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Which when they have with many kisses wet,
They ebb away in order as before;
He oft doth lay aside his three-fork'd mace,
Only the earth doth stand for ever still,
Her rocks remove not, nor her mountains meet,
Say, heav'n stands firm, and that the earth doth fleet,
Yet, though the earth is ever stedfast seen,
See how those flow'rs that have sweet beauty too,
(The only jewels that the earth doth wear,
As oft as they the whistling wind do hear,
And tho’ their dance no perfect measure is,
The queen is by no means convinced by this ingenious eulogium, and contends, that he has done no credit to dancing by deducing its origin from Love. To which Antinous makes å reply in defence of Dan Cupid.
“ Love,” says he,
“ Love in the twinkling of your eyelids danceth,
Love danceth in your pulses and your veins;
And makes it dance a thousand curious strains
To shew, that your fair hands can dance the hay,
fine feet would learn as well as they. And when your ivory fingers touch the strings
Of any silver-sounding instrument,
At the conclusion of his argument, he calls for the assist
ance of Love, who immediately presents him with a chrystal mirror, whereby he
“ All forms, by Love's revealing, knew."
This mirror he humbly presents to Penelope, who sees through the dim perspective of time that wonder of the world, Queen Elizabeth ; and here the poem breaks off.
The remaining poems in this volume consist of twenty-six acrostick Hymns to Astræa, on the words Elizabetha Regina. The author has bestowed a great deal of pains and poetry on these baubles, which are perfectly free and unconstrained, and have (we should think with justice) been pronounced the best acrosticks ever written. We will extract one as a specimen.
“ To the Rose.
" Eye of the garden, queen of flow'rs,
Love's cup wherein lie nectar's pow'rs,
B lest jewel that the earth doth wear,
R ose of the Queen of Love belov'd ;
This edition was published by Sir John Davies himself, only four years before his death, and may, therefore, be considered as containing all his acknowledged productions. A Book of Epigrams, published with Marlowe's 'Ovid's Elegies, burnt at Stationers' Hall, is, however, usually ascribed to him; and there is one short poem (not certain poems, as Ritson says,) in “ England's Helicon," subscribed with the letters J. D. which is also attributed to him. Besides these poems, Philips states that he had seen " a judicious metaphrase of several of David's Psalms," by Sir John Davies, in the hands of the Countess of Huntingdon, his daughter. Our author also published in 1612, “ A Discoverie of the true Causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued, and brought under obedience of the Crown of England, until the beginning of His Majesty's happy reign and in 1615, “ The first Report of Cases in Law, adjudged in the King's Courts in Ireland,” to which is prefixed an animated
Preface dedicatorie,” addressed to his patron, The Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, containing a vindication of the law and its professors from several charges. A specimen of the author's prose composition, from this Preface, which is more quotable than his “'Discoverie,” may not be unacceptable to our readers.
“The law (says he) is a fortress for the weak to retire unto, a sanctuary for the oppressed to flie unto: it restraineth the boldness of the insolent, it tieth with manacles the hands of the potent, and, like Orpheus barp, or Noah's ark, it charmeth the fierceness of the lyon and the tiger, so as the poor lamb may lie in safety by them."
He draws the following sketch of the dignity of the office of Lord Chancellor, and of the qualities essential to sustain it, which he applies, in a highly complimentary strain, to his patron.
“ Briefly, what can there be more done to the man whom the king will honor? Is he not ad latus principis, to attend him? Is he not auricularius principis, to advise him? Doth not the king make him a conduit of his wisdom, when he useth his voice and tongue to declare bis royal pleasure ? And doth he not make him an organ of his goodness, when he trusteth him with his mercy and conscience, in sweetning the bitter waters of Summum jus, and in mitigating the rigour of the law unto his people? In a word, doth he not represent reverentiam principis, in the power and authority of his office ? and do not the people fear and honor the king even in the gravity and dignity of his person? And are not all these honors made more honorable, and exceedingly raised in true estimation and value, when the same are enjoyed in a most famous and flourishing commonwealth, and do proceed as sun-beames from the most religious, learned, wise, the most renowned and excellent king of the world ? If then the greatest honors do of right belong to the greatest virtues, (for what is honor but a reflection and reward of virtue?) how virtuous a person must be be, with what gifts and graces, with what abilities and ornaments, both of art and nature, must he be endowed, who can worthily supply that great and honourable office?
• Assuredly, besides the natural faculties and powers of his mind, which he ought to have in great perfection, and besides the outward comeliness and dignity of his person, for Gratior est pulchro veniens è corpore virtus, & Sapientia hominis lucet in vultu ejus, saith Solomon, he must be furnished with all learning that hath any relation to the public good; divinity, law, policy, morality, and especial
eloquence to impart and communicate all the rest. He must with all have a long and universal experience in all the affairs of the commonwealth: he must be accomplished and absolute in all points of gravity, constancy, wisdome, temperance, courage, justice, piety, integrity, and all other virtues fit for magistracy and governement; yet so as the same be seasoned and tempered with affability, gentlenesse, humanity, courtesy, howbeit without descending or diminishing himself, but still retaining his dignity, state, and honor. Briefly, he must be a person of such virtue and worthiness, as his life may be a censure, and his example a mirror for all other magistrates. These are the excellencies and perfections wherewith that great officer must be qualified and adorned: and this idea have I conceived of him, not out of mine owne imagination or weak discourse of reason, but out of an humble observation of your lordship, in whom not only those abilities and virtues before expressed, but many other graces and ornaments do shine so brightly, as the weakest judgement may collect out of the same a most excellent pattern of a most excellent chancellor.”
This is the first book of Irish Reports printed in the course of the four hundred years during which the laws of England had been administered in Ireland. Sir John Davies also wrote “ The Question concerning Impositions, Tonnage, Poundage, &c. fully stated and argued,” dedicated to James the First; and “ an Abridgement of Sir Edward Coke's Reports, by John Davies, was most probably by our author.
Epistola Obscurorum Virorum ad Dn. M. Ortuinum Gratium
Nova et accurata editio- Francofurti ad Manum.--Anno 1643.
The work before us is valuable, not only for its intrinsic merit as a literary composition, but for its historical importance, as exhibiting a lively impression of the state of society and opinions, at a time when Europe was rapidly approaching one of its most important convulsions,—when many great and virtuous spirits were moving in various courses, all leading to the improvement and emancipation of man—and when events pregnant with the most weighty influence on the future state of the world were as yet only in dim and doubtful anticipation.
In protestant countries, the Reformation, as actually effected by Luther and his immediate associates, is justly regarded with so much veneration, for having torn asunder the bonds in which superstitious tyranny had long held the human mind, that unqualified eulogy generally supersedes all doubt or inquiry. We give all the praise to a few principal actors, very little quarter to those who chose to be neuter, and none at all to their opponents.-We single out one band as the embodied spirits of resistance to tyranny over conscience, and consider all the rest of the world as its supporters.—We forgive all the bloodshed, anarchy, and bigotted cruelty on both sides, into which the Reformation and its consequences plunged Europe for one hundred and fifty years.—We overlook the havoc it occasioned amongst the proudest works of art, its intolerance and petty tyrannies ; and we forget all the generous but less ardent spirits in the church, who were building up the cause of reform on the durable basis of intellectual improvement, who wished for reform without dogmatism, and were prepared to bridle the extravagancies of papal power, without bowing their necks to other, perbaps more ignoble, yokes.
We are now, however, far enough removed from these scenes to view the matter coolly, and it certainly will not be inconsistent with a high estimation for the bold leaders of the cause which prospered, sometimes to interest ourselves in the character and fortunes of those whose endeavours miscarried. The flagrant abuses which had crept into the church had long dissolved the spells which bound the minds of mankind in veneration of its authority; poets had made its ignorance and vices their theme; satirists and novelists had held
its most active supporters to ridicule ; religion, morality, and devotion, were ideas which had long ceased to be associated with the character of a true son of the church. The question was only, who should head and direct the spirit of the age, and on the solution of it was to depend the religious destiny of Europe for many centuries.
The Reformation, in fact, fell into the hands of persons who imparted little of a liberal or mild, little in fact of a Christian, spirit of charity and forbearance to the new opinions. The good which has resulted has doubtless been incalculable, but much of that good belongs necessarily to the mere change, however or by whomsoever effected. The tyranny of Rome could not be broken by any one without establishing an important precedent, and impressing an indelible lesson on the world. Even if a new despotism were fated to be erected on its ruins, it would bear on its front its own condemnation. Any controversy is in itself good, for it awakens intellect and scatters instruction-but that these great and undeniable blessings were accompanied by as many mischiefs as could well be the fruit of any reformation, must also be admitted, While the Protestants built up their system of amendment, they deferred to a far distant period all prospect of it among those who would not, or who were so circumstanced that they could not, separate from