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of any other fpecies of compofition in our language. One effect of this tafte in the nation was, that there were two collections of " Flowers" felected from the works of the most fashionable poets. The first was entitled, " England's Parnaffus; and the other, " Belvidere, or, the Garden of the Mufes." "England's Parnaffus" had the fuperiority, both in point of method and felection. Thus a custom was begun, which in our own time has been carried to a blameable excefs. If fuch compilations are not wholly deftitute. of utility, they have the difadvantage of contributing to the number of fuperficial readers, and of preventing many authors from being entirely read, the whole of whofe productions might juftly claim a diligent perufal.

The admiration of the period we are fpeaking of was not confined to living writers. Our three old poets, Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate, appear to have maintained their rank, and to have been regarded with high estimation. A fumptuous edition of Gower's "Confeffio Amantis" had been published a little before the commencement of Elizabeth's reign. About the fame time, Lydgate's "Troyboke" was printed with great accuracy, and a diligent inveftigation of the ancient copies. This was the first correct edition of that work. Such was the reverence which Nicholas Briggam, a polite fcholar, a ftudent at Oxford, and at the inns of court, and a writer of poetry, entertained for Chaucer, that he depofited the bones of that poet under a new tomb, erected at his own coft, and inscribed with a new epitaph, which ftill remains in Weftminster-, Abbey. It was cuftomary with the more accomplished and elegant courtiers to be frequent in quoting Chaucer. This fashion began in Edward the Sixth's reign, and was encour aged by the nature of our poet's compofitions, which abounded with fatyrical ftrokes against the corruptions of the church, and the diffolute manners of the monks. The fame fashion would naturally be exploded in the time of queen Mary; but there was nothing to prevent its revival under Elizabeth.

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We have formerly taken notice of lord Buckhurft's "Mirrour of Magiftrates," and of the affiftance which he received from various writers in the profecution of that work. This poem, or rather collection of poems, continued to be highly celebrated, and additions to it were repeatedly made, to render it more interefting and compleat. An enlarged impreffion of it was given, in 1587, by John Higgins, a Somerfetfhire clergyman, who was already known to the learned world by fome publications tending to the promotion of claffical literature. To the "Mirrour of Magiftrates" Higgins wrote a new " Induction," in the octave ftanza; and without the affiftance of friends, he began a new feries from Albanact, the youngest son of Brutus, and the first king of Albanie, or Scotland, continued to the emperor Caracalla. In this edition, among the pieces after the Conqueft, first appeared the Life of Cardinal Wolfey, by Churchyard; of fir Nicholas Burdet, by Baldwine; and of Eleanor Cobham, and of Humpfrey duke of Gloucefter, by Ferrars. Two legends are introduced, faid to have been compofed fifty years before; the fubjects of -which are, king James the Fourth of Scotland, and Flodden Field. The part in which Higgins's poetical fpirit is most difplayed, occurs in his ftory of "Queene Cordila," or Cordelia, king Lear's youngest daughter. The completion of the Mirrour of Magiftrates," by Richard Niccols, belongs to the next reign.

Though this work is a prime object in the poetical hiftory of the age, and there were many competitors for fame who tried their ftrength in it, it is now almost entirely neglected. This may in part be imputed to the feeble, tedious, and obfolete execution of fome of the narratives, and in part to the difference of tafte which takes place in different periods. Our ancestors were more fond than their pofterity of long hiftorical and moral poems, the design of which was to enforce a conviction of the vanity of human life, from a view of the calamities to which the greatest public characters have been expofed.



It will not be expected that we should endeavour to recite the names of all the writers of general poetry that appeared during the reign of Elizabeth. Several of them, though applauded by their contemporaries, are now found to have been entitled to no more than a fmall degree of praife. George Gascoigne, in addition to his merits as a tranflator and a dramatit, may here be mentioned as having been esteemed one of the best love poets of his time. He obtained alfo fome reputation as a fatirist. Gabriel Harvey deferves to be remembered with respect, on account of a copy of verses written by him, figned Hobbinol, and which is prefixed to Spenfer's Fairy Queen. It has even been said that this poem, if he had compofed nothing elfe, would have rendered him immortal. Harvey was the author of feveral. Latin performances, both in profe and verfe, and appears to have been held in high estimation by the first wits of the age. George Turbervile's compofitions, befides his tranflations, were of various kinds; fuch as epitaphs, epigrams, fongs, and fonnets; and poems defcribing the places and manners of the country of Ruffia, where he refided for a time, as fecretary to Sir Thomas Randolph. He was one of those who endeavoured to refine the English style.Sir John Harrington deferves little notice as a poet, independently of his tranflation of Ariofto. His Epigrams, however, are not deftitute of wit.-If, amidst so many claims to admiration and applaufe, Sir Walter Raleigh is to be fpoken of as a poet, his title to that appellation belongs to the period to which we are now confined. His poetical pieces were entirely the amusements of his youth, his attention being foon directed to fuperior purfuits. If to excel in poetry had been the object of his ambition, there can be no doubt but that, from the ftrength and greatnefs of his mind, and the stores of knowledge which would have aided his imagi nation, it might have been in his power to have rifen to a high degree of eminence.

