Abbildungen der Seite

of the privy council of James II. but acquiesced in the Revolution, and was afterwards a member of the cabinet council of William and. Mary, with a pension of £3000. Sheffield is said to have made love' to Queen Anne when they were both young, and her majesty heaped honours on the favourite immediately on her accession to the throne. He lived in great state in a magnificent house he had built in St. James's Park, of which he has given a long description-dwelling, with delight on its gardens, terrace, park, and canal, and the rows of goodly elms and limes through which he approached his mansion. This stately residence was purchased by George III. and taken down by George IV. to make way for the present royal palace, which still bears the name of Buckingham. The noble poet continued actively engaged in public affairs till his death. Sheffield wrote several poems and copies of verses. Among the former is an “Essay on Satire, which Dryden is reported, but erroneously, to have revised. His principal work, however, is his · Essay on Poetry,' which was published anonymously in 1682; the second edition, enlarged in 1691, received the praises of Roscommon, Dryden, and Pope. This poem was retouched by Pope, and in return some of the last lines of Buckingham were devoted to the 1 raise of the young poet of Windsor Forest.' The' Essay on Poetry' is written in the heroic couplet, and seems to have suggested Pope's ‘Essay on Criticism.' It is of the style of Denham and Roscommon, plain, perspicuous, and sensible, but contains little true poetry-less than any of Dryden's prose esSays.

Extract from the 'Essay on Poetry.'
Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
Nature's chief master-piece is writing well ;
No writing lifts exalted man so high
As sacred and soul-moving Poesy:
No kind of work requires so nice a touch,
And, if well finished, nothing shines so much.
But Heaven forbid we should be so profane
To grace the vulgar with that noble name,
'Tis not a flash of faucy, which, sometimes
Dazzling our minds, sets off the slightest rhymes ;
Bright as a blaze, but in a moment done:
True wit is everlasting like the sun,
Which, though sometimes behind a cloud retired,
Breaks out again, and is by all admired.
Number and thyme, and that harmonious sound
Which not the nicest car with harshness wound,
Are necessary, yet but vulgar arts:
And all in vain these superficial parts
Contribute to the structure of the whole:
Without a genius, too, for that 's the soul:
A spirit which inspires the work throughout,
As that of nature moves the world about;
A flame that ylows amidst conceptions fit,
Even something of divine, and more than wit;
Itself unseen, yet all things by it shewn,
Describing all men, but described by none. . . .

First, then, of songs, which now so much abound, Without his song bo fop is to be found; A most offensive weapon which he draws On all he meets, against Apollo's laws. Though nothing seems more easy, yet no part Of poetry requires a nicer art; For as in rows of richest pearl there lies Many a blemish that escapes our eyes, The least of which defects is plainly shown In one small ring, and brings the value down: So songs should be to just perfection wrought; Yet when can one be seen without a fault ? Exact propriety of words and thought; Expression easy, and the fancy high ; Yet that not seem to creep, nor this to fly; No words transposed, but in such order all, As wrought with care. yet seem by chance to fall. ...

Of all the ways that wisest men could find To mend the age, and mortify mankind, Satire well writ has most successful proved, And cures, because the remedy is loved. 'Tis hard to write on such a subject more, Without repeating things oft said before. Some vulgar errors ouly we'll remove, That stain a beauty which we so much love. Of choseu words some take not care enough, And think they should be, as the subject, rough; This poem must be more exactly made, And sharpest thoughts in smoothest words couveyed. Some think, if sharp enough, they cannot fail, As if their only business was to rail; But human frailty, nicely to unfold, Distinguishes a satire from a gcold. Rage you must hide, and prejudice lay down; A satyr's smile is sharper than his frown; So while you seem to slight some rival youth, Malice itself may pass sometimes for truth.

By painful steps at last we labour up Parnassus' hill, on whose bright airy top The epic poets so divinely shew, And with just pride behold the rest below. Heroic poems have a just pretence To be the utmost stretch of human sense; A work of such inestimable worth, There are but two the world has yet brought forthHomer and Virgil ; with what sacred awe Do those mere sounds the world's attention draw ! Just as a changeling seems below the rest Of men, or rather as a two-legged beast. So these gigantic souls, amazed, we find As much above the rest of human-kiud! Nature's whole strength united ! endless fame And universal shouts attend their name! Read Homer once, and you can read no more, For all books else appear so mean, so poor, Verse will seem prose; but still persist to read, And Homer will be all the books you need.


A Hymn to my Redeemer. By GEORGE SANDYS, the accomplished traveller, translator of Ovid, and author of 'Metrical Paraphrases of the Psalms, the Book of Job, &c.' 1636.

This hymn was hung by Sandys as an offering on the sepulchre of Christ.

Saviour of mankind-man-Emmanuel,
Who sinless died for sin, who vanquished hell,
The first fruits of the grave; whose life did give
Light to our darkness ; in whose death we live,
o strengthen Thou my faith! correct my will,
That mine may thine obey! Protect me still,
So that the latter death may not devour
My soul, sealed with thy seal!-o in the hour
When Thou, whose body sanctified this toinb,
Unjustly judged, a glorious judge shalt come
To judge the world

with justice, by that sign
I may be known, and entertained for thine !
From Sandys' Version of the Nineteenth Psalm.

God's glory the vast heavens proclaim,
The firmament His mighty frame;
Day unto day, and night to night,
The wonders of His works recite.
To these nor speech nor words belong,
Yet understood without a tongue,
The globe of earth they compass round,
Through all the world disperse their sound.
There is the sun's pavilion set,
Who from his rosy cabinet,
Like a fresh bridegroom shews his face,
And as a giant runs his race.

The Old Man's Wish. This song, by Dr. WALTER POPE (died in 1714), was first published in 1685. It was imitated in Latin by VINCENT BOURNE (1697-1747), usher in Westminster School, who was affectionately, remembered by Cowper and other pupils.

If I live to grow old, as I find I go down,
Let this be my fute in a country town:
May I have a warm house, with a stone at my gate,
And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate.

May I govern my passions with an absolute sway,
Grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,

Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
In a country town, by a murmuring brook,
With the ocean at distance on which I may look,
With a spacious plain without hedge or stile,
And an easy pad nag to ride out a mile.

Mar I govern, &c.
With Horace and Plutarch, and one or two more
Of the best wits that lived in the ages before;
With a dish of roast-mutton, not ven'son nor teal,
And clean, though coarse linen at every meal.

May I govern, &c.
With a pudding on Sunday, and stout humming liquor,
And remnants of Latin to puzzle the vicar;

With a hidden reserve of Burgundy wine
To drink the king's health as oft as I dine.

May I govern, &c.
With a courage undaunted, may I face my last day,
And when I ain dead inay the better sort say,
In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow,
He's gone and ha u't left behind him his fellow;

For he governed his passions with an absolute sway,
And grew wiser and better as his strength wore away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.'

Colin's Complaint.By Nicholas ROWE.
Despairing beside a clear stream,

Ah, Colin, thy hopes are in vain; A shepherd forsaken was laid ;

Thy pipe and thy laurel resigo; And while a false nymph was his theme, Thy false one inclines to a swain A willow supported his head,

Whose music is sweeter than thine, The wind that blew over the plain,

To his sighs with a sigh did reply ; . And you, my companions so dear,
And the brook, in return to his pain, Who sorrow to see me betrayed,
Ran mournfully murmuring by.

Whatever I suffer, forbear

Forbear to accuse the false maid. 'Alas, silly swain that I was!'

Thongh through the wide world I should Thus sadly complaining he cried;

range, When first I beheld that fair face

'Tis in vain from my fortone to fly; "Twere better by far I had died.

'Twas hers to be false and to change, She talked, and I blessed the dear tongne; 'Tis mine to be constant and die. When she smiled 'twas a pleasure too great :

“If while my hard fate 1 sastain, I listened and cried when she sung,

In her breast any pity is found, ** Was nightingale ever so sweet ?Let her come with the nymph of the

plain, How foolish was I to believe

And see me laid low in the ground. She could dote on so lowly a clown, The last humble boon that I crave, Or that her fond heart wonld not grieve Is to shade me with cypress and yew;

To forsake the fine folk of the town. And when she looks down on my grave, To think that a beauty so gay,

Let her own that her shepherd was So kind and so constant could prove,

true. Or go clad like our maidens in gray, Or live in a cottage on love.

• Then to her new love let her go,

And deck her in golden array, What though I have skill to complain, Be finest at every fine show, Though the Muses my temple have And frolic it all the long day; crowned ?

While Colin, forgotten and gone, What though, when they hear my soft No more shall be talked of or seen, strain,

Unless when beneath the pale moon The virgins sit weeping around ?

His ghost shall glide over the green.'
The Blind Boy.-By COLLEY CIBBER.
O say what is that thing called light, And could I ever keep awake,
Which I must ne'er enjoy,

With me 'twere always day.
What are the blessings of the sight-
O tell your poor blind boy!

With heavy sighs I often hear

You mourn my hapless woe;
You talk of wondrous things you see; But, sure, with patience I can bear
You say the sun shines bright;

A loss I ne'er can know.
I feel him warm, but how can hé
Or make it day or night?

Then let not what I cannot have

My cheer of mind destroy ; My day or night myself I make, While thus I sing, I am a king, Whene'er I sleep or play ;

Although a poor blind boy.


THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. The celebrated JAMES GRAHAM, Marquis of Montrose (1612–1650), had some taste for literature. He wrote a few copies of verses, irregular in style, but occasionally happy and vigorous in expression, and characteristic of that daring romantic spirit be displayed both as Covenanter and cavalier. The following is the most popular of his effusions :

BalladI'll Never Love Thee More. My dear and only love, I pray

But 'gainst my batteries if I find That little world of thee

Thou kick, or vex me sore, Be governed by no other sway

As that thou set me up a blind,
Than purest monarchy;

I'll never love thee more.
For if confusion have a part,
Which virtuous souls abhor,

And in the empire of thine heart,
And hold a synod in thine heart,

Where I should solely be, I'll never love thee more.

If others do pretend a part,

Or dare to vie with me; As Alexander I will reign,

Or committees if thou erect,
And I will reign alone;

And go on such a score,
My thoughts did ever more disdain I'll laugh and sing at thy neglect,
A rival on my throne.

And never love thee more.
He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are

But if thou wilt prove faithful, then, That dares not put it to the touch

And constant of thy word, To gain or lose it all !

I'll make thee.glorious by my pen,

And famous by my sword; But I will reign and govern still,

I'll serve thee in such noble ways And always give the law,

Was never heard before ; And have each subject at my will,

I'll crown and deck thee all with bays, And all to stand in awe.

And love thee more and more. Lines written by Montrose after sentence of death was passed upon him.

Let them bestow on every airt (1) a limb,
Then open all my veins, that I may swim
To Thee, my Maker, in that crimsou lake;
Then place iny parboiled head upon a stake,
Scatter my ashes, strew them in the air :
Lord ! since Thou know'st where all those atoms are,
I'm hopeful Thou 'lt recover once my dust,
And confident Thou ’lt raise me with the just !

The Semples of Beltrees were a poetical family, and one piece by
ROBERT SEMPILL (1595-1659) evinces a talent for humorous descrip.
tion. Allan Ramsay, and afterwards Burns, copied the style and
form of verse in Sempill's poem, “The Piper of Kilbarchan:'
Kilbarchan now may say 'Alas!' Now who shall play, “The Day it dawe,
For she hath lost her game and grace, Or • Hunts up,' when the cock he craws?
Both Trixie and the Maiden Trace; Or who can for our kirk-town cause
But what remead?

Stand us in stead ?
For no man can supply his place- On bagpipes now naebody blaws
Hab Simson's dead !

Sin' Habbie 's dead.

1 Every point of the compass (Gaelic aird, a cardinal point).

« ZurückWeiter »