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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 filed.

“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.

* What an awkward bed-fellow for a tuft of violets!

“ More blest than me, thus shall ye

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.”

We subjoin one more specimen of these “ wild strains”* said to be “ Written two years after the preceding." ECCE ITERUM CRISPINUS.

" I wish I was where Anna lies ;

For I am sick of lingering here,
And every hour Affection cries,

Go, and partake her humble bier.
" I wish I could! for when she died

I lost my all; and life has prov'd
Since that sad hour a dreary void,

A waste unlovely and unlov’d.
“ But who, when I am turn'd to clay,

Shall duly to her grave repair,
And pluck the ragged moss away,

And weeds that have " no business there?"

* " How oft, O Dart! what time the faithful pair

Walk'd forth, the fragrant hour of eve to share,
On thy romantic banks, have my wild strains
(Not yet forgot amidst my native plains)
While thou hast sweetly gurgled down the vale,
Filled up the pause of love's delightful tale!

* And who, with pious hand, shall bring

The flowers she cherish'd, snow-drops cold,
And violets that unheeded spring,

To scatter o'er her hallow'd mould ?
“ And who, while Memory loves to dwell

Upon her name for ever dear,
Shall feel his heart with passion swell,

And pour the bitter, bitter tear?

While, ever as she read, the conscious maid,
By faultering voice and downcast looks betray'd,
Would blushing on her lover's neck recline,
And with her finger-point the tenderest line !"

Mæviad, pp. 194, 202. Yet the author assures us just before, that in these “ wild strains" “ all was plain.”

“ Even then (admire, John Bell ! my simple ways)

No heaven and hell danced madly through my lays,
No oaths, no execrations; all was plain ;
Yet trust me, while thy ever jingling train
Chime their sonorous woes with frigid art,
And shock the reason and revolt the heart;
My hopes and fears, in nature's language drest,
Awakened love in many a gentle breast.”

Ibid v. 185–92. If any one else had composed these “wild strains," in which “all is plain," Mr. Gifford would have accused them of three things, “1. Downright nonsense. 2. Downright frigidity. 3. Downright doggrel;" and proceeded to anatomise them very cordially in his way. As it is, he is thrilled with a very pleasing horror at his former scenes of tenderness, and

gasps at the recollection" of watery Aqua rius!" he! jam satis est ! “ Why rack a grub-a butterfly upon a wheel?


I DID IT ; and would fate allow,

Should visit still, should still deplore
But health and strength have left me now,

But I, alas! can weep no more.
Take then, sweet maid ! this simple strain,

The last I offer at thy shrine ;
Thy grave must then undeck'd remain,

And all thy memory fade with mine.
“And can thy soft persuasive look,

· That voice that might with music vie,
Thy air that every gazer took,

Thy matchless eloquence of eye,
“ Thy spirits, frolicsome as good,

Thy courage, by no ills dismay'd,
Thy patience, by no wrongs subdued,

Thy gay good-humour-can they “ fade ?”.
“ Perhaps—but sorrow dims my eye:

Cold turf, which I no more must view,
Dear name, which I no more must sigh,

A long, a last, a sad adieu!" It may be said in extenuation of the low, mechanic vein of these impoverished lines, that they were written at an early age they were the inspired production of a youthful lover! Mr. Gifford was thirty when he wrote them, Mr. Keats died when he was scarce twenty! Farther it may be said, that Mr. Gifford hazarded his first poetical attempts under all the disadvantages of a neglected education : but the same circumstance,

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