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the study of poetry and history. He was afterwards selected by the Countess of Cumberland to superintend the education of her daughter, the Lady Anne Clifford. This high-spirited and accomplished lady profited by his advice, and was not unmindful of his memory; and many years afterwards, when he had long been dead, but she had become the great Countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery, she superintended the erection of a monument over his remains; and a likeness of the poet accompanied a full-length portrait of herself, which hung in one of her castles in Westmoreland. Daniel was fortunate in his patrons. Lord Mountjoy, afterwards Earl of Devonshire, Lucy, Countess of Bedford, and Henry Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, the friend of Essex, honoured him with their friendship, and enriched him by their munificent regard. He was fortunate likewise in his friends, among whom may be enumerated Sir Fulke Greville, Sir John Harrington, Sir Henry Spelman, Sir Robert Cotton, Cowell, Camden, Spenser, Jonson, Drayton and Browne. Great names!—but that was the heroic age of England.

The works of our author were varied but not voluminous. He wrote Masques, Tragedies, Poems and Sonnets, and a History of England, extending to the reign of Edward III. His poetical efforts are deficient in force either of imagination or passion. Their flow is temperate and equable. His aim was to please; and he seldom aspired to influence or inflame his readers. "He wrote the 'Civil Wars,' and yet had not one battle in his book," was the depreciatory observation of Ben Jonson; and from this poem, which may be regarded as his most ambitious effort, we have selected the following favourable specimen of his manner. It is taken from the third book, and depicts the captive Richard soliloquizing, on the morning of his murder in Pomfret Castle.

'The morning of that day, which was his last,
After a weary rest rising to pain,

Out at a little grate his eyes he cast

Upon those bordering hills and open plain,
And views the town, and sees how people pass'd:
Where others' liberty makes him complain
The more his own, and grieves his soul the more,
Conferring captive crowns with freedom poor.

"O, happy man, saith he, that lo I see

Grazing his cattle in those pleasant fields!
If he but knew his good (how blessed he
That feels not what affliction greatness yields !)
Other than what he is he would not be,

Nor change his state with him that sceptres wields;
Thine, thine is that true life, that is to live,

To rest secure, and not rise up to grieve.

"Thou sitt'st at home safe by thy quiet fire,

And hear'st of others' harms but feelest none,
And there thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire,
Who fall, who rise, who triumphs, who do moan;
Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost inquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall;
For pity must have part, envy not all.

"Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see;

No interest, no occasion to deplore

Other men's travails, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more

To see our misery and what we be !

Whose blinded greatness ever in turmoil,

Still seeking happy life, makes life a toil.

"Are kings that freedom give, themselves not free,
As meaner men to take what they may give?
What, are they of so fatal a degree,
That they cannot descend from that and live?
Unless they still be kings, can they not be,
Nor may they their authority survive?
Will not my yielded crown redeem my breath

Still am I fear'd? is there no way but death ?"

Daniel received warm encouragement from Queen Anne, consort of James I. He was nominated GentlemanExtraordinary, and afterwards one of the Grooms of her

Privy Chamber. It was during the leisure afforded by these offices, he composed the chief part of his history. He likewise wrote several Masques for the entertainment of the Court; but gradually declined the occupation, awed or chagrined by the superior ascendant of Ben Jonson. When in the fervour of dramatic composition, he generally withdrew to the seclusion of a garden residence he occupied in Old Street in the parish of St. Luke's, then a suburban district. Here he would remain for months together, patiently weaving his solitary task.

Ben Jonson said of him that he "was a good honest man, had no children and was no poet," poetical and connubial fecundity we presume being usually associated. His reputation, though equal to his deserts, fell far short of what he had fondly anticipated, and he at length retired altogether from public view. He returned to his native county, and occupied the intervals of studious contemplation, by the labours of his farm at Beckington, near Philips-Norton. He died October 13, 1619, and was buried in the parish church.


THE life of Jonson has never been given to the public in the form in which it is now presented. A short, popular biography of this great dramatist, making accuracy and candour its especial aim, is a novelty in our literature. And none can sufficiently estimate the difficulty of the task save those who have looked into the diverse and scattered materials from which this personal history must be drawn.

Our labours indeed are much lightened by the work of Mr. Gifford, to whom a warm tribute is due from us for the patience with which he has investigated the subject, and the courage with which he has defended the character of the poet. His edition of Jonson's works forms an epoch in dramatic criticism, and the volume containing the memoir is such an introduction to them as, we venture to predict, will never be superseded. All former sketches of the poet's life had more or less repeated the idle and mischievous calumnies which the envy and malice of some inferior contemporary writers had invented. To sift and expose these was the arduous duty Mr. Gifford imposed


on himself, and manfully has he performed his task. But those very qualities which, in one point of view, make his work so valuable, seen in another, detract from its merits. It is as full and exhaustive an account as can be gleaned from multifarious sources-it is throughout the eloquent defence of an able advocate determined to rescue from unjust imputation a noble character; but the continuity of the narrative is broken by frequent quotations, lengthened notes, much sifting of evidence, and unsparing sarcasm on slanderers living or dead. The object of our less ambitious history is to give to the general reader, as simply and briefly as we can, such incidents in the poet's career as seem to us authentic, and such criticism on his character and writings as our knowledge of both may suggest.

Benjamin, or (as he himself abbreviated it) Ben Jonson, was born A.D. 1573. There exists some doubt about the exact place of his nativity. Fuller tells us that, "with all his industry he could not find him in his cradle, but that he could fetch him from his long coats: when a little child, he lived in Hartshorn Lane, near Charing Cross." Whether in this street or not, we cannot ascertain, but there is little doubt that he was born in Westminster, a month after the death of his father. He was of good ancestry, his grandfather having been a man of family and fortune, who resided first at Anandale in Scotland, afterwards at Carlisle, and who Henry VIII. His son, the father of the poet, suffered in the reign of Mary, persecution for his religious opinions. His estates were confiscated, and he underwent a long imprisonment, but was liberated at the decease of the Papist Queen. As was not unlikely, his zeal was warmed by the sufferings it had provoked; for, upon his quitting prison, he at once entered holy orders, and

was in the service of

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