The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland Volume I Part 21

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8. A Woman kill'd with Kindness, a comedy acted by the Queen's Servants with applause, 1617.

9. If you know not Me, you know n.o.body; or the Troubles of Queen Elizabeth, in Two parts, 1623. The plot taken from Camden, Speed, and other English Chronicles in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

10. The Royal King, and Loyal Subject, a tragi-comedy, 1627, taken partly from Fletcher's Loyal Subject.

The Fair Maid of the West, or a Girl worth Gold, 1631. This play was acted before the King and Queen. Our author in his epistle prefixed to this play, pleads modesty in not exposing his plays to the public view of the world in numerous sheets, and a large volume under the t.i.tle of Works, as others, by which he would seem tacitly to arraign some of his cotemporaries for ostentation, and want of modesty. Langbaine is of opinion, that Heywood in this case levelled the accusation at Ben Johnson, since no other poet, in those days, gave his plays the pompous t.i.tle of Works, of which Sir John Suckling has taken notice in his session, of the poets.

The first that broke silence, was good old Ben, Prepar'd before with Canary wine; And he told them plainly, that he deserved the bays, For his were called works, where others were but plays.

There was also a distich directed by some poet of that age to Ben Johnson, Pray tell me, Ben, where does the mystery lurk?

What others call a play, you call a work.

Which was thus answered by a friend of his,

The author's friend, thus for the author says, Ben's plays are works, when others works are plays.

12. Fair Maid of the West, or a Girl worth Gold, the second part; acted likewise before the King and Queen with success, dedicated to Thomas Hammond, of Gray's-Inn, Esq;

13. The Dutchess of Suffolk, an historical play 1631. For the play see Fox's Martyrology, p. 521.

14. The English Traveller, a tragi-comedy, acted at the c.o.c.k-pit in Drury-lane, 1633, dedicated to Sir Henry Appleton, the plot from Plautus Mostellaria.

15. A Maidenhead well lost, a comedy acted in Drury-lane, 1634.

16. The Four London Apprentices, with the Conquest of Jerusalem; an historical play, acted by the Queen's servants 1635. It is founded on the history of G.o.dfrey of Bulloign. See Ta.s.so, Fuller's history of the holy war, &c.

17. A Challenge for Beauty; a tragi-comedy, acted by the King's servants in Black-Fryers, 1636.

18. The Fair Maid of the Exchance; with the Merry Humours of the Cripple of Fen-church, a comedy, 1637.

19. The Wise Woman of Hogsden; a comedy, acted with applause, 1638.

20. The Rape of Lucrece, a Roman Tragedy, acted at the Red Bull, 1638. Plot from t.i.tus Livius.

21. Love's Mistress, or the Queen's Mask; presented several times before their Majesties, 1640. For the plot see Apuleius's Golden a.s.s.

22. Fortune by Land or Sea, a comedy; acted by the Queen's servants, 1653. Mr. Rowley a.s.sisted in the composing of this play.

23. The Lancas.h.i.+re Witches, a comedy; acted at the Globe by the King's servants. Mr. Brome joined with Mr. Heywood in writing this comedy. This story is related by the author in his Hierarchy of Angels.

24. Edward IV. an historical play, in two parts. For the story see Speed, Hollinshed and other chronicles.

This author has published several other works in verse and prose, as his Hierarchy of Angels, above-mentioned; the Life and Troubles of Queen Elizabeth; the General History of Women; An Apology for Actors, &c.

[Footnote 1: See the Life of Savage.]

[Footnote 2: Langbaine, p. 258.]

WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT,

A Gentleman eminent for learning. The place of his birth, and his father's name, are differently a.s.signed by authors, who have mentioned him. Mr. Loyd says[1], that he was son of Thomas Cartwright of Burford in Oxfords.h.i.+re, and born August 16, in the year 1615; Mr. Wood[2], that he was the son of William Cartwright, and born at Northway, near Tewksbury in Gloucesters.h.i.+re in September 1611, that his father had dissipated a fair inheritance he knew not how, and as his last refuge turned inn-keeper at Cirencester; when living in competence, he procured his son, a youth of a promising genius, to be educated under Mr. William Topp, master of the free school in that town. From thence he was removed to Westminster school, being chosen a King's scholar, when compleating his former learning, under the care of Mr. Lambert Osbaldiston, he was elected a student in Christ Church in Oxford, in 1628, under the tuition of Mr. Jerumael Terrent[3], having gone through the cla.s.ses of logic and philosophy with unwearied diligence, he took the degrees of Arts, that of Master being compleated in 1605. Afterwards he entered into holy orders, and gained great reputation, in the university for his pathetic preaching.

In 1642 he had the place of succentor in the church of Salisbury, conferred on him by bishop Duppa,[4] and in 1643 was chosen junior proctor of the university; he was also metaphysical reader, and it was generally said, that those lectures were never performed better than by Mr. Cartwright, and his predecessor Mr. Thomas Barlow of Queen's College, afterwards lord bishop of Lincoln.[5] This ingenious gentleman died of a malignant fever, called the Camp-disease, which then reigned in Oxford, and was fatal to many of his contemporaries, in the 33d year of his age, 1643. His death was very much lamented by all ranks of men, and the King and Queen, then at Oxford, frequently enquired after him in the time of his sickness, and expressed great concern for his death. Mr. Cartwright was as remarkable for the endowments of his person as of his mind; his body (as Langbaine expresses it) "being as handsome as his soul. He was, says he, an expert linguist, understanding not only Greek and Latin, but French and Italian, as perfectly as his mother tongue; an excellent orator, and at the same time an admirable poet, a quality which Cicero with all his pains could never attain." The editor of his works applies to him the saying of Aristotle concerning aeschron the poet, "that he could not tell what aeschron could not do," and Dr. Fell, bishop of Oxford, said of him, "Cartwright was the utmost a man can come to." Ben Johnson likewise so highly valued him, that he said, "My son Cartwright writes all like a man." There are extant of this author's, four plays, besides other poems, all which were printed together in 1651, to which are prefixed above fifty copies of commendatory verses by the most eminent wits of the university.

Langbaine gives the following account of his plays;

1. Ordinary, a Comedy, when and where acted is uncertain.

2. Lady Errant, a Tragi-Comedy; there is no account when this play was acted, but it was esteemed a good Comedy.

3, Royal Slave, a Tragi-comedy, presented to the King and Queen, by the students of Christ Church in Oxford, August 30, 1636; presented since before both their Majesties at Hampton Court by the King's servants. As for the n.o.ble stile of the play itself, and the ready address, and graceful carriage of the students (amongst which Dr. Busby, the famous master of Westminster school; proved himself a second Roscius) did exceed all things of that nature they had ever seen. The Queen, in particular, so much admired it, that in November following, she sent for the habits and scenes to Hampton Court, she being desirous to see her own servants represent the same play, whose profession it was, that she might the better judge of the several performances, and to whom the preference was due: the sentence was universally given by all the spectators in favour of the gown, though nothing was wanting on Mr. Cartwright's side to inform the players as well as the Scholars, in what belonged to the action and delivery of each part.[6]

4. Siege, or Love's Convert, a Tragi-Comedy, when acted is not known, but was dedicated by the author to King Charles I. by an epistle in verse.

Amongst his poems, there are several concerning the dramatic poets, and their writings, which must not be forgot; as these two copies which he wrote on Mr. Thomas Killegrew's plays, the Prisoner, and Claracilla; two copies on Fletcher, and one in memory of Ben Johnson, which are so excellent, that the publisher of Mr. Cartwright's poems speaks of them with rapture in the preface, viz. 'what had Ben said had he read his own Eternity, in that lasting elegy given him by our author.' Mr. Wood mentions some other works of Cartwright's; 1st. Poemata Graeca et Latina. 2d. An Offspring of Mercy issuing out of the Womb of Cruelty; a Pa.s.sion Sermon preached at Christ Church in Oxford, on Acts ii. 23. London, 8vo. 1652. 3d. On the Signal Days of the Month of November, in relation to the Crown and Royal Family; a Poem, London 1671, in a sheet, 4to. 4th. Poems and Verses, containing Airs for several Voices, set by Mr. Henry Lawes.

From a Comedy of Mr. Cartwright's called the Ordinary, I shall quote the following Congratulatory Song on a Marriage, which is amorous, and spirited.

I.

While early light springs from the skies, A fairer from your bride doth rise; A brighter day doth thence appear, And make a second morning there.

