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FOURTH PERIOD.

-(1625--1689.)

MILTON-BUTLER-DRYDEN-BUNYAN.

The sixty-four years comprehended in this period produced some great names ; but, considering the mighty events which then agitated the country, and must have influenced the national feelings—such as the abolition of the ancient monarchy of England, and the establishment of the Commonwealth-there was less change in the taste and literature of the nation than might have been anticipated. Authors were still a select class, and literature, the delight of the learned and ingenious, had not become food for the multitude. The chivalrous ind roma'itic spirit which prevailed in the reign of Elizabeth, had, even before her death, begun to yield to more sober and practical views of human life and society : a spirit of inquiry was fast spreading among the people. The long period of peace under James, and the progress of commerce, gave scope to domestic improvement, and fustereil the reasoning faculties and mechanical powers, ratlier than the imagination. The reign of Charles L., a prince of taste and accomplishments, partially revived the style of the Elizabethan era, but its lustre extended little beyond the court and the nobility. During the Civil War and the Protectorate, poetry and the drama were buried under the strife and anxiety of contending factions. Cromwell, with a junt and generous spirit, boasted that he would make the name of an Englishman as great as ever that of a Roman had been. He realised his wish in the naval victories of Blake, and the unquestioned supremacy of England abroad; but neither the time nor inclination of the Protector permitted him to be a patron of literature. Charles II. was better fitted for such a task, by natural powers, birth, and cducation ; but he had imbibed a false and perverted taste, which, added to his indolent and sensual disposition, was as injurious to art and literature as to the public morals. Poetry declined from the date of the Restoration, and was degraded from a high and noble art to a mere courtly amusement or pander to immorality. The whole atmosphere of genius was not, however, tainted by this public degeneracy, Science was assiduously cultivated, and to this period belong some of the proudest triumphs of English poetry, learning, and philosophy. Milton produced his long-cherished epic, the greatest poem which our language can boast; Butler, his inimitable burlesque of 'Hudibras;' and Dryden, his matchless satire and versification. In the department of divinity, Jeremy Taylor, Barrow, and Tillotson laid the sur6 foundations of Protestantism, and the best defences of revealed mli. gion. In history and polite literature, we have Clarendon, Buruet, and Temple. In this period, too, Bunyan composed his inimitable religious allegory, and gave the first conspicuous example of native force of mind and powers of imagination rising successful over all the obstructions caused by a low station in life, and a miserably defective education. The world has never been, for any length of time, without some great men to guide and illuminate the onward course of society; and, happily, some of them were found at this period to serve as beacons to their contemporaries and to all future ages.

POETS.

JOHN TAYLOR, “THE WATER POET.' One of the most voluminous of city rhymsters and chroniclers was JOHN TAYLOR (circa 1580-1654), a London waterman, who styled himself · The King's Majesty's Water Poet.? Taylor was a native of Gloucester, and having served an apprenticeship to a waterman in London, continued to ply on the Thames, besides keeping a publichouse. The most memorable incident in his career was travelling on foot from London to Edinburgh, not carrying any money to or fro, neither begging, borrowing, or asking meat, drink, or lodging.' He took with him, however, a servant on horseback, who carried some provisions and provender, and having met Ben Jonson at Leith, he received from Ben a present of a piece of gold of two and twenty shillings to drink his health in England.' of this journey, Taylor wrote an account, entitled “The Penniless Pilgrimage, or the Moneyless Perambulation of John Taylor, alias the King's Majesty's Water Poet,' &c. 1618. This tract is partly in prose and partly in verse. Of the latter, the following is a favourable specimen :

The Border Lands of England and Scotland.
Eight miles from Carlisle runs a little river,
Which England's bounds from Scotland's grounds do sever.
Without horse, bridge, or boat I o'er did get;
On foot I went, yet scarce my shoes did wet.
I being come to this long-looked-for land,
Did mark, re-mark, note, re-note, viewed and scanned;
And I saw nothing that could change my will,
But that I thought myself in England still.
The kingdoms are so nearly joined and fixed,
There scarcely went a pair of shears betwixt;
There I saw sky above, and earth below,
And as in England there the sun did shew;
The hills with sheep repletc, with worn the dale,
And many a cottage yielded good Scotch ale.

This county, Annandale, in former times,
Was the cursed climate of rebellious crimes :
For Cumberland and it, both kingdoms' borders,
Were ever ordered by their own disorders,
Some sharking, shifting, cutting throats, and thieving,
Each taking pleasure in the other's grieving;
And many times he that had wealth to-night,
Was by the morrow morning beggared quite.'
Too many years this pell-mell fury lasted,
That all these Borders were quite spoiled and wasted;
Confusion, hurly-burly, reigned and revelied ;
The churches with the lowly ground were levelled ;
All memorable monuments defaced,
All places of defence o'erthrown and razed ;
That whoso then did in the Borders dwell,
Lived little happier than those in hell.
But since the all-disposing God of heaven
Hath these two kingdoms to one monarch given,
Blest peace and plenty on them both have showered;
Exile and hanging bath the thieves devoured,
That now each subject may securely sleen,
His sheep and neat, the black, the wbite, doth keep.
For now these crowns are both in one combined,
Those former Borders that each one confined,
Appears to me, as I do understand,
To be almost the centre of the land;
This was a blessed Heaven-expounded riddle,
To thrust great kingdoms' skirts into the middle.
Long may the instrumental cause survive!
From him and his succession still derive
True heirs unto his virtues and his throue,

That these two kingdoms ever may be one ! Of Taylor's prose narrative, the most interesting portion is an account of a great deer lunt which he witnessed at tho · Brae of Mar,' at which were present the Earls of Mar, Moray, Buchan, Enzie, with their countesses, Lord Erskine, Sir William Murray of Abercairney, • and hundreds of others, knights, esquires, and their followers :'

A Deer-hunt in Braemar. Once in the year, which is the whole mouth of August, and sometimes part of September, many of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, for their pleasure, do come into these Highland countries to hunt, when they do conform themselves to the habit of the Highlandmen, who for the most part speak nothing but Irish, and in ner times were those people which were called the Red-shanks.' Their habit is shoes with but ouc sole apiece, stockings (which they call short hose) made of a warm stuff of klivers colours, which they call tartan. As for breeches, many of them, nor their forefathers, never wore any, put a jerkin of the same stuff that their hose is of, their garters being bands or wreaths of hay or straw, with a plaid about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours, of much finer and lighter stuff than their hose, with blue flat caps on their head, a handkerchief kuit with two knots about their neck, and thus are they attired. Now, their weapons are long bows and forked arrows, swords and targets, harquebusses, muskets, dirks, and Lochaber

My good lord of Mar having put me into that shape [dressed him in the Highland costume], I rode with him from his house, where 1 saw the ruins of an old castle, called the castle of Kindroghit (now Castletown). It was built by king Malcolm Caninore for a hunting-house: it was the last house I saw in those parts; for I was the space of twelve days after before I saw either house, corn-field, or habitation for any creature but deer, wild horses, wolves, and such-like creatures.

axes.

Thus the first day we travelled eight milcs, where there were small cottages built on purpose to lodge in, wiich they call lonchards. I thank my good Lord Erskine, he commanded that I should always be lodged in his lodging, the kitchen being always on the side of a bank, many kettles and pots boiling, and many spits turning and winding, with a great variety of cheer-us venison ; baked, sodden, roast and stewed beer; mutton, goats, kid, hares, fresh salmou, pigeons, hens, capons, chickens, partridge, inoor-coots, heath-cocks, capercailzies, and termagants [ptarmigans); good ale, sack, white and claret, tent (Alicant), with most potent aquavitæ.

Our camp consisted of fourteen or fifteen hundred men and horses. The manner of the hunting is this : live or six hundred men do rise early in the morning, and do disperse themselves divers ways, and seven or eight miles' compass; they do bring or chase in the deer in inany herds-two, three, or four hundred in a herd-to such or such a place as the noblemen shall appoint them; then when day is come, the lords and gentlemen of their companies do ride or go to the said places, sometimes wading up to their middles through bournes and rivers ; and then, they being come to the place, do lie down on the ground, till those foresaid scouts, which are called the tinchel, do bring down the deer. Then, after we had stayed three hours or thereabouts, we might perceive the deer appear on the hills round about us (their heads making a show like a wood), which, being followed close by the tinchel, are chased down into the valley where we lay. Then all the valley on each side being waylaid with a hundred couple of strong Irish greyhounds, they are let loose as the occasion serves upon the herd of deer, so that, with dogs, guns, årrows, dirks, and daggers, in the space of two hours, fourscore fat deer were slain, which after are disposed of some one way and some another, twenty and thirty miles, and more than enough left for us to make merry withal at our rendezvous.

