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The power of them whom fortune here hath lent
So did his hart the common wealth apply.
On others lust to hang both night and day. None of these pointes would ever frame in me. My wit is nought, I can not learne the way.
BORN 1533—DIED 1603. The following ditty, or sonnet, of the Virgin Queen, is of no great value save as a curiosity, and from the secret feelings which dictated it. The reader may be amused to see how these verses are be-praised by Puttenham, the writer of the “ Arte of English Poesie,” the first regular critic
known in England. “ I find none example in English metre so well maintain
ing this figure (the Exargasia or the Gorgeous) as that dittie of her Majestie's owne making, passing sweet and harmonical,—which figure being, as its very original name purporteth, the most beautifull and gorgeous of all
others, it asketh in reason to be reserved for a last compliment, and deciphered by a ladie's penne, herself being the most beautifull, or rather beautie of queens.(a) And this was the occasion : Our sovereign ladie, perceiving how the Scotch Queen's residence within this realme, with so great liberty and ease as were scarce meet for so great and dangerous a prisoner, bred secret factions among her people, and made many of the nobility incline to favour her party, to declare that she was nothing ignorant of those secret practices, though she had long with great wisdom and patience dissembled it, writeth this dittie most sweet and sententious," &c.
A DITTY. The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy, And wit me warns to shew such snares as threaten
mine annoy. For falsehood now doth flow, and subject faith
doth ebb; Which would not be if reason ruled, or wisdom
weaved the web. But clouds of toys untried do cloak aspiring minds, Which turn to rain of late repent, by course of
changed winds, The top of hope supposed, the root of ruth will be, And fruitless all their graffed guiles, as shortly ye
shall see. Then dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition
blinds, Shall be unseald by worthy wights, whose fore
sight falsehood finds.
(a) She was then near threescore !
The daughter of debate, that eke discord doth sow, Shall reap no gain where former rule hath taught
still peace to grow. No foreign banish'd wight shall anchor in this port, Our realm it brooks no strangers' force, let them
elsewhere resort. Our rusty sword with rest shall first his edge
employ, To pull their tops that seek such change, and
gape for joy.
EARL OF DORSET.
BORN ABOUT 1527-DIED 1604.
This statesman and poet was the son of Sir Richard Sack
ville of Withyam, in Sussex. He spent a long life in the service of Queen Elizabeth, by whom he was created Lord Buckhurst. After being employed on many important embassies, he was, on the death of Lord Burleigh, made Lord High Treasurer. He was through life the patron of literature, and maintained in difficult situations the character of an honest minister, and of a good, if not a brilliant man. Neither his integrity nor usefulness protected him at all times from the occasional caprice, suspicion, and arbitrary temper of his royal mistress ; nor from the intrigues of her haughty favourite Leicester, against whom Elizabeth, who united the coquette with the sovereign in a very strong degree, used to play off Sackville when she found the favourite proceeding too far or presuming too much.
An anecdote is related of the youth of Sackville, which is worth preserving. Having, by lavish and thoughtless extravagance, involved his affairs, he was forced to borrow from a rich alderman, who kept the young courtier in at. tendance so long, that, mortified by the indignity, he from that hour adopted a system of regulated economy which placed him for life above being exposed to the repetition of such behaviour. If there be such a thing as “ proper
pride," Sackville's resolution was of its best fruits. This nobleman is a subject of literary interest, as the author of the first regular English tragedy, Gordobuc, written while he was still young, and represented before the Queen. He also projected the Mirror for Magistrates, a series of heroic poems, to which several persons were to contribute each a tragic legend or tale chosen from the history of England. Sackville commenced with the history of the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham, and other writers followed; but this comprehensive design had the usual fate of all joint-stock companies : it in
creased in bulk, and lessened in value. Sackville lived to witness and promote the accession of
James I., who created him Earl of Dorset, and on all occasions treated him with great deference. He died suddenly at the council-table. Though a man of unquestionable taste, Sackville is more important in the history of English poetry than as an English poet. The picture of Winter, with which his introduction to the story of Buckingham commences, is praised by Warton, and adopted by Mr Campbell as a favourable specimen of his verse.