페이지 이미지

coln; and he was subsequently presented to the rectory of Bemerton, near Salisbury, in Wiltshire. He discharged his clerical duties with unwearied zeal and attention, and was beloved by his parishioners. His health was not equal to his exertions, and he died at his parsonage in 1632, at the early age of thirty-nine. His principal work is the “Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations,” of which Walton says, in his biography, that 20,000 copies were sold within a few months. It is an interesting fact, that this volume was she only companion of Cow per during the first attack of melancholy with which he was visited. Herbert also wrote the “Country Parson, his Character and Rule of Holy Life”—a production containing a series of excellent maxims and rules, which were practically exemplitied in his own life. Commentators on his writings have censured his style as quaint and affected; but it will be easy to perceive from the few pieces we have selected, that he was not destitute of the feelings and taste of a genuine poet. Coleridge, one of the soundest critics in modern times, has spoken in strong terms of Herbert's valuable contributions to Sacred poetry.

The Rev. R. Cattermole, in his work entitled “Sacred Poetry in the Seventeenth Century," has said of Herbert, that “ he appears to have been as fine an example as any age has produced, of the poet, the scholar, and the gentleman—all harinonized and exalted in the character of the earnest and reflecting Christian.” Some of his poems are the most impressive and polished in the language. His verses on “Virtue,” “Employment,” and “Peace,” exemplify both his faults and his beauties. Upon his devotional compositions no higher praise can be bestowed, than that they were a source of comfort and consolation to a large portion of the most pions and intelligent of the community, who lived during the century in which they were first published. We must refer to the pages of Willmott for a striking account of Herbert's private life, which furnishes a model for imitation to all those, of whatever religious persuasion, who are charged with the sacred functions of the clerical profession. We have space only for the following aneo

dote and for two extracts, one from the touching account of his last moments, as recorded in the biography to which we have referred, and the other from the pen

of Isaac Walton :

“ Walton relates an anecdote of one of his walks to Salisbury. When Herbert was some way on his journey, he overtook a poor man, standing by a'poorer horse,' that had fallen down beneath too heavy a burden; and seeing the distress of one, and the suffering of the other, he put off his canonical dress, and helped the man to unload, and afterwards to reload the horse, and then giving him money to refresh himself and the animal, departed, at the same time telling him that if he loved himself, he should be merciful to his beast. This incident afforded a subject to the Royal Academician, Cooper, for an interesting design."

“With so much serenity was this Christian poet gathered to his fathers, 'unspotted of the world, full of alms-deeds, full of humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life. Wherefore, then, should we weep for the pilgrim who thus early in the summer-time set out for the celestial country, where they whom he loved were gone before, and where his beautiful piety taught him to believe that his mother's arms were longing for her absent son. Although he was young in years he was rich in good works.

“It is not growing, like a tree,

In bulk, doth make man better be.
A lily of the day
Is fairer far in May:
Although it fall and die that night,
It was the flower and plant of light.'”

Ben Jonson.

The illustrious author of the “ Angler” closes his memoir of Herbert with the following emphatic sentence:—" Thus he lived, and thus he died, like a saint, full of alms-deeds, full of humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life, which I cannot conclude better than with this borrowed observation

"* All must to their cold graves ;
But the religious actions of the just
Smell sweet in death, and blossom in the dust,



DATE OF BIRTH UNCERTAIN; DIED, 1659. THOMAS HEYWOOD was both an actor and a dramatist; but in his work entitled the “Hierarchy of the Angels, he has written verses that deserve a permanent place among the productions of the Sacred poets. The date of his birth has not been ascertained. He lived in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. He was one of the most voluminous writers of his age. His plays amount in number to two hundred and twenty, the greater number of which are lost. Cibber, in his “Lives of the Poets,” gives a list of twentyfour, which display talents of a superior order. In addition to his dramatic works, he published translations from Lucian, Erasmus, and several Latin and Italian authors. He was also the writer of three biographical works, among which was a life of Queen Elizabeth. A notice of him will be found in “Warton's History of English Poetry." His death is said to have taken place in 1659. His curious poem of the "Hierarchy of the Angels” was published in 1645, when the author was an old man. It is divided into nine books; and it is somewhat remarkable, that the commentaries attached to each part, should evince so much theological research, considering that the poet's time and attention were almost wholly engrossed in preparing compositions for the press of so opposite a nature, and which required literary qualifications of so different a character. The “Four Prentices of London" and " A Woman killed with Kindness,” are the most admired of his plays. Hallam, in his examination of the old dramatic poets, and Lamb, in his admirable specimens, render to him all the praise that he deserves as one of the minor and most prolific writers of the stage. In all the critical and hiographical works that treat of the early writers of the Euglish drama, honourable mention is made of Thomas Heywood.


Born, 1596; DIED, 1666.
All muses are not guiltless; but such strains
As thine deserve, if I may verdict give,
In sober, chaste, and learned times to live.

Thomas May, an old poet.
Ages yet to come shall hear and see,
When dead, thy works a living elegy.

Contemporary writer with Shirley. SHIRLEY is known to the world principally as a dramatist; and his works, in that department of literature, are distinguished by excellences of the highest order. He was born in London in 1596, and received his early education at Merchant Tailor's School. He entered at Oxford University. Having finished with credit his academical studies, he took holy orders, and was presented to a curacy in St. Albans. Soon after he obtained this preferment, he became a convert to the Church of Rome, and obtained a respectable subsistence by conducting the grammar school at St. Albans. He held this situation during the years 1623 and 1624, when he went to London and employed himself as a dramatic writer. In 1642, the long Parliament having, on religious grounds, prohibited the performance of plays, Shirley was compelled to resume the profession of a teacher; and he opened a school at Whitefriars, where he educated many young men, who afterwards rose to eminence in their respective walks of life. An able critic on the life and writings of Shirley, in the fortyninth volume of "The Quarterly Review," remarks, that "an amusing chapter in the history of human life might be formed on the great men who have been schoolmasters. Among monarchs, it would descend from Dionysius the tyrant, to Louis Phillippe. Among men of letters, in the times of which we write, appear the names of Shirley, and that far greater 'blind old schoolmaster,' as Milton was denominated by the miserable scorn of his enemies.” In addition to those celebrated names, may be mentioned that of Campbell, the poet, of whom his latest biographer, Doctor Beattie, records that when he was only a boy of thirteen or fourteen years of age, he paid his class-fees at college out of his scanty earnings, as a teacher of young children; and at a later period of his life, his narrow circumstances rendered it necessary that he should have recourse to private tuitions, as a means of improving his condition in life. Many other remarkable instances of this kind could be selected from the lives of our most distinguished literary men, which would form an admirable subject for biographical illustration.

The profession of a schoolmaster, however useful and honourable, is generally disagreeable to men, like Shirley, possessing a poetical imagination, and animated by a strong desire for literary fame. He soon, therefore, became tired of his humble office, and in a little more than two years adopted the uncertain profession of an author. His dramatic productions succeeded each other with extraordinary rapidity. Between the years 1625and 1666, he published thirty-nine plays which were generally well received. The reputation he acquired gave him considerable influence, and he was appointed to write the poetry for the most splendid interlude ever performed at Whitehall. It would be foreign to the purpose of this sketch to enumerate in detail his numerous dramas. They have been examined with care, and their faults and merits accurately pointed out by several critics and biographers. The author of Shirley's life, published in Lardner's “Cyclopedia,” has given a full and correct account of his literary labours. “ The Brothers,” “The Lady of Pleasure,” and “The Grateful Servant,” are considered the best of his works.

In 1633 Shirley visited Ireland, under the patronage of the Earl of Kildare, and obtained the situation of master of the revels to the Irish court. He produced several new plays, during his residence of two years in Ireland, which were performed with success at the Dublin theatre. During the reign of Charles II. stage exhibitions were again permitted, and Shirley resumed his contributions to the drama, and continued to do so until his death. His career was not destitute of adventure and vicissitude. He took a prominent part in the political events of the times, having fought in the civil

« 이전계속 »