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tempered the severity of the lawyer with the politeness and learning of the gentleman ; he was a faithful advocate, an impartial judge, and equally remarkable for a love of sincere piety, and a contempt of anxious superstition.”
Joseph Hall, successively Bishop of Exeter and Norwich, was the first successful satirist in our language. His verses are flowing and harmonious, and have something of that regularity of metre which was introduced in the time of Dryden. He has hit off with a humorous fidelity the vices of the upstart debauchee and the spendthrift heir, and has painted with a lively pencil some of the prevailing follies of his time. There is an allusion, in the third Satire of his fourth book, to the eager desire for wealth that turned so many of his countrymen into alchymists, or led them to the golden regions of the new world.
Vent'rous Fortunio his farm hath sold,
DONNE had greater energy than Hall, but far less
power of versification; he was abstruse, and often obscure, but occasionally powerful. His lines are faulty and inharmonious, and stand the trial of the finger better than that of the ear. “He affects,” says Dryden, metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign, and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with speculations of philosophy, where he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softness of love."
The chief poetical work of Daniel, who succeeded Spenser as poet laureat to Queen Elizabeth in 1599, is entitled the History of the Civil Wars, written in the octave stanza.t He was unfortunate in his subject rather than his skill. A poetical chronicle, however diversified and sustained, must often be languid and tedious, and the heroes of York and Lancaster are perhaps better qualified for the records of historic prose, than those of heroic verse. There is however a dignity and spirit in Daniel that must always rescue his works from neglect, and a purity and happiness of language superior to many of his contemporaries. His Musophilus, or defence of Learning, is eloquent and judicious, and his sonnets and minor compositions, though often tinctured with the conceit of the period, are not deficient
* So says Dr. Johnson of the metaphysical poets of the period, generally; but, however injudicious so sweeping a remark may be, there are not many readers who will disagree in its application to Donne.
+ The ottava rima of the Italians, the same stanza as that of Beppo and Don Juan.
in excellence. There is a fine poetic gloom in his sonnet:
If this be love-to draw a weary breath,
BEN Jonson, the dramatist, has left us a collection of miscellaneous verses called Forests and Underwoods, and several larger poems. They are distinguished by an occasional tenderness and voluptuous dignity, a facility of rhyme, a manliness of thought, and a turn of mind running into epigram. His epigram on the union of the English and Scottish crowns is a specimen of the highest order of that species of composition :
When was a contract better driven by fate,
The song of Night, in his Masque of the Vision of Delight breathes the very soul of music and fancy :
Break, Phant'sie, from thy cave of cloud,
And spread thy purple wings;
And various shape of things.
Yet let it like an odour rise
To all the senses here;
Or music in their ear.
DRAYTON was a voluminous, yet national poet. He composed the Battle of Agincourt, the Baron's Wars, and England's Heroic Epistles. His chief work, the Poly-olbion is a description of our island, and full of antiquarian detail and allegorical personifications. He paints battle or hunting scenes, local sports or customs, and introduces historical characters and events into his poem,
which is written in Alexandrine lines, and divided into thirty parts or songs. If he is often spirited and fluent, he is as often tame and monotonous. At times he presents us with an animated and highly colored picture, and again his descriptions degenerate to the level of a traveller's guide or a poetical book of roads. Drayton, if he wanted a very deep imagination, had an harmonious ear, and has left us many tripping and graceful lyrics. His Cryer is not of a very high order of poetry, but it is lively and spirited.
Good folk, for gold or hire,
O yes, o yes, o yes,
I'll please him for his pain;
It is a wounded heart,
And never us'd to roam;
'Twill hardly stay at home.
If you my heart do see,
Or send it back to me.
PHINEAS FLETCHER, the author of the Purple Island, has been compared by his admirers to Spenser, but he fell very far short of his model in power of imagery and grandeur of design. He was however read and admired by Milton, and complimented by Quarles; but his writings are not regarded in the present day with the favor lavished on them by the author's contemporaries.
QUARLES, the puritan, wrote with much nerve and intensity, but with the gloom and spirit of his sect. His verses were popular amongst those who looked with