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Was born in Kent, in 1568; educated at Winchester and Oxford; and, after travelling on the Continent, became the Secretary of Essex, but had the sagacity to foresee his downfall, and withdrew from the kingdom in time. On his return he became a favourite of James I., who employed him to be ambassador to Venice,ma post he held long, and occupied with great skill and adroitness. Toward the end of his days, in order to gain the Provostship of Eton, he took orders, and died in that situation, in 1639, in the 72d year of his age. His writings were published in 1651, under the title of Reliquiæ Wottonianæ,' and Izaak Walton has written an entertaining account of his life. His poetry has a few pleasing and smooth-flowing passages; but perhaps the best thing recorded of him is his vivâ voce account of an English ambassador, as an honest gentleman sent to LIE abroad for the good of his country.'





1 Farewell, ye gilded follies! pleasing troubles; Farewell, ye


rags, ye glorious bubbles; Fame's but a hollow echo, gold pure clay, Honour the darling but of one short day, Beauty, the eye's idol, but a damask'd skin, State but a golden prison to live in And torture free-born minds; embroider'd trains Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins; And blood, allied to greatness, is alone Inherited, not purchased, nor our own. Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth, Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.

2 I would be great, but that the sun doth still

Level his rays against the rising hill;

I would be high, but see the proudest oak
Most subject to the rending thunder-stroke;
I would be rich, but see men too unkind
Dig in the bowels of the richest mind;
I would be wise, but that I often see
The fox suspected while the ass goes free;
I would be fair, but see the fair and proud,
Like the bright sun, oft setting in a cloud;
I would be poor, but know the humble grass
Still trampled on by each unworthy ass;
Rich, hated; wise, suspected; scorn'd, if poor;
Great, fear'd; fair, tempted; high, still envied more.
I have wish'd all, but now I wish for neither
Great, high, rich, wise, nor fair-poor I'll be rather.

3 Would the world now adopt me for her heir,

Would beauty's queen entitle me 'the fair,
Fame speak me Fortune's minion, could I vie
Angels? with India; with a speaking eye
Command bare heads, bow'd knees, strike Justice dumb
As well as blind and lame, or give a tongue
To stones by epitaphs; be call’d great master
In the loose rhymes of every poetaster;
Could I be more than any man that lives,
Great, fair, rich, wise, all in superlatives:
Yet I more freely would these gifts resign,
Than ever fortune would have made them mine;
And hold one minute of this holy leisure
Beyond the riches of this empty pleasure.

4 Welcome, pure thoughts! welcome, ye silent groves !

These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves. Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing

1 Angels:' a species of coin,

My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring;
A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass,
In which I will adore sweet Virtue's face;
Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares,
No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears:
Then here I'll sit, and sigh my hot love's folly,
And learn to affect a holy melancholy;
And if Contentment be a stranger then,
I'll ne'er look for it but in heaven again.


O thou great Power ! in whom we move,

By whom we live, to whom we die,
Behold me through thy beams of love,

Whilst on this couch of tears I lie,
And cleanse my sordid soul within
By thy Christ's blood, the bath of sin.

No hallow'd oils, no gums I need,

No new-born drams of purging fire;
One rosy drop from David's seed

Was worlds of seas to quench thine ire:
O precious ransom! which once paid,
That Consummatum est was said.

And said by him, that said no more,

But seal'd it with his sacred breath:
Thou then, that has dispurged our score,

And dying wert the death of death,
Be now, whilst on thy name we call,
Our life, our strength, our joy, our all!


He was a

This witty and good-natured bishop was born in 1582. He was the son of a gardener, who, however, had the honour to be known to and sung by Ben Jonson. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford ; and having received orders, was made successively Bishop of Oxford and of Norwich. most facetious and rather too convivial person; and a collection of anecdotes about him might be made, little inferior, in point of wit and coarseness, to that famous one, once so popular in Scotland, relating to the sayings and doings of George Buchanan. He is said, on one occasion, to have aided an unfortunate balladsinger in his professional duty by arraying himself in his leathern jacket and vending the stock, being possessed of a fine presence and a clear, full, ringing voice. Occasionally doffing his clerical costume he adjourned with his chaplain, Dr Lushington, to the wine cellar, where care and ceremony were both speedily drowned, the one of the pair exclaiming, "Here's to thee, Lushington,' and the other, 'Here's to thee, Corbet.' Men winked at these irregularities, probably on the principle mentioned by Scott, in reference to Prior Aymer, in ‘Ivanhoe,'— If Prior Aymer rode hard in the chase, or remained late at the banquet, men only shrugged up their shoulders by recollecting that the same irregularities were practised by many of his brethren, who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever to atone for them.' Corbet, on the other hand, was a kind as well as a convivial—a warmhearted as well as an eccentric man. He was tolerant to the Puritans and sectaries; his attention to his duties was respectable; his talents were of a high order, and he had in him a vein of genius of no ordinary kind. He died in 1635, but his poems were not published till 1647. They are of various merit, and treat of various subjects. In his "Journey to France,' you see the humorist, who, on one occasion, when the country people were flocking to be confirmed, cried, “Bear off there, or I'll confirm ye with my staff.' In his lines to his son Vincent, we see, notwithstanding all his foibles, the good man; and in his Farewell to the Fairies' the fine and fanciful poet.


1 I went from England into France, Nor yet to learn to cringe nor dance,

Nor yet to ride nor fence;
Nor did I go like one of those
That do return with half a nose,

They carried from hence.

2 But I to Paris rode along,
Much like John Dory in the song,

Upon a holy tide;
I on an ambling nag did jet,
(I trust he is not paid for yet,)

And spurr'd him on each side,

3 And to St Denis fast we came, To see the sights of Notre Dame,

(The man that shows them snuffles,) Where who is apt for to believe, May see our Lady's right-arm sleeve,

And eke her old pantofles;

4 Her breast, her milk, her very gown That she did wear in Bethlehem town,

When in the inn she lay;
Yet all the world knows that's a fable,
For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable,

Upon a lock of hay.

5 No carpenter could by his trade Gain so much coin as to have made

A A gown of so rich stuff;

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