This prelate was born, according to his own account, July 11, 1574, in Bristow-Park, within the parish of Ashby de la Zouch, a town in Leicestershire. His father was an officer under Henry Earl of Huntingdon, president of the North, who from his infancy had devoted him to the service of the church; and his mother, whom he has celebrated for her exemplary and distinguished piety, was extremely sollicitous that her favourite son should be of a profession, she herself held so much in veneration. Our author, who seems to have been very credulous in his disposition, rather religious than wise, or possessing any attainments equal to the dignity to which he rose, has preserved in his Specialities, some visions of his mother's, which he relates with an air of seriousness, sufficient to evidence his own conviction of their reality; but as they appear to have been the offspring of a disordered imagination, they have no right to a place here.
In order to train him up to the ministry, his father at first resolved to place him under the care of one Mr. Pelset, lately come from Cambridge to be the public preacher at Leicester, who undertook to give him an education equally finished with that of the university, and by these means save much expence to his father: This resolution, however, was not executed, some other friends advising his father to send him to Cambridge, and persuaded him that no private tuition could possibly be equal to that of the academical. When our author had remained six years at Cambridge, he had right to preferment, and to stand for a fellowship, had not his tutor Mr. Gilby been born in the same county with him, and the statutes not permitting two of the same shire to enjoy fellowships, and as Mr. Gilby was senior to our author, and already in possession, Mr. Hall could not be promoted. In consequence of this, he proposed to remove, when the Earl of Huntingdon, being made acquainted with this circumstance, and hearing very favourable accounts of our author, interested himself to prevent his removal. He made application to Mr. Gilby promised to make him his chaplain, and promote him in the church, provided he would relinquish his place in the college, in favour of Mr. Hall. These promises being made with seeming sincerity, and as the Earl of Huntingdon was a man of reputation for probity, he complied with his lordship's request, and relinquished his place in the college. When he was about to enter upon his office of chaplain, to his great mortification, the nobleman on whose promises he confided, and on whom he immediately depended, suddenly died, by which accident he was thrown unprovided upon the world. This not a little affected Mr. Hall, who was shocked to think that Mr. Gilby should be thus distressed, by the generosity of his temper, which excited him to quit a certainty in order to make way for his promotion. He addressed Dr. Chadderton, then the master of the college, that the succeeding election might be stopped, and that Mr. Gilby should again possess his place but in this request he was unsuccessful: for the Doctor told him, that Mr. Gilby was divested of all possibility of remedy, and that they must proceed in the election the day following; when Mr. Hall was unanimously chosen into that society. Two years after this, he was chosen Rhetorician to the public schools, where, as he himself expresses it, "he was encouraged with a sufficient sequence of auditors;" but this place he soon resigned to Dr. Dod, and entered upon studies necessary to qualify him for taking orders.
Some time after this, the mastership of a famous school erected at Tiverton in Devon, became vacant; this school was endowed by the founder Mr. Blundel, with a very large pension, and the care of it was principally cast upon the then Lord Chief Justice Popham. His lordship being intimately acquainted with Dr. Chadderton, requested him to recommend some learned and prudent man for the government of that school. The Dr. recommended Mr. Hall, assuring him that great advantage would arise from it; without much trouble to himself: Our author thinking proper to accept this, the Doctor carried him to London, and introduced him to Lord Chief Justice Popham, who seemed well pleased and thanked Dr. Chadderton for recommending a man so well qualified for the charge. When Dr. Chadderton and Mr. Hall had taken leave of his lordship and were returning to their lodgings, a messenger presented a letter to Mr. Hall, from lady Drury of Suffolk, earnestly requesting him to accept the rectory of Halsted, a place in her gift. This flow of good fortune not a little surprized him, and as he was governed by the maxims of prudence, he made no long hesitation in accepting the latter, which was both a better benefice, and a higher preferment. Being settled at Halsted, he found there a dangerous antagonist to his ministry, whom he calls in his Specialities, a witty, and a bold Atheist: "This was one Mr. Lilly, who by reason of his travels, (says he) and abilities of discourse and behaviour, had so deeply