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cessity of an accord is visible, the King is per- the security of a thousand pounds given by Dr. suaded of it. And to tell you the truth (which I Scarborough. take to be an argument above all the rest,) Virgil This year he published his poems with a prehas told the same thing to that purpose." face, in which he seems to have inserted some
This expression from a secretary of the present thing suppressed in subsequent editions, which time would be considered as merely ludicrous, or was interpreted to denote some relaxation of his at most as an ostentatious display of scholarship; loyalty, In this preface he declares, that “his but the manners of that time were so tinged with desire had been for some days past, and did still superstition, that I cannot but suspect Cowley very vehemently continue, to retire himself to of having consulted on this great occasion the some of the American plantations, and to forsake Virgilian Lots,* and to have given sonie credit this world for ever." to the answer of his oracle.
From the obloquy which the appearance of Some years afterwards, “business," says submission to the usurpers brought upon him, his Sprat, "passed of course into other hands; and biographer has been very diligent to clear him; Cowley, being no longer useful at Paris, was in and indeed it does not seem to have lessened his 1656, sent back into England, that under pre- reputation. His wish for retirement we can easily tence of privacy and retirement, he might take believe to be undissembled ; a man harassed in occasion of giving notice of the posture of things one kingdom, and persecuted in another, who, in this nation.”
after a course of business that employed all his Soon after his return to London, he was days and half his nights, in cyphering and deseized by some messengers of the usurping cyphering, comes to his own country, and steps powers who were sent out in quest of another into a prison, will be willing enough to retire to man; and, being examined, was put into confine- some place of quiet and of safety. Yet let neither ment, from which he was not dismissed without our reverence for a genius, nor our pity for a suf
ferer, dispose us to forget that, if his activity was Consulting the Virgilian Lous, Sortes Virgilianæ, is virtue, his retreat was cowardice. a method of divination by the opening of Virgil, and ap. He then took upon himself the character of a plying to the circumstances of the peruser the first pas: physician, still, according to Sprat, with intention sage in either of the two pages that he accidentally
fixes to dissemble the main design of his coming his eye on. It is said that King Charles I. and Lord Falk. land being in the Bodleian Library, made this experiment over;", and, as Mr. Wood relates, “complying of their sucure fortunes, and met with passages equally with the men then in power, (which was much Ominous to each. That of the king was the following:
taken notice of by the royal party,) he obtained an At bello audacis populi vexatus et armis,
order to he created doctor of physic; which being Finibus extorris, complexu avulsus luli,
done to his mind, (whereby he gained the ill-wili Auxilium imploret, videatque indigna suorum of some of his friends,) he went into France again, Funera : nec, cum se sub leges pacis iniquæ Tradiderit, regno aut optata luce fruatur:
having made a copy of verses on Oliver's death. Sed cadet ante diem, mediaque inhumatus arena.
This is no favourable representation, yet even Æneid iv. 615. in this not much wrong can be discovered. How
far he complied with the men in power, is to be Yet let a race untamed, and haughty foes, His peaceful entrance with dire arms oppose,
inquired before he can be blamed. It is not said Oppress'd with numbers in th' unequal field, that he told them any secrets, or assisted them His men discouraged, and himself expellid; by intelligence or any other act. If he only proLet him for succour sue from place to place,
mised to be quiet, that they in whose hands he Torn from his gubjects and his son's embrace. First let him see his friends in battle slain,
was, might free him from confinement, he did And their untimely fate lament in vain :
what no law of society prohibits. And when, at length, the cruel war shall cease, The man whose miscarriage in a just cause has On hard conditions may he buy his peace; Nor let him then enjoy supreme command,
put him in the power of his enemy, may, without But fall untimely by some hostile hand,
any violation of his integrity, regain his liberty, or And lie unbury'd on the barren sand.
preserve his life, by a promise of neutrality : for,
Dryden. the stipulation gives the enemy nothing which he Lord Falkland's :
had not before; the neutrality of a captive may Non hæc, O Palla, dederas promissa parenti,
be always secured by his imprisonment or death. Cautius ut sævo velles te credere Marti.
