and institution that tend to crush, debase, and brutalize him, it has done more to refine the taste, to kindle the imagination, to enlarge the understand. ing, to give strength to the reasoning powers, and to supply the mind with images of beauty, tenderness, and sublimity, than all other books which have been borne down to us on the stream of time: while our present permanent version has secured for our language what Tithonus begged of Auroraimmortality; and secured, besides, what he forgot to ask-perpetual youth. But above all and beyond all this, it is THE REAT LEVER FOR ELEVA THE MORAL WORLD.1




THOMAS SACKVILLE, Lord Buckhurst, and ultimately Earl of Dorset and lord high treasurer of England, deserves consideration, if for no other reason, as the author of the first regular English tragedy, entitled "Ferrex and Porrex." It is also called "The Tragedie of Gorboduc," and was acted before Queen Elizabeth in 1561. The story is this. Gorboduc, an ancient king of Britain, divided, in his lifetime, his kingdom between his sons Ferrex and Porrex. They quarrel for sovereignty, and Porrex kills his brother. Their mother Viden, who loved Ferrex best, revenged his death by entering Porrex's chamber in the night and murdering him in his sleep. The people, exasperated at this, rose in rebellion, and killed both Viden and Gorboduc. The nobility then assembled, collected an army, and destroyed the insurgents.

Every act of this play is closed by something like the chorus of the Greek tragedy, namely, an ode in long-lined stanzas, drawing back the attention of the audience to the substance of what has just passed, and illustrating it by moral reflections. The following ode closes the third act, the moral beauties as well as the spirit of which must strike every reader. Sir Philip Sidney, in his "Defence of Poesy," says that this whole tragedy is "full of notable morality."

1 I cannot but give room to the following just and beautiful remarks of Mrs. Ellis, in her work entitled the "Poetry of Life:"

"With our established ideas of beauty, grace, pathos, and sublimity, either concentrated in the minutest point, or extended to the widest range, we can derive from the Scriptures a fund of gratification not to be found in any other memorial of the past or present time. From the worm that grovels in the dust beneath our feet, to the track of the leviathan in the foaming deep-from the moth that corrupts the secret treasure, to the eagle that soars above his eyrie in the clouds-from the wild ass in the desert, to the lamb within the shepherd's fold-from the consuming locust, to the cattle on a thousand hills-from the rose of Sharon, to the cedar of Lebanon-from the clear crystal stream, gushing forth out of the flinty rock, to the wide waters of the deluge-from the barren waste, to the fruitful vineyard, and the land flowing with milk and honey-from the lonely path of the wanderer, to the gatherer of a mighty multitude-fr the te that falls in secret, the din of battle and the shout of a triumphant host-from the solitary in the wilderness, to the satrap on the throne-from the mourner clad in his sackcloth, to the prince in purple robes-from the gnawings of the worm that dieth not, to the seraphic vision of the blessed-from the still small voice, to the thunders of Omnipotence-from the depths of hell, to the regions of eternal glory, there is no degree of beauty or deformity, no tendency to good or evil, no shade of darkness or gleam of light, which does not come within the cognizance of the Holy Scriptures; and, therefore, there is no expression or conception of the mind that may not here find a corresponding picture; no thirst for excellence that here may not meet with its full supply; and no condition of humanity excluded from the unlimited scope of adaptation and sympathy comprehended in the language and spirit of the Bible"

The lust of kingdom knows no sacred faith,
No rule of reason, no regard of right,
No kindly love, no fear of Heaven's wrath :
But with contempt of God's and man's despight,

Through bloody slaughter doth prepare the ways
To fatal sceptre, and accursed reign:
The son so loathes the father's lingering days,
Nor dreads his hand in brother's blood to stain!

O wretched prince! nor dost thou yet record
The yet fresh murders done within the land
Of thy forefathers, when the cruel sword
Bereft Morgain his life with cousin's hand!

Thus fatal plagues pursue the guilty race,
Whose murderous hand imbrued with guiltless blood,
Asks vengeance still before the Heaven's face,
With endless mischief on the cursed brood.

The wicked child thus brings to woful sire
The mournful plaints, to waste his weary life:
Thus do the cruel flames of civil fire
Destroy the parted reign with hateful strife:
And bence doth spring the well, from which doth flow

The dead black streams of mourning, plaint, and woe. But the poem by which Sackville is best known, is entitled “ The Mirror for Magistrates.” In it, most of the illustrious but unfortunate characters of English history, from the Conquest to the end of the fourteenth century, are made to pass in review before the poet, who, conducted by Sorrow, descends, like Dante, into the infernal regions. Each character recites his own misfortunes in a separate soliloquy. But Sackville finished only the preface called the “ Induction," and one legend, the Life of the Duke of Buckingham. He left the completion of the whole to Richard Baldwyne and George Ferrers. These called in others to aid them, and the whole collection or set of poems was published in 1559, with this title, “A Mirror for Magistrates, wherein may be seen, by example of others, with how grievous plagues vices are punished, and how frail and how unstable worldly prosperity is found, even of those whom fortune seemeth most highly to favor.”

The whole poem is one of a very remarkable kind for the age, and the part executed by Sackville exhibits a strength of description and a power of drawing allegorical characters scarcely inferior to Spenser, and had he completed the whole, and with the same power as that exhibited in the commencement, he would have ranked among the first poets of England.

