It is vexatious to later Inquirers such as ourselves to discover how perfunctorily the Biography of the Worthies of our Country has been written, and how much has been allowed to perish from sheer neglect. For example, in pursuing our researches for a Memoir of GERVASE MARKHAM, we have found in what really is the best of our general biographic authorities, viz. ALEXANDER CHALMERS' edition of the General Biographical Dictionary (1815), this summary of a scanty notice: "The time of his birth, death, and all other particulars regarding him are utterly unknown": whereas at the very time in which this was written the MARKHAMS were a prominent family, and one gifted representative at least held family-papers that would (even then) have yielded very considerable information, and doubtless have been willingly communicated on application. But such a thing as making local and personal investigations never seems to have occurred to these compilers, and their successors have too often followed suit. Well-nigh every life in our Fuller Worthies' Library has called for such a statement and complaint.
It is well that both in our own Country and in the United States of America, increasing attention is being given to utilizing the public and private Manuscript-stores of national and family history. Many of the books that have resulted are printed only, not published: but all, as a rule, are placed in the great Public Libraries, and thus are accessible to the conscientious Worker. The MARKHAMS have a singularly careful and valuable Family-history in the "History of the MARKHAM Family, By the REV. DAVID FREDERICK MARKHAM" (London, 1854, 8vo: a very limited private impression): and therein is told such a story as few Families have surpassed, carrying within it names and achievements of note in the three spheres of the Law, Literature, and the Church: while at this hour the lustre of the name is unpaled. Our researches have brought us into pleasant correspondence with Lieutenant-Colonel MARKHAM, whose soldierly esprit is gratified in counting back to our "Captain" Jervase Markham — to name no more — and CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM Esq, the Historian of the War of ABYSSINIA, the Biographer of FAIRFAX, and in connection with the introduction of Chincona into INDIA, the doer of deeds of daring such as match with the heroes of the Elizabethan days as his chronicle of them does with the grand old folios of Voyage and Travel. There is apparently no liklihood of the name of MARKHAM dying out: and no fear of its whiteness being smirched by its present bearers, — descendents from Dr. William Markham, Archbishop of York, who died in 1807 in his eighty-ninth year and sleeps well in Westminster.
Leaving the Reader to consult the volume named — a copy being in the British Museum — where the most pains-taking and elaborate genealogies are given: and also inviting attention to an interesting supplement to it, called "Entries in an Old -Pocket Book, of A.D., 1680, belonging to Sir Robert Markham, Baronet, of Sedgebrook, county Lincoln: from additional MSS., British Museum, 10, 621," (privately printed) by which it seems to us made good that Judge MARKHAM, not Judge Gascoigne, was the fearless asserter of the supremacy of Law in ordering the Prince of Wales to prison — we have simply — after a brief retrospect — to present the few facts that survive concerning our Worthy — adding thereto from MSS. unknown to the Family, and hence not used in their Family-History.
Like many of our English families, the MARKHAMS took their name from their lands in WEST and EAST MARKHAM, which are two contiguous parishes in the county of NOTTINGHAM, and southern division of the hundred of BASSETLAW. They had been seated there from time immemorial or at least un-memorialed, and were says CAMDEN in his Britannia, "very famous heretofore, both for antiquity and valor." The MARKHAMS trace their lineage to a date anterior to the Norman Conquest, and subsequent to Edward the Confessor, the line is unbroken. WEST MARKHAM became the fee of ROGER DE BUSLI, a chieftain of high esteem with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, who in addition to this, conferred upon him no less than thirty-nine manors in the county of NOTTINGHAM. Under this Roger, the manor of WEST MARKHAM was held by CLARON or ARON, who is mentioned in Domesday Book, as occupying land there, and Roger — who had a son FULC — held land similarly in East Markham, and so they were styled "de Marcham" — the ancient mode of spelling the name. Fulc's son became Sin ALEXANDER DE MARCHAM, Lord of Marcham. He was born about the year A.D. 1130, and is the first man of mark in the Family, having distinguished himself in the turbulent wars of STEPHEN'S reign. I pass as irrelevant here, the numerous marriages and intermarriages and the many remaining lapidary and other family-memorials — resisting the temptation of lingering over the fine love-story and old-fashioned love-verse of SIR JOHN HARINGTON and "sweete Isabella Markham" and their subsequent marriage under the auspices of the PRINCESS ELIZABETH, not long before her committal to the Tower, in 1554, — and come to ROBERT MARKHAM, born at Sireston, (Notts), who succeeded his grandfather SIR JOHN MARKHAM in the family-estates, and like him was a "valiant consumer of his paternal inheritance." He was much trusted by QUEEN ELIZABETH, and was in constant attendance upon her. In the 13th year of the great Queen, he was knight of the Shire for the county of Nottingham, and High Sheriff in the same year. In the twenty-fifth year of the same reign, he again served the office of High. Sheriff, and was elected once more, in the thirty-first of Elizabeth, as Knight of the shire for the same county. His name is introduced in the famous distich of the Queen, in which she celebrated her four Nottinghamshire knights.
