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received his information from Mr. Ramsay, who married

the poet's widow; and it is to be regretted that his

account is so brief and uncircumstantial. I think

Fletcher's birth may be carried back two or three years,

for we shall presently find him hailing the accession of James in 1603, in strains such as a boy of fourteen or fifteen could scarcely be expected to produce. He was sent, it appears, at an early age, to Westminster School, from which he was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge. This is the relation of Fuller; but I am unable to reconcile it with the declaration of Giles Fletcher himself. In the dedication of Christ's Victorie, to Dr. Nevil, he speaks with all the ardour of a young and noble heart of the kindness he had experienced from that excellent man. He mentions his having reached down “as it were out of heaven, a benefit of that mature and price, than which he could wish none (only heaven itself excepted) either more fruitful and contenting for the time that now is present, or more comfortable and encouraging for the time that is already past, or more hopeful and promising for the time that is yet to come." And further on, he expressly states that he was placed in Trinity College by Dr. Nevil's “only favour, most freely, without either any means from other, or any desert” in himself. This praise could not have been consistent with truth, if Fletcher had obtained his election from Westminster School”. Nevil merited the laudatory epi

Under old Chamus' flaggy banks that spread
Their willow locks abroad, &c.

Eclecta, or Intellect, in the Purple Island, is the leader of the virtues and good qualities of the heart. The Purple Island was, therefore, “o. besore the publication of Christ's Victorie. * Having been permitted to refer to the Register Book of Westminster School by the favour of the Rev. — Williamson, the present Head Master, I am enabled to state positively that Fletcher was not elected from Westminster to Cambridge. There is no evidence that he was on

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thet applied to him by Camden", whether we look upon
him as the public benefactor of the college over which
he presided, or in the still more endearing character of
the benevolent and disinterested patron of the poor and
the learned. Bishop Hacket was also a partaker of his
generosity. Plume informs us, in his life of that prelate,
that when Hacket's father, although personally unknown
to Dr. Nevil, applied to him for his interest to procure
his son's election from Westminster to Trinity College,
the worthy master replied, that the boy should go to
Cambridge, “ or he would carry him on his own back."
I shall have occasion to recur to Nevil in the life of
Herbert †.
The accession of James furnished a theme of praise
to all the nation; “the very poets with their idle
pamphlets," writes that unwearied correspondent Mr.
Chamberlain, “promise themselves great part in his
favour;." The University of Cambridge put forth its
welcome under the ingenious title of Sorrowe's Joy $, and
the writers evinced their skill in blending their mourning
with gladness, and while they lamented that “Phoebe"
was gone, they remembered that a “Phoebus" was
shining in her place”.
The contribution of Giles Fletcher—A Canto upon the
Death of Eliza—is the most poetical in the collection.
It is a pastoral allegory, conceived in a spirit of grace
and elegance. The monosyllabic terminations of the
following lines produce an inharmonious effect, but the
imagery is very rural.
Tell me, sad Philomel, that yonder sit'st
Piping thy songs unto the dancing twig,
And to the water-fall thy music fit st,
So let the friendly prickle never dig
Thy watchful breast, with woound or small or big,
Whereon thou leanest; so let the hissing snake
Sliding with shrinking silence, never take

the foundation of the school. The probability is, that he was a Townboy, and obtained the patronage of Dr. Nevil. * Miyax, resorno, “Magnificent." t For an interesting notice of Dr. Nevil, the reader is referred to Todd's Account of the Deans of Cooterbury. He was appointed to the mastership of Trinity College by Queen Elizabeth in 1592-3, and we learn from a MS. quoted by Mr. Todd, and in his own possession, that before the departure of James from the University in 1614-15, he visited Dr. Nevil, who was too infirm to leave his rooms, and after having thanked him for the generosity and splendour of his entertainment, he concluded by saying that he was proud of such a subject. : In a letter to Sir Dudley Carleton, April 13, 1603. Printed in Nichols's Progresses of King James I. $ Sorrowes Joy, or a Lamentation for our Deceased Soveraigne Elizabeth, with a Triumph for the Prosperous Succession of our Gratious King {..." Printed by John Legat, printer to the University of Cambridge, 1603.

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The picture of the snake “sliding with shrinking silence," is one of the happiest touches of description I have ever seen. It would be impossible more vividly to represent the sudden rustling of the leaves, and the “shrinking" stillness that follows. The idea is partly borrowed from Virgil.

The following verses upon the “velvet-headed violets,” are equally meritorious in a different manner:

So let the silver dew but lightly lie,
Like little watery worlds, within your azure sky.

This image might have dropped from the pencil of Rubens. Every wanderer in our green lanes on a spring morning must have seen these “little watery worlds.'"

Phineas Fletcher has a poem in the same volume,

* See verses in Sorrowe's Joy, by H. Campion, of Emanuel College,

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dated from King's College, but very inferior to his
brother's,
Christ's Victorie was apparently composed before
Fletcher took his Bachelor's degree. Fuller says, that
it discovered the piety of a saint and the divinity of a
doctor; the piety is more evident than the theological
skill. The first edition appeared at Cambridge in
1610, and a second was not required until 1632. It is
sufficiently clear, therefore, that the poem could not
have been popular; and Phineas Fletcher, in some verses
addressed to his brother upon its publication, entreats
him not to esteem the censure of “malicious tongues”!"
That Fletcher was dissatisfied with the reception of his
work, may be inferred from the circumstance of his re-
linquishing the cultivation of the Muse, and applying
himself to the study of school divinity. It is not, how-
ever, improbable that he occasionally indulged his taste
in classical composition. . In the library of King's College
is a small MS., presented to it on the 2nd of February,
1654-5, by S.Th., supposed by Mr. Cole to mean Samuel
Thoms, with this title:—AEgidii Fletcheri versio Poetica
Lamentationum Jeremiet. It is dedicated, in a copy of
hexameter verses, to the amiable and upright Whitgift.
Ornatissimo doctissimoque viro Do. Doctori Whitgifto AEgi-
dius Fletcherus salutem. Whitgift was Master of Trinity
College from 1570 to June 1577, and the translation
might, therefore, have been an offering of respect from
the poet's father; but as the Archbishop lived till 1603,
it is possible that it may have emanated from the son.
Whitgift, like his friend Nevil, was a sincere encou-
rager of learning and merit; he supported several poor

• ‘Upon my brother, Mr. G. F., his book intituled Christ's Victorie

d Triumph. ". Cole's MS. Collections in British Museum. D

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scholars in his own house, and enabled others to pursue their studies at the University. The author of Christ's Victorie may have participated in this munificence. Though “cross to the grain of his genius,” Fuller tells us that Fletcher attained to “good skill” in scholastic divinity; he had too much capacity and amplitude of mind to fail in any pursuit to which he devoted his attention. A fellowship at the same time rewarded his labours, and enabled him to gratify his love of a Collegelife. Fuller does not inform us in what year Fletcher received ordination, but it could not have been long after the publication of his poem; for in 1612 he published at Cambridge, in 12mo., The Young Divine's Apology for his continuance in the University, with certain Meditations, written by Nathaniel Pownoll, late student of Christchurch College, Oxon, and dedicated to the cloquent Dr. King, at that time Bishop of London. This book I have not been able to obtain, and I am indebted for the knowledge of its existence to the MS. collections of the indefatigable Cole”. It would certainly tend to illustrate the poet's history. Of Fletcher's theological acquirements we have no memorials; but we are entitled to conclude that he was an able and earnest preacher. We learn from Fuller, that * Since this paragraph has been written, I have looked into Watts's Bibliotheca Britannica, vol.2, and find the following notice;—“Powmoli, Nathaniel, late student of Christ Church, Oxford. The Young Dirine'. floo. continuing o long in the Universitie, orith certain Meditations, Canterbury, 1612, 12mo." Of course it is impossible to reconcile this account with Cole, whose expressions are, “ In 1612, he (G. Fletcher) printed at Cambridge, The Young Divine's Apologie for his continuance in the University, with certain Meditations, written by Na

thaniel Pownoli, late student of Christ's College, Oxon, and dedicated to John, Bishop of London, among the uncatalogued books of the old

University Library.” The general accuracy of Watts is well known, and I believe the collections of Cole have an equal claim to that distinction. In this instance I feel inclined to follow the authority of Cole, for

it is evident that he had himself seen the book.

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