Page images
PDF
EPUB

eth him behind ;-Since the Holy Scripture (wherein there is no uncleanness) hath whole parts in it poetical, and that even our Saviour Christ vouchsafed to use the flowers of it ;-Since all its kinds are not only in their united forms, but in their severed dissections fully commendable :-1 think—(and I think I think rightly)—the laurel crown appointed for triumphant captains, doth worthily, of all other learnings, honor the poet's triumph.

SONNET TO SLEEP.
Come, sleep, O sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th’ indifferent judge between the high and low!
With shield of proof, shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw:
O make me in those civil wars to cease!
I will good tribute pay if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed;
A chamber deaf to noise, and blind to light;
A rosy garland, and a weary head;
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see.

CHRISTOPHER MARLOW. 1562–1592. CHRISTOPHER Marlow2 was a contemporary with Shakspeare, and cele brated in his day as an actor and dramatic writer. He wrote seven tragedies, one of which, Doctor Fausłus, has considerable merit.3 But he was a man of loose principles and morals, and came to a tragical end, being killed in a drunken brawl. He is now chiefly known as the author of the beautiful song quoted by honest old Izaak Walton, envtled

A PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That grove or valley, hill or field,
Or wood and steepy mountain yield.

1 The sonnet is a short poem of fourteen lines, two stanzas of four verses each, and two of three each, the rhymes being adjusted by a particular rule. It was first introduced into our language by the Earl of Surrey, and continued to be a favorite species of writing till the Restoration, when it began to decline. Within the present century, however, it has movíved, and has been rendered poor har by a series of distinguished writers, especially by Mr. Wordsworth. Read~"Specimens of EngUsli Bonnets," by Rev. Alexander Dyce,--a little book of gems. 2 He was generally called Kit Marlow, according to old Heywood :

Marlow, renown'd for his rare art and wit,

Could ne'er attain beyond the name of Kit. 3 Read--two articles in the 3d and 4th volumes of the Retrospective Review, on “The Early English Drama :" also, Lamb's "Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets."

[blocks in formation]

ROBERT SOUTHWELL was descended from an ancient and respectable ca. tholic family in Norfolk, and was born about the year 1562. At an early age he was sent to the English College at Douay, and thence he went to Rome, where he entered the “ Order of the Society of Jesus.” After finishing his course of study there, the Pope sent him, in 1584, as a missionary to England. He had not been at home bụt a few years when he was apprehended by some of Elizabeth's agents, for being engaged in a conspiracy against the government. He was sent to prison, where he remained three years. He was repeatedly put upon the rack, and, as he himself affirmed, underwent very severe tortures no less than ten times. Wearied with torture and solitary imprisonment, he begged that he might be brought to trial, to answer for himself. At his trial he owned that he was a priest and a Jesuit, but denied that he ever entertained any designs against the queen or kingdom; alleging that he came to England simply to administer the sacraments according to the catholic church to such as desired them. The jury found him guilty of treasun, and when asked if he had any thing to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him, he replied, “Nothing; but from my heart I forgive all who have been any way accessible to my death.” Sentence was pronounced, and the next day he was led to execution.

1 A madrigal is a little amorous poem, of free and unequal verses, differing from the regularity of the sonnet and the subtilty of the epigram, and containing some tender and simple thought suitably expressed.

2 Showy. 3 In the northernmost province of France, where was made the celebrated papal version of the Scriptures--the "Douay Bible."

4 The best account of Southwell may be found in the "Gentleman's Magazine" for Nov. 1798. Read, also, an excellent article in the Retrospective Review, iv. 267. “So perished father Southwell, ut thirty-three years of age; and so, unhappily, have perished many of the wise and virtuous of the earth. Conscious of suffering in the supposed best of causes, he seems to have met death without terror wife's uncertainty and the world's vanity, the crimes and follies of humanity, and the consolations and glories of religion, are the constant themes of his writings, both in prose and verse, and the kindliness and benignity of his nature, and the moral excellence of his character are dif fused alike over both."

