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us not to regard him as a religious poet; but he has told us, that his life was unspotted by the licence of his rhymes. Let us hope that when, in his touching words (to God in his sickness), he made his home in darkness and sorrow, the mercy of Him in whom he trusted, did indeed renew him, even although "a withered flower *."
Thomas Heywood was one of the most prolific dramatists of an age abounding in works of that description. He says, in the preface to the English Traveller, that he had "an entire hand, or at least a main finger," in two hundred and twenty plays. His copiousness was not the result of weakness. Charles Lamb has commended, in fitting terms, that tearful pathos which cuts to the heart. But his name is only admitted into these pages in the more honourable character of a Sacred Poet. The Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels was published in 1635, and dedicated to Charles the First. It was the produce of his old age, and he cautions the reader in the preface "not to expect any new conceits from old heads," or to look for "green fruit from withered branches." The melody and grace of his dramas will be sought for in vain; unlike Sir Philip Sidney's poet, he does not present the reader at the entrance of the vineyard with a bunch of grapes, so that "full of the delicious flavour he may long to pass in further:" his manner, on the contrary, is somewhat harsh and unpolished, and he
* His Prayer for Absolution is full of piety.—
leads them through difficult and abrupt places; but the rugged path frequently ends in a garden. The poem is divided into nine books, to each of which is appended a commentary, evincing the writer's intimate acquaintance with the abstruser studies of theology. Modern students will hardly be persuaded to turn to this ponderous volume, yet it would well repay the trouble of perusal*. Some of the meditations possess a stern and solemn severity; and the Search after God rises into sublimity:—
I sought thee round about, O thou, my God!
In thine abode.
She answered me,
Contained therein;—they with one voice proclaim,
I asked the seas, and all the deeps below,
My God to know.
In the abyss;
I asked the air, If that were He? but, lo!
It told me, No.
But they all, much
I ask'd the heavens, sun, moon, and stars, but they
Said,« We obey
Could see or hear;
* See some very curious extracts from this Poem in the first volume o! Brydges' Restituta, p. 240.
What in the world I might descry or know,
I ask'd the world's great universal mass
If that God was?
By him on high
I sought the court; but smooth-tongued flattery there
Deceiv'd each ear:
Swearing, and lying;
And then I said,
A scrutiny within myself I then
Even thus began:
Than dust and clay?
That cannot last;
I asked myself, what this great God might be
That fashioned me?
Lord over all;
He is the well of life, for he doth give
To all that live,
Both of the water,
He hath the list;
And now, my God, by thine illumining grace
Thy glorious face,
Methinks I see;
To human sight,
O make us apt to seek, and quick to find,
Thou God, most kind!
To trust, thou God, most just i
Most good, most great! Grant that our willing, though unworthy quest May, through thy grace, admit us 'mongst the blest.