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(that is, to me), “ I sink in deep waters ; the the palace must be considerable ; and the billows go over my head, all the waves go grim Feature, by modern science so often over me. Selah.” Then I have before me dispossessed of his prey, must have learned Palinurus, just letting go the steerage. I by this time to pity Tantalus. cry out too late to save. Next follow-a A pulse assuredly was felt along the line mournful procession-suicidal faces, saved of the Elysian shades, when the near arrival against their will from drowning ; dolefully of G. D. was announced by no equivocal trailing a length of reluctant gratefulness, indications. From their seats of Asphodel with ropy weeds pendent from locks of arose the gentler and the graver ghostswatchet hue— constrained Lazari — Pluto's poet, or historian-of Grecian or of Roman half-subjects—stolen fees from the grave- lore — to crown with unfading chaplets bilking Charon of his fare. At their head the half-finished love-labours of their unArion-or is it G. D. ?-in his singing gar- wearied scholiast. Him Markland ments marcheth singly, with harp in hand, pected-him Tyrwhitt hoped to encounter and votive garland, which Machaon (or |-him the sweet lyrist of Peter House, whom Dr. Hawes) snatcheth straight, intending to he had barely seen upon earth,* with newest suspend it to the stern God of Sea. Then airs prepared to greet ; and patron of follow dismal streams of Lethe, in which the the gentle Christ's boy,—who should have half-drenched on earth are constrained to been his patron through life-the mild drown downright, by wharfs where Ophelia Askew, with longing aspirations leaned foretwice acts her muddy death.
most from his venerable Æsculapian chair, And, doubtless, there is some notice in that to welcome into that happy company the invisible world when one of us approacheth matured virtues of the man, whose tender (as my friend did so lately) to their inexorable scions in the boy he himself upon earth had precincts. When a soul knocks once, twice, so prophetically fed and watered. at Death's door, the sensation aroused within
• GRAIUM tantum ridit.
SYDNEY's Sonnets—I speak of the best of no reason why he should not have acted the them-are among the very best of their sort. same part in that emergency, which has They fall below the plain moral dignity, the glorified the name of a later Sydney. He did sanctity, and high yet modest spirit of self- not want for plainness or boldness of spirit. approval, of Milton, in his compositions of a His letter on the French match may testify similar structure. They are in truth what he could speak his mind freely to Princes. Milton, censuring the Arcadia, says of that the times did not call him to the scaffold. work (to which they are a sort of after-tune The Sonnets which we oftenest call to or application), “vain and amatorious” | mind of Milton were the compositions of his enough, yet the things in their kind (as he maturest years. Those of Sydney, which I confesses to be true of the romance) may be am about to produce, were written in the “full of worth and wit.” They savour of the very heyday of his blood. They are stuck Courtier, it must be allowed, and not of the full of amorous fancies—far-fetched conceits, Commonwealthsman. But Milton was a befitting his occupation ; for True Love Courtier when he wrote the Masque at Lud- thinks no labour to send out Thoughts upon low Castle, and still more a Courtier when the vast and more than Indian voyages, to he composed the Arcades. When the bring home rich pearls, outlandish wealth, national struggle was to begin, he becomingly gums, jewels, spicery, to sacrifice in selfcast these vanities behind him; and if the depreciating similitudes, as shadows of true order of time had thrown Sir Philip upon the amiabilities in the Beloved. We must be crisis which preceded the revolution, there is Lovers or at least the cooling touch of time,
the circum præcordia frigus must not have so damped our faculties, as to take away our recollection that we were once so—before we can duly appreciate the glorious vanities, and graceful hyperboles, of the passion. The images which lie before our feet (though by some accounted the only natural) are least natural for the high Sydnean love to express its fancies by. They may serve for the loves of Tibullus, or the dear Author of the Schoolmistress; for passions that creep
and whine in Elegies and Pastoral Ballads. I am sure Milton never loved at this rate. I am afraid some of his addresses (ad Leonoram I mean) have rather erred on the farther side ; and that the poet came not much short of a religious indecorum, when he could thus apostrophise a singing-girl Angelus unicuique suus (sic credite gentes)
Obtigit æthereis ales ab ordinibus.
