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been unimpeachable; but no less so its prosiness. How few hymns are worthy of the name of poems! The cause of this frequent failure is probably to be looked for in the writer's relation to his subject. It is not, and cannot be, one of sufficient freedom. His mind is in a sense subdued and fettered by the very conditions of the case. He is dealing with a certain definite interpretation of profound mysteries; and the mysteri s themselves are such as to overpower and paralyse the free movement of his intelligence. How can he sing at ease? He is like one with a lesson set him, which he must reproduce as best he may. It is rather his faith and his memory that are called into action than his imagination. At all events his imagination has an inferior part assigned her; she is not to create but rather to decorate and glori.y what is created. To worship and adore and love-these are real movements and impulses of the poet's mind, and may have and have had their expression in lyrics that may be fully styled divine; but, when the details of a creed are celebrated, then for the most part the sweet enthusiasm dies away out of the poet's eyes, the rapture chills and freezes, and we are reminded of the Thirty-nine Articles rather than of the Beatific Vision.

Giles Fletcher's success as a 'religious' poet, so far as he succeeds, is due first to the selection of themes which he makes, and secondly to the genuine religious ardour that inspired him. He delighted to contemplate the career of the central Hero of his Christian faith and love-His ineffable self-sacrifice, His leading captivity captive, His complete and irreversible triumph. That career he conceived and beheld vividly and intensely with a pure unalloyed acceptance; it thrilled and inspired him with a real passion of worship and delight. So blissfully enthralled and enraptured, what else could he sing of? His heart was hot within him; while he was musing, the fire burned; then spake he with his tongue.

It was the tongue of one highly cultured and accomplished, of a rich and clear imagination, with a natural gift of eloquence, with a fine sense of melody, and metrical skill to express it.



But Justice had no sooner Mercy seen
Smoothing the wrinkles of her Father's brow,
But up she starts, and throws her self between:
As when a vapour, from a moory slough,
Meeting with fresh Eous, that but now

Open'd the world, which all in darknesse lay,
Doth heav'n's bright face of his rayes disarray,
And sads the smiling Orient of the springing day.

She was a Virgin of austere regard;

Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind;
But as the eagle, that hath oft compar'd
Her eye with Heav'n's, so, and more brightly shin'd
Her lamping sight; for she the same could wind

Into the solid heart, and with her ears

The silence of the thought loud speaking hears, And in one hand a paire of even scales she wears.

No riot of affection revel kept

Within her brest, but a still apathy

Possessed all her soule, which softly slept

Securely, without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd poverty,

Sending her eyes to heav'n swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears,
Whetting the blazing sword, that in her hand she bears.

The winged lightning is her Mercury,

And round about her mighty thunders sound:
Impatient of himself lies pining by

Pale Sickness with his kercher'd head upwound,
And thousand noisome plagues attend her round;

But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul,
The flints do melt, and rocks to water roll,
And airy mountaines shake, and frighted shadows howl.

Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War,
Want, and the want of knowledge how to use
Abundance; Age, and Fear that runs afar
Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues
His winged steps; for who would not refuse

Grief's company, a dull and rawboned sprite,
That lanks the cheeks, and pales the freshest sight,
Unbosoming the cheerful breast of all delight?

Before this cursed throng goes Ignorance,
That needs will lead the way he cannot see:
And, after all, Death doth his flag advance,
And, in the midst, Strife still would roguing be,
Whose ragged flesh and clothes did well agree:
And round about amazèd Horror flies,

And ouer all, Shame veils his guilty eyes,

And underneath, Hell's hungry throat still yawning lies.

Upon two stony tables, spread before her,
She lean'd her bosom, more than stony hard;
There slept th' unpartial Judge, and strict restorer
Of wrong or right, with pain or with reward;
There hung the score of all our debts, the card

Where good, and bad, and life, and death were painted:
Was never heart of mortal so untainted,

But when that scroll was read, with thousand terrors fainted

Witness the thunder that mount Sinai heard,
When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame,
And wandering Israel, with the sight afeard,
Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,
But like a wood of shaking leaves became.

On this dead Justice, she, the Living Law,
Bowing herself with a majestic awe,

All heav'n, to hear her speech, did into silence draw.


BORN 1568, died 1639. How happy is he born and taught,' said to have been printed in 1614; see Courtly Poets, ed. Hannah, 1875. It was quoted to Drummond by Ben Jonson in 16.8 or 1619: Sir Edward [Henry] Wotton's verses of a happy life he hath by heart.' 'You meaner beauties of the night,' printed with music in Est's Sixth Set of Books, 1624. It was probably written a few years before. In 1651, Reliquiae Wottonianae.]

Sir Henry Wotton, a highly accomplished gentleman and distinguished diplomatist in his day, is now best known to us personally through the affectionate memoir of his humble friend and fellow angler Isaac Walton, and the kindly interest he showed in Milton, whose Comus had excited his warm admiration. He was well born, well bred, and one of the most cultivated men of his time. But, immersed in politics and society, he found but little leisure for the studies he loved till his appointment to the Provostship of Eton in 1624, when he was some 56 years of age. All the middle period of his life from 1595 he was occupied with affairs, not without peril, as when he was one of the secretaries of the Earl of Essex (his fellow secretary, Cuffe, was hanged), not without much vexation, as when his famous definition of an ambassador, public attention being called to it eight years after it was entered in Flecamon's 'albo' at Augsburg, brought him for a time into disgrace with James I.

Of poetry he wrote but little; but of that little two pieces at least have obtained a permanent place in English literature, his Character of a Happy Life, written probably circ. 1614; and the lines, On his mistress the Queen of Bohemia, circ. 1620. Of the apophthegm 'the style is of the man,' it would be difficult to find better illustrations. As in a mirror, they reflect the high refined nature of one who, living in the world, and a master of its ways and courtesies, was yet never of it—was never a worldling.



How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill;
Whose passions not his masters are ;

Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Untied unto the world by care

Of public fame or private breath;

Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Nor vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise;
Nor rules of state, but rules of good;
Who hath his life from rumours freed;

Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make oppressors great; Who God doth late and early pray More of his grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day

With a religious book or friend.

This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall:
Lord of himself, though not of lands,
And, having nothing, yet hath all.


You meaner beauties of the night,

That poorly satisfy our eyes

More by your number than your light;
You common people of the skies;

What are you when the moon shall rise?

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