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has learned the manner of his friend; and Milton may be traced to him. In our days, his peculiarities have been caught, and his beauties imitated by men, who will themselves find admirers and imitators hereafter.” The late Henry Neele, in his admirable“ Lectures on English Poetry,” from the reign of Edward III., to the time of Cowper and Burns, records his opinion of Browne in still more unmeasured terms of praise. “It has been complained,” he remarks," that English literature, however rich in other respects, is very defective in pastoral poetry; but this is a complaint which can only be made by critics, who are ignorant of the existence of such a poet as Browne. He is a writer thoroughly and entirely English. His scenery is English. He paints not Arcadia or Utopia; but he takes us to the leafy shores of Devon, and the fertile banks of Tamar, and describes their beauties with the ardour of a lover, and the truth of a painter. His music is not of the oaten stop, or of the pastoral pipe, or of the wild harp of antiquity; but of the ploughman's whistle, the milk-maid's song, the sheep-bell, and the minstrelsy rung out from beneath some neighbouring spire. Browne confines himself to the scenery of manners which he has seen and known. His works, although full of truth and nature, are rich in poetry and imagination; for to these nature and truth are not opposed, but are the best and surest inspirers and auxiliaries."
In the Cabinet series of the English poets, published in a cheap and convenient form by H. G. Clarke and Co. of London, the poetical works of William Browne are included. Among other testimonies to his merits, as a descriptive poet, the editor quotes the subjoined eloquent passage from Miller's “Rural Sketches,”—a modern author who has written some very pleasing poetry, and whose prose compositions are admired for their elegance of style :-“There is a green look about his pages, he carries with him the true aroma of old forests, his lines are mottled with rich mosses, and there is a gnarled ruggedress upon the stems of his trees. His waters have a wet look and a splashing sound about them, and you feel the fresh air play around
you while you read. His birds are the free denizens of the fields, and they send their songs so life-like through the covert, that their music rings upon the
and are carried away with his sweet pipings.' He heard the sky-lark sing in the blue dome of heaven before he transferred its warblings to his pages, and inhaled the perfume of the flowers he described; the roaring of the trees was to him an old familiar sound; his soul was a rich storehouse for all that is beautiful in nature. But he is dead, and needs not our praise. He has erected for himself a monument which will stand securely when we are forgotten. Nearly two centuries have already swept over his grave, and (so far as our limited research has been carried) no one has arisen to do his memory that justice which it deserves."
BORN, 1591 ; DIED, 1660. ROBERT HERRICK was one of the sweetest lyrical poets of the age in which he lived. Like many others of the early votaries of the muse, his productions were neglected, and his name scarcely known, until many years after his death. In Nicholl's “ History of Leicestershire" some account is given of his life.“ The Gentleman's Magazine" for 1796 and 1797 called public attention to his poetical merits; and Dr. Drake in his “Literary Hours," a pleasing and instructive work, assisted to rescue several of his most delightful effusions from unmerited oblivion. Ellis, also, in his “Specimens of the Early English Poets,” rendered similar assistance; and, at a later period, the fullest justice has been done to his varied excellences by an able writer in the fifth volume of “The Retrospective Review." There is nothing sufficiently remarkable in the life of Herrick to demand a lengthened notice. He was born in London in the
His father was an eminent goldsmith in Cheapside. He received his education at St. John's College, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and took orders as a clergyman of the Church of England. In 1629 he was
presented by Charles I. to the living of Dean Prior, in Devonshire. In this retreat, he spent nineteen years without any interruption to his duties as a clergyman; and, during that period, he composed many of his most popular poems. He was a favourite with the most distinguished patrons of literature in his day. Amongst other eminent persons by whom he was esteemed were Ben Jonson, and the celebrated John Selden. Under the government of Oliver Cromwell, he was deprived of his living, in common with many others of the Episcopal clergy; but it was restored to him after Charles II. came to the throne, in 1660. He lived to an advanced age; the precise period of his death has not been ascertained; it is supposed to have taken place in 1660. His compositions were published in 1648, under the title of “Hesperides, or the works, both human and divine, of Robert Herrick.”
Herrick's writings cannot be recommended as entirely free from objection on the ground of morality. The fascination of his style, and the flowing melody of his versification, render his impurities of thought the more dangerous; and when it is recollected, that he was a member of the sacred profession, even the vices of the times afford no justification of his grossness. Notwithstanding this defect, selections have been made from his productions eminently distinguished for beauty and simplicity. As a religious poet, he was not so celebrated as for his lyrical effusions, though his “ Dirge of Jeptha," and his “Litany of the Holy Spirit,” are characterized by pure sentiment and deep feeling. Dr. Nott, of Bristol, published in 1810 a selection of Herrick's poems, with an account of his life. Dr. Drake classes Herrick's poetry under the divisions of Amatory, Anacreontic, Horatian, Moral, and Descriptive; and he gives several felicitous illustrations of each. His pathetic verses addressed to “Blossoms” and to “Daffodils,” which will be found among our selections under the division of Natural History, are written in a spirit of tender melancholy that leaves a pleasing and moral impression on the mind.
The sacred poems of Herrick are entitled, “Noble Numbers, or his Pious Pieces.” They consist of a series
of compositions, of which the majority do not deserve to be placed in a high class of poetical excellence. Some few, however, are characterized by their fervour of spirit and melody of versification. S. C. Hall, in his “Book of Gems," concludes his notice of this author with the following lively remarks :-“The name of Herrick is surpassingly gladsome and joyous. He was a lighthearted bird, who bounded from flower to flower with the gay thoughtlessness of the butterfly, rather than the patient labour of the bee. He appears as if giving himself up to enjoyment. He revels among his thoughts. Springing forth naturally and without effort, they take the form of verse, airy and playful as the thistledown that is borne with the breeze from one spot to another, and, like the thistledown, rarely tarrying long enough on any to carry into air a particle of truth.”
In the same animated spirit and figurative style of language, an eloquent writer in "The Retrospective Review" observes: “Herrick's poems resemble a luxuriant meadow, full of king-cups and wild flowers; or a July firmament, sparkling with a myriad of stars. His fancy fed upon
all the fair and sweet things of nature : it is redolent of roses and jessamines; it is as light and airy as the thistledown, or the bubbles which laughing boys blow into the air, where they float in a winding line of beauty.” The fourth volume of "The Quarterly Review" contains some judicious remarks on Herrick's poetical qualifications. “His divine poems,” says Hallam, *are such as might be presumed by their title and the poet's calling; of his humorous, which are poetically much superior, and probably written in early life, the greater portion is light and voluptuous. A selection was published in 1815, by which, as commonly happens, the poetical fame of Herrick does not suffer. A complete edition of his works was printed at Edinburgh in 1823. He is abundant in the resources of verse. He is sportive, fanciful, and generally polished in his language, though he is sometimes obscure, and runs occasionally into pedantry.” Many of Herrick's smaller poems and songs are unequalled for their sweetness and sparkling vivacity. Campbell notices Herrick in his “Specimens of the British Poets,” and pronounces a
severe censure on his coarseness and indelicacy. Robert Bell, also, in his "Lives of the Poets,” published in Lardner’s “ Cyclopedia,” has made some appropriate remarks on the literary character of this pleasing writer.
BORN, 1591 ; DIED, 1669: THE REV. DR. HENRY KING was a religious poet and divine of considerable reputation.
His father was John King, Bishop of London. Henry, the son of this prelate, was born in 1591. He received his early education at Westminster School, and afterwards graduated at Christ's College, Oxford, where he obtained the degree of Master of Arts. Soon after his ordination, James I. conferred upon him the office of chaplain. In 1638 he received further promotion, by being appointed to the deanery of Rochester; and in three years from that date, he was elevated to the episcopal þench, and became Bishop of Rochester. This preferment he lost in the political troubles which then prevailed, and recovered it at the restoration of Charles II. His death took place in 1669. He published several sermons, which bear evidence of the fervency and sincerity of the religious principles by which his conduct was regulated. Both as a clergyman and in private life, he was popular and beloved. Mr. Campbell has given it as his opinion, that “Dr. King's poems, elegies, and sonnets, have a neatness, elegance, and even tenderness, which entitle them to more attention than they now receive.” The Rev. R. Cattermole says of this learned prelate, “that he was advanced to a Bishopric by King Charles, expressly with a view that by his mildness, unfeigned piety, and blameless life, he might help to win back the affections of the people, alienated by its enemies from the episcopal order. There is a peculiar charm in his poetry, which is owing less to the ease and sweetness of style by which it is frequently distinguished, than by its faithfully reflecting the qualities of the author's mind and heart." His reflections on the “ Shortness of Man's Life," and his “Dirge,” have been