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Is fittest to hunt at force. For whom when, with his
hounds, The labouring hunter tufts the thick unbarbed grounds, Where harboured is the hart, there often from his feed The dogs of him do find; or, thorough skilful heed, The huntsman by his shot, or breaking earth, perceives, Or entering of the thick by pressing of the greaves, Where he had gone to lodge. Now, when the hart doth
hear The often bellowing hounds to vent his secret leir, a He rousing rusheth out, and through the brakes doth drive, As though up by the roots the bushes he would rive; And, through the cumbrous thicks as fearfully he makes, He with his branched head the tender saplings shakes, That, sprinkling their moist pearls, do seem for him to
weep, When after goes the cry, with yellings loud and deep, That all the forest rings, and every neighbouring place. And there is not a hound but falleth to the chace; Rechating with his horn, which then the hunter cheers, Whilst still the lusty stag his high-palmed head uprears, His body showing state, with unbent knees upright, Expressing, from all beasts, his courage in his flight. But when, the approaching foes still following, he per
ceives That he his speed must trust, his usual walk he leaves, And o'er the champain flies; which when the assembly
find, Each follows as his horse were footed with the wind. But, being then embost, the noble stately deer When he hath gotten ground (the kernel cast arear) Doth beat the brooks and ponds for sweet refreshing soil; That serving not, then proves if he his scent can foil, And makes amongst the herds, and flocks of shag-woolled
sheep, Them frighting from the guard of those who had their
keep; But, when as all his shifts his safety still denies, Put quite out of his walk, the ways and fallows tries. Whom when the ploughman meets, his team he letteth
To assail him with his goad; so, with his hook in hand, The shepherd him pursues, and to his dog doth hollo, When, with tempestuous speed, the hounds and huntsmen
follow; Until the noble deer, through toil bereaved of strength, His long and sinewy legs then failing him at length, The villages attempts, enraged, not giving way To any thing he meets now at his sad decay. The cruel ravenous hounds and bloody hunters near, This noblest beast of chace, that vainly doth not a fear, Some bank or quick-set finds; to which his haunch op
posed, He turns upon his foes, that soon have him inclosed, The churlish-throated hounds then holding him at bay; And, as their cruel fangs on his harsh skin they lay, With his sharp-pointed head he dealeth deadly wounds. The hunter, coming in to help his wearied hounds, He desperately assails; until, oppressed by force, He, who the mourner is to his own dying corse, Upon the ruthless earth his precious tears lets fall.
This passage, though long, will scarcely be felt to be tedious. It is one of the nost animated descriptions in poetry. We add a short specimen of Drayton's lighter style from his Nymphidia—the account of the equipage of the Queen of the Fairies, when she set out to visit her lover Pigwiggen. The reader may compare it with Mercutio's description in Romeo and Juliet:
Her chariot ready straight is made ;
For nought must be her letting;
Upon the coach-box getting.
a “But” is the common reading.
Her chariot of a snail's fine shell,
So lively was the limning;
I trow 't was simple trimming.
With thistle down they shod it;
He would not have abode it.
To wait on her were fitted ;
As she had been diswitted.
Her special maids of honour;
The train that wait upon her.
But after her they hie them:
Lest any should espy them.
One of the most popular poets of this date was Joshua Sylvester, the translator of The Divine Weeks and Works, and other productions, of the French poet Du Bartas. Sylvester has the honour of being supposed to have been one of the early favourites of Milton.* In one of his publications he styles himself a MerchantAdventurer, and he seems to have belonged to the Puritan party, which may have had some share in influencing Milton's regard. His translation of Du Bartas was first published in 1605; and the seventh edition (beyond which, we believe, its popularity did not carry it) appeared in 1641.f Nothing can be more uninspired than the general run of Joshua's verse, or more fantastic and absurd than the greater number of its more ambitious passages; for he had no taste or judgment, and, provided the stream of sound and the jingle of the rhyme were kept up, all was right in his notion. His poetry consists chiefly of translations from the French ; but he is also the author of some original pieces, the title of one of which, a courtly offering from the poetical Puritan to the prejudices of King James, may be quoted as a lively specimen of his style and genius :- “ Tobacco battered, and the pipes shattered, about their ears that idly idolize
* Milton's obligations to Sylvester were first pointed out in Considerations on Milton's Early Reading, and the Prima Stamina of his Paradise Lost, together with Extracts from a Poet of the Sixteenth Century,' by the Rev. Charles Dunster. 1800.
† Ritson, in his • Bibliographia Poetica,' makes the edition of 1613 to have been only the third; but it is called the fourth on the title-page.
so base and barbarous a weed, or at leastwise overlove so loathsome a vanity, by a volley of holy shot thundered from Mount Helicon.' But, with all his general Alatness and frequent absurdity, Sylvester has an uncommon flow of harmonious words at times, and occasionally even some fine lines and felicitous expressions. His contemporaries called him the “Silver-tongued Sylvester," for what they considered the sweetness of his versificationand some of his best passages justify the title. Indeed, even when the substance of what he writes approaches nearest to nonsense, the sound is often very graceful, soothing the car with something like the swing and ring of Dryden's heroics. But, after a few lines, is always sure to come in some ludicrous image or expression which destroys the effect of the whole. The translation of Du Bartas is inscribed to King James in a most adulatory and elaborate Dedication, consisting of a string of sonnetshaped stanzas, ten in all, of which the two first are a very fair sample of the mingled good and bad of Syl. vester's poetry :“ To England's, Scotland's, France', and Ireland's king;
Great Emperor of Europe's greatest isles ; Monarch of hearts, and arts, and everything
Beneath Bootes, many thousand miles ;
Upon whose head honour and fortune smiles ; About whose brows clusters of crowns do spring;
Whose faith him Champion of the Faith enstyles ; Whose wisdom's fame o'er all the world doth ring: Mnemosyne and her fair daughters bring
The Daphnean crown to crown him laureate ; Whole and sole sovereign of the Thespian spring,
Prince of Parnassus and Pierian state;
* 8vo. Lond., 1615.