insinuated himself into my patron, that there were small hopes for me to work any good upon that noble patron of mine; who by the suggestion of this wicked detractor, was set off from me before he knew me. Hereupon, I confess, finding the obduredness, and hopeless condition of that man, I bent my prayers against him, beseeching God daily, that he would be pleased to remove by some means or other, that apparent hindrance of my faithful labours; who gave me an answer accordingly. For this malicious man going hastily up to London, to exasperate my patron against me, was then and there swept away by the pestilence, and never returned to do any further mischief." This account given by Mr. Hall of his antagonist, reflects no great honour upon himself: it is conceived in a spirit of bitterness, and there is more of spite against Lilly's person in it, than any tenderness or pity for his errors. He calls him a witty Atheist, when in all probability, what he terms atheism, was no more than a freedom of thinking, and facetious conversation, which to the pious churchman, had the appearance of denying the existence of God; besides, had Hall dealt candidly, he should have given his readers some more particulars of a man whom he was bold enough to denominate an Atheist, a character so very singular, that it should never be imputed to any man, without the strongest grounds. Hall in his usual spirit of enthusiasm, in order to remove this antagonist of his, has recourse to a miracle: He tells us, he went up to London and died of the Plague, which he would have us to understand was by the immediate interpolation of God, as if it were not ridiculous to suppose our author of so great importance, as that the Supreme Being should work a miracle in his favour; but as it is with natural so is it with spiritual pride, those who are possessed by either, never fail to over-rate their own significance, and justly expose themselves to the contempt of the sober part of mankind.
Our author has also given us some account of his marriage, with the daughter of Mr. George Winniff, of Bretenham; he says of her, that much modesty, piety, and good disposition were lodged in her seemly pretence. She was recommended to him, by the Rev. Mr. Grandig his friend, and he says, he listened to the recommendation, as from the Lord, whom he frequently consulted by prayer, before he entered into the matrimonial state. She lived with him 49 years.
Not long after Mr. Hall's settlement at Halsted, he was sollicited by Sir Edmund Bacon to accompany him in a journey to the Spa in Ardenna, at the time when the Earl of Hertford went ambassador to the archduke Albert of Brussels. This request Mr. Hall complied with, as it furnished him with an opportunity of teeing more of the world, and gratified a desire he had of conversing with the Romish Jesuits. The particulars of his journey, which he has preserved in his Specialities, are too trifling to he here inserted: When he came to Brussels, he was introduced by an English gentleman, who practised physic there, to the acquaintance of father Costrus, who held some conversation with him concerning the miracles said to be lately done, by one Lipsieus Apricollis, a woman who lived at Zichem. From particular miracles, the father turned the discourse to the difference between divine and diabolical miracles; and he told Mr. Hall, that if he could ascertain that one miracle ever was wrought in the church of England, he would embrace that persuasion: To which our author replied, that he was fully convinced, that many devils had been ejected out of persons in that church by fasting and prayer. They both believed the possibility and frequency of miracles; they only differed as to the church in which miracles were performed. Hall has censured father Costrus, as a barren man, and of superficial conversation; and it is to be feared, that whoever reads Hall's religious works will conclude much in the same manner of him. They departed from Brussels soon after this interview between father Costrus and our author, and met with nothing in their journey to and return from the Spa, worth relation, only Mr. Hall had by his zeal in defending his own church, exposed himself to the resentment of one Signior Ascanio Negro, who began notwithstanding Mr. Hall's lay-habit, to suspect him to be a clergyman, and use some indecent freedoms with him in consequence of this suspicion. Our author to avoid any impertinence which the captain was likely to be guilty of towards him, told him, Sir Edmund Bacon, the person with whom he travelled, was the grandchild of the great lord Verulam, High Chance for of England, whose fame was extended to every country where science and philosophy prevailed, and that they were protected by the earl of Hertford, the English embassador at Brussels. Upon the Italian's being made acquainted with the quality of Sir Edmund, and the high connections of the two travellers, he thought proper to desist from any acts of impertinence, to which bigotry and ignorance would have excited him.
Hall returned to England after being absent eighteen months, and was received but coldly by Sir Robert Drury his patron; there having never been much friendship between them. In consequence of this, Mr. Hall came to London, in search of a more comfortable provision; he was soon recommended by one Mr. Gurrey, tutor to the Earl of Essex, to preach before Prince Henry at Richmond. Before this accident Mr. Hall had been author of some Meditations, whom Mr. Gurrey told him, had been well received at Henry's court, and much read by that promising young Prince. He preached with success, for the Prince desired to hear him a second time, and was so well pleased with him, that he signified an inclination of having him attend about his court. Mr. Hall's reputation growing, he was taken notice of by persons of fashion, and soon obtained the living of Waltham, presented him by the Earl of Norwich.
While he exercised his function at Waltham, the archdeacon of Norwich engaged him to interest himself in favour of the church of Wolverhampton, from which a patrimony was detained by a sacrilegious conveyance. In the course of this prosecution, our author observes, "that a marvellous light opened itself unexpectedly, by revealing a counterfeit seal, in the manifestation of razures, and interpolations, and misdates of unjustifiable evidences, that after many years suit, Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, upon a full hearing, gave a decree in favour of the church."
During Mr. Hall's residence at Waltham, he was thrice employed by his Majesty in public service. His first public employment was to attend the Earl of Carlisle, who went on an embassy to France, and during his absence his Majesty conferred upon him the deanery of Worcester. Upon his return, he attended the King in a journey to Scotland, where he exerted himself in support of episcopacy, in opposition to the established ministry there, who were Presbyterians. Having acquired some name in polemical divinity, and being long accustomed to disputations, the King made choice of him to go to the Netherlands, and assist at the synod of Dort, in settling the controverted points of faith, for which that reverend body were there convened. Hall has been very lavish in his own praise, while he acted at the synod of Dort; he has given many hints of the supernatural assistance he was blessed with he has informed us, that he was then in a languishing state of health; that his rest was broken, and his nights sleepless; but on the night preceding the occasion of his preaching a Latin sermon to the synod, he was favoured with refreshing sleep, which he ascribes to the immediate care of providence. The states of Holland, he says, "sent Daniel Heinsius the poet to visit him, and were so much delighted with his comportment, that they presented him with a rich medal of gold, as a monument of their respect for his poor endeavours." Upon our author's returning home, he found the church torn to pieces, by the fierce contentions which then subsisted concerning the doctrines of Arminius: he saw this with concern, and was sensible true religion, piety, and virtue, could never be promoted by such altercation; and therefore with the little power of which he was master, he endeavoured to effect a reconciliation between the contending parties: he wrote what he calls a project of pacification, which was presented to his Majesty, and would have had a very happy influence, had not the enemies of Mr. Hall misrepresented the book, and so far influenced the King, that a royal edict for a general inhibition, buried it in silence. Hall after this contended with the Roman Catholics, who upon the prospect of the Spanish match, on the success of which they built their hopes, began to betray a great degree of insolence, and proudly boast the pedigree of their church, from the apostles themselves. They insisted, that as their church was the first, so it was the best, and that no ordination was valid which was not derived from it. Hall in answer to their assertions, made a concession, which some of his Protestant brethren thought he had no right to do; he acknowledged the priority of the Roman Church, but denied its infallibility, and consequently that it was possible another church might be more pure, and approach more to the apostolic practice than the Romish. This controversy he managed so successfully, that he was promoted to the see of Exeter; and as King James I. seldom knew any bounds to his generosity, when he happened to take a person into his favour, he soon after that removed him from Exeter, and gave him the higher bishoprick of Norwich; which he enjoyed not without some allay to his happiness, for the civil wars soon breaking out, he underwent the same severities which were exercised against other prelates, of which he has gives an account in a piece prefixed to his works, called, Hall's hard Measure: and from this we shall extract the most material circumstances.
