Page images
PDF
EPUB

We shall conclude our quotations the powerful alchemy of genius more from Lodge with “ The Contents of conspicuous in transmuting a piece the Schedule which Sir John of Bour- of very indifferent metal into fine deaux gave to his Sons," extracted gold. The play of Shakspeare, while from his pastoral romance of Rosalind, it exquisitely represents the true from which Shakspeare seems to bave charm and uses of sylvan solitude, as taken the hint of his As you like a contrast and cure to the opposite it. Literature certainly owes more tendencies of a life of painted pomp, to Lodge for that suggestion than for affords no sanction either to the sickly any direct obligation that his own sentiment or the presumptuous mispoetry has imposed. But here, as in anthropy which form the exclusive other instances, the suggestion is al- theme of inferior writers on similar most the whole merit that belongs to subjects. the original author, and nowhere is

THE CONTENTS OF THE SCHEDULE WHICH SIR JOHN OF BOURDEAUX GAVE TO

HIS SONS.
“ My sons, behold what portion I do give,

I leave you goods, but they are quickly lost;
I leave advice to school you how to live ;

I leave you wit, but won with little cost :
• But keep it well, for counsel still is won

When father, friends, and worldly good are gone.

" In choice of thrift, let honour be your game;

Win it by virtue, and by manly might :
In doing good, esteem thy toil no pain ;

Protect the fatherless and widow's right:
Fight for thy faith, thy country, and thy king-
For why? this thrift will prove a blessed thing.

“ In choice of wife, prefer the modest, chaste,

Lilies are fair in show, but foul in smell :
The sweetest looks by age are soon defaced,

Then choose thy wife by wit and living well :
Who brings thee wealth and many faults withal,
Presents thee honey mixed with bitter gall.

" In choice of friends, beware of light belief;

A painted tongue may shroud a subtle heart:
The siren's tears do threaten meikle grief!

Foresee, my sons, for fear of sudden smart ;
Choose in your wants, and he that friends you then,
When richer grown, befriend you him again.

“ Learn, with the ant, in summer to provide,

Drive, with the bee, the drone from out the hive;
Build, like the swallow, in the summer tide ;

Spare not too much, my sons, but sparing thrive :
Be poor in folly, rich in all but sin,
So by your death your glory shall begin."

The next moral author on our list cessful in recommending religious and is Robert Southwell, a Roman Catholic moral thoughts by neat language and and a Jesuit, but (if it is not illiberal simple illustration. The principle on to contrast things that are not incom- which he writes is thus explained in patible) a pious man and a blameless an address prefixed to his collected writer. He was executed in 1595, in pieces in the edition of 1636:the thirty-sixth year of his age, a vic- « Poets, by abusing their talents, tim to Protestant retaliation for Papal and making the follies and feignings cruelty. His poetry, though not of of love the customary subjects of their a high order, deserves the praise of base endeavours, have so discredited the purest intentions, and is often suc. this faculty, that a poet, a lover, and a liar, are by many reckoned but same, or to begin some finer piece, three words of one signification. But wherein it may be seen how well the vanity of man cannot counter- verse and virtue suit together.” poise the authority of God, who, de The more ambitious attempts of livering many parts of Scripture in Southwell are not well sustained, and verse, and, by his apostle, willing us to are disfigured by forced conceits and to exercise our devotion in hymns and excess of alliterations; and, in truth, spiritual songs, warranteth the art to his most creditable performances are be good and the use allowable. But those shorter verses by which his rethe devil," he continues, “ as he affect putation was first revived in Mr Head. eth deity, and seeketh to have all the ley's Selections. These little poems compliments of divine honour applied are formed on the plan of working out to his service, so hath he, among the a simple idea by a variety of analogies rest, possessed also most poets with or comparisons, shortly developed, and his idle fancies. For, in lieu of solemn strung together by no thread of conand devout matter, to which in duty nexion but the similarity of principle they owe their abilities, they now busy which pervades them. Yet the vein themselves in expressing such passions of thought is so pure and gentle, and as only serve for testimonies to how the illustrations are often so apposite, unworthy affections they have wedded agreeable, and pointedly expressed, their wills. And because the best that the effect is, on the whole, excourse to let them see the error of tremely pleasing. As the works of their works is to weave a new web in Southwell are rare, we shall here bring their own loom, I have here laid a few together what we consider to be the coarse threads together to invite some best pieces or passages falling within skilfuller wits to go forward in the our plan.

TIMES GO BY TURNS.
" The lopped tree in time may grow again,

Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower :
The sorriest wight may find relief from pain,

The driest soil suck in some moistening shower.
Times go by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

“ The sea of fortune doth not ever flow,

She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tides have equal times to come and go,

Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web.
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

“ Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,

No endless night, nor yet eternal day :
The saddest birds a season find to sing,

The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

“ A chance may win that by mischance was lost;

That net that holds no great, takes little fish :
In some things all, in all things none are cross'd,

Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmingled joys here to no man befal,
Who least hath some, who most hath never all."

SCORN NOT THE LEAST.
“ Where wards are weak and foes encountering strong,

Where mightier do assault than do defend,
The feebler part puts up enforced wrong,

And silent sees that speech could not amend;
Yet higher powers must think, though they repine -
When sun is set, the little stars will shine,

“ While pike doth range the silly tench doth fly,

And crouch in privy creeks with smaller fish;
Yet pikes are caught when little fish go by,

These fleet afloat, while those do fill the dish :
There is a time even for the worms to creep
And suck the dew, while all their foes do sleep.

The merlin cannot ever soar on high,
Nor greedy greyhound still pursue the chase ;
The tender lark will find a time to fly,

And fearful hare to run a quiet race-
He that high growth on cedars did bestow
Gave also lowly mushrooms leave to grow.
“ In Haman's pomp poor Mardocheus wept,

Yet God did turn his fate upon his foe :
The Lazar pined while Dives' feast was kept,

Yet he to heaven, to hell did Dives' go-
We trample grass and prize the flowers of May,
Yet grass is green when flowers do fade away."

CONTENT AND RICH,

" Sith sails of largest size

The storm doth soonest tear, I bear so low and small a sail

As freeth me from fear. “I wrestle not with rage

While fury's flame doth burn; It is in vain to stop the stream

Until the tide doth turn. " But when the flame is out

And ebbing wrath doth end, I turn a late enraged foo

Into a quiet friend. “ And taught with often proof,

A tempered calm I find, To be most solace to itself,

Best cure for angry mind. " Spare diet is my fare,

My clothes more fit than fine : I know, I feed and clothe a foe

That pampered would repine.

" And when in froward mood

She proved an angry foe,
Small gain I found to let her come,

Less loss to let her go."
The collection of poems entitled
England's Helicon, was first printed
in 1600, and was followed by David-
son's Poetical Rhapsody, in 1602.

These two miscellanies, the latest, we may say, which combine the attraction of antiquity with that of intrinsic interest, supply very few contributions for our present object. England's Helicon consists almost entirely of Pastoral Poems, and, in these, with scarcely an exception, the pleasures, and much more frequently the pangs of love, are the only feelings in the shepherd's heart that are deemed worthy to prompt the song. We select one verse of a moral composition, which, although of no great merit, may be thought curious, as an early example of those common-places of comparison by which the shortness and vanity of life and its enjoyments have been so often shadowed forth.

“ No change of fortune's calms

Can cast my comforts down :
When fortune smiles, I smile to think

How quickly she will frown.

“As withereth the primrose by the river,
As fadeth summer's sun from gliding fountains,
As vanisheth the light blown bubble ever,
As melteth snow upon the mossy mountains :
So melts, so vanishes, so fades, so withers
The rose, the shine, the bubble, and the snow
Of praise, pomp, glory, joy (which short life gathers),
Fair praise, vain pomp, sweet glory, brittle joy!
The withered primrose by the morning river,
The faded summer's sun, from weeping fountains,
The light blown bubble, vanished for ever,
The molten suow upon the naked mountains,

Are emblems that the treasures we uplay,
Soon wither, vanish, fade, and melt away."

The Rhapsody is somewhat more display their learning. “ He jests at multifarious in its contents; but here, scars that never felt a wound;" is the too, though arrayed in a more court. remark of the enamoured Romeo on ly costume, Cupid is still the leading the merry and mocking Mercutio. But character of the Drama. We confess. the persons to whom we have referred we have but little sympathy or admi- seem to have reversed the proverb, and ration for the effusions of our amatory to have affected the most acute agonies, poets in general, who appear to have and the most desperate extremities of felt the passion more in their head than suffering, without having ever receiv. in their heart, or to have chosen this ed a scratch. We find the following theme as a schoolboy might do, that moral verses in the Rhapsody without they might exercise their ingenuity or the name of any author :

RHAPSODY 67.
" The virtuous man is free, tho' bound in chains ;

Tho'poor, content; tho' banished, yet no stranger ·

Tho'sick, in health of mind; secure in danger;
And o'er himself, the world, and fortune reigns.

“ Nor good haps, proud-nor bad, dejected make him ;

To God's, not to man's will, he frames each action :

He seeks no fame, but inward satisfaction;

And firmer stands, the more bad fortunes shake him.” We believe that the two collections which indisputably it does not, having we have just mentioned, are the ear- been attached to pieces supposed to be liest publications which contain any written by Shakespeare and other connumber of the poetical compositions tributors to the Helicon, and having of Raleigh. That this remarkable probably no meaning, except simply person wrote several poems of merit, that of Unknown. The inference as is unquestionable ; but it seems diffi- to identity of authorship arising from cult to determine either what are his this subscription, seems, indeed, to be genuine productions, or at what period not much more correct than that of of his life they were written. A late the old lady who was struck with the elegant, but somewhat fanciful critic number of works that were written by and antiquary, has been pleased to Fixis. Without, however, examining invest him with somewhat like mano. very critically into this question, we rial privileges over the outskirts of shall here notice such real or reputed Parnassus, and to have appropriated poems of Raleigh as fall within our to him all the waifs and strays that present province. These, it is sinwere worth seizing. The collection gular to observe, are to be found not of Raleigh's Poems first printed at tlie in the contemporaneous compilations Lee Priory Press, has enlarged a very of the Helicon or Rhapsody, but in a small nucleus to a very respectable work which had no existence for thirty bulk, by ascribing to him a variety of years after Raleigh's death, we mean pieces, as to which there is no evi. the Reliquiæ Wottoniane, published dence whatever that he was the writer. by Isaac Walton, in 1651. The pieces The Lie, or the Soul's Errand, is there we refer to, bear the signature of Iggiven as his, not upon any satisfactory noto, and are printed along with Sir authority, but on the very question- Henry Wotton's own compositions, able footing, “ that, though the date among other poems said by Walton ascribed to this poem is demonstrably to have been found among Sir Henry's wrong," the editor knows “no author papers. We are certainly not authorso capable of writing it as Raleigh." ized to conclude that they are WotAnother poem is assigned to him with ton's, but there is still less ground for an equal absence of proof, and simply, ascribing them to any one else ; and it because it is not unbecoming the vi. seems to be probable, that if Ignoto gorous mind, the worldly experience, was known as the exclusive signature and the severe disappointments of Ra of Raleigh, Walton would have menleigh." A considerable class of these tioned him as the author, as he has poems is attributed to him, on no done in other instances, both in his other authority than this supposition, Angler and in the Reliquiæ. The first that the signature of Ignoto affixed to that we shall select, appears to us to them belongs exclusively to Raleigh, be extremely beautiful.

À DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY'S RECREATIONS.

“Quivering fears, heart-tearing cares, Anxious sighs, untimely tears,

Fly, fly to courts,

Fly to fond worldling's sports,
Where strained Sardonic smiles are glowing still,
And grief is forced to laugh against her will ;

Where mirth's but mummery,
And sorrows only real be.

“ Fly from our country pastimes, fly, Sad troops of human misery.

Come, serene looks,

Clear as the crystal brooks,
Or the pure azured heaven that smiles to see
The rich attendance on our poverty;

Peace and a secure mind,
Which all men seek, we only find.

“ Abused mortals, did you know,
Where joy, hearts' ease, and comforts grow,

You'd scorn proud towers,

And seek them in these bowers,
Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake,
But blustering care could never tempest make,

Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us,
Saving of fountains that glide by us.

“ Here's no fantastic mask nor dance, But of our kids that frisk and prance ;

Nor wars are seen,

Unless upon the green
Two harmless lambs are butting one the other,
Which done, both bleating run each to his mother

And wounds are never found,
Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.

“ Here are no entrapping baits To hasten too too hasty fates,

Unless it be

The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which, worldling like, still look
Upon the bait, but never on the hook :

Nor envy, unless among
The birds, for prize of their sweet song.

" Go let the diving negro seek
For gems bid in some forlorn creek :

We all pearls scorn,

Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass :

And gold ne'er here appears,
Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

“ Blest silent groves, oh may you be For ever mirth's best nursery !

May pure contents

For ever pitch their tents
Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains,
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains :

Which we may every year
Meet when we come a-fishing here."

« PreviousContinue »