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At the close he reviews his argu. | sensible citizen and landed proprietur ments, and the vibrating martial accent in his small county ? The muscles of his poetical period is like a trump were firmer, despair less prompt. The of victory: “So that since the excel- rage of concentrated attention, the lencies of it (poetry) may bee so easily half hallucinations, the anguish and and so justly confirmed, and the low- heaving of the breast
, the quivering of creeping objections so soone trodden the limbs bracing themselves involus downe, it not being an Art of lyes, but tarily and blindly for action, all the of rue doctrine; not of effeminate painful yearnings which accompany verse, but cf notable stirring of cour grand desires, exhausted them less; age; not of abusing man's wit, but of this is why they desired longer, and strengthning man's wit; not banished, dared more. D'Aubigné, wounded but honored by Plato let us rather with many sword-thrusts, conceiving plant myre Laurels for to ingarland death at hand, had himself bound on the Poets heads than suffer the ill. his horse that he might see his missavored breath of such wrong speakers, tress once mure, and rode thus sev. once to blow upon the cleare springs eral leagues, losing blood all the way, of Poesie.” *
and arriving in a swoon. Such feel From such vehemence and gravity ings we glean still from their portraits, you may anticipate what his verses in the straight looks which pierce will be.
like a sword; in that strength of back, Often, after reading the poets of bent or twisted; in the sensuality, enthis age, I have looked for some time ergy, enthusiasm, which breathe from at the contemporary prints, telling my- their attitude or look. Such feelings self that man, in mind and body, was we still discover in their poetry, it not then such as we see him to-day. in Greene, Lodge, Jonson, Spenser, We also have our passions, but we Shakspeare, in Sidney, as in all the are no longer strong enough to bear rest. We quickly forget the faults of them. They unsettle us; we are no taste which accompany them, the aflonger poets without suffering for it. fectation, the uncouth jargon. Is it Alfred de Musset, Heine, Edgar Poe, really so uncouth? Imagine a man Burns, Byron, Shelley, Cowper, how who with closed eyes distinctly sees many shall I instance? Disgust, men- the adored countenance of his mis. tal and bodily degradation, disease, tress, who keeps it before him all the inipotence, madness, suicide, at best a day; who is troubled and shaken as permanent hallucination or feverish he nagines ever and anon her brow, raving,—these are nowadays the ordi- her lips, her eyes; who cannot and nary issues of the poetic temperament. will not be separated from his vision; Thé passion of the brain gnaws our who sinks daily deeper in this passion vitals, dries up the blood, eats into the ate contemplation; who is every inmarrow, shakes us like a tempest, and stant crushed by mortal anxieties, or the human frame, such as civilization transported by the raptures of bliss : has made us, is not substantial enough he will lose the exact conception of long to resist it. They, who have objects. A fixed idea becomes a falsc been more roughly trained, who are idea. By dint of regarding an object more inured to the inclemencies of under all its forms, turning it over, climate, more hardened by bodily ex- piercing through it, we at last deform e:cise, more fi-m against danger, en- it. When we cannot think of a thing dire and live. Is there a man living without being dazed and without tears, who could wit) stand the storm of pas- we magnify it, and give it a character wions and visions which swept over which it has not. Hence strange comshakspeare, and end, like him, as a parisons, over-refined ideas, excessive
images, become natural. However far * The Defence of Poesie, P: 560. Here and Sidney goes, whatever object he here we find also verse as spirited as this:
touches, he sees throughout the urii * Or Pindar's Apes, flaunt they in phrases verse only the name and features of
fine, Ei am’ling with pied flowers their thoughts Stella. All ideas bring him back to of gold.” -P. 568.
her. He is drawn ever and invincibls
by the same thought: and comparisons pressed, it seems to him that nis mis which seem far-fetched, only express tress becomes transformed; the unfailing presence and sovereign
“ Stella, soveraigne of my joy, · · power of the besetting image. Stella
Stella, starre of heavenly fire, is ill; it seems to Sidney that “Joy, Stella, load-starre of des. re, which is inseparate from those eyes, Stella, in whose shining eyes Stella, now learnes_(strange case) to
Are the lig'ts of Cupid's skies. : .. weepe in thee."* To us, the expres
Stella, whose voice when it speakes
Senses all asunder breakes; sion is absurd. It is so for Sidney, Stella, whose voice when it singeth, who for hours together had dwelt on Angels to acquaintance bringeth.' the expression of those eyes, seeing in them at last all the beauties of heaven These cries of adoration are likes and earth, who, compared to them, hymn. Every day he writes thouges &nds all light dull and all happiness of love which agitate him, and in stale ? Consider that in every extreme
this long journal of a hundred pages passion ordinary laws are reversed, we feel the heated breath swell each
moment. A smile from his mis.ress, that our logic cannot pass judgment on it, that we find in it affectation, a curl lifted by the wind, a gesture,
all are events. cniidishness, witticisms, crudity, folly,
He paints her in every and that to us violent conditions of the attitude; he cannot see her too con nervous machine are like an unknown stantly. He talks to the birds, plants, and marvellous land, where common whole world to Stella's feet. At the
winds, all nature. He brings the sense and good language cannot penetrate. On the return of spring, when notion of a kiss he swoons: May spreads over the fields her dap
“ Thinke of that most gratefull time pled dress of new flowers, Astrophel When thy leaping heart will climbe, and Stella sit in the shade of a retired In my lips to have his biding.
