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ity of such an apology from the such occasions, are prophets of hope Vicar of Dallyng, a vowed celibate only. And as to the struggles and priest.
disasters that followed, the glowing We must return for a moment to vision of Dunbar was luckily as imBernard. This poet laureate had a passive 10 the shadows of coming notable subject to begin with in the events (Flodden Field, and Fotherinunion of the Two Roses. How he gay, and the scaffold at Whitehall, treated it we have no means of judg. and the rout on the Boyne water) as ing, as the performance is not in exis were the quondam visions and relitence; and though it has perished, it gious meditations of Lamartine in the would be unfair perhaps, to assume days of Charles Dix to the shadows of that his freshest effort on an event the barricades, and the prestige of the that might have quickened the slowest Hotel de Ville. fancy, was not superior 10 his later We do not find that the young succes. exercises on occasions of weaker inte. sor of England's royal Blue-beard had rest, such as are preserved in the Cot- a poet-laureate. Queen Mary, though tonian Library, and that of New Col. a learned and accomplished lady, had no lege, Oxford. Of all the events in the such an appendage io her staie. Hey. history of the British monarchy, there wood was her favourite poet; he had is one subject, and probably one only, consoled her with honest praise in the of those that could come within the days when it was the fashion of courrange of a court-poet's province, of tiers to neglect her. On his presenting equal national importance, and equally himself at her levee, after her accespoetical quality with the marriage of sion, Mary asked him," says the Henry the Seventh-that is, the mar. chronicler of queens, “what wind has riage of his daughter, Margaret, to blown you hither ?” He answered, James, the Fourth of Scotland ; and “ Two special ones--one of them to even those of our "constant readers” see your Majesty." “ Our thanks for who, to their loss, may know nothing that,” said Mary; “but the other?” of William Dunbar but what they have " That your Majesty might see me.” read in former pages of this magazine, He used to stand by her side at supper, must know that ihe court of Scotland, and amuse her with his jests-not a at the time of the celebration of these very dignified employment for a poet nuptials, possessed a poet worthy of -but he was a player, and being acthe subject, for they cannot have for- customed to play many parts, did not goiten his inspired vision on the decline that of Double to Mary's feThistle and the Rose. In the one male Fool, Jane. He appears, how. case the wounds of England were ever, to have been her life-long solace. closed after long wars of disputed suc. He had ministered to her diversion in cession, as desolating as any intestine her childhood, with a company of
on record; in the other, two child-players, whom Shakspeare calls nations, jealous neighbors, and till “ little eye-asses"—(callow hawks)then implacable enemies, formed an and in her long illness he was frealliance ihat promised to be lasting, quently sent for, and, when she was and wbich finally effected more than able to listen to recitation, he repeated it had promised, by the consolidation his verses, or superintended performof the iwo thrones into one. On the ances for her amusement. head of the Scottish great-grandson of Malone insists that Queen Eliza. the English Margaret, ihe double beth, too, had no poet-laureate ; yet crown was secure from the casuistry Spenser is by other writers as conti. of jurists. Neither Elizabeth of York, dently preferred to that post, and nor her daughter, was a happy wife. Daniel is said to have officially sucHenry the Seventh proved cold and ceeled him. Spenser's “Gloriana" ungrateful as a husband ; James the and “ Dearest Dread,” though abun. Fourth faithless; but we have nothing dantiy shrewd and sagacious, and to do here with the domestic infelicily though somewhat of a scholar and a of those ili-used princesses, except as wit, and sufficiently vain of her own it shows that the court-poets, who pre. poor rhymes, had no true perception dicted so much bappiness for them, or appreciation of the art divine of were not infallible Vates. Poets, on poesy. The most eminent dramatic
genius the world ever saw was as Henrietta Maria, though her husband moderately encouraged as any inferior had intended the reversion for Thomas playhouse droll might have been. She May. This man was so disgusted could laugh at Falstaff and Dame that, forgetting many former obliga. Quickly, and stimulate that humour tions to Charles, who had a high and in the author: and, 10 tise her sister's just opinion of his talents, he soon words to Heywood, “our thanks for after turned traitor, and attached himthat.” Edmund Spenser, also, was less self to the Roundheads. Davenant indebted to her own taste, or even to proved himself worthy of the preferher enormous appetite for fattery, ence, not only by his poetry, but by than to Sir Philip Sidney's enlightened his stedfast gallant loyalıy. He was friendship, and to bis introduction 10 son of an innkeeper at Oxford, but is her by Sir Walter Raleigh, for such said to have rather sanctioned a vague favors as he received. These, how. rumour that attributed his paternity ever, were not small; and neither the to Shakspeare. At ten years of age Fairy Queen herself, (gigantic fairy!) he produced his first poem, a little nor her sage councillor Cecil, is justly ode in three sextains, “In remem. responsible for the unhappiness of brance of Master William ShakSpenser. His pension of £50 a-year speare.” The first stanza has some was but a portion of the emoluments feeling in it, the other two are puerile he derived from court interest. That conceits, clever enough for so young pension, which he received till his a boy. When his sovereign was in death in 1598, was no doubt an annu- trouble, he volunteered into the army, ity assigned him as Queen's poet, and was soon found eligible to no though the title of laureate is not given mean promotion. He was raised to in his patent, nor in that of his two the rank of lieutenant.general of immediate successors, Daniel and Ben ordnance, under the Duke of NewJonson. So far Malone is accurate. castle, and was knighted for his
