Page images
PDF
EPUB

SIR JOHN DAVIES.

(Born, 1570. Died, 1625.)

Sir John DAVIES wrote, at twenty-five years of In Ireland he was successively nominated solicitor age, a poem on the immortality of the soul ; and and attorney general, was knighted, and chosen at fifty-two, when he was a judge and a statesman, speaker of the Irish House of Commons, in oppoanother on the art of dancing*." Well might sition to the Catholic interest. Two works which the teacher of that noble accomplishment, in he published as the fruits of his observation in Molière's comedy, exclaim, La philosophie est that kingdom, have attached considerable importquelque chosemais la danse !

ance to his name in the legal and political history Sir John was the son of a practising lawyer at of Irelandş. On his return to England he sat in Tisbury, in Wiltshire. He was expelled from parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyne, and had the Temple for beating Richard Martint, who was assurances of being appointed chief justice of afterwards recorder of London ; but his talents England, when his death was suddenly occasioned redeemed the disgrace. He was restored to the by apoplexy. He married, while in Ireland, Temple, and elected to parliament, where, al Eleanor, a daughter of Lord Audley, by whom though he had Hattered Queen Elizabeth in his he had a daughter, who was married to Ferdinand poetry, he distinguished himself by supporting the Lord Hastings, afterwards Earl of Huntingdon. privileges of the house, and by opposing royal Sir John's widow turned out an enthusiast and a monopolies. On the accession of King James he prophetess. A volume of her ravings was pubwent to Scotland with Lord Hunsdon, and was lished in 1649, for which the revolutionary received by the new sovereign with flattering government sent her to the Tower, and to Bethcordiality, as author of the poem Nosce Teipsum. lehem Hospital.

[blocks in formation]

When reason's lamp, that, like the sun in sky, In fine, what is it but the fiery coach

Throughout man's little world her beams did Which the youth|| sought, and sought his death spread, withal,

Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie Or the boy's wings( which, when he did approach Under the ashes, half extinct and dead. The sun's hot beams, did melt and let him fall ?

[* This is not the case; the “ Poeme of Dauncing" How can we hope, that through the eye and ear, appeared in 1596, in his twenty-sixth year, and, curious This dying sparkle, in this cloudy space, enough, with a dedicatory sonnet “ To his very Friend, Ma.

Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear, Rich. Martin." A copy, supposed unique, is in the Bridgewater Library. The poem was the work of fifteen

Which were infused in the first minds by grace? days.-Sec COLLIER's Bibliographical Catalogue, p. 92. The poet wrote bis name LADYS.)

$ The works are " A Discovery of the Causes why | A respectable man, to whom Ben Jonson dedicated Ireland was never subdued till the beginning of his his Poetaster. * Prometheus.

Majesty's Reign," and "Reports of Cases adjudged in the | Phaeton.

Icarus.

King's Courts in Ireland."

So might the heir whose father hath in play
Wasted a thousand pounds of ancient rent,
By painful earning of one groat a day
Hope to restore the patrimony spent.

Yet if affliction once her wars begin,
And threat the feebler sense with sword and fire,
The mind contracts herself and shrinketh in,
And to herself she gladly doth retire.

The wits that dived most deep and soar'd most high,
Seeking man's powers, have found his weakness such;
Skill comes so slow, and time so fast doth fly,
We learn so little and forget so much.

THAT THE SOUL IS MORE THAN A PERFECTION

OR REFLEXION OF THE SENSE.

For this the wisest of all moral men

Are they not senseless, then, that think the soul Said, “ he knew nought but that he did not know.” Nought but a fine perfection of the sense, And the great mocking master mock'd not then, Or of the forms which fancy doth enrol, When he said “ Truth was buried deep below.' A quick resulting and a consequence ?

What is it, then, that doth the sense accuse

Both of false judgments and fond appetites? As spiders, touch'd, seek their web's inmost part ;

What makes us do what sense doth most refuse, As bees, in storms, back to their hives return;

Which oft in torment of the sense delights ? As blood in danger gathers to the heart ; As men seek towns when foes the country burn : If aught can teach us aught, affliction's looks Could any powers of sense the Roman move, (Making us pry into ourselves so near),

To burn his own right hand with courage stout ! Teach us to know ourselves beyond all books,

Could sense make Marius sit unbound, and prove Or all the learned schools that ever were.

The cruel lancing of the knotty gout ?

Sense outsides knows-the soul through all things

sees ;
Sense, circumstance; she doth the substance view:
Sense sees the bark, but she the life of trees ;
Sense hears the sounds, but she the concord true.

She within lists my ranging mind hath brought,
That now beyond myself I will not go :
Myself am centre of my circling thought :
Only myself I study, learn, and know.
I know my body's of so frail a kind,
As force without, fevers within can kill ;
I know the heavenly nature of my mind,
But 'tis corrupted both in wit and will.
I know my soul hath power to know all things,
Yet is she blind and ignorant in all ;
I know I'm one of nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.

