Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/51

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35
ANNE BRADSTREET.

science and verse, written by a Gascon Moses, who, to the minuteness of a Walt. Whitman and the unction of a parish-clerk, added an occasional dignity superior to anything attained by the abortive epic of his master."

But he had some subtle, and to the nineteenth century mind, inscrutable charm. Poets studied him and Anne Bradstreet did more than study; she absorbed them, till such originality as had been her portion perished under the weight. In later years she disclaimed the charge of having copied from him, but the infection was too thorough not to remain, and the assimilation had been so perfect that imitation was unconscious. There was everything in the life of Du Bartas to appeal to her imagination as well as her sympathy, and with her minute knowledge of history she relished his detail while reverencing his character. For Du Bartas was a French Puritan, holding the same religious views as Henry IV, before he became King of France, his strong religious nature appealing to every English reader. Born in 1544, of noble parents, and brought up, according to Michaud in the Biographic Universelle, to the profession of arms, he distinguished himself as a soldier and negotiater. Attached to the person of Prince Henry "in the capacity of gentleman in ordinary of his bed chamber, he was successfully employed by him on missions to Denmark, Scotland and England. He was at the battle of Ivry and celebrated in song the victory which he had helped to gain. He died four months after, in July, 1559, at the age of forty-six, in consequence of some wounds which had been badly healed. He passed all the leisure which his duties