The insolence of some churchmen, and the superiority they assumed in the civil government, during the distractions of Charles I. provoked the House of Commons to take some measures to prevent their growing power, which that pious monarch was too much disposed to favour. In consequence of this, the leading members of the opposition petitioned the King to remove the bishops from their seats in Parliament, and degrade them to the station of Commons, which was warmly opposed by the high church lords, and the bishops themselves, who protested against whatever steps were taken during their restraint from Parliament, as illegal, upon this principle, that as they were part of the legislature, no law could pass during their absence, at least if that absence was produced by violence, which Clarendon has fully represented.
The prejudice against the episcopal government gaining ground, petitions to remove the bishops were poured in from all parts of the kingdom, and as the earl of Strafford was then so obnoxious to the popular resentment, his cause and that of the bishops was reckoned by the vulgar, synonimous, and both felt the resentment of an enraged populace. To such a fury were the common people wrought up, that they came in bodies, to the two Houses of Parliament, to crave justice, both against the earl of Strafford, and the archbishop of Canterbury, and, in short, the whole bench of spiritual Peers; the mob besieged the two Houses, and threatened vengeance upon the bishops, whenever they came out. This fury excited some motion to be made in the House of Peers, to prevent such tumults for the future, which were sent down to the House of Commons. The bishops, for their safety, were obliged to continue in the Parliament House the greatest part of the night, and at last made their escape by bye-ways and stratagems. They were then convinced that it was no longer safe for them to attend the Parliament, 'till some measures were taken to repress the insolence of the mob, and in consequence of this, they met at the house of the archbishop of York, and drew up a protest, against whatever steps should be taken during their absence, occasioned by violence. This protest, the bishops intended should first be given to the Secretary of State, and by him to the King, and that his Majesty should cause it to be read in the House of Peers; but in place of this, the bishops were accused of high treason, brought before the bar of the House of Peers, and sent to the Tower. During their confinement, their enemies in the House of Commons took occasion to bring in a bill for taking away the votes of bishops in the House of Peers: in this bill lord Falkland concurred, and it was supported by Mr. Hambden and Mr. Pym, the oracles of the House of Commons, but met with great opposition from Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, who was a friend to the church, and could not bear to see their liberties infringed.
The bishops petitioned to have council assigned them, in which they were indulged, in order to answer to the charge of high treason. A day was appointed, the bishops were brought to the bar, but nothing was effected; the House of Commons at last finding that there could be no proof of high treason, dropt that charge, and were content to libel them for a misdemeanor, in which they likewise but ill succeeded, for the bishops were admitted to bail, and no prosecution was carried on against them, even for a misdemeanor.
Being now at liberty, the greatest part of them retired to their dioceses, 'till the storm which had threatened them should subside. Bishop Hall repaired to Norwich, where he met, from the disaffected party, a very cold reception; he continued preaching however in his cathedral at Norwich, 'till the order of sequestration came down, when he was desired to remove from his palace, while the sequestrators seized upon all his estate, both real and personal, and appraized all the goods which were in the palace. The bishop relates the following instance of oppression which was inflicted on him; "One morning (says his lordship) before my servants were up, there came to my gates one Wright, a London trooper, attended with others requiring entrance, threatening if they were not admitted, to break open the gates, whom, I found at first sight, struggling with one of my servants for a pistol which he had in his hand; I demanded his business at that unseasonable time; he told me he came to search for arms and ammunition, of which I must be disarmed; I told him I had only two muskets in the house, and no other military provision; he not resting upon my word, searched round about the house, looked into the chests and trunks, examined the vessels in the cellar; finding no other warlike furniture, he asked me what horses I had, for his commission was to take them also; I told him how poorly I was stored, and that my age would not allow me to travel on foot; in conclusion, he took one horse away."
