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the jolly Friar of Copmanhurst than the acts of a Protestant bishop, but Corbet had higher qualities;
his toleration, solid sense, and lively talents, proRICHARD CORBET (1582--1635) was the son of a cured him deserved esteem and respect. His poems man who, though only a gardener, must have pos- were first collected and published in 1647. "They sessed superior qualities, as he obtained the hearty are of a miscellaneous character, the best known commendations, in verse, of Ben Jonson. The son being a Journey into France, written in a light easy was educated at Westminster and Oxford, and hav- strain of descriptive humour. The Farewell to tve ing taken orders, he became successively bishop of Fairies is equally lively, and more poetical. Oxford and bishop of Norwich. The social quali
[To Vincent Corbet, his Son.]
[Journey to France.]
Nor yet to ride nor fence:
But I to Paris rode along,
Upon a holy tide.
(I trust he is not paid for yet),
And spurr'd him on each side. ties of witty Bishop Corbet, and his never failing vivacity, joined to a moderate share of dislike to
And to Saint Dennis fast we came, the Puritans, recommended him to the patronage of
To see the sights of Notre Dame, King James, by whom he was raised to the mitre.
(The man that shows them snufiles), His habits were rather too convivial for the dignity
Where who is apt for to believe, of his office, if we may credit some of the anecdotes
May see our Lady's right-arm sleere, which have been related of him. Meeting a ballad
And eke her old pantofles ; singer one market-day at Abingdon, and the man Her breast, her milk, her very gown complaining that he could get no custom, the jolly That she did wear in Bethlehem town, doctor put off his gown, and arrayed himself in the
When in the inn she lay. leathern jacket of the itinerant vocalist, and being Yet all the world knows that's a fabie, a handsome man, with a clear full voice, he presently For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable, vended the stock of ballads. One time, as he was
Upon a lock of hay. confirming, the country people pressing in to see the ceremony, Corbet exclaimed-Bear off there, There is one of the cross's nails, or I'll confirm ye with my staff.' The bishop and Which, whoso sees, his bonnet vails, his chaplain, Dr Lushington, it is said, would some
And, if he will, may kneel. times repair to the wine cellar together, and Corbet
Some say 'twas false, 'twas never 80, used to put off his episcopal hood, saying, “There
Yet, fecling it, thus much I know, lies the doctor;' then he put off his gown, saying,
It is as true as steel. • There lies the bishop;' then the toast went round, • Here's to thee, Corbet;' Here's to thee, Lushing
* This alludes to one of the most celebrated of the old English ton.' Jovialities like these seem more like those of ballads. It was the favourite performance of the English min
strels, as lately as the reign of Charles II., and Dryden alludes figure. There is, however, a placid good humour in the ex.
to it as to the most hacknied thing of the time, pression of the features, and much sweetness in the mouth and
But Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory, lips. The upper part of the head is bald, and the lofty fore
These will appear such chits in story, head is conspicuous in both, as in the Chandos and other pic
"Twill turn all politics to jests, tures. The general resemblance we have no doubt is correct,
To be repeated like John Dory, but considerable allowance must be made for the defective state
When fiddlers sing at feasts. of English art at this period.
Rilson's Ancient Songs, p. 10
There is a lanthorn which the Jews,
It weighs my weight downright:
And then 'twas very light.
His elbow and his thumb.
And so away did come.
'Tis Europe's greatest town.
That walk it up and down.
The Place Royal doth excel :
The steeple bears the bell.
The house the Queen did build.
And there the King was killed :
The arsenal nu toy.
O, 'tis a hopeful boy.*
Nor must you think it much :
O never king made sucket
Witness those rings and roundelays
Of theirs, which yet remain, Were footed in Queen Mary's days
On many a grassy plain ; But since of late Elizabeth,
And later, James came in, They never danc'd on any heath
As when the time hath been. By which we note the fairies
'Were of the old profession, Their songs were Ave-Maries,
Their dances were procession : But now, alas ! they all are dead,
Or gone beyond the seas; Or farther for religion fled,
Or else they take their ease. A tell-tale in their company
They never could endure, And whoso kept not secretly
Their mirth, was punish'd sure ; It was a just and Christian deed,
To pinch such black and blue : O how the commonwealth doth need
Such justices as you !
