Page images

to these compositions. No author ever kept his fervoar, that he brought to his poetic labours a verse and his prose at a greater distance from mind replete with learning, and that his pages each other. His thoughts are natural, and his' are embellished with all the ornaments which style has a smooth and placid equability, which , books could supply; that he was the first who has never yet obtained its due commendation. imparted to English numbers the enthusiasm of Nothing is far sought, or hard-laboured; but the greater ode, and the gayety of the less ; that all is easy without feebleness, and familiar with he was equally qualified for sprightly sallies, and out grossness.

for lofty flights; that he was among those who It has been observed by Felton, in his Essay freed translation from servility, and instead of on the Classics, that Cowley was beloved by following his author at a distance, walked by every muse that he courted ; and that he has his side ; and that if he left versification yet imrivalled the ancients in every kind of poetry but provable, he left likewise from time to time tragedy.

such specimens of excellence as enabled succeedIt may be affirmed, without any encomiastic / ing poets to improve it.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



Den kun Or Sie John Den AM, very little is known but | fessed, and perhaps believed, himself reclaimed ; what is related of him by Wood, or by himself. and, to testify the sincerity of his 'repentance,

He was born at Dublin in 1615;* the only son wrote and published. An Essay apon Gamof Sir John Denham, of Little Horseley, in ing.' Essex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ire- He seems to have divided his studies between daud, and of Eleanor, daugh, or Sir Garret law and poetry : for, in 1636," he translated the More, baron of Mellefont.

second book of the Æneid. Two years afterwards, his father, being made Two years after, his father died; and then, one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, notwithstanding his resolutions and professions, brought him away from his native country, and he returned again to the vice of gaming, and lost educated him in London.

several thousand pounds that had been left him. In 1631 he was sent to Oxford, where

In 1642, he published “ The Sophy." This considered " as a dreaming young man, given seems to Have given him his first hold of the more to dice and cards than study:" and there- public attention; for Waller remarked, “ That fore gave no prognostics of his future eminence; he broke out like the Irishi rebellion, threescore nor was suspected to conceal, under sluggishness thousand strong, when nobody was aware, or in and laxity, a genius born to improve the litera- the least suspected it; an observation which ture.of his country.

could have had no propriety, had his poetical When he was, three years afterwards, re- abilities been known before. ** ; moved to Lincoln's Inn, he prosecuted the com- He was after that pricked for sheriff of Surry, mon law with suficient appearance of applica- and made governor of Farnham Castle for the tion; yet did not lose his propensity to cards and King; but he soon resigned that charge, and redice; but was very often plundered by game-treated to Oxford, where, in 1643, he published

“ Cooper's Hill.” Being severely reproved for this folly, he pro- This poem had such reputation as to excite

the common artifice by which envy degrades ex

cellence.-A report was spread, that the per• In Hamilton's Memoirs of Count Grammont, Sir formance was not his own, buí that he had John Denham is said to have been 79 when he mar. bought it of a vicar for forty pounds. The same ried Miss Brook, about the year 1664: according to attempt was made to rob Addison of Cato, and. which statement he was born in 1585. But Dr. Pope of bis Essay on Criticism. Johnson, who has followed Wood, is right. He en

In 1647, the distresses of the royal family retered Trinity College, Oxford, at the age of 16, in 1631, as appears by the following entry, which I quired him to engage in more dangerous emcopied from the matriculation book :

ployments. He was entrusted by the Queen Trin. Coll. " 1631. Nov. 18. Johannes Denham,

with a message to the King; and, by whatever Essex, filius J. Denham, de Horsley parva in

means, so far softened the ferocity of Hugh com. prædict militis annos vatus 16."-Malone. Peters, that by his intercession admission w



[ocr errors]

procured. Of the King's condescension he uncertain; a second marriage brought upon him has given an account in the dedication of his so much disquiet, as for a time disordered his works.

understanding ; and Butler lampooned him for He was afterwards employed in carrying on his lunacy. I know not whether the malignant the King's correspondence; and, as he says, lines were then made public, nor what provocadischarged this office with great safety to the tion incited Butler to do that which no provoroyalists: and, being accidentally discovered cation can excuse. by the adverse party's knowledge of Mr. Cow- His frenzy lasted not long ;* and he seems ley's hand, he escaped happily both for himself to have regained his full force of mind; for he and his friends.

wrote afterwards his excellent poem upon the He was yet engaged in a greater undertaking. death of Cowley, whom he was not long to surIn April, 1648, he conveyed James the duke of vive; for on the 19th of March, 1668, hé was York from London into France, and delivered buried by his side. him there to the queen and prince of Wales. Denham is deservedly considered as one of the This year he published his translation of “ Cato fathers of English poetry, Denham and Major.”