'íbis whole proceeding should cover the authors of it with everlasting infamy. It is a foul stain upon the garments of the maiden queen that she can never wipe off. There was not a particle of evidence at his trial that this pious and accomplished poet meditated any evil designs against the government. He did what he had a perfect right to do; ay, what it was his duty to do, is he conscientiously thought he was right,-endeavor to make converts to his fajth, so far as he could without interfering with the rights of others. If there

be any thing that is to be execrated, it is persecution for opinion's sake. There is an excess of meanness, as well as wickedness, in striving to put down opinions by physical force. Those who do it thereby tacitly acknowledge that they have no other arguments, for truth has no reason ever to fear in any combat with error.'

Southwell's poems are all on moral and religious subjects. Though they have not many of the endowments of fancy, they are peculiarly pleasing for the simplicity of their diction, and especially for the fine mural truths and lessons they convey.

TIMES GO BY TURNS.

The lopped tree in time may grow again,

Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,

The driest soil suck in some moistening shower:
Time goes by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

The sea of fortune doth not ever flow,

She draws her favors to the lowest ebb:
Her tides have equal times to come and go;

Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web:
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring;

Not endless night, yet not eternal day:
The saddest birds a season find to sing,

The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost;

That net that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are cross'd;

Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmingled joys here to no man befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.

1 Truth crush'd to earth shall rise again,

The eternal years of God are hers;
But error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies amid his worshippers.--Brya u.

SCORN NOT THE LEAST.

Where wards are weak, and foes encount'ring strong

Where mightier do assault than do defend, 'The feebler part puts up enforced wrong,

And silent sees that speech could not aiend : Yet, higher powers must think, though they repine, When sun is set the little stars will shine.

While pike doth range, the silly tench doth fly,

And crouch in privy creeks with smaller fish: Yet pikes are caught when little fish go by,

These fleet afloat, while those do fill the dish; There is a time even for the worms to creep, And suck the dew while all their foes do sleep.

The merlin cannot ever soar on high,

Nor greedy greyhound still pursue the chase;
The tender lark will find a time to fly,

And fearful hare to run a quiet race.
He that high growth on cedars did bestow,
Gave also lowly mushrooms leave to grow.

In Haman's pomp poor Mordocheus wept,

Yet God did turn his fate upon his foe.
The Lazar pin'd, while Dives' feast was kept,

Yet he to heaven, to hell did Dives go.
We trample grass, and prize the flowers of May;
Yet grass is green, when flowers do fade away.

CONTENT AND RICH.

My conscience is my crown;

Contented thoughts, my rest;
My heart is happy in itself,

My bliss is in my breast.
Enough I reckon wealth;

That mean, the surest lot,
That lies too high for base contempt

Too low for envy's shot.
My wishes are but few,

All easy to fulfil:
I make the limits of my power

The bounds unto my will.
I fear no care for gold,

Well-doing is my wealth;
My mind to me an empire is,

While grace affordeth health.
I clip high-climbing thoughts,

The wings of swelling pride;
Their fall is worst that from the height

Of greatest honor slide.

Since sails of largest size

The storm doth soonest tear,
I bear so low and small a sail

As freeth me from fear.
I wrestle not with rage

While fury's flame doth burn;
It is in vain to stop the stream

Until the tide doth turn.
But when the flame is out,

And ebbing wrath doth end,
I turn a late enraged foe

Into a quiet friend.
And taught with often proof,

A temper'd calm I find
To be most solace to itself,

Beşt cure for angry mind.
Spare diet is my fare,

My clothes more fit than fine;
I know I feed and clothe a foe,

That pamper'd would repine.
I envy not their hap

Whom favor doth advance;
I take no pleasure in their pain

That have less happy chance.
To rise by others' fall

I deem a losing gain;
All states with others' ruin built

To ruin run amain.

No change of Fortune's calm

Can cast my comforts down:
When Fortune smiles, I smile to think

How quickly she will frown.
And when, in froward mood,

She proved an angry foe,
Small gain, I found, to let her come

Less loss to let her go. But the prose of Southwell is no less charming than his poetry, as the fol. lowing beautiful extracts will fully show

MARY MAGDALENE'S TEARS. 2 But fear not, Blessed Mary, for thy tears will obtain. They are too mighty orators to let thy suit fall; and though they pleaded at the most rigorous bar, yet have they so persuading a silence

? This goes upon the supposition that the woman that was a sinner," whose act of love to the Saviour is recorded in Luke vii. 37-50, was Mary Magdalene; but of this there is not only no proos, but very little probability.

« PreviousContinue »