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To raise the ceiling's fretted height,
Each pannel in achievements clothing, Rich windows that exclude the light,
And passages, that lead to nothing.
Full oft within the spacious walls,
When he had fifty winters o'er him, My grave Lord-Keeper led the brawls;
The seals and maces danc'd before him.
His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green,
His high-crown'd hat, and satin doublet, Mov'd the stout heart of England's queen, 15
Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it. What, in the very first beginning !
Shame of the versifying tribe !
Can you do nothing but describe ?
A house there is (and that's enough)
From whence one fatal morning issues
remain as vestiges of the Poet's fancy, and a column with a statue of Coke marks the former abode of its illustrious inhabitant. D’Israeli. Cur. of Lit. (New Ser.) i. 482. Coke married Lady Hatton, relict of Sir William Hatton, sister of Lord Burlington. V.7. “ And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light." "Il Pens. 159. And Pope. Eloisa, 142 :
" Where awful arches make a noonday night,
And the dim windows shed a solemn light.” W. V. 11. Sir Christopher Hatton, promoted by Queen Elizaboth for his graceful person and fine dancing. Gray. See Hume's England, vol. v. p. 330. Naunton's Fragmenta Re
A brace of warriors, not in buff,
But rustling in their silks and tissues.
The first came cap-a-pee from France,
Her conqu’ring destiny fulfilling, Whom meaner beauties eye askance,
And vainly ape her art of killing.
The other amazon kind heav'n
Had arm’d with spirit, wit, and satire ; But Cobham had the polish giv'n,
And tipp'd her arrows with good-nature.
To celebrate her eyes, her air
Coarse panegyrics would but tease her; Melissa is her “ nom de guerre."
Alas, who would not wish to please her!
With bonnet blue and capuchine,
And aprons long, they hid their armour; And veil'd their weapons, bright and keen,
In pity to the country farmer.
galia, and Ocklandi Elizabetha. mi. Barrington on the Statutes, p. 405.
1.11. Brawls were a sort of French figure-dance, then in vogue. See England's Helicon, p. 101; Browne's Poems, vol. iii. p. 149, ed. Thompson; and the note by Steevens to Love's Lab. Lost, act iii. sc. 1. And so Ben Jonson, in a Masque, vol. vi. p. 27, ed Whalley :
" And thence did Venus learn to lead
The Idalian brawls." But see more particularly Marston. Malcontent, act iv. sc. 2, where it is described :
“ We have forgot the brawl," &c.
See Dodsley. Old Plays, vol. ii. p. 210. VOL. I.
Fame, in the shape of Mr. P-t,
(By this time all the parish know it Had told that thereabouts there lurk'd
A wicked imp they call a poet:
Who prowl'd the country far and near,
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants, Dried up the cows, and lam'd the deer,
And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants.
My lady heard their joint petition,
Swore by her coronet and ermine, She'd issue out her high commission
To rid the manor of such vermin.
The heroines undertook the task,
Thro' lanes unknown, o'er stiles they ventur’d,
V. 41. It has been said, that this gentleman, a neighbour and acquaintance of Gray's in the country, was much displeased with the liberty here taken with his name: yet, surely, without any great reason. Mason. Mr. Robert Purt was Fellow of King's Coll. Cant. 1738. A.B, 1742. A. M. 1746. was an assistant at Eton school, tutor to Lord Balti. more's son there, and afterwards to the Duke of Bridgewater; in 1749 he was presented to the rectory of Settrington in Yorkshire, which he held with Dorrington in the same county, he died in Ap. 1752 of the Small Pox. Isaac Reed.
V. 51. Henry the Fourth, in the fourth year of his reign, issued out the following commission against this species of vermin :--“ And it is enacted, that no master-rimour, minstrel, or other vagabond, be in any wise sustained in the land of Wales, to make commoiths, or gatherings upon the people there.”_" Vagabond,” says Ritson,“ was a title to which the profession had been long accustomed.”
“ Beggars they are with one consent,
Pref. to Anc. Songs, p. xi.
Rapp'd at the door, nor stay'd to ask,
But bounce into the parlour enter'd.
The trembling family they daunt,
They flirt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle, Rummage his mother, pinch his aunt,
And up stairs in a whirlwind rattle:
Each hole and cupboard they explore,
Each creek and cranny of his chamber, Run hurry-scurry round the floor,
And o'er the bed and tester clamber;
Into the drawers and china pry,
Papers and books, a huge imbroglio! Under a tea-cup he might lie,
Or creased, like dogs-ears, in a folio.
There are still stronger Scotch statutes against them, some condemning them and “ such like fules" to lose their ears, and others their lives. By a law of Elizabeth, the English minstrels were pronounced“ rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars,” xxxix. Eliz. c. 4. s. 2. See Ritson's Engl. Songs, 1. liii. Barrington on the Statutes, p. 360. Dodsley, Old Plays, xii. p. 361. Strutt. Sports and Pastimes, p. 1824 196. Puttenham. Art of Engl. Poesie. (1589) Lib. ii. c. 9.
V. 67. There is a very great similarity between the style of part of this poem, and Prior. Tale of the Dove:' as for instance in the following stanzas, which Gray, I think, must have had in his mind at the time :
“With one great peal they rap the door,
Like footmen on a visiting day:
Lord! what will all the neighbours say ?
“ Her keys he takes, her door unlocks,
Thro' wardrobe, and thro' closet bounces,
On the first marching of the troops,
The Muses, hopeless of his pardon, Convey’d him underneath their hoops
To a small closet in the garden.
So rumour says: (who will, believe.)
But that they left the door ajar, Where, safe and laughing in his sleeve,
He heard the distant din of war.
Short was his joy. He little knew
The pow'r of magic was no fable ; Out of the window, wisk, they flew,
But left a spell upon the table.
The words too eager to unriddle,
The poet felt a strange disorder; Transparent bird-lime form’d the middle,
And chains invisible the border.
So cunning was the apparatus,
The powerful pot-hooks did so move him, That, will he, nill he, to the great house
He went, as if the devil drove him.
Yet on his way (no sign of grace,
For folks in fear are apt to pray)
Peeps into every chest and box,
Turns all her furbelows and flounces. “I marvel much, she smiling said,