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not with obscure definitions, which must blur the margent with interpretations, and load the memory with doubtfulness; but he cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion, either accompanied with, or prepared for, the well-enchanting skill of music; and with a tale, forsooth, he cometh unto you with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimneycorner;1 and pretending no more, doth intend the winning of the mind from wickedness to virtue, even as the child is often brought to take most wholesome things, by hiding them in such other as have a pleasant taste. For even those hard-hearted evil men, who think virtue a school name, and know no other good but indulgere genio, and therefore despise the austere admonitions of the philosopher, and feel not the inward reason they stand upon, yet will be content to be delighted; which is all the good-fellow poet seems to promise ; and so steal to see the form of goodness—which, seen, they cannot but love ere themselves be aware, as if they had taken a medicine of cherries. By these, therefore, examples and reasons, I think it may be manifest that the poet, with that same hand of delight, doth draw the mind more effectually than any other art doth. And so a conclusion not unfitly ensues, virtue is the most excellent resting-place for all worldly learning to make an end of, so poetry, being the most familiar to teach it, and most princely to move towards it, in the most excellent work is the most excellent workman.
Since, then, poetry is of all human learning the most ancient, and of most fatherly antiquity, as from whence other learnings have taken their beginnings ;-Since it is so universal that no learned nation doth despise it, no barbarous nation is without it ;Since both Roman and Greek gave such divine names unto it, the one of prophesying, the other of making; and that, indeed, that name of making is fit for it, considering that whereas all other arts retain themselves within their subject, and receive, as it were, their being from it,—the poet, only, bringeth his own stuff, and doth not learn a conceit out of the matter, but maketh matter for a conceit ;-Since, neither his description nor end containing any evil, the thing described cannot be evil ;-Since his effects be so good as to teach goodness and delight the learners of it ;Since therein (namely, in moral doctrine, the chief of all knowledge) he doth not only far pass the historian, but, for instructing, is well nigh comparable to the philosopher, and for moving, leav
· We have here, undoubtedly, the origin of Shakspeare's
That aged ears play truant at his tales,
Love's Labor Lost, Act ii. Scene 1. 2 To indulge one's appetite.
eth him behind ;-Since the Holy Scripture (wherein there is no uncleanness) hath whole parts in it poetical, and that even our Saviour Christ vouchsafed to use the flowers of it ;-Since all its kinds are not only in their united forms, but in their severed dissections fully commendable :-I think-(and I think I think rightly)—the laurel crown appointed for triumphant captains, doth worthily, of all other learnings, honor the poet's triumph.
SONNET TO SLEEP.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOW. 1562-1592. CARISTOPHER MARLOW2 was a contemporary with Shakspeare, and cele brated in his day as an actor and dramatic writer. He wrote seven tragedies, one of which, Doctor Fauslus, has considerable merit.3 But he was a man of loose principles and morals, and came to a tragical end, being killed in a drunken brawl. He is now chiefly known as the author of the beautiful song quoted by honest old Izaak Walton, entitled
A PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE.
Come live with me and be my love,
1 The sonnet is a short poem of fourteen lines, two stanzas of four verses each, and two of three each, the rhymes being adjusted by a particular rule. It was first introduced into our language by the Earl of Surrey, and continued to be a favorite species of writing till the Restoration, when it began to decline. Within the present century, however, it has revived, and has been rendered popuhar by a series of distinguished writers, especially by Mr. Wordsworth. Read --"Specimens of English Sonnets," by Rev. Alexander Dyce,-a little book of gems. ? He was generally called Kit Marlow, accordiug to old Heywood :
Marlow, renown'd for his rare art and wit,
Could ne'er attain beyond the name of Kır. 3 Red-two articles in the 3d and 4th volumes of the Retrospective Review, on “The Early English Drama :" also, Lamb's "Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets."
Where we will sit on rising rocks,
Pleased will I make thee beds of roses,
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
ROBERT SOUTHWELL. 1562–1595.
