Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

EARLE, JOHN, an English clergyman and miscellaneous writer, born at York in 1601; died at Oxford, November 17, 1665. He was educated at Oxford, became chaplain and tutor to Prince Charles, with whom he went into exile, and was in consequence deprived of all his property. After the Restoration he was made Dean of Westminster; in 1662 was consecrated Bishop of Wor. cester, and in the following year was transferred to the see of Salisbury. Lord Clarendon says Earle was “a man of great piety and devotion, a most eloquent and powerful preacher, and of a conversation so pleasant and delightful, so very innocent and so very facetious, that no man's company was more desired and loved. No man was more negligent in his dress and habit and mien, and no man more cultivated in his behavior and discourse." His principal work, Microcosmographie, or a Peece of the IVorld discovered in Essayes and Characters, a facetious description of the life and manners of the time, was first published in 1628 ; it was very popular, for six editions appeared within two years. A tenth edition was printed in

. 1786, and a new edition, with Notes and an Appendix, by Philip Bliss, in 1811. Prominent among the numerous “characters ” delineated by Earle are an antiquary, a player, a dun, and a clown.

THE RURAL CLOWN.

a

The plain country fellow is one that manures his ground well, but lets himself lie fallow and untilled. He has reason enough to do his business, and not enough to be idle or melancholy. He seems to have the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar, for his conversation is among beasts, and his talons none of the shortest, only he eats not grass, because he loves not sallets. His hand guides the plough, and the plough his thoughts, and his ditch and land-mark is the very mound of his meditations. He expostulates with his oxen very understandingly, and speaks gee and ree better than English. His mind is not much distracted with objects; but if a good fat cow come in his way, he stands dumb and astonished, and though his haste be never so great, will fix here half an hour's contemplation. His habitation is some poor thatched roof, distinguished from his barn by the loopholes that let out smoke, which the rain had long since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grandsire's time, and is yet to make rashers for posterity. His dinner is his other work, for he sweats at it as much as at his labor; he is a terrible fastener on a piece of beef, and you may hope to stave the guard off sooner. His religion is a part of his copyhold, which he takes from his landlord, and refers it wholly to his discretion. He apprehends God's blessings only in a fat pasture, and never praises him but on good ground. Sunday he esteems a day to make merry in, and thinks a bagpipe as essential to it as evening-prayer. He thinks nothing to be vices but pride and ill-husbandry. He is a niggard all the week, except only market-day, where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning a stack of corn, or the over-flowing of a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was, not because it drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled, and if he get in but his harvest before, let it come when it will, he cares not.

EASTMAN, CHARLES GAMAGE, an American poet and journalist, was born at Fryeburg, Me., June 1, 1816; and died at Burlington, Vt., in 1861. In early life he removed with his parents to Vermont, and settled at Barnard. He was educated at Royalton Academy, Windsor; at Burlington; and at the University of Vermont, where he was graduated in 1837. While pursuing his studies, he began his journalistic career by writing editorials for the Burlington Sentinel; and upon leaving the university, he founded at Johnson the Lamoille River Express. In 1840 he founded at Woodstock the Spirit of the Age; and in 1846 he removed to Montpelier and became proprietor and editor of the Vermont Patriot. He was for some years postmaster of Woodstock and of Montpelier; at which latter place he published the small volume of Poems (1848) by which he became known to the literary world. He was elected to the State Senate in 1851 ; and was a delegate to the national conventions of 1852 and 1856. He was well known

. as a reader of original poems at his alma mater and at Dartmouth and other colleges; and was a frequent contributor to magazines and reviews. An enlarged edition of his poems was published by his widow in 1880.

Eastman has been highly commended as a delineator of the rural life of New England. Stedman, writing of the poets who “have paid tribute to the charm of American home-life,” takes occasion to mention the “simple balladists like the Vermonter, Eastman." Duyckinck says that his poems “are marked by facility in the use of lyric and ballad measures, and many are in a familiar sportive vein.” Harper's Magazine, quoting, in 1855, the following charming verses, said: “ It is not often that our readers will find a more tender and beautiful picture taken from our varied receptacle of things new and old,' than the following, from the pen of Hon. Charles G. Eastman, of Vermont. Its perfect simplicity is one of its greatest charms."

THE NEW ENGLAND FARMER.

The farmer sat in his easy chair

Smoking his pipe of clay,
While his hale old wife with busy care

Was clearing the dinner away :
A sweet little girl with fine blue eyes
On her grandfather's knee was catching flies.

The old man laid his hand on her head,

With a tear on his wrinkled face,
He thought how often her mother, dead,

Had sat in the self-same place; As the tear stole down from his half shut eye, “ Don't smoke!” said the child; “how it makes you cry!”

The house-dog lay stretched out on the floor,

Where the shade, afternoons, used to steal :
The busy old wife by the open door

Was turning the spinning wheel,
And the old brass clock on the mantel-tree
Had plodded along to almost three;

Still the farmer sat in his easy chair,
While close to his heaving breast

VOL. IX.-5

The moistened brow and cheek so fair

Of his sweet grandchild were pressed; His head bent down, on her soft hair layFast asleep were both on that summer day.

LOOKING IN THE RIVER.

Looking in the river,

Smiling to herself,
Stands a little maiden,

On a mossy shelf :
Looking in the river,

What's the maiden see?
Than herself, I'm certain,

Something it must be!
Looking in the river,

Where the shimmering sun,
Than the orb above her,

Seems another one ;
Looking in the river,

There the maiden sees
Something than the heavens,

Or the mirrored trees.

Looking in the river

With a dreamy stare ;
Wonder what the maiden

Can be seeing there?
Looking in the river

What if I should be ?
Then I may be certain,

What the girl can see.
Looking in the river-

Now, ah, ah! I know
What the little maiden

Gazes at below!
Looking in the river,

Now I understand,
Why the little maiden

Stands upon the land !

Looking in the river,

As the water stirs,

« ForrigeFortsett »