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were all written after the accession of King James to the throne of England; that they were occupied by " important subjects relating to the manners, characters, and incidents of the times he lived in; that they were pointed with many fine strokes of satire; dignified with wholesome lessons of morality, and policy, to those of the highest rank; and some modest hints even to Majesty itself; and that the learning they contained was " so various and extensive, that, according to the evidence of his son (who has written large Annotations on each), no man's reading, beside his own, was sufficient to explain his references effectually."* Fairefax died about the year 1632; and, beside his poetical works, was the author of several controversial pieces, and of a learned essay on Demonology. 15. FITZGEFFREY, CHARLES, was a native of Cornwall, of a genteel family, and was entered a commoner of Broadgate's hall, Oxford, in 1592. Having taken his degrees in arts, and assumed the clerical profession, he finally became rector of St. Dominic in his own county. In 1596, he published a poem to the memory of Sir Francis Drake, entitled "Sir Francis Drake his honorable Life's commendation; and his tragicall Deathe's lamentation;" 12mo. This poem, which possesses no small portion of merit, is dedicated, in a sonnet, "to the beauteous and vertuous Lady Elizabeth, late wife unto the highlie renowned Sir Francis Drake, deceased," and is highly spoken of by Browne and Meres; the former declaring that he unfolded
"The tragedie of Drake in leaves of gold; "+
and the latter asserting that " as C. Plinius wrote the life of Pomponius Secundus, 80 yong Cha. Fitz-Geffray, that high-touring falcon, hath most gloriously penned the honourable life and death of worthy Sir Francis Drake." ‡
As the poetry of Fitzgeffrey is very little known, we shall give the Sonnet to Lady Drake as a pleasing specimen of his genius:
"Divorc'd by Death, but wedded still by Love,
For Love by Death can never be divorc'd;
So may heroique Drake, whose worth gave wings
Unto my Muse, that nere before could fly,
And taught her tune these harsh discordant strings
A note above her rurall minstrelsy,
Live in himselfe, and I in him may live;
Beside his volume on Drake, Fitzgeffrey was the author of a collection of Latin epigrams, in three books, under the title of "Affaniæ," printed in 8vo, 1601, and of a religious poem, called "The Blessed Birth-day," 1634, 4to. He lived highly respected both as a poet and divine, and died at his parsonage
house in 1636-7.
16. FLETCHER, GILES, the elder brother of Phineas Fletcher, was born in 1588, took the degree of bachelor of divinity at Oxford, and died at his rectory of Alderton, in Suffolk, in 1623. The production which has given him a poet's fame, was published in 1610, under the title of "Christ's Victory and Triumph in Heaven and Earth over and after Death," Cambridge, 4to. It is written in stanzas of eight lines, and divided into four parts, under the appellations of Christ's Victory in Heaven, his Triumph on Earth, his Triumph over Death, and his Triumph after Death."
This is a poem which exhibits strong powers of description, and a great com
* Muses' Library, 1741, p. 363.
+ Censura Literaria, vol. ix. p. 53.
+Chalmers's English Poets, vol, vi. p. 295. § British Bibliographer, No. VII. p. 118.
mand of language; it is, however, occasionally sullied by conceits, and by a frequent play upon words, of which the initial stanza is a striking proof. Our author was an ardent admirer of Spenser, and has in many instances successfully imitated his picturesque mode of delineation, though he has avoided following him in the use of the prosopopeia.
17. FLETCHER, PHINEAS, who surpassed his brother in poetical genius, took his bachelor's degree at King's College, Cambridge, in 1604, and his master's degree in 1608. Though his poems were not published until 1633, there is convincing proof that they were written before 1610; for Giles, at the close of his "Christ's Victory," printed in this year, thus beautifully alludes not only to his brother's Purple Island, but to his eclogues, as previous compositions:
But let the Kentish lad, that lately taught
His oaten reed the trumpets silver sound,
The willing spheres from Heav'n, to lead around
The dancing nymphs and swains, that sung, and crown'd
Of choicest praise, and hung her heav'nly bow'rs
Let his shrill trumpet, with her silver blast
Dares not those high amours, and love-sick songs assay.”"
It is, indeed, highly probable, that they were composed even before he took his bachelor's degree; for, in the dedication of his "Purple Island to his learned friend, Edward Benlowes, Esq., he terms them "raw essays of my very unripe years, and almost childhood."+
The Purple Island," is an allegorical description, in twelve cantos, of the corporeal and intellectual functions of man. Its interest and effect have been greatly injured by a too minute investigation of anatomical facts; the first five" cantos being little else than a lecture in rhyme, and productive more of disgust than any other sensation. In the residue of the poem, the bard bursts forth with unshackled splendour, and the passions and mental powers are personified with great brilliancy of imagination, and great warmth of colouring. Like his brother, however, he is defective in taste; the great charm of composition, simplicity, is too often lost amid the mazes of quaint conception and meretricious ornament. Yet are there passages interspersed through this allegory, of exquisite tenderness and sweetness, alike simple and correct in diction, chaste in creative power, and melodious in versification.
"The Piscatory Eclogues," to novelty of scenery add many passages genuine and delightful poetry, and the music of the verse is often highly gratifying to the ear; but many of the same faults are discernible in these pieces, which we remarked in the "Purple Island;" pedantry and forced conceits occasionally intrude, and, though the poet has not injured the effect of his delineations by coarseness, or rusticity of expression, he has sometimes forgotten the simple elegance which should designate the pastoral muse.
Our author was presented to the living of Hilgay, in Norfolk, in 1621, and died there about the year 1650.
18. GASCOIGNE, GEORGE, the son of Sir John Gascoigne, was descended from an ancient family in Essex, and after a private education under the care of Stephen Nevinson, L.L.D., he was sent to Cambridge, and from thence to Gray's
Chalmers's English Poets, vol. vi. p. 79.
Ibid. vol. vi. p. 81.
Inn, for the purpose of studying the law. Like many men, however, of warm passions and strong imagination, he neglected his profession for the amusements and dissipation of a court, and having exhausted his paternal property, he found himself under the necessity of seeking abroad, in a military capacity, that support which he had failed to acquire at home. He accordingly accepted a Captain's commission in Holland, in 1572, under William Prince of Orange, and having signalised his courage at the siege of Middleburg, had the misfortune to be captured by the Spaniards near Leyden, and, after four months' imprisonment, revisited his native country.
He now resumed his profession and his apartments at Gray's Inn; but in 1575, on his return from accompanying Queen Elizabeth in her progress to Kenilworth Castle, he fixed his residence at his "poore house," at Walthamstow, where he employed himself in collecting and publishing his poems. He was not long destined, however, to enjoy this literary leisure; for, according to George Whetstone, who was "an eye-witness of his godly and charitable end in this world," he expired at Stamford, in Lincolnshire, on the 7th of October, 1577, when he was probably under forty years of age.*
The poetry of Gascoigne was twice collected during his life-time; firstly, in 1572, in a quarto volume, entitled, "A Hundredth sundrie Flowres bounde up in one small Poesie. Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by invention, out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande: Yielding sundrie sweet savours of Tragical, Comical, and Morall Discourses, both pleasaunt and profitable to the well smellyng noses of learned Readers. Meritum petere, grave. At London, Imprinted for Richarde Smith;" and secondly in 1575, with the title of "The Posies of George Gascoigne, Esquire. Corrected, perfected, and augmented by the Authour. Tam Marti, quam Mercurio. Imprinted at London by H. Bynneman, for Richard Smith." This edition is divided into three parts, under the appellation of "Flowers, Hearbes, and Weedes," to which are annexed "Certayne notes of Instruction concerning the making of verse or ryme in English, written at the request of Master Edouardo Donati."
Besides these collections, Gascoigne published separately, "The Glasse of Government. A Tragical Comedie," 1575. "The Steele Glass. A Satyre," 1576. "The Princely Pleasures, at the Court of Kenelworth," 1576; and "A Delicate Diet for daintie mouthed Drunkards," a prose tract, 1576. After his death appeared, in 1586, his tract, entitled, "The Droome of Doomes day; and in 1587, was given to the world, a complete edition of his works, in small quarto, black letter.
Gascoigne, though patronized by several illustrious characters, among whom may be enumerated, Lord Grey of Wilton, the Earl of Bedford, and Sir Walter Raleigh, appears to have suffered so much from the envy and malignity of his critics, as to induce him to intimate, that the disease of which he died, was occasioned by the irritability of mind resulting from these attacks; and yet, as far as we have an opportunity of judging, his contemporaries seem to have done justice to his talents; at least Gabriel Harvey and Arthur Hall, Nash, Webbe, and Puttenham, have together praised him for his wit, his imagination, and his metre; and in the Glosse to Spenser's Calender, he is styled "the very chief of our late rymers."
The poetry of our author has not, in modern times, met with all the attention which it deserves; specimens, it is true, have been selected by Cooper, Percy, Warton, Headley, Ellis, Brydges, and Haslewood; but, with the exception of the re-impression of 1810, in Mr. Chalmers's English Poets, no edition of his works has been published since 1587. This is the more extraordinary, for, as the in
For further particulars of his life see Chalmers's English Poets, vol. ii. p. 447. et seq., Censura Literara, vol. i. p. 110, and British Bibliographer, vol. i p. 73.
genious editor has just remarked, "there are three respects in which his claims to originality require to be noticed as eras in a history of poetry. His Steele Glass is among the first specimens of blank verse in our language; his Jocasta is the second theatrical piece written in that measure; and his Supposes is the first comedy written in prose."* Warton has pronounced him to have "much exceeded all the poets of his age in smoothness and harmony of versification. an encomium which particularly applies to the lyrical portion of his works, which is indeed exquisitely polished, though not altogether free from affectation and antithesis. Among these pieces, too, is to be discovered a considerable range of fancy, much tenderness and glow of sentiment, and a frequent felicity of expres sion. In moral and didactic poetry, he has likewise afforded us proofs approach ing to excellence, and his satire entitled "The Steele Glass," includes a curious and minute picture of the manners and customs of the age.
To the "Supposes" of Gascoigne, a translation from the Suppotiti of Arioste, executed with peculiar neatness and ease, Shakspeare has been indebted for a part of his plot of the "Taming of the Shrew."
19. GREENE, ROBERT. Of this ingenious and prolific writer, we have already related so many particulars, that nothing more can be wanting here, than a brie character of his poetical genius. Were his poetry collected from his various pamphlets and plays, of which nearly fifty are known to be extant, a most inte resting little volume might be formed. The extreme rarity, however, of his pro ductions, may render this an object of no easy attainment; but of its effect a pretty accurate idea may be acquired from what has been done by Mr. Beloe, who, in his Anecdotes of Literature, has collected many beautiful specimens from the fol lowing pieces of our author. "Tullie's Love, 1616; Penelope's Web, 1601; Farewell to Follie, 1617; Never Too Late, 1590; History of Arbasto, 1617; Arcadia, or Menaphor, 1589; Orphanion, 1599; Philomela, 1592."
Though most of the productions of Greene were written to supply the wants of the passing hour, yet the poetical effusions scattered through his works betray few marks of haste or slovenliness, and many of them, indeed, may be classed among the most polished and eminent of their day. To much warmth and ferti lity of fancy, they add a noble strain of feeling and enthusiasm, together with many exquisite touches of the pathetic, and so many impressive lessons of mo rality, as, in a great measure, to atone for the licentiousness of several of his prose tracts. +
20, HALL, JOSEPH, Bishop of Exeter and Norwich, was born on the first July, 1574, at Brestow Park, Leicestershire. He was admitted of Emanuel Col lege, Cambridge, at the age of fifteen, and when twenty-three years old, pub lished his satires, under the title of Virgidemiarum, Sixe Bookes. First Thre Bookes of Tooth-less Satyrs: 1. Poetical; 2. Academicall; 3. Moral: printed by T. Creede for R. Dexter, 1597. The Three last Bookes of Byting Satyrs, by R. Bradock for Dexter, 1598. Both parts were reprinted together in 1599, and have conferred upon their author a just claim to the appellation of one of our earliest and best satiric poets. Of the legitimate satire, indeed, he appears to have given us the first example, an honour upon which he justly prides himself, for, in the opening of his prologue, he tells us
"I first adventure, with fool-hardy might,
On the republication of the Virgidemiarum at Oxford, in 1752, Gray, in a let
Chalmers's English Poets, vol. ii. p. 455. + Observations on the Fairy Queen, vol. ii. plás The reprint which has just appeared of our author's" Philomela." is a proof, however, that his pro may also remark, that the confessions wrung from him in the hour of repentance are highly montory, and was occasionally the medium of sound instruction; for the moral of this piece is unexceptionable. We calculated to make the most powerful and salutary impression.
ter to Dr. Wharton, speaking of these satires, says, "they are full of spirit and poetry, as much of the first as Dr. Donne, and far more of the latter;" and Warton, at the commencement of of an elaborate and extended critique on Hall's poetic genius, in the Fragment of his fourth volume of the History of English Poetry, gives the following very discriminative character of these satires. They "are marked," he observes, "with a classical precision, to which English poetry had yet rarely attained. They are replete with animation of style and sentiment. The animation of the satirist is always the result of good sense. Nor are the thorns of severe invective unmixed with the flowers of pure poetry. The characters are delineated in strong and lively colouring, and their discriminations are touched with the masterly traces of genuine humour. The versification is equally energetic and elegant, and the fabric of the couplets approaches to the modern standard. It is no inconsiderable proof of a genius predominating over the general taste of an age when every preacher was a punster, to have written verses, where laughter was to be raised, and the reader to be entertained with sallies of pleasantry, without quibbles and conceits. His chief fault is obscurity, arising from a remote phraseology, constrained combinations, unfamiliar allusions, elliptical apostrophes, and abruptness of expression. Perhaps some will think that his manner betrays too much of the laborious exactness and pedantic anxiety of the scholar and the student. Ariosto in Italian, and Regnier in French, were now almost the only writers of satire; and I believe there had been an English translation of Ariosto's Satires. But Hall's acknowledged patterns are Juvenal and Persius, not without some touches of the urbanity of Horace. His parodies of these poets, or rather his adaptations of ancient to modern manners, a mode of imitation not unhappily practised by Oldham, Rochester, and Pope, discover great facility and dexterity of invention. The moral gravity and the censorial declamation of Juvenal he frequently enlivens with a train of more refined reflection, or adorns with a novelty and variety of images."
The Satires of Hall exhibit a very minute and curious picture of the literature and manners, the follies and vices of his times, and numerous quotations in the course of our work will amply prove the wit, the sagacity, and the elegance of his Muse. Poetry was the occupation merely of his youth, the vigour and decline of his days being employed in the composition of professional works, calculated, by their piety, eloquence, and originality, to promote in the most powerful manner the best interets of morality and religion. This great and good man died, after a series of persecution from the republican party, at his little estate at Heigham, near Norwich, on the 8th of September, 1656, and in the eighty-second year of his
21. HARINGTON, SIR JOHN. Among the numerous translators of the Elizabethan period, this gentleman merits peculiar notice, as having, through the medium of his Ariosto, enriched our poetry by a communication of new stores of fiction and imagination, both of the romantic and comic species, of Gothic machinery and familiar manners." His version of the Orlando Furioso, of which the first edition was published in 1591, procured him a large share of celebrity. Stowe, in is Annals, has classed him among those excellent poets which worthily flourish in their own works, and lived together in Queen Elizabeth's reign;" and Fuller, † Philips, Dryden, and others, to the middle of the eighteenth century, have spoken of him in terms of similar commendation. In point of poetical execution, however, his translation, whatever might be its incidental operation on our poetic literature, must now be considered as vulgar, tame, and inaccurate. Sir John was born at Kelston near Bath, in 1561, and died there in 1612, aged fifty-one. His" Epigrams," in four Books, were published after his death; first in 1615, when the • Chalmers's English Poets, vol. v. p. 226.
Warton's Hist. of English Poerty, vol. iii. p. 455. This writer terms Sir John "one of the most ingenious poets of our English nation,” and says "he was Poet in all things, save in his wealth, leaving a fair estate to a learned and religious son.”—Worthies, rart in p. 28.