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It is something worth living for, to write or even read such poetry as this is, or to know that it has been written, or that there have been subjects on which to write it !-This, of all Beaumont and Fletcher's plays, comes the nearest in style and manner to Shakespear, not excepting the first act of the Two Noble Kinsmen, which has been sometimes attributed to him.

The FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS by Fletcher alone, is “a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, where no crude surfeit reigns." The author has in it given a loose to his fancy, and his fancy was his most delightful and genial quality, where, to use his own words,

He takes most ease, and grows ambitious

Thro' his own wanton fire and pride delicious.”

The songs and lyrical descriptions throughout , are luxuriant and delicate in a high degree. He came near to Spenser in a certain tender and voluptuous sense of natural beauty; he came near to Shakespear in the playful and fantastic expression of it. The whole composition is an exquisite union of dramatic and pastoral poetry; where the local descriptions receive a tincture from the sentiments and purposes of the speaker, and each character, cradled in the lap of nature,

paints “ her virgin fancies wild” with romantic grace and classic elegance.

The place and its employments are thus described by Chloe to Thenot :

“ Here be woods as green
As any, air likewise as fresh and sweet
As where smooth Zephyrus plays on the fleet
Face of the curled stream, with flow'rs as many
As the young spring gives, and as choice as any;
Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells,
Arbours o’ergrown with woodbine; caves, and dells;
Chuse where thou wilt, while I sit by and sing,
Or gather rushes, to make many a ring
For thy long fingers; tell thee tales of love,
How the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove,
First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes
She took eternal fire that never dies;
How she conveyed him softly in a sleep,
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
Head of old Latmos, where she stoops each night,
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light,
To kiss her sweetest.”.
There are few things that can surpass in
truth and beauty of allegorical description, the
invocation of Amaryllis to the God of Shep-
herds, Pan, to save her from the violence of the
Sullen Shepherd, for Syrinx' sake :

“ For her dear sake,
That loves the rivers' brinks, and still doth shake
In cold remembrance of thy quick pursuit !"

Or again, the friendly Satyr promises Clorin

“ Brightest, if there be remaining

Any service, without feigning
I will do it; were I set
To catch the nimble wind, or get

Shadows gliding on the green.” It would be a task no less difficult than this, to follow the flight of the poet's Muse, or catch her fleeting graces, fluttering her golden wings, and singing in notes angelical of youth, of love, and joy!

There is only one affected and ridiculous character in this drama, that of Thenot in love with Clorin. He is attached to her for her inviolable fidelity to her buried husband, and wishes her not to grant his suit, lest it should put an end to his passion. Thus he pleads to her against himself:

.If you yield, I die
To all affection; 'tis that loyalty
You tie unto this grave I so admire;
And yet there's something else I would desire,
If you would hear me, but withal deny.
Oh Pan, what an uncertain destiny
Hangs over all my hopes! I will retire;
For if I longer stay, this double fire
Will lick my life up."

This is paltry quibbling. It is spurious logic, not genuine feeling. A pedant may hang his affections on the point of a dilemma in this manner; but nature does not sophisticate; or when she does, it is to gain her ends, not to defeat them.

The Sullen Shepherd turns out too dark a character in the end, and gives a shock to the gentle and pleasing sentiments inspired throughout.

his own.

The resemblance of Comus to this poem is not so great as has been sometimes contended, nor are the particular allusions important or frequent. Whatever Milton copied, he made

In reading the Faithful Shepherdess, we find ourselves breathing the moonlight air under the cope of heaven, and wander by forest side or fountain, among fresh dews and flowers, following our vagrant fancies, or smit with the love of nature's works. In reading Milton's Comus, and most of his other works, we seem to be entering a lofty dome raised over our heads and ascending to the skies, and as if nature and every thing in it were but a temple and an image consecrated by the poet's art to the worship of virtue and pure religion. The speech of Clorin, after she has been alarmed the Satyr, is the only one of which Milton has made

a free use.

: my

66 And all my

fears

go

with thee.
What greatness or what private hidden power
Is there in me to draw submission
From this rude man and beast ? Sure I am mortal :
The daughter of a shepherd; he was mortal,
And she that bore me mortal : prick my hand,
And it will bleed; a fever shakes

me,

and
The self-same wind that makes the young lambs shrink,
Makes me a-cold : fear

says, I am mortal.
Yet I have heard, (my mother told it me,
And now I do believe it), if I keep
My virgin flow'r uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair,
No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend,
Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves,
Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion
Draw me to wander after idle fires;
Or voices calling me in dead of night
To make me follow, and so tole me on
Thro' mire and standing pools to find my ruin;
Else, why should this rough thing, who never knew
Manners, nor smooth humanity, whose heats
Are rougher than himself, and more mishapen,
Thus mildly kneel to me? Sure there's a pow'r
In that great name of Virgin, that binds fast
All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites
That break their confines : then, strong Chastity,
Be thou my strongest guard, for here I'll dwell
In opposition against fate and hell!”

Ben Jonson's Sad Shepherd comes nearer it in style and spirit, but still with essential differences, like the two men, and without any appearance of obligation. Ben's is more homely

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