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forms a meet companion to the Shepherd's Hunting. This beautiful poem, printed in 1614, has always been assigned to Browne; but it is attributed to Wither in the edition of his works published in 1620, and we have his own testimony in the Fides Anglicana, that it was "composed jointly by him and Mr. William Browne." Roget is clearly intended to represent Wither, and Willie, Browne. Warton alludes to the Shepherd's Pipe, and ascribes to Browne the publication of Occleve's version of the Story of King Darius's Legacy to his Three Sons, in the Gesta Romanorum. The poem is contributed by Roget, already pointed out as the pastoral name of Wither, and in a note at the end of the first eclogue, it is said, "as this shall please, I may be drawn to publish the rest of his works, being all perfect in my hands." Occleve has been called the disciple of Chaucer; and it will presently be seen, from the assistance furnished to the Rev. Willian Bedwell, in his antiquarian pursuits, by Wither, that he was considered "a man of exquisite judgment in that kind of learning." We may be justified, therefore, in awarding to him the merit of the publication of this old poem.
The Shepherd's Pipe opens with Willie s consolation of his friend Roget.
Roget, droop not, see the spring
See the primrose sweetly set
Yet in all this merry tide,
Ah, Willie, Willie, why should I
Can any one doubt, after reading these lines, that the poem was partly written by Wither?
The verses in which Roget commends the story of Occleve are exceedingly fanciful and elegant; but Warton was correct in saying that the eulogy was undeserved.
'Tis a song not many swains
You shall find it quit the while,
The Shepherd's Pipe is dedicated by Browne to Lord Zouch, the friend of Sir Henry Wotton, and the poet dwells with evident pleasure upon the shades of the "delightful Bramshill." Lord Zouch is supposed to have been the occasional patron of Ben Jonson, who called him "good Lord Zouch." It was in the park of this magnificent seat that Archbishop Parker, while hunting, in the summer of 1621, accidentally struck with an arrow Peter Hawkins, one of the keepers.
After bis liberation, with a view of recreating bis mind during severer studies, Wither wrote bis Motto.
Of this book he tells us, in the Fragmenta Prophetica, thirty thousand copies were circulated within a few months. He numbers it among the books composed during his maturer years. His object was to draw the "true picture" of bis own heart, that his friends who "knew him outwardly, might have some representation of
* Mickle, great. In this sense it is used by Shakspeare.
Rum. und Jul. ii. 3.—Nares's Glossary.
his inside also." But he was at the same time impelled by the higher and better hope of confirming himself in his own good resolutions, and of preventing "such alterations as time and infirmities" might tend to produce. The poem is, therefore, rather moral and didactic than satiric—the poet's " furies were tied in chains." At this period he was in comfortable circumstances. In the Inventory of his wealth, he enumerates a friend, books, and papers, which he calls his jewels, a servant, and a horse. The merits of the Motto will be sufficiently exemplified by one or two specimens. The following passage contains all the materials of poetry; it only requires the taste and finish of a patient architect*.
Yet I confess, in this my pilgrimage,
* Not the least singular part of the Motto is the frontispiece. The author is represented sitting on a rock, with gardens, houses, woods, and meadows, spread beneath Kim, to which he points with his finger, holding a riband, on which is written nec haben, nor have I. At his feet is a globe of the earth, with the words nec euro, nor care I. The poet himself sits with eyes uplifted towards heaven, from which a ray of light descends, and from his lips proceed nec careo, nor want I.
One while my ways are pleasant unto me,
Passages like this, full of humble reliance upon the mercy and long suffering of our heavenly Father, abound in almost every page of the poet's compositions, casting a hallowing light over much that is unworthy both of the writer and the Christian. The indignant attack upon the hired flatterers and elegists of the day deserves to be extracted. Wither preserved himself, in a great measure, unspotted from this " burning sin" of the age he lived in.
I have no Muses that will serve the turn,
At every triumph, and rejoice or mourn,
After a minute's warning, for their hire,
If with old sherry they themselves inspire.
I am not of a temper like to those
That can provide an hour's sad talk in prose
For any funeral, and then go dine,
And choke my grief with sugar-plums and wine.
I cannot at the claret sit and laugh,
And then, half tipsy, write an epitaph.
I cannot for reward adorn the hearse
Of some old rotten miser with my verse;
Nor like the poetasters of the time,
Go howl a doleful elegy in rhyme,
For every lord or ladyship that dies,
And then perplex their heirs to patronize,
That muddy poesy. Oh, how 1 scorn,
That raptures which are free and nobly born.
Should, fidler-like, for entertainment scrape
At strangers' windows, and go play the ape
In counterfeiting passion.