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ded, he in reality was in love but once, and then never had the resolution to tell his passion.

This consideration cannot but abate, in some mea. sure, the reader's esteem for the work and the author. To love excellence, is natural; it is natural likewise for the lover to solicit reciprocal regard by an elaborate display of his own qualifications. The desire of please ing has in different men produced actions of heroism, and effusions of wit; but it seems as reasonable to appear the champion as the poet of an “airy nothing, " and to quarrel as to write for what Cowley might have learned from his master Pindar to call “ the dream of a shadow."

It is surely not difficult, in the solitude of a college, or in the bustle of the world, to find useful studies and serious employment. No man needs to be so burthened with life as to squander it in voluntary dreams of fic. titious occurrences. The man that sits down to suppose himself charged with treason or peculation, and heats his mind to an elaborate purgation of his character from crimes which he was never within the possibility of committing, differs only by the infrequency of his folly from him who praises beauty which he never saw; complains of jealousy which he never felt; supposes himself sometimes invited, and sometimes forsaken ; fatigues his fancy, and ransacks his memory, for images which may exhibit the gaiety of hope, or the gloominess of despair; and dresses his imaginary Chloris or Phyllis, sometimes in flowers fading as her beauty, and somea times in gems lasting as her virtues.

At Paris, as secretary to Lord Jermyn, he was engaged in transacting things of real importance with real men and real women, and at that time did not much employ his thoughts upon phantoms of gallantry. Some of his Letters to Mr. Bennett, afterwards Earl of Ara lington, from April to December, in 1650, are preserved in « Miscellanea Aulica,” a collection of papers published by Brown. These letters, being written like those of other men whose minds are more on things than words, contribute no otherwise to his reputation than as they shew him to have been above the affectation of unseasonable elegance, and to have known that VOL. VI.

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the business of a statesman can be little forwarded by
flowers of rhetorick.
One passage, however, seems not unw

nworthy of some notice. Speaking of the Scotch treaty then in agitation:

The Scotch treaty,” says he, “is the only thing now “in which we are vitally concerned: I am one of the “ last hopers, and yet cannot now abstain from believing “that an agreement will be made;

all people upon the place incline to that of union. The Scotch will mo* derate something of the rigour of their demands; the “mutual necessity of an accord is visible, the King is

persuaded of it. And to tell you the truth (which I take to be an argument above all the rest), Virgil has o told the same thing to that purpose.”

This expression from a secretary of the present time would be considered as merely ludicrous, or at most as an ostentatious display of scholarship; but the manners of that time were so tinged with superstition, that I cannot but suspect Cowley of having consulted on this great occasion the Virgilian lots*,

* Consulting the Virgilian Lots, Sortes Virgilianæ, is a method of Divination by the opening of Virgil, and applying to the circumstances of the peruser the first passage in either of the two pages that he accidentally fixes his eye on. It is said that King Charles I. and Lord Falkland, being in the Bodleian Library, made this experiment of their future fortunes, and met with passages equally omi. nous to each. That of the king was the following:

At bello audacis populi vexatus & armis,
Finibus extorris, complexu avulsus Iuli,
Auxilium imploret, videatque indigna suorum
Funera, nec, cum se sub leges pacis iniquæ
Tradiderit, regno aut optata luce fruatur:
Sed cadat ante diem, mediaque inhumatus arena.

Eneid IV. 615.

Yet let a race untam'd, and haughty foes,
His peaceful entrance with dire arms oppose,
Oppress'd with numbers in th' unequal field,
His men discourag'd, and himself expellid :
Let him for succour sue from place to place,
Torn from his subjects and his son's embrace.

and to have given some credit to the answer of his oracle.

Some years afterwards, "business," says Sprat, "pas“sed of course into other hands; " and Cowley, being no longer useful at Paris, was in 1656 sent back into England, that, “under pretence of privacy and retire“ment, he might take occasion of giving notice of the “posture of things in this nation.”

Soon after his return to London, he was seized by some messengers of the usurping powers, who were sent

First let him see his friends in battle slain,
And their untimely fate lament in vain:
And when, at length, the cruel war shall cease,
On hard conditions may he buy his peace ;
Nor let him then enjoy supreme command,
But fall untimeiy by some hostile hand,
And lie unbury'd on the barren sand.

DRYDEX.

