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rank and letters, as footmen behind a coronet-coach laugh at the rabble. He keeps good company, and forgets himself. He stands at the door of Mr. Murray's shop, and will not let any body pass but the well-dressed mob, or some followers of the court. To edge into the Quarterly Temple of Fame the canditate must have a diploma from the Universities, a passport from the Treasury. Otherwise, it is a breach of etiquette to let him pass, an insult to the better sort who aspire to the love of letters-and may chance to drop in to the Feast of the Poets. Or, if he cannot manage it thus, or get rid of the claim on the bare ground of poverty or want of schoollearning, he trumps up an excuse for the occasion, such as that “a man was confined in Newgate a short time before"—it is not a lie on the part of the critic, it is only an amiable subserviency to the will of his betters, like that of a menial who is ordered to deny his master, a sense of propriety, a knowledge of the world, a poetical and moral license. Such fellows (such is his cue from his employers) should at any rate be kept out of privileged places : persons who have been convicted of prose-libels ought not to be suffered to write poetry—if the fact was not exactly as it was stated, it was something of the kind, or it ought to have been so, the assertion was a pious fraud,—the public, the court, the prince himself might read the work, but for this mark of opprobrium

set upon it-it was not to be endured that an insolent plebeian should aspire to elegance, taste, fancy-it was throwing down the barriers which ought to separate the higher and the lower classes, the loyal and the disloyal—the paraphrase of the story of Dante was therefore to perform quarantine, it was to seem not yet recovered from the gaol infection, there was to be a taint upon it, as there was none in it-and all this was performed by a single slip of Mr. Gifford's pen! We would willingly believe (if we could) that in this case there was as much weakness and prejudice as there was malice and cunning.–Again, we do not think it possible that under any circumstances the writer of the Verses to Anna could enter into the spirit or delicacy of Mr. Keats's poetry. The fate of the latter somewhat resembled that of

“ a bud bit by an envious worm, Ere it could spread its sweet leaves to the air,

Or dedicate its beauty to the sun.” Mr. Keats's ostensible crime was that he had been praised in the Examiner Newspaper: a greater and more unpardonable offence probably was, that he was a true poet, with all the errors and beauties of youthful genius to answer for. Mr. Gifford was as insensible to the one as he was inexorable to the other. Let the reader judge from the two subjoined specimens how far the one writer could ever, without a

presumption equalled only by a want of self-knowledge, set himself in judgment on the other.

“ Out went the taper as she hurried in;

Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died :
She closed the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air and visions wide:
No utter'd syllable, or woe betide !
But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
Paining with eloquence her balmy side;

As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her heart in vain, and die, heart-stified, in her dell.

“ A casement high and triple-arch'd there was,

All garlanded with carven imag'ries
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,
And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;
And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,

And twilight saints and dim emblazonings,
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.

“ Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,

And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon ;
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,

Save wings, for heaven :-Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.

“ Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,

Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees ;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one ;

Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,

In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

Soon trembling in her soft and chilly nest,

In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day:
Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain ;
Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray;

Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.”


With the rich beauties and the dim obscurities of lines like these, let us contrast the Verses addressed To a Tuft of early Violets by the fastidious author of the Baviad and Mæviad.

“ Sweet flowers ! that from your humble beds

Thus prematurely dare to rise,
And trust your unprotected heads

To cold Aquarius' watery skies.
“ Retire, retire! These tepid airs

Are not the genial brood of May;
That sun with light malignant glares,

And flatters only to betray.
“ Stern Winter's reign is not yet past

Lo! while your buds prepare to blow,
On icy pinions comes the blast,

And nips your root, and lays you low.

Alas, for such ungentle doom !

But I will shield you; and supply
A kindlier soil on which to bloom,

A nobler bed on which to die.
« Come then-'ere yet the morning ray

Has drunk the dew that gems your crest,
And drawn your balmiest sweets away ;

O come and grace my Anna's breast.

“ Ye droop, fond flowers ! But did ye know

What worth, what goodness there reside,
Your cups with liveliest tints would glow;

And spread their leaves with conscious pride.

“ For there has liberal Nature joined

Her riches to the stores of Art,
And added to the vigorous mind

The soft, the sympathising heart.
« Come then-'ere yet the morning ray

Has drunk the dew that gems your crest,
And drawn your balmiest sweets away;

O come and grace my Anna's breast. « O! I should think-that fragrant bed

Might I but hope with you to share
Years of anxiety repaid

By one short hour of transport there. “ More blest than me, thus shall ye live

Your little day; and when ye die,
Sweet flowers ! the grateful Muse shall give

A verse; the sorrowing maid, a sigh. • While I alas ! no distant date,

Mix with the dust from whence I came,
Without a friend to weep my fate,

Without a stone to tell my name.” * What an awkward bedfellow for a tuft of violets!

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