BIR JOHN BEAUMONT-DR HENRY KING. Among the numerous minor poets who flourished, or rather composed, in the reign of James, were SIR JOHN BEAUMONT (1582-1628) and DR HENRY KING, bishop of Chichester (1591-1669). The former was the elder brother of the celebrated dramatist. Enjoying the family estate of Grace Dieu, in Leicestershire, Sir John dedicated part of his leisure hours to the service of the Muses. He wrote a poem on Bosworth Field in the heroic couplet, which, though generally cold and unimpassioned, exhibits correct and forcible versification. As a specimen, we subjoin Richard's animated address to his troops on the eve of the decisive battle:
My fellow soldiers ! though your swords
Sir John Beaumont wrote the heroic couplet with great ease and correctness. In a poem to the memory of Ferdinando Pulton, Esq., are the following excellent verses:
Why should vain sorrow follow him with tears,
Farewell to the Fairies. Farewell rewards and fairies,
Good housewives now may say, For now foul sluts in dairies
Do fare as well as they. And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than maids were wont to do, Yet who of late, for cleanliness,
Finds sixpence in her shoe !
The fairies lost command;
But some have changed your land;
Are now grown Puritans ;
For love of your domains.
You merry were and glad,
These pretty ladies had ;
Or Cis to milking rose,
And nimbly went their toes.
* Louis XIII.
Whose thread exceeds the usual bounds of life, The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entomb'd in autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past and man forgot.
What is the existence of man's life,
But open war, or slumber'd strife;
Where sickness to his sense presents Must wear out many years and live few days.
The combat of the elements;
And never feels a perfect peace
Till Death's cold hand signs his release
It is a storm—where the hot blood Let it but slide into the eternal main,
Outvies in rage the boiling flood; No realms, no worlds, can purchase it again :
And each loose passion of the mind Remembrance only makes the footsteps last,
Is like a furious gust of wind, When winged time, which fixed the prints, is past.
Which beats his bark with many a wave,
Till he casts anchor in the grave. Sir John also wrote an epitaph on his brother, the
It is a flower—which buds, and grows, dramatist, but it is inferior to the following:
And withers as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
Like fits of waking before sleep;
Then shrinks into that fatal mould
Where its first being was enrollid.
Where all the comforts he can share, Among the angels fed with heavenly dew?
As wandering as his fancies are; We have this sign of joy, that many days,
Till in a mist of dark decay, While on the earth his struggling spirit stays,
The dreamer vanish quite away. The name of Jesus in his mouth contains
It is a dial—which points out His only food, his sleep, his ease from pains.
The sun-set, as it moves about; O may that sound be rooted in my mind,
And shadows out in lines of night Of which in him such strong effect I find !
The subtle stages of Time's flight; Dear Lord, receive my son, whose winning love
Till all-obscuring earth hath laid
His body in perpetual shade.
It is a weary interlude
Which doth short joys, long woes, include; In that frail body, which was part of me
The world the stage, the prologue tears, Remain my pledge in heaven, as sent to show
The acts vain hopes and varied fears ; How to this port at every step I go.
The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no epilogue but death. Dr Henry King, who was chaplain to James I., and did honour to the church preferment which was bestowed upon him, was best known as a religious poet. His language and imagery are chaste and
FRANCIS BEAUMONT (1585-1616), whose name is refined. Of his lighter verse, the following song most conspicuous as a dramatist, in union with that may suffice :
of Fletcher, wrote a small number of miscellaneous
pieces, which his brother published after his death. Song.
