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through all the windings of romantic love, plots, The spangled curtains of the sky, within escapes, and adventures, more time is required than Whose boundless orbs the circling planets spin the author's busy age could afford—we need hardly Those threads of time upon whose strength rely wonder that Chamberlayne was an unsuccessful The pond'rous burdens of mortality. poet. His works were almost totally forgotten, till, An adamantine world she sees, more pure, in our own day, an author no less remarkable for More glorious far than this-fram'd to endure the beauty of his original compositions than for his The shock of dooms-day's darts. literary research and sound criticism, Mr Campbell,
Chamberlayne, like Milton, was fond of describing in his · Specimens of the Poets,’ in 1819, by quoting the charms of morning. We have copied one pas. largely from ·Pharonnida,' and pointing out the breadth and variety of its scenes, and the power and sage in the previous notice of Denham, and nume
rous brief sketches, pathos of its characters and situations, drew attention to the passion, imagery, purity of sentiment,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round, and tenderness of description, which lay, like are interspersed throughout his works. For exmetals in the mine,' in the neglected volume of ample Chamberlayne. We cannot, however, suppose that
Where every bough the works of this poet can ever be popular; hise
Maintain'd a feather'd chorister to sing beauties are marred by infelicity of execution : though not deficient in the genius of a poet, he had
Soft panegyrics, and the rude wings brin: little of the skill of the artist. The heroic couplet
Into a murmuring slumber, whilst the calm
Morn on each leaf did hang her liquid balm, then wandered at will, sometimes into a wilderness of swects,' but at other times into tediousness, man
With an intent, before the next sun's birth,
To drop it in those wounds, which the cleft earth nerism, and absurdity. The sense was not com
Receiv'd from last day's beams. pressed by the form of the verse, or by any correct rules of metrical harmony. Chamberlayne also of virgin purity he says, with singular beauty of laboured under the disadvantage of his story being expressionlong and intricate, and his style such—from the
The morning pearls, prolonged tenderness and pathos of his scenes—as could not be appreciated except on a careful and
Dropt in the lily's spotless bosom, are
Less chastely cool, ere the meridian sun attentive perusal. Denham was patent to all-short,
Hath kiss'd them into heat. sententious, and perspicuous.
The dissatisfaction of the poet with his obscure In a grave narrative passage of Pharonnida,' he and neglected situation, depressed by poverty, stops to note the beauties of the morningbreaks out in the following passage descriptive of a rich simpleton :
The glad birds had sung,
A lullaby to night, the lark was filed, How purblind is the world, that such a monster,
On dropping wings, up from his dewy bed, In a few dirty acres swaddled, must
To fan them in the rising sunbeams.
[From Pharonnida.') The noble soldier sits, whilst, in his cell,
Is't a sin to be
Or is't the curse of greatness to behold
No splendour, 'less from equal orbs they shine ? So generous to relieve, where virtue doth
What heaven made free, ambitious men confine Necessitate to crave. Harsh poverty,
In regular degrees. Poor Love must dwell That moth, which frets the sacred robe of wit, Within no climate but what's parallel Thousands of noble spirits blunts, that else Unto our honour'd births; the envied fate Had spun rich threads of fancy from the brain : Of princes oft these burdens find from state, But they are souls too much sublim'd to thrive. When lowly swains, knowing no parent's voice The following description of a dream is finely And here she sighed ; then with some drops, distill'd
A negative, make a free happy choice.' executed, and seems to have suggested, or at least From Love's most sovereign elixir, filla bears a close resemblance to, the splendid opening The crystal fountains of her eyes, which, ere lines of Dryden's • Religio Laici :'
Dropp'd down, she thus recalls again : But ne'er, A strong prophetic dream,
Ne'er, my Argalia, shall these fears destroy Diverting by enigmas nature's stream,
My hopes of thee: Heaven ! let me but enjoy Long hovering through the portals of her mind So much of all those blessings, which their birth On vain fantastic wings, at length did find
Can take from frail mortality; and Earth, The glimmerings of obstructed reason, by
Contracting all her curses, cannot make A brighter beam of pure divinity
A storm of danger loud enough to shake Led into supernatural light, whose rays
Me to a trembling penitence; a curse, As much transcended reason's, as the day's
