1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Quarles

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 166-67.



The Life of this Gentleman I have written in my first Volume of the Lives of the Poets, so that my Business in this place is to give some Account, tho' short, of his Poetical Writings, not Dramatick; which I shall do as follows.

I. The History of Sampson done into Verse.
II. The History of Jonah.
III. Of Job Militant, a Piece much commended.
IV. The History of Esther.
V. Songs of Sion.
VI. Sion's Elegies. All these are writ in a lofty Strain.
VII. Argalus and Parthenia. This Piece is mostly taken from Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia.
VIII. Epigrams, Emblems, &c.

He was Cotemporary with Mr. Phineas Fletcher, that Divine Poet, and great Philosopher; on whose Excellent Poem entitled the Purple Island, he wrote these Verses, comparing Man's Frame to a Building.

Man's Body like a House, his greater Bones
Are the main Timber; and the lesser ones
Are only Splints: His Ribs like Laths daub'd o'er
Plaister'd with Flesh and Blood: His Mouth's the Door,
His Throat's the narrow Entry, and his Heart
Is the great Chamber, full of curious Art:
His Midriff makes a large Partition Wall,
'Twixt the great Chamber, and the spacious Hall:
His Stomach is the Kitchin, where the Meat
Is often but half sod for want of Heat:
His Spleen's a Vessel, Nature does allot
To take the Scum that rises from the Pot:
His Lungs are like the Bellows, that respire
In ev'ry Office, quickening every Fire:
His Nose the Chimney is, whereby are vented
Such Fumes as with the Bellows are augmented:
His Bowels make the Sink, his Parts to drain
All noisom Filth, and keep the Kitchen clean:
His Eyes are Cristal Windows, clear and bright;
Let in the Object, and let out the Light.
And as the Timber is or great, or small,
Or strong, or weak, 'tis apt to stand or fall:
Yet is the likeliest Building sometimes known
To fall by obvious Chances; overthrown
Oft times by Tempests—

This Poet Flourish'd in the beginning of the Reign of King James the First.