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He was afterwards employed in carrying on the king's 13 correspondence, and, as he says, discharged this office with great safety to the royalists; and being accidentally discovered by the adverse party's knowledge of Mr. Cowley's hand he escaped, happily both for himself and his friends.


He was yet engaged in a greater undertaking. In April, 14 1648, he conveyed James the duke of York from London into France, and delivered him there to the Queen and prince of Wales3. This year he published his translation of Cato Major*.

He now resided in France as one of the followers of the 15 exiled King; and, to divert the melancholy of their condition, was sometimes enjoined by his master to write occasional verses 5: one of which amusements was probably his ode or song upon the Embassy to Poland, by which he and lord Crofts procured a contribution of ten thousand pounds from the Scotch, that wandered over that kingdom'. Poland was at that time very

of genial temper... who, without
disguising his own opinions, preferred
goodness of heart to rigidity of doc-
trine.' The Great Civil War,
ii. 325.
I 'I was furnished with nine
several cyphers in order to it.' Eng.
Poets, ix. 156.


Ante, COWLEY, 12.

3 Wood is Johnson's authority for this. Athenae Oxon. iii. 824. But Aubrey (Brief Lives, i. 218), who was Wood's authority, introduces the statement with quaere. According to Clarendon (Hist. Rebel. vi. 19) the Duke escaped with Colonel Bamfield only.' Carte (Hist. of Eng. iv. 579) makes Bamfield (sometimes called Bamford) the leader; among those who helped he does not mention Denham.

4 Post, DENHAM, 33. 5 Eng. Poets, ix. 156.

On my Lord Crofts and my Journey into Poland, from whence we brought 10,000l. for His Majesty by the Decimation of his Scottish subjects there. Ib. ix. 196. The contribution was forced. The poet tells how the Scots would

'Not assist our affairs
With their monies nor their wares,
As their answer now declares,
But only with their prayers.'
The Diet was appealed to:

'For when

It was moved there and then They should pay one in ten, The Diet said, Amen.' Milton, on Feb. 6, 1649-50, in the name of the Council of State, wrote to the Senate of Dantzig:-' Many letters are brought us from our merchants trading upon the coast of Borussia, wherein they complain of a grievous tribute imposed upon them in the grand council of the Polanders, enforcing them to pay the tenth part of all their goods for the relief of the King of Scots, our enemy.' Works, iv. 337. Borussia is the mediaeval name of Prussia. The Czar Alexis also sent the exiled king money. Morfill's Russia, 1890, p. 126. For Crofts see post, WALLER, 8.

7 'I can remember when every pedlar was called a Scotchman by servants,' &c. MRS. PIOZZI, Auto. 1861, ii. 134.

[In the Parliament of 1606, one of the arguments used against union with Scotland was the danger that England would be overrun with 'the multiplicities of the Scots' as Poland had been. It is suggested that 'the special accident of time and place that draws the Scots to Poland,' mentioned by Bacon in these debates, was that large bodies had been levied




much frequented by itinerant traders, who, in a country of very little commerce and of great extent, where every man resided on his own estate, contributed very much to the accommodation of life, by bringing to every man's house those little necessaries which it was very inconvenient to want and very troublesome to fetch. I have formerly read without much reflection of the multitude of Scotchmen that travelled with their wares in Poland; and that their numbers were not small the success of this negotiation gives sufficient evidence.

About this time what estate the war and the gamesters had left him was sold by order of the parliament; and when, in 1652, he returned to England he was entertained by the earl of Pembroke1.


Of the next years of his life there is no account. At the Restoration he obtained, that which many missed, the reward of his loyalty, being made surveyor of the king's buildings and dignified with the order of the Bath. He seems now to have learned some attention to money, for Wood says that he got by his place seven thousand pounds 5.

After the Restoration he wrote the poem On [Of] Prudence and Justice', and perhaps some of his other pieces; and as he appears, whenever any serious question comes before him, to have

in Scotland during the latter half of the sixteenth century for the service of Sweden and employed in Polish wars. N.&Q. 1 S. vii. 600.]

