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Over some cash accounts, or, worse than all,
Whenever his escape by flight he tried,
He bruised his wings against the hard stone wall;
Till, wearied out, he sat him down and sigh'd
So heavily, it seem'd as if he must have died.

Heart-sick he pined and dwindled to a shade;
Folly too grieved, but Plutus' sons were glad
At his gaunt plight, because he might be weigh'd
Against the very smallest coin they had,
And be found wanting; this done, they forbad
His living any more at their expense,

And turn'd him out of doors, calling the lad
A vile impostor upon common sense,
With many ribald words which gave him great offence.

Poor Love was very ill, and his physicians, Pleasure and Youth, day after day attended, Night after night, with hourly repetitions Of kissing draughts with ladies' fingers blended, Sweetmeats, and heart's ease,-lord! how fast he mended! And then they warm'd him to his heart's content With Cyprus' wine, and lo! his sickness ended: So Love revived, and now on vengeance bent, He call'd aloud on Jove for Folly's punishment.


Revenge!" he cried, " revenge me upon Folly!
Behold me, Jove, she has put out my eyes,
My happy eyes, now dark and melancholy!"
Jove listen'd to his little grandson's cries,
And cited the delinquent to the skies;

At first this heavenly summons made her wonder,—
Then she felt certain she was found too wise

To live on earth,-but, when she saw her blunder, She trembled like a leaf, being much afraid of thunder.

Her fears, as usual, vanish'd presently;
Then, looking round her with a saucy face,
She ask'd if such a goodly company
Could find it worth their wisdom to disgrace
A girl like her, whose fault, in the first place,
Was but a slight one, and withal committed
Purely to serve her own dear human race :
"I grant," said she, "the boy is to be pitied,
Yet as he should be blind I ought to be acquitted.
"Think what a blessing it will be to man,
And woman too, made up of imperfection,
That Love no more can closely spy and scan
A blemish on the mind or the complexion;
Besides, as he must make a blind selection,
Pairing them off to fill his motley train
Just as his arrows take their chance direction,
How many a squinting nymph and loutish swain
May ogle and be spruce, nor find their frolics vain.


Again, I'd have you know that Jove and all
The gods may be beholden-" "Hush!" says Jove,
"This argument grows somewhat personal;
Already hast thou said enough to prove

Thy guilt; in justice, therefore, to young
A grievous penalty shalt thou abide;
And as 'tis fit the little god should rove
Fearless throughout the world, thus we decide,—
Love shall for evermore have Folly for his guide."


S. Y.


We cannot think it a good augury that we are so soon again called upon to notice a new volume, from the pen of the Oxford professor of poetry. Unluckily for both Mr. Milman and his readers, his works are not of such a kind that they may be allowed to gall each other's kibe with impunity, as those of the northern novelist do; and it is to be feared this frequent recurrence of them may tend to persuade us that, if they cannot be read without pleasure, there is a vague sense of duty performed mixed up with that pleasure, which, in cases of this kind, however it may add to its value in our sober judgment, does not increase its poignancy. The truth is, when we have finished the perusal of one of Mr. Milman's long dramatic poems, and assured ourselves that it is a good and meritorious work, we lay it down with the full conviction that its author is a person of cultivated talents and an elegant taste, and confidently hope that we shall, at some future period, be called upon to listen to him again. But when, contrary to the tacit bargain we have unconsciously made with ourselves, we find that "future in the instant," the case seems altered; and, after diligently perusing the new work, as in duty bound, we are inclined to look a little more closely into the nature of the pleasure we have derived from it, and to inquire whether it has not been chiefly made up of that kind of satisfaction which usually attends the consciousness of having well and duly performed an appointed task. Speaking thus much in the name of the public, and without pushing this inquiry farther at present, we may state, in illustration of our own feelings in regard to this and the previous works of Mr. Milman, that it was with a disposition to make this inquiry we took up the volume before us, and that this disposition was not changed on laying it down.

