« AnteriorContinuar »
Near the pavilions where we slept, still ran
To thee belongs the rural reign ; Soft tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell,
Thy cities shall with commerce shine; And sobbing breezes sighed, and oft began
All shall be subject to the main, (So worked the wizard) wintry storms to swell,
And every shore it circles thine..
Rule Britannia, &c.
The muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair; Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy hall.
Blest isle, with matchless beauty crowned,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
Rule Britannia, &c.
John Dyer, a picturesque and moral poet, was a Not Titian's pencil e'er could so array,
native of Wales, being born at Aberglasslyn, CarSo fierce with clouds, the pure ethereal space ; marthenshire, in 1700. His father was a solicitor,
Ne could it e'er such melting forms display, and intended his son for the same profession. The As loose on flowery beds all languishingly lay. latter, however, had a taste for the fine arts, and
rambled over his native country, filling his mind No, fair illusions! artful phantoms, no!
with a love of nature, and his portfolio with sketches My muse will not attempt your fairy land ;
of her most beautiful and striking objects. The She has no colours that like you can glow;
sister art of poetry also claimed his regard, and To catch your vivid scenes too gross her hand.
during his excursions he wrote Grongar Hill, the But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler band
production on which his fame rests, and where it Than these same guileful angel-seeming sprights,
rests securely. Dyer next made a tour to Italy, to Who thus in dreams voluptuous, soft, and bland, Poured all the Arabian heaven upon our nights,
study painting. He does not seem to have excelled And blessed them oft besides with more refined delights. his return in 1740, he published another poem, The
as an artist, though he was an able sketcher. On They were, in sooth, a most enchanting train, Ruins of Rome, in blank verse. One short passage, Even feigning virtue; skilful to unite
often quoted, is conceived, as Johnson remarks, With evil good, and strew with pleasure pain.
• with the mind of a poet:But for those fiends whom blood and broils delight,
The pilgrim oft Who hurl the wretch, as if to hell outright,
At dead of night, ’mid his orison, hears, Down, down black gulfs, where sullen waters sleep; Aghast, the voice of time, disparting towers, Or hold him clambering all the fearful night
Tumbling all precipitate down dashed, On beetling cliffs, or pent in ruins deep;
Rattling around, loud thundering to the moon. They, till due time should serve, were bid far hence to keep
Seeing, probably, that he had little chance of suc
ceeding as an artist, Dyer entered the church, and Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear, obtained successively the livings of Calthrop, in LeiFrom these foul demons shield the midnight gloom ; cestershire, of Conningsby, in Huntingdonshire, and Angels of fancy and of love be near,
of Belchford and Kirkby, in Lincolnshire. He pub-
The care of sheep, the labours of the loom.
The subject was not a happy one. How can a man And fill with pious awe and joy-mixt wo the heart. write poetically, as was remarked by Johnson, of
serges and druggets? One critic asked Dodsley
how old the author of The Fleece' was; and learnRule Britannia.
ing that he was in advanced life,' He will,' said the
critic, be buried in woollen. The poet did not When Britain first at Heaven's command, long survive the publication, for he died next year, Arose from out the azure main,
on the 24th of July 1758. The poetical pictures of This was the charter of the land,
Dyer are happy miniatures of nature, correctly And guardian angels sung the strain : drawn, beautifully coloured, and grouped with the Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves !
taste of an artist. His moral reflections arise naBritons never shall be slaves.
turally out of his subject, and are never intrusive.
All bear evidence of a kind and gentle heart, and a The nations not so blest as thee,
true poetical fancy.
Silent nymph, with curious eye,
Who, the purple evening, lie More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
On the mountain's lonely van, As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Beyond the noise of busy man;
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings ;
Or the tuneful nightingale Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
Charms the forest with her tale; All their attempts to bend thee down
Come, with all thy various hues, Will but arouse thy generous flame,
Come, and aid thy sister Muse;
Now, while Phæbus, riding high,
Gives lustre to the land and sky!
Grongar Hill invites my song,
About his chequered sides I wind,
Now I gain the mountain's brow,
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Below me trees unnumbered rise,
A little rule, a little sway,
And see the rivers, how they run
Ever charming, ever new,
See, on the mountain's southern side,
O may I with myself agree,
Now, even now, my joys run high,
Be full, ye courts; be great who will;
Within the groves of Grongar Hill. * Byron thought the lines here printed in Italics the original of Campbell's far-famed lines at the opening of The Pleasures of Hope:
• 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
Others of his amatory strains are full of quaint WILLIAM HAMILTON.