The committee of sequestration soon after proceeded to strip him of all the revenue belonging to his see, and as he refused to take the covenant, the magistrates of the city of Norwich, who were no friends to episcopal jurisdiction, cited him before them, for giving ordination unwarrantably, as they termed it: to this extraordinary summons the bishop answered, that he would not betray the dignity of his station by his personal appearance, to answer any complaints before the Lord Mayor, for as he was a Peer of the realm, no magistrate whatever had a right to take cognizance of his conduct, and that he was only accountable to the House of Lords, of which he was one. The bishop proceeds to enumerate the various insults he received from the enraged populace; sometimes they searched his house for malignants, at other times they threatened violence to his person; nor did their resentment terminate here; they exercised their fury in the cathedral, tore down the altar, broke the organ in pieces, and committed a kind of sacrilegious devastation in the church; they burnt the service books in the market-place, filled the cathedral with musketeers, who behaved in it with as much indecency, as if it had been an alehouse; they forced the bishop out of his palace, and employed that in the same manner. These are the most material hardships which, according to the bishop's own account, happened to him, which he seems to have born with patience and fortitude, and may serve to shew the violence of party rage, and that religion is often made a pretence for committing the most outrageous insolence, and horrid cruelty. It has been already observed, that Hall seems to have been of an enthusiastic turn of mind, which seldom consists with any brilliance of genius; and in this case it holds true, for in his sermons extant, there is an imbecility, which can flow from no other cause than want of parts. In poetry however he seems to have greater power, which will appear when we consider him in that light.
It cannot positively be determined on what year bishop Hall died; he published that work of his called Hard Measure, in the year 1647, at which time he was seventy-three years of age, and in all probability did not long survive it.
His ecclesiastical works are,
A Sermon, preached before King James at Hampton-Court, 1624.
Christian Liberty, set forth in a Sermon at Whitehall, 1628.
Divine Light and Reflections, in a Sermon at Whitehall, 1640.
A Sermon, preached at the Cathedral of Exeter, upon the Pacification between the two Kingdoms, 1611.
The Mischief of Faction, and the Remedy of it, a Sermon, at Whitehall on the second Sunday in Lent, 1641.
A Sermon, preached at the Tower, 1641.
A Sermon, preached on Whitsunday in Norwich, printed 1644.
A Sermon, preached on Whitsunday at Higham, printed 1652.
A Sermon, preached on Easter day at Higham, 1648.
The Mourner in Sion.
A Sermon, preached at Higham, printed 1655.
The Women's Veil, or a discourse concerning the Necessity or Expedience of the close Covering the Heads of Women.
Holy Decency in the Worship of God.
Good Security, a discourse of the Christian's Assurance.
A Plain and Familiar Explication of Christ's Presence, in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
A Letter for the Observation of the Feast of Christ's Nativity.
A Letter to Mr. William Struthers, one of the Preachers at Edinburgh.
Epistola D. Baltasari Willio. S.T.D.
Epistola D. Lud. Crocio. S.T.D.
Reverendissimo Marco Antonio de Loin. Archiep. Spalatensi.
Epistola decessus sui ad Romam dissuasiva.
A Modest Offer.
Certain Irrefragable Propositions, worthy of serious Consideration.
The Way of Peace in the Five Busy Articles, commonly known by the name of Arminius.
A Letter concerning the Fall Away from Grace.
A Letter concerning Religion.
A Letter concerning the frequent Injection of Temptations.
A Consolatory Letter to one under Censure.
A Short answer to the Nine Arguments which are brought against the Bishops sitting in Parliament.
For Episcopacy and Liturgy.
A Speech in Parliament.
A Speech in Parliament, in Defence of the Canons made in Convocation.
A Speech in Parliament, concerning the Power of bishops in secular things.
The Anthems for the Cathedral of Exeter.
All these are printed in 4to, and were published 1660. There are also other Works of this author. An Edition of the whole has been printed in three Vols. folio.
Besides these works, bishop Hall is author of Satires in Six Books, lately reprinted under the title of Virgidemiarum, of which we cannot give a better account than in the words of the ingenious authors of the Monthly Review, by which bishop Hall's genius for that kind of poetical writing will fully appear.
He published these Satires in the twenty third year of his age, and was, as he himself asserts in the Prologue, the first satirist in the English language.
I first adventure, follow me who list,
And be the second English satyrist.
