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Beneath his hands St. Mary's rose like a fairy fabric out of the earth, and was consecrated amid the most glorious hymns, and with the most gorgeous processions of priests and minstrels. Great and magnificent was Canynge in his wealth and his goodness once more in his native city; and in the brave lays of Rowley the valiant Ella fought, and the fierce Harold and William the Norman made the hill of Battell the eternal monument of the loss and gain of England.

“ He was always,” says Mr. Smyth, one of his intimate companions, “extremely fond of walking in the fields, particularly in Redcliffe meadows, and of talking about these manuscripts, and sometimes reading them there. Come,' he would say, 'you and I will take a walk in the meadow. I have got the cleverest thing for you imaginable ;-it is worth half-a-crown merely to have a sight of it, and to hear me read it to you.' When we arrived at the place proposed he would produce his parchment, show it me, and read it to me. There was one spot in particular, full in view of the church, in which he would take a particular delight. He would frequently lay himself down, fix his eyes upon the church, and seem as if he were in a kind of trance. Then, on a sudden, abruptly he would tell me, • That steeple was burnt down by lightning; that was the place where they formerly acted plays.'

“ His Sundays were commonly spent in walking alone into the country about Bristol, as far as the duration of daylight would allow ; and from those excursions he never failed to bring home with him drawings of churches, or some other objects which had impressed his romantic imagination.”

This was one of those brief seasons in the poet's life when the heaven of his spirit has cast its glory on the nether world. When the light and splendour of his own beautiful creations invest the common earth, and he walks in the summer of his heart's joy. Every imagination seems to have become a reality; every hope to expand before him into fame and felicity; and the flowers beneath his tread, the sky above him, the air that breathes upon his cheek,--all Nature, in short, is full of the intoxication of poetic triumph. Bristol was become quite too narrow for him and Rowley; he shifted the field of his ambition to London, and the whole enchanted realm of his anticipations passed like a Fata Morgana, and was gone! There came instead, cruel contempt, soul-withering neglect, hunger, despair, and suicide!

Such was the history of the life of one of England's greatest poets, who perished by his own hand, stung to the soul by the utter neglect of his country, and too proud to receive that bread from compassion which the reading public of Great Britain refused to his poetic labours. Of this, of Walpole, and Gray, and Sam Johnson, and the like, we will speak more anon. Here let us pause, and select a few specimens of that poetry which the people of England, at the latter end of the eighteenth century, would fain have suffered to perish with its author. That they may be better understood, we will modernize them.

The chief of his Rowley Poems are,—Ella, a Tragical Interlude, or Discoursing Tragedy; Godwin, the fragment of another Tragedy; the Battle of Hastings, the fragment of an Epic; and the Parliament of Sprytes, a most merry Interlude; with

smaller ones.

“O! sing unto my roundelay,

0! drop the briny tear with me;
Dance no more at holiday;
Like a running river be.

My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed,
All under the willow tree.

“ Black his hair as the winter night,

White his neck as the summer snow,
Red his face as the morning light;
Cold he lies in the grave below.

My love is dead, etc.

“Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note,

Quick in dance as thought can be,
Daft his tabour, cudgel stout;
0! he lies by the willow tree.

My love is dead, etc.

“ Hark! the raven flaps his wing

In the briared dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing
To the nightmares, as they go.

My love is dead, etc.

“ See! the white moon shines on high

Whiter is my true love's shroud;
Whiter than the morning sky,
Whiter than the evening cloud.

My love is dead, etc.
“Here, upon my true love's grave,

Shall the barren flowers be laid ;
Not one holy saint to save
All the coldness of a maid.

My love is dead, etc.
"With my hands I'll bend the briars

Round his holy corse to gre :*
Elfin fairies, light your fires ;
Here my body still shall be.

My love is dead, etc.
“ Come with acorn-cup and thorn,

Drain my heart's blood all away;
Life and all its good I scorn,
Dance by night, or feast by day.

My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed,

All under the willow tree.
“Water-witches, crowned with reytes,t

Bear me to your lethal tide.
I die! I come ! my true love waits;-
Thus the damsel spoke, and died.”

This roundelay has always, and most justly, been greatly admired for its true pathos, and that fine harmony which charms us so much in the fragments of similar songs preserved by Shakspeare. Not less beautiful is the Chorus in Godwin. There is something singularly great and majestic in its imagery.


“When Freedom, dressed in blood-stained vest,

To every knight her war-song sung,
Upon her head wild weeds were spread ;
A gory anlace by her hung:

She danced upon the heath;

She heard the voice of death ;
Pale-eyed Affright, his heart of silver hue,
In vain assailed her bosom to acale ;*
She heard unmoved the shrieking voice of woe,
And Sadness in the owlet shake the dale.

* Grow.

+ Water-flags.


She shook the pointed spear,
On high she reared her shield;
Her foemen all appear,

And fly along the field.
Power, with his head aloft unto the skies,
His spear a sunbeam, and his shield a star,
Like two fierce flaming meteors rolled his eyes,
Chafes with his iron feet and sounds to war.

She sits upon a rock,
She bends before his spear,
She rises with the shock,

Wielding her own in air.
Hard as the thunder doth she drive it on;
Wit, closely mantled, guides it to his crown,-
His long sharp spear, his spreading shield is gone;
He falls, and falling, rolleth thousands down.

War, gore-faced War, by Envy armed, arist, *
His fiery helmet nodding to the air.

Ten bloody arrows in his straining fist."

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Next let us take a poem whose truest criticism is contained in its own title:


“From Virgo did the sun diffuse his sheen,

And hot upon the meads did cast his ray;
Red grew the apple from its paly green,
And the soft pear did bend the leafy spray;
The piéd goldfinch sung the livelong day:

'Twas now the pride, the manhood of the year, And eke the ground was dight in its most deft aumere. “The sun was gleaming in the midst of day,

Dead still the air, and eke the welkin blue,
When from the sea arose in drear array
A heap of clouds of sable sullen hue;
The which full fast unto the woodlands drew,

Hiding at once the sun's rejoicing face,
And the black tempest swelled and gathered up apace.
“ Beneath an holm fast by a pathway side,

Which did unto St. Godwin's convent lead,
A hapless pilgrim moaning did abide ;
In aspect poor, and wretched in his weed.
Long filléd with the miseries of need,

Where from the hailstone could the almers fly?
He had no house at hand, nor any convent nigh.

* Arose.

+ Robe.

I Beggar.

“Look in his glooméd face, his sprite there scan;
How woe-begone, how withered, dry and dead !
Haste to thy church-glebe-house,* unhappy man !
Haste to thy coffin, thy sole eleeping bed.
Cold as the clay which will lie on thy head

Is charity and love amongst high elves;
Now knights and barons live for pleasure and themselves.
The gathered storm is rife; the big drops fall;

The sun-burnt meadows smoke and drink the rain ;
The coming ghastnesst doth the cattle 'pall.
And the full flocks are driving o'er the plain.
Dashed from the clouds, the waters fly again;

The welkin opes; the yellow levin flies,
And the hot fiery steam in the wide flashing dies.
“List! now the thunder's rattling, dinning sound

Moves slowly on, and then augmented clangs,
Shakes the high spire, and lost, dispended, drowned,
Still on the startled ear of terror hangs.
The winds are up; the lofty elm tree swings !

Again the levin, and the thunder pours,
And the full clouds at once are burst in stony showers.
“Spurring his palfrey o'er the watery plain,

The Abbott of St. Godwin's convent came;
His chapournette was drenchéd with the rain,
His painted girdle met with mickle shame;
He backward told his bead-roll at the same;

The storm grew stronger, and he drew aside
With the poor alms-craver near to the holm to bide.
“His cloak was all of Lincoln cloth so fine,
A golden button fastened near his chin;
His autremetel was edged with golden twine,
And his peaked shoes a noble's might have been;
Full well it showed that he thought cost no sin;

The trammels of the palfrey pleased his sight,
For the horse-milliner his head with roses dight.$
« « An alms, sir priest !'-the dropping pilgrim said ;

O! let me wait within your convent door,
Till the sun shineth high above our head,
And the loud tempest of the air is o'er;
Helpless and old am I, alas ! and poor;

No house, nor friend, nor money in my pouch;

All that I call my own is this my silver crouche. I * Grave.

+ Ghastliness. A small round hat, not unlike the chapournette of heraldry, formerly worn by ecclesiastics and lawyers.-CHATTERTON.

| Coif. $ The sign of a horse-milliner was till lately, if not still to be seen, in Bristol. 9 Crucifix.

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