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But here was youth, genius, aspiring hope, growing Scarce please you ; we want subtilty to do
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow;
I needs must cry;
I see my days of ballading grow nigh";
I can already riddle, and can sing
Over as oft as any with one wind, from the light it lends to ours), a golden dream, full Makes me remember all these things to be of brightness and sweetness, lapt in Elysium; and The wit
of our young men, fellows that show it gives one a reluctant pang to see the splendid No part of good, yet utter all they know, vision, by which they are attended in their path of who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls. glory, fade like a vapour, and their sacred heads Only' strong Destiny, which all controls, laid low in ashes, before the sand of common mortals I hope hath left a better fate in store has run out. Fletcher, too, was prematurely cut For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor. off by the plague.'
Banish'd unto this home : Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain [Letter to Ben Jonson.]
The way of knowledge for me, and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company,
Protest it will my greatest comfort be,
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee,
Ben ; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine; Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine.
On the Tombs in Westminster.
Mortality, behold and fear,
What a charge of flesh is here ! With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
Think how many royal bones So mixed, that, given to the thirstiest one,
Sleep within these heap of stones: 'Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
Here they lie, had realms and lands, I think, with one draught man's invention fades : Who now want strength to stir their hands; Two cups had quite spoil'd Homer's Iliades.
Where, from their pulpits seald with dust, 'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
They preach-in greatness is no trust.
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin : It is a potion sent us down to drink,
Here the bones of birth have cried, By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Though gods they were, as men they died : Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knights. Here are wands, ignoble things, 'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings. A medicine to obey our magistrates :
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name :
The rigid Spartan that denied *Lectures on the Age of Elizabeth, &c., p. 227.
An epitaph to all that died,
Unless for war, in charity
in tasteless conceits, even on grave elegiac subjects. In his epitaph on the daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth, he says,
And here the precious dust is laid,
Song. Ask me no more where Jove bestows, When June is past, the fading rose ; For in your beauties, orient deep, These Åowers, as in their causes, sleep. Ask me no more whither do stray The golden atoms of the day; For in pure love heaven did prepare Those powders to enrich your hair. Ask me no more whither doth haste The nightingale when May is past ; For in your sweet dividing throat She winters, and keeps warm her note. Ask me no more if east or west The Phønix builds her spicy nest ; For unto you at last she fies, And in your fragrant bosom dies !
Thomas CAREW (1589-1639) was the precursor and representative of a numerous class of poetscourtiers of a gay and gallant school, who to personal accomplishments, rank, and education, united a taste and talent for the conventional poetry then most popular and cultivated. Their influence may be seen even in Cowley and Dryden: Carew and Waller were perhaps the best of the class : Rochester was undoubtedly the most debased. Their visions of fame were in general bounded by the circle of the court and the nobility. To live in future generations, or to sound the depths of the human heart, seems not to have entered into their contemplations. A loyal panegyric was the epic strain of their ambition; a
rosy cheek or coral lip' formed their ordinary theme. The court applauded; the lady was flattered or appeased by the compliment; and the poet was praised for his wit and gallantry; while all the time the heart had as little to do with the poetical homage thus tendered and accepted, as with the cold abstractions and 'rare poesies' on wax or ivory. A foul taint of immorality and irreligion often lurked under the flowery surface, and insidiously made itself known and felt. Carew sometimes went beyond this strain of heartless frivolity, and is graceful in sentiment as well as style-piling up stones of lustre from the brook ;' but he was capable of far higher things; and in him, as in Suckling and Sedley, we see only glimpses of a genius which might have been ripened into permanent and beneficial excellence. Carew was descended from an ancient Gloucestershire family. He was educated at Oxford, then travelled abroad, and on his return, obtained the notice and patronage of Charles I. He was appointed gentleman of the privy chamber, and sewer in ordinary to the king. His after life was that of a courtierwitty, affable, and accomplished—without reflection; and in a strain of loose revelry which, according to Clarendon, the poet deeply repented in his latter days. “He died,' says the state historian, with the greatest remorse for that license, and with the greatest manifestation of Christianity, that his best friends could desire.'