Philip Herbert, fourth Earl. For Clarendon's character of him see Hist. Rebel. iii. 553. 'At Wilton [the Earl's mansion],' writes Aubrey, I had the honour to contract an acquaintance with Sir John Denham.' Brief Lives, i. 218.


Mr. C. H. Firth has printed in N. & Q.7 S. x. 41 an order by the Council, dated June 9, 1655, for Denham's arrest; also some published verses, almost certainly the poet's, on the Cavaliers imprisoned that year.

3 "The patent dated June 13, 1660.' Cunningham, Lives of the Poets, i. 70. According to Wood, 'Charles I did grant to him the reversion of the place after the decease of Inigo Jones.' Ath. Oxon. iii. 825.

Denham says that Charles II con

ferred it upon him freely. Eng.Poets, ix. 156.

Evelyn, consulting with Denham 'about the placing of the palace at Greenwich, came away, knowing Sir John to be a better poet than architect.' Diary, i. 377.

On April 19, 1661, Evelyn recorded:-To London, and saw the bath-ing and rest of the ceremonies of the Knights of the Bath, preparatory to the Coronation. I might have received this honour, but declined it.' Ib. i. 366.

5 'He got seaven thousand pounds, as Sir Christopher Wren told me of, to his owne knowledge. Sir Christopher was his deputie.' Aubrey's Brief Lives, i. 219.

Butler, in sixteen verses, accuses him of making money by ‘little tricks.' Genuine Remains, i. 158; Eng. Poets, xiv. 201.

Ib. ix. 243. 1 Ib. p. 253.

been a man of piety, he consecrated his poetical powers to religion, and made a metrical version of the psalms of David'. In this attempt he has failed; but in sacred poetry who has succeeded 2?

It might be hoped that the favour of his master and esteem of 19 the publick would now make him happy. But human felicity is short and uncertain: a second marriage brought upon him so much disquiet as for a time disordered his understanding; and Butler lampooned him for his lunacy. I know not whether the malignant lines were then made publick, nor what provocation incited Butler to do that which no provocation can excuse.

His frenzy lasted not long3; and he seems to have regained 20 his full force of mind, for he wrote afterwards his excellent poem upon the death of Cowley, whom he was not long to survive; for on the 19th of March, 1668, he was buried by his side 5.

DENHAM is deservedly considered as one of the fathers of 21 English poetry. 'Denham and Waller,' says Prior, 'improved our versification, and Dryden perfected it".' He has given specimens of various composition, descriptive, ludicrous, didactick, and sublime.

He appears to have had, in common with almost all man- 22 kind, the ambition of being upon proper occcasions a merry fellow', and in common with most of them to have been by

'They were first published in 1714. In the Preface (p. 20) Denham, after speaking of his age and infirmities, continues:-'I advise no man to dishearten himself by the sense of age or decay of strength.'

2 Ante, COWLEY, 147. 3 See Appendix H.

Eng. Poets, ix. 210; ante, Cow

LEY, 172.

5 He died on March 19, 1668-9, and was buried on March 23. Aubrey's Brief Lives, i. 219; N. & Q. 4 S. x. 13, 250.

Prior, in the Preface to Solomon, says of the heroic verse :-'As Davenant and Waller corrected, and Dryden perfected it, it is too confined.' Eng. Poets, xxxiii. 206. Johnson, it seems, mistook Davenant for Denham.

'We must be children before we grow men. . . . Even after Chaucer

there was a Spenser, a Harrington, a Fairfax, before Waller and Denham were in being; and our numbers were in their nonage till these last appeared.' DRYDEN, Works, xi. 226.

Cowper, writing of 'the breaks and pauses' in Milton's blank verse, continues:-' But these are graces to which rhyme is not competent; so broken, it loses all its music; of which any person may convince himself by reading a page only of any of our poets anterior to Denham, Waller and Dryden.' Southey's Cowper, xi. Preface, p. 13. See also ib. ii. 130; ante, COWLEY, 63; post, Waller, 5, 142; DRYDEN, 343.

