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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/79

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Brwne
Browne
73

The curiously engraved title-page of the first edition of book i., fol., bears no date, but the address to the render is dated 'From the Inner Temple, June the 18, 1613.' Prefixed are commendatory verses (in Latin, Greek, and English) by Drayton. Selden. Christopher Brooke, and others ; and the book is dedicated to Edward, lord Zouch. In 1616 appeared the second book, with a dedicatory sonnet to William, earl of Pembroke, and commendatory verse' by John Glanvill, John Davies of Hereford, Wither, Ben Jonson, and others. The two books were republished in one vol. 8vo in 1625. A copy of the edition of 1625, containing manuscript additional commendatory verses by friends of the poet, was in the possession of Beloe, who printed the whole of the manuscript matter in the sixth volume of his 'Anecdotes of Literature.' The third book of the 'Pastorals' was not published in the author's lifetime': but Beriah Botfield [q.v.] while engaged in collecting materials for his work on 'Cathedral Libraries,' discovered a manuscript copy of it in the library of Salisbury Cathedral. In 1852 the manuscript was printed for the Percy Society, and it has since been reprinted in Mr. W. Corew Hazlett's collective edition of Browne's works (2 vols. 1868). As the third book is muck inferior to the first and second books, doubta were cast, on its authenticity at the time of the publication of the manuscript ; but the inferiority is probably due to the fact that the third book is in an unrevised state. 'Britannia's Pastorals' were greatly applauded at the time of their first appearance, and still hold a distinguished place in English poetry. Browne was an ardent admirer of Spenser, to whose memory he pays an eloquent tribute in the first song of the second book. Many passages are written in close imitation of Spenser, and it was from the study of the 'Faërie Queene' that he drew his fondness for allegory. The narrative is very vague and shadowy ; and it is doubtful whether there is some real story of love troubles, or whether the characters are wholly fictitious. Browne is at his best when be to take care of itself and indulges in pastoral descriptions. Few have shown a truer appreciation for the sights and sounds of the country, though his descriptions are sometimes weakened by the introduction of cmwded details. He is particularly fond of drawing similes from the homeliest objects, and his quaint simplicity of imagery is not the least of his charms. The boldness of the narrative and the tediousness of the allegorising are forgotten when he sings of the trim hedgerows aud garden walks of his native Devon. Browne has always been a favourite with the poets. Passages in Milton's 'L'Allegro' are imitated from the 'Pastorals;' Keats's early poems show clear traces of Browne's influence ; and Mrs. Browning took some lines from 'Britannia's Pastorale' as the motto of her 'Vision of the Poets.' Browne was indeed, as Michael Drayton says of him in the epistle to Henry Keynolds, a 'rightly born poet.' There is preserved (in the library of Alfred H. Huth) a copy of the first edition of 'Britannia's Paslorals' containing notes in the handwriting of Milton. The volume was subjected to the scutiny of experts, and there is no reason for doubting the authenticity of the notes, which are meagre and of no great interest. In 1614 appeared 'The Shepheard's Pipe,' small 8vo, dedicated to Edward, lord Zouch. It contains seven eclogues by Browne, to which are ap-pended eclogues by Christoplier Brooke, Wither, and Davies of Hereford. In the first of Browne's eclogues is incorporated the story of Jonathas by Occleve, then printed for the first lime. At the end of the eclogue Browne makes the following note : — 'As this shall release I may be drawne to publish the rest of his workes, being all perfect in my hands.' Unfortunately the manuscripts were never published. The fourth eclogue is a smoothly written elegy (which may have supplied Milton with hints for 'Lycidas') on the death of Thomas Manwood, son of Sir Peter Manwood. In the first eclogue the poet addresses Christopher Brooke, urging him to write poetry of a higher strain. After the seventh eclogue there is a second title-page, 'Other Eglogves : by Mr. Brooke, Mr. Wither, and Sir. Davies.' The first piece is inscribed to Browne by Brooke ; in the second (which is by Wither) Brooke and Browne are figured under the names of Cuttie and Willy; the third, which is by Davies, is entitled 'An Eclogue between young Willy the singer of his native Pastorals and old Wernocke his friend.' Then follows a third title-page', 'Another Eclogue by Mr. George Wither. Dedicated to his truely louing aud worthy friend, Mr. W. Browne.' Browne's next work was the 'Inner Temple Masque,' on the subject of Ulysses and Ciree, written to be represented by the members of that society on 13 Jan. 164-15. After the books of the Inner Temple contain no mention of any expenses incurred by the performance, it is probable that the arrangements for the representation of the masque were at the last moment countermanded. The piece was printed for the first time in Daviess edition of Browne's works (3 vols. 1772) ,from a manuscript in Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Warton suggests, with little show of plausibility, that the 'Inner