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made him a poet and compelled him to disregard the signs and symptoms of the time. He supposed, perhaps, that a fine head must be fit for all; but was to learn by experience that the most eminent abilities, if taking a wrong course, will achieve but little. When he composed his most famous dramas, the cheerful and pleasurable time of Queen Elizabeth grew towards an end: not because the Puritans, adopting the rigid ceremonial of the Hebrew sabbath, declaimed against the public festivities – as is commonly asserted by way of explaining this change –, but because the people began to disrelish them, and a time of troubles and cares was setting in. A second Shakspeare, twenty

Can feed on orts; and, safe in your stage clothes,
Dare quit, upon your oaths,
The stagers and the stage-wrights too, your peers,
Of larding your large ears
With their foul comic socks,
Wrought upon twenty blocks; -
Which if they are torn, and turn'd, and patch'd enough,
The gamesters share your gilt, and you their stuff.

Leave things so prostitute,
And take the Alcaic flute;
Or thine own Horace, or Anacreon's lyre;
Warm thee hy Pindar's fire:
And though thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold
Ere years have made thee old,
Strike that disdainful heat -
Throughout, to their defeat,
As curious fools, and envious of thy strain,
May, blushing, swear no palsy's in thy brain.

But when they hear thee sing
The glories of thy king,
His zeal to God, and his just awe oer men:
They may, bloodshaken then,
Feel such a fleshquake to possess their powers
As they shall cry „Like ours,
In sound of peace or wars,
No harp eer hit the stars,
In tuning forth the acts of his sweet reign;
And raising Charles his chariot bove his Wain.“

To this Owen Feltham made a keen reply, from which we take leave to extract the following stanzas:

years later, would have been as great an impossibility as nowa-days with us a second Goethe. Well did Shakspeare perceive the widening contrast of reality and idealism, but what he observed, filled him not with a desire to rank with one of the combatant parties, but with a longing for death. Tir'd with all these for restful death I cry. – As, to behold desert abeggar born, And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity, And purest faith unhappily forsworn, And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd, And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,

Come leave this saucy way
Of baiting those that pay
Dear for the sight of your declining wit:
Tis known it is not fit,
That a sale poet, just contempt once thrown,
Should cry up thus his own.
I wonder by what dower,
Or patent, you had power
From all to rape a judgment. Let 't suffice,
Had you been modest, you'd been granted wise.

'Tis known you can do well,
And that you do excell,
As a Translator: But when things require
A genius, and fire,
Not kindled heretofore by others pains:
As oft you've wanted brains
And art to strike the white,
As you have levell'd right:
Yet if men vouch not things apocryphal,
You bellow, rave, and spatter round your gall.

Alcaeus lute had none,
Nor loose Anacreon
Ere taught so bold assuming of the bays,
When they deservd no praise.
To rail men into approbation,
Is new to yours alone;
And prospers not: for know,
Fame is as coy, as you
Can be disdainful; and who dares to prove
A rape on her, shall gather scorn, not love.
etC. etC.

And right perfection wrongfully disgracd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone. *)

This poem undesignedly gives utterance to that general uneasiness and dissatisfaction gaining insensibly upon the popular mind and cankering the buds and germs of poetry. A new era of existence then waked new intellectual powers, and while Ben Jonson was obstinately snatching at a withering laurel, those men grew up and ripened, to whom England owes its political greatness. His attachment to the person, and no less to the pension, of the king prejudiced him against the righteousness and moderation of the parliamentary and popular opposition; and instead of examining into the state of affairs, and of following the advice of an unbribed conscience, he chose rather to cringe to king Charles, and dim the unhappy monarch’s mind with fantastical conceits, or beguile him by masques and melodrames into sweet forgetfulness. *) At an advanced age, and when the dangers increased under the eye, and all foreboded a brooding storm, he entirely devoted himself to this dallying, empty, and unsubstantial sort of poetry. His good luck spared him the pain of witnessing the breaking out of the civil wars: what part in them would the discontented old man have been to act? But death had scarce sealed up his eyes, than all illusions with which he had deceived himself and others, vanished at once, and history itself acted one of those tragedies, at the sight of which poetry is struck dumb with abashment. The Golden Age of Merry Old England had drawn to its close and soon lay far behind like a delightful tale of childhood: and there arose an iron age, stern-mannered, staying on law, scripture-proof, averse to the muses and all harmless enjoyments of life: the age of manhood after the blissful days of youth.

*) Sonnet 66. *) Of Jonson's „Entertainments“ which we had not room enough here to discourse on at large, we shall speak, perhaps, at another time. Of his flatteries regarding King Charles one specimen may suffice: To Thomas Earl of Suffolk. Since men have left to do praiseworthy things, Most think all praises flatteries: but truth brings That sound and that authority with her name, As, to be raised by her, is only fame. Stand high, then, Howard, high in eyes of men, High in thy blood, thy place; but highest then, When, in men's wishes, so thy virtues Wrought, As all thy honours were by them first sought: And thou design'd to be the same thou art, Before thou wert it, in each good man's heart: Whie h, by no less confirm od, than thy king's choice, Proves that is God's, which was the people's voice. (Epigr. LXVII.)

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