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Nile marvels, Serap's priests entranced rave,
And birds their ramagel did on thee bestow. And in Mygdonian stone her shape engrare ;
Since that dear voice which did thy sounds approre, In lasting cedars they do mark the time
Which wont in such harmonious strains to flow, In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.
Is reft from earth to tune the spheres above, Let mother earth now deck'd with flowers be seen, | What art thou but a harbinger of woe? And sweet-breath'd zephyrs curl the meadows green : | Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more, Let heaven weep rubies in a crimson shower,
But orphan wailings to the fainting ear, Such as on India's shores they use to pour :
Each stroke a sigh, each sound draws forth a tear ; Or with that golden storm the fields adorn
For which be silent as in woods before :
Like widow'd turtle still her loss complain.
(The Praise of a Solitary Life.]
Thrice happy he who by some shady grove, And you, my nymphs, rise from your moist repair,
Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own.
Thou solitary, who is not alone,
But doth converse with that eternal love.
O how more sweet is bird's harmonious moan, Whate'er beneath Albania's hills do run,
Or the hoarse sobbings of the widow'd dove, Which see the rising or the setting sun,
Than those smooth whisperings near a prince's Which drink stern Grampus' mists, or Ochil's snows :
throne, Stone-rolling Tay, Tyne, tortoise-like, that flows;
Which good make doubtful, do the eril approre ! The pearly Don, the Dees, the fertile Spey,
O how more sweet is Zephyr's wholesome breath, Wild Severn, which doth see our longest day;
And sighs embalm'd which new-born flowers unfold, Ness, smoking sulphur, Leve, with mountains crown'd,
Than that applause vain honour doth bequeath ! Strange Lomond for his floating isles renown’d;
How sweet are streams to poison drank in gold ! The Irish Rian, Ken, the silver Ayr,
The world is full of horror, troubles, slights : The snaky Doon, the Orr with rushy hair,
Woods' harmless shades have only true delights.
[To a Nightingale.]
Of winters past, or coming, void of care.
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers : Bid them bid sea.gods keep this festival;
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers, This day shall by our currents be renown'd;
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare, Our hills about shall still this day resound :
And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare, Nay, that our love more to this day appear,
A stain to human sense in sin that low'rs.
What soul can be so sick which by thy songs
Quite to forget earth’turmoils, spites, and wrongs, Cool shades to pilgrims, which hot glances burn, And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven ! Are not so pleasing as thy blest return,
Sweet artless songster ! thou my mind dost raiso That day, dear Prince.
To airs of spheres--yes, and to angels' lays.
[Epitaph on Prince Henry. ]
Stay, passenger, see where enclosed lies
To his Lute.
My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
* Milton has copied this image in his Lycidas
• Inwrought with figures dim. and on the edge
1 Warbling: from ramage, French.
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
The morning rose, that untouch'd stands, To which one morn oft birth and death affords,
Arm'd with her briers, how sweetly smells ! That love a jarring is of mind's accords,
But pluck'd and strain'd through ruder hands, Where sense and will bring under Reason's power : Her sweets no longer with her dwells; Know what I list, all this cannot me move,
But scent and beauty both are gone,
And leaves fall from her, one by one.
When thou hast handled been awhile,
Like sere flowers to be thrown aside;
And I will sigh, while some will smile, (1570-1638), enjoyed, like Drummond, the advan
To see thy love for more than one tages of foreign travel and acquaintance with Eng
Hath brought thee to be loved by none. * lish poets. The few pieces of his composition are in pure English, and evince a smoothness and deli
GEORGE BUCHANAN-DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON.. cacy of fancy that have rarely been surpassed. The poet was a native of Fifeshire, son of Ayton of Two Scottish anthors of this period distinguished Kinaldie. James I. appointed him one of the gentle- themselves by their critical excellence and poetical men of the bed-chamber, and private secretary to fancy in the Latin language. By early and intense his queen, besides conferring upon him the honour study, they acquired all the freedom and fluency of of knighthood. Ben Jonson seemed proud of his natives in this learned tongue, and have become friendship, for he told Drummond that Sir Robert
known to posterity as the Scottish Virgil and the loved him (Jonson) dearly.
