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singularity, but" by way of distinction " only. "I se. parate myself," he says, "from no church adhering to

197

of the established church, and although solicited by the seductive offers of numerous Sectaries, he still continued to hold fast the faith of his fathers. But Repub. licanism and Episcopacy could not subsist together; yet be might be said to have forsaken the outward forms of our church rather than its ordinances. When ques. tioned as to his belief, he answered that he called him. self a Catholic Christian, a title not affected out of any

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the foundations of Christianity; I waive the confining
my belief or practice to any one national or congrega-
tional society of Christians, not out of a factious incli-
nation or petulant disesteem of any; but having a desire
to be instrumental in uniting men dissenting in judg.
ment both unto God and each other in love, I conceive
that endeavour would be suspected of partiality, and not

so effectually prosecuted if I made myself party with
any one fraternity more than another. Trúe faith can-
not be evidenced without good works, which being im-
perfect in the best of men, we have no such crtain mark
whereby unfeigned disciples may t. nn0' w, as by their
being loving to each other and charitably affected toward
all men; yea, although they are our personal enemies *. "

We may admire the piety of this passage without con-
fessing the justness of the reasoning; we discern in the
poet's mild and Christian declaration, none of the gloom

of the ascetic, or the harshness of the intolerant bigot. To be of no church, it has been excellently observed, is dangerous; all men cannot, like Milton, preserve “a religion of the heart; " and even in his case we find more to regret than to admire. Wither has left abundant

An Answer to some Objections, reprinted 1666.

testimony to prove the sincerity of his religious professions. If he did not endure his misfortunes in silence, at least he braved them with fortitude ; if, amid the overwhelming perils of the country, he too often sat down on his own "little bundle of thorns*," it may be urged in his behalf, that he suffered much and long. In the resolution with which he fulfilled what he considered the commission intrusted to him from above, we trace something of primitive singleness of heart. For nearly half a century he was a “watchman for the nation," un. ceasingly warning it of its vices and crimes. Through the dangers of the pestilence, and all the changes of Government, he pursued the same course ; often, indeed, draun aside by the importunities and weaknesses of heart, to whose charming no human car can be utterly deaf, but always returning, after a little while, to his labours. Though the storm of adversity might beat upon his spirits, it could not subdue them; he walked with untired feet,

The solitary path

or disrespect : at one time threatened with “ loss of limb and tortures," at another, glad to escape from his enemies only with “life and raiment." He was imprisoned in the Marshalsea, Newgate, and in the Tower, frequently without any means of procuring the common necessaries of life. If he murmured, he did not faint ; in the midst of all his persecutions he derived peace and consolation from a sincere reliance on the mercy of Heaven, often exclaiming that he was “excellently sad," and that God infused such happiness into his heart, that grief became to him “Comfort's mother." Under one of his heaviest calamities he could exclaim

Jeremy Tavlor.

But Lord, though in the dark

And in contempt thy servant lies,
On me there falls a spark

Of loving-kindness from thine eyes. While lauding his virtues, I am far from being blind to his errors.

Had Wither remembered the sacred command, Do not evil that good may come, many of his follies would not have been committed. He would then have been more temperate in his satire, more steadfast in his politics, and more decided in his religion. The | best apology which can now be offered, is contained in his own affecting words. “Be it considered that some of these books were composed in his unripe age ; some when wiser men than he erred; and that there is in all of them somewhat savouring of a natural spirit, and somewhat dictated by a better spirit than his own."

Upon the merits of his poetry it is unnecessary to dilate. His early compositions were not, perhaps, sufficiently popular to operate very powerfully on the public taste, but in the Shepherd's Hunting, the Mistres: of Philaretc, and the Shepherd's Pipe, the correctness and finish of Denham and Waller were united to a natura grace and melody of style to which they have not ar equal claim. His touches of rural simplicity have never been surpassed; in his hand the pastoral reed seemed not to have forgotten the lip of Spenser.

As a sacred poet, Wither is entitled to a distinguished place among his contemporaries. If he does not awe the soul with the majesty of Milton, or crush it with th iron energy of Quarles, or force the tears of rapture inte our eyes with the pathos of Crashaw, yet his word; come home to every bosom, and no man ever pouret the balm of holy truth into a wounded heart with :

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While lauding his virtues, I am far from being blind 'to his errors. Had Wither remembered the sacred command, Do not evil that good may come, many of his follies would not have been committed. He would then

when wiser meu than he erred; and that there is in all

somewhat dictated by a better spirit than his own."

public taste, but in the Shepherd's Hunting, the Mistress

equal claim. His touches of rural simplicity have never

GEORGE WITHER,

But Lord, though in the dark

And in contempt thy serrant lies, On me there falls a spark Ofloring-kindness from thine eyes.

have been more

temperate in his satire, more steadfast in his politics, and niore decided in his religion. The best apology which can now be offered, is contained in his own affecting words. Be it considered that some of these books were composed in his unripe age ; some

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1

more affectionate hand. He had been taught sympathy in a good school, the school of adversity. He was in his own day, we are told, a favourite with young readers; and the purity and love of virtue manifested in all he wrote, rendered him a meet companion. The elements of his art were few; his verses contain no skilful combinations of imagery, or metaphors elaborated with a painful ingenuity; he showed us that the tree of poetry never flourishes with greener beauty, than when deeply rooted in the common joys and sorrows of humanity. The Muse never appeared to him in so beautiful a form, or with so endearing a manner, as when she brightened the chamber of the Marshalsea with her presence; but though, in after-times, he devoted his pen to pursuits which he hoped would prove more beneficial to the world, the fervour and unaffectedness of his youthful strains were not entirely destroyed. While the wit and fancy of Cowley were being chilled into cold and glittering eccentricities ; while Doune was torturing his erudition into fantastic images, and Jonson was encumber. ing his imagination with the treasures of a far-gathered learning, Wither remained faithful to the early models of nature and truth. In the Halleluiah, published when he was fifty-three years old, the sincerity and earnestness of his heart are still fresh and vigorous.

Among his poetical friends, in addition to those already mentioned, were the well-known Michael Drayton; Thomas Cranley, whom he styled his brother, the writer of a play called Amanda ; Hayman, the author of the Quodlibets *; and Christopher Brooke, a com

of them somewhat savouring of a natural spirit, and

Upon

the merits of his poetry it is unnecessary to dilate

. His early compositions were not, perhaps, suf. ficiently popular to operate very powerfully on the

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of Philarele, and the Shepherd's Pipe, the correctness and finish of Denham and Waller were united to a natural

and melody of style to which they have not an

grace

beca surpassed; in his hand the pastoral reed seemed ant to have forgotten the lip of Spenser.

ds a sacred poet, Wither is entitled to a distinguished place among his contemporaries. If he does not awe the soul with the majesty of Milton, or crush it with the iron energy of Quarles, or force the tears of rapture into our eyes with the pathos of Crashaw, yet his words come home to every bosom, and no man ever poured the balm of holy truth into a wounded heart with a

Hayman was for some time Governor of the Plantations in Newfoundland, where he composed the greater part of his verses. He was, also, a friend of Vicars, who honoured him with an Acrostic Sonnet.

panion of Browne, and a member of Lincoln's Inn, where he became the “chamber-fellow" of Donne, with whom he was imprisoned, on account of that poet's imprudent marriage. Wither also contributed verses to Carter's Most true and exact Relation of the Expedition of Kent, Esser, and Colchester, in 1648; to Butler's Feminine Monarchie, or the History of Bces, in 1623 * ; and a Latin poem, signed G. W., before Payne Fisher's Marston Moor, may belong to him. Fisher was the unsparing magnifier of Cromwell's actions, and appears to have subsisted upon the proceeds of his flattery. Pepys, who knew him, says in his Diary, 26th July, 1660, that the "poet Fisher" wished on that day to borrow piece," and that he sent him “half a piece."

In Pinkerton's preface to Ancient Scottish Songs, allusion is made to some compositions by Wither among the Bannatyne MISS., but it would seem from the

appendix, as Park has remarked, that he can only claim a Scottish version of one of his celebrated songs.

It may not be uninteresting to the reader of the preceding memoir, to know that the poet's name is still in existence in his native place. When the writer was at Bentworth in the summer of 1833, he was surprised, on ascending the steep path leading to the church, to find the name of Withers upon the sign-board of a little public house by the road-side. On inquiry he was nformed that this individual came from the neighbourhood of Farnham, in Surrey, and from the long residence

• Some of thesc lines are not inelegant:

Great God Almighty; in thy pretty bees
Mine eye (as written in small letters) sees
An abstract of this wisdom, power, and love,
Which is imprinted in the heavens above,
In larger volumes, for their eyes to see,
That in such little prints behold not Thee.

panion of Browne, and a member of Lincoln's Inn,

prudent marriage. Wither also contributed verses to Carter's Mast true and exact Relation of the Expedition Feminine Monarchie, or the History of Bees, in 1623"; and a Latin poem, signed G. W., before Payne Fisher's Marston Vloer, may belong to him. Fisher was the un. sparing magnifier of Cromwell's actions, and appears to

have subsisted upon the proceeds of his flattery. Pepys,

piece, "and that he sent him "half a piece."

GEORGE WITHER.

of our poet in that part of the country, it is not improbable that the host of the Five Bells * is descended from the author of the Shepherd's Hunting. The same name also hangs before an humble inn in the quiet town of Alton, and one of the keepers of the gate on the road to Winchester owns the same appellation.

where he became the "chamber-fellow " of Donne

, with whom he was imprisoned

, on account of that poet's im.

of Kent, Ers, and Colchester

, in 1618; to Butler's

who knew him, says in his Diary, 26th July, 1660, that the poet Fisher" wished on that day to borrow a

In Pinkerton's preface to Ancient Scottish Songs, allu. sion is made to some compositions by Wither among the Bannatyne MSS., but it would seem from the appendir, as Park has remarked, that he can only claim a Scottish version of one of his celebrated songs.

It may not be uninteresting to the reader of the preceding memoir, to know that the poet's name is still in existence in his native place. When the writer was at Bentworth in the summer of 1833, he was surprised, on ascending the steep path leading to the church, to find the name of Withers upon the sign-board of a little public bouse by the road-sivle. On inquiry he was nformed that this individual came from the neighbour. hood of Farnham, in Surrey, and from the long residence

HERRICK, HEYWOOD,

86. Robert HERRICK was born in London, towards the close of 1591, and about the year 1615 he was entered of St. John's College, Cambridge, which he left, after a residence of three years, for Trinity Hall, with the intention of preparing himself for the law, and at the same time reducing his expenses, which were borne by his uncle, Sir William Herrick, who was goldsmith to James the First. Having relinquished the study of the law and applied himself to Divinity, on the elevation of Dr. Barnaby Potter to the See of Carlisle, he obtained the living of Dean Prior in Devonshire, through the interest of the Earl of Exeter. Here, according to Wood, "he exercised his Muse as well in poetry as other learning, and became much beloved by the gentry in those parts for his florid and witty discourse." But this statement is contradicted by Herrick himself, in the address to “Dean-Bourn, a rude river in Devonshire," in which he describes the people to be "churlish as the seas," and almost as rude "as rudest savages." In 1647 or 48, he

. I will not vouch for the accuracy of the sign; I speak from memory, and the subject upon the board has been much defaced by the wind and weather.

• Some of these lines are not inelegant:

Great God Almighty; in thy pretty bees
Mine eye (as written in small letters) sees
An abstract of this wisdom, power, and love,
Which is imprinted in the heavens above,
In larger volumes, for their eyes to see,
That in such little prints behold not Thee.

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