Gervase the gentle, Stanhope the stout,
MARKHAM THE LION, and Sutton the lout.
SIR ROBERT MARKHAM'S main family-residence latterly, was COTHAM: and hence he is known as MARKHAM OF COTHAM. He was twice married, first, to MARY, daughter of SIR FRANCIS LEEKE, and secondly, to JANE, daughter of William. Burnell, — by the latter having only one son ROGER, who died without issue. He himself died in 1606. By his first wife he had five sons, first, ROBERT, who succeeded him, second, FRANCIS, third, GERVASE, fourth, JOHN, fifth, GODFREY: and three daughters. Of the "fair ladyes" GERTRUDE alone need be noticed, as having become the wife of SIR THOMAS SADLEIR, of STANDEN COURT in Hertfordshire. Their son Ralph is thus mentioned by ISAAC WALTON, through VENATOR: "Tomorrow morning we shall meete a pack of other dogs of noble Mr. Sadleir, upon Amwell Hill, who will be there so early that they mean to prevent [=anticipate] the sun rising."
Of the other sons, full details are given in the Family-History. The third, GERVASE, is our present Worthy. It is apparent then, that he was well-born. His cradle was rocked in a lordly mansion. Time's "effacing fingers" have more than defaced it: but evidence remains of its splendor. By the kindness of the Family I am able to present in our (large paper) as vignette at head of this Memorial, the "Site of the House at COTHAM" — great trees enriched by the ancient dust, growing thereon, and where as GOLDSMITH sings, are
—seats beneath the shade
For talking age, and whispering lovers made.
Gervase — sometimes written Jervais, Jervis, and simply I and J — was born "about the year 1566": and in the quaint account given by his elder brother FRANCIS, we got insight into the manner of education of the cadets of good families in England at the time. Here is a short portion: "FRANCIS Markham, second son of Robert Markham. of Cotham, borne 7 Eliz. [1564-5] on Wednesday at afternoon between ten and eleven, July 25. First brought up at my lord of Pembroke's, whose wife was Catherine, daughter of ye earl of Shrewsbury, whose mother and his were cousin germans. Brought up after 10 years with BILSON, schoolmaster of Winchester and after bishop there. After, I was put to Adrianus de Saraina, at Southampton, a schoolmaster, who going to his country, the Lowe Countries, my lord put me to one Malin, a lowe fellowe, schoolmaster at Paules. Then, 1582, my lord put me to Trinity College in Cambridge, to my tutor Dr. Hammond, and allowed me forty marks per annum. My tutor departing, left me at Dr. Gray's. I contemned him, and went to the warrs. Whereat my lord was angry and cut off my pension. So lived I in disgrace, till I submitted myself to my father in 1586:" then follows a strangely chequered career. We cannot go far astray in assuming that the younger brother followed very much the same course. Indeed it is found that foreign tongues were at his tongue's end and that he became a soldier of Fortune in the European battle-ground of the Low Countries, and later followed Essex into Ireland, serving under his command, in company with his brothers FRANCIS and GODFREY, and later still, he took a prominent and heroic part as a Captain under CHARLES I. But however mixed up with the military services and troubles of a troublous period — earlier and later — he must have lived much in the Country and observed closely the entire range of Agriculture and Arboriculture or Husbandry; while his numerous and strangely varying and rapidly-issued books, attest large literary leisure. The Bibliographical authorities — as Hazlitt — furnish ample information on these technical treatises. This is not the place for recording or dwelling on them. We content ourselves with shortened titles. "The English Husbandman," "The Country Farm," "Cheap and Good Husbandry," "A Farewell to Husbandry," "The Way to get Wealth," "The Whole Art of Husbandry," "The Enrichment of the Weald of Kent," "The English Housewife," "The Pleasure of Princes, containing a Discourse on the Arte of fishing with the Angle, and of breeding the Fightinge Cock," "A Health to the gentlemanly profession of Serving-men or the servingman's comfort Country Contentments," "Hunger's Prevention, or the Whole Art of Fowling, by Water and Land," "The Art of Archerie," "The Perfect Horseman," "The Soldier's Accidence or an Introduction to Military Discipline," "The Soldier's Exercise," and "Honour in his Perfection or a Treatise in Commendation of the Virtues of several Noblemen," "The Gentleman's Academy; or the Book of St. Alban's by Juliana Berners, now reduced unto a a better methode." Some of these books passed through an extraordinary number of editions, and each was usually in advance of the former. Some of the earlier indeed are first-forms of the fuller treatises later: others are portions of what were subsequently made complete treatises. Such was his reputation that the Booksellers to guard their interest in his writings obtained the following singular agreement from him: "Mem. That I, Gervase Markham of London, Gent, do promise hereafter never to write any more book or books to be printed of the diseases or cures of any cattle, horse, ox, or cow, sheepe, swine, or goates. In witnesse whereof I have hereunto set my hand the 24th daie of July, 1617. Gervase Markham." Throughout we have been struck with the quaintly-introduced piety of many of the counsels. The "Gardener" in the planting of his trees and flowers "the Horseman" and "Farrier" in their "care" of the horse," the "House-wife" in home-arrangements, the "Archer" in his choice of bow and arrows, the Labourer in the lowliest fieldwork, is charged to "go about" all with prayer and composedness of spirit. In his rural books too, there are incidental word-paintings of scenery, utterances of the joys and enjoyments of the country, that breathe of the woodland and which so-to-say alternately flutter and scent the page, with out-of-door freshnesses and fragrances.
Without tarrying longer on these old treatises, with their graphic, vigorous wood-cuts — now rarely to be met with and eagerly snatched up whensoever they occur — we have to do here mainly with his poetical productions. These were very much "asides," and hence are semi-anonymous: our two reprints for example of "The Teares of the Beloved or Lamentation of St. John concerning the Death and Passion of Christ Jesus our Saviour" (1600) and "Marie Magdalene's Lamentations for the Loss of her Master Jesus" (1601) having in the former his initials I. M. only, and in the latter not even his initials.
A hitherto unpublished letter which we have unearthed with others from the Lambeth Shrewsbury papers (709, p. 65) puts somewhat strongly and roughly his "intermeddling" with Verse and his verdict upon himself as a Poet, albeit the circumstances out of which the letter came must modify our interpretation of the vehement words:
The reverence I beare to age, and my love to Modestye shall ever houlde me with in those gentyle limitts well beinge brake by any passion of Furye, doth in my conceyt disgrace both age and modestye.
"Yow have chargd me in a letter to my father that I have bene an Instigator of those unkyndnesses which have past betwene yow; to which I doe aunswere, it is altogeyther untrue, for I did ever and doe styll see that these civille dissentions, and unhappie disunions in our owne bloods will if yow will contynewe theyme be the utter ruine of both your estimations, whylst those that are the publique enemyes of our name (and who of my soule have bene the first stirrers of this indignation) doe as in a Theater sytt and laughe at our ech others devowringe. To this instigation yow ade me the tyfle of a poetycall lyinge knave, to which I thus aunswere.
