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ed, which should not be proof against the teeth of the next ages. After he had the government of himself, he would not endure that a picture should be made of him, though he was much courted and invited by Sir Peter Lely to it. And what was very odd, he would not leave the print in his bed where he had lain, remain undefaced.”
He was also like Gray in this respect—that all his deep and long continued researches came to nothing. The only evidence of the learning and application of both of them, was a heap of notes. Those of Gray have lately seen the light ;-the papers of North were all, by his especial direction, before his death, committed to the flames. If the task had been left to his younger brother, we may guess from his language, and, indeed, from his having disobeyed the injunction, in the only instance within his power,-in spite of “ the pleasant imprecation,”-that the world would have been the better for the industry of this elaborate thinker.
And must profess under no small concern, that all his books and papers fell not into
hands as those did. It had been a shrewd temptation to have snapt a Parole or trust prejudicial to no account but of the fire. But his humour was to hold all within himself, till he was entirely satisfied that no slip or oversight might give disadvantage to his cause or himself, lest any less guarded words or expressions should escape him. Nothing could have secured him better in that point, than the participation of his friends. In a critic of works, an author has but one eye upon his own; but, upon another's, he hath two, and spectacles to boot. He was so deeply concerned for his cause, as well as his own esteem, that he durst not trust even a friend with either. And he had a dread lest this little note book, of which I have given an account, might happen to stray, and fall into unknown persons' hands, who possibly might misconstrue his meaning. In contemplation of which contigent, he wrote upon it this pleasant imprecation :- I beshrew his heart, that gathers my opinion from any thing he finds wrote here.”
After Dr. Barrow's death, Dr. North was appointed to succeed him in the mastership of Trinity, an elevation which might be supposed to put the crown on the honourable ambition of a retired and studious scholar. With his rise to this dignity, however, ended all the happiness which his peculiar temperament had hitherto allowed him to enjoy. In place of retirement, he found solitude ; the social converse in which he had, till now, indulged, seemed unbecoming the gravity of his station; and what more than all tended to render the change a miserable one, he found himself thwarted by the eight senior fellows, who had, during the time of the two last masters, governed the college without interference. When the new master began to exert his authority, the seniors opposed him, and he was quickly involved in quarrels, which, harrassing his feeble and sensitive frame, hastened his death. Being near his end, he ordered that he should be buried in the outward chapel, that the fellows might trample upon him dead, as they had done living.
The austere and abstemious course of life which he led, would, however, conduce as much as any thing to bring on the fatal sickness which terminated in his death. He is here drawn with the manners of a hermit, and the spirit of a martyr.
“ I have already accounted for his thoughtful and studious course of life, and habitual fulness and care in his mind. But after he came into a post of magistracy, all his solicitudes exasperated, and the ordinary refreshments, which he sometimes met with before, failed. And I must add, that as his course of life, so his diet, was severe to himself, for he was always sober and temperate, and scarce spared the time of eating from thinking. After morning prayer and a solitary dish of coffee, he retired to his study at the end of a gallery, and there he was fast till noon, unless college or university affairs called him out. After his meals, a meagre dish of tea, and then again to his post till chapel and supper; and then if he had any friendly conversation, it was still in a studious way; that is, discoursing of abstruse matters, which, however pleasant to him, kept his head at work. His chief remissions were when some of his nearest relations were with him, or he with them: and then, as they say, he was whole-footed: but this was not often, nor long together. Some of them used to be free with him; and, in his own way, between jest and earnest, tell him he must indulge a little, go abroad, and be free with a glass of wine, with good company, in his college, as he used to be with them : that his selfdenials would endanger his life, and the like. To which sort of discourse, I have heard him return a tradition of Bishop Wren, who, when he was told he must not keep Lent, his body would not bear it, Will it not, said he, then it is no body for me. And the doctor, by his life of perpetual thinking, had settled his mind in a resolution so stiff, that he often seemed rather morose and humoursome, than, as his constant profession was, to be governed by reason. When his friends have been importunate with him, to say in the common forms of free converse) Why? and for what reason? He hath answered, Reason is to govern me, but my will is a reason to every body else.”
Such at length was the state of his health, that he was compelled to withdraw from every thing which might, in the slightest degree, disturb the equanimity of his mind. He could no longer play his part in a college wrangle, which, at first, he had done with a great deal of readiness and decision, for the penalty was a fit. And it is remarkable, that during an occasional interference of this kind, the fatal stroke was inflicted, which soon hurried him to his grave. It was determined in a meeting of the master and seniors, which had not passed without considerable dispute, that two of the students of the college should be admonished for being disorderly. The master was reprimanding them with more than usual acrimony and warmth, when, in the act of speaking, he dropped on the floor. This fit deprived him of the use of one side, and he never regained the entire use of his faculties. He, however, in some measure, recovered, and dragged on a miserable existence till he died, in 1683, aged a little more than thirty-eight years, and was buried in the ante-chapel, as he had himself directed. After the paralytic stroke, just mentioned, when he had partly come to his senses, he gave to his brother this extraordinary account of his feelings during the access of the fit,
“ He told me the images in his mind during this infliction, as far as he could remember them. First, during his admonishing, he perceived himself to lean towards the left side; and the leg that should have sustained him seemed to have lost its bone, and to be like the finger of a glove; by which it was plain to him, that he must fall, and accordingly he gave way to it. After this, he remembered nothing at all that had happened to him, until, by the help of his mother, he had taken a little rest. And then, in a dreaming manner, bis conceit was, that he had got a strange leg in bed with him, and was much perplexed which way to get rid of it; whether he should call to have it taken away or not. And it was a great while before he could bring himself, even awake, to own it.”
The Biographer then proceeds to narrate the situation of his brother after his partial recovery, and gives this awfully affecting picture of an intellect in ruins :
“ It is an uneasy task, but (according to the profession I make of truth for better or worse) necessary to show the miserable decay of the doctor's thinking and memorial capacities. What is the difference between manhood and puerility, but that the former hath a large stock of useful memoirs, and also strength habituated to action, which the latter wanting, runs after levities, and any thing for variety, without choice, unless appetite or inclination (and even that flows from experience) draws it. Suppose an hurricane to fall upon a sound man's memory, and obliterate great part of his collections, and confuse the rest, as one may imagine a fine poem wrote upon the sands, and much ruffled by the wind-there may be enough left to shew it had been good sense, but the dignity of the verse lost. So the man would lose his judgment of true values, and relapse into a sort of puerility, but still his moral character, that is his will to do good or evil, remains unaltered. This was the case of our good doctor. The seat of his memory was ruffled by the disease falling upon his brain and nerves, which had made such havoc, that he had no firm notion of himself or of any thing, but had his experience to gather, and his understanding to frame over again. After he could lie awake and think, I guess he bad some reflection, that he had been over severe with himself by too much bard study and abstemiousness, which, possibly, brought that disease over him: and then fancied, he musi cure himself by a course clean contrary; and accordingly he thought, that now he must be merry and jolly. Pursuant to this (conjectured) model, the company that assisted about his bed to entertain him, must find merry tales to tell, and if a little smutty, the mirth paid for it. The lighter sort of books and frivolous comedies were read to him, and he heard them with notable attention, and at the quaint passages was usually affected, and often laughed, but (as his visage was then distorted) most deformly. After he was enfranchised from his bed, and had the entertainment they call walking about his chamber, and divers friends and acquaintance came and staid with him, he gathered some little strength. But his levities still continued; and he used to please himself with rehearsing paltry rhymes and fables, and what with difficulty of utterance (for his speech was touched and never perfectly recovered) and what with his unseemly laughing, it was long before he could get any thing well out: and, at last, he made but broken stuff of it. All this was inexpressible grief and mortification to his friends, seeing that dismal alteration. They had known his genius bright; and, in his health, solemn, grave, and instructive; and his mirth, when it happened, not without a flow of pleasant wit, and, as it ought to be, ever decent and without offence, far from all suspicion of a possibility that such levity of humour and discourse should ever appear in him. He seemed as a high flying fowl, with one wing cut. The creature offers to fly, and knows no cause why he should not, but always comes with a side turn down to the ground. The doctor had some remembrances of his former forces, when he could mount up and fly; now, his instruments on one side failing him, he was forced to deal in low concerns and reptile conceits, that scarce rose from the ground."
We shall add nothing to weaken the effects of a lesson so striking
Art. VII. Hesperides : or the Works both humane and divine of
things) he sings the Birth of Christ, and sighes for his Saviour's Sufferings on the Crosse. London, 1647, 8vo. pp.
There are no incidents in the life of Robert Herrick so remarkable as to make it desirable to record them in this place;
more especially as those, who, after having read this article, may be curious to be informed of such circumstances of it as have been collected, may satisfy their curiosity by a reference to Nichols's History of Leicestershire, or to Dr. Drake's Literary Hours. It will be sufficient for our purpose to mention, hat he was born in the year 1591, and lived to an advanced age, although the exact time of his death has not been correctly ascertained. The second part of Herrick's works bears date a year anterior to the first, but they are both generally found in one volume, and were probably published at the same time, and shortly after he was ejected from his vicarage, and had re-assumed his lay-title.
Little more than the name of Robert Herrick was known, and nothing like a just appreciation of his merits existed, at the time when Dr. Drake published his Literary Hours. Mr. Ellis had, it is true, in his Specimens of early English Poetry, previously given
four pieces from his works, but they are a very inadequate re. presentation of the varied excellences of the poet. The author
of the Literary Hours made more copious extracts from them, and entered into a more detailed criticism on their merits: but we conceive he has not done such ample justice to Herrick as he really deserves. Some very beautiful specimens he has selected, but a great many he has left to waste their sweets in the desert of the bibliographer's library. It is with the view of supplying this omission, as well as of embellishing our pages with the rare and singular things which the volume affords, that we have been induced to make an anthology from his works; for which we are sure such of our readers as are yet unacquainted with them will render us no common thanks.
While the phlegmatic grace and pedantry of Waller, and the grace without pedantry of Carew, have been the subjects of general observation, the varied modulation and exquisite harmony of Herrick's muse have been totally neglected. He, who excels both, not only in the structure of his
verse, but in the more essential requisites of poetry, is less known than either. And there are blemishes in this collection of poems, which may, in some measure, account for the negligence with which it has been treated, and which, in our stricter system of manners, present an invincible obstacle to its being received into general favour. The blemishes, to which we allude, are the indelicacy and occasional coarseness of expression which we sometimes find in his works. This deformity, however, also characterizes the productions of Carew, who, in proportion to their number and extent, oversteps the bounds of decency and decorum almost as frequently as Herrick. But, forgetting the impurities of our author, and estimating the chaster effusions of his felicitous genius, we do not hesitate to pronounce him the very best of English Lyric Poets. He is the most joyous and gladsome of bards; singing, like the grasshopper, as if he would never grow