Daniel's Jaudatory verse, whether services at the siege of Gloucester. be volunteered it or not, was accepi. His Gondibert,” begun in exile at able to King James, and rewarded by Paris, was continued in prison at a palace appointment. He was Genue. Cowes Castle, though he daily exman Extraordinary, and one of the pected his death-warrant. But he grooms to Queen Anne of Denmark. was removed to the Tower of London He was on terms of social intimacy to be tried by a high commission; and with Shakspeare, Marlow, and Chap- it is believed that his life was saved man, as well as with persons of higher by the generous intervention of Milton, social rank; and he had the honor to whom he subsequently repaid in kind, be tutor to the famous Anne Clifford, by softening the resentment of the Countess of Pembroke, who caused a restored government against him. cenotaph to be erected to his memory Davenant, though perhaps a man of at Beckington, near Frome, in his irregular life, and though, as a dramanative county. He died in 1619. tist and playhouse manager, he proved
The masques and pageants of his any thing but allegiant to Shakspeare, successor, Ben Jonson prove that he and was active in communicating a held no sinecure from either of his depraved taste, was yet a man of royal masters; but in Charles the First brave, honest, and independent mind. he at least served a prince who could It is curious that he should not only respect genius, and remember that the have disappointed May of the laurel laborer is worthy of his hire. Jonson when living, but that it should have received, “in consideration of services been his chance to take his place in of wit and pen already done to us and Poet's Corner when dead. The Puriour faiber, and which we expect from tans had erected a pompous tomb to him,” £100 a-year and a tierce of May, which was savagely enough reSpanish canary, his best beloved Hip- moved by the returned royalists. pocrene, out of the royal cellars at Near the same spot, in Westminster Whiteball.
Abbey, is the monument to Dave-
though be, too, was no dwarf. It chastisement to that miserable Og, in would have been ridiculous in Cromwell the bitter satire with which he sup. to appoint a poet-laureate. The thing plied Tate for the second part of was impossible, though the flatteries Absolom and Achitophel. . One might of his kinsman, Waller, show that it pity Shadwell under the lash of such was not the want of a subservient an enemy as Dryden, if his writings royalist gentleman of station, as well either in verse or prose entitled him to of talent, that made it so. Andrew a grain of respect. Charles, sixth Marvel, though he wrote such vigor- Earl of Dorset-himself an elegant ous verse on Cromwell's victories in wit and indifferent versifier, but the Ireland, would hardly have accepted descendant and representative of a the office, and what other Puritan very illustrious poet, Sackville, the would? But without the form, the first Earl, author of the noble “ InProtector of the commonwealth had duction to a Mirror for Magistrates”the reality in his Latin secretary, to vindicated his recommendation of whom Marvel was assistant. "The Shadwell to the poet-laureateship, “not lineal heir of the most ancient race of because he was a poet, but an honest kings might have been proud of such man.” We suppose he meant that he a poet. The greatness of Milton had not oscillated between Popery might be a pledge to all ages of the and Reformation like Dryden, and greatness of Cromwell, unchallenged that he was more honest, also, in a even by those who most detest grim political sense, and less liable to susOliver of Huntingdon for “Darwent picion as an adherent of the expelled stream with blood of Scots imbrued,” monarch's heartless daughter, and her and “Worcester's laureate wreath.” Dutch basband, the hero of the Boyne Here it is the poet who confers on and Glencoe. But, in another and not the conqueror a laurel crown, of which unimportant sense, Shadwell was far the imperishable leaves, green as ever froin honest ; for he was notorious for bard or victor wore, mitigate, though the ribaldry of his conversation. It they do not hide, the evil expression has been asserted, while that fact was on the casque-worn brow of the senex admitted, that, as an author, before armis impiger, and give it a dignity the public, he was a promoter of mothat mighi abate the stoutest loyalists ralits and virtue. Nothing can be abhorrence, but for one fatal remem more untrue. Of his many comedies, brance, which forbids him 10 exclaim, there is none which is not as rife in
pollution as any of the grossest plays “ Nec sunt hi vultus regibus usque truces." of the time. But their boasted humour Sir William Davenant, who re- tilled from the dull weeds that grow
is physic for the bane ; for it is discovered the laureateship, at the Resto- by Lethe's side." His comedies are ration, and retained it till his death in five-act farces of wearisome vulgarity, 1668, was succeeded by Dryden. and, though suffered in their day, were Glorious Jobn, although he had hastily destined, as Pope leniently expresses flattered Richard
Cromwell's brief in it the Dunciad, authority by an epicede on Oliver, was not rejected by the merry monarch, “Soon to that mass of nonsense to return, who could laugh at poet's perjuries as Where things destroyed are swept to lightly as at those of lovers. During things unborn." that disgraceful reign, the poet made it no part of his vocation and privilege In “ The Royal Shepherdess,” how. to check the profligate humours brought ever, a play in blank verse, altered into fashion by the court.
