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[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.


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.


What is this knowledge but the sky-stol'n fire,
For which the thieft still chain'd in ice doth sit?
And which the poor rude satyr did admire,
And needs would kiss, but burnt his lips with it.

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,
Our bodies wasted and our spirits spent ;
When we have all the learned volumes turn'd,
Which yield men's wits both strength and orna-


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,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy space,
Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear,
Which were infused in the first minds by grace?

§ 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."

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[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


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Alad. Why then, I'll, like the Roman Pompey,


My dying sight, scorning imperious looks
grace so base a stroke with sad aspect.
Thus will I muffle up, and choke my groans,
Lest a grieved tear should quite put out the name
Of lasting courage in Carmania's fame!

Amur. What, still stiff-neck'd? Is this the truce you beg?

Sprinkled before thy face, those rebel brats
Shall have their brains-and their dissected limbs
Hurl'd for a prey to kites !-for, lords, 'tis fit
No spark of such a mountain-threatening fire
Be left as unextinct, lest it devour,

And prove more hot unto the Turkish Empery
Than the Promethean blaze did trouble Jove !-
First sacrifice those brats!

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!
Within these entrails sheath thine insate sword!
And let this ominous and too fruitful womb
Be torn in sunder! for from thence those babes
Took all their crimes; error (hath) made them

'Twas nature's fault, not theirs. O if affection
Can work then!-now show a true father's love:
If not, appease those murdering thoughts with me;
For as Jocasta pleaded with her sons
For their dear father, so to a father I

For my dear babes and husband-husband !— father!

Which shall I first embrace? Victorious father!

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O let me kiss, kind father! first the earth
On which you tread, then kiss mine husband's cheek.
Great king, embrace those babes-you are the stock
On which these grafts were planted-

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
I was a ten months' burthen-by yourself,
To whom I was a pleasing infant once,
Pity my husband and these tender infants!

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,
I would not spend a tear to soften thee.
Thou see'st my countries turn'd into a grave!
My cities scare the sun with fiercer flames,
Which turn them into ashes !-all myself
So sleckt and carved, that my amazed blood
Knows not through which wound first to take its

If not on me, have mercy on my babes,
Which with thy mercy thou may'st turn to love.

Amur. No, Sir, we must root out malicious seed;
Nothing sprouts faster than an envious weed.
We see a little bullock 'mongst an herd,

Whose horns are yet scarce crept from out his front,
Grows on a sudden tall, and in the fields
Frolics so much, he makes his father yield.
A little twig left budding on an elm,
Ungratefully bars his mother's sight from heaven-
I love not

Alad. Wife.

Alas, these infants !-these weak-sinew'd hands
Can be no terror to these Hector's arms.
Beg, infants-beg, and teach these tender joints
To ask for mercy-learn your lisping tongues
To give due accent to each syllable ;
Nothing that fortune urgeth to is base.

Put from your thoughts all memory of descent;
Forget the princely titles of
your father.
If your own misery you can feel,


[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,
Depth without bottom, way without an end;
A circle with no line environed,
Not comprehended, all it comprehends ;
Worth infinite, yet satisfies no mind
Till it that infinite of the God-head find.
For our defects in nature who sees not?
We enter first, things present not conceiving,
Not knowing future, what is past forgot;
All other creatures instant power receiving
To help themselves: man only bringeth sense
To feel and wail his native impotence.


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,
Learn how to use mild warrior's pity too.


Knowledge's next organ is imagination,
A glass wherein the object of our sense
Ought to respect true height or declination,
For understanding's clear intelligence;
But this power also hath her variation
Fixed in some, in some with difference—
In all so shadow'd with self-application,
As makes her pictures still too foul or fair,
Not like the life in lineament or air.

Amur. Rise, my dear child! as marble against

So I at these obedient showers melt.
Thus I do raise thy husband-thus thy babes,
Freely admitting you to former state.

Be thou our son and friend.


The last chief oracle of what man knows
Is understanding, which, though it contain

Some ruinous notions which our nature shows
Of general truths, yet they have such a stain
From our corruption, as all light they lose;
Save to convince of ignorance or sin,
Which, where they reign, let no perfection in.

Nor in a right line can her eyes ascend,
To view the things that immaterial are ;
For as the sun doth, while his beams descend,
Lighten the earth but shadow every star,
So reason, stooping to attend the sense,
Darkens the spirit's clear intelligence.


Then what is our high-praised philosophy,
But books of poesy in prose compiled,
Far more delightful than they fruitful be,
Witty appearance, guile that is beguiled;
Corrupting minds much rather than directing,
Th' allay of duty, and our pride's erecting.

For, as among physicians, what they call
Word magic, never helpeth the disease
Which drugs and diet ought to deal withal,
And by their real working give us ease;
So these word-sellers have no power to cure
The passions which corrupted lives endure.

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