« AnteriorContinuar »
Wake, O earth! wake every thing,
Still stand gazing :
Hail, O Sun! O blessed Light,
For most surely
Thou art truly
(ABOUT 1576--ABOUT 1650.) HENRY PEACHAM was born at North Mims, near St. Alban's; and was the son of the Reverend Henry Peacham, of Leverton, near Boston, Lincolnshire, who probably wrote the “ Garden of Eloquence," a work which is sometimes, with a very confusing effect upon chronology, attributed to his son. Peacham received his elementary education at the place of his birth; and was afterwards of Trinity College, Cambridge, of which university, according to his own account, he was a master of arts. He acquired a considerable knowledge of the theory and practice of music, and was also of some note as an amateur painter and engraver. His literary activity was extended over a long period of time, and his productions were extremely varied. It is known from his works that he travelled in the Netherlands; and that he was for some time Master of the Grammar School at Wymondham, near Norwich. He is best known by his “ Complete Gen. tleman,” a quarto volume, first published in 1622, and which in nine years went through five editions. It is an encyclopædia of the learning and accomplishments necessary to the cultivated and well-bred man.
In 1612 he published “Minerva Britanna; or a Garden of Heroical Devices furnished and adorned with Emblems and Impresas of Sundry Natures, newly Devised, Moralized, and Published.” It is difficult to say whether, in these Emblems, the poetry or the art was subservient.
This work, from which the following extracts are taken, was dedicated to Prince Henry; for whose benefit Peacham also translated the “Basilicon Doron" of King James into Latin verse. Peacham's life seems to have been longer than his art of sustaining himself in competency, if it be true that he was "reduced to poverty in his age, and wrote penny pamphlets.”
Wherewith her body she doth oft chastise,
Or fasts, to curb her fleshly enemies.
The willow green, she most delights to wear,
HUMILIBUS DAT GRATIAM.
And with his heat in hedge and grove begets
The virgin primrose, or sweet violets.
Although they lack the others' golden spring
(1580-1640.) WILLIAM ALEXANDER, an eminent nobleman, statesman, and poet of the reigns of James I. and Charles I., was born in 1580. His family possessed the small estate of Menstrie, near Stirling; and he rose by the favour of the above-named princes from the rank of a small landed proprietor to the dignity of an earldom. About the time of James's accession to the English throne, Alexander repaired to London, where, in 1604, he published a century of sonnets, under the title of “ Aurora, containing the First Fancies of the Author's Youth.” Royal favour promoted him in 1614 to the honour of knighthood, and to the office of Master of Requests. In 1621, the king gave him a grant of the province of Nova Scotia, his magnificent scheme for colonizing which dependency degenerated at
last into a mere means of raising money by the sale of titles. Sir William Alexander was made Secretary of State for Scotland in 1626; in 1630, he was raised to the peerage with the title of Viscount Stirling; and in 1633, at the coronation of Charles I. in Holyrood Chapel, he was promoted to the rank of an Earl under the same title. In 1637, the Earl of Stirling published a complete edition of his poetical works, under the general title of “Recreations with the Muses." This collection contained his four “Monarchick Tragedies,” founded upon the histories respectively of Darius, Alexander, Crosus, and Cæsar; “Parænesis to Prince Henry;" “ Jonathan, an Heroick Poem, intended, the first book;" together with his largest and perhaps his most meritorious production of “Doomsday, or the Great Day of Judgment,” which first had appeared at Edinburgh in 1614, and from which the following stanzas are extracted. It is to the Earl of Stirling that we are also indebted for the greater part of the Psalter known by the name of King James's. He died in 1640. His muse is vigorous; and, for his time, not inelegant; and his works are always less or more penetrated with a spirit of pious solemnity.
GOD VISIBLE IN HIS WORKS. The stately heavens, which glory doth array, Are mirrors of God's admirable might; There, whence forth spreads the night, forth springs the
day, He fixed the fountains of this temporal light, Where stately stars enstalled, some stand, some stray, All sparks of his great power (though small yet bright), By what none utter can, no, not conceive, All of his greatness, shadows may perceive. What glorious lights through crystal lanterns glance, (As always burning with their Maker's love); Spheres keep one music, they one measure dance Like influence below, one course above;
And all by order led, not drawn by chance,
up, all souls, and gaze on God through us.”