Then is the soul a nature which contains
The power of sense within a greater power,
Which doth employ and use the sense's pains,
But sits and rules within her private bower.

TILAT THE SOUL IS MORE THAN THE TEMPER-
ATURE OF THE HUMOURS OF THE BODY.

I know my life's a pain, and but a span ;
I know my sense is mock'd in every thing:
And, to conclude, I know myself a man,
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing.

If she doth, then, the subtle sense excel,
How gross are they that drown her in the blood,
Or in the body's humours temper'd well ?
As if in them such high perfection stood.

As if most skill in that musician were,
Which had the best, and best tuned, instrument ;
As if the pencil neat, and colours clear,
Had power to make the painter excellent.

We seek to know the moving of each sphere,
And the strange cause of th’ebbs and floods of Nile ;
| But of that clock within our breasts we bear,
The subtle motions we forget the while.
For this few know themselves; for merchants broke
View their estate with discontent and pain ;
And seas are troubled, when they do revoke
Their flowing waves into themselves again.
| And while the face of outward things we find
Pleasing and fair, agreeable and sweet,
These things transport and carry out the mind,
That with herself the mind can never meet.

Why doth not beauty, then, refine the wit,
And good complexion rectify the will ?
Why doth not health bring wisdom still with it?
Why doth not sickness make men brutish still ?

Who can in memory, or wit, or will,
Or air, or fire, or earth, or water, find ;
What alchymist can draw, with all his skill,
The quintessences of these from out the mind ?

If th' elements, which have nor life nor sense,
Can breed in us so great a power as this,
Why give they not themselves like excellence,
Or other things wherein their mixture is?

All moving things to other things do move
Of the same kind, which shows their nature such ;
So earth falls down, and fire doth mount above,
Till both their proper elements do touch.

If she were but the body's quality,

And as the moisture which the thirsty earth Then we should be with it sick, maim'd, and blind; Sucks from the sea to fill her empty veins, But we perceive, where these privations be, From out her womb at last doth take a birth, An healthy, perfect, and sharp-sighted mind.

And runs a lymph along the grassy plains.

[blocks in formation]

THOMAS GOFFE.

(Born, 1592. Died, 1627.]

This writer left four or five dramatic pieces, of predecessor, who, being a Xantippe, contributed, very ordinary merit. He was bred at Christ's according to Langbaine, to shorten his days by Church, Oxford. He held the living of East the “violence of her provoking tongue.He had Clandon in Surrey, but unfortunately succeeded the reputation of an eloquent preacher, and some not only to the living, but to the widow of his of kis sermons appeared in print.

SCENE FROM GOFFE'S TRAGEDY OF “AMURATH, OR THE COURAGEOUS TURK."

ALADIN, husband to the daughter of AMURATH, having rebelled against his father-in-law, is brought captive before him.

Enter at one door, AMURATH with Attendants; at the

other door, A LADIN, his Wife, two children, in while
-they kneel to A MURATA,
Amur. Our hate must not part thus.

I'll tell
thee, prince,
That thou hast kindled Ætna in our breast !
And such a flame is quench'd with nought but

blood-
His blood whose hasty and rebellious blast
Gave life unto the fire !

Be blunt those now sharp thoughts ; lay down

those threats ;
Unclasp that impious helmet ; fix to earth
That monumental spear--look on thy child
With pardoning looks, not with a warrior's eye,
Else shall my breast cover my husband's breast,
And serve as buckler to receive thy wounds-
Why dost thou doubt ?fear'st thou thy daughter's

faith?
Amur. I fear; for after daughter's perjury,
All laws of nature shall distasteful be,
Nor will I trust thy children or thyself.

Alad, Wife.

of sap,

Alad. Why then, I'll, like the Roman Pompey, o let me kiss, kind father ! first the earth hide

On which you tread, then kiss mine husband's cheek. My dying sight, scorning imperious looks

Great king, embrace those babes-you are the stock Should grace so base a stroke with sad aspect.

On which these grafts were plantedThus will I muffle up, and choke my groans,

Amur. True; and when sprouts do rob the tree Lest a grieved tear should quite put out the name Of lasting courage in Carmania's fame!

They must be pruned. Amur. What, still stiff-neck'd? Is this the dlad. Wife. Dear father! leave such harsh truce you beg?

similitudes.
Sprinkled before thy face, those rebel brats By my deceased mother, to whose womb
Shall have their brains and their dissected limbs I was a ten months' burthen-by yourself,
Hurl'd for a prey to kites !—for, lords, 'tis fit To whom I was a pleasing infant once,
No spark of such a mountain-threatening fire Pity my husband and these tender infants !
Be left as unextinct, lest it devour,

Amur. Yes; to have them collect a manly strength, And

prove more hot unto the Turkish Empery And their first lesson that their dad shall teach them, Than the Promethean blaze did trouble Jove ! Shall be to read my misery. First sacrifice those brats !

Alad. Stern conqueror ! but that thy daughter Alad. Wife. Dear father, let thy fury rush on me!

shows Within these entrails sheath thine insate sword ! There once dwelt good in that obdurate breast, And let this ominous and too fruitful womb I would not spend a tear to soften thee. Be torn in sunder! for from thence those babes Thou see'st my countries turn'd into a grave ! Took all their crimes ; error (hath) made them My cities scare the sun with fiercer flanes, guilty

Which turn them into ashes !all myself 'Twas nature's fault, not theirs. O if affection So sleckt and carved, that my amazed blood Can work then !-now show a true father's love: Knows not through which wound first to take its If not, appease those murdering thoughts with me; For as Jocasta pleaded with her sons

If not on me,

have mercy on my babes, For their dear father, so to a father I

Which with thy mercy thou may’st turn to love. For my dear babes and husband husband ! Amur. No, Sir, we must root out malicious seed; father!

Nothing sprouts faster than an envious weed. Which shall I first embrace? Victorious father ! We see a little bullock ’mongst an herd,

way!

Thus learn of me to weep-of me to kneel.

1st Child. Good grandsire, see—see how my

father cries ! Wife. Good father, hear-hear how thy daughter

prays. Thou that know'st how to use stern warrior's arms, Learn how to use mild warrior's pity too.

Whose horns are yet scarce crept from out his front,
Grows on a sudden tall, and in the fields
Frolics so much, he makes his father yield.
A little twig left budding on an elm,
Ungratefully bars his mother's sight from heaven-
I love not future Aladins.

Alad. Wife.
Alas, these infants !--these weak-sinew'd hands
Can be no terror to these Hector's arms.
Beg, infants-beg, and teach these tender joints
To ask for mercy-learn your lisping tongues
To give due accent to each syllable ;
Nothing that fortune urgeth to is base.
Put from your thoughts all memory of descent;
Forget the princely titles of your father.
If your own misery you can feel,

*

Amur. Rise, my dear child ! as marble against

rain,
So I at these obedient showers melt.
Thus I do raise thy husband-thus thy babes,
Freely admitting you to former state.

Be thou our son and friend.

SIR FULKE GREVILLE,

(Born, 1554. Died, 1628.)

Who ordered this inscription for his own grave : afterwards appointed sub-treasurer, chancellor of “ Servant to Queen Elizabeth, counsellor to King the exchequer, and made a peer, by the title of James, and friend to Sir Philip Sydney ;" was Baron Brooke, in 1621. He died by the stab of created knight of the bath at James's coronation, a revengeful servant, in 1628.

STANZAS FROM HIS TREATISE ON HUMAN LEARNING.

Some ruinous notions which our nature shows
Of general truths, yet they have such a stain
From our corruption, as all light they lose ;
Save to convince of ignorance or sin,
Which, where they reign, let no perfection in.

KNOWLEDGE.
A CLIMBING height it is, without a head,
Depth without bottom, way without an end ;
A circle with no line environed,
Not comprehended, all it comprehends ;
Worth infinite, yet satisfies no mind
Till it that infinite of the God-head find.
For our defects in nature who sees not?
We enter first, things present not conceiving,
Not knowing future, what is past forgot;
All other creatures instant power receiving
To help themselves : man only bringeth sense
To feel and wail his native impotence.

IMAGINATION.

Nor in a right line can her eyes ascend,
To view the things that immaterial are ;
For as the sun doth, while his beams descend,
Lighten the earth but shadow every star,
So reason, stooping to attend the sense,
Darkens the spirit's clear intelligence.

Knowledge's riext organ is imagination,
A glass wherein the object of our sense
Ought to respect true height or declination,
For understanding's clear intelligence ;
But this power also hath her variation
Fixed in some, in some with difference-
In all so shadow'd with self-application,
As makes her pictures still too foul or fair,
Not like the life in lineament or air.

INSUFFICIENCY OF PHILOSOPHY.
Then what is our high-praised philosophy,
But books of poesy in prose compiled,
Far more delightful than they fruitful be,
Witty appearance, guile that is beguiled ;
Corrupting minds much rather than directing,
Th’allay of duty, and our pride's erecting.

For, as among physicians, what they call
Word magic, never helpeth the disease
Which drugs and diet ought to deal withal,
And by their real working give us ease ;
So these word-sellers have no power to cure
The passions which corrupted lives endure.

REASON.
The last chief oracle of what man knows
Is understanding, which, though it contain

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »