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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. The king (who never time nor power misspent Since this is you, and Rhodalind (the light
In subject's bashfulness, whiling great deeds By which her sex fled virtue find) is yours ; Like coward councils, who too late consent) Your diamond, which tests of jealous sight, Thus to his secret will aloud proceeds :
The stroke, and fire, and Oisel's juice endures ; If to thy fame, brave youth, I could add wings, Since she so precious is, I shall appear
Or make her trumpet louder by my voice, All counterfeit, of art's disguises made ; I would (as an example drawn for kings)
And never dare approach her lustre near, Proclaim the cause, why thou art now my choice. Who scarce can hold my value in the shade.
Forgive me that I am not what I seem ; For she is yours, as your adoption free;
But falsely have dissembled an excess
Far in ambition's fever am I gone !
When life's long progress I have gone with fame) Like flame destructive too, and, like the sun, Take all her love ; which scarce forbears to shine Does round the world tow'rds change of objects
And own thee, through her virgin-curtain, shame. Thus spake the king ; and Rhodalind appear’d Nor is this now through virtuous shame confess'd;
Through publish'd love, with so much bashfulness, But Rhodalind does force my conjured fear, As young kings show, when by surprise o’erheard, As men whom evil spirits have possessid, Moaning to fav’rite ears a deep distress.
Tell all when saintly votaries appear. For love is a distress, and would be hid
When she will grace the bridal dignity, Like monarch's griefs, by which they bashful It will be soon to all young monarchs known; And in that shame beholders they forbid ; (grow; Who then by posting through the world will Since those blush most, who most their blushes
Who first can at her feet present his crown.
And Gondibert, with dying eyes, did grieve Then will Verona seem the inn of kings ;
At her vail'd love (a wound he cannot heal), And Rhodalind shall at her palace gate As great minds mourn, who cannot then relieve Smile, when great love these royal suitors The virtuous, when through shame they want brings ; conceal.
Who for that smile would as for empire wait. And now cold Birtha's rosy looks decay ;
Amongst this ruling race she choice may take Who in fear's frost had like her beauty died, For warmth of valour, coolness of the mind, But that attendant hope persuades her stay Eyes that in empire's drowsy calms can wake,
A while, to hear her duke ; who thus replied. In storms look out, in darkness dangers find; Victorious king! abroad your subjects are A prince who more enlarges power than lands,
Like legates, safe ; at home like altars free! Whose greatness is not what his map contains ; Even by your fame they conquer, as by war ; But thinks that his where he at full commands,
And by your laws safe from each other be. Not where his coin does pass, but power remains. A king you are o'er subjects so, as wise
Who knows that power can never be too high And noble husbands seem o'er loyal wives ; When by the good possest, for 'tis in them Who claim not, yet confess their liberties, The swelling Nile, from which though people Ay,
And brag to strangers of their happy lives. They prosper most by rising of the stream. To foes a winter storm ; whilst your friends bow, Thus, princes, you should choose ; and you will find,
Like summer trees, beneath your bounty's load; Even he, since men are wolves, must civilize To me (next him whom your great self, with low (As light does tame some beasts of savage kind) And cheerful duty serves) a giving God.
Himself yet more, by dwelling in your eyes.
Then thus he spake : “ This, Birtha, from my
Progenitors, was to the loyal she [male On whose kind heart they did in love prevail,
The nuptial pledge, and this I give to thee :
Such was the duke's reply ; which did produce
Thoughts of a diverse shape through sev'ral ears : His jealous rivals mourn at his excuse ;
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.
Seven centuries have pass’d, since it from brido
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 :
The king (secure in offer'd empire) takes
This forced excuse as troubled bashfulness, And a disguise which sudden passion makes,
To hide more joy than prudence should express. 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.
Though much renown'd because it chastens loves,
And will, when worn by the neglected wife, Show when her absent lord disloyal proves,
By faintness, and a pale decay of life. Though em'ralds serve as spies to jealous brides,
Yet each compared to this does counsel keep ; Like a false stone, the husband's falsehood hides,
Or seems born blind, or feigns a dying sleep.
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
In seeing wonders, in this palace shown, He would a parting kindness pay to those
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 :
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,
Like nipping frost, did to her visage bring;
A rosy morn begin a sudden spring.
Thus she a little spake : “Why stoop you down, My plighted lord, to lowly Birtha's reach,
Since Rhodalind would lift you to a crown? Or why do I, when I this plight embrace,
Boldly aspire to take what you have given ? But that your virtue has with angels place,
And 'tis a virtue to aspire to heav'n.
Why should my storm your life's calm voyage vex?
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,
Your once loved maid, excuse you, since I know That virtuous men forsake so willingly
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 ;
Not ta'en from the Attic silver mine, Nor from the brass, though such (of nobler price)
Did on the necks of Parthian ladies shine :
And as tow'rds heav'n all travel on their knees,
So I tow'rds you, though love aspire, will move : And were you crown'd, what could you better
Than awed obedience led by bolder love? (please 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.
Nor yet of those which make the Ethiop proud;
Nor taken from those rocks where Bactrians But from the Scythian, and without a cloud ; [climb:
Not sick at fire, nor languishing with time.
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
And calls him to that triumph which he fears By duty to esteem whate'er you love ;
So as a saint forgiven (whose breast does all And hope the joy he in this jewel brought Heaven's joys contain) wisely loved pomp forbears,
Will luckier than his former triumphs prove. Lest tempted nature should from blessings fall. For though but twice he has approach'd my sight, He often takes his leave, with love's delay,
He twice made haste to drown me in my tears : And bids her hope he with the king shall find, But now I am above his planet's spite,
By now appearing forward to obey, And as for sin beg pardon for my fears."
A means to serve him less in Rhodalind. Thus spake she : and with fix'd continued sight, She weeping to her closet window hies,
The duke did all her bashful beauties view ; Where she with tears doth Rhodalind survey ; Then they with kisses seald their sacred plight, As dying men, who grieve that they have eyes,
Like flowers, still sweeter as they thicker grew. When they through curtains spy the rising day*. Yet must these pleasures feel, though innocent, [* Sir William Davenant's Gondibert is not a good The sickness of extremes, and cannot last ; poem, you
take it on the whole; but there are a great For pow'r (love's shunn'd impediment) has sent
many good things in it.-Pope to Spence.] To tell the duke, his monarch is in haste :
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. regarded as astonishing, even from a dreaming On his father's accession to the same office in the
He was soon after appointed highEnglish Exchequer, our poet was brought to sheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farnham London, and there received the elements of his Castle for the king : but being unskilled in mililearning. At Oxford he was accounted a slow, tary affairs, he resigned his command, and joined dreaming young man, and chiefly noted for his his majesty at Oxford, where he published his attachment to cards and dice. The same propen- Cooper's Hilla. In the civil wars he served the sity followed him to Lincoln's Inn, to such a royal family, by conveying their correspondence ; degree, that his father threatened to disinherit but was at length obliged to quit the kingdom, him. To avert this, he wrote a penitentiary Essay and was sent as ambassador, by Charles II. in his on Gaming ; but after the death of his father he exile, to the king of Poland. At the Restoration returned to the vice that most easily beset him, he was made surveyor of the king's buildings, and irrecoverably injured his patrimony. In and knighted, with the order of the Bath ; but 1641, when his tragedy of The Sophy appeared, it his latter days were embittered by a second marwas regarded as a burst of unpromised genius. riage, that led to a temporary derangement of In the better and bygone days of the drama, so mind.
COOPER'S HILL T.
Crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,
(* The earliest edition known was printed at London
Sure there are poets which did never dream
[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 Ifindsor Forest ; Garth's Claremont ; Tickell's Kensington Garden : Dyer's Grongar Hill; Jago's Edge-Hill: Scott's Amuell; Michael Bruce's Lochleren, 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.)
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud But thee, great Edward ! and thy greater son,
And brought that son which did the second bring
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the design has been the great success,
Which foreign kings and emperors esteem
That from those kings, who then thy captives were
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for or the vanquish'd fear : Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
That blood which thou and thy great grandsiri Oh ! happiness of sweet retired content !
And all that since these sister nations bled, (shed To be at once secure and innocent.
Had been unspilt, and happy Edward known
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confined
Within the azure circle, he did seem
But to foretel and prophecy of him
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which nature for their bound at first design'd ;
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise;
To such a rage? Was't luxury or lust!
Who having spent the treasures of his crown,
Of sacrilege, must bear devotion's name.
No crime so bold but would be understood
A real, or at least a seeming good.
Their charity destroys, their faith defends,
In empty airy contemplations dwell,
And like the block unmoved lay ; but ours,
Is there no temp?rate region can be known Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not dull ; Betwixt their frigid and our torrid zone ?
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full *. Could we not wake from that lethargic dream, Heav'n her Eridanus no more shall boast, But to be restless in a worse extreme ?
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost : And for that lethargy was there no cure
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes, But to be cast into a calenture ?
To shine among the stars, and bathe the gods. Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance Here Nature, whether more intent to please So far, to make us wish for ignorance,
Us for herself with strange varieties, And rather in the dark to grope our way,
(For things of wonder give no less delight Than led by a false guide to err by day?
To the wise Maker's than beholder's sight; Who sees these dismal heaps but would demand Though these delights from several causes move, What barbarous invader sack'd the land ?
For so our children, thus our friends, we love) But when he hears no Goth, no Turk, did bring Wisely she knew the harmony of things, This desolation, but a Christian king ;
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs. When nothing but the name of zeal appears Such was the discord which did first disperse 'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs ; Form, order, beauty, through the universe ; What does he think our sacrilege would spare, While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists, When such th' effects of our devotions are ? All that we have, and that we are, subsists ; Parting from thence 'twixt anger, shame, and While the steep horrid roughness of the wood fear,
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood, Those for what's past, and this for what's too near, Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite, My eye, descending from the Hill, surveys Wonder from thence results, from thence delight. Where Thames among the wanton valleys strays. The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear, Thames ! the most loved of all the Ocean's sons, That had the self-enamour'd youth gazed here, By his old sire, to his embraces runs,
So fatally deceived he had not been, Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
While he the bottom, not his face had seen. Like mortal life to meet eternity ;
But his proud head the airy mountain hides Though with those streams he no resemblance Among the clouds ; his shoulders and his sides hold,
A shady mantle clothes ; his curled brows Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold * : Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows, His genuine and less guilty wealth t explore, While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat ; Search not his bottom, but survey his shore, The common fate of all that's high or great. O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing, Low at his foot a spacious plain is placed, And hatches plenty for th’ ensuing spring ; Between the mountain and the stream embraced, Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Which shade and shelter from the Hill derives, Like mothers which their infants overlay ; While the kind river wealth and beauty gives, Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave,
And in the mixture of all these appears
This scene had some bold Greek or British bard The mower's hopes, nor mock the ploughman's Beheld of old, what stories had we heard
Of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames, But godlike his unwearied bounty flows;
Their feasts, their revels, and their am'rous flames? First loves to do, then loves the good he does. 'Tis still the same, although their airy shape Nor are his blessings to his banks confined, All but a quick poetic sight escape. But free and common as the sea or wind;
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts, When he, to boast or to disperse his stores, And thither all the horned host resorts Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
[* Swift has ridiculed the herd of imitators of these Visits the world, and in his flying tow'rs
noble lines: Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours ;
“ If Anna's happy reign you praise, Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants, Pray not a word of halcyon days! Cities in deserts, woods in cities, plants.
Nor let my votaries show their skill So that to us no thing, no place, is strange,
In'aping lines from Cooper's Hill;
For, know I cannot bear to hear While his fair bosom is the world's Exchange.
The mimicry of deep yet clear.'"- Apollo's Edict. 0, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
In this, one of the earliest of our descriptive poems, My great example, as it is my theme !
Denham from time to time made great alterations and
additions, and every insertion and every change was made (* Originally:
with admirable judgment. Popo collated his copy with And though his clearer sand no golden veins
an early edition, and marked the variations; thinking it, Like Tagus or Pactolus stream contains
as he said in a note at the end of the volume, "a very
useful lesson for a poet to compare the editions, and conwhich we quote to make good the couplet in Waller: sider at each alteration how and why it was altered."
The four famous lines on the Thames were an after Poets lose half the praise they should have got, insertion, and in Mr. Moore's opinion one of the happiest Could it be known what they discreetly blot.]
of recorded instances.- Life of Byron, vol. ü. p. 193]