And first, within the porch and jaws of hell,
Sat deep REMORSE OF ConscieNCE, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent
To sob and sigh, but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care; as she that, all in vain,
Would wear and waste continually in pain:
Her eyes unsteadfast, rolling here and there,
Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance brought,

So was her mind continually in fear,

Tost and tormented with the tedious thought
Of those detested crimes which she had wrought;
With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky,
Wishing for death, and yet she could not die.

Next, saw we DREAD, all trembling how he shook,
With foot uncertain, proffer'd here and there;
Benumb'd with speech; and with a ghastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear,
His cap borne up with staring of his hair;
'Stoin'd and amazed at his own shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.

And, next, within the entry of this lake,
Sat fell REVENGE, gnashing her teeth for ire:
Devising means how she may vengeance take;
Never in rest, till she have her desire;
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or 'veng`d by death to be.

When fell REVENGE, with bloody foul pretence,
Had show'd herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Till in our eyes another sight we met;
When fro my heart a sigh forthwith I fet,
Rueing, alas, upon the woful plight
Of MISERY, that next appear'd in sight:

His face was lean, and some-deal pined away,
And eke his hands consumed to the bone;
But, what his body was, I cannot say,
For, on his carcase raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches pieced one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast:

His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree,
Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
As on the which full daint'ly would he fare;
His drink, the running stream; his cup, the bare
Of his palm closed; his bed, the hard cold ground:
To this poor life was MISERY ybound.

Whose wretched state when we had well beheld,
With tender ruth on him, and on his fears,
In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held;
And, by and by, another shape appears
Of greedy CARE, still brushing up the briers;
His knuckles knobb'd, his flesh deep dinted in,
With tawed hands, and hard ytanned skin:

The morrow gray no sooner hath begun
To spread his light e'en peeping in our eyes,
But he is up, and to his work yrun;

But let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And with foul dark never so much disguise
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
But hath his candles to prolong his toil.

By him lay heavy SLEEP, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath;
Small keep took he, whom fortune frowned on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown; but as a living death,
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath:

And next in order sad, OLD-AGE we found:
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind;
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where nature him assign'd
To rest, when that the sisters had untwined
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast declining life:

There heard we him with broke and hollow plaint
Rue with himself his end approaching fast,
And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past,
And fresh delights of lusty youth forewaste;
Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek,
And to be young again of Jove beseek!

Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed;
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four;
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
His scalp all piled, and he with eld forelore,
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door;
Fumbling, and drivelling, as he draws his breath;
For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.

And fast by him pale MALADY was placed:
Sore sick in bed, her color all foregone;
Bereft of stomach, savor, and of taste,

Ne could she brook no meat but broths alone;
Her breath corrupt; her keepers every one
Abhorring her; her sickness past recure,
Detesting physic, and all physic's cure.

But, oh, the doleful sight that then we see!
We turn'd our look, and on the other side
A grisly shape of FAMINE mought we see:
With greedy looks, and gaping mouth, that cried
And roar'd for meat, as she should there have died;
Her body thin and bare as any bone,
Whereto was left nought but the case alone.

And that, alas, was gnawen every where,
All full of holes; that I me mought refrain
From tears, to see how she her arms could tear,
And with her teeth gnash on the bones in vain,

When, all for nought, she fain would so sustain
Her starven corpse, that rather seem'd a shade
Than any substance of a creature made:

Great was her force, whom stone-wall could not stay:
Her tearing nails snatching at all she saw;
With gaping jaws, that by no means ymay
Be satisfied from hunger of her maw,

But eats herself as she that hath no law;
Gnawing, alas, her carcase all in vain,
Where you may count each sinew, bone, and vein.

Lastly, stood WAR, in glittering arms yclad,
With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued:
In his right hand a naked sword he had,
That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued;
And in his left (that kings and kingdoms rued)
Famine and fire he held, and therewithal
He razed towns and threw down towers and all:

Cities he sack'd, and realms (that whilom flower'd
In honour, glory, and rule, above the rest)
He overwhelm'd, and all their fame devour'd,
Consumed, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceased,
Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd;
His face forehew'd with wounds; and by his side
There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide.


SIR THOMAS OVERBURY, a miscellaneous writer, and "one of the most finished gentlemen about the court" of James I., is well known by the tragic circumstances of his death. Born of an ancient family in Glouces tershire, after taking his degree at the University of Oxford, he entered the Middle Temple as a law student. But his inclinations turning more to polite literature, he made an effort to advance his fortune at the court, and was successful. But opposing the infamous Countess of Essex in one of her criminal schemes, he was, by her influence, thrown into the Tower, and was soon after taken off by poison administered to him by her means, with the knowledge of her husband. The murder, though committed on the 13th of September, 1613, was not discovered till two years after, when all was brought to light, and four of the parties concerned were executed. But James, to his lasting disgrace, pardoned the two principals, the Countess of Essex and her husband, that base favorite of James, the Earl of Somerset.

The murder of this accomplished man is one of the most disgraceful passages in the history of England, and the sympathy which his fate excited is demonstrated by the many elegies and tributes of grief which were poured forth from all quarters "on the untimely death of Sir Thomas Overbury, poysoned in the Tower." Sir Thomas is known in letters, both as a poet and prose writer. In the former character, his chief productions are his once famous poem called "The Wife," and a smaller one called "The Choice

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