Her blush doth shed All o'er the bed Clear shame-faced beams That spread in streams, And purple round the modest air.

II.

I will not tell what shrieks and cries, What angry pishes, and what fies, What pretty oaths, then newly born, The list'ning bridegroom heard there sworn: While froward she Most peevishly Did yielding fight, To keep o'er night, What she'd have proffer'd you e're morn.

III.

For, we know, maids do refute To grant what they do come to lose.

Intend a conquest, you that wed; They would be chastly ravished; Not any kiss From Mrs. Pris, 'If that you do Persuade and woo: No, pleasure's by extorting fed.

IV.

O may her arms wax black and blue Only by hard encircling you: May she round about you twine Like the easy twisting vine; And while you sip From her full lip Pleasures as new As morning dew, Like those soft tyes, your hearts combine.

[Footnote 1: Memoirs, p. 422.]

[Footnote 2: Atheniae Oxon. p. 274.]

[Footnote 3: ibid. vol. ii. col. 34.]

[Footnote 4: Athen. Oxon. col. 35.]

[Footnote 5: Preface to his Poems in 8vo. London, 1651.]

[Footnote 6: Wood.]

GEORGE SANDYS,

A younger son of Edwin, Archbishop of York, was born at Bishops Thorp in that county, and as a member of St. Mary's Hall, was matriculated in the university in the beginning of December 1589; how long he remained at the university Wood is not able to determine. In the year 1610 he began a long journey, and after he had travelled through several parts of Europe, he visited many cities, especially Constantinople, and countries under the Turkish empire, as Greece, Egypt, and the Holy Land[1]. Afterwards he took a view of the remote parts of Italy, and the Islands adjoining: Then he went to Rome; the antiquities of that place were shewn him by Nicholas Fitzherbert, once an Oxford student, and who had the honour of Mr. Sandys's acquaintance. Thence our author went to Venice, and from that returned to England, where digesting his notes, he published his travels. Sandys, who appears to have been a man of excellent parts, of a pious and generous disposition, did not, like too many travellers, turn his attention upon the modes of dress, and the fas.h.i.+ons of the several courts which is but a poor acquisition; but he studied the genius, the tempers, the religion, and the governing principles of the people he visited, as much as his time amongst them would permit. He returned in 1612, being improved, says Wood, 'in several respects, by this his 'large journey, being an accomplished gentleman, as being master of several languages, of affluent and ready discourse, and excellent comportment.' He had also a poetical fancy, and a zealous inclination to all literature, which made his company acceptable to the most virtuous men, and scholars of his time. He also wrote a Paraphrase on the Psalms of David, and upon the Hymns dispersed throughout the Old and New Testament, London, 1636, reprinted there in folio 1638, with other things under this t.i.tle.

Paraphrase on the Divine Poems, on Job, Psalms of David, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations of Jeremiah, and Songs collected out of the Old and New Testament. This Paraphrase on David's Psalms was one of the books that Charles I. delighted so much to read in: as he did in Herbert's Divine Poems, Dr. Hammond's Works, and Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, while he was a prisoner in the Isle of Wight[2].

Paraphrase on the Divine Poems, viz. on the Psalms of David, on Ecclesiastes, and on the Song of Solomon, London, 1637. Some, if not all of the Psalms of David, had vocal compositions set to them by William and Henry Lawes, with a thorough ba.s.s, for an Organ, in four large books or volumes in 4to. Our author also translated into English Ovid's Metamorphoses, London, 1627. Virgil's first book of aeneis printed with the former. Mr. Dryden in his preface to some of his translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses, calls him the best versifier of the last age.

Christ's Pa.s.sion, written in Latin by the famous Hugo Grotius, and translated by our author, to which he also added notes; this subject had been handled handled before in Greek, by that venerable person, Apollinarius of Laodicea, bishop of Hierapolis, but this of Grotius, in Sandys's opinion, transcends all on this argument; this piece was reprinted with figures in 8vo. London, 1688. Concerning our author but few incidents are known, he is celebrated by cotemporary and subsequent wits, as a very considerable poet, and all have agreed to bestow upon him the character of a pious worthy man. He died in the year 1643, at the house of his nephew Mr. Wiat at Boxley Abbey in Kent, in the chancel of which parish church he is buried, though without a monument, only as Wood says with the following, which stands in the common register belonging to this church.

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