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The glories of our birth and state

Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hands on kings.

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down, And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,

And plant fresh laurels where they kill ; But their strong nerves at last must yield; They tame but one another still.

Early or late

They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,

When they pale captives creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,

Then boast no more your mighty deeds ;
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor victim bleeds :

All hands must come

To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.


Victorious men of earth, no more

Proclaim how wide your empires are;
Though you binde in every shore,
And your triumphs reach as far

As night or day;
Yet you proud monarchs must obey,
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls yee to the croud of common men.
Devouring famine, plague, and war,

Each able to undo mankind, Death's servile emissaries are : Nor to these alone confin'd,

He hath at will More quaint and subtle wayes to kill ; A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.


Good morrow unto her who in the night

Shoots from her silver bow more light

Then Cynthia, upon whose state
All other servile stars of Beauty wait.
Good morrow unto her who gives the day,

Whose eyes preserve a purer ray,

Then Phæbus, when in Thetis streams He hath new bath'd himself, and washt his beames. The day and night are onely thine, and we

Were lost in darkness but for thee;

For thee we live, all hearts are thine,
But none so full of faith and flame as mine.


Welcom, welcom again to thy wits,

This is a Holy-day;
Wee'll have no plots, nor melancholy fits,
But merrily passe the time away,
They are mad that are sad;

Be rul’d by me,
And never were two so merry as we.
The kitchen shall catch cold no more,
Wee'll have no key to the buttry dore,

The fiddlers shall sing,
The house shall ring,

And the world shall see
What a merry couple we will be.


MELANCHOLY hence, and get
Some peece of earth to be thy seat,
Here the ayre and nimble fire
Would shoot up to meet desire;
Sullen humor leave her blood,
Mixe not with the purer flood,
But let pleasures swelling here,
Make a spring-tide all the yeer.
Love a thousand sweets distilling,
And with pleasure bosoms filling,
Charm all eyes, that none may find us,
Be above, before, behind us;
And while we thy raptures taste,
Compel time itself to stay,
Or by forelock hold him fast,
Least occasion slip away.

Sir William DAVENANT was the younger son of an innkeeper at Oxford_" a grave and discreet citizen, of a melancholic disposition." The Poet was born in February, 1605. His mother was “a very beautiful woman, of a good wit and conversation," and as Shakspeare had frequented “the Crown" on his journeys from Warwickshire to London, scandal assigned other motives than those of friendship to the interest he early manifested towards the youth, his namesake and his godson. In 1621, he was entered at Lincoln College ; but, being "strongly affected to lighter studies," he courted, and was admitted to, the society of the wits of his time ; became page to the Duchess of Richmond, “very famous in those days ;” and was subsequently received into the family of Lord Brooke. “His constant attendance upon the court" led, on the death of Ben Jonson, to his appointment as Poet Laureat. During the troublous times that followed, Davenant took part with the king; and was subsequently made, by the Earl of Newcastle, Lieutenant-general of his Ordnance. He obtained credit as a soldier, and was knighted by Charles the First, at the siege of Gloucester. On the decline of the king's affairs, Davenant retired to France, where he obtained the confidence of the queen, and where he commenced his poem of Gondibert, which he afterwards resumed while a prisoner in Cowes Castle; but the continuation of which he ceased, -being, to use his own words, " interrupted by so great an experiment as dying." His life was saved, it is said, chiefly by the interference of Milton, who rescued from the block “the head of this son of the Muses ;" and it is believed that the intercession of Davenant mainly contributed to preserve Milton from the scaffold when matters changed in England. He died in 1668, and was interred in Westminster Abbey.

The only poem he produced, if we except his dramas and a few minor "addresses," is Gondibert, -which he, unfortunately, left unfinished. It is on this his poetical reputation depends; and critics have remarkably differed as to its merits. His object was to produce an epic on a plan altogether original, “an endeavour to lead Truth through unfrequented and new ways, by representing Nature, though not in an affected, yet in a new dress." Accordingly he sets out with upbraiding the followers of Homer as "a base and timorous crew of coasters, who would not adventure to launch forth on the vast ocean of invention.” He rejects all supernatural machinery, and constructs his poem on the exact model of a drama,—the five books being parallel to the five acts, and the cantos, which vary from five to eight, answering to the scenes. His plan was, therefore, at least, fantastic; in avoiding the one extreme he fell into the other; and carried too far his high and independent notions of emancipating epic poetry from slavish allegiance to ancient authority. The poem, though constructed on the actual, is without the charm of reality. It is cold and abstracted ; and affects more by its occasional beauties—majestic sentiments, ingenious conceptions, and epigrammatic turns--than by its influence over the fancy or the heart. A single error therefore, a false step at the outset, deprived Davenant of “what his large soul appears to have been full of, a true and permanent glory." Yet the reader of Gondibert, long and tedious, as a whole, though it be, will find abundance to compensate for its defects. It is full of chivalrous grandeur, noble thoughts, harmonious diction,--and displays an accurate but liberal knowledge of human nature, and a deep spirit of philosophy. In our limited space it would be impossible to give even an outline of the plot. It is chiefly founded on the rivalship of two heroes for the hand of Rhodalind; the one is slain in combat, and the survivor, wounded, is conveyed to the care of the sage Astragon, whose "only pledge,” with "untaught looks and an unpractised heart," weakens the influence of the maid, whose "looks like empire showed.” We are left to imagine the conclusion-for, as we have stated, the poem is unfinished; perhaps, as it is hinted by one of its warmest advocates, because the Poet foresaw the difficulty of accomplishing his object, and "chose to submit to a voluntary bankruptcy of invention, rather than hazard his reputation by going further." The experiment, for such it was, of working upon a new plan, has comparatively failed; Davenant is now little read; his fame scarcely outlived his days. But posterity, in neglecting him, has not done justice; and it was a silly verdict that condemned him for having rehearsed

** A theme ill-chosen in ill-chosen verse."



To Astragon, Heav’n for succession gave

One onely pledge, and Birtha was her name; Whose mother slept where flow'rs grew on her grave,

And she succeeded her in face and fame.

Her beauty princes durst not hope to use,

Unless, like poets, for their morning theam; And her minde's beauty they would rather choose,

Which did the light in beautie's lanthorn seem. She ne'r saw courts, yet courts could have undone

With untaught looks, and an unpractis'd heart;

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