« VorigeDoorgaan »
so if he needs will be an historian, he is not cited in the sterling acceptation, but after the rate of blue caps reckoning an historian Scot. Now a Scotchman's tongue runs high Fullames; there is a' cheat in his idiom; for the sense ebbs from the bold expression, like the citizen's gallon, which the drawer interprets but half a pint. In sum, a Diurnal-maker is the anti-mark of an historian; he differs from him as a drill from a man, (or if you had rather have it in the saints' gibberish) as a hinter doth from a holderforth.
poet, was born in Fleet-street, London, in 1613. His father was a grocer; after whose death he was admitted a king's scholar in Westminster School. His decided taste for poetry was called forth by his accidentally reading, at a very early age, Spenser's “ Faery Queen," which lay in the window of his mother's apartment. From Westminster he was removed to Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he was elected scholar in 1636.
Having taken his degrees in arts, he was ejected 'by the parliament, on account of his loyalty, from Cambridge, when he sheltered himself at St. John's College, Oxford.
From his attachment to the royal cause, too, he obtained an introduction at court, attended the king in several of his journeys and expedi
tions, and became acquainted with many
of the celebrated men of his time, particularly lord Falkland, then one of the principal secretaries of state.
During the heat of the civil war, he was settled in the family of the earl of St. Albans, and accompanied the queen mother, when she was forced to retire into France, and was absent from his country ten years. In 1656, he returned to England, was soon after seized by the usurpers, and obtained his liberty only on the hard terms of a thousand pounds bail.
After the restoration, through the interest of the duke of Buckingham and the earl of St. Albans, a competent estate was bestowed upon him, and he retired to Chertsey, on the banks of the Thames, to pass the remainder of his life in studious retirement. Here also he died in 1667, in the forty-ninth year of his age.
The prose works of Cowley are not numetous; in the whole they occupy not more than about sixty pages, small-sized folio ; and even these are interspersed with occasional pieces of poetry, with a few translations of Latin authors, suggested by the subjects on which he was writing. The following is a list of their titles.
1. A Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy,
2. A Discourse, by way of Vision, concerning the Government of Oliver Cromwell.
Several Discourses, by way of Essays, in Verse and Prose.
1. Of Liberty.
8. The Dangers of an Honest Man in much Company.
9. The Shortness of Life, and Uncertainty of Riches.
10. The Danger of Procrastination. A Letter to Mr. S. L.
11. Of Myself.
The last is by far the most interesting; it is very simply and beautifully written.
Of Myself It is a hard and nice subject for a man to write of himself; it grates his own heart to say any thing of disparagement, and the reader's ears to hear any thing of praise from him. There is no danger from me of offending him in this kind; neither my mind, nor my body, nor my fortune, allow me any materials for thąt vanity. It is sufficient, for my own contentment, that they have preserved me from being scandalous, or remarkable on the defective side. But, besides that, I shall here speak of myself only in relation to the subject of these precedent discourses, and shall be ļikelier thereby to fall into the contempt, than rise up to the estimation of most people. As far as my memory can return back into my past life, before I knew, or was capable of guessing, what the world, or glories, or business of it were, the natural affections of my soul gave a secret bent of aversion from them, as some plants are said to turn away from others, by an antipathy imperceptible to them, selves, and inscrutable to man's understanding. Even when I was a very young boy at school, instead of running about on holidays, and playing with my fellows, I was wont to steal from them, and walk into the fields, either alone with a book, or with some one
companion, if I could find any af the same temper, : I was then, too, so much an enemy to constraint, that
my masters could never prevail on me, by any persuasions or encouragements, to learn, without book, the common rules of grammar, in which they dispensed with me alone, because they found I made a shift to do the usual exercise out of my own reading