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render a recurrence to the subject far from being unacceptable. The private history of every man who, during life, has fixed the eyes of the world upon his public actions, can never fail to attract the notice and rivet the attention of the curious observer of mankind. It is from Cavendish and from similar works, alone, that a true idea of the “ great Cardinal” can be formed; for, during his life and after his life, so various and powerful were the interests which, on either side, distorted every truth respecting him, that it is not surprising that, up to this time, there should be much of error connected with the popular opinions of both himself and his master. This, however, is matter of history, and the number of facts and details to be taken into consideration too numerous to be discussed here. The character of Wolsey is a noble subject for biography, and we regret to say, that it has not been taken up by abler hands than some of those who have already been employed upon it. The bulky life of Fiddes is a dry detail, interspersed with dull and trite remarks. Wolsey has since been much more fortunate in Mr. Galt, who, in 1812, published a quarto volume on The Life and Administration of Wolsey. But our business is at present with Storer. Poetry, in the time of Storer, still retained many marks of its original destination, for, when applied to matters of fact, the poet seems to have thought his duty was rather to record than to embellish; that his verse was rather intended for an assistance to the memory, than a pleasure to the imagination. We are not inclined to quarrel with this adherence to truth, but we have a right to find fault with the poet for chusing a subject, in which such adherence is necessary. To write a life in verse, is merely to say that in rhyme which had much better be said in prose. The real poetry which a man can introduce into such a subject must be small; and we conceive it no recommendation of a fact, to find it wrapped up in smooth lines, which depend upon expletives for their ease; or rugged metre, which mangles the story it would relate. These poems, however, when of ancient date, and nearly contemporary composition, acquire an adscititious value; and though the lover of poetry may turn from their uncouth measures, and coarse and even ludicrous expressions, with disgust, the antiquarian and historian find them valuable assistants. They sometimes convey the feeling of the times, and, at any rate, that of a single contemporary individual; they supply new facts, or confirm old ones; and when the historian has given them up, the antiquarian hunts them for ancient customs, and the grammarian for obsolete words. We are inclined to treat the little work before us in none of these characters. In this volume, as in many others, equally neglected, we discover indi. cations of poetical feeling, rudiments of noble images, and occasional rays of imagination. For those who, whether lovers or writers of poetry, view the world with a poetical eye, our extracts will not be without their interest. We should premise, that Storer appears to have taken all his facts from Cavendish, and this serves as a proof, if proof were wanting, of the authenticity of that work. The whole poem is divided into three parts; the first describes the rise of Wolsey, the second his prosperity, the third his fall; - Wolsey himself is supposed to be speaking from first to last.
“ To thee, first sister of the learned nine,
Historian's goddesse, patronesse of fame,
Celestiall Clio! Clio, peerelesse dame,
O tragique Muse, shall pierce thy sullen eares,
Thy heart, obdurate in contempt of feares;
May leade some pilgrim to my toomblesse grave,
The passenger's attentive view may crave;
He then commences his narrative, and thus commemorates the founder of his college, Wainfleet.
“ Thrice sweete remembrance of that holy man,
Reverend erector of those stately tow'res,
That fruitfull noursery, where heav'nly show'res
He gives an account of the motives which led him to
aspire to greatness, among which occurs that of the power of eloquence with which he found himself endowed.
“ This silver tongue, me thought, was never made
With rhetoricke skill to teach each common swaine,
In shallow brookes, nor this aspiring vaine,
Fit to converse among the shepheard's traine :
Vertue my gentry, priesthood my discent,
Angells my guard, that watcht about my tent,
Wisedome that usher'd me where ere I went;
Yet, as through Tagus' faire transparent streames
The wandring marchant sees the sandy gold;,
In silent night the pilot doth behold,
Through misty clowdes and vapors manifold;
When he has determined upon plunging into the world, he still finds his spirit fluctuate between his hopes and fears.
“ Wolsey, are these the hopes of thy desarts ?
Are these the fruites of wits? is this to know?
Such seedes of learned ignorance to sow,
He contrasts the blessings of the humble life of a country clergyman, with the hollow and precarious greatness of a courtier.
“O, rather yet embrace thy private lot
Each perfect sense must things repugnant do:
Thy eyes must watch, but never seeme to see;
Thy tongue must brave, but learn to flatter too ;
Thy eares must heare, yet deaf and carelesse be:
Affection fast and loose, thoughts bond and free;
Thy present calmes these stormy waves surpasse
As pearles indeede the things which precious seeme;
For thee thy toiling oxen joine in teeme,
Creeping to others, now thou must resigne;
When with lesse plentie in a shadie vine,
But greater pleasure, thou wer't wont to dine:
He arrives at the court of Henry VII., and gives this fine character of the favourite old minister of the king, * Fox, bishop of Winchester :
“ A man made old to teach the worth of age,
Patriarke-like, and grave in all designes;
Sparing in diet, abstinent from wines,
His sinews small as threeds or slender lines ;
* Mr. Park, in his notes to the reprint of this poem, assigns this character to Sir John Nafont; and says, of the citty, “ probably Calais," where Sir John held the treasurership. The “ citty” is clearly Winchester, and he, whom Wolsey has just mentioned as
“The pillar of his state, That next in council to his sovereign sate,” was undoubtedly Fox, who, at that time, held the privy seal, and whó first raised Wolsey at Court.
“ He saw my gifts were such as might deserve,
His fame, with time and envy to contend,
As to advance some faithful-serving friend,
At court he soon learns the art of rising; and the poet gives an ingenious description of that peculiar kind of conduct which there pleases most and longest, where it is dangerous to please too much; where, to raise a passing shade of disgust is to be ruined ;—where tediousness is a crime, and the successful candidate for favour must preserve himself in a state of perpetual equilibrium between pleasing his master and offending his rivals.
“ Tis not huge heapes of figurative devises,
Nor luxury of metaphors or phrases,
Court-learned eares, and all the world amazes ;
But depth with pleasure craving all the graces
Nor folly, but for councellors most fit;
On ladies toyes ; nor quintessence of wit,
For that is most unstaide; nor doth it sit
Yet subject or essentiall unto none,
And thus, though strange, unperfect and but one;
Yet all admire and reverence it alone,
The poet, tired of drily recording the successive steps of Wolsey's promotion, indulges himself and his hero in a dream. Theology, personified, passed as a vision before him :.