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Three blessings wait upon them, one of which
Of frothy billows, and in one great name
[From the same.] Still young and fine, but what is still in view We slight as old and soil'd, though fresh and new. How bright wert thou when Shem's admiring eye Thy burnish'd flaming arch did first descry; When Zerah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot, The youthful world's gray fathers, in one knot Did with intentive looks watch every hour For thy new light, and trembled at each shower! When thou dost shine, darkness looks white and fair; Forms turn to music, clouds to smiles and air; Rain gently spends his honey-drops, and pours Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and flowers. Bright pledge of peace and sunshine, the sure tie Of thy Lord's hand, the object of his eye ! When I behold thee, though my light be dim, Distinct, and low, I can in thine see him, Who looks upon thee from his glorious throne, And minds the covenant betwixt all and One.
Sure thou didst flourish once, and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers, Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings
Which now are dead, lodg'd in thy living towers. And still a new succession sings and flies,
Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot Towards the old and still enduring skies,
While the low violet thrives at their root.
THOMAS STANLEY, the learned editor of Æschylus, and author of a History of Philosophy, appears early in this period as a poet, having published a volume of his verses in 1651. The only son of Sir Thomas Stanley, knight, of Camberlow-Green, in Hertfordshire, he was educated at Pembroke college, Oxford; spent part of his youth in travelling; and afterwards lived in the Middle Temple. His poems, whether original or translated, are remarkable for a rich style of thought and expression, though deformed to some extent by the conceits of his age.
The Story of Endymion.
When, cruel fair one, I am slain
By thy disdain,
To some old tomb am borne,
To those of Death ;
To see my tomb,
And (as a victor) proud,
Press near my shade,
Conceal my dust,
Dumb and forgotten, lie, The pride of all thy victory
Will sleep with me; And they who should attest thy glory, Will, or forget, or not believe this story. Then to increase thy triumph, let me rest, Since by thine eye slain, buried in thy breast.
Of Fortune or Disdain,
And soften the relentless stones,
Nor peaceful requiem sing,
The sacred silence that dwells here.
See, the rain soaks to the skin,
Yet ere I go,
So wretched as to know
A faith so bright,
So firm, that lovers might
And crown'd thy naine
Whilst the shrill voice of Fame Spread wide thy beauty and my truth.
This thou hast lost,
That my just aims were crost,
And none will lay
But such as would betray
Yet, if thou choose
Affection may excuse,
Note on Anacreon. [The following piece is a translation by Stanley from a poem by St Amant, in which that writer had employed his utmost genius to expand and enforce one of the over-free sentiments of the bard of Teios.]
Let's not rhyme the hours away ;
Note to Moschus. [Stanley here translates a poem of Marino, in which that writer had in his eye the second idyl of Moschus.]
Along the mead Europa walks,
To choose the fairest of its gems,
She weaves in fragrant diadems.
The common people of the field,
Homage as to their goddess yield.
Which to the queen shall first present
When deathless Amaranth, this strife,
on seeing one of his pieces, that when men are Greedy by dying to decide,
young, and have little else to do, they may vent the Begs she would her green thread of life, overflowings of their fancy in that way; but when As love's fair destiny, divide.
they are thought fit for more serious employPliant Acanthus now the vine
ments, if they still persisted in that course, it looked And ivy enviously beholds,
as if they minded not the way to any better.' The Wishing her odorous arms might twine
poet stood corrected and bridled in his muse. In About this fair in such strict folds.
1648 Denham conveyed the Duke of York to France,
and resided in that country some time. His estate The Violet, by her foot opprest,
was sold by the Long Parliament; but the RestoraDoth from that touch enamour'd rise,
tion revived his fallen dignity and fortunes. He But, losing straight what made her blest,
was made surveyor of the king's buildings, and a Hangs down her head, looks pale, and dies.
knight of the bath. In domestic life the poet does Clitia, to new devotion won,
not seem to have been happy. He had freed himDoth now her former faith deny,
self from his early excesses and follies, but an unforSees in her face a double sun,
tunate marriage darkened his closing years, which And glories in apostacy.
were unhappily visited by insanity. He recovered, The Gillyflower, which mocks the skies,
to receive the congratulations of Butler, his fellow(The meadow's painted rainbow) seeks
poet, and to commemorate the death of Cowley, in A brighter lustre from her eyes,
one of his happiest effusions. And richer scarlet from her cheeks.
Cooper's Hill, the poem by which Denham is now
best known, consists of between three and four hunThe jocund flower-de-luce appears,
dred lines, written in the heroic couplet. The deBecause neglected, discontent ;
scriptions are interspersed with sentimental digresThe morning furnish'd her with tears;
sions, suggested by the objects around the river Her sighs expiring odours vent.
Thames, a ruined abbey, Windsor forest, and the Narcissus in her eyes, once more,
field of Runnymede. The view from Cooper's Hill Seems his own beauty to admire;
is rich and luxuriant, but the muse of Denham was In water not so clear before,
more reflective than descriptive. Dr Johnson assigns As represented now in fire.
to this poct the praise of being the author of a The Crocus, who would gladly claim
species of composition that may be denominated A privilege above the rest,
local poetry, of which the fundamental subject is Begs with his triple tongue of flame,
some particular landscape, to be poetically described,
with the addition of such embellishments as may be To be transplanted to her breast.
supplied by historical retrospection or incidental The Hyacinth, in whose pale leaves
meditation. Ben Jonson's fine poem on Penshurst The hand of Nature writ his fate,
may dispute the palm of originality on this point With a glad smile his sigh deceives
with the Cooper's Hill,' but Jonson could not have In hopes to be more fortunate.
written with such correctness, or with such intense His head the drowsy Poppy rais’d,
and pointed expression, as Denham. The versificaAwak’d by this approaching morn,
tion of this poet is generally smooth and flowing, And viewd her purple light amaz’d,
but he had no pretensions to the genius of Cowley, Though his, alas ! was but her scorn.
or to the depth and delicacy of feeling possessed by None of this aromatic crowd,
the old dramatists, or the poets of the Elizabethan But for their kind death humbly call,
period. He reasoned fluently in verse, without
glaring faults of style, and hence obtained the approCourting her hand, like martyrs proud,
of Dr Johnson far above his deserts. Denham By so divine a fate to fall.
could not, like his contemporary, Chamberlayne, The royal maid th' applause disdains
have described the beauty of a summer morningOf vulgar flowers, and only chose The bashful glory of the plains,
The morning hath not lost her virgin blush,
How full of heaven this solitude appears,
This healthful comfort of the happy swain ;
Who from his hard but peaceful bed roused up,
In's morning exercise saluted is
By a full quirc of feather'd choristers,
Wedding their notes to the enamour'd air !
Here nature in her unaffected dress SIR JOHN DENHAM (1615-1668) was the son of the Plaited with valleys, and emboss'd with hills chief baron of exchequer in Ireland, but was educated Enchas'd with silver streams, and fring'd with woods, at Oxford, then the chief resort of all the poetical Sits lovely in her native russet.* and high-spirited cavaliers. Denham was wild and Chamberlayne is comparatively unknown, and has dissolute in his youth, and squandered away great never been included in any edition of the poets
, yet part of his patrimony at the gaming-table. He was every reader of taste or sensibility must feel that the
made governor of Farnham castle by Charles I.; above picture far transcends the cold sketches of and after the monarch had been delivered into the Denham, and is imbued with a poetical spirit to which hands of the army, his secret correspondence was he was a stranger. “That Sir John Denham began a partly carried on by Denham, who was furnished reformation in our verse,' says Southey, 'is one of with nine several ciphers for the purpose. Charles the most groundless assertions that ever obtained had a respect for literature, as well as the arts; and belief in literature. More thought and more skill Milton records of him that he made Shakspeare's had been exercised before his time in the construcplays the closet-companion of his solitude. It would tion of English metre than he ever bestowed on the appear, however, that the king wished to keep poetry apart from state affairs : for he told Denham,
* Chamberlayne's 'Love's Victory.'
subject, and by men of far greater attainments, and which shade and shelter from the hill derives, far higher powers. To improve, indeed, either upon while the kind river wealth and beauty gives; the versification or the diction of our great writers And in the mixture of all these appears was impossible; it was impossible to exceed them in Variety, which all the rest endears. the knowledge or in the practice of their art, but it This scene had some bold Greek or British bard was easy to avoid the more obvious faults of inferior Beheld of old, what stories had we heard authors: and in this way he succeeded, just so far of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames, as not to be included in
Their feasts, their revels, and their amorous flames! The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease;
'Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape. nor consigned to oblivion with the “persons of quality” who contributed their vapid effusions to the The four lines printed in Italics have been praised miscellanies of those days. His proper place is by every critic from Dryden to the present day. among those of his contemporaries and successors who called themselves wits, and have since been en- [The Reformation—Monks and Puritans.] titled poets by the courtesy of England.'* Denham, nevertheless, deserves a place in English literature, Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise, though not that high one which has heretofore been But my fix'd thoughts my wandering eye betrays. assigned to him. The traveller who crosses the Viewing a neighbouring hill, whose top of late Alps or Pyrenees finds pleasure in the contrast af- A chapel crown’d, till in the common fate forded by level plains and calm streams, and so Den- Th’ adjoining abbey fell. May no such storm ham's correctness pleases, after the wild imaginations Fall on our times, where ruin must reform and irregular harmony of the greater masters of the Tell me, my muse, what monstrous dire offence, lyre who preceded him. In reading him, we feel that What crime could any Christian king incense we are descending into a different scene—the ro
To such a rage? Was't luxury or lust? mance is over, and we must be content with smooth- Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just ? ness, regularity, and order.
Were these their crimes? They were his own much
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor, [The Thames and Windsor Forest.]
Who having spent the treasures of his crown, [From Cooper's Hill.']
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear devotion's name.
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And, free from conscience, is a slave to fame. Like mortal life to meet eternity.
Thus he the church at once protects, and spoils : Though with those streams he no remembrance hold, But princes' swords are sharper than their styles. Whose foam is amber and their gravel gold,
And thus to th' ages past he makes amends,
Then did religion in a lazy cell,
And lîke the block unmoved lay ; but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours. Like mothers which their infants overlay ;
Is there no temperate region can be known,
Betwixt their frigid and our torrid zone!
But to be restless in a worse extreme ?
But to be cast into a calenture First loves to do, then loves the good he does. Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd,
So far, to make us wish for ignorance ? But free and common, as the sea or wind.
And rather in the dark to grope our way,
Than, led by a false guide, to err by day.
Denham had just and enlightened notions of the Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours : duty of a translator. It is not his business alone,' Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants, he says, 'to translate language into language, but Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants ;
poesy into poesy; and poesy is so subtle a spirit, So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
that, in pouring out of one language into another, While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
it will all evaporate; and if a new spirit be not O, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
added in the translation, there will remain noMy great example, as it is my theme!
thing but a caput mortuum; there being certain Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not dull, graces and happinesses peculiar to every language, Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
which give life and energy to the words. Hence, in
his poetical address to Sir Richard Fanshawe, on his But his proud head the airy mountain hides
translation of Pastor Fido,' our poet saysAmong the clouds; his shoulders and his sides A shady mantle clothes ; his curled brows
That servile path thou nobly dost decline Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows
Of tracing word by word, and line by line. While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat,
Those are the labour'd births of slavish brains, The common fate of all that's high or great.
Not the effect of poetry, but pains. Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Cheap vulgar arts, whose narrowness affords Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd,
No flight for thoughts, but poorly sticks at words.
A new and nobler way thou dost pursue,
They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame, True to his sense, but truer to his fame. | The two last lines are very happily conceived and expressed. Denham wrote a tragedy, the Sophy, which is but a tame commonplace plot of Turkish jealousy, treachery, and murder. Occasionally, there is a vigorous thought or line, as when the envious king asks Haly
Have not I performed actions As great, and with as great a moderation ? The other replies
Ay, sir, but that's forgotten; Actions of the last age are like almanacs of the last
year. This sentiment was too truly felt by many of the cavaliers in the days of Charles II. We subjoin part of Denham's elegy on the death of Cowley, in which it will be seen that the poet forgot that Shakspeare was buried on the banks of his native Avon, not in Westminster Abbey, and that both he and Fletcher died long ere time had blasted their bays.'
On Mr Abraham Cowley.
That in the Muses' garden grew,
Song to Morpheus.
[From the Sophy,' Act v.] Morpheus, the humble god, that dwells In cottages and smoky cells, Hates gilded roofs and beds of down ; And, though he fears no prince's frown, Flies from the circle of a crown. Come, I say, thou powerful god, And thy leaden charming rod, Dipt in the Lethean lake, O’er his wakeful temples shake, Lest he should sleep and never wake. Nature, alas ! why art thou so Obliged to thy greatest foe? Sleep, that is thy best repast, Yet of death it bears a taste, And both are the same thing at last.
Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. Old Chaucer, like the morning star, To us discovers day from far. His light those mists and clouds dissolu'd Which our dark nation long involvd; But he, descending to the shades, Darkness again the age invades ; Next (like Aurora) Spenser rose, Whose purple blush the day foreshows ; The other three with his own fires Phoebus, the poet's god, inspires : By Shakspeare's, Jonson's, Fletcher's lines, Our stage's lustre Rome's outshines. These poets near our princes sleep, And in one grave their mansion keep. They lived to see so many days, Till time had blasted all their bays; But cursed be the fatal hour That pluck'd the fairest sweetest flower
WILLIAM CHAMBERLAYNE (1619-1689) describes himself in the title-page to his works as . of Shaftesbury, in the county of Dorset.' The poet practised as a physician at Shaftesbury; but he appears to have wielded the sword as well as the lancet, for he was present among the royalists at the battle of Newbury. His circumstances must have been far from flourishing, as, like Vaughan, he complains keenly of the poverty of poets, and states that he was debarred from the society of the wits of his day. The works of Chamberlayne consist of two poems—Love's Victory, a tragi-comedy published in 1658 ; and Pharonnida, a Heroic Poem, published in 1659. The scene of the first is laid in Sicily, and that of Pharonnida' is also partly in Sicily, but chiefly in Greece. With no court connexion, no light or witty copies of verses to float him into popularity, relying solely on his two long and comparatively unattractive works—to appreciate which,