FREE BOOKS

Author's List




PREV.   NEXT  
|<   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55  
56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   68   69   70   71   72   73   74   75   76   77   78   79   80   >>   >|  
and of the gown, and particularly had the entire friendship of my lord Falkland, one of the principal secretaries of state. During the heat of the civil war, he was settled in the family of the earl of St. Alban's, and accompanied the Queen Mother, when she was obliged to retire into France. He was absent from his native country, says Wood, about ten years, during which time, he laboured in the affairs of the Royal Family, and bore part of the distresses inflicted upon the illustrious Exiles: for this purpose he took several dangerous journies into Jersey, Scotland, Flanders, Holland, and elsewhere, and was the principal instrument in maintaining a correspondence between the King and his Royal Consort, whose letters he cyphered and decyphered with his own hand. His poem called the Mistress was published at London 1647, of which he himself says, "That it was composed when he was very young. Poets (says he) are scarce thought free men of their company, without paying some duties and obliging themselves to be true to love. Sooner or later they must all pass through that trial, like some Mahometan monks, who are bound by their order once at least in their life, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But we must not always make a judgment of their manners from their writings of this kind, as the Romanists uncharitably do of Beza for a few lascivious sonnets composed by him in his youth. It is not in this sense that poetry is said to be a kind of painting: It is not the picture of the poet, but of things, and persons imagined by him. He may be in his practice and disposition a philosopher, and yet sometimes speak with the softness of an amorous Sappho. I would not be misunderstood, as if I affected so much gravity as to be ashamed to be thought really in love. On the contrary, I cannot have a good opinion of any man who is not at least capable of being so." What opinion Dr. Sprat had of Mr. Cowley's Mistress, appears by the following passage extracted from his Life of Cowley. "If there needed any excuse to be made that his love-verses took up so great a share in his works, it may be alledged that they were composed when he was very young; but it is a vain thing to make any kind of apology for that sort of writing. If devout or virtuous men will superciliously forbid the minds of the young to adorn those subjects about which they are most conversant, they would put them out of all capacity of performing graver matters, when the
PREV.   NEXT  
|<   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55  
56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   68   69   70   71   72   73   74   75   76   77   78   79   80   >>   >|  



Top keywords:

composed

 

thought

 
Mistress
 

opinion

 

Cowley

 
principal
 

writings

 

Romanists

 

misunderstood

 

softness


Sappho
 
amorous
 

uncharitably

 
sonnets
 

practice

 
lascivious
 

disposition

 
imagined
 

persons

 

picture


things

 

painting

 

poetry

 

philosopher

 

writing

 
devout
 

virtuous

 
superciliously
 

apology

 
alledged

forbid

 

capacity

 

performing

 

graver

 

matters

 

subjects

 

conversant

 

capable

 

manners

 

contrary


gravity

 

ashamed

 

needed

 

excuse

 

verses

 

extracted

 
appears
 

passage

 
affected
 
distresses