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took him out of the common-place and self-satisfaction of ordinary success, subjected his proud spirit to a variety of tender impressions, and made him think and feel to ten-fold purpose. Thus he became super-eminent in his own age, was admired by the greater men of the next, and has not only a right, on every account, to a place in collections of English poetry, but has features which are still worth our regard, and tones which come natural to our ears. We must catch his lute at intervals, and then we may still imagine the graceful and gallant being who played on it. If we see not the slightest ground for depriving Chaucer, in any one respect, of his title of Father of English Poetry, we are heartily ready to allow that Surrey well deserved that of the Eldest Son, however he was surpassed by the brothers that immediately followed him.
In our biographical notice of Chaucer, we adverted to the excellent Sketches of English Literature, edited by Craik. As he is the most recent, and not the least distinguished labourer in that extensive field of inquiry, we shall conclude our quotations with an extract from his review of Lord Surrey's literary and poetical genius. "Two names are commonly placed together at the head of our new poetical literature, Lord Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt; but the former has in every way the best title to precedence. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, memorable in our history as the last victim of the capricious and sanguinary tyranny of Henry VIII., had already, in his short life, which was terminated by the axe of the executioner in his twenty-seventh year, carried away from all his countrymen the laurels both of knighthood and of song. The superior polish alone of the best of Surroy's verses would place him at an immeasurable distance in advance of all his immediate predecessors. So remarkable, indeed, is the contrast in this respect which his poetry presents to theirs, that in modern times there has been claimed for Surrey, as we have seen, the honour of having been the first to introduce our existing system of rhythm into the language. But this position, we have endeavoured to show, cannot be maintained. The true merit of Surrey is that, proceeding upon the same system of versification which had been introduced by Chaucer, and which indeed had in principle been followed by all the writers after Chaucer, however rudely or imperfectly some of them may have succeeded in the practice of it, he restored to our poetry a correctness, polish, and general spirit of refinement such as it had not known since Chaucer's time, and of which, therefore, in the language as now spoken, there was no previous example whatever. To this it may be added, that he appears to have been the first at least in this age, who sought to modulate his strains after that elder poetry of Italy, which thenceforward became one of the chief fountain-beads of inspiration to that of England throughout the whole space of time over which is shed the golden light of the names of Spenser, of Shakspeare, and of Milton. Surrey's own imagination was neither rich nor soaring; and the highest qualities of his poetry, in addition to the facility and general mechanical perfection of the versification, are delicacy and tenderness. It is altogether a very light and bland Favonian breeze. The poetry of his friend Wyatt is of a different character, neither so flowing in form nor so uniformly gentle in spirit, but perhaps making up for its greater ruggedness by a force and depth of sentiment occasionally which Surrey does not reach. The poems of Lord Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt were first published together in 1557.”
From the nature and peculiar subjects of Surrey's poetry, there are few extracts that could be selected, in all respects, suitable to a work intended for the instruction of young students. We have, however, given specimens of his sonnets, which have been justly praised as simple, chaste, and expressive. In Chalmers
English Poets,” Park's “Lives of the Royal and Noble Authors,” and Dr. Nott's “Memoirs of Surrey and Wyatt,” more ample information will be obtained respecting a poet, who has been justly considered a brilliant light in a dark age.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
BORN, 1552; BEBEADED, 1618.
