Page images

regarded with indifference. A humourous poem might be written by a punster, like Hood, upon the imperfect rhymes of Pope —such as, groves loves (loaves),- waste past (paste), -care shear (share),--take speak (spake), -wear star (stare or stair), alone town (tone),—desert heart (hurt), — frost coast (cost), adores powers (pores or pours),-joy tye (toy),—trod showed (shod),—track take (tack),-join line (loin), -worn turn (torn), -song tongue (tong),-extreme phlegm (phleme), --come doom (dumb),--food flood (flued),-pour shower (shore), or shower pour (power), -flood stood (stud),—bound wound [a hurt], wound [bandaged], --compare war (wear or were), -streams Thames (themes),-rest least (lest), -strow bough (bow [bo]),suffice prize (price),-adores powers (pores or pours),- fool skull (school), &c. &c. &c. The above rhymes are taken faithfully from the pages of Pope, and without going through a very large portion of his productions.

Hazlitt has remarked, that Steele (in the Tatler) was the first writer, who used the antithetical style and verbal paradoxes which Burke was so fond of, in which the adjective is in seeming opposition to the substantive, as dignified obedience," " proud submission,&c. &c. But this was not the case. before us has several examples of them. In the first two or three pages we have "cruel fortunate," dumb eloquence," silent murmurs," &c. &c. There are some curious illustrations also of Pope's favorite rule of making the sound an echo to the sense. Here is an instance.

The poem

He had a man-like look, and sparkling eye,
A front whereon sate such a majesty,
As awed all his beholders; his long hair
After the Grecian fashion, without care

Hung down loosely on his shoulders, black as jet. This description reminds me of Hamlet's remarks upon his father's picture.

See, what a grace was seated on this brow :
Hyperion curls; the front of Jove himself;

An eye like Mars to threaten and command, &e. There are many other passages that recal the great dramatic poet.

Thy cruel augury
Wounds me at heart ; can thy art cure that wound?
Sylvanus? No, no medicine can be found
In human skill to cure that tender part.

When the soul's pained, it finds no help of art.
This must bring to the reader's recollection a sentiment in

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased ? &c.

There is a passage in Lear, not unlike the following:

But how he might secure his Florimel,
That thought most troubled him; he knew full well
She was the white was aimed at.

Thealma and Clearchus.

See better, Lear: and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.

King Lear.

The commentators explain that the word blank here is a term borrowed from archery; the white of a target is that part of it which the arrow is chiefly aimed at. The same expression is used in the Taming of the Shrew. The following lines are very similar to a passage in Shakspeare.

At the sight
She frowned upon him, and with angry look,
A title that but ill became the book

Wherein her milder thoughts were writ. The passage I allude to is the following, which occurs in the second part of Henry the Fourth.

Yea, this man's brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.

The poem of Thcalma and Clearchus brenks off very abruptly, and I shall follow its example by bringing this article to an inninediate close. At the end of the fragment (for such it is, though a very long one) honest Izaac Walton, with the quaintncms and simplicity in keeping with his character, appends the following note :

“ And here the author died, and I hope the reader will be sorry."


The sun is up---but feebly still

Ile throws him yellow beam ;
The gray mint shroudy the distant hill,

And floats along the stream.

The fluttering lark hangs on the air,

And pours his mutin lay,
While Mirth and rony Health repair

To greet the rising day.

The forest branches slowly wave

Where wport the zephyrs coy,
And Echo, from her hollow cave,

Repcats cach note of joy.

The light airs cool my fevered brow,

And pain and care depart,
For Nature's holy radiance now

Iluth Amhed upon my heart !

[merged small][ocr errors]

Could beauty's early bloom return, and boyhood's voice of mirth, Like floral hues and songs of birds when Spring revives the earth; Though forms should fade-and hearts grow cold-and life's fair

flowers decay, "Twere sweet to know that wintry spell ere long might pass away!


But when life's fleeting seasons fail, they leave the soul forlorn ;
E'en Hope is silent at their close, of all her magic shorn ;
ller brief successive lights but lead the pilgrim to his doom-
The cold and dreamless sleep of death-the dungeon of the tomb.


The green earth glitters in the sun--the skylark bathes in light-
Rich odours float upon the breeze from vernal blossoms bright-
A busy hum of insect joy the cheerful valley fills,
And wandering Echo's shout is heard, like laughter, in the hills !


Such sights and sounds and charms we leave, and, dearer far

than all, The faces that we loved in youth---the tones that yet enthral ;Oh! when the thought of that dark hour o'ershades each bliss

below, How quails the horror-stricken heart-how voiceless is the woe!

[ocr errors]

Yet when the solemn mandate comes that bids the doomed prepare, To change for death's dark stilling cell the free and pleasant air, Can no sweet sound the prisoner cheer--no hope-rekindling ray? Ah, yes the voice that frees the soul--the light of endless day!


Without good company, indeed, all dainties
Lose their true relish, and, like painted grapes,
Are only seea, not lasted.

Massinger. ** By the use of the tongue, God hath distinguished us from beasts; and by the well or ill using it we are distinguished from one another; and therefore thougla silence be innocent as death, harmless as a rose's breath to a distant passenger, yet, it is rather the state of death than life ; and therefore when the Egyptians sacrificed to Harpocrates, their God of silence, in the midst of their rates they cried out, “ The tongue is an angel ; good or bad, that is as it hap. peas."

Jeremy Taylor. “ Conversation," says Seneca, “ forms a large portion of the comfort of human life.” This commendation, however, is not to be applied to ordinary discourse. “ The best conversation," says the same moralist, " that we can ever have, is with philosophers; I mean such as teach matter, not words ; that preach up to us necessary things, and engage us to practise them." The ancients appear to have turned conversation to nobler purposes than the moderns; for not possessing those ready means of circulating knowledge through the medium of printed books and papers, which have been rendered so effective in the present age, they were compelled to trust for much of their fame and intluence to oral communications. The original mode of multiplying manuscripts was tedious and unsatisfactory, compared to the admirable process by which thought is now circulated with an almost electrical rapidity through all quarters of the globe. A man of superior sense and genius, unable to do justice to his own talents in social intercourse, may now console himself with the assurance that he has other and more powerful means of pouring out his soul, and of arousing the sympathy and attention of his fellow.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »