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SIR JOHN DENHAM was born in Dublin, in 1615, his father being then Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. He left Ireland in his infancy-his father having been appointed to a similar office in England-and received his education in London until he entered a gentleman commoner at Trinity College, Oxford. Here and afterwards at Lincoln's Inn he was looked upon as "a dreaming young man given more to cards and dice than to study." Gaming was his besetting sin, and although to appease the wrath of his father, he wrote and printed an essay to prove its pernicious tendency, he did not relinquish the practice, but irretrievably injured his patrimony as soon as he had the means of resorting to it. But as "the strawberry grows underneath the nettle," the "dreaming young man " had

"obscured his contemplation Under the veil of wildness."

In 1641, he published "the Sophy," a Tragedy, which came so suddenly to prove his claim to genius of the highest order, that Waller is said to have remarked of the writer "that he had broken out like the Irish rebellion, three score thousand strong when no person suspected it: "

"The courses of his youth promised it not."

He was soon afterwards made Governor of Farnham Castle, for the king, but resigned his command and joined his Majesty at Oxford, where, in 1643, he published Cooper's Hill-the poem by which his fame has been mainly preserved. During the civil wars, he took a very active part-and was an uncompromising loyalist. Having been discovered in secret correspondence with Cowley, he saved his life by flight, joined Charles the Second in exile, and on the restoration - his patrimonial estates having been sequestrated by the Parliament-obtained the office of Surveyor of the King's Buildings, and was dignified with the order of the Bath.

The latter days of his life were clouded by an unhappy marriage, which led to a temporary loss of reason. In Grammont's Memoirs, several particulars connected with these unfortunate events are related and if the scandal-courtier is to be believed, they are but little to the credit of the Poet. He died in March, 1668; and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Denham is deservedly classed among the fathers of English Poetry. His Cooper's Hill is one of the earliest attempts to associate local description with historical and reflective matter-to combine reality with fancy-to clothe an ordinary object in the rich garb of imagination. It is to this poem he is indebted for his high rank as an original writer. It may almost be described by the two lines which he himself applies to the Thames:

"Though deep yet clear; though gentle yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full."

Cooper's Hill was dedicated to Charles the First. And the author relates, in his dedication, that when attending his Majesty, while his person was in the hands of the army, the king saw, by chance, some lines written by the Poet, and advised him to write no more, "alleging that when men are young, and have little else to do, they might vent the overflowings of their fancy that way; but when they were thought fit for more serious employments, if they still persisted in that course, it would look as if they minded not the way to any better!"

Cooper's Hill obtained rapid and extensive popularity. It was first printed "on one sheet and a half in 4to.;" several other editions of it appeared during the life-time of the writer. Dryden speaking of it, says, "it is a poem which for majesty of the style, is, and ever will be, the exact standard of good writing." Denham's "strength" was also lauded by Pope; and he has maintained his popularity even to our own time.

His attempt at a metrical version of the Psalms of David was a total failure. His Lines on the Death of Cowley, written but a short time before his own death, is one of the best of his productions. He published various translations; the most remarkable of which is, "Cato Major of Old Age." His Tragedy of "The Sophy" was originally acted at "the private house in Blackfriars," and was published in 1642.

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My eye descending from the Hill, surveys
Where Thames among the wanton vallies strays.
Thames ! the most lov'd of all the Ocean's sons,
By his old sire, to his embraces runs,
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity;
Though with those streams he no resemblance hold,
Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold:
His genuine and less guilty wealth t'explore,
Search not his bottom, but survey his shore,
O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring;
Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Like mothers which their infants overlay ;

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Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave,
Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave.
No unexpected inundations spoil
The mower's hopes, or mock the ploughman's toil ;
But God-like his unweary'd bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd,
But free and common as the sea or wind;
When he, to boast or to disperse his stores,
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying tow'rs
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours;
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants,
Cities in deserts, woods in cities, plants.
So that to us no thing, no place, is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
O could I flow like theel and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme;
Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heav'n her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost :
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine among the stars, and bathe the gods.
Here Nature, whether more intent to please
Us or herself with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight
To the wise Maker's than beholder's sight;
Though these delights from several causes move,
For so our children, thus our friends, we love)
Wisely she knew the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs :
Such was the discord which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe;
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists;
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood,
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face, had seen.

