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It may be thought that some of the feelings and imagination on points here brought out are of the great and engrossing object. The nature of conceits, in which fanciful, heart is light and at ease, and the and sometimes merely verbal con- fancy is at liberty to sport with the trasts, are exhibited between the de successive images that attract its at. lights of the country and the troubles tention, and to exert even some inor vanities of the world. Yet surely genuity in moulding them to suit its the images and ideas introduced are favourite inclination. Such, though beautiful and pleasing, and are neither more fantastic and querulous, was the forced nor far fetched. There are, spirit in which the melancholy Jacques we conceive, moods of feeling in which moralised, by the river's side, the trains of thought of this precise cha- spectacle of the sobbing deer into a racter are naturally suggested to the thousand similies, and found in it mat. mind; and no occasion is more fa- ter for invective against all the modes vourable for such contemplations than of human life. when the comparison here drawn is Let us add, from Wotton, another instituted by those who, dissatisfied of Raleigh's or Ignoto's moralities, with their experience of artificial life, which is more in Jacques's vein, though, are enjoying, in all its freshness, the if it was written posterior to As You pleasures of a change to nature and Like it, we may think that it might as simplicity. No strong passions are well have been let alone. at work, in such a situation, to fix the
The first cry
Another speaker follows on the turn the balance against the prose wis. same side, whose voice, if it were dom of one of the immortal Essays, genuine, would be worth listening to. Civil and Moral. Perhaps, however,
The verses now to be quoted bear, in these lines have some touches characthe Reliquiæ, the signature of Francis teristic of their nominal author, and Lord Bacon, though we do not re- would, at least, hold a respectable member that any poetry has ever place in any anthology gathered from found admission into his collected the effusions of lawyers or lord chan. works, except some translations of cellors. They are obviously copied psalms. What we are here to give is from some of the Greek epigrams on not very poetical, and would scarcely the same subject.
Less than a span.
So to the tomb.
With cares and fears.
But limns on water, or but writes on dust.
What life is best?
To dandle fools :
The rural part is turned into a den
Of savage men :
But may be termed the worst of all the three ?
Or pain bis head :
Or do things worse :
Or wish them gone :
But single thraldom, or a double strife ?
Is a disease.
Peril and toil.
We're worse in peace.
Francis Lord Bacon.
These extracts from the Reliquia on the other hand, had not, in the final naturally lead us to the undoubted passage of his Penseroso, meant somecompositions of the eminent man who what to shadow out that venerable rehas given a name to the whole collec- tirement of Wotton as provost of Eton tion. Who can speak of Sir Henry College, by which he exchanged the Wotton without love and admiration? task of rolling the restless stone of state -of him whose life has, in the hands employment for the sweet contempla. of his amiable and attached biographer, tion and holy thoughts of a calm and been rendered as interesting as a ro- cloister-like seclusion ? mance and as instructive as a sermon;
“ And may at last my weary age -an accomplished and liberal travel.
Find out the peaceful hermitage, ler, yet a firm favourer of his own
The hairy gown and mossy cell, country—a man of the world, yet a lover of letters and retirement-a prac
Where I may sit, and rightly spell tiscd diplomatist, yet retaining among
Of every star that heaven doth show,
And every herb that sips the dew, protocols and politics a gallantry and
Till old experience do attain enthusiasm that would have become
To something like prophetic strain." an old chevalier, and a purity and piety that would have done honour to a di. Be this as it may, the interchange of vine. Were there nothing else to com- courtesies and kindnesses which at mend him, it ought to be enough to this time passed between these great, perpetuate the memory of Wotton that though not equally great, men, was he was among the earliest, and was worthy both of the young poet and probably the most authoritative, of the old ambassador. those friends who encouraged the ris- All of us know the exquisite song ing genius of Milton--to whom, in 1638, beginning, “ Ye meaner beauties of when sending him abroad with the the night," written by Wotton, upon memorable advice, “ I pensieri stretti his admired and unfortunate mistress, e il viso sciolto," he wrote, expressing the Princess Elizabeth, and which some the singular delight he had received senseless clippers and coiners of from that “ dainty piece of entertain. poetry, in our own country, have rement,"the Mask of Comus, “wherein,” cast into a eulogium upon the Scottish he says, “ I should much commend the Queen Mary. The other little poem tragical part, if the lyrical did not ra- with which Wotton's name is most vish me with a certain Dorique deli- frequently connected, has certainly cacy in your songs and odes; where. not so much poetical beauty ; but it unto I must plainly confess to have has also considerable merit, and is seen yet nothing parallel in our lan- altogether, bating a little want of guage ; ipsa mollities.". May we be method and connexion, a very
favourallowed to conjecture whether Milton, able specimen of the species of composition which we are now considere shall not quarrel with Walton's critiing.
cism on them, that, “ let them be writ by whom they will, he that writ them
had a brave soul, and must needs be “ How happy is he born and taught,
possessed with happy thoughts at the That serveth not another's will ;
time of their composure. They are Whose armour is his honest thought, certainly very unequal, but some of
And simple truth his utmost skill. them are excellent.
THE CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.
“ Whose passions, not his masters are, "Farewell, ye gilded follies, pleasing trou.
Whose soul is still prepared for death ; Untied unto the world by care
Farewell, ye honoured rags, ye glorious Of public fame or private breath.
Fame's but a hollow echo; gold, pure " Who envies none that chance doth raise, clay; Nor vice hath ever understood ;
Honour the darling but of one short How deepest wounds are given by praise ; day; Nor rules of state, but rules of good. Beauty, the eye's idol, but a damask'd
skin; “ Who hath his life from rumours freed, State but a golden prison to live in,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat ; And torture free-born minds; embroidWhose state can neither flatterers feed,
ered trains Nor ruin, make oppressors great.
Merely but pageants for proud swelling
veins; " Who God doth late and early pray, And blood allied to greatness, is alone
More of his grace than gifts to lend ; Inherited, not purchased, nor our own : And entertains the harmless day
Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, With a religious book or friend.
blood and birth,
Are but the fading blossoms of the earth. " This man is freed from servile bands, Of hope to rise, or fear to fall,
“ I would be great, but that the sun doth Lord of himself, though not of lands,
still And having nothing, yet hath all."
Level his rays against the rising hill :
I would be high, but see the proudest To Wotton, also, has been attri
oak buted, on the authority of a doubtful Most subject to the rending thunderopinion expressed in Walton's Angler, stroke : a “ Farewell to the vanities of the I would be rich, but see men, too unworld,” which is not to be found in kind, the Reliquiæ. Mr Ellis assigns it to Dig in the bowels of the richest mind (?): Sir Kenelm Digby, who is said to be I would be wise, but that I often see given as-the author in the Wit's In The fox suspected, whilst the goose goes terpreter, in 1671. But, as it was be- free: fore published in the complete Angler, I would be fair, but see the fair and less authority seems due to this se
proud, condary opinion. The lines, however, Like the bright sun, oft setting in a cloud : appear too diffuse and careless in their I would be poor, but know the humble composition to be the production of grass Wotton ; and it is not unlikely that Still trampled on by each unworthy ass :
Rich, hated; wise, suspected ; scorned, they were Walton's own, as he seems to have carried into literary life some
Great, fear'd; fair, tempted ; high, still of the innocent “treachery” which he
envied more. so successfully practised on the silly
I have wished all, but now I wish for tenants of the brook. The name of
neither John Chalkhill, “an acquaintance and Great, high, rich, wise nor fair ; poor friend of Edmund Spenser," under I'll be rather, which Walton presented to the public the pastoral History of Thealma and
“Would the world now adopt me for her Clearchus, is now generally under- heir, stood to have been employed by him Would beauty's queen entitle me the fair, as a harmless bait to attract attention Fame speak me fortune's minion; could I and disguise his own handiwork. As vie to the lines we are now to quote, we Angels with India ; with a speaking eye
Command bare heads, bowed knees, strike justice dumb,
“ Come, worthy Greek, Ulysses, come; As well as blind and lame, or give a
Possess these shores with me : tongue
The winds and seas are troublesome, To stones by epitaphs; be called great
And here we may be free. master In the loose rhymes of every poetaster:
Here may we sit and view their toil
That travail in the deep,
And spend the night in sleep."
sign, Than ever fortune would have made them mine;
“Fair nymph, if fame or honour were And hold one minute of this holy To be attained with ease, leisure
Then would I come and rest me there, Beyond the riches of this empty plea- And leave such toils as these ;
But here it dwells, and here must I,
With danger seek it forth : " Welcome, pure thoughts; welcome, ye To spend the time luxuriously, silent groves ;
Becomes not men of worth." These guests, these courts, my soul most
dearly loves. Now the winged people of the sky shall
“Ulysses, O be not deceived sing
With that unreal name : My cheerful anthems to the gladsome
This honour is a thing conceived, spring :
And rests on other's fame : A prayer-book now shall be my looking- Begotten only to molest
glass, In which I will adore gweet virtue's face.
Our peace, and to beguile,
The best thing of our life, our rest, Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace
And give us up to toil. cares, No broken vows dwell here, nor pale.
faced fears : Then here I'll sit, and sigh my lost love's “ Delicious nymph, suppose there were folly,
Nor honour nor report,
The time in idle sport :
To make us feel our joy;
And ease finds tediousness as much The name of Raleigh, and the con- As labour yields annoy." nexion of his supposed signature with the Reliquiæ, has led us somewhat out of our chronology ; but, indeed, it is
" Then pleasure likewise seems the shore not easy to follow a strict order in
Whereto tends all your toil; this respect, where there is a close
Which you forego to make it more, succession of poets whose lives over
And perish oft the while. lap each other, and whose literary eras
Who may disport them diversely do not always correspond in the rela
Find never tedious day ; tive periods of their natural existence.
And ease may have variety Retracing our steps, we shall make a As well as action may. quotation from Daniel, who died in 1619, a writer who is always sensible and sound, often pathetic, and some
“ But natures of the noblest frame times poetical. His well-known dialogue between Ulysses and the Siren, And they take comfort in the same,
These toils and dangers please ; which seems nearest to our purpose,
As much as you in ease; is smoothly versified, and contains, And with the thought of actions past under the disguise of fable, a good
Are recreated still : deal of wholesome philosophy; yet When pleasure leaves a touch at last, it holds but an inferior place in his To show that it was ill." compositions, compared with his Musophilus, the best passages of his Civil Wars, or the happiest of his Sonnets.
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common “ Well, well, Ulysses, then I see
I shall not have thee here :
“ Devouring famine, plague and war, And take my fortune there.
Each able to undo mankind, I must be won that cannot win,
Death's servile emissaries are : Yet lost were I not won :
Nor to these alone confined, For beauty hath created been
He hath at will To undo or be undone."
More quaint and subtle ways to kill : We know not if we are quite justi- A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, fied in embracing within our plan the Shall have the cunning skill to break a elegant song from the Nice Valour of heart.” Beaumont and Fletcher, which must have afforded the germ to Milton's FROM THE "CONTENTION OF AJAX AND Penseroso. If we are exceeding our
ULYSSES." limits, let the liquid numbers, tender
“ The glories of our blood and state images, and apt expressions of this
Are shadows, not substantial things : little composition plead our apology. There is no armour against fate:
Death lays his icy hands on-kings : “ Hence all you vain delights,
Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade. If men were wise to see't, But only melancholy,
“ Some men with swords may reap the Oh, sweetest melancholy.
And plant fresh laurels where they kill; Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes;
But their strong nerves at last must yield, A sigh that, piercing, mortifies;
They tame but one another still. A look that's fastened to the ground;
Early or late A tongue chained up without a sound.
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath, “ Fountain-heads and pathless groves,
When they, pale captives, creep to death, Places which pale passion loves ; Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
“ The garlands wither on your brow, Are warmly housed, save bats and owls.
Then boast no more your mighty deeds : A midnight bell, a parting groan, These are the sounds we feed upon.
Upon death's purple altar now, Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy
See where the victor-victim bleeds!
Your heads must come valley;
To the cold tomb. Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melan. Only the actions of the just choly.”
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.” An attempt of the present kind would be very incomplete, if we omit- Some verses from a little poem of ted from our selection those two noble the same writer entitled the Garden, lyrics of Shirley's which preserved seem also to deserve a place among his memory at a time when the merits our extracts. They are melodious and of his excellent dramas were forgotten. pathetic. They have much dignity, and some delicacy of thought; the versification “ Give me a little plot of ground, is pleasing and suitable, and the dic- Where, might I with the sun agree, tion generally good and sometimes Though every day he walk the round, elegant.
My garden he should seldom see.
FROM " CUPID AND DEATH."
" Those tulips, that such wealth display
To court my eye, shall lose their name, Though now they listen, as if they
Expected I should praise their flame.
“ Victorious men of earth, no more
Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
As night or day;
“ But I would see myself appear
Within the violet's drooping head, On which a melancholy tear
The discontented morn hath shed.