To make the horror of my suffering worse, Dull mortal fires, faith apprehends to be
Sent in a father's name, like vengeance fell Beneath the glimmerings of divinity:
From angry Heav'n, upon my head may dwell Her unimprison'd soul, disrob’d of all
In an eternal stain-my honour'd name Terrestrial thoughts (like its original
With pale disgrace may languish—busy fame In heaven, pure and immaculate), a fit
My reputation spot--affection be Companion for those bright angels' wit
Term'à uncommanded lust-sharp poverty, Which the gods made their messengers, to bear That weed that kills the gentle flow'r of love, This sacred truth, seeming transported where, As the result of all these ills, may prove Fix'd in the flaming centre of the world,
My greatest misery—unless to find The heart o' th' microcosm, about which is hurla Myself unpitied. Yet not so unkind
Would I esteem this mercenary band,
inexorable, and bestowed her hand on the Earl of As those far more malignant powers that stand, Sunderland. It is said that, meeting her long afterArm’d with dissuasions, to obstruct the way
wards, when she was far advanced in years, the lady Fancy directs; but let those souls obey
asked him when he would again write such verses Their harsh commands, that stand in fear to shed upon her. When you are as young, madam, and Repentant tears: I am resolved to tread
as handsome, as you were then,' replied the ungalThose doubtful paths, through all the shades of fear lant poet. The incident affords a key to Waller's That now benights them. Love, with pity hear character. He was easy, witty, and accomplished, Thy suppliant's prayer, and when my clouded eyes but cold and selfish ; destitute alike of high prinShall cease to weep, in smiles I'll sacrifice
ciple and deep feeling. As a member of parliament, To thee such offerings, that the utmost date
Waller distinguished himself on the popular side, Of death's rough hands shall never violate.'
and was chosen to conduct the prosecution against Judge Crawley for his opinion in favour of levying ship-money. His speech, on delivering the impeach
ment, was printed, and 20,000 copies of it sold in one EDMUND WALLER (1605–1687) was a courtly and day. Shortly afterwards, however, Waller joined amatory poet, inferior to Herrick or Suckling in in a plot to surprise the city militia, and let in the natural feeling and poetic fancy, but superior to king's forces, for which he was tried and sentenced them in correctness and in general powers of versi- to one year's imprisonment, and to pay a fine of fication. The poenis of Waller have all the smooth- £10,000. His conduct on this occasion was mean
and abject. At the expiration of his imprisonment, the poet went abroad, and resided, amidst much splendour and hospitality, in France. He returned during the protectorate, and when Cromwell died, Waller celebrated the event in one of his most vigorous and impressive poems. The image of the commonwealth, though reared by no common hands, soon fell to pieces under Richard Cromwell, and Waller was ready with a congratulatory address to Charles II. The royal offering was considered inferior to the panegyric on Cromwell, and the king himself (who admitted the poet to terms of courtly intimacy) is said to have told him of the disparity.
Poets, sire,' replied the witty, self-possessed Waller, succeed better in fiction than in truth.' In the first parliament summoned by Charles, Waller sat for the town of Hastings, and he served for different places in all the parliaments of that reign. Bishop Burnet says he was the delight of the house of
At the accession of James II. in 1685, the venerable poet, then eighty years of age, was elected representative for a borough in Cornwall. The mad career of James in seeking to subvert the national church and constitution was foreseen by this wary and sagacious observer: 'he will be left,"
said he, like a whale upon the strand.' Feeling Edmund Waller.
his long-protracted life drawing to a close, Waller ness and polish of modern verse, and hence a high, purchased a small property at Coleshill, saying, 'he perhaps too high, rank has been claimed for him would be glad to die like the stag, where he was as one of the first refiners and improvers of poetical roused.' The wish was not fulfilled; he died at diction. One cause of Waller's refinement was Beaconsfield on the 21st of October 1687, and in the doubtless his early and familiar intercourse with the churchyard of that place (where also rest the ashes court and nobility, and the light conversational na- of Edmund Burke) a monument has been erected to ture of most of his productions. He wrote for the his memory. world of fashion and of taste-consigning
The first collection of Waller's poems was made The noon of manhood to a myrtle shade.
