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If the Latin performances of Cowley and Milton be com- 34 pared, for May I hold to be superior to both, the advantage seems to lie on the side of Cowley. Milton is generally content to express the thoughts of the ancients in their language; Cowley, without much loss of purity or elegance, accommodates the diction of Rome to his own conceptions'.

At the Restoration, after all the diligence of his long service, 35 and with consciousness not only of the merit of fidelity, but of the dignity of great abilities, he naturally expected ample preferments; and, that he might not be forgotten by his own fault, wrote a Song of Triumph. But this was a time of such general hope that great numbers were inevitably disappointed, and Cowley found his reward very tediously delayed3. He had been promised by both Charles the first and second the Mastership of the Savoy, but 'he lost it,' says Wood, 'by certain persons, enemies to the Muses".'

Cowley's case (Cal. State Papers Dom. 1661-2, p. 210) both Charles I and Charles II had promised him the mastership 'under their hands'; but

The neglect of the court was not his only mortification: 36 having, by such alteration as he thought proper, fitted his old he was described as a man 'quem Anglicana Respublica habuit vindicem,' and as dying 'A° Libertatis (Humanae MDCL0' Angliae At the Restoration his body was ejected, and 'his monument throw'd aside.' Crull's Antiquities of St. Peter's, ii. App. 24.

Restitutae Lo'} claimed by another on a

* See Appendix B.


Eng. Poets, vii. 228.

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It was out on May 31, 1660, two days after Restoration Day. Waller anticipated him by a day. Masson's Milton, vi. WALLER, 68.

12; 13; post, preface to Cutter of

Coleman Street, first acted in 1661, he says: 'This I do affirm, that from all which I have written I never received the least benefit; but, on the contrary, have felt sometimes the effects of malice and misfortune.' Hurd's Cowley, i. 105.

4 6 He was by the most generous endeavours of the Earl of St. Albans designed to be master of the Savoy; which, though granted to his merit by both the Charles's 1 and 2, yet by certain persons, enemies to the Muses, he lost that place.' WOOD, Fasti Oxon. ii. 210.

[According to a statement of

promise of Charles I. The fact that Cowley was not in orders was raised as an objection, as the statement alleges that the place might be held 'by a person not a divine.']

According to Hurd the mastership was the Rachel in Cowley's Complaint (Eng. Poets, vii. 251):-"The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more

Thou didst with faith and labour serve,

And didst (if faith and labour can)

Though she contracted was to thee
Giv'n to another,' &c.

Hurd's Cowley, i. 187.
Oldham, speaking of the neglect
of men of genius, continues :-
'Great Cowley's Muse the same ill-
treatment had,

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Whose verse shall live for ever to upbraid

Th'ungrateful world that left such worth unpaid.'

Oldham's Works, 1703, p. 420.



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Comedy of The Guardian for the stage, he produced it to the publick under the title of The Cutter of Coleman-street'. It was treated on the stage with great severity, and was afterwards censured as a satire on the king's party.

Mr. Dryden, who went with Mr. Sprat to the first exhibition, related to Mr. Dennis, 'that when they told Cowley how little favour had been shewn him, he received the news of his ill success, not with so much firmness as might have been expected from so great a man.'

What firmness they expected or what weakness Cowley discovered cannot be known. He that misses his end will never be as much pleased as he that attains it, even when he can impute no part of his failure to himself; and when the end is to please the multitude, no man perhaps has a right, in things admitting of gradation and comparison, to throw the whole blame upon his judges, and totally to exclude diffidence and shame by a haughty consciousness of his own excellence".

39 For the rejection of this play it is difficult now to find the reason; it certainly has, in a very great degree, the power of fixing attention and exciting merriment. From the charge of disaffection he exculpates himself in his preface by observing how unlikely it is that, having followed the royal family through all their distresses, 'he should chuse the time of their restoration [restitution] to begin a quarrel with them3.' It appears, however, from the Theatrical Register of Downes the prompter, to have been popularly considered as a satire on the Royalists*.


That he might shorten this tedious suspense he published his pretensions and his discontent in an ode called The Complaint, in which he styles himself the melancholy Cowley 5.

