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1647, came out with commendatory verscs of his prefixed to them. And Ben Jonson, great Ben”, seems to have been an object of his peculiar admiration”. The most of this must be read cum grano salis. His “Rhapsodie ” on and in the
. "Globe Tavern” is of no common interest from the glimpse it gives us of the interior of that famous rendezvous of the master-spirits of England, in erery arena, and for my own part I should prefer to have had transmitted to our day, that "starry ceiling" to any century of musty relics dubbed saintly. But it is a mistake that the Silurist visited the “ Globe” except as a pilgrim doing honour to the great dead' It is a mistake too that Fletcher's Plays came out in 1647, with the "commendatory verses" that appeared in "Olor Iscanus”: they first appeared therein and therein only. It is equally a mistake that he knew so as personally to delight in 'Randolph or "great Ben", seeing that Randolph died on March 17th, 1634, and Jonson, August 16th, 1637,-even the latter being in advance of the brothers departure from Llangattock for College. I suspect Sir William D'AVENANT is the one
i See the “Rhapsodie” in full, Vol. II. pp 20-24.
notable he personally knew; nor is even he quite certain. His Verses on Gondibert have the look of coming from an intimate friend : yet they are not found in the folio with others. In the verses on Fletcher, he disclaims personal knowledge in the outset “I knew thee not”, as indeed he could scarcely have done, being in pinafores when he died, viz., in 1625. The “mighties' had all gone, e. g. Marlowe, 1593 : Shakspeare and Beaumont within a few weeks of each other, 1616 : Ford 1639 : Massinger 1610. It is as inexplicable as Bacon's silence, that nowhere is SHAKSPEARE so much as alluded to by Vaughan, while Fletcher is hyperbolized. Apart from “ Amoret” and verse-names of the Poems of 1645, there is only one lady named in either the Poetry or prose of our Worthy, to wit, the “matchless Orinda ”. Their friendship must have been close and tender: but I confess that her volume is inscrutably arid to
One is at a loss to think how the extravagant eulogy of contemporaries was won, as of Cowley twice over, and Dryden and · Jeremy Taylor. The woman must have been greater than the Versifier. Besides she was a Royalist to the uttermost. With his brother Thomas VAUGHAN,
the friendship was more than fraternal. EUGENIUS PHILALETHES first published “ Olor Iscanus” and he had evidently the profoundest estimate of his twin-brother's genius. Having survived him, Henry dedicated an Eclogue to his memory, which is somewhat marred by that form. Onward, I shall consider his love-experiences.
Such were the friendships and associates of Henry Vaughan. The most superficial reader will discern that they furnished controlling elements to his Poetry, and that thus it was necessary critically to recount them as preparatire to our examination of its characteistics. Regarded broadly it is seen there was a ring of darkness around his Life. His deepest companionships and associates were tinged (if the word be not too poor) with sadness: and I have a feeling that to him as others, tears were more potential things than laughter, especially those tears that fell white and clear, over his young wife's holy memory. It is as the Man of Sorrows, the supreme Man touches with widest reach, most: though I don't mean by sorrow in either case, melancholy, gloom, moroseness, misanthropy. Unless you have had some one drowned, the Sea's great Psalm has articulate notes of a strange gladness: and where your sorrow sends you to The Cnxist (* Christus Consolator' of the old mediæval hymns) and you reach up weak tremulous hands through the dazzling dark, the returning pressure that Faith and Aspiration win, yields the divinest joy. Such as I take it ultimately was the Silurist's attainment. The death of his wife and of that younger brother, and the rupture of ties of friendship through the “Civil War" of the century, chastened, saddened, bruised him, but never soured', never made him mope or give way to abandonment. His own sweet, meck words best put it in his “Love and Discipline".
Since in a land not barren still,
-Because Thou dost Thy grace distill--
And sirce these biting frosts but kil
Blest be Thy dew, and blest Thy frost,
The dew doth cheer what is distrest,
Thus while Thy sev'ral mercies plot,
For as Thy hand the weather steers,
(c) Royalism. It is with a kind of half-hesitancy that I make the Royalism of VAUGHAN a distinct subject of critical review and account, in the estimate of his life. For, with every allowance, it seems to me to have been the one thing that
1 Vol. II. 145.
One other friend was the indefatigable AUBREY, and one is chagrined that a man who preserved so much about others left next to nothing on the Silurist. One small morsel is all we have fonnd. Pursuing our Crashaw researches among the Tanner MSS. (so richly rewarded) we came on this allusion in one of Aubrey's letters to Wood, (Tanner 456, f. 19): “I thought to have written now to Dr. Plottt, of Magdalen Hall, but being not certaine of his being there at present, I desire your kindnesse o enquire, and to remember me kindly to him, and to tell him that I have writt out for him the Natural History of Wiltshire and of Surrey, and a sheet or two of other counties and am now sendiny to my cosn. Hen. Vaughan, (Silurist) in Brecknockshire to send me the natural history of it, as also of other circumjacent counties: no man fitter." Cf. in relation to this, foot-note i Vol. III., p. 292. On certain professional difficulties and oppositions as a medical man, see additional Notes and Illustrations at close of Vol. IV.