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that no allusion whatever is made to the trying circumstance of her being married to another, under circumstances so recent and so distressing, in any of the various pieces devoted to her name, which in a man of Lovelace's sanguine habit might reasonably be expected.. To the volume of posthumous poems an engraved bust of the author by Hallar, is prefixed, which warrants all that lias been said of the beauty of his person. Both these engravings, together with the poems, have lately been re-engraved and re-published in a very elegant manner, in the selection of early English poets, printed at the Chiswick press.-Before this re-publication the collected works of Lovelace were of difficult attainment, as they appear to have been printed only once, and at distant intervals of time.
Lovelace had in the composition of his mind, many of the finer elements of poetry, and wanted only application, and a better taste than could be acquired in his time, to have placed him in a very elevated rank among the poets of his country. He possessed enthusiasm, a quick and lively perception of beauty,
an ardent imagination, a correct and musical ear, and all the graces of the lyre. His faults are those of his time, and unfortunately they are in excess. In affectation be
* There is only one passage throughout the poems that seems to have any reference to the marriage of this lady. The first stanza of an ode to Lucasta, from prison.
Long in thy shackles, liberty,
When the obscure and metaphoric style of the poet is considered, it may be doubted whether this passage can be taken in its literal sense.
exceeds even Cowley himself, and his fancy is ever upon the rack for new and extravagant thoughts. He is frequently obscure and perplexed, and in some instances unintelligible; nor is he totally exempt from that unpardonable fault a want of delicacy. The court of Charles the second is accused of having first promoted and patronised a race of voluptuary poets, who have disgraced that language by their grossness, which they might have embellished by their talents. The accusation is not strictly correct. The great poets of Elizabeth's time are not free from this unhappy taint, and the “ well-head” of our poetry, father Chaucer himself, is a sad example of it. There is however, a certain undefinable redeeming grace in the amatory poems by the great masters of the Elizabethan age, which preserves them from absolutely disgusting; a grace which was gradually dissipated in their successors and became totally extinct in the productions of the abandoned wits of Charles's time. Lovelace partook of this degradation, and some of his pieces are disfigured by it. The following selection exhibits our poet in the most fayourable light:
To LUCASTA, going beyond the Seas.
If to be absent, were to be
But I'll not sigh one blast or gale
Though sea and land's betwixt us both,
So then we do anticipate
To constitute perfection in a love song, the ideas should be few, simple, delicate, and impassioned, and the above specimen has all these qualities combined. It is altogether a beautiful song, and the third stanza in particular is excellent: it has hitherto escaped the notice of our collectors.
To LUCASTA, going to the Wars.
Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
To war and arms I fly,
-a new mistress now I chase, The first foe in the field,And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such,
As you too shall adore ;
Loy'd I not honour more.
Amarantha sweet and fair,
Let it fly as unconfin'd
Every tress must be confest,
Do not then wind
that light In ribands,--and o’ercloud in night, Like the sun in's early ray; But shake your head and scatter day!