« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
puppets that could prattle in a play, but never saw of their writings before. There goes a report of the Holland women, that, together with their children, they are delivered of a sooterkin, not unlike to a rat, which some imagine to be the offspring of the stoves. I know not what ignis fatuus adulterates the press, but it seems much after that fashion, else how could this vermin think to be a twin to a legitimate writer? When those weekly fragments shall pass for history, let the poor man's box be entitled the exchequer, and the alms-basket a magazine. Not a worm that gnaws on the dull scalp of voluminous Hollinshed, but at every meal devoured more chronicle than his tribe amounts. A marginal note of William Prinne would serve for winding sheet for that man's works, like thick-skinned fruits are all rind, fit for nothing but the author's fate, to be pared in a pillory. * *
Methinks the Turk should license Diurnals, because he prohibits learning and books. A library of Diurnals is a wardrobe of frippery; it is a just idea of the limbo of infants. I saw one once that could write with his toes; by the same token, I could have wished he had worn his copies for socks; it is he, without doubt, from whom the Diurnals derive their pedigree, and they have a birth-right accordingly, being shuffled out at the bed's-feet of History. To what infinite numbers an historian would multiply, should he crumble into elves of this profession! Lew
gioned Pymme, whose flesh bred such a world of executors, as being made of the roe of a herring, of no、 thing else but compacted nits, did not disband his body in more variety. To supply this smallness, they are fain to join forces, so they are not singly, but as the custom is, in a croaking committee; they tug at the pen, like slaves at the oar, a whole bank together; they write in the posture the Swedes give fire in, over one anothers' heads. It is said there is more of them go to a suit of clothes, than to Britanicus. In this polygamy the clothes breed, and cannot tell whose issue is lawfully begotten.
But I must draw to an end, for every character is an anatomy lecture; and it fares with me in this of the Diurnal-maker, as with him that reads on a begged malefactor; my subject smells before I have gone half through him: for a parting blow then, the word historian imports a sage and solemn author, one that curls his brow with a sullen gravity, like a bullnecked presbyter, since the army hath got off his jurisdiction, who, presbyter-like, sweeps his breast with a reverend beard, full of native moss-troopers. Not such a squirting scribe as this that is troubled with the rickets, and makes pennyworths of history. The college treasury, that never had in bank above a Harry groat, shut up there in a melancholy solitude, like one that is kept to keep possession, had as good evidence to shew for his title, as he for an historian
so if he needs will be an historian, he is not cited in the sterling acceptation, but after the rate of blue caps reckoning an historian Scot. Now a Scotchman's tongue runs high Fullames; there is a cheat in his idiom; for the sense ebbs from the bold expression, like the citizen's gallon, which the drawer interprets but half a pint. In sum, a Diurnal-maker is the anti-mark of an historian; he differs from him as a drill from a man, (or if you had rather have it in the saints' gibberish) as a hinter doth from a holderforth.
THE poet, was born in Fleet-street, London, in 1618. His father was a grocer; after whose death he was admitted a king's scholar in Westminster School. His decided taste for poetry was called forth by his accidentally reading, at a very early age, Spenser's "Faery Queen," which lay in the window of his mother's apartment. From Westminster he was removed to Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he was elected scholar in 1636.
Having taken his degrees in arts, he was ejected by the parliament, on account of his loyalty, from Cambridge, when he sheltered himself at St. John's College, Oxford.
From his attachment to the royal cause, too, he obtained an introduction at court, attended the king in several of his journeys and expedi
tions, and became acquainted with many of the celebrated men of his time, particularly lord Falkland, then one of the principal secretaries of state.
During the heat of the civil war, he was settled in the family of the earl of St. Albans, and accompanied the queen mother, when she was forced to retire into France, and was absent from his country ten years. In 1656, he returned to England, was soon after seized by the usurpers, and obtained his liberty only on the hard terms of a thousand pounds bail.
After the restoration, through the interest of the duke of Buckingham and the earl of St. Albans, a competent estate was bestowed upon him, and he retired to Chertsey, on the banks of the Thames, to pass the remainder of his life in studious retirement. Here also he died in 1667, in the forty-ninth year of his age.
The prose works of Cowley are not numerous; in the whole they occupy not more than about sixty pages, small-sized folio; and even these are interspersed with occasional pieces of poetry, with a few translations of Latin authors, suggested by the subjects on which he was writing. The following is a list of their titles,