by Shadweli from Fountain of Devon
shire, there are some fine lines, so far “ Unhappy Dryden lin all Charles' days, above anything known to be SbadRoscommon only boasts unspotted lays.'
well's that we readily take him at his At the revolution of 1688, the laureate word in his preface, where, modest for was discrowned, as well as King once, he invites the reader, if he finds James; and he condescended to re- anything good in the play, to set it venge himself by Macflecnoe on his down to Mr. Fountain. The following substitute Shadwell, as if had not lines are a favourable specimen, not. beforeband administered sufficient withstanding the breeding barrenness :.
“ No more. no more must we scorn cot- Brady. Yet some passages in his setages;
cond part of “ Absolom and AchitoThose are the rocks from whence our pbel” are not such feeble mimicries of
ibe tone of his friend Dryden, ae might
John himself, is pleasing. It concludes
with these lines: Still better, where a king, in a vicious
“ While bees in flowers rejoice, and flow, attempt upon an innocent girl has compelled her consent to a meeting at night. While stars and fountains to their course
ers in dew, The queen, apprised of the design, per
are true, sonates the intended victim, and appeals While Judah's throne and Sion's rock to his conscience with an effect that he
stand fast, thus describes :
The song of Asaph, and the fame shall
At his death in 1715, a year after
on the brow of Nicholas Rowe, the That holy priests do speak to dying translator of Lucan, and the pathetic saints,
dramatist of “The Fair Penitent,” and Yet never thunder signified so much.”
“ Jane Shore." His occasional verses The songs in this piece are all by were, of course, very respectable ; and Shadwell, excepi, as he declares, the his only signal failure was when he last but one, which is Fountain's, and attempted comedy. After the banter he the only one not below mediocrity. incurred for his play of “ The Biter,” Shadwell had also the impudence to he was so sensible that be was the alter and corrupt “ Timon of Athens,” biter bit, that he excluded it from bis and to produce ihe farrago on the stage works, and made no second venture of as an improvement on the original. the kind. Yet the man who could move In the dedication he says, “ It has the an audience to tears, and who had so inimitable band of Shakspeare in it; lule command of their sympathies yet I can truly say, I have made it when he tried his powers of wit on into a play.” This “tun of man and them, was anything but a lachrymist kilderkin of wit” was admitted to a by temperament. When Spence obtomb in Westminster Abbey, an ho- served that he should have thought nour (?) said to have been denied to “ the tragic Rowe too grave to write the remains of a noble poet, the author such things.” Pope answered, “ He ! of “ Don Juan.” Yet Shadwell had why, he would laugh all the day long ! also produced a “Don Juan.” His He would do nothing but laugh!" He tragedy of “The Libertine,” the same survived the acquisition of the laurel hero, is ten times more indecent than only three years, dying at the age of the most objectionable parts of Byron's forty-five. poem. But it is, indeed, also less nox Laurence Eusden, “a parson much ious, for it bas not a single attractive bemused in beer,” stumbled into his grace of fancy or feeling. A print of place, just in time to elaborate, singulShadwell, prefixed to Tonson's edition to laborore, the Coronation Ode for of his works, ludicrously bears out George the Second. A specimen or Dryden's description of the outer man. two of his loyal suspirations may be as He looks like an alehouse Bacchus, or welcome as a hundred. rather like one of those carnal cherubs
· Hail, mighty Monarch! whose desert whom the French call anges bouffis alone his cheeks bulging out as if they were Would, without birth-right, raise thee stuffed with apples from the forbidden to a throne. tree. He died in December 1692, and Thy virtues shine peculiarly nice, was succeeded by
Ungloomed with a confinity to vice." Nahum Tate, the psalmodist. Every Lord Hervey's “ Memoirs of ibe Court one knows what sort of poet he was, of George the Second,” recently made and how the harp of Israel is but a public, are an edifying exposition of the Jew's barp in the hands of Tate and peculiarly nice” virtges here extolled.
