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OF MENSTRIE, EARL OF STERLING,
Was born in 1580. Having been early distinguished for his
proficiency in classical learning, he was warmly patronized by James I. by whom he was knighted in 1014, and appointed Master of the Requests. By Charles I. he was created Viscount, and afterwards Earl, of Sterling, and Secretary of State for Scotch affairs; a post which he retained during 15 years, and died in February, 1640. His works consist of “Darius," a tragedy, 1603. “ Cræsus," a tragedy, 1604. “The Alexandrian Tragedy,” 1604. “Julius Cæsar," 1604. “A Parænesis on the Prince, and Aurora," a collection of sonnets. The latter, which was printed with the collection of his works (London, 1607), has not been republished.
Extract from a Speech of Coelia, in the Tragedy of
Fierce tyrant, Death, that in thy wrath didst
take One half of me, and left an half behind, Take this to thee, or give me th’ other back,
Be altogether cruel, or all kind :
For whilst I live, thou canst not wholly die
0! even in spite of death, yet still my choice ! Oft, with Imagination's love-quick eye
I think I see thee, and I hear thy voice.
And to content my languishing desire,
Each thing, to ease my mind, some help affords : I fancy whiles thy form--and then a-fire,
In every sound I apprehend thy words.
Then, with such thoughts my memory to wound,
I call to mind thy looks, thy words, thy graceWhere thou didst haunt, yet I adore the ground ! And where thou stept-o sacred seems that
My solitary walks, my widow'd bed,
My dreary sighs, my sheets oft bath'd with tears, These can record the life that I have led
Since first sad news breath'd death into mine ears!
I live but with despair my sprite to dash;
Thee first I lov’d, with thee all love I leave; For my chaste flames extinguish'd in thy ash,
Can kindle now no more but in thy grave!
Extract from a Chorus in “ Julius Cæsar."
This life of ours is like a rose,
Which, whilst it beauties rare array, Doth then enjoy the least repose; When, virgin-like, it blush we see, Then is't of every hand the
prey, And by each wind is blown away; Yea, though from violence 'scaped free,
Yet doth it languish and decay.
So, whilst the courage hottest boils, And that our life seems best to be,
It is with danger compast still,
Of which, though none it chance to kill,
As nature fails, the body falls.
Since, as a ship amidst the deeps,
Or as an eagle through the air,
This breath, of which we take such care,
That it may hence with 'haste remove-
Whose steps behind no trace do leave.
Why should heav'n-banish'd souls thus love
The cause and bounds of their exile, Where they as restless strangers stray?
And with such pain why should they reave
That which they have no right to have, Which, with themselves, within short while, As summer's beauties, must decay,
And can give nought except the grave ?
(From the Aurora.)
O WOULD to God a way were found,
That by some secret sympathy unknown,
Then blest, most blest were I,
I were the happiest wight;
And mend me if they might.
The deepest rivers make least din,
The silent soul doth most abound in care,
Might silence shew my mind,
Or looks my woes relate:
Would soon discern my state.
Oft those that do deserve disdain,
For forging fancies get the best reward ;
Behold, by proof we see,
His fancies doth extend ;