Page images
PDF
EPUB

the First, and by them well accepted, considering the meanness of his education to produce works of ingenuity. He afterwards kept a publick-house in Phoenix-alley, by Long-acre,” continuing very constant in his loyalty to the King, upon whose doleful murther he set up the sign of the Mourning Crown; but that being counted malignant in those times of rebellion, he pulled down that, and hung up his own picture, under which were writ these two lines: “There's many a king's head hang’d up for a sign, And many a saint's head too, then why not mine !” “He dyed about the year 1654, upon whom one bestowed this epitaph: ‘Here lies the Water-poet, honest John, Who rowed on the streams of Helicon; Where having many rocks and dangers past, He at the haven of heaven arriv'd at last.’ Winstanley's Lives of the Poets, p. 167. (ed. 1687.) Sir Egerton Brydges, in his “ Censura Litteraria,” has given a long list of the Water-poet's pieces; and in his “Restituta,” the same diligent explorer of the recondite and dusty paths of literature has laid before us a marvellous exploit of old John's, (in his character of a waterman, not in his poetical capacity,) together with an abstract of another work of Taylor's not entered in the “ Censura.”

* “He afterwards (like Edward Ward) kept an ale-house in Long Acre.”—Notes to the Dunciad. Ned Ward was a wit, and the calling of tapsters or of publicans seems to have been a pretty common resource for poor wits and poets. If they had poets only for their customers, we doubt whether they prospered much.

This scarce tract is entitled, “John Taylor's last voyage and adventure, performed from the twentieth of July last, 1641, to the tenth of September following. In which time he past, with a sculler's boat, from the citie of London to the cities and townes of Oxford, Gloucester, Shrewsbury, Bristol, Bathe, Monmouth, and Hereford. The manner of his passages and entertainment to and fro, truly described. With a short touch of some wandring, and some fixed schismatiques; such as are Brownists, Anabaptists, Famalies, Humorists, and Foolists, which the author found in many places of his voyage and journey. Printed at London by F. L. for John Taylor, and may be had at the shoppe of Thomas Baites in the Old Baily, 1641, 89. pp. 32.”

Some people who are acquainted with the run of our English rivers, and the paucity of canals in those days, may wonder how John made this voyage; but the truth is, whenever it suited him, he put his boat into a waggon, and voyaged on dry land until he came to another river. Thus, on reaching the head of the Isis, or the spot above Oxford, where that river ceased to be navigable, he hired a waggon which carried him with his boat and boys to the stream of the Stroud. On his return, when he reached Hereford, he fell into “a quandary or brown study,” as to whether it were better to sell his boat there, and return to London by land, or to bring the memorable wherry home again, either by land or water, or both, or how he could. His love of fame surmounted his dread of difficulties, and he resolved that the boat should be restored to its parent Thames, on which he had so long rowed and rhymed. The following extract will give an idea of the course he pursued, and of his manner of writing prose. “On Friday, the 27 of August, I passed doune the river of Wye to a place called Jackson Weare, where with great entertainment and welcome I was lodged, and my men also, at the house of one Master Aperley, dwelling there; to whom for many favours I doe acknowledge myselfe to be extraordinarily beholding. And on the Saturday I came to Lidbrook, to my former hoste, Master Mosse, where understanding and knowing the passage down Wye and up Severne to be very long and dangerous, especially if stormy weather should arise; the boate being split, torne, and shaken, that she did leake very much. These things considered; and that I was within five miles of Severne by land to Newnham, and that by water thither there was no lesse than 50 miles, I hired a wayne from Lidbrook to Newnham; and on Monday, the 30 of August, I past up Severne by Glocester; and, working all night, came in the morning betimes to Tewkbury, into another river called Avon ; which, by the great charge and industry of Master Sands, is made navigable many miles up into the country. Tuesday, the 31 of August, I came to a market-towne in Worcestershire, called Pershore. On the first of September, I came to the auncient towne of Evesholm, (corruptly called Esham,) and seeing that river to bee further out of my way home, I hired another wayne from Esham to Burford, where I found a crooked brook called Windrush: in which brook, after one night's lodging, with my appendixes, having taken each of us to Burford bait, we passed many strange letts and hindrances into the river of Isis or Thames. Againe, at Newbridge, 12 or 14 miles from Oxford by water: by which university I past to Abingdon, the fourth of September, where I stayed till Wednesday the eight day: from thence was I with my boate at home, on the Friday following. And thus, in lesse than twenty days’ labour, 1200 miles were past to and fro, in most hard, difficult, and many dangerous passages, for the which I give God most humble and hearty prayse and thanks.” The account of this famous voyage was not all in prose; the subjoined lines from it, may give an idea of

John's verse:
t
“Of rivers many writers well have done:
Grave Camden, Drayton's Polyolbion; -
And painefull Speede doth in his mappes declare
Where all these brookes and waters were and are.”

And again, where he speaks of former exploits in the boating line,

“And with a pair of oares, to that intent
I once from London into Lincoln went:
Whereas a passage” seven miles was cut thorowe
From Lincoln into Trent, and to Gainsborowe.
That way I went, and into Humber past
To Hull, from thence to Ouse, and Yorke at last.

Another voyage to the West againe,

I, with a wherry, past the raging maine
From London to the Isle of Wight, and thence
To Salisbury—with time and coynes expense.”

* Called the Foss-dyke.

XXXVIII. WHETHER ADAM WAS CREATED IN SPRING OR AUTUMN.

THE Rabbins have written as earnestly on this subject as on the question of our first father's stature. Some of them are perfectly convinced that, as Adam was created a full-grown man with a good appetite, and with no mother to nurse him, and without any knowledge of cooking, he must have been born in the autumn when the fruits of the earth were all ripe, and edible without any preparation. Other Rabbins, however, have maintained with equal confidence, that he must have been born in spring—the season that represents youth and hope, the season proper to the propagation of birds, beasts, and fishes; and not in autumn, which is the symbol of maturity, decay, and corruption. The hour of the day in which he opened his eyes to this “beautiful visible world,” they have fixed to a nicety—it was at nine o'clock in the morning exactly. According to the most generally received Rabbinical tradition, he transgressed in the very hour of his creation, and only remained six hours in Paradise, being expelled at three o'clock in the afternoon precisely. -

The shortness of this time would have sadly interfered with Milton's poem, not allowing of his exquisite descriptions of sunrise and sunset in the terrestrial Paradise. But other Rabbins prolong the term to six, eight, or ten days; while a few are of opinion that Adam remained in Paradise thirty-four years l—Bibliotheca Rabbinica.

« PreviousContinue »