There those roses for to kisse, grove, in the warm air, full of birds'
Which doe breath a sugred blisse, voices and pleasant exhalations. Hea
Opening rubies, pearles dividing." † Ten smiles, the wind kisses the trem
“O joy, too high for my low stile to show: bling leaves, the inclining trees inter
o blisse, fit for a nobler state then me : lace their sappy branches, amorous Envie, put out thine eyes, lest thou do see earth swallows greedily the rippling What Oceans of delight in me do flow. water :
My friend, that oft saw through all maskes
my wo, " In a grove most rich of shade,
Come, come, and let me powre my selfe Where birds wanton musicke made,
Gone is the winter of my miserie,
My spring appeares, O see what here doth
grow, Astrophel with Stella sweet,
For Stella hath with words where faith doth Did for mutuall comfort meet,
shine, Both within themselves oppressed,
Of her high heart giv'n me the monarchie But each in the other blessed. ...
I, I, O I may say that she is mine." I • Their eares hungry of each word,
There are Oriental splendors in the Which the deere tongue would afford, dazzling sonnet in which he asks why But their tongues restrain'd from walking Till their hearts had ended talking.
Stella's cheeks have grown pale : But when their tongues could not speake.
“ Where be those Roses gone,
which sweetnet Love it selfe did silence breake;
so our eyes ? Love did set his lips asunder,
Where those red cheekes, which oft with Thus to speake in love and wonder. ..
faire encrease doth frame
The height of honour in the kindly ladge i • This small winde w'ch so sweet is,
shame? See how it the lea: doth kisse,
Who hath the crimson weeds stolne from Each tree in his best attyring,
my morning skies? 8 Sense of love to love inspiring." On his knees, with beating heart, op much thinking." Exhauste I by ecstasy
As he says, his “life me'ts with toc * A strophel and Stella, ed. fol. 1629, 1orst
* Ibid. p. 604
| Ibid. 1oth song, p. 618 Bonnet, p. 613.
1 lbid. sonnet 69, p. 555. • Ibid. (1529), 8th song, p. 603.
Ś Ibid. 109, p. 614.
be pauses; then he fies from thought I like the piety of the mystics, finde to thought, seeking relief for his wound, itself always tuo insignificant when it like the Satyrę whom he describes : compares itself with the coject loved : 'Prometheus, when first from heaven hie
“My youth doth waste, my knowledge brings He brought downe fire, ere then on earth
torth toyes, Pot seene,
My wit doth strive those passions to defend, Pri of delight, a Satyr standing by
Which for reward spoyle it with vaine ar: Gare it a kisse, as it like sweet had beene. Feeling ferthwith the other burning power,
I see my course to lose my selfe doth bend . Wood with the smart with showts and shryk
I see and yet no greater sorrow take, ing shrill,
Than that I lose no more for Stella's sake.” He sought his ease in river, field, and bower, At last, like Socrates in the banquet, he But for the time his griefe went with him
turns his eyes to deathless beauty
heavenly brightness : At last calm returned ; and whilst this calm lasts, the lively, glowing spirit “Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to plays like a flickering Aame on the
And thou my minde aspire to higher things : zurface of the deep brooding fire. His Grow rich in that which never taketh rust: love-songs and word-portraits, delight- Whatever fades, but fading pleasure brings. . ful pagan and chivalric fancies, seem O take fast hold, let that light be thy guide,
In this small course which birth drawes out to to be inspired by Petrarch or Plato.
death." + We feel the charm and sportiveness under the seeming affectation :
Divine love continues the earthly “ Faire eyes, sweete lips, deare heart, that frees himself. By this nobility, these
love; he was imprisoned in this, and foolish I Could hope by Cupids helpe on you to pray; lofty aspirations, recognize one of those Since to himselfe he doth your gifts apply, serious souls of which there are so As his maine force, choise sport, and ease
many in the same climate and race
Spiritual instincts pierce through the • For when he will see who dare him gairway, dominant paganism, and ere they make
Then with those eyes he lookes, lo by and by Christians, make Platonists.
V. • When he will play, then in her lips he is, Sidney was only a soldier in an army, Where blushing red, that Loves selfe them there is a multitude about him, a muldoth love,
titude of poets.
In fifty-two years, With eitha lip he doľn the other kisse : But when he will for quiets sake remove
without counting the drama, two hun From ali the world, her heart is then his dred and thirty-three rome,
ated, of whom forty have genius on Where well he knowes, no man to him can talent : Breton, Donne, Drayton, Lodge, come." +
Greene, the two Fletchers, Beaumoni Both heart and sense are captive here. Spenser, Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, Mar If he finds the eyes of Stella more lowe, Wither, Warner, Davison, Carew, beautiful than any thing in the world, Suckling, Herrick ;-we should grow he finds her soul more lovely than her tired in counting them. There is a 20-]v He is a Platonist when he re. crop of them, and so there is at the wunts how Virtue, wishing to be loved same time in Catholic and heroic of men, took Stella's form to enchant Spain ; and as in Spain it was a sign oi their eyes, and make them see the the times, the mark of a public want, caven which the inner sense reveals the index to an extraordinary and
heroic souls. We recognize in him transient condition of the mind. What that entire submission of heart, love is this condition which gives rise to so turned into a religion, perfect passion universal to taste for poetry? What which asks only to grow, and which,
* Ibid. 18, p. 573.
Last sonuet, p: 539 * dstrophel and Stella, p. 525: this sonnet Nathan Drake, Shakspeare and his is headed E. D. Wood, in his Athen. Oron. i., Times, i. Part 2, ch. 2, 3, 4. Ainong these 333 says it was written by Sir Edward Dyer, poets the authors of isolated pieces are not Chancellor of the Most noble Order of the reckoned, but only those who published or col Garter.- TR. Ibid. sonnet 43, p. 545.
lected their works.
is it breathes life into their books? Bespangled had with pearls please the How happens it, that amungst the
Mornings signt ;
On which the mirthfull Quires, with their least, in spite of pedantries, awkward
cleere open throa's, nesses, in the rhyming chronicles or Unto the joyfull Morne so str. pe their war descriptive cyclopedias, we meet with blins, notes,
That Hills and Valleys ring, and even the brilliant pictures and genuine love.
exa roing Ayre cries? How happens it, that when this
Seemes all compos'd of sounds, about than generation was exhausted, true poetry everywhere. ended in England, as true painting in
Thus sing away the Morne, untill the mount Italy and Flanders? It was because
Through thick exhaled fogs, his goldes keed ai epoch of the mind came and passed
hath runne, away,—that, namely, of instinctive and And through the twisted tops of our pro
Covert creeps, creative conception. These men had
To kiss the gentle Shade, this while th47 new senses, and no theories in their
sweetly sleeps." * heads. Thus, when they took a walk, their emotions were not the same as A step further, and you will find the ours. What is sunrise to an ordinary
old gods reappear. They reappear, man? A white smudge on the edge of these living gods—these living gods the sky, between bosses of clouds, mingled with things which you cannot amid pieces of land, and bits of road, help meeting as soon as you meet which he does not see because he has nature again. Shakspeare, in the seen them a hundred times. But for Tempest, sings : them, all things have a soul ; I mean “ Ceres, most bounteous lady thy rich ieas that they feel within themselves, indi
Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats, and
pease ; rectly, the uprising and severance of
Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling the outlines, the power and contrast of sheep, tints, the sad or delicious sentiment,
And flat ir.sads thatch'd with stover, them to which breathes from this combination
keep; and union like a liarmony or a cry.
Thy banks with peoned and lilied brims,
Which spongy April at thy hest betrims, How sorrowful is the sun, as he rises To make cold nympns Chasie crowns . . in a mist above the sad sea-furrows; Wail, many-colour'd messenger (Iris. i
Who, wiii thy saffron wings, upon niy what an air of resignation u the udl
flowers trees rustling in the night rain ; whaia Diffusest honey-drops, reireshing showers, faverish tumult in the mass of waves, And with each end of thy blue bow dost wnosc dishevelled locks are twisted forever on the surface of the abyss ! But i
My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down." ine great torch of heaven, we iuinir | In Cyrsbeline, he says : us god, emerges and shines; the tall,
Ticy are as gentle as zephyrs, blowing besoft, pliant herbs, the evergreen mead
low the violet, ows, the expanding roof of lofty
Not wagging his sweet head." I naks,-the whole English landscape, l Greene writes : continually renewed and illumined | When Flora, proud in pomp of all aer y the flooding moisture, diffuses an
flowers, inexhaustible freshness. These mead
Sat bright and gay, ows, red and white with flowers, ever
And gloried in the dew of 's' showers,
And did display moist and ever young, slip off their Her mantle chequered all with gred veil of golden mist, and appear sudden- green.” $ ly, timidly, like beautiful virgins. Here The same author also says: is the cuckoo-flower, which springs up “ How oft have I descending Titan seen, before the coming of the swallow; His burning locks couch in the sea-qieen's there the hare-bell, bllie as the veins lap;
And beauteous Thetis his red body wraz of a woman ; the marigold, which sets with the sin, and, weeping, rises with
In watery robes, as he her lord had been ? bim. Drayton, in his Polyolbion, sings M. Drayton's Polyolbion, ed. 622, :3th
song, p. 214.
Act iv. 3 Then from her burnisht gate thr: go odly glit- $ Greene's Poems, ed. Bell, Eurymackens in tring East
Laudem Mirimida, p. 73. Guilds every lofty tof, chic, la e th: hu- ll Ibid. Melicertus” description of his Mis morous Nigh.
tress, p. 38.
ing larke." *
So Spenser in his Faërie Queene, | and his heart-of giving rise to smiles sings :
and joy ; and these are the objects “ The joyous day gan early to appeare ;
which occur in all tle poets in a most And fayre Aurora from the deawy bed
wonderful abundance of songs, pasOf aged Tithone gan herselfe to reare torals, sonnets, little fugitive pieces, so With rosy cheekes, for shame as biushing lively, delicate, easily unfolded, that we
red: Her golden locks, for hast, were looseiy shed have never since had their equals. Aboat her eares, when Una her did marke What though Venus and Cupid have Clymbe to her charet, all with flowers spred, lost their altars? Like the contempo. From heven high to chace the chearelesse rary painters of Italy, they willingly With mery note her lowd salu.es the mount- imagine a beautiful naked child, drawn
on a chariot of gold through the
limpid air ; or a woman, redolent with | 11 the splendor and sweetness of this moist and well-watered land; all the
youth, standing on the waves, w uch
kiss her snowy feet. Harsh Ben specialties, the opulence of its dissolv
Jonson is ravished with the scene. The ing tints, of its variable sky, its luxu: disciplined battalion of his sturdy riant vegetation, assemble thus about the gods, who gave them their beauti- graceful strophes, which trip as lightly
verses changes into a band of little ful form. In the life of every man there are
as Raphael's children. He sees his moments when, in presence of objects, Love, drawn by swans and doves.
lady approach, sitting on the chariot us he experiences a shock. This mass Love lead of ideas, of mangled recollections, of and smiling, and all hearts, charmed by
the car; she passes calm mutilated images, which lie hidden in her divine 'looks, wish no other joy all corners of his mind, are set in than to see and serve her forever. motion, organized, suddenly developed like a flower. He is enraptured; he “ See the chariot at hand here of Love, cannot help looking at and admiring Wherein my lady rideth! the charming creature which has just
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And well the car Love guideth. appeared; he wishes to see it again,
As she goes, all hearts do duty and others like it, and dreams of noth- Unto her beauty; ing else. There are such moments in And, enamoured, do wish, so they might the life of nations, and this is one of
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side, them. They are happy in contempla
Through swords, through seas, whither she ting beautiful things, and wish only that would ride. they should be the most beautiful pos
Do but look on her eyes, they do light sible. They are not preoccupied, as
All that Love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright we are, with theories. They do not As Love's star when it riseth! .. excite themselves to express moral or Have you seen but a bright lily grow, philosophical ideas. They wish to en
Before rude hands have touched it? joy through the imagination, through
Have you marked but the fall o' the snor
Before the soil hath smutched it? the eyas, like those Italian nobles, who,
Have you felt the wool of beaver ? at the same time, were so captivated Or swan's down ever? by fine colors and forms, that they
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier?
Or the nard in the fire ? covered with paintings not only their
Or have tasted the bag of the bee? rooms and their churches, but the lids O so white ! O so soft! Oso of their chests and the saddles of their horses. The rich and green sunay country; young, gayly-attired la- What can be more lively, muie unlike dies, blooming with health and love ; measured and artificial mythology ? half-draped gods and goddesses, mas- Like Theocritus and Moschus, they terpieces and models of strength and play with their smiling gods, and their grace,-these are the most lovely ob- belief becomes a festiva. One day, ir jects which man can contemplate, the an alcove of a wood, Cupid meets a most capable of satisfying his senses nymph asleep :
* Spenser's Works, ed. Todd, 1863, The * Ben Jonson's Poems, ed. R. Bell. Cela Fajrie Queene, i. c. 11, st. $1.
bration of Charis ; her Triumph, p. 125.