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THE

ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.

131

6 The first book of the Ecclesiastical Polity,'” says Hallam, “is at this day one of the master-pieces of English eloquence." The moderate tone of the work, which was written against the Puritans, is worthy of all praise. The author is somewhat censured for the great length of his sentences; but the best critics agree in admiring the beauty and dignity of his style, which, woven of honest English words chosen by no vulgar hand, is yet embroidered with some of the fairest and loftiest figures of poetry. This charm—the ornament of figures-English prose had probably never possessed till Hooker wrote.

ON CHURCH MUSIO.

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(PROM THE ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.”) Touching musical harmony, whether by instrument or by voice, it being but of high and low in sounds a due proportionable disposition, such notwithstanding is the force thereof, and so pleasing effects it hath in that very part of man which is most divine, that some have been thereby induced to think that the soul itself by nature is, or hath in it, harmony; a thing which delighteth all ages, and beseemeth all states; a thing as seasonable in grief as in joy; as decent being added unto actions of greatest weight and solemnity, as being used when men most sequester themselves from action. The reason hereof is an admirable facility which music hath to express and represent to the mind, more inwardly than any other sensible mean, the very standing, rising and falling, the very steps and inflections every way, the turns and varieties of all passions whereunto the mind is subject; yea, so to imitate them, that, whether it resemble unto us the same state wherein our minds already are, or a clean contrary, we are not more contentedly by the one confirmed, than changed and led away by the other. In harmony, the very image and character even of virtue and vice is perceived, the mind delighted with their resemblances, and brought by having them often iterated into a love of the things themselves. For which cause there is nothing more contagious and pestilent than some kinds of harmony; than some, nothing more strong and potent unto good.

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SACKVILLE was the herald of that splendour in which Elizabeth's glorious reign was destined to close. He was born in 1536, at Buckhurst in Sussex, the seat of his ancestors. His father, Richard Sackville, had held high office in the Exchequer. Some home teaching, a few terms at Oxford, and a continuation of his course at Cambridge, where he graduated as M.A., prepared the way for his entrance upon the profession of the law and a statesman's life. While at college, his skill in verse-making gained him some little fame; and when entered at the Inner Temple, and regularly set down to the study of dry and dusty law books, he did not forget those flowery paths in which he had spent so many glad hours, but often stole from his graver studies to weave his darling stanzas.

With his political career we have here little to do, and a few notes of it must therefore suffice. Created Lord Buckhurst in 1566 by Elizabeth, he laid aside his literary pursuits and gave himself up to the toils of statesmanship. Twice he crossed the seas as ambassador. He was selected, on account of his gentle manner and address, to tell her doom to the wretched woman who once was Queen of Scotland. And, in a later year, he sat as Lord Steward, presiding over those brother peers who were appointed to try the unhappy Essex. The dislike of Leicester clouded his fortunes, and cast him into prison; but when in 1588 death freed him from this foe, he regained the royal favour. He reached the pinnacle of his greatness in 1598, upon the death of Lord Burleigh, when he became Lord High Treasurer of England,

T'HE POETRY OF SACKVILLE.

133

This great office he continued to hold until he died in 1608, at a good old age. Elizabeth and James, unlike in almost everything else, agreed in appreciating the services of this great and gifted man.

While still a student in the Temple, he had joined Thomas Norton in writing a play then called Gorboduc, which was acted before Elizabeth at Whitehall by a company of his fellow-students of the Inner Temple, as a part of the Christmas revels of 1561. This was the first English tragedy, so far as is known. It resembles the later tragedies in having five acts, of which probably Norton wrote three, and Sackville the last two; but it differs from them in the use of that very prosy and unnatural excrescence of the ancient plays, called the Chorus. Every act of Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Porrex as the authors called it in the revised edition of 1571, is closed with an ode in long-lined stanzas, filled, as was the old Greek chorus, with moral reflections on the various scenes. The plot of this play was founded on a bloody story of ancient British history.

But a greater work than Gorboduc adorns the memory of Sackville. During the last years of Mary, which might well be called gloomy, were it not for the fiery glare that tinges them red as if with martyrs' blood, he sketched out the design of a great poem, which was to be entitled The Mirrour of Magistrates, and was to embrace poetic histories of all the great Englishmen who had suffered remarkable disasters. The bulk of this work, which first appeared in 1559, was done by minor writers of the 1559 time; but the Induction and the Story of the Duke of Buckingham, contributed to the second edition in 1563, are from the powerful pen of Sackville. The “ Induction” is a grand pictured allegory, which describes “ within the porch and jaws of hell ” Remorse, Dread, Revenge, and other terrible things, that are ever gnawing away at the root of our human life. It contains only a few hundred lines, and yet these are enough to place Sackville high on the list of British poets. As already hinted, these poems were the fruit of Sackville's early summer; the ripe luxuriance of his life was devoted to cares of the state, whose ample honours crowned his head when frosted with the touch of winter.

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134

STANZAS FROM

THE INDUCTION.”

OLD AGE.

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(FROM THE INDUCTION.")
And, next in order, sad Old Age we found,
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind,
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where nature him assigned
To rest, when that the Sisters had untwined
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast-declining life.
There heard we him, with broke and hollow plaint,
Rue with himself his end approaching fast,
And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past,
And fresh delights of lusty youth forewaste; [utterly wasted
Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek,
And to be young again of Jove beseek!
But, an the cruel fates so fixed be

[if
That time forepast cannot return again,
This one request of Jove yet prayed he-
That, in such withered plight and wretched pain
As Eld, accompanied with her loathsome train,
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief,
He might awhile yet linger forth his life,
And not so soon descend into the pit,
Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain,
With reckless hand in grave doth cover it,
Thereafter never to enjoy again
The gladsome light, but, in the ground ylain,

(laid
In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought,
As he had ne'er into the world been brought.
But who had seen him sobbing how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan
His youth forepast,

,--as though it wrought him good
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone-
He would have mused, and marvelled much, whereon
This wretched Age should life desire so fain,
And knows full well life doth but length his pain.
Crook-backed he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed,
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four;
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side;
His scalp all piled, and he with elà forelore;

[peeled
His withered fist still knocking at Death's door;
Fumbling and drivelling as he draws his breath;
For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.

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We have already seen how the first English Bible grew, sentence by sentence, in the quiet study of Lutterworth Rectory, where John Wycliffe sat among his books; how William Tyndale dared death and found it in a foreign land, that he might spread God's word freely among his awakening nation; how Miles Coverdale published in 1535 a version of the whole Bible, translated from the Hebrew and the Greek; and how in 1540 Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, superintended the issue of a new translation, which was called Cranmer's, or the Great Bible.

The reign of the eighth Henry was a strange era in the history of the Book, evidencing perhaps above all other modern days the everlasting life of Truth. If the Bible were not immortal, it would surely have perished then.

One Sunday in February 1526, the great Wolsey sat in old St. Paul's under a canopy of cloth of gold. His robe was purple; scarlet gloves blazed on his hands; and golden shoes glittered on his feet. A magnificent array of satin and damask-gowned priests encircled his throne; and the grey head of old Bishop Fishersoon to roll bloody on a scaffold—appeared in the pulpit of the place. Below that pulpit stood rows of baskets, piled high with books, the plunder of London and the university towns. These were Tyndale's Testaments, ferreted out by the emissaries of the cardinal, who had swept every cranny in 1526 search of the hated thing. None there fresh from the printer's hand-all well-thumbed volumes, scored with

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