ON SEEING TOBACCO-PIPES LIT WITH ONE
“What strains shall equal to thy glories “ Had the lyrist of old rise,
Had our Cæsar to sing, First to the world, and borderer on the More rapid his numbers had rollid; skies ?"
But never had Greece such a king, The conjuror who can make out the No never had Greece such a king?', moaning of the last line may be able to Those effusions are truly incomparable. answer the question. In his joy for a
Not only are they all bad, but not one George the Second, the inspired barů of them in twenty-seven years contains dries up his tears for George the First:- a good line. Yet he was, happily for “How exquisitely great! who canst in.' himself, inore impenetrable to the gibes
of the wits than a buffalo to the stings spire Such joy that Albion mourns no more
of musquitoes. Of the numerous epithy sire!
grams twanged at him, here is one from A dull
, fat, thoughtless heir unheeded the London Magazine for 1737. springs From a long slothful line of restive kings;
OF THE LAUREATE'S ODES. But when a stem, with fruitful branches " While the soft song that warbles crown'd,
George's praise Has flourish’d, in each various branch From pipe to pipe the living flame conrenown'd,
veys, His great forerunners when the last out- Critics who long have scorn'd must now shone,
adınire, Who could a brighter hope, or even as For who can say his ode now wants its bright a son ?"
fire ?" He ends with a kick at the Stuarts :
Dr. Johnson honoured him with an"Avaunt, c'egenerate grafts, or spurious other, equally complimentary to Cibber breed !
and his Cæsar. 'Tis a George only can a George succeed." "Augustus still survives in Maro's strain If Charles Elward had known that, he And Spenser's verse prolongs Eliza's might have saved himself much trouble. reign :
Eusden died at his rectory in Lincoln. Great George's acts let tuneful Colley shire in 1730. Colley Cibber wore the
sing, laurel with unblushing front for twenty
For nature form’d the poet for the king." seven years from that date. His annual Yet Cibber, the hero of the Dunciad, birth-day and new-year odes for all that was not a dunce, except in his attempts time are treasured in the Gentleman's at verse; even Pope, who calls bim "a Magazine. They are all so bad, that his perl and lively dunce," epithets rather friends pretended that he made them so incongruous, admits the merit of his on purpose. Dr. Johnson, however, of.
“ Careless Husband.” His Apology for ten asserted, from his personal know. his own Lise, too, is no mean perforledge of the man, that he took great pains mance; some passages in it are both with his lyrics, and thoughi them far judicious and eloquent, particularly his superior to Pindar's. The Dr. was espe
criticisms on Nokes and Betterton, and cially merry with one ultra. Pindaric on acting in general. Though the most flight which occurs in the Cibberian wretched of poetasters, he was an abler « Odle for the New Year 1750.” prose writer than half of his critics. " Through ages past the muse preferr'd
At his death, the laureatezhip was Her high-sung hero to the skies;
offered to Gray, with an exemption Yet now reversed the rapture flies,
from the duty of furnishing annual And Cæsar's fame sublimes the bardo
odes, but he refused the office, as havSo on the lowering eagle's wing
ing been degraded by Cibber. It was The lowly linnet soars to sing.
then given, on the usual terms, to Had her Pindar of old
William Whitehead, who won Known her Cæsar to sing,
the approbation of Gray for the feliMore rapid his raptures had rolld; city with which he occasionally perBut never had Greece such a king !" formed his task. What now appears
So proud was Cibber of that marvel most noticeable in Whitehead's odes lous image of the linnet and eagle, that is his prolonged and ludicrous perplexhe repeated it in the “ Natal Ode for ity about the American war.
Ai the 1753.” In his last “ New-year Oje: first outbreak he is the indignant and 0, 1757, he again scolds Pindar for scornful patriot, confident in the power uggishness
of the mother country, and threaten.