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126

STANZAS FROM

THE FAERIE QUEENE."

Yet armes till that time did he never wield :
IIis angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield :

Full iolly knight he seemed, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead, as living ever,

him ador'd :
Upon his shield the like was also scor'd,
For soveraine hope, which in his helpe he had.
Right, faithfull, true he was in deede and word;

But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

[feared

Upon a great adventure he was bond,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
(That greatest glorious queene of Faery lond,)
To winne him worshippe, and her grace to have,
Which of all earthly thinges he most did crave:
And ever, as he rode, his hart did earne
To prove bis puissance in battell brave

Upon his fue, and his new force to learne ;
Upon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.

A lovely Ladie rode him faire beside,
Upon a lowly asse more white than snow;
Yet she much whiter ; but the same did hide
Under a vele, that wimpled was full low;
And over all a blacke stole shee did throw:
As one that inly mournd, so was she sad,
And heavie sate upon her palfrey slow;

Seeined in heart some hidden care she had ;
And by her in a line a milke-white lambe she lad.

Şo pure and innocent, as that same lambe,
She was in liče and every vertuous lore;
And by descent from royall lynage came
Of ancient kinges and queenes, that had of yore
Their scepters stretcht from east to westerne shore,
And all the world in their subjection held ;
Till that infernal Feend with foule uprore

Forwasted all their land, and them expeld;
Whom to avenge, she had this Knight from far compeld.

STANZAS FROM

THE FAERIE QUEENE.

127

Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag,
That lasie seemd, in being ever last,
Or wearied with bearing of her bag
Of needments at his backe. Thus as they past,
The day with cloudes was suddeine overcast,
And angry Iove an hideous storme of raine
Did poure into his lemans lap so fast,

That everie wight to shrowd it did constrain;
And this faire couple eke to shroud themselves were fain.

Enforst to seeke some covert nigh at hand,
A shadie grove not farr away they spide,
That proinist ayde the tempest to withstand;
Whose loftie trees, yclad with soinmer's pride,
Did spred so broad, that heavens light did hide,
Not perceable with power of any starr :
And all within were pathes and alleies wide,

With footing worne, and leading inward farr :
Faire harbour that them seems; so in they entred ar.

And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,
Ioying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,
Which, the rein shrouded from the tempest dred,
Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.
Much can they praise the trees so straight and hy,
The sayling pine; the cedar proud and tall;
The vine-propp elme; the poplar never dry;

The builder oake, sole king of forrests all ;
The aspine good for staves; the cypresse funerall;

The laurell, meed of mightie conquerours
And poets sage; the firre that weepeth still ;
The willow, worne of forlorne paramours;
The eugh, obedient to the benders will ;
The birch for shaftes ; the sallow for the mill;
The mirrhe sweete-bleeding in the bitter wound;
The warlike beech; the ash for nothing ill;

The fruitfull olive; and the platane round;
The carver holme; the maple seeldom inward sound.

Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
Untill the blustring storme is overblowne;
When, weening to returne whence they did stray,
They cannot finde that path, which first was showne,
But wander too and fro in waies unknowne,
Furthest from end then, when they neerest weene,

128

STANZAS FROM

THE FAERIE QUEENE."

That makes them doubt their wits be not their owne:

So many pathes, so many turnings seene,
That, which of them to take, in diverse doubt they been.

At last resolving forward still to fare,
Till that some end they finde, or in or out,
That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare,
And like to lead the labyrinth about ;
Which when by tract they hunted had throughout,
At length it brought them to a hollow cave,
Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout

Eftsoones dismounted from his courser brave,
And to the Dwarfe a while his needlesse spere he gave.

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WHEN Richard Hooker gave to the world his splendid work on the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, English prose literature acquired a dignity it had not known before. The last decade of Elizabeth was indeed a glorious time in the annals of British authorship. The genius of Shakspere was then bursting into the full blooin, whose bright colours can never fade; Spenser was penning the Faerie Queene on the sweet banks of Mulla; Bacon, a rising young barrister, was sketching out the ground-plan of the great Novum Organum; and in the quietude of a country parsonage, a meek and hen-pecked clergyman was composing, with loving carefulness, a work which, for force of reasoning and gracefulness of style, is justly regarded as one of the master-pieces of our literature. Richard Hooker was writing his great treatise.

Born at Heavytree near Exeter, in 1553 or 1554, Hooker was indebted to the kindness of Bishop Jewell for a university education. The modest young student, who was enrolled on the books of Corpus Christi at Oxford, did not disappoint the hopes of his patron : his college career was marked with steady application and closed with honour. His eminence as a student of Oriental tongues led to his appointment in 1579 as lecturer on Hebrew. Two years later he entered the Church.

And then a great misfortune befell Master Richard Hooker. Appointed to preach at St. Paul's Cross, he left his college, a perfect simpleton in the world's ways, and journeyed up to Lon

130

THE RECTOR OF BISHOP'S-BOURNE.

don. There he had lodgings in the house of one John Churchman, whose wife so won by her officious attentions upon the drenched and jaded traveller, that he thought he could not do better than follow her advice and marry her daughter Joan, whom she strongly recommended as a suitable wife and skilful nurse for a man so delicate as he appeared to be. Accordingly in the following year Richard and Joan were married; and not till it was too late did the poor fellow find that he had bound himself for life to a downright shrew.

The first year or so of his married life was spent in Bucks, where he was rector of Drayton-Beauchamp. But the affection of an old pupil, Sandys, son of the Archbishop of York, obtained for him in 1585 the post of Master of the Temple. It was his duty here to preach in the forenoon, while the afternoon lecture was delivered by Travers, a zealous Calvinist. The views of the two preachers were so diametrically opposed to each other, that it was said “the forenoon sermons spoke Canterbury, and the afternoon Geneva.” Travers was forbidden to preach by Archbishop Whitgift; and a paper war began between the rivals, which so vexed the gentle Hooker, that he begged to be restored to a quiet parsonage, where he might labour in peace upon the great work he had begun.

In 1591 his wish was granted. He received the living of Boscomb in Wiltshire; and, gathering his darling books and papers round him, he sat down to his desk, no doubt, with a deep sense

of relief. There he wrote the first four books of the Ecclc1594 siastical Polity, which were published in 1594. In re

cognition, probably, of this great service to the Church

of England, the Queen made him in the following year rector of Bishop's-Bourne in Kent. The important duties of his sacred office and the completion of his eight books filled up the few remaining years of his life. Never very strong, and weakened, perhaps, by ardent study, he caught a heavy cold, which, settling on his lungs, proved fatal on the 2d of November 1600. The fifth book of the “ Ecclesiastical Polity” was printed in 1597 ; the remaining three did not appear until 1647.

A.D.

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