Page images

'A guest,' I answered, 'worthy to be here.' Love said, 'You shall be he.'

'I, the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on Thee.'

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

'Who made the eyes but I?'

'Truth, Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame Go where it doth deserve.'

'And know you not,' says Love, 'who bore the blame?' 'My dear, then I will serve.'

'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' So I did sit and eat.


SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT (1606-1668) was the son of an innkeeper at Oxford. Shakespeare frequently stayed at his father's house, and Davenant's earliest extant poem is an Ode in Remembrance of Master Shakespeare, written in his twelfth year. He became page to the Duchess of Richmond, and later entered the household of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke. After Brooke's murder he remained at the Court writing plays and poems. His first drama, The Tragedy of Albovine, King of the Lombards, appeared in 1629. In 1630 The Cruel Brother and The Just Italian were acted. In 1633 came The Wits, a comedy, and in 1634 The Temple of Love, a masque written in collaboration with Inigo Jones. For some years Davenant continued to produce plays with great rapidity, beside writing poems. In 1635 he published Madagascar and other Poems, and his plays were interspersed with lyrics. In 1638 he became poet laureate. He attached himself to the Royalist cause during the war, and was knighted at the siege of Gloucester (1643). After the king's defeat he fled to France, where he became a Roman Catholic. He was sent on a mission to Virginia, was captured by Roundheads before he was clear of the French coast, and spent two years in the Tower. While in prison he published the first edition of Gondibert, an heroic poem in three books, written in quatrains. After his release he obtained permission to give entertainments by 'Declamations and Music' in private

houses, and so founded English opera. Later he became manager of the Duke of York's company, and his theatre was known as 'The Opera'. Besides producing a large number of original plays, he collaborated with Dryden in rewriting The Tempest and Macbeth, and also adapted Two Noble Kinsmen under the title of The Rivals. His last comedy, Man's the Master, was published after his death.


THE lark now leaves his watery nest,
And, climbing, shakes his dewy wings.
He takes this window for the East,

And to implore your light he sings—
Awake! awake! the morn will never rise
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.
The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are

Who look for day before his mistress wakes. Awake! awake! break through your veils of lawn! Then draw your curtains, and begin the dawn!


SIR JOHN SUCKLING (1609–1642) was one of the most striking figures at the Court of Charles I. He fought as a volunteer under Gustavus Adolphus, but returned to London in 1632, and became noted for his wit and prodigality. His first play, Aglaura, appeared in 1637. In 1639 he raised a troop of horse to assist the king in the Scotch war, and was much laughed at for the splendour of his uniforms. He was given a commission as captain of carabineers, and in the same year produced The Discontented Colonel, an attack upon the Scotch. It was later reprinted as Brenmoralt. He was compelled to flee from England after the defeat of the Royalists, and shortly afterwards appeared a burlesque letter giving an account of his life, and several spurious pamphlets professing to describe his conversion to Protestantism. Very few of his works were published during his lifetime. Four years after his death appeared a volume

called Fragmenta Aurea, which contained all the best of his poems, three plays - including The Goblins-letters to various personages, and a tract on Socinianism.


Our upon it, I have loved

Three whole days together!
And am like to love three more,
If it prove fair weather.

Time shall moult away his wings
Ere he shall discover

In the whole wide world again
Such a constant lover.

But the spite on 't is, no praise

Is due at all to me:

Love with me had made no stays,


Had it any been but she.

Had it any been but she,

And that very face,

There had been at least ere this

A dozen dozen in her place.

RICHARD LOVELACE (1618-1658) was educated at Charterhouse and at Gloucester Hall, Oxford. He wrote occasional verses and one play, The Scholar, while at the University. On leaving Oxford he was received with great favour at Court, where he was noted for his beauty and great personal charm. He became ensign in Lord Goring's regiment, and was soon promoted to be captain. He fought in the Scotch war, but after the pacification of Berwick returned to take possession of the family property. In 1642 he was chosen to present a petition to Parliament on behalf of the king, and was imprisoned in consequence. While in the Gatehouse he wrote his famous lyric To Althea. He was released after a few weeks' captivity, and lived for some time in London, till he could join the

king's forces. After the surrender of Oxford (1646) he went abroad, and raised a regiment for the service of the French king. He was wounded at Dunkirk, returned to England in 1648, and was once more imprisoned. In 1649 appeared Lucasta ; Epodes, Odes, Sonnets, Songs, etc. To which is added Aramantha, a Pastoral. He was released in the same year, but having spent a large fortune in the royal cause he fell into great poverty, and died in want.

TELL me not, Sweet, I am unkind,

That from the nunnery

Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;

And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such

As thou too shalt adore;

I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.


ABRAHAM COWLEY (1618-1667) was educated at Westminster and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He became famous as a boy poet. Pyramus and Thisbe was written when he was ten, and Constantius and Philetus at twelve. In 1638 he published Love's Riddle, a pastoral drama. In the same year his Latin comedy, Naufragium Joculare, was acted by the University. The Guardian, afterwards rewritten under the title of The Cutter of Coleman Street, was hurriedly written to entertain Prince Charles when he visited Cambridge (1641). In 1643-4 he left Cambridge for Oxford, and settled in St. John's College, where he became intimate with the Royalist leaders. He was employed on several foreign missions, and for some time conducted a cipher correspondence between the king and queen. In 1647 appeared

The Mistress, and in 1648 two satires, The Four Ages of England, or the Iron Age, and A Satyre against Separatists. The most important of his works, including the Davideis, which he began at Cambridge, and the Pindaric Odes, were collected and published in one volume in 1656. He was much interested in learning and in the scientific movement of his day. In 1661 he published a Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy, and this was followed by an Ode to the Royal Society and an Ode to Hobbes. He had spent all his property in the royal service, and after several unsuccessful applications, at last received some acknowledgement from the king, which enabled him to retire to the country, and finally settled at Chertsey, where he died. The first complete collection of his works appeared in 1668, and included Several Discourses by way of Essays in Prose and Verse.



THOUGH you be absent here, I needs must say
The trees as beauteous are and flowers as gay
As ever they were wont to be;
Nay the birds' rural music too
Is as melodious and free

As if they sung to pleasure you:

I saw a rose-bud ope this morn; I'll swear
The blushing morning opened not so fair.

How could it be so fair, and you away?
How could the trees be beauteous, flowers so gay?
Could they remember but last year
How you did them, they you delight,
The sprouting leaves which saw you here,
And called their fellows to the sight,

Would, looking round for the same sight in vain,
Creep back into their silent barks again.


« PreviousContinue »