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It is the beggars' music, and thus sings, –
Although their bodies beg, their souls are kings.
O my dread liege! it is the sap of bliss,
Bears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss :
And last of all, to end a household strife,
It is the honey 'gainst a waspish wife.

-DECKER.

I had a doubt whether to put this exquisite passage into the present volume, or to reserve it for one of Contemplative poetry; but the imagination, which few will not think predominant in it, together with a great admiration of the sentiments, of the thoughtful, good-natured alternation of jest and earnest, and of the sweetness of the versification, increased by a certain wild mixture of rhyme and blank verse, determined me to indulge the impulse. Perhaps Decker, who had experienced the worst troubles of poverty, not excepting loss of liberty, drew his patient man from himself, half jesting over the portrait, in order to reconcile his praises of the virtue in the abstract with a modest sense of it in his own person. To the strain in it of a “higher mood,” I cannot but append what Mr. Hazlitt has said in his Lectures on the Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (Templeman's edition, p. 21).

" There have been

persons who, being sceptics as to the divine mission of Christ, have taken an unaccountable prejudice to his doctrines, and have been disposed to deny the merit of his character ; but this was not the feeling of the great men in the age of Elizabeth (wbatever might be their belief), one of whom says of him, with a boldness equal to its piety, · The best of men,

&c. (Here the lecturer quotes the verses alluded to, and adds,) “ This was honest old Decker ;

and the lines ought to embalm his memory to every one who has a sense either of religion, or philosophy, or humanity, or true genius."

A WICKED DREAM.

Vittoria Corombona. To pass away the time I'll tell your grace
A dream I had last night.
Brachiano.

Most wishedly.
Vit. Cor. A foolish idle dream.
Methought I walk'd, about the mid of night,
Into a churchyard, wh a goodly yew-tree
Spread her large root in ground. Under that yew,
As I sat sadly leaning on a grave
Checquer'd with cross-sticks, there came stealing in
Your duchess and my husband; one of them
A pickaxe bore, th' other a rusty spade,
And in rough terms they 'gan to challenge me
About this yew.
Brach.

That tree?
Vit. Cor.

This harmless yew.
They told me my intent was to root up
That well-known yew, and plant i' th' stead of it
A wither'd blackthorn : and for that they vow'd
To bury me alive. My husband straight
With pickaxe 'gan to dig; and your fell duchess
With shovel, like a fury, voided out
The earth, and scattered bones : Lord, how, methought,
I trembled, and yet for all this terror
I could not pray-

Flamineo (aside). No; the devil was in your dream.

Vit. Cor. When to my rescue there arose, methought,
A whirlwind, which let fall a massy arm
From that strong plant;

And both were struck dead by that sacred yew,
In that base shallow grave which was their due.

Flamineo (aside). Excellent devil! she hath taught him in a dream To make away his duchess and her husband.

-WEBSTER

NATURAL DEATII.

O thou soft natural death, that art joint twin
To sweetest slumber ! no rough-bearded comet
Stares on thy mild departure ; the dull owl
Beats not against thy casement; the hoarse wolf
Scents not thy carrion : pity winds thy corse,
Whilst horror waits on princes.

-Id.

FUNERAL DIRGE.

(Sung by a Mother over her Son.)

Call for the robin redbreast and the wren,

Since o'er shady groves they hover,

And with leaves of flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.

Call unto his funeral dole

The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm ;
And when gay tombs are robb’d sustain no harm :
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he 'll dig them up again.

-Id.

"I never saw,” says Lamb, “ anything like this dirge, except the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned father in the Tempest. That is of the water, watery; so this is of the earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of feeling which seems to resolve itself into the elements which it contemplates.”Dramatic Specimens, Moxon's edition, vol. i. p. 251.

DISSIMULATION.

Be not cunning ;
For those whose faces do belie their hearts
Are witches ere they arrive at twenty years,
And give the devil suck.

-WEBSTER.

BEAUTEOUS MORAL EXAMPLE.

Her I hold
My honourable pattern; one whose mind
Appears more like a ceremonious chapel,
Full of sweet music, than a thronging presence.

-1d.

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MILTON.

BORN, 1608,- DIED, 1674.

It is difficult to know what to do with some of the finest passages in Milton's great poem. To treat the objectionable points of their story as mythological, might be thought irreverent to opinion; and to look upon them in the light in which he at first wished us to regard them (for he is understood to have changed his own opinions of it), involves so much irreverence towards the greatest of beings, that it is painful to seem to give them countenance. The difficulty is increased in a volume of the present kind, which is intended to give the reader no perplexity, except to know what to admire most. I have, therefore, thought it best to confine the extracts from Paradise Lost to unconnected passages; and the entire ones to those poems which he wrote when a happy youth, undegenerated into superstition. The former will still include his noblest flights of imagination: the rest are ever fresh, true, and delightful

Milton was a very great poet, second only (if second) to the very greatest, such as Dante and Shakspeare; and,

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