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Ah! no, it is not dead, nor can it die,
But lives for aye in blissful paradise ;
In bed of lillies, wrapped in tender wise,
To him do sweetly carol day, and night,
Lull him asleep in angel-like delight :
Of their divine aspects, appearing plain,
Sweet love, still joyous, never feeling pain :
Sweet spirit! never fearing more to die,
Nor fearing savage beasts' more cruelty,
And give us leave thee here thus to lament;
But our own selves, that here in dole are drent. .. Thus do we weep and wail, and wear our eyes, Mourning in others our own miseries.
The lady's paradise, peopled with houris, is perhaps rather in the Ma hometan taste. It is, however, no
slight honour to her, that Milton in the most perfect of all his works, his matchless “ Ly cidas,” bad an eye upon her Elegy. Of this who can doubt, reading the following lines :
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
The bed of lillies compass'd about with roscs and violets, in which the disembodied soul reposes, like a new-born babe, a sweet and truly feminine idea of the lady, is changed by the poet into fresh groves and streams, and nectar pure. The thousand birds who sweetly carol night and day, become solemn troops and sweet societies occupied in heavenly music. For the immortal beauties kindling love, unallayed by jealousy, we have the communion of sainis. In both, the originating ideas are the same--the igures only are various. The lady's are perhaps the most poetical, the poet's certainly the most orthodox.
In Davison's “Poetical Rhapsody," printed in 1602, is a Poem, entitled " A Pastoral Dialogue in praise of Astrea,” the poetical appellation of Queen Elizabeth, said to ha ve been “made by the excellent lady, the Lady Mary Countess of Pembroke, at the Queen's Majesties being at her house."
A Dialogue between Two Shepherds...
THENOT AND PJERS. Thenot. I sing divine Astrea's praise,
O Musés ! help my wits to raise,
And heave my verses higher.
Piers. Thou need'st the truth but plainly tell
Which much I doubt thou canst not well,
Thou art so oft a liar,
Thenot. If in my song no more I show
Than heaven and earth and sea do know,
Then truly I have spoken. Piers. Sufficeth not no more to name,
But being no less, the like, the same
Else laws of truth be broken.
Thenot. Then say, she is so good, so fair,
With all the earth she may compare,
Nor Woman's self denying. Piers. Compare may think where likeness holds,
Nought like to her the earth enfolds :
I thought to find you lying. Thenot. Soon as Astrea shews her face,
Straight every ill avoids the place,
And every good aboundeth.
The last doth come, the first doth go;
How loud this lie resoundeth.
Thenot. Astrea is our chiefest joy,
Our chiefest guard against annoy,
Our chiefest wealth, our treasure. Piers. Where chiefest are, there others be,
To us none else but only she,
When wilt thou speak in measure ? Thenot. Astrea may be justly said
A field in flowery robe array’d,
In seasons freest springing.
Piers. That spring endures but shortest time,
This never leaves Astrea's clime:
Thou liest in stead of singing. Therot. Astrea rightly term I may
A manly palm, a maiden bay,
Her verdure never dying. Piers. Palm oft is crooked, bay is low,
She still upright, still high doth grow,
Good Thenot leave thy lying.
My meaning true, my words should lie,
And strive in vain to raise her. Piers. Words from conceit do only rise,
Above conceit her honour flies :
But* silence nought can praise her. † A pure sample this of that outrageous flattery, close bordering upon the brink of irony and ridicule, in which Elizabeth was weak and vain enough to find delight,strange inconsistency of human nature.
A very scarce publishe:l work of the Countess, bears the title of “ The Tragedy of Antonie ;done into English by the Countess of Pembroke.” Dated at Ramsbury, 26 Nov. 1590. Printed by P. S. for W. Ponsonby, 1595, 16mo. From this production Mr. Park has selected the following extract as a specimen :
Drown we with tears our woe;
Lamented, easy grow,
i; e. Except. + Royal and Noble Authors, Vol. 2, p. 196
We want that woeful song
Wherewith wood-músick's queen
Fresh spring-time's bushes green.
That pratling Progne makes,
Or streams of Thracian lakes,
Bewailing Ceyx 'lot,
Which his dead limbs have göt,
And though the bird in death,
That most Meander loves,
When death his füry provés,
Yet all the plaints of those,
Nor all their tearful 'larms
serve to wail the harms,
To feel enforced be, t Copied from'her brother
- The Nightingale wood-musicks queen". + Royal and Noble Authors, Vol. 2, p. 197.