There is fome difficulty in afeertaining what is the exact proportion of fame that is due to ûr Philip Sidney as a poet. He was a paffionate admirer of the art of poetry, and his productions in this way were very numerous. It is

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univerfally agreed, that he was unfortunate in his attempts to introduce the Roman measures of verfe into our language, those measures not agreeing with the genius of the English tongue. When, agreeably to the cuftom of many of his contemporaries, he adopts the Alexandrian, line, it is not poffible to read him with pleafure. Sir Philip fucceeds better when he writes according to what is the ordinary mode of our verfification. Here, however, he is often tedious, not unfrequently quaint, and fometimes he indulges to falfe wit. Confidering that he was a man of true genius, and had such a genuine tafte for poetry as to diftinguish Spenfer with extraordinary admiration, it is rather furprifing that he did not appear with fuperior advantage in his own performances. But let us not imagine that he has no title to our approbation. Some few of the fmaller pieces scattered through the Arcadia are poetical and pleafing; and perhaps a diligent infpection would be able to trace occafional beauties in the larger ones. Such is the judgment which we have formed from a curfory attention to the fubject. Sir Phillip's Sonnets, and his Aftrophel, and Stella, we could not prevail upon ourselves to read.

Jofeph Hall, who, in procefs of time, became fucceffively bishop of Exeter and Norwich, is entitled to particular diftinction as a fatyric poet. At the beginning of his celebrated "Virgidemiarum," he claims the honour of having led the way in this fpecies of compofition;

"I first adventure, follow me who lift,

"And be the fecond English fatyrift."

This affertion of our poet is not strictly true; for there were various fatyrical writings previously to his appearance. But he was the first who diftinguifhed himfelf as a legitimate fatyrift, upon the claffic model of Juvenal and Perfius, with an intermixture of fome ftrokes in the manner of Horace. Succeeding authors have availed themfelves of the pattern fet them by Hall.

Sir Richard Maitland was the principal Scotch vernacular poet of this period. His productions were various,


and are read with pleasure by thofe who are competent mafters of the local and obfolete language in which they are written.-John Maitland, afterwards lord Thirlftane, the fecond fon of fir Richard, has lately found a place among the poets of his country, on account of one or two pieces brought to light and published by Mr. Pinkerton. It appears from the "Delicia Poetarum Scotorum," that he was the author of feveral Latin Epigrams.-Alexander Arbuthnot, Alexander Montgomery, and John Rolland, may be paffed over without farther notice; nor is it merit, but rank, that induces us to mention James the Sixth of Scotland. He published, in 1585, "The Effayes of a Prentife in the divine Arte of Poefie ;" and in 1591, "His Majefties poetical Exercifes at vacant Houres." King James acted the critic as well as the poet. At the end of the first of thefe performances are, "Rewlis and Cautelis of Scottis Poefie," which, fays, Mr. Pinkerton, are curious, though ftupid. The eighth chapter of these rules contains the " Kyndis of Poetry ;" and mentions, 1. "For long Hiftories." 2." For heroic Acts." 3. "For heich and grave Subjects." 4. "For tragic Matters." 5. flyting, or Invectives."


We close the fubject of the poetry of this period with fome view of it, as difplayed in the dramatic form. The first regular tragedy which England produced was early in queen Elizabeth's reign; and this was the Gorboduc of Thomas Sackville lord Buckhurft; whom we have before celebrated as the original contriver of the "Mirrour of Magiftrates. On account of the originality of the Gorboduc, it may, perhaps, be thought to deferve a little more notice than could otherwife be allowed to a fingle piece. It is written in blank verfe, divided into acts and fcenes, and cloathed in all the formalities of the legitimate drama. The firft exhibition of it was in the great hall of the Inner Temple, by the ftudents of that Society, as part of the entertainment of a grand Christmas; and in January, 1561-2, it was again reprefented before the queen at Whitehall. It was not intended for the prefs; but having 2 4


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