Robert Southwell was descended from an ancient and respectable catholic family in Norfolk, and was born about the year 1562. At an early age he was sent to the English College at Douay,3 and thence he went to Rome, where he entered the “ Order of the Society of Jesus.” After finishing his course of study there, the Pope sent him, in 1584, as a missionary to England. He had not been at home but a few years when he was apprehended by some of Elizabeth's agents, for being engaged in a conspiracy against the government. He was sent to prison, where he remained three years. He was repeatedly put upon the rack, and, as he himself affirmed, underwent very severe tortures no less than ten times. Wearied with torture and solitary imprisonment, he begged that he might be brought to trial, to answer for himself. At his trial he owned that he was a priest and a Jesuit, but denied that he ever entertained any designs against the queen or kingdom; alleging that he came to England simply to administer the sacraments according to the catholic church to such as desired them. The jury found him guilty of treason, and when asked if he had any thing to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him, he replied, “ Nothing; but from my heart I forgive all who have been any way accessible to my death.” Sentence was pronounced, and the next day he was led to execution.
1 A madrigal is a little amorous poem, of free and unequal verses, differing from the regularity of the sonnet and the subtilty of the epigram, and containing some tender and simple thought suitably expressed.
9 Showy. s In the northernmost province of France, where was made the celebrated papal version of the Scriptures--the “Douay Bible."
4 The best account of Southwell may be found in the "Gentleman's Magazine" for Nov, 1798. Read, also, an excellent article in the Retrospective Review, iv. 267. “So perished father Southwell, at thirty-three years of age; and so, unhappily, have perished many of the wise and virtuous of the earth. Conscious of suffering in the supposed best of causes, he seems to have met death without terror Life's uncertainty and the world's vanity, the crimes and follies of humanity, and the consolations and glories of religion, are the constant themes of his writings, both in prose and verse; and the kindliness and benignity of his nature, and the moral excellence of his character, are diffused allke over both."
This whole proceeding should cover the authors of it with everlasting infamy. It is a foul stain upon the garments of the maiden queen that she can never wipe off. There was not a particle of evidence at his trial that this pious and accomplished poet meditated any evil designs against the government. He did what he had a perfect right to do; ay, what it was his duty to do, if he conscientiously thought he was right,—endeavor to make converts to his faith, so far as he could without interfering with the rights of others. If there be any thing that is to be execrated, it is persecution for opinion's sake. There is an excess of meanness, as well as wickedness, in striving to put down opinions by physical force. Those who do it thereby tacitly acknowledge that they have no other arguments, for truth has no reason ever to fear in any combat with error.
Southwell's poems are all on moral and religious subjects. Though they have not many of the endowments of fancy, they are peculiarly pleasing for the simplicity of their diction, and especially for the fine moral truths and lessons they convey.
TIMES GO BY TURNS.
The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The driest soil suck in some inoistening shower:
The sea of fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favors to the lowest ebb:
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web.
Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring;
Not endless night, yet not eternal day:
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
That net that holds no great, takes little fish;
Few all they need, but none liave all they wish.
1 Truth crush'd to earth shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers;
SCORN NOT THE LEAST.
Where wards are weak, and foes encountring strong,
Where mightier do assault than do defend, The feebler part puts up enforced wrong,
And silent sees that speech could not amend : Yet, higher powers must think, though they repine, When sun is set the little stars will shine.
While pike doth range, the silly tench doth fly,
And crouch in privy creeks with smaller fish: Yet pikes are caught when little fish go by,
These fleet afloat, while those do fill the dish; There is a time even for the worms to creep, And suck the dew while all their foes do sleep.
The merlin cannot ever soar on high,
Nor greedy greyhound still pursue the chase;
And fearful hare to run a quiet race.
In Haman's pomp poor Mordocheus wept,
Yet God did turn his fate upon his foe.
Yet he to heaven, to hell did Dives go.
CONTENT AND RICH.
My conscience is my crown;
Contented thoughts, my rest;
My bliss is in my breast.
That mean, the surest lot,
Too low for envy's shot.
All easy to fulfil:
The bounds unto my will.
I fear no care for gold,
Well-doing is my wealth;
While grace atsordeth health.
The wings of swelling pride;
Or greatest honor slide.