Nam tua præsentem vox sonat ipsa Deum ?
Per tua secretò guttura serpit agens ;
Sensim immortali assuescere posse sono,
This is loving in a strange fashion; and it requires some candour of construction (besides the slight darkening of a dead language) to cast a veil over the ugly appearance of something very like blasphemy in the last two verses. I think the Lover would have been staggered if he had gone about to express the same thought in English. I am sure Sydney has no flights like this. His extravaganzas do not strike at the sky, though he takes leave to adopt the pale Dian into a fellowship with his mortal passions.
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies ;
The last line of this poem is a little obscured by transposition. He means, Do they call ungratefulness there a virtue ?
Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
IV. Because I oft in dark abstracted guise Seem most alone in greatest company, With dearth of words, or answers quite awry, To them that would make speech of speech arise ; They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies, That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie So in my swelling breast, that only I Fawn on myself, and others do despise ; Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess, Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass ; But one worse fault- Ambition—I confess, That makes me oft my best friends overpass, Unseen, unheard-while Thought to highest place Bends all his powers, even unto STELLA's grace.
V. Having this day, my horse, my hand, my lance, Guided so well that I obtained the prize, Both by the judgment of the English eyes, And of some sent from that sweet enemy,-France ; Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance ; Townsfolk my strength ; a daintier judge applies His praise to sleight, which from good use doth rise ; Some lucky wits impute it but to chance; Others, because of both sides I do take My blood from them, who did excel in this, Think Nature me a man of arms did make. How far they shot awry! the true cause is, STELLA looked on, and from her heavenly face Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
O happy Thames, that didst my STELLA bear,
VII. No more, my dear, no more these counsels try; O give my passions leave to run their race; Let Fortune lay on me her worst disgrace; Let folk o'ercharged with brain against me cry; Let clouds bedim my face, break in mine eye ; Let me no steps, but of lost labour, trace; Let all the earth with scorn recount my caseBut do not will me from my love to fly. I do not envy Aristotle's wit, Nor do aspire to Cæsar's bleeding fame; Nor aught do care, though some above me sit; Nor hope, nor wish, another course to frame, But that which once may win thy cruel heart : Thou art my wit, and thou my virtue art.
XII. Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be ; And that my Muse, to some ears not unsweet, Tempers her words to trampling horses' feet, More soft than to a chamber melody; Now blessed You bear onward blessed Me To Her, where I my heart safe left shall meet, My Muse and I must you of duty greet With thanks and wishes, wishing thankfully, Be you still fair, honour'd by public heed, By no encroachment wrong'd, nor time forgot ; Nor blamed for blood, nor shamed for sinful deed. And that you know, I envy you no lot Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss, Hundreds of years you STELLA's feet may kiss.
Love still a boy, and oft a wanton, is,
Of the foregoing, the first, the second, and the last sonnet, are my favourites. But the general beauty of them all is, that they are so perfectly characteristical. The spirit of “ learning and of chivalry,"—of which union, Spenser has entitled Sydney to have been the “president,”—shines through them. I confess I can see nothing of the "jejune ” or “frigid” in them ; much less of the “stiff” and “cumbrous "—which I have sometimes heard objected to the Arcadia. The verse runs off swiftly and gallantly. It might have been tuned to the trumpet; or tempered (as himself expresses it) to “trampling horses' feet.” They abound in felicitous phrases,
IX. I never drank of Aganippe well, Nor ever did in shade of Tempe sit, And Muses scorn with vulgar brains to dwell; Poor lay-man I, for sacred rites unfit. Some do I hear of Poet's fury tell, But (God wot) wot not what they mean by it ; And this I swear by blackest brook of hell, I am no pick-purse of another's wit. How falls it then, that with so smooth an ease My thoughts I speak, and what I speak doth flow In verse, and that my verse best wits doth please ? Guess me the cause—what is it thus ?-fye, no. Or so ?-much less. How then ? sure thus it is, My lips are sweet, inspired with STELLA's kiss.
