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This poet, who was born in 1540, is very justly placed among the worthies of our earliest poetical literature. He was bred to the law, but quitted it, and served with distinction against the Spaniards. His principal work is The Fruits of War, which relates to the adventures of his voyage. In his youth he was a profligate, but he lived to amend his ways, and became a wise and good man. He died in a religious, calm, and happy frame of mind, in 1577. The writings of Gascoigne are more the result of observation than of creative genius; for the age in which he lived, the verse is uncommonly smooth, flowing, and unaffected.
From depth of dole, wherein my soul doth dwell,
From heavy heart, which harbours in my breast,
From troubled sprite, which seldom taketh rest,
My God, my Lord, my lovely Lord alone
To thee I call, to thee I make my moan.
This woful plaint
Wherein I faint;
Oh! bend thine ears attentively to hear,
Oh! turn thine eyes, behold me how I wail,
Oh! hearken, Lord, give ear for mine avail,
Behold and see what dolours I endure,
Give ear and mark what plaints I put in urel; Bend willing ears; and pity therewithal
My willing voice,
Which hath no choice
If thou, good Lord, should'st take thy rod in hand,
If thou regard what sins are daily done,
If thou take hold where we our works begun, If thou decree in judgment for to stand, And be extreme to see our 'scuses? scanned ;
If thou take note of every thing amiss,
And write in rolls how frail our nature is, O glorious God, O King, O Prince of power!
What mortal wight
May thus have light
But thou art good, and hast of mercy store,
Thou not delight'st to see a sinner fall,
Thou hearkenest first, before we come to call, Thine ears are set wide open evermore, Before we knock thou comest to the door ;
Thou art more prest to hear a sinner cry
Than he is quick to climb to thee on high. Thy mighty name be praised then alway,
Let faith and fear
True witness bear,
I look for thee, my lovely Lord, therefore
For thee I wait, for thee I tarry still,
Mine eyes do long to gaze on thee my fill,
My soul doth thirst to take of thee a taste,
And to thy words, which can no man deceive,
Mine only trust,
My love and lust,
Before the light be seen in lofty skies,
Before the sun appear in pleasant wise, Before the watch, (before the watch, I say,) Before the ward that waits therefore alway,
My soul, my sense, my secret thought, my sprite,
My will, my wish, my joy, and my delight, Unto the Lord, that sits in heaven on high,
With hasty wing
From me doth fling,
O Abraham's sons! O brood of blessed seed!
O chosen sheep, that love the Lord indeed!
For He hath mercy evermore at hand,
His fountains flow, his springs do never stand; And plenteously He loveth to redeem
Such sinners all
As on Him call,
He will bring home the sheep that go astray,
He will help them that hope in Him alway,
He will be ours, if we continue his,
He will bring bale3 to joy and perfect bliss He will redeem the flock of his elect
From all that is
Or was amiss
ROBERT SOUTHWELL, one of the least known, but one of the most deserving poets of the age of Elizabeth, was born at St. Faith's, in Norfolk, in 1560. He was partially educated at the English College in Douay, after which he was received into the Society of the Jesuits. He was afterwards attached to the household of the Countess of Arundel, and being convicted of seditious practices, suffered death at Tyburn in 1595.
Though a Jesuit, the poems of Southwell are deserving the attention of every Protestant Christian. They have few adornments to fancy, but they are peculiarly pleasing for the simplicity of their diction, and the truths they contain. “ It is not possible," says Mr. Campbell, “to read his volume without lamenting that its author should have been either the instrument of bigotry, or the object of persecution.”
VALE OF TEARS.
A VALE there is, enwrapped in dismal shades,
Which, thick with mournful pine, shrouds from the sun;
And snowy floods with broken streams do run:
But various blustering of the stubborn wind
Which now doth hiss, now howl, now roar by kind :
That break their streams and turn them into foams;
With hideous cracks discharge their pregnant wombs.
Consists the music of this doleful place;
Where none but heavy notes have any grace.
Resort there is of none but pilgrim-wights
That pass with trembling foot and panting heart,
And all the place for terror framed by art.
So strait indeed, so vast unto the eye,
And so, with pleasing horror, low and high,
Much at the work, more at the Maker's might;
Where nothing seemed wrong, yet nothing right.
Where every thing doth suit a pensive mood;
The wind here weeps, here sighs, here cries aloud.
Then roaring, beats upon the craggy sides;
With bubbling streams a purling noise it glides.
Still clothe the place with shade and mourning veil ;
Here hope doth spring, and there again doth quail.
A thousand motives suited to their griefs,
And chase away Dame Pleasure's vain reliefs.
To which from worldly toils they may retire,
Where every thing with mourers doth conspire.
Here all thy sinful foils alone recount,
That to thy ditty's dole I may amount.
1 Subdued, dejected.