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This met with the usual fortune of complaints, and seems to have excited more contempt than pity.

These unlucky incidents are brought, maliciously enough, 41 together in some stanzas, written about that time, on the choice of a laureat; a mode of satire by which, since it was first introduced by Suckling, perhaps every generation of poets has been teazed: 'Savoy-missing Cowley came into the court, Making apologies for his bad play;

Every one gave him so good a report,

That Apollo gave heed to all he could say;
Nor would he have had, 'tis thought, a rebuke,
Unless he had done some notable folly;
Writ verses unjustly in praise of Sam Tuke',
Or printed his pitiful Melancholy.'

His vehement desire of retirement now came again upon 42 him. Not finding,' says the morose Wood, 'that preferment conferred upon him which he expected, while others for their money carried away most places, he retired discontented into Surrey 3'

'He was now,' says the courtly Sprat, 'weary of the vexations 43 and formalities of an active condition. He had been perplexed with a long compliance to foreign manners. He was satiated with the arts of a court, which sort of life, though his virtue made it innocent to him, yet nothing could make it quiet. Those were the reasons that moved him to [forego all public employments and to] follow the violent inclination of his own mind, which, in the greatest throng of his former business, had still called upon him, and represented to him the true delights of solitary studies, of temperate pleasures, and [of] a moderate revenue below the malice and flatteries of fortune"?

So differently are things seen and so differently are they 44 shown; but actions are visible, though motives are secret. Cowley

Th' uncomfortable shade

Of the black yew's unlucky green, Mixt with the mourning willow's careful grey,

Where reverend Cam cuts out his

famous way, The melancholy Cowley lay.' Eng. Poets, vii. 248. In A Session of the Poets, Suckling's Fragmenta Aurea, ed. 1648, P. 7.

2 On Colonel Tuke's Tragi-Comedy of the Adventures of Five Hours,

Eng. Poets, vii. 254. Pepys, on Jan.
8, 1662-3, described it as the
famous new play acted the first time
to-day.' Diary, ii. 94. On Feb. 15,
1688-9, he recorded:-'I do find
Sir Samuel Tuke, I think, a little
conceited, but a man of very fine
discourse as any I ever heard almost,
which I was mighty glad of.' lb. v.
113. Tuke was Evelyn's cousin.
Evelyn's Diary, ii. 37.

3 Fasti Oxon. ii, 210.
Hurd's Cowley, i. 16.

certainly retired; first to Barn-elms', and afterwards to Chertsey, in Surrey. He seems, however, to have lost part of his dread of the 'hum of men. He thought himself now safe enough from intrusion, without the defence of mountains and oceans; and, instead of seeking shelter in America, wisely went only so far from the bustle of life as that he might easily find his way back, when solitude should grow tedious. His retreat was at first but slenderly accommodated; yet he soon obtained, by the interest of the Earl of St. Albans and the duke of Buckingham, such a lease of the Queen's lands as afforded him an ample income 3. 45 By the lover of virtue and of wit it will be solicitously asked, if he now was happy. Let them peruse one of his letters accidentally preserved by Peck, which I recommend to the consideration of all that may hereafter pant for solitude 5.


'Chertsey, 21 May, 1665.

The first night that I came hither I caught so great a cold, with a defluxion of rheum, as made me keep my chamber ten days. And, two after, had such a bruise on my ribs with a fall,

Hurd's Cowley, i. 52. Evelyn recorded on May 14, 1663:-'To Barnes, to visit my excellent and ingenious friend, Abraham Cowley.' Diary, i. 396. Pepys, who rowed up the river to 'Barne Elmes' on May 26, 1667, recorded in his Diary, iv. 53:-'I walked the length of the Elmes, and with great pleasure saw some gallant ladies and people come with their bottles, and basket, and chairs, and form, to sup under the trees by the water-side, which was mighty pleasant.'


L'Allegro of Milton [1. 118]. JOHNSON.

See Appendix D.