Various journeys and voyages were made by Taylor, and duly described by him in short occasional tracts. In 1630, he made a colJection of these pieces : ‘All the Workes of John Taylor, the Water Poet; being Sixty and Three in Number.' He continued, however, to write during more than twenty years after this period, and ultiInately his works consisteil of not less than 138 separate publications. Taylor was a staunch royalist and orthodox churchman, abjuring all sectaries and schismatics. There is nothing in his works, as Southey remarks, which deserves preservation for its intrinsic merit alone, but there is a great deal to illustrate the manners of his age.

GEORGE HERBERT.

GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1633) was of noble birth, though chiefly known as it pious country clergyman-holy George Herbert,' who

The lowliest duties on himself did lay. Ilis father was descended from the earls of Pembroke, and lived in Montgomery Castle, Wales, where the poet was born. Ilis elder brother was the celebrated Lord Herbert of Cherbury. George was educated at Cambridge, and in the year 1619 was chosen orator for the university. Herbert was the intimate friend of Sir Henry Wotton and Dr. Donne; and Lord Bacon is said to have entertained such a high regard for his learning and judgment, that he submitted his works to him before publication. The poet was also in fivour with King James, who gave him a sinecure office worth £120 per annum, which Queen Elizabeth had formerly given to Sir Philip Sidney. With this,' says Izaak Walton, and his annuity, and the advantages of his college, and of his oratorship, he enjoyed his genteel humour for clothes and courtlike company, and seldom looked toward Cambridge unless the king were there; but then, he never failed. The death of the king and of two powerful friends, the Duke of Richmond and Marquis of Hamilton, destroyed Herbert's court hupes, and he entered into sacred orders. In 1626, he was appointed prebendary of Layton Ecclesia, county of Huntingdon (the church of which lie repaired and decorated), and in 1630 he was made rector of Bemerton, in Wiltshire, where he passed the remainder of his life. After describing the poet's marriage on the third day, after his first interview with the lady, old Izaak Walton relates, with characteristic simplicity and minuteness, a matrimonial scene preparatory to their removal to Bemerton: 'The third day after he was made rector of Bemerion, and bad changed his sword and silk clothes into a canonical habit [he had probably never done duty regularly at Layton Ecclesia], be returned so habited with his friend Mr. Wooduot to Bainton; and immediately after he had seen and saluted his wife, be said to her: “Yoù are now a minis ter's wife, and must now so far forget your father's house as not to claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for you are to know that a priest's wife can challenge no precedence or place but that which she purchases' by her obliging humility; and I am sure places so purchased do best become them. And let me tell you, I am so good a lierald as to assure you that this is truth.” And she was so meek a wife as to assure him it was no vexing news to her, and that he should see her observe it with a cheerful willingness.

Herbert discharged his clerical duties with saint-like zeal and purity, but his strength was not equal to his self-imposed tasks, and he died in February 1632–3. His principal production is entitled * The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations. It was not printed till the year after his deatlı, but was so well received, that Walton says twenty thousand copies were sold in a few years after the first impression. The lines on Virtue

Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so brightare the best in the collection; but even in them we find what mars all the poetry of Herbert, ridiculous conceits or coarse unpleasant similies. His taste was very inferior to his genius. The most sacred subject could not repress his love of fantastic imagery, or keep him for half-a-dozen verses in a serious or natural strain. Herbert was a musician, and sang his own hymns to the lute or viol; and indications of this may be found in his poems, which have sometimes a musical flow and barmonious cadence. It may be safely said, however, that Herbert's poetry alone would not have preserved his name, and that he is indebted for the reputation he enjoys to his excellent and amiable character, embalmed in the pages of good old Walton; to his prose work, the Country Parson;' and to the warm and fervent

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