The poems of Carew are short and occasional. His longest is a masque, written by command of the king, entitled Cælum Britannicum. It is partly in prose; and the lyrical pieces were set to music by Dr Henry Lawes, the poetical musician of that age.* The short amatory pieces and songs of Carew were exceedingly popular, and are now the only productions of his which are read. They are often indelicate, but rich in expression. Thirty or forty years later, he would have fallen into the frigid style of the court poets after the Restoration; but at the time he wrote, the passionate and imaginative vein of the Elizabethan period was not wholly exhausted. The .genial and warm tints of the elder muse still coloured the landscape, and were reflected back in some measure by Carew. He abounded, however,
* of the peculiar composition called the masque, an account is given in the sequel
The Compliment. I do not love thee for that fair Rich fan of thy most curious hair ; Though the wires thereof be drawn Finer than the threads of lawn, And are softer than the leaves On which the subtle spider weaves. I do not love thee for those flowers Growing on thy cheeks (love's bowers); Though such cunning them hath spread, None can paint them white and red: Love's golden arrows thence are shot, Yet for them I love thee not. I do not love thee for those soft Red coral lips I've kiss'd so oft ; Nor teeth of pearl, the double guard To speech, whence music still is heard ; Though from those lips a kiss being taken, Might tyrants melt, and death awaken. I do not love thee, oh ! my fairent, For that richest, for that rarest Silver pillar, which stands under Thy sound head, that globe of wonder; Tho' that neck be whiter far Than towers of polish'd ivory are.
Song. Would you know what's soft ? I dare Not bring you to the down or air ; Nor to stars to show what's bright, Nor to snow to teach you white.. Nor, if you would music hear, Call the orbs to take your ear ; Nor to please your sense bring forth Bruised nard or what's more worth. Or on food were your thoughts plac'd, Bring you nectar, for a taste : Would you have all these in one, Name my mistress, and 'tis done.
A Pastoral Dialogue.
Shepherd, Nymph, Chorus.
All night from the damp air.
And now she hangs her pearly store,
(Robb'd from the eastern shore,) I'th' cowslip's bell, and rose's ear: Sweet, I must stay no longer here. Nymph. Those streaks of doubtful light usher not day,
But show my sun must set; no morn
Shall shine till thou return; The yellow planets, and the gray Dawn, shall attend thee on thy way. Shep. If thine eyes gild my paths, they may forbear
Their useless shine. Nymph. My tears will quite
Extinguish their faint light, Shep. Those drops will make their beams more clear, Love's flames will shine in ev'ry tear. Cho. They kiss'd and wept; and from their lips and eyes,
In a mix'd dew of briny sweet,
Their joys and sorrows meet ; But she cries out. Nymph. Shepherd, arise, The sun betrays us else to spies. Cho. The winged hours fly fast, whilst we embrace;
But when we want their help to meet,
They move with leaden feet.
Nymph. No, arise,
Nymph. My soul. Shep. My paradise.
Most fleeting when it is most dear ;
Mediocrity in Love Rejected. Give me more love, or more disdain ;
The torrid or the frozen zone
The temperate affords me none;
Like Danae in that golden shower,
Disdain, that torrent will devour My vulture hopes ; and he's possess'd Of heaven that's but from hell releas'd; Then crown my joys or cure my pain ; Give me more love or more disdain.
Or a coral lip admires,
Fuel to maintain his fires ;
Gentle thoughts and calm desires ;
Kindle never-dying fires. Where these are not, I despise Lovely cheeks, or lips, or eyes ! No tears, Celia, now shall win
My resolv'd heart to return; I have search'd thy soul within,
And find nought but pride and scorn ; I have learn'd thy arts, and now Can disdain as much as thou. Some power, in my revenge, convey That love to her I cast away.
Persuasions to Love. Think not, 'cause men flatt'ring say, Y’are fresh as April, sweet as May, Bright as is the morning star, That you are so; or, though you are, Be not therefore proud, and deem All men unworthy your esteem ; Nor let brittle beauty make You your wiser thoughts forsake : For that lovely face will fail ; Beauty's sweet, but beauty's frail ! 'Tis sooner past, 'tis sooner done, Than summer's rain or winter's sun ;
[Approach of Spring.] Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost Candies the grass, or calls an icy cream Upon the silver lake, or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumb'd earth,
PHINEAS AND GILES FLETCHER.
These brother poets were sons of Dr Giles Fletcher, and cousins of Fletcher the dramatist; both were clergymen, whose lives afforded but little variety of incident. Phineas was born in 1584, educated at Eton and Cambridge, and became rector of Hilgay, in Norfolk, where he died in 1650. Giles was younger than his brother, but the date of his birth has not been ascertained. He was rector of Alderton, in Suffolk, where he died, it is supposed, some years before his brother.
deserving of much praise; they were endowed with minds eminently poetical, and not inferior in imagination to any of their contemporaries. But an injudicious taste, and an excessive fondness for a style which the public was rapidly abandoning, that of allegorical personification, prevented their powers from being effectively displayed.' Mr Campbell remarks, They were both the disciples of Spenser, and, with his diction gently modernised, retained much of his melody and luxuriant expression. Giles, inferior as he is to Spenser and Milton, might be figured, in his happiest moments, as a link of connexion in our poetry between these congenial spirits, for he reminds us of both, and evidently gave hints to the latter in a poem on the same subject with Paradise Regained." These hints are indeed very plain and obvious. The appearance of Satan as an aged sire slowly footing' in the silent wilderness, the temptation of our Saviour in the 'goodly garden,' and in the Bower of Vain Delight, are outlines which Milton adopted and filled up in his second epic, with a classic grace and force of style unknown to the Fletchers. To the latter, however, belong the merit of original invention, copiousness of fancy, melodious numbers, and language at times rich, ornate, and highly poetical. If Spenser had not previously written his Bower of Bliss, Giles Fletcher's Bower of Vain Delight would have been unequalled in the poetry of that day; but probably, like his master Spenser, he copied from Tasso.
The works of PHINEAS FLETCHER consist of the Purple Island, or the Isle of Man, Piscatory Eclogues, and miscellaneous poems. The Purple Island was published in 1633, but written much earlier, as appears from some allusions in it to the Earl of Essex. The name of the poem conjures up images of poetical and romantic beauty, such as we may suppose a youthful admirer and follower of Spenser to have drawn. A perusal of the work, however, dispels this illusion. The Purple Island of Fletcher is no sunny spot amid the melancholy main,' but is an elaborate and anatomical description of the body and mind of man. He begins with the veins, arteries, bones, and muscles of the human frame, picturing them as hills, dales, streams, and rivers, and describing with great minuteness their different meanderings, elevations, and appearances. It is admitted that the poet was well skilled in anatomy, and the first part of his work is a sort of lecture fitted for the dissecting room. Having in five cantos exhausted his physical phenomena, Fletcher proceeds No Syrian worms he knows, that with their thread to describe the complex nature and operations of the Draw out their silken lives: nor silken pride: mind. Intellect is the prince of the Isle of Man, and His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need, he is furnished with eight counsellors, Fancy, Me-Not in that proud Sidonian tincture dyed: mory, the Common Sense, and five external senses. No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright; The Human Fortress, thus garrisoned, is assailed by Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite : the Vices, and a fierce contest ensues for the posses-But sweet content exiles both misery and spite. sion of the human soul. At length an angel interposes, and insures victory to the Virtues, the angel being King James I., on whom the poet condescended to heap this fulsome adulation. From this sketch of Fletcher's poem, it will be apparent that its worth must rest, not upon plot, but upon isolated passages and particular descriptions. Some of his stanzas have all the easy flow and mellifluous sweetness of Spenser's Faery Queen; but others are marred by affectation and quaintness, and by the tediousness inseparable from long-protracted allegory. His fancy was luxuriant, and, if better disciplined by taste and judgment, might have rivalled the softer scenes of Spenser. GILES FLETCHER published only one poetical production of any length-a sacred poem, entitled Christ's Victory and Triumph. It appeared at Cambridge in 1610, and met with such indifferent success, that a second edition was not called for till twenty years afterwards. There is a massive grandeur and earnestness about 'Christ's Victory' which strikes the imagination. The materials of the poem are better fused together, and more harmoniously linked in connexion, than those of the Purple Island. 'Both of these brothers,' says Mr Hallam, are
Happiness of the Shepherd's Life.
Thrice, oh thrice happy, shepherd's life and state!
Instead of music, and base flattering tongues,
His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
Choice nymph! the crown of chaste Diana's train,
A bed of lilies flow'r upon her cheek,
To deck his beauteous head in snowy 'tire;
To such a fair, which none attain, but all admire?
[Decay of Human Greatness.]
Fond man, that looks on earth for happiness,
Hardly the place of such antiquity,
And empty name in writ is left behind :
But when this second life and glory fades,
And that black vulture, which with deathful wing
And life itself 's as flit as is the air we breathe.
[Description of Parthenia, or Chastity.]
Thus hid in arms she seem'd a goodly knight,
But when she list lay down her armour bright,
High in the airy element there hung
As though his purer waves from heaven sprung,
Where each new day proclaims chance, change, and But it the earth would water with his rain,
That ebb'd and flow'd as wind and season would;
Her ruby lips lock up from gazing sight
[From the Temptation and Victory of Christ. By Giles Fletcher.]
Beneath those sunny banks a darker cloud,
Yet strange it was so many stars to see,