But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides
A shady mantle clothes; his curled brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows,
While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat;
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd,
Which shade and shelter from the Hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives,
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.

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A TABLET stood of that abstersive tree
Where Æthiop's swarthy bird did build her nest,
Inlaid it was with Libyan ivory,
Drawn from the jaws of Afric's prudent beast.
Two kings like Saul, much taller than the rest,
Their equal armies draw into the field;
Till one take th' other pris'ner they contest;
Courage and fortune must to conduct yield.
This game the Persian Magi did invent,
The force of Eastern wisdom to express;
From thence to busy Europeans sent,
And styl’d by modern Lombards Pensive Chess.
Yet some that fled from Troy to Rome report,
Penthesilea Priam did oblige;
Her Amazons his Trojans taught this sport,
To pass the tedious hours of ten years' siege.
There she presents herself, whilst kings and peers
Look gravely on whilst fierce Bellona fights;
Yet maiden modesty her motion steers,
Nor rudely skips o'er bishops heads like knights.

ABRAHAM COWLEY, the posthumous son of a grocer in London, was born in 1618. His mother, by her exertions, procured for him a classical education at Westminster School. She lived to see him loved, honoured, and great, and—it is pleasant to addgrateful. Genius in Cowley was of early and rapid growth. At the age of fifteen, he published a volume entitled " Poetical Blossoms"-which he afterwards described as" commendable extravagancies" in a boy. He obtained a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1636, and there took his degree; but was ejected thence by the Parliament, and removed to Oxford. Shortly afterwards, he followed Queen Henrietta to Paris, as secretary to the Earl of St. Albans; and was employed at the court of the Exiles in the most confidential capacity. In 1656 he returned to England, and was immediately arrested as a suspected spy. He submitted quietly, however, to the dominion of the Protector; and thus exposed himself to the charge of disloyalty;-a charge which was refuted by the whole tenor of his life. At the restoration, his claims upon the ungrateful monarch were not acknowledged; on applying for the long-promised mastership of the Savoy, he was coolly told that "his pardon was his reward." "He lost the place," says Wood, "by certain persons, enemies of the muses." Certain friends of the muses, however, procured for him the lease of a farm at Chertsey, held under the queen, and the great object of his desires-solitude-was attained. Thus after having "lived in the presence of princes, and familiarly converst with greatness in all its degrees," he sought and found a more enviable condition, where "some few friends and books, a cheerful heart, and innocent conscience, were his constant companions." He died at Chertsey, on the 28th July, 1667, and was interred in Westminster Abbey; a throng of nobles followed him to his grave, and the king, who had deserted him, is reported to have said, that "Mr. Cowley had not left a better man behind him in England."

The poetical works of Cowley consist, for the most part, of short pieces. His only production of any length is "Davideis, or, the Troubles of David." It is unfinished; and its defects are more numerous and prominent than its merits. "In it he may seem like one of the miracles he there adorns-a boy attempting Goliah." His "Book of Plants" is but an Essay in verse. The "Mistress" comprises a series of eighty-four poems-in every variety of style. Many of them are of exceeding beauty; yet, however elegant and refined, they leave the reader under the conviction that his love was but lip-service; to obtain for him-according to his own quaint expression" as a poet the freedom of his company." His "anacreontics" have far more HEART-and are equally perfect as compositions.

Cowley was one of those fortunate bards who obtain fame and honour during life. His learning was deep, his reading extensive, his acquaintance with mankind large. "To him," says Denham, in his famous Elegy

"To him no author was unknown,

Yet what he wrote was all his own."

His career was sullied by no vice; he was loyal without being servile, and at once modest, independent, and sincere. His character is thus eloquently drawn by his friend and biographer, Dr. Sprat:-"He governed his passions with great moderation: his virtues were never troublesome or uneasie to any; whatever he disliked in others, he only corrected it by the silent reproof of a better practice."

The body of Cowley was removed by water, from Chertsey to Westminster, "accompanied," according to his biographers, “by a great number of persons of the most eminent quality." Pope, in allusion to it, says

"What tears the river shed

When the sad pomp along his banks was led !"

Of this circumstance the Artist has availed himself as forming an interesting subject for his pencil.

It is recorded, that Cowley became a poet in consequence of reading the Fairy Queen, which chance threw in his way, while yet a child In allusion to this circumstance, Dr. Johnson gave his remarkable definition of genius :-"A mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction."

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