In fact, neither the subjects, the matter, nor the style of Mr. Milman's late works render it prudent in him to force them too frequently on public attention. However valuable may be the class to which his poems belong, the individuals of that class, in order to be tolerated, must be more than tolerable; and to be admired they must be admirable indeed and even in the latter case, their rarity must form a part of their value, if they would hope to retain the estimation they merit. The feelings and imaginations of all classes of readers, learned or unlearned, gentle or simple, young or old, have necessarily formed for themselves such a chain of associations connected with Scripture stories, characters, and events, that to disturb those associations at all is dangerous, and to do so too frequently and pertinaciously is almost certainly fatal to the pretensions of those who venture it.

That it may be judged how far these remarks are applicable to the work before us, we will state generally that it is as inferior to the preceding one from the same pen (The Martyr of Antioch), as that was to The Fall of Jerusalem, and that its comparative and relative defects are of exactly the same kind as belong to those works. It has their cold pomp and overstrained dignity of style, and their loose and unmusical versification, added to a meagerness of interest and incident, and a feebleness in the delineation of character, which they did not altogether


Belshazzar a Dramatic Poem. By the Rev. H. H. Milman, Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford.



possess; and, unlike those works, it has little richness of detail or eloquence of language, and still less refinement or finish of detached parts. Upon the whole, if it is a work that deserves and will receive respect and attention, these will be accorded to it more from the nature of its subject, and the name and character of its author, than from any either positive or even comparative merit of its own.

The plot of this poem comprises simply the last day of Belshazzar's life, including his impious feast, the taking of his city by the Medes and Persians, and his consequent dethronement and death. With these events are connected, by way of episode, the loves of the two Jewish captives, Adonijah and Benina. We shall not be very copious in our extracts, either from the exceptionable or the meritorious parts of this performance, because we do not think that in the one case we should contribute much to the edification, or in the other to the amusement, of the reader; for Mr. Milman's faults are, generally speaking, not glaring enough to serve as warning examples; and his good qualities are better to be appreciated and relished in connexion with each other, than when considered alone. Two or three examples of these latter, however, we will give, and those the best we can find, in order to shew that the poem is inferior to the one noticed in our number for April. But that these examples may have a fair chance of being justly appreciated, we will precede them by one or two of a different kind, in which it appears to us that Mr. Milman has exhibited more than his usual carelessness and haste. In the way of versification nothing can be much worse than the following passage, with which the poem opens. It is to the last degree heavy, inelegant, and monotonous.

The City of Babylon.—Morning.


Within the cloud-pavilion of my rest,

Amid the Thrones and Princedoms, that await
Their hour of ministration to the Lord,
I heard the summons, and I stood with wings
Outspread for flight, before the Eternal Throne.
And, from the unapproached depth of light
Wherein the Almighty Father of the worlds
Dwells from seraphic sight, by glory veil'd,
Came forth the soundless mandate, which I felt
Within, and sprung upon my obedient plumes.
But as I sail'd my long and trackless voyage
Down the deep bosom of unbounded space,
The manifest bearer of Almighty wrath,
I saw the Angel of each separate star
Folding his wings in terror, o'er his orb
Of golden fire; and shuddering till I pass'd
Το pour elsewhere Jehovah's cup of vengeance."

By the way, it may be here remarked that this destroying angel is an interpolation, as uncalled for as it is inefficient. It adds nothing to the interest and progress of the events, and indeed takes no part in them; unless we are to receive it as the agency which produces the writing on the wall. And if we are to regard it in this light, it takes from, instead of adding to, the mysterious awfulness of that event.

Surely the following speeches of Belshazzar are neither poetical nor characteristic:

"oh! thou Lord of the hundred thrones, high Nabonassar


And thou my father, Merodach! ye crown'd
This City with her diadem of towers-
Wherefore?-but prescient of Belshazzar's birth,
And conscious of your destined son, ye toil'd
To rear a meet abode. Oh, Babylon!
Thou hast him now, for whom through ages rose
Thy sky-exalted towers-for whom yon palace
Rear'd its bright domes, and groves of golden spires;
In whom, secure of immortality

Thou stand'st, and consecrate from time and ruin,
Because thou hast been the dwelling of Belshazzar!

Oh ye, assembled Babylon! fair youths
And hoary Elders, Warriors, Counsellors,
And bright-eyed Women, down my festal board
Reclining! oh ye thousand living men,

Do ye not hold your charter'd breath from me?
And I can plunge your souls in wine and joy;
Or by a word, a look, dismiss you all
To darkness and to shame: yet, are ye not
Proud of the slavery that thus enthrals you?
What king, what ruler over subject man
Or was, or is, or shall be like Belshazzar?
I summon from their graves the sceptred dead
Of elder days, to see their shame. I cry
Unto the cloudy Past, unfold the thrones
That glorified the younger world: I call
To the dim Future-lift thy veil and show
The destined lords of humankind: they rise,
They bow their veil'd heads to the dust, and own
The throne whereon Chaldea's Monarch sits,
The height and pinnacle of human glory."

To put such merely impudent boastings as these into the mouth of a mighty king, is not the way to create an interest in us either towards his life or his death. He should have been invested with at least a semblance of dignity of character; or if it was thought that this could not be done consistently with divine history, he should not have been chosen as a poetical hero at all: for the rise or the fall of such men as Belshazzar is here represented, are matters of equal indifference to us, in a poetical point of view. As a matter of mere history, it may be an impressive fact to know, that a human being was precipitated in a moment from such a height of external greatness. But when we know this as a matter of history, we can be made to feel little additional interest in it as a matter of poetical contemplation, unless the subject of it be represented to us as something essentially different from the rest of his species. Mere place and station will never make a poetical hero, any more than they can detract from one. We willingly contrast these passages with others of a different description. The following is, perhaps, the most poetical passage in the work, and certainly the versification of it, though far from perfect, is better than the author usually produces. The extract is a kind of prophetic anticipation of the fate that awaits Belshazzar; but it is put into the mouth, not very appropriately, of Benina, the Jewish maiden.

"Go on, in awe And splendour, radiant as the morning star, But as the morning star to be cast down

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Into the deep of deeps. Long, long the Lord
Hath bade his Prophets cry to all the world,
That Babylon shall cease! Their words of fire
Flash round my soul, and lighten up the depths
Of dim futurity! I hear the voice

Of the expecting grave!-I hear abroad
The exultation of unfetter'd earth!—

From East to West they lift their trampled necks,
Th' indignant nations: earth breaks out in scorn;
The valleys dance and sing; the mountains shake
Their cedar-crowned tops! The strangers crowd
To gaze upon the howling wilderness,

Where stood the Queen of Nations. Lo! even now,
Lazy Euphrates rolls his sullen waves

Through wastes, and but reflects his own thick reeds.
I hear the bitterns shriek, the dragons cry;
I see the shadow of the midnight owl
Gliding where now are laughter-echoing palaces!
O'er the vast plain I see the mighty tombs
Of kings, in sad and broken whiteness gleam
Beneath the o'ergrown cypress-but no tomb
Bears record, Babylon, of thy last lord;
Even monuments are silent of Belshazzar!"

The following is an animated and picturesque description of the

illuminated city on the night of Belshazzar's feast:

"But lo! what blaze of light beneath me spreads
O'er the wide city. Like yon galaxy
Above mine head, each long and spacious street
Becomes a line of silver light, the trees
In all their silent avenues break out

In flowers of fire. But chief around the Palace
Whitens the glowing splendour; every court
That lay in misty dimness indistinct,
Is traced by pillars and high architraves
Of crystal lamps that tremble in the wind:
Each portal arch gleams like an earthly rainbow,
And o'er the front spreads one entablature
Of living gems of every hue, so bright
That the pale Moon, in virgin modesty,
Retreating from the dazzling and the tumult,
Afar upon the distant plain reposes
Her unambitious beams, or on the bosom
Of the blue river, ere it reach the walls."

Our next extract is a description of the prophet Daniel, on the appearance of those portents which indicate the downfall of the devoted city.

"Till but lately he was girt
With sackcloth, with the meagre hue of fasting
On his sunk cheek, and ashes on his head;
When, lo! at once he shook from his gray locks
The attire of woe, and call'd for wine; and since
He hath gone stately through the wondering streets
With a sad scorn. Amid the heaven-piercing towers,
Through cool luxurious court, and in the shade
Of summer trees that play o'er crystal fountains,
He walks, as though he trod o'er moss-grown ruins,
'Mid the deep desolation of a city
Already by the almighty wrath laid waste.

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