by himself, and published in the year 1664. It
went through numerous editions in his lifetime; and And he wrote in the same strain till he was upwards in 1690 a second collection was made of such pieces of fourscore! His life has more romance than his as he had produced in his latter years. In a poetical poetry. Waller was born at Coleshill, in Hertford- dedication to Lady Harley, prefixed to this edition, shire, and in his infancy was left heir to an estate and written by Elijah Fenton, Waller is styled the of £3000 per annum. His mother was a sister of
Maker and model of melodious verse. the celebrated John Hampden, but was a royalist in feeling, and used to lecture Cromwell for his share This eulogium seems to embody the opinion of in the death of Charles I. Her son, the poet, was Waller's contemporaries, and it was afterwards coneither a roundhead or a royalist, as the time served. firmed by Dryden and Pope, who had not sufficiently
He entered parliament and wrote his first poem studied the excellent models of versification furwhen he was eighteen. At twenty-five, he married nished by the old poets, and their rich poetical diction. a rich heiress of London, who died the same year, The smoothness of his versification, his good sense, and the poet immediately became a suitor of Lady and uniform elegance, rendered him popular with Dorothea Sidney, eldest daughter of the Earl of critics as with the multitude; while his prominence Leicester. To this proud and peerless fair one as a public man, for so many years, would increase Waller dedicated the better portion of his poetry, curiosity as to his works. Waller is now seldom and the groves of Penshurst echoed to the praises read. The playfulness of his fancy, and the absence of his Sacharissa. Lady Dorothea, however, was of any striking defects, are but poor substitutes for
genuine feeling and the language of nature. His poems are chiefly short and incidental, but he wrote a poem on Divine Love, in six cantos. Cowley had written his ‘Davideis,' and recommended sacred subjects as adapted for poetry; but neither he nor Waller succeeded in this new and higher walk of
Should some brave Turk, that walks among
All this with indignation spoke,
So the tall stag, upon the brink
On a Girdle.
On the Marriage of the Dwarfs.
Thrice happy is that humble pair,
A Panegyric to the Lord Protector,
Waller's Tomb. the muse. Such an employment of their talents was graceful and becoming in advanced life, but their fame must ever rest on their light, airy, and occasional poems, dictated by that gallantry, adulation, and play of fancy, which characterised the cavalier poets.
Unwisely we the wiser East
Above our neighbours our conceptions are ; But faultless writing is the effect of care. Our lines reform’d, and not compos’d in haste, Polish'd like marble, would like marble last. But as the present, so the last age writ: In both we find like negligence and wit. Were we but less indulgent to our faults, And patience had to cultivate our thoughts, Our Muse would flourish, and a nobler rage Would honour this than did the Grecian stage.
Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
[The British Navy.]
And now some months, en camping on the main,
Others may use the ocean as their road,
Still as you rise, the state exalted too,
with amazement we should read your story;
At Penshurst. While in this park I sing, the list’ning deer Attend my passion, and forget to fear; When to the beeches I report my flame, They bow their heads, as if they felt the same. To gods appealing, when I reach their bowers With loud complaints, they answer me in showers. To thee a wild and cruel soul is given, More deaf than trees, and prouder than the hear'n ! Love's foe profess'd ! why dost thou falsely feign Thyself a Sidney from which noble strain He sprung,l that could so far exalt the name Of Love, and warm our nation with his flame; That all we can of love or high desire, Seems but the smoke of amorous Sidney's fire. Nor call her mother who so well does prove One breast may hold both chastity and love. Never can she, that so exceeds the spring In joy and bounty, be suppos'd to bring One so destructive. To no human stock We owe this fierce unkindness, but the rock ; That cloven rock produc'd thee, by whose side Nature, to recompense the fatal pride Of such stern beauty, plac'd those healing springs? Which not more help than that destruction brings. Thy heart no ruder than the rugged stone, I might, like Orpheus, with my num'rous moan Melt to compassion ; now my trait'rous song With thee conspires to do the singer wrong ; While thus I suffer not myself to lose The memory of what augments my woes ; But with my own breath still foment the fire, Which fames as high as fancy can aspire !