conceits and exaggerated expressions, without any WILLIAM HAMILTON of Bangour, a Scottish gentle-trace of real passion. His ballad of The Braes of man of education, rank, and accomplishments, was Yarrow is by far the finest of his effusions : it has born of an ancient family in Ayrshire in 1704. He real nature, tenderness, and pastoral simplicity. was the delight of the fashionable circles of his As the cause of the composition of Wordsworth's native country, and became early distinguished for three beautiful poems, “Yarrow Unvisited,'• Yarrow his poetical talents. In 1745, struck, we ay sup- Visited,' and · Yarrow Revisited,' it has, moreover, pose, with the romance of the enterprise, Hamilton some external importance in the records of British joined the standard of Prince Charles, and became literature. The poet of the lakes has copied some the volunteer laureate' of the Jacobites, by cele- of its lines and images. brating the battle of Gladsmuir. On the discomfiture of the party, Hamilton succeeded in effecting
The Braes of Yarrow. his escape to France; but having many friends and admirers among the royalists at home, a pardon A. Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride, was procured for the rebellious poet, and he was Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow! soon restored to his native country and his paternal Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride, estate. He did not, however, live long to enjoy his And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow. good fortune. His health had always been delicate, and a pulmonary complaint forced him to seek the B. Where gat ye that bonny bonny bride ? warmer climate of the continent. He gradually A. I gat her where I darena weil be seen,
Where gat ye that winsome marrow ? declined, and died at Lyons in 1754. Hamilton's first and best strains were dedicated
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow. to lyrical poetry. Before he was twenty, he had Weep not, weep not, my bonny bonny bride, assisted Allan Ramsay in his ‘Tea-Table Miscellany. Weep not, weep not, my winsome marrow! In 1748, some person, unknown to him, collected Nor let thy heart lament to leave and published his poems in Glasgow; but the first
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow. genuine and correct copy did not appear till after the author's death, in 1760, when a collection was B. Why does she weep, thy bonny bonny bride! made from his own manuscripts. The most attrac Why does she weep, thy winsome marrow ? tive feature in his works is his pure English style, And why dare ye nae mair weil be seen, and a somewhat ornate poetical diction. He had Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow? more fancy than feeling, and in this respect his A. Lang maun she weep, lang maun she, maun she amatory songs resemble those of the courtier poets
weep, of Charles II.'s court. Nor was he more sincere, if we may credit an anecdote related of him by Alex. And lang maun I nae mair weil be seen
Lang maun she weep with dule and sorrow, ander Tytler in his life of Henry Home, Lord Kames.
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow. One of the ladies whom Hamilton annoyed by his perpetual compliments and solicitations, consulted For she has tint her lover lover dear, Home how she should get rid of the poet, who she Her lover dear, the cause of sorrow, was convinced had no serious object in view. The And I hae slain the comeliest swain philosopher advised her to dance with him, and show That e'er poued birks on the Braes of Yarrow. him every mark of her kindness, as if she had re- Why runs thy stream, O Yarrow, Yarrow, red ? solved to favour his suit. The lady adopted the
Why on thy braes heard the voice of sorrow? counsel, and the success of the experiment was complete. Hamilton wrote a serious poem, entitled Con
And why yon melancholious weeds templation, and a national one on the Thistle, which
Hung on the bonny birks of Yarrow ? is in blank verse :
What's yonder floats on the rueful rueful flude ! How oft beneath
What's yonder floats ? ( dule and sorrow! Its martial influence have Scotia's sons,
'Tis he, the comely swain I slew Through every age, with dauntless valour fought
Upon the duleful Braes of Yarrow. On every hostile ground! While o'er their brcast, Wash, oh wash his wounds his wounds in tears, Companion to the silver star, blest type
His wounds in tears with dule and sorrow, Of fame, unsullied and superior deed,
And wrap his limbs in mourning weeds,
And lay him on the Braes of Yarrow.
Ye sisters sad, his tomb with sorrow,
And weep around in waeful wise, critique on Hamilton in the 'Lounger') quotes the
Ilis helpless fate on the Braes of Yarrow. following as a favourable specimen of his poetical Curse ye, curse ye, his useless useless shield, powers :
My arm that wrought the deed of sorrow,
The fatal spear that pierced his breast,
His comely breast, on the Braes of Yarrow.
Did I not warn thee not to lue,
And warn from fight, but to my sorrow;
O'er rashly bauld a stronger arm
Thou met'st, and fell on the Braes of Yarrow.
Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the
Yellow on Yarrow bank the gowa
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowan.
Flows Yarrow sweet! as sweet, as sweet flows Tweed,
As green its grass, its gowan as yellow,
The apple frae the rock as mellow.
In flowery bands thou him didst fetter;
Than me he never lued thee better.
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow,
And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow. C. How can I busk a bonny bonny bride,
How can I busk a winsome marrow, How lue him on the banks of Tweed,
That slew my love on the Braes of Yarrow. O Yarrow fields ! may never never rain,
Nor dew thy tender blossoms cover,
My love, as he had not been a lover,
His purple vest, 'twas my ain sewing,
He was in these to meet his ruin.