Scottish Ovid. We allude to the celebrated GEORGE
BUCHANAN and DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON. The for[On Woman's Inconstancy.] I lov'd thee once, I'll love no more,
Thine be the grief as is the blame ; Thou art not what thou wast before, What reason I should be the same ?
He that can love unlov'd again,
Hath better store of love than brain :
While unthrifts fool their love away.
If thou hadst still continued mine;
But thou thy freedom did recall,
That if thou might elsewhere inthral;
A captive's captive to remain ?
And chang'd the object of thy will,
Yea, it had been a sin to go
And prostitute affection so,
To such as must to others pray.
Thy choice of his good fortune boast;
The height of my disdain shall be,
To laugh at him, to blush for thee;
mer is noticed among our prose authors. His great A begging to a beggar's door.
work is his paraphrase of the Psalms, part of which was composed in a monastery in Portugal, to which
he had been confined by the Inquisition about the [I do Confess Thou’rt Smooth and Fair.]
year 1550. He afterwards pursued the sacred strain in
France; and his task was finished in Scotland when 'I do confess thou’rt smooth and fair,
Mary had assumed the duties of sovereignty. BuchAnd I might have gone near to love thee ; .
| * It is doubtful whether this beautiful song (which Burns Had I not found the slightest prayer
destroyed by rendering into Scotch) was actually the compoThat lips could speak had power to move thee:
sition of Ayton. It is printed anonymously in Lawes's Ayres and But I can let thee now alone,
Dialogues, 1659. It is a suspicious circumstance, that in WatAs worthy to be loved by none.
son's Collection of Scottish Poems (1706-11), where several poems I do confess thou’rt sweet, yet find
by Sir Robert are printed, with his name, in a cluster, this is
inserted at a different part of the work, without his name. Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,
But the internal evidence is strongly in favour of Sir Robert Thy favours are but like the wind,
- Ayton being the author, as, in purity of language, elegance, and That kisses every thing it meets.
tenderness, it resembles his undoubted lyrics. Aubrey, in And since thou can with more than one,
praising Ayton, suys, Mr John Dryden has seen verses of his, Thou’rt worthy to be kiss'd by none.
some of the best of that age, printed with some other verses.'
anan superintended the studies of that unfortunate Quale canebamus, steterat dum celsa Sionis princess, and dedicated to her one of the most finished Regia, finitimis invidiosa locis. and beautiful of his productions, the Epithalamium, Siccine divinos Babylon irrideat hymnos ? composed on her first nuptials. The character and Audiat et sanctos terra profana modos! works of Buchanan, who was equally distinguished O Solymæ, ô adyta, & sacri penetralia templi, as a jurist, a poet, and a historian, exhibit a rare Ullane vos animo deleat hora meo ? union of philosophical dignity and research with the Comprecor, antè meæ capiant me oblivia dextræ, finer sensibilities and imagination of the poet. Nec memor argutæ sit mea dextra lyræ : Arthur Johnston was born at Caskieben, near Aber Os mihi destituat vox, arescente palato, deen, in 1587. He studied medicine at Padua, and Hæreat ad fauces aspera lingua meas : resided for about twenty years in France. On his Prima mihi vestræ nisi sint præconia laudis ; return to Britain, he obtained the patronage of Arch
Hinc nisi lætitiæ surgat origo meæ. bishop Laud, and was appointed physician to Charles At tu (quæ nostræ insultavit læta rapina) I. He died at Oxford in 1641. Johnston wrote a
Gentis Idumææ tu memor esto, pater. number of Latin elegies and epigrams, a paraphrase
Diripite, ex imis evertite fundamentis, of the Song of Solomon, a collection of short poems Æquaque (clamabant) reddite tecta solo. (published in 1637), entitled, Musa Aulicæ, and (his Tu quoque crudeles Babylon dabis impia panas : greatest work, as it was that of Buchanan) a com Et rerum instabiles experiere vices. plete version of the Psalms. He also edited and
Felix qui nostris accedet cladibus ultor, contributed largely to the Deliciæ Poetarum Scotorum, Reddet ad exemplum qui tibi damna tuum. a collection of congratulatory poems by various
Felix qui tenero consperget saxa cerebro, authors, which reflected great honour on the taste
Eripiens gremio pignora cara tuo. and scholarship of the Scottish nation. Critics have been divided as to the relative merits of Buchanan
The First of May. and Johnston. We subjoin the opinions of a Scottish and an English scholar :- If we look into Buch- [Translated, as is the subsequent piece, from the Latin of anan,' says Dr Beattie, 'what can we say, but that | Buchanan, by the late Mr Robert Hogg.] the learned author, with great command of Latin
All hail to thee, thou First of May, expression, has no true relish for the emphatic con
Sacred to wonted sport and play, ciseness and unadorned simplicity of the inspired
To wine, and jest, and dance, and song, poets ? Arthur Johnston is not so verbose, and has,
And mirth that lasts the whole day long ! of course, more vigour ; but his choice of a couplet,
Hail ! of the seasons honour bright, which keeps the reader always in mind of the puerile
Annual return of sweet delight ; . epistles of Ovid, was singularly injudicious. As
Flower of reviving summer's reign, psalms may, in prose as easily as in verse, be adapted
That hastes to time's old age again ! to music, why should we seek to force those divine
When Spring's mild air at Nature's birth strains into the measures of Roman or of modern
First breath'd upon the new-form'd earth ; song? He who transformed Livy into iambics, and
Or when the fabled age of gold, Virgil into monkish rhyme, did not, in my opinion,
Without fix'd law, spontaneous roll'd ; act more absurdly. In fact, sentiments of devotion
Such zephyrs, in continual gales, are rather depressed than elevated by the arts of the
Pass'd temperate along the vales, European versifier.'* The following is the testi
And soften'd and refresh'd the soil, mony of Mr Hallam :--The Scots certainly wrote
Not broken yet by human toil; Latin with a good ear and considerable elegance of
Such fruitful warmths perpetual rest phrase. A sort of critical controversy was carried
On the fair islands of the bleston in the last century as to the versions of the
Those plains where fell disease's moan Psalms by Buchanan and Johnston. Though the
And frail old age are both unknown. national honour may seem equally secure by the
Such winds with gentle whispers spread superiority of either, it has, I believe, been usual in
Among the dwellings of the dead, Scotland to maintain the older poet against all the
And shake the cypresses that grow world. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that
Where Lethe murmurs soft and slow, Johnston's Psalms, all of which are in elegiac metre,
Perhaps when God at last in ire
Hail ! glory of the fleeting year!
Memorial of the time gone by,
And emblem of futurity !
My wreck of mind, and all my woes,
And all my ills, that day arose, Inque sinus liquidæ decidit imber aquæ.
When on the fair Neæra's eyes, Muta super virides pendebant nablia ramos,
Like stars that shine, Et salices tacitas sustinuere lyras.
At first, with hapless fond surprise,
I gazed with mine.
When my glance met her searching glance,
A shivering o'er my body burst, Nos jubet ad patrios verba referre modos,
As light leaves in the green woods dance * Beattie's Dissertations, Moral and Critical.
When western breezes stir them first;
My heart forth from my breast to go,
most sacred persons, not excluding the Deity, were And mix with her's already wanting,
introduced into them. Now beat, now trembled to and fro,
About the reign of Henry VI., persons representWith eager fondness leaping, panting.
ing sentiments and abstract ideas, such as Mercy, Just as a boy, whose nourice woos him,
Justice, Truth, began to be introduced into the Folding his young limbs in her bosom,
miracle plays, and led to the composition of an imHeeds not caresses from another,
proved kind of drama, entirely or chiefly composed But turns his eyes still to his mother,
of such characters, and termed Moral Plays. These When she may once regard him watches,
were certainly a great advance upon the miracles, And forth his little fond arms stretches.
in as far as they endeavoured to convey sound moral Just as a bird within the nest
lessons, and at the same time gave occasion to some That cannot fly, yet constant trying,
poetical and dramatic ingenuity, in imaging forth Its weak wings on its tender breast
the characters, and assigning appropriate speeches Beats with the vain desire of flying.
to each. The only scriptural character retained
in them was the devil, who, being represented in Thou, wary mind, thyself preparing
grotesque habiliments, and perpetually beaten by To live at peace, from all ensnaring,
an attendant character, called the Vice, served to That thou might'st never mischief catch,
enliven what must have been at the best a sober, Plac’d'st you, unhappy eyes, to watch
though well-meant entertainment. The Cradle of With vigilance that knew no rest,
Security, Hit the Nail on the Head, Impatient Poverty, Beside the gateways of the breast.
