Giles Fletcher, (of whose taste and judgment we shall hereafter give ample proof, at the conclusion of his “Christ's Victory and Triumph,” hails him as

_“ the KENTISH LAD, that lately taught
His oaten reed the trumpet's silver sound,
Young Thirsilis ; and for his music brought

The willing spheres from Heav'n, to lead around
The dancing nymphs and swains.”.

[ocr errors]

To this we may add, that he made Spenser his model,-and, Milton was his debtor.

The principal poems of Phineas Fletcher were republished in Dr. Anderson's “complete edition of the works of the Poets of Great Britain, 1793;” and from the biographical and critical preface, the following few particulars of his personal history are chiefly derived; including also a general notice of his family, as explanatory of the compliment paid to him by his partial friend in the first of the foregoing extracts.

He is said to have been born at Brenchley, near Penshurst; and it appears from some passages in his writings, that he resided there during a part of his earlier life.

His father Giles Fletcher, was also born in this county, bred at Eton, and elected scholar of Benet College, Cambridge, in 1565, where he took the degree of Doctor of Laws, in 1581. Wood says, “ he was a learned man, and an excellent poet.* The abilities of Dr. Fletcher recommending him to Queen Elizabeth, he was employed by her as a commissioner

* It is to be regretted that no proofs of the poetical talent of the father of the Fletchers, appear to have come down to us.

« PreviousContinue »