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For women, born to be control'd,
With modest guise, and silent fear,
All this with indignation spoke, In vain I struggled with the yoke Of mighty love that conquering look, When next beheld, like lightning strook My blasted soul, and made me bow Lower than those I pity'd now.
So the tall stag, upon the brink Of some smooth stream, about to drink, Surveying there his armed head, With shame remembers that he fled The scorned dogs, resolves to try The combat next: but, if their cry Invades again his trembling ear, He strait resumes his wonted care; Leaves the untasted spring behind, And, wing'd with fear, outflies the wind.
TO MY LORD PROTECTOR,
Of the Present Greatness, and Joint Interest, of his Highness and this Nation.
WHILE with a strong, and yet a gentle, hand, You bridle faction, and our hearts command, Protect us from ourselves, and from the foe, Make us unite, and make us conquer too :
Let partial spirits still aloud complain,
Above the waves as Neptune show'd his face, To chide the winds, and save the Trojan race; So has your highness, rais'd above the rest, Storms of ambition, tossing us, represt.
Your drooping country, torn with civil hate, Restor'd by you, is made a glorious state; The seat of empire, where the Irish come, And the unwilling Scots, to fetch their doom.
The sea's our own: and now, all nations greet, With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet: Your power extends as far as winds can blow, Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.
Heaven (that hath plac'd this island to give law,
Whether this portion of the world were rent,
Hither th' oppress'd shall henceforth resort, Justice to crave, and succour, at your court; And then your highness, not for our's alone, But for the world's protector shall be known.
Fame, swifter than your winged navy, flies Through every land, that near the ocean lies; Sounding your name, and telling dreadful news To all that piracy and rapine use.
With such a chief the meanest nation blest,
Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
Angels and we have this prerogative,
Our little world, the image of the great,
So, when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
As the vex'd world, to find repose, at last
Then let the Muses, with such notes as these,
Tell of towns storm'd, of armies over-run,
Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
To crown your head, while you in triumph ride O'er vanquish'd nations, and the sea beside; While all your neighhour princes unto you, Like Joseph's sheaves, pay reverence and bow.
OF ENGLISH VERSE.
POETS may boast, as safely vain,
Their works shall with the world remain :
But who can hope his line should long Last, in a daily-changing tongue? While they are new, envy prevails; And as that dies, our language fails.
When architects have done their part,
Poets, that lasting marble seek,
Chaucer his sense can only boast,
The beauties, which adorn'd that age, The shining subjects of his rage, Hoping they should immortal prove, Rewarded with success his love.
This was the gen'rous poet's scope; And all an English pen can hope; To make the fair approve his flame, That can so far extend their fame.
Verse, thus design'd, has no ill fate, If it arrive but at the date
Of fading beauty, if it prove
THE STORY OF
PHOEBUS AND DAPHNE
THYRSIS, a youth of the inspired train,
Or form some image of his cruel fair.
Go, lovely Rose !
Tell her, that wastes her time and me, That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet, and fair, she seems to be.
Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spy'd, That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended dy'd.
Small is the worth
Of beauty, from the light retir'd: Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desir'd,
Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
How small a part of time they share,
PHYLLIS! why should we delay Pleasures shorter than the day? Could we (which we never can!) Stretch our lives beyond their span,
Beauty like a shadow flies,
Phyllis! to this truth we owe
What we shall hereafter do:
ON A GIRDLE.
THAT, which her slender waist confin'd,
It was my Heaven's extremest sphere, The pale which held that lovely deer : My joy, my grief, my hope, my love, Did all within this circle move!
A narrow compass! and yet there
FAIREST piece of well-form'd earth!
Nor all appear, among those few,
'Tis art, and knowledge, which draw forth The hidden seeds of native worth:
They blow those sparks, and make them rise
A pedigree, which reach'd to heaven:
TO A LADY
SINGING A SONG OF HIS COMPOSING.
CHLORIS, yourself you so excel,
When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought, That, like a spirit, with this spell
Of my own teaching, I am caught.
That eagle's fate and mine are one,
Which, on the shaft that made him die, Espy'd a feather of his own,
Wherewith he wont to soar so high.