He that is at the disposal of another may not proHaud ignarus eram, quantum nova gloria in armis, mise to aid him in any injurious act, because no Et prædulce decus primo certamine posset.
power can compel active obedience. He may Primitiæ juvenis miseræ, bellique propinqui Dura rudimenta, et nulla exaudita Deorum
engage to do nothing, but not to do ill. Vota, precesque meæ'
There is reason to think that Cowley promised
Æneid xi. 152. little. It does not appoar that his compliance O Pallas, thou hast fail'd thy plighted word,
gained him confidence enough to be trusted withTo fight with caution, not to tempt the sword;
out security, for the bond of his bail was never I war'd chee, but in vain, for well I knew
cancelled: nor that it made him think himself seWhat perils youthful ardour would pursue ; cure ; for at that dissolution of government which That boiling blood would carry thee too far, Young as thou wert to dangers, raw to war.
followed the death of Oliver, he returned into O curs'd essay of arms, disastrous doom,
France, where he resumed his former station, and Prelude of bloody fields and fights to come!
staid till the restoration. Hard elements of unauspicious war,
“He continued,” says his biographer, “under Vain vows to Heaven, and unavailing care !
these bonds till the general deliverance ;" it is
therefore to be supposed, that he did not go to Hoffman, in his Lexicon, gives a very satisfactory ac, France, and act again for the king, without the count of this practice of seeking faces in books; and consent of his bondsman; that he did not show says, that it was used by the Pagans, the Jewish Rabbins, his loyalty at the hazard of his friend, but by his and even the early Christians; the latter taking the New Testament for their oracle.-H.
Of the verses on Oliver's death, in which It was treated on the stage with great severity, Wood's narrative seems to imply something en- and was afterward censured as a satire on the comiastic, there has been no appearance. There King's party. is a discourse concerning his government, indeed, Mr. Dryden, who went with Mr. Sprat to the with verses intermixed, but such as certainly first exhibition, related to Mr. Dennis, “That, gained its author no friends among the abettors when they told Cowley how little favour had of usurpation.
been shown him, he received the news of his illA doctor of physic, however, he was made at success, not with so much firmness as might have Oxford, in December, 1657; and in the com- been expected from so great a man.' mencement of the Royal Society, of which an What firmness they expected, or what weak. account has been given by Dr. Birch, he appears ness Cowley discovered, cannot be known. He busy among the experimental philosophers with that misses his end will never be as much the title of Dr. Cowley.
pleased as he that attains it, even when he can There is no reason for supposing that he ever impute no part of his failure to himself; and, attempted practice; but his preparatory studies when the end is to please the multitude, no man, have contributed something to the honour of his perhaps, has a right, in things admitting of gracountry. Considering botany as necessary to a dation and comparison, to throw the whole blame physician, he retired into Kent to gather plants; upon his judges, and totally to exclude diffidence and as the predominance of a favourite study and shame by a haughty consciousness of his own affects all subordinate operations of the intellect, excellence. botany in the mind of Cowley turned into poe For the rejection of this play it is difficult now try. He composed in Latin several books on to find the reason; it certainly has, in a very plants, of which the first and second display the great degree, the power of fixing attention and qualities of herbs, in elegiac verse; the third and exciting merriment. From the charge of disaffourth, the beauties of flowers in various mea- fection he exculpates himself in his preface, by sures; and the fifth and sixth, the uses of trees, in observing how unlikely it is that, having folheroic numbers.
lowed the royal family through all their disAt the same time were produced, from the tresses," he should choose the time of their same university, the two great poets, Cowley and restoration to begin a quarrel with them.” It Milton, of dissimilar genius, of opposite prin- appears, however, from the Theatrical Register ciples ;
but concurring in the cultivation of Latin of Downes, the prompter, to have been popularly poetry, in which the English, till their works considered as a satire on the royalists. ani May's poem appeared,* seemed unable to That he might shorten this tedious suspense, contest the palm with any other of the lettered he published his pretensions and his discontent, nations,
in an ode called “The Complaint;" in which he If the Latin performances of Cowley and styles himself the melancholy Cowley. This met Milton be compared, (for May I hold to be su- with the usual fortune of complaints, and seems perior to both,) the advantage seems to lie on to have excited more contempt than pity. the side of Cowley. Milton is generally content These unlucky incidents are brought, malito express the thoughts of the ancients in their ciously enough, together, in some stanzas, write language; Cowley, without much loss of purity ten about that time, on the choice of a laureat; a or elegance, accommodates the diction of Rome mode of satire, by which, since it was first into his own conceptions.
troduced by Suckling, perhaps every generation At the Restoration, after all the diligence of of poets has been teased. his long service, and with consciousness not only of the merit of fidelity, but of the dignity of « Savoy-missing Cowley came into the court, great abilities, he naturally expected ample pre
Making apologies for his bad play;
Every one gave him so good a report, ferments; and, that he might not be forgotten That Apollo gave heed to all he could say: by his own fault, wrote a Song of Triumph. Nor would he have had, 'tis thought, a redake, But this was a time of such general hope, that Unless he had done some notable folly; great numbers were inevitably disappointed; and
Writ verses unjustly in praise of Sam Tuke,
Or printed his pitiful Melancholy." Cowley found hisseward very tediously delayed. He had been promised by both Charles the First His vehement desire of retirement now came and Second, the mastership of the Savoy ; " but again upon him. “Not finding,” says the morose he lost it,” says Wood, “ by certain persons, Wood,'" that preferment conferred upon him enemies to the muses."
which he expected, while others for their money The neglect of the court was not his only carried away most places, he retired discontented mortification; having, by such alteration as he into Surry." thought proper, fitted his old comedy of “The
“He was now," says the courtly Sprat,“ weary Guardian,” for the stage, he produced itt under of the vexations and formalities of an active the title of “The Cutter of Coleman-street."I condition. He had been perplexed with a long
compliance to foreign manners. He was satiated * By Mayis poem we are here to understand a continu. with the arts of a court; which sort of life, though ation of Lucan's Pharsalia to the death of Julius Cæsar, his virtue made it innocent to him, yet nothing by Thomas May, an eminent poet and historian, who could make it quiet. Those were the reasons fourished in the reigns of James and Charles I. and of that made him to follow the violent inclination whom a life is given in the Biographia Britannica.-H.
of his own mind, which, in the greatest throng of 1663.
Here is an error in the designation of this Comedy, his former business, had still called upon him, and which our author copied from the title-page of the later represented to him the true delights of solitary editions of Cowley's Works: the ritle of the play itself studies, of temperate pleasures, and a moderate is without the article, « Cutter of though a merry sharking fellow about the town, named revenue, below the malice aní flatteries of forCutter, is a principal character in it.-H.
So differently are things seen! and so different party were easily irritated, was obliged to pass ly are they shown! but actions are visible, over many transactions in general expressions, though motives are secret. Cowley certainly re- and to leave curiosity often unsatisfied. What tired; first to Barn-elms, and afterwards to he did not tell, cannot however now be known; Chertsey, in Surry. He seems, however, to I must therefore recommend the perusal of his have lost part of his dread of the hum of men.* work, to which my narration can be considered He thought himself now safe enough from in- only as a slender supplement. trusion, without the defence of mountains and Cowley, like other poets who have written oceans; and, instead of seeking shelter in with narrow views, and instead of tracing inAmerica, wisely went only so far from the bustle tellectual pleasures in the minds of men, paid of life as that he might easily find his way back, their court to temporary prejudices, has been at when solitude should grow tedious.
one time too much praised, and too much netreat was at first but slenderly accommodated; glected at another. yet he soon obtained, by the interest of the Earí Wit, like all other things subject by their naof St. Alban's and the Duke of Buckingham, ture to the choice of man, has its changes and such a lease of the Queen's lands as afforded fashions, and at different times takes different him an ample income.
forms. About the beginning of the seventeenth By the lovers of virtue and of wit, it will be century, appeared a race of writers that may be solicitously asked, if he now was happy. Let termed the metaphysical poets: of whom, in a them peruse one of his letters accidentally pre- criticism on the works of Cowley, it is not imserved by Peck, which I recommend to the con- proper to give some account. sideration of all that may hereafter pant for soli The metaphysical poets were men of learning, tude.
and to show their learning was their whole en“To DR. THOMAS SPRAT.
deavour: but, unluckily resolving to show it in
rhyme, instead of writing poetry they only Chertsey, May 21, 1665.
wrote verses, and very often such verses as stood “The first night that I came hither, I caught the trial of the finger better than of the ear; so great a cold with a defluxion of rheum, as for the modulation was so imperfect that they made me keep my chamber ten days. And, were only found to be verses by counting the two after, had such a bruise on my ribs with a syllables. fall, that I am yet unable to move or turn my If the father of criticism has rightly denomiself in my bed. This is my personal fortune nated poetry réxyn MINTTIKI), an imitative art, these here to begin with. And, besides, I can get no writers will
, without great wrong, lose their money from my tenants, and have my meadows right to the name of poets; for they cannot be eaten up every night by cattle put in by my said to have imitated any thing: they neither neighbours. What this signifies, or may come copied nature nor life; neither painted the to in time, God knows; if it be ominous, it can forms of matter, nor represented the operations end in nothing else than hanging. Another of intellect. misfortune has been, and stranger than all the Those however who deny them to be poets, rest, that you have broke your word with me, allow them to be wits. Dryden confesses of ånd failed to come, even though you told Mr. himself and his contemporaries, that they fall Bois that you would. This is what they call below Donne in wit ; but maintains, that they monstri simile. I do hope to recover my late surpass him in poetry. hurt so far within five or six days, (though it be If wit be well described by Pope, as being uncertain yet whether I shall ever recover it,)“ that which has been often thought, but was as to walk about again. And then, me thinks, never before so well expressed,” they certainly you and I and the Dean might be very merry never attained, nor ever sought it; fór they enupon St. Ann's Hill. You might very conve- deavoured to be singular in their thoughts, and niently come hither the way of Hampton Town, were careless of their diction. But Pope's aclying there one night. I write this in pain, and count of wit is undoubtedly erroneous : 'he decan say no more: Verbum Sapienti.”
presses it below its natural dignity, and reduces He did not long enjoy the pleasure, or suffer it from strength of thought to happiness of lanthe uneasiness of solitude; for he died at the guage. Porch-houset in Chertsey, 1667, in the 49th If by a more noble and more adequate conyear of his age.
ception, that be considered as wit which is at He was buried with great pomp near Chau- once natural and new, that which, though not cer, and Spencer, and King Charles pronounced, obvious, is, upon its first production, acknow“That Mr. Cowley had not left behind him a ledged to be just; if it be that which he that better man in England.” He is represented by never found it wonders how he missed; to wit Dr. Sprat as the most amiable of mankind; and of this kind the inetaphysical poets have seldom this posthumous praise may safely be credited, risen. Their thoughts are often new, but seldom as it has never been contradicted by envy or by natural ; they are not obvious, but neither are faction.
they just; and the reader far from wondering Such are the remarks and memorials which I that Ảe missed them, wonders more frequently have been able to add to the narrative of Dr. by what perverseness of industry they were ever Sprat; who, writing when the feuds of the civil found. war were yet recent, and the minds of either But wit, abstracted from its effects upon the
hearer, may be more rigorously and philosophi• L'Allegro of Milton.-Dr. J.
cally considered as a kind of discordia concors; a + Now in the possession of Mr. Clark, Alderman of combination of dissimilar images, or discovery London. Dr. J.-Mr. Clark was in 1799 elected to the important office of Chamberlain of London; and has | of occult resemblances in things apparently unevery year since been unanimously re-elected.-N. like. Of wit, thus defined, they have more than
enough. The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked be retrieved, or something new is to be examby violence together; nature and art are ran- ined. If their greatness seldom elevates, their sacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allu- acuteness often surprises; if the imagination is sions ; their learning instructs, and their sub- not always gratified, at least the powers of retlety surprises ; but the reader commonly thinks flection and comparison are employed; and, in his improvement dearly bought, and though he the mass of materials which ingenious absurdity sometimes admires, is seldom pleased.
has thrown together, genuine wit and useful From this account of their compositions it knowledge may be sometimes found buried perwill be readily inferred, that they were not haps in grossness of expression, but useful to successful in representing or moving the affec- those who know their value; and such as, tions. As they were wholly employed on some when they are expanded to perspicuity, and thing unexpected and surprising, they had no polished to elegance, may give lustre to works regard to that uniformity of sentiment which which have more propriety, though less copiousenables us to conceive and to excite the pains ness of sentiment. and the pleasures of other minds; they never This kind of writing, which was, I believe, inquired what, on any occasion, they should borrowed from Marino and his followers, had have said or done ; but wrote rather as beholders been recommended by the example of Donne, a than partakers of human nature; as beings man of very extensive and various knowledge; looking upon good and evil, impassive and at and by Jonson, whose manner resembled that leisure ; as Epicurean deities, making remarks of Donne more in the ruggedness of his lines, on the actions of men, and the vicissitudes of than in the cast of his sentiments. life, without interest and without emotion.
When their reputation was high, they had Their courtship was void of fondness, and their undoubtedly more imitators than time has left lamentation of sorrow. Their wish was only behind. Their immediate successors, of whom to say what they hoped had never been said any resemblance can be said to remain, were before.
Suckling, Waller, Denham, Cowley, CleiveNor was the sublime more within their reach land, and Milton. Denham and Waller sought than the pathetic, for they never attempted that another way to fame, by improving the harmony comprehension and expanse of thought which at of our numbers. Milton tried the metaphysic once fills the whole mind, and of which the first style only in his lines upon Hobson the Carrier. effect is sudden astonishment, and the second Cowley adopted it, and excelled his predecesrational admiration. Sublimity is produced by sors, having as much sentiment and more muaggregation, and littleness by dispersion. Great sic. Suckling neither improved versification, nor thoughts are always general, and consist in posi- abounded in conceits. The fashionable style tions not limited by exceptions, and in descrip- remained chiefly with Cowley; Suckling could tions not descending to minuteness. It is with not reach it, and Milton disdained it. great propriety that subtlety, which in its ori
CRITICAL REMARKS are not easily understood ginal import means exility of particles, is taken without examples; 'and I have therefore collectin its metaphorical meaning for nicety of dis- ed instances of the modes of writing by which tinction. Those writers who lay on the watch this species of poets, (for poets they were called for novelty, could have little hope of greatness; by themselves and their admirers,) was emifor great things cannot have escaped former ob- nently distinguished. servation. Their attempts were always ana As the authors of this race were perhaps moro lytic; they broke every image into fragments ; desirous of being admired than understood, they and could no more represent, by their slender sometimes drew their conceits from recesses of conceits and laboured particularities, the pros- learning not very much frequented by common pects of nature, or the scenes of life, than he readers of poetry. Thus Cowley on Know who dissects a sun-beam with a prism, can ex- ledge: hibit the wide effulgence of a summer noon.
The sacred tree 'midst the fair orchard grew; What they wanted, however, of the sublime,
The phenix Truth did on it rest, they endeavoured to supply by hyperbole ; their And built his perfund nest, amplification had no limits; they left not only That right Porphyrian tree which did true logic shew, reason but fancy behind them; and produced
Each leaf did learned notions give,
And th' apples were demonstrative: combinations, of confused magnificence, that
So clear their colour and divine, not only could not be credited, but could not be
The very shade they cast did other lights outshine. imagined.
Yet great labour, directed by great abilities, ON ANACREON CONTINUING A LOVER IN HIS OLD is never wholly lost; if they frequently threw away their wit upon false conceits, they like
Love was with thy life entwin'd, wise sometimes struck out unexpected truth: if Close as heat with fire is join'd; their conceits were far-fetched, they were often A powerful brand prescribed the date worth the carriage. To write on their plan it
of thine, like Meleager's sale.
Th’antiperistasis of age was at least necessary to read and think. No More entlamed thy amorous rage. man could be born a metaphysical poet, nor assume the dignity of a writer, by descriptions
In the following verses we have an allusion to copied from descriptions, by imitations borrow- a Rabbinical opinion concerning manna : ed from imitations, by traditional imagery, and Variety I ask not: give me one hereditary similes, by readiness of rhyme, and To live perpetual upon. volubility of syllables.
The person Love does to us fit,
Like manna, has the taste of all in it. In perusing the works of this race of authors, the mind is exercised either by recollection or Thus Donne shows his medicinal knowledge inquiry; either something already learned is to in some encomiastic verses :
In every thing there naturally grows
The fate of Egypt i sustain, A balsamum to keep it fresh and new,
And never feel the dew of rain, If 'twere not injured by extrinsic blows;
From clouds which in the head appear ; Your youth and beauty are this balm in you.
But all my too much moisture owe But you of learning and religion,
To overflowings of the heart below. And virtue and such ingredients, have made
Cowley. A mithridate, whose operation Keeps off, or cures what can be done or said.
The Lover supposes his Lady acquainted with
the ancient laws of augury and rites of sacrifice: Though the following lines of Donne, on the last night of the year, have something in them
And yet this death of mine, I fear,
Will ominous to her appear: too scholastie, they are not inelegant:
When sound in every other part,
Her sacrifice is found withoni an heart. This twilight of two years, not past nor next,
For the last tempest of my death
Shall sigh out that loo with my breath.
That the chaos was harmonized, has been reIf I should call me any thing, should miss.
cited of old; but whence the different sounds I sum the years and me, and find me not Debtor to th' old, nor creditor to thi new.
arose remained for a modern to discover: That cannot say, my thanks I have f rgot, Nor trust I this with hopes; and yet scarce true
Th’ungovern'd parts no correspondence knew;
An artless war from thwarting motions grew; This bravery is, since these times show'd me you.
Till they to number and fixi rules were brought.
Earth made the Bass; the Treble, flame arose. Yet more abstruse and profound is Donne's
Cowley. reflection upon Man as a Microcosm :
The tears of lovers are always of great poetiIf men be worlds, there is in every one
cal account; but Donne has extended them into Something to answer in some proportion,
worlds. If the lines are not easily understood, All the world': riches: and in good men, this Virtue, our form's form, and our soul's soul, is. they may be read again. Of thoughts so far-fetched, as to be not only
On a round ball
A workman, that hath copies by, can lay unexpected, but unnatural, all their books are
An Europe, Afric, and an Asia, full.
And quickly make that which was nothing all
So doth each tear, TO A LADY WHO WROTE POESJES FOR RINGS.
Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world, by that impresion grow, They, who above do various circles find,
Till thy tears mixt with mine do overflow Say, like a ring, th' equator heaven does bind :
This world, by waters sent from thee my heaven When heaven shall be adorn'd by thee,
dissolved so. (Which then more heav'n than iis will be,) Tis thou must write the poesy there,
On reading the following lines, the reader For it wanteth one as yet,
may perhaps cry out—“Confusion worse conThen the sun pass through't twice a year,
founded :" The sun, which is esteem'd the god of wit.
Here lies a she sun, and a he moon here,
She gives the best light to his sphere, The difficulties which have been raised about
Or each is both, and all, and so identity in philosophy, are by Cowley with still They unto one another nothing owe. more perplexity applied to Love:
Donne. Five years ago, (says story,) I loved you,
Who but Donne would have thought that a For which you call me most inconstant now; good man is a telescope ? Pardon me, Madam, you mistake the man; For I am not the same that I was then ;
Though God be our true glass through which we seo No flesh is now the same 'twas then in me,
All, since the being of all things is he: And that my mind is changed yourself may see. Yet are the trunks, which do to us derive The same thoughts to retain still, and intenis,
Things in proportion fil, by perspective
Deeds of good men ; for by their living here,
Who would imagine it possible that in a very From whence these take their birth which now are few lines so many remote ideas could be brought
here. If then this body love what th' other did,
together? "Twere incest, which by nature is forbid.
Since 'tis my doom, Love's undershrieve,
Why this reprieve? The love of different women is, in geographi Why doth my she advowson ily cal poetry, compared to travels through different
Incumbency? Countries :
To sell thyself dost thou intend
By candle's end, Hast thou not found each woman's breast,
And hold the contrast thus in doubt, (The land where thou hast travelled,)
Life's taper out?
Think but how soon the market fails,
Your sex lives faster than the males,
And if to measure age's span, In countries so uncivilized as those ?
The sober Julian were th: account of man, Lust, the scorching dog-star, here
Whilst you live by the fleet Gregorian.
Cleireland. Rages with immoderate heat; Whilst Pride, the rugged northern bear,
Of enormous and disgusting hyperboles, these In others makes the cold too great, And where these are temperate known,
may be examples The soil's all barren sand, or rocky stone.
By every wind that comes this way,
Send me at least a sigh or two,
Such and so many I'll repay A lover, burnt up by his affection, is compared As shall themselves make wings to get to you. to Egypt: