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Beware, you poets, that (at distance) you
Than was Arachne's fate or Midas' curse,
Cokayne also celebrated Cotton's merits on several other occasions,9 but only two of those effusions are deserving of notice, the one for the pithiness of the compliment paid to him, and the other because his father is mentioned :—
"TO MY HONOURED COUSIN MR CHARLES COTTON, JUNIOR.
Donne, Suckling, Randolph, Drayton, Massinger,
Jonson, Chapman, and Holland I have seen.
"TO MY COUSIN MR CHARLES COTTON THE YOUNGER.
In how few years have you rais'd up an high
Colonel Lovelace, who addressed an ode1 to Cotton's father, and wrote an elegy on his aunt, Cassandra, inscribed "The Triumphs of Philamore and Amoret, to the noblest of our youth and best of friends, Charles Cotton, Esquire, being at Beresford, at his house in Staffordshire, from London."2 In these verses he laments Cotton's absence, and thus affectionately anticipates his return:—
"But all our clouds shall be o'erblown when thee
The most remarkable lines are, however, the following, because they seem to corroborate Aubrey's statement that Cotton had relieved Lovelace in his distress : 3—
"What fate was mine when in my obscure cave
1 Lucasta. edit. 1649. "The Grasshopper, To my noble friend, Mr Charles Cotton." P. 34
2 Lucasta. Posthume Poems of Richard Lovelace, Esq., 8vo, 1659.
* "Lovelace died in 1658, in a mean lodging in Gunpowder Alley, near Shoe Lane. Aubrey's statement is, that 'George Petty, haberdasher in Fleet Street, carried twenty
shillings to him every Monday morning from Sir Many, and Charles Cotton. Esq .
for months, and was never repaid.'" Athen. Oxon. ed. Bliss, vol. hi. pp. 462, 463.
Cotton4 and several other persons wrote Elegies to Lovelace's memory, which were printed at the end of his "Lucasta and Posthume Poems" in 1659.
The most material facts which Cotton's own poems establish are, that he was a zealous Royalist, and an uncompromising enemy of Cromwell. He omitted no opportunity of expressing his sentiments;5 and a decisive proof of his political opinions is exhibited in his verses on the execution of James Earl of Derby, in 1651 j6 and in his severe castigation of Waller for writing a panegyric on the Protector about the year 1654 :—
"TO POET E. W. OCCASIONED FOR HIS WRITING A PANEGYRIC
From whence, vile Poet, didst thou glean the wit.
And words fur such a vitious poem fit?
Where couldst thou paper find was not too white.
Or ink that could be black enough to write?
What servile devil tempted thee to be
A flatterer of thine own slavery?
To kiss ihy bondage and extol the deed.
At once that made thy prince, and country bleed?
I wonder much thy false heart did not dread.
And shame to write what all men blush to read;
Thus with a base ingratitude to rear
Tiophies unto thy master's murtherer?
Who call'd the coward (—) much mistook
* See Cotton's Poems, p. 481.
4 For example, in his Voyage to Ireland :—
"We enterM the port,
Iu his Contestation, he says: "The man is happy
Who free from debt, and clear from crimes,
Honours those laws that others fear,
Will neither speak himself, nor hear."—P. 258.
la his Ode to Melancholy :—
"An infamous Usurper's come,
"And yet, methinks, it cannot be
The Chorus to one of his Bacchanalian songs is :—
"Then let us revel, quaff, and sing,
See also his Epode to Alexander Bromc on the King's return, p. 511, and several other ta'Unces throughout his Poems. 6 Cotton's Poems, p. 4:1.
Thou hast at once abused thyself and us;
Put up thy pen and ink, muzzle thy muse*
Where was thy reason then, when thou began
Then, what thou hast pronounced go execute,
Though ardent Royalists, both Cotton and his father seem to have escaped the persecutions to which the Cavaliers were exposed, as their names have not been found in connection with any public event during the Commonwealth; nor do they appear to have been obliged to purchase safety by compounding for their estates. Of Cotton's acquaintances at this period, the most remarkable, with reference to this work, was Isaak Walton, his adopted father in the art of Angling, who became one of his intimate friends, and whose esteem is strong evidence of Cotton's moral worth. Walton was also known to his father, for in speaking of the Lives of Donne and Wotton, Cotton observes,
Literature and the pleasures of society did not, however, entirely engross his time; for besides his favourite pursuit of Angling, which he followed before he was seventeen,7 he amused himself in gardening and planting. Upon the latter subject, he not only afterwards wrote a treatise,8 but proved that his knowledge was practical, by planting his own grounds near Beresford Hall;9 and
7 Cotton says in his part of "The Complete Angler," in 1676: "I will tell you nothing, I have not made myself as certain of as any matt can be in thirty years' experience, for so long I have been a dabbler in that art '—P. 406.
* Vide postea.
9 ''Viator. It [Beresford Hall] appears on a sudden, but not before 'twas looked for. It stands prettily, and here's wood about it too, but so young as appears to be of your
tr. // is so."—Cotton's part cf " The Complete Angler," p. 420.
the taste with which he improved that place, caused him to be complimented by his constant eulogist, Sir Aston Cokayne.1
Towards the end of July or early in August 1656, when Cotton was in his twenty-seventh year, he married his cousin Isabella, daughter of Sir Thomas Hutchinson, of Owthorpe, in Nottinghamshire.1 In contemplation of that alliance, his father and himself vested the manors of Bentley, Borrowashe, and Beresford, together with the rectory of Spoondon, and other lands, in trustees, to sell so much of the same as would pay off a mortgage of ^1700, granted in July 1655, by the younger Cotton; and to hold the surplus in trust for him and his heirs. The manor of Beresford was then settled upon his father for life, with remainder to his children; and a life interest in his other property was secured to his intended wife, Isabella Hutchinson, in case she survived him.3
In December 1658, Cotton lost his father, who appears from Lord Clarendon's account of him, to have lived to an advanced age, and to have injured his property by lawsuits. This circumstance ought not to be forgotten in forming a judgment of his son's character: nor is it less material to remember, that though he may have inherited his father's talents, and been much indebted to his assistance during his education, yet his parent's conduct, particularly in the latter part of his life, afforded him an example of imprudence and irregularity, which he too closely followed.
Upon the restoration of Charles the Second, Cotton first appeared before the public as an author. He addressed a panegyric to the King, consisting of fourteen pages in prose, but it contains nothing which distinguishes it from the numerous other productions with which Charles's return was greeted.4 In the same year he became (probably for the first time) a father, by the birth of his eldest son, to whom he gave the name of Beresford. All which is known of Cotton during the ensuing four years is, that in 1664 he published a burlesque poem entitled "Scarronides, or the First Book of Virgil Travestie," which will be again alluded to; and that he prepared for the press a translation of " The Moral Philosophy of
1 "Your Basford house you have adorned much, And Bently hopes it shortly shall be such; Think on't; and set but Bently in repair, To both those Basfords you will show y' are heir.'* 1 Vide the accompanying pedigree.
3 Stat. 27 Car. If. 1675.
4 Several of these addiesses are collected in one volume in the British Museum ; ami the exact date of their respective appearance, with some corrections of the names of their authors, have been added in a contemporary hand. Cotton's Panegyrick is dated 271b, August 166a