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embraced those pursuits from which it had long been restrained; and society soon obtained that state of general improvement, and conceived that regard for intellectual life, which have never ceased to be cherished since.
Surrey was one of the first writers of love-verses in the language, and is esteemed the first classical poet. The lover and the scholar are united in him: his eyes are as often
-“ Cast up into the maiden's tower,” as into the book of knowledge, and he as often speaks in praise of his love as of his learning.
He wrote but little, yet he had a great influence upon the literature of his country. “Surrey,” says Mr. Southey, “was the first English poet who wrote metrically; and the first who used blank verse,—that verse which, for its peculiar and excellent adaptation to the English language, ought to be called the English measure. He wrote also the first English sonnets; and he used the ternal rhyme of Dante,-a meter, by its solemn continuity, so suited to grave subjects, that some poet will surely one day make for himself a lasting reputation by worthily employing it.”
A PRAISE OF HIS LOVE.
Give place ye lovers, here before
And thereto hath a troth as just
I could rehearse, if that I would
I know she swore with raging mind,
He broke the bondage of rhyme, and gave the first example of English blank verse. He clothed a part of the Æneid in an English dress, and with great fidelity to the sense, preserved much of the beauty of Virgil,—the description of Dido's passion, and of the city, revive an association of school-boy days.
And when they were all gone,
So to beguile the love cannot be told !
THE FRAILTY OF BEAUTY.
Brittle beauty, that nature made so frail,
Thou fairest as fruit that with the frost is taken,
To-day rudely ripe, to-morrow all to shaken. Nature, even in the most savage ages, teaches elegance to the lover; but Surrey has given to his muse a classic grace, and has contributed something to the advancement of learning in his justness of thought, his purity of diction, and correctness of style.
Gascoigne was one of the earliest English dramatic writers and possessed much versatility of talent. He wrote a variety of versification.
GASCOIGNE'S GOOD MORROW.
You that have spent the silent night,
And joy to see the cheersul light
And you, whom care in prison keeps,
The dreadful night with darksomeness Had overspread the light, And sluggish sleep with drowsiness Had overspread our might: A glass wherein you may behold, Each storm that stops our breath, Our bed the grave, our clothes like mould, And sleep like dreadful death.
Yet as this deadly night did last But for a little space, And heavenly day, now night is past Doth shew his pleasant face, So must we hope to see God's face At last in heaven on high, Where we have changed this mortal place For immortality.
And of such hopes and heavenly joys,
Are tokens to behold.
The rainbow bending in the sky
The misty clouds that fall sometime
The little birds which sing so sweet
SWIFTNESS OF TIME.
The heavens on high perpetually do more ;