Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid,
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade
Of that which once was great is pass'd away.”

The next is by the late Mr. Keats, and was written on the subject of his first reading Chapman's Homer. It is as follows:

“Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been,
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne ;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene,
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies,
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.” There still remain to be noticed two poems of Shakespeare: the one called, The Passionate Pilgrim, (being a collection of irregular pieces); and the other, The Lover's Complaint. From the first of these only, we shall make a couple of extracts. The first will speak for itself.

“ As it fell upon a day,
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and plants did spring :
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone :
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn,
And there sung the dolefull’st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity :
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry,
Teru, Teru, by and by :
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain ;

For her griefs, so lively shown, : Made me think upon mine own. Ah! (thought I) thou mourn'st in vain; None take pity on thy pain : Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee; Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee; King Pandion, he is dead; All thy friends are lapp'd in lead : All thy fellow birds do sing, Careless of thy sorrowing. Even so, poor bird, like thee, None alive will pity me.

Whilst as fickle fortune smil'd,
Thou and I were both beguild,
Every one that flatters thee,
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find.
Every man will be thy friend,
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him .call ;
And with such like flattering,
· Pity but he were a king.'

If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have him at commandement;
But if fortune once do frown,
Then farewel his great renown:
They that fawn'd on him before,
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need;
If thou sorrow,
If thou wake, he cannot sleep:
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear thee part.
These are certain signs' to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe."

he will weep;

The other consists of a dirge over the turtle and the phenix. The poem from which the extract is taken, is sufficiently mysterious; but this is the sweet and melancholy conclusion :

“ Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here inclos'd in cinders lie.

Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest.

Leaving no posterity :
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.

Truth may seem, but cannot be;
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.

To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair ;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.”

With these extracts, we shall leave Shakespeare and his poems to the gradual admiration of the reader. Like most writers of sterling excellence, he disdains to take us by a coup de main; but winds his way slowly and surely to the heart.This great poet was beyond all others the master of the affections. Inferior writers have assailed our sympathies with perhaps as much success.

The Germans have excited our terror, the moderns have drawn forth our compassion, equally with (and, it may be, more than) Shakespeare. But, to use a very hacknied word, his sway is more legitimate than theirs. It is founded upon a firmer basis, a better principle. It is an easy thing to drag forth the plain horrors of the hospital or the grave; but to throw round shapes that fine halo with which true poetry invests and illuminates its creations, is altogether a different task. In the first case, the violence of the feeling tends necessarily to hasten its destruction. We are startled into undue pity or apprehension, are afterwards fatigued, and at last disgusted. But in the bright atmosphere of poetry, its figures live for ever: it envelopes them, as the spices and cerements of the east preserved the bodies of Egyptian kings ; save that the limit of the poets' offspring is not known to time, nor are they liable to be rifled or destroyed. They exist, without gold, or gums, or pyramids, superior to the common accidents of death and decay, unwithering and immortal. Much of this, as well as a great deal of the power

and delicacy which distinguish the dramas of Shakespeare, is perceptible in his poems. The quaintness of their age is upon them ; but that is a mere husk, insufficient to deter the real lovers of poetry from seeking to taste the rich kernel beneath. There is a quaintness even in the plays of Shakespeare, as well as in the poems; but we are accustomed to it, and mind it therefore the less. Let us try to accustom our ears to the Tarquin and Lucrece, and to the Sonnets. They are, the reader may be assured, of great value,-a little old-fashioned, but still precious. We prize china which is old, and plate, and ornaments of many kinds. Even dress has its revolutions : why not poetry ? Fashion in general is but a silly matter. It serves only to fill heads which would be empty without it. But if it can be reduced to use (as well as ornament,) and made to bring back to a new renown the dusty glories of former ages, we shall be among the first to turn idolaters, and to vote for some statue or picture to its honour.

END OF VOL. VII.

LONDON :

PRINTED BY D. S. MAURICE, FENCHURCA-STREET.

INDEX TO VOL. VII.

Ackerman, Mr. 65.
Aikin, Dr. 38.
Angier, Humphrey, 270.
Anson, Lord, 363.
Appleby, Mr. 275.
Aram, Eugene, 100. 267. 284,
Argyle, Lord, 206.
Arlington, Lord, 213.
Armstrong, 222
Arnaud, M. 326.
Arrais, Edward M. 64.
Aston, Sir Roger, 46.
Austen, Jane, *131. 135.
Austria, Duke of, 21.
Ayres, Sir John, 322.

Buchan, Dr. 224.
Buckingham, Villiers, Duke of, 36. 52.
195. 207. 213.

-Sheffield, Duke of, 191. 202.
217.
Buonaparte, 270.
Burgundy, Duke of, 14. 19. 26. 28.
Burgundy, Princess of, 20.
Burke, Mr. 132. 352. 362. 370.
Burnet, Bishop, 37. 190. 191. 195. 198.

205. 210.
Bute, Earl of, 53. 366.
Butler, Samuel, 233.
Butler, Dr. 33.
Byron, Lord, 130. 153.

Bacon, Francis Lord, 34. 42, 44. 64. 75.

317. 329.
Bacon, Roger, 64. 70.
Balagny, Monsieur, 320.
Balmerinu and Kilmarnock, 286.
Baretti, 286.
Barnard, William, 284.
Barre, Colonel, 376.
Barrow, Isaac, 263.
Baxter, Richard, 328.
Beaumont and Fletcher, 69.
Bedloe, 187.
Berkenhead, Sir John, 205.
Bertrand's Relation of the Plague at Mar-

seilles, 220.
Bertrand, M. 222. 239.
Billings, Thomas, 279.
Blandy, Miss, 284.
Blood, Colonel, 203.
Boccacio, 222.
Bolingbroke, Lord, 368.
Brodum, Dr. 65.
Brook, Lord, 62. 75.
Brougham, Mr. 273.
Brown, Sir Thomas, 75.
Brownrigg, Mrs. 285.
Brun, Pigault le, 240.

Calamy, 253.
Calverley, Mr. 80.
Camoëns, 229.
Campanella the Jesuit, 41.
Campbell, Hume, 368.
Campbell, Mr. T. 116.
Campbell, Dr. John, 76.
Carleton, Captain, 7.
Carlisle, Earl of, 46. 326.
Catherine, Queen, 195.
Cavendish, Lord John, 377.
Cecil, Sir Edward, 321.
Cervantes, 239.
Charles I. 1. 52.
Charles II. 184.
Charles VI. 83.
Charles VIII. 24.
Chapman's Homer, 403,
Charteris, Colonel, 282.
CHATHAM, LORD, his Life and Character

reviewed, 352-378.
CHEYNELL's Death and Burial of Chil-

lingworth reviewed, 1-13.
Cheynell, Francis, 2. 4. 13.
Cicero, 370.
Clarence, Duke of, 28.
Clarendon, Lord, 3. 9. 50. 60. 192. 215.

« AnteriorContinuar »