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Pope in his “Windsor Forest” has commended the
Muse of Denham with equal praise.

“On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow,
While lasts the mountain or while Thames shall flow ;
Here his first lays majestic Denham sung,
There the last numbers flowed from Cowley's tongue.
Who now shall charm the shades, where Cowley strung

His living harp, and lofty Denham sung ?From this poem Denham's reputation so rapidly, increased, that unsuccessful and jealous writers endeavoured to defraud him of the honours he had acquired, by insinuating that he had purchased the copy from a clergy man for forty pounds. But this is an assault to which original genius has in all ages been exposed.

What poet would not grieve to see

His brother write as well as he. In the “ Session of the Poets,” Denham might discover the truth of Pope's saying, that “the life of a wit is a warfare upon earth,” and might find that a writer, however successful, will always have a friend to remind bim of things he desires to be forgotten.

Then in came Denham, that limping old bard,

Whose fame on the Sophy and Cooper's Hill stands,
And brought many stationers who swore very bard,

That nothing sold better except 'twere his lands.
But Apollo advised him to write something more

To clear a suspicion which troubled the court,
That Cooper's Hill, bragged of so much before,

Was writ by a vicar who had forty pounds for it. Towards the conclusion of the Civil War, Denham became attached to the service of the Queen, and in 1647 she entrusted him to carry a message to the King, who was then a captive in the hauds of the army. Being acquainted with Hugh Peters, he so far

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overcame the scruples of that fanatic as to gain admittance to the King, who received him with great condescension and requested him to undertake the management of his correspondence. A discovery of Cowley's hand-writing by the government, however, obliged Denham to relinquish this office.

In 1648 he was employed to convey the Duke of York from London to France, where Denham rejoined the Queen, and was again admitted into her service. Whilst residing at the exiled court, he undertook a curious mission to Poland, to obtain supplies for the Royal Family from the Scots who traded to that kingdom. He has recorded in a poem that he returned back with £10,000 from this embassy, but such an amount appears incredible, unless the Scots abroad are very

different from the Scots at home. Denham was exactly the companion for his voluptuous master, the Prince of Wales, and it is to the credit of Charles that he did not in the hour of returning fortune suffer the friend of his adversity to remain unrewarded.

About the year 1652 Denham returned to England, where, what with gaming and the Civil Wars, his paternal estate was so much reduced, that he was compelled to accept an invitation to reside with Lord Pembroke at Wilton until his affairs could be arranged. Under the roof of this hospitable noblernan he remained about twelve months, spending part of the time in London and part in the country.

During the Civil War, George Withers the poet had begged Denham's estate of the Parliament, in whose cause he was serving as Captain. It happened that Withers was subsequently taken prisoner, and in danger of his life, for having written against the King. Denham then repaid his friend by requesting Charles not to hang him, for that while Withers lived he should not be the worst poet in England. Withers, however, was far from being so contemptible a writer as Denham thought him. We know of hardly anything more exquisite than the lines written by him in the Fleet Prison, describing the consolations of poetry.

“Poetry, thou sweet’st content

That e'er Heaven to mortals lent,
Though they as a trifle leave thee,
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee,
Though thou be to them a scorn,
That to nought but earth are born,
Let my life no longer be
Than I am in love with thee.
Though our wise ones call thee madness,
Let me never taste of sadness
If I love not thy maddest fits
Above all their greatest wits.
And though some too seeming holy
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn
What makes knaves and fools of them."

Unlike Dryden, Waller, and others, Denham paid no servile homage to Protector Cromwell, but preserved his loyalty spotless and unblemished until brighter days arrived. Nor was this constancy without its reward, for at the Restoration King Charles appointed him Surveyor of the Royal Works, and at the Coronation conferred upon him the diguity of knighthood. He appears to have gained discretion by his adversities, for Wood says that he possessed seven thousand pounds shortly after his appointment. On his promotion to office he seems to have designed the repair of his fortunes, giving over poetical lines, as he quaintly remarks, to draw such others as might be more serviceable to his majesty and he hoped more lasting. Evelyn, in his diary, speaks of going to consult Sir John Denham about the new palace at Greenwich. It appears that they differed respecting the site; “He wanting,” says Evelyn, “ to put it on piles at the very edge of the water, to which I did not assent, knowing Sir John to be a much better poet than architect.” Butler ridicules the knight's buildings

“ For had the stones, (like his) charmed by your verse,

Built up themselves, they could not have done worse." His finances having become prosperous from the proceeds of this office, Sir John commenced the erection of a mansion next the Dunkirk House of Lord Clarendon, which made that nobleman so unpopular. Full of honours, and well received at Court, the poet now turned his attention to matrimony, and married Miss Brooks, a very beautiful young lady of eighteen, as though he wished to confirm by example the truth of what he had formerly written against unequal matches and jealous husbands. Misfortunes soon followed, for the Duke of York, who had paid some attention to Lady Denham before her ill-advised marriage, now redoubled his condescensions and renewed his gallantries to the great annoyance of the

To escape from the dilemma in which he was placed Sir John kept his wife travelling through England, but the love which the Duke had kindled in her bosom

of the poet.

put an end to all conjugal felicity and domestic peace. At this conjuncture the poet is reported to have been insane, but it remains questionable whether his madness ever amounted to anything beyond the madness of jealousy induced by the Duke's indecorous conduct to his lady. In 1666 they returned to Court, where

. Pepys remarks that he saw the Duke of York taking Lady Denham aside, and talking to her in the sight of all the world and all alone. “ Mr. Evelyn,” says he, "cries out loudly against it, and calls it bickering; for

s the Duke talks a little to her, then she goes away, and then he follows her again.” Lady Denham was, however, probably not more imprudent in her behaviour than many others in this Paphian Court, where the beauty of the ladies was, we fear, much more to be commended than the purity of their morals.

A portrait of this fascinating woman, by the pencil of Lely, still adorns the palace of Hampton Court, where she loses nothing by comparison with that galaxy of beauty in which she is far from being the least conspicuous ornament. The lineaments of her charming features yet attest the painter's skill, and shine under his glowing tints in all their former loveliness and grace; for she was one of those nymphs from whom he caught the reigning character, and as Pope happily expressed it,

the animated canvass stole The sleepy eye that spoke the melting soul.” This lady dying after a short illness, in 1667, Sir John was accused of having poisoned her from feelings of jealousy and disappointment; but as few persons of

“ upon

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