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I add a few more of these graceful pleasantries :

IV.

He talked of daggers and of darts,

Of passions and of pains,
Of weeping eyes and wounded hearts,

Of kisses and of chaius;
He said, though love was kin to grief,

He was not born to grieve;
He said, though many rued belief,

She safely might believe.
But still the lady shook her head,

And swore by yea and nay,
My Whole was all that he had said

And all that he could say.
He said my First whose silent ear

Was slowly wandering by,
Veiled in a vapour faint and far

Through the unfathomed sky.
Was like the smile whose rosy light

Across her young lips passed,
Yet, oh! it was not half so bright,

It changed not half so fast.
But still the lady shook her head,

And swore by yea and nay,
My Whole was all that he had said

And all that he could say.
And then he set a cypress wreath

Upon his raven hair,
And drew his rapier from its sheath-

Which made the lady stare ;
And said his life blood's purple glow

My Second there should dim,
If she he loved and worshipped so,

Would only weep for him.
But still the lady shook her head,

And swore by yea and nay,
My Whole was all that he had said,

And all that he could say.

My First came forth in booted state,

For fair Valencia bound;
And smiled to feel my Second's weight,

And hear its creaking sound.
“And here's a gaoler sweet," quoth he,

" You cannot bribe or cozen;
To keep one ward in custody

Wise men will forge a dozen."
But daybreak saw a lady guide

My Whole across the plain,
With a handsome cavalier beside,

To hold her bridle-rein :
And “ blessings on the bonds,” quoth he,

Which wrinkled age imposes,
If woman must a prisoner be,

Her chain should be of roses."

VI.

My First was dark o'er earth and air,

As dark as she could be !
The stars that gemmed her ebon hair

Were only two or three :
King Cole saw thrice as many there

As you or I could see.
“ Away, King Cole,” mine hostess said,

“Flagon and flask are dry ;
Your steed is neighing in the shed,

For he knows a storm is nigh."
She set my Second on his head,

And she set it all awry.

VII.

Sir Hilary charged at Agincourt,

Sooth 'twas an awful day!
And though in that old age of sport
The rufflers of the camp and court

Had little time to pray,
'Tis said Sir Hilary muttered there

Two syllables by way of prayer.
VOL. I.

My First to all the brave and proud

Who see to-morrow's sun;
My Next with her cold and quiet cloud
To those who find their dewy shroud

Before to-day's be done;
And both together to all blue eyes
That weep when a warrior nobly dies.

Solve it, fair

This charade is still a mystery to me. readers !

PEASANT POETS.

JOHN CLARE. NEARLY at the same period, when Macaulay and Praed sprang into public life, the world of letters was startled by the announcement of a new poet, a Northamptonshire peasant, whose claims to distinction were vouched for by judges of no ordinary sagacity, little given to mistake, and by no means addicted to enthusiasm. His character was blameless and amiable. Although of a frame little suited to severity of toil, he had for many years supported his aged parents by manual labour, and in bringing his powers into the light of day, he had undergone more than the ordinary amount of delay, of suspense, of disappointment, and of “the hope deferred that maketh the heart sick.”

From the prefaces to his three publications, the “Poems, Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery," “The Village Minstrel,” and “The Rural Muse,” his early history may be collected. At the age of thirteen, when he could read tolerably, and knew something of writing and arithmetic, he met, accidentally, with “Thomson's Seasons," a book which not only awakened in his mind the love of poetry, but led him at once to the kind of poetry in which, from

situation and from natural aptitude, he was most likely to succeed. For another thirteen years his brief leisure was filled with attempts more or less successful, to clothe, in the language of verse, his own feelings and observations. His chief trial, during this long probation, must have been his entire loneliness of mind—the absence of all companionship or sympathy. At this time he met with the “ Patty" whom he afterwards married, and, in the hope of improving his circumstances, began to consider seriously about publishing a small volume by subscription ; and having ascertained that the expense of three hundred copies of a prospectus would not be more than a pound, he set himself resolutely to work, and by hard labour, day and night, at length succeeded in accumulating the required sum.

“I distributed my papers," said the poor author, “but as I could get no way of pushing them into higher circles than those with whom I was acquainted, they consequently passed off as quietly as if they had still been in my possession, unprinted and not seen.” For a long while the number of subscribers stood at seven. At length, however, a copy of the proposals won their way to London. Messrs. Taylor and Hessey gave twenty pounds for the Poems; and, what was far better for the author, contrived to obtain for them immediate publicity.

The little volume was striking in what it had and in what it wanted. The very struggle between original thought and imperfect expression sometimes resulted in happiness and beauty. One thing was certain : John Clare was no imitator. Persons of taste and generosity in the higher classes took him by the

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