« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
'Tis not to force some lifeless verses meet
All ev'rywhere, like man's, must be the soul,
"Tis not when two like words make up one noise,
Yet 'tis not to adorn and gild each part;
Rather than all things wit, let none be there*.
If there be nothing else between.
Men doubt, because they stand so thick i' th' sky, Nor be myself, too, mute.
'Tis not such lines as almost crack the stage,
And force some odd similitude.
In a true piece of wit all things must be,
As in the ark, join'd without force or strife,
Or as the primitive forms of all,
(If we compare great things with small,) Which without discord or confusion lie, In that strange mirror of the Deity.
HAIL, old patrician trees, so great and good!
Hail the poor Muse's richest manor-seat !
That for you oft they quit their bright and great
[* This is Cowley's very fault: wit to an excess :He more had pleased us had he pleased us less.' He never knew when he had said enough, but ran himself and his reader both out of breath. In a better age Cowley had been a great poet-he is now sunk from his first reputation: for, as Lord Rochester said, though somewhat profanely, Not being of God, he could not stand.]
Here Nature does a house for me erect,
Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
Ah! wretched, and too solitary he,
Oh, Solitude! first state of humankind!
As soon as two, alas! together join'd,
Though God himself, through countless ages, thee
Thee, sacred Solitude! alone,
Before the branchy head of number's tree
Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
Thou the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light
Dost multiply the feeble heat,
And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright
Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks I see
Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
DAVENANT's personal history is sufficiently curious without attaching importance to the insinuation of Wood, so gravely taken up by Mr. Malone, that he was the son of Shakspeare. He was the son of a vintner at Oxford, at whose house the immortal poet is said to have frequently lodged+. Having risen to notice by his tragedy of Albovine, he wrote masques for the court of Charles I. and was made governor of the king and queen's company of actors in Drury-lane. In the civil wars we find the theatric manager quickly transmuted into a lieutenant-general of Ordnance, knighted for his services at the siege of Gloucester, and afterwards negotiating between the king and his advisers at Paris. There he began his poem of Gondibert, which he laid aside for a time for the scheme of carrying a colony from France to Virginia; but his vessel was seized by one of the parliament ships, he was thrown into prison, and owed his life to friendly interference, it is said to that of Milton, whose friendship he returned in kind. On being liberated, his ardent activity was shown in attempting to restore theatrical amusements in the very teeth of bigotry and puritanism, and he actually succeeded so far as to open a theatre in the Charter
[ There is other testimony to what Malone took up too gravely besides Wood's insinuation-there is the Betterton belief preserved in Spence from Pope's relation.]
Both those and these my Cælia's pretty foot
Trod up-but if she should her face display, And fragrant breast-they'd dry again to the root,
As with the blasting of the mid-day's ray; And this soft wind, which both perfumes and cools, Pass like the unregarded breath of fools.
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT.
[Born, 1605. Died, 1668.]
[* His life by his widow is one of the most agreeable additions to literary history made within the last fiveand-twenty years.]
house Yard. At the Restoration he received the patent of the Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn, which he held till his death.
Gondibert has divided the critics. It is undeniable, on the one hand, that he showed a high and independent conception of epic poetry, in wishing to emancipate it from the slavery of ancient authority, and to establish its interest in the dignity of human nature, without incredible and stale machinery. His subject was well chosen from modern romantic story, and he strove to give it the close and compact symmetry of the drama. Ingenious and witty images, and majestic sentiments, are thickly scattered over the poem. But Gondibert, who is so formally described, has certainly more of the cold and abstract air of an historical, than of a poetical portrait, and, unfortunately, the beauties of the poem are those of elegy and epigram, more than of heroic fiction. It wants the charm of free and forcible narration; the life-pulse of interest is incessantly stopt by solemn pauses of reflection, and the story works its way through an intricacy of superfluous fancies, some beautiful and others conceited, but all, as they are united, tending to divert the interest, like a multitude of weeds upon a stream, that entangle its course while they seem to adorn it.
FROM "GONDIBERT," CANTO IV.
The Father of Rhodalind offering her to Duke Gondibert, and the Duke's subsequent interview with Birtha, to whom he is attached.
Such was the duke's reply; which did produce
But Astragon it cures of all his fears.
Birtha his praise of Rhodalind bewails;
And now her hope a weak physician seems; For hope, the common comforter, prevails
Like common med'cines, slowly in extremes.
The king (secure in offer'd empire) takes
This forced excuse as troubled bashfulness,
And Rhodalind (who never loved before,
Nor could suspect his love was giv'n away) Thought not the treasure of his breast so poor, But that it might his debts of honour pay.
To hasten the rewards of his desert,
The king does to Verona him command; And, kindness so imposed, not all his art Can now instruct his duty to withstand.
Yet whilst the king does now his time dispose
Who of their wounds are yet not perfect grown.
And by this fair pretence, whilst on the king
Lord Astragon through all the house attends, Young Orgo does the duke to Birtha bring,
Who thus her sorrows to his bosom sends :
Destroying wholly virtue's race in one ; So by the first to my unlucky sex,
All in a single ruin were undone.
Make heav'nly Rhodalind your bride! whilst I,
Long cherish'd life, because to heav'n they go.
Let me her servant be: a dignity,
Which if your pity in my fall procures, I still shall value the advancement high,
Not as the crown is hers, but she is yours.
Ere this high sorrow up to dying grew,
The duke the casket open'd, and from thence (Form'd like a heart) a cheerful em'rald drew; Cheerful, as if the lively stone had sense.
The thirtieth carract it had doubled twice ;
Nor yet of those which make the Ethiop proud;
Then thus he spake : "This, Birtha, from my
Seven centuries have pass'd, since it from bride
To bride did first succeed; and though 'tis known From ancient lore, that gems much virtue hide, And that the em'rald is the bridal stone :
Why should my storm your life's calm voyage vex? Her joys (too vast to be contain'd in speech)
Thus she a little spake : "Why stoop you down,
Though much renown'd because it chastens loves,
Though em'ralds serve as spies to jealous brides,
With this take Orgo, as a better spy,
Who may in all your kinder fears be sent To watch at court, if I deserve to die
By making this to fade, and you lament."
Had now an artful pencil Birtha drawn,
(With grief all dark, then straight with joy all He must have fancied first, in early dawn, [light) A sudden break of beauty out of night.
Or first he must have mark'd what paleness fear,
Or why do I, when I this plight embrace,
And 'tis a virtue to aspire to heav'n.
And as tow'rds heav'n all travel on their knees,
If I forget the depth from whence I rise,
Far from your bosom banish'd be my heart; Or claim a right by beauty to your eyes;
Or proudly think my chastity desert.
But thus ascending from your humble maid
To be your plighted bride, and then your wife, Will be a debt that shall be hourly paid,
Till time my duty cancel with my life.
And fruitfully if heav'n e'er make me bring,
Your image to the world, you then my pride No more shall blame, than you can tax the spring For boasting of those flowers she cannot hide.
Orgo I so receive as I am taught
By duty to esteem whate'er you love;
For though but twice he has approach'd my sight,
And as for sin beg pardon for my fears."
Thus spake she: and with fix'd continued sight,
The sickness of extremes, and cannot last;
And calls him to that triumph which he fears
He often takes his leave, with love's delay,
And bids her hope he with the king shall find, By now appearing forward to obey,
A means to serve him less in Rhodalind.
SURE there are poets which did never dream
She weeping to her closet window hies,
Where she with tears doth Rhodalind survey; As dying men, who grieve that they have eyes, When they through curtains spy the rising day*.
SIR JOHN DENHAM.
[Born, 1615. Died, 1668.]
SIR JOHN DENHAM was born in Dublin, where | tame a production would not perhaps have been his father was chief-baron of the Irish Exchequer. On his father's accession to the same office in the English Exchequer, our poet was brought to London, and there received the elements of his learning. At Oxford he was accounted a slow, dreaming young man, and chiefly noted for his attachment to cards and dice. The same propensity followed him to Lincoln's Inn, to such a degree, that his father threatened to disinherit him. To avert this, he wrote a penitentiary Essay on Gaming; but after the death of his father he returned to the vice that most easily beset him, and irrecoverably injured his patrimony. In 1641, when his tragedy of The Sophy appeared, it was regarded as a burst of unpromised genius. In the better and bygone days of the drama, so
regarded as astonishing, even from a dreaming young man. He was soon after appointed highsheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farnham Castle for the king: but being unskilled in military affairs, he resigned his command, and joined his majesty at Oxford, where he published his Cooper's Hill*. In the civil wars he served the royal family, by conveying their correspondence; but was at length obliged to quit the kingdom, and was sent as ambassador, by Charles II. in his exile, to the king of Poland. At the Restoration he was made surveyor of the king's buildings, and knighted, with the order of the Bath; but his latter days were embittered by a second marriage, that led to a temporary derangement of mind.
[* Sir William Davenant's Gondibert is not a good poem, if you take it on the whole; but there are a great many good things in it.-POPE to Spence.]
COOPER'S HILL +.
Crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,
[* The earliest edition known was printed at London in 1642.]
[t Denham has been frequently imitated in this kind of local poetry as Johnson calls it, and since Cooper's Hill appeared we have had Waller's St. James's Park; Pope's Windsor Forest; Garth's Claremont; Tickell's Kensington Garden; Dyer's Grongar Hill; Jago's Edge-Hill: Scott's Amwell; Michael Bruce's Lochleven, and Kirke White's Clifton Grove. There are others, but these alone merit notice. Beaumont's Bosworth Field, though prior in date to Cooper's Hill, is local more in its title than its treatment. Drayton's panoramic plan in his Poly-olbion would have included Cooper's Hill and indeed every corner of the island.]