Unheedful of my dule and sorrow,
He lay a corpse on the Braes of Yarrow. Much I rejoiced that waeful waeful day;
I sang, my voice the woods returning, But lang ere night the spear was flown
That slew my love, and left me mourning. What can my barbarous barbarous father do,
But with his cruel rage pursue me? My lover's blood is on thy spear,
How canst thou, barbarous man, then woo me? My happy sisters may be may be proud ;
With cruel and ungentle scoffin,
My lover nailed in his coffin,
And strive with threatening words to move me,
How canst thou ever bid me love thee? Yes, yes, prepare the bed, the bed of love,
With bridal sheets my body cover,
Let in the expected husband lover.
His hands, methinks, are bathed in slaughter.
Comes, in his pale shroud, bleeding after? Pale as he is, here lay him lay him down,
O lay his cold head on my pillow;
And crown my careful head with willow.
O could my warmth to life restore thee !
No youth lay ever there before thee. Pale pale, indeed, 0 lovely lovely youth,
Forgive, forgive so foul a slaughter, And lie all night between my breasts,
No youth shall ever lie there after. 4. Retum, retum, O mournful mournful bride,
Return and dry thy useless sorrow : Thy lover heeds nought of thy sighs,
He lies a corpse on the Braes of Yarrow.
Where Yarrow streams along,
In my triumphant song.
Atones her long delays,
Of inany suffering days.
These suffering days are o'er;
From beauty's boundless store:
This rising calm destroy;
All opening into joy.
That dear consenting hour,
New coloured every flower :
No leaf was seen to move,
And wonder hushed the grove.
The lambkin's tender cry ;
In dimpling silence by :
Her voice alone to hear,
She spoke and blessed my ear.
You fondly fancy mine;
Love renders wholly thine:
The leaves were seen to move,
And wonder filled the grove;
The lambkins' tender cry,
The song of triumph by;
Was verdure, beauty, song;
All nature joyed along.
When doomed to love and doomed to languish, To bear the scornful fair one's hate,
Nor dare disclose his anguish!
My secret soul discover,
Reveals how much I love her.
O'erspread with rising blushes,
A thousand various wishes.
Those languid eyes so sweetly smiling,
Thy every look, and every grace,
his love of argument and society, into which he So charm, whene'er 1 view thee,
poured the treasures of a rich and full mind-his Till death o'ertake me in the chase,
wit, repartee, and brow-beating-his rough manners Still will my hopes pursue thee.
and kind heart-his curious household, in which Then, when my tedious hours are past,
were congregated the lame, blind, and despised-his Be this last blessing given,
very looks, gesticulation, and dress—have all been Low at thy feet to breathe my last,
brought so vividly before us by his biographer, BosAnd die in sight of heaven.
well, that to readers of every class Johnson is as
well known as a member of their own family. His DR SAMUEL JOHNSON.
heavy form seems still to haunt Fleet Street and the In massive force of understanding, multifarious Strand, and he has stamped his memory on the reknowledge, sagacity, and moral intrepidity, no writer mote islands of the Hebrides. In literature his
influence has been scarcely less extensive. No prose writer of that day escaped the contagion of his peculiar style. He banished for a long period the naked simplicity of Swift and the idiomatic graces of Addison ; he depressed the literature and poetry of imagination, while he elevated that of the understanding; he based criticism on strong sense and solid judgment, not on scholastic subtleties and refinement; and though some of the higher qualities and attributes of genius eluded his grasp and observation, the withering scorn and invective with which he assailed all affected sentimentalism, immorality, and licentiousness, introduced a pure and healthful and invigorating atmosphere into the crowded walks of literature. These are solid and substantial benefits which should weigh down errors of taste or the caprices of a temperament constitutionally prone to melancholy and ill health, and which was little sweetened by prosperity or applause at that period of life when the habits are formed and the manners become permanent.
As a man, Johnson was an admirable representative of the Englishman-as an author, his course was singularly pure, high-minded, and independent. He could boast with more truth than Burke, that he had no arts but manly arts.' At every step in his progress his passport was talent
and virtue; and when the royal countenance and Dr Samuel Johnson.
favour were at length extended to him, it was but a of the eighteenth century surpassed DR SAMUEL ratification by the sovereign of the wishes and opi. JOHNSON. His various works, with their senten- nions entertained by the best and wisest of the tious morality and high-sounding sonorous periods nation. -his manly character and appearance-his great Johnson was born at Lichfield, September 18, virtues and strong prejudices—his early and severe 1709. His father was a bookseller, and in circumstruggles, illustrating his own noble verse stances that enabled him to give his son a good edu
Slow rises worth by poverty depressed cation. In his nineteenth year he was placed at Pem
Street Scene in Lichfield, including the birthplace of Johnson (being the under part of the lighted side of the large house on the right hand side of the picture )