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poets, like the cooperating thoughts of one great mind, have built up since the beginning of the world.'
As he closes his long survey, the Editor trusts he may add without egotism, that he has found the vague general verdict of popular Fame more just than those have thought, who, with too severe a criticism, would confine judgments on Poetry to the selected few of many generations.' Not many appear to have gained reputation without some gift or performance that, in due degree, deserved it: and if no verses by certain writers who show less strength than sweetness, or more thought than mastery in expression, are printed in this volume, it should not be imagined that they have been excluded without much hesitation and regret, far less that they have been slighted. Throughout this vast and pathetic array of Singers now silent, few have been honoured with the name Poet, and have not possessed a skill in words, a sympathy with beauty, a tenderness of feeling, or seriousness in reflection, which render their works, although never perhaps attaining that loftier and finer excellence here required, -better worth reading than much of what fills the scanty hours that most men spare for self-improvement, or for pleasure in any of its more elevated and permanent forms. —And if this be true of even mediocre poetry, for how much more are we indebted to the best ! Like the fabled fountain of the Azores, but with a more various power, the magic of this Art can confer on each period of life its appropriate blessing : on early years Experience, on maturity Calm, on age, Youthfulness. Poetry gives treasures ‘more golden than gold,' leading us in higher and healthier ways than those of the world, and interpreting to us the lessons of Nature. But she speaks best for her: self. Her true accents, if the plan has been executed with success, may be heard throughout the following pages :-wherever the Poets of England are honoured, wherever the dominant language of the world is spoken, it is hoped that they will
find fit audience.
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo.
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring ! the sweet Spring !
Phoebus, arise !
And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red :
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed
That she may thy career with roses spread :
The nightingales thy coming each where sing :
Make an eternal spring!
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead;
Spread forth thy golden hair
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,
And emperor-like decore
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair :
Chase hence the ugly night
Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.
-This is that happy morn,
That day, long-wished day
Of all my life so dark,
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworu
And fates my hopes betray),
Which, purely white, deserves
An everlasting diamond should it mark.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
My Love, to hear and recompense my love.
Fair King, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see than those which by Penéus' streams
Did once thy heart surprize.
Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise :
If that ye winds would hear
A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre,
Your furious chiding stay ;
Let Zephyr only breathe,
And with her tresses play.
-The winds all silent are,
And Phoebus in his chair
Ensaffroning sea and air
Makes vanish every star :
Night like a drunkard reels
Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels :
The fields with flowers are deck'd in every hue,
The clouds with orient gold spangle their biue ;
Here is the pleasant place
And nothing wanting is, save She, alas !
W. Drummond of Hawthornden
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of out-worn buried age ;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage ;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store ;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate-
That Time will come and take my Love away :
-This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
2 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower ? O how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays! O fearful meditation ! where, alack ! Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid ? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back, Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid ? () ! none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linéd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs :
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning :
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.