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said to have been produced on the eve of his death; but, as Sir Egerton Brydges well remarks, it "is too full of far-fetched conceits to suffer us to believe that it was really written the night before his execution. It might have been composed in the contemplation of death in one of the many years between his sentence and execution, during that sad period of cruel and unexampled imprisonment. It contains a mixture of bold and sublime passages, such as the aspiring and indignant soul of Raleigh was likely to utter. The first stanza, in which the imagery drawn from a pilgrim is vividly depicted, fills the mind with a wild interest.” The use of the “quaint and degrading images,” to the presentation of which the same kindly appreciative critic goes on to object, may be considerably extenuated by the remembrance that, since this vigorous poem was written, the names of some of the objects introduced have suffered from thedeterioration consequent upon the wear and tear of more than two centuries, and in the time of the author could scarcely have been so contemptuously familiar as a modern ear decides them to be. The drawback is not so much that the ideas are vulgar, as that, in great part, the expressions are by this time something more than homely. With this comparatively superficial consideration may be taken the just and more searching criticism of the Reverend John Hannah, who, in 1845, edited poems by Sir Henry Wotton, Sir Walter Raleigh, and others. Some lines in it [“ His Pilgrimage”] can scarcely be read without pain; and I would have omitted them, but that I was unwilling to mutilate the poem. But before we condemn them as irreverent, we should recollect the circumstances under which they were probably composed. At such a period, when the perspective through which we view things must be altogether changed, the familiar distinctions between small and great might be easily neglected, as if they were not real, but only relative to us; and a man of bold and ardent spirit, which had not then been broken down by long imprisonment, might give vent, in strange and startling metaphors, to those strong feelings of mingled confidence and indignation which could find no outlet in more ordinary language.”

The other verses are said to have been found in Raleigh's Bible, in the Gate-house at Westminster.


Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation;
My gown of glory (hope's true gage),
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be

my body's balmer-
No other balm will there be given;
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of heaven:
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains.

There will I kiss

The bowl of bliss,
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every

milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before;
But after, it will thirst no more.

I'll take them first

To quench my thirst,
And taste of nectar suckets,

At those clear wells

Where sweetness dwells,
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.
Then by that happy, blissful day,
More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,
That have cast off their rags of clay,
And walk apparelled fresh like me;
And when our bodies and all we
Are filled with immortality,

Then the blessed parts we'll travel
Strewed with rubies thick as gravel;
Ceilings of diamonds, sapphire flowers,
High walls of coral, and pearly bowers.
From thence to heaven's bribeless hall,
Where no corrupted voices brawl,
No conscience molten into gold,
No forged accuser bought or sold,
No cause deferred, no vain-spent journey;
For there Christ is the king's attorney,
Who pleads for all without degrees,
And he hath angels, but no fees.
And when the grand twelve-million jury
Of our sins, with direful fury,
'Gainst our souls black verdicts give,
Christ pleads his death, and then we lire.
Be thou my Speaker, taintless Pleader,
Unblotted Lawyer, true Proceeder,
Thou wouldst salvation even for alms,
Not with a bribéd Lawyer's palms.
And this is mine eternal plea,
To Him that made heaven, earth, and sea,
That since my flesh must die so soon,
And want a head to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke, when my veins start and

Set on my soul an everlasting head.
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those blessed paths which before I writ!

Of death and judgment, heaven and hell,
Who oft doth think, must needs die well!


ven such is Time, that takes on trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with Earth and Dust;

Who, in the dark and silent Grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days :
But from this Earth, this Grave, this Dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust !

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A BARE catalogue of the miscellaneous productions of this prolific writer would many times outmeasure all the particulars we have of his personal history. Almost the only clue we have to this is due to the research of a county historian. Bridges' “History of Northamptonshire” informs us that in the church of Norton, a small village in that county, on the south side of the chancel, the following epitaph is fixed to the wall:—“Here lieth the body of Nicholas Breton, Esq., sonne of Captaine John Breton, of Tamworth, Esq., in the Countie of Stafford. He also was Captaine of a foot company in the Low Countries under the command of the right honourable Robert Dudley, Earle of Leicester. He married Anne, daughter to Sir Edward Legh, of Rushall, in the countie of Stafford, a wife of rare vertue and pietie. had by her five sons and four daughters (viz.), Edward, Christopher, John, Gerard, William, Anne, Howard, Frances, Lettis. He purchased this Lordship of Norton, and departed from the troubles of this life to eternal happiness the 22nd day of June, Anno Domini 1624." There had existed considerable doubt whether the subject of this inscription could be identified with the poet. Mr. J. Payne Collier announced, in “Notes and Queries” for April 6th, 1850, that he was already in possession of undoubted proof that the poet was indeed the Nicholas Breton whose epitaph we have quoted; "a point,” he

says, "which Ritson seems to have questiored.” But the stages of the demonstration were not published.

Sir Egerton Brydges pronounces the poetical genius of Breton to be certainly delicate and copious, if not powerful. His piety shows itself ardent and elevated. The following selections are made from his “ Soul's Harmony,” “Longing of a Blessed Heart,” and “ A Divine Poem, divided into two parts, the Ravisht Soul and the Blessed Weeper.”


What is the gold of all this world but dross ?
The joy but sorrow, and the pleasure pain;
The wealth but beggary, and the gain but loss ;
The wit but folly, and the virtue vain;
The power but weakness, and but death the life;
The hope but fear, and the assurance doubt;
The trust deceit, the concord but a strife,
Where one conceit doth put another out;
Time but an instant, and the use a toil;
The knowledge blindness, and the care a madness,
The silver lead, the diamond but a foil,
The rest but trouble, aud the mirth but sadness?

Thus, since to heaven compared, the earth is such,
What thing is man to love the world so much ?


If thou speak’st of power, all powers
To his power are in subjection;
If thou speak'st of time, all hours
Run their course by his direction;

If of wisdom, all is vanity;

But in his Divine humanity.
If of truth, it is his trial;
If of love, it is his treasure;
If of life, it is his dial;
If of grace, it is his pleasure;

If of goodness, 'tis his story;
If of mercy, 'tis his glory.

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