Page images
PDF
EPUB

And gazers sence with double pleasure fea, Hable to heale the sicke and to revive the ded.

XXIII.

In her faire eyes two living lamps did fiame,
Kindled above at th' Hevenly Makers light,
And darted fyrie beames out of the same,
So passing persant,' and so wondrous bright,
That quite bereavd the rash beholders sight;
In them the blinded god his lustful fyre
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might;

For, with dredd maiestie and awfull yre
She broke his wanton darts, and quenched bace desyre.

XXIV.

Her yvoire forhead, full of bountie brave,
Like a broad table did itselfe dispred,
For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave,
And write the battailes of his great godhed:
All good and honour might therein be red;
For there their dwelling was. And, when she spak
Sweete wordes, like dropping honny, she did shed;

And twixt the perles and rubins? softly brake
A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to make.

XXV.
Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
Under the shadow of her even browes,
Working belgardes3 and amorous retrate;
And everie one her with a grace endowes,
And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes:
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,
And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes,

How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly face,
For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to disgrace!

4

XXVI.

So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire,
She seemd, when she presented was to sight;
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
All in a silken camusó lilly whight,
Purfled upon with many a folded plight,7
Which all above besprinckled was throughout
With golden aygulets,8 that glistred bright

Like twinckling starres; and all the skirt about
Nas hemd with golden fringe.

Her yellow lockes,9 crisped like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,
And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre, to
They waved like a penon wyde dispred.

1 Persant-piercing. 2 Rubing-rubies. 8 Belgardes-Sweet looks. 4 Retrate-picture. Camus-thin dress. 6 Purfled-embroidered. i Plight-plait. 8 Aygulets---tagged points. • The yellow locks of Queen Elizabeth enter largely into the descriptions of benuty by the posts

10 Inspyro-breatho.

of her reiga.

And low belinde her backe were scattered:
And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
As through the flouring forrest rash she fled,

In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap,'
And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did enwrap.

Book II. Canto ITI

THE CARE OF ANGELS OVER MEN.

I.

And is there care in heaven? And is there love

In heavenly spirits to these creatures bace,
That may compassion of their evils move?
There is :-else much more wretched were the cace
Of men then beasts: But O! th' exceeding grace
Or Highest God that loves his creatures so,
And all his workes with mercy doth embrace,

That blessed Angels he sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe!

II.

How oft do they their silver bowers leave

To come to succour us that succour want!
How oft do they with golden pineons cleave
The flitting2 skyes, like flying pursuivant,
Against fowle feendes to ayd us militant!
They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant;

And all for love and nothing for reward :
0, why should Hevenly God to men have such regard !

Book II. Canto VIIL

THE SEASONS.

XXVIII.
So forth issew'd the Seasons of the yeare :

First, lusty Spring all dight in leaves of flowres
That freshly budded and new bloosmes did beare,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowres,
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours;
And in his hand a iavelin he did beare,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stovrest)

A guilts engraven morion he did weare;
That as some did him love, so others did him feare.

ΧΧΙΧ. .
Then came the jolly Sommer, being diglit

In a thin silken cassock colored greene,
That was unlyned all, to be more light:
And on his head a girlond well beseene
He wore, from which, as he had chauffed 7 been,
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A brwe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene

4 Encountore.

I lap-entwine themselves.
Sondert

Yiclding
& Helmet

& Adorned.
* Chafed, heated

Had hunted late the libbard' or the bore,
And now would batle his limbes with labor heated sore

Then came the Autumne all in yellow clach,

As thongh he joyed in his plentious store,
Laten with fruits that maile hinn laugh, full glad
That he had banisht hunger, which to-fore
Harl hy the belly oft him pinched sore:
[pop his heail a wreath, that was enrold
Willi ears of corne of every sori, he bore;

And in his hand a sickle he did holde,
To reape the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold

IXXI.

