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I would have been content if he would play,
The sable mantle of the silent night
The writings of FRANCIS QUARLES (1592-1644) 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. Quarles was a native of Essex, educated at Cambridge, and afterwards a student of Lincoln's Inn. He was successively cup-bearer to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, secretary to Archbishop Usher, and chronologer to the city of London. He espoused the cause of Charles I., and was so harassed by the opposite party, who injured his property, and plundered him of his books and rare manuscripts, that his death was attributed to the affliction and ill health caused by these disasters. Notwithstanding his loyalty, the works of Quarles have a tinge of Puritanism and ascetic piety that might have mollified the rage of his persecutors. His poems sist of various pieces-Job Militant, Sion's Elegies, The History of Queen Esther, Argalus and Parthenia, The Morning Muse, The Feast of Worms, and The Divine Emblems. The latter were published in 1645, and were so popular, that Phillips, Milton's nephew, styles Quarles the darling of our plebeian judgments.' The eulogium still holds good to some extent, for the Divine Emblems, with their quaint and grotesque illustrations, are still found in the cottages of our peasants. After the Restoration, when everything sacred and serious was either neglected or made the subject of ribald jests, Quarles seems to have been entirely lost to the public. Even Pope, who, had he read him, must have relished his lively fancy and poetical expression, notices only his bathos and absurdity. The better and more tolerant taste of modern times has admitted the divine em. blemist into the laurelled fraternity of poets,' where,
But since her stay was long: for fear the sun
That, for his lass, sought fruits, most sweet, most ripe. if he does not occupy a conspicuous place, he is at
Ileast sure of his due measure of homage and atten.
[The Syren's Song.]
[From the 'Inner Temple Masque."]
Steer hither, steer your winged pines,
Here lie undiscover'd mines
A prey to passengers;
Nor any to oppose you save our lips;
But come on shore,
For swelling waves our panting breasts,
Where never storms arise,
We will not miss
To tell each point he nameth with a kiss.
As when a lady, walking Flora's bower,
The Shortness of Life.
And what's a life?-a weary pilgrimage,
Read on this dial, how the shades devour
Nor do I beg this slender inch to wile
The time away, or falsely to beguile
My thoughts with joy: here's nothing worth a smile.
Can he be fair, that withers at a blast?
Or he be strong, that airy breath can cast?
Thy babbling tongue tells golden tales
Of lasting pleasure;
Thou art not what thou seem'st; false world, thou ly'st.
Thy tinsel bosom seems a mint
Of new-coin'd treasure;
No change, no measure;
The Vanity of the World.
Thy morning pleasures make an end
Are subjects far too low for my desire;
The loudest flames that earth can kindle, be
I love the sea she is my fellow-creature,
But, Lord of oceans, when compared with thee,
To heaven's high city I direct my journey,
But what is heaven, great God, compared to thee!
In having all things, and not thee, what have I ?
I wish nor sea nor land; nor would I be
Decay of Life.
The day grows old, the low-pitch'd lamp hath made
And the descending damp doth now prepare
To uncurl bright Titan's hair ;
Whose western wardrobe now begins to unfold
On earth; vain man, thou dot'st; vain earth, thou ly'st. Of rest shall call to rest in restless Thetis' armis.
He threatens youth with age; and now, alas!
He owns not what he is, but vaunts the man he was.
Grey hairs peruse thy days, and let thy past
mitted his works to him before publication. poet was also in favour with King James, who gave him a sinecure office worth £120 per annum, which Queen Elizabeth had formerly given to Sir Philip Sidney. With this,' says Izaak Walton, and his annuity, and the advantages of his college, and of his oratorship, he enjoyed his genteel humour for clothes and court-like company, and seldom looked towards Cambridge unless the king were there, but then he never failed.' The death of the king and of two powerful friends, the Duke of Richmond and Marquis of Hamilton, destroyed Herbert's court hopes, and he entered into sacred orders. He was first prebend of Layton Ecclesia (the church of which he rebuilt), and afterwards was made rector of Bemerton, in Wiltshire, where he passed the remainder of his life. After describing the poet's marriage on the third day after his first interview with the lady, old Izaak Walton relates, with characteristic simplicity and minuteness, a matrimonial scene preparatory to their removal to Bemerton :The third day after he was made rector of Bemerton, and had changed his sword and silk clothes into regularly at Layton Ecclesia), he returned so habited a canonical habit (he had probably never done duty with his friend Mr Woodnot to Bainton; and immediately after he had seen and saluted his wife, he must now so far forget your father's house as not to said to her, "You are now a minister's wife, and claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for you are to know that a priest's wife can challenge no precedence or place but that which she purchases by her obliging humility; and I am sure places so purchased do best become them. And let me tell you, I am so good a herald as to assure you that this is truth." And she was so meek a wife, as to assure him it was no vexing news to her, and that he should see her observe it with a cheerful willingness.' His father was descended from the earls of Pembroke, Herbert discharged his clerical duties with saintand lived in Montgomery Castle, Wales, where the poet was born. His elder brother was the celebrated | Rev. W. Lisle Bowles. *The rectory of Bemerton is now held by another poet, the
GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1632) was of noble birth, though chiefly known as a pious country clergyman-holy George Herbert,' who
The lowliest duties on himself did lay.
