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By Muses nine, and Graces more than three,
Drummond's Poems, p. 198,
Edit. 1656, Svo.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF PHILARETE,
MR. THOMAS MANWOOD, THE AUTHOR'S FRIEND, AND
SON OF SIR PETER MANWOOD, KNT.*
Under an aged oak was Willy laid,
But now, o'ercome with dolors deep
That nigh his heart-strings rent,
Ne car'd for merriment.
For uncouth paths unknown,
And echo rue his moan.
* Sylvester inscribes a Hymn “ to the worthy friend of worthiness, Sir Peter Manwood, Knight of the Honourable Order of the Batke." The father probably of Browne's friend. P.561, fol. edit.
Autumn it was, when droop'd the sweetest flowers,
The pleasant meadows sadly lay
In chill and cooling sweats,
Feard winter's wasteful threats.
Each wind in fury bears;
As did the shepherd's tears* * Against the broad-spread oak
Each wind in fury bears ;
As did the shepherd's tears.] In mere unimpassioned description, similes which are derived from foreign and remote objects are frequently used with success ; for at the same time that they afford the writer an opportunity of showing his knowledge, they enrich and add a variety to poetry, that it might not have attained by any other means. Yet in pathetic situations, when they immediately arise from the subject itself, or some collateral branch of it, they convey the most direct and unequivocal illustration, with a conciseness and expression truly admirable. But how frequent is the practice, even with our best writers, in situations the most pathetic, and in narratives the most urgent and interesting, coolly to take leave of their subject, for the sake of introducing a comparison of perhaps ten or twelve lines ! The consequence is, that our former sympathy is thoroughly destroyed, and after toiling through the lines in question, we are left to recal our attention, associate our distracted ideas, and recover the lost tone of our feelings at our leisure, which is by this time, most probably, totally out of our power. In such cases, a simile taken from the ground of the piece (if I may be allowed the expression), by confining our
I attention wholly to the subject, and by giving us what we want, without obliging us to wander in quest of it, would, in three words, almost have completely answered the end of the poet. I will subjoin an instance or two of this comprehensive kind of illustration. Mallet thus describes the father of Edwin :
The father too, a sordid man,
Who love nor pity knew,
Edw. and Emma.
As was his seat so was his gentle heart,
Sad was his look (O heavy fate!
That swain should be so sad,
With greatest pleasure clad)
That charm’d the crystal floods * :
And flew about the woods.
* Day, thou art too officious in thy place,
Great Phæbus ! Daphne is not here,
Nor Hyacinthus fair;
Hath long since cleft the air.
Above all others, perhaps Collins affords one of the most beautiful specimens, in lines that few have read without emotion. Zara ex. claims :
• Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain,
Eclogue II. * Broke was his tuneful pipe
That charm’d the crystal floods.] Thus Milton, in the finest vein of poetry:
Thyrsis ! whose artful strains have oft delay'd
have surely seen
And Titan deemed his.
But he is gone ; then inwards turn your light,
To fenny black. Hyperion great
To ashy paleness turn her!
But black beseems a mourner.
Nor see his second birth,
Than thine did his on earth.
Let not a shepherd on our hapless plains
And if a fellow swain do live
A niggard of his tears ;
To store bim, part of theirs.
But that the store I have
The debt I owe his grave.'
O what is left can make me leavę to moan!
Look on his sheep; alas! their master's gone.
With locked arms have vow'd our love,
(Our love, which time shall see
And grace their harmony)
Behold our flow'ry beds;
For sorrow hang their heads *.
'Tis not a cypress bough, a count’nance sad,
Although the shepherds all should strive
By yearly obsequies,
In spite of destinies,
All these, and more, may be,
My greatest loss of thee.
and violets For sorrow hang their heads.] Milton, instead of representing the vegetable creation as affected at the death of his friend, with superior judgment calls for the several flowers
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.
The glowing violet,
L. 145. Milton is fanciful, yet affecting; Browne puerile and disgusting.