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PHILIP MASSINGER was born at Salisbury, A.D. 1584. In early life he resided at Wilton, and partook of that munificent patronage which the Pembroke family extended to men of letters. It was, however, withdrawn before long; and Mr. Gifford, who affirms that Massinger was a Roman Catholic, conjectures that to the circumstance of his having, wben at the University of Oxford, abandoned the Church of England, we are to attribute the severance of that friendly tie. On leaving Oxford, Massinger settled in London, where he scantily maintained himself by his dramatic writings. The Virgin Martyr, the first printed of Massinger's works, appeared in 1622 ; but there can be little doubt that he had written much before that period. Hardly any incidents of his life have been recorded; but the number of plays which he wrote (many of them unfortunately lost) proves that that life must have been an industrious one. His death was sudden. On the 17th of March 1640, he retired to rest in good health, and the next morning was found dead in his bed. Little as is known of Massinger, it is admitted by all his biographers that his character was “one of singular modesty, gentleness, candour, and affability." His literary career was a constant struggle ; for fortune never smiled upon him. His writings breathe a spirit incomparably nobler and manlier than that of his contemporaries generally; they are wholly free from the servile political maxims and, in a large measure, from the grave offences against religion and morals with which the stage in his time abounded. Their merit consists less in the vigour with which they delineate passion than in their dignity and refinement of style, and the variety of their versification. To wit they have no pretensions.
The place of execution. Antonius, Theophilus, Dorothea, &c.
See, she comes ;
Which they themselves come short of. She ascends, And every step raises her nearer Heaven !
Theo. Derided too! Despatch, I say!
Thou fool !
Enter Angelo, in the Angel's habit. Dor. Thou glorious minister of the Power I serve (For thou art more than mortal), is't for me, Poor sinner, thou art pleased awhile to leave Thy heavenly habitation, and vouchsafest, Though glorified, to take my servant's habit? For, put off thy divinity, so looked My lovely Angelo. Angelo.
Know, I am the same : And still the servant to your piety. Your zealous prayers and pious deeds first won me
(But 'twas by His command to whom you sent them)
WILLIAM DRUMMOND, a Scotch poet, worthily sustained the poetic fame which, in the fifteenth century, had been won for that country by King James I., Dunbar, Douglas, and others. He was the son of Sir John Drummond of Hawthornden, at which place he was born A.D. 1585. After his father's death, Drummond resided at his paternal home; and, in the midst of its beautiful scenery, cultivated his literary talents. His life was not a happy one. A lady to whom he was attached was cut off by fever but a short time before the day appointed for their marriage; and a pathetic memorial of his grief remains in his poems. He spent eight years in foreign travel after this affliction; a circumstance to which we may probably attribute the degree in which his sonnets, hardly inferior to those of Petrarch, are formed after the Italian model. While abroad he made a collection of books and manuscripts. On his return he repaired the ancient family mansion, and set up upon it an inscription ending with the words, " ut honesto otio quiesceret, sibi et successoribus, instauravit, 1638.” The hope expressed in these words was not fulfilled. As a royalist, he was harassed during the civil wars; and on the death of his sovereign his spirit seems to have been broken. He died A.D. 1649. He had, in his forty-fifth year, married a lady named Elizabeth Logan, whose attraction, in his eyes, consisted in her resemblance to his early love.
Scotland has reason to be proud of Drummond. Till the appearance of Burns he was her greatest poet. His genius, however, is by no means marked by the hardier characteristics of the north. Both in its excellences and defects, its character is southern; and it strikingly illustrates the influence which was exercised by Italian and Spanish upon English literature till the great Rebellion,-an influence which, after the Revolution, was superseded by that of French letters. Drummond wrote Latin as well as English poetry, and left behind him a history of the five James's, kings of Scotland. The celebrated visit of Ben Jonson to Hawthornden gave rise to a stupid tradition respecting a quarrel between him and Drummond, for which no adequate grounds ever existed.
Know what I list, all this cannot me move,
Dear chorister, who from those shadows sends,
The bird, as if my questions did her move,
Sweet soul, which in the April of thy years,
Do not disdain (dear ghost) this sacrifice;
Sleep, silence' child, sweet father of soft rest,
Come as thou wilt, and what thou wilt bequeath;
Alexis, here she stay'd, among these pines-
But, ah ! what serves 't t' have been made happy so,
Sweet spring, thou com’st with all thy goodly train,