"For my love to poesye if it be an error, I confes my selfe faultye, and have with as greate hartynes as ever I greived for any sinne commytted gaynst the hyest, mourned for myne howers mispent in that feather-light studye, yet can I name many noble personages who with greater desyer, and more fervencie have contynued and boasted in the humor, which thoughe in others it be excellent, in my selfe I loathe and utterlye abhorr it; but for 'lyinge knave,' with him dwell it which unjustlye gave it me, and doe but name hym that will in equal place so name me, and I will eyther give my soule to god or thrust the lyinge knave into hys bossome. Sir imagin me as yow wryte me to be trulye my father's sonne, so have I trulye a feelinge of my father's indignities which agaynst my mother's sonne I will mayntayne to be false and contrarye, taske me when you will, for in that I respect no creature; And so I comytt yow to god, assuringe yow hereafter I will prone no knave but your nephew.
The dedication of his book on "Horses" to "the right worshipful and his singular good father Robert Markham of Cotham in the county of Nottingham, esquire," harmonizes with this vindication as "his father's sonne" in the letter.
We have given this passionate Letter in extenso for two reasons, (1) Because it seems to be the only specimen of his that has come down to us: (2) Because of its curious disavowal of Poetry. It may be as well before passing to explain that the quarrel and consequent challenge were between SIR JOHN MARKHAM of Ollerton and SIR ROBERT MARKHAM of Cotham. We are enabled to supply the lack of the Family-History by printing (again for the first time) the extraordinary Letter, to part of which our Gervase wrote as above. It also is preserved at Lambeth (708, p. 45): the close-binding of the volume obliterating here and elsewhere a few words. We adhere literally to the original: and certes it is a suggestive glimpse that it gives us into the manners of England's gentry at the period. Nor will the Shakespearean reader fail to mark the mention of the "Mermaid in Bred Street."
"Your Worships lettre yu sent mee the 12 of June, dated from Winkborne hath not hitherto been aunswered by me, and for that I would be glad better to informe you of your self then yet ye know your self, I doe take this paines for your worships sake. Now to the matter. Ffirst your great conceipted Worship compareth me to Tosse, a man better knowne to mee then to your self, for when the Lord Marques carried the order of the garter to Henry the ffrench kinge, then I did waite of Henry, Earle of Rutland, al which tyme the forsaid Tosse waited of Edward Horsex and ffrancis, both of them my good friends, and diverse tymes pleasured mee with his service, and from that day to his deathe used me ever kindlie when he was himself, but sometimes when he was drunke, then he would waile as your worship will doe when ye are in such like case, as for example at the Fun'all at Sheffield one night at supper in the great chamber, Mr. Carter and your self maintained great and lowde argument, one of you against t' other: now said my Lord, marke Robert Markham for he is drunke, and that maketh him so lowde, therfore I am to advise you to drinke smaller drinke and then I hope I shall not be soe much troubled with your Worships drunken lyinge railinge. A better person then yourself shall justyfy this whensoever you list to bringe it in question.
"Also touchinge Charles Chester, a man better knowne to me than your Worship, for he and I this Michoemas tearme last, mett twice or thrice a weeke at the Mermaid, in Bred St., wheare my Lord Compton, Mr. Pope, Mr. Catesby, my brother Sheldon his sonne, with divers others of good account; and then I founde kindness at his hands, whearby I judge him of better and more gratefull nature then your Worship, so as I thanke God you are not able to compare me to soe arrand an ungrateful knave as your self. If you call that to remembrance I sent my servant Stuffin to yow, twice or thrice when you weare in the kinges Bench to see you and to tell you that I would be glad to come to visitt yow, to shew you such poore pleasure as I could, the which Message by your aunswere to him you seemed to take kindlie but you did not desire my companie theare, but when you should come into your countrey you would be glad see me, both in your oune house and mine: now what befell in this meantyme that made this great alteracon, is better knowne to you than to me. But as I gesse it proceeded from your ungratefull lyinge sonne Robert, and also the instigation of your poeticall and lyinge knave Gervas. Thus I find these two shew themselves rightly your sonnes, presuminge of your accustomed boastinge of your bastardlie descent, the which descent for feare you should forgett it I have sent you hearewith under the Harrolds hand, even of charitie to entreat you to know your self.