This last complaint the indulgent ears did pierce Of just Apollo, president of verse ; Highly concerned that the Muse should bring Damage to one whom he had taught to sing : Thus he advis'd me: 'On yon aged tree Hang up thy lute, and hie thee to the sea, That there with wonders thy diverted mind Some truce, at least, may with this passion find.' Ah, cruel nymph! from whom her humble swain
[English Genius.] [From a prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Maid's Tragedy.') Scarce should we have the boldness to pretend So long-renown'd a tragedy to mend, Had not already some desery'd your praise With like attempt. Of all our elder plays, This and Philaster have the loudest fame : Great are their faults, and glorious is their flame. In both our English genius is express'd ; Lofty and bold, but negligently dress’d.
1 Sir Philip Sidney,
2 Tunbridge Wells.
Flies for relief unto the raging main,
Small is the worth
The Bud. Lately on yonder swelling bush, Big with many a coming rose, This early bud began to blush, And did but half itself disclose ; I plucked it though no better grown, And now you see how full 'tis blown. Still, as I did the leaves inspire, With such a purple light they shone, As if they had been made of fire, And spreading so would flame anon. All that was meant by air or sun, To the young flow'r my breath has done. If our loose breath so much can do, What may the same in forms of love, Of purest love and music too, When Flavia it aspires to move ? When that which lifeless buds persuades To wax more soft, her youth invades?
Old Age and Death. The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er; So calm are we when passions are no more. For then we know how vain it was to boast Of fleeting things, too certain to be lost. Clouds of affection from our younger eyes Conceal that emptiness which age descries. The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd, Lets in new light through chinks that time has made : Stronger by weakness, wiser men become, As they draw near to their eternal home. Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view, That stand upon the threshold of the new.
JOHN MILTON. Above all the poets of this age, and, in the whole range of English poetry, inferior only to Shakspeare, was John Milton, born in London, December 9,
Say, Lorcly Dream-a Song. Say, lovely dream ! where couldst thou find Shades to counterfeit that face? Colours of this glorious kind Come not from any mortal place. In heav'n itself thou sure wert dress'd With that angel-like disguise ; Thus deluded, am I blest, And see my joy with closed eyes. But, ah ! this image is too kind To be other than a dream; Cruel Sacharissa's mind Ne'er put on that sweet extreme. Fair dream ! if thou intend’st me grace, Change that heavenly face of thine ; Paint despis'd love in thy face, And make it t'appear like mine. Pale, wan, and meagre, let it look, With a pity-moving shape, Such as wander by the brook Of Lethe, or from graves escape. Then to that matchless nymph appear, In whose shape thou shinest so ; Softly in her sleeping ear With humble words express my wo. Perhaps from greatness, state, and pride, Thus surprised, she may fall ; Sleep does disproportion hide, And, death resembling, equals all.
Go, Lovely Rose—a Song. Go, lovely rose ! Tell her that wastes her time and me, That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be. Tell her, that's young, And shuns to have her graces spied, That, had'st thou sprung In deserts, where no men abide, Thou must have uncoinmended died.
John Milton. 1608. His father was of an ancient Catholic family, but having embraced the Protestant faith, he was disinherited, and had recourse, as a means of support, to the profession of a scrivener-one who draws legal contracts, and places money at interest. The firmness and the sufferings of the father for conscience' sake, tinctured the early feelings and sentiments of the son, who was a stern unbending champion of religious freedom. The paternal example may also have had some effect on the poet's taste and accomplish. ments. The elder Milton was distinguished as a musical composer, and the son was well skilled in the same soothing and delightful art. The variety and harmony of his versification may no doubt be partly traced to the same source. Coleridge styles Milton a musical, not a picturesque, poet. The saying, however, is more pointed than correct. In the most musical passages of Milton (as the lyrics in Comus'), the pictures presented to the mind are as distinct and vivid as the paintings of Titian or