Waller,” says Prior, “improved our versificaHe now resided in France as one of the fol- tion, and Dryden perfected it.” He has given lowers of the exiled king; and to divert the specimens of various composition, descriptive, melancholy of their condition, was sometimes ludicrous, didactic, and sublime. enjoined by his master to write occasional ver- He appears to have had, in common with alses; one of which amusements was probably his most all mankind, the ambition of being upon ode or song upon the Embassy to Poland, by proper occasion " a merry fellow," and in comwhich he and Lord Crofts procured a contribu-' mon with most of them to have been by nature, tion of ten thousand pounds from the Scotch or by early habits, debarred from it. Nothing that wandered over that kingdom. Poland was is less exhilarating than the ludicrousness of at At that time very much frequented by itinerant Denham; he does not fail for want of efforts : traders, who, in a country of very little com- he is familiar, he is gross; but he is never merry, merce and of great extent, where every man unless the “ Speech against Peace in the close resided on hi

his own estate, contributed very Committee” be excepted. For grave burlesque, much to the accommodation of life, by bringing however, his imitation of Davenant shows him to every man's house those little necessaries to be well-qualified. which it was very inconvenient to want, and Of his more elevated occasional poems, there very troublesome to fetch. I have formerly is perhaps none tæt does not deserve commenread, without much reflection, of the multitude dation. In the vesses to Fletcher, we have an of Scotchmen that travelled with their wares in image that has since been often adopted it vero Poland; and that their numbers were not small, the success of this negotiation gives sufficient But whither am I stray'd ? I need pot raise evidence.

Trophies to thee, from other men's dispraisc; About this time, what estate the war and the

Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built,

Nor need thy juster title the foul guilt gamesters had left him, was sold, by order of the

Of Eastern kings, who, to secure their reign, *****! parliament; and when, in 1652, he returned to

Must have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain. England, he was entertained by the earl of Pembroke, certo

After Denham, Orrery, in one of his prologues, Of the next years of his life there is no aca count. At the restoration he obtained that

Poets are sultans, if they had their will ; which many missed—the reward of his loyalty;

For every author would his brother kill. being made surveyor of the king's buildings, and And Pope, dignified with the order of the Bath. He seems

151, now to have learned some attention to money;

Should such a man too fond to rule alone," 5 107.15 for Wood says, that he got by this place seven

Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne. thousand pounds.

But this is not the best of his little pieces: it is After the restoration, he wrote the poem on excelled by his poem to Fanshaw, and his Elegy Prudence and Justice, and perhaps some of his

on Cowley. other pieces : and, as he appears, whenever any Serious question comes before him, to have been aman of piety, he consecrated his poetical powers * In Grammont's Memoirs, many circumstances to religion, and, made a metrical version of the are related, both of his marriage and his frenzy, Psalms of David. In this attempt he has failed; very little favourable to his character.—R.

+ It is remarkable that Jolinson should not have but in sacred poetry who has succeeded ??

recollected, that this image is to be found in Bacon.

of his masIt might be hoped that the famould now make

Aristoteles more othomannoram, regua : re se haud ter, and esteem of the public,

tuto posse putabat, nisi fratres suus, omnes contra

TIPO him happy. But human felicity is short and udasset.De angmcnt. scient. lib. iii.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

s is greater

, as the interpreting


WOT and deformed

much this series

[ocr errors]

which the

generally kn

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


by a


works of men


by a mistakett


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

His praise of Fanshaw's version of Guarini ciously collected, and every mode of excellence contains a very sprightly and judicious character separated from its adjacent fault by so nice, a of a good translator: ve bir bersenyfeler line of limitation ; the different parts of the

e sens Wirnyot 4074,477 NOI voulin That servile path thou nobly dost decline, 441 241103

tence are so accurately adjusted, and the flow

of the last couplet is so smooth and sweet;, that Of tracing word by word and line by line.