Lastly, came Winter cloathed all in frize,

Chattering his teeth for cold that did hirn chill;
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freese,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bills
As from a limbeck did adown distill:
In his right hand a tipped staffe he held,
With which his feeble steps he stayed still;

For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld;5
That scarce his loosed limbes he able was to weld.6

Book VII. Canto VII.7

The chief prose work of Spenser is his « View of the State of Ireland.” It gives an excellent account of the customs, manners, and national character of the Irish, and there is no contemporary piece of prose to compare with it in purity. From it we have room to select the following short extract, only, upon

6 Old age.

I Leopard. 1 Yielded. 8 Nose. 4 Retort.

& Wield, move. 1 "I have just finished 'The Faerie Queen.' I never parted from a long poem with so much regret. He is a poet of a most nuusical ear-of a tender heart-of a peculiarly soft, rich, fertile, and tlowery fancy. His verse always flows with ease and nature, most abundantly and sweetly; his difusion is not only pardonable, but agreeable. Grandeur and energy are not his characteristic qualities. He seems to me a most genuine poet, and to be justly placed after Shakspeare and Milton, and above all other English poets."-Sir James Mackintosh.

"Spenser excels in the two qualities in which Chaucer is most defident-Invention and fancy. The invention shown in his allegorical personages is endless, as the fancy shown in his description of them is gorgeous and delightful. He is the poet of romance. He describes things as ii. a splendid and voluptuous dream."- Hazlitt.

"His command of imagery is wide, easy, and luxuriant. He threw the soul or harmony into our serve, and made it more warmly, tenderly, and magnificently descriptive than it ever was before, or, with a few exceptions, than it ever has been since. It must certainly be owned that in description be exbibita nothing of the brief strokes and robust power which characterize the very greatest poets; but we shal' nowhere find more airy and expansive images of visionary things, a sweeter tone of sentiment, or a finer flush in the colors of language, than in this Rubens of English poetry.' EmpbellSpecimens, l. 125.

The best, or variorum edition of Spenser, (so called because it has all the notes of the various CORP bentators,) is that of Todd, 8 vols. 8vo. London, 1805. Rend-an article on Spenser's Minor Poems in Retrou pective Review, xil. 142: also, Edinburgh Review, xxiv. also, a brilliant series of papers on the Faerie Queene, in Blackwood's Magazine, 1834 and 1835, by Professor Wilson: also, "61 Hrvations on the Faerie Queene," by Thomas Warton

THE IRISII BARDS.

There is amongst the Irish a certain kind of people called Bards, which are to them instead of poets, whose profession is to set forth the praises or dispraises of men, in their poems or rithmes; the which are had in so high regard and estimation amongst them, that none dare displease them for fear to run into reproach through their offence, and to be made infamous in the mouths of all men. For their verses are taken up with a general applause, and usually sung at all feasts and meetings by certain other persons, whose proper function that is, who also receive for the same great rewards and reputation amongst them.

Such poets as in their writings do labor to better the manners of men, and through the sweet bait of their numbers to steal into the young spirits a desire of honor and virtue, are worthy to be had in great respect. But these Irish bards are for the most part of another mind, and so far from instructing young men in moral discipline, that they themselves do more deserve to be sharply disciplined : for they seldom use to choose unto themselves the doings of good men for the arguments of their poems, but whomscever they find to be most licentious of life, most bold and lawless in his doings, most dangerous and desperate in all parts of disobedience and rebellious disposition ; him they set up and glorify in their rithmes, him they praise to the people, and to young men make an example to follow.

