페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

sit facer iste locus, Nec quis témérarius ausit sacrilega turbare manu Venerabile Bustum. Intacti maneant, maneant per secula dulcis Couleij cineres, ferveatq; immobile saxum. Sic Vovet;

Votumq; suum apud Posteros sacratum esse voluit. Qui Viro Incomparabili posuit sepulchrale marmor.

GEORGIUS DUX BUCKINGHAMIE.

Excessit è vita Anne Æts 49, et honorifica pompa elatus ex Edibus Buckingamianis, viris illustribus omnium ordinum exsequias celebrantibus. Sepultus est Die 3o M. Augusti A. D. 1667.

THE EPITAPH,

TRANSCRIBED FROM THE AUTHOR'S TOMB IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, ATTEMPTED IN ENGLISH.

HERE UNDER LIES

ABRAHAM COWLEY.

THE PINDAR, HORACE, AND VIRGIL,
OF THE ENGLISH NATION.

While through the world thy labours shine,
bright as thyself, thou Bard divine!

thou in thy fame wilt live, and be
a partner with eternity.

Here in soft peace for ever rest,

(soft as the love that fill'd thy breast:)
let hoary Faith around thy urn,
and all the watchful Muses, mourn.

For ever sacred be this room;
may no rude hand disturb thy tomb,
or sacrilegious rage and lust
affront thy venerable dust.

Sweet Cowley's dust let none profane,
here may it undisturb'd remain;
eternity not take, but give,
and make this stone for ever live.

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

EDMUND WALLER

was fortunately blest much beyond the poet's wonted lot, for he was exempted from obscurity in the commencement of life, and from poverty during it's continuance. His father was Robert Waller, esq. of Buckinghamshire, his mother was sister to the celebrated Hampden. Our poet was born at Coleshill near Amersham, in Hertfordshire, March 3, 1605. He was educated at Eton, and King's college, Cambridge, and was chosen when scarcely seventeen, member for Amersham, in the last parliament of James I. He became known at an early period of his life by the exploits of carrying off a rich heiress, in 'opposition to a rival, whose cause was espoused by the court, but his matrimonial happiness was of short duration; he was left a widower at the age of 25. Still young, rich, and ambitious, he became the suitor of lady Dorothea Sydney, eldest daughter of the earl of Leicester, on whom, under the title of Sacharissa, he has bestowed some of the choicest of his poetic effusions. This appellation of sweetness happened however to be ill applied, for she treated his affection with haughty disdain, and quashed every fond desire of the poet by giving her hand to the Earl of Sunderland. Waller, tho' unsuccessful did not consign -himself to despair, but began to foster another tender partiality. Lady Sophia Murray, is supposed to be the Amoret of some of his most pleasing pieces. Unfortunately, he was again unsuccessful, and he lowered his ideas to common life, uniting himself to a lady named Bresse, in whom, tho' he found nothing to celebrate in poetry, he found much domestic comfort. This second marriage produced 13 children.

Connected with the principal leaders in the politics of the times; in possession of a large fortune; and endowed with splendid talents, he cannot be sup-posed to have been an indifferent looker-on. No, he was a considerable actor upon the political stage, and played several parts. At first he opposed the court, and in the impeachment of judge Crawley, he spoke with such eloquence and animation, that, 20,000 copies of the speech is said to have been sold in one day. It 1642 Waller was one of the commissioners who proposed conditions of peace from the parliament to the king. In 1643 we find him engaged with his brother-in-law Tomkyns and others, in a plot to reduce the city of London and the tower, to the service of the king. His plot was however discovered just as it was ripe for execution. Some members of parliament and others were concerned, who were tried and condemned; yet Tomkyns and Chaloner only were hanged. Waller purchased his life at the expense of one year's imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 pounds. After this disgrace, he retired to France, and lived chiefly at Rouen. He obtained from Cromwell, permission to return to his native country, where he was received into favour and confidence. Waller did not forget this kindness, for on Cromwell's death, which happened soon after, he celebrated his memory in a strain of the most finished panegyric. So pliant a courtier was our poet, that he offered up a large portion of adulatory incense to monarchy restored. The king perceived and bantered Waller on the congratulatory -verses, addressed to him being much inferior to those on the death of Oliver. Waller, however, extricated himself very adroitly, by remarking, that "poets always succeed better in fiction than in truth." Waller, dur ing all the reign of Charles 2, served in parliament with

He took a decided part a

considerable celebrity. gainst Hyde earl of Clarendon, who fled from party rage to Rouen, in France, where he died. In 1683 Waller was again chosen, tho' in his 80th year, a representative in the first parliament of James 2. Towards the decline of life he had bought a small house with some land, at Coleshill, and said," he would die like the stag, where he was roused." This, however, did not happen. When he was at Beconsfield, he found his legs grow tumid. He went to Windsor, where Sir Charles Scarborough then attended the king, and requested him, both as a friend and physician, to tell him" what that swelling meant." "Why, sir," answered the physician "your blood will run no longer!" The poet returned to Beaconsfield, where, on the 1st of Oct. 1687, he yielded up his breath, at the age of 82, and was buried at the same place, where a monument is erected over his remains. The ingenious doctor Robert Anderson, has observed, that the poetry of Waller, when we consider the time in which his first pieces (no ways inferior to his later ones) were written, displays a great elegance of taste, and a judgment almost congenially matured. One can scarcely believe, that but 20 years intervened between the last publication of Spencer, and the first of Waller; yet the former (who indeed affected the obsolete) cannot be read without a glossary; whereas the diction and turn of style (save a few scattered expletives) of the latter, are so entirely modern, that they seem no otherwise different, than by conveying that superior weight and energy of sentiment, which so strongly mark the character of the older poetry, and which yet promises it a longer existence than it's florid but feeble offspring can hope for.

« 이전계속 »