eing cloit the passage,

however celebrated, has not been Those are the labourd birth of slavish brains,

praised above its merit. It has beauty peculiar Not the effect of poetry, but pains; 793 D343842 Cheap vulgar arts, whose parrowness affords H

to itself, and must be numbered among th

those fel No flight for thoughts, but poorly stick at worde.licities which cannot be produced at will

I by wit A new and nobler way thou dost pursue, in teny.

and labour, but must arise unexpectedly in some - To make translations and translators

propitious to poetry:

0935909 91W 1 They but preserve the ashes; thou the flame, He appears to have been one of the first that True to his sense, but truer to his fame.

understood the necessity

of **0in yoi bai

emancipating Sithe excellence of these se lines

lation from the drudgery of counting lines and truth they contain was not at that time

vile practice known.

or beautiful parts of misal of earlier

the ancient authors, His poem on the death of Cowley was his last,

may nů, among his storter works, his best performa versions ; some of them are the ance: the numbers a are musical, and the thoughts

well qualified, not

not only by critical knowledge, are just. nom pro- di 159 VBH of 21890s sli

by poetical genius,

Cereringet, bylo 11 « Cooper's Hill is the work that conifers upon

ambition of exactness, him the rank and dignity of an original author originals and He seems to have been, at least among us, the

Denham saw

WROOM fogo Yr 02 "10 bo

bette but has not par author of of composition that may be

success. denomin a special poetry, of which the funda: coil are not

it with great banter

His versions of

theo be bent subject den imitation of be poetically described, with the addition of such Tully on to Old Age'has neither the Cleárness embellishments as may be supplied by historical of prosé, nor

nor the sprightliness of

of poetry. retrospection or incidental meditation.otto

The strength of Denham;" which Pope '60" mTo trace a new a het scheme of poetry, has initi

emphatically mentions, is to be found in many self a very high claim to praise, and its praise is

lines and couplets, which convey much yet more when it is apparently copied by Garth in few words, and exhibit the "sen


the sentiment with and "Pope ;*I after whose numes little will qbe

more weight than bulk.

out of 940291duont 7797 gained by an enumeration of smaller poets, that putium adt 10 10119f91 dona tuosiy 567 have left searcely a corner of the island not dig.. DE PEU VI Niedt ON THE THAMES. dt 9m031072 10 nified either by rhyme or blank verse. Though with those'stteatris he did tesētáblanico hota, “ Cooper's Hill,"l if it be maliciously inspec- whose foam is amber,

er, and their gravel gold; 08 9813 ted, will not be found without its faults. The His genuine and less guilty wealth t'explore ashing digressions e too long, the" morality too fre- Search not his bottom; but survey lie shores uod a quent, and the sentiments sometimes such as 8.7 to 19h10 yd b'ocasW mit 3191 bsd 2191291 will not bear a rigorous inquiry. 9dvd jer ut non'u1141 OPERA bis N9MBI160

The four verses, which, since Dryden has His wisdom such) at once it taid appear i bacigadi. commended them; almost every writer for a Three kingdoms' wonder, and three kingdoms' fear id century past has imitated, are generally known: While single herstood forth, and seem?y, although How like thee, and make thy stream

Each had an army, as an equal toe, ( IA

f eloquence, to make your My great example, as it is my theme!

Suu vor een becern'd than he that Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull; Each

part he came to see u viliso Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full: oda

And none was more a looker-on that he w bouingib

So did he move our passions, some were known W011 The lines are in themselves hot per fe

perfect? 'for To wish, for the defence, the crime their OWA. W moi most of the words, thus artfully opposed, are to Now private pity strove with public hater baseost be understood simply on one side of the compa Reason with rage, and eloquence with fato. rison, and metaphorically on the other; and if Eid to sixth? cuped ON, binu autobuti, there be any language that does not express in

299914 19017: tellectual operations by material images into that language they cannot be translated. But

Horaceos wit, and Virgil's state, sia to nema so much meaning is comprised in so few words;

511. He did not steal, but emulater has tongilyn er the particulars of resemblances are so perspica- b-And when he would like tbem appear,loniisel

Their garb, but not their clothes, did wear, i tid TIS

As one of Denham's principal

wala minimal Jaims to the By Garth, in his Poem on Claremont by Pope, in bis “ Windsor Forest.

regard of posterity arises from his improve

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

- دروس عمار

ment of our numbers, his versification ought to out difficulty, by following the sense; allo be considered. It will afford that pleasure for the most part as exact at least as those of which arises from the observation of a man of other poets, though now and then the reader is judgment, naturally right, forsaking bad copies shifted off with what he can get: by degrees, and advaneing towards a better practice as he gains more confidence in himself.: t.

O how transforma!

"How much unlike that Hector, who returns i. In his translation of Virgil, written when he

Clad in Achilles' spoils !
was about twenty-one years old; may be still
found the old manner of continuing the sense And again :
ungracefully from verse to verse :

From thence a thousand tesser poets sprung
Then all those

Like petty princes from the fall of Rome.' "
Who in the dark our fury did escape,
Returding, know our borrow'a arms, and shape,

Sometimes the weight of rhyme is laid upon
And differing dialect; then their numbers swell a. word too feeble to sustain ito,
And grow upon us ; first Choroebeus fell !!

-Troy confounded falls Before Minerva's altar: next did bleed

From all her glories": if it might have stood it Just Ripheus, whom no Trnjan did exceed

By any power, by this right hand it shou'd. In virtue, yet the gods his fate decreed.

And though my outward state misfortune hath Then Hypanis and Pymas, wounded by

Deprest thus low, it cannot reach my faith.
Their friends ; por thee, Pantheus, thy piety,
Nor consecrated mitre, from the same

-Thus, by his fraud and our own faith o'ercome, Di fate could save, ný country's funeral flame

A feigoed tear destroys us, against whom

Tydides nor Achilles could prevail,
Aud Troy's cold ashes Tattest, and call's 140

Nor ten years conflict, nor a thousand sail.
To witness for myself, that in their fall.
No foes, no death, por danger, I declin’d,

He is not very careful to vary the ends of his Did, and deserved, po less, my fate to find.

verses'; in one passage the word die rhymes From this kind of concatenated 'metre he three couplets in six. afterwards refrained, and taught his followers Most of these petty faults are in his first pro-' the art of concluding their sense in couplets ; ductions, where he was less skilful, or at least which has perhaps been with 'rather too much less dexterous in the use of words; and though constancy pursued.

1.1 they had been more frequent, they could only This passage exhibits one of those' 'triplets have lessened the grace, not the strength, of his which are not unfrequent in this first essay, but composition. He is one of the writers that imwhich it is to be supposed his maturer judgment proved our taste, and advanced our language; disapproved, since in his latter works he has and whom we ought therefore to read with gratotally forborn them in 9 i Jud

titude, though, having done much, he left much His rhymes are such as' seem mes are such as seem found with- to do.

- 11" 4' B TO 20 !! **** 741 5811


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]


The life of Milton has been already written in His grandfather, John, was keeper of the forso many forms, and with such minute inquiry, eșt of Shotover, a zealous papist

, who disinthat I might perhaps $ more properly have conherited his son, because he bad forsaken the res tented myself with the addition of a few notes ligion of his ancestors. on Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgment, but that His father, John, who was the son disinhe a new narrative was thought necessary to the rited, had recourse for his support to the profesuniformity of this addition, dission of a scrivener

. "He was a man eminent for John Milton was

by birth a gentleman, de- his skill in music, many of his compositions bescended from the proprietors of Milton, near ing still to be found; and his reputation in his Thame, in Oxfordshire, one

shire, one of whom forfeited profession was such, that he grew rich, and rep his estate in the times of York and Lancaster. tired to an estate. He bad probably more than Which side he took I know not; his descendant compón literature, as his son addresses him in Isberited no veneration for the White Rose. one of his most elaborate Latin poems lla


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

married a gentlewoman of the name of Castor, ( eye ; but they taide no great expectations ; they Weleh family, by whom he had two sons, would in any numerous sehool have obtained

the poet, and Christopher, who studied praise, but not excited wondet. mtoti roerte soiew the law, and adhéred, as the law taught him, to Many of his elégies appear to have been writu: the King's party, for which he was a while per- ten in his eighteenth year, iby which it appears i secuted; but having, by his brother's interest, that he had then read the Roman authors with is obtained permission to live in quiet, he support- very nice discernments b once ícheard Mr. ed himself so honourably by chamber-practice, Hampton, the translator of Polybius, remark, that, soon after the accession of King James, he what I think is true that Milton was the first i was knighted, and made a judge; but, his con- Englishman who, after the revival of lettersya stitution being too weak for business, he retired wrote Latin verses with classic elegance. If before any disreputable compliances became ne- any exceptions can be

ve made, they are very few. cessary. ... . men

Haddon and Ascham, the pride of Elizabeth's He had likewise a daughter, Anne, whom he reign, however they have succeeded in prose, no married with considerable fortune to Edward sooner attempt verse than they provoke deriPhilips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose sion. If we produced any thing worthy of non in the Crown-office to be secondary: by him tice before the elegies of Miltong it was perhapis she had two sons, John and Edward, who were Alabaster's Roxana.*| 2016 tony 30. 19V, Stue al educated by the poet, and from whom is derived Of the exercises which the rules of the Unithe only authentic account of his domestic man- versity required, some were published by him

in his maturer years. They had been undoubt John, the poet, was born in his father's house, edly applauded, for they were such as few can at the Spread Eagle, in Bread-street, Dec. 9, perform; yet there is reason to suspect that he 1608,1,between six and seven in the morning. was regarded in his college with no great fondHis father appears to have been very, solicitouş ness. That he obtained nofellowship is cer

his education at tajnwith first by private tuition, under the care of Tho treated was not merely negative

. I am ashamed mas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to to relate, what I fear is true, that Milton wași the English merchants at Hamburgh, and of one of the last students in either University, whom we have reason to think well, since his that suffered the public indignity scholar considered him as worthy of an episto- correction, lary, elegy.- 1 !1.9 teiste

It was, in the violence of controversial hostilHe was then sent to St. Paul's School, under ity, objected to him, that he was expelled; this the care of Mr. Gill; and removed, in the be- he steadily denies, and it was apparently ginning of his sixteenth year, to Christ's Col- true ; but it seems plain, from his ow lege, in Cambridge, where he entered a sizar,* to Diodati, that he had incurred rustiçation, a Feb. 12, 1624.

temporary dismission into the country, with He was at this time eminently skilled in the perhaps the loss of a term: Latin tongue; and he himself, by annexing the dates to his first compositions, a boast of which Me tenet urbs refltâ quam Thamesis alluit unda, the learned Politian had given him an example, Jam nec arundiferum mihi cura revisere Camum,

Meque nec invitum patria dulcis habetow seems to commend the earliness of his own pro- Nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor.ficiency to the notice of posterity. But the Nec duri libet usque minas perferre magistri, products of his vernal fertility have been sut - Cveteraque ingenio non subeunda meo. passed by many, and particularly by his con- Si sit hoc exilium patrios addiise pepates, temporary Cowley. of the powers of the

Et vacuum curis otia grata sequi, mind it is difficult to form an estimate : many Non ego vel profugi nomen sortemve recuso have excelled Milton in their first essays, who never rose to works like Paradise Lost.

I cannot find any meaning but
At fifteen, a dáte which he

üses tiir he is six-
kindness and

the term teen, he translated or versified two Psalms, 114 vetiti laris, "a habitation from which he is exclud?" and 136, which he thought worthy of the public ed;" or how exile can be otherwise it

interpretea. * He declares yet' niore, that he is weary of endur

ing the threats of a rigorous master, and some o In this assertion Dr, Johnson was mistaken.

g else, which a temper like his cannot undergo. on was admitted a pensioner, and not a sizar, What was more than threat wast

probably pun t. This poem, which mentions his erile

, College Register : « Johanues Milton Londinensis, proves likewise that it was not perpetual; for Alids Juhannis; idstitatus fuit in literarum elementis it concludes with a resolution of returning some sub Mag'ro Gul Gymnasit Paulini, præfecto; admis. 808 est Pensionarius Minor Feb. 120, 1824, sub Méro Chappell, solvitg. pro logr. ll. 105. Od."-R. 1 43 * * Published 1632.-R., nast hoz!

Zof corporal

[ocr errors]

y noth

own verses


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Lætus et exilii conditione fruor,


[ocr errors]

thing els

11 Milton


« PreviousContinue »