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Though thou be to them a scorn,
The poem on Christmas is another fine and graphic sketch, and affords a lively picture of the manners of the times. We have not, however, space to introduce it, and shall, therefore, close our remarks upon this writer with the following witty sonnet :
A STOLEN KISS.
Now gentle sleep has closed up those eyes
WILLIAM BROWNE was a pastoral and descriptive poet, and adopted Spenser as his model. He was born at Tavistock in Devonshire, in 1590, but where, and under what circumstances he received his education, is unknown. He was for a short time connected with the Inner Temple as a student of law, but seems never to have followed the legal profession. For a number of
years he held the place of tutor to the Earl of Carnarvon, and after the death of that nobleman, who was killed at the battle of Newbury, in 1643, Browne received the patronage, and lived in the family of the Earl of Pembroke. In this situation he realized a competency, and purchased an estate, upon which he died in 1645.
Browne's works consist of Britannia's Pastorals, The Shepherd's Pipe, and a masque called The Inner Temple Masque. As all these poems were produced before the writer was thirty years of age, and Britannia's Pastorals,' which are by far the best, when he was little more than twenty, we should not be surprised that they contain marks of juvenility, and frequent traces of resemblance to the performances of previous poets, especially Spenser, whom he warmly admired. “Britannia's Pastorals' are written in the heroic couplet, and contain much beautiful descriptive poetry. The author had great facility of expression, and an intimate acquaintance with the phenomena of inanimate nature, and the characteristic features of the English landscape. His own beautiful Devonshire seems to have inspired his strains. The following lines contain an assemblage of the same images that are found in the morning picture of Milton's 'L'Allegro':
By this had chanticleer, the village cock,
In one of Browne's pastorals he celebrates the death of a friend, and Milton is supposed to have copied his plan in Lycidas. There is also a faint similarity in some of the sentiments and images. Browne has the following very fine illustration of a rose :
Look, as a sweet rose fairly budding forth
Betrays her beauty to th' enamour'd morn,
Make herself betray
To pluck her thence away.
The following beautiful sketches are from the ‘Britannia's Pastorals :'
As in an evening, when the gentle air
So, in this diff’ring key, though I could well
The sable mantle of the silent night
Of some vile cur, or whooping of the owl. Henry King, better known as a divine than as a poet, was the son of Doctor John King, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards bishop of London. He was born at Wornall in January 1591, and after preparing for the university at Westminster school, was elected student of Christ's Church College, Oxford. Having taken his degrees, and entered into orders, he became chaplain to James the First, soon after which he was made archdeacon of Colchester. In 1625, he received the degree of doctor of divinity, and became chaplain to Charles the First; and though strongly suspected of inclining to the Puritanical party, he remained in that relation to the king for many years. In 1641, doctor King, as a conciliatory step toward the Puritans, was raised to the see of Chichester ; but no sooner had the civil war broken out, and the dissolution of Episcopacy taken place, than he was treated by the very party whom he had been elevated to conciliate, with the utnost severity. At the Restoration, however, he was restored to his bishopric, and Wood informs us that, “ he was esteemed by his diocese and neighborhood, the epitome of all honors, virtues, and generous nobleness, and a person never to be forgotten by his tenants and the poor. He died on the first of October 1669, in his seventy-ninth year.
Bishop King was emphatically a religious poet, and besides composing many sacred songs, elegies, and sonnets, in all of which his language and imagery are chaste and refined, he turned the Psalms of David also into metre. His poems afford little variety, however, as literary performances, and the following specimen will, therefore, be sufficient to exhibit his style and manner :
What is the existence of man's life,
It is a storm-where the hot blood
It is a dream-whose seeming truth
And leaves no epilogue but death. FRANCIS QUARLES was born at Stewards, in Essex, in 1592. His father was clerk of the green-cloth, and purveyor to Queen Elizabeth, and as the son was early designed for a court life, he was educated with reference to that object. He entered Christ's College, Cambridge, but seems to have left the university without a degree, soon after which he became a member of Lincoln's Inn, London. He was afterward cup-bearer to Eliza beth, daughter of James the First, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia; but upon the ruin of the elector's affairs, he quitted the queen’s service, and went to Ireland, where he became secretary to Archbishop Usher. In this situation he remained until the breaking out of the Irish rebellion of 1641, when, after having suffered very severe pecuniary losses, he was obliged to fly for safety into England. In England, however, he did not realize the repose he had anticipated, for one of his productions, the Royal Convert, having given offense to the prevailing party, they stripped him of what remained of his possessions, and even seized his books and some valuable manuscripts, which he had prepared for the press. This last blow was more than his mental strength was sufficient to bear, and he died of a broken heart, in September, 1644.
The writings of Quarles are more like those of a divine, or contemplative recluse, than of a busy man of the world, who held various public situations, and died at the age of fifty-two. His principal poems are Job Militant, Sion's Elegies, The History of Queen Esther, The Morning Muse, The Feast of Worms, and The Divine Emblems. The latter was published the year after the writer's death, and was so popular, that Phillips, Milton's nephew, styles Quarles the darling of our plebeian judgments. The eulogium, to some extent, is still appropriate, for the ‘Divine Emblems, with their quaint and grotesque illustrations, may be found, even at the present day, in the cottages of many of the English peasantry.
Quarles' style is that of his age-studded with conceits, often extravagant in conception, and presenting frequently the most ridiculous combinations. There is strength, however, amidst his contortions, and true wit intermingled with the false. His epigrammatic point, uniting wit and devotion, has been considered the precursor of Young's 'Night Thoughts.' The following pieces sufficiently exhibit all the peculiarities of this author's manner, to which we have alluded :
THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE.
And what's a life?-& weary pilgrimage,
With childhood, manhood, and decrepit age.
Of the proud summer-meadow, which to-day
THE VANITY OF THE WORLD.
False world, thou ly'st: thou canst not lend
The least delight:
They are so slight:
To please at night: