Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

Inconstant Sylvio, when yet
I had not found him counterfeit,
One morning (I remember well),
Tied in this silver chain and bell,
Gave it to me: nay, and I know
What he said then : I'm sure I do.
Said he: “ Look how your huntsman here
Hath taught a fawn to hunt his deer.”
But Sylvio soon had me beguiled.
This waxed tame while he grew wild,
And, quite regardless of my smart,
Left me his fawn, but took his heart.
Thenceforth I set myself to play
My solitary time away
With this, and very well content
Could so my idle life have spent;
For it was full of sport, and light
Of foot and heart; and did invite
Me to its game; it seem'd to bless
Itself in me.

How could I less
Than love it? O, I cannot be
Unkind t'a beast that loveth me.
Had it lived long, I do not know
Whether it too might have done so
As Sylvio did ; his gifts might be
Perhaps as false, or more, than he.
But I am sure, for aught that I
Could in so short a time espy,
Thy love was far more better than
The love of false and cruel man.
With sweetest milk and sugar first
I it at my own fingers nursed;
And as it grew, so every day
It wax'd more white and sweet than they :
It had so sweet a breath. And oft
I blush'd to see its foot more soft
And white, shall I say

hand ? Nay, any lady's of the land.

than my


It is a wondrous thing how fleet
'Twas on those little silver feet;
With what a pretty skipping grace
It oft would challenge me the race;
And when 't had left me far away ;
'Twould stay, and run again, and stay ;
For it was nimbler much than hinds,
And trod as if on the four winds.
I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown,
And lilies, that you would it guess
To be a little wilderness,
And all the spring-time of the year
It only loved to be there.
Among the beds of lilies I
Have sought it oft where it should lie,
Yet could not, till itself would rise,
Find it, although before mine eyes ;
For in the flaxen lilies' shade
It like a bank of lilies laid ;
Upon the roses it would feed
Until its lips e'en seem'd to bleed;
And then to me 'twould boldly trip,
And print those roses on my lip.
But all its chief delight was still
On roses thus itself to fill,
And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold.
Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without, roses within.


EDMUND WALLER was born A.D. 1605, and died A.D. 1687. His political life was not one of integrity. Having composed a poem in honour of Cromwell, he showed, after the Restoration, an equal willingness to celebrate the return of Charles II. The King asked him, on' his presentation at court, how it chanced that his poem addressed to Cromwell was superior to that in honour of his legiti. mate sovereign? Waller replied: “Sire, it is well known that poets succeed best in fiction." His poetry has smoothness and grace ; but no criticism was ever more false than that which atfirmed that Waller had been the first to harmonise the English language.

Go, lovely Rose!

Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young,

And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung

In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth

Of beauty from the light retired :
Bid her come forth,

Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she

The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee,

How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair.


The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er;
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, too certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made :
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.




HENRY VAUGHAN, descended from a Welsh family, was born in Brecknockshire A.D. 1621. He was educated for the law, but abandoned that profession to become a physician. He died A.D. 1695. His poetry has much analogy with that of George Herbert, both in its vigour of condensed thought, and in its quaintness, although it is much less known.



[From Silex Scintillans, or Sacred Poems.]
When first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
To do the like ; our bodies but forerun
The spirit's duty : true hearts spread and heave
Unto their God. as flowers do to the sun ;
Give Him thy first thoughts then, so shalt thou keep

company all day, and in Him sleep.
Yet never sleep the sun up; prayer should
Dawn with the day : there are set awful hours
'Twixt heaven and us; the manna was not good
After sun-rising; far day sullies flowers :
Rise to prevent the sun ; sleep doth sins glut,
And heaven's gate opens when the world's is shut.
Walk with thy fellow-creatures : note the hush
And whisperings amongst them. Not a spring
Or leaf but hath his morning hymn ; each bush
And oak doth know I AM.-Canst thou not sing?
0, leave thy cares and follies ! go this way,
And thou art sure to prosper all the day.
Serve God before the world : let Him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
The whole unto Him, and remember who
Prevail'd by wrestling ere the sun did shine :
Pour oil upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eye to heaven.
Mornings are mysteries : the first, world's youth,
Mau's resurrection, and the future’s bud,
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Is styled their star; the stone and hidden food:
Three blessings wait upon them, one of which
Should move—they make us holy, happy, rich.

When the world's up and every swarm abroad,
Keep well thy temper, mix not with each clay ;
Despatch necessities ; life hath a load
Which must be carried on, and safely may :
Yet keep those cares without thee; let the heart
Be God's alone, and choose the better part.


John DRYDEN was born at the parsonage of his father A.D. 1631. He was educated at Westminster and Cambridge. His career was a long and stormy one; for no literary man of his age took a more ardent part in its controversies, political and polemical. During his later years he enjoyed without dispute the reputation of the chief living poet; but his controversial abilities had arrayed against him innumerable enemies; and he was seldom at rest. He died A.D. 1700.

The chief event in the life of Dryden was his conversion to the Catholic Church. Unworthy imputations as to his sincerity have indeed been thrown out; but they are refuted by the facts of the case, as is clearly shown by Sir Walter Scott, who, besides referring to the unshaken allegiance which Dryden maintained towards the Catholic Church during the long years when his interests pointed in the opposite direction, remarks also that the principles upon which, so early as 1682, Dryden had, in his Religio Laici, defended the Church of England from the sectaries, nay, the principles upon which be based his belief in revealed religion itself, could not fail to be carried out by a logical mind as they were actually carried out by Dryden. “This is made more clear," Sir Walter Scott remarks,“ by his own words; from which it appears, that having once admitted the mysterious doctrines of the Trinity and of Redemption, so incomprehensible to human reason, Dryden felt no right to make any further appeal to that fallible guide.”

The poetry of Dryden unites, in an extraordinary degree, three different sorts of merits; those which belong to narrative, to lyrical, and to argumentative poetry. His Odes "On St. Cecilia's Day,” “On Music,” and “On the Death of Mrs. Anne Killigrew," place him in the very highest class of lyrical poets; and he has been frequently said to stand almost alone in his powers of reasoning in

As a satirist he has no equal in English poetry. On the other hand, his deficiency in pathos, refinement, and sense of beauty, becomes at once apparent on a comparison of his imitations of Chaucer with the originals. Dryden's dramatic efforts were, for the most part, failuies ; and he had but too much cause for the repentance which he expresses with reference to the license (the contagion of a corrupt age) with which they are defiled. In vigour



« AnteriorContinuar »