"Thoughe your worship is most ungratfull yet I would have you remember that by my meanes before your acquaintance with that honorable knight Sir Ralph Sadler, I procured the particon of your ffences at Cotham, which my good father could never doe. Also that favor yow founde in the Starr Chamber against Mr. Jhon Molyneux was likewise by my meanes. To conclude, a ream of paper cannot contain the ffriendships of my parte and the ingratitude of yours. You and I have been Justices of peace, thereby we know the manner of the Warrants that are to be graunted in that behalf, and in trew faith notwithstandinge, your great threates, I will not feare that I am affraid of your person, for all the lands you have, notwithstandinge your priveledge and my delaye, for I thinke my self verie well able to beate you, if you will attempt anie violence against me in your owne person. Robbin hath not deserved at your hand the touch you give him in your letter: he diverse tymes ventured his liffe for you both in feilde and towne.
"You had best lett that lyinge bragge cease to say you are the best of my howse, for Griffin may justly reprove you in that, and soe it is like he will. The lye you made in your first letter to the younge Countess touchinge ye Stanhops as ... that letter you termed them: alas the hearinge of you and by common report knowinge you as they doe, they make a mockerie, at your reports and writings. If it please you to aske Mr. Laurence Wright of it, I thinke he will confidentlie and justlie reprove you, whose words creditt and state is better then yours (whose sonne the more you shame, he beginninge with little, and you possessing in effect the substance of my father's livinge) is like to overtop yours in creditt, estimacon and revenew, is more my greiffe for his wives sake, whose vertews doe trewlie witnes her desir to be as that is from an honest worshipfull line. And so I cease to trouble my self to advise you whose graltsnesse will give place to no good Counsell. ffrom Ollerton the 4 of February 1600. by me more your frend then you hever deserved.
There were other family-quarrels of the same, outrageous sort. The Markham Family-History already mentioned repeatedly, gives details of the parties and a somewhat imperfect and inaccurate "copy" (from the Lansdowne MSS.) of Sir John Markham's "railing letter," as it is headed. We present only (also for the first time) the old verse-libels, in all their rage and oddity of phrase:
Lambeth MSS. 701, p. 67.
These are the verses well weere written the day after Sir Thomas Stanhop's Cooche Lethers was cutt at Newark and dispersed abroade in the streetes, being twentie of them lapped upp like letters with this direction,
To Mr. John Markham one of the yonger sonnes of Mr. Robert Markham of Cotham.
thou crooke backte scabted scurvie Squyer,
thou plaiest the knave for flatterie and hyer:
thou shalte have to portion, by this birth right,
the Gallowes most fitt for so scurvie a wight.
And for the Cooche cutting and libells sett upp
Thou arte a Calf and a sheepes face, no Wiser than a tupp,
A scurvie knave thou arte and so thou wilte dye
Farewell scabbed crooke back, not worthie a flye.
These following Mr. John Markham wrott in aunswere to these above:
Yf slaunderous woordes may stande for trew reportes
and whooremongers the honestest defame,
Yf incest be accompted but a sporte
and offered rape to sonnes wief but a game;
Yf these be thus conceited by the knyght
of stanhops race who libelle'd on me,
I hope the world will weigh my case aright
And saye that lyes his usuall Customes be.
The "railing" letter follows: but as it is given in the Family-History need not be reprinted. Only it may be well to note that by mis-reading "Markham's" for "Machivael's" the meaning is there confused, and so with other mis-readings, albeit the Lambeth copy is far from an accurate one.
These MSS. have swept us away from our more immediate subject, and yet their fierce satiric, not to say libellous Verse, gives a link of connection. The MARKHAMS earlier and onward seem all to have had something of the Poet or Verse-Thinker and Writer about them. Perhaps the very strong (professed) "abhorring" of Poetry in Gervase's letter explains his anonymity, seeing the letter and "Teares of the Beloved" both belong to 1600, while the tacit announcement of "Marie Magdelene's Lamentations" in the short Epistle of the first, might cause him to deem even initials supererogatory. His words are definite enough: "I offer thee my harsh and untuned Muse, which being as my talent is, slender and simple, so accompt of the first part that I may not be discomforted in the second."
We must return upon our Worthy's poetical publications. In 1595 he published "The most honorable Tragedie of Sir Richarde Grinville, Knight." Its Italian motto — found elsewhere also — "Bramo assai, poco spero, nulla chieggio" gives point to Bishop HALL'S sarcastic hits in his Satires on the practice. "England's Parnassus" (1600) quotes with disproportionate abundance from this small tome, a tomb rather than a Memory-preserving monument to the gallant knight, it somewhat stammeringly celebrates. In 1596 appeared "The Poem of Poems or Sion's Muse. Contayning the divine Song of King Salomon, devided into eight Eclogues." It was reprinted the following year, and dedicated to "The sacred virgin, divine Mistress Elizabeth Sidney, sole daughter of the ever-admired Sir Philip Sidney." A copy of the former is preserved among the Grenville books of the British Museum: the latter is in the Bodleian. We have not been rewarded for blowing the dust from them. In 1597 he issued another work paraphrastically translated from the French of Madame Petau Maulette, called "Devoreux: or Vertue's Tears for the Losse of the most Christian King Henry, third of that name, King of Fraunce: and the untimely death of the most noble and heroicall gentleman Walter Devoreux, who was slain before Roan in France." In 1600 came the "Teares of the Beloved" — copies of which occur with slightly differing title-pages — and in 1601 its sequel "Marie Magdalene's Teares." Until we read in the Markham Family History that our Worthy was the author of the History that our second poem, — the statement resting upon the authority of HASLEWOOD — we had deemed its authorship unknown, and had intended reprinting it as of the too many anonymous productions of the period. But for reasons already given, we have now no hesitation in assigning it to GERVASE MARKHAM: and hence it will follow the other, and by its continuous pagination complete our small revival of his Verse. To 1607 belongs the following: "Rodomonth's Infernall, or the Divell conquered. Ariastos Conclusions. Of the Marriage of Rogero with Bradamonth his love, and the fell fought Battell betweene Rogero and Rodomonth the never-conquered Pagan. Written in French by Philip de Portes, and Paraphrastically translated by G[ervase] M[arkham]." RITSON in his "Bibliographia Poetica" has this Note on the quaint volume: "In the title of the [British] Museum copy, the name of Gervase Markham, is obliterated and that of "Robert Tofte, gentleman" inserted in its stead. R. T. [Robert Tofte] in his translation of Varchi, 1615, says, 'I read my Ariostos Satyres in English; and, in a postscript to the courteous reader, 'he speaks of having intended to insert the disastrous fall of three notable Roman gentlemen, overthrown through jealousy; but the same was (with Ariosto's Satyrs, translated by him out of Italian into English verse, and notes upon the same) printed without his consent or knowledge, in another man's name': probably Markham's. (The latter part of this note is by the ingenious Mr. Park." It is preposterous to accept a claim of this sort in the face of Markham's own title-page eight years before, and when he was still living to be named if TOFTE had any worth or warrant in his statement. The book is an empty one: but we can't withdraw the authorship from him with counter-proof so poor and indefinite.