LORD FALKLAND's:

Non hæe, 0 Palla, dederas promissa parenti,
Cautius ut sævo velles te credere Marti.
Haud ignarus eram, quantum nova gloria in armis,
Et prædulce decus primo certamine posset.
Primitiæ juvenis miseræ, bellique propinqui
Dura rudimenta, & nulla exaudita Deorum,
Vota precesque meæ !

Æneid XI. 162.

O Pallas, thou hast fail'd thy plighted word,
To fight with caution, not to tempt the sword;
I warn’d thee, but in vain, for well I knew
What perils youthful ardour would pursue;
That boiling blood would carry thee too far,
Young as thou wert to dangers, raw to war.
O curst essay of arms, disastrous doom,
Prelude of bloody fields and fights to come!
Hard elements of unauspicious war,
Vain vows to Heaven, and unavailing care !

DRYDEN.

Hoffman, in his Lexicon, gives a very satisfactory account of this practice of seeking fates in books : and says, that it was used by the Pagans, the Jewish Rabbins, and even the early Christians; the latter taking the New Testament for their oracle. H.

out in quest of another man; and being examined, was put into confinement, from which he was not dismissed without the security of a thousand pounds given by Dr. Scarborough.

This year he published his poems, with a preface, in which he seems to have inserted something, suppressed in subsequent editions, which was interpreted to denote some relaxation of his loyalty. In this preface he declares, that, “his desire had been for some days past, “and did still very vehemently continue, to retire him“self to some of the American plantations, and to for66 sake this world for ever."

From the obloquy which the appearance of submission to the usurpers brought upon him, his biographer has been very diligent to clear him, and indeed it does not seem to have lessened his reputation. His wish for retirement we can easily believe to be undissembled ; a man harassed in one kingdom, and persecuted in another, who, after a course of business that employed all his days and half his nights, in cyphering and decyphering, comes to his own country and steps into a prison, will be willing enough to retire to some place of quiet and of safety. Yet let neither our reverence for a genius, nor our pity for a sufferer, dispose us to forget that, if his activity was virtue, his retreat was cowardice.

He then took upon himself the character of Physici. an, still, according to Sprat, with intention, “to dissem“ble the main design of his coming over ;' and, as Mr.. Wood relates, “complying with the men then in power, (“which was much taken notice of by the royal party), she obtained an order to be created Doctor of Physick; “which being done to his mind (whereby he gained “ the ill-will of some of his friends), he went into “ France again, having made a copy of verses on Oli. « ver's death."

This is no favourable representation, yet even in this not much wrong can be discovered. How far he complied with the men in power, is to be enquired before he can be blamed. It is not said that he told them any secrets, or assisted them by intelligence or any other act. If he only promised to be quiet, that they in

whose hands he was might free him from confinement, he did what no law of society prohibits.

The man whose miscarriage in a just cause has put him in the

power
of his enemy, may,

without

any

violation of his integrity, regain his liberty, or preserve his life, by a promise of neutrality: for, the stipulation gives the enemy nothing which he had not before; the neutrality of a captive may be always secured by his imprisonment or death. He that is at the disposal of another may not promise to aid him in any injurious act, because no power can compel active obedience. He may engage to do nothing, but not to do ill.

There is reason to think that Cowley promised little. It does not appear that his compliance gained him confidence enough to be trusted without security, for the bond of his bail was never cancelled ; nor that it made him think himself secure, for, at that dissolution of government which followed the death of Oliver, he returned into France, where he resumed his former station, and staid till the Restoration.

“He continued,” says his biographer, “under these bonds till the general deliverance ; it is therefore to be supposed, that he did not go to France, and act again for the King, without the consent of his bondsman; that he did not shew his loyalty at the hazard of his friend, but by his friend's permission.

Of the verses on Oliver's death, in which Wood's narrative seems to imply something encomiastick, there has been no appearance. There is a discourse concerning his government, indeed, with verses intermixed, but such as certainly gained its author no friends among the abettors of usurpation.

A doctor of physick, however, he was made at Oxford in December 1657; and in the commencement of the Royal Society, of which an account has been given by Dr. Birch, he appears busy among the experimental philosophers with the title of Dr. Cowley.

There is no reason for supposing that he ever attempted practice ; but his preparatory studies have contributed something to the honour of his country. Considering Botany as necessary to a physician, he retired into Kent to gather plants; and as the predo

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