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expressed by Daniel's contemporaries are still more eulogistic, and the chief authors of the day treated him as a friend and brother.* At seventeen he was admitted a commoner of Magdalen College, Oxford, and, after staying there three years, left without taking a degree. Then we read that Daniel was patronized by Sir Philip Sidney's sister, the Countess of Pembroke, by Lord Mountjoy, by Shakespeare's friend the Earl of Southampton, and by the Countess of Bedford, who befriended several poets and was repaid by verses. Men of letters, it should be remembered, looked to patronage in those days as naturally as in our own they anticipate the support of the public. This dependence upon the great strikes us as ignoble now, but it was not so regarded then, and it was, moreover, inevitable. Sometimes it led to splendid friendships, and in most cases the patron received back more than he gave; but the system grew to be in time a canker at the heart of literature.

To return to Daniel. The facts of his life are the records of his works. He wrote tragedies and masques, gained high applause, and on the death of Spenser, in 1598, was appointed Poct-Laureate. His great work-great assuredly in length, if not in quality is a poem in eight books, which was dedicated to Prince Charles, entitled "The History of the Civil Wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster." It is written in octave stanzas, a

*Ben Jonson did not join in this chorus of praise, but called Daniel "a good honest man, but no poet."

favourite metre with some of the Italian poets, and one well fitted for narrative. The genius of a poet is seen in his choice of a subject as well as in his treatment of it, and it seems strange Daniel did not see that to write a history in verse must inevitably prove a failure. If good as a history, it must be bad as a poem; if fine poetically, its historical value will be slight. The Wars of the Roses lasted sixteen. years, and that there are episodes in that period of civil strife which can be nobly treated has been proved by Shakespeare; but it is one thing to select actions for poetical uses, and quite another thing to chronicle in due order, as Daniel undertakes to do, a long series of historical events. Truly does Drayton say of his contemporary

"His rhymes were smooth, his metres well did close,
But yet his manner better fitted prose."

The poem, however, is not without significance. Daniel was born ten years after Spenser, whose oldworld style, quaint in his own age, will not allow us to forget that three centuries have gone by since he lived and wrote; but Daniel, on the contrary, writes in the purest, and I had almost said the most modern, English. His "History" from beginning to end may be understood by the youngest reader. He is never obscure in language or in thought, and of the few obsolete words used in this long poem we doubt if there is one which will perplex the student. The same remark holds good for all the poems of Daniel. Among his epistles, the most notable, addressed to the Countess of Cumberland,

has been warmly praised by Wordsworth. It has many weighty lines, and among them will be found the couplet so often quoted by Coleridge— "Unless above himself he can

Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!'

Daniel's "Musophilus," called by Mr. Lowell "the best poem of its kind in the language," is intended for a defence of learning. The ambition that prompts a man to "scorn delights and live laborious days," that he may leave behind him something the world will not let die was felt by Daniel as by all poets. To him also poetry held out an earthly immortality, and he anticipates by the power of song"That when our days do end they are not done, And though we die we shall not perish quite, But live two lives where others have but one."

And then he bursts forth into this noble praise of knowledge and of literature

"O blessed letters! that combine in one
All ages past and make one live with all.
By you we do confer with who are gone
And the dead-living unto council call;
By you the unborn shall have communion
Of what we feel and what doth us befall.
Soul of the world, knowledge without thee
What hath the earth that truly glorious is?
Why should our pride make such a stir to be,
To be forgot? What good is like to this,
To do worthy the writing, and to write

Worthy the reading, and the world's delight?"

These words are supposed to be uttered by Musophilus, but this love of fame is, as Milton says, an

"infirmity;" and Philocosmus, who deems it such, replies in a strain of argument which will be rejected by all ardent spirits if it cannot well be contradicted. How poor a thing, he says in effect, is fame at the best! how uncertain! how much in danger of being thrust aside by the attempts of fresh adventurers! and how limited in extent!

"Is this the walk of all your wide renown,

This little point, this scarce-discernèd isle ?" And even within these poor narrow limits how many thousands never heard the name of Sidney or of Spenser, or their books?* Present action he avers is more important than future fame, and this search after "sweet, enchanting knowledge" takes a man. "out from the fields of natural delight." After Philocosmus has pleaded for action instead of words, for the grace to do rather than to say, Musophilus replies at some length and not always with much point, but towards the close he rises into eloquence, foretells the time when the "treasure of our tongue shall be carried to the far West, and ends with a fine tribute to the power of verse. The poem should be read by the more advanced students of our poetry, but the few words we have said about it. will probably suffice for young readers. Indeed, "well-languaged Daniel," though he wrote much and gained high repute for it, has left few poems

"The life of literary men," says Mr. Bagehot, "is often a kind of sermon in itself; for the pursuit of fame, when it is contrasted with the grave realities of life, seems more absurd and trifling than most pursuits, and to leave less behind it."

which command attention now. His "Complaint of Rosamond" does not, and his fifty-seven sonnets addressed to Delia possess a literary but not a poetical interest. It has been suggested, and it is possible, that they formed the model upon which Shakespeare worked. The most poetical of Daniel's sonnets, and the one best known, is addressed to Sleep-a favourite subject with the sonnet-writers"Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable night;"

but in most of the sonnets there is a sweetness and gentleness of expression which make it just to link the epithet" tender" to Daniel's name.


Drayton, 1563-1632.

Drayton had a greater reputation than Daniel in his lifetime, and deserved it. He is one of the most copious writers of verse in the language-an evil sign for his fame-but much that he has written is of solid worth. He was born at Hartshill, near Atherstone, in Warwickshire, in 1563, and is said, like Pope, to have "lisped in numbers." In one of his poetical epistles he refers to this precocity, and says

"For from my cradle you must know that I

Was still inclined to noble poesy;"

and he tells how he went to his tutor when a pigmy boy, and, clasping his slender arms round his leg, exclaimed

"O my dear master, cannot you,' quoth I,

Make me a poet? Do it if you can,
And you shall see I'll quickly be a man.'”

Like other poets of the age, Drayton depended

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