and the Marriage of Wisdom and Wit, are the names But you, induc'd by dalliance deep,
of moral plays which enjoyed popularity in the reign Or guile, or overcome by sleep ;
of Henry VIII. It was about that time that acting Or else have of your own accord
first became a distinct profession; both miracles Consented to betray your lord ;
and moral plays had previously been represented Both heart and soul then fled and left
by clergymen, schoolboys, or the members of tradMe spiritless, of mind bereft.
ing incorporations, and were only brought forward
occasionally, as part of some public or private fesThen cease to weep ; use is there none
tivity. To think by weeping to atone;
As the introduction of allegorical characters had Since heart and spirit from me fled,
been an improvement upon those plays which conYou move not by the tears you shed;
sisted of scriptural persons only, so was the introBut go to her, intreat, obtain ;
duction of historical and actual characters an imIf you do not intreat, and gain,
provement upon those which employed only a set of Then will I ever make you gaze
impersonated ideas. It was soon found that a real Upon her, till in dark amaze
human being, with a human name, was better calYou sightless in your sockets roll,
culated to awaken the sympathies, and keep alive Extinguish'd by her eyes' bright blaze,
the attention of an audience, and not less so to im. As I have been depriy'd of heart and soul.
press them with moral truths, than a being who only represented a notion of the mind. The substi
tution of these for the symbolical characters, graDRAMATISTS.
dually took place during the earlier part of the sixNotwithstanding the greatness of the name of teenth century; and thus, with some aid from Greek Spenser, it is not in general versification that the dramatic literature, which now began to be studied, poetical strength of the age is found to be chiefly and from the improved theatres of Italy and Spain, manifested. Towards the latter part of the reign of the genuine English drama took its rise. Elizabeth, the dramatic form of composition and re-! As specimens of something between the moral presentation, coinciding with that love of splendour, plays and the modern drama, the Interludes of JOHN chivalrous feeling, and romantic adventures, which Heywood may be mentioned. Heywood was sup- ; animated the court, rose with sudden and wonderful ported at the court of Henry VIII. partly as a : brilliancy, and attracted nearly all the poetical genius musician, partly as a professed wit, and partly as a of England.
writer of plays. His dramatic compositions, part It would appear that, at the dawn of modern civi of which were produced before 1521, generally relisation, most countries of Christian Europe pos presented some ludicrous familiar incident, in a sessed a rude kind of theatrical entertainment, con style of the broadest and coarsest farce, but yet sisting, not in those exhibitions of natural character with no small skill and talent. One, called the and incident which constituted the plays of ancient Four Pi's, turns upon a dispute between a Palmer, Greece and Rome, but in representations of the prin- a Pardoner, a Poticary, and a Pedlar (who are the cipal supernatural events of the Old and New Testa only characters), as to which shall tell the grossest ments, and of the history of the saints, whence they falsehood: an accidental assertion of the Palmer, were denominated Miracles, or Miracle Plays. Ori- | that he never saw a woman out of patience in his ginally, they appear to have been acted by, and under life, takes the rest off their guard, all of whom dethe immediate management of, the clergy, who are clare it to be the greatest lie they ever heard, and understood to have deemed them favourable to the the settlement of the question is thus brought about diffusion of religious feeling; though, from the traces amidst much drollery. One of Heywood's chief of them which remain, they seem to have been pro- objects seems to have been to satirise t
objects seems to have been to satirise the manners sane and indecorous in the highest degree. A of the clergy, and aid in the cause of the Reformers. miracle play, upon the story of St Katherine, and There were some less distinguished writers of inin the French language, was acted at Dunstable in terludes, and Sir David Lyndsay's Satire of the 1119, and how long such entertainments may have Three Estates, acted in Scotland in 1539, was a previously existed in England is not known. From play of this kind. the year 1268 to 1577, they were performed almost The regular drama, from its very commencement, every year in Chesterand there were few large was divided into comedy and tragedy, the elements cities which were not then regaled in a similar man- of both being found quite distinct in the rude enterner; even in Scotland they were not unknown. The tainments above described, not to speak of the pre
cedents afforded by Greece and Rome. Of comedy, Of patient sprite to others wrapp'd in woe, which was an improvement upon the interludes, and And can in speech both rule and conquer kind, may be more remotely traced in the ludicrous parts | Who, if by proof they might feel nature's force, of the moral plays, the earliest 'specimen that can Would show themselves men as they are indeed, now be found bears the uncouth title of Ralph | Which now will needs be gods. Royster Doyster, and was the production of Nicolas Upall, master of Westminster school. It is sup
Not long after the appearance of Ferrex and posed to have been written in the reign of Henry
| Porrex, both tragedies and comedies had become not VIII., but certainly not later than 1551. The scene
uncommon. Damon and Pythias, the first English is in London, and the characters, thirteen in num
tragedy upon a classical subject, was acted before ber, exhibit the manners of the middle orders of the
the queen at Oxford, in 1566 ; it was the composition people of that day. It is divided into five acts, and
of RICHARD EDWARDS, a learned member of the unithe plot is amusing and well constructed. Mr J.
