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THE FAERIE QUEENE."
Yet armes till that time did he never wield :
Full iolly knight he seemed, and faire did sitt,
And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore,
him ador'd :
But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
Upon a great adventure he was bond,
Upon his fue, and his new force to learne ;
A lovely Ladie rode him faire beside,
Seeined in heart some hidden care she had ;
Şo pure and innocent, as that same lambe,
Forwasted all their land, and them expeld;
THE FAERIE QUEENE.
Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag,
That everie wight to shrowd it did constrain;
Enforst to seeke some covert nigh at hand,
With footing worne, and leading inward farr :
And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,
The builder oake, sole king of forrests all ;
The laurell, meed of mightie conquerours
The fruitfull olive; and the platane round;
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
THE FAERIE QUEENE."
That makes them doubt their wits be not their owne:
So many pathes, so many turnings seene,
At last resolving forward still to fare,
Eftsoones dismounted from his courser brave,
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
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.