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SIR JOHN DAVIES.
[Born, 1570. Died, 1626.]
SIR JOHN DAVIES wrote, at twenty-five years of age, a poem on the immortality of the soul; and at fifty-two, when he was a judge and a statesman, another on "the art of dancing*." Well might the teacher of that noble accomplishment, in Molière's comedy, exclaim, La philosophie est quelque chose-mais la danse!
Sir John was the son of a practising lawyer at Tisbury, in Wiltshire. He was expelled from the Temple for beating Richard Martin+, who was afterwards recorder of London; but his talents redeemed the disgrace. He was restored to the Temple, and elected to parliament, where, although he had flattered Queen Elizabeth in his poetry, he distinguished himself by supporting the privileges of the house, and by opposing royal monopolies. On the accession of King James he went to Scotland with Lord Hunsdon, and was received by the new sovereign with flattering cordiality, as author of the poem Nosce Teipsum.
THE VANITY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.
WHY did my parents send me to the schools, That I with knowledge might enrich my mind? Since the desire to know first made men fools, And did corrupt the root of all mankind.
FROM "NOSCE TEIPSUM, OR A POEM ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
What is this knowledge but the sky-stol'n fire,
In fine, what is it but the fiery coach Which the youth|| sought, and sought his death withal,
In Ireland he was successively nominated solicitor and attorney general, was knighted, and chosen speaker of the Irish House of Commons, in opposition to the Catholic interest. Two works which he published as the fruits of his observation in that kingdom, have attached considerable importance to his name in the legal and political history of Ireland§. On his return to England he sat in parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyne, and had assurances of being appointed chief justice of England, when his death was suddenly occasioned by apoplexy. He married, while in Ireland, Eleanor, a daughter of Lord Audley, by whom he had a daughter, who was married to Ferdinand Lord Hastings, afterwards Earl of Huntingdon. Sir John's widow turned out an enthusiast and a
Or the boy's wings¶ which, when he did approach The sun's hot beams, did melt and let him fall?
prophetess. A volume of her ravings was published in 1649, for which the revolutionary government sent her to the Tower, and to Bethlehem Hospital.
[*This is not the case; the "Poeme of Dauncing" appeared in 1596, in his twenty-sixth year, and, curious enough, with a dedicatory sonnet "To his very Friend, Ma. Rich. Martin." A copy, supposed unique, is in the Bridgewater Library. The poem was the work of fifteen days. See COLLIER's Bibliographical Catalogue, p. 92. The poet wrote his name DAUYS.]
† A respectable man, to whom Ben Jonson dedicated his Poetaster. Prometheus.
And yet, alas! when all our lamps are burn'd,
What can we know, or what can we discern, When error chokes the windows of the mind? The divers forms of things how can we learn, That have been ever from our birth-day blind?
When reason's lamp, that, like the sun in sky, Throughout man's little world her beams did spread,
Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie Under the ashes, half extinct and dead.
How can we hope, that through the eye and ear,
§ The works are "A Discovery of the Causes why Ireland was never subdued till the beginning of his Majesty's Reign," and "Reports of Cases adjudged in the King's Courts in Ireland."
[Born, 1592. Died, 1627.]
THIS writer left four or five dramatic pieces, of very ordinary merit. He was bred at Christ's Church, Oxford. He held the living of East Clandon in Surrey, but unfortunately succeeded not only to the living, but to the widow of his
SCENE FROM GOFFE'S TRAGEDY OF "AMURATH, OR THE COURAGEOUS TURK.”
Alad. Why then, I'll, like the Roman Pompey,
My dying sight, scorning imperious looks
Amur. What, still stiff-neck'd? Is this the truce you beg?
Sprinkled before thy face, those rebel brats
And prove more hot unto the Turkish Empery
predecessor, who, being a Xantippe, contributed, according to Langbaine, to shorten his days by the "violence of her provoking tongue." He had the reputation of an eloquent preacher, and some of his sermons appeared in print.
Alad. Wife. Dear father, let thy fury rush on me!
'Twas nature's fault, not theirs. O if affection
For my dear babes and husband-husband !— father!
Which shall I first embrace? Victorious father!
O let me kiss, kind father! first the earth
Amur. True; and when sprouts do rob the tree of sap,
They must be pruned.
Alad. Wife. Dear father! leave such harsh similitudes.
By my deceased mother, to whose womb
Amur.Yes; to have them collect a manly strength, And their first lesson that their dad shall teach them, Shall be to read my misery.
Alad. Stern conqueror! but that thy daughter shows
There once dwelt good in that obdurate breast,
If not on me, have mercy on my babes,
Amur. No, Sir, we must root out malicious seed;
Whose horns are yet scarce crept from out his front,
Alas, these infants !-these weak-sinew'd hands
Put from your thoughts all memory of descent;
SIR FULKE GREVILLE,
[Born, 1554. Died, 1628.]
WHO ordered this inscription for his own grave: | afterwards appointed sub-treasurer, chancellor of "Servant to Queen Elizabeth, counsellor to King the exchequer, and made a peer, by the title of James, and friend to Sir Philip Sydney ;" was Baron Brooke, in 1621. He died by the stab of created knight of the bath at James's coronation, a revengeful servant, in 1628.
A CLIMBING height it is, without a head,
Thus learn of me to weep-of me to kneel.
1st Child. Good grandsire, see-see how my father cries!
Wife. Good father, hear-hear how thy daughter
Thou that know'st how to use stern warrior's arms,
STANZAS FROM HIS TREATISE ON HUMAN LEARNING.
Knowledge's next organ is imagination,
Amur. Rise, my dear child! as marble against
So I at these obedient showers melt.
Be thou our son and friend.
The last chief oracle of what man knows
Some ruinous notions which our nature shows
Nor in a right line can her eyes ascend,
INSUFFICIENCY OF PHILOSOPHY.
Then what is our high-praised philosophy,
For, as among physicians, what they call