Some of these youthful effusions are witty and Dry those fair, those crystal eyes,
amusing; others possess a lyrical sweetness; and Which, like growing fountains, rise,
a few are grave and moralising. The most celeTo drown their banks: grief's sullen brooks
brated is the letter to Ben Jonson, which was oriWould better flow in furrow'd looks;
ginally published at the end of the play Nice Thy lovely face was never meant
Valour, with the following title : • Mr Francis To be the shore of discontent.
Beaumont's letter to Ben Jonson, written before he
and Master Fletcher came to London, with two of Then clear those waterish stars again,
the precedent comedies then not finished, which deWhich else portend a lasting rain ;
ferred their merry meetings at the Mermaid.' NotLest the clouds which settle there,
withstanding the admiration of Beaumont for Rare Prolong my winter all the year,
Ben,' he copied Shakspeare in the style of his dramas. And thy example others make
Fletcher, however, was still more Shakspearian than In love with sorrow for thy sake.
his associate. Hazlitt says finely of the premature
death of Beaumont and his more poetical friendSic Vita.
•The bees were said to have come and built their Like to the falling of a star,
hive in the mouth of Plato when a child ; and the Or as the flights of eagles are ;
fable might be transferred to the sweeter accents of Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Beaumont and Fletcher. Beaumont died at the age Or silver drops of morning dew;
of five-and-twenty (thirty). One of these writers Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
makes Bellario, the page, say to Philaster, who Or bubbles which on water stood :
threatens to take his life Ev'n such is man, whose borrow'd light
"Tis not a life, Ta straight call'd in, and paid to-night.
'Tis but a piece of childhood thrown away.
But here was youth, genius, aspiring hope, growing Scarce please you ; we want subtilty to do
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow ;
I needs must cry ;
I see my days of ballading grow nigh;
I can already riddle, and can sing repine at fortune, and almost at nature, that seen Myself to speak the
hardest words I find
Catches, sell bargains, and I fear shall bring to set so little store by their greatest favourites. Over as oft as any with one wind, The life of poets is, or ought to be judging of it That takes no medicines, but thought of thee from the light it lends to ours), a golden dream, full Makes me remember all these things to be of brightness and sweetness, lapt in Elysium; and The wit of our young men, fellows that show
it gives one a reluctant pang to see the splendid. No part of good, yet utter all they know, 1. vision, by which they are attended in their path of who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls.
glory, fade like a vapour, and their sacred heads Only strong Destiny, which all controls,
Banish'd unto this home : Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain [Letter to Ben Jonson.]
The way of knowledge for me; and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company, The sun (which doth the greatest comfort bring
Protest it will my greatest comfort be, To absent friends, because the self-same thing
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee, They know, they see, however absent) is
Ben ; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine; Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine. | It is our country's style) in this warm shine
I lie, and dream of your full Mermaid wine.
On the Tombs in Westininster.
Mortality, behold and fear, Than beer, good only for the sonnet's strain,
What a charge of flesh is here ! With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
Think how many royal boues So mixed, that, given to the thirstiest one,
Sleep within these heap of stones : 'Twill not prore alms, unless he have the stone.
Here they lie, had realms and lands, I think, with one draught man's invention fades : Who now want strength to stir their hands ; Two cups had quite spoil'd Homer's Iliades.
Where, from their pulpits seal'd with dust, Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
They preach—in greatness is no trust.
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin : It is a potion sent us down to drink,
Here the bones of birth have cried, By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Though gods they were, as men they died : Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knighto. Here are wands, ignoble things, | 'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings. i A medicine to obey our magistrates :
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name :
The rigid Spartan that denied * Lectures on the Age of Elizabeth, &c., p. 227.
An epitaph to all that died,
Unless for war, in charity
in tasteless conceits, even on grave elegiac subjects. In his epitaph on the daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth, he says
And here the precious dust is laid,
Song. Ask me no more where Jove bestows, When June is past, the fading rose ; For in your beauties, orient deep, These flowers, as in their causes, sleep. Ask me no more whither do stray The golden atoms of the day; For in pure love heaven did prepare Those powders to enrich your hair. Ask me no more whither doth haste The nightingale when May is past ; For in your sweet dividing throat She winters, and keeps warm her note. Ask me no more if east or west The Phoenix builds her spicy nest ; For unto you at last she flies, And in your fragrant bosom dies !
