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ye, who love to tear oblivion's veil From the chill tomb,and strew fresh flowers around, Where ancient sages slumber in the ground, Come, join with me, and listen to the tale Which bids neglected worth no more bewail Her fate obscure.


THERE is a singular satisfaction in discovering that the place in which you have been many years resident, has, in days long past, given birth to some who have been eminent in their age for philosophy or literature, or arts, and more especially is this the case, if, in the vicissitudes of taste, and the progress of improvement, obscurity should have stolen over their memory and their name; for what can be more delightful than to rekindle a grateful recollection of those to whom their contemporaries have been indebted for hours of elegant amusement, or lessons of persuasive wisdom.

It is with a feeling of this kind that now, whilst the fervid heat of noon disposes to reflection and retirement, I sit down to record what, at this distant period, can be collected of the biography of two once celebrated poets, natives of Hadleigh, in Suffolk, WILLIAm Alabaster, and JOSEPH BEAUMONT; the former highly eminent in his day for the depth of his erudition and the beauty of his latin verses, the latter for his theological attainments, and his vernacular poetry.

WILLIAM ALABASTER was born at Hadleigh, in Suffolk, in 1567. He received the first part of his education at the grammar school of his native town, then in considerable estimation for the talent with which it was conducted.* From

Hadleigh school can also boast the honour of having edu cated that profound and accomplished scholar JOHN OVERALL, who preceded Alabaster by a few years, and went immediately from Hadleigh to St. John's College, Cambridge. He was afterwards chosen fellow of Trinity College, and in 1596 he took his degree of D.D. when he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity, and Master of Catharine-hall in the same University. He became the successor of Dr. Nowell as Dean of St. Pauls in 1601; and was chosen Prolocutor of the Lower House of Convocation towards the commencement of James's reign. His erudition and piety were rewarded in 1614,

the school of Hadleigh he was sent to that of Westminster, and from the latter to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1587, that of Master of Arts in 1591, and in 1592 he was incorporated of the University of Oxford. During his residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, he appears to have obtained the patronage of Dr. Still, Margaret Professor, Master of the College, and Rector of Hadleigh, and subsequently bishop of Bath and Wells*; and Wood in his Athenæ

by the bishopric of Lichfield and Coventry, and by a translation to the see of Norwich in 1618, which he enjoyed, however, little more than a year, dying there May 12th, 1619.

Bishop Overall was the intimate friend and correspondent of Gerard Vossius and Grotius. He was styled by Camden " a prodigious learned man ;" by Wood, "the best scholastic divine in the English nation," and Cosin, bishop of Durham, who erected a monument to his memory in Norwich Cathedral, terms him in the inscription which he placed upon it, "Vir undequaque doctissimus, et omni encomio major."

Overall was the author of the celebrated "Convocation Book;" he was also one of the translators of the Bible, and is mentioned by Mr. Churton, in his life of Nowell, as having written that part of the Church Catechism which includes the sacraments.

The author of Gammer Gurton's Needle.

Oxonienses speaks of him as an ornament to that University, calling him "the rarest poet and Grecian that any one age or nation produced."*

It was probably about the period of 1596 or 1597, and when he had acquired no small celebrity as a classical poet, that he received from the Lord Keeper Egerton, the offer of the Rectory of Brettenham, in Suffolk, which he declined however, as not being equal to his expectations, accompanying the letter which he wrote on this. occasion, with a copy of elegant Latin hexameters, addressed to his Lordship, who was then deservedly esteemed the Mæcenas of his age.†

The preferment, however, which he did accept at this period, was that of Chaplain to the Earl of Essex during his enterprise against Cadiz in 1597; on his return from which expedition he was unfortunately induced to desert the Church of England for that of Rome, an apostacy which was speedily rewarded by the confinement of a prison, for he sought to vindicate his change of opinion by a publication under

* Athenæ Oxon. Vol. i. Fast. 144.

+ Todd's Spenser, Vol. i. p. ci.

the title of "Seven Motives for his Conversion," an attempt which was not easily pardoned in those days of polemical irritation. "Dr. Alabaster," says one of his adversaries on this occasion, "who published in 1598, by means of private conference with a certain seminary priest, whom in prison he laboured to convert, was by the same priest perverted, so that of a perfect protestant, hee is nowe become an absolute papist, and is for the same imprisoned."


The controversy to which this defection gave rise, occupied his time for some years, and in 1604 brought upon him an antagonist of the first reputation in his day as a scholar and divine, Dr. William Bedell, afterwards bishop of Kilmore, who wrote an answer to a work which 'Alabaster had published in defence of his new tenets under the title of "Four Demands."+

* "A Booke of the Seven Planets, or Seven Wandring Motives of William Alabaster's wit, retrograded or removed by John Racster. Melius est claudicare in via quam currere extra viam. August, at London, printed by Peter Short, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paule's Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell, 1598. 4to. 47 leaves."— Vide British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 543.

+"Among the Lambeth manuscripts (No. 772.)," says Mr. Todd," there is a valuable and curious work, entitled

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