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proved highly unpropitious to Scotish literature. Scotland, becoming an appendage to the sister kingdom, was subjected, as Ireland has since been, to the worst of all governments, being abandoned to the conflict of rival families, who were alternately supported by the English administration, so that it exhibited a species of anarchy under the auspices of a legitimate sovereign.
James I. was himself a poet, and specimens of his talent, such as it was, are to be found in many of our miscellanies. , He also wrote some rules and cautels, for the use of professors of the art, which have been long, and perhaps deservedly, disregarded. - The most favourable sample of his Majesty's poetic skill has been lately obtained from the College library, Edinburgh, and will be found in the following page. It is prefixed to Fowler's translation of the Triumphs of Petrarch, a MS. before described.
In Phæbus' art some glistering star did shine, · Who, worthy scholars to the Muses sage,
Fulfilld their countries with their works divine.
So Homer was a sounding trumpet fine Amongst the Greeks, into his learned days;
So Virgil was among the Romans syne
In tongue Italic, in a sugar'd style,
For he, by poems that he did compile,
Signed “ J. Rex.”
Otherwise known by the name of Democritus junior, was
born in 1576, of an ancient and genteel family, at Lindley, in Leicestershire. In 1593 he was entered a commoner at Brazen-nose College, in 1599 elected student of Christ. Church, and in 1616 made vicar of St Thomas's, Oxford, which preferment, with the rectory of Segrave in Leices. tershire, “ he kept,” says Wood, “ with much ado to his “ dying day.” The same writer adds, “ He was an ex« act mathematician, a curious calculator of nativities, a “ general-read scholar, a thro'-paced philologist, and one « that understood the surveying of lands well ;” and though “ a melancholy and humorous person,” yet “ of great “ honesty, plain-dealing, and charity.” Wood had also as heard some of the antients of Christ Church often say, " that his company was very merry, facete, and juvenile.” His “ Anatomy of Melancholy," a very singular work, in which Dr Ferriar has detected the source of many of Sterne's most admired passages, was first published in 4to. 1621, and, after subsequently passing through seven edi. tions in folio, bas been lately republished. Wood says the bookseller got an estate by it; and that “ 'tis a book “ so full of variety of reading, that gentlemen who have “ lost their time, and are put to a push for invention, may “ furnish themselves with matter for common or scholas“ tical discourse and writing." From what he farther observes, it should seem that Sterne was not without precedent in bis depredations upon Burton. “ Several au“ thors have unmercifully stolen matter from the said “ book without any acknowledgement, particularly one
“ Will. Greenwood,” &c., who, as others of the like hu“ mour do, sometimes takes his quotations without the “ least mention of Democritus junior.” Dr Johnson thought highly of the “ Anatomy of Melancholy;" see Boswell's Life; and Mr Warton, in his notes to Milton's minor poems, p. 94, 2d ed., supposes that great poet “to “ have borrowed the subject of L'Allegro and Il Pense“ roso, together with some particular thoughts, expres. “ sions, and rhymes,” from the subsequrnt specimen. “ As to the very elaborate work,” says Mr Warton,“ to « which these visionary verse are no unsuitable intro“ duction, the writer's variety of learning, his quotations “ from scarce and curious books, his pedantry sparkling “ with rude wit and shapeless elegance, miscellaneous “ matter, intermixture of agreeable tales and illustra“ tions, and perbaps, above all, the singularities of his “ feelings, cloathed in an uncommon quaintness of style, “ have contributed to render it, even to modern readers,
6 a valuable repository of amusement and information." Burton was fond of poetry, and left behind him a very cu
rious poetical and miscellaneous library, out of which he bequeathed to the Bodleian all the books not already contained in it. He died in 1639, (very near the time of his own calculation,) and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, where his bust may be seen, as well as a short Latin inscription, his own composition, on a monument erected by the care of his brother William, the antiquary and historian of Leicestershire.
[Prefixed to “ The Anatomy of Melancholy.”]
When I go musing all alone,
All my joys to this are folly,
When I lie waking, all alone,
All my griefs to this are jolly,
When to myself I act, and smile, s With pleasing thoughts the time beguile, By a brook-side, or wood so green, Unheard, unsought-for, or unseen,