Had Echo with so sweet a grace
JOHN DRYDEN was born, probably in 1631, in the parish of Aldwincle-Allsaints, in Northamptonshire. His father possessed a small estate, acted as a justice of the peace during the usurpation, and seems to have been a presbyterian. John, at a proper age, was sent to Westminster school, of which Busby was then master; and was thence elected to a scholarship in Trinity college, Cambridge. He took his degrees of bachelor and master of arts in the university; but though he had written two short copies of verses about the time of his admission, his name does not occur among the academical poets of this period. By his father's death, in 1654, he succeeded to the estate, and, moving to the metropolis, he made his entrance into public life, under the auspices of his kinsman, Sir Gilbert Pickering, one of Cromwell's council and house of lords, and staunch to the principles then predominant. On the death of Cromwell, Dryden wrote some "Heroic Stanzas," strongly marked by the loftiness of expression and variety of imagery which characterised his more mature efforts. They were, however, criticised with some severity.
At the Restoration, Dryden lost no time in obliterating former stains; and, as far as it was possible, rendered himself peculiarly distinguished for the base servility of his strains. He greeted the king's return by a poem, entitled " Astra Redux," which was followed by "A Panegyric on the Coronation:" nor did Lord Chancellor Clarendon escape his encomiastic lines. His marriage with Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, is supposed to have taken place in 1665. About this time he first appears as a writer for the stage, in which quality he composed several pieces; and though he did not display himself as a prime favourite of the dramatic muse, his facility of harmonious versification, and his splendour of poetic diction, gained him admirers. In 1667 he published a singular poem, entitled "Annus Mirabilis," the subjects of which were, the naval war with the Dutch, and the fire of London. It was written in four-line stanzas, a form which has since gone into disuse in heroic subjects; but the piece abounded in images of genuine poetry, though intermixed with many extravagances.
At this period of his life Dryden became professionally a writer for the stage, having entered into a contract with the patentees of the King's Theatre, to supply them with three plays in a year, upon the condition of being allowed the profit of one share and a quarter out of twelve shares and three quarters, into which the theatrical stock was divided. Of the plays written upon the above contract, a small proportion have kept their place on the stage, or in the closet. On the death of Sir W. Davenant, in 1668, Dryden obtained the
post of poet-laureat, to which was added the sinecure place of historiographer royal; the joint salaries of which amounted to 2001.
The tragedies composed by Dryden were written in his earlier periods, in rhyme, which circumstance probably contributed to the poetical rant by which they were too much characterised. For the correction of this fault, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in conjunction with other wits, wrote the celebrated burlesque drama, entitled "The Rehearsal," of which Dryden, under the name of Bayes, was made the hero; and, in order to point the ridicule, his dress, phraseology, and mode of recitation, were re-exactly imitated by the actor. It does not, however, appear that his solid reputation as a poet was injured by this attack. He had the candour to acknowledge that several of the strokes were just, and he wisely refrained from making any direct reply.
In 1681, and, as it is asserted, at the king's express desire, he wrote his famous political poem, entitled "Absolom and Achitophel;" in which the incidents in the life of David were adapted to those of Charles II. in relation to the Duke of Monmouth and the Earl of Shaftesbury. Its poetry and its severity caused it to be read with great eagerness; and as it raised the author to high favour with the court party, so it involved him in irreconcilable enmity with its opponents. These feelings were rendered more acute by his "Medal, a Satire on Sedition," written in the same year, on occasion of a medal struck by the whigs, when a grand jury returned Ignoramus to an indictment preferred against Lord Shaftesbury, for high trea
The rancour of this piece is not easily to be paralleled among party poems. In 1682, he published "Mac-Flecknoe," a short piece, throwing ridicule upon his very unequal rival, Shadwell. In the same year, one of his most serious poems, the "Religio Laici," made its appearance. Its purpose was to give a compendious view of the arguments for revealed religion, and to ascertain in what the authority of revelation essentially consists.
Soon after this time he ceased to write for the stage. His dramatic vein was probably exhausted, and his circumstances were distressed. To this period Mr. Malone refers a letter written by him to Hyde, Earl of Rochester, in which, with modest dignity, he pleads merit enough not to deserve to starve, and requests some small employment in the customs or excise, or, at least, the payment of half a year's pension for the supply of his present necessities. He never obtained any of the requested places, and was doomed to find the booksellers his best patrons.
Charles II. died in 1685, and was succeeded by his brother James II., who openly declared his attachment to the religion of Rome. It was not long