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for youthful extravagance. He distinguished himself at the siege of Middleburgh, and was rewarded by the Prince of Orange with 300 guilders besides his pay, a sensible intelligible mode of rewarding bravery, at which the officers of those days were not too refined to take of. fence. Gascoigne, who afterwards contrived to follow the court on one of Elizabeth's royal progresses, is the author of the well-known “ Princely Pleasures of Kenelworth.”
He was no favourite among his contemporaries; but succeeding ages have done him justice. He is mentioned with praise by Dr Percy; and Warton says he exceeded all the poets of his age in smoothness and harmony of versification. In the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, and in the reign of her successor, dramatic productions sprung up in England like mush. rooms. Of the prolific dramatists Gascoigne was among the first. Of his latter years nothing is distinctly known.
OF lusty youth then lustily to treat,
THE LULLABY OF A LOVER.
SING lullaby, as women do,
Wherewith they bring their babes to rest ;
And lullaby can I sing too,
As womanly as can the best. With lullaby they still the child ; And, if I be not much beguild, Full many wanton babes have I, Which must be still’d with lullaby.
First lullaby my youthful years :
It is now time to go to bed : For crooked age, and hoary hairs,
Have won the haven with my head. With lullaby then, youth, be still, With lullaby content thy will ; Since courage quails, and comes behind, Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind.
Next, lullaby my gazing eyes,
Which wonted were to glance apace ; For ev'ry glass may now suffice,
To shew the furrows in my face. With lullaby then wink awhile ; With lullaby your looks beguile ; Let no fair face, nor beauty bright, Entice you efte with vain delight.
And lullaby, my wanton will,
Let reason's rule now rein thy thought, Since all too late I find by skill,
How dear I have thy fancies bought ; With lullaby now take thine ease, With lullaby thy doubts appease ; For, trust to this, if thou be still, My body shall obey thy will.
Thus lullaby my youth, mine eyes,
My will, my ware, and all that was ;
But, welcome pain, let pleasure pass.
BORN ABOUT 1550--DIED ABOUT 1603.
This person, who wrote several tolerable plays, and some
sprightly songs and other short pieces, is remarkable for the introduction of that bombastic jargon which, under the name of Euphuism, became fashionable at the court of Elizabeth. This masquerade of language, and disguise of pure nonsense, was as violently patronised by the ladies of the Virgin Court as other absurdities, as great, if not quite so barefaced, have been since. It is probable that the threefold allegories of Spenser, and the Arcadian scenes and courtly shepherds of Sydney had given the public taste a predisposition to this sophisticated poetical slang, though Sydney was its declared enemy. That grown men and women, with reasonable, and, above all, with risible faculties, should, with faces unmasked, have been able seriously to address each other in the language, tropes, and metaphors of Euphuism, is incomprehensible. Had the initiated been able to keep this jargon to themselves, it might have Aourished much longer ; for all exclusive societies like and foster the mystery which defends them from vulgar approach. It became vulgar
as well as absurd, and so died a sudden and natural death. That Lylly could write a natural and easy style is shewn by
the following specimens of his verse.
• FROM ALEXANDER AND CAMPASPE.
O love! has she done this to thee?
Brave prick song! who is't now we hear ?
Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat,
BORN ABOUT 1553-DIED 1599.
“ ANONG the numerous poets,” says Mr Campbell, “ belong
ing exclusively to Elizabeth's reign, Spenser stands without a class and without a rival.” He might have extended this affirmation to the reign of George IV. No one has attempted to class the most purely poetical of all poets ; nor has he, in his own chosen field, ever been rivalled. “ In Spenser,” says that modern critic who beyond all others, has caught the fire, and formed himself on the catholic taste of our elder poets, we wander in another world among ideal beings. The po takes us and lays us in the lap of a lovelier nature, by the sound of softer streams, among greener hills and fairer valleys. He paints nature, not as we find it, but as we expected to find it, and fulfils the delightful promise of our youth. He waves his wand of enchantment, and at once embodies airy beings, and throws a delicious veil over all actual objects. The two worlds of reality and fiction are poized on the wings of his imagination. His ideas seem more distinct than his perceptions.” With equal felicity another of his modern critics has said,-“ Much of his expression has now become antiquated, though it is beautiful in its antiquity, and, like the moss and ivy on some majestic building, covers the fabric of his language with romantic and venerable associations."