THOMAS CAREW (1589-1639) was the precursor and representative of a numerous class of poetscourtiers of a gay and gallant school, who to personal accomplishments, rank, and education, united a taste and talent for the conventional poetry then most popular and cultivated. Their influence may be seen even in Cowley and Dryden: Carew and Waller were perhaps the best of the class : Rochester was undoubtedly the most debased. Their visions of fame were in general bounded by the circle of the court and the nobility. To live in future generations, or to sound the depths of the human heart, seems not to have entered into their contemplations. A loyal panegyric was the epic strain of their ambition; a * rosy cheek or coral lip' formed their ordinary theme. The court applauded; the lady was flattered or appeased by the compliment; and the poet was praised for his wit and gallantry; while all the time the heart had as little to do with the poetical homage thus tendered and accepted, as with the cold abstractions and 'rare poesies' on wax or ivory: A foul taint of immorality and irreligion often lurked under the flowery surface, and insidiously made itself known and felt. Carew sometimes went beyond this strain of heartless frivolity, and is graceful in sentiment as well as style— piling up stones of lustre from the brook ;' but he was capable of far higher things; and in him, as in Suckling and Sedley, we see only glimpses of a genius which might have been ripened into permanent and beneficial excellence. Carew was descended from an ancient Gloucestershire family. He was educated at Oxford, then travelled abroad, and on his return, obtained the notice and patronage of Charles I. He was appointed gentleman of the privy chamber, and sewer in ordinary to the king. His after life was that of a courtierwitty, affable, and accomplished without reflection; and in a strain of loose revelry which, according to Clarendon, the poet deeply repented in his latter days. 'He died,' says the state historian, with the greatest remorse for that license, and with the greatest manifestation of Christianity, that his best friends could desire.'
The poems of Carew are short and occasional. His longest is a masque, written by command of the king, entitled Cælum Britannicum. It is partly in prose ; and the lyrical pieces were set to music by Dr Henry Lawes, the poetical musician of that age.* The short amatory pieces and songs of Carew were exceedingly popular, and are now the only productions of his which are read. They are often indelicate, but rich in expression. Thirty or forty years later, he would have fallen into the frigid style of the court poets after the Restoration ; but at the time he wrote, the passionate and imaginative vein of the Elizabethan period was not wholly exhausted. The
genial and warm tints' of the elder muse still coloured the landscape, and were reflected back in some measure by Carew. He abounded, however,
* Of the peculiar composition called the masque, an account is given in the sequel.
The Compliment. I do not love thee for that fair Rich fan of thy most curious hair ; Though the wires thereof be drawn Finer than the threads of lawn, And are softer than the leaves On which the subtle spider weaves. I do not love thee for those flowers Growing on thy cheeks (love's bowers); Though such cunning them hath spread, Nonc can paint them white and red: Love's golden arrows thence are shot, Yet for them I love thee not. I do not love thee for those soft Red coral lips I've kiss'd so oft ; Nor teeth of pearl, the double guard To speech, whence music still is heard ; Though from those lips a kiss being taken, Might tyrants melt, and death awaken. I do not love thee, oh ! my fairest, For that richest, for that rarest Silver pillar, which stands under Thy sound head, that globe of wonder ; Tho' that neck be whiter far Than towers of polish'd ivory are.
Song. Would you know what's soft? I dare Not bring you to the down or air ; Nor to stars to show what's bright, Nor to snow to teach you white. Nor, if you would music hear, Call the orbs to take your ear ; Nor to please your sense bring forth Bruised nard or what's more worth. Or on food were your thoughts plac'd, Bring you nectar, for a taste : Would you have all these in one, Name my mistress, and 'tis done.