« PreviousContinue »
Thus Love, as victor of the field, triumphs above the rest,
The roaring of the cannon shot, that makes the piece to shake, Or terror, such as mighty Jove from heaven And joys to see his subjects lie with living death above can make: in breast;
All these, in fine, may not compare, experience But dire Disdain lets drive a shaft, and galls this so doth prove,
Unto the torments, sharp and strange, of such as be in love.
He plucks his plumes, unbends his bow, and sets him new to school;
Whereby this boy that bragged late, as conqueror over all,
Love looks aloft, and laughs to scorn all such as griefs annoy, The more extreme their passions be, the greater Now yields himself unto Disdain, his vassal and
BARON BUCKHURST, AND EARL OF DORSET,
Was the son of Sir Richard Sackville, and was born at Withyam, in Sussex, in 1536. He was educated at both universities, and enjoyed an early reputation in Latin as well as in English poetry. While a student of the Inner Temple, he wrote his tragedy of Gorboduc, which was played by the young students, as a part of a Christmas entertainment, and afterwards before Queen Elizabeth at Whitehall, in 1561. subsequent edition of this piece it was entitled the tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex. He is said to have been assisted in the composition of it by Thomas Norton; but to what extent does not appear. T. Warton disputes the fact of his being at all indebted to Norton. The merit of the piece does not render the question of much importance. This tragedy and his contribution of the Induction and Legend of the Duke of Buckingham to the "Mirror for Magistrates,"
The " Mirror for Magistrates" was intended to celebrate the chief unfortunate personages in English history, in a series of poetical legends spoken by the characters themselves, with epilogues interspersed to connect the stories, in imitation of Boccaccio's Fall of Princes, which had been translated by Lydgate. The historian of English poetry ascribes the plan of this work to Sackville, and seems to have supposed that his Induction and legend of Henry Duke of Buckingham appeared in the first edition: but Sir E. Brydges has shown that it was not until the second edition of the Mirror for Magistrates that Sackville's contribution was published, viz. in 1563, Baldwin and Ferrers were the authors of the first edi tion, in 1559. Higgins, Phayer, Churchyard, and a crowd of inferior versifiers, contributed successive legends, not confining themselves to English history, but treating the reader with the lamentations of Geta and Caracalla, Brennus, &c. &c. till the improvement of the drama superseded those dreary monologues, by giving heroic history a more engaging air. Sackville's contribution to The Mirror for Magistrates," is the only part of it that is tolerable. It is observable that his plan differs materially from that of the other contributors. Helays
compose the poetical history of Sackville's life. The rest of it was political. He had been elected to parliament at the age of thirty. Six years afterwards, in the same year that his Induction and legend of Buckingham were published, he went abroad on his travels, and was, for some reason that is not mentioned, confined, for a time, as a prisoner at Rome; but he returned home, on the death of his father, in 1566, and was soon after promoted to the title of Baron Buckhurst. Having entered at first with rather too much prodigality on the enjoyment of his patrimony, he is said to have been reclaimed by the indignity of being kept in waiting by an alderman, from whom he was borrowing money, and to have made a resolution of economy, from which he never departed. The queen employed him, in the fourteenth year of her reign, in an embassy to Charles IX. of France. In 1587 he went as ambassador to the United Provinces, upon their complaint against the Earl of Leicester; but, though he performed his trust with integrity, the favourite had sufficient influence to get him recalled; and on his return, he was ordered to confinement in his own house, for nine or ten months. On Leicester's death, however, he was immediately reinstated in royal favour, and was made knight of the garter, and chancellor of Oxford. On the death of Burleigh he became lord high treasurer of England. At Queen Elizabeth's demise he was one of the privy councillors on whom the administration of the kingdom devolved, and he concurred in proclaiming the scene, like Dante, in Hell, and makes his characters relate their history at the gates of Elysium, under the guidance of Sorrow; while the authors of the other legends are generally contented with simply dreaming of the unfortunate personages, and, by going to sleep, offer a powerful inducement to follow their example.
King James. The new sovereign confirmed him in the office of high treasurer by a patent for life, and on all occasions consulted him with confidence. In March 1604, he was created Earl of Dorset. He died suddenly  at the council table, in consequence of a dropsy on the brain. Few ministers, as Lord Orford remarks, have left behind them so unblemished a character. His family considered his memory so invulnerable, that when some partial aspersions were thrown upon it, after his death, they disdained to answer them. He carried taste and elegance even into his formal political functions, and for his eloquence was styled the bell of the Star
Chamber. As a poet, his attempt to unite allegory with heroic narrative, and his giving our language its earliest regular tragedy, evince the views and enterprise of no ordinary mind; but, though the induction to the Mirror for Magistrates displays some potent sketches, it bears the complexion of a saturnine genius, and resembles a bold and gloomy landscape on which the sun never shines. As to Gorboduc, it is a piece of monotonous recitals, and cold and heavy accumulation of incidents. As an imitation of classical tragedy it is peculiarly unfortunate, in being without even the unities of place and time, to circumscribe its dulness.
FROM SACKVILLE'S INDUCTION TO THE COMPLAINT OF HENRY, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
Her eyes unstedfast, rolling here and there, Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook,
And next within the entry of this lake
When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,
His face was lean and some-deal pined away,
For on his carcass raiment had he none,
His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree;
Whose wretched state, when we had well beheld
The morrow gray no sooner had begun
By him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death,
The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,
And next in order sad Old Age we found,
[Born, 1536. Died, 1577.]
Was born in 1536*, of an ancient family in Essex, was bred at Cambridge, and entered at Gray's-Inn; but being disinherited by his father for extravagance, he repaired to Holland, and obtained a commission under the Prince of Orange. A quarrel with his Colonel retarded his promotion in that service; and a circumstance occurred which had nearly cost him his life. A lady at the Hague (the town being then in the enemy's possession) sent him a letter, which was intercepted in the camp, and a report against his loyalty was made by those who had seized it. Gascoigne immediately laid the affair before the Prince, who saw through the design of his accusers, and gave him a passport for visiting his female friend. At the siege of Middleburgh he displayed so much bravery, that the Prince rewarded him with 300 gilders above his pay; but he was soon after made prisoner by the Spaniards, and having spent four months in captivity, re
turned to England, and resided generally at Walthamstow. In 1575 he accompanied Queen Elizabeth in one of her stately progresses, and wrote for her amusement a mask, entitled the Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth Castle. He is generally said to have died at Stamford, in 1578; but the registers of that place have been searched in vain for his name, by the writer of an article in the Censura Literariat, who has corrected some mistakes in former accounts of him. It is not probable, however, that he lived long after 1576, as, from a manuscript in the British Museum, it appears that, in that year, he complains of his infirmities, and nothing afterwards came from his pen.
Gascoigne was one of the earliest contributors to our drama. He wrote The Supposes, a comedy, translated from Ariosto, and Jocasta, a tragedy from Euripides, with some other pieces.
THE ARRAIGNMENT OF A LOVER.
AT Beauty's bar as I did stand,
Then Craft the crier call'd a quest,
Jealous the gaoler bound me fast,
George, quoth the judge, now thou art cast,
Down fell I then upon my knee,
And though this Judge doth make such haste
Yet let your pity first be placed