In which he conquer'd, and in which he bled. The life of this eminent author cannot be read without the deepest interest. It was diversified by events of the most exciting character. He was one of the
many distinguished men, who shed a lustre upon the age in which he lived; and his name will always occupy an exalted place in the history of his country. As one of the most laborious of his biographers, Patrick Frazer Tytler, has observed:—"So much was Sir Walter Raleigh the child of enterprise and the sport of vicissitude, that he who sits down to write his life, finds himself, without departing from the severe simplicity of truth, surrounded with lights almost as glowing as those of romance." The limited space allotted to the biographical sketches in the present work, will not admit of more than a brief outline of the leading incidents in his remarkable career. It was his fate to be celebrated as a warrior, a navigator, a statesman, and an author. He lived in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., and was the second son of a gentleman of ancient family in Devonshire. Hayes Farm, in that lovely county, had the bonour of giving birth to this master-spirit of his age, in 1552. He entered Oriel College, Oxford, in 1568, and afterwards at the Middle Temple. His proficiency in his academical studies, marked him out as a man possessing the highest capacity and genius. From an early period he displayed great activity of mind, and a desire for foreign adventure. This led him, at the age of seventeen, to join as a volunteer under the Protestant banner in France, where he fought during a period of six years. In his "History of the World," he gives a description of many of the great battles in which he was engaged. He subsequently assisted the Dutch in 1577 and 1578, in a campaign under General Norris, and
afterwards accompanied Sir Humphrey Gilbert in a voyage to Newfoundland. On his return, he was employed in quelling a rebellion in Ireland, headed by Desmond; and exhibited, whilst engaged in that service, eminent skill and courage. He gained the favour of Queen Elizabeth in 1581, by the following piece of gallantry. While attending her Majesty in a walk among a crowd of courtiers, she came to a spot in which the path was obstructed by mire, Raleigh observing it, imme diately took off his
rich cloak, and spread it on the ground for a footcloth. He was afterwards knighted, and other high honours were conferred upon him. The Queen employed him first as an attendant op the French Ambassador, Simier, on his return home, and afterwards to escort the Duke of Anjou to Antwerp. This excursion led to a personal acquaintance with the Prince of Orange, from whom, on his return, he presented many valuable presents to Elizabeth, who paid him marked attention, and lavished upon him her favours.
In 1584, he projected a scheme for the discovery and settlement of various parts of North America, which led to the colonization of Virginia, so called in honour of Queen Elizabeth. For this purpose he obtained a patent from the Crown, and fitted out two ships at bis own expense. Some of the vessels employed in this memorable expedition first brought home tobacco and potatoes, which were thus introduced into Europe. He was rewarded for bis services by several lucrative situations, and a large share of the forfeited Irish estates in the county of Cork was bestowed upon him. He was consulted by the English Government as to the best means of opposing the Spanish Armada, and was among the number of gal. lant volunteers who joined the English fleet with ships of their own, to assist in its defeat. At a subsequent period he was employed in Portugal, and joined an expedition with a view of attacking Panama, from which he was recalled by the queen, in 1593, in consequence of an alleged intrigue with one of her maids of honour, whom he afterwards married. As a mark of her Majesty's displeasure, he was imprisoned with the lady, for several months, and when set at liberty forbidden to
attend the court. This lady was the daughter of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton. Aftershe was united to Raleigh, they lived together very happily, and in the strictest conjugal affection. The next year he received the royal forgiveness; and his Sovereign bestowed upon him the Manor of Sherbourne, which had been alienated from the church during the period of his temporary banishment from the court. During this period of his disgrace, which was in 1595, he undertook at his own expense an expedition to Guiana, which was conducted by himself, but which led, at the time, to no more important result than taking possession of the country in the Queen's name. On his return to England he published an account of his expedition. His former patron, the Earl of Leicester, had set up in opposition to him his accomplished rival, the Earl of Essex, under whom he served in an expedition against Cadiz. In the attack on that town he displayed the courage and prudence of a hero.
The compiler of “Readings in Biography," a volume that forms a part of a series of valuable works, published by J. W. Parker of London, for the use of the higher class of students, has given a brief and accurate narrative of Raleigh's life. "In 1597," he observes, "he was employed in the high office of rear-admiral, in the expedition which sailed under Essex to intercept the Spanish West-India fleet; and by capturing Fayal, one of the Azores, before the arrival of the commander-inchief, gave great offence to the earl, who considered himself robbed of the glory of the action. A temporary reconciliation was effected; but Raleigh afterwards heartily joined with Cecil in promoting the downfall of Essex, and was a spectator of his execution from a window in the Armoury. Queen Elizabeth died in the beginning of the year 1603; and on the accession of James I., which followed soon after, the prosperity of Raleigh came to an end, a dislike against him having previously been instilled by Cecil into the royal ear. He deprived Raleigh of his preferments, who was accused and condemned on a charge of high treason. The real cause of his disgrace has never been clearly explained. A plot against the king was spoken of at the time, but