O heav'nly Fool, thy most kiss-worthy face
8th Sonnet. Sweet pillows, sweetest bed ; A chamber deaf to noise, and blind to light; A rosy garland, and a weary head,
2nd Sonnet. That sweet enemy,--France
X. Of all the kings that ever here did reign, Edward, named Fourth, as first in praise I name, Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brainAlthough less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame. Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame His sire's revenge, join'd with a kingdom's gain; And, gain'd by Mars could yet mad Mars so tame, That Balance weigh'd what Sword did late obtain. Nor that he made the Floure-de-luce so 'fraid, Though strongly hedged of bloody Lions' paws, That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid. Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause But only, for this worthy knight durst prove To lose his crown rather than fail his love,
But they are not rich in words only in vague and unlocalised feelings—the failing too much of some poetry of the present day —they are full, material, and circumstantiated. Time and place appropriates every one of them. It is not a fever of passion wasting itself upon a thin diet of dainty
words, but a transcendent passion pervading And have not in possession still!) and illuminating action, pursuits, studies,
Things known permit me to renew
Of him you know his merit such, feats of arms, the opinions of contemporaries I cannot say-you hear—too much. and his judgment of them. An historical
Within these woods of Arcady thread runs through them, which almost
He chief delight and pleasure took ; affixes a date to them; marks the when and And on the mountain Partheny, where they were written.
Upon the crystal liquid brook,
The Muses met him every day, I have dwelt the longer upon what I con
That taught him sing, to write, and say. ceive the merit of these poems, because I
When he descended down the mount, have been hurt by the wantonness (I wish I
His personage seemed most divine : could treat it by a gentler name) with which A thousand graces one might count W. H. takes every occasion of insulting the
Upon his lovely cheerful eyne.
To hear him speak, and sweetly smile, memory of Sir Philip Sydney. But the de
You were in Paradise the while. cisions of the Author of Table Talk, &c. (most profound and subtle where they are,
A sweet attractive kind of grace ;
A full assurance given by looks ; as for the most part, just) are more safely to
Oontinual comfort in a face, be relied upon, on subjects and authors he The lineaments of Gospel books-
I trow that count'nance cannot lye, has a partiality for, than on such as he has
Whose thoughts are legible in the eye. conceived an accidental prejudice against. Milton wrote sonnets, and was a king-hater;
Above all others this is he, and it was congenial perhaps to sacrifice a Which erst approved in his song, courtier to a patriot. But I was unwilling
That love and honour might agree,
And that pure love will do no wrong. to lose a fine idea from my mind. The noble
Sweet saints, it is no sin or blame images, passions, sentiments, and poetical To love a man of virtuous name. delicacies of cha ter, scattered all over the
Did never love so sweetly breathe Arcadia (spite of some stiffness and encum
In any mortal breast before : berment), justify to me the character which Did never Muse inspire beneath
A Poet's brain with finer store. his contemporaries have left us of the writer.
He wrote of Love with high conceit, I cannot think with the “Critic,” that Sir And Beauty rear'd above her height. Philip Sydney was that opprobrious thing which a foolish nobleman in his insolent Or let any one read the deeper sorrows (grief hostility chose to term him. I call to mind running into rage) in the Poem,—the last in the epitaph made on him, to guide me to the collection accompanying the above,juster thoughts of him; and I repose upon which from internal testimony I believe to the beautiful lines in the “Friend's Passion be Lord Brooke's—beginning with “Silence for his Astrophel,” printed with the Elegies augmenteth grief,” and then seriously ask of Spenser and others.
himself, whether the subject of such absorb
ing and confounding regrets could have been You knew-who knew not Astrophel ? (That I should live to say I knew,
that thing which Lord Oxford termed him.
NEWSPAPERS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.
DAN STUART once told us, that he did not does now-we are carrying you back, Reader, remember that he ever deliberately walked some thirty years or more—with its giltinto the Exhibition at Somerset House in his globe-topt front facing that emporium of our life. He might occasionally have escorted a artists' grand Annual Exposure.
