Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/33

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

quick succession. Chapman's magnificent version of Homer was delighting Cavalier and Puritan alike. "Plutarch's Lives," were translated by Sir Thomas North and his book was "a household book for the whole of the seventeenth century." Montaigne's Essays had been "done into English" by John Florio, and to some of them at least Thomas Dudley was not likely to take exception. Poets and players had, however, come to be classed together and with some reason, both alike antagonizing the Puritan, but the poets of the reign of James were far more simple and natural in style than those of the age of Elizabeth, and thus, more likely to be read in Puritan families. Their numbers may be guaged by their present classification into "pastoral, satirical, theological, metaphysical and humorous," but only two of them were in entire sympathy with the Puritan spirit, or could be read without serious shock to belief and scruples.

For the sake of her own future work, deeper drinking at these springs was essential, and in rejecting them, Anne Dudley lost the influence that must have moulded her own verse into much more agreeable form for the reader of to-day, though it would probably have weakened her power in her own day. The poets she knew best hindered rather than helped development. Wither and Quarles, both deeply Calvinistic, the former becoming afterward one of Cromwell's major-generals, were popular not only then but long afterward, and Quarles' "Emblems", which appeared in 1635, found their way to New England and helped to make sad thought still more dreary. Historians and antiquaries were at work. Sir Walter Raleigh's "History of the World," must have given