Imágenes de páginas
PDF

may beget such a gravity as diverts the music of verse.” Davenant died A.D. 1668.

FROM GONDIBERT.
The king (who never time nor power misspent

In subject's bashfulness, whiling great deeds
Like coward councils, who too late consent)

Thus to his secret will aloud proceeds : If to thy fame, brave youth, I could add wings,

Or make her trumpet louder by my voice, I would (as an example drawn for kings)

Proclaim the cause why thou art now my choice.

For she is yours, as your adoption free;

And in that gift my remnant life I give; But 'tis to you, brave youth! who now are she;

And she that heaven where secondly I live. And, richer than that crown (which shall be thine

When life's long progress I have gone with fame), Take all her love; which scarce forbears to shine

And own thee, through her virgin-curtain, shame." Thus spake the king; and Rhodalind appear’d

Through publish'd love, with so much bashfulness, As young kings show, when by surprise o'erheard

Moaning to fav’rite ears a deep distress. For love is a distress, and would be hid

Like monarch's griefs, by which they bashful grow; And in that shame beholders they forbid ;

Since those blush most who most their blushes show. And Gondibert, with dying eyes, did grieve

At her vail'd love (a wound he cannot heal), As great minds mourn, who cannot then relieve

The virtuous, when through shame they want conceal. And now cold Birtha's rosy looks decay;

Who in fear's frost had like her beauty died, But that attendant hope persuades her stay

Awhile, to hear her duke; who thus replied : “ Victorious king ! abroad your subjects are

Like legates, safe; at home like altars free : Even by your fame they conquer, as by war ;

And by your laws safe from each other be.

A king you are o'er subjects so, as wise

And noble husbands seem o'er loyal wives;
Who claim not, yet confess their liberties,

And brag to strangers of their happy lives.
To foes a winter storm; whilst your friends bow,

Like summer trees, beneath your bounty's load;
To me (next him whom your great self, with low
And cheerful duty serves) a giving God.”

* * * * * And by this fair pretence, whilst on the king

Lord Astragon through all the house attends, Young Orgo does the duke to Birtha bring,

Who thus her sorrows to his bosom sends : " Why should my storm your life's calm voyage vex,

Destroying wholly virtue's race in one ?
So by the first to my unlucky sex

All in a single ruin were undone.
Make heav'nly Rhodalind your bride ; whilst I,

Your once-loved maid, excuse you, since I know
That virtuous men forsaké so willingly

Long-cherish'd life, because to heav'n they go. Let me her servant be: a dignity

Which if your pity in my fall procures, I still shall value the advancement high,

Not as the crown is hers, but she is yours.” Ere this high sorrow up to dying grew,

The duke the casket open'd, and from thence (Form'd like a heart) a cheerful em'rald drew;

Cheerful, as if the lively stone had sense.
The thirtieth carract it had doubled twice;

Not ta’en from the Attic silver mine,
Nor from the brass, though such (of nobler price)

Did on the necks of Parthian ladies shine:
Nor yet of those which make the Ethiop proud;

Nor taken from those rocks where Bactrians climb: But from the Scythian, and without a cloud ;

Not sick at fire, nor languishing with time.
Then thus he spake: “ This, Birtha, from my male

Progenitors, was to the loyal she
On whose kind heart they did in love prevail,

The nuptial pledge; and this I give to thee.

Seven centuries have pass’d, since it from bride

To bride did first succeed; and though 'tis known From ancient lore that gems much virtue hide,

And that the em'rald is the bridal' stone; Though much renown'd because it chastens loves,

And will, when worn by the neglected wife, Show when her absent lord disloyal proves,

By faintness and a pale decay of life ; Though em'ralds serve as spies to jealous brides,

Yet each compared to this does counsel keep Like a false stone, the husband's falsehood hides,

Or seems born blind, or feigns a dying sleep. With this take Orgo, as a better spy,

Who may in all your kinder fears be sent To watch at court, if I deserve to die,

By making this to fade, and you lament.” Had now an artful pencil Birtha drawn,

With grief all dark, then straight with joy all light,
He must have fancied first, in early dawn,

A sudden break of beauty out of night.
Or first he must have mark'd what paleness fear,

Like nipping frost, did to her visage bring;
Then think he sees, in a cold backward year,

A rosy morn begin a sudden spring.

COWLEY.

ABRAHAM COWLEY, the son of a grocer in London, was born A.D. 1618, and educated partly at Westminster School, and partly at Cambridge. From the University he was ejected during the great Rebellion; and following the queen to France, he devoted himself with persevering zeal to the royal cause. On his return to England he was imprisoned, and afterwards set free on bail. Till the Restoration he continued to live in England, without offering any further what must have proved an ineffectual opposition to the government. In consequence of this quiescence his former services and sacrifices met, on the accession of Charles the Second, no other return than that of neglect and contumely. Near the end of his life Cowley obtained a small competence, through the influence of Buckingham; and settling at Chertsey, on the Thames, enjoyed for a short time what he had pronounced to be the best human happiness—"a

small house in a large garden." Cowley was one of the most learned among poets, as well as one of the most simple-hearted and amiable of men. In spite of quaint conceits, and a versification often immelodious, his poetry has qualities both of thought and imagination which won for it the applause of Milton.

THE COMPLAINT.
In a deep vision's intellectual scene,
Beneath a bower for sorrow made,
Th' uncomfortable shade
Of the black yew's unlucky green,
Mix'd with the mourning willow's careful gray,
Where rev’rend Cam cuts out his famous way,
The melancholy Cowley lay;
And, lo! a Muse appear'd to his closed sight
(The Muses oft in lands of vision play,)
Bodied, array'd, and seen by an internal light:
A golden harp with silver strings she bore,
A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
In which all colours and all figures were
That Nature or that Fancy can create,
That art can never imitate;
And with loose pride it wanton'd in the air.
In such a dress, in such a well-clothed dream,
She used of old, near fair Ismenus' stream,
Pindar, her Theban favourite, to meet;
A crown was on her head, and wings were on her feet.

She touch'd him with her harp and rais'd him from the ground;
The shaken strings melodiously resound.
“ Art thou return'd at last," said she,
“ To this forsaken place and me?
Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste
Of all thy youthful years the good estate ;
Art thou return'd, here to repent too late ;
And gather husks of learning up at last,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,
And winter marches on so fast ?
But when I meant t'adopt thee for my son,
And did as learn'd a portion assign
As ever any of the mighty nine
Had to their dearest children done ;
When I resolved t exalt thy anointed name
Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame,

Thou changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and show,
Wouldst into courts and cities from me go :
Wouldst see the world abroad, and have a share
In all the follies and the tumults there;
Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a State,
And business thou wouldst find, and wouldst create :
Business! the frivolous pretence
Of human lusts to shake off innocence;
Business! the grave impertinence;
Business! the thing which I of all things hate;
Business! the contradiction of thy fate.”

Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile
That seem'd at once to pity and revile :
And to her thus, raising his thoughtful head,
The melancholy Cowley said :
“Ah, wanton foe! dost thou upbraid
The ills which thou thyself hast made !
When in the cradle innocent I lay,
Thou, wicked spirit! stolest me away,
And my abused soul didst bear
Into thy new-found worlds, I know not where,
Thy golden Indies in the air ;
And ever since I strive in vain
My ravish'd freedom to regain ;
Still I rebel, still thou dost reign;
Lo, still in verse against thee I complain.
There is a sort of stubborn weeds,
Which, if the earth but once it ever breeds,
No wholesome herb can near them thrive,
No useful plant can keep alive :
The foolish sports I did on thee bestow
Make all my heart and labour fruitless now;
Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever grow.”

SPECIMEN STANZAS FROM THE “HYMN TO LIGHT." Say, from what golden quivers of the sky

Do all thy winged arrows fly?

Swiftness and Power by birth are thine: From thy great sire they came-thy sire, the Word Divine. Thou in the Moon's bright chariot, proud and gay,

Dost thy bright wood of stars survey ;

And all the year dost with thee bring
Of thousand flowery lights thine own nocturnal spring.

« AnteriorContinuar »