Johnson perhaps prints 'merry fellow' in italics to show that he is thinking of the Clown in Twelfth Night, iii. 1. 30, of whom Viola says:


nature or by early habits debarred from it. Nothing is less exhilarating than the ludicrousness of Denham. He does not fail for want of efforts: he is familiar, he is gross; but he is never merry, unless The Speech against peace in the close Committee be excepted'. For grave burlesque however his imitation of Davenant shews him to have been well qualified 2.

Of his more elevated occasional poems there is perhaps none that does not deserve commendation. In the verses to Fletcher we have an image that has since been often adopted:

'But whither am I stray'd? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other men's dispraise;
Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built,

Nor need thy juster title the foul guilt

Of eastern kings, who, to secure their reign,

Must have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain '.'

After Denham, Orrery in one of his prologues

'Poets are sultans, if they had their will;
For every author would his brother kill'.'

And Pope,

'Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear like the Turk no brother near the throne ".'

'I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing.' See post, DRYDEN, 130, for another merry fellow.

Eng. Poets, ix. 214. The committee is described as

'That invisible Committee,

The wheel that governs all.' It sat, as one line shows, in Haberdashers' Hall. In that Hall sat the Committee for Advance of Money. Gardiner's Great Civil War, 1897, i. 74. Mr. C. H. Firth thinks Denham meant the Committee of Safety, for which see Gardiner's Hist. of Eng. x. 209.


Eng. Poets, ix. 233. For Davenant see post, MILTON, 102; DRYDEN, 26, 97.

3 Eng. Poets, ix. 227.

'Tis the wits' nature, or at best
their fate,

Others to scorn, and one another

They would be sultans, if they
had their will;

For each of them would all his
brothers kill.'

Prologue to Tryphon, Dramatic
Works of Roger Boyle, Earl of
Orrery, 1739, i. 132. Post, DRYDEN,

s Prol. Sat. 1. 198.

'Aristoteles, more Ottomanorum, regnare se haud tuto posse putabat, nisi fratres suos omnes contrucidasset.' BACON, De Aug. Sci. iii. 4; Works, 1803, vii. 191.

'In our own country a man seldom sets up for a poet without attacking the reputation of all his brothers in the art. The ignorance of the moderns, the scribblers of the age, the decay of poetry, are the topics of detractation with which he makes his entrance into the world; but how much more noble is the fame that is built on candour and ingenuity, according to those beautiful lines of Sir John Denham, in his poem on Fletcher's works!' ADDISON, The Spectator, No. 253.

But this is not the best of his little pieces; it is excelled by 24 his poem to Fanshaw, and his elegy on Cowley.

His praise of Fanshaw's version of Guarini contains a very 25 spritely and judicious character of a good translator'.

'That servile path thou nobly dost decline,

Of tracing word by word, and line by line.

Those are the labour'd births of slavish brains,
Not the effect of poetry, but pains;

Cheap vulgar arts, whose narrowness affords

No flight for thoughts, but poorly stick [sticks] at words.
A new and nobler way thou dost pursue,

To make translations and translators too.
They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame,
True to his sense, but truer to his fame ".'

The excellence of these lines is greater, as the truth which they contain was not at that time generally known.

His poem on the death of Cowley was his last, and among his 26 shorter works his best performance3: the numbers are musical, and the thoughts are just.

Cooper's Hill is the work that confers upon him the rank 27 and dignity of an original author. He seems to have been, at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be denominated local poetry, of which the fundamental subject is some particular landscape to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection or incidental meditation.

To trace a new scheme of poetry has in itself a very high 28 claim to praise, and its praise is yet more when it is apparently

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ment; and the whole read together is a very strong proof of what Mr. Waller says:

"Poets lose half the praise they should have got,

Could it be known what they discreetly blot."

[Eng. Poets, xvi. 175.]' POPE, Spence's Anec., p. 282.

Cooper's Hill, for the majesty of the style, is and ever will be, the exact standard of good writing.' DRYDEN, Works, ii. 137. On this Southey remarks:-'Adulation was so common in Dryden's days that probably he never thought himself degraded by using it.' Southey's Cowper, ii. 133.

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