« PreviousContinue »
From thy long cloudy bed
Vermillion ball that's given
Love's couch's coverlid :
See! rosy is her bower,
Her bed a rosy nest,
The posthumous poems, as we have already observed, are much inferior to those from which we have been quoting. We can, however, glean from them a small, though a very small
, portion, which is worthy of being redeemed from oblivion.*
The first stanza of the song to the lover, representing the folly of his attempting to secure the affections of his mistress by gaudy dress, is worthy of the first Lucasta.
“Strive not, vain lover, to be fine,
Thy silk's the silk-worm's, and not thine ;
What though her thin transparent lawn
Thy heart in a strong net hath drawn?
These lines taken from many others on " a snail,” are fanciful and elegant.
“Now hast thou chang'd thee, saint, and made
* This, however, has been already done, as far as a reprint can do it; in the very neat and elegant edition of the two Lucastas in Mr. Singer's early English poets. But the worthless too far overbalances the valuable in these poems to hope that general readers will have the patience to separate them.
On sallads thou dost feed severe,
We can also extract the more modest praises of “ Love made in the first age,” addressed to Chloris.
“In the nativity of time,
In direct Hebrew for to woo;
And court in English backward too.
A fragrant bank of strawberries,
Was table, table-cloth, and fare;
In the piazza of her hair.
Both broken faith, and th' cause of it,
Their troth, seal'd with a clasp and kiss,
And in each other breath'd new bliss."
We must, however, here close our extracts, which have certainly occupied as much space as we can afford to the merits of Lovelace; which, though they are far from being of the highest order, amply deserve the notice we have been able to give him. Such poems as they are, they rather shew what the author might have been, had he lived in other circumstances, and at a very different period, than give that full and satisfactory gratification to be derived from the efforts of more genuine inspiration. In the songs, and in the other happy offspring of Lovelace's muse, it will have been observed, that his verse is commonly smooth and harinonious. This character, however, by no means applies to the whole of his poems, the greater part of which are written in a very crabbed and obscure style. It is to be remarked, that the smoothness and felicity of his verse almost always accompanies a proportionate happiness
of imagery and thought. When writing in the fashion of the times his lines are cold and constrained, often forced and unnatural;—he appears hampered by confinement, and sings, to use his own phrase, though in a different application, “like a committed linnet;"—when he escapes from his thraldom, the gay air of a gallant high-thoughted cavalier graces every line. We will conclude this paper with a few scattered lines which we remarked in our perusal, but which, though worthy of notice, were not, for different reasons, of importance enough to be introduced into the body of our extracts.
In the duel of the toad and spider, he speaks of a description of punishment more horrible than any other we remember to have heard of.
“Now as in witty torturing Spain,
In the triumphs of Philamore and Amoret, he has this finely expressed comparison.
as at a coronation,
He compares a toad and a spider, about to engage with each other, in these terms.
“ Have you not seen a carrack lie
Perhaps a black patch on a lady's cheek, covering a bee's sting, was never before mentioned in terms so exalted as the following
" And that black marble tablet there,
Art. IX.-The History of the Gwedir Family. By Sir John Wynne, the first Baronet of that name:
Cui genus, a proavis ingens.- Virg. 8vo. London, 1773.
Sir John Wynne, the historian of the Gwedir family, was the representative of one of the wealthiest and most ancient families in North Wales. He was born in 1553, and married Sidney, daughter of Sir William Gerard, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, by whom he had nine sons and two daughters. In 1611, he was created a baronet, and died fifteen years afterwards, at the advanced and venerable age of seventy-three. The baronetcy terminated in his grandson, Sir John, in default of male issue; but some of the first houses in the principality claim an alliance with the family through the female branches,—as the Burrells, Lords Gwydyr ;-(who are also representatives of the extinct dukedom of Åncaster,)-the Wynns of Wynnstay and Penniarth,--the Vaughans of Nannau and Hêngwrt, and the Mostyns of Mostyn and Gloddaeth.
But, in addition to these hereditary qualifications, Sir John Wynne possessed others more immediately obvious and endearing. Endowed with nearly every characteristic of the warm-hearted Cambro-Briton, he was, also, an elegant scholar, a kind and affectionate father, and an upright and benevolent man. Generous, patriotic, hospitable, and remarkably tenacious of the honour and antiquity of his family, he affords, in his character, an admirable specimen of a thorough-bred Welshman, whose genial virtues infinitely more than counterbalance his trifling and innocent eccentricities. To improve a mind naturally and powerfully imbued with a thirst for knowledge, he visited Italy in his youth,* and afterwards returned to Wales, where he passed his time in the midst of his dependants, cultivating their esteem, and alleviating the misery of the poor around him.
It was during this part of his life, that he compiled his History;" the principal object of which appears to be the deduction of his pedigree from Griffith ap Cynan, who swayed the
* The celebrated Archbishop Williams, who was tutor to the Baronet's sons at St. John's College, Cambridge, characterizes him as a man,
Multorum mores hominum, qui vidit, et urbes.
sceptre of North Wales, during the latter part of the eleventh and the commencement of the twelfth century; and the zeal and industry which the worthy baronet has evinced in a cause so very unimportant, when abstractedly considered, to any but himself and his friends, is admirably illustrative of his own indefatigable perseverance, and of that of his genealogy-loving countrymen.* He has spared neither pains nor expense in procuring all the old, neglected, and forgotten documents, which might in any way tend to elucidate his subject; and it must he confessed, that, after a good deal of toil and trouble, he has succeeded in most satisfactorily establishing the validity of his descent from one of the best and wisest monarchs that ever reigned in Wales. And this task he has accomplished in a very entertaining and masterly manner. Instead of merely confining himself to the genealogical tree, and its nearest and most conspicuous branches, -telling us, that Griffith ap Cynan had so many children, the eldest of whom was Owen Gwynedd, who had a son by his first wife Gwaladys, named Yorwerth Drwndwn, or Edward with the broken nose, and so forth ;-he launches out collaterally, and diverges most amusingly, into the history of each particular period, -recapitulates the most remarkable events,—and fails not to relate as many of the heroic exploits of his ancestors, as he can possibly prove them to have performed.
In this manner he has collected and narrated many important and interesting historical facts, and made his “History” really worthy of its title : so much so, indeed, that nearly every subsequent historian has made frequent reference to it; and that amiable and accomplished antiquary, Bishop Percy, deemed it so excellent a work, that he enriched it with four copious and accurate genealogical tables, besides several learned and valuable notes. Well, indeed, may we apply to the baronet of Gwedir, the merited compliment which he himself paid to a contemporary antiquary ; designating him as a man,“ to whom his country is much beholden, preferring nothing more than the honour thereof, which he most carefully raketh out of the ashes of oblivion, in searching, quoting, and coppying, to his great chardge, all the ancient records he can come by.”
The "amor patriæ,” indeed, glowed brightly in the bosom of our author; and it was his ardent patriotism, added to a qua
* “ Genealogiam quoque generis sui," writes Giraldus Cambrensis, who travelled through Wales in 1188,“ etiam de populo quilibet observat, et non solum avos, atavos, sed usque ad sextam vel septimam, et ultra procul generationem memoriter et promptè genus enarrat.”
Cambriæ Descriptio.-cap. 17.