We someparty of ladies across the way that were times wish that we had observed the same going in; but he never went in of his abstinence with Daniel. own head. Yet the office of the “Morning A word or two of D. S. He ever appeared Post ” newspaper stood then just where it to us one of the finest-tempered of Editors.
Perry, of the Morning Chronicle, was equally but, above all, dress, furnished the material. pleasant, with a dash, no slight one either, of The length of no paragraph was to exceed the courtier. S. was frank, plain, and English seven lines. Shorter they might be, but they
We have worked for both these must be poignant. gentlemen.
A fashion of flesh, or rather pink-coloured It is soothing to contemplate the head of hose for the ladies, luckily coming up at the the Ganges ; to trace the first little bubblings juncture when we were on our probation for of a mighty river,
the place of Chief Jester to S.'s Paper, esta
blished our reputation in that line. We With holy reverence to approach the rocks, Whence glide the streams renowned in ancient song.
capital hand.” Othe were pronounced a
conceits which we varied upon red in all its Fired with a perusal of the Abyssinian prismatic differences ! from the trite and Pilgrim's exploratory ramblings after the obvious flower of Cytherea, to the flaming cradle of the infant Nilus, we well remember costume of the lady that has her sitting on one fine summer holyday (a “whole day's upon “many waters." Then there was the leave ” we called it at Christ's hospital) sal- collateral topic of ankles. What an occasion lying forth at rise of sun, not very well pro- to a truly chaste writer, like ourself, of visioned either for such an undertaking, to touching that nice brink, and yet never trace the current of the New River-Middle- tumbling over it, of a seemingly ever approxitonian stream !--- to its scaturient source, as we mating something“ not quite proper ;" while, had read, in meadows by fair Amwell. like a skilful posture-master, balancing beGallantly did we commence our solitary twixt decorums and their opposites, he keeps quest-for it was essential to the dignity of the line, from which a hair's-breadth deviaa DISCOVERY, that no eye of schoolboy, save tion is destruction ; hovering in the confines our own, should beam on the detection. By of light and darkness, or where “ both seem flowery spots, and verdant lanes skirting either ;" a hazy uncertain delicacy ; AutoHornsey, Hope trained us on in many a lycus-like in the Play, still putting off his baffling turn; endless, hopeless meanders, as expectant auditory with “ Whoop, do me no it seemed ; or as if the jealous waters had harm, good man !" But, above all, that dodged us, reluctant to have the humble spot conceit arrided us most at that time, of their nativity revealed; till spent, and and still tickles our midriff to remember, nigh famished, before set of the same sun, we where, allusively to the flight of Astræa sate down somewhere by Bowes Farm near - ultima Cælestům terras reliquit—we proTottenham, with a tithe of our proposed nounced-in reference to the stockings still labours only yet accomplished ; sorely con--that MODESTY, TAKING HER FINAL LEAVE vinced in spirit, that that Brucian enterprise OF MORTALS, HER LAST BLUSH WAS VISIBLE was as yet too arduous for our young IN HER ASCENT TO THE HEAVENS BY THE shoulders.
This Not more refreshing to the thirsty curio- might be called the crowning conceit: and sity of the traveller is the tracing of some was esteemed tolerable writing in those mighty waters up to their shallow fontlet, days. than it is to a pleased and candid reader to But the fashion of jokes, with all other go back to the inexperienced essays, the first things, passes away; as did the transient callow flights in authorship, of some esta- mode which had so favoured us. The ankles blished name in literature; from the Gnat of our fair friends in a few weeks began to which preluded to the Æneid, to the Duck reassume their whiteness, and left us scarce which Samuel Johnson trod on.
a leg to stand upon. Other female whims In those days every Morning Paper, as an followed, but none methought so pregnant, essential retainer to its establishment, kept so invitatory of shrewd conceits, and more an author, who was bound to furnish daily a than single meanings. quantum of witty paragraphs. Sixpence a Somebody has said, that to swallow six joke--and it was thought pretty high too cross-buns daily, consecutively for a fortnight, was Dan Stuart's settled remuneration in would surfeit the stoutest digestion. But to these cases. The chat of the day, scandal, have to furnish as many jokes daily, and