Abbildungen der Seite


My thoughts hold mortal strife,
I do detest

my life,
And with lamenting cries
Peace to my soul to bring,
Oft call that prince, which here doth monarchize;
But he, grim-grinning king*,
Who caitiffs scorns, and doth the blest surprise,

[ocr errors]

Against the window beats ; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is ;

Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract his slender feet.

Winter, 246. See likewise a stanza published by Mr. Mason, and originally intended by Gray to have been introduced into his Elegy:

There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,

By hands unseen are show'rs of violets found;
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

.grim-grinning king.] Milton, I believe, has been justly and universally considered as unrivalled, where he says of Death that he

Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile. I cannot resist the opportunity of setting before my readers a passage, which, though dissimilar in its subject, and inferior in its merit, yet eminently well expresses that mixture of contrary passions which is frequently sublime. I have always considered this instance as approaching nearer to the manner of Milton than any thing I have met met with in the whole course of my poetical reading. In the Masque of the Gods, introduced in the Argalus and Parthenia of Quarles, the goddess of the night is thus fancifully habited:

.... her body was confin'd Within a coal-black mantle, thorough lin'd

Late having deck'd with beauty's rose his tomb,
Disdains to crop a weed, and will not come.

Drummond, Edinb. 1711. Fol.

With sable* furs; her tresses were of hue
Like ebony, on which a pearly dew
Hung, like a spider's web; her face did shroud
A swarth complexion, underneath a cloud
Of black curld cypress : on her head she wore
A crown of burnish'd gold, beshaded o’er
With fogs and roryť mist; her hand did bear
A sceptre and a sable hemisphere;
She sternly shook her dewy locks, and brake
A melancholy smile......

B. III. p. 112. For this mixture of opposite passions, see Spence on the Odyssey, p. 77, a truly classical work, by no means so popular as it should be, and to which we may well apply what Dr. Johnson has asserted of Watts's Improvement of the Mind : “ Whoever has the care of instructing others, may be charged with deficience in his duty, if this book is not recommended.” See also Dr. Henry More's Mist, of Godliness, B. VI. Ch. v. who compares the pleasures of this life to the grinning laughter of Ghosts, &c.


* Milton has arrayed night in sables :

with him enthron'd Sat sable-vested night.

P. Lost, II. 962. + Rory.] This word seems very undeservedly disused. Fairfax has it in his Tasso :

And shook his wings with roary May-dews wet.






HOUGH I have twice been at the doors of Death,
And twice found shut those gates which ever mourn;
This but a lightning is : truce ta’en to breathe,
For late-born sorrows augur fleet return.
Amid thy sacred cares, and courtly toils,
Alexis, when thou shalt hear wand'ring Fame
Tell, Death hath triumph'd o'er my mortal spoils,
And that on earth I am but a sad name:
If thou e'er held me dear, by all our love,
By all that bliss, those joys, heaven here us gave;
I conjure thee, and by the maids of Jove,
To 'grave this short remembrance on my grave;
• Here Damon lies, whose songs did sometime

grace The murmuring Esk-may roses shade the place.'


* The Sir W. Alexander to whom this sonnet is addressed was afterwards created Earl of Stirling. He wrote poetry, a list of which is given by Mr. Pinkerton, in his Ancient Scotish Poems, p. 121. He was a particular friend of our Drayton's, as should seem from the verses of the latter on Poets and Poesy. He there styles him,

That man whose name I ever would have known

To stand by mine, &c. There is a sensible little tract of his, entitled " A Censure of some Poets, Ancient and Modern,” and addressed to Drummond of Haw. thornden, his intimate friend, preserved in the Edinburgh edition of the latter, p. 159.


Look, Delia, how w' esteem the half-blown rose,
The image of thy blush, and summer's honour!
Whilst yet her tender bud doth undisclose
That full of beauty, Time bestows upon her.
No sooner spreads her glory in the air,
But straight her wide-blown pomp comes to decline;
She then is scorn'd, that late adorn’d the fair ;
So fade the roses of those cheeks of thine!
No April can revive thy wither'd flow'rs,
Whose springing grace adorns thy glory now:
Swift speedy Time, feather'd with flying hours,
Dissolves the beauty of the fairest brow,
Then do not thou such treasure waste in vain,
But love now, whilst thou may’st be lov'd again.

Daniel, Son. 36.


summer's honour.] Honour is frequently used by our old poets for beauty. The Latins used honos in the same manner for pulchritudo. As in Horace:

Non semper idem floribus est honos

B. II. Od. ii.

[ocr errors]



METHOUGHT I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Within that temple where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn; and passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of living fame
Whose tomb fair Love and fairer Virtue kept,
All suddenly I saw the fairy queen:
At whose approach, the soul of Petrarch wept,
And from thenceforth those graces were not seen.
For they this queen attended; in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse :
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce,

Where Homer's sprite did tremble all for grief,
And curs'd th' access of that celestial thief,



Sleep, silence' child, sweet father of soft rest,
Prince, whose approach peace to all mortals brings,
Indifferent host to shepherds and to kings,
Sole comforter of minds with grief oppress'd.

* On this subject poets of all ages and nations have been very cloquent; suffice it to say, that Shakspeare, in his Henry the Fourth, Part II. Act III. Sc. i. has surpassed every thing that has hitherto ap

« ZurückWeiter »