In 1609 came forth "The famous Whore, or Noble Curtizan: conteining the lamentable complaint of Paulina, the famous Roman Curtizan, sometimes Mrs. unto the great Cardinall Hypolito, of Est. By Garvis Markham." The Author putting on the mask of the Printer thus speaks to the Reader: "Gentlemen, I have adventured to bring a whore into your company, but with no bad intent; but to give you honest recreation: not to hurt you in purse or body. Therefore you must thinke this is a famous, strange whore: for shoe seekes the hurt of no man. Wrong her not then, but give her kind welcome out of Italy." Besides these, wholly his own, our Worthy according to the custom of the period and onward, joined with LEWIS MACHIN in "The dumbe Knight, a pleasant Comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Majestie's Revels" (1608) and with WILLIAM SAMPSON in "The true Tragedy of Herod and Antipater: with the death of faire Marriam" (1622). An address "To the understanding Reader" of "The dumbe Knight" signed by MACHIN, speaks of the part-authorship but does not name MARKHAM. It is only a fair reprisal that in certain copies MARKHAM inserted his own name. Mr. Hazlitt's hasty remark (s.n.) that "he was rather an adept at this" has no real basis. "Herod and Antipater" seems to have escaped even his omniverous reading, as it appears under neither MARKHAM nor SAMPSON. The "Dumbe Knight" was reprinted by DODSLEY.
Such were the literary, and more particularly, the Verse productions of GERVASE MARKHAM, — in quantity alone noticeable. He must have held the pen of "a ready writer" and that as the instrument of a very rapid, sharp, vigilant, fecund, receptive intellect and capacious and resolute memory. His culture too must have been considerable. Besides the ancient languages, he was familiar with French, Italian, Spanish and probably Dutch. I fear that in his prose books he acted as what came to be known in later years as the Bookseller's "hack" or "drudge," rejecting no topic that offered and assured from his unexampled popularity that his name would "sell" anything.
Of the Facts of his Life, beyond its literary activities, scarcely anything more remains to be told. Only certain family outrages — one touched on by HUME in his "History of England" — and another which fills a goodly space in the old "Biographia Britannica" under HOLLES. The Family-History gives them in full, and thither and to the B. B. we refer the Reader who cares.
The Family-Biographer remarks that "in reading the account of this extraordinary outrage, (the Holles one) it should be remembered that it came chiefly from partizans of the house of Holles, and that if Markham's version of the story were given, it might assume for him a more favourable aspect." We suspect, to use a vulgar proverb, there were six of the one and half-a-dozen o' the other. The most stolid Conservatism can scarcely regret that such strifes as theirs are now an impossibility.
The HOLLES Narrative informs us that Gervase Markham lived to be "an old man." True, but not so old as the accounts have made him. The usual Notices give 1655 as his death-date, with 1570 as his birth-date i.e. at death in his 85th year. Even the Family-History with "about 1566" for his birth records him to have "died subsequently to the year 1646 at a very advanced age " viz., in his 80th year. All are mistaken. For the first time we are able to give his death-date. In the Register of St. Giles, Cripplegate, is this burial-entry: "1636/7 Feb. 3. Jarvis Markham, Gent."
As there was only one Jarvis or (Gervase) Markham, there can be no doubt this was our Worthy — and it is a gratification to add this bit of fact to our literary-biography — one of the many finds by my excellent friend Colonel Chester, in his searches and researches among our English muniments. Gervase Markham. was married to a daughter of one GELSTHORP, of whom nothing is known. There was no issue. LANGBAINE thus summarizes his brief Notice. "He may be accounted, if not 'unus in omnibus' at least a benefactor to the public, by those works which he left behind him, which without doubt will eternise his name. To have lived a military life, which too often engages its professors in a life of dissipation and pleasure, and at the same time to have furnished himself with such various knowledge, and to be skilled in so many languages, entitles him to hold no small rank among those who have been distinguished for ingenuity."
The Poetry of our Worthy now reprinted, including the "Teares of the Beloved" and "Marie Magdalene Teares" is not at all of the spasmodic sort. It is quiet, tranquil, simple, with only now and again a touch of pathos or quaint symbolism. Occasionally too there are things that lay hold of and stick to the memory. Altogether our early English sacred verse is not so large or opulent as to warrant the keeping out of sight of even GERVASE MARKHAM'S russet-clad Muse. If the swallow have no song, we none the less welcome its bright swift wing under our eaves, ay of the House of God — as the "sweet Singer" puts it long long ago.