RICHARD HOOKER. 1553-1600

One of the most learned and distinguished prose writers in the age of Eliz.. abeth, was Richard HOOKER. He was born near Exeter in 1553. His parents, being poor, destined him for a trade; but he displayed at school sa much aptitude for learning, and gentleness of disposition, that through the efforts of the bishop of Salisbury he was sent to Oxford. Here he pursued his studies with great ardor and success, and became much respected for his modesty, learning, and piety. In 1577 he was elected fellow of his college, and in 1581 took onilers in the Episcopal church. Soon after this he went to preach in London, at Paul's Cross, and took logings in a house set apari for the reception of the preachers. The hostess, an artful and designing woman, perceiving Hooker's great simplicity of character, soon inveigled him into a marriage with her daughter, which proved a source of disquietude and vexation to him thronghout his life. He was soon advanced in ecclesiastical preferiment, and marle master of the Temple, where he commenced his labors as forenoon preacher. But this situation accorded neither with his temper nor his literary pursuits, and he petitioned the archbishop of Canterbury 10 remove him to “some quiet parsonage." He obtainer his desire, and was presented by Elizabeth to the rectory of Bishop's Bourne, in Kent, where

[ocr errors]

he spem the remainder of his life. He died in 1600, of pulmonic disease, brought on by an accidental cold, when only forty-seven years of age.

Hooker's great work is his " Ecclesiastical Polity," a defence of the Church of England against the Puritans. It doubtless owes its origin to the fact that the office of afternoon lecturer at the Temple was filled by Walter Travors, of highly Calvinistic views; while the views of Hooker, both on church go vernment and doctrines, were different. Indeed, so avowedly did they preach in opposition to each other, that the remark was frequently made that “the forenoon sermons spoke Canterbury, and the afternoci., Geneva.” Such was the beginning of this great work, which is a monument of the learning, saça city, and industry of the author, and contains the most profound and the ablest defence of ecclesiastical establishments which has ever appeared. The style of the work, too, possesses some of the highest characteristics, perspicuity purity, and strength; though generally, from the author's great familiarity with the classics, savoring a little too much of the idiom and construction of the Latin. The work, however, is not to be regarded simply as a theological treatise; for it is still referred to as a great authority on questions in the whole range of moral and philosophical subjects. The praise that Hallam has given him, is well deserved. “The finest, as well as the most philosophical writer of the Elizabethan period is Hooker. The first book of the Ecclesias. tical Polity is at this day one of the masterpieces of English eloquence. His periods, indeed, are generally much too long and too intricate, but portions of them are often beautifully rhythmical : his language is rich in English idiom without vulgarity, and in words of a Latin sense without pedantry. He is more uniformly solemn than the usage of later times permits, or even than writers of that time, such as Bacon, conversant with mankind as well as books, would have reckoned necessary; but the example of ancient orators and philosophers upon themes so grave as those which he discusses, may justify the serious dignity from which he does not depart. Hooker is, perhaps, the first in England who adorned his prose with the images of poetry; but this he has done more judiciously and with more moderation than others of great naine; and we must be bigots in Attic severity before we can object to some of his figures of speech."!

The following is the letter which he wrote to the archbishop when he desired to retire to the country : My LORD

When I lost the freedom of my cell, which was my college, yet I found some degree of it in my quiet country parsonage. But I am weary of the noise and oppositions of this place; and indeed, God and nature did not intend me for contentions, but for study and quietness. And, my lord, my particular contests here with

1 “Literature of Europe," i. 381, Harper's edition. Read, also, “a biography which cannot be exmelled." in old Izaak Walton's Lives of Donne, Hooker, Herbert, &c.-one of Dr. Johnson's most favorite books. “Lowth, in the preface to his Grammar, expresses an opinion, that, in correctness and propriety of language, Hooker has never been surpassed, or even equalled by any of his contemporaries. But amply as he enriched his native tongue, he frequently presents the cnmbrous gait and the rough aspect of a pioneer. Taylor surpassed him in all the charms of imagination ; Hall, in the sweetness and color of his thoughts ; Barrow, in the illumination of his argument. But Hooker excelled them all in mnscular vigor. To his controversy with Travers we owe the immortal Polity. We tarn to his works, as to some mighty bulwark against infidelity, impregnable to the assaults of successive generatione."-- Willmott.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »