Page images


Methought I saw the grave, where Laura2 lay,
Within that temple, where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn; and, passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept:
All suddenly I saw the Faerie Queene;
At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept,
And, from thenceforth, those Graces were not seen;
For they this Queen attended; in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse:
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,

And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce:
Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,
And cursed the access of that celestial thief!


Go, Soul, the Body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;

The truth shall be thy warrant.
Go, since I needs must die,
And give them all the lie.

Go, tell the Court it glows,

And shines like painted wood;
Go, tell the Church it shows

What's good, but does no good.
If Court and Church reply,
Give Court and Church the lie.

Tell Potentates, they live

Acting, but oh! their actions

Not loved, unless they give;

Nor strong, but by their factions.

If Potentates reply,

Give Potentates the lie.

1 "A higher strain of compliment cannot well be conceived than this, which raises your idea even of that which it disparages in comparison, and makes you feel that nothing could have torn the writer from his idolatrous enthusiasm for Petrarch and his Laura's tomb, but Spenser's magic verse and diviner Faerie Queene-the one lifted above mortality, the other brought from the skies."-Hazlitt. "I have been always singularly struck and delighted with the tone, imagery, and expression of this extraordinary sonnet. The author must at this time have been deeply read in works of poetical fancy, and highly imbued with their spirit. Milton had deeply studied this sonnet; for in his compositions of the same class, he has evidently, more than once, the very rhythm and construction, as well as cast of thought, of this noble, though brief composition."-Sir Egerton Brydges. 2 The lady to whom Petrarch addressed so much of his beautiful poetry.

8 This poem appeared anonymously in "Davison's Poctical Rhapsody," in 1608, and has been ascribed to Sir Walter Raleigh. I have therefore given it a place here with his poems, although there is no certainty about it. Sir Egerton Brydges, always good authority in every question of English Literature, places it at the end of his edition of Raleigh's poems, and says:-"I know no author so capable of writing it as Raleigh; but, whoever was the author, it is a poem of uncommon beauty and merit, and glowing with all that moral pathos, which is one of the first charms in the compositions of genius." It is here printed as in Sir E. Brydges's edition.

Tell men of high condition,
That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition;
Their practice only hate.
And if they do reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell those that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,

Seek nothing but commending.
And if they make reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

Tell Zeal it lacks devotion;
Tell Love it is but lust;
Tell Time it is but motion;
Tell Flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.
Tell Age it daily wasteth;

Tell Honor how it alters;
Tell Beauty that it blasteth;
Tell Favor that she falters:
And as they do reply,
Give every one the lie.

Tell Wit how much it wrangles
In fickle points of niceness;
Tell Wisdom she entangles

Herself in over-wiseness:
And if they do reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell Physic of her boldness;
Tell Skill it is pretension;
Tell Charity of coldness;

Tell Law it is contention:

And if they yield reply,
Then give them still the lie.

Tell Fortune of her blindness;
Tell Nature of decay;

Tell Friendship of unkindness;

Tell Justice of delay:

And if they do reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell Arts they have no soundness,

But vary by esteeming;

Tell Schools they lack profoundness,

And stand too much on seeming.

If Arts and Schools reply,

Give Arts and Schools the lie.

Tell Faith it's fled the city;

Tell how the Country erreth; Tell Manhood, shakes off pity; Tell Virtue, least preferreth.

And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

So, when thou hast, as I

Commanded thee, done blabbing;
Although to give the lie

Deserves no less than stabbing;

Yet stab at thee who will,

No stab the Soul can kill.

The following most affectionate and touching letter, written by Raleigh to his wife, after his condemnation, cannot be omitted :—

You shall receive, my dear wife, my last words in these my last lines; my love I send you, that you may keep when I am dead, and my counsel, that you may remember it when I am no more. I would not with my will present you sorrows, dear Bess; let them go to the grave with me, and be buried in the dust. And seeing that it is not the will of God that I shall see you any more, bear my destruction patiently, and with an heart like yourself.

First, I send you all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words express, for your many travails and cares for me; which though they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the less; but pay it I never shall in this world.

Secondly, I beseech you, for the love you bare me living, that you do not hide yourself many days, but by your travails seek to help the miserable fortunes and the right of your poor child. Your mourning cannot avail me that am but dust.

Thirdly, you shall understand, that my lands were conveyed bona fide to my child; the writings were drawn at midsummer was twelve months, as divers can witness; and I trust my blood will quench their malice who desired my slaughter, that they will not seek also to kill you and yours with extreme poverty. To what friend to direct you I know not, for all mine have left me in the true time of trial. Most sorry am I, that, being thus surprised by death, I can leave you no better estate; God hath prevented all my determinations,—that great God which worketh all in all; and if you can live free from want, care for no more, for the rest is but a vanity: love God, and begin betimes-in him you shall find true, everlasting, and endless comfort; when you have travailed and wearied yourself with all sorts of worldly cogitations, you shall sit down by sorrow in the end. Teach your son also to serve and fear God whilst he is young, that the fear of God may grow up in him; then will God be an husband to you, and a father to him-an husband and a father that can never be taken from you.

Baylie oweth me a thousand pounds, and in Jernesey also I have much owing me. you, for my soul's sake, pay all poor men.

Aryan six hundred;
Dear wife, I beseech
When I am dead, no

doubt you shall be much sought unto, for the world thinks I was very rich: have a care to the fair pretences of men, for no greater misery can befall you in this life, than to become a prey unto the world, and after to be despised. I speak (God knows) not to dissuade you from marriage, for it will be best for you, both in respect of God and the world. As for me, I am no more yours, nor you mine; death hath cut us asunder, and God hath divided me from the world, and you from me. Remember your poor child for his father's sake, who loved you in his happiest estate. I sued for my life, but God knows it was for you and yours that I desired it for know it, my dear wife, your child is the child of a true man, who in his own respect despiseth death and his misshapen and ugly forms. I cannot write much; God knows how hardly I steal this time when all sleep; and it is also time for me to separate my thoughts from the world. Beg my dead body, which living was denied you, and either lay it in Sherbourne, or Exeter church by my father and mother. I can say no more; time and death call me away. The everlasting God, powerful, infinite, and inscrutable God Almighty, who is goodness itself, the true light and life, keep you and yours, and have mercy upon me, and forgive my persecutors and false accusers, and send us to meet in his glorious kingdom. My dear wife, farewell; bless my boy, pray for me, and let my true God hold you both in his arms.

Yours that was, but now not mine own,



Or the history of this lady, nothing satisfactory can be obtained. She wrote a tragedy, entitled "Mariam, the fair Queen of Jewry," written by that learned, virtuous, and truly noble lady, "E. C. 1613." It is written in alternate verse, and with a chorus after the manner of the Greek tragedians. She died probably some time in the reign of James the First. The following is the chorus in Act IV. of Mariam:


The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury;

For who forgives without a further strife,
His adversary's heart to him doth tie.
And 'tis a firmer conquest truly said,
To win the heart, than overthrow the head.

If we a worthy enemy do find,

To yield to worth it must be nobly done;

1 Generally spelled Carew, but incorrectly.

But if of baser metal be his mind,

In base revenge there is no honor won.
Who would a worthy courage overthrow,
And who would wrestle with a worthless foe?

We say our hearts are great and cannot yield;
Because they cannot yield, it proves them poor;
Great hearts are task'd beyond their power, but seld
The weakest lion will the loudest roar.
Truth's school for certain doth this same allow,
High-heartedness doth sometimes teach to bow.

A noble heart doth teach a virtuous scorn,
To scorn to owe a duty overlong;

To scorn to be for benefits forborne,

To scorn to lie, to scorn to do a wrong.

To scorn to bear an injury in mind,

To scorn a free-born heart slave-like to bind.

But if for wrongs we needs revenge must have,
Then be our vengeance of the noblest kind;
Do we his body from our fury save,

And let our hate prevail against our mind?
What can 'gainst him a greater vengeance be,
Than make his foe more worthy far than he?

Had Mariam scorn'd to leave a due unpaid,

She would to Herod then have paid her love;
And not have been by sullen passion sway'd.
To fix her thoughts all injury above

Is virtuous pride. Had Mariam thus been proud,
Long famous life to her had been allow'd.

SAMUEL DANIEL. 1562-1619.

We know but little of the personal history of Samuel Daniel. He was the son of a music master, and was born near Taunton, in Somersetshire, in 1562. In 1579 he entered Oxford, and left it at the end of three years without taking his degree. Towards the close of his life he retired to a farm in his native county, and died in 1619.

His most elaborate work is "The History of the Civil Wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster," which is rather an uninteresting work, for the reason that you see in it more of the correctness of the annalist than the fancy of the poet. Sound morality, prudential wisdom, and occasional touches of the pathetic, delivered in a style of great perspicuity, will be recognised throughout his work; but neither warmth, passion, nor sublimity, nor the most distant trace of enthusiasm, can be found to animate the mass. some of his minor poems, especially his moral epistles, have great merit, abounding in original thought, expressed in clear, simple, and vigorous language. A very discriminating and candid critic says, "We find both in his poetry and prose such a legitimate and rational flow of language, as approaches nearer the style of the eighteenth than the sixteenth century, and


« PreviousContinue »