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liament, ejected from Cambridge, and sheltered himself at St. John's College in Oxford; where, as is said by Wood, he published a satire called " The Pu"ritan and Papist," which was never inserted in any collection of his works; and so distinguished himself by the warmth of his loyalty, and the elegance of his conversation, that he gained the kindness and considence of those who attended the king, and amongst others of lord Falkland, whose notice cast a lustre on all to whom it was extended.
About the time when Oxford was surrendered to the parliament, he followed the Queen to Paris, where he became secretary to the lord Jermin, afterwards terwards earl of St. Albans, and was employed in such correspondence as the royal cause required, and particularly in ciphering and deciphering the letters that passed between the king and queen; an employment of the highest considence and honour. So wide was his province of intelligence, that, for several years, it silled all his days and two or three nights in the week.
In the year 1647, his " Mistress" was published; for he imagined, as he declared in his preface to a subsequent edition, that " poets are scarce thought "freemen of their company without ** paying some duties, or obliging them"selves to be true to Love."
This obligation to amorous ditties owes, I believe,, its original to the fame" of Petrarch, who, in an age rude and uncultivated, by his tuneful homage to his Laura, resined the manners of the lettered world, and filled Europe with love and poetry. But the basis of all excellence is truth: he that professes love ought to feel its power. Petrarch was a real lover, and Laura doubtless deserved his tenderness. Of Cowley, We are told by Barnes, who had means enough o£ Information, that, whatever' he may talk of his own inflammability, and the variety of characters by which his heart was divided, he in reality was in love but once, and then never had resolution to tell his passion. "4 - This
This consideration cannot but abate, in some measure, the reader's esteem for the work and the author. To love excellence, is natural; it is natural likewise for the lover to solicit reciprocal regard by an elaborate display of his own qualisications. The desire of pleasing has in disferent men produced actions of heroism, and esfusions of wit; but it seems as reasonable to appear the champion as the poet of an " airy "nothing," and to quarrel as to write for what Cowley might have learned from his master Pindar to call the "dream of a shadow."
It is surely not difficult, in the solitude of a college, or in the bustle of the world, to sind useful studies and se
rious employment. No man needs to be so burthened with life as to squander it in voluntary dreams of sictitious occurrences. The man that sits down to suppose himself charged with treason or peculation, and heats his mind to an elaborate purgation of his character from crimes which he was never within the possibility of committing, disfers only by the infrequency of his folly from him who praises beauty which he never saw, complains of jealousy which he never felt; supposes himself sometimes invited, and sometimes forsaken; fatigues his fancy, and ransacks his memory, for images which may exhibit the gaiety of hope, or the gloominess of despair, and
dresses his imaginary Chloris or Phyllis