versity, but was inferior to Ferrex and Porrex, in as
far as it carried an admixture of vulgar comedy, and Payne Collier, who has devoted years of anxious study to the history and illustration of dramatic
was written in rhyme. In the same year, two plays literature, bas discovered four acts of a comedy,
respectively styled the Supposes and Jocasta, the one which he assigns to the year 1560. This play is
a comedy adapted from Ariosto, the other a traentitled Mesogonus, and bears to be written by Bous
gedy from Euripides, were acted in Gray's Inn Hall. • Thomas Rychardes. The scene is laid in Italy, but the manners are English, and the character of the domestic fool, so important in the old comedy, is fully delineated. The next in point of time is Gammer Gurton's Needle, supposed to have been written about 1565 (or still earlier) by John STILL, Master of Arts, and afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells. This is a piece of low rustic humour, the whole turning upon the loss and recovery of the needle with which Gammer Gurton was mending a piece of attire belonging to her man Hodge. But it is cleverly hit off, and contains a few well-sketched characters.
The language of Ralph Royster Doyster, and of
- How necessary it is now a-days,
Tragedy, of later origin than comedy, came directly from the more elevated portions of the moral plays, and from the pure models of Greece and Rome. The earliest known specimen of this kind of composition is the Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrer, composed by Thomas Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, and by Thomas Norton, and played before Queen Elizabeth at Whitehall, by the members of the Inner Temple, in January 1561. It is founded on a fabulous incident in early British history, and is fuil of slaughter and civil broils. It is written, however, in regular blank verse, consists of five acts,
Gray's Inn Hall. and observes some of the more useful rules of the
| A tragedy, called Tancred and Gismunda, composed classic drama of antiquity, to which it bears resem- |
by five members of the Inner Temple, and presented blance in the introduction of a chorus-that is, a
there before the queen in 1568, was the first Enggroup of persons whose sole business it is to inter
lish play taken from an Italian novel. Various sperse the play with moral observations and infe
dramatic pieces now followed, and between the years rences, expressed in lyrical stanzas. It may occasion
1568 and 1580, no less than fifty-two dramas were some surprise, that the first English tragedy should
acted at court under the superintendence of the contain lines like the following :
Master of the Revels. Under the date of 1578, we Acastus. Your grace should now, in these grave have the play of Promos and Cassandra, by GEORGE years of yours,
WHETSONE, on which Shakspeare founded his Have found ere this the price of mortal joys; Meusure for Measure. Historical plays were also How short they be, how fading here in earth; produced, and the Troublesome Reign of King John, How full of change, how little our estate,
the Famous Victories of Henry V., and the Chronicle Of nothing sure save only of the death,
History of Leir, King of England, formed the quarry To whom both man and all the world doth owe from which Shakspeare constructed his dramas on Their end at last : neither should nature's power the same events. The first regularly licensed theatre In other sort against your heart prevail,
in London was opened at Blackfriars in 1576; and in Than as the naked hand whose stroke assays
ten years, it is mentioned by Secretary Walsingham, The armed breast where force doth light in vain. that there were two hundred players in and near Gorboduc. Many can yield right sage and grave the metropolis. This was probably an exaggeration, advice
| but it is certain there were five public theatres open