* In Memoir of Oliver Cromwell, &c. by Francis Peck, 1740, Part ii. p. 81. Sprat, addressing Clifford (post, DRYDEN, 94), says:-'In his letters to his private friends he always expressed the native tenderness and innocent gaiety of his mind. I think, Sir, you and I have the greatest collection of this sort. But I know you agree with me that nothing of this nature should be published.' Hurd's Cowley, i. 37; ante, COWLEY,

I n.

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Atterbury wrote to Pope from Bromley: 'I generally keep here what Mr. Cowley calls the worst of company in the world, my own.' Atterbury Corres. i. 81. He refers, perhaps, to the following:-'And yet our dear self is so wearisome to us that we can scarcely support its conversation for an hour together.' Eng. Poets, ix. 28.

6 In The Garden he had written :— 'Here health itself does live, That salt of life which does to all a

relish give.' Ib. ix. 75.

In his Essay Of Myself he writes: 'God laughs at a man who says to his soul, Take thy ease. I meet presently. with so much sickness

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that I am yet unable to move or turn myself in my bed. This is my personal fortune here to begin with. And, besides, I can get no money from my tenants', and have my meadows eaten up every night by cattle put in by my neighbours. What this signifies, or may come to in time, God knows; if it be ominous, it can end in nothing less than hanging. Another misfortune has been, and stranger than all the rest, that you have broke your word with me, and failed to come, even though you told Mr. Bois3 that you would. This is what they call Monstri simile. I do hope to recover my late hurt so farre within five or six days (though it be uncertain yet whether I shall ever recover it) as to walk about again. And then, methinks, you and I and the Dean might be very merry upon St. Anne's Hills. You might very conveniently come hither the way of Hampton Town, lying there one night. I write this in pain and can say no more: Verbum sapienti".

He did not long enjoy the pleasure or suffer the uneasiness 46 of solitude, for he died at the Porch-house in Chertsey in 1667, in the 49th year of his age".

He was buried with great pomp near Chaucer and Spenser ; 47 and king Charles pronounced 'That Mr. Cowley had not left

(a new misfortune to me) as would have spoiled the happiness of an emperor as well as mine.' Ib. ix. 125.

In his Essay Of Agriculture he asserted that 'the means of improving estates is as easy and certain in agriculture as in any other track of commerce.' Ib. ix. 41.

In his will, written four months later, he says of his estate, 'which it has pleased God to bestow upon me much above my deserts. Cunningham, Lives of the Poets, i. 62.

3 Pepys mentions Mr. Bois, whose house in Cheapside was burnt down in Aug. 1664. Diary, ii. 368.


'Eho, nonne hoc monstri simile

est?' TERENCE, Eun. ii. 3. 43. 5 At St. Anne's Hill was Fox's last home.

''Dictum sapienti sat est.' TERENCE, Phor. iii. 3. 8.

''He died at a house called the Porch house, towards the west end of the town of Chertsey, on July 28, aged 49 years.' WOOD, Fasti Oxon. ii. 212. Johnson says in a note that the house is 'now in the possession of Mr. Clarke, Alderman of London.' See post, MILTON, 97 n. Clarke be


longed to Johnson's Essex Head Club. Boswell's Johnson, iv. 258.

Pope asks:

'Who now shall charm the shades where Cowley strung

His living harp, and lofty Denham sung?'

In a note he adds:-'Mr. Cowley died at Chertsey, on the borders of the Forest.' Windsor Forest, 1. 279:

For an improbable account of his death see Spence's Anecdotes, p. 13, and Dict. Nat. Biog. xii. 381, and for his will see Cunningham, Lives of the Poets, i. 62.

Evelyn recorded on Aug. 3'Went to Mr. Cowley's funeral, whose corpse was conveyed to Westminster Abbey in a hearse with six horses and all funeral decency, near a hundred coaches of noblemen and persons of quality following; among these all the wits of the town, divers bishops and clergymen.' Diary, ii. 30.

Pepys did not hear of his death till Aug. 10, when he recorded:-' To the New Exchange, to the bookseller's there.... Cowley, he tells me, is dead; who, it seems, was a mighty civil, serious man; which I did not с

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