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quate the means, or unattainable the end may be, in the Utopian speculations of such men, there is still this advantage, that we see their notions of the causes of the numerous evils which afflict society; and though the proposed remedy may be unavailing, it is still something to become acquainted with the origin of the disease. A great service would doubtless be rendered to the human race, by ascertaining how much of what we endure results from the constitution of our nature, and is essential to our condition; and how much, being merely the fruit of unwise institutions, or erroneous principles, may be removed by persevering and well-directed efforts. The various schemes of perfect governments, and new states of society, which have been offered to the world, may be advantageously used as aids in the prosecution of this important inquiry; nor can such men as Plato, More, Harrington, Fletcher, Wallace, Humé, and Godwin, have laboured, or even sported, on the subject, without contributing, and that largely, towards supplying materials for a rational conclusion. The last mentioned author called forth the most imposing attempt which has yet been made, to prove, that while man exists, oppression, vice, misery, and war, must exist also. But even this philosophy of despair' has been gradually modified, in successive editions, by the introduction of moral restraint, as a check on that tendency of population to increase, which is represented as the source of “all our woe,” and the enlarged sphere assigned to its operations. Our hope for man now appears to have been only drugged with opiates, not absolutely poisoned, and she begins to revive from hér slumbers. So should it be ; for there is nothing more deadly, than despair of man, to all honourable, patriotic, and philanthropic exertions. The “ aliquid immensum infinitumque,” floating before the mind, is as needful for the inspiration of the patriot, as of the orator. Christianity has directed him who would shine in' moral worth to “ go on unto perfection;" and Fletcher, and men like Fletcher, have done, and will do, not all they wish indeed, but more of good than without such glorious visions they would ever achieve, by striva ing to make an Utopia of their country.
her shimoto abso10w app phere sented as that tenns, by
Art. VIII. Lucasta : Epodes, Odes, Sonnets, Songs, &c. &c.; to which is added Aramantha, a Pastoral. By Richard Love
lace, Esq. Lond. 1649, octavo. Lucasta: Posthume Poems of Richard Lovelace, Esq.
Those honours come too late,
That on our ashes waite. Mart. lib. 1. Ep. 26. Lond. 1659.
There was a period in our literary history when a power of versifying was the fashionable distinction,—the last grace of an accomplished courtier; the most approved means of approach to a lady's favour in a lover; and the most elegant relaxation or resource of the occupied or idle gallant. In those times, a man would have had but small pretensions to the haughty charms of a reigning beauty, unless he could immortalize them in verse, or' bestow the sanctifying grace of rhyme on her meanest decoration. Every lover was then poet-laureate to his mistress, and, by office, celebrated every accident of her immaculate person. His song of triumph was the glory of her resplendent beauty. The achievements which he sounded forth were broken hearts, fatal glances, routed resolution. And the homage which he paid with never failing perseverance, was the comparison of her particular graces with all the flowers that fade, and all the gems of enduring brilliancy. When such was the employment of so many high-born gallant cavaliers, of lofty spirits and good education, we cannot be surprised, that, amidst much forced and unnatural composition, it frequently happened that, in a happy mood, they struck out noble pieces of sentiment and imagery, which deserve to be rescued from the surrounding lumber; which, like mirrors in the midst of old fashioned furniture that has lost its original splendour and become dull and tawdry, still retain their brightness and their utility. Amidst all the poetical efforts of a long series of years, it would be strange indeed, if a noble race of gallant Englishmen, full of youth and wealth, and stimulated by the example of the court, had not, even when writing for an ephemeral purpose, given birth to much deserving of preservation. It is true, that the pernicious taste of the age directed them into an unnatural and artificial vein, but nature could not but break out at intervals, and shew itself by the freedom of the air and the ease of the versification. They could not always keep up that elaborate search after novel contrasts and unnatural composition, and when the impulse of their own feelings got the better of their vitiated habits of writing, they sometimes gave themselves up to the effusion of those parts of their poems, which they perhaps thought of least value, but which alone we think worthy of being preserved. Among all the gay and sprightly courtiers of Charles I., none was more distinguished than Colonel Richard Lovelace; whether for the exquisite beauty of his person, the elegant endowments of his mind, or the witty and sparkling ingenuity of his conversation. Like numberless others of his rank and station, he was remarkable for his attachment to his sovereign, in whose misfortunes he soon became involved. In his service he spent great part of his property, the rest appears to have been consumed by the expenses of his family, and the exactions of the men in power. The calamities of the party, to which he adhered, his own loss of fortune, his imprisonments, and, indeed, the blighting of all the high raised views and expectations, which his brilliant entrance into life would doubtless cause to spring up in such a mind, at last brought on a state of despairing wretchedness, which, ending in a fatal consumption, soon terminated his life in a garret. The narrative of his life by Anthony Wood, in the Athena Oxoniensis, is exceedingly interesting, and, as described in his quaint and forcible language, becomes an instance of one of the most melancholy reverses of fortune, to be found in the annals of a set of men, the early poets of England, distinguished for the calamitous variety of their adventures. After recording his birth and parentage, &c., the