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ing, and consequently whatever poetry, it


with which, indeed, it is sometimes hard enough to be understood, but without which it would be absolute inanity and nonsense. The Purple Island is rather a production of the same species with Dr. Darwin's Botanic Garden ; but, forced and false enough as Darwin's style is in many respects, it would be doing an injustice to his poem to compare it with Phineas Fletcher’s, either in regard to the degree in which nature and propriety are violated in the principle and manner of the composition, or in regard to the spirit and general success of the execution. Of course, there is a good deal of ingenuity shown in Fletcher's poem ; and it is not unimpregnated by poetic feeling, nor without some passages of considerable merit. But in many other parts it is quite grotesque ; and, on the whole, it is fantastic, puerile, and wearisome. Mr. Hallam thinks that Giles Fletcher, in his poem of Christ's Victory and Triumph, has shown more vigor than Phineas, “but less sweetness, less smoothness, and more affectation in his style.”? It ought to be mentioned, however, to the honor of these two writers, that the works of both of them appear to have been studied by Milton, and that imitations of some passages in each are to be traced in his poetry. Milton was undoubtedly a diligent reader of the English poetry of the age preceding his own; and his predecessors of all degrees, Ben Jonson and Fletcher the dramatists, as well as the two cousins of the latter, and, as we have seen, Joshua Sylvester and the earlier dramatic writer, George Peele, had contributed something to the awakening or directing of his feeling for the grand and beautiful, and to the forming of his melodious and lofty note.



The growth of the religious spirit in the early part of the seventeenth century is shown in much more of the poetry of the time as well as in that of the two Fletchers. Others of the most notable names of this age are Quarles, Herrick, Herbert, and Crashaw. Francis Quarles, who died in 1644, was one of the most popular 1 Called by mistake, his elder brother.

2 Lit of Eur, iii. 252.

as well as voluminous writers of the day, and is still generally known by his volume of Emblems. His verses are characterized by ingenuity rather than fancy, but, although often absurd, he is seldom dull or languid. There is a good deal of spirit and coarse vigor in some of his pieces, as for instance in his well-known Song of Anarchus, portions of which have been printed both by Ellis and Campbell, and which may perhaps have suggested to Cowper, the great religious poet of a later day, his lines called The Modern Patriot. Quarles, however, though he appears to have been a person of considerable literary acquirement, must in his poetical capacity be regarded as mainly a writer for the populace. George Herbert, a younger brother of the celebrated Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was a clergyman. His volume, entitled The Temple, was first published soon after his death in 1633, and was at least six or seven times reprinted in the course of the next quarter of a century. His biographer, Izaak Walton, , tells us that when he wrote, in the reign of Charles II., twenty thousand copies of it had been sold. Herbert was an intimate friend of Donne, and no doubt a great admirer of his poetry ; but his own has been to a great extent preserved from the imitation of Donne's peculiar style, into which it might in other circumstances have fallen, in all probability by its having been composed with little effort or elaboration, and chiefly to relieve and amuse his own mind by the melodious expression of his favorite fancies and contemplations. His quaintness lies in his thoughts rather than in their expression, which is in general sufficiently simple and luminous. Robert Herrick, who was also a clergyman, is the author of a thick octavo volume of verse, published in 1648, under the title of Hesperides. It consists, like the poetry of Donne, partly of love-verses, partly of pieces of a devotional character, or, as the two sorts are styled in the title-page, Works Human and Divine. The same singular license which even the most reverend persons, and the purest and most religious minds, in that


allowed themselves to take in light and amatory poetry is found in Herrick as well as in Donne, a good deal of whose singular manner, and fondness for conceits both of sound and sense, Herrick has also caught. Yet some both of his hymns and of his anacreontics — for of such strange intermixture does his poetry consist — are beautifully simple and natural, and full of grace as well as fancy. Richard

1 A complete reprint of the Hesperides was brought out at Edinburgh, under the

Crashaw was another clergyman, who late in life became a Roman Catholic, and died a canon of Loretto in 1650. He is perhaps, after Donne, the greatest of these religious poets of the early part of the seventeenth century. He belongs in manner to the same school with Donne and Herrick, and in his lighter pieces he has much of their lyrical sweetness and delicacy ; but there is often a force and even occasionally what may be called a grandeur of imagination in his more solemn poetry which Herrick never either reaches or aspires to.1


ALL the poetical clergymen of this time, however, had not such pious muses. The Rev. William Cartwright, who died at an early age in 1643, is said by Anthony Wood to have been “a most florid and seraphic preacher”; but his poetry, which is mostly amatory, is not remarkable for its brilliancy. He is the author of several plays, and he was one of the young writers who were honored with the title of his sons by Ben Jonson, who said of him, “ My son Cartwright writes all like a man.” Another of Ben's poetical sons was Thomas Randolph, who was likewise a clergyman, and is also the author of several plays, mostly in verse, as well as of a quantity of other poetry. Randolph has a good deal of fancy, and his verse flows very melodiously; but his poetry has in general a bookish and borrowed air. Much of it is on subjects of love and gallantry ; but the love is chiefly of the head, or, at most, of the

the gallantry, it is easy to see, that merely of a fellow of a college and a reader of Ovid. Randolph died under thirty in 1634, and his poems were first collected after his death by his brother. The volume, which also contains his Plays, was frequently reprinted in the course of the next thirty or forty years ; the edition before us, dated 1668, is called the fifth.


care of Mr. Maitland, in 2 vols. 8vo, in 1823; and there are also London reprints of later date. A small selection from Herrick's poetry, in one volume, had been published in London before the appearance of the complete Edinburgh edition.

i Upon the subject of these and other religious poets of the seventeenth century, see Lives of Sacred Poets, by the Rev. Robert Aris Willmott, 12mo, Lon. 1834; and an article on The Character and Progress of Religious Poetry, in the Church of England Quarterly Review for January, 1837, No. I. pp. 171-229.

One of the most remarkable among the clerical poets of this earlier half of the seventeenth century was Dr. Richard Corbet, successively Bishop of Oxford and of Norwich. Corbet, who was born in 1582, became famous both as a poet and as a wit early in the reign of James; but very little, if any, of his poetry was published till after his death, which took place in 1635. The first edition of his Poems appeared in 1647, and there were others in 1648 and 1672 ; but the most complete collection of what he has left us is that published by the late Octavius Gilchrist in 1807. A notion of what sort of man Bishop Corbet was may be gathered from some anecdotes of him preserved by Aubrey, who relates, o among other things, that after he was a doctor of divinity he sang ballads at the Cross at Abingdon: :-“ On a 'market-day,” Aubrey writes, “ he and some of his comrades were at the tavern by the Cross (which, by the way, was then the finest in England; I remember it when I was a freshman ; it was admirable curious Gothic architecture, and fine figures in the niches; 'twas one of those built by King for his Queen). The ballad-singer complained he had no custom — he could not put off his ballads. The jolly doctor puts off his gown, and puts on the ballad-singer's leathern jacket, and, being a handsome man, and a rare full voice, he presently vended a great many, and had a great audience.” Aubrey had heard, however, that as a bishop “ he had an admirable grave and venerable aspect.” Corbet's poetry, too, is a mixture or alternation of gravity and drollery. But it is the subject or occasion, rather than the style or manner, that makes the difference; he never rises to anything higher than wit; and he is as witty in his elegies as in his ballads. As that ingredient, however, is not so suitable for the former as for the latter, his graver performances are worth very little. Nor is his merriment of a high order; when it is most elaborate it is strained and fantastic, and when more natural it is apt to run into buffoonery. But much of his verse, indeed, is merely prose in rhyme, and very indifferent rhyme for the most part. His happiest effusions are the two that are best known, his Journey into France and his ballad of The Fairies' Farewell. His longest and most curious poem

is his Iter Boreale, describing a journey which he took in company with other three university men, probably about 1620, from Oxford as far north as Newark and back again. Two lines in this piece might almost pass for having suggested Byron's couplet in Don Juan,

Let not a monument give you or me hopes,

Since not a pinch of dust remains of Cheops : Corbet, moralizing upon the tombless grave of Wolsey at Leicester, exclaims:

If thou art thus neglected, what shall we

Hope after death, who are but shreds of thee? At a village near Loughborough our travellers were obliged to procure a guide to conduct them through the intricacies of that unknown country to Bosworth ; and next morning the landlord of the inn in which they passed the night in the latter town mounted his horse and accompanied them to the neighboring battlefield. Then comes a passage of some interest:

Mine host was full of ale and history;
And on the morrow, when he brought us nigh
Where the two Roses joined, you would suppose
Chaucer ne'er made the Romaunt of the Rose.
Hear him — See ye yon wood ? There Richard lay
With his whole army : look the other way,
And to where Richmond in a bed of

Encamped himself ere night, and all his force.
Upon this hill they met.' Why, he could tell
The inch where Richmond stood, where Richard fell.
Beside what of his knowledge he could say,
He had authentic notice from the play ;
Which I might guess by his mustering up the ghosts
And policies not incident to hosts ;
But chiefly by that one perspicuous thing,
Where he mistook a player for a king;
For when he would have said, King Richard died,
And called — A horse! a horse! he Burbage cried.

From this passage we learn, not only, as has been remarked, that Shakspeare's Richard III. was originally represented by the famous fellow-actor of the poet, Richard Burbage, but also that both the play and the performers were already familiarly known in the country as well as in London. It may be supposed indeed that the town of Bosworth would be one of the first places in which this particular drama was represented out of the metropolis.

As a sample of Corbet's humor, we may give his description of the landlady of their inn at Warwick:

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