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represented by her encomiasts as possessing great personal charms; a representation which, though not altogether borne out by the print which we possess of her by Simon Pass, is yet probably correct; for we shall presently find Ben Jonson, who was no flatterer, joining in the same description. This print, which gives a pleasing delineation of the costume of dress in the reign of Elizabeth, exhibits also a proof of what was considered even then, though confined to manuscript circulation, as the opus magnum of the countess, who is drawn with a book in her hand, on the leaves of which is legible the title of "David's Psalms."
After a life protracted to an advanced age, this learned and estimable lady died at her house in Aldersgate street, London, on the 25th of September, 1621, having survived her lord not less than twenty years. She was buried in the vault of the Pembrokes, in the cathedral church of Salisbury; and though no monument to her memory has ever been erected on the spot, she has been honoured with an epitaph perhaps better known than any other which has graced the annals of the dead, and which cannot fail to perpetuate, in colours durable
as the language in which it is written, her beauty, virtue, and mental endowments:
Underneath this sable hearse
They had been taught religion-Thence
Their gentler spirits suck'd sweet innocence :
FROM the brief account which has been given of sir Philip Sidney and his sister, in the two preceding papers, it is scarcely too much to infer, that, considering their education under the eye of parents, whose example in a moral and religious point of view was truly excellent; considering their own similar talents, tastes, and studies, their learning, habitual piety, and devotional ardour, no two persons perhaps could be better qualified for the task they undertook, as metrical translators of the inspired Psalmist, than were these ever-memorable relatives.
Of sir Philip's opinion of what should be one of
the chief objects of lyric poetry, and of the high estimation in which he held the Book of Psalms, both in a poetical and religious light, we have ample testimony in his treatise, entitled "The Defence of Poesy.” In this admirable little work, speaking of the lyric poet, he describes him as one, who, if he has a just sense of the sublime duties he is called to fulfil, “with his tuned lyre, and well accorded voice, giveth praise, the reward of virtue, to virtuous acts; who giveth moral precepts and natural problems; who sometimes raiseth up his voice to the height of the heavens, in singing the lauds of the immortal God!" And again, when noticing the prevalency and abuse, in his time, of lyrical poetry, he observes, "if the Lord gave us so good minds, how well it might be employed, and with how heavenly fruits, both private and publick, in singing the praises of the immortal beauty, the immortal goodness of that God, who giveth us hands to write, and wits to conceive; of which we might well want words, but never matter; of which we could turn our eyes to nothing, but we should ever have new budding occasions +."
* Folio edition, 1629, p. 553.
With these exalted and correct ideas of the noble purposes which this province of the art is calculated to subserve, we might consistently expect him to be earnestly anxious to appeal to the practice and inspiration of the sacred writers; and, accordingly, as one of the most efficient foundations of his "Defence," he has taken the earliest opportunity of bringing forward the example of the divine lyrist of the Hebrews. 66 May not I presume to say," he observes," that the holy David's Psalms are a divine poem? If I do, I shall not do it without the testimony of great learned men, both ancient and modern. But even the name of Psalms will speak for me, which, being interpreted, is nothing but songs: then, that it is fully written in metre, as all learned Hebricians agree, although the rules be not yet fully found. Lastly, and principally, his handling his prophecy, which is merely poetical. For what else is the awaking his musical instruments; the often and free changing of persons; his notable prosopopaias, when he maketh you, as it were, see God coming in his majesty; his telling of the beasts' joyfulness and hills leaping; but a heavenly poesy, wherein almost he showeth himself a passionate lover of that unspeakable and everlast