Those hasty wings that hurried them away
Will give these days no day :
The constant wheels of nature scorn to tire
Until her works expire:
That blast that nipp'd thy youth will ruin thee;
Oh, Chastity!-the flower of the soul,
like zeal and purity, but his strength was not equal to his self-imposed tasks, and he died at the early age of thirty-nine. His principal production is entitled, The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations. It was not printed till the year after his death, but was so well received, that Walton says twenty thousand copies were sold in a few years after the first impression. The lines on Virtue
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
are the best in the collection; but even in them we find, what mars all the poetry of Herbert, ridiculous conceits or coarse unpleasant similes. His taste was very inferior to his genius. The most sacred subject could not repress his love of fantastic imagery, or keep him for half a dozen verses in a serious and natural strain. Herbert was a musician, and sang his own hymns to the lute or viol; and indications of this may be found in his poems, which have sometimes a musical flow and harmonious cadence. It may be safely said, however, that Herbert's poetry alone would not have preserved his name, and that he is indebted for the reputation he enjoys, to his excellent and amiable character, embalmed in the pages of good old Walton, to his prose work, the Country Parson, and to the warm and fervent piety which gave a charm to his life and breathes through all his writings.
Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so bright,
Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses;
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
All may of thee partake;
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold,
For that which God doth touch and own, Cannot for less be told.
[Oddly called by Herbert The Pulley.'' When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by, 'Let us,' said he, pour on him all we can; Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie, Contract into a span.'
So strength first made away;
When almost all was out, God made a stay;
For if I should,' said he,
'Bestow this jewel also on my creature, He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in nature, not the God of natureSo both should losers be. Yet let him keep the rest
But keep them, with repining restlessnessLet him be rich and weary; that, at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness May toss him to my breast.'
I cannot ope mine eyes
But thou art ready there to catch
Then we must needs for that day make a match.
My God, what is a heart?
Silver, or gold, or precious stone,
Of all these things, or all of them in one?
My God, what is a heart?
That thou should'st it so eye and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art,
As if that thou hadst nothing else to do
Indeed, man's whole estate
Yet studies them, not him by whom they be.
Teach me thy love to know;
O day most calm, most bright, The fruit of this the next world's bud, The indorsement of supreme delight, Writ by a Friend, and with his blood; The couch of time, care's balm and bay: The week were dark, but for thy light; Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou Make up one man; whose face thou art, Knocking at heaven with thy brow: The workydays are the back-part; The burden of the week lies there, Making the whole to stoop and bow, Till thy release appear.
Man had straight forward gone
The which he doth not fill.
On which heaven's palace arched lies:
Which parts their ranks and orders.
The Sundays of man's life, Threaded together on Time's string, Make bracelets to adorn the wife Of the eternal glorious King. On Sunday heaven's gate stands ope; Blessings are plentiful and rifeMore plentiful than hope.
WILLIAM HABINGTON (1605-1654) had all the vices of the metaphysical school, excepting its occasional and frequently studied licentiousness. He tells us himself (in his preface) that, if the innocency of a chaste muse shall be more acceptable, and weigh heavier in the balance of esteem, than a fame begot in adultery of study, I doubt I shall leave no hope of competition.' And of a pure attachment, he says finely, that when love builds upon the rock of chastity, it may safely contemn the battery of the waves and threatenings of the wind; since time, that makes a mockery of the firmest structures, shall itself be ruinated before that be demolished.' Habington's life presents few incidents, though he came of a plotting family. His father was implicated in Babington's conspiracy; his uncle suffered death for his share in the same transaction. The poet's mother atoned, in some measure, for these disloyal intrigues; for she is said to have been the writer of the famous letter to Lord Monteagle, which averted the execution of the Gunpowder Plot. The poet was educated at St Omer's, but declined to become a Jesuit. He married Lucia, daughter of the first Lord Powis, whom he had celebrated under the name of Castara. Twenty years before his death, he published his poems, consisting of The Mistress, The Wife, and The Holy Man. These titles include each several copies of verses, and the same design was afterwards adopted by Cowley. The life the poet seems to have glided quietly away, cheered by the society and affection of his Castara. He had no stormy passions to agitate him, and no unruly imagination to control or subdue. His poetry is of the same unruffled descriptionplacid, tender, and often elegant-but studded with conceits to show his wit and fancy. When he talks of meadows wearing a 'green plush,' of the fire of mutual love being able to purify the air of an infected city, and of a luxurious feast being so rich that heaven must have rained showers of sweetmeats, as if
Heaven were Blackfriars, and each star a confectioner
we are astonished to find one who could ridicule the 'madness of quaint oaths,' and the fine rhetoric of clothes,' in the gallants of his day, and whose sentiments on love were so pure and noble, fall into such absurd and tasteless puerilities.
[Epistle to a Friend.]
[Addressed' to his noblest friend, J. C., Esq.']
I hate the country's dirt and manners, yet