« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
the union of the two crowns and that of the countries should have proved highly unpropitious to Scotish literature. Scotland, becoming an appendage to the sister kingdom, was subjected, as Ireland has since been, to the worst of all governments, being abandoned to the conflict of rival families, who were alternately supported by the English administration ; so that it exhibited a species of anarchy under the auspices of a legitimate sovereign.
James I. was himself a poet, and specimens of his talent, such as it was, are to be found in many of our miscellanies. He also wrote some rules and cautels, for the use of professors of the art, which have been long, and perhaps deservedly, disregarded.
The most favourable sample of his Majesty's poetic skill has been lately obtained from the College library, Edinburgh, and will be found in the following page. It is prefixed to Fowler's translation of the Triumphs of Petrarch, a MS. before described.
We find by proof that into every age
In Phæbus' art some glistering star did shine, Who, worthy scholars to the Muses sage,
Fulfill’d their countries with their works divine.
So Homer was a sounding trumpet fine Amongst the Greeks, into his learned days;
So Virgil was among the Romans syne
In tongue Italic, in a sugar’d style,
For he, by poems that he did compile,
Fame: But thou triumphs o'er Petrarch's proper name!
Signed “ J. Rex."
Otherwise known by the name of Democritus junior, was
born in 1576, of an antient and genteel family, at Lindley,
“ who, as others of the like humour do, sometimes takes “ his quotations without the least mention of Democritus “ junior.” Dr. Johnson thought highly of “the Anatomy “ of Melancholy;" see Boswell's Life; and Mr.Warton in his notes to Milton's minor poems, p. 94, 2d ed. supposes that great poet“ to have borrowed the subject of L'Alle“ gro and Il Penseroso, together with some particular “thoughts, expressions, and rhymes;" from the subsequent specimen. “ As to the very elaborate work,” says Mr. Warton,“to which these visionary verses are no unsuitable “ introduction, the writer's variety of learning, his quota« tions from scarce and curious books, his pedantry “ sparkling with rude wit and shapeless elegance, miscel“ laneous matter, intermixture of agreeable tales and illu“strations, and perhaps, above all, the singularities of his “ feelings, cloathed in an uncommon quaintness of style, “ have contributed to render it, even to modern readers, a
“ valuable repository of amusement and information.” Burton was fond of poetry, and left behind him a very
curious poetical and miscellaneous library, out of which he bequeathed to the Bodleian all the books not already contained in it. He died in 1639 (very near the time of his own calculation), and was buried in Christ-Church Cathedral, where his bust may be seen, as well as a short Latin inscription, his own composition, on a monument erected by the care of his brother William, the antiquary and historian of Leicestershire.
[Prefixed to “ The Anatomy of Melancholy.")
When I go musing all alone,
All my joys to this are folly,
When I lie waking, all alone,
All my griefs to this are jolly, - Nought so sad as melancholy.
When to myself I act, and smile,