Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/170
was certainly brought out in an imperfect form and without his knowledge. Five years after his death appeared his chief volume, a thin folio, entitled 'Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Fulke, Lord Brooke, written in his Youth and familiar exercise with Sir Philip Sidney,' London, 1633. Here are included long tracts in verse entitled 'A Treatie of Humane Learning,' 'An Inquisition upon Fame and Honour,' and 'A Treatie of Warres.' There follow 'The Tragedie of Alaham,' 'The Tragedie of Mustapha,' and 'Cœlica, containing CIX Sonnets.' The text of 'Mustapha' differs considerably from the imprint of 1609, usually for, the better. The last pages are filled with letters in prose, one 'to an Honorable Lady' offering advice in domestic difficulties with her husband, and the other 'A Letter of Trauell … to his Cousin Greuill Varney, residing in France,' dated by the writer 'From Hackney,' 20 Nov. 1609. In 1652 first appeared 'The Life of the renowned Sir Philip Sidney,' in prose, and eighteen years later was published 'The Remains of Sir Fulk Grevill, Lord Brooke: being Poems of Monarchy and Religion. Never before printed,' London, 1670. The publisher of the last volume, Henry Herringman, states that Greville, 'when he was old, revised the poems and treatises he had writ long before 'with a view to collective publication. He entrusted the task to an aged friend, Michael Malet, but the project was not carried out.
Brooke writes in his discursive memoir of Sidney with reference to his tragedies: `For my own part I found my creeping genius more fixed upon the images of life than the images of wit.' This is a just criticism of all Brooke's literary work. To 'elegancy of style' or 'smoothness of verse' he rarely aspires. He is essentially a philosopher, cultivating 'a close, mysterious, and sententious way of writing,' which is commonly more suitable to prose than poetry. His subjects are for the most part incapable of imaginative treatment. In his collection of love poems, which, though written in varied metres, he entitles sonnets, he seeks to express passionate love, and often with good lyrical effect ; but the understanding seems as a rule to tyrannise over emotion, and all is `frozen and made rigid with intellect.' Sidney's influence is very perceptible, and some of Brooke's stanzas harshly echo passages from 'Astrophel' and 'Stella.' His two tragedies, 'Alaham' and 'Mustapha,' very strictly fashioned on classical models, are, as Lamb says, political treatises rather than plays. 'Passion, character, and interest of the highest order' are 'subservient to the expression of state dogmas and mysteries.' 'Mustapha' found an ardent champion in Edmund Bolton, who wrote of it as the 'matchless Mustapha' in his 'Hyper-critica' (1622). In his 'Life of Sidney' Brooke expounds at length his object in writing tragedies, and explains that they were not intended for the stage. But, despite its subtlety of expression, Greville's poetry fascinates the thoughtful student of literature. His views of politics are original and interesting, and there is something at once formidable and inviting in the attempt to unravel his tangled skeins of argument. His biography of Sidney is mainly a general disquisition on politics with biographical and autobiographical interludes. It was reprinted with much care by Sir S. E. Brydges at the Lee Priory Press in 1816.
Brooke has been wrongly credited with 'a Mourning Song,' contributed to 'The Paradise of Dainty Devices;' with a tragedy entitled 'Marcus Tullius Cicero,' London, 1651, 4to (Phillipps); and with an historical piece, 'Five Years of King James,' London, 1643, 4to. The last work, written by a puritan partisan of Essex, forms the basis of Arthur Wilson's 'Life and History of King James,' and perhaps came from Wilson's pen (cf. Notes and Queries, 4th ser. ii. 489). That Brooke wrote more than has reached us is possible. He states that he burned, for no very intelligible reason, a third tragedy on the subject of Antony and Cleopatra at the time of Queen Elizabeth's death (Life of Sidney, p. 172). He undoubtedly contemplated expanding his notice of Elizabeth's reign in his 'Life of Sidney' into an elaborate historical treatise, beginning with the marriage of Henry VII, but mainly dealing with Elizabeth's life. He discussed the plan with Sir Robert Cecil, but Cecil objected to giving him free access to state papers, and made it plain that the work could not be published without much editing on the part of James and his ministers. Brooke consequently relinquished his plan. An interesting letter from Brooke to Villiers, duke of Buckingham (10 April 1623) is printed from 'Harl. MS.' 1581 in Walpole's 'Royal and Noble Authors,' ed. 1806, ii. 236-7.
Dr. Grosart has reprinted all Brooke's extant works in his 'Fuller Worthies Library' (4 vols. 1870). A fine engraved portrait is inserted in the Grenville Library copy of Brydges's reprint of Greville's 'Life of Sidney.'
[Biog. Brit. ; Dugdale's Baronage and Warwickshire; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum in Brit. Mus. MS. Addit. 24492, ff. 107 sq.; Nichols's Progresses of James I; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595-1628 ; Fox Bourne's Life of Sir Philip-