Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

all your sins unrepented of — for how can repentance possibly consist with such a resolution - before the tribunal-seat of God, to expect your final sentence; utterly depriving yourself of all the blessed means which God has contrived for thy salvation, and putting thyself in such an estate that it shall not be in God's power almost to do thee any good. Pardon, I beseech you, my earnestness, almost intemperateness, seeing that it hath proceeded from so just, so warrantable a ground; and since it is in your power to give rules of honor and reputation to the whole kingdom, do not you teach others to be ashamed of this inseparable badge of your religion - charity and forgiving of offences. Give men leave to be Christians without danger or dishonor; or, if religion will not work with you, yet let the laws of that state wherein you live, the earnest desires and care of your righteous prince, prevail with you.

WILLIAM HABINGTON. 1605--1654. In the life of this author, there are few incidents. His mother is said to have been the writer of the letter which averted the execution of the Gunpowder Plot.

“ The life of the poet seems to have glided quietly away, cheered by the society and affection of his Castara. He had no stormy passions to agitate him, and no unruly imagination to control or subdue. His poetry is of the same unruffled description — placid, tender, and often elegant - but studded with conceits, to show his wit and fancy."

EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
I HATE the country's dirt and manners, yet
I love the silence; I embrace the wit
And courtship, flowing here in a full tide,
But loathe the expense, the vanity and pride.
No place each way is happy. Here I hold
Commerce with some, who to my care unfold--.
After a due oath ministered — the height
And greatness of each star shines in the state,
The brightness, the eclipse, the influence.
With others I commune, who tell me whence
The torrent doth of foreign discord flow;
Relate each skirmish, battle, overthrow,

pall

Soon as they happen, and by rote can tell
Those German towns, even puzzle me to spell.
The cross, or prosperous fate, of princes, they
Ascribe to rashness, cunning or delay,
And on each action comment, with more skill
Than upon Livy did old Machiavel.
O busy folly! Why do I my brain
Perplex with the dull policies of Spain,
Or quick designs of France ? Why not repair
To the pure innocence of the country air,
And neighbor thee, dear friend, who so dost give
Thy thoughts to worth and virtue, that to live
Blest, is to trace thy ways? There might not we
Arm against passion with philosophy,
And, by the aid of reason, so control
Whate'er is earth in us, to grow all soul ?
Knowledge doth ignorance engender, when
We study mysteries of other men,
And foreign plots. Do but in thy own shade —
Thy head upon some flowery pillow laid,
Kind Nature's housewifery — contemplate all
His stratagems, who labors to enthral
The world to his great Master, and you 'll find
Ambition mocks itself, and grasps the wind.
Not conquest makes us great. Blood is too dear
A price for glory; honor doth appear,
To statesmen, like a vision in the night,
And, juggler-like, works on th’ deluded sight.
Th' unbusied only wise, for no respect
Endangers them to error; they affect
Truth in her naked beauty, and behold
Man with an equal eye, not bright in gold,
Or tall in title ; so much him they weigh,
As virtue raiseth him above his clay.
Thus let us value things; and since we find
Time bend us toward earth, let's in our mind
Create new youth, and arm against the rude
Assaults of age, that no dull solitude

Of th country dead our thoughts, nor busy care
Of th' town make us to think, where now we are,
And whither we are bound. Time ne'er forgot
His journey, though his steps we numbered not.

EDMUND WALLER. 1605-1687. The mother of Waller was a sister of John Hampden. The poet, in his infancy, was left heir to an estate of £3,000 per annum. At the age of eighteen, he entered Parliament, and wrote his first poem. He married a rich heiress, who died the same year, and he immediately made suit to Lady Dorothea, daughter of the Earl of Leicester, his Sacharissa, to whom he dedicated the greater part of his poetry. She, however, bestowed her hand on another. When far advanced in years, she one day asked him when he would again write such verses upon her. “ When you are as young, madam, and as handsome, as you then were," replied he. The rank of one of the first refiners of poetical diction is claimed for him, and he has been styled the

“Maker and model of melodious verse," though not with strict justice, it is now thought.

TO HIS SACHARISSA.
While in this park I sing, the listening deer
Attend my passion, and forget to fear;
When to the beeches I report my flame,
They bow their heads, as if they felt the same;
To gods appealing, when I reach their bowers,
With long complaints, they answer me in showers.
To thee a wild and cruel soul is given,
More deaf than trees, and prouder than the heaven !
Love's foe professed! why dost thou falsely feign
Thyself a Sidney ? — from which noble strain
He sprung,* that could so far exalt the name
Of Love, and warm our nation with his flame,
That all we can of love or high desire
Seems but the smoke of amorous Sidney's fire!
Nor call her mother who so well does prove
One breast may hold both chastity and love !
Never can she, that so exceeds the spring
In joy and bounty, be supposed to bring

* Sir Philip Sidney.

One so destructive. To no human stock .
We owe this fierce unkindness, but the rock; .
That cloven rock produced thee, by whose side
Nature, to recompense the fatal pride
Of such stern beauty, placed those healing springs,*
Which not more help than that destruction brings.
Thy heart no ruder than the rugged stone,
I might, like Orpheus, with my numerous moan
Melt to compassion; now my traitorous song
With thee conspires to do the singer wrong, -
While thus I suffer not myself to lose
The memory of what augments my woes,
But with my own breath still foment the fire,
Which flames as high as fancy can aspire !

This last complaint the indulgent ears did pierce
Of just Apollo, president of verse;
Highly concernéd that the muse should bring
Damage to one whom he had taught to sing,
Thus he advised me: “ On yon aged tree
Hang up thy lute, and hie thee to the sea,
That there, with wonders, thy diverted mind
Some truce, at least, may with this passion find.”
Ah, cruel nymph! from whom her humble swain
Flies for relief unto the raging main,
And from the winds and tempests does expect
A milder fate than from her cold neglect !
Yet there he 'll pray that the unkind may prove
Blest in her choice; and vows this endless love
Springs from no hope of what she may confer,
But from those gifts which heaven has heaped on her.

OLD AGE AND DEATH.
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.

* Tunbridge Wells.

Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
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. '

Milton. 1608–1674. Milton was educated with great care, and was designed for the church; but did not enter the ministry, because unwilling to submit to the religious restrictions of the times. For five years after leaving the university, he remained at the house of his father, studying classical literature ; and during this time he wrote Comus and Lycidas, and also, it is supposed by many, L' Allegro and Il Penseroso. He then travelled, for more than a year, in France and Italy, where the study of the works of art are supposed to have suggested the grace and beauty of some of his poetical creations in Paradise Lost. His first wife, the daughter of a high Cavalier, left him, in one month after marriage, on account of his studious habits, and the seclusion in which he lived. But, on her returning, repentant, he received her with generosity. He married twice, afterwards. He lost the last remains of eyesight in writing his Defensio Populi, and the immortal Paradise Lost was begun after he was entirely blind. But poverty never entered his dwelling, which was lighted by visions of Paradise, and his mind was bright and calm to the last. He left three daughters of his first marriage ; all of whom lived apart from him some years before his death, and of whom he complained that they were indutiful and unkind. Milton was at one time Latin secretary to the Council of State, with a salary of £300 per annum. Of his prose writings it has been said, “ They abound with passages compared with which the finest declamations of Burke sink into insignificance.” He wrote against the established church, and was stern and inflexible in principle, in regard to both church and state.

SONNET ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my life is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied ?”
I fondly ask; but patience, to prevent

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »