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premature death of his (first) wife. When I wrote the Memorial. Introduction, I looked mainly at the outward facts, reserving the inner for the present Essay. I could not find in Registers or any-where else besides Mr. Lyte's Memoir, that our Worthy was twice married. Nevertheless on Mr. Lyte's authority I accepted the statement as
I accurate, and I feel now convinced of its accuracy. I further regarded the under-tone of sadness in the Life as sprung solely from that younger brother's death mentioned by Eugenius PhilaLETHES in his “Anthroposophia Magica ” and constantly coming up in the finest of the poems of “ Silex Scintillans”. I was not wrong in giving prominence to this fraternal sorrow : but I missed a deeper, tenderer, more wistful and more passionate still, the death of his ‘first love', of (probably) his varyingly-named “ Amoret" and “ Etesia". Studying and re-studying his Poetry for this Essay, the discovery flashed upon me, and since, the wonder is that I and others should have missed seeing it before. There are two pieces that to my mind (and heart) settle the matter, laden as they are with a weariness and desolation of anguish such as no brother's death could impose, such as could come alone of the deep laceration involved in the sundering of
married union and unity. I ask the Reader to lay down this Volume and turn to “Silex Scintillans ” and read “ Mourning for the young
I have meetly called it, and the next to it, not so meetly headed “Religion”. These soft, gentle, tear-wct words in the former, could refer to none but a woman, and that woman the Mourner's wife:
Here slept my thought's dear mark! which dust
Seem'd to devour, like rust;
By hiding doth preserve :
O calm and sacred bed, where lies
In death's dark mysteries,
Then the moon's cloudless light:
i Vol. I. pp. 239-40.
Sleep, happy ashes !-blessed sleep!
While haplesse I still weep;
Aly life, and unreliev'd
But self evidencing as is “Mourning for the young Dead”, its companion-piece “Religion”, is even more so. I deeply regret that I have so inscribed it, because by the capital to 'Thy' (by the rule of capitals for divine names and all personifications) the burden of this almost oppressively pathetic Lament-with cadences as thrilling as " In Memoriam"-is veiled. To no Impersonation, whether of “Religion” or aught else, but to his 'young dead wife' as she rises in fair vision before him, as the one to whom he owed under God, not wealth of human love and womanly heart-care only but deliverance also from the levity of thoughtlessness and the turning of him to his Sariour and Lord, in short, the winner of his soul, in old Puritan phrase—her death bringing back in blessed resurrection previously un-valued counsels All this is written as with a sun-beam in this priceless poem, when we read it with the key that its wept over was the Poet's wife, as thus :
Fair and yong light, my guide, to holy
O that I were wingèd and free,
I believe none will differ from our interpretation : and as these two poems did not appear until the second Part of “Silex Scintillans”, it
be assumed that he lost his wife between the appearance of the first Part 1650 and of the second in 1655 : and further, as he lived until 1695 there was ample room for a long widowhood and a second marriage.
The other life-long sorrow is that for a younger brother. Very touching are the incidental allusions to this (evidently) premature death of a younger brother, who must have been loved with a passion of tenderness and mourned with a pathetic insistence reminding again of “In Memoriam ” and ARTIUR HALLAM
- none the less that there are no set pieces bearing his name. Tears may come to eye-lash and cheek as we read; but stainless, quiet tears of this sort carry in them old Ossian's joy of grief'. With, as elsewhere, only above it but inscribed by us 'Early Taken', we have a little heart-lilt over this younger brother (if I err not) that I can't conceive any one reading unmored by its sweet, self-blaming penitence as having caused the too early plucking of “ this primrose," and quaintly-touched fancies such as these :
“ Yet have I knowne Thy slightest things,
A feather or a shell,
The best of us excell;
A faire-compacted frame,”1
Fatherly, motherly hearts have cried out under that very thing, as in their great sorrow they have 'put past the unbroken toys of some little one taken away while these endured. It's no conceit, it is a half-accusing feeling that leaps up for the moment very awfully, until "the wind passeth
1 Vol. I., pp. 63-5.