And, if we consider the difficulty of introducing so nice a poem as satire into a nation, we must allow it required the assistance of no common and ordinary genius. The Italians had their Ariosto, and the French their Regnier, who might have served him as models for imitation; but he copies after the ancients, and chiefly Juvenal and Persius; though he wants not many strokes of elegance and delicacy, which shew him perfectly acquainted with the manner of Horace. Among the several discouragements which attended his attempt in that kind, he mentions one peculiar to the language and nature of the English versification, which would appear in the translation of one of Persius's Satires: The difficulty and dissonance whereof, says he, shall make good my assertion; besides the plain experience thereof in the Satires of Ariosto; save which, and one base French satire, I could never attain the view of any for my direction. Yet we may pay him almost the same compliment which was given of old to Homer and Archilochus: for the improvements which have been made by succeeding poets bear no manner of proportion to the distance of time between him and them. The verses of bishop Hall are in general extremely musical and flowing, and are greatly, preferable to Dr. Donne's, as being of a much smoother cadence; neither shall we find him deficient, if compared with his successor, in point of thought and wit; but he exceeds him with respect to his characters, which are more numerous, and wrought up with greater art and strength of colouring. Many of his lines would do honour to the most ingenious of our modern poets; and some of them have thought it worth their labour to imitate him, especially Mr. Oldham. Bishop Hall was not only our first satyrist, but was the first who brought epistolary writing to the view of the public; which was common in that age to other parts of Europe, but not practised in England, till he published his own epistles. It may be proper to take notice, that the Virgidemiarum are not printed with his other writings, and that an account of them is omitted by him, through his extreme modesty, in the Specialities of his Life, prefixed to the third volume of his works in folio.
The author's postscript to his satires is prefixed by the editor in the room of a preface, and without any apparent impropriety. It is not without some signatures of the bishop's good sense and taste; and, making a just allowance for the use of a few obsolete terms, and the puerile custom of that age in making affected repetitions and reiterations of the same word within the compass of a period, it would read like no bad prose at present. He had undoubtedly an excellent ear, and we must conclude he must have succeeded considerably in erotic or pastoral poetry, from the following stanza's, in his Defiance to Envy, which may be considered as an exordium to his poetical writings.
Witnesse, ye muses, how I wilful sung
These heady rhimes, withouten second care;
And wish'd them worse my guilty thoughts among;
The ruder satire should go ragg'd and bare,
And shew his rougher and his hairy hide,
Tho' mine be smooth, and deck'd in carelesse pride.
Would we but breathe within a wax-bound quill,
Pan's seven-fold pipe, same plaintive pastoral;
To teach each hollow grove, and shrubby hill,
Each murmuring brook, each solitary vale
To sound our love, and to our song accord,
Wearying Echo with one changelesse word.
Or list us make two striving shepherds sing,
With costly wagers for the victory,
Under Menalcas judge; while one doth bring
A carven bowl well wrought of beechen tree,
Praising it by the story; or the frame,
Or want of use, or skilful maker's name.
Another layeth a well-marked lamb,
Or spotted kid, or some more forward steere,
And from the paile doth praise their fertile dam;
So do they strive in doubt, in hope, in feare,
Awaiting for their trusty empire's doome,
Faulted as false by him that's overcome.
Whether so me list my lovely thought to sing,
Come dance ye nimble Dryads by my side,
Ye gentle wood-nymphs come; and with you bring
The willing fawns that mought their music guide.
Come nymphs and fawns, that haunts those shady groves,
While I report my fortunes or my loves.
The first three books of satires are termed by the author Toothless satires, and the three last Biting satires. He has an animated idea of good poetry, and a just contempt of poetasters in the different species of it. He says of himself, in the first satire.
Nor can I crouch, and writhe my fawning tayle,
To some great Patron for my best avayle.
Such hunger-starven trencher-poetrie,
Or let it never live, or timely die.
He frequently avows his admiration of Spenser whose cotemporary he was. His first book, consisting of nine satires, appears in a manner entirely levelled at low and abject poetasters. Several satires of the second book reprehend the contempt of the rich, for men of science and genius. We shall transcribe the sixth, being short, and void of all obscurity.
A gentle squire would gladly entertaine
Into his house some trencher-chaplaine;
Some willing man that might instruct his some,
And that would stand to good conditions.
First, that he lie upon the truckle-bed,
While his young maister lieth o'er his head.
Second, that he do on no default,
Ever presume to sit above the salt,
Third, that he never change his trencher twise.
Fourth, that he use all common courtesies;
Sit bare at meales, and one halfe raise and wait.
Last, that he never his young maister beat,
But he anvil ask his mother to define,
How manie jerkes she would his breech should line.
All these observed, he could contented bee,
To give five markes and winter liverie.
The seventh and last of this book is a very just and humorous satire against judicial astrology, which was probably in as high credit then, as witchcraft was in the succeeding reign. The first satire of the third book is a strong contrast of the temperance and simplicity of former age, with the luxury and effeminacy of his own times, which a reflecting reader wouId be apt to think no better than the present. We find the good bishop supposes our ancestors as poorly fed as Virgil's and Horace's rustics. He says, with sufficient energy,
Thy grandsire's words favour'd of thrifty leekes,
Or manly garlicke; but thy furnace reekes
Hot steams of wine and can a-loose descrie
The drunken draughts of sweet autumnitie.
The second is a short satire on erecting stately monuments to worthless men. The following advice is nobly moral, the subsequent sarcasm just and well expressed.
Thy monument make thou thy living deeds;
No other tomb than that true virtue needs.
What! had he nought whereby he might be knowne
But costly pilements of some curious stone?
The matter nature's, and the workman's frame;
His purse's cost: where then is Osmond's name?
Deserv'dst thou ill? well were thy name and thee,
Wert thou inditched in great secrecie.
The third gives an account of a citizen's feast, to which he was invited, as he says, "With hollow words, and overly request" and whom he disappointed by accepting his invitation at once, and not Maydening it; no insignificant term as he applies it: for, as he says,
Who looks for double biddings to a feast,
May dine at home for an importune guest.
After a sumptuous bill of fare, our author compares the great plenty of it to our present notion of a miser's feast — saying,
Come there no more; for so meant all that cost:
Never hence take me for thy second host.
The fourth is levelled at ostentation in devotion, or in dress. The fifth represents the last plight of a courtier, whose Perewinke, as he terms it, the wind had blown off by unbonnetting in a salute, and exposed his waxen crown or scalp. 'Tis probable this might be about the time of their introduction into dress here. The sixth, which is a fragment, contains a hyperbolical relation of a thirsty soul, called Gullion, who drunk Acheron dry in his passage over it, and grounded Charon's boat, but floated it again, by as liberal a stream of urine. It concludes with the following sarcastical, yet wholesome irony.
Drinke on drie soul; and pledge Sir Gullion:
Drinke to all healths, but drink not to thine owne.
The seventh and last is a humorous description of a famished beau, who had dined only with duke Humfrey, and who was strangely adorned with exotic dress.
To these three satires he adds the following conclusion.
Thus have I writ, in smoother cedar tree,
So gentle Satires, penn'd so easily.
Henceforth I write in crabbed oak-tree rynde,
Search they that mean the secret meaning find.
Hold out ye guilty and ye galled hides,
And meet my far-fetch'd stripes with waiting sides.
In his biting satires he breathes still more of the spirit and stile of Juvenal, his third of this book being an imitation of that satirist's eighth, on Family-madness and Pride of Descent; the beginning of which is not translated amiss by our author. The principal object of his fourth satire, Gallio, would correspond with a modern Fribble, but that he supposes him capable of hunting and hawking, which are exercises rather too coarse and indelicate for ours: this may intimate perhaps, that the reign of the great Elizabeth had no character quite so unmanly as our age. In advising him to wed, however, we have no bad portrait of the Petit Maitre.
Hye thee, and give the world yet one dwarfe more,
Such as it got when thou thy selfe was bore.
His fifth satire contrasts the extremes of Prodigality and Avarice; and by a few initials, which are skabbarded, it looks as if he had some individuals in view; though he has disclaimed such an intention in his postscript (now the preface) p. 6. lin. 25, .&c. His sixth sets out very much like the first satire of Horace's first book, on the Dissatisfaction and Caprice of mankind — Qui fit Mecaenas; and, after a just and lively description of our different pursuits in life, he concludes with the following preference of a college one, which, we find in the Specialities of his life, he was greatly devoted his youth. The lines, which are far from inelegant, seem indeed to come from his heart, and make him appear as an exception to that too general human discontent, which was the subject of this satire.
'Mongst all these stirs of discontented strife,
Oh let me lend an academick life;
To know much, and to think we nothing know;
Nothing to have, yet think we have enowe;
In skill to want, and wanting seek for more;
In weele nor want, nor wish for greater store,
Envy, ye monarchs, with your proud excesse,
At our low sayle, and our high happinesse.
The last satire of this book is a severe one on the clergy of the church of home. He terms it POMH PYMH, by which we suppose he intended to brand Rome, as the Sink of Superstition. He observes, if Juvenal, whom he calls Aquine's carping spright, were now alive, among other surprizing alterations at Rome,
—that he most would gaze and wonder at,
Is th' horned mitre, and the bloody hat,
The crooked staffe, their coule's strange form and store,
Save that he saw the same in hell before.
The first satire of the fifth book is levelled at Racking Landlords. The following lines are a strong example of the taste of those times for the Punn and Paronomasia.
While freezing Matho, that for one lean fee
Won't term each term the term of Hillary,
May now, instead of those his simple fees,
Get the fee-simples of faire manneries.
The second satire lashes the incongruity of stately buildings and want of hospitality, and naturally reminds us of a pleasant epigram of Martial's on the same occasion, where after describing the magnificence of a villa, he concludes however, there is no room either to sup or lodge in it. It ends with a transition on the contumely with which the parasites are treated at the tables of the great; being a pretty close imitation of Juvenal on the same subject. This satire has also a few skabbarded initials.
In his third, titled, [Greek characters], where he reprehends Plato's notion of a political community of all things, are the following lines:
Plato is dead, and dead is his device,
Which some thought witty, none thought ever wise:
Yet certes Macha is a Platonist
To all, they say, save whoso do not list:
Because her husband, a far traffick man,
Is a profess'd Peripatician.
His last book and satire, for it consists but of one, is a humorous ironical recantation of his former satires; as the author pretends there can be no just one in such perfect times as his own. The latter part of it alludes to different passages in Juvenal; and he particularly reflects on some poetaster he calls Labeo whom he had repeatedly lash'd before; and who was not improbably some cotemporary scribler.
Upon the whole, these satires sufficiently evince both the learning and ingenuity of their author. The sense has generally such a sufficient pause, and will admit of such a punctuation at the close of the second line, and the verse is very often as harmonious too, as if it was calculated for a modern ear: tho' the great number of obsolete words retained would incline us to think the editors had not procured any very extraordinary alteration of the original edition, which we have never seen. The present one is neatly printed; and, if it should occasion another, we cannot think but a short glossary at the end of it, or explanations at the bottom of the pages, where the most uncouth and antiquated terms occur, would justly increase the value of it, by adding considerably to the perspicuity of this writer; who, in other respects, seems to have been a learned divine, a conscientious christian, a lover of peace, and well endued with patience; for the exercise of which virtue, the confusions at the latter end of his life, about the time of the death of Charles I. furnished him with frequent opportunities, the account of his own hard measures being dated in May 1647. We have met with no other poetical writings of the bishop's, except three anthems, composed for the use of his cathedral-church and indeed, it seems as if his continual occupation after his youth, and his troubles in age, were sufficient to suppress any future propensity to satirical poetry: which we may infer from the conclusion of the first satire of his fourth book.
While now my rhimes relish of the ferule still,
Some nose-wise pedant faith; whose deep-seen skill
Hath three times construed either Flaccus o'er,
And thrice rehears'd them in his trivial store.
So let them tax me for my hot blood's rage,
Rather than say I doated in my age.