Antiquary proceeds to his entry at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, in the year 1634, and at the year of his age, sixteen, being then accounted the most amiable and beautiful person that eye ever beheld ; a person also of innate modesty, virtue, and courtly deportment, which made him then, but especially after, when he retired to the great city, much admired and adored by the female sex. In 1636, when the king and queen were for some days at Oxon, he was, at the request of a great lady belonging to the queen, made to the Archbishop of Canterbury, then Chancellor of the University, actually created, among other persons of quality, Master of Arts, though but of two years standing; at which time his conversation being made public, and consequently his ingenuity and generous soul discovered, he became as much admired by the male, as before by the female sex. After he had left the university, he retired in great splendour to the court, &c." Again, after speaking of his imprisonment by the parliament, for presenting the Kentish petition to the House of Commons, for the restoration of the king to his rights; Wood says, “ during this time of confinement to London, he lived beyond the income of his estate, either to keep up the credit and reputation of the king's cause, by furnishing men with horses and
arms, or by relieving ingenious men in want, whether scholars, musicians, soldiers, &c motorsport 5
9* In 1648 he was imprisoned a second time'; but Wood relates, “after the murther of King Charles I., Lovelace was set at liberty, and having by that time consumed all his estate, grew very melancholy, (which brought him at length into a consumption;) became very poor in body and purse, was the object of charity, went in ragged cloaths, (whereas when he was in his glory, he wore cloth of gold and silver) and mostly lodged in obscure and dirty places, more befitting the worst of beggars and poorest of servants, &c. * * * * * * He died in a very mean lodging in Gunpowder Alley, near Shoe Lane, and was burried at the west end of St. Bride, &c. in 1658.” Wood continues, “ having been accounted, by all those that well knew him, to have been a person well versed in the Greek and Latin poets, in music, whether practical or theoretical, instrumental or vocal, and in other things befitting a gentleman. Some of the said persons have also added, in my hearing, that his common discourse was not only significant and witty, but incomparably graceful, which drew respect from all men and women. Many other things I could now say of him, relating either to his generous mind in his prosperity, or dejected estate in his worst part of poverty, but for brevity's sake I will now pass them by."* .
* In Mr. Bliss's new edition of the Athenæ, from which we quote, there is added in a note, Aubrey's account of Lovelace, printed from his papers; which is as follows: “ Richard Lovelace, Esq., obiit in a cellar in Long Acre, a little before the restauration of his majestie. Mr. Edmund Wyld, &c. had made collections for him and given him money. He was of — in Kent, £500. or more. He was an extraordinary handsome man, but proud. He wrote a poem called Lucasta, 8vo. 1649. He was of Gloucester-Hall, as I have been told. He had two younger brothers, viz. Colonel Fr. Lovelace, and another that died at Carmarthen. George Petty, haberdasher, in Fleet Street, carryed twenty shillings to him every Munday morning, from Sir Many and Charles Cotton, Esq. for months, but was never repayd." Aubrey is by no means esteemed very highly, and it is to be hoped that the accurate Anthony à Wood has, in this instance, somewhat exaggerated the misery of our unfortunate author, or been in some measure misinformed. For it appears that Lovelace's daughter, who married Lord 's (son or) nephew, brought her husband the family estates in Kent; though it is possible that during her father's lifetime, the rents may have been entirely in the hands of the creditors of Lovelace, or, if they had been previously sold, they may, at the restoration, have been returned to his family. Yet he left two, if not three, brothers behind him, who do not appear to have been in want, and who, it is hardly probable, would permit their brother to fall into the
himself of his joy, had, it see whom, saeroman of Etially calle
berecome them, ticies, had, iese poems, acted, out our will perand even he had nome a lady seems, the ough consistine very wane leather Casta; bamed Ludmours; a me says woname of Luume
But it is time to turn from the contemplation of the unhappy close of our author's life, to his poems, which were, doubtless, chiefly the production of the happier moments of it; when the absence of real distress allows the poet to 'amuse himself by inventing fictitious 'miseries ; and the lover, perhaps, in the full enjoyment of his mistress's favour, will iniagine himself now forsaken, and now rejected, out of the very wantonness of his joy. These poems, though consisting of numetous small pieces, had, it seems, the general name of Lučasta given them, from a lady to whom, says Wood," sometime before, he had made his amours; a gentlewoman of great beauty and fortune, named Lucy Sachèverell, whom he usually called Lux Casta; but she, upon a strong report that Lovelace was dead of his wounds, received at Dunkirk, soon married. It was after his return from Dunkirk, when he, on his arrival in London, with his brother Dudley, was immediately committed to prison, that he beguiled the time of his confinement, by collecting and preparing these poems for the press. The collection, which he himself printed, the first Lucasta, is eminently superior to the posthumous publication; whether the first was a selection from the whole of his lucubrations, made by a discriminating taşte, which we should scarcely be inclined to give the author credit for, or whether the second series was written at a later period than the former, when the author's spirit was broken, and his fire began to wax dim; certain it is, that, though nearly the whole may be said to be infected with the
abject state above described. Especially as the greatest affection in-
To love thee living and lament thee dead,
So that, perhaps, we may be allowed to indulge the pleasing hope, that he who once figured a noble specimen of humanity, did not die an example of abject poverty and misery.