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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 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 salutation, 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 Donne was torturing his erudition into fantastic images, and Jonson was encumbering his imagination with the treasures of a fargathered 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 poem called Amanda; Hayman, the author of the Quodlibets*;

* 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.

and Christopher Brooke, a companion of Browne, and a member of Lincoln's Inn, where he became the " chamberfellow" 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, Essex, and Colchester, in 1648; to Butler's Feminine Monarchie, or the History of Bees, 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 " a 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 MSS., 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 publichouse by the road-side. On inquiry he was informed that this individual came from the neighbourhood of Farnham, in Surrey: and from the long residence of our poet in that part of the country, it is not improbable that the host of

* 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.

the Five Bells J may be 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.


Robert Herrick was bom 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 1648, he was ejected from his preferment by the Parliament, and he declared that he was " ravisht in spirit to be recalled from a long and irksome banishment" to the "blest place of his nativity." Having assumed the habit of a layman, he resided in St. Anne's, Westminster, where 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.

was principally supported by the Royalists. At the Restoration he recovered his living. The period of his death has not been ascertained*.

Herrick is usually admired as the gay writer of a beautiful Anacreontic Song, and one or two poems of a more plaintive character. The Noble Numbers contain some touching strains of religious devotion. In an early number of the Quarterly Review, there was an account of a visit to Dean Prior, and of the writer's endeavours to discover some memorials of the poet. His researches were unsuccessful, but he met with an old woman in the parish who repeated with great exactness and propriety five of the Noble Numbers, which she called her prayers, and was accustomed to recite to herself at night when unable to sleep. Among them was the following exquisite " Litany to the Holy Spirit:"—

In the hour of my distress,

When temptations me oppress,

And when I my sins confess,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When I lie within my bed,
Sick at heart, and sick in head,
And with doubts disquieted,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.
When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drowned in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When the passing bell doth toll,
And the Furies in a shoal,
Come to fright my parting soul,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When the tapers now burn blue,
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true;

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

* Some interesting particulars of his life, interspersed with a few most unpoetical letters, may be seen in the second part of the second volume of Nichols's History of Leicestershire.

When the priest his last hath prayed,
And I nod to what is said,
Because my speech is now decayed,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When the Tempter me pursu'th,
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns mei with untruth,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When the flames and hellish cries,
Fright mine ears, and fright mine eyes,
And all terrors me surprise,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me.

When the judgment is revealed,
And that opened which was sealed,
When to Thee I have appealed,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me*.

The Thanksgiving for his House is too long to be extracted, but one stanza may be quoted, to show its peculiar merits:—

Low is my porch, as is my fate,

Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door

Is worne by the poor.

The Dirge of Jephtha is also beautiful; the classical reader will notice the Grsecism in these lines:—

Thou wonder of all maids li'st here,
Of daughters all, the dearest dear;
The eye of virgins, nay the Queen
Of this smooth green,
And all sweet meads from whence we get
The primrose and the violet.

If to these poems we add the Christmas Carol, the Star-Song, and the White Island, or Place of the Blest, I think that it will be granted that Herrick's most lasting fame is derived from his sacred compositions. The sentiments of some of his songs have unfortunately disposed

* The fourth and fifth stanzas are omitted.

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