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horns about their necks, to sound an alarum upon a silly fugitive: the hounds were straight uncoupled, and ere long the stag thought it better to trust to the nimbleness of his feet, then to the slender fortification of his lodging : but even his feet betraied him; for howsoever they went, they themselvs uttered themselvs to the sent of their enemies; who, one taking it of another, and somtimes believing the winde's advertisement, sometimes the view of (their faithful counsellors) the huntsmen, with open mouths then denounced war, when the war was already begun; their crie being composed of so well-sorted mouths, that any man would perceive therein som kinde of proportion, but the skilful woodmen did finde a musicke. Then delight and varietie of opinion drew the horsemen sundry waies, yet cheering their hounds with voice and horn, kept still (as it were) together. The wood seemed to conspire with them against his own citizens, dispersing their nois through all his quarters, and even the nymph Echo left to bewail the loss of Narcissus, and became a hunter. But the stag was in the end so hotly pursued, that (leaving his flight) hee was driven to make courage of despair; and so turning his head, made the houndes with change of speech to testifie that hee was at a bay : as if from hot pursuit of their enemie, they were suddenly come to a parley.
“But Kalander (by his skill of coasting the countrie) was amongst the first that came into the besieged deer; whom when some of the younger sort would have killed with their swords, hee would not suffer: but with a cross-bow sent a death to the poor beast, who with tears shewed the unkindness hee took of man's crueltie *.”
Few, if any, amongst the most eager of the numerous class of romance readers of the present century would find it possible to wade through a thick folio of such composition as this. However distinguished Sir Philip Sidney might be for the manly beauty of his person and the heroism of his character, his literary productions are unfortunately remarkable for little else than their feebleness, tautology, and conceit. Here, however, occur no phrases which are not genuine English; no sesquipedalia verba, no words of a foot and a half long, and few inversions or deviations from the idiom of the language. Coldness and puerility of conception, and, with few exceptions, a total want of energy and compression in the style, are the defects which have hurried the Arcadia into oblivion. Far superior to Sir Philip Sidney in every requisite for good composition, the venerable HOOKER claims the highest station among the writers of Elizabeth's reign. If his language abound too much in inversions, it yet possesses a dignity and force, and in general an attention to grammatical accuracy, hitherto unknown to our literature. Even in the present day it may be read and admired: Lowth has spoken highly of its merits; and Webb in his Literary Amusements thus beautifully expresses his opinion :
* Lib, i. p.-34.
Come, Hooker, with thee let me dwell on a phrase
The style of Hooker, however, is not without some striking defects: though the words for the most part are well chosen and
the arrangement of them into sentences is intricate and harsh, and formed almost exclusively on the idiom and construction of the Latin. Much strength and vigour are derived from this adoption; but perspicuity, sweetness, and ease are too generally sacrificed. There is, notwithstanding these usual features of his composition, an occasional simplicity in his pages, both of style and sentiment, which truly charms.
The opening of the preface to his Ecclesiastical
Polity is a striking instance of that elaborate collocation, which, founded on the structure of a language widely different from our own, was now the fashion of the
“Though for no other cause, yet for this, that posterity may know we have not loosely, through silence, permitted things to pass away as in a dream, there shall be, for men's information, extant this much concerning the present state of the church of God established amongst us, and their careful endeavours which would have upheld the same.”
It is not, however, in every page that this forced construction is to be met with; as a speci. men of style not very uncommon in the works of Hooker, and approaching much nearer to the idiom of his native tongue, the following passage may be adduced :
Death is that which all men suffer, but not all men with one mind, neither all men in one
For being of necessity a thing common, it is through the manifold persuasions, dispositions, and occasions of men, with equal desert both of praise and dispraise, shunned by some, by others desired. So that absolutely we cannot discommend, we cannot absolutely approve, either willingness to live, or forwardness to die.
And concerning the ways of death, albeit the choice thereof be only in his hands, who alone hath power over all flesh, and unto whose appointment we ought with patience meekly to submit ourselves (for to be agents voluntarily in our own destruction, is against both God and nature) ; yet there is no doubt, but in so great variety, our desires will and may lawfully prefer one kind be'fore another. Is there any man of worth and virtue, although not instructed in the school of Christ, or ever taught what the soundness of religion meaneth, that had not rather end the days of this transitory life, as Cyrus in Xenophon, or in Plato Socrates, are described, than to sink down with them, of whom Elihu hath said, Momento moriuntur, there is scarce an instant between their flourishing and not being ? But let us which know what it is to die, as Absalon, or Ananias and Sapphira died; let us beg of God, that when the hour of our rest is
of dissolution may be Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David; who, leisureably ending their lives in peace, prayed for the mercies of God to come upon
their posterity; replenished the hearts of the nearest unto them with